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ful and piquant vein, give relief to the monotony of the complimentary verses which Mrs. Norton has fancied herself obliged to append to each aristocratic portrait, and to other verses of no particular point or interest, which are attached to the scenic plates. Mrs. Norton has found other allies among the rhyming "nobility and gentry;" but upon the whole, in future years, as the Drawing-Room Scrap-Book has hitherto been something better than a mere aristocratic "Book of Beauty," it might be well that, besides being less lavish of compliment, the editress drew more upon her own resources. She has given too much way to obliging friends; though Lord John Manners and Mr. Monckton Milnes be among the number.
The bright star of this year is, however, Lady Dufferin ; and from her, in the first place, we cull our serious, as we propose doing our gayer specimen. The engraving, a sweet, quiet picture, to which the subjoined lines are attached, represents a sad, pale girl, THE GERMAN TEACHER, in her solitary chamber, with her simple appliances, her workbag and her basket of faded flowers and books,—an exile musing on her distant home, and as a charm holding in her hand the first letter from that dearest spot of earth. "The long day's done, and she sits still
And quiet, in the gathering gloom;
Those absent eyes-that silent room?
The hard green rosebuds tap the pane
Of bells comes down upon the ear,
Is passing sweet! come forth! come here!"
The sweet bell, nor the fading light;
That gave thee to her patient sighs;
That first fond letter from her Home!
Thy thoughts-lone, wandering where they list,
Where thou art longed for, loved, and missed,
Which sent thee forth-poor wandering Dove."
"Well, good daughter, pray continue; Candour doth repentance prove, How did Don Pedro win you
First to listen to his love?"" "Father, yes!-as I was saying,
I was prudent and reserved,
To say something still more strong-
Looking toward the chamber door,
With her hair all out of curl!
For, of course, Don Pedro caught,
More assurance than he ought.
Full two hours, I'm sure, and more.
Really now I wished for wings,
The Donna Inez is not singular in her uses of confession. Protestant self-examination may, we fear, not infrequently produce precisely the same results.
The Scrap-book is rich in portraiture; and among the many whom Mrs. Norton has praised for their deeds or their faces, are Mr. Cobden and Mr. Charles Villiers The characters of these gentlemen are treated in a liberal and manly spirit, showing that, when a good subject falls in her way, the authoress is equal to it-rises with it to her natural element.
The frontispiece this year is a classical portrait of Mrs. Norton, exquisitely engraved; the vignette a group of flowers, executed with equal taste and delicacy. On the whole, we have this season seen no annual that will bear
comparison with Mrs. Norton's. The brightest days of But in this Album, the music is all; the poetry, as above the Drawing-Room Scrap-Book are restored.o.
hinted, and as is too often the case in the alliance of Among the lesser Annuals—in size we mean-that music with verse-comes worst off. We are somewhat still linger on the stage, is the elder-born of the large but alarmed as to how old-fashioned country ladies, when the short-lived family-Ackermann's Forget-Me-Not; for so Musical Album comes down, are to view the scanty many years edited by Mr. Frederic Shoberl; who, this drapery and the few superfluous inches of Mademoiselle season, has mustered a numerous staff of poets and pro- Flora Fabri's legs! A coloured full-length portrait of sers. Some of the names are new; others favourite and this celebrated danseuse, in the popular pas of La familiar; though in the passing year they may have pro- Castigliana, forms one of the prettiest embellishments duced nothing remarkable. One capital story is the pru-of the volume; or, at all events, one of the most charaedent and persevering "Wooing of Mynheer Von Dunck," | teristic. Two other coloured plates represent, › one a written by T. Forbes Dalton, Esq. The "Forget-Me- concert of Jullien's, in Covent Garden Theatre, and the Not" has an average number of tolerable plates, and the other a masked ball,--both exhibit scenes of splendour usual sprinkling-or one rather more copious-of verse. and enchantment that recal those of the Arabian Nights. Jullien's Musical Album for 1847.
This is a new and good idea-A Musical Album; a good
THE CASTLE AND THE COTTAGE, BY E. FITZBALL.
Wealth and pride dwell in those turrets;
Strife and hate are in the castle;
In the cottage peace and love.
Silken floors adorn the castle,
Banners deck its topmost tower;
Enough of this, as what follows is better; the lines are by J. Hurrey:
Though time is wrinkling o'er thy brow,
And the rose that blossomed on thy cheek
Thou'rt more beloved than when I came
And every moment makes thee now
Still dearer unto me.
I loved thee in thy girlhood's days,
And though thy outward charms may fade
I'll love thee even more and more,
And then I hope to love thee still,
Among the other books of the season, we can merely catalogue The Minstrelsy of the English Border, an oxcellent collection of ancient and modern Ballads, with notes by Frederick Sheldon, just published by the Messrs, Longman; a pretty and good Nursery Annual, published by Darton & Clarke, with coloured plates; "and Januarý Eve, a tale, in the manner of Dickens's Christmas Chimes and Carols, by George Soane, B.A., and published by Churton, or, if not like the Chimes, then very like Mrs." Gore's New-Year Stories of 1846 and 1847, and no discredit to the previous literary reputation of its author.fi
NEW POEMS AND DRAMAS.
King Charles the First: a Dramatic Poem. By Archer
FROM the date of Sir Walter Scott's ancestor or kins-
Robert Peel] has fallen with his party.
The Suttee: a Poem, with Notes.
an evil before the world, which, to bo effectually redressed, must, however, be dealt with by the Hindoos themselves. Christmas Rhymes; or, Three Nights Revelry. Belfast: Lamont, Brothers. London: Whittaker & Co.
BELFAST ALMANACS" have been very well known, from the farthest date of the memory of the oldest inhabitant in these countries; but Belfast Annuals are novelties; and, yet, these Christmas Rhymes have all the characteristics of the Annuals. The poetry and the illustrations are by two sisters; and the style in which the engravings are executed, and the work brought out, is very creditable to Irish art-which, we suppose, will, by and bye, meet its best encouragement in the manufacturing capital of the North. If our pages were not already overcrowded with similar matter, we could find many grave or gay but pleasant quotations from this Three Nights' Revelry; and our Irish friends cannot import a better article in its way than this beautiful work. After all the speeches in tho South, on the encouragement of home manufacture, the Northern plan of quietly doing the work is the wisest; and amongst the ornate volumes of the season, we have seen none, of the same class, handsomer than the Christmąs Rhymes.
By the late James Wilson of Paisley.
A fourth and cheap edition of a Poem which has been previously and favourably noticed. It is very prettily 'got up."
Three narratives, in which the author inculcates the necessity of religious principle as the only sufficient check to the temptations common in life, and incidentally makes London: Seely, a variety of valuable remarks on many important topics. Although a Liverpool book, two of these family histories are Scotch, and refer directly to manners and customs prevalent in Edinburgh and Glasgow. The style is diffuse, but the tendency of the work is excellent.
It need not be told that this is an appeal for the women of India to the human and Christian feelings of Europeans. It is fairly written; and will at least help to keep
POLITICS OF THE coming session" will be the last, and, probably, the shortest, of the present Parliament. The questions that now attract public attention are not of a nature calculated to feed long discussions, or to produce party votes. The Ministry will endeavour to avoid dangerous subjects; and, when any measure of additional political or commercial reform is pressed, they will retreat on the potato disease and general distress, that they may dissolve in peace. They will shape their proceedings in such form as will enable them to carry through a general election before harvest, if seed-time and summer do not promise improvements on the "yield" of the last two seasons. A strong Ministry would prefer to meet a dissolution rather at a period of hope than of depression; and the Whigs, in a minority, will have sufficient prudence to adopt that course. They have little to hope from future registrations, but more to fear from political accidents and the re-organization of their old opponents. The constituencies, generally, have made no preparations for the next election. Wherever casual vacancies have occurred, there has been difficulty experienced in procuring suitable candidates. The electors of Lincolnshire, after, long casting about, have found a respectable Whig baronet, who "with great reluctance"
VOL. XIV.NO. CLVII.
consents to follow Lord Worsley. The electors of Renfrewshire accepted the rejected candidate of 1841, because no preparations had been made for a county contest. In some boroughs, under peculiar circumstances, the usual preparations for election contests have been made-as in Manchester, where a most disgraceful coalition of Whigs and Conservatives is formed, to oppose the election of Mr. Bright; but the aspect of political affairs would fully justify the inference, either that Parliament had done all its work, or that the electors expected nothing more from legislative agency, except the repeal or imposition of taxes, as circumstances might require.
This blank in political agitation affords to a weak Cabinet an admirable opportunity of slipping into a majority for seven years. The influence of office is always worth a number of votes in the small constituencies. We have heard of elections turned by a few "excisemanships" promptly administered; and even the wish to go with the stronger party--a very common feeling-when there is no counteracting influence will answer a useful purpose to the Government candidate, who may become very popular by merely saying a few smart things regarding public wash-houses for the poor-public parks, improved
ventilation, renovated and patent sewerage, cheap malt in counties, and cheap tea in boroughs-all good in their way, and to be bestowed at a convenient season.
We cannot regret this sleep or death of political partizanship. The country has never gained by the triumphs of party. No great object has ever been achieved for the people, except when they reversed the common rule, and, instead of being the tools of factions, converted some party for a time and a purpose into their instrument. We do not urge the revival of old and useless party feuds; but if the electors believe that the political complexion of the next Parliament is a matter of slight importance, they have fallen into a serious blunder, of which they may have seven years' leisure to repent.
We certainly dislike the recent conduct of the Whigs in several localities. In Edinburgh, they try to hush public feeling with a new song to them of "no shibboleth;" and in Manchester, they raise the "shibboleth" of aristocracy. The cotton-spinners of that great town consider a Rochdale spinner below their mark; and will only be satisfied with one of Mr. Bright's noble disciples. They prefer the scholar to the teacher; and, affecting a certain cant of gentility, exclaim against the use of violent language. In many circumstances, strong language may be necessary; and before the Earl of Lincoln's conversion to the doctrines of free-trade, we do not remember to have heard any complaints of Mr. Bright's language in Manchester. He is an honest and enthusiastic man, who has given their proper names to many abuses; but he should not be, on that account, less acceptable to a commercial constituency. He will be selected; but this opposition, like many former proceedings, manifests the hankering of the leading Whigs, even in some manufacturing towns, after aristocratical connexions.
In Edinburgh, the electors will be urged to give the Whig Cabinet a fair trial: in Manchester, they are told not to give them any description of trial, but to elect a moderate Conservative. And, yet, this seeming inconsistency may form part of a system-for now that rough work is thought to be over for a season, it may square best with official propriety to leave political matters in genteel and regularly bred hands. The intrusion of "impracticable" men into Parliament may not be desirable, when jobs, to be done at all, must be accomplished in a neat and masterly style. There is material for a large amount of work in that way. We have only to catalogue a few of those topics that may be dismissed with a brief discussion in the present Parliament, and settled by the next, in order to reach that conviction.
and the ignorant majority over the enlightened minority in many parishes and even extensive districts.
To either of these schemes Sir Robert Inglis will, of course, apply the term “Atheistical;" and he will be supported by a considerable and increasing party, who brand any educational system as "Atheistical" that does not hand over the training of the young, without note or comment, to the Church. That epithet was applied to the National System of Education in Ireland, by parties who deemed it unnecessary to read its books before they characterised their tendency; and now those school-books, provided for the poorest children in Ireland, have been adopted in the highest academy of one of our Scottish cities, in which, some few years since, public meetings convened to pass resolutions condemnatory of the system. We do not know any set of works connected with education better calculated to interest and instruct the young than these Irish school books, which, we understand, were principally written by a Presbyterian minister of Ireland, a native of Paisley, who, with missionary zeal, abandoned all the attractions of the metropolis, to dwell with and instruct a few humble villagers in one of the western counties of Munster.
The Government cannot adopt any practical scheme that will not be stigmatised as "Atheistical," by the old Churchand-State party of England; and, although the members of the Cabinet may be personally disposed to adopt measures creditable to their character and useful to their country, still, the official love of ease, and the disposition already manifested by the Premier, should induce all liberal-minded men to watch well any general measures of instruction. They cannot watch measures well, except through their representatives in Parliament; and they should prepare for the next general election with all the anxiety of men who are to appoint " the Educational Parliament," and to affect, through its decisions, the characters and the principles of the next generation.
IRELAND will occupy its own place-and, of course, the largest place-in the deliberations of the session. But its most delicate questions will be handed over for settlement to the next parliament: The trying position of that country, and the large expenditure of public money requisite to support its population until harvest, have induced us to give up a considerable portion of this number to Irish subjects. The Labour Act of last session has proved to be an absolute failure. The Board of Works, or the authorities of Dublin Castle, have been compelled to supplement it by interim decrees of their own. And now the subsoiling of the public roads is to be abandoned for the thorough draining of fields, after two hundred thousand men have been engaged for six weeks in rendering the highways impassable. The number of men engaged on public works under Government is at present three hundred thousand. In many cases we have no doubt that two or more of the labourers belong to one family, and therefore the number of individuals dependent on Government assistance, through these works, cannot be more than from 1,000,000 to 1,200,000, or one-eighth of the population. In Belgiun-from a similar cause, the failure of the crop-the names of indigent persons inscribed on the books of benevolent societies number from 700,000 to 800,000, or very nearly one-fifth of the inhabitants, while out of the population of the two Flanders, 1,300,000, there are said to be 400,000 individuals subsisting on charity. In Ireland a large number of aged and young and disabled persons are supported in
EDUCATION is the favourite subject of the day: and remembering the zealous support afforded by the Premier to the Church Educational Scheme, we cannot expect the English Dissenters to confide in his measures for the extension of instruction. Government may establish, as in Ireland, a system of secular education unconnected with any religious communion, but co-operating with all who avail themselves of its advantages. They may adopt an easier method of settling the question, or satisfying "the public conscience," by increasing grants for educational purposes already voted to societies and religious bodies. Or they may leave education to local efforts, providing only the means of elementary instruction for districts where voluntary exertions fail to overtake the wants of the population. And they might take advice, repeatedly tendered, by organising a scheme of municipal and parochial instruc-workhouses, and a very considerable number in Ulster are tion under the management of the resident rate-payers. employed on works undertaken by local parties, without Amongst the objections to the latter scheme, which has Government aid. This class of works are remunerative many recommendations, are its want of uniformity and the-will amply repay their cost; and should have been certainty of local oppression-the tyranny of the bigotted commenced and finished before this period. These facts
show that the condition of Ireland is not worse than that of Belgium; although that country has repealed its union and obtained a separate existence, in its position, we can scarcely say independence. The introduction of manufactres more extensively into Ireland would undoubtedly improve the circumstances of its people; but, severe as is their distress, yet it is equalled by that of the Belgians; and Belgium is a manufacturing country, with more extensive and important works than those of any other continental kingdom of similar extent. An argument in favour of the union might be educed from this circumstance; for if the manufacturing energies of Belgium had still been connected with the commercial skill and mone
tary resources of Holland, we doubt whether its population would have experienced all the force of their present and deplorable sufferings.
From the statements made respecting Ireland, in a previous page, by a gentleman who undoubtedly possesses the confidence of a great majority of his countrymen, we infer that the public money advanced at this crisis will not be ebeerfully repaid; and we understand why a claim may be made for a free grant of that portion of the debt expended on unproductive works; but the Board of Works now authorise presentments for drainage and subsoiling for remunerative works, that certainly increase the capital of the country and the rental of private individuals; so that, even if the debt contracted in the formation of these works were cancelled, we should not thereby relieve, by a penny, the Irish farmer or the Irish peasant, but merely make the Irish landlord a richer man.
Parliament would not, even by a generous abandonment of this debt, indirectly assist the Irish peasant or artizan; for the landowners, who are principally absentees, would merely be enabled to spend their money more freely in London, in Paris, or Rome. And these works will increase the capital of the country. Mr. Smith of Deanston, Professor Johustone, aud the whole Highland Society in a body, would make affidavit on the point. Old Mr. Purcell, if he had been alive, would have quoted statistics in proof, Mr. Marcartney of Lisenore, in addressing the landed gentlemen of County Antrim, produced evidence that satisfied them, to show the means of paying five per cent. on the outlay for draining, and repaying the principal in seven years. The gentlemen of the South have the same means of turning this crisis to account with their neighbours of the North. And if Parliament should yield the demand for a free grant of this money, it would deal unjustly by the people of Britain, without assisting the farmers of Ireland, for no better end than the enriching of Ireland's absentees. The money squandered foolishly in spoiling roads is not productive, and a different rule may be adopted in dealing with that part of the account.
We admit the claim of Ireland to exemption from the taxes necessary to meet that portion of the national debt contracted previous to the union. That is merely common honesty between partners, but the exemption is not prudently made. It does not relieve the poor, but the rich. Ireland may be a poor country, but an Irishman with one thousand pounds per annum is not a poor man, and might pay assessed taxes or even the income-tax. If these exemptions induced the Irish landlords to remain at home, they would be indirectly beneficial to their country; but as, in proportion to their exemptions, they go farther away, it might be politic not to increase the taxation of that country, but to transfer from the rich and give to the poor whatever balance can be established in its favour.
We do not estimate lightly the improvement of waste, but useful land. There are said to be nearly four million acres in that position. We shall put down 2,000,000, and
dividing by 50, there will be 40,000 farms, employing and sustaining directly 12 to 13 persons each in a state of greater comfort than the Irish farmers of the present day, or a population of 500,000, who would require in providing for their wants a similar number, so that the project would make space for another million; and add £8,000,000 to £10,000,000 annually to the produce of the country out of nothing better at present than bogs and moorland.
These subjects may be lightly touched in the coming session, but must be finally settled by the next parliament; and there is another, of perhaps greater interest, in which the Whigs have manifested a disposition to interfere. We are to have no more appropriation clauses. They served their day, and are thrown into the lumber-room of legislation, to come up again, probably when neither expected nor desired by the owners. Still the existence of an ecclesiastical grievance-we do not now use hard words and violent language-in Ireland is admitted; and is to be cured, not by appropriation, but addition. One evil is to be balanced by calling another into existence; and, from the two, a very happy and peaceful state of society is to be extracted, by a description of political chemistry which we affect not to comprehend. The cost of this remedy will fall on the general treasury, unless, at the ensuing election, a large number of independent representatives are returned, willing to give the Whigs a fair trial, but to give them nothing more.
THE LANDED INTEREST has its grievances,-and they require redress. The Game Laws, which, in November and December last, consigned considerably over a hundred persons to prison, and made ten times that number “un| caught criminals," are one of the greatest grievances under which the Landed Interest suffers-and suffers with remarkable patience. The old feudal fragments-the law of entail and primogeniture-still bind up the land in large parcels, and allow one Duke to close half a dozen straths against any tenantry except deer; at a period when thousands of families in the Highlands have neither labour to earn wages nor food to support life. The landed interest has been most unfairly dealt with by the legislature. Free-trade has been established, or very nearly established, in its products, while the land itself is left to struggle, unaided, with a crushing monopoly. Free trade in the earth is as necessary for the prosperity of the landed interest as free trade in the earth's products. A builder never proposes to entail a street, or square, or circus in his heirs male for ever, and yet the raw material of streets— the free-stone quarries-may be chained to a regular suecession. Any other property except land is held liable for its owner's debts; but landed gentlemen, by the will and deed of some person who lived and died in the fourteenth century, are often degraded from the position of owners to that of occupants for life. Permission to do what he likes with his own during his temporal existence should satisfy the most ambitious mortal; but one portion of our ancestors, discontented with this privilege, intruded their opinions and their will on posterity, as they "phrased" it, to the end of time. In these circumstances, the best thing that posterity can do is to eject the intruders, and enclose their deeds in their tombs. The injury sustained already by all public interests from the operation of those laws that fetter the landed interest is incalculable; but the electors must hold themselves responsible if they continue to suffer this public loss; and yet free trade in land will not be wrought out by a Parliament consisting of the "two parties" who have hitherto existed by trading in power, and being alternately shuffled in and out of place.
OUR CURRENCY has been lately-like the British constitution in Lord Eldon's times the subject of envy to sur