« VorigeDoorgaan »
moved up the aisle. Out jumped from a large chair, a little man in black tights with a big sword! Pretty soon, down marched an officer with a large gilded instrument:
"May I be permitted to inquire, sir, if that-that-stick yonder, is-Cromwell's bauble-the mace?"
"You're quite right, sir. It's the bauble-ha! ha! You Americans don't pay much respect to such legislative symbols !"
The man with the mace and sword marched the others up to the Speaker, who mumbled over something. It was doubtless a message from the upper house. I could see in it, though disguised, the original of our own modus operandi. The mace was carefully laid out of sight, and I much edified.
From the vote given, one may see what the Parliament of England is about. For some months past they have debated, and for some months to come they will debate, a measure of penalty, which a new rescript of the Pope may avoid; and which, when enacted, will serve as an excellent mode of persecuting into the Catholic Church a goodly number of Her Majesty's loyal subjects. It sounded strange to my ears, to hear the old statutes of premunire, and other obsolete enactments of the time of Richard II., quoted in this English Parliament and in this nineteenth century, as precedents for present legislation against PIO NONO PAPA! Titus Oates is not dead yet. The Premier lately declared his belief in a Popish plot to subvert the liberties of the people; and upon this belief, and a harmless letter making Dr. Wiseman an ecclesiastical officer of an English locality, is to be based a law of intolerance, which even James II. would have been ashamed to sanction. When will England learn the beautiful truths of free toleration? When will she leave accountability in spiritual matters to GOD alone? When will she learn the significance of the first Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, in its application to human societies of divers religions and sects: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
But we would not judge her harshly from whom we have received such rich legacies of political wisdom. Well we know that the ecclesiastical polity of England has been growing for ages, and intertwisting its fibres with her civil polity. To pull it down, both must be uptorn. For that event England is not yet prepared. Time is the innovator in England. With a Queen so young and popular, and to whom we may almost apply the adulatory poetry of Lord COKE (the only poetry he ever committed,) to Queen Elizabeth, that, as the "rose is the queen among flowers, and smelleth more sweetly when it is plucked from the branch, so I may say and justify, that she, by just desert, is the queen of queens, not only by royal descent, but by roseal beauty also," with such a Queen the loyal spirit of England is blindly enamored. The disfranchised and tax-ridden millions, and the poor, who also number by millions, must still cry to Heaven for relief; for England's hat and hurrah will go up for Victoria so long as she wields the sceptre. This loyalty operates to stem reform.
Give England an unpopular head, such as she had in the time of JUNIUS, and Truth and Justice will no longer become hollow words to "make earth sick and Heaven weary," and religious toleration may ingraft some of our own features Constitution of England.
Ander the Crystal and in the Park.
"The life of man is much beholden to the mechanical Arts; there being many things conducing to the ornament of religion, to the grace of civil discipline, and to the beautifying of all human kind, produced out of their treasures. Bacon.
FTER the rural racing jaunt of yesterday, we are again on our
way to the Great Exhibition. We pass the barracks, around which we see red-coats keeping sentinel. On the walls is written, in big letters of chalk, so that the wayfaring man, though a fool, can read; "You bloody Saxons;" and directly under it; "No bloody popery!" Thus do the chance scribblings of the "vulgar" show the effervescence of the public mind. These two signs upon the house of Force-do they not state the question which was debated the other night by England's best minds? Write that debate out, and boil it down, and it is still "bloody Saxon" and "bloody Popery."
We should be, indeed, culpable, if before we reach the palace, we failed to notice the elegant gates and delightful gardens which adorn Hyde Park. This Park is 360 acres, or more, in It has many gates. The most costly and beautiful is the principal entrance. It cost over seventy thousand pounds alone. It is of the most exquisite carving, and forms a fitting portal to so spacious and inviting a spot. Nearly all of this part of London has been built within ten years. Lofty mansions, cities of squares, crescents, terraces, noble streets and avenues, fine churches and great gardens, are all about us. Lots of land which, in the early part of the last century, brought $60 rent
per year, now bring $60,000.
But the Exhibition opens. We enter at the east entrance, finding the United States at work fitting up its department. We trust in the end our Union will make a fit and appropriate show. The Times, in speaking of our meagre collection, makes this remark: "They don't 'whip all nature hollow,' but they have several very interesting machines, and the useful character of their display as a whole, forms a really striking contrast to the showy attributes of the national industries developed around them." It is true. There is not so much to catch the eye by the gairish display of our contribution. While crowds surround the Queen of Spain's crown and bracelets, with their jewelled splendorswhile the Indian elephant-saddles have their hosts about them -while the French silver and porcelain tea-service, wrought into every modification of beauty, catch the sight-while the great English carpet, woven by the fifty loyal ladies of London for the Queen, has its throng of admirers-while the Tunissian pack-saddles and brocade costumes, the Milan sculpture, the Wurtemberg stuffed animals, the French tapestry, (oh! how magnificently regal!) each and all are cynosures for eager gazers, our American collection boasts of the utile, non dulce.
I spoke of Hobbs, the lock king, in a former chapter. I met him to-day, and he explained his lock, which is on exhibition. It is a permutating lock. The key makes the lock. The modifications which may be made in it are only 1,307,654,358,000! It would take a person more than a Methuselah's age to use these mutations. He opened the lock and explained its intricate complexity. It is a wonder, and excites attention in the United States department only next to the Greek Slave.
Upon this day we began to visit the nations in the east end of the building, skipping Russia, whose articles are detained by Baltic ice, and commencing with the German states under the Zollverein. A fine piece of statuary representing the Bacchantes, attracts our attention, while, as if firing at the tipsy followers of the vine-god, is pointed a splendid gun, glittering like a mirror. Next comes an exact imitation of the towers of
Heidelberg, complete to the smallest rock. We have a model of Niagara Falls here, but it is a miserable one, affording no adequate idea of the extent of the fall. It is spread over some miles, consequently the cataract looks puny enough.
Prussia has one of the most entrancing rooms in the palace. It is lit with colored glass, all figured richly with recesses around, wherein is arranged statuary, paintings, and porcelain frames. We noticed a chess-board, costing $15,000, carved out of silver, set with jewels, and each knight, king, queen, and bishop, a perfect gem of carving in itself.
Prince Albert's birth-place, Rosenau Castle, in Saxe Coburg, had its model—a most bewitching piece. The German lasses were waltzing upon the green sward, while a German holiday had gathered its thousands about the castle. While seeing so many fine representations of scenery, and knowing how munificent nature has spread her beauties in my own American land, could I help wishing for some of Cole's landscapes of Hudson or Susquehanna scenery? Could I help wishing for a faithful portrait of that nature which Bryant, in a sonnet to the painter, reminds him before going to Europe, to bear uppermost in his mind:
"Lone lakes, savannas where the bison roves,
Rocks rich with summer garlands, solemn streams:
Instead of these, the observer meets with model towers and ruins, churches, and opera houses, and even models of Swiss scenery. How we longed to see the lofty originals of the latter.
I observed in a large glass case, a magnificent representation of Alpine scenery, wherein at a glance was combined every form of sublimity and terror, of loveliness and beauty. The proximity is singular. Upland valleys of softest verdure repose sweetly at the foot of the eternal glacier. Huge snowy peaks, ready for an avalanche, frown over delicious spots of pastoral