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Title: Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 424 - Volume 17, New Series, February 14, 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. 424 - Volume 17, New Series, February 14, 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. 424.  NEW SERIES.  SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 1852.  PRICE 1-1/2 _d_.



THE PATTERN NATION.


It seems to be the destiny of France to work out all sorts of problems
in state and social policy. It may be said to volunteer experiments in
government for the benefit of mankind. All kinds of forms it tries,
one after the other: each, in turn, is supposed to be the right thing;
and when found to be wrong, an effort, fair or unfair, is made to try
something else. It would surely be the height of ingratitude not to
thank our versatile neighbour for this apparently endless series of
experiments.

Unfortunately, the novel projects extemporised by the French are not
on all occasions easily laid aside. What they have laid hold on, they
cannot get rid of. We have a striking instance of this in the practice
of subdividing lands. Forms of state administration may be altered,
and after all not much harm done; it is only changing one variety of
power at the Tuileries for another. A very different thing is a
revolution in the method of holding landed property. Few things are
more dangerous than to meddle with laws of inheritance: if care be not
taken, the whole fabric of society may be overthrown. The unpleasant
predicament which the French have got into on this account is most
alarming--far more terrible than the wildest of their revolutions. How
they are to get out of it, no man can tell.

Latterly, the world has heard much of Socialism. This is the term
applied to certain new and untried schemes of social organisation, by
which, among other things, it is proposed to supersede the ordinary
rights of property and laws of inheritance--the latter, as is
observed, having, after due experience, failed to realise that
happiness of condition which was anticipated sixty years ago at their
institution. As it is always instructive to look back on the first
departure from rectitude, let us say a few words as to how the French
fell into their present unhappy position.

At the Revolution of 1789-93, it will be recollected that the laws of
primogeniture were overthrown, and it was ordained that in future
every man's property should be divided equally among his children at
his death: there can be no doubt that considerations of justice and
humanity were at the foundation of this new law of inheritance.
Hitherto, there had been a great disparity in the condition of high
and low: certain properties, descending from eldest son to eldest son,
had become enormously large, and were generally ill managed; while
prodigious numbers of people had no property at all, and were
dependents on feudal superiors. The country was undoubtedly in a bad
condition, and some modification of the law was desirable. Reckless of
consequences, the system as it stood was utterly swept away, and that
of equal partition took its place. About the same period, vast domains
belonging to the crown, the clergy, and the nobility, were
sequestrated and sold in small parcels; so that there sprang up almost
at once a proprietary of quite a new description. Had the law of equal
partition been extended only to cases in which there was no
testamentary provision, it could not have inflicted serious damage,
and would at all events have been consistent with reason and
expediency: but it went the length of depriving a parent of the right
to distribute his property in the manner he judged best, and handed
over every tittle of his earnings in equal shares to his children. One
child might be worthless, and another the reverse; no matter--all were
to be treated alike. No preference could be shewn, no posthumous
reward could be given for general good-conduct or filial respect. In
all this, there was something so revolting to common sense, that one
feels a degree of wonder that so acute a people as the French should
have failed to observe the error into which they were plunging.

For every law, however bad, there is always some justification or plea
of necessity. Besides tending to level the position of individuals,
the plan of equal distribution of property was said to be justifiable
on the ground that there are more than two parties concerned. Society,
it was alleged, comes in as a third, and says to the parent: 'You must
provide for this son, however worthless; you must not throw him
destitute on our hands; for that is to shift the responsibility from
yourself, who brought him into the world, to us, who have nothing to
do with him.' This plea, more plausible than sound, had its effect.
That an occasional wrong might not be inflicted, a great national
error, practically injurious, was committed.

A compulsory law of equal division of lands among the children of a
deceased proprietor, may be long in revealing its horrors in a country
where the redundant population sheds habitually off. In Switzerland,
for example, the evil of a subdivision of lands is marked but in a
moderate degree--though bad enough in the main--because a certain
proportion of each generation emigrates in quest of a livelihood--the
young men going off to be mercenary soldiers in Italy, waiters at
hotels, and so forth; and the young women to be governesses and
domestic servants. France, on the contrary, is the last nation in the
world to try the subdivision principle. Its people, with some trifling
exceptions, go nowhere, as if affecting to despise all the rest of the
world. Contented with moderate fortunes, inclined to make amusement
their occupation, unwilling or unable to learn foreign languages, or
to care for anything abroad, and having so intense a love of France,
that they will not emigrate, they necessarily settle down in a
gradually aggregating mass, and are driven to the very last shifts for
existence. Only two things have saved the nation from anarchy: the
remarkable circumstance of few families consisting of more than two,
or at most three children, any more being deemed a culpable
monstrosity; and the draughting of young men for the army. In other
words, the war-demon is an engine to keep the population in check; for
if it does not at once kill off men, it occupies them in military
affairs at the public expense. The prodigious number of civil posts
under government--said to be upwards of half a million--acts also as a
means for absorbing the overplus rural population.

Circumstances of the nature here pointed out have modified the evil
effects of the law of subdivision; but after making every allowance on
this and every other score that can be suggested, it is undeniable
that the partition of property has gone down and down, till at length,
in some situations, it can go no further. The morsels of land have
become so small, that they are not worth occupying, and will barely
realise the expense of legal transfer. In certain quarters, we are
informed, the individual properties are not larger than a single
furrow, or a patch the size of a cabbage-garden. A good number of
these landed estates--one authority says a million and a quarter--are
about five acres in extent, which is considered quite a respectable
property; but as, at the death of each proprietor, there is a further
partition, the probability would seem to be that, ultimately, the
surface of France will resemble the worst parts of Ireland, with a
population sunk to the lowest grade of humanity. Perhaps, however, the
evils inflicted on society through the agency of subdivision, are
mainly incidental. General injury goes on at a more rapid rate than
the actual partition of property. From the causes above mentioned, the
population in France is long in doubling itself; and the slower the
increase, the slower the subdivision. Already, however, the properties
are so small, that they do not admit of that profitable culture
enjoined by principles of improved husbandry and correct social
policy. In the proper cultivation of the soil, other parties besides
agriculturists are concerned; for whatever limits production, affects
the national wealth. The meagre husbandry of the small properties in
France is thus a serious loss to the country, and tends to general
impoverishment. But there is another and equally calamitous
consequence of excessive subdivision. The small proprietors in France
are for the greater part owners only in name: practically, they are
tenants. Desperate in their circumstances, they have borrowed money on
their wretched holdings; and so poor is the security, and so limited
is the capital at disposal on loan, that the interest paid on mortgage
runs from 8 to 10 per cent.--often is as high as 20 per cent. After
paying taxes, interest on loans, and other necessary expenses, such is
the exhaustion of resources, that thousands of these French peasant
proprietors may be said to live in a continual battle with famine.
According to official returns, there are in France upwards of 348,000
dwellings with no other aperture than the door; and nearly 2,000,000
with only one window. And to this the 'pattern nation' has brought
itself by its headlong haste to upset, not simply improve, a bad
institution. The living in these windowless and single-windowed abodes
is not living, in the proper sense of the word: it is existence
without comfort, without hope. The next step is to burrow in holes
like rabbits.

It will thus be observed, that the subdivision of real estate has
brought France pretty much back to the point where it started--a small
wealthy class, and a very numerous poor class. The computation is,
that in a population of 36,000,000, only 800,000 are in easy
circumstances. A considerable proportion of this moneyed class are
usurers, living in Paris and other large towns. They are the lenders
of cash on bonds, which squeeze out the very vitals of the nation--the
gay flutterers and loungers of the streets, theatres, and cafés,
drawing the means of luxurious indulgence from the myriads who toil
out their lives in the fields.

Obtaining a glimpse of these facts, we can no longer wonder at the
submission of the French peasantry to a thinning of their families by
military conscription; at the eager thirst for office which afflicts
the whole nation; or at the morbid desire to overturn society, and
strike out a better organisation. As matters grow worse, this passion
for wholesale change becomes more fervidly manifested. The
_jacqueries_ of the middle ages are renewed. Various districts of
country, in which poverty has reached its climax, break into universal
insurrection. It is a war levied by those who have nothing against
those who have something. To have coin in the pocket, is to be the
enemy. The cry is: Down with the rich; take all they have got, and
divide the plunder amongst us. Such are the avowed principles of the
Socialists. According to them, all property is theft, and taking by
violence is only recovering stolen goods! When a nation has come to
this deplorable pass, what, it may be asked, can cure it? The malady
is not political; it is social. Perhaps, under a right development of
industry, France has not too great a population; but, subject to the
present misdirection of its energies, the position of the country is
assuming a gravity of aspect which may well engage the most earnest
consideration. The least that could be recommended is an immediate
change in the law which so unscrupulously subdivides and ruins landed
property.

The history of the Revolution of 1789-93, must have made a feeble
impression, if it has failed to print a deep and indelible conviction
on the mind, that the acts of that great and wicked drama would some
day be bitterly expiated. To expect anything else would be to impeach
the principles of everlasting justice. Bearing in remembrance the
horrid excesses of almost an entire nation, nothing that now occurs in
France affords us the least surprise. The anarchical revolts of 1851,
are only a sequence of crimes committed upwards of half a century ago.
Philosophically, the beginning and the end are one thing. Blind with
rage against all that was noble, holy, and simply respectable, the
innocent were dragged in crowds to the scaffold, and their property
confiscated and disposed of. See the consequence after a lapse of
sixty years, 'My sin hath found me out.' The ill-gotten wealth has
been the very instrument to punish and prostrate. A robbery followed
by divisions among the spoilers. Waste succeeded by clamorous
destitution. What a lesson!

It is needless to say, that Socialism, which proposes a universal
re-distribution of property, with some unintelligible organisation of
labour--all on an equality, no rich and no poor, no masters and no
servants, everybody sharing his dinner with his neighbour--is a fancy
as baseless as any crotchet which even the 'pattern nation' has ever
concocted. Yet, it is not the less likely to be carried into
execution, perhaps only the more likely from its practical absurdity.
Of course, the more educated and wealthy portion of the nation view
the doctrines of Socialism, as far as they can comprehend them, with
serious apprehension; but unhappily for France, these classes
uniformly submit to any folly or crime, which comes with the emphasis
of authority, valid or usurped. At present, they may be said to have
made a compromise, bartering civil liberty for bare safety--permission
to live! But how long this will last, and what form the tenure of
property is to assume, are questions not easy to answer. It would not
surprise us to see the nation, in its corporate capacity, assume the
position of universal lender of money on, or proprietor of,
embarrassed estates; in which case the 'ryot system' of India will,
strangely enough, have found domestication in Europe! Is this to be
the next experiment?

A curious and saddening problem is the future of this great country.
'France,' said Robespierre in one of his moments of studied
inspiration, 'has astonished all Europe with her prodigies of reason!'
We are now witnessing the development of several of these astonishing
prodigies; and the spectacle, to say the least of it, is instructive.



MY TRAVELLING COMPANION.


My picture was a failure. Partial friends had guaranteed its success;
but the Hanging Committee and the press are not composed of one's
partial friends. The Hanging Committee thrust me into the
darkest corner of the octagon-room, and the press ignored my
existence--excepting in one instance, when my critic dismissed me in a
quarter of a line as a 'presumptuous dauber.' I was stunned with the
blow, for I had counted so securely on the L.200 at which my grand
historical painting was dog-cheap--not to speak of the deathless fame
which it was to create for me--that I felt like a mere wreck when my
hopes were flung to the ground, and the untasted cup dashed from my
lips. I took to my bed, and was seriously ill. The doctor bled me till
I fainted, and then said, that he had saved me from a brain-fever.
That might be, but he very nearly threw me into a consumption, only
that I had a deep chest and a good digestion. Pneumonic expansion and
active chyle saved me from an early tomb, yet I was too unhappy to be
grateful.

But why did my picture fail? Surely it possessed all the elements of
success! It was grandly historical in subject, original in treatment,
pure in colouring; what, then, was wanting? This old warrior's head,
of true Saxon type, had all the majesty of Michael Angelo; that young
figure, all the radiant grace of Correggio; no Rembrandt shewed more
severe dignity than yon burnt umber monk in the corner; and Titian
never excelled the loveliness of this cobalt virgin in the foreground.
Why did it not succeed? The subject, too--the 'Finding of the Body of
Harold by Torch-light'--was sacred to all English hearts; and being
conceived in an entirely new and original manner, it was redeemed from
the charge of triteness and wearisomeness. The composition was
pyramidal, the apex being a torch borne aloft for the 'high light,'
and the base shewing some very novel effects of herbage and armour.
But it failed. All my skill, all my hope, my ceaseless endeavour, my
burning visions, all--all had failed; and I was only a poor,
half-starved painter, in Great Howland Street, whose landlady was
daily abating in her respect, and the butcher daily abating in his
punctuality; whose garments were getting threadbare, and his dinners
hypothetical, and whose day-dreams of fame and fortune had faded into
the dull-gray of penury and disappointment. I was broken-hearted, ill,
hungry; so I accepted an invitation from a friend, a rich manufacturer
in Birmingham, to go down to his house for the Christmas holidays. He
had a pleasant place in the midst of some ironworks, the blazing
chimneys of which, he assured me, would afford me some exquisite
studies of 'light' effects.

By mistake, I went by the Express train, and so was thrown into the
society of a lady whose position would have rendered any acquaintance
with her impossible, excepting under such chance-conditions as the
present; and whose history, as I learned it afterwards, led me to
reflect much on the difference between the reality and the seeming of
life.

She moved my envy. Yes--base, mean, low, unartistic, degrading as is
this passion, I felt it rise up like a snake in my breast when I saw
that feeble woman. She was splendidly dressed--wrapped in furs of the
most costly kind, trailing behind; her velvets and lace worth a
countess's dowry. She was attended by obsequious menials; surrounded
by luxuries; her compartment of the carriage was a perfect palace in
all the accessories which it was possible to collect in so small a
space; and it seemed as though 'Cleopatra's cup' would have been no
impracticable draught for her. She gave me more fully the impression
of luxury, than any person I had ever met with before; and I thought I
had reason when I envied her.

She was lifted into the carriage carefully; carefully swathed in her
splendid furs and lustrous velvets; and placed gently, like a wounded
bird, in her warm nest of down. But she moved languidly, and fretfully
thrust aside her servants' busy hands, indifferent to her comforts,
and annoyed by her very blessings. I looked into her face: it was a
strange face, which had once been beautiful; but ill-health, and care,
and grief, had marked it now with deep lines, and coloured it with
unnatural tints. Tears had washed out the roses from her cheeks, and
set large purple rings about her eyes; the mouth was hard and pinched,
but the eyelids swollen; while the crossed wrinkles on her brow told
the same tale of grief grown petulant, and of pain grown soured, as
the thin lip, quivering and querulous, and the nervous hand, never
still and never strong.

The train-bell rang, the whistle sounded, the lady's servitors stood
bareheaded and courtesying to the ground, and the rapid rush of the
iron giant bore off the high-born dame and the starveling painter in
strange companionship. Unquiet and unresting--now shifting her
place--now letting down the glass for the cold air to blow full upon
her withered face--then drawing it up, and chafing her hands and feet
by the warm-water apparatus concealed in her _chauffe-pied_,
while shivering as if in an ague-fit--sighing deeply--lost in
thought--wildly looking out and around for distraction--she soon made
me ask myself whether my envy of her was as true as deep sympathy and
pity would have been.

'But her wealth--her wealth!' I thought. 'True she may suffer, but how
gloriously she is solaced! She may weep, but the angels of social life
wipe off her tears with perfumed linen, gold embroidered; she may
grieve, but her grief makes her joys so much the more blissful. Ah!
she is to be envied after all!--envied, while I, a very beggar, might
well scorn my place now!'

Something of this might have been in my face, as I offered my sick
companion some small attention--I forget what--gathering up one of her
luxurious trifles, or arranging her cushions. She seemed almost to
read my thoughts as her eyes rested on my melancholy face; and saying
abruptly: 'I fear you are unhappy, young man?' she settled herself in
her place like a person prepared to listen to a pleasant tale.

'I am unfortunate, madam,' I answered.

'Unfortunate?' she said impatiently. 'What! with youth and health, can
you call yourself unfortunate? When the whole world lies untried
before you, and you still live in the golden atmosphere of hope, can
you pamper yourself with sentimental sorrows? Fie upon you!--fie upon
you! What are your sorrows compared with mine?'

'I am ignorant of yours, madam,' I said respectfully; 'but I know my
own; and, knowing them, I can speak of their weight and bitterness. By
your very position, you cannot undergo the same kind of distress as
that overwhelming me at this moment: you may have evils in your path
of life, but they cannot equal mine.'

'Can anything equal the evils of ruined health and a desolated
hearth?' she cried, still in the same impatient manner. 'Can the worst
griefs of wayward youth equal the bitterness of that cup which you
drink at such a time of life as forbids all hope of after-assuagement?
Can the first disappointment of a strong heart rank with the terrible
desolation of a wrecked old age? You think because you see about me
the evidences of wealth, that I must be happy. Young man, I tell you
truly, I would gladly give up every farthing of my princely fortune,
and be reduced to the extreme of want, to bring back from the grave
the dear ones lying there, or pour into my veins one drop of the
bounding blood of health and energy which used to make life a long
play-hour of delight. Once, no child in the fields, no bird in the
sky, was more blessed than I; and what am I now?--a sickly, lonely old
woman, whose nerves are shattered and whose heart is broken, without
hope or happiness on the earth! Even death has passed me by in
forgetfulness and scorn!'

Her voice betrayed the truth of her emotion. Still, with an accent of
bitterness and complaint, rather than of simple sorrow, it was the
voice of one fighting against her fate, more than of one suffering
acutely and in despair: it was petulant rather than melancholy; angry
rather than grieving; shewing that her trials had hardened, not
softened her heart.

'Listen to me,' she then said, laying her hand on my arm, 'and perhaps
my history may reconcile you to the childish depression, from what
cause soever it may be, under which you are labouring. You are young
and strong, and can bear any amount of pain as yet: wait until you
reach my age, and then you will know the true meaning of the word
despair! I am rich, as you may see,' she continued, pointing to her
surroundings--'in truth, so rich that I take no account either of my
income or my expenditure. I have never known life under any other
form; I have never known what it was to be denied the gratification of
one desire which wealth could purchase, or obliged to calculate the
cost of a single undertaking. I can scarcely realise the idea of
poverty. I see that all people do not live in the same style as
myself, but I cannot understand that it is from inability: it always
seems to me to be from their own disinclination. I tell you, I cannot
fully realise the idea of poverty; and you think this must make me
happy, perhaps?' she added sharply, looking full in my face.

'I should be happy, madam, if I were rich,' I replied. 'Suffering now
from the strain of poverty, it is no marvel if I place an undue value
on plenty.'

'Yet see what it does for me!' continued my companion. 'Does it give
me back my husband, my brave boys, my beautiful girl? Does it give
rest to this weary heart, or relief to this aching head? Does it
soothe my mind or heal my body? No! It but oppresses me, like a heavy
robe thrown round weakened limbs: it is even an additional misfortune,
for if I were poor, I should be obliged to think of other things
beside myself and my woes; sand the very mental exertion necessary to
sustain my position would lighten my miseries. I have seen my daughter
wasting year by year and day by day, under the warm sky of the
south--under the warm care of love! Neither climate nor affection
could save her: every effort was made--the best advice procured--the
latest panacea adopted; but to no effect. Her life was prolonged,
certainly; but this simply means, that she was three years in dying,
instead of three months. She was a gloriously lovely creature, like a
fair young saint for beauty and purity--quite an ideal thing, with her
golden hair and large blue eyes! She was my only girl--my youngest, my
darling, my best treasure! My first real sorrow--now fifteen years
ago--was when I saw her laid, on her twenty-first birthday, in the
English burial-ground at Madeira. It is on the gravestone, that she
died of consumption: would that it had been added--and her mother of
grief! From the day of her death, my happiness left me!'

Here the poor lady paused, and buried her face in her hands. The first
sorrow was evidently also the keenest; and I felt my own eyelids moist
as I watched this outpouring of the mother's anguish. After all, here
was grief beyond the power of wealth to assuage: here was sorrow
deeper than any mere worldly disappointment.

'I had two sons,' she went on to say after a short time--'only two.
They were fine young men, gifted and handsome. In fact, all my
children were allowed to be very models of beauty. One entered the
army, the other the navy. The eldest went with his regiment to the
Cape, where he married a woman of low family--an infamous creature of
no blood; though she was decently conducted for a low-born thing as
she was. She was well-spoken of by those who knew her; but what
_could_ she be with a butcher for a grandfather! However, my poor
infatuated son loved her to the last. She was very pretty, I have
heard--young, and timid; but being of such fearfully low origin, of
course she could not be recognised by my husband or myself! We forbade
my son all intercourse with us, unless he would separate himself from
her; but the poor boy was perfectly mad, and he preferred this
low-born wife to his father and mother. They had a little baby, who
was sent over to me when the wife died--for, thank God! she did die in
a few years' time. My son was restored to our love, and he received
our forgiveness; but we never saw him again. He took a fever of the
country, and was a corpse in a few hours. My second boy was in the
navy--a fine high-spirited fellow, who seemed to set all the accidents
of life at defiance. I could not believe in any harm coming to _him_.
He was so strong, so healthy, so beautiful, so bright: he might have
been immortal, for all the elements of decay that shewed themselves in
him. Yet this glorious young hero was drowned--wrecked off a
coral-reef, and flung like a weed on the waters. He lost his own life
in trying to save that of a common sailor--a piece of pure gold
bartered for the foulest clay! Two years after this, my husband died
of typhus fever, and I had a nervous attack, from which I have never
recovered. And now, what do you say to this history of mine? For
fifteen years, I have never been free from sorrow. No sooner did one
grow so familiar to me, that I ceased to tremble at its hideousness,
than another, still more terrible, came to overwhelm me in fresh
misery. For fifteen years, my heart has never known an hour's peace;
and to the end of my life, I shall be a desolate, miserable,
broken-hearted woman. Can you understand, now, the valuelessness of my
riches, and how desolate my splendid house must seem to me? They have
been given me for no useful purpose here or hereafter; they encumber
me, and do no good to others. Who is to have them when I die?
Hospitals and schools? I hate the medical profession, and I am against
the education of the poor. I think it the great evil of the day, and I
would not leave a penny of mine to such a radical wrong. What is to
become of my wealth?'--

'Your grandson,' I interrupted hastily: 'the child of the officer.'

The old woman's face gradually softened. 'Ah! he is a lovely boy,' she
said; 'but I don't love him--no, I don't,' she repeated vehemently.
'If I set my heart on him, he will die or turn out ill: take to the
low ways of his wretched mother, or die some horrible death. I steel
my heart against him, and shut him out from my calculations of the
future. He is a sweet boy: interesting, affectionate, lovely; but I
will not allow myself to love him, and I don't allow him to love me!
But you ought to see him. His hair is like my own daughter's--long,
glossy, golden hair; and his eyes are large and blue, and the lashes
curl on his cheek like heavy fringes. He is too pale and too thin: he
looks sadly delicate; but his wretched mother was a delicate little
creature, and he has doubtless inherited a world of disease and poor
blood from her. I wish he was here though, for you to see; but I keep
him at school, for when he is much with me, I feel myself beginning to
be interested in him; and I do not wish to love him--I do not wish to
remember him at all! With that delicate frame and nervous temperament,
he _must_ die; and why should I prepare fresh sorrow for myself, by
taking him into my heart, only to have him plucked out again by
death?'

All this was said with the most passionate vehemence of manner, as if
she were defending herself against some unjust charge. I said
something in the way of remonstrance. Gently and respectfully, but
firmly, I spoke of the necessity for each soul to spiritualise its
aspirations, and to raise itself from the trammels of earth; and in
speaking thus to her, I felt my own burden lighten off my heart, and I
acknowledged that I had been both foolish and sinful in allowing my
first disappointment to shadow all the sunlight of my existence. I am
not naturally of a desponding disposition, and nothing but a blow as
severe as the non-success of my 'Finding the Body of Harold by
Torch-light' could have affected me to the extent of mental
prostration as that under which I was now labouring. But this was very
hard to bear! My companion listened to me with a kind of blank
surprise, evidently unaccustomed to the honesty of truth; but she bore
my remarks patiently, and when I had ended, she even thanked me for my
advice.

'And now, tell me the cause of your melancholy face?' she asked, as we
were nearing Birmingham. 'Your story cannot be very long, and I shall
have just enough time to hear it.'

I smiled at her authoritative tone, and said quietly: 'I am an artist,
madam, and I had counted much on the success of my first historical
painting. It has failed, and I am both penniless and infamous. I am
the "presumptuous dauber" of the critics--despised by my
creditors--emphatically a failure throughout.'

'Pshaw!' cried the lady impatiently; 'and what is that for a grief? a
day's disappointment which a day's labour can repair! To me, your
troubles seem of no more worth than a child's tears when he has broken
his newest toy! Here is Birmingham, and I must bid you farewell.
Perhaps you will open the door for me? Good-morning: you have made my
journey pleasant, and relieved my ennui. I shall be happy to see you
in town, and to help you forward in your career.'

And with these words, said in a strange, indifferent, matter-of-fact
tone, as of one accustomed to all the polite offers of good society,
which mean nothing tangible, she was lifted from the carriage by a
train of servants, and borne off the platform.

I looked at the card which she placed in my hand, and read the address
of 'Mrs Arden, Belgrave Square.'

I found my friend waiting for me; and in a few moments was seated
before a blazing fire in a magnificent drawing-room, surrounded with
every comfort that hospitality could offer or luxury invent.

'Here, at least, is happiness,' I thought, as I saw the family
assemble in the drawing-room before dinner. 'Here are beauty, youth,
wealth, position--all that makes life valuable. What concealed
skeleton can there be in this house to frighten away one grace of
existence? None--none! They must be happy; and oh! what a contrast to
that poor lady I met with to-day; and what a painful contrast to
myself!'

And all my former melancholy returned like a heavy cloud upon my brow;
and I felt that I stood like some sad ghost in a fairy-land of beauty,
so utterly out of place was my gloom in the midst of all this gaiety
and splendour.

One daughter attracted my attention more than the rest. She was the
eldest, a beautiful girl of about twenty-three, or she might have been
even a few years older. Her face was quite of the Spanish style--dark,
expressive, and tender; and her manners were the softest and most
bewitching I had ever seen. She was peculiarly attractive to an
artist, from the exceeding beauty of feature, as well as from the
depth of expression which distinguished her. I secretly sketched her
portrait on my thumb-nail, and in my own mind I determined to make her
the model for my next grand attempt at historical composition--'the
Return of Columbus.' She was to be the Spanish queen; and I thought of
myself as Ferdinand; for I was not unlike a Spaniard in appearance,
and I was almost as brown.

I remained with my friend a fortnight, studying the midnight effects
of the iron-foundries, and cultivating the acquaintance of Julia. In
these two congenial occupations the time passed like lightning, and I
woke as from a pleasant dream, to the knowledge of the fact, that my
visit was expected to be brought to a close. I had been asked, I
remembered, for a week, and I had doubled my furlough. I hinted at
breakfast, that I was afraid I must leave my kind friends to-morrow,
and a general regret was expressed, but no one asked me to stay
longer; so the die was unhappily cast.

Julia was melancholy. I could not but observe it; and I confess that
the observation caused me more pleasure than pain. Could it be sorrow
at my departure? We had been daily, almost hourly, companions for
fourteen days, and the surmise was not unreasonable. She had always
shewn me particular kindness, and she could not but have seen my
marked preference for her. My heart beat wildly as I gazed on her pale
cheek and drooping eyelid; for though she had been always still and
gentle, I had never seen--certainly I had never noticed--such evident
traces of sorrow, as I saw in her face to-day. Oh, if it were for me,
how I would bless each pang which pained that beautiful heart!--how I
would cherish the tears that fell, as if they had been priceless
diamonds from the mine!--how I would joy in her grief and live in her
despair! It might be that out of evil would come good, and from the
deep desolation of my unsold 'Body' might arise the heavenly
blessedness of such love as this! I was intoxicated with my hopes; and
was on the point of making a public idiot of myself, but happily some
slight remnant of common-sense was left me. However, impatient to
learn my fate, I drew Julia aside; and, placing myself at her feet,
while she was enthroned on a luxurious ottoman, I pretended that I
must conclude the series of lectures on art, and the best methods of
colouring, on which I had been employed with her ever since my visit.

'You seem unhappy to-day, Miss Reay,' I said abruptly, with my voice
trembling like a girl's.

She raised her large eyes languidly. 'Unhappy? no, I am never
unhappy,' she said quietly.

Her voice never sounded so silvery sweet, so pure and harmonious. It
fell like music on the air.

'I have, then, been too much blinded by excess of beauty to have been
able to see correctly,' I answered. 'To me you have appeared always
calm, but never sad; but to-day there is a palpable weight of sorrow
on you, which a child might read. It is in your voice, and on your
eyelids, and round your lips; it is on you like the moss on the young
rose--beautifying while veiling the dazzling glory within.'

'Ah! you speak far too poetically for me,' said Julia, smiling. 'If
you will come down to my level for a little while, and will talk to me
rationally, I will tell you my history. I will tell it you as a lesson
for yourself, which I think will do you good.'

The cold chill that went to my soul! Her history! It was no diary of
facts that I wanted to hear, but only a register of feelings--a
register of feelings in which I should find myself the only point
whereto the index was set. History! what events deserving that name
could have troubled the smooth waters of her life?

I was silent, for I was disturbed; but Julia did not notice either my
embarrassment or my silence, and began, in her low, soft voice, to
open one of the saddest chapters of life which I had ever heard.

'You do not know that I am going into a convent?' she said; then,
without waiting for an answer, she continued: 'This is the last month
of my worldly life. In four weeks, I shall have put on the white robe
of the novitiate, and in due course I trust to be dead for ever to
this earthly life.'

A heavy, thick, choking sensation in my throat, and a burning pain
within my eyeballs, warned me to keep silence. My voice would have
betrayed me.

'When I was seventeen,' continued Julia, 'I was engaged to my cousin.
We had been brought up together from childhood, and we loved each
other perfectly. You must not think, because I speak so calmly now,
that I have not suffered in the past. It is only by the grace of
resignation and of religion, that I have been brought to my present
condition of spiritual peace. I am now five-and-twenty--next week I
shall be six-and-twenty: that is just nine years since I was first
engaged to Laurence. He was not rich enough, and indeed he was far too
young, to marry, for he was only a year older than myself; and if he
had had the largest possible amount of income, we could certainly not
have married for three years. My father never cordially approved of
the engagement, though he did not oppose it. Laurence was taken
partner into a large concern here, and a heavy weight of business was
immediately laid on him. Youthful as he was, he was made the sole and
almost irresponsible agent in a house which counted its capital by
millions, and through which gold flowed like water. For some time, he
went on well--to a marvel well. He was punctual, vigilant, careful;
but the responsibility was too much for the poor boy: the praises he
received, the flattery and obsequiousness which, for the first time,
were lavished on the friendless youth, the wealth at his command, all
turned his head. For a long time, we heard vague rumours of irregular
conduct; but as he was always the same good, affectionate, respectful,
happy Laurence when with us, even my father, who is so strict, and
somewhat suspicious, turned a deaf ear to them. I was the earliest to
notice a slight change, first in his face, and then in his manners. At
last the rumours ceased to be vague, and became definite. Business
neglected; fatal habits visible even in the early day; the frightful
use of horrible words which once he would have trembled to use; the
nights passed at the gaming-table, and the days spent in the society
of the worst men on the turf--all these accusations were brought to my
father by credible witnesses; and, alas! they were too true to be
refuted. My father--Heaven and the holy saints bless his gray
head!--kept them from me as long as he could. He forgave him again and
again, and used every means that love and reason could employ to bring
him back into the way of right; but he could do nothing against the
force of such fatal habits as those to which my poor Laurence had now
become wedded. With every good intention, and with much strong love
for me burning sadly amid the wreck of his virtues, he yet would not
refrain: the Evil One had overcome him; he was his prey here and
hereafter. O no--not hereafter!' she added, raising her hands and eyes
to heaven, 'if prayer, if fasting, patient vigil, incessant striving,
may procure him pardon--not for ever his prey! Our engagement was
broken off; and this step, necessary as it was, completed his ruin. He
died'--Here a strong shudder shook her from head to foot, and I half
rose, in alarm. The next instant she was calm.

'Now, you know my history,' continued she. 'It is a tragedy of real
life, which you will do well, young painter, to compare with your
own!' With a kindly pressure of the hand, and a gentle smile--oh! so
sweet, so pure, and heavenly!--Julia Reay left me; while I sat
perfectly awed--that is the only word I can use--with the revelation
which she had made both of her history and of her own grand soul.

'Come with me to my study,' said Mr Reay, entering the room; 'I have a
world to talk to you about. You go to-morrow, you say. I am sorry for
it; but I must therefore settle my business with you in good time
to-day.'

I followed him mechanically, for I was undergoing a mental castigation
which rather disturbed me. Indeed, like a young fool--as eager in
self-reproach as in self-glorification--I was so occupied in inwardly
calling myself hard names, that even when my host gave me a commission
for my new picture, 'The Return of Columbus,' at two hundred and fifty
pounds, together with an order to paint himself, Mrs Reay, and
half-a-dozen of their children, I confess it with shame, that I
received the news like a leaden block, and felt neither surprise nor
joy--not though these few words chased me from the gates of the Fleet,
whither I was fast hastening, and secured me both position and daily
bread. The words of that beautiful girl were still ringing in my ears,
mixed up with the bitterest self-accusations; and these together shut
out all other sound, however pleasant. But that was always my way.

I went back to London, humbled and yet strengthened, having learned
more of human nature and the value of events, in one short fortnight,
than I had ever dreamed of before. The first lessons of youth
generally come in hard shape. I had sense enough to feel that I had
learned mine gently, and that I had cause to be thankful for the
mildness of the teaching. From a boy, I became a man, judging more
accurately of humanity than a year's ordinary experience would have
enabled me to do. And the moral which I drew was this: that under our
most terrible afflictions, we may always gain some spiritual good, if
we suffer them to be softening and purifying rather than hardening
influences over us. And also, that while we are suffering the most
acutely, we may be sure that others are suffering still more acutely;
and if we would but sympathise with them more than with
ourselves--live out of our ownselves, and in the wide world around
us--we would soon be healed while striving to heal others. Of this I
am convinced: the secret of life, and of all its good, is in love; and
while we preserve this, we can never fail of comfort. The sweet waters
will always gush out over the sandiest desert of our lives while we
can love; but without it--nay, not the merest weed of comfort or of
virtue would grow under the feet of angels. In this was the
distinction between Mrs Arden and Julia Reay. The one had hardened her
heart under her trials, and shut it up in itself; the other had opened
hers to the purest love of man and love of God; and the result was to
be seen in the despair of the one and in the holy peace of the other.

Full of these thoughts, I sought out my poor lady, determined to do
her real benefit if I could. She received me very kindly, for I had
taken care to provide myself with a sufficient introduction, so as to
set all doubts of my social position at rest: and I knew how far this
would go with her. We soon became fast friends. She seemed to rest on
me much for sympathy and comfort, and soon grew to regard me with a
sort of motherly fondness that of itself brightened her life. I paid
her all the attention which a devoted son might pay--humoured her
whims, soothed her pains; but insensibly I led her mind out from
itself--first in kindness to me, and then in love to her grandson.

I asked for him just before the midsummer holidays, and with great
difficulty obtained an invitation for him to spend them with her. She
resisted my entreaties stoutly, but at last was obliged to yield; not
to me, nor to my powers of persuasion, but to the holy truth of which
I was then the advocate. The child came, and I was there also to
receive him, and to enforce by my presence--which I saw without vanity
had great influence--a fitting reception. He was a pensive, clever,
interesting little fellow; sensitive and affectionate, timid, gifted
with wonderful powers, and of great beauty. There was a shy look in
his eyes, which made me sure that he inherited much of his loveliness
from his mother; and when we were great friends, he shewed me a small
portrait of 'poor mamma;' and I saw at once the most striking likeness
between the two. No human heart could withstand that boy, certainly
not my poor friend's. She yielded, fighting desperately against me and
him, and all the powers of love, which were subduing her, but yielding
while she fought; and in a short time the child had taken his proper
place in her affections, which he kept to the end of her life. And
she, that desolate mother, even she, with her seared soul and
petrified heart, was brought to the knowledge of peace by the glorious
power of love.

Prosperous, famous, happy, blessed in home and hearth, this has become
my fundamental creed of life, the basis on which all good, whether of
art or of morality, is rested: of art especially; for only by a
tender, reverent spirit can the true meaning of his vocation be made
known to the artist. All the rest is mere imitation of form, not
insight into essence. And while I feel that I can live out of myself,
and love others--the whole world of man--more than myself, I know that
I possess the secret of happiness; ay, though my powers were suddenly
blasted as by lightning, my wife and children laid in the cold grave,
and my happy home desolated for ever. For I would go out into the
thronged streets, and gather up the sorrows of others, to relieve
them; and I would go out under the quiet sky, and look up to the
Father's throne; and I would pluck peace, as green herbs from active
benevolence and contemplative adoration. Yes; love can save from the
sterility of selfishness, and from the death of despair: but love
alone. No other talisman has the power; pride, self-sustainment,
coldness, pleasure, nothing--nothing--but that divine word of Life
which is life's soul!



POPULAR MUSIC--MAINZER.


In our days, vocal music is beginning to assert in this country the
place it has long held abroad as a great moral educator; no longer
regarded as a superfluity of the rich, it is now established as a
branch of instruction in almost every school, and is gradually finding
its way into many nooks and corners, where it will act as an antidote
to grosser pleasures, by supplying the means of an innocent and
elevating recreation.

The apostle of music, considered as a boon and privilege of 'the
million,' has lately passed away from the scene of his active labours;
and it is but a tribute due to his memory as a philanthropist and man
of genius, while we deplore his loss, to pause for a moment and
briefly trace his career.

Joseph Mainzer was born, on the 21st October 1801, at Trêves, of
parents in the middle rank of life. When quite a child, the
predominating taste of his life was so strongly developed, that in
spite of harsh masters he learned to play on the piano, violin,
bassoon, and several wind-instruments; and at the age of twelve could
read at sight the most difficult music, and even attempted
composition. Music, however, was not intended to be his profession,
and was only carried on as a relaxation from the severer studies to
which Mainzer devoted himself at the university of Trêves, where he
took the highest degree in general merit, and the first prize for
natural science. At the age of twenty-one, he left college to descend
into the heart of the Saarbruck Mountains as an engineer of mines,
where, according to custom, he had to commence with the lowest grade
of labour, and for months drag a heavy wheel-barrow, and wield the
pickaxe. Yet here, in reality, dawned his mission as the apostle of
popular music: he relieved the tedium of those interminable nights of
toil--for days there were none--by composing and teaching choruses,
thus leading the miners both in labour and in song. This underground
life, however, was too severe for his constitution; and he was obliged
to return home in impaired health. He now studied divinity and music;
and, after a time, was advised to travel in order to perfect himself
in the latter branch of art. Under Rinck at Darmstadt, and at Vienna
and Rome, he enjoyed every advantage; and, on leaving the Eternal
City, was invited to a farewell _fête_ by Thorwaldsen, where all the
eminent artists of the day were present, and joined in singing his
compositions. On returning home, after two years' absence, he adopted
music as his vocation, and published his first elementary work--the
_Singschule_, which was introduced in Prussia and Germany as the
_méthode_ in schools; and soon after, the king of Prussia sent him the
gold medal awarded to men eminent in the arts and sciences. Paris,
however, soon offered more attractions to Mainzer than his native
place, and thither he repaired and pitched his tent for ten years.
During this period, he established his reputation as a composer of
dramatic, sacred, and domestic music, and as an acute and elegant
writer and critic. His opera of _La Jacquerie_ had a run of seventeen
nights consecutively at the theatre. He was soon welcomed into the
literary and artistic circles of Paris; and one evening, at an elegant
_réunion_, being invited to play, he _improvised_ a piece, which was
taken for a composition of Palestrina's. Many were moved to tears, one
pair of pre-eminently bright eyes especially; and the consequence was,
that the composer and the bright eyes were soon after united in
marriage!

But amid these captivating _salons_ and congenial occupations, what
had become of the apostle of popular music? He was not asleep; only
digesting and preparing a system which should, by its simplicity and
clearness, bring scientific music within the reach of the humblest as
well as the highest classes of society. At last it was matured, and
the working-classes were invited to come and test it--gratuitously of
course. A few accepted the invitation; but their success and delight
in the new art thus opened up to them, was so great, that the 'two or
three' pioneers soon swelled into an army of 3000 _ouvriers_! But a
band of 3000 workmen in Paris was considered dangerous: it could not
be credited that they met merely for social improvement and
relaxation; some political design must surely lurk under it:
government was alarmed, the police threatened; and it was left to
Mainzer's choice either to remain in Paris without his artisan
classes, or to seek elsewhere a field for his popular labours. He
decided at once on the latter alternative, and departed for England,
amidst the heartfelt regrets of those whom he had attached so strongly
to himself, while he inculcated peace, order, and every social virtue.
On his revisiting Paris long after, his old pupils serenaded him
unmolested; and in 1849, the Institute of France voluntarily placed
his name on their list for the membership vacant by the death of
Donizetti; yet he would not accept the proposal of a later French
government to return and establish his system: he preferred the
freedom of action which he enjoyed in Britain.

In London, a period of arduous labour commenced. Mainzer arrived
without patronage, without the _prestige_ that his name had earned
abroad, and, what was a greater drawback, without any knowledge of
English! But, nothing daunted, with his usual energy he set about the
task of acquiring the language, which he did in an incredibly short
time--commencing, like a child, by naming all familiar objects, and
going on, until, without perplexing himself with rules or their
exceptions, he had acquired facility enough to lecture in public. His
work on _Music and Education_ shows with what force and purity of
style he could afterwards write in English. It was the same
principle--that of commencing with practice and letting theory
follow--which he carried out in his system of 'Singing for the
Million.' He argued, that as children learn to speak before they can
read or construct language grammatically, so they ought to be taught
vocal music in such a way as to introduce the rules of harmony
gradually, and prepare them for the manipulation of an instrument, if
it is intended they should learn one; while for the great masses of
both children and adults, _the voice_ is the best and only instrument,
and one that can be trained, with _very few exceptions_, to take part
in choral, if not in solo singing, and at the same time be made a
powerful and pleasing agent in moral culture. On this subject, we
shall quote Dr Mainzer's own words, when speaking of the compositions
introduced into his classes, he says: 'Besides religious compositions,
there are others, which refer to the Creator, by calling attention to
the beauty and grandeur of his works. Songs, shewing in a few touching
lines the wondrous instinct of the sparrow, the ant, the bee, and
cultivating a feeling of respect for all nature's children. Besides
these, there are songs intended to promote social and domestic
virtues--order, cleanliness, humility, contentment, unity, temperance,
etc.; thus impressing, not the letter of the law of charity on
immature minds, but the spirit of it in the memory, and so identifying
them with the very fibres of the heart.'

With such views and principles, Mainzer arrived in England, to
propagate his humanising art; and London soon became the centre of a
series of lectures and classes, held in the principal towns accessible
by railway--such as Brighton, Oxford, Reading, etc. But this divided
work was not satisfactory, and the national schools and popular field
in London were preoccupied by Hullah, who had some time previously
introduced Wilhem's system, under the sanction of government. There
was room and to spare, however, for every system, and Mainzer wished
every man good-speed who advanced the cause; but as a fresh field for
his own exertions, after two years spent in England, he turned his
thoughts towards Edinburgh, where he had been invited by requisition,
and warmly received in 1842.

On his return to Scotland, he found his cause somewhat damaged in his
absence, by the attempt of precentors to teach his system in
congregational classes. Unlike the church-organists of England, the
Scotch precentors are not educated musicians--a naturally good voice
and ear is their only pre-requisite. Dr Mainzer soon repaired this
mistake in those congregations which invited his personal
superintendence; and in one church (Free St Andrew's) the good effects
of his system are still to be heard, in a congregation forming their
own choir, and singing in _four parts_.

To restore this country to the standard of musical eminence which we
know from old authorities that it held in the sixteenth century, was
the object of Dr Mainzer's energetic endeavours. The elements, he
believed, were not wanting. In Scotland, the musical capacity of the
people he found to be above rather than below the average of other
nations: all that was wanting was to convince the people of this by
the cultivation of their neglected powers. As a preliminary step, he
excited those friendly to the object to found the 'Association for the
Revival of Sacred Music in Scotland,' of which he was the director and
moving spring; and under its auspices he commenced a course of
_gratuitous_ teaching to classes formed of pupils from the parish and
district schools of Edinburgh, precentors, teachers, and operatives.
The success of these normal classes was so great and so rapid, that at
the end of the first year the pupils were able to become teachers in
their turn in their own schools or homes; and at the close of the
second and third sessions, concerts and rural fêtes were held, at
which many hundreds of young voices joined in giving true and powerful
expression to such works of the great masters as _Judas Maccabæus_;
while for the delight of their parents' firesides, and their own moral
improvement, the children carried home with them those simple but
touching and expressive melodies, composed by Mainzer for their use.
At the same time, Mr Mainzer carried on classes for the upper ranks,
especially for young children; gave lectures on the history of music
from the earliest times and in all countries; and published a talented
work on _Music and Education_, of which very favourable reviews
appeared at the time.[1] Mainzer had a peculiar predilection for
Scotland: its scenery, its history, its music, all supplied food for
his various tastes. With a poetic appreciation of the beauties of
nature, he desired no greater pleasure than to wander in perfect
freedom among our lochs and hills; and his descriptions of Edinburgh,
the Highlands, and Western Islands, which appeared in the _Augsburg
Gazette_, have brought some and inspired more with the wish to visit
the Switzerland of Britain. The history and music of Scotland threw
fresh light upon each other under his researches. He delighted to
trace the reciprocal influence of national events and national music,
from the time of the Culdee establishments of the sixth century, when
'Iona was the Rome of the north,' down to the _Covenanter's Lament_,
and the Jacobite songs of the last century. Since these days, the
spirit that invented and handed down popular song has passed away with
the national and clannish feuds which gave rise to the gathering song
and the lament. The age of peace has been heralded in by the songs of
Burns and Lady Nairne, the authoress of _The Land o' the Leal_, who
has done much to restore the taste for our beautiful old melodies, by
wedding them to pure and appropriate verse.[2]

In such pursuits, Mainzer--by this time dubbed doctor by a German
university--passed five years very pleasantly, but, in a worldly point
of view, very unprofitably. He had failed on first coming to Edinburgh
in obtaining the musical chair, which seemed so appropriate a niche
for him; and however reluctant to leave his favourite normal classes
and his adopted home, still when he looked to the future, he was
compelled to think of leaving Edinburgh--for the German proverb still
held true: 'Kunst geht nach brod;' and if man cannot live by bread
_alone_, neither can the artist live _without_ bread! At this
juncture, the Chevalier Neukomm, of European celebrity as a composer
and organist, and a valued friend of Dr Mainzer, came to Edinburgh to
inspect his friend's normal classes. He was so much delighted with
them, and considered Dr Mainzer so little appreciated by the general
public, that he persuaded him to try Manchester as his future field of
exertion.

In the autumn of 1848, accordingly, Neukomm introduced Mainzer to the
leading men of that city, who received him so cordially, that he at
once took his proper position, and entered on a career both useful and
profitable, and which continued to be increasingly successful, until
at Christmas 1850, he was laid aside by ill-health. Over-exertion had
brought on a complication of diseases, to which he was a martyr for
ten months, and which terminated fatally on the 10th November 1851.
During that long period of intense suffering, his active mind was
never clouded nor repining, and at every interval of comparative ease,
he read or listened to reading with avidity. During the first months
of his illness, he superintended the publication of a new musical
work, called _The Orpheon_, two numbers of which appeared; and his
last exertion in this way was arranging two songs: _The Sigh_ of
Charles Swain, and Longfellow's _Footsteps of Angels_, adapted to
Weber's last song. Prophetic requiems both!

A few weeks after his death, the hall which had been built in
Edinburgh for the classes of the Association which he founded, was
opened by an amateur concert given as a tribute to his memory. He had
promised to preside on this occasion; but his place was filled by his
aged, but still vigorous friend, the Chevalier Neukomm, who had come
to Edinburgh, at the request of the Association, to compose a series
of psalms, one of which was sung by the pupils. Music for the Psalms,
_adapted to the varying meaning of each verse_, has hitherto been a
desideratum in the musical world; now being supplied in Chevalier
Neukomm's work, and already subscribed for by no mean judges--the
Queen and Prince Albert, the king of Prussia, &c. It was touching, and
yet gratifying, to see one of Dr Mainzer's oft-cherished hopes
realised for the first time that evening--that of the _musical union_
of accomplished amateurs of private life with the pupils of the normal
classes.

Having thus briefly traced Dr Mainzer's life, it now remains to offer
a few remarks on his general character. His talents were of a
diversified and high order; and those who knew him only as the author
of 'Singing for the Million,' were not aware of his general
cultivation of mind. In the dead and living languages, he was equally
at home: now he would be speculating on the formation of the Greek
chorus, and again mastering some dialect of modern Europe, in order to
elucidate the history of the people or their music and poetry. His
literary articles were sought after by all the leading journals in
Germany and Paris; and his volumes of _Sketches of Travel_, and of
_The Lower Orders in Paris_, are graphic and entertaining. A year or
two ago, a _Notice Bibliographique_ of his works appeared in Paris,
which contained a list of above thirty publications. Great diligence,
joined to enthusiasm, enabled him to accomplish so much in these
various departments of literature. His manners, too, were of that
frank, cordial, and agreeable tone which inspires confidence, and
prepossessed every one in his favour; so that from all he could obtain
the information which he wished, and they could afford. Over his
pupils, his influence was immense. He had the rare art of engaging the
entire attention of children; and while he maintained strict
discipline, he gained their warmest affection: his own earnestness was
reflected on the countenances of his pupils.

Those alone who knew him in private life could thoroughly estimate
that purity of mind and heart which eminently characterised him, along
with a childlike simplicity and unworldliness, which often, indeed,
made him the prey of designing persons, but which, joined to his
general information and cheerfulness, made his society most
attractive. His personal appearance was indicative of a delicate and
nervous organisation: slight and fragile in figure, with an
intellectual forehead and eye, that spoke of the preponderance of the
_spirituelle_ in his idiosyncrasy; one of those minds which are ever
working beyond the powers of the body; ever planning new achievements
and new labours of love, and which too often, alas! go out at noonday,
while half their fond projects are unaccomplished, yet not before they
have made a name to live, and left the world their debtors!

FOOTNOTES:

[1] See _Chambers's Journal_, No. 226, New Series.

[2] See _Lays from Strathearn_, 4to.



A NEWCASTLE PAPER IN 1765-6.


There is scarcely anything more entertaining and instructive than a
leisurely look over an old newspaper file. A newspaper of any age is
an attraction, and the current newspaper something more, for it is now
a necessity. But the next place to it in point of interest is perhaps
due to the journal half a century, or two-thirds of a century old. It
introduces us, if we be youthful, to the habits of our grandsires; and
if we be in 'the sere, the yellow leaf,' to the habits of our fathers,
more fully than the pleasantest novel or most elaborate essay, and far
more intimately than the most correct and complete historical records.
It enables us to observe freely the position and avocations of the
denizens of the past, and catch hasty, but most suggestive glances at
bygone days; it 'shews the very age and body of the time, its form and
pressure.' It is a milestone from which we may reckon our progress,
and must delight as well as surprise us by the advancement it shews us
to have made in social and political life, particularly with regard to
those 'triumphs of mind over matter,' for which recent times have been
pre-eminently distinguished.

The writer of this article had lately an opportunity of inspecting a
file of the _Newcastle Chronicle_ for 1765-6, and the contrast between
journals and things in general which that examination forced on the
attention, was in some respects sufficiently striking or curious to
be, in his opinion, deserving of some permanent record. At present,
the journal in question almost, if not entirely, reaches 'the largest
size allowed by law;' at that time, it consisted merely of a single
demy sheet. Now, the Newcastle people would be amazed beyond measure
if they did not receive at breakfast-time, on the morning of
publication, the parliamentary, and all other important news of the
night; then, the latest London news was four days old. But a better
idea of the journal can perhaps be given, by stating what it lacked
than what it then contained. It had no leaders, no parliamentary
reports, and very little indeed, in any shape, that could be termed
political news. In these matters, its conductor had to say, with
Canning's knife-grinder: 'Story! God bless you, I have none to tell,
sir.' Not that the political world was unfruitful in affairs of
moment; it was a time of no small change, interest, and excitement. In
the period referred to, the Grenville ministry had endeavoured to
burden the American colonies, by means of the stamp-duties, with some
of the debt contracted in the late war. Thereupon, immense discontent
had arisen at home and abroad; that administration had fallen; and the
Rockingham ministry, which was then formed, found full employment (in
1766) in undoing what had been effected in the previous year. How the
Grafton ministry was next formed; how the unfortunate design of taxing
the colonists was revived; and how that policy ended, readers of
English history know full well. John Wilkes, too, had been already
persecuted into prominence, although not yet forced up to the height
of his popularity with the masses. But, notwithstanding these and
other stirring incidents, the _Chronicle_ was, politically speaking,
almost a blank. From time to time, it was stated that the royal assent
had been given to certain measures; but concerning the preparation and
discussion of those measures, nothing was known. A few other political
facts of interest, indeed, such as the arrival of Wilkes in London
from France; the repeal of the obnoxious Stamp Act; the riots of the
Spitalfields weavers on account of the importation of French silks;
and an attack upon the Speaker, and many of the members of the Dublin
parliament, who were grossly insulted, and kept from going to the
House, in consequence of 'a report that parliament designed to impose
more taxes,' were also curtly noticed. Political rumours abounded,
although positive knowledge of that kind was exceedingly scanty; and
the little that could be obtained was eked out by inuendo, rather than
by venturing on any direct statement. The familiarity which, according
to the proverb, is apt to breed contempt, was not then indulged in
with reference to rulers, parliaments, or even agitators. The emperor
of Russia was alluded to under the title of 'a great northern
potentate;' parliament was spoken of as 'a certain august assembly;'
and Wilkes was usually entitled, 'a certain popular gentleman.'

Some of the political rumours are worthy of republication. The
subjoined, from the London news of July 29, 1766, serves to shew how
long a political change may be mooted before its effect is tried in
this country: 'It is said, a bill will be brought into parliament next
session, binding elections for members of parliament to be by ballot.'

And, without at all entering into the discussion of political topics,
it may perhaps be observed that the following, taken from the
_Chronicle_ of August 10, 1765, points out how an evil of the present
day has long been felt and acknowledged: 'We hear the electors of a
certain borough have been offered 3000 guineas for a seat, though
there is but so short a time for the session of the present
parliament.'

Great surprise is expressed (1766) that the consumption of coal in
London 'hath increased from 400,000 odd to 600,000 chaldrons yearly.'
We find that the coal imported into London during the first six months
of 1851, amounted to 1,527,527 tons, besides 90,975 tons brought into
the metropolis during the same period by railway and canal. 'Carrying
coal to Newcastle' proved a successful speculation on September 25,
1765, when, on account of a strike among the pitmen, 'several pokes of
coal were brought to this town by one of the common carriers, and sold
on the Sandhill for 9d. a poke, by which he cleared 6d. a poke.' About
the same time, wheat was selling in Darlington and Richmond for 4s.
and 4s. 6d. per bushel, after having been nearly double that price
only two or three weeks previously. In the number for June 25, 1766,
we have the following quotation from a Doncaster letter:--'Corn sold
last market-day from 12s. to 14s. per quarter; meat, from 2-1/2d. to
3d. per pound; fowls, and other kinds of poultry, had no price, being
mostly carried home. I wish a scheme was set on foot, to run many such
articles to London by land-carriage; there is plenty here.' In the
same paper, the prices of grain in London are given: wheat, 36s. to
41s.; barley, 22s. to 25s.; oats, 16s. to 20s.

Recently, the Newcastle papers, led on by the _Chronicle_, have been
making strenuous efforts to extend the French coal-trade, but such
exertions formed no part of the 'wisdom of our ancestors.' The number
for June 15, 1765, informs us that 'some sinister designs for
exporting a very considerable quantity of coals to France and
elsewhere, have lately been discovered and prevented.' Sturdy Britons
had then far too much hatred for 'our natural enemies' to wish to
exchange aught but hostilities with them. About the same time, we
learn that 'clubs of young gentlemen of fortune' had come to the
magnanimous resolve, 'to toast no lady who has so much inconsideration
as to lavish her money away in French fopperies, to the detriment of
her own country.'

The style of advertising then in vogue occasionally gave the paper a
somewhat pictorial appearance. Cockfighting was in great force, and
the public announcements relative to this barbarous sport were
invariably headed by a portraiture of a couple of game-birds facing
each other with a most belligerent aspect; while the numerous
advertisements of horses 'stolen or strayed,' were embellished by a
representation of the supposed thief, mounted on the missing animal,
which was forced into a breakneck pace, while Satan himself, _in
propria persona_, was perched on the crupper, in an excited and
triumphant attitude. In the local paragraphs, we note several
indicating a strong feeling of animosity between the Scotch and
English borderers. We observe also that the Newcastle dogs--to this
day a very numerous fraternity--were at times quite unmanageable, and
caused, either by their ravenous exploits, or their downright madness,
no small uneasiness to the town and neighbourhood. It must be
confessed, that in its marriage-notices, at least, the _Chronicle_ was
far superior to anything that journalism can now exhibit in Newcastle
or in Great Britain. These interesting announcements must have
intensely delighted our grandmothers; and, we fear, have frequently
tempted our grandsires into a somewhat precipitate plunge into the
gulf of matrimony. Instead of barely specifying, as papers now do,
that Mr Smith married Miss Brown, the _Chronicle_ uniformly tantalised
its bachelor readers with an account of the personal, mental, and, if
such there were, metallic charms of the bride; so that how any single
gentleman, in the teeth of such notifications, could retain his
condition for long, is really marvellous. Most of the young ladies who
had thus bestowed themselves on their fortunate admirers, are
described as 'sprightly,' and many as 'genteel and agreeable;' some
have 'a genteel fortune,' other's 'a considerable fortune,' and
others, again, rejoice in the possession of 'a large fortune:' one man
gains 'a well-accomplished young lady, with a fortune of L.1000;'
another takes unto himself 'an agreeable widow lady, with a fortune of
L.2000;' a third marches off with 'a young lady endowed with every
accomplishment to make the marriage state happy, with a fortune of
L.5000;' while a fourth _Benedict_, more lucky still, obtains 'a most
amiable, affable, and agreeable young lady, with a fortune of
L.10,000.' We suppose that the best excuse newspaper editors now have
for being less florid in their matrimonial announcements is, that
where the papers formerly had one, they have now at least a dozen of
these interesting notices; so that their brevity may be less owing to
the want of gallantry than to the want of space.

So extremely meagre was the news, both foreign and domestic, that a
considerable portion of the four small pages of the _Chronicle_ was
usually devoted to literature. Extracts were frequently given from the
works of Johnson, Smollett, and other popular writers, and a column
was often occupied by an essay from a contributor to the paper,
generally treating of some social evil or peculiarity, but never
intermeddling with local or general politics. These effusions
displayed a very respectable amount of ability, and the general
getting-up, or what would now be termed the sub-editing of the paper,
was also performed with care and ability. The scraps of news were
always presented rewritten and carefully condensed, instead of the
loose 'scissors-and-paste' style of publication adopted by many
provincial papers of the present day. Notices not only of local
theatricals, but of histrionic matters at Old Drury, were occasionally
given; the number for March 15, 1766, containing a well-written
criticism of '_The Clandestine Marriage; a New Comedy_,' performed
there. As the _Chronicle_ thus had to leave politics for literature,
we may perhaps, in our turn, digress from a consideration of its
pages, to note briefly that this period was set in the very midst of
the celebrated Georgian era, in which this country could boast of more
distinguished men--especially in literature--than at any other period.
In about twenty previous years, many great ones had departed--notably
Pope, Thomson, Fielding. Richardson also had died in 1761, and
Shenstone in 1763; the author of the _Night-Thoughts_ survived till
1765, when his burial was announced in the _Chronicle_ of April 27.
At this time (1765-6), Dr Johnson had reached the zenith of his fame;
Gray was becoming popular; Smollett had written most of his novels;
Goldsmith was about to present the world with his exquisite _Vicar of
Wakefield_; Gibbon had returned to England from Rome with the idea of
_The Decline and Fall_ floating in his brain; Thomas Chatterton,

          ----'the marvellous boy,
    The sleepless soul that perished in his pride,'

had already given proofs of his wondrous precocity; the genuine
sailor-poet, Falconer, had lately published _The Shipwreck_; Laurence
Sterne had just collected the materials for his _Sentimental Journey_;
Sir William Blackstone had published his celebrated _Commentaries_;
Wesley and Whitefield had not yet ended their useful career; the star
of Edmund Burke was rising; and Jeremy Bentham, being then (1766) but
seventeen years of age, had taken his master's degree at Oxford,
although, it is true, the first literary performance of the eccentric
philosopher did not appear till some years later. Home, Moore, and
Colman, had appeared successfully as dramatists, and were about to be
followed by Macklin, Cumberland, Goldsmith, and Sheridan. Newcastle or
district celebrities of the time included Mark Akenside, the author of
_The Pleasures of the Imagination_; Dr Thomas Percy, dean of Carlisle,
who published, in 1765, his _Reliques of English Poetry_; and Dr John
Langhorne, a northern divine of no small popularity in his day as a
poet. Among other illustrious living men, were Horace Walpole, Henry
Mackenzie, Blair, Hume, Adam Smith, Dr Robertson, Garrick, Reynolds;
and last, not least, William Pitt, who, in 1766, was created Earl of
Chatham.

But let us return to our more immediate purpose--that of making a few
selections from the _Chronicle_, some of which will doubtless reflect
far less credit on the age than the enumeration we have just made of
eminent individuals. Now and then, a duel took place in Hyde Park. The
amusements of some of our aristocrats did not always exhibit them in
any very dignified position, as witness the subjoined:--'Sir Charles
Bunbury ran 100 yards at Newmarket for 1000 guineas, against a tailor
with 40 lb. weight of cabbage, _alias_ shreds.'

Here is a paragraph, from the number for March 15, 1766, relative to
the recreations of some less elevated in the social scale: 'Sunday
morning, a little before three o'clock, a match at marbles was played
under the piazza at Covent Garden by the light of thirty-two links (by
several rogues well known in that circle), for twenty guineas a side.'

A few other quotations may be deemed worthy of republication, although
some of them may have no direct or important bearing. The audacity of
highway robbers at this period is known to everybody. The following,
dated December 21, 1765, gives a tolerably correct idea of the usual
style adopted by those gentlemen of the road:--'Thursday, the Leeds
and Leicester stage-coaches were stopped on Finchley Common by a
highwayman, who took from the passengers a considerable sum of money.
A nobleman's cook, a young woman about twenty-five, declared she would
not be robbed, when the highwayman, admiring her courage, let her
alone. He broke the coach-glass with his pistol, and gave the coachman
half-a-crown to get it mended.' News from London, dated January 9,
1765, says: 'Early on Tuesday morning, a member of parliament, on his
return home in a chair to his house in New Palace Yard, was stopped
and robbed by a single footpad of his purse, in which were sixty-three
guineas.'

About the same time, we are informed that 'the celebrated J.J.
Rousseau hath for the present taken up his residence at a friend's
house in Putney.'--The number for October 26, 1765, contains an
advertisement of a 'beggar's stand' (copied from the _Public
Advertiser_), 'to be let, in a charitable neighbourhood. Income, about
30s. a week.'

The following reference to our acquaintances, the Sikhs, now
sufficiently well known, is curious, as it is doubtless one of their
first appearances in the columns of the English press. It is dated
July 5, 1766: 'The Seyques, an idolatrous people inhabiting the
neighbourhood of Cachemire, whose name was hardly known two years ago,
have beaten Abdaly and the Patanes whom he commanded.' Modern Cockneys
would stare to read a paragraph like this: 'A great deal of grass hath
been cut down about Islington, Kentish-Town,' &c.

We will conclude our selections, which have now grown quite desultory
and miscellaneous, by the brief obituary of a 'remarkable' man, from
the _Chronicle_ of July 26, 1766: 'Thursday, died at his house near
Hampstead, the Rev. Mr Southcote, remarkable for having a leg of
mutton every night for supper during a course of forty years, smoking
ten pipes as constantly, and drinking three bottles of port.'



GENIUS FOR EMIGRATION.


Lady E. Stuart Wortley, in the account of her journey in America,
mentions that she saw a man proceeding on foot across the Isthmus of
Panama, bound for the Pacific, carrying a huge box on his back that
would almost have contained a house. It was really a dreadful thing to
see the poor man, full-cry for California, toiling along with his
enormous burden, under a tropical sun, the heat of which he required
to endure through forty miles of wilderness, and no chance of relief
or refreshment by the way. Yet this serio-comic spectacle is not
singular. Multitudes seem to have gone to the diggings with every
species of encumbrance, and in a totally unsuitable garb. Splendid
dress-coats and waistcoats, boots and pantaloons, but no
working-clothes, nor implements for camping, and in many instances not
even a cloak: everything suitable for the enjoyment of their golden
promises, with nothing to assist in realising them.

Nearly the same thing has occurred in innumerable instances as regards
Australia. The men going thither must in general be shepherds or their
masters; and to be either to any purpose, they must go far into the
bush. For this they required a talent for constructing huts for
themselves and servants, and hurdles for the cattle, and consequently
tools to assist them; but they often went without either tools or
talents, and so had to pay extravagantly for very common services.
They may have had common clothes, but they had made no provision for
living far from the assistance of women; and consequently, if a
coat-sleeve was torn, it must hang just as it was; if a stocking was
out at heel, having neither needles nor worsted, nor the power of
using them, they had no other resource but to _tie_ the _hole_
together. They had no idea of washing and dressing, and consequently
must want clean linen, or stockings, and every other article of clean
apparel, till a woman could be heard of, and bribed to assist them.
The consequence was, that it was cheaper to buy new articles than
either wash or mend the old. It is doubtful whether many had not
omitted to learn to shave themselves, or to provide razors or strops,
or even scissors.

Then as to baking bread, or cooking the humblest meal, they were
equally at a loss. They seem to have had no idea of the humblest
grate, or even of a flat and easily-cleaned stone for a hearth; and
so, having kneaded their 'damper,' it is never said how they thrust it
in the ashes till it was partially heated, and comparatively fit to
be eaten. They have mutton, and mutton only; but how cooked is equally
unknown. It is not known that they have any apparatus whatever, stew
or frying pan, or even a hook and string. Yet the natives of Scotland
may have seen many things nicely baked by means of a hot hearthstone
below, a griddle with live coals above, and burning turf all round. A
single pot with water is a boiler; with the juice of the meat, or
little more, a stew-pan; or merely surrounded by fire, an oven: but it
is believed many have not that single pot. Even the cheap crock that
holds salted meat might also be turned into a pudding-dish; and such a
vessel as that which of old held the ashes of the dead, and now
occasionally holds salt, the French peasant often turns into a
_pot-au-feu_--a pot for boiling his soup--and makes that soup out of
docks and nettles collected by the wayside, with a little
meal--delicious if seasoned with salt and a scrap of meat, or a
well-picked lark or sparrow, or even a nicely-skinned and washed thigh
of a frog!

The natives of New Holland themselves get fat upon serpents
well-killed--that is, with the heads adroitly cut off, so as not to
suffer the poison to go through the body; or upon earth or tree worms
nicely roasted. The Turks roast their _kebabs_--something near to
mutton-chops--by holding them to the fire on skewers. But the
inhabitants of Great Britain, accustomed to comforts unknown to any
other part of the world, are, when deprived of these comforts, the
most helpless in the world.

The natives of Ireland might be supposed to be excellent subjects for
emigration, for at home they have often only straw and rags for beds,
stones for seats, and one larger in the middle for a table; while the
basket or 'kish' that washes the potatoes, receives them again when
boiled: so that the pot and basket are the only articles of furniture.
Simplicity beyond this is hardly conceivable: there is but one step
beyond it--wanting the pot, and throwing the potatoes, however cooked,
broadcast upon the stone-table; and this is possible by roasting
the potatoes in the embers. The Guachos of South America teach how
even the most savoury meal of beef may be obtained without pot
or oven--namely, by roasting it in the skin! It is called
_carne-con-cuero_--flesh in the skin--and is pronounced delicious.
Diogenes threw away his dish, his only article of furniture, upon
seeing a boy drink from his hand; and after this example, an Irishman
might throw away his pot; though we would not recommend him to do so.

Unless people know how to prepare food, they may starve in the midst
of comparative plenty. It is alleged--though we do not vouch for the
fact--that when wheat and maize were carried into Ireland and given
gratis, the famine was not stayed. Though they had the wheat and
maize, they could not grind them; if ground, they could not cook
them--they had neither vessels nor fuel; if vessels and fuel were
given, they were still unable to assist themselves--they had not skill
to cook them; and if cooked, they could not eat them--they had never
been accustomed to do so! Such are the effects of carrying contentment
too far: the individual becomes wholly resourceless.

We try to induce them to fish with the same results. If we give them
boats, they have no nets; give them nets, they know not how to use
them; teach them to use them, and they can neither cook nor eat the
fish; and as to selling them for other comforts, there is no market!
Without a knowledge of agriculture, or fishing, or even talents to
feed themselves, such men are useless in any quarter, unless as
subjects to be taught; and now at last, but greatly too late, they are
being taught, and the much-abused railway will carry their produce to
the market.

The Scottish Celt is more shifty. In the old days when he had flesh
and little else to eat, he could broil it on the coals; and a Scotch
collop is perhaps equal to a Turkish kebob. We wonder if in Australia
the long-forgotten Scotch collop has been revived? It requires no
cooking-vessels. It may be held to the fire on a twig, or laid on the
coals and turned by a similar twig--bent into a collop-tongs--or even
by the fingers.

In the Rebellion of 1745, the Scoto-Celt could knead into a cake the
meal, which he carried as his sole provision, and knew that it ought
to be fired upon a griddle; but if he had no other convenience, he
could knead it in his bonnet, and eat it raw, and go forth to meet and
conquer the best-appointed soldiers in Europe. It was only when at
last he had neither rest nor food that he was dispersed--not
conquered. A lowland Scot is better. With a dish and hot water, and of
course the meal and salt, he can make _brose_, and live and thrive
upon it.

How John Bull, who in his own country is carnivorous, and will have
his roast-pig on Sunday, if he should slave all the week--how he gets
on in a new country, is more doubtful. Very likely, having more wants,
he makes more provision for them; but as below a certain rank he is
not a writing animal, less is known of his successes or difficulties.
For our own part, we think we would have made an excellent Crusoe, and
your Crusoe is the only man for a new country.

Some years ago, we travelled over the backbone of Scotland, and
returned somewhat on its western fin, both on foot; and all our
equipments were a travelling dress, a stout umbrella, and a parcel in
wax-cloth strapped on our left shoulder, not larger than is generally
seen in the hands of a commercial traveller--that is, twelve inches by
six or eight; and yet we never wanted for anything. It is true we had
generally the convenience of inns by the way; but if by our
_Traveller's Guide_ (which we also carried) we saw the stage was to be
long, an oaten cake, with a _plug_ of wheaten bread for the last
mouthful, to keep down heartburn, and a slice of cold beef or ham, or
a hard-boiled egg, were ample provisions. Drink? There was no lack of
drink. Springs of the most beautiful water were frequent by the
roadside, and constantly bubbling up, without noise or motion, through
the purest sand, though heaven only was looking upon them; and a
single leaf from our memorandum-book, formed into the shape of a
grocer's twist as wanted, served us as a drinking-cup throughout the
journey. Had we even been overtaken by night, it was summer, and a bed
under whins, or upon heather, with our umbrella set against the wind,
and secured to us, would have been delightful. Once, indeed, we feared
this would have been our fate; for on the very top of Corryarrick, and
consequently nine miles or more from house or home in any direction,
we sprained our ankle, or rather an old sprain returned. To all
appearance, we were done for, and might have sat stiff for days or
weeks by the solitary spring that happened to be near at the instant.
But a piece of flannel from the throat, and a tape from the wondrous
parcel, enabled us again to wag; and we finished our allotted journey
to Dalwhinnie in time for dinner, tea, and supper in one--and then to
our journal with glorious serenity!

Our arrangements for the continent were equally simple. When we were
asked to shew our luggage, on entering France, we produced a
portmanteau nine inches by six. 'Voila ma magasin!' It was opened, and
there were certainly some superfluities, though natural enough in an
incipient traveller. 'Une plume pour écrire l'Histoire de la
France!'--'Un cahier pour la même!' And the intending historian of
France, even with his imported pen and paper-book, and also three
shirts and some pairs of socks, was allowed to go to his dinner, with
his _magasin_ in his hand, and start by the first conveyance; while
his less fortunate fellow-travellers had to dine in absence of their
luggage, and perhaps give the town that had the honour of being their
landing-place, the profit of their company for the night.

But what is the use of all these insinuations of aptitude for
colonisation, when there is not such another man in the world? We beg
pardon; but we have actually discovered such another, and to introduce
him suitably has been the sole aim of our existence in writing this
interesting preface. In a most authentic newspaper, we find the
following admirable history, copied from the _New York Express_:--

'A man who had been an unsuccessful delver in the mines of Georgia, on
hearing the thrilling news of the gold placers of California, had his
spirit quickened within him; and although he had arrived at an
age--being about sixty--when the fires of youth usually cease to burn
with vigour, he fixed his eyes upon the far-distant and but
little-known country, and resolved that he would wend his way thither
alone, and even in the absence of that friend, generally thought
indispensable, money, of which he was wholly destitute.

'Under such circumstances, it would not avail to think of a passage
round "The Horn," or by the more uncertain, and at the same time
imperfected route, across the Isthmus. But as California was on this
continent, he knew that there was a way thither, though it might lead
through trackless deserts and barren wastes. These were not enough to
daunt his determined spirit. He bent his way to the "Father of
Waters," and worked his way as he could, till he found himself at
"Independence," in health, and with no less strength, and with 150
dollars in his purse. He had no family to provide for, or even
companion to care for, on the route which he was about to enter. Yet
some things were necessary for himself; and to relieve his body from
the pressure of a load, he provided himself with a wheel-barrow, on
which to place his traps.

'It must not be supposed that our hero was ignorant of the large
number of emigrants that was moving over the plains, and it is quite
probable that his sagacity was precocious enough to look ahead at the
result of attempting to carry forward such ponderous loads, and such a
variety of at least dispensable things as the earlier parties started
with. A detailed list of the 'amount and variety of goods and wares,
useful and superfluous, including many of the appendages of refined
and fashionable life, would astonish the reader. Our hero was not in a
hurry. He reasoned thus: "The world was not made in a day; the race is
not always for the swift." He trundled along his barrow, enjoying the
comforts of his pipe, the object of wonder to many, and the subject of
much sportive remark to those who were hurried along by their fresh
and spirited teams on their first days.

'Many weeks had not passed, however, before our traveller had tangible
evidence that trouble had fallen to the lot of some who had preceded
him. A stray ox was feeding on his track: the mate of which, he
afterwards learned, was killed, and this one turned adrift as useless.
He coaxed this waif to be the companion of his journey, taking care to
stop where he could provide himself with the needful sustenance. He
had not travelled far before he found a mate for his ox, and ere long
a wagon, which had given way in some of its parts, and been abandoned
by its rightful owner, and left in the road. Our travelling genius was
aroused to turn these mishaps to his own advantage; so he went
straightway to work to patch and bolster up the wagon, bound his
faithful oxen to it, and changed his employment from trundling a
wheel-barrow to driving a team. Onward moved the new establishment,
the owner gathering as he went, from the superabundance of those who
had gone before him, various articles of utility--such as flour,
provisions of all kinds, books, implements, even rich carpets, &c.
which had been cast off as burdensome by other travellers. He would
occasionally find poor worn-out animals that had been left behind, and
as it was not important for him to speed his course, he gathered them
together, stopping where there was abundance of grass, long enough for
his cattle to gain a little strength and spirit. Time rolled on, and
his wagon rolled with it, till he reached the end of his journey, when
it was discovered that he had an uncommon fine team and a good wagon,
&c. which produced him on the sale 2500 dollars.

'Being now relieved of the care of his team, and in the midst of the
gold-diggings, he soon closed his prospecting by a location; and while
all around him were concentrating their strength to consummate the
work of years in a few months, he deliberately commenced building,
finishing, and, as fast as he could, furnishing, a comfortable cabin.
His wood he gathered and regularly piled in a straight line and
perpendicular by the door, convenient as though the old lady had been
within to provide his meals. He acted upon the adage, "Never to start
till you are ready." Now our hero was ready to commence working his
"claim;" and this he did, as he did everything else, steadily and
systematically.

'He may yet be seen at his work, with the prospect--if he lives to be
an old man--of being rich; for in the last two years he has
accumulated 10,000 dollars.'

Need we add a word? This is decidedly the kind of man for
emigrating--or, indeed, for remaining at home. We, being of his own
character, can conceive his delicious nights of camping out, his head
under his wheel-barrow, until he arrived at the dignity of a wagon;
his principal luggage being perhaps a coverlet, to preserve him from
the cold in sleep, and a gun that unscrewed, and its appendages, to
provide him a fresh bird or beef. It is very probable that he sought
neither of these, but was contented with something concentrated and
preserved, and thus feasted; and with a drink from some delicious
spring, or from a bottle--that could not be broken--supplied at the
last spring he had passed, lay down conscious of his progress, well
satisfied with the past, and hopeful of the future.

On his arrival at his destination, his conduct is equally exemplary.
Every one should provide for the preservation of life and health as
first measures; and if not done at a rate which future exertions are
likely to render profitable, why make the expenditure? Now, many
are in all these new adventures expending on inevitable
necessities--having made no previous provision for them--such sums as
render all their exertions hopeless; while at the same time they are
sacrificing health and strength.

The government of Australia has certainly been very successful in
preserving order at the gold placers there, and has given its sanction
upon moderate terms; for here, we believe, gold and silver mines are
_inter regalia_, and could have been entirely seized by the crown. We
sincerely trust it will appropriate the great and unexpected revenue
thence arising in improving the roads through this magnificent
country, and providing shelter for the traveller; for at this moment,
many of the roads being over the steepest mountains, and the gradients
unmitigated by cuttings, or any other act of engineering whatever,
they are all but impassable, and are travelled with the greatest
torture to the unfortunate animals concerned. It was the reproach of
Spain, that though in possession of South America for centuries, she
had formed few roads; and that the few formed were bad, and the
accommodation in their neighbourhood of the worst description--often
open sheds, without food or furniture, or indeed inhabitants; or if
inhabited, with only stones for seats, and raised mounds of earth for
beds. Even now, in little more than half a century, things are better
in Australia than this, at least wherever government has extended. But
there is a vast deal more to be done; and it is a pity that in the
first place suitable schools are not formed for the persons intending
to emigrate, and opportunity given them to do so, without the
degradation of crime, and the expense and disgrace of conviction.



EMPLOYEES AND EMPLOYED.


The _Westminster Review_ for January, in an able and temperate
article, entitled _Employers and Employed_, delineates the progress of
the working power from the original condition of _serfdom_, through
that of _vassalage_, which prevailed in the middle ages, to the system
of simple contract in which we now find it in France and America. This
the writer regards as part of a universal progress towards a more and
more equalised condition of the various orders of men--'an equality,
not perhaps of wealth, or of mind, or of inherent power, but of social
condition, and of individual rights and freedom.' In England, however,
we are only in a state of transition from that relation of protection
on the one hand, and respect or loyalty on the other, which
constituted the system of vassalage, to the true democratic relation
which assumes a perfect equality and independence in the contracting
parties. 'The master cannot divest himself of the idea, that in virtue
of his rank he is entitled to deference and submission; and the
workman conceives that, in virtue of his comparative poverty, he is
entitled to assistance in difficulty, and to protection from the
consequences of his own folly and improvidence. Each party expects
from the other something more than is expressed or implied in the
covenant between them. The workman, asserting his equality and
independence, claims from his employer services which only inferiority
can legitimately demand; the master, tacitly and in his heart denying
this equality and independence, repudiates claims which only the
validity of this plea of equality and independence can effectually
nonsuit or liquidate.'

Arguing that 'the reciprocal duties of employers and employed, _as
such_, are comprised within the limits of their covenant,' the writer
goes on to say, that nevertheless there remains a relation of
'fellow-citizenship and of Christian _neighbourhood_,' by virtue of
which the employer owes service to his work-people, seeing that 'every
man owes service to every man whom he is in a position to serve.' Let
not the Pharisaic fundholder and lazy mortgagee suppose that the great
employers of labour are thus under a peculiar obligation from which
_they_ are exempt. The obligation is assumed to be equal upon all who
have power and means; and it only lies with special weight at the door
of the employer of multitudes, in as far as he is in a situation to
exercise influence over their character and conduct, and usually has
greater means of rendering aid suited to their particular necessities.

Before proceeding to expound the various duties thus imposed upon the
employer, the writer lays down a primary duty as essential to the due
performance of the rest--namely, he must see to making his business
succeed; and for this end he must possess a sufficient capital at
starting; and he must not, for any reasons of vanity or benevolence,
or through laxness, pay higher wages than the state of the
labour-market and the prospects of trade require. Of the secondary
duties which next come in course--and which, be it remembered, arise
not from the mastership, but from the neighbourship--the first is that
of 'making his factory, and the processes carried on there, as healthy
as care and sanitary science can render them.' 'This is the more
incumbent upon him, as it is little likely to be thought of or
demanded by his workmen. It is a topic on which his cultivated
intelligence is almost sure to place him far ahead of them; and out of
the superiority, as we have seen, springs the obligation.' Our
reviewer adds the remark, that, 'in the minor workshops, and
especially in the work-rooms of tailors and seamstresses, the
employers are still, for the most part, unawakened to the importance
and imperativeness of this class of obligations. The health of
thousands is sacrificed from pure ignorance and want of thought.'

One mode of serving those who work for him, which the circumstances
render appropriate, is to provide them with decent and comfortable
dwellings. Much has been done in this way. 'In almost all country
establishments, and in most of those in the smaller towns, the
employers have been careful to surround their mills with substantial
and well-built cottages, often with gardens attached to them,
containing four rooms--kitchen, scullery, and two bedrooms: cottages
which are let for rents which at once remunerate the owner and are
easy for the occupier.' Even in large towns, where there are great
local difficulties, something has been done by the building of Model
Lodging-houses, and by the efforts of Societies for improving the
Dwellings of the Poor. The writer specifies one of the greatest
difficulties as existing in the working-people themselves: when
provided with a variety of rooms for the separation of the various
members of their families, they are very apt to defeat the whole plan
by taking in lodgers, and contenting themselves with the filthy and
depraving huddlement out of which their benevolent superiors
endeavoured to rescue them. But it may be hoped that, by promoting
only a few of the more intelligent and better-disposed to such
improved dwellings, and thus setting up good examples, the multitude
might in time be trained to an appreciation of the decency and comfort
of ampler accommodation. Another wide field of usefulness is open to
the employers in the establishment of schools, reading-rooms, baths,
wash-houses, and the like.

It strikes us that the writer of this article is not true to his own
principle in his view of the duties of the employer. We readily grant
the duty of making his business prosperous and his workshops healthy.
To fail in the latter particular especially, were not merely to fail
in a duty, but to incur a heavy positive blame. But we cannot see how
it is incumbent on the employer to provide houses for the persons who
enter into the labour-contract with him, any more than to see that
they get their four-pound loaf of a certain quality or price. It may
be a graceful thing, a piece of noble benevolence, to enter into these
building schemes, but it is also to go back into that system of
vassalage out of which it is assumed that the relation of employer and
employed is passing. Either the new buildings will pay as
speculations, or they will not. If they are sure to pay, ordinary
speculators will be as ready to furnish them as bakers are to sell
bread. If the contrary be the case, why burden with the actual or
probable loss the party in a simple contract which involves no such
obligation? Clearly, there must be no great reason to expect a fair
return for capital laid out in this way, or we should see building
schemes for the working-classes taken up extensively by ordinary
speculators. For employers, then, to enter into such plans, must in
some degree be the result of benevolent feelings towards their men;
and, so far, we must hold there is an acknowledgment on both sides
that the system of vassalage is not yet extinct amongst us, and that
the time for its extinction is not yet come.

If we look, however, at the entire condition of the working-people of
England, we shall see that it acknowledges the same truth in some of
its broadest features. When a time of depression comes, and factories
do not require half of their usual number of hands, or even so many,
it is never expected, on any hand, that the superfluous labourers are
to maintain themselves till better times return. The employer is
expected to keep them in his service, at least on short time, and at a
reduced remuneration, although at a ruinous loss to himself. The
workmen, though well aware of the contingency, make little or no
provision against it, but calmly trust to the funds of their
employers, or the contributions of the class to which these belong.
Now, while such a practice exists, the relation of employer and
employed is not that of independent contractors, but so far that of
the feudal baron and his villeins, or of a chieftain and his
'following.' It is, in effect, a voluntarily maintained slavery on the
part of the operatives--a habit as incompatible with political liberty
as with moral dignity and progress, and therefore a sore evil in our
state. Obviously, to perfect the system of independent contract, the
workmen would need to redeem themselves from that condition of utter
_unprovidedness_ in which the great bulk of them are for the present
content to live. Instead of what we see so prevalent now--a sort of
hopelessness as to the benefits of saving--a dread to let it be known
or imagined of them that they possess any store, lest it lead to a
reduction of their wages (a foolish fallacy), or deprive them of a
claim on their employer's consideration in the event of a period of
depression (a mean and unworthy fear), we must see a dignified sense
of independence, resting on the possession of some kind of property,
before we can expect that even this stage in the Progress of Labour
shall be truly reached.

But is it not just one of the essential disadvantages attending the
contract system, or may we rather call it the system of weekly hire,
that while it prompts the employer to frugality, by the obvious
benefits to him of constant accumulation, it leaves the employed, as a
mass, without a sufficient motive to the same virtue, and thus insures
their being retained in that unprovidedness which forbids independence
and true social dignity? On this point, were we a workman, we should
be sorry to rest in an affirmative, or to allow it to slacken our
exertions or sap our self-denial; because if there is a higher
development of the labouring state in store for society, it can only
be attained by the more speedy perfection of the contract state in
_the entire independence of the workman_. The writer from whom we have
quoted thinks, and with his sentiments we entirely concur, that
'society, in its progress towards an ideal state, may have to undergo
modifications, compared with which all previous ones will seem
trifling and superficial. Of one thing only can we feel
secure--namely, that the loyal and punctual discharge of all the
obligations arising out of existing social relations will best hallow,
beautify, and elevate those relations, if they are destined to be
permanent; and will best prepare a peaceful and beneficent advent for
their successors, if, like so much that in its day seemed eternal,
they too are doomed to pass away.'



ANECDOTE OF THE FIELD OF SHERRIFMUIR.


My grandfather, William Wilson, was born in the farmhouse of Drumbrae,
on the estate of Airthrey, at no great distance from the field of
Sherrifmuir. At the rebellion of 1715, he was a lad of fifteen years
of age, and learning that the rebels under the Earl of Mar had met
with the royal forces under the Duke of Argyle in the neighbourhood,
on the morning of Sunday the 12th November, while it was still dusk,
he went to the top of a neighbouring hill named Glentye, from which
the whole of the moor was discernible, and on which a number of
country people were stationed, attracted to the spot, like himself, by
curiosity. Being at no great distance from both armies, he could see
them distinctly. The Highlanders, who observed no regular order, he
compared to a large, dark, formless cloud, forming a striking contrast
to the regular lines and disciplined appearance of the royal army.
After observing them for some space of time, an orderly dragoon, sent
by the Duke of Argyle, rode up to the spot where the spectators stood,
warning them to remove from a position in which they were in as great
danger as the combatants themselves. My grandfather accordingly
returned home, listening with awe to the sharp report of musketry,
intermixed with the booming of cannon, which now informed him that the
battle had commenced. He had not been long in the house when a
dismounted dragoon made his appearance, requesting to have his left
wrist bandaged, so as to stop the blood. The hand had been cut off,
and his horse killed under him, and he was on his way to Stirling to
seek surgical aid. While his wishes were being complied with, he
occupied himself in taking some refreshment, till one of the
farm-servants came in and warned him that four armed Highlanders were
coming down the hill in the direction of the house. The soldier, who
had no doubt been taught at the Marlborough school, and served perhaps
at Ramillies and Blenheim, immediately went out to the front of the
house, which concealed him from his enemies. Presently, he heard by
the footsteps that one was near, when he instantly presented himself
at the gable, and shot the foremost Highlander with his carbine; then,
seeing that the others came on in Indian file, with short distances
between, he advanced to meet them, dropped the second with a bullet
from his pistol, and cut down the third with his sword. The fourth,
seeing the fate of his comrades, took to flight. After this wholesale
execution, the dragoon, with perfect coolness, returned to the house,
finished his repast, tranquilly said his thanks and adieus, and went
off in the direction of Stirling. The next morning the country people
were summoned to bury the dead. The ground was thickly covered with
cranreuch, and life still remained in numbers of both armies, who
begged earnestly for water. But what struck my grandfather
particularly was, that the heads and bodies of a great many of the
slain royalists were horribly mutilated by the claymores of the
Highlanders; while on those of the Highlanders themselves nothing was
observed but the wound which had caused their death.--_Communicated by
Mr Alexander Wilson, shoemaker, Stirling._



THINNESS OF A SOAP-BUBBLE.


A soap-bubble as it floats in the light of the sun reflects to the eye
an endless variety of the most gorgeous tints of colour. Newton
shewed, that to each of these tints corresponds a certain thickness of
the substance forming the bubble; in fact, he shewed, in general, that
all transparent substances, when reduced to a certain degree of
tenuity, would reflect these colours. Near the highest point of the
bubble, just before it bursts, is always observed a spot which
reflects no colour and appears black. Newton shewed that the thickness
of the bubble at this black point was the 2,500,000th part of an inch!
Now, as the bubble at this point possesses the properties of water as
essentially as does the Atlantic Ocean, it follows that the ultimate
molecules forming water must have less dimensions than this
thickness.--_Lardner's Handbook._



ENGLISH PLOUGHING.


The following, written from England, is going the round of the papers,
and is as true as the gospel, in my opinion. I have seen better
ploughing here with a pair of oxen than in the old country with five
horses; but Johnny won't learn. 'Lord! only look at five great,
elephant-looking beasts in one plough, with one great lummokin fellow
to hold the handle, and another to carry the whip, and a boy to lead,
whose boots have more iron on them than the horses' hoofs have, all
crawling as if going to a funeral! What sort of a way is that to do
work? It makes me mad to look at 'em. If there is any airthly clumsy
fashion of doin' a thing, that's the way they are always sure to git
here. They're a benighted, obstinate, bull-headed people the English,
that's the fact, and always was.' Well done, Jonathan--quite
true!--_From a private Letter from Boston._



JOHN BUNYAN AND MINCE-PIES.


In No. 417 of this Journal it is chronicled that John Bunyan scrupled
to eat mince-pies, because of the superstitious character popularly
attached to them; but it would appear from an anecdote sent to us by a
correspondent, that if this was true at all of the author of the
_Pilgrim's Progress_, he must have received new light upon the
subject at a later period of life. When he was imprisoned for
preaching--so says the anecdote--in Bedford jail, a superstitious
lady, thinking to entrap him, sent a servant to request his acceptance
of a Christmas pie; whereupon Banyan replied: 'Tell your mistress that
I accept her present thankfully, for I have learned to distinguish
between a mince-pie and superstition.'



FOREST-TEACHINGS.


    There was travelling in the wild-wood
      Once, a child of song;
    And he marked the forest-monarchs
      As he went along.
    Here, the oak, broad-eaved and spreading;
      Here, the poplar tall;
    Here, the holly, forky-leaved;
    Here, the yew, for the bereaved;
      Here, the chestnut, with its flowers, and its spine-bestudded ball.

    Here, the cedar, palmy-branchèd;
      Here, the hazel low;
    Here, the aspen, quivering ever;
      Here, the powdered sloe.
    Wondrous was their form and fashion,
      Passing beautiful to see
    How the branches interlaced,
    How the leaves each other chased,
      Fluttering lightly hither, thither on the wind-arousèd tree.

    Then he spake to those wood-dwellers:
      'Ye are like to men,
    And I learn a lesson from ye
      With my spirit's ken.
    Like to us in low beginning,
      Children of the patient earth;
    Born, like us, to rise on high,
    Ever nearer to the sky,
      And, like us, by slow advances from the minute of your birth.

    'And, like mortals, ye have uses--
      Uses each his own:
    Each his gift, and each his beauty,
      Not to other known.
    Thou, O oak, the strong ship-builder,
      For thy country's good,
    Givest up thy noble life,
    Like a patriot in the strife,
      Givest up thy heart of timber, as he poureth out his blood.

    'Thou, O poplar, tall and taper,
      Reachest up on high;
    Like a preacher pointing upward--
      Upward to the sky.
    Thou, O holly, with thy berries,
      Gleaming redly bright,
    Comest, like a pleasant friend,
    When the dying year hath end,
      Comest to the Christmas party, round the ruddy fire-light.

    'Thou, O yew, with sombre branches,
      And dark-veilèd head--
    Like a monk within the church-yard,
      When the prayers are said,
    Standing by the newly-buried
      In the depth of thought--
    Tellest, with a solemn grace,
    Of the earthly dwelling-place,
      Of the soul to live for ever--of the body come to nought,

    'Thou, O cedar, storm-enduring,
      Bent with years, and old,
    Standest with thy broad-eaved branches,
      Shadowing o'er the mould;
    Shadowing o'er the tender saplings,
      Like a patriarch mild,
    When he lifts his hoary head,
    And his hands a blessing shed,
      On the little ones around him--on the children of his child.

    'And the light, smooth-barkèd hazel,
      And the dusky sloe,
    Are the poor men of the forest--
      Are the weak and low.
    Yet unto the poor is given
      Power the earth to bless;
    And the sloe's small fruit of down,
    And the hazel's clusters brown,
      Are the tribute they can offer--are their mite of usefulness.

    'When the awful words were spoken,
      "It is finishèd!"--
    When the all-loving heart was broken,
      Bowed the patient head;
    When the earth grew dark as midnight
      In her solemn awe--
    Then the forest-branches all
    Bent, with reverential fall--
      Bent, as bent the Jewish foreheads at the giving of the law.

    'But one tree was in the forest
      That refused to bow;
    Then a sudden blast came o'er it,
      And a whisper low
    Made the leaves and branches quiver--
      Shook the guilty tree;
    And the voice was: "Tremble ever
      To eternity:
    Be a lesson from thee read--
    He that boweth not his head,
      And obeyeth not his Maker, let him fear eternally!"

    'So thou standest ever shaking,
      Ever quivering with fear,
    For the voice is still upon thee,
      And the whisper near.
    Like the guilty, conscience-haunted;
      And the name for thee
    Is, "The tree of many thoughts"--
    Is, "The tree of many doubts;"
      And thy leaves are thoughts and doubtings--for thou art the
          sinner's tree.

    'Thou, O chestnut, richly branched,
      Standest in thy might,
    Rising like a leafy tower
      In the summer light.
    And thy branches are fruit-laden,
      Waving bold and free;
    And the beams upon thee shed
    Are like blessings on thy head:
      Thou art strong, and fair, and fruitful--for thou art the good
          man's tree.

    'So, farewell, great forest-teachers:
      There is a spirit dwells
    In the veinings of each leaflet,
      In each flower's cells:
    Ye have each a voice and lesson,
      And ye seem to say:
    "Open, man, thine eyes to see
    In each flower, stone, and tree,
      Something pure and something holy, as thou passest on thy way."'
                                                        F.C.W.

       *       *       *       *       *

Printed and Published by W. and K. 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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