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UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE COMMITTEE OF GENERAL LITERATURE AND EDUCATION, APPOINTED BY THE SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE.
SCREEN.—WESTMINSTER ABBEY. Westminster Abbey has been justly said to be part of the Constitution, and it is impossible that an Englishman tan walk through the aisles of that majestic building, without being impressed by its grandeur, and without a feeling of pride that he belongs to a country, which contains so noble a temple, and so rich a sepulchre.
Those "walls, where speaking marbles show What worthies form the hallow'd mould below: Proud names, who once the reins of empire held; In arms who triumph'd, or in arts excell'd; Chiefs graced with scars, and prodigal of blood; Stern patriots, who for sacred freedom stood; Just men, by whom impartial laws were given. And Saints, who taught, and led the way to Heaven. It is not our present purpose to give any general description* of this edifice, but to confine ourselves to a notice of the beautiful Choir Screen represented in the accompanying print, and which has been recently executed under the direction of Mr. Blore, at the expense of the Dean and Chapter of the Church. The Screen of a Cathedral, dividing the nave and choir, as the present one, is a prominent and important feature, as, from the mam western entrance, the eye almost immediately rests upon it. In some of our cathedrals, (York, for instance,) the choir screen is of most elaborate sculpture, and the good taste of the present age, has removed from several of our churches the barbarous additions introduced in the days of James the First, and of successive monarchs; and has replaced them with ornaments, which harmonize with the general character of the buildings in which they are placed.
The late Screen in Westminster Abbey, was of modern date, and was probably erected either by, or under the direction of Mr. Keene, Surveyor of the Works, about the year 1775; (at which time the choir was fitted up much in the state it now appears,) and as our readers will recollect, it accorded but little with the beauty of the fabric.
The present Screen is divided into three highly ornamented arches, with trefoil heads.
The centre one, which forms the entrance into the Choir, is distinguished from the side arches by a pediment enclosing rich tracery. The two side arches form recesses, containing the monuments of Sir Isaac Newton, and James, the first Earl Stanhope. Both these monuments were designed by Kent, and executed by Rysbrack, and in their design, they possess a general uniformity.
It may be questioned, how far monuments ornamented with sarcophagi, recumbent statues, &c, are suited to a Screen like this, but as the architect found them so placed, he had no alternative but to set them otf to the best advantage, and this he has managed most successfully. Between the arches, and at the angles of the Screen, are placed bold and lofty turrets, in niches on the fronts and sides of which are placed, under canopies, furi-lcugth figures of Edward the Confessor and his Queen, the founders of the Church; and of Henry the Third and Edward the First, and their respective Queens, by whom it was rebuilt. A great addition has recently been made to the effect of this Screen, by a new organ-case of corresponding design, executed in oak by Mr. Francis Ruddle of Peterborough, erected also at the expense of the Dean and Chapter, from the designs of the same architect; but the limits of our work have prevented our representing the whole instrument in connexion with the Stone Screen, to which it forms a most appropriate appendage. II. M.
• At an early opportunity, a Supplemtntary Kumber will be devoted to this subject.
LOAN FUNDS. No. III. With the wish to convey auy information that seems likely to lead to the improvement of the condition and comforts of the humbler classes, we return to this subject. Two former papers on Loan Funds, supplied by an intelligent gentleman, will be found in another part of the Saturday Magazine*. We again quote his observations.
Supposing that the advantages of the proposed plan were thought real and substantial, a beginning might be made with a very trifling sum, as the repayment of the loan by weekly instalments produces, during the year, a very large amount to be circulated as capital. Each pound must be repaid in the course of twenty weeks, and the sum brought in every week, by way of instalment, may be lent out the same day, and produce a new available income. So extensive is the pecuniary power of the system, that an original sum of £ 100 would circulate above £500 a year, to be diffused among those classes to whom such assistance is most valuable. And should only a much smaller sum be attainable'!*, there is no reason that the endeavour should not be commenced, as a person devoting even £20 to the object, in the circle of a small village or unfrequented district, would circulate loans to the amount of £ 100 a year, which, in some places, might be all that is needed. When the plan is once begun, its utility appears so evident, that, in general, there is no want of adequate subscriptions.
Information mi<:ht then be given in the neighbourhood, either by printed notices, or in any other way which may seem fit, that the industrious poor will receive the aid of loans, for approved purposes, on adequate security, by application to the Managers of the Loan Fund, at a specified time and place.
On application being made for a loan, the first point would be to ascertain diligently the condition of the applicant, and the object for which the money is wanted. Nono should be allowed to borrow, who are not so circumstanced in pecuniary affairs as to render them fit objects of such assistance, the funds not being intended to advance tho condition of those already well off, but to prevent persons from falling into extreme distress, and to give a help towards the exertion of industry. The same principle is to be held in view, whether the money is supplied altogether gratuitously, or whether a small interest is charged: gain for themselves, in neither case, being obtained or desired by the supporters of the institution.
Neither should loans be made to those whose object is merely to deal or sell again, without their being able to prove themselves under particular circumstances of need. Disregard to this point would encourage idle traffic, and deprive the general trader of his fair profits.
Nor should any one obtain assistance whose habits are marked by idleness, drunkenness, dishonesty, or any other notorious faults—for three reasons—first, because this way of expending the money would deprive the poor and industrious of that which was intended for their special use; secondly, because it would defeat one of the chief objects of the fund, viz. the encouragement of good conduct; and, thirdly, because the interest of the securities should not bo overlooked; and none ought to obtain relief, who very probably would become delimiters.
Strict inquiries should also be made from the applicant, as to his means of future weekly repayment, as no borrower should obtain a second loan till the whole of the former was repaid: fair warning should also be given him against borrowing without these means, and the necessity of punctuality strongly enforced.
These various points should bo strictly looked to; anil though individual cases of apparent hardship may occur, and cases in which the personal feelings of the managers would induce them to relax, yet the general good, and tho stability of the fund, require no small degree of strictness and caution. No denial need cause pain or injury, if
* See Saturday Magazine, Vol. III., pp. 94, 198.
t M. F. tie Fellenberg described to the writer a species of Juvenile Loan Fund of the most pleasing and usefid character, which was carried on by the pupils of Ins father's school at Ilofwyl. They subscribed their money till a sufficient sum had l>een colltclfd to buy a flock of goats and sheep, which they temporarily loot to any distressed families, to supply them with the milk of those animals, which forms a main article of sustenance in that neighbourhood. This example might serve as an encouragement to tho youug, or to those who have but little means at their command.
attended by kindness of manner, and a proper explanation of the reason of the refusal.
To facilitate the necessary inquiries respecting the borrower and the security, and to arrive at the truth, the assistance of the Parochial Clergyman, or some other constant resident intimately acquainted with the neighbourhood, is desirable, or rather indispensable.
The first and most obvious ground of opposition, on proposing such an establishment, arises from a suspicion that money lent will not be repaid. Such an opinion sometimes proceeds from too low an estimate of the character of the poor; sometimes from a knowledge, if not personal experience, of losses to which the charitable and humane have been subject, from having made loans in their private capacity without being repaid. That such losses frequently occur there is no doubt, but the case is quite altered in a fund attended by publicity, strict rules, and all nocessary precautions. On inquiry, ample evidence of this will be found in different parts of the country, and in neighbourhoods of diversified local character. Should any losses of importance occur, they may always be attributable to errors of management, avoidable without difficulty. The Derry Fund (mentioned before, in a quotation from the l'arliamentary Reports), is a most striking instance, among many others, of exact and punctual repayment, continued for a long series of years. It is there directly stated, that the sum lent, and put in circulation, had amounted to £27,300. On this sum the loss, by default of payment, has not exceeded £7. 1». Here is positive and authorized evidence, quite sufficient for the case. Other establishments of the kind might bo mentioned, where nothing whatsoever has been lost; and though it must be expected that accident or misfortune must cause an occasional defalcation on the part of the borrower, yet, with duo precaution as to securities, no losses of any consequence need be incurred from the original amount subscribed. Incredibly seldom is it requisite to call upon the securities for repayment; and unless grossly blinded by personal interest, as well as indifferent to their reputation in a matter of much publicity, they will immediately acquiesce in the justice and necessity of the demand. If accepted with tolerable judgment, they will feci themselves bound, both by principle and promise, to adhere strictly to the rules in which they voluntarily acquiesce, and will pay the sum due with perfect readiness.
Some have also conceived that a Fund of this kind encourages a pernicious habit of borrowing.
As to the habit of borrowing, there is no doubt that such a habit is injurious in itself, speaking in a general way, and without qualification; but that borrowing for the purposes here specified is injurious, is by no means apparent. Every thing depends on the object for which people borrow, with their capacity for applying the money well: and. the question comes to this, whether the poorer "•lasses are to do without capital at all, (the most usual case,)—to borrow it on terms exceedingly ruinous—or to obtain it for proper objects, by means of their wealthier neighbours.
Some have also maintained that the prospect of being able to obtain a loan will foster idleness and improvidence, but the very contrary is the result, as no one has the least prospect of meeting assistance, who does not maintain in habitual character for industry. If space admitted, strong facts and testimonials might be produced on this part of the question.
Others also have asserted that the system gives an undue advantage to those who receive loans over those who do not, and places the command of money in the hands of those who otherwise would be unable to obtain it. This is undoubtedly and completely true, but none should make it an objection, except those who are ready to maintain and support the propriety of witholding all aid however cautiously applied, and all pecuniary assistance from the rich to the poor. The great fallacy of those who adopt the idea, of its being advantageous that there should be a sparing, instead of an abundant communication of worldly goods, from those who have thern to those who have them not, lies in their begging the question that those who give and communicate amply are less likely to do it with care, caution, and vigilance, than those who communicate sparingly, whereas the very reverse is generally the fact, as the very feeling of duty which makes people give, will make them examine how they give.
The possibility of an improper use being made of the loan, is sometime* another source of objection; but the
smallness of the sum to be obtained by any one person, and the number of observers interested in a judicious management of the finances, will, it is hoped, prevent such occurrences. It has also been observed, that the management of such an extensive concern would require too much time and trouble: but the attention of two persons during two hours in the week is sufficient for the direction even of a very extensive Fund.
It may be well to mention a few facilities which attend this mode of bettering the condition of the poor.
Pecuniary contributions are required but once, as after the first establishment, the plan requires no additional Funds for its maintenance.
There is a very trifling cost for setting up; perhaps thirty shillings or two pounds for a book of accounts, and a set of tickets to last for several years.
The money remains unconsumed, should it please the subscribers to apply it at any future time to another purpose.
Extensive assistance and co-operation, though manifestly most desirable, are not absolutely requisite, either in reference to money or time; as though in all probability there would be an ample and useful demand for a fund, however large, yet a fund, however small, will he of proportionate utility.
The plan here described, is not one of those grand and captivating schemes, which are daily put forth and rapidly forgotten. Many establishments of these humble and retired pretensions are at present in operation. The object of the writer has been merely to set before those, who are willing to make the experiment in their own district, a plan which may facilitate their object, and supply practical hints for their adoption. Fur from interfering with, or superseding any other manner of assisting the poor, as by Savings' Banks, Benefit Societies, &e. &c, a proper system of Loans will be found a powerful auxiliary towards carrying many other useful designs into permanent and complete effect.
Although the plan of a Loan Fund has in general been highly successful, yet improvements will naturally suggest themselves to the reader, together with various adaptations according to local circumstances. Perhaps the statements here thrown together may induce some more competent persons to turn their minds to the necessity of assisting the poorer classes, by some such means On a more extensive scale. T.
A Golden Example.—Edward Richards, aged G8, the father of six children, the son of a poor man, and the youngest of eleven children, has resided in Cirencester parish fifty-two years, and during the early part of his life was a common labourer. About thirty-five years ago he agreed with a farmer to clear out and improve an acre of rough quarry-land, on condition of having it three years rent free, and then give it up to the owner. On this unpromising spot, he and his wife expended their surplus labour to such advantage, that, during these three years, he cleared 40/. He then purchased two acres of then poor land, for which he gave 80/. These two acres are now, and have long been, in a highly productive state. Soon after he entered on the cultivation of this land, he raised, in one year, seven quarters of wheat from it, and he had refused one hundred guineas for it. He has now been lord of this little manor for thirty-two years. By the kind oflices of a worthy medical gentleman, who had attended him when unwell, he obtained from Earl Bathurst seventy-five perches of poor, waste, unproductive land, subject to be overflowed with water, at a quit-rent of 10s. per annum. This spot, which the writer of this has seen, he has possessed about thirty years, and has brought it to a state of value and productiveness that must be seen to be rightly appreciated. For the last ten years, this lalwrious and industrious man has rented five or six acres of land, besides the two plots already referred to; and during that period has kept two, and sometimes three cows, as also sheep, pigs, &c.; and it may not be uninteresting, in these times, to state, that he has been long a rate-payer, but never a rate-receiver. In short, by honest industry, sobriety, and good conduct, he is a man of substance, an independent Englishman, respectable and respected: and the writer, with feelings of sincere pleasure, remarked that he set a high value on what it was never his good fortune to possess, a sound and useful education.—Labourers' friend Society's Xlayazine.
No. II. The Battle Of Assaye; Its Cause, And Consequences. We sometimes read in history of great victories achieved over large armies, by forces quite insignificant in point of numbers and physical strength, when compared with the hosts which they have vanquished; and, in all such cases, the moral superiority of the conquerors never fails to excite our highest admiration and respect. Of this kind is the celebrated battle of Assaye, which forms the subject of illustratration in the first compartment of the border of the Wellington Shield, and which it is our task now to describe.
Amongst the many native powers which ruled in the peninsula of Hindoostan at the commencement of the present century, one of the most formidable was that known by the name of theMAHRATTA EmPire. This power exhibited the curious anomaly of a confederacy of princes, all independent of each other,—all rendering a nominal allegiance to one common ruler, whom they invested with the title and dignities of king, yet whom they debarred from the enjoyment of any real power,—and all submitting to the executive authority of an hereditary supreme magistrate, called the Peishwah.
The Mahratta tribes were first formed into a nation between the years 1660 and 1670 by Sevajee, who raised up for himself a powerful monarchy, which he transmitted to his decendants after him. These continued to maintain the authority of their ancestor, under the title of Rajahs of Sattarah, until the middle of the last century, when the reigning king was persuaded to renounce his kingly power, and sanction all the Peishwah's measures, on certain conditions. These conditions were not kept, and the unhappy prince was imprisoned in a dungeon, where he soon pined away and died. His descendants succeeded regularly to his title and his captivity, while the Peishwah as constantly retained the real power of the government. In his intercourse with them, indeed, he strictly observed every form and ceremo
nial of respect; and, on his accession to office, always received the dress of honour from the Rajah, who was thus strangely enough at once his sovereign and his prisoner.
Since the first establishment of the Mahratta power, it had always been the policy of the English in India to maintain a friendly intercourse with the supreme head of that nation; and when the formidable and inveterate enmity of the native princes, Hyder Aly and his son Tippoo Saib, threatened to destroy the British dominion in India, a new treaty of alliance was concluded with the Peishwah.
Notwithstanding, however, this apparent amity, the Mahrattas carried on a secret correspondence with Tippoo, and, after his death, endeavoured to excite his family to oppose the arrangements which were made for the settlement of the Mysore country. The Peishwah himself had in his turn been supplanted by Scindiah, a rival prince, and at this time possessed merely a nominal authority. The supremacy of this chieftain was, however, contested by an active competitor, named Holkar, and the result was a war between them. The Peishwah was, of course, compelled to aid Scindiah; but when the approach of Holkar had somewhat diminished his fear of that chief, he seized the opportunity of proposing an alliance to the British government, which should enable him to regain his lost authority. The proposal was accepted, and Scindiah was invited to become a party to it; but before any arrangement could be entered into, the hostile armies engaged in battle. Holkar was victorious, and the Peishwah took refuge in Bombay, leaving his capital in the possession of the conqueror. In this state of things, it appeared to the British Governors of Madras and Bombay, that they ought to take immediate steps to bring about the restoration of the Peishwah. A detachment of troops was accordingly ordered to advance into the Mahratta territory, under the command of Major-General Wellesley (now the Duke of Wellington), who was thought to be peculiarly qualified for the service, because of his local knowledge of the country, and his personal influence among its inhabitants.
The fugitive Peishwah was quickly reinstated at Poonah, which Holkar had quitted on the approach of the British force. His old protector, Scindiah, had in the mean time collected a large army, avowedly for the purpose of opposing Holkar, and avenging the late defeat. But the enmity of the rivals soon subsided, and merged in a common hostility to the British, in which they were joined by another native prince, the Rajah of Bcrar. Several unsuccessful attempts were made to effect negotiations with the confederates, and their designs becoming at length apparent, the Marquis Wellesley, then GovernorGeneral of India, instantly concerted vigorous measures for their suppression. A campaign was planned on a scale of magnitude never before contemplated by any European in India; and the command of one of the armies employed was given to General Wellesley,
The great difficulty which Europeans have to encounter in Indian warfare, is that arising from the predatory plan of operations adopted by the native troops, who constantly disappear before the advance of a disciplined enemy, and strive to the utmost, to avoid being drawn into an open battle. Hyder Aly well knew the advantages of this mode, and he practised it with success. An English commander, weary of pursuing him, once wrote him aletter, in which he pointed out how disgraceful it was for a prince like himself, at the head of a large army, to fly before the small force of his opponents. "Give me," replied Hyder, "the same sort of troops that you command, and your wish for battle shall be gratified. You will understand my mode of war in time. Shall I risk my cavalry which cost a thousand rupees each horse, against your cannon-balls that cost two pice? No; I will march your troops till their legs swell to the size of their bodies. You shall not have a blade of grass nor a drop of water. I shall hear of you every time your drum beats, but you shall not know where I am once a month. I will give your army battle, but it must be when I please, and not when you desire it."
General "Wellesley was aware of the disposition of the Indian geuerals to act upon this policy, and he took his measures accordingly. On the 21st of September, he joined Colonel Stevenson, who was stationed at Budnapoor with 8000 men; and at this time the whole Mahratta army was strongly posted about Bokerdun. It consisted of about 38,500 cavalry, 10,500 regular infantry, 500 matchlock-men, and 500 rocket-men, with 190 pieces of ordnance. In addition to this force, Scindiah had an advanced party of a few thousand well-trained Mahratta horse, dispersed through the Adjuntee hills, which separated him from the British army.
A plan of operations was immediately arranged, and General Wellesley moved off by the eastern road round these hills, while Colonel Stevenson marched by the western route, so as to leave no way of escape open for the enemy to pass to the southward. When the general reached the ground of encampment which he had intended to occupy, on the 23 rd, he found himself not more than five or six miles from the Mahratta army. From certain intelligence, he inferred the intention of the enemy to escape, and he, therefore, resolved to attack them at once, without waiting for Colonel Stevenson. He accordingly moved forward, and found them encamped between the Kaitna and the Juah, two rivers which run nearly parallel toward the point of their junction. Their line extended along the north bank of
the Kaitna; the banks of this river are high and rocky, and the only passage practicable for guns the enemy had taken care to occupy. Their right was composed wholly of cavalry; and their cannon and infantry, which were the particular object of the British commander, were on their left, near the fortified village of Assaye. The handful of British troops which was now advancing down on this formidable array, did not exceed 4500 men, but the general sentiment was that of their commander, "They cannot escape us."
Crossing the river beyond the enemy's left, he drew up his infantry between the rivers, in two lines, and leaving his cavalry as a reserve in a third, advanced to attack the flank of his opponents. His intention was perceived, and the enemy, changing the disposition of his infantry and guns, instantly opened a heavy cannonade, the execution of which is described as terrible. The picquets on the English right suffered particularly; their guns were disabled and their bullocks killed. The moment was critical, and a large body of Mahratta horse seized the opportunity to charge the thinned ranks of their opponents; but they were bravely repelled, and the order was given for the advance of the British cavalry. "The 19th light dragoons," says Captain Grant Duff, •" who only drew 360 swords, received the intimation with one loud huzza! Accompanied by the 4th native cavalry, who emulated their conduct throughout this arduous day, the 19th passed through the broken but invincible 74th regiment, whose very wounded joined in cheering them as they went on, cut in and routed the horse, and dashed on at the infantry and guns. The British infantry pressed forward, the enemy's first line gave way, fell back on their second, and the whole were forced into the Juah, at the point of the bayonet. As the British line advanced, they passed many of the enemy, who either appeared to have submitted, or lay apparently dead. These persons rising up, turned their guns on the rear of the British line, and after the more important points of the victory were secured, it was some time before the firing thus occasioned could be silenced. The enemy's horse hovered round for some time, but when the last body of infantry was broken, the battle was completely decided, and ninety-eight pieces of cannon remained in the hands of the victors."
Scarcely ever was there a victory gained against so many disadvantages; besides the general disparity of numbers, the enemy had disciplined troops in the field under European officers, who more than doubled the British force; and they had an overwhelming artillery, which was served with perfect skill, and dreadful effect. Nor was there ever one more complete, or more bravely achieved; stores, ammunition, camp-equipage, bullocks and camels, standards and cannon, were left upon the field, and abandoned to the conquerors.
The effect of the defeat was evinced in the proposals which it caused to be made by the enemy. One of Scindiah's ministers wrote to request that General Wellesley would send a British officer to his master's camp, for the purpose of negotiating terms of peace. But they soon resumed their treacherous and evasive policy, and not until the combined army had, in a great measure, been destroyed, would its leaders submit to any reasonable conditions.
The brilliancy of this victory was justly estimated, both in India and at home. The Governor-General expressed his high and cordial approbation of the magnanimity, promptitude, and judgment of Major General Wellesley, whose conduct, he rightly observed