all the remedies which theoretical writers or practical legislators
have put forth and recommended, as singly adequate to remove the
evils of the manufacturing classes, were to be in _united_ operation,
they would still leave these gigantic causes of evil untouched. Let
Lord Ashley obtain from a reluctant legislature his ten-hours' bill,
and Dr Chalmers have a clergyman established for every 700
inhabitants; let church extension be pushed till there is a chapel in
every village, and education till there is a school in every street;
let the separate system be universal in prisons, and every criminal
be entirely secluded from vicious contamination; still the great
fountains of evil will remain unclosed; still 300,000 widows and
orphans will exist in a few counties of England amidst a newly
collected and strange population, steeped in misery themselves, and
of necessity breeding up their children in habits of destitution and
depravity; still the poor will be deprived, from the suddenness of
their collection, and the density of their numbers, of any effective
control, either from private character or the opinion of
neighbourhood; still individual passion will be inflamed, and
individual responsibility lost amidst multitudes; still strikes will
spread their compulsory idleness amidst tens of thousands, and
periodically array the whole working classes under the banners of
sedition, despotism, and murder; still precocious female labour will
at once tempt parents into idleness in middle life, and disqualify
children, in youth, for household or domestic duties. We wish well to
the philanthropists: we are far from undervaluing either the
importance or the utility of their labours; but as we have hitherto
seen no diminution of crime whatever from their efforts, so we
anticipate a very slow and almost imperceptible improvement in
society from their exertions.
Strong, and in many respects just, pictures of the state of the
working classes in the manufacturing districts, have been lately put
forth, and the _Perils of the Nation_ have, with reason, been thought
to be seriously increased by them. Those writers, however, how
observant and benevolent soever, give a partial, and in many respects
fallacious view, of the _general_ aspect of society. After reading
their doleful accounts of the general wretchedness, profligacy, and
licentiousness of the working classes, the stranger is astonished, on
travelling through England, to behold green fields and smiling
cottages on all sides; to see in every village signs of increasing
comfort, in every town marks of augmented wealth, and the aspect of
poverty almost banished from the land. Nay, what is still more
gratifying, the returns of the sanatary condition of the whole
population, though still exhibiting a painful difference between the
health and chances of life in the rural and manufacturing districts,
present unequivocal proof of a general amelioration of the chances of
life, and, consequently, of the general wellbeing of the whole
How are these opposite statements and appearances to be reconciled?
Both are true - the reconciliation is easy. The misery, recklessness,
and vice exist chiefly in one class - the industry, sobriety, and
comfort in another. Each observer tells truly what he sees in his own
circle of attention; he does not tell what, nevertheless, exists, and
exercises a powerful influence on society, of the good which exists
in the other classes. If the evils detailed in Lord Ashley's
speeches, and painted with so much force in the _Perils of the
Nation_, were universal, or even general, society could not hold
together for a week. But though these evils are great, sometimes
overwhelming in particular districts, they are far from being
general. Nothing effectual has yet been done to arrest them in the
localities or communities where they arise; but they do not spread
much beyond them. The person engaged in the factories are stated by
Lord Ashley to be between four and five hundred thousand: the
population of the British islands is above 27,000,000. It is in the
steadiness, industry, and good conduct of a large proportion of this
immense majority that the security is to be found. Observe that
industrious and well-doing majority; you would suppose there is no
danger: - observe the profligate and squalid minority; you would
suppose there is no hope.
At present about 60,000 persons are annually committed, in the
British islands, for serious offences worthy of deliberate trial,
and above double that number for summary or police offences. A
hundred and eighty thousand persons annually fall under the lash of
the criminal law, and are committed for longer or shorter periods to
places of confinement for punishment. The number is prodigious - it is
frightful. Yet it is in all only about 1 in 120 of the population;
and from the great number who are repeatedly committed during the
same year, the individuals punished are not 1 in 200. Such as they
are, it may safely be affirmed that four-fifths of this 180,000 comes
out of two or three millions of the community. We are quite sure that
150,000 come from 3,000,000 of the lowest and most squalid of the
empire, and not 30,000 from the remaining 24,000,000 who live in
comparative comfort. This consideration is fitted both to encourage
hope and awaken shame - hope, as showing from how small a class in
society the greater part of the crime comes, and to how limited a
sphere the remedies require to be applied; shame, as demonstrating
how disgraceful has been the apathy, selfishness, and supineness in
the other more numerous and better classes, around whom the evil has
arisen, but who seldom interfere, except to RESIST all measures
calculated for its removal.
It is to this subject - the ease with which the extraordinary and
unprecedented increase of crime in the empire might be arrested by
proper means and the total inefficiency of all the remedies hitherto
attempted, from the want of practical knowledge on the part of those
at the head of affairs, and an entirely false view of human nature in
society generally, that we shall direct the attention of our readers
in a future Number.
[Footnote 14: Viz., in round numbers -
THE HEART OF THE BRUCE.
It was upon an April morn
While yet the frost lay hoar,
We heard Lord James's bugle-horn
Sound by the rocky shore.
Then down we went, a hundred knights,
All in our dark array,
And flung our armour in the ships
That rode within the bay.
We spoke not as the shore grew less,
But gazed in silence back,
Where the long billows swept away
The foam behind our track.
And aye the purple hues decay'd
Upon the fading hill,
And but one heart in all that ship
Was tranquil, cold, and still.
The good Earl Douglas walk'd the deck,
And oh, his brow was wan!
Unlike the flush it used to wear
When in the battle van. -
"Come hither, come hither, my trusty knight,
Sir Simon of the Lee;
There is a freit lies near my soul
I fain would tell to thee.
"Thou knowest the words King Robert spoke
Upon his dying day,
How he bade me take his noble heart
And carry it far away:
"And lay it in the holy soil
Where once the Saviour trod,
Since he might not bear the blessed Cross,
Nor strike one blow for God.
"Last night as in my bed I lay,
I dream'd a dreary dream: -
Methought I saw a Pilgrim stand
In the moonlight's quivering beam.
"His robe was of the azure dye,
Snow-white his scatter'd hairs,
And even such a cross he bore
As good Saint Andrew bears.
"'Why go ye forth, Lord James,' he said,
'With spear and belted brand?
Why do ye take its dearest pledge
From this our Scottish land?
"'The sultry breeze of Galilee
Creeps through its groves of palm,
The olives on the Holy Mount
Stand glittering in the calm.
"'But 'tis not there that Scotland's heart
Shall rest by God's decree,
Till the great angel calls the dead
To rise from earth and sea!
"'Lord James of Douglas, mark my rede
That heart shall pass once more
In fiery fight against the foe,
As it was wont of yore.
"'And it shall pass beneath the Cross,
And save King Robert's vow,
But other hands shall bear it back,
Not, James of Douglas, thou!'
"Now, by thy knightly faith, I pray,
Sir Simon of the Lee -
For truer friend had never man
Than thou hast been to me -
"If ne'er upon the Holy Land
'Tis mine in life to tread,
Bear thou to Scotland's kindly earth
The relics of her dead."
The tear was in Sir Simon's eye
As he wrung the warrior's hand -
"Betide me weal, betide me woe,
I'll hold by thy command.
"But if in battle front, Lord James,
'Tis ours once more to ride,
Nor force of man, nor craft of fiend,
Shall cleave me from thy side!"
And aye we sail'd, and aye we sail'd,
Across the weary sea,
Until one morn the coast of Spain
Rose grimly on our lee.
And as we rounded to the port,
Beneath the watch-tower's wall,
We heard the clash of the atabals,
And the trumpet's wavering call.
"Why sounds yon Eastern music here
So wantonly and long,
And whose the crowd of armed men
That round yon standard throng?'
"The Moors have come from Africa
To spoil and waste and slay,
And Pedro, King of Arragon,
Must fight with them to-day."
"Now shame it were," cried good Lord James,
"Shall never be said of me,
That I and mine have turn'd aside,
From the Cross in jeopardie!
"Have down, have down my merry men all -
Have down unto the plain;
We'll let the Scottish lion loose
Within the fields of Spain!" -
"Now welcome to me, noble lord,
Thou and thy stalwart power;
Dear is the sight of a Christian knight
Who comes in such an hour!
"Is it for bond or faith ye come,
Or yet for golden fee?
Or bring ye France's lilies here,
Or the flower of Burgundie?'
"God greet thee well, thou valiant King,
Thee and thy belted peers -
Sir James of Douglas am I call'd,
And these are Scottish spears.
"We do not fight for bond or plight,
Nor yet for golden fee;
But for the sake of our blessed Lord,
That died Upon the tree.
"We bring our great King Robert's heart
Across the weltering wave,
To lay it in the holy soil
Hard by the Saviour's grave.
"True pilgrims we, by land or sea,
Where danger bars the way;
And therefore are we here, Lord King,
To ride with thee this day!"
The King has bent his stately head,
And the tears were in his eyne -
"God's blessing on thee, noble knight,
For this brave thought of thine!
"I know thy name full well, Lord James,
And honour'd may I be,
That those who fought beside the Bruce
Should fight this day for me!
"Take thou the leading of the van,
And charge the Moors amain;
There is not such a lance as thine
In all the host of Spain!"
The Douglas turned towards us then,
Oh, but his glance was high! -
"There is not one of all my men
But is as bold as I.
"There is not one of all my knights
But bears as true a spear -
Then onwards! Scottish gentlemen,
And think - King Robert's here!"
The trumpets blew, the cross-bolts flew,
The arrows flash'd like flame,
As spur in side, and spear in rest,
Against the foe we came.
And many a bearded Saracen
Went down, both horse and man;
For through their ranks we rode like corn,
So furiously we ran!
But in behind our path they closed,
Though fain to let us through,
For they were forty thousand men,
And we were wondrous few.
We might not see a lance's length,
So dense was their array,
But the long fell sweep of the Scottish blade
Still held them hard at bay.
"Make in! make in!" Lord Douglas cried,
"Make in, my brethren dear!
Sir William of St Clair is down,
We may not leave him here!"
But thicker, thicker, grew the swarm,
And sharper shot the rain,
And the horses rear'd amid the press,
But they would not charge again.
"Now Jesu help thee," said Lord James,
"Thou kind and true St Clair!
An' if I may not bring thee off,
I'll die beside thee there!"
Then in his stirrups up he stood,
So lionlike and bold,
And held the precious heart aloft
All in its case of gold.
He flung it from him, far ahead,
And never spake he more,
But - "Pass thee first, thou dauntless heart,
As thou were wont of yore!"
The roar of fight rose fiercer yet,
And heavier still the stour,
Till the spears of Spain came shivering in
And swept away the Moor.
"Now praised be God, the day is won!
They fly o'er flood and fell -
Why dost thou draw the rein so hard,
Good knight, that fought so well?"
"Oh, ride ye on, Lord King!" he said,
"And leave the dead to me,
For I must keep the dreariest watch
That ever I shall dree!
"There lies beside his master's heart
The Douglas, stark and grim;
And woe is me I should be here,
Not side by side with him!
"The world grows cold, my arm is old,
And thin my lyart hair,
And all that I loved best on earth
Is stretch'd before me there.
"O Bothwell banks! that bloom so bright,
Beneath the sun of May,
The heaviest cloud that ever blew
Is bound for you this day.
"And, Scotland, thou may'st veil thy head
In sorrow and in pain;
The sorest stroke upon thy brow
Hath fallen this day in Spain!
"We'll bear them back into our ship,
We'll bear them o'er the sea,
And lay them in the hallow'd earth,
Within our own countrie.
"And be thou strong of heart, Lord King,
For this I tell thee sure,
The sod that drank the Douglas' blood
Shall never bear the Moor!"
The King he lighted from his horse,
He flung his brand away,
And took the Douglas by the hand,
So stately as he lay.
"God give thee rest, thou valiant soul,
That fought so well for Spain;
I'd rather half my land were gone,
So thou wert here again!"
We bore the good Lord James away,
And the priceless heart he bore,
And heavily we steer'd our ship
Towards the Scottish shore.
No welcome greeted our return,
Nor clang of martial tread,
But all were dumb and hush'd as death
Before the mighty dead.
We laid the Earl in Douglas Kirk,
The heart in fair Melrose;
And woful men were we that day -
God grant their souls repose!
MEMORANDUMS OF A MONTH'S TOUR IN SICILY.
THE MUSEUM OF PALERMO.
The museum of Palermo is a small but very interesting collection of
statues and other sculpture, gathered chiefly, they say, from the
ancient temples of Sicily, with a few objects bestowed out of the
superfluities of Pompeii. In the lower room are some good
bas-reliefs, to which a story is attached. They were discovered
fifteen years ago at _Selinuntium_ by some young Englishmen, the
reward of four months' labour. Our guide, who had been also theirs,
had warned them not to stay after the month of June, when malaria
begins. They did stay. All (four) took the fever; one died of it in
Palermo, and the survivors were deprived by the government - that is,
by the king - of the spoils for which they had suffered so much and
worked so hard. No one is permitted to excavate without royal
license; _excavation_ is, like _Domitian's fish, res fisci_. Even Mr
Fagan, who was consul at Palermo, having made some interesting
underground discoveries, was deprived of them. We saw here a fine
Esculapius, in countenance and expression exceedingly like the _Ecce
Homo_ of Leonardo da Vinci, with all that god-like compassion which
the great painter had imparted without any sacrifice of dignity. He
holds a poppy-head, which we do not recollect on his statue or gems,
and the Epidaurian snake is at his side. Up-stairs we saw specimens
of fruits from Pompeii, barley, beans, the carob pod, pine kernels,
as well as bread, sponge, linen: and the sponge was obviously such,
and so was the linen. A bronze Hercules treading on the back of a
stag, which he has overtaken and subdued, is justly considered as one
of the most perfect bronzes discovered at Pompeii. A head of our
Saviour, by Corregio, is exquisite in conception, and such as none
but a person long familiar with the physiognomy of suffering could
have accomplished. These are exceptions rather than specimens. The
pictures, in general, are poor in interest; and a long gallery of
_casts_ of the _chef-d'oeuvres_ of antiquity possessed by the
capitals of Italy, Germany, England, and France, looks oddly here,
and shows the poverty of a country which had been to the predatory
proconsuls of Rome an inexhaustible repertory of the highest
treasures of art. A VERRES REDIVIVUS would now find little to carry
off but toys made of amber, lava snuff-boxes, and WODEHOUSE'S
MARSALA - one of which he certainly would not guess the _age_ of, and
the other of which he would not _drink_.
We saw nothing in this house or its arrangements to make us think it
superior, or very different from others we had visited elsewhere. The
making a lunatic asylum a show-place for strangers is to be censured;
indeed, we heard Esquirol observe, that nothing was so bad as the
admission of many persons to see the patients at all; for that,
although some few were better for the visits of friends, it was
injurious as a general rule to give even friends admittance, and that
it ought to be left discretionary with the physician, _when_ to
admit, and _whom_. Cleanliness, good fare, a garden, and the
suppression of all violence - these have become immutable canons for
the conduct of such institutions, and fortunately demand little more
than ordinary good feeling and intelligence in the superintendent.
But we could not fail to observe a sad want of suitable inducement to
_occupation_, which was apparent throughout this asylum. That not
above one in ten could read, may perhaps be thought a light matter,
for few can be the resources of insanity in books; yet we saw at
_Genoa_ a case where it had taken that turn, and as it is occupation
to read, with how much profit it matters not. Not one woman in four,
as usually occurs in insanity, could be induced to _dress according
to her sex_; they figured away in men's coats and hats! The
dining-room was hung with portraits of some merit, by one of the
lunatics; and we noticed that every face, if indeed all are
_portraits_, had some insanity in it. They have a dance every Sunday
evening. What an exhibition it must be!
That the vegetation of Palermo excels that of Naples, partly depends
on the superior intelligence of the agriculturist, and partly upon
soil and climate: the fruits here are not only more advanced, but
finer in quality. We left a very meagre dessert of cherries beginning
to ripen at Naples; the very next day, a superabundance of very fine
and mature ones were to be had on all the stalls of Palermo. This
must be the result of industry and care in a great measure; for on
leaving that city, after a _séjour_ of three weeks, for Messina,
Catania, and Syracuse, although summer was much further advanced, we
relapsed into miserably meagre supplies of what we had eaten in
perfection in the capital; yet Syracuse and Catania are much warmer
The vegetables here are of immense growth. The fennel root (and there
is no better test of your whereabouts in Italy) is nearly twice as
large as at Naples, and weighs, accordingly, nearly double. The
cauliflowers are quite colossal; and they have a blue cabbage so big
that your arms will scarcely embrace it. We question, however,
whether this hypertrophy of fruit or vegetables improves their
flavour; give us _English vegetables_ - ay, and _English fruit_.
Though Smyrna's _fig_ is eaten throughout Europe, and Roman _brocoli_
be without a rival; though the _cherry_ and the Japan _medlar_
flourish only at Palermo, and the _cactus_ of Catania can be eaten
nowhere else; what country town in England is not better off on the
whole, if quality alone be considered? But we have one terrible
drawback; for _whom_ are these fruits of the earth produced? Our
_prices_ are enormous, and our supply scanty; could we _forget this_,
and the artichoke, the asparagus, the peas and beans of London and
Paris, are rarely elsewhere so fine. To our palates the _gooseberry_
and the _black currant_ are a sufficient indemnity to Britain for the
_grape_, merely regarded as a fruit to _eat. Pine-apples_, those
"illustrious foreigners," are so successfully _petted_ at home, that
they will scarcely condescend now to flourish out of England.
_Nectarines_ refuse to ripen, and _apricots_ to have any taste
elsewhere. Our _pears_ and _apples_ are better, and of more various
excellence, than any in the world. And we really prefer our very
figs, grown on a fine _prebendal_ wall in the close of _Winchester_,
or under _Pococke's_ window in a canon's garden at _chilly Oxford_.
Thus has the kitchen-garden refreshed our patriotism, and made us
half ashamed of our long forgetfulness of home. But there are good
things abroad too for poor men; the rich may live any where. An
enormous salad, crisp, cold, white, and of delicious flavour, for a
halfpenny; olive oil, for fourpence a pound, to dress it with; and
wine for fourpence a gallon to make it disagree with you; fuel
for almost nothing, and bread for little, are not small advantages to
frugal housekeepers; but, when dispensed by a despotic government,
where one must read those revolting words _motu proprio_ at the head
of every edict, let us go back to our carrots and potatoes, our Peels
and our income-tax, our fogs and our frost. The country mouse came to
a right conclusion, and did not like the fragments of the feast with
the cat in the cupboard -
Give me again my hollow tree,
My crust of bread, and liberty."
- - _Lactuca_ innatat acri
Post vinum stomacho. - HOR.]
Fish, though plentiful and various, is not fine in any part of the
_Mediterranean_; and as to _thunny_, one surfeit would put it out of
the bill of fare for life. On the whole, though at Palermo and Naples
the pauper starves not in the streets, the gourmand would be sadly at
a loss in his requisition of delicacies and variety. Inferior bread,
at a penny a pound, is here considered palatable by the sprinkling
over of the crust with a small rich seed (_jugulena_) which has a
flavour like the almond; it is also strewn, like our caraway seeds in
biscuits, _into_ the paste, and is largely cultivated for that single
use. The _capsici_, somewhat similar in flavour to the pea, are
detached from the radicles of a plant with a flower strikingly like
the potatoe, and is used for a similar purpose to the jugulena.
This island was the granary of Athens before it nourished Rome; and
wheat appears to have been first raised in Europe on the plains of
eastern Sicily. In Cicero's time it returned eightfold; and to this
day one grain yields its eightfold of increase; which, however, is by
a small fraction less than our own, as given by M'Culloch in his
"Dictionary of Commerce." We plucked some _siligo_, or bearded wheat,
near Palermo, the beard of which was eight inches long, the ear
contained sixty grains, eight being also in this instance the average
increase; how many grains, then, must perish in the ground!
In Palermo, English gunpowder is sold by British sailors at the high
price of from five to seven shillings per English pound; the "Polvere
_nostrale_" of the Sicilians only fetches 1s. 8d.; yet such is the
superiority of English gunpowder, that every one who has a passion
for popping at sparrows, and other _Italian sports_, (complimented by
the title of _La caccia_,) prefers the dear article. When they have
killed off all the robins, and there is not a twitter in _the whole
country_, they go to the river side and shoot _gudgeons_.
The Palermo donkey is the most obliging animal that ever wore long
ears, and will carry you cheerfully four or five miles an hour
without whip or other _encouragement_. The oxen, no longer white or
cream-coloured, as in Tuscany, were originally importations from
Barbary, (to which country the Sicilians are likewise indebted for