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misfortune as a crime against society. gether, lying for the most part on the At a time when in France, Italy, Germa- bare boards. They all ate, slept, and ny, Spain, and the Low Countries, no dressed in this miserable hole, though debtor could be lodged in prison for in many cases the only crime they bad more than a year and a day, during committed was that of having failed in which period his effects were realized business. In the open yard a pulpit and distributed among his creditors— had been erected, but without any and further, at a time when in those shelter for the congregation. So noisome lands no gentleman, or man of quality, was the stench of this place that the could be arrested for debt, his property prisoners' friends and relations were abalone, with the exception of his arms, solutely afraid to visit them. wearing-apparel, and furniture for one A vivid picture of the miseries enbedchamber, being held answerable and dured by the inmates of the Fleet Prison liable to seizure-at such a time, no mat- in 1729 is furnished in a petition adter what a man's rank, position, or dressed to the Duke of Dorset by his means might be, he could in England be old school-fellow Samuel Byrom, who suddenly arrested on a fabricated charge describes himself as “late of Byrom and and thrown into a filthy jail among the Par, in the County Palatine of Lancasworst criminals and the vilest refuse of ter.' This unfortunate gentleman asks, a brutal population. Prisoners for debt with natural vehemence, “What bar were then-in the reign of that monarch barity can be greater -than for jailers by right divine, Charles II.-treated in (without any provocation) to load prisalmost every respect as felons, and oners with irons, and thrust them into were even denied the privilege of hear- dungeons, and manacle them, and, deny ing divine service and the preaching of their friends to visit them, and force God's word.
them to pay excessive fines for their Under the Commonwealth, Sir John chamber-rent, their victuals and drink; Lentball presented to the committee ap- to open their letters and seize the charipointed to inquire into the state of the ty that is sent them ?” And when Upper Bench Prison a list of the prison- debtors had succeeded in arranging with ers in custody on the 3d May, 1654. their creditors, hundreds were detained From this we learn that several debtors in prison for chamber-rent and other had been kept in confinement since the unjust demands put forth by the jailyear 1640, one from 1633, one from ers, so that at last in their despair very 1631, and one from so far back as 1616. many were driven to commit suicide. There were in all 393 inmates of the Mr. Byrom suggests that the jailers jail, and all, with three or four excep- should be paid a fixed salary, and fortions, for debt. The sums for which bidden, under pain of instant dismissal, they were confined varied from £6 to to accept bribe, fee, or reward of any £100,000, amounting in the whole to kind. He also shrewdly remarks, that £976,122. The debtors who owed the the law of imprisonment for debt inflicts largest amounts lived for the most part a greater loss on the country, in the way in the Rules, where they were enabled of wasted power and energies, than do to indulge in a certain sort of squalid monasteries and nuoneries in foreign and sensual luxury. Among these were lands and among Roman Catholic peoFerdinando, Earl of Huntington, and ples. Having come to grief himself for several knights and persons of distinc- a considerable amount, he is rather distion. Those who could not afford to posed to look down upon the smaller pay the enormous fees exacted for the fry who have become inrolved in the privilege of living outside the walls, lit- meshes of the same net, and is therefore erally rotted, body and soul, within the of opinion that large debtors are better prison-house.
entitled to their discharge than those According to a pamphlet published who owe only some paliry sum quite by Humphry Gyffard in 1670, the Hole- beneath the notice of a man of quality. ward of the Poultry Compter, which “Holland," he says, “the most unpolite did not exceed twenty feet square, con- country in the world, uses debtors with tained from forty to fifty prisoners, mildness and malefactors with rigor; male and female, who all pigged to- ! England, on the contrary, shows mercy
to murtherers and robbers, but of poor | great and good man wrote that the act debtors impossibilities are demanded. of 32 George II., generally known as the It would be more feasible for me," he Lords' Act, which compelled creditors continues, " to wash a blackamoor white to allow fourpence a day to their imthan to pay my debts; and must I be prisoned debtors, was nothing better starved to death and kept in prison for than a dead letter. Throughout all no other reason but because I am a gen- England and Wales, with the exception tleman and had once an estate ; when of Middlesex and Surrey, there were not an insignificant fellow shall have his a dozen prisoners who had derived any liberty who has done more real injury benefit from it. In the course of a sinby his small debts than I have done by gle journey he came upon six bundred my great debts ? for what he owes is to debiors, whose individual debts were poor families that he has ruined ; but under £20 each, while a considerable what I owe is to the rich, who perchance proportion did not rise above three to have defrauded me and drawn me into four pounds. In the latter case, the exinconveniences."
pense of suing for the aliment money Without adopting Mr. Byrom's inge- was often equal to the original claim. nious but illogical proposition, it may At Carlisle, out of forty-nine persons, safely be admitted that gentlemen sup- only one received his daily groat, the posed to be possessed of means were consequence being that the majority frequently arrested, less than a hundred were nearly starved. Even water was years ago, with a view to extort from doled out in many jails in the most their fears what could not be obtained sparing manner-three pints a day befrom their sense of justice. We may go ing considered sufficient for all purposes. yet farther than this ; for it is not to be During the previous year there were doubted that many innocent men were 2437 persous confined for debt in the seized in the public streets without the prisons of England and Wales, as slightest claim or right. A Mr. Far- against 994 felons and 653 petty offendley, who wrote an essay on imprisoners. Of the number of small debtors, ment for debt in the year 1795, men- some idea may be formed from the fact tions a case in point that came under that one society alone, that which met his own cognizance. A low attorney at the Thatched House, liberated, in the whispered one day to one of his under- decade between 1772 and 1782, no fewer strappers that he could put £100 in his than 7196 prisoners, who were thus repocket, if he would do as he was desired. I stored to 4328 wives and 13,126 chilThe other having readily assented, the dren. well-assorted pair followed to his inn a The description given by the same country gentleman whose name was philanthropist of the state of the London known to the attorney. The under- and Westminster jails twelve years after strapper now made aflidavit that this this, and after the attention of the legisgentleman owed him the sum of £3000, lature had been drawn to the subject, is upon which the attorney immediately had truly sickening. Men and women, debthim arrested and carried off to a lock-up ors and felons, were all huddled togethhouse. No bail being procurable, the vicer indiscriminately; and in many prisons tim applied to a judge, who replied that the daily allowance of food was only one he could not interfere, and that things penny-loaf, which then weighed from 10.1 must take their usual course. Disheart. to 11 ounces.
In the Marshalsea prison ened and driven to despair, the gentle-| there was one old man confined for a man sent for the alleged plaintiff's at- debt of £10 48., due to a cow keeper, and torney, and obtained his discharge by who had been there since January, 1784, the payment of £200.
his detaining creditor all the while
pay. But no one who has glanced ever so ing the weekly allowance of 2s. 4d., or hurriedly over the writings of that im- £6 1s. 4d. per annum for four years
and mortal philanthropist, John Howard, a balf. The terrible severity of the Engcan need to be told of the inhuman treat- lish laws against debt at that time canment to which poor debtors were sub- not be justified by any reference to any jected even so late as the latter part of general want of sensibility that characthe last century.
In 1777 that truly , terized that age, for on the Continent far
greater humanity was displayed towards erate than in liberal and benevolent Eng. the unfortunate. In Holland there were land. By all means let severe and prompt few debtors'; because, writes John punishment overtake the fraudulent debtHoward, “the magistrates do not ap-'or; but to punish misfortune is an unprove of confining in idleness any that profitable cruelty. No doubt the laws may be usefully employed.” Creditors have of late years been considerably were required to pay aliment-money at mitigated; nor is the condition of debtthe rate of 54 to 18 stivers per week, ac ors in jail such as to call forth any very cording to the debtor's previous position strong expressions of horror and indignain life. If this allowance fell into ar- tion. Still the question recurs, for whose rears for more than eight days, the debt benefit are they confined at all ? ACwas cancelled and the debtor set free. cording to Montesquien, every punishOne, and probably the true, reason as- ment which does not arise from absolute signed for the paucity of debtors in IIol- necessity is an act of tyranny; and there land was the excellence of the industrial is surely no absolute necessity for punishtraining imparted to the children. In ing a man because he is unable to make Bremen there was a debtors' jail, but no certain payments on a certain day. It debtor; and over the portal was in- I may be that there are some few indiscribed the appropriate motto, “ Hic viduals over whom the fear of imprisonfraudum terminus esto.” At Hamburg, ment exercises a restraining influence, again, a commercial city with a popula- but these form a very small minority; tion of 90,000 souls, there was in 1781 and, as far as trades-people are cononly one prisoner for debt. In Hanover, cerned, recourse to a less indiscriminate Denmark, Sweden, Italy, and Prussia, system of giving credit to every wellimprisonment for such a cause rarely dressed and plausible adventurer will be took place; and the same might be said found far more efficacious than the terof France, where the detaining creditor rors of a jail. Besides, as the Marquis had not only to pay in advance an Beccaria truly observes, commerce and alimentary allowance of nine shillings a property are not the end of the social month, but also to defray all costs of ar-compact, but the means of attaining that rest and to cover all expenses incurred end. Men are, after all, more to be by bis debtor's sickness or death. In valued than money; and moral deterioraRussia the case was different. There, as tion is attended by far more serious conin England, indebtedness was punished sequences than pecuniary losses. “The as a criminal offence. Insolvent debtors misery suffered in jails is not half their were often employed by the government evil; they are filled with every sort of as slaves, but were allowed a small sum corruption that poverty and wickedness for their labor, which went towards the can generate, with all the shameless and liquidation of their liabilities. Private profligate enormities that can be propersons likewise hired debtor-prisoners duced by the imprudence of ignominy, as slaves, but were answerable for their the rage of want, and the malignity of due appearance when called for. In despair. In a prison the check of the prison their condition was sufficiently public eye is removed, and the power of pitiable ; their maintenance depending the law is spent. There are no fears--almost entirely on the alms dropped by there are no blushes. The lewd inflame passers-by into little boxes placed out- the more modest; the audacious harden side ; for the government undertook to the timid. Every one fortifies himself supply only the prison and fuel. The as best he can against his own remaining Empress Catharine, however, introduced sensibility ; endeavoring to practice on a salutary change in this respect, and others the arts that are practiced on him. forbade imprisonment for small debts self, and to gain the applause of his contracted independent of trade. At worst associates by imitating their present no debtor can be detained in manners.” This picture is by no means prison longer than five years under any overdrawn. Every reader of this Magcircumstances.
azine will probably remember some one Indeed, in all European countries the acquaintance who was ruined for ever feeling towards insolvent debtors has by the feeling of social degradation inalways been more humane and consid- duced by no matter how brief a period
of incarceration. Society suffers by the appearance of this element in the works moral deterioration of its most insignifi- of the Dutch painters accords, it will be cant member far more than it gains by found, with those leading characteristics the arbitrary enforcement of a money- of their style on which we wish to dwell. lender’s bond, or even of a tradesman's Before passing to our criticism, let us, bill. These can protect themselves with however, note that the Bearwood collecout the aid of the jailer, except in cases tion contains a few works of other oriof deliberate fraud; and with regard to gin. To the early German belongs a large commercial operations, it rarely very careful and thoroughly painted porhappens that a bankrupt has any cause to trait-group of two young ladies, by fear imprisonment for simple debt. The Lucas von Cranach. The girls are most specious argument in favor of the stiflly enough disposed, and the tightperpetuation of this barbarous usage is, fitting dresses of black and crimson, that it serves to check the improvidence much enriched with gold, in which they of the industrial classes. But it does are encased, add to the singularity of nothing of the kind. On the contrary, the design ; but they have a great look it enables them to obtain credit when of truth, and the details are beautifully otherwise they would be required finished. Their rings alone would furto pay ready-money, and thereby en nish an excellent model for jewelry. A courages them to adopt habits of com- delicate and thoughtful figure of a man, parative recklessness and extravagance with light hair and brown eyes, is asto which they would otherwise be scribed to Albert Dürer.
It has a strong strangers. For these and many other likeness to those poetical portrait-heads yet stronger reasons, it is devoutly to well known to the admirers of his etchbe wished that the present generation ings, although the making out of the may live to see the utter repudiation of features and hands exhibits less firmness the old Roman maxim, that whoso can- and precision than might have been antinot pay in money shall pay with his per- cipated. And two little so-called relig.
ious pictures represent the period when. Sassoferrato and Albano were treated as great artists-a position which, with several others, they mainly owed to their place
as ultimi Romanorum, latest in a series DUTCH ART. which includes Giotto and Leonardo.
As these painters seem to us to have A SMALL collection of Dutch master- been overrated from the fact of their pieces, which Mr. Walter of Bearwood ending a mighty school, so we are inhas kindly sent, for the public benefit, to clined to think that the Dutch have the South Kensington Museum, affords gained in a like way from beginning so good an opportunity for returning to one. When we reflect how much pleasthe question how the nineteenth century ure of high order and enduring quality should fairly judge the seventeenth, that the European world has received from we are glad to take advantage of it. landscape and from representations of This question is one which, within the ordinary human life, it is natural to feel last fifteen or twenty years, has been not a strong interest in those who, though a little debated in England, where the unconsciously and imperfectly, introFlemish school has long held what we duced us to these pleasant regions. Yet are now inclined to call a traditional - if, forgetful that they were but novices perhaps a factitious place in the esti- taking uncertain steps, connoisseurs give mate of connoisseurs; and it has, be them the praise due only to complete sides, this peculiar interest for us, that art, or presume to set these “old masin its two main subjects-landscape and ters" above the far finer artists who, in common life-the school coincides with France, Belgium, and England, have the direction of our own art. What we painted man and nature, a protest is due have mainly added to it, in regard to against such exaggeration. As an exclasses of subject, is our picture of In- ample of this, we may take the learned cident - sentimental, satirical, or quasi- Dr. Waagen, who prefers Isaac Ostade historical. And the almost total non- / to Turner, because the latter has not
that “juicy impasto," that “marrowy | demonstration in the auction-room. Tur: execution” (to quote the horrid jargon ner has painted, and Modern Painters of the thorough-bred connoisseur,) of has gone through several editions, yet wbich a fine specimen will be found Hobbima and Ruysdael have not, we are amongst the Bearwood collection. It is assured, fallen in that interesting marenough to stir the wrath of a man of ket of which Messrs. Christie and Mantaste when, after reading the Doctor's son have long and honorably officiated dicta, he looks at such bough or cloud as the presiding Ediles. drawing, such dingy water and confused Sensible as we are of the weight of figure groups, as this picture shows, and Mr. Ruskin's criticism, and convinced compares Isaac Ostade with Turner. that the rapid production of excellent But it is not in this spirit that we can modern landscape and figure pictures in fairly judge these early masters. Use- France and England will of itself ineviful as that famous comparison, " Has tably redress over-admiration of the old, Claude done this?” may be to check there is still much, if we calmly consider the fanaticism of mere connoisseurship, it, to explain, and, in its degree, to justo consider only how great our advance tify the value once assigned to it. First has been would afford but a partial criti- | in this scale we place the technical excism on the earliest landscape and com- cellence of the Dutch artists, from mon life painters. It will be more fair whom we here, of course, exclude Ruto try to judge them by the light of bens, Rembrandt, and Vandyke. There their own age; although our pleasure is simply no such palpable sunshine as in their works, as distinct from our criti- Cuyp’s. There is no such permeating cal judgment, must ultimately depend in daylight as De Hooghe's. Teniers, that great measure on whether we think of sovereign of superficiality, has a lightthem as inventors or as novices—wheth-ness of touch, a power of putting in er we reflect only upon the “ Dutch things at once, which, like that occaschool ” in antithesis to the religious sional breadth of handling in Jan Steen and classical style which preceded it, or which Reynolds pronounced worthy of ask how far later genius has developed Raffaelle, places him high amongst paintthe style then initiated. People in the ers as such. Neither Jan Steen nor last century, and those in this who were Teniers is seen to the best advantage formed under their influence, took the in the Bearwood collection, and Cuyp is former point of view. It was, indeed, only represented there (we think) by his natural to judge so when real landscape inferior imitators—Böth, with his burntand common life had been generally sienna foliage, and Van Stry, whose abandoned by art. This was the gold- emptily-modelled surface and harshness en time of the Dutch school, of wbich of outline detract seriously from the we may in England select his Majesty merit of the fine golden tones of his George IV. as the most characteristic atmosphere. Nor can we deny that two patron. That over-admiration should be or three of the De Hooghes at the followed by a counter-current of feeling Hague and Amsterdam, with that maswas natural, and every one knows the terpiece which Lord Ashburton posbrilliancy and power of the protest sesses, bear out our remark more comwhich it called forth from Mr. Ruskin. pletely tban Mr. Walter's - Garden Yet that his appeal to the younger masters Scene.” Yet here the truth of relative from the old-supported though it was, tone in the château which occupies the not only by a vast array of unanswerable centre of the canvas fairly deserves the facts, but by the general conviction of epithet of marvellous; and there is a modern artists themselves, and of the kind of restless transparency in the sky, present generation of spectators - has a tinish and brilliancy of tint about the not yet altogether prevailed over the figures (a grave cavalier playing at elder faith, we may find proof in such bowls, and other persons watching the a book as Dr. Waagen's laborious Art game), which English art has rarely Treasures of England. And those who rivalled. A little interior, where a serthink the Doctor much more distin- vant brings in a tray of fish to her aged guished for abundance of learning than mistress, who turns from her work to of taste may discover a more convincing I examine the question of dinner, is an