Oldalképek
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

stands on our left. At the foot of the bed is a window closed from the looks of all passers. Next are some chairs, and a round table of mahogany; then another chair, and next it a long table, scoured very white. Above that is a looking-glass, with a picture on each side, of the Resurrection and Ascension on glass, copied from Rubens." A well-stocked shelf of crockery-ware is the next object; and in the nook near it are a black oak carved chair or two, with a curious desk, or box to match and lastly above the fire-place, are hung a rusty basket-hilted sword, an old fusee, and a leathern cap. Such are the appearance and furniture of that humble abode. But my wife!

She look'd; she redden'd like the rose ;
Syne, pale as ony lily.

Ah! did they hear the throb of my heart, when they sprung to embrace me? my little loving child to my knees and my wife to my bosom.

"Such are the treasures I had hoarded in that lowly cell. Treasures, that, with contentment, would have made into a palace

The lowliest shed
That ever rose on England's plain.

They had been at prayers and were reading the Testament before retiring to rest. And now, as they a hundred times caressed me, they found that indeed, "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted."

Such was the home, and such the domestic treasures from which Bamford was torn, to be immured in a gaol. But he did not remain long in the Manchester New Bailey. He was sent to London, the "Manchester Rebels" exciting no small degree of interest in the towns through which they passed. They were lodged in Boro' Street prison, and shortly after their arriyal, were examined before Sidmouth, Castlereagh, and others of the Privy Council; and after a short residence in Coldbath Fields prison, and several other examinations before the Council, the prisoners were discharged, as no case could be made out against them. Bamford reached home, and for a time found perfect happiness in the bosom of his family. But political excitement had its attractions for him, and again he engaged with greater ardour than ever in the movements of the time.

rity of their march and the orderliness of their demeanour.

Political agitation re-commenced, on the termination of the Habeas Corpus Act suspension, and immediately Bamford was in the midst of it. Hunt came down to Manchester, and a row took place at the theatre; female political unions were started; and almost the whole population became enlisted in the movement. At length a series of great public meetings was projected, the first of which was to be held at Manchester on the 16th of August, 1819. The men in the meantime were drilling themselves by night, in marching, counter-marching, and military evolutions. They were divided into companies under captains and drill-masters-so, at least, said the depositions before the magistrates, and they were, it was further rumoured, ready for the most desperate deeds. Not so, however, does Samuel Bamford think of the intentions of the agitators; their sole object being, he says, to excite public respect, by the regula

Well, the 16th of August arrived. Streams of men, marching in regular order, poured into Manchester, with bands of music and banners flying, from all the neighbouring towns and villages. Bamford went into Manchester--one of the leaders of six thousand marching men-whom "he formed into a hollow square, at the sound of a bugle"-and addressed on the importance of preserving order, sobriety, and peace, during that eventful day. The meeting was one of tremendous magnitude, and was held in St. Peter's Field, nearly on the spot where the great Free Trade Hall now stands-the principal banners, (remarkable coincidence!) having inscribed on them "No Corn-laws!"

The business of the meeting had scarcely commenced, when " a noise and strange murmur arose towards the church,' "and a party of cavalry in blue and white uniform came trotting sword in hand, round the corner houses, where they reined up in a line." of the garden-wall, and to the front of a row of new

"On the cavalry drawing up they were received with a shout of good will, as I understood it. They shouted again, waving their sabres over their heads; and then, slackening rein, and striking spur into their steeds, they dashed forwards, and began cutting the people.

"Stand fast," I said, "they are riding upon us, stand fast." And there was a general cry in our quarter of "Stand fast." The cavalry were in confusion; they could not, with all the weight of man and horse, penetrate that compact mass of human beings; their sabres were plied to hew a way through naked held up hands, and defenceless heads; and then chopped limbs, and wound-gaping skulls were seen; and groans and cries were mingled with the din of that horrid confusion. "Ah! ah!" "For shame! for shame!" was shouted. Then "Break! break! they are killing them in front, and they cannot get away;" and there was a general cry of "Break! for a moment the crowd held back in pause; then was a rush, heavy and resistless as a headlong sea; and a sound like low thunder, with screams, prayers, and imprecations from the crowd-moiled, and sabre-doomed who could not escape.

"On the breaking of the crowd, the yeomanry wheeled, and, dashing wherever there was an opening, they followed, pressing and wounding. Many females appeared as the crowd opened; and striplings and mere youths, also were found. Their cries were piteous and heartrending, and would, one might have supposed, have dis

"I now," he says, "went to work, my wife weaving beside me, and my little girl, now doubly dear, attending school or go-armed any human resentment; but here their appeals ing short errands for her mother. Why was I not content? What would I more? What could mortal enjoy beyond a suf

ficiency to satisfy hunger and thirst,-apparel to make him

warm and decent, a home for shelter and repose,—and the
society of those I loved? All these I had, and still was craving,
craving for something for "the nation," for some good for
every person-forgetting all the while, to appreciate and to hus-nestly implored.
band the blessings I had on every side around me."

were vain.

indiscriminately sabred or trampled; and we have rea"Women, white-vested maids, and tender youths, were son for believing, that few were the instances in which that forbearance was vouchsafed, which they so ear

"In ten minutes from the commencement of the havoc, the field was an open and almost deserted space. The sun looked down through a sultry and motionless air. The curtains and blinds of the windows within view were all closed. A gentleman or two might occasionally be seen looking out from one of the new houses before mentioned, near the door of which, a group of persons, (special constables) were collected, and apparently in conversation; others were assisting the wounded, or carrying off the dead.

"The hustings remained, with a few broken and hewed flag-staves erect, and a torn and gashed banner or two drooping; whilst over the whole field, were strewed caps, bonnets, hats, shawls, and shoes, and other parts of male and female dress; trampled, torn, and bloody. The yeomanry had dismounted, some were easing their horses' girths, others adjusting their accoutrements; and some were wiping their sabres. Several mounds of human beings still remained where they had fal

[ocr errors]

len, crushed down, and smothered. Some of these home. were still groaning,-others with staring eyes, were gasping for breath, and others would never breathe

more.

"All was silent, save those low sounds, and the occasional snorting and pawing of the steeds. Persons might sometimes be noticed peeping from attics and over the tall sidings of houses, but they quickly withdrew, as if fearful of being observed, or unable to sustain the full gaze of a scene so hideous and abhorrent."

"We entered Middleton, (he says) in the afternoon, and were met in the streets by our dear child, who came running, wild with delight, to our arms. We soon made ourselves comfortable in our own humble dwelling; the fire was lighted, the hearth was clean swept, friends came to welcome us, and we were once more at home!"

"Our present joy," he says, was only saddened by the reflection that, ere long, there must be another parting. We were soon again in tender conversation by the hedge-rows and green fields; and I arrived at Middleton, 'poor in gear,' but rich in the satisfaction of having performed my duty well; in having, though condemned, largely contributed towards the vindication of the conduct of the Reformers, on the 19th of August; in having created a feeling of respect in my enemies, and a favourable impression on the upright judge who tried us,-in having disclosed to a great assemblage of wealth and aristocracy, (at the Assizes of York), as well as the nation at large, that somewhat of moral and intellectual respectability had been attained by the artizans of Lancashire, whom, on this occasion, I represented."

We have left ourselves little room to speak of Bamford's writings as a Poet. Yet here one might descant at considerable length. Many of his best pieces were Such is Bamford's graphic account of the "Massacre written in prison; and he has since added to them from at Peterloo," as it is called in the neighbourhood. The time to time. The last edition of his poems was pubauthor was too much mixed up with the movement to lished in 1843, and we regret to perceive that he has exescape detection, and he was again apprehended and im- cluded from it many productions, which, though infeprisoned in Manchester New Bailey, from which he was rior to those retained, and deemed unworthy of republiafterwards transferred to Lancaster Castle. He was cation by their author, are nevertheless valuable as shortly after liberated on bail, to take his trial at the marking the historical features of the period at which next York assizes. He in the meantime, proceeded to they were written, as well as showing the gradual deveLondon, with the view of obtaining some connection lopment of the Poet's mind. A kindly feeling, however, with the press. Disappointment was in every case the seems also to have influenced Bamford in the selection: result, and after a ramble, finely described, through Many topics (he says, in his preface to this last edithe rural districts of England, and being reduced to tion) of exciting public interest, which the author does great poverty in London, he returned to Lancashire not wish to be a means for perpetuating, are either toto prepare for his trial at York. Bamford defended tally omitted, or considerably modified. This may dishimself with great shrewdness and skill, conducting appoint some of our pertinacious friends, but neither can his case throughout with much propriety. The result, that be avoided, except by the sacrifice of a good and however, was, much to the astonishment of the court, rightful feeling; if we learn not to forget and forgive, that he was found "Guilty," and was bound in recog-how can we expect to be forgiven?—how can we pray, nizances to appear in London the ensuing Easter, at the 'Forgive us our trespasses as we have forgiven those Court of King's Bench, to receive his sentence. He re- that trespassed against us.'" turned for a short time, to Middleton, and on his way home, at Oldham, he met his wife and child.

Of all the poems of Bamford, the most touching, in our opinion, are his "Lines Addressed to my Wife," equal, almost to the "Miller's Daughter "of Tennyson,-the "Verses on the Death of his Child," and "God Help the Poor," lines such as none but a man who has known and lived amongst poverty, could have written. Take the following two verses:

66

God help the poor! An infant's feeble wail
Comes from yon narrow gateway; and behold,
A female crouching there, so deathly pale,
Huddling her child, to screen it from the cold!
Her vesture scant, her bonnet crush'd and torn;
A thin shawl doth her baby dear enfold:
And there she bides the ruthless gale of morn,
Which almost to her heart hath sent its cold!
And now she sudden darts a ravening look,
As one with new hot bread comes past the nook;
And, as the tempting load is onward borne,
She weeps. God help thee, hapless one forlorn!
God help the Poor!

God help the poor, who in lone valleys dwell,
Or by far hills, where whin and heather grow!
Theirs is a story sad indeed to tell;

Yet little cares the world, and less 'twould know
About the toil and want they undergo.

Bamford's journey to London on foot is full of inci-
dent and adventure, and reminds one of some of the
scenes in Fielding and Smollett's novels. His adven-
tures among the booksellers, hunting for a publisher;
his cold and inhospitable treatment by Hunt and the
London "patriots;" the impending destitution with
which he was threatened; the suspense connected with
his sentence; constitute a most painful relation, though
told in a highly graphic style. At last he was sentenced to
The wearying loom must have them up at morn;
another twelve months' imprisonment, in Lincoln gaol,
They work till worn-out nature will have sleep;
which he endured, comforted by the sympathy and aid
They taste, but are not fed. The snow drifts deep
Around the fireless cot, and blocks the door;
of many kind friends, but also pained by the calumnies
The night-storm howls a dirge across the moor-
and slander of secret enemies. At length he was liber-
And shall they perish thus, oppressed and lorn?
ated, and in company with his wife, a noble-hearted
Shall toil and famine hopeless, still be borne?
woman, whom Bamford always speaks of in terms of No! God will yet arise and HELP THE POOR!
the warmest affection, he walked homewards to his na-
Bamford's "Pass of Death" has also been much ad-
tive village-his sixth and his last imprisonment at an mired. It was written on the death of George Canning.
end. On leaving the prison, he left "Old Daddy," the Ebenezer Elliot, in his "Defence of Modern Poetry,"
turnkey, his pair of Lancashire clogs, at which he ex-
pressed great delight, saying he would place them in his has said of this piece:-"I have an imperfect copy of a
collection of curiosities." Before leaving, the magis-lieve, nothing equal can be found in all the plebeian au-
poem, written by an artizan of Oldham, to which, I be-
trates and the governor complimented Bamford and his thors of antiquity, with Æsop at their head." Take one
fellow prisoners on their good behaviour; and Bamford
in return thanked them sincerely for their kindness dur-
ing their confinement. He went northwards by Great
Markham, Worksop, and Sheffield, up the beautiful vale
of Hathersage, past Peveril's Castle of the Peak, to
Chapel-on-the-Frith, Stockport, Manchester, and then

66

or two stanzas:

The sons of men did raise their voice
And cried in despair,

"We will not come, we will not come,
Whilst Death is waiting there!"

But Time went forth and dragged them on
By one, by two, by three;

Nay, sometimes thousands came as one,
So merciless was he.

For Death stood in the path of Time
And slew them as they came,

And not a soul escaped his hand,
So certain was his aim.

The beggar fell across his staff,

The soldier on his sword,

The king sank down beneath his crown,
The priest beside the Word.

And Youth came in his blush of health,
And in a moment fell;

And Avarice, grasping still at wealth,
Was rolled into hell.

And some did offer bribes of gold,

If they might but survive;

But He drew his arrow to the head
And left them not alive!

Souls must be matured, giving life to healthful minds.
Hands may be learned to use weapons, and the feet to
march, but the warriors who take freedom and keep it,
MUST BE ARMED FROM WITHIN."

"It is true the middle and upper classes have not dealt justly towards you (the working class.) All ranks have been in error as respects their relative obligations, and prejudice has kept them strangers and apart. But the delusion is passing away like darkness before the sun; and knowledge, against which gold is powerless, comes like the spreading day, raising the children of toil, and making their sweat-drops more nourable than pearls."

In conclusion, we may state, that Bamford has of late been employed at Manchester, mainly in literary labours. He has for some time had an engagement with an influential London journal. He is also employed in preparing for the press several volumes, both of prose and verse. Not long ago, a testimonial of the regard of his friends and admirers was presented to him in the shape of a sum raised by public subscription, in recognition of the claims to public gratitude of this working-class advocate for the abolition of the food monopoly, at a time when to advocate such a cause was not so safe as it is now; and surely it was only right, when influential members of Parliament were similarly and more substantially rewarded, that Samuel Bamford, the handloom weaver of Middleton, should not be forgotten.

We must now bring our notice,-though brief, we fear too long for these columns,-to a close, by saying a word or two as to the recent history of our author. Since his liberation from Lincoln gaol, he has worked at

his trade of hand-loom weaver at Middleton, occasion-Helps to Hereford History. An account of the Cord

wainers' Company of that city; and the Mordiford
Dragon. By JAMES DACRES DEVLIN. London: Smith,
Old Compton-street; and Effingham Wilson, Royal
Exchange.

ally enlivening his labours at the loom with exercises of
the pen.
He has written out and published his "Pas-
sages in the Life of a Radical," and many of his best
poetical pieces, such as his "Wild Rider," Beranger's
"La Lyonnaise," and "The Witch o' Brandwood." More Our old acquaintance, J. D. Devlin, a remarkable mem-
recently he has written an interesting little volume, ber of the most remarkable craft of shoemakers, which
entitled "
Walks in South Lancashire," in which he makes one think that really there is "nothing like
gives many highly instructive sketches of the moral and leather," for making poets, philosophers, and other
physical condition, interspersed with descriptions of the clever fellows, has got down to the ancient city of Here-
domestic life of the industrious classes of his neighbour-ford, and has already in this little work, thrown much
hood. From one of the chapters in this last work, en-light on the antiquity and mysteries of Cordwainery in
titled "A Passage of my Later Years," we find that that place. Besides this, he has brought to modern
Bamford was personally instrumental, in 1826, in pre- daylight, many singular legends of the great Mordiford
venting a mischievous outbreak and destruction of ma-Dragon-as celebrated in its neighbourhood, as the Dra-
chinery, which would certainly have been accompanied gon of Wantly, in Yorkshire, or any other Dragon of
with great loss of life (as the military were on the alert) them all. We hope one of these days to present our
in his native place. Indeed, Bamford has throughout readers with this Dragon story; for the present we may
his career, invariably set himself determinedly against add, that we have no more doubt that there were Dra-
all physical force projects, which some of the working gons then, than that there were Mammoths, Dinotheria,
class political leaders were but too ready to recommend, or Ichthiosaurian monsters, whose remains are still
and their admirers but too ready to follow. In the note found. All the stories of the habits, habitats, and cha-
to his "La Lyonnaise," which he published in 1839, racteristics of the Dragon, now agree-and, therefore,
when the physical force policy was in considerable fa- evidently point to a period when, what is now tra-
vour, he says, alluding to the sentiment which runs ditionary, and, for the most part, regarded as fabulous,
throughout Beranger's poem,-" Unfortunately for the was fact.
too brave French, their common appeal against all griev-
ances has been-"To Arms!" And their indomitable
Poet naturally falls in with the sentiment of the nation.
By arms, in three days, (the “glorious" ones) they ob-
tained freedom! and they lost it in one!--a lesson to
make the heart bleed, were it not perhaps sternly neces-
sary to admonish mankind, that, without high wisdom
and entire self-devotion, mere valour is helpless, as a
blind man without his guide."

And in a "Postscriptum" to his volume of poems, Bamford thus concludes: "The salvation of a people must come at last from their own heads and hearts.

Literary Notices.

The Land for the Labourers and the Fraternity of Nations, etc. Translated from the French by THOMAS COOPER. London: Effingham Wilson.

Adams's Illustrated Descriptive Guide to the Watering
Places of England. By E. L. BLANCHARD. London:
W. J. Adams, Fleet-street.

A very well-timed and compact hand-book to our coasts and watering-places. This summer will prove a harvest to all our innkeepers and lodging-house keepers all over the island, as it will be the ruin of those on the continent. We cannot but imagine all the great inns on the Rhine this season-what an emptiness-their proprietors ho--what long faces and short incomes! But if any one means to visit any of our places of romantic beauty or of health-restoring waters, we advise them to get an early copy of " Adams's Guide," and order beds at once wherever they mean to locate themselves this summer.

which in this country will certainly not be adopted toThis is a regular communistic tract on a national scale morrow nor the next day.

1

POETICAL RECORD.

THE SCARLET MAN.

O, ARE you not glorious, Scarlet Man!
With your lace and your cap of state;
With your glittering musket, spick and span,
And your bold and stately gait ?

The white belt gleams athwart your breast,
And the bayonet at your side;
While the eyes of Beauty upon you rest

In your splendour and gallant pride.
Marching along to the rattling drum

And the sprightly carolling fife, Crowds of admirers gaze, as you come

With your comrades in soldier life. Brave hearts, stout bulwarks every one, Of your Queen and your country's rights; All ready for daring deeds to be done On fields of a hundred fights.

O are you not happy, Scarlet Man!

In the glory of such a name?

Or could you have hit on a rarer plan

For honours, or wealth, or fame?The Scarlet Man look'd round to see

That no epaulette loiter'd near,

Then said, "Good Poet, I fain would be

The hero you make me appear.

"But though I may seem so proud and gay,

And feel that I really am brave,

Yet an honest heart leaps up, to say

I am but an ill-paid slave,

Hired and bound by the men of gold,

For a paltry pittance I wot;

To kill my fellows, or stand when I'm told,

As a target for hostile shot.

Like a living puppet I move and look,

Evermore at the word of command, And the petulant cane I must tamely brook, If in my superior's hand.

O the scarlet upon my coat is pale,

To the flame that blisters my cheek,
As I think how the cat with ninefold tail
Might my officer's vengeance wreak.
Then if Power, of hungry mobs afraid,
Bids me act my professional part-

I may fire my bullets, or thrust my blade,
To a father's or brother's heart!-

So marvel not, Sir, if your glorious man, With such horrible duties as these, Hears nothing but Liberty's whisper'd ban In Attention!' or 'Stand at ease!'

And thinks 'mid yon drum's detested racket,

How he merrily whistled of old

In his free round frock, or his fustian jacket,
Ere deluded by scarlet and gold."-

Now the drums beat out, and the Scarlet man
No longer might linger with me-
But with burning throb my heart-pulse ran,
As I felt what his thoughts must be.
E. W.

THE POOR MAN'S PROTEST.

"I ought not to allow any man, because he has broad lands, to feel that he is rich in my presence-I ought to make him feel that I can do without his riches; that I cannot be bought,neither by comfort, neither by pride; and though I be utterly penniless, and receiving bread from him, that he is the poor man beside me." R. W. EMERSON. Poor am I poor,-and most unwise, If wisdom dwells in books!

Yet may a mind that's docile find
"Tongues" e'en "in running brooks!"
Poor am I yet I ask not man,
But Heaven to grant me alms!
The bread I pray for "day by day"
I earn with horny palms!

Yet though I never pierced the deeps Of philosophic lore!

Nor boast a proud ancestral name,

Nor gems-nor coffered ore!

[blocks in formation]
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

CONTENTS.

Memoir of Ferdinand Freiligrath. By WILLIAM HOWITTWe Know Better. By HENRY SUTTON, Author of "The Evangel of Love"-The Elephant Kraal-Facts from the Fields. The Meldrum Family. By WILLIAM HOWITT. (Continued.)— Poets of the People. Samuel Bamford. By Dr. SMILES. (Concluded)-LITERARY NOTICES: Helps to Hereford History; an Account of the Cordwainers' Company of that City; and the Mordiford Dragon. By JAMES DACRES DEVLIN-The Land for the Labourers, from the French. By THOMAS COOPER-Adams's Guide to the English Watering Places-POETICAL RECORD: The Scarlet Man-The Poor Man's Protest. By THOMAS HARRISON— The Drunkard's Anathema-The Brightness through the Cloud -The Unemployed Operative-Go forth into the Field. Song. By J. BRADSHAWE WALKER-Freely, Freely. A Song By J. B. MANSON.

PRINTED for the proprietor by WILLIAM LOVETT, of 16, South Row, New Road, in the Parish of St. Pancras, County of Middlesex, and published by him at 291, Strand, in the Parish of St. Clement Danes.

PRICE 14d. STAMPED, 24d

« ElőzőTovább »