Fifth Series, 3 Volume XXVI.

No. 1821. - May 10, 1879.

From Beginning,

Vol. CXLI.



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Cornhill Magazine,
II. THE BRIDE'S Pass. By Sarah Tytler, au.

thor of “What She Came Through,” “ Lady
Bell,” etc. Part XII., .

Advance Sheets,

Blackwood's Magazine, .
Part III.,

Advance Sheets,

Fraser's Magazine, VI. SCIENCE AND FAITH,

Spectator, VII. UPHILL WORK,

Saturday Review, VIII, SIR A. PANIZZI,


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No wind of bitterness can sear

The oakleaves * round that sacred head. (MAJOR STEVART SMITH.)

A wave on glory's living sea,

Till Fate's cold gripe hath quenched the
THERE sweeps across the ocean foam
A chill blast, heavy with despair,

Arrayed in light the name shall be And many a broken English home

Of him who spiked the gun. Is shuddering into silent prayer;

Cornhill Magazine.

F. H. DOYLE. Unlooked for, and undreamt of, strike Those words of evil, wounding deep,

* The civic crown - ob cives servatos. To rouse us wild with terror, like

The stab that murders sleep.

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From The Cornhill Magazine, She used to give us milk and bread for

breakfast, an apple pudding for dinner,

and bread and cheese for supper. Her In common with that of all men who, fire was made of turf cut from the neighfrom the lowest origin and through the boring heath, and her evening light was a most extraordinary obstacles, have made rush dipped in grease.” As soon as the their way to fame and power, the life of boy William was old enough to be useful William Cobbett must at all times, and on the farm, he was set to work. Scaring under all variations of opinion, derive a birds was of course his first occupation; certain claim on our attention, from the and he was sent into the field with his purely human interest attaching to it. At wooden bottle and his satchel when he the present day, however, it possesses was hardly big enough to climb the gates something more than this. Many of the and stiles. Here he remained the whole social and political questions which Cob- day, finding it, as he tells us, a task of bett was the first to raise in this country infinite difficulty to get home at night. slumbered for a long time after his death, Had a commission been appointed in those and have only recently reappeared. They days to inquire into the condition of agrihave taken, indeed, a very different form cultural children, would this have been from that which they wore in his hands, accounted cruelty? Cobbett, at all events, but they are essentially the same ques- throve under the system. In due time he tions, and to Cobbett belongs the credit, was set to weed wheat, then to lead a for good or for evil, of having been the horse at harrowing; and eventually he first to indicate their existence. It would joined the reapers at harvest, and rose to be far beyond the scope of this article to the dignity of driving the team, and hold. consider these questions on their merits; ing the plough. “ Honest pride and happy but as entwined with the growth of a very days !” says he. Cobbett, however, even uncommon character, they possess a col. at this early age, appears to have been lateral interest sufficient to excuse the inore alive to the beauties of nature than introduction of them in an essay which is most children of his class or perhaps of not political.

any other class. He remembered the Cobbett was born at Farnham, in Sur- pleasure that he took when a very little rey, on March 9, 1762. His father was boy in the birds and the flowers, in the the son of a day-laborer, but had risen primroses and bluebells clustering on the himself into the position of a small oc- hedge banks, and the song of the linnets cupier, and, according to the account given in the spreading trees above his head. of him in the Annual Register, kept the He was also, as he continued through life, public-house called the " Jolly Farmer.” keenly alive to the sports of the field, and The grandfather, who had worked forty at the cry of the hounds used to start from years for the same master, died before his work and dash after them wherever William Cobbett was born. Every one, they led him. When he was about fourhis grandson hopes, “will have the good teen he accompanied his father to Weyhill ness to believe that he was no philosopher fair, and heard the London Gazette read

neither was he a deist — and all his out at supper announcing the taking of children were born in wedlock. The lega. Long Island by the British. But it was cies he left were his scythe, bis reap-hook, not till he was more than twenty, that his and his fail.” His grandmother he re- mind was really stirred to look beyond the membered well, who lived “in a little limits of his own happy valley, and to grow thatched cottage with a garden before the impatient of his homely life. In the autumn door. It had but two windows; a damson- of 1782 he paid a visit to a relative who tree shaded one, and a clump of filberts lived near Portsmouth, and his first view the other. Here I and my brother went of the sea from the top of Portsdown Hill every Christmas and Whitsuntide to spend inspired him with a sudden longing to be a week or two, and torment the poor old a sailor. He went on board a man-of-war woman with our noise and dilapidations. with that object, but the captain good-naturedly refused to take him, and he | He had read a little in general literature returned to the plough once more, but besides; and used to boast that he was “spoiled for a farmer.” His former a much better educated man than " the amusement palled upon him, and to sur- frivolous dunces” who came from Westpass his brothers in the labors of the field minster and Eton. But for the want of no longer satisfied his ambition.

the training to be got at these despised At length, in May 1783, when he was institutions, Cobbett, in the judgment of dressed to go to a neighboring fair in com- Lord Dalling, never did himself justice in pany with some village girls, he met the the arena of political philosophy. Un. London coach just as he sallied from home, doubtedly, with the advantages of a regular and, unable to resist the impulse of the education he would liave been less violent, moment, mounted to the roof and was less coarse, and less really superficial than soon deposited in London to make his own he was. But whether his influence with fortune. He descended from the coach the public would have been any


greater almost penniless, for his little stock of on that account may reasonably be doubted. money, consisting of a few crown and half- It was the simplicity and directness of his crown pieces, which he says he had been writings which made tbem so popular and years in amassing, “melted away like so powerful; and these are not always snow before the sun when touched by the reconcilable with the study of first prinfingers of the innkeepers and their wait-ciples, the investigation of remote causes, ers." He was indebted for immediate and the analysis and comparison of comshelter to the generosity of one of his fel- plex and divergent products. Such as he low-travellers, a hop-merchant, who had was, however, he had made himself by made the acquaintance of Cobbett's father these seven years of application, and the at Weyhill. Through him be obtained a achievement is probably unique. situation as clerk to an attorney in Gray's In February 1792, he married Anne Inn, but finding this life intolerable, he Reid, a young woman who had saved some enlisted in the Fifty-fourth Regiment, and money in domestic service ; and after trywas soon on his way to Nova Scotia. ing his fortune as a bookseller and journalCobbett remained in the army for seven ist in America, where he made himself years, rose to the rank of sergeant-major, famous in the town of Philadelphia under and obtained his discharge in 1791 with a the sobriquet of “Peter Porcupine," he very flattering testimonial from his major, returned to England in the last year of the Lord Edward Fitzgerald. These seven eighteenth century. years are in some respects the most won- When Colbett disembarked at Falmouth derful of Cobbett's life. There is no need on the 8th of July, 1800, he brought back to describe what a barrack-room was in to England a Tory of the old school, in those days. Yet with all the interruptions, whom Bolingbroke and Barnard would distractions, and temptations to which have recognized a kindred spirit. Unforevery hour of his leisure was necessarily tunately, however, the Tories were at this exposed, he steadily applied himself to the time in power, and obnoxious to many of work of self-education. He procured a the same charges which the Craftsman “Lowth's English Grammar," to which, used to bring against the Whigs. The says he," I applied myself with unceasing great expense of government, the increase assiduity. ... The pains I took cannot of the national debt, the depression of the be described ; I wrote the whole grammar landed interest, the growth of jobbery and out two or three times; I got it by heart. corruption, etc., etc., stared Cobbett in the I repeated it every morning and every face when he returned from America as evening, and when on guard, I imposed on broadly as they did Bolingbroke when he myself the task of saying it all over once returned from France. But the Tories every time I was posted sentinel.” At the were Cobbett's friends, and it was neces. same time he was reading Watts’“ Logic,” sary that he should learn to distinguish and books on rhetoric and geometry, the between their principles and their pracauthors of which he afterwards forgot. | tices. Of the former, however, he had no

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philosophical conceptions, and the latter | after their names. He had letters at one offered by far the more templing field for time from four “squires" on his table. his peculiar talents. However, he did at When he left England, he said, men used first begin work as a supporter of the gov. to give the name of squire to none but ernment; nor do we know what authority gentlemen of great landed estate, keeping Lord Dalling had for stating that Mr. their carriages, hounds, and so forth; so Pitt's omission to take proper notice of that his head was nearly turned by finding him was one main cause of his defection. himself, who but ten years before " The evidence, which is supplied by Mr. clumping about in nailed shoes and a Smith's biography,* does not corroborate smock frock," on such intimate terms with this statement. There we find that as four grandees of this rank. What was his soon as Cobbett came to England, Mr. astonishment, then, on coming to London, Windham, Pitt's secretary at war, invited to find wbo these squires really were — him to dioner; that he met on that occa- mere pamphleteers and pensioners, and sion a company of distinguished men, in- men of no origin at all! Among them all, cluding the prime minister himself; that he says, John Reeves and William Gifford the latter was extremely gracious to him ; were the only men of real talent; and these and that he left the table determined to spent their lives “in upholding measures start a daily paper and support the mon- which they abhorred, and in eulogizing archy. He might at this time, if he had men whom they despised.” The rest of liked, had a government paper as a free the crew, as he calls them, were “a low, gift, which he owns would have been a talentless set,” into which he dreaded the valuable property. It is true, as Lord idea of falling, and he seems to wish us to Dalling also points out, that the favor with believe that it was this feeling as much as which Mr. Pitt regarded the Roman Cath. any other which explains his alienation olics told against him in the estimation of from Pitt. He gave him, however, a tol. Cobbett, who at this period of his life was erably consistent general support till the a staunch anti-Romanist and Churchman; Peace of Amiens. The Porcupine, a daily but it could not have been this alone which paper, appeared on the 30th of October, prompted him to attack the government. 1800, with the motto, “Fear God and There is some reason to believe that Cob- honor the King,” and must have been bett for a time may have fallen under the considered a ministerial journal. But the influence of those discontented Tories who formation of the New Opposition, as it resented Mr. Pitt's predominance, and the was called, led by Lord Grenville and Mr. distance at which he kept his followers. Windham, marks the turning-point in Coba At all events it is both amusing and inter- bett's lise; and it was in the interests of esting to find him in an early number of this party that in January 1802 was pubthe Political Register gravely admonishing lished the first number of the celebrated the minister for his neglect of the High Political Register, which, according to the Church clergy and his advancement of Edinburgh Review, exercised a greater low-bred men to the first positions in the influence on the lower middle class than country. This was displeasing, he said, any periodical which had ever yet been to the English people, who had always published in Britain. been accustomed to see political power in The new party took its stand on the the hands of men of birth and station. In principle that no peace should have been much the same spirit are his sneers at the made with Buonaparte till the balance of other Tory writers of the day, among whom power was restored. Cobbett's letters to he was about to enrol himself. Many of Addington on this subject are very powerthem had written to him in America, and ful compositions, and must have tended sent him their pamphlets, on the title-pages very greatly to excite the war party in this of which the word “esquire ” always came country. But perhaps in point of style

and vigor, even these are surpassed by the William Cobbett: a Biography. By Edward “ Important Considerations for the People Smith. London: Sampson Low and Co. 1878. of this Kingdom," which appeared in the

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