Зображення сторінки

of each and all you find him intimately acquainted-proverb says, is the thief of time-it might be added, and the curse of Ireland. Putting off until to-morrow that which might be done to-day, and seldom looking forward to the day after, we go on waiting'-always thing may turn up' for us in the long-run; and so we 'waiting,' and never 'doing'-in the hope that 'someget through life. Those amongst us who are not commission-seekers, are seekers for something else; but in all cases, at least in all cases where 'expectations' are indulged in, the spirit is the same. And a paltry, pitiful spirit it is, even make the best we can of it. The true manly spirit is one of self-dependence-no trusting to patronage, no cringing for favours, no servile bending of the knee to sue to a 'dog in office' for a boon; but a strong and honest determination to push on our fortunes with our own talents and our own hands, and bravely to fight our own battle with the world without fear and without reproach.' This is the spirit which has led our best and bravest to their fame, and which is still ready to lead others, if they would but follow it.

nothing is too grave, nothing too gay for him-he is never for a single moment at a loss. You wonder who this Admirable Crichton' may be, or what his calling, and you ask the question. In ninety cases of every hundred you are told-A highly respectable young man-waiting for a commission!'

Well, you turn from him to your neighbour on the left-a pale, delicate-looking student, who has evidently 'wasted the midnight oil' to some purpose. He discourses eloquently upon the beauties of the classic poets, has been a successful digger amongst Greek roots, and written the last prize essay. Your admiration has a shade of pity as you look at his attenuated form, and listen to his short dry cough. Who, and what is he? An embryo lord chancellor perhaps? or at all events a deep-reading college man, looking forward to the honours of a senior fellowship? By no means—you are quite mistaken. Despite his weakly frame and consumptive look, his voice is still for war;' he is'waiting for a commission!'

Slightly disappointed, you leave the dinner-table, and betake yourself to the drawing-room. Scated upon a sofa, in an attitude of studied gracefulness, is a middle-aged gentleman, dressed in the pink of fashion, and who is reputed the best waltzer in the county. At present he is delighting a bevy of young ladies with his chat. Surely he is a nobleman, or great landed proprietor at the least? Quite a mistake; you don't know Ireland! He is a younger son, who never did anything useful all his life; he lives with his brother, and is in debt to everybody. For twenty years he has been'waiting for a commission!'

It is not by waiting' that fortune can be wooed or distinction won. It is not by lingering on from day to day, and from year to year, enduring the corroding miseries of that hope deferred which maketh the heart sick,' and wasting our prime of life in grasping at a phantom, until hope itself at last deserts us, and leaves us, in the bitterness of our ruined prospects, to lament the evil fortune which, by an effort, we might have changed to good. We must lay our shoulders to the wheel, and work. Up and be doing!' should be our motto, in whatever rank of life our lot is cast. those from the civil service are no better. Even if If expectations from the army are usually visionary, successful, what has the employé but a clerkship in a government office, at a salary of eighty pounds per annum, or an appointment in some of the colonies, where, if he escape cholera and yellow fever, he is sure of a life You go to the theatre with a friend, and he intro- of healthless discomfort? If less fortunate in drawing a duces you to a talented-looking personage, with a broad prize, perhaps the youth is made an excise officer or a forehead and a bright eye, who dilates with all the tide-waiter. Trust me, my young friends and fellowcritic's art upon the play and the performers, and who, countrymen, that until you get out of this habit of 'waiting,' Ireland will never be as she ought to be, nor if your taste happen to lie in that direction, quite fas-her sons what they might be. You have energy enough, cinates you by the happiness of his illustrations and the if properly applied-you have talents second to the classic purity of his ideas. You wonder who the gifted children of no other land on earth-you have bold hearts one can be-whether a distinguished reviewer, a dra- and ready hands, if you would but use them. Why, "matist, or something still higher in the literary world; then, should you waste your youth, your best gifts, and and on your way home you make the inquiry of your oftentimes your happiness itself, in 'waiting' for paltry friend. The answer is given, and astounds you-A chances, when you have within your own grasp the fellow with capital interest-" waiting for a commis- power to command the bright reality? sion!""

Many fields are open to you where your energies would have fair-play. You may be told that every profession is overstocked. Believe it not; you have the same prospect of pushing your way to fame as any of your neighbours. The will to do, the soul to dare,' are all that is required. Patience, perseverance, and determination, can achieve everything. Instead of 'waiting' -act. If circumstances are against your entering one of the professions, then take a trade. Let no false pride deter you. Set at nought the sneers of those who tell you it is not 'respectable:' a man by his own conduct can make any situation respectable: bread earned in honesty is earned in honour; and he who labours for his daily food, preserving his integrity the while, has a better right to hold his head erect among his fellow-men

This same fatal passion of waiting-of forsaking the substance for the shadow, and pursuing an ignis fatuus instead of keeping the eye fixed upon a steady beaconlight has been the ruin of many a fine, gifted youth, and has left many a broken-hearted man, who might else have been an honour to his name and country, to spend the remnant of his life in vain repinings for his misspent youth, and to weep, when regret is useless, for opportunities neglected, and talents misapplied. It is hard, certainly, to put gray heads upon young-ay, a far better right-than the proudest in the land shoulders, or to persuade light-hearted, unthinking who lead a life of indolence and sloth. Whatever your youth to reap wisdom from the counsels and experience rank in life may be, make choice of your path acof those more advanced in years; but, even making full cordingly; but 'wait' for nothing and for nobody. Rely allowance for this, is it not a pitiable thing that, for upon yourself, and upon yourself only. Have the means generation after generation, and utterly disregarding the of existence in your own hands-go to work with head thousands and tens of thousands of examples proving and heart; and depend upon it, that however adverse the fatal folly of such a course, young men will go on circumstances may depress you for a time, you will pursuing the same misleading path with a degree of surely in the end come off a conqueror. obstinacy and moral blindness which seems incomprehensible?.

Look around you at the 'waiters.' What is most commonly their lot? After lingering on from day to day and year to year 'expecting,' recklessly squandering the best gifts that Heaven can bestow on man, and


And so on to the end of the chapter. You can go into no society without meeting at least one specimen of the class; and I defy any one who has lived amongst Irishmen to say that he is not acquainted with a score of expectant youths waiting for commissions!'

Waiting for commissions,' and for many other things, has left Irishmen as they are. Procrastination, the

living the while nobody can tell how, they end an inglorious career of idleness, uncared for by a world to which, from their infancy upwards, they have been only an incumbrance.*

VITAL STATISTICS OF EDINBURGH. IN our populous cities as now constituted, in order that the community at large may enjoy anything like an average lease of healthy existence, life must be to a certain degree an art. When human beings live scattered over the country, fresh air, ventilation, and out-of-door exercises come as matters of course, with many other natural advantages; but when they are huddled together in narrow, close, and dark streets and alleys-when their labours confine them to ill-aired apartments, and expose them to noxious fumes and vapours, the case is then very much altered, and the essential requisites of a healthy existence must then be sought for and procured by scientific foresight. Nothing perhaps will tend more to impress these truths on the public than accurate statistical details. Until of late years, however, these have not been very available for this purpose; but now that the subject has been taken up by government, the English bills of mortality have thrown much light on the sanitary state of the country. An interesting report, by Dr Stark of Edinburgh,† enables us to draw a comparison between the vital statistics of the two portions of the kingdom north and south of the Tweed, while at the same time the report affords some highly important facts bearing on the subject of the health of large towns in general.

The city of Edinburgh as to situation presents many local advantages. It is built on three hills or elevated ridges, and is thus exposed to complete ventilation even by the slightest breeze that blows; the sloping nature of the ground on all sides permits of ready drainage; and its proximity to the sea insures a generally mild and soft air. It has comparatively few manufactories, and thus its atmosphere is less clouded or vitiated with smoky vapours than many of the manufacturing towns of the empire. However low its former fame for cleanliness, it now possesses an excellent police, who keep its streets in a cleanly condition. The houses and general accommodation of the higher and middle classes are of the best description, though those of the lower, and especially of the very lowest, are far from being so, and are often of the most wretched kind. The supply of water, though at one time plenteous, is not now adequate to the increased extent of the city, and is especially deficient as regards the lower classes, and the healthy ablution of the narrower streets and alleys.

The population of Edinburgh, which at the commencement of the present century was computed at sixty-nine thousand, had in thirty years doubled, being, according to the census of 1831, one hundred and thirtynine thousand; for the next ten years the increase was so exceedingly small, as to be in 1841 only one hundred and forty thousand, or nearly stationary. The great increase of population between the years 1800 and 1831 is to be accounted for from the immigration of strangers from other parts, and particularly to the great influx of the lower Irish. The presence of these latter has to a considerable degree influenced the habits of the lower population, and affected the general vital statistics of the community.

One obvious means of ascertaining the comparative salubrity of a town or district, is to take the number of persons living in it who have attained the age of sixty years and upwards. On consulting the returns, we

The above article is, as it purports to be, written by a native of Ireland, who has given some consideration to the social features of his country. Although not mentioning what we consider to be the root of Irish idleness-the unhappy coddling by England, scarcely avoidable in the existing connexion of the two countrieshe says enough to corroborate the view lately adopted by us respecting Irish affairs.-ED. C. E. J.

Edinburgh Medical Journal, January 1847.

accordingly find that, taking the whole of England and Wales, there are in every thousand living persons 71 who are upwards of sixty. In Scotland there are 69, in Bristol 69, in Edinburgh county 63, in the city 62, whereas in London there are 60, in Birmingham 50, in Manchester 47, in Glasgow 42, and in Liverpool 30. In all manufacturing towns there exists a greater proportion of children and of adults than in a non-manufacturing town-of children, because the parties marry early; of adults, because the neighbouring rural districts are partially drained to supply the demand for labourers; and in an increasing population there is frequently an excess of persons between the ages of fifteen and sixty. As a general rule, rural districts exhibit the largest proportion of children and the greatest proportion of aged, because the causes of mortality among children are less than in towns: more children are therefore reared, and more attain an advanced age.

But a more accurate plan of ascertaining from population returns alone the comparative healthiness of a town or country, is to strike off altogether from the existing population the children below fifteen years, and ascertain the proportions which those above sixty bear to the whole population above fifteen years of age. When this is done, we find that in every thousand of the population above fifteen, there are in England and Wales 122 above sixty, in Scotland 116, in Bristol 99, in Edinburgh county 95, in the city 92, in London 87, in Birmingham 78, in Manchester 72, in Glasgow 62, in Liverpool 61. It thus appears that in these returns Edinburgh holds a very favourable position, being more highly favoured than any town of equal size in England. Dr Stark next shows from an elaborate table the average annual mortality of the city of Edinburgh for a series of years. From this table it appears that from the year 1780 to 1789, 1 person died annually out of every 34 living; from 1790 to 1799, 1 died annually out of every 36 living; from 1800 to 1809, there died annually 1 out of every 39 inhabitants; and from 1810 to 1819, only 1 out of every 40 living. The next decennial period, from 1820 to 1829, shows, however, a retrograde movement, the mortality increasing to 1 out of every 38 inhabitants annually; while the next ten years exhibit a mortality of 1 in every 34 living. The progressive elongation of life during the earliest of the above periods may be attributed to the great improvements of the extending city, and other advances of civilisation. Dr Stark is inclined to attribute the subsequent retrogression to the immigration of great numbers of Irish labourers about the year 1819, and the consequent deterioration of the lowest class of labourers generally. During the period between 1830 and 1840, the mortality was increased by 1500 annually, in consequence of the prevalence for some time of Asiatic cholera, influenza, and other epidemics.

Another very important circumstance in the comparative healthiness of different localities, is that regarding the number of young people, from one to fifteen years, found existing in each. Thus we shall find that out of 1000 persons who die in Edinburgh, there are under fifteen years of age 413; in London, under the same circumstances, there are 471; in all England and Wales, 473; in Bristol, 474; in Birmingham, 546; in Glasgow, 564; in Manchester, 564; in Liverpool, 583. These facts exhibit in a striking light the superior salubrity of Edinburgh as a place of residence for children, seeing that at all ages under fifteen the proportion of deaths is much less than in any other of the places mentioned, even exceeding that of England and Wales, which of course includes the country districts, in which the mortality among children is always much less than in towns. If, on the other hand, we take the comparative proportion of aged, or those who die above sixty years in every 1000 deaths in a population, we shall find that in London, out of every 1000 deaths, there are 206 of them above sixty; in Edinburgh, 204"; in Bristol, 198; Birmingham, 159; Manchester, 130; Glasgow, 129; Liverpool, 112. From these facts, the ge

neral proposition may be deduced, that, other things being equal, the less the proportion of deaths among children under fifteen, and the greater the proportion of deaths above sixty, the greater will be the healthiness of the situation. With regard to the adult population, Dr Stark thus remarks-As deaths among children are proportionally much fewer in Edinburgh than among the other towns, we ought to find a proportionally greater number of deaths among adults. This may to many seem a paradoxical conclusion, but the slightest reflection must satisfy every one that such ought to be the case. As a third more children, in proportion to the living, survive the age of fifteen years in Edinburgh than in Glasgow, and one-half more survive that age than in Liverpool, it follows, as a natural consequence, that there are just so many more in Edinburgh who must die at some period of life after their fifteenth year. Now, this is what actually occurs; for we find that of those between the ages of fifteen and sixty, London loses 1 annually out of every 80 living; Birmingham, 1 out of 75; Glasgow, 1 out of 71; Edinburgh, 1 out of 65; Liverpool, 1 out of every 61.' Under these circumstances, it becomes a matter of great importance to ascertain whether the increased mortality affects all classes alike, or is limited to the lowest class of the inhabitants. We accordingly find that, in the case of children under one year, the highest class in Edinburgh loses 72 out of every 1000 deaths in that class. The merchant class at the rate of 127 out of the 1000 deaths; while the artisan and labouring classes lose 241 out of every 1000 deaths at all ages. That is to say, that the merchant class loses annually very nearly double the proportion of children under one year which the gentry and professional class lose; while the artisan and labouring class lose annually four times the proportion of children under one year lost by the first class, and double that lost by the merchant class. When the total deaths under fifteen years are reckoned, it is seen that the highest class out of every 1000 deaths lose 204; the second class, 326; and the lowest class, 483. Thus it is apparent that, while among the first class there dies less than half the proportion of children under fifteen years, as compared with the deaths among the third class, these deaths are more equally distributed over the fifteen years of life, and do not cluster around the first year of existence as they do in the lowest class. And this is just what might be expected. Of the lowest classes, the strong alone survive the first year or years of existence; all the delicate are cut off, so that in consequence of this, and of there being fewer left alive, the proportional number of deaths diminishes as life advances. Of the highest class, again, so many more are reared-so many delicate children get over the first year of life, that more are spared to die at a more advanced period of existence. As the natural consequence of this increased mortality of the lowest classes during childhood, they show a less proportional mortality during the adult period; and thus arises the fact already alluded to, that in Edinburgh and some other towns the mortality of the adult population appears greater than in towns and localities less healthy.

Another view of the relative mortality of the different ranks of life may be taken by a table of deaths above fifteen years of age. Thus, of 1000 of the first class above fifteen years of age, 481 die between the ages of fifteen and sixty, leaving 519 to be cut off at an advanced period of life. Of 1000 of the second class above fifteen years of age, 594 die between the ages of fifteen and sixty, leaving 406 to die at a more ripe age. Of 1000 of the third class, however, above fifteen years of age, no fewer than 606 die between the ages of fifteen and sixty, leaving only 304 to die at periods above sixty years of age. The mean age at death of the different classes is thus stated-First class, 47-22 years; second class, 36:58 years; third class, 25'88 years.

How heavily does mortality bear upon the lowest classes here! Yet, compared to other places, even here

Edinburgh has the advantage. In London, the mean age at death among the operative class is twenty-two years; in Edinburgh, even including the paupers, it is nearly twenty-six years. In London, the mean age at death of the highest class is forty-four years; in Edinburgh, it is forty-seven. Strange enough, however, it is from the poorest class that we can select the cases of extremest age. Thus, of the first class, though 99 out of the 1000 survive their eightieth year, all have died by the time the hundredth year is attained. Though only 59 of the second class survive their eightieth year, 1 of them survives the hundredth year of existence; while in the third class, though only 26 live beyond their eightieth year, 2 are still living above one hundred years. In Edinburgh, as we believe is the case all the world over, the married, both males and females, enjoy longer life than the single. Thus the mean age at death of the married females is fifty-seven years, of the single forty-two years; showing a difference in favour of the married females to the extent of fifteen years: the difference in regard to males is even eighteen years! Of the physical causes which appear to weigh so heavily against the poorer classes, the following are the most obvious:-Accumulations of filth within and around their dwellings; want of drainage or sewerage, or, where sewers are present, their unwholesome state, from the presence of fetid black mud closing up the sewers and cesspool; closeness and want of proper ventilation within the houses; crowding of families into the same confined chambers; want of proper supply of water; prevailing habits of intemperance, mainly produced and kept up by the want of all comforts at home; retaining the corpses of the dead in the apartment occupied by the living.

Of the effect of ill-constructed drains and sewers in individual houses on the health of the inmates, Dr Stark gives several very striking examples which occurred in the middle ranks of life, and he strongly recommends a more improved system of domestic sewerage.

With these abatements, which are in general common, in a greater or less degree, to all our large towns, Edinburgh appears, on the whole, to stand at the head of the cities and towns of the kingdom in respect to salubrity. In particular, it seems especially favourable to the health of the young; and this is a matter of the greatest importance, considering that it is a chief seat of education, where the young of both sexes, and from all parts of the country, resort for mental training. With all its advantages, however, the above statements show how very much the health and longevity of the mass of the people depend on the state of the streets and houses, and all those arrangements which come under the denomination of general police, and how much yet remains of judicious reform in this department to render the poorer classes as comfortable as they ought to be.



THE age of guinea annuals is at its close; and these expensive toys, with their steel engravings and sumptuous covers of leather, silk, or velvet, are almost entirely superseded by five-shilling volumes, bound in cloth, and illustrated by woodcuts. This is in some sense matter of gratulation; but not because the one book is, economically speaking, cheaper than the other

for the very reverse is the case. The guinea annual was a most daring speculation. The letter-press did not cost less than from L.200 to L.250; the eighteen or twenty drawings averaged perhaps L.15 each, and the good engravings perhaps L.30 each; while the binding alone absorbed a very considerable portion of the selling price. For one engraving in the 'Souvenir,' Mr Alaric Watts paid L.150; and in addition to all ordinary costs, Mr Charles Heath defrayed liberally the travelling

*With illustrations by John Absolon. Orr: London.

expenses in foreign countries both of author and artist. Employed by this gentleman for the purpose of getting up the letter-press and illustrations of one of those volumes, Mr Leitch Ritchie and the late Mr Vickers spent several months in travelling in Russia, extending their wanderings beyond Moscow. The guinea annuals, therefore, were, and such of them as still survive are, cheaper in proportion to their cost than the five-shilling annuals, while they have the further merit of improving the taste of the upper classes in point of art. They are now, however, 'dreeing their weird' just like other books. Fewer people can afford a guinea, and more people a crown, than formerly; and so Mr Dickens, Mrs Gore, Miss Toulmin, and various others, have started up, in the inevitable nature of things, to shove their predecessors from their stools.


We do not put forward Miss Toulmin's volume as the five-shilling volume of the year. It has its own merits and defects like the rest, although, in pure and high feeling, and thorough home-heartedness, it can have no superior: but we know our readers will look upon it with peculiar interest, as the production of one from whom they have so frequently received, in our own columns, both amusement and instruction. Partners for Life' is a story of the home affections, quiet perhaps too quiet at first-and yet full of interest as it advances. It has no clap-trap, no startling effects, no pitfalls for the feelings; but here and there, notwithstanding, the eyes moisten without our being aware of it. We shall not be so rapacious as to appropriate the story of so small a book; but the following will serve as a specimen of the style and manner. It gives a lady author's notion-and, in our opinion, a very just onetouching the accordance of ages in love.

"I had hoped never to marry!" said Reginald mournfully. "Hoped never to marry! What an odd speech! Never is such a solemn word! Surely you don't wish to be a melancholy, miserable old bachelor?"

"I am not sure that I wish to live to be old," replied Reginald with bitterness.


Bread made of wheat flour, when taken out of the oven,
is unprepared for the stomach. It should go through a
change, or ripen, before it is eaten. Young persons, or
persons in the enjoyment of vigorous health, may eat bread
immediately after being baked without any sensible injury
from it; but weakly and aged persons cannot; and none
can eat such without doing harm to the digestive organs.
Bread, after being baked, goes through a change similar to
the change in newly-brewed beer, or newly-churned butter-
milk, neither being healthy until after the change. During
the change in bread, it sends off a large portion of carbon
healthy gas. Bread has, according to the computation of
or unhealthy gas, and imbibes a large portion of oxygen or
physicians, one-fifth more nutriment in it when ripe than
when just out of the oven. It not only has more nutriment,
but imparts a much greater degree of cheerfulness. He
that eats old ripe bread will have a much greater flow of
animal spirits than he would were he to eat unripe bread.
Bread, as before observed, discharges carbon and imbibes
oxygen. One thing in connection with this thought should
be particularly noticed by all housewives. It is, to let the
bread ripen where it can inhale the oxygen in a pure state.
Bread will always taste of the air that surrounds it while
should never ripen in a cellar, nor in a close cupboard,
ripening; hence it should ripen when the air is pure. It
nor in a bedroom. The noxious vapours of a cellar or a
cupboard never should enter into and form a part of the
bread we cat. Bread should be light, well-baked, and
properly ripened before it should be eaten. Bread that is
several days old may be renewed so as to have all the
freshness and lightness of new bread, by simply putting it
into a common steamer over the fire, and steaming it half
or three-quarters of an hour. The vessel under the steamer
containing the water should not be more than half full,
otherwise the water may boil up into the steamer, and wet
the bread. After the bread is thus steamed, it should be

taken out of the steamer, and wrapped loosely in a cloth,
to dry and cool, and remain so a short time, when it will
be ready to be cut and used. It will then be like cold new
bread.-American Farmer.


"Hush!-for shame! Life, depend upon it, has sweets at every period," said Carlton; "and for my own part, I have a great notion that old age is a very pleasant time-like the evening of the four-and-twenty hours, a sort of dressing-gown and slipper period. But then of course I mean a proper, respectable, comfortable old age, in which a wife-perhaps twenty years one's juniorplays rather a distinguished part."


by all means, but let him also have what diverts his mind Let the working man have what aids him in his vocation from his toils, and raises it above them. Let his understanding be cultivated, but also his taste, his sentiments, and his language. But is there not culture for the understanding too, in following with interest a critical delineation of an author's characteristics, a sharp definition Then you don't approve of early marriages?" ex- of that in which two great pleaders are unlike; in judging claimed Reginald, pursuing the theme, which seemed on the specimens offered how far the lecturer is justified to have touched, perhaps jarred, upon some heart-in his conclusions? It will by and by be more generally known that man's utterances may be as profitably studied as his machinery; nay, even that a Shakspeare or a Dante may be as wonderful a relic of ages as a mastodon or an condition arise from our great classes not understanding ichthyosaurus. Again, not a few of the evils of our social one another. Between the race that is educated by ease, by abundance, by books, and pictures, and operas, by mental labour, if by any, and the race that is educated by manual labour, by anxieties about having 'leave to work,' by practical familiarity with the utilitarian properties of things-a great gulf is fixed. Each is a barbarian unto the other. Their thoughts and feelings, their likings, their other, we must confer on the common ground of common very words, are unlike. We must understand one auinterest, we must learn to see through one medium, or we perish as a nation. One of the great mediators between us is literature. Let Shakspeare, Milton, Scott, Wordsworth, intercede between the hosts; give us truly one mind and one speech, and what remains will be settled at least with a mutual intelligence; and this worst alien act, the want of a universal participation in the grandest of all national literatures, will be done away.-Rev. J. Scott at the annual meeting of the Woolwich Mechanics'



"It is a pity for a man to marry while his liberty is pleasant-that is what I mean."

"And does it never occur to you as an audacious thing," replied Reginald with emphasis, "for a man, wearied as you would say with his liberty, but in reality surfeited with the pleasures which wear out, though they do not satisfy, the heart-is it not an audacious thing for such a one to dare to seek the affections, and ask the hand, of a young, inexperienced creature, with the bloom of her heart unruffled-to whom he cannot offer sympathy in return for her love, any more than a withered branch can send back vigorous sap to its blooming neighbour: and since he cannot reflect back the glorious hopes of youth, if there is to be heartunion at all, he must drag her mind through the mire of his own experiences, until he teach her to sympathise with him, pluck from her at once the very flower of youth, instead of suffering it to fall away, leaf by leaf, little missed or regarded: rob her"You're in love!" interrupted Arthur Carlton, push-4. ing back his chair, and half starting from it."Reginald Hamilton, you are in love!—and, puppy as perhaps you think me, I can respect, wonder at, almost admire deep feelings, though such I may never experience."



With this specimen we commend the book to the favourable consideration of 'the gentle and the good.'

Published by W. & R. CHAMBERS, High Street, Edinburgh. Also
sold by D. CHAMBERS, 98 Miller Street, Glasgow; W. S. ORK,
147 Strand, and Amen Corner, London; and J. M'GLASHAN,
21 D'Olier Street, Dublin.-Printed by W. and R. CHAMBERS,


No. 165. NEW SERIES.



[ocr errors]

THE AUTHORS OF CALAMITIES. THE poverty of authors and men of learning has been a theme of all ages since literature and learning had an existence, and a general reason for such poverty is very obvious in the fact, that authors and men of learning seldom address themselves to any of the recognised means of money-making, but indulge in a toil or recreation-call it what you will-which gratifies taste and caprice in the first place, and only may be productive of more solid benefits in certain not very common circumstances. There are now-a-days, however, literary men who, by writing for the periodical press, and in other definite ways, realise considerable gains, though generally perhaps at the sacrifice of their more cherished predilections. A small number, by unusually successful authorcraft, are in the tolerably regular receipt of incomes which might cope with some of the best in the professions, barring only a few of the highest. Still, there is a general sense of the wretched nature of a purely literary life: instances of the misery of literary men even of considerable fame occasionally come before us; and the literary class itself is dissatisfied with its social position, and irritated at the precariousness, as well as meagreness, of its means of subsistence.

Mr Howitt, in his 'Homes and Haunts of the Poets,' launches forth some complaints on this subject, and alleges that authors are at this day regarded by publishers exactly as they were in the days of Grub Street -poor, helpless, and intractable. He then quotes an anecdote which appeared a year or two ago in this Journal, to the effect that a London publisher expressed an inclination to give credit to a retail bookseller whom he supposed to be prospering, when, being informed that the man was an author-'Oh, that alters the question entirely. Open an account!-certainly not, certainly not!' To which a similar lively illustration is added:

The publisher of a celebrated review and myself were conversing on literary matters, when a very popular author was announced, who begged a word with the publisher, and they retired together. Presently the publisher came back.



'Pub. Ay, if you will take them as wages, and often before they are earned. Grant that you are the salt of the earth; methinks the salt has wonderfully lost its savour when it has to come with a manuscript in one hand, and holds out the other for the instant pay, or the kettle cannot boil. See; there, now, is a man just gone that will be a name five hundred years hence; yet what does he come to me for? For a sovereign! I tell you candidly, that if no hero can be a hero to his valet de chambre, neither can an author be a hero to his publisher, when he comes in forma pauperis every day before him. For the life of me, I cannot maintain an admiration of a man when, like a rat, he is always nibbling at my purse-strings, and especially when I know-and what publisher does not know it?that, give the coin before the work is done, and it never is done. I content myself with things as I find them, and I leave all homage to the reader.'

We can vouch for the truth of Mr Howitt's general statements on this subject, for we have heard many London publishers speak of the literary class as in great part deficient in honourable principle respecting money and the fulfilment of engagements. It is, in fact, extremely painful to hear the report of these tradesmen respecting the men of talent whom they have occasion to employ. They describe the more prosperous as crotchetty and unreasonable; the poorer as unscrupulous in taking advances, and careless in discharging their obligations. Some who realise large sums by labours which appear by no means severe, not only squander these without any regard for the necessities of the future, but contrive, besides, to be deeply in debt to their booksellers and others; so that a sudden failure of health, or of the power of pleasing the public, would precipitate them at once into poverty; in which case it would, as usual, be taken for granted that they only experienced the evil fortune of a miserable profession, when the fact is, that they had been fortunate far beyond the same degree of desert in any other walk of life, but had misused the best gifts of Providence. Inspired by a feeling like that of the Arabs, who believe that it will be long before they can make up to themselves for the disinheritation of their ancestor Ishmael,

Publisher. We were talking of the relative merits of some authors seem to consider the booksellers as 'fair authors and publishers just now. game.' There can be no harm in pillaging men who, as a class, are the usurpers of literary rights and literary gains. To take, therefore, a sum from one bookseller towards the copy-money of a book, and, after all, hand over the manuscript to a second for an additional sum, or even to a third, after having taken sums in advance from two, is not unknown in practice. When men whom one would rather expect to be models of honourable feeling are depraved to this extent, there must be something strangely unsound in their situation, for to no other cause can it be attributed.

⚫ Myself. Yes.

Pub. Well, you authors regard yourselves as the salt of the earth. It is you who are the great men of the world: you move society, and propel civilisation; we publishers are but good pudding-eaters, and paymasters to you.

M. True enough; but you think that you are the master manufacturers, and we authors the poor devil artisans, who really have no right to more than artisan wages.

« НазадПродовжити »