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favourable judgment is registered against his new poem, play, picture, or novel-when, even, it is pronounced inferior to some of its predecessors-will allow the opinion to have been honestly formed ? Shall we not rather say that Nokes, has been careless; or is growing twaddling ; or has taken offence ; or joined a new set who have resolved to cry us down? Which of us does not criticise the Critic, with as much virulence-with as unhesitating an attribution of motives—as if our business, which is to create, and his, which is to distinguish, were one and the same?

But, then, the geniality of Praise ! the blessed influence of encouragement !-the necessity of making up for the contempt and indifference of the worldly. As well, it seems to me, extol Rouge as the true bloom !-or gas-light as more wholesome than the noonday sunshine, which is crossed with clouds ! Who but laughs at the vanity of Queen Bess, and her royal edict against shadows in her portrait ? Yet are we not as vain ?-or, at least, for the secondary purpose of thriving, are we not willing to seem so? Do we not forget that Praise, when it implies concealment of faults or flattery of beauties, is imposture upon the Public !--that the encouragement which presses a writer to believe himself immaculate, is destructive of all incentive to Progress ?—that, inasmuch as it is the World which patronises—(must I be coarse, and say which pays ?)—and since the World looks to the Critic for guidance and protection—it is no light thing to destroy confidence of the Public : to hoodwink its powers of discrimination, by passing off as first-rate an inferior or an important article ?-And, then, ’tis all very well for us who have friends : but think how this

shoulder to shoulder ” resolution of supporting A. B. and C., down to Z. of our own particular alphabet, through thick and thin, operates in keeping down-in keeping out—the Man who is unknown; or whose manners, being less prepossessing than his genius, do not win him in private the enthusiastic affection of his comrades. Till we can come to a direct adjustment of these matters,—till we can admit the critical function to comprehend only Truth and not Favour,—we have small ground to feel a Pharisaical assurance that we are raised by moral growth, above the possibility of State Bribery and Press Corruption :-no right to listen with the eager ear of flattered vanity to tales of the venality of the Parisian or Transatlantic journalist, and the blindness, according to tariffs, of the Austrian Police !

Nay: in our social relations—in our kneading-troughs, or in

our private chambers-can we say, that the English preserve the dignity which declines all indirect

traffic, and thus renders Bribery impossible? Do we forget Miss Edgeworth’s over-true tale of the “ dried salmon,” forced upon Lady St. James, by Lady Clonbrony, with the return of an invitation in prospect ? What do our novelists—what do our play-wrights tell us about the Manæuvring Wives, Mothers, Aunts, of England ? Let M. disclose the secret history of his dinner which figured so proudly in The Post : Let N. reveal how she stormed Castle This, and the other Great House ; and fetched away their aristocratic owners, to give an air to her Ball or her Breakfast. Not to pry, sir, I will go no further ; but conclude this part of my homily touching Bribery in the West—as a Wise Man of the East should do, by an Example not to call it a Fable !

This is a delicious passage in one of the Italian comedies, which I never fail to think of, so often as the subject returns upon me.

A certain vulgar Merchant's vulgar Wife, rich, enterprising, obtuse, and ambitious, resolved to force her way into the fashionable society of an Italian town, where she had lately come to reside. The great Ladies, resolute like Mrs. Fielding in “ The Cricket,” “to be genteel or die,” would have none of her. She must procure the powerful aid and protection of one of “the Order "? Godmothers were scarce. Happily, however, the Order was not a very rich one. One Lady, with the very bluest blood in her veins,--an unlucky Grandee who had lost a fortune, or a lover, or an estate, (who knows ?) allowed it to be whispered that she had a sympathy for the vulgar Woman-might be prevailed upon to cross the Rubicon of Etiquette for her sake, on conditions

Heavens above! but what conditions ? Time was being lost : Life is short :-Let the great Lady only name her wishes ! Not so fast

Tact forbids rude haste. One must be delicate when handling Earth's Porcelain ! Suppose that the Merchant's Lady (a present were too gross a thing-not to be thought of .. Our Countess would faint at the bare

--Suppose, then, that the Merchant's Lady were to manage to lose a wager to the Grandee : a diamond brooch, say

No ?-Well, a diamond brooch, such as the Countess could wear, is costly !--A watch, perhaps :— It should be a watch, that the vulgar Woman of Castellamare should stake, (of course a watch of the best quality, capped and jewelled, sir, no doubt)yes, it should be a watch. And the Go-between ventured to say,

NO. XXXIII.-VOL. VI.

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that, the watch once won, and fairly in ward,--the Paradise of High Life, with all its endless sweets, should be thereupon set open to the She-Trader ; the Countess undertaking to answer for the benignity of all the other Countesses, Duchesses, Marchionesses, and of the Cavaliers who did unto them belong :-A large promise : but she had to deal with one who had learned to exact her penny's worth for her penny !

Well, the Wager was to “come off” at one of their great evening parties, where travellers tell us there is nothing to eat, and as little to say worth hearing :-And punctual to the moment, arrived the Vulgar Woman, fine as hands could make her for this never to be forgiven-and with such a watch at her side ! The watch-half of which was paid for by himself-given to Mr. Pecksniff, at Mr. P.'s request, by the publisher of his “ Popular Architecture,” which was exhibited up and down the country, a travelling and ticking proof of the success of the treatise-even that watch, designed by an R.A., completed by Hunt and Roskell's best hand - was a mere uncouth turnip,--a barbarous Nuremburg “hour-egg,” as compared with the horologe so temptingly paraded by The Tradress of Castellamare! In spite of the vulgarity of staring, The Countess and the Countess's Gentlemanin-Waiting could not take their eyes off it ! sarcastically criticised; but only by the unhappy persons who were shut out of the little-go. The Vulgar Woman took courage. The Grandees were all in the power of that Watch!

Conversation began with great spirit :-the object being to fit up an argument on the shortest possible notice. But this did not prove easy. Difficulties arise even in amicable suits. Our Vulgar Woman, proud to exhibit her politeness, would neither contradict, nor be contradicted. • The Ladies knew best !” and it was only when she put forth her one fashionable fact, that the Marquis of Sangue-Dolce had a hooked nose--that the impatient Woman of Quality, hy asserting the feature snub, in the flattest manner, was enabled to bring matters in the least, into the right train. The Tradress fired up :-“No-she was not quite ignorant : she had seen something of genteel Life!--the nose was hooked.”

“ Would she lay a wager on the point ? asked the Countess, who neither knew nor cared about aught save how to finger the Watch.--" Willingly”_and the Wager was made. A convenient arbiter was to be called in. But, alas ! the vanity of the Vulgar Woman had been so piqued as to make her forget, for the instant, all her

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ambitions and the cunning devices thereunto appertaining. She became angry, obstinate-would not lose her Watch in a ladylike or an un-lady-like manner : was found wanting-and bundled off home in disgrace. A flaming sword was set at the gate of her Eden. She was thenceforward, and for ever, forbidden to set so little as a toe upon the threshold !

One rejoices in her discomfiture ; still more in the disappointment of the Little Gentlewoman, whose vulgarity had been so near profiting by that of the Pretender to Fashion !

But can we rejoice, without a certain uneasy consciousness that such things are done, not only among the dwellers at Castellamare, but likewise at Chester, or Cirencester, or Camberwell ? Call me a wire-drawer who will, fastidious about matters of small consequence ; it is only one hard name or so the more to bear. And I can bear it, provided the inhabitants of one house are strengthened in fair trading ; provided those who have affairs in their hands the Man over his state papers or merchandise—the Woman in her minuter sphere--can be brought one step nearer owning that there is one thing better even than gain, or success, or victoryand that is honourable, and uncorrupted Truth ; neither bribed, nor giving in to bribery to the amount of Pound, Penny, or Pepper-corn!

DEMOCRACY IN 1847.

« They cure the warts, and leave untouched the ulcers, or even envenom them still more.”—LUTHER.

Ar the present moment especially, the progress of the principle of democracy claims earnest attention and manful exposition. Within the last few years there has been infused into the social body an honest spirit of self-assertion-a recognition of the principle that seeks to do away with class legislation. And it is a strong proof of the soundness of this growing principle that it has become identified with the spirit of European legislation--has been responded to throughout all civilised communities.

Democracy has worked its way into every empire ; it has made the tyrant tremble, but it has not appalled the enlightened statesman; it has børne into every constitutional country the noble maxims of political, civil, and religious equality, and its battles with existing wrongs have been bloodless.

They who obstinately cling to a past state of things and regret the decadence of old institutions only because they were old, and they who, being interested in the continuance of laws pressing upon the poorer classes of the kingdom uphold those laws, call democracy the discontented clamour of an ignorant rabble. Be it so. Let us even judge the rulers and the ruled by this debasing principle-let us for a moment suppose democracy to be the clamour of ignorant discontent; and what is to be said in justification of the party in power ? Simply this—that this ignorance, this discontent, and this clamour are part and parcel of the consequences of their misgovernment. To speak in homely metaphor, what would be said of the man, who, having taken his children's blankets in addition to his own, upbraided them because they complained of the cold? We should assuredly call the fellow & senseless tyrant.

However, the democrat is no longer a suspected ignoramus-a dangerous man ; he is only obnoxious to those persons who would lose their unfair privileges and immunities by the restoration of his rights.

He is an enemy to those who have wronged the lower orders : he is an enemy to titled arrogance.

It has been urged in justification of the present state of the law as regards property, entail, and primogeniture, that this nation, under these laws, has risen to a higher state of civilisation than any kingdom upon the face of the earth. This plausible plea has little real weight. The question is, whether better laws would not have induced a still higher degree of prosperity and of refinement in this country—whether the French law of succession would not have spared England all those degrading pictures of starvation in the midst of boundless wealth—of beggars crouching in the doorways of teeming palaces. True is it that in England the arts and sciences have made giant strides, outstripping foreign progress ; but it is as true that this grand development of art and science has been made, not for the benefit of the people generally, but at their expense and as the luxury of the privileged few. This exclusive policy-solely owing to the concentration of property into few hands-gives to a nation the appearance of splendour and prosperity without the solid foundation of either opulence or internal peace—it is the policy of a slovenly mother who washes her child's face and hands and leaves the brat’s body uncleansed.

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