Imágenes de páginas

lives for one murder? Is it right to in- its boundless wealth and civilisation. flict the same amountof punishment on We are in the midst of a labyrinth of two criminals, varying materially in the streets, lanes, and alləys, deep in mud, degrees of guilt? Are the spectators grimed, blackened, and disfigured with of gibbet exhibitions elevated in senti accumulated filth. The houses old and ment and rendered more capable of dilapidated, with battered windows living holy lives? Is it the best way to and broken casements; the atmosphere heal one injury by perpetrating another heavy and damp, charged with intolerainjury? Should human life be taken on ble odours from reeking drains and the unstable basis of circumstantial gutters, loaded with every species of evidence? Are fallible tribunals equal decaying and offensive matter. We are to irrevocable decrees? Is it right for in the district of fever and of gin, of a finite being to inflict a punishment everything most inimical to health, infinite in duration ? Has any being physical and moral—we are in Bethnal but the God who gave life any right to Green. take it away? Will any circumstance Judging from external appearances, justify one human being in the exercise a stranger would conclude that none of that awful prerogative of God—the but the vilest and most depraved of dispossessing another human being of the community would herd together his existence? Can man be improved in the midst of such abominations. It by horror or fear? Is fear the strong. seems impossible to believe that honest, est passion of the human mind? And toiling industry can be doomed to gasp if not, how can we deter criminals com- out a miserable existence, amid such mitting crimes by merely appealing to utter and hopeless wretchedness. their fears ? Has not the diminution of “I must be mistaken ; surely none capital punishments been accompanied of my father's work-people can live by a diminution of capital crimes? Has here,” said a tall fair girl, elegantly not the abolition of death-punishments dressed, as she referred, with a saddened for murder in several countries tended and perplexed look, to a letter which to the decrease of that fearful crime? | she took from her reticule; but in Have not a great number of persons which, though the handwriting gave been executed who were completely evidence of a sadly defective education, innocent of the crimes imputed to them? the address was still clear enough, Would those who defend the gallows “Mary Millicent, - street, Bethnal perform, if need be, the office of Jack Green." Ketch ? Do they think the office of “Who b’ye lookin' for, marm ?" exJack Ketch a Christian one? Would it claimed something more like a bundle have been proper for Christ to have of rags than a human being, squatting filled such an office? Do they not start beside a door-step, with a few boxes of back aghast when I ask the question ? lucifer matches in her lap. “We don't Then why advocate a thing which is so often see the likes of you in these parts; truly unchristian ? Do they not hear | but maybe you're a wantin' some'un as the rotten timbers of the gallows creak I knows." ing and wailing their speedy destruc The woman spoke roughly, but not tion ?

EDITOR. disrespectfully, for the poor have often

an intuitive perception of character, and THE LEVER OF LIFE. there was something in the gentle

loving countenance of Helen Angus, A TALE OF MODERN TIMES.

that seemed as a sure index of a warm CHAPTER I.

and generous heart. Passing along Shoreditch, eastward, and | “I am trying to find a family of the turning away to the right through name of Millicent," said Helen kindly; Church-street, we enter one of those “ they live I believe somewhere in this vast, filthy, densely populated, and de-street, but I am a stranger here, and moralized districts, which render Lon cannot make out exactly how the numn no less remarkable for its abject bers run.”

ty and degradation, than it is for! “Millicent, Millicent," said the woman;


“there was a young chap, Tom Millicent, cilled the walls with black mildewy as the p'lice grabbed t’other day in Bon- streaks, and the stairs were in many ner's-fields; he cum from somewhere places broken away, so that Helen felt hereabouts; his father's a weaver, and's her footing by no means secure. As been down in the fever.”

she reached the first landing, she heard “That's the family," said Helen;“there a door above opened, and a child's is a daughter, I believe, who is employ- voice exclaimed, “Who's that wants ed as a needlewoman. Can you show | father?". me were they live ?"

Helen again ascended, and ascertain. “You'll find them over the way ing from the child, a little boy about marm, somewhere near where them seven years of age, that his name was children's a playin' in the gutter.” Millicent, she entered the room. Close

As the woman extended her hand to to the window stood the weaver's loom; point in the direction she had given, between it and the small fire-place stood Helen slipt into it a piece of money, an old high-backed deal chair, in which and passed quickly on.

was propped up a sickly pallid-looking “God bless you for a dear good lady," man, somewhat past the middle age of exclaimed the poor creature, to whom a life, so thin and hollow-cheeked, and silver coin, however small, was a trea- | with his eye so deeply sunken that he sure of rare occurrence; "would that seemed to be trembling, as indeed he there was more like ye in the land ; ye had been, on the very brink of the little know what ye could do in a place grave. He had, however, survived a like this: and the kind look does a poor wasting attack of fever, and had been body's heart good.”

pronounced by the parish doctor out With a little assistance from one of of immediate danger. the children, tempted from the gutter “You must feed him up as well as by the prospect of earning a penny, you can, and get him out in the fresh Helen soon found herself in a small air when he can bear it,” said the man court, turning out of the street, con- of physic to Mary Millicent, as he took taining about a dozen wretched houses, his leave of her on the previous Monthe upper rooms of which were lighted day. Poor Mary wept bitterly as he from long casements of diamond-shaped turned his back, for his prescriptions glass, from which issued the monotonous sounded little better than hollow burr of the silk weavers' looms. Her mockery in her ears. The loss of ragged little guide conducted her into her father's earnings, and the scanty the passage of one of these houses, and pittance she could gain by her needle shouting at the foot of the stairs, “Here's had reduced them to the lowest ebb a lady wants Mr. Millicent," darted of want. Bread, with now and then away to exhibit with boisterous exulta- a little tea, had been their only food tion the penny which he had so easily for weeks, and even this in quantities earned.

insufficient for their daily necessities. Helen's heart quailed as she found Mary was seated near her father, busily herself for the first time in the pre- engaged with her needle, a pile of shirts sence of such fearful indications of standing on the little round table want and wretchedness. Not that it beside her. She was finishing the last was a new task to her to visit the poor; of a dozen which had occupied her five but residing as she did out of London, days, working thirteen hours a-day, and she had found even the poorest hovels, for this she would receive three shillings generally surrounded at least by an ex- on the following morning; and out of ternal atmosphere that was pure and this wretched pittance she had expendhealthy, compared with the dark, op- ed sixpence for thread and candles. She pressive gloom, and faint sickly air turned as Helen entered, and rising, which pervaded all around her here. I coloured deeply as she hastened to The staircase up which she ascended pour out her thanks and apologies. was narrow, the banister broken, and “Oh! Miss Angus," said she, “I was so half the rails gone. The combined in- afraid you would be angry with me for fuence of damp and smoke had sten- | writing to you; but indeed I would not have done it for myself, only father has Divine wisdom has framed laws as been so very ill, and it was so very, very beautiful as they are simple and practihard to have nothing to give him that cal. He has written them by the would do him good. I have worked as finger of inspiration-He enforces them hard as I could; but wages are very by the teachings of experience-He low, and I couldn't earn enough to get implants in every heart the power half that the doctor ordered. Once, to understand and fulfil them. “Love when I was at the warehouse, you is the fulfilling of the law;" but the love stopped with your mamma in the car- of what?-of gold, of power, of self? riage at the door, and I heard you speak Nay! but the love of God, and the so kindly to a poor little lame girl that broad comprehensive love of universal had brought some work from her humanity. Why, with all the wondermother, and happened to stand near ful resources which our country enjoys, the carriage. It is not often that we | the result of her energy and success in get spoken to like that; and often after, business, have we such gaunt, desperate, when I watched my father in the fever, despairing poverty in our midst why and the little ones cried for food, I the deepening abyss of crime and dethought I could hear the sound of your gradation unequalled in the most savoice, and the word of pity you spoke vage states of barbarism-why do we see to the poor lame child, and I thought | labour in its thousand attitudes of that perhaps you wouldn't be angry if want and supplication struggling to I told you how bad we were off; so I maintain life in the midst of luxurious asked one of the young women at the and wealthy cities, doing battle with warehouse, and they told me where you hard, griping penury, amidst fruitful lived ; so I wrote, but indeed I never fields and valleys teeming with beauty thought of bringing you here-pray and fertility? Why, but because men forgive me if I was too bold.”

of power and of business, whose love

should be universal, narrow down their MEN OF BUSINESS.

senses and their sympathies to the BY EDMUND ERY.

service of one object, and that object is We live in a business age. To obtain the self. They regard their neighbours, not character of a thorough man of business, as men and women to be served, but to is to obtain a passport to the admiration be used. Their solicitude is not how and confidence of mankind. There is no much happiness they can confer, but volume studied with more intense and how much they can extract—not how laborious devotion than the Ledger— muchgood they can do to others, but how no pursuit so fascinating and absorbing much they can compel others to do for as that of making money. We are not them. This is the working of a heartabout to enter any protest against busi- less system of trade machinery, but ness men, and business habits. The should never be the policy of a Chrisage needs them; and their energies, tian man of business. Look, then, to wisely directed, contribute largely to it as you launch in life, that your stock the public good; but the age also de- ledger has no other entries than mere mands that they should really be busi- money debits. God entrusts you with ness men, and not business machines. a capital of time, intelligence, energy, He who gives up all the faculties and influence, and human sympathy, which powers, all the time, and all the energy are to be as conscientiously invested with which God has endowed him to and employed in His service as the the pursuit of wealth, to his counting material wealth, with which he endows house or his counter, may be an excel you to be trafficked with, is your lent business machine; as a thing of own; and never forget that when your figures, weights, and measures, he may last balance-sheet shall have been closed be first-rate--but the higher attributes on earth, however satisfactory may of his manhood are gone; for the high be its testimony to your ability and est privilege is to be the steward of success in the conduct of the business God, not the slave of self. For the machine-there is yet another account

moment of the great human family, | to be audited, the account of your man



hood-every item and entry of which whose thoughts have been already turnhas been written with omniscient truth-ed in a similar direction. fulness and justice. You are not com- It has been repeatedly held forth that manded to be careless and indifferent the cultivation of the waste lands would to your interest; but you are command- greatly relieve the high pressure of ed not to be careless and indifferent to competition which affects all kinds of the welfare of others. You are to be labour. At any rate, employment might more solicitous for the brotherhood be found upon them for many of the than the servitude of your fellow-men agricultural labourers, who are engaged -to live, not at the expense of those in a perpetual struggle for a meagre around you, but to the advancement of subsistence, and who are always altertheir welfareto strive to be a better, nating between independent labour and rather than a richer, man than your the poorhouse. By finding work for neighbours; in a word, to practice that this class, by keeping in the rural diswisest of all selfishness—to live for the tricts the young and able-bodied, who public good.

under present circumstances crowd

into the large towns, and compete there THE UNDEVELOPED RESOURCES for every kind of unskilled labour, we OF ENGLAND.—No. I.

should relieve our town populations. BY THOS. BEGGS.

There has been no lack of plans for the It is a favourable time when attention | attainment of such an end. Those of is so strongly directed to the condition Mr. Owen and Mr. Morgan, it may be of the working classes, to suggest in- said, are not adapted to the present quiring into the undeveloped resources condition of society, whatever they may of England. We shall be able to show be in the future. Allotment systems that we have immense sources of wealth have been tried, and most of the experilying partially or wholly unimproved, ments have either entirely failed, or while the labour, that if properly em- they have brought advantages in too ployed might cultivate them, is left to small a scale to ensure general imitarest in idleness, and burthen the com- || tion. Any scheme, which purposes to munity by the cost of maintenance. take the artizan and mechanic from his The proportion of paupers at this time workshop and usual occupation, and is about one in ten of the population, transplant him to an acre or two of while the reports on vagrancy and land, must fail. We have had a recent mendicity show an awful increase of proof of this. It does not follow, howthe indigent and destitute classes. The ever, because premature measures have poor-rates have increased in about a failed, that none others will succeed. century from one million and a half It is surely possible that a scheme may to about seven millions per annum. be devised, suited to the spirit of the The public charities and philanthropic people, and endowed with the elements societies, which have multiplied in our l of success. In order that it should time, are confessedly unable to meet fully succeed, it must be based upon the wants of those who rush with sound commercial principles. We may eagerness to every institution that briefly suggest the leading features of opens its doors to the distressed, the such a plan. suffering, and the erring. What is to We may first explain what is generbe done with this immense mass of ally admitted, that a very small portion suffering? is the query of every thought of the soil in England is cultivated to ful mind. Every one who attempts a the extent that science has shewn to be practical answer is at least deserving of practicable. There are large quantities respectful attention. The following left wholly undrained and uncultivated. suggestions are not sent forth with any Mr. Porter, in his Progress of the Nalofty pretensions; they are simply re- tion, states, “ that if all England were garded as humble contributions to the as well cultivated as Northumberland common stock of practical suggestions and Lincoln, it would produce more on the condition of England question. than double the quantity that is now They may possibly assist some minds, I obtained.” And Mr. Alison somewhere

speaks of Great Britain being capable, groves are relieved by many a nymph by improvement in agriculture, of sus- and satyr wrought from the marble or taining more than ten times its present the stone; and their long galleries amount of inhabitants. We shall be have long since been decorated with the willing to take a much more reasonable most preciousgems of the pencil and the calculation. In Great Britain and Ire- chisel. Every nobleman's residence has land there are 77,394,433 acres of land; for years possessed its library, and also 46,522,970 acres of which are in a state a room called by courtesy a study ! The of cultivation, 15,871,463 acres are con- wealth of the noble owner could instant sidered unprofitable, and 15,000,000 ly command whatever the heart had acres are uncultivated, but capable of coveted of beautiful, or graceful, or gloprofitable cultivation. A wise economy rious; while the very opulence of the would point to this immense field, on mansion not infrequently prevented its which to find employment for what is artistic features from conveying any imsometimes called our surplus labourers. pressions to the senses, or instructions We have no surplus labour if our to the intellect. But can we not make opportunities were improved. What the home of the labourer—of the poor can be thought of a policy which allows counting-house clerk—of the humble the land to remain unproductive, while tradesman-a Home of Taste also? May the labourer who would be glad to earn not such a place be a mansion for all wages by tilling it, is idle. He must lovely forms? May not the spiritual be fed, however, and he becomes a bur- life, the intellectual discipline, shine on then upon the poor-rate. The manure its walls? May not the consecrating that would enrich it is, by another sys- elegancies of gentleness, the thrilling tem of waste, cast into our rivers, charms and powers of heroism and of generating fever and disease. Why beauty, in all their robing of instrucshould not the labour and the land be tion, be brought to the children of humbrought together? The true means of ble life. What deceiving spirit told the adding to the national wealth is that of wealthy and the noble that the power increasing the food of the people. Num- of admiration was alone conferred on bers of those subsisting upon charity, them! That the enchantments and the might be made producers of food, which raptures of Nature were reserved for food could be exchanged for manufac them alone. I do not believe it. I be tures. The pauper converted into a lieve that the truest enjoyments which labourer, or what is still better, the a cultivated taste can bestow, may frelabourer who is prevented from becom quently be spread in ample profusion ing a pauper, is so much clear gain to for the more lowly children of our race. the community. By his remaining an I believe that a true and sympathetic independent labourer, the cost of main- taste depends greatly on the state of tenance is saved, he adds his industry the moral feelings. The intellect is reto the stock of production, and becomes fined and intensified by its moral assoa consumer to a much greater extent.ciations; and it is matter of little doubt These men would increase the supply to my own mind that the lower fields of food and the demand for labour. l of life contain the noblest illustrations Why not take some of the property and exhibitions of moral loveliness. under the control of the Woods and Vulgarity is surely not confined to the Forests, which has been proved to be a workshop. Wherever bad manners loss rather than a gain to the revenue, colour the life, it is impossible there and devote it for the purpose of an can be a Home of Taste ; the materials actual experiment?

of taste may be there, but the soul that frequents it is lost to the sense of enjoy.

ment. To the man who whirls through THE HOME OF TASTE.

midnight orgies, for whom the jockey BY EDWIN PAXTON HOOD.

and the gambler are companions, who The nobles of England long since car lives almost solely for the purpose of ried Taste of some sort into their gar- flattering and adorning his body with dens and their halls; their alcoves and the empty vanities of perishable fash

« AnteriorContinuar »