Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

WAGES. Some labourers are paid higher than others. A carpenter earns more than a ploughman, and a watchmaker more than either; and yet, this is not from the one working harder than the other.

And it is the same with the labour of the mind, as with that of the body. A banker's clerk, who has to work hard at keeping accounts, is not paid so high as a lawyer or a physician.

You see, from this, that the rate of wages does not depend on the hardness of the labour, but on the value of the work done.

But on what does the value of the work depend?

The value of each kind of work is like the value of any thing else; it is greater or less, according to the limitation of its supply, that is, the difficulty of procuring it. If there were no more expense, time, and trouble, in obtaining a pound of gold than a pound of copper, then gold would be of no more value than copper.

But why should the supply of watchmakers and surgeons be more limited than of carpenters and ploughmen? That is, why is it more difficult to make a man a watchmaker than a ploughman?

The chief reason is, that the education required costs a great deal more. A long time must be spent in learning the business of a watchmaker or a surgeon, before a man can acquire enough skill to practise. So that, unless you have enough to support you all this time, and also, to pay your master for teaching you the art, you cannot become a watchmaker or a surgeon. And no father would go to the expense of breeding up his son a surgeon or watchmaker, even though he could well afford it, if he did not expect him to earn more than a carpenter, whose education costs much less. But sometimes a father is disappointed in his expectation. If the son should turn out stupid or idle, he would not acquire skill enough to maintain himself by his business. And then, the expense of his education would be lost. For it is not the expensive education of a surgeon that causes him to be paid more for setting a man's leg, than a carpenter is for mending the leg of a table; but the expensive education causes fewer people to become surgeons. It causes the supply of surgeons to be more limited; that is, confined to a few; and it is this limitation that is the cause of their being better paid.

So that you see, the value of each kind of labour is higher or lower, like that of all other things, according as the supply is limited.

Natural genius will often have the same effect as the expensiveness of education, in causing one man to be better paid than another. For instance, one who has a natural genius for painting, may become a very fine painter, though his education may not have cost more than that of an ordinary painter; and he will then earn, perhaps, ten times as much, without working any harder at his pictures than the other. But the cause why a man of natural genius is higher paid for his work than another, is still the same. Men of genius are scarce; and their work, therefore, is of the more value, from being more limited in supply.

Some kinds of labour, again, are higher paid, from the supply of them being limited by other causes, and not by the cost of learning them, or the natural genius they require. Any occupation that is unhealthy, or dangerous, or disagreeable, is paid the higher on that account; because people would not otherwise engage in it. There is this kind of limitation in the supply of house-painters, miners, gunpowder-makers, and several others.

Some people fancy that it is unjust, that one man should not earn as much as another who works no harder than himself. And there certainly would be a hardship, if one man could force another to work for him at whatever wages he chose to give. This is the case with those slaves, who are forced to work, and are only supplied by their masters with food and other necessaries, like horses. So, also, it would be a hardship, if I were to force anyone to sell me any thing, whether his labour, or his cloth, or cattle, or corn, at any price I might choose to fix. But there is no hardship in leaving all buyers and sellers free; the one, to ask whatever price he may think fit; the other, to offer what he thinks the article worth. A labourer is a seller of labour; his employer is a buyer of labour: and both ought to be left free.

If a man chooses to ask ever so high a price for his potatoes, or his cows, he is free to do so; but then it would be very hard that he should be allowed to force others to buy them at that price, whether they would or no. In the same manner, an ordinary labourer may ask as high wages as he likes; but it would be very hard to oblige others to employ him at that rate, whether they would or not. And so the labourer himself would think, if the same rule were applied to him; that is, if a tailor, and a carpenter, and a shoemaker, could oblige him to employ them, whether he wanted their articles or not, at whatever price they chose to fix.

In former times, laws used to be often made to fix the wages of labour. It was forbidden, under a penalty, that higher or lower wages should be asked or offered, for each kind of labour, than what the law fixed. But laws of this kind were found never to do any good. For when the rate fixed by law, for farmlabourers for instance, happened to be higher than it was worth a farmer's while to give for ordinary labourers, he turned off all his workmen, except a few of the best hands, and employed these on the best land only: so that less corn was raised, and many persons were out of work, who would have been glad to have it at a lower rate, rather than earn nothing. Then, again, when the fixed rate was lower than it would answer to a farmer to give to the best workmen, some farmers would naturally try to get these into their service, by paying them privately at a higher rate: and this they could easily do, so as to escape the law, by agreeing to supply them with corn at a reduced price, or in some such way; and then the other farmers were driven to do the same thing, that they might not lose all their best workmen; so that laws of this kind come to nothing.

The best way is to leave all labourers and employers, as well as all other sellers and buyers, free to ask and to offer what they think fit; and to make their own bargain together, if they can agree, or to break it off, if they cannot.

But labourers often suffer great hardships, from which they might save themselves by looking forward beyond the present day. They are apt to complain of others, when they ought rather to blame their own imprudence. If, when a man is earning good wages, he spends all, as fast as he gets it, in thoughtless intemperance, instead of laying by something against hard times, he may afterwards have to suffer great want, when he is out of work, or when wages are lower: but then he must not blame others for this, but his own improvidence. So thought the bees in the following fable.

"A grasshopper, half starved with cold and hunger at the approach of winter, came to a well-stored beehive, and humbly begged the bees to relieve his wants with a few drops of honey. One of the bees. asked him how he had spent his time all the summer, and why he had not laid up a store of food like them ?' Truly,' said he, 'I spent my time very merrily, in drinking, dancing, and singing, and never once thought of winter.' 'Our plan is very different,' said the bee; 'we work hard in the summer, to lay by a store of food against the season when we foresee we shall want it; but those who do nothing but driuk, and dance, and sing, in the summer, must expect to starve in the winter.'"

"THE BANKS OF THE DOVE, Written On leaving My Native Village."

The following Lines were composed by MICHAEL THOMAS SADLER, Esq., M.P., when a boy. His mother, to whom they refer, and to whom he was affectionately attached, died while he was very young.

Adieu to the Banks of the Dove,

My happiest moments are flown,
I must leave the retreats that I love

For scenes far remote and unknown;
But wherever my lot may be cast,

Whatever my fortune may prove,
I shall think of the days that are past;

I shall sigh for the Banks of the Dove.
Ye friends of my earliest youth,

From you how reluctant I part;
Your friendships were founded in truth,

And shall never be erased from my heart.
Companions, perhaps, I may find,

But where shall I meet with such love,
"With attachments so lasting and kind,

As I leave on the Banks of the Dove?
Thou sweet little village, farewell!

Every object around thee is dear,
Every woodland, and meadow, and dell,

Where I wander'd for many a year.
Ye villas and cots, so well known,

Will your inmates continue to love?
Will ye think on a friend, when he's gone

Far away from the Banks of the Dove?
But oft has the Dove's crystal wave,

Flow'd lately commixt with my tears,
Since my mother was laid in her grave,

Where yon hallow'd turret appears.
O Sexton, remember the spot,

And lay me beside her I love,
Whenever this body is brought

To sleep on the Banks of the Dove.
Till then, in the visions of night,

O may her loved spirit descend;
And tell me, tho' hid from my sight,

She still is my guardian and friend.
The thoughts of her presence shall keep

My footsteps, when tempted to rove;
And sweeten my woes while I weep

For her, and the Banks of the Dove.

Ancient Weaving.—In an action for the infringement of a patent, tried in 1S21, in the Court of Common Pleas, the question was, whether the plaintiffs mode of weaving canvass was, or was not new. A witness stated, that so far from there being any thing new in the plaintiff's manner of doubling the thread, he could state with certainty it had been known and practised upwards of two thousand years. The court appeared quite amused at his knowledge of the ancient mode of thread-making; and the chief justice, quoting the verse,

When Adam delved and Eve span, appeared to expect that the witness would give some information of the method of spinning practised by our general mother. The counsel by whom the witness was cross-examined, was extremely jocular, and professed himself desirous of learning the manner in which he had acquired his very particular knowledge of such high antiquity; ho answered, that he had examined the cerements of an Egyptian mummy, and found that the thread of which it was composed, and of which he produced a specimen, had been spun and twisted exactly in the manner described in the plaintiff's patent--- Thoughts on Laughter.

[graphic]

THE WATER SPIDER.

The habitation of this insect, (Aranea AqualicaJ is chiefly remarkable for the element in which it is constructed, and the materials that compose it, being built in the midst of water, and formed, in fact, of air.

This spider, unlike the rest of his tribe, is aquatic, or rather amphibious; that

is, it can live either in air or water; for though it resides in the midst of water, in which it swims with great swiftness, sometimes on its belly, but more frequently on its back, and is an admirable diver, it not unfrequently hunts on shore, and, having caught its prey, plunges with it to the bottom of the water. Here it forms its singular and strange abode. A very uncomfortable one, certainly, were it constantly wet: but this the sagacious insect has the means of avoiding, and by availing itself of some well-known philosophical principles, constructs for itself an apartment, in which, like the mermaids and sea-nymphs of fable, it resides in comfort and security.

The following is the process :—First, it spins loose threads in various directions to the leaves of waterplants, which may be called the frame-work of the chamber, and over them spreads a transparent varnish, resembling liquid glass, which issues from the middle of its spinners, and which is so elastic as to be capable of great expansion and contraction. The spider then spreads over its belly a little of the same material, and ascends to the surface. The precise mode in which a bubble of air is drawn in beneath this gummy matter, is not accurately known : loaded, however, with the material for its little mansion, which, to the spectator, looks like shining quicksilver, the spider plunges to the bottom, and, with as much dexterity as a chemist transfers gas with a gasholder, introduces her bubble of air beneath the roof prepared for its reception. This manoeuvre is repeated ten or twelve times, until at length, in about a quarter of an hour, as much air is obtained as is sufficient to expand the apartment to its proposed extent, and the industrious little builder now finds itself in possession of a perfect air-built dwelling, I had almost said an enchanted palace, affording a commodious and dry retreat in the very midst of water. Here the inhabitant reposes, unmoved by the storms that agitate the surface of the pool, and devours its prey at ease, and in safety.

THE LANTERN.

It is, perhaps, not generally known that we are indebted to Alfred the Great for the invention of that useful article, tho Lantern. In the Life of Alfred, by Asserius, we have the following account: "Before the invention of clocks, Alfred caused six tapers to be made for his daily use ; each taper contained twelve penny-weights of wax, was twelve inches long, and of proportionate breadth. The whole length was divided into twelve parts, or inches, of which three would burn for one hour, so that each taper would be consumed in four hours; and the six tapers being lighted one after another, lasted for twenty-four hours. But the wind, blowing through the windows and doors, and chinks of the walls of the chapel, or through the cloth of his tent, in which they were burning, wasted these tapers, and consequently they burnt with no regularity; he therefore designed a lantern, made of ox or cow horn, cut into thin plates, in which he enclosed the tapers, and thus protecting them from the wind, the period of their burning became a matter of comparative certainty.

[merged small][graphic]

the clumsy figure before us; yet, awkward as its form is, it is possessed of a great degree of swiftness, and considerable irritability of temper; although, when not molested, or suffering under the feelings of hunger, it is an extremely inoffensive creature. The food of the Rhinoceros consists of vegetable substances,—the leaves, branches, and even trunks of trees. Its method of disposing of a tree is described in a very animated manner by Bruce.

"Besides the trees capable of most resistance, there arc, in the vast forests, during the rains, trees of a softer consistence, and of a very juicy quality, which seem to be destined for its principal food. For the purpose of gaining the highest branches of these, his upper lip is capable of being Lengthened out, so as to increase his power of laying hold witli it, in the same manner as the elephant does with his trunk. With this lip, and the assistance of his tongue, he pulls down the upper branches, which have most leaves, and these he devours first. Having stripped the tree of its branches, he does not abandon it, but, placing his snout as low in the trunk as he finds his horn will enter, he rips up the body of the tree, and reduces it to thin pieces, like so many laths; and, when he has thus prepared it, he embraces as much of it as he can in his monstrous jaws, and twists it round, with as much ease as an ox would do a root of celery."

There are at least four well-ascertained species of this animal,—two of the one-horned kind, and two with two horns; one of each a native of India, and the other two of Africa.

The horn is entirely different, in its formation and mode of growth, from that of any other known creature. In the Bull, this part is formed of a thin horny substance, growing upon, and taking its form from a strong and short bone, by which it is supported; in the Stag, it consists of bone only, and in both these cases is more or less attached to, or forming part of, the skull. But, in the Rhinoceros, it is made up of a bundle of fibres, having the appearance of bristles laying side by side, glued together, and attached to the skin.

In manners and habits, it approaches very near to the Hog, and delights in wallowing in the mud. Its eye is extremely small, and placed in such a position as to prevent its seeing any thing on either side. Its smell is extremely acute; and the hunters always endeavour to approach it from the leeward. Except in some of the under parts of the body, its skin is capable of resisting a leaden bullet; but an iron ball, or one formed of tin and lead, will penetrate. The length is about ten or eleven feet.

Importance Of Humility.—Dr. Franklin once received a very useful lesson from the excellent Dr. Cotton Mather, which he thus relates, in a letter to his son.—" The last time I saw your father was in 1724. On taking my leave, he showed me a shorter way out of the house, by a narrow passage, which was crossed by a beam over-head. We were still talking, as I withdrew, he accompanying me behind and I turning towards him, when he said hastily, ' Stoop, stoop!' I did not understand him till I felt my head hit against the beam. He was a man who never missed an opportunity of giving instruction; and upon this he said to me, 'You are young, and have the world before you learn to stoop as you go through it, and you will miss many hard thumps. This advice, thus beat into my head, has frequently been of use to me; and I often think of it, when I see pride mortified, and misfortunes brought upon people by their carrying their heads too high."

Economy is a large income. Cicero.

THE HOMES OF ENGLAND.

The stately homes of England,

How beautiful they stand!
Amidst their tall ancestral trees,

O'er all the pleasant land.
The deer across their greensward bound

Through shade and sunny gleam, •
And the swan glides past them, with the sound

Of some rejoicing stream.

The merry homes of England!

Around their hearths by night,
What gladsome looks of household love

Meet in the ruddy light!
There woman's voice (lows forth in song,

Or childhood's tale is told,
Or lips move tunefully along

Some glorious page of old.

The blessed homes of England 1

How softly on their bowers Is laid the holy quietness

That breathes from Sabbath-hours! Solemn, yet sweet, the church-bells' chime

Floats through their woods at morn; All other sounds in that still time

Of breeze and leaf are born.

The cottage homes of England!

By thousands on her plains,
They are smiling o'er the silvery brooks,

And round the hamlet fanes.
Through glowing orchards forth they "peep,

Each from its nook of leaves,
And fearless there the lowly sleep,

As the bird beneath their eaves.

The free, fair homes of England!

Long, long, in hut and hall,
May hearts of native proof be rcar'd

To guard each hallow'd wall!
And green for ever be the groves,

And bright the flowery sod,
Where first the child's glad spirit loves

Its country and its God. Mrs. Hem.vns.

LONDON:

PUBLISHED IN WlIKtT NUMMRS, PBICK ONE PENNT, AND IN MONTHLY Pahts,

Price Sixpence, Bt
JOHN WILLIAM PARKER, WEST STRAND.

Sold by all Booksellers and Newsvenders in the Kingdom.

Hawkers and Dealers in Periodical Publications supplied on wholesale terms

by ORR, Paternoster row; BERGER, Holywell-street; DOUGLAS,

Portmau-street, Loudon;

Anility the Publisher's Agents in the following places :—

Aberdeen, Brown & Co.
Bath, George.
Birmingham, Langbridge.
Bristol. Westley & Co.; D.

Vickery.
Bury, LankesteT.
Cambridge, Stevenson.*
Carlisle. Thurnam.
Chelmsford, G uy.
Cheltenham, Lovesy.
Chester.Sencomo; Harding.
Chichester, Glorer.
Colchester,Swinbome 8c Co.
Derby, Wilkin* tc Son.
Devonport, Byers.
Dublin, Curry Jun, & Co,
Dundee, Shaw,

Durham, Andrews,

Edinburgh, Oliver & Boyd.

Exeter, Penny & Co.

Glasgow, Griffin 8c Co.

Gloucester, Jew.

Herefbrd.ChM,

Hutf,Vti\*on.

Ipswich, Deck.

Lancashire and Cheshire,
Bancks 8c Co., Man-
chester.

I.red s.Robinson.

Leicester, Combe.,

Liverpool, Hughe*.

Macclesfield, Swinnerton.

Newcastle-on-Tyne, Fin-
lay 8t Co.; Simpson.

Northm\mp(on, Birdsal.
Norwich, Muskett.
Nottingham, Wright.
Oxford. Slatter.
Paris, Bennis.
Plymouth. Nettlcton.
Salisbury, Brodie 8* Co.
Sheffield. Ridge.
Shrewsbury, Eddcives.
Staffordshire Potteries,
Watts. Lane End.
Sunderland, Marwood,
fVhitby, Rodgcrs.
Worcester, Deighton.
Yarmouth, Alexander.
York, Bellerby.

[blocks in formation]
[graphic]
[ocr errors][merged small]

UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE COMMITTEE OF GENERAL LITERATURE AND EDUCATION, APPOINTED BY THE SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE.

[graphic][merged small]

MODERN SCULPTURE. Many of our readers are probably unacquainted with the various stages in the labour of a Sculptor, before he turns out the finished statue in marble. First, he draws or designs his figure, or group of figures, on paper; secondly, he moulds a copy of his design in clay, of the exact proportions which he intends ultimately to carve in marble; and this is, as may be imagined, a most important part of the whole work; for any defect in the position or size of the clay model is a fundamental defect, which, even if it be afterwards discovered, it is extremely difficult to remedy. In the third place, the clay model is cast in plaster, for the purpose of fixing and preserving the figure, and of enabling the artist to mark his lines; and to judge of the total effect of his composition on a white surface. After all this, the sculptor, having so placed his block of marble immediately before the cast, as to be able to measure any distance, Vol. I.

on one or the other, by means of an instrument fixed between them, begins the last and delicate operation of cutting or chipping away the stone itself; and so proceeds, from rougher to finer strokes, till he ends with working for days together, with his chisel, in drawing out the rich folds of a woman's hair, or in giving life and pliability to a hero's muscle.

By this process are produced the statues that adorn our squares and other public places, and the decorations of palaces, castles, and public buildings. To the ancient and noble art of sculpture we are also indebted for those beautiful monuments in our churches and cathedrals, by which the memory and the example of the good and the great are transmitted from generation to generation.

The work from which the annexed engraving is taken, is what is called a bas-relief, or basso-relievo, the cast of which (for it is not yet executed in marble)

29

was exhibited by Mr. Behnes, a seu.ptor of deserved eminence, at one of the annual exhibitions of the Royal Academy at Somerset-house. It is the most recent work of its kind brought before the public, ami is deserving of notice both as a composition and for its execution.

The subject proposed by the Sculptor, is Shakspeare's course of human life, as that great poet has drawn it, in a well-known passage of his beautiful play, As You Like It. Any good passage from the works of the greatest dramatic poet of England ought never to come amiss; and, as it must be the basis for a few remarks on Mr. Behnes's composition, we will quote it at once :—

All the world's a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits, and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages. At first, the Infant,

Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms;

And then, the whining School-boy, with his satchel

And shining morning face, creeping like snail

Unwillingly to school: and then, the Lover,

Sighing like furnace, with a woful ballad

Made to his mistress' eye-brow: then, a Soldier,

lull of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,

Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,

Seeking the bubble reputation,

Even in the cannon's mouth: and then the Justice;

In fair round belly, with good capon lined;

With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut,

Full of wise saws and modern instances,

And so he plays his part: the sixth age shifts

Into the lean and slipper'd Pantaloon,

With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;

His youthful hose well saved, a world too wide

For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice.

Turning again tow'rd childish treble, pipes

And whistles in his sound: last scene of all,

That ends this strange eventful history,

Is second Childishness and mere oblivion,

Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans every thing

Mr. Bchnes has very aptly represented these several stages of life, or his conceptions of them, in a circle, so as to bring together the extremes of new-born infancy and searcely-conscions old age, at the door of the tomb. This tomb, with the latin inscription, Mors jamia vita, " Death the gate of life," on its face, is so placed, as to form, by its open side or angle, a ba9e for the weight of the Soldier—the principal figure in the centre of the work—who is thus seen trampling on death, in his eagerness to plant a conquering standard on the enemy's ramparts; regardless alike of the cannon's mouth at his side, and of the fallen warrior beneath his feet. This central figure is very spirited and noble, but exhibits something of that pedantry of muscle, as it has been called, that striving after mere anatomical effect, which may be observed in almost all the athletic statues of our modern sculptors, under Westmacott and Chantrey.

Passing over Mr. Behnes's very pretty groups of infancy, and of early and later boyhood, we come to the Lover, musing, as we must suppose, upon the charms of his mistress, whose perfect image is brought before his mind, by the imaginative power of his passion. This is a beautiful group, as far as the two principal figures are concerned; but we are surprised that so ingenious a designer as Mr. Bchnes should have been reduced to so very awkward a mode of representing the power of an ardent imagination as that of horsing a chubby Cupid upon a young man's right shoulder, and of giving the said Cupid leave to drag,—for it looks like dragging,—the lady forward by force of arms.

In the declining scale of life we come to a very grand figure, intended to be the equivalent for Shakspeare's Justice. We say equivalent, because it is impossible that Mr. Bchnes should have supposed that the poet was speaking of a Judge, as that term is generally understood by us. or represented by him

instead of a Justice of the Peace, a character into which many modern soldiers very naturally and comfortably descend, after their campaigns are over. Mr. Behnes, indeed, as a sculptor of the course of human life, would have done very well in substituting a general representative of the judicial office, if he had been minded to make his figure as truly general and abstract as all his other figures properly are. But where could this ingenious artist's good sense and taste have been slumbering, when he took it into his head, in such an ideal scene as this, to introduce a crude and ignorant satire on the administration of the English criminal law, in the shape of an unequal balance, and a condemned youth, whose countenance and demeanour are intended to bespeak his innocence? This is a positive fault, and one of a grave description with reference to Mr. Behnes's character as an artist; it seems to denote a want of judgment, and of due feeling of the nature and limits of sculpture, which is the most ideal of all the fine arts, and from which any touch of particular satire or local sarcasm is utterly abhorrent.

Lower still in the scale, is seen the 'slippered Pantaloon,' as Shakspeare calls him, bending over the tomb, and examining, by the help of an eye-glass, the horoscope of his nativity. The circle is completed in the figure of that second childishness, which sits at the door of the sepulchre, waiting its hour of release from a state of total incapacity of mind and body.

It will be seen that we have expressed our opinion on some parts of this very noble and beautiful work with freedom. Mr. Behnes must construe that freedom into a sincere tribute paid to the great general excellence of his performance; he is a sculptor of such decided promise, as to deserve the boldest and most impartial criticism. We hope some of ours will not be altogether useless to him.

INFLUENCE OF CHRISTIANITY ON THE FEMALE CHARACTER. There is one topic, intimately connected with the introduction and decline of Christianity, and subsequently with its revival in Europe, which the occasion strongly suggests, and which I cannot forbear briefly to touch upon. I allude to the new and more interesting character assumed by woman since those events.

In the heathen world, and under the Jewish dispensation, she was the slave of man. Christianity constituted her his companion. But, as our religion gradually lost ite power in the dark ages, she sunk down again to her deep moral degradation. The age of chivalry, indeed, exalted her to be an object of adoration: but it was a profane adoration, not founded upon the respect due to a being of immortal hopes and destinies as well as man. This high character has been conceded to her at. a later period, as she has slowly attained the rank ordained for her by Heaven. Although this change in the relation of woman to man, and to society, is both an evidence and a consequence of an improvement in the human condition, yet now her character is a cause operating to produce a still greater improvement. And if there be any one cause, to which we may look with more confidence than to others, for hastening the approach of a more perfect state of society, that cause is the elevated character of woman as displayed in the full developcment of all her moral and intellectual powers.

The influence of the female character is now felt and acknowledged in all the relations of her life. I speak not merely of those distinguished women, who instruct their age through the public press; nor of those whose devout strains we take upon our liuss

« AnteriorContinuar »