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IRISH LITERATURE.

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Nations, like individuals, seldom brave men and ignorant nations enretain the good opinion of their neigh- lightened ones. It will, we hope, bours when they cease to respect have the effect of arousing the selfthemselves. Irishmen have so long respect of the people of Ireland-of made a merit of their sufferings-s0 shaining them out of an unworthy long endeavoured to convert the re- silence, and forcing them into an proaches of their enemies into proofs assertion of their own merits. To of bad treatment—that the country prove that the charge so often and so has been insensibly degraded almost confidently made respecting Ireland's without ever having made an attempt inability to support a literary work to interrupt the progress of misrepre- is founded in error, we have written sentation. Whenever she has been this essay; and, though we might concharged with ignorance, the falsehood tent ourselves by alluding to the first was admitted by implication; for the names in English literature, as a proof reply was, You may attribute it to the of the intellectual character of the government;' and a similar answer Irish people, we shall, on this occawas returned to almost every moral sion, take another method, and show and physical accusation. The conse- that, if Ireland hitherto has had no quence of this was at first universal literary journal, it was because no pity, but in the end universal con- means had ever been taken to estempt: for pity and contempt are tablish a permanent one; and that. twin-sisters. The government, God in fact, no one had ever been started knows, was bad enough; but, to cover deserving of national patronage. it with shame and excite the indigna- We copy from “Walsh's History of tion of mankind, it was only necessary Dublin' the following list of all the to assert the truth-to show to the periodical works which have ever apworld that tyranny is impolicy; and peared in that city, and have numbered prove that profligacy and oppression them for the convenience of referhad not been able to triumph over the human mind; that, notwithstand

1. Weekly Advice of Dublin Society ing centuries of misrule, the people

2. Exshaw's Gentleman's Magazine had continued to possess all the attri- 3. Walker's Hibernian Magazine butes of freemen, courage and patriot- 4. Baratariana ism, religion, virtue, and learning. 5. Batchelor Instead of this a very different course 6. Pranceriana was pursued, and one more unpolitic 7. Cyclopedian Magazine could not have been adopted; it gra- 8. Anthologia Hibernica dually begot a contempt in the mind 9. Masonic of other nations, and at length

10. New Hibernian Magazine brought the people to believe that

11. Cox's Irish Magazine

12. Ireland's Mirror this contempt was deserved. The bad effects of this self-degrada

13. Dublin Satirist

14. Flapper tion are obvious, but in nothing has it

15. Antiunion been more injurious than as it respect

16. Medical Journal ed the literary character of the coun- 17. Examiner try. After our last number had gone 18. Sentimental Magazine to press, we read in a London literary 19. Evangelical Magazine journal that our publication had been 20. Gleaner discontinued, in consequence of Ire

21 Union Star land being unable to support a single

22. Panorama literary periodical. Of this we took

23. Milesian Magazine immediate notice; but how could we

24. Minerva Magazine blame our cotemporary? He only

25. The New Irish Magazine. asserted an opinion generally enter- Numbers 2, 3, 7, 9, 10, 12, 18, and tained both in England and Ireland, 22,were monthlycompilations from the and thought himself quite correct, worst species of English magazines, though his publication does not reach and several of them obtained a great one-fourth the sale which our Maga- deal too much patronage: for they zine has in Ireland alone. It is thus continued to be published for several that pigmies insult giants-cowards years. Numbers 5, 6, 14, 20, 24,

6

were ephemeral weekly trash or po- in Newgate, with an increased circulation litical squibs. Number 13 died, was convicted of a second, and finally of course; and what becaine of Num- agreed to transport himself to America, bers 1 and 19 we are unable to say, lle has since returned, and enjoys a pen

and put an end to his magazine in 1815. except that they have long since

sion from government. ceased to exist. Number 4 (Barata

Medical Journal was first published in riana) appeared in 1770. It was,'

1807. It was the first ever attempted in says Mr. Walsh, a 'keen and vigor- Dublin, and intended as a receptacle for ous attack on the administration of all medical essays and communications Lord Townsend. Number 8 (An- which might be made on the subject; but, thologia) was a monthly work, de- notwithstanding the extensive hospitals of voted to antiquities; it contains some Dublin, the rising reputation of the schools articles of merit, but, taken as a of surgery and physic, and the talent supwhole, it was specially dull and unin- posed to exist in the respective professions, teresting. Of 'Numbers 21, 11, 15, this work could only be supported for

Its place is now, in and 16, Mr. Walsh gives the follow- eighteen months.

some measure, supplied by “ Hospital Reing history :

ports,” two volumes of which appeared in Union Star. This atrocious composi- the summer of 1817 ; one anonymous, and tion appeared in the year 1797. It was

the other under the sanction of the College published at irregular intervals, printed of Physicians. only on one side. and was secretly posted

Number 23 (Milesian Magazine) during the night in the most conspicuous was the production of the notorious parts of the city. It commenced with the Dr. Brennan, and came out at intermotto, Perhaps some arm more lucky vals. It consisted of abuse of the than the rest may reach his heart, and Dublin physicians, attacks on Cox, free the world from bondage,” and de- and praise of turpentine as a medinounced by name and description such cine. It had an extensive sale, but men as were inimical to the cause it advocated. A reward of seven hundred pounds threatened prosecution.

was discontinued in consequence of a., was offered by government for the author and publisher, but, though well known, he in 1816, and continued monthly for

Number 17 (Examiner) appeared was never avowed.

'. Antiunionist. This appeared in 1779, nine months. It was sold for two with a view to oppose the legislative union shillings, and contained about half as then in agitation. It displayed some wit, much matier as our Magazine ; for it but it seemed to want the energy and was printed in large type. It conspirit which alone give efficacy to opinions sisted of badly-written reviews, dull in great political discussions. Like the political articles, and intolerable last efforts of the French under Napoleon, poetry. Yet the proprietors, on at, the Antiunonist displayed the imbecility of tempting to revive it, acknowledged an exhausted subject and worn-out people. that the sale, for some months, more

Irish Magazine This was first pub- than covered the expense. Such a lished in 1807. It was edited by an extraordinary man of the name of Cox, a gun- periodical in London* would never smith, whose father, as he says himself, have sold a hundred copies. was a bricklayer in the county of Meath.

The last Dublin periodical was the The magazine was almost exclusively mat- • New Irish Magazine,' written with ter compiled by himself. It contained great spirit; but, singular to say, the biographical notices of the dead, and severe press was never corrected; conseattacks upon the living. The work was a quently it appeared with all the ori. series of scurrility, calumny, and vulgarity; ginal errors of the proof-sheet. but there was withal a fund of information,

Such is the brief history and de a strong sense, and a humour and drollery scription of Irish periodicals: several so captivating, that its circulation extended of them, it appears, were mere time: to all parts of Ireland, and continued for some time the only periodical publication, serving pul·lications, and the greater and became even a school-book in some of number piracies from English works. the hedge schools. The usual number Cox's Magazine had an ainple sale, printed and circulated annually amounted and is alone sufficient to prove that to sixty thousand, or about five thousand Ireland is ready and able to support a monthly. The author was convicted of a periodical even of dubious claims. It libel in 1811, continued his magazine while is preposterous, therefore, to say that

* In London more periodicals have proved unsuccessful, in one year, than in Ireland for the last fifty.

ers.

there is no encouragement for litera- of local interest, and some schoolture in Ireland because such trash books, used exclusively in the counas the above has been discontinued. try. In this instance, therefore, the Their failure reflects the highest credit effect of the regulation has been on the intellectual discernment of the wholly to the prejudice of Ireland ; people; for, had they niet with patron- she has been deprived of an advantage age, it would evince a strange want of without receiving an equivalent, and taste and understanding in their read- has lost the privilege of separation

It may, however, be asked, what without acquiring the benefits of has hitherto prevented fie appear- union.'t ance of a periodical work worthy the But, while these impolitic laws were literary character of the country? in operation, Irish publishers carried The answer is, simply because it had on an extensive trade in Catholic never been attempted until the ap- works,large quantities of which, under pearance of the Dublin and London;' more than two thousand titles, are conand in the next .place it may be ob- tinually on sale. Other publishers served that there were three causes carried on a singular trade in books which intimidated persons froin such peculiar to Ireland. It may be asan undertaking:

serted, with truth,' says Mr. Walsh, In the first place, the prevalence of

" that

any

defect in the moral state an opinion of Ireland's inability to of the peasantry of Ireland does not support a work completely deterred arise either from their ignorance of the booksellers from having any letters, or their want of books.thing to do with periodicals. We believe We have heard many intelligent and there is not an instance of any one in impartial men state it as their conthe trade being a proprietor; and in- viction that more than a comparative dividuals, even in London, have never proportion know how to reail, and we been able to establish a literary jour- are assured that the experiment was nal, when unassisted by the book- tried. A certain number was taken sellers. This alone would be suffi- indiscriminately from among the cient to account for the want of such privates of an English and Irish regia work in Ireland.

ment of inilitia, and it was found that The next reason is, the facility of a greater proportion of the latter than procuring English periodicals at the the former could read out of the book London price, and the establishment presented to them. We have not of the Dublin Library and Literary In- been able to ascertain to what shire stitution, in both of which all re- or county the regiments belonged. views, magazines, &c. are taken in. From the number of Irish catechisms But probably the most powerful annually sold, it is inferred by Dr. reason was the law, as it operated, Stokes that twenty thousand persons until lately, on the Irish publishers. in Ireland are able to read their native It is not unworthy of remark,' say tongue. The number of sixpenny' the commissioners on the public re- or · Burton books' annually sold, was venue in 1822,* that at the time of formerly immense. Four booksellers the Union the copyright act was ex- in Dublin used to deal exclusively in tended to Ireland, and the Irish pub. them, and one had four presses conlisher was then deprived of the power stantly employed, and published on of reprinting British publications for an average fifty thousand annually; bethe supply of the home market. This sides these there were presses in Cork extension of the law, however just in and Limerick employed on no other principle, has had the effect of nearly work. It was supposed that in this way destroying the trade of publication in three hundred thousand were every Ireland; and the press at this time year printed and circulated. They affords no supply beyond a few tracts were a principal commodityof hawkers

* Third Report.

+ There was a contervailing and draw-back duty of threepence a pound ; but, as the expense of obtaining the latter was more than the sum gained, unless the parcel was large, consequently in most instances it was entirely lost. The effect of this was to obstruct the trade; and Mr. Archer said he would rather not get any orders for periodicals, &c. &c. &c. as he could not send them back, if unsold, without paying a duty of threepence per pound.-ED.

young ambition.

and pedlars : and in every country London, if supplied with the sam town they were exposed on tables in materials? We admit that no boo the streets for sale, and the markets has yet been printed in Ireland fit for resembled a Leipsic fair. On the the English market; and we mention recurrence of a fair it was a practice it as a reproach to the Irish printers, with children to cry 'my fairing on in the hope that it may have its you' to whomsoever they knew. The proper effect. person addressed usually gave some One word now for ourselves : we cheap article or small sum of money. have demonstrated that Ireland is To obtain in this way a sixpenny book able to support a literary periodical';. for a fairing was the great object of for, though we have as yet been

scarcely six months before the public, Whatever were the moral or literary our prospects both in England and defects of these books, the eagerness Ireland are most cheering: and we of the Irish peasantry to possess them refer to the contents of our present evinces their love of reading,* and number as an evidence of our enshows the fault was not in them, but deavours to deserve a continuation of in the booksellers. These publica- support. We hare no apprehension; tions are,

however, now discontinued, and, in justice to the literary taste of and books of better matter circulated. the Irish people, we could not withThe intercourse with England is now hold this statement. open, and in the spirit of free trade Perhaps we should not close this our publishers have been the first to article without alluding to a cotemembrace the advantages it presents. porary, in somewhat a different Let Irish publishers imitate their ex- walk from ourselves, though not ample, and it only requires an effortless usefully employed. We allude, to enable them to participate in the of course, to the great Captain of the English market. Twenty years ago age, and his Gazette. Although a Scotch oook could not be sold in Rock is not backward in doing justice London, yet now there exists no pre- to his own merits—in fact, though he judice whatever; and the same thing sometimes acts the part of his own must happen respecting Ireland trumpeter- we cannot but acknowwhenever à Dublin publisher has ledge that we have frequently derived courage enough to venture into the amusement and instruction from his London market. The silly talk ahout weekly lucubrations, and consider it Irish printers, &c. is not worth a another proof of the taste for reading thought: they can procure the same in Ireland that this little periodical has types, the saine presses, and, if they obtained an unprecedented sale, of wish, the same lands. Our Maga- which, by-the-by, it is well deserving; zine (and we challenge comparison) for it contains such a happy variety and is the work of Irish compositors : and piquant humour, that the learned what is to prevent Irishmen from may peruse it with pleasure, and the working as well in Dublin as in peasant with advantage.

It having been industriously circulated through England that eleven counties in Ireland were without a single bookseller, we subjoin Mr. Parnell's statement before the commissioners of revenue. We do this to show that, though there are no booksellers, there are books, and probably some individuals in these places would find it their interest to devote themselves exclusively to this trade.

* The gentlemen who met me this morning, were Mr. Dugdale, Mr. Keene, Mr. Mahon, Mr. Cumming, and Mr. Milliken. I have before me an abstract from the map and post towns in Ireland, prepared by those fire gentlemen, who deal very largely, respecting the trade of booksellers in Ireland. I will hand it in ; it has been done in haste, but I believe it is accurate.-- The witness delivered in the same.]— From that paper it will appear, that there are eleven counties in Ireland in which there is not a single bookseller; there may be a certain description of booksellers, but I mean those that are recognised by those in the trade; I wish, therefore, to be correct in this account. I do not mean to say this contains a list of all those who sell books, because hardwaremen and grocers sell books. The common mode of getting books in Ireland, the kind of books the peasantry buy for their children, is through the means of grocers and hardwaremen; they keep a shelf for what they call Burton's, and spelling-books, and almanacks, and books of that kind. They cannot, of course, be considered booksellers.'

MODERN AMUSEMENTS.

The amusements to which the bulk course, will differ. Many of our of the people in any country appear readers may see the matter in quite particularly partial may be taken in another light--they may even feel general as a tolerably correct standard hurt at the honest earnestness with for judging of the national taste-as which we have pronounced our opia sort of test by which we may decide nion; but this consideration shall not on the national character. The ob- restrain us : we would sooner even servation holds good as far as it con- offend than fail in the performance of ceras the majority of our Continental what we look upon as a duty. In friends. It holds with regard to some of the late atteinpts which have France, Holland, Germany, and Spain, been made to check the abominations and probably many other countries. of the prize-ring, the constituted The pastimes of each are distinguished authorities of the land had very reaby some peculiar feature that fur- sonably. calculated upon the aid of the nishes the intelligent observer with an periodical press. It was natural to easy clue to the general temper and suppose that men living by the exerdisposition of the people. While we cise of their literary talent--that men venture to judge of our neighbours who, fro:n their hourly avocations, upon this principle, we must observe are perpetually reminded of the suthat we should feel some uneasiness periority of mind to matter-it was if we thought that strangers, while in natural to think that such men would England, were generally disposed to willingly endeavour to check the preforin their opinions on a similar tensions of the host of vulgar, muttonground. We are afraid the test would fisted heroes, who were drawing after be altogether unfavourable, and the them in their career the attention, result any thing but creditable to the and the applause that should be given national character. Our favourite to exalted virtue, or to intellectual aipusements are not such as would be superiority. This, however, was an likely to convey to the mind of an en- erroneous anticipation. Two or three lightened foreigner a very high idea respectable journals commended the of our taste or our civilization---they judges and the magistrates for the are not calculated to strike him as

course they had taken ; but the greater very engaging or very amiable fea- number of the London and provincial tures in the character of the people. papers took quite a contrary direction. In fact, the recreations of our prize Some of the scribes connected with ring, and the sports of our rat-killing them stood forth in defence of what amateurs, with some more of our pub- they styled the Fistic Art:'-they lic follies, have produced a most un. continued day after day to detail the favourable impression upon the minds savage encounters that occasionally of many who have visited our shores took place-dwelling upon the cirwith highly raised expectations.- cumstances as if delighted with what These wretched exhibitions are cal. they described-insulting public taste, culated to lower us in the estimation and vitiating the language of the of the good and the wise: they tend country by the introduction of what to spread through the entire com- may be denominated the phraseomunity a spirit of heartless ferocity, logy of the mob. The only excuse a disposition to the worst species of that can be offered in favour of the idleness-and a taste for gambling of journalist who devotes his columns to the most unprincipled and unjustifi- the cause of pugilism is the old one, able description. Under such circum- that those who live to please must stances it becomes the duty of every please to live.'. We are quite willing one who wishes to support the cause to admit that those who exist but by of decency, taste, and morality, to de- the favour of the public are bound to liver his sentiments freely and fear- indulge the multitude in many of lessly. We, in our capacity of jour- their prejudices or partialities. We nalists, shall not hesitate for a mo- are ready to allow, that, when one or ment in denouncing these master- another of these barbarous contests nuisances of our time. Tastes, of becomes an object of general interest

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