it was past nine o'clock. In making choice of dresses, collars, and aprons, pro tempore, some half-dozen of each had been taken from their places; and these things were lying about on chairs, trunks, and bed, together with millclothes just taken off. Bertha had not combed her bair: but Charlotte gave her's a hasty dressing before ‘going out shopping :' and there lay brush, combs, and hair on the table. There were a few pictures hanging about the walls, such as You are the prettiest rose,' &c., &c. Bertha blushed when Ann entered, she was evidently ashamed of the state of her room, and vexed at Ann's intrusion. Ann understood the reason, when Bertha told her with a sigh, that she had been hurrying all the morning to get through the "Children of the Abbey," before Charlotte returned. ... She,' said Bertha, spends every cent of her wages for dress and confectionary. She has gone out now, and she will come back with lemons, sugar, rich cake, and so on. She had better do as I do-spend her money for books, and her leisure time in reading them. I buy three volumes of novels every month : and when that is not enough, I take some from the circulating library. I think it our duty to improve our mind, as much as possible, now the mill-girls are beginning to be thought so much of.

Ann was a bit of a wag. Idle as a breeze, like a breeze she sported with every trifling thing that came in her way,

** Pshaw!' said she. 'And so we must begin to read novels, be very sentimental, talk about tears and flowers, dews and bowers. There is some poetry for you, Bertha. Don't you think I'd better “astonish the natives" by writing a practical rhapsody, nicknamed “Twilight Raesil," or some other silly, inappropriate thing, and sending it to the Offering.' Oh, how fine this would be !' Then I could purchase a few novels, borrow a few more, take a few more from a circulating library: and then shed tears, and grow soft over them-all because we are taking a higher stand in the world, you know, Bertha.'”-(pp. 137, 138.)

We imagine the writer of these lively sketches knew more of factory life in Lowell than Miss Martineau or Mr. Dickens-or what is more likely, had a juster idea of it, and was more willing to draw aside the veil. Let us hear her sound advice :

"See, Isabel!' exclaimed Ann, interrupting herself, "there sits poor Alice just as we left her. I wish she had walked with us—she would have felt so much better. Do you think, Isabel, that religion would make her

*** Most certainly, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden. Take my yoke upon you: for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye skall find rest to your souls,” is as "faithful a saying" and as "worthy of all acceptation ” now, as when it was uttered, and when thousands came and " were healed of all manner of diseases." Yes, Alice may yet be happy,' she added, musingly, 'if she can be induced to read Byron less, and her Bible more; to think less of her own gratification, and more of that of others. And we will be very gentle to her, Ann: but not the less faithful and constant in our efforts to win her to usefulness and happiness.”-(pp. 151, 152.)

We might, from these pages of fiction, gather many other passages suggestive of real and important facts, which would give us, we conceive, a far truer idea of the real state of things at Lowell, than is furnished by its professed historians, Miss Martineau and Mr. Dickens, of whose facts we will not say that they are fictions, but that they are facts only on the surface--facts recorded by hasty 1845,

2 0



tourists and sentimental dreamers, and conveying no just idea of the interior and individual life of the Lowell factory girls. We wish this lauded “city of spindles” may not, after all, be something of a New Lanark, an Owenite Utopian model of social felicity. At all events, as we have not the power, so neither have we any wish to make it a pattern for our home reforms. If Mr. Knight has a real wish to accelerate the amelioration of the human race, he must give us something more tangible than his Lowell Offering. Let us be free to say, that we must have a safer guide than his friend Miss Martineau. But it is time to close. Mr. Knight's conclusion is as follows :

“The publishers of this volume of their weekly series desire to welcome the authoresses of Lowell as denizens of the European republic of letters. The editor of their volumes says, “We hoped, ere this, to have seen a spa. cious room with a library, &c., established in each corporation, for the accommodation of the female operatives in the evenings." If our selection from “ The Lovell Offering,” yields profit, we shall transmit a portion of it to that gentleman to be applied in the most fitting way for the advance of that intellectual improvement to which his young friends have so honourably contributed."-(p. xxiii.)

For ourselves we will only say,—Let all parties take Isabel's advice. Let them "read the bible more," and that in private, not in public halls and common rooms) :—Byron and others of the school (hoc omne genus), less, and then will all find the true way of wisdom, and as surely find rest to their souls. This must be our sole application of this lengthy article, and we will just take leave to seal it with a sketch which it has often been our happiness to realize, and which has more than once occurred to us in the way of contrast, as we have read the eternal phrase, “superior culture," and have cast our eyes upon the heading of our theme“Mind among the Spindles.

“Yon cottager, who weaves at her own door,

Pillow and bobbins all her little store;
Content, though mean, and cheerful, if not gay,
Shuffling her threads about the livelong day,
Just earns a scanty pittance, and at night
Lies down secure, her heart and pocket light:
She, for her humble sphere by nature fit,
Has little understanding, and no wit,
Receives no praise ; but, though her lot be such,
(Toilsome and indigent,) she renders much:
Just knows, and knows no more, her Bible true-
A truth the brilliant Frenchman never knew :
And in that charter reads with sparkling eyes,
Her title to a treasure in the skies."


Second Edition. London : Rivingtons. 1845. SPEECH OF THE REV. HUGH M'NEILE, at a Public

Meeting held at Liverpool, on Monday the 7th of April, 1845, against the proposed National Endowment of Romanism. London : Seeleys. 1845.

The first of these is so valuable a tract, that we should be rejoiced to be able to transfer the whole to our own pages.

But as that is impossible, we must be content to give a copious description of it.

Dr. Wordsworth commences with this just and forcible observation.

"Unity in true religion being the great conservative principle of a Commonwealth, and civil discord and disquiet being the natural consequences of religious dissension, it is certain that when a nation is passing from the Toleration of various forms of religious belief to the Encouragement of them, its civil rulers have great cause for alarm, whether they look upward to heaven unto Him who is the lover of peace and truth, and from whom all national blessings and judgments come, or downward to earth on those who have a right to seek for steady guidance and quietness at their hands, and, if not directed and maintained in the way of unity and peace, will be led to exert the power which they possess to the injury of the civil authority and to the disorganization of the state.”—(p. 3.)

He adds, that "The evils to be feared from this very hazardous position of affairs become more formidable and imminent from the circumstance that men are usually disposed to shrink from the labour of investigating, and from the difficulty of maintaining, general principles, however important they may be; and are prone to be content to acquiesce in the admission of evils however manifest, provided they but seem to bear some analogy to ills which already exist, and to follow as consequences from them; and they are thus, almost insensibly, brought to the condition of regarding present national evils as sufficient reasons for new evils, and to look on disorders in the body politic as necessitating fresh diseases, rather than as demanding remedies : and not only so, but they are not unwilling to imagine analogies where none exist, and tacitly to consent to the introduction of new disorders of a different kind, on the plea of some resemblance which they are alleged to bear to those already in existence.”—(pp. 3, 4.)

Then entering upon the main question, he proceeds,"We affirm, and trust we shall be able to prove, that this augmentation of the public grant to Maynooth,—such as Maynooth' is, and such as it has been shown to be on unquestionable evidence,-would be inconsistent and irreconcilable with and directly contrary to, the duty of the State to itself.”—(p. 6.)

At the outset, Dr. Wordsworth finds it necessary to encounter

[ocr errors]

“certain allegations, which to some appear to have considerable weight.”

When we question the wisdom and safety of increasing the grant to the College of Maynooth, we are asked, 'Do you recollect the origin of that institution? do you remember under what auspices it arose ? do you not forget that it was established by the Parliament of the Irish nation, with the approval, if not with the advice, of Mr. Pitt, and with the sanction of King George III.? And do you then pretend to present yourself before us as if you understood better the interests of the crown and of the country, than that monarch and his distinguished adviser? Are not those, who wish well to the British empire, heard often to express their desire that it may always have such sovereigns and statesmen as those to wbom Maynooth owes its existence?'

“ All this we know well, and we hear and receive it with no dissatisfaction at all. And what then,' it may be asked,' do you allege in reply?'

“First of all, - we would say a few words with regard to that fallibility from which the greatest men are not exempt, and from which only the weakest and worst claim to be free; and that therefore no opinions or examples of men, however excellent, are to have with us the force of laws ; and we would say next, that though some wise and excellent men did approve of the foundation of Maynooth,- for reasons to which we shall presently refer, -and for these reasons, let me add, Mr. Burke mentions such a design without disapprovalyet it must not be forgotten, that many other great men were of a contrary opinion, before the results of Maynooth were matters of history; and that among those who took an active part by petition and remonstrance against the proposed measure, was one whose name is never to be mentioned without veneration, for his intellectual vigour, solid erudition, and masculine courage, -I mean the late Archbishop Magee, who has left on record a statement of his own fears on that subject, before the college was founded, which alas! like some of his other predictions on another topic of a similar but still more momentous nature, where confident expectations were entertained of the most favourable issues, have been signally and lamentably verified.

" If authorities of this description be further required, it is not irrelevant to advert to the circumstance stated by the late President of Maynooth, Dr. Crotty, that' when Mr. Perceval was applied to, in 1809, instead of granting the sum (£12,000) that had been granted to Maynooth the year before, he lowered it to what it had been (£7000).'

“But we will now maintain that we are not in any way concerned to express an opinion either on one side or the other, with regard to the expediency of the original foundation of Maynooth in the year 1795.

“We know that the circumstances of that period were full of difficulty and danger. All the seminaries in France, where the Irish Roman Catholic ecclesiastics had hitherto been usually educated, were destroyed; and, even if they had not been so, yet such was the condition of the times, that all loyal and religious principles would have been rooted out of them. Take one specimen of the public opinion prevalent in France at that period with regard to education. In 1792, Condorcet had come forward with his report on that subject, before the Legislative Assembly, and, in the words of the historian of education in France, 'il part de deux principes audacieusement formulés; la négation de toute religion et la perfectibilité indéfinie de l'espèce humaine. So much then for the moral and religious part of the subject: now for the civil. In 1793, David presented his report on the same topic, to the French Convention, proposing "l'érection sur le Pont-Neuf d'un monument qui répresenterait l'image du Peuple Géant; les effigies des Rois et les débris de leurs vils attri: buts lui serviraient de piédestal ;' and, as a close to the whole, the National Assembly, shortly after, decreed, as a necessary qualification for the office of instructor, in every school, that he should take the oath 'de haine à la Royauté et d'attachement à la République.?

" It is evident, then, that, at the period of the foundation of Maynooth, continental education had become almost unattainable to the future Roman Catholic ecclesiastics of Ireland, or, if attainable, was only to be had adulterated with atheistical and anarchical principles; and, it must not be forgotten, in addition to this, that it was very reasonable to hope-alas ! that this hope as we shall show) has been so unhappily frustrated, -that if education, free from all foreign influences, civil and ecclesiastical, were provided by the state for that class of Irish subjects which had hitherto been trained abroad, they would grow up in feelings of patriotism and loyalty, and would be examples, in their own practice, of that submission and obedience to civil authority, which ministers of the gospel are specially required, by the Word of God, to teach, and for the due maintenance of which they are there enjoined to pray.

" We repeat, then, that we are by no means concerned to express any opinion,-favourable or the reverse, -on the expediency or necessity of the foundation of Maynooth in 1795. Nor, if we grant, for argument's sake, that the measure was then a wise one, are we, by any means obliged to allow, that its maintenance is just or prudent at the present time. No, on the contrary, if the institution is shown,-yes, if it even show itself,—to have been productive of great injuries to the monarchy of these realms,-if the annual bounty of the nation is proved to have been abused to purposes injurious to the public peace and welfare,-if these abuses are not in course of rectification, but the reverse, and are difficult to rectify,--then we affirm, let the institution of Maynooth have been a public benefit in 1795, yet it has become, in 1845, a pnblic calamity, and ought, we do not hesitate to say, to be treated accordingly. This is no strange doctrine in human affairs. The brazen serpent was erected by Moses at the command of God, but, at a subsequent period, the same unchangeable God did not disapprove of its destruction by Hezekiah.

"The sole question, then, to be considered is this :-how has the public money, voted to the maintenance of Maynooth, been spent ? to what purposes has it been applied ? what benefits has the country derived or is likely to derire, from this expenditure? Is there reason to believe,-(this, we say, is the question which the nation has not only a right, but a duty, to ask,) --that the influence exercised by Maynooth, has been, is, or will be, salutary to the monarchy, and conducive to the maintenance of its integrity, and to the peace and welfare of the country? Yes; and more than this, is there not great ground for apprehending that its tendency will be to weaken the power, and undermine the stability, of the United Kingdom, and to expose it to danger from foreign foes, and not only to enfeeble it by distractions from within, but to render it also more vulnerable from without ?

." Still more than all this,-Is, we ask, the evidence of the case of such a kind, -ure the influences to which Maynooth is subject

, -are merely the political principles (for of the religious, as I have said, I do not now speak) which are inculcated by it of such a character,—are the opinions entertained and expressed of its results by persons of the most various conditions of life and political sentiments of so favourable a tone,-as that now, fifty years after its foundation, the English nation should not only continue the grant which she has hitherto awarded to it, but should come forward and give a fresh mark of her confidence in its attachment to the crown and to the constitution, and select it as a fit object for special honour and reward at her hands, and propose it publicly to the eyes of the empire and the world as an example to be imilated by institutions of national education, and should afford additional means for the promotion of the principles which it teaches, and for the aggrandizement of the power to which it is subject, by an augmentation of the grant of public money in its behalf?

« VorigeDoorgaan »