« PoprzedniaDalej »
From Household Words. repairs as cryingly wanted in the State. He SEVENTY-EIGHT YEARS AGO.*
had started early on a visit to Stonehenge,
when, about three miles from the city on The American loyalist of seventy-eight the right hand, an eminence apparently of an years ago, setting out from London in search oval figure, including about sixty acres, was of a temporary abiding-place or home among pointed out to him, without a sign upon it of the country towns of England, had not pro- a habitation fit for man ; and he was told posed to himself an easy task.. But he was that while the most populous manufacturing bent on going through with his enterprise. cities had no voice in the legislature of Eng. Reduced from affluence to the practice of a land, the possessor of this mound of grass and strict economy, he yet imagined that not a ruin had the power to send two members to few of the social enjoyments of London, with represent and protect his mere breeches-pocket out their extravagant cost, might be obtaina- in that dignified assembly. It was the fine ble in one of our large provincial cities. He ancient borough of Old Sarum. thought thus to sweeten that bread of exile But Old Sarum paled an ineffectual fire bewhich Dante tells us must be always bitter fore the exciting scene that awaited this adbread; and cheerfully enough, therefore, at mirer of English institutions at the last restfour o'clock on a July morning of 1776, took ing point in his journey. He arrived at Exehis seat in the early and fast coach for Salis- ter, after another spirited ride of ninety miles bury, which, after performing the gallant feat in seventeen hours, in the midst of a conof eighty-three miles in fifteen hours, depos- tested election. The seat had been vacated ited him at the Red Lion, in the ancient city, by Mr. Waters ; Mr. Baring and Mr. Cholat seven o'clock on that July evening. wich were the new coinpetitors for it, in the
Dear to every American loyalist in those interests respectively of Church and Corpodays had been the old country, and its Church ration; and to the innocent inexperience of and State ; and Mr. Curwen was no exception Mr. Curwen an astounding scene presented to the rule. But it is a piece of truth, as well itself. All the public-houses were open to as a line of poetry, that distance lends en- the partisans of either candidate. In some of chantment to the view; and it happened, on them were voters locked up, secured by bolts the occasion of this
journey to Salisbury, that and bars, and watched zealously day and the ex-Admiralty Judge of New England got night to secure their free and independent so near a view of two very remarkable types presence at the polling booths. From others, or examples of the Church and State of old in the very teeth of bars and bolts, voters England as then existing, that their enchant- fetched and secured from great distances by ment passed clean out of them, then and one party had yet been secretly and suddenly there. He strolled into the fine old cathedral " spirited away” by the other, whether or the morning after his arrival, and heard the not to reäppear on polling day remained an dean, with five or six surpliced followers and inscrutable mystery. From morn to dewy eight singing-boys, mumbling the service to eve corporation-clerks were creating voters. a congregation of “eight as miserable-look- As the election approached, the constituency ing wretches as ever entered the doors of a had mounted up to fourteen hundred ; but of hospital.” Yet, wretched as this audience these, two hundred held themselves honorably was, it had been hired to attend ; and on closer aloof from the general disgrace, unconcerned examination of the condition of the cathedral whether" Baring or Cholwich be the tool of itself, was found not at all out of harmony administration;" while, secure alike of either with it. The walls seemed mouldering, the tool, the administration was under pledge, as ceiling rotting with centuries of decay, the Mr. Curwen heard on all sides, to contribute seats and woodwork everywhere tumbling five thousand pounds to the expenses of the down. Mr. Curwen bethought him of the successful man. In other words, in the sole English Church militant of old ; compared person of the leading minister were concenwhat he now saw to a neglected old soldier trated, with much saving of trouble, and perout of service, with his regimentals worn haps some of expense, the Coppock, Brown, threadbare and soiled; and turned on his Beresford, Flewker, and Frail, of those more heel with the indignant remark that “this primitive and less complicated days of corrupwhole church is so slovenly and dirtily kept tion. And so the scene went on "the that a stranger would judge that these stew- contest fierce, some wounds and broken heads, ards of the Lord's inheritance regarded the but no deaths, and enough to convince me of revenues more than the repairs of the man- the deplorable venality of the nation.” The . sion house." But if such was the shock con- winners in this particular venal race, it may veyed to him by want of due repairs in the be added, notwithstanding, the strenuous Church, it was at least equalled by the im- efforts of Cholwich and the Corporation, pression which waited him next morning of turned out to be Baring and the Church, who
came in first by no less than a hundred and * Continued from Living Age, page 183. one votes ; and on the morning of his depart
gre, Mr. Curwen lest the whole city of Exeter yet "in principle an anti-ministerialist, as is decked out in blue and purple favors, dis- the whole town.” This has a relish of indeplaying the Baring device, and actually, as pendence that tastes well after Exeter ; and well as metaphorically, drunk with joy. Nor he records conversations with Quakers and could anything have been happier than that other residents, whom he declares to be not Baring device, wliether as an expression of only " sensible,” but “ warm Americans, as the nature as well as name of the fortunate most of the middling classes are through the candidate, or as a compliment of exquisite del- kingdom, as far as my experience reaches." icacy at once to the member secured and the And sy already the mind of our loyalist friend, minister who had secured him. Enamelled purged by the “euphrasy and rue" of its pendant on a blue ribbon appeared a bear with English experience, finds itself so far divested a ring in his nose.
of those violent partialities and likings which It is not matter of surprise, then, that Mr. bad compelled his exile, that he is now quite Curwen should have carried away with him able, as he describes himself when entertained no very agreeable impression of Exeter. He by " that friendly stranger, Mr. Cornelius Fry computes the population as scarcely seven of Bristol,” to pass his time not at all diseighths as numerous as that of his native Bos- agreeably in listening to people talking ton, but finds as little resemblance in the treason, and justifying American indepenbuildings of the two cities as in the wrinkled dence." features of fourscore and the florid complexion He returned by way of Tewkesbury to of thirty. He pronounces the streets narrow, Bristol, which he reached after a nine hours' ill-paved, and dirty enough to pass into a prov- drive; but it was not until the following year erb; if there were any good buildings, they he took up a brief abode here, having first, were crowded in a corner, out of sight - as without success, pursued and completed his perhaps the good people were also ; for such search through the northern towns. He tried of them in private as Mr. Curwen saw, be Lichfield, Derby, Sheffield, Wakefield, Leeds, thought proud, unsocial, and solitary, neither Huddersfield, and Halifax, taking a postconversible nor hospitable. Still there was chaise at the latter, and passing through something to set off against all this, for a man Rochdale to Manchester. The various trades of sociable tastes; as, for example, “ a theatre, and manufactures interest and occupy him concerts, a coffee-house called Moll's, and an chiefly in these various towns, and in many hotel, both in the church-yard, where the instances they are skilfully described ; but London papers are brought four days in the he makes a general complaint against all the week ;' – and such was afterwards the scant inhabitants that they show a jealousy and success of Mr. Curwen's persevering search suspicion of strangers, and that acquaintance for his temporary home, that the day soon with one manufacturer proved always enough came when even Exeter, with all its faults, effectually to debar him from intercourse with
a very Paradise to Manchester” or any a second in the same business ; while the diffitown in the North that he had seen.
culty he everywhere experienced in getting Not yet, however, has he seen the North, admitted to see their works (often quite imfor, after a brief stay with a friend at Sid- practicable, " express prohibition being issued mouth, he is next to be found at Bristol. by the masters”) appears to have reached His impression of Bristol was not immediately its height in Manchester, and to have turned formed, yet appears to have had sufficient his wrath especially against that thriving and promise in it to bring him back for another bustling community. He characterizes the trial, on the recommendation of certain friends disposition and manners of this Manchester who had settled there, after a couple of visits people as, by their own showing, inhospitable to some of the northern towny. For, after and boorish; says further, that they are brief stay, he went from Bristol, through remarkable for coarseness of feature, and a Newport, Gloucester, Upton, and Worcester, quite unintelligible dialect; and of their dress, to Birmingham ; of which he said at once, as that it “ savors not much of the London mode the best observers familiar with both places in general.” What surprised him greatly, have since repeatedly said, “ It looks more moreover, was to find the extraordinary prevlike Boston in its general appearance than any alence of Jacobite opinions in the town. His place in England." This disposes him to like landlady was a Jacobite; he heard Jacobite Birmingham, though it will not suit him to doctrines everywhere openly professed ; and, live there ; and what he sees of its manufac- happening to be there on the twenty-ninth of tures is also agreeable enough. At the work- May, he saw hoisted over numbers of doors shops where he went to examine the first rifle at the most respectable houses, large oak he had, ever beheld, and many other pieces boughs to express hopes for another Stuart of peculiar construction I was a stranger to, restoration. Still, amid all that he thus he found the master of the concern under thought ungenial and strange, he perceived contract to supply government with six hun- also such intimations of energetic movement dred rifles for use against the Americans ; and self-satisfied activity, that the place
seemed actually changing and enlarging before streets, a noble cathedral and elegant modern his very eyes. He saw ( what nowhere else houses, its shops large and well-filled, and its he saw) “ great additions of buildings and inhabitants polite and genteel, with “ more streets daily inaking;' in contact everywhere the air of Londoners than at any place I have with the old, narrow, irregularly built streets, seen. Then, from Worcester, travelling by he saw noble houses in process of erection ; way of Tewkesbury, where they stayed the and when, a few months later, the disastrous night, past apple orchards of uncommon news of Burgoyne's surrender fell like a height and bigness, through fields, pastures, thunder-clap on England, Mr. Curwen puts it and enclosures singular for their richness down in his journal, without an expression and verdure, and with fruit and forest trees of surprise, that Manchester was the town on either hand, “in great abundance, and that first started up from the blow, offered to larger girth and greater height than are to raise a thousand men at its own expense to be seen elsewhere in England,"; - the Ameribe ready in two months for service in America, can exiles, stopping to dine and see the catheand thus lighted up that spirit to which Liv- dral at Gloucester (a city which, after Worerpool next gave eager response, and which cester, sorely disappointed them), resumed in a very few weeks was seen spreading their drive through roads dirty and rough like a Aame from north to south."
past farmers' houses wonderful for their look Of Liverpool, the commercial character of slovenliness, and over a soil whose richness and fame had raised higher expectations than they could never sufficiently admire
- till of its neighbor, and the disappointment seems they arrived at Bristol. to have been extreme. The docks he admired The welcome that here awaited them, their immensely, thinking them “stupendously first salute to their temporarily selected grand ;” but he has no better phrase than home, was hardly complimentary or cordial ; disgustful" for everything else in the for it proceeded from the “ virulent tongue place. He speaks of the houses, as by a of a vixen” in the streets, excited by somegreat majority in middling and lower style, thing that displeased her in their manner or few rising above that mark; of the streets, as dress, and it “ saluted us by the names of long, narrow, crooked, and amazingly dirty ; damned American rebels." They walked on, of the shops, as inferior to those in other however, not much moved; and soon after, great towns; and of the dress and looks of in the same streets, passed one who seemed the people, as more like the inhabitants of a humble pedestrian like themselves, yet Wapping, Shadwell, and Rutherhithe, than who well deserved the interest with which those in the neighborhood of the Exchange they stopped, turned, and looked earnestly or any part of London above the Tower. after him. This was “a person dressed in
During our short abode here,” says Mr. green, with a small_round hat Happed beCurwen, we scarcely saw a well-dressed fore, very like an English country gentleperson, nor half-a-dozen gentlemen's car- man;" and the Americans knew, from what riages.' In short, the whole complexion of already they had heard, that under that green Liverpool appeared to him nautical and com- dress, small round flapped hat, and country mon, *" and infinitely below expectation. gentleman's bearing, walked quietly along
Undaunted, notwithstanding, by all his those Bristol streets no less a potentate than failures hitherto, and hoping still the re- the Emperor of Austria, Joseph the Second, ward of a cheap, plentiful country to reside in not simply interesting to thein for his rank, for some time," the American wanderer now or because he was the son of Maria Theresa purposed to turn his steps to York ; but a and brother to Maria Antoinette, but for fellow-exile induced him to change his plan, many high and striking qualities of his own, on representation of the number of their He was at this time (1777) performing incog fellow-countrymen who have already pitched the grand tour, including England. tents in the West; and to the West, with his And now having seen the working of Old compatriot, he consented to go back. They England's institutions in a borough contest, passed through Stockport, Macclesfield, Leek, the New Englander had the opportunity of and were very " quietly and genteelly supped observing how these things were managed in and lodged” in the Dog and Duck at Sandon. the counties; for on the morning after his Thence through Stafford and Wolverhampton, arrival in Bristol, he beheld a triumphant by Bromsgrove and Stourbridge (which in- entry of the member just elected for the stead of a mean, pitiful place, as its avenues county of Gloucester; and this proved to be seemed to threaten, they describe as a well- the Duke of Beaufort's man” (his grace's built, large, lively, and rich town, having footman it might have been, though it was a noble, wide, and convenient street, a mile not), Mr. Chester, who burst into the huzzalong, with cross streets well paved), they ing town, amid the ringing of bells and disreached Worcester, which Mr. Curwen finds charging of cannon, attended by a bodyto be a very handsome, well-built city, lively guard of some couple of hundred horsemen and full of business, having spacious, airy • clad in new blue coats and breeches, with
buff waistcoats, the Duke of Beaufort's hunt- conversation with a stranger on 'Change, a ing garb.” The duke himself, touched ap- rare event, people in England being greatly parently by a not unbecoming modesty, had indisposed to join with unknown persons. privately left the liveried procession just He goes on to make certain exceptions, inbefore its arrival in town, and was content deed, which it is evident do not include himwith an out-of-the-way corner in a private self, in the observation that the Bristolians · house, whence himself and his duchess could are notorious for early inquiries into the see the parade and enjoy his triumph with character of all strangers, from commercial out observation." After which second motives ; and for soon fastening on everynotable instance of a free election, and of body worth making a property of, if practicathat independence of the Lower House from ble; all others, of how great estimation soever, all influence of the Upper which is so cardinal being in general neglected. In short, says a theory of the English constitution, Mr. Cur- Mr. Curwin plainly, " This city is remarkable wen must not be thought wholly unreasonable for sharp dealing; and hence the proverb, or unjust for a belief recorded in the next One Jew is equal to two Genoese, one Bristolan page of his diary, to the effect that if any- to two Jews." To all which it may be well thing destroys this devoted English people it to add, at the same time, that in the matter will be “ venality ;'' — or for an opinion sub- of himself and his real or fancied sufferings sequently expressed, that " in the corrupt and wrongs, the diarist's authority is not to state of this people, the wheels of government be taken more implicitly than the common cannot move an inch without money to understanding in such a case would suggest. grease them;" — or for gravely recording in Nothing is so frequent in the diary, for inhis journal what he had heard from the owner stance, as lamentations for old age, whose of a wine vault, that of port wine alone a infirmities every day would appear to be ingeneral election always consumed six thousand creasing, and making more and more hard hogsheads extra, in addition to the ordinary to bear; yet, in close connection with one of annual consumption of twenty-four thousand the most pathetic of these complaints, uttered hogsheads ; — or even, at last, for pleasantly in most doleful strain soon after the writer proposing to write a book that should make was lodged in Bristol, and when he was confession of his New England visions of Old sixty-three years old, the reader's spirits are England and English institutions which day- suddenly raised by the following memoranlight had broken and dissolved, under the title dum. « Oct. 21. Rose at six o'clock, and of "The Perils and Peregrinations of a Tory went a coursing with two greyhounds and a or Refugee in quest of Civil Liberty, which spaniel for hares. Started one, and left her the Author fondly imagined was to be enjoyed in a turnip-field; returned about two o'clock, in higher perfection in the Land he travelled not greatly fatigued, after a ramble of fifteen through, than in That he precipitately aban- miles over hedge-fences, ditches, &c." doned."
Nor is this a mere casual indication of acBut his peregrinations, if not his perils, tivity and the power of bearing fatigue. It are drawn for the present to a close ; and expresses the habit of the man. During the he has but to sit down and record the result long journeyings to which reference has been of his dearly bought experience,” his“ long, made, the mere movement from place to place expensive, and not very pleasing tour.” It has been
the least part of the fatigue underis, briefly, that manufacturing towns are not gone. Whatever any place contains, he must proper places of residence for idle people, see; if there be any object of interest in the either on account of pleasure or profit; the neighborhood, off he starts on a visit to it. expenses of living in every such town, how- He is never willingly at rest, never comes to ever distant from London, being as high al- a positive standstill, is still pushing forward most as in London itself; the spirit of bar- where something more may be seen or known. gaining, moreover, and of taking advantage, With the passion of a dweller in a new counrunning through every line of life in those try for all that makes memory and association places; and having especially reached a so pleasant in an old one, he is honorably cruel predominance in the North. Not that anxious to examine every spot consecrated by the good old gentlemau felt he should escape genius or made illustrious by heroism ar all this, by settling in the West; but he had worth. He goes out of his way to see Redsatisfied himself on the whole that the West clyffe church at Bristol, not because Chatter was " a quarter of greater plenty and less ton has yet become a name (poor fellow ! the expense,” and a majority of his fellow- earth is still fresh above him in the Shoe Lane refugees had already taken up residence pauper burial-ground) but because it contains there. As many as eighteen were in Bristol paintings by Hogarth and the monument of alone ; and that he counted upon these Admiral Penn. After crossing Salisbury as his chief society may be inferred from the Plain to Stonehenge, he takes a turn of seren fact, that he notes as worthy of record the miles that he may see the classical remains circumstance of his having had “ an hour's lat Lord Pembroke's seat, admire the handy
work of Inigo Jones, and touch with rever-Igle, for that political power was not to be ence the urn alleged to have held the ashes increased by the cumbrous and unwieldly of Horace. As he passes though Upton he retention of ill-governed territory, but by does not fail to think of Sophia Western, and energetic and judicious cultivation of physical the little muff that turned Tom Jones' head ; resources, commercial interchanges, and inand nothing occupies him so much in Wake- tellectual acquirements. He exploded the field as inquiries after Goldsmith's vicar, a fallacy of the advantage supposed to be imsomewhat spurious original for that delightful plied in the monopoly of a distant market. creation being imposed on him by the worthy A far other and greater market we had inhabitants, who protested it was their own created in America, a market of the raw “ Parson Johnson" put into a book. of material from which prosperous empires are course he went to Cambridge, and to Oxford ; made ; for we had supplied that vast conti· he visited Blenheim and Stowe ; and from nent with man, and with institutions that Birmingham he made rapid diversions to strengthen and develop manhood — nor could Hagley, with its memories of Pope, and to the the inevitable tendency of such be stayed by Leasowes, still fragrant with Shenstone's any human power. Let the separation be homely and kindly poetry. He finds out the only prompt and amicable, and all would be house where Marlborough was born, on the well. road to Axminster ; makes a pilgrimage from For this, as we see, our intelligent AmerExeter to Sir Francis Drake's birthplace; and ican loyalist denounces him as an pleasantly persuades himself that he has seen colonist ;", and much harder words were in Dovedale " the very spot in which Chaucer applied to him in those days by men who had wrote many of his pieces." Nor has he been less excuse for the error. Burke himself, in in Bristol many hours, after the long and his impetuous advocacy of America, refused tedious journey which has finally lodged him to believe that any man could have formed an there, before he sets forth to hear the famous opinion in favor of separation except with Wesley preach to an inmense concourse, the dishonest motive of secretly helping the
having the heavens for his canopy,” when hostility of the court, by making the colonies the ungraceful, but plain, intelligible, and unpopular with the people. He denounced earnest speech, the weak and harsh, but pas- the Dean of Gloucester, therefore, “ as one sionate voice, of the grand old Methodist, of those court vermin who would do anything suggest to him an instructive contrast to for the sake of a bishoprick ;” and was not “ the insipid coldness prevalent among the moved to retract the coarse insinuation even preferment-seeking, amusement-hunting, mac- by Tucker's calm and dignified reproof, declaruroni parsons, who, to the shame and dis- ing his independence of both parties, and honor of this age and nation, constitute the that his opinions had been equally unpalatablo bulk of those of the established clergy who to both. Burke's attack, however, passionato possess valuable livings."
and unthinking as it was, was not, like Yet a few evenings later, it was his chance Bishop Warburton's, treacherous. The bishop to meet one of the dignitaries of the Estab- assailed the dean through the side of their lishment deserving a quite different charac. common calling, and, referring to the comter, from whom he heard opinions of the dis-mercial arguments by which the case for pute now raging with America, such as separation had been urged, described him never before had he heard expressed on either as a divine with whoin religion was side, or in either country. Mr. Curwin dryly trade, and with whom trade was a religion. describes him, as well as the opinions he "The bishop affects to consider me with conheard expressed by him, in the remark that tempt,” replied the dean, calmly;" to which he has been sitting in company with "a I say nothing. He has sometimes spoken famous political divine and anti-colonist, coarsely of me; to which I replied nothing; who judges the colonies a burden to Great He has said that religion is my trade, and Britain, and presses administration to cast trade is my religion. It is quite true that them off.”
commerce and its connections have been The man who held these eccentric opinions favorite objects of my attention ; and where was the Dean of Gloucester, Doctor "Josiah is the crime ?. As for religion, I have at Tucker; and the reason for his holding them tended carefully to the duties of my parish; was, that he alone, among the public writers nor have I neglected my cathedral. The of that day, correctly reasoned on the causes world knows something of me as a writer on of colonial as well as home prosperity, and religious subjects; and I will add, what the what obstructed their further development.world does not know, that I have written He did not dispute the right of England to tax near three hundred sermons, and preached America, and he held the colonists to have them all again and again. My heart is at been wrong at the outset of the dispute ; but ease on that score ; and conscience, thank he had the courage and foresight to warn bis God! does not accuse me. countrymen to desist from any further strug Such were the penalties then, as they have