Page images

DERIVATIONS, There is no word in the English language so much abbreviated from its original as the word “alms,” from the Greek élenuosúvn. Six syllables are contracted into one; thus, el-e-e-mos-u-ne-elmosune-elmosn (from which the French aumône,) alms; in Italian limosina, from the same original. The practice amongst modern nations of appropriating different parts of words from the dead languages, is by no means uncommon; as in the proper name Johannes, the English take the first part, John; and the Dutch the last, Hans. These instances of derivation made an impression upon me, because they were told me, when a boy, by the two greatest masters of their day in language: the first by Horne Tooke; the second by Porson ; both of whom possessed the gratifying faculty of adapting their conversation to the young and the unlearned. The word alms in the original signifies something given from the motive of pity; but however amiable the feeling, we should be careful not to indulge it idly and indiscriminately. It is often said, we ought to give for our own sakes without inquiry-in my opinion a very unsound and selfish doctrine. It is difficult to bestow charity without doing more harm than good. We not only run the risk of paralysing the moral energies of the immediate objects of our bounty, but of those who hope to become so. Giving with discretion is a great virtue; it is twice blest, and the extent of its benefits can never be foreseen to either party. Illustrative of this is the following narrative; the first part of which is true to the letter.


As the burly coachman of one of the northern stages was remounting his box one bleak November night at the door of a little inn noted for spiced ale

“How much will you take me to London for ?” said a thinly clad boy of about fourteen, in a soft and doubting tone. The coachman turned round, and with a look of contempt slightly qualified by pity, growled out-

“ Can't take you for less than half-a-crown.” “ I have only a shilling left,” said the boy.

“ Why didn't you say so at first ?” said the coachman, replacing his foot on the pave of the wheel. The boy retreated a step into the shade.

“ Come, jump up, my lad,” cried a gentleman on the coach, “ I will find you eighteenpence.”

“ Are not you very cold ?" said the gentleman, after a short interval.

“ Not very,” replied the boy, rubbing his hands cheerily up and down in the pockets of his cotton trowsers. “ Not very; I was thinking of London.”

“ And what are you going to do there ?" said the gentleman. The boy replied that he was going to be bound apprentice to his uncle, who kept a cook's shop in the Borough. Then he told his own little history, and how he had travelled up one hundred and fifty miles with the few shillings his widowed mother had been able to muster for him; and he concluded with a very intelligent account of his native place, and a no less amusing one of the principal people in its neighbourhood.

“ And what do you intend to do to-night ?” said the gentleman.

“ I shall go to my uncle's," replied the boy.

“ But how will you find him out ? We shall not arrive before midnight; besides, your uncle will be gone to bed. Come, I will give you five shillings, and you can stay comfortably at the inn till morning."

(To be continued.).







No. VI.) WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24, 1835. [PRICE 3d.


(Continued.) I was asked the other day by an inhabitant of one of the great squares, what there could possibly be to do for the head of a parish ward, supposing parishes to be divided as I propose. Let us suppose the parish, in which the square is situated, to be divided, and the square to be one of the wards, and that the management of every thing which relates generally to the interests of the parish, such as lighting, paving, cleansing, police, and pauperism, was centered in the parish council, consisting of the heads of the different wards. Now the square being inhabited by rich people, a rich man would be elected for its head, one who had a common interest with those, over whom he was immediately placed, which interest he would represent in the council, and superintend in the ward. He would have a voice in raising the general supplies, and authority to see to their particular application in his own ward. He would have a perfect knowledge of his district, and a constant eye to its good management. He would be an

easy channel for the other inhabitants to apply through, in case of any complaint to redress, or any suggestion to offer. He would be the guardian of the peace of his ward, and responsible for it, with his subordinate officers to assist him. His personal superintendence would be a check to any thing detrimental to the common interest. He would be able to collect the bulk of the rates free of expense, returning the defaulters, if any, to be dealt with by the council. He would have authority sufficient to maintain the interests of his ward, and would be sufficiently controlled not to be able to maintain them at the expense of the interests of the parish. He would have a compact and practicable field for the discharge of his public duty, and would have an opportunity, if he were so minded, as no doubt many would be, to distinguish his year, or years, of office by acts of munificence and public spirit. Whatever information or returns were wanted, they could, through his means, be easily and accurately obtained. In such a ward the duties would be lighter and more simple than in poorer and less cultivated ones; but still there would be evils to prevent, and advantages to procure, as well as to see to the due management of the ordinary business; and such a superintendence, made universal, could not fail to ensure the spread of good government and of local improvement, with great rapidity. I shall have more to say on this subject in my observations on parish government in the aggregate, which I will endeavour to condense in my next number, so as to conclude the subject.



I must begin with a few remarks on my last article. I have there dwelt on the ill-consequences of being heated by exercise. just before or after meals. There is one case which seems to be almost an exception; I mean that of dancing immediately before or after supper-at least, I never suffered any inconvenience from it in my ailing days, though I cannot speak from much experience. But further, I do not call to mind any instances in other persons, and at any rate they cannot be so common as would be the case from any other mode of equal exertion under similar circumstances. The reason I take to be this—that from the enlivening effect upon the spirits, the digestive powers are able to overcome any tendency to fermentation ; and if that be so, it proves the extreme healthfulness of the exercise, when taken rationally and for its own sake, instead of, as it usually is, as an exhibition, in over-crowded and over-heated rooms at the most unseasonable hours.

I particularly recommended in my last number attention to the state of the mind, because the effect of the spirits is very great and often even instantaneous in accelerating or retarding the digestive powers; and upon the digestive powers immediately depends whatever happens to our physical being. Whenever food is taken into the stomach, it begins directly to undergo a change, either from the action of the gastric juice, which is the desirable one, or from that of the natural heat. In the latter case, a sensation of fulness and weight is first produced, and then of more active uneasiness, as fermentation proceeds; and at last, when digestion commences, it is upon a mass more or less corrupted, according to the quantity and nature of the food, the time it has remained, the heat of the body, and perhaps other circumstances. The mind will frequently regulate all this, as I have repeatedly experienced ; for a feeling of lightness or oppression, of fermentation or quiescence, will come or go as the spirits rise or fall, and the effect is generally immediately perceptible in the countenance, and felt throughout the whole frame. Such influence has the mind on the digestive powers, and the digestive powers on

« PreviousContinue »