Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

away, or the kindred may leave us it lies so low, we can only see some behind. Donagh Ghasta, that brought of the smoke of it from here." the news, told me that if we cannot The weary Franciscan by this time keep the hills by strong hand, we must could only utter an ejaculation of astake the road before sunset, for the sent as his youthful guide pointed out nigh paths are wondrous hard to tread, the indications of their danger. He and the cattle could not keep them in was spent and out of breath, for the the dark."

bill was smooth and the grass slippery, “ It is well for the cattle that God and the ascent so steep, that at last created them the brute animals they he was fairly forced to stop and breathe are,” said brother Virgil, his mind still himself. This was rather a drawback engrossed in the contemplation of bis on the reverence with which Harry misfortune.

Oge had regarded him. The flush “Ay, but, father," cried the boy, in upon Harry's cheek might have been increased distress, “ you'll find the Clan heightened by the excitement of apSavage wickeder cattle to deal with proaching danger, but be would have than any bulls you ever saw; and if coursed the hill round and not have you come not now they will catch us drawn a shorter breath than when he before we can get to the kindred, and started. He would fain have been in us sure as they do, Black Alan will the camp, too, with his people at such kill us both !"

a time; yet be scarce liked to leave “ What of Black Alan, my son?" the poor monk without guidance, al. said the Franciscan, scarce yet com- though now within a little distance of prehending the nature of the danger shelter. “ Father," he said, “ if you which had left him so suddenly de- bad been bred with us you would not serted; " did they say that Black be so scant of breath. Owen Grumach Alan Savage was coming ?"

makes us run up and down the hill “ Man, man!" exclaimed the boy, every morning before meat; some of impatient with an ignorance which was us can sing, too, going at the top of to him incomprehensible, “ do you not our speed. I'll tell you what: I'll run know that the black Mac Seneschal and get some of the kindred to help has fired the woods beyond Carrick you, and I'll come back with them Mac Art, and that if the wind doesn't myself:" so saying, and without waiting fall he will have a passage into our for a reply, the courageous boy ran strength before an hour ?”

on, carolling, in a clear sweet voice, “ Holy and blessed Francis !” ex- though, perhaps, as much to keep his claimed the monk, setting his face to courage up as to display it the hill with such speed as his dress would permit.

Holy and blessed Through the Abbey parks of Bangor Francis! what will become of the poor

The dewlapped heifers roam,

And we'll stand the Abbot's anger lady and the sick chief?”

But we'll drive a colpach home; They will carry MacGillmore on

We'll bide the Abbot's battle, a litter, if need be,” said the boy, run But this we still shall say, ning lightly beside, “and my mother Clan-na Christha breeds the cattle, has travelled the road often before.”

Clan Gillmore drives the prey ! “Good, Good,” said brother Virgil, the steep ascent preventing his using “ Holy and blessed Francis !” exmany words.

claimed the wearied monk, as he stood " Now," said the boy, pointing to panting on the steep, while his only the left, as they rose into a more ex catechumen unconscionsly gave this tensive prospect of the south side of characteristic promise of an unregenethe hill, "look past the foot of the rated life; "holy and blessed Francis ! high rock between you and the slack he is as wild a freebooter already in of the black mountain beyond: don't his heart as if he had neither been you see a thin blue smoke driving crossed nor christened ! But surely he towards us? That's where the Clan is a beauteous and a brave boy, and I Savage are: they are burning their must not desert either him or his road before them. Donagh says he people, and they in this trouble:” so saw it from the Carrick top, and that saying, the good brother turned once the whole wood is in a blaze; though inore to the ascent of the mountain.

He had not proceeded more than a have cut or burned their way through few steps when Harry Oge, accom the forest. In the encampment all panied by two fosterers, appeared over was hurry and alarm; yet much had the nearest eminence coming to his already been effected in the way of preassistance. The clansmen had been paration : the cattle were marshalled dispatched the moment their absence in herds upon the pathway leading to was perceived to bring both to the the top and back of the hill, ready camp without delay, as the progress

to be driven off at a moment's notice. of the flames in the wood threatened The baggage horses were tethered to very soon to give the clan Savage stakes in front of the booths; guards an entrance to the Mac Gillmore's bi were duly stationed on all the comtherto impregnable retreat. As yet, manding points, and the flower of the however, the danger was not imme- kindred had marched under Owen diate, for the wood through which the Grumach to await the irruption of passage was thus opening lay at a con their enemies, and give them battle siderable distance from the encamp- below. ment, and the broken ground between “We stop here for tonight,” said offered many obstacles to the advance Turlogh_“tomorrow we will of an army, even after they should clude.”

con

MISS MARTINEAU'S TRACTS.

We confess that we have seldom de- taught in the work, not for the fiction rived much pleasure or profit from that which is mixed with it. The pleasure class of books which their authors an. felt in the perusal of a scientific book nounce as at once instructive and amus should be produced by the elegance of ing, nor perhaps are we singular in its style ; by the natural and easy this. Many people, besides ourselves, order in which the parts are disposed'; instinctively turn away from books by the beauty and importance of the which make this double promise. So facts which it communicates ; by the far are such books from instructing or striking nature and intimate connexion amusing us, that if we were to judge of the truths which it unfolds, and by of their object from their contents, not the clearness and simplicity of the ar. from their title-pages, we should con- guments which establish them. These clude that they were written expressly are pleasures of the highest nature "to tire the patience and mislead the which any work addressed to the unsense."

derstanding can inspire, and the perIn this age, when the division of ception of them tends to improve the labour has been carried to such an ex- mind, and to give it at once an interest tent, we might have supposed that in philosophical pursuits, and a greater books, like other productions of human capacity for conducting them. industry, would be made, each to serve But the pleasure (if any) which is some one particular purpose, to do afforded by“ instructive and amusing only one thing, but to do that one stories,” is altogether different from thing very well

. We should not in- this. These profess to teach an abdeed consider it desirable, that a phi- struse science, while you are reading losophical work should be dry and an agreeable tale. Here we think that irksome to the reader. On the con- the intended amusement and instructrary, one of the greatest recommenda- tion are not consistent with each other. tions it can possess is, that it should few people will read a novel more be as interesting and attractive as the readily for having the thread of the nature of the subject will permit. But narrative frequently broken by long we do think that the interest should philosophical or scientific disquitions. be excited for the information intended Neither will they feel pleased, when to be conveyed, not for something al- engaged and interested in some philotogether foreign from it; for what re- sophical discussion, at being called quires to be remembered, not for what away at the arbitrary will and pleasure may be as well forgotten ; for the truth of the novelist, to weep for the woes

of some imaginary heroine, or to re- wards, on reading the well-known joice at her unexpected deliverance “ Conversations on Political Econofrom the perils with which she was my,” she says that she found out, to environed.

her great amazement, that she had This would probably be the case, unconsciously been writing, political even if the novel and the philosophy economy. She then offered her ser. were both good in their kind. But vices to the “ Society for the Diffusion this is too favourable a view of the of Useful Knowledge,” to write tales matter, for the philosopher will not be in illustration of the principal doctrines likely to write an interesting novel, of that science. They rejected her and the novelist will be apt to write offer; and accordingly she wrote and very puerile philosophy. In short, as published them on her own account. scientific instruction and the entertain. They were eminently successful as a ment afforded by fiction, require a dif- commercial speculation, but in every ferent state of mind in the reader, and other point of view she has, we think, a different character of mind in the as signally failed. The booksellers author, we do not think it a desirable may congratulate the fair authoress on thing that any attempt should be made her success—the critic must lament to unite them in the same work. her failure-which is however suffici.

But all this argument does not alter ently accounted for by the nature of the fact, which is, that those "amusing the original design. and instructive" volumes are frequently In this account of her initiation, we very popular, and have a very ex- may observe that what she first attended sale and circulation. This is tempted to teach, were not doctrines an age of men, wise in their own con of political economy, so much as rules ceit, who wish to have the credit of of prudence, to direct the conduct of possessing learning, but will not take individuals in certain situations; and it the pains necessary to acquire it. Ac- is precisely to inculcate such rules that cordingly as the alphabet is taught in examples and illustrations can be used cakes and gingerbread, so the first with most effect. The heart of man is rudiments of science are turned into deceitful above all things, and is always toys and games of sport; and the unwilling to learn how weak it is; but further progress is sought in novels we readily credit the wickedness or and romances.

weakness of another; and, since the paAmong the numerous works of this rable of Nathan, it is ever found that the class which have lately appeared, none readiest way, in which our misconduct have been so remarkable for their suc can be displayed to ourselves, is to cess as Miss Martineau's illustrations show a similar instance committed by of political economy; but notwith some other person. Without hesitation, standing her success, we remain fully weadmit the villainy or folly of such conpersuaded that political economy is duct in others, and cannot afterwards not a science capable of being taught deny the application to ourselves. It by tales. The perusal of Miss Mar- is thus that Miss Edgeworth has suctineau's tales rather confirms our opi. ceeded so well in exposing the dangers nion on this point, than gives us any of procrastination; or in persuading us reason to distrust it ; and a short ac- to examine whether what we complain count of her writings will prove that of as bad luck, may not be attributable political economy is not distinguished to our imprudence. from every other science by a capabi Still we think that this method of lity of being illustrated by fictitious nar- conveying instruction should only be ratives.

employed to impress upon the minds The manner in which her design of children such rules of conduct as originated, is perfectly in accordance are indisputably true, and therefore with our opinion. In a letter written require no argument to confirm them. to the French translator of ber works, For, considered as a kind of proof, this she informs the public that she com- mode of instructing by fictitious exammenced her career as an authoress, by ples is liable to this fatal objection, publishing a few remarks addressed to that it can, with equal facility, be turned the working classes, to show the im- to the support of falsehood. Some aupolicy of strikes, and turns-out. After- thoress, with the talents of Miss Edge

re

worth or Miss Martineau, may write a have given up even the attempt to tale to show the utility of procrastina- illustrate the doctrines of political tion, and introduce a hero whose for- economy. She began by a successful tunate adventures are always to be attempt to develope the progress of attributed to his habit of putting off industry, by the instance of a number until tomorrow everything which of people thrown in a strange country ought to be done today. Or for the entirely on their own resources. It purpose of showing that the race is not has been said that her intention was io the swift, nor the battle to the to proceed methodically to exemplify strong, she may contrast one person- the progress of society from its first age incessantly blundering upon good rudiments to its present state, showing fortune, with another, whose consum. at the same time examples of the mate wisdom is the cause of his being mode of operation of the different involved in inextricable calamities. As institutions which advanced or sincere lovers of truth, we cannot ap- tarded this progress.

But this deprove of a mode of proof which has a sign, if she ever conceived it, was very tendency to obliterate all distinctions soon abandoned, and under the presbetween truth and falsehood. And it sure of the self-imposed necessity of a is to establish those propositions monthly publication, she took up each which Miss Martineau admits to be subject as it occurred to her, without most furiously controverted that she method or connection. resorts to this suspicious kind of ar In general she takes a remarkably gument.

one-sided view of questions admitting The incidents appealed to, as illus at least of some doubt, as in most trations or examples of any disputed of her illustrations of taxation. If doctrine, ought either be such as are a law may, in a single instance, known to be true, or else they should possibly operate to the prejudice of be so natural that every one will at an innocent individual, an opponent once perceive and admit their proba- of the law may fairly, in argument, bility.

bring forward that instance, and But if they do not thus appeal to show its unfairness, and the weight of the preexisting knowledge of the his argument will be determined by reader, or to his common sense, they the probability of its occurrence. But require to be supported by external the novelist can insert as many as he evidence. If the author gives no pleases into his tales, and Miss Marauthority, except his own, we require tineau, in her inveteracy against the that he should confine himself to truth excise, has availed herself extensively in his work throughout, that is, that he of this prerogative. A female gathers should write a history, not a tale. He sloe leaves under the hedges and sells would be most unreasonable to expect them as tea, without knowing there is that we should acquiesce in a theory harm in doing so, or intending any because we found it conformable to fraud ; and in the same manner all the the not very probable incidents con- family engaged in different trades, tained in a professedly fictitious nar under the superintendence of the rative. For this reason, we do not excise, commit innocent and accidental, think the cause of science has gained breaches of the revenue laws. And much by transferring such a circuni. all the time, these people are represtance as Mr. Gaubion's successful sented as being persons who would be vindication from a charge of smuggling, willing, under a system of direct taxfrom Mr. Huskisson's speech, to a tale ation, to contribute their fair quota of fiction. In the former it had weight, towards defraying the expenses of the as Mr. Huskisson would refer to proofs state, without fraud or evasion. The in support of his statement.

It can

fair inference from such examples, serve no purpose in a tale. It does not given by an author professedly writing illustrate any thing, and being unsup- to instruct, is, that the adulterator of ported by evidence it proves no posi- tea is in general a person innocent of tion. In this instance, indeed, as in any fraudulent design; and that the many others, Miss Martineau seems to breaches of the revenue laws are genehave become aware of the impractica- rally committed accidentally without bility of her undertaking, and to any fraudulent intention ; and that if a

name

system of direct taxation were intro- rivals in the market, by means of the duced, the necessary sums would be frauds he is practising on the revenue. paid without inconvenience to the con- Is there nothing in this to shock the tributors, and without encountering re- conscience of an honest man? or can sistance, fraud, or evasion. If these we believe that the man who would things would not generally take place, act in this manner without scruple, is it fair for a person, professing to in- would, under a system of direct taxstruct us, to mention, not the general ation, declare his liabilities without rules, but the exceptions, as the facts reserve, and without fraud or delay, that should guide us in forming our contribute bis fair proportion to the opinions? We have witnessed many service of the state ? revenue trials, and we can safely say This is not the only instance in thai we never saw any person con- which Miss Martineau has shown bervicted for any breach of the revenue self destitute of that caution which laws which we believed to have been would become one who professes to be accidental.

a guide to the blind. Her whole For laws in general, Miss Martineau works betray an ardent imagination seems to entertain very little respect, and very moderate degree of judgand she lays it down to be no dishonor ment. Her enthusiastic love for her to evade, and no crime to break those favourite science, and her disgust at of which she happens to disapprove. those prejudices which usurped the An excise law in particular, is, in her of common sense, and opestimation, fair game. The person posed the progress

of truth and who violates or evades it, is, in her reason, has, 'in too many instances, opinion, merely doing an innocent act led her far beyond the compass of her wbich the legislature has unwisely and understanding. Credo Quia impossibile unjustly prohibited. In this we can est appears to be her maxim. Her not agree with her. The contraband daring disregard of vulgar errors has trader or manufacturer, besides the caused her in every instance, to cede system of violence or perjury by which as far as possible from popular opinions. he frustrates the laws, is guilty of a Instead of meeting those prejudices, double fraud ; a fraud on the public, and stripping them of the title they and a fraud on his rivals, and fair com had usurped, she boldly threw off all petitors in trade. Miss Martineau allegiance to common sense itself. Pacontends that the distiller, who pri- radox is her favorite; incredibility (we vately makes spirits, for which he pays suppose on the principle that every no duty, is not guilty of any moral demand creates a supply) only operates offence, and may probably be a sin as an incentive to arouse and call into cerely honest man in the most ex action a sufficient degree of credulity; tended sense of the term. To this, and once having received any proposias we have said, we cannot assent. tion as a doctrine of political economy, A duty upon spirits is a tax upon she scorns all reference to the arguthe consumers, falling upon each in ments by which it was originally proportion to the quantity he conproved, or to the qualifications with

No part of it falls upon the which it was accompanied. distiller, he is merely the person ap A confidence in the proofs on which pointed to collect the tax.

He is re

any science rests, will indeed prevent quired to pay it in the first instance, our recurring to them in consequence and in return he receives it with a of any doubt of their truth or force profit from those to whom he sells his arising in our mind. But this reference spirits.

If he receives the tax on that is occasionally useful, and even neces. portion which he smuggles by not sary, in order to guard against mistakes paying it over, he defrauds the re and misinterpretations, and in order to venue, and to that amount creates prevent the generality of the terms in the necessity of imposing additional which any proposition may happen to burthens upon his fellow citizens, to be conveyed, from leading us to assume raise the suins which are necessary for its truth" in a sense in which it was the public service. If he does not never proved. This sophisın (we bereceive the full amount of the tax from lieve logicians call it amphibolia) is the purchasers, he underselling his continually besetting us when we prore

sumes.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »