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Kent can show the sweet chestnut about Sittingbourne, the fig at Reculver, the box at Boxley, and the osmunda and hymenophyllum ferns near Tunbridge Wells.
The streams of Kent are not many, but they include two, the Medway and the Swale, of great importance as water highways, and affluents of the estuary of the Thames. Near their mouths the chief oyster fisheries are situate. The lesser streams are mainly utilised in the conflicting interests of paper-making and trout-fishing, but one at least, the Darent, possesses the independent attraction of uncommon beauty. Along some five miles of its course its moods are most fitful and alluring. After gliding slowly through Lullingstone Park, it leaps and sparkles over a weir above the Castle, fills a little lake and turns a mill-wheel ; then, winding through green meadows, by many a fairy foreland set with willow-weed and mallow,' bounds swiftly along a clear flinty bed under a quaint old bridge, and over another mill-dam, to wash the grey ruins of Eynsford Castle; then, flowing quietly through a long stretch of fields, turns a third mill, and divides its current into two branches in order to serve a fourth, but reunites them under the chestnutsbadowed bridge of Farningham ; from whence, after hiding itself beneath a thick screen of leafage, it passes out beside the Tudor mansion of Franks, and shoots under another bridge to thread the willowy banks of Kirby Hall. These repeated shiftings present a succession of pictures as variously graceful as the musical ripple which accompanies them is uniformly soothing. The laudspring torrents, locally called nailbournes,' (a word of doubtful etymology), must not be overlooked among the phenomena of the chalk district. They are supposed to originate in hidden fissures, wherein the water collects, and after a rainy season suddenly overflows. One which rises near Addington, and passes through a stratum of iron-sand on its descent into the Leyburn brook, becomes so discoloured as to turn the trout red.
In respect of mineral products Kent holds its own among the counties. Its rag-stone is in universal repute, and its gault, lime, and copperas are in steady demand. The limestone quarries have yielded some of the largest fossil reptilia found in England. The masses of flint which abound in the chalk have from early times been largely used for building, and banded with courses of brick make solid and durable walls.
It would transcend the limits of this sketch to touch upon the characteristics exhibited by cities, towns, and villages. Canterbury and Rochester alone would each require an article to itself. A passing word must suffice to indicate the architectural beauties which lie on every hand. Besides the two great cathedrals, the ruins of Christ Church and St. Augustine's, Canterbury, of Boxley, Malling, and Baybam abbeys, of Dover, Saltwood, Rochester, Hever, and Allington VOL. X.-No. 54.
castles, and the still perfect mansions of Knole, Leeds, Penshurst, Cobham, Ightham Mote, and Franks, are noble examples of the days when men knew how to build.' All periods of Gothic, from Saxon to Perpendicular, are worthily represented in the Kentish churches. Of such special features as they possess, only a professed ecclesiologist should venture to speak. Those interested in the subject may be referred to a volume of notes by the late Sir Stephen Glynne. The prevalence of shingled spires in the wooded districts and of angular turrets in the churches of West and Mid Kent, together with the unusual pattern of the tracery in certain windows of the Decorated period (recognised as · Kentish tracery'), are points that no intelligent observer is likely to miss. In domestic architecture, perhaps the most typical Kentish building is the farmhouse of Queen Anne's time, a solid square of red brick, with little porch, dormer windows, and a steeply sloping tiled roof. Timbered houses of much earlier date are also common.
The county families, noble and gentle, boast some of the oldest blood in the kingdom. One, the Lewins, claims direct descent from Leofwin, brother of King Harold. The name of the Nevills recalls the Wars of the Roses, and those of Sidney, Sackville, Filmer, Hales, and Twisden, of which representatives still flourish, carry one back at a leap to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The yeomen, if no longer realising their ideal description in the popular distich
A squire of Wales, a knight of Cales,
And a laird of the north countrie;
of Kent with half a year's rent
include many prosperous farmers and householders. The inhabitants generally, whether entitled to rank as 'men of Kent'oró Kentish men (a distinction of disputable significance ?), do not discredit the high reputation which historically attaches to them. Cæsar bore testimony to their superior civilisation by comparison with other British tribes, and seems to have thought it explained by their near neighbourhood to Gaul. A like cause—the refining influence of international culture—may account for the courtesy which prevails among all classes, and the hospitable reception that a stranger uniformly meets with. Their ancient renown for valour was so high that the vanguard was always assigned to them in encounters with the Danes. A single instance of their tenacious courage is recorded during the Civil War, when Fairfax, with a force of 10,000 men, stormed Maidstone, which was defended by 2,000 Royalists, so gallantly that every street in the town,' says Whitelock, 'was got by inches ; ' and the General's veteran soldiers,' according to Clarendon, confessed that they had never met with the like desperate service during the war.' That their descendants have not degenerated is attested by the glorious annals of the Fiftieth, or Queen's Own’ Regiment, which hails from West Kent. Of the honours of the cricket-field, which no less an authority than the Duke' held to be the best preparation for the battle-field, the county elevens have had their full share.
See Murray's Handbook, pp. 176-7, for three different explanations of this distinction.
* De Bell. Gall. lib. v. c. 14,
One or two of the relics of ancient use and wont' must be briefly noticed. Among the most curious is the custom in some of the Weald parishes of strewing the path of a newly wedded couple, as they leave the church, with tokens of the husband's occupation. A blacksmith, for example, finds the ground covered with bits of iron; a carpenter with shavings of wood. Hasted records another practice (which, however, had somewhat degenerated in his time), among the Folkestone fishermen, of holding a festival called a "Rumbold' on Christmas Eve. The expenses were formerly defrayed by setting apart eight of the largest whitings taken in each boat and selling them separately as “Rumbold Whitings.' St. Rumbold, in whose honour the ceremony was doubtless instituted, attracted many votaries in the South of England.
The singular excavations in the chalk found in different parts of the county admit of more than one explanation. Those which occur near the Thames at East Tilbury, at Crayford and Dartford, and near the Medway at Aylesford, are entered by narrow circular openings that widen into chambers and galleries as you descend. At the firstnamed place they are called “Danes' Holes,' and traditionally believed to have been constructed as places of refuge from the Northern invaders. If used and enlarged for that purpose, it is probable that they were originally intended as chalk-pits. Elsewhere, when occurring in the neighbourhood of cromlechs, they are probably sepulchral in their origin. In other situations, a few miles distant from the Thames, they are presumably smugglers' hiding-places ; secret receptacles made with the same apparent design being found in old houses thereabouts.
Many besides the present writer, who are not natives of the county, must be conscious of the strong fascination which it exerts over them after having once lived in it; a spell, like that attributed to the Fountain of Trevi at Rome which lures those who drink of it to return, indisposing them to quit it for any other abode. The reader must judge whether this impression upon the fancy and affections be not sufficiently accounted for by the idiosyncrasy which it has been the object of this sketch to pourtray.
HENRY G. HEWLETT.
WHAT SHALL WE DO WITH
A GREAT deal of time, of trouble, of expense, and of misery would have been saved to mankind if legislators could have been induced to consider more narrowly not only what they are legislating about, but for whom they are legislating, and what good society is likely to derive from their work. Laws are not made for lawyers; they are not made to preserve symmetry and consistency in every part of the judicial edifice. They are not good because they are ancient, nor bad because they are new. They are to be approved or condemned simply and solely according to the degree in which they promote or impede the interests of the whole community for which they are designed. A fruitful cause of evil in laws is that when they are discovered to be bad the matter is not probed to the bottom, but feeble remedies are often applied, which scarcely touch the surface of existing evils, and lay the foundation of new troubles for the future. The subject which I have chosen for the illustration of these opinions is one which would have occupied a large share of the attention of Parliament had the single great measure of the session left room for anything else, and which is doubtless destined to hold a prominent place in the legislation of next year. The subject, and the criticism it invites, appear to me full of instruction, and seem to me to lead to conclusions
different from those towards which we are at present tending
The subject to which I desire to draw attention is the Bankruptcy Law, a code of venerable antiquity, which has exercised the brains of mankind for some two thousand years, and which is yet so entirely either in its infancy or its dotage-I will not pause to examine which -that it is about to undergo at the hands of Parliament anotber thorough revision and reconstruction, being the third effort at perfection within the present reign. Before we embark on this heroic enterprise it may not be a waste of time to retrace the history of the bankruptcy laws, and to mark the steps by which a code which has existed in one shape or another for so long a period now comes, in the fulness of time and the exhaustion of every conceivable remedy, to be re-created, or at any rate redressed.
The legendary origin of bankruptcy is mixed up with the fabulous period of Roman history, and is said to have been derived from the law which permitted the creditors of an insolvent debtor to cut him in pieces, and take that somewhat barren and bloody satisfaction for their loss. Doubts have been entertained of the reality of this somewhat brisk and, at any rate, old method to pay old debts, but there is, I apprehend, no question that the debtor was treated as a sort of chattel real, and, together with his wife and children, could be sold into slavery in payment of his debt. Thus the law remained till the times of the Christian emperors, when it was decreed that if a man gave up
all that he had he should not be sold as a slave-a law which may fairly be regarded as the first and by no means the worst statute of bankruptcy.
The law of bankruptcy in England, though it received the hearty commendation of that most indiscriminating of optimists, Blackstone, was founded on a singularly unsound and narrow basis. It assumed that traders are the only persons who have any right to run into debt at all, and that if other persons run into debt they must take the Consequence of their own indiscretionthat isremain in perpetual imprisonment; "for the law holds it to be an unjustifiable practice for any person but a trader to encumber himself with debts of any Considerable value. If a gentleman,or oneina liberal profession, has a sufficient sum to pay them, the neglect to pay is a species of dishonesty, and a temporary injustice to his creditor; and if at that time he has no sufficient funds the dishonesty and injustice is the greater. Such was the logic which satisfied our forefathers until the beginning of the present reign : it never seems to have occurred to any one that there could be no lenders without borrowers, and no borrowers without lenders; and that, although notatradera man might without any fault of his own be unable to meet his obligations. There is no necessity for wasting time in refuting these argu
The beginning of the present reign has seen the establishment of courts for the relief of insolvent debtors, and its middle has witnessed the abolition of all distinction between those who are and those who are not engaged in trade and commerce ; so fragile and unsound were the principles on which the original fabric of the bankrupt laws was built, and so utterly unable have they proved to bear the test of experience or the demands of a reasonable and enlightened humanity.
But the change which deprived bankruptcy of its leading characteristic as a city of refuge for traders, although great, was by no means the only change which has taken place. The Bankruptcy Court was thrown open to all insolvents, whether traders or not; but a fresh and domestic mischief was eating into the very heart of the system. Much care had been taken of the debtors, but very serious complaints arose on the part of the creditors. Somehow or other, the dividends