« 上一頁繼續 »
shorn of their tallowy beams, one would conceive a high respect for them from the exclusive plurality of their lights. But look at them in broad day, cut them off from their lanterns, and they are poor benighted creatures; they are as bright as glow-worms by night, but very maggots by day. It has been beautifully observed by a profound philosopher, that every thing has its advantage, that there is no evil without some good, and other fine things to the same tune, which I have hoarded in my mind in the coarse of my reading, but do not care to quote, lest I should appear pedantic; and certain it is that these notable truths are illustrated in Guernsey in a most remarkable manner, for it has resulted from the aristocratical distinction I have described, that Guernsey excels the whole world in the article of lanterns. The Sixty's are for the most part poor creatures, but their lanterns are of a goodly bigness, and the two candles therein are proportioned to their roomy receptacles. The Fortys, though restricted to one light, though groaning under the tyranny of Sixty ascendancy, and declared incapable of holding two candles in one lantern, are allowed to go to any reasonable size in their lanterns, and I do not observe that they differ in magnitude from those of the Sixtys. Indeed, it is a point of prudence with the Fortys not to attempt to aggrandize their lanterns, for such an ambition would but render the invidious unity of candle the more glaring. As matters are ordered, however, Guernsey is the island of lanterns; and Forty emancipation, which would take off the restriction on lights, and leave men free to burn as many candles as seemed good to them, would strike a death blow to the manufacture of the only article for which this proud little place is distinguished. I have submitted this account of the Guernsey lanterns solely for the benefit of Mr. Estcourt, as he may derive some useful hints from it in the framing of a Lantern Act.
16th.--According to the old saying, a man's character may be discerned from his company; his newspaper is now-a-days perhaps as good an indication. One may form a pretty shrewd guess of a man from his choice of a paper. The Times is read by sober men of business; the Chronicle by philosophers and reformers; the New Times by parsons; the Representative by nobody; the Post by gentlemen's butlers and ladies' maids; the Globe hy men of taste; the Morning Herald by blockheads. This last paper very aptly represents the ignorance and vulgarity of the country. It is written by ignorance and vulgarity for ignorance and vulgarity, and its nonsense suits the nonsense of a very large elass so exactly, that it is a popular journal, and enjoys an extensive cireulation. This being the case, it is very naturally enlisted in the great cause of ignorance by which it flourishes, and opposed to the diffusion of education and the intellectual improvement of the many. To-day I observe an article in the Herald which I copy as a sort of curiosity, appearing as it does in the nineteenth century, and in a newspaper circulating in the most enlightened city of this superlatively enlightened country.
We cannot see why there should be such a fashion for thrusting education down the throats of the poor people. Education is an admirable thing, no doubt, and ought to be more highly appreciated than to give it to all those who are doomed to earn their bread by the sweat of their brow. Few men arise in the course of a century who are born with the capability of using education beyond a certain sphere of mediocrity. How few such men are there in the world who, like Shakspeare, Lord Bacon, Pope, and others, are able to use education to any particular beneficial effect! Besides, is it not getting the great mass of the people out of their sphere, to educate them in reading, writing, and casting accounts? Of what use, we ask, is it to give a knowledge of arithmetic to a man who has a wise and a family of half-a-dozen children, and who is doomed by Providence to work from four o'clock in the morning till ten o'clock at night, and after all cannot earn more than eighteen-pence a day? Of what use, we repeat, is arithmetic to him ?-he has no accounts to keep : his accounts are kept for him at the chandler's shop : as soon as he gets his money on a Saturday night, he takes it to the chandler's shop or to the public-house, and parts with it almost as soon as he receives it. Besides this, what time can such a man give to reading and writing? for so wearied is he with the labours of the day, that his only happiness must be the getting to bed as soon as possible, and falling fast asleep. Of what use is it to any one of the weaving class, for instance, to be able to read, write, and cast accounts, since he is obliged to work from four o'clock in the morning till ten o'clock at night, in a damp cellar, without, perhaps, a bit of fire in bad times, for a sum not exceeding one shilling, or at most not exceeiling eighteenpence a day. There is an immense number of people in this condition in the United Kingdom. In Ireland there is a very large number whose earnings do not exceed threepence or four-pence a day. We cannot conceive of what use it can be for Mr. Brougham or Sir John Newport to be attempting to give education to people placed in such circumstances? It appears always to have been part of the system of Providence that a great mass of the human species should be possessed of little or nothing, that they should be doomed to lead their lives in a slavish manner, in order to the production of agricultural, manufacturing, and other commodities. We cannot conceive why attempts should be made to alter the apparent organization of things. Where there is one man like Mr. Brougham, who has risen by means of great natural powers and self-education probably to his present high situation, there are millions who can never expect to do any such thing, however enlarged may be their education ; or if they could, there would not be situations for them to fill. But let us suppose that all his domestic servants were as well educated as Mr. Brougham himself, what would be the consequence! He would probably be obliged to perform the domestic offices himself, unless he were able to procure other servants. But if the whole world be educated on the same principle, people would probably be obliged to do every thing themselves, even to cleaning their own boots, knives, and forks, and making their own beds.
It is very plain that the sapient Editor of the Morning Herald is not one of the few men “ like Shakspeare, Lord Bacon, Pope, and others, who are able to use education to any particularly beneficial effect.” But though they use no education in the Morning Herald, I cannot but think that the great mass of the people would find their advantage in knowing how to read, write, and cast accounts. The Editor of the Herald, however, is of a different opinion, and asks,“ Of what use is arithmetic to a labourer ? He has no accounts to keep,” quoth the scribe,“ his accounts are kept for him at the chandler's shop.”. It is very natural that the Editor of the Herald, who has been in trade, should approve of this method of keeping accounts, which, being all on one side, leaves the poor purchaser at the mercy of the petty shopkeeper; but most people will be inclined to think that the labourer would not be the loser if he had sufficient skill in arithmetic to keep his own accounts, as a check on the chandler's-shop score, which is, I should apprehend, not always kept for him with the most accurate arithmetic, or the most scrupulous honesty.
But, according to this intelligent scribe, education is not only useless to working people, whose accounts are kept for them, but it actually delivers them, in some way or other, which is unhappily not explained, from the necessity of working. “If Mr. Brougham's servants were as well educated as himself,"twaddles the Herald, “Mr. Brougham would probably be obliged to perform the domestic offices himself." This is a logical inference, perfectly worthy of the journal in which it appears, and I have no doubt that the pathetic idea of Mr. Brougham cleaning his own shoes, and brushing his own coat, making his own bed, and emptying his own slops, all by reason of the superior education of his servants, has filled the intelligent readers of the Herald with the most dire alarms, and affected them with a perfect phobia of reading, writing, and arithmetic. But, unfortunately, the process by which the educated servants are to be raised above the vulgar consideration of wages, and bed, and board, is not communicated. Of course the writer in the Herald cannot be supposed to know any thing about the nature of education, and it may therefore be charitable to apprise him that servants could not live on it—that an education is, in fact, not an independence of beef and mutton, or greens and bacon, and that therefore, if all the world, including even the Editor of the Herald, were educated, the void of the stomach and consequent necessity of labour would still exist, and compel the industry of the many as strongly as it does at this moment. The only difference would be, that the fruits of toil would be enjoyed with more wisdom.
18th.—Last night, Mr. Canning stood forward in the House in the capacity of defender of a very gross job. He displayed an assurance perfectly worthy of the occasion. In the year 1824, 50001. were voted for the repairs of the Ambassador's house in Paris. This vote Mr. Canning says, called his attention to the subject, and on the first change of the Ambassador, he desired the Treasury to send an English architect to Paris to survey the house, and see whether it did require repairs; for the vote had not satisfied Mr. Canning of this fact, he well knowing that a vote of the House of Commons of a sum of money for a particular purpose, is no evidence that the sum of money so voted is required for that purpose. As the French architects, of course, understand their own houses best, and are most competent to estimate the cost of repairs of them; and as the French do every thing on a cheaper scale than the English, and as the French architects are on the spot in Paris and cost nothing for travelling expenses, it appeared proper to Mr. Canning to send over the English architect, Mr. Smirke, to survey the state of the French house, and see at what expense it might be made comfortable. Making a French house comfortable according to English ideas, is, as every creature knows, building it over again, and fitting it for the meridian of London instead of that of Paris. Well, over Mr. Smirke went at John Bull's charge, merely to look at the Ambassador's house, and he reported that there was not such another house to be got in Paris, and that nearly 60001. would be the charge of putting it in order. Mr. Wyatt is next sent over to superintend the work; for had Mr. Smirke been appointed to this duty, he would have been bound by his own estimate, but Mr. Wyatt is therefore sent, and justifies the judgment that has chosen him, by running up the expenses to 17,0001. instead of confining himself to the 6000i. estimated by Mr. Smirke. This was a sad expense to be sure, says Mr. Canning, but then the work was done in an English, workman-like manner, instead of being done at a sixth of the price in a French, workman-like manner; and then the house was so fine a house, and tended so much to the honour and glory of our dear native country, that Mr. Canning could not prevail upon himself to sell it and purchase another, rather than spend a handsome fortune on its repairs. When, indeed, Ministers thought of selling it, numerous appcations, says Mr. Canning, had come to him from various persons connected with the government of France, representing that, if the English Ambassador were to give up his hotel, it would argue that the connexion between the two governments had become less strict, and that the English Ministry were contemplating a dissolution of connexion," What a nice thing is diplomacy! He also observed, that “it was as well to state that the only Ambassadors who kept up such establishments at Paris were the English Ambassadors, and the Russian Ambassadors, and it was thought proper that the English Ambassador should hold his head as high as the Russian Ambassador !"-And this paltry, this pitiful sentiment, was confessed without shame and without reproach in the House of Commons. Two rival waiting-women reconciling their consciences to the extravagant finery of their bonnets, would undoubtedly he governed by this identical sentiment, but, for very shame, the Abigails would refuse to confess it. One can hardly imagine a Mrs. Honour proclaiming that the “the only lady's gentlewoman who sported such and such a bonnet, was Mrs. Slipslop, the hussey! and it was but proper that Mrs. Honour should hold her head as high as Mrs. Slipslop, the creature!"
However, John Bull, honest dolt! was sentenced to hold his head, or rather house, at Paris, as high as the Russian, and he must comfort himself under the dispensation of his pounds, shillings, and penee, by the reflection which Dean Swift impresses on cheated masters in his advice to servants, that “it is all for his honour."
19th.-A Good Reason. The John Bull of to-day says, “that the Duke of Buccleugh should have an affection for Walter Scott is indeed most natural, for Walter Scott is his Grace's name !"
The logic of the above is almost equalled by the arithmetical riddle in the following paragraph, in the same Paper :
“ Five ladies were in the roof over the House of Commons on Monday night, to hear the Chancellor of the Exchequer bring forward the Budget; namely, Lady Hardwicke [one] and some young ladies, [more than one; we will suppose two young ladies, which, with Lady Hardwieke, make three,] Mrs. Frankland Lewis, (four,] &c." Now, how many ladies does that &c. represent? We have already four accounted for, and there were only five altogether; yet the fifth comes upon the reader in the shape of an &c.
20th.— The Morning Herald of to-day, attempts a defence of its Police Reports. The charge against it is, that, by caricaturing all parties without distinetion, who appear in a Police Office, it deters respectable persons from appearing in those places, either in the character of prosecutor or witness. The Herald makes a miserable attempt to defend itself from this charge, by alleging that it applies its coarse ridicule to coxcombs, drunkards, and swindlers, to the wrong-doers in short; whereas the charge against it is, that it caricatures the complainants. Who has not seen a complainant unmercifully ridiculed in the Herald, for being tall or short, for having a squirt or a stutter? Or if these broad points for its delicate raillery are wanting, the party's cause of complaint is made matter of mirth, and his black eye or bloody nose is placed in so droll a light as to make a man ashamed of the misfortune of having been knocked down and thrashed by a crew of Tom and Jerry cockuey ruffians.
23rd.-Every observing reader of newspapers must, once a day at least, have had occasion to admire the method in which accidents are narrated in them. The art of this order of composition seems to consist in keeping the main point of interest in the most profound doubt and obscurity, and playing round the immaterial circumstances. If a man is knocked down by the pole of a carriage, the scribe does not go on to say that he was killed, or that his leg was broken, or that he was nicked up by the by-standers unhurt, but he tells us, that
a young lady, Miss Amelia Wilhelmina Scroggins, seventh daughter of Mr. Horatio Scroggins, of No. 7, Mount Pleasant, near Paradise Row, Newington Butts, was extremely affected on witnessing the accident, and observed to a gentleman, who was driving a dust-cart by at the moment, that positively she thought she should faint. To-day I perceive a perfect specimen of this kind of writing in the Representative, a paper which we all know abounds in excellence of every description. Accustomed as I am to the manner of accidents in the newspapers, I thought, on reading the beginning of this paragraph, that Lord Kenyon's family would be broken to bits before I got to the end of it. The concoctor makes the horses run away with the carriage in a most horrific style, but the rogue takes care not to tell us that there was no creature in the coach, till he had got all the fright out of us. For my part, I had pictured two Miss Kenyons, at least, at each window, thrusting their heads out and screaming vehemently, as ladies will scream whenever occasion offers. But don't be afraid, reader, don't be afraid, it is only a pole broken after all, and not the footman's pole, as you would think, but the pole of the carriage.
Lord Kenyon.-We regret the cause of introducing this Nobleman's name to the public. His Lordship's family were taking an airing in the Regent's Park, on Tuesday morning, between twelve and one o'clock : as the coachman was getting off his box, the horses took fright at a man who had been at work, and proceeded along the footway at full speed, till they came to the small bridge opposite to the new Mary-le-bone Church, when the carriage came in contact with the pillar of the bridge, and broke it down; had the carriage struck the railings (which are of wood) only a few yards before it came to the pillar, it must have been, together with the horses, precipitated down a hill into the water. It happened most providentially that his Lord ship's family were, at the time of the accident, walking. We regret to say that the coachman has been injured, but we hope not seriously. The footman, who was in attendance on the ladies, with a vast deal of spirit, sprang forward and endeavoured to stop the horses; but he was instantly thrown down, without being able to accomplish his purpose; his right leg was much injured, and bled profusely. One of his Lordship's daughters, with that condescension and humanity which so eminently distinguish her rank, proceeded to a coach-stand, and despatched a hackney coach for the servants. His Lordship’s coachman would not leave his charge, but the footman was obliged to return, in consequence of the hurt he received. The carriage is much injured, and the pole broken.
24th.— The gentle Colburn advertises thus fancifully in the Chronicle of to-day :-“According to the prophecy in Mrs. Shelly's new Romance, or, rather, Prophetic Tale, (Colburn loves to be particular,] The Last Man,' the world is to be destroyed by a universal plague, in the year 2100; so that posterity will not have quite three hundred years to figure in. This information will be especially useful to architects, who may thus be enabled, without unnecessary waste of material, to build on leases expiring at doomsday. Joking apart, [O ye gods, was that a joke!] there are many grand things (on the word of a publisher] in The Last Man. The account of the desolating plague is terrific; and this strange eventful history' concludes with