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there may be observers who yield to no such romance. They yet hold that, in the rural portions of the kingdom, there is a more spotless state of morals. Now will it be contended that there is in them as exalted sense, as generous practice, of morals as is often demonstrated in our city- marts ? Is it maintained that the vices of our towns are not rife in our villages ? Perhaps the complaint simply respects the number of the offences. Our County calendars must determine that. Then do we feel bold in the argument, that the most numerous and most odious crimes come not from the towns, but from scattered hamlets and solitary dwellings. The Quarter Sessions, it will be said, dispose of cases that come from the towns, and they are not heard of in the gaol delivery of the shire. But these enormities, wherever committed, must go to the higher court. And are there not Sessions for the counties and divisions of counties, as well as for the boroughs ? Let the truth,-it is extorted from those who are impartial,—be simply told. The proportion of criminals to every thousand inhabitants is higher in Worcestershire than in Middlesex, and is equal to that of Lancashire. Herefordshire exceeds Leicestershire. Dorset surpasses Nottinghamshire. The county of Oxford is on a par with that of Stafford. Does this account justify the transcendence of rural, over municipal, order and virtue? It may not be improper to throw a classical relief over the comparison. Where did the ancient Mythology place its most monstrous forms? In the gardens, by the streams, among the woods. There range Pan and Silenus: the Sylvani, the Satyrs, the Fauns. The Dryads are also there. They approach not the cities nor disfigure the towns.
The manufacturing and the agricultural provinces L have sometimes been in a state bordering upon insurrection. The cause has been some imputed grievance. When the flail was to be superseded by the thrashing machine, the farmers' men were roused to phrenzy. Their revenge was not only against the machine,– which might be expected,—but upon the stacked corn. Now this was blind and wicked. Incendiarism is still the crime of the day. It stalks with its brand among the fairest gardens of our country. It spreads on every hand suspense and panic. Very recently there rose up a band of marauders in the trading districts, gathering the idle and the vicious as it advanced. It was an invasion. It insisted on the universal suspension of manufacture. Its plea was the injustice of existing wages. Save in one spot, and nearly where the tumult begun, there was no depredation on property; in no instance was there violence on life, except in withstanding force. With this wild proceeding, this profligate interference, there was little sympathy. It was rightly judged and strongly condemned. “A poor man that oppresseth the poor is like a sweeping rain which leaveth no food.”* Like a torrent it died
* Prov. xxviii. 3.
away. Between the two courses of proceeding there was almost every advantageous contrast on the side of the manufacturing workmen. There was no deep-laid plot, no vindictive passion, no long-sustained resistance, no midnight concealment, no cowardly agent, no reckless devastation. The power for mischief was for days uncontrollable, but it was spontaneously stayed. It differed much in this. The one was an agrarian rebellion, the peasantry taking a general part in it, or harbouring those who did. It lasted for years. Its dastard fires still blaze. The other was a rolling movement from the extreme verge of the manufactures : it was precipitated upon an unwilling people : it sought a definite, though most lawless, purpose : amidst the most easy opportunities of plunder, it resolutely adhered to that purpose : after a few days, for all the wreck it left behind, it might not have been. Never did faction more utterly fail, and that through the sound sense and Christian principle of the people on whom it so vainly sought to practise.
It is well known that this irruption gradually diminished in its progress through Yorkshire. An irregular sally might be expected to lose strength in proportion to the distance. But it never repaired the loss. The people felt that it was fatuous and self-destructive. They never breathed wish as to its success. Leeds,— marked out for ignorance and cruelty by none who know it,—was the formidable pass most dreaded by this bandit-multitude. “We have nothing to hope
for there —eried the leaders,—- there are too many Sunday Schools!"*
The proper education of the people ought to be pursued in no party spirit. It excited no surprise, that the children of the manufacturer were often neglected. It was made matter of enquiry, but it was know and allowed before. It was for a lamentation. Vicious habits destroy self-respect, and corrupt the sense of relative responsibility. The focal knowledge of great communities supposes not the illumination of each constituent. But surprise was felt, sudden and indig nant, when the pitch and extent of education among the rural districts were absolutely rated higher than in the great emporiums of cunning device and production. It startled all. The bravado terreached itself. It is outrageously untrue. It is characterised by that hardihood of assertion which is commonly adopted to appease a misgiving conscience and to bolster a defenceless cause. In what manufacturing district could a parish be found abatting on a city with its
* And why should the Author suppress this specdote, now that his beaver is up! A town more upright in its charakter, more noble in its race, does not exist. His lot, when little more than a penniless boy,-bis independence had made him this, though other were his accidents of birth and inheritance was to be cast among this community. It was far from home and kindred. He entered it amidst every adversity and depression. It received him. It has sustained him. It still encourages him. God do so to him, and more also, ere he will join the rank of its satirists and calumniators. Esto perpetua !
noblest cathedral, containing the baronial residence of one who is a true pillar of the State, with two churchwardens, two surveyors, two guardians, the only functionaries in it, and two cannot read, two cannot write, and only two can both read and write? Of what county, the seat of mechanical art, could a bold rebuker declare, and his charge be for a moment undenied, that half of its inhabitants could not read ?
In the Fifth Report (1843) of the Registrar General, we observe one of those facts which are very conclusive as to the ignorance which prevails in particular portions of the country. The signature of the parties who are married must be by mark, if they cannot write their names. The general fact is lamentable, that 33 in 100 men, and 49 in 100 women, should have so subscribed themselves. But let us mark the difference between municipal and agricultural districts. In the Metropolitan divisions only 11 men in the 100 were thus compelled to sign : in Suffolk, Essex, and Cambridgeshire, there were 47; in Bedfordshire, 49; and in Herts, 50.
The question of the larger or smaller mortality among the inhabitants of town and country has, of late years, been urgently discussed. When it is recollected that there is no population in any part of the world so shut up in large communities, the enquiry becomes most interesting. Civic residence is our peculiarity. But the distribution is very unequal. * The
* M'Culloch's Statistical Account of the British Empire.