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apartments an old oaken bedstead is shown, as the identical one on which king Duncan lay when he was murdered by Macbeth. Nature has been bountiful to the place both in wood and water, and its elevated situation commands a beautiful prospect of the Moray Frith, which renders it the most pleasing residence of any in the county of Nairn, except the noble mansion of the earl of Murray at Farn.away, renowned for its spacious wood and hall.
"A SHORT LIFE AND A MERRY ONE."
Tins is pernicious counsel, "brings many a one to a bad end," and even counteracts the good effects of such wholesome precepts as are contained in the renowned history of Tommy and Harry. Indeed, certain sticklers are of opinion that this and some other half dozen crack sayings are of Satanic origin, and that they have been sent abroad by our great enemy to lure us into his snares. We leave them to their prejudices.
Those who are fond of tracing cause and effect, may consider a school as the microcosm of life. Boys at the flexible age of twelve or fourteen are usually the slaves of example; they are intoxicated with life's choicest spirits, and the word luxury is to them a talisman and charm, which conjures up all the golden dreams of the imagination. This is, however, only the germ of a principle; for genius and poverty are so often associated that the latter almost appears to be a consequence of the former. It is certain that excellence in any branch of learning or skill creates a degree of listlessness or indifference to the petty affairs of life. Hence result the difficulties with which we too often see talent surrounded: hence the calamities of authors, and the poverty of poets and pholosophers. The wit who at one moment electrifies a score of bon-vivants by the brilliancy of his imagination, is perhaps doomed to be electrified in turn by the importunity of a dun, and to have his " flow of soul" chilled by the gloom of a sponging-house or a prison.
These are technically called the ups and downs of life, and they alternate in all ranks. I hate all improvidence, as every just man ought; because we know that when our own resourses are exhausted, we must rely on those of our friends; and he who quarters himself on the generosity of a friend, (except in misfortune,) is guilty of the basest ingratitude, and of a breach of confidence, which can never be repaired. The sin of extravagance is therefore of twofold enormity, since, by
indulging it, we not only become our own enemy, but that of our connexions, and of mankind.
Genius always had its golden days and nights, when it loved to quaff and luxuriate in the good things of this life. Shakspeare doubtless drew from his own halcyon days, the festivescenes with which his dramas are illustrated, colouring them with all the richness and exuberance of hospitality and good cheer. Witness only the scene at the Boar's-Head tavern, in Eastcheap, with the mellow humour of old Jack Falstaff and his companions, and the raciness of Prince Hal. This is the very soul of good fellowship-^it is drinking to the very full—our souls rise at the bare recollection, and we exclaim with JEsop "O suavis anime .'"
Extravagance and excess are frequently the alloy of many good qualities. The world, however, generally confounds the errors of the head with those of the heart. When Sheridan wrote his " School for Scandal," he intended to contrast the treachery and black-hearted hypocrisy of Joseph Surface with the volatility and frankness of Charles; and he wished to show that, however deep the errors and misgivings of a giddy head may plunge a man, if his heart be untainted and sincere, he possesses a redeeming grace. This he has done effectually in perhaps one of the finest moral lessons that ever graced the English stage.
There is no vice of such rapid grbwth as habitual extravagance, which consists lin satisfying created wants. Imprudent liberality to friends and associates is geneally repaid with ingratitude, for what is commonly thought a very just reason; that those favours should not be so highly valued which are bestowed from whim rather than from just feelings of. friendship. This is far from being an excuse for ingratitude, for which, indeed, no extenuation has ever yet been found.
Holcroft accounts for the imprudence of dramatic writers and actors by their being placed in so many situations that they actually forget their own. One hour they personate royalty in all its mimic grandeur, and the next they sleep in a barn! Authors, in like manner, are so absorbed in the spirit of intellect, or the world of books, that they fall into similar errors and embarrassments. In short, genius soars beyond such bounds, and cannot sympathize with the ordinary concerns of every-day life: it has its own sphere, where it shines through the gloom that would fain obscure its splendour.
Undoubtedly there is a vast difference between those who adopt the course of "a short life and a merry one," from error, atld those who follow it from principle, or a* the world would say, from want of principle. The fool and the knave should not be treated alike; the one should be pitied, the other punished. There are certain hours in a man's life, when he is thrown off his guard, and he gets into a course from which it is difficult to reclaim him: and in the common chances of existence, the motive should be duly weighed before the stigma is cast; for unjust reproach is like the blood of a murdered man, which always leaves a stain.
That the scheme of "a short life and a merry one" is perilous, our public records, independent of our private experience, will attest. The rage for appearing what we are not, and disguising what we are, is of all vices the tdost dangerous, and this, for more reasons than we may probably be aware of. If we only deceived the world, our purpose would be served, but by constantly practising this species of imposture, we at length deceive ourselves, and thereby fall into our own snare. A man of education, though he be never so poor in the world, will, like a good coat, wear well to the last, and when his dress is threadbare, the gentlemanly refinement of his manners will shine forth, and distinguish him in the downhill of life.
Good-breeding is the best passport in society, and is like a rose worn in our bosom, which delights with its elegance and perfume. It will put mankind in good humour with us , and thereby ensure respect and liberal treatment. We may then hope for a long life and a merry one; and we may enjoy the society of our friends, and laugh at the tricks of our enemies. Cheerfulness will enliven us in proportion to our virtues, and by this means we shall arrive at the grand secret of being Happy.
.. ,' Oh I turn those dear, dear eyes away!" A Song, with an accompaniment lor the piano-forte, composed by J. de Pinna.
. This song, dedicated to the Senora Dona Clementina de Onis, a lady whose fine voice and exquisite taste have long delighted her private circles, exhibits considerable elegance and truth of conception, as far as regards the passages separately considered: but we are compelled to say, that viewed in the aggregate, the melody is deficient in unity or individuality of character. It rather appears to have been produced by short and distant fits of the fancy, than to have been struck off at a heat, under the influence of consistency and a connection of idea. At the same time, we are far from meaning to deny it
fhe praise due to a power of passionate! expression, and to the science and ingenuity evinced in the bass and accompaniment. These latter qualities are evidences of that skill in harmonic arrangement, and that well-directed judgment, which only long and regular study can produce.
Number 2 of "Petite Rcere'ation, for the Piano-forte." Composed and dedicated to the Hon. Lady Charlotte Hood, by L. Von. Esch.
This second number of a work which: has been very favourably received by piano-forte practitioners, consists of a march and waltz, the first of which is bold and free in its style, while the novelty of the motivo of the latter bespeaks fancy and invention. The prevailing features in both these movements are those of ease and smoothness, accompanied with that natural connection between the several passages which imparts aa individuality of character, and forms one of the first qualities in good music.
Weber's celebrated Overture to the popular melo-drama of Freischutz. Performed at the English opera-house, also at the Philharmonic society. Arranged for the piano-forte, with accompaniments for a flute, violin, and viofineello.
We have perused this arrangement of Weber's well-known overture with much satisfaction. Some other of the several modifications of this piece have pleased us; but we have not seen one in which the orchestral effect has been so successfully attended to, or the design of the composer so faithfully preserved. The accompaniments are evidently deduced from the score, as, in similar cases, they ever should be, and the result of that propriety, under the management of a judicious editor, has been, the production of an eligible, and, indeed, excellent exercise for the instrument for which it is now prepared.
CONDITION OF THE LABOURING CLASSES FBOM THE CONQUEST TO THE REIGN OF HENRY VII.
There cannot be a more interesting department of English history than that which traces the gradual rise of the Working Classes to their present state of comfort, intelligence, and social importance. The great body of the people in this country were formerly in the same state of bondage that the negroes now are in the West Indies; our intention is briefly to show by what means they advanced from this servile condition; and that we may not occupy too great a space at one time, we will divide our history into three or four periods, taking one period in each number, at intervals. Our first period embraces the condition of the labouring classes from the conquest of William of Normandy, to the commencement of the reign of Henry VII. It has not. been thought necessary to extend this inquiry further back than the eleventh century; beyond that period the few accounts we have of the state of the people are of doubtful authority, and frequently contradictory. We may further observe, that it is not intended to exhibit a general picture of society, but briefly indicate those measures which have operated any change in the diet, dress, general comfort, and civil condition of the working classes.
From historians of the eleventh century we learn, that the labouring classes were the absolute slaves, and at the entire disposal of their masters, as much as the. cattle on their estates. The number of slaves exported to Ireland in the reign of Henry II. was so great, that the market was absolutely overstocked; and from William I. to the reign of John, scarcely a cottage in Scotland but what possessed an English slave. In the details of the border-wars, mention is frequently made of the number of slaves taken prisoners, as forming a principal part of the booty.
The diffusion of Christianity, by teaching mankind that they were all equal, first awakened men to the injustice of a system which made one man the property of another. Frequently, at the intercession of their confessors, the feudal lords were induced to enfranchise their slaves; and from the ignorance of the times, the administration of justice devolving into the hands of the clergy, opportunities frequently occurred of showing particular indulgence to this unfortunate class of society. Inlhe eleventh century the Pope formally issued a bull for the emancipation of slaves; and in 1102 it was declared in the great council of the nation, held at Westminster, unlawful for any man to sell slaves openly in the market, which before had been the common custom of the country.
In the reign of Edward I. their condition was so far ameliorated, that, from being at the entire disposal of their masters, they had acquired a tenure in land on certain fixed conditions; such as to reap the lord's corn,-cart his timber for three days, or cleanse his fish-pond. This was an important alteration in their situation. By granting to them a right to property, they received a stimulus to acquire more, and, by conceding to them a part of the immunities of freemen, they were raised one step above the brute creation, and put in a state to treat and
contend with their oppressors for the re* mainder. Whatever advances were subsequently made, may be considered as an extension and improvement of these first concessions.
While the people were in a state of slavery, it may be readily conjectured, that their diet would be the mere offal, and refuse of their masters; and no more of it than was necessary to enable them to support their daily toil. Accordingly we find the food of labourers at this period consisted principally of fish, chiefly herrings, and a small quantity of bread and beer. Mutton and cheese were considered articles of luxury, which formed the harvest home, of so much importance in ancient times. Wages were a penny a day, in harvest, anda'half-penny at other seasons: the average price of wheat was 61, Qs, a quarter, which last clearly shows the small progress made in tillage husbandry, and how little the present staff of life entered into the general consumption of the community. Their habitations were without chimneys, and their principal furniture consisted of a brass pot, valued from one to three shillings; and a bed, valued from three to six shillings.
Such was the condition of the labouring classes at the close of the thirteenth century. In 1349 the earth was visited with a dreadful pestilence, which swept from its surface nearly one half the inhabitants. After this terrible calamity labour became extremely dear, and labourers demanded double their former wages. To remedy this evil a proclamation was issued to fix the price of labour ; this not being attended to, the famous Statute of Labourers was enacted to enforce obedience by fines and corporal punishment. This law, though extremely impolitic and unjust, was repeatedly confirmed by succeeding parlia-. ments; and the same erroneous principle of legislation, still further extended by the law of 1363, which regulates the diet and apparel of labourers; and that of 1388, which prohibits servants from removing from one place to another; and finally, to conclude those oppressive enactments, justices of peace were empowered to fix the price of labour every Easter and Michaelmas, by proclamation.
As a specimen of the absurd system of legislation prevalent at this time, we may mention the minute regulations of the statute of 1363; which directs that artificers and servants shall be served once a day with meat and fish, or the offal of other victuals, such as milk and cheese, according to their station ; and that they should wear cloth of which the whole piece did not cost more than 12rf. per yard. The cloth of yeomen and trades21
KEVIEW AND ANALYSIS.
men was not to cost more than \s. 6<l. per yard. Carters, ploughmen, ox-herds, neatherds, shepherds, and all others employed in husbandry, were to use no kind of cloth but that called blank russet, 12rf. per yard. Clothiers were commanded to manufacture the necessary kind of cloth, and tradesmen to have a sufficient stock upon hand at the established legal prices.
jStbutu anU &rtalgtft$.
AN HISTORICAL INQUIRY INTO THE PRINCIPAL CIRCUMSTANCES AND EVENTS RELATIVE TO THE LATE EMPEROR NAPolEOn, &C. BY BARCLAY MOUNTENEV,
8vo. pp. 539. London, 1824.
Though only a few years have elapsed from the time Bonaparte withdrew from the world's theatre, events have intervened which seem to roll him back to a distant age; and so little is his name connected with present interests and feelings, that we may contemplate his career with nearly the same impartial indifference that we read the histories of Caesar or Alexander. Men not forty years of age have enjoyed the advantage of witnessing the beginning and end of Napoleon. They saw him rise, and they beheld his downfal. They saw him in prosperity and glory, they have seen him in adversity and humiliation. The whole man is now before them; all those circumstances of intoxicating success and dire misfortune, which are supposed to operate the greatest changes in the human character, and draw forth its most latent qualities, spent their force on Bonaparte, and elicited whatever good or evil existed in his nature. Posterity cannot stand in a more favourable position for judging of this extraordinary individual. We possess ample information, we have heard the evidence of both friends and enemies, and we have heard the party himself in bis defence; it only remains then to pronounce judgment, and to say whether Bonaparte ought to rank among tyrants or heroes—to be denominated the scourge or benefactor of the human race.
It would be presumption in us to interpret the general judgment—-we shall not assume such an office, but content ourselves with pointing out one or two "traits which peculiarly marked the career of Napoleon.
Bonaparte's history is divided into two portions—his rise and fall; one is nearly as extraordinary as the other, yet there is nothing supernatural in either. He rose in the ordinary way of mankind, by superior talent, industry, and perseverance: and he fell as naturally from the excess of self-confidence and delirium, which un
interrupted success usually engenders As there was no intermission in his prosperity, so there was Do break in his reverses; lrom the time he first burst into notice, till he reached imperial power, he hardly knew misfortune, and from the commencement of his decline—except for a moment—fortune never smiled on his eilorls: the web of glory he wove from Toulon to Moscow, was completely unravelled back again from Moscow to Elba, and from Elba to St. Helena. Looking at the beginning of his career, at the extraordinary good fortune which attended him, and the wonderful talent and energy he displayed, one might have imagined that nature had raised up such a < prodigy to accomplish some special work, to effect some great and permanent change in human affairs. Nothing, however, of the kind has resulted from the life of Napoleon. Europe is comparatively unchanged by his labours,^ and posterity will recogmse few traces of his previous existence. He transmitted no empire to his descendants—founded no dynasty— and he will be chiefly known to succeeding ages as a great conqueror, with whose name is associated splendid victories and overwhelming defeats.
We will now pay our respects to the publication at the head of this article, which is put forth with a view of elucidating certain portions of Napoleon's history. On first turning over the pages of Mr. Mounteney's work, we discovered such an air of wildness, incongruity, and literary Quixotism about it, that we entertained serious doubts whether to consider the author in such a state as to be amenable to the critical, or any other tribunal. Proceeding further, the mystery unfolded, and we tound that what struck us as unaccountable resulted from the peculiar class of thinkers to which Mr. Mounteney belongs. It is well known that there are a number of individuals in this country, who, like a certain sect of religionists, consider the revelations of their own spirit superior to the reason and authority of all the world. From this sort of intellectual dogmatism results the strange paradoxes, inconsistencies, odd notions, and curious conglomerations, which we find in their literary productions.
Who but a disciple of this school would have written the strange volume before us. Mr. Mounteney is not only the eulogist of Napoleon, but of his most virulent and unrelenting calumniator. There is no disputing about tastes truly, and we certainly cannot account for the strange predilection of our author in favour of Bonaparte and the editor of the New Times. While the former is held forth as
a great man, and his most questionable deeds defended or extenuated, the latter is said to be ''asage/"—a gentleman of most excellent judgment, enlightened and liberal understanding! It was this, and similar inconsistencies, which made us hesitate in submitting Mr. -Mouuteney's ,book to the ordeal of criticism. Moreover, we could not persuade ourselves that any rational person would sit down to write a respectable octavo volume in .answer to some ephemeral articles, which appeared two years ago in a newspaper, notorious for the violence of its political dogmas. Such, however, is the sole object of our author's publication.
Notwithstanding these peculiarities, it \ must be allowed that Mr. Mounteney displays extensive reading, occasional eloquence, some acuteness, and an honest boldness in the expression of his opinions; his worst failing is his logic, and a certain irregularity and want of keeping in his ideas. Though be has spared no pains, we think he has entirely failed in vindicating some parts of Napoleon's career. Bonaparte's attempt to poison his sick soldiers-—the massacre of 2000 Turkish prisoners in cold blood—the sangfroid with which he related the shooting of 200 wretches at Moseow, sufficiently show the reckless nature of his character, and how little he was swayed by feelings of humanity, and moral justice. We select these facts in his history because they cannot now be disputed; they were admitted by Bonaparte himself in his conversations with O'Aleara and lord Ebrington. We may be told, indeed, that the laws of war justified him in the Jaffa massacre: we cannot admit such a plea. The laws of war are only a code fit for wild beasts, and are never enforced except by the most sanguinary conqueror. Suvarof was justified by this barbarian jurisprudence in the horrid butcheries of Prague and Ismail, but is Jie, on that account, the less execrated?
When all other resources fail, Mr. Mounteney resorts to history, and endeavours to show that other kings and conquerors have been as criminal as Napoleon. If by this line of argument he wishes to teach us that conquerors have been much the same in all ages—merciless destroyers of their species—capricious—tyrannical—the slaves of disgusting vices— objects, in short, only fit for vulgar admiration, we think he has succeeded, and we give him credit for ingenuity and research ; but if he imagines these precedents justify the conduct of Napoleon, we entirely dissent from his conclusion. It would be a schoolboy's truism to remark, that the atrocities of one man, or one-age, can never justify those of another. Her
ligious intolerance, crimes of every degree and character, might be extenuated on this principle. But even admitting the validity of this sort of reasoning, we deny that Bonaparte is entitled to the benefit of it. Napoleon lived in a civilized era; mankind are not exactly the same now that they were 2000 years ago, they are swayed by different principles, and their actions ought to be tried by a more exalted standard. Of this improved state of society Bonaparte himself experienced the benefit. Does Mr. Mounteney think Napoleon would have been treated by the Grecians or Romans, in the brightest period of their history, with the lenity he was treated by his enemies in the nineteenth century! Had he been twice conquered and a prisoner, would his hfe .have been spared—nay, more, would he have been allowed every indulgence compatible with his personal detention? No such thing! he would have been at least immured in a dungeon, loaded with fetters— perhaps crucified—but certainly made a public spectacle of, and led in the train of his conqueror, exposed to the scoffs and derision of the populace. Such being the fashion of ancient times, we cannot allow that the examples of Scylla, Lysander, or Marius, or even those of later date, should be adduced in justification of Napoleon; nay, we think, that the necessity of having to resort to such extreme instances of military violence, is the severest condemnation of his career.
Towards the conclusion Mr. Mounteney explains, that he does not mean to contend that Napoleon was " a good" but that he was " a great man." Miserable sophistry! We can conceive no greatness, when applied to a man's actions, unassociated with goodness, except such as ap« pertains to the character of Robin Hood and Richard Turpin, worthies to whose level, we trust, Mr. Mounteney does not wish to degrade Napoleon Bonaparte.
Our readers will observe, that our remarks solely apply to the public history of Napoleon, not to the individual. That he was a man of extraordinary endowments every one must admit; that he naturally possessed a noble and generous heart we are inclined to believe; that he would have been an ornament to society and an useful member in a less exalted station, we think very probable; and lastly, our opinion is, that his public career was tarnished by as few excesses, as one might reasonably expect in a human heing suddenly raised to an astonishing height of power, and whose course was marked by such an intoxicating tide of good fortune, as neve« before fell to the lot of an individual.