Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

ܙܙ

" Yet why, immortal, vital spark !
Thus mortally opprest?

RECOLLECTIONS OF JOHN WILKES.
Look up, my soul, through prospects dark,

One of the most amusing things in that amusing and unique
And bid thy terrors rest;

work “ Boswell's Johnson," is the account given by the vivacious Forget, forego thy earthly part,

Scotchman, of how he contrived to get up an interview and Thine heavenly being trust :

acquaintance between Dr. Johnson and John Wilkes. “My Ah, vain attempt ! my coward heart

desire,” says Boswell, “ of being acquainted with celebrated men Still shuddering clings to dust.

of every description, had made me, much about the same time, “ Oh ye! who soothe the pangs of death

obtain an introduction to Dr. Samuel Johnson, and to John With love's own patient care,

Wilkes, Esq. Two men more different could perhaps not be Still, still retain this fleeting breath,

selected out of all mankind. They had even attacked one another Still pour the fervent prayer :-

with some asperity in their writings; yet I lived in habits of And ye, whose smile must greet my eye

friendship with both. I could fully relish the excellence of each : No more, nor voice my ear,

for I have ever delighted in that intellectual chemistry which can Who breathe for me the tender sigh,

separate good qualities from evil in the same person. And shed the pitying tear;

The manner in which Boswell contrived the meeting was as

follows:—“My worthy booksellers and friends," says he, “Messrs. " Whose kindness (though far, far removed)

Dilly in the Poultry, at whose hospitable and well-covered table My grateful thoughts perceive,

I have seen a greater number of literary men than at any other, Pride of my life, esteemed, beloved,

except that of Sir Joshua Reynolds, had invited me to meet Mr. My last sad claim receive !

Wilkes and some more gentlemen, on Wednesday May 15 (1776). Oh! do not quite your friend forget,

Pray,' said I, let us have Dr. Johnson.' 'V'hat! with Mr. Forget alone her faults ;

Wilkes? not for the world !' said Mr. Edward Dilly. • Come, And speak of her with fond regret,

said I, . if you let me negotiate for you, I will be answerable that Who asks your lingering thoughts.”

all shall go well.' • Nay,' said Mr. Dilly, 'if you will take it upon

you, I am sure I shall be very happy to see them both here.' It is to be regretted, that so little is known of the private his

“Notwithstanding the high veneration which I entertained for tory of Mrs. Tighe. Surely the life of such a woman, whose vir- Dr. Johnson, I was sensible that he was sometimes a little tues and talents alike adorned her, would supply many traits of actuated by the spirit of contradiction, and by means of that I interest, and many lessons of profit. Our information is too hoped I should gain my point. I was persuaded that if I had scanty. We have no means of knowing more concerning her come upon him with a direct proposal, • Sir, will you dine in than that she was the wife of an Irish gentleman of ancient family, company with Jack Wilkes ?' he would have flown into a passion, Henry Tighe, Esq., of Woodstock, in the county of Kilkenny. I'd as soon dine with Jack Ketch !' I, therefore, while we were

and would probably have answered—Dine with Jack Wilkes, sir ! The composition of poetry served to console the tedious hours of sitting quietly by ourselves at his house in an evening, took occa. distressing and painful illness, which lasted for six years, and was sion to open my plan thus : 'Mr. Dilly, sir, sends his respectful borne with patience and submission. She died at Woodstock on compliments to you, and would be happy if you would do him the the 24th of March, 1810, in the 37th year of her age. “ Her fears honour to dine with him on Wednesday next, along with me, as I of death were perfectly removed before she quitted this scene of must soon go to Scotland.'. Johnson. “Sir, I am obliged to Mr. trial and suffering; and her spirit departed to a better state of Dilly, and will wait upon him.' Boswell. ' Provided, sir, I supexistence, confiding with heavenly joy in the acceptance and love pose, that the company which he is to have is agreeable to you?

JOHNSON. What do you mean, sir ? what do you take me for? of her Redeemer."

Do you think I am so ignorant of the world as to imagine that I

am to prescribe to a gentleman what company he is to have at his LUTHER'S TABLE TALK.

table ? Boswell. I beg your pardon, sir, for wishing to

prevent you from meeting people whom you might not like. LUTHER's " Table Talk " was published about twenty years Perhaps he may have some of what he calls his patriotic friends after his death, by an editor, who stated that he had been often

with him.' JOHNSON. 'Well, sir, and what then? what care I with Luther during the two last years of his life ; and having for his patriotic friends ? Poh! Boswell. 'I should not be taken notes of much which he had heard the great reformer utter, surprised to find Jack Wilkes there.' Johnson. And if Jack and being aided by the notes of another person, he had made up Wilkes should be there, what is that to me, sir ? My dear friend, this collection of his sayings. A large portion of the work is of let us have no more of this. I am sorry to be angry with you; very apocryphal character. It was translated into English by a

but really it is treating me strangely, to talk to me as if I could Captain Henry Bell, who tells a long and strange story respecting not meet any company whatever, occasionally.' BOSWELL. ' Pray his procuring a copy of the book, and his translation of it. Two forgive me, sir ; I meant well. But you shall meet whoever comes members of the Assembly of Divines, to whom, in 1646, it had for me!! [The sly dog.] Thus Í secured him, and told Dilly been referred, by the House of Commons, to make a report on

that he would find him very well pleased to be one of his guests the translation, stated that they had found in it “many excellent

on the day appointed.” and divine things,” but also “ withal many impertinent things- Boswell, to his mortification, and the apparent failure of his some things which will require a grain or two of salt, and some

artifice, found Johnson, on the day appointed, busily employed in things which will require a marginal note or preface.” On this,

“ buffeting his books,” covered with dust, and making no preparathe House of Commons, whose sanction and authority had been tion for going abroad. « « How is this, sir?' said I. Don't you asked for the publication, refused, and it was published as a private recollect that you are to dine at Mr. Dilly's?' Johnson. Sir, speculation in 1652.

I did not think of going to Dilly's—it went out of my head. I "No man,” said Luther, “can calculate the great charges God is have ordered dinner at home with Mrs. Williams.' Boswell at only in maintaining the birds and such creatures, which in a manner had some difficulty in overruling this arrangement; and at last are nothing, or of little worth. I am persuaded,” said he, “that it had the satisfaction of hearing Johnson roar out to his black costeth God more yearly to maintain the sparrows alone, than the servant, “ Frank, a clean shirt !” “ When I had him fairly whole year's revenue of the French king! What then shall we say of seated in a hackney-coach with me, I exulted as much as a the rest of his creatures ?'.-Luther's Table Talk, p. 158.

fortune-hunter who has got an heiress into a post-chaise with him This is a specimen of the absurdity which is often attempted to to set out for Gretna Green." be passed off as wisdom, under the stamp of a great name. To Boswell watched Johnson in Dilly's drawing-room. “I kept reason after this fashion is to measure God by ourselves, and thus myself snug and silent, and observed him whispering to Mr. Dilly, to lower our conceptions of the might and majesty of his character. • Who is that gentleman, sir ?'—Mr. Arthur Lee.' Johnson. All our ideas of the Deity must be relative, and drawn from what Too, too, too, (under his breath), which was one of his habitual we see and know ; but how sublime and simple is the Psalmist's murmurings. Mr. Arthur Lee could not but be very obnoxious image, “ Thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good !" to Johnson, for he was not only a patriot, but an American. There is no idea of exertion involved-nothing about costing God And who is the gentleman in lace ? _Mr. Wilkes, sir.' This any thing.

information confounded him still more ; he had some difficulty to

ووو

66

[ocr errors]

restrain himself, and taking up a book, sat down upon a window-Wilkes, with a verbal order to enter his house, break open his seat, and read."

repositories, seize and carry away his papers, and arrest his Dinner was announced ; and Wilkes contrived to seat himself person. On the occasion of his apprehension, he saved bis beside Johnson. No man ate more heartily than Johnson, or partner Churchill, very adroitly. Whilst the officers were in the loved better what was nice and delicate. Mr. Wilkes was very

room, Churchill entering, Mr. Wilkes accosted him, “Good assiduous in helping him to some fine veal. “Pray, give me leave, morrow, Mr. Thompson, how does Mrs. Thompson do to-day :sir-it is better here-a little of the brown—some fat, sir-a little does she dine in the country?" Churchill thanked him, said, of the stuffing—some gravy-let me have the pleasure of giving “she waited for him ;” and directly taking leave, went home, you some butter-allow me to recommend à squeeze of this secured all his papers, and retired into the country, orange; or the lemon, perhaps, may have more zest.' • Sir, sir, Wilkes loudly protested against the illegality of general war I am obliged to you, sir, cried Johnson, bowing, and turning his rants, and stoutly resisted the authority of the messengers; and head to him with a look for some time of surly virtue, but in a it was not till threatened with force that he went before Lords short while of complacency.”

Halifax and Egremont, the secretaries of state, who committed For the rest of the table talk we must refer to the Life ;' it him to the Tower, where for three days his friends were denied is enough that Wilkes completely triumphed, and sent the access to him. He appeared in the Court of Common Pleas by • Rambler' home full of good-nature; and bustling Boswell had habeas corpus, where the judges unanimously pronounced the the satisfaction of hearing Burke pronounce his scheme a warrant illegal, and he was discharged. He was triumphantly cessful negotiation,” and that “there was nothing equal to it in cheered, and in the evening his victory was celebrated by bonfires, the whole history of the corps diplomatique.Some time after- illuminations, &c. The printers who had been taken up under wards, Johnson thus spoke of Wilkes :-“ Did we not hear so the general warrant, brought actions against the messengers that much said of Jack Wilkes, we should think more highly of his arrested them, and recovered heavy damages. conversation. Jack has a great variety of talk, Jack is a scholar, On Mr. Wilkes's return home from the Court of Common Pleas, and Jack has the manners of a gentleman. But after hearing his he sent the following letter to the secretaries of state. name sounded from pole to pole as the phonix of convivial felicity, we are disappointed in his company. He has always been at

Great George Street, May 6, 1763. me. But I would do Jack a kindness, rather than not. The My Lords, contest is now over."

“ On my return home here from Westminster Hall, where I have John Wilkes was the son of an eminent distiller in St. John- been discharged from my commitment to the Tower, under your street, Clerkenwell, London, where he was born Oct. 28, 1727. lordships' warrant, I find that my house has been robbed, and an His father's house was noted for hospitality, and was the resort of informed that the stolen goods are in the possession of one or both many eminent characters in the commercial and political world. your lordships. I therefore insist that you do forthwith returu Early intercourse with such society gave to Wilkes the literary them to, your humble servant, turn of mind by which he was so soon distinguished. He had the

“ John WILKES. rudiments of his education at Hertford, was afterwards placed

“ To the Earls Egremont and Halifax." under a tutor in Buckinghamshire, by whom he was attended to the university of Leyden, where he became soon known for his And the next morning actually went in person to the house of ability. When he returned in 1750, he married Miss Mead, a rich Sir John Fielding in Bow-street, and demanded a warrant to search heiress of Buckinghamshire.

their houses. In the course of the day he received an answer to Wilkes's first appearance in public was on the occasion of the his letter. general election in 1754, when he offered himself for Berwick, but

Great George Street, May 7, 1763. was unsuccessful. He took his seat for Aylesbury in 1757, and was again returned in 1761.

“In answer to your letter of yesterday, in which you take upon John Stuart, the third earl of Bute, had the charge, or virtual you to make use of the indecent and scurrilous expressions of direction, of the education of Georgę the Third ; and when his your having found your house had been robbed, and that the pupil ascended the throne in 1760, he maintained his influence stolen goods are in our possession ; we acquaint you that your over his mind. The secret influence of the favourite was the papers were seized in consequence of the heavy charge brought cause of the retirement of Pitt-the “great Earl of Chatham,". against you for being the author of an infamous and seditious from office, and shortly afterwards, of breaking up the existing libel. We are at a loss to guess what you mean by stolen goods ; cabinet. Lord Bute was made first lord of the treasury, or prime but such of your papers as do not lead to a proof of your guilt minister, in 1762, an office which he did not hold above ten shall be restored to you ; such as are necessary for that purpose, months. The period, however, was one of extraordinary political it was our duty to deliver over to those, whose office it is to excitement. Lord Bute was one of the most unpopular ministers collect the evidence, and manage the prosecution against you. that ever held office. He professed the doctrine that ministers

“We are your humble servants, were not really the executive government, but literally only the

“ EGREMONT-DUNK HALIFAX." official servants or instruments of the king; and by thus endeavouring to govern in the name of the king alone, he arrayed against To this Wilkes returned a very animated reply, concluding, himself and his feeble cabinet a powerful opposition amongst the “I fear neither your prosecution, nor your persecution; and I great families in the country, as well as the nation at large. will assert the security of my own house, the liberty of my person,

There was a paper called the ‘Briton,' in the interest of minis- and every right of the people, -not so much for my own sake, as ters; and Wilkes projected an opposition to it, which he called for the sake of my English fellow-subjects.” the North Briton,' a weekly periodical, which lasted from June When parliament met, the Chancellor of the Exchequer produced 5, 1762, to Nov. 12, 1763. "Churchill

, the poet, “spendthrift the papers against Wilkes and laid them on the table, and the alike of money and of wit,” was employed by Wilkes to contribute forms having been gone through, Wilkes spoke as follows :to the pages of the North Briton ;' and 'the character of the “ Mr. Speaker,- I think my duty to lay before the House a periodical was like that of its two principal writers, bold, careless, few facts which have occurred since our last meeting ; because, in witty, clever, and profligate.

my humble opinion, the rights of all the Commons of England It was No. 45 of the North Briton' which was the cause of and the privileges of Parliament have, in my opinion, been highly Wilkes being brought so prominently before the public, and violated. I shall at present content myself with barely stating becoming for a time one of the most popular political characters the fact, and leave the mode of proceeding to the wisdom of the this country has produced. The particular cause of offence was a House. On the 30th of April, in the morning, I was made a cutting comment on a speech made by the king to parliament; it prisoner in my own house by some of the king's messengers.

I would pass unnoticed in the present day, but at that time the pub- demanded by what authority they had found their way into my lication of debates in parliament had not yet been tacitly sanctioned, room, and was shown a warrant in which no person was named in and the pungent violence of Wilkes so exasperated ministers, that particular, but generally the authors, printers, and publishers of a they proceeded against him in a summary way. In doing so, they seditious and treasonable paper entitled the North Briton, No. 45. were the cause of raising and settling an important constitutional The messengers insisted on my going before Lord Halifax, which I question.

absolutely refused, because the warrant was, I thought, illegal, A “ general warrant” (one in which the names of the parties to and did not respect me. I applied by my friends to the Court of be arrested are not specified) was issued for the apprehension of Common Pleas for a habeas corpus, which was granted; but at

« Sir,

the proper office, which was not then open, it could not imme- verdict with 4,0001. damages against Lord Halifax, for false im. diately issue. I was afterwards carried by violence before the prisonment and seizure of his papers in respect of the general Earls of Egremont and Halifax, whom I informed of the orders warrants; and a like verdict with 1,0001. damages against Mr. given by the Court of Common Pleas for the habeas corpus; and Wood, secretary to the treasury. One important result of the I enlarged upon this subject to Mr. Webb, the solicitor to the struggle was, that general warrants were declared to be illegal Treasury. I was, however, hurried away to the Tower by another by resolutions of both houses of Parliament. warrant, which declared me the author and publisher of a most Wilkes had the good luck, so to speak, of becoming the repreinfamous and seditious libel, entitled the North Briton, No. 45. sentative of several important questions. Following that of The word treasonable was dropped, yet I was detained a close general warrants, came another, in which the people took an prisoner, and no person was suffered to come near me for almost intense interest. When the new Parliament met, a crowd three days, although my counsel and several of my friends de- assembled round the King's Bench prison (there being a general manded admittance in order to concert the means of recovering impression that Wilkes would be allowed to take his seat), to my liberty. My house was plundered, my bureaux broken open, conduct him in triumph to the House of Commons. The Riot by order of two of your members, Mr. Wood and Mr. Webb, and Act was read, the people refused to disperse, the military were all my papers carried away. After six days' imprisonment, I was called out, one man was killed on the spot, and several wounded, discharged by the unanimous judgment of the Court of Common some of them mortally. Coroners' inquests returned verdicts of Pleas, that the privileges of this House extended to my case. wilful murder against the military, and several of the soldiers were Notwithstanding this solemo decision of one of the king's superior tried ; the government thanked the justices of Surrey, and granted courts of justice, a few days after, I was served with a subpæna free pardons to those who had been convicted ; and Wilkes pubupon an information exhibited against me in the King's Bench. lished an indignant commentary on the conduct of the government, I lost no time in consulting the best books, as well as the greatest in which he called the affair a “ horrid massacre." For this living authorities, and from the truest judgment I could form, I publication, and for his previous conduct, the House of Commons thought that the serving me with a subpoena was another violation once more declared him incapacitated from sitting in Parliament. of the privileges of parliament, which I will neither desert nor He was triumphantly re-elected, and his election was declared betray, and therefore, I have not yet entered an appearance. I null and void ; a third time he was re-elected, and though his now stand in the judgment of the House, submitting with the opponent, Colonel Luttrell, had only 296 votes, while Wilkes had utmost deference the whole case to their justice and wisdom : and 1143, the House sustained the election of the former. beg leave to add, that if, after this important business has in its This was, in fact, a struggle between the people and the House full extent been maturely weighed, you shall be of opinion, that I of Commons—a struggle which greatly helped to evolve that am entitled to privilege, I shall then be not only ready, but spirit of bold political discussion, generated by the extraordinary eagerly desirous to waive that privilege, and to put myself upon a party strife and aspect of affairs at the time. The ferment caused jury of my countrymen.'

by the repeated elections and rejections of Wilkes agitated the In the debate, Mr. Martin, the secretary to the treasury, com- kingdom; and made him appear a martyr to the violated rights plained that the author of the North Briton had stabbed him in of the British people. the dark. The same evening, Wilkes in a most insulting note During his imprisonment, Wilkes caused himself to be proposed thus concludes, “ To cut off every pretence of ignorance as to the as a candidate to fill a vacancy in the office of alderman in the author, I whisper in your ear, that every passage in the North city of London. As there had already been great fermentation on Briton, in which you have been named, or even alluded to, was his account, and much more apprehended, a deputation undertook written by your humble servant.” This produced an immediate to remonstrate with Wilkes on the danger to the public peace eballenge; they met in Hyde Park, when Mr. Wilkes was severely which would result from his offering himself as a candidate on the Founded, and with an excess of honour gave Mr. Martin back his present occasion, and expressed a hope that he would at least letter, that nothing might appear against him in case of his wait till a more suitable opportunity presented itself. But they death.

mistook their man ; this was with him an additional motive for The North Briton involved Wilkes in several personal quarrels, persevering in his first intentions. After much useless conversation, and among others he had a hostile meeting with Lord Talbot, one of the deputies at length exclaimed, “Well, Mr. Wilkes, if which terminated without damage. When fit to be removed after you are thus determined, we must take the sense of the ward.” his duel with Mr. Martin, he proceeded to Paris, and exiled « With all my heart," cried Wilkes, “and I will take the himself nearly four years. In the mean time a message was sent to nonsense, and beat you ten "to one !"

He was Parliament to proceed against him, and after a violent debate he elected. Fas expelled, and No. 45 of the North Briton was ordered to be Shortly after he regained his liberty, he was involved, in his burned, which being attempted in front of the Royal Exchange, capacity of alderman, in a new contest. The officers of the House it was rescued by the mob with the scorching of a corner only. of Commons were ordered to take certain printers into custody, The Attorney-general also proceeded against him in the King's for publishing the debates ; and three of them being apprehended, Bench for reprinting No. 45 of the North Briton. He was con- were brought before the Lord Mayor Crosby, and Aldermen ricted and fined on two verdicts in the sum of 10001., and to suffer Wilkes and Oliver, who not only released the printers, but bound two years' imprisonment. Not appearing, he was outlawed. Part them over to prosecute the messengers for assault and wrongous of his time abroad he employed in travelling in Italy. He imprisonment. Crosby and Oliver were sent to the Tower; and returned to London in 1768, and in defiance of the tipstaffs, he the clerk of the city was ordered, at the table of the House of offered himself to represent the city, but failed in the election. Commons, to tear out the leaves of the register on which the However, he immediately proceeded to Brentford, and was judgment of the magistrates was recorded. But Wilkes refused chosen member for Middlesex. The crowd assembled, was to obey the summons of the house, unless he were permitted to greater than ever was known, and it was remarked that no free. take his seat as member for Middlesex. The whole affair created holder was intoxicated, and no violence of any sort committed ; tremendous excitement. The matter was allowed to drop; and Brentford was illuminated, and the people on their return obliged from that time the debates have been regularly published. London and Westminster to illuminate also. Some rioting In 1771, Wilkes was chosen sheriff ; and it was he who first occurred in consequence, but nothing serious happened. He opened the galleries of the Old Bailey to the public. The city shortly after surrendered to the King's Bench to suffer the sen- in 1772 presented him with a rich silver cup, embossed with the tence imposed on him; and in his confinement there seemed assassination of Julius Cæsar. Being again returned for Midalmost a contention amongst the public, who most should serve and dlesex, he was allowed to take his seat without opposition. For celebrate him. Devices and emblems of all descriptions orna- a number of years he made an annual unsuccessful motion to mented the trinkets conveyed to his prison. Every wall bore his have the record of his expulsion expunged from the journal of the name, and every window his portrait. In china, in bronze, in House of Commons. marble

, be stood upon the chimney-pieces of half the houses of Wilkes gradually became in politics, as he expressed it himself, the metropolis, and he swung upon the sign-post of every village an exhausted volcano." He rose to the highest civic honours, of every road in the environs of London. Gifts were daily having been Lord Mayor in 1775, and elected Chamberlain in 1779. heaped upon him, and it is said that 20,0001. were raised in à He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society; and was at one comparatively short time, to pay his debts and his fine, part of the time Colonel of the Buckinghamshire Militia. He received the money coming from various places in England, America, and thanks of the Privy Council for his activity during the riots of the West Indies. He had an important triumph in having a 1780. He died in his 7 1st year.

course

MR. WALTER HAMOND'S " PARADOX.”

then rapine, theft, extortion, and oppression, were not known; whid

happy age these people at this present enjoy. But when men bere In the account of Madagascar, in No. II. mention is made of Mr. to dig into the bowels of the earth, to make descents as it were don Walter Hamond's " Paradox, proving that the inhabitants of into hell to fetch this glittering oare from the habitations of direi Madagascar are the happiest people in the world.” The great and terrestrial goblins, with it came op contention, deceit, lying, swear object of Mr. Hamond is to induce the people of England, by a ing, theft, murder, and all the seven capital sins; as pride, covetnes tempting report of the riches, fertility, and fine climate of Mada- nesse, wrath, gluttony, and the rest ; so that we must needs confes gascar, to colonise it; and so he goes in this roundabout way to that it had been happy for us if gold had never been known.” accomplish his purpose. Praising the nakedness of the natives, he thus mourns over the evil propensity which leads people to

BANISHMENT OF THE FAIRIES. wear clothes :

“ There never was a merry world since the fairies left dancing, and “As for ourselves, we are compelled (so miserable and poore we

the parson left conjuring. The opinion of the latter kept thieves are) to be beholden to the unreasonable creatures for our raiment, robbing one of his skin, another of his wooll, another of his hair,—nay Selden-Table Talk.

awe, and did as much good in a country as a justice of peace."'not so much as the poor worme doth escape us, whose very excrements we take to cover us withall , while they, in the mean time, are nothing stition, which kept the people in awe, is breaking up, and a dif

This holds true of a country in a transition state, when superbeholden unto us. Was nature a mother to them, and a stepdame to us ? No; but as a kind and loving mother, she hath sufficiently pro

fusion of knowledge has not come to supply its place. vided for us. It is our own luxurious effeminacy that hath stripped us

Chaucer complains that even in his time the fairies had lost of our natural simplicity, and clothed us with the ragges of dissimula

their ground: tion. Let us consider the natural beauties of all the plants, fruits, and

" In old time of the king Arthur, flowers: they have no artificial covering, yet they so far exceed man in

Of which that Britons speken great honour beauty and magnificence (the lily in particular, truth itself hath spoken

All was this land fulfilled of faerie ; it) that Solomon in all bis royalty was not arrayed like one of these.”

The elf queen, with her joly company, So far, Master Hamond ; and just observe how he misapplies

Danced full oft in many a grene mcad, Scripture to clinch his nonsense! For “Truth itself,' as he justly

This was the old opinion, as I redophrases it, did not bid us observe the “ lilies of the field," for

I spcake of many hundred years ago,

But now can no man see no elves mo. the purpose of inducing us not to care for raiment at all ; but his words were addressed to those to whom was committed the great

For now the great charity and prayers

Of limitours (begging friars] and other boly freres, work of first propagating Christianity, in order to inspire them with that spirit of divine faith, which would lift them above anxious

That searchen every land and every stream, care about the necessities of life ; and, doubtless, in a modified

As thick as motes in the sunnc-beam, sense, they are applicable to Christians in all time. If Master

Blessing halls, chambers, kitchens, and bourcs, Hamond had gone a little farther in his quotation, he would have

Cities and burghes, castles high and towers, confuted himself,“ Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the

Thropes and barnes, sheep-pens and dairics, field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall

This maketh that there ben no fairies.

For there as wont to walken was an elf, he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” Hamond was a surgeon, and therefore must have been, so far,

There walketh now the limitour himself." an educated man ; how could he utter nonsense which goes to the The limitour derived his name from being limited to beg within root of all trade and commerce-of nearly all that binds civilised

a certain district. society, or gives life to existence? Recollect, that nonsense was Sir Walter Scott, who quotes the above in his “ Demonology," uttered two centuries ago-in 1640,-—and 1829 is a somewhat dif- also quotes a ballad written by Dr. Corbet, who was bishop of ferent period. But let us try him again. Here he quotes the old Oxford and Norwich in the beginning of the 17th century. stuff about Diogenes. The natives of Madagascar, he says, “ have proper new ballad, entitled the Fairies' Farewell, to be sung or not so many superfluous things as we have, and therein they are whistled to the tune of the Meadow Brow by the learned; by the happy. When Diogenes came by chance into a fair, and saw so unlearned to the tune of Fortune : many toys and baubles to be sold, he brake out into these words : O how happy am I that have no want of any of these things!

“ Farewell, rewards and fairies,

Good housewives now may say, And upon a time, to show how despicable unnecessary things are,

For now foul sluts in dairies he threw away his dish, because he saw another lap water out of

Do farc as well as they ; the hollow of his hand.” Diogenes was a conceited fool, that thought himself a wise man ;

And though they sweep their hearths no less

Than maids were wont to do, yet there was a dash of the rogue in him, too. He went about

Yet who of late for cleanliness Athens, “ dressed in a coarse double robe, which served him as a cloak by day and a coverlet by night; and he carried a wallet to

Finds sixpence in her shoc? receive alms of food. His abode was a cask in the temple of

“Lament, lament, old abbeys, Cybele. In the summer he rolled himself in the burning sand,

The fairies' lost command : and in the winter clung to the images in the street covered with

They did but change priests' babies, snow, in order that he might accustom himself to endure all

But some have changed your land, varieties of weather.” But a far profounder philosopher than Diogenes told him that he saw his pride through his rags. Let us,

· By which we note the fairies however, return to Madagascar and Master Hamond. He has

Were of the old profession, rather a shrewd hit here. Of the natives he says,

Their songs were Ave Maries, “We think them fools because they give us an ox for a few red beads.

Their dances were procession. But suppose that they should see us give the price of twenty oxen for one

But now, alas! they all are dead, white stone of the same bignesse, would not they laugh at our extreme

Or gone beyond the scas ; folly ? yet, when it is bought, they will not give you a calabash of milk

Or farther for religion fled, for it.'

Or else they take their ease." We may dismiss Master Hamond, and his “ Paradox,” with one extract more. The “golden age of which he here speaks, has who, in the gentle moon-light of a summer night in England, amid

“ We almost," says Sir Walter Scott, “envy the credulity of those been, in all time, a " Paradise of focls.” The true golden age the tangled glades of a deep forest, or the turfy swell of her romantic has yet to come.

commons, could fancy they saw the fairies tracing their sportive ring. “ The golden age so much celebrated by ancient writers, was not so

But it is in vain to regret illusions which, however engaging, yield called from the estimation or predomination that gold had in the hearts their place before the increase of knowledge, like shadows at the of men, for in that sense, as one said wittily,

advance of morn. These superstitions have already served their best * This may be truly call’d the age of gold :

and most useful purpose, having been embalmed in the poetry of For it both honour, love, and friends, are sold;'

Milton and Shakspeare, as well as writers only inferior to these great but from the contempt thereof. Then love and concord flourished;

*

namcs.

HISTORY OF TRANSPORTATION.

The present condition of a transported felon is mainly deter

mined by the 5th Geo. IV. c. 84, the Transportation Act, which The following sketch of the "Origin and History of Transpor- authorises her Majesty in council “ to appoint any place or places tation," is taken from a recent Parliamentary Report made by a beyond the seas, either within or without her Majesty's dominions," Committee appointed to inquire into the system of Transporta- to which offenders so sentenced shall be conveyed; the order for tion, and its efficacy as a punishment :

their removal must be given by one of the principal Secretaries of "The punishment of transportation is founded on that of exile, of New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land; the small volcanic

State. The places so appointed are, the two Australian colonies both of which are unknown to common law. Exile, according to the best authorities, was introduced, as a punishment, by the island, called Norfolk Island, situated about 1000 miles from the Legislature in the 39th year of Elizabeth; and the first time that

eastern shores of Australia, and Bermuda. Seventy-five thousand transportation was mentioned was in an act of 18 Charles I. c. 3,

two hundred convicts have been transported to New South Wales vhich empowered the judges to exile for life the moss-troopers of since its settlement in 1787 ; on the average of the last five years Cumberland and Northumberland, to any of his Majesty's pos

3544 offenders have been annually sent there ; and the whole consessions in America. The punishment, authorised by this act, is

vict population of the colony, in 1836, amounted to 23,254 men somewhat different from the one now termed transportation, inas

and 2577 women; in all, 27,831. Twenty-seven thousand seven much as the latter consists not only of exile to a particular place, Land since the year 1817; the number annually transported there

hundred and fifty-nine convicts have been sent to Van Dieman's but of compulsory labour there. It appears, however, to have teen the practice at an early period to subject transported offen

on the average of the last five years is 2078; and the convict popuders to penal labour, and to employ them as slaves on the estates lation in 1835 was 14,914 men, and 2054 women ; in all, 16,968. vi the planters; and the 4 Geo. 1. c. 11, gave to the person who Af Norfolk Island the number of convicts, most of whom had contracted to transport them, to his heirs, successors, and assigns, been re-transported for offences committed in New South Wales, a property and interest in the service of such offenders, for the

was, in 1837, above 1200; and at Bermuda, the number of con

victs does not exceed 900. period of their sentences. The great want of servants in the colonies was one of the reasons assigned for this mode of punish- penal colony a property in the services of a transported offender

“ The 5 Geo. IV. c. 94, likewise gives to the governor of a ment, and offenders were put up to auction, and sold by the per for the period of his sentence, and authorises the governor to sors who undertook to transport them, as bondsmen for the period assign over such offender to any other person. The only other of their sentences. Notwithstandinghowever, the dearth of labourers, many of the colonies, especially Barbadoes, Maryland, mentioned are, the 30 Geo. III. c. 47, which enables her Majesty

imperial statutes with regard to transportation which ought to be and New York, testified their disinclination to have their wants supplied by such means ; and the opinion of Franklin, as to the

to authorise the governor of a penal colony to remit, absolutely letting loose upon the New World the outcasts of the Old, is too

or conditionally, a part or the whole of the sentences of convicts;

the 9 Geo. IV. c. 83, which empowers the governor to grant a Trell known for your committee to repeat it. With the war of independence transportation to America ceased. Instead of taking that temporary or partial remission of sentence; and the 2 & 3 Will. opportunity for framing a good system of secondary punishments, W. c. 62, which limits the power of the governor in this respect. instead of putting in force the provisions of the 19 Geo. III. c. 74, No reference need be made to other statutes, which merely deter:

mine for what crimes transportation is the punishment. In New by which parliament intended to establish in this country the penitentiary system of punishment, the government of the day South Wales and Van Dieman's Land convicts are subjected to a unfortunately determined to adhere to transportation. It was not, variety of colonial laws, framed by the local legislatures, estahowever, deemed expedient to offer to the colonies, that remained blished under the New South Wales Act, 9 Geo. IV. c. 83." loyal in America, the insult of making them any longer a place of punishment for offenders. It was determined, therefore, to plant a new colony for this sole purpose; and an act was passed in the

SUPERSTITION.-Coleridge gives us an amusing instance of how 24th year of George the Third, which empowered his Majesty in council to appoint what place, beyond the seas, either within or long superstion will hold its ground, even after the spirit has clean without his Majesty's dominions, offenders shall be transported; gone out of it

. The following charm for cramp was doubtless and by two orders in council, 'dated 6th December, 1786, the often repeated in perfect faith, though now it sounds to us very

ludicrous and profane-like :eastern coast of Australia, and the adjacent islands, were fixed upou. In the month of May, 1787, the first band of convicts " When I was a little boy at the Blue-coat School, there was a departed, which, in the succeeding year, founded the colony of charm for one's foot when asleep; and I believe it had been in tho Ver South Wales.

school since its foundation in the time of Edward the Sixth. The "To plant a colony, and to form a new society, has ever been march of intellect has probably now exploded it. It ran thus, an arduous task. In addition to the natural difficulties arising

• Foot, foot, foot, is fast asleep, from ignorance of the nature of the soil and of the climate of a

Thumb, thumb, thumb, in spittle we steep : der country, the first settlers have generally had to contend with

Crosses three we make to ease us, innamerable obstacles, which only undaunted patience, firmness

Two for the thieves and one for Christ Jesus.' of mind, and constancy of purpose, could overcome. But whatever the amount of difficulties attendant on the foundation of And the same charm served for a cramp in the leg, witb the following colonies, those difficulties were greatly augmented, in New South substitution :Wales, by the character of the first settlers. The offenders who

• The devil is tying a knot in my leg, were transported in the past century to America, were sent to

Mark, Luke, and John, unloose it I beg : communities, the bulk of whose population were men of thrift

Crosses three,' &c. and probity; the children of improvidence were dropt in by dribblets amongst the mass of a population already formed, and were

And really, upon getting out of bed, where the cramp most frequently absorbed and assimilated as they were dropped in. They were

occurred, pressing the sole of the foot on the cold floor; and then scattered and separated from each other; some acquired habits of repeating this charm with the acts configurative thereupon prescribed, honest industry, and all, if not reformed by their punishment, I can safely affirm that I do not remember an instance in which the were not certain to be demoralised by it. In New South Wales, cramp did not go away in a few seconds. on the contrary, the community was composed of the very dregs

“I should not wonder if it were equally good for a stitch in the of society; of men proved by experience to be unfit to be at large side, but I cannot say I ever tried it for that." 10 any society, and who were sent from the British gaols, and turned loose to mix with one another in the desert, together with & few task-masters, who were to set them to work in the open Fildemess; and with the military, who were to keep them from

A woman of decent appearance came one day into a stationer's

On perolt. The consequences

of this strange assemblage were vice, shop and desired to purchase a pen, for which she paid a penny. immorality, frightful disease, hunger, dreadful mortality, among the receiving it she returned it, with the observation that it was good for settlers ; the convicts were decimated by pestilence on the voyage, nothing. Another was given her, but she gave this also back again

, and again decimated by famine on their arrival ; and the most

with the same remark. On being asked what fault she had to hideous cruelty was practised towards the unfortunate natives.

find with them—“Why how," she returned, "could they possibly Such is the early history of New South Wales.

be good for anything when both had a slit at the end ?"

CHARM FOR CRAMP.

A REASON WITH A SLIT IN IT.

« AnteriorContinuar »