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to machines, as they have been termed, 'for turning potatoes into human nature;' to the seven millions, in other words, of warm-hearted, blundering Irish :
Crowds of miserable Irish darken all our towns. The wild Milesian features, looking false ingenuity, restlessness, unreason, misery and mockery, salute you on all bighways and byways. The English coachina', as he whirls past, lashes the Milesian with bis whip, curses bim with his tongue; the Milesian is holding out his hat to beg. He is the sorest evil this country has to strive with. In his rags and laughing savagery, he is there to undertake all work that can be done by mere strength of hand and back; for wages that will purchase him potatoes. He nerds only salt for condiment; he lodges to bis mind in any piglutch or doghutch, roosts in outhouses; and wears a suit of tatters, the getung off and on of which is said to be a difficult operation, transacted ouly in festivals and the high tides of the calendar.'
A man willing to work, and unable to find work, is perhaps the saddest sight that fortune's inequality exhibits under this sun. Burns expresses feelingly what thoughts it gave him: a poor man seeking work; seeking leave to toil, that he might be red and sheltered! That he mighi bat be put on a level with the four footed workers of ihe planet which is his! There is not a horse willing to work, but can get food and shelter iu requital; a thing this two-footed worker has to seek for, to solicit occasionally in vain. He is nobody's iwo footed worker; he is not even any. body's slave. And yet he is a two footed worker; it is currently reported there is an immortal soul in him, sent down out of heaven into the earth ; and one beholds himn seeking for this! Nay, what will a wise legislature say, if it turn out that he cannot find it?'
• A goveromeat and guidance of white European inen, which has issued in perennial hunger of potatoes to the third man extant, ought to drop a veil over its face, and walk' out of court under conduct of proper officers; saying no word; expectivg now of a surety sentence either to change or die. All men, we must repeat, were made by God, and have immorial souls in them. The Sass. potatoe is of the self-same siuff as the superfinest lord lieutenant. Not an individual Sanspotatoe human scarescrow but had a life given him out of heaven, with eternities depending on it; fer once and no second time. With immensitios in him, over him, and around him ; with feelings which a Shakspeare's speech would not utter; with desires illimitable as the Autocrat's of all the Russias! Him various thrice-honored persons, things and institutions have long been teaching, long been guiding, governing ; and it is to perpetual scarcity of third-rate potatoes, and to what depends thereon, that he has been taught and guided. Figure thyself, o high-minded, clear headed, cleanburbished reader, clapt by enchantment into the torn coai and waste hunger-lair of that same rooidevouring brother man!'
In some satirical remarks upon the new Poor Law, and its practical effect upon the millions who grind at the wheel of skilless labor; the menial hewers of wood and drawers of water; we find the following:
'English commerce stretches its fibres over the whole earth ; sensitive literally, nay, quivering in convulsion, to the farthest influences of the earth. The buge demou of Mechanism smokes and thunders, panting at his great task, in all sections of English land; changing his shape like a very Proteus; and infallibly at every change of shape, oversetting whole inultitudes of workmeo, and as is with the waving of his shadow from afar, hurling them asunder, this way and that, in their crowded march and course of work or traffic; so that the wisest no longer knows bis whereabout. With an Ireland pouring daily in on us, in these circumstances; eluging us down to its owo waste confusion, outward and inward, it seems a cruel mockery to tell poor drudges that their condition is improving
The master of borses, when the summer Jabor is done, has to feed his horses through the winter. If he said to his horses : Quadrupeds, I have no longer work for you, but work exists abundantly over the world; are you ignorant (or must I read yon political ecouomy lectures) that the steam-engine always in the long run creates additional work Railways are forming in one quarter of ihis earth, canals in another, much cartage is wanted; somewhere in Europe, Asia, Africa or America, doubt it not, ye will find cartage : go and seek cartage, and good go with you! They, with protrusive upper lip, snort dubious; signifying that Europe, Asia, Africa and America, lie somewhat out of their beat; that what cartage may be wanted tbere is not too well known to them. They can find no cartage. They gallop distracted along highrays, all fenced in to the right and to the left; finally, under pains of hunger, they take to leaping fences; eating foreign property, and — we know the rest. Ah, it is not a joyful mirth, it is sadder than tears, the laugh humanity is forced to, at laissez-faire applied to poor peasants, in a world like our Europe of the year 1839"
This striking passage will remind the reader of Sidney Smith's exposition, in the Edinburgh Review, of the wisdom of the pauper system, which furnished to the destitute the pleasant alternative of grinding corn by tread-mill power, or going without food. 'You are free as air,' says the superintendent of the Poor-House; 'only it is my duty to inform you, as you have no money of your own, that the disposition to eat and drink, which you have allowed you sometimes feel, and upon which I do not mean to cast any degree of censure, cannot possibly be gratified, save by employing your abundant leisure upon this ingenious machine. It has its inconveniences, I must admit; but balance these against the total want of meat and drink, and decide for yourself. You are at perfect liberty to make your choice, and I by no means wish to influence your judgment!' "Give every man what is his,' says our author, 'the accurate price of what he has done and been, and no man shall any more complain, neither shall the earth suffer any more.s He would have the people educated; he would impart the gift of thinking to those who cannot think, and yet who could, in that case, think. "Were it not a cruel thing,' he exclaims, 'to see, in any province of an empire, the inhabitants living all mutilated in their limbs, each strong man with his right arm palsied ? How much crueller to find the strong soul with its eyes still sealed; its eyes extinct, so that it sees not! Light has come into the world, but to this poor peasant it has come in vain. Heavier wrong is not done under the sun. It lasts from year to year, from century to century; the blinded sire slaves himself out, and leaves a blinded son; and men made in the image of God continue as two-legged beasts of labor.'
"To believe practically that the poor and luckless are here only as a nuisance to be abraded and abated, and in some perinissible manner made away with, and swept out of sight, is not un amiable faith. That the arrangements of good and ill success in this perplexed scramble of a world, which a blind goddess was always thought to preside over, are in fact the work of a seeing goddess or god, and require only not to be meddled with : what stretch of heroic faculty or inspiration of genius was needed to leach one that? To button your pockets and stand still, is no complex recipe. Laissez fuire, laissez passer! Whatever goes on, ought it not to go on ; 'the widow picking nettles for her children's dinner, and the perfumed seigueur delicately lounging in the il-du-Bauf, who has an alchemy whereby be will extract from her the third nettle, and wame it rent and law?' What is written and enacted, han it not black-on-white to show for itself? Ours is a world requiriug ovly to be well let alone. Scramble along, thou iosane scrambler of a world, with thy pope's tiaras, king's mantles, and beggar's gabardines, chivalry-ribbons and plebeian gallows-ropes, where a Paul shall die on the gibbet, and a Nero sit fiddling as imperial Cæsar; thou art all right, and shalt scramble even so; and whoever in the press is troddeo down, has vuly to lie there and be trampled broad. Such at bottom seems to be the chief social principle.'
Mr. Carlyle upholds the dignity of labor, and gives us, as in 'Sartor Resartus,' forcible contrasts between the producer and consumer. "The princes of this world,' says he, 'were shooting partridges; noisily in Parliament and elsewhere solving the question, 'Head or tail ?' while Watt, of the steam-engine, with blackened fingers and grim brow, was searching out, in his work-shop, the Fire-secret; or having found it, was painfully wending to and fro, in quest of a ‘monied man,' as indispensable man-midwife of the same.' The following characteristic passages will strike the reader as destitute neither of force nor beauty :
• The Staffordshire coal-stratum, and coal-strata, lay side by side with iron-strata, quiet since the creation of the world. Water flowed in Lancashire and Lanarksnire; bituminous fire lay bedded in rocks there too - over which how many fighting Stanleys, black Douglasses, and other the like contentious persons, had fought out their bickerings and broils, not without result, we will hope! But God said, Let the iron missionaries be; and they were. Cual and iron, so long close unregardful neighbors, are wedded together; Birmingham and Wolverhampton, and the hundred Stygian forges, with their fire-throats and never resting sledge-hammers, rose into day. Wet blanconium stretched out her hand toward Carolina and the torrid zone, and plucked cotton there; who could forbid her, her that had the skill to weave it? Fish fled thereupon from the Mersey River, vexed with innumerable keels. England, I say, dug out her bitumen-fire, and bade it work: towns rose, and steeple chimneys.' . • Hast thou heard, with sound ears, the awakening of a Manchester, on Monday morning, at half-past five by the clock; the rushing off of its thousand mills, like the boom of an Atlantic tide, ten thousand times ten thousand spools and spindles all set humming there - it is perhups, if thou kuew it well, sublime as a Niagara, or more so. Cotton-spinning is the clothing of the baked in its result; the triumph of man over mat. ter in its means.'
Our author treats with most successful satire the Malthusian remedy for the tide of over-population which swells too high on a 'certain western rim of Europe;' and dwells felicitously upon the recent theory of an'agitating Chartist, to diminish the supply of laborers, by painless extinction,' with charcoal-vapor, or other methods! The proposition of this writer, who it seems is not in jest, but 'grim earnest,' reminds us of Swift's sportive remedy for over-population Ireland; namely, that every second child should be killed and eaten for food; and we remember that he enlarges with true epicurean gusto upon the tenderness of child-flesh, pronouncing it superior to young veal or mution. But Mr. Carlyle offers another plan :
•If paupers are made miserable, paupers will needs decline in multitude. It is a secret known to all rat.catchers; stop up the granary crevices, afflict with continual mewing, alarm, and going off of traps, aud your chargeable laborers' disappear, and cease from the establishment. A still briefer method is that of arsenie; perbaps even a milder, where otherwise permissible. Rats and paupers can be abolished.'
Violent, rebellious Lynch-law Chartism has been suppressed, as it should be, in England; but the spirit of resistance to oppression is still strong in the hearts of the inferior masses. The great social inequality, the magnificence of the privileged orders, and the squalid poverty of the poorer classes, 'lank scare-crows, prowling, hungerstricken, through the streets,' present too strong contrasts. The wronged are aroused to a sense of their condition; a tide is rising, that no man can roll back. And this truth is beginning to be felt. Observe the cringing, sycophantic tone of the London Quarterly Review, in its notice of 'Ernest, or Political Regeneration,' a recent Chartist epic poem. How the author is entreated and bepraised! The rulers who ride the people never think of coaxing or patting, till they have worn out the lashes of their whips, and broken the rowels of their spurs; and this softened manner of the Quarterly, the organ of tory aristocracy, is ominous of compulsory good to the producing classes.
Of the tendency of Mr. Carlyle’s writing, his benevolent spirit, and far-reaching sympathy with common humanity, we think we have afforded sufficient evidence. We now proceed, in this connexion, still farther to illustrate his style, by a brief reference to that remarkable work, the 'History of the French Revolution. It is throughout, to our conception, a kind of moving panorama. We stand by the author, while he points out, with unerring finger, the scenes as they pass in review before him. These limnings are not suggested to the mind or the fancy; they are literally painted. And herein is the hiding of Carlyle's power. His pictures, it is true, are sometimes over-crowded with accessories, but even by these, the effect is scarcely marred. The reader sees and hears. Listen to the roar of the multitude, the 'universal acclamation from emouldering bosoms giving vent;' to the Parisian populace, 'a living foam-sea, chafed by all the winds,' while they storm the Bastile. «Paris wholly has got to the acme of its phrenzy; whirled all ways by panic madness. At erery street-barricade there whirls, simmering, a minor whirlpool; and all minor whirlpools play distractedly into that grand maëlstrom which is lashing round the Bastile.' All this while, observe how old LAUNNAY sits with lighted taper within arm's length of the powder magazine, like old Roman Senator or bronze lamp-holder, ready to blow the Bastile, 'long-lasting, grim with a thousand years,' to atoms! Look down into the crowded thoroughfares, and mark how the outline-sketch of the author is filled up: 'Dig trenches, unpave the streets, ye populace assiduous, man and maid; cram the earth into barrel-barricades, at each of them a volunteer sentry; pile the whinstones in window.sills and upper rooms. Have scalding pitch and boiling water ready, ye weak old women, to pour it and dash it on Royal Allemande, with your old skinny arms; your shrill curses along with it will not be wanting !' - the steeples, meanwhile, with their ‘metal storm-voice,' booming out the stern alarum of a metropolis given up to anarchy and rude commotion. The panorama moves slowly on, and what do we behold? 'Carts go along through the streets, full of stripped corpses, thrown pell-mell; limbs sticking up: seest thou that cold hand sticking up, through the heaped embrace of brother corpses, in its yellow paleness, in its cold rigor; the palm opened toward Heaven, as if in dumb prayer, in expostulation de profundis, "Take pity on the Sons of Men!' But observe the distance of this picture of our author-artist: 'O evening sun of July! horo at this hour thy beams fall slant on reapers amid peaceful woody fields ; on ships far out on the silent main! And not unlike this sublime and changeful view, is the transition annexed : 'On green field and steepled city the May sun shines out, the May evening fades; and men ply their useful or useless business, as if no Louis lay in danger:' But
Death is now clutching at his heart-strings; unlooked for, inexorable! Yes, poor Louis! Death has found thee. No palace walls or life-guards, gorgeous tapestries, or gilt buckram of stiffest ceremonial, could keep him out; but he is here, here at thy very life breath, and will extinguish it. Thou, whose whole existence, hitherto, was a chimera and a scenic show, at length becomesta reality: sumptuous Versailles burst asunder, like a dream, into void Immersily. Time is done, and all the scaffoldiug of Time falls, wrecked with hideous claugor, round the soul: the pale kingdoms yawn open; there must tbou enter, uaked, all uuking'd, and await what is appointed thee? Unhappy maa! there as thou turnest, in dull agony, on thy bed of wcariness, what a thought is thine!'
Such is the style of Thomas CablyLE, but not that of his feeble imitators; and with the permission of 'C. F.,' we will leave the reader to decide whether writings like these should be rigidly exterminated, root and branch, from our literature,' or cherished for their superabundance of internal good over all external blemishes.
INTERNATIONAL Copy-right Law: MR. DICKENS. -- We must believe that the present Congress will not adjourn, without passing the International Copy-right Law, so imperiously demanded, on every ground of justice and common sense. The necessity of this measure was first advocated in the KNICKERBOCKER, and it has been urged by us in these pages, and elsewhere, with such ability as we could command, up to the present moment. It is within our personal knowledge, that many of the most distinguished members of the American Congress, including Mr. Webster and Mr. Clay, will enforce the passage of the bill, with all the strength of their eminent talents. We cannot forbear illustrating this matter with a passage from a recent letter to the Editor, from Mr. DICKENS: 'Commend me heartily,' he writes, 'to Mr. Washington Irving, who I am rejoiced to see, by the KNICKERBOCKER, has lent his powerful aid to the international copy-right question. It is one of immense importance to me; for at this moment, I have never received from the American editions of my works, fifty pounds. It is of immense importance to the Americans likewise, if they desire (and if they do not, what people on earth should ?) ever to have a literature of their own.' Passing the question of justice to our own writers, let us look at the foregoing fact. Here is an author, whose delightful productions entertain and amuse millions of readers in this country; for his works are perused in every state and territory, and doubtless in every county and town, in the whole Union; along the coasts of two oceans; by the borders of all our western seas; and wherever the vast inland is pierced by our kingly rivers, and their hundred broad tributaries, or seamed by rail-roads and thoroughfares, from the Bay of Fundy to the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific: and yet for this wide diffusion of the liveliest enjoyment, what does our literary benefactor receive ? Nothing — literally, NOTHING! It has been well said, that if an Englishman writes an original work, he is entitled to his property, whether it be used in his own country or in ours. It is his property, and if it be worth any thing, he ought to be as secure in the avails of its value, as the native citizen. We have no more right to appropriate the private property of a foreigner, than we have to filch the goods of him who was born among us. The only objection that has ever been urged against the copy-right law, is one which is too absurd to be reasoned upon for a moment. Every nian feels it is contemptible, when he hears it stated, and so does every man while he is stating it. We hope in our next number to be enabled to register the passage of this act of simple justice to native and foreign authors.
DEATH OF AN Actor ON THE STAGE.-A kind correspondent, who will accept our cordial thanks, has favored us with the subjoined very interesting communication. The ‘paragraph in the public journals,' to which it refers, has lately been widely circulated in the newspapers of the Union :
TO THE EDITOR OF THE KNICKERBOCKER.
Dear Sir: I have observed a paragraph in the public journals, containing a striking account of the recent death of an English actor, named PALMER, while performing upon the stage, at one of the London theatres.' The story is but a revival of a melancholy circunistunce which occurred at the Liverpool Theatre, many years before you, Sir, were born, and of which the father of the present writer, then in that town, was an eye-witness. I have often heard him give the details of the occur. rence, which were substautially as follow. One evening, I think in July, 1798, he accompanied a friend to the principal theatre in Liverpool, to enjoy the play of · The Stranger,' the prominent character of which was to be sustained by a Mr. PALMER, an actor of distinguished talents and celebrity. In the first two acts, he personated the character of the Stranger' with excellent judgment and effect. Among the audience was the Right Hon. GEORGE CANNING, with his young and lovely wife, to whom he had but just been married, and whose grace and beauty my father was for a momont admiring, when a friend touched his arm, and called his attention to the Stranger's spirited and almost terrific description of his false friends. Suddenly the actor's voice seemed to crack; and at the end of his speech, he struck his head with great force, and then crossed the stage. The two short speeches which succeed, he pronounced rather faiotly, but not more so than appeared natural, under the circumstances, to the character. After the question by 'Baron Steinfort," Why did you not keep your children
? -- they might have amused you in many a dreary hour ?" Mr. Palmer turned to reply, and for a prolonged space, paused, as if waiting for the promptor to give bim the word, and then reached oui bis hand, as if to seize that of Steinfort;' but it dropped
powerless at his side, and the next instant he fell, not headlong, but crouchingly, so that his head did not strike the stage with violence. He never breathed again. :.. The audience sopposed, for a moment, that his fall was nothing more than a studied addition to the part, and they began to applaud the effective execution of the scene; but on seeing him carried off, ghastly and in deadly stiffness, the utmost astonishment and terror sat on every countenance. The corpse was conveyed from the stage into the green-room; aud after every means of resuscitation had been exbausted in vain, his death was announced by the manager, who was so overcoine with grief as scarcely to be capable of uttering a sentence. The piercing shrieks of the women, and the heavy sighs of the men, which succeeded tbe sad intelligence, were mournful in the extreine. The bouse was immediately vacated in solemn silence, and the audience, forming themselves into parties, contemplated the fatal occurrence in the opeu square upon which the theatre was situated, unula late hour the next morning.
Mr. Palmer had been called, but a little while before, if I remember rightly, to mourn the loss of a lovely wife and a favorite son ; and from that time forth, he suffered the deepest dejection. He had even once or twice expressed to a friend a presentiment that his afflictions would very shortly bring him to the grave; and it was the opinion of two emitent physicians, who endeavored to restore hun to consciousness, that he died, without a physical pang, of a broken heart.. Such Mr. Editor, are the facts in relation to this remarkable occur. rence, upon which your readers may place the most implicit reliance. My fatber was present at the funeral of Mr. PALMER, which was conducted with imposing solemnities. The body was followed to its last resting place, at a village two or three miles distant from Liverpool, by a vast concourse of people, and deposited in a very deep grave, dug in a solid rock. A stone was soon after placed at its head, with the following line — the last words ever uttered by the unhappy actor - inscribed upon it, from The Stranger :'
THERE IS ANOTHER AND A BETTER WORLD! *Bond-street, May 18, 1840.
L. M. N.'
"THE PLAGIARISMS or S. T. COLERIDGE.' – The opening paper in a late number of BLACKWOUD's Magazine, is devoted to an exposition of the very large and unacknowledged appropriations from the writings of SCHELLING, a young German philosopher, which are contained in COLERIDGE's 'Biographia Literaria,' one of his principal prose works. The writer traces these plagiarisms to their true sources, and fixes their precise amount, at least so far as one German author is concerned, and considers the whole matter on broad moral and literary grounds. He shows, conclusively, as we think, that Coleridge founded the greater part of his metaphysical reputation upon verbatim plagiarisms, page after page, from works published by a German youth, when little more than twenty years of age. The reference to Maasz, another German writer, from whom the 'great English philosopher' is proved to have 'stolen bodily' all the learning and information put forth in one of his much-vaunted chapters, would seem to indicate that COLERidge carried the war into other quarters, and pillaged at random from the best intellectual store-houses of the misty nation ; 'weaving a crown for his own head, with laurels filched from the wide (and thick) forest of German literature.' But it is not, after all, the metaphysical portions of Coleridge's writings that will longest survive him. His exquisite delineations of nature, his simpler records of the affections, and the clear pictures of his wonderful imagination, will live, and be gratefully cherished, when those 'airy nothings,' like the rainbow-bubbles of children, that glittered in the eyes of his admirers, shall have dissolved and vanished forever. The reader may remember the reply of Lamb, one of COLERIDGE's warmest admirers, and most cordial friends, when the latter, alluding to his having once been a clergyman, inquired : 'CHARLES, did you ever hear me preach?' 'I never heard you do any thing else!' answered LAMB. And in this piquant rejoinder, which owed its origin to a candor and frankness that many of COLERIDGE's personal admirers and enthusiastic eulogists would have done well to emulate, we see the real character of those 'long metaphysical talkings,' (thoughts, like the gossamer, stretching out strange filaments, clinging to every casual object, entangled without end, and glittering only in the broken rays of an incoherent fancy,) with which COLERIDGE was wont to entertain his hearers, and to the effect of which, in certain instances, upon writers not less eminent than himself, we have heretofore adverted. These ‘utterances' have occasionally been satirized, and sometimes by authors of high distinction. The following, which accompanies the ‘Pschylogical Curiosity,' by S. T. COLERIDGE, in 'Warreniana,' is among the most characteristic and felicitous of these imitations. We can imagine an auditor quite willing to confess, that the speaker