Page images


[ocr errors]

lapse of the balloon as we gained poorly concealed under the mockery the great altitude of” a hundred of a scientific report, that might for thousand miles, let us say. Of every possible purpose have been course the Queen's health is drunk as well composed at the “ Star and here, and “my companion essayed— Garter” as at a height of five thouwith not very remarkable success, I sand feet above the earth. own-a verse of our national an- Modern medicine has a grand them.'

imaginative vein through it, and Then you bob about for an hour who knows but the time may come and a half, realising the old nursery when an asthmatic patient will be rhyme, “Here we go up, up, up," and sent up to respire above the clouds, at last you come down, down, but or bronchitis will be treated by an not downy, but into a tree; and the atmospheric pressure of so much to grapnel drags, and one jumps out, the inch? Till then, however, these and the other is pitched after him ; gentlemen's experiences have no inthe balloon is secured by the coun- terest for us; and when we hear of try people, and all return to town, Mr Glaisher “in nubibus,” we are to go over the selfsame weary ex- tempted to cry out, like the man in ploit some weeks later; the worth- the play, “Que diable allait-il faire lessness of the whole being but dans cette galère ?”

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



It would form a very strange “United Italy” has been roseand a very instructive subject of coloured. New schemes of indusinquiry, to investigate how far the try developed, railroad activity, great law of compensations—that public works, private enterprises, give-and-take principle which real- national festivals, royal receptions, ly seems the essential condition of crosses, pensions, and promotions, all organised nature—enters into all have all had their day; but at the acts and events of our daily last has come the hour when the life ; showing us not merely that “whistle” must be paid for. To there is no such thing in existence enable the State to be generous, it as unalloyed good or evil, but that must be rich, and this is precisely every

benefit we receive a cer- the thing it is not. In the maintain sacrifice is exacted ; and that tenance of a great army and a very the good things of life are ticketed costly fleet Italy has spent enorwith their price, like the objects in mous sums, and is pretty much a bazaar.

in the condition of a man who has A proper understanding of this laid out so much money in bars would take away a great deal of and padlocks, that there is nothing that discontent and grumbling one left inside the house to guard. The sees around us; and men would State, however, wants money, and learn that within certain limits hap- having taken all the loose cash of piness was pretty equally distribut- the convents and church-lands, has ed, and that even those who appear at last to come down on the laity. to have won the great prizes, have “This, then, is liberty!” cries the somehow or other paid for them labouring man in the street. more heavily than we wot of. What erty means dear bread, dear beans, particularly led me to reflect on this dear oil and wine and maccaroni. matter was the state of excitement, In the old days of bad government amounting to irritation, that is all these were cheap. If I only now witnessed in certain parts of worked five days a week, and gave Southern Italy at the sudden in- two others to the saints and my own crease of all taxation. Hitherto, pleasures, I had enough! This new all that they have known of a Freedom, however, has put an end

[ocr errors]

“ Lib

to all this. To make this United of them whose due appreciation Italy, it would seem that I must does not exact either a certain work more and eat less than here- amount of reflection, or of informatofore.” And this is perfectly true. tion; whereas the humblest and I have not a word to say against the most narrow-minded can comLiberty. I only premise that it is prehend the hardship of increased a thing to be paid for. Occasion- taxation, and there is no intellially it is well worth the money, gence so limited but can take in As we deem it in England, and the fact, that it is less pleasant to occasionally as America shows us, pay ten centimes than five. it is one of the veriest shams and Liberty, besides, was always rehumbugs that has ever misled hu- presented to be as much a man's manity.

birthright as the air he breathed. Now, the assertion is not per- Our reformers told us that we are haps pleasant to make or to listen only, in asking for it, demanding to, but it is a fact, that corrupt gov- our own : how came it then that it ernments are generally cheap ones was so costly? Why, if it were the --that is to say, that oppressive inalienable possession of humanity, rulers are often disposed to concil- should it be paid for? This ceriate their subjects by the diffusion tainly is capable of explanation, of material benefits, while they but we are not to be surprised if grind them down by restrictive the masses have not hit on the laws and tyrannical edicts. The solution as readily as we might duchy of Modena, for instance, was wish. more arbitrary in its sway-more The organised pressure which insolently irresponsible in the exer- we call Liberty requires policecise of its wayward rule—than any men, and magistrates, and jails, country of modern Europe, and and penitentiaries, and courts of yet no people ever paid less taxes law to punish libel and repress than the Modenese.

slander, not to speak of all the How lightly were the Neapolitans appliances to prevent religious freetaxed under the Bourbons ! and so dom from degenerating into blaswe might proceed upwards and show phemy, and free speech becoming a that for every concession to freedom scandal and a shame; and these there came a price, till we reached are all parts of a very costly maTuscany, where enlightenment and chinery. civilisation stood certainly highest Irresponsible governments work in the peninsula, and where, at the cheap, just because they can dissame time, taxation was heaviest, pense with all this mechanism. and men saw that liberty was just The Pacha who says, “ Cut off his as much a luxury as plate-glass, or head,” does not cost the State he jewels, or champagne : that is to serves one-fiftieth part of a Chiefsay, it was a charming thing if you Justice, before whom the culprit could afford it, but was by no comes after five months' imprisonmeans a positive necessity; and, ment, to be arraigned by an Attorlike all luxuries, it had only charms ney-General with four thousand afor those who had tasted of it, and year, and a corps of witnesses like felt its attractions.

an army. I don't say I prefer Liberty has very fine things in Ottoman justice to English; but if her gift, it is true. Personal free- I want the latter, I must be content dom, immunity from arrest without to pay for it. Now the Italians at sufficient cause shown and legal this moment are in that crisis authority invoked, free discussion, which all people must pass through, free speech, religious toleration, and they want all the benefits of untrammelled education, -are nó good government and all the cheapsmall boons ; but there is not one ness of the bad.

[ocr errors]

2 D2

The misfortune is, there are na- arrears nor weeds, and who, if he tions that would positively prefer is never cruel, is equally far from tyranny, oppression, and cruelty, if any impulsive generosity in his they only came accompanied by behalf. cheapness and an easily - provided Naples, like Ireland, is just in existence, to all the benefits of the this state of awakement. They highest civilisation, if linked with a have each of them emerged from high tariff; just as the Irish peasant barbarism, but it was a barbarism liked his old lawless, reckless, devil- so congenial and so cheap withal, may-care landlord, that sometimes that they'd almost rather have took a shot at him, sometimes for- it back again, than all this newgave him his rent, better than the fangled Freedom, that makes modern agriculturist with his Scotch bread so dear and saints' days so steward, who will neither overlook seldom.



[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

What should we say if an order severely examined, while all those came forth from the Master of the who succeed to the higher employMint, or some such competent au- ments are to enter upon them unthority, “ That all the copper coin- tried, untested, and unproven. To age of the country should be sub- be a Gauger, you must be a histomitted to a most searching test to rian, a geographer, an arithmetiascertain its purity — that penny- cian, and a naturalist. To be the pieces and halfpennies were no Governor of a colony, you may be longer to pass current without a “Cretin”! To convey a despatch new certificate of their genuineness, across Europe, you must prove your while gold and silver were to cir- efficiency in French and decimal culate as usual-all warranty of fractions, and such other knowtheir unadulterated value being ledge : to be the writer of that deemed needless ?

same despatch, no such test is I ask, would not the common- asked of you. The bearer of the sense reading of such an edict be, message is put through his parts of that it was exceedingly absurd and speech. The writer may—and very ridiculous ?

often does, too-revel in all the Would not men of ordinary in- unrestrained freedom of bad gramtelligence say, “It is not of very great moment to me that I am now Perhaps you will say that the and then imposed on by a 'rap system is progressive, and that, halfpenny:' I can sustain the loss these initial tests once submitted with composure, and bear it with- to, the man proves his fitness for out fretting; but if I constantly the highest office. To this I simply find a number of bad shillings in say, When did you ever hear of my change, and if occasionally I a penny - piece growing into a detect some spurious sovereigns in crown; or have you any experience my purse, the affair is more serious, of a farthing that became a soveand I am certainly disposed to re- reign ? No; the whole system is sent it?

based on this great principle, Take This is precisely what our Gov- care of the pence, the pounds will ernment is at this moment enacting take care of themselves; and cerin England with respect to Civil- tainly so they have done. This leService employment. The men who gislation is all theirs. It is they who are to fill all the inferior offices of have decreed it. They have declarthe State are to be rigidly and ed aloud that shocking abuses are



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

atit abroad. The poor are hourly de- the War-Office clerk probed in com

frauded. “No one can tell the num parative anatomy and numismatics. trasyber of base penny-pieces that are in Like the Irishman's pig, you want

circulation. This must be looked him to go to Cork, and you turn his Land, 3)

to at once.” It is thus the pounds head to Fermoy.
have spoken, and God help the pen- In the name of all that is Chinese,
nies ! Gold and silver legislate for what is this for? Why must a man
bronze and copper, and of course bring to one pursuit in life forty ac-
bronze and copper have nothing to quirements that would adapt him
say to it. Now, if I know anything for another ? If you go to a dentist
about myself, I am not a Radical— to relieve you from the pangs of a
not, perhaps, so much because these toothache, is your first inquiry whe-
people have not occasionally a show ther he has ever operated for cata-
of reason in what they ask, as from ract, or how often he has tied the
the dislike I have ever felt for their subclavian artery ? And yet this is
company. They are an overbearing, not all ; for if the dentist, being a
dogmatical, obtrusive class, loud of bungler, should smash your jaw, and
speech, coarse of manner, and inso- then tell you it is a satisfaction to

lent in bearing; but, without any you to know that the man who makes 1. While Radicalism whatever, I would in his artificial teeth is thoroughly e bietet all humility ask, Why keep all your up in osteology, and a deep profiI up të tests for the coppers ? Why not cient in animal chemistry, he would dunum now and then analyse a sixpence? be exactly carrying out the present If I could screw up courage enough, system. Are


I ask once more, I would add, Why not put a half- to take all the gold and silver list in sovereign in the crucible? Surely

on trust, and only scrutinise the ons

, you it is of more moment that these be brass ? CONTepa genuine than the others. Would not What amount of shamefacedness

the nation have more patience for a could promulgate such a plan, is

penny-postman that missent a let- hard to conceive. I have heard ich okei ter, than for a governor who lost a

from a Secretary of State, French e writei colonyļ and yet it is for the penny- so execrable that it would reject tio sub a postman's education we are so vit- the veriest unpaid attaché.

I be beurt ally concerned ; and the governor have read despatches froin similar boy may be anything, only a shade above hands that would have “plucked”

the requirements for Bedlam. an exciseman; and are these to

Have able and efficient public enjoy high place and station and servants by all means ; even in the salary, and yet some poor - devil lower walks of office take care that clerk go out a beggar and houseless you are not served stupidly or ill. because at the age of forty he canLet the penny - pieces be genuine not render Bonnycastle's Algebra, copper ; but, in heaven's name, or "mention all the one-eyed men don't ask them to be more, and do of distinction since the days of not submit them to the test ap- William Rufus." I implore most

eagerly that there should be some the same bullion go free unques- test for the bullion. Let us have tioned.

a Secretary for the Colonies put But this is not all. The pennies through his physical sciences. I'd are not merely required to be good like to examine the Senior Lord of pennies, worth four farthings, but the Admiralty on the best mode of they are asked to be useful in vari- “ footing turf” in a wet bog; and ous other ways foreign to their ori- with all his varied acquirements, ginal intention : as ounce weights, I'd like to take the Chancellor of letter-pressers, and heaven knows the Exchequer on the merits and what besides, that is, the Tide- demerits of the Bauchet system of waiter is examined in acoustics, and horse - training. . The “Pounds,"

i mist part .ch and

erel in

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ill say the

[ocr errors]

To tesis

II ever aplicable to bullion, while you let

growing 1 any PC becam: ii


t prinajská

the pombat .se/res, 2

; done in

[ocr errors]

however, will not have this, for life, open the Indian Viceroyalty they are resolved to “take care of to competitive examination, and themselves.” Perhaps the theory is let the First Lord of the Treasury that they are too elevated for ob- go up to Burlington House, and be servation—that if the base of the put through his Colenso like the pyramid be ornamented, it is no rest of us. But, above all, let us matter what is at the top.

not keep all the scrutiny for the At all events, the abuse is now small people—all the prizes for the unbearable. If the crown - piece big ones. Do not stamp educashirk the crucible, you have no tion, in fact, as you do "cheap right to throw the penny into it. broth” a very good thing for If we must become Prussian or the poor ; and do not be, as the Pekinite—for they are about the adage says, “ Penny wise and pound same-make a free trade in office foolish.'

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors][merged small]




I fervently hope that no indis- them, were stupid enough not to creet but enthusiastic admirers of recognise his genius or admit his mine in some future age will ever greatness. Now, for my own part

, think of honouring me by a centen- I suspect that the ordinary vice of ary. I know the temptation will every age is in over-estimating itself

, be strong. I feel that a grateful and consequently thinking far too posterity will be eager to repay highly of its own products, whewhat contemporaries have been so ther the same be enormous gooselax in acknowledging. I can ima- berries or great generals. I am gine, too, how the words “O'Dowd strongly disposed to believe that COMMEMORATION” would read on our present-day gods and goddesses a placard; and I can fancy the will be thought very little of by our

snobs of another century run- next-century successors, and we our ning about with "original por- selves held proportionately cheap, traits” and “curious manuscriptal for the intense admiration we have remains” of what they will doubt- accorded them. There is this, howless call “Our Immortal Hu- ever, to be said for the judgments morist.” Now I hereby desire to of contemporaries, that they could place on record my formal protest recognise and appreciate the fitness against the whole proceeding. It of the man to his time; and this, of is not that the great Shakespeare course, no opinions of a remote possham has given me a hearty disgust terity could pretend to vie with. to such celebrations, but that I feel I remember hearing how conthat they are false' in logic as in gregations used to cry at Dean taste; and there never was, and pro- Curwen's sermons.

I bought the bably never will be, a reputation book, and I vow I almost cried high enough to stand above the rid- too over the ten-and-sixpence I icule that attaches to such vulgar paid for it; and yet there is no and low-lived adulation.

denying the power this man wieldHad the great Bard's bust been ed. The scenes his churches witanything but plaster-of-Paris, it nessed of enthusiastic feeling of would have blushed at the company benevolence, exaggerated to a per: by which it was surrounded." In fect hysterical passion-are not the first place, these people start transcended by the records of Mrs with something very like a vote of Siddons in Lady Macbeth. The

on their ancestors, who, offertory - plate was filled with having had a great man amongst brooches, rings, bracelets : what


« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »