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to look as if that ten thousand men was a mere blank. They lost much right good fun by their obliquity of vision. There was an old greyheaded man, perhaps one of the very few who figured in opposition to the ruffianism of 1792, who sat in the front seat of the great gallery, and directly face to the Tory's man, Mr. Spooner; and when the latter stood up, he also got upon his legs, took off his coat, turned it inside out, and put it on again; and then bent forward, with outstretched arm, pointing to Spooner, while a supporter on each side of him also beckoned to Spooner, to look at this most apt and well-understood illustration of himself. The effect was electric. A laugh from ten thousand throats chorussed against the walls and rolled along the roof. It was a capital picture! But the Tories neither saw nor heard anything of this, not they they were too 'respectable' to gaze on the amusement of the 'rabble' too dignified to be interested in anything which emanated from the 'mob'-though, indeed, if a Church and King 'mob' could have been got up, they would have hailed its members, though all from the treadmills and hulks, as their noble, brave, Christian fellow-townsmen.'
All was proceeding safely though uproariously, merrily though magnificently, till just as Muntz was hanging Spooner on the tenter-hooks of question, a crash in the corner of the gallery, near my elbow, excited alarm, some apprehension of disaster. It was soon shown, however, that only some benches had broken their legs and backs: and business proceeded for a quarter of an hour longer, when something truly appalling did occur. There was a strange and fearful commotion in the great gallery, but no sound could be distinguished as indicating the cause. The commotion of voices smothered the noise of crashing timber, and the rumbling, crushing, and struggling of human bodies. The eye rested, as it were, on a huge and ominous moving cloud that was spreading destruction noiselessly, and was the more fearful because without sound in its action. Something painful and terrific was in progress there; what, none, for some moments, could ascertain, till the panelling of the front gallery swung out over the floor of the hall-like a ship's sail which had torn away the belaying cleats; and body after body was seen pitching over and dropping down on the wedged heads beneath. Perhaps no one who looked afterwards at the course and character of the accident is without astonishment (there are some who are not thankful) that so little injury to human life was done. The back seat of the gallery was pressed on by ten times the ordinary weight which it is calculated to carry: it was completely crushed, and the whole throng fell forwards and down the declivity-each successive row giving way before it, and adding its own weight to the next, till the front of the gallery burst away. Yet it is amazing that only four people were hurt! and those would have escaped, perhaps, had not fear impelled them to leap from the gallery. No one who thought could withhold his admiration of the cool presence of mind which was evinced by that dense mass of people. Never, perhaps, was there exhibited so much of the effect of habits of thinking as was displayed on this occasion. Terrific as the alarm was, there was not in the eastern gallery, which was entirely under my range of vision, and crowded so closely as to be one solid body, the least movement: each man seemed confident that his quiescence was the safety and security of all: this is the result of
thought-thought taken closely and sternly in the midst of danger. My firm belief is that such an accident, in such a crowd, could not have occurred in two other towns in the empire, without the crushing mutilation, and serious injury of many hundred men. And though, from the admirable facility of egress, the ground-floor, which was occupied by eight thousand bodies, was, in one minute, almost cleared; yet there was no confusion-none of the wild, half-delirious, and screaming efforts to escape, which have so fatally characterised popular assemblies. Each seemed to calculate for himself and his fellow-men, that, following the stream steadily, in his direction, was the safest and shortest way to the street. There was no conflection and crossing of currents. The furthest from the door calmly held his turn. That day-that accident, and consequent alarm-may be held as a lesson to the world, and a taste of the quality of the Birmingham men. All that I saw and heard, told me, in language too clear to be mistaken, these are not the men to be humbugged. In less than six minutes from the instant the alarm rose, the floor was cleared, and again solidly wedged with eager and resolved men; and when the names of Attwood and Scholefield were successively put to the vote, over the black hats a sea of flesh, of arms and hands, was thrown; hundreds of arms being stripped bare of coat and shirtsleeve and all covering, in the forcible thrust of them upwards through the compressed and solid throng of bodies—yes, hundreds and hundreds of arms were thus laid bare to the elbow; and all were as suddenly drawn down again to give opportunity for the friends of the Tory candidate to display their strength. Some fifty hands-not more-on the Tory committee side, went gallantly up; and throughout the whole mass of the assembled beyond, I counted (after looking sharply) three solitary -yet, be justice done-courageous hands: and, with this unequivocal sense of the popular opinion, they went to the poll. They calculated on certain weapons, which they used unsparingly with those who had votes-wherever they had hardihood to venture them; and if by such means they could have gained a majority of the three thousand electors, they would have trumpeted to the Duke the pleasing intelligence that there was a reaction of popular opinion, in favour of him, in Birmingham!!! Why, if they had quadrupled the numbers who voted for the Reformers, it would have proved nothing of the popular opinion in their favour. I do not mean that they miscalculated their aid from a certain party, their error was in imagining this party had weight with honest men, and men who think. They had bullied, and insinuated, and swaggered, and sneered a confident positive change of public opinion; that the weathercock now pointed to them. They had, for months previous, been snugly and secretly cooking up the church-rate affair; employing every art and delusion they could invent and combine, for a grand blow, whenever a fit moment should arrive for unmasking their batteries and sweeping down all before them. And such was their stupidity that they selected as the most opportune hour, the one in which the news of Wellington's appointment to the Dictatorship arrived in Birmingham! Did they fancy that name carried irresistible lightning with its sound? No; their error was more astonishing still-more miserable, yet more laughable-more contemptible--more pitiably blundering. They attached a charm-a fascination-a delighting electricity to the name of that hater of popular sense; that would-be crusher of thoughts and soul-that
scorner of public reason and justice-that wholesale scoffer at unchained honesty that merciless mocker at humanity's cry-that ruthless slaughterer of thousands for hire, or for a fanfaronade-that laughing drowner of men-that stagnant blooded self-idolizer. They, the Tories of Birmingham, were so besotted, bigotted, and blinded, as to suppose Wellington's backing would recommend to and carry their measures with the people of Birmingham!
Well; but of the meeting at the Town Hall. Eager and tremendous as was the assembly, it dispersed as quietly as if the components of it had walked away from church or chapel; and, to the mortification, in the very antipodes of all the forebodings and prophecies of the Tories -to the bitter chagrin of the Dictator Duke's parasites and martinetswent through the foolishly-contested election and its excitements, as if they had walked to and from market, to learn and carry away the quality of the butter that was exposed. Sternness and steadiness were the only changes from their good-humoured merriment.
The Mayor of Wind-Gap; and Canvassing. By the O'Hara Family. MR. BANIM's pen has lost none of its power, nor has the facility with which it depicts the stormiest passions and the broadest humour been ever more strikingly displayed than in these volumes. The first tale is most dramatically constructed; its contrasts are as strong as the lights and darknesses of Rembrandt; and the unexpected and rapid changes at the conclusion produce an excitement which rather resembles the effect of a well-acted tragedy than that of the mere perusal of a narrative. 'Canvassing' is of a lighter cast; and the humours of an Irish election, as Irish elections were managed some thirty years ago, are graphically sketched. As the story proceeds, it assumes a pathetic character, and indicates the correct conviction of the author, that heartlessness and folly are too full of mischief in their consequences to be merely laughed at. We wonder that such an artist should occasionally detract from the effect of a description by alluding to it as a description. Such pictures as his need not the master's name; and we should else have imagined him to have been generally unconscious that he was penning a description. In the best of them he must, at the time, have been unconscious of himself and his art, and absorbed in the object. So should it ever be.
The Sacred Offering.
WE welcome the fifth annual appearance of this work, which comes into the world like a pilgrim from the Holy Land, or a vestal on some mission of mercy from her sacred retreat, herself as pure and graceful as her errand is benign. There is not a poetical flower in it but is moist with the dews and redolent of the perfumes of Paradise. It is not of the earth, nor earthy. The spirit of piety by which it is pervaded is alike
untainted by the asperities of party, or the debasements of superstition. The present volume has more of the scriptural sonnets, the felicitous execution of which we adverted to on a former occasion; it is introduced by the translation of a Drama of Klopstock's 'On the Death of Adam ;' and enriched by fragments from the pen of Mrs. Barbauld, written shortly before her death. It is certainly not inferior, in the general merit of the compositions, to any of its predecessors, and it can scarcely fail to deepen the impressions and cherish the sentiments which they were calculated and designed to produce.
The Saxon's Daughter. By N. Michell.
A ROMANCE of the days of chivalry, told in spirited and not unmusical verse. In its construction, this poem belongs to the same species with the metrical tales of Scott and Byron. But although Scott and Byron might be inspired, they are not the best fountains of inspiration for the young poet to drink at. In the present case, the author seems to be an imitator, perhaps more frequently than he is so, at least in sentiment and description. The story itself is well managed.
The Comic Annual. By T. Hood.
MR. HOOD is late this year; a circumstance to which we owe a very pleasant rebuke of the other Annuals for being so early. They cannot resist his reasons; and next year we hope to see him first in the field with a lecture on their laziness. First or last, it matters not; Mr. Hood's book is never ex tempore, whatever his wit may be. It suits alike summer-time and winter-time, breakfast-time and supper-time, or any time, with a-turn-at-tea into the bargain. The prominent topic in the present volume is the Great Conflagration, in which the author luxuriates like a salamander. It is fuel for his fire, and he warms at it, and makes light of it, and plays upon it, until the reader is forced to laugh consumedly. The next best thing is the Ode to Mr. Buckingham, occasioned by his staggering' Report on Drunkenness; or the Sketches on the Road;' we are not sure which. And our comparison only relates to the letter-press; for as to judging between that and the pictorial wit, it altogether passes our critical collectedness. And what's the use of it? 'Better 'tis to bless the sun than reason why he shines;' and, by parity of reason, to enjoy than to criticise the Comic Annual.' Let the reader judge for himself, or do without, and laugh for himself, which may be wiser. Suffice it to say, if we must be critical, that this volume is not behind those which went before it; and that it resembles all the author's productions, in having always some philosophy in its fun, often some pathos in its pleasantry, with plenty of intellectual power at play amongst the most preposterous of its puns.
Scottish Songs. By Alexander Hume.
THE author of this volume has in him the genuine spirit of song. It behoves him to improve a gift which is no common possession. Not
song-making, though for that it often passes, is the yoking of verses to music like that of horses to an omnibus, and then going off with a crack and a squeak, and a long rattling and rumbling. A song is a single emotion, breathed forth in the consentaneous melody of words and notes. The music of the verses and of the air should be not so much harmonized as identified. A real songster is both poet and musician. Failing either quality, in a sufficient degree for original production, there should be, and this is essential, a strong appreciation of whichever exists first, the poetry or the music, by those who supply the musical or the poetical complement, to produce the perfect song. The author, who is known to our readers by two or three of the songs which reappear in this volume, and especially by a beautiful ballad which was set as our 'Song of the Month,' for May, 'My Bessie, O but look upon these bonnie budding flowers,' has shown his susceptibility for music by the airs for which he has written his words, and by which they were probably, in most cases, generated. They are Scottish a'thegither; and verses are interspersed not unworthy of Burns himself. Such is the following image in the Braes o' Tweeddale :'
The heart may for a time forget
Or this, in the description of a sturdy peasant:
Auld Nature, just to show the warl'
She strippit till't, and made a carle,
Our May song has here an additional verse interposed between the third and the last, the simple truth of which is touching:
'We'd raise our lisping voices in auld Coila's melting lays,
In quoting an entire song, as a specimen for those of our readers who may have become so recently, we cannot do better than take the last in the volume, which expresses a sentiment that the writer evidently feels strongly. It is written for the air of 'Galla Water.'
" MY MOUNTAIN HAME.
'My mountain hame! my mountain hame!
Though foes should e'er in chains me bind,
Or wile my heart frae the mountain heather,