« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
Indeed, I think I have anticipated your wish in the matter; but as time presses, and I must look after all my packing, I shall say good by for a few weeks, and in the evening Jepson, who stays here, will bring you what I mean,' over to your hotel; once more, then, good by.'
"Good by, my dearest, kindest friend,' said I, taking a most tender adieu of the old lady. What an excellent creature she is,' said I, half aloud, as I turned towards home-'how considerate, how truly kind-to spare me too all the pain of explanation. Now I begin to breathe once more. If there be a flask of Johannisberg in the 'Londres,' I'll drink your health this day, and so shall Mary;' so saying, I entered the hotel with a lighter heart, and a firmer step than ever it had been my fortune to do hitherto.
"We shall miss the old lady, I'm sure, Mary, she is so kind.'
"Oh! indeed she is; but then, John, she is such a prude.'
"Now I could not help recurring in my mind to some of the conversation in the Tuilleries garden, and did not feel exactly at ease.
"Such a prude, and so very old fashioned in her notions.'
'Jepson entered,-well, George, your parcel is all right, and here is a Napoleon to drink my health.'
Scarcely had the servants left the room, when Mary, whose curiosity was fully roused, rushed over, and tried to get the packet from me; after a short struggle, I yielded, and she flew to the end of the room, and tearing open the seals, several papers fell to the ground; before I could have time to snatch them up, she had read some lines written on the envelope, and turning towards me, threw her arms around my neck, and said, 'yes, Jack, she is, indeed, all you have said; look here,' I turned and read-with what feeling I leave to you to guess-the following:
606 DEAR NEPHEW AND NIECE,-the enclosed will convey to you, with my warmest wishes for your happines, a ticket on the Francfort Lottery, of which I inclose the scheme. I also take the opportunity of saying that I have purchased the Hungarian pony for Mary-which we spoke of this morning. It is at Johnston's stable, and will be delivered on sending for it.'
"Think of that, Jack, the Borghese pony, with the silky tail; mine-Oh! what a dear good old soul; it was the very thing of all others I longed for, for they told me the princess had refused every offer for it.'
While Mary ran on in this strain, I sat mute and stupified; the sudden reverse my hopes had sustained, deprived me, for a moment, of all thought, and it was several minutes before I could rightly take in the full extent of my misfortunes.
'How that crazy old maid, for such, alas, I called her to myself now, could have so blundered all my meaninghow she could have so palpably have mistaken, I could not conceive; what a remedy for a man overwhelmed with
debt-a ticket in a German lottery, and a cream-coloured pony, as if my whole life had not been one continued lottery, with every day a blank; and as to horses, I had eleven in my stables already. Perhaps she thought twelve would read better in my schedule, when I, next week, surrendered as insolvent.
"Unable to bear the delight, the childish delight of Mary, on her new acquisition, I rushed out of the house, and wandered for several hours in the Boulevards. At last I summoned up courage to tell my wife. I once more turned towards home, and entered her dressing-room, where she was having her hair dressed for a ball at the Embassy. My resolution failed me-not now, thought I-to-morrow will do as well-one night more of happiness for her, and then-I looked on with pleasure and pride, as ornament after ornament, brilliant with diamonds and emeralds, shone in her hair, and upon her arms, still heightened her beauty, and lit up with a dazzling brilliancy her lovely figure. But it must comeand whenever the hour arrives-the reverse will be fully as bitter; besides I am able now-and when I may again be so, who can tell-now then be it, said I, as I told the waiting-maid to retire; and taking a chair beside my wife, put my arm round her.
"There John dearest, take care; don't you see you'll crush all that great affair of Malines lace, that Rosetta has been breaking her heart to manage this half hour.'
my fears-and now my bitter disappointment, if not despair.'
The first shock over, Mary showed not only more courage, but more sound sense than I could have believed. All the frivolity of her former character vanished at the first touch of adversity; just, as of old, Harry, we left the tinsel of our gay jackets behind, when active service called upon us for something more sterling. She advised, counselled, and encouraged me by turns; and in half an hour the most poignant regret I had was, in not having sooner made her my confidante, and checked the progress of our enormous expenditure somewhat earlier.
"I shall not now detain you much longer. In three weeks we sold our carriages and horses, our pictures, (we had begun this among our other extravagances,) and our china followed; and under the plea of health set out for Baden; not one among our Paris acquaintances ever suspecting the real reason of our departure, and never attributing any monied difficulties to usfor we paid our debts.
"The same day we left Paris, I dispatched a letter to my aunt, explaining fully all about us, and suggesting that as I had now left the army for ever, perhaps she would interest some of her friends and she has powerful ones-to do something for me.
"After some little loitering in the Rhine, we fixed upon Hesse Cassel for our residence. It was very quietvery cheap. The country around pic-. turesque, and last but not least, there was not an Englishman in the neigh bourhood. The second week after our arrival brought us letters from my aunt. She had settled four hundred a year upon us for the present, and sent the first year in advance; promised us a visit as soon as we were ready to receive her; and pledged herself not to forget when an opportunity of serv ing me should offer.
"From that moment to this," said Jack, "all has gone well with us. We have, it is true, not many luxuries, but we have no wants, and better still, no debts. The dear old aunt is always making us some little present or other; and somehow I have a kind of feeling that better luck is still in store; but faith, Harry, as long as I have a happy home, and a warm fireside, for a friend when he drops in upon me, I scarcely can say that better luck need be wished for."
"There is only one point, Jack, you have not enlightened me upon; how came you here? You are some hundred miles from Hesse, in your present chateau."
"Oh! by Jove, that was a great omission in my narrative; but come, this will explain it ; see here"- -so say ing, he drew from a little drawer a large lithographic print of a magnificent castellated building, with towers and bastions, keep, moat, and even drawbridge, and the walls bristled with cannon, and an eagled banner floated proudly above them.
"What in the name of the Sphynxes is this?'
"There, said Jack, is the Schloss von Eberhausen; or, if you like it in English, Eberhausen Castle, as it was the year of the deluge; for the present mansion that we are now sipping our wine in bears no very close resemblance to it. But to make the mystery_clear, this was the great prize in the Francfort lottery, the ticket of which my aunt's first note contained, and which we were fortunate enough to win. We
PAWN-BROKING IN IRELAND.
MR. BARRINGTON'S SUGGESTIONS.-CHARITABLE INSTITUTIONS OF LIMERICK,
A WORK like ours, undertaking to present its readers with a living picture of all events of public moment occurring in the land from whence it proceeds, would inadequately discharge its functions, if it did not sometimes call attention to other matters than the sickening details of popular crime and ministerial connivance, which form the necessary materials of every true statement of Irish politics. It is with no small pleasure that we turn from the dreary and revolting subjects, with which we are too often forced to employ our pen, to enjoy for a few moments with our readers, the refreshing privilege of contemplating one of the most remarkable and singularly useful institutions which a spirit of improvement, of benevolence, and true patriotism have for many years succeeded in establishing in Ireland.
is true that the charitable pawn office erected by Matthew Barrington in the city of Limerick, is but a small and isolated local institution; but we observe in it the beginning of a complete and noble revolution in the system whereby our charitable establishments are now supported, and we regard the
success of the sagacious experiment with an interest proportioned to the grandeur of the results which are likely to flow from it. The abuses which have long abounded in the trade of pawn-broking in Ireland, and the disastrous consequences to which even its strictly legal exercise too often leads, have for years furnished the press of this country with great and ample matter of complaint. At the petition of Matthew Barrington, Esq. in the year 1838, a committe of the House of Commons was appointed to inquire into the state of pawn-broking in Ireland; the evidence accumulated by which, exhibits a mass of abuse and mal-operation, which cries aloud for corrective legislation. It is not our purpose, however, to speculate upon the immediate alterations which will probably be effected in the conduct of the trade, but to notice briefly the valuable suggestions of Mr. Barrington, which, if adopted and carried out, will eventually overturn and utterly destroy the present fabric, with all its crooked passages and dark recesses, and erect in its stead a system of perfect symmetry, beauty, and usefulness.
We have before us "an address to the inhabitants of Limerick, by Matthew Barrington, Esq., on the opening of the Mont de Piété, a charitable pawn office for the support of Barrington's hospital in that city." The title of this pamphlet sufficiently expresses its subject, and that upon which we purpose for a few minutes to dwell. In the course of its perusal we have tested the accuracy of Mr. Barrington's calculations, by frequent reference to the minutes of the evidence taken before the select committee of the House of Commons; and the consequence is, that we have been compelled to admit as incontrovertible the truth of statements which at first sight appeared so extraordinary and so startling, as to transcend all belief. In the year 1831 the "city of Limerick infirmary" was opened, and by the act of Geo. IV. entitled "an act for the management and direction of the hospital founded by Joseph Barrington and his sons, in the city of Limerick," its governors are incorporated as the governors of Barrington's hospital and city of Limerick infirmary. The extensive usefulness of this institution is best proved by the following brief report :
"Since its opening, on the 5th Nov. 1831, there were admitted, Interns, 1288. Discharged cured
Remaining under treatment 33
-1,288 "Externs prescribed for, relieved and supplied with medicine in the infirmary, 43,640
"During the prevalence of cholera in 1833, the governors having allowed the hospital to be used for persons afflicted with that disease, 1,537 were admitted, of whom 986 were discharged cured, and above 1,000 externs were relieved."
"The difficulties which the governors have had to encounter in procuring adequate funds for its support, though aided by donations, some subscriptions, and collections in the churches and chapels of this city and its liberties, and their anxiety to extend its benefits by adding to the number of intern patients, (for which there is ample accommodation,) have led me to inquire by what means similar establishments have been supported in other parts of Europe.
"The result of these inquiries satisfactorily proves the utility of the Monts de Piété, and that the principal hospitals in France, Italy, Germany, and other parts of the Continent are sustained out of their profits."
Mr. Barrington then enters upon an historical inquiry into the origin and progress of these institutions-an investigation by no means devoid of interest. To Italy, it appears, belongs the honour of their first establishment, and in the course of the fifteenth century they had obtained a permanent footing in nearly all the principal cities of that country. Other nations soon perceived the advantages of these loan funds, which, having taken root in the south, gradually spread towards the north of Europe, and in the course of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries they were received into Germany, Holland and France.
As the arrangements of the Mont de Piété established in Bordeaux, closely resemble those adopted for the regulation of his own institution by Mr. Barrington, we here insert them along with his observations.
"The Monts de Piété were soon established in every part of France, and the regulations for raising the capital at Bourdeaux are worthy of attention, for by the Ordinance of 1804 & 6, it is provided that—
"The capital of the establishment is to be £24,000, to be raised by shares or Mr. M. Barrington's address pro- loans; eight per cent. interest to be paid ceeds to say
"I trust that the public are now fully aware of the very great benefit which the hospital has conferred upon the poor of Limerick, since its opening in the year 1831, especially during the prevalence of cholera in 1833; but little do they know the extent to which applications for admission are daily increasing, and how frequently the governors are obliged (from the insufficiency of the funds at their dis posal) to refuse admission to deserving objects.
to lenders, and the property of the hos pitals to become security to them: this capital to be divided into single shares of £160, which may be sub-divided into half shares. The shareholder's certificate shall be transferable by endorsement, but all transfers must be registered at the Mont de Piété. Shareholders may, at the end of three years, withdraw the amount of their shares, on giving three months' notice. The profits are to be divided into two equal shares-one to belong to the hospitals, the other to the shareholders. The portion belonging to the
hospitals to be applied first to the completing the necessary number of shares, until the subscribed sum shall thus have been made to amount to the above sum of £24,000; it is next to be applied to the payment of such shareholders as may wish to withdraw; then to the purchase of the shares of the other holders, who shall be bound to receive back their subscribed principal sums, according to the order of their shares, which shall be determined by lot: thus eventually the whole of the shares will belong to the hospitals.
Trustees of charities may lend the funds of their establishments, and receive eight per cent. as above; but they shall be bound to receive back their principal, when all private shareholders shall have been paid off.
"The same regulations applied to the guardians of the estates of minors, the committee of lunatics, and the treasurers of municipal and other corporations.
"Persons wishing to leave monies at the Mont de Piété for safe keeping, shall receive transferable tokens of credit, and such interest, as may be agreed upon between the owners and the governors of the establishment,' &c. &c.
"This institution_had_the_effect of banishing pauperism from Bourdeaux and its neighbourhood.
"Within a few years the shares of the subscribers of the original fund (all of whom received eight per cent. per annum) were bought up by the fructification of the funds, which, pending the whole of this period, supported all the necessary charities at Bourdeaux.
"From the same fund, with the assis tance of some donations, the hospital in that city, said to be the finest in Europe, has been lately completed and endowed. "All former pawnbrokers' establishments were superseded, and the funds of the new institutions are lent on pledges, or personal security, to humble persons, but only to those of good character and industrious habits. The interest of the money paid by borrowers (deducting the expenses of management) is applied to the benefit of the community at large, in charities and public works."
Mr. Barrington goes on to comment generally upon the operations of these excellent institutions :
"It may not be uninteresting to observe the effect of these institutions :-By them Frederick the Great reclaimed Silesia. Most of the great public buildings in Europe-hospitals, aqueducts, bridges, &c.-have been comploted out of their
surplus profits. In Tuscany and Bavaria their condition is most flourishing, and in the Low Countries they exist to the number of at least one hundred and sixteen. In a word, it is by the agency of such institutions that the hospitals on the continent are chiefly supported."
"And now, with regard to the British dominions, we shall find that these are the only countries of Europe in which lending money on pledges is allowed for private advantage exclusively, and in which the profits are not applied to some charitable or public purpose; and although various efforts have been from time to time made by the legislature to regulate the rate of interest, still it is found impossible to prevent the most dreadful excess in the charges. I admit pawnbroking to be an evil, but knowing, at the same time, that it is one which cannot be avoided, I propose (what is the next best thing to its suppression) to apply the profits of the trade to charitable and useful purposes."
He then proceeds to lay before his readers a succinct account of the several failures of the attempts made by the legislature of England to introduce the system; but this we omit, in order at once to arrive at the most
interesting, and by far the most curious part of the tract one which, as our readers will soon perceive, contains a statement of facts, nothing short of astounding :
"Having stated to you the history of the lending-houses, let me add a word on the present system of pawnbroking. It cannot have escaped your observation how frequently the distress and improvidence of the poor compel them to have recourse to pawnbrokers, and that the advances they thus receive are made at a rate of interest ruinously usurious. may be said that the rate of interest is regulated by law, as by the 26th Geo. III. c. 43, (Irish statute,) pawnbrokers are allowed to take £25 per cent. per annum, besides the allowance for duplicate tickets. This is on the supposition that the pledge is not redeemed before the expiration of a month; but the practice is otherwise, as the most distressed persons frequently redeem the pledges within the week. It is a common habit to deposit some article of apparel on the Monday morning, which is redeemed on Saturday night, to enable the individual to make a decent appearance on the Subbath. But as the lowest charge of interest by that act (and the amendment