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Biography ; its Lessons, and the Advantages of its Systematic Study.

An Essay " CLEMENT,” the author of this Essay, has been a contributor, more or less frequently, to these pages for upwards of seven years, and his papers have won acceptance with our readers. We cannot and do not make it a practice to belaud the productions of those who have contributed to this serial, even when knowing them to be worthy of the sincerest admiration. This work we can truly commend as a very well written, sensible, and notice-worthy tractate on a noble theme. It would, perhaps, do it injustice with our readers were we to neglect to state that it is not a republication from our pages, although an essay on the same subject by another writer had a place in this serial. The man who attentively lays to heart the six lessons the author gives in Biography will do well, and reap the advantage in his after life. The book commends itself, besides its own merits, by its object. Any profit derived from its sale is to be devoted to the relief of the distress in Lancashire. It only costs 3d. To get a good treatise and do a good work at the same time is therefore open to many of our readers, and we hope they will avail themselves of the opportunity. Correspondence of Leigh Hunt. Edited by his eldest Son, THORN

TON HUNT (born 1810). London : Smith, Elder, and Co. In a notice of “ The Autobiography of Leigh Hunt,” we gave expression to our regard for that author, whose many amiable weaknesses could not root out of his friends' minds the numerous better qualities which distinguished him. If a man is known by the life he leads, he is also known by the company he keeps, and this is, to a certain extent, revealed us by his correspondence. The Autobiography gave us Leigh Hunt's own narration of his life, as looked at in the light of his own memory and consciousness. The Correspondence supplies us with the means of contrasting and comparing that self-portraiture with the impression made upon others. These letters are from the most various minds, and from almost all the distinguished men of the time. A brief and unintruding running commentary by the editor jots down for us the chief incidents of Leigh Hunt's life, from his point of view, and is, if anything, rather unreticent. For want of a better arrangement, Mr. Hunt has adopted Locality as his role and guide, and hence we have, after " Early Letters,",," Letters from Surrey Gaol ;” “Out of Prison—Journey to Italy;" " Letters from Italy;" “The Return Home-Highgate ;" “ Domestic Troubles,” in the first volume; and “ · Letters from Kensington;" “ Letters from Hammersmith,” in the second. Letters from so many places and so many sources, by so many men whose names are fame, and letting the public into so many of the literary secrets of some time ago, have a great interest, and a permanent literary value. There is little need of particularizing names in this work. We may, however, notice that in addition to the great poets and critics of the early part of this century, and many of the more distinguished gentlemen of the periodical press, there are most attractive readings from Brougham, Jeffrey, Macvey Napier, Macaulay, Ollier, G. L. Craik, Haydon, Sir F. Pollock, Lord John Russell, and others. The best text-book for letter-writing ought surely to be one like this, wherein we have the real correspondence of ladies and gentlemen accustomed to write, accustomed to the amenities of life, accustomed to read, think, and feel. Then there is the attraction of knowing how these men acted in given circumstances, and how they wrote in their several moods of thought and feeling.

To get behind the scenes of any life, gratifies the natural craving curiosity we all have to know if all others think, act, and feel as we; satisfies the spirit which seeks to recognize a brotherhood, not in frailty only, but in aspiration and effort, with those who have gone the last pilgrimage of humanity. This work is just such a one as opens up little landscapes of life to the stranger'8 view, and makes him confess their beanty. There is a good honest intent in the book, and its charms are as numerous as the contributors. It brings together round one central figure, in pleasing groups, many of the reverenced and good, the famed and the noted. We cannot resist an interest in these people; we cannot but be delighted to learn in what manner they lived and thought, were affected or disaffected towards each other; and always the more we read the deeper becomes our loving regard for our fellow-travellers along the highway to the grave. We consider this book a very appropriate and genial complement and sequel to the graceful Autobiography of one whom we might almost designate the Goldsmith of the nineteenth century. Rough Diamonds : a Story Book. By John HOLLINGSHEAD,

Author of “Ragged London,” &c. London: Sampson, Low, Son, and Co.

The author, who is well known as an able contributor to many serials, and to wield a versatile pen, has “in accordance with the general and growing fashion,” gathered these six stories of common life " from the pages of various periodicals.". They are chiefly intended to amuse the reader, but they also aim at revealing in some measure to the higher half of the world how the lower lives. The author belongs to the realistic school, and writes somewhat farcically, yet with good intent and great ability. His “ Under Bow Bells," a book of a similar cast, as well as his “Odd Journeys," prove him to be a skilful caterer for the many-tasted multitude of periodicals. The author is acquiring name, fame, pay, and popularity of late, and we can readily recommend this small, nicely illustrated book as a fine gift-book for young, though not too young, readers,-readers, in fact, who need amusement to induce them to read.

The Topic.

OUGHT THE COTTON DISTRICTS TO DEPEND FOR RELIEF ON

PRIVATE ALMS OR NATIONAL BOUNTY ?
PRIVATE ALMS.

upon the community, if it were to be If the Government of this country in reality a bounty, we should still were in a position to afford sufficient object to its adoption, because it would and substantial aid to the distressed have a tendency to stay voluntary alms, sufferers in Lancashire, without taking and perhaps cause them to be altogether the money out of the pockets of the withdrawn-the public thinking they people again in the form of new and were not called upon to interfere further increased taxation, there are many very in the matter—besides furnishing a good reasons why they should do so; dangerous precedent in similar cases for it is partially owing to the line of where the distress may be as severe but policy they are pursuing, and have all not as extensive. In these cases, the along followed, that the present distress sufferers and the public generally would is so severe as it is; and as the people look to the Government for aid, and on are unwilling idlers and innocent suf- à refusal, discontent and riot would ferers in the matter, it seems only probably arise in the distressed districts. just and fair that the Government should The tendency to lean on the Governcontribute to their support. But this ment for aid would be increased at is not at all probable. Our revenue is every grant, till the people would come far from flourishing, and instead of a to regard the Government not only as sarplas we may expect a deficit. To the proper and just reliever, but also as grant a subsidy to Lancashire would, the real cause of their necessities and in fact, augment our taxation, and this troubles. Voluntary alms, sympathy, wonld fall over all the country alike, so and charity, would neither make any that, though many might easily bear attempt to mitigate distress, nor would it, the poor would be the greatest they be desired. Lastly, in the present sufferers. It is an ascertained fact case, the organization employed in the that there are in Lancashire and the distribution of relief is working effineighbourhood many hundreds of fami- ciently and economically: to displace lies contributing to the rates who are the present executive would neither be therselves on the very brink of pau- prudent nor just ; the donations and perism. Any attempt to increase the subscriptions continually pouring in to rates, or augment their burden in the it proves that it possesses the confiway of taxes, would involve them in dence of the contributors. The zeal and ruin; less money would be raised than energy displayed by the people at home was anticipated; and this, having to be and abroad, and the ready and able distributed over a more extended area, manner in which the committee has would be very limited, and almost nul- been organized, show that the people lified in its effects. Again, the distress look upon the matter as a duty that is limited in extent. It is confined they, and not the Government, are to portions of two or three counties. called upon to perform. Were the It seems, then, hardly fair to tax the Government to interfere, this spirit of whole for the support of a part. And independence and mutual sympathy even if the Government grant should and benevolence would be considerably not inmediately or prospectively fall lessened-R, S.

1863.

F

The relief of the distressed operatives the human species. The above assemin the cotton districts of England has biage of sentiments constitutes the basis a claim upon the bounty of the liberal upon which we pronounce against any throughout the land. When we look niggardly practices in dealing out at the calamity in its grimmest phasis, | private alms to so meritorious a branch we behold the sufferings, not of single of industry, and we opine the majority individuals, but of prodigious multi- of our friends and readers will coincide tudes, chargeable with no misdemeanour, with us in that decision.-S. F. T. dissipation, or sloth as the barbinger of I incline to the opinion that they the calamity we now so deeply deplore. ought to depend for relief on private Reviewing the causes of distress, and alms. It is hoped that the distress is gauging them with the wand of im- of a temporary nature; and, in volunpartiality, our conclusions do not direct tarily assisting those who require our us to any indications of its being a aid, we do far better, and show a much recompence for the practice of anything more christian spirit, than would be unbecoming their position. We all the case if the national bounty were to know the ardent flame of independence be bestowed on the distressed. At all that is an inseparable ingredient of the events, it appears to me to be quite compound of an Englishman's heart; full clear that private alms should first be well we appreciate the worth of theopera- given to as great an extent as possible, tives as the most powerful of the sinews and when the public “ bave bad enough of England's adınitted superiority over

of it" to become tired of giving inore, the other nations of Europe. Whilst then the national bounty might, with in the midst of these profound con- some show of reason, be made available. templations, we are led, in the midst of Although the distress is very lamente so many works of magnificence-wbich able, an opportunity is thus afforded for we cannot behold without admiration- the grand and noble sight which is now to exclaim, Who sank those channels exhibited, of “ all sorts and conditious through which the numerous crafts of men,” and women too, rushing forconvey their freights? Who constructed ward and putting their hands in their those tramways over which pass the pockets liberally; and I cannot help rapid car with its contents with the thinking that to do anything to stop speed of the dove ? Need I say the that flow of charity would be an undue necessity for the conveyance of the interference with "good deeds." productions of the shuttle and loom, R. D. R. other works of the diligent opera

The relief required will be more actives ? Upon a review of the above ceptable to those in distress if it come facts, we conceive it to be no more by way of private benevolence rather than an act of justice and duty to

than by Government grant. Many of supply to the utmost of our means the

the poor bave a great objection to receive starving populations from the stores of any assistance of the nature of parish our wealth. This bountiful recognition relief, which a national coutribution of their services will have a salutary would assume.-R. R. effect opon their minds, and a corre- The public has now an opportunity sponding gratitude will vibrate in them of displaying the better side of its and operate as a stimulant to their nature, by responding to the cry for future exertions for our comforts. help wbich Lancashire makes to those Whereas, were we to leave them to the who fortunately are not affected, or sole care of the poor-law board and its only partially, by the civil strife now auxiliary machinery, it would be con- raging in America. So far the subtrary to the dictates of humanity, and scriptions have been given with a liberal we might be justly traduced as wanting hand, and they have sufficed to meet one of the finest attributes that beautify

the necessities of the case. Until the

public is weary of contributing, why damp its ardour in the good work by even mentioning having recourse to the public treasury?-H. R.

The alacrity with wbich the workmen of England are giving out of their hardearned' wages for the relief of their brethren in the cotton districts, excites the admiration of the country. They appear to vie with the middle classes in the amount of their subscriptions to mitigate, as far as possible, the undeserved calamity which has fallen upon the industry of so large a portion of our population. The adoption of the voluntary principle in this emergency will raise our country in the estimation of the whole world.-H. S.

There is no lovelier action than that of making a free, spontaneous gift. Indeed, no actions more develop the noble qualities of a man than those of free-will giving. Voluntaryism is better than compulsion. Law should step in when duty fails. Men first-law next. Far better that some should give because it is right to give, even though others do not, than that all should give because such is the law. Public opinion, too, is a mighty power, and often works wonders. A tax would not affect any but ratepayers, unless it be injuriously to affect those below them in freeing them from the feeling that it is necessary that they should give. Moreover, a tax would in the degree of their means) place ratepayers on a level, and thus, to a great extent, shut out that generous emulation in well-doing so desirable in a Christian community. So long, then, as private alms suffice, let not national bounty be called in.-ARTHUR.

My reasons against national bounty, in the shape of a parliamentary money grant, are as follows:-1. Admitted that John Bull's purse is long, it is yet not so inexhaustible as applicants for his bounty would fain persuade him. So many millions sterling are annually raised for imperial purposes, that taxation, to the tune of a few millions more, is treated of by some writers as a matter

of little moment. A small grant to Cottonia in distress would be of but little service, and, in fact, all those persons, from Cobden downwards, who are calling for Government assistance, insist on grants for heavy amounts. Now every penny of the amount granted comes out of some one's pocket; most of our taxation rests on articles consumed in larger quantities in proportion to their income by the operative and struggling middle classes, than by the higher middle and upper classes, who subsist on the produce of realized capital, either alone or combined with their own labour. It follows, then, that a grant amounts really to an involuntary national subscription, paid by those who are least able to afford it. 2. National bounty means national waste. There is just such an amount of uncertainty about the flow of private benevolence as leads to strict economy on the parto f dispensers of the same, and to an hones: endeavour on every one's part to make a penny do a penny's work. Many of the lowest class of cotton operatives, mostly importations from Ireland and other parts of England during the recent expansion of the trade, need to be carefully dealt with, and to have relief sparsely dealt ont, lest they should sink into that helpless, indolent state so fully expressed by the one word-pauperism. (I am careful to distinguish between the two classes of cotton workers, the one careful, saving, intellectual; the other thriftless, spendthrift, and dissipated: newspaper writers have run the two classes together.) 3. National bounty will dry up the stream of private benevolencë. The owners of many mills are running them two, three, four, and some six days per week, at a heavy loss, as their contribution to the relief fund; others are paying two, three, four, up to six day wages to their hands, while the spindle looms remain still. Honour to them! Many other manufacturers of smaller means are preparing to resume work as soon as cotton falls sufficiently to render the loss on working up a bearable burden. Government bounty

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