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I. Prevalence Ok Superstition. Terrors Instilled Into The Minds Of Children. Jack A' Lantern. Phosphorus. Reflection In A Concave Mirror.
Few persons will acknowledge themselves to be superstitious; but still fewer are those who are not, in some degree, under the influence of superstitious fears: for there is an almost universal apprehension of something supernatural. Those who laugh the loudest at the mention of ghosts and hobgoblins, will sometimes quicken their pace, if they hear an unusual sound in passing the church-yard at the gloomy hour of midnight, and even the calm and intellectual philosopher, whose reason spurns imaginary evils, may, at times, feel ashamed of himself, on finding that the imagination has gained a mastery over the judgment. The reason of the universal prevalence of these feelings is, in a great degree, to be found in impressions received in childhood. The tales of the nursery awaken a belief, which the future judgment may pronounce to be foolish, but the influence of which, in a greater or less degree, is felt through life. It is in childhood that we generally receive those impressions which future years are unable to erase, and it is a humiliating fact, that there is scarcely an individual who does not at times experience momentary inconveniences from feelings more or less tinctured by superstition; and there are multitudes who have an undoubting confidence in the reality of ghostly interference in mortal concerns.
Those who are not habituated to reflection, often retain undiminished till a dying hour, a belief in signs and omens which they were taught in childhood. Such persons do not question the truth of ideas instilled into their minds in earliest infancy, and to which their parents may have appealed, in their imbecile efforts to govern. How often has a child been told that unless he ceased crying, he should be shut up in a dark closet, where ghosts would come and get him? And what an indelible impression must such a threat produce upon the pliant mind? With the unreflecting, therefore, superstition is consequently strong, their minds not being sufficiently cultivated to throw off the load which has been imposed upon them. The better informed, who are accustomed to examine their feelings, and inquire into the grounds of their belief, emancipate their judgments from these unreal fears, but are generally through life in some degree under the control of such strong prejudices as were early inculcated. The belief in supernatural appearances, though less general than it was in former times, is still a subject upon which the minds of many persons require to be disabused.
Let us first consider some of those appearances which are unusual, and which to the uninformed seem supernatural, but which are capable of explanation from known principles of philosophy or natural science. The fireballs, usually known by the name of 'Jack with the Lantern,' or 'Will o' the Wisp,'-so often seen dancing over the marsh, produce great terror, and often serious injur)-. Now here there is no delusion. A person actually sees a light where there is no human being who bears it, and, not being acquainted with the chemical principles of inflammable gases and spontaneous combustion, concludes that it must be an apparition. In a few days, some accident may occur, or a neighbour may die, an event of which a superstitious person would convince himself that he had received a supernatural warning. The man conversant with natural science, on the contrary, would behold, in this appearance, no cause of fear, but rather an interesting natural phenomenon. An inflammable gas which oozes from the ground, is set on fire by spontaneous combustion; and a person acquainted with gases, might, by going to the marsh, fill a vessel with this gus, with which he could return to his house, and burn it there. But how is it set on fire, down in the marsh, where every thing is damp? It is well known that barns are frequently burnt in consequence of hay being put into them before it has been sufficiently dried. The damp hay inflames itself. In the same manner this gas, which is so very combustible, may take fire, and the innocent flickering of its feeble flame, send dismay through an ignorant and superstitious village.
The light frequently emitted by decayed wood is produced by a substance called phosphorus, a most useful substance when properly prepared for use by chemists. The light which it emits is so pale, that it cannot be •een in rlny-lifht, but is easily discernible in the night.
A person with a stick of phosphorus once wrote upon the wall of a friend's bed-chamber, 'This night thou must die.' The light of the lamp prevented his observing the light of the phosphorus; but as soon as the light was extinguished, the phosphoric effect flickered upon the wall. But he happened to be acquainted with the nature of phosphorus, laughed heartily at the attempted deception, and quietly fell asleep. The experiment, however, was hazardous and wicked, for an ignorant person, and one of sensitive nerves, might thus have received an irrecoverable shock.
Sir Walter Scott records the following instance of the application of philosophical principles in effecting a deception of a different kind. 'At a certain old castle, on the confines of Hungary, the lord to whom it belonged, determined upon giving an entertainment, worthy of his own rank, and of the magnificence of the antique mansion which he inhabited. The guests, of course, were numerous, and among them was a veteran officer of hussars remarkable for his bravery. When the arrangements for the night were made, this officer was informed that there would be difficulty in accommodating the whole of the company in the castle, large as it was, unless some one would sleep in a room supposed to be haunted; and as he was known to be above such prejudices, the apartment was proposed for his occupation, he being the person least likely to suffer a bad night's rest from such a cause. The major thankfully accepted the preference, and having shared the festivity of the evening, retired after midnight, denouncing vengeance against any one who should attempt to disturb his repose; a threat which his habits would, it was supposed, render him sufficiently ready to execute. The major went to bed, leaving his candle burning, and laid his pistols carefully loaded upon his bedside.
'He had not slept an hour, when he was awakened by a solemn strain of music. He looked out. Three ladies fantastically dressed in green, were seen at the lower end of the apartment, and they sung a solemn requiem. The major listened for some time with delight, but at length grew tired. "Ladies," said he, " this is very well, but somewhat monotonous, will you be so kind as to change the tune." The ladies continued singing. He expostulated, but the music was not interrupted. The major began to grow angry. "Ladies," he said, " I must consider this a trick, for the purpose of terrifying me, and as I regard it as an impertinence, I shall take a rough mode of stopping it." With that he began to handle his pistols. The ladies sung on. He then got seriously angry. "I will wait but five minutes," he said, " and then fire without hesitation." The song was still uninterrupted,—the five minutes were expired, "I still give you leave, ladies," he said, " while I count twenty." This produced as little effect as his former threats. He counted, one—two—three—accordingly, but on approaching the end of the number, and repeating, more than once, his determination to fire—the last numbers, seventeen—eighteen—nineteen—were pronounced with considerable pauses between, and an assurance that the pistols were cocked. The ladies sung on. As he pronounced the word twenty, he fired both pistols against the musical damsels—but the ladies sung on. The major, overcome by the unexpected inefficacy of his violence, had an attack of illness which lasted more than three weeks. The trick put upon him, may shortly be described by the fiict, that the female choristers were placed in an adjoining room—and that he only fired at their reflection, thrown forward into the chamber in which he slept, by the effect of a concave mirror.'
Here the plain and well-known laws of the reflection of light, account for the whole appearance. But suppose the deception had never been explained, what reasoning could ever have satisfied the man, that the room was not in reality haunted. It would have been one of the most conclusive ghost-stories, that ever was heard. Had he rose from the bed to investigate, the ladies would merely have withdrawn from before the mirror, and the apparition would have vanished; and by again resuming their place, as he laid down, the vision would again have appeared before him.
Sum up at night what thou hast done by day,
And in the morning what thou hast to do; Dress and undress thy soul, mark the decay
And growth of it: if with thy watch, that too He Qown, then wind up both; since we shall be Al0 6 surely judged, make thy accounts agree.—Herder i
No. III.—Splugen. Valley Of The Rhinwald. Vegetation In The Snowy Alps. Source Of The Rhine. Crossing The Alps. Lake Of Como.
After the fatigues of our journey from Wesen to the village of Splugen, we were in a right condition to enjoy the luxury of a comfortable repose. My surprise and regret, however, may be imagined, when, on the following morning, I perceived the rain pouring down in torrents- This was an event wholly unlooked for, but the only course that remained was to rise and take breakfast, and if the rain still continued, to stay and take dinner. This soon appeared to be the general will; and as Splugen is high among the snowy Alps, and has a very cold climate, we kept up cheerful fires, and were very happy in each other's society, the ladies congratulating themselves on the happy mischance of a thoroughly wet day. They had undergone much fatigue on the previous day; for during ten successive hours, they had been either jolted in that intolerably rough conveyance, the jaunting carts, without springs or cushions, or were sitting on the backs of mules, and they had eaten very little.
The engraving which accompanies this article, is a view of the valley called the Rhinwald, in which the village of Splugen is situated. This valley is enclosed by lofty mountains, covered with enormous glaciers; and this situation exposes it to frequent avalanches. It derives its name from the Hinter-Rhein, or Lower Rhine, which runs along it, and which has its source in the further extremity of the valley, at the great glacier of the Rhinwald, called the Moschelhorn. The elevation of the valley is very considerable, and the climate is cold. The winter lasts during nine months of the year; at the end of June the grass begins to grow, and the crops must be gathered in before the commencement of the month of September. Nevertheless, in the neighbourhood of Splugen, rlax is grown, and barley and peas ripen. But the gradual ascent of the valley from that village, causes a corresponding increase in the severity of the climate; and even small differences of elevation are sensibly marked in the vegetable productions, insomuch, that at the village of Hinter-Rhein, which is only 170 feet above the level of SDliigen, barley seldom comes to maturity.
I once made the attempt to push on with a guide to the head of the Rhine, where it flows from the Moschelhorn glacier; but the clouds so entirely and closely enveloped us, that independently of the inconvenience of getting so thoroughly drenched with rain, at a place where we had no means of changing our clothes, the journey would havo been very unprofitable, as we could see but a very few yards around us, and must actually have crawled up to the mouth of the glacier, to see the Hinter-Rhein issuing from it.
The weather cleared up a little during the latter part of the day, but it was then much too late to start; so that we were actually kept in doors throughout the whole day. As this was a new occurrence, and one quite unlooked for, we had time to talk over the past at our leisure, to scribble down our thoughts, and render more legible our notes, and to mend two or three slight rents in our garments.
When the next morning dawned, the rain was seen descending as before, in a steady continued heavy shower. But on this occasion no deliberation was required, it had never entered into our minds to stay at Splugen two days; and no weather wh!ch it was possible to face, would have induced us to do so. Besides, I had travelled sufficiently far to know, that if it rains on your side of the mountain, and you wish for fine weather, you had better pass on to the other side, and place the mountain at once between you and the clouds. It must be a very high wind that will carry them over such heights as the Splugen and the Moschelhorn. As soon, therefore, as breakfast was despatched, and the ladies properly habited for the occasion, and thoroughly protected from all possible chances of suffering from the rain, we started, trusting in about three hours to clear the ridge, and to descend amidst warmth and sunshine into the Italian vale of St. Giacomo.
Quitting the village of Splugen, we crossed the Rhine by a wooden bridge, and immediately began to ascend the mountain along a winding road, shut in by lofty rocks, and overhung by dark pines. We gained the narrow crest which forms its summit, whence the road rapidly descended to the Austrian Custom-house. The pass was occasionally very magnificent; and one frightful gorge, called the Kardinell, made a deep impression. It was by this route, that Macdonald, one of Buonaoarte't generals, led an army of reserve into Italy, towards the close of the year 1800.
The difficulties and dangers of crossing the mountains would have interrupted the passage at different times, had it not been for the perseverance of the general. He led in person the pioneers to the tracts of the road near the summit of the Spliigen, which were filled up and totally effaced by the drifted snow. He himself set the example of working to open a path, on the 5th of December, about two leagues from tho village of Spliigen, which was effected. This foremost party had not advanced far, when the path was again covered, and his grenadiers, sinking in the snow, began to believe that it was impossible to proceed further; for even the poles which were set up for marks, had been covered by the snow, which was still falling. But the general, at the head of the pioneers, himself examined the road, and animating all who were near him by his voice and example, at length conducted his troops through all the dangers of the Spliigen.
In a short time, our highest expectations were realized. No sooner had we reached Isola, than we lost sight of the clouds, and of all remembrance of them, and so different already was the temperature, that the extra cloaks and wrappers, which had recently been in such great request, were now found to be distressing incumbrances: so we halted, and very gladly deposited them again in the travelling-bags, and in high glee pursued our way to Chiavenna, where we engaged a car to Riva, and a boat with six rowers from Riva to Cadenobio, on the Lago diComo; we were, I believe, six hours on this, the most beautiful lake, perhaps, in the world. It was my first view of Italy; and a lovelier view, perhaps, never subsequently met my eye. The scenery on the banks was exquisite, and was every minute varying in kind, and increasing in beauty, as the boat passed on; first a village-church would open on the sight, then a promontory, then a bay tho air, besides, was clear, and warm, and bright; every thing glittered in the rays of such a sun, even the transparent waters of the lake sprinkled their little showers of light, when struck and scattered about by the boatmen's oars.
The inn of Cadenobio is a villa, placed on the very spot where the lake appears to have concentrated all its beauties; the garden-terrace rises from its waters, and we who had in the morning of this day been enveloped in clouds, and surrounded by mountains of snow, were now walking among myrtles, and pomegranates, and fig-trees, and orange-trees, in full flower and fruit; and looking on the magnificent scene before us, varying every instant its shadows and its hues, and made still more resplendent by the last rays of the setting sun. E. D. B.
.THERE IS A TONGUE IN EVERY LEAF.
A voice in every rill!
A tongue that's never still!
Through every thing we see,
Time and Eternity!
I see Him in the blazing sun,
And in the thunder-cloud;
When winds are raging loud.
By grateful earth betray'd;
The sunshine, and the shade.
_ In all things—darkness, light; Silence, and sound; but most of all, When slumber's dusky curtains fall,
I' the silent hour of night.
Whatever is glorious and excellent in the world, cannot be acquired without care and labour. No real good, no true happiness, is given to men upon any other terms.'
The object of Temperance Societies is to check the progress of intemperate drinking, as the most prolific cause of ruinous expenditure, guilt, and misery, and as presenting a most formidable obstacle to all moral improvement; the means which they employ, PerSuasion COMBINED WITH ASSOCIATED EXAMPLE.
However simple these means appear, they have effected a change of public opinion and custom which has awakened the attention of civilized nations.
The first European Temperance Society was established in 1829, at New Ross, in the South of Ireland; and others were early formed in the north of that island, and in Scotland. Their principles have been spread with much zeal and perseverance, and with most cheering success, among the manufacturing population of the north of England; Lancashire and Yorkshire alone, where the earliest efforts were made, containing above 30,000 members.
Above four hundred Temperance Societies and Associations have been formed in England, including the interesting islands of Guernsey, Jersey, and Man; the whole comprising more than 80,000 members.
Scotland, under the direction of the vigorous Committee of the Scottish Society, numbers about 400 Societies, and 54,000 members. In Ireland, notwithstanding numerous disadvantages and difficulties, about 20,000 persons have joined the standard of Temperance Societies.
The Canadas and other distant colonies are known to comprise several thousand members, making a total of more than 150,000 British subjects voluntarily engaged to abstain from distilled spirits, except as a medicine, and to discourage intemperance in general.
Temperance Societies are formed in Newfoundland, at Calcutta, and in Van Diemen's Land.
The Hottentots in the vicinity of tixe Cape of Good Hope, who were thought to be "beyond the reach of good example," take a lively interest in this reformation; and the inhabitants of the SocietyIslands of the Pacific have formed themselves into numerous and zealous Societies to deliver thennations from the curse of spirit-drinking.
The King of Sweden, though surrounded by noble distillers, has officially expressed his distinct approbation of Temperance Societies; and the Crown Prince takes an active interest in their proceedings.
The Government of Prussia has applied to the New York State Committee for a complete history of the temperance reformation, "and a sketch of the machinery necessary to be set in motion to enable Government to establish Temperance Societies throughout the kingdom of Prussia,"
The quantity of spirits which pay duty for home consumption in this kingdom, has more than doubled within a few past years. According to Parliamentary returns, made in 1833, it amounted to 25,982,494 gallops at proof, which, with the addition of onesixth for the reduction of strength by retailers, amounted to 13,429,331/. 5s. 10d.; and this sum does not include any part of the many millions of gallons known to be illicitly distilled, or imported without paying duty.
In the neighbourhood of our large towns, the habit of drinking spirits especially is found to be the chief source of misery among the poor. Dram-drinking offers to them a ready, though fatal oblivion of their sorrows; and thousands seek refuge from distress in this insidious indulgence, which obstructs all attempts to afford tnem substantial relief, and baffles exertions for *Wir raot^ and spiritual advancement. It destroys domestic happiness, and cuts off all hope of rising by industry and frugality to an honest independence.
The customs of principal towns rapidly extend to smaller places. Debasing habits of excess in beerdrinking too often prepare for the cheaper and readier excitement of spirits; and in many country towns of England, gorgeous gin-shops now glare among modest and useful trades, and thrive upon the want, and misery, and moral ruin which they spread around them. Four-fifths of all the crimes in our country have been estimated to be committed under the excitement of liquor. During the year 1833, 29,880 persons were taken into custody by the metropolitan police for drunkenness alone, not including any of the numerous cases in which assaults or more serious offences have been committed under the influence of drinking; and it should be observed, that this statement relates only to the suburbs of London, without any calculation for the thousands of cases which occurred in the city itself.
Our parochial expenses, which have been nearly doubled since 1815, are principally occasioned by excessive drinking. Of 143 inmates of a London parish workhouse, 105 have been reduced to that state by intemperance; and the small remainder comprises all the blind, epileptic, and idiotic, as well as all the aged poor, some of whom would also driuk to iiitoxication if opportunity offered.
More than one-half of the madness in our country appears to be occasioned by drinking. Of 495 patients admitted in four years into a lunatic asylum at Liverpool, 257 were known to have lost their reason by this vice.
The pecuniary interests of all temperate persons are deeply involved in this question. "Every drunkard knows well, while he is drinking himself, his wife, and his children to beggary, that the temperate must support him. He is as truly and certainly their heir as one of their own children; and, either at their door or in the workhouse, in the hospital or in the jail, they maintain him and his family."
The poor's rate and county rate, for England and Wales only, amount to 8,000,000/. The proportion of this expenditure occasioned by drinking, may be most safely estimated at two-thirds, say 5,333,333/.; which, added to the cost of spirits alone, 13,429,331/., gives the sum expended by this nation, in the last five years, on these two objects only, at 93,813,321/.; amounting, in only twenty years, to three hundred and seventy-five million pounds sterling; without including any computation for the enormous sums consumed in the abuse of wine and beer, the expenses of prosecutions, the injury done to our foreign trade, the loss of shipping, and the notorious destruction of property in various other ways.
It has been "an impression almost universal among the labouring classes, that ardent spirits, if not absolutely necessary, are of great use and importance, as a support during labour, and that, moderately used, they are a salutary, or at least an innocent stimulus;" and the custom of persons of better information, has confirmed an opinion so agreeable to our natural love of excitement.
Dr. John Ware created much sensation in North America, by publicly declaring, that no impression "can be more unfounded, no opinion more fatally false, than that which attributes to spirituous liquors any power of promoting bodily strength, or supporting the system under labour or fatigue. Experience has in all quarters most abundantly proved the contrary. None labour so constantly, so cheerfully, and -with so little exhaustion, as those who entirely
abstain; none endure so well hardships and exposure, the inclemency of the weather, and the vicissitude of season."
The public attention being called to the subject, a mass of medical evidence to the same effect was readily collected; and several hundred physicians and surgeons, including some of the most eminent practitioners, have publicly declared, that so far from spirits affording any nourishment, the entire disuse of them would powerfully contribute to the health and comfort of the community.
The testimony of eminent medical men proves that distilled spirits "often bring on fatal diseases without producing drunkenness; that many persons have been destroyed by them, who were never completely intoxicated in their lives;" and that madness in its most awful form, "has occurred to persons rarely or never known to be intoxicated."
Public admonitions against excess, and private entreaties to moderation, in the use of these dangerous liquors, have been tried for centuries, in vain. Moderation has produced appetite, and appetite excess; and the evil has become enormous. If, indeed, it can be proved, that not any nourishment is contained in the flood of distilled spirits which we yearly consume at the expense of so many millions, wrung chiefly from the wages of the labourer and the mechanic, and from the hard fare and scanty clothing of their families; if it can be proved that they excite to exertion only by inflaming the imagination,—that they add strength to the sufficiently fierce temptations of our corrupt nature, while they blunt and obliterate the affections and feelings which distinguish man from the inferior creation; if, on examination, it is evident that spirit drinking is closely connected with abuse of the Sabbath, and contempt of religious institutions, and that it presents one of the most serious obstructions to the progress of the gospel of truth,—the Christian, who seeks not his own profit merely, will not long hesitate whether he is at liberty to apply to the use of these ■ dangerous liquids, the rule of abstinence which a great apostle recommends with regard to things in themselves lawful, and even useful and desirable, but which circumstances render inexpedient as occasions of stumbling or weakness to others.
The proposed means of reformation are not doubtful, complex, and theoretical; they are harmless and simple, and have proved efficacious beyond expectation.
Temperance Societies consist of persons of both sexes, and of all ranks, who are convinced that it is their duty, for their neighbours' sake, as well as their own, to abtain from distilled spirits. They are not persons bound by a reluctant vow to abstain from that in which they wish to indulge; they simply express their present conviction and determination, rejoicing to give to others whatever advantage and encouragement may arise from their example.
It is in every man's power to assign proper portions of his life to the examination of the rest, by putting himself frequently in such a situation, by retirement and abstraction, as may weaken the influence of external objects. Every man deeply engaged in business, if all regard to another state be not extinguished, must have the conviction, though perhaps, not the resolution of Valdesso, who, when he solicited Charles the Fifth to dismiss him, being asked, whether he retired upon disgust, answered, that ho laid down his commission for no other reason, but because, "there ought to be some time for sober reflection, between the life of a soldier and his death."
When a man owns himself to have been in error, it is but telling you, in other words, that he is wiser than he was.
A Singular power was possessed by the Lord of the manor of Halifax, in Yorkshire, from time immemorial to the year 1650, for the trial and execution of any felon taken within the Forest of Hardwiok. This custom, known by the name of The Gibbet Law, took cognizance of all thefts of the value of thirteen-pence halfpenny and upwards; and the severity with which it was carried into execution at Halifax, and the rigour with which vagrancy was visited at Hull, became notorious, and gave rise to a common, but profanely expressed petition.
Whenever a felon was apprehended, he was committed to the custody of the Lord of the Manor's Bailiff, who kept the gaol, had the keeping of the gibbet-axe, and also officiated at times as the executioner. The bailiff then summoned a jury, which was selected "out of the most wealthy and best reputed men, for honesty and understanding," in four of the many Townships into which the Liberty is divided.
These jurors, sixteen in number, were not put upon oath, nor do their duties appear to have been difficult, merely consisting of an identification of the goods, that they were of such a value as to bring them within the law, and an ascertainment that the offender had been taken either hand habend, in the act of stealing; back berand, carrying off the stolen property; or confessand, by confession. Before this assembly, the accuser and accused were brought face to face, the thing stolen produced to view, and the prisoner acquitted or condemned according to evidence. If the party accused was acquitted, he was directly set at liberty on paying the fees; if condemned, he was either immediately executed, if it was the principal market-day, or kept till then, in order to strike the greater terror into the neighbourhood. After every execution, the coroners of the county, or some of them, were obliged to repair to the town of Halifax, and there summon a jury of twelve men before them, (and sometimes the same persons who condemned the felon,) and admi
nister an oath to them, to give in a true and perfect verdict relating to the matter of fact for which the said felon was executed, to the intent that a record might be made thereof in the Crown-Office.
When the party accused was condemned, he was to be executed; if his condemnation took place on the Saturday, he was immediately led to the block; if on the Monday, he would be kept three market-days, but upon this point it does not appear that the law is clearly understood. When brought to the gibbet, he was to have his head cut off from his body.
This gibbet stood on an elevated plot of ground, a short distance at that day from the town; the place is still called Gibbet Hill; it is surrounded by a wall, ascended by steps; and an oblong block of stone marks the site of decapitation. On this elevation were placed two upright pieces of timber, five yards in height, joined at the top by a transverse beam; within these was a square block of wood four feet and a half in length, which moved up and down between the uprights, by means of grooves. In the lower end of this sliding block, an iron axe was fastened, which is yet to be seen at the gaol in Halifax, and which certainly ought to be deposited in the increasing Museum of the Philosophical Society of the town. Its weight is 7 pounds 12 ounces, length 10J inches, 7 inches over at the top, and nearly 9 at the bottom; towards the top are two holes, for the purpose of fastening it to the block. The axe, thus fixed, was drawn up to the top by means of a cord and pulley, and at the end of the cord was a pin, which being fixed either to the side of the scaffold or some other part below, kept it suspended, till either by pulling out the pin or cutting the cord, it was suffered to fall, and the criminal's head was instantly severed from his body. It is said, that if the offender was to be executed for stealing an ox, sheep, horse, or any other animal, the end of the rope was fastened to the beast, which being driven away, pulled out the pin. If the execution was not done by a beast, the bailiff or his servant cut the rope.
The bailiff, jurors, and minister chosen by the prisoner, were always on the scaffold with him. The fourth psalm was played round the scaffold on bagpipes, after which the minister prayed with him, till he underwent the fatal stroke.
The origin of this custom is hidden in its antiquity; the power to exercise it was kept up at Halifax for a considerable time after it had expired in every other part of the kingdom, and it is probable it would not then have ceased, had not the bailiff been threatened, after the last execution, A.d. 1650, that if ever he attempted the like again, he should be called to public account for it.
The number of executions carefully collected from the Parish Register, from the year 1541 to 1650, was forty-nine,—one almost every two years; certainly very many considering the smallness of the jurisdiction, (not the whole of the present parish,) and the sensitiveness of the population at that period. But the manufacturing system was then in its infancy in that neighbourhood, and required strict protection. It may be, perhaps, a question not unworthy the consideration of the casuist, how far the wild and mountainous district of Halifax may be indebted for its present wealth and consequence to the severity of its Gibbet Law. H.