« ПредишнаНапред »
Nor is this the only instance in which the metropolis shares her power. Although she has long enjoyed the privilege of complaining of smoke and heat, of unwholesome air, and want of exercise, that privilege is no longer exclusive. There is not a city or town in the kingdom, however picturesque its situation, or however surrounded by rural charms, that has not now its unhealthy season, and accordingly demands its period of vacation. London is now notoriously known to be quite empty, and our correspondents assure us that Manchester and Liverpool, Brisa tol, Bath, Oxford, and Cambridge, are at the same moment in a similar state of desolation. Nor is this an unnecessary precaution in a commercial lighi: the periodical returns of business and vacation are so regularly established, that if any person is found at home during this last period of locomotion, il is shrewdly suspected that he is either one of those people whom nolody knows, or that his affairs are not in the best possible train! Nor, if both these suspicions should happen to be unfounded, do we know a more disgraceful discovery than to find any body in town when every body is out of it. The possibility of breath or existence (for life is impossible) in any city or town is universally called in question; and there can be no fact so very perplexing, and no enigma so beyond all explanation, as that figures very much resembling men and women should be seen in places which are totally deserted, and pretending to be active in situations where all business is suspended.
Perhaps, indeed, this absurdity may one day be expunged from the history of summer, and those who are at the head of public offices and commercial arrangements will at once declare that the months of August and September are no longer to be retained in our calendars; that no man shall have a right to say he is at home, when it is notorious that every body is
out of town; and that the man who sits still during 2 period of universal travelling, shall be deemed guilty of unpardonable vulgarity, and classed among the antiquated beings who breakfast in the morning, and go to bed at night.
BRITISH LIBERTY. [From the same,
March 20.] MR. EDITOR, T is a trite observation, that in this country there is
nothing, except the crown, so high, but the poorest individual may aspire to it. This is generally mentioned as one of the peculiar excellencies of the British constitution, which throws open the course to all competitors without exception who choose to start for the goal of distinction. It does not, however, appear to be, by any ineans, the most striking point of view in which the matter should be considered, or calculated to excite the strongest sense of that personal independence which our government secures to us. It is, I think, evident, that for one instance of a man's elevating himself from drudgery and poverty to rank and fortune, hundreds of examples might be cited of persons in the superior classes who succeed in their endeavours to sink themselves to the level of their inferiors. This is the way, then, in which the beautiful equality of our constitution chiefly manifests itself. In some countries that might be named, we find the higher orders distinguishing themselves from the mob by an aristocratic decorum, and an insulting regard to decency: but in this land of liberty, thank God! our populace are not irritated by so galling a spectacle : on the contrary, they daily have their pride flattered, and their virtuous dispositions cherished, by seeing those who are born to govern and instruct them, aping the manners, indulging in the vices, and
even adopting the employments, of the meanest members of society:
It is impossible, Sir, to contemplate the objects to the attainment of which our men of fortune and fashion direct their ambition, or the pursuits which engage their anxious attention, without feeling a proud consciousness of the intellectual as well as physical superiority of these islands, and exclaiming, in the spirit of the ancient Greek, “ I too am a Briton!"We have seen on the Continent what fatal effects result to a nation when its nobility are seized with a desire for official and military honours, and monopolize in their persons all distinguished situations and commands. How consoling, then, is the reflection, that we run but little comparative risk from such a source ! No, Sir; although we may be destined to add to the wreck of kingdoms, yet the future historian, when he details the melancholy catastrophe of our fall, will do justice to our youth of high birth and rank: it will be recorded of them, that in the crisis of their country's fate, instead of increasing her danger by rashly interfering with the reins of government, they wisely confined their exertions to driving four in hand; that, instead of selfishly seeking to raise their fame as statesmen above the ruins of the state, they aspired but to the more humble elevation of the coachbor; and that, when an opportunity presented itself to vie for the blood-bedewed laurels of the warrior, they emulated the less destructive dexterity of a stagecoachman. How gratifying must it be to the feelings of the descendants of these worthies of the whip, to find, that, while the honour of some less fortunate families is involved in the disputed skill of a general, or the suspected integrity of a minister, the names and deeds of their ancestors are allowed to rest in peaceful oblivion ; that their glorious exploits on the Harrow Road, although calculated to excite the envy of con
temporaries, suffer but little from the incredulity of posterity, and that their adroitness in turning a corner is neither subjected to the aspersions of malice, nor to the misrepresentations of ignorance.
But, Sir, I cannot help indulging a pleasing hope, that we are eventually to triumph in this deadly conflict with our mighty enemy; and the grounds of this hope, I feel satisfied, you will allow are quite as reasonable as those on which the elegant writer in the Morning Post builds his sanguine speculations. We were lately informed through your columns, that Bonaparte, in the madness of tyranny, had interrupted the driving of the Paris whips, and ordered them all to the army, to assist in driving the Austrians before them. Heavens and earth, Sir! (to adopt the style of the print above-mentioned,) is there a British heart but glows. with indignation against this most atrocious monster this violator of public and private rights this trampler on divine and human laws! his last act of villany, one would think, must have filled up the measure of his iniquities. What! compel the inembers of the Parisian whip-clubs to turn soldiers-oblige them to dismount from the box, to fight the battles of their country--to fill those vacancies in the ranks which must otherwise have been occupied by the industrious artizan, or the son of the widow ! Surely so wanton, so unprincipled an exertion of despotic power must shake it to its basis; it must unite the whole of bis subjects against the oppressor, by proving him to entertain less respect for the follies of the rich, than for the necessities of the poor, and that he is profligate enough to decide on the relative importance of individuals according to their respective utility to the state. I am, therefore, of opinion, that as Rome was saved by the cackling of geese, so will the injuries and resentments of the French whip-clubs: rouse the resistance of the French people--induce
JOURNAL EXTRAORDINARY. them to burl the Corsican from his throne, and thus ultimately realize the phantom of the deliverance of Europe !
At all events, the miserable lot of others ought to inspire contentment with our own condition. į trust I shall never again find you, Mr. Editor, arraigning the corruption of courtiers, reprobating the domestic intrusions of the excise, or complaining of the grinding income-tax ; for how inconsiderable will such grievances appear, when contrasted with the privilege which we all enjoy, from the highest to the lowest, of squandering our time and money in pursuits of the most degrading and ridiculous description !
I am, Sir, yours, &c.
[From the Morning Herald, Aug. 12.] MR. EDITOR, YE ESTERDAY, taking my usual evening walk on
Ramsgate Pier, I picked up a book, which, upon inspecting, I found to be the journal of sɔme distinguished character recently returned from a trip with the expedition to Holland. Being totally at a loss how to restore it to the owner, I have copied one page, which you will have the goodness to insert in your extensively-circulated Herald, and thereby give an opportunity for the gallant writer to recover bis valuable production, which the public must be anxious should meet the admiration of the world through the medium of the press, with all the ingenious gentleman’s notes and illustrations. Should this attempt fail, further extracts shall be transmitted to your office for publication.
EXTRACT, PAGE 49. Friday, five o'clock P. M.*_Ordered dinner to be * It is remarkable, that the initials of Post Meridiem should be a transposition of M. P. which stands for Member of Parliament.