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The difference of national mind, or character, in countries of which the wealth rests upon commerce, from that where it rests upon productive industry, is curiously brought out in the difference of their application to, and estimation of, the fine arts. In Italy, and in Holland, the social condition of great commercial wealth, with comparatively little employment given by it to the mass of the people, called into existence painters, sculptors, architects; furnished artists, and encouragement for them—that is, demand and taste for their works. It was the main outlet for the activity of the public mind, and for the excess of capital beyond what could be profitably engaged in commerce. But a national mind formed, like that of the English people, in the school of productive industry, seeks the shadow at least of utility, even in its most extravagant gratifications. Horses, hounds, carriages, a seat in parliament, yachts, gardens, pet-farms, are the objects in which great wealth in England indulges, much more frequently than in grand palaces, fine jewels, valuable paintings, delightful music, or other tastes connected with the fine arts. The turn of the public mind is decidedly towards the useful arts; for which all, high and low, have a taste differing not so much in kind as in the means and scale of its gratification. Capital can be so much more extensively employed in reproduction in the useful arts, where a whole population has a taste for and consumes their objects, that the excess to be invested in objects of the fine arts is surprisingly small in England, considering the vast amount and diffusion of her wealth. What is not useful, at least in appearance, is but lightly esteemed as an expenditure of money. A duke and his shoemaker, or tailor, or tenant, have precisely the same tastes, lay out their excess of capital in objects of the same nature, in gratifications of the same kind; differing only in cost, not in principle. Look, in England, into the tradesman's parlour, kitchen. garden, stable, way of living, amusements, and modes of gratification.

principle of utility runs through all. The cultivated or acquired tastes for the fine arts, for music, painting, sculpture, architecture, are little, if at all, more developed among the higher or wealthier classes, than among the middle or lower classes. England at this day, with ten thousand times the wealth, furnishes no such demand for and supply of objects of the fine arts, as Florence, Genoa, or Holland did, in the days of their prosperity. Is this peculiar development of the national mind of the English people, this low appreciation and social influence of the fine arts compared to the useful among them, matter of just regret, as many amateurs consider it; or is it matter of just and enlightened exultation, that our social condition has advanced so far beyond that of any civilised people who have preceded us, that the tastes and gratifications which the few only of great wealth and great station in a community can cultivate, and enjoy, are as nothing in the mass of intellectual and bodily employment which the many give, by the demands upon intellect and industry, for their gratifications?

What, after all, is the real value, in the social condition of man, of the fine arts? Are they not too highly estimated raised by prejudices inherited from a period of intellectual culture far behind our own, into a false importance? Do they contribute to the wellbeing, civilisation, and intellectuality of mankind, as much as the cultivation of the useful arts? Do they call into activity higher mental powers, or more of the moral qualities of human nature, than the useful arts? Is the painter, the sculptor, the musician, the theatrical performer, generally a more cultivated, more intellectual, more moral member of society, a man approaching nearer to the highest end and perfection of human nature, than the engineer, the mechanician, the manufacturer? Is Rome, the seat of the fine arts, upon a higher, or so high a grade, in all that distinguishes a civilised community, as Glasgow, Manchester, or Birmingham the seats of the useful arts? Are Scotland and the United States

of America-without a good picture, a good statue, or a good palace within their bounds, and without more taste, feeling, or knowledge in the fine arts, among the mass of the people, than among so many New Zealandersvery far below Italy, or Bavaria, with their fine arts, tastes, and artists, as moral and intellectual communities of civilised men? Is a picture, a statue, or a building, so high an effort of the human powers, intellectual and bodily, as a ship, a foundery, a cotton mill, with all their complicated machineries and combinations? We give, in reality, an undue importance to the fine arts-reckon them important, because they minister to the gratification, and are among the legitimate and proper enjoyments of kings and important personages; but, like the military profession, or the servile employments about a royal court, their importance is derivative only is founded on prejudice or fashion, not on sound philosophic grounds. If the exercise of mental and physical power over inert matter for the advantage of man — if moral and physical improvement in our social condition be the standards by which the importance of human action and production should, in reason, be measured, (and to what other standard can they be applied?) the fine arts may descend from the pedestals on which the court literature of the age of Louis XIV. had placed them in France, and in the little imitative German courts, and range themselves in the rear of the modern applications of science and genius to the useful arts. Rafaelle, Michael Angelo, Canova-immortal artists! sublime producers! what are ye in the sober estimation of reason! The Arkwrights, the Watts, the Davys, the thousands of scientific inventors and producers in the useful arts, in our age, must rank before you, as wielders of great intellectual powers for great social good. The exponent of the civilisation and intellectual and social progress of man, is not a statue, but a steam engine. The lisping amateur hopping about the saloons of the great, may prattle of taste, and refined feeling in music, sculpture,

means and distinguishing proofs of the diffusion of civilisation among mankind; but the plain, undeniable, knock-me-down truth is, that the Glasgow manufacturer, whose printed cotton handkerchiefs the traveller Landers found adorning the woolly heads of negresses far in the interior of Africa, who had never seen a white human face, has done more for civilisation, has extended humanising influences more widely, than all the painters, sculptors, architects, and musicians of our age put together. Monstrous Vandalism, but true.

The Dutch are mostly caged in half-empty large towns, or villages. To live a town life in the country, or a country life in the town, is the most insipid and unsatisfactory of all ways of passing life. Except in pictures, and in the novelty and character of their home-scenery, which is often a Dutch picture in real, Holland and its inhabitants are, in fact, not attractive. The climate is damp, raw, and cold for eight months ; hot and unwholesome, for four. The Dutch people, eminently charitable and benevolent as a public, their country full of beneficent institutions admirably conducted and munificently supported, are as individuals somewhat rough, hard, and, although it be uncharitable to say so, uncharitable and unfeeling. We have, too, at home, our excellent benevolent men, who will subscribe their sovereign, or their twenty, to an hospital, house of refuge, or missionary or charitable society for the relief or instruction of the poor; but, on principle, withhold their penny from the shivering female on their door-steps, imploring alms for the pale, sickly infant in her arms. They are right on principle and consideration, quite right; but one is not particularly in love with such quite-right people. The instinct of benevolence in the heart is worth a whole theory of such political economy in the head. Here, in Holland, the privations and misery of the poor are necessarily very severe, the labouring class having very little agricultural work to turn to, as the land is mostly under old grass for dairy husbandry; and even the enclosures, being wet ditches, not hedges


or walls, require few annual repairs; no manufacturing employment of any consequence, and, in fact, no work, except the transport of goods from the seaports to the interior. Fuel, too, that greatest item, next to food, in a poor man's comfort, is scarce and dear, being principally of peat-mud scooped out of the bogs in the interior of the country, and baked in the sun like bricks. The centre of the province of Holland is excavated like a great lagoon, by the extraction of peat for ages. small earthen dish of live embers, enclosed in a perforated wooden box, is carried about by the women of the poor, and even of the middle class; and when they sit down to work, is put under their petticoats, and is the principal firing in the winter-life of the poor female. The effect of the scarcity of fuel, or of the economy of it, in the Dutch household, is visible in the usual costume of the working and middle classes. The proverbial multiplicity of the Dutchman's integuments of his nether man, and the tier above tier of petticoat which makes his bulky frow a first-rate under sail, are effects of the dearness of fuel in a raw, cold, damp clime.

In our manufacturing towns, the poor, however badly off, have more advantages in fuel, lodging, and occasional work produced by manufacturing establishments, than in towns of greater wealth, arising from commerce, or from the fixed incomes of capitalists, landholders, and public functionaries. Edinburgh, for instance, is not a seat of manufactures. We see a wealthy or well-off upper class in it; a thriving, well-todo middle class, living by their expenditure; and the class below, living by the family work and handicrafts required by the other two, not very ill off either; but dive to the bottom of society even in Edinburgh, where fuel and fish are cheap, and land work and building work not scarce, but on the contrary taking off much common labour at all seasons, and you find the surplus of the labouring class, beyond what the other two classes regularly employ, in extreme distress from

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