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for two the bread it had been hard | other such out-of-the-way village as enough to find hitherto for one. Work this and take the adult population man in which he can take no interest, alter- by man into confidential chat ; much nating with idleness he does not enjoy, that now perplexes his political soul make up the sum of his colorless exist- will then, I warrant him, become plain, ence; but he asks no sympathy ; his And now the day draws near when, world is bounded by the horizon, and for the second time, I am to leave my he is blind to all beyond the confines of nursery. The present fades out of sight his own parish. A rare visit to the a while, and I recall the last departure market-town and the half-yearly ap- hence, when strangers they told me pearance of the travelling cheap-jack, were my parents came to take me away. with his van-load of varied wares, form It is Sunday evening. I am in the his landmarks of time. Given enough Vicarage garden saying good-bye to the to eat and drink, and a corner in the dog and cat overnight, lest I shall have White Hart on his missus's washing- no time to spare before the early start day, he is content. Knowing little he to-morrow morning. The exciting proswants little ; and surely Wisdom on pect of a railway journey does little to ten shillings a week were Folly indeed. qualify the sorrow of parting from the
In vain have I sought the agricul- animals, my tailless: bantam and my tural laborer known to politicians own particular garden down by the that keen-eyed, intelligent man, whose pond. That I am to leave forever the rude eloquence contrasts so strangely kind old vicar and his daughter who with his untrimmed finger-nails and have been as parents to me is more patched pantaloons, and whose eager-than I can realize. I am about to ness to discuss the Allotment Question leave the only “home” I have ever and beneficial legislation holds the known, and with a strange father and sympathetic stranger spellbound on the mother; “life” lies behind ; I know cottage doorstep. Perhaps H—, in no farther future than to-morrow, and: her lagging behind the times, is less it seems as though the end of all things advanced than other rural villages, for were come. I could not find that laborer, though I Again it is Sunday and evening. I searched every heart pints of beer and am standing on the same spot under pipes of tobacco could render accessible. the copper-beech on the vicarage lawn'; Dubious nails and ragged pantaloons the bells are ringing for service, and there were in plenty; a sense that from the schoolhouse down the road higher wages would be acceptable was comes faintly the echo of children's universal ; that farmers could not af- voices chanting the evening hymn. I ford to pay more was almost equally cannot choose but listen, and listening: widely acknowledged. But beyond the I am five years old once more, leaving narrow boundary of these closely per- my nursery for the unknown. The sonal interests all was dense, impene- bells have stopped. Bedtime; I must: trable mist. I found no opinions," advanced or otherwise ; no eloquence ; not even a vague hunger for acres and cows. Party government was no more thau a name to these contentedly un
From Temple Bar. enlightened rustics ; the colored litho-GLIMPSES BACK: A HUNDRED YEARS graph portrait of the queen, which adorned many a cottage wall, embodied A LIBRARY is unlike every other the owner's idea of Authority, and the room in the house, not because it is existence of any other between her generally the most comfortable, and has Majesty and the landlord was a vague the sleepiest armchairs, nor because it fact, admitted only to be ignored. Let supplies you with "something" to any one who believes this a libel inves- read. The magazines of the month tigate for himself ; let him go to some and papers of the day do that, not to
speak of the weekly periodicals, which shall have for supper, and ascertain are so many.
These all mainly tell us whether our beds are properly aired. of what is going on in the world, and Thus throughout any researches into what our neighbors, friends, and ene- the past the little threads and fringes of mies are thinking and saying about it. life are ever showing themselves, and In them we look for the last jokes that events which cast great shadows are have been made to make us laugh, the accompanied by insistent daily needs, last murders that have been reported enjoyments, and vexations. (with ingenuity of detail) to satisfy our But to return to our library. There natural appetite for the realistic, and is a shelf in mine which holds what was there we skip or study speeches which called the 6 New Annual Register, have been delivered in order to make and I bave just been taking down the us agree with the speakers, or think volume which tells me what men were for ourselves.
saying, doing, and thinking exactly one We get all this in any room where hundred years ago. Mighty things bad the tables are supplied with what we freshly come, or were coming to pass call .“ current literature.' But the in those days, including such as the walls of a “library” are more than French Revolution and the Indepenscreens to shut out the cold, and sur- dence of the United States, let alone round easy-chairs,
wars and rumors of wars in Europe, Every book-lined shelf is really a and what men then called “the East “curtain,” through the chinks of which Indies." The record of these fills we. may peep at the past, hear what about one-third of the octavo volume men were saying, and see what they under the title of “ British and Foreign were doing in the years gone by. History," while another, headed “ BioThere, too, we may behold great com- graphical Anecdotes and Characters,” pleted clusters of history, and learn (if is a medley of papers, essays, reviews, we can) how events which have become poetical and other extracts, and “ Obturning-points in the world's course servations” on the “stile" of Demosarose, were carried on, and sometimes thenes, the natural history of the ended. We may perceive also that the beaver, the fifth satellite of Saturn, greatest of these often hung on the verses to a fly taken out of a bowl of smallest of nails, like pictures, and see punch (capital letters), with receipts hów the mightiest impulses which have for the making of cyder and the curing stirred mankind were accompanied of hydrophobia. All these take up as throughout with a by-play of lesser much room as America, India, France, incidents which go far to make up the and the rest of the world. pleasures and the pains of daily expe- Thus manifold tastes are suited, but rience. There never, indeed, was a it is from a large sheaf in the middle of time in which sugar was not sweet, the book that I would first pluck a few bụttons did not come off, chimneys did stalks for my reader. It is called not smoke, and it was not difficult to “ Principal Occurrences in the Year.” find a piece of bread buttered on both
not gathered from the sides. Probably some of the three small fields of the United Kingdom hundred at Thermopylæ had colds in alone. The whole world offers a bartheir heads, and the “Decay of the vest, and the reaper wanders over its Roman Empire” was surely accom- surface cutting handfuls here and there panied by that of many Roman teeth. from what seem to him the richest Gibbon does not notice this, but it con- growths, and worthy of being called cerned ancient citizens more personally - principal.” I have sometimes wonthan the conduct of senates or Cæsars. dered at the guiding motive of those Though the turning round of the earth chroniclers who pin an event to each is a mighty business, involving the day in our present common almanacks, order of creation and the existence of and fill a space which might have mankind, we have to think what we served for the making of a mémoran
dum with the statement that on such | hint that there was any prospect of its and such a date “ John Bright was general adoption. It was only “ingenborn,' ," or
66 Galileo died.” Occasion- ious.'' Presently follows an account ally you come across a juxtaposition of the execution of one 66 Anckerwhich suggests a fitness in the se- stroem,” who had assassinated his quence of events. The other day I Swedish Majesty. This reveals a hornoticed these immediately following rible bluntness of the age to the cruelannouncements in a penny calendar. ties of punishment, being recorded
Martyrs burned at Oxford,” “Fire without comment, except that the 'asInsurance begins.” This was obvi- sassin was taken to the final place of ously unintentional, otherwise there execution “amid the hisses and hootwould surely have been more happy ings of the attending multitudes," coincidences. But the choice of the which, say's
the narrator coolly, historian who records the “ Principal “ seemed considerably to affect him.” Occurrences” for a whole year in the One might have thought his feelings “New Annual Register” indicates what had become blunted by that time, for would seem to be a curious paucity of this is how he was treated. news in the journals of the day, since Having been deprived of " his rights in his opening pages he gives equal of nobility, and of a citizen, with inprominence to“ an extraordinary earth- famy,” the night before, he “ quake at Lisbon,” the offering by the ducted to the Ritten-haus market, and pope of “a suite of superb rooms” in fastened by an iron collar upon a scafthe Vatican to “ Prince Augustus, fifth fold during two hours, and afterwards son of his Britannic Majesty” (who whipped with a rod of five lashes, at a politely declined them), and the finding stake, where, under his name, with the of “an enormous stone in the body of title of regicide added, was tied the pis
cart mare at Colchester." This tol and the knife, the instruments of comes in the chronicle of January, his crime. The same punishment was which also immortalizes a certain “ Mr. repeated on the 20th at the Hay-marSmith " who was crushed to death in a ket, and the 21st at the market of crowd outside the Haymarket Theatre, Adolphus Frederic: Yesterday termiand the humanity of the inhabitants of nated his existence on a scaffold erected Hull, " which deserves to be recorded in the great square. His right hand to their honor,” since they collected was first chopped off by the execu
fifty-six pounds ” for the relief of a tioner, who immediately afterwards beshipwrecked crew. More interesting headed him, and then divided his body is a glimpse of the rude condition of into four quarters, which are stuck up agriculture a hundred years ago. This in different parts of the city,” It is is indicated by two announcements. added that “ At the commencement of The first records the invention of a his punishment he shewed much firmmachine, “which so simple, and so ness, but his strength became exexcellently contrived, that by one and hausted from his sufferings ; and be the same movement it separates com- was dragged, being incapable of walkpletely, and throws into different re- ing, to the places of punishment anel ceivers, the heavy corn and the light.” execution.”
then that the The other tells how can ingenious people hooted (loyal subjects !), not at farmer," having cut the “tops and the bideousness of the spectacle, but au tails,” stacked and thatched about him." twenty loads of turnips, so that they And there is not a word in the narwere preserved from the frost, and rative of the registrar to indicate any “when opened,” were found per- perception on his part that the three fectly sound and fresh,” affording “an days' torture (for it was nothing less) excellent fodder.” This now common of this criminal could be reckoned barprocess was then hailed as a unique barous, or that the recital of it would discovery, but the narrator does not be other than gratifying to his educated
readers. Indeed, this “ occurrence” is the day seem to have been almost recorded with evident satisfaction at always impotent. Instances of lonthe sense of just retribution which it gevity are of course duly recorded, and revealed. The story of another fol- in one, that of “a little woman lows, also illustrating the severity of died in the hundred and fifth year of punishment a hundred years
ago. her age, it is mentioned that, “Some Some convicts who had escaped from years before her death she had a new Botany Bay in an open boat were cap- set of teeth.” But it is not said tured after a miserable voyage of ten whether these were provided by a denweeks and taken to England, but ex- tist or by nature ; if by the former, pressed a desire to suffer death rather was it to rank as a principal occurthan be sent back to New South Wales. rence" ?
Those were the days of damages for In these days of rapid intercourse it libel, however. On the same page is is interesting to notice that the arrival the report of an action brought by a of “the Thames Frigate” off Portsyoung lady against the proprietor of mouth on April the 3rd, “ with dethe Morning Post, Mr. Tattersal, a spatches from the East Indies," has a “horse-dealer,” living in the Isle of paragraph to itself, she having sailed Ely, who (on that account) pleaded from “ Tellicherry” the 28th of Deignorance of " what was going on in cember, and from the Cape the 2nd this great city," i.C., London. But of February. But these long postal “the jury brought in a verdict for the voyages lasted occasionally into the plaintiff — damages, £4,000.”
Then “ fifties” of the present century. we have mention of one Serjeant Take other entries which indicate Grant, whose sentence, for some social advance. In the report of the cause, was mitigated,” " and instead of House of Commons on the number of his having a “thousand” lashes, he debtors in different gaols (the total was let off with “• fifty," which he re- number was 1,957), it appears that ceived “on the parade at St. James'.” one Gaskin," a leather-dresser, had The mention of the original punish- been confined eleven years for a debt ment ordered is, apparently, incidental. of “five shillings” in the county gaol The point in the “occurrence " is the at Worcester. This was hard lines, but mitigation of his sentence. Public not to be compared with the sufferings whipping, however, was by no means of some negroes, next recorded, as reserved for military offenders. Two thus (without comment) : “Barbadoes,
occurrences” in the outskirts of this June 17. The King George, Howard same year are mentioned, one of which (was he related to the philanthroespecially involved a matter of " great pist ?), of Bristol, was lost about the importance to the public, who were middle of April to windward of this daily suffering under similar imposi- island. She had on board when she tions."
A mau had fraudulently ob- went on shore 283 men slaves, 261 of tained two shillings from a servant for whom were drowned in the 'tweenthe delivery of a parcel, and for this he decks, they being in irons, and the was sentenced to three months' im- gratings locked down. One old man prisonment, and then “to be publickly and a boy, being not well, and on deck, whipped from the Admiralty to Charing swam to shore, as did many of the Cross, and thence to Bridge Street, women, 87 of whom were sold here." Parliament Street.” In the other case, Still there were not wanting some that of kidnapping a voter, the offender kindly disposed people in English sowas sentenced to be " whipped through ciety. The next paragraph tells us the streets" of Edinburgh, and then how when Lord Egremont's horse won :66 banished Scotland for seven years.' £50 « on the race-ground at Bright
Among the events mentioned, few helmstone,” his lordship asked some are more frequent than fires, for the gentlemen who stood
him extinguishing of which the engines of l" whether there was a Sunday School
at Brighton." The answer was that the real representatives of the people, there were “two." His lordship then and that therefore the laws were not desired that the plate won by his horse enacted by their own consent.” Mr. might be equally divided for the ben- Perry seems to have escaped, since a efit of those laudable institutions. All reward of £100 was offered for his this, be it remarked, was in the lifetimne apprehension. of some who (presumably) are alive The last item in “ Principal Occur
rences is the table of metropolitan It was exactly a hundred years ago mortality for the year, in which it apthat Earl Stanhope's experiments for pears that the “Burials” showed an navigating vessels with “the steam en- excess over the
" Christenings” of were recognized by the Navy 865, and that of the children who had Board, which undertook to pay the died (the total deaths of all ages being expense of one (two hundred tons bur- 20,213), 8,703 were under five years of den)“ on condition that if she do not age, and that only 432 persons (male answer, after a fair trial, she shall be and female) reached the age of eighty returned to Earl Stanhope, and all the in the twelve months. With regard to expense incurred made good by him.” the proportion of infant deaths, since This, adds the narrator, “is undoubt- children were not counted till they had edly a noble experiment, and highly been christened, there would probably honorable to his lordship, whatever be many who died (born, but unreckmay be its success. If it answer, the oned) before baptism. This suggests advantage to the public, particularly in an appalling picture of infant mortality inlaud navigation, will be immense.” in London (and, indeed, elsewhere), The next paragraph tells us that Lord only a hundred years ago. Falmouth and others were laudably On searching the “Principal Occurexerting themselves to prevent the rences” of the following year for the plundering of wrecked vessels by the fate of the man who stuck a handbill, country people on the coast of Corn-" This house to let, etc.," on the door .wall.
of the Fleet Prison, I find that “since There is mention made of food riots he had conducted himself with a crimin various parts, and straws in the wind inal effrontery that bespoke no comshowed that certain disaffected people punction of heart,” he was sentenced were being ivflamed by reason of what to be "imprisoned in Newgate for the had been coming to pass in France. term of three years, and during that One man was taken into custody for time to stand once in the pillory at the having stuck upon the door of the Fleet Royal Exchange, and at the expiration Prison « This house to let. Peaceable of his imprisonment to find security for possession will be given by the present his good behavior for five years, himtenants, etc., etc. Bastiles are no self in £500, and two sureties in £250 longer necessary in Europe." We are each” lesson to political billnot here told what was done with this stickers. dangerous wag, but a company of the As might be expected, one marked London militia was ordered to be on feature of this century-old “Register" duty night and day, and a large meet- is the repeated list of men and women ing of bankers, traders, and others was left for execution.” Some of these, held at Merchant Taylors' Hall,“ when indeed, were respited, but the gibbet a declaration expressive of their deter- was the chief weapon of the law for mination to support our present happy punishing all sorts and conditions of constitution was unanimously agreed offenders. Protests, however, were to.” But all do not appear to have not wanting against this severity. The been satisfied, since about the same public conscience was beginning to be time Mr. Perry, the printer of the touched, though it can hardly be said Argus, was indicted for a libel, to wit, to have been awakened till within the " that the House of Commons were not I last thirty or forty years. Voices, too,