Obrazy na stronie
[ocr errors]

gernaut, and those who acknowledge no God at all? We can see no distinction between these cases.

But even if the country were prepared, which we do not admit to be the case, to say that the religious character of our law shall be no longer Christian, there is another step even beyond that, which it must be prepared to adopt before the proposed measure can be carried into execution. The Jews in England, and, indeed, in every country in which they reside, form a separate people. They are a nation within a nation. They are not separated from us merely by religion, but by blood, by physiognomy, by manners, by customs, by interests of the dearest kind. They do not inter

' marry with Christians, at least not frequently in this country, and such intermarriages are forbidden by their law.

We do not say that there are not amongst them honest and honourable men, for we know, on the contrary, that there are many Jews to be found in London and elsewhere, quite as scrupulous as Christians in all that relates to the obligations between man. But as a nation, they

ve ties which bind them together all over the world, and give them views and hopes which must always keep them severed and distinct from the rest of mankind. They look forward to the re-establishment of their own kingdom, as soon as their great lawgiver shall make his appearance; to that event, all their prayers and ceremonies have an exclusive tendency. How, then, we ask, can it be expected, that if Jews were in office or in Parliament, they would attend to the interests of these realms ?

Many Jews now residing in England have been born here, and therefore are, in point of law, subjects of his Majesty. But when and where have they served him in his arn

rmy or navy? In truth, they have conducted themselves rather as aliens than otherwise, and we see no good reason why they should not be so considered. Whatever hardships and cruelties they suffered in England before their expulsion, in the thirteenth century, they have no serious cause to complain of their treatment here since the Restoration. They have now lived amongst us for nearly three centuries without disturbance, and yet are they as much apart from us, as a nation, now, as they were in the reign of Charles the Second. This, be it remarked, is the necessary effect of their own exclusive law. They cannot amalgamate with Christians. It is no slight shade of difference that keeps us asunder, but a solid barrier which, since their exile from Jerusalem, they have themselves industriously erected, and tenaciously preserve around them.

For this, it is no part of our purpose to censure them. Their religion, we have no wish to interfere with. That is an affair between them and their CREATOR, on which, we presume not to touch. Full liberty in the exercise of their worship, let them by all means enjoy: Whatever property they acquire, should also be sacred. We do not even see any strong objection which should prevent them from holding land, if that be to them a matter of importance, which we



greatly doubt. The Jews are too migratory in their habits, too unsettled as a people, to be ambitious of landed possessions. In Poland, where they are very numerous, and peculiarly favoured, they lend abundance of money on mortgages, which they find a much more profitable trade than holding and cultivating the soil upon their own account. In every country we see them money changers, and great accumulators of personal property, but no where land owners. And this is at once the consequence and the evidence of the state of preparation in which they keep themselves for the approach of the epoch, which is to restore them to Palestine.

It will be seen from what we have said, that we do not oppose the claims of the Jews, as religionists, but as aliens, as people who, though born here, have alien interests, alien objects, alien manners, alien laws and alien connections. In our opinion, it would be equally consistent in us to admit Frenchmen or Russians into our legislature, as Jews. The refugees from Spain, several of whom would ornament any assembly, have just as much right, as far as we can judge, to give laws to England, as Mr. Goldsmid, Mr. Rothschild, or any other man, who traces his origin to the land of Canaan.

, Mr. Blunt has stated the history of the Jews in this country very clearly, and we doubt not very correctly. He has also pointed out the disabilities which in common with all aliens they labour under; but he has not advanced a single argument to show why those disabilities ought to be removed.

Art. X.- Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry. 2 vols. 12mo.

with Etchings. Dublin : Curry and Co. 1830. It is mortifying to witness so unnatural a union of bigotry and humour, as is displayed in these volumes, The design of this work is primarily of a religious nature, the title being given to it for the obvious purpose of recommending its contents to the world. This is by no means a maintenance of that good faith which authors are bound ever to observe ; neither is it just to put such an affront on the reading public, as to insinuate that the concerns of religion, in themselves, have no attraction for them, and that they require to be baited, as it were, with droll stories and traits of national character, Haply, our author may have calculated the other way, and thought that his religious animosity would make his humour more vendible, or, at all events, that they might do better in company. If such were the conclusion of this writer, he cannot too soon disabuse his mind of the error; for, although we are not, on this side of the water, without our love of controversy, and are sometimes inclined to dwell on what we consider the absurdities of other men's creeds, yet we take care to appoint our season for indulging in this propensity. We do not like, for instance, to discuss the beer question in

St. Clement's church; nor points of theology in an afternoon at the Albion; nothing, John Bull is less prone to than mingling business with pleasure; and consequently there is no sort of accident that is more likely to revolt him, as when he makes up his mind for amusement, to have serious matters thrust upon his attention. We would put it to the kindlier nature of our author, if it be wise or respectable to mix up with the materials of a delectable literary banquet-a real feast of the soul, of which all persons have an opportunity of partaking,--statements, descriptions, and expressions, which are sure to disgust no small portion of the guests, and to contribute materially to the prolongation of the bitterest mutual hostility amongst all. We say, let every man do his best to propagate sound religion, to the destruction of that which falsely assumes its sacred name. Neither should he do it with hesitation or indifference. Enthusiasm even becomes a virtue in such a cause. But let him proclaim his mission; let him put the right title upon his religious book, and not delude us into a controversy, when we thought he was going to make us laugh by his merriment. We say this in the spirit of kindness, not with the view of deprecating the author's zeal in the direction which it has taken ; but really in order to protect our lighter description of literature from those adulterations which will only impair its wholesomeness, if they do not altogether discredit its character.

Having refreshed ourselves by thus venting our disappointment, we shall not be slow to render justice to the merits, for they are very great, of the author of these volumes. He is much better, and far more extensively acquainted with the Irish peasantry, than any modern narrator of Hibernian frolics with whom we are acquainted, that is to say, he knows them intimately in more of their varieties and their aspects, than any of his predecessors. But then he cannot match Mr. Croker, nor yet Mr. Griffin, in an Irish story. He wants the faculty of a poet; he crowds his descriptions, and accumulates circumstance on circumstance, "confusing rather than clearing what he means to set before us. With a fourth of his words, Mr. Croker would have made a better picture of any one of the scenes which the author has given in these volumes. But his extensive

ve opportunities of entering into the character of his countrymen, and a power of accurate observation, compensate amply for the want of other advantages, and will always enable this writer to keep an elevated rank amongst the delineators of national manners.

The two volumes contain eight tales, each of which has for its object to develope some peculiarity of character or habit of the people. They are all more or less tainted with the objectionable matter to which we have already alluded, and we may add, that when upon this unpleasant subject, the author seems to lose not only the more benign feelings of our nature, but also that strict regard for truth which is not merely an ornament to, but an indis



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

pensible requisite in every man. Stripped of these excrescences, we think the Irish Wedding' a very amusing scene, though elaborated to a degree almost beyond all patience. Shane Fadh, , who had the honour of being one of the principals in this merry drama, is himself the narrator, and our acquaintance with him shall commence just at the moment that after being exceedingly garrulous, he comes to the gist of the story.

• Well, at last the day came. The wedding morning, or the bride's part of it, as they say, was beautiful. It was then the month of July. The evening before, my father and my brother went over to Jemmy Finigan's to make the regulations for the wedding, We—that is, my party, were to be at the bride's house about ten o'clock, and we were then to proceed, all on horseback, to the priest's, to be married. We were then, after drinking something at Tom Harris's public house, to come back as far as the Dumbhill, where we were to start and run for the bottle. That morning we were all up at the skriek of day. From six o'clock, my own faction, friends and neighbours, began to come, all mounted; and about eight o'clock there was a whole regiment of them, come on horses, some on mules, others on raheries and asses; and by my word, I believe little Dick Snudaghan,the tailor's apprentice, that had a hand in making my wedding clothes, we mounted upon a buck goat, with a bridle of selvages tied to his horns. Any thing at all, to keep their feet from the ground, for nobody would be allowed to go with the wedding that hadn't some animal between them and the earth. To make a long story short, so large a bridegroom's party was never seen in that country before, save and except Tim Lannigan's that I mentioned just now. It would make you split your face laughing to see the figure they cut; some of them had saddles and bridlesothers had saddles and halters : some had back-suggawns of straw, with hay stirrups to them, but good bridles; others of them had sacks fixed up as like saddles as they could make them, girthed with hay ropes five or six times round the horse's body. When one or two of the horses wouldn't

carry double, except the hind rider sat strideways, the women had to be put foremost, and the men behind them. Some had dacent pillions enough, but the most of them had none at all, and the women were obliged to sit where the crupper ought to be,--and a hard card they had to play to keep their seats, even when the horses walked easy, so what must it be when it came to a gallop, but that same was nothing at all to a trot.

* From the time they began to come that morning, you may be sartin that the glass was no cripple, any howm-although, for fear of accidents, we took care not to go too deep. At eight o'clock we sat down to a rousing breakfast, for we thought it best to eat a trifle at home, lest they might think that what we were to get at the bride's breakfast might be thought aný novelty. As for my part, I was in such a state, that I couldn't let a morsel cross my throat, nor did I know what end of me was uppermost. After breakfast they all got their cattle, and i my hat and whip, and was ready to mount, when my uncle whispered to me that I must kneel down and ax my father and mother's blessing, and forgiveness for all my disobedience and offinces towarst them-and also to requist the blessings of my brothers and sisters. Well, in a short time I was down;



[ocr errors]

and, my goodness, such a hullabaloo of crying as was there in a minnit's time, « Oh Shane Fadh -- Shane Fadh, a cushla machree,” says my poor mother in Irish “ you're going to break up the ring about you're father's hearth and mine-going to lave us, avourneen, for ever, and we to hear your light foot and sweet voice, mornin', noon, and night, no more. Oh!” says she, “it's you that was the good son all out—and the good brother too : kind and cheerful was your beautiful voice, and full of love and affection was your heart! Shane, avourneen deelish, if ever I was harsh to you, forgive your poor mother that will never see you more on her flure as one of her own family.” Even my father, that was’nt much given to crying, couldn't speak; but went over to a corner and cried till the neighbours stopped him. As for my brothers and sisters they were all in an uproar -and I myself, begad, cried like a Trojan, merely becase I see them at it. My father and mother both kissed me, and gave me their blessing; and my brothers and sisters did the same : while you would think all their hearts would break. Come, come,” says my uncle, “ I'll have none of this : what a hubbub you make, and your son going to be well married-going to be joined to a girl that your betters would be proud to get into connection with. You should have more sense, Rose Campbell-you ought to thank God that he had the luck to coine across such a girl for a wife; that it's not going to his grave instead of into the arms of a party girl-and what is better, a good girl. So quit your blubbering, Rose; and you, Jack," says he to my father, “ that ought to have more sense, stop this instant. Clear off every one of you, out of this, and let the

young boy get to his horse. Clear out, I say, or by the powers I'll look at them three stags of huzzies ; by the hand of my body they're blubbering bekase its not their own story this blessed day. Move-bounce!

and you, Rose oge, if you're not behind Dudley Fulton in less than no time, by the hole of my coat, I'll marry a wife myself, and then where will the twenty guinneys be that I'm to lave you ?”

Any how, it's easy knowing that there wasn't sorrow at the bottom of their grief; for they were all now laughing at my uncle's jokes, even while their eyes were red with the tears-my mother herself couldn't but be in good humour, and join her smile with the rest.

My uncle now drove us all out before him ; not, however, till my mother had sprinkled a drop of holy water on each of us, and giving me and my brother and sisters a small taste of blessed caudle to prevent us from sudden death and accidents. My father and she didn't come with us then, but they went over to the bride's, while we were gone to the priest's house. Well, now we set off in great style and spirits ; I well mounted on a good horse of my own, and my brother on one that he had borrowed from Peter Donnellon, fully bent on winning the bottle. I would have borrowed him myself, but I thought it dacenter to ride my own horse manfully, even though he never won a side of mutton or a saddle, like Donnellon's. But the man that was most likely to come in for the bottle was little Billy Cormick, the tailor, who rode a blood-racer that young John Little had wickedly lent him for the special purpose; he was a tall bay animal, with long small legs, a close tail, and didn't know how to trot. May be we didn't cut a dash—and might have taken a town before us. We set out about nine o'clock, and went acrass the country; but I'll not stop to mintion what happened some of them, even before we got to the bride's house.




« PoprzedniaDalej »