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rounding nations. The Algemeine Zeitung, in an article COLONIAL AFFAIRS bave been altogether, by public that might have been written by Sir Robert Peel himself, apathy, ban,led over to the keeping of those unfortunate eulogises that statesman for laying broail and deep the persons who were left unprovided for by the land monofoundations of British prosperity, on gold bars, in the polies. Our colonies have been very much regarded as so vaults of the banks.' Upon the same principle, the credit many large houses of refuge for the destitute—as the reof a man who was known to keep always in his possession warls of great exertions in coumty contests, and as the several barrels of sovereigns might be very well supported portion of younger sons. In official language, Hindostal in the world. He might be very liberally trusted by his is not a colony, but a possession'; and the East India Comgrocer, his baker, and his butcher. So long as the barrels pany have enjoyed its management for many years. Salt were secure they would consider their accounts safe; but at to the Hindoo is one of the most essential necessaries of the same time they would deem their customer a very re- existence, and formed, therefore, an eligible article for markable, eccentric, and, probably, a very foolish person. monopolising. The Company did not neglect it. They We do not mean to Assert that the business of nations can secured and preserved the salt trade to the present day. A debe managed like that of individuals. The Algemeine Zei- putation of commercial gentlemen recently waited on Sir J. tung is perfectly correct in desiring a good and a perma- C. Hobhouse to represent the advantages that would accru nent foundation; but our present currency may be a heavy to the people of Britain and of Hindostan, from its repeal, and yet a shifting foundation. 'Within two years, very The deputation had for answer-:" How will the East India important changes have been made in the Scotch and Irish Company resign a revenne of £1,300,000 annually ?” The currenoy. Banks, that were previously sufficiently safe for answer resembles the reply to every demand for colonial all local purposes, have been secured by a fixed and deter- changes. They are all done in uniform. * ? ! ! . mined maximum of issues and a minimum of gold. 'No- The House of Representatives for Jamaica' have adopterit body dreamed that the Bank of Scotland would "give and transmitted certain resolutions to this country regard way," or the British Linen Company become “insolvent;" | ing the sugar bills. They are perfectly wrong in what they and any outlay for propping the Eildon hills would have deplore, and perfectly right in what they require. They been equally rational and satisfactory. We are, however, led ask free trule, and it should not be denied. The supply to suppose that the banking interests in Scotland and Ire- of free labourers has been absurdly cramped by the idea land now keep more gold on hand than before these acts. that somehow they might be converted into slavés, op The stock is necessarily expensive. So much interest is lost. might reduce the wages of the negroes. The latter class! So much capital is withdrawn from other purposes. And are desirous of becoming small planters themselves, and what have the public gained: One-pound notes have are making some progress in that direction, while the acquired no additional value, They brought twenty shil. planters of Jamaica have no greater facilities for converting lings before-they do not now bring twenty shillings and freemen into slaves than the farmers of Sussex. The a penny. Their free circulation was previously confined House of Representatives remonstrates against the law that to the locality or the kingdom where they were issued, and prevents the use of molasses and sugars in malting and they are not more readily negotiable since in any other distilling, and they are excusable in calling our ferFour for quarter of the globe.
free trade selfish, while we prevent, on equal terms, the Over speculation, however, may be checked. That was use of particular articles in a licensed business. The law said to be the purpose of the Acts, and yet over-speculation in question is at the present moment, when corn is scarce, may have very little connexion with the currency. A and sugars promise to be abundant, eminently mischievous; Caffier may over-speculate and pay in hides and cowries. An but if the people expect a reform in that or any other coloOjibbeway may over-speculate, who exchanges fur for rifles nial abuse, without corresponding exertion, they are doomed' or edge-tools, and never fingers sixpence. There is a to "the waggoner's fate," who was told to put his shoulder siugulær illustration of the inadequacy of these regulations to the wheel if he wanted his waggon out of the ditch. in preventing speculation from the issue of notes permitted The topics we have mentioned are all of a practical' by law, in Scotland and Ireland. The Irish note circula- character. They involve no organic changes; but seven' tion is presently fixed at £6,354,494, and the Scotch at years will not pass without a demand for measures of that £3,087,209; yet it will not be supposed that the Irish description re-appearing. The electors have now the business is double that of Scotland, or that speculation is means, or the time, to select candidates from their different more active in Dublin than in Glasgow. The facts are localities; and they will find themselves best serted, as a . precisely the reverse of the legitimatised circulation; and general rule, by men interested in the affairs of their seveby some means the Sootch conduct larger speculations ral constituencies, acquainted with their feelings, and and pay rather more taxes than the Irish, on something independent of political favours. Five or six months hence, under half the paper currency allowed by law to their west- they may be obliged to acoept whoever turns up, and be ern neighbours.
contented with the nominee of the clubs-packed, ticketed, The last Currency Acts converted the issue of notes into and forwarded for election. a close monopoly, at a time when monopolies had be- The delay in accomplishing the most needful meacome obnoxious. There can be no reason for withholding sures may be ascribed to the facilities with which conample guarantees for paper currency. It can be taken in stituencies permit interested parties to transact their busiland, or in national bonds, as readily as gold; but however ness. The restrictions in the franchise place the electors that may be settled, we are entitled to free trade in money under an onerous and responsible (trust. They act not as in every other commodity. Money is the life-blood of merely for themselves, but for a knot of neighbours, who commerce; and the law might order the
with are regarded, for this purpose, ás minors in law. And, if equal propriety, to eat so much food, and no more, per they would select men to manage financial and public diem-to pay a certain rent, and no less, per annum-as affairs on the principle which they adopt in choosing a do what it attempts to perform in monetary affairs. And 1 ailway or a bank director-thatof taking the most suitable yet the public need expect no alteration in this respect and best-known inan--the business of the country would from a Parliament of professional Whigs or Conservatives. be efficiently and economically conducted.
PRINTED BY GEORGE TROUP, 29, DUNLOP STREET, GLASGOW.
BY GEORGE GILFILLAN, AUTHOR OF A “GALLERY OF LITERARY PORTRAITS."
It is the lot of some men of genius to be born meries could but indifferently conceal. Jacquez, as if in the blank space, between Milton's L'Al- in the forest of Arden, mused not with a prolegro and Penseroso—their proximity to both founder pathos, or in quainter language, upon the originally equal, and their adhesion to the one or sad pageant of humanity, than does he ; and yet, the other depending upon casual circumstances. like him, his "lungs" are ever ready to “crow While some pendulate perpetually between the like chanticleer” at the sight of its grotesquer giare and the gay, others are carried off bodily, absurdities. Verily, the goddess of melancholy as it happens, by the comie or the tragic muse. A owes a deep grudge to the mirthful magician, few there are, who seem to say, of their own de- who carried off such a promising votary. It is liberate option, “Mirth, with thee wo mean to not every day that one who might have been a live;" deeming it better to go to the house of great serious poet will condescend to sink into a feasting than to that of mourning,—while the punster and editor of comic annuals. And, were storn of adversity drives others to pursue sad it not that his original tendencies continued to and dreary paths, not at first congenial to their be manifested to the last, and that he turned natores. Such men as Shakspere, Burns, and his drollery to important account, we would be Byron, continue, all their lives long, to pass, in tempted to be angry, as well as to regret, that rapid and perpetual change, from the one pro- he chose to play the Fool rather than King Lear rince to the other; and this, indeed, is the main in the play. source of their boundless ascendancy over the As a poet, Hood belongs to the school of John general mind. In Young, ofthe “Night Thoughts,” Keats and Leigh Hunt, with qualities of his own, the laughter, never very joyous, is converted, and an all but entire freedom from their pecuthrough the effect of gloomy casualties, into the liarities of manner and style. What strikes us, in ghastly grin of the skeleton Death—the pointed the first place, about him, is his great variety of satire is exchanged for the solemn sermon. In subject and mode of treatment. His works are Cowper, the fine schoolboy glee which inspirits in two small duodecimo volumes; and yet we find his humour goes down at last, and is quenched in them five or six distinct styles attempted-and like a spark in the wild abyss of his madness attempted with success. There is the classical "John Gilpin" merges in the “Castaway." Hood, there is the fanciful, or, as we might almost call on the other hand, with his strongest tendencies it, the “Midsummer Night”-there is the homely originally to the pathetic and the fantastic-serious, tragic narrative—there is the wildly grotesque shrinks in timidity from the face of the inner --there is the light-and there is the grave and sun of his natureshies the stoop of the descend- pathetic-lyric. And, besides, there is a style, ing Pythonic power--and, feeling that if he wept which we despair of describing by any one single at all it were floods of burning and terrible tears, or compound epithet, of which his "Elm Tree” laughs, and does little else but laugh, instead. and “ Haunted House" are specimensm-resem
We look upon this writer as a quaint masquer bling Tennyson's “Talking Oak,”—and the secret —as wearing above a manly and profound nature, and power of which, perhaps, lie in the feeling of a fantastic and deliberate disguise of folly. He mystic correspondence between man and inaniretninds us of Brutus, cloaking under pretended mate nature—in the start of momentary conidiocy, a stern and serious design, which burns sciousness, with which we sometimes feel that in his breast, but which he chooses in this way only nature's company we are not alone, that nature's to disclose. Or, he is like Hamlet-able to form silence is not that of death; and are aware, in the a magnificent purpose, but, from constitutional highest and grandest sense, that we are “made weakness, not able to incarnate it in effective of dust,” and that the dust from which we were action. A deep message has come to him from once taken is still divine. We know few volumes the heights of his nature, but, like the ancient of poetry where we find, in the same compass, so prophet, he is forced to cry out, “I cannot speak little mannerism, so little self-repetition, such & -I am a child!”
varied concert, along with such unique harmony Certainly there was, at the foundation of Hood's of sound. soul, a seriousness, which all his puns and mum- Through these varied numerous styles, we find
two or thrèo main elements distinctly traceable in and now a Macbeth---now a Dogberry, and now all Hood's poems. One is a singular subtlety in a Caliban-now an Ariel, and now a Timon the perception of minute analogies. The weak into the one communion of the one family-nay, ness, as well as the strength of his poetry, is de have a drop or two to spare for Messrs. Cobweb rived from this source. llis serious verse, as well and Mustard seed, who are allowed to creep in as his witty prose, is laden and encumbered with too among the number, and who attract a share thick coming fancies. Hence, some of his finest of the tenderness of their benign father. As in pieces are tedious, without being long. Little Swift, his misanthropy sees the hated object in more than ballads in size, they are books in the every thing, blown out in the Brobdignagian, reader's feeling. Every one knows how resistance shrunk up in the Lilliputian, flapping in the Lapuadds to the idea of extension, and how roughness tan, and yelling with the Yahoo-nay, throws itout impedes progress. Some of Hood's poems, such into those loathsome reflections, that he may inas “Lycus,” are rough as the Centaur's hide; and, tensify and multiply his hatred; so in the same having difficulty in passing along, you are tempted way operates the opposite feeling in Shakspere. to pass them bye altogether. And though a few, His love to the race is so great that he would feeling that there is around them the power and colonise with man, all space, fairy-land, the spell of genius, generously cry, there's true metal grave, hell, and heaven. And not only does he here, when we have leisure, we must return to give to superhuman beings a human interest and this--yet they never do. In fact, Hood has not nature, but he accomplishes what Hood has not been able to infuse human interest into his fairy or attempted, and what few else have attempted mythological creations. He has conceived them in with success ; he adjusts the human to the supera happy hour ; surely on one of those days when human actors they never jostle, you never the soul and nature are one--when one calm wonder at finding them on the samo stage, they bond of peace seems to unite all things--when meet without a start, they part without a shiver, the "very cattle in the fields appear to have great they obey one magic ; and you feel that not and tranquil thoughts"--when the sun seems only does one touch of nature make the whole to slumber, and the sky to smile_when the world kin, but that it can link the universe in air becomes a wide balm, and the low wind, one brotherhood, for the secret of this adjustas it wanders over flowers, seems telling some ment lies entirely in the humanity which is difhappy tidings in each gorgeous car, till the rose fused through every part of the drama. In it, as blushes a deep crimson, and the tulip lifts up in one soft ether, float, or swim, or play, or dive, a more towering head, and tho violet shrinks or fly, all his characters. more modestly away as at lovers' whispers in In connexion with the foregoing defect, we such a favoured hour-on which the first strain find in Hood's more elaborate poetical pieces no of music might have arisen, or the first stroke effective story, none that can bear the weight of of painting been drawn, or the chisel of the his subtle and beautiful imagery. The rich blosfirst sculptor been heard, or the first verse of soms and pods of the pea-flower tree are there, poetry been chanted, or man himself, a nobler but the strong distinet stick of support is wantharmony than lute ever sounded, a finer line ing. This defect is fatal not only to long poems than painter ever drew, a statelier structure and but to all save the shortest ; it reduces them ina diviner song, arisen from the dust - did the stantly to the rank of rhymed essays ; and a beautiful idea of the * Plea of the Midsummer rhymed essay, with most people, is the same Faries" dawn upon this poet's mind-he has thing with a rhapsody. Even dreams require conceived them in a happy hour, he has framed a nexus, a nisus, a nodus, a point, a purpose. them with exquisite skill and a fine cye to poetic Death is but a tame shadow without the scythe ; proportion, but he has not made them alive, ho and the want of a purpose in any clear, definite, imhas not made them objects of love ; and you care pressive form has neutralised the effect of many less for his Centaurs and his Fairies than you do poems besides Hood's—some of Tennyson's, and for the moonbeams or the shed leaves of the one entire class of Shelley's -whose “Triumph of forest. How different with the Oberon and the Life” and “ Witch of Atlas" rank with “Lycus" Titania of Shakspere! They are true to the and the “ Midnight Fairies"-being, like them, fairy ideal, and yet they are human—their hearts beautiful, diffuse, vague ; and, like them, perwarm with human passions, as fond of gossip, petually promising to bring forth solid fruit, but flattery, intrigue, and quarrel, as men or women yielding at length leaves and blossoms only. can bo—and you sigh with or smile at them, Subtlo fancy, lively wit, copious language, and precisely as you do at Theseus and Hippolyta. mellow versification, are the undoubted qualities Indeed, we cannot but admire how Shakspere, of Hood as a poet. But, besides, there are two like the arc of humanity, always bends, in all his or three moral peculiarities about him as delightcharacters, into the one centre of man-how his ful as his intellectual ; and they are visible in his villains, ghosts, demons, witches, fairies, fools, serious as well as lighter productions. One is harlots, heroes, clowns, saints, sensualists, women, his constant lightsomeness of spirit and tone. His and even his kings, are all human, disguises, or verse is not a chant but a carol. Deep as may be half-lengths, or miniatures, never caricatures, nor his internal melancholy, it expresses itself in, and apologies for mankind. How full the cup of yields to song. The heavy thunder cloud of wo manhood out of which he could baptise!--now an comes down in the shape of sparkling, sounding, Iago, and now an Ague-cheek—now a Bottom, sunny drops, and thus dissolves. Ho casts his me
able steps ?
lancholy into shapes so fantastic, that theylure first sacred names, sound like affidavits, or self-signed himself, and then his readers, to laughter. If he certificates of Christianity--they are so frequent, cannot get rid of the grim gigantic shadow of 80 forced, and so little in harmony with what we himself, which walks ever before him, as before know of the men. It is upon this principle that all men, he can, at least, make mouths, and cut we would defend Wordsworth from those who antics behind its back. This conduct is, in one deny him the name of a sacred poet. True, all sense, wise as well as witty ; but will, we fear, his poems are not hymns ; but his life has been a be imitated by few. Sonne will continue to fol- long hymn, rising, like incense, from a mountainlow the unbaptised terror, in tame and helpless altar to God. Surely, since Milton, no purer, submission; others will pay it vain homage ; severer, living melody has mounted on high. others will make to it resistance equally vain : The ocean names not its Maker, nor needs to and many will seek to drown in pleasure, or for name him. Yet who can deny that the religion get in business, their impression, that it walks of the “Ode to Sound,” and of the “Excursion," is on before them--silent, perpetual, pausing with that of the “Paradise Lost,” the “Task,” and the their rest, running with their speed, growing with “Night Thoughts?” And without classing Hood their growth, strengthening with their strength, in this or in any respect with Wordsworth, we forming itself a ghastly rainbow on the fumes of daro as little rank him with things common and their bowl of festival, lying down with them at unclean. night, starting up with every start that disturbs Hear himself on this point :their slumbers, rising with them in the morning,
** Thrice blessed is the man with whom rushing before them like a rival dealer into the
The gracious prodigality of nature market-place, and appearing to beckon them on The balm, the bliss, the beauty, and the bloom, behind it, from the death-bed into the land of The bounteous providence in every featureshadows, as into its own domain. If from this
Recall the good Creator to his creature ; dreadful forerunner we cannot escape, is it not
Making all carth a fane, all heaven its domo ! well done in Hood, and would it not be well done Each cloud-capped mountain is a holy altar ; in others, to laugh at, as wo pursued its inevit- An organ breathes in every grove ; It is, after all, perhaps only the
And the full heart's a Psalter, future greatness of man that throws back this
Rich in deep hymus of gratitude and love." gloom upon his infant being, casting upon him And amid all the mirthful details of the long confusion and despair, instead of exciting him to warfare which he waged with Cant, (from his gladness and to hope. In escaping from this Progress of Cant, downwards,) we are not aware shadow, we should be pawning the prospects of of any real despite done to that spirit of Christiour Immortality,
anity to which Cant, in fact, is the most formiHow cheerily rings Hood's lark-like note of dable foe. To the mask of religion, his motto is, poetry, among the various voices of the age's spare no arrows; but when the real, radiant, song--its eagle screams, its raven croakings, its sorrowful, yet happy face appears, he too has a plaintive nightingale strains ! And yet that knee to kneel and a heart to worship. lark, too, in her lowly nest, had her sorrows, and, But, best of all in Hood is that warm humaperhaps, her heart had bled in secret all night nity which beats in all his writings. His is no long. But now the “ morn is up again, the dewy ostentatious or systematic philanthropy ; it is a morn," and the sky is clear, and the wind is still, mild, cheerful, irrepressible feeling, as innocent and the sunshine is bright, and the blue depths and tender as the embrace of a child. It cannot seem to sigh for her coming; and up rises she to found soup kitchens ; it can only slide in a few heaven's gate, as aforetime; and as she soars and rhymes and sonnets to make its species a little sings, she remembers her misery no more; nay, happier. Hospitals it is unable to erect, or hers seems the chosen voice by which Nature subscriptions to give, silver and gold it has would convey the full gladness of her own heart, none; but in the orisons of its genius it never in that favourite and festal hour.
fails to remember the cause of the poor ; and if No one stops to question the songstress in the it cannot, any more than the kindred spirit of sky as to her theory of the universe_“ Under Burns, make for its country some usefu' plan which creed, Bezonian !-speak or die !” So, it or book,” it can “sing a sang at least.” Hood's were idle to inquire of Hood's poetry, any more poetry is often a pleading for those who cannot than of Keats's, what in confidence was its plead for themselves, or who plead only like the opinion of the origin of evil, or the pedobaptist beggar, who, reproached for his silence, showed controversy. His poetry is fuller of humanity his sores, and replied, “Isn't it begging I am with and of real piety that it does not protrude any a hundred tongues?” This advocacy of his has peculiarities of personal belief; and that no more not been thrown utterly away ; it has been than the sun or the book of Esther has it the heard on earth, and it has been heard in heaven. Dame of God written on it, although it has the The genial kind-heartedness which distinessence and the image. There are writers who, guished Thomas Hood did not stop with himself. like secret, impassioned lovers, speak most seldom Ho silently and insensibly drew around him a of those objects which they most frequently think little cluster of kindred spirits, who, without the of and most fervently admire. And there are name, have obtained the character and influence others, whose ascriptions of praise to God, whose of a school, which may be called, indifferently, the encomiums on religion, and whose introduction of Latter Cockney, or the Punch School. Who the
parent of this school, properly speaking, was, cumstancos, the scene, and tho person to whom whether Leigh Hunt or Hood, we will not stop the confession is made. Eugene Aram tells his to inquire. Perhaps, we may rather compare its story under the similitude of a dream, in the inmembers to a cluster of bees settling and singing terval of the school toil, in a shady nook of the together, without thought of precedence or feel- play-ground, and to a little boy. What a ghastly ing of inferiority, upon one flower. Leigh Hunt contrast do all these peaceful images present to and Hood, indeed, have far higher qualities of the tale he tells, in its mixture of homely horror imagination than the others, but they possess and shadowy dread! What an ear this in which some properties in common with them. All this to inject the fell revelation! In what a plain, school have warm sympathies, both with man as yet powerful setting, is the awful picture thus int, an individual, and with the ongoings of society at serted! And how perfect, at once the keeping large. All have a quiet but burning sense of the and the contrast between youthful innocence and evil, the cant, the injustice, the inconsistency, the guilt, grey-haired before its time between the oppression, and the falsehood, that are in the eager, unsuspecting curiosity of the listener, and world. All are
aware that fierce invective, the slow and difficult throes, by which the narrafurious recalcitration, and howling despair, cantor relieves himself of his burden of years benever heal nor mitigate these calamities. All are tween the sympathetic, half-pleasant, half-painbelievers in their future and permanent mitiga- ful shudder of the boy, and the strong convulsion tion; and are convinced that literature-pro-, of the man! The Giaour, emptying his polluted secuted in a proper spirit, and combined with soul in the gloom of the convent aisle, and to the political and moral progress-will marvellously father trembling instead of his penitent, as the tend to this result. Ad have had, or have too broken and frightful tale gasps, ou, is not equal much real or solid sorrow to make of it a matter in interest nor awe to Eugene Aram recounting of parade, or to find or seek in it a frequent his dream to the child; till you as well as he wish, source of inspiration. All, finally, would rather and are tempted to shriek out, that he may awake, laugh than weep men out of their follies, and mi- and find it indeed a dream, Eugene Aram is nistries out of their mistakes. And in an age not like Bulwer's heroma sublime demon in love; which has seen the steam of a tea-kettle appliod he is a mere man in misery, and the poet seeks to change the physical aspect of the earth-all you to think--and you can think, of nothing. have unbounded faith in the mightier miracles about him, no more than himself can, except the of moral and political revolution which the mirth one fatal stain, which has made him, what he of an English fireside is yet to effect when pro-is, and which he long has identified with himperly condensed and pointed. We rather honour self. Hood, with the instinct and art of a great the motives than share in the anticipations of painter, seizes on that moment in Aram's history, this witty and brilliant band, with which Dickens which formed the hinge of its interest--not the must unquestionably rank. Much good they have moment of the murder, not the long, silent, dedone and are doing ; but the full case, we fear, is vouring remorse that followed, not the [hour of beyond them, It is in mechanism after all, the defence, nor of the execution—but that when not in magic, that they trust. We, on the other the dark secret leapt into light and punish: hand, think that our help lies in the double-ment; this thrilling, curdling instant, predicted divine charm which Genius and Religion, fully from the past, and pregnant with the future, is wedded together, are yet to wield ; when, in a here seized, and startlingly shown. All that high sense, the words of the poet shall be ac- went before was merely horrible, all that followed complished
is horrible and vulgar : the poetic moment in the “Love and song, song and love, entertwined evermore, story is intensely one. And how inferior the Weary earth to the suns of its youth shall restore.
laboured power and pathos of the last volume of Mirth like that of Punch and Hood can relieve | Bulwer's novel to these lines ? many a fog upon individual minds, but is power
“ That very night, while gentle sleep less to remove the great clouds which hang over
The urchin eyelids kissed, the general history of humanity, and around even Two stern-faced men set out from Lynn political abuses it often plays harmless as the
Through the cold and heavy mist : summer evening's lightning, or, at most, only
And Eugene Aram walked between loosens without smiting them down. Voltaire's
With gyves upon his wrist.” smile showed the Bastile in a ludicrous light, as And here, how much of the horror is breathed it fantastically fell upon it; but Rousseau's ear- upon us from the calm bed of the sleeping boy! nestness struck its pinnacle, and Mirabeau's elo- The two best of his grave, pathetic lyrics are quence overturned it from its base. There is a the “ Song of the Shirt” and the “ Bridge of call, in our case, for a holier earnestness, and for Sighs.” The first was certainly Hood's great a purer, nobler oratory. From the variety of hit, although we were as much ashamed as restyles which Hood has attempted in his poems, joiced at its success. We blushed when we thought we select the two in which we think him most that at that stage of his life he needed such an' successful—the homely tragic narrative, and the introduction to the public, and that thousands grave pathetic lyric. We find al specimen of the and tens of thousands were now, for the first time, former in his Eugene Aram's dream. This may induced to ask “Who's Thomas Hood?” The be called a tale of the Confessional; but how majority of even the readers of the age
had never much new interest does it acquire from the cir- heard of his name till they saw it in Punch, and