« PreviousContinue »
place in Woman's Life.' This little monograph is chiefly concerned with laying down some sensible rules for private visiting, which had been superseded unduly by the action of great societies; but it is also remarkable for its confession, that the duty of philanthropy had first been preached in the eighteenth century; and still more for the point of view from which Madame Guizot contemplates its probable results on society. I should wish all other women to see a part of their mission in this world in charity, and I am sure that they would thus find in it a remedy for the evil of which they complain, the emptiness of the age and of the soul.' Many causes have hindered the exercise of private charity in France. Where government takes so much upon itself there is little room for the interference of individuals; where complete social equality has been established in theory, the patronage and care of the rich are apt to appear impertinent; and the mere fact that existing societies are mostly connected with the Church, as sisterhoods of Martha and Mary, creates a prejudice against them in the mind of the French ouvrier, who regards the Curé as his natural enemy. These causes are so real, that it is difficult, under existing circumstances, to see how they can ever cease to operate. No doubt if all French ladies were inspired with Madame Guizot's sentiment, the difficulty would be overcome in detail; but such a millennium is not soon likely to occur.
Socialism is the only theory that has ever grappled effectively with the difficulty, and attempted by an artificial remodelling of society, to bring the hostile classes into one community. Perhaps something like the experiment that was once tried at Brooklyn, in America, might have a better chance of success in France. No man in the United States has anything to gain by joining a Phalanstery, except the advantage of contact with superior culture, and the native instincts of independence are opposed to a rigid household organization. In France, the experiments of Mettray and of M. Louis Blanc's ateliers have been conclusive, as far as they go, in favour of the regimental system for society. Without cherishing any strong hope that they could result finally in success, we regard it as a great misfortune that they cannot be carried out on a wider scale. Every step in these matters must, of course, be taken gradually; but as the poor already live in France under the same roofs with the rich, an experiment which should provide, in a few instances, for the friendly intercourse of all families in the same house, and even for connecting their worldly interests, would go far towards solving the problem, whether Fourierism in any form is possible, and would scarcely in itself be more democratic than the contests of the Middle Ages were,
or than the Working Men's College in Great Ormond Street at this very moment is.
However these questions may be solved, we cannot be without interest in the issue. Norman invasions and English conquests are mere symbols of that outward antagonism which leads to the action and reaction of rival principles in foemen worthy of one another's steel. What the Italy of Dante was to the Germany of the Hohenstaufen, France has been to us for eight hundred years at least. Our language has caught a clearness and richness which are not its own; our characteristic architecture is based on Norman models; our social refinement and household habits have been French in every century; and French books circulate at this moment as widely in England as in France. Neither has the benefit been solely on our side. Amidst the most disastrous national prejudices, French authors have steadily looked to England as the fountain of law; and no single instance can be cited of a great legist, a great philosopher, or a great historian in France, during the last century and a half, who has not been semi-English in sentiment. Such community of thought cannot exist without a common history for the two nations; and with a short interval of years
• We sink or rise, Together, dwarfed or godlike, bond or free.' To M. Guizot, as to one who honestly strove to force the conviction of mutual interests on the two nations, we owe a debt of gratitude, which his failures, as a statesman, cannot cancel. We shall heartily welcome the continuation of these Memoirs, which bear the marks of official knowledge and stern integrity. But while we allow them the highest place as a record of administration in France, we cannot regard them, in any true sense, as a history either of events or of men.
one distinguishing characteristic, that of Surrey is undoubtedly its heaths, extending as they do over nearly one-sixth of its whole surface, and numbering no less than two hundred and eighty distinct tracts of wild or unenclosed country. Indeed, the western and south-western districts contain but a very small proportion of cultivated land, and form a portion of that extensive waste which stretches from Ascot Heath in Berkshire, to Bexley Heath in Sussex, a distance of about thirty miles in length and five in breadth. These upland moors are broken only by the strips of cultivation, which fringe the banks of the numerous streams of which they are the watershed, and spread, as has been lately estimated, over at least one hundred thousand acres. Strange as it may sound to the ears of those who have been accustomed to regard it as a purely metropolitan county, the 12th of August was, within the memory of many yet living, as religiously observed upon the moors of Surrey as in the more celebrated grouse districts of Yorkshire, and the Highlands of Scotland. Black game is still occasionally killed upon those wild heaths around Hind-head, which are crossed by the Portsmouth road. They are yet tenanted by The Hutmen,' a race who have from time immemorial led the life of the sons of Ishmael of old, on the border lands of Surrey and Hampshire, living in rude cabins partly hollowed out of the ground, partly constructed of sods of turf, and of the broom, which is the indigenous product of the soil. From their well-known predatory habits they formed so dangerous a class, that for some time after the institution of the county police it was almost impossible to induce any single constable to select this part of the county as
* 1. The Natural Ilistory and Antiquities of Surrey. By John Aubrey,
Esq. London, 5 vols., 1723. 2. The Environs of London. By the Rev. Daniel Lysons. London, 1792. 3. The History and Antiquities of the County of Surrey. By the Rev.
Owen Manning, D.D., and William Bray, Esq. 3 vols. folio. Lon
don, 1804. 4. Topographical History of Surrey. By E. W. Brayley, Esq. 5 vols.
London, 1850. 5. Handbook to Surrey, Hampshire, and the Isle of Wight. London:
John Murray, 1858.
* N. Brodrick
his beat. The railway has recently done much in opening up these sequestered regions; but until the advent of that universal leveller, the inhabitants of Pirbright were wont to greet the unusual apparition of any strange visitant by a species of boorish dance around him with locked hands, known by the appropriate synonyme of Dancing the hog;' and even now the unwary traveller who ventures into the Farnham hop grounds in the month of September runs the risk of the penalties exacted from trespassers in the hay-fields of the principality of Wales.
Surrey has been singularly favoured in having had its history written by men whose hearts were in the work. The patient curiosity of Aubrey, himself for many years a resident at Epsom, although by birtha Wiltshire man, has preserved numberless quaint and pleasant incidents from oblivion. The Herodotus of the county, he fills whole pages with legends which provoke a smile at his credulity; as when he relates, with the greatest unction, the fate which befel those who were accessories to the felling of an oak that had misletoe,' in the great wood called Norwood,' and hardly seems to have lost his faith in the revenge of the Hamadryades. His volumes are bare records of fact, interspersed with all manner of folk-lore and scandal, picked up evidently in wayside village hostelries and pedestrian haunts
, but teeming with valuable materials buried in a heap of rubbish. He visited in person almost every parish in the county, and that his works gave satisfaction to Evelyn is the best testimony to their merits.
Two years before Aubrey's collections were given to the press, Owen Manning was born in the obscure little village of Orlingbury in Northamptonshire. It was not until forty-two years afterwards that he became incumbent of Godalming, a living in the gift of the Dean of Salisbury, and which he held until bis death in his 81st year.
In 1769 he was presented by Lord Midleton to the rectory of Peper Harow, and from that time devoted the remaining years of his long life to the study of the history and antiquities of the county. An admirable Saxon scholar, he was also well read in Domesday Book, which he proposed to make the basis of his work, and to trace down from that source the descent of the manors, and the memorabilia' of each parish. A map exists, drawn by his own hand, which embodies his plan for the treatment of his subject; but at his death, in 1801, large collections, in the form of notes and observations, were the only visible fruits of his labours. Left as an heirloom to his family, great difficulty was experienced in finding a competent editor for them. It being found impossible to secure the invaluable assistance of Mr. Gough, the blank was generously filled by Mr. Bray, of Shere; who, himself a member of one of the oldest families in the county, and thoroughly conversant with its topography, and with the changes in the ownership of its ancient manors, finally gave to the world the elaborate volumes which bear the joint names of himself and Dr. Manning, three years after the death of the latter in 1804. This work was based on the feudal divisions of the Domesday tenants in capite ; and from the facilities afforded to the author by his position, is probably unrivalled for the accuracy and extent of its pedigrees. The deed-rooms of the county mansions, and the archives of the British Museum, were alike ransacked to clear up doubtful points. Mr. Bray had visited in person almost every church in the county, and neither time nor expense were spared in the collection of materials. It was published by subscription, and its value may be partly tested by the fact that, in spite of later histories, it is still not to be obtained under twenty guineas.
The numerous changes among the proprietors of the soil, induced by the proximity of the metropolis, the gradual disappearance of many old seats and mansions, and the profusion of edifices which had arisen to supply their places, gave rise, about ten years ago, to the local history published by Mr. Brayley. Much interesting matter was added, and the treatment of the geological structure of the county was intrusted to Dr. Mantell. The ponderous folio was discarded for a more manageable volume, and the illustrations with which the work abounds were voluntary contributions to it from the principal residents of the county. Still more recently, Surrey has at last excited the compassion of Mr. Murray, and a county which offers unexampled charms to the pedestrian, has been duly installed in the red binding, which contrives to condense within itself topography, history, and antiquities; and almost anticipates our task, by the readable form in which such miscellaneous information is presented to the public in general.
The predominance of the Anglo-Saxon element in the county may still be traced in the sanguine complexion and light hair of the peasantry. Surrey, and the adjoining county of Sussex, are probably the most purely Saxon in England, and down to a very recent period few of the old sports and pastimes had died out within its limits. In fact, repressive legislation was occasionally brought into play to curb their exuberance; and there is extant a mandate of William of Wykeham, against the performance of loose dances, juggling, and ballad-singing, in the churchyard' at Kingston. It is but little over sixty years ago, that the indecorous exhibition of cracking nuts during the performance