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up, and the broken-stone roads of Mr McAdam substituted in their place. This has been done from a conviction of the superiority of the stoned road for smoothness and ease of draught ; while in cases where pavements are not already laid, it will be found to afford not only a much better road, but a much more economical one, than the old method of paving.
Before we close this article, we must take occasion to reprobate one practice in connexion with our system of repairing highways, which prevails more or less in every section of the country,-it is the custom of permitting every person either to pay his tax or work it out (to use the common phraseology), at his option. This custom derives its origin from the feudal system, and is a remnant of the personal service which the lord of the manor exacted of his vassals,—one of the few relics of a barbarous age, which the spirit of our free institutions has not yet shaken off. At a time when rents were paid in kind; and when the convenience of having a circulating medium was comparatively unknown, there might be some necessity for resorting to this expedient; but now when the product of every man's labour can be so readily converted into money, we see no valid reason for retaining it. Men, unaccustomed to the kind of labour required in repairing a road, however industrious their habits may be, cannot be employed upon it to the public advantage. Those who are suitable might, in all cases, we presume, obtain the employment of the surveyor, if they desired it, without placing him under an obligation to employ them, whether competent or not. The most competent men would be employed to do the work, if the surveyors were furnished with the means and left at liberty to use them to the best advantage; and as far as an inferior class of labourers are admitted, whether they are indolent or unskilful, the public are certainly the sufferers.
The adoption of Mr McAdam's system would of itself go far towards correcting these abuses. A man's labour would here be estimated, not by the time he is employed, but by actual measurement of the quantity of stone which he has prepared, for the purpose of the road ; so that if he is idle, or if he is awkward and unskilful at his task, it will be his own loss; and the obvious result will fol. low, that those only, who can work most advantageously at this employment, or who from youth or imbecility cannot be profitably engaged in a more laborious occupation, will offer their services; and in either case the community will be the gainer; for it will be a public benefit, that persons of the latter description be employed to the extent of their abilities, while their reward is justly proportioned to the services which they perform.
MOLSEY HYRST-GAME OF CRICKET PLAYED BY LADIES-A BOXING MATCH--SPECULATIONS UPON THE CAUSE OF THIS TRAIT IN THE ENGLISH CHARACTER--HAMPTON CHURCH-YARD-HAMPTON COURT- THE CARTOONS OF RAFAELLE.
A LEAF FROM THE JOURNAL OF A TRAVELLER IN ENGLAND.
February 14th, 18—. The day before yesterday I walked down to Molsey Hyrst, 12 miles from London, to see a fight. I was not induced to visit the scene by any particular fondness for such exhibitions, but simply from a desire to observe for myself a trait, rather a striking one, of national character. Certainly the pugilists of England deserve the attention of a stranger as much, at least, as the pancratiastæ of Greece or the gladiators of Rome do that of the liberal scholar.
This tyrst is an extensive plain apparently used for mowing, and lies on the south side of the Thames. It seems to have been the theatre of games and combats from time immemorial. It is mentioned in the Gentleman's Magazine, about fifty years back, as the scene of a famous game of cricket played for a considerable wager between six married women on one side and six maidens on the other. The game is represented to have been played with extraordinary dexterity and spirit in the presence of a vast concourse of spectators. The young women, if I recollect right, were the challengers ; at any rate they were the winners, for the same reason perhaps, that young officers, who have their fortunes to make, are observed to fight better than old ones, whose fortunes are already made.
I crossed the Thames from Hampton church-yard in a wherry, a boat rather larger than an ordinary canoe. The parties and spectators were assembled in the middle of the plain, the former attended by their seconds, certain veteran fighters, their bottleholders, and a referee, mutually chosen to decide all disputes which might arise in the course of the combat. The lists, within which I found the fighters and their suites, enclosed about a square and were formed by stakes driven firmly into the ground, three on a side, with two ropes passing round them, one near the top and the other about the middle of them. At the distance of three or four rods from the lists was a circle formed of various vehicles, such as gigs, coaches, Stanhopes, tilburies, and market carts, the latter the most numerous, and designed to be let to pedestrian spectators for stands. Between the circle of carts and the lists was another entire circle of spectators, who did not choose to pay 2d. or 6d. for a stand. The parties prepared themselves for the combat in the following manner; they exchanged their shoes for light, laced boots or buskins, they threw off their heavy fearnoughts, and all their upper garments, leaving only
their white kerseymere small-clothes, confined by a handkerchief about the waist, their white cotton stockings and red buskins. They then resumed their great coats to wait the signal to engage. They walked about in a hurried and anxious manner; particularly the one who was the pet, and on whom the bets were two to one. When the moment came to begin, they again threw off their great coats, and put themselves in the fighting attitude, which shows a muscular form to some advantage. They fought nearly an hour before either party gave up, and then it was his second, not himself, that yielded. One of them, the pet, could not stand alone when the fight was over, and the other was but little better. The face of the first bled at all points, and became frightfully black and swollen ; although between the rounds, of which there were about forty, he was bathed and sprinkled with spirit and every method was employed to cherish and refresh him. When they were leading him off, he observed, as well as he could, for he could scarcely speak," that he hoped Mr Whittle would not grumble.” This Mr Whittle was his backer, and this remark was made in allusion to the practice of " selling fights,” which is when one of the parties betrays the person or persons who have bet in his favour, and allows himself, after a show of resistance, to be beaten, being induced thereto by a valuable consideration received from the backers of his antagonist. I am told that almost all the great pugilists do at some time or other sell their fights, but the consequence is, that it is difficult for them to find backers again. There have been instances of selling fights for £1000 sterling. The mode of challenging, when the challenge is given on the ground, is by throwing up hats. The practice of selling fights has done more to diminish the number of these combats than the labours of magistrates or moral societies, and I should hope that this with other causes might ultimately put an end to a custom so disgraceful to England and to human nature. There were but few people present on this occasion, perhaps eight hundred in all. They were of various characters and conditions, many of them of the lowest class, some of them respectable-looking yeoman, and a still greater number of jockey-looking gentleman, ycleped “ of the fancy.” This fight was bloody; the vanquished party was dreadfully mauled, and his white small-clothes were all red with with blood, which fell from his nose and face. The backs of both were terribly excoriated by falling and struggling upon the ropes. As the interest gradually increased, the spectators began to press towards the centre, till at last they rushed in and crowded it just as the fight was over. The sight of this combat seemed to put others in a fighting humour, for several hats ascended in quick succession, but no backers appeared. When the affair was ended, a hat was carried round to collect contributions " for the losing
man," whom the person, a jockey-looking gentleman, who bore the hat, called “a very game fellow.” I saw but two females present, though I believe it is common for them to attend in considerable numbers, as happened at the great fight which took place lately at Worcester between the respective champions of England and Ireland.
Many Americans as well as other foreigners wonder how a nation so civilized as the British can tolerate so barbarous a custom. The truth is, that a considerable portion of the dense population of England is in a state of comparative barbarism at the very moment, when as a nation they have arrived at the highest pitch of refinement and grandeur. Unless Malthus' preventive checks are applied with more skill and success than they have ever yet been, an epoch must arrive in the history of all nations, not excepting our own happy republic, when a large portion of the population will be as exclusively occupied in providing for their physical wants, as the savages who roam in the wilderness, and much more than the beasts, which those savages pursue.
This is that second barbarism, which happens to nations, as much as second childhood to men ; and those Americans are much more patriotic than philosophic, who think that we shall be exempt from it. This is precisely that stage of the national existence of England, in which barbarous and cruel sports take place, and in which there is the same disregard of human life and human suffering, that is observed among the negro tribes of Africa or the Indians of America. The luxury, the listlessness, and the ennui of the higher classes demand extraordinary excitements; and the necessities and vices of the lower impel them to minister, at the hazard of lifo and limb, to the gratification of these unnatural and vicious inclinations. In most nations, however, mortal combats for the amusement of the people (not those for the amusement of kings and ministers !) have been confined to wild and ferocious animals. It has been only in the most populous, wealthy, and corrupt nations,-among whom, as among individuals, it has always been observed, that luxury, wantonness, and cruelty increase just in proportion as they become wealthy and powerful,-in such or in savage nations only is it, that men have consented to assume the place and imitate the actions of wild beasts in the games of the circus. It was at Rome, that great centre of the population, wealth, and corruption of the world, that the combats of gladiators were invented and carried to such a shocking extent. It was in a city containing three or four millions of people, that ten thousand men engaged successively in mortal combat in the space of four months in honour of a military triumph and for the gratification of the Emperor's court. It is now only in England, whose capital is the greatest centre with which we are acquainted in modern times, of commerce, wealth,
luxury, and vice, that the amusement, which often produces the death of a human creature, is practised. This progressive disregard of human life and human suffering is observable also in the different frequency of capital and other severe punishments in different countries or at different epochs in the same country. Where the population is scarce, and especially if it have hostile and dangerous neighbours, the government are always very tender of the lives of the subjects and citizens. Our pious ancestors, the pilgrims, spared and protected a certain most desperate Dutchman, who had committed numerous and enormous crimes, because he could be useful in fighting the savages.
In the United States, the comparative infrequency of capital punishments is matter of surprise to many foreigners. However, I believe that in Russia they are still more infrequent, certainly they were so some years ago, and in Spain and Portugal and Scotland, they are equally rare. In England, France, Germany, and Italy, which have a much denser population than either of the above countries, they are much more frequent and more or less frequent, nearly in the ratio of their respective populations; though doubtless the difference of their penal codes may vary in some degree the results in these respects.
If then I am right in my view of the causes of this custom, it is idle and absurd to quarrel with it, any more at least than we should with every vice, which results from a crowded population, great wealth and luxury in one class, and extreme poverty and debasement in another. Our institutions, the general diffusion of knowledge, and the ambition to be respectable, may retard the approach of this epoch with us; but that these or any other causes hitherto known, will prevent its ultimate arrival is what I rather hope than expect. Barbarous this custom certainly is--more barbarous than the bull-fights of Spain, or the bear-baiting and badger-baiting of England herself ; but it is quite amusing to hear some of our orators and writers, who flatter the national vanity for selfish and base purposes, pretend that it is because we are highly and intrinsically virtuous, and England a very vicious nation, that this aud like customs exist among them and not. among us. We are what great circumstances have made us ;-so is England, so will all nations ever be.*
It would seem from a recent pugulistic combat in New York, which we are sorry to say has been very amply described in the newspapers, that some of the travelled and tasteful geniry of that city are quite impatient at our tardy progress in the march of refinement, and are resolved to accelerate it. We regret exceedingly, ibat ise names and the brutal deeds of those degraded beings, who have consented to heat and bruise one another for the amuseinent of the idle and worthless men who enconrage it and enjoy it, should have found a place in the column of any respecta · ble journal, or indieed of any joumal; for the notoriety so injudiciously given to these combats and to the persons who eogage in them, through the public press, is the greatest (erinenter of the evil, If there were no Pierce Egans, there would be fewer pugilists.