Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

-con

advance into the coal country, the a'r | Man himself, mind and body, seems is darkened with smoke; the chimneys, created to make the most of these ad high as obelisks, are in hundreds, and vantages. His muscles are firm, and cover the plain as far as we can see; his mind can support tedium. He is many and various rows of lofty build- less subject to weariness and disgust ings, in red monotonous brick, pass be- than other men. He works as well in fore our eyes, like files of economical the tenth hour as in the first. No one and busy beehives. The blast-fur- handles machines better; he has their naces flame through the smoke; I regularity and precision. Two work counted sixteen in one group. The men in a cotton-mill do the work d refuse of minerals in heaped up like three, or even four, French workmen mountains; the engines run like black Let us look now in the statistics hov ants, with monotonous and violent mo many leagues of stuffs they manufac: tion, and suddenly we find ourselves ture every year, how many millions of swa lowed up in a monstrous town. tons they export and inport, how many This manufactory has five thousand tens of millions they produce and conhands, one mill 300,000 spindles. The sume ; let us add the industrial or Manchester warehouses are Babyloni- commercial states they have founded, an edifices of six stories high, and wide or are founding, in America, China, Inin proportion. In Liverpool there are dia, Australia; and then perhaps, 5000 ships along the Mersey, which reckoning men and money-value, choke one another up; more wait to sidering that their capital is seven or enter. The docks are six miles long, eight times greater than that of France, and the cotton warehouses on the side that their population has doubled in extend their vast red rampart out of fifty years, that their colonies, whersight. All things here seem built in ever the climate is healthy, are becomunmeasured proportions, and as though ing new Englands, - we will obtain by colossal arms. We enter a mili; some notion, very slight, very impernothing but iron pillars, as thick as fect, of a work whose magnitude the tree-trunks, cylinders as big as a eyes alone can measure. man ;

locomotive shafts like vast There remains yet one of its parts to oaks, notching machines which send explore, the cultivation of the land. up iron chips, rollers which bend sheet- From the railway carriage we see quite iron like paste, fly-wheels which be- enough to understand it : a field with come invisible by the swiftness of their a hedge, then another field with anrevolution. Eight workmen, com- other hedge, and so on : at times vast manded by a kind of peaceful colossus, squares of turnips ; all this well laid pushed into and pulled frora the fire a out, clean, glossy; no forests, here and tree nf red-hot iron as big as my body: there only a cluster of trees. The Coal has produced all this. England country is a great kitchen-garden—a produces twice as much coal as the manufactory of grass and meat. Nothrest of the world. It has also brick, on ing is left to nature and chance; all is account of the great schists, which are calculated, regulated, arranged to pro close to the surface; i: has also estu- duce and to bring in profits. If we aries filled by the sea, so as to make look at the peasants, we find no gen. natural ports. Liverpool and Man- uine peasants ; nothing like French chester, and about ten towns of 40,000 peasants,-a sort of fellahs, akin to the 10 1000,000 souls, are springing up in soil, mistrustful and uncultivated, sep. the basin of Lancashire. If we glance arated by a gulf from the townsmen. over a geological map we see whole The countryman here is like an arti. parts shaded with black; they repre- san; and, in fact, a field is a manufacsent the Scotch, the North of England, tory, with a farmer for the foreman the Midland, the Welsh, the Irish coal Proprietors and farmers lavish their districts. The old antediluvian forests, capital like great contractors. They accumulating here their fuel, have drain the land, and have a rotation of stored up the power wbich moves mat- crops; they have produced cattle, the ter, and the sea furnishes the true road richest in returns of any in the world by which matter can be transported. I they have introduzed steam-engine

into cultivation, and into the rearing of visit his land: what he aspires to is cattle; they perfect already perfect possession : what Englishmen love is stables. The greatest of the aristoc- comfort. There is no land in which racy take a pride in it; many country they demand more in this respect. An gentlemen have no other occupation. Englishman said to me, not very long Prince Albert, near Windsor, had a ago: “Our & eat vice is the strong model farm, and this farm brought in desire we feel for all good and colamoney. A few years ago the papers fortable things. We have too nany innounced that the Queen had dis- wants, we spend too mech. As soov covered a cure for the turkey.disease. as our peasants have a little m. ney Under this universal effort, * the pro- they buy the best sherry and the best ducts of agriculture have doubled in clothes they can get, instead of buying fifty years. In England, two and a a bit of land.” * hali acres (hectare) receive eight or ten As we rise to the upper classes, this times more manure than the same num- taste becomes stronger. In the middle ber of French acres ; though of inferior ranks a man burdens himself with toil, quality, the produce is double that of to give his wife gaudy dresses, and to the French. Thirty persons are enough fill his house with the hundred thou for this work, when in France forty sand baubles of quasi-luxury. Higher would be required for half thereof. still, the inventions of comfort are so We come upon a farm, even a small multiplied that people are bored by one, say of a hundred acres; we find them; there are too many newspapers respectable, dignified, well-clad men, and reviews on the table; too many who express themselves clearly and kinds of carpets, washstands, matches sensibly; a large, wholesome, comfort- towels in the dressing-room; their able dwelling---often a little porch, refinement is endless; in thrusting cür with creepers-a well-kept garden, or- feet into slippers, we might imagine namental trees, the inner walls white- that twenty generations of inventors washed yearly, the floors washed week- were required to bring sole and lining ly, an almost Dutch cleanliness; to this degree of perfection. We car. therewith plenty of books — travels, not conceive clubs better furnished treatises on agriculture, a few volumes with necessaries and superfluities, of religion or history; and above all, houses so well arranged and managed, the great family Bible. Even in the pleasure and abundance so cleverly poorest cottages we find a few objects understood, servants so reliable, reof comfort and recreation ; a large spectful, handy: Servants in the last cast-iron stove, a carpet, nearly always census were “the most numerous class paper, on the walls, one or two moral of Her Majesty's subjects; ” in Eng cales, and always the Bible. The cot- land there are five where in France tage is clean; the habits are orderly; they have two. When I saw in Hyde the plates, with their blue pattern, reg- Park the rich young ladies, the gentle12!arly arranged, look well above the men riding or driving, when I thought chining dresser; the red floor-tiles of their country houses, their dress, have been swept; there are no broken their parks and stables, I said to my or dirty panes; no doors off hinges, self that verily this people is consti: shutters unhung, stagnant pools, strag. tuted after the heart of economists: 1 gling dunghills, as amongst the French mean, that it is the greatest produce: silagers; the little garden is kept free and the greatest consumer in the world; from weeds; frequently roses and that none is more apt at squeezing out 'scneysuckle round the door ; and on and absorbing the quintessence of Sunday, we can see the father and mother, seated by a well-scrubbed

* De Foe was of the same opinion, and precable, with tea, bread and butter, en- tue, and that an Englishman can hardly live

tended that economy was not an English virpoying their home, and the order they with twenty shillings a week, while a Dutchhave established there. In France the man with the same money becomes wealthy, peasant on Sunday leaves his hut to and leaves his children very well off. An Eng

lish labourer lives poor, and wretchedly with * Léonce de Lavergne Economie murale en nine shillings a week, whilst a Dutchman lives Angleterre, passim.

very comfortably with the same wages.

things, that it has developed its wants the affairs of the neighborhood, experi at the same time as its resources ; and in directing these affairs which his we involuntarily think of those insects family have managed for three gener. which, after their metamorphosis, are ations, most fitted by education to give suddenly provided with teeth, feelers, good advice, and by his influence to unwearying claws, admirable and ter- lead the common enterprise to a good rible instruments, fitted to dig, saw, result. Indeed, it is thus that things build, do every thing, but furnished fall out; rich men leave London by also with incessant hunger and four hundreds every day to spend a day in stomachs.

the country; there is a meeting on the

affairs of the country or of the church; III.

they are magistrates, overseers, pres

idents of all kinds of societies, and this How is this ant-hill governed? As gratuitously. One has built a bridge the train moves on, we perceive, amidst at his own expense, another a chapel farms and tilled lands, the long wall of or a school ; many establish public li a park, the frontage of a castle, more braries, where books are lent out, with generally of some vast ornate mansion, warmed and lighted rooms, in which a sort of country town-house, of infe- the villagers in the evening can read rior architecture, Gothic or Italian pre- the papers, play draughts, chess, and tensions, but surrounded by beautiful have tea at low charges,-in a word, lawns, large trees scrupulously pre- simple amusements which may keep served. Here lives the rich bourgeois ; | them from the public-house and ginI am wrong, the word is false-I must shop. Many of them give lectures; say gentleman : bourgeois is a French their sisters or daughters teach in Sun. word, and signifies the lazy parvenus, day schools; in fact, they provide for who devote themselves to rest, and the ignorant and poor, at their own extake no part in public life ; here it is pense, justice, administration, civilizaquite different; the hundred or hun- tion. "I know a very rich man, who in dred and twenty thousand families, his Sunday school taught singing to who spend a thousand and more an- little girls. Lord Palmerston offered nually, really govern the country. And his park for archery meetings; the this is no government imported, im- Duke of Marlborough opens his daily planted artificially and from without; to the public, "requesting,” this is the it is a spontaneous and natural govern- word used, “ the public not to destroy ment. As soon as men wish to act the grass. A firm and proud senti. together, they need leaders ; every as- ment of duty, a genuine public spirit, a sociation, voluntary or not, has one ; noble idea of what a gentleman owes whatever it be, state, army, ship, or to himself, gives them a moral superiparish, it cannot do without a guide to ority which sanctions their command; find the road, to take the lead, call the probably from the time of the old rest, scold the laggards. In vain we Greek cities, no education or condition call ourselves independent; as soon as has been seen in which the innate nowe march in a body, we need a leader ; bility of man has received a more we look right and left expecting him wholesome or completer development. to show himself. The great thing is In short, they are magistrates and pato pick him out, to have the best, and trons from their birth, leaders of the pri to follow another in his stead; it great enterprises in which capital is is a great advantage that there should risked, promoters of all charities, all be one, and that we should acknowl- improvements, all reforms, and with edge him. These men, without pop- the honors of command they accept its ular election, or selection from govern- burdens. For observe, in contrast ment, find him ready made and recog- with the aristocracies of other counnized in the large landed proprietor, a tries, they are well educated, liberal, man whose family has been long in the and march in the van, not in the rear of country, influential through his connec- public civilization. They are not dram tions, dependents, tenantry, interested ing-room exquisites, like the French above all else by his great states in marquises of the eighteenth century: an English lord visits his fisheries, from his home, he dare not me into

B studies the system of liquid manures, the country to see his father without speaks to the purpose about cheese ;| first asking if he may come ; a servant and his son is often a better rower, to whom I gave my card refused to walker, and boxer than the farmers. take it, saying, “Oh! I dare not hand They are not malcontents, like the it in now. Master is dining.” There French nobility, behind their age, de- is respect in all ranks, in the work. voted to whist, and regretting the mid- shops as well as in the fields, in the dle ages. They have travelled through army as in the family. Throughout Europe, and often further; they know there are inferiors and superiors who languages and literature; their daugh- feel themselves so; if the mechanism ters read Schiller, Manzoni, and La- of established power were thrown out alartne with ease. By means of re- of gear, we should behold it recon. views, newspapers, innumerable vol. structed of itself ; below the legal con. umes of geography, statistics, and stitution is the social, and human action travels, they have the world at their is forced into a solid mould prepared finger-ends. They support and pre- for it. side over scientific societies; if the It is because this aristocratic network free inquirers of Oxford, amidst con- is strong that human action can be ventional rigor, have been able to free ; for local and natural government give their explanations of the Bible, being rooted throughout, like ivy, by a it is because they knew themselves to hundred'small, ever-growing fibres, sud. be backed by enlightened laymen of den movements, violent as they are, the highest rank. There is also no are not capable of pulling it up altodanger that this aristocracy should be- gether. In vain men speak, cry out, come a set; it renews itself; a great call meetings, hold processions, form physician, a profound lawyer, an illus- leagues : they will not demolish the trious general, become ennobled and state ; they have not to deal with a set found families. When a manufacturer of functionaries who have no real hold or merchant has gained a large fortune, on the country, and who, like all ex. he first thinks of acquiring an estate ; ternal applications, can be replaced by after two or three generations his fam- another set: the thirty or forty gentle. ily has taken root and shares in the men of a district, rich, influential, trust. government of the country: in this ed, useful as they are, will become the way the best saplings of the great pop-leaders of the district. “ As we see in ular forests fill up the aristocratic the papers,” says Montesquieu, speak. nursery. Observe, finally, that an ing of England,“ that they are playing aristocracy in England is not an iso the devil, we fancy that the people lated fact. Everywhere there are will revolt to-morrow." Not at all, it leaders recognized, respected, followed is their way of speaking; they only vith confidence and deference, who talk loudly and rudely: Two days feel their responsibility, and carry the after I arrived in London, I saw adburden as well as the advantages of vertising men walking with a placara the dignity. Such an aristocracy exists on their backs and their stomachs, in marriage, where the man incontest. bearing these words: “Great usurpaably rules, followed by his wife to the tion! Outrage of the Lords, in their end of the world, faithfully waited for vote on the budget, against the rights in the evenings, unshackled in his bus of the people.” But then the placard iness, of which he does not speak. added, " Fellow-countrymen, petition !" There is such in the family, when the Things end thus ; they argue freely, father * can disinherit his children, and the reasoning is good it will and keeps up with them, in the most spread. Another time in Hyde Park, çetty circumstances of daily life, a de- orators were declaiming in the open gree of authority and dignity unknown air against the Lords, who were called in France: if in England a son, through rogues. The audience applauded or -health, has been away for some time hissed, as it pleased them." After all,”

* In fainiliar language, the father is called in said an Englishman to me, “this is England the governor ; in France le banquier. I how we manage our susiness. With

[ocr errors]

a

[ocr errors]

as, when a man has an idea, he writes security, what will he do, and how will it; a dozen men think it good, and all he govern himself in this bigher, nobler contribute money to publish it; this domain, to which man clinbs in order creates a little association, which grows, to contemplate beauty and truth? At prints cheap pamphlets, gives lectures, all events, the arts. do not lead him then petitions, calls forth public opin- there. That vast London is monuion, and at last takes the matter into mental; but, like the castle of a man Parliament; Parliament refuses or de- who has become rich, every thing there lays it; yet the matter gains weight: is well preserved and costly, but noth the majority of the nation pushes, ing more. Those lofty houses of mas. forces open the doors, and then you'll sive stone, burdened with porches, have a law passed.' It is open to short columns, Greek decorations, are every one to do this; workmen can generally gloomy; the poor columns of league against their masters; in fact, the monuments seem washed with ink. their associations embrace all England; On Sunday, in foggy weather, we would at Preston I believe there was once think ourselves in a cemetery; the pera strike which lasted more than six fect readable names on the houses, in months. They will sometimes mob, brass letters, are like sepulchral inbut never revolt; they know political scriptions. There is nothing beautiful : economy by this time, and understand at most, the varnished middle-class that to do violence to capital is to sup- houses, with their patch of green, are press work.

Their chief quality is pleasant; we feel that they are well coolness ; here, as elsewhere, tempera- kept, commodious, capital for a busiment has great influence. Anger, blood ness man who wants to amuse himself does not rise at once to their eyes, as in and unbend after a hard day's work. the southern nations; a long interval But a finer and higher sentiment could always separates idea from action, and relish nothing here. As to the statues, wise arguments, repeated calculations, it is difficult not to laugh at them. We occupy the interval. If we go to a see the Duke of Wellington, with a meeting, we see men of every condi- cocked hat and iron plumes; Nelson, tion, ladies who come for the thirtieth with a cable which serves him for a time to hear the same speech, full of tail, planted on his column, and pierced figures, on education, cotton, wages. by a lightning-conductor, like a rat imThey do not seem to be wearied; they paled on the end of a pole; or again, can bring argument against argument, the half-dressed Waterloo Generals, be patient, protest gravely, recommence crowned by Victory. The English, their protest; they are the same people though flesh and bone, seem manu. who wait for the train on the platform, factured out of sheet-iron: how much without getting crushed, and who play stiffer will English statues look? They cricket for a couple of hours without pride themselves on their painting; at raising their voices or quarrelling for least they study, it with surprising an instant. Two coachmen, who run minuteness, in the Chinese fashion; into one another, set themselves free they can paint a truss of hay so exactly, without storming or scolding. Thus that a botanist will tell the species of their political association endures ; every stalk; one artis. lived three they can be free because they have months under canvas on a heath, se natural leaders and patient nerves. that he might thoroughly know heath. After all, the state is a machine like Many are excellent observers, especial: other machines; let us try to have good ly of moral expression, and succeed wheels, and take care not to break very well in showing the soul in the them; Englishmen have the double face; we are instructed by looking at advantage of possessing very good them; we go through a course of psy. ones, and of managing them coolly. chology with them; they can illustrate IV.

a novel ; we are touched by the poetic

and dreamy meaning of many of their Such is our Englishman, with his landscapes. But in genuine painting, laws and his administration. Now picturesque painting, they are revolt that he has private comfort and public ling. I do not think there were ever

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »