Зображення сторінки

oderata, or New England pond-lily. They have a cup of the same elegant conformation, and all the brilliant white and yellow of that flower. They want the ambrosial fragrance of the pond-lily, and resemble in this respect, as they do in their size, the flowers of the laurel magnolia. On the whole, they are the largest and most beautiful flowers that we have seen. They have their home in dead lakes, in the centre of cypress swamps. Mosquitoes swarm above, obscene fowls wheel their flight over them, alligators swim above their roots, and moccasin snakes bask on their leaves. In such lonely and repulsive situations, under such circumstances, and for such spectators, is arrayed the most gaudy and brilliant display of flowers in the creation. In the capsule are imbedded from four to six acorn-shaped seeds, which the Indians roast and eat when green; or they are dried, and eaten as nuts; or are pulverised into meal, and form a kind of bread.'

The Victoria Regina, found by Mr Schomburgh the river Berbice, slightly differs from the nymphæa botanically. He describes it as a vegetable wonder-a gigantic leaf from five to six feet in diameter, salvershaped, with a broad rim of a light-green above, and a vivid crimson below, resting on the water. Quite in character with the wonderful leaf was the luxuriant flower, consisting of many hundred petals, passing in alternate tints from pure white to rose and pink. The smooth water was covered with the blossoms; and as I rowed from one to the other, I always found something to admire.'

Among the plants cultivated in water for the food of man may be included rice; although this grows not in lakes or rivers, but in small dams, as the fields may be termed. Rice is likewise different from the other productions we have mentioned, inasmuch as the plants live, though they do not thrive, in dry ground. In this case, however, the produce is rarely a tenth part of a full crop; to obtain which, not only irrigation, but entire submersion is necessary. In India the rice-fields are frequently under water, even when they are ploughed; and thus the operation, as Tennant observes, more nearly sembles that of a potter in preparing and setting his clay, than the cultivation of a field. The plants, however, are first brought to a certain height in a separate bed, and then transplanted into the water; which is done by fixing a ball of clay to the roots of two or three stalks, and dropping the whole into the pond. This explains a passage in Ecclesiastes, more frequently quoted than understood-Cast thy bread upon the waters, and thou shalt find it after many days;' which means that, in the ordinary providence of God, we shall enjoy the reward of a good work in due season. We have but to plant; and the sun, the winds, and the waters-the ministers of a higher Power-whose operations we cannot comprehend, will bring the seed to perfection.

In China, Captain Ilamilton observed the cultivators sailing among their crops in boats; and Medhurst tells us that, from the preparing of the ground for the seed, almost to the reaping of the harvest, the rice-fields must be overspread with water. For this purpose each field or shallow pond has an elevated ridge or border, with a stream continually flowing in; a precaution requisite to provide against waste by evaporation, as well as to insure a supply from the overplus to the lower grounds. The water is either raised by artificial means-such as pumps, levers, wheels, &c.—from a lower to a higher region, or conducted, with great skill and care, from some elevated position along the sides of hills, and across valleys, to the desired spot; where, introduced into the highest field of the series, it gradually flows down to the lower terraces, until it is lost in the river or the sea.' Crawford notices the same practice in some parts of the Indian Archipelago, and adds that, when ripe, this most beautiful of all cereal crops, then of a rich golden colour, waving in tall masses, terrace above terrace, gives an inexpressible magnificence to the landscape.

the abundance or scantiness of the rains during the wet season is a question of life and death to tens of thousands. The wells and tanks are at such times of little use for irrigation, as the bullocks die for lack of provender; and the grain perishes, partly from the drought, and partly from want of cultivation. In this position each inland district is shut up in its own misery; for, generally speaking, there are no roads by which to bring relief, and no money, if there were roads, to purchase it. The people die in thousands without a murmur, for they recognise in the cause of the famine the finger of Providence; ignorant, from ages of misrule, of the awful responsibility which weighs upon their rulers. The roads swarm with fugitives from the land of famine, travelling sick, faint, and weary, in search of food. In the villages, as they pass, the mothers offer their babes to strangers, but the strangers are as destitute as themselves. Some lie down by the wayside, and the highway is strewed with their corpses; while others crawl into gardens and ruins, to die in silence and alone. The less hopeful never leave their famine-stricken hamlet at all; but, ashamed to go forth for the purpose of begging, take opium-husband, wife, and children-and expire in each others' arms.

In such awful cases, the lakes and tanks at least diminish the misery they cannot remove. The water-nut supports its thousands; and the sacred lotus realises the dream of the Brahmin-being not only an emblem, but a means, of the preservation of human life till the angel of destruction has passed by.


In the county of Donegal, on the north-west coast of Ireland, is situated a wild mountain district called Gweedore, about which a pamphlet of a remarkable nature, from the pen of Lord George Hill, has lately made its appearance.* The object of the publication is to satisfy a reasonable curiosity which has been expressed by his lordship's friends respecting a somewhat Quixotic attempt to improve an estate, or, more corre-rectly speaking, to reclaim from worse than a state of nature a tract of country of which he had become the purchaser. The noble author's production boasts none of the graces of polite literature; it is little else than a series of facts treated plainly and statistically; but on that account we like it all the better. Practical and to the point, it demonstrates, in language not to be misunderstood, what a new world Ireland might become were its landowners resolutely to address themselves to the task of improvement. The account of Lord George Hill's efforts, however, may be inspiriting in other quarters; and as his Facts from Gweedore' have as yet attracted little attention from the press, we propose to give them as wide a publicity as may be possible through the medium of these pages. It will be necessary, in the first place, to describe the condition of Gweedore previous to its change of owners.

Gweedore, which forms part of the parish of Tullaghobegly, extends to twenty-three thousand acres of mountain-grazing and arable land. Up to 1838, it belonged to a number of proprietors, none of whom resided in the district. The population of the parish amounted to about nine thousand individuals, of whom a third were located in Gweedore. The Irish language_was universally spoken, and comparatively few knew English. There does not appear to have been any clergy

man of the established church within the district. The

people were all Roman Catholics, and had a chapel and a priest. Besides this gentleman there was a schoollikewise a coast-guard and constabulary force. And master, on miserable pay, who taught a few pupils; here may be said to conclude the list of individuals above the condition of an ignorant, wretched, and lawless peasantry. Grazing of cattle and sheep, the cultiva

The necessity for a copious supply of water in the cultivation of rice is one principal cause of the famines which from time to time have desolated India. There

*Facts from Gweedore; compiled from Notes, by Lord George Hill. Dublin: Philip Dixon Hardy and Sons. London: Hatchard and Sons, Piccadilly. 1846. An 8vo. pamphlet, with cuts and map.

tion of patches of land, fishing at certain seasons, and the illicit distillation of whisky, formed the means of general subsistence. Everything was on the rudest possible scale. There were no handicrafts, no inns, no shops; articles were purchased at a dear rate from hawkers, and the produce of the district could be disposed of only at fairs or in distant towns. The state of the roads was also deplorable. Even in the year 1837, when the lord-lieutenant made his tour through those parts of Donegal, the leading road was so broken up and intercepted by boggy sloughs (though in the middle of summer), that his excellency might not have been able to proceed along part of it, had it not been for the ingenuity of a country fellow, who, observing the difficulty, with all the quickness and spirit of a rustic Raleigh ran to his cabin, whipt off the door, and hurrying to his excellency's relief, laid it down before his horse's feet; by this device his lordship and staff were enabled to proceed in comfort. As soon as they had passed, the man immediately hoisted the door on his shoulders, tripped on merrily before his excellency, until he saw it necessary to lower it again; and thus he accompanied the cavalcade, being, perhaps, not the least useful attaché to the suite.'

In the same year in which the lord-lieutenant paid a visit to Donegal, a memorial was presented to his excellency by Patrick M'Kye, teacher in the parish, showing the general state of affairs. We transcribe it as a curiosity.

Humbly showeth-That the parishioners of this parish of West Tullaghobegly, in the barony of Kilmacrennan, and county of Donegal, are in the most needy, hungry, and naked condition of any people that ever came within the precincts of my knowledge, although I have travelled a part of nine counties in Ireland, also a part of England and Scotland, together with a part of British America; I have likewise perambulated 2253 miles through seven of the United States, and never witnessed the tenth part of such hunger, hardships, and nakedness.

'Now, my lord, if the causes which I now lay before your excellency were not of very extraordinary importance, I would never presume that it should be laid before you. But I consider myself in duty bound by charity to relieve distressed and hungry fellow-man; although I am sorry to state that my charity cannot extend farther than to explain to the rich where hunger and hardships exists, in almost in the greatest degree that nature can endure. And which I shall endeavour to explain in detail, with all the truth and accuracy in my power, and that without the least exaggeration, as follows:-All within the parish [9049 in 1841] are as poor as I shall describe them. They have among them no more than one cart, no wheel car, no coach or any other wheeled vehicle, one plough, sixteen harrows, eight saddles, two pillions, eleven bridles, twenty shovels, thirty-two rakes, seven table-forks, ninety-three chairs, two hundred and forty-three stools, ten iron grapes, no swine, hogs, or pigs, twenty-seven geese, three turkeys, two feather beds, eight chaff beds, two stables, six cowhouses, one national school, no other school, one priest, no other resident gentleman, no bonnet, no clock, three watches, eight brass candlesticks, no looking-glasses above threepence in price, no boots, no spurs, no fruittrees, no turnips, no parsnips, no carrots, no clover or any other garden vegetables, but potatoes and cabbage, and not more than ten square feet of glass in windows in the whole, with the exception of the chapel, the school-house, the priest's house, Mr Dombrain's house, and the constabulary barrack.

'None of their either married or unmarried women can afford more than one shift, and a few cannot afford any; more than one-half of both men and women cannot afford shoes to their feet, nor can many of them afford a second bed, but whole families of sons and daughters of mature age indiscriminately lying together with their parents. They have no means of harrowing their land but with meadow rakes. Their farms are so small, that

from four to ten farms can be harrowed in a day with one rake.

'Their beds are straw-green and dried rushes or mountain bent: their bedclothes are either coarse sheets, or no sheets, and ragged filthy blankets.

'And, worse than all that I have mentioned, there is a general prospect of starvation at the present prevailing among them, and that originating from various causes; but the principal cause is a rot or failure of seed in the last year's crop, together with a scarcity of winter forage, in consequence of a long continuation of storm since October last in this part of the country.

'So that they, the people, were under the necessity of cutting down their potatoes and give them to their cattle to keep them alive. All these circumstances connected together, has brought hunger to reign among them to that degree that the generality of the peasantry are on the small allowance of one meal a-day, and many families cannot afford more than one meal in two days, and sometimes one meal in three days.

"Their children crying and fainting with hunger, and their parents weeping, being full of grief, hunger, debility, and dejection, with glooming aspect, looking at their children likely to expire in the jaws of starvation. Also, in addition to all, their cattle and sheep are dying with hunger, and their owners forced by hunger to eat the flesh of such.

"Tis reasonable to suppose that the use of such flesh will raise some infectious disease among the people, and may very reasonably be supposed that the people will die more numerous than the cattle and sheep, if some immediate relief are not sent to alleviate their hunger.

'Now, my lord, it may perhaps seem inconsistent with truth that all that I have said could possibly be true; but if any unprejudiced gentleman should be sent here to investigate my report, I will, if called on, go with him from house to house, where his eyes will fully satisfy and convince him, and where I can show him about one hundred and forty children bare-naked, and was so during winter, and some hundreds only covered with filthy rags, most disgustful to look at. Also man and beast housed together; that is, the families in one end of the house, and the cattle in the other. Some houses having within their walls from one to thirty hundred ights of dung, others having from ten to fifteen tons weight of dung, and only cleaned out once a-year!

'I have also to add, that the national school has greatly decreased in number of scholars, through hunger and extreme poverty; and the teacher of said school, with a family of nine persons, depending on a salary of L.8 a-year, without any benefit from any other source. If I may hyperbolically speak, it is an honour for the Board of Education!'

It would be scarcely possible to imagine a state of things more deplorable than is here represented; and it will appear surprising how such abject destitution should have occurred at all. This involves an interesting point in political economy; affording a striking picture of the abyss into which a people may sink by following a wrong social and industrial system. It may be said that affairs could not have sunk into so lamentable a condition had the landowners resided on their properties; but at the same time it would be too much to impute blame exclusively to absenteeship. The landlords drew comparatively little money from their properties. The rents were small, and ill paid. Arrears frequently accumulated for years; bailiffs were afraid to execute writs within the district; and often no rents were paid at all. Practically, the land was held in permanence by the tenants. There was no getting them out of it. They appropriated and used, divided and subdivided, mortgaged and bequeathed their farms just as if they had been their own property. In the course of time, accordingly, the whole district was cut up into patches, and had got into a numerous variety of hands, altogether different from those

acknowledged by the lawful owner. As an instance of this species of subdivision and transfer, one field of about half an acre was held by twenty-six persons. 'The farms were also frequently, at the death of parents, reduced to atoms at once; being then divided among all the children: in such cases, when the farm was small, it left to each a mere shred, and by this simple process the next generation were beggars.' The whole district, therefore, was as nearly as possible an arbitrary appropriation by its inhabitants; and yet these people, in doing what they liked, were plunged into a state of poverty the most appalling the imagination can conceive. Those who entertain the theory that capitalists are monsters of rapacity, and that the world might be transformed into an earthly paradise by giving every man his acre, will do well to ponder on this instructive fact.

The truth is, neither the landlords nor tenants were specially to blame. The error lay in a system which had been growing up for ages, and of which both parties were ultimately the victims. The practice of dividing and re-dividing the lands, to accommodate a poor and increasing population, was the proximate source of deterioration. We are told that in many instances farmers had patches of land in thirty to forty different places, without fences to separate them from other patches, or to keep out cattle; and it was a rule that such patches should be of different qualities-good, middling, and bad-in order that all might share alike. Disputes, fights, trespasses, and confusion were the natural consequences of this Rundale system, as it was called; and sometimes a poor man would abandon his inheritance of thirty shreds of ground, in utter despair of ever being able to make them out. Worse than all, 'on a certain day all the cattle of the townland were brought from the mountains, and allowed to run indiscriminately over the arable land, and any that had not the potatoes dug, or other crops off the ground, were much injured; neither could any one man venture to grow turnips, clover, or other green crops, for nothing short of a seven-feet wall would keep out the mountain sheep.' In addition, there prevailed a practice of holding pieces of land in partnership, and the very animals were sometimes matter of division. In an adjacent island, three men were concerned in one horse; but the poor brute was rendered useless, as the unfortunate foot of the supernumerary leg remained unshod, none of them being willing to acknowledge its dependency, and accordingly it became quite lame. There were many intestine rows on the subject; at length one of the company" came to the mainland, and called on a magistrate for advice, stating that the animal was entirely useless now; that he had not only kept up, decently, his proper hoof at his own expense, but had shod this fourth foot twice to boot! yet the other two proprietors resolutely refused to shoe more than their won foot!'


Here we may close the evidence as to the condition of Gweedore previous to 1838, in which year, and subsequently, the properties now composing the estate were purchased by Lord George Hill. We shall now see how his lordship set to work to remedy this state of affairs.

The acquisition and transference of land in Ireland is usually a matter of serious difficulty; any attempt to reorganise the tenantries being frequently visited by the assassination of the principal or his agents. Perhaps too little pains is taken on such occasions to explain matters to the people, or to commence in the right way. It does not appear that Lord George Hill was exposed to anything like indignity or outrage on taking possession of his property or remodelling the tenantries. Fearless of danger, he went with his agent to reside on the spot, central to the operations which he intended to pursue. His object was to become personally acquainted with his tenantry, and so obtain an insight into their condition and character. For this purpose, on establishing himself at Gweedore, he visited every house in the

district, and entered into conversation with its inmates in their own tongue, which he fortunately was able to speak. The intercourse so established was pleasing and attractive to the people, who had never before heard the language of sympathy from a superior; and they asserted that their new landlord could not be a lord at all, particularly as he spoke Irish.'

The first thing done was to induce the abandonment of illicit distillation, which caused ruinous habits, poverty, and social disorder, and likewise occasional famines, by consuming the grain which should otherwise have been made into food. It was of no use, however, attempting to preach down this evil. The plan consisted in opening up a market for the disposal of grain at a fair price, payable in ready money. 'In 1839, a corn store, eighty-four feet long by twenty-two feet wide, having three lofts and a kiln, was built at the port of Bunbeg, capable of containing three or four hundred tons of oats. A quay was formed in front of the store, at which vessels of two hundred tons can load or discharge, there being fourteen feet of water at the height of the tide. A market was thus established for the grain of the district, the price given for it being much the same as at Letterkenny, six-and-twenty miles distant. There was much difficulty in getting this store built; even the site of it had to be excavated, by blasting from the solid rock, and there were no masons or carpenters in the country capable of erecting a building of the kind. So great was the difficulty of getting even a coffin made, that to secure the services of a carpenter, such as the district afforded, many of the people gave him annually, by way of a retaining fee, sheaves of oats, on the express condition of making their coffin when they died! It was therefore found necessary to introduce competent tradesmen; and even then much manoeuvring was requisite to get those who were brought for the purpose to remain. They were paid regularly every Saturday night; but it was by no means unusual, on mustering the hands on Monday morning, to have it reported that a carpenter or mason had deserted in the interval; and it was no wonder! The aspect of the country being so prodigiously different from anything they had ever seen, and the comforts they had been accustomed to, such as bread and meat, not for any consideration to be procured, there being neither baker nor butcher nearer than a day's journey!'

The store acted like a charm. In the first year of its operations the sum of L.479, 9s. 6d. was paid for oats; and for the year 1844 the amount was L.1100. Grain, butter, hides, and wool were also purchased; the whole being shipped for Liverpool; and between that port and Bunbeg a trade accordingly sprung up. Much as the money payments for oats were prized, they were of comparatively little use, in consequence of there being no means of laying them out to advantage. Lord George Hill, as a capitalist, again interposed to do that which no one else had the means to undertake. He established a wheelwright, to make carts and wheelbarrows; and opened a shop, at which iron, wood, salt, soap, candles, sugar, tea, and a few other articles were sold at the Letterkenny prices. The wheelwright, under the superintendence of the agent, acted as shopkeeper; but its noble owner put up a signboard with his own name over the door, expressing in Irish that he was licensed to sell tea, tobacco, and other excisable articles. Every year the business of the shop increased. The first quarter's sales to December 1840 amounted to L.40, 12s. 10d., whilst the corresponding quarter for 1844 was L.550. So many new articles are now added to the stock, that the shop embraces pretty nearly everything in groceries, crockery, hardware, drapery, and stationery; also some few drugs, and articles of confectionary and drysaltery. The concern having gone much beyond the powers of management of the wheelwright, has been put under the charge of an experienced person, with several assistants. His lordship also erected a mill for grinding wheat, and a bakery for making bread and biscuit; and of these articles, as also

of flour, a large sale ensued, in consequence of the improved habits and circumstances of the inhabitants. The whole transactions in buying and selling are in ready cash.

Soon after the establishment of the store, Lord George Hill began his endeavours to regulate the territorial arrangements. All the old and complex holdings were to be abolished; instead of having his land in disjointed scraps, every man was assured of getting a just proportion, according to his rent, in a single piece. The tenants were all assembled to hear the new measures proposed; and although they advanced innumerable objections, they peaceably consented to allow the allotments to be made; a degree of confidence being inspired in their minds, by being allowed to appoint a committee of themselves to assist in laying out the new farms. When all had been surveyed and laid out, the farms were distributed with the greatest regard to existing interests, and also by casting lots in cases of competing claims. It took about three years to accomplish the divisions, as upwards of twenty thousand acres had to be thus arranged and distributed. Altogether, it was a difficult task, and much thwarted by the people, as they naturally did not like that their old ways should be disturbed or interfered with, nor were they disposed as yet to abandon the Rundale system. They did not seem to have a taste for simple plain-dealing, or that matters should be put straight, and made easy of apprehension. The greater part of the tenants had to remove their houses, formerly in small clusters, to their new farms. This, though troublesome to them, was not a very expensive affair; as the custom on such occasions is for the person who has the work to be done to hire a fiddler, upon which engagement all the neighbours joyously assemble, and carry, in an incredibly short time, the stones and timber upon their backs to the new site: men, women, and children alternately dancing and working while daylight lasts, at the termination of which they adjourn to some dwelling, where they finish the night, often prolonging the dance to dawn of day, and with little other entertainment but that which a fiddler or two affords.'

The only arrangement to which the people made any violent opposition was the fencing of a few ten-acre farms on the waste land. Nothing would induce them to construct the fences, though good payment was offered; and when strangers were employed in the work, they molested them, and pulled down at night what was erected during the day. An energetic display of police force at length quelled this turbulence, and the fences were permitted to stand. The evident improvement in the condition of those tenants who had first got their allotments, helped considerably to allay discontent; and in time the people became absolutely pressing to have land allotted to them in the same manner. When the arrangements were completed, the whole district formed a well-organised system of farms varying in size, each with a cottage attached, and approachable by roads made chiefly at the expense of the proprietor. And as the store rried off the produce, so did the shop furnish the cottages with crockery, pans, bedding, and other articles necessary for domestic comfort.

In order to inspire a taste for neatness and habits of industry, Lord George Hill offered premiums to all who chose to compete in improvements in agriculture, draining, fencing, green crops, breeds of cattle and pigs; also for neat cottages with chimneys, plastered and whitewashed; making butter, weaving woollens, knitting, &c. The first year not a single individual could be induced to compete for the premiums, the people thinking it all a hoax, being convinced in their minds that no gentleman would be so a fool as to give his money merely to benefit others. No doubt they considered themselves very knowing in not being taken in. In 1840, the tenants observing that any promise made to them was strictly fulfilled, acquired confidence, and some thought they might at all events try the

thing. That year, therefore, there were thirty-six competitors for the premiums, which amounted to L.40, 1s. 6d.; and were so fairly awarded by the judges, that they caused general satisfaction.' Every year the number of competitors increased. In 1844 they amounted to two hundred and thirty-nine, to whom L.60 was paid.

Some things were still wanting. The district had no hotel. Here the noble proprietor once more acted nobly: he erected a handsome and commodious hotel at Gweedore, where travellers could be accommodated! with lodgings, horses, and cars. Subsequently, a convenient session-house, and an airy and commodious schoolhouse, were erected, and put in operation. To the school a mistress was attached, to teach the girls sewing. In the schoolhouse, on Sundays, divine service is performed by a minister of the established church. Along with other improvements, illicit distillation and intemperance disappeared. Formerly, it was the custom at weddings for each friend or relation of the bride and bridegroom to bring a bottle of whisky: now, this is gone, and each deposits a loaf, or some other simple article of refreshment. With respect to advancement in economic arrangements, the following passages occur in a report by the gentlemen who adjudged the premiums in 1843:

'We have found a considerable extent of new ground, reclaimed from bog and mountain, bearing good crops of oats and potatoes, and in many places the tenants already attempting the cultivation of green crops, by raising turnips, the value of which, as it becomes more generally known, will no doubt induce numbers of others to follow their example.

'We have to express our satisfaction at the evident improvement in the mode of reclaiming and cultivating the boggy and mountain lands, by draining and spade husbandry, and at the judicious manner in which, under the guidance of his lordship's agriculturist, the exertions of the people are directed, and their time and labour turned to the best account.

'We are also happy to find so much attention given to the home manufacture of woollens, the quality of the cloth of various kinds, and the flannel, stockings, &c. exhibited being most creditable. This branch of industry is, we conceive, particularly valuable, as it gives that employment to the females for which they are peculiarly fitted, and enables them to contribute, no small degree, to the health and comfort of their families-affording cheap and warm clothing, and inculcating a spirit of exertion among them.

In nothing, however, have we had such pleasure as in the marked improvement in the dwelling and office houses of the tenants, knowing what difficulties old habits and prejudices present to such changes. Until lately, the people were crowded together in miserable villages, where want of cleanliness, and the impure exhalations of dung-pits close to their dwelling-houses, generated disease and misery. Now we behold in all directions neat and comfortable cottages, attracting the eye by their well-thatched roofs and whitewashed walls, giving an aspect of life, health, and cheerfulness. Nor were we disappointed upon a closer inspection: we found that the interior of the houses fully realised the expectations raised by their exterior appearance-clean, orderly, and well-ventilated rooms, comfortable and suitable beds and bedsteads, with a supply of bedclothing and furniture equal at least to the wants of the inmates, and in many instances showing a taste in the arrangement for which we were quite unprepared.

'These various improvements we consider in a great measure attributable to the division of the lands into separate farms, and placing each tenant's house upon his own ground; one of the great advantages of which is, enabling them to place their dwellings, offices, and manure heaps in the most convenient situations for comfort and cleanliness-advantages of which, it is but justice to the tenants to say, they have fully availed themselves.

It was peculiarly gratifying to us to witness the respectable appearance and orderly demeanour of the crowds of persons assembled upon this occasion, and the gratitude displayed in the looks and manner, even more than by the expressions, of the successful candidates, when, after the dinner provided for them by his lordship, and his agent had announced the decision of the judges, they approached his lordship and received from his hands the amount of the prizes respectively awarded them.'

We learn by a foot-note that on the above occasion Lord George Hill not only provided dinner for, but dined with his tenants. This was an honour altogether overwhelming. The poor people could not believe that they would be permitted to dine with his lordship! When assembled outside the house where the dinner

was provided, seeing the surveyor, whom they knew, at the door, they anxiously inquired of him "if it was really true that they might go in?"

Here may appropriately conclude this gratifying and 'eventful history.' A nobleman, abandoning the frivolities of the metropolis, has been seen expending his wealth and his energies on the reclamation of one of the least hopeful tracts of country in the British islands. By dint of benevolence, intelligence, and perseverence, he is successful. Lawless resistance to authority is suppressed-without firing a shot. Poverty is turned into prosperity, intemperance into sobriety, vice into virtue, ignorance into knowledge. While thus benefiting others, we trust that Lord George Hill has equally improved his own fortune by the hazardous enterprise which he undertook, and so courageously brought to an issue. As a lesson to Irish landlords, his example is invaluable, more particularly as his improvements have been carried out at his own cost and risk. Will this example be lost on those who are everlastingly seeking to have something done for them, instead of doing for themselves?

'Love covereth all sins.'
-Proverbs, x. 11.

I WISH, mamma, that you would buy me a satin mantle like that which Caroline Morrison had on to-day,' exclaimed Emily Thornley, looking up anxiously into her mother's face as she spoke. Did you not remark how elegant it was, and how beautifully it was trimmed with gimp and fringe?' she added, finding her parent did not reply.

To own the truth, I took no notice of Miss Morrison's dress; my thoughts were too much engrossed by the conversation I was holding with her mother,' Mrs Thornley made answer. Perhaps, Emily,' she continued a little reproachfully, 'you were so taken up with your admiration of the mantle, that you did not listen to it: was it so? Emily blushed, and hung down her head. I feared as much,' the lady resumed. Now, my dear, I must say that I think you would have been better employed in lis tening to Mrs Morrison's account of the good effected by the Infant School she has opened for the poor of the village, than observing either the texture or the trimmings

of a mantle.'

Oh, now you remind me, mamma, I do remember all about it; but I was thinking just now how much I should like to have such a mantle, and I forgot for the moment.'

This is a proof that such frivolous things occupy your thoughts to the exclusion of subjects of utility.'

'No, mamma; one must think of one's dress sometimes; and you know that you were so kind as to say that you would take me with you to town to-morrow for the purpose of buying something of the kind for the autumn."

'I did, my dear; and I do not intend to disappoint you of a suitable dress for the season: but you must remember that Mr Morrison is more wealthy than your papa, and can afford more expensive dress for his daughters.'

"Oh, I don't think Mr Morrison is very rich, mamma, though Caroline and Georgina always hold their heads up higher than any one else,' Emily interposed. Caroline would scarcely notice me to-day, because I was not so smart as she was; and so I should very much like to have such a mantle, if it were only just to show her and her

sister that you can afford to dress me as well as their papa and mamma can dress them.'


That is an unworthy motive, Emily; and you certainly do not advance your own interest by such a plea,' Mrs Thornley observed. I was sorry to find that your thoughts were so much taken up by a trifle, that you could feel no interest in the benevolent cause which formed the subject of conversation; but I am still more grieved to discover that the wish to rival your friend was stronger than your admiration of the article in question.'

Well, mamma, but everybody says how proud the Misses Morrison are.'

'I never observed it; and I am of opinion that your everybody consists of some few envious girls, who, like yourself, Emily, have the desire, without the means, of making a similar appearance.'

'Oh no; indeed I do assure you it is so, mamma.'


should much like to see you possessed of a mantle which Well, we will not dispute the matter, my dear; but I would become you better than the one Miss Morrison had on to-day.'

"You mean something plainer and more durable, mamma?'

'I mean something more durable, Emily; but one which would be at the same time more beautiful." The little girl looked astonished. What can be more beautiful than that richly - figured satin?' she interrogated.

The mantle I refer to,' the mother resumed, 'would could do; and it would at the same time afford you more make you appear more attractive than the richest satin pleasure than the ungenerous and unamiable gratification of competing with your friend. I allude to the Mantle of Charity or Love.' Emily looked disconcerted. This mantle,' continued Mrs Thornley, 'would lead you to remark the estimable qualities of those around you, rather than their failings; and as it is much more gratifying to the feelings to contemplate that which excites our admiration, than those actions which arouse resentment or indignation, you would yourself be the gainer by it.'

But we cannot avoid seeing people's faults when they are so very obvious,' Emily interposed.

They may not be so obvious to one who is not predetermined to observe them; of which a convincing proof has this morning been given. I saw not the slightest indication of pride in Miss Morrison's demeanour; but, on the contrary, observed with great pleasure the lively interest she evidently takes in the plans of benevolence her parents are executing. It is most probable that this circumstance was the real occasion of her seemingly distant manner towards yourself. Thus you see, my dear girl, I who was looking for her good qualities, readily discovered them; whilst you, having your thoughts full of envy, not only failed to see what was truly estimable, but committed an act of positive injustice, by putting an unfavourable construction on the motives which actuated her conduct. Now, which think you derived the most pleasure from Miss Morrison's presence-I who was admiring, or you who were condemning?'

Emily answered by a flood of penitential tears. 'Let this be a lesson to you, my child, not to be too hasty in your censures,' the mother resumed; for where you are not capable of forming a correct judgment of the motives or actions of others, it is better to err on the side of charity, by which means you avoid wronging your fellow-creatures, and at the same time afford yourself a gratification for which no malevolent feelings can compensate.'


The envy and hatred with which the hard-working poor contemplate their more fortunate neighbours, would be much mitigated, and perhaps altogether extinguished, if they could be brought to reflect that, in a commercial country such as England, opulence and indigence are, in a majority of cases, the direct results and representatives of poverty and industry. For what does any man toil except to purchase an exemption from toil? What is the stimulus and support of a poor man? The hope of becoming rich. If the Hindoo system of castes prevailed among us--if the humble man, however gifted, could never expect to emerge from his obscurity, he might justly complain of his lot; but in no country is the road to distinction more unobstructedly open to all classes than in England. The fathers and

« НазадПродовжити »