« PreviousContinue »
troubles of life ; nothing floats before his vision but the dark spectre of his own fallacious hope !
The day on which Archer sat, indulging in this depressing soliloquy, with all the publishers' notes spread out on the table, . and the rejected manuscript of the “Three Wise Men ” lying with sad sprawling leaves up in one corner of the room,-was singularly bright. The sun shone directly upon the window, and Archer had risen and closed the shutters, the brightness being so utterly at variance with his thoughts and feelings. Through the aperture, however, a golden light streamed across the room, just as he had uttered the last words, and the door softly opening, Ellen Lloyd came gliding in ---making a picture which Rembrandt might have painted under the title of “Ā Poor Author receiving a visit from his Good Angel."
We cannot possibly do better than leave him in such hands. In some such ways as this, whether in vision or realty, genius finds, if not its full reward, at least its heart's consolation and its spirit's blissful rest.
Meantime, very great advances and improvements had taken place in the “Associated Home," near Gosport ; for by its excellent management it presented so many advantages, that , many more proposals to become inmates were made, than could be accepted, however eligible. Mary had already, in the course of a few months, added the houses on each side, as wings to the one with which she had commenced, and more rooms were still needed by constant applicants. The projected “ Institute for Artizans had also been well set on foot. Mr. Bainton had obtained possession of the ground, with the whole dilapidated building upon it, and a new and spacious hall had soon risen, and a day for the opening of the new Institute was fixed. It was announced that the proceedings of the evening would be commenced with an Address to Artizans by a Working Man.
Many were the friends to whom invitations were sent to be present at the opening of the Institute, and among others, Mary and the rest were of course anxious that Archer should come with his wife. Good angels do not visit melancholy poets to no purpose ; and Archer and Ellen Lloyd were now happy beyond expression.
The evening arrived, and the great hall--bare of all ornament, but spacious, lofty, substantial, warm, and skilfully ventilatedwas adorned, in spirit, with crowded heads of thinking artificers
and mechanics. Every seat was full
, and every pulse was beating with a novel emotion-one that might be interpreted into the feel ing that here, at last, was the means of knowledge, and of improved social intercourse, so much talked of, and boasted-but from whose arena all these actually working mechanics had been hitherto comparatively excluded.
Mr. Bainton, as chairman of the committee of the Institute, first ascended the platform. He stated, in his brief way, the design and intentions of the Institution, and that its main difference from all others, similar in designation, was simply that it was to be exactly what it was called—and nothing more ;—but to be as much as that, he thought a new thing, and a good one.
It had been announced that an Address would be made to them by a working
Before introducing this man, he, Mr. Bainton, would merely say, that by the use of the term working man, he did distinctly mean one who worked with his hands—and that the building in which they now were, which had risen above the old ruins in so short a space of time, owed its existence in a great measure to the hands of this same man. The applause they gave was no more than deserved. In conclusion, he had to say, that being without family, he, Mr. Bainton, had seen no one whom he so much wished to adopt as his son, as the man in question—who, however, had gratefully declined to avail himself of any position in society to which this might lead, and had declared his resolution never to leave his class and that in the event of becoming—as he should become—the possessor of property, he would still work as a man among his own men-still be a mechanic or artizan with them--and never appear in any other character, or acknowledge any other designation. With him, moreover, the first idea of this Institution had originated.
Mr. Bainton retired amidst great and most sincere applause, which was shared by the man who now ascended the platform to address the assembled crowd.
Archer started at the sight of him, and half rose from his seat. The altered appearance in figure, and expression of face—both so much refined by suffering and inward efforts were deeply affecting. What Harding said in this address, Archer. was in a state of mind far too tumultuous to apprehend with any clearness. All he collected at intervals showed him that Harding had been in Italy, and that he had joined the patriots in their struggle against Austrian tyranny, and all its atrocities of vengeance and cruelty
and that besides fighting among the patriots, he had instructed and aided the insurgents of Naples and Sicily in building boats to assist their operations. The closing words Archer distinctly heard :
• Friends-Brothers - Fellow-workmen! Let us all be of one mind in this ; that while we seek to obtain a just, an adequate reward for the sweat of the brow, we are not to forget that we have intellects to cultivate as well as earth to till—understandings to fabricate and discipline, and imaginations to fill with visions of beauty and of strength, as well as hands to hew wood and to draw water. I was taught this by the only spiritual pastor and master I ever had, and I shall only use words after him when I say to you, let the workmen of all countries look at the stupendous edifices that adorn their cities—whether St. Peter's at Rome, or St. Paul's in London--and let them feel, Our hands built all these things, which other and higher minds saw in 'dreams before
Let us, then, reverence their visions and their faculties divine,' but say to ourselves, we also have souls to ascend, hearts of large scope, and minds for higher acts than any political institutions have yet taken into their calculations. And some day we also will build according to our own designs ; but humbly and in homely fashion at first, as in these walls which now surround us.
Harding descended amidst prolonged plaudits. Many pressed hastily towards him ; but the first that took him by the hand was Mary. “Let me,” said she, “ assist you in this great work.” It was too much—the tears gushed into the strong man's eyesmore copiously when on turning aside, he found his other hand pressed by Archer.
It is scarcely necessary to state a sequel which must be obvious. Harding and Mary were soon afterwards married, all their friends being present at the wedding, except Archer, who had a bad cold. The utmost cordiality existed ever after between Archer and Harding, and all the circle. They frequently paid each other visits. Archer continued to write poetry, for a future time, as he hoped ; and as their means of life were very indifferent, Ellen, recollecting the example of Michael Salter, became organist of a little Welsh church, which small addition amply sufficed.
Thus does each dream and work, and work and dream, according to his own nature ; and the world, in its very
way, becomes wiser and better with its years, by the labours of its best thinkers and doers.
PEACE HE HATH PROMISED!
“ Peace I leave with you. My peace I give unto you.”
On wings of healing, let this whisper steal,
Such joy as seraphs need not blush to feel.
That to earth bound thee with a giant chain,
The “ Peace ! be still!" that calmed the troubled main.
In truth and love of those 'twas bliss to trust,
Finds its bright future crumbled into dust :
The shattered fragments of each human tie ;
To aught created that can change or die.
Its ghastly terror flings around thy head,
MRS. ACTON TINDAL.
ART-MANUFACTURE UNION PROPOSED AND
CONSIDERED. ADDRESSED TO THE ARTISTS, ART-PATRONS, AND MANUFACTURERS
GentLEMEN,—We seek to draw your attention to the possibility of founding an Art-Manufacture Union in this country-a Union that shall be co-operative with, and a help to, that existing for the advancement of painting and sculpture. We would also recommend to your earnest consideration, some means which may render Schools of Design self-supporting, and enable the manufacturer of this country to compete in the elegance of the designs that shall be imprinted upon their cotton and other goods, with any market in the world.
The birth of the present Art-Union gave rise to a warm paperwarfare-some penholders contending that the institution of an Art lottery would debase the profession it was created to elevate ; while more sanguine and impartial writers hailed the creation of the Union as the dawning of a bright era in Art: the latter critics were the justest. An Art-Union is certainly a lottery-so is any commercial speculation.
Commerce is a game of chance—a game of hazard. Does the commercial risk debase the speculator, or the man with whom he speculates ? It has been said that Art-Unions encourage the production of mediocre and inferior pictures : this assertion is a fallacy on the face of it. What artist would paint an inferior picture, in the hope of selling it as the 101. prize ? What artist would not rather strive to deserve selection by the holder of the 3001. ticket? Artists-no longer fettered by the ill-educated taste of rich patrons no longer depending upon the caprice of incompetent individuals--will have free scope for the full exercise of their imagination and cultivated execution. It cannot be denied that the perfection and extension of the principles of ArtUnions may emancipate artists from the thraldom of monied ignorance, and give to the profession generally a stability and an elevation which have hitherto been monopolised by the R.A.'s of the kingdom. The system of government and election at the Royal Academy is little known, and too exclusive to confer artistic honours on the artistic genius of the kingdom. The Royal Academicians do not represent British Art. Is the President of the Royal Academy at the head of his profession? Is Sir Martin Archer Shee a greater artist than Goodall, or J. W. Allen, or Inskipp?
“Educate the taste of the people before you establish ArtUnions,” has been the constant cry of superficial thinkers. To such it
not be unnecessary to say—the surest way to correct bad taste is to present good models. You want to create a sound artistic taste in the people : give them, then, high works of Art ; show them the artistic genius of the country ; open to them exhibitions that shall include all excellent works, without personal