Obrazy na stronie

from a classical teacher, a “tyrannical blockhead’ who settled in the neighbourhood, and it was afterwards agreed to send him to Munster, as a poor scholar, to complete his education. The poor scholars of Munster are indebted for nothing but their bed and board, which they receive from the parents of the scholars. In some cases a collection is made to provide an outfit for the youth thus leaving home; but Carleton's own family supplied the funds supposed to be necessary. The circumstances attending his departure Mr Carleton has related in his fine tale, The Poor Scholar. As he journeyed slowly along the road, his superstitious fears got the better of his ambition to be a scholar, and stopping for the night at a small inn by the way, a disagreeable dream determined the homesick lad to return to his father's cottage. His affectionate parents were equally joyed to receive him; and Carleton seems to have done little for some years but join in the sports and pastimes of the people, and attend every wake, dance, fair, and merrymaking in the neighbourhood. In his seventeenth year he went to assist a distant relative, a priest, who had opened a classical school near Glasslough, county of Monaghan, where he remained two years. A pilgrimage to the far-famed Lough-derg, or St Patrick's Purgatory, excited his imagination, and the description of that performance, some years afterwards, “not only, he says, “constituted my début in literature, but was also the means of preventing me from being a pleasant strong-bodied parish priest at this day; indeed it was the cause of changing the whole destiny of my subsequent life.’ About this time chance threw a copy of Gil Blas in his way, and his love of adventure was so stimulated by its perusal, that he left his native place, and set off on a visit to a Catholic clergyman in the county of Louth. He stopped with him a fortnight, and succeeded in procuring a tuition in the house of a farmer near Corcreagh. This, however, was a tame life and a hard one, and he resolved on precipitating himself on the Irish metropolis, with no other guide than a certain strong feeling of vague and shapeless ambition. He entered Dublin with only 2s. 9d. in his pocket. From this period we suppose we must date the commencement of Mr Carleton's literary career. In 1830 appeared his Traits and Stories, two volumes, published in Dublin, but without the author's name. Mr Carleton, in his preface, “assures the public, that what he offers is, both in manufacture and material, genuine Irish; yes, genuine Irish as to character, drawn by one born amidst the scenes he describes—reared as one of the people whose characters and situations he sketches—and who can cut and dress a shillaly as well as any man in his majesty's dominions; ay, and use it too; so let the critics take care of themselves. The critics were unanimous in favour of the Irish sketcher. His account of the northern Irish—the Ulster creachts —was new to the reading public, and the “dark mountains and green vales’ of his native Tyrone, of Donegal, and Derry, had been left untouched by the previous writers on Ireland. A second series of these tales was published by Mr Carleton in 1832, and was equally well received. In 1839 he sent forth a powerful Irish story, Fardorougha the Miser, or the Convicts of Lisnamona, in which the passion of avarice is strikingly depicted, without its victim being wholly dead to natural tenderness and affection. Scenes of broad humour and comic extravagance are interspersed throughout the work. Two years afterwards (1841) appeared The Fawn of Spring Vale, The Clarionet, and other Tales, three volu: There is more of pathetic composition in

this collection than in the former; but one genial light-hearted humorous story, The Misfortunes of Barney Branagan, was a prodigious favourite. The collection was pronounced by a judicious critic to be calculated ‘for those quiet country haunts where the deep and natural pathos of the lives of the poor may be best read and taken to heart. Hence Mr Carleton appropriately dedicates his pages to Wordsworth. But they have the fault common to other modern Irish novels, of an exaggerated display of the darker vicissitudes of life: none better than the Rydal philosopher could teach the tale-writer that the effect of mists, and rains, and shadows, is lost without sun-breaks to relieve the gloom. In 1845 Mr Carleton published another Irish novel, Valentine M'Clutchy, and in 1855 Willey Reilly. A pension of £200 was settled upon the popular Irish novelist. The great merit of Mr Carleton is the truth of his delineations and the apparent artlessness of his stories. If he has not the passionate energyor, as he himself has termed it, “the melancholy but indignant reclamations’ of John Banim, he has not his party prejudices or bitterness. He seems to have formed a fair and just estimate of the character of his countrymen, and to have drawn it as it actually appeared to him at home and abroad—in feud and in festival—in the various scenes which passed before him in his native district and during his subsequent rambles. In examining into the causes which have operated in forming the character of the peasantry, Mr Carleton alludes to the long want of any fixed system of wholesome education. The clergy, until lately, took no interest in the matter, and the instruction of the children—where any instruction was obtained—was left altogether to hedge-schoolmasters, a class of men who, with few exceptions, bestowed ‘such an education upon the people as is sufficient almost, in the absence of all other causes, to account for much of the agrarian violence and erroneous principles which regulate their movements and feelings on that and similar subjects. The lower Irish, too, he justly remarks, were, until a comparatively recent period, treated with apathy and gross neglect by the only class to whom they could or ought to look up for sympathy or protection. Hence those deep-rooted prejudices and fearful crimes which stain the history of a people remarkable for their social and domestic virtues. “In domestic life, says Mr Carleton, “there is no man so exquisitely affectionate and humanised as the Irishman. The national imagination is active, and the national heart warm, and it follows very naturally that he should be, and is, tender and strong in all his domestic relations. Unlike the people of other nations, his grief is loud but lasting; vehement, but deep; and whilst its shadow has been chequered by the laughter and mirth of a cheerful disposition, still, in the moments of seclusion, at his bed-side prayer, or over the grave of those he loved, it will put itself forth, after half a life, with a vivid power of recollection which is sometimes almost beyond belief. A people thus cast in extremes— melancholy and humorous—passionate in affection and in hatred—cherishing the old language, traditions, and recollections of their country—their wild music, poetry, and customs—ready either for good or for evil—such a people certainly affords the novelist abundant materials for his fictions. The field is ample, and it has been richly cultivated.

[Picture of an Irish Village and School-house.]

The village of Findramore was situated at the foot of a long green hill, the outline of which formed a low arch, as it rose to the eye against the horizon. This hill was studded with clumps of beeches, and sometimes enclosed as a meadow. In the month of July, when the grass on it was long, many an hour have I spent in solitary enjoyment, watching the wavy motion produced upon its pliant surface by the sunny winds, or the flight of the cloud-shadows, like gigantic phantoms, as they swept rapidly over it, whilst the murmur of the rocking trees, and the glancing of their bright leaves in the sun, produced a heartfelt pleasure, the very memory of which rises in my imagination like some fading recollection of a brighter world. At the foot of this hill ran a clear deep-banked river, bounded on one side by a slip of rich level meadow, and on the other by a kind of common for the village geese, whose white feathers during the summer season lay scattered over its green surface. It was also the playground for the boys of the village-school; for there ran that part of the river which, with very correct judgment, the urchins had selected as their bathingplace. A little slope or watering-ground in the bank brought them to the edge of the stream, where the bottom fell away into the fearful depths of the whirlpool under the hanging oak on the other bank. Well do I remember the first time I ventured to swim across it, and even yet do I see in imagination the two bunches of water-flagons on which the inexperienced swimmers trusted themselves in the water. About two hundred yards above this, the boreen” which led from the village to the main road crossed the river by one of those old narrow bridges whose arches rise like round ditches across the road—an almost impassable barrier to horse and car. On passing the bridge in a northern direction, you found a range of low thatched houses on each side of the road; and if one o'clock, the hour of dinner, drew near, you might observe columns of blue smoke curling up from a row of chimneys, some made of wicker-creels plastered over with a rich coat of mud, some of old narrow bottomless tubs, and others, with a greater appearance of taste, ornamented with thick circular ropes of straw sewed together like bees' skeps with the peel of a brier; and many having nothing but the open vent above. But the smoke by no means escaped by its legitimate aperture, for you might observe little clouds of it bursting out of the doors and windows; the panes of the latter being mostly stopped at other times with old hats and rags, were now left entirely open for the purpose of giving it a free escape. Before the doors, on right and left, was a series of dunghills, each with its concomitant sink of green rotten water; and if it happened that a stout-looking woman with watery eyes, and a yellow cap hung loosely upon her matted locks, came, with a chubby urchin on one arm and a pot of dirty water in her hand, its unceremonious ejection in the aforesaid sink would be apt to send you up the village with your finger and thumb —for what purpose you would yourself perfectly understand—closely, but not knowingly, applied to your nostrils. But, independently of this, you would be apt to have other reasons for giving your horse, whose heels are by this time surrounded by a dozen of barking curs, and the same number of shouting urchins, a pretty sharp touch of the spurs, as well as for complaining bitterly of the odour of the atmosphere. It is no landscape without figures; and you might notice—if you are, as I suppose you to be, a man of observation— in every sink as you pass along, a “slip of a pig’ stretched in the middle of the mud, the very beau-idéal of luxury, giving occasionally a long luxuriant grunt, highly expressive of his enjoyment; or perhaps an old farrower, lying in indolent repose, with half-a-dozen young ones jostling each other for their draught, and punching her lly with their little snouts, reckless of the fumes they

* A little road.

are creating; whilst the loud crow of the cock, as he confidently flaps his wings on his own dunghill, gives the warning-note for the hour of dinner. As you advance, you will also perceive several faces thrust out of the doors, and rather than miss a sight of you, a grotesque visage peeping by a short-cut through the paneless windows, or a tattered female flying to snatch up her urchin that has been tumbling itself heels up in the dust of the road, lest ‘the gintleman's horse might ride over it; and if you happen to look behind, you may observe a shaggy-headed youth in tattered frize, with one hand thrust indolently in his breast, standing at the door in conversation with the inmates, a broad grin of sarcastic ridicule on his face, in the act of breaking a joke or two upon yourself or your horse; or perhaps your jaw may be saluted with a lump of clay, just hard enough not to fall asunder as it flies, cast by some ragged gorsoon from behind a hedge, who squats himself in a ridge of corn to avoid detection. Seated upon a hob at the door, you may observe a toilworn man without coat or waistcoat, his red muscular sunburnt shoulder peering through the remnant of a shirt, mending his shoes with a piece of twisted flax, called a lingel, or perhaps sewing two footless stockings, or martyeens, to his coat, as a substitute for sleeves. In the gardens, which are usually fringed with nettles, you will see a solitary labourer, working with that carelessness and apathy that characterise an Irishman when he labours for himself, leaning upon his spade to look after you, and glad of any excuse to be idle. The houses, however, are not all such as I have described—far from it. You see here and there, between the more humble cabins, a stout comfortablelooking farmhouse with ornamental thatching and well-glazed windows; adjoining to which is a hay-yard with five or six large stacks of corn, well-trimmed and roped, and a fine yellow weather-beaten old hayrick, half-cut—not taking into account twelve or thirteen circular strata of stones that mark out the foundations on which others had been raised. Neither is the rich smell of oaten or wheaten bread, which the good-wife is baking on the griddle, unpleasant to your nostrils; nor would the bubbling of a large pot, in which you might see, should you chance to enter, a prodigious square of fat, yellow, and almost transparent bacon tumbling about, to be an unpleasant object; truly, as it hangs over a large fire, with well-swept hearthstone, it is in good keeping with the white settle and chairs, and the dresser with noggins, wooden trenchers, and pewter dishes, perfectly clean, and as well polished as a French courtier. As you leave the village, you have, to the left, a view of the hill which I have already described, and to the right a level expanse of fertile country, bounded by a good view of respectable] mountains peering decently into the sky; and in a line that forms an acute angle from the point of the road where you ride, is a delightful valley, in the bottom of which shines a pretty lake; and a little beyond, on the slope of a green hill, rises a splendid house surrounded by a park well wooded and stocked with deer. You have now topped the little hill above the village, and a straight line of level road, a mile long, goes forward to a country town which lies immediately behind that white church with its spire cutting into the sky before you. You descend on the other side, and having advanced a few perches, look to the left, where you see a long thatched chapel, only distinguished from a dwelling-house by its want of chimneys, and a small stone cross that stands on the top of the eastern gable; behind it is a grave-yard, and beside it a smug public-house, well whitewashed; then, to the right, you observe a door apparently in the side of a clay bank, which rises considerably above the pavement of the road. What! you ask yourself, can this be a human habitation? But ere you have time to answer the question, a confused buzz of voices from within reaches your ear, and the appearance of a little gorsoon, with a red closecropped head and Milesian face, having in his hand a short white stick, or the thigh-bone of a horse, which you at once recognise as ‘the pass’ of a village-school, gives you the full information. He has an inkhorn, covered with leather, dangling at the button-hole (for he has long since played away the buttons) of his frize jacket—his mouth is circumscribed with a streak of ink—his pen is stuck knowingly behind his ear—his shins are dotted over with fire-blisters, black, red, and blue—on each heel a kibe—his “leather crackers’— videlicet, breeches—shrunk up upon him, and only reaching as far down as the caps of his knees. Having spied you, he places his hand over his brows, to throw back the dazzling light of the sun, and peers at you from under it, till he breaks out into a laugh, exclaiming, half to himself, half to you: ‘You a gintleman —no, nor one of your breed never was, you procthorin' thief you!” You are now immediately opposite the door of the seminary, when half-a-dozen of those seated next it notice you. ‘Oh, sir, here's a gintleman on a horse!—masther, sir, here's a gintleman on a horse, wid boots and spurs on him, that's looking in at us.” ‘Silence l’ exclaims the master; ‘back from the door -boys rehearse—every one of you rehearse, I say, you Boeotians, till the gintleman goes past !” “I want to go out, if you plase, sir.’ ‘No, you don't, Phelim.' ‘I do, indeed, sir.’ ‘What! is it afther conthradictin' me you'd be? Don't you see the “porter’s” out, and you can't go.' “Well, 'tis Mat Meehan has it, sir; and he's out this half-hour, sir; I can't stay in, sir!’ ‘You want to be idling your time looking at the gintleman, Phelim.' ‘No, indeed, sir.’ ‘Phelim, I know you of ould—go to your sate. I tell you, Phelim, you were born for the encouragement of the hemp manufacture, and you'll die promoting it.’ In the meantime the master puts his head out of the door, his body stooped to a ‘half-bend’—a phrase, and the exact curve which it forms, I leave for the present to your own sagacity—and surveys you until you pass. That is an Irish hedge-school, and the personage who follows you with his eye a hedgeschoolmaster.


Miss MARY RUssELL MITFoRD, the painter of English rural-life in its happiest and most genial aspects, was born in 1789 at Alresford, in Hampshire. Reminiscences of her early boarding-school days are scattered through her works, and she appears to have been always an enthusiastic reader. Her father, Dr Mitford, was at one time possessed of a considerable fortune-on one occasion he won a lottery-prize of £20,000—but he squandered it in folly and extravagance, and was latterly supported by the pen of his daughter. When very young, she published a volume of miscellaneous poems, and a metrical tale in the style of Scott, entitled Christine, the Maid of the South Seas, founded on the discovery of the mutineers of the Bounty. In 1823 was produced her effective and striking tragedy of Julian, dedicated to Mr Macready the actor, ‘for the zeal with which he befriended the production of a stranger, for the judicious alterations which he suggested, and for the energy, the pathos, and the skill with which he more than embodied its principal character. Next year Miss Mitford publish: the first volume of Our Village, Sketches of

Rural Character and Scenery, to which four other volumes were subsequently added, the fifth and last in 1832. ‘Every one, says a lively writer,” “now knows Our Village, and every one knows that the nooks and corners, the haunts and the copses so delightfully described in its pages, will be found in the immediate neighbourhood of Reading, and more especially around Three-Mile Cross, a cluster of cottages on the Basingstoke road, in one of which our authoress has now resided for many years. But

Mary Russell Mitford.

so little were the peculiar and original excellence of her descriptions understood, in the first instance, that, after having gone the round of rejection through the more important periodicals, they at last saw the light in no worthier publication than the Lady's Magazine. But the series of rural pictures grew, and the venture of collecting them into a separate volume was tried. The public began to relish the style so fresh, yet so finished, to enjoy the delicate humour and the simple pathos of the tales; and the result was, that the popularity of these sketches outgrew that of the works of loftier order proceeding from the same pen; that young writers, English and American, began to imitate so artless and charming a manner of narration; and that an obscure Berkshire hamlet, by the magic of talent and kindly feeling, was converted into a place of resort and interest for not a few of the finest spirits of the age. Extending her observation from the country-village to the market-town, Miss Mitford published another interesting volume of descriptions, entitled Belford Regis. She also gleaned from the new world three volumes of Stories of American Life, by American Writers, of which she remarks: ‘The scenes described and the personages introduced, are as various as the authors, extending in geographical space from Canada to Mexico, and including almost every degree of civilisation, from the wild Indian and the almost equally wild hunter of the forest and prairies, to the cultivated inhabitant of the city and plain. Besides her tragedies— which are little inferior to those of Miss Baillie as

* Mr Chorley-The Authors of England.


intellectual productions, while one of them, Rienzi, has been highly successful on the stage—Miss Mitford contributed numerous tales to the annuals and magazines, shewing that her industry was equal to her talents. It is to her English tales, however, that she must chiefly trust her fame with posterity; and there is so much truth and observation, as well as beauty, in these rural delineations, that we cannot conceive their ever being considered obsolete or uninteresting. In them she has treasured not only the results of long and familiar observation, but the feelings and conceptions of a truly poetical mind. She is a prose Cowper, without his gloom or bitterness. In 1838, Miss Mitford's name was added to the pension-list—a well-earned tribute to one whose genius had been devoted to the honour and embellishment of her country. Though suffering almost constantly for many years from debility or acute pain, Miss Mitford continued her literary pursuits. In 1852, she published Recollections of a Literary Life, three volumes—a work consisting chiefly of extracts—and in 1854, Atherston, and other Tales, three volumes. The same year she published a collected edition of her Dramatic Works. She died at her residence near Reading in January 1855, aged sixty-six.

[Tom Cordery, the Poacher.]

This human oak grew on the wild North-of-Hampshire country; a country of heath and hill, and forest, partly reclaimed, enclosed, and planted by some of the greater proprietors, but for the most part uncultivated and uncivilised, a proper refuge for wild animals of every species. Of these the most notable was my friend Tom Cordery, who presented in his own person no unfit emblem of the district in which he lived—the gentlest of savages, the wildest of civilised men. He was by calling rat-catcher, hare-finder, and broom-maker; a triad of trades which he had substituted for the one grand profession of poaching, which he followed in his younger days with unrivalled talent and success, and would, undoubtedly, have pursued till his death, had not the bursting of an overloaded gun unluckily shot off his left hand. As it was, he still contrived to mingle a little of his old unlawful occupation with his honest callings; was a reference of high authority amongst the young aspirants, an adviser of undoubted honour and secrecy—suspected, and more than suspected, as being one “who, though he played no more, o'erlooked the cards. Yet he kept to windward of the law, and indeed contrived to be on such terms of social and even friendly intercourse with the guardians of the game on M– Common, as may be said to prevail between reputed thieves and the myrmidons of justice in the neighbourhood of Bow Street.

Never did any human being look more like that sort of sportsman commonly called a poacher. He was a tall, finely-built man, with a prodigious stride, that cleared the ground like a horse, and a power of continuing his slow and steady speed, that seemed nothing less than miraculous. Neither man, nor horse, nor dog, could out-tire him. He had a bold, undaunted presence, and an evident strength and power of bone and muscle. You might see, by looking at him, that he did not know what fear meant. In his youth he had fought more battles than any man in the forest. He was as if born without nerves, totally insensible to the recoils and disgusts of humanity. I have known him take up a huge adder, cut off its head, and then deposit the living and writhing body in his brimless hat, and walk with it coiling and wreathing about his head, like another Medusa, till the sport of the day was over, and he carried it home to secure the fat. With all this iron stubbornness of nature, he was of a most mild and

gentle demeanour, had a fine placidity of countenance, and a quick blue eye beaming with good-humour. His face was sunburnt into one general pale vermilion hue that overspread all his features; his very hair was sunburnt too. Everybody liked Tom Cordery. He had himself an aptness to like, which is certain to be repaid in kind; the very dogs knew him, and loved him, and would beat for him almost as soon as for their master. Even May, the most sagacious of greyhounds, appreciated his talents, and would as soon listen to Tom sohoing as to old Tray giving tongue. Behind those sallows, in a nook between them and the hill, rose the uncouth and shapeless cottage of Tom Cordery. It is a scene which hangs upon the eye and the memory, striking, grand—almost sublime, and, above all, eminently foreign. No English painter would choose such a subject for an English landscape; no one, in a picture, would take it for English. It might pass for one of those scenes which have furnished models to Salvator Rosa. Tom's cottage was, however, very thoroughly national and characteristic; a low, ruinous hovel, the door of which was fastened with a sedulous attention to security, that contrasted strangely with the tattered thatch of the roof and the half-broken windows. No garden, no pigsty, no pens for geese, none of the usual signs of cottage habitation; yet the house was covered with nondescript dwellings, and the very walls were animate with their extraordinary tenants— pheasants, partridges, rabbits, tame wild-ducks, halftame hares, and their enemies by nature and education, the ferrets, terriers, and mongrels, of whom his retinue consisted. Great ingenuity had been evinced in keeping separate these jarring elements; and by dint of hutches, cages, fences, kennels, and half-a-dozen little hurdled enclosures, resembling the sort of courts which children are apt to build round their card-houses, peace was in general tolerably well preserved. Frequent sounds, however, of fear or of anger, as their several instincts were aroused, gave token that it was but a forced and hollow truce ; and at such times the clamour was prodigious. Tom had the remarkable tenderness for animals when domesticated, which is so often found in those whose sole vocation seems to be their destruction in the field; and the one long, straggling, unceiled, barn-like room, which served for kitchen, bed-chamber, and hall, was cumbered with bipeds and quadrupeds of all kinds and descriptions—the sick, the delicate, the newly caught, the lying-in. In the midst of this menagerie sat Tom's wife—for he was married, though without a familymarried to a woman lame of a leg, as he himself was minus an arm—now trying to quiet her noisy inmates, now to outscold them. How long his friend, the keeper, would have continued to wink at this den of live game, none can say: the roof fairly fell in during the deep snow of last winter, killing, as poor Tom observed, two as fine litters of rabbits as ever were kittened. Remotely, I have no doubt that he himself fell a sacrifice to this misadventure. The overseer, to whom he applied to reinstate his beloved habitation, decided that the walls would never bear another roof, and removed him and his wife, as an especial favour, to a tidy, snug, comfortable room in the workhouse. The workhouse ! From that hour poor Tom visibly altered. He lost his hilarity and independence. It was a change such as he had himself often inflicted—a complete change of habits, a transition from the wild to the tame. No labour was demanded of him; he went about as before, finding hares, killing rats, selling brooms; but the spirit of the man was departed. He talked of the quiet of his old abode, and the noise of his new; complained of children and other bad company; and looked down on his neighbours with the sort of contempt with which a cock-pheasant might

regard a barn-door fowl. Most of all did he, braced

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‘I am in fine company, said the baron.

“In the very best of company, said the friar; ‘in the high court of Nature, and in the midst of her own nobility. Is it not so? This goodly grove is our palace; the oak and the beech are its colonnade and its canopy; the sun, and the moon, and the stars, are its everlasting lamps; the grass, and the daisy, and the primrose, and the violet, are its many-coloured floor of green, white, yellow, and blue; the Mayflower, and the woodbine, and the eglantine, and the ivy, are its decorations, its curtains, and its tapestry; the lark, and the thrush, and the linnet, and the nightingale, are its unhired minstrels and musicians. Robin Hood is king of the forest both by dignity of birth and by virtue of his standing army, to say nothing of the free choice of his people, which he has indeed; but I pass it by as an illegitimate basis of power. He holds his dominion over the forest, and its horned multitude of citizen-deer, and its swinish multitude or peasantry of wild boars, by right of conquest and force of arms. He levies contributions among them by the free consent of his archers, their virtual representatives. If they should find a voice to complain that we are “tyrants and usurpers, to kill and cook them up in their assigned and native dwelling-place,” we should most convincingly admonish them, with point of arrow, that they have nothing to do with our laws but to obey them. Is it not written that the fat ribs of the herd shall be fed upon by the mighty in the land? And have not they, withal, my blessing?—my orthodox, canonical, and archiepiscopal blessing? Do I not give thanks for them when they are well roasted and smoking under my nose? What title had William of Normandy to England that Robin of Locksley has not to merry Sherwood? William fought for his claim. So does Robin. With whom both? With any that would or will dispute it. William raised contributions. So does Robin. From whom both? From all that they could or can make pay them. Why did any pay them to William? Why do any pay them to Robin? For the same reason to both—because they could not or cannot help it. They differ, indeed, in this, that William took from the poor and gave to the rich, and Robin takes from the rich and gives to the poor; and therein is Robin illegitimate, though in all else he is true prince. Scarlet and John, are they not peers of the forest?— lords temporal of Sherwood? And am not I lord spiritual? Am I not archbishop? Am I not Pope? Do '' consecrate their banner and absolve their sins?

Are not they State, and am not I Church 3 Are not they State monarchical, and am not I Church militant? Do I not excommunicate our enemies from venison and brawn, and, by’r Lady! when need calls, beat them down under my feet? The State levies tax, and the Church levies tithe. Even so do we. Mass!—we take all at once. What then? It is tax by redemption, and tithe by commutation. Your William and Richard can cut and come again, but our Robin deals with slippery subjects that come not twice to his exchequer. What need we, then, to constitute a court, except a fool and a laureate? For the fool, his only use is to make false knaves merry by art, and we are true men, and are merry by nature. For the laureate, his only office is to find virtues in those who have none, and to drink sack for his pains. We have quite virtue enough to need him not, and can drink our sack for ourselves.”

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IN depth of research and intrinsic value, the historical works of the last fifty years exceed those of any of our former sections. Access has been more readily obtained to all public documents, and private collections have been thrown open with a spirit of enlightened liberality. Certain departments of history—as the Anglo-Saxon period, and the progress generally of the English constitution—have also been cultivated with superior learning and diligence. The great works of Hume, Robertson, and Gibbon, still maintain their pre-eminence with the general reader, but the historical value of the first two has been materially diminished by subsequent investigations and new information.


The most elaborate and comprehensive work we have here to notice, is The History of Greece from the Earliest Period, by WILLIAM MITFoRD, Esq. (1744– 1827). The first volume of Mr Mitford's history came before the public in 1784, a second was published in 1790, and a third in 1797. It was not, however, till the year 1810 that the work was completed. Mr Mitford, descended of an ancient family in Northumberland, was born in London on the 10th of February 1744, and was educated first at Cheam School, Surrey, and afterwards at Queen's College, Oxford. He studied the law, but abandoned it on obtaining a commission in the South Hampshire Militia, of which regiment he was afterwards lieutenant-colonel. In 1761, he succeeded to the family estate in Hampshire, and was thus enabled to pursue those classical and historical studies to which he was ardently devoted. His first publication was an Essay on the Harmony of Language, intended principally to illustrate that of the English Language, 1774, which afterwards reached a second edition. While in the militia, he published a Treatise on the Military Force, and particularly of the Militia of the Kingdom. This subject seems to have engrossed much of his attention, for at a subsequent period of his life, when a member of the House of Commons, Mr Mitford advocated the cause of the militia with much fervour, and recommended a salutary jealousy relative to a standing army in this country. He was nevertheless a general supporter of ministers, and held the government appointment of Verdurer of the New Forest. Mr Mitford was twice elected member of parliament for the borough of Beeralston, in Devonshire, and afterwards for New Romney, in Kent. The History of Greece has passed through several editions.

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