« ElőzőTovább »
PRIVATE CELLARS AND PUBLIC-HOUSES.
of the grape, with his feet wrapped up in flannel, to increase, on the licensing day, the difficulties of obtaining a pot of beer to the lower orders of mankind!— and believes, as all men do when they are deciding upon other persons' pleasures, that he is actuated by the highest sense of duty, and the deepest consideration for the welfare of the lower orders.*
In an advanced state of civilization there must be also an advanced state of misery. In the low public-houses of great cities, very wretched and very criminal persons are huddled together in great masses. But is a man to die supperless in a ditch because he is not rich, or even because he is not innocent? A pauper or a felon is not to be driven into despair, and turned into a wild beast. Such men must be; and such men must eat and sleep; and if laws are wise, and police vigilant, we do not conceive it to be any evil that the haunts of such men are known, and in some degree subject to inspection. What is meant by respectable public-houses, are houses where all the customers are rich and opulent. But who will take in the refuse of mankind, if monopoly allows him to choose better customers? There is no end to this mischievous meddling with the natural arrangements of society. It would be just as wise to set magistrates to digest for mankind, as to fix for them in what proportion any particular class of their wants shall be supplied. But there are excellent men who would place the moon under the care of magistrates, in order to improve travel
*In an article on Botany Bay, Ed. Rev., July, 1819, Sydney Smith has this parallel passage on the Consumption of Spirits: "There has been in all governments a great deal of absurd canting about the consumption of spirits. We believe the best plan is to let people drink what they like, and wear what they like; to make no sumptuary laws either for the belly or the back. In the first place laws against rum and rum-water are made by men who change a wet coat for a dry one whenever they choose, and who do not often work up to their knees in mud and water; and, in the next place, if this stimulus did all the mischief it is thought to do by the wise men of claret, its cheapness and plenty would rather lessen than increase the avidity with which it is at present sought for. Again, human life is subject to such manifold wretchedness, that all nations have invented a something liquid and solid, to produce a brief oblivion. Poppies, barley, grasses, sugar, pepper, and a thousand other things, have been squeezed, pressed, pounded and purified to produce this temporary happiness. Noblemen and members of Parliament have large cellars full of sealed bottles, to enable them the better to endure the wretchedness of life. The poor man seeks the same end by expending three half pence in gin; but no moralist can endure the idea of gin."
ling, and make things safe and comfortable. An enhancement of the evil is, that no reason is given for the rejection or adoption. The Magistrates have only to preserve the most impenetrable secrecy to say only No, or Yes, and the affair is at an end. court can interfere, no superior authority question. Hunger and thirst, or wantonness and riot, are inflicted upon a parish or a district for a whole year, without the possibility of complaint, or the hope of redress. Their Worships were in the gout, and they refused. Their Worships were mellow, and they gave leave. bless their Worships!-and then, what would happen if small public-houses were shut? Would villany cease? Are there no other means by which the bad could congregate? Is there so foolish a person, either in or out of the Commission, as to believe that burglary and larceny would be put an end to, by the want of a place in which the plan for such deeds could be talked over and arranged?
NO-POPERY OUTCRY OF 1827.*
FEW men consider the historical view which will be taken of present events. The bubbles of last year; the fishing for halfcrowns in Vigo Bay; the Milk Muffin and Crumpet Companies; the Apple, Pear and Plum Associations; the National Gooseberry and Current Company; will all be remembered as instances of that partial madness to which society is occasionally exposed. What will be said of all the intolerable trash which is issued forth at public meetings of No Popery? The follies of one century are scarcely credible in that which succeeds it. A grandmamma of 1827 is as wise as a very wise man of 1727. If the world lasts till 1927, the grandmammas of that period will be far wiser than the tip-top No-Popery men of this day. That this childish nonsense will have got out of the drawing-room, there can be no doubt. It will most probably have passed through the steward's room—and butler's pantry, into the kitchen. This is the case with ghosts. They no longer loll on couches and sip tea; but are down on their knees scrubbing with the scullion—or stand sweating, and basting with the cook. Mrs. Abigail turns up her nose at them, and the housekeeper declares for flesh and blood, and will have none of their company.
* Article "Catholics," Ed. Rev., 1827.
We conclude with a few words of advice to the different oppo nents of the Catholic Question.
To the No-Popery fool.
You are made use of by men who laugh at you, and despise you for your folly and ignorance; and who, the moment it suits their purpose, will consent to emancipation of the Catholics, and leave you to roar and bellow No-Popery! to vacancy and the moon. To the No-Popery rogue.
A shameful and scandalous game, to sport with the serious interests of the country, in order to gain some increase of public power!
To the honest No-Popery people.
We respect you very sincerely-but are astonished at your
To the base.
Sweet children of turpitude, beware! the old anti-popery people are fast perishing away. Take heed that you are not surprised by an emancipating king or an emancipating administration. Leave a locus pænitentia!-prepare a place for retreat-get ready your equivocations and denials. The dreadful day may yet come when liberality may lead to place and power. We understand these matters here. It is the safest to be moderately base-to be flexible in shame, and to be always ready for what is generous, good, and just, when anything is to be gained by virtue.
To the Catholics.
Wait. Do not add to your miseries by a mad and desperate rebellion. Persevere in civil exertions, and concede all you can concede. All great alterations in human affairs are produced by compromise.
CHEAPNESS OF GOVERNMENT-UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE-CAUCUS.* ONE of the great advantages of the American government is its cheapness. The American king has about five thousand pounds
*This and the following passages are from the article "America," Ed Rev., Dec., 1818.
sterling per annum, the vice-king one thousand pounds sterling. They hire their Lord Liverpool at about a thousand per annum, and their Lord Sidmouth (a good bargain) at the same sum. Mr. Crokers are inexpressibly reasonable somewhere about the price of an English doorkeeper, or bearer of a mace. Life, however, seems to go on very well, in spite of these low salaries, and the purposes of government to be very fairly answered. Whatever may be the evils of universal suffrage in other countries, they have not yet been felt in America; and one thing at least is established by her experience, that this institution is not necessarily followed by those tumults, the dread of which excites so much apprehension in this country. In the most democratic states, where the payment of direct taxes is the only qualification of a voter, the elections are carried on with the utmost tranquillity; and the whole business, by taking votes in each parish or section, concluded all over the state in a single day. A great deal is said by Fearon about Caucus, the cant word of the Americans for the committees and party meetings in which the business of the elections is prepared-the influence of which he seems to consider as prejudicial. To us, however, it appears to be nothing more than the natural, fair, and unavoidable influence which talent, popularity and activity always must have upon such occasions. What other influence can the leading characters of the democratic party in Congress possibly possess? Bribery is entirely out of the question-equally so is the influence of family and fortune. What, then, can they do, with their caucus or without it, but recommend? And what charge is it against the American government to say, that those members of whom the people have the highest opinion meet together to consult whom they shall recommend for president, and that their recommendation is successful in their different states? Could any friend to good order wish other means to be employed, or other results to follow? No statesman can wish to exclude influence, but only bad influence; not the influence of sense and character, but the influence of money and punch.
* Henry Bradshaw Fearon, who came to America in 1817, to report on the prospect for emigrants from England. He published "A Narrative of a Journey of Five Tho sand Miles through the Eastern and Western States of America."
THE JUDGE, THE TAILOR, AND THE BARBER.
THE Americans, we believe, are the first persons who have discarded the tailor in the administration of justice, and his auxiliary the barber-two persons of endless importance in the codes and pandects of Europe. A judge administers justice, without a calorific wig and particoloured gown, in a coat and pantaloons. He is obeyed, however; and life and property are not badly protected in the United States. We shall be denounced by the laureate as atheists and jacobins; but we must say, that we have doubts whether one atom of useful influence is added to men in important situations by any colour, quantity, or configuration of cloth and hair. The true progress of refinement, we conceive, is to discard all the mountebank drapery of barbarous ages. One row of gold and fur falls off after another from the robe of power, and is picked up and worn by the parish beadle and the exhibitor of wild beasts. Meantime, the afflicted wiseacre mourns over equality of garment; and wotteth not of two men, whose doublets have cost alike, how one shall command and the other obey.
CHEAPNESS OF LAW.
THE dress of lawyers, however, is, at all events, of less importance than their charges. Law is cheap in America: in England, it is better, in a mere pecuniary point of view, to give up forty pounds than to contend for it in a court of common law. It costs that sum in England to win a cause; and, in the court of equity, it is better to abandon five hundred or a thousand pounds, than to contend for it. We mean to say nothing disrespectful of the Chancellor-who is an upright judge, a very great lawyer, and zealous to do all he can; but we believe the Court of Chancery to be in a state which imperiously requires legislative correction. We do not accuse it of any malversation, but of a complication, formality, entanglement, and delay, which the life, the wealth, and the patience of man cannot endure. How such a subject comes not to have been taken up in the House of Commons, we are wholly at a loss to conceive. We feel for climbing boys as much as anybody can do; but what is a climbing boy in a chimney to a full-grown suitor in the Master's office. And whence comes it, in the midst of ten thousand compassions and charities, that no Wilberforce, or Sister