Page images


A princely merchant, a mechanic king;
Nor many wanting were, who saw, in such
Confusion of all orders blent in one,
A loved equality of man with man,

And knew not all were masters thus, or slaves,
Bound by no generous, but by sordid links
Of commerce, that the finer feelings blunts,
If gain alone be sought. Soon, like a blight,
Gold withered happiness, and thus it proved
Food of digestion hard to body, or soul,
Both in the city, and the lands about
Of Enos, and of Naid.


The antedeluvian world was full of sin, but we scarcely know the nature of its guilt, although we cannot doubt that the bullionists were busy then as now with their chains and fetters of gold.

We cannot, perhaps, do more for this work, in the meantime, than recommend it as one of much learning and research, of sound vigorous thought, worthy of the name acquired by its author.


THE domestic intelligence of the past few weeks is chiefly parliamentary. The ministry have been supported by considerable majorities in refusing any political change during the present year. They fall back upon the promise of a reform bill for 1858. They have not had the same support in voting public money. Their proposal of mapping Scotland on a gigantic scale has been defeated. Their promise of fifty thousand pounds towards the formation of a park for Finsbury has not been ratified. Several symptoms have been added to these, of a rather unruly disposition among the majority.

A bill for repealing the ministers' money rate in Ireland—an obnoxious and paltry tax for the payment of clergymen belonging to the established church, in part; and that part so small as to be unworthy of quarrelling for, even by a tollman, has been carried over its second reading in the House of Commons, by a majority of 139.

The Duke of Cleveland has declared against small boroughs, and in favour of extending the franchise to all persons residing in counties who have an income of one hundred-or even fiftypounds per annum. He evidently follows in the shadow of Mr. Disraeli, and thus we learn that an equalisation of the constituencies will be carried with the consent of the Opposition. The bill for the punishment of false reporting on their accounts or profits by the directors of public companies will pass during the session, and the measure will ensure greater honesty than has always hitherto been shown by some men who occasionally get into places of trust, and abuse the confidence that has been placed in them, although the number of culpable parties is comparatively small.

A Government prosecution of the directors in the Royal British Bank has been commenced, and the bail required for their appearance-two in two thousand pounds each, and four thousand pounds of personal security, in itself worthless-implies a heavy offence.

Nine out of the ten Directors implicated are in custody, or have given bail, and Mr. Cameron also is within the meshes of the law. The estate will yield 10s. in the pound for the creditors, any fur

ther sum which they may receive must be derived from a compromise with the shareholders.

The House of Peers has passed a measure which, if carried with its amendments, will terminate private prosecutions for criminal conversation, and render the crime a misdemeanour, punishable by fine on proof. The bill will also facilitate divorce in cases of that kind. It may not be so liberal as the Scotch law on the subject, but will be an absolute improvement on the bar. barous state of the English law.

The bill to relieve Jews from civil disabilities has been made a Cabinet measure. It is not even yet likely to pass through the Peers; though it has the Commons, after a strenuous opposition, at every stage. Against the intention of the Government, a clause was introduced, disqualifying Jews from certain offices, such as Lord Chancellor, or of exercising any ecclesiastical patronage which may fall in by virtue of the office. The House of Commons has also rejected a Government proposition of a grant of £50,000 for a park at Finsbury. The opposition was led by Mr. W. Williams (ennobled by "Punch" and by himself), member for Lambeth, which borough has a park ready made by public money, at Kennington, and in close proximity to another in formation at Battersea, likewise at the public expense, and to reach which, other persons than the Lambethians will have to pay a bridge toll. The motion was seconded by Sir J. V. Shelley, whose constituency enjoy the use of St. James's Green and Hyde-parks, within themselves, and the Regent's-park and Kensington-gardens, within an easy walk. The first honourable member also moved another saving in the miscellaneous estimates, the effect of which would have been, had it been carried, that half of certain official residences was to be painted this year, and the painting of the other half would have been deferred to a further period, the houses thereby keeping the College of Physicians and the Union Club, on the west side of Trafalgar-square in countenance, each half of which building, for it is all one, is white and black alternately.

A bill to improve the matrimonial law of England has descended to the Commons from the Peers


in an imperfect state certainly-yet the best enactment on the subject that has yet been proposed. The army and navy estimates have been fully voted, and the Government have determined to have a short session.

The Grand Duke Constantine of Russia visited the Queen at Osborne, and remained two days; but he either was not invited to inspect our dockyards and manufactories, or he thought them unworthy of a visit, for he only saw the Isle of Wight-aud no military secrets exist there. The Grenadier company of the 93rd Regiment were employed as his guard of honour; and elicited the admiration of the Grand Duke; but the Russians had seen them before-when they barred the road into Balaklava. The 93rd Grenadiers, or the regiment altogether, are not likely to be kept as secrets where work has to be done.

The Emperor Napoleon is said to have kept the secret manufactory of military missiles closed against his visitor from St. Petersburgh, although it was shown to the King of Bavaria, who arrived in Paris after the Grand Duke left that capital. In order to avoid any offence that might be felt in the north at this preference of a second-class King, to the son of a first-class Emperor, the Parisian press were desired to avoid any notice of the visit made to this "work of secresy," by the French Emperor and his second guest. Some parties have insisted that the visit was celebrated by an attempt to blow up the distinguished party along with the works; and that the failure explains the secresy required from the press. former seems to be the more natural explanation; but the life of Napoleon III. is always in danger. That is the price of being an Emperor in France.


Louis Napoleon has contrived to get over the elections of members to his Parliament in France, but it has been a tougher matter than he expected; the votes in Paris ran at the rate of 110,000 for, and 95,000 against, the Government, indicating a feeling of independence that may gather strength and be troublesome.

An advance has been made by the French successfully into the farther recesses of their African opponents. It was attended by a battle which involved more loss than has occurred recently in French victories within the Algerine colony.

The foreign intelligence comprises an attempt to assassinate the King of Naples; an effort that will be successful, we fear, on some day, unless that gentleman improve his habits.

The intelligence from America confirms former reports of the defeat of Walker, and the rescue of Nicaragua from the grasp of the pioneer of United States filibusterism. The people of the Southern States have queer musical notions. The authorities of New Orleans neglected to pay for the fares up the river of one hundred or two hundred of Walker's men, whom a British captain (Dunlop, R.N.) had conveyed free from Central America. The captain was compelled to give a bond for their fares on a river steamer, but


one of the New Orleans clubs repaid the money. When, however, General Walker, who had surrendered upon terms, virtually, with the remainder of his force, arrived in New Orleans, he was met by musical bands, playing "See the conquering hero comes."

The extraordinary measures adopted against Central America from the States have failed therefore, but, as if peace could never perfectly reign in that quarter, New Granada, to which the Isthmus of Panama belongs, is on the eve of a rupture with Great Britain on one subject, and with the United States on another. The New Granadians have nothing to fear from the British Government, but the States would exact onerous conditions; if they were successful. Spain with all its incapacity clings like a leech to the nearly mortuum corpus of Mexico, and insists upon satisfaction for some claims real, or imaginary, upon that republic.

Famine prevails in some of the United States, caused partly by the extreme length of the winter which must have exhausted the stocks of grain in some places, while in others abundant supplies are stored. This calamity has been chiefly experienced in the northern parts of Michigan, where examples of death by starvation have occurred. It has also reached the states of Alabama, Georgia, and Tenessee, where the price of food, dear through scarcity, has been enhanced by speculation. A desire to get as much as possible out of the slaves is the cause of the famine. Cotton has rated high for the last two years, and to increase the cultivation of it, the tillage of corn and wheat has been laid aside, depending entirely for a supply of these necessaries upon the western states Fortunately, the grain crops there promise to be most abundant; but if any failure take place, the consequences must be fearful.

The exhibition of works of Fine Art, at Manchester, has been successful with the upper and middle classes of the manufacturing districts, but it has not, according to some parties, attracted the working classes in the anticipated numbers. We cannot tell what may have been anticipated, but over ten thousand visitors in one day looks very like success among all classes.

The distribution of the Victoria Crosses by her Majesty in Hyde Park on the 26th June, was a brilliant spectacle closing the late war in a creditable manner. The Victoria Cross will long be valued by the wearers, and will incite to deeds of heroism men, who are now only boys. It is the only distinction of an honorary nature open to all classes.

An effort most respectably supported has been made to obtain a guarantee for the Euphrates Valley Railway from the Government, which we trust will be successful.

Several meetings in the large towns have occurred in favour of the navigable Egyptian Canal and they have been promoted by the dread of a scarcity of cotton which has also led to some Par

[blocks in formation]

liamentary discussions on the slow rate at which | Further, we have read that there was no vibration

the construction of Indian rails and roads progress.


THE Handel Festival formed the leading feature of London life in June. It was a rehearsal, we presume, of the centenary celebration proposed in 1859, and unlike rehearsals usually, was profitable. The musical performers and vocalists collected by the Sacred Harmonic Society, were more in number than ever were previously engaged in the execution of Handel's oratorios; or, indeed, of any music whatever in Europe. Five hundred instrumental and two thousand vocal musicians occupied the orchestra, and required rather more space than, it is said, the largest music hall in Britain could give. "It has been said," but of course, in error; although the mere saying, from its being very common, conveys an idea of magnitude in the festival, perhaps more useful than the exact statistics in feet and inches.

The great organ, built not precisely for this festival, but for the Crystal Palace, where alone the assemblage could have found space, occupies itself forty by thirty feet, weighs fifty tons, has two-and-twenty bellows, and far over four thousand pipes, from tubes like a quill in diameter and an inch in length to others like the funnel of a Cunard steamer, but longer perhaps. This organ is the largest in the world.

of the network of iron rods that support the galleries and roof; but that also is erroneous. The drum that shook the gaseliers of Exeter Hall did not in reality shake this Palace until "roof and rafters a' did dirl''—but the strength of sound was quite perceptible among the iron wires on which Sir Joseph Paxton and his friends have been pleased to suspend their fellow men, with perfect security, we believe, to life and limb; otherwise, we should not have placed either the one or the other in any hazard, even for the sake of Handel and the Sacred Harmonic Society.

The execution of the three oratorios was perfectly successful. From the professional musicians the highest success was reasonably expected. Madame Novello, Miss Dolby, Mr. Reeves, and all the other professional vocalists, under circumstances difficult even to them, were almost certain of achieving professional triumphs. The arduous duty devolving on M. Costa was sure to be met. The harmonious performances of the choruses was a different matter, and the promoters must have experienced considerable anxiety on that subject. The two thousand five hundred members of the Sacred Harmonic Societies had never acted together until the 12th of June, when they met in Exeter Hall, many of them being brought from Lancashire and Yorkshire. The choruses were rehearsed on the 13th, before an audience of five or six thousand persons. The oratorios of the 15th and 17th brought together audiences of more than eleven thousand, and that of the 19th, "Israel in Egypt" had an audience exceeding twenty thousand. We assume moreover that these audiences contained a larger than the ordinary proportion of musically educated persons. No assumption need to be hazarded on the statement, for it is undoubtedly true. Still the performance of the choruses seemed to satisfy the most fastidious; and to others they were very splendid, or as on the 13th, the first and the worst day, one French gentleman kept repeating in his own language

Every matter connected with the festival was superlative. It was the most numerously attended musical performance of which we have any authentic record, at least with a price attached to the tickets of admission. The orchestra comprised the largest number of persons ever associated in modern times for a musical purpose. The building where both parties met is probably the largest and the strangest in the world. The very drum was the largest known drum; although that name scarcely conveys to common ears the idea of this huge buffalo's robe. Necessarily the music of choristers, drum, organ, violins, and all the other accompaniments was louder than any other musical sounds in our remembrance, but not unpleasant."they were superb." They were very pleasing too, Such are the superlatives.

Handel's oratorios can only be described by a musician, although, happily, they can be enjoyed by those who are not musicians. Their composer was the Shakespere of music, and has had no rival, although, as in the case of other great men, the world only discovered the full extent of his genius after his death. The present generation are innocent on that subject, for he died now ninety-eight years since.

The fears entertained by many skilful persons that the Crystal Palace would do something or other to mar the harmony of the performance, were disappointed. We observe that credit has been given to the Palace for having no echo whatever-very erroneously, we must say. Echo held its place, and replied very pleasantly indeed, but without reflecting any mischief that we could hear, or hearing could understand to be mischief.

as evidence of a growing taste for the practice and science of music in the manufacturing districts, and in the metropolis, among the artizan and operative classes. Undoubtedly the orchestra represented the higher grades of the working classes; and a large proportion of persons in different circumstances, but the possibility of the festival may be taken as good evidence of intellec tual improvement; for the scientific execution of these oratorios implies a severe intellectual effort.

The company formed a spectacle in itself worthy of being seen, not often to be seen, or likely soon to be repeated; and only possible in London. Two or three of the larger townsLiverpool, Glasgow, or Manchester, might have furnished a similar audience in evenings, but not in the mornings. The enthusiasm for business would have overcome that for music, and a similar audience is only possible in London; and there

only at the Sydenham Palace.


The area of the central compartment of that building allows space enough with its galleries for the display of twenty thousand persons without crowding or inconvenience. From its galleries the vast area resembled a chequered board, with the black spots rather in a minority; but the deep silence of this multitude as the notes of a solo singer seemed to occupy the entire space, and wandered clear and distinct into every corner of this palatial framework, was an element of solemnity not equalled by the storms of sweet sounds that threatened the abstraction of the gossamer-looking tenement, and the conveyance of all whom it contained on the wings of song away from this often unmusical world.

The festival has led to discussions respecting the propriety of oratorios, or the use of certain portions of Scripture, in a secondary manner, the music being the primary element. At one time, we believe, that proposals were made to produce these oratorios on the stage, and we think that they were even carried into practice, and very properly suppressed; but the chaunting or singing of these words need not be regarded as many wish it to be regarded, as their profanation, unless in the same sense that they may be profaned iu every attempt to cultivate sacred music; in cathedral services; or, indeed, in any services. Those who sing them may not be impressed with their meaning; that has been true of thousands who have read them. Certainly, on the 17th of June, when the Queen and Court attended the Palace, we could not think that the closing hymn, sung with that great audience standing, was likely to produce the slightest evil to the mind of any person unacquainted with the hundredth psalm, or


could resemble profanation to those in whose minds the strains were "familiar as household words."

The festival, in a pecuniary sense, has also been successful. The profits are said to have equalled ten thousand pounds, and as the expenditure must have been very great, it is pleasing to find out for those who have provided the gorgeous edifice and grounds at Sydenham, that one means of aiding in remunerating them has been found, unconnected with anything false in taste, or meretricious in principle.

The exterior of the Palace might, by the way, be improved during our bright and sunny summer, by a little deeper shading of tints. At present it is too glaring and white, and even painful. Nature has shown painters the colours proper for any large surface; and as there must always be a considerably dazzling result produced by a glass house on weak eyes, every opportunity of relieving it by blue or green shading, should be improved. Even the terrace, and all connected therewith, is painfully white; and it would have been more artistic and natural, and therefore wiser, to have surrounded the "walls" of glass with a belt of green, deep and verdant, and removed the terraced walk, if one was necessary, to a farther distance from the palace.

The charm of the Sydenham palace will consist always, during the summer, in its undulating and varied grounds; but the original soil evidently consists of a stiff clay, and the surface was cracked and dry even in the middle of June. The means of irrigation at the disposal of the managers should prevent these refts in the grass, and clothe their grounds with a richer green than always prevails there.


Wayside Fancies. By FRANCES FREELONG BRODERIP. London: Edward Moxon, Pp. 271. THIS is a mixed volume of prose and verse, and the very book for those who are on their way to the sea-side and will not know what to do with themselves in three days hence. The authoress, Mrs. Broderip, is a daughter of the late Thomas Hood, and she preserves the genius of the father. A marked resemblance exists between her style and that in which he wrote some of his more celebrated productions. The tone of thought influ ences style, and Mrs. Broderip may thus insensibly follow that vein of thinking and way of writing to which she is naturally attached, from obvious reasons. It is a very good attachment to form, for the style is beautiful and often the purpose for which it was employed was useful to society. The "Wayside Fancies" are light essays interspersed with very pretty verses. Poetry and prose are em


ployed generally in dealing with some matter that needs improvement, and the energy of the father is traceable in the lighter hand, if not less earnest heart, of the daughter. There is the same sympathy with distress that might be removed, and after all that can be said against them, ignorance and vice are distresses.

The following verse contains a pretty idea :

Bear with me, Edward, for these relics tell
My real life's story-all beyond are but
The chronicle of glittering dust and clay.
Life is made up of love; with it, a dream
Of fairy beauty; and without it, dark,
And lone, and dreary, as a winter's night.
What are life's honours-pomp, ambition, wealth?
Either the means to minister to love,
Or the despair that cloaks its wants and loss:
The single passion that survives the grave,
The tie between the unseen world and this,
That, purified from earth, shall reign in heaven.

[blocks in formation]

What is a Bird. By MRS. WRIGHT. London: Jarrold and Sands, 1 Vol., Pp. 321.

SOME authors ask strange questions. What is a bird? Of course everybody has seen a bird who has seen a bush or a tree, and knows everything concerning birds, too. Many persons may think so, and when they have read Mrs. Wright's little It book, discover that they were quite mistaken. contains a large amount of information very prettily told, in language comprehensible by the nonscientific, and that is a very great advantage. It is also a good guide for the young into natural religion, in a style of which the following is a fair illustration:

Observe too, how well a love of company and of loneliness are blended in the nature of the heron; no creature more dependent upon the society of its friends during the nesting season, than this bird; twenty, thirty, and even eighty nests have heen counted on one tree. Yet no one more given up to business than the heron in its solitary pond, when duty calls its there. How remarkable! that such a sociable bird should be willing to spend its long days by itself! but this was a necessity for it, as an angler.

In the form of the heron, we see clearly the why and the wherefore of its sole construction. Had an order been passed in the great workshop of nature, for a fly-slayer to be prepared on the best principles, could anything have been imagined better than the swallow ? And when a quiet feeder on fish was required, what improvement could have been made on the heron ?

We clearly see by instances such as these, that the mighty artificer of nature did not construct a great variety of birds, and then turn them loose to eat anything that came in their way; but having made the earth to teem with a wonderful variety of food, He gave to the feathered tribes remarkable instincts, He has given in unerring skill, bodies fitted for the work assigned them. Facts like these, teach us there is a lawgiver, who rules the world.

The book has a number of engravings very well calculated to aid the public in ascertaing "What is a bird ?"

Our College. Leaves from an Undergraduate's Note Book. London: G. Earle. 1 vol. p. 430. THIS book consisists of sketches from Cambridge society-and if the undergraduate speaks truly it is in a very mottled state,—the bad on the whole prevailing. The sketches are pleasantly written and may help some Cambridge men through the vacation. The writer possesses the light style very common in and necessery for sketching. Upon one occasion he went to see a notable execution in the south of London, and he spent the first part of the night, before the morning, in a coffee room. His pencillings of the company are equal to anything that we could quote.

Notwithstanding the melancholy associations which group themselves around that evening, I connot help smiling as I recal to mind, the odd kind of conversation which we held together, in that low, sanded coffee-room. Alchemy, astronomy, mysticism, second sight, prophecy-these, and the subjects into which Hayley, as usual, contrived to plunge us, and I was perfectly bewildered at the amount of his reading and information, in such obsolete fields of inquiry. It appeared to me that one half of the pains which he had devoted to these dead branches of the tree of learning, would, if properly directed, have made him one of the most

proficient scholars of his time. Sunken tomes, which only rise to the surface in the pages of some writer of the middle ages, were to him as familiar, as is to the periodical critic the literature of the present day. Dust-enshrouded trea. tises, which the catalogues of the British Museum may perhaps even forget to register, were stamped upon his recollection in indelible characters. His mind, like the Frankenstein of the novellist, seemed to be built up of fragments drawn from a charnel-house. I remember his reciting to me, amongst other curious passages, two extracts from his favourite writers, which particularly struck me. One was from an edition of Nostradamus published at Treves, and is remarkable if authentic, since it contains a clear prophecy of all the leading events which have befallen a neighbouring country, since the appearance of the first Napoleon. The other was from an old book entitled "De fluctibus mystice navis," and giving a similar, though less detailed account of the revolutions of the present century. As my friend slowly recited these passages, with his dark hair hanging dishevelled over his forehead, and his eye staring into vacancy-like a pythoness imbued with the oracular response. I could not help smiling at the uncongenial nature of the scene, by which we were surrounded. It seemed impossible that any one could have seriously sought for the philosopher's stone, now that these blazing gas-lights shine so brightly upon the railway time-tables, which decorated the walls of the room, and all the ghosts, wraiths, fiends, and spiritual apparitions of my friend's collection, seemed, as it were, smothered for ever beneath the vast leaves of the majestic Times, which lay outstretched on the mahogany table before us. length, the hands of the clock pointing to the figure one, recalled us to the events of real life.


The friends had paid for accommodation to witness the last moments at a convenient window, and as they had given their money liberally after the fashion of undergraduates who never earned any, the landlord invited them to supper with his other friends who sat free. The character of the company is literally photographed :

The position of the guests soon oozed out in the course of conversation. An elderly lady, the relict of some small river functionary, from Wapping, a tradesman and his wife from Bermondsey, and two young men connected in some way with the docks; such were some of the ingredients of the party. That they were not stopping in the house was immediately obvious, the fact evidently being, that they had stepped over in their Sunday best, for the express purpose of witnessing the execution. If I have alluded to this little episode, it is because it made a deep impression on me at the time. I do not indeed, know whether such a gathering did not jar upon the feelings more than any sight which I had witnessed outside the doors. The pale artizan—the drunken sailor--the gin-besotted virago with her troop of squallid children-or even the dissolute man of fashion preparing to contemplate the death agony through an operaglass-these were characters which seemed, as it were, to be apposite to the scene, and to fit in with it. But the calm premeditation of this little family party-the sitting down to enjoy everything in a cool unflurried fashion-the tea and the toast-the false fronts and silk dresses of the

women-the glistening stocks of the men-there was something in all these accessories, at once grotesque and revolting, and which made me long, at the moment, for the pen of a Fielding or a Dickens, in order that I might do justice to it.

The truth probably is, that the under-graduates had got among the company for whose advantage such spectacles are provided.

« PreviousContinue »