« НазадПродовжити »
tion. In the conflict of influences he is likely to have the worst of it, and possibly to fare like the philosopher of a lunatic asylum, who was persuaded that his friends had confined him because he would not go mad like the rest of the family. Assuming that he alone has a character formed by proper influences, the burden of gradually creating the new state of mankind falls on his individual shoulders, and he must mollify humanity, as Captain Bobadil proposed to conquer an army, by detachment. Now this process will require time, and what is worse, will be affected by circumstances which our theorist cannot control, and which may chance to alter his own opinions and throw cold water on his enthusiasm.
But Mr Owen brings the testimony of experience to back his theory. He has put his plans in operation at his cotton manufactory at New Lanark, and changed a company of indolent, dishonest, corrupt, and miserable workmen, to one that is comparatively industrious, virtuous, and happy. There is nothing miraculous in this. He has been scrupulously just, liberal, and kind to persons whose situations placed them in a great measure in his pow
Men are not stocks and stones. Impartial justice will forever command respect, and undeviating kindness ensure affection. It was an arduous, but not an impracticable undertaking to convince them that industry in his service was the best policy. It was an easier task for one so amiable as he is represented, to make them love him. And this is the whole secret of the improvements at New Lanark.
But what are the circumstances, to use his own language, which will surround Mr Owen in the United States, and the materials on which he is to operate. Can he find here a population, crowded to suffocation, starving for want of employment, or depending for their happiness, or misery, on the personal character of a lord of the soil, or a master manufacturer. No such thing. He will find a self-willed generation, who will judge for themselves of the circumstances by which they are to be surrounded. He will learn that independent “ shingle palaces” will possess more charms than parallelogrammatic villages; that a system, which places him, or any one, perpetually at the head of an establishment, will never agree with the doctrine of rotation in office; and that it is absurd to think of surrounding with any particular circumstances a people who can and will have their own way.
But “the happiness of self, clearly understood and uniformly practised, is the only principle of action that ought to be recognised.” There is no occasion for Mr Owen to press this point, since in one form or another a regard for the happiness of self is the only principle on which mankind have ever deliberately acted.
More modest philanthropists have doubted whether it was possible for short-sighted humanity to discover, without assistance, the true method of promoting its best interests, and effecting its highest happiness, on the whole, or in any particular case; and have concluded that the only certain course in obedience to the revealed will of that Being, whose omniscience alone beholds the extended chain of effects and causes. We say the only principle from which mankind deliberately act; for most of our actions are the effects of impulses. But why should we not always deliberate ? Why should we ever act from impulse? is the language of Mr Owen. Why, indeed, but because we cannot always help it. He tells us that he has devoted much time to the study of books relating to the history, constitution, and necessities of human nature ;-but in what language have the books been written, which do not teach that man never was nộr ever will be governed by reason alone; that a knowledge of the right way is not always a sufficient inducement to pursue it; that the affections and passions are the master springs of human actions; and that a system which does not touch these, is useless and worse than useless ? One book, at least, he cannot have studied, and that is the Bible.
He tells us, that he has “ read the Christian Scriptures,” and that he finds in them more valuable truths than in any others ;" but “that all known religions contain too much error to be of any use in the present advanced state of the human mind ;" by which we are to understand that the natural religion of Plato, Seneca, and Mr Owen, is a more perfect one, than that which is adapted, not to the tenants of the academy, the porch, or the parallelogram, but to man as it finds him, in all situations and under any circumstances; which proposes not to root out those affections which are inseparably united with his constitution, but to direct them to objects, grand, comprehensive, and ennobling ; not to confine the intellectual and moral nature within the control of accidental circumstances, but to raise it above them.
It must be admitted that Mr Owen is an amiable, though mistaken enthusiast, who has done much good and may do more, and that he deserves the praise which is due to a benevolent disposition and zealous philanthropy ; but it must also be admitted, that a theory of moral discipline, which leaves out of the question one, at least, of the great principles of the christian religion, neither can nor ought to be encouraged.
CHAPEL IN WHITEHALL PALACE.
A LEAF FROM THE JOURNAL OF A TRAVELLER IN ENGLAND.
I went to day to the chapel in Whitehall Palace, from which Charles, “ the Martyr," was conducted to the scaffold erected in front of this edifice. In the porch I was met by a doorkeeper, and informed that no person was permitted to enter that chapel, unless he intended to stay through the service. I made no difficulty in agreeing to this condition, and was admitted. preacher was dull, as those of the establishment here are apt to be, and my attention was soon diverted from his soporific sermon to the architecture and decorations of the building. It was erected in 1619 according to a design of Inigo Jones. The ceiling was painted by Rubens, for which he received £3000 ; and it has been retouched at an additional expense of £2000. The subject is the Apotheosis of James I. The old monarch is represented in the different stages of his metamorphosis from a mortal to a demigod. His shrivelled and antiquated person appears dropping piecemeal its earthly exuviæ, and gradually assuming a fair and youthful form.
This chapel, like St Paul's, is adorned with trophies taken from the French and other nations. On the right and left of the altar are twelve of Napoleon's eagles and two standards—the latter taken at Waterloo, and the former at Albuera, Madrid, and Salamanca. The eagles, which differ considerably from ours, being modelled after the brown eagle of Africa, are perched upon staves about six feet in length. The standards bear, on one side, the names of
On a brass plate, at the foot of each staff, are recorded the time and place of taking these trophies. One of the eagles, for what purpose I know not, is stated to have been thrown into the Ceira during the retreat of the French army from Portugal. Perhaps the fact was considered as indicative of disaffection to the Napoleon dynasty.
Above the galleries, and entirely round the walls, are suspend
ed the standards of various nations-among others, some of the United States, taken at Queenstown, Niagara, Detroit, and, mirabile dictu, at New Orleans. Four standards were of the kingdom of Candia, two of them richly emblazoned and embroidered ; others were from Egypt, India, Badajos, and Martinique. The galleries were occupied in a very orderly manner by companies of soldiers perfectly clean and well dressed. Although a little attached to the pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war," I cannot look upon a European soldier without a degree of indig, nation; for they seem to me to be designed rather to enslave the people at home, than to combat their enemies abroad. The British soldiery certainly have a very martial air-appear to feed well, and feel their own importance. Apparently they have less connexion and sympathy with the citizens than the soldiers of Portugal or Spain. The reason I presume is, that they are made more independent of society than in those countries where they are poorly sed, clothed, and paid.
Unhand me, gentlemen. Hamlet. An ingenious essay lately appeared in the New Monthly Magazine, proving to the world the decided advantages of “having no head." And I did entertain sanguine expectations, that some one more able than myself would have employed his pen earlier in setting forth the manifold advantages of " having no hands." Disappointed in this respect, I take upon myself the arduous task; conceiving it to be my bounden duty to convince mankind how unfortunate is the situation of every one possessing two, live, naked hands !-although I cannot but regret my inability to handle this feeling subject in a manner more worthy of its merits.
The principal design of those uncouth appendages to the human figure, is, to perform all the duties and offices, which we are apt to suppose cannot be done, at least in so handy a manner, by the toes, the ankles, the elbows, or any of the other members, with which man is provided. But, however paradoxical it may appear-and however opposed to the vulgar adage, which says “ many hands make light work”-I venture to affirm that no hands make work still lighter.
For if one is so happy as to be without those awkward and ungainly limbs, is it not a fair inference that he will have none of their peculiar duties to perform ? Thus, at once, a world of trouble is shaken off his hands. He may then enjoy dignity and ease without the pains-to use a sailor's phrase--of
“lending a hand” to obtain them. Never will he undertake any ignominious handicraft-be seen toiling at a handcart-labouring at a handsaw-or confined between the degrading poles of a handbarrow.
In military affairs he will never know the use of the manual, and war will have for him no danger. Hard indeed must be the heart of the “ orderly,” who could command him to take up arms, or handle a musket. And then, in pecuniary matters, what advantages will he not possess ! No one will ever think of borrowing from one who can never have money on hand. His credit, too, would be unbounded, for it would be barbarous to require of him a note of hand; unless he could sign it with his feet, with which, indeed, a man may sometimes make a pretty good runninghand.
Another advantage, Mr Editor, deserves particular consideration. He never will be obliged, as we double-handed wretches too often are, to shake hands with a disagreeable acquaintance ; and can never injure his reputation by being hand and glove with an exceptionable character. Those disgusting articles, called handkerchiefs, will form no item in his wardrobe or his washing bill. And then, how many seven-and-sixpences will he not save in the single article of gloves! They, and the want of them, will be equally unknown. And yet he will never complain of cold hands or warm hands, of damp hands or dirty hands. 'Tis true, he can never attain the fair fame of possessing “ a hand open as day to melting charity.” But he will be equally free from the opprobrious appellation of a close-listed fellow. What a guaranty for honesty! he will never lay his hands upon the property of another. And of perjury he can never be guilty, till oaths are very differently administered. He will live in peace with all his neighbours; at least, no one will ever receive an injury at his hands. He will never be liable to reproach himself with having fingered a bribe, or with having held up his hand to vote against the people and his country.
On the other hand, it cannot be denied that there are some privations, to which this improved specimen of the human animal will be subject. They are so trifling, however, in comparison with his advantages, that I cannot suppose any will hesitate to adopt the improvement. It is undoubtedly true, and I mention these things to show my candour, and do justice to the old-fashioned form of men, that there are many little pleasures-tending, perhaps, to make life agreeable-which he would be entirely obliged to forego. At card-parties, for example, he could only be a spectator, for no one would think of inviting him to take a hand. He could never take a lady's hand-or hand her to her coach—or, what is worse than all, Mr Editor, offer her his hand.