Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

66

whose language they have long since deciphered, racter of Joanna's person and engaging manners. that the poor victim in the morning's sacrifice is Neither of these men lived till the following cena woman ? How, if it be published on that tury, so that personally this evidence is none at distant world that the sufferer wears upon her all. Grafton sullenly and carelessly believed as head, in the eyes of many, the garlands of mar- he wished to believe ; Holinshead took pains to tyrdom?

How, if it should be some Marie inquire, and reports undoubtedly the general Antoinette, the widowed queen, coming forward impression of France. But I cite the case as on the scaffold, and presenting to the morning illustrating M. Michelet's candour. * air her head, turned grey prematurely by sor- The circumstantial incidents of the execution, row, daughter of Cæsars kneeling down hum- unless with more space than I can now command, bly to kiss the guillotine, as one that worships I should be unwilling to relate. I should fear to death ? How, if it were the “martyred wife of Roland,” uttering impassioned truth-truth * Amongst the many ebullitions of M. Michelet's fury odious to the rulers of her country—with her against us poor English, are four which will be likely to

amuse the reader; and they are the more conspicuous in expiring breath? How, if it were the noble collision with the justice which he sometimes does us, and Charlotte Corday, that in the bloom of youth, the very indignant admiration which, under some aspects, that with the loveliest of persons, that with he grants to us.

1. Our English literature he admires with some gnashhomage waiting upon her smiles wherever she ing of teeth. He pronounces it “ fine and sombre,'' but, turned her face to scatter them—homage that I lament to add, sceptical, Judaic, Satanic-in a word, followed those smiles as surely as the carols member of this diabolical corporation, will not surprise

That Lord Byron should figure as a of birds, after showers in spring, follow the re- men. It will surprise them to hear that Milton is one of appearing sun and the racing of sunbeams over its Satanic leaders. Many are the generous and eloquent the hills—yet thought all these things cheaper than Frenchmen, beside Chateaubriand, who have, in the

course of the last thirty years, nobly suspended their own the dust upon her sandals in comparison of deli- burning nationality, in order to render a more rapturous verance from hell for her dear suffering France? homage at the feet of Milton; and some of them have

raised Milton almost to a level with angelic natures. Not Ah! these were spectacles indeed for those sympa- one of them has thought of looking for him below the thising people in distant worlds ; and some, per- earth. As to Shakspcre, M. Michelet detects in him a

It is this : he does haps, would suffer a sort of martyrdom themselves, most extraordinary mare's nest.

“ not recollect to have seen the name of God” in any because they could not testify their wrath, could part of his works. On reading such words, it is natural not bear witness to the strength of love, and to to rub one's eyes, and suspect that all one has ever seen the fury of hatred, that burned within them at in this world may have been a pure ocular delusion. In such scenes ; could not gather into golden urns gloire" never occurs in any Parisian journal. “The great

particular, I begin myself to suspect that the word la some of that glorious dust which rested in the English nation,” says M. Michelet, • has one immense catacombs of earth,

profound vicc,” to wit,“ pride." Why, really, that may

be true; but we have a neighbour not absolutely clear of On the Wednesday after Trinity Sunday in

an“ immense profound vice," as liko ours in colour and 1431, being then about nineteen years of age, the shape as cherry to cherry. In short, M. Michelet thinks Maid of Arc underwent her martyrdom.

She us, by fits and starts, admirable, only that we are detest

able; and he would adore some of our authors, were it was conducted before mid-day, guarded by eight not that so intensely he could bave wished to kick them. hundred spearmen, to a platform of prodigious 2. M. Michelet tliinks to lodge an arrow in our sides by height, constructed of wooden billets supported a very odd remark upon Thomas à Kempis; which is, that by occasional walls of lath and plaster, and suppose, or å Zantiote-might have written Tom; only

a man of any conceivable European blood-a Finlander, traversed by hollow spaces in every direction not an Englishman. Whether an Englishman could have for the creation of air-currents. The pile forged Tom must remain a matter of doubt, unless the

thing had been tried long ago. That problem was inter“ struck terror," says M. Michelet, “ by its cepted for ever by Toni's perverseness in choosing to height;" and, as usual, the English purpose manufacture himself. Yet, since nobody is better awaro in this is viewed as

than M. Michelet, that this very point of Kempis having one of pure malignity.

manufactured Kempis is furiously and hopelessly litigated, But there are two ways of explaining all that. three or four nations claiming to have forged his work It is probable that the purpose was merciful.- for him, the shocking old doubt will raise its snaky head On the circumstances of the execution I shall darkness, might not, after all, be of English blood. Tom,

once morc-whether this forger, who rests in so much not linger. Yet, to mark the almost fatal it may be feared, is known to modern English literaturo felicity of M. Michelet in finding out whatever chiefly by an irreverent mention of his name in a line of may injure the English name, at a moment Peter Pindar's (Dr. Wolcot), fifty years back, where he is

described as when every reader will be interested in Joanna's

“Kempis Tom, personal appearance, it is really cdifying to Who clearly shows the way to Kingdom Cumc. notice the ingenuity by which he draws into Few in these days can have read him unless in the light from a dark corner a very unjust ac

Methodist version of John Wesley. Amongst those

few, however, happens to be myself; which arose from count of it, and neglects, though lying upon the the accident of having, when a boy of eleven, received a high road, a very pleasing one. Both are from copy of the De Imitatione Christi, as a bequest from a reEnglish pens. Grafton, à chronicler but little lation, who died very young; from which cause, and from

the external prettiness of the book, being a Glasgow reread, being a stiff-necked John Bull, thought fit print, by the celebrated Foulis

, and gaily bound, I was to say, that no wonder Joanna should be a virgin, induced to look into it; and finally read it many times since her “ foule face” was a satisfactory solution over, partly out of some sympathy which, even in those

days, i had with its simplicity and devotional fervor; but of that particular merit. Holinshead, on the other much more from the savage delight I found in laughing hand, a chronicler somewhat later, every way at Tom's Latinity. That, I freely grant to M. Michelei, more important, and universally read, has given that I could forge' a better De Imitatione myself. But a very pleasing testimony to the interesting cha- there is no knowing till one tries. Yet, after all, it is not injure, by imperfect report, a martyrdom which to her a willingness to recant. No innoconce to myself appears so unspeakably grand. Yet could escape that. Now, had she really testified for a purpose pointing, not at Joanna but at this willingness on the scaffold, it would have M. Michelet-viz., to convince him that an argued nothing at all but the weakness of & Englishman is capable of thinking more highly genial nature shrinking from the instant approach of La Pucelle than even her admiring country of torment. And those will often pity that weak.' man, I shall, in parting, allude to one or two ness most, who, in their own persons, would yield traits in Joanna's demeanour on the scaffold, and to it least. Meantime, there never was a calumny to one or two in that of the bystanders, which uttered that drew less support from the recorded authorise me in questioning an opinion of his circumstances. It rests upon no positive testiupon this martyr's firmness. The reader ought mony, and it has a weight of contradicting testito be reminded that Joanne d'Arc was subjected mony to stem. And yet, strange to say, M. to an unusually unfair trial of opinion. Any of Michelet, who at times seems to admire the Maid the elder Christian martyrs had not much to fear of Arc as much as I do, is the one sole writer of personal rancor. The martyr was chiefly re- amongst her friends who lends some countenance garded as the enemy of Cæsar ; at times, also, to this odious slander. His words are—that, if where any knowledge of the Christian faith and she did not utter this word recant with her lips, morals existed, with the enmity that arises spon- she uttered it in her heart. 6 Whether she said taneously in the worldly against the spiritual. the word is uncertain : but I affirm that she But the martyr, though disloyal, was not sup- thought it." posed to be, therefore, anti-national ; and still Now, I affirm that she did not; not in any less was individually hateful. What was hated sense of the word “thought” applicable to the (if anything) belonged to his class, not to himself case. Here is France calumniating La Pucelle : separately. Now Joanna, if hated at all, was here is England defending her. M. Michelet can hated personally, and in Rouen on national only mean, that, on à priori principles, every grounds. Hence there would be a certainty of ca- woman must be presumed liable to such a weaklumny arising against her, such as would not affectness ; that Joanna was a woman ; ergo, that she martyrs in general. That being the case, it would was liable to such a weakness. That is, he only follow of necessity that some people would impute supposes her to have uttered the word by an are

certain whether the original was Latin. But, however absurd people. In our navy, both royal and commercial, that may have been, if it is possible that M. Michelet* can and generally from deep remembrances of slighted love, be accurate in saying that there are no less than sixty women have sometimes served in disguise for many years, French versions (not editions, observe, but separate ver- taking contentediy their daily allowance of burgoo, bise sions) existing of the De Imitatione, how prodigious must cuit, or cannon balls-anything, in short, digestible or inhave been the adaptation of the book to the religious heart digestible, that it might please Providence to send. One of the fifteenth century! Excepting the Bible, but ex- thing, at least, is to their credit: never any of these poor cepting that only in Protestant lands, no book known to masks, with their deep silent remembrances, have been man has had the same distinction. It is the most marvel- detected through murmuring, or what is nautically underlous bibliographical fact on record.

stood by" skulking." So, for once, M. Michelet has an 3. Our English girls, it seems, are as faulty in one way erratum to enter upon the fly-leaf of his book in presentaas we English males in another. None of us lads could have tion copies. written the Operu Omnia of Mr. à Kempis; neither could 4. But the last of these ebullitions is the most lively. any of our lasses have assumed male attire like La Pucelle. We English, at Orleans, and after Orleans (which is not But why? Because, says Michelet, English girls and quite so extraordinary, ifall were told), fled before the Maid German think so much of an indecorum. Well, that is a of Arc. Yes, says M. Michelet, you did : deny it, if you good fault, generally speaking. But M. Michelet ought can. Deny it, my dear? I don't mean to deny it. Running to have remembered a fact in the martyrologies which away, in many cases, is a thing so excellent, that no philo justifies both parties, the French heroine for doing, and sopher would, at times, condescend to adopt any other the general choir of English girls for not doing. A female step. All of us nations in Europe, without one exception, Saint, specially renowned in France, had, for a reason as have shown our philosophy in that way at times. Ever weighty as Joanna's, viz., expressly to shield her modesty people, " qui ne se rendent pas," have deigned both to run amongst men, worn a male military harness. That rea- and to shout,Sauve qui peut!" at odd times of sunset; son and that example authorised La Pucelle ; but our though, for my part, I have no pleasure in recalling unEnglish girls, as a body, have seldom any such reason, pleasant remembrances to brave men; and yet, really, and certainly no such saintly example, to plead. This being so philosophic, they ought not to be unpleasant excuses them. Yet, still, if it is indispensable to the na- But the amusing feature in M. Michelet's reproach is the tional character that our young women should now and way in which he improves and varies against us the charge then trespass over the frontier of decorum, it then be- of running, as if he were singing a catch. Listen to hiun. comes a patriotic duty in me to assure M. Michelet that They showed their backs," did these English. (Hip, hip, we have such ardent females amongst us, and in a long hurrah! three times three!)..Behind good walls, they let scries—some detected in naval hospitals, when too sick to themselves be taken." (Hip, hip! nine times nine!) They remember their disguise ; some on fields of battle; multi- ran as fast as their legs could carry them.” (Hurrab! tudes never detected at all; some only suspected ; and twenty-seven times twenty-seven) They “ran before e others discharged without noise by war offices and other girl;" they did. (Hurrah! eighty-one times eighty-one!)

This reminds one of criminal indictments on the old *“If M. Michelet can be accurate." However, on considera- model in English courts, where (for fear the prisoner tion, this statement does not depend on Michelet. The biblio- should escape) the crown lawyer varied the charge pergrapher, Barbier, has absolutely specified sixty in a separate haps through forty counts. The law laid its guns so as dissertation, soixante traductims, amongst those even that have not escaped the search. The Italian translations are said to be

to rake the accused at every possible angle. Whilst the thirty. As to mere editions, not counting the carly MSS, for indictment was reading, he seemed a monster of crime in half a century before printing was introduced, those in Latin his own eyes; and yet, after all, the poor fellow had but amount to two thousand, and those in French to one thousand. committed one offence, and not always that. N.B.-Not Meantime, it is very clear to me that this astonishing popularity, having the French original at hand, I make my quotations so entirely

unparalleled in literature, could not have existed from a friend's copy of Mr. Walter Kelly's translation, gered in any Protestant land. It'was the denial of Scripture which seems to me faithful, spirited, and idiomatically founting to thirsty lands which made this slender rill of Scrip- English— liable, in fact, only to the single reproach of ure truth so passionately welcome.

occasional provincialisms,

gument which presumes it impossible for anybody festival, which man had denied to her languishing to have done otherwise. I, on the contrary, throw heart—that resurrection of spring-time, which the onus of the argument not on presumable ten the darkness of dungeons had intercepted from dencies of nature, but on the known facts of that her, hungering after the glorious liberty of forests morning's execution, as recorded by multitudes. -were by God given back into her hands, as What else, I demand, than mere weight of metal, jewels that had been stolen from her by robbers. absolute nobility of deportment, broke the vast With those, perhaps (for the minutes of dreams line of battle then arrayed against her? What can stretch into ages), was given back to her by else but her meek, saintly demeanour, won from God the bliss of childhood. By special privithe enemies, that till now had believed her a lege, for her might be created, in this farewell witch, tears of rapturous admiration ? “ Ten dream, a second childhood, innocent as the first; thousand men,” says M. Michelet himself, “ ten but not, like that, sad with the gloom of a fearthousand men wept ;" and of these ten thousand ful mission in the rear. This mission had now the majority were political enemies knitted to been fulfilled. The storm was weathered, the gether by cords of superstition. What else was skirts even of that mighty storm were drawing off. it but her constancy, united with her angelic The blood, that she was to reckon for, had been gentleness, that drove the fanatic English soldier exacted ; the tears, that she was to shed in -who had sworn to throw a faggot on her scaffold, secret, had been paid to the last. The hatred to as his tribute of abhorrence, that did so, that ful- herself in all eyes had been faced steadily, had filled his vow-suddenly to turn away a penitent been suffered, had been survived. And in her for life, saying everywhere that he had seen a last fight upon the scaffold, she had triumphod. dove rising upon wings to heaven from the ashes gloriously; victoriously she had tasted the stings where she had stood ? What else drove the exe- of death. For all except this comfort from her cutioner to kneel at every shrine for pardon to his farewell dream, she had died-died amidst the share in the tragedy? And, if all this were in tears of ten thousand enemies—died amidst the sufficient, then I cite the closing act of her life as drums and trumpets of armies—died amidst peals valid on her behalf, were all other testimonies redoubling upon peals, volleys upon volleys, from against her. The executioner had been directed the saluting clarions of martyrs. to apply his torch from below.

He did so. The Bishop of Beauvais: because the guilt-burfiery smoke rose upwards in billowing volumes. thened man is in dreams haunted and waylaid by A Dominican monk was then standing almost at the most frightful of his crimes, and because upon her side. Wrapt up in his sublime office, he saw that fluctuating mirror-rising (like the mocking not the danger, but still persisted in his prayers. mirrors of mirage in Arabian deserts) from the Even then, when the last enemy was racing up fens of death—most of all are reflected the the fiery stairs to seize her, even at that moment sweet countenances which the man has laid in did this noblest of girls think only for him, the ruins ; therefore I know, Bishop, that you also, one friend that would not forsake her, and not for entering your final dream, saw Domrémy. That herself; bidding him with her last breath to care fountain, of which the witnesses spoke so much, for his own preservation, but to leave her to God. showed itself to your eyes in pure morning That girl, whose latest breath ascended in this dews; but neither dews, nor the holy dawn, sublime expression of self-oblivion, did not utter could cleanse away the bright spots of innocent the word recant either with her lips or in her blood upon its surface. By the fountain, Bishop, heart. No; she did not, though one should rise you saw a woman seated, that hid her face. But from the dead to swear it.

as you draw near, the woman raises her wasted

features. Would Domrémy know them again Bishop of Beauvais ! thy victim died in fire for the features of her child ? Ah, but you

know upon a scaffold, thou upon a down bed. But for them, Bishop, well! Oh, mercy! what a groan the departing minutes of life, both are oftentimes was that which the servants, waiting outside the alike. At the farewell crisis, when the gates of Bishop's dream at his bedside, heard from his death are opening, and flesh is resting from its labouring heart, as at this moment he turned struggles, oftentimes the tortured and the torturer away from the fountain and the woman, seekhave the same truce from carnal torment; both ing rest in the forests afar off. Yet not 90 sink together into sleep; together both, some- to escape the woman, whom once again he times, kindle into dreams. When the mortal must behold before he dies. In the forests, mists were gathering fast upon you two, Bishop to which he prays for pity, will he find & and Shepherd-girl—when the pavilions of life respite? What a tumult, what a gathering were closing up their shadowy curtains about of feet is there! In glades, where only wild you, let us try, through the gigantic glooms, to deer should run, armies and nations are assemdecipher the flying features of

ur separate bling - towering in the fluctuating crowd are visions.

phantoms that belong to departed hours. There The shepherd girl that had delivered France, is the great English prince, regent of France. she, from her dungeon, she, from her baiting at There is my lord of Winchester, the princely carthe stake, che, from her duel with fire-as she dinal, that died and made no sign. There is the entered her last dream, saw Domrémy, saw the Bishop of Beauvais, clinging to the shelter of fountain of Domrémy, saw the pomp of forests in thickets. What building is that which hands so which her childhood had wandered. That Easter rapid are raising? Is it a martyr's scaffold ?

[ocr errors]

Will they burn the child o Domrémy a second from me : all are silent.” Is it, indeed, come time? No: it is a tribunal that rises to the to this ? Alas! the time is short, the tumult is wonclouds; and two nations stand around it, waiting drous, the crowd stretches away into infinity, but for a trial. Shall my lord of Beauvais sit again yet I will search in it for somebody to take your upon the judgment-seat, and again number the brief: I know of somebody that will be your counhours for the innocent ? Ah! no: he is the sel. Who is this that cometh from Domrémy? prisoner at the bar. Already all is waiting: the Who is she that cometh in bloody coronation robes mighty audience is gathered, the Court is hurry- from Rheims ? Who is she that cometh with blacking to their seats, the witnesses are arrayed, the ened flesh from walking the furnaces of Rouen ? trumpets are sounding, the judge is going to This is she, the shepherd girl, counsellor that had take his place. Oh! but this is sudden. My none for herself, whom I choose, Bishop, for yours. lord, have you no counsel ? “ Counsel I have She it is, I engage, that shall take my lord's brief. none : in heaven above, or on earth beneath, She it is, Bishop, that would plead for you : yes counsellor there is none now that would take a brief Bishop, she—when Heaven and Earth are silent.

THE IMPERIAL PARLIAMENT AND IRELAND. The Session of Parliament, which has just closed, will, | to herself. But it was necessary to look beyond this icin the eyes of the future historian of Parliamentary pro- stant pressure—to launch the country anew and cheer her gress in this country, stand out as one of the most re- as she leapt towards her new course. The air is scarcely markable in some of those features that chiefly dis. still get, that was set in motion by Lord John Russell's tinguish the actings of a legislative body, which the most brave words, and the shouts that hailed them. We prior half of the present century contains. Summoned were to have waste lands possessed and colonised; we to great deeds by the occurrence of a mighty and de

were to have encumbered estates disencumbered and plorable emergency ; power entrusted to it which Par- shifted from possession of the needy and ignorant into liaments seldom enjoy, by the effect of that calamity in the hands of mighty capitalists, we were to have a peasanstunning men, and therefore removing, for the moment, all try no longer pressed by narrowness of room, and landthe jealousies of party ; professions abundant, and lords freed from the distress of light purses ; as a back rhetoric to overflow, concerning the necessity that Ire- ground only—a wall to save the destitute tumbling off land be re-organised ; the aid at the commencement, of into outer space—we were to have the Poor LAT. We Ireland's huge popular Tribune, and the absence of all have indeed got the poor law, but nothing else! thought of any real obstruction from faction :—the ter- The matter, however, is too serious for treatment, mination is, nevertheless, only a heaping of nothing upon only remotely bordering on levity; nay, in presence of nothing ; the avowed absence of an idea as to how the the difficulties now before us, even the question of praise country connected with us can be relieved from its or blame shrinks into comparative insignificance ; we are misery ; the dispersion of eight millions of English summoned too urgently to look to our common safety to money in feeding the Irish as paupers ; and legislative have either leisure or disposition for indulging in profitprovision that as soon as possible all the surplus revenue less crimination. The state of affairs then seems simply of that ill-fated country go down the same hopeless as follows :-In respect of its social condition, Ireland is road.

precisely as it was ; not a step or even an approximation It is not strange that this world contains disasters : it to one, has been taken for the removal of the causes of is rather strange how it survives at all. We should be its misery and disorganisation : its society hangs as loosely offended if any rash man--any malicious Frenchman, for as before, or rather it still consists of two parties so deinstance--proposed to doubt our high, and extensive, and pendant on each other, that each is needed to work out exemplary civilisation ; yet thus stands the fact :-to the other's welfare, but which are yet towards each other open our eyes to the truth that our course with Ireland as if in a state of civil war; we leave it in that as we has not been satisfactory, we needed the occurrence of a found it, without one hope or ray of brightness in the sky plague sweeping off nearly a fifth of the population ; and of its future; and in this condition we have imposed on it after it did occur, we have used it simply to confiscate the a poor law. How often must our countrymen be warned disposable wealth of the country-that alone on which on this subject, that they are trying &. perfectly new and rests the practicability of sustaining institutions required most perilous experiment. IIow often must that deluto aid in the production and advancement of a better sion be dispelled which considers the enactment of an Irish order of things. In resolving to treat the Irish peasantry poor law merely the repetition or extension of a policy that as paupers, our social philosophy has exhausted it has wrought beneficially for the society of Great Britain? self; and very likely, in a few years, we shall Surely it is impossible for any practical end, to compare a turn round and abuse our too willing disciples for law whose function it has been simply to care for and yielding to the seductions proposed to them as our only sustain those unfortunates, who, through a variety of remedy for their ills.

causes, will ever and anon fall off from an organisation, At the beginning of the session, our legislators found even so perfect, compact, and comprehensive as that of Ireland wholly disorganised and almost in extremis. England, and the previously unheard of attempt to Something was immediately accomplished—they gave her organise a country of paupers, by legalising their right to food : in the work of benevolence England is ever true appropriate the only, and by far too small, surplus wealth

in possession of Ireland! Know me not the difficulty of fitnesses, and in virtue of those powers which are possessed safely working that law even here—where there is no by every community upon the earth. We require here hostile combination, or aught to contend with, except the no ernigration-no interference with man as the organinatural inclination of a recognised pauperism to extend sing element of that region, but simply the alteration of itself? Across the channel, on the other hand, the claim our social arrangements, so that each man shall have for relief from the common fund will inevitably become a RIGITS correlative with his DUTIES. In a former paper, the national demand; it will enter, henceforth, among the writer of this brief notice indicated when this fundamenrights of the Celt, to be vindicated against the Saxon; tal principle of all order and progress was destroyed in and, judging from bygone experience, it seems one of Ireland, and how, by an unconscious tyranny, Engthe most certain events of the future, that the powerful land had, up to these present times, hindered its and gigantic conspiracy will prevail.

being replaced. Like all other national or social catasIt is, indeed, a most fortunate change which has passed trophes, the dark calamity which has latterly overtaken over the public opinion of England, in respect of her the Irish people would, if left to itself, have unquestiontreatment of our sister Ireland—the growth, viz., of the ably worked out the reparation of the commonwealth. conviction, that all previous Irish policy must be aban- Let us shudder only, while we dread that unconscious doned, as wholly useless; but, if success is now to attend tyranny may again be the result of English interference os, we must reach also the further truth, that there is that, while it benignly forbids confusion, it may forno good policy save one, viz., THE AROUSING OF THE INDE- bid, likewise, through inveterate blindness, the removal PENDENT ENERGIES OF THE PEOPLE OF IRELAND. It is of that by which the calamity was evolved! We are already an anomaly—a spectacle to all the world, that a aware through how dense a mist even fair and impartial country so rich, and with inhabitants so apt in appre- minds in this country are constrained, by their position, to hension, and ready in action, does not sustain itself, or reject any proposal touching apparently on landlord right, rather is, at this late age, ever hovering over the gulf of and having for its end the constitution of an independent pauperism; but it were still a more astonishing crent to peasant proprietary. The point in economic progress at find England announcing that for this state of things she which we have arrived is, in fact, through its very adcan find no cure, that, although herself in the van of vancement, the bane of our dealings with Ireland. Having civilisation, she knows so little of the principles that re- risen entirely above the remembrance even of a condition gulate the progress and greatness of nations, that she can- so imperfect, we regard the notion of legalising it not grope her way in dealing with a problem which, we in the light of a proposal to return to barbarism ; venture to say, appears easy to all the world except her- but, nevertheless, that very condition, under its self. That there is no natural complexity in the case- various modifications, is the existing economic state looking at it in the abstract-might long ago have been of all countries on the face of the earth, England pressed upon us by the little disguised wonder of foreign excepted. It is we who really are in the abnormal or statesmen, that we cannot discern the truth. A very exceptional condition; and it is the heavy misfortune of slight consideration, in fact, will show, that there Ireland that we insist upon comparing her with ourselves, are only two procedures open to us :-either we must of judging and governing her by our ideas, instead of seekalter the existing society in Ireland, so as to fit it for ing advice and example from the arrangement and mode some known higher economic condition; or we must inquire of progress in societies of a corresponding age, and in what economic condition will perinit the organisation and similar phases of their development. It is a strong exadvancement of that society as it is ? Now, the former pression, but, we firmly believe, a true one, that the proplan demands extensive aid from emigration. The econo- posal of emigration as a cure of evils like those of Ireland, mic condition we naturally would desire for Ireland, is would, in any other country in the civilised world, be resome similitude of our English one; and this is impossi- garded as indicative of fatuity, ble so long as the relative numbers of the different classes We have reached now the following position of affairs. in Ireland remain as they are. . A wholesale deportation The term confiscation must no longer be flung in the of peasantry, until their numbers be reduced to what is face of a wild measure of reform, or used as a bugbear : needful as labourers for working the capital at present it become a REALITY; it is irresistibly proceeding. sunk, or which may be soon sunk, in Irish industry, is Landlords have, therefore, to choose—will they permit clearly the first step towards the realising of such a policy, fixity of tenure—will they grant the peasantry a home, a so that we are at once met by the practical difficulties of real, and not a nominal footing in Ireland—or will they an almost compulsory emigration, and the paramount neces- continue the poor law ? In the former case there would sity of organising the peasants in the colony to which they be hope—in the latter there is none ! In the course of were sent-even leaving out of sight that the plan is essen- the next few years the world will have to witness the retially a very humiliating admission of our ignorance how to organisation of a country through the operation of that use so much strength and capacity in evoking those benefits vigorous Conservatism which arises from the feeling by a which the presence of man, in any region of our globe, peasantry that their heritage is free, and their accumu. ought to insure. If then we turn our eyes from this lations safe for their children—a Conservatism that as scheme to the only alternative, we recognise, at the out- yet has never failed—or that direct alternative, the proset, that we touch on a more natural plan ; for no diffi- gressing and completed ruin of as fair an island as exists culty here menaces us, excepting the difficulty of adjust- in Europe, because its children had neither the virtưe to ing our laws and the general action of the state, that the trust nor the kindness to aid each other. community before us may unfold itself according to its

« AnkstesnisTęsti »