Puslapio vaizdai

whose condition has been bodily suffering. It banishes those who have neither home nor country. It puts those to death who are sick of life.

Of a people living in moral corruption, it is to be understood that a law of terror trusts, by acts of punishment falling here and there, to stop the whole current of their lives! If it were possible to impress upon every man's mind the unalterable conviction that the next offence he commits will put him into the hands of justice, and be his last, it might be conceived to stop offences. But when the conviction upon every man's mind is, that his next offence will not be his last-what can it stop? If he can flatter himself with impunity for the next crime, that is all that is required for all offences to be committed. The undefined terror of the law will indeed keep within limits those who have not yet overstepped them; because they do not calculate impunity. They are now safe; and then they would be under danger. But he who has already violated the law, can feel no restraint from its terror; he has passed through danger, and the next step is as likely to be safe as the last, perhaps more so. But let it be added, that he is corrupt. There is for him, within the pale of ordered society, no life; then he must find a life without its pale. His corruption of life is upon him a necessity to go on in violation of the law. What man is there who stops in the prosecution of his calling, because it daily endangers his limb or his life? Do we imagine it is to make a difference to the man, that the peril is not from accident ever at hand, but from the distant and uncertain interposition of law? There is, indeed, a terror of punishment, which is frightful to our minds, and which may envelop the young offender with fears; but that is only because he is making the step of transition from safe untroubled life, to the perturbed life of guilt. His own soul is up in arms against him; and the terror that rings in his ears is from within. But he has only to go on, and perturbation will become so familiar, that it will no longer alarm him. The disorder of his passions, the unsettled courses and agitated scenes of lawless life, the trouble of conscience which he may yet feel-anger, and suspicion, and hate, mutual with those about him, will make one eternal deafening tumult in his mind, in which the fears of human law will

be little heard and hardly distinguished. The temper of mind which the man must acquire, who is to go on resolutely in a guilty life, is, independently of all superadded terrors of human law, a temper of reckless defiance; and whether to the pains, fears, hinderances, miseries of every sort, which that defiance must overcome, be yet added the menace of the law, may appear to make little difference in the strength of desperate will that is required to entertain that temper. Heap men together in depravity-give them a common purpose and but one way of life before them, and who is he that knows so little of men, as to imagine that they will falter from each other's purpose, because it leads them in the front of death? The whole history of confederated criminals is evidence of the terrible courage which men acquire in guilt. How do we expect that terror of the law is now to quell those whom it has never quelled? Let us not deceive ourselves. If criminals are few, the law may deliver society by their extirpation. But if they are gathered together in uncounted numbers, and supplied from an inexhaustible source,—that is, if their strength is established in the common corruption and depravity of a great body of a people,-the deliverance of society must be effected by some other aid than was ever in the hand of avenging Justice.



[AUGUST 1828.]

[In fulfilment of Professor Wilson's intention to republish his several articles on Angling under the general title of Anglimania, these compositions are here brought together in one Essay.]

THIS is a book on a very delightful subject, by a very distinguished man. But although it is occasionally rather a pleasant book than otherwise, it is not by any means worthy either of the subject or the man—the one being Angling, and the other Sir Humphry Davy. It formed the occupation of the Author, he tells us, during many months of severe and dangerous illness, when he was wholly incapable of attending to more useful studies, or of following more serious pursuits. Now, in our humble opinion, no man should write a book of any kind during severe and dangerous illness; for, under such circumstances, how can it escape being mortally stupid? Perhaps a man might write a tolerable sermon during a season of dangerous illness, a passable prayer, or a fair last will and testament. But a good book on Angling can be written, take our word for it, only in a state of vigorous health of mind and body-tongue pure, eyes bright, stomach strong, pulse steady, and palate tremblingly alive to the taste of Glenlivet. Sir Humphry must have been in a bad way indeed during the composition of the greater part of Salmonia-very comatose— his physician must have been fearful of the result—and his recovery may be placed among modern miracles of the

Healing Art.

Were Sir Humphry to write a book on Angling, in high

1 Salmonia: or, Days of Fly-Fishing, in a Series of Conversations; with some Account of the Habits of Fishes belonging to the genus Salmo. BY AN ANGLER.

health and spirits, we are disposed to think it would be a good one; for, independently of his great scientific attainments, he has the reputation of being a man of taste and literature. Nay, in his early manhood, Sir Humphry was even a bit of a poet; and we have read a published poem of his, that appeared to us to lift up and set down its feet with considerable vigour and alacrity, even like one of Mr Ducrow's horses dancing on a platform to a band of music.


It is at all times agreeable to see men of eminence, men who are "conspicuous objects in a nation's eyes," descending from their proud and airy height to the level of ordinary mortals,-to see them eating, drinking, yawning, sleeping, walking, trotting, cantering, and galloping, shooting, fishing, and fox-hunting, like the oi oλλo of the human race. By doing so, so far from degrading themselves, they elevate others; "they justify the ways of man to man; and by connecting the pastimes and amusements of this life with its cares and duties, why, they bring all its discordant components into harmonious amalgamation. Thus a bishop, sans wig and petticoat, in a hairy cap, black jacket, corduroy breeches, and leathern leggins, creel on back, and rod in hand, sallying from his palace, impatient to reach a famous salmon-cast ere the sun leave his cloud, attended by his chaplain, brandishing a gaff and lister, appears not only a pillar of his church, but of his kind, and in such a costume is manifestly on the high-road to Canterbury, and the Kingdom-Come. Paley never was a bishop,-nor, with all his great virtues and talents, did he deserve to be one, for he was not orthodox either in his morality or his religion. And we will never allow heterodoxy to wear the lawn sleeves, and ominously squint on bench episcopal. But Paley was a pellucid writer, and a bloody angler; he was a ten-dozen-trout-a-day man,-dressed his own flies, and threw as far and fine a line as ever dropped, gossamer-like, on deep or shallow. Lord Nelson was an angler till he lost his right arm; and-But, in our article, we must touch on topics, not exhaust them-so suffice it to say, that to the list of anglers, we are now authorised to add the name of the First Chemist of his day, and the illustrious inventor of the Safety-Lamp.

We had often heard, before Salmonia, of Sir Humphry's fame as an angler. Tom Purdy says "he flings a gude flee

for a gentleman." The Kerss-He of the Trows-threeps "he can fish nane;" and Poor Sandy Givan, at name of the Baronet, used to shake his head like Lord Burleigh. It is true that these three great artists, having themselves reached the top of the tree, may, very possibly, look down rather too contemptuously on a philosopher like Sir Humphry sitting among the lower branches-and their opinion on a salmonfisher must, just like a salmon itself, be taken cum grano salis. Still the amateur in angling, as in any other of the fine artspainting for example-is amenable to the judgment of the artist. Tried by his peers, Sir Humphry might be pronounced a first-rater-by a jury of genuine fishermen from the Tweed the Tay, the Awe, the Spey, the Dee, and the Findhorn, but a pretender. It is painful, indeed, to be forced to believe that almost nothing is perfectly well done by-gentlemen Billiards? There are hundreds of markers who could give four to the best gentleman player in all England. Cricket? Beauclerk and Harbord themselves were nothing to the Marsdens. Race-riding? Poo-poo-poo-look at Chiffney, Buckle, or the worst of the Three Days, and Delme Ratcliffe himself is transmogrified into a tailor. Fiddling? NaySandy Ballantyne himself-beautiful as is his bow, and fine his finger, must lower his tone to Cramer or Spagnoletti. Shooting? Lord Kennedy, Mr Osbaldeston, and Captain Ross, are all beaten by Arrowsmith. Boxing? Ury, the best gentleman sparrer that ever flung down or took up a glove, was but a boy in the hands of John Jackson. Running? Abraham Wood could have distanced all the Universities. Leaping? Ireland, at hop, step, and leap, could have given two yards to young Beattie of the Border. And to return to angling-why, Mulcocky of Killarney could have safely and easily allowed a salmon an hour to the late Lord Somerville.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]




All this being the case, the only remaining question respecting Sir Humphry is this-is he, among gentlemen anglers, a first-rate gentleman angler? We shrewdly suspect -not. We judge of his skill and prowess from his book; and, as a proof of the confidence we repose in our own judg the ment, we hereby challenge Sir Humphry (a cool five hundred) for the first seven salmon, in river and any week, month, any or day, he may choose to appoint, in Great Britain or Ireland. We object decidedly to Norway-where Sir Humphry, we 1 Threeps-asserts.




« AnkstesnisTęsti »