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can't be—yes, it is. Why, upon my credit, you are very like the fellows—ahem : I beg pardon, the individuals—who thought to-a-a-who travelled into Ballybeg with me.” “The very identical fellows, Mr. Tupps, as you are pleased to call us—wicked-looking fellows—ill-looking dogs. Eh? sir,” “Well, but, gentlemen, I really did not know you were present; besides, you had terrible beards and whiskers then, and you wore no shirt-collars. But, indeed, I can't understand the thing at all. Were you not really highwaymen?” “Pray, sir, say that again,” said Jack, looking most comically ferocious; “I did not exactly hear the word you made use of.” “Nay, sir, I mean no offence, I assure you; but, perhaps, you'll be so kind, as to explain the matter, for I'm blest if I know what to think.” “That's easily done. My friend and myself were making the tour of the western counties on foot, and were fortunate enough to meet your car, so as to get a ‘lift into Ballybeg. The only room left at the inn was the one in which we were all put, and having paid our bill at night, we were off in the morning by daybreak. I confess we were quite unable to account for your bolting so suddenly out of the room, but we thought you had been asleep, and had gone out in a fit of somnambulisin.” “Well, well, but what do you say about your conversation with the car-driver ?” “Why, he was complainin that you declined to give him any gratuity.” “And so I did, because he too you up without my leave. What did you mean by saying that the driver had given you a charge of the right sort?” “Oh, the fellow was grateful for a few shillings we gave him, and put me in the way of filling my “pocket-pistol" with some genuine potheen whiskey.” “Dear, dear! how strange. Well, there's but one thing more which, if you can clear up, I shall admit that I wronged you. Why did you say that it was just the time for taking notes? Can you deny that you said these very words, sir?”, “Ha! ha! ha!” shouted Bishop, “Mr. Slingsby must explain that to you; he is answerable for having unkennelled you.” “That I will,” said I. “You must know, sir, that we were in the habit of keeping a journal of our tour, and made it a practice to note down whatever had occurred to us worthy of remark during the day. I assure you, Mr. Tupps, you occupied a very considerable portion of our diary that night.”
The shame and confusion of Mr. Tupps was now complete. I thought he would have sunk into the earth. At length Uncle Saul, in pity to his sufferings, came to the rescue. “Upon my word, Mr. Tupps, I do not at all wonder at your having fallen into the mistake you did. I am sure I should have been very much frightened if I were in your place. You showed admirable presence of mind to decamp with your baggage, and in good order. And now I will give you a song myself, and you must all fill your glasses to pledge me in the toasts and join in the chorus.”
Yes, the friends that still fondly will cheer us,
When the dark night of sorrow draws near us,
Here's to those we see smiling around us;
To whom friendship has sacredly bound us;
When the dark night of sorrow has found us,
Here's to those in climes distant delaying,
Ma ' spirits still round us be straying,
ill they cheer us again with their ray.
Not in sadness, but hope, o'er the number
Breathe one sigh—may they wake from their slumber,
Here's joy to the bright eyes that cheer us;
And a pledge to the friends that are near us;
Fond remembrance for those who can't hear us,
So ended our “Allhallow-E'en,” and I am again at home in my sanctum; and as it is “just the time for taking notes,” I have indicted this somewhat lengthy epistle to you, dear Anthony, to show you that there is some remnant of the good old fashions still lingering amongst us. And now good night—I might almost say £ morning: for the hand of the dial is close to midnight. I wish you and aga a happy November. Thine, as always, dear Anthony,
JoNATHAN FREKE SLINGsBY. To Anthony Poplar, Esq.
It is ever the fate of genius to be in advance of its age—too often to be rewarded only by its neglect or its censures. Galileo in the dungeon of the Inquisition was no unapt type of high intellect persecuted by the dull-sighted many. When Divine wisdom often failed to obtain a hearing on earth, genius in the creature cannot look to fare better. “Go up, bald head!” has not seldom been the cry of the would-be wise of the Gentiles, as it was of the children of Israel. , Disasters have come upon nations, ruin to empires, not because there was no voice to warn, but no wish to listen—not from the absence of wisdom, but from its neglect. Who listened to Demosthenes, when he strove to save Athens from her blindness? Did not six generations neglect the warnings of the great Sobieski, ere Poland felt Whoistened to Burke, when with prophetic eye he scanned the future of ' French Revolution, and in the brilliance of the meteor beheld the gathering of the storm ? Yet Burke lived to hear his éloge be
n, and posterity has completed it.
ations live faster, as well as longer, now than in ancient times; the increased vigour of the species hurries on society from stage to stage; and in the rapidity with which disaster follows error, and retribution crime, we not only behold the means by which Providence now preserves the nations by purifying them, but by which wisdom and virtue are rewarded, folly and
passion punished, in the lifetime of a single generation. An erring people now no longer escapes misery by handing it over to posterity; the impostor or , deluder rarely reaches his grave unmasked; the Present seldom bequeathes a golden idol which the Future finds to be brass. This is a comforting assurance to the honest and wise, a benefit to the species, a terror to evil-doers, a warning to fools. The day of dupes, the reign of folly, is shortened; and if men still go astray (as assuredly they ever will) it will not be from the mists of ignorance, but from the allurements of passion. Time, now-a-days, speedily winnows error from truth, and falsifies theories and predictions in the lifetime of their authors. There is no more difficult task for genius than to detect in their secret springs the issues of future events. This can only be attempted after scanning keenly and £ the pages of history, and generalising from an extensive view of the workings of human passion; and the attempt is never successful, save when seconded by transcendent natural abilities. The mere fact of the reprinting of Mr. Alison's political essays proves that he possesses this prescient faculty in a very high degree; and when we examine them in detail, the coincidence of events with his predictions is marvellous. The fact that all these essays were written for the monthly press,
* 1. “History of Europe, from the Commencement of the French Revolution in 1789, to the Restoration of the Bourbons in 1815.” By Archibald Alison, LL.D. Fourteen Wols. 8vo. With Portraits. Edinburgh and London: 1849-50.
most of them of course hastily, still further heightens our admiration for the accuracy of his views and the ability with which they are developed. We have nothing similar in our language: they stand forth alone in the world of letters. We have recently had reprints of critical and historical essays of first-rate excellence, but in the department of politics, not one. Among the published selections of articles from the Edinburgh Review, no series of political essays has found a place. Praised to the skies on their first appearance, not unfrequently changing the politics of Government, they have nevertheless been left behind by the march of the world. Time has weighed them in his balance, and found them wanting.
“Open one of the political essays of the Blue and Yellow, which were read and admired by all the world thirty or forty years ago, and what do you find? Loud declamations against the continuance of the war, and emphatic assertions of the inability of England to contend at land with the conqueror of Continental Europe; continual reproaches of incapacity against the Ministry who were preparing the liberation of Spain and the battle of Waterloo; ceaseless assertions that the misery of Ireland was entirely owing to misgovernment—that nothing but Catholic emancipation, and the curtailment of the Protestant Church were required to make that island the most happy, loyal, and contented realm, and its Celtic inhabitants the most industrious and well-conditioned in Europe; loud denunciations that the power of the Crown had ‘increased, was increasing, and ought to be diminished; lamentations on the evidently approaching extinction of the liberties of England, under the combined action of a gigantic war expenditure and a corrupt selfish oligarchy; strong recommendations of the speedy abolition of slavery in our West India Colonies, as the only mode of enabling our planters to compete with the efforts of slave sugar-states. Time has enabled the world to estimate these doctrines at their true value; and amidst great efforts at bolstering them up, subsequent times have quietly consigned them to the tomb of all the Capulets."
Besides their prescient sagacit y, what is well worthy of remark in Mr. Alison's political essays, is their eminently practical nature. Not a plan which he proposes, not a remedy which he suggests, but bears the stamp of efficacy and
simplicity. Well versed in the affairs of men and in the functions of civil administration, no crude theory or speculative plan escapes him; and he makes his views as intelligible to others as they are manifest to himself. One would think he had been Premier for as long a period as he has been Sheriff —although, in these days, we fear this is but a doubtful compliment. Of his intimate acquaintance with the science of government and the actual state of the nation, these volumes furnish redundant proof. Not to mention his splendid essays on Parliamentary Reform and the British Constitution—as to the sagacity of which the last eighteen years have been one long sad commentary—we would say to a sceptic, look at his article on Crime and Transportation. Does he not lay bare the fearful progress of crime amongst us as with the scalpel of the anatomist, and probe the devouring gangrene with the skill of a Cooper? When and how has Government, with all its gigantic aid from commissions and committees, ever attempted to legislate for this monster malady? The attempt has never been seriously made. Arrest it by secular education l—as well arrest the Thames with sand. The spectacle of crime multiplying ten times faster than the population, and every seventh person in these islands a pauper, hanging a dead weight on the arm of Industry, should rouse one and all to the portentous aspect of the future. He who can read that essay, and still shut his eyes to the crime accumulating in the heart of the State, and sapping the foundations of its prosperity, would not be convinced though one rose from the dead; he who can imagine a simpler or more effectual series of alleviations than is there set forth, had better divulge it. Or look at his essay on Direct Taxation. Could the present errors of the income-tax be more convincingly exposed, or the true principles of the system more clearly explained? What a depth of sagacity, what a practical knowledge of politics and human nature, in his reasons for extending the property-tax to a lower class than it now affects!—not merely for justice-sake, as at present all property under £200 a-year is virtually exempted; not for the sake of any great addition to the revenue, but in order to interest the majority of the nation in opposing its undue extension. Without such a safeguard, he says, and says most truly, this tax will become an insidious engine of confiscation. The Ten-pounders, paying nothing to it, will £ urge on its |'' essive increase, till the whole nded aristocracy will be despoiled to gratify the urban constituencies. He shows how this tax ought to be lowered one-half upon income, and suggests a feasible plan for the delicate operation of rating professional men. He shows "how heavily the present tax bears upon landlords and the agricultural classes— among other reasons, because they cannot possibly conceal their revenue; while commercial men and capitalists can do so readily, and actually do so to an enormous extent. His words are especially worthy of attention at the present moment, when the removal of the Income Tax is about to be discussed in parliament, and when our whole system of taxation imperatively calls for reconsideration, and are-adjustment of its burdens. Finally, look at almost the last article in his third volume, “Free-Trade Finance and Reform,” dated April and May, 1850. Could there be an abler elucidation of the present state of the country, or a more crushing exposure of the numberless errors and flimsy fallacies of the Whig Ministry? We would gladly transcribe, for the enlightenment and discomfiture of that owlish party, his graphic picture of the prostration of £ tain under Liberal misgovernment. But the passage is too long to be extracted, and will not bear curtailment. “Future ages,” he says, in concluding it, “will ask what were the devastating wars, the stunning calamities, the loss of provinces, the severance of colonies, which inflicted such deep and irremediable wounds on the British nation, during these memorable periods; and they will be answered, it was thirty years of unbroken peace at home, a series of brilliant colonial conquests abroad, and on E systEM.” We likewise pass over, with regret, his counter-picture of what we might have been under other government, in order to make room for a warning that should interest even the dullest ear.
t “To the modern rulers of the British nation, to the constituents of the majority of the House of Commons, to buy cheap and to sell dear is the great object of ambition. They have gained the first—let them see whether they will secure the last. Let them see whether, amidst the ruin of the agricultural interest, and the declining circumstances of all trades which are exposed to the effects of foreign competition, they, the sellers of commodities, will make their fortunes. If they do, it will be a new era in society; for it will be one in which the trading class amass riches in consequence of the ruin of their customers. “There is no monitor, however, to nations as to individuals, like suffering. Let Free Trade, therefore, have a fair trial. Let the shopkeepers see what benefit they are likely practically to gain by the ruin of their customers. They have the government in their hands, for they have the appointment of a majority in the House of Commons. The agricultural interest, the colonies, the shipping interest, the small manufacturer, are, to all practical purposes, disfranchised. Let the trading classes, then, feel the effects of their own measure. These will be such that they cannot continue. Ere long a change of policy, and probably of rulers, will be forced upon Government by the universal cry of suffering. But let them recollect that it is their measures which are now upon trial; that theirs will be the responsibility if they fail; and that, if the empire be dismembered and the national independence lost, theirs will be the present loss, and theirs the eternal infamy.”
The whole essay is a proof that we have “fallen upon evil days,”—a melancholy confirmation of the saying of the old senator, when he sent his youthful heir one day to the council board“My son, I would have you learn with how little wisdom a great nation may be governed 1" But circumscribed as we are in our limits, it is less Mr. Alison's politics that we mean to review, than the general character of his writings, 'i his eculiarities of mind and opinion. We nd these fully developed in the recent issue of his History and Essays; so that we need not enter upon any examination of his brilliant “Military Life of Marlborough,” and various works on social and political economy, further than to state that they all bear the same impress of profound reflection and vi# and vigorous thought. His Essays are a splendid supplement to his His