« AnteriorContinuar »
ing myriads of animated beings, and in- is stronger than I am. From whom does numerable groups of beautified material- | it derive its power? The people. If ism, to trace out the varieties of which
the people did not exist, it could not.
the people did not would yield us ample employment, through
Then I will go direct to the people, and centuries and millennia of active existence.
ask them to co-operate with me in ob
taining my right to live as beautifully A REFORMER'S SOLILOQUY.
and happily as I can, and as enduringly
as I can. A majority of the people call I LOOK upon governments as necessary on the governing power to displace this evils, and I am satisfied the less we or that piece of injustice. This is at have to do with them the better. I first refused, but it cannot be refused have a right to live, to live as well as I long. The government cannot master can, and to live as long as I can. While its master. It must do the behests of men remain in ignorance of their own that which gave it being. natures, and the true sources of their As I find we must have laws, and that happiness, it is reasonable to suppose those laws must be binding on all, I ask they will err, and in erring trench on who shall be the law-makers ? Shall a the rights of their brethren. This being few, or the many ? If a few, who shall the case, governments will be called that few be? Shall I be one of that for, and it is my duty to see that the few? Who told me to make a rule of best of the kind should exist. I am a life binding on my brother, without his political reformer, because I wish to consent? Is my brother a man? Am remove out of my way certain incum I more than a man? Who gave me an brances—incumbrances which might at authoricy to make him do my bidding? one time have answered good purposes, I may do it by force. But that would be but which are now obstructive and inju- might not right, and I should be veririous. If I could, unaided and alone, tably a tyrant. If I say that he shall remove such obstructions, I would not obey my laws, cannot he with equal call on a government to do so for me. propriety say that I shall obey his? And Such would be calling in a foreign what is this but civil war? And from power to do my work. Let me perform whence does this war arise? Why, my own work, and in performing it, from my arrogating to myself the right educate and elevate myself. I could of governing my brother without his not repeal a corn law. I cannot alter consent. If I get his consent, I no our fiscal legislation, and put our sys- longer govern him; he governs himself. tem of taxation on a more righteous I am then a political reformer, because footing. I cannot remove the taxes I wish to unmake what the ignorance of which press on knowledge. I cannot my fathers made; and because I wish repeal the stamp duty, which prevents that all should participate in the govern. the circulation of ideas; or the duty ment of all, with the full assurance that on paper, or the window tax, which all would not only be better pleased, prevents the light of heaven falling on but that justice would more likely be the pale face of my hard-working sister. done to all. If I desired to go and cultivate a certain Governments at best are only tempobarren part of the country, and try to rary expediencies, I would use them make it bloom and blossom as the rose, as conditional instruinentalities; and and if I had sufficient money to pay as soon as I could do my duty to the the marketable value for that piece of world, and answer my highest purpose soil, I could not come into possession without them, I would leave them alone of it. Why? Because there are certain to perish of neglect. I avow that, indilaws which prevent me or any one else vidually, I do not want anything to do doing so. And I cannot, without the with governments at all. I would not assistance of others, and then only even use them as instruments to sweep through governmental instrumentality, my pathway, did I not see that some destroy that law. I want to see such a of my fellow men are hindered and law repealed, and I ask the government hampered more by old laws and reguto do so. It refuses. The government | lations than I am. The time I might
expend in removing rubbish might be country, at some age, governments ar passed in communing with Nature, or only valuable as long as such phases or talking with Plato. But not so my ages last. My principal duty, as a man, is, neighbour. He is bound down by cir- to obey the moral, immutable laws of . cumstances which he cannot control, the universe, which existed before all and I must fly to his assistance, even if governments, and will survive all goI forsake more congenial pursuits. That vernments. I do not exist because inneighbour may be despoiled of his stitutions exist; they exist because I goods because he will not voluntarily do. If they were to fall to-morrow, my pay church-rates, or his children may soul, and God its author, are secure. be ill clad, while undeserving men riot Surround me with bad laws, habits, in luxury from taxes drained from the regulations, institutions, and I will conproceeds of his industry; and, conse- tinue to live, think, doubt, enjoy, desquently, I must go and see that justice pair, hope, aspire, and love. Surround is done for his sake, and for the general me with better laws, customs, constituwell-being and honour of my country. tions, and I will live, think, doubt,
I would make governments means to aspire, and worship more. ends--not ends in themselves. The science of politics should occupy a secondary and not a primary place in |
THE NEW YEAR'S GIFT. the minds and affections of a people. SITTING by my fireside, and musing on One of the chief faults of the peoples the past, I was aroused by a gentle rate : of Europe is their too strong faith in tat at the door, and was not a little surthe efficacy of governments to cure the prised at hearing a lady's voice addresswounds of society. They think too ing the domestic by whom it was openmuch of law-making and law-breaking, ed, with “Accept this little book, I and on the work of legislation for its wish you a happy new year.” The door own sake. The people, to be really was closed and the book brought into great, must think more of individual the parlour, and I glanced at the cover reform, and the development of the whereon I read, “ The Public Good." inner spiritual life by personal means. A strange title for a book, thought I; Let them by all means try to modify | but being accustomed to read announcethe political institutions of their re-ments of persons who profess to cure spective countries in obedience to the some of the most distressing maladies prevailing spirit of the age ; but let to which our race is heir, “more from them not place too much trust in ex- benevolence than gain,” yet never forternal changes. The external is sure to getting to demand the respectable modify itself in accordance to the de- « fee of one guinea,” with many similar mands of the internal. Let the soul of instances ; I threw the book carelessly a nation be fed and fostered, and its aside as some new “catch-penny," inoutward manifestations will be sure to l tended to ease the pocket of two ounces correspond with its inward life and l of copper in exchange for so much growth. I do not wish to wean the waste paper. Some few hours passed masses of the people from politics-far by, and the “Public Good” was forgotfrom it; neither do I wish to see them ten. Evening came, and the lady's bestow more attention and waste more visit was recalled to my mind by life on secondaries than secondaries are another knock at the door. This was entitled to. Laws and constitutions, a poor woman soliciting a “new year's when they are the legitimate offspring gift.” My first impulse was to give her of the will of the majority, are at best «The Public Good.” This, however, but transient things. Born of the hour, | I was prevented doing by a suggestion to meet the necessities of the hour, that “It might be called for again." they perish with the hour. They are The applicant was dismissed with a the ever-changing particulars which substitute, and the little book again float on the eternal stream of generali- thrown aside. It happened that I sat ties. Suited to life as it may be in some alone that evening-ard I could not particular phase of society, in some | help smiling at the circumstance of
our two visiters—the one presenting, the other soliciting a “new year's gift.”
| THE BOY AND THE BUTTERFLY. Well, thought I, if I had given that | A few months since, when I was walkpoor woman the “Public Good," how ing through a very pleasant part of the do I know that I might not have given
west of England, my attention was arher an injurious publication under the
rested by the sight of a butterfly on the
surface of a little brooklet which rippled at guise of a pleasing title? Would it
my feet. “ Poor butterfly,” said I, " thou have been right to have given with pre- | hast seen thy day, and answered thy tended generosity that which cost me part in the great theatre of life; perhaps nothing, and which I bad thrown aside this morning thou arose with the sun, and as useless, or perhaps worse than use- gambolled from flower to flower, but, by loss? I felt condemned. Again I some means or other thy career has been thought, if each of these books cost the arrested, and thou art dead." These words lady twopence besides the trouble of no sooner passed from my lips than I saw
the insect struggle, as if it tried to rise from distribution, it is but fair to suppose
the stream, which was bearing it onward she must have read a copy, and must
to destruction. Seeing that it was not be conscious of doing much good, or dead, I immediately went towards it with disseminating much evil, and had I the intention of rescuing it from its perilgiven that book without examination, ous position. This I could not do for a I should have been equally culpable moment or two, as the moving water carfor any bad results. Need I say the
ried with it the struggling insect. There book was sought the first article red were some boys playing near me at the ---and the second, and so on, till at a
time, and one of them seeing that my steps
and attention were directed towards the late hour I came to the end. I com
stream, ran to the spot. He asked me menced reading with indifference; in what I was looking for? I told nim, and a little time I felt interested, and, as I he being more nimble than myself, got beproceeded, approbation and admiration fore me, reached in his hand, and took up followed in their turn; and when I the wet, dying, drowning insect on his closed the book, it was with a feeling of finger. After a few surveys of it, and a rezret that there was no more to read. few expressions of pity for its condition, it My eye again rested on the title, and I was put on the grassy turf. I felt an ininvoluntarily exclaimed, “If this be a
ward satisfaction that I had been instru
mental in rescuing a butterfly from death. Tair specimen of what thou art, thou And I saw from the glistening eve, and art no hypocrite! Go on and prosper! smiling countenance of the boy, that he I bear thee witness that thou hast done realized a similar feeling. And why should me good! I regret the ungracious re- he not? Does not the exercise of benevoception at first given thee, and the in- lence, at all times, impart gratification to gratitude to the fair donor. But as a the benevolent ? It is almost impossible fault confessed, is said to be half for
that a disinterested action should be pergiven,' I trust, I may obtain the other
formed without rewarding the performer. half by this acknowledgment of my would not die. I would remain with it a
But how did I know that the butterfly fault, hoping it may meet the eye short time and ascertain whether it reof some one who like myself may have covered or not. This I did-I went on my been tempted to condemn thee unheard, kuees, and bent towards the ground, and thus losing his share in the ‘Public examined with a great deal of curiosity Good.'” I shall now return the com
and solicitude the little panting half-dead plimentary salutation of the unknown
creature. A few minutes passed away, lady, and wishing you and her a happy
during which time the sunbeams danced,
and the zephyr gently passed over the new year, and abundant success,
little invalid. It was not long before its I remain, Mr. Editor,
wings got dry, and they gradually unfolded, Your new subscriber,
and its body recruited life and energy. AN ADMIRER OF “THE PUBLIC Good.” | This pleased me much. But I was more Dalston, Jan. 4, 1850.
pleased when I saw the insect rise on its
legs, and slowly walk over the grass. This Time in the long run will give the victory to
was at first done faintly and tremblingly, Truth. Be not therefore afraid to enlist under her banner : the conflict may be fierce and and accompanied with occasional falls. long, but the laurel wreath will be won at the But strength and vigour gradually came. jose.
: Attempts were at first made in vain. But
THE BOY AND THE BUTTERFLY.
they were not many. It was not long be- j I knew him well--I knew him to be a man fore it flew several yards at a time. I fol- who neglected his wife and children, who lowed it as long as I was able. In a few spent his money and his time at the public moments it flaunted over the fields, and house, and who frequently broke the pea mounted towards the azure sky as if it had of the neighbourhood by blasphemous not witnessed danger for the day or the words and dreadful acts. How should I year-it went on and on, capering from reclaim him? Why, certainly, by getting flower to flower, and sipping their sweets him to join the Temperance Society. This as if altogether unconscious of the benefit I knew to be a difficu
difficult and almost an imconferred on it or its benefactor. Such is possible thing;—but I would try, I did half-an-hour's history of a butterfly-and so. certainly it is not without interest, neither By repeated persuasions and other acts is it incapable of pointing a moral.
of kindness, I succeeded. He joined the After the butterfly had gone further temperance society, and promised to abthan my eye could ow it, I felt quite stain from the liquors which had been his satisfied that I had performed a useful act. curse. His promise he faithfully kept. I Then, if I performed my duty, thought I, soon had the satisfaction of seeing him an in benefiting an insect, certainly I am altered man. He improved in his health, bound to do my best on behalf of my fellow in his circumstances, in his appearance, in men, who are of more value than many his mind, and in his morals. He became butterflies. It struck me that perhaps I a better father, husband, and citizen. He might never have another chance to assist was completely revolutionized in his habits, a butterfly, but there was no necessity for conversations, and desires. If assisting to me to wait a moment for an opportunity to promote the restoration of a butterfly gave benefit my brother man.
me pleasure, what infinitely more satisfacThis reflection was the forerunner of tion accompanied the consciousness of my several others of a kindred character. I sat being instrumental in blessing a fellowdown on a mossy bank of the brooklet and creature. The little boy stretched forth imagined I saw before me a mighty river. his hand and saved an insect-I put forth It was not pure and placid as the one from mine and socially saved a man. That man which the butterfly was rescued. No, it was a short time before deeply plunged in was black, loathsome, and deadly, and it the stream of intemperance, and driven bore on its surface myriads of human hither and thither by its pitiless billows. beings. It was the River of Evil which But now he is on the firm dry land of flowed through the heart of the moral uni- temperance, with cheerful friends around verse. It received tributary streams from him, and hope strong within him. But it intemperance, war, infidelity, sensualism, was some time before he stood up in the deception, selfishness, ignorance, and innu strength of his manhood, and exulted in his merable other sources-it flowed on and existence. Intemperance had weakened on, bearing on its breast men who were | him, impoverished his circumstances, wisteeped in sin. And I fancied I saw stand thered his home, and separated him from ing on the margin of the river a great friends. But hé, like the butterfly, gradumany good men, who were doing their ally got st
ally got stronger. He, step by step, inutmost to prevent their brothers from spired confidence in those who once were perishing. I saw preachers of all deno- his friends, and who became his friends minations-I saw philanthropists of all again,--the sun of prosperity shed its shades of opinion-ah, and I saw those beams on his fortunes, the breezes of social whom'the wo
00, labouring | happiness played around his home. He with all their might for the restoration of | cultivated an acquaintanceship with the their brethren. I saw tectotalers and most respectable of his neighbours, he read schoolmasters, and peace men, and anti some of the best books, and, like the butslavery reformers, and literary men, and terfly that gamboled over the vales and missionaries, and many unostentatious men flowers, he, the reformed drunkard, hovered and women, who were labouring with all over the regior
all over the regions of imagination which their power to save their fellow mortals Milton and Scott had created, and desand they seemed pleased and happy in cended into the mines of philosophy which their labour of love. Well then, I thought, Bacon and Locke had explored." Whether I will not remain idle, I will join the phi the rescued butterfly lives or not, I cannot lanthropists in their devoted and disin- say ;-it inspires me with delight that it terested work.
lived longer on my account. But that the I arose from the pleasant bank, and re- restored man lives I am certain, and it is solved to consolidate my desires into acts. my highest pride and pleasure to know I wended my way home, but before I that I assisted in his emancipation. reached it, I saw a man staggering drunk. !
land in a constant state of unwholesome. THE UNDEVELOPED RESOURCES
evaporation, with about two hundred OF ENGLAND.—No. II.
acres of ditches. Many of them are: BY THOMAS BEGGS.
very offensive from their being open Some valuable evidence has been given sewers. The following is an extract before an official body, the Metropolitan from the evidence:Sanitary Conimission. In shewing the “The marsh land along the river Lea from importance of land drainage in the
Stratford to the Thames is of an excellent
quality for market-garden ground; both it and neighbourhood of large towns, as one about half of the Plaistow Level, comprising tome
gether about 1,600 acres, might be inore than frequency of epidemic and contagious
doubled in value by drainage ; and as garden
ground, twenty persons might be employed diseases, and improving the salubrity
upon it, for one employed at present. About of large towns, they enter upon inqui 800 acres of the Plaistow Level, and the whole ries of some moment in another point
of East Ham Level, which contains about 1,700 of view. They shew the extent of
acres, might by drainage be very much ini:
proved for pasture, and rendered fit for cultiland in the neighbourhood of London
vation. As pasture land, the value would be only partially cultivated, and then give increased at least Ll per acre; for although some estimates, putting in striking
a less weight of grass would be produced, the
quality would be greatly improved, and it contrast the capabilities of the land
would yield a larger amount of hay. The with its present state. If drained and grass of the marshes is of a rich, succulent cultivated, its value would be incal character ; and cattle brought to feed upon it culably increased, and the produce
are rendered feverish for a month or two at
first, and if in a sickly state they die. Butchers would pay from 15 to 20 per cent. will not purchase sheep or cattle that have
been only a short time on the marsh pastures; neighbourhood of London there is
and hence they cannot be made available as
they might be, in feeding up for the shambles much valuable land in a marshy and
animals, brought from a distance half-fed, or unproductive condition. The Isle of two-thirds fat. The same remarks are appliDogs is spoken of as one of the richest,
cable to the Hackney marshes. The Tottenham if not the richest pasture land in Eng
marshes, having a gravelly subsoil, need little
drainage, other than a free outlet to the surland. Its soil is described as contain face water, which is now prevented by the mills ing the elements of fertility in abund and canal locks that obstruct the river.” ance, and the pasture is luxuriant | The remark of the Commissioners where the soil is sufficiently dry to upon this, is :let it grow. One of the witnesses, who “ By the thorough drainage of all these: seems to have made it a matter of spe- marshes, not only would the Metropolis be cial investigation, states that he does saved from a vast amount of noxious vapours, not suppose it furnishes employment
but an additional value of many thousands of
pounds annually would be conferred on the regularly to ten persons, whereas land in those districts," if it was drained and cultivated as market garden ground, it would give
This will apply to the large tracts of employment to 1,000 persons, at the
suburban land, the Poplar marshes, the rate of two persons to the acre. At the Greenwich and Plumstead marshes,
Isle of Dogs, the Essex marshes, and present it is in a wretched condition,
as well as to other land to the west of being intersected with numerous ditches, and covered occasicnally with
London, all of which at present are in dense fogs, exceedingly injurious to
an exceedingly bad condition, and the health of the neighbourhood for
which might be made productive of miles round. The cattle fed upon the
employment in the first instance, and land are subject to several diseases,
food in the second. Another witness
states :the primary cause of which is the impurity of the water, and the effluviuin
“By cultivation as market-garden ground, a great extent of the marsh land would be worth
a rent of £10 per acre, and would give emtion of the vegetable matter in excess ployment to at least twenty individuals for upon the marshes. In Essex and ad- | every one now employed upon it." joining marshes, it is computed that Here then is a scope for benevolent there are above 3,500 acres, and up- exertion, of a much more beneficial wards of five square miles of undrained | tendency than many of the thousand."