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Title: Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 420 - Volume 17, New Series, January 17, 1852
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 420 - Volume 17, New Series, January 17, 1852" ***

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                     CHAMBERS' EDINBURGH JOURNAL


  CONDUCTED BY WILLIAM AND ROBERT CHAMBERS, EDITORS OF 'CHAMBERS'S
  INFORMATION FOR THE PEOPLE,' 'CHAMBERS'S EDUCATIONAL COURSE,' &c.


  No. 420. NEW SERIES.  SATURDAY, JANUARY 17, 1852.  PRICE 1-1/2_d_.



HOW IS THE WORLD USING YOU?


This is a very common question, usually put and answered with more
or less levity. We seldom hear of any one answering very favourably
as to the usage he experiences from the world. More generally, the
questioned seems to feel that his treatment is not, and never has
been, quite what it ought to be. It has sometimes occurred to me,
that a great oversight is committed in our so seldom putting to
ourselves the co-relative question: What have I done to make the
world use me well? What merit have I shewn--by what good intention
towards the world have I been animated--what has been the positive
amount of those services of mine on which I found my pretensions to
the world's rewards? All of these are interrogations which it would
be necessary to answer satisfactorily before we could be truly
entitled to take measure of the world's goodness to us in return;
for surely it is not to be expected that the world is to pay in mere
expectancy: time enough, in all conscience, when the service has
been rendered, or at soonest, when a reasonable ground of hope has
been established that it will not be withheld or performed
slightingly. Only too much room there is to fear that, if these
questions were put and faithfully answered, the ordinary result
would be a conviction that the world had used us quite as well as we
deserved.

Men are of course prevented from going through this process by their
self-love. Unwillingness to see or own their shortcomings, keeps
them in a sort of delusion on the subject. Well, I do not hope to
make an extensive change upon them in this respect; but perhaps it
may not be impossible to rouse one here and there to the correct
view, and thus accomplish a little good.

Let us address ourselves to commercial life first, for the labour by
which man lives is at the bottom of everything. Here we meet the now
well-recognised principle in political economy, that generally
wages, salaries, remunerations of all kinds, are in pretty exact
relation to the value of the services performed--this value being of
course determined, in a great degree, by the easiness or difficulty
of the work, the commonness or rarity of the faculties and skill
required for it, the risk of non-success in the profession, and so
forth. Many a good fellow who feels that his income is
inconveniently small, and wonders why it is not greater, might have
the mystery solved if he would take a clear, unprejudiced view of
the capacity in which he is acting towards the public. Is he a slave
of the desk, in some office of routine business? Then let him
consider how many hundreds of similar men would answer an
advertisement of his seat being vacant. The fatal thing in his case
evidently is, that the faculties and skill required in his situation
are possessed by so many of his fellow-creatures. Is he a shopkeeper
in some common line of business?--say a draper. Then let him
consider how easy it is to be a draper, and how simple are the
details of such a trade. While there are so many other drapers in
the same street, his going out of business would never be felt as an
inconvenience. He is perhaps not doing any real good to the public
at all, but only interloping with the already too small business of
those who were in 'the line' before him. Let him think of the many
hours he spends in idleness, or making mere appearances of business,
and ask if he is really doing any effective service to his
fellow-creatures by keeping a shop at all. It may be a hardship to
him to have failed in a good intention; but this cannot be helped.
He may succeed better in some other scheme. Let him quit this, and
try another, or set up in a place where there is what is called 'an
opening'--that is, where his services are required--the point
essential to his getting any reward for his work. We sometimes see
most wonderful efforts made by individuals in an overdone trade; for
example, those of a hatter, who feels that he must give mankind a
special direction to his shop, or die. Half-a-dozen tortoise-like
missionaries do nothing but walk about the streets from morning to
night, proclaiming from carapace and plastron,[1] that there are no
hats equal to those at No. 98 of such a street. A van like the
temple of Juggernauth parades about all day, propagating the same
faith. 'If you want a good hat,' exclaims a pathetic poster, 'try
No. 98.' As you walk along the street, a tiny bill is insinuated
into your hand, for no other purpose, as you learn on perusing it,
but to impress upon you the great truth, that there are no hats in
the world either so good or so cheap as those at No. 98. The same
dogma meets you in omnibuses, at railway platforms, and every other
place where it can be expected that mankind will pause for a moment,
and so have time to take in an idea. But it is all in vain if there
be a sufficient supply of good and cheap hats already in that
portion of the earth's surface. The superfluous hatter must submit
to the all-prevailing law, that for labours not required, and an
expenditure of capital useless as regards the public, there can be
no reward, no return.

Sometimes great inconveniences are experienced in consequence of
local changes; such as those effected by railways, and the
displacement of hand-labour by machinery. A country inn that has
supplied post-horses since the days of the civil war, is all at
once, in consequence of the opening of some branch-line, deserted by
its business. It is a pitiable case; but the poor landlord must not
attempt to be an innkeeper without business, for then he would be a
misapplied human being, and would starve. Now the world uses him a
little hardly in the diversion of his customers; that may be
allowed: we must all lay our account with such hardships so long as
each person is left to see mainly after himself. But if he were to
persist in keeping his house open, and thus reduce himself to
uselessness, he would not be entitled to think himself ill-used by
reason of his making no profits, seeing that he did nothing for the
public to entitle him to a remuneration. The poor handloom
weavers--I grieve to think of the hardships they suffer. Well do I
remember when, in 1813 or 1814, a good workman in this craft could
realise 36s. a week. There were even traditions then of men who had
occasionally eaten pound-notes upon bread and butter, or allowed
their wives to spend L.8 upon a fine china tea-service. There being
a copious production of cotton-thread by machinery, but no machinery
to make it into cloth, was the cause of the high wages then given to
weavers. Afterwards came the powerloom; and weavers can now only
make perhaps 4s. 6d. per week, even while working for longer hours
than is good for their health. The result is most lamentable; but it
cannot be otherwise, for the public will only reward services in the
ratio of the value of these services to itself. It will not
encourage a human being, with his glorious apparatus of intelligence
and reflection, to mis-expend himself upon work which can be
executed equally well by unthinking machinery. Were the poor weavers
able so far to shake themselves free from what is perhaps a very
natural prejudice, as to ask what do we do to entitle us to any
better usage from the public, they would see that the fault lies in
their continuing to be weavers at all. They are precisely as the
innkeeper would be, if he kept his house open after the railway had
taken all his customers another way.

There are many cases in the professional walks of life fully as
deplorable as that of the weavers. Few things in the world are more
painful to contemplate than a well-educated and able man vainly
struggling to get bread as a physician, an artist, or an author. It
is of course right that such a man should not be too ready to
abandon the struggle as hopeless; for a little perseverance and
well-directed energy may bring him into a good position. But if a
fair experiment has been made, and it clearly appears that his
services are not wanted, the professional aspirant ought undoubtedly
to pause, and take a full unprejudiced view of his relation to the
world. 'Am I,' he may say, 'to expect reward if I persist in
offering the world what it does not want? Are my fellow-creatures
wrong in withholding a subsistence from me, while I am rather
consulting my own tastes and inclinations than their necessities?'
It may then occur to him that the great law must somehow be
obeyed--a something must be done for mankind which they require, and
it must be done where and how they require it, in order that each
individual may have a true claim upon the rest. To get into the
right and fitting place in the social machine may be difficult; but
there is no alternative. Let him above everything dismiss from his
mind the notion, that others can seriously help him. Let him be
self-helpful, think and do for himself, and he will have the better
chance of success.

We now come to a second branch of the subject--namely, as regards
our conduct and manners in the scenes of social life. One might
suppose it to be a very clear thing, that a person possessing no
pleasing accomplishment could never be so agreeable a member of
society as one who possessed one or more of such qualifications. It
might seem very evident, that a person who had never taken any
trouble to acquire such accomplishments, did not deserve so much of
society as one who had taken such trouble. Yet such is the blinding
influence of self-love, that we continually find the dull and
unaccomplished speaking and acting as if they considered themselves
entitled to equal regard with others who, on the contrary, can
contribute greatly to the enjoyments of their fellow-creatures. This
is surely most unreasonable--it is, as in the case of the
unnecessary shopkeeper or weaver, to desire the reward and yet not
perform the service. Were such persons to clear themselves of
prejudice, and take an unflattering view of their relation to
society, they would see that the reward can only be properly
expected where it has been worked for. They might in some instances
be prompted to make efforts to attain some of those accomplishments
which contribute to make the social hour pass agreeably, and thus
attain to a true desert, besides 'advancing themselves in the scale
of thinking beings.' If not, they might at least learn to submit
unrepiningly to that comparatively moderate degree of notice and
regard which is the due of those who are perfectly ordinary in their
minds, and fit only to take a place amongst the audience.

Society, as is well known, has its favourites, and also its
unpopular characters. If we dissect the character of the favourite,
we shall invariably find a great substratum of the amiable. He will
probably have accomplishments also, and thus be able to add to the
happiness of his fellows. It is not improbable that in many cases a
good share of love of approbation will be detected; but this is of
no consequence in the matter. The general fact we assume to be, that
the genuinely amiable is there in some force. It will, I believe, be
likewise found that the unpopular character has something too much
of the centripetal system about him--that is to say, desires things
to centre in himself as much as possible--and neither has any great
natural impulse to the amiable, nor will take the trouble to assume
the complaisant. Now, it is not uncommon to observe traces of
dissatisfaction in the unpopular characters, as if they felt
themselves to be treated unjustly by the world. But can these
persons reasonably expect to be received with the same favour as men
who are at once gentle and inoffensive in their ordinary demeanour,
and actively good among their fellow-creatures? Certainly not. Let
us see here, too, the complaining party take an unprejudiced view of
his relation to society. Let him understand that he only will be
loved if he is lovable, and we may hope to see him taking some pains
to correct his selfishness, and both seem and be a kind and genial
man. Most assuredly, in no other way will his reputation and his
treatment by the world be reversed.

In fine, we would have all who are inclined to doubt whether the
world uses them well or not, to ask of themselves, in the first
place, how they use the world. If they find that they do little for
it--are stupid, illiterate, possessed of not one graceful
accomplishment, neither useful nor ornamental, but selfish, sulky,
and unamiable, then let them try whether a remedy cannot be found in
themselves. It is not to be expected of all that they are to be
greatly serviceable in any way to the world, or very agreeable
either; but it is the duty of all who desire the world's good
treatment, to do the best they can for the general interest, and to
be as good and amiable as possible. At the worst, if they cannot
make any change on themselves, let them resign themselves to be
comparatively poor and neglected, as such is, by the rules of
Providence, their inevitable fate.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Footnote 1: The upper and under plates of the tortoise are so called by
naturalists.]



THE SISTERS OF CHARITY IN BOHEMIA.


In continental countries, much of that charitable ministration which
with us is left to rates and institutions, is the work of
individuals acting directly under a religious impulse. The
difference is perhaps not entirely in favour of the countries of the
Romish faith; but there is no denying that it leads to our being
presented with pictures of heroic self-devotion and generous
self-sacrifice, such as it would be gratifying to see in our own
country. Many of the forms of charity met with in Catholic states
had their rise in one enthusiastically benevolent man, the
celebrated Vincent de St Paul. Born in 1576, on the skirts of the
Pyrenees, and brought up as a shepherd-boy--possessed of course of
none of the advantages of fortune, this remarkable man shewed a
singular spirit of charity before he had readied manhood. He became
a priest; he passed through a slavery in one of the African
piratical states, and with difficulty made his escape. At length we
see him in the position of a parish pastor in France, exerting
himself in plans for the improvement of the humbler classes, exactly
like those which have become fashionable among ourselves only during
the last twenty years. His exertions succeeded, and generous persons
of rank enabled him to extend them. In a short time, he saw no fewer
than twenty-five establishments founded in his own country, in
Piedmont, Poland, and other states, for charitable purposes.
Stimulated by this success to increase his exertions, he quickly
formed associations of charitable persons, chiefly females, for the
succour of distressed humanity. It was a most wonderful movement for
the age, and must be held as no little offset against the horrible
barbarities arising from religious troubles in the reign of Louis
XIII. Among Vincent's happiest efforts, was that which established
the _Sisters of Charity_, a sodality of self-devoted women, which
exists in vigour at the present day.

During a lengthened residence in Prague, we have had much
satisfaction in visiting the establishment of the Sisters, and
inquiring into their doings. The house, which was founded in the
seventeenth century, and contains seventy inmates, is situated near
to the palace of Prince Lobkowitz, in the Kleine Seite, or that part
of the city which lies on the right bank of the Moldau. It has much
the character of a suburban villa, being surrounded by a kind of
_plaisance_, enclosed in high walls, and containing shrubberies,
alleys, and large clumps of chestnuts. In this pleasant retreat may
often be found such of the Sisters as are not engaged in the more
pressing kind of duties--never quite idle, however; for, even while
seeking recreation, they will be found busied in preparing clothing
for the poor, or perhaps in making medicines from herbs, if not
imparting instruction to children let loose from the school which
forms a part of their establishment. The place is remarkable for its
perfumes, there being assembled here not merely the usual amount of
roses, lilacs, jasmines, tuberoses, and lilies, but a profusion of
aromatic plants, cultivated either for medicinal purposes, or to
serve in the fabrication of essences and powders, which the Sisters
distribute over the world in tiny bottles and small pillow-cases and
bags, in order to raise funds for the poor.

In the house, which, having been erected for a private family, is
not well suited for its present purpose, everything is an example of
cleanliness and order. The hospital is in the main part of the
building, and is fitted up with every possible convenience. A large
apothecaries' hall is attached to it, furnished with every appliance
that medical art has devised, and under the superintendence of a
highly-educated professional man. It is most affecting to enter the
great sick-room, and see the gentle Sisters in their modest attire
ministering to the patients, bending over them with their sweet and
cheerful countenances, as if they felt that relief from pain and
restoration to life and its enjoyments depended on their smiles. It
is scarcely necessary to say, that the hospital is almost always
full. Sometimes, indeed, the floor is occupied with extra beds; for
the Sisters will never close their doors to any who apply, even
though they should have to abandon their own simple places of repose
to the new-comer, and stretch themselves on the bare floor.

We observed, in one of our visits, an old woman who was lying in one
of the beds of the hospital, in a kind of trance, neither sleeping
nor waking, apparently suffering no pain, but quite insensible to
everything which passed around her. Her complaint was that of
extreme old age, mere physical exhaustion. She had been for many
years a pensioner, fed and clothed by the Sisters: having outlived
all her relations, and having no friends in the world but them, she
had come in, as she said herself, 'to die in peace among them.' Not
far from her lay a girl, about sixteen or seventeen years of age,
whose extreme paleness, or rather marble whiteness, vied with the
snowy sheets which covered all but that lily face; and but for the
quivering of the little frill of her cap, and the slow movement of
her large blue eyes, it would have been difficult to believe that it
was not the alabaster figure of some saint that reposed there. The
superior looked kindly and sadly upon her, bent down, kissed her
pale forehead, and went on; and though the sufferer did not move or
speak, nor the feeble head turn, her large blue eyes followed the
reverend mother with an expression which was all its own--an
expression to be felt, deeply, intensely, but which cannot be
described. And who was she, that pale, silent girl? She was an
orphan, neglected by the world, betrayed and abandoned by one who
appeared the only _friend_ she had. Crushed in spirit, enfeebled by
want and misery, without a roof to shelter her young drooping head,
she had been found by the Sisters of Charity sitting alone, _her
eyes fixed on the river_. They took her in, clothed, fed, and warmed
her. They poured into her heart the blessed words of peace and
comfort, till that poor breaking heart gushed forth in a wild tide
of feeling too strong for the feeble frame; and we now saw her
slowly recovering from a frightful fever, the result of past
sufferings, and of that agitation which even a reaction towards hope
had occasioned.

It would be too much for the present sketch to describe the many
invalids before whom we passed in our visits to the sick-chambers of
the Sisters of Charity, though every single case would be a lesson
to humanity. The homeless, the forsaken, the orphan, each had his or
her own bitter history, previous to reposing within the sanctuary of
that blessed retreat; each was attended by some of those benevolent
beings, whose gentle steps and sweet sunny smiles brought peace to
their hearts. None who are destitute are rejected at that gate of
mercy. Whatever their faults may have been, whatever their
frailties, if overtaken by want or sickness--if, deserted and
trampled upon, they sink without any visible hand being stretched
out to save them from despair and death--then do the Sisters of
Charity interpose to succour and to save. To them it is sufficient
that the sufferer requires their aid. There every medical assistance
is promptly given; every comfort, and even luxury.

Most surprising it is to the common worldling to see these gentle
beings thus living entirely for others, seeking no reward but that
inspired by Christian promises and hopes. Nor is it mere drudgery
and self-denial which constitute their great merit. When humanity
calls from the midst of danger, whether in the shape of pestilence
or of war, they are equally unfailing. It has been our lot to see a
city taken by storm, the streets on fire and half-choked with ruins,
and these ruins thickly strewed with the dead and dying. There,
before the wild scene had been in the least calmed--amid smoke, and
rain, and the frequent rattling fire of musketry--we have seen the
black dresses and long white kerchiefs of the Sisters of Charity
flitting about, emblems of mercy in a world which might otherwise
seem only fit for demons. The place we speak of was Arcis-sur-Aube.
Napoleon, who looked on the system of this sisterhood 'as one of the
most sublime conceptions of the human mind,' was then in the act of
falling back with 30,000 men, after having been attacked the evening
before (March 19, 1814) by 130,000 Austrians. He was within three
weeks of the prostration of his power, and he must have felt
bitterly the crushing reverses he was experiencing. Yet he stopped
on the nearly demolished bridge of the town, and ordered 300
Napoleons to be given out of his then scanty resources to the
Sisters of Charity, of whose devotion he had been an eye-witness
from the commencement of the attack. As he crossed the bridge
immediately afterwards, part of it gave way, and he was precipitated
into the Aube, but, by the help of his horse, soon gained the safe
bank.

The good works of the Sisters do not stop with their exertions for
the sick and miserable. They have also their schools for orphans and
foundlings. Here the tender human plant, perhaps deserted by a
heartless mother, often gains more than it has lost. It is only to
infants in these extraordinary circumstances that they are called
upon to give shelter, for the children of the poor in general are
provided for in public establishments. When we last visited the
convent in Prague, we found about thirty girls entertained as
inmates. As soon as they are capable of learning, they are
instructed in every branch of domestic economy; and as they grow up,
and their several talents develop themselves, they are educated
accordingly: some for instructresses, either in music or any general
branch of education; others, as seamstresses, ladies-maids, cooks,
laundry-maids, house-maids. In short, every branch of useful
domestic science is taught.

When the girls attain sufficient age and experience to occupy the
several situations for which they have been instructed--that is,
from seventeen to eighteen, the superior of the convent procures
them a place in the family of some of her friends or acquaintance,
and always, so far as lies in her power, with a mistress as much as
possible suited to the intelligence and instruction of her
_protégée_. The day of separation, however, is always painful. It
is, in fact, the parting of a mother and her child. We have seen the
orphan cling to her adopted mother, and as she knelt to receive her
blessing, bathe her hands in tears of gratitude and affection; while
the reverend superior would clasp her to her bosom, and recommend to
her adopted child the blessed principles which she had inculcated
from her infancy. Nor do they leave the home of their childhood
empty. Each girl on quitting the convent is provided with a little
_trousseau_ or outfit for her first appearance in the world: this
consists of two complete suits of clothes--an ordinary and a better
one, four petticoats, four chemises, six pair of stockings, the same
number of gloves, and two pair of shoes. We have seen many of these
orphans and foundlings in after-life; some of them occupying the
most respectable situations, as the wives of opulent citizens, and
others filling places of the most important trust in some of the
highest families of the empire; we have also had several in our own
service, and have always had reason to congratulate ourselves on our
good-fortune in engaging them.

One of the first principles of education in the orphan schools of
the Sisters of Charity is economy: while they spare nothing in the
cause of humanity, so far as their means will go, the strictest
frugality reigns throughout, and is always inculcated as the
foundation of the means of doing good. Consequently, all of whom we
have had any experience, who were educated in these charitable
institutions, never failed, however humble their situation, to make
some little savings: one whom we have at this moment in our eye, and
who not many years since served us in the capacity of cook, and
fulfilled her charge with great fidelity and zeal, has, by her
extraordinary industry and economy, collected in the savings' bank
in Prague no less than 700 florins, or L.70 sterling. And yet with
all this economy she was so charitable and liberal in giving of her
own to the poor, that we have often had to caution her against
extravagance in that respect. By this spirit of economy, we have
also known several of the orphans and foundlings arrive at a degree
of independence which enables them in their turn to assist the
deserted generation of to-day, and to do for them as they themselves
had been done by. Many also have been the means of rescuing others
from crime and starvation by conducting them to that blessed
institution, to which, under Heaven, they owe all their prosperity
and happiness in life.

Of these charitable communities there are many orders, which differ
from the above chiefly in name, and in the Sisters never quitting
their sanctuary or the precincts of their gardens. The Sisters of
Charity, properly so called, not being vowed to seclusion, are more
generally known to the world, who see them, and therefore believe
that they exist for charitable purposes, while of those of whom they
see nothing they know nothing; and should the casual observer meet
in the street on a festival, or day of examination, a column of from
300 to 800 children, from six to ten or twelve years of age, neatly
clothed, and whose happy countenances and beautiful behaviour
bespeak the care with which their early education has been
conducted--it never once occurs to him that these are the children
of the poor, the children of the free schools of the 'Sisters' of
the Ursaline Convent, or of the Congregation of Notre Dame, or of
some other religious establishment of the kind. But perhaps we shall
have an opportunity hereafter of introducing these invisible Sisters
of Charity to the notice of our readers.

Suffice it now to say, that the 'Sisters of Mercy,' the 'Ursalines,'
the 'Congregations of Notre Dame,' the 'English Ladies,' and many
others, are all in practice Sisters of Charity.

It is not uncommon to hear their condition deplored, as one from
which all earthly enjoyments are excluded, or as a kind of death in
life. But personal observation has given us different ideas on this
subject. Within those lofty, and sometimes sullen-looking walls
which enclose the convents of the sisterhoods we speak of, we have
spent some of the most agreeable hours of our life, conversing with
refined and enlightened women on the works of beneficence in which
they were engaged; everything bearing an aspect of that cheerfulness
and animation which only can be expected in places where worthy
duties are well performed.



ADVENTURES OF AN ARMY PHYSICIAN.


Robert Jackson, the son of a small landed proprietor of limited
income but respectable character in Lanarkshire, was born in 1750,
at Stonebyres, in that county. He received his education first at
the barony school of Wandon, and afterwards under the care of Mr
Wilson, a teacher of considerable local celebrity at Crawford, one
of the wildest spots in the Southern Highlands. He was subsequently
apprenticed to Mr William Baillie, of Biggar; and in 1766 proceeded,
for the completion of his professional training, to the university
of Edinburgh, at that time illustrated and adorned by the genius and
learning of such men as the Monros, the Cullens, and the Blacks.

In pursuing his studies at this favoured abode of science and
literature, young Jackson is said to have evinced all that purity of
morals and singleness of heart which characterised him in
after-life, and to have resisted the allurements of dissipation by
which, in those days especially, the youthful student was tempted to
wander from the paths of virtuous industry. His circumstances were,
however, distressingly narrow; and not only was he forced to forego
the means of professional improvement open only to the more opulent
student; but in order to meet the expenses of the winter-sessions,
he was obliged to employ the summer, not in the study but in the
practice of his profession. He engaged himself as medical officer to
a Greenland whaler, and in two successive summers visited, in that
capacity, 'the thrilling regions of thick-ribbed ice;' returning on
each occasion with a recruited purse and a frame strengthened and
invigorated by exposure and exercise. During these expeditions he
occupied his leisure with the study of the Greek and Roman
languages, and the careful and repeated perusal of the best authors
in both.

His third winter-sessions at Edinburgh having passed away, he was
induced to go out and seek his fortune in Jamaica, and accordingly
proceeded thither in a vessel commanded by one Captain Cunningham,
who had previously been employed as master of a transport at the
siege of Havannah. It is far from improbable that it was from his
conversations with this individual that Jackson derived those hints,
of which at a future time he availed himself, respecting the
transmission of troops by sea without injury to their health; but it
is quite certain his conviction of the enormous value of cold-water
affusions as a curative agent in the last stage of febrile
affections, was imbibed from this source.

Arriving in Jamaica, he in 1774 became assistant to an eminent
general practitioner at Savana-la-Mar, Dr King, who was also in
medical charge of a detachment of the first battalion of the 60th
regiment. This latter he consigned to Jackson's care; and well
worthy of the trust did our young adventurer, though but twenty-four
years of age, approve himself--visiting three or four times a day
the quarters of the troops to detect incipient disease, and studying
with ardour and intelligent attention the varied phenomena of
tropical maladies. Four years thus passed profitably away, and they
would have been as pleasant as profitable, but for one circumstance.
The existence of slavery and its concomitant horrors appears to have
made a deep impression on Jackson's mind, and, at last, to have
produced in him such sentiments of disgust and abhorrence, that he
resolved on quitting the island altogether, and, as the phrase is,
trying his luck in North America, where the revolutionary war was
then raging. This resolution--due perhaps, as much to his love of
travel as to the motive assigned--was not altogether unfortunate,
for shortly after his departure, October 3, 1780, Savana-la-Mar was
totally destroyed, and the surrounding country for a considerable
distance desolated, by a terrible hurricane and sweeping inroad of
the sea, in which Dr King, his family and partner, together with
numbers of others, unhappily perished.

The law of Jamaica forbade any one to leave the island without
having given previous notice of his intention, or having obtained
the bond of some respectable person as security for such debts as he
might have outstanding. Jackson, when he embarked for America, had
no debts whatever, and was, moreover, ignorant of the law, with
whose requirements therefore he did not comply. Nor did he become
aware of his mistake until, when off the easternmost point of the
island, the master of the vessel approached him and said: 'We are
now, sir, off Point-Morant; you will therefore have the goodness to
favour me with your security-bond. It is a mere legal form, but we
are obliged to respect it.' Finding this 'legal form' had not been
complied with, the master then, in spite of Jackson's protestations
and entreaties, set him on shore, and the vessel continued on her
voyage. What was to be done? Almost penniless, landed on a part of
the coast where he knew not a soul, Jackson well-nigh gave himself
up to despair. There was a vessel for New York loading, it was true,
at Lucea; but Lucea was 150 miles distant, on the westernmost side
of the island, and not to be reached by sea, whilst our adventurer's
purse would not suffer him to hire a horse. No choice was left him
but to walk, and that in a country where the exigencies of the
climate make pedestrianism perilous in the extreme to the white man.
Having reached Kingston, which was in the neighbourhood, in a boat,
and obtained the necessary certificate, he started on his dangerous
expedition, and on the first day walked eighteen miles, being
sheltered at night in the house of a benevolent planter. The next
day he pushed on for Rio Bueno, which he had almost reached, when,
overcome by thirst, he stopped by the way to refresh himself, and
imprudently standing in an open piazza exposed to a smart easterly
breeze, whilst his lemonade was preparing, contracted a severe chill
that almost took from him the power of motion, and left him to crawl
along the road slowly and with pain, until he reached his
destination.

Having finally arrived, friendless and moneyless, in New York, then
in the occupation of the British, he endeavoured first to obtain a
commission in the New York volunteers, and afterwards employment as
mate in the Naval Hospital. In his endeavours, he was kindly
assisted by a Jamaica gentleman, a fellow-passenger, whose regard
during the voyage he had succeeded in conciliating by his amiable
manners and evident abilities; but his efforts were all in vain, and
poor Jackson, familiar with poverty from childhood, began now to
experience the misery of destitution. In truth, starvation stared
him in the face, and a sense of delicacy withheld him from seeking
from his Jamaica friend the most trifling pecuniary assistance. In
this, his state of desperation, he determined upon passing the
British lines, and endeavouring to obtain amongst the insurgents the
food he had hitherto sought in vain; resolving, however, under no
circumstances to bear arms against his native country. Whilst
moodily and slowly walking towards the British outposts to carry
into execution this scheme, having in one pocket a shirt, and in
another a Greek Testament and a Homer, he was met half-way by a
British officer, who fixed his eyes steadily on him in passing.
Jackson in his agitation thought he read in the glance a knowledge
of his purpose and a disapprobation of it. Struck by the incident,
he turned back, and, after a moment's reflection, resolved on
offering himself as a volunteer in the first battalion of the 71st
regiment (Sutherland Highlanders), then in cantonment near New
York. Arriving at the place, he presented himself to the notice of
Lieutenant-Colonel (afterwards Sir Archibald) Campbell, who, having
first ascertained that he was a Scotsman, inquired to whom he was
known at New York. Jackson replied, to no one; but that a
fellow-passenger from Jamaica would readily testify to his being a
gentleman. 'I require no testimony to your being a gentleman,'
returned the kind-hearted colonel. 'Your countenance and address
satisfy me on that head. I will receive you into the regiment with
pleasure; but then I have to inform you, Mr Jackson, that there are
seventeen on the list before you, who are of course entitled to
prior promotion.' The next day, at the instance of Colonel Campbell,
the regimental-surgeon, Dr Stuart, appointed Jackson acting hospital
or surgeon's mate--a rank now happily abolished in the British army;
for those who filled it, whatever might be their competency or
skill, were accounted and treated no better than drudges. Although
discharging the duties that now devolve on the assistant-surgeon,
they were not, like him, commissioned, but only warrant-officers,
and therefore had no title to half-pay.

Dr Stuart, who appears to have been a man superior to vulgar
prejudice, and to have appreciated at once the extent of Jackson's
acquirements and the vigour of his intellect, relinquished to him,
almost without control, the charge of the regimental hospital. Here
it was that this able young officer began to put in practice that
amended system of army medical treatment which since his time, but
in conformity with his teachings, has been so successfully carried
out as to reduce the mortality amongst our soldiery from what it
formerly was--something like 15 per cent.--to what it is now, about
2-1/2 per cent.

In the army hospitals, at the period Jackson commenced a career that
was to eventuate so gloriously, there was no regulated system of
diet, no classification of the sick. What are now well known as
'medical comforts,' were things unheard of; the sick soldier, like
the healthy soldier, had his ration of salt-beef or pork, and his
allowance of rum. The hospital furnished him with no bedding; he
must bring his own blanket. Any place would do for an hospital. That
in which Jackson began his labours had originally been a
commissary's store; but happily its roof was water-tight--an unusual
occurrence--and its site being in close proximity to a wood, our
active surgeon's mate managed, by the aid of a common fatigue party,
to surround the walls with wicker-work platforms, which served the
patients as tolerably comfortable couches. A further and still more
important change he effected related to the article of diet. He
suggested, and the suggestion was adopted--honour to the courageous
humanity which did not shrink from so righteous an innovation!--that
instead of his salt ration and spirits, which he could not consume,
the sick soldier should be supplied with fresh meat, broth, &c.; and
that, as the quantity required for the invalid would be necessarily
small, the quarter-master should allow the saving on the commuted
ration to be expended in the common market on other comforts, such
as sago, &c. suitable for the patient. Thus proper hospital diet was
furnished, without entailing any additional expense on the state.[2]

Indefatigable in the discharge of his interesting duties, Mr Jackson
speedily obtained the confidence of his military superiors, who
remarked with admiration not only his intelligent zeal in performing
his hospital functions, but his calmness, quickness of perception,
and generous self-devotion when in the field of battle. On one
occasion, although suffering at the time from severe indisposition,
he remained, under a heavy fire, succouring the wounded, in spite of
the remonstrances of the officers present. On another, having
observed the British commander, Colonel (afterwards General)
Tarleton, in danger of falling into the hands of the enemy, who had
routed the royalist troops, he galloped up to the colonel--whom a
musket-ball had just dismounted--pressed him to mount his own horse
and escape, whilst he himself, with a white handkerchief displayed,
quietly proceeded in the direction of the advancing foe, and
surrendered himself at once. The American commander, who did not
know what to make of such conduct, asked him who he was? He replied:
'I am assistant-surgeon in the 71st regiment. Many of the men are
wounded, and in your hands. I come, therefore, to offer my services
in attending them.' He was accordingly sent to the rear as a
prisoner; but was well treated, and spent the first night of his
captivity in dressing his soldiers' wounds, taking off his shirt,
and tearing it up into bandages for the purpose. He afterwards did
the same good office for the American sufferers; and when the
wounded English could be exchanged, Washington sent him back, not
only without exchange, but even without requiring his parole. At a
subsequent period during the same unhappy war, when the British
under Lord Cornwallis were in full retreat, the sick and wounded
were placed in a building which the colonists, on their approach,
began to riddle with shot. Several surgeons, not caring to incur the
risk of entering so exposed an edifice, agreed to cast lots who
should go in and see to the invalids; but Jackson, with
characteristic nerve and simplicity, at once stepped forward: 'No,
no,' said he, 'I will go and attend to the men!' He did so, and
returned unhurt.

After this we find him a prisoner in the hands of the Americans and
French at New York Town, Virginia. As on the former occasion, he was
treated with all imaginable kindness; and, being released on parole,
returned to Europe early in 1782, and proceeded by way of Cork,
Dublin, and Greenock to Edinburgh, where he abode for a short time.
Thence he started for London; and, desirous of testing the best way
of sustaining physical strength during long marches, and urged
perhaps also by economical considerations, he resolved to make the
journey on foot. His West Indian and American experience had taught
him that spare diet consisted best with pedestrian efficiency, and
it was accordingly his practice, during this long walk, to abstain
from animal food until the close of day, nor often then to partake
of it. He would walk some fourteen miles before breakfast--a meal of
tea and bread; rest then for an hour or an hour and a half; then
pace on until bedtime--a salad, a tart, or sometimes tea and bread,
forming his usual evening fare. He found that on this diet he arose
every morning at dawn with alacrity, and could prosecute without
inconvenience his laborious undertaking. By way of experiment he
twice or thrice varied his plan--dining on the road off beefsteaks,
and having a draught of porter in the course of the afternoon; but
the result justified his anticipations. The stimulus of the beer
soon passing off, lassitude succeeded the temporary strength it had
lent him; and, worse than all, his disposition to early rising
sensibly diminished.

His stay in London, which he reached in this primitive fashion, was
not long. His kind friend Dr Stuart, who had exchanged into the
Royal Horse-Guards, gave him the shelter of his roof; but so poor
was Mr Jackson, that, although ardently desirous of improving
himself in his profession, he was unable to attend any one of the
medical schools with which London abounds.

The peace of 1783 having opened the continent to the curiosity of
the British traveller, Jackson curtly announced to his friends, that
'he was going to take a walk.' His poverty allowed him no other
mode of locomotion; so off he set on the grand tour, carrying with
him a map of France, a bundle of clothes, and a scanty supply of
money. Crossing the channel, he reached Calais, a place which Horace
Walpole, writing from Rome, declared had astonished him more than
anything he had elsewhere seen, but in which our adventurer found
nothing more astonishing than a superb Swiss regiment. He proceeded
to Paris, and thence through Switzerland, by Geneva and Berne, into
Germany, at a town of which--Günz in Suabia--he met with a comical
enough adventure.

On entering the town he was challenged by a soldier, who, having
learned he had no passport, carried him before a magistrate, by whom
he was forthwith condemned as a vagabond, and remitted to the
custody of a recruiting sergeant. This worthy, in turn, introduced
him to the commanding officer, who politely gave our traveller the
choice of serving his Imperial and Apostolic Majesty, the Emperor of
Germany, either in his cavalry or his infantry forces. But Jackson,
strangely insensible to the honour, flatly refused to serve his
Majesty in these or any other ways, and desired to be at once set
free, and suffered to continue his journey. The officer, doubtless
amazed at such presumption, desired the sergeant to convey him to
the barracks, where he was placed in a large room, in which were
congregated some two hundred or so involuntary recruits like
himself--harmless travellers, who, being destitute of passports, the
emperor forcibly enlisted into his service. Jackson found his
co-mates in misfortune very dirty, very ragged, but perfectly civil
and good-tempered. Having a little recovered his serenity--for it is
easy to see, though our hero is described as a man of placid
demeanour and somewhat Quakerly appearance, he could be not a little
fiery at times--he sat down and wrote to the commanding officer,
entreating leave to sleep at an inn, and proffering the deposit of
all his money as a pledge for his reappearance next morning. The
reply was an order that he should surrender his writing materials.
At seven o'clock, the appointed sleeping hour, the sergeant returned
and gave the signal for bed by rapping with his cane on the floor,
which was speedily covered by a number of dirty bags of mouldy
straw--the regulation mattresses, it would seem, for involuntary
recruits. Jackson--peppery again--refused to lie down, but was at
last compelled to do so, and between two of the dirtiest fellows of
the lot, each of whom had a leg chained to an arm. The next morning,
at his own request, he was brought before the commandant of the
town, who had only arrived late the preceding evening, and whom he
found seated in his bedroom, 'with all his officers standing round
him receiving orders,' says Jackson, 'with more humility than
orderly-sergeants.' The commandant repeated the offer of 'cavalry or
infantry;' adding that a war was about to commence with the Turks,
and that good-behaviour would insure promotion. However, finding
Jackson obstinately persistent in his refusal, he quietly observed,
in conclusion, that the emperor, as a matter of rule and of right,
'impressed' into his army all such as entered his dominions without
certificates of character. 'The order was so tyrannical,' declares
our _détenu_, 'that I could not contain myself. "Put me in chains,
if you please," I said, "but I tell you, all Germany shall not make
me carry a musket for the emperor."' This impetuous burst of
indignation seems to have alarmed the phlegmatic commandant, who
accordingly let our adventurer go, counselling him, however, to
write to the English ambassador at Vienna for a passport, lest he
should get into further trouble.

Jackson passed through the Tyrol into Italy, everywhere indulging
his love of scenery and still greater love of adventure; studying
with all the acuteness of his countrymen the varied characters of
the people he met with, and in his correspondence with home friends,
sketching them in language striking for its force, its propriety,
and originality. Some of his remarks on men and manners are
conceived in a truly Goldsmithian vein, whilst all testify at once
to the goodness of his heart and the quickness of his perceptions.
At Venice he says that he felt it to be 'such a feast of enjoyment
as seldom falls to the lot of man, and never to the lot of any but a
poor man, who has nothing conspicuous about him to attract the
notice of the crowd,' to possess such facilities as he did for
learning what the people of foreign countries really were.

At Albenga, in Piedmont, Jackson arrived one night, tired, hungry,
and drenched with rain. Intending to put up at the 'Albergo di San
Dominico,' which he had been informed was the best inn, he went by
accident to the convent of the same name, and entering, called
loudly to be shewn to a private room. 'Instead of telling me I was
wrong,' he says, 'the young brethren looked waggish, and began to
laugh: when a man is cold and hungry, he can ill brook being the
sport of others;' so accordingly--peppery again--he shook his stick
angrily at the young monks. And at last one of the most courteous
and demure of the number, coming forward, said that although theirs
was not exactly a public-house, still the stranger was heartily
welcome to walk in, rest, and refresh himself. Discovering his
mistake, Jackson of course lost no time in making his bow, his
apologies, and acknowledgments.

He returned to England by way of France, having but six sous in his
pockets when he reached Bordeaux, where an English merchant, a total
stranger, advanced him a few pounds. On the road, he was frequently
taken for an Irishman, and not seldom for an Irish priest; under
which impression, many civilities were paid him by the simple
inhabitants of the country he traversed. Ultimately he landed at
Southampton, with just four shillings in his possession; his once
black coat having turned a rusty brown, his hat shovel-shaped by
ill-usage, and his whole aspect so comical, that the mob hooted him,
under the belief that he was a Methodist preacher. Proceeding inland
on foot, in the direction of Southampton, he overtook a poor man
walking along the road whose looks of unutterable misery induced our
traveller to stop and inquire what ailed him. He told Jackson he had
a son and daughter dying of a disorder apparently contagious, and
that no physician would attend them, as he was too poor to pay the
fees. Jackson at once offered his services, which were gratefully
accepted. He saw his patients, and prescribed for them, and his
heart was touched by their simple expressions of gratitude. 'Their
thankfulness,' he says, 'for a thing that would perhaps do them no
good, gave me more pleasure than a fee of, I believe, twenty
guineas, much in need of it as I was.' The night had gathered in
before he reached Winchester, where, at a respectable inn, he
partook of such refreshment as his means afforded, and then desired
to be shewn to his bedroom. The answer was, that the house contained
no bedroom for such as he, and he was finally driven out with the
coarsest abuse into the streets. The hour was ten o'clock, the month
December, and the severity of the weather may be guessed from the
fact, that the snow lay deep on the ground. After wandering about
for some time, he at last obtained shelter in a small house in the
outskirts of the city. The next day he fared little better. 'On
Sunday morning,' he relates, 'I was sixty-four miles from London,
and had only one shilling in my pocket. I was hungry, but durst not
eat; thirsty, and I durst not drink, for fear of being obliged to
lie all night at the side of a hedge in a cold night in December.
After dark, I travelled over to Bagshot; was denied admittance into
some of the public-houses, ill used in others.' He sought in vain
permission even to lie in a barn; but a labourer he fortunately fell
in with conducted him to a house, where, at the sacrifice of his
last shilling, he secured at length a bed. The next day--foot-sore,
penniless, and starving--he entered London. After remaining there a
brief space--January 1784--in spite of the inclement season, he set
off, again on foot, to Perth--a journey that occupied him three
weeks, as he was detained on the way by some friends whom he
visited. At Perth, where his old regiment then lay previous to its
disbandment, he amused himself by studying Gaelic, and the
controversy respecting Ossian and his poems. Quitting Perth, he
travelled, still on foot, through the Highlands, the inhabitants of
which he was, in the first instance, disposed to class with savages;
but when he had observed the originality of conception, the breadth
of humour, and the elevated sentiments which mark the Celt, his
opinions underwent a total revolution. He was especially delighted
with a ragged old reiver or cattle-lifter whom he encountered, and
who had given shelter to the Young Chevalier in the braes of
Glenmoriston after the battle of Culloden.

On his return to Edinburgh, Jackson married a lady of fortune, the
daughter of Dr Stephenson, and niece of his old friend Colonel
Francis Shelley, of the 71st regiment; and was enabled by this
accession to his means once again to visit Paris, where he not only
resumed his medical studies, but acquired the mastery of several
languages, Arabic amongst the rest. Having graduated M.D. at Leyden,
he came back again to England, and commenced practice at
Stockton-upon-Tees, in Durham. Although his reputation speedily
became considerable, especially in cases of fever, he seems scarcely
to have liked his new avocation. He found solace, however, in his
favourite study of languages, which he pursued with unremitting
ardour--constantly reading through the Greek and Latin classics, and
not only rendering himself familiar with the best works of the
modern continental authors, but also with the literature of the
Arabic, Persian, Hebrew, and Gaelic tongues. The _Bostan_ of Saadi
is said to have been one of his most favourite poems.

On the war breaking out in 1793, Dr Jackson--who, in 1791, had
published a valuable work on the fevers of Jamaica and continental
America--applied for employment as army-physician; but Mr Hunter,
the director-general of the medical department of the army,
considering none eligible for such employment who had not served as
staffer regimental surgeon, or apothecary to the forces, Jackson
agreed to accept, in the first instance, the surgeoncy of the 3d
Buffs, on the understanding, that at a future time, he should be
nominated physician as he desired. Mr Hunter, however, died soon
after this; and his promise was not fulfilled by the Board which
succeeded him in the medical direction of the army, and which
appears to have pursued Dr Jackson with uniform hostility.

Returning to England with the troops, it was offered to him to
accompany, in the capacity of chief medical officer, Sir Ralph
Abercromby's expedition against some of the West India islands; and
although no employment could possibly have been more agreeable to
his taste, he, much to Sir Ralph's chagrin, declined the flattering
proposal, on the grounds, that lower terms had been offered to him
than to another professional man. Nothing but a sense of
professional delicacy, it is plain, governed him in this
transaction, for he immediately afterwards embarked (April 1796) as
_second_ medical officer in another expedition to San Domingo.
During his abode in this island, he was unwearied in enlarging his
acquaintance with tropical diseases--observing the rule he had
followed in Holland of noting down by the patient's bedside the
minutest particulars of every case he attended, the effects of the
treatment pursued, and whatever else might shed light on the
intricacies of pathological science. He also gave a larger practical
operation to the scheme he had years before devised of amending the
dietaries of military hospitals.

After the evacuation of San Domingo in 1798, our physician paid a
visit to the United States, where he was received with signal
distinction, his reputation having preceded him. The latter part of
the year found him again at Stockton, publishing a work on
contagious and endemic fevers, 'more especially the contagious fever
of ships, jails, and hospitals, vulgarly called the yellow-fever of
the West Indies;' together with 'an explanation of military
discipline and economy, with a scheme for the medical arrangements
of armies.' He undertook, about this time, by desire of Count
Woronzow, the Russian ambassador, the medical charge of seventeen
hundred Russian soldiers, who were stationed in the Channel Islands
in a sad state of disease and disorganization; and so admirably did
he acquit himself, and so perfect were the hospital provisions he
made, that (1800) the commander-in-chief nominated him physician and
head of the army-hospital depôt at Chatham--as he says, 'without any
application or knowledge on his part.' This appointment was the
cause of his subsequent misfortunes.

At Chatham, with the warm approbation of Major-General Hewett,
commanding the depôt, he introduced that system of hospital reform
which had elsewhere operated so successfully. The changes he
effected, as soon as they were made, became known to the Medical
Board, and were publicly approved of by one of its members. However,
shortly afterwards, an epidemic broke out in the depôt (then removed
to the Isle of Wight), arising from the fact, that the barracks were
overcrowded with young recruits, but which the Medical Board
ascribed to Jackson's innovations, and reported so to the
Horse-Guards. The commander-in-chief directed an inquiry to take
place before a medical board impannelled for the purpose, and the
result of that inquiry may be guessed from a communication made by
the War-Office to the commandant of the depôt. This states 'the
unanimous opinion of the Board to have exculpated Dr Jackson from
all improper treatment of diseases in the sick,' and the
commander-in-chief's gratification, 'that an opportunity has thus
been given to that most zealous officer of proving his fitness for
the important situation in which he is placed.' The result of this
wretched intrigue, however, was that Jackson, disgusted with the
whole affair, requested to be placed on half-pay, to which request
the Duke of York, with marked reluctance, at last (March 1803)
acceded.

In his retirement at Stockton, Jackson put forth two valuable works,
one on the medical economy of armies, and another on that of the
British army in particular, and was much gratified by an offer to
accompany, as military secretary, General Simcoe, just appointed
commander-in-chief in India. The general's sudden death, however,
put an end to this plan; and Jackson continued at Stockton,
addressing frequent representations to government on the defective
medical arrangements in the military service--representations the
very receipt of which were not acknowledged by Mr Pitt, to whom they
were forwarded. The Peninsular war commencing, Dr Jackson was again
named Inspector of Hospitals, but was not, thanks to the persevering
enmity of the Medical Board, sent on foreign service, although he
volunteered to sink his rank, and go in any capacity. The Board even
succeeded, by calumnious statements that he had purchased his
diploma--statements he readily confuted--in preventing his
appointment to the Spanish liberating army; although the British
government had formally requested him to accept such an appointment,
and agreed to give credentials testifying to his capacity and
trustworthiness. This last disappointment led him, in an unguarded
moment--peppery to the last--to inflict a slight personal
chastisement on the surgeon-general, for which he was imprisoned six
months in the King's Bench.

But the triumph of his enemies was not of long duration. In 1810 the
Board was dissolved, and the control of the medical department
vested in a director-general, with three principal inspectors
subordinate to him. Then did Jackson return to active service, and
from 1811 to 1815 was employed in the West Indies; his reports from
whence embracing every topic relating to medical topography, to
sanitary arrangements, and to the observed phenomena of tropical
disease, are it is not too much to say, invaluable. His hints as to
the choice of sites for barracks, the propriety of giving to
soldiers healthy employment and recreation, as a means of averting
sickness, his suggestions as to the treatment of fevers and other
endemic diseases, may be found in the various works he has
published, embodying the fruits of his West Indian experience.

In 1819, he was sent by government to Spain, where the yellow-fever
had broken out, and his report upon its characteristics has been
universally admitted to supply the fullest information on the
subject that had hitherto been communicated to the public. He
availed himself of his presence in that part of Europe to pay a
visit to Constantinople and the Levant; and, retaining his energy to
the last, when a British force was sent to Portugal in 1827, he
desired permission to accompany it. The sands of his life, however,
were then fast running out, and on the 6th of April in the same year
he died, after a short illness, at Thursby, near Carlisle, in the
77th year of his age. Thus closed a long career of usefulness; for
it is not too much to say, that few men of his time laboured harder
to benefit his fellow-creatures than did Dr Robert Jackson.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Footnote 2: The late Admiral Sir Edward Codrington, when in command, during
the war, of a frigate on the coast of Calabria, finding sickness
appear amongst his crew, purchased on his own responsibility some
bullocks, for the purpose of supplying them with fresh meat. Lord
Collingwood having heard of this, and considering it a breach of
discipline, sent for Codrington, and addressed him: 'Captain
Codrington, pray have you any idea of the price of a bullock in this
place?' 'No, my lord,' was the reply, 'I have not; but I know well
the value of a British sailor's life!']



THE MYSTERIOUS LADY.


It is thirty years since we first met the Mysterious Lady at a
fashionable sea-side boarding-house, and on our introduction, we
found that her brother, General Jerningham, was well known to some
members of our family. For five-and-twenty years afterwards she
haunted us at intervals; and so singularly and secretly conducted
were all her movements, that had she lived in the days of the
Inquisition, Miss Jerningham might have proved one of its most
valuable agents and coadjutors. She was a thin, middle-aged
personage, or, more correctly speaking, of uncertain age, and
without anything remarkable in her exterior, which was decidedly
lady-like, if we except a pair of the very smallest and most
restless brown eyes that were ever set in mortal's head. These eyes
expressed suspicion, together with intelligence and close
observation. They were clear and sparkling, and shaded by no
drooping fringes; and some folks declared that Miss Jerningham slept
with her eyes open. On conversing with her, she appeared to have
been everywhere and to know everything; but the moment any allusion
was made to the future, any attempt to discuss _her_ prospective
plans, then did the little brown eyes assume a reddish tinge, their
expression passing from suspicion and alarm to the most stubborn
resolve. All this was somewhat ludicrous, because nobody really felt
particular interest in her movements, or desired to pry into her
actions; but on discovering what appeared to be the weak point in
her character--because it was out of all proportion strong--idle
people, in search of amusement, availed themselves of the knowledge
to lead her a very uncomfortable life. Her most intimate friends
never knew, for months together, where she was to be found; and it
was currently reported that General Jerningham had once advertised
in the _Times_ for his sister. Certain it is, she always conned the
newspapers with avidity, particularly the portion devoted to
anonymous communications and the mystical interchange of sentiments;
and we frequently suspected that her interest arose from a deeper
source than mere curiosity. The simple query: 'Where do you think of
passing this autumn, Miss Jerningham?' threw her into a state of
strange excitement; and she always commenced her answer somewhat in
the following strain: 'Letters of importance, daily looked for, will
determine me--circumstances over which I have no control: it _is_
possible that I may visit Cowes;' but a possibility declared in this
way by Miss Jerningham was never known to come to pass. Wherever she
chanced to be seen, former acquaintances popped upon her with
uplifted hands, exclaiming: 'What! _you_ here? Why, we thought you
were at Ilfracombe'--or some other far-away place. 'How long have
you been here?--how long do you stay?' were questions easily
parried; but if a more searching investigation commenced, then the
Mysterious Lady turned, and twisted, and doubled painfully; but
somehow always managed to elude and baffle her persecutors.

Miss Jerningham's moral rectitude and unimpeachable propriety of
conduct--unsullied by the breath of detraction--rendered her in a
great measure impervious to downright ill-nature; but still she was
open to teasing and bantering; and the more she was teased, and the
more she was bantered, the more impenetrable she became. We
endeavoured to find out from herself--but unsuccessfully--if she had
always led such a roving kind of existence, and also how it
originated; for General Jerningham had a nice villa near the
metropolis, and a small, amiable, domestic circle, ready to receive
and welcome the wanderer. But no: she came upon them unawares, and
at periods when they least expected her, and disappeared again as
suddenly, they knew not why nor whither. In this way she vanished
from the boarding-house where we first met her, with no intimation
of her intention even to our hostess, till her baggage was ready and
the coach at the door.

'Where is Miss Jerningham?' was the unanimous cry when she did not
appear in her usual place.

'She left us early this morning,' quietly replied the landlady.

'Gone--really gone?' was repeated in various tones of
disappointment; and one old gentleman, who had paid the absent lady
marked attention, demanded in a chagrined voice: 'Pray, where has
she gone? Can you tell us _that_, ma'am?--heigh!'

'No, sir, I cannot,' replied our hostess. 'All I can say is, that
Miss Jerningham is a very honourable and generous lady, and wherever
she is, I wish her well.'

'Humph!' said the old gentleman gruffly; 'she must have a good
fortune to do as she does.'

'Yes, sir, she must,' was the reply: 'and go where she will, I
believe that Miss Jerningham always gives plentiful alms. It seems
her settled habit, like.'

'Settled habit!' muttered the old gentleman: 'she hasn't got a
settled habit, ma'am: she is a most unsettled and extraordinary
individual.'

'Well, sir, perhaps so,' replied Mrs Smith; 'but Miss Jerningham is
quite the lady.' And in that opinion we all coincided, supposing our
hostess by the word lady to have meant gentlewoman.

A few months afterwards she called upon us in London. She was not
staying with her brother, but declined giving her address, remarking
that it was not worth while, as she was about to change her abode
immediately. By accident, however, we discovered afterwards that
Miss Jerningham had lodged for the whole period within a dozen doors
of us. Our surprise was lessened in after-years at the pertinacity
with which she continued to appear to us, although always at
uncertain intervals; for a service rendered by our father, referring
to some banking transaction, apparently never escaped her memory,
and she invariably alluded to this act of kindness with expressions
of gratitude. This circumstance operated, we conjectured, as an
encouragement to bestow on us an unusual mark of confidence and
friendship, for such Miss Jerningham considered it when requesting
permission to add our address to an advertisement she was about
inserting in the _Times_ for 'eligible board and lodging.' She knew
that newspapers were prohibited articles in our circle,
consequently we had no opportunity of finding out that portion of
the transaction she wished to conceal. In what locality this
'eligible board and lodging' was advertised for, we never inquired,
judging it would be needless to do so, but we consented to receive
the letters Miss Jerningham expected in answer.

Poor Miss Jerningham! great was her amazement as well as our own
when, in the course of three days, we had amassed for her
consideration and perusal no less than seventy-seven letters
directed to 'X.Y.Z.' What temptations were held forth in the
advertisement which elicited so many replies we never were made
acquainted with: Miss Jerningham counted the letters, tied them up,
and carried them off in triumph. Next day we received a handsome
present of some chimney-ornaments, with 'Miss Jerningham's regards
and best thanks;' but we saw no more of the Mysterious Lady for some
years. When we did meet again in a quiet country town, she had been
to America, and we had experienced vicissitude and bereavement. Our
altered mode of living made no difference to Miss Jerningham: she
accompanied us home, for we met in the market-place; but as it is
not so easy to keep one's place of abode secret in a small
gossipping community, for once in her life she made a virtue of
necessity, and openly divulged the fact of her locale, number and
all specified. She did not know a creature in the town or in the
suburbs--she came there for solitude. Conjecture was afloat in all
quarters as to who or what she could be. Some said she must be a
gentlewoman, because she wore velvet and satin, and gold
chains--moreover, paid well for everything. Others affirmed she
might be a gentlewoman--gentlewomen did queer things sometimes--but
there must be some very strange reason for a lone and unknown female
to drop from the skies, as it were, in the midst of strangers. For
our own part, our mind was easier on her account, now that she had
broken through her rule of secrecy; and we even hoped that when we
saw her again, she might go a step farther, and throw off the veil
entirely.

On calling at her lodgings, however, the next day, we learned that
the lodger had decamped, after placing in the landlady's hand the
solatium of another week's rent, as specified in the agreement--a
week's notice or a week's money. Thus, for the space of
five-and-twenty years, every now and then, did the Mysterious Lady
turn up. Whenever we left home on a visit, we were sure, on our
return, to find a card on the table, inscribed with the mystical
characters--'Miss Jerningham.' No message left, no address given.
The last time we ever saw her was in Hyde Park, walking arm-in-arm
with her brother the general; and soon after we heard from the
worthy veteran, that 'Bessie had gone on her travels again.'

If Miss Jerningham has really ceased to exist, her end was as
mysterious and uncertain as the movements of her life. We say if,
because we feel by no means sure on the subject, and should neither
faint nor scream if she were to enter the apartment at this moment.
It is about five years since General Jerningham set hurriedly off,
in considerable dismay, for the scene of a direful conflagration in
a northern county, wherein several unfortunate individuals had
perished. The fire originated at a hotel, and the General had
reasons for fearing that his sister might be among the number of the
sufferers, for she was known to have followed that route. A
notification likewise had appeared in the public prints, respecting
an unknown lady, whose remains awaited the coroner's inquest, but
afforded no clue whatever to recognition.

General Jerningham, however, came to the conclusion that he indeed
beheld the mortal remains of his poor sister, although the only
evidence he could obtain was the description given of her appearance
by those who had seen her in life. He may have been influenced,
likewise, by the fact, that the unfortunate lady had arrived at the
hotel only on the previous day, and that no one knew who she was,
whence she had come, or whither she was going. After making every
possible inquiry, but without obtaining more satisfactory
information, the General and his family put on mourning. The shock
he had sustained produced bad effects on an already enfeebled
constitution, and accelerated the veteran's decease. During his last
days, he frequently alluded to 'poor Bessie' in affectionate terms;
and we then gathered at least one fact relating to her past history.
Her lover, it seems, had been suddenly carried off by malignant
fever on the eve of their wedding-day, bequeathing to Bessie all his
property; and Bessie, who had never known serious sorrow before,
gave no sign, by sigh or lamentation, that she bemoaned the untimely
fate of her betrothed, but withdrew herself from friends and
connections, and became the restless, homeless, harmless being at
whose peculiarities we had so often laughed, little thinking that
tears of secret anguish had probably bedewed the pathway of her
early wanderings. This very concealment of her grief, however, may
have arisen from the peculiar idiosyncrasy which procured for her
among all who knew her the name of the Mysterious Lady. But we will
not talk of her in the past tense. We are so sure of her being
alive, that we are even now anxious to conclude our visit to the
pleasant house where this is indited, feeling a presentiment we
cannot overcome, that the first interesting object we shall see on
returning home is that mystical card which has so often startled and
baffled our curiosity--'Miss. Jerningham.'



CASH, CORN, AND COAL MARKETS.


A circle of a few hundred yards only in diameter, of which the centre
should be the Duke of Wellington's statue in front of the Royal
Exchange, London, would enclose within its magic girdle a far greater
amount of real, absolute power, than was ever wielded by the most
magnificent conqueror of ancient or modern times. There can be no
doubt of this; for is it not the mighty heart of the all but
omnipotent money force of the world, whose aid withheld, invincible
armies become suddenly paralysed, and the most gallant fleets that
ever floated can neither brave the battle nor the breeze? And this
stupendous power, say moralists, has neither a god, a country, nor a
conscience! To-day, upon security, it will furnish arms and means to
men struggling to rescue their country from oppression, themselves
from servitude and chains--to-morrow, upon the assurance of a good
dividend, it will pay the wages of the soldiery who have successfully
desolated that country, and exterminated or enslaved its defenders.
Trite, if sad commonplaces these, to which the world listens, if at
all, with impatient indifference. I have not a very strong faith in
the soundness of the commercial evangel upon this subject; still, the
very last task I should set myself would be a sermon denunciative of
mammon-worship--mammon-love--mammon-influence--and so on; and this
for two quite sufficient reasons--one, that I have myself, I
blushingly confess, a very strong partiality for notes of the
governor and company of the Bank of England and sovereigns of full
weight and fineness; the other, that the very best and fiercest
discourse I ever heard fulminated against the debasing love of gold,
especially characteristic, it is said, of these degenerate days, was
delivered by a gentleman who, having lived some seventy useful and
eloquent years at the rate of about three hundred a year or
thereabout, was found to have died worth upwards of L.60,000, all
secured by mortgages bearing 7 per cent interest on the Brazilian
slave-estates of a relative by marriage. But as an illustration of
power--and power under any form of development has a singular
fascination for most minds--I have thought it may not be
uninteresting to glance briefly at a few of the more salient features
of the metropolitan mammoth markets.

Standing, then, by the statue of the Iron Duke, we have the Royal
Exchange directly in front, Princes Street and the Poultry
immediately behind, Lombard Street and Cornhill on the right,
Threadneedle Street and Lothbury on the left hand. What an Aladin
glitter seems to dance upon the paper as the names of these
remarkable localities are jotted down, containing as they do so
large a number of world-famous banking and commercial establishments
whose operations and influence are limited only by the boundaries of
civilisation! Let us look closely at one or two of the chief
potentates, principalities, and powers which are there enthroned.

The Royal Exchange, it is well known, owes its origin to the public
spirit of Sir Thomas Gresham, who, close upon three centuries ago,
built the first Exchange upon the spot now before us. It was
destroyed by fire in 1666; the next more costly erection met the
same fate in 1838, and has been replaced by the present very
handsome edifice. On the entablature is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth,
who inaugurated Sir Richard Gresham's structure--the centre figure
of a number of others emblematic of the all-embracing commerce of
this country, and surmounted by the words: 'The earth is the Lord's,
and the fulness thereof.' If you ascend the steps of the Royal
Exchange, and pass into the body of the building, you will find a
considerable number of business-looking, sleek, earnest men there,
eagerly engaged in canvassing the general affairs of the world, and
more especially their own particular ventures, hopes, anticipations,
investments therein. If you are an artist, or indeed at all
impressionable in matters of taste, you will, I fear, be painfully
affected by a marble figure near the centre of the hall, which many
persons assert to be a statue of the Queen of these realms--a
calumny which I, as a loyal subject, feel bound most emphatically to
deny. But the chief interest attached to this building is that it is
here the celebrated association known as 'Lloyd's' has its
offices--that Lloyd's, whose name is familiar as a household word in
every country the sea touches, and who underwrite the maritime
ventures of every commercial nation of the globe. Very marvellous
has been the rapid development of this gigantic institution, from
the small beginnings of a few persons meeting in a coffee-house,
till now, when it may be said well-nigh to monopolise the
maritime-assurance business of the world. Not even America has been
able to set up a rival to it at all worthy of the name; and hundreds
of the long-voyage vessels of the States, as well as of all European
powers, are insured here. There is, to be sure, a continental
association that has borrowed its name without leave, and dubbed
itself the 'Austrian Lloyd's'--a designation which forcibly reminds
one of the remark of Coleridge when told that Kotzebue assumed to be
the German Shakspeare: 'Quite so,' replied the author of the
_Ancient Mariner_, 'a very German Shakspeare indeed.' The
correspondence of the true Lloyd's is of course immense--enormous:
their agents are everywhere; and so admirably regulated does the
vast machine appear to be that litigation between owners and
underwriters is almost unknown. This is doubtless one of the causes
of the prodigious success of the institution.

There is little more to notice in the Royal Exchange, except that
the interior decorations are very tastefully executed; and therefore
turn we now to this leviathan Bank of England--to the long,
irregular, and by no means imposing line of building on our left.
This is William Cobbett's Old Lady of Threadneedle Street, whose
rickety constitution and failing powers--according to that bold and
blundering financier--betokened almost immediate dissolution more
than a quarter of a century ago. Other men, less dominated by
unreasoning prejudice than the author of the 'Political Register,'
deceived themselves into the same notion; and it is very possible
that there are even now persons who hold the faith as it was in
Cobbett--just as we are told in one of Mr Disraeli's novels, that
the Greek mythology is still the creed of a fragment of humanity
existing somewhere in the mountains of Syria. At all events, since
the late Sir Robert Peel placed it beyond the power of the governor
and company to indulge in dangerous or erratic courses, it is
abundantly manifest that to doubt of the perfect stability of the
Bank of England is tantamount to questioning the infallibility of
arithmetic. In the vaults and coffers of this huge establishment
there is at present--as we learn from the published weekly-returns,
a device of Sir Robert's--the bewildering amount of between
L.14,000,000 and L.15,000,000 sterling in gold and silver!--a sum of
which the figures glide smoothly and glibly enough off the pen or
tongue, but a mass of treasure, nevertheless, that few persons can
realise to themselves a distinct and accurate conception of. And
yet--and what an idea does the fact present of the multitudinous
resources, the unrivalled industry, the latent power of this
country!--all that heap of precious metals, all that is besides in
circulation, with the addition of the bank-note currency, is
comparatively nothing when weighed against the true and real
exchangeable wealth of Great Britain; wealth of which this coined
and convertible paper-money is merely the standard sign of value,
the recognised medium by which all things are bartered. It is easy
to give one or two significant and startling illustrations of this
fact--significant and startling in other respects than in enabling
us to see pretty clearly through the currency-cobwebs industriously
woven from time to time amongst us. All the money in the three
kingdoms, the whole circulating medium of the realm--gold, silver,
copper, paper--does not certainly exceed, if it reaches, which is
very doubtful, the national revenue for one year, to say nothing of
local rates and burdens! And it would, moreover, require all the
money circulating in Great Britain and Ireland, including notes to
the last farthing, to pay for the spirits, beer, and tobacco
consumed annually by the people of the United Kingdom! The
note-issues of the Bank of England are about L.19,000,000; its
reserve in gold and silver, as we have seen, is upwards of
L.14,000,000 sterling: these amounts added together would no more
than about discharge the alcohol and weed score of the country for
little more than seven months! Lightning-flashes these, that throw
vivid gleams over the industrial activity, resources, powers,
plague-spots of this mighty, restless, enterprising, but far from
sufficiently instructed or disciplined British people.

But let us enter the great money-temple. Very imposing to me has
always appeared the army of clerks seated in saturnine silence at
the desks, or gliding with grave celerity about the place, and
variously employed in balancing enormous accounts, shovelling up
heaps of sovereigns, receiving and distributing bank-paper of vast
value as coolly and unconcernedly as if engaged in counting out so
many chestnuts. A strange feeling must, I suspect, perturb the mind
of a newly-appointed clerk amidst all that astounding wealth, until
the genius of the place has so moulded his thoughts and perceptions,
that he has come to regard himself as but one of the dumb and dead
parts of a mighty machine, over whose action he has no more control
than he has over the courses of the stars. All these issue, cheque,
gold, bullion departments, with their numerous busy officials, are
in truth but the husk and body of the establishment. They by whose
will and breath it is animated and directed are nowhere at this hour
to be seen. They met on this as on every other morning in their hall
of inquisition--the Bank parlour--and decided there, without appeal,
without reasons assigned, in the absence of the parties whose
commercial reputation was trembling in the balance, upon the course
of financial action to be pursued, and upon whose paper should or
should not be discounted. A terrible stroke, sharper than a dagger
could inflict, politely, blandly as it is performed, is that which
falls upon a merchant for the first time informed that the Bank must
decline to discount his bills! The announcement is usually received
as smilingly as it is made. 'It is a matter of very slight
consequence, _etcetera_;' but if you had been near enough, you might
have noticed, as the clerk did, the quiver of the lip beneath that
sickly smile, and that the face was as white as the rejected paper
the merchant's trembling fingers were replacing in his pocket-book.
And no wonder that he should be thus agitated, for the refusal has,
he well knew, thrust him down the first steps of the steep and
slippery descent, at the bottom of which lies bankruptcy--ruin! But
these are ordinary downfalls, by the wrecks of which the busy haunts
of commercial enterprise are paved; and we have other places to look
in at. Before leaving the Bank, however, let us step a few paces to
the left of the chief entrance. Now who would believe that in the
very midst of this Mammon-temple, where space is of incalculable
value, a large plot of greensward should have been jealously
preserved, from which spring two fine elms, that from out the heat
and turmoil of the place lift up their fresh leaves to the
sky--bright, waving leaves, that as often as the sun kisses them,
laugh out in sparkling triumph over the heated, anxious, jaded
toilers and schemers below? Yet so it is.

Again in Threadneedle Street, and turning to the left, we reach, at
the termination of the Bank-front, Bartholomew Lane, famous for
nothing that I am aware of, save Capel Court, situate at about the
centre, on the right-hand side. At the end of Capel Court is the
Stock-Exchange, within whose sacred precincts subscribers only, and
their clerks, may enter--a regulation strictly enforced by the
liveried guardian at the door. But you can hear enough of the
stentorian gabble going on within where we now are. Hark! 'A
thousand pounds' consols at 96-3/4-96-1/2.' 'Take 'em at 96-1/4,' is
the vociferous reply of a buyer. 'Mexican at 27-1/2-27; Portuguese
fours at 32-7/8-32-1/2; Spanish fives at 21; Dutch two-and-halfs at
50-1/2-50-1/4:' and so roars on the distracting Babel till the hour
for closing strikes. Much of this business is no doubt
legitimate--the _bonâ fide_ sale and purchase of stock by the
brokers, for which they charge their clients the very moderate
commission of 2s. 6d. per L.100. The ruinous gambling of the
Stock-Exchange is another matter, and is chiefly carried on by
'time' bargains--a sham-business, managed in this way:--A nominally
buys of B L.100,000 worth of stock in consols, to be delivered at a
fixed price, say 96, on the next settling-day. It is plain that if
the market-price of consols shall have fallen, by the day named, to
94, B wins L.2000--the difference between L.100,000 estimated at 96
and 94 per cent. A must pay these L.2000, or, which amounts to the
same thing, receive from B consols to the amount of L.100,000 at 96,
that in reality are procurable at 94. It is simply and entirely a
gambling _bet_ upon what the price of funds will be on the next
settling-day. These transactions have been pronounced fraudulent by
the superior courts, and liabilities so contracted cannot be legally
recovered. It is, for all that, quite certain that these 'debts of
honour' entail misery, ruin, often death, on the madmen who
habitually peril everything upon the turn of the Stock-Exchange
dice--dice loaded, too, by every fraudulent device that the
ingenuity of the two parties engaged in the struggle can discover or
invent. To the 'Bears,' who speculate for a fall, national calamity
is a God-send. Especially a failure of the harvest, or a great
military disaster like that which befell the Cabool expedition, is
an almost priceless blessing--a cause of jubilant thanksgiving and
joy. The 'Bulls,' on the other hand, whose gains depend upon a rise
in the funds, are ever brimful of boasts, and paint all things
_couleur de rose_. If the facts bear out the assertions of these
bands of _speculators_--we prefer a mild term--why so much the
better for the facts; but if not, sham-facts will answer the
purpose, and to manufacture _them_ 'is as easy as lying.' It is a
remarkable fact, by the way, that out of the multitude of British
fundholders there are not more than about 25,000 persons who are
liable from that source to the income-tax--that is, who receive
dividends to the amount of L.150 and upwards annually. The most
numerous class of the national creditors eleven years ago--and there
has, we believe, been no later return--were those whose annual
dividends did not exceed L.50. These numbered 98,946: the next
largest class, 85,069, were creditors whose yearly dividends did not
exceed L.5; whilst only 192 persons were in the receipt of annual
dividends exceeding L.2000.

But leaving these haunts of money-dealers, let us pass over to
Leadenhall Street, turn down Billiter Street, and walk on till we
reach Mark Lane and the plain, spacious, substantial, Doric-fronted
building on the left hand, in which the great London Corn Market is
held every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday--the chief market, however,
being that of Monday. There are no clamorous shoutings here. These
crowds of staid, well-dressed, respectable people fly no kites, deal
in no flimsy paper-schemes and shares. Their commerce is in corn,
flour, seeds--the sustenance of man, in short. There are sober
traders in realities, and the busy hum of voices has a smack of
healthy traffic in it. It would so appear at all events, if we care
not to look beneath the surface; and, in sooth, since the abolition
of the sliding-scale has rendered the corn-supply continuous and
regular as other staples, gambling to any ruinous extent has become
almost impossible.

There is another great change apparent here; albeit this has been a
very gradual one. A stranger will have remarked with surprise that
there are but few, very few, of the knee-breeched, top-booted,
double-chinned, jolly, old-class farmers amongst the numerous groups
who are either watching their sample-bags and waiting for customers,
or chewing and smelling handfuls of wheat and barley, and casting
what they do not swallow on the flags, already carpeted with grain.
Still in addition to a strong sprinkling of 'Friends,' there are, he
perceives, a goodly number of stalwart, handsomely-dressed
individuals, many of them wearing kid gloves, and carrying silk
umbrellas neatly ensconced in oil-skin cases. There is a group, one
of whom has just refused 45s. per quarter for a sample of prime
white wheat. If we approach nearer to them, we shall perhaps
discover their quality. As I guessed! These gentlemen are distressed
agriculturists, who prefer selling their own corn to sending it to
any of the numerous highly-respectable salesmen who occupy the
offices round the two markets. There are scores here of these
well-attired, healthy-faced, hearty-looking, stout-limbed, but
distressed individuals present, with not one of whom I should have
the slightest objection to dine to-day, or on any other day, for
that matter. But we must beware of rash judgments. Appearances are
often deceitful, and we know, besides, from high authority, that
grief is apt to puff up and swell a man sadly at times.

There is no possibility, an eminent salesman informed us, of making
even a proximate guess at the quantity of business done; neither, it
appears, is there any reliance to be placed upon the amount of
'arrivals' as given, either in the newspapers, or in the private
circulars issued weekly to the trade. Corn, in this market, is
usually sold at a month's credit, with discount for cash. The buyer
secures a sample of his purchase in a small canvas bag, and the
seller is of course bound to deliver the quantity agreed for at the
same weight and quality. There is one patent fact highly creditable
to our British cultivators, which I gather from a trade-circular
dated September 29, 1851, and this is, that foreign grains, wheats
especially, do not command anything like such prices as the English
varieties. The highest price of English white wheat is set down at
45s. per quarter; all foreign wheat is marked considerably lower:
Russian is quoted at from 31s. to 33s.; whilst Egyptian and Turkish
are marked from 24s. to 26s. per quarter; and fine American flour is
quoted at a price considerably under 'English Households.' These are
not signs of decrepit or faint-hearted farming.

Being so near, we may as well look in for a few moments at the New
Coal Exchange opposite Billingsgate Market; a sightly, circular
building, of rich interior decoration, that will well repay a visit.
It is one of our newest 'lions,' and is certainly a very significant
sign and monument of the enormous and swiftly-increasing commercial
activity of the country. On the tesselated wooden floor--with the
anchor in the centre, an emblem not long to be appropriate to such a
place, as we shall presently see--thousands of tons of coal are
disposed of with marvellous rapidity; the days of sale being the
same as those of the Mark-Lane Market.

There was a coal-tax, popularly known as the Richmond duty, which
was levied for many years, for the benefit of one family, but was
abolished some time ago. Its origin, and the especial circumstance
which, gossip saith, more immediately led to its infliction, are not
a little curious, perhaps instructive. The first Duke of Richmond of
the present line was a son of Charles II. by Louise René de
Pennevant de Querouaille, a French lady, better known to us as the
Duchess of Portsmouth, to whom Otway dedicated his 'Venice
Preserved' in such adulatory terms. This son, when only nine years
of age, was created a Knight of the most noble Order of the Garter;
and his mother, with the proverbial taste of her country, arranged a
more graceful mode of wearing the blue ribbon, which, as we see in
old portraits, was till then worn round the neck of the knight, with
the George pendent from it. The duchess presented her son to the
king with the ribbon thrown gracefully over his left shoulder, and
the George pendent on the right side. His majesty was delighted,
embraced his son, commanded that the insignia of the order should
always be so worn, presented the youthful knight with 1s. per ton,
Newcastle measure, upon all coals shipped in the Tyne for
consumption in England, and secured the munificent parental gift by
patent to the young duke and his heirs for ever. _Hôni soit qui mal
y pense._

After the fortunate family had enjoyed this revenue for about a
century and a quarter, the then Duke of Richmond, a personage said
to be wise in his generation, negotiated the sale of his patent with
the government; and on the 19th of August 1799 the Lords of the
Treasury agreed that the sum of L.499,833, 11s. 6d., the price of a
perpetual annuity of L.19,000, should be paid for the surrender of
the duke's right. This enormous sum was accordingly actually
disbursed by the Exchequer in two payments, and the obnoxious impost
on the Tyne coal-trade was abolished some thirty years
afterwards--by which time the Treasury had been repaid much more
than it had advanced, a circumstance inducing a belief that his
Grace sold his inheritance much too cheaply. The estimate of the
quantity of coals consumed in the United Kingdom, and exported
during the last year, reaches the staggering amount of 50,000,000 of
tons--a tremendous advance, which proves, if nothing else, that if,
as some will have it, we are an 'old' country, the capacity for hard
work as well as power of consumption increases marvellously with
age. At anyrate the three great business localities I have partially
indicated are stupendous facts, the full significance of which will
be fully comprehended by all and every one who may choose to compare
these slight outline sketches with the great originals.



STORY OF REMBRANDT.


At a short distance from Leyden may still be seen a flour-mill with
a quaint old dwelling-house attached, which bears, on a brick in a
corner of the wide chimney, the date 1550. Here, in 1606, was born
Paul Rembrandt. At an early age he manifested a stubborn,
independent will, which his father tried in vain to subdue. He
caused his son to work in the mill, intending that he should succeed
him in its management; but the boy shewed so decided a distaste for
the employment, that his father resolved to make him a priest, and
sent him to study at Leyden. Every one knows, however, that few lads
of fifteen, endowed with great muscular vigour and abundance of
animal spirits, will take naturally and without compulsion to the
study of Latin grammar. Rembrandt certainly did not; and his
obstinacy proving an overmatch for his teachers' patience, he was
sent back to the mill, when his father beat him so severely, that
next morning he ran off to Leyden, without in the least knowing how
he should live there. Fortunately he sought refuge in the house of
an honest artist, Van Zwaanenberg, who was acquainted with his
father.

'Tell me, Paul,' asked his friend, 'what do you mean to do with
yourself, if you will not be either a priest or a miller? They are
both honourable professions: one gives food to the soul, the other
prepares it for the body.'

'Very likely,' replied the boy; 'but I don't fancy either; for in
order to be a priest, one must learn Latin; and to be a miller, one
must bear to be beaten. How do _you_ earn your bread?'

'You know very well I am a painter.'

'Then I will be one too, Herr Zwaanenberg; and if you will go
to-morrow and tell my father so, you will do me a great service.'

The good-natured artist willingly undertook the mission, and
acquainted the old miller with his son's resolution.

'I want to know one thing,' said Master Rembrandt; 'will he be able
to gain a livelihood by painting?'

'Certainly, and perhaps make a fortune.'

'Then if you will teach him, I consent.'

Thus Paul became the pupil of Van Zwaanenberg, and made rapid
progress in the elementary parts of his profession. Impatient to
produce some finished work, he did not give himself time to acquire
purity of style, but astonished his master by his precocious skill
in grouping figures, and producing marvellous effects of light and
shade. The first lessons which he took in perspective having wearied
him, he thought of a shorter method, and _invented_ perspective for
himself.

One of his first rude sketches happened to fall into the hands of a
citizen of Leyden who understood painting. Despite of its evident
defects, the germs of rare talent which it evinced struck the
burgomaster; and sending for the young artist, he offered to give
him a recommendation to a celebrated painter living at Amsterdam,
under whom he would have far more opportunity of improvement than
with his present instructor.

Rembrandt accepted the offer, and during the following year toiled
incessantly. Meantime his finances were dreadfully straitened; for
his father, finding that the expected profits were very tardy,
refused to give money to support his son, as he said, in idleness.
Paul, however, was not discouraged. Although far from possessing an
amiable or estimable disposition, he held a firm and just opinion of
his own powers, and resolved to make these subservient first to
fortune and then to fame. Thus while some of his companions, having
finished their preliminary studies, repaired to Florence, to
Bologna, or to Rome, Paul, determined, as he said, not to lose his
own style by becoming an imitator of even the mightiest masters,
betook himself to his paternal mill. At first his return resembled
that of the Prodigal Son. His father believed that he had come to
resume his miller's work; and bitter was his disappointment at
finding his son resolved not to renounce painting.

With a very bad grace he allowed Paul to displace the flour-sacks on
an upper loft, in order to make a sort of studio, lighted by only
one narrow window in the roof. There Paul painted his first finished
picture. It was a _portrait_ of the mill. There, on the canvas, was
seen the old miller, lighted by a lantern which he carried in his
hand, giving directions to his men, occupied in ranging sacks in the
dark recesses of the granary. One ray falls on the fresh, comely
countenance of his mother, who has her foot on the last step of a
wooden staircase.[3] Rembrandt took this painting to the Hague, and
sold it for 100 florins. In order to return with more speed, he took
his place in the public coach. When the passengers stopped to dine,
Rembrandt, fearing to lose his treasure, remained in the carriage.
The careless stable-boy who brought the horses their corn forgot to
unharness them, and as soon as they had finished eating, excited
probably by Rembrandt, who cared not for his fellow-passengers, the
animals started off for Leyden, and quietly halted at their
accustomed inn. Our painter then got out, and repaired with his
money to the mill.

Great was his father's joy. At length these silly daubs, which had
so often excited his angry contempt, seemed likely to be transmuted
into gold, and the old man's imagination took a rapturous flight.
'Neither he nor his old horse,' he said, 'need now work any longer;
they might both enjoy quiet during the remainder of their lives.
Paul would paint pictures, and support the whole household in
affluence.'

Such was the old man's castle in the air; his clever, selfish son
soon demolished it. 'This sum of money,' he said, 'is only a lucky
windfall. If you indeed wish it to become the foundation of my
fortune, give me one hundred florins besides, and let me return to
Amsterdam: there I must work and study hard.'

It would be difficult to describe old Rembrandt's disappointment.
Slowly, reluctantly, and one by one, he drew forth the 100 florins
from his strong-box. Paul took them, and with small show of
gratitude, returned to Amsterdam. In a short time his fame became
established as the greatest and most original of living artists. He
had a host of imitators, but all failed miserably in their attempts
at reproducing his marvellous effects of light and shade. Yet
Rembrandt prized the gold which flowed into him far more than the
glory. While mingling the colours which were to flash out on his
canvas in real living light, he thought but of his dingy coffers.

When in possession of a yearly income equal to L.2000 sterling, he
would not permit the agent who collected his rents to bring them in
from the country to Amsterdam, lest he should be obliged to invite
him to dinner. He preferred setting out on a fine day, and going
himself to the agent's house. In this way he saved two dinners--the
one which he got, and the one, he avoided giving. 'So that's well
managed!' he used to say.

This sordid disposition often exposed him to practical jokes from
his pupils; but he possessed a quiet temper, and was not easily
annoyed. One day a rich citizen came in, and asked him the price of
a certain picture.

'Two hundred florins,' said Rembrandt.

'Agreed,' said his visitor. 'I will pay you to-morrow, when I send
for the picture.'

About an hour afterwards a letter was handed to the painter. Its
contents were as follow: 'MASTER REMBRANDT--During your absence a
few days since, I saw in your studio a picture representing an old
woman churning butter. I was enchanted with it; and if you will let
me purchase it for 300 florins, I pray you to bring it to my house,
and be my guest for the day.' The letter was signed with some
fictitious name, and bore the address of a village several leagues
distant from Amsterdam.

Tempted by the additional 100 florins, and caring little for
breaking his engagement, Rembrandt set out early next morning with
his picture. He walked for four hours without finding his obliging
correspondent, and at length, worn out with fatigue, he returned
home. He found the citizen in his studio, waiting for the picture.
As Rembrandt, however, did not despair of finding the man of the 300
florins, and as a falsehood troubled but little his blunted
conscience, he said: 'Alas! an accident has happened to the picture;
the canvas was injured, and I felt so vexed that I threw it into the
fire. Two hundred florins gone! However, it will be my loss, not
yours, for I will paint another precisely similar, and it shall be
ready for you by this time to-morrow.'

'I am sorry,' replied the amateur, 'but it was the picture you have
burned which I wished to have; and as that is gone, I shall not
trouble you to paint another.'

So he departed, and Rembrandt shortly afterwards received a second
letter to the following effect: 'MASTER REMBRANDT--You have broken
your engagement, told a falsehood, wearied yourself to death, and
lost the sale of your picture--all by listening to the dictates of
avarice. Let this lesson be a warning to you in future.'

'So,' said the painter, looking round at his pupils, 'one of you
must have played me this pretty trick. Well, well, I forgive it. You
young varlets do not know the value of a florin as I know it.'

Sometimes the students nailed small copper coins on the floor, for
the mischievous pleasure of seeing their master, who suffered much
from rheumatism in the back, stoop with pain and difficulty, and try
in vain to pick them up.

Rembrandt married an ignorant peasant who had served him as cook,
thinking this a more economical alliance than one with a person of
refined mind and habits. He and his wife usually dined on brown
bread, salt herrings, and small beer. He occasionally took portraits
at a high price, and in this way became acquainted with the
Burgomaster Six, a man of enlarged mind and unblemished character,
who yet continued faithfully attached to the avaricious painter. His
friendship was sometimes put to a severe test by such occurrences as
the following:--

Rembrandt remarked one day that the price of his engravings had
fallen.

'You are insatiable,' said the burgomaster.

'Perhaps so. I cannot help thirsting for gold.'

'You are a miser.'

'True: and I shall be one all my life.'

''Tis really a pity,' remarked his friend, 'that you will not be
able after death to act as your own treasurer, for whenever that
event occurs, all your works will rise to treble their present
value.'

A bright idea struck Rembrandt. He returned home, went to bed,
desired his wife and his son Titus to scatter straw before the door,
and give out, first, that he was dangerously ill, and then
dead--while the simulated fever was to be of so dreadfully
infectious a nature that none of the neighbours were to be admitted
near the sick-room. These instructions were followed to the letter;
and the disconsolate widow proclaimed that, in order to procure
money for her husband's interment, she must sell all his works, any
property that he left not being available on so short a notice.

The unworthy trick succeeded. The sale, including every trivial
scrap of painting or engraving, realised an enormous sum, and
Rembrandt was in ecstasy. The honest burgomaster, however, was
nearly frightened into a fit of apoplexy at seeing the man whose
death he had sincerely mourned standing alive and well at the door
of his studio. Meinherr Six obliged him to promise that he would in
future abstain from such abominable deceptions. One day he was
employed in painting in a group the likenesses of the whole family
of a rich citizen. He had nearly finished it, when intelligence was
brought him of the death of a tame ape which he greatly loved. The
creature had fallen off the roof of the house into the street.
Without interrupting his work, Rembrandt burst into loud
lamentations, and after some time announced that the piece was
finished. The whole family advanced to look at it, and what was
their horror to see introduced between the heads of the eldest son
and daughter an exact likeness of the dear departed ape. With one
voice they all exclaimed against this singular relative which it had
pleased the painter to introduce amongst them, and insisted on his
effacing it.

'What!' exclaimed Rembrandt, 'efface the finest figure in the
picture? No, indeed; I prefer keeping the piece for myself.' Which
he did, and carried off the painting.

Of Rembrandt's style it may be said that he painted with light, for
frequently an object was indicated merely by the projection of a
shadow on a wall. Often a luminous spot suggested, rather than
defined, a hand or a head. Yet there is nothing vague in his
paintings: the mind seizes the design immediately. His studio was a
circular room, lighted by several narrow slits, so contrived that
rays of sunshine entered through only one at a time, and thus
produced strange effects of light and shade. The room was filled
with old-world furniture, which made it resemble an antiquary's
museum. There were heaped up in the most picturesque confusion
curious old furniture, antique armour, gorgeously-tinted stuffs; and
these Rembrandt arranged in different forms and positions, so as to
vary the effects of light and colour. This he called 'making his
models sit to him.' And in this close adherence to reality consisted
the great secret of his art. It is strange that his favourite
amongst all his pupils was the one whose style least resembled his
own--Gerard Douw--he who aimed at the most excessive minuteness of
delineation, who stopped key-holes lest a particle of dust should
fall on his palette, who gloried in representing the effects of
fresh scouring on the side of a kettle.

Rembrandt died in 1674, at the age of sixty-eight. He passed all his
life at Amsterdam. Some of his biographers have told erroneously
that he once visited Italy: they were deceived by the word
_Venetiis_ placed at the bottom of several of his engravings. He
wrote it there with the intention of deluding his countrymen into
the belief that he was absent, and about to settle in Italy--an
impression which would materially raise the price of his
productions. Strange and sad it is to see so much genius united with
so much meanness--the head of fine gold with the feet of clay.[4]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Footnote 3: This picture is believed to be no longer in existence. I have
found its description in the work of the historian Decamps.]

[Footnote 4: Abridged from the French of J. de Chatillon.]



ELECTIONEERING CURIOSITY.


     [In giving the following address of an American candidate,
     we must beg our readers to understand that it is not
     intended as a joke. Electioneering in the States,
     generally speaking, is carried on with good-humour; and
     when there is no real cause of squabbling, the object of
     the aspirant is to get the laugh in his favour. The orator
     we introduce to the English public is Mr Daniel R.
     Russell, a candidate for the Auditorship in Mississippi.]

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN--I rise--but there is no use telling you that;
you know I am up as well as I do. I am a modest man--very--but I
never lost a picayune by it in my life. Being a scarce commodity
among candidates, I thought I would mention it, for fear if I did
not, you never would hear it. Candidates are generally considered as
nuisances, but they are not; they are the politest men in the world,
shake you by the hand, ask how's your family, what's the prospect
for crops, &c.--and I am the politest man in the state. Davy
Crockett says the politest man he ever saw, when he asked a man to
drink, turned his back so that he might drink as much as he pleased.
I beat that all hollow: I give a man a chance to drink twice if he
wishes, for I not only turn my back, but shut my eyes! I am not only
the politest man, but the best electioneerer: you ought to see me
shaking hands with the vibrations, the pump-handle and pendulum, the
cross-cut and wiggle-waggle. I understand the science perfectly, and
if any of the country candidates wish instructions, they must call
upon me. Fellow-citizens, I was born--if I hadn't been I wouldn't
have been a candidate; but I am going to tell you where: 'twas in
Mississippi, but 'twas on the right side of the negro line; yet that
is no compliment, as the negroes are mostly born on the same side. I
started in the world as poor as a church-mouse, yet I came honestly
by my poverty, for I inherited it; and if I did start poor, no man
can say but that I have held my own remarkably well. Candidates
generally tell you--if you think they are qualified, &c. Now, I
don't ask your thoughts, I ask your votes. Why, there is nothing to
think of except to watch and see that Swan's name is not on the
ticket; if so, _think_ to scratch it off and put mine on. I am
certain that I am competent, for who ought to know better than I do?
Nobody. I will allow that Swan is the best auditor in the state;
that is, till I am elected: then perhaps it's not proper for me to
say anything more. Yet, as an honest man, I am bound to say that I
believe it's a grievous sin to hide anything from my
fellow-citizens; therefore say that it's my private opinion,
publicly expressed, that I'll make the best auditor ever in the
United States. 'Tis not for honour I wish to be auditor; for in my
own county I was offered an office that was all honour--coroner,
which I respectfully declined. The auditor's office is worth some
5000 dollars a year, and I am in for it like a thousand of brick. To
shew my goodness of heart, I'll make this offer to my competitor.
I'm sure of being elected, and he will lose something by the
canvass, therefore I am willing to divide equally with him, and make
these offers: I'll take the salary, and he may have the honour, or
he may have the honour, and I'll take the salary.

In the way of honours, I have received enough to satisfy me for
life. I went out to Mexico, ate pork and beans, slept in the rain
and mud, and swallowed everything but live Mexicans. When I was
ordered to go, I went; 'charge,' I charged; and 'break for the
chaperel'--you had better believe I beat a quarter nag in doing my
duty.

My competitor, Swan, is a bird of golden plumage, who has been
swimming for the last four years in the auditor's pond at 5000
dollars a year. I am for rotation. I want to rotate him out, and to
rotate myself in. There's a plenty of room for him to swim outside
of that pond; therefore _pop_ in your votes for me--I'll _pop_ him
out, and _pop_ myself in.

I am for a division of labour. Swan says he has to work all the
time, with his nose down upon the public grindstone. Four years must
have ground it to a _pint_. Poor fellow! the public ought not to
insist on having the handle of his mug ground clean off. I have a
large, full-grown, and well-blown nose, red as a beet, and tough as
sole-leather. I rush to the post of duty; I offer it up as a
sacrifice; I clap it on the grindstone. Fellow-citizens, grind till
I _holler enuff_--that'll be sometime first, for I'll hang like grim
death to a dead African.

Time's most out. Well, I like to forgot to tell you my name. It's
Daniel; for short, Dan. Not a handsome name, for my parents were
poor people, who lived where the quality appropriated all the nice
names; therefore they had to take what was left and divide around
among us--but it's as handsome as I am--D. Russell. Remember, all
and every one of you, that it's not Swan.

I am sure to be elected; so, one and all, great and small, short and
tall, when you come down to Jackson after the election, stop at the
auditor's office--the latch-string always hangs out; enter without
knocking, take off your things, and make yourself at home.



A NEGRO'S ACCOUNT OF LIBERIA.


All of you that feel like it, my friends, come on home--the bush is
cleared away--you can hear no one say there is nothing to eat here.
Why, one man, Gabriel Moore, brought better than 200 cattle from the
interior this year--another 100--some 60, some 50, &c. There are no
hogs there, they say--no turkeys--why, I saw 50 or 60 in the street
at Millsburg the other day. No horses: I have got four in my stable
now; I have a mare and two colts, and I have a horse that I have
been offered 100 dollars for here; if you had him he would bring
500. If you don't believe it, let some gentleman send me a buggy or
a single gig--you shall see how myself and wife will take pleasure,
going from town to town--throw the harness in too--any gentleman
that feels like it--white or coloured--and I will try to send him a
boa constrictor to take his comfort; I know how to take the
gentleman without any danger. My oxen I was working them yesterday;
and as for goats and sheep, we have a plenty. We have a plenty to
eat, every man that will half work. I give you this; you are all
writing to me to tell you about Liberia, what we eat, and all the
news--I mean my coloured friends. Yours truly, ZION HARRIS.



LARD-CANDLES.


One of the most important discoveries or improvements of the age, is
a new species of candle which has been recently made in Cincinnati,
and which will shortly be offered extensively for sale. It is
calculated to supersede all other kinds in use by its beauty,
freedom from guttering, hardness, and capacity of giving light, in
all which respects it is superior to every other species of candle.
This candle is nearly translucent, and can be made to exhibit the
wick, when the candle is held up between the eye and the light,
while the surface is as glossy as polished wax or varnish. The
principal ingredient is lard; and the value of this manufacture can
be hardly exaggerated. Taking durability into account, it can be
made as cheap as any other candle; and there exists no single
element of comfort, convenience, profit, and economy, in which this
article has not the advantage of sperm, star, wax, or tallow
candles. It will be readily conceded that the days of all other
portable or table light, including lard-oil, are numbered. In fact,
except where intense light, as in public buildings, is an object,
gas itself cannot compete with it for public favour.--_American
Paper_.



CALIFORNIA ITEMS.


Some idea of the traffic between San Francisco and the southern
mines may be formed from the fact, that there are at this moment ten
steamers plying between San Francisco and Sacramento. The latter are
for the most part of a larger size than those on the San Joaquin
river; and make the trip of about 120 miles in from seven to eight
hours. In the elegance of their accommodations and the luxuries of
their larder, they might compare favourably with any
passenger-vessels in the world. There are ten other steamers plying
from Sacramento to different places above that city. One year ago
there was but one steamboat in Oregon--the _Columbia_; now there are
eleven of different kinds running in the Columbia and Willamette
rivers, not including the Pacific steamers, _Sea-gull_ and
_Columbia_, running between Oregon and California.



THE NOBLE MARINER.

BY THE REV. JAMES GILBORNE LYONS, LL.D.


Most readers of these lines will remember that when the ship _Ocean
Monarch_ was turned off Liverpool on the 24th of August 1848,
Frederick Jerome of New York saved fifteen lives by an act of
singular courage and benevolence. They will also lament that one so
ready to help others should himself perish by violence: he was
killed in Central America in the autumn of 1851.

    Shout the noble seaman's name,
    Deeds like _his_ belong to fame:
    Cottage roof and kingly dome,
    Sound the praise of brave Jerome.
    Let his acts be told and sung,
    While his own high Saxon tongue--
    Herald meet for worth sublime--
    Peals from conquered clime to clime.

    Madly rolled the giant wreck,
    Fiercely blazed the riven deck;
    Thick and fast as falling stars,
    Crashed the flaming blocks and spars;
    Loud as surf, when winds are strong,
    Wailed the scorched and stricken throng,
    Gazing on a rugged shore,
    Fires behind, and seas before.

    On the charred and reeling prow
    Reft of hope, they gather now,
    Finding, one by one, a grave
    In the vexed and sullen wave.
    Here the child, as if in sleep,
    Floats on waters dark and deep;
    There the mother sinks below,
    Shrieking in her mighty wo.

    Britons, quick to strive or feel,
    Joined with chiefs of rich Brazil;
    Western freemen, prompt to dare,
    Side by side with Bourbon's heir;
    Proving who could _then_ excel,
    Came with succour long and well;
    But Jerome, in peril nursed;
    Shone among the foremost--_first_.

    Through the reddened surge and spray,
    Fast he cleaves his troubled way;
    Boldly climbs and stoutly clings,
    On the smoking timber springs;
    Fronts the flames, nor fears to stand
    In that lorn and weeping band;
    Looks on death, nor tries to shun,
    Till his work of love is done.

    Glorious man!--immortal work!--
    Claim thy hero, proud New York;
    Harp of him when feasts are spread,
    Tomb him with thy valiant dead.
    Who that, bent on just renown,
    Seeks a Christian's prize and crown,
    Would not spurn whole years of life,
    For one hour of _such_ a strife?

       *       *       *       *       *

Printed and Published by W. and R. CHAMBERS, High Street, Edinburgh.
Also sold by W.S. ORR, Amen Corner, London; D.N. CHAMBERS, 55 West
Nile Street, Glasgow; and J. M'GLASHAN, 50 Upper Sackville Street,
Dublin.--Advertisements for Monthly Parts are requested to be sent
to MAXWELL & Co., 31 Nicholas Lane, Lombard Street, London, to whom
all applications respecting their insertion must be made.





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