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SPITALFIELDS MECHANICS INSTITUTION

A Mechanics' Institution is about being formed in Spitalfields, for the accommodation of the numerous body of Workmen in that district of the metropolis. What may be termed the parent institution in Southampton Buildings is too distant from some parts of the town to be universally available, and it is desirable that cooperating branches should be established, possessing a more convenient locality. For this purpose the Spitalfields' Institution has been projected.

After some preliminary inquiries, how far the undertaking was likely to succeed, application was made to Mr. Partington, of the London Institution, to deliver an introductory lecture—Dr. Birkbeck having consented to deliver an opening address, explanatory of the objects of the proposed establishment. On the 10th instant, the first meeting was held, at Brown's chapel, Bethnal-green, Spitalfields. The audience assembled was most numerous, and the admirable address of Dr. Birkbeck was received with the most lively marks of interest and approbation.

The worthy President began his observations by reminding his auditors, that he was now addressing men, many of whose ancestors had been driven out of France by the persecuting spirit of former times, and who had introduced a manufacture into London, which had taken deep root, and afforded the means of subsistence to a large population. They had also brought with them a fondness for science, which their descendants had continued to cultU vate. If he were correctly informed, Botany and Entomology were favourite pursuits among the inhabitants of this district; and, indeed, he had been told, that many of the most rare specimens in these sciences had been found, and were only to be found, in the collections of Spitalfields' weavers.

It was said that a strong prejudice prevailed among them against the improvements of modern machinery, and that while the cotton manufacturers had been actively and successfully engaged in bringing their machines to perfection, the looms of Spitalfields were nearly in the same state as they were a century ago. This prejudice would give way when they came better to understand the advantages derived to the workmen by the introduction of machinery; for so far was machinery from reducing the demand for labour, that the more perfect the sciences, the cheaper the wrought article would be produced, and the demand for labour would increase with the demand for the article.

For many centuries the eastern part of

the globe had supplied the western with its manufactures. "Mark," said Dr. Birkbeck," the effect now produced by th« superiority of our machinery. We take the raw cotton from India, we transport it 4,000 leagues across the ocean, we manufacture it into articles of clothing, we return it 4,000 leagues, and then, in their own markets, we beat the natives in the production of their own soil. At the same time we afford employment to not less than one million of people who, without this employment, would have no call for their labour." Not only had the improvements in machinery increased the demand for human labour, but they had bettered the condition of the labourer; they had raised him from a machine into the rank of an intellectual being; from being the mere source of power, he had become the director of power. It was not unusual, in former times, to see men employed in the drudgery of turning a wheel, mechanical power had rendered this degradation needless, except in those modern machines known by the name of tread-mills. Stocking-making had been one of the principal manufactures of the Netherlands, and the women of that country were constantly employed with their knitting needles, and although they devoted their whole time to labour, they were usually found to be stociingless. The invention of the stocking-frame, by an unlettered man, had reduced the sum of human labour in this article, and brought stockings within the reach of every person.

"The highest intellectual genius in this country," said the doctor, "has left it upon record, that 'knowledge is power,' the object of the projectors of this institution is, to communicate knowledge, and if they are not afraid of imparting to you power, no jealousy can exist on your part, to prevent your availing yourselves of the offer. Experience has taught us, that among the working classes instances are often to|be found of bright genius, and high capacity, and if these institutions flourish, as I doubt not they will, the words of the poet will be here no longer applicable:

'Full many a gem of purest ray serene," The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear; Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, And waste its sweetness on the desert

air.'" Our limits do not admit of our giving the admirable speech of Mr. Partington, but it struck us as most forcible and appropriate to the occasion. He dwelt with particular eloquence on the great works

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which had been achieved by the aid of science, and particularly 'alluded to the Stonehenge'pile, which had been erected by the application of the mechanical powers; and to the not less colossal, but more useful, undertakings which, under the genius of a Smeaton and a Rennie, had been performed, for lighting the mariner on his way, and setting bounds to the roaring ocean.

THE THEATRES.

The Theatres Royal, during the last week, teemed with the materials of amusement in all their possible varieties. The Oratorios, the drama, and Mathews's Memorandum Book, formed banquets for every description of palate; and the lovers of music and stage-exhibition, like bees in a well-stocked flower-garden, experienced no difficulty but that of making their selection. The histrionic efforts of the week, which at Drury-lane, concluded with the representation of l)er Freischiitz, and at Covent-garden, with that of She Stoops to Conquer, chiefly consisted of skilful and impressive repetitions of that excellence in performance, with which the public had been so often entertained. The intervening Concerto Spirituaie, finishing with selections from Werer's Enryanthe, and his Preciosa, followed by portions of the Messiah, Beethoven's3/0«m£ of Olives, and Haydn's Creation, were most flatteringly received. The reappearance of Miss Stephens, after her recent indisposition, afforded evident pleasure to the whole audience ; and her execution of the delightful air of "Hush, ye pretty warbling choir," was listened to with feelings of admiration. Braham, in " Love sounds th' alarm," was ardent and animated, even beyond his usual self, and the happy exertions of Miss Love, MaCame Cahadori, Mr. Horn, and Mr. Bedford, made ample compensation for the rather indifferent style in which Mr. Bellamy" gave the songs of Polypheme. The chorusses were performed with admirable precision; and it would be as unjust as illiberal, not to motice the felicitous taste, and thrilling expression, with which Lindley repeated a concerto, with which we had been charmed on a previous evening.

The result of the unclasping of MaThews's volume, has proved exactly the reverse of that of opening Pandora's box. If from the latter issued every evil, from his magazine has sprung forth all the wit and good humour that the admirers of his peculiar talents expected. To whose jocose and sprightly invention he has been indebted for the contents of his piquant

pages, we have not learned'; but they are not more replete with matter than with materials of laughable amusement. His introductory description of his own fireside is pleasantly illustrative of the plan of his new entertainment; but promises no more than is realized: The busy, prying, Mrs. Tinsel, whose servant's cane, taller than herself, is an emblem of the knock-down power of her scandalizing tongue—Nat Glib, the waiter, who, annoys all his master's customers, by his ofneiousness to "make every body comfortable"—Mr. Allum, the chemist, who from the continual apprehension of his friends being poisoned, denounces every edible substance—Mr. Albut, who is always on the verge of success, but never successful—these, and Old Startle's account of the projected perpendicular tunnel, intended to unite England with the antipodes, and of the design of digging for silver mines, to the bottom of Primrosehill, are so many samples, not of imaginative creation, but of real characters, or at least, of characters that bear all the appearance of reality. And the general effect is as truly comic and whimsical as that of the most striking of Mr. Mathews's former performances;

Staru of ©ccurraicrK.

March 10.—Joint Stock Companies And Pawnrrokers.—At a meeting of the common council, Mr. Alderman Waithman warmly opposes joint stock companies in general, and the Equitable Loan Bank Company in particular. It really appears to me these trading associations are becoming too multifarious. By incorporating so many knots of persons, parliament is opposing the veryprinciple of free trade, which, in other measures, it appears desirous of establishing. A joint stock company, it is true, does not constitute a monopoly, but ultimately it becomes much the same sort of evil. The capital of individuals can never compete with the capital of an association; the consequence is that, in process of time, the latter engrosses the whole trade in which they embark. What is this then but a monopoly 1—a monopoly too, by which the community may be seriously affected: for though a company by greater capital may afford their commodities at a cheaper rate than single persons, yet, when they have once attained their object, and by putting down all competition engrossed the trade to themselves, then their prices will be just what they please tojmake them; that is, they will be monopoly prices, and much higher than if the same traffic or pursuit had been left to the competition of individuals.

With respect to the Pawnbrokers, whom the Equitable Loan Bank Company is intended to supersede, many things may be advanced in their favour. First, their profession is in disrepute, and they are exposed to a great deal of public odium; they are supposed to be a Jewish set of persons, who are amassing wealth by the distresses and misfortunes of their fellow creatures. This, certainly, is not my opinion; for I think their calling as fair and honourable as that of the bankers, or any other class of individuals. Secondly, it may be mentioned as another hardship in their situation, that they are subject to peculiar acts of parliament, which place their dealings and transactions under a more rigorous surveillance than any other class of people. Though they may occasionally exact usurous interest, it is not likely frequently to occur; with the dread of fines and informations constantly before their eyes, they will rarely venture to impose in this way. Allowing, however, that extortion is sometimes practised, it may, in some cases, have a beneficial tendency; it discourages pledging, it operates as a tax or punishment on those who, from negligence or prodigality, may be reduced to the necessity of resorting to the three balls.

It is not right, however, the innocent should suffer along with the guilty, and there are individuals who from unforeseen and unavoidable vicissitudes, are compelled to resort to the pawnbrokers, and to whom every facility and security for fair treatment ought to be afforded. For this class of persons something ought to be done, and I have thought of a scheme which will tend very much to their ease and convenience, and which 1 shall now beg leave to submit to the projectors of the Equitable Loan Company.

To the generous mind there cannot be a greater hardship than the necessity of having to apply to a pawnbroker's shop— standing behind the counter—giving your name and abode — having them carefully enrolled in two or three enormous sized ledgers—replying to divers suspicious interrogatories—and at last receiving a bit of indented card, called a duplicate, are attended with indescribable pangs to the unfortunate applicant, and to whom, standing in the pillory for the same space of time, would be, comparatively, a state of beatitude. To do away with this kind of unnecessary punishment, a contrivance might be adopted which would be unattended with the exposure of either names or persons. One or more offices might be established in places least obnoxious to the public gaze; they might be furnished

with turning machines, partly on the plan of those at the Foundling Hospital in Dublin, or the religious houses on the continent; on one end of which, any poor creature who happened to be hard up as the phrase is, might slip in a spare shirt or small-clothes without being recognised, and receive from the other end the required pro tempore lqan. This idea is doubtless susceptible of much improvement and amplification, and it is now hastily submitted to those philanthropists who are desirous of relieving the mental and physical distresses of their fellow mortals.

A project is on foot fpr opening a street from Southwark-bridge to the Royal Exchange; the expense is estimated at 600,000/., which it is proposed to raise by a tontine.—The principal street from Fleet-market northward, will, it is said, be considerably wider than Regent-street, and equally striking in its architecture.—• The briskness of trade last year at Liver* pool, is evinced by an official account just published. The excess of 1824 over 1823 is more than 4,500,000/. The export of cotton manufactures and yarn, are estimated at the sum of 30 millions!—The king of Denmark has approved of the proposal of the Continental Oas Company, for lighting Copenhagen with gas.—The accouchement of Miss Faton has given rise to a great deal of whispering, inuendos, and small talk. Report says, the young lady had been previously married at Oxford.—Bellamy, keeper of the coffee-room, house of commons, lowered his port wine \s. a bottle, immediately after the opening of the budget; the London Tavern, the Baltic coffee-house, and other large houses followed his example.—Mr. O'Connell has by purchase become a freeman and liveryman of the city of London.

News From India.—Intelligence has arrived of a mutiny among the Sepoy regiments at Barrackpore. They were ordered to march to the frontiers, which command they refused to obey. Their refusal being communicated to the commander in chief, sir Edward Paget, he again sent to them, giving them ten minutes to reflect on the consequences of their disobedience; at the expiration of which time, still continuing obstinate, they were commanded to lay down their arms, which they also refused. The regular troops were brought out against them, the artillery was turned upon the post they occupied, and an attack commenced, which terminated in their being completely subdued. The loss is variously estimated in the different accounts; some stating it at six hundred killed and four hundred wounded, others at four hundred

WEEKLY CALENDAR.

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WtMv Calendar.
JHard} XIX.—Saturday.

High Water, Morn. I. 58 m. Even. II. 9 m.

Sun rises V. 3d in.; sets VI. \ m.
New Moon, IV. 22 m. in the evening.

Chronology.—On this day, 720 R. C, happened the first eclipse of the moon of which we have any account on record,

1688, A. D. — Died, in London, sir John Denham, an eminent poet, born in Dublin, in 1615. His most famous production is a poem called " Cooper's Hill;" of which Drydeu says, it will ever be the standard of good writing for majesty of style. Pope has also celebrated this poem in his " Windsor Forest;" and all men of taste have agreed in their commendation of.it. Dr. Johnson calls Denham one of the writers that improved our taste and advanced our language.

fHarrf) XX.—Sunday.

High Water, Morn.II. 28 m. Even. II.47m.
Sun enters Aries 19 m. after 9 P. M.
Sunday Lessons, Morn. Exod. 3. John 7. Even.
Exod.5. Tim. 4.

This is the fifth Sunday in Lent, and in the missals is called Passion Sunday, as the church now begins to advert to the sufferings of Christ. In the north, it is called [Carting Sunday; and grey peas, first steeped a night in water, and fried with butter, form the usual repast.

The vernal equinox, which is this day, is that point in the heavens where the sun appears, when the day and night are each twelve hours long throughout the world. From this point the longitude of the heavenly bodies is calculated.

Chronology.—1413. Henry IV. died in the Jerusalem-chamber at Westminster.

On this dayy 1727, expired sir Isaac Newtpn, who Was born at Woolsthorpe, near Grantham, in the county of Lincoln, in 1642. He received the early part of his education at Grantham, and completed his studies af Cambridge, where he made an astonishing. progress in .mathematical knowledge. He comprehended the theorems and problems of Euclid as it were by intuition. At the age of twentyfour he had laid the foundation of his most important discoveries. He was the first who gave a rational account of the laws which regulate the motion of the planets on the principles of the attraction of gra

vitation. Newton first explained the true1 nature of colours, and the heterogeneous mixture of the solar rays. The modesty of this great man was as remarkable as the superiority of his genius: he was buried in Westminster Abbey, where a monument is erected to his memory:

Nature, and all her works, lay hid in

night, God said, '< let Newton, be 1" and all was)

light—Pope.

1793.—Expired William Murray, earl of Mansfield, who for thirty years held theoffice of lord, chief justice of the king's bench. -,

ffinttfy XXL—Monday.

High Water, Morn. III. 1 m. Even. III. 16 m.

Chronology.'—1556. Thomas Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbury, burnt at Oxford for heresy, in the 67th year of his age.

1801. — Anniversary of the battle of Alexandria, in which the English obtained a decisive victory over the French.

;Platrf) XXII.—Tuesday.

High Water, Morn. III.30 m. Even. III. 4S m.

Orservance Of Lent.—The most ancient manner of observing Lent, was to refrain from all food till the evening: for the change of diet, as from flesh to fish, was not by the ancients accounted a fast. Their only meal was a moderate supper, and they partook indifferently of animal or Other food. In subsequent ages the use of flesh and wine was generally prohibited. Frequenting places of amusement, the use of the bath, and various pleasures, at other times accounted innocent, were also interdicted.

The early Christians appear to have been capable of far greater abstinence than the modern, and instances of most extraordinary fasts are recorded. Saint Gregory assures us, that in his time several solitaires spent twenty days and nights together without food. Eusebius, a celebrated abbot in Syria, used commonly to abstain from all food for three or four days together; and when a youthful monk ate but once a week. Paul, the first hermit, lived in a palm-tree for thirty years, his food and clothes being given to mm; the former was composed of raw herbs and pulse, yet he attained the age of 113 years. At the early age of fifteen, Saint Hilarion abstained entirely from bread, for six years; his daily diet was limited toff teen figs. For the next three years he ate lentils, steeped in cold water; and, from his fourth to his twenty-seventh year, lived on bread, salt, and water: from this time till his thirtieth year he confined himself to wild herbs and roots: and during the five succeeding years his daily allowance was six ounces of barley bread, and a small quantity of boiled herbs; to this he afterwards added, by way of luxury, a little oil; and thus he lived till he was eighty years of age. It were easy to multiply these instances, but the present are enough to contrast with the modern feats of gastronomists.

iHawf) XXIII.—Wednesday.

High Water, Morn. IV. 0 m. Even. IV. 14.

1801.—The emperor Paul of Russia died suddenly; supposed in a way not very uncommonly the fate of tyrants.

jftlat-d) XXIV.—Thursday.

High Water, Morn. IV. 84. m. Even. IV. 53-Jn. On this day, 1602, queen Elizabeth died at Richmond, in Surrey, in the 70th: year of her age, and the 45th of her reign. She was born at Greenwich in Kent.

iHar.f^ XXV. Lady Day

Friday.

High Water, Morn. V; 14 m. Even. V. 35 m. . Annunciation. — This word denotes; the message brought by the angel Gabriel to the virgin Mary of the incarnation of Jesus Christ. The angel's salutation of the virgin is a formula of devotion very usual in the Romish church : it was added to their prayers by the order of pope John,'in the fourteenth century'; and is termed Ave Mahia, or Ave Mary, be-, cause it begins with these words, Ave Maria—" Hail, Mary." Mary was, probably, an only child, and not more than fifteen years of age when espoused to Joseph; who died A. D. 48, being about sixty years old. The origin of the festival of the annunciation is referred to the seventh century. In England, before the alteration of the style, our new year began on the 25th of March; and in some ecclesiastical computations that order is still observed. Lady Day is now chiefly interesting as one of the four days in the year, on which house rent, and the interest on money are generally stipulated to be paid.

THE THAMES TUNNEL. The spot on which the operations are commenced is near to, and somewhat to the eastward of, Rotherithe church, and on the south side of Rotherithe-street. The preparations consist of a circle of piles of large scantling, bounding a very stout timber curb shod with iron, (on the under side,) and securely bolted together. This timber curb forms the base for a circular brick structure, which is to^be three feet

thick and 40 high. The brickwork is to be set in Roman cement, well secured by horizontal band-hoops let into the courses at short intervals from each other, and the whole is to be bound vertically by means of forty-eight iron ties, the aggregate strength of which is more than sufficient to carry the whole structure, although its weight will exceed 1000 tons. A steamengine of 30-horse power, with boiler, &c. is to be set up on the top of this structure, for the purpose of giving motion to a bucket-chain descending in the middle, intending to act as a common dredging machine for taking up the soil, which is to be removed to give place for the building in question. In this manner Mr. Brunei purposes to penetrate through the gravel, sand, and water, (about 28 feet deep), which forms the upper stratum or bed of the river. The tunnel will be opened between 45 and 65 feet below high water mark, and carried through the blue clay,of which there will be from 10 to 14 feet. on the top of the brickwork in the deepest part of the river. The shaft now preparing is intended for foot passengers. The larger descent for carriages, which is to be of about 200 feet diameter, will not be begun till the tunnel is carried on to a certain extent under the river. • . . ..

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