conquer the

From the Economist, 6th April. be shut out entirely from the Pacific, and THE SALE OF RUSSIAN AMERICA TO THE Great Britain would cease to hold any pos

session whatever upon that ocean; but

British Columbia is not the more likely to The sale of Russian America to the Uni- pass such a vote because of this cossion. ted States for a sum of 1,400,0001, which She cannot be threatened from Sitka, the was announced to the Senate by the Presi- village which serves as the capital to Rusdent last week, is, we think, rather a curi- sian America, and cannot be morally inous than an important political event. The fluenced by its possessors. Rather she is territory, though very large, as large as six the less likely, because the colony will feel or seven Englands, adds little or nothing to more acutely its importance as a member the material resources of its new proprie- of the Canadian system, and will obtain tors. It produces no revenue, and it is very better terms, more energetic assistance, unlikely that, even in American hands, it that is, towards the establishment of the ever will produce any. It may possess, work it most desires a practicable road probably does possess, valuable mines, but across the continent from the Pacific to the the climate is too cold for colonization, and St. Lawrence.

Without British Columbia without colonization the mines, even if the new possession is so useless, and may be worked by criminals under sentence of so expensive, that we do not wonder the penal servitude, can never be of considera- Senate hesitates to ratify Mr. Johnson's ble value. It has a trade, we believe, with Treaty. San Francisco in ice, but an ice trade, like Still the event is a curious one. It is a trade in diamonds or pearls, is a mere very unusual, quite unprecedented as far as trade in luxuries, and serves no commercial we know, for Russia to part voluntarily with purpose except to enrich a very few in- territory of any kind. Her idea bitherto dividuals. Fur-bearing animals exist, but has been supposed to be to “ they are few, and the climate is so severe world,” that is, to possess herself gradually that the whole territory has been leased to of every territory which did not cost too the Hudson's Bay Company, the greatest much either in battle or in cash. This ćesfur dealers in the world, for a moderate sum, sion shows that her rulers do not apply and when their last lease expired, they were this theory to America ; that they recognize not anxious to renew it. It is not probable the right of the Washington Cabinet to obthat the revenue from all sources will ever tain, if it can, the whole of the North be equal to the maintenance of one consid- American continent. It shows also that erable military post. The inhabitants, they are very willing to make friends of again, are few, about 75,000, more or less, the Americans, whether with a view to mariand of those few the majority are Esqui- time assistance, as some people believe, or to maux, who are a burden rather than an ad- other forms of aid, is uncertain, but certainvantage, while the remainder are Russians, ly with some possibly half developed view. who will probably return to their own coun- The mere right of entering American ports try, and half-castes of little more value than might, under certain circumstances, be valthe Esquimaux. Nor has the ceded terri- uable to the fleet wbich Russia usually maintory any special advantage of geographical tains in Chinese waters, and she has designs position. The compiler of the telegraphic in China which the power in possession of bulletin announcing the President's message San Francisco might greatly facilitate. We to the Senate, does indeed say that the ces are, apt to forget, that considerable as the sion blocks up British Columbia ; but he distance may be, California looks straight might as well say the cession of Argyleshire across the water to Japan and Shanghai. would block up Liverpool. British Colum- Some such view must, it is clear, have been bia bas as many outlets to the sea as it ever in her ruler's mind, for her American terrihad, the only district which is even appar- tory is not a burden, and the sum offered ently affected being divided by a broad by the Washington Government is no channel from the Aleutian Islands. Van- temptation. Russian finances are not, we couver's Island, by far our most valuable believe, very flourishing, but still a million possession on the coast, is miles away to is far too small a sum to be a serious inducethe south. No doubt, if British Columbia ment. She could have obtained it from voted itself first independent and then a Amsterdam by a telegram, and not on very part of the American Union, the conse- barsh terms. Then the American Governquences might be much more serious. The ment must have taken considerable trouble Canadian Confederation, and the territory about this cession, and have taken it very of the Hudson's Bay Company would then secretly. Correspondence must have passed




for some time between Mr. Cassius Clay | great direct importance, it may by increas and Mr. Seward, and that correspondence ing the American desire to annex Canada, has been very assiduously kept secret. and diminishing the Canadian reluctance These things denote intention, and as Rus- to be annexed, prove ultimately of some sian America is in itself of no value, the in- moment. Still, even then, England has no tention must be to obtain any portion of the plea or reason for interference or remonNorth American continent which may, at strance. Russia has a right to sell uninhabitthe moment, be obtainable, under the idea ed wildernesses if she likes, and America to that it will, when the remainder has been buy them without giving us any umbrage, secured, fall into its proper place. That is and we have long since disclaimed the right not very pleasant for Englishmen, who re- to dictate to Canada as to her future policy. member that they are second among Ameri- So long as she claims our aid, we shall fight can proprietors in wealth and importance, for her as for any other guaranteed ally; and in mere area the very first. It is but if she chooses to vote herself indepennot nice to know that your neighbour, the dent, she has only to communicate that landed millionaire, intends some time or resolution in constitutional and courteous other to have your farms, because it suggests form. We shall, we féar, one day repent that he may be tempted at some convenient that this decision, which is, we believe, enmoment to try to make you part with them. dorsed by all statesmen of all parties, was The mere design does not greatly help him not formally included in the new Act of towards his end, but it does not tend to Confederation, but the danger of that omis prolong amity, or to smooth away the inevi-sion is not increased by the American actable occasions of quarrel. The possession ceptance or rejection of the sovereignty of of Russian America does not constitute a a few more square miles of ice-bound hills, new inducement for the Union to conquer or a few thousands more of Indian hunters, Canada, but it does offer a new inducement and half caste dealers in fur. to Americans to tempt Canada into annexation. To be masters of a Continent is a very taking ambition, and, with Canada in the Union, and Russian America purchased,

Frum The Economist, the Americans would be masters of a Continent, direct masters from the Rio Grande GANG LABOUR IN THE FEN COUNTRY. to the Pole, and indirect masters from the Isthmus to the Straits of Kamschatka. THERE is, perhaps, no fact in English We can easily imagine that the purchase politics more important or less generally may increase the hankering, just as the pur- understood, than the existence of deep chase of an out-lying-farm by a great proprie- chasms or rifts in our social civilisation. tor increases his hankering to join it on to the People comprehend in a vague way that we body of his estate. And we can imagine, have among us classes with very little edotoo, that the possession may diminish Cana- cation,” or classes with none at all

, but they dian reluctance to enter the Union. Men seldom realise to themselves what that means, are greatly moved by their imaginations, or remember how very many English people and to be part proprietors of a Continent, to grow up to manhood and womanhood withfeel themselves seated for ever on two great out any civilisation at all. London was oceans, finally beyond the reach or possibil- perfectly startled by the revelations of an ity of attack, or menace, or intrigue, is a amateur casual, hardly believed the stateprospect which would move any men, which ments in the Blue Book about tramps, and would speedily move men who, like the will, we doubt, at heart suspect the gentleCanadians and Americans, have been men who have just reported on gang

labour trained by circumstances to connect the in Lincolnshire and the Eastern counties, of ideas of bigness and of grandeur. To live unconscious exaggeration. The evidence in under the idea that a neighbouring State of this last case, however, is unusually comalmost irresistible power intends to annex plete, complete enough to demonstrate beyou in the end, is very trying to politicians, yond all cavil the existence among us of as the people of Belgium know, and many many thousands of persons as uncivilised as among them may be tempted, like many the natives of newly-discovered islands. among Belgians, to end the irritation by The reporters employed by the Home Office joining that State, instead of waiting in to inquire into the effects of the system of suspicious preparation until the junction is gang labour commonly employed in the Fen effected without their consent.

country, report, on testimony almost unaniWhile, therefore, the cession is not of any mous, facts which may be thus condensed.




In the marshy districts of Lincolnshire, Hun- guishes morality. Or, to put it more accutingdon, and the Eastern counties, some rately, it prevents a generation, which would,

thousand children are employed, under any circumstances, be coarsely bred, chiefly in weeding, on a system but little from even acquiring that faint tincture of cidiffering from prædial slavery. Idle labour- vilisation which secures, if not refinement, at ers, or labourers of indifferent character, least external decency; if not chastity, at collect gangs of children of all ages from least some regulation on the intercourse of among the cottages, paying the parents so the sexes. They become savages without much

a week for each, and hire their gangs that unconsciousness of law which in savages out to neighbouring farmers. The children has been so often mistaken for innocence, are marched in the morning to their work with just so much consciousness as to feel often six miles off, compelled to toil for ten delight in insulting all more decent than hours onder fear of oaths and blows, and themselves. Persons by no means overthen marched back in the dusk, tired to the refined themselves declared to the Commispoint of utter exhaustion. Girls are em- sioners that the gangs were public puisanployed as well as boys, all ages are welcome, ces, sources as well as centres of pollution, and no attempt is made at any separation of so bad that they made the public roads imthe sexes.

The gang masters are very sel- passable; and even the farmers who benefit dom decent persons, and find the trouble of by the labour, admit and deplore the moral exacting sufficient work quite as much as consequences of the system. Nevertheless, they can manage, and leave the children it has a tendency to extend. The gangs offer when the work is done to their own inclina- a supply of very cheap and very obedient tions and devices. Wholly uneducated, ac- labour; the cottagers in many villages are customed to cottages where all ages and both so wretchedly off that an addition of 6d. or sexes are huddled together like animals, 8d. a day to their wages is irresistibly atcompelled when in the fields to do every- tractive, and the tone of manners, if not of thing in public, the children never acquire morals, is still in many districts wretchedly the most rudimentary sense of decency. It low. The clergymen who give evidence all is not so much that they become immoral report that the children employed in the as that they do not know what morals are. gangs are worse than ordinary cottagers, but They are beneath the morals. They are they all admit and lament the fashnever permitted to rise out of the stage ion in which they are brought up, and which of life, in which obscenity seems amusing, renders civilisation almost impossible. Even chastity unnatural, delicacy a useless en- mothers who gave evidence against the syscumbrance. Forced into incessant compan- tem, say they yield to it for the sake of the ionship with the opposite sex, wearied with money it brings, and the only defence is toils so severe that it kills the girls and characteristic of a general lowness of moral hardlens the boys into gipsies, with no ex- tone. This is, that the viciousness of the ternal restraint, and no idea that restraint gangs is not the result of gang labour, but is useful, both sexes slide altogether out of only a very patent exhibition of the universal civilisation - bathe together, sleep togeth- coarseness and depravity of the agricultural er huddled in barns to avoid the toil of poor. Then the system enables such land walking home, and vie with each other in owners who own whole parishes to pull down obscenity of phrase and gesture. So utterly most of their cottages, and thus relieve themdegraded do they become, that even labour- selves in great measure of poor rates, a deers inured to cottages with one room to each vice which has only become useless since the family, coarse of speech, and callous of feel- passing of Mr. Charles Villiers' Union Charing, are revolted by their bebaviour, and re- geability Act. fuse to allow their daughters to enter the fields except when compelled by actual want. It is, of course, easy to put a stop to this This drives the gang masters back on a still particular cause of demoralisation. The more debased class — girls who have early practice of forming children into gangs only lost their characters, women who never had extends over a few districts, and those who any characters to lose, the most ruffianly or profit by it would themselves be glad to see the least educated of the village lads, to whom, the employment of girls in gangs prohibited as several witnesses testify, the license of by law. But the root of the evil will not, the gangs is the real attraction. The evil, we greatly fear, be touched until agricultutherefore, intensifies itself until it is proved ral cottages are better built, and education on the testimony of dozens of clergymen, sur-has become much more universal. No two geons, and decent labourers, that the intro- villages are quite alike; but, in what is duction of gang labour in any village extin-called a bad village, the civilisation is usually

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very thin indeed. Lord Leicester, in a speech | edge of literature which tempts one to quoted with great approval by the Com- avoid a natural metaphor because it has missioners, admitted that even on his own been used before. His studies have purified well-managed estate, it is absolutely neces- his taste, not lumbered his memory, theresary to compel the cottagers to abstain from fore he comes to a common subject with simtaking lodgers, or they will overcrowd them plicity and directness, as if he were the first until neither decency nor comfort are in any to treat it. If the thought is familiar it way possible ; and in “open.' parishes, this seems fresh by its fitness ; if the simile is crowding is sometimes carried to such an new it seems familiar by its truth. It would extent that two families occupy one room. be hard to name another writer so little It is only by the building of cottages on a conscious of his art. great scale that this can be prevented; and Of these pieces, with the exception percottage building is, unfortunately, not re- haps of four, the theme is the purest of humunerative, and will not be until some cause man sentiments, friendship. With a warm, like emigration has forced on a general rise confident hand, be grasps bis friend's hand in agricultural wages. Till then, however at parting; he sends him manly words across we may legislate, large numbers of agricul- the sea; the gifts of game and wine are tural labourers will, we fear, remain in a made to praise only the giver; his worship condition very little above that of the peas- of women never degenerates into maudlin antry in Turkey or Bengal, with moral protestations of indecent passion, but endosenses blunted by circumstances, no time for bles the worshipper and glorifies the divinieducation, and very little inclination to find ty. Exquisite are the wreaths he has laid pleasure in anything higher than animal on the bier of childhood, beauty, genius and enjoyinent.

heroism. In the “ Epitaph on a Child ” he writes :


And when we garnered in the earth,

The foison that was ours,
From the Daily Advertiser.

We felt that burial was but birth

To spirits, as to flowers.”

It was he who wrote of Mary Booth in If Dr. T. W. Parsons had nursed his lit- stanzas worthy of a place in Grey's Eleerary reputation as many a writer of in

gy: ferior merit has done, bis estimation as a poet by the multitude would be, to-day, “Know that her spirit to her body lent wbat it is by the discriminating few

Such sweetness, grace, as only goodness can; ond to none in America. His poems hither- That even her dust, and this her monument, to printed' consist chiefly of the first half Have yet a spell to stay one lonely man, (seventeen cantos) of Dante's Inferno translated into English verse, with a large num

“Lonely through life, but looking for the day ber of original pieces, some of which have

When what is mortal of himself shall sleep; been collected at the instigation, or by the

When human passion shall have passed away,

And love no longer be a thing to weep." care, of friends, and some of which are still to be sought in newspapers and magazines.

It was he who caught in that “ Dirge for Twenty-two poems by Dr. Parsons have

one who fell in battle,” the very spirit of been collected and privately printed in

Moschu's handsome quarto, of forty-eight pages, called The Magnolia.* At the top of the first Begin, ye pastoral muses, the lament, cover is the date, 1866; at the bottom, the And nightingales and swallows whom he loved, name of the poet; in the centre, a representation in gold, exquisitely designed, of when he wrote -the magnolia flower amidst its outlined leaves. The poems are curious neither in “Room for the soldier! lay him in the clover ; theme nor expression. In them, our com- He loved the fields, and they shall be his cover; mon, and therefore deepest feelings are Make his mound with hers who called him once clothed in natural language and illustrated

her lover; by apt and obvious images. Dr. Parsons

Where the rain may rain upon it, does not write with that conscious knowl

Where the sun may shine upon it,
Where the lamb hath lain upon it,

And the bee will dine upon it."
* The Magnolia. T. W. Parsons. Cambridge,
Massachusetts, 1866. 4to, pp. 58.

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In “The Sculptor's Funeral,” Dr. Par- Sweet children, — much as all I prize; sons celebrates genius and friendship in this Until the sacred dust of death be shed fine stanza:

Upon each dear and venerable lead,

I cannot love you as I love the dead !” "O Death ! thou teacher true and rough ! It is understood that Dr. Parsons's version Full oft I fear that we have erred,

of the whole of the “Inferno” will appear And have not loved enough ;

in May. In him are combined sensibility But, О ye friends ! this side of Acheron, Who cling to me to.day,

and reserve; a certain pensive sweetness I shall not know my love till ye are gone

and severity of temper; enthusiasm, a subtle And I am gray!

sense of the value of words, a steady imagiFair women with your loving eyes,

nation, -gifts which seem to fit him singuOld men that once my footsteps led,

larly for the task of translating Dante.

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The Russian Publishers' Circular, the Knich- English review in its quartely issue. It is in nuiy Viestnik, or Book Intelligencer, has, in one these gigantic periodicals that nearly every of its numbers for 1866, a curious table of the thing of importance in Russian literature makes number of volumes published at different places its first appearance, and a translated selection iu Russia in the years 1863 and 1864. The from their principal articles would form the grand total is 1,652 volumes in 1863, and 1,836 best means of introducing the mind of modern volumes in the following year. The number Russia to the English public. To pay it every of places of publication was forty one in the attention would be only to return the complifirst year, beginning with St. Petersburg, and ment it pays to us. We observe that in the ending with Kiakhta, the trading town on the essays of the Russian critic Druzhenin, which Chinese frontier ; and furty-six in the second ; are now being reprinted in a collected form, and in that year we regret to say Kiakhta, which like those of Jefficy and Macaulay, the fifth only published one volume in 1863, appears to volume contains' articles on Currer Bell's have emitted nothing: St. Petersburg is the Villette, on Thackeray's Newcomes,' on great literary centre, furnishing 951 and 1,097 Wilkie Collins's No Name,' on Lawrence's volumes in the successive years; Moscow fol- Barren Honour,'on Trollope's 'Orley Farm,' lows, with 459 in the first year, and 432 on George Eliot's ‘Romolu,' on Dr. Russell, decrease in the second; Odessa, Kiev, Khar- the Times Correspondent, and a host of other kov, Tiflis, &c. follow at very respectful dis- sulijects of English interest. It would surely tances; and the remaining towns — - Irkutsk, be of some interest to know what “the lion Astrakhan, Archangel, &c., — figure in general thinks of us.” for two or three works respectively; but, as the table is founded on the lists published in the Knizhnuiy Viestnik itself, it may probably be

We have to thank Messrs. Bell and Daldy the case that its own omissions in recording for tastefuly and prettily illustrated editions of their appearance may be the origin of the ap. Wordsworth’s White Doe of Rylstone, Longfelparent paucity of provincial publications. St. low's Evangeline and Tales ofľa Wayside Im, Petersburg is, as we learn from another article, and Goldsmith's Poetical Works, with an inthe place of publication of no less than 143 troductory essay, by Mr. Edmuyd Forster periodicals; Moscow, of 31 ; while the rest of Blanchard. Tlie four volumes are admirably the Empire furnishes 158, many of which are, got up, and the illustrations are by Birket Foshowever, vehicles of local intelligence described ter, Absolon, Harrison, Weir, Gilbert,. Tennicl, by the Knizhnuiy Viestnik as mere waste paper. and others. The only complaint we have to The St. Petersburg periodicals are of a very make is that the church at page 121 of the different character, niany of them surpassing White Doe reappears without a change at page any English periodical in extent and furnishing 13 of the Wayside Inn, but for all that the more maíter in a monthly number than any books are exquisite. — Spectator.

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