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MODERN 



BRITISH ESSAYISTS. 



VOL. III. 



REV. SYDNEY SMITH 



PHILADELPHIA: 

CAREY AND HART. 

1846. 



THE 



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WOEKS 



OF 



THE REY. SYDNEY SMITH. 



THREE VOLUMES, 



COMPLETE IN ONE. 



PHILADELPHIA: 
CAREY AND HART. 

STEREOTYPED BY L. JOHNSON. 

1845. 



Printed by T. K. & P. G. Collins. 
Stpreotyped by L. Johnson & Co.. Philadelphia. 



PREFACE. 



When first I went into the Church, I had a curacy in the middle of 
Salisbury Plain. The Squire of the parish took a fancy to me, and requested 
me to go with his son to reside at the University of Weimar; before we 
could get there, Germany became the seat of war, and in stress of politics 
we put into Edinburgh, where I remained five years. The principles of 
the French Revolution were then fully afloat, and it is impossible to con- 
ceive a more violent and agitated state of society. Among the first persons 
with whom I became acquainted were. Lord Jeffrey, Lord Murray (late 
Lord Advocate for Scotland), and Lord Brougham ; all of them maintaining 
opinions upon political subjects a little too liberal for the dynasty of Dundas, 
then exercising supreme power over the northern division of the island. 

One day we happened to meet in the eighth or ninth story or flat in 
Buccleugh-place, the elevated residence of the then Mr. Jeffrey. I proposed 
that we should set up a Review; this was acceded to with acclamation. 
I was appointed Editor, and remained long enough in Edinburgh to edit 
the first number of the Edinburgh Review. The motto I proposed for the 
Review was, 

" Tenui musam meditamur avena." 
" We cultivate literature upon a little oatmeal." 

But this was too near the truth to be admitted, and so we took our present 
grave motto from Publius Syrus, of whom none of us had, I am sure, 
ever read a single line; and so began what has since turned out to be 
a very important and able journal. When I left Edinburgh, it fell into 
the stronger hands of Lord Jefl^rey and Lord Brougham, and reached the 
highest point of popularity and success. I contributed from England many 
articles, which I have been foolish enough to collect and publish with some 
other tracts written by me. 

To appreciate the value of the Edinburgh Review, the state of England 
at the period when that journal began should be had in remembrance. 
The Catholics were not emancipated — the Corporation and Test Acts were 
unrepealed — the Game Laws were horribly oppressive — Steel Traps and Spring 



4 PREFACE. 

Guns were set all over the country — Prisoners tried for their Lives could 
have no Counsel — Lord Eldon and the Court of Chancery pressed heavily 
upon mankind — Libel was punished by the most cruel and vindictive im- 
prisonments — the principles of Political Economy were little understood — 
the Law of Debt and of Conspiracy were upon the worst possible footing — 
the enormous wickedness of the Slave Trade was tolerated — a thousand evils 
were in existence, which the talents of good and able men have since 
lessened or removed; and these effects have been not a little assisted by 
the honest boldness of the Edinburgh Review. 

I see very little in my Reviews to alter or repent of: I always endea- 
voured to fight against evil; and what I thought evil then, I think evil 
now. I am heartily glad that all our disqualifying laws for religious opinions 
are abolished, and I see nothing in such measures but unmixed good and 
real increase of strength to our Establishment. 

The idea of danger from the extension of the Catholic religion in Eng- 
land I utterly deride. The Catholic faith is a misfortune to the world, 
but those whose faith it conscientiously is, are quite right in professing it 
boldly, and in promoting it by all means which the law allows. A phy- 
sician does not say "You will be well as soon as the bile is got rid of;" 
but he says, " You will not be well until after the bile is got rid of" 
He knows after the cause of the malady is removed, that morbid habits 
are to be changed, weakness to be supported, organs to be called back 
to their proper exercise, subordinate maladies to be watched, secondary and 
vicarious sj'raptoms to be studied. The physician is a wise man — but the 
anserous politician insists, after 200 years of persecution, and ten of emanci- 
pation, that Catholic Ireland should be as quiet as Edmonton, or Tooting. 

Not only are just laws wanted for Catholic Ireland, but the just adminis- 
tration of just laws ; such as they have in general experienced under the 
Whig government ; and this system steadily preserved in will, after a lapse 
of time and O'Connell, quiet, conciliate, and civilize that long injured and 
irritable people. 

I have printed in this Collection the Letters of Peter Plymley. The 
Government of that day took great pains to find out the author; all that 
they could find was, that they were brought to Mr. Budd, the publisher, 
by the Earl of Lauderdale. Somehow or another, it came to be conjec- 
tured that I was that author: I have always denied it; but finding that 
I deny it in vain, I have thought it might be as well to include the Let- 
ters in this Collection ; they had an immense circulation at the time, and 
I think above 20,000 copies were sold. 

From the beginning of the century (about which time the Review began) 



PREFACE. 9 

to the death of Lord Liverpool, was an awful period for those who had 
the misfortune to entertain liberal opinions, and who were too honest to 
sell them for the ermine of the judge, or the lawn of the prelate : — a long 
and hopeless career in your profession, the chuckling grin of noodles, the 
sarcastic leer of the genuine political rogue — prebendaries, deans, and bishops 
made over your head — reverend renegadoes advanced to the highest digni- 
ties of the Church, for helping to rivet the fetters of Catholic and Protestant 
Dissenters, and no more chance of a Whig administration than of a thaw 
in Zembla — these were the penalties exacted for liberality of opinion at that 
period ; and not only was there no pay, but there were many stripes. It 
is always considered as a piece of impertinence in England, if a man of less 
than two or three thousand a year has any opinions at all upon important 
subjects; and in addition he was sure at that time to be assailed with all 
the Billingsgate of the French Revolution — Jacobin, Leveller, Atheist, Deist, 
Socinian, Incendiary, Regicide, were the gentlest appellations used; and the 
man who breathed a syllable against the senseless bigotry of the two Georges, 
or hinted at the abominable tyranny and persecution exercised upon Catholic 
Ireland, was shunned as unfit for the relations of social life. Not a murmur 
against any abuse was permitted ; to say a word against the suitorcide delays 
of the Court of Chancery, or the cruel punishments of the Game Laws, 
or against any abuse which a rich man inflicted, or a poor man suffered, 
w^as treason against the Plousiocracy, and was bitterly and steadily resented. 
Lord Grey had not then taken off the bearing-rein from the English people, 
as Sir Francis Head has now done from horses. 

To set on foot such a Journal in such times, to contribute towards it 
for many years, to bear patiently the reproach and poverty which it caused, 
and to look back and see that I have nothing to retract, and no intempe- 
rance and violence to reproach myself with, is a career of life which I must 
think to be extremely fortunate. Strange and ludicrous are the changes in 
human affairs. The Tories are now on the treadmill, and the well-paid 
Whigs are riding in chariots : with many faces, however, looking out of the 
windows, (including that of our Prime Minister,) which I never remember to 
have seen in the days of the poverty and depression of Whiggism. Libe- 
rality is now a lucrative business. Whoever has any institution to destroy, 
may consider himself as a commissioner, and his fortune as made ; and to 
my utter and never ending astonishment, I, an old Edinburgh Reviewer, 
find myself fighting, in the year 1839, against the Archbishop of Canterbury 
and the Bishop of London, for the existence of the National Church. 

SYDNEY SMITH. 

a2 



CONTENTS. 



ARTICLES OniGINALLT PrBIISHED IN THE 

"EDINBUEGH EETIKW." 

Page 

Dr. Parr 9 

Dr. Rennel 12 

John Bowles 15 

Dr. Langford 17 

Archdeacon Nares 17 

Matthew Lewis If* 

Australia 20 

Fievee's Letters on England 26 

Edgeworth on Bulls 28 

Trimmer and Lancaster 30 

Parnell and Ireland 33 

Methodism. 37 

Indian Missions 48 

Catholics 62 

Methodism 65 

Hannah More 70 

Professional Education 73 

Female Education 79 

Public Schools 86 

Toleration 90 

Charles Fox 95 

Mad Quakers 103 

America 107 

Game Laws 116 

Botany Bay 122 

Chimney Sweepers 131 

America 137 

Ireland 142 

Spring Guns 150 

Prisons 155 

Prisons 162 

Persecuting Bishops 172 

Botany Bay 179 

Game Laws 189 



Pag« 

Cruel Treatment of untried Prisoners. . . 195 

America 202 

Bentham on Fallacies 209 

Waterton 219 

Man Traps and Spring Guns 227 

Hamilton's Method of teaching Languages 233 

Counsel for Prisoners 243 

Catholics 253 

Neckar's Last Views 263 

Catteau, Tableau des Etats Danois 270 

Thoughts on the Residence of the Clergy 279 

Travels from Palestine 281 

Letter on the Curates' Salary Bill 283 

Proceedings of the Society for the Sup- 
pression of Vice 287 

Characters of Fox 293 

Observations on the Historical Work of 
the Right Honourable Charles James 

Fox 295 

Disturbances at Madras 304 

Bishop of Lincoln's Charge 311 

Madame d'Epinay 315 

Poor Laws 320 

Public Characters of 1801, 1802 323 

Anastasius 329 

Scarlett's Poor Bill 334 

Memoirs of Captain Rock 338 

Granby 343 

Island of Ceylon 349 

Delphine 354 

Mission to Ashantee 356 

Wittman's Travels 361 

SPEECHES. 

Speech on the Catholic Claims 365 

Speech at the Taunton Reform Meeting. . 369 



CONTENTS. 

Page 



Speech at Taunton at a Meeting to cele- 
•brate the Accession of King William IV. 372 

Speech at Taunton in 1831 on the Reform 
Bill not being passed 373 

Speech respecting the Reform Bill 374 



The Ballot 379 

First Letter to Archdeacon Singleton. . . . 388 
Second Letter to Archdeacon Singleton.. 401 
Third Letter to Archdeacon Singleton . . . 408 
Letter on the Character of Sir James 
Mackintosh 416 



v*g> 



Letter to Lord John Russell 418 

Sermon on the Duties of the Queen 421 

The Lawyer that tempted Christ : a Ser- 
mon 424 

The Judge that smites contrary to the 

Law : a Sermon 428 

A letter to the Electors upon the Catholic 

Question 432 

A Sermon on the Rules of Christian Cha- 
rity 445 



Peter Plymley's Letters 449 



WORKS 



OF THE 



REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



DR. PARR.* 

[Edinburgh Review, 1802.] 



tVs>-»prER has had the good fortune to see 
D^. Parr's wig, ninst have observed, that while 
it trespasses a little on the orthodox magnitude 
of perukes in the anterior parts, it scorns even 
Episcopal limits behind, and swells out into 
boundless convexity of frizz, the y-r^a. ^a.u/ji.% of 
barbers, and the terror of the literary world. 
After the manner of his wig, the Doctorf has 
constructed his sermon, giving us a discourse 
of no common length, and subjoining an im- 
measurable mass of notes, which appear to 
concern every learned thing, every learned 
man, and almost every unlearned man since 
the beginning of the world. 

For his text. Dr. Parr has chosen Gal. vi. 10. 
^s ive have therefore oppMunity, let us do good to 
all men, especially to those %vho are of the household 
of faith. After a short preliminary comparison 
between the dangers of the selfish system, and 
the modern one of universal benevolence, he 
divides his sermon into two parts : in the first, 
examining how far, by the constitution of hu- 
man nature, and the circumstances of human 
life, the principles of particular and universal 
benevolence are compatible : in the last, com- 
menting on the nature of the charitable institu- 
tion for which he is preaching. 

The former part is levelled against the doc- 
trines of Mr. Godwin ; and, here. Dr. Parr ex- 
poses, very strongly and happily, the folly of 
making universal benevolence the immediate 
motive of our actions. As we consider this, 
though of no very diificult execution, to be by 
far the best part of the sermon, we shall very 
willingly make some extracts from it. 

"To me it appears, that the modern advo- 
cates for universal philanthropy have fallen 
into the error charged upon those who are fas- 
cinated by a violent and extraordinary fondness 
for what a celebrated author calls ' some moral 

* Spital Sermon, preached at Christ Church upon Eas- 
ter-Tuesday, April 15, 1800. To which are added, Notes 
by Samuel Parr, LL.D. Printed for J. Mawman in the 
Poultry. 1801. 

+ A great scholar, as rude and violent as most Greek 
scholars are, unless they happen to be Bishops. He has 
left nothing behind him worth leaving: he was rather 
fitted for the law than the church, and would have been 
a more considerable man, if he had been more knocked 
about among his equals. He lived with country gen- 
tlemen and clergymen, who flattered and feared him. 
2 



species.' Some men, it has been remarked, 
are hurried into romantic adventures, by their 
excessive admiration of fortitude. Others are 
actuated by a headstrong zeal for disseminat- 
ing the true religion. Hence, while the only 
properties, for which fortitude or zeal can be 
esteemed, are scarcely discernible, from the 
enormous bulkiness to which they are swollen, 
the ends to which alone they can be directed 
usefully are overlooked or defeated ; the public 
good is impaired, rather than increased; and 
the claims that other virtues equally obligatory 
have to our notice are totally disregarded. 
Thus, too, when any dazzling phantoms of 
universal philanthropy have seized our atten- 
tion, the objects that formerly engaged it shrink 
and fade. All considerations of kindred, 
friends, and countrymen, drop from the mind, 
during the struggles it makes to grasp the col- 
lective interests of the species ; and when the 
association that attached us to them has been 
dissolved, the notions we have formed of their 
comparative insignificance will prevent them 
from recovering, I do not say any hold what- 
soever, but that strong and lasting hold they 
once, had upon our conviction and our feelings. 
Universal benevolence, should it, from any 
strange combination of circumstances, ever 
become passionate, will, like every other pas- 
sion, justify itself; and the importunity of its 
demands to obtain a hearing will be propor- 
tionate to the weakness of its cause. But 
what are the consequences 1 A perpetual 
wrestling for victory between the refinements 
of sophistry, and the remonstrances of indig- 
nant nature — the agitations of secret distrust 
in opinions which gain few or no proselytes, 
and feelings which excite little or no sympathy 
— the neglect of all the usual duties, by which 
social life is preserved or adorned ; and in the 
pursuit of other duties which are unusual, and 
indeed imaginary, a succession of airy projects 
eager hopes, tumultuous efforts, and galling 
disappointments, such, in truth, as every wise 
man foresaw, and a good man would rarely 
commiserate." 

In a subsequent part of his sermon. Dr. 
Parr handles the same topic with equal 
success. 



10 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



"The stoics, it has been said, were more 
successful in weakening the tender aifections, 
than in animating men to the stronger virtues 
of fortitude and self-command ; and possible 
it is, that the influence of our modern reform- 
ers may be greater, in furnishing their disciples 
with pleas for the neglect of their ordinary 
duties, than in stimulating their endeavours 
for the performance of those which are extra- 
ordinary, and perhaps ideal. If, indeed, the 
representations we have lately heard of uni- 
versal philanthropy served only to amuse the 
fancy of those who approve of them, and to 
communicate that pleasure which arises from 
contemplating the magnitude and grandeur of 
a favourite subject, we might be tempted to 
smile at them as groundless and harmless. 
But they tend to debase the dignity, and to 
weaken the efficacy of those particular affec- 
tions, for which we have daily and hourly 
occasion in the events of real life. They 
tempt us to substitute the ease of speculation, 
and the pride of dogmatism, for the toil of prac- 
tice. To a class of artificial and ostentatious 
sentiments, they give the most dangerous 
triumph over the genuine and salutary dictates 
of nature. They delude and inflame our minds 
with Pharisaical notions of superior wisdom 
and superior virtue ; and, what is the worst of 
all, they may be used as 'a cloke to us' for 
insensibility, where other men feel; and for 
negligence, where other men act with visible 
and useful, though limited, effect." 

In attempting to show the connection be- 
tween particular and universal benevolence, 
Dr. Parr does not appear to us to have taken a 
clear and satisfactory view of the subject. Na- 
ture impels us both to good and bad actions ; 
and, even in the former, gives us no measure 
by which we may prevent them from degenerat- 
ing into excess. Rapine and revenge are not 
less natural than parental and filial affection; 
which latter class of feelings may themselves 
be a source of crimes, if they overpower (as 
they frequently do) the sense of justice. It is 
not, therefore, a sufficient justification of our 
actions, that they are natural. We must seek, 
from our reason, some principle which will 
finable us to determine what impulses of nature 
we are to obey, and what we are to resist : 
such is that of general utility, or, what is the 
same thing, of universal good; a principle 
which sanctifies and limits the more particular 
affections. The duty of a son to a parent, or a 
parent to a son, is not an ultimate principle of 
morals, but depends on the principle of univer- 
sal good, and is only praiseworthy because it 
is found to promote it. At the same time, our 
spheres of action and intelligence are so con- 
fined, that it is better, in a great majority of 
instances, to suffer our conduct to be guided 
by those aflections which have been long sanc- 
tioned by the approbation of mankind, than to 
enter into a process of reasoning, and investi- 
gate the relation which every trifling event 
might bear to the general interests of the world. 
In his principle of universal benevolence, Mr. 
Godwin is unquestionably right. That it is the 
grand principle on which all morals rest — that 
it is the corrective for the excess of all parti- 
cular affections, we believe to be undeniable: 



and he is only erroneous in excluding the par- 
ticular affections, because, in so doing, he de- 
prives us of our most powerful means of pro- 
moting his own principle of universal good ; 
for it is as much as to say, that all the crew 
ought to have the general welfare of the ship 
so much at heart that no sailor should ever 
pull a.ny particular rope, or hand any individual 
sail. By universal benevolence, we mean, and 
understand Dr. Parr to mean, not a barren 
afl^ection for the species, but a desire to pro- 
mote their real happiness; and of this princi- 
ple, he thus speaks : 

" I admit, and I approve of it, as an emotion 
of which general happiness is the cause, but 
not as a passion, of which, according to the 
usual order of human affairs, it could often be 
the object. I approve of it as a disposition to 
wish, and, as opportunity may occur, to desire 
and do good, rather than harm, to those with 
whom we are quite unconnected." 

It would appear, from this kind of lan- 
guage, that a desire of promoting the universal 
good were a pardonable weakness, rather than 
a fundamental principle of ethics ; that the 
particular affections were incapable of excess; 
and that they never wanted the corrective of a 
more generous and exalted feeling. In a sub- 
sequent part of his sermon. Dr. Parr atones a 
little for this over-zealous depreciation of the 
principle of universal benevolence ; but he 
nowhere states the particular affections to 
derive their value and their limits from their 
subservience to a more extensive philanthro- 
py. He does not show us that they exist only 
as virtues, from their instrumentality in pro- 
moting the general good; and that, to preserve 
their true character, they should be frequently 
referred to that principle as their proper crite- 
rion. 

In the latter part of his sermon. Dr. Parr 
combats the general objections of Mr. Turgot 
to all charitable institutions, with considerable 
vigour and success. To say that an institution 
is necessarily bad, because it will not always 
be administered with the same zeal, proves a 
little too much ; for it is an objection to po- 
litical and religious, as well as to charitable 
institutions; and, from a lively apprehension 
of the fluctuating characters of those who 
govern, would leave the world without any 
government at all. It is better there should be 
an asylum for the mad, and a hospital for the 
wounded, if they were to squander away 50 
per cent, of their income, than that we should 
be disgusted with sore limbs, and shocked by 
straw-crowned monarchs in the streets. All 
institutions of this kind must sufier the risk 
of being governed by more or less of probity 
and talents. The good which one active cha- 
racter eflfects, and the wise order which he 
establishes, may outlive him for a long period ; 
and we all hate each other's crimes, by which 
we gain nothing, so much, that in proportion 
as public opinion acquires ascendency in any 
particular country, every public institution 
becomes more and more guarantied from 
abuse. 

Upon the whole, this sermon is rather the 
production of what is called a sensible, than 
of a very acute man; of a man certainly 



WORKS OP THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



11 



more remarkable for his learning than his ori- 
ginality. It refutes the very refutable positions 
of Mr. Godwin, without placing the doctrine of 
benevolence in a clear light; and it almost 
leaves us to suppose, that the particular affec- 
tions are themselves ultimate principles of ac- 
tion, instead of convenient instruments of a 
more general principle. 

The style is such as to give a general im- 
pression of heaviness to the whole sermon. 
The Doctor is never simple and natural for a 
single instant. Every thing smells of the rhe- 
torician. He never appears to forget himself, 
or to be hurried by his subject into obvious 
language. Every expression seems to be the 
result of artifice and intention; and as to the 
worthy dedicatees, the Lord Mayor and Alder- 
men, unless the sermon be done into English by 
a person of honour, they may perhaps be flatter- 
ed by the Doctor's politeness, but they can 
never be much edified by his meaning. Dr. 
Parr seems to think, that eloquence consists 
not in exuberance of beautiful images — not in 
simple and sublime conceptions — not in the 
feelings of the passions ; but in a studious ar- 
rangement of sonorous, exotic, and sesquipedal 
words: a very ancient error, which corrupts 
the style of young, and wearies the patience 
of sensible men. In some of his combinations 
of words the Doctor is singularly unhappy. 
We have the din of superficial cavillers, the 
prancings of giddy ostentation, flattering vanity, 
hissing scorn, dank clod, &c. &c. &c. The fol- 
lowing intrusion of a technical word into a 
pathetic description renders the whole passage 
almost ludicrous. 

" Within a few days, mute was the tongue 
that uttered these celestial sounds, and the hand 
which signed your indenture lay cold and mo- 
tionless in the daik and dreary chambers of 
death." 

In page 16, Dr. Parr, in speaking of the in- 
dentures of the hospital, a subject (as we should 
have thought) little calculated for rhetorical 
panegyric, says of them— 

" If the writer of whom I am speaking had 
perused, as I have, your indentures, and your 
rules, he would have found in them serious- 
ness without austerity, earnestness without ex- 
travagance, good sense without the trickeries 
of art, good language without the trappings of 
rhetoric, and the firmness of conscious worth, 
rather than the prancings of giddy ostenta- 
tion." 

The latter member of this eloge would not 
be wholly unintelligible, if applied to a spirited 
coach horse; but we have never yet witnessed 
the phenomenon of a prancing indenture. 

It is not our intention to follow Dr. Parr 
through the copious and varied learning of his 
notes ; in the perusal of which we have been 
as much delighted with the richness of his ac- 
quisitions, the vigour of his understanding, and 
, the genuine goodness of his heart, as we have 
been amused with his ludicrous self-import- 
ance, and the miraculous simplicity of his cha- 
racter. We would rather recommend it to the 
Doctor to publish an annual list of worthies, as 
a kind of stimulus to literary men; to be in- 
cluded in which, will unquestionably be con- 



sidered as great an honour, as for a commoner 
to be elevated to the peerage. A line of Greek, 
a line of Latin, or no line at all, subsequent to 
each name, will distinguish, with sufficient ac- 
curacy, the shades of merit, and the degree of 
immortality conferred. 

Why should Dr. Parr confine this eulogoma- 
nia to the literary characters of this island 
alone 1 In the university of Benares, in the 
lettered kingdom of Ava, among the Mandarins 
at Pekin, there must, doubtless, be many men 
who have the eloquence of* B^t^^cvoc, the feel- 
ing of TctiKue^oi, and the judgment of Qjcx^oc, of 
whom Dr. Parr might be happy to say, that 
they have profundity without obscurity — per- 
spicuity without prolixity — ornament without 
glare — terseness without barrenness — penetra- 
tion withoutsubtlety — comprehensiveness with- 
out digression — and a great number of other 
things without a great number of other things. 

In spite of 33 pages of very close printing, 
in defence of the University of Oxford, is it, or 
is it not true, that very many of its Professors 
enjoy ample salaries, without reading any lec- 
tures at all 1 The character of particular col- 
leges will certainly vary with the character of 
their governors; but the University of Oxford 
so far difl^ers from Dr. Parr in the commenda- 
tion he has bestowed upon its state of public 
education, that they have, since the publication 
of his book, we believe, and forty years after 
Mr. Gibbon's residence, completely abolished 
their very ludicrous and disgraceful exercises 
for degrees, and have substituted in their place 
a system of exertion, and a scale of academical 
honours, calculated (we are willing to hope) to 
produce the happiest eflfects. 

We were very sorry, in reading Dr. Parr's 
note on the Universities, to meet with the fol- 
lowing passage : — 

" 111 would it become me tamely and silently 
to acquiesce in the strictures of this formidable 
accuser upon a seminary to which I owe many 
obligations, though I left it, as must not be dis- 
sembled, before the usual time, and, in truth, 
had been almost compelled to leave it, iwt by 
the want of proper education, for I had arrived 
at the first place in the first form of Harrow 
School, when I was not quite fourteen — not by 
the want of useful tutors, for mine were emi- 
nently able, and to me had been uniformly 
kind — not by the want of ambition, for I had 
begun to look up ardently and anxiously to 
academical distinctions — not by the want of at- 
tachment to the place, for I regarded it then, as 
I continue to regard it now, with the fondest 
and most unfeigned affection — but by another 
want, which it were unnecessary to name, and 
for the supply of which, after some hesitation, 
I determined to provide by patient toil and re- 
solute self-denial, when I had not completed 
my twentieth year. I ceased, therefore, to re- 
side, with an aching heart: I looked back with 
mingled feelings of regret and humiliation to 
advantages of which I could no longer partake, 
and honours to which I could no longer 
aspire." 

To those who know the truly honourable 



* rtrtiTEj iilv (TOipoi' e\i) Se''UKripov fiiv aeSo), Sau/ja^oi 
Si Bdppovov Hal 0(Xcj TaiAt.ipov. See Lucian in Vita 
Deemonact. vol. ii. p. 394. — (Dr. Parr'a note.) 



12 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



and respectable character of Dr. Parr, the vast 
extent of his learning, and the unadulterated 
benevolence of his nature, such an account 
cannot but be very affecting, in spite of the bad 
taste in which it is communicated. How pain- 
ful to reflect, that a truly devout and attentive 



minister, a strenuous defender of the church 
establishment, and by far the most learned 
man of his day, should be permitted to languish 
on a little paltry curacy in Warwickshire ! 

Dii meliora, &c. &c.* 



DE. RENNEL.t 



[Edinburgh Review, 1802.] 



AVe have no modern sermons in the English 
language that can be considered as very elo- 
quent. The merits of Blair (by far the most 
popular writer of sermons within the last cen- 
tury) are plain good sense, a happy applica- 
tion of scriptural quotation, and a clear har- 
monious style, richly tinged with scriptural 
language. He generally leaves his readers 
pleased with his judgment, and his just obser- 
vations on human conduct, without ever rising 
so high as to touch the great passions, or kindle 
any enthusiasm in favour of virtue. For elo- 
quence, we must ascend as high as the days of 
Barrow and Jeremy Taylor: and even there, 
Avhile we are delighted with their energy, their 
copiousness, and their fancy, we are in danger 
of being suffocated by a redundance which 
abhors all discrimination ; which compares 
till it perplexes, and illustrates till it confounds. 

To the Gases of Tillotson, Sherlock, and At- 
terbury, we must wade through many a barren 
page, in which the weary Christian can descry 
nothing all around him but a dreary expanse 
of trite sentiments and languid words. 

The great object of modern sermons is to 
hazard nothing: their characteristic is, decent 
debility; which alike guards their authors from 
ludicrous errors, and precludes them from 
striking beauties. Every man of sense, in 
taking up an English sermon, expects to find 
it a tedious essay, full of commonplace morali- 
ty; and if the fulfilment of such expectations 
be meritorious, the clergy have certainly the 
merit of not disappointing their readers. Yet 
it is curious to consider, how a body of men so 
well educated, and so magnificently endowed 
as the English clergy, should distinguish them- 
selves so little in a species of composition to 
which it is their peculiar duty, as v.'ell as their 
ordinary habit, to attend. To solve this diffi- 
culty, it should be remembered, that the elo- 
quence of the Bar and of the Senate force them- 
selves into notice, power, and wealth — that the 
penalty which an individual client pays for 
choosing a bad advocate, is the loss of his 
cause — that a prime minister must infallibly 
suffer in the estimation of the public, who neg- 
lects to conciliate the eloquent men, and trusts 
the defence of his measures to those who have 
not adequate talents for that purpose : whereas 
the only evil which accrues from the promotion 
of a clergyman to the pulpit, which he has no 
ability to fill as he ought, is the fatigue of the 
audience, and the discredit of that species of 



public instruction ; an evil so general, that no 
individual patron would dream of sacrificing 
to it his particular interest. The clergy are 
generally appointed to their situations by those 
who have no interest that they should please 
the audience before whom they speak; while 
the very reverse is the case in the eloquence 
of the Bar, and of Parliament. We by no 
means would be understood to say, that the 
clergy should owe their promotion principally 
to their eloquence, or that eloquence ever could 
consistently with the constitution of the English 
Church, be made out a common cause of pre- 
ferment. In pointing out the total want of con- 
nection between the privilege of preaching, 
and the power of preaching well, we are giving 
no opinion as to whether it might, or might not 
be remedied ; but merely stating a fact. Pulpit 
discourses have insensibly dwindled from 
speaking to reading; a practice, of itself, suf- 
ficient to stifle every genn of eloquence. It is 
only by the fresh feelings of the heart, that man- 
kind can be very powerfully affected. What 
can be more ludicrous, than an orator deliver- 
ing stale indignation, and fervour of a week 
old ; turning over whole pages of violent pas- 
sions, written out in German text; reading the 
tropes and apostrophes into which he is hurried 
by the ardour of his mind ; and so affected at a 
preconcerted line, and page, that he is unable 
to proceed any farther ! 

The prejudices of the English nation have 
proceeded a good deal from their hatred to the 
French ; and because that country is the na- 
tive soil of elegance, animation, and grace, a 
certain patriotic soliditj% and loyal awkward- 
ness, have become the characteristics of this ; 
so that an adventurous preacher is afraid of 
violating the ancient tranquillity of the pulpit; 
and the audience are commonly apt to consider 
the man who tires them less than usual, as a 
trifler, or a charlatan. 

Of British education, the study of eloquence 
makes little or no part. The exterior graces 
of a speaker are despised ; and debating socie- 
ties (admirable institutions, under proper regu- 
lations) would hardly be tolerated either at Ox- 
ford or Cambridge. It is commonly answered 
to any animadversions upon the eloquence of 

* The courtly phrase was, that Dr. Parr was not a pro- 
ducible man. The same phrase was used for the neglect 
of Paley. 

+ Discourses on Various Subjects. By Thomas Ken- 
nel, D.D. Master of the Temple. Rivington, London. 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



13 



the English pulpit, that a clergyman is to re- 
commend himself, not by his eloquence, but by 
the purity of his life, and the soundness of his 
doctrine ; an objection good enough, if any 
connection could be pointed out between elo- 
quence, heresy, and dissipation; but if it is 
possible for a man to live well, preach well, 
and teach well, at the same time, such objec- 
tions, resting only upon a supposed incompati- 
bility of these good qualities, are duller than 
the dulness they defend. 

The clergy are apt to shelter themselves 
under the plea, that subjects so exhausted are 
utterly incapable of novelty; and, in the very 
strictest sense of the wordnovelly, meaning that 
which was never said before, at any time, or 
in any place, this may be true enough, of the 
first principles of morals ; but the modes of ex- 
panding, illustrating, and enforcing a particular 
theme are capable of infinite variety; and, if 
they were not, this might be a very good rea- 
son for preaching commonplace sermons, but 
is a very bad one for publishing them. 

We had great hc^e§, that Dr. Rennel's Ser- 
mons would have proved an exception to the 
character we have given of sermons in gene- 
ral ; and we have read through his present vo- 
lume with a conviction rather that he has mis- 
applied, than that he wants, talents for pulpit 
eloquence. The sub'ects of his sermons, four- 
teen in number, are, 1. The consequences of 
the vice of gaming : 2. On old age : 3. Benevo- 
lence exclusively an evangelical virtue : 4. The 
services rendered to the English nation by the 
Church of England, a motive for liberality to 
the orphan children of indigent ministers : 5. On 
the grounds and regulation of national joy : 
6. On the connection of the duties of loving the 
brotherhood, fearing God, and honouring the 
King : 7. On the guilt of blood-thirstiness : 8. On 
atonement: 9. A visitation sermon: 10. Great 
Britain's naval strength, and insular situation, 
a cause of gratitude to Almighty God: 11. Ig- 
norance productive of atheism, anarchy, and 
superstition: 12, 13, 14. On the sting of death, 
the strength of sin, and the victory over them 
both by Jesus Christ. 

Dr. Kennel's first sermon, upon the conse- 
quences of gaming, is admirable for its strength 
of language, its sound good sense, and the 
vigour with which it combats that detestable 
vice. From this sermon, we shall, with great 
pleasure, make an extract of some length. 

"Farther to this sordid habit the gamester 
joins a disposition to fraud, and that of the 
meanest cast. To those who soberly and fairly 
appreciate the real nature of human actions, 
nothing appears more inconsistent than that 
societies of men, who have incorporated them- 
selves for the express purpose of gaming, should 
disclaim fraud or indirection, or aifect to drive 
from their assemblies those among their asso- 
ciates whose crimes would reflect disgrace on 
them. Surely this, to a considerate mind, is as 
solemn and refined a banter as can well be 
exhibited : for when we take into view the vast 
latitude allowed by the most upright gamesters, 
when we reflect that, according to their precious 
casuistry, every advantage may be legitimately 
taken of the young, the unwary, and the ine- 
briated, which superior coolness, skill, address, 



and activity can supply, we must look upon 
pretences to honesty as a most shameless ag- 
gravation of their crimes. Even if it were pos- 
sible that, in his own practices, a man might 
be a FAIR GAMESTER, yet, for the result of the 
extended frauds committed by his fellows, he 
stands deeply accountable to God, his country, 
and his conscience. To a system necessarily 
implicated with fraud; to associations of men, 
a large majority of whom subsist by fraud ; to 
habits calculated to poison the source and 
principle of all integrity, he gives efficacy, 
countenance, and concurrence. Even his vir- 
lues he suiiers to be subsidiary to the cause of 
vice. He sees with calmness, depredation 
committed daily and hourly in his company, 
perhaps under his very roof. Yet men of this 
description declaim (so desperately deceitful is 
the heart of man) against the very knaves they 
cherish and protect, and whom, perhaps, with 
some poor sophistical refuge for a worn-out 
conscience, they even imitate. To such, let 
the Scripture speak with emphatical decision 
— When thou sawest a thief, then thou conseniedst 
with him." 

The reader will easily observe, in this quota- 
tion, a command of language, and a power of 
style, very superior to what is met with in the 
great mass of sermons. We shall make one 
more extract. 

"But in addition to fraud, and all its train of 
crimes, propensities and habits of a very difle- 
rent complexion enter into the composition of 
a gamester: a most ungovernable FERociTr of 
iiisposiTioN, however for a time disguised and 
latent, is invariably the result of his system of 
conduct. Jealousy, rage, and revenge, exist 
among gamesters in their worst and most fran- 
tic excesses, and end frequently in conse- 
quences of the most atrocious violence and 
outrage. By perpetual agitation the malignant 
passions spurn and overwhelm every boundary 
which discretion and conscience can oppose. 
From what source are we to trace a very large 
number of those murders, sanctioned or palli- 
ated indeed by custom, but which stand at the 
tribunal of God precisely upon the same 
grounds with every other species of murder 1 — 
From the gaming-table, from the nocturnal re- 
ceptacles of distraction and frenzy, the duellist 
rushes with his hand lifted up against his bro- 
ther's life ! — Those who are as yet on the 
threshold of these habits should be warned, that 
however calm their natural temperament, how- 
ever ineek and placable their disposition, yet 
that, by the events which every moment anse, 
they stand exposed to the ungovernable fury 
of themselves and others. In the midst of fraud, 
protected by menace on the one hand, and on 
the other, of despair ; irritated by a recollection 
of the meanness of the artifices and the base- 
ness of the hands by which utter and remediless 
ruin has been inflicted ; in the midst of these 
feelings of horror and distraction it is, that the 
voice of brethren's blood 'crieth unto God from 
the ground^ — ' and now art thou cursed from the 
earth, which hatli opened her mouth to receive thij 
brothe)-'s blood from thy hand.' Not only THOU 
who actually sheddest that blood, but THOU who 
art the artificer of death — thou who adminis- 
terest incentives to these habits — who dJssemi 
B 



14 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



natest the practice of them — irnprovest the 
skill in them — sharpenest the propensity to 
them — at thy hands will it be required, surely, 
at the tribunal of God in the next world, and 
perhaps, in most instances, in his distributive 
and awful dispensations towards thee and thine 
here on earth." 

Having paid this tribute of praise to Dr. 
Rennel's first sermon, we are sorry so soon to 
change our eulogium into censure, and to blame 
him for having selected for publication so many 
sermons touching directly and indirectly upon 
the French Revolution. We confess ourselves 
long since wearied with this kind of discourses, 
bespattered with blood and brains, and ringing 
eternal changes upon atheism, cannibalism, 
and apostasy. Upon the enormities of the 
French Revolution there can be but one opinion ; 
but the subject is not fit for the pulpit. The 
public are disgusted with it to satiety; and we 
can never help remembering, that this politico- 
orthodox rage in the mouth of a preacher may 
be profitable as well as sincere. Upon such 
subjects as the murder of the Queen of France, 
and the great events of these days, it is not pos- 
sible to endure the draggling and the daubing 
of such a ponderous limner as Dr. Rennel, 
after the ethereal touches of Mr. Burke. In 
events so truly horrid in themselves, the field 
is so easy for a declaimer, that we set little 
value upon the declamation; and the mind, on 
such occasions, so easily outruns ordinary 
description, that we are apt to feel more, before 
a mediocre oration begins, than it even aims 
at inspiring. 

We are surprised that Dr. Rennel, from 
among the great number of subjects which he 
must have discussed in the pulpit (the interest 
in which must be permanent and universal), 
should have published such an empty and 
frivolous sermon as that upon the victory of 
Lord Nelson ; a sermon good enough for the 
garrulity of joy, when the phrases, and the ex- 
ultation of the Porcupine, or the True Briton, 
may pass for eloquence or sense; but utterly 
unworthy of the works of a man who aims at 
a place among the great teachers of morality 
and religion. 

Dr. Rennel is apt to put on the appearance 
of a holy bully, an evangelical swaggerer, as 
if he could carry his point against infidelity by 
big words and strong abuse, and kick and culf 
men into Christians. It is a very easy thing to 
talk about the shallow impostures, and the silly 
ignorant sophisms of Voltaire, Rousseau, (^on- 
dorcet, D'Alembert, and Volney, and to say 
that Hume is not worth answering. This af- 
fectation of contempt will not do. While these 
pernicious writers have power to allure from 
the church great numbers of proselytes, it is 
better to study them diligently, and to reply to 
them satisfactorily, than to veil insolence, want 
of power, or want of industry, by a pretended 
contempt; which may leave infidels and 
•wavering Christians to suppose that such 
writers are abused, because they are feared; 
and not answered, because they are unanswer- 
able. While every body was abusing and 
despising Mr. Godwin, and while Mr. Godwin 
was, among a certain description of under- 
standings, increasing every day in popularity, 



Mr. Mallhus* took the trouble of refuting him ; 
and we hear no more of Mr. Godwin. We 
recommend this example to the consideration 
of Dr. Rennel, who seems to think it more use- 
ful, and more pleasant, to rail than to fight. 

After the world has returned to its sober 
senses upon the merits of the ancient philoso- 
phy, it is amusing enough to see a few bad 
heads bawling for the restoration of exploded 
errors and past infatuation. We have some 
dozen of plethoric phrases about Aristotle, who 
is, in the estimation of the Doctor, ci rex et sutor 
bonus, and every thing else ; and to the neglect 
of whose works he seems to attribute every 
moral and physical evil under which the world 
has groaned for the last century. Dr. Rennel's 
admiration of the ancients is so great, that he 
considers the works of Homer to be the region 
and depository of natural law, and natural reli- 
gion.f Now, if, by natural religion, is meant 
the will of God collected from his works, and 
the necessity man is under of obeying it; it is 
rather extraordinary that Homer should be so 
good a natural theologian, when the divinities 
he has painted are certainly a more drunken, 
quarrelsome, adulterous, intriguing, lascivious 
set of beings, than are to be met with in the 
most profligate court in Europe. There is, 
every now and then, some plain coarse morality 
in Homer; but the most bloody revenge, and 
the most savage cruelty in warfare, the ravish- 
ing of women, and the sale of men, &c. &c. 
&c. are circumstances which the old bard 
seems to relate as the ordinary events of his 
times, without ever dreaming that there could 
be much harm in them ; and if it be urged 
that Homer took his ideas of right and wrong 
from a barbarous age, that is just saying, in 
other words, that Homer had very imperfect 
ideas of natural law. 

Having exhausted all his powers of eulogium 
upon the times that are gone. Dr. Rennel in- 
demnifies himself by the very novel practice 
of declaiming against the present age. It is 
an evil age — an adulterous age — an ignorant age — 
an apostate age — and a foppish age. Of the pro- 
priety of the last epithet, our readers may per- 
haps be more convinced, by calling to mind a 
class of fops not usually designated by that 
epithet — men clothed in profound black, with 
large canes, and strange amorphous hats — of 
big speech, and imperative presence — talkers 
about Plato — great affecters of senility — de- 
spisers of women, and all the graces of life — 
fierce foes to common sense — abusive of tne 
living, and approving no one who has not been 
dead for at least a century. Such fops, as vain 
and as shallow as their fraternity in Bond 
street, differ from these only as Gorgonius dif- 
fered from Rufillus. 

In the ninth Discourse (p. 226), we read of 
St. Paul, that he had " an heroic zeal, directed, 
rather than bounded, by the nicest discretion — 
a conscious and commanding dignity, softened 
by the meekest and most profound humility." 



* I cannot read the name of Malthus without adding 
my tril)iite of afiection for the nieinory of one of the best 
men tliat ever lived. lie loved philosophical truth more 
than any man I ever knew, — was full of practical wis- 
dom, — and never indulged in contemptuous feelings 
ajrainsl his inferiors in understanding. 

t Page 318 



WOEKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH, 



15 



This is intended for a fine piece of writing ; 
but it is without meaning : for, if words have 
any limits, it is a contradiction in terms to say of 
the same person, at the satne time, that he is 
nicely discreet, and heroically zealous ; or that 
he is profoundly humble, and imperatively dig- 
nified : and if Dr. Rennel means, that St. Paul 
displayed these qualities at different times, then 
could not any one of them direct or soften the 
other. 

Sermons are so seldom examined with any 
considerable degree of critical vigilance, thatwe 
are apt to discover in them sometimes a great 
laxity of assertion : such as the following: — 

"Labour to be undergone, afflictions to be 
borne, contradictions to be endured, danger to 
be braved, interest to be despised in the best 
and most flourishing ages of the church, are 
the perpetual badges of far the greater part of 
those who take up their cross and follow 
Christ." 

This passage, at first, struck us to be untrue ; 
and we could not immediately recollect the 
afflictions Dr. Rennel alluded to, till it occurred 
to us, that he must undoubtedly mean the eight 
hundred and fifty actions which, in the course 
of eighteen months, have been brought against 
the clergy for non-residence. 

Upon the danger to be apprehended from 
Roman Catholics in this country. Dr. Rennel is 
laughable. We should as soon dream that the 
wars of York and Lancaster would break out 
afresh, as that the Protestant religion in Eng- 



land has any thing to apprehend from the 
machinations of Catholics. To such a scheme 
as that of Catholic emancipation, which has 
for its object to restore their natural rights tc 
three or four millions of men, and to allay the 
fury of religious hatred. Dr. Rennel is, as might 
be expected, a very strenuous antagonist. Time, 
which lifts up the veil of political mystery, will 
inform us if the Doctor has taken that side of 
the question which may be as lucrative to him- 
self as it is inimical to human happiness, and 
repugnant to enlightened policy. 

Of Dr. Rennel's talents as a reasoner, we 
certainly have formed no very high opinion. 
Unless dogmatical assertion, and the practice 
(but too common among theological writers) 
of taking the thing to be proved, for part of the 
proof, can be considered as evidence of a 
logical understanding, the specimens of argu- 
ment Dr. Rennel has afi"orded us are very in- 
significant. For putting obvious truths into 
vehement language; for expanding and adorn- 
ing moral instruction ; this gentleman certain- 
ly possesses considerable talents: and if he 
will moderate his insolence, steer clear of 
theological metaphysics, and consider rather 
those great laws of Christian practice, which 
jnust interest mankind through all ages, than 
the petty questions which are important to the 
Chancellor of the Exchequer for the time being, 
he may live beyond his own days, and become 
a star of the third or fourth magnitude in the 
English Church. 



JOHN BOWLES; 

[Edinburgh Review, 1802.] 



If this piece be, as Mr. Bowles asserts,f the 
death-warrant of the liberty and power of Great 
Britain, we will venture to assert, that it is also 
the death-warrant of Mr. Bowles's literary re- 
putation ; and that the people of this island, 
if they verify his predictions, and cease to read 
his books, whatever they may lose in political 
greatness, will evince no small improvement 
in critical acumen. There is a political, as 
well as a bodily hypochondriasis; and there 
ai'e empirics always on the watch to make 
their prey, either of the one or of the other. 
Dr. Solomon, Dr. Brodum, and Mr. Bowles, 
have all commanded their share of the public 
attention : but the two former gentlemen con- 
tinue to flourish with undiminished splendour; 
while the patients of the latter are fast dwin- 
dling away, and his drugs falling into disuse 
and contempt. 



* Reflections at the Conclusion of the War: Beinj a 
Pequel to Reflections on the Political and Moral State of 
Society at the Close of the Eighteenth Century. The 
Tliird Edition, with Additions. By John Bowles, 
Esq. 

+ It is impossible to conceive the mischievous power of 
the corrupt alarmists of those days, and the despotic 
manner in which thev exercised their authority. They 
were fair objects for the Edinburgh Review. 



The truth is, if Mr. Bowles had begun his 
literary career at a period when superior dis- 
crimination, and profound thought, not vulgar 
violence, and the eternal repetition of rabble- 
rousing words, were necessary to literary 
reputation, he would never have emerged 
froin that obscurity to which he will soon 
turn. The intemperate passions of the public, 
not his own talents, have given him some tem- 
porary reputation ; and now, when men hope 
and fear with less eagerness than they have 
been lately accustomed to do, Mr. Bowles will 
be compelled to descend from that moderate 
eminence, where no man of real genius would 
ever have condescended to remain. 

The pamphlet is written in the genuine spi- 
rit of the Windham and Burke School ; though 
Mi% Bowles cannot be called a servile copyist 
of either of these gentlemen, as he has rejected 
the logic of the one, and the eloquence of the 
other, and imitated them only in their head 
strong violence, and exaggerated abuse. There 
are some men who continue to astonish and 
please the world, even in the support of a bad 
cause. They are mighty in their fallacies, and 
beautiful in their errors. Mr. Bom'Ics sees 
only one half of the precedent ; and thinks, in. 



16 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



order to be famous, that he has nothing to do 
but to be in the wrong. 

War, etei'nal war, till the wrongs of Europe 
are avenged, and the Bourbons restored, is the 
master-principle of Mr. Bowles's political opi- 
nions, and the object for which he declaims 
through the whole of the present pamphlet. 

The first apprehensions which Mr. Bowles 
seems to entertain, are of the boundless am- 
bition and perfidious character of the First 
Consul, and of that military despotism he has 
established, which is not only impelled by the 
love of conquest, but interested, for its own 
preservation, to desire the overthrow of other 
states. Yet the author informs us, immediate- 
ly after, that the life of Buonaparte is exposed 
to more dangers than that of any other indi- 
vidual in Europe who is not actually in the 
last stage of an incurable disease ; and that 
his death, whenever it happens, must involve 
the dissolution of that machine of government, 
of which he mus.tbe considered not only as the 
sole director, but the main spi'ing. Confusion 
of thought, we are told, is one of the truest 
indications of terror ; and the panic of this 
alarmist is so very great, that he cannot listen 
to the consolation which he himself aflbrds : 
for it appears, upon summing up these perils, 
that we are in the utmost danger of being de- 
stroyed by a despot, whose system of govern- 
ment, as dreadful as himself, cannot survive 
him, and who, in all human probability, will 
be shot or hanged before he can execute any 
one of his projects against us. 

We have a good deal of flourishing in the 
beginning of the pamphlet, about the effect of 
the moral sense upon the stability of govern- 
ments ; that is, as Mr. Bowles explains it, the 
power which all old governments derive from 
the opinion entertained by the people of the 
justice of their rights. If this sense of an- 
cient right be (as is here confidently asserted) 
strong enough ultimately to restore the Bour- 
bons, why are we to fight for that which will 
be done without any fighting at alii And if 
it be strong enough to restore, why was it weak 
enough to render restoration necessary 1 

To notice every singular train of reasoning 
into which Mr. Bowles falls, is not possible ; 
and, in the copious choice of evils, we shall, 
from feelings, of mercy, take the least. 

It must not be forgotten, he observes, that 
" those rights of government, which, because 
they are ancient, are recognised by the moral 
sense as lawful, are the only ones which are 
compatible with civil liberty." So that all 
questions of right and wrong, between the 
governors and the governed, are determinable 
by chronology alone. Every political institu- 
tion is favourable to liberty, not according to 
its spirit, but in proportion to the antiquity of 
its date ; and the slaves of Great Britain are 
groaning under the trial by jury, while the free 
men of Asia exult in the bold privilege trans- 
mitted to them by their fathers, of being tram- 
pled to death by elephants. 

In the 8th page, Mr. Bowles thinks that 
France, if she remains without a king, will 
conquer all Europe ; and, in the 19th page, 
that she will be an object of Divine vengeance 
till she takes one. In the same page, all the 



miseries of France are stated to be a judgment 
of Heaven for their cruelty to the king ; and, 
in the 33d page, they are discovered to pro- 
ceed from the perfidy of the same king to this 
country in the Amei-ican contest. So that cer- 
tain misfortunes proceed fi'om the maltreat- 
ment of a person, who had himself occasioned 
these identical misfortunes before he was mal- 
treated; and while Providence is compelling 
the French, by every species of affliction, to 
resume the monarchical government, they are 
to acquire such extraordinary vigour, from not 
acting as Providence would wish, that they 
are to trample on every nation which co-ope- 
rates with the Divine intention. 

In the 60th page, Mr. Bowles explains what 
is meant by Jacobinism; and, as a concluding 
proof of the justice with which the character 
is drawn, triumphantly quotes the case of a 
certain R. Mountain, who was tried for damn- 
ing all kings and all governments upon earth ; 
for, adds R. Mountain, " I am a Jacobin." No- 
body can more thoroughly detest and despise 
that restless spirit of political innovation, 
which, we suppose, is meant by the name of 
Jacobinism, than we ourselves do ; but we 
Avere highly amused with this proof, ah ehriis 
sutoribus, of tlie prostration of Europe, the last 
hour of human felicity, the perdition of man, 
discovered in the crapulous eructations of a 
drunken cobler. 

This species of evidence might certainly 
have escaped a common observer : But this is 
not all ; there are other proofs of treason and 
sedition, equally remote, sagacious, and pro- 
found. Many good subjects are not very 
much pleased with the idea of the Whig Club 
dining together ; but Mr. Bowles has the merit 
of first calling the public attention to the 
alarming practice of singing after dinner at 
these political meetings. He speaks with a 
proper horror of tavern dinners, 

" — where conviviality is made a stimulus 
to disaffection — where wine serves only to in- 
flame disloyalty — where toasts are converterl 
into a vehicle of sedition — and where the 
powers of harmony are called forth in the 
cause of Discord by those hireling singers, 
Avho are equally readv to invoke the Divine 
favour on the head of their King, or to strain 
their venal throats in chanting the triumphs of 
his bitterest enemies." 

All complaint is futile, which is not followed 
up by appropriate remedies. If Parliament, 
or Catarrh, do not save us, Dignum and Sedg- 
wick will quaver away the King, shake down 
the House of Lords, and warble us into all the 
horrors of republican government. When, in 
addition to these dangers, we reflect also upon 
those with which our national happiness is 
menaced, by the present thinness of ladies' 
petticoats (p. 78), temerity may hope our sal- 
vation, but how can reason promise it 1 

One solitary gleam of comfort, indeed, 
beams itpon us in reading the solemn devo- 
tion of this modern Curtius to the cause of his 
King and country — 

" My attachment to the British monarchy, 
and to the reigning family, is rooted in my 
' heart's core.' — My anxiety for the Britislx 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



17 



throne, pending the dangers to which, in com- 
mon with every other throne, it has lately been 
exposed, has imbittered my choicest comforts. 
And I must solemnly vow, before Almighty 
God, to devote myself, to the end of my days, 
to the maintenance of that throne." 

Whether this patriotism be original, or whe- 
ther it be copied from the Upholsterer in 
Foote's Farces, who sits up whole nights 
watching over the British constitution, we shall 
not stop to inquire ; because, when the practi- 
cal effect of sentiments is good, we would not 
diminish their merits by investigating their 



origin. We seriously commend in Mr. Bowles 
this future dedication of his life to the service 
of his King and country ; and consider it as a 
virtual promise that he will write no more in 
their defence. No wise or good man has ever 
thought of either, but with admiration and re- 
spect. That they should be exposed to that 
ridicule, by the forward imbecility of friend- 
ship, from which they appear to be protected 
by intrinsic worth, is so painful a considera- 
tion, that the very thought of it, we are per- 
suaded, will induce Mr. Bowles to desist from 
writing on political subjects. 



DH. LANGFORD/ 



[Edinburgh Review, 1802.] 



Ax accident which happened to the gentle- 
man engaged in reviewing this Sermon proves', 
in the most striking manner, the importance 
of this charity for restoring to life persons in 
whom the vital power is suspended. He was 
discovered, with Dr. Langford'sf discourse 
lying open before him, in a state of the most 
profound sleep ; from which he could not, by 
any means, be awakened for a great length of 
time. By attending, however, to the rules pre- 
scribed by the Humane Society, flinging in the 
smoke of tobacco, applying hot tiannels, and 
carefully removing the discourse itself to a 
great distance, the critic was restored to his 
disconsolate brothers. 

The only account he could give of himself 
was, that he remembers reading on, regularly, 
till he came to the following pathetic descrip- 
tion of a drowned tradesman ; beyond which 
he recollects nothing:. 



" But to the individual himself, as a man, let 
us add the interruption to all the temporal 
business in which his interest was engaged. 
To him indeed, now apparently lost, the world 
is as nothing : but it seldom happens, that man 
can live for himself alone: society parcels out 
its concerns in various connections; and from 
one head issue waters which run down in 
many channels. — The spring being suddenly 
cut off, what confusion must follow in the 
streams which have flowed from its source 1 
It may be, that all the expectations reasonably 
raised of approaching prosperity, to those who 
have embarked in the same occupation, may 
at once disappear; and the*! important inter- 
change of commercial faith be broken off, 
before it could be brought to any advantageous 
conclusion." 

This extract will suffice for the style of the 
sermon. The charity itself is above all praise. 



AECHDEACON NARES.t 



[Edinburgh Review, 1802.] 



Fob the swarm of ephemeral sermons which 
issue from the press, we are principally in- 
debted to the vanity of popular preachers, who 
are puffed up by female praises into a belief, 
that what may be delivered, with great pro- 
priety, in a chapel full of visitors and friends, 
is fit for the deliberate attention of the public, 

* Anniversary Sermon of the Royal Humane Society. By 
W. Lanoford, D. D. Printed for F. and C. Rivington. 

■(■ To this exceedingly foolish man, the first years of 
Etonian Education were intrusted. How is it possil)le 
to inflict a greater misfortune on a country, than to fill 
up such an office with such an officer 1 

XA Thanksgiving for Plenty, and Warning against 
Avarice. A Sermon. By the Reverend RoBF.nT Nares, 
Archdeacon of Staftord, and Canon Residentiary of 
Litchfield. London : Printed for the author, and sold by 
Rivingtons, St. Paul's Churchyard. 

This was another gentleman of the alarmist tribe. 
3 



who cannot be influenced by the aecency of a 
clergyman's private life, flattered by the sedu- 
lous politeness of his manners, or misled by 
the fallacious circumstances of voice and 
action. A clergyman cannot be always consi- 
dered as reprehensible for preaching an indif- 
ferent sermon ; because, to the active piety, 
and correct life, which the profession requires, 
many an excellent man may not unite talents 
for that species of composition; but every 
man who prints, imagines he gives to the 
world something which they had not before, 
either in matter or style; that he has brought 
forth new truths, or adorned old ones ; and 
when, in lieu of novelty and ornament, we can 
discover nothing but trite imbecility, the law 
must take its course, and the delinquent suffer 
B 2 



18 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



that mortification from which vanity can rarely 
be expected to escape, when it chooses dulness 
for the minister of its gratifications. 

The learned author, after observing that a 
large army praying would be a much finer 
spectacle than a large army fighting, and after 
entertaining us with the old anecdote of 
Xerxes, and the flood of tears, proceeds to ex- 
press his sentiments on the late scarcity, and 
the present abundance; then, stating the man- 
ner in which the Jews were governed by the 
immediate interference of God, and informing 
us, that other people expect not, nor are taught 
to look for, miraculous interference, to punish 
or reward them, he proceeds to talk of the 
visitation of Providence, for the purposes of 
trial, warning, and correction, as if it were a 
truth of which he had never doubted. 

Still, however, he contends, though the Deity 
does interfere, it would be presumptuous and 
impious to pronounce the purposes for which 
he interferes ; and then adds, that it has pleased 
God, within these few years, to give us a most 
awful lesson of the vanity of agriculture and 
importation without piety, and that he has 
proved this to the conviction of every thinking 
mind. 

"Though he interpose not (says Mr. Nares) 
by positive miracle, he influences by means 
unknown to all but himself, and directs the 
winds, the rain, and the glorious beams of 
heaven to execute his judgment, or fulfil his 
merciful designs." — Now, either the wind, the 
rain, and the beams, are here represented to 
act as they do in the ordinary course of nature, 
or they are not. If they are, how can their 
operations be considered as a judgment on 
sins 1 and if they are not, what are their extra- 
ordinary operations, but positive miracles] So 
that the archdeacon, after denying that any 
body knows when, how, and whij, the Creator 
works a miracle, proceeds to specify the time, 
instrument, and object of a miraculous scarcity; 
and then, assuring us that the elements were 
employed to execute the judgments of Provi- 
dence, denies that this is any proof of a posi- 
tive miracle. 

Having given us this specimen of his talents 
for theological metaphysics, Mr. Nares com- 
mences his attack upon the farmers; accuses 
them of cruelty and avarice; raises the old cry 
of monopoly; and expresses some doubts, in a 
note, whether the better way would not be, to 
subject their granaries to the control of an 
exciseman ; and to levy heavy penalties upon 
those, in whose possession corn, beyond a cer- 
tain quantity to be fixed by law, should be 
found. — This style of reasoning is pardonable 



enough in those who argue from the belly 
rather than the brains; but in a well-fed, and 
well-educated clergyman, who has never been 
disturbed by hunger from the free exercise of 
cultivated talents, it merits the severest repre- 
hension. The farmer has it not in his power 
to raise the price of corn; he never has fixed 
and never can fix it. He is unquestionably 
justified in receiving any price he can obtain: 
for it happens very beautifully, that the eflect 
of his efforts to better his fortune is as benefi- 
cial to the public as if their motive had not 
been selfish. The poor are not to be supported, 
in time of famine, by abatement of price on 
the part of the farmer, but by the subscription 
of residentiary canons, archdeacons, and all 
men rich in public or private property; and 
to these subscriptions the farmer should con- 
tribute according to the amount of his fortune. 
To insist that he should take a less price when 
he can obtain a greater, is to insist upon laying 
on that order of men the whole burden of sup- 
porting the poor; a convenient system enough 
in the eyes of a rich ecclesiastic; and objec- 
tionable only, because it is impracticable, 
pernicious, and unjust.* 

The question of the corn trade has divided 
society into two parts — those who have any 
talents for reasoning, and those who have not. 
We owe an apology to our readers for taking 
any notice of errors that have been so fre- 
quently and so unanswerably exposed ; but 
when they are echoed from the bench and the 
pulpit, the dignity of the teacher may perhaps 
communicate some degree of importance to 
the silliest and most extravagant doctrines. 

No reasoning can be more radically erro- 
neous than that upon which the whole of Mr. 
Nares's sermon is founded. The most bene- 
volent, the most Christian, and the most pro- 
fitable conduct the farmer can pursue, is, to 
sell his commodities for the highest price he 
can possibly obtain. This advice, we think, 
is not in any great danger of being rejected : 
we wish we were equally sure of success in 
counselling the Reverend Mr. Nares to attend, 
in future, to practical rather than theoretical 
questions about provisions. He may be a very 
hospitable archdeacon ; but nothing short of 
a positive miracle can make him an acute 
reasoner. 



* If it is pleasdnt to notice the intellectual growth of 
an individual, it is still more pleasant to see the public 
growing wiser. This absurdity of attributing the high 
price of corn to the combinations of farmers, was the 
common nonsense talked in the days of my youth. I re- 
member when ten judges out of twelve laid down this 
doctrine in their charges to the various grand juries on 
the circuits. The lowest attorney's clerk is now better 
instructed. 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



n 



MATTHEW LEWIS/ 



[Edinburgh Review, 1803.] 



AtFOKSo, king of Castile had, many years 
previous to the supposed epoch of the play, 
left his minister and general, Orsino, to perish 
in prison, from a false accusation of treason. 
Cassario, son to Orsino, (who by accident had 
liberated Amelrosa, daughter of Alfonso, from 
the Moors, and who is married to her, unknown 
to the father,) becomes a great favourite with 
the king, and avails himself of the command 
of the armies, with which he is intrusted, to 
gratify his revenge for his father's misfor- 
tunes, to forward his own ambitious views, 
and to lay a plot by which he may deprive 
Alfonso of his throne and his life. Marquis 
Guzman, poisoned by his wife Ottilia, in love 
with Coasario, confesses to the king that the 
papers upon which the suspicion of Orsino's 
guilt was founded were forged by him : and 
the king, learning from his daughter Amel- 
rosa that Orsino is still alive, repairs to his 
retreat in the forest, is received with the most 
implacable hauteur and resentment, and in 
vain implores forgiveness of his injured minis- 
ter. To the same forest Caesario, informed of 
the existence of his father, repairs and reveals 
his intended plot against the king. Orsino, con- 
vinced of Alfonso's goodness to his subjects, 
though incapable of forgiving him for his un- 
intentional injuries to himself, in vain dis- 
suades his son from the conspiracy; and at 
last, ignorant of their marriage, acquaints 
Amelrosa with the plot formed by her hus- 
band against her father. Amelrosa, already 
poisoned by Ottilia, in vain attempts to pre- 
vent Csesario from blowing up a mine laid 
under the royal palace ; information of which 
she had received from Ottilia, stabbed by Cge- 
sario to avoid her importunity. In the mean 
time, the king had been removed from the 
palace by Orsino to his ancient retreat in the 
forest: the people rise against the usurper 
Csesario ; a battle takes place: Orsino stabs 
his own son at the moment the king is in his 
son's power ; falls down from the wounds he 
has received in battle; and dies in the usual 
dramatic style, repeating twenty-two hexame- 
ter verses. Mr. Lewis says in his preface, 

"To the assertion, that my play is stupid, I 
have nothing to object ; if it be found so, even 
let it be so said; but if (as was most falsely 
asserted of Adelmorn) any anonymous writer 
should advance that this Tragedy is immoral, 
I expect him to prove his assertion by quoting 
the objectionable passages. This I demand as 
an act of justice." 

We confess ourselves to have been highly 
delighted with these symptoms of returning, 
or perhaps nascent purity in the mind of Mr. 
Lewis ; a delight somewhat impaired, to be 
sure, at the opening of the play, by the foUow- 



* -Alfonso, King of Castile. A Tragedy, in five Acts. 
By M. G. Lewis. Price 2s. 6d. 



ing explanation which Ottilia gives of her early 
rising. 

" ACT I. Scene I. — The palace-garden. — Day-break. 
Ottilia enters in a night-dress: her hair flows dishevelled. 
" Ottil. Dews of tlie morn descend ! Breathe sum- 
mer gales : 
My flushed cheeks woo ye ! Play, sweet wantons, play 
'Rlid my loose tresses, fan my panting breast, 
Quencli my blood's burning fever! — Vain, vain prayer! 
Not Winter throned 'midst Alpine snows, whose will 
Can with one breath, one touch, congeal whole realms, 
And blanch whole seas : not that fiend's self could ease 
This heart, this gulf of flames, this purple kingdom, 
Where passion rules and rages 1" 

Ottilia at last becomes quite furious, from 
the conviction that Caesario has been sleeping 
with a second lady, called Estella ; whereas 
he has really been sleeping with a third lady, 
called Amelrosa. Passing across the stage, 
this gallant gentleman takes an opportunity 
of mentioning to the audience, that he has 
been passing his time very agreeably, meets 
Ottilia, quarrels, makes it up ; and so end the 
first two or three scenes. 

Mr. Lewis will excuse us for the liberty we 
take in commenting on a few passages in his 
play which appear to us rather exceptionable. 
The only information which Csesario, imagin- 
ing his father to have been dead for many 
years, receives of his existence, is in the fol- 
lowing short speech of Melchior. 

"Melch. The Count San Lucar, long thought dead 
but saved, 
It seems, by Amelrosa's care. — Time presses — 
I must away : farewell." 

To this laconic, but important information, 
Ccesario makes no reply ; but merely desires 
Melchior to meet him at one o'clock, under the 
Royal Tower, and for some other purposes. 

In the few cases which have fallen under 
our observation, of fathers restored to life after 
a supposed death of twenty years, the parties 
concerned have, on the first intimation, ap- 
peared a little surprised, and generally ask a 
few questions ; though we do not go the length 
of saying it is natural so to do. This sams 
CaBsario (whose love of his father is a prin- 
cipal cause of his conspiracy against the 
king) begins criticising the old warrior, upon 
his first seeing him again, much as a virtuoso 
woulA criticise an ancient statue that wanted 
an arm or a leg. 

" Orsino enters from the cave. 
"CjESARIO. Now by my lilb 

A noble ruin !" 

Amelrosa, who imagines her father to have 
banished her from his presence for ever, in th-e 
first transports of joy for pardon, obtained by 
earnest intercessions, thus exclaims : — 

" Lend thy doves, dear Venut), 
That I may send them where Csesario strays : 
And while he smooths their silver wings, and gives them 
For drink the honey of his lips, I'll bid them 
Coo in his ear, his Amelrosa's happy !" 

What judge of human feelings does not re- 



so 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



cognise in these images of silver wings, doves 
and honey, the genuine language of the pas- 
sions ] 

If Mr. Lewis is really in earnest in pointing 
out the coincidence between his own dramatic 
sentiments,and the Gospel of St. Matthew, such 
a reference (wide as we know this assertion 
to be) evinces a want of judgment, of which 
we did not think him capable. If it proceeded 
from irreligious levity, we pity the man who 
has bad taste enough not to prefer honest dul- 
ness to such paltry celebrity. 

We beg leave to submit to Mr. Lewis, if Al- 
fonso, considering the great interest he has in 
the decision, might not interfere a little in the 
long argument carried on between Caesario 
and Orsino, upon the propriety of putting him 
to death. To have expressed any decisive 
opinion upon the subject, might perhaps have 
been incorrect ; but a few gentle hints as to 
that side of the question to which he leaned, 
might be fairly allowed to be no very unnatu- 
ral incident. 

This tragedy delights in explosions. Al- 
fonso's empire is destroyed by a blast of gun- 
powder, and restored by a clap of thunder. 
After the death of Caesario, and a short exhor- 
tation to that purpose by Orsino, all the con- 
spirators fall down in a thunder-clap, ask par- 
don of the king, and are forgiven. This 
mixture of physical and moral power is 
beautiful ! How interesting a water-spout 
would appear among Mr. Lewis's kings and 



queens ! We anxiously look forward, in his 
next tragedy, to a fall of snow three or four 
feel deep; or expect that a plot shall gradually 
unfold itself by means of a general thaw. 

All is not so bad in this play. There is 
some strong painting, which shows, every now 
and then, the hand of a master. The agitation 
which Csesario exhibits upon his first joining 
the conspirators in the cave, previous to the 
blowing up of the mine, and immediately after 
stabbing Ottilia, is very fine. 

"CjESAnio. Ay, shout, shout, 
And kneeling greet your blood-anoipted king, 
This steel his sceptre ! Tremble, dwarfs in guilt. 
And own your master ! Thou art proof, Henriquez, 
'Gainst pity; I once saw thee stab in battle 
A page who clasped thy knees : And Melchior there 
Made quick work with a brother whom he hated. 
But what did I this night I Hear, hear, and reverence ! 
There was a breast, on which my head had rested 
A thousand times ; a breast which loved me fondly 
As heaven loves martyred saints ; and yet this breast 
1 stabbed, knave— stabbed it to the heart — Wine ! wine 

there 1 
For my soul's joyous !" — p. 86. 

The resistance which Amelrosa opposes to 
the firing of the mine, is well wrought out; 
and there is some good poetry scattered up 
and down the play, of which we should very 
willingly make extracts, if our limits would 
permit. The ill success which it has justly 
experienced, is owing, we have no doubt, to the 
want of nature in the characters, and of proba- 
bility and good arrangement in the incidents; 
objections of some force. 



austealia; 



[Edinburgh Review, 1803.] 



To introduce an European population, and 
consequently, the arts and civilization of Eu- 
rope, into such an untrodden country as New 
Holland, is to confer a lasting and important 
benefit upon the world. If man be destined for 
perpetual activity, and if the proper objects of 
that activity be the subjugation of physical 
difficulties, and of his own dangerous passions, 
how absurd are those systems which proscribe 
the acquisitions of science and the restraints 
of law, and would arrest the progress of man 
in the rudest and earliest stages of his exist- 
ence ! Indeed, opinions so very extravagant 
in their nature must be attributed rather to the 
wantonness of paradox, than to sober reflec- 
tion and extended inquiry. 

To suppose the savage state permanent, we 
must suppose the numbers of those who com- 
pose it to be stationary, and the various pas- 
sions by which men have actually emerged 
from it to be extinct; and this is to suppose 
man a very different being from what he really 
IS. To prove such a permanence beneficial, 
(if it were possible,) we must have recourse 

♦ Account of the English Colony of M'ew South WaUs. 
By Lieutenant-Colonel Collins of the R,-yal Marines. 
Vol. ii. 4to. Cadell and Davies, London. 



to matter of fact, and judge of the rude state 
of society, not from the praises of tranquil 
literati, but from the narratives of those who 
have seen it, through a nearer and better me- 
dium than that of itnagination. There is an 
argument, however, for the continuation of 
evil, drawn from the ignorance of good ; by 
which it is contended, that to teach men their 
situation can be better, is to teach them that it 
is bad, and to destroy that happiness which 
always results from an ignorance that any 
greater happiness is within our reach. All 
pains and pleasures are clearly by comparison ; 
but the most deplorable savage enjoys a suffi- 
cient contrast of good, to know that the grosser 
evils from which civilization rescues him are 
evils. A New Hollander seldom passes a year 
without suffering from famine ; the small-pox 
falls upon him like a plague ; he dreads those 
calamities, though he does not know how to 
avert them ; but, doubtless, would find his 
happiness increased, if they ivere averted. To 
deny this, is to suppose that men are recon- 
ciled to evils, because they are inevitable; and 
yet hurricanes, earthquakes, bodily decay, and 
death, stand highest in the catalogue of human 
calamities. 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



21 



Where civilization gives new birth to new- 
comparisons unfavourable to savage life, with 
the information that a greater good is possible, 
it generally connects the means of attaining it. 
The savage no sooner becomes ashamed of his 
nakedness, than the loom is ready to clothe 
him; the forge prepares for him more perfect 
tools, when he is disgusted with the awkward- 
ness of his own : his weakness is strength- 
ened, and his wants supplied as soon as they 
are discovered ; and the use of the discovery 
is, that it enables him to derive from compari- 
son the best proof of present happiness. A 
man born blind is ignorant of the pleasures of 
which he is deprived. Afler the restoration of 
his sight, his happiness will be increased from 
two causes; — from the delight he experiences 
at the novel accession of power, and from the 
contrast he will always be enabled to make 
between his two situations, long after the plea- 
sure of novelty has ceased. For these rea- 
sons it is humane to restore him to sight. 

But, however beneficial to the general inte- 
rests of mankind the civilization of barbarous 
countries may be considered to be, in this par- 
ticular instance of it, the interest of Great 
Britain would seem to have been very little 
consulted. With fanciful schemes of universal 
good we have no business to meddle. Why 
we are to erect penitentiary houses and prisons 
at the distance of half the diameter of the 
globe, and to incur the enormous expense of 
feeding and transporting their inhabitants to 
and at such a distance, it is extremely difBcult 
to discover. It certainly is not from any de- 
ficiency of barren islands near our own coast, 
nor of uncultivated wastes in the interior; and 
if we were sufficiently fortunate to be wanting 
in such species of accommodation, we might 
discover in Canada, or the West Indies, or on 
the coast of Africa, a climate malignant 
enough, or a soil sufficiently sterile, to revenge 
all the injuries which have been inflicted on 
society by pickpockets, larcenists, and petty 
felons. Upon the foundation of a new colony, 
and especially one peopled by criminals, there 
is a disposition in Government (where any 
circumstance in the commission of the crime 
aflbrds the least pretence for the commutation) 
to convert capital punishments into transpor- 
tation ; and by these means to hold forth a 
very dangerous, though certainly a very unin- 
tentional, encouragement to offences. And 
•when the history of the colony has been atten- 
tively perused in the parish of St. Giles, the 
ancient avocation of picking pockets will cer- 
tainly not become more discreditable from the 
knowledge, that it may eventually lead to the 
possession of a farm of a thousand acres on 
the river Hawkesbury. Since the benevolent 
Howard attacked our prisons, incarceration 
has become not only healthy but elegant; and 
a county jail is precisely the place to which 
any pauper might wish to retire to gratify his 
taste for magnificence as well as for comfort. 
Upon the same principle, there is some risk 
that transportation will be considered as one 
of the surest roads to honour and to wealth ; 
and that no felon will hear a verdict of " not 
guilty" without considering himself as cut off 
in the fairest career of prosperity. It is fool- 



ishly believed, that the colony of Botany Bay 
unites our moral and commercial interests, 
and that we shall receive hereafter an ample 
equivalent, in bales of goods, for all the vices 
we export. Unfortunately, the expenses we 
have incurred in founding the colony, will not 
retard the natural progress of its emancipa- 
tion, or prevent the attacks of other nations, 
who will be as desirous of reaping the fruit, 
as if they had sown the seed. It is a colony, 
besides, begun under every possible disadvan- 
tage; it is too distant to be long governed, or 
well defended ; it is undertaken, not by the vo- 
luntary association of individuals, but by Go- 
vernment, and by means of compulsory labour. 
A nation must, indeed, be redundant in capital, 
that will expend it where the hopes of a just 
return are so very small. 

It may be a very curious consideration, to 
reflect what we are to do with this colony when 
it comes to years of discretion. Are we to 
spend another hundred millions of money in 
discovering its strength, and to humble our- 
selves again before a fresh set of Washingtons 
and Franklins 1 The moment after we have 
suffered such serious mischief from the es- 
cape of the old tiger, we are breeding up a 
young cub, whom we cannot render less fero- 
cious, or more secure. If we are gradually to 
manumit the colony, as it is more and more 
capable of protecting itself, the degrees of 
emancipation, and the periods at which they 
are to take place, will be judged of very differ- 
ently by the two nations. But we confess our- 
selves not to be so sanguine as to suppose, that 
a spirited and commercial people would, in 
spite of the example of America, ever consent 
to abandon their sovereignty over an import- 
ant colony, without a struggle. Endless blood 
and treasure will be exhausted to support a 
tax on kangaroos' skins ; faithful Commons 
will go on voting fresh supplies to support a 
just and necessary war; and Newgate, then be- 
come a quarter of the world, will evince a 
heroism, not unworthy of the great characters 
by whom she was originally peopled. 

The experiment, however, is not less inte- 
resting in a moral, because it is objectionable 
in a commercial point of view. It is an ob- 
ject of the highest curiosity, thus to have the 
growth of a nation subjected to our exami- 
nation ; to trace it by such faithful records, 
from the first day of its existence ; and to ga- 
ther that knowledge of the progress of human 
affairs, from actual experience, which is con- 
sidered to be only accessible to the conjectural 
reflections of enlightened minds. 

Human nature, under very old governments, 
is so trimmed, and pruned, and ornamented, 
and led into such a variety of factitious shapes, 
that we are almost ignorant of the appearance 
it would assume, if it were left more to itself. 
From such an experiment as that now before 
us, we shall be better able to appreciate what 
circumstances of our situation are owing to 
those permanent laws by which all men are 
influenced, and what to the accidental positions 
in which we have been placed. New circum- 
stances will throw new light upon the effects 
of our religious, political, and economical in- 
stitutions, if we cause them to be adopted as 



sfe^ 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



models in our rising empire ; and if we do not, 
we shall estimate the effects of their presence, 
by observing those which are produced by 
their non-existence. 

The history of the colony is at present, how- 
ever, in its least interesting state, on account 
of the great preponderance of depraved inha- 
bitants, whose crimes and irregularities give 
a monotony to the narrative, which it cannot 
lose, till the respectable part of the community 
come to bear a greater proportion to the cri- 
minal. 

These Memoirs of Colonel Collins resume 
the history of the colony from the period at 
which he concluded it in his former volume, 
September 1796, and continue it down to Au- 
gust 1801. They are written in the style of a 
journal, which, though not the most agreeable 
mode of conveying information, is certainly 
the most authentic, and contrives to banish the 
suspicion (and most probably the reality) of 
the interference of a book-maker — a species 
of gentlemen who are now almost become ne- 
cessary to deliver naval and military authors 
in their literary labours, though they do not 
always atone, by orthography and grammar, 
for the sacrifice of truth and simplicity. Mr. 
Collins's book is written with great plainness 
and candour : he appears to be a man always 
meaning well ; of good, plain common sense ; 
and composed of those well-wearing matei'ials, 
which adapt a person for situations where 
genius and refinement would only prove a 
source of misery and of error. 

We shall proceed to lay before our readers 
an analysis of the most important matter con- 
tained in this volume. 

The natives in the vicinity of Port Jackson 
stand extremely low, in point of civilization, 
when compared with many other savages, 
with whom the discoveries of Captain Cook 
have made us acquainted. Their notions of 
religion exceed even that degree of absurdity 
which we are led to expect in the creed of a 
barbarous people. In politics, they appear to 
have scarcely advanced beyond family-govern- 
ment. Huts they have none; and, in all their 
economical inventions, there is a rudeness and 
deficiency of ingenuity, unpleasant, when con- 
trasted with the instances of dexterity with 
which the descriptions and importations of 
our navigators have rendered us so familiar. 
Their numbers appear to us to be very small: 
a fact, at once, indicative either of the ferocity 
of manners in any people, or, more probably, 
of the sterility of their country ; but which, 
in the present instance, proceeds from both 
these causes. 

" Gaining every day (says Mr. Collins) some 
further knowledge of the inhuman habits and 
customs of these people, their being so thinly 
scattered through the country ceased to be a 
matter of surprise. It was almost daily seen, 
that from some trifling cause or other, they 
were continually living in a state of warfare : 
to this must be added their brutal treatment of 
their women, who are themselves equally de- 
structive to the measure of population, by the 
horrid and cruel customs of endeavouring to 
cause a miscarriage, which their female ac- 
quaintances effect by pressing the body in such 



a way, as to destroy the infant in the womb ; 
which violence not unfrequently occasions the 
death of the unnatural mother also. To this 
they have recourse to avoid the trouble of car- 
rying the infant about when born, which, when 
it is very young, or at the breast, is the duty 
of the woman. The operation for this destruc- 
tive purpose is termed Mee-bra. The burying 
an infant (when at the breast) with the mo- 
ther, if she should die, is another shocking 
cause of the thinness of population among 
them. The fact that such an operation as the 
Mee-bra was practised by these wretched peo- 
ple, was communicated by one of the natives 
to the principal surgeon of the settlement." — 
(p. 124, 125.) 

It is remarkable, that the same paucity of 
numbers has been observed in every part of 
New Holland which has hitherto been ex- 
plored ; and yet there is not the smallest rea- 
son to conjecture that the population of it has 
been very recent ; nor do the people bear any 
marks of descent from the inhabitants of the 
numerous islands by which this great conti- 
nent is surrounded. The force of population 
can only be resisted by some great physical 
evils; and many of the causes of this scarcity 
of human beings, which Mr. Collins refers to 
the ferocity of the natives, are ultimately re- 
ferable to the ditficulty of support. We have 
always considered this phenomenon as a symp- 
tom extremely unfavourable to the future des- 
tinies of this country. It is easy to launch out 
into eulogiums of the fertility of nature in par- 
ticular spots ; but the most probable reason 
why a country that has been long inhabited, 
is not well inhabited, is, that it is not calcu- 
lated to support many inhabitants without great 
labour. It is difficult to suppose any other 
causes powerful enough to resist the impetu- 
ous tendency of man, to obey that mandate 
for increase and multiplication, which has 
certainly been better observed than any other 
declaration of the Divine will ever revealed 
to us. 

There appears to be some tendency to civi- 
lization, and some tolerable notions of justice, 
in a practice very similar to our custom of 
duelling; for duelling, though barbarous in 
civilized, is a highly civilized institution among 
barbarous people : and when compared to as- 
sassination, is a prodigious victory gained 
over human passions. Whoever kills another 
in the neighbourhood of Botany Bay, is com- 
pelled to appear at an appointed day before the 
friends of the deceased, and to sustain the at- 
tacks of their missile weapons. If he is killed, 
he is deemed to have met with a deserved 
death ; if not, he is considered to have expiated 
the crime for the commission of which he was 
exposed to the danger. There is in this in- 
stitution a command over present impulses, a 
prevention of secrecy in the gratification of 
revenge, and a wholesome correction of that 
passion by the effect of public observation, 
which evince such a superiority to the mere 
animal passions of ordinary savages, and form 
such a contrast to the rest of the history of 
this people, that it may be considered as alto- 
gether an anomalous and inexplicable fact 
The natives differ very much in the progress 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



23 



they have made m the arts of economy. 
Those to the north of Port Jackson evince a 
considerable degree of ingenuity and con- 
trivance in the structure of their houses, 
which are rendered quite impervious to the 
weather, while the inhabitants at Port Jackson 
have no houses at all. At Port Dalrymple, in 
Van Diemen's Land, there was every reason 
to believe the natives were unacquainted with 
the use of canoes ; a fact extremely embar- 
rassing to those who indulge themselves in 
speculating on the genealogy of nations ; be- 
cause it reduces them to the necessity of sup- 
posing that the progenitors of this insular 
people swam over from the main land, or that 
they were aboriginal ; a species of dilemma, 
which effectually bars all conjecture upon the 
intermixture of nations. It is painful to 
learn, that the natives have begun to plunder 
and rob in so very alarming a manner, that it 
has been repeatedly found necessary to fire 
upon them ; and many have, in consequence, 
fallen victims to their rashness. 

The soil is found to produce coal in vast 
abundance, salt, lime, veiy fine iron ore, tim- 
ber fit for all purposes, excellent flax, and a 
tree, the bark of which is admirably adapted 
for cordage. The discovery of coal (which, 
by the by, we do not believe was ever before 
discovered so near the line) is probably rather 
a disadvantage than an advantage ; because, 
as it lies extremely favourable for sea car- 
riage, it may prove to be a cheaper fuel than 
wood, and thus operate as a discouragement 
to the clearing of lands. The soil upon the 
sea-coast has not been found to be very pro- 
ductive, though it improves in partial spots 
in the interior. The climate is healthy, in 
spite of the prodigious heat of the summer 
months, at which period the thermometer has 
been observed to stand in the shade at 107, 
and the leaves of garden-vegetables to fall into 
dust, as if the)'- had been consumed with fire. 
But one of the most insuperable defects in 
New Holland, considered as the future coun- 
try of a great people, is, the want of large ri- 
vers penetrating very far into the interior, and 
navigable for small crafts. The Hawkesbury, 
the largest river yet discovered, is not acces- 
sible to boats for more than twenty miles. 
This same river occasionally rises above its 
natural level, to the astonishing height of fifty 
feet; and has swept away, more than once, 
the labours and the hopes of the new people 
exiled to its banks. 

The laborious acquisition of any good we 
have long enjoyed is apt to be forgotten. We 
walk and talk, and run and read, without 
remembering the long and severe labour dedi- 
cated to the cultivation of these powers, the 
formidable obstacles opposed to our progress, 
or the infinite satisfaction with which we over- 
came them. He who lives among a civilized 
people, may estimate the labour by which so- 
ciety has been brought into such a state, by read- 
ing these annals of Botany Bay, the account 
of a whole nation exerting itself to new floor 
the government-house, repair the hospital, or 
build a wooden receptacle for stores. Yet the 
time may come, when some Botany Bay Taci- 
tus shall record the crimes of an emperor 



lineally descended from a London pick-pocket, 
or paint the valour with which he has led his 
New Hollanders into the heart of China. At 
that period, when the Grand Lahma is sending 
to supplicate alliance ; when the spice islands 
are purchasing peace with nutmegs ; when 
enormous tributes of green tea and nankeen 
are wafted into Port Jackson, and landed on 
tlie quays of Sydney, who will ever remember 
that the sawing of a few planks, and the 
knocking together a few nails, were such a 
serious trial of the energies and resources of 
the nation ! 

The Government of the colony, after enjoy- 
ing some little respite from this kind of labour, 
has begun to turn its attention to the coarsest 
and most necessaiy species of manufactures, 
for which their wool appears to be well ?„dapt- 
ed. The state of stock in the whole settle- 
ment, in June 1801, was about 7,000 sheep, 
1,300 head of cattle, 250 horses, and 5,000 
hogs. There Were under cultivation at the 
same time, between 9 and 10,000 acres of corn. 
Three years and a-half before this, in Decem- 
ber 1797, the numbers were as follows : — 
Sheep, 2,500 ; cattle 350 ; horses, 100 ; hogs, 
4,300 ; acres of land in cultivation, 4,000. 
The temptation to salt pork, and sell it for 
Government store, is probably the reason why 
the breed of hogs has been so much Icept 
under. The increase of cultivated lands be- 
tween the two periods is prodigious. It ap- 
pears (p. 319) that the whole number of con- 
victs imported between January 1788 and 
June 1801 (a period of thirteen years and a 
half) has been about 5,000, of whom 1,157 
were females. The total amount of the popu- 
lation on the continent, as well as at Norfolk 
Island, amounted, June 1801, to 6,500 persons ; 
of these 766 were children born at Port Jack- 
son. In the returns from Norfolk Island, 
children are not discriminated from adults. 
Let us add to the imported population of 5,000 
convicts, 500 free people, which (if we consi- 
der that a regiment of soldiers has been kept 
up there) is certainly a very small allowance ; 
then, in thirteen years and a half, the imported 
population has increased only by two-thir- 
teenths. If we suppose that something more 
than a fifth of the free people were women, 
this will make the total of women 1,270 ; of 
whom we may fairly presume that 800 were 
capable of child-bearing ; and if we suppose 
the children of Norfolk Island to bear the same 
proportion to the adults as at Port Jackson, 
their total number at both settlements will be 
913; — a state of infantine population which 
certainly does not justify the very high eulo- 
giums which have been made on the fertility 
of the female sex in the climate of New Hol- 
land. 

The Governor, who appears on all occasions 
to be an extremely well-disposed man, is not 
quite so conversant in the best writings on 
political economy as we could wish : and in- 
deed (though such knowledge would be ex- 
tremely serviceable to the interests which this 
Romulus of the Southern Pole is superintend- 
ing), it is rather unfair to exact from a sujicr- 
intendent of pick-pockets, that he should be a 
philosopher. In the 18th page we have the 



u 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



following information respecting the price of 
labour : — 

" Some representations having been made 
to the Governor from the settlers in different 
parts of the colony, purporting that the wages 
demanded by the free labouring people, whom 
they had occasion to hire, were so exorbitant 
as to run away with the greatest part of the 
profit of their farms, it was recommended to 
them to appoint quarterly meetings among 
themselves, to be held in each district, for the 
purpose of settling the rate of wages to la- 
bourers in every different kind of work ; that, 
to this end, a written agreement should be en- 
tered into, and subscribed by each settler, a 
breach of which should be punished by a 
penalty, to be fixed by the general opinion, 
and made recoverable in a court of civil judi- 
cature. It was recommended to them to apply 
this forfeiture to the common benefit; and 
they were to transmit to the head-quarters a 
copy of their agreement, with the rate of 
wages which they should from time to time 
establish, for the Governor's information, hold- 
ing their first meeting as early as possible." 

And again, at p. 24, the following arrange- 
ments on that head are enacted: — 

"In pursuance of the order which was 
issued in January last recommending the set- 
tlers to appoint meetings, at which they should 
fix the rate of wages that it might be proper 
to pay for the different kinds of labour which 
their farms should require, the settlers had 
submitted to the Governor the several resolu- 
tions that they had entered into, by which he 
was enabled to fix a rate that he conceived to 
be fair and equitable between the farmer and 
the labourer. 

" The following prices of labour were now established, 
viz. 

£ s. d. 
Fellins forfist timber, per acre, - - 9 

Ditto in brushwood, ditto - - 1 10 6 

Burning otf open ground, ditto - - 15 

Ditto brush ground, ditto - - 1 10 

Breaking up new ground, ditto - - 14 

Chipping fresh ground, ditto - - 1 12 3 

Chipping in wheat, ditto - - 7 

Breaking up stubble or corn ground, l^d. per rod, 

or ditto - - 16 8 

Planting Indian corn, ditto - - 7 

Hilling ditto ditto - - 7 

Reaping wheat, ditto - - 10 

Thrashingditto,pr. bush., ditto - - 9 

Pulling and husking Indian corn, per bushel 6 
Splitting paling of seven feet long, per hundred 3 
Ditto of five ftet long, ditto - - - 16 

Sawing plank, ditto - - - 7 

Ditching per rod, three feet wide, and 3 ft. deep 10 
Carriage of wheat, per bushel, per mile - 2 
Ditto Indian corn, neat - - - 3 

Yearly wages for labour, with board - 10 
Wages per week, with provisions, consisting 
of 4 lb. of salt pork, or 6 lb. of fresh, and 21 
lb. of wheat with vegetables - - 6 

A day's wages with board - - - 10 
Dmo without board ... . 026 

A government-man allowed to officers or set- 
tlers in their own time - - - 10 
Price of an a.xe ..-- - 020 
New steeling ditto _ . - - 6 
A new hoe -_-.. - 019 
A sickle ..... . 016 

Hire of a boat to carry grain, per day - 5 
"The settlers were reminded, that, in order to prevent 
any kin^l of dispute between the master and servant, 
when thiy should have occasion to hire a man for any 
length of time, they would find it most convenient to en- 
gage him for a quarter, half-year, or year, and to make 
their ;mii;ement in writing; on which, should any dis- 
pute yrise, an appeal to the magistrates would settle it." 



This is all very bad ; and if the Governor 
had cherished the intention of destroying the 
colony, he could have done nothing more de- 
trimental to its interests. The high price of 
labour is the very corner-stone on which the 
prosperity of a new colony depends. It ena- 
bles the poor man to live with ease ; and is the 
strongest incitement to population, by render- 
ing children rather a source of riches than of 
poverty. If the same ditficulty of subsist- 
ence existed in new countries as in old, it is 
plain that the progress of population would be 
equally slow in each. The very circumstances 
which cause the difference are, that, in the lat- 
ter, there is a competition among the labour- 
ers to be employed ; and, in the former, a com- 
petition among the occupiers of land to obtain 
labourers. In the one, land is scarce and men 
plenty; in the other, men are scarce, and land 
is plenty. To disturb this natural order of 
things (a practice injurious at all times) must 
be particularly so where the predominant dis- 
position of the colonist is an aversion to la- 
bour, produced by a long course of dissolute 
habits. In such cases the high prices of la- 
bour, which the Governor was so desirous of 
abating, bid fair not only to increase the agri- 
cultural prosperity, but to effect the moral re- 
formation of the colony. We observe the same 
unfortunate ignorance of the elementary prin- 
ciples of commerce in the attempts of the Go- 
vernor to reduce the prices of the European 
commodities, by bulletins and authoritative 
interference, as if there were any other mode 
of lowering the price of an article (while the 
demand continues the same) but by increasing 
its quantity. The avaricious love of gain, 
which is so feelingly deplored, appears to us 
a principle which, in able hands, might be 
guided to the most salutary purposes. The 
object is to encourage the love of labour, 
which is best encouraged by the love of money. 
We have very great doubts on the policy of 
reserving the best timber on the estates as go- 
vernment timber. Such a reservation would 
probably operate as a check upon the clearing 
of lands without attaining the object desired; 
for the timber, instead of being immediately 
cleared, would be slowly destroyed, by the neg- 
lect or malice of the settlers whose lands it en- 
cumbered. Timber is such a drug in new coun- 
tries, that it is at any time to be purchased for 
little more than the labour of cutting. To se- 
cure a supply of it by vexatious and invidious 
laws, is surely a work of supererogation and 
danger. The greatest evil which the govern- 
ment has yet to contend with is, the inordinate 
use of spirituous liquors ; a passion which 
puts the interests of agriculture at variance 
with those of morals : for a dram-drinker will 
consume as much corn, in the form of alcohol, 
in one day, as would supply him with bread 
for three ; and thus, by his vices, opens an ad- 
mirable market to the industry of a new set- 
tlement. The only mode, we believe, of en- 
countering this evil, is by deriving froyi it such 
a revenue as will not admit of smuggling. 
Beyond this it is almost invincible by autho- 
rity ; and is probably to be cured oiily by the 
progressive refinement of manners. 

To evince the increasing commerce of the 



WORKS OF THi: REV. SYDNEY^SMITH. 



85 



settlement, a list is subjoined of 140 ships, 
which have arrived there since its first foun- 
dation, forty only of which were from Eng- 
land. The colony at Norfolk Island is repre- 
sented to be in a very deplorable situation, and 
will most probably be abandoned for one about 
to be formed on Van Diemen's Land,* though 
the capital defect of the former settlement has 
'leen partly obviated, by a discovery of the 
harbour for small craft. 

The most important and curious information 
contained in this volume, is the discovery of 
straits which separate Van Diemen's Land 
(hitherto considered as its southern extremity) 
from New Holland. For this discovery we are 
indebted to Mr. Bass, a surgeon, after whom 
the straits have been named, and who was led 
to a suspicion of their existence by a prodi- 
gious swell which he observed to set in from 
the westward, at the mouth of the opening 
which he had reached on a voyage of disco- 
very, prosecuted in a common whale-boat. To 
verify this suspicion, he proceeded afterwards 
in a vessel of 25 tons, accompanied by Mr. 
Flanders, a naval gentleman ; and, entering 
the straits between the latitudes of 39° and 
40° south, actually circumnavigated Van Die- 
men's Land. Mr. Bass's ideas of the import- 
ance of this discovery, we shall give from his 
narrative, as reported by Mr. Collins. 

"The most prominent advantage Vhich 
seemed likely to accrue to the settlement 
from this discovery was, the expediting of 
the passage from the Cape of Good Hope to 
Port Jackson : for, although a line drawn from 
the Cape to 44° of south latitude, and to the 
longitude of the South Cape of Van Diemen's 
Land, would not sensibly differ from one 
drawn to the latitude of 40° to the same longi- 
tude ; yet it must be allowed, that a ship will 
be four degrees nearer to Port Jackson in the 
latter situation than it would be in the former. 
But there is, perhaps, a greater advantage to 
be gained by making a passage through the 
strait, than the mere saving of four degrees of 
latitude along the coast. The major part of 
the ships that have arrived at Port Jackson 
have met with N. E. winds, on opening the sea 
round the South Cape and Cape Pillar; and 
have been so much retarded by them, that a 
fourteen days' passage to the port is reckoned 
to be a fair one, although the difference of lati- 
tude is but ten degrees, and the most prevail- 
ing winds at the latter place are from S. E. to 
S. in summer, and from W. S. W. to S. in 
winter. If, by going through Bass Strait, these 
N. E. winds can be avoided, which in many 
cases would probably be the case, there is no 
doubt but a week or more would be gained by 
it ; and the expense, with the wear and tear of 
a ship for one week, are objects to most owners, 
more especially when freighted with convicts 
by the run. 



' * It is singular that Governments are not more desir- 
ous of pusliini? their settlements rather to the north than 
the soutli of Port Jackson. The soil and climate would 
probably improve, in the latitude nearer the equator; 
and settlements in that position would be more contigu- 
ous to oar Indian colonies. 



"This Strait likewise presents another ad- 
vantage. From the prevalence of the N. E. 
and easterly winds of the South Cape, many 
suppose that a passage may be made from 
thence to the westward, either to the Cape of 
Good Hope, or to India ; but the fear of the 
great unknown bight between the South Cape 
and the S. W. Cape of Lewen's Land, lying in 
about 35° south and 113° east, has hitherto 
prevented the trial being made. Now, the 
strait removes a part of this danger, by pre- 
senting a certain place of retreat, should a 
gale oppose itself to the ship in the Srst part 
of the essay: and should the wind come at S. 
W. she need not fear making a good stretch to 
the W. N. W., which course, if made good, is 
within a few degrees of going clear of all. 
There is, besides. King George the Third's 
Sound, discovered by Captain Vancouver, 
situate in the latitude of 35° 30' south, and 
longitude 118° 12' east; and it is to be hoped, 
that a few years will disclose many others 
upon the coast, as well as the confirmation or 
futility of the conjecture that a still larger than 
Bass Strait dismembers New Holland." — (p. 
192, 193.) 

We learn from a note subjoined to this pas- 
sage, that, in order to verify or refute this con- 
jecture, of the existence of other important 
inlets on the west coast of New Holland, Cap- 
tain Flinders has sailed with two ships under 
his command, and is said to be accompanied 
by several professional men of considerable 
ability. 

Such are the most important contents of Mr. 
CoUins's book, the style of which we very 
much approve, because it appears to be writ- 
ten by himself; and we must repeat again, 
that nothing can be more injurious to the opi- 
nion the public will form of the authenticity 
of a book of this kind, than the suspicion that 
it has been tricked out and embellished by 
other hands. Such men, to be sure, have ex- 
isted as Julius Cfesar ; but, in general, a cor- 
rect and elegant style is hardly attainable by 
those who have passed their lives in action : 
and no one has such a pedantic love of good 
writing, as to prefer mendacious finery to 
rough and ungrammatical truth. The events 
which Mr. CoUins's book records, we have 
read with great interest. There is a charm in 
thus seeing villages, and churches, and farms, 
rising from a wilderness, where civilized man 
has never set his foot since the creation of the 
world. The contrast between fertility and bar- 
renness, population and solitude, activity and 
indolence, fills the mind with the pleasing 
images of happiness and increase. Man 
seems to move in his proper sphere, while he 
is thus dedicating the powers of his mind and 
body to reap those rewards which the bounti- 
ful Author of all things has assigned to his in- 
dustry. Neither is it any common enjoyment, 
to turn for a while from the memory of those 
distractions which have so recently agitated 
the Old World, and to reflect that its very hor- 
rors and crimes may have thus prepared a 
long era of opulence and peace for a people 
yet involved in the womb of time. 



26 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



J. FIEVEE.* 

[Edinburgh Review, 1809.] 



Of all the species of travels, that which has 
moral observation for its object is the most 
liable to error, and has the greatest difficulties 
to overcome, before it can arrive at excellence. 
Stones, and roots, and leaves, are subjects 
which may exercise the understanding without 
rousing the passions. A mineralogical travel- 
ler will hardly fall fouler upon the granite and 
the feldspar of other countries than his own ; 
a botanist Avill not conceal its non-descripts ; 
and an agricultural tourist will faithfully detail 
the average crop ])er acre ; but the traveller 
who observes on the manners, habits, and 
institutions of other countries, must have 
emancipated his mind from the extensive and 
powerful dominion of association, must have 
extinguished the agreeable aud deceitful feel- 
ings of national vanity, and cultivated that 
5)atient humility Avhich -builds general infer- 
ences only upon the repetition of individual 
facts. Every thing he sees shocks some pas- 
sion or flatters it ; and he is perpetually se- 
duced to distort facts, so as to render them 
agreeable to his system and his feelings ! 
]5ooks of travels are now published in such 
vast abundance, that it may not be useless, 
perhaps, to state a few of the reasons why 
their value so commonly happens to be in the 
inverse ratio of their number. 

1st, Travels are bad, from a ■want of oppor- 
tunity for observation in those who write them. 
If the sides of a building are to be measured, 
and the number of its windoAvs to be counted, 
a very short space of time may suffice for these 
operations ; but to gain such a knowledge of 
their prevalent opinions and propensities, as 
will enable a stranger to comprehend (what is 
commonly called) the genhis of people, re- 
quires a long residence among them, a fami- 
liar acquaintance with their language, and an 
easy circulation among their various societies. 
The society into which a transient stranger 
{^ains the most easy access in anj"- country, is 
not often that which ought to stamp the na- 
tional character; and no criterion can be more 
fallible, in a people so reserved and inaccessi- 
ble as the British, who (even when they open 
their doors to letters of introduction) cannot 
I'or years overcome the awkward timidity of 
their nature. The same expressions are of so 
different a value in different countries, the 
.same actions proceed from such different 
causes, and produce such different effects, 
that a judgment of foreign nations, founded on 
rapid observation, 'is almost certainly a mere 
tissue of ludicrous and disgraceful mistakes; 
and yet a residence of a month or two seems 
to entitle a traveller to present the world with 
a, picture of manners in London, Paris, or 
Vienna, and even to dogmatize upon the poli- 



* Lettres sur l\1nghUrre. Par J. Fievee. 1802. 



tical, religious, and legal institutions, as if it 
were one and the same thing to speak of ab- 
stract effects of such institutions, and of their 
effects combined with all the peculiar circum- 
stances in which any nation may be placed. 

2dly, An affectation of quickness in obser- 
vation, an intuitive glance that requires only 
a moment, and a part, to judge of & perpetuity, 
and a whole. The late Mr. Petion, who was 
sent over into this country to acquire a know- 
ledge of our criminal law, is said to have de- 
clared himself thoroughly informed upon the 
subject after remaining precisely two and 
thirty minutes in the Old Bailey. 

3dly, The tendency to found observation on 
a system, rather than a system upon observa- 
tion. The fact is, there are very icvf original 
eyes and ears. The great mass see and hear 
as they are directed by others, and bring back 
from a residence in foreign countries nothing 
but the vague and customary notions concern- 
ing it, which are carried and brought back for 
half a century, without verification or change. 
The most ordinary shape in which this ten- 
dency to prejudge makes its appearance 
among travellers, is by a disposition to exalt, 
or, a still more absurd disposition to depre- 
ciate their native country. They are incapable 
of considering a foreign people but under one 
single point of view — the relation in which 
they stand to their own ; and the whole narra- 
tive is frequently nothing more than a mere 
triumph of national vanity, or the ostentation 
of superiority to so common a failing. 

But we are wasting our time in giving a 
theory of the faults of travellers, when we 
have such ample means of exemplifying them 
all from the publication now before us, in 
which Mr. Jacob Fievee, Avith the most sur- 
prising talents for doing wrong, has contrived 
to condense and agglomerate every species of 
absurdity that has hitherto been made known, 
and even to launch out occasionally into new 
regions of nonsense, with a boldness which 
well entitles him to the merit of originality in 
folly, and discovery in impertinence. We con- 
sider Mr. Fievee's book as extremely valuable 
in one point of view. It affords a sort of limit 
or mind-mark, beyond which we conceive it 
to be impossible in future that pertness and 
petulance should pass. It is well to be ac- 
quainted with the boundaries of our nature on 
both sides ; and to Mr. Fievee we are indebted 
for this valuable approach to pessimism. The 
height of knowledge no man has yet scanned ; 
but we have now pretty well fathomed the gulf 
of ignorance. 

We must, however, do justice to Mr. Fievee 
when he deserves it. He evinces, in his pre- 
face, a lurking uneasiness at the apprehen- 
sion of exciting war between the two coun 
tries, from the anger to which his letters will 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



«» 



give birth in England. He pretends to deny 
that they will occasion a war ; but it is very 
easy to see he is not convinced by his own 
arguments; and we confess ourselves ex- 
tremely pleased by this amiable solicitude at 
the probable effusion of human blood. We 
hope Mr. Fievee is deceived by his philan- 
thropy, and that no such unhappy conse- 
quences will ensue, as he really believes, 
though he affects to deny them. We dare to 
say the dignity of this country will be satis- 
fied if the publication in question is disowned 
by the French government, or, at most, if the 
author is given up. At all events, we have no 
scruple to say, that to sacrifice 20,000 lives, 
and a hundred millions of money to resent 
Mr. Fievee's book, would be an unjustifiable 
waste of blood and treasure ; and that to take 
him off privately by assassination would be 
an undertaking hardly compatible with the 
dignity of a great empire. 

To show, however, the magnitude of the 
provocation, we shall specify a few of the 
charges which he makes against the English. 
That they do not understand fireworks as well 
as the French ; that they charge a shilling for 
admission to the exhibition ; that they have 
the misfortune of being incommoded by a cer- 
tain disgraceful privilege, called the liberty 
of the press ; that the opera band pla5'^s out of 
tune ; that the English are so fond of drinking 
that they get drunk with a certain air called 
the gas of Paradise ; that the privilege of elect- 
ing members of Parliament is so burthensome 
that cities sometimes petition to be exempted 
from it; that the great obstacle to a Parlia- 
mentary reform is the mob ; that women some- 
times have titles distinct from those of their 
husbands, although, in England, any body can 
sell his wife at market, with a rope about her 
neck. To these complaints he adds — that the 
English are so far from enjoying that equality 
of which their partisans boast, that none but 
the servants of the higher nobility can carry 
canes behind a carriage ; that the power which 
the French kings had of pardoning before trial 
is much the same thing as the English mode 
of pardoning after trial; that he should con- 
ceive it to be a good reason for rejecting anj^ 
measure in France that it was imitated from 
the English, who have no family affections, 
and who love money so much that their first 
question, in an inquiry concerning the cha- 
racter of any man, is, as to his degree of for- 
tune. Lastly, Mr. Fievee alleges against the 
English, that they have great pleasure in con- 
templating the spectacle of men deprived of 
their reason. And, indeed, we must have the 
candour to allow that the hospitality which 
Mr. Fievee experienced seems to afford some 
pretext for this assertion. 

One of the principal objects of Mr. Fievee's 
book is to combat the Anglomania which has 
raged so long among his countrymen, and 
which prevailed at Paris to such an excess 
that even M. Neckar, a foreigner (incredible 
as it may seem), after having been twice minis- 
ter of France, retained a considerable share of 
admiration for the English government. This 



IS quite inexplicable. But this is nothing to 
the treason of the Encyclopedists, who, instead 
of attributing the merit of the experimental 
philosophy and the reasoning by induction to 
a Frenchman, have shown themselves so lost 
to all sense of duty which they owed their 
country, that they have attributed it to an 
Englishman* of the name of Bacon, and this 
for no better reason than that he really was 
the author of it. The whole of this passage 
is written so entirely in the genius of Mr. 
Fievee, and so completely exemplifies that 
very caricature species of Frenchmen from 
which our gross and popular notions of the 
whole people are taken, that we shall give the 
whole passage at full length, cautiously ab- 
staining from the sin of translating it. 

"Quand je reproche aux philosophes d' avoir 
vante I'Angleterre, par haine pour les institu- 
tions qui soutenoient la France, je ne hasarde 
rien, et je fournirai uue nouvelle preuve de 
cette assertion, en citant les encyclopedistes, 
chefs avout^s de la philosophic moderne. 

" Comment nous ont-ils presente I'Ency- 
clopedie 1 Comme un monument immortel, 
comme le depot precieux de toutes les con- 
noissances humaines. Sous quel patronage 
I'ont-ils eleve ce monument immortel 1 Est 
ce sous I'egide des ecrivains dont la France 
s'honoroiti Non, ils ont choisi pour maitre 
et pour idole un Anglais, Bacon; ils lui or 
fait dire tout ce qu'ils ont voulu, parce que cet 
auteur, extraordinairement volumineux, n'etoit 
pas connu en France, et ne Test guere en 
Angleterre que de quelques hommes studieux; 
mais les philosophes sentoient que leur suc- 
ces, pour introduire des nouveautes, tenoit a 
faire croire qu'elles n'etoicnt pas neuves pour 
les grands esprits ; et comme les grands es- 
prits Frangais, trop connus, ne ce pretoient 
pas a un pareil dessein, les philosophes ont 
eu recours a I'Angleterre. Ainsi, un ouvrage 
fait en France, et offert a I'admiration de I'Eu- 
rope comme I'ouvrage pai" excellence, fut mis 
par des Frangais sous la protection du genie 
Anglais. honte! Et les philosophes se sont 
dit patriotes, et la France, pour prix de sa de- 
gradation, leur a eleve des statues ! La siecle 
qui commence, plus jutte, parce qu'il a le sen- 
timent de la veritable grandeur, laissera ces 
statues et I'Encyclopedie s'ensevelir sous la 
meme poussiere." 

When to this are added the commendations that 
have been bestowed on Newton, the magnitude 
and the originality of the discoveries which have 
been attributed to him, the admiration which 
the words of Locke have excited, and the ho- 
mage that has been paid to Milton and Shak- 
speare, the treason which lurks at the bottom 
of it all will not escape the penetrating glance 
of Mr. Fievee ; and he will discern that same 
cause from which every good Frenchman 
knows the defeat of Aboukir and of the first 
of June to have proceeded — the monster Pitt, 
and his English guineas. 



* " Gaul was conquered by a person of the name of 
Julius CsEsar," is the flrat phrase in one of Mr. Ne\> 
berry's little books. 



28 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH- 



EDGEWOETH ON BULLS/ 

[Edinburgh Review, 1803.] 



We hardly know what to say about this 
rambling, scrambling book; but that we are 
quite sure the author, when he began any sen- 
tence in it, had not the smallest suspicion of 
what it was about to contain. We say the 
author; because, in spite of the mixture of 
sexes in the title-page, we are strongly in- 
clined to suspect that the male contributions 
exceed the female in a very great degree. The 
Essay on Bulls is written much with the same 
mind, and in the same manner, as a schoolboy 
takes a walk: he moves on for ten yards on 
the straight road, with surprising persever- 
ance; then sets out after a butterfly, looks for 
a bird's nest, or jumps backwards and forwards 
over a ditch. In the same manner, this nim- 
ble and digressive gentleman is away after 
every object which crosses his mind. If you 
leave him at the end of a comma, in a steady 
pursuit of his subject, you are sure to find him, 
before the next full stop, a hundred yards to 
the right or left, frisking, capering, and grin- 
ning in a high paroxysm of merriment and 
agility. Mr. Edgeworth seems to possess the 
sentiments of an accomplished gentleman, the 
information of a scholar, and the vivacity of a 
first-rate harlequin. He i? fuddled with ani- 
mal spirits, giddy with con.-titutional joy; in 
such a state he must have written on, or burst. 
A discharge of ink was an evacuation abso- 
lutely necessary, to avoid fatal and plethoric 
congestion. 

The object of the book is to prove, that the 
practice of making bulls is not more imputa- 
ole to the Irish than to any other people ; and 
the manner in svhich he sets about it, is to 
quote examples of bulls produced in other 
countries. But this is surely a singular way 
of reasoning the question: for there are goitres 
out of Valais, extortioners who do not wor- 
ship Moses, oat cakes out of the Tweed, and 
balm beyond the precincts ofGilead. If nothing 
can be said to exist pre-eminently and em- 
phatically in one country, which exists at all 
in another, then Frenchmen are not gay, nor 
Spaniards grave, nor are gentlemen of the 
Milesian race remarkable for their disinte- 
rested contempt of wealth in their connubial 
relations. It is probable there is some founda- 
tion for a character so generally diffused; 
though it is also probable that such founda- 
tion is extremely enlarged by fame. If there 
were no foundation for the common opinion, 
we must suppose national characters formed 
by chance ; and that the Irish might, by acci- 
dent, have been laughed at as bashful and 
sheepish; which is impossible. The author 
puzzles himself a good deal about the nature 
of bulls, without coming to any decision about 



* Essay on Irish Bulls. By Richard I,ovell Edge- 
worth, and Maria. Edgeworth. London, 1802. 



the matter. Though the question is not a very 
easy one, we shall venture to say, that a bull 
is an apparent congruity, and real incongruicy, 
of ideas, suddenly discovered. And if this 
account of bulls be just, they are (as might 
have been supposed) the very reverse of wit; 
for as wit discovers real relations, that are not 
apparent, bulls admit apparent relations that 
are not real. The pleasure arising from wit 
proceeds from our surprise at suddenly disco- 
vering two things to be similar, in which we 
suspected no similarity. The pleasure aris- 
ing from bulls proceeds from our discovering 
two things to be dissimilar, in which a re- 
semblance might have been suspected. The 
same doctrine will apply to wit, and to bulls 
in action. Practical wit discovers connection 
or relation between actions, in which duller 
understandings discover none ; and practical 
bulls originate from an apparent relation be- 
tween two actions, which more correct under- 
standings immediately perceive to have no 
relation at all. 

Louis XIV. being extremely harassed by the 
repeated solicitations of a veteran officer for 
promotion, said one day, loud enough to be 
heard, " That gentleman is the most trouble- 
some officer I have in my service." " That is 
precisely the charge (said the old man) which 
your majesty's enemies bring against me." 

"An English gentleman," (says Mr. Edge- 
worth, in a story cited from Joe Millar,) "was 
writing a letter in a coff"ce-house ; and per- 
ceiving that an Irishman stationed behind him 
was taking that liberty which Parmenio used 
with his friend Alexander, instead of putting 
his seal upon the lips of the curious impertinent, 
the English gentleman thought proper to re- 
prove the Hibernian, if not with delicacy, at 
least with poetical justice. He concluded writ- 
ing his letter in these words : ' I would say 
more, but a damned tall Irishman is reading 
over my shoulder every word I write.' 

"'You lie, you scoundrel,' said the self- 
convicted Hibernian.'" — (p. 29.) 

The pleasure derived from the first of these 
stories, proceeds from the discovery of the 
relation that subsists between the object he 
had in view, and the assent of the officer to 
an observation so unfriendly to that end. In 
the first rapid glance which the mind throws 
upon his words, he appears, by his acquies- 
cence, to be .pleading against himself. There 
seems to be no relation between what he says 
and what he wishes to effect by speaking. 

In the second story, the pleasure is directly 
the reverse. The lie given was apparently the 
readiest means of proving his innocence, and 
really the most effectual way of establishing 
his guilt. There seems for a moment to be a 
strong relation between the means and the ob- 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



8* 



ject; while, in fact, no irrelation can be so 
complete. 

What connection is there between pelting 
stones at monkeys, and gathering cocoa-nuts 
from lofty trees 1 Apparently none. But 
monkeys sit upon cocoa-nut trees; monkeys 
are imitative animals; and if you pelt a 
monkey with a stone, he pelts you with a 
cocoa-nut in return. This scheme of gather- 
ing cocoa-nuts is very witty, and would be 
more so, if it did not appear useful : for the 
idea of utility is always inimical to the idea 
of wit.* There appears, on the contrary, to 
be some relation between the revenge of the 
Irish rebels against a banker, and the means 
which they took to gratify it, by burning all 
his notes wherever they found them ; whereas 
they could not have rendered him a more 
essential service. In both these cases of bulls, 
the one verbal, the other practical, there is an 
apparent congruity, and real incongruity of 
ideas. In both the cases of wit, there is an 
apparent incongruity and a real relation. 

It is clear that a bull cannot depend upon 
mere incongruity alone; for if a man were to 
say that he wouldride to London upon acocked 
hat, or that he would cut his throat with a 
pound of pickled salmon, this, though com- 
pletely incongruous, would not be to make 
bulls, but to talk nonsense. The stronger the 
apparent connection, and the more complete 
the real disconnection of the ideas, the greater 
the surprise, and the better the bull. The less 
apparent, and the more complete the relations 
established by wit, the higher gratification 
does it afford. A great deal of the pleasure 
experienced from bulls, proceeds from the 
sense of superiority in ourselves. Bulls which 
we invented, or knew to be invented, might 
please, but in a less degree, for want of this 
additional zest. 

As there must be apparent connection, and 
leal incongruity, it is seldom that a man of 
sense and education finds any form of words 
by which he is conscious that he might have 
been deceived into a bull. To conceive how 
the person has been deceived, he must sup- 
pose a degree of information very different 
from, and a species of character very hete- 



* It must tie observed, that all the great passions, and 
many other feelings, extinguisli the relish for wit. Thus 
lympka pwlka Vevm vidit et erehuit, would be witty, were 
it not bordering on the sut)liine. The resemblance be- 
tween the sandal tree imparting (while it falls) its aro- 
matic flavour to the edge of the axe, and the benevolent 
man rewarding evil with good, would be witty, did it 
not excite virtuous emotions. There are many mechan- 
ical contrivances which excite sensations very similar 
to wit; but the attention is absorbed by their utility. 
Some of Merlin's machines, which have no utility at ail, 
are quite similar to wit. A small model of a steam- 
engine, or mere squirt, is wit to a child. A man specu- 
lates on the causes of the first, or in its consequences, 
and so loses the feelings of wit ; with the latter, he is too 
familiar to be surprised. In short, the essence of every 
species of wit is surprise ; which vi termini, must be 
sudden ; and the sensations which wit has a tendency to 
excite, are impaired or destroyed as often as they are 
mingled with much thought or passion. 



rogeneous to, his own ; a process which di- 
minishes surprise, and consequently pleasure. 
In the above-mentioned story of the Irishman 
overlooking the man writing, no person of 
ordinary sagacity can suppose himself be- 
trayed into such a mistake; but he can easily 
represent to himself a kind of character thai 
might have been so betrayed. There ar^ 
some bulls so extremely fallacious, that any 
man may imagine himself to have been be 
trayed into them ; but these are rare : and, iv 
general, it is a poor, contemptible species ol 
amusement; a delight in which evinces a ver* 
bad taste in wit. 

Whether the Irish make more bulls tha?. 
their neighbours, is, as we have before re 
marked, not a point of much importance; bus 
it is of considerable importance, that the cha 
racter of a nation should not be degraded; and 
Mr. Edgeworth has great merit in his verj' 
benevolent intention of doing justice to thp 
excellent qualities of the Irish. It is not pos 
sible to read his book, without feeling a strong 
and a new disposition in their favour. Whe 
ther the imitation of the Irish manner be accu 
rate in his little stories we cannot determine; 
but we feel the same confidence in the accu- 
racy of the imitation, that is often felt in the 
resemblance of a portrait, of Avhich we have 
never seen the original. It is no very high 
compliment to Mr. Edgeworth's creative pow- 
ers, to say, he could not have formed anything, 
which was not real, so like reality; but such a 
remark only robs Peter to pay Paul; and gives 
every thing to his powers of observation, 
which it takes from those of his imagination. 
In truth, nothing can be better than his imita- 
tion of the Irish manner: It is first-rate painting. 
Edgeworth and Co. have another faculty in 
great perfection. _ They are eminently masters 
of the j5a^Ao.s. The Firm drew tears from us 
in the stories of little Dominick, and of the 
Irish beggar, who killed his sweetheart : Never 
was any grief more natural or simple. The 
first, however, ends in a very foolish way; 
• formosa s'lperne 



Sesinit in piscem. 

We are extremely glad thai our avocations 
did not call us from Bath to London on the day 
that the Bath coach conversation took place. 
We except from this wish the stcry with which 
the conversation terminates ; for as soon as 
Mr. Edgeworth enters upon a story he excels. 

We must confess we have been much more 
pleased Avith Mr. Edgeworth in hi.^ laughing 
and in his pathetic, than in his grave and rea- 
soning moods. He meant, perhaps, that we 
should ; and it certainly is not very necessary 
that a writer should be profound on the sub- 
ject of bulls. Whatever be the deficiencies 
of the book, they are, in our estimation, amply 
atoned for by its merits ; by none more than 
that lively feeling of compassion which per- 
vades it for the distresses of the wild, kind 
hearted, blundering poor of Ireland. 



o2 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



TEIMMEU AND LANCASTEE/ 



[Edinburgh Review, 1806.] 



This is a book written by a lady who has 
gained considerable reputation at the corner 
of St. Paul's churchyard ; who flames in the 
van of Mr. Newberry's shop ; and is, upon the 
whole, dearer to mothers and aunts than any 
other author who pours the milk of science 
into the mouths of babes and sucklings. Tired 
at last of scribbling for children, and getting 
ripe in ambition, she has now written a book 
for grown-up people, and selected for her an- 
tagonist as stiff a controversialist as the whole 
field of dispute could well have supplied. Her 
opponent is Mr. Lancaster,! ^ Quaker, who has 
lately given to the world new and striking 
lights upon the subject of Education, and come 
forward to the notice of his country by spread- 
ing order, knowledge, and innocence among 
the lowest of mankind. 

Mr. Lancaster, she says, wants method in 
his book ; and therefore her answer to him is 
without any arrangement. The same excuse 
must suffice for the desultory observations we 
shall make upon this lady's publication. 

The first sensation of disgust we experienced 
at Mrs. Trimmer's book, was from the patron- 
izing and protecting air with which she speaks 
of some small part of Mr. Lancaster's plan. 
She seems to suppose, because she has dedi- 
cated her mind to the subject, that her opinion 
must necessarily be valuable upon it; forget- 
ting it to be barely possible, that her applica- 
tion may have made her more wrong, instead 
of more right If she can make out her case, 
that Mr. Lancaster is doing mischief in so im- 
portant a point as that of national education, 
she has a right, in common with every one 
else, to lay her complaint before the public; 
but a right to publish praises must be earned 
by something more difiicult than the writing 
sixpenny books for children. This may be 
very good; though we never remember to have 
seen any one of them; but if they be no more 
remarkable for judgment and discretion than 
parts of the work before us, there are many 
thri\ang children quite capable of repaying 
the obligations they owe to their amiable in- 
structress, and of teaching, with grateful reta- 
liation, "the old idea how to shoot." 

In remarking upon the work before us, we 
shall exactly follow the plan of the authoress, 

* A Comparative View of the JVew Plan of Edttcation 
promulgated hy Mr. Joseph Lancaster, in his Tracts con- 
cerning the Instruction of the Children of the Labourino' 
Part of the Community ; and of the System of Christian 
Education founded by our pious Forefathers for the Initia- 
tion of the Youna- Members of the Established Church in 
the Princijiles of the Reformed Religion. By Mrs. Trim- 
mer. 1805. 

+ Lancaster invented the new method of education. 
The Church was sorely vexed at his success, endeavour- 
ed to set up Dr. Bell as the discoverer, and to run down 
poor Lancaster. Georfie the Third was irritated by this 
»habby conduct, and always protected Lancaster. He 
was delighted with this Review, and made Sir Herbert 
Taylor read it a secoud time to him. 



and prefix, as she does, the titles of those 
subjects on which her observations are made; 
doing her the justice to presume, that her quo- 
tations are fairly taken from Mr. Lancaster's 
book. 

1. Mr. Lancaster's Preface. — Mrs. Trimmer 
here contends, in opposition to Mr. Lancaster, 
that ever since the establishment of the Pro- 
testant Church, the education of the poor has 
been a national concern in this country; and 
the only argument she produces in support of 
this extravagant assertion, is an appeal to the 
act of uniformity. If there are millions of 
Englishmen who cannot" spell their own 
names, or read a sign-post which bids them 
turn to the right or left, is it any answer to 
this deplorable ignorance to say, there is an 
act of Parliament for public instruction? — to 
show the very line and chapter where the 
King, Lords, and Commons, in Parliament as- 
sembled, ordained the universality of reading 
and writing, when, centuries afterwards, the 
ploughman is no more capable of the one or 
the other than the beast which he drives 1 In 
point of fact, there is no Protestant countiy in 
the world where the education of the poor has 
been so grossly and infamously neglected as 
in England. Mr. Lancaster has the very high 
merit of calling the public attention to this 
evil, and of calling it in the best way, by new 
and active remedies; and this uncandid and 
feeble lady, instead of using the influence she 
has obtained over the anility of these realms, 
to join that useful remonstrance which Mr. 
Lancaster has begun, pretends to deny that the 
evil exists ; and when you ask where are the 
schools, rods, pedagogues, primers, histories 
of Jack the Giant-killer, and all the usual ap- 
paratus for education, the only thing she can 
produce is the act of uniformity and common 
prayer. 

2. The Pnnciples on which Mr. Lancaster's 
Listitutio7i is conducted. — " Happily for man- 
kind," says Mr. Lancaster, "it is possible to 
combine precept and practice together in the 
education of youth: that public spirit, or gene- 
ral opinion, which gives such strength to vice, 
may be rendered serviceable to the cause of 
virtue ; and in thus directing it, the whole se- 
cret, the beauty, and simplicity of national edu- 
cation consists. Suppose, for instance, it be 
required to train a youth to strict veracity. 
He has learnt to read at school: he there reads 
the declaration of the Divine will respecting 
liars : he is there informed of the pernicious 
effects that practice produces on society at 
large ; and he is enjoined, for the fear of God, 
for the approbation of his friends, and for the 
good of his school-fellows, never to tell an un- 
truth. This is a most excellent precept ; but 
let it be taught, and yet, if the ccmtrary prac- 
tice be treated with indifference by parents, 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



31 



teachers, or associates, i't will either weaken 
or destroy all the good that can be derived 
from it : But if the parents or teachers tender- 
ly nip the rising shoots of vice ; if the asso- 
ciates of youth pour contempt on the liar ; he 
will soon hide his head with shame, and most 
likely leave off the practice." — (p. 24, 25.) 

The objection which Mrs. Trimmer makes 
to this passage, is, that it is exalting the fear 
of man above the fear of God. This observation 
is as mischievous as it is unfounded. Un- 
doubtedly the fear of God ought to be the para- 
mount principle from the very beginning of 
life, if it were possible to make it so; but it is 
a feeling which can only be built up by de- 
grees. The awe and respect which a child 
entertains for its parent and instructor, is the 
first scaifoluingupon which the sacred edifice of 
religion is reared. A child begins to pray, to act, 
and to abstain, not to please God, but to please 
the parent, who tells hiin that such is the will of 
God. The religious principle gains ground 
from the power of association and the im- 
provement of reason; but without the fear of 
man, — the desire of pleasing, and the dread of 
offending those with whom he lives, — it would 
be extremely ditficult, if not impossible, to 
cherish it at all in the minds of the children. 
If you tell (says Mr. Lancaster) a child not to 
swear, because it is forbidden by God, and he 
finds everybody whom he lives with addicted 
to that vice, the mere precept will soon be 
obliterated ; which would acquire its just in- 
fiuence if aided by the etlect of example. Mr. 
Jjancaster does not say that the fear of man 
ever ought to be a stronger motive than the 
fear of God, or that, in a thoroughly formed 
character, it ever is: he merely says, that the 
fear of man may be made the most powerful 
mean to raise up the fear of God ; and nothing, 
in our opinion, can be more plain, more sen- 
sil)le, or better expressed, than his opinions 
upon these subjects. In corroboration of this 
sentiment, Mr. Lancaster tells the following 
story : — 

"A benevolent friend of mine," says he, 
"who resides at a village near London, where 
he has a school of the class called Sunday 
Schools, recommended several lads to me for 
education. He is a pious man, and these 
children had the advantage of good precepts 
under his instruction in an eminent degree, but 
had reduced them to very little practice. As 
they came to my school from some distance, 
they were permitted to bring their dinners; 
and, in the interval between morning and after- 
noon school hours, spent their time with a 
number of lads under similar circumstances in 
a play-ground adjoining the school-room. In 
this play-ground the boys usually enjoy an 
hour's recreation ; tops, balls, races, or what 
best suits their inclination or the season of the 
year; but with this charge, 'Let all be kept in 
innocence.' These lads thought themselves 
very happy at play with their new associates; 
but on a sudden they were seized and over- 
come by numbers, were brought into school 
just as people in the street would seize a pick- 
pocket, and bring him to the police office. 
Happening at that time to be within, I inquired, 
♦Well, boys, what is all this bustle about V — 



'Why, sir,' was the general reply, 'these lads 
have been swearing." This was announced 
with as much emphasis and solemnity as a 
judge would use in passing sentence upon a 
criminal. The culprits were, as may be sup- 
posed, in much terror. After the examinatioa 
of witnesses and proof of the facts, they re- 
ceived admonition as to the offence ; and, on 
promise of better behaviour, were dismissed. 
No more was ever heard of their swearing; 
yet it was observable, that they were better 
acquainted with the theory of Christianity, and 
could give a more rational answer to questions 
from the scripture, than several of the boys who 
had thus treated them, on comparison as con- 
stables tvauld do a thief. I call this," adds Mr. 
Lancaster, "practical religious instruction, and 
could, if needful, give many such anecdotes." 
—(p. 26, 27.) 

All that Mrs. Trimmer has to observe against 
this very striking illustration of Mr. Lancas- 
ter's doctrine, is, that the monitors behaved to 
the swearers in a very rude and unchristian- 
like manner. She begins with being cruel, 
and ends with being silly. Her first observa- 
tion is calculated to raise the posse comitatus 
against Mr. Lancaster, to get him stoned for 
impiety ; and then, when he produces the most 
forcible example of the etfect of opinion to 
encourage religious precept, she says such a 
method of preventing swearing is too rude for 
the gospel. True, modest, unobtrusive reli- 
gion — charitable, forgiving, indulgent Chris- 
tianity, is the greatest ornament and the 
greatest blessing that can dwell in the mind 
of man. But if there is one character more 
base, more infamous, and more shocking than 
another, it is him who, for the sake of some 
paltry distinction in the world, is ever ready 
to accuse conspicuous persons of irreligion — 
to turn common informer for the church — and 
to convert the most beautiful feelings of the 
human heart to the destruction of the good and 
great, by fixing upon talents the indelible 
stigma of irreligion. It matters not how trifling 
and how insignificant the accuser; cry out 
that the church is in danger, and your object is 
acconiplished ; lurk in the walk of hypocrisy, 
to accuse your enemy of the crime of Atheism, 
and his ruin is quite certain ; acquitted or 
condemned, is the same thing; it is only sutfi- 
cient that he be accused, in order that his 
destruction be accomplished. If we could 
satisfy ourselves that such were the real views 
of Mrs. Trimmer, and that she were capable 
of such baseness, we would have drawn blood 
from her at every line, and left her in a stale 
of martyrdom more piteous than that of St. 
Uba. Let her attribute the milk and mildness 
she meets with in this review of her book, to 
the conviction we entertain, that she knew no 
better — that she really did understand Mr. Lan- 
caster as she pretends to understand him — and 
that if she had been aware of the extent of the 
mischief she was doing, she would have tossed 
the manuscript spelling-book in which she 
was engaged into the fire, rather than have 
done it. As a proof that we are in earnest in 
speaking of Mrs. Trimmer's simplicity, we 
must state the objection she makes to one of 
Mr. Lancaster's punishmer .s. " When I meet,' 



33 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



says Mr. Lancaster, " with a slovenly boy, I 
put a label upon his breast, I walk him round 
the school with a tin or a paper crown upon 
his head." " Surely," says Mrs. Trimmer (in 
reply to this), " surely it should be remember- 
ed, that the Saviour of the world was croioned 
with thorns, in derision, ajid that this is the rea- 
son why crowni77g is an improper punishment 
for a slovenly boy^\' .'.' 

Rewards and Punishments. — Mrs. Trimmer 
objects to the fear of ridicule being made an 
instrument of education, because it may be 
hereafter employed to shame a boy out of his 
religion. She might, for the same reason, 
object to the cultivation of the reasoning 
faculty, because a boy may hereafter be rea- 
soned out of his religion : she surely does not 
mean to say that she would make boys insen- 
sible to ridicule, the fear of which is one curb 
upon the follies and eccentricities of human 
nature. Such an object it would be impossible 
to effect, even if it were useful : Put a hundred 
boys together, and the fear of being laughed 
at will always be a strong influencing motive 
with every individual among them. If a mas- 
ter can turn this principle to his own use, and 
get boys to laugh at vice, instead of the old 
plan of laughing at virtue, is he not doing a 
very new, a very difficult, and a ver)' laudable 
thing 1 

When Mr. Lancaster finds a little boy with 
a very dirty face, he sends for a little girl, and 
makes her wash off' the dirt before the whole 
school: and she is directed to accompany her 
ablutions Avith a gentle box of the ear. To us, 
this punishment appears well adapted to the 
offence ; and in this, and in most other in- 
stances of Mr. Lancaster's interference in 
scholastic discipline, we are struck with his 
good sense, and delighted that arrangements 
apparently so trivial, really so important, 
should have fallen under the attention of so 
ingenious and so original a man. Mrs. Trim- 
mer objects to this practice, that it destroys 
female modesty, and inculcates, in that sex, a 
habit of giviiig boxes on the ear. 

" When a boy gets into a singing tone in 
reading," says Mr. Lancaster, " the best mode 
of cure that I have hitherto found eff'ectual is 
by \\\e force of ridicule. — Decorate the olfender 
with matches, ballads, (dying speeches if 
needful;) and in this garb send him round the 
school, with some boys before him crying 
matches, &c., exactly imitating the dismal 
tones with which such things are hawked 
about London streets, as will readily recur to 
the reader's memory. I believe many boys 
behave rudely to Jews more on account of the 
manner in which the}^ cry 'old clothes,' than 
because they are Jews. I have always found 
excellent effects from treating boys, who sing 
or tone in their reading, in the manner de- 
scribed. It is sure to turn the laugh of the 
whole school upon the delinquent; it provokes 
risibility, in spite of every endeavour to check 
it, in all but tlie offender. I have seldom known 
a boy thus punished once, for whom it was 
needful a second time. It is also very seldom 
that a boy deserves both a log and a shackle 
at the same time. Most boys are wise enough, 
when under one punishment, not to transgress 



immediately, lest it should be doubled." — (p. 
47, 48.) 

This punishment is objected to on the part 
of Mrs. Trimmer, because it inculcates a dis- 
like to Jews, and an indifference about dying 
speeches ! Toys, she says, given as rewards, 
are worldly things ; children are to be taught 
that there are eternal rewards in store for 
them. It is very dangerous to give prints as 
rewards, because prints may hereafter be the 
vehicle of indecent ideas. It is, above all 
things, perilous to create an order of merit in 
the borough school, because it gives the boys 
an idea of the origin of nobility, " especially in 
times (we use Mrs. Trimmer's own words) 
which furnish instances of the extinction if a 
race of ancient nobility, in a neighbouring no- 
tion, and the elevation of some of the lowest peo- 
ple to the highest stations. Boys accustomed to 
consider themselves the nobles of the school, may, 
in their future lives, form a conceit of their ovm 
merits (unless they have very sou7id principles'), 
aspire to be nobles of the land, and to take place 
of the hereditary nobility." 

We think these extracts will sufbciently 
satisfy every reader of common sense, of the 
merits of tliis publication. For our part, when 
we saw these ragged and interesting little 
nobles, shining in their tin stars, Ave only 
thought it probable that the spirit of emulation 
would make them better ushers, tradesmen, 
and mechanics. We did, in truth, imagine we 
had observed, in some of their faces, a bold 
project for procuring better breeches for keep- 
ing out the blast of heaven, which howled 
through those garments in every direction, and 
of aspiring hereafter to greater strength of 
seam, and more perfect continuity of cloth. 
But for the safety of the titled orders we had 
no fear; nor did we once dream that the black 
rod which whipt these dirty little dukes, would 
one day be borne before them as the emblem 
of legislative dignity, and the sign of noble 
blood. 

Order. — The order of Mr. Lancaster has dis- 
played in the school is quite astonishing. 
Every boy seems to be the cog of a wheel — 
the whole school a perfect machine. This is 
so far from being a burden or constraint to 
the boys, that Mr. Lancaster has made it quite 
pleasant and interesting to them, by giving to 
it the air of military arrangement; not fore- 
seeing, as Mrs. Trimmer foresees, that, in 
times of public dangers, this plan furnishes 
the disaffected with the immediate means of 
raising an army; for what have they to do but 
to send for all the children educated by Mr. 
Lancaster, from the different corners of the 
kingdom into which they are dispersed, — to 
beg it as a particular favour of them to fall 
into the same order as they adopted in the 
spelling class twenty-five years ago; and the 
rest is all matter of course — 

Jamque faces, et Saxa volant. 

The main object, however, for which this 
book is written, is to prove that the church es- 
tablishment is in danger, from the increase of 
Mr. Lancaster's institutions. Mr. Lancaster 
is, as we have before observed, a Quaker. As 
a Quaker, he says, I cannot teach your creeds : 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



33 



but I pledge myself not to teach my own. I 
pledge myself (and if I deceive you, desert me, 
and give me up) to confine myself to those 
points of Christianity in which all Christians 
agree. To which Mrs. Trimmer replies, that, 
in the first place, he cannot do this ; and, in 
the next place, if he did do it, it would not be 
enough. But why, we would ask, cannot Mr. 
Lancaster efiect his first object? The prac- 
tical and the feeling parts of religion are much 
more likely to attract the attention and provoke 
the questions of children than its speculative 
doctrines. A child is not very likely to put 
any questions at all to a catechising master, 
and still less likely to lead him into subtle and 
profound disquisition. It appears to us not 
only practicable, but very easy, to confine the 
religious instruction of the poor, in the first 
years of life, to those general feelings and 
principles which are suitable to the estab- 
lished church, and to every sect; afterwards, 
the discriminating tenets of each subdivision 
of Christians may be fixed upon this general 
basis. To say this is not enough, that a child 
should be made an Antisocinian, or an Antipe- 
lagian, in his tenderest years, may be very 
just ; but what prevents you from making him 
so 1 Mr. Lancaster, purposely and intention- 
ally, to allay all jealousj'', leaves him in a state 
as well adapted for one creed as another. Be- 
gin ; make your pupil a firm advocate for the 
peculiar doctrines of the English church ; dig 
round about him, on every side, a trench that 
shall guard him from every species of heresy. 
In spite of all this clamour you do nothing; 



you do not stir a single step; you educate 
alike the swineherd and his hog; and then, 
when a man of real genius and enterprise 
rises up, and says, Let me dedicate my life to 
this neglected object ; I will do every thing but 
that which must necessarily devolve upon you 
alone ; you refuse to do your little, and compel 
him, by the cry of infidel and Atheist, to leave 
you to your ancient repose, and not to drive 
you, bjr insidious comparisons, to any system 
of active utility. We deny, again and again, 
that Mr. Lancaster's instruction is any kind of 
impediment to the propagation of the doc- 
trines of the church ; and if Mr. Lancaster 
was to perish with his system to-morrow, these 
boys would positively be taught nothing; the 
doctrines which Mrs. Trimmer considers pro- 
hibited would not rush in, but there would be 
an absolute vacuum. We will, however, say 
this in favour of Mrs. Trimmer, that if every 
one who has joined in her clamour, had la- 
boured one-hundredth part as much as she has 
done in the cause of national education, the 
clamour would be much more rational, and 
much more consistent, than it now is. By liv- 
ing with a few people as active as herself, she 
is perhaps somehow or another persuaded that 
there is a national education going on in this 
country. But our principal argument is, that 
Mr. Lancaster's plan is at least better than the 
nothing which preceded it. The authoress 
herself seems to be a lady of respectable opi- 
nions, and very ordinary talents; defending 
what is right without judgment, and believing 
what is holy without charity. 



PAENELL AND lEELAND.* 



[Edinburgh Review, 1807.] 



If ever a nation exhibited symptoms of 
downright madness, or utter stupidity, we con- 
ceive these symptoms may be easily recog- 
nized in the conduct of this country upon the 
Catholic question.-]- A man has a wound in 
his great toe, and a violent and perilous fever 
at the same time ; and he refuses to take the 
medicines for the fever, because it will discon- 
cert his toe ! The mournful and folly-stricken 
blockhead forgets that his toe cannot survive 
him ; — that if he dies, there can be no digital 
life apart from him ; yet he lingers and fondles 
over this last part of his body, soothing it 
madly with little plasters, and anile fomenta- 
tions, while the neglected fever rages in his 



* Historical Apology for the Irish Catholics. By Wil- 
liam Pabnell, Esq. Fitzpatrick, Dublin, 1807. 

fl do not retract one syllable (or one iota) of what 1 
have said or written upon the Catholic question. What 
was wanted for Ireland was emancipation, time and jus- 
tice, abolition of present wrongs ; time for forgetting past 
wrongs, and that continued and even justice which 
would make such oblivion wise. It is now only difficult 
to tranquillize Ireland, before emancipation it was impos- 
sible. As to the danger from Catholic doctrines, I must 
leave such apprehensions to the respectable anility of 
these realms. I will not meddle with it. 



entrails, and burns away his whole life. If the 
comparatively little questions of Establish- 
ment are all that this country is capable of 
discussing or regarding, for God's sake let us 
remember, that the foreign conquest which de- 
stroys all, destroys this beloved foe also. Pass 
over freedom, industry, and science — and look 
upon this great empire, by which we are about 
to be swallowed up, only as it affects the man- 
ner of collecting tithes, and of reading the li- 
turgy — still, if all goes, these must go too; 
and even, for their interests, it is worth while 
to conciliate Ireland, to avert the hostility, and 
to employ the strength of the Catholic popula- 
tion. We plead the question as the sincerest 
friends to the Establishment; — as wishing to 
it all the prosperity and duration its warmest 
advocates can desire, — but remembering al- 
ways, what these advocates seem to forget, 
that the Establishment cannot be threatened 
by any danger so great as the perdition of the 
kingdom in which it is established. 

We are truly glad to agree so entirely with 
Mr. Parnell upon this great question ; we ad- 
mire his way of thinking ; and most cordially 



34 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



recommend his work to the attention of the 
public. The general conclusion which he at- 
tempts to prove is this ; that religious senti- 
ment, however perverted to bigotry or fanati- 
cism, has always a tendency to moderation ; 
that it seldom assumes any great portion of 
activity or enthusiasm, except from novelty of 
opinion, or from opposition, contumely and 
persecution, when novelty ceases ; that a go- 
vernment has little to fear from any religious 
sect, except while that sect is new. Give a 
government only time, and, provided it has the 
good sense to treat folly with forbearance, it 
must ulumately prevail. When, therefore, a 
sect is found, after a lapse of years, to be ill 
disposed to the government, we may be certain 
that government has widened its separation by 
marked distinctions, roused its resentment by 
contumely, or supported its enthusiasm by per- 
secution. 

The particular conclusion Mr. Parnell at- 
tempts to prove is, that the Catholic religion 
in Ireland had sunk into torpor and inactivity, 
till government roused it with the lash : that 
even then, from the respect and attachmeiit, 
which men are always inclined to show to- 
wards government, there still remained a large 
body of loyal Catholics ; that these only de- 
creased in number from the rapid increase of 
persecution ; and that, after all, the effects 
which the resentment of the Roman Catholics 
had in creating rebellions had been very much 
exaggerated. 

In support of these two conclusions, Mr. 
Parnell takes a survey of the history of Ireland 
from the conquest under Henry, to the rebellion 
under Charles the First, passing very rapidly 
. over the period which preceded the Reforma- 
tion, and dwelling pi-incipally upon the various 
rebellions which broke out in Ireland between 
the Reformation and the grand rebellion in the 
reign of Charles the First. The celebrated 
conquest of Ireland by Henry the Second, ex- 
tended only to a very few counties in Lein- 
ster ; nine-tenths of the whole kingdom were 
left, as he found them, under the dominion of 
their native princes. The influence of ex- 
ample was as strong in this, as in most other 
instances; and great numbers of the English 
settlers who came over under various adven- 
turers, resigned their pretensions to superior 
civilization, cast off their lower garments, and 
lapsed into the nudity and barbarism of the 
Irish. The limit which divided the posses- 
sions of the English settler from those of the 
native Irish, was called the pale; and the ex- 
pression of inhabitants within pale, and with- 
out the pale, were the terms by which the two 
nations were distinguished. It is almost su- 
perfluous to state, that the most bloody and 
pernicious warfare was carried on upon the 
borders— sometimes for something— sometimes 
for nothing — most commonly for cows. The 
Irish, over whom the sovereigns of Eng- 
land affected a sort of nominal dominion, were 
entirely governed by their own laws ; and so 
very little connection had they with the justice 
of the invading country, that it was as lawful 
to kill an Irishman, as it was to kill a badger 
or a fox. The instances are innumerable, 
whei-e the defendant has pleaded that the de- 



ceased was an Irishman, and that therefore 
defendant had a right to kill him; — and upon 
the proof of Hibernicism, acquittal followed 
of course. 

When the English army mustered in any 
great stren-gth, the Irish chieftains would do 
extei-ior homage to the English Crown ; and 
they very frequently, by this artifice, averted 
from their country the miseries of invasion : 
but they remained completely unsubdued, till 
the rebellion which took place in the reign of 
Queen Elizabeth, of which that politic woman 
availed herself to the complete subjugation of 
Ireland. In speaking of the Irish about the 
reign of Elizabeth, or James the First, we must 
not draw our comparisons from England, but 
from New Zealand ; they were not civilized 
men, but savages ; and if we reason about their 
conduct, we must reason of them as savages. 

" After reading every account of Irish his- 
tory," (says Mr. Parnell,) "one great perplexity 
appears to remain : How does it happen, that, 
from the first invasion of the English, till the 
reign of James I., Ireland seems not to have 
made the smallest progress in civilization or 
wealth 1 

" That it was divided into a number of small 
principalities, which waged constant war on 
each other; or that the appointment of the 
chieftains was elective ; do not appear sufh- 
cient reasons, although these are the only ones 
assigned by those who have been at the trou- 
ble of considering the subject : neither are the 
confiscations of property quite sufficient to 
account for the effect. There have been great 
confiscations in other countries, and still they 
have flourished : the petty states of Greece were 
quite analogous to the chiefries (as they were 
called) in Ireland ; and yet they seemed to 
flourish almost in proportion to their dissen- 
sions. Poland felt the bad effects of an elec- 
tive monarchy more than any other country ; 
and yet, in point of civilization, it maintained 
a very respectable rank among the nations of 
Europe ; but Ireland never, for an instant, 
made any progress in improvement till the 
reign of James I. 

" It is scarcely credible, that in a climate like 
that of Ireland, and at a period so far advanced 
in civilization as the end of Elizabeth's reign, 
the greater part of the natives should go naked. 
Yet this is rendered certain by the testimony 
of an eye-witness, Fynes Moryson. 'In the 
remote parts,' he says, ' where the English 
laws and manners are unknown, the very chief 
of the Irish, as well men as women, go naked 
in the winter time, only having their privy 
parts covered with a rag of linen, and their 
bodies with a loose mantle. This I speak of 
my own experience ; yet remembering that a 
Bohemian Baron coming out of Scotland to us 
by the north parts of the wild Irish, told me in 
great earnestness, that he, coming to the house 
of O'Kane, a great lord amongst them, was 
met at the door by sixteen women all naked, 
excepting their loose mantles, whereof eight 
or ten were very fair; with which strange 
sight his eyes being dazzled, they led him> into 
the house, and then sitting down by the fi.re 
with crossed legs, like tailors, and so low as 
could not but offend chaste eyes, desired him 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



S5 



to sit down ■with them. Soon after, O'Kane, 
the lord of the country, came in all naked, 
except a loose mantle and shoes, which he put 
off as soon as he came in ; and, entertaining 
the Baron after his best manner in the Latin 
tongue, desired him to put off his apparel, 
which he thought to be a burden to him, and 
to sit naked. 

"'To conclude, men and women at night, 
going to sleep, lye thus naked in a round cir- 
cle about the fire, with their feet towards it. 
They fold their heads and their upper parts in 
woollen mantles, first steeped in water to keep 
them warm. ; for they say, that woollen cloth, 
wetted, preserves heat, (as linen, wetted, pre- 
serves cold,) when the smoke of their bodies 
has warmed the woollen cloth.' 

" The cause of this extreme poverty, and of 
its long continuance, we must conclude, arose 
from the peculiar laws of property, which were 
in force under the Irish dynasties. These laws 
have been described by most writers as similar 
to the Kentish custom of gavelkind ; and in- 
deed so little attention was paid to the subject, 
that were it not for the researches of Sir J. 
Davis, the knowledge of this singular usage 
would have been entirely lost, 

" The Brehon law of property, he tells us, 
was similar to the custom (as the English law- 
yers term it) of hodge-podge. When any one 
of the sept died, his lands did not descend to 
his sons, but were divided among the whole 
sept : and, for this purpose, the chief of the 
sept made a new division of the whole lands 
belonging to the sept, and gave every one his 
part according to seniority. So that no man 
had a property which could descend to his 
children ; and even during his own life, his 
possession of any particular spot was quite 
uncertain, being liable to be constantly shuffled 
and changed by new partitions. The conse- 
quence of this was that there was not a house 
of brick or stone, among the Irish, down to 
the reign of Henry VII.; not even a garden or 
orchard, or well fenced or improved field, 
neither village or town, or in any respect the 
least provision for posterity. This monstrous 
custom, so opposite to the natural feelings of 
mankind, was probably perpetuated by the 
policy of the chiefs. In the first place, the 
power of partitioning being lodged in their 
hands, made them the most absolute of tyrants, 
being the dispensers of the property as well as 
of the liberty of their subjects. In the second 
place, it had the appearance of adding to the 
number of their savage armies ; for, where 
there was no improvement or tillage, war was 
pursued as an occupation. 

"In the early history of Ireland, we find 
several instances of chieftains discountenanc- 
ing tillage; and so late as Elizabeth's reign, 
Moryson says, that 'Sir Neal Garve restrained 
his people from ploughing, that they might 
assist him to do any mischief.' " — (p. 98 — 102.) 

These quotations and observations will ena- 
ble us to state a few plain facts for the recol- 
lection of our English readers. 1st. Ireland was 
never subdued till the rebellion in the reign 
of Queen Elizabeth. 2c?. For four hundred 
years before that period, the two nations had 
been almost constantly at war ; and in conse- 



quence of this, a deep and irreconcileable ha 
tred existed between the people within and 
without the pale. 3d. The Irish, at the acces- 
sion of Queen Elizabeth, were unquestionably 
the most barbarous people in Europe. So 
much for what had happened previous to the 
reign of Queen Elizabeth : and let any man, 
who has the most superficial knowledge of 
human affairs, determine, v/hether national 
hatred, proceeding from such powerful causes, 
could possibly have been kept under by the de- 
feat of one single rebellion ; whether it would 
not have been easy to have foreseen, at that 
period, that a proud, brave, half-savage people, 
would cherish the memory of their wrongs for 
centuries to come, and break forth into arms 
at every period when they were particularly 
exasperated by oppression, or invited by op- 
portunity. If the Protestant religion had 
spread in Ireland as it did in England, and if 
there never had been any difference of faith 
between the two countries, — can it be believed 
that the Irish, ill-treated, and infamously go- 
verned as they have been, would never have 
made any efforts to shake off the yoke of Eng- 
land 1 Surely there are causes enough to 
account for their impatience of that 5'oke, 
without endeavouring to inflame the zeal of 
ignorant people against the Catholic religion, 
and to make that mode of faith responsible for 
all the butchery which the Irish and English, 
for these last two centuries, have exercised 
upon each other. Every body, of course, must 
admit, that if to the causes of hatred already 
specified, there be added the additional cause 
of religious distinction, this last will give 
greater force (and what is of more conse- 
quence to observe, give a name) to the whole 
aggregate motive. But what Mr. Parnell con- 
tends for, and clearly and decisively proves, is, 
thatmany of those sanguinary scenes attributed 
to the Catholic religion, are to be partly im- 
puted to causes totally disconnected from reli- 
gion ; that the unjust invasion, and the tyran- 
nical, infamous policy of the English, are to 
take their full share of blame with the sophisms 
and plots of Catholic priests. In the reign of 
Henry the Eighth, Mr. Parnell shows, that 
feudal submission was readily paid to him by 
all the Irish chiefs ; that the Reformation was 
received without the slightest opposition ; and 
that the troubles which took place at that 
period in Ireland, are to be entirely attributed 
to the ambition and injustice of Henry. In the 
reign of Queen Mary, there was no recrimi- 
nation upon the Protestants; — a striking proof, 
that the bigotry of the Catholic religion had 
not, at that period, risen to any great height in 
Ireland. The insurrections of the various 
Irish princes were as numerous, during this 
reign, as they had been in the two preceding 
reigns, — a circumstance rather difficult of ex- 
planation, if, as is commonly believed, the Ca- 
tholic religion was at that period the main 
spring of men's actions. 

In the reign of Elizabeth, the Catholic in the 
pale regularly fought against the Catholic out 
of the pale. O'Sullivan, a bigoted Papist, re- 
proaches them with doing so. Speaking of the 
reign of James the First, he says, "And now 
the eyes even of the English Irish" (the Ca- 



36 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH; 



tholics of the pale) " were opened ; and they 
cursed their former folly for helping the here- 
tic." The English government were so sen- 
sible of the loyalty of the Irish English Catho- 
lics, that they entrusted them with the most 
confidential services. The Earl of Kildare 
was the principal instrument in waging war 
against the chieftains of Leix and Offal. Wil- 
liam O'Bourge, another Catholic, was created 
Lord Castle Connel for his eminent services; 
and MacGuUy Patrick, a priest, was the state 
spy. We presume that this wise and manly 
conduct of Queen Elizabeth was utterly un- 
known both to the Pastrycook and the Secre- 
tary of State, who have published upon the 
dangers of employing Catholics even against 
foreign enemies; and in those publications 
have said a great deal about the wisdom of our 
ancestors — the usual topic whenever the folly 
of their descendants is to be defended. To 
whatever other of our ancestors they may 
allude, they may spare all compliments to this 
illustrious Princess, who would certainly have 
kept the worthy confectioner to the composition 
of tarts, and most probably furnished him with 
the productions of the Right Honourable Sec- 
retary, as the means of conveying those juicy 
delicacies to an hungry and discerning pub- 
lic. 

In the next two reigns, Mr. Parnell shows 
by what injudicious measures of the English 
government the spirit of Catholic opposition 
was gradually formed ; for that it did produce 
Dowerful effects at a subsequent period, he 
does not deny ; but contends only (as we have 
before stated), that these effects have been 
much overrated, and ascribed solely to the 
Catholic religion, when other causes have at 
least had an equal agency in bringing them 
about. He concludes with some general re- 
marks on the dreadful state of Ireland, and 
the contemptible folly and bigotry of the Eng- 
lish ;* — remarks full of truth, of good sense, 
and of political courage. How melancholy 
to reflect, that there would be still some 
chance of saving England from the general 
wreck of empires, but that it may not be 
saved, because one politician will lose two 
thousand a year by it, and another three thou- 
sand — a third a place in reversion, and a fourth 
a pension for his aunt ! — Alas ! these are the 



* It would l>e as well, in future, to say no more of the 
revocation of the edict of Nantz. 



powerful causes which have always settled 
the destiny of great kingdoms, and which may 
level Old England, with all its boasted free- 
dom, and boasted wisdom, to the dust. Nor 
is it the least singular among the political 
phenomena of the present day, that the sole 
consideration which seems to influence the 
unbigoted part of the English people, in this 
great question of Ireland, is a regard for the 
personal feelings of the Monarch. Nothing 
is said or thought of the enormous risk to 
which Ireland is exposed, — nothing of the 
gross injustice with which the Catholics are 
treated, — nothing of the lucrative apostasy 
of those from whom they experience this 
treatment : but the only concern by which we 
all seem to be agitated is, that the King must 
not be vexed in his old age. We have a great 
respect for the King; and wish him ail the 
happiness compatible with the happiness of 
his people. But these are not times to pay 
foolish compliments to Kings, or the sons of 
Kings, or to any body else : this journal has 
always preserved its character for courage 
and honesty ; and it shall do so to the last. 
If the people of this country are solely occu- 
pied in considering what is personally agree- 
able to the King, without considering what is 
for his permanent good, and for the safety of 
his dominions ; if all public men, quitting the 
common vulgar scramble for emolument, do 
not concur in conciliating the people of Ire- 
land; if the unfounded alarms, and the com- 
paratively trifling interests of the clergy, are 
to supersede the great question of freedom or 
slavery, it does appear to us quite impossible 
that so mean and so foolish a people can 
escape that destruction which is ready to burst 
upon them ; — a destruction so imminent, that 
it can only be averted by arming all in ottr 
defence who would evidently be sharers in our 
ruin, — and by such a change of system as 
may save us from the hazard of being ruined 
by the ignorance and cowardice of any gene- 
ral, by the bigotry or the ambition of any 
minister, or by the well-meaning scruples of 
any human being, let his dignity be what it 
may. These minor and domestic dangers we 
must endeavour firmly and temperately to 
avert as we best can ; but, at all hazcirds, we 
must keep out the destroyer from among us, 
or perish like wise and brave men in the 
attempt. 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



SV 



METHODISM; 



[Edinburgh Review, 1808.] 



This is the production of an honest man, 
possessed of a fair share of understanding. 
He cries out lustily (and not before it is time), 
upon the increase of Methodism ; proposes 
various remedies for the diminution of this 
evil ; and speaks his opinions with a freedom 
which does him great credit, and convinces 
us that he is a respectable man. The clergy 
are accusedof not exerting themselves. What 
temporal motive, Mr. Ingram asks, have they 
for exertion? Would a curate, who had 
served thirty years upon a living in the most 
exemplary manner, secure to himself, by such 
a conduct, the slightest right or title to promo- 
tion in the church 1 What can you expect of 
a whole profession, in which there is no more 
connection between merit and reward, than 
between merit and beauty, or merit and 
strength 1 This is the substance of what Mr. 
Ingram says upon this subject; and he speaks 
the truth. We regret, however, that this gen- 
tleman has thought tit to use against the dis- 
senters, the exploded clamour of Jacobinism ; 
or that he deems it necessary to call into the 
aid of the Church, the power of intolerant 
laws, in spite of the odious and impolitic tests 
to which the dissenters are still subjected. 
We believe them to be very good subjects ; 
and we have no doubt but that any further at- 
tempt upon their religious liberties, without 
reconciling them to the Church, would have a 
direct tendency to render them disaffected to 
to the State. 

Mr. Ingram (Avhose book, by the by, is very 
dull and tedious) has fallen into the common 
mistake of supposing his readers to be as well 
acquainted with his subject as he is himself; 
and has talked a great deal about dissenters, 
without giving us any distinct notions of the 
spirit which pervades these people — the ob- 
jects they have in view — or the degree of 
talent which is to be found among them. To 
remedy this very capital defect, we shall en- 
deavour to set before the eyes of the reader a 
complete section of the tabernacle ; and to 
present him with a near view of those secta- 
ries, who are at present at work upon the de- 
struction of the orthodox churches, and are 
destined hereafter, perhaps, to act as conspi- 
cuous a part in public affairs, as the children 
of Sion did in the time of Cromwell. 

The sources from which we shall derive 
our extracts, are the Evangelical and Metho- 
distical Magazines for the year 1807 ; — works 
which are said to be circulated to the amount 
of 18,000 or 20,000 each, every month; and 
which contain the sentiments of Arminian 
and Calvinistic Methodists, and of the evan- 
gelical clergymen of the Church of England. 
We shall use the general term of Methodism, 

* Causes of the Increase of Methodism and Dissension. 
By Robert Acklem Ingram, B. D. Hatchard. 



to designate these three classes of fanatics, 
not troubling ourselves to point out the finer 
shades, and nicer discriminations of lunacy, 
but treating them all as in one general conspi- 
racy against common sense, and rational or- 
thodox Christianity. 

In reading these very curious productions, 
we seemed to be in a new world, and to have 
got among a set of beings, of whose existence 
we had hardly before entertained the slightest 
conception. It has been our good fortune to 
be acquainted with many truly religious per- 
sons, both in the Presbyterian and Episcopa- 
lian churches ; and from their manly, rational, 
and serious characters, our conceptions of 
true practical piety have been formed. To 
these coniined habits, and to our want of pro- 
per introductions among the children of light 
and grace, any degree of surprise is to be at- 
tributed, which may be excited by the publi- 
cations before us ; which, under opposite cir- 
cumstances, would (Ave doubt not) have proved 
as great a source of instruction and delight to 
the Edinburgh reviewers, as they are to the 
most melodious votaries of the tabernacle. 

It is not wantonly, or with the most distant 
intention of trifling upon serious subjects, that 
we call the attention of the public to these sort 
of publications. Their circulation is so enor- 
mous, and so increasing, — they contain the 
opinions, and display the habits of so many 
human beings, — that they cannot but be ob- 
jects of curiosity and importance. The com- 
mon and the middling classes of the people 
are the purchasers; and the subject is reli- 
gion, — though not that religion certainly which 
is established by law, and encouraged by na- 
tional provision. This may lead to unpleasant 
consequences, or it may not ; but it carries 
with it a sort of aspect, which ought to insure 
to it serious attention and reflection. 

It is impossible to arrive at any knowledge 
of a religious sect, by merely detailing the set- 
tled articles of their belief: it may be the 
fashion of such a sect to insist upon some arti- 
cles very slightly; to bring forward others pro- 
minently ; and to consider some portion of their 
formal creed as obsolete. As the knowledge 
of the jurisprudence of any country can never 
be obtained by the perusal of volumes which 
contain some statutes that are daily enforced, 
and others that have been silently antiquated: 
in the same manner, the practice, the preach- 
ing, and the writing of sects, are comments 
absolutely necessary to render the perusal of 
their creed of any degree of utility. 

It is the practice, we believe, with the orthi) 
dox, both in the Scotch and English churches, 
to insist very rarely, and very discreetly, upon 
the particular instances of the interference of 
Divine Providence. They do not contend that 
the world is governed onlv by general laws, — 
D" 



38 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



that a Superintending Mind never interferes 
for particular purposes ; but such purposes are 
represented to be of a nature very awful and 
sublime, — when a guilty people are to be de- 
stroyed, when an oppressed nation is to be lift- 
ed up, and some remarkable change introduced 
into the order and arrangement of the world. 
With this kind of theology we can have no 
quarrel ; we bow to its truth ; we are satisfied 
with the moderation which it* exhibits; and we 
have no doubt of the salutary effect which it 
produces upon the human heart. Let us now 
come to those special cases of the interference 
of Providence as they are exhibited in the pub- 
lications before us. 

^n interference with respect to the Rev. James 
Moody. 

" Mr. James Moody was descended from pious 
ancestors, who resided at Paisley ; — his heart 
was devoted to music, dancing, and theatrical 
amusements ; of the latter he was so fond, that 
he used to meet with some men of a similar 
cast to rehearse plays, and used to entertain a 
hope that he should make a figure upon the 
stage. To improve himself in music, he would 
rise very early, even in severely cold weather, 
and practise on the German flute: by his skill 
in music and singing, with his general powers 
of entertaining, he became a desirable com- 
panion : he would sometimes venture to pro- 
fane the day of God, by turning it into a season 
of carnal pleasure : and would join in excur- 
sions on the water, to various parts of the vi- 
cinity of London. But the time was approach- 
ing, %olien the Lord, who had dcsig7is of mercy for 
him, and for many others by his means, teas about 
to stop him in his vain career of sin and fully. There 
were two professing servants in the house 
where he lived ; one of these was a porter, who, 
in brushing his clothes, would say, 'Master 
James, this will never do — you must be other- 
wise employed — you must be a minister of the 
gospel.' This worthy man, earnestly wishing 
his conversion, put into his hands that excel- 
lent book which God hath so much owned, 
Allcutc's Alarm to the Unconverted. 

" About this time, it pleased God to visit him 
with a disorder in his eyes, occasioned, as it 
Avas thought, by his sitting up in the night to 
improve himself in drawing. The apprehen- 
sion of losing his sight occasioned many seri- 
ous reflections; his mind was impressed with 
the importance and necessity of seeking the 
salvation of his soul, and he was induced to 
attend the preaching of the gospel. The first 
sermon that he heard with a desire to profit, 
was at Spa-fields Chapel ; a place where he had 
formerly frequented, when it was a temple of 
vanity and dissipation. Strong convictions of 
sin fixed on his mind; and he continued to at- 
tend the preached word, particularly at Totten- 
ham-court Chapel. Every sermon increased 
his sorrow and grief that he had not earlier 
sought the Lord. It was a considerable time 
before he found comfort from the gospel. He 
has stood in the free part of the chapel, hear- 
ing with such emotion, that the tears have 
flowed from his eyes in torrents; and, when 
be has returned home, he has continued a great 



part of the night on his knees, praying over 
what he had heard. 

" The change effected by the poM'er of the 
Holy Spirit on his heart now became visible to 
all. Nor did he halt between two opinions, as 
some persons do; he became at once a decided 
character, and gave up for ever all his vain 
pursuits and amusements ; devoting himself 
with as much resolution and diligence to the 
service of God, as he had formerly done to folly." 
Ev. Mag. p. 194. 

An interference respecting Cards, 

"A clergyman not far distant from the spot 
on which these lines were written, was spend- 
ing an evening — not in his closet wrestling 
with his Divine Master for the communication 
of that grace which is so peculiarly necessary 
for the faithful discharge of the ministerial 
function, — not in his study searching the sacred 
oracles of divine truth for materials wherewith 
to prepare for his public exercises and feed the 
flock under his care, — not in pastoral visits to 
that flock, to inquire into the state of their souls, 
and endeavour, by his pious and afiectionate 
conversation, to conciliate their esteem, and 
promote their edification, — but at the card table.'" 
— After stating that when it was his turn to 
deal, he dropped down dead, "It is worthy of 
remark (says the writer), that within a very 
few years this was the third character in the 
neighbourhood which had been summoned 
from the card table to the bar of God." — Ev. 
Mag. p. 262. 

Interference respecting Swearing — a Bee the instru- 
ment. 
" A young man is stung by a bee, upon which 
he buffets the bees with his hat, uttering at the 
same time the most dreadful oaths and impre- 
cations. In the midst of his fury, one of these 
little combatants stung him upon the tip of that 
unruly member (his tongue), which was then 
employed in blaspheming his Maker. Thus 
can the Lord engage one of the meanest of his 
creatures in reproving the bold transgressor 
who dares to take his name in vain." — Ev. 
Mag. p. 363. 

Interference ivith respect to David White, who was 
cured of Atheism and Scrofula by one Sermon of 
Mr. Coles. 

This case is too long to quote in the lan- 
guage and with the evidences of the writers. 
The substance of it is what our title implies. — 
David Wright was a man with scrofulous legs 
and atheistical principles; — being with diffi- 
culty persuaded to hear one sermon from Mr. 
Coles, he limped to the church in extreme pain, 
and arrived there after great exertion ; — dur- 
ing church time he was entirely converted, 
walked home with the greatest ease, and never 
after experienced the slightest return of scro- 
fula or infidelity.— £v. Mag. p. 444. 

The displeasure of Providence is expressed at Cap- 
tain Scott's going to preach in Mr. Romaine's 
Chapel. 
The sign of this displeasure is a violent 

storm of thunder and lightning just as he came 

into town. — Ev. 3Iag. p. 537. 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



39 



Interference with respect to an Innkeeper, who was 

destroyed for having appointed a cock-fight at the 

very lime thai the service was beginning at the 

Methodist Chapel. 

" ' Never mind,' says the innkeeper, ' I'll get a 
greater congregation than the Methodist par- 
son ; — we'll have a cock-fight.' But what is 
man ! how insignificant his designs, how im- 
potent his strength, how ill-fated his plans, when 
opposed to that Being who is infinite in wisdom, 
boundless in power, terrible in judgment, and 
who frequently reverses, and suddenly renders 
abortive, the projects of the wicked ! A few 
days after the avowal of his intention, the inn- 
keeper sickened," &c. &c. And then the nar- 
rator goes on to state, that his corpse was car- 
ried by the meeting-house, " on the day, and 
exactly at the time, the deceased had fixed for the 
cock-fight."— Mei/i. Mag. p. 126. 

In page 167, Meth. Mag., a father, mother, 
three sons, and a sister, are destroyed by par- 
ticular interposition. 

In page 222, Meth. Mag., a dancing-master is 
destroyed for irreligion, — another person for 
swearing at a cock-fight, — and a third for pre- 
tending to be deaf and dumb. These are call- 
ed recent and authentic accounts of God's aveng- 
ing providence. 

So much for the miraculous interposition of 
Providence in cases where the Methodists are 
concerned: we shall now proceed to a few spe- 
cimens of the energy of their religious feelings. 

Mr. Roberts^ s feelings in the month of May, 1793. 
" But, all this lime, my soul was stayed upon 
God ; my desires increased, and my mind was 
kept in a sweet praying frame, a going out of 
myself, as it were, and taking shelter in Him. 
Every breath I drew, ended in a prayer. I felt 
myself helpless as an infant, dependent upon 
God for all things. I was in a constant daily 
expectation of receiving all I wanted; and, on 
Friday, May 31st, under Mr. Rutherford's ser- 
mon, though entirely independent of it, (for I 
could not give any account of what he had 
been preaching about,) I was given to feel that 
God was waiting to be very gracious to me ; 
the spirit of prayer and supplication was given 
me, and such an assurance that I was accepted 
in the Beloved, as I cannot describe, but which 
I shall never forget." — Meth. Mag. p. 35. 

Mrs. Elizabeth Price and her attendants hear sacred 
music on a sudden. 

"A few nights before her death, while some 
neighbours and her husband were sitting up 
with her, a sudden and joyful sound of music 
■was heard by all present, although some of them 
were carnal people : at which time she thought 
she saw her crucified Saviour before her, speak- 
ing these words with power to her soul, 'Thy 
sins are forgiven thee, and I love thee freely.' 
After this she never doubted of her acceptance 
•with God ; and on Christmas day following was 
taken to celebrate the Redeemer's birth in the 
Paradise of God. Michakl Cousin." — Meth. 
Mag. p. 137. 

T. L., a Sailor on board of the Slag frigate has a 
special revelation from our Saviour. 

"October 26th, being the Lord's day, he had 
a remarkable manifestation of God's love to 



his soul. That blessed morning, he was much 
grieved by hearing the wicked use profane 
language, when Jesus revealed himself to him, 
and impressed on his mind those words, 'Fol- 
low Me.' This was a precious day to him." 
Meth. Mag. p. 140. 

The manner in tvhich Mr, Thomas Cook ivas accus* 
tomed to accost S. B. 

"Whenever he met me in the street, his 
salutation used to be, 'Have you free and 
lively intercourse with God to-day? Are you 
giving your whole heart to Godl' I have 
known him on such occasions speak in so 
pertinent a manner, that I have been as- 
tonished at his knowledge of my state. Meet- 
ing me one morning, he said, 'I have been 
praying for you ; you have had a sore conflict, 
though all is well now.' At another time he 
asked, 'Have you been much exercised these 
few days, for I have been led to pray that you 
might especially have suffering grace.'" — Meth. 
Mag. p. 247. 

Mr. John Kestin on his death-bed. 

"'Oh, my dear, I am now going to glory, 
happy, happy, happy. I am going to sing 
praises to God and the Lamb ; I am going to 
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I think I can see 
my Jesus without a glass between. I can, I 
feel I can, discern 'my title clear to mansions 
in the skies.' Come, Lord Jesus, come ! why 
are thy chariot-wheels so long delaying]'" 
Ev. Mag. p. 124. 

The Reverend Mr. Mead^s sorroiu for his si7is. 

" This -wrought him up to temporary despe- 
ration; his inexpressible grief poured itself 
forth in groans : 'Oh, that I had never sinned 
against God ! I have a hell here upon earth, and 
there is a hell for me in eternity !' One Lord's 
day, very early in the morning, he was awoke by 
a tempest of thunder and lightning; and ima- 
gining it to be the end of the world, his agony 
Avas great, supposing the great day of divine 
wrath was come, and he unprepared: but hap- 
py to find it not so." — Ev. Mag. p. 147. 

Similar case of Mr. John Robinson. 
"About two hours before he died, he was in 
great agony of body and mind : it appeared 
that the enemy was permitted to struggle with 
him ; and being greatly agitated, he cried out, 
' Ye powers of darkness begone !' This, how- 
ever, did not last long : ' the prey was taken 
from the mighty, and the lawful captive de- 
livered,' although he was not permitted to tell 
of his deliverance, but lay quite still and com- 
posed." — Ev. Mag. p. 177. 

The Reverend William Tennant in an heavenly 
trance. 
" ' AVhile I was conversing with my brother,' 
said he, ' on the state of my soul, and the fears 
I had entertained for my future welfare, I found 
myself in an instant, in another state of exist- 
ence, under the direction of a superior being, 
who ordered me to follow him. I was wafted 
along, I know not how, till I beheld at a dis- 
tance an ineffable glory, the impression of 
which on my mind it is impossible to commu- 
nicate to mortal man. I immediately reflected 
on my happy change ; and thought, Well, 



40 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



blessed be God ! I am safe at last, notwith- 
standing all my fears. I saw an innumerable 
host of happy beings surrounding the inex- 
pressible glory, in acts of adoration and joy- 
ous worship ; but I did not see any bodily shape 
■or representation in the glorious appearance. 
I heard things unutterable. I heard their songs 
■and hallelujahs of thanksgiving and praise, 
with unspeakable rapture. I felt joy unutter- 
able and full of glory. I then applied to my 
conductor, and requested leave to join the 
happy throng.' " — Ev. Mag. p. 251. 

The following we consider to be one of the 
most shocking histories we ever read. God 
only knows how many such scenes take place 
in the gloomy annals of Methodism. 

** A young man, of the name of S. C , 

grandson to a late eminent Dissenting minister, 
and brought up by him, came to reside at 

K g, about the year 1803. He attended at 

the Baptist place of worship, not only on the 
Lord's day, but frequently at the week-day 
lectures and prayer-meetings. He was sup- 
posed by some to be seriously inclined; bl^t 
his opinion of himself was, that he had never 
experienced that divine change, without which 
no man can be saved. 

" However that might be, there is reason to 
believe he had been for some years under 
powerful convictions of his miserable condi- 
tion as a sinner. In June, 1806, these convic- 
tions were observed to increase, and that in a 
more than common degree. From that time 
he Avent into no company; but, when he was 
not at work, kept in his chamber, where he 
was employed in singing plaintive hymns, and 
bewailing his lost and perishing state. 

" He had about him several religious peo- 
ple ; but could not be induced to open his mind 
to them, or to impart to any one the cause of 
his distress. Whether this contributed to in- 
crease it or not, it did increase, till his health 
was greatly affected by it, and he was scarce- 
ly able to woi'k at his business. 

" While he was at meeting on Lord's day, 
September 14th, he was observed to labour 
under very great emotion of mind, especially 
when he heard the following words : ' Sinner, 
if you die without an interest in Christ, you 
will sink into the regions of eternal death.' 

" On the Saturday evening following, he in- 
timated to the mistress of the house where he 
lodged, that some awful judgment Avas about 
to come upon him ; and as he should not be 
able to be at meeting next day, requested that 
an attendant might be procured to stay with 
him. She replied, that she would herself stay 
at home, and Avait upon him ; Avhich she did. 

" On the Lord's day he Avas in great agony 
of mind. His mother was sent for, and some 
religious friends Adsited him ; but all Avas of 
no avail. That night Avas a night dreadful 
beyond conception. The horror Avhich he en- 
dured brought on all the symptoms of raging 
madness. He desired the attendants not to 
come near him, lest they should be burnt. He 
said that 'the bed-curtains were in ilames, — 
that he smelt the brimstone, — that devils were 
come to fetch him, — that there Avas no hope 
pjr him, for that he had sinned against light 



and conviction, and that he should certainly 
go to hell.' It was with difficulty he^ could be 
kept in bed. 

" An apothecary being sent for, as soon as 
he entered the house, and heard his dreadful 
bowlings, he inquired if he had not been bitten 
by a mad dog. His appearance, likewise, 
seemed to justify such a suspicion, his coun- 
tenance resembling that of a wild beast more 
than of a man. 

" Though he had no feverish heat, yet his 
pulse beat above 150 in a minute. To abate 
the mania, a quantity of blood was taken from 
him, a blister was applied, his head was shaved, 
cold water was copiously poured over him, 
and fox-glove Avas administered. By these 
means his fury was abated ; but his mental 
agony continued, and all the symptoms of 
madness AA^hich his bodily strength, thus re- 
duced, would allow, till the following Thurs- 
day. On that day he seemed to have recovered 
his reason, and to be calm in his mind. In 
the evening he sent for the apothecary; and 
wished to speak with him by himself. The 
latter, on his coming, desired every one to 
leave the room, and thus addressed him : 

' C , have you not something on your 

mind V ' Ay,' answered he, ' that is it /' He 
then acknowledged that, early in the month 
of June, he had gone to a fair in the neigh- 
bourhood, in company with a number of wicked 
young men : that they drank at a public-house 
together till he was in a measure intoxicated ; 
and that from thence they went into other com- 
pany, Avhere he Avas criminally connected with 
a harlot. ' I have been a miserable creature,' 
continued he, ' ever since ; but during the last 
three days and three nights, I have been in a 
state of desperation.' He intimated to the 
apothecary, that he could not bear to tell this 
story to his minister : ' But,' said he, ' do you 
inform him that I shall not die in despair; for 
light has broken in upon me ; I have been led 
to the great Sacrifice for sin, and I now hope 
in him for salvation.' 

" From this time his mental distress ceased, 
his countenance became placid, and bis con- 
versation, instead of being taken up as before 
with fearful exclamations concerning devils 
and the wrath to come, Avas now confined to 
the dying love of Jesus ! The apothecary was 
of opinion, that if his strength had not been so 
much exhausted, he would now have been in 
a state of religious transport. His nervous 
system, however, had received such a shock, 
that his recovery was doubtful ; and it seemed 
certain, that if he did recover, he would sink 
into a state of idiocy. He survived this inter- 
view but a fcAv days."— jBj;. Mag. p. 412, 413. 

A religious observer stands at a turnpike 
gate on a Sunday, to witness the profane crowd 
passing by ; he sees a man driving very clum- 
sily in a gig ; the inexperience of the driver 
provokes the following pious observations. 

" ' What (said I to myself) if a single un- 
toward circumstance should happen ! Should 
the horse take fright, or the wheel on either 
side get entangled, or the gig upset, — in either 
case Avhat can preserve theml And should a 
morning so fair and promising bring on evil.. 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



41 



before night, — should death on his pale horse 
appear, — what follows 1 My mind shuddered 
at the images I had raised.' " — Ev. Mag. p. 558, 
559. 

Miss Louisa Cooke's rapturous state. 
" From this period she lived chiefly in retire- 
ment, either in reading the sacred volume on 
her knees, or in pouring out her soul in prayer 
to God. While thus employed, she was not 
unfrequently indulged with visits from her 
gracious Lord ; and sometimes she felt herself 
to be surrounded, as it were, by his glorious 
presence. After her return to Bristol, her frame 
of mind became so heavenly, that she seemed 
often to be dissolved in the love of God her 
Saviour."— ^y. Mag. p. 576, 577. 

Objection to Almanacks. 
"Let those who have been partial to such 
vain productions, only read Isaiah xlvii. 13, 
and Daniel ii. 27; and they will here see what 
they are to be accounted of, and in what com- 
pany they are to be found; and let them learn 
to despise their equivocal and artful insinua- 
tions, which are too frequently blended with 
profanity ; for is it not profanity in them to at- 
tempt to palm their frauds upon mankind by 
Scripture quotations, which they seldom fail to 
do, especially Judges v. 20, and Job xxxviii. 
31 1 neither of which teaches nor warrants 
any such practice. Had Baruch or Deborah 
consulted the stars 1 No such thing." — Ev. 
Mag. p. 600. 

This energy of feeling will be found occa- 
sionally to meddle with, and disturb the ordi- 
nary occupations and amusements of life, and 
to raise up little qualms of conscience, which, 
instead of exciting respect, border, we fear, 
somewhat too closely upon the ludicrous. 

A Methodist Footman. 
" A gentleman's servant, who has left a good 
place because he was ordered to deny his mas- 
ter when actually at home, wishes something 
on this subject may be introduced into this 
work, that persons who are in the habit of 
denying themselves in the above manner may 
be convinced of its evil." — Ev. Mag. p. 72. 

Doubts if it is right to take any interest for 
money. 
" Usury. — Sir, I beg the favour of you to in- 
sert the following case of conscience. I fre- 
quently find in Scripture, that Usury is parti- 
cularly condemned; and it is represented as 
the character of a good man, that ' he hath not 
given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any 
increase,' Ezek. xviii. 8, &c. I wish, there- 
fore, to know how such passages are to be un- 
derstood; and whether the taking of interest 
for money, as it is universally practised among 
us, can be reconciled with the word and will 
of God] q,."—Ev. Mag. p. 74. 

Dancing ill suited to a creature on trial for 
eternity 
"If dancing be a waste of time ; if the pre- 
cious hours devoted to it may be better em- 
ployed ; if it be a species of trifling ill suited 
to a creatui-e on trial for eternity, and hasten- 
ing towards it on the swift wings of time; if it 
be incompatible with genuine renentaace, true 
6 



faith in Christ, supreme love to God, and a 
state of genuine devotedhess to him, — then 
is dancing a practice utterly opposed to the 
whole spirit and temper of Christianity, and 
subversive of the best interests of the rising 
generation."— i¥e;A. Mag. p. 127, 128. 

The Methodists consider themselves as con- 
stituting a chosen and separate people, living 
in a land of atheists and voluptuaries. The 
expressions by which they designate their own 
sects, are the dear people — the elect — the people 
of God. The rest of mankind are carnal peo- 
ple, the people of this world, &c. &c. The chil- 
dren of Israel were not more separated, through 
the favour of God, from the Egyptians, than 
the Methodists are, in their own estimation, 
from the rest of mankind. We had hitherto 
supposed that the disciples of the Established 
churches in England and Scotland had been 
Christians ; and that, after baptism, duly per- 
formed by the appointed minister, and partici- 
pation in the custoinary worship of these two 
churches, Christianity was the religion of 
which they were to be considered as mem- 
bers. We see, however, in these publications, 
men of twenty or thirty years of age first called 
to a knowledge of Christ under a sermon by the 
Rev. Mr. Venn, — or first admitted into the 
church of Christ under a sermon by the Rev. 
Mr. Romaine. The apparent admission turns 
out to have been a mere mockery ; and the 
pseudo-christian to have had no religion at all, 
till the business was really and effectually done 
under these sermons by Mr. Venn and Mr. 
Romaine. 

./In auful and general departure from the Christian 
Failh in the Church of England. 
"A second volume of Mr. Cooper's sermons 
is before us, stamped with the same broad seal 
of truth and excellence as the former. Amidst 
the awful and general departure from the faith, 
as once delivered to the saints, in the Church 
of England, and sealed by the blood of our 
Reformers, it is pleasing to observe that there 
is a remnant, according to the election of grace, 
who continue rising up to testify the gospel of 
the grace of God, and to call back their fellows 
to the consideration of the great and leading 
doctrines on which the Reformation was built, 
and the Church of England by law established. 
The author of these sermons, avoiding all 
matters of more doubtful disputation, avowedly 
attaches himself to the great fundamental 
truths ; and on the two substantial pillars, the 
Jachin and Boaz of the living temple, erects 
his superstructure. 1. Justification by faith, 
without works, free and full, by grace alone, 
through the redemption which is in Jesus 
Christ, stands at the commencement of the 
first volume ; and on its side rises in the beauty 
of holiness," &c. — Ev. Mag. p. 79. 

Mr. Robinson called to the knowledge of Christ under 
Mr. Venn's Sermon. 
" Mr. Robinson was called in early life to the 
knowledge of Christ, under a sermon at St. 
Dunstan's, by the late Rev. Mr. Venn, from 
Ezek. xxxvi. 25, 26 ; the remembrance of which 
greatly refreshed his soul upon his death 
bed."— £y. Mag p. 176. 

1)2 



42 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



Christianity introduced into the Parish of Laimton, 
near Bicester, in the year 1807. 

"A very general spirit of inquiry having ap- 
peared for some time in the village of Launton, 
near Bicester, some serious persons were ex- 
eited to communicate to them the word of life." 
Ev. Mag. p. 380. 

We learn in page 128, Meth. Mag., that twelve 
months had elapsed from the time of Mrs. 
Cocker's joining the people of God, before she 
obtained a clear sense of forgiveness. 

^ religious Hoy sets off every week for Margate. 

"Religious Passengers accommodated. — To the 
Editor. — Sir, it afforded me considerable plea- 
sure to see upon the cover of your Magazine 
for the present month, an advertisement, an- 
nouncing the establishment of a packet, to sail 
weekly between London and Margate, during 
the season ; which appears to have been set on 
foot for the accommodation of religious cha- 
racters ; and in which ' no profane conversa- 
tion is to be allowed.' 

" To those among the followers of a crucified 
Redeemer, who are in the habit of visiting the 
Isle of Thanet in the summer, and who, for the 
sea air, or from other circumstances, prefer 
travelling by water, such a conveyance must 
certainly be a desida-atum, especially if they 
have experienced a mortification similar to that 
of the writer, in the course-of the last summer, 
when shut up in a cabin with a mixed multi- 
tude, who spake almost all languages but that 
of Canaan. Totally unconnected with the con- 
cern, and personally a stranger to the worthy 
owner, I take the liberty of recommending this 
vessel to the notice of my fellow-Christians ; 
persuaded that they will think themselves bound 
to patronise and encourage an undertaking that 
has the honour of the dear Redeemer for its 
professed object. It ought ever to be remem- 
bered, that every talent we possess, whether 
large or small, is given us in trust to be laid 
out for God ; — and I have often thought that 
Christians act inconsistently with their high 
profession, when they omit, even in their most 
common and trivial expenditures, to give a 
decided preference to the friends of their Lord. 
I do not, however, anticipate any such ground 
of complaint in this instance ; but rather believe 
that the religious world in general will cheer- 
fully unite with me, while I most cordially wish 
success to the Princess of Wales Yacht, and 
pray that she may ever sail under the divine 
protection and blessing;— that the humble fol- 
lowers of Him who spoke the storm into a 
calm, when crossing the lake of Gennesareth, 
may often feel their hearts glowing with sacred 
ardour, while in her cabins they enjoy sweet 
communion with their Lord and with each 
other ; — and that strangers, who may be provi- 
dentially brought among them, may see so much 
of the beauty and excellency of the religion of 
Jesus exemplified in their conduct and conver- 
sation, that they may be constrained to say, 
' We will go with you, for we perceive that 
God is with you. — Your God shall be our God, 
and his people shall henceforth be our chosen 
companions and associates.' I am, Mr. Editor, 
your obliged friend and sister in the gospel, 
E T."—Ev. Mag. p. 368. 



^ religious neivspaper is announced in the Ev. M. 
for September. — It is said of common newspa- 
pers, " That they are absorbed in temporal (concerns, 
while the consideration of those ivhich are eternal is 
postponed; the business of this life has super- 
seded the claims of immortality; and the 
monarchs of the world have engrossed an at- 
tention which would have been more properly 
devoted to the Saviour of the universe." It is 
then stated, "that the columns of this paper 
(The Instructor, price 6d.) will be supplied by 
pious reflections ; suitable comments to im- 
prove the dispensations of Providence will be 
introduced ; and the whole conducted with an 
eye to our spiritual, as well as temporal, wel- 
fare. The work will contain the latest news 
up to four o'clock on the day of publication, 
together with the most recent religious occur- 
rences. The prices of stock, and correct 
market-tables, will also be accurately detailed." 
Ev. Mag. September Advertisement. The Eclectic 
Review is also understood to be carried on upon 
Methodistical principles. 

Nothing can evince more strongly the influ- 
ence which Methodism now exercises upon 
common life, and the fast hold it has got of the 
people, than the advertisements which are cir- 
culated every month in these very singular 
publications. On the cover of a single num- 
ber, for example, we have the following: — 

" Wanted, by Mr. Turner, shoemaker, a 
steady apprentice ; he will have the privilege 
of attending the ministry of the gospel ; — a 
premium expected, p. 3. — Wanted, a serious 
young woman, as servant of all work, 3. — 
Wanted, a man of serious character, who can 
shave, 3. — Wanted, a serious woman to assist 
in a shop, 3. — A young person in the millinery 
line wishes to be in a serious family, 4. — Wants 
a place, a young man who has brewed in a se- 
rious family, 4. — Ditto, a young woman of 
evangelical principles, 4.— Wanted, an active 
serious shopman, 5. — To be sold, an eligible 
residence, with sixty acres of land ; gospel 
preached in three places within half a mile, 5. — 
A single gentleman may be accommodated 
with lodging in a small serious family, 5. — To 
let, a genteel first floor in an airy situation near 
the Tabernacle, 6. — Wanted, a governess, of 
evangelical principles and corresponding cha- 
racter, 10." 

The religious vessel we have before spoken 
of, is thus advertised : — 

" The Princess of Wales Yacht, J. Chapman, 
W. Bourn, master, by divine permission, will 
leave Ralph's Quay every Friday, 11," &c.&c. 
— July Ev. Mag. 

After the specimens we have given of these 
people, any thing which is said of their activity 
can very easily be credited. The array and 
navy appear to be particular objects of their 
attention. 

" British Navy. — It is with peculiar pleasure 
we insert the following extract of a letter from 
the pious chaplain of a man-of-war, to a gen- 
tleman at Gosport, intimating the power and 
grace of God manifested towards our brave 
seamen. " Off Cadiz, Nov. 26, 1806.— My dear 
friend — A fleet for England found us in the 
night, and is just going away. I have only to 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



48 



tell you that the work of God seems to prosper. 
Many are under convictions ; — some, I trust, 
are converted. I preach every night, and am 
obliged to have a private meeting afterwards 
with those who wish to speak about their souls. 
But my own health is suffering much, nor shall 
I probably be able long to bear it. The ship is 
like a tabernacle; and really there is much 

external reformation. Capt. raises no 

objection. I have near a hundred hearers 
every night at six o'clock. How unworthy am 
I !— Pray for us.' "—Ev. Mag. 84. 

The Testimony of a profane Officer to the worth of 
Pious Sailors. 

" Mr. Editor — In the mouth of two or three 
witnesses a truth shall be established. I re- 
cently met with a pleasing confirmation of a 
narrative, stated sometime since in your Maga- 
zine. I was surprised by a visit from an old 
acquaintance of mine the other day, who is 
now an officer of rank in his Majesty's navy. 
In the course of conversation, I was shocked 
at the profane oaths that perpetually interrupted 
his sentences; and took an opportunity to 
express my regret that such language should 
be so common among so valuable a body of 
men. 'Sir,' said he, still interspersing many 
solemn imprecations, 'an officer cannot live at 
sea without swearing ; — not one of my men 
would mind a word without an oath ; it is com- 
mon sea-language. If we were not to swear, 
the rascals would take us for lubbers, stare in 
our faces, and leave us to do our commands 
ourselves. I never knew but one exception; 
and that was extraordinary. I declare, believe 
me 'tis true (suspecting that I might not credit 
it), there was a set of fellows called Methodists, 
on board the Victory, Lord Nelson's ship (to 
be sure he was rather a religious man him- 
self!), and those men never wanted swearing 
at. The dogs were the best seamen on board. 
Every man knew his duty, and every man did 
his duty. They used to meet together and sing 
hymns; and nobody dared molest them. The 
commander would not have suffered it, had 
they attempted it. They were allowed a mess 
by themselves ; and never mixed with the other 
men. I have often heard them singing away 
myself; and 'tis true, I assure you, but not one 
of them was either killed or wounded at the 
battle of Trafalgar, though they did their duty 
as well as any men. No, not one of the psalm- 
singing gentry was even hurt; and there the 
fellows are swimming away in the Bay of Bis- 
cay at this very time, singing like the d . 

They are now under a new commander; but 
still are allowed the same privileges, and mess 
by themselves. These were the only fellows 
that ever I knew do their duty without swear- 
ing ; and I will do them the justice to say they 
doit.' J. C."—£j;. Mig-. p. 119, 120. 

These people are spread over the face of the 
whole earth in the shape of missionaries. — 
Upon the subject of missions we shall say very 
little or nothing at present, because we reserve 
it for another article in a subsequent Number. 
But we cannot help remarking the magnitude 
of the collections made in favour of the mis- 
sionaries at the Methodistical chapels, when 
compared with the collections for any common 



object of charity in the prthodox churches and 
chapels. 

'^Religious Tract Society. — A most satisfac- 
tory report was presented by the committee ; 
from which it appeared that, since the com- 
mencement of the institution in the year 1799, 
upwards of four millions of religious tracts 
have been issued under the auspices of the 
society; and that considerably more than one- 
fourth of that number have been sold during 
the last year." — Ev. Mag. p. 284. 

These tracts are dropped in villages by the 
Methodists, and thus every chance for con- 
version afforded to the common people. There 
is a proposal in one of the numbers of the 
volumes before us, that travellers, for every 
pound they spend on the road, should fling one 
shilling's worth of these tracts out of the chaise 
Avindow; — thus taxing his pleasures at 5 per 
cent, for the purpose-s of doing good. 

" Every Christian who expects the protec- 
tion and blessing of God ought to take with 
him as many shillings' worth, at least, of ^ 
cheap tracts to throw on the road, and leave 
at inns, as he takes out pounds to expend ou 
himself and family. This is really but a tri- 
fling sacrifice. It is a highly reasonable one; 
and one which God will accept." — Ev. Mag. 
p. 405. 

It is part of their policy to have a great change 
of Ministers. 

" Same day, the Rev. W. Haward, from Hox- 
ton Academy, was ordained over the Indepen- 
dent church at Rendham, Suffolk. Mr. Pic- 
kles, of Walpole, began with prayer and read- 
ing; Mr. Price, of Woodbridge, delivered the in- 
troductory discourse, and asked the questions; 
Mr. Dennant, of Halesworth, offered the ordi- 
nation prayer ; Mr. Shufflebottom, of Bungay, 
gave the charge from Acts xx. 28 ; Mr. Vincent, 
of Deal, the general prayer; and Mr. Walford, 
of Yarmouth, preached to the people from 
2 Phil. ii. 1&:'—Ev. Mag. p. 429. 

Chapek opened. — " Hambledon, Bucks, Sept, 
22. — Eighteen months ago this parish was des 
titute of the gospel ; the people have now one 
of the Rev. G. Collison's students, the Rev, 
Mr. Eastmead, settled among them. Mr. Eng- 
lish, of Wooburn, and Mr. Frey, preached oa 
the occasion ; and Mr. Jones, of London, Mr. 
Churchill, of Henley, Mr. Redford, of Windsor, 
and Mr. Barratt, now of Petersfield, prayed." — 
Ev. Mag. p. 533. 

Methodism in his Majesty's ship Tonnant — A 
Letter from the Sail-maker. 
" It is with great satisfaction that I can now 
inform you God has deigned, in a yet greater 
degree, to own the weak efforts of his servant 
to turn many from Satan to himself. Many 
are called here, as is plain to be seen by their 
pensive looks and deep sighs. And if they 
would be obedient to the heavenly call, in- 
stead of grieving the Spirit of grace, I dare 
say we should soon have near half the ship's 
company brought to God. I doubt not, how- 
ever, but, as I have cast my bread upon the 
waters, it will be found after many days. Our 
13 are now increased tu upwards of 30. Surely 



44 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



the Lord delighteth not in the death of him 
that dieXh."—Mefh. Mag. p. 188. 

It appears, also, from p. 193, Meth. Mag., 
that the same principles prevail on board his 
Majesty's ship Sea-horse, 44 guns. And in 
one part of Evan. Mag. great hopes are enter- 
tained of the 25th regiment. We believe this 
is the number; but we quote this fact from 
memory. 

We must remember, in addition to these 
trifling specimens of their active disposition, 
that the Methodists have found a powerful 
party in the House of Commons, who, by the 
neutrality which they affect, and partly adhere 
to, are courted both by ministers and opposi- 
tion ; that they have gained complete posses- 
sion of the India-House ; and under the pre- 
tence, or perhaps with the serious intention 
of educating young people for India, will take 
care to introduce (as much as they dare with- 
out provoking attention) their own particular 
tenets. In fact, one thing must always be 
taken for granted respecting these people, — 
that wherever they gain a footing, or whatever 
be the institutions to which they give birth, 
proselytism will he their main object; every 
thing else is a mere instrument — this is their 
principal aim. When every proselyte is not 
only an addition to their temporal power, but 
when the act of conversion which gains a vote, 
saves (as they suppose) a soul from destruc- 
tion, — it is quite needless to state, that every 
faculty of their minds will be dedicated to this 
most important of all temporal and eternal 
concerns. 

Their attack upon the Church is not merely 
confined to publications ; it is generally under- 
stood that they have a very considerable fund 
for the purchase of livings, to which, of course, 
ministers of their own profession are always 
presented. 

Upon the foregoing facts, and u;^on the spi- 
rit evinced by these extracts, we shall make a 
few comments. 

1. It is obvious that this description of 
Christians entertain very erroneous and dan- 
gerous notions of the present judgments of 
God. A belief that Providence interferes in all 
the little actions of our lives, refers all merit 
and demerit to bad and good fortune ; and 
causes the successful man to be always con- 
sidered as a good man, and the unhappy man 
as the object of divine vengeance. It fur- 
nishes ignorant and designing men with a 
power which is sure to be abused : — the cry 
of a judgment, a judgment, it is always easy 
to make, but not easy to resist. It encourages 
the grossest superstitions ; for if the Deity 
rewards and punishes on every slight occa- 
sion, it is quite impossible, but that such an 
helpless being as man will set himself at work 
to discover the will of Heaven in the appear- 
ances of outward nature, to apply all the.phe- 
nomena of thunder, lightning, wind, and every 
striking appearance to the regulation of his 
■ conduct ; as the poor Methodist, when he rode 
into Piccadilly in a thunder storm, and ima- 
gined that all the uproar of the elements was 
a mere hint to him not to preach at Mr. Ro- 
maine's chapel. Hence a great deal of error, 



and a great deal of secret misery. This doc- 
trine of a theocracy must necessarily place aa 
excessive power in the hands of the clergy : 
it applies so instantly and so tremendously to 
men's hopes and fears, that it must make the 
priest omnipotent over the people, as it always 
has done where it has been established. It 
has a great tendency to check human exer- 
tions, and to prevent the employment of those 
secondaiy means of effecting an object which 
Providence has placed in our power. The 
doctrine of the immediate and perpetual inter- 
ference of Divine providence is not true. If 
two men travel the same road, the one to rob, 
the other to relieve a fellow-creature who is 
starving; will any biit the most fanatic con- 
tend that they do not both run the same chance 
of falling over a stone and breaking their legs ? 
and is it not matter of fact, that the robber 
often returns safe, and the just man sustains 
the injury? Have not the soundest divines, of 
both "churches, always urged this unequal dis- 
tribution of good and evil, in the present state, 
as one of the strongest natural arguments for 
a future state of retribution "? Have not they 
contended, and well, and admirably contend- 
ed, that the supposition of such a state is ab- 
solutely necessary to our notion of the justice 
of God, — absolutely necessary to restore order 
to that moral confusion which we all observe 
and deplore in the present world 1 The man 
who places religion upon a false basis is the 
greatest enemy to religion. If victory is al- 
ways to the just and good, — how is the fortune 
of impious conquerors to be accounted fori 
Why do they erect dynasties and found fami- 
lies which last for centuries 1 The reflecting 
mind whom you have instructed in this man- 
ner, and for present effect only, naturally 
comes upon you hereafter with difficulties of 
this sort ; he finds he has been deceived ; and 
you will soon discover that, in breeding up a 
fanatic, you have unwittingly laid the founda- 
tion of an atheist. The honest and the ortho- 
dox method is to prepare young people for the 
world as it actually exists ; to tell them that 
they will often find vice perfectly successful, 
virtue exposed to a long train of afHictions; 
that they must bear this patientl)^, and look to 
another world for its rectification. 

2. The second doctrine which it is neces- 
sary to notice among the Methodists, is the 
doctrine of inward impulse and emotions, 
which, it is quite plain, must lead, if univer- 
sally insisted upon, and preached among the 
common people, to eveiy species of folly and 
enormity. When an human being believes 
that his internal feelings are the monitions of 
God, and that these monitions must govern his 
conduct ; and when a great stress is purposely 
laid upon these inward feelings in all the dis- 
courses from the pulpit ; it is impossible to 
say to what a pitch of extravagance mankind 
may not be carried, under the influence of 
such dangerous doctrines. 

3. The Methodists hate pleasure and amuse- 
ments; no theatre, no cards, no dancing, no 
Punchinello, no dancing dogs, no blind fid- 
dlers ; — all the amusements of the rich and 
of the poor must disappear wherever these 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



45 



gloomy people get a footing. It is not the 
abuse of pleasure which they attack, but the 
iuterspersion of pleasure, however much it is 
guarded by good sense and moderation ; — it is 
not only wicked to hear the licentious plays 
of Cougreve, but wicked to hear Henry the 
Vth, or the School for Scandal : — it is not only 
dissipated to run about to all the parties in 
London atid Edinburgh, — but dancing is not 
Jit for a being who is preparing himself for 
Eternity. Ennui, wretchedness, melancholy, 
groans and sighs, are the offerings which 
these unhappy men make to a Deity who 
has covered the earth with gay colours, and 
scented it with rich perfumes ; and shown us, 
by the plan and order of his works, that he 
has given to man something better than a 
bare existence, and scattered over his creation 
a thousand superfluous joys, which are totally 
unnecessary to the mere support of life. 

4. The Methodists lay very little stress upon 
practical righteousness. They do not say to 
their people, do not be deceitful ; do not be 
idle ; get rid of your bad passions ; or at least 
(if they do say these things) they say them 
very seldom. Not that they preach faith with- 
out works ; for if they told the people that they 
might rob and murder with impunity, the civil 
magistrate must be compelled to interfere with 
such doctrine : — but they say a great deal 
about faith, and very little about works. What 
are commonly called the mysterious parts of 
our religion, are brought into the foreground 
much more than the doctrines which lead to 
practice ; — and this among the lowest of the 
community. 

The Methodists have hitherto been accused 
of dissenting from the Church of England. 
This, as far as it relates to mere subscription 
to articles, is not true ; but they differ in their 
choice of the articles upon which they dilate 
and expand, and to which they appear to give 
a preference, from the stress which they place 
upon them. There is nothing heretical in say- 
ing, that God sometimes intenrenes with his 
special providence;* but these people differ 
from the Established Church, in the degree in 
which they insist upon this doctrine. In the 
hands of a man of sense and education, it is 
a safe doctrine ; — in the management of the 
Methodists, we have seen how ridiculous and 
degrading it becomes. In the same manner, a 
clergyman of the Church of England would 
not do his duty, if he did not insist upon the 
necessity of faith, as well as of good works ; 
but as he believes that it is much more easy to 
give credit to doctrines than to live well, he 
labours most in those points where human 
nature is the most liable to prove defective. Be- 
cause he does so, he is accused of giving up 
the articles of his faith, by men who have 
their partialities also in doctrine; but parties, 
not founded upon the same sound discretion, 
and knowledge of human nature. 

5. The Methodists are always desirous of 
making men more religious than it is possible, 
from the constitution of human nature, to make 
them. If they could succeed as much as they 
wish to succeed, there would be at once an end 
of delving and spinning, and of every exertion 
of human industry. Men must eat, and drink, 



and work; and if you wish to fix upon them 
high and elevated notions, as the ordinary fur- 
niture of their minds, you do these two things : 
you drive men of warm temperaments mad, — 
and you introduce in the rest of the world, a 
low and shocking familiarity with words and 
images, which every real friend to religion 
would wish to keep sacred. The friends of the 
dear Redeemer, who are in the habit of visiting 
the Isle of Thanet — (as in the extract we have 
quoted) — Is it possible that this mixture of the 
most awful with the most familiar images, so 
common among Methodists now, and with the 
enthusiasts in the time of Cromwell, must not, 
in the end, divest religion of all the deep and 
solemn impressions which it is calculated to 
produce 1 In a man of common imagination 
(as we have before observed), the terror, and 
the feeling which it first excited, must neces- 
sarily be soon separated: but, where the fer- 
vour of impression is long preserved, piety 
ends in Bedlam. Accordingly, there is not a 
mad-house in England, where a considerable 
part of the patients have not been driven to 
insanity by the extravagance of these people. 
We cannot enter such places without seeing 
a number of honest artisans, covered with 
blankets, and calling themselves angels and 
apostles, who, if they had remained contented 
with the instruction of men of learning and 
education, would have been sound masters of 
their own trade, sober Christians, and useful 
members of society. 

6. It is impossible not to observe how di- 
rectly all the doctrine of the Methodists is cal- 
culated to gain power among the poor and 
ignorant. To say, that the Deity governs this 
world by general rules, and that we must wait 
for another and a final scene of existence, be- 
fore vice meets with its merited punishment, 
and virtue with its merited reward ; to preach 
this up daily, would not add a single votary to 
the Tabernacle, nor sell a Number of the 
Methodistical Magazine : — but to publish an 
account of a man who was cured of scrofula by 
a single sermon — of Providence destroying the 
innkeeper at Garstang for appointing a cock- 
fight near the Tabernacle; — this promptness 
of judgment and immediate execution is so 
much like human justice, and so much better 
adapted to vulgar capacities", that the system 
is at once admitted as soon as any one can be 
found who is impudent or ignorant enough to 
teach it ; and being once admitted, it produces 
too strong an effect upon the passions to be 
easily relinquished. The case is the same 
with the doctrine of inward impulse, or, as 
they term it, experience. If you preach up 
to ploughmen and artisans, that every singular 
feeling which comes across them is a visita- 
tion of the Divine Spirit — can there be any 
difiiculty, under the influence of this nonsense, 
in converting these simple creatures into ac- 
tive and mysterious fools, and making them 
your slaves for life 1 It is not possible to 
raise up any dangerous enthusiasm, by telling 
men to be just, and good, and charitable; but 
keep this part of Christianity out of sight — 
and talk long and enthusiastically before igno- 
rant people, of the mysteries of our religion, 
and you will not fail to attract a crowd of fol 



4€ 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



lowers : — ^verilj' the Tabernacle loveth not that 
which is simple, intelligible, and leadeth to 
good sound practice. 

Having endeavoured to point out the spirit 
which pervades these people, we shall say a 
few words upon the causes, the effects, and 
the cure of this calamity. — The fanaticism so 
prevalent in the present day, is one of those 
evils from which society is never wholly ex- 
empt; but M'hich bursts -out at different periods, 
with peculiar violence, and sometimes over- 
whelms every thing in its course. The last 
eruption took place about a century and a 
half ago, and destroyed both Church and 
Throne Avith its tremendous force. Though 
irresistible, it was short; enthusiasm spent its 
force — the usual reaction took place ; and 
England was deluged with ribaldry and inde- 
cency, because it had been worried with fana- 
tical restrictions. By degrees, however, it was 
found out that orthodoxy and loyalty might be 
secured by other methods than licentious con- 
duct and immodest conversation. The public 
morals improved ; and there appeared as 
much good sense and moderation upon the 
subject of religion as ever can be expected 
from mankind in large masses. Still, how- 
ever, the mischief which the Puritans had 
done was not forgotten ; a general suspicion 
prevailed of the dangers of religious enthusi- 
asm; and the fanatical preacher wanted his 
accustomed power among a people recently 
recovered from a religious war, and guarded 
by songs, proverbs, popular stories, and the 
general tide of humour and opinion, against 
all excesses of that nature. About the middle 
of the last century, however, the character of 
the genuine fanatic was a good deal forgotten, 
and the memory of the civil wars worn away; 
the field was clear for extravagance in piety; 
and causes, which must always produce an 
immense influence upon the mind of man, 
were left to their own unimpeded operations. 
Religion is so noble and powerful a consider- 
ation — it is so buoyant and so insubmergi- 
ble — that it may be made, by fanatics, to carry 
with it any degree of error and of perilous 
absurdity. In this instance Messrs. Whitefield 
and Wesley happened to begin. They were 
men of considerable talents ; they observed the 
common decorums of life ; they did not run 
naked into the streets, or pretend to the pro- 
phetical character ; — and therefore they were 
not committed to Newgate. They preached 
with great energy to weak people ; who first 
stared — then listened — then believed — then felt 
the inward feeling of grace, and became as 
foolish as their teachers could possibly wish 
them to be; — in short, folly ran its ancient 
course, — and human nature evinced itself to 
be what it always has been under similar cir- 
cumstances. The great and permanent cause, 
therefore, of the increase of Methodism, is the 
cause which has given birth to fanaticism in 
all ages, — the facility of mingling human errors 
tvith the fundamental truths of religion. The 
formerly imperfect residence of the clergy 
may, perhaps, in some trifling degree, have 
aided this source of Methodism. But unless 
a man of education, and a gentleman, could 
stoop to auch disingenuous arts as the Metho- 



dist preachers, unless he hears heavenly music 
all of a sudden, and enjoys sweet experiences, — 
it is quite impossible that he can contend 
against such artists as these. More active 
than they are at present the clergy might per- 
haps be : but the calmness and moderation of 
an Establishment can never possibly be a 
match for sectarian activity. — If the common 
people are ennui'd with the fine acting of Mrs. 
Siddons, they go to Sadler's Wells. The sub- 
ject is too serious for ludicrous comparisons : 
— but the Tabernacle really is to the Church, 
what Sadler's Wells is to the Drama. There 
popularity is gained by vaulting and 'tumbling, 
— by low arts, which the regular clergy are 
not too idle to have recourse to, but too digni- 
fied : their institutions are chaste and sevei-e, — 
they endeavour to do that which, upon the 
whole, and for a great number of years, will be 
found to be the most admirable and the most 
useful: it is no part of their plan to descend 
to small artifices for the sake of present popu- 
larity and effect. The religion of the common 
people under the government of the Church 
may remain as it is for ever; — enthusiasm 
must be progressive, or it will expire. 

It is probable that the dreadful scenes 
which have lately been acted in the world, and 
the dangers to which we are exposed, have 
increased the numbers of the Methodists. To 
what degree will Methodism extend in this 
country'? — This question is not easy to an- 
swer. That it has rapidly increased within 
these few years, we have no manner of doubt ; 
and we confess we cannot see what is likely 
to impede its progress. The party which it 
has formed in the legislature ; and the artful 
neutrality with which they give respectability 
to their small number, the talents of some of 
this party, and the unimpeached excellence of 
their characters, all make it probable that 
fanaticism will increase rather than diminish. 
The Methodists have made an alarming inroad 
into the Church, and they are attacking the 
ai"my and navy. The principality of Wales, 
and the East India Company, they have already 
acquired. All mines and subterraneous places 
belong to them ; they creep into hospitals and 
small schools, and so work their way upwards. 
It is the custom of the religious neutrals to beg 
all the little livings, particularly in the north 
of England, from the minister for the time 
being ; and from these fixed points they make 
incursions upon the happiness and common 
sense of the vicinage. We most sincerely 
deprecate such an event ; but it will excite in 
us no manner of surprise, if a period arrives 
when the churches of the sober and orthodox 
part of the English clergy are completely de- 
serted by the middling and lower classes of 
the community. We do not prophesy any 
such event ; but we contend that it is not im- 
possible, — hardly improbable. If such, in fu- 
ture, should be the situation of this country, it 
is impossible to say what political animosities 
may not be ingrafted upon this marked and 
dangerous division of mankind into the godly 
and the ungodly. At all events, we are quite 
sure that happiness will be destroyed, reason 
degraded, sound religion banished from the 
world ; and that when fanaticism becomes too 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



47 



foolish and too prurieut to be endured, (as is 
at last sure to be the case,) it will be suc- 
ceeded by a long period of the grossest immo- 
rality, atheism, and debauchery. 

We are not sure that this evil admits of any 
cure, — or of any considerable palliation. We 
most sincerely hope that the government of 
this country will never be guilty of such in- 
discretion as to tamper with the Toleration 
Act, or to attempt to put down these follies by 
the intervention of the law. If experience has 
taught us any thing, it is the absurdity of con- 
trolling men's notions of eternity by acts of 
Parliament. Something may perhaps be 
done, in the way of ridicule, towards turning 
the popular opinion. It may be as well to ex- 
tend the privileges of the dissenters to the 
members of the Church of England; for, as the 
law now stands, any man who dissents from 
the established church may open a place of 
worship where he pleases. No orthodox cler- 
gyman can do so, without the consent of the 
parson of the parish, — who always refuses, 
because he does not choose to have his mono- 
poly disturbed; and refuses in parishes where 
there are not accommodations for one half of 
the persons who wish to frequent the Church 
of England, and in instances where he knows 
that the chapels from which he excludes the 
established worship will be immediately oc- 



cupied by sectaries. It may be as well to en- 
courage in the early education of the clergy, 
as Mr. Ingram recommends, a better and more 
animated method of preaching; and it may be 
necessary, hereafter, if the evil gets to a great 
height, to relax the articles of the English 
Church, and to admit a greater variety of 
Christians within the pale. The greatest and 
best of all remedies is perhaps the education 
of the poor; — we are astonished, that the Es- 
tablished Church of England is not awake to 
this mean of arresting the progress of Method- 
ism. Of course, none of these things will be 
done ; nor i^ it clear, if they were done, they 
would do much good. Whatever happens, we 
are for common sense and orthodoxy. Inso- 
lence, servile politics, and the spirit of perse- 
cution, we condemn and attack, whenever we 
observe them ; — but to the learning, the mode- 
ration, and the rational piety of the Establish- 
ment, we most earnestly wish a decided vic- 
tory over the nonsense, the melancholy, and 
the madness of the Tabernacle.* 

God send that our wishes be not in vain. 



* There is one circumstance to which we have neglect- 
ed to advert in the proper place, — the dreadful pillage of 
the earnings of the poor which is made by the Methodists. 
A case is mentioned in one of the Numbers of these two 
magazines for 1807, of a poor man with a family, earn- 
ing only twenty-eight shillings a week, who has made 
two donations of ten guineas tack to the missionary fund I 



4'8 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



INDIAN MISSIONS.* 



(Edinburgh Review, 180S.) 



At two o'clock in the morning, July the 10th, 
1806, the European barracks, at Vellore, con- 
taining then four complete companies of the 
69th regiment, were surrounded by two battal- 
ions of Sepoys in the Company's service, who 
poured in an heavy fire of musketry, at every 
door and window, upon the soldiers: at the 
same time the European sentries, the soldiers 
at the main-guard, and the sick in the hospital, 
were put to death; the ofRcers' houses were 
ransacked, and every body found in them mur- 
dered. Upon the arrival of the 19th Light 
Dragoons under Colonel Gillespie, the Sepoys 
were immediately attacked ; 600 cut down upon 
the spot; and 200 taken from their hiding 
places, and shot. There perished, of the four 
European companies, about 164, besides offi- 
cers ; and many British officers of the native 
troops were murdered by the insurgents. 

Subsequent to this explosion, there was a 
mutiny at Nundydroog; and, in one day, 450 
Mahomedan Sepoys were disarmed, and turned 
out of the fort, on the ground of an intended 
massacre. It appeared, also, from the infor- 
mation of the commanding officer at Tritchi- 
nopoly, that, at that period, a spirit of disaffec- 
tion had manifested itself at Bangalore, and 
other places; and seemed to gain ground in 
every direction. On the 3d of December, 1806, 
the government of Madras issued the follow- 
ing proclamation : — 

"A Prociamatiok. — The Right Hon. the 
Governor in Council, having observed that, in 
some late instances, an extraordinary degree 
of agitation has prevailed among several 
corps of the native army of this coast, it has 
been his Lordship's particular endeavour to 
ascertain the motives which may have led to 
conduct so different from that which formerly 
distinguished the native army. From this 
inquiry, it has appeared that many person? of 
evil intention have endeavoured, for malicious 
purposes, to impress upon the native troops a 
belief that it is the wish of the British govern- 



* Considerations on the Policy of communicating the 
Knowledge of Christianity to the JVatives in India. By 
a late Resident in Bengal. London. Hatchard, 1807. 

jSre Address to the Chairman of the FmsI India Com- 
pany occasioned by Mr. Tmning's Letter to that Oentle- 
man. By tlie Rev. Jolin Owen. London. Hatchard. 

./? Letter to the Chairman of the East India Company, 
on the Danger of interfering in the religious Opinions of 
the J^Tatives of India. By Thomas Twining. London. 
Kidgeway. 

Vindication of the Hindoos. By a Bengal Officer. 
London. Rodwell. 

Letter to John Scott Waring. London. Hatcnard. 
Cunningham's Christianity in India. London. Hatch- 
ard. 

Mnswer to Major Scott Waring. Extracted from the 
Christian Observer. 

Observations on the Present State of the East Indti. 
Company. By Major Scott Waring. Eidgeway. Lon- 
don 



ment to convert them by forcible means to 
Christianity; and his Lordship in Council has 
observed with concern, that such malicious 
reports have been believed by many of the 
native troops. 

"The Right Hon. the Governor in Council, 
therefore, deems it proper, in this public man- 
ner, to repeat to the native troops his assur- 
ance, that the same respect which has been 
invariably shown by the British government 
for their religion and for their customs, will be 
always continued; and that no interruption 
will be given to any native, whether Hindoo 
or Mussulman, in the practice of his religious 
ceremonies. 

"His Lordship in Council desires that the 
native troops will not give belief to the idle 
rumours which are circulated by enemies of 
their happiness, who endeavour, with the basest 
designs, to weaken the confidence of the troops 
in the IBritish government. His Lordship in 
Council desires that the native troops will re- 
member the constant attention and humanity 
which have been shown by the British govern- 
ment, in providing for their comfort, by aug- 
menting the pay of the native officers and 
Sepoys ; by allowing liberal pensions to those 
who have done their duty faithfully; by mak- 
ing ample provisions for the families of those 
who may have died in battle ; and by receiving 
their children into the service of the Honour- 
able Company, to be treated with the same care 
and bounty as their fathers had experienced. 

"The Right Hon. the Governor in Council 
trusts, that the native troops, remembering 
these circumstances, will be sensible of the 
happiness of their situation, which is greater 
than what the troops of any other part of the 
world enjoy; and that they will continue to 
observe the same good conduct for which they 
were distinguished in the days of Gen. Law- 
rence, of Sir Eyre Coote, and of other renowned 
heroes. 

" The native troops must at the same time 
be sensible, that if they should fail in the duties 
of their allegiance, and should show themselves 
disobedient to their officers, their conduct will 
not fail to receive merited punishment, as the 
British government is not less prepared to 
puilish the guilty, than to protect and distin- 
guish those who are deserving of its favour. 

"It is directed that this paper be translated 
with care into the Tamul, Telinga, and Hin- 
doostany languages ; and that copies of it be 
circulated to each native battalion, of which 
the European officers are enjoined and ordered 
to be careful in making it known to every na- 
tive officer and Sepoy under his command. 

" It is also directed, that copies of the paper 
be circulated to all the magistrates and collect- 
ors under this government, for the purpose of 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



49 



being fully understood in all parts of the 
country. 

« Published by order of the Right Hon. the 
Governor in Council. 

« G. BucHAN-, Chief Secretary to Government. 
"Dated in Fort St. George, 3d Dec. 1806." 

Scott Waring's Preface, iii. — v. 

So late as March 1807, three months after 
the date of this proclamation, so universal was 
the dread of a general revolt among the native 
troops, that the British officers attached to the 
native troops constantly slept with loaded pis- 
tols under their pillows. 

It appears that an attempt had been made 
by the military men at Madras, to change the 
shape of the Sepoy turban into something 
resembling the helmet of the light infantry of 
Europe, and to prevent the native troops from 
wearing, on their foreheads, the marks cha- 
racteristic of their various castes. The sons 
of the late Tippoo, with many noble Mussul- 
men deprived of office at that time, resided in 
the fortress of Vellore, and in all probability 
contributed very materially to excite, or to 
inflame those suspicions of design against 
their religion, which are mentioned in the pro- 
clamation of the Madras government, and 
generally known to have been a principal 
cause of the insurrection at Vellore. It was 
this insurrection which first gave birth to the 
question upon missions to India; and before 
we deliver any opinion upon the subject itself, 
it will be necessary to state what had been 
done in former periods towards disseminating 
the truths of the gospel in India, and what new 
exertions had been made about the period at 
which this event took place. 

More than a century has elapsed since the 
first Protestant missionaries appeared in India. 
Two young divines, selected by the University 
of Halle, were sent out in this capacity by the 
king of Denmark, and arrived at the Danish 
settlement of Tranquebar in 1706. The mis- 
sion thus begun, has been ever since continued, 
and has been assisted by the Society for the 
Promotion of Christian Knowledge established 
in this country. The same Society has, for 
many years, employed German missionaries, 
of the Iiutheran persuasion, for propagating the 
doctrines of Christianity among the natives of 
India. In 1799, their number was six; it is 
now reduced to five. 

The Scriptures translated into the Tamulic 
language, which is vernacular in the southern 
parts of the peninsula, have, for more than 
half a century, been printed at the Tranquebar 
press, for the use of Danish missionaries and 
their converts. A printing press, indeed, was 
established at that place by the two first Danish 
missionaries ; and, in 1714, the Gospel of St. 
Matthew, translated into the dialect of Malabar, 
was printed there. Not a line of the Scriptures, 
in any of the languages current on the coast, 
had issued from the Bengal press on September 
13, 1806. 

It does appear, however, about the period of 
the mutiny at Vellore, and a few years previotis 
to it, that the number of the missionaries on 
the coast had been increased. In 1804, the 
Missionary Society, a recent institution, sent a 
new mission to the coast of Coromandel ; from 
7 



whose papers, we think it right to lay before 
our readers the following extracts.* 

" March 3lst, 1805.— Waited on A. B. He 
says, Government seems to be very ivilling to for- 
tvard our vieivs. We may stay at Madras as 
long as we please ; and when we intend to go 
into the country, on our application to the 
governor by letter, he would issue orders for 
granting us passports, which would supersede 
the necessity of a public petition. — Lord's 
Day."— Trans, of Miss. Society, II. p. 365. 

In a letter from Brother Ringletaube to Bro- 
ther Cran, he thus expresses himself; — 

" The passports Government has promised 
you are so valuable, that I should not think a 
journey too troublesome to obtain one for my- 
self, if I could not get it through your inter- 
ference In hopes that 3'our application will 
suffice to obtain one for me, I enclose you my 
Gravesend passport, that will give you the par- 
ticulars concerning my person." — Trans, of 
Miss. Society, II. p. 369. 

They obtain their passports from Govern- 
ment: and the plan and objects of their mis- 
sion are printed, free of expense, at the Gov- 
ernment press. 

" 1805, Ju7ie 27, Dr. sent for one of us 

to consult with him on particular business. 
He accordingly went. The Doctor told him, 
that he had read the publications which the 
brethren lately brought from England, and was 
so much delighted with the report of the 
Directors, that he wished 200 or more copies 
of it were printed, together with an introduction, 
giving an account of the rise and progress of 
the Missionary Society, in order to be distri- 
buted in the different settlements in India. He 
offered to print them at the Government press free 
of expense. On his return, we consulted with 
our two brethren on the subject, and resolved 
to accept the Doctor's favour. We have begun 
to prepare it for the press." — Trans, of Miss. 
Society, II. p. 394. 

In page 89th of the 18th Number, Vol. III., 
the Missionaries write thus to the Society in 
London, about a fortnight before the massacre 
at Vellore. 

"Every encouragement is offered us by the 
established government of the country. Hi- 
therto they have granted us every request, 
whether solicited by ourselves or others. Theii 
permission to come to this place ; their allow- 
ing us an acknowledgment for preaching in the 
fort, which sanctions us in our work ; together 
with the grant which they have lately given us 
to hold a large spot of ground every way suited 
for missionary labours, are objects of the last 
importance, and remove every impediment 
which might be apprehended from this source. 
We trust not to an arm of flesh ; but when we 
reflect on these things, we cannot but behold 
the loving kindness of the Lord." 



* There are six societies in England for converting 
Heathens to the Christian religion. 1. Society for Mis- 
sions to Africa and t/te East ; of whicli Messrs. Wilber- 
force, Grant, Parry, and Thorntons, are the principal 
encouragers. 2. Methodist Society for Missions. 3. 
Anabaptist Society for Missions. 4. Missionary Soci- 
ety. 5. Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge 
6. Moravian Missions. They all publish their proceed- 
ings. ^ 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



In a letter of the same date, we learn, from 
Brother Ringletaube, the following fact :— 

" The Dewan ot Travancore sent me word, 
that if I despatched one of our Christians to 
him, he would give me leave to build a church 
at Magilandy. Accordingly, I shall send in a 
short time. For this important service, our 
society is indebted alone to Colonel — —— , 
without whose determined and fearless interposition, 
none of their missionaries would have been able to 
set afoot in that country. ^^ 

In page 381, Vol. II., Dr. Kerr, one of the 
chaplains on the Madras establishment, bap- 
tises a Mussulman who had applied to him for 
that purpose ; upon the first application, it 
appears that Dr. Kerr hesitated; but upon the 
Mussulman threatening to rise against him on 
the day of judgment, Dr. Kerr complies. 

It appears that in the Tinevelly district, 
about a year before the massacre of Vellore, 
not only riots, but very serious persecutions of 
the converted natives had taken place, from 
the jealousy evinced by the Hindoos and Mus- 
sulmen at the progress of the gospel. 

" ' Rev. Sir, — I thought you sufficiently ac- 
quainted with the late vexations of the Chris- 
tians in those parts, arising from the blind zeal 
of the Heathens and Mahometans ; the latter 
viewing with a jealous eye the progress of the 
gospel, and trying to destroy, or at least to clog 
it, by all the crafty means in their power. I 
therefore did not choose to trouble you ; but as 
no stop has been put to these grievances, things 
go on from bad to worse, as you will see from 
what has happened at Hickadoe. The Catechist 
has providentially escaped from that outra- 
geous attempt, by the assistance of ten or 
twelve of our Christians, and has made good 
his flight to Palamcotta ; whilst the exasperated 
mob, coming from Padeckepalloe, hovered 
round the village, plundering the houses of the 
Christians, and ill-treating their families, by 
kicking, flogging, and other bad usage ; those 
monsters not even forbearing to attack, strip, 
rob, and miserably beat the Catechist Jesuadian, 
who, partly from illness and partly through 
fear, had shut himself up in his house. I have 
heard various accounts of this sad event; but 
yesterday the Catechist himself called on me, 
and told me the truth of it. From what he 
says, it is plain that the Manikar of Wayrom 
(a Black peace-officer oi that place) has con- 
trived the whole affair, with a view to vex the 
Christians. I doubt not that these facts have 
been reported to the Rev. Mr.K. by the country- 
priest; and if I mention them to you, it is with 
a view to show in what a forlorn state the poor 
Christians hereabout are, and how desirable 
a thing it would be, if the Rev. Mr. Ringle- 
taube were to come hither as soon as possible ; 
then tranquillity would be restored, and future 
molestations prevented. I request you to com- 
municate this letter to him with my compli- 
ments. I am, sir, &c. Manapaar, June 8, 1805.' 
" This letter left a deep impression on my 
mind, especially when I received a fuller ac- 
count of the troubles of the Christians. By the 
Black underlings of the Collectors, they are 
frequently driven from their homes, put in the 
stocks, and exposed for a fortnight together to 



the heat of the raging sun, and the chilling 
dews of the night, all because there is no 
European Missionary to bring their C(»mplaint3 
to the ear of Government, who, I am happy to 
add, have never been deficient in their duty of 
procuring redress, where the Christians have 
had to complain of real injuries. One of the 
most trying cases, mentioned in a postscript of 
the above letter, is that of Christians being 
flogged till they consenfto hold the torches to 
the Heathen idols. The letter says ' the Cat- 
echist of Collesigrapatuam has informed me, 
that the above Manikar has forced a Christian, 
of the Villally caste, who attends at our church, 
to sweep the temple of the idol. A severe flog- 
ging was given on this occasion.' — From such 
facts, the postscript continues, ' You may 
guess at the deplorable situation of our fellow- 
believers, as long as every Manikar thinks he 
has a right to do them what violence he 
pleases.' 

" It must be observed, to the glory of the Sa- 
viour who is strong in weakness, that many of 
the Neophytes in that district have withstood 
all these fiery trials with firmness. Many also, 
it is to be lamented, have fallen off" in the evil 
day, and at least so far yielded to the importu- 
nity of their persecutors, as again to daub 
their faces with paint and ashes, after the man- 
ner of the Heathen. How great this falling 
off has been I am not yet able to judge. But 
I am happy to add, that the Board of Revenue 
has issued the strictest orders against all un- 
provoked persecution." — Trans, of Miss. Society, 
11.431,433. 

The following quotations evince how far from 
indifferent the natives are to the progress of 
the Christian religion in the East. 

" 1805. Oct. 10 A respectable Brahmin in 

the Company's employ called on us. We endea- 
voured to point out to him the important object 
of our coming to India, and mentioned some 
of the great and glorious truths of the gospel, 
which we wished to impart in the native lan- 
guage. He seemed much hurt, and told us 
the Gentoo religion was of a divine origin as 
well as the Christian ; — that heaven was like 
a palace which had many doors, at which peo- 
ple may enter ; — that variety is pleasing to God, 
&c. — and a number of other arguments which 
we hear every day. On taking leave, he said, 
' the Company has got the country, (for the 
English are very clever,) and, perhaps, they 
may succeed in depriving the Brahmins of 
their power, and let you have it.' " 

"November I6th. Received a letter from the 
Rev. Dr. Taylor; we are happy to find he is 
safely arrived at Calcutta, and that our Baptist 
brethren are labouring with increasing success. 
The natives around us are astonished to hear 
this news. It is bad news to the Brahmins, 
who seem unable to account for it ; they say 
the world is going to ruin." — Trans, of Miss. So- 
ciety, II. 422 & 426. 

" While living in the town, our house was 
watched by the natives from morning to night, 
to see if any person came to converse about 
religion. This prevented many from coming 
who have been very desirous of hearing of 
the good way." — Trans, of Miss. Society, No. 16, 
p. 87. 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



51 



"If Heathen, of great influence and connec- 
tions, or Brahmins, were inclined to join the 
Christian church, it would probably cause 
commotions and even rebellions, either to pre- 
vent them from it, or to endanger their life. In 
former years, we had some instances of this 
kind at Trunquebar ; where they were protect- 
ed by the assistance of government. If such 
instances should happen now in our present 
times, we don't know what the consequence 
would be." — Trans, of Miss. Society, II. 185. 

This last extract is contained in a letter from 
Danish Missionaries at Tranquebar, to the 
Directors of the Missionary Society at London. 

It is hardly fair to contend, after these ex- 
tracts, that no symptoms of jealousy upon the 
subject of religion had been evinced on the 
coast, except in the case of the insurrection at 
Vellore ; or that no greater activity than com- 
mon had prevailed among the missionaries. 
We are very far, however, from attributing that 
insurrection exclusively, or even principally, 
to any apprehensions from the zeal of the mis- 
sionaries. The rumor of that zeal might pro- 
bably have more readily disposed the minds of 
the troops for the corrupt influence exercised 
upon them; but we have no doubt that the 
massacre was principally owing to the adroit 
use made by the sons of Tippoo, and the high 
Mussulmen living in the fortress, of the abomi- 
nable military foppery of our people. 

After this short sketch of what has been 
lately passing on the coast, we shall attempt to 
give a similar account of the missionary pro- 
ceedings in Bengal ; and it appears to us, it 
will be more satisfactory to do so as much as 
possible in the words of the missionaries them- 
selves. In our extracts from their publications, 
we shall endeavour to show the character and 
style of the men employed in these missions, 
the extent of their success, or rather of their 
failure, and the general impression made upon 
the people by their eiforts for the dissemination 
of the gospel. 

It will be necessary to premise, that the mis- 
sions in Bengal, of which the public have 
heard so much of late years, are the mis- 
sions of Anabaptist dissenters, whose peculiar 
and distinguishing tenet it is, to baptize the 
members of their church by plunging them 
into the water when ihey are grown up, instead 
of sprinkling them with water when they are 
young. Among the subscribers to this society, 
we perceive the respectable name of the De- 
puty Chairman of the East India Company, 
who, in '.he common routine of office, will suc- 
ceed to the chair of that Company at the en- 
suing election. The Chairman and Deputy 
Chairman of the East India Company, are also 
both of them trustees to another religious so- 
ciety for missions to .Africa and the East. 

The first number of the .Anabaptist 3Iissions 
informs us that the origin of the society will be 
found in the workings of Brother Cwey's mind, 
whose heart appears to have been set upon the con- 
version of the Heathen in 1786, before he came to re- 
side at Moulton. (No. I. p. 1.) These workings 
produced a sermon at Northampton, and the 
sermon a subscription to convert 420 millions 
of Pagans. Of the subscription we have the 
following account : " Information has come 



from Brother Carey that a gentleman from 
Northumberland had promised to send him 30?. 
for the Society, and to subscribe four guineas 
annually." 

" At this meeting at Northampton two other 
friends subscribed, and paid two guineas apiece, 
two more one guinea each, and another half a 
guinea, making six guineas and a half in all. 
And such members as were present of the first 
subscribers, paid their subscriptions into the 
hands of the treasurer; who proposed to put 
the sum now received into the hands of a 
banker, who will pay interest for the same." 
— Bapt. Mis. Sac. No. I. p. 5. 

In their first proceedings they are a good deal 
guided by Brother Thomas, who has been in 
Bengal before, and who lays before the Society 
an history of his life and adventures, from 
which we make the following extract: — 

" On my arrival in Calcutta, I sought for re- 
ligious people, but found none. At last, how 
was I rejoiced to hear that a very religious 
man was coming to dine with me at a house in 
Calcutta ; a man who would not omit his closet 
hours, of a morning or evening, at sea or on land, 
for all the world. I concealed my impatience 
as well as I could, till the joyful moment came : 
and a moment it was, for I soon heard him take 
the Lord's name in vain, and it was like a cold 
dagger, with which I received repeated stabs 
in the course of half an hour's conversation; 
and he was ready to kick me when I spoke of 
some things commonly believed by other hypo- 
crites, concerning our Lord Jesus Christ; and 
with fury put an end to our conversation, by 
saying I was a mad enthusiast, to suppose that 
Jesus Christ had any thing to do in the creation 
of the world, who was born only seventeen 
hundred years ago. When I returned, he went 
home in the same ship, and I found him a 
strict observer of devotional hours, but an 
enemy to all religion, and horribly loose, vain, 
and intemperate in his life and conversation. 

"After this / advertised for a Christian; and 
that I may not be misunderstood, I shall sub- 
join a copy of the advertisement, from the 
Indian Gazette of November 1, 1783, which 
now lies before me." — Bapt. Mis. Soc. No. I. p. 
14, 15. 

Brother Thomas relates the Conversion of an 
Hindoo on the Malabar Coast to the Society. 
"A certain man, on the Malabar coast, had 
inquired of various devotees and priests, how- 
he might make atonement for his sins; and at 
last he was directed to drive iron spikes, suf- 
ficiently blunted, through his sandals, and oa 
these spikes he was to place his naked feet, 
and walk (if I mistake not) 250 coss, that i3 
about 480 miles. If, through loss of blood, or 
weakness of body, he was obliged to halt, he 
might wait for healing and strength. He un- 
dertook the journey; and while he halted under 
a large shady tree where the gospel was some- 
times preached, one of the missionaries came, 
and preached in his hearing from these words, 
The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin. 
While he was preaching, the man rose up, 
threw off his torturing sandals, and cried out 
aloud, ' This is what I want!'" — Bapt. Mis. Soc 
No. I. p. 29. 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



On June 13, 1793, the missionaries set sail, 
carrying with them letters to three supposed 
converts of Brother Thomas, Parbotee, Ram 
Ram Boshoo, and Mohun Chund. Upon their 
arrival in India, they found, to their inexpres- 
sible mortification, that Ram Ram had relapsed 
into paganism: and we shall present our 
readers with a picture of the present and 
worldly misery to which an Hindoo is subject- 
ed, who becomes a convert to the Christian re- 
ligion. Everybody knows that the population 
of Hindostan is divided into castes, or classes 
of persons ; and that when a man loses his 
caste, he is shunned by his wife, children, 
friends, and relations; that it is considered as 
an abomination to lodge or eat with him ; and 
that he is a wanderer and an outcast upon the 
earth. Caste can be lost by a variety of means, 
and the Protestant missionaries have always 
made the loss of it a previous requisite to ad- 
mission into the Christian church. 

"On our arrival at Calcutta, we found poor 
Ram Boshoo waiting for us: but, to our great 
grief, he has been bowing down to idols again. 
"When Mr. T. left India, he went from place to 
place ; but, forsaken by the Hindoos, and ne- 
glected by the Europeans, he was seized with 
a flux and fever. In this state, he says, 'I had 
nothing to support me or my family ; a relation 
oflered to save me from perishing for want of 
necessaries, on condition of my bowing to the 
idol ; I knew that the Roman Catholic Chris- 
tians worshipped idols ; I thought they might 
be commanded to honour images in some part 
of the Bible which I had not seen ; I hesitated, 
and complied; but I love Christianity still.'" 
—Bapl. Mis. Soc. Vol. I. p. 64, 65. 

"Jav. 8, 1794. We thought to write to you 
long before this, but our hearts have been bur- 
thened with cares and sorrows. It was very 
afflicting to hear of Ram Boshoo's great perse- 
cution and fall. Deserted by Englishmen, and 
persecuted by his own countrymen, he was 
nigh unto death. The natives gathered in 
bodies, and threw dust in the air as he passed 
along the streets in Calcutta. At last one of 
his relations offered him an asylum on condi- 
tion of his bowine down to their idols." — Bapt. 
Mis. Soc. Vol.1, p.^78. 

Brother Carey's Piety at Sea. 
" Brother Carey, while very sea-sick, and 
leaning over the ship to relieve his stomach 
from that very oppressive complaint, said his 
mind was even then filled with consolation in 
contemplating the wonderful goodness of God." 
—Ibid. p. 76. 

Extracts from Brother Carey^s and Brother Tho- 
mas's Journals, at sea and by land. 
' « 1793. Jwie 16. Lord's Day. A little recovered 
from my sickness ; met for prayer and exhorta- 
tion in my cabin ; had a dispute with a French 
deist." — Ibid. p. 15S. 

" 30. Lord's Day. A pleasant and pro- 

■fitable day: our congregation composed of ten 
persons." — Ibid. p. 159. 

" July 7. Another pleasant and profitable 
Lord's day; our congregation increased with 
one. Had much sweet enjoyment with God." — 
Jhid. 



" 1794. Jan. 26. Lord's Day. Found much 
pleasure in reading Edwards' Sermon on the Jus- 
tice of God in the damnation of Sinners." — 76. p. 165. 

" Jpril 6. Had some sweetness to-day, espe- 
cially in reading Edwards' Sermon." — Ibid. p. 
171. 

" June 8. This evening reached Bowlea, 
where we lay to for the Sabbath. Felt thankful 
that God had preserved us, and wondered at 
his regard for sp mean a creature. I was un- 
able to wrestle with God in prayer for many of 
my dear friends in England." — Ibid. p. 179. 

" 16. This day I preached twice at 

Malda, where Mr. Thomas met me. Had much 
enjoyment ; and though our congregation did 
not exceed sixteen, yet the pleasure I felt in 
having my tongue once more set at liberty, I 
can hardly describe. Was enabled to be faith- 
ful, and felt a sweet affection for immortal 
souls."— Ibid. p. 180. 

" 1796. Feb. 6. I am now in my study; and 
oh, it is a sweet place, because of the presence 
of God with the vilest of men. It is at the top 
of the house; I have but one window in it." — 
Ibid. p. 295. 

"The work to which God has set his hand 
will infallibly prosper. Christ has begun to 
bombard this strong and ancient fortress, and 
will assuredly carry it." — Bapt. Hiss. Vol. I. p. 
328. 

" More missionaries I think absolutely neces- 
sary to the support of the interest. Should any 
natives join us, they would become outcast im- 
mediately, and must be consequently supported 
by us. The missionaries on the coast are to 
this day obliged to provide for those who join 
them, as I learn from a letter sent to brother 
Thomas by a son of one of the missionaries." 
—Ibid. p. 334. 

In the last extract our readers will perceive 
a new difficulty attendant upon the progress of 
Christianity in the East. The convert must 
not only be subjected to degradation, but his 
degradation is so complete, and his means of 
providing for himself so entirely destroyed, 
that he must be fed by his instructor. The 
slightest success in Hindostan would eat up 
the revenues of the East India Company. 

Three years after their arrival these zealous 
and most active missionaries give the follow- 
ing account of their success. 

" I bless God, our prospect is considerably 
brightened up, and our hopes are more en- 
larged than at any period since the commence- 
ment of the mission, owing to very pleasing 
appearances of the gospel having been made 
effectual to four poor labouring Mussulmen, 
who have been setting their faces towards Zion 
ever since the month of August Jast. I hope 
their baptism will not be much longer deferred ; 
and that might encourage Mohun Chund, Par- 
boltee, and Cassi Naut (who last year appeared 
to set out in the ways of God), to declare for 
the Lord Jesus Christ, by an open profession 
of their faith in him. Seven of the natives, ive 
hope, are indeed converted." — Bapt. Miss. Vol. I. 
p. 345, 346. 

Effects of Preaching to an Hindoo Congregation-. 

"I then told them, that if they could not tell 

me, I would tell them; and that God, who had 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



63 



permitted the Hindoos to sink into a sea of 
darkness, had at length commiserated them; 
and sent me and my colleagues to preach life 
to them. I then told them of Christ, his death, 
his person, his love, his being the surety of 
sinners, his power to save, &c., and exhorted 
them earnestly and affectionately to come to 
him. Effects were various ; one man came 
before I had well done, and wanted to sell 
stockings to me." — Bapt. Miss, Vol. I. p. 357. 

Extracts from Journals. 

"After worship, I received notice that the 
printing-press was just arrived at the Ghat from 
Calcutta. Retired, and thanked God for fur- 
nishing us with a press." — Ibid. p. 469. 

Success in the Sixth Year. 
" We lament that several who did run well 
are now hindered. We have faint hopes of a 
few, and pretty strong hopes of one or two ; but 
if I say more, it must either be a dull recital 
of our journeying to one place or another to 
preach the gospel, or something else relating 
to ourselves, of which I ought to be the last to 
STpeak."— Ibid. p. 488. 

Extracts from Mr. Ward's Journal, a kew 
Anabaptist Missionaut sent out in 1799. 

Mr. Ward admires the Captain. 
"Several of our friends who have been sick 
begin to look up. This evening we had a most 
precious hour at prayer. Captain Wickes read 
from the 12th verse of the 33d of Exodus, and 
then joined in prayer. Our hearts were all 
warmed. We shook hands with our dear 
captain, and, in design, clasped him to our 
bosoms." — Ibid. Vol. II. p. 2. 

Mr. Ward is frightened by a Privateer. 
"June 11. Held our conference this evening. 
A vessel is still pursuing us, which the Cap- 
tain believes to be a Frenchman. I feel some 
alarm : considerable alarm. Oh Lord, be thou 
our defender! the vessel seems to gain upon 
us. (Quarter past eleven at night.) There is 
no doubt of the vessel being a French priva- 
teer: when v.'e changed our tack, she changed 
hers. We have, since dark, changed into our 
old course, so that possibly we shall lose her. 
Brethren G. and B. have engaged in prayer: 
we have read Luther's psalm, and our minds 
are pretty well composed. Our guns are all 
loaded, and the captain seems very low. All 
hands are at the guns, and the matches are 
lighted. I go to the end of the ship. I can 
just see the vessel, though it is very foggy. A 
ball whizzes over my head, and makes me 
tremble. I go down, and go to prayer with our 
iviends."— Bapt. Miss. Vol. IL p. 3, 4. 

Mr. Ward feels a regard for the Sailors. 
" July 12. I never felt so much for any men 
as for our sailors; a tenderness which could 
weep over them. Oh, Jesus ! let thy blood 
cover some of them ! A sweet prayer meeting. 
Verily God is here." — Ibid. p. 7. 

Mr. Ward sees an American Vessel, and longs to 
preach to the Sailors. 
"Sept. 27. An American vessel is along-side, 



and the captain is speaking to their captaia 
through his trumpet. How pleasant to talk to 
a friend ! I have been looking at them through 
the glass ; the sailors sit i^ a group, and are 
making their observations upon us. I long to 
go and preach to them." — Ibid. p. 1 1 . 

feelings of the Natives upon heaj-ing their Religion 
attacked. 

" 1800. Feb. 25. Brother C. had some con- 
versation with one of the Mussulmen, who 
asked, upon his denying the divine mission of 
Mahommed, what was to become of Mussul- 
men and Hindoos ! Brother C. expressed his 
fears that they would all be lost. The man 
seemed as if he would have torn him to 
pieces." — Ibid. p. 51. 

" Mar. 30. The people seem quite anxious 
to get the hymns which we give away. The 
Brahmins are rather uneasy. The Governor 
advised his Brahmins to send their children to 
learn English. They replied, that we seemed 
to take pains to make the natives Christians; 
and they were afraid that, their children being 
of tender age, would make them a more easy 
conquest." — Ibid. p. 158. 

"■j]pril""i. Lord's Day. One Brahmin said, 
he had no occasion for a hymn, for ihey were 
all over the country. He could go into any 
house and read one." — Ibid. p. 61. 

" May 9. Brother Fountain was this even- 
ing at Buddabarry. At the close, the Brahmins 
having collected a number of boys, they set up 
a great shout, and followed the brethren out of 
the village with noise and shoutings." — Ibid. 

"May 16. Brother Carey and I were at Bud- 
dabarry this evening. No sooner had we be- 
gun, than a Brahmin went round to all the rest 
that were present, and endeavoured to pull 
them away." — Bapt. Miss. Vol. II. p. 62. 

" 30. This evening at Buddabarry, the 

man mentioned in my journal of March 14th 
insulted Brother Carey. He asked why we 
came ; and said, if we could employ the natives 
as carpenters, blacksmiths, &c. it would be 
very well; but that they did not iva^it our holi- 
ness. In exact conformity with this sentiment, 
our Brahmin told Brother Thomas when here, 
that he did not want the favour of God." — Ibid. 
p. 63. 

^' June 22. Lord's Day. A Brahmin has been 
several times to disturb the children, and to 
curse Jesus Christ ! Another Brahmin com- 
plained to Brother Carey that, by our school 
and printing, we were now teaching the gospel 
to their children from their infancy." — Ibid. 
p. 65. 

" Jime 29. Lord's Day. This evening a 
Brahmin went round amongst the people who 
were collected to hear Brother Carey, to per- 
suade them not to accept of our papers. Thus 
' darkness struggles with the light.' " — Ibid. p. 
66. 

"It was deemed advisable to print 2000 
copies of the New Testament, and also 500 
additional copies of Matthew, for immediate 
distribution; to which are annexed some of 
the most remarkable prophecies in the Old 
Testament respecting Christ. These are now 
distributing, together with copies of several 
evangelical hymns, and a very earnest aj\d 

£2 



64 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



pertinent address to the natives, respecting the 
gospel. Ii was written by Ram Boshoo, and 
contains a hundred lines in Bengalee verse. 
We hear that these papers are read with much 
attention, and that apprehensions are rising in 
the minds of some of the Brahmins whereunto 
these things may grow." — Ibid. p. 69. 

" We have printed several small pieces in 
Bengalee, which have had a large circulation." 
—Ibid. p. 77. 

Mr. Fountain^ gratitude to Hervcy. 

" When I was about eighteen or nineteen 
years of age, Hervey's Meditations fell into my 
hands. Till then I had read nothing but my 
Bible and the prayer book. This ushered me 
as it were into a new world ! It expanded my 
mind, and excited a thirst after knowledge: 
and this was not all ; I derived spiritual as 
well as intellectual advantages from it. I shall 
bless God for this book while I live upon earth, 
and ivhcn I get to heaven, I will thank dear Hcrvey 
himself."— Bapt. Miss. Vol. II. p. 90. 

Hatred of the Natives to the Gospel. 

"Jan. 27. The inveterate hatred that the 
Brahmins every where show to the gospel, and 
the very name of Jesus, in which they are 
joined by many lewd fellows of the baser sort, 
requires no common degree of self-possession, 
caution, and prudence. The seeming failure 
of some we hoped well of is a source of con- 
siderable anxiety and grief." — Ibid. p. 110. 

"Aug. 31. Lord's Day. We have the honour 
of printing the first book that was ever printed 
in Bengalee ; and this is the first piece in which 
Brahmins have been opposed, perhaps for thou- 
sands of j'ears. All their books are filled with 
accounts to establish Brahminism, and raise 
Brahmins to the seat of God. Hence they are 
believed to be inferior gods. All the waters 
of salvation in the country are supposed to 
meet in the foot of a Brahmin. It is reckoned 
they have the keys of heaven and hell, and 
have power over sickness and health, life and 
death. pray that Brahminism may come 
Jio\vn]"—Ibid. p. 111. 

" Oct. 3. Brother Marshman having directed 
the children in the Bengalee school to write 
out a piece written by Brother Fountain (a 
kind of catechism), the schoolmaster reported 
yesterday that all the boys would leave the 
school rather than write it; that it was de- 
signed to make them lose caste, and make them 
Fcringas ; that is, persons who have descen-ded 
from those who were formerly converted by 
the papists, and who are to this day held in 
the greatest contempt by the Hindoos. From 
this you may gather how much contempt a 
converted native would meet with." — Ibid. p. 
113, 114. 

« Oct. 26. Lord's Day. Bharratt told Brother 
Carey to-day what the people talked among 
themselves — ' Formerly,' say they, < here were 
no white people amongst us. Now the English 
have taken the country, and it is getting full 
of whites. Now also the white man's shaster 
is publishing. Is it not going to be fulfilled 
which is written in our shasters, that all shall 
be of one caste ; and will not this caste be the 
gospel?' "—Ibid. p. 115. 



"Nov. 7. He also attempted repeatedly to 
introduce Christ and him crucified; but they 
would immediately manifest the utmost dislike 
of the very name of him. Nay, in their turn 
they commended Creeshnoo, and invited Bro- 
ther C. to believe in him." — Ibid. p. 118. 

" Dec. 23. This forenoon Gokool came to 
tell us that Kristno and his whole family were 
in confinement ! Astonishing news ! It seems 
the whole neighbourhood, as soon as it was 
noised abroad that these people had lost caste, 
was in an uproar. It is said that two thou- 
sand people were assembled pouring their 
anathemas on these new converts." — Bapt. 
Miss. Vol. II. p. 125. 

"/a«. 12. The Brahmins and the young 
people show every degree of contempt ; and 
the name of Christ is become a by-word, like 
the name methodist in England formerly." — Ibid. 
p. 130. 

" Sept. 25. I then took occasion to tell them - 
that the Brahmins only wanted their money, 
and cared nothing about their salvation. To 
this they readily assented." — Ibid. p. 134. 

" Nov. 23. Lord's Day. Went with Brother 
Carey to the new pagoda, at the upper end of 
the town. About ten Brahmins attended. They 
behaved in the most scoffing and blasphemous 
manner, treating the name of Christ with the 
greatest scorn : nor did they discontinue their 
ridicule while Brother Carey prayed with them. 
No name amongst men seems so offensive to 
them as that of our adorable Redeemer !" — 
Ibid. p. 138. 

" Dec. 24;. The Governor had the goodness 
to call on us in the course of the day, and de- 
sired us to secure the girl, at least within our 
walls, for a few days, as he was persuaded the 
people round the country were so exasperated 
at Kristno's embracing the gospel, that he could 
not answer for their safety. A number of the 
mob might come from twenty miles distant in 
the night, and murder them all, without the per- 
petrators being discovered. He believed, that 
had they obtained the girl, they would have 
murdered her before the morning, and thought 
they had been doing God service !" — Ibid. p. 
143, 144. 

" Jan. 30. After speaking about ten minutes, 
a rude fellow began to be very abusive, and, 
with the help of a few boys, raised such a cla- 
mour that nothing could be heard. At length, 
seeing no hope of their becoming quiet, I re- 
tired to the other part of the town. They fol- 
lowed, hallooing, and crying, ' Hurree boll!' 
(an exclamation in honour of Veeshno). They 
at last began to pelt me with stones and dirt. 
One of the men, who knew the house to which 
Brother Carey was gone, advised me to accom- 
pany him thither, saying, that these people 
would not hear our words. Going with him, I 
met Brother C. We were not a little pleased 
that the devil had begun to bestir himself, in- 
ferring from hence that he suspected danger." 
—Ibid. p. 148, 149. 

Feelings of an Hindoo Boy upon the eve of Con- 
version. 

" Nov. 19. One of the boys of the school, 
called Benjamin, is under considerable con- 
cern • indeed there is a general stir amongst 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



55 



are children, which affords us great encourage- 
ment. The following are some of the expres- 
sions used in pra3^er by poor Benjamin: — 

"'Oh Lord, the day of judgment is coming: 
the sun, and moon, and stars will all fall down. 
Oh, what shall I do in the day of judgment ! 
Thou wilt break me to pieces, [literal.] The 
Lord Jesus Christ was so good as to die for us 
poor souls : Lord, keep us all this day ! Oh 
hell! gnashing, and beating, and beating ! One 
hour weeping, another gnashing ! We shall 
stay there for ever! I am going to hell I am 
going to hell! O Lord, give me a new heart; 
give me a new heart ; and wash away all my 
sins ! Give me a new heart, that I may praise 
Him, that 1 may obey Him, that I may speak 
the truth, that I may never do evil things ! Oh, 
I have many times sinned against thee, many 
times broken thy commandments, oh, many 
times ; and what shall I do in the day of judg- 
ment !"'—Bap^ Miss. Vol. n. p. 162, 163. 

Marm of the Natives at the yreaclUng of the Gos- 
pel. 

"From several parts of Calcutta he hears 
of people's attention being excited hy reading 
the papers which we have scattered among 
them. Many begin to wonder that they never 
heard these things before, since the English 
have been so long in the country." — Ibid. p. 223. 

" Many of the natives have expressed their 
astonishment at seeing the converted Hindoos 
sit and eat with Europeans. It is what they 
thought would never come to pass. The priests 
are much alarmed for their tottering fabric, and 
rack their inventions to prop it up. They do 
not like the institution of the college in Cal- 
cutta, and that their sacred shasters should be 
explored by the unhallowed eyes of Euro- 
peans."— /I'nt/. p. 233. 

" Indeed, by the distribution of many copies 
of the Scriptures, and of some thousands of 
small tracts, a spirit of inquiry has been ex- 
cited to a degree unknown at any former 
period."— 76irf. p. 236. 

"As he and Kristno Avalked through the 
street, the natives cried out, ' What will this 
joiner do 1 (meaning Kristno.) Will he de- 
stroy the caste of us all 1 Is this Brahmin 
going to be a Feringa V " — Ibid. p. 245. 



jlccount of success in 1802. 
Mission. 



-Tenth year of the 



"Wherever we have gone we have uni- 
formly found, that so long as people did not un- 
derstand the report of our message, they appeared to 
listen; but the moment they understood something of 
it, they either became indifferent, or began to ridi- 
cule. This in geyieral lias been our reception." — 
Bapt. Miss. Vol. L p. 273. 

Hatred of the Natives. 

" Sept. 27. This forenoon three of the peo- 
ple arrived from Ponchetalokpool,who seemed 
very happy to see us. They inform us that 
the Brahmins had raised a great persecution 
against them; and when they set out on their 
journey hither, the mob assembled to hiss 
them away. After Brother Marshman had 
left that part of the country, they hung him in 
effigy, and some of the printed papers which 
he had distributed amongst them." — Ibid. p. 314. 



Difficulty which the Mission experiences from not 
being able to get Converts shaved, 
" Several persons there seemed willing to be 
baptized ; but if they should, the village barber, 
forsooth, will not shave them ! When a na- 
tive loses his caste, or becomes unclean, his 
barber and his priest will not come near him; 
and as they are accustomed to shave the head 
nearly all over, and cannot well perform this 
business themselves, it becomes a serious in- 
convenience." — Ibid. p. 372. 

Hatred of the Natives. 
"jlpr. 24. Lord's Day. Brother Chamberlain 
preached at home, and Ward at Calcutta ; Bro- 
ther Carey was amongst the brethren, and 
preached at night. Kristno Prisaud, Ram Ro- 
teen and others, were at Buddabatty, where they 
met with violent opposition. They were set 
upon as Feringas, as destroyers of the caste, 
as having eaten fowls, eggs, &c. As they at- 
tempted to return, the mob began to beat them, 
putting their hands on the back of their necks, 
and pushing them forward ; and one man, even 
a civil ofhcer, grazed the point of a spear 
against the body of Kristno Prisaud. When 
they saw that they could not make our friends 
angry by such treatment, they said. You salla; 
you will not be angr3% will you ? They then in- 
sulted them again, threw cow-dung mixed in 
gonga water at them; talked of making them 
a necklaoe of old shoes ; beat Neeloo with 
Ram Roteen's shoe, &c.; and declared that if 
they ever came again, they would make an end 
of ihem."—Bapt^ Miss. Vol. II. p. 378. 
Apian for promring an order from Government to 
shave the Converts. 
« After concluding with prayer, Bhorud 
Ghose, Sookur, and Torribot Bichess, took me 
into the field, and told me that their minds 
were quite decided ; there was no necessity for 
exhorting them. There was only one thing 
that kept them from being baptized in the name 
of Jesus Christ. Losing caste in a large town 
like Serampore, was a very different thing from 
losing caste in their village. If they declared 
themselves Christians, the barber of their vil- 
lage would no longer shave them ; and, without 
shaving their heads and their beards, they 
could not live. If an order could be obtained 
from the magistrate of the district for the bar- 
ber to shave Christians as well as others, they 
would be immediately baptized." — Ibid. p. 397. 

We meet in these proceedings with the ac- 
count of two Hindoos who had set up as gods, 
Dulul and Ram Dass. The missionaries, con- 
ceiving this schism from the religion of the 
Hindoos to be a very favourable opening for 
them, wait upon the two deities. With Dulol, 
who seems to have been a very shrewd fellow, 
they are utterly unsuccessful ; and the follow- 
ing is an extract from the account of their con- 
ference with Ram Dass : — 

"After much altercation, I told him he might 
put the matter out of all doubt as to himself; 
he had only to come as a poor, repenting, sup- 
pliant sinner, and he would be saved, whatever 
became of others. To this he gave no other 
answer than a smile of contempt. I then ask 
ed him in what way the sins of these his fol 



S6 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



lowers would be removed ; urging it as a mat- 
ter of the last importance, as he knew that 
they were all sinners, and must stand before 
the righteous bar of God 1 After much eva- 
sion, he replied that he had fire in his belly, 
which would destroy the sins of all his follow- 
ers."— i?ajji. Miss. Vol. II. p. 401. 

jl Brahmin Converted. 

"Dec. 11. Lord's day. A Brahmin came from 
Nuddea. After talkmg with him about the gos- 
pel, which he said he was very willing to em- 
brace, we sent him to Kristno's. He ate with 
them without hesitation, but discovered such a 
thirst for Bengalee rum, as gave them a dis- 
gust." 

'^Dec. 13. This morning the Brahnin decamped 
suddenly." — Bapt. Miss. Vol. II. p. 424. 
Extent of Printing. 

« Sept. 12. We are building an addition to our 
printing office, where we employ seventeen 
printers and five book-binders. The Brahmin 
from near Bootan gives some hope that he has 
received the truth in love." — Ibid. p. 483 

" The news of Jesus Christ, and of the church 
at Serampore, seems to have gone much fur- 
ther than I expected ; it appears to be known 
to a few in most villages." — Ibid. p. 487. 

Hatred to the Gospel. 
" The caste (says Mr. W.) is the great mill- 
stone round the necks of these people. Roteen 
■wants shaving ; but the barber here will not do 
it. He is run away lest he should be compel- 
led. He says he will not shave Yesoo Kreest's 
people ! "—Ibid. p. 493, 

Success greater by importimity in prayer. 

" With respect to their success, there are seve- 
ral particulars attending it worthy of notice. 
One is, that it ivas preceded by a spirit of importu- 
nate prayer. The brethren had all along com- 
mitted their cause to God; but in the autumn 
of 1800, they had a special weekly prayer- 
meeting for a blessing on the work of the mis- 
sion. At these assemblies, Mr. Thomas, who 
was then present on a visit, seems to have been 
more than usually strengthened to wrestle for 
a blessing; and writing to a friend in America, 
he speaks of 'the holy unction appearing on 
all the missionaries, especially of late ; and of 
times of refreshing from the presence of the 
Lord, being solemn, frequent and lasting.' In 
connecting these things, we cannot but remem- 
ber that previous to the outpouring of the 
Spirit in the days of Pentecost, the disciples 
' continued with one accord in prayer and sup- 
plication.' "—Bapt. Miss. Pref. Vol. III. p. vii. 

What this success is, we shall see by the fol- 
lowing extract: 

" The whole number baptized in Bengal since 
the year 1795, is forty-eight. Over many of 
these we rejoice with great joy ; for others we 
tremble ; and over some we are compelled to 
weep." — Bapl. Sliss. Vol. III. p. 21, 22. 

Hatred to the Gospel. 
« Jpril 2. This morning, several of our chief 
printing servaats presented a petition, desiring 
they might have some relief, as they were com- 
pelled, in our Bengalee worship, to hear so 
many blasphemies against their gods ! Brother 



Carey and I had a strong contention with them 
in the printing-office, and invited them to argue 
the point with Petumber, as his sermon had 
given them offence; but they declined it; 
though we told them that they were ten, and 
he was only one; that they were Brahmins, 
and he was only a sooder !" — Ibid. p. 36. 

"The enmity against the gospel and its pro- 
fessors is universal. One of our baptized 
Hindoos wanted to rent a house : after going 
out two or three days, and wandering all the 
town over, he at last persuaded a woman to let 
him have a house : but though she was herself 
a Feringa, yet when she heard that he was a 
Brahmin who had become a Christian, she in- 
sulted him, and drove him away : so that we 
are indeed made the ofTscouring of all things." 
—Ibid. p. 38. 

"I was sitting among our native brethren, at 
the Bengalee school, hearing them read and 
explain a portion of the word in turn, when au 
aged, gray-headed Brahmin, well-dressed, came 
in ; and standing before me, said, with joined 
hands, and a supplicating tone of voice, 'Sa- 
hib ! I am come to ask an alms." Beginning 
to weep, he repeated these words hastily ; ' I am 
come to ask ... an alms.' He continued standing, 
with his hands in a supplicating posture, weep- 
ing. I desired him to say what alms ; and told 
him, that by his looks, it did not seem as if he 
wanted any relief. At length, being pressed, 
he asked me to give him his son, pointing with 
his hand into the midst of our native brethren. 
I asked him which v/as his son ] He pointed 
to a young Brahmin, named Soroop; and set- 
ting up a plaintive cry, said, that was his son. 
We tried to comfort him, and at last prevailed 
upon him to come and sit down upon the ve- 
randa. Here he began to weep again ; and 
said that the young man's mother was dying 
with grief." — Bapt. Miss. Vol. III. p. 43. 

" This evening Buxoo, a brother, who is 
servant with us, and Soroop, went to a market 
in the neighbourhood, where they were disco- 
vered to be Yesoo Khreestare Loke (Jesus Christ's 
people). The whole market was in a hubbub: 
they clapped their hands, and threw dust at 
them. Buxoo was changing a rupee for cow- 
ries, when the disturbance began ; and in the 
scuffle, the man ran away with the rupee with- 
out giving the cowries." — Ibid. p. 55. 

"iVw. 24. This day Hawnye and Ram 
Khunt returned from their village. They re- 
late that our brother Fotick, who lives in the 
same village, was lately seized by the chief Ben- 
galee man there ; dragged from his house ; his 
face, eyes and ears clogged with cow-dung — 
his hands tied — and in this state confined seve- 
ral hours. They also tore to pieces all the 
papers, and the copy of the Testament, which 
they found in Fotick's house. A relation of 
these persecutors being dead, they did not mo- 
lest Hawnye and Ram Khunt; but the towns- 
folk would not hear about the gospel: they 
only insulted them for becoming Christians." 
—Ibid. p. 57. 

" Cutwa on the Ganges, Sept. 3, 1804. This place 
is about seventy miles from Serampore, by the 
Hoogley river. Here I procured a spot of 
ground, perhaps about two acres, pleasantly 
situated by two tanks, and a fine grove of man- 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



57 



go trees, at a small distance from the town. It 
was with difficulty I procured a spot. I was 
forced to leave one, after I had made a begin- 
ning, through the violent opposition of the 
people. Coming to this, opposition ceased; 
and therefore I called itREHOBOTa; for Jehovah 
hath made room for us. Here I have raised a 
spacious bungalo." — Ibid. p. 59. 

It would perhaps be more prudent to leave 
the question of sending missions to India to the 
effect of these extracts, which appear to us to be 
quite decisive, both as to the danger of insurrec- 
tion from the prosecution of the scheme, t)je ut- 
ter unfitness of the persons employed in it, and 
Ihe complete hopelessness of the attempt while 
pursued under such circumstances as now ex- 
-st. But, as the Evangelical party who have 
got possession of our eastern empire have 
brought forward a great deal of argument upon 
the question, it may be necessary to make it 
some sort of reply. 

We admit it to be the general duty of Chris- 
tian people to disseminate their religion among 
the pagan nations who are subjected to their 
empire. It is true they have not the aid of 
miracles; but it is their duty to attempt such 
conversion by the earnest and abundant em- 
ployment of the best human means in their 
power. We believe that we are in possession 
of a revealed religion ; that we are exclusively 
in possession of a revealed religion ; and thai 
the possession of that religion can alone confer 
immortality, and best confer present happiness. 
This religion, too, teaches us the duty of general 
benevolence : and how, under such a system, the 
conversion of heathens can be a matter of indif- 
ference, we profess not to be able to understand. 

So much for the general rule : — now for the 
exceptions. 

No man (not an Anabaptist) will, we pre- 
sume, contend that it is our duty to preach the 
natives into an insurrection, or to lay before 
them, so fully and emphatically, the scheme of 
the gospel, as to make them rise up in the dead 
of the night and shoot their instructors through 
the head. If conversion be the greatest of all 
objects, the possession of the country to be 
converted is the only mean, in this instance, 
by which that conversion can be accomplished ; 
for we have no right to look for a miraculous 
conversion of the Hindoos ; and it would be 
little short of a miracle, if General Oud'mot was 
to display the same spirit as the serious part 
of the Directors of the East India Company. 
Even for missionary purposes, therefore, the 
utmost discretion is necessary; and if we wish 
to teach the natives a better religion, we must 
take care to do it in a manner which will not 
inspire them with a passion for political change, 
or we shall inevitably lose our disciples alto- 
gether. To us it appears quite clear, from the 
extracts before us, that neither Hindoo nor Ma- 
homedan is at all indifferent to the attacks 
made upon his religion ; the arrogance and 
the irritability of the Mahomedan are univer- 
sally acknowledged; and we put it to our read- 
ers, whether the Brahmins seem in these ex- 
tracts to show the smallest disposition to behold 
the encroachments upon their religion with 
passiveness and unconcern. A missionary 
who converted only a few of the refuse of so- 
8 



ciety, might live for ever in peace in India, and 
receive his salary from his fanatical masters 
for pompous predictions of universal conver- 
sion, transmitted by the ships of the season ; 
but, if he had any marked success among the 
natives, it could not fail to excite much more 
dangerous specimens of jealousy and discon- 
tent than those which we have extracted from 
the Anabaptist Journal. How is it in human 
nature that a Brahmin should be indifferent to 
encroachments upon his religion 1 His repu- 
tation, his dignity, and in great measure his 
wealth, depend upon the preservation of the 
present superstitions ; and why is it to be sup- 
posed that motives which are so powerful with 
all other human beings, are inoperative with 
him alone 1 If the Brahmins, however, are 
disposed to excite a rebellion in support of their 
own influence, no man, who knows any thing 
of India, can doubt that they have it in their 
power to effect it. 

It is in vain to say, that these attempts to 
diffuse Christianity do not originate from the 
government in India. The omnipotence of 
government in the East is well known to the 
natives. If government does not prohibit, it 
tolerates ; if it tolerates the conversion of the 
natives, the suspicion may be easily formed 
that it encourages that conversion. If the 
Brahmins do not believe this themselves, they 
may easily persuade the common people that 
such is the fact ; nor are there wanting, besides 
the activity of these new missionaries, many 
other circumstances to corroborate such a ru- 
mor. Under the auspices of the College at 
Fort William, the Scriptures are in a course 
of translation mto the languages of almost the 
whole continent of Oriental India, and we per- 
ceive, that in aid of this object the Bible So- 
ciety has voted a very magnificent subscription. 
The three principal chaplains of our Indian 
settlements are (as might be expected) of prin- 
ciples exactly corresponding with the enthusi- 
asm of their employers at home ; and their 
zeal upon the subject of religion has shone 
and burnt with the most exemplary fury. These 
circumstances, if they do not really impose 
upon the minds of the leading natives, may 
give them a very powerful handle for misre- 
presenting the intentions of government to the 
lower orders. 

We see from the massacre of Vellore, what 
a powerful engine attachment to religion may 
be rendered in Hindostan. The rumors might 
all have been false ; but that event shows they 
were tremendously powerful when excited. 
The object, therefore, is not only not to do any 
thing violent and unjust upon subjects of re- 
ligion, but not to give any stronger colour to 
jealous and disaffected natives for misrepie 
senting your intentions. 

All these observations have tenfold forct; 
when applied to an empire which rests so en- 
tirely upon opinion. If physical force could 
be called in to stop the progress of error, we 
could afford to be misrepresented for a season ; 
but 30,000 white men living in the midst of 
70 million sable subjects, must be always m 
the right, or at least never represented as 
grossly in the wrong. Attention to the preju- 
dices of the subject is wise in all governments, 



58 



WORKS OF THE KEV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



but quite indispensable in a government con- 
stituted as our empire in India is constituted; 
where an uninterrupted series of dexterous 
conduct is not only necessary to our prosperity, 
but to our existence. 

'J'hese reasonings are entitled to a little more 
consideration, at a period when the French 
threaten our existence in India by open force, 
and by every species of intrigue with the 
native powers. In all governments, every 
thing takes its tone from the head ; fanaticism 
has got into the government at home ; fanati- 
cism will lead to promotion abroad. The 
civil servant in India will not only not dare to 
exercise his own judgment, in checking the 
indiscretions of ignorant missionaries ; but he 
will strive to recommend himself to his holy 
masters in Leadenhall Street, by imitating Bro- 
ther Cran and Brother Ringletaube, and by 
every species of fanatical excess. Methodism 
at home is no unprofitable game to play. In 
the East it will soon be the infallible road to 
promotion. This is the great evil ; if the man- 
agement was in the hands of men who were as 
discreet and wise in their devotion as they are 
in matters of temporal welfare, the desire of 
putting an end to missions might be premature 
and indecorous. But the misfortune is, the 
men who wield the instrument, ought not, in 
common sense and propriety, to be trusted with 
it for a single instant. Upon this subject, they 
are quite insane and ungovernable ; they would 
deliberately, piously, and conscientiously ex- 
pose our whole Eastern empire to destruction, 
for the sake of converting half a dozen Brah- 
mins, who, after stufnng themselves with rum 
and rice, and borrowing money from the mis- 
sionaries, would run away and cover the gospel 
and its possessors with every species of im- 
pious ridicule and abuse. 

Upon the whole, it appears to us hardly pos- 
sible to push the business of proselytism in 
India to any length without incurring the 
utmost risk of losing our empire. The danger 
is more tremendous, because it may be so sud- 
den ; religious fears are very probable causes 
of disaffection in the troops ; if the troops are 
generally disaffected, our Indian empire may be 
lost to us as suddenly as a frigate or a fort ; 
and that empire is governed by men who, we 
are very much afraid, would feel proud to lose 
it in such a cause. 

"But I think it my duty to make a solemn 
appeal to all who still retain the fear of God, 
and who admit that religion and the course of 
conduct which it prescribes are not to be ban- 
ished from the affairs of nations — now when 
the political sky, so long overcast, has become 
more lowering and black than ever — whether 
this is a period for augmenting the weight of 
our national sins and provocations, by an ex- 
clusive TOLEtiATioN of idolatry ; a crime which, 
unless the Bible be a forgery, has actually 
drawn forth the heaviest denunciations of ven- 
geance, and the most fearful inflictions of 
Divine displeasure." — Considerations, ^-c, p. 98. 

Can it be credited that this is an extract from 

a pamphlet generally supposed to be written by 

a noble Lord at the Board of Control, from 

ffp official interference the public might 



have expected a corrective to the pious temer- 
ity of others 1 

The other leaders of the party, indeed, make 
at present great professions of toleration, and 
express the strongest abhorence of using vio- 
lence to the natives. This does very well for 
a beginning; but we have little confidence in 
such declarations. We believe their fingers 
itch to be at the stone and clay gods of the 
Hindoos ; and that, in common with the noble 
Controller, they attribute a great part of our 
national calamities to these ugly images of 
deities on the one side of the world. We again 
repeat, that upon such subjects, the best and 
ablest men, if once tinged by fanaticism, are 
not to be trusted for a single moment. 

"idhj, Another reason for giving up the task 
of conversion, is the want of success. In 
India, religion extends its empire over the 
minutest actions of life. It is not merely a law 
for moral conduct, and for occasional worship; 
but it dictates to a man his trade, his dress, his 
food, and his whole behaviour. His religion 
also punishes a violation of its exactions, not 
by eternal and future punishments, but by pre- 
sent infamj". If an Hindoo is irreligious, or, 
in other words, if he loses his caste, he is 
deserted by father, mother, wife, child, and kin- 
dred, and becomes instantly a solitary wan- 
derer upon the earth ; to touch him, to receive 
him, to eat with him, is a pollution producing a 
similar loss of caste ; and the state of such a 
degraded man is worse than death itself. To 
these evils an Hindoo must expose himself 
before he becomes a Christian ; and this diffi- 
culty must a missionary overcome, before he 
can expect the smallest success ; a difficulty 
which, it is quite clear, they themselves, after 
a short residence in India, consider to be insu- 
perable. 

As a proof of the tenacious manner, in 
which the Hindoos cling to their religious 
prejudices, we shall state two or three very 
short anecdotes, to which any person who has 
resided in India might easily produce many 
parallels. 

"In the year 1766, the late Lord Clive and 
Mr. Verelst employed the whole influence of 
Government to restore a Hindoo to his caste, 
who had forfeited it, not by any neglect of his 
own, but by having been compelled, by a most 
unpardonable act of violence, to swallow a 
drop of cow broth. The Brahmins, from the 
peculiar circumstances of the case, were very 
anxious to comply with the wishes of Govern- 
ment ; the principal men among them met once 
at Kishnagur, and once at Calcutta; but after 
consultations, and an examination of their 
most ancient records, they declared to Lord 
Clive, that as there was no precedent to justify 
the act, they found it impossible to restore the 
unfortunate man to his caste, and he died soon 
after of a broken heart." — Scott Waring^s Pre- 
face, p. Ivi. 

It is the custom of the Hindoos to expose 
dying people upon the banks of the Ganges. 
There is something peculiarly holy in that 
river; and it soothes the agonies of death to 
look upon its waters in the last moments. A 
party of English were coming down in a boat, 
and perceived upon the bank a pious Hindoo, 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



59 



m a state of the last imbecility — about to be 
drowned by the rising of the tide, after the 
most approved and orthodox manner of their 
religion. They had the curiosity to land; and 
as they perceived some more signs of life than 
were at first apparent, a young Englishman 
poured down his throat the greatest part of a 
bottle of lavender water, which he happened 
to have in his pocket. The effects of such a 
stimulus, applied to a stomach accustomed to 
nothing stronger than water, were instantane- 
ous and powerful. The Hindoo revived suffi- 
ciently to admit of his being conveyed to the 
boat, was carried to Calcutta, and perfectly re- 
covered. He had drunk, however, in the com- 
pany of Europeans ; — no matter whether vo- 
luntary or involuntary, — the offence was com- 
mitted: he lost caste, was turned away from 
his home, and avoided, of course, by every re- 
lation and friend. The poor man came before 
the police, making the bitterest complaints upon 
being restored to life ; and for three years the 
burden of supporting him fell upon the mis- 
taken Samaritan who had rescued him from 
death. During that period, scarcely a day 
elapsed in which the degraded resurgent did 
not appear before the European, and curse 
him with the bitterest curses — as the cause of 
all his misery and desolation. At the end of 
that period he fell ill. and of course was not 
again thwarted in his passion for dying. The 
writer of this article vouches for the truth of 
this anecdote ; and many persons who were at 
Calcutta at the time must have a distinct recol- 
lection of the fact, which excited a great deal 
of conversation and amusement, mingled with 
compassion. 

It is this institution of castes which has pre- 
served India in the same state in which it ex- 
isted in the days of Alexander; and which 
would leave it without the slightest change in 
habits and manners, if we were to abandon the 
country to-morrow. We are astonished to ob- 
serve the late resident in Bengal speaking of the 
fifteen millions of Mahomedans in India as 
converts from the Hindoos; an opinion, in 
support of which he does not offer the shadow 
of an argument, except by asking, whether the 
Mahomedans have the Tartar face 1 and if not, 
how they can be the descendants of the first 
conquerors of India] Probably not altogether. 
But does this writer imagine, that the Mahome- 
dan empire could exist in Hindostan for 700 
years without the intrusion of Persians, Ara- 
bians, and every species of Mnssulmen adven- 
turers from every part of the East, which had 
embraced the religion of Mahomed 1 And let 
them come from what quarter they would, 
could they ally themselves to Hindoo women 
without producing in their descendants an ap- 
proximation to the Hindoo features! Dr. 
Robertson, who has investigated this subject 
with the greatest care, and looked into all the 
authorities, is expressly of an opposite opinion ; 
and considers the Mussulman inhabitants of 
Hindostan to be merely the descendants of 
Mahomedan adventurers, and not converts 
from the Hindoo faith. 

"The armies" (says Orme) "which made 
the first conquests for the heads of the respect- 
ive dynasties, or for other invaders, left behind 



them numbers of Mahomedans, who, seduced 
by a finer climate, and a richer country, forgot 
their own. 

" The Mahomedan princes of India naturally 
gave a preference to the service of men of 
their own religion, who, from whatever country 
they came, were of a more vigorous constitu- 
tion than the stoutest of the subjected nation. 
This preference has continually encouraged 
adventurers from Tartary, Persia, and Arabia, 
to seek their foi'tunes under a government from 
which they were sure of receiving greater en- 
couragement than they could expect at home. 
From these origins, time has formed in India a 
mighty nation of near ten millions of Mahome- 
dans." — Orme's Indostan, I. p. 24. 

Precisely similar to this is the opinion of Dr. 
Robertson, Note xl. — Indian Disquisition. 

As to the religion of the Ceylonese, from 
which the Bengal resident would infer the faci- 
lity of making converts of the Hindoos, it is to 
be observed, that the religion of Boudhou, in 
ancient times, extended from the north of Tar- 
tary to Ceylon, from the Indus to Siam, and (it 
Foe and Boudhou are the same persons) over 
China. That of the two religions of Boudhou 
and Brama, the one was the parent of the other, 
there can be very little doubt; but the compa- 
rative antiquity of the two is so very disputed 
a point, that it is quite unfair to state the case 
of the Ceylonese as an instance of conversion 
from the Hindoo religion to any other: and 
even if the religion of Braml is the most an- 
cient of the two, it is still to be proved, that the 
Ceylonese professed that religion before they 
changed it for their present faith. In point of 
fact, however, the boasted Christianity of the 
Ceylonese is proved by the testimony of the 
missionaries themselves, to be little better than 
nominal. The following extract from one of 
their own communications, dated Columbo, 
1805, will set this matter in its true light: — 

"The elders, deacons, and some of the mem- 
bers of the Dutch congregation, came to see us, 
and we paid them a visit in return, and made a 
little inquiry concerning the state of the church 
on this island, which is, in one word, miserable ! 
One hundred thousand of those who are called 
Christians (because they are baptized) need 
not go back to heathenism, for they never have 
been any thing else but heathens, worshippers of 
Budda: they have been induced, for worldly 
reasons, to be baptized. Lord have mercy 
on the poor inhabitants of this populous island!" 
— Trans. Miss. Soc. II. 265. 

What success the Syrian Christians had in 
making converts ; in what degree they have 
gained their numbers by victories over the 
native superstition, or lost their original num- 
bers by the idolatrous examples to which for 
so many centuries they have been exposed; are 
points wrapt up in so much obscurity, that no 
kind of inference, as to the facility of convert- 
ing the natives, can be drawn from them. Their 
present number is supposed to be about 
150,000. 

It would be of no use to quote the example 
of Japan and China, even if the progress of the 
faith in these empires had been much greater 
than it is. We do not say it is difficult to con- 
vert the Japanese, or the Chinese ; but the 



60 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



Hindoos. We are not saying it is difficult to 
convert human creatures ; but difficult to con- 
vert human creatures with such institutions. 
To mention the example of other nations who 
have them not, is to pass over the material ob- 
jection, and to answer others which are merely 
imaginary, and have never been made. 

^dly, The duty of convension is less plain, 
and less imperious, when conversion exposes 
the convert to great present misery. An Afri- 
can or an Otaheite proselyte might not perhaps 
be less honoured by his countrymen if he be- 
came a Christian; an Hindoo is instantly sub- 
jected to the most perfect degradation. A 
Qhangs of faith might increase the immediate 
happiness of any other individual; it annihi- 
lates for ever all the human comforts which an 
Hindoo enjoys. The eternal happiness which 
you proffijr him, is therefore less attractive to 
him than to any other heathen, from the life of 
misery by which he purchases it. 

Nothing is more precarious than our empire 
in India. Suppose we were to be driven out 
of it to-morrow, and to leave behind us twenty 
thousand converted Hindoos, it is most proba- 
ble they would relapse into heathenism; but 
their original station in society could not be 
regained. The duty of making converts, 
therefore, among such a people, as it arises 
from the general duty of benevolence, is less 
strong than it would be in many other cases ; 
because, situated as we are, it is quite certain 
we shall expose them to a great deal of misery, 
and not quite certain we shall do them any 
future good. 

4//i/y, Conversion is no duty at all, if it mere- 
ly destroys the old religion, without really and 
effectually teaching the new one. Brother 
Ringletaube may write home that he makes a 
Christian, when, in reality, he ought only to 
state that he has destroyed an Hindoo. Foolish 
and imperfect as the religion of an Hindoo is. 
It is at least some restraint upon the intemper- 
ance of human passions. It is better a Brah- 
min should be respected, than that nobody 
should be respected. An Hindoo had better 
believe that a deity with an hundred legs and 
arms, will reward and punish him hereafter, 
than that he is not to be punished at all. Now, 
when you have destroyed the faith of an Hin- 
doo, are you quite sure that you will graft upon 
his mind fresh principles of action, and make 
him any more than a nominal Christian? 

You have 30,000 Europeans in India, and 
60 millions of other subjects. If proselytism 
were to go on as rapidly as the most visionarj^ 
Anabaptist could dream or desire, in what man- 
ner are these people to be taught the genuine 
truths and practices of Christianity! Where 
are the clergy to come from 1 Who is to de- 
fray the expense of the establishment 1 and 
who can foresee the immense and perilous dif- 
ficulties of bending the laws, manners, and in- 
stitutions of a country to the dictates of a new 
religion 1 If it were easy to persuade the Hin- 
doos that their own religion was folly, it would 
be indefinitely difficult effectually to teach them 
any other. They would tumble their own idols 
into the river, and you would build them no 
churches : you would destroy all their present 
motives for doing right and avoiding wrong, 



without being able to fix upon their minds the 
more sublime motives by which you profess to 
be actuated. What a missionary will do here- 
after with the heart of a convert, is a matter of 
doubt and speculation. He is quite certain, 
however, that he must accustom the man to see 
himself considered infamous; and good prin- 
ciples can hardly be exposed to a ruder shock. 
Whoever has seen much of Hindoo Christians 
must have perceived, that the man who bears 
that name is very commonly nothing more than 
a drunken reprobate, who conceives himself 
at liberty to eat and drink anything he pleases, 
and annexes hardly any other meaning to the 
name of Christianity. Such sort of converts 
may swell the list of names, and gratify the 
puerile pride of a missionary ; but what real, 
discreet Christian can wish to see such Chris- 
tianity prevail? But it will be urged, if the 
present converts should become worse Hindoos, 
and very indifferent Christians, still the next 
generation will do better; and by degrees, and 
at the expiration of half a century, or a century, 
true Christianity may prevail. We may apply 
to such sort of Jacobin converters what Mr. 
Burke said of the Jacobin politicians in his 
time, — "To such men a whole generation of 
human beings are of no more consequence than 
a frog in an air-pump." For the distant pros- 
pect of doing what most probably after all, 
they will never be able to effect, there is no de- 
gree of present misery and horror to which 
they will not expose the subjects of their expe- 
riment. 

As the duty of making proselytes springs 
from the duty of benevolence, there is a priority 
of choice in conversion. The greatest zeal 
should plainly be directed to the most desperate 
misery and ignorance. Now, in comparison to 
many other nations who are equally ignorant 
of the truths of Christianity, the Hindoos are a 
civilized and a moral people. That they have 
remained in the sa'me state for so many centu- 
ries, is at once a proof that the institutions 
which established that state could not be highly 
unfavourable to human happiness. After all 
that has been said of the vices of the Hindoos, 
we believe that an Hindoo is more mild and 
sober than most Europeans, and as honest and 
chaste. In astronomy the Hindoos have cer- 
tainly made very high advances ; — some, and 
notan unimportant progress in many sciences. 
As manufacturers, they are extremely in- 
genious — and as agriculturists, industrious. 
Christianity would improve them ; (whom 
would it not improve ?) but if Christianity can- 
not be extended to all, there are many ether na- 
tions who want it more.* 

The Hindoos have some very savage cus- 
toms, which it would be desirable to abolish. 
Some swing on hooks, some run knives through 
their hands, and widows burn themselves to 
death : but these follies (even the last) are quite 
voluntary on the part of the sufferers. We dis- 
like all misery, voluntary or involuntary ; but 
the difference between the torments which a 
man chooses, and those which he endures from 

* We are here, of course, arg;uing the question only 
in a worldly point of view. This is one point of view 
in which it must be placed, though certainly the lowest 
and least important. 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



€1 



the choice of others, is very great. It is a con- 
siderable wretchedness that men and women 
should be shut up in religious houses; but it is 
only an object of legislative interference, when 
such incarceration is compulsory. Monasteries 
and nunneries with us would be harmless in- 
stitutions ; because the moment a devotee found 
he had acted like a fool, he might avail himself 
of the discovery and run away ; and so may an 
Hindoo, if he repents of his resolution of run- 
ning hooks into his flesh. 

The duties of conversion appear to be of less 
importance, when it is impossible to procure 
proper persons to undertake them, and when 
such religious embassies, in consequence, de- 
volve upon the lowest of the people. Who 
wishes to see scrofula and atheism cured by a 
single sermon in Bengal 1 who wishes to see 
Ihe religious hoy riding at anchor in the Hoogly 
river? or shoals of jumpers exhibiting their 
nimble piety before the learned Brahmins of 
Benares 1 This madness is disgusting and 
dangerous enough at home: — Why are we to 
send out little detachments of maniacs to spread 
over the fine regions of the world the most un- 
just and contemptible opinion of the gospel T 
The wise and rational part of the Christian 
ministry find they have enough to do at home 
to combat with passions unfavourable to human 
happiness, and to make men act up to their 
professions. But if a tinker is a devout man, 
he infallibly sets off for the East. Let any 
man read the Anabaptist missions : — can he do 
so without deeming such men pernicious and 
extravagant in their own country, — and with- 
out feeling that they are benefiting us much 
more by their absence, than the Hindoos by 
their advice 1 

It is somewhat strange, in a duty which is 
stated by one party to be so clear and so indis- 
pensable, that no man of moderation and good 
sense can be found to perform it. And if no 
other instruments remain but visionary enthu- 
siasts, some doubt may be honestly raised 
whether it is not better to drop the scheme en- 
tirely. 

Shortly stated, then, our argument is this : — 
We see not the slightest prospect of success ; — 
we see much danger in making the attempt; — 
and we doubt if the conversion of the Hindoos 
would ever be more than nominal. If it is 
a duty of general benevolence to convert the 
Heathen, it is less a duty to convert the Hin- 
doos than any other people, because they are 
already highly civilized, and because you must 
infallibly subject them to infamy and present 
degradation. The instruments employed for 
these purpo«5es are calculated to bring ridicule 
and disgrace upon the gospel ; and in the dis- 
cretion of those at home, whom we consider as 
their patrons, we have not the smallest reli- 
ance ; but, on the contrary, we are convinced 
they would behold the loss of our Indian em- 
pire, not with the humility of men convinced of 
erroneous views and projects, but with the 
pride, the exultation, and the alacrity of martyrs. 
Of the books which have handled this sub- 
ject on either side, we have little to say. Ma- 
jor Scott Waring's book is the best against the 
Missions ; but he wants arrangement and pru- 



dence. The late resident writes well ; but is 
miserably fanatical towards the conclusion. 
Mr. Cunningham has been diligent in looking 
into books upon the subject : and though an 
evangelical gentleman, is not imcharitable to 
those who differ from him in opinion. There 
is a passage in the publication of his reverend 
brother, Mr. Owen, which, had we been less 
accustomed than we have been of late to this 
kind of writing, would appear to be quite in- 
credible. 

"I have not pointed out the comparative in- 
difference, upon Mr. Twining's principles, be- 
tween one religion and another, to the welfare 
of a people ; nor the impossibility, on those 
principles, of India being Christianized by any 
human means, so long as it shall remain under 
the dominion of the Company; nor the allerna- 
live to which Providence is by consequence reduced, 
of either giving up that country to everlasting su- 
perstition, or of ivorking some miracle in order to 
accomplish its conversion." — Owen's Address, p. 28. 

This is really beyond any thing we ever re- 
member to have read. The hoy, the cock-fight, 
and the religious newspaper, are pure reason 
when compared to it. The idea of reducing 
Providence to an alternative ! ! and, by a motion 
at the India House, carried by ballot ! We 
would not insinuate, in the most distant man- 
ner, that Mr. Owen is not a gentleman of the 
most sincere piety; but the misfortune is, all 
extra superfine persons accustom themselves to 
a familiar phraseology upon the most sacred 
subjects, which is quite shocking to the com- 
mon and inferior orders of Christians. Provi- 
dence reduced to an alternative ! ! ! ! ! Let it be 
remembered, this phrase comes from a member 
of a religious party, who are loud in their com- 
plaints of being confounded with enthusiasts 
and fanatics. 

We cannot conclude without the most pointed 
reprobation of the low mischief of the Christian 
Observer ; a publication which appears to have 
no other method of discussing a question fairly 
open to discussion, than that of accusing their 
antagonists of infidelity. No art can be more 
unmanly, or, if its consequences are foreseen, 
more wicked. If this publication had been the 
work of a single individual, we might have 
passed it over in silent disgust; but as it is 
looked upon as the organ of a great political 
religious party in this country, we think it right 
to notice the very unworthy manner in which 
they are attempting to extend their influence. 
For ourselves, if there were a fair prospect of 
carrying the gospel into regions where it was 
before unknown, — if such a project did not 
expose the best possessions of the country 
to extreme danger, and if it was in the hands of 
men who were discreet, as well as devout, we 
should consider it to be a scheme of true piety, 
benevolence, and wisdom : but the baseness and 
malignity of fanaticism shall never prevent us 
from attacking its arrogance, its ignorance, and 
its activity. For what vice can be more tre- 
mendous than that which, while it wears the 
outward appearance of religion, destroys the 
happiness of man, and dishonours the name of 
Godi 



fi» 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



CATHOLICS.* 



[Edinburgh Review, 1808.] 



The various publications which have issued 
from the press in favour of religious liberty, 
fiave now nearly silenced the arguments of 
Iheir opponents; and, teaching sense to some, 
and inspiring others with shame, have left 
those only on the field who can neither learn 
nor blush. 

But, though the argument is given up, and the 
justice of the Catholic cause admitted, it seems 
to be generally conceived, that their case, at 
present, is utterly hopeless ; and that, to advo- 
cate it any longer, will only irritate the op- 
pressed, without producing any change of 
opinion in those by whose influence and autho- 
rity that oppression is continued. To this 
opinion, unfortunately too prevalent, we have 
many reasons for not subscribing. 

We do not understand what is meant in this 
country by the notion, that a measure, of con- 
summate wisdom and imperious necessity, is 
to be deferred for any time, or to depend upon 
any contingency. Whenever it can be made 
clear to the understanding of the great mass 
of enlightened people, that any system of poli- 
tical conduct is necessary to the public welfare, 
every obstacle (as it ought) will be swept away 
before it; and as we conceive it to be by no 
means improbable, that the country may, ere 
long, be placed in a situation where its safety 
or ruin will depend upon its conduct towards 
the Catholics, we sincerely believe we are 
doing our duty in throwing every possible light 
on this momentous question. Neither do Ave 
understand where this passive submission to 
ignorance and error is to end. Is it confined 
lo religion 1 or does it extend to war and peace, 
as well as religion 1 Would it be tolerated, if 
any man were to say, " Abstain from all argu- 
ments in favour of peace ; the court have 
resolved upon eternal war; and, as you cannot 
have peace, to what purpose urge the necessity 
of it?" We answer, — that courts must be pre- 
sumed to be open to the influence of reason ; 
or, if they were not, to the influence of pru- 
dence and discretion, when they perceive the 
public opinion to be loudly and clearly against 
them. To lie by in timid and indolent silence, 
— to suppose an inflexibility, in which no court 
ever could, under pressing circumstances, per- 
severe — and to neglect a regular and vigorous 
appeal to public opinion, is to give up all 
chance of doing good, and to abandon the 
only instrument by which the few are ever 
prevented from ruining the many. 

It is folly to talk of any other ultimatum in 
government than perfect justice to the fair 
claims of the subject. The concessions to the 
Irish Catholics in 1792 were to be the ne plus 
ultra. Every engine was set on foot to induce 



* History of the Pennl La7cs against the Irish Catho- 
lics, from the Treaty nf Limerick to the Union. By 
Henry PuriiuU Esq. M P. 



the grand juries in Ireland to petition against 
further concessions; and, in six months after- 
wards, government were compelled to intro- 
duce, themselves, those further relaxations of 
the penal code, of which they had just before 
assured the Catholics they must abandon all 
hope. Such is the absurdity of supposing that 
a few interested and ignorant individuals can 
postpone, at their pleasure and caprice, the 
happiness of millions. 

As to the feeling of irritation with which 
such continued discussion may inspire the 
Irish Catholics, we are convinced that no opi- 
nion could be so prejudicial to the cordial 
union which we hope may always subsist be- 
tween the two countries, as that all the efforts 
of the Irish were unavailing, — that argument 
was hopeless, — that their case was prejudged 
with a sullen inflexibility which circumstances 
could not influence, pity soften, or reason sub- 
due. 

We are by no means convinced, that the 
decorous silence recommended upon the Ca- 
tholic question would be rewarded by those 
future concessions, of which many persons 
appear to be so certain. We have a strange 
incredulity where persecution is to be abo- 
lished, and any class of men restored to their 
indisputable rights. When we see it done, we 
will believe it. Till it is done, we shall always 
consider it to be highly improbable — much too 
improbable — to justify the smallest relaxation 
in the Catholics themselves, or in those who 
are well-wishers to their cause. When the 
fanciful period at present assigned for the 
emancipation arrives, new scruples may arise 
— fresh forbearance be called for — and the ope- 
rations of common sense be deferred for an- 
other generation. Toleration never had a 
present tense, nor taxation a future one. The 
answer which Paul received from Felix, he 
owed to the subject on which he spoke. When 
justice and righteousness were his theme, 
Felix told him to go away, and he would hear 
him some other time. All men who have 
spoken to courts upon such disagreeable topics, 
have received the same answer. Felix, how- 
ever, trembled when he gave it ; but his fear 
was ill-directed. He trembled at the subject — 
he ought to have trembled at the delay. 

Little or nothing is to be expected from the 
shame of deferring what it is so wicked and per- 
ilous to defer. Profligacy in taking office is so 
extreme, that we have no doubt public men may 
be found, who, for half a century, would postpone 
all remedies for a pestilence, if the preservation 
of their places depended upon the propagation 
of the virus. To us, such kind of conduct 
conveys no other action than that of sordid 
avaricious impudence : — it puts to sale the best 
interests of the country for some improvement 
in the wines and meats and carriages which a 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



man uses, — and encourages a new political 
morality which may always postpone any other 
great measure — and every other great measure 
as well as the emancipation of the Catholics. 

We terminate this apologetical preamble 
with expressing the most earnest hope that the 
Catholics will not, from any notion that their 
cause is effectually carried, relax in any one 
constitutional effort necessary to their purpose. 
Their cause is the cause of common sense 
and justice ; — the safety of England and of the 
world may depend upon it. It rests upon the 
soundest principles; leads to the most import- 
ant consequences ; and therefore cannot be too 
frequently brought before the notice of the 
public. 

The book before us is written by Mr. Henry 
Parnell, the brother of Mr. William Parnell, 
author of the Historical Apology, reviewed in 
one of our late numbers ; and it contains a 
very well written history of the penal laws en- 
acted against the Irish Catholics, from the 
peace of Limerick, in the reign of King 
William, to the late Union. Of these we shall 
present a very short, and, we hope even to 
loungers, a readable abstract. 

The war carried on in Ireland against King 
William cannot deserve the name of a re- 
bellion : it was a struggle for their lawful 
Prince, whom they had sworn to maintain; 
and whose zeal for the Catholic religion, what- 
ever effect it might have produced in England, 
could not by them be considered as a crime. 
This war was terminated by the surrender of 
Limerick, upon conditions by which the Catho- 
lics hoped, and very rationally hoped, to secure 
to themselves the free enjoyment of their re- 
ligion in future, and an exemption from all 
those civil penalties and incapacities which the 
reigning creed is so fond of heaping upon its 
subjugated rivals. 

By the various articles of this treaty, they 
are to enjoy such privileges in the exercise of 
their religion, as they did enjoy in the time of 
Charles 11. : and the King promises upon the 
meeting of Parliament, " to endeavor to pro- 
cure for them such further security in that par- 
ticular, as may preserve them /rom any disturb- 
ance on account of their said religion." They 
are to be restored to their estates, privileges, 
and immunities, as they enjoyed them in the 
time of Charless II. The gentlemen are to be 
allowed to carry arms ; and no other oath is to 
be tendered to the Catholics who submit to 
King William than the oath of allegiance. 
These and other articles, Kitig William ratifies 
for himself, his heirs and successors, as far as in 
him lies ; and confirms the same, and every other 
clause and matter therein contained. 

These articles were signed by the English 
general on the 3d of^i^tober, 1691; and dif- 
fused comfort, confidence, and tranquillity 
among the Catholics. On the 22d of October, 
the English Parliament excluded Catholics 
from the Irish Houses of Lords and Commons, 
by compelling them to take the oaths of su- 
premacy before admission. 

In 1695, the Catholics were deprived of all 
means of educating their children, at home or 
abroad, and of the privilege of being guardians 
to their own or to other persons' children. 



Then all the Catholics were disarmed, — and 
then all the priests banished, ^fier this (proba- 
bly by way of joke), an act was passed to con- 
firm the treaty of Limerick, — the great and 
glorious King William totally forgetting the 
contract he had entered into of recommending 
the religious liberties of the Catholics to the 
attention of Parliament. 

On the 4th of March, 1704, it was enacted, 
that any son of a Catholic who would turn 
Protestant, should succeed to the family estate, 
which from that moment could no longer be 
sold, or charged with debt and legacy. On the 
same day. Popish fathers were debarred, by a 
penalty of 500/., from being guardians to their 
own children. If the child, however young, 
declared himself a Protestant, he was to be 
delivered immediately to the custody of some 
Protestant relation. No Protestant to marry a 
Papist. No Papist to purchase land, or take a 
lease of land for more than thirty-one years. 
If the profits of the lands so leased by the 
Catholics amounted to above a certain rate 
settled by the act, — farm to belong to the first 
Protestant who made the discovery. No Papist to 
be in a line of entail; but the estate to pass on 
to the next Protestant heir, as if the Papist were 
dead. If a Papist dies intestate, and no Pro- 
testant heir can be found, property to be equally 
divided among all the sons ; or, if he has none, 
among all the daughters. By the 16th clause 
of this bill, no Papist to hold any office civil or 
military. Not to dwell in Limerick or Gal way, 
except on certain conditions. Not to vote at 
elections. Not to hold advowsons. 

In 1709, Papists were prevented from hold- 
ing an annuity for life. If any son of a Papist 
chose to turn Protestant, and enrol the certifi- 
cate of his conversion in the Court of Chan- 
cery, that court is empowered to compel his 
father to state the value of his property upon 
oath, and to make out of that property a com- 
petent allowance to the son, at their own dis- 
cretion, not only for his present maintenance, 
but for his future portion after the death of his 
father. An increase of jointure to be enjoyed 
by Papist wives upon their conversion. Papists 
keeping schools to be prosecuted as convicts. 
Popish priests who are converted, to receive 
30/. per annum. 

Rewards are given by the same act for the 
discovery of the Popish clergy ; — 50/. for dis- 
covering a Popish bishop ; 20/. for a common 
Popish clergyman ; 10/. for a Popish usher I 
Two justices of the peace can compel any 
Papist above eighteen years of age to disclose 
every particular which has come to his know- 
ledge respecting Popish priests, celebration of 
mass, or Papist schools. Imprisonment for a 
year if he refuses to answer. Nobody can 
hold property in trust for a Catholic. Juries, 
in all trials growing out of these statutes, to 
be Protestants. No Papist to take more than, 
two apprentices, except in the linen trade. All 
the Catholic clergy to give in their names and 
places of abode at the quarter-sessions, and to 
keep no curates. Catholics not to serve on 
grand juries. In any trial upon statutes for 
strengthening the Protestant interest, a Papist 
juror may be peremptorily challenged. 
In the next reign, Popish horses were at- 



64 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



tached, and allowed to be seized for the militia. 
Papists cannot be either high or petty consta- 
bles. No Papists to vote at elections. Papists 
in towns to provide Protestant watchmen ; — 
and not to vote at vestries. 

In the reign of George II., Papists were pro- 
hibited from being barristers. Barristers and 
solicitors marrying Papists, considered to be 
Papists, and subjected to all penalties as such. 
Persons robbed by privateers, during a war 
with a Popish prince, to be indemnified by 
grand jury presentments, and the money to be 
levied on the Catholics only. No Papist to 
marry a Protestant; — any priest celebrating 
such a marriage to be hanged. 

During all this time there was not the slight- 
est rebellion in Ireland. 

In 1715 and 1745, while Scotland and the 
north of England were up in arms, not a man 
stirred in Ireland ; yet the spirit of persecution 
against the Catholics continued till the 18th of 
his present Majesty, and then gradually gave 
way to the increase of knowledge, the huma- 
nity of our Sovereign, the abilities of Mr. 
Grattan, the weakness of England struggling 
in America, and the dread inspired by the 
French revolution. 

Such is the rapid outline of a code of laws 
which reflects indelible disgrace upon the Eng- 
lish character, and explains but too clearly 
the cause of that hatred in which the English 
name has been so long held in Ireland. It 
would require centuries to efface such an im- 
pression ; and yet, when we find it fresh, and 
operating at the end of a few years, we explain 
the fact by every cause which can degrade the 
Irish, and by none which can remind us of our 
own scandalous policy. With the folly and 
the horror of such a code before our eyes, — 
with the conviction of recent and domestic 
history, that mankind are not to be lashed and 
chaimed out of their faith, — we are striving to 
teaze and worry them into a better theology. 



Heavy oppression is removed ; light insults 
and provocations are retained; the scourge 
does not fall upon their shoulders, but it sounds 
in their ears. And this is the conduct we are 
pursuing, when it is still a great doubt whether 
this country alone may not be opposed to the 
united efl^orts of the whole of Europe. It is 
really difficult to ascertain which is the most 
utterly destitute of common sense, — the capri- 
cious and arbitrary stop we have made in our 
concessions to the Catholics, or the precise 
period we have chosen for this grand effort of 
obstinate folly. 

In whatsoever manner the contest now in 
agitation on the Continent may terminate, its 
relation to the emancipation of the Catholics 
will be very striking. If the Spaniards succeed 
in establishing their own liberties, and in res- 
cuing Europe from the tyranny under which it 
at present labours, it will still be contended, 
within the walls of our own Parliament, that 
the Catholics cannot fulfil the duties of social 
life. Venal politicians will still argue that the 
time is not yet come. Sacred and lay syco- 
phants will still lavish upon the Catholic faith 
their well-paid abuse, and England still pas- 
sively submit to such a disgraceful spectacle 
of ingratitude and injustice. If, on the con- 
trary (as may probably be the case), the Spa- 
niards fall before the numbers and military 
skill of the French, then are we left alone in 
the world, without another ray of hope ; and 
compelled to employ against internal disaffec- 
tion that force which, exalted to its utmost en- 
ergy, would in all probability prove but barely 
equal to the external danger by which we 
should be surrounded. Whence comes it that 
these things are universally admitted to be 
true, but looked upon in servile silence by a 
country hitherto accustomed to make great 
efl^orts for its prosperity, safety and indepen- 
dence 1 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



65 



METHODISM; 



[Edinburgh Review, 1809.] 



Ik routing out a nest of consecrated cobblers, 
and iu bringing to light such a perilous heap 
of trash as we were obliged to work through, 
in our articles upon the Methodists and Mis- 
sionaries, we are generally conceived to have 
rendered an useful service to the cause of ra- 
tional religion. Every one, however, at ail 
acquainted with the true character of Method- 
ism, must have known the extent of the abuse 
and misrepresentation to which we exposed 
ourselves in such a service. AH this obloquy, 
however, we were very willing to encounter, 
from our conviction of the necessity of expos- 
ing and correcting the growing evil of fanati- 
cism. In spite of all misrepresentation, we 
have ever been, and ever shall be, the sincere 
friends of sober and rational Christianity. We 
are quite ready, if any fair opportunity occur, 
to defend it, to the best of our ability, from the 
tiger-spring of infidelity ; and we are quite de- 
termined, if we can prevent such an evil, that 
it shall not be eaten up by the nasty and nu- 
merous vermin of Methodism. For this pur- 
pose, we shall proceed to make a few short 
remarks upon the sacred and silly gentleman 
before us, — not, certainly, because we feel any 
sort of anxiety as to the effect of his strictures 
on our own credit or reputation, but because 
his direct and articulate defence of the princi- 
ples and practices which we have condemned, 
affords us the fairest opportunity of exposing, 
still more clearly, both the extravagance and 
the danger of these popular sectaries. 

These very impudent people have one ruling 
canon, which pervades every thing they say 
and do. Whoever is unfriendly to Methodism, is 
an infidel and an atheist. This reasonable and 
amiable maxim, repeated, in every form of 
dulness, and varied in every attitude of malig- 
nity, is the sum and substance of Mr. Styles's 
pamphlet. Whoever wishes to rescue religion 
from the hands of didactic artisans, — whoever 
prefers a respectable clergyman for his teacher 
to a delirious mechanic, — whoever wishes to 
keep the intervals between churches and luna- 
tic asylums as wide as possible, — all such men, 
in the estimation of Mr. Styles, are nothing 
better than open or concealed enemies of 
Christianity. His catechism is very simple. 
In what hoy do you navigate 1 By what shoe- 
maker or carpenter are you instructed 1 What 
miracles have you to relate 1 Do you think it 
sinful to reduce Providence to an alternative, &c. 
&c. &c. Now, if we were to content ourselves 
with using to Mr. Styles, while he is dealing 
about his imputations of infidelity, the un- 
courtly language which is sometimes applied 
to those who are little curious about truth 

* Strictures on two Critiques in the Edinburgh Review, 
on the Subject of Methodism and Missions ; Kith Remarks 
on the Influence of Reviews, in general, on Morals and 
Happiness. By JoHM Styles. 8vo. London, 1809. 

u 



or falsehood, what Methodist would think the 
worse of him for such an attack? Who is 
there among them that would not glory to lie 
for the tabernacle 1 who that would not believe 
he was pleasing his Maker, by sacrificing 
truth, Justice and common sense, to the inte- 
rests of his own little chapel, and his own de- 
ranged instructor ? Something more than con- 
tradiction or confutation, therefore, is necessary 
to discredit those charitable dogmatists, and to 
diminish their pernicious influence; — and the 
first accusation against us is, that we have 
endeavoured to add ridicule to reasoning. 

We are a good deal amused, indeed, with the 
extreme disrelish which Mr. John Styles ex- 
hibits to the humour and pleasantry with which 
he admits the Methodists to have been attacked: 
but Mr. John Styles should remember, that it 
is not the practice with destroyers of vermin 
to allow the little victims a veto upon the wea- 
pons used against them. If this were other- 
wise, we should have one set of vermin banish- 
ing small-tooth combs; another protesting 
against mouse-traps ; a third prohibiting the 
finger and thumb; a fourth exclaiming against 
the intolerable infamy of using soap and wa- 
ter. It is impossible, however, to listen to such 
pleas. They must all be caught, killed and 
cracked, in the manner, and by the instruments 
which are found most efficacious to their de- 
struction ; and the more they cry out, the 
greater plainly is the skill used against them. 
We are convinced a little laughter will do 
them more harm than all the arguments in the 
world. Such men as the author before us 
cannot understand when they are out-argued; 
but he has given us a specimen, from his irri- 
tability, that he fully comprehends when he 
has become the object of universal contempt 
and derision. We agree with him, that ridi- 
cule is not exactly the weapon to be used in 
matters of religion ; but the use of it is ex- 
cusable, when there is no other which can 
make fools tremble. Besides, he should re- 
member the particular sort of ridicule we have 
used, which is nothing more than accurate 
quotation from the Methodists themselves. It 
is true, that this is the most severe and cutting 
ridicule to which we could have had recourse; 
but, whose fault is thati 

Nothing can be more disingenuous than the 
attacks Mr. Styles has made upon us for our 
use of Scripture language. Light and grace 
are certainly terms of Scripture. It is not to 
the words themselves that any ridicule can 
ever attach. It is from the preposterous ap- 
plication of those words, in the mouths of the 
most arrogant and ignorant of human beings; 
— it is from their use in the most trivial, low 
and familiar scenes of life ; — it is from the 
illiterate and ungramraatical prelacy of Mr. 
John Styles, that any tinge of ridicule ever is 
f2 



66 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



or ever can be imparted to the sacred language 
of Scripture. 

We admit also, with this gentleman, that it 
would certainly evince the most vulgar and 
contracted heart, to ridicule any religious 
opinions, methodistical or otherwise, because 
they were the opinions of the poor, and were 
conveyed in the language of the poor. But 
are we to respect the poor, when they wish to 
step out of their province, and become the 
teachers of the land] — when men, whose pro- 
per " talk is of bullocks, pretend to have wis- 
dom and understanding," is it not lawful to tell 
them they have none? An ironmonger is a 
very respectable man, so long as he is merely 
an ironmonger, — an admirable man if he is a 
religious ironmonger ; but a great blockhead 
if he sets up for a bishop or a dean, and lec- 
tures upon theology. It is not the poor we 
have attacked, — but the writing poor, the pub- 
lishing poor, — the limited arrogance which 
mistakes its' own trumpery sect for the world: 
nor have we attacked them for want of talent, 
but for want of modesty, want of sense, and 
want of true rational religion, — for every fault 
which Mr. John Styles defends and exemplifies. 

It is scarcely possible to reduce the drunken 
declamations of Methodism to a point, to grasp 
the wriggling lubricity of these cunning ani- 
mals, and to fix them in o'ne position. We 
have said, in our review of the Methodists, that 
^it is extremely wrong to suppose that Provi- 
dence interferes with special and extraordinary 
judgments on every trifling occasion of life : 
that to represent an innkeeper killed for pre- 
venting a Methodist meeting, or loud claps of 
thunder rattling along the heavens, merely to 
hint to Mr. Scott that he was not to preach at 
a particular tabernacle in Oxford-road, appear- 
ed to us to be blasphemous and mischievous 
nonsense. With great events, which change 
the destiny of mankind, we might suppose 
such interference, the discovery of which, 
upon every trifling occasion, we considered to 
be pregnant with very mischievous conse- 
quences. To all which Mr. Styles replies, 
that, with Providence, nothing is great, or no- 
thing little, — nothing diflicult, or nothing easy; 
that a worm and a whale are equal in the esti- 
mation of a Supreme Being. I3ut did any hu- 
man being but a Methodist, and a third or 
fourth rate Methodist, ever make such a reply 
to such an argument 1 We are not talking of 
what is great or important to Providence, but 
to us. The creation of a worm or a whale, a 
Newton or a Styles, are tasks equally easy to 
Omnipotence. But are they, in their results, 
equally important to us 1 The lightning may 
as easily strike the head of the French empe- 
ror, as of an innocent cottager; but we are 
surely neither impious nor obscure, when we 
say, that one would be an important interfer- 
ence of Providence, and the other compara- 
tively not so. But it is a loss of time to reply 
to such trash ; it presents no stimulus of diffi- 
culty to us, nor would it offer any of novelty to 
our readers. 

To our attack upon the melancholy ten- 
dency of Methodism, Mr. Styles replies, " that 
a man must have studied in the schools of Hume, 
ioliairc, and Koizebue, who can plead in be- 



half of the theatre ; that, at fashionable ball- 
rooms and assemblies, seduction is drawn out 
to a system ; that dancing excites the fever of 
the passions, and raises a delirium too often 
fatal to innocence and peace ; and that, for the 
poor, instead of the common rough amuse- 
ments to which they are now addicted, there 
remain the simple beauties of nature, the 
gay colours, and scented perfumes of the 
earth." These are the blessings which the 
common people have to expect from their 
Methodistical instructors. They are pilfered 
of all their money, — shut out from all their 
dances and country wakes, — and are then sent 
pennyless into the fields, to gaze on the clouds, 
and to smell dandelions ! 

Against the orthodox clergy of all descrip- 
tions, our sour devotee proclaims, as was to 
have been expected, the most implacable war, 
— declaring that, " in one century, they would 
have ohliterated all the remaining practical reli- 
gion in the church, had it not been for this new 
sect, everywhere spoken against." Undoubtedly, 
the distinction of mankmd into godly and un- 
godly — if by godly is really meant those who 
apply religion to the extinction of bad pas- 
sions — would be highly desirable. But when, 
by that word, is only intended a sect more de- 
sirous of possessing the appellation than of 
deserving it, — when, under that term, are com- 
prehended thousands of canting hypocrites 
and raving enthusiasts — men despicable from 
their ignorance, and formidable from their 
madness, — the distinction may hereafter prove 
to be truly terrific ; and a dynasty of fools may 
again sweep away both church and state in. 
one hideous ruin. There may be, at present, 
some very respectable men at the head of 
these maniacs, who would insanify them with 
some degree of pnidence, and keep them only 
half mad, if they could. But this won't do ; 
Bedlam will break loose, and overpower its 
keepers. If the preacher sees visions, and 
has visitations, the clerk will come next, and 
then the congregation ; every man will be his 
own prophet, and dream dreams for himself: 
the competition in extravagance will be hot 
and lively, and the whole island a receptacle 
for incurables. There is, at this moment, a 
man in London who prays for what garments 
he wants, and finds them next morning in his 
room, tight and fitting. This man, as might 
be expected, gains between two and three 
thousand a year from the common people, by 
preaching. Anna, the prophetess, encamps in 
the woods of America, with thirteen or four- 
teen thousand followers, and has visits every 
night from the prophet Elijah. Joanna South- 
cote raises the dead, &c. &c. Mr. Styles will 
call us atheists, and disciples of the French 
school, for what we are about to say; but it is 
our decided opinion, that there is some fraud 
in the prophetic visit ; and it is but too pro- 
bable, that the clothes are merely human, and 
the man measured for them in the common 
way. When such blasphemous deceptions 
are practised upon mankind, how can remon- 
strance be misplaced, or exposure mischiev- 
ous 1 If the choice rested with us, we should 
say, — give us back our wolves again, — restore 
our Danish invaders, — curse us with any evil 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



67 



but the evil of a canting, deluded, and Metho- 
distical populace. Wherever Methodism ex- 
tends its baneful influence, the character of 
the English people is constantly changed by- 
it. Boldness and rough honesty ai-e broken 
down into meanness, prevarication, and fraud. 

While Mr. Styles is so severe upon the in- 
dolence of the Church, he should recollect 
that his Methodis'ts are the ex-party ; that it is 
not in human nature, that any persons Avho 
quietly possess power can be as active as 
those who are pursuing it. The fair way to 
state the merit of the two parties is, to esti- 
mate what the exertions of the lachrymal and 
suspirious clergy would be, if they stepped 
into the endowments of their competitors. 
The moment they ceased to be paid by the 
groan, — the instant that Easter offerings no 
longer depended upon jumping and convul- 
sions, — Mr. Styles may assure himself, that 
the character of his darling preachers would 
be totally changed ; their bodies would become 
quiet, and their minds reasonable. 

It is not true, as this bad writer is perpe- 
tually saying, that the world hates piety. That 
modest and unobtrusive piety which fills the 
heart with all human charities, and makes a 
man gentle to others, and severe to himself, is 
an object of universal love and veneration. 
But mankind hate the lust of power when it 
is veiled under the garb of piety ; — they hate 
canting and hypocrisy ; — they hate advertisers 
and quacks and piety ; — they do not choose to 
be insulted ;-^they love to tear folly and im- 
prudence from that altar which shottld only 
be a sanctuary for the wretched and the good. 

Having concluded his defence of Method- 
ism, this fanatical writer opens upon us his 
Missionary battery, firing away with the most 
incessant fury, and calling names, all the time, 
as loud as lungs accustomed to the eloquence 
of the tub usually vociferate. In speaking 
of the cruelties which their religion entails 
upon the Hindoos, Mr. St3ies is peculiarly 
severe upon us for not being more shocked at 
their piercing their limbs with kimes. This is 
rather an unfair mode of alarming his readers 
with the idea of some unknown instrument. 
He represents himself as having paid consi- 
derable attention to the manners and customs 
of the Hindoos ; and, therefore, the peculiar 
stress he lays upon this instrument is na- 
turally calculated to produce, in the minds of 
the humane, a great degree of mysterious 
terror. A drawing of the kbne was impe- 
riously called for; and the want of it is a 
subtle evasion, for which Mr. Styles is fairly 
accountable. As he has been silent on this 
subject, il is for us to explain the plan and 
nature of this terrible and unknown piece of 
mechanism. A kime, then, is neither more 
nor less than a false print in the Edinburgh 
Review for a knife ,- and from this blunder of 
the printer has Mr. Styles manufactured this 
Dsedalean instrument of torture, called a 
kime ! We were at first nearly persuaded 
by his arguments against kimes ; — we grew 
frightened ; — we stated to ourselves the hor- 
ror of not sending missionaries to a nation 
which used kimes ,• — we were struck with the 
nice and accurate information of the Taber- 



nacle upon this important subject: — ^but we 
looked in the errata, and found Mr. Styles to 
be always Mr. Styles, — always cut off from 
every hope of mercy, and remaining for ever 
himself. 

Mr. Styles is right in saying we have abo- 
lished many practices of the Hindoos since 
the establishment of our empire ; but then we 
have always consulted the Brahmins, whether 
or not such practices were conformable to 
their religion ; and it is upon the authority of 
their condemnation that we have proceeded 
to abolition. 

To the whole of Mr. Styles's observations 
upon the introduction of Christianity into 
India, we have one short answer : — it is not 
Christianity which is introduced there, but 
the debased mummery and nonsense of Metho- 
dists, which has little more to do with the 
Christian religion than it has to do with tha 
religion of China. We would as soon con- 
sent that Brodum and Solomon should carry 
the medical art of Europe into India, as that 
Mr. Styles and his Anabaptists should give to 
the Eastern World their notions of our reli- 
gion. We send men of the highest character 
for the administration of justice and the re- 
gulation of trade, — nay, we take great pains 
to impress upon the minds of the natives the 
highest ideas of our arts and manufactures, 
by laying before them the finest specimens of 
our skill and ingenuity, — why, then, are com- 
mon sense and decency to be forgotten in re- 
ligion alone 1 and so foolish a set of men 
allowed to engage themselves in this occupa- 
tion, that the natives almost instinctively duck 
and pelt them] But the missionaries, M^e are 
told, have mastered the languages of the East. 
They may also, for aught we know, in the 
same time, have learnt perspective, astrono' 
my, or any thing else. What is all this to us 1 
Our charge is, that they want sense, conduct, 
and sound religion ; and that, if they are not 
watched, the throat of every European in 
India will be cut : — the answer to which is, 
that their progress in languages is truly asto 
nishing ! If they expose us to eminent peril, 
what matters it if they have every virtue 
under heaven 1 We are rot writing disserta 
tions upon the intellect of Brother Carey, bu* 
stating his character so far as it concerns us 
and caring for it no further. But these pious 
gentlemen care nothing about the loss of the 
country. The plan, it seems, is this : — We 
are to educate India in Christianity, as a pa- 
rent does his child ; and, when it is perfect in 
its catechism, then to pack up, qujt it entirely, 
and leave it to its own management. This is 
the evangelical project for separating a colony 
from the parent country. They see nothing 
of the bloodshed, and massacres, and devasta- 
tions, nor of the speeches in parliament, squan- 
dered millions, fruitless expeditions, jobs and 
pensions, with which the loss of our Indian 
possessions would necessarily be accompa- 
nied ; nor will they see that these consequences 
could arise from the attempt, and not from the 
completion, of their scheme of conversion. 
We should be swept from the peninsula by Pa- 
gan zealo ts; and should lose,among other things, 
all chance of ever really converting them. 



68 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



What is the use, too, of telling us what these 
men endure 1 Suffering is not a merit, but 
only useful suffering. Prove to us that they 
are fit men, doing a fit thing, and we are ready 
to praise the missionaries ; but it gives us no 
pleasure to hear that a man has walked a 
thousand miles with peas in his shoes, unless 
we know why, and wherefore, and to what 
good purpose he has done it. 

But these men, it is urged, foolish and ex- 
travagant as they are, maybe very useful pre- 
cursors of the established clergy. This is 
much as if a regular physician should send a 
quack doctor before him, and say, do you go 
and look after this disease for a day or two, 
and ply the patient well with your nostrums, 
and then I will step in and complete the cure; 
a more notable expedient we have seldom 
heard of. Its patrons forget that these self- 
ordained ministers, with Mr. John Styles at 
their head, abominate the established clergy 
ten thousand times more than they do Pagans, 
who cut themselves with cruel kimes. The 
efforts of these precursors would be directed 
with infinitely more zeal to make the Hindoos 
disbelieve in bishops, than to make them be- 
lieve in Christ. The darling passion in the 
soul of every missionary is, not to teach the 
great leading truths of the Christian faith, but 
to enforce the little paltry modification and 
distinction which he first taught from his own 
tub. And then what a way of teaching Chris- 
tianity is this ! There are five sects, if not six, 
now employed as missionaries, every one in- 
structing the Hindoos in their own particular 
method of interpreting the Scriptures ; and, 
when these have completely succeeded, the 
Church of England is to step in, and convert 
them all over again to its own doctrines. 
There is, indeed, a very fine varnish of proba- 
bility over this ingenious and plausible scheme. 
Mr. John Styles, however, would much rather 
see a kime in the flesh of an Hindoo than the 
hand of a bishop on his head. 

The missionaries complain of intolerance. 
A weasel might as well complain of intoler- 
ance when he is throttled for sucking eggs. 
Toleration for their own opinions, — toleration 
for their domestic worship, for their private 
groans and convulsions, they possess in the 
fullest extent; but who ever heard of tolera- 
tion for intolerance"! Who ever before heard 
men cry out that they were persecuted, be- 
cause they might not insult the religion, shock 
the feelings, irritate the passions of their fel- 
low-creatures, and throw a whole colony into 
bloodshed and confusion? We did not say 
that a man was not an object of pity who 
tormented himself from a sense of duty, but 
that he was not so great an object of pity as 
one equally tormented by the tyranny of an- 
other, and without any sense of duty to sup- 
port him. Let Mr. Styles first inflict forty 
lashes upon himself, then let him allow an 
Edinburgh Reviewer to give him forty more, — 
he will find no comparison between the two 
fleigellations. 

These men talk of the loss of our posses- 
sions in India, as if it made the argument 
against them only more or less strong ; where- 
as, in our estimation, it makes the argument 



against them conclusive, and shuts up the 
case. Two men possess a cow, and they quar- 
rel violently how they shall manage this cow. 
They will surely both of them (if they have a 
particle of common sense) agree, that there is 
an absolute necessity for preventing the cow 
from running away. It is not only the loss 
of India that is in question, — but how will it 
be losti By the massacre of ten or twenty 
thousand English, by the blood of our sons 
and brothers, who have been toiling so many 
years to return to their native country. But 
what is all this to a ferocious Methodist 1 
What care brothers Barrel and Ringleiub for 
us and our colonies'? 

If it were possible to invent a method by 
which a few men sent from a distant country 
could hold such masses of people as the Hin- 
doos in subjection, that method would be the 
institution of castes. There is no institution 
which can so effectually curb the ambition of . 
genius, reconcile the individual more com- 
pletely to his station, and reduce the varieties 
of human character to such a state of insipid 
and monotonous tameness ; and yet the re- 
ligion which destroys castes is said to render 
our empire in India more certain ! It may be 
our duty to make the Hindoos Christians,— 
that is another argument : but, that we shall 
by so doing strengthen our empire, we utterly 
deny. What signifies identity of religion to a 
question of this kind? Diversity of bodily 
colour and of language would soon overpower 
this consideration. Make the Hindoos enter- 
prising, active, and reasonable as yourselves, 
— destroy the eternal track in which they have 
moved for ages — and, in a moment, they would 
sweep you off the face of the earth. Let us 
ask, too, if the Bible is universally diffused in 
Hindostan, what must be the astonishment 
of the natives to find that we are forbidden to 
rob, murder, and steal ; — we who, in fifty years, 
have extended our empire from a few acres 
about Madras over the whole peninsula, and 
sixty millions of people, and exemplified in 
our public conduct every crime of which hu- 
man nature is capable. What matchless im- 
pudence to follow up such practice with such 
precepts! If we have common prudence, let 
us keep the gospel at home, and tell them that 
Machiavel is our prophet, and the god of the 
Manicheans our god. 

There is nothing which disgusts us more 
than the familiarity which these impious cox- 
combs affect with the ways and designs of Pro- 
vidence. Every man, now-a-days, is an Amo8 
or a Malachi. One rushes out of his chambers, 
and tells us we are beaten by the French, be- 
cause we do not abolish the slave trade. An- 
other assures us, that we have no chance of 
victory till India is evangelized. The new 
Christians are now come to speak of the ways 
of their Creator with as much confidence as 
they would of the plans of an earthly ruler. 
We remember when the ways of God to man 
were gazed upon with trembling humility, — 
when they were called inscrutable, — when 
piety looked to another scene of existence for 
the true explanation of this ambiguous and 
distressing world. We were taught in our 
childhood that this was true religion; but it 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



69 



turns out now to be nothing but atheism and 
infidelity. If any thing could surprise us from 
the pen of a Methodist, we should be truly sur- 
prised at the very irreligious and presump- 
tuous answer which Mr. Styles makes to some 
of our arguments. Our title to one of the an- 
ecdotes from the Methodist Magazine is as 
follows: — "A sinner punished — a Bee the in- 
strument;" to which Mr. Styles replies, that we 
might as well ridicule the Scriptures, by re- 
lating their contents in the same ludicrous 
manner. An interference with respect to a tra- 
velling Jew; blindness the consequence. Acts, 
the ninth chapter, and first nine verses. The 
account ofPauVs conversion, S(c. S(c. S(c. page 38. 
But does Mr. Styles forget that the one is a 
shameless falsehood, introduced to sell a two- 
penny book, and the other a miracle recorded 
by inspired writers] In the same manner, 
when we express our surprise that sixty mil- 
lions of Hindoos should be converted by four 
men and sixteen guineas, he asks, what would 
have become of Christianity if the twelve 
Apostles had argued in the same wayl It is 
impossible to make this infatuated gentleman 
understand that the lies of the Evangelical 
Magazine are not the miracles of Scripture; 
and that the Baptist Missionaries are not the 
Apostles. He seriously expects that we should 
speak of Brother Carey as we would speak of 
St. Paul; and treat with an equal respect the 
miracles of the Magazine and the Gospel. 

Mr. Styles knows very well that we have 
never said, because a nation has present hap- 
piness, that it can therefore dispense with im- 
mortal happiness ; but we have said that, where 
of two nations both cannot be made Christians, 
it is more the duty of a missionary to convert 
the one, which is exposed to every evil of bar- 
barism, than the other possessing every bless- 
ing of civilization. Our argument is merely 
comparative : Mr. Styles must have known it 
to be so: — but who does not love the Taber- 
nacle better than truth? When the tenacity 
of the Hindoos on the subject of their religion 
is adduced as a reason against the success of 
the missions, the friends of this understanding 
are always fond of reminding us how patiently 
the Hindoos submitted to the religious perse- 
cutions and butchery of Tippoo. The infer- 
ence from such citations is truly alarming. 
It is the imperious duty of Government to 
watch some of these men most narrowly. — 
There is nothing of which they are not capa- 
ble. And what, after all, did Tippoo effect in 
the way of conversion ? How many Mahome- 
dans did he make I There was all the car- 
nage of Medea's Kettle, and none of the trans- 
formation. He deprived multitudes of Hindoos 
of their caste, indeed; and cut them off from 
all the benefits of their religion. That he did, 



and we may do, by violence; but, did he make 
Mahomedansi — or shall we make Christians? 
This, however, it seems, is a matter of plea- 
santry. To make a poor Hindoo hateful to 
himself and his kindred, and to fix a curse 
upon him to the end of his da)^s ! — we have no 
doubt but that this is very entertaining; and 
particularly to the friends of toleration. But 
our ideas of comedy have been formed in 
another school. We are dull enough to think, 
too, that it is more innocent to exile pigs than 
to oficnd conscience, and destroy human hap- 
piness. The scheme of baptizing with beef 
broth is about as brutal and preposterous as 
the assertion that you may vilify the gods and 
priests of the Hindoos with safety, provided 
you do not meddle with their turbans and 
toupees, (which are cherished solely on a 
principle of religion,) is silly and contemptible. 
After all, if the Mahomedan did persecute the 
Hindoo with impunity, is that any precedent 
of safety to a government that offends every 
feeling both of Mahomedan and Hindoo at the 
same time ? You have a tiger and a buffalo 
in the same enclosure; and the tiger drives 
the buffalo before him ; — is it therefore prudent 
in you to do that which will irritate them both, 
and bring their united strength upon 3'ou? 

In answer to the low malignity of this au- 
thor, we have only to reply, that we are, as we 
always have been, sincere friends to the con- 
version of the Hindoos. We admit the Hin- 
doo religion to be full of follies, and full of 
enormities; — we think conversion a great 
duty; and should think, if it could be effected, a 
great blessing; but our opinion of the mis- 
sionaries and of their employer is such, that 
we most firmly believe, in less than twenty 
years, for the conversion of a few degraded 
wretches, who would be neither Methodists 
nor Hindoos, they would infallibly produce the 
massacre of every European in India;* the 
loss of our settlements; and, consequently, of 
the chance of that slow, solid, and temperate 
introduction of Christianity, which the supe- 
riority of the European character may ulti- 
mately effect in the Eastern world. The Board 
of Control (all Atheists, and disciples of Vol- 
taire, of course) are so entirely of our way of 
thinking, that the most peremptory orders have 
been issued to send all the missionaries home 
upon the slightest appearance of disturbance. 
Those who have sons and brothers in India 
may now sleep in peace. Upon the transmis- 
sion of this order, Mr. Styles is said to have 
destroyed himself with a kime. 



♦ Every opponent saj-s of Major Scott's book, "What 
a dangerous book ! the arrival of it at Calcutta may 
throw the whole Indian empire into confusion ;" and yet 
these are the people whose religious prejudices may be 
insulted with impunity. 



70 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH, 



HANNAH MOEE.* 



[Edinburgh E.eview, 1809.] 



This book is written, or supposed to be writ- 
ten, (for we would speak timidly of the mys- 
teries of superior beino^s,) by the celebrated 
Mrs. Hannah More! We shall probably give 
great offence by such indiscretion; but still we 
must be excused for treating it as a book 
merely human, — an uninspired production, — 
the result of mortality left to itself, and de- 
pending on its own limited resources. In tak- 
ing up the subject in this point of view, we so- 
lemnly disclaim the slightest intention of in- 
dulging in any indecorous levity, or of wound- 
ing the religious feelings of a large class of very 
respectable persons. It is the only method in 
which we can possibly make this work a pro- 
per object of criticism. We have the strong- 
est possible doubts of the attributes usually 
ascribed to this authoress; and we think it 
more simple and manly to say so at once, than 
to admit nominallj^ superlunary claims, which, 
in the progress of our remarks, we should vir- 
tually deny. 

Coelebs wants a wife : and, after the death 
of his father, quits his estate in Northumber- 
land to see the world, and to seek for one of 
its best productions, a woman, who may add 
materially to the happiness of his future life. 
His first journey is to London, where, in the 
midst of the gay society of the metropolis, of 
course, he does not find a wife ; and his next 
journey is to the famih^ of Mr. Stanley, the 
head of the Methodists, a serious people, where, 
of course, he does find a wife. The exaltation, 
therefore, of what the authoress deems to be 
the religious, and the depreciation of what she 
considers to be the worldly character, and the 
influence of both upon matrimonial happiness, 
form the subject of this novel, — rather of this 
dramatic sermon. 

The machinery upon which the discourse is 
suspended is of the slightest and most inarti- 
ficial texture, bearing every mark of haste, and 
possessing not the slightest claim to merit. 
Events there are none; and scarcely a charac- 
ter of any interest. The book is intended to 
convey religious advice; and no more labour 
appears to have been bestowed upon the story, 
than was merely sufficient to throw it out of 
the dry, didactic form. Lucilla is totally un- 
interesting; so is Mr. Stanley ; Dr. Barlow still 
worse; and Ccelebs a mere clod or dolt. Sir 
John and Lady Belfield are rather more inte- 
resting — and for a very obvious reason: they 
have some faults ; they put us in mind of men 
and women ; they seem to belong to one com- 
mon nature with ourselves. As we read, we 
seem to think we might act as such people 
act, and therefore we attend; whereas imita- 



* Cmlebs in Search nf a If'ife ; cowprehendiv ff Ohserva- 
tions on Dnmesfic Habits and Manners, Religion and Mo- 
rals. 2 vols. London, 1809. 



tion is hopeless in the more perfect characters 
which Mrs. More has set before us; and 
therefore they inspire us with very little inte- 
rest. 

There are books, however, of all kinds ; and 
those may not be unwisely planned which set 
before us very pure models. They are less 
probable, and therefore less amusing, than or- 
dinary stories; but they are more amusing 
than plain, unfabled precept. Sir Charles 
Grandison is less agreeable than Tom Jones; 
but it is more agreeable than Sherlock and 
Tillotson; and teaches religion and morality 
to many who would not seek it in the produc- 
tions of these professional writers. 

But, making every allowance for the diffi- 
culty of the task which Mrs. More has pre- 
scribed to herself, the book abounds with marks 
of negligence and want of skill ; with repre- 
sentations of life and manners which are either 
false or trite. 

Temples to friendship and virtue must be 
totally laid aside, for many years to come, in 
novels. Mr. Lane, of the Minerva Press, has 
given them up long since ; and we were quite 
surprised to find such a writer as Mrs. More 
busied in moral brick and mortar. Such an 
idea, at first, was merely juvenile; the second 
time, a little nauseous; but the ten thousandth 
time it is quite intolerable. Coelebs, upon hfs 
first arrival in London, dines out, — meets with 
a bad dinner, — supposes the cause of that bad 
dinner to be the erudition of the ladies of the 
house, — talks to them upon learned subjects, 
and finds them as dull and ignorant as if they 
had piqued themselves upon all the mj^steries 
of housewifery. We humbly submit to Mrs. 
More, that this is not humorous, but strained 
and unnatural. Philippics against frugivo- 
rous children after dinner are too common. 
Lady Melbury has been introduced into every 
novel for these four years last past. Peace to 
her ashes ! 

The characters in this novel Avhich evince 
the greatest skill are unquestionably those of 
Mrs. Ranby and her daughters. There are 
some scenes in this part of the book extremely 
well painted, and which evince that Mrs. More 
could amuse, in no common degree, if amuse- 
ment was her object. 

" At tea I found the young ladies took no 
more interest in the conversation than they 
had done at dinner, but sat whispering and 
laughing, and netting white silk gloves, till 
they were summoned to the harpsichord. 
Despairing of getting on with them in com 
pany, I proposed a walk in the garden. I now 
found them as willing to talk as destitute of 
any thing to say. Their conversation was 
vapid and frivolous. They laid great stress 
on small things. They seemed to have no 
shades in their understanding, but used the 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



71 



strongest terms for the commonest occasions ; 
and admiration was excited by things hardly 
worthy to command attention. They were 
extremely glad and extremely sorry on sub- 
jects not calculated to excite affections of 
any kind. They were animated about trifles, 
and indifferent on things of importance. They 
were, I must confess, frank and good-na- 
tured ; but it was evident that, as they were 
too open to have any thing to conceal, so 
they were too uninformed to have any thing 
to produce ; and I was resolved not to risk 
my happiness with a woman who could not 
contribute her full share towards spending 
a wet winter cheerfully in the country." — (I. 
54, 55.) 

This trait of character appears to us to be 
very good. The following passage is still 
better. 

"In the evening, Mrs. Ranby was lamenting 
in general, in rather customary terms, her oAvn 
exceeding sinfulness. Mr. Ranby said, ' You 
accuse yourself rather too heavily, my dear ; 
you have sins to be sure.' ' And pray what 
sins have I, Mr. Ranb)'- V said she, turning upon 
him with so much quickness that the poor 
man started. 'Nay,' said he, meekly, 'I did 
not mean to offend you; so far from it, that, 
hearing you condemn yourself so grievously, 
I intended to comfort you, and to say that, 

except a few faults ' 'And pray what 

faults ]' interrupted she, continuing to speak, 
however, lest he should catch an interval to 
tell them. ' I defy you, Mr. Ranby, to produce 
one.' ' My dear,' replied he, ' as you charged 
yourself with all, I thought it would be letting 
you off cheaply, by naming onl)' two or three, 

such as ' Here, fearing matters would 

go too far, I interposed ; and, softening things 
as much as I could for the ladj^ said, 'I con- 
ceived that Mr. Ranb}'' meant, that though she 

partook of the general corruption ' Here 

Ranby, interrupting me with more spirit than 
I thought he possessed, said, ' General corrup- 
tion, sir, must be the source of particular cor- 
ruption. I did not mean that my wife was 
worse than other women.' — ' Worse, Mr. 
Ranby, worse V cried she. Ranby, for the 
first time in his life, not minding her, went on, 
' As she is always insisting that the whole 
species is corrupt, she cannot help allowing 
that she herself has not quite escaped the infec- 
tion. Now, to be a sinner in the gross, and a 
saint in the detail — that is, to have all sins, 
and no faults — is a thing I do not quite com- 
prehend.' 

" After he had left the room, which he did 
as the shortest way of allaying the storm, she, 
apologizing for him, said, 'he was a well- 
meaning man, and acted up to the little light 
he had ;' but added, ' that he was unacquainted 
with religious feelings, and knew little of the 
nature of conversion.' 

" Mrs. Ranby, I found, seems to consider 
Christianity as a kind of free-masonry; and 
therefore thinks it superfluous to speak on 
serious subjects to any but the initiated. If 
they do not return the sign, she gives them up 
as blind and dead. She thinks she can only 
make herself intelligible to those to whom 



certain peculiar phrases are familiar: and 
though her friends maj^ be correct, devout, and 
both doctrinally and practically pious ; )^et, if 
they cannot catch a certain mystic meaning, — 
if there is not a sympathy of intelligence 
between her and them, — if they do not fully 
conceive of impressions, and cannot respond 
to mysterious communications, she holds them 
unworthy of intercourse with her. She does 
not so much insist on high moral excellence 
as the criterion of their worth, as on their 
own account of their internal feelings." — (I. 
60—63.) 

The great object kept in view, throughout 
the whole of this introduction, is the enlbrce- 
ment of religious principle, and the condemna- 
tion of a life lavished in dissipation and 
fashionable amusement. In the pursuit of this 
object, it appears to us that Mrs. More is much 
too severe upon the ordinary amusements of 
mankind, many of which she does not object 
to in this or that degree, but altogether. 
Coelebs and Lucilla, her optinms and optima^ 
never dance, and never go to the play. They 
not only stay away from the comedies of 
Congreve and Farquhar, for which they may 
easily enough be forgiven ; but they never go 
to see Mrs. Siddons in the Gamester, or in 
Jane Shore. The finest exhibition of talent, 
and the most beautiful moral lessons, are in- 
terdicted at the theatre. There is something 
in the word Playhouse which seems so closely 
connected, in the minds of these people, with 
sin and Satan, — that it stands in their vocabu- 
lary for every species of abomination. And 
yet why? Where is every feeling more roused 
in favour of virttie than at a good play ] 
Where is goodness so feelingly, so enthusias- 
tically learnt 1 What so solemn as to see the 
excellent passions of the human heart called 
forth by a great actor, animated by a great poet 1 
To hear Siddons repeat what Shakspeare wrote 1 
To behold the child and his mother — the noble 
and the poor artisan — the monarch and his 
subjects — all ages and all ranks convulsed 
with one common passion — wrung with one 
common anguish, and, with loud sobs and 
cries-, doing involuntary homage to the God 
that made their hearts ! What wretched infa- 
tuation to interdict such amusements as these ! 
What a blessing that mankind can be allured 
from sensual gratification, and find relaxation 
and pleasure in such pursuits ! Bttt the excel- 
lent Mr. Stanley is uniformly paltry and nar- 
row, — always trembling at the idea of being 
entertained, and thinking no Christian safe 
who is not dull. As to the spectacles of im- 
propriety which are sometimes witnessed in 
parts of the theatre, such reasons apply, in a 
much stronger degree, to not driving along the 
Strand, or any of the great public streets of 
London, after dark ; and, if the virtue of well- 
educated young persons is made of such very 
frail materials, their best resource is a nun 
nery at once. It is a very bad rule, however, 
never to quit the house for fear of catching 
cold. 

Mrs. More practically extends the same 
doctrine to cards and assemblies. No cards 
— because cards are employed in gaming; no 
assemblies — because many dissipated persons 



72 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



pass their lives in assemblies. Carry this but 
a little further, and we must say, no wine — 
because of drunkenness ; no meat — because 
of gluttony ; no use, that there may be no 
abuse ! The fact is, that Mr. Stanley wants, 
not only to be religious, but to be at the head 
of the religious. These little abstinences are 
the cockades by which the party are known, — 
the rallying points for the evangelical faction. 
So natural is the love of power, that it some- 
times becomes the influencing motive with the 
sincere advocates of that blessed religion 
whose very characteristic excellence is the 
humility which it inculcates. 

We observe that Mrs. More, in one part of 
her work, falls into the common error about 
dress. She first blames ladies for exposing 
their persons in the present style of dress, and 
then says, if they knew their own interest, — if 
they were aware how much more alluring 
they were to men when their charms are less 
displayed, they would make the desired altera- 
tion from motives merely selfish. 

" Oh ! if women in general knew what was 
their real interest, if they could guess with 
Avhat a charm even the appearance of modesty 
invests its possessor, they would dress deco- 
rously from mere self-love, if not from prin- 
ciple. The designing would assume modesty 
as an artifice ; the coquette would adopt it as 
an allurement; the pure as her appropriate 
attraction ; and the voluptuous as the most 
infallible art of seduction." — (I. 189.) 

If there is any truth in this passage, nudity 
becomes a virtue ; and no decent woman, for 
the future, can be seen in garments. 

We have a few more of Mrs. More's opinions 
to notice. — It is not fair to attack the religion 
of the times, because, in large and indiscri- 
minate parties, religion does not become the 
subject of conversation. Conversation must 
and ought to grow out of materials on which 
men can agree, not upon subjects which try 
the passions. But this good lady Avants to see 
men chatting together upon the Pelagian 
heresy — to hear, in the afternoon, the theolo- 
gical rumours of the day — and to glean pole- 
mical tittle-tattle at a tea-table rout. All the 
disciples of this school uniformly fall into the 
same mistake. They are perpetually calling 
upon their votaries for religious thoughts and 
religious conversation in every thing ; inviting 



them to ride, walk, row, wrestle, and dine out 
religiously ; — forgetting that the being to whom 
this impossible purity is recommended, is a 
being compelled to scramble for his existence 
and support for ten hours out of the sixteen he 
is awake ; — forgetting that he must dig, beg, 
read, think, move, pay, receive, praise, scold, 
command, and obey; — forgetting, also, that if 
men conversed as often upon religious subjects 
as they do upon the ordinaiy occurrences of 
the world, they would converse upon them 
with the same familiarity and want of respect, 
— that religion would then produce feelings not 
more solemn or exalted than any other topics 
which constitute at present the common furni» 
ture of human understandings. 

We are glad to find in this work some strong 
compliments to the efficacy of works, — some 
distinct admissions that it is necessary to be 
honest and just, before we can be considered 
as religious. Such sort of concessions are 
very gratifying to us ; but how will they be 
received by the children of the Tabernacle 1 
It is quite clear, indeed, throughout the whole 
of the work, that an apologetical explanation 
of certain religious opinions is intended; and 
there is a considerable abatement of that tone 
of insolence with which the improved Chris- 
tians are apt lo treat the bungling specimens 
of piety to be met with in the more ancient 
churches. 

So much for the extravagances of this lady. 
— With equal sincerity, and with greater plea- 
sure, we bear testimony to her talents, her good 
sense, and her real piety. There occur every 
now and then, in her productions, very original, 
and very profound observations. Her advice 
is very often characterized by the most amiable 
good sense, and conveyed in the most brilliant 
and inviting style. If, instead of belonging to 
a trumpery faction, she had only watched over 
those great points of religion in which the 
hearts of every sect of Christians are interest- 
ed, she would have been one of the most useful 
and valuable writers of her day. As it is, 
every man would wish his wife and his children 
to read Coelebs ,• — watching himself its effects ; 
— separating the piety from the puerility ; — 
and showing that it is very possible to be a 
good Christian, without degrading the human 
understanding to the trash and folly of Me- 
thodism. 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



73 



PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION/ 



[Edinburgh Review, 1809.] 



There ar«" two questions to be asked respect- 
ing every new publication. Is it worth buying 1 
Is it worth borrowing ■? and we would advise 
our readers to weigh diligently the importance 
of these interrogations, before they take any 
decided step as to this work of Mr. Edgeworth ; 
the more especially as the name carries with 
it considerable authority, and seems, in the 
estimation of the unwary, almost to include 
the idea of purchase. For our own part, we 
would rather decline giving a direct answer to 
these questions; and shall content ourselves 
for the present with making a few such slight 
observations as may enable the sagacious to 
conjecture what our direct answer would be 
were we compelled to be more explicit. 

One great and signal praise we think to be 
the eminent due of Mr. Edgeworth: in a cant- 
ing age, he does not cant; — at a period when 
hypocrisy and fanaticism will almost certainly 
insure the success of any publication, he has 
constantly disdained to have recourse to any 
such arts ; — without ever having been accused 
of disloyalty or irreligion, he is not always 
harping upon Church and King, in order to 
catch at a little popularity, and sell his books ; — 
he is manly, independent, liberal — and main- 
tains enlightened opinions with discretion and 
honesty. There is also in this work of Mr. 
Edgeworth an agreeable diffusion of anecdote 
and example, such as a man acquires who 
reads with a view to talking or writing. With 
these merits, we cannot say that Mr. Edgeworth 
is either very new, very profound, or very apt 
to be right in his opinion. He is active, enter- 
prising, and unprejudiced; but we have not 
been very much instructed by what he has 
written, or always satisfied that he has got to 
the bottom of his subject. 

On one subject, however, we cordially agree 
with this gentleman ; and return him our thanks 
for the courage with which he has combated 
the excessive abuse of classical learning in 
England. It is a subject upon which we have 
long wished for an opportunity of saying 
something; and one which we consider to be 
of the very highest importance. 

"The principal defect," says Mr. Edgeworth, 
"in the present system of our great schools is, 
that they devote too large a portion of time to 
Latin and Greek. It is true, that the attainment 
of classical literature is highly desirable ; but 
it should not, or rather it need not, be the ex- 
clusive object of boys during eight or nine 
years. 

" Much less time, judiciously managed, would 
give them an acquaintance with the classics 
sufficient for all useful purposes, and would 
make them as good scholars as gentlemen or 



♦ Essays on Profesiional Education. By R. I,. Edog- 
WOBTH, Esq., F. R. S., &c. London, 1809. 
10 



professional men need to be. It is not requi- 
site that every man should make Latin or 
Greek verses ; therefore, a knowledge of pro- 
sody beyond the structure of hexameter and 
pentameter verses, is as worthless an acquisi- 
tion as any which folly or fashion has intro- 
duced amongst the higher classes of mankind. 
It must indeed be acknowledged that there are 
some rare exceptions ; but even party prejudice 
would allow, that the persons alluded to must 
have risen to eminence though they had never 
written sapphics or iambics. Though precep» 
tors, parents, and the public in general, may be 
convinced of the absurdity of making boys 
spend so much of life in learning what can be 
of no use to them ; such are the difficulties of 
making any change in the ancient rules of 
great establishments, that masters themselves, 
however reasonable, dare not, and cannot make 
sudden alterations. 

"The only remedies that can be suggested 
might be, perhaps, to take those boys, who are 
not intended for professions in which deep 
scholarship is necessary, away from school 
before they reach the highest classes, where 
prosody and Greek and Latin verses are 
required. 

"In the college of Dublin, where an admira- 
ble course of instruction has been long esta- 
blished, where this course is superintended by 
men of acknowledged learning and abilities, 
and pursued by students of uncommon in- 
dustry, such is the force of example, and such 
the fear of appearing inferior in trifles to En- 
glish universities, that much pains have been 
lately taken to introduce the practice of writ- 
ing Greek and Latin verses, and much solici- 
tude has been shown about the prosody of the 
learnfd languages, without any attention being 
paid to the prosody of our own. 

" Boarding-houses for the scholars at Eton 
and Westminster, which are at present mere 
lodging houses, might be kept by private tutors, 
who might, during the hours when the boys 
were not in their public classes, assist them in 
acquiring general literature, or such know- 
ledge as might be advantageous for their re- 
spective professions. 

"New schools, that are not restricted to any 
established routine, should give a fair trial to 
experiments in education, which afford a ra- 
tional prospect of success. If nothing can be 
altered in the old schools, leave them as they 
are. Destroy nothing — injure none — but let 
the public try whether they cannot have some- 
thing better. If the experiment do not suc- 
ceed, the public will be convinced that they 
ought to acquiesce in the established methods 
of instruction, and parents will send their 
children to the ancient seminaries with in- 
creased confidence." — (p. 47 — 49.) 

We are well aware that nothing very new 
G 



74 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



can remain to be said upon a topic so often 
debated. The complaints we have to make 
are at least as old as the time of Locke and 
Dr. Samuel Clarke; and the evil which is the 
subject of these complaints has certainly 
rather increased than diminished since the 
period of those two great men. An hundred 
years, to be sure, is a very little time for the 
duration of a national error; and it is so far 
from being reasonable to look for its decay at 
so short a date, that it can hardly be expected, 
within such limits, to have displayed the full 
bloom of its imbecility. 

There are several feelings to which attention 
must be paid, before the question of classical 
learning can be fairly and temperately dis- 
cussed. 

We are apt,, in the first place, to remember 
the immense benefits which the study of the 
classics once conferred on mankind ; and to 
feel for those models on which the taste of 
Europe has been formed, something like senti- 
ments of gratitude and obligation. This is all 
well enough, so long as it continues to be a 
mere feeling; but, as soon as it interferes with 
action, it nourishes dangerous prejudices about 
education. Nothing will do in the pursuit of 
knowledge but the blackest ingratitude; the 
moment we have got up the ladder we must 
kick it down ; — as soon as we have passed 
over the bridge, we must let it rot; — when we 
have got upon the shoulders of the ancients, 
we must look over their heads. The man who 
forgets the friends of his childhood in real life, 
is base: but he who clings to the props of his 
childhood in literature, must be content to re- 
main as ignorant as he was when a child. His 
business is to forget, disown, and deny — to 
think himself above every thing which has 
been of use to him in tinoe past — and to culti- 
vate that exclusively from which he expects 
future advantage : in short, to do every thing 
for the advancement of his knowledge which 
it would be infamous to do for the advancement 
of his fortune. If mankind still derive advan- 
tage from classical literature proportionate to 
the labour they bestow upon it, let their labour 
and their study proceed ; but the moment we 
cease to read Latin and Greek for the solid 
utility we derive from them, it would be a very 
romantic application of human talents to do so 
from any feeling of gratitude, and recollection 
of past service. 

To almost every Englishman up to the age 
of three or four and twenty, classical learning 
has been the great object of existence ; and no 
man is very apt to suspect, or very much 
pleased to hear, that what he has done for so 
long a time was not worth doing. His clas- 
sical literature, too, reminds every man of the 
scenes of his childhood, and brings to his fancy 
several of the most pleasing associations 
which we are capable of forming. A certain 
iort of vanity, also, very naturally grows 
among men occupied in a common pursuit. 
Classical quotations are the watchwords of 
scholars, by which they distinguish each other 
from the ignorant and illiterate; and Greek 
and Latin are insensibly become almost the 
only test of a cultivated mind. 

Some men through indolence, others through 



ignorance, and most through necessity, submit 
to the established education of the times ; and 
seek for their children that species of distinc- 
tion which happens, at the period iu which 
they live, to be stamped with the approbation 
of mankind. This mere question of conve- 
nience every parent must determine for him- 
self. A poor man, who has his fortune to 
gain, must be a quibbling theologian, or a 
classical pedant, as fashion dictates ; and he 
must vary his error with the error of the times. 
But it would be much more fortunate for man- 
kind, if the public opinion, which regulates 
the pursuits of individuals, were more wise 
and enlightened than it at present is. 

All these considerations make it extremely 
difficult to procure a candid hearing on this 
question; and to refer this branch of educa- 
tion to the only proper criterion of every 
branch of education — its utility in future life. 

There are two questions which grow out of - 
this subject: 1st, How far is any sort of clas- 
sical education useful 1 2d, How far is that 
particular classical education adopted in this 
country useful 1 

Latin and Greek are, in the first place, use- 
ful, as they inure children to intellectual diffi- 
culties, and make the life of a young student 
what it ought to be, a life of considerable 
labour. We do not, of course, mean to con- 
fine this praise exclusively to the study of 
Latin and Greek; or to suppose that other 
difficulties might not be found which it would 
be useful to overcome : but though Latin and 
Greek have this merit in common with many 
arts and sciences, still they have it ; and, if 
they do nothing else, they at least secure a 
solid and vigorous application at a period of 
life which materially influences all other pe- 
riods. 

To go through the grammar of one language 
thoroughly is of great use for the mastery of 
every other grammar; because there obtains, 
through all languages, a certain analogy to 
each other in their grammatical construction. 
Latin and Greek have now mixed themselves 
etymologically with all the languages of mo- 
dern Europe — and with none more than our 
own ; so that it is necessary to read these two 
tongues for other objects than themselves. 

The two ancient languages are, as mere in- 
ventions — as pieces of mechanism — incompa- 
rably more beautiful than any of the modern 
languages of Europe : their mode of signifying 
time and case by terminations, instead of aux- 
iliary verbs and participles, would of itself 
stamp their superiority. Add to this, the co- 
piousness of the Greek language, with the 
fancy, majesty, and harmony of its com- 
pounds ; and tliere are quite sufficient reasons 
why the classics should be studied for the 
beauties of language. Compared to them, 
merely as vehicles of thought and passion, 
all modern languages are dull, ill-contrived, 
and barbarous. 

That a great part of the Scriptures has 
come down to us in the Greek language, is of 
itself a reason, if all others were wanting, why 
education should be planned so as to produce 
a supply of Greek scholars. 

The cultivation of style is very justly made 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



75 



a part of education. Every thing which is 
written is meant either to please or to instruct. 
The second object it is difficult to efTect, with- 
out attending to the first; and the cultivation 
of style is the acquisition of those rules and 
literary habits which sagacity anticipates, or 
experience shows to be the most effectual 
means of pleasing. Those works are the best 
which have longest stood the test of time, and 
pleased the greatest numbers of exercised 
minds. Whatever, therefore, our conjectures 
ma)'' be, we cannot be so sure that the best 
modern writers can aflbrd us as good models 
as the ancients ; — we cannot be certain that 
they will live through the revolutions of the 
world, and continue to please in every climate 
— under every species of government — through 
every stage of civilization. The moderns 
have been well taught by their masters ; but 
the time is hardly yet come when the necessity 
for such instruction no longer exists. We 
may still borrow descriptive power from Ta- 
citus ; dignified perspicuity from Livy ; simpli- 
city from Cassar ; and from Homer some por- 
tion of that light and heat which, dispersed 
into ten thousand channels, has filled the world 
with bright images and illustrious thoughts. 
Let the cultivator of modern literature addict 
himself to the purest models of taste which 
France, Italy, and England could supply, he 
might still learn from Virgil to be majestic, 
and from Tibullus to be tender; he might not 
j'et look upon the face of nature as Theocritus 
.saw it; nor might he reach those springs of 
pathos with which Euripides softened the 
hearts of his audience. In short, it appears to 
us, that there are so many excellent reasons 
why a certain number of scholars should be 
kept up in this and in every civilized country, 
that we should consider every system of edu- 
cation from which classical education was 
excluded, as radically erroneous and com- 
pletely absurd. 

That vast advantages, then, may be derived 
from classical learning, there can be no doubt. 
The advantages which are derived from clas- 
sical learning by the English manner of teach- 
ing, involve another and a very different ques- 
tion ; and we will venture to say, that there never 
was a more complete instance in any country 
of such extravagant and overacted attachment 
to any branch of knowledge as that which ob- 
tains in this country with regard to classical 
knowledge. A young Englishman goes to 
school at six or seven years old; and he re- 
mains in a course of education till twenty-three 
or twenty-four years of age. In all that time, 
his sole and exclusive occupation is learning 
Latin and Greek :* he has scarcely a notion 
that there is any other kind of excellence; and 
the great system of facts with which he is the 
most perfectly acquainted, are the intrigues of 
the heathen gods : with whom Pan slept 1 — 
with whom Jupiter? — whom Apollo ravished? 
These facts the English youth get by heart the 
moment they quit the nursery; and are most 
sedulously and industriousl}' instructed in 
them till the best and most active part of life 

* Unless he goes to the University of Cambridge ; and 
then classics occui)y him entirely for about ten years; 
and divide him with mathematics for four or five more. 



is passed away. Now, this long career of 
classical learning, we may, if we please, de- 
nominate a foundation; but it is a foundation 
so far above ground, that there is absolutely 
no room to put any thing upon it. If you 
occupy a man with one thing till he is twenty- 
four years of age, you have exhausted all his 
leisure time: he is called into the world, and 
compelled to act; or is surrounded with plea- 
sures, and thinks and reads no more. If you have 
neglected to put other things in him, they will 
never get in afterwards ; — if you have fed him 
only with words, he will remain a narrow and 
limited being to the end of his existence. 

The bias given to men's minds is so strong, 
that it is no uncommon thing to meet with 
Englishmen, whom, but for their gray hairs 
and wrinkles, we might easily mistake for 
schoolboys. Their talk is of Latin verses; 
and It is quite clear, if men's ages are to be 
dated from the state of their mental progress, 
that such men are eighteen years of age, and 
not a day older. Their minds have been so 
completely possessed by exaggerated notions 
of classical learning, that they have not been 
able, in the great school of the world, to form 
any other notion of real greatness. Attend, 
too, to the public feelings — look to all the terms 
of applause. A learned man ! — a scholar ! — a 
man of erudition ! Upon whom are these epi- 
thets of approbation bestowed? Are they 
given to men acquainted with the science of 
government? thoroughly masters of the geo- 
graphical and commercial relations of Europe ? 
to men who know the properties of bodies, and 
their action upon each other ? No : this is not 
learning: it is chemistry, or political economy 
—not learning. The distinguishing abstract 
term, the epithet of Scholar, is reserved for 
him who writes on the CEolic reduplication, 
and is familiar with the Sylburgian method of 
arranging defectives in a. and /ui. The picture 
which a young Englishman, addicted to the 
pursuit of knowledge, draws — his beau ideal of 
human nature — his top and consummation of 
man's powers — is a knowledge of the Greek 
language. His object is not to reason, to 
imaginfe, or to invent; but to conjugate, de- 
cline, and derive. The situations of imagina- 
ry glory which he draws for himself, are the 
detection of an anapeest in the wrong place, or 
the restoration of a dative case which Cranzius 
had passed over, and the never-dying Ernesti 
failed to observe. If a young classic of this 
kind were to meet the greatest chemist or the 
greatest mechanician, or the most profound 
political economist of his time, in compaiiy 
with the greatest Greek scholar, would the 
slightest comparison between them ever come 
across his mind? — would he ever dream that 
such men as Adam Smith and Lavoisier were 
equal in dignity of understanding to, or of the 
same utility as, Bentley and Heyne ? We are 
inclined to think, that the feeling excited would 
be a good deal like that which was expressed 
by Dr. George about the praises of the great 
King of Prussia, who entertained considerable 
doubts whether the king, with all his victories, 
knew how to conjugate a Greek verb in jui. 

Another misfortune of classical learning, as 
taught in England, is, that scholars have come, 



76 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



in process of time, and from the effects of asso- 
cialion, to love the instrument better than the 
end ; — not the luxury which the difficulty en- 
closes, but the difficulty; — not the filbert, but 
the shell ; — not what may be read in Greek, 
but Greek itself. It is not so much the man 
who has mastered the wisdom of the ancients, 
that is valued, as he who displays his know- 
ledge of the vehicle in which that wisdom is 
conveyed. The glory is to show I am a scho- 
lar. The good sense and ingenuity I may gain 
by my acquaintance with ancient authors is 
matter of opinion ; but if I bestow an immen- 
sity of pains upon a point of accent or quan- 
tity, this is something positive ; I establish my 
pretensions to the name of scholar, and gain 
the credit of learning, while I sacrifice all its 
utility. 

Another evil in the present system of classi- 
cal education is the extraordinary perfection 
which is aimed at in teaching those languages; 
a needless perfection; an accuracy which is 
sought for in nothing else. There are few 
boys who remain to the age of eighteen or 
nineteen at a public school, without making 
above ten thousand Latin verses ; — a greater 
number than is contained in the jEneid: and 
after he has made this quantity of verses in a 
dead language, unless the poet should happen 
to be a very weak man indeed, he never makes 
another as long as he lives. It may be urged, 
and it is urged, that this is of use in teaching 
the delicacies of the language. No doubt it 
is of use for this purpose, if we put out of 
view the immense time and trouble sacrificed 
in gaining these little delicacies. It would be 
of use that we should go on till fifty years of 
age making Latin verses, if the price of a 
whole life were not too much to pay for it. 
We effect our object ; but we do it at the price 
of something greater than our object. And 
whence comes it, that the expenditure of life 
and labour is totally put out of the calculation, 
when Latin and Greek are to be attained? In 
every other occupation, the question is fairly 
stated between the attainment, and the time 
employed in the pursuit; — but, in classical 
learning, it seems to be sufficient if the least 
possible good is gained by the greatest possible 
exertion ; if the end is any thing, and the means 
every thing. It is of some importance to speak 
and write French; and innumerable delicacies 
would be gained by writing ten thousand 
French verses : but it makes no part of our 
education to write French poetry. It is of 
some importance that there should be good 
botanists ; but no botanist can repeat, by heart, 
the names of all the plants in the known 
world ; nor is any astronomer acquainted with 
the appellation and magnitude of every star in 
the map of the heavens. The only department 
of human knowledge in which there can be no 
excess, no arithmetic, no balance of profit and 
loss, is classical learning. 

The prodigious honour in which Latin verses 
are held at public schools, is surely the most 
absurd of all absurd distinctions. You rest all 
reputation upon doing that which is a natural 
gift, and which no labour can attain. If a lad 
won't learn the words of a language, his de- 
gradation in the school is a very natural pun- 



ishment for his disobedience, or his indolence; 
but it would be as reasonable to expect that all 
boys should be witty, or beautiful, as that they 
should be poets. In either case, it would be 
to make an accidental, unattainable, and not a 
very important gift of nature, the only, or the 
principal, test of merit. This is the reason 
why boys, who make a very considerable 
figure at school, so very often make no figure 
in the world ; — and why other lads, who are 
passed over without notice, turn out to be va- 
luable, important men. The test established in 
the world is widely different from that esta- 
blished in a place which is presumed to be a 
preparation for the world ; and the head of a 
public school, who is a perfect miracle to his 
contemporaries, finds himself shrink into ab- 
solute insignificance, because he has nothing 
else to command respect or regard, but a talent 
for fugitive poetry in a dead language. 

The present state of classical education cul- 
tivates the imagination a great deal too much, 
and other habits of mind a great deal too little: 
and trains up many young men in a style of 
elegant imbecility, utterly unworthy of the 
talents with which nature has endowed them. 
It may be said, there are profound investiga- 
tions, and subjects quite powerful enough for 
any understanding, to be met with in classical 
literature. So there are; but no man likes to 
add the difficulties of a language to the diffi- 
culties of a subject; and to study metaphysics, 
morals, and politics in Greek, when the Greek 
alone is study enough without them. In all 
foreign languages, the most popular works are 
works of imagination. Even in the French 
language, which we know so well, for one 
serious work which has any currency in this 
country, we have twenty which are mere works 
of imagination. This is still more true in 
classical literature; because what their poets 
and orators have left us, is of infinitely greater 
value than the remains of their philosophy ; 
for, as society advances, men think more ac- 
curately and deeply, and imagine more tamely; 
works of reasoning advance, and works of 
fancy decay. So that the matter of fact is, that 
a classical scholar of twenty-three or twenty- 
four years of age, is a man principally conver- 
sant with the works of imagination. His feel- 
ings are quick, his fancy lively, and his taste 
good. Talents for speculation and original 
inquiry he has none ; nor has he formed the 
invaluable habit of pushing things up to their 
first principles, or of collecting dry and un- 
amusing facts as the materials of reasoning. 
All the solid and masculine parts of his under- 
standing are left wholly without cultivation ; 
he hates the pain of thinking, and suspects 
every man whose boldness and originality call 
upon him to defend his opinions and prove his 
assertions. 

A very curious argument is sometimes em- 
ployed in justification of the learned minutiae 
to which all young men are doomed, whatever 
be their propensities in future life. What are 
you to do with a young man up to the age of se- 
venteen? Just as if there was such a want of 
difficulties to overcome, and of important 
tastes to inspire, that from the mere necessity 
of doing something, and the impossibility of 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



77 



doing any thing else, you were driven to the 
expedient of metre and poetry; — as if a young 
man within that period might not acquire the 
modern languages, modern history, experimen- 
tal philosophy, geography, chronology, and a 
considerable share of mathematics ; — as if the 
memory of things was not more agreeable 
and more profitable than the memory of words. 

The great objection is, that we are not mak- 
ing the most of human life, when we consti- 
tute such an extensive, and such minute clas- 
sical erudition, an indispensable article in 
education. Up to a certain point we would 
educate every young man in Latin and Greek; 
but to a point far short of that to which this 
species of education is now carried. After- 
wards, we would grant to classical erudition as 
high honours as to every other department of 
knowledge, but not higher. We would place 
it upon a footing with many other objects of 
study ; but allow it no superiority. Good 
scholars would be as certainly produced by 
these means as good chemists, astronomers, 
and mathematicians are now produced, with- 
out any direct provision whatsoever for their 
production. Why are we to trust to the diver- 
sity of human tastes, and the varieties of human 
ambition in every thing else, and distrust it in 
classics alone 1 The passion for language is 
just as strong as any other literary passion. 
There are very good Persian and Arabic 
scholars in this country. Large heaps of trash 
have been dug up from Sanscrit ruins. We 
have seen, in our own times, a clergyman of 
the University of Oxford complimenting their 
majesties in Coptic and Syrophcenician verses ; 
and yet we doubt whether there will be a suffi- 
cient avidity in literary men to get at the beau- 
ties of the finest writers which the world has 
yet seen ; and though the Bagvat Ghceta has 
(as can be proved) met with human beings to 
translate, and other human beings to read it, 
we think that, in order to secure an attention 
to Homer and Virgil, we must catch up every 
man — whether he is to be a clergyman or a 
duke, — begin with him at six years of age, and 
never quit him till he is twenty; making him 
conjugate and decline for life and death ; and 
so teaching him to estimate his progress in 
real wisdom as he can scan the verses of the 
Greek tragedians. 

The English clergy, in whose hands educa- 
tion entirely rests, bring up the first young 
men of the country as if they were all to keep 
grammar schools in little country towns ; and 
a nobleman, upon whose knowledge and libe- 
rality the honour and welfare of his country 
may depend, is diligently worried, for half 
his life, with the small pedantry of longs and 
shorts. There is a timid and absurd appre- 
hension, on the part of ecclesiastical tutors, 
of letting out the minds of youth upon difficult 
and important subjects. They fancy that men- 
tal exertion must end in religious scepticism; 
and, to preserve the principles of their pupils, 
they confine them to the safe and elegant im- 
becility of classical learning. A genuine Ox- 
ford tutor would shudder to hear his young 
men disputing upon moral and political truth, 
forming and pulling down theories, and indulg- 
ing in all the boldness of youthful discussion. 



He would augur nothing from it but impiety to 
God and treason to kings. And yet, who vili- 
fies both more than the holy poltroon who care- 
fully averts from them the searching eye of 
reason, and who knows no better method of 
teaching the highest duties, than by extirpating 
the finest qualities and habits of the mind 1 
If our religion is a fable, the sooner it is ex- 
ploded the better. If our government is bad, 
it should be amended. But we have no doubt 
of the truth of the one, or of the excellence of 
the other; and are convinced that both will be 
placed on a firmer basis in proportion as the 
minds of men are more trained to the investi- 
gation of truth. At present, we act with the 
minds of our young men as the Dutch did with 
their exuberant spices. An infinite quantity of 
talent is annually destroyed in the universities 
of England by the miserable jealousy and lit- 
tleness of ecclesiastical instructors. It is ia 
vain to say we have produced great men under 
this system. We have produced great men 
under all systems. Every Englishman must 
pass half his life in learning Latin and Greek ; 
and classical learning is supposed to have pro- 
duced the talents which it has not been able to 
extinguish. It is scarcely possible to prevent 
great men from rising up under any system of 
education, however bad. Teach men demono- 
logy or astrology, and you will still have a cer- 
tain portion of original genius, in spite of these 
or any other branches of ignorance and folly. 

There is a delusive sort of splendour in a 
vast body of men pursuing one object, and 
thoroughly obtaining it ; and yet, though it is 
very splendid, it is far from being useful. 
Classical literature is the great object at Ox- 
ford. Many minds so employed have produced 
many works and much fame in that depart- 
ment; but if all liberal arts and sciences use- 
ful to human life had been taught there, — ifi 
some have dedicated themselves to chemistry, 
some to mathematics, some to experimental 
philosophy, — and if every attainment had been 
honoured in the mixed ratio of its difficulty 
and utility, — the system of such an University 
would have been much more valuable, but the 
splentiour of its name something less. 

When an University has been doing useless 
things for a long time, it appears at first de- 
grading to them to be useful. A set of lectures 
upon political economy would be discouraged 
in Oxford,* probably despised, probably not 
permitted. To discuss the inclosure of com- 
mons, and to dwell upon imports and exports, 
— to come so near to common life, would seem 
to be undignified and contemptible. In the 
same manner, the Parr, or the Bentley of his 
day, would be scandalized in an University to 
be put on a level with the discoverer of a neu 
tral salt; and yet, what other measure is there 
of dignity in intellectual labour, but usefulness 
and difficulty 1 And what ought the term Uni- 
versity to mean, but a place where every 
science is taught which is liberal, and at the 
same time useful to mankind"? Nothing 
would so much tend to bring classical litera- 
ture within proper bounds, as a steady and 
invariable appeal to these tests in our appre- 



* Tbey have since been established. 
g2 



78 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



ciation of all human knowledge. The puffed 
up pedant Avould collapse into his proper size, 
and the maker of verses, and the rememberer 
of words, would soon assume that station which 
is the lot of those who go up unbidden to the 
upper places of the feast. 

We should be sorry if what we have said 
should appear too contemptuous towards clas- 
sical learning, which we most sincerely hope 
will alwa3's be held in great honour in this 
country, though we certainly do not wish 
to it that exclusive honour Miiich it at pre- 
sent enjoys. A great classical scholar is an 
ornament, and an important acquisition to 
nis country; but, in a place of education, we 
would give to all knowledge an equal chance 
for distinction ; and would trust to the varieties 
of human disposition that every science worth 
cultivation would be cultivated. Looking al- 
ways to real utility as our guide, we should 
.see, with equal pleasure, a studious and inqui- 
sitive mind arranging the productions of na- 
ture, investigating the qualities of bodies, or 
mastering the dithculties of the learned lan- 
guages. We should not care whether he were 
chemist, naturalist, or scholar; because we 
know it to be as necessary that matter should 
be studied, and subdued to the use of man, as 
that taste should be gratified, and imagination 
inflamed. 

In those who were destined for the church, 
we would undoubtedly encourage classical 
learning more than in any other body of men ; 
but if we had to do with a young man going 
out into public life, we would exhort him to 
contemn, or at least not to affect, the reputa- 
tion of a great scholar, but to educate himself 
for the offices of civil life. He should learn 
what the constitution of his country really was, 
— how it had grown into its present state, — the 
perils that had threatened it, — the malignity 
that had attacked it, — the courage that had 
fought for it, and the wisdom that had made it 
great. We would bring strongly before his 
mind the characters of those Englishmen who 
have been the steady friends of the public hap- 
piness ; and by their examples, would breathe 
into him a pure public taste which should keep 



him untainted in all the vicissitudes of politi- 
cal fortune. We would teach him to burst 
through the well paid, and the pernicious cant 
of indiscriminate loyalty ; and to know his 
sovereign only as he discharged those duties, 
and displayed those qualities, for which the 
blood and the treasure of his people are con- 
fided to his hands. We should deem it of the 
utmost importance that his attention was di- 
rected to the true principles of legislation, — 
what effect laws can produce upon opinions, 
and opinions upon laws, — what subjects are fit 
for legislative interference, and when men 
may be left to the management of their own 
interests. The mischief occasioned by bad 
laws, and the 2:)erplexity which arises from 
numerous laws, — the causes of national wealth, 
— the relations of foreign trade, — the encou- 
ragement of manufactures and agriculture, — 
the fictitious wealth occasioned by paper cre- 
dit, — the laws of population, — the management 
of poverty and mendicity, — the use and abuse 
of monopoly, — the theory of taxation, — the 
consequences of the public debt. These are 
some of the subjects, and some of the branches 
of civil education to which we would turn the 
minds of future judges, future senators, and 
future noblemen. After the first period of life 
had been given up to the cultivation of the 
classics, and the reasoning powers were now 
beginning to evolve themselves, these are some 
of the propensities in study which we would 
endeavour to inspire. Great knowledge, at 
such a period of life, we could not convey ; 
but we might fix a decided taste for its acqui- 
sition, and a strong disposition to respect it in 
others. The formation of some great scholars 
we should certainly prevent, and hinder many 
from learning what, in a few years, they would 
necessarily forget ; but this loss would be well 
repaid, — if we could show the future rulers of 
the country that thought and labour which it 
requires to make a nation happy, — or if we 
could inspire them with that love of public- 
virtue, which, after religion, we most solemnly 
believe to be the brightest ornament of the 
mind of man. 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



m 



FEM/\1E EDUCATION.* 



Edinbukgh Review, 1810. 



Mr. Broadhurst is a very good sort of a 
man, who has not written a very bad book upon 
a very important subject. His object (a very 
laudable one) is to recommend a better system 
of female education than at present prevails in 
this countr}' — to turn the attention of women 
from the trifling pursuits to Mdiich they are now 
condemned — and to cultivate faculties which, 
under the actual system of management, might 
almost as well not exist. To the examination 
of his ideas upon these points, we shall very 
cheerfully give up a portion of our time and at- 
tention. 

A great deal has been said of the original 
difference of capacity between men and wo- 
men; as if women were more quick, and men 
more judicious — as if women were more re- 
markable for delicacy of association, and men 
for stronger powers of attention. All this, we 
confess, appears to us very fanciful. That there 
is a diflerence in the understandings of the men 
and the women we every day meet with, every 
body, we suppose, must perceive ; but there is 
none surely which may not be accounted for 
by the difference of circumstances in M'liich 
they have been placed, without referring to any 
conjectural difference of original conformation 
of mind. As long as boys and girls run about 
in the dirt, and trundle hoops together, they are 
both precisely alike. If you catch up one half 
of these creatures, and train them to a particu- 
lar set of actions and opinions, and the other 
half to a perfectly opposite set, of course their 
understandings will differ, as one or the other 
sort of occupations has called this or that ta- 
lent into action. There is surely no occasion 
to go into any deeper or more abstruse reason- 
ing, in order to explain so very simple a phe- 
nomenon. Taking it, then, for granted, that 
nature has been as bountiful of understanding 
to one sex as the other, it is incumbent on us 
to consider what are the principal objections 
commonly made against the communication of 
a greater share of knowledge to women than 
commonly falls to their lot at present : for though 
it may be doubted whether women should learn 
all that men learn, the immense disparity which 
now exists between their knowledge we should 
hardly think could admit of any rational de- 
fence. It is not easy to imagine that there can 
be any just cause why a woman of forty should 
be mors ignorant than a boy of twelve years of 
age. If there ha any good at all in female ig- 
norance, this (to use a very colloquial phrase) 
is surely too much of a good thing. 

Something in this question must depend, no 
doubt, upon the leisure which either sex en- 
joys for the cultivation of their understand- 
ings: — and we cannot help thinking, that wo- 
men have fully as much, if not more, idle time 
upon their hands than men. Women are ex- 
cluded from all the serious business of the 



♦ Advice to Young Ladies on the Improvement of the 
Mind. By Tho.mas Broadhubst. 8vo. London, 1808. 



world ; men are lawyers, physicians, clergy- 
men, apothecaries, and justices of the peace — • 
sources of exertion which consume a greal deal 
more time than producing and suckling child- 
ren ; so that, if the thing is a thing that ought 
to be done — if the attainments of literature are 
objects really worthy the attention of females, 
they cannot plead the want of leisure as an ex- 
cuse for indolence and neglect. The lawyer 
who passes his day in exasperating the bicker- 
ings of Roe and Doe, is certainly as much en- 
gaged as his lady who has the whole of the 
morning before lier to correct the children and 
pay the bills. The apothecary, who rushes 
from an act of phlebotomy in the western parts 
of the town to insinuate a bolus in the east, is 
surely as completely absorbed as that fortunate 
female who is darning the garment, or prepar- 
ing the repast of lier ^sculapius at home; 
and, in every degree and situation cf life, it 
seems that men must necessarily be exposed to 
more serious demands upon their time and at- 
tention than can possibly be the case with re- 
spect to the other sex. We are speaking al- 
ways of the fair demands which ought to be 
made upon the time and attention of women j 
for, as the matter now stands, the time of wo- 
men is considered as worth nothing at all. 
Daughters are kept to occupations in sewing, 
patching, mantua-making, and mending, by 
which it is impossible they can earn tenjience 
a day. The intellectual improvement of wo- 
men is considered to be of such subordinate 
importance, that twenty pounds paid for needle- 
work would give to a whole family leisure to 
acquire a fund of real knowledge. They are 
kept with nimble fingers and vacant under- 
standings till tiie season for improvement is ut- 
terly passed way, and all chance of forming 
more important habits completely lost. We 
do not therefore say that women have more 
leisure than men, if it be necessary that they 
should lead the life of artisans ; but we make 
this assertion only upon the supposition, that it 
is of some importance women should be in- 
structed; and that many ordinary occupations, 
for which a little money will find a better substi- 
tute, should be sacrificed to this consideration. 
We bar, in this discussion, any objection 
^vhich proceeds from the mere novelty of teach • 
ing women more than they are already taught. 
It may be useless that their education should 
be improved, or it may be pernicious ; and 
these are the fair grounds on which the ques- 
tion may be argued. But those who cannot 
bring their minds to consider such an unusual 
extension of knowledge, without connecting 
with it some sensation of the ludicrous, should 
remember that, in the progress from absolute 
ignorance, there is a period when cultivation of 
mind is new to every raidc and description of 
persons. A century ago, who would have be- 
lieved that country gentlemen could be brought 
to read and spell with the ease and accuracy 
which we now so frequently remark, — or sup- 
posed that they could be carried up even to th^ 



80 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



elements of ancient and modern history? No- 
thing is more common, or more stupid, than to 
take the actual lor the possible — to believe that 
all which is, is all which can be ; first to laugh 
at every proposed deviation from practice as 
impossible — then, when it is carried into effect, 
to be astonished that it did not take place 
before. 

It is said, that the effect of knowledge is to 
make women pedantic and affected ; and that 
nothing can be more offensive than to see a 
woman stepping out of the natural modesty of 
her sex to make an ostentatious display of her 
literary attainments. This may be true enough ; 
but the answer is so trite and obvious, that we 
are almost ashamed to make it. All affectation 
and display proceed from the supposition of 
possessing something better than the rest of 
the world possesses. Nobody is vain of pos- 
sessing two legs and two arms ; — because that 
is the precise quantity of either sort of limb 
which every body possesses. Who ever heard 
a lady boast that she understood French? — for 
no other reason, that we know of, but because 
every body in these days does understand 
French; and though there may be' some dis- 
grace in being ignorant of that language, there 
i3 little or no merit in its acquisition. Diffuse 
knowledge generally among women, and you 
will at once cure the conceit which knowledge 
occasions while it is rare. Vanity and conceit 
we shall of course witness in men and women 
as long as the world endures : but by multiply- 
ing the attainments upon which these feelings 
are founded, you increase the difficulty of in- 
dulging them, and render them much more to- 
lerable, by making them the proofs of a much 
higher merit. When learning ceases to be un- 
common among women, learned women will 
cease to be affected. 

A great many of the lesser and more obscure 
duties of life necessarily devolve upon the fe- 
male sex. The arrangement of all household 
matters, and the care of children in their early 
infancy, must of course depend upon them. 
Now, there is a very general notion, that the 
moment you put the education of women upon 
a better footing than it is at present, at that mo- 
ment there will be an end of all domestic econo- 
my, and that, if you once suffer women to eat 
of the tree of knowledge, the rest of the family 
will very soon be reduced to the same kind of 
aerial and unsatisfactory diet. These, and all 
such opinions, are referable to one great and 
common cause of error ; that man does every 
thing, and that nature does nothing ; and that 
every thing we see is referable to positive insti- 
tution rather than to original feeling. Can any 
thing, for example, be more perfectly absurd 
than to suppose that the care and perpetual so- 
licitude which a mother feels for her children, 
depends upon her ignorance of Greek and ma- 
thematics ; and that she would desert an infant 
for a quadratic equation? We seem to ima- 
gine that we can break in pieces the solemn 
institution of nature, by the little laws of a 
boarding-school ; and that the existence of the 
human race depends upon teachine: women a 
a little more or a little less; — that Cimmerian 
ignorance can aid paternal affection, or the cir- 
cle of arts and sciences produce its destruction. 
in the same manner, we forget the principles 
upon which the love of order, arrangement, 
and all the arts of economy depend. They de- 
pend rot upon ignorance nor idleness ; but 



upon the poverty, confusion, and ruin which 
would ensue for neglecting them. Add to 
these principles, the love of what is beautiful 
and magnificent, and the vanity of display ; — 
and there can surely be no reasonable doubt 
but that the order and economy of private life 
is amply secured from the perilous inroads of 
knowledge. 

Wo would fain know, too, if knowledge is to 
produce such baneful effects upon the materia, 
and the household virtues, why this influence 
has not already been felt? Women are much 
better educated now than they were a century 
ago ; but they are by no means less remarka- 
ble for attention to the arrangements of their 
household, or less inclined to discharge the of- 
fices of parental affection. It would be very 
easy to show, that the same objection has been 
made at all times to every improvement in the 
education of both sexes, and all ranks — and 
been as uniformly and completely refuted by 
experience. A great part of the objections 
made to the education of women, are rathei 
objections made to human nature than to the 
female sex : for it is surely true, that knowledge, 
where it produces any bad effects at all, does as 
much mischief to one sex as to the other, — 
and gives birth to fully as much arrogance, in- 
attention to common affairs, and eccentricity 
among men, as it does among women. But it 
by no means follows, that you get rid of vanity 
and self-conceit because you get rid of learn- 
ing. Self-complacency can never want an ex- 
cuse; and the best way to make it more tolera- 
ble, and more useful, is to give to it as high and 
as dignified an object as possible. But at all 
events it is unfair to bring forward against a 
part of the world an objection which is equally 
powerful against the whole. When foolish wo- 
men think they have any distinction, they are 
apt to be proud of it ; so are foolish men. But 
we appeal to any one who has lived with culti- 
vated persons of either sex, whether he has not 
witnessed as much pedantry, as much wrong- 
headedness, as much arrogance, and certainly 
a great deal more rudeness, produced by learn- 
ing in men, than in women; therefore, we 
should make the accusation general — or dis- 
miss it altogether; though, with respect to pe- 
dantry, the learned are certaiidy a little unfortu- 
nate, that so very emphatic a word, which is 
occasionally applicable to all men embarked 
eagerly in any pursuit, should be reserved ex- 
clusively for them: for, as pedantry is an osten- 
tatious obtrusion of knowledge, in which those 
Who hear us cannot sympathize, it is a fault of 
which soldiers, sailors, sportsmen, gamesters, 
cultivators, and all men engaged in a particular 
occupation, are quite as guilty as scholars; but 
thay have the good fortune to have the vice 
only of pedantry, — while scholars have both the 
vice and the name for it too. 

Some persons are apt to contrast the acquisi- 
tion of important knowledge with what they 
call simple pleasures ; and deem it more be- 
coming that a woman should educate flowers, 
make friendships with birds, and pick up plants, 
than enter into more difficult and fatiguing 
studies. If a woman has no taste and genius 
for higher occupation, let her engage in these 
to be sure rather than remain destitute of any 
pursuit. But why are we necessarily to doom 
a girl, whatever be her taste or her capacity, to 
one unvaried line of petty and frivolous occu- 
pation' If she is full of strong sense and ele- 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



SI 



vated curiosity, can there be any reai3on why 
she should be dihued and enfeebled down to a 
mere culler of simples; and fancier of birds? — 
why books of history and reasoning are to be 
torn out of her hand, and why she is to be sent, 
like a butterfly, to hover over the idle flowers j 
of the field? Such amusements are innocent 
to those whom they can occupy; but they are 
not innocent to those who have too powerful 
understandings to be occupied by them. Light 
broths and i'ruits are innocent food only to 
weak or to infant stomachs ; but they are poison 
to that organ in its perfect and mature state. 
But the great charm appears to be in the word 
simplicity — simple pleasure ! If by a simple 
pleasure is meant an innocent pleasure, the ob- 
servation is best answered by showing, that 
the pleasure which results from the acquisition 
of important knowledge is quite as innocent as 
any pleasure whatever : but if by a simple 
pleasure is meant one, the cause of which can 
be easily analyzed, or which does not last long, 
or which in itself is very faint, then simple plea- 
sures seein to be very nearly synonymous with 
small pleasures ; and if the simplicity were to 
be a little increased, the pleasure would vanish 
altogether. 

As it is impossible that every man should 
have industry or activity sufficiently to avail 
himself of the advantages of education, it is 
natural that men who are ignorant themselves, 
should view, with some degree of jealousy and 
alarm, any proposal for improving the education 
of women. But such men may depend upon 
it, however the system of female education 
may be exalted, that there will never be want- 
ing a due proportion of failures ; and that after 
parents, guardians, and preceptors have done 
all in their power to make every body wise, 
there will still be a plentiful supply of women 
who have taken special care to remain other- 
wise ; and they may rest assured, if the utter 
extinction of ignorance and folly is the evil 
they dread, that their interests will always be 
effectually protected, in spite of every exertion 
to the contrary. 

We must in candour allow that those women 
who begin will have something more to over- 
come than may probably hereafter be the case. 
We cannot deny the jealousy which exists 
among pompous and foolish men respecting the 
education of women. There is a class of pe- 
dants who would be cut short in the estimation 
of the world a whole cubit if it were generally 
known that a young lady of eighteen could be 
taught to decline the tenses of the middle voice, 
or acquaint herself with the iEolic varieties of 
that celebrated language. Then women have, 
of course, all ignorant men for enemies to their 
instruction, who being bound (as they think.) 
in point of sex, to know more, are not well 
pleased, in point of fact, to know less. But, 
among men of sense and liberal politeness, a 
woman who has successfully cultivated her 
mind, without diminishing the gentleness and 
propriety of her manners, is always sure to meet 
with a respect and attention bordering upon en- 
thusiasm. 

There is in either sex a strong and perma- 
nent disposition to appear agreeable to the 
other : and this is the fair answer to those who 
are fond of supposing, that an higher degree of 
knowledge would make women rather tlie rivals 
than the companions of men. Presupposing 
such a desire to please, it seems much more 
11 



probable, that a common pursuit should be a 
fresh source of interest than a cause of conten- 
tion. Indeed, to suppose that any mode of edu- 
cation can create a general jealousy and rivalry 
between the sexes, is so very ridiculous, that it 
requires only to be stated in order to be refuted. 
The same desire of pleasing secures all that de- 
licacy and reserve which are of such inestima- 
ble value to women. We are quite astonished, 
in hearing men converse on such subjects, to 
find them attributing such beautiful effects to 
ignorance. It would appear, from the tenour 
of such objections, that ignorance had been the 
great civilizer of the world. Women are deli- 
cate and refined only because they are igno- 
rant ; — they manage their household, only be- 
cause they are ignorant ; — they attend to their 
children, only because they know no better. 
Now, we must really confess, we have all our 
lives been so ignorant as not to know the value 
of ignorance. We have always attributed the 
modesty and the refined manners of women, to 
their being well taught in moral and religious 
duty, — to the hazardous situation in which they 
are placed, — to that perpetual vigilance which it 
is their duty to exercise over thought, word, and 
action, — and to that cultivation of the mild vir- 
tues, which those who cultivate the stern and 
magnanimous virtues expect at their hands. 
After all, let it be remembered, we are not say- 
ing there are no objections to the diffusion of 
knowledge among the female sex. We would 
not hazard such a proposition respecting any- 
thing; but we are saying, that, upon the whole, 
it is the best method of employing time; and 
that there are fewer objections to it than to any 
other method. There are, perhaps, 50,000 fe- 
males in Great Britain who are exempted by 
circumstances from all necessary labour: but 
every human being must do something with 
their existence ; and the pursuit of knowledge 
is, upon the whole, the most innocent, the most 
dignified, and the most useful method of filling 
up that idleness, of which there is always sc 
large a portion in nations far advanced in civil 
ization. Let any man reflect, too, upon the soli 
tary situation in which women are placed, — 
the ill treatment to which they are sometimes 
exposed, and which they must endure in silence, 
and without the power of complaining, — and 
he must feel convinced that the happiness of a 
wornan will be materially increased in propor- 
tion as education has given to her the habit and 
the means of drawing her resources from her- 
self. 

There are a few common phrases in circula- 
tion, respecting the duties of women, to which 
we wish to pay some degree of attention, be- 
cause they are rather inimical to those opinions 
which we have advanced on this subject. In- 
deed, independently of this, there is nothing 
which requires more vigilance than the current 
phrases of the day, of which there are always 
some resorted to in every dispute, and from the 
sovereign authority of which it is often vain to 
make any appeal. '• The true theatre for a wo- 
man is the sick-chamber ;" — '• Nothing so ho- 
nourable to a woman as not to be spoken of at 
all." These two phrases, the delight o^ Noodle- 
dom. are grown into common-places upon the 
subject; and are not unfrequently employird tw 
extinguish that love of knowledge in women, 
which, in our humble opinion, it is of so much 
importance to cherish. Nothing, certainly, is so 
ornamental and delightful in women as the bt.- 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



nevolent affections; but time cannot be filled 
up, and life employetl, with high and impas- 
sioned virtues. Some of these feelings are of 
rare occurrence — all of short duration — or na- 
ture would sink under them. A scene of dis- 
tress and anguish is an occasion where the 
finest qualities of the female mind may be dis- 
played; but it is a monstrous exaggeration to 
tell women that they are born only for scenes 
of distress and anguish. Nurse father, mother, 
sister, and brother, if they want it; — it would 
be a violation of the plainest duties to neglect 
them. But, when we are talking of the com- 
mon occupations of life, do not let us mistake 
the accidents for the occupations; — when we 
are arguing how the twenty-three hours of the 
day are to be filled up, it is idle to tell us of 
those feelings and agitations above the level of 
common existence, which may employ the re- 
maining hour. Compassion, and every other 
virtue, are the great objects we all ought to 
have in view ; but no man (and no woman) can 
fill up the twenty-four hours by acts of virtue. 
But one is a lawyer, and the other a plough- 
man, and the third a merchant ; and then, acts 
of goodness, and intervals of compassion and 
fine feeling, are scattered up and down the 
common occupations of life. We know women 
are to be compassionate ; but they cannot be 
compassionate from eight o'clock in the morn- 
ing till twelve at night : — and what are they to 
do in the interval? This is the only question 
we have been putting all along, and is all that 
can be meant by literary education. 

Then, again, as to the notoriety which is in- 
curred by literature. — The cultivation of know- 
ledge is a very distinct thing from its publica- 
tion ; nor does it follow that a woman is to be- 
come an author merely because she has talent 
enough for it. We do not wish a lady to write 
books, — to defend and reply, — to squabble about 
the tomb of Achilles, or the plain of Troy, — any 
more than we wish her to dance at the opera, 
to play at a public concert, or to put pictures 
in the exhibition, because she has learned music, 
dancing and drawing. The great use of her 
knowledge will be that it contributes to her 
private happiness. She may make it public : 
but it is not the principal object which the 
friends of female education have in view. 
Among men, the few who write bear no com- 
parison to the many who read. We hear most 
of the former, indeed, because they are, in ge- 
neral, the most ostentatious part of literary 
men ; but there are innumerable persons who, 
without ever laying themselves before the pub- 
lic, have made use of literature to add to the 
strength of their understandings, and to improve 
the happiness of their lives. After all, it may 
be an evil for ladies to be talked of: but we 
really think those ladies who are talked of only 
as Mrs. Marcet, Mrs. Somerville, and Miss Mar- 
tineau are talked of, may bear their misfortunes 
with a very great degree of Christian patience. 

Their exemption from all the necessary busi- 
ness of life is one of the most powerful motives 
for the improvement of education in women. 
Lawyers and phys^i^ians have in their profes- 
sions a constant motive to exertion ; if you ne- 
glect their education, they must in a certain 
degree educate themselves by their commerce 
with the world : they must learn caution, accu- 
racy, and judgment, because they must incur 
responsibility. But if you neglect to educate 
• the niiml of a woman, by the speculative diffi- 



culties which occur in literature, it can never he 
educated at all : if you do not effectually rouse 
it by education, it must remain for ever languid. 
Uneducated men may escape intellectual degra- 
dation ; uneducated women cannot. They have 
nothing to do ; and if they come untaught from 
the schools of education, they will never be in- 
structed in the school of events. 

Women have not their livelihood to gain by 
knowledge ; and that is one motive for relaxing 
all those efforts which are made in the educa- 
tion of men. They certainly have not ; but 
they have happiness to gain, to which know- 
ledije leads as probably as it does to profit ; 
and that is a reason against mistaken indul- 
gence. Besides, we conceive the labour and 
fatigue of accomplishments to be quite equal to 
the labour and fatigue of knowledge ; and that 
it takes quite as many years to be charming aa 
it does to be learned. 

Another dilTerence of the sexes is, that women 
are attended to, and men attend. All acts of 
courtesy and politeness originate from the onff 
sex, and are received by the other. We can 
see no sort of reason, in this diversity of condi- 
tion, for giving to women a trifling and insig- 
nificant education ; but we see in it a very pow- 
erful reason for strengthening their judgment, 
and inspiring them with the habit of employing 
time usefully. We admit many striking differ- 
ences in the situation of the two sexes, and 
many striking diflerences of understanding, pro- 
ceeding from the different circumstances in 
which they are placed : but there is not a single 
diflerence of this kind which does not afford a 
new argument for making the education of wo- 
men better than it is. They have nothing se- 
rious to do ; — is that a reason why they should 
be brought up to do nothing but what is tri- 
fling? They are exposed to greater dangers ;— 
is that a reason why their faculties are to be 
purposely and industriously weakened 1 They 
are to form the characters of future men ; — is 
that a cause why their own characters are to 
be broken and frittered down as they now are ? 
In short, there is not a single trait in that diver- 
sity of circumstances, in which the two sexes 
are placed, that does not decidedly prove the 
magnitude of the error we commit in neglect- 
ing (as we do neglect) the education of 
women. 

If the objections against the better education 
of women could be overruled, one of the great 
advantages that would ensue would be the ex- 
tinction of innumerable follies. A decided and 
prevailing taste for one or another mode of 
education there must be. A century past, it 
was for housewifery — now it is for accomplish- 
ments. The object now is, to make women 
artists, — to give them an excellence in drawing, 
music, painting and dancing, — of which, per- 
sons who make these pursuits the occupation 
of their lives, and derive from them their sub- 
sistence, need not be ashamed. Now, one great 
evil of this is, that it does not last. If the whole 
of life were an Olympic game, — if we could go 
on feasting and dancing to the end, — this might 
do ; but it is in truth merely a provision for the 
little interval between coming into life, and set- 
tling in it; while it leaves a long and dreary 
expanse behind, devoid both of dignity and 
cheerfulness. No mother, no woman who has 
passed over the few first years of life, sings, or 
dances, or draws, or plays upon musical instru- 
ments. These are merely means for displaying 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



83 



the grace and vivacity of youth, which every 
woman gives up, as she gives up the dress and 
manners of eighteen: she has no wisli to retain 
tliem , or, if she lias, she is driven out of them 
by diameter and derision. The system of fe- 
male education, as it now stands, aims only at 
embellishing a few years of life, which are in 
themselves so full of grace and happiness, that 
they hardly want it ; and then leaves the rest of 
existence a miserable prey to idle insignificance. 
No woman of understanding and reflection can 
possibly conceive she is duing justice to her 
children by such kind of education. The object 
is, to give to children resources that will en- 
dure as long as life endures, — habits that time 
will ameliorate, not destroy, — occupations that 
will render sickness tolerable, solitude pleasant, 
age venerable, life more dignified and useful, 
and therefore death less terrible : and the com- 
pensation which is otfered for the omission of 
all this, is a short-lived blaze, — a little tempo- 
rary elfect, which has no other consequence 
than to deprive the remainder of life of all 
taste and relish. There niay be women who 
have a taste for the fine arts, and who 
evince a decided talent for drawing, or for 
music. In that case, there can be no objection 
to the cultivation of these arts ; but the error is, 
to make such things the grand and universal 
object, — to insist upon it that every woman is 
to sing, and draw, and dance — with nature, or 
against nature, — to bind her apprentice to some 
accomplishment, and if she cannot succeed in 
oil or water-colours, to prefer gilding, varnish- 
ing, burnishing, box-making, to real solid im- 
provement in taste, knowledge, and under- 
standing. 

A great deal is said in fiivour of the social 
nature of the fine arts. Music gives pleasure 
to others. Drawing is an art, the amusement 
of which does not centre in him who exercises 
it, liut it is diffused among the rest of the world. 
This is true ; but there is nothing, after all, so 
social as a cultivated mind. We do not mean 
to speak slightingly of the fine arts, or to depre- 
ciate the good humour with which they are some- 
times exhibited; but we appeal to any man, 
whether a little spirited and sensible conversa- 
tion — displaying, modestly, useful acquirements 
— and evincing rational curiosity, is not well 
worth the highest exertions of musical or gra- 
phical skill. A woman of accomplishments 
may entertain those who have the pleasure of 
knowing her for half an hour with great brillian- 
cy ; but a mind full of ideas, and with that elas- 
tic spring which the love of knowledge only can 
convey, is a perpetual source of exhilaration 
and amusement to all that come within its reach ; 
— not collecting its force into single and insu- 
lated achievements, like the effort made in the 
fine arts — but diffusing, equally over the whole 
of existence, a calm pleasure — better loved as 
it is longer felt — and suitable to every variety 
and every period of life. Therefore, instead of 
hanging the understanding of a woman upon 
walls, or hearing it vibrate upon strings, — in- 
stead of seeing it in clouds, or hearing it in the 
wind, we would make it the first spring and or- 
nament of society, by enriching it with attain- 
ments upon which alone such power depends. 

If the education of women were improved, 
the education of men would be improved also. 
Let any one consider (in order to bring the 
matter more home by an individual instance) 
of what immense importance to society it is, 



whether a nobleman of first-rate fortune and 
distinction is well or ill brought up ; — what a 
taste and fashion he may inspire for private and 
for political vice ! — and what misery and mis- 
chief he may produce to the thousand human 
beings who are dependent on him ! A country 
contains no such curse within its bosom. Youth, 
wealth, high rank, and vice, form a combina- 
tion which baffles all remonstrance and beats 
down all opposition. A man of high rank who 
combines these qualifications for corruption, is 
almost the master of the manners of the age, 
and has the public happiness within his grasp. 
But the most beautiful possession which a coun- 
try can have is a noble and rich man, who loves 
virtue and knowledge ; — who without being 
feeble or fanatical is pious — and who without 
being factious is firm and independent ; — who, 
in his political life, is an equitable mediator be- 
tween king and people ; and in his civil life, a 
firm promoter of all which can shed a lustre 
upon his country, or promote the peace and or- 
der of the world. But if these objects are of 
the importance which we attribute to them, 
the education of women must be important, as 
the formation of character for the first seven or 
eight years of life seems to depend almost en- 
tirely upon them. It is certainly in the power 
of a sensible and well-educated mother to in- 
spire, within that period, such tastes and pro- 
pensities as shall nearly decide the destiny of 
the future man ; and this is done, not only by 
the intentional exertions of the mother, but by 
the gradual and insensible imitation of the child; 
for there is something extremely contagious in 
greatness and rectitude of thinking, even at 
that age ; and the character of the mother with 
whom he passes his early infancy, is always an 
event of the utmost importance to the child. 
A merely accomplished woman cannot infuse 
her tastes into the minds of her sons ; and, if 
she could, nothing could be more unfortunate 
than her success. Besides, when her accom- 
plishments are given up, she has nothing left 
for it but to amuse herself in the best way she 
can; and, becoming entirely frivolous, either 
declines altogether the fatigue of attending to 
her children, or, attending to them, has neither 
talents nor knowledge to succeed; and, there- 
fore, here is a plain and fair answer to those 
who ask so triumphantly, why should a woman 
dedicate herself to this branch of knowledge ? 
or why should she be attached to such science? 
— Because, by having gained information on 
these points, she may inspire her son with valu- 
able tastes, which may abide by him through 
life, and carry him up to all the sublimities of 
knowledge ; because she cannot lay the founda- 
tion of a great character, if she is absorbed in 
frivolous amusements, nor inspire her child with 
noble desires, when a long course of trifling 
has destroyed the little talents which were left 
by a bad education. 

It is of great importance to a coiuitry, that 
there should be as many understandings as pos- 
sible actively employed within it. Mankind 
are much happier for the discovery of barome- 
ters, thermometers, steam-engines, and all fho 
innumerable inventions in the arts and sciences. 
We are every day and every hour reaping the 
benefit of such talent and ingenuity. The same 
observation is true of such works as those of 
Dryden, Pope, Milton and Shakspeare. Man- 
kind are much happier that such individuals 
have lived and written ; they add every day to 



S4 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



the stock of public enjoyment — and perpetually 
gladden and embellish life. Now, the number 
ol' those who exercise tlieir understandings to 
any good purpose, is exactly in proportion to 
those who exercise it at all ; but, as the matter 
stands at present, half the talent in the universe 
runs to waste, and is totally unprofitable. It 
would have been almost as well for the world, 
hitherto, that women, instead of possessing the 
capacities they do at present, should have been 
born wholly destitute of wit, genius, and every 
other attribute of mind, of wliich men make so 
eminent a use : and the ideas of use and pos- 
session are so united together, that, because it 
has been the custom in almost all countries to 
give to women a diflerent and a ^vorse educa- 
fion than to men, the notion has obtained that 
they do not possess faculties which they do 
not cultivate. Just as, in breaking up a com- 
mon, it is sometimes very difficult to make the 
poor believe it will carry corn, merely because 
they have been hitherto accustomed to see it 
produce nothing but weeds and grass — they 
very naturally mistake present condition for 
general nature. So completely have the talents 
of women been kept down, that there is scarcely 
a single work, either of reason or imagination, 
written by a woman, which is in gerieral cir- 
culation either in the English, French, or Ita- 
lian literature; — scarcely one that has crept 
even into the ranks of our minor poets. 

If the possession of excellent talents is not a 
conclusive reason why they shoidd be im- 
proved, it at least amounts to a very strong 
presumption; and, if it can be shown that wo- 
men may be trained to reason and imagine as 
well as men, the strongest reasons are certainly 
necessary to show us why we should not avail 
ourselves of such rich gifts of nature ; and we 
have a right to call for a clear statement of those 
perils which make it necessary that such talents 
should be totally extinguished, or, at most, 
very partially drawn out. The burthen of 
proof does not lie with those who say, increase 
the quanity of talent in any country as much 
as possible — for such a proposition is in con- 
formity with every man's feelings: but it lies 
with those who say, take care to keep that un- 
derstanding weak and trifling, which nature 
Las made capable of becoming strong and 
powerful. The paradox is with them, not with 
us. In all human reasoning, knowledge must 
be taken for a good, till it can be shown to be 
an evil. But now, nature makes to us rich and 
magnificent presents; and we say to her — 
You are too luxuriant and mimificent — we 
must keep you under, and prune you ; — we 
have talents enough in the other half of the 
creation ; — and, if you will not stupefy and en- 
feeble the mind of women to our hands, we 
ourselves must expose them to a narcotic pro- 
cess, and educate away that fatal redundance 
with which the world is afflicted, and the order 
of sublunary things deranged. 

One of the greatest pleasures of life is con- 
versation ; — and the pleasures of conversation 
are of course enhanced by every increase of 
knowledge : not that we should meet together 
to talk of alkalies and angles, or to add to oiu' 
Slock of history and philology — though a little 
of these things is no bad ingredient in conver- 
sation ; but let the subject be what it may, there 
is always a prodigious difference between the 
conversation of those virho have been well edu- 
','ated and of those who have not enjoyed this 



advantage. Education gives fecundity of 
thought, copiousness of illustration, quickness, 
vigour, fancy, words, images and illustrations ; 
— it decorates every common thing, and gives 
the power of trifling without being undignified 
and absurb. The subjects themselves may not 
be wanted, upon which the talents of an edu- 
cated man have been exercised ; but there is 
always a demand for those talents which his 
education has rendered strong and qinck. 
Now, really, nothing can be further from our 
intention than to say any thing rude and un- 
pleasant ; but we must be excused for observing, 
that it is not now a very common thing to be 
interested by the variety and extent of female 
knowledge, but it is a very common thing to 
lament, that the finest faculties in the world 
have been confined to trifles utterly unworthy 
of their richness and their strength. 

The pursuit of knowledge is the most inno- 
cent and interesting occupation which can be 
given to the female sex ; nor can there be a 
better method of checking a spirit of dissipation " 
than by diffusing a taste for literature. The 
true way to attack vice, is by setting up some- 
thing else against it. Give to women, in early 
youth, something to acquire, of sufficient in- 
terest and importance to command the appli- 
cation of their mature faculties, and to excite 
their perseverance in future life; — teach them 
that happiness is to be derived from the acqui- 
sition of knowledge, as weU as the gratification 
of vanity: and you will raise up a much more 
formidable barrier against dissipation than a 
host of invectives and exhortations can supply. 

It sometimes happens that an unfortunate 
man gets drunk with very bad wine, — not to 
gratify his palate, but to forget his cares: he 
does not set any value on what he receives, 
but on account of what it exclxules; — it keeps out 
something worse than itself Now, though it 
were denied that the acquisition of serious 
knowledge is of itself important to a woman, 
still it prevents a taste for silly and pernicious 
works of imagination : it keeps away the horrid 
trash of novels; and, in lieu of that eagerness 
for emotion and adventure which books of that 
sort inspire, promotes a calm and steady tem- 
perament of mind. 

A man who deserves such a piece of good 
fortune, may generally find an excellent com- 
panion for all the vicissitudes of his life , but 
it is not so easy to find a companion for his un- 
derstanding, who has similar pursuits with 
himself, or who can comprehend the pleasure 
he derives from them. We really can see no 
reason why it should not be otherwise ; nor 
comprehend how the pleasures of domestic life 
can be promoted by diminishing the number 
of subjects in which persons vidio are to spend 
their lives together take a common interest. 

One of the most agreeable consequences of 
knowledge is the respect and importance w^hich 
it communicates to old age. Men rise in cha- 
racter often as they increase in years ; — they 
are venerable from what they have acquired, 
and pleasing from what they can impart. If 
they outlive their faculties, the mere frame it- 
self is respected for what it once contained ; but 
women (such is their unfortunate style of edu- 
cation) hazard every thing upon one cast of the 
die; — when youth is gone, all is gone. No hu 
man creature gives his admiration for nothing 
either the eye must be charmed, or the under 
standing gratified. A woman must talk wisely 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



85 



or look well. Every human being must put 
up with the coldest civility, who has neither 
the charms of youth nor the wisdom of age. 
Neither is there tlie slightest commiseration for 
decayed accomplishments ; — no man mourns 
over the fragments of a dancer, or drops a tear 
on the relics of musical skill. They are flowers 
destined to perish; but the decay of great 
talents is always the subject of solemn pity; 
and, even when their last memorial is over, 
their ruins and vestiges are regarded with pious 
afiection. 

There is no connexion between the igno- 
rance in which women are kept, and the pre- 
servation of moral and religious principle; and 
yet certainly there is, in the minds of some 
timid and respectable persons, a vague, indefi- 
nite dread of knowledge, as if it were capable 
of producing these effects. It might also be 
supposed, from the dread which the propagation 
of knowledge has excited, that there was some 
great secret w^hich was to be kept in impene- 
trable obscurity, — that all moral rules were a 
species of delusion and imposttxre. the detection 
of which, by the improvement of the under- 
standing, would be attended with the most fatal 
consequences to all. and particularly to women. 
If we could possibly understand what these 
great secrets were, we might perhaps be dis- 
posed to concur in their preservation; but be- 
lieving that all the salutary rules which are 
imposed on women are the result of true wis- 
dom, and productive of the greatest happiness, 
we cannot understand how they are to become 
less sensible of this truth in proportion as their 
power of discovering truth in general is in- 
creased, and the habit of viewing questions 
with accuracy and comprehension established 
by education. There are men. indeed, who are 
always exclaiming against every species of 
power, because it is connected with danger : 
their dread of abuses is so much stronger than 
their admiration of uses, that they would cheer- 
fully give up the use of fire, gunpowder, and 
printing, to be freed from robbers, incendiaries, 
and libels. It is trtie, that every increase of 
knowledge may possibly render depravity more 
depraved, as well as it may increase the strength 
of virtue. It is in itself only power; and its 
value depends on its applicalion. But, trust to 
the natural love of good where there is no temp- 
tation to be bad — it operates no where more 
forcibly than in education. No man, whether 
he be tutor, guardian, or friend, ever contents 
himself w^ith infusing the mere ability to ac- 
quire; but giving the power, he gives with it a 
taste ibr the wise and rational exercise of that 



power ; so that an educated person is not only 
one with stronger and better faculties than 
others, but with a more useful propensity — a 
disposition better cultivated — and associations 
of a higher and more important class. 

In short, and to recapitulate the main points 
upon which we have insisted : — Why the dis- 
proportion in knowledge between the two 
sexes should be so great, when the inequality 
in natural talents is so small; or why the un- 
derstanding of women should be lavished upon 
trifles, when nature has made it capable of 
higher and better things, we profess ourselves 
not able to understand. The affectation charged 
upon female knowledge is best cured by making 
that knowledge more general: and the economy 
devolved upon women is best secured by the 
ruin, disgrace, and inconvenience which pro- 
ceeds from neglecting it. For the care of child- 
ren, nature has made a direct and powerful 
provision ; and the gentleness and elegance of 
women is the natural consequence of that de- 
sire to please, which is productive of the greatest 
part of civilization and refinement, and which 
rests upon a foundation too deep to be shaken 
by any such modifications in education as we 
have proposed. If you educate women to at- 
tend to dignified and important subjects, you 
are multiplying beyond measure the chances 
of human improvement, by preparing and me- 
dicating those early impressions, which always 
come from the mother ; and which, in a great 
majority of instances, are quite decisive of 
character and genius. Nor is it only in the 
business of education that women would influ- 
ence the destiny of men. If women knew more, 
men must learn more — for ignorance would 
then be shameful — and it would become the 
fashion to be instructed. The instruction of 
women improves the stock of national talents, 
and employs more minds for the instruction 
and amusement of the world ; — it increases the 
pleasures of society, by multiplying the topics 
upon which the two sexes take a common in- 
terest; and makes marriage an intercourse of 
understanding as well as of affection, by giving 
dignity and importance to the female character. 
The education of women favours public mo- 
rals ; it provides for every season of life, as well 
as for the brightest and the best : and leaves a 
woman when she is stricken by the hand of 
tim'e, not as she now is, destitute of every thing, 
and neglected by all; but with the full power 
and the splendid attractions of knowledge, — 
difl'using the elegant pleasures of polite litera- 
ture, and receiving the just homage of leatued 
and accomplished men. 



H 



86 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



PUBLIC SCHOOLS.* 

(Edinburgh Review, 1810.) 



There is a set of well-dressed, prosperous 
gentlemen, who assemble daily at Mr. Hatch- 
ard's shop ; — clean, civil personages, well in 
with people in power, — delighted with every 
existing institution — and almost with every ex- 
isting circumstance : and, every now and then, 
one of these personages writes a little book; — 
and the rest praise that little book — expecting 
to be praised, in their turn, for their own little 
books : — and of these little books, thus written 
by these clean, civil personages, so expecting to 
be praised, the pamphlet before us appears to 
be one. 

The subject of it is the advantage of public 
schools ; and the author, very creditably to him- 
self, ridicules the absurd clamour, first set on foot 
by Dr. Rennel, of the irreligious tendency of 
public schools : he then proceeds to an investiga- 
tion of the effects which public schools may 
produce upon the moral character; and here 
the subject becomes more diflicult, and the 
pamphlet worse. 

In arguing any large or general question, it 
is of infinite importance to attend to the first 
feelings which the mention of the topic has a 
tendency to excite; and the name of a public 
school brings -with, it immediately the idea of 
brilliant classical attainments: but, upon the 
importance of these sttuiies, we are not now 
offering any opinion. The only points for con- 
sideration are, whether boys are put in the way 
of becoming good and wise men by these 
schools ; and whether they actually gather there 
those attainments which it pleases mankind, 
for the time being, to consider as valuable, and 
to decorate by the name of learning. 

By a public school, we mean any endowed 
place of education, of old standing, to which 
the sons of gentlemen resort in considerable 
numbers, and wliere they continue to reside, 
from eight or nine, to eighteen years of age. 
We do not give this as a definition which would 
have satisfied Porphyry or Duns-Scotus, but as 
one sufficiently accurate for our purpose. The 
characteristic features of these schools are, their 
antiquity, the numbers, and the ages of the 
young people who are educated at them. We 
beg leave, however, to premise, that we have 
not the slightest intention of insinuating any 
thing to the disparagement of the present dis- 
cipline or present rulers of these schools, as 
compared with other times and other men : we 
have no reason whatever to doubt that they are 
as ably governed at this as they have been at 
any preceding period. Whatever objections we 
may have to these institutions, they are to 
faults, not depending on present administration, 
but upon original construction. f 

At a public school (for such is the system es- 



* Remarks on the System of Education in Public 
Scliools. bvo. llatcliiird. London, 1609. 

■}■ A public school is thouilil to be tlie best cure for 
the insolence of youthful aristocracy. This insolence, 
however, is not a little increased by the homasre of mas- 
)ers, and would soon meet with its natural check in the 



tablished by immemorial custom) , every boy is. 
alternately tyrant and slave. The power which 
the elder part of these communities exercises 
over the younger is exeedingly great — very dif- 
ficult to be controlled — and accompanied, not 
unfrequently, with cruelty and caprice. It is 
the common law of the place, that the young 
should be implicitly obedient to the elder boys ; 
and this obedience resernbles more the submis- 
sion of a slave to his master, or of a sailor to 
his captain, than the common and natural de- 
ference which would always be shown by one 
boy to another a few years older than himself. 
Now, this system we cannot help considering as ' 
an evil, — because it infiicts upon boys, for two or 
three years of their lives, many painful hardships, 
and much unpleasant servitude. These sufl'er- 
ings might perhaps be of some use in military 
schools ; but, to give a boy the habit of enduring 
privations to which he will never again be called 
upon to submit — to inure him to pains which 
he will never again feel — and to subject him to 
the privation of comforts with which he will 
always in future abound — is surely not a very 
useful and valuable severity in education. It 
is not the life in miniature which he is to lead 
hereafter — nor does it bear any relation to it : — 
he will never again be subjected to so much in- 
solence and caprice ; nor ever, in all human 
probability, be called upon to make so many sa- 
crifices. The servile obedience which it teaches 
might be useful to a menial domestic; or the 
haiaits of enterprise which it encourages prove 
of importance to a military partisan; but we 
cannot see what bearing it has upon the calm, 
regular, civil life, which the sons of gentlemen, 
destined to opulent idleness, or to any of the 
three learned professions, are destined to lead. 
Such a system makes many boys very misera- 
ble ; and produces those bad effects upon the 
temper and disposition, which unjust sufiering 
always does produce; — but what good it does 
we are much at a loss to conceive. Reasonable 
obedience is extremely useful in forming the 
disposition. Submission to tyranny lays the 
foundation of hatred, suspicion, cunning, and a 
variety of odious passions. We are convinced 
that those young people will turn out to be the 
best men, who have been guarded most effec- 
tually in their childhood, from every species of 
useless vexation ; and experienced, in the 
greatest degree, the blessings of a wise and 
rational indulgence. But even if these eflects 
upon future character are not produced, still 
four or five years in childhood make a very 
considerable period of human existence ; and it 
is by no means a trifling consideration whether 
they are passed happily or unhappily. The 
wretchedness of school tyranny is trifling 
enough to a man who only contemplates it in 



world. There can be no occasion to brinsr five hun- 
dred boys together to teach to a young noblemen that 
proper demeanour which he would learn so much better 
from the first English gentleman whom he might thintt 
proper to insult. 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH, 



87 



ease of body and tranquillity of mind, through 
the medium of twenty intervening years ; but 
it is quite as real, and quite as acute, while it 
lasts, as any of the sutlerinss of mature life : 
and the utility of these sutferings, or the price 
paid in compensation for them, should be clear- 
ly made out to a conscientious parent before he 
consents to expose his children to them. 

This system also gives to the elder boys an 
absurd and pernicious opinion of their own 
importance, which is often with difficulty ef- 
faced by a considerable commerce with the 
world. The head of a public school is gene- 
rally a very conceited young man, utterly igno- 
rant of his own dimensions, and losing all that 
habit of conciliation towards others, and that 
anxiety for self-improvement, which result from 
the natural modesty of youth. Nor is this con- 
ceit very easily and speedily gotten rid of; — we 
have seen (if we mistake not) public school 
importance lasting through the half of after 
life, strutting in lawn, swelling in ermine, and 
displaying itself, both ridiculously and offen- 
sively, in the haunts and business of bearded 
men. 

There is a manliness in the athletic exercises 
of public schools which is as seductive to the 
imagination as it is utterly imimportant in it- 
self. Of what importance is it in after life 
whether a boy can play well or ill at cricket ; 
or row a boat with the skill and precision of a 
waterman? If our young lords and esquires 
were hereafter to wrestle together in public, or 
the gentlemen of the Bar to exhibit Olympic 
games in Hilary Term, the glory attached to 
these exercises at public schools would be ra- 
tional and important. But of what use is the 
body of an athlete, when we have good laws 
over our heads. — or when a pistol, a postchaise, 
or a porter, can be hired for a few shillings ? 
A gentleman does nothing but ride or vi'alk ; 
and yet such a ridiculous stress is laid upon the 
manliness of the exercises customary at public 
schools — exercises in ^vhich the greatest block- 
heads commonly excel the most — which often 
render habits of idleness inveterate — and often 
lead to foolish expense and dissipation at a 
more advanced period of life. 

One of the supposed advantages of a public 
school is the greater knowledge of the \vorld 
which a boy is considered to derive from those 
situations; but if, by a knowledge of the world, 
is meant a knowledge of the forms and man- 
ners which are found to be the most pleasing 
and useful in the world, a boy from a public 
school is almost always extremely deficient in 
these particulars ; and his sister, who has re- 
mained at home at the apron-strings of her 
mother, is very much his superior in the science 
of manners. It is probably true, that a boy at 
a public school has made more observation on 
human character, because he has had more op- 
r)ortunities of observing than have been en- 
joyed by young persons educated either at 
home or at private schools : but this little ad- 
vance gained at a public school is so soon over- 
taken at college or in the world, that, to have 
made it, is of the least possible consequence, 
and utterly underserving of any risk incurred 
in the acquisition. Is it any injury to a man 
of thirty or thirty-five years of ao'e — to a learned 
Serjeant or venerable dean — that at eighteen 
they did not know so much of the world as 
some other boys of the same standing? They 
liave probably escaped the arrogant character ^ 



so often attendant upon this trifling superiority ; 
nor is there much chance that they have ever 
fallen into the common and youthful error of 
mistaking a premature initiation into vice for 
a knowledge of the ways of mankind ; and, in 
addition to these salutary exemptions, a winter 
in London brings it all to a level ; and ofl'ers to 
every novice the advantages which are sup- 
posed to be derived from this precocity of con- 
fidence and polish. 

According to the general prejudice in favour 
of public schools, it would be thovight quite as 
absurd and superfluous to enumerate the illus- 
trious characters who have been bred at our 
three great seminaries of this description, as it 
would be to descant upon the illustrious cha- 
racters who have passed in and out of London 
over our three great bridges. Almost every con- 
spicuous person is supposed to have been edu- 
cated at public schools; and there are scarcely 
any means (as it is imagined) of making art 
actual comparison; and yet, great as the rage 
is, and long has been, for public schools, it is 
very remarkable, that the most eminent men in 
every art and science have not been educated 
in public schools ; and this is true, even if we 
include, in the term of public schools, not only 
Eton, Winchester, and Westminster, but the 
Charter-House, St. Paul's School, Merchant 
Tailors', Rugby, and every school in England, 
at all conducted upon the plan of the three first. 
The great schools of Scotland we do not call 
public schools; because, in these, the mixture 
of domestic life gives to them a widely diflerent 
character. Spenser, Pope, Shakspeare, Butler, 
Rochester, Spratt, Parnell, Garth, Congreve, 
Gay, Swift, Thomson, Shenstone, Akenside, 
Goldsmith, Samuel Johnson, Beaumont and 
Fletcher, Ben Jonson, Sir Philip Sydney, Savage, 
Arbuthnot, and Burns, among the poets, were 
not educated in the system of English schools. 
Sir Isaac Newton, Maclaurin, Wallis, Hamstead, 
Saunderson, Simpson, and Napier, among men 
of science, were not educated in public schools. 

The three best historians that the English 
language has produced, Clarendon, Hume, and 
Robertson, were not educated at public schools. 
Public schools have done little in England for 
the fine arts — as in the examples of Inigo Jones, 
Vanbrufjh, Reynolds, Gainsborough, Garrick, 
&c. The great medical writers and discoverers 
in Great Britain, Harvey, Cheselden, Hunter, 
Jenner, Meade, Brown, and CuUen, were not 
educated at public schools. Of the great writers 
on morals and metaphysics, it was not the sys- 
tem of public schools which produced Bacon, 
Shaftesbury, Hobbes, Berkeley, Butler, Hume, 
Hartley, or Dugald Stewart. The greatest dis- 
coverers in chemistry have not been brought 
up at public schools ; — we mean Dr. Priestley, 
Dr. Black, and Mr. Davy. The only English- 
men who have evinced a remarkable genius, in 
modern times, for the art of war, — the Duke of 
Marlborough, Lord Peterborough, General 
Wolfe, and Lord Clive, were all trained in pri- 
vate schools. So were Lord Coke, Sir Matthew 
Hale, and Lord Chancellor Hardwicke, and 
Chief Justice Holt, among the lawyers. So 
also, among statesmen, were Lord Burleigh. 
Walsingham, the Earl of Straflbrd, Thurlue, 
Cromwell, Hampden, Lord Clarendon, Sir VVal 
ter Raleigh, Sydney, Russel, Sir W. Temple, 
Lord Somers, Burke, Sheridan, Pitt. In addi- 
tion to this list, we must not forge' the names 
of such eminent scholars and men of letters, ag 



88 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



Cndworth, Chillingworth, Tillotson, Archbishop 
King, Seidell, Conyers, Middleton, Bentley, Sir 
Thomas More, Cardinal Wolsey, Bishops Sher- 
lock and Wilkins, Jeremy Taylor, Isaac Hooker, 
Bishops Usher, Stillingtieet, and Spelman, Dr. 
Samuel Clarke, Bishop Hoadley, and Dr. Lard- 
ner. Nor must it be forgotten, in this examina- 
tion, that none of the conspicuous writers upon 
political economy which this country has as 
yet produced, have been brought up in public 
schools. If it be urged that public schools have 
only assumed their present character within 
this last century, or half century, and that what 
are now called public schools partook, before 
this period, of the natitre of private schools, 
there must then be added to our lists the names 
of Milton, Dryden, Addison, &c., &c. : and it 
will follow, that the English have done almost 
all that they have done in the arts and sciences, 
■without the aid of that system of education to 
which they are now so much attached. Ample 
as this catalogue of celebrated names already 
is, it would be easy to double it ; yet, as it 
stands, it is obviously sufficient to show that 
great eminence may be attained in any line of 
fame without the aid of public schools. Some 
more striking inferences might perhaps be 
drawn from it; but we content ourselves with 
the simple fact. 

The most important peculiarity in the consti- 
tution of a public school is its numbers, which 
art so great, that a close inspection of the mas- 
ter into the studies and conduct of each indi- 
vidual is quite impossible. We must be al- 
lowed to doubt, w^hether such an arrangement 
is favourable either to literature or morals. 

Upon this system, a boy is left almost entirel}' 
to himself, to impress upon his own mind, as 
well as he can, the distant advantages of know- 
ledge, and to withstand, from his own innate 
resolution, the examples and the seductions of 
idleness. A firm character survives this brave 
neglect; and very exalted talents may some- 
times remedy it by subsequent diligence : but 
schools are not made for a few youths of pre- 
eminent talents, and strong characters; such 
prizes can, of course, be drawn but by a very 
few parents. The best school is that which is 
best accommodated to the greatest variety of 
characters, and which embraces the greatest 
number of cases. It cannot be the main ob- 
ject of education to render the splendid more 
splendid, and to lavish care upon those who 
would almost thrive without any care at all. 
A public school does this effectually ; but it 
commonly leaves the idle almost as idle, and the 
dull almost as dull as it found them. It dis- 
dains the tedious cultivation of those middling 
talents of which only the great mass of human 
beings are possessed. When a strong desire of 
improvement exists, it is encouraged, but no 
pains are taken to inspire it. A boy is cast in 
among five or six hundred other boys, and is 
left to form his own character ; — if his love of 
knowledge survives this severe trial, it, in gene- 
ral, carries him very far: and, upon the same 
principle, a savage, who grows up to manhood, 
's, in general, well made, and free from all 
bodily defects; not because the severities of 
such a state are favourable to animal life, but 
because they are so much the reverse, that 
none but the strongest can survive them. A 
few boys are incorrigibly idle, and a few incor- 
rigibly eager for knowledge ; but the great mass 
aie in a state of doubt and fluctuation ; and they 



come to school for the express purpose, not of 
being left to themselves — for that could be done 
any where — but that their wavering tastes and 
propensities should be decided by the interven- 
tion of a master. In a forest, or public school 
for oaks and elms, the trees are left to them- 
selves ; the strong plants live, and the weak 
ones die : the towering oak that remains is ad- 
mired; the saplings that perish around it are 
cast into the flames and forgotten. But it is 
not surely to the vegetable struggle of a forest, 
or the hasty glance of a forester, that a bota- 
nist would commit a favourite plant; he would 
naturally seek for it a situation of less hazard, 
and a cultivator whose limited occupations 
would enable him to give to it a reasonable 
share of his time and attention. The very mean- 
ing of education seems to us to be, that the old 
sliould teach the young, and the wise direct the 
weak; that a man who professes to instruct, 
should get among his pupils, study their cha- 
racters, gain their aflections, and form their in- 
clinations and aversions. In a public school, 
the numbers render this impossible ; it is im- 
possible that sufficient time should be found for 
this useful and aifectionate interference. Boys, 
therefore, are left to their own crude concep- 
tions and ill-formed propensities; and this ne- 
glect is called a spirited and manly education. 

In by far the greatest number of cases, we 
cannot think public schools favourable to the 
cultivation of knowledge ; and we have equally 
strong doubts if they be so to the cultivation of 
morals, — though we admit, that, upon this point, 
the most striking arguments have been pro- 
duced in their favour. 

It is contended by the friends to public schools, 
that every person, before he comes to man's 
estate, must run through a certain career of dis- 
sipation ; and that if that career is, by the means 
ol'a private education, deferred to a more ad- 
vanced period of life, it will only be begun 
with greater eagerness, and pursued into more 
blameable excess. The time must, of course, 
come when every man must be his own master ; 
when his conduct can be no longer regulated 
by the watchful superintendence of another, 
but must be guided by his own discretion. 
Emancipation must come at last; and we ad- 
mit, that the object to be aimed at is, that such 
emancipation should be gradual, and not pre- 
mature. Upon this very invidious point of the 
discussion, we rather wish to avoid offering' anjr 
opinion. The manners of great schools vary 
considerably from time to time ; and what may 
have been true many years ago, is very possi- 
bly not true at the present period. In this in- 
stance, every parent must be governed by his 
own observations and means of information. 
If the license which prevails at public schools 
is only a fair increase of liberty, proportionate 
to advancing age, and caltulated to prevent 
the bad effects of a sudden transition from tute- 
lary thraldom to perfect self-government, it is 
certainly a good rather than an evil. If, on the 
contrary, there exists in these places of educa- 
tion a system of premature debauchery, and if 
they only prevent men from being corrupted 
by the world, by corrupting them before their 
entry into the world, they can then only be 
looked upon as evils of the greatest magni- 
tude, however they may be sanctioned by opi- 
nion, or rendered familiar to us by habit. 

The vital and essential part of a school is the 
master; but, at a public school, no boy, or, ai 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



89 



the best, only a very few, can see enough of 
him to derive any considerable benefit from 
his character, manners, and information. It is 
certainly of eminent use, particularly to a young 
man of rank, that he should have lived among 
boys; but it is only so when they are all mo- 
derately watched by some superior understand- 
ing. The morality of boys is generally very im- 
perfect; their notions of honour extremely mis- 
taken ; and their objects of ambition frequently 
very absurd. The probability then is, that the 
kind of discipline they exercise over each other 
will produce (when left to itself) a great deal of 
mischief; and yet this is the discipline to which 
every child at a public school is not only ne- 
cessarily exposed, but principally confined. 
Our objection (we again repeat) is not to the 
interference of boys in the formation of the 
character of boys; their character, we are per- 
suaded, will be very imperfectly formed without 
their assistance ; but our objection is to that 
almost exclusive agency which they exercise 
in public schools. 

After having said so much in opposition to 
the general prejudice in favour of public schools, 
we may be expected to state what species of 
school we think preferable to them ; for if pub- 
Uc schools, with all their disadvantages, are 
the best that can actually be found, or easily 
attained, the objections tq them are certainly 
made to very little purpose. 

We have no hesitation, however, in saying, 
that that education seems to us to be the best 
which mingles a domestic with a school life; 
and which gives to a youth the advantage 
which is to be derived from the learning of a 
master, and the emulation which results from 
the society of other boys, together with the 
afieclionate vigilance w^hich he must experience 
in the house of his parents. But where this 
species of education, from peculiarity of circum- 



stances or situation, is not attainable, v/e are 
disposed to thhik a society of twenty or thirty 
boys, under the guidance of a learned man, 
and, above all, of a man of good sense, to be a 
seminary the best adapted for the education of 
youth. The numbers are sufficient to excite a 
considerable degree of emulation, to give to a 
boy some insight into the diversities of the 
human character, and to subject him to the ob- 
servation and control of his superiors. It by no 
means follows, that a judicious man sliould al- 
ways interfere with his authority and advice be- 
cause he has always the means ; he may con- 
nive at many things which he cannot approve, 
and suffer some little failures to proceed to a 
certain extent, which, if indulged in wider 
limits, would be attended with irretrievable 
mischief: he will be aware, that his object is to 
fit his pupil for the world ; that constant con- 
trol is a very bad preparation for complete 
emancipation from all control; that it is not 
bad policy to expose a young man, under the 
eye of superior wisdom, to some of those dan- 
gers which will assail him hereafter in greater 
number, and in greater strength — when he has 
only his own resources to depend upon. A 
private education, conducted upon these prin- 
ciples, is not calculated to gratify quickly the 
vanity of a parent who is blest with a child of 
strong character and pre-eminent abilities: to 
be the first scholar of an obscure master, at an 
obscure place, is no very splendid distinction ; 
nor does it afford that opportunity, of which so 
many parents are desirous, of forming great 
connexions for their children : but if the ob- 
ject be, to induce the young to love knowledge 
and virtue, we are inclined to suspect, that, for 
the average of human talents and characters, 
these are the situations in which such tastes 
will be the most effectually formed. 



12 



h2 



90 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



TOLEIRATION.* 



[Edinburgh Review, 1811.] 



If a prudent man sees a child playing with a 
porcelain cup of great value, he takes the ves- 
sel out of his hand, pats him on the head, tells 
him his mamma will be sorry if it is broken, 
and genily cheats him into the use of some less 
precious substitute. Why will Lord Sidmouth 
meddle with the Toleration Act, when there are 
so many other subjects in which his abilities 
might be so eminently useful — when enclosure 
bills are drawn up with such scandalous negli- 
gence — turnpike roads so shamefully neglected 
— and public conveyances illegitimately loaded 
in the face of day, and in defiance of the wisest 
legislative provisions] We confess our trepi- 
dation at seeing the Toleration Act in the hands 
of Lord Sidmouth ; and should be very glad if 
it were fairly back in the statute book, and the 
sedulity of this well-meaning nobleman diverted 
into another channel. 

The alarm and suspicion of the Dissenters 
upon these measures are wise and rational. 
They are right to consider the Toleration Act 
as their palladium ; and they may be certain 
that in this country there is always a strong 
party ready, not only to prevent the further ex- 
tension of tolerant principles, but to abridge (if 
they dared) their present operation within the 
narrowest limits. Whoever makes this at- 
tempt, will be sure to make it under professions 
of the most earnest regard for mildness and 
toleration, and with the strongest declarations 
of respect for King William, the Revolution, 
and the principles which seated the House of 
Brunswick on the throne of these realms; — 
and then will follow the clauses for whipping 
Dissenters, imprisoning preachers, and sub- 
jecting them to rigid qualifications, &c, &c. 
&c. The infringement on the militia acts is a 
mere pretence. The real object is to diminish 
the number of Dissenters from the Church of 
England, by abridging the liberties and privi- 
leges they now possess. This is the project 
which we shall examine, for we sincerely be- 
lieve it to be the project in agitation. The 
mode in which it is proposed to attack the Dis- 
senters is, first, by exacting greater qualifica- 
tions in their teachers : next, by preventing the 
interchange or itinerancy of preachers, and 
fixing them to one spot. 

It can never, we presume, be intended to 
subject dissenting ministers to any kind of the- 
ological examination. A teacher examined in 
doctrinal opinions, by another teacher who dif- 
fers from him, is so very absurd a project, that 
we entirely acquit Lord Sidmouth of any in- 
tention of this sort. We rather presume his 
lordship to mean, that a man who professes to 
teach his fellow creatures, should at least have 



* Hints on Toleration, in Five Essays, ^c. suggested for 
the consideration of Lord Viscount Sid mouth, and the Dis- 
senters. By riiilagatliarclies. London. 1810. 



made some progress in human learning; — 
that he should not be wholly without educa- 
tion ; — that he should be able at least to read 
and write. If the test is of this very ordinary 
nature, it can scarcely exclude many teachers 
of religion ; and it was hardly worth while, for 
the very insignificant diminution of numbers 
which this must occasion to the dissenting 
clergy, to have raised all the alarm which this 
attack upon the Toleration Act has occasioned. 
But, without any reference to the magnitude 
of the effects, is the principle right ? or. What 
is the meaning of religious toleration 1 That 
a man should hold, without pain or penalty, 
any religious opinions, — and choose for his 
instruction, in the business of salvation, any 
guide whom he pleases ; — care being taken 
that the teacher and the doctrine injure neither 
the policy nor the morals of the country. We 
maintain that perfect religious toleration ap- 
plies as much to the teacher as the thing 
taught; and that it is quite as intolerant to 
make a man hear Thomas, who wants to hear 
John, as it would be to make a man profess 
Arminian, who wished to profess Calvinistical 
principles. What right has any government to 
dictate to any man who shall guide him to 
heaven, any more than it has to persecute the 
religious tenets by which he hopes to arrive 
there 1 You believe that the heretic professes 
doctrines utterly incompatible with the true 
spirit of the gospel ; — first you burnt him for 
this, — then you whipt him, then you fined 
him, — then you put him in prison. All this 
did no good ; — and, for these hundred years 
last past, you have let him alone. The heresy 
is now firmly protected by law ; — and you know 
it must be preached : — What matters it then, 
who preaches if? If the evil must be commu- 
nicated, the organ and instrument through 
which it is communicated cannot be of much 
consequence. It is true, this kind of persecu- 
tion against persons, has not been quite. so 
much tried as the other against doctrines ; but 
the folly and inexpediency of it rest precisely 
upon the same grounds. 

Would it not be a singular thing if the friends 
of the Church of England were to make the 
most strenuous efforts to render their enemies 
eloquent and learned 1 — and to found places of 
education for Dissenters 1 But, if their learn- 
ing would not be a good, why is their ignorance 
an evill — unless it be necessarily supposed, 
that all increase of learning must bring men 
over to the Church of England; in which sup- 
position, the Scottish and Catholic universities, 
and the college at Hackney, would hardly ac- 
quiesce. Ignorance surely matures and quick- 
ens the progress, by insuring the dissolution 
of absurdity. Rational and learned Dissenters 
I remain : — religious mobs, under some ignorant 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



91 



fanatic of the day, become foolish overmuch, — 
dissolve, and return to the Church. The Uni- 
tarian, who reads and writes gets some sort of 
discipline, and returns no more. 

What connection is there (as Lord Sid- 
mouth's plan assumes) between the zeal and 
piety required for religious instruction and the 
cornmon attainments of literature! But, if 
knowledge and education are required for re- 
ligious instruction, why be content with the 
common elements of learning 1 why not require 
higher attainments in dissenting candidates for 
orders; and examine them in the languages 
in which the books of their religion are con- 
veyed 1 

A dissenting minister of vulgar aspect and 
homely appearance, declares that he entered 
into that holy office because he felt a call; — 
and a clergyman of the Establishment smiles 
at him for the declaration. But it should be 
remembered, that no minister of the Establish- 
ment is admitted into orders, before he has been 
expressly interrogated by the bishop whether 
he feels himself called to that sacred office. 
The doctrine of calling, or inward feeling, is 
quite orthodox in the English Church; — and, 
in arguing this subject in Parliament, it will 
hardly be contended, that the Episcopalian only 
is the judge when that call is genuine, and 
when it is only imaginar)% 

The attempt at making the dissenting clergy 
stationary, and persecuting their circulation, 
appears to us quite as unjust and inexpedient 
as the other measure of qualifications. It ap- 
pears a gross inconsistency to say — "I admit 
that what you are doing is legal, — but you must 
not do it thoroughly and effectually. I allow 
you to propagate your heresy, — but I object to 
all means of propagating it which appear to 
be useful and effective." If there are any other 
grounds upon which the circulation of the dis- 
senting clergy is objected to, let these grounds 
be stated and examined; but to object to their 
circulation merely because it is the best method 
of effecting the object which you allow them to 
effect, does appear to be rather unnatural and 
inconsistent. 

It is persumed, in this argument, that the 
only reason urged for the prevention of itiner- 
ant preachers is the increase of heresy ; for, 
if heresy is not increased by it, it must be im- 
material to the feelings of Lord Sidmouth, and 
of the imperial Parliament, whether Mr. Shuf- 
flebottom preaches at Bungay, and Mr. Ringle- 
tub at Ipswich ; or whether an artful vicissitude 
is adopted, a'nd the order of insane predication 
reversed. 

But, supposing all this new interference to 
be just, what good will it do? You find a dis- 
senting preacher, whom you have prohibited, 
still continuing to preach, — or preaching at 
Ealing when he ought to preach at Acton ; — 
his number is taken, and the next morning he 
is summoned. Is it believed that this descrip- 
tion of persons can be put down by fine and 
imprisonment 1 His fine is paid for him ; and 
he returns from imprisonment ten times as 
much sought after and as popular as he was 
before. This is a receipt for making a stupid 
preacher popular, and a popular preacher more 
popular, but can have no possible tendency to 



prevent the mischief against which it is level- 
ed. It is precisely the old history of perse- 
cution against opinions turned into a perse- 
cution against persons. The prisons will be 
filled, — the enemies of the Church made ene- 
mies of the .state also, — and the Methodists 
rendered ten times more actively mad than 
they are at present. This is the direct and 
obvious tendency of Lord Sidmouth's plan. 

Nothing dies so hard and rallies so often as 
intolerance. The fires are put out, and no liv- 
ing nostril has scented the nidor of a human 
creature roasted for faith ; — then, after this, the 
prison doors were got open, and the chains 
knocked off; and now Lord Sidmouth only 
begs that men who disagree with him in re- 
ligious opinions may be deprived of all civil 
offices and not be allowed to hear the preachers 
they like best. Chains and whips he would 
not hear of; but these mild gratifications of 
his bill every orthodox mind is surely entitled 
to. The hardship would indeed be great if a 
churchman were deprived of the amusement 
of putting a dissenting parson in prison. We 
are convinced Lord Sidmouth is a very amia- 
ble and well-intentioned man : his error is not 
the error of his heart, but of his time, above 
which few men ever rise. It is the error of 
some four or five hundred thousand English 
gentlemen of decent education and worthy 
characters, who conscientiously believe thai 
they are punishing, and continuing incapaci- 
ties, for the good of the state; while they are, 
in fact (though without knowing it), only grati- 
fying that insolence, hatred, and revenge, which 
all human beings are unfortunately so ready to 
feel against those who will not conform to their 
own sentiments. 

But, instead of making the dissenting church- 
es less popular, why not make the English 
church more popular, and raise the English 
clergy to the privileges of the Dissenters 1 In 
any parish of England, any layman, or clergy- 
man, by paying sixpence, can open a place of 
worship, — provided it be not the worship of the 
Church of England. If he wishes to attack the 
doctrines of the bishop or the incumbent, he is 
not compelled to ask the consent of any person ; 
but if, by any evil chance, he should be per- 
suaded of the truth of those doctrines, and build 
a chapel or mount a pulpit to support them, he 
is instantly put in the spiritual court; for the 
regular incumbent, who has a legal monopoly 
of this doctrine, does not choose to suffer any 
interloper; and without his consent, it is ille- 
gal to preach the doctrines of the church within 
his precincts.* Now this appears to us a great 



* Tt might be supposed that the eeneral interests of 
the Church would outweigh the particular interests of 
the rector; and that any clergyman would be glad to 
see places of worship opened within his parish for the 
doctrines of the Established Church. The fact, how- 
ever, is directly the reverse. It is scarcely possible to 
obtain permission from tlie established clergyman of the 
parish to open a chapel there ; and, when it is granted, 
it is granted upon very hard and interested conditions. 
The parishes of St. George — of St. James — of Mary-le- 
bone — and of St. Anne's, in London — may, in the parish 
churches, cliapels of ease, and mercenary chapels, con- 
tain, perhaps, one-hundredth part of their Episcopalian 
inhabitants. Let the rectors, lay and clerical, meet 
together, and give notice that any clergyman of the 
Church of England, approved by the bishop, may preach 
there ; and we will venture to say, that places of wor- 



92 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



and manifest absurdity, and a disadvantage 
against iVie Established Church which very few 
establishments could bear. The persons who 
preach and who build chapels, or for whom 
chapels are built, among the Dissenters, are 
active clever persons, with considerable talents 
for that kind of employment. These talents 
have, with them, their free and unbounded 
scope; while in the English Church they are 
wholly extinguished and destroyed. Till this 
evil is corrected, the Church contends with fear- 
ful odds against its opponents. On the one 
side, any man who can command the attention 
of a congregation — to whom nature has given 
the animal and intellectual qualifications of a 
preacher — such a man is the member of every 
corporation; — all impediments are removed; — 
there is not a single position in Great Britain 
which he may not take, provided he is hostile 
to the Established Church. In the other case, 
if the English Church were to breed up a Mas- 
sillon or a Bourdaloue, he finds every place 
occupied, and every where a regular and re- 
spectable clergyman ready to put him in the 
spiritual court, if he attracts, within his pre- 
cincts, any attention to the doctrines and wor- 
ship of the Established Church. 

The necessity of having the bishop's consent 
would prevent any improper person from 
preaching. That consent should be withheld, 
not capriciously, but for good and lawful cause 
to be assigned. 

The profits of an incumbent proceed from 
fixed or voluntary contributions. The fixed 
could not be affected ; and the voluntary ought 
to vary according to the exertions of the in- 
cumbent and the good will of the parishioners ; 
but, if this is wrong, pecuniary compensation 
might be made (at the discretion of the ordina- 
ry) from the supernumerary to the regular cler- 
gyman.* 

Such a plan, it is true, would make the 
Church of England more popular in its nature ; 
and it ought to be made more popular, or it 
will not endure for another half century. There 
are two methods ; the Church must be made 
more popular or the Dissenters less so. To 
effect the latter object by force and restriction 
is unjust and impossible. The only remedy 
seems to be, to grant to the Church the same 
privileges which are enjoyed by the Dissenters, 
and to excite, in one party, that competition of 
talent which is of such palpable advantage to 
the other. 

A remedy suggested by some well-wishers to 
the Church, is the appointment of men to bene- 



ship capable of containing 20,000'persons would be built 
within ten years. But, in these cases, the interest of 
the rector and'of the Establishment is not the same. A 
chapel belonging to the Swedenborgians, or Methodists 
of the New .Jerusalem, was oflered. two or three years 
since, in London, to a clergyman of the Establishment. 
The proprietor was tired of his irrational tenants, and 
wished for better doctrine. The rector (since a digni- 
tary), with every possible compliment to the fitness of 
the person in question, positively refusedJthe applica- 
tion ; and the church remains in the hands of Metho- 
dists. No particular blame is intended, by this anec- 
dote, against the individual rector. He acted as many 
have done before and since; but the incumbent clergy- 
man ought to possess no such power. It is his interest, 
but not the interest of the Establishment. 

* All this has been since placed on a better footing. 



fices who have talents for advancing the inter- 
ests of religion; but, till each particular patron 
can be persuaded to care more for the general 
good of the Church than for the particular good 
of the person whom he patronizes, little expec- 
tation of improvement can be derived from this 
quarter. 

The competition between the Established 
clergy, to which this method would give birth, 
would throw the incumbent in the back-ground 
only when he was unfit to stand forward, — im- 
moral, negligent, or stupid. His income would 
still remain; and, if his influence were super- 
seded by a man of better qualities and attain- 
ments, the general good of the Establishment 
would be consulted by the change. The bene- 
ficed clergyman would always come to the 
contest with great advantages ; and his defici- 
encies must be very great indeed, if he lost the 
esteem of his parishioners. But the contest 
would rarely or never take place, where the 
friends of the Establishment were not numer- 
ous enough for all. At present, the selfish 
incumbent, who cannot accommodate the fif- 
tieth part of his parishioners, is determined that 
no one else shall do it for him. It is in such 
situations that the benefit to the Establishment 
would be greatest, and the injury to the ap- 
pointed minister none at all. 

We beg of men of sense to reflect, that the 
question is not whether they wish the English 
Church to stand as it now is, but whether the 
English Church can stand as it now is ; and 
whether the moderate activity here recom- 
inended is not the minimum of exertion neces- 
sary for its preservation. At the same time, 
we hope nobody will rate our sagacity so very 
low as to imagine we have much hope that any 
measure of the kind will ever be adopted. Ml 
estahlishmoits die of dignity. They are too proud 
to think themselves ill, and to take a little 
physic. 

To show that we have not misstated the ob- 
stinacy or the conscience of sectaries, and the 
spirit with which they will meet the regulations 
of Lord Sidmouth, we will lay before our 
readers the sentiments of Philagatharches — a 
stern subacid Dissenter. 

"I shall not here enter into a comprehensive 
discussion of the nature of a call to the minis- 
terial office; but deduce my proposition from a 
sentiment admitted equally by conformists and 
nonconformists. It is essential to the nature 
of a call to preach ' that a man be moved by the 
Holy Ghost to enter upon the work of the min- 
istry :' and, if the Spirit of God operate power- 
fully upon his heart to contrain him to appear 
as a public teacher of religion, who shall com- 
mand him to desist] We have seen that the 
sanction of the magistrate can give no autho- 
rity to preach the gospel ; and if he were to 
forbid our exertions, we must persist in the 
work ; we dare not relinquish a task that God 
has required us to perform ; we cannot keep 
our consciences in peace, if our lips are closed 
in silence, while the Holy Ghost is moving our 
hearts to proclaim the tidings of salvation: — 
'Yea> woe is unto me,' saith St. Paul, < if I 
preach not the gospel.' Thus, when the Jewish 
priests had taken Peter and John into custody, 
and after examining them concerning their doc 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



93 



trine, ' commanded them not to speak at all, 
nor to teach in the name of Jesus,' these apos- 
tolical champions of the cross undauntedly 
replied, 'Whether it be right in the sight of God 
to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge 
ye : for we cannot but speak the things which 
we have seen and heard.' Thus, also, in our 
day, when the Holy Ghost excites a man to 
preach the gospel to his fellow sinners, his 
message is sanctioned by an authority which is 
'far above all principality and power;' and, 
consequently, neither needs the approbation of 
subordinate rulers, nor admits of revocation by 
their countermanding edicts. 

"3dly. He who receives a license should not 
expect to derive from it a testimony of qualifi- 
cation to preach. 

"It would be grossly absurd to seek a testi- 
mony of this description from any single indi- 
vidual, even though he were an experienced 
veteran in the service of Christ; for aH are 
fallible; and, under some unfavourable prepos- 
session, even the wisest or the best of men 
might give an erroneous decision upon the 
case. But this observation will gain additional 
force when we suppose the power of judging 

transferred to the person of the magistrate 

We cannot presume that a civil ruler tmder- 
stands as much of theology as a minister of 
the gospel. His necessary duties prevent him 
from critically investigating questions upon 
divinity; and confine his attention to that par- 
ticular department which society has deputed 
him to occupy ; and hence to expect at his 
hands a testimony of qualification to preach 
would be almost as ludicrous as to require an 
obscure country curate to fill the office of Lord 
Chancellor. 

" But again— admitting that a magistrate 
who is nominated by the sovereign to issue 
forth licenses to dissenting ministers, is com- 
petent to the task of judging of their natural 
and acquired abilities, it must still remain a 
doubtful question whether they are moved to 
preach by the influences of the Holy Ghost; 
for it is the prerogative of God alone to ' search 
the heart and try ihe reins' of the children of 
men. Consequently, after every effort of the 
ruling powers to assume to themselves the 
right of judging whether a man be or be not 
qualified to preach, the most essential property 
of the call must remain to be determined by 
the conscience of the individual. 

"It is further worthy of observation that the 
talents of a preacher may be acceptable to 
many persons, if not to him who issues the 
license. The taste of a person thus high in 
office may be too refined to derive gratification 
from any but the most learned, intelligent, and 
accomplished preachers. Yet, as the gospel 
is sent to the poor as well as to the rich, per- 
haps hundreds of preachers may be highly 
acceptable, much esteemed, and eminently 
useful in their respective circles, who would 
be despised as men of mean attainments by 
one whose mind is well stored with literature, 
and cultivated by science. From these re- 
marks, I infer, that a man's own judgment 
must be the criterion, in determining what line 
of conduct to pursue before he begins to 
preach ; and the opinion of the people to whom 



he ministers must determine whether it be 
desirable that he should continue to fill their 
pulpit."— (168— 173.) 

The sentiments of Philagatharches are ex- 
pressed still more strongly in a subsequent 
passage. 

" Here a question may arise — what line of 
conduct conscientious ministers ought to pur- 
sue, if laws were to be enacted, forbidding 
either all dissenting ministers to preach, or 
only lay preachers ; or forbidding to preach 
in an unlicensed place ; and, at the same 
time, refusing to license persons and places, 
except under such security as the property 
of the parties would not meet, or under limi- 
tations to which their consciences could not 
accede. What has been advanced ought to 
outweigh every consideration of temporal 
interest; and if the evil genius of persecu- 
tion were to appear again, I pray God that 
we might all be faithful to Him who hath called 
us to preach the gospel. Under such circum- 
stances, let us continue to preach : if fined, let 
us pa)' the penalty, and persevere in preach- 
ing; and, when unable to pay the fine, or 
deeming it impolitic so to do, let us submit to 
go quietly to prison, but with the resolution 
still to preach upon the first opportunity, and, 
if possible, to collect a church even within 
the precincts of the gaol. He who, by these 
zealous exertions, becomes the honoured in- 
strument of converting one sinner unto God, 
will find that single seal to his ministerial la- 
bours an ample compensation for all his suf- 
ferings. In this manner the venerable apostle 
of the Gentiles both avowed and proved his 
sincere attachment to the cause in which he 
had embarked : — ' The Holy Ghost witn^sseth, 
in every city, that bonds and afflictions abide 
me. But none of these things move me, neither 
count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might 
finish my course with joy, and the ministry 
which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to 
testify the gospel of the grace of God.' 

"In the early ages of Christianity martyr- 
dom v/as considered an eminent honour ; and 
many of the primitive Christians thrust them- 
selves upon the notice of their heathen per- 
secutors, that they might be brought to suffer 
in the cause of that Redeemer whom they 
ardently loved. In the present day Christians 
in general incline to estimate such rash ardour 
as a species of enthusiasm, and feel no dispo- 
sition to court the horrors of persecution ; yet, 
if such dark and tremendous days were to 
return in this age of the world, ministers 
should retain their stations ; they should be 
true to their charge ; they should continue 
their ministrations, each man in his sphere, 
shining with all the lustre of genuine godli- 
ness, to dispel the gloom in which the nation 
would then be enveloped. If this line of con- 
duct were to be adopted, and acted upon with 
decision, the cause of piety, of nonconformity, 
and of itinerant preaching, must eventually 
triumph. All the gaols in the country would 
speedily be filled : those houses of correction 
which were erected for the chastisement of the 
vicious in the community, would be replen- 
ished with thousands of the most pious, active, 
and useful men in the kingdom, whose cha- 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



racters are held in general esteem. But the 
ultimate result of such despotic proceedings is 
beyond the ken of human prescience : — pro- 
bably, appeals to the public and the legislature 
would teem from the press, and, under such 
circumstances, might diffuse a revolutionary 
spirit throughout the country."— (239— 243.) 

We quote these opinions at length, not be- 
cause they are the opinions of Philagatharches, 
but because we are confident that they are the 
opinions of ten thousand hot-headed fanatics, 
and that they would firmly and conscientiously 
be acted upon. 

Philagatharches is an instance (not uncom- 
mon, we are sorry to say, even among the most 
rational of the Protestant Dissenters) of a love 
of toleration combined with a love of persecu- 
tion. He is a Dissenter, and earnestly demands 
religious liberty for that body of men ; but as 
for the Catholics, he would not only continue 
their present disabilities, but load them with 
every new one that could be conceived. He 



expressly says that an Atheist or a Deist may 
be allowed to propagate their doctrines, but 
not a Catholic ; and then proceeds with all the 
customary trash against that sect which nine 
schoolboys out of ten now know how to refute. 
So it is with Philagatharches ; — so it is with 
weak men in every sect. It has ever been our 
object, and (in spite of misrepresentation and 
abuse) ever shall be our object, to put down 
this spirit — to protect the true interests, and to 
diffuse the true spirit, of toleration. To a M'ell- 
supported national Establishment, effectually 
discharging its duties, we are very sincere 
friends. If any man, after he has paid his 
contribution to this great security for the exist- 
ence of religion in any shape, chooses to adopt 
a religion of his own, that man should be per- 
mitted to do so without let, molestation, or dis- 
qualification for any of the offices of life. We 
apologize to men of sense for sentiments so 
trite ; and patiently endure the anger which 
they will excite among those with whom they 
will pass for original. 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



m 



CHAELES pox; 

[Edinburgh Revie-w, 1811.] 



Thottgh Mr. Fox's history was, of course, 
as muuh open to animadversion and rebuke 
as any other book, the task, we think, would 
have become any other person better than Mr. 
Rose. The whole of Mr. Fox's life was spent 
in opposing the profligacy and exposing the 
ignorance of his own court. In the first half 
of his political career, while Lord North was 
losing America, and in the latter half, while 
Mr. Pitt was ruining Europe, the creatures of 
the government were eternally exposed to the 
attacks of this discerning, dauntless, and most 
powerful speaker. Folly and corruption never 
had a more terrible enemy in the English 
House of Commons — one whom it was so im- 
possible to bribe, so hopeless to elude, and so 
dithcult to answer. Now it so happened that, 
during the whole of this period, tlie historical 
critic of Mr. Fox was employed in subordinate 
olfices of government; — that the detail of taxes 
passed through his hands ; — that he amassed 
a large fortune by those occupations ; — and 
that, both in the measures which he support- 
ed, and in the friends from whose patronage 
he received his emoluments, he was complete- 
ly and perpetually opposed to Mr. Fox. 

Again, it must be remembered, that very 
great people have very long memories for the 
injuries which they receive, or which they 
think they receive. No speculation was so 
good, therefore, as to vilify the memory of 
Mr. Fox, — nothing so delicious as to lower 
him in the public estimation, — no service so 
likely to be well rewarded — so eminently grate- 
ful to those of whose favour Mr. Rose had so 
often tasted the sweets, and of the value of 
whose patronage he must, from long experi- 
ence, have been so thoroughly aware. 

We are almost inclined to think that we 
might at one time have worked ourselves up 
to suspect Mr. Rose of being actuated by some 
of these motives : — not because we have any 
reason to think worse of that gentleman than 
of most of his political associates, but merely 
because it seemed to us so very probable that 
he should have been so influenced. Our sus- 
picions, however, were entirely removed by 
the frequency and violence of his own pro- 
testations. He vows so solemnly that he has 
no bad motive in writing his critique, that we 
find it impossible to withhold our belief in his 
purity. But Mr. Rose does not trust to his 
protestations alone. He is not satisfied with 
assurances that he did not write this book 
from any bad motive, but he informs us that 
his motive was excellent, — and is even obliging 
enough to tell us what that motive was. The 
Earl of Marchmont, it seems, was Mr. Rose's 
friend. To Mr. Rose he left his manuscripts ; 
and among these manuscripts was a narrative 



* A Vindication of Mr. Fox's History of the Early Part 
of the Reign of James the Second. By Samuel Hev wood, 
Serjeant-at-Law. London. Johnson & Co. 1811. 



written by Sir Patrick Hume, an ancestor of 
the Earl of Marchmont, and one of the leaders 
in Argyle's rebellion. Of Sir Patrick Hume 
Mr. Rose conceives (a little erroneously to be 
sure, but he assures us he does conceive) Mr. 
Fox to have spoken disrespectfully ; and the 
case comes out, therefore, as clearly as possi- 
ble, as follows. 

Sir Patrick was the progenitor, and Mr. 
Rose was the friend and sole executor, of the 
Earl of Marchmont; and therefore, says Mr. 
Rose, I consider it as a sacred duty to vindi- 
cate the character of Sir Patrick, and, for that 
purpose, to publish a long and elaborate cri- 
tique upon all the doctrines and statements 
contained in Mr. Fox's history ! This appears 
to us about as satisfactory an explanation of 
Mr. Rose's authorship as the exclamation of the 
traveller was of the name of Stony Stratford. 

Before Mr. Rose gave way to this intense 
value for Sir Patrick, and resolved to write a 
book, he should have inquired what accurate 
men there were about in society ; and if he 
had once received the slightest notice of the 
existence of Mr. Samuel Heywood, serjeant- 
at-law, we are convinced he would have trans- 
fused into his own will and testament the feel- 
ings he derived from that of Lord Marchmont, 
and devolved upon another executor the sacred 
and dangerous duty of vindicating Sir Patrick 
Hume. 

The life of Mr. Rose has been principally 
employed in the painful, yet perhaps neces- 
sary, duty of increasing the burdens of his 
fellow-creatures. It has been a life of detail, 
onerous to the subject — onerous and lucrative 
to himself. It would be unfair to expect from 
one thus occupied any great depth of thought, 
or any remarkable graces of composition ; but 
we -have a fair right to look for habits of pa- 
tient research and scrupulous accuracy. We 
might naturally expect industry in collecting 
facts, and fidelity in quoting them ; and hope, 
in the absence of commanding genius, to re- 
ceive a compensation from the more humble 
and ordinary qualities of the mind. How far 
this is the case, our subsequent remarks will 
enable the reader to judge. We shall not ex- 
tend them to any great length, as we have 
before treated on the same subject in our re- 
view of Mr. Rose's work. Our great object 
at present is to abridge the observations of 
Serjeant He)nvood. For Serjeant Heywood, 
though a most respectable, honest, and en- 
lightened man, really does require an abridger. 
He has not the talent of saying what he has 
to say quickly ; nor is he aware that brevity 
is in writing what charity is to all other vir- 
tues. Righteousness is worth nothing without 
the one, nor authorship without the other. But 
whoever will forgive this little defect will find 
in all his productions great learning, immacu- 
late honesty, and the most scrupulous accH 



9S 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



racy. Whatever detections of Mr. Rose's in- 
accuracies are made in this Review are to be 
entirely given to him ; and Ave confess our- 
selves quite astonished at their number and 
extent. 

"Among the modes of destroying persons 
(says Mr. Fox, p. 14,) in such a situation 
(i. e. monarchs deposed), there can be little 
doubt but that adopted by Cromwell and his 
adherents is the least dishonourable. Edward 
II., Richard II., Henry VI., Edward V., had 
none of them long survived their deposal ; 
but this was the first instance, in our history 
at least, when of such an act it could be truly 
said it was not done in a corner." 

What Mr. Rose can find in this sentiment to 
quarrel with, we are utterly at a loss to con- 
ceive. If a human being is to be put to death 
iinjustly, is it no mitigation of such a lot that 
the death should be public ] Is any thing 
better calculated to prevent secret torture and 
cruelty ] And would Mr. Rose, in mercy to 
Charles, have preferred that red-hot iron 
should have been secretly thrust into his en- 
trails 1 — or that he should have disappeared 
as Pichegru and Toussaint have disappeared 
in our times 1 The periods of the Edwards 
and Henrys were, it is true, barbarous periods : 
but this is the very argument Mr. Fox uses. 
All these murders, he contends, were immoral 
and bad ; but that where the manner was the 
least objectionable, Avas the murder of Charles 
the First, — because it was public. And can 
any human being doubt, in the first place, that 
these crimes would be marked by less in- 
tense cruelty if they were public ; and, second- 
ly, that they would become less frequent, where 
the perpetrators incurred responsibility, than 
if they were committed by an uncertain hand 
in secrecy and concealment 1 There never 
was, in short, not only a more innocent, but a 
more obvious sentiment; and to object to it 
in the manner which Mr. Rose has done, is 
surely to love Sir Patrick Hume too much, — 
if there can be any excess in so very com- 
mendable a passion in the breast of a sole 
executor. 

Mr. Fox proceeds to observe, that " he M'ho 
has discussed this subject with foreigners, 
must have observed, that the act of the execu- 
tion of Charles, even in the minds of those 
who condemn it, excites more admiration than 
disgust." If the sentiment is bad, let those 
who feel it answer for it. Mr. Fox only as- 
serts the fact, and explains, without justifying 
it. The only question (as concerns Mr. Fox) 
is, whether such is, or is not, the feeling of 
foreigners ; and whether that feeling (if it ex- 
ists) is rightly explained 1 We have no doubt 
either of the fact or of the explanation. The 
conduct of Cromwell and his associates was 
not to be excused in the main act ; but, in the 
manner, it was magnanimous. And among 
the servile nations of the Continent, it must 
naturally excite a feeling of joy and won- 
der, that the power of the people had for 
once been felt, and so memorable a lesson 
read to those whom they must naturally con- 
sider as the great oppressors of mankind. 

The most unjustifiable point of Mr. Rose's 
accusation, however, is still to come. "If 



such high praise," says that gentleman, "was, 
in the judgment of Mr. Fox, due to Cromwell 
for the publicity of the proceedings against the 
king, how would he have found language suf- 
ficiently commendatory to express his admi- 
ration of the magnanimity of those who 
brought Lewis the Sixteenth to an open trial I" 
Mr. Rose accuses Mr. Fox, then, of approving 
the execution of Lewis the Sixteenth : but, on 
the 20th of December, 1792, Mr. Fox said, in 
the House of Commons, in the presence of Mr, 
Rose, 

" The proceedings with respect to the royal 
family of France are so far from being mag- 
nanimity, justice, or mercy, that they are di- 
rectly the reverse ; they are injustice, cruelty, 
and pusillanimity." And afterwards declared 
his Avish for an address to his majesty, to 
which he Avould add an expression "of our 
abhorrence of the proceedings against the 
royal family of France, in which, I have no 
doubt, we shall be supported by the whole 
country. If there can be any means suggested 
that will be better adapted to produce the 
unanimous concurrence of this House, and of 
all the country, with respect to the measure 
now under consideration in Paris, I should be 
obliged to any person for his better suggestion 
upon the subject." Then, after stating that such 
address, especially if the Lords joined in it, must 
have a decisive influence in France, he added, 
"I haA'e said thus much in order to contradict 
one of the most cruel misrepresentations of 
what I had before said in our late debates ; 
and that my language may not be interpreted 
from the manner in which other gentlemen 
have chosen to answer it. I haA^e spoken 
the genuine sentiments of my heart, and I 
anxiously wish the House to come to some re- 
solution upon the subject." And on the follow- 
ing day, when a copy of instruction sent to 
Earl Gower, signifying that he should leave 
Paris, was laid before the House of Commons, 
Mr. Fox said, "he had heard it said, that the 
proceedings against the King of France are 
unnecessary. He would go a great deal far- 
ther, and say, he believed them to be highly 
unjust ; and not only repugnant to all the com- 
mon feelings of mankind, but also contrary to 
all the fundamental principles of law." — (p. 
20, 21.) 

On Monday the 28th January, he said, — 

" With regard to that part of the communi- 
cation from his majesty, which related to 
the late detestable scene exhibited in a neigh- 
bouring country, he could not suppose there 
were tAvo opinions in that House ; he knew 
they were all ready to declare their ab- 
horrence of that abominable proceeding." — 
(p. 21.) 

Two days afterwards, in the debate on the 
message, Mr. Fox pronounced the condemn.a- 
tion and execution of the king to be 

— " an act as disgraceful as any that histoiy 
recorded : and whatever opinions he might at 
any time have expressed in private conversa- 
tion, he had expressed none certainly in that 
House on the justice of bringing kings to trial : 
revenge being unjustifiable, and punishment 
useless, where it could not operate either by 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



97 



way of prevention or example; he did not 
view with less detestation the injustice and 
inhumanity that had been committed towards 
that unhappy monarch. Not only were the 
rules of criminal justice — rules that more than 
any other ought to be strictly observed — viola- 
ted with respect to him : not only was he tried 
and condemned without existing law, to which 
he was personally amenable, and even con- 
trary to laws that did actually exist, but the 
degrading circumstances of his imprisonment, 
the unnecessary and insulting asperity with 
which he had been treated, the total want of re- 
publican magyianimity in the whole transaction, 
(for even in that Hoiise it could be no offence 
to say, that there might be such a thing as 
magnanimity in a republic,) added every ag- 
gravation to the inhumanity and injustice." 

That Mr. Fox had held this language in the 
House of Commons, Mr. Rose knew perfectly 
well, when he accused that gentleman of ap- 
proving the murder of the King of France. 
Whatever be the faults imputed to Mr. Fox, 
duplicity and hypocrisy were never among the 
number ; and no human being ever doubted 
but that Mr. Fox, in this instance, spoke his 
real sentinlents : but the love of Sir Patrick 
Hume is an overwhelming passion ; and no 
man who gives way to it, can ever say into 
what excesses he may be hurried. 

Non simul cuiquam conceditur. amare et sapere. 

The next point upon which Sergeant Hey- 
wood attacks Mr. Rose, is that of General 
Monk. Mr. Fox says of Monk, "that he ac- 
quiesced in the insult so meanly put upon the 
illustrious corpse of Blake, under whose au- 
spices and command he had performed the 
most creditable services of his life." This 
story, Mr. Rose says, rests upon the authority 
of Neale, in his History of the Puritans. This 
is the first of many blunders made by Mr. 
Rose upon this particular topic : for Anthony 
Wood, in his Fasti Oxonienses, enumerating 
Blake among the bachelors, says, "His body 
was taken up, and, with others, buried in a pit 
in St. Margaret's church-yard adjoining, near to 
the back door of one of the prebendaries of 
Westminster, in which place it now remaineth, 
enjoying no other monument but what it reared 
by its valour, which time itself can hardly 
efface." But the difficulty is to find how the 
denial of Mr. Rose affects Mr. Fox's assertion. 
Mr. Rose admits that Blake's body was dug up 
by an order of the king ; and does not deny 
that it was done with the acquiescence of 
Monk. But if this be the case, Mr. Fox's po- 
sition that Blake was insulted, and that Monk 
acquiesced in the insult, is clearly made out. 
Nor has Mr. Rose the shadow of an authority 
for saying that the corpse of Blake was rein- 
terred with great decorum. Kennet is silent 
upon the subject. We have already given 
Serjeant Heywood's quotation from Anthony 
Wood; and this statement, for the present, 
rests entirety upon the assertion of Mr. Rose ; 
and upon that basis will remain to all eternity. 

Mr. Rose, who, we must say, on all occa- 
sions through the whole of this book, makes 
the greatest parade of his accuracy, states that 
the bodies of Cromwell, Ireton, and Blake, 
13 



were taken up at the same time ; whereas the 
fact is, that those of Cromwell and Ireton were 
taken up on the 26th of January, and that of 
Blake on the 10th of September, nearly nine 
months afterwards. It may appear frivolous 
to notice such errors as these ; but they lead 
to very strong suspicions in a critic of history 
and of historians. They show that those ha- 
bits of punctuality, on the faith of which he 
demands implicit confidence from his readers, 
really do not exist ; they prove that such a 
writer will be exact only when he thinks the 
occasion of importance, and as he himself is 
the only judge of that importance, it is neces- 
sary to examine his proofs in every instance, 
and impossible to trust him anywhere. 

Mr. Rose remarks that, in the weekly paper 
entitled Mercurius Rusticus, No. 4, where an 
account is given of the disinterment of Crom- 
well and Ireton, not a syllable is said respect- 
ing the corpse of Blake. This is very true ; 
but the reason (which does not seem to have 
occurred to Mr. Rose) is, that Blake's corpse 
was not touched till six months afterwards. 
This is really a little too much. That Mr. 
Rose should quit his usual pursuits, erect him- 
self into an historical critic, perch upon the 
body of the dead lion, impugn the accuracy of 
one of the greatest, as well as most accurate 
men of his time, — and himself be guilty of 
such gross and unpardonable negligence, looks 
so very much like an insensibility to shame, 
that we should be loth to characterize his con- 
duct by the severe epithets which it appears 
to merit, and which, we are quite certain. Sir 
Patrick, the defendee, would have been the 
first to bestow upon it. 

The next passage in Mr. Fox's work ob- 
jected to is that which charges Monk, at the 
trial of Argyle, " with having produced letters 
of friendship and confidence to take away the 
life of a nobleman, the zeal and cordiality of 
whose co-operation with him, proved by such 
documents, was the chief ground of his exe- 
cution." This accusation, says Mr. Rose, 
rests upon the sole authority of Bishop Bur- 
net; and yet no sooner has he said this, than 
he tells us, Mr. Laing considers the bishop's 
authority to be confirmed by Cunningham and 
Baillie, both contemporary writers. Into Cun- 
ningham or Baillie Mr. Rose never looks to 
see whether or not they do really confirm the 
authority of the bishop ; and so gross is his 
negligence, that the very misprint from Mr. 
Laing's work is copied, and page 431 of Baillie 
is cited instead of 45 1. If Mr. Rose had really 
taken the trouble of referring to these books, 
all doubt of the meanness and guilt of Monk 
must have been instantly removed. "Monk 
was moved," says Baillie, "to send down four 
or Jive of Argyle' s letters to himself and others, 
promising his full compliance with them, that 
the king should not reprieve him." — Baillie's 
Letters, p. 451. "He endeavoured to make 
his defence," says Cunningham ; " but chiefly 
by the discoveries of Monk was condemned of 
high treason, and lost his head." — Cunning- 
ham's History, i. p. 13. 

Would it have been more than common de- 
cency required, if Mr. Rose, who had been ap- 
prised of the existence of these authorities, had 



98 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



had recourse to them, before he impugned the 
accuracy of Mr. Fox 1 Or is it possible to read, 
without some portion of contempt, this slovenly 
and indolent corrector of supposed inaccura- 
cies in a man, not only so much greater than 
himself in his general nature, but a man who, 
as it turns out, excels Mr. Rose in his own little 
arts of looking, searching, and comparing ; and 
is as much his superior in the retail qualities 
■which small people arrogate to themselves, as 
he was in every commanding faculty to the rest 
of his fellow creatures? 

Mr. Rose searches Thurloe's Slate Papers ; 
but Serjeant Heywood searches them after 
Mr. Rose: and, by a series of the plainest 
references, proves the probability there is that 
Argyle did receive letters which might mate- 
rially have affected his life. 

To Monk's duplicity of conduct may be 
principally attributed the destruction of his 
friends, who were prevented, by their confi- 
dence in him, from taking measures to secure 
themselves. He selected those among them 
whom he thought fit for trial — sat as a commis- 
sioner upon their trial — and interfered not to 
save the lives even of those with whom he had 
lived in habits of the greatest kindness. 

"I cannot," says a witness of the most un- 
question ble authority, "I cannot forget o^ie^jns- 
sage that I saw. Monk and his wife, before they 
Avere moved to the Tower, while they were yet 
prisoners at Lambeth House, came one evening 
10 the garden, and caused them to be brought 
down, only to stare at them ; which was such a 
l)arbarism, for that man who had betrayed so 
many poor men to death and misery, that never 
liurt him, but had honoured him, and trusted 
their lives and interests with him, to glut his 
bloody eyes with beholding them in their bond- 
age, as no story can parallel the inhumanity 
of." — (p. 83.) Hutchinson's Memoirs, 378. 

This, however, is the man whom Mr. Fox, at 
the distance of a century and a half, may not 
mark with infamj^ Avithout incurring, from the 
candour of Mr. Rose, the imputation of repub- 
lican principles; — as if attachment to monarchy 
could have justified, in Monk, the coldness, 
cruelty, and treachery of his character, — as if 
the historian became the advocate, or the enemy 
of any form of government, by praising the 
good, or blaming the bad men which it might 
produce Serjeant Heywood sums up the whole 
article as follows : 

" Having examined and commented upon the 
evidence produced by Mr. Rose, than which 'it 
is hardly possible,' he says, ' to conceive that 
stronger could be formed in any case to estab- 
lish a negative,' we now safely assert that Mr. 
Fox had fully informed himself upon the sub- 
ject before he wrote, and was amply justified 
in the condemnation of Monk, and the conse- 
quent severe censures upon him. It has been 
already demonstrated that the character of 
Monk had been truly given, when of him he 
said, ' the army had fallen into the hands of 
one, than whom a baser could not be found in 
its lowest ranks.' The transactions between 
l>im and Argyle for a certain period of time 
were such as must naturally, if not necessarilj', 
have led them into an epistolary correspond- 
ence; and it was in exact conformity with 



Monk's character and conduct to the regicides, 
that he should betray the letters written to him, 
in order to destroy a man whom he had, in the 
latter part of his command in Scotland, both 
feared and hated. If the fact of the production 
of ihese letters had stood merely on the testi- 
mony of Bishop Burnet, we have seen that 
nothing has been produced by Mr. Rose and 
Dr. Campbell to impeach it; on the contrary, 
an inquiry into the authorities and documents 
they have cited, strongly confirm it. But, as 
before observed, it is a surprising instance of 
Mr. Rose's indolence, that he should state the 
question to depend now, as it did in Dr. Camp- 
bell's time, on the bishop's authority solely. 
But that authority is, in itself, no light one 
Burnet was almost eighteen years of age at the 
lime of Argyle's trial; he was never an unob- 
serving spectator of public events ; he was 
probably at Edinburgh, and, for some years 
afterwards, remained in Scotland, with ample 
means of information respecting events which 
had taken place so recently. Baillie seems 
also to have been upon the spot, and expressly 
confirms the testimony of Burnet. To these 
must be added Cunningham, who, writing as a 
person perfectly acquainted with the circum- 
stances of the transaction, says it was owing 
to the interference of Monk, who had been his 
great friend in Oliver's time, that he was sent 
back to Scotland, and brought to trial ; and that 
he was condemned chiefly by his discoveries. 
We may now ask where is the improbability 
of this story, when related of such a man? and 
what ground there is for not giving credit to a 
fact attested by three witnesses of veracity, each 
writing at a distance, and separate from each 
other? In this instance Bishop Burnet is so 
confirmed, that no reasonable being, who will 
attend to the subject, can doubt of the fact he 
relates being true ; and we shall hereafter prove 
that the general imputation against his accu- 
racy, made by Mr. Rose, is totally without 
foundation. If facts so proved are not to be 
credited, historians may lay aside their pens, 
and every man must content himself with the 
scanty pittance of knowledge he may be able 
to collect for himself in the very limited 
sphere of his own immediate observation." — 
(p. 86—88.) 

This, we think, is conclusive enough : but 
we are happy to be enabled, out of our own 
store, to set this part of the question finally to 
rest, by an authority which Mr. Rose himself 
will probably admit to be decisive. Sir George 
Mackenzie, the great torylawyer of Scotland in 
that day, and Lord Advocate to Charles II. 
through the greater part of his reign, was the 
leading counsel for Argyle on the trial alluded 
to. In 1678, this learned person, who was then 
Lord Advocate to Charles, published an elabo- 
rate treatise on the criminal law of Scotland; 
in which, when treating of probation, or evi- 
dence, he observes, that missive letters, not 
written, but only signed by the party, should 
not be received in evidence ; and immediately 
adds, " And yet the Marquis of Argyle ivas con- 
vict of treason upon letters written bt him 
TO General Monk ; these letters being only 
subscribed by him, and not holograph, and the 
subscription being proved per comparationem 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



99 



literarum; which were very hard in other cases," 
&c. — Mackenzie's Criminals, first edit. p. 524, 
Part II. tit. 25, § 3. Now this, we conceive, is 
neither more nor less than a solemn profes- 
sional report of the case, — and leaves just as 
little roo-m for doubt as to the fact, as if the 
original record of the trial had been recovered. 

Mr. Rose next objects to Mr. Fox's assertion, 
that " the king kept from his cabal ministry the 
real state of hip connection with France — and 
from some of them the secret of what he was 
pleased to call his religion ;" and Mr. Fox 
doubts whether to attribute this conduct to 
the habitual treachery of Charles, or to an ap- 
prehension that his ministers might demand 
for themselves some share of the French 
money; which he was unwilling to give them. 
In answer to this conjecture, Mr. Rose qu»tes 
Barillon's Letters to Lewis XIV., to show that 
Charles's ministers were fully apprised of his 
money transactions with France. The letters 
so quoted were, however, written seven years 
after the cabal ministry were inpoivcr — for Bariilon 
did not come to England as ambassador till 
1677 — and these letters were not written till 
after that period. Poor Sir Patrick — It was 
for thee and thy defence this book was 
written ! ! ! ! 

Mr. Fox has said, that from some of the 
ministers of the cabal the secret of Charles's 
religion was concealed. It was known to Ar- 
lington, admitted by Mr. Rose to be a concealed 
Catholic ; it was known to Clifford, an avowed 
Catholic: Mr. Rose admits it not to have been 
known to Buckingham, though he explains the 
reserve, with respect to him, in a different way. 
He has not, however, attempted to prove that 
Lauderdale or Ashley were consulted; — on the 
contrary, in Colbert's letter of the 25th August, 
1670, cited by Mr. Rose, it is stated that Charles 
had proposed the iraite sitnule, which should be 
a repetition of the former one in all things, 
except the article relative to the king's declaring 
himself a Catholic, and that the Proteslanl mi- 
nisters, Buckingham, Ashley, Cooper, and Lau- 
derdale, should be brought "to be parties to it: — 
Can there be a stronger proof (asks Serjeant 
Hey wood), that they were ignorant of the same 
treaty made the year before, and remaining 
then in force 1 Historical research is cer- 
tainly not the peculiar talent of JVIr. Rose ; and 
as for the official accuracy of which he is so 
apt to boast, we would have Mr. Rose to remem- 
ber, that the term official accuracy has of late 
days become one of very ambiguous import. 
Mr. Rose, we can see, would imply by it the 
highest possible accuracy — as we see office pens 
advertised in the window of a shop, by way of 
excellence. The public reports of those, how- 
ever, who have been appointed to look into the 
manner in which public offices are conducted, 
by no means justify this usage of the term ; — 
and we are not without apprehensions, that 
Dutch politeness, Carthaginian faith, Boeotian 
genius, and official accuracy, may be terms 
equally current in the world; and that Mr. Rose 
may, without intending it, have contributed to 
make this valuable addition to the mass of our 
ironical phraseology. 

Speaking of the early part of James's reign, 
Mr. Fox says, it is by no means certain that he 



had yet thoughts of obtaining for his religion 
any thing more than a complete toleration ; and 
if Mr. Rose had understood the meaning of the 
French word etablissement, one of his many in- 
correct corrections of Mr. Fox might have been 
spared. A system of religion is said to be es- 
tablished when it is enacted and endowed by 
Parliament; but a toleration (as Serjeant Hey- 
wood observes) is established, when ills recog- 
nised and protected by the supreme power. 
And in the letters of Bariilon, to which Mr. Rose 
refers for the justification of his attack upon 
Mr. Fox, it is quite manifest that it is in this 
latter sense that the word etablissement is used; 
and that the object in view was, not the substi- 
tution of the Catholic religion for the Estab- 
lished Church, but merely its toleration. In the 
first letter cited by Mr. Rose, James says, that 
" he knew well he should never be in safety 
unless liberty of conscience for them should be 
fully established in England." The letter of the 
24th of April is quoted by Mr. Rose, as if the 
French king had written, the establishment of the 
Catholic religion ; whereas the real words are, 
the establishment of the free exercise of the Catholic 
religion. The world are so inveterately resolved 
to believe, that a man who has no brilliant 
talents must be accurate, that Mr. Rose, in re- 
ferring to authorities, has a great and decided 
advantage. He is, however, in point of fact, as 
lax and incorrect as a poet ; and it is absolutely 
necessary, in spite of every parade of line, and 
page, and number, to follow him in the most 
minute particular. The Serjeant, like a blood- 
hound of the old breed, is always upon his 
track ; and always looks if there are any such 
passages in the page quoted, and if the passages 
are accurately quoted or accurately translated. 
Nor will he by any means be content with 
official accuracy, nor submit to be treated, in his- 
torical questions, as if he were hearing finan- 
cial statements in the House of Commons. 

Bariilon writes, in another letter to Lewis 
XIV. — "What your majesty has most besides 
at heart, that is to say, for the establishment of 
a free exercise of the Catholic religion." On 
the 9th of May, Lewis writes to Bariilon, that 
he is persuaded Charles will employ all his 
authority to establish the free exercise of the 
Catholic religion : he mentions also, in the 
same letter, the Parliament consenting to the 
free exercise of our religion. On the 15th of 
June, he writes to Bariilon — "There now re- 
mains only to obtain the repeal of the penal laws 
in favour of the Catholics, and the free exercise 
of our religion in all his states." Immediately 
after Monmouth's execution, when his views 
of success must have been as lofty as they 
ever could have been, Lewis writes — " It will 
be easy to the King of England, and as useful 
for the security of his reign as for the repose 
of his conscience, to re-establish the exercise 
of the Catholic religion." In a letter of Ba- 
riilon, July 16th, Sunderland is made to say, 
that the king would always be exposed to the 
indiscreet zeal of those who would inflame the 
people against the Catholic religion, so long as 
it should not be more fully established. The 
French expression is tant qu'elle ne sera pas 
plus pleinement efablie ,- and this Mr. Rose has 
had the modesty to translate, till it shall be com- 



100 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



pletely established, and to mark the passage 
with italics, as of the greatest importance to 
his argument. These false quotations and 
translations being detected, and those passages 
of early writers, from which Mr. Fox had made 
up his opinion, brought to light, it is not possible 
to doubt, but that the object of James, before 
Monmouth's defeat, was not the destruction of 
the Protestant, but the toleration of the Catho- 
lic religion; and after the execution of Mon- 
mouth, Mr. Fox admits, that he became more 
bold and sanguine upon the subject of religion. 

We do not consider those observations of 
Serjeant Heywood to be the most fortunate in 
his book, where he attempts to show the re- 
publican tendency of Mr. Rose's principles. 
Of any disposition to principles of this nature, 
we most heartily acquit that right honourable 
gentleman. He has too much knowledge of 
mankind to believe their happiness can be pro- 
moted in the stormy and tempestuous regions 
of republicanism; and, besides this, that sys- 
tem of slender pay, and deficient perquisites, 
to which the subordinate agents of govern- 
ment are confined in republics, is much too 
painful to be thought of for a single instant. 

We are afraid of becoming tedious by the 
enumeration of blunders into which Mr. Rose 
has fallen, and which Serjeant Heywood has 
detected. But the burthen of this sole execu- 
tor's song is accuracy — his own official accu- 
racy — and the little dependence which is to be 
placed on the accuracy of Mr. Fox. We will 
venture to assert, that, in the whole of his 
work, he has not detected Mr. Fox in one sin- 
gle error. Whether Serjeant Heywood has 
been more fortunate with respect to Mr. Rose, 
might be determined, perhaps with sufficient 
certainty, by our previous extracts from his 
remarks. But for some indulgent readers, 
these may not seem enough: and we must pro- 
ceed in the task, till we have settled Mr. Rose's 
pretensions to accuracy on a still firmer foun- 
dation. And if we be thought minutely se- 
vere, let it be remembered that Mr. Rose is 
himself an accuser; and if there is justice 
upon earth, every man has a right to pull sto- 
len goods out of the pocket of him who cries, 
"Stop thief.'" 

In the story which Mr. Rose states of the 
seat in Parliament sold for five pounds (Jour- 
nal of the Commons, vol. v.), he is wrong, both 
in the sum and the volume. The sum is four 
pounds; and it is told, not in the fifth volume, 
but the first. Mr. Rose states, that a perpetual 
excise was granted to the crown, in lieu of the 
profits of the court of wards ; and adds, that 
the question in favour of the crown was car- 
ried by a majority of two. The real fact is, 
that the half only of an excise upon certain 
articles was granted to government in lieu of 
these profits ; and this grant was carried with- 
out a division. An attempt was made to grant 
the other half, and this was negatived by a ma- 
jority of two. The Journals are open ; — Mr. 
Rose reads them ; — he is officially accurate. 
What can the meaning be of these most ex- 
traordinary mistakes 1 

Mr. Rose says that, in 1679, the writ de hae- 
retico comburendo had been a dead letter for 
more than a century. It would have been ex- 



tremely agreeable to Mr. Bartholomew Legate, 
if this had been the case ; for, in 1612, he was 
burnt at Smithfield for being an Arian. Mr. 
Wightman would probably have participated 
in the satisfaction of Mr. Legate ; as he was 
burnt also, the same year, at Lichfield, for the 
same offence. With the same correctness, 
this scourge of historians makes the Duke of 
Lauderdale, who died in 1682, a confidential 
adviser of James II. after his accession in 1689. 
In page 13, he quotes, as written by Mr. Fox, 
that which was written by Lord Holland. 
This, however, is a familiar practice with him. 
Ten pages afterward, in Mr. Fox's History, he 
makes the same mistake. "Mr. Fox added" — 
whereas it was Lord Holland that added. The 
same mistake again, in p. 147 of his own book; 
and after this, he makes Mr. Fox the person 
who selected the appendix of Barillon's pa- 
pers; whereas it is particularly stated in the 
preface to the History, that this appendix was 
selected by Laing. 

Mr. Rose affirms, that compassing to levy 
war against the king was made high treason 
by the statute of 25 Edward the Third; and, 
in support of this affirmation, he cites Coke 
and Blackstone. His stern antagonist, a pro- 
fessional man, is convinced he has read nei- 
ther. The former sa3's, "a compassing to levy 
war is no treasmi," (Inst. 3, p. 9;) and Black- 
stone, "a bare conspiracy to levy war does 
not amount to this species of treason." (Com. 
iv. p. 82.) This really does not look as if the 
Serjeant had made out his assertion. 

Of the bill introduced in 1685, for the pre- 
servation of the person of James II., Mr. Rose 
observes — "Mr. Fox has not told us for which 
of our modern statutes this bill was used as a 
model ; and it will be difficult for any one to 
show such an instance." It might have been 
thought, that no prudent man would have made 
such a challenge, without a tolerable certainty 
of the ground upon which it was made. Ser- 
jeant Heywood answers the challenge by cit- 
ing the 36 Geo. III. c. 7, which is a mere copy 
of the act of James. 

In the fifth section of Mr. Rose's work is 
contained his grand attack upon Mr. Fox for 
his abuse of Sir Patrick Hume ; and his obser- 
vations upon this point admit of a fourfold an- 
swer. 1st, Mr. Fox does not use the words 
quoted by Mr. Rose ; 2dly, He makes no men- 
tion whatever of Sir Patrick Hume in the pas- 
sage cited by Mr. Rose; 3dly, Sir Patrick 
Hume is attacked by nobody in that history; 
4thly, If he had been so attacked he would 
have deserved it. The passage from Mr. Fox 
is this: — 

" In recounting the failure of his expedition, 
it is impossible for him not to touch upon what 
he deemed the misconduct of his friends ; and 
this is the subject upon which, of all others, 
his temper must have been most irritable. A 
certain description of friends (the words de- 
scribing them are omitted) were all of them, 
without exception, his greatest enemies, both 

to betray and destroy him : and and 

(the names again omitted) were the greatest 
cause of his rout, and his being taken, though 
not designedly, he acknowledges, but by igno- 
rance, cowardice, and faction. This sentence 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



101 



had scarce escaped him, when, notwithstand- 
ing the qualifying words with which his can- 
dour has acquitted the last mentioned persons of 
intentional treachery, it appeared too harsh to 
his gentle nature ; and, declaring himself dis- 
pleased with the hard epithets he had used, he 
desires that they may be put out of any ac- 
count that is to be given of these transactions." 
— Heywood, p. 365, 366. 

Argylq names neither the description of 
friends who were his greatest enemies, nor the 
two individuals who v/ere the principal cause 
of the failure of his scheme. Mr. Fox leaves 
the blanks as he finds them. But two notes 
are added by the editor, which Mr. Rose might 
have observed are marked with an E. In the 
latter of them we are told, that Mr. Fox ob- 
serves, in a private letter, " Cochrane and Hume 
certainly filled up the two principal blanks." 
But is this communication of a private letter 
any part of Mr. Fox's history'? And would it 
not have been equally fair in Mr. Rose to have 
commented upon any private conversation of 
Mr. Fox, and then to have called it his history 1 
Or, if Mr. Fox had filled up the blanks in the 
body of his history, does it follow that he adopts 
Argyle's censure because he shows against 
whom it is levelled ] Mr. Rose has described 
the charge against Sir Patrick Hume to be, of 
faction, cowardice, and treachery. Mr. Rose 
has more than once altered the terms of a pro- 
position before he has proceeded to answer it ; 
and, in this instance, the charge of treachery 
against Sir Patrick Hume is not made either 
in Argyle's letter, Mr. Fox's text, or the editor's 
note, or any where but in the imagination of 
Mr. Rose. The sum of it all is, that Mr. Rose 
first supposes the relation of Argyle's opinion 
to be the expression of the relator's opinion, 
that Mr. Fox adopts Argyle's insinuations be- 
cause he explains them ; — then he looks upon 
a quotation from a private letter, made by the 
editor, to be the same as if included in a work 
intended for publication by the author; — then 
he remembers that he is the sole executor of 
Sir Patrick's grandson, whose blank is so 
filled up ; — and goes on blundering and blub- 
bering, — grateful and inaccurate, — teeming 
with false quotations and friendly recollections 
to the conclusion of his book. Malta gemens 
ignominiam. 

Mr. Rose came into possession of the Earl 
of Marchmont's papers, containing, among 
other things, the narrative of Sir Patrick Hume. 
He is very severe upon Mr. Fox for not having 
been more diligent in searching for original 
papers; and observes, that if any application 
had been made to him (Mr. Rose), this narra- 
tive should have been at Mr. Fox's service. 
We should be glad to know, if Mr. Rose saw a 
person tumbled into a ditch, whether he would 
wait for a regular application till he pulled 
him outl Or, if he happened to espy the lost 
piece of silver for which the good woman was 
diligently sweeping the house, would he wait 
for formal interrogation before he imparted his 
discovery, and suffer the lady to sweep on till 
the question had been put to him in the most 
solemn forms of politeness 1 The established 
practice, we admit, is to apply, and to apply 
vigorously and incessantly, for sinecure places 



and pensions — or they cannot be had. This is 
true enough. But did any human being ever 
think of carrying this practice into literature, 
and compelling another to make interest for 
papers essential to the good conduct of his 
undertaking] We are perfectly astonished at 
Mr. Rose's conduct in this particular; and 
should have thought that the ordinary exercise 
of his good nature would have led him to a 
very different way of acting. 

" On the whole, and vpon the most attentive con- 
sideration of every thing tvhich has been written 
upon the subject, there does not appear to have 
been any intention of applying torture in the 
caseof theEarlof Argyle." (Rose, p. 182.) If 
this every thing had included the following extract 
from Barillon, the above cited, and very dis- 
graceful inaccuracy of Mr. Rose would have 
been spared. "The Earl of Argyle has been 
executed at Edinburgh, and has left a full con- 
fession in writing, in which he discovers all 
those who have assisted him with money, and 
have aided his designs. This has saved him 
from the torture." And Argyle, in his letter to 
Mrs. Smith, confesses he has made discoveries. 
In his very inaccurate history of torture in the 
southern part of this island, Mr. Rose says, 
that except in the case of Felton, — in the at- 
tempt to introduce the civil law in Henry VI.'s 
reign, — and in some cases of treason in Mary's 
reign, torture was never attempted in this 
country. The fact, however, is, that in the 
reign of Henry VIII., Anne Askew was tor- 
tured by the chancellor himself. Simson was 
tortured in 1558; Francis Throgmorton in 
1571 ; Charles Baillie, and Banastie, the Duke 
of Norfolk's servant, were tortured in 1581 ; 
Campier, the Jesuit, was put upon the rack ; 
and Dr. Astlow is supposed to have been 
racked in 1558. So much for Mr. Ruse as the 
historian of punishments. We have seen him, 
a few pages before, at the stake, — where he 
makes quite as bad a figure as he does now 
upon the rack. Precipitation and error are 
his foibles. If he were to write the history of 
sieges, he would forget the siege of Troy; — if 
he were making a list of poets, he woulu leave 
out -Virgil: — Caesar would not appear in his 
catalogue of generals; — and Newton would be 
overlooked in his collection of eminent mathe- 
maticians. 

In some cases. Mi: Rose is to be met only 
with flat denial. Mr. Fox does not call the sol- 
diers who were defending James against Ar- 
gyle authorized assassins ; but he uses that ex- 
pression against the soldiers who were murder- 
ing the peasants, and committing every sort of 
licentious cruelly in the twelve counties given 
up to military execution ; and this Mr. Rose 
must have known, by using the mcst ordinary 
diligence in the perusal of the text, — and 
would have known it in any other history than 
that of Mr. Fox. 

"Mr. Rose, in his concluding paragraph, 
boasts of his speaking 'impersonally,' and he 
hopes it will be allowed justly, when he makes 
a general observation respecting the proper 
province of history. But the last sentence 
evidently shows that, though he might be 
speaking justly, he was not speaking impef- 
sonally, if by that word is meant, without refe- 
I 2 



102 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



rence to any person. His words are, 'But 
history cannot connect itself with party, with- 
out forfeiting its name ; without departing from 
the truth, the dignity, and the usefulness of its 
functions.' After the remarks he has made in 
some of his preceding pages, and the apology 
he has offered for Mr. Fox, in his last preceding 
paragraph, for having been mistaken in his 
view of some leading points, there can be no 
difficulty in concluding, that this general ob- 
servation is meant to be applied to the histori- 
' cal work. The charge intended to be insinu- 
ated must be, that, in Mr. Fox's hands, history 
has forfeited the name by being connected with 
party; and has departed from the truth, the 
dignity, and the usefulness of its functions. It 
were to be wished that Mr. Rose had explained 
himself more fully; for, after assuming that 
the application of this observation is too ob- 
vious to be mistaken, there still remains some 
difHculty with respect to its meaning. If it is 
confined to such publications as are written 
under the title of histories, but are intended to 
serve the purposes of a party; and truth is 
sacrificed, and facts perverted, to defend and 
give currency to their tenets, we do not dispute 
its propriety ; but, if that is the character which 
Mr. Rose would give to Mr. Fox's labours, he 
has not treated him with candour, or even 
commo-n justice. Mr. Rose has never, in any 
one instance, intimated that Mr. Fox has wil- 
fully departed from truth, or strayed from the 
proper province of history, for the purpose of 
indulging his private or party feelings. But, 
if Mr. Rose intends that the observation should 
be applied to all histories, the authors of which 
have felt strongly the influence of political 
connections and principles, what must become 
of most of the histories of England 1 Is the 
title of historian to be denied to Mr. Hume 1 
and in what class are to be placed Echard, 
Kennet, Rapin, Dalrymple, or Macpherson T 
In this point of view the principle laid down is 
too broad. A person, though connected with 
party, may write an impartial history of events 
which occurred a century before; and, till this 
last sentence, Mr. Rose has not ventured to 
intimate that Mr. Fox has not done so. On the 
contrary, he has declared his approbation of a 
great portion of the work; and his attempts to 
discover material errors in the remainder have 
uniformly failed in every particular. If it 
might be assumed that there existed in the book 
no faults, besides those which the scrutinizing 
eye of Mr. Rose has discovered, it might be 
justly deemed the most perfect work that ever 
came from the press; for not a single devia- 
tion from the strictest duty of an historian has 
been pointed out ; while instances of candour 
and impartiality present themselves in almost 
every page; and Mr. Rose himself has ac- 
knowledged and applauded many of them." — 
(pp. 422—424.) 

These extracts from both books are sufficient 
to show the nature of Serjeant Hey wood's ex- 
amination of Mr. Rose, — the boldness of this 
latter gentleman's assertions, — and the extreme 
inaccuracy of the researches upon which these 
assertions are founded. If any credit could be 
gained from such a book as Mr. Rose has pub- 



lished, it could be gained from accuracy alone. 
Whatever the execution of his book had been, 
the world would have remembered the infinite 
disparity of the two authors, and the long po- 
litical opposition in which they lived — if that, 
indeed, can be called opposition, where the 
thunderbolt strikes, and the clay yields. They 
would have remembered also that Hector was 
dead; and that every cowardly Grecian could 
now thrust his spear into the hero's body. But 
still, if Mr. Rose had really succeeded in ex- 
posing the inaccuracy of Mr. Fox, — if he 
could have fairly shown that authorities were 
overlooked, or slightly examined, or wilfully 
perverted, — the incipient feelings to which 
such a controversy had given birth must have 
yielded to the evidence of facts ; and Mr. Fox, 
however qualified in other particulars, must 
have appeared totally defective in thatiaborious 
industry and scrupulous good faith so indis- 
pensable to every historian. But he absolutely 
comes out of the contest not worse even in a 
single tooth or nail — unvilified even by a wrong 
date — without one misnomer proved upon him 
— immaculate in his years and days of the 
month — blameless to the most musty and 
limited pedant that ever yellowed himself 
amidst rolls and records. 

But how fares it with his critic? He rests 
his credit with the world as a man of labour, — 
and he turns out to be a careless inspector of 
proofs, and an historical sloven. The species 
of talent which he pretends to is humble, — 
and he possesses it not. He has not done that 
which all men may do, and which every man 
ought to do, who rebukes his superiors for 
not doing it. His claims, too, it should he 
remembered, to these every-day qualities, are 
by no means enforced with gentleness and 
humility. He is a braggadocio of minuteness 
— a swaggering chronologer ; — a man bristling 
up with small facts — prurient with dates — 
wantoning in obsolete evidence — loftily dull, 
and haughty in his drudgery; — and yet all this 
is pretence. Drawing is no very unusual 
power in animals; but he cannot draw ; he is 
not even the ox which he is so fond of being. 
In attempting to vilify Mr. Fox, he has only 
shown us that there was no labour from which 
that great man shrunk, and that no object con- 
nected with his history was too minute for his 
investigation. He has thoroughly convinced 
us that Mr. Fox was as industrious, and as ac- 
curate, as if these were the only qualities upon 
which he had ever rested his hope of fortune 
or of fame. Such, indeed, are the customary 
results when little people sit down to debase 
the characters of great men, and to exalt them- 
selves upon the ruins of what they have pulled 
down. They only provoke a spirit of inquiry, 
which places every thing in .its true light and 
magnitude, — shows those who appear little to 
be still less, and displays new and unexpected 
excellence in others who were before known 
to excel. These are the usual consequences 
of such attacks. The fame of Mr. Fox has 
stood this, and will stand much ruder shocks. 

JVo?! hiemes illam, non fahra neqiie imhres 
Convellunt ; immota manet, multosque per annos 
Multa virimi volvens durando sacula vincit. 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



103 



MAD aUAKEES/ 

[Edinburgh Review, 1814.] 



The Quakers always seem to succeed in any 
institution which they undertake. The gaol at 
Philadelphia will remain a lasting monument 
of their skill and patience ; and, in the plan 
and conduct of this retreat for the insane, they 
have evinced the same wisdom and perse- 
verance. 

The present account is given us by Mr. 
Tuke, a respectable tea-dealer, living in York, 
— and given in a manner which we are quite 
sure the most opulent and important of his 
customers could not excel. The long account 
of the subscription, at the beginning of the 
book, is evidently made tedious for the Quaker 
market; and Mr. Tuke is a little too much 
addicted to quoting. But, with these trifling 
exceptions, his book does him very great 
credit; — it is full of good sense and humanity, 
right feelings and rational views. The retreat 
for insane Quakers is situated about a mile 
from the city of York, upon an eminence com- 
manding the adjacent country, and in the midst 
of a garden and fields belonging to the institu- 
tion. The great principle on which it appears 
to be conducted is that of kindness to the pa- 
tients. It does not appear to them, because a 
man is mad upon one particular subject, that 
he is to be considered in a state of complete 
mental degradation, or insensible to the feel- 
ings of kindness and gratitude. When a mad- 
man does not do what he is bid to do, the 
shortest method, to be sure, is to knock him 
down ; and straps and chains are the species 
of prohibition which are the least frequently 
disregarded. But the Society of Friends seem 
rather to consult the interest of the patient 
than the ease of his keeper; and to aim at the 
government of the insane, by creating in them 
the kindest disposition towards those who have 
the command over them. Nor can any thing 
be more wise, humane, or interesting, than the 
strict attention to the feelings of their patients 
which seems to prevail in their institutions. 
The following specimens of their disposition 
upon this point we have great pleasure in lay- 
ing before our readers : — 

"The smallness of the court," says Mr. Tuke, 
"would be a serious defect, if it was not 
generally compensated by taking such patients 
as are suitable into the garden ; and by fre- 
quent excursions into the city, or the surround- 
ing country, and into the fields of the institu- 
tion. One of these is surrounded by a walk 
interspersed with trees and shrubs. 

"The superintendent has also endeavoured 
to furnish a source of amusement to those pa- 



♦ Description of the Retreat, an Institution near York, 
for Insane Persons of the Societij nf Friends. Cnntninin.f 
an account of its Origin and Pron-rcss, the Modes iif Treat- 
ment, and a Statement of Cases. By Samuel Tuke. 
York, 1813. 



tients whose walks are necessarily more cir 
cumscribed, by supplying each of the courts 
with a number of animals, such as rabbits, 
sea gulls, hawks, and poultry. These crea- 
tures are generally very familiar with the 
patients ; and it is believed they are not only 
the means of innocent pleasure, but that the 
intercourse with them sometimes tends to ■ 
awaken the social and benevolent feelings." — 
(p. 95, 96.) 

Chains are never permitted at the Retreat; 
nor is it left to the option of the lower attend- 
ants when they are to impose an additional 
degree of restraint upon the patients; and this 
compels them to pay attention to the feelings 
of the patients, and to attempt to gain an influ- 
ence over them by kindness. Patients who 
are not disposed to injure themselves are merely 
confined by the strait waistcoat, and left to 
walk about the room, or lie down on the bed, 
at pleasure ; and even in those cases where 
there is a strong tendency to self-destruction, 
as much attention is paid to the feelings and 
ease of the patient as is consistent with his 
safety. 

"Except in cases of violent mania, which is 
far from being a frequent recurrence at the 
Retreat, coercion, when requisite, is considered 
as a necessary evil ; that is, it is thought ab- 
stractedly to have a tendency to retard the cure, 
by opposing the influence of the moral reme- 
dies employed. It is therefore used very spar- 
ingly; and the superintendent has often assured 
me. that he would rather run some risk than 
have recourse to restraint where it was not 
absolutely necessary, except in those cases 
where it was likely to have a salutary moral 
tendency. 

"I feel no small satisfaction in stating, upon 
the authority of the superintendents, that dur- 
ing the last year, in which the number of pa- 
tients has generally been sixty-four, there has 
not been occasion to seclude, on an average-, 
two patients at one time. I am also able to 
state, that although it is occasionally necessary 
to restrain, by the waistcoat, straps, or other 
means, several patients at one time, yet that 
the average number so restrained does not ex- 
ceed four, including those who are secluded. 

" The safety of those who attend upon the 
insane is certainly an object of great import- 
ance ; but it is worthy of inquiry whether it 
may not be attained without materially inter- 
fering with another object, — the recovery of the 
patient. It may also deserve inquiry, whether 
the extensive practice of coercion, which ob- 
tains in some institutions, does not arise from 
erroneous views of the character of insane 
persons; from indifference to their comfort; 
or from having rendered coercion necessarv 
by previous unkind treatment. 



104 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



"The power of judicious kindness over this 
unhappy class of society is much greater than 
is generally imagined. It is, perhaps, not too 
much to apply to kind treatment the words of 
our great poet, — 

'She can unlock 
The clasping charm, and thaw the numbing spell.' 

Milton. 

"In no instances has this power been more 
strikingly displayed, or exerted with more 
beneficial effects, than in those deplorable 
cases in which the patient refuses to take food. 
The kind persuasions and ingenious arts of the 
superintendents have been singularly success- 
ful in overcoming this distressing symptom ; 
and very few instances now occur in which it 
is necessary to employ violent means for sup- 
plying the patient with food. 

" Some patients, who refuse to partake of the 
family meals, are induced to eat by being taken 
into the larder, and there allowed to help them- 
selves. Some are found willing to eat when 
food is left with them in their rooms, or when 
they can obtain it unobserved by their attend- 
ants. Others, whose determination is stronger, 
are frequently induced, by repeated persuasion, 
to take a small quantity of nutritious liquid; 
and it is equally true in these, as in general 
cases, that every breach of resolution weakens 
the power and disposition to resistance. 

" Sometimes, however, persuasion seems to 
strengthen the unhappy determination. In one 
of these cases the attendants were completely 
wearied with their endeavours ; and, on remov- 
ing the food, one of them took a piece of meat 
which had been repeatedly offered to the pa- 
tient, and threw it under the fire-grate, at the 
same time exclaiming that she should not have 
it. The poor creature, who seemed governed 
by the rule of contraries, immediately rushed 
from her seat, seized the meat from the ashes, 
and devoured it. For a short time she was 
induced to eat, by the attendants availing 
themselves of this contrary disposition ; but it 
was soon rendered unnecessary by the removal 
of this unhappy feature of the disorder." — (p. 
166, 167, 168, 169.) 

When it is deemed necessary to apply any 
mode of coercion, such an overpowering force 
is employed as precludes all possibility of suc- 
cessful resistance; and most commonly, there- 
fore, extinguishes every idea of making any 
at all. An attendant upon a madhouse ex- 
poses himself to some risk — and to some he 
ought to expose himself, or he is totally unfit 
for his situation. If the security of the attend- 
ants were the only object, the situation of the 
patients would soon become truly desperate. 
The business is, not to risk nothing, but not to 
risk too much. The generosity of the Quakers, 
and their courage in managing mad people, 
are placed, by this institution, in a very strik- 
ing point of view. This cannot be better illus- 
trated than by the two following cases: — 

"The superintendent was one day walking 
in a field adjacent to the house, in company 
with a patient who was apt to be vindictive on 
very slight occasions. An exciting circum- 
stance occurred. The maniac retired a few 
paces, and seized a large stone, which he im- 
mediately held up, as in the act of throwing 



at his companion. The superintendent, in no 
degree ruffled, fixed his eye upon the patient, 
and in a resolute tone of voice, at the same 
time advancing, commanded him to lay down 
the stone. As he approached, the hand of the 
lunatic gradually sunk from its threatening 
position, and permitted the stone to drop to the 
ground. He then submitted to be quietly led 
to his apartment." 

" Some years ago, a man, about thirty-four 
years of age, of almost herculean size and 
figure, was brought to the house. He had 
been afflicted several times before; and so 
constantly, during the present attack, had he 
been kept chained, that his clothes were con- 
trived to be taken ofl'and put on by means of 
strings, without removing his manacles. They 
were, however, taken ofif when he entered the 
Retreat, and he was ushered into the apart- 
ment where the superintendents were supping. 
He was calm: his attention appeared to be 
arrested by his new situation. He was de- 
sired to join in the repast, during which he 
behaved with tolerable propriety. After it was 
concluded the superintendent conducted him 
to his apartment, and told him the circum- 
stances on which his treatment would depend; 
that it was his anxious wish to make every 
inhabitant in the house as comfortable as pos- 
sible ; and that he sincerely hoped the patient's 
conduct would render it unnecessary for him 
to have recourse to coercion. The maniac was 
sensible of the kindness of his treatment. He 
promised to restrain himself; and he so com- 
pletely succeeded, that, duringhis stay, no coer- 
cive means were ever employed towards him. 
This case affords a striking example of the effi- 
cacy of mild treatment. The patient was fre- 
quently very vociferous, and threatened his at- 
tendants, who, in their defence, were very desir- 
ous ofrestraining him by the jacket. The super- 
intendent on these occasions went to his apart- 
ment: and though the first sight of him seemed 
rather to increase the patient's irritation, yet, 
after sitting some time quietly beside him, the 
violent excitement subsided, and he would 
listen with attention to the persuasions and 
arguments of his friendly visitor. After such 
conversations the patient was generally better 
for some days or a week; and in about four 
months he was discharged perfectly recovered. 

" Can it be doubted that, in this case, the 
disease had been greatly exasperated by the 
mode of management] or that the subsequent 
kind treatment had a great tendency to pro- 
mote his recovery 1"— (p. 172, 173, 146, 147.) 

And yet, in spite of this apparent contempt 
of danger, for eighteen years not a single acci- 
dent has happened to the keepers. 

In the day room the sashes are made of 
cast-iron, and give to the building the security 
of bars, without their unpleasant appearance. 
With the same laudable attention to the feel- 
ings of these poor people, the straps of their 
strait waistcoats are made of some showy 
colour, and are not unfrequently considered 
b}-^ them as ornaments. No advantage what- 
ever has been found to arise from reasoning 
with patients on their particular delusions: it 
is found rather to exasperate than convince 
them. Indeed, that state of mind would hardly 



WORKS OF THE REV, SYDNEY SMITH. 



105 



deserve the name of insanity where argument 
was sufficient for the refutation of error. 

The classification of patients according to 
their degree of convalescence is very properly 
attended to at the Retreat, and every assist- 
ance given to returning reason by the force of 
example. We were particularly pleased with 
the following specimens of Quaker sense and 
humanity : — 

"The female superintendent, who possesses 
an uncommon share of benevolent activity, 
and who has the chief management of the fe- 
male patients, as well as of the domestic de- 
partment, occasionally gives a general invita- 
tion to the patients to a tea-party. All who 
attend dress in their best clothes, and vie with 
each other in politeness and propriety. The 
best fare is provided, and the visitors are 
treated with all the attention of strangers. The 
evening generally passes in the greatest har- 
mony and enjoyment. It rarely happens that 
any unpleasant circumstance occurs. The 
patients control, in a wonderful degree, their 
different propensities; and the scene is at 
once curious and affectingly gratifying. 

" Some of the patients occasionally pay visits 
to their friends in the city; and female visitors 
are appointed every month by the committee 
to pay visits to those of their own sex, to con- 
verse with them, and to propose to the super- 
intendents, or the committee, any improve- 
ments which may occur to them. The visitors 
sometimes take tea with the patients, who are 
much gratified with the attention of their 
friends, and mostly behave with propriety. 

"It will be necessary here to mention that 
the visits of former intimate friends have fre- 
quently been attended with disadvantage to 
the patients, except when convalescence had 
so far advanced as to afford a prospect of a 
speedy return to the bosom of society. It is, 
however, very certain that, as soon as reason 
begins to return, the conversation of judicious 
indifferent persons greatly increases the com- 
fort, and is considered almost essential to the 
recovery of many patients. On this account 
the convalescents of every class are frequently 
introduced into the society of the rational 
parts of the family. The}' are also permitted 
to sit up till the usual time for the family to 
retire to rest, and are allowed as much liberty 
as their state of mind will admit." — (p. 178, 
179.) 

To the efl^ects of kindness in the Retreat are 
superadded those of constant employment. 
The female patients are employed as much as 
possible in sewing, knitting, and domestic 
affairs ; and several of the convalescents assist 
the attendants. For the men are selected those 
species of bodily employments most agreeable 
to the patient, and most opposite to the illu- 
sions of his disease. Though the effect of 
fear is not excluded from the institution, yet 
the love of esteem is considered as astillmore 
powerful principle. 

"That fear is not the only motive which 

operates in producing self-resiraint in the 

minds of maniacs, is evident from its being 

often exercised in the presence of strangers 

14 



who are merely passing through the house ; 
and which, I presume, can only be accounted 
for from that desire of esteem which has been 
stated to be a powerful motive to conduct. 

" It is, probably, from encouraging the action 
of this principle, that so much advantage has 
been found, in this institution, from treating 
the patient as much in the manner of a rational 
being as the state of his mind will possibly 
allow. The superintendent is particularly at- 
tentive to this point in his conversation with 
the patients. He introduces such topics as he 
knows will most interest them ; and which, at 
the same time, allows them to display their 
knowledge to the greatest advantage. If the 
patient is an agriculturist, he asks him ques- 
tions relative to his art ; and frequently con- 
sults him upon any occasion in which his 
knowledge may be useful. I have heard one 
of the worst patients in the house, who, pre- 
viously to his indisposition, had been a consi- 
derable grazier, give very sensible directions 
for the treatment of a diseased cow. 

" These considerations are undoubtedly very 
material as they regard the comfort of insane 
persons ; but they are of far greater import- 
ance as they relate to the cure of the disorder. 
The patient, feeling himself of some conse- 
quence, is induced to support it by the exertion 
of his reason, and by restraining those dispo- 
sitions which, if indulged, would lessen the 
respectful treatment he receives, or lower his 
character in the eyes of his companions and 
attendants. 

" They who are unacquainted with the cha- 
racter of insane persons are very apt to con- 
verse with them in a childish, or, which is 
worse, in a domineering manner; and hence 
it has been frequently remarked, by the pa- 
tients at the Retreat, that a stranger who has 
visited them seemed to imagine they were 
children. 

" The natural tendency of such treatment is 
to degrade the mind of the patient, and to 
make him indifferent to those moral feelings 
which, under judicious direction and encou- 
ragement, are found capable, in no small de- 
gree, to strengthen the power of self-restraint, 
and which render the resort to coercion in many 
cases unnecessary. Even when it is absolutely 
requisite to employ coercion, if the patient pro- 
mises to control himself on its removal, great 
confidence is generally placed upon his word. 
I have known patients, such is their sense of 
honour and moral obligation under this kind 
of engagement, hold, for a long time, a suc- 
cessful struggle with the violent propensities 
of their disorder ; and such attempts ought to 
be sedulously encouraged by the attendant. 

" Hitherto we have chiefly considered those 
modes of inducing the patient to control his 
disordered propensities which arise from an 
application to the general powers of the mind; 
but considerable advantage may certainly be 
derived, in this part of moral managemtnt, 
from an acquaintance with the previous habits, 
manners, and prejudices of the individual. 
Nor must we forget to call to our aid, in en- 
deavouring to promote self-restraint, the mild 
but powerful influence of the precepts of our 
holy religion. Where these have been strongly 



105 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



imbued in early life, they become little less 
tlian principles of our nature: and their re- 
straining power is frequently felt, even under 
the delirious excitement of insanity. To en- 
courage the influence of religious principles 
over the mind of the insane is considered of 
great consequence as a means of cure. For 
this purpose, as well as for others still more 
important, it is certainly right to promote in 
the patient an attention to his accixstomed 
modes of ptiying homage to his Maker. 

" Many patients attend the religious meet- 
ings of the society held in the city ; and most 
of them are assembled, on a first day after- 
noon, at which time the superintendent reads 
to them several chapters in the Bible. A pro- 
found silence generally ensues ; during which, 
as well as at the time of reading, it is very 
gratifying to observe their orderly conduct, 
and the degree in which those who are much 
disposed to action restrain their different pro- 
pensities." — (p. 158 — 161.) 

Very little dependence is to be placed on me- 
dicine alone for the cure of insanity. The ex- 
perience, at least, of this well-governed insti- 
tution is very unfavourable to its efficacy. 
Vv''here an insane person happens to be dis- 
eased in body as well as in mind, medicine is 
not only of as great importance to him as to 
any other person, but much greater; for the 
diseases of the body are commonly found to 
aggravate those of the mind ; but against mere 
insanity, unaccompanied by bodily derange- 
ment, it appears to be almost powerless. 

There is one remedy, however, which is very 
frequently employed .at the Retreat, and which 
appears to have been attended with the hap- 
piest effect, and that is the warm bath, — the 
least recommended, and the most important, 
of all remedies in melancholy madness. Un- 
der this mode of treatment, the number of re- 
coveries, in cases of melancholia, has been very 
unusual ; though no advantage has been found 
from it in the case of mania. 

At the end of the work is given a table of 
all the cases which have occurred in the insti- 
tution from its first commencement. It appears 
that, from its opening in the year 1796 to the 
end of 1811, 149 patients have been admitted. 
Of this number 61 have been recent cases : 
31 of these patients have been maniacal; of 
whom 2 have died, 6 remain, 21 have been 
discharged perfectly recovered, 2 so much im- 
proved as not to require further confinement. 
The remainder, 30 recent cases, have been 
those of melancholy madness ; of whom Shave 
died, 4 remain, 19 have been discharged cured, 
and 2 so much improved as not to require 
further confinement. The old cases, or, as 
they are commonly termed, incurable cases, 
are divided into 61 cases of mania, 21 of me- 
lancholia, and 6 of dementia; affording the 
following tables : — 

" Mania. 
«11 died. 

31 remain in the house. 
5 have been removed by their friends im- 
proved. 
10 have been discharged perfectly recovered. 
4 so much improved as not to require fur- 
*her confinement." 



" Melancholia. 
" 6 died. 
6 remain. 

1 rem^oved somewhat improved. 
6 perfectly cured. 

2 so much improved as not to require fur- 

ther confinement." 

" Dementia. 
" 2 died. 
2 remain. 
2 discharged as unsuitable objects." 

The following statement shows the ages of 
patients at present in the house : — 

" 15 to 20 inclusive 2 

20 to 30 — 8 

30 to 40 — 12 

40 to 50 — 7 

60 to 70 — 11 

70 to 80 — 4 

80 to 90 — 2" 

Of 79 patients it appears that 

" 12 went mad from disappointed affections. 

2 from epilepsy. 
49 from constitutional causes. 

8 from failure in business. 

4 from hereditary disposition to madness. 

2 from injury of the skull. 

1 from mercury. 

1 from parturition." 

The following case is extremely curious: 
and we wish it had been authenticated by name, 
place, and signature. 

" A young woman, who was employed as a 
domestic servant by the father of the relator 
when he was a boy, became insane, and at 
length sunk into a otate of perfect idiocy. In 
this condition she remained for many years, 
when she was attacked by a typhus fever; 
and my friend, having then practised some 
time, attended her. He was surprised to ob- 
serve, as the fever advanced, a development 
of the mental powers. During that period of 
the fever, when others were delirious, this 
patient was entirely rational. She recognised 
in the face of her medical attendant the son of 
her old master, whom she had known so many 
years before ; and she related many circum- 
stances respecting his family, and others which 
had happened to herself in her earlier days. 
But, alas ! it was only the gleam of reason. 
As the fever abated, clouds again enveloped 
the mind : she sunk into her former deplora- 
ble state, and remained in it until her death, 
which happened a few years afterwards. I 
leave to the metaph)'^sical reader further spe- 
culation on this, certainly, very curious case." 
-Cp. 137.) 

Upon the whole, we have little doubt that 
this is the best managed asylum for the insane 
that has ever j^et been established; and a part 
of the explanation no doubt is, that the Quakers 
take more pains than other people with their 
madmen. A mad Quaker belongs to a small 
and rich sect ; and is, therefore, of greater im- 
portance than any other mad person of the 
same degree in life. After every allowance, 
however, which can be made for the feelings 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



107 



of sectaries, exercised to-wards their own dis- 
ciples, the Quakers, it must be allowed, are a 
very charitable and humane people. They are 
always ready with their money, and, what is 
of far more importance, with their time and 
attention, for every variety of human mis- 
fortune. 

They seem to set themselves down systema- 
tically before the difficulty, with the wise con- 
viction that it is to be lessened or subdued only 
by great labour and thought; and that it is 
always increased by indolence and neglect. 
In this instance, they have set an example of 
courage, patience, and kindness, which cannot 
be too highly commended, or too widely dif- 



fused ; and which, we are convinced, will gra- 
dually bring into repute a milder and better 
method of treating the insane. For the aver- 
sion to inspect places qf this sort is so great, 
and the temptation to neglect and oppress the 
insane so strong, both from the love of power, 
and the improbability of detection, that we 
have no doubt of the existence of great abuses 
in the interior of many madhouses. A great 
deal has been done for prisons ; but the order 
of benevolence has been broken through by 
this preference ; for the voice of misery may 
sooner come up from a dungeon, than the op- 
pression of a madman be healed by the hand 
of justice.f 



AMERICA.* 



[Edinburgh Review, 1818.] 



These four books are all very well worth 
reading, to any person who feels, as we do, 
the importance and interest of the subject of 
which they treat. They contain a great deal 
of information and amusement; and will pro- 
bably decide the fate, and direct the footsteps, 
of many human beings, seeking a better lot 
than the Old World can afford them. Mr. Hall 
is a clever, lively man, very much above the 
common race of writers ; with very liberal and 
reasonable opinions, which he expresses with 
great boldness, — and an inexhaustible fund of 
good humour. He has the elements of wit in 
him ; but sometimes is trite and flat when he 
means to be amusing. He writes verses, too, 
and is occasionally long and metaphysical: 
but, upon the whole, we think highly of Mr. 
Hall ; and deem him, if he is not more than 
twenty-five j'-ears of age, an extraordinary 
young man. He is not the less extraordinary 
for being a lieutenant of Light Dragoons — as 
it is certainly somew^hat rare to meet with an 
original thinker, an indulgent judge of man- 
ners, and a man tolerant of neglect and famili- 
arity, in a youth covered with tags, feathers, 
and martial foolery. 

Mr. Palmer is a plain man, of good sense 
and slow judgment. Mr. Bradbury is a bota- 
nist, who li-^^ed a good deal among the savages, 
but worth ationding to. Mr. Fearon is a much 
abler writer than either of the two last, but no 



* 1. Travels in Canada and the United States, in I81G 
and 1817. Bii Lieutenant Francis Hall, 14th Light 
Dragoons, H. P. London. Longman & Co. 1818. 

2. Juurnal of Travels in the United States of JVorth Ame- 
rica, and in Lower Canada, performed in the year 1817, ^c. 
*e. By John Palmer. London. Sherwood, Neely & 
Jones. 1818. 

3. A JVarrative of a Journey of Five TTiousand Miles 
through the Eastern and Western States of America ; con- 
tained in Eight Reports, addressed to the Thirtij-nine Eng- 
lish Families bi/ ichom the Jluthor was deputed, in June, 
1817, to ascertain ichether any and what Part of the United 
Slates would be svitable for their Residence. With Re- 
marks on Mr. Birkheck's " ■N'otes" and "Letters." By 
Henry Bradshaw Fearon. London. Longman & Co. 
1818. 

4. Travels in the Interior of Jlmerica, in the years 1809, 
1810, and 1811, ^c. By John Bradbury, F. L S. Lond. 
8vo. London. Sherwood, Neely & Jones. 1817. 



lover of America, — and a little given to exag- 
geration in his views of vices and prejudices. 
Among other faults with which our govern- 
ment is chargeable, the vice of impertinence 
has lately crept into our cabinet ; and the 
Americans have been treated with ridicule and 
contempt. But they are becoming a little too 
powerful, we take it, for this cavalier sort of 
management ; and are increasing with a rapi- 
dity which is really no matter of jocularity to 
us, or the other powers of the Old World. In 
1791, Baltimore contained 13,000 inhabitants; 
in 1810, 46,000 ; in 1817, 60,000. In 1790, it pos- 
sessed 13,000 tons of shipping ; in 1798, 59,000 ; 
in 1805, 72,000; in 1810, 103,444. The pro- 
gress of Philadelphia is as follows : — 

Houses. Inhabitants. 
"In 1683 there were in the city 80 and 600 

1700 700 5,000 

1749 . - . _ . 2,076 15,000 
1760 - . . . . 2,969 20,000 
1769 - - - _ - 4,474 30,000 
1776 ----- 5,460 40,000 
. 1783 ----- 6,000 42.000 
1806 - - - - - 13,000 90,000 
1810 22,769 100,000 

"Now it is computed there are at least 
120,000 inhabitants in the city and suburbs, of 
which 10,000 are free coloured people." — Pal- 
mer, p. 254, 255. 

The population of New York {the city), in 
1805, was 60,000 ; it is now 120,000. Their 
shipping, at present, amounts to 300,000 tons. 
The population of the state of New York was, 
at the accession of his present majesty, 87,000, 
and is now nearly 1,000,000. Kentucky, first 
settled in 1773, had, in 1792, a population of 
100,000 ; and in 1810, 406,000. Morse reckons 
the whole population of the western territory, 
in 1790, at 6,000; in 1810 it was near half a 
million ; and will probably exceed a million in 
1820. These, and a thousand other equally 

t The Society of P'riends havel>een extremely fortu- 
nate in the choice of their male and female superintend- 
ents at the asylum, Mr. and Mrs. Jephson. It is not easy 
to find a greater combination of good sense a.id good 
feeling than these two persons possess : — but then the 
merit of selecting them rests with their employers 



108 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



strong proofs of their increasing strength, tend 
to extinguish pleasantry, and provoke thought. 

We were surprised and pleased to find from 
these accounts that the Americans on the Red 
River and the Arkansas River have begun to 
make sugar and wine. Their importation of 
wool into this country is becoming also an 
object of some consequence ; and they have 
inexhaustible supplies of salt and coal. But 
one of the great sources of wealth in America 
is and will be an astonishing command of in- 
land navigation. The Mississippi, flowing 
from the north to the Gulf of Mexico, through 
seventeen degrees of latitude ; the Ohio and 
the Alleghany almost connecting it with the 
Northern Lakes ; the Wabash, the Illinois, the 
Missouri, the Arkansas, the Red River, flowing 
from the confines of New Mexico ; — these 
rivers, ah navigable, and most of them already 
frequented by steamboats, constitute a facility 
of internal communication not, we believe, to 
be paralleled in the whole world. 

One of the great advantages of the American 
government is its cheapness. The American 
king has about 5000/. per annum, the vice-king 
1000/. They hire their Lord Liverpool at 
about a thousand per annum, and their Lord 
Sidmouth (a good bargain) at the same sum. 
Their Mr. Crokers are inexpressibly reason- 
able, — somewhere about the price of an Eng- 
lish doorkeeper, or bearer of a mace. Life, 
however, seems to go on very well, in spite of 
these low salaries ; and the purposes of go- 
vernment to be very fairly answered. What- 
ever may be the evils of universal suff"rage in 
other countries, they have not yfet been felt in 
America; and one thing at least is established 
by her experience, that this institution is not 
necessarily followed by those tumults, the 
dread of which excites so much apprehension 
in this country. In the most democratic states, 
where the payment of direct taxes is the only 
qualification of a voter, the elections are car- 
ried on with the utmost tranquillity ; and the 
whole business, by taking votes in each parish 
or section, concluded all over the state in a 
single day. A great deal is said by Fearon 
about Caucus, the cant word of the Americans 
for the committees and party meetings in 
which the business of the elections is prepared 
— the influence of which he seems to consider 
as prejudicial. To us, however, it appears 
to be nothing more than the natural, fair, and 
unavoidable influence which talent, popularity 
and activity always must have upon such 
occasions. What other influence can the 
leading characters of the democratic party in 
Congress possibly possess ? Bribery is entirely 
out of the question — equally so is the influence 
of family and fortune. What then can they 
do, with their caucus or without it, but recom- 
mend 1 And what charge is it against the 
American government to say that those mem- 
bers of whom the people have the highest 
opinion meet together to consult whom they 
shall recommend for president, and that their 
recommendation is successful in their differ- 
ent states'? Could any friend to good order 
wish other means to be employed, or other re- 
sults to follow? No statesman can wish to 
exclude influence, but only bad influence; — 



not the iniluence of sense and character, but 
the influence of money and punch. 

A very disgusting feature in the character 
of the present English government is its ex- 
treme timidity, and the cruelty and violence to 
which its timidity gives birth. Some hot- 
headed young person, in defending the princi- 
ples of liberty, and attacking those abuses 
to which all governments are liable, passes 
the bounds of reason and moderation, or is 
thought to have passed them by those whose 
interest it is to think so. What matters it 
whether he has or has nof? You are strong 
enough to let him alone. With such institu- 
tions as oui's he can do no mischief; perhaps 
he may owe his celebrity to your opposition ; 
or, if he must be opposed, write against him, 
— set Candidus, Scrutator, Vindex, or any of 
the conductitious penmen of government to 
write him down ; — any thing but the savage 
spectacle of a poor wretch, perhaps a very 
honest man, contending in vain against the 
weight of an immense government, pursued 
by a jealous attorney, and sentenced, by some 
candidate, perhaps, for the favour of the crown, 
to the long miseries of the dungeon.* A still 
more flagrant instance may be found in our 
late suspensions of the habeas corpus act. 
Nothing was trusted to the voluntary activity 
of a brave people, thoroughly attached to their 
government — nothing to the good sense and 
prudence of the gentlemen and yeomen of the 
country — nothing to a little forbearance, pa- 
tience, and watchfulness. There was no other 
security but despotism ; nothing but the aliena- 
tion of that right which no king nor minister 
can love, and which no human beings but the 
English have had the valour to win, and the 
prudence to keep. The contrast between our 
government and that of the Americans, upon 
the subject of suspending the habeas corpus, 
is drawn in so very able a manner by Mr. 
Hall, that we must give the passage at large. 

" It has ever been the policy of the federal- 
ists to 'strengthen the hands of government.' 
No measure can be imagined more effectual 
for this purpose, than a law which gifts the 
ruling powers with infallibility; but no sooner 
was it enacted, than it revealed its hostility to 
the principles of the American system, by 



* A jrreat deal is said about the independence and in- 
tegrity or Enclisli judges. In causes between individuals 
they are strictly independent and upright ; but they have 
strong temptations to be otherwise, in cases where tha 
crown prosecutes for libel. Such cases otten involve 
questions of party, and are viewed with great passion 
and agitation by the minister and his friends. Judges 
have often favours to ask for their friends and families, 
and dignities to aspire to for themselves. It is human 
nature, that such powerful motives should create a great 
bias against the prisoner. Suppose the chief justice of 
any court to be in an infirm state of health, and a go- 
vernment libel-cause to be tried by one of the puisne 
judges. — of what immense importance is it to that man 
to be called a strong friend to government — how injuri- 
ous to his natural and fair hopes to be called lukewarm, 
or addicted to popular notions — and how easily the run- 
ners of the government would attach such a character to 
him! The useful inference from these observations is, 
that, in all government cases, the jury, instead of being 
influenced by the cant phrases about the integrity of 
English judges, should suspect the operation of such 
motives — watch the judge with the most acute jealousy 
— and compel him to be honest, by throwing themselves 
into the opposite scale whenever he is inclined to be 
otherwise. 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



109 



generating oppression under the cloak of de- 
fending social order. 

" If there ever was a period when circum- 
stances seemed to justify what are called ener- 
getic measures, it was during the administra- 
tions of Mr. Jefferson and his successor. A 
disastrous war began to rage, not only on the 
frontiers, but in the very penetralia of the re- 
public. To oppose veteran troops, the ablest 
generals, and the largest fleets in the world, 
the American government had raw recruits, 
officers who had never seen an enemy, half a 
dozen frigates, and a population unaccustomed 
to sacrifices, and impatient of taxation. To 
crown these disadvantages, a most important 
section of the Union, the New England states, 
openly set up the standard of separation and 
rebellion. A convention sat for the express 
purpose of thwarting the measures of govern- 
ment; while the press and pulpit thundered 
every species of denunciation against whoever 
should assist their own country in the hour 
of danger.* And this was the work, not of 
jacobins and democrats, but of the stanch 
friends of religion and social order, who had 
been so zealously attached to the government, 
while it was administered by their own party, 
^hat they suffered not the popular breath ' to 
visit the president's breech too roughly.' 

" The course pursued, both by Mr. Jefferson 
and Mr. Madison throughout this season of 
difficulty, merits the gratitude of their country, 
and the imitation of all governments pretend- 
ing to be free. 

" So far were they from demanding any ex- 
traordinary powers from Congress, that they 
did not even enforce, to their full extent, those 
with which they were by the constitution in- 
vested. The process of reasoning, on which 
they probably acted, may be thus stated. The 
majority of the nation is with us, because the 
war is national. The interests of a minority 
suffer; and self-interest is clamorous when 
injured. It carries its opposition to an ex- 
treme inconsistent with its political duty. 
Shall we leave it in an undisturbed career of 
faction, or seek to put it down with libel and 
sedition laws 1 In the first case it will grow 
bold from impunity; its proceedings will be 
more and more outrageous : but every step it 
• takes to thwart us will be a step in favour of 
the enemy, and, consequently, so much ground 
lost in public opinion. But, as public opinion 
is the only instrument by which a minority 
can convert a majority to its views, impunity, 
by revealing its motives, affords the surest 
chance of defeating its intent. In the latter 
case, we quit the ground of reason to take 
that of force ; we give the factious the advan- 
tage of seeming persecuted; by repressing 

* " In Boston, associations were entered into for the 
purpose of preventing the filling up of government 
loans. Individuals disposed to subscribe were obliged 
to do it in secret, and conceal their names, as if the 
action had been dishonest." — Vide 'Olive Branch,' p. 
307. At the same time, immense runs were made by 
the Boston banks on those of the Central and Southern 
states ; while the specie Ihus drained was transmitted to 
Canada, in payment for smuggled goods and British go- 
vernment bills, which were drawn in Quebec, and dis- 
posed of in great numbers, on advantageous terms, to 
moneyed men in the states. Mr. Henry's mission is the 
best proof of the result anticipated by our government 
from these proceedings in New England. 



intemperate discussion, we confess ourselves 
liable to be injured by it. If we seek to shield 
our reputation by a libel-law, we acknowledge, 
either that our conduct will not bear investi- 
gation, or that the people are incapable of 
distinguishing betwixt truth and falsehood : 
but for a popular government to impeach the 
sanctity of the nation's judgment is to over- 
throw the pillars of its own elevation. 

" The event triumphantly proved the cor- 
rectness of this reasoning. The federalists 
awoke from the delirium of factions intoxica- 
tion, and found themselves covered with' con- 
tempt and shame. Their country had been 
in danger, and they gloried in her distress. 
She had exposed herself to privations from 
which they had extracted profit. In her tri- 
umphs they had no part, except that of having 
mourned over and depreciated them. Since 
the war federalism has been scarcely heard 
of y— Hall, 508—511. 

The Americans, we believe, are the first 
persons who have discarded the tailor in the 
administration of justice, and his auxiliary 
the barber — two persons of endless importance 
in codes and pandects of Europe. A judge 
administers justice, without a calorific wig 
and particoloured gown, in a coat and panta- 
loons. He is obeyed, however; and life and 
property are not badly protected in the United 
States. We shall be denounced by the lau- 
reate as atheists and jacobins; but we must 
say, that we have doubts whether one atom 
of useful influence is added to men in impor- 
tant situations by any colour, quantity, or con- 
figuration of cloth and hair. The true pro- 
gress of refinement, we conceive, is to discard 
all the mountebank drapery of barbarous 
ages. One row of gold and fur falls off after 
another from the robe of power, and is picked 
up and worn by the parish beadle and the ex- 
hibitor of wild beasts. Meantime, the afflicted 
wiseacre mourns over equality of garment ; 
and wotteth not of two men, whose doublets 
have cost alike, how one shall command and 
the other obey. 

The dress of lawyers, however, is, at all 
events, of less importance than their charges. 
Law is cheap in America: in England, it is 
better, in a mere pecuniary point of view, to 
give up forty pounds than to contend for it in 
a court of common law. It costs that sum in 
England to win a cause ; and, in the court of 
equity, it is better to abandon five hundred or 
a thousand pounds than to contend for it. We 
mean to say nothing disrespectful of the chan- 
cellor — who is an upright judge, a very great 
lawyer, and zealous to do all he can ; but we 
believe the Court of Chancery to be in a state 
which imperiously requires legislative conec- 
tion. We do not accuse it of any malversa- 
tion, but of a complication, formality, entan- 
glement, and delay, which the life, the wealth, 
and the patience of man cannot endure. How 
such a subject comes not to have been taken 
up in the House of Commons, we are wholly 
at a loss to conceive. We feel for climbing 
boys as much as anybody can do ; but what 
is a climbing boy in a chimney to a full-grown 
suitor in the Master's office. And whence 
comes it, in the midst of teu thousand com- 
K 



110 



WORKS OF THE RLV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



passions and charities, that no Wilberforce, 
or Sister Fry, has started up for the suitors in 
Chancery ]* and why, in the name of these 
atiiicted and attorney-worn people, are there 
united in their judge three or four offices, any 
one of which is sufficient to occupy the whole 
time of a very able and active man 1 

There are no very prominent men at present 
in America ; at least none whose fame is 
strong enough for exportation. Monroe is a 
man of plain, imafTected good sense. Jeffer- 
son, we believe, is still alive ; and has always 
been'more remarkable, perhaps, for the early 
share he took in the formation of the republic, 
than from any very predominant superiority 
of understanding. Mr. Hall made him a 
visit : — 

" I slept a night at Monticello, and left it in 
the morning with such a feeling as the travel- 
ler quits the mouldering remains of a Grecian 
temple, or the pilgrim a fountain in the desert. 
It would indeed argue great torpor both of 
understanding and heart, to have looked with- 
oi;t veneration and interest on the man who 
drew up the declaration of American indepen- 
dence ; who shared in the councils by which 
her freedom was established ; Avhom the un- 
bought voice of his fellow-citizens called to the 
exercise of a dignity from which his own mo- 
deration impelled him, when such example 
was most salutary, to withdraw; and who, 
while he dedicates the evening of his glorious 
days to the pursuits of science and literature, 
shuns none of the humbler duties of private 
life ; but, having filled a seat higher than that 
of kings, succeeds with graceful dignity to 
that of the good neighbour, and becomes the 
friendly adviser, lawyer, physician, and even 
gardener of his vicinity. This is the 'still 
small voice' of philosophy, deeper and holier 
than the lightnings and earthquakes which 
have preceded it. What monarch would ven- 
ture thus to exhibit himself in the nakedness 
of his humanity] On what royal brow would 
the laurel replace the diadem 1" — Hall, 384, 
385. 

Mr. Fearon dined with another of the Ex- 
Kings, Mr. Adams. 

" The ex-president is a handsome old gen- 
tleman of eighty-four; — his lady is seventy- 
six; — she has the reputation of superior ta- 
.ents, and great literary acquirements. I was 
not perfectly a stranger here; as, a few days 
previous to this, I had received the honour of 
an hospitable reception at their mansion. 
Upon the present occasion the minister (the 
day being Sunday) was of the dinner party. 
As the table of a 'late King' may amuse 
some of you, take the following particulars : — 
first course, a pudding made of Indian corn, 
molasses, and butter; — second, veal, bacon, 
neck of mutton, potatoes, cabbages, carrots, 

* This is still one of the preat uncorrected evils of the 
country. Nothinc can he so utterly absurd as to leave 
the head of the Court of Chancery a political officer, and 
to subject forty inillio!» of litigated property to all the 
delays and interruptions which are occasioned by his 
present multiplicity of offices. (1839.)— The Chancellor 
is Speaker of the House of Lords; he might as well be 
made Archbishop of Canterbury ;— it irf one of the great- 
CBV of existing follies. 



and Indian beans ; Madeira wine, of which 
each drank two glasses. We sat down to din- 
ner at one o'clock; at two, nearly all went 
a second time to church. For tea, we had 
pound-cake, sweet bread and butter, and bread 
made of Indian corn and rye (similar to our 
broAvn home-made). Tea was brought from 
the kitchen, and handed round by a neat, white 
servant-girl. The topics of conA^ersation were 
various — England, America, religion, politics, 
literature, science, Dr. Priestley, Miss Edge- 
worth, Mrs. Siddons, Mr. Kean, France, Shak- 
speare, Moore, Lord Byron, Cobbett, American 
Revolution, the traitor General Arnold. 

"The establishment of this political patri- 
arch consists of a house two stories high, con- 
taining, I believe, eight rooms ; of two men and 
three maid-servants ; three horses, and a plain 
carriage. How great is the contrast between 
this individual — a man of knowledge and in- 
formation — without pomp, parade, or vicious 
and expensive establishments, as compared 
with the costly trappings, the depraved cha- 
racters, and the profligate expenditure of 

house, and ! What a lesson in this 

does America teach ! There are now in this 
land no less than three Cincinnati!" — Fearon, 
111—113. 

The travellers agree, we think, in complain- 
ing of the insubordination of American child- 
ren — and do not much like American ladies. 
In their criticisms upon American gasconade, 
the3'forget that vulgar people of all countries aie 
full of gasconade. The Americans love titles. 
The following extract from the Boston Senti- 
nel of last August (1817), is quoted by Mr 
Fearon. 

"^Dinner to Mr. Adams. — Yesterday a pub- 
lic dinner was given to the Hon. John Q. 
Adains, in the Exchange Coffee-House, by 
his fellow-citizens of Boston. The Hon. Wm. 
Gray presided, assisted by the Hon. Harrison 
Gray Otis, George Blake, Esq., and the Hon. 
Jonathan Mason, vice-presidents. Of the 
guests were, the Hon. Mr. Adams, late presi- 
dent of the United States, his Excellency Go- 
vernor Brooks, his Honour Lt. Gov. Phillips, 
Chief Justice Parker, Judge Story, President 
Kirkland, Gen. Dearborn, Com. Hull, Gen. 
Miller, several of the reverend clergy, and 
many public officers, and strangers of emi- 
nence.' " 

They all, in common with Mr. Birkbeck, 
seem to be struck with the indolence of the 
American character. Mr. Fearon makes the 
charge ; and gives us below the right expla- 
nation of its cause. 

" The life of boarders at an American tavern 
presents the most senseless and comfortless 
mode of killing time which I have ever seen. 
Every house of this description that I have 
been in, is thronged to excess ; and there is 
not a man who appears to have a single earth- 
ly object in view, except spitting, and smoking 
segars. I have not seen a book in the hands 
of any person since I left Philadelphia. Ob- 
jectionable as these habits are, they affi^rd de- 
cided evidence of the prosperity of that coim- 
try, which can admit so large a body of its 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



Ill 



citizens to waste in indolence three-fourths of 
their lives, and would also appear to hold out 
encouragement to Englishmen with English 
habits, who conld retain their industry amid a 
nation of indolence, and have sufficient firmness 
to live in America, and yet bid defiance to the 
deadly example of its natives." — Fearon, p. 
252, 253. 

Yet this charge can hardly apply to the north- 
easiern parts of the Union. 

The following sample of American vulgarity 
is not unentertaining. 

"On arriving at the tavern door the landlord 
makes his appearance. — Landlord. Your ser- 
vant, gentlemen, this is a fine day. — Answer. 
A'^ery fine. — Land. You've got two nice creatures,- 
ihey are riglif elegarit matches. Amt. Yes, we 
bought them for matches. — Land. They cost a 
heap of dollars, (a pause, and knowing look) ; 
200 I calculate. Ans. Yes, they cost a good sum. 
Land. Possible .' (a pause); going westward to 
Ohio, gentlemenl Ans. We are going to Phila- 
delphia. — Land. Philadelphia, ah! that's a 
dreadful large place, three or four times as big 
,ns Lexington, Ans. Ten times as large. — Land. 
Is it, by George ! what a mighty heap of houses, 
(a pause) ; bat I reckon you was not reared in 
Philadelphia. Ans. Philadelphia is not our 
native place. — Land. Perhaps away up in 
Canada. Ans. No; we are from England. — 
Land. Is it possible .' well, I calculated you were 
from abroad, (pause) ; how long have you been 
from the old country? Ans. We left England 
last March. — Land. And in August here you are 
in Kentuck. Well, I should have guessed you 
had been in the state some years; you speak 
almost as good English as we do! 

"'J'his dialogue is not a literal copy; hut it 
embraces most of the frequent and improper 
applications of words used in the back country, 
with a few New England phrases. By the log- 
house farmer and tavern keeper, they are used 
as often, and as erroneously, as they occur in 
the above discourse." — Palmer, p. 129, 130. 

This is of course intended as a representation 
of the manners of the low, or, at best, the mid- 
dling class of people in America. 

The four travellers, of whose works we are 
giving an account, made extensive tours in 
every part of America, as well in the old as in 
the new settlements; and, generally speaking, 
we should say their testimony is in favour of 
American manners. We must except, perhaps, 
Mr. Fearon; — and yet he seems to have very 
little to say against them. Mr. Palmer tells us 
that he found his companions, officers and far- 
mers, unobtrusive, civil and obliging; — that 
what the servants do for you, they do with ala- 
crity ; — that at their tables d'hote ladies are treat- 
ed with great politeness. We have real plea- 
sure in making the following extract from Mr. 
Bradbury's tour. 

" In regard to the manners of the people west 
of the Alleghanies, it would be absurd to expect 
that a general character could be now formed, 
or that it will be, for many years yet to come. 
The population is at present compounded of a 
great number of nations, not yet amalgamated, 
consisting of emigrants from every stale in the 
Union, mixed with English, Irish, Scotch, Dutch, 



Swiss, Germans, French and almost from every 
country in Europe. In some traits they partake 
in common with the inhabitants of the Ailanlic 
states, which results from the nature of their 
government. That species of hauteur which 
one class of society in some countries shows 
in their intercourse with the other, is here utterly 
unknown. By their constitution, the existence 
of a privileged order, vested by birth with here- 
ditary privileges, honours or emoluments, is for 
ever interdicted. If, therefore, we should here 
expect to find that contemptuous feeling in man 
for man, we should naturally examine amongst 
those clothed with judicial or military authority; 
but we should search in vain. The justice on 
the bench, or the officer in the field, is respected 
and obeyed whilst discharging the functions of 
his office, as the representative or agent of the 
law, enacted for the good of all,- but should he 
be tempted to treat even the least wealthy of his 
neighbours or fellow-citizens with contumely, 
he would soon find that he could not do it with 
impunity. Travellers from Europe, in passing 
through the western countiy, or indeed any part 
of the United States, ought to be previously ac- 
quainted with this part of the American charac- 
ter, and more particularly if they have been in 
the habit of treating with contempt, or irritating 
with, abuse, those whom accidental circum- 
stances may have placed in a situation to ad- 
minister to their wants. Let no one here in- 
dulge himself in abusing the waiter or ostler at 
an inn; that waiter or ostler is probably a citizen, 
and does not, nor cannot conceive, that a situa- 
tion in which he discharges a duty to society, 
not in itself dishonourable, should subject him 
to insult: but this feeling, so lar as I have ex- 
perienced, is entirely defensive. I have travelled 
near 10,000 miles in the United States, and 
never met with the least incivility or affront. 

"The Americans, in general, are accused by 
travellers of being inquisitive. If this be a 
crime, the western people are guilty; but, for 
my part, I may say that it is a practice that I 
never was disposed to complain of, because I 
always found them as ready to answer a question 
as to ask one, and therefore I always came off a 
gainer by this kind of barter; and if any tra- 
veller does not, it is his own fault. As this leads 
me to notice their general conduct to strangers, 
I feel myself bound, by gratitude and regard to 
truth, to speak of their hospitality. In my tra- 
vels through the inhabited parts of the United 
States, not less than 2000 miles was through 
parts where there were no taverns, and M'here 
a traveller is under the necessity of appealing 
to the hospitality of the inhabitants. In no one 
instance has my appeal been fruitless ; although, 
in many cases, the furnishing of a bed has been 
evidently attended with inconvenience, and in a 
great many instances no remuneration would 
be received. Other European travellers have 
experienced this liberal spirit of hospitality, and 
some have repaid it by calumny." — Bradbuiy, 
p. 304—306. 

We think it of so much importance to do 
justice to other nations, and to lessen that hatred 
and contempt which race feels for race, that we 
subjoin two short passages from Mr. Hall to ths 
same effect. 



IIS 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



"I had bills on Philadelphia, and applied to a 
respectable storekeeper, that is, tradesman, of the 
village, to cash me one; the amount, however, 
was beyond any remittance he had occasion to 
make, but he immediately offered me whatever 
sum I might require for my journey, with no 
better security than my word for its repayment 
at Philadelphia: he even insisted on my taking 
more than I mentioned as sufficient. I do not 
believe this trait of liberality would surprise an 
American; for no one in the states, to whom I 
mentioned it, seemed to consider it as more 
than any stranger of respectable appearance 
might have looked for, in similar circumstan- 
ces: but it might well surprise an English 
traveller, who had been told, as I had, that the 
Americans never failed to cheatand insult every 
Englishman who travelled through their coun- 
try, especially if they knew him to be an officer. 
This latter particular they never failed to inform 
themselves of, for they are by no means bashful 
in inquiries : but if the discovery operated in 
any way upon their behaviour, it was rather 
to my advantage; nor did I meet with a sin- 
gle instance of incivility betwixt Canada and 
Charleston, except at the Shenandoah Point, 
from a drunken English deserter. My testimony 
in this particular, will certainly not invalidate 
the complaints of many other travellers, who, I 
doubt not, have frequently encountered rude 
treatment, and quite as frequently deserved it; 
but it will at least prove the possibility of tra- 
versing the United States without insult or 
interruption, and even of being occasionally 
surprised by liberality and kindness." — Hall, p. 
255, 256. 

" I fell into very pleasant society at Washing- 
ton. Strangers who intend staying some days 
in a town, usually take lodgings at a boarding- 
house, in preference to a tavern: in this way 
they obtain the best society the place affords ; 
for there are always gentlemen and frequently 
ladies, either visitors or temporary residents, 
who live in this manner to avoid the trouble of 
housekeeping. At Washington, during the sit- 
tings of Congress, the boarding-houses are di- 
vided into messes, according to the political 
principles of the inmates, nor is a stranger 
admitted without some introduction, and the 
consent of the whole company. I chanced to 
join a democratic mess, and name a few of its 
members with gratitude, for the pleasure their 
society gave me — Commodore Decatur and his 
lady, the Abbe Correa, the great botanist and 
plenipotentiary of Portugal, the Secretary of the 
Navy, the Secretary of the Navy Board, known 
'as the author of a humorous publication entitled 
'John Bull and Brother Jonathan,' with eight 
or ten members of Congress, principally from 
the western states, which are generally consi- 
dered as most decidedly hostile to England, but 
whom I did not on this account find less good- 
humoured and courteous. It is from thus living 
in daily intercourse with the leading characters 
of the country, that one is enabled to judge with 
some degree of certainty of the practices of its 
government; for to know the paper theory is 
nothing, unless it be compared with the instru- 
ments employed to carry it into effect. A poli- 
tical constitution may be nothing but a cabalistic 



form, to extort money and power from the people; 
but then the jugglers must be in the dark, and 
"no admittance behind the curtain." This way 
of living affords, too, the best insight into the 
best part of society: for if in a free nation the 
depositaries of the public confidence be ignorant 
or vulgar, it is a very fruitless search to look 
for the opposite qualities in those they represent; 
whereas, if these be well-informed in mind and 
manners, it proves at the least an inclination 
towards knowledge and refinement in the gene- 
ral mass of citizens by whom they are selected. 
My own experience obliges me to a favourable 
verdict in this particular. I found the little circle 
into which I had happily fallen full of good sense 
and good humour, and never quitted it without 
feeling myself a gainer, on the score either of 
useful information or of social enjoyment." — 
i^a//, p. 329— 331. 

In page 252 Mr. Hall pays some very hand- 
some compliments to the gallantry, high feeling 
and humanity of the American troops. Such 
passages reflect the highest honour upon Mr. 
Hall. They are full of courage as well as kind- 
ness, and will never be forgiven at home. 

Literature the Americans have none — no na- 
tive literature, we mean. It is all imported. They 
had a Franklin, indeed; and may afford to live 
for half a century on his fame. There is, or 
was a Mr. Dwight, who wrote some poems; 
and his baptismal name was Timothy. There 
is also a small account of Virginia by Jefferson, 
and an epic by Joel Barlow; and some pieces 
of pleasantry by Mr. Irving, But why should 
the Americans write books, when a six weeks' 
passage brings them, in their own tongue, our 
sense, science and genius, in bales and hogs- 
heads? Prairies, steam-boats, grist-mills, are 
their natural objects for centuries to come. 
Then, when they have got to the Pacific Ocean 
— epic poems, plays, pleasures of memory and 
all the elegant gratifications of an ancient people 
who have tamed the wild earth, and set down 
to amuse themselves. — This is the natural 
march of human affairs. 

The Americans, at least in the old states, are 
a very religious people: but there is no sect 
there which enjoys the satisfaction of excluding 
others from civil offices ; nor does any denomi- 
nation of Christians take for their support a 
tenth of produce. Their clergy, however, are 
respectable, respected, and possess no small 
share of influence. The places of worship in 
Philadelphia in 1810, were as follows: — Pres- 
byterian, 8; Episcopalian, 4; Methodists, 5; 
Catholic, 4; Baptist, 5; Quakers, 4; Fighting 
Quakers, 1 ; Lutheran, 3 ; Calvinist, 3 ; Jews, 2 ; 
Universalists, 1 ; Swedish Lutheran, 1 ; Mora- 
vian, 1 ; Congregationalists, 1 ; Unitarians, 1 ; 
Covenanters, 1 ; Black Baptists, 1 ; Black Epis- 
copalians, 1 ; Black Methodists, 2. The Metho- 
dists, Mr. Palmer tells us, are becoming the most 
numerous sect in the United States. 

Mr. Fearon gives us this account of the state 
of religion at New York. 

" Upon this interesting topic I would repeat, 
what, indeed, you are already acquainted with, 
that legally there is the most unlimited liberty. 
There is no state religion, and no government 
prosecution of individuals 'for conscience sake 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



113 



Whether those halcyon days, which I think 
•would attend a similar state of things in Eng- 
land, are in existence here, must be left for 
future observation. There are five Dutch Re- 
formed churches; six Presbyterian; three As- 
sociated Reformed ditto, one Associated Pres- 
byterian; one Reformed ditto; five Methodist; 
two diUo for blacks,- one German Reformed; one 
Evangelical Lutheran; one Moravian; four 
Trinitarian Baptist; one Universalist; two Ca- 
tholic; three Quaker; eight Episcopalian; one 
Jews' Synagogue; and to this I would add a 
small meeting which is but little known, at 
which the priest is dispensed with, every mem- 
ber following what they call the apostolic plan 
of instructing each other, and ' building one 
another up in their most holy faith.' The Pres- 
byterian and Episcopalian, or Church of Eng- 
land sects, take the precedence in numbers and 
in respectability. Their ministers receive from 
two to eight thousand dollars per annum. All 
the churches are well filled: they are the fash- 
ionable places for disph]/,- and the sermons and 
talents of the minister ofler never-ending sub- 
jects of interest when social converse has been 
exhausted upon the bad conduct and inferior 
nature of nit^gars (negroes); the price of flour 
at Liverpool; the capture of the Guerriere,- and 
the battle of New Orleans. The perfect equali- 
ty of all sects seems to have deadened party 
feeling: controversy is but little known." — 
Fearon, p. 45, 46. 

The absence of controversy, Mr. Fearon 
seems to imagine, has produced indifference ; 
and he heaves a sigh to the memory of depart- 
ed oppression. " Can it be possible (he asks) 
that the non-existence of religious oppression 
has lessened religious knowledge, and made 
men superstitiously dependent upon outward 
form, instead of internal purity?" To which 
question (a singular one from an enlightened 
man like Mr. Fearon), we answer, that the ab- 
sence of religious oppression has not lessened 
religious knowledge, but theological animosity; 
and made men more dependent upon pious ac- 
tions, and less upon useless and unintelligible 
wrangling.* 

The great curse of America is the institution 
of slavery — of itself far more than the foulest 
blot upon their national character, and an evil 
which counterbalances all the excisemen, licens- 
ers, and tax-gatherers of England. No virtu- 
ous man ought to trust his own character, or 
the character of his children, to the degioral- 
izing effects produced by commanding slaves. 
Justice, gentleness, pity and humility soon give 
way before them. Conscience suspends its func- 
tions. The love of command — the impatience 
of restraint, get the better of every other feel- 
ing; and cruelty has no other limit than fear. 

"' There must doubtless,' says Mr. Jefferson, 
'be an unhappy influence on the manners of 
the people produced by the existence of slavery 
among us. The whole commerce between mas- 

• Mr. Fearon mentions a religious lottery for t)uil(ling 
a Presbyterian church. What will Mr. Littleton say to 
this? he is hardly prepared, we suspect, for this union of 
Calvin and the Little Go. Every advantage will be made 
of it by the wit and eloquence of his fiscal opponent J — 
nor will it pass uiihcedt;d by Mr. Bish. 
15 



ter and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most 
boisterous passions; the most unremitting des- 
potism on the one part, and degrading submis- 
sions on the other. Our children see this, and 
learn to imitate it; for man is an imitative ani- 
mal. The parent storms, the child looks on, 
catches the lineaments of wrath, puts on the 
same airs in the circle of smaller slaves, gives 
loose to the worst of passions; and thus nursed, 
educated, and daily exercised in tyranny, can- 
not but be stamped by it with odious peculiari- 
ties. The man must be a prodigy who can 
retain his morals and manners undepraved by 
such circumstances.' — Notes, p. 241." — Hall, p. 
459. 

The following picture of a slave song is quot- 
ed by Mr. Hall from the " Letters on Virginia." 

" 'I took the boat this morning, and crossed 
the ferry over to Portsmouth, the small town 
which I told you is opposite to this place. It 
was court-day, and a large crowd of people was 
gathered about the door of the court-house. I 
had hardly got upon the steps to look in, when 
my ears were assailed by the voice of singing; 
and turning round to discover from what quarter 
it came, I saw a group of about thirty negroes, 
of different sizes and ages, following a rough- 
looking white man, who sat carelessly lolling in 
his sulky. They had just turned round the cor- 
ner, and were coming up the main street to pass 
by the spot where I stood, on their way out of 
town. As they came nearer, I saw some of 
them loaded with chains to prevent their escape; 
while others had hold of each other's hands, 
strongly grasped, as if to support themselves in 
their afiliction. I particularly noticed a poor 
mother, with an infant suckling at her breast 
as she walked along, while two small children 
had hold of her apron on either side, almost 
running to keep up with the rest. They came 
along singing a little wild hymn, of sweet and 
mournful melody, flying, by a divine instinct of 
the heart, to the consolation of religion, the last 
refuge of the unhappy, to support them in their 
distress. The sulky now stopped belbre the 
tavern, at a little distance beyond the court- 
house, and the driver got out. ' My dear sir,' 
said I to a person who stood near me, 'can you 
tell me what these poor people have been doing] 
What is their crime? and what is to be their 
punishment?' ' O,' said he, 'it's nothing at all 
but a parcel of negroes sold to Carolina; and 
that man is their driver, who has bought theni ' 
'But what have they done, that they should bo 
sold into banishment?' 'Done,' said he, 'no- 
thing at all, that I know of; their masters wanted 
money, I suppose, and these drivers give good 
prices.' Here the driver having supplied him- 
self with brandy, and his horse with water, 
(the poor negroes, of course, wanted nothing,) 
stepped into his chair again, cracked his whip, 
and drove on, while the miserable exiles fol- 
lowed in funeral procession behind him.' " 
Hull, 358—360. 

The law by which slaves are governed in tlie 
Carolinas, is a provincial law as old as 1740, 
but made perpetual in 1783. By this law it is 
enacted, that every negro shall be presumed a 
slave, unless the contrary appear. The 9lh 
clause allows two justices of the peace, and 
k2 



114 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



three freeholders, power to put them to any 
manner of death; the evidence against ihem 
may be without oath. — No slave is to traffic on 
his own account. — Any person murdering a 
slave is to pay 100/. — or 14/. if he cuts out the 
tongue of a slave. — Any white man meeting 
seven slaves together on an high road, may 
give them twenty lashes each. — No man must 
teach a slave to write, under penally of 100/. 
currency. We have Mr. Hall's authority for 
the existence and enforcement of this law at the 
present day. Mr. Fearon has recorded some 
facts still more instructive. 

" Observing a great many colou red people, par- 
ticularly females, in these boats, I concluded that 
they were emigrants, who had proceeded thus 
far on their route towards a settlement. The fact 
proved to be, that fourteen of the flats were 
freighted with human beings for sale. They 
had been collected in the several states by slave 
dealers, and shipped from Kentucky for a mar- 
ket. They were dressed up to the best advan- 
tage, on the same principle that jockeys do 
horses upon sale. The following is a specimen 
of advertisements on this subject. 

'twenty dollars reward 

"'Will be paid for apprehending and lodging 
in jail, or delivering to the subscriber, the fol- 
lowing slaves, belonging to Joseph Iryin, of 
Ibtrvllk. — TOM, a very light mulatto, blue eyes, 
5 feet 10 inches high, appears to be about 
35 years of age; an artful fellow — can read 
and write, and preaches occasionally. — CHAR- 
LOTTE, a black wench, round and full faced, 
tall, straight and likely — about 25 years of age, 
and wife of the above-named Tom. — These 
slaves decamped from their owner's plantation 
on the night of the 14th September inst.' " — 
Fearon, p. 270. 

"The three 'African churches,' as they are 
called, are for all those native Americans who 
are black, or have any shade of colour darker 
than white. These persons, though many of them 
are possessed of the rights of citizenship, are not 
admitted into the churches which are visited by 
whites. There exists a penal law, deeply writ- 
ten in the mind of the whole while population, 
■which subjects Iheir coloured fellow-citizens lo 
vinconditional contumely and never-ceasing in- 
sult. No respectability, however unquestionable, 
— no property, however large, — no character, 
however unblemished, will gain a man, whose 
body is (in American estimation) cursed with 
even a twentieth portion of the blood of his 
African ancestry, admission into society!!! 
They are considered as mere Pariahs — as out- 
casts and vagrants upon the face of the earth! 
I make no reflection upon these things, but 
leave the facts for your consideration." — Ibid., 
p. 168, 169. 

That such feelings and such practices should 
exist among men who know the value of liberty, 
and profess to understand its principles, is the 
consummation of wickedness. Every Ameri- 
can who loves his country, should dedicate his 
whole life, and every faculty of his soul, to 
efface this foul stain from its character. If 
nations rank according to their wisdom and 
llieir virtue, what right has the American, a 



scourger and murderer of slaves, to compare 
himself with the least and lowest of the Eu- 
ropean nations? — much more with this great 
and humane country, where the greatest lord 
dare not lay a finger upon the meanest peasant 1 
What is freedom, where all are not free? where 
the greatest of God's blessings is limited, with 
impious caprice, to the colour of the bodyl 
And these are the men who taunt the English 
with their corrupt Parliament, with their buying 
and selling votes. Let the world judge which 
is the most liable to censure — we who, in the 
midst of our rottenness, have torn oft" the 
manacles of slaves all over the world; — or 
they who, with their idle purity and useless 
perfection, have remained mute and careless, 
while groans echoed and whips clanked round 
the very walls of their spotless Congress. We 
wish well to America — we rejoice in her pros- 
perity — and are delighted to resist the absurd 
impertinence with which the character of her 
people is often treated in this country: but the 
existence of slavery in America is an atrocious 
crime, with which no measures can be kept — 
for which her situation atfords no sort of apology 
— which makes liberty itself distrusted, and the 
boast of it disgusting. 

As for emigration, every man, of course, must 
determine for himself A carpenter under thirty 
years of age, who finds himself at Cincinnati 
with an axe over his shoulder, and ten pounds 
in his pocket, will get rich in America, if the 
change of climate does not kill him. So will a 
farmer who emigrates early with some capital. 
But any person with tolerable prosperity here 
had better remain where he is. There are 
considerable evils, no doubt, in England: but 
it would be madness not to admit that it is, 
upon ihe whole, a very happy country, — and we 
are much mistaken if the next twenty years 
will not bring with it a great deal of iniernal 
improvement. The country has long been 
groaning under the evils of the greatest foreign 
war we were ever engaged in; and we are just 
beginning to look again into our home affairs. 
Political economy has made an astonishing pro- 
gress since they were last investigated; and 
every session of Parliament brushes off some 
of the cobwebs and dust of our ancestors.* 
The Apprentice Laws have been swept away; 
the absurd nonsense of the Usury Laws will 
probably soon follow; Public Education and 
Saving Banks have been the invention of these 
last ten years ; and the strong fortress of bigotry 
has been rudely assailed. Then, with all its 
defects, we have a Parliament of inestimable 
value. If there be a place in any country where 
500 well-educated men can meet together and 
talk with impunity of public afl"airs, and if what 
they say is published, that country must im- 
prove. It is not pleasant to emigrate into a 
country of changes and revolution, the size and 
integrity of whose empire no man can predict. 



* In a scarcity which occurred little more than twenty 
years ago, every judge, (except the lord chancellor, then 
Justice o!" the Common Pleas, and Serjeant Remington,) 
when they charged the grand jury, attributed the scarcity 
10 the combinations of the farmers; and complained of it 
as a very serious evil. Such doctrines would not now bo 
tolerated in the mouth of a schoolboy. 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



115 



The Americans are a very sensible, reflecting 
people, and have conducted their affairs ex- 
tremely well; but it is scarcely possible to con- 
ceive that such an empire should very long 
remain undivided, or that the dwellers on the 
Columbia should have common interest with 
the navigators of the Hudson and the Delaware. 
England is, to be sure,a very expensive coun- 
try; but a million of millions has been expended 
in making it habitable and comfortable; and 
this is a constant source of revenue, or, what is 
the same thing, a constant diminution of ex- 
pense to every man living in it. The price an 
Englishman pays for a turnpike road is not 
equal to the tenth part of what the delay would 
cost him without a turnpike. The New River 
Company brings. Vi'ater to every inhabitant of 
London at an infinitely less price than he could 
dip for jt out of the Thames. No country, in 



fact, is so expensive as one which human be- 
ings are just beginning to inhabit; — where there 
are no roads, no bridges, no skill, no help, no 
combination of powers, and no force of capital. 
How, too, can any man take upon himself to 
say that he is so indifferent to his country that 
he will not begin to love it intensely, when he 
is 5000 or 6000 miles from if? And what a 
dreadful disease Nostalgia must be on the banks 
of the Missouri! Severe and painful poverty 
will drive us all anywhere: but a wise man 
should be quite sure that he has so irresistible 
a plea, before he ventures on the Great or the 
Little Wabash. He should be quite sure that 
he does not go there from ill temper — or to be 
pitied — or to be regretted — or from ignorance of 
what is to happen to him — or because he is a 
poet — but because he has not enough to eat here, 
and is sure of abundance where he is going. 



116 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



GAME LAWS.* 



[EuiNBunoH Review, 1819.] 



The evil of the Game Laws, in their present 
state, has long been felt, and of late years has 
certainly rather increased than diminished. We 
believe that they cannot long remain in their 
present slate; and we are anxious to express 
our opinion of those changes which they ought 
to experience. 

We thoroughly acquiesce in the importance 
of encouraging those field sports which are so 
congenial to the habits of Englishmen, and 
which, in the present state of society, afibrd the 
only effectual counterbalance to the allurements 
of great towns. We cannot conceive a more 
jieruicious condition for a great nation, than 
that its aristocracy should be shut up from one 
year's end to another in a metropolis, while the 
r fiss of its rural inhabitants are left to the 
management of factors and agents. A great 
man returning from London to spend his sum- 
mer in the country, diffuses his intelligence, 
improves manners, communicates pleasure, re- 
strains the extreme violence of subordinate 
politicians, and makes the middling and lower 
classes better acquainted with, and more attach- 
ed to their natural leaders. At the same time, 
a residence in the country gives to the makers 
of laws an opportunity of studying those interests 
which they may afterwards be called upon to 
protect and arrange. Nor is it unimportant to 
the character of the higher orders themselves, 
that they should pass a considerable part of the 
year in the midst of these their larger families; 
that they should occasionally be thrown among 
simple, laborious, frugal people, and be stimu- 
lated to resist the prodigality of courts, by view- 
ing with their own eyes the merits and the 
wretchedness of the poor. 

Laws for the preservation of game are not 
only of importance, as they increase the amuse- 
ments of the country, but they may be so con- 
structed as to be perfectly just. The game 
which my land feeds is certainly mine; or, in 
other words, the game which all the land feeds 
certainly belongs to all the owners of the land; 
and the only practical way of dividing it is, to 
give to each proprietor what he can take on his 
own ground. Those who contribute nothing to 
the support of the animal, can have no possible 
right to a share in the distribution. To say of 
animals, that they aveferas Naturu, means only, 
that the precise place of their birth and nurture 
is not known. How they shall be divided, is a 
matter of arrangement among those whose col- 
lected property certainly has produced and fed 
them; but the case is completely made out 
against those who have no land at all, and who 
cannot, therefore, have been in the slightest de- 
gree instrumental to their production. If a large 



• Tliree LttM i on the Game Laws. RestFenner, Black & 
Co. Loudon, ISlfi. 



pond were divided by certain marks into four 
parts, and allotted to that number of proprietors, 
the fish contained in that pond would be, in the 
same sense, fine Naturu. Nobody could tell in 
which particular division each carp had been 
born and bred. The owners would arrange 
their respective rights and pretensions in the 
best way they could; but the cleaiestof all pos- 
sible propositions would be, that the four pro- 
prietors, among them, made a complete title to 
all the fish; and that nobody but them had the 
smallest title to the smallest share. This we 
say in answer to those who contend that there 
is no foundation for any system of game laws; 
that animals born wild are the property of the 
public ; and that their appropriation is nothing 
but tyranny and usurpation. 

In addition to these arguments, it is perhaps 
scarcely necessary to add, that nothing which 
is worth having, which is accessible, and sup- 
plied only in limited quantities, could exist at 
all, if it was not considered as the property of 
some individual. If every body might take 
game wherever they found it, there would soon 
be an end of every species of game. The ad- 
vantage would not be extended to fresh classes, 
but be annihilated for all classes. Besides all 
this, the privilege of killing game could not be 
granted without the privilege of trespassing on 
landed property; — an intolerable evil, which 
would entirely destroy the comfort and privacy 
of a country life. 

But though a system of game laws is of great 
use in promoting country amusements, and 
may, in itself, be placed on a footing of justice, 
its effects, we are sorry to say, are by no means 
favourable to the morals of the poor. 

It is impossible to make an uneducated man 
understand in what manner a bird hatched no- 
body knows where, — to-day living in my field, 
to-morrow in yours, — should be as strictly pro- 
pertj' as the goose whose whole history can be 
traced, in the most authentic and satisfactory 
manner, from the egg to the spit. The argu- 
ments upon which this depends are so contrary 
to the notions of the poor, — so repugnant to 
their passions, — and, perhaps, so much above 
their comprehension, that they are totally una- 
vailing. The same man who would respect an 
orchard, a garden or an hen-roost, scarcely 
thinks he is committing any fault at all in in- 
vading the game-covers of his richer neigh- 
bour; and as soon as he becomes wearied of 
honest industry, his first resource is in plunder- 
ing the rich magazine of hares, pheasants and 
partridges — the top and bottom dishes, which on 
every side of his village are running and dying 
before his eyes. As these things cannot be 
done with safety in the day, they must be done 
in the night; — and in this manner a lawless 
marauder is often formed, who proceeds from 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



117 



one infringement of law and property to an- 
other, till he becomes a thoroughly bad and 
corrupted member of society. 

These few preliminary observations lead na- 
turally to the two principal considerations which 
are to be kept in view, in reforming the game 
laws ; — to preserve, as far as is consistent with 
justice, the amusements of the rich and to di- 
minish, as much as possible, the temptations of 
the poor. And these ends, it seems to us, will 
be best answered, 

1. By abolishing qualifications. 2. By giving 
to every man a property in the game upon his 
land. 3. By allowing game to be bought by any 
body, and sold by its lawful possessors.* 

Nothing can be more grossly absurd than the 
present state of the game laws, as far as they 
concern the qualification for shooting. In Eng- 
land, no man can possibly have a legal right to 
kill game, who has not 100/. a year in land rent. 
With us in Scotland, the rule is not quite so 
inflexible, though in principle not very difl!erent. 
But we shall speak to the case which concerns 
by far the greatest number : and certainly it is 
scarcely possible to imagine a more absurd and 
capricious limitation. For what possible reason 
is a man, who has only 90/. per annum in land, 
not to kill the game which his own land nou- 
rishes ? If the legislature really conceives, as 
we have heard surmised by certain learned 
squires, that a person of such a degree of for- 
tune should be confined to profitable pursuits, 
and debarred from that pernicious idleness into 
which he would be betrayed by field sports, it 
would then be expedient to make a qualification 
for bowls or skittles — to prevent small land- 
owners from going to races or following a pack 
of hounds — and to prohibit to men of a certain 
income, every other species of amusement as 
well as this. The only instance, however, in 
which this paternal care is exercised, is that in 
which the amusement of the smaller landowner 
is supposed to interfere with those of his richer 
neighbour. He may do what he pleases, and 
elect any other species of ruinous idleness but 
that in which the upper classes of society are 
his rivals. 

,■ Nay, the law is so excessively ridiculous in 
the case of small landed proprietors, that on a 
property of less than 100/. per annum, wo human 
being has the right of shooting. It is not con- 
fined but annihilated. The lord of the manor 
may be warned off by the proprietor; and the 
proprietor may be informed against by any 
body who sees him sporting. . The case is still 
stronger in the instance of large farms. In 
Northumberland, and on the borders of Scot- 
land, there are large capitalists who farm to the 
amount of two or three thousand per annum, 
who have the permission of their distant non- 
resident landlords to do what they please with 
the game, and yet who dare not fire oif a gun 
upon their own land. Can any thing be more 
utterly absurd and preposterous, than that the 
landlord and the wealthy tenant together cannot 
make up a title to the hare which is fattened 
upon the choicest produce of their land 1 That 
the landlord, who can let to farm the fertility of 
the land for growing wheat, cannot let to farm 

* All this has since been established. 



its power of growing partridges 1 That he may 
reap by deputy, but cannot on that manor shoot 
by deputy! Is it possible that any respectable 
magistrate could fine a farmer for killing a hare 
upon his own grounds with his landlord's con- 
sent, without feeling that he was violating every 
feeling of common sense and justice 1 

Since the enactment of the game laws, there 
has sprung up an entirely new species of pro- 
perty, which of course is completely overlooked 
by their provisions. An Englishman may pos- 
sess a million of money in funds or merchan- 
dize — may be the Baring or the Hope of Europe 
— provide to government the sudden means of 
equipping fleets and armies, and yet be without 
the power of smiting a single partridge, though 
invited by the owner of the game to participate 
in his amusement. It is idle to say that the 
difficulty may be got over by purchasing land: 
the question is, upon what principle of justice 
can the existence of the difficulty be defended ? 
If the right of keeping men-servants was con- 
fined to persons who had more than 100/. a year 
in the funds, the difficulty might be got over by 
every man who would change his landed pro- 
perty to that extent. But what could justify so 
capricious a partiality to one species of pro- 
perty 1 There might be some apology for such 
laws at the time they were made ; but there can 
be none for their not being now accommodated 
to the changes which time has introduced. If 
you choose to exclude poverty from this species 
of amusement, and to open it to wealth, why is 
it not opened to every species of wealth 1 What 
amusement can there be morally lawful to an 
holder of turnip land, and criminal in a posses- 
sor of exchequer bills 7 What delights ought 
to be tolerated to long annuities, from which 
wheat and beans should be excluded ! What 
matters whether it is scrip or short-horned cattle? 
If the locus quo is conceded — if the trespass is 
waived — and if the qualification for any amuse- 
ment is wealth, let it be any probable wealth — 
Dives agris, dives positis infcenore numms. 

It will be very easy for any country gentleman 
who wishes to monopolize to himself the plea- 
sures of shooting, to let to his tenant every other 
right attached to the land, except the right of 
killing game; and it will be equally easy, in 
the formation of a new game act, to give to the 
landlord a summary process against his tenant, 
if such tenant fraudulently exercises the privi- 
leges he has agreed to surrender. 

The case which seems most to alarm coun. 
try gentlemen, is that of a person possessing a 
few acres in the heart of a manor, who might, 
by planting food of which they are fond, allure 
the game into his own little domain, and thus 
reap an harvest prepared at the expense of the 
neighbour who surrounded him. But, under 
the present game laws, if the smaller posses- 
sion belongs to a qualified person, the danger 
of intrusion is equally great as it would be un- 
der the proposed alteration ; and the danger from 
the poacher would be the same in both cases. 
But if it is of such great consequence to keep 
clear from all interference, may not such a piece 
of land be rented or bought] Or, may not the 
food which tempts the game be sown in the same 
abundance in the surrounding as in the encloscj 



lid 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



land After all, it is only common justice, that 
he whose property is surrounded on every side 
by a preserver of game, whose corn and turnips 
are demolished by animals preserved for the 
amusement of his neighbour, should himself be 
entitled to that share of game which plunders 
upon his land. The complaint which the landed 
grandee makes is this. "Here is a man who 
has only a twenty-fourth part of the land, and 
he expects a twenty-fourth part of the game. 
He is so captious and litigious, that he will not 
be contented to supply his share of the food 
without requiring his share of what the food pro- 
duces. I want a neighbour who has talents only 
for suffering, not one who evinces such a fatal 
disposition for enjoying." Upon such princi- 
ples as these, many of the game laws have been 
constructed, and are preserved. The interfer- 
ence of a very small property with a very large 
one ; the critical position of one or two fields, 
is a very serious source of vexation on many 
other occasions besides those of game. He 
who possesses a field in the middle of my pre- 
mises, may build so as to obstruct my view; 
and may present to me the hinder parts of a 
barn, instead of one of the finest landscapes in 
nature. Nay, he may turn his fields into tea- 
gardens, and destroy my privacy by the intro- 
duction of every species of vulgar company. 
The legislature, in all these instances, has pro- 
vided no remedy for the inconveniences which 
a small property, by such intermixture, may in- 
flict upon a large one, but has secured the same 
rights to unequal proportions. It is very diffi- 
cult to conceive why these equitable principles 
are to be violated in the case of game alone. 

Our securities against that rabble of sports- 
men which the abolition of qualifications might 
be supposed to produce, are, the consent of the 
owner of the soil as an indispensable prelimi- 
nary, guarded by heavy penalties — and the price 
of a certificate, rendered, perhaps, greater than 
it is at present. It is impossible to conceive 
why the owner of the soil, if the right of game 
is secured to him, has not a right to sell, or grant 
the right of killing it to whom he pleases — just 
as much as he has the power of appointing 
whom he pleases to kill his ducks, pigeons and 
chickens. The danger of making the poor idle 
IS a mere pretence. It is monopoly calling in 
the aid of hypocrisy, and tyranny veiling itself 
in thegarb of philosophical humanity. A poor 
man goes to wakes, fairs and horse-races, with- 
out pain and penalty; a little shopkeeper, when 
his work is over, may go to a bullbait, or to the 
cock-pit; but the idea of his pursuing an hare, 
even with the consent of the landowner, fills the 
Bucolic senator with the most lively apprehen- 
sions of relaxed industry and ruinous dissipation. 
The truth is.ifa poor man does not offend against 
morals or religion, and supports himself and his 
family without assistance, the law has nothing 
to do v/ith his amusements. The real barriers 
against increase of sportsmen (if the proposed 
alteration were admitted), are, as we have before 
said, the prohibition of the landowner; the tax 
to the state fur a certificate ; the necessity of 
labouring for support. — Whoever violates none 
of these rights, and neglects none of these duties 
in his sporting, sports without crime ; — and to 
punish him would be gross and scandalous ty- 
ranny 



The next alteration which we would propose 
is that game should be made property; that is, 
that every man should have a right to the game 
found upon his land — and that the violation of 
it should be punished as poaching now is, by 
pecuniary penalties, and summary conviction 
before magistrates. This change in the game 
laws would be an additional defence of game: 
for the landed proprietor has now no other 
remedy against the qualified intruder upon his 
game, than an action at law for a trespass on 
the land; and if the trespasser has received no 
notice, this can hardly be called any remedy at 
all. It is now no uncommon practice for per- 
sons who have the exterior, and perhaps the 
fortunes of gentlemen, as they are travelling 
from place to place, to shoot over manors where 
they have no property, and from which, as 
strangers, they cannot have been warned. In 
such case (which, we repeat again, is by no 
means one of rare occurrence), it would, under 
the reformed system, be no more difficult for the 
lord of the soil to protect his game, than it would 
be to protect his geese and ducks. But though 
game should be considered as property it should 
still be considered as the lowest species of pro- 
perty — because it is in its nature more vague 
and mutable than any other species of property, 
and because depredations upon it are carried on 
at a distance from the dwelling, and without 
personal alarm to the proprietors. It would be 
very easy to increase the penalties, in proportion 
to the number of offences committed by the same 
individual. 

The punishments which country gentlemen 
expect by making game property, are the pun- 
ishments affixed to offences of a much higher 
order: but country gentlemen must not be al- 
lowed to legislate exclusively on this, more than 
on any other subject. The very mention of 
hares and partridges in the country, too often 
puts an end to common humanity and common 
sense. Game must be protected; but protected 
without violating those principles of justice, 
and that adaptation of punishment to crime, 
which (incredible as it may appear), are of in- 
finitely greater importance than the amusements 
of country gentlemen. 

We come now to the sale of game. — The 
foundation on which the propriety of allowing 
this partly rests, is the impossibility of prevent- 
ing it. There exists, and has sprung up since 
the game laws, an enormous mass of wealth, 
which has nothing to do with land. Do the 
country gentlemen imagine that it is in the 
power of human laws to deprive the three per 
cents of pheasants 1 That there is upon earth, 
air, or sea, a single flavour (cost what crime it 
may to procure it), that mercantile opulence 
will not procure 1 Increase the difficulty, and 
you enlist vanity on the side of luxury; and 
make that be sought for as a display of wealth, 
which was before valued only for the gratifica- 
tion of appetite. The law may multiply penal- 
ties by reams. Squires may fret and justices 
commit, and gamekeepers and poachers con- 
tinue their nocturnal wars. There must be 
game on Lord Mayor's day, do what you will. 
You may multiply the crimes by which it is pro- 
cured ; but nothing can arrest its inevitable pro- 
gress, from the wood of the esquire to the spit 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



119 



of the citizen. The late law for preventing the 
sale of game produced some little temporary 
difficulty in London at the beginning of the sea- 
son. The poulterers were alarmed, and came 
to some resolutions. But the alarm soon began 
to subside and the difficulties to vanish. In 
another season, the law will be entirely nugatory 
and forgotten. The experiment was tried of 
increased severity, and a law passed to punish 
poachers with transportation who were caught 
poaching in the night time with arms. What 
has the consequence beeni — Not a cessation of 
poaching, but a succession of village guerillas; 
— an iniernecive war between the gamekeepers 
and marauders of game: — the whole country 
flung into brawls and convulsions, for the unjust 
and exorbitant pleasures of country genilemen. 
The poacher hardly believes he is doing any 
wrong in taking partridges and pheasants. He 
would admit the justice of being transported for 
stealing sheep; and his courage in such a 
transaction would be impaired by a conscious- 
ness he was doing wrong: but he has no such 
feeling in taking game; and the preposterous 
punishment of transportation makes him despe- 
rate, and not timid. Single poachers are gathered 
into large companies, for their mutual protec- 
tion; and go out, not only with the intention of 
taking game, but of defending what they take 
■with their lives. Such feelings soon produce a 
ri/alry of personal courage, and a thirst of re- 
venge between the villagers and the agents of 
power. We extract the following passages on 
this subject from the Three Letters on the Game 
Laws. 

" The first and most palpable effect has natu- 
rally been, an exaltation of all the savage and 
desDerate features in the poacher's character. 
The war between him and the gamekeeper has 
necessarily become a ' bellum iniernecivum.' A 
marauder may hesitate perhaps at killing his 
fellow man, when the alternative is only six 
nonths' imprisonment in the county jail; but 
vhen the alternative is to overcome the keeper, 
or to be torn from his family and connections, 
and sent to hard labour at the antipodes, we 
cannot be much surprised that murders and 
nidnight combats have considerably increased 
this season; or that information, such as the 
following, has frequently enriched the columns 
of the country newspapers." 

"'Poaching. — Richard Barnettwas on Tues- 
day convicted before T. Clutterbuck, Esq., of 
keeping and using engines or wires for the de- 
struction of game in the parish of Dunkerton, 
and fined 5/. He was taken into custody by C. 
Coates, keeper to Sir Charles Bamfylde, Bart., 
who found upon him seventeen wire-snares. 
The new act that has just passed against these 
illegal practices, seems only to have irritated 
the offenders, and made them more daring and 
desperate. The following is a copy of an anony- 
mous circular letter, which has been received 
by several magistrates, and other eminent cha- 
racters in this neighbourhood. 

"'Take notice. — We have lately heard and 
seen that there is an act passed, and whatever 
poacher is caught destroying the game, is to be 
transported for seven years. — This is English 
liberty! 
" 'Now, we do swear to each other, that the 
Vol. I.-, 



first of our company that this law is inflicted 
on, that there shall not one gentleman's seat 
in our country escape the rage of fire. We are 
nine in number, and we will burn every gentle- 
man's house of note. The first that impeaches 
shall be shot. We have sworn not to impeach. 
You may think it a threat, but they will find it 
reality. The game-laws were too severe be- 
fore. The Lord of all men sent these animals 
for the peasants as well as for the prince. God 
will not let his people be oppressed. He will 
assist us in our undertaking, and we will exe- 
cute it with caution.'" — Bath Paper. 

"'Death of a Poacher. — On the evening 
of Saturday se'ennight, about eight or nine 
o'clock, a body of poachers, seven in number, 
assembled by mutual agreement on the estate 
of the Hon. John Dutton at Sherborne, Glouce- 
stershire, for the purpose of taking hares and 
other game. With the assistance of two dogs, 
and some nets and snares which they brought 
with them, they had succeeded in catching nine 
hares, and were carrying them away, when 
they were discovered by the gamekeeper and 
seven others who were engaged with him in 
patroling the different covers, in order to pro- 
tect the game from nightly depredators. Imme- 
diately on perceiving the poachers, the keeper 
summoned them in a civil and peaceable man- 
ner to give up their names, the dogs, imple- 
ments, &c. they had with them, and the game 
they had taken ; at the same time assuring 
them, that his party had firearms (which were 
produced for the purpose of convincing and 
alarming them), and representing to them the 
folly of resistance, as, in the event of an affray, 
they must inevitably be overpowered by supe- 
rior numbers, even without firearms, which 
they were determined not to resort to unless 
compelled in self-defence. Notwithstanding this 
remonstrance of the keeper, the men unanimous- 
ly refused to give up on any terms, declaring, 
that if they were followed, they would give thera 
"a brush," and would repel force by force. The 
poachers then directly took off their great coats, 
threw them down with the game, &c. behind 
them, and approached the keepers in an atti- 
tude of attack. A smart contest instantly en- 
sued; both parties using only the sticks or blud- 
geons they carried: and such was the confusion 
during the battle, that some of the keepers were 
occasionally struck by their own comrades 
in mistake for their opponents. After they 
had fought in this manner about eight or ten 
minutes, one of the poachers named Robert 
Simmons, received a violent blow upon his left 
temple, which felled him to the ground, where 
he lay, crying out murder, and asking for mer 
cy. The keepers very humanely desired that 
all violence might cease on both sides: upon 
which three of the poachers took to flight and 
escaped, and the remaining three, together with 
Simmons, were secured by the keepers. Sim- 
mons, by the assistance of the other men, walked 
to the keeper's house, where he was placed in a 
chair: but he soon after died. His death was 
no doubt caused by the pressure of blood upon 
the brain, occasioned by the rupture of a vessel 
from the blow he had received. The three 
poachers who had been taken were committed 
to Northleach prison. The inquest upon the 



120 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



body of Simmons was taken on Monday, before 
W. Trigge, Gent., Coroner; and the above ac- 
count is extracted from the evidence given upon 
that occasion. The poachers were all armed 
with bludgeons, except the deceased, who had 
provided himself with the thick part of a flail, 
made of firm knotted crabtree, and pointed at 
the extremity, in order to thrust with, if occa- 
sion required. The deceased was an athletic 
muscular man, very active, and about twenty- 
eight years of age. He resided at Bowie, in 
Oxfordshire, and has left a wife but no child. 
The three prisoners were heard in evidence ; 
and all concurred in stating that the keepers 
were in no way blameable, and attributed their 
disaster to their own indiscretion and impru- 
dence. Several of the keepers' party were so 
much beat as to be now confined to their beds. 
The two parties are said to be total strangers 
to each other, consequently no malice prepense 
could have existed between them; and as it 
appeared to the jury, after a most minute and 
deliberate investigation, that the confusion dur- 
ing the affray was so great, that the deceased 
was as likely to be struck by one of his own 
party as by the keepers', they returned a ver- 
dict of — Manslaughter against some person or 
persons unknown.' 

" Wretched as the first of these productions 
is, I think it can scarcely be denied, that both 
its spirit and its probable consequences are 
wholly to be ascribed to the exasperation natu- 
rally consequent upon the severe enactment just 
alluded to. And the last case is at least a strong 
proof that severity of enactment is quite inade- 
quate to correct the evil." — (P. 356-.359.) 

Poaching will exist in some degree, let the 
laws be what they may ; but the most certain 
method of checking the poacher seems to be by 
underselling him. If game can be lawfully sold, 
the quantity sent to market will be increased, 
the price lowered, and, with that, the profits and 
temptations of the poacher. Not only would the 
prices of the poacher be lowered, but we much 
doubt if he would find any sale at all. Licenses 
to sell game might be confined to real poulterers, 
and real occupiers of a certain portion of land. 
It might be rendered penal to purchase it from 
any but licensed persons; and in this way the 
facility of the lawful, and the danger of the un- 
lawful trade, would either annihilate the poach- 
er's trade, or reduce his prices so much, that it 
would be hardly worth his while to carry it on. 
What poulterer in London, or in any of the large 
tovv^ns, would deal with poachers, and expose 
himself to indictment for receiving stolen goods, 
when he might supply his customers at fair 
prices by dealing with the lawful proprietor of 
game] Opinion is of more power than law. 
Such conduct would soon become infamous; 
and every respectable tradesman would be 
shamed out of it. The consumer himself would 
rather buy his game of a poulterer ataii increase 
of price, than pick it up clandestinely, and at a 
great risk, though a somewhat smaller price, 
from porters and boothkeepers. Give them a 
chance of getting it fairly, and they will not get 
it unfairly. At present, no one has the slightest 
shame at violating a law which everybody feels 
to be absurd and unjust. 

Poultry-houses are sometimes robbed; — but 



stolen poultry is rarely offered to sale ; — at least, 
nobody pretends that the shops of poulterers and 
the tables of moneyed gentlemen are supplied 
by these means. Out of one hundred geese that 
are consumed at Michaelmas, ninety-nine come 
into the jaws of the consumer by honest means ; 
— and yet, if it had pleased the country gentle- 
men to have goose laws as well as game laws; 
— if goose-keepers had been appointed, and the 
sale and purchase of this savoury bird prohi- 
bited, the same enjoyments would have been 
procured by the crimes and convictions of the 
poor; and the periodical gluitony of Michaelmas 
have been rendered as guilty and criminal, as it 
is indigestible "^nd unwholesome. Upon this 
subject we shall quote a passage from the very 
sensible and spirited letters before us. 

"In favourable situations, game would be 
reared and preserved for the express purpose of 
regularly supplying the market in fair and open 
competition; which would so reduce its price, 
that I see no reason why a partridge should be 
dearer than a rabbit, or a hare and pheasant than 
a duck or goose. This is about the proportion 
of price which the animals bear to each other in 
France, where game can be legally sold, and is 
regularly brought to market; and where, by the 
way, game is as plentiful as in any cultivated 
country in Europe. The price so reduced would 
never Ije enough to compensate the risk and pe- 
nalties of the unlawful poacher, who must there- 
fore be driven out of the market. Doubtless, the 
great poulterers of London and the commercial 
towns, who are the principal instigators of poach- 
ing, would cease to have any temptation to con- 
tinue so, as they could fairly and lawfully pro- 
cure game for their customers at a cheaper rate 
from the regular breeders. They would, as Ihey 
now do for rabbits and wild-fowl, contract vith 
persons to rear and preserve them for the regu- 
lar supply of their shops, which would be a much 
more commodious and satisfactory, and less 
hazardous way for them, than the irregular and 
dishonest and corrupting methods now pursued. 
It is not saying very much in favour of human 
nature to assert, that men in respectable statiors 
of society had rather procure the same ends ty 
honest than dishonest means. Thus would all 
the temptations to offend against the game laws, 
arising from the change of society, together with 
the long chain of moral and political mischiefs, 
at once disappear. 

" But then, in order to secure a sufficient breed 
of game for the supply of the market, in fair and 
open competition, it will be necessary to author- 
ize a certain number of persons, likely to breed 
game for sale, to take and dispose of it when 
reared at their expense. For this purpose, I 
would suggest the propriety of permittmg by law 
occupiers of land to take and kill game, for sale 
or otherwise, on their own occupations only, un- 
less, Cif tenants,) they are specifically prohibited 
by agreement with their landlord; reserving the 
game and the power of taking it to himself, (as 
is now frequently done in leases.) This per- 
mission should not, of course, operate during 
the current leases, unless by agreement. With 
this precaution, nothing could be fairer than 
such an enactment; for it is certainly at the ex- 
pense of the occupier that the game is raised and 
maintained : and unless he receive an equivalent 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



121 



for it, either by abatement of rent upon agree- 
ment, or by permission to take and dispose of it, 
he is certainly an injured man. Whereas it is 
perfectly just that the owner of the land should 
have the option either to increase his rent by 
leaving the disposal of his game to his tenant, 
or vice versa. Game would be held to be (as in 
fact it is) an outgoing from the land, like tithe 
and other burdens, and therefore to be consi- 
dered in a bargain ; and land would either be let 
^a»/e-/ree, or a special reservation of it made by 
agreement. 

"Moreover, since the breed of game must 
always depend upon the occupier of the land, 
who may, and frequently does, destroy every 
head of it, or prevent its coming to maturity, 
unless it is considered in his rent; the license 
for which I am now contending, by affording an 
inducement to preserve the breed in particular 
spots, would evidently have a considerable ef- 
fect in increasing the stock of game in other 
parts, and in the country at large. There would 
be introduced a general system of protection 
depending upon individual interest, instead of a 
general system of destruction. I have, therefore, 
very little doubt that the provision here recom- 
mended would, upon the whole, add facilities to 
the amusements of the sportsman, rather than 
subtract from them. A sportsman without land 
might also hire from the occupier of a large 
tract of land the privilege of shooting over it, 
which would answer to the latter as well as 
sending his game to the market. In short, he 
might in various ways get a fair return, to which 
he is well entitled for the expense and trouble 
incurred in rearing and preserving that particu- 
lar species of stock upon his land." — (P. 337 — 
339.) 

There are sometimes 400 or .'iOO head of game 
killed in great manors on a single day. We 
think it highly probable the greater part of this 
harvest (if the game laws were altered) would 
go to the poulterer, to purchase poultry or fish 
for the ensuing London season. Nobody is so 
poor and so distressed as men of very large for- 
tunes, who are fond of making an unwise dis- 
play to the world ; and if they had recourse to 
these means of supplying game, it is impossible 
to suppose that the occupation of the poacher 
could be continued. — The smuggler can com- 
petewith the spirit merchant on account of the 
great duty imposed by the revenue; but where 
there is no duty to be saved, the mere thief — 
the man who brings the article to market with 
a halter around his neck — the man of whom it 
is disreputable and penal to buy — who hazards 
life, liberty and property, to procure the articles 
which he sells; such an adventurer can never 
be long the rival of him who honestly and fairly 
produces the articles in which he deals. — Fines, 
imprisonments, concealment, loss of character, 
are great deductions from the profits of any 
trade to which they attach, and great discou- 
ragement to its pursuit. 

It is not the custom at present for gentlemen 
to sell their game ; but the custom would soon 
begin, and public opinion soon change. It is 
not unusual for men of fortune to contract with 
their gardeners to supply their own table and to 
send the residue to market, or to sell their veni- 
son ; and the same thing might be done with the 
16 



manor. If game could be bought, it would not 
be sent in presents: — barn-door fowls are never 
so sent, precisely for this reason. 

The price of game would, under the system 
of laws of which we are speaking, be further 
lowered by the introduction of foreign game, the 
sale of which, at present prohibited, would tend 
very much to the preservation of English game 
by underselling the poacher. It would not be 
just, if it were possible, to confine any of the 
valuable productions of nature to the use of 
one class of men, and to prevent them from 
becoming the subject of barter, when the pro- 
prietor wished so to exchange them. Tt would 
be just as reasonable that the consumption of 
salmon should be confined to the proprietors of 
that sort of fishery — that the use of charr should 
be limited to the inhabitants of the lakes — that 
maritime Englishmen should alone eat oysters 
and lobsters as that every other class of the 
community than landowners should be prohibit- 
ed from the acquisition of game. 

It will be necessary, whenever the game laws 
are revised, that some of the worst punishments 
now inflicted for an infringement of these laws 
should be repealed. To transport a man for 
seven years, on account of partridges, and to 
harass a poor wretched peasant in the Crown 
Office, are very preposterous punishments for 
such offences ; humanity revolts against them — 
ihey are grossly tyrannical — and it is disgrace- 
ful that they should be suffered to remain on our 
statute books. But the most singular of all 
abuses, is the new class of punishments which 
the squirarchy have themselves enacted against 
depredations on game. The law says, that an 
unqualified man who kills a pheasant, shall pay 
five pounds; but the squire says he shall be shot; 
— and accordingly he places a spring-gun in the 
path of the poacher, and does all he can to take 
away his life. The more humane and mitigated 
squire mangles him with traps; and the supra- 
fine country gentleman only detains him in ma- 
chines, which prevent his escape, but do not 
lacerate their captive. Of the gross illegality of 
such proceedings, there can be no reasonable 
doubt. Their immorality and cruelty are equally 
clear. If they are not put down by some decla- 
ratory law, it will be absolutely necessary that 
the judges, in their invaluable circuits of Oyer 
and Terminer, should leave two or three of his 
majesty's squires to a fate too vulgar and indeli- 
cate to be alluded to in this journal. 

Men have certainly a clear right to defend 
their property; but then it must be by such 
means as the law allows: — their houses by pis- 
tols, their fields by actions for trespass, their 
game by information. There is an end of law, 
if every man is to measure out his punishment 
for his own wrong. Nor are we able to distin- 
guish between the guilt of two persons, — the one 
of whom deliberately shoots a man whom he 
sees in his fields — the other of whom purposely 
places such instruments as he knows will shoot 
trespassers upon his fields. Better that it should 
be lawful to kill a trespasser face to face than 
to place engines which will kill him. The tres- 
passer may be a child — a women — a son or 
friend. The spring-gun cannot accommodate 
itself to circumstances, — the squire or the game 
keeper may. 



123 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



These, then, are our opinions respecting the 
aherations in the game laws, which, as they now 
stand, are perhaps the only system which could 
possibly render the possession of game so very 
insecure as it now is. We would give to every 
man an absolute properly in the game upon his 
land, with full power to kill — to permit others to 
kill — and to sell; — we would punish any viola- 
tion of that property by summary conviction, and 
pecuniary penalties — rising in value according 
to the number of offences. This would of course 
abolish all qualifications; and we sincerely be- 
lieve it would lessen the profits of selling game il- 
legal iy, so as very materially to lessen the number 
of poachers. It would make game as an article 
of food, accessible to all classes, without infring- 
ing the laws. It would limit the amusement of 



country gentlemen within the boundaries of jus- 
tice — and would enable the magistrate cheerful- 
ly and conscientiously to execute laws, of the 
moderation and justice of which he must be tho- 
roughly convinced. To this conclusion, too, we 
have no doubt we shall come at the last. After 
many years of scutigeral folly — loaded prisons* 
— nightly battles — poachers tempted — and fami- 
lies ruined, these principles will finally prevail, 
and make law once more coincident with rea- 
son and justice. 

* In the course of the last year, no fewer than iivelve 
hundred persons were committed for offences against the 
game ; besides those who ran away from their families 
for the fear of commitment. This is no slight quantity of 
misery 



BOTANY BAY.* 



[Ebinburgh Review, 1819.] 



This land of convicts and kangaroos is be- 
ginning to rise into a very fine and flourishing 
settlement : — And great indeed must be the natu- 
ral resources, and splendid the endowments of 
that land that has been able to survive the sys- 
tem of neglecl-j- and oppression experienced 
from the mother country, and the series of igno- 
rant and absurd governors that have been se- 
lected for the administration of its affairs. But 
mankind live and flourish not only in spite of 
.storms and tempests, but (which could not have 
been anticipated previous to experience) in 
spite of colonial secretaries expressly paid to 
watch over their interests. The supineness 
and profligacy of public officers cannot always 
overcome the amazing energy with which hu- 
man beings pursue their happiness, nor the sa- 
gacity with which they determine on the means 
by which that end is to be promoted. Be it our 
care, however, to record for the future inhabit- 
ants of Australasia, the political sufferings of 
their larcenous forefathers; and let them appre- 
ciate, as they ought, that energy which founded 
a mighty empire in spite of the afflicting blun- 



*\. A Statistical, Historical and Political Description of the 
Colony of New South Wnks, atirl its drpenclent Settlements 
in Van Dicmen^s Land; vjith a particular Enumeration of 
the Advantages ivhich these colonies offer for Emigration. 
and their Superiority in many respects over those possessed 
hy the United States of America. By W. C. Wentworth, 
Esq., a Native of the Colony. Whittaker. liOndon, 1819. 

2. Letter to Viscount Sidnwuth. Secretary of State for the 
Home Department, on the Transjiortalion LaH<s, the State of 
the Hulks, and of the Colonies in Neio Soiith Wale^. liy 
the Hon. Henry Grey Bennet, M. P. Ridgway. London, 
1819. 

3. O'Hara's History of New South Wales. Hatchard. 
London, 1818. 

t One and no small excuse for the misconduct of colo- 
nial secretaries is. the enormous quantity of business by 
which they are distracted. There should be two or three 
colonial secretaries instead of one : the office is dreadfully 
overweighed. The government of the colonies is com- 
monly a series of blunders. 



ders and marvellous caccEConomy of their go- 
vernment. 

Botany Bay is situated in a fine climate, rather 
Asiatic than European, — with a great variety of 
temperature, — but favourable on the whole to 
health and life. It, conjointly with Van Die- 
men's Land, produces coal in great abundance, 
fossil salt, slate, lime, plumbago, potter's clay; 
iron ; white, yellow and brilliant topazes; alum 
and copper. These are all the important fossil 
productions which have been hitherto disco- 
vered; but the epidermis of the country has 
hardly as yet been scratched; and it is most 
probable that the immense mountains which 
divide the eastern and western settlements, Ba- 
thurst and Sydney, must abound with every spe- 
cies of mineral wealth. 'I'he harbours are ad- 
mirable; and the whole world, perhaps, cannol 
produce two such as those of Port Jackson and 
Derwent. The former of these is land-locked 
for fourteen miles in length, and of the most 
irregular form ; its soundings are more than 
sufficient for the largest ships; and all the na- 
vies of the world might ride in safety within it. 
In the harbour of Derwent there is a road-stead 
forty-eight mileE in length, completely land- 
looked ; — varying in breadth from eight to two 
miles, — in depth from thirty to four fathoms, — 
and affording the best anchorage the whole way 

The mean heat, during the three summer 
months, December, January, and February, is 
about 80° at noon. The heat which such a de- 
gree of the thermometer would seem to indicate, 
is considerably tempered by the sea-breeze, 
which blows with considerable force from nine 
in the morning till seven in the evening. The 
three autumn months are March, April and 
May, in which the thermometer varies from 55° 
at night to 75° at noon. The three winter months 
are June, July, cind August. During this inter- 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



123 



va.], the mornings and evenings are very chilly, 
and the nights excessively cold; hoar-frosts are 
frequent ; ice, half an inch thick, is found twenty 
miles from the coast; the mean temperature, at 
daylight, is from 40° to 45,° and at noon, from 
55° to 60°. In the three months of spring, the 
thermometer varies from 60° to 70°. The cli- 
mate to the westward of the mountains is colder. 
Heavy falls of snow take place during the win- 
ter; the frosts are more severe, and the winters 
of longer duration. All the seasons are much 
more distinctly marked, and resemble much 
more those of this country. 

Such is the climate of Botany Bay; and, in 
this remote part of the earth, Nature (having 
made horses, oxen, ducks, geese, oaks, elms, 
and all regular and useful productions for the 
rest of the world), seems determined to have a 
bit of play, and to amuse herself as she pleases. 
Accordingly, she makes cherries with the stone 
on the outside; and a monstrous animal, as tall 
as a grenadier, with the head of a rabbit, a tail 
as big as a bed-post, hopping along at the rate 
of five hops to a mile, with three or four young 
kangaroos looking out of its false uterus to see 
what is passing. Then comes a quadruped as 
big as a large cat, with the eyes, colour and 
skin of a mole, and the bill and web-feet of a 
duck — puzzling Dr. Shaw, and rendering the 
latter half of his life miserable, from his utter 
inability to determine whether it was a bird or 
a beast. Add to this a parrot, with the legs of 
a sea-gull; a skate with the head of a shark; 
and a bird of such monstrous dimensions, that 
a side bone of it will dine three real carniverous 
Englishmen; — together with many other pro- 
ductions that agitate Sir Joseph, and fill him 
with mingled emotions of distress and delight. 

The colony has made the following pro- 
gress : — 

Stock in 176& Stock in 1?17. 

Horned Cattle - 5 Do. - 44,753 

Horses ... 7 Do. - 3,072 

Sheep ... 29 Do. - 170,920 

Hogs ... 74 Do. - 17,842 

Land in cultivation acres. Do. . 47,564 
Inhabitants - - 1000 Do. . 20,379 

The colony has a bank, with a capital of 
20,000/. ; a newspaper ; and a capital (the town of 
Sydney) containing about 7000 persons. There 
is also a Van Diemen's Land Gazette. The 
perusal of these newspapers, which are regu- 
larly transmitted to England, and may be pur- 
chased in London, has atforded us considerable 
amusement. Nothing can paint in a more lively 
manner the state of the settlement, its disadvan- 
tages and prosperities, and the opinions and 
manners which prevail there. 

" On Friday, Mr. James Squires, settler and 
brewer, wailed on his excellency at Govern- 
ment House, with two vines of hops taken 
from his own grounds, &c. — As a public recom- 
pense for the unremitted attention shown by the 
grower in bringing this valuable plant to such 
a high degree of perfection, his excellency has 
directed a cow to be given to Mr. Squires from 
the government herd." — O'Hara, p. 255. 

" To Parents and Guardians. 
"A person who flatters herself her character 
■will bear the strictest scrutiny, being desirous 



of receiving into her charge a proposed number 
of children of her own sex, as boarders, respect- 
fully acquaints parents and guardians that she 
is about to situate herself either in Sydney or 
Paramatta, of which notice will be shortly given. 
She doubts not, at the same time, that her as. 
siduity in the inculcation of moral principles in 
the youthful mind, joined to an unremitting at- 
tention and polite diction, will insure to her the 
much-desired confidence of those who may 
think proper to favour her with such a charge. — 
Inquiries on the above subject will be answered 
by G. Howe, at Sydney, who will make known 
the name of the advertiser." — (p. 270.) 

"Lost, 
" (supposed to be on the governor's wharf,) 
two small keys, a tortoise shell comb, and a 
packet of papers. Whoever may have found 
them, will, on delivering them to the printer, 
receive areward of half a gallon of spirits." — 
(p. 272.) 

" To the Public. 
"As we have no certainty of an immediate 
supply of paper, we cannot promise a publica- 
tion next week."— (p. 290.) 

" Fashionable Intelligence, Sept. 1th. 
"On Tuesday his excellency the late gover- 
nor, and Mrs. King, arrived in town from Para- 
matta ; and yesterday Mrs. King returned thither, 
accompanied by Mrs. Putland." — {Ibid.) 

" To be sold by private Contract, by Mr. Bevan, 
"An elegant four-wheeled chariot, with plated 
mounted harness for four horses complete; and 
handsome lady's side-saddle and bridle. May 
be viewed, on application to Mr. Bevan." — 
(p. 347.) 

" From the Derwent Star. 
" Lieutenant Lord, of the Royal Marines, who, 
after the death of Lieutenant-Governor Collins, 
succeeded to the command of the settlement at 
Hobart Town, arrived at Port Jackson in the 
Hunter, and favours us with the perusal of the 
ninth number published of the Derwent Star and 
Van Diemen's Land Intelligencer ; from which 
we copy the following extracts." — (p. 353.) 

"A Card. 
"The subscribers to the Sydney Race Course 
are informed that the Stewards have made ar- 
rangements for two balls during the race week, 
viz., on Tuesday and Thursday. — Tickets, at 
7s. 6c?. each, to be had at Mr. E. Wills's, George 
Street. — An ordinary for the subscribers and 
their friends each day of the races, at Mr. Wills's. 
Dinner on table at five o'clock." — (p. 356.) 

" The Ladies' Cup. 
" The ladies' cup, which was of very superior 
workmanship, won by Chase, was presented 
to Captain Richie by Mrs. M'Quarie; who, ac- 
companied by his excellency, honoured each 
day's race with her presence, and who, with 
her usual affability, was pleased to preface the 
donation with the following short address. — 'In 
the name of the Ladies of New South Wales, I 
have the pleasure to present you with this cup. 
Give me leave to congratulate you on being the 
successful candidate for it; and to hope that it 



124 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



is a prelude to future success and lasting pros- 
perity.'"— (p. 357.) 

"Butchers. 
"Now killing, at .Matthew Pimpton's, Cum- 
berland street, Rocks, beef, mutton, pork, and 
lamb. By retail. Is. 4i:/. per lib. Mutton by the 
carcass, Is. per lib. sterling, or \id. currency; 
warranted to weigh from 10 lib. to 12 lib. per 
quarter. Lamb per ditto. — Captains of ships 
supplied at the wholesale price, and with punc- 
tuality. — N.B. Beef, pork, mutton, and lamb, at 
E. Lamb's, Hunter street, at the above prices." 
-(p. 376.) 

"Salt Pork and Flair from Otaheite. 
"On sale, at the warehouse of Mrs. S. Willis, 
96 George street, a large quantity of the above 
articles, well cured, being the Mercury's last 
importation from Otaheite. The terms per cask 
are 10c?. per lib. sterling, or Is. currency. — 
N.B. For the accommodation of families, it will 
be sold in quantities not less than 113 lib." — (p. 
377.) 

"Painting. — A Card. 
" Mr. J. W. Lewin begs leave to inform his 
friends and the public in general, that he intends 
opening an academy for painting on the days of 
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, from the hours 
of 10 to 12 in the forenoon. — Terms 5s. a les- 
son : Entrance 20s. — N.B. The evening academy 
for drawing continued as usual." — (p. 384.) 

"Sale of Rams. 
" Ten rams of the Merino breed, lately sold 
by auction from the flocks of John M'Arthur, 
Esq., produced upwards of 200 guineas." — (p. 
388.) 

"Mrs. Jones's Vacation Ball, December \2ih. 

" Mrs. Jones, with great respect, informs the 
parents and guardians of the young ladies en- 
trusted to her tuition, that the vacation ball is 
fixed for Tuesday the 22d instant, at the semi- 
nary. No. 45 Castlereagh street, Sydney. Tickets 
75. 6d. each."— (p. 388.) 

"Sporting Intelligence. 

"A fine hunt took place the 8th instant at the 
Nepean, of which the following is the account 
given by a gentleman present. ' Having cast off 
by the government hut on the Nepean, and 
drawn the cover in that neighbourhood for a 
native Dog unsuccessfully, we tried the forest 
ground for a Kangaroo, which we soon found. 
It went otf in excellent style along the sands by 
the river side, and crossed to the Cow-pasture 
Plains, running a circle of about two miles; 
then recrossed, taking a direction for Mr. Camp- 
bell's stock-yard, and from thence at the back 
of Badge Allen Hill, to the head of Boorrooba- 
ham Creek, where he was headed; from thence 
he took the main range of hills between the 
Badge Allen and Badge AUenabinjee, in a 
straight direction for Mr. Throsbey's farm, 
where the hounds ran into him; and he was 
killed, after a good run of about two hours.' — 
The weight of the animal was upwards of 120 
lib."— (p. 380.) 

Of the town of Sydney, Mr. Wentworth ob- 
serves, that there are in it many public build- 
ings, as well as houses of individuals, that would 



not disgrace the best parts of London ; but this 
description we must take the liberty to consider 
as more patriotic than true. We rather suspect 
it was penned before Mr. Wentworth was in 
London; for he is (be it said to his honour) a 
native of Botany Bay. The value of lands (in 
the same spirit he adds) is half as great in 
Sydney as in the best situations in London ; and 
is daily increasing: The proof of this which 
Mr. Wentworth gives is, that "it is not a com- 
modious house which can be rented for IQQL 
per annum unfurnished." The town of Sydney 
contains two good public schools, for the educa- 
tion of 224 children of both sexes. There are 
establishments, also, for the diffusion of educa- 
tion in every populous district throughout the 
colony; the masters of these schools are allowed 
stipulated salaries from the Orphans' fund. Mr. 
Wentworth states that one-eighth part of the 
whole revenue of the colony is appropriated to 
the purposes of education; this eighth he com- 
putes at 2500/. Independent of these institutions, 
there is an Auxiliary Bible Society, a Sunday 
School, and several good private schools. This 
is all as it should be : the education of the poor, 
important everywhere, is indispensable at Bota- 
ny Bay. Nothing but the earliest attention to 
the habits of children can restrain the erratic 
finger from the contiguous scrip, or prevent the 
hereditary tendency to larcenous abstraction. 
The American arrangements respecting the 
education of the lower orders is excellent. 
Their unsold lands are surveyed, and divided 
into districts. In the centre of every district, 
an ample and well-selected lot is provided for 
the support of future schools. We wish this 
had been imitated in New Holland; for we are 
of opinion that the elevated nobleman, tord 
Sidmouth, should imitate what is good and wise, 
even if the Americans are his teachers. Mr. 
Wentworth talks of 15,000 acres set apart for 
the support of the Female Orphan Schools; 
which certainly does sound a little extravagant: 
but then 50 or 100 acres of this reserve are 
given as a portion to each female orphan ; so 
that all this pious tract of ground will be sooa 
married away. This dotation of women, in a 
place where they are scarce, is amiable and 
foolish enough. There is a school also for the 
education and civilization of the natives, we 
hope not to the exclusion of the children of con- 
victs, who have clearly a prior claim upon pub- 
lic charity. 

Great exertions have been made in public 
roads and bridges. The present governor has 
wisely established toll-gates in all the principal 
roads. No tax can be more equitable, and no 
money more beneficially employed. The herds 
of wild cattle have either perished through the 
long droughts, or been destroyed by the remote 
settlers. They have nearly disappeai-ed ; and 
their extension is a good rather than an evil. A 
very good horse for cart or plough may now be 
bought for 5/. to 10/.; working oxen for the same 
price ; fine young breeding ewes from 1/. to 3/., 
according to the quality of the fleece. So lately 
as 1808, a cow and calf were sold by public 
auction for 105/.; and the price of middling 
cattle was from 80/. to 100/. A breeding mare 
was, at the same period, worth from 150 to 200 
guineas; and ewes from 10/. to 20/. The inhabit- 



WORKS OF '^HE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



125 



ants of New South Wales have now 2000 years 
before them of cheap beef and mutton. The 
price of land is of course regulated by its situa- 
tion and quality. Four years past, an hundred 
and fifty acres of very indifl~erent ground, about 
three quarters of a mile from Sydney, were 
sold, by virtue of an execution, in lots of 12 
acres each, and averaged 14/. per acre. This 
is the highest price given for land not situated 
in a town. The general average of unimproved 
land is hi. per acre. In years when the crops 
have not suffered from flood or drought, wheat 
sells for 9s per bushel; maize for 3s. 6f/.; barley 
for 5s.; oats for 4s. Qd.\ potatoes for 6s. per cwt. 
By the last accounts received from the colony, 
mutton and beef were Gd. per lib.; veal 8(/.; pork 
9(/. Wheat 8s. M. per bushel; oats 4s., and 
barley 5s. per ditto. Fowls 4s. 6fZ. per couple ; 
ducks 6s. per ditto ; geese bs. each ; turkeys 7s. 
&d. each ; eggs 2s 6c/. per dozen ; butter 2s. Qd. 
per lib. There are manufacturers of coarse 
woollen cloths, hats, earthenware, pipes, salt, 
candles, soap. There are extensive breweries 
and tanneries; and all sorts of mechanics and 
artificers necessary for an infant colony. Car- 
penters, stone masons, brickla3'ers, wheel and 
plough wrights, and all the most useful descrip- 
tion of artificers, can earn from 8s. to 10s. per 
da}'. Great attention has been paid to the im- 
provement of wool; and it is becoming a very 
considerable article of export to this country. 

The most interesting circumstance in the 
accounts lately received from Botany Bay, is 
the discovery of the magnificent river on the 
western side of the Blue Mountains. The pub- 
lic are aware that a fine road has been made 
from Sydney to Bathurst, and a new town 
founded at the foot of a western side of these 
mountains, a distance of 140 miles. The coun- 
try in the neighbourhood of Bathurst has been 
described as beautiful, fertile, open, and emi- 
nently fit for all tlie purposes of a settlement. 
I'he object was to find a river; and such an one 
has been found, the description of which it is 
impossible to read without the most lively in- 
terest. The intelligence is contained in a dis- 
patch from Mr. Oxley, surveyor-general of the 
settlement, to the governor, dated 30th August, 
1817. 

"' On the 19th, we were gratified by falling in 
with a river running through a most beautiful 
country, and which I would have been well con- 
tented to have believed the river we were in 
search of. Accident led us down this stream 
about a mile, when we were surprised by its 
junction with a river coming from the south, of 
such width and magnitude, as to dispel all 
doubts as to this last being the river we had so 
long anxiously looked for. Short as our resour- 
ces were, we could not resist the temptation this 
oeautiful country offered us to remain two days 
on the junction of the river, for the purpose of 
examining the vicinity to as great an extent as 
possible. 

"'Our examination increased the satisfac- 
tion we had previously felt. As far as the eye 
could reach in every direction, a rich and pic- 
turesque country extended, abounding in lime- 
stone, slate, good timber and every other requi- 
site that coTild render an uncultivated country 
desirable. The soil cannot be excelled; whilst 



a noble river of the first magnitude affords the 
means of conveying its productions from one 
part to the other. Where I quitted it, its course 
was northerly; and we were then north of the 
parallel of Port Stevens, being in latitude 32" 
45' south, and 148° 58' east longitude. 

" ' It appeared to me that the Macqtiarrie had 
taken a north-north-west course from Bathurst, 
and that it must have received immense acces- 
sions of water in its course from that place. 
Weviewed it at a period best calculated to form 
anacc urate judgment of its importance, when 
itwas neither swelled by floods beyond its na- 
turial and usual height, nor contracted within 
limits by summer droughts. Of its magnitude 
when it should have received the streams we 
had crossed, independent of any it may receive 
fi-om the east, M'hich, from the boldness and 
height of the country, I presume must be at 
least as many, some idea may be formed, whea 
at this point it exceeded in breadth and apparent 
depth, the Hawkesbury at Windsor. Many of 
the branches were of grander and more ex- 
tended proportion than the admired one on the 
Nepean river from the Warragambia to Emu 
plains. 

" ' Resolving to keep as near the river as pos- 
sible during the remainder of our course to 
Bathurst, and endeavour to ascertain, at least 
on the west side, what waters fell into it, on the 
22d we proceeded up the river; and between the 
point quitted and Bathurst, crossed the sources 
of numberless streams, all running into the 
Macquarrie. Two of them were nearly as large 
as that river itself at Bathurst. The country 
whence all these streams derive their source 
was mountainous and irregular, and appeared 
equally so on the east side of the Macquarrie. 
This description of country extended to the im- 
mediate vicinity of Bathurst; but to the west of 
those lofty ranges the country was broken into 
low, grassy hills and fine valleys, watered by 
rivulets rising on the west side of the moun- 
tains, which, on their eastern side, pour their 
waters directly into the Macquarrie. 

"'These westerly streams appeared to me to 
join that which I had at first sight taken for the 
Macquarrie ; and when united, fall into it at the 
point. at which it was first discovered on the 
19th inst. 

" ' We reached this place last evening, with- 
out a single accident having occurred during 
the whole progress of the expedition, which 
from this point has encircled, with the parallels 
of 34° 0' south and 32° south, and between the 
meridians of 149° 43' and 143° 40' east, a space 
of nearly one thousand miles.' " — Weniworth, 
pp. 72—75. 

The nearest distance from the point at which 
Mr. Oxley left off, to any part of the western 
coast, is very little short of 2000 miles. The 
Hawkesbury, at Windsor, (to which he com- 
pares his new river in magnitude,) is 250 yards 
in breadth, and of sufficient depth to float a 74 
gun ship. At this point it has 2000 miles in a 
straight line to reach the ocean; and if it winds 
as rivers commonly do wind, it has a space to 
flow over of between 5000 and 6000 miles. The 
course and direction of the river have since be- 
come the object of two expeditions, one by land 
under Mr. Oxley, the other by sea under Lieu 
1.2 



126 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



tenant King, to the results of which we look for- 
ward with great interest. Enough of the country 
on the western side of the Blue Mountains has 
been discovered, to show that the settlement 
has been made on the wrong side. The space 
between the Mountains and the Eastern Sea is 
not above 40 miles in breadth, and the five or 
six miles nearest the coast are of very barren 
land. The country, on the other side, is bound- 
less, fertile, well watered, and of very great 
beaut)'. The importance of such a river as the 
Macquarrie is incalculable. We cannot help 
remarking here, the courtly appellations in 
which Geography delights ; — the river HawJces- 
bury; the town of VFmrfsor on its banks; Bathurst 
Plains ; Nepean River. Shall we never hear of 
the Gulf of Tierney ,- Brougham Point; or the 
Straits of Machintush on the river Grey? 

The mistakes which have been made in set- 
tling this fine colony are of considerable im- 
portance, and such as must very seriously retard 
its progress to power and opulence. The first 
we shall mention is the settlement on the 
Hawkesbury. Every work of nature has its 
characteristic defects. Marshes should be sus- 
pected of engendering disease — a volcanic 
country of eruptions — rivers of overflowing. A 
very little portion of this kind of reflection would 
have induced the disposers of land in New 
South Wales to have become a little better 
acquainted with the Hawkesbury before they 
granted land on its banks, and gave that direc- 
tion to the tide of setliement and cultivation. It 
turns out that the Hawkesbury is the embou- 
chure through which all the rain that falls on 
the eastern side of the Blue Mountain makes its 
way to the sea; and accordingly, without any 
warning, or any fall of rain on the settled part 
of the river, the stream has often risen from 70 
to 90 feet above its common level. 

"These inundations often rise seventy or 
eighty feet above low water mark; and the in- 
stance of what is still emphatically termed 'the 
great flood,' attained an elevation of ninety-three 
feet. The chaos of confusion and distress that 
presents itself on these occasions cannot be 
easily conceived by any one who has not been 
a witness of its horrors. An immense expanse 
of water, of which the eye cannot in many di- 
rections discover the limits, everywhere inter- 
spersed with growing timber, and crowded with 
poultry, pigs, horses, cattle, stacks and houses, 
having frequently men, women and children, 
clinging to them for protection and shrieking 
out in an agony of despair for assistance: — 
such are the principal objects by which these 
scenes of death and devastation are charac- 
terized. 

"These inundations are not periodical, but 
they most generally happen in the month of 
March. Within the last two years there have 
been no fewer than four of them, one of which 
was nearly as high as the great flood. In the 
six years preceding, there had not been one. 
Since the establishment of the colony, they have 
happened, upon an average, about once in three 
years. 

"The principal cause of them is the conti- 

•guity of this river to the Blue Mountains. The 

Grose and Warragambia rivers, from which 

rwo sources it derives its principal supply, issue 



direct from these mountains; and the Nepeaa 
river, the other principal branch of it, runs along 
the base of them for fifty or sixty miles ; and re- 
ceives, in its progress, from the innumerable 
mountain torrents connected with it, the whole 
of the rain which these mountains collect in 
that great extent. That this is the principal 
cause of these calamitous inundations has been 
fully proved; for shortly after the plantation of 
this colony, the Hawkesbury overflowed its 
banks (which are in general about thirty feet 
in height,) in the midst of harvest, when not a 
single drop of rain had fallen on the Port Jack- 
son side of the mountains. Another great cause 
of the inundations which take place in this and 
the other rivers in the colony, is the small fall 
that is in them and the consequent slowness of 
their currents. The current in the Hawkesbury, 
even when the tide is in full ebb, does not exceed 
two miles an hour. The water, therefore, which 
during the rains rushes in torrents from the 
mountains, cannot escape with sufllcient rapidi- 
ty; and from its immense accumulation soon 
overtops the banks of the river and covers the 
whole of the low country." — Wentworth, pp. 
24-26. 

It appears to have been a great oversight not 
to have built the town of Sydney upon a regular 
plan. Ground was granted, in the first instance, 
without the least attention to this circumstance; 
and a chaos of pigstyes and houses was pro- 
duced, which subsequent governors have found 
it extremely ditficult to reduce to a state of order 
and regularity. 

Regularity is of consequence in planning a 
metropolis; but fine buildings are absurd in the 
infant state of any country. The various go- 
vernors have unfortunately displayed rather too 
strong a taste for architecture — forgetting that 
the real Palladio for Botany Bay, in its present 
circumstances, is he who keeps out the sun, wind 
and rain with the smallest quantity of bricks 
and mortar. 

The appointment of Governor Bligh appears 
to have been a very serious misfortune to the 
colony — at such an immense distance from the 
mother-country, with such an uncertainty of 
communication, and with a population so pecu- 
liarly circumstanced. In these extraordinary 
circumstances, the usual jobbing of the treasury 
should really be laid aside, and some little at- 
tention paid to the selection of a proper person. 
It is common, we know, to send a person who 
is somebody's cousin ; but, when a new empire 
is to be founded, the treasury should send out. 
into some other part of the town, for a man ot 
sense and character. 

Another very great absurdity which has been 
committed at Botany Bay, is the diminution of 
their strength and resources by the foundation, 
of so many subordinate settlements. No sooner 
had the settlers unpacked their boxes at Port 
Jackson, than a fresh colony was settled in 
Norfolk Island under Lieutenant King, which 
was afterwards abandoned, after considerable 
labour and expense, from the want of a harbour: 
besides four or five settlements on the main 
land, two or three thousand persons, under a 
lieutenant-governor, and regular oflicers, are 
settled in Van Diemen's Land. The difficulties 
of a new colony are such, that the exertions of 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



127 



all the arms and legs are wanted merely to 
cover their bodies and fill their bellies: the 
passage from one settlement to another, neces- 
sary for common intercourse, is a great waste 
of strength; ten thousand men, within a given 
compass, will dp much more for the improve- 
ment of a country than the same number spread 
over three times the space — will make more 
miles of roads, clear more acres of wood, and 
build more bridges. The judge, the windmill, 
and the school, are more accessible; and one 
judge, one windmill, and one school, may do 
instead of two; — there is less waste of labour. 
We do not, of course, object to the natural ex- 
pansion of a colony over uncultivated lands — 
the more rapidly that takes place the greater is 
the prosperity of the settlement; but we repro- 
bate the practice of breaking the first population 
of a colony, by the interposition of government, 
into small detached portions, placed at great 
intervals. It is a bad economy of their re- 
sources; and as such, is very properly objected 
to by the committee of the House of Commons. 

This colony appears to have suffered a good 
deal from the tyranny as well as the ignorance 
of its governors. On the 7th of December, 1816, 
Governor Macquarrie issued the following or- 
der: — 

"His excellency is also pleased further to 
declare, order and direct, that in consideration 
of the premises, the under-mentioned sums, 
amounts and charges, and no more, with re- 
gard to and upon the various denominations of 
work, labour and' services, described and set 
forth, shall be allowed, claimed or demandable 
within this territory and its dependencies in 
respect thereolV — Wenlworth, pp. 105, 106. 

And then follows a schedule of every species 
of labour, to each of which a maximum is af- 
fixed. We have only to observe, that a good 
stout inundation of the Hawkesbury would be 
far less pernicious to the industry of the colony 
than such gross ignorance and absurdity as this 
order evinces. Young surgeons are examined 
in Surgeon's Hall on the methods of cutting oflT 
legs and arms before they are allowed to prac- 
tise surgery. An examination on the principles 
of Adam Smith, and a license from Mr. Ricardo, 
seem to be almost a necessary preliminary for 
the appointment of governors. We must give 
another specimen of Governor Macquarrie's 
acquaintance with the principles of political 
economy. 

"General Orders. 

"His excellency has observed, with much 
concern, that, at the present time of scarcity, 
most of the garden ground attached to the allot- 
ments, whereon different descriptions of per- 
sons have been allowed to build huts, are totally 
neglected, and no vegetable growing thereon: 
— as such neglect in the occupiers, points them 
out as unfit to profit by such indulgence, those 
who do not put the garden ground attached to 
the allotments they occupy in cultivation, on 
or before the 10th day of July next, will be dis- 
possessed (except in cases wherein ground is 
held by lease), and more industrious persons 
put in possession of them; as the present ne- 
cessities of the settlement require every exer- 
tion being used to supply the wants of families, 



by the ground attached to their dwellings being 
made as productive as possible. — By command 
of his excellency. G. Blaxwell, Sec. Govern- 
ment House, Sydney, June 2lst, 1806." — O'Hara, 
p. 275. 

This compulsion to enjoy, this despotic bene- 
volence, is something quite new in the science 
of government. 

The sale of spirits was, first of all, mono- 
polized by the government, and then let out 
to individuals lor the purpose of building an 
hospital. Upon this subject Mr. Bennet ob- 
serves, — 

"Heretofore all ardent spirits brought to the 
colony were purchased by the government, and 
served out at fixed prices to the officers, civil 
and military, according to their ranks; hence 
arose a discreditable and gainful trade on the 
part of these officers, their wives and mis- 
tresses. The price of spirits at times was so 
high, that one and two guineas have been given 
for a single bottle. The thirst after ardent 
spirits became a mania among the settlers: all 
the writers on the state of the colony, and all 
who have resided there, and have given testi- 
mony concerning if, describe this rage and 
passion for drunkenness as prevailing in all 
classes, and as being the principal foundation 
of all the crimes committed there. This ex- 
travagant propensity to drunkenness was taken 
advantage of by the governor, to aid him in 
the building of the hospital. Mr. Wentworth, 
the surgeon, Messrs. Riley and Blaxwell, ob- 
tained permission to enter a certain quantity of 
spirits; — they were to pay a duty of five or 
seven shillings a gallon on the quantity they in- 
troduced, which duty was to be set apart for the 
erection of the hospital. To prevent any other 
spirits from being landed, a monopoly was 
given to these contractors. As soon as the 
agreement was signed, these gentlemen sent 
off to Rio Janeiro, the Mauritius and the East 
Indies, for a large quantity of rum and arrack, 
which they could purchase at 'about the rate of 
2s. or 2s. 6d. per gallon, and disembarked it at 
Sydney. From there being but few houses 
that were before permitted to sell this poison, 
they abounded in every street; and such was the 
enormous consumption of spirits, that money 
was soon raised to build the hospital, which 
was finished in 1814. Mr. Marsden informs 
us, that in the small town of Paramatta, thir- 
teen houses were licensed to deal in spirits, 
though he should think five at the utmost would 
be amply sufficient for the accommodation of 
the public." — Bennet, pp. 77-79. 

The whole coast of Botany Bay and Van 
Diemen's Land abounds with whales; and, ac- 
cordingly, the duty levied upon train oil pro- 
cured by the subjects in New South Wales, or 
imported there, is twenty times greater than 
that paid by the inhabitants of this country; 
the duty on spermaceti oil, imported, is sixty 
times greater. The duty levied on train oil, 
spermaceti and head matter, procured by the 
inhabitants of Newfoundland, is only three 
times the amount of that which is levied on 
the same substance procured by British sub- 
jects residing in the United Kingdom. The 
duty levied on oil procured by British subjects 
residing in the Bahama or Bermuda islands, or 



128 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



on the plantations of North America, is only 
eight times the amount on train oil, and twelve 
times the amount on spermaceti, of that which 
is levied on the same substances taken hy 
British subjects within the Uiiited Kingdom. 
The duty, therefore, which is payable on train 
oil in vessels belonging to this colony is nearly 
seven times greater than that which is payable 
on the same description of oil taken in vessels 
belonging to the island of Newfoundland, and 
considerably more than double of that which is 
payable on the same commodity taken in ves- 
sels belonging to the Bahama or Bermuda 
islands, or to the plantations in North Ame- 
rica; while the duty which is levied on sperm- 
aceti oil, procured in vessels belonging to this 
colony, is five times the amount of that which 
is levied on vessels belonging to the above- 
mentioned places, and twenty times the amount 
of that which is levied on vessels belonging to 
Newfoundland. The injustice of this seems to 
us to be quite enormous. The statements are 
taken from Mr. Wentworth's book. 

The inhabitants of New South Wales have 
no trial by jury; the governor has not even a 
council to restrain him. There is imposed in 
this country a very lieavy duty on timber and 
coals exported; but for which, says Mr. Went- 
worth, some hundred tons of these valuable 
productions would have been sent annually to 
the Cape of Good Hope and India, smce the 
vessels which have been in the habit of trading 
between those countries and the colony have 
always returned in ballast. The owners and 
consignees would gladly have shipped cargoes 
of timber and coals, if they could have derived 
the most minute profit from the freight of them. 

The Australasians grow corn; and it is neces- 
sarily their staple. The Cape is their rival in 
the corn trade. The food of the inhabitants of 
the East Indies is rice; the voyage to Europe is 
too distant for so bulkv an article as corn. The 
supply to the government stores furnished the 
cultivators of New South Wales with a market 
in the first instance, which is now become too 
insignificant for the great excess of the supply 
above the consumption. Population goes on 
with immense rapidity; but while so much new 
and fertile land is before them, the supply con- 
tinues in the same proportion greater than the 
demand. The most t)bvious method of affording 
a market for this redundant corn is by encourag- 
ing distilleries within the colony ; a measure re- 
peatedly pressed upon the government at home, 
but hitherto as constantly refused. It is a mea- 
sure of still greater importance to the colony, 
because its agriculture is subjected to the effects 
both of severe drought and extensive inunda- 
tions, and the corn raised for the distillers would 
be a magazine in times of famine. A recom- 
mendation to this elTect was long since made by 
a committee of the House of Commons; but, as 
it was merely a measure for the increase of 
human comforts, was stufied into the improve- 
ment baskets and forgotten. There has been in 
all governments a great deal of absurd canting 
about the consumption of spirits. We believe 
the best plan is to let people drink what they 
like, and wear what they like; to make no 
sumptuary laws either for the belly or the back. 
la the first place laws against rum and rum 



water are made by men who can change a wet 
coat for a dry one whenever they choose, and 
who do not often work up to their knees in mud 
and water; and, in the next place, if this stimu- 
lus did all the mischief it is thought to do by the 
wise men of claret, its cheapness and plenty 
would rather lessen than increase the avidity 
with which it is at present sought for. 

The governors of Botany Bay have taken the 
liberty of imposing what taxes they deemed 
proper, without any other authorit)' than their 
own ; and it seemed very frivolous and vexa- 
tious not to allow this small efi'usion of despot- 
ism in so remote a corner of the globe; but it 
was noticed by the opposition in the House of 
Commons, and reluctantly confessed and given 
up by the administration. This great portion 
of the earth begins civil life with noble princi- 
ples of freedom : — may God grant to its inha- 
bitants that wisdom and courage which are 
necessary for the preservation of so great a 
good! 

Mr. Wentworth enumerates, among the evils 
to which the colony is subjected, that clause in 
the last settlement of the East India Company's 
charter, which prevents vessels of less than 300 
tons burden from navigating the Indian seas ; a 
restriction from which the Cape of Good Hope 
has been lately liberated, and which ought, in 
the same manner, to be removed from New 
South Wales, where there cannot be for many 
years to come sufficient capital to build vessels 
of so large a burden. 

" The disability," says Mr. Wentworth," might 
be removed by a simple order in council. When- 
ever his majesty's government shall have freed 
the colonists from this useless and cruel pro- 
hibition, the following branches of commerce 
would then be opened to them. First, they 
would be enabled to transport, in their own ves« 
sels, their coals, timbers, spars, flour, meat, &c. 
to the Cape of Good Hope, the Isle of France, 
Calcutta, and many other places in the Indian 
seas; in all of which, markets more or less 
extensive exist for those various other produc- 
tions which the colony might furnish. Secondly, 
they would be enabled to carry directly to Can- 
ton the sandal wood, beche la mer, dried seal 
skins, and, in fact, all the numerous productions 
which the surrounding seas and islands aflbrd 
for the China market, and return freighted with 
cargoes of tea, silks, nankeens, &c.; all of which 
commodities are in great demand in the colony, 
and are at present altogether furnished by East 
India or American merchants, to the great detri- 
ment and dissatisfaction of the colonial. And, 
lastly, they would be enabled, in a short time, 
from the great increase of capital which these 
important privileges would of themselves occa- 
sion, as well as attract from other countries, to 
open the fur-trade with the northwest coast of 
America, and dispose of the cargoes procured 
in China, — a trade which has hitherto been ex- 
clusively carried on by the Americans and 
Russians, although the colonists possess a local 
superiority for the prosecution of this valuable 
branch of commerce, which would insure them 
at least a successful competition with the sub- 
jects of those two nations."— Wien/ii'or/A, pp. 
317, 318. 

The means which Mr Wentworth proposes 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



129 



for improving the condition of Botany Bay, are 
— trial by jury — colonial assemblies, with whom 
the right of taxation should rest — the establish- 
ment of distilleries, and the exclusion of foreign 
spirits — alteration of duties, so as to place New 
South Wales upon the same footing as other 
colonies — removal of the restriction to navigate 
the Indian seas in vessels of a small burden — 
improvements in the courts of justice — en- 
couragement for the growth of hemp, flax, to- 
bacco and wine; and, if a colonial assembly 
cannot be granted, that there should be no 
taxation without the authority of Parliament. 

In general, we agree with Mr. Wentworth in 
his statement of evils, and in the remedies he 
has proposed for them. Many of the restric- 
tions upon the commerce of New South Wales 
are so absurd that they require only to be stated 
in Parliament to be corrected. The fertility of 
the colony so far exceeds its increase of popu- 
lation, and the difficulty of finding a market for 
corn is so great — or rather the impossibility so 
clear — that the measure of encouraging domes- 
tic distilleries ought to be had recourse to. The 
colony, with a soil fit for every thing, must, as 
Mr. Wentworth proposes, grow other things 
besides corn, and excite that market in the in- 
terior which it does not enjoy from without. 
The want of demand, indeed, for the excess of 
corn, will soon effect this without the interven- 
tion of government. Government, we believe, 
have already given up the right of taxation 
without the sanction of Parliament ; and there 
is an end, probably, by this time, to that griev- 
ance. A council and a colonial secretary they 
have also expressed their willingness to con- 
cede. Of trial by jury and a colonial assembly, 
we confess that we have great doubts. At some 
future time they must come, and ought to come. 
The only question is, is the colony fit for such 
institutions at present] Are there a sufficient 
number of respectable persons to serve that 
office in the various settlements 1 If the English 
law is to be followed exactly, to compose a jury 
of twelve persons, a panel of forty-eight must 
be summoned. Could forty-eight intelligent 
convicted men, be found in every settlement of 
New South Wales'? or must they not be fetched 
from great distances, at an enormous expense 
and inconvenience 1 Is such an institution cal- 
culated for so very young a colony ? A good 
government is an excellent thing; but it is not 
the first in the order of human wants. The 
first want is to subsist; the next to subsist in 
freedom and comfort; first to live at all, then to 
live well. A parliament is still a greater de- 
mand upon the wisdom and intelligence and 
opulence of a colony than trial by jury. Among 
the twenty thousand inhabitants of New South 
Wales, are there ten persons out of the employ 
of government whose wisdom and prudence 
could reasonably be expected to advance the 
interests of the colony without embroiling it 
with the mother-country 1 Who has leisure, in 
such a state of afiairs, to attend such a parlia- 
ment 1 Where wisdom and conduct are so rare, 
every man of character, we will venture to say, 
has, like strolling players in a barn, six or seven 
important parts to perform. Mr. M'Arthur, who, 
from his character and understanding, would 
probably be among the first persons elected to 
17 



the colonial legislature, besides being a very 
spirited agriculturist, is, we have no doubt, 
justice of the peace, curator and rector of a 
thousand plans, charities and associations, to 
which his presence is essentially necessary. 
If he could be cut into as many pieces as a tree 
is into planks, all his subdivisions would be 
eminently useful. When a member of Parlia- 
ment, and what is called a really respectable 
country gentleman, sets off to attend his duty in 
our Parliament, such diminution of intelligence 
as is produced by his absence, is, God knows, 
easily supplied; but in a colony of 20,000 per- 
sons, it is impossible this should be the case. 
Some time hence, the institution of a colonial 
assembly will be a very wise and proper mea- 
sure, and so clearly called for, that the most 
profligate members of administration will nei- 
ther be able to ridicule nor refuse it. At pre- 
sent we are afraid that a Botany Bay parliament 
would give rise to jokes ; and jokes at present 
have a great agency in human affairs. 

Mr. Bennet concerns himself with the settle- 
ment of New Holland, as it is a school for 
criminals ; and, upon this subject, has written 
a very humane, enlightened and vigorous pam- 
phlet. The objections made to this settlement 
by Mr. Bennet are, in the first place, its enor- 
mous expense. The colony of New South 
Wales, from 1788 to 1815 inclusive, has cost 
this country the enormous sum of 3,465,983/. 
In the evidence before the transportation com- 
mittee, the annual expense of each convict, 
from 1791 to 1797, is calculated at 33/. 9s. 5^d. 
per annum, and the profits of his labour are 
slated to be 20/. The price paid for the trans- 
port of convicts has been, on an average, 37/. 
exclusive of food and clothing. It appears, 
however, says Mr. Bennet, by an account laid 
before Parliament, that in the year 1814, 109,- 
746/. were paid for the transport, food and cloth- 
ing of 1016 convicts, which will make the cost 
amount to about 108/. per man. In 1812, the 
expenses of the colony were 176,000/.; in 1813, 
235,000/.; in 1814,231,362/.; but in 1815 they 
had fallen to 150,000/. 

The cruelty and neglect in the transportation 
of convicts have been very great — and in this 
way a punishment inflicted which it never was 
in the contemplation of law to enact. During 
the first eight years, according to Mr. Bennet's 
statements, one-tenth of the convicts died on the 
passage ; on the arrival of three of the ships, 
200 sick were landed, 281 persons having died 
on board. These instances, however, of crimi 
nal inattention to the health of the convicts no 
longer take place; and it is mentioned rather 
as an history of what is past than a censure 
upon any existing evil. 

In addition to the expense of Botany Bay, 
Mr. Bennet contends that it wants the very 
essence of punishment, terror; that the commou 
people do not dread it; that instead of prevent- 
ing crimes, it rather excites the people to their 
commission, by the hopes it affords of bettering 
their condition in a new country. 

"All those who have had an opportunity of 
witnessing the effect of this system of trans- 
portation agree in opinion, that it is no longer 
an object of dread — it has, in fact, generally 
ceased to be a punishment: true it is, to a fa" 



130 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



thcr of a family, to the mother who leaves her 
children, this perpetual separation from those 
whom they love and whom they support, is a 
cruel blow, and when I consider the merciless 
character of the law which inflicts it, a severe 
penalty : but by far the greater number of per- 
sons who suffer this punishment, regard it in 
quite a different light. Mr. Cotton, the ordinary 
of Newgate, informed the police committee last 
year, ' that the generality of those who are 
transported consider it as a party of pleasure — 
as going out to see the world; they evince no 
penitence, no contrition, but seem to rejoice in 
the thing, — many of them to court it. I have 
heard them, when the sentence of transporta- 
tion has been passed by the recorder, return 
thanks for it, and seem overjoyed at their sen- 
tence: the very last party that went off, when 
they were put into the caravan, shouted and 
huzzaed, and were very joyous: several of them 
called out to the keepers who were there in the 
yard, the first fine Sunday we will have a glo- 
rious kangaroo hunt at the Bay, — seeming to 
anticipate a great deal of pleasure.' He was 
asked if those persons were married or single, 
and his answer was, 'by far the greater number 
of them were unmarried. Some of them are 
anxious that their wives and children should 
follow them; others care nothing about either 
wives or children, and are glad to get rid of 
lhem:"—Ben>7ef, pp. 60, 61 

It is a scandalous injustice in this colony, 
that persons transported for seven years, have 
no power of returning when that period is ex- 
pired. A strong active man may sometimes 
work his passage home ; but what is an old man 
or an aged female to do 1 Suppose a convict 
were to be confined in prison ibr seven years, 
and then told he might get out if he could climb 
over the walls, or break open the locks, what in 
general would be his chance of liberation 1 But 
no lock nor doors can be so secure a means of 
detention as the distance of Botany Bay. This 
is a downright trick and fraud in the adminis- 
tration of criminal justice. A poor wretch who 
is banished from his country for seven years, 
should be furnished with the means of return- 
ing to his country when these seven years are 
expired. — If it is intended he should never re- 
turn, his sentence shouldhave been banishment 
for life. 

The most serious charge against the colonj^ 
as a place for transportation, and an experiment 
in criminal justice, is the extreme profligacy of 
manners which prevails there, and the total 
want of reformation among the convicts. Upon 
this subject, except in the regular letters ofl^- 
cially varnished and filled with fraudulent beati- 
tudes for the public eye, there is, and there can 
be, but one opinion. New South Wales is a 
sink of wickedness, in which the great majority 
of convicts of both sexes become infinitely 
more depraved than at the period of their arri- 
val. How, as Mr. Bennet very justly observes, 
can it be otherwise 1 The lelon, transported to 
the American plantations, became an insulated 
rogue among honest men. He lived for years 
in the family of some industrious planter, 
without seeing a picklock, or indulging in plea- 
sant dialogues on the delicious burglaries of 
bis youth. He imperceptibly glided into honest 



habits, and lost not only the tact for pockets, bul 
the wish to investigate their contents. But in 
Botany Bay, the felon, as soon as he gets out of 
the ship, meets with his ancient trull, with the 
footpad of his heart, the convict of his affec- 
tions, — the man whose hand he has often met 
in the same gentleman's pocket — the being 
whom he would choose from the whole world 
to take to the road, or to disentangle the locks 
of Bramah. It is impossible that vice should 
not become more intense in such society. 

Upon the horrid state of morals now preva- 
lent in Botany Bay, we would counsel our read- 
ers to cast their eyes upon the account given by 
Mr. Marsden, in a letter, dated July, 1815, to 
Governor Macquarrie. It is given at length in 
the appendix to Mr. Bennet's book. A more 
horrid picture of the state of any settlement 
was never penned. It carries with it an air of 
truth and sincerity, and is free from all enthu- 
siastic cant. 

" I now appeal to j'^our excellency," (he says, 
at the conclusion of his letter,) " whether, under 
such circumstances any man of common feel- 
ing, possessed of the least spark of humanity 
or religion, who stood in the same official rela- 
lation that I do to these people, as their spiritual 
pastor and magistrate, could enjoy one happy 
moment from the beginning to the end of the 
week ! 

"I humbly conceive that it is incompatible 
with the character and wish of the British na- 
tion, that her own exiles should be exposed to 
such privations and dangerous temptations, 
when she is daily feeding the hungry and cloth- 
ing the naked, and receiving into her friendly, 
and I may add pious bosom, the stranger, whe- 
ther savage or civilized, of every nation under 
heaven. There are, in the whole, under the two 
principal superintendents, Messrs. Rouse and 
Oakes, one hundred and eight men, and one hun- 
dred and fifty women, and several children; 
and nearly the whole of them have to find lodg- 
ings for themselves when they have performed 
their government tasks. 

" I trust that your excellency will be fully 
persuaded, that it is totally impossible for the 
magistrate to support his necessary authority, 
and to establish a regular police, under such a 
weight of accumulated and accumulating evils. 
I am as sensible as anyone can be, that the dif- 
ficulty of removing these evils will be very great; 
at the same time, their number and influence 
may be greatly lessened, if the abandoned male 
and female convicts are lodged in barracks, and 
placed under the eye of the police, and the num- 
ber of licensed houses is reduced. Till some- 
thing of this kind is done, all attempts of the 
magistrate, and the public administration of re- 
ligion, will be attended with little benefit to the 
general good. I have the honour to be, your 
excellency's most obedient, humble servant, 
Samuel Mabsdex." — Bennet, p. 134. 

Thus much for Botany Bay. As a mere colo- 
ny, it is too distant and too expensive; and, in 
future, will of course involve us in many of 
those just and necessary wars, which deprive 
Englishmen so rapidly of their comforts, and 
make England scarcely worth living in. If con- 
sidered as a place of reform for criminals, its 
distance, expense, and the society to which it 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



131 



dooms the objects of the experiment, are insu- 
perable objections to it. It is in vain to say, 
that the honest people in New South Wales will 
soon bear a greater proportion to the rogues, 
and the contamination of bad society will be 
less fatal. This only proves that it may be a 
good place for reform hereafter, not that it is a 
good one now. One of the principal reasons 
for peopling Botany Bay at all, was, that it 
would be an admirable receptacle, and a school 
of reform, for our convicts. It turns out, that 
for the first half century, it will make them 
worse than they were before, and that, after that 
period, they may probably begin to improve. 
A marsh, to be sure, may be drained and culti- 
vated; but no man who has his choice, would 
select it in the mean time for his dwelling-place. 
The three books are all books of merit. Mr. 
O'Hara's is a bookseller's compilation, done in 
a useful and pleasing manner. Mr. Wentworth 
is full of information on the present state of 
Botany Bay. The humanity, the exertions and 



the genuine benevolence of Mr. Bennet, are too 
well known to need our commendation 

All persons who have a few guineas in their 
pocket, are now running away from Mr. Nicho- 
las Vansittart to settle in every quarter of the 
globe. Upon the subject of emigration to Bota- 
ny Bay, Mr. Wentworth observes, 1st, that any 
respectable person emigrating to that colony, 
receives as much land gratis as would cost him 
400/. in the United Slates ; 2dly, he is allowed 
as many servants as he may require, at one- 
third of the wages paid for labour in America; 
3dly, himself and family are victualled at the 
expense of government for six months. He cal- 
culates that a man, wife and two children, with 
an allowance of five tons for themselves and 
baggage, could emigrate to Botany Bay for 100/. 
including every expense, provided a whole ship 
could be freighted; and that a single man could 
be taken out thither for 30/. These points are 
worthy of serious attention to those who are 
shedding their country. 



CHIMNEY SWEEPEES.* 



[Edinburgh Review, 1819.] 



As excellent and well-arranged dinner is a 
most pleasing occurrence, and a great triumph 
of civilized life. It is not only the descending 
morsel and the enveloping sauce — but the rank, 
wealth, wit and beauty which surround the 
meats— the learned management of light and 
heat — the silent and rapid services of the attend- 
ants — the smiling and sedulous host, proffering 
gusts and relishes— the exotic bottles — the em- 
bossed plate — the pleasant remarks — the hand- 
some dresses — the cunning artifices in fruit and 
farina! The hour of dinner, in short, includes 
every thing of sensual and intellectual gratifica- 
tion which a great nation glories in producing. 

In the midst of all this, who knows that the 
kitchen chimney caught fire half an hour before 
dinner! — and that a poor little wretch, of six or 
seven years old, was sent up in the midst of the 
flames to put it out 1 We could not, previous 
to reading this evidence, have formed a concep- 
tion of the miseries of these poor wretches, or 
that there should exist, in a civilized country, a 
class of human beings destined to such extreme 
and varied distress. We will give a short epi- 
tome of what is developed in the evidence before 
the two Houses of Parliament' 

Boys are made chimney sweepers at the early 
age of five or six. 

Link boys for small flues, is a common phrase 
in the cards left at the door by itinerant chimney 
sweepers. Flues made to ovens and coppers 
are often less than nine inches square; audit 



*Accountofthe Proceedings of the Society for superseding 
the NecessUy of Climbing Boiis. Baldwin, &c. London, 
1816. 



may be easily conceived how slender the frame 
of that human body must be, which can force 
itself through such an aperture. 

" What is the age of the youngest boys who 
have been employed in this trade, to your know- 
ledge 1 About five years of age: I know one 
now between five or six years old; it is the 
man's own son in the Strand: now there is an- 
other at Somer's Town, 1 think, said he was 
between four and five, or about five; Jack Hall, 
a little lad, takes him about. — Did you ever 
know any female children employed 1 Yes, I 
know one now. About two years ago there was 
a woman told me she had climbed scores of 
times, and there is one at Paddington now 
whose father taught her to climb: but I have 
often heard talk of them when I was an appren- 
tice, in different places. — What is the smallest 
sized flue you have ever met with in the course 
of your experience ? About eight inches by nine; 
these they are always obliged to climb in this 
posture (describing it), keeping the arms up 
straight; if they slip their arms down, they get 
jammed in; unless they get their arms close 
over their head they cannot climb." — Lord's 
Minutes, No. 1. p. 8. 

The following is a specimen of the manner in 
which they are taught this art of climbing 
chimneys. 

" Do you remember being taught to climb 
chimneys'? Yes. — What did you feel upon the 
first attempt to climb a chimney] The first 
chimney I went up, they told me there was some 
plum-pudding and money up at the top of it, and 
that is the way they enticed me up; and when I 



132 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



got up, I would not let the other boy get from j 
under me to get at it; I thought he would get it; 
I could not get up, and shoved the pot and half 
the chimney down into the yard. — Did you expe- 
rience any inconvenience to your knees, or your 
elbows] Yes, the skin was off my knees and 
elbows too, in climbing up the new chimneys 
they forced me up. — How did they force you up '.' 
When I got up, I cried out about my sore knees. 
— Were you beat or compelled to go up by any 
violent means ] Yes, when I went to a narrow 
chimney, if I could not do it, I durst not go 
home ; when I used to come down, my master 
would well beat me with the brush; and not 
only my master, but when he used to go with 
the journeymen, if we could not do it, they used 
to hit us three or four times with the brush." — 
Lords' Minutes, No. 1. p. 5. 

In practising the art of climbing they are often 
crippled. 

"You talked of the pargetting to chimneys; 
are many chimneys pargetted? There used to 
be more than are now; we used to have to go 
and sit all a-twist to parge them, according to the 
floors, to keep the smoke from coming out; then 
I could not straighten my legs; and that is the 
reason that many are cripples, — from parging 
and stopping the holes." — Lords' Minutes,No. 1. 
p. 17. 

They are often stuck fast in a chimney, and, 
after remaining there many hours, are cut out. 

"Have you known, in the course of your 
practice, boys stick in chimneys at alii Yes, 
frequently. — Did you ever know an instance of. 
a boy being suffocated to death 1 No ; I do not 
recollect anyone at present, but I have assisted 
in taking boys out when they have been nearly 
exhausted. — Did you ever know an instance of its 
being necessary to break open a chimney to take 
the boy out ] yes. — Frequently? Monthly I 
might say; it is done with a cloak, if possible, that 
it should not be discovered ; a master in general 
wishes it not to be known, and therefore speaks to 
the people belonging to the house not to mention 
it, for it was merely the boy's neglect; they often 
say it was the boy's neglect. — Why do they say 
that ] The boy's climbing shirt is often very 
bad; the boy coming down, if the chimney be 
very narrow, and numbers of them are only nine 
inches, gets his shirt rumpled underneath him, 
and he has no power after he is fixed in that 
way {with his hand up.) Does a boy frequently 
stick in the chimney 1 Yes, I have known more 
instances of that the last twelvemonth than be- 
fore. — Do you ever have to break open in the 
inside of a room] Yes, I have helped to break 
through into a kitchen chimney in a dining 
room." — Lords' Minutes, p. 34. 

To the same effect is the evidence of John 
Daniels, (Minutes, p. 100,) and of James Lud- 
ford, (Lords' Minutes, p. 147.) 

"You have swept the Penitentiary] I have. 
— Did you ever know a boy stick in any of the 
chimneys there] Yes, I have. — Was it one of 
your boys ] It was. — Was there one or two that 
stuck ] Two of them. — How long did they stick 
there] Two hours. — How were they got out] 
They were cut out. — Was there any danger 
•while they were in that situation] It was the 
core from the pargetting of the chimney, and 
the rubbish that the labourers had thrown down, 



that stopped them, and when they got it aside 
them, they could not pass. — They both stuck 
together] Yes." — Lords' Minutes, p. 147. 

One more instance we shall give from the 
evidence before the Commons. 

"Have you heard of any accidents that have 
recently happened to climbing boys in the small 
flues] Yes; I have often met with accidents 
myself when I was a boy; there was lately one 
in Mary-le-bone, where the boy lost his life in a 
flue, a boy of the name of Tinsey (his father 
was of the same trade); that boy I think was 
about eleven or twelve years old. — Was there 
a coroner's inquest sat on the body of that boy 
you mentioned] Yes, there was; he was aa 
apprentice of a man of the name of Gay. — 
How many accidents do you recollect which 
were attended with loss of life to the climbing 
boys] I have heard talk of many more than I 
know of; I never knew of more than three 
since I have been at the trade, but I have heard 
talk of many more. — Of twenty or thirty] I 
cannot say; I have been near losing my own 
life several times." — Commons' Report, p. 53. 

We come now to burning little chimney 
sweepers. A large party are invited to dinner 
— a great display is to be made ; — and about an 
hour before dinner, there is an alarm that the 
kitchen chimney is on fire ! It is impossible to 
put off the distinguished personages who are 
expected. It gets very late for the soup and fish 
— the cook is frantic — all eyes are turned upon 
the sable consolation of the master chimney 
sweeper — and up into the midst of the burning 
chimney is sent one of the miserable little in- 
fants of the brush! There is a positive pro- 
hibition of this practice, and an enactment of 
penalties in one of the acts of Parliament which 
respects chimney sweepers. But what matter 
acts of Parliament, when the pleasures of gen- 
teel people are concerned ] Or what is a toasted 
child, compared to the agonies of the mistress 
of the house with a deranged dinner] 

" Did you ever know a boy get burnt up a 
chimney] Yes. — Is that usual'' Yes, I have 
been burnt myself, and have got the scars oa 
my legs; a year ago I was up a chimney in 
Liquor Pond Street; I have been up more than 
forty chimneys where I have been burnt. — Did 
your master or the journeymen ever direct you 
to go up a chimney that was on fire ] Yes, it is 
a general case. — Do they compel you to go up 
a chimney that is on fire] Oh yes, it was the 
general practice for two of us to slop at home 
on Sunday to be ready in case of a chimney 
being a-fire. — You say it is general to compel 
the boys to go up chimneys on fire] Yes, boys 
get very ill-treated if they do not go up." — Lords' 
Minutes, p. 34. 

" Were you ever forced up a chimney on 
fire ] Yes, I was forced up one once, and, be- 
cause I could not do it, I was taken home and 
well hided with a brush by the journeyman. — 
Have you frequently been burnt in ascending 
chimneys on fire] Three times. — Are such 
hardships as you have described common in 
the trade with other boys 1 Yes, they are." — 
Ibid., p. 100. 

" What is the price for sending a boy up a 
chimney badly on fire ] The price allowed is 
five shillings, but most of them charge half a 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



133 



guinea. — Is any part of that given to the boy? 1 
No, but very often the boy gets half a crown , j 
and then the journeyman has half, and his mis- 
tress takes the other part to take care of against 
Sunday. — Have you never seen water thrown 
down from the top of a chimney when it is on 
fire? Yes. — Is not that generally done 1 Yes; 
I have seen that done twenty times, and the boy 
in the chimney; at the time when the boy has 
hallooed out, 'It is so hot I cannot go any fur- 
ther;' and then the expression is, with an oath, 
'Stop, and I will heave a pail of water down.' " 
—Ibid., p. 39. 

Chimney sweepers are subject to a peculiar 
sort of cancer, which often brings them to a 
premature death. 

" He appeared perfectly willing to try the 
machines everywhere? I must say the man 
appeared perfectly willing; he had a fear that 
he and his family would be ruined by them; but 
I must say of him that he is very different from 
other sweeps I have seen ; he attends very much 
to his own business; he was as black as any 
boy he had got, and unfortunately in the course 
of conversation he told me he had got a cancer; 
he was a fine healthy strong looking man; he told 
me he dreaded having an operation performed, 
but his father died of the same complaint, and 
his father was sweeper to King George the 
Second." — Lords' Minutes, p. 84. 

" What is the nature of the particular dis- 
eases! The diseases that we particularly no- 
ticed, to which they were subject, were of a 
cancerous description. In what part? The 
scrotum in particular, &c. — Did you ever hear 
of cases of that description that were fatal ] No, 
I do not think them as being altogether fatal, 
unless they will not submit to the operation ; 
they have such a dread of the operation that 
they will not submit to it, and if they do not let 
it be perfectly removed they will be liable to the 
return of it. To what cause do you attribute 
that disease? I think it begins from a want of 
care : the scrotum being in so many folds or 
crevices, the soot lodges in them and creates an 
itching, and I conceive, that by scratching it and 
tearing it, the soot gets in and creates the irrita- 
bility; which disease we know by the name of 
the chimney sweeper's cancer, and is always 
lectured upon separately as a distinct disease. 
— Then the committee understands that the phy- 
sicians who are entrusted with the care and 
management of those hospitals think that dis- 
ease of such common occurrence, that it is 
necessary to make it a part of surgical educa- 
tion? Most assuredly; I remember Mr. Cline 
and Mr. Cooper were particular on that subject. 
— Without an operation there is no cure? I 
conceive not; I conceive without the operation 
it is death; for cancers are of that nature that 
unless you extirpate them entirely they will 
never be cured." — Commons' Rep. pp. 60, 61. 

In addition to the life they lead as chimney 
sweepers, is superadded the occupation of night- 
men. 

"(Bj/a Lord.) Is it generally the custom 
that many masters are likewise nightmen ? Yes: 
I forgot that circumstance, which is very griev- 
ous; I have been tied round the middle and let 
down several privies, forthe purpose of fetching 
watches and such things; it is generally made 



the practice to take the smallest boy, to let him 
through the hole without taking up the seat, and 
to paddle about there until he finds it; they do 
not take a big boy, because it disturbs the seat." 
— Lords' Minutes, p. 38- 

The bed of these poor little wretches is often 
the soot they have swept in the day. 

"How are the boys generally lodged; where 
do they sleep at night? Some masters maybe 
better than others, but I know I have slept on 
the soot that was gathered in the day myself. — 
Where do boys generally sleep? Never on a 
bed; I never slept on a bed myself while I was 
apprentice — Do they sleep in cellars? Yes, 
very often : I have slept in the cellar myself on 
the sacks I took out. — What had you to cover 
you? The same. — Had you any pillow? No 
further than my breeches and jacket under my 
head. How were you clothed? When I was 
apprentice we had a pair of leather breeches 
and a small flannel jacket. Any shoes and 
stockings? Oh dear, no; nostockings.— Had you 
any other clothes for Sunday I Sometimes we 
had an old bit of a jacket, that we might wash 
out ourselves, and a shirt." — Lords' Minutes, 
p. 40. 

Girls are occasionally employed as chimney 
sweepers. 

"Another circumstance, which has not been 
mentioned to the committee, is, that there are 
several little girls employed; there are two of 
the name of Morgan at Windsor, daughters of 
the chimney sweeper, who is employed to sweep 
the chimneys of the castle ; another instance at 
Uxbridge, and at Brighton, and at Whilechapel 
(which was some years ago), and at Hadley 
near Barnet, and Witham in Essex, and else- 
where." — 'Commons' Report, p. 71. 

Another peculiar danger to which chimney 
sweepers are exposed, is the rottenness of the 
pots at the top of chimneys; — for they must as- 
cend to the very summit, and show their brushes 
above them, or there is no proof that the work is 
properly completed. These chimney-pots from 
their exposed situation, are very subject to de- 
cay; and when the poor little wretch has worked 
his way up to the top, pot and boy give way 
together, and are both shivered to atoms. There 
are many instances of this in the evidence be- 
fore both Houses. When they outgrow the pow- 
er of going up a chimney, they are fit for nothing 
else. The miseries they have suflJered lead to 
nothing. They are not only enormous, but un- 
profitable: having suffered, in what is called the 
happiest part of life, every misery which an 
human being can suffer, they are then cast out 
to rob and steal, and given up to the law. 

Not the least of their miseries, while their 
trial endures, is their exposure to cold. It will 
easily be believed that much money is not ex- 
pended on the clothes of a poor boy stolen from 
his parents, or sold by them for a few shillings, 
and constantly occupied in dirty work. Yet the 
nature of their occupations renders chimney 
sweepers peculiarly susceptible of cold. And 
as chimneys must be swept very early, at four 
or five o'clock of a winter morning, the poor 
boys are shivering at the door, and attempting 
by repeated ringings to rouse the profligate foot- 
nian ; but the more they ring the more the foot- 
man does not come, 

M 



134 



WORKS OF THE KEY. SYDNEY SMITH. 



"Do they gfo out in the winter time without 
stockings] Oh yes. — Always? I never saw one 
go out unth stockings; I have known masters 
make their boys pull off their leggins, and cut 
off the feet, to keep their feet warm when they 
have chilblains. — Are chimney sweepers' boys 
peculiarly subject to chilblains'? Yes; I believe 
it is owing to the weather: they often go out at 
two or three in the morning, and their shoes are 
generally very bad. Do they go out at that hour 
at Christmas] Yes; a man will have twenty 
jobs at four, and twenty more at five or six. — 
Are chimneys generally swept much about 
Christmastime] Yes; they are in general; it 
is left to the Christmas week. — Do you suppose 
it is frequent that, in the Christmas week, boys 
are out l>om three o'clock in the morning to 
nine or ten] Yes, further than that; I have 
known that a boy has been only in and out 
again directly all day till five o'clock in the 
evening. — Do you consider the journeymen and 
masters treat those boys generally with greater 
cruelty than other apprentices in other trades 
are treated] They do, most horrid and shock- 
ing." — Lords' Minutes, p. 33. 

The following is the reluctant evidence of a 
master. 

"At what hour in the morning did your boys 
go out upon their employment] According to 
orders. — At any time] To be sure; suppose a 
nobleman wished to have his chimney done 
before four or five o'clock in the morning, it 
■was done, or how were the servants to get their 
things done] — Supposing you had an order to 
attend at four o'clock in the morning in the 
month of December, you sent your boy ? I was 
generally with him, or had a careful follower 
with him. Do you think those early hours 
beneficial for him] I do; and I have heard 
that 'early to bed and early to rise, is the way 
to be healthy, wealthy and wise.' — Did they 
always get in as soon as they knocked] No; 
it would be pleasant to the profession if they 
could. — How long did they wait] Till t/ie ser- 
vants please io rise. — How long might that be] 
According how heavy they were to sleep. — 
How long was that] It is impossible to say; 
ten minutes at one house, and twenty at ano- 
ther. — Perhaps half an hour] We cannot see 
in ike dark how the minutes go. — Do you think it 
healthy to let them stand there twenty minutes 
at four o'clock in the morning in the winter 
time] He has a cloth to wrap himself in like 
a mantle, and keep himself warm." — Lords' 
Minutes, f p. 138, 139. 

We must not forget sore eyes. Soot lodges 
on their eyelids, produces irritability, which 
requires friction ; and the friction of dirty hands 
of course increases the disease. The greater 
proportion of chimney sweepers are in conse- 
quence blear-eyed. The boys are very small, but 
they are compelled to carry heavy loads of soot. 

"Are you at all lame yourself] No: but lam 
'knapped-kneed' with carrying heavy loads 
when I was an apprentice. That was the oc- 
casion of it] It was. In general, are persons 
employed in your trade either stunted or knock- 
kneed by carrying heavy loads during their 
childhood] It is owing to their masters a great 
deal ; and when they climb a great deal it makes 
ihem weak." — Cumntons' Report, p. 58, 



In climbing a chimney, the great hold is by 
the knees and elbows. A young child of 6 or 
7 years old, working with knees and elbows 
against hard bricks soon rubs off the skin from 
these bony projections, and is forced to climb 
high chimneys with raw and bloody knees and 
elbows. 

"Are the boys' knees and elbows rendered 
sore when they first begin to learn to climb] 
Yes, they are, and pieces out of them. — Is that 
almost generally the case] It is; there is not 
one out of twenty who is not,- and they are sure 
to take the scars to their grave : I have some 
now. — Are they usually compelled to continue 
climbing while those sores are open] Ycs; the 
way they use to make them hard is that way. — 
Might not this severity be obviated by the use of 
pads in learning to climb] Yes ; but they con- 
sider in the business, learning a boy, that he is 
never thoroughly learned until the boy's knees 
are hard after being sore ; then they consider it 
necessary to put a pad on, from seeing the boys 
have bad knees; the children generally walk 
stifi-kneed. — Is it usual among the chimney 
sweepers to teach their boys to learn by means 
of pads] No; they learn them with nearly 
naked knees.— Is it done in one instance in 
twenty] No, nor one in fifty." — Lords' Minutes, 
p. 32. 

According to the humanity of the master, the 
soot remains upon the bodies of the children, 
unwashed off, for any time from a week to a 
year. 

"Are the boys generally washed regularly? 
No, unless they wash themselves. — Did not 
your master take care you were washed] No. 
— Not once in three months] No, 7wt once a 
year. — Did not he find you soap] No; lean 
take my oath on the Bible that he never found 
me one piece of soap during the time I was 
apprentice." — Lords' Minutes, p. 41. 

The life of these poor little wretches is so 
miserable, that they often lie sulking in the 
flues unwilling to come out. 

"Did you ever see severity used to boys that 
were not obstinate and perverse ] Yes. — Very 
often] Yes, very often. The boys are rather 
obstinate; some of them are; some of them will 
get half-way up the' chimney, and will not go 
any further, and then the journeyman will swear 
at them to come down, or go on ; but the boys 
are too frightened to come down; they halloo 
out, we cannot get up, and they are afraid to 
come down; sometimes they will send for ano- 
ther boy, and drag them down; sometimes get 
up to the top of the chimne^', and throw down 
water, and drive them down; then, when they 
get them down, they will begin to drag, or beat, 
or kick them about the house; then, when they 
get home, the master will beat them all round 
the kitchen afterwards, and give them no break- 
fast, perhaps." — Lords' Minutes, pp. 9, 10. 

When a chimney boy has done sufficient 
work for the master he must work for the man; 
and he thus becomes for several hours after his 
morning's work a perquisite to the journeyman. 

" It is frequently the perquisite of the journey- 
man, when the first labour of the day on account 
of the master is finished, to 'call the streets,' in 
search of employment on their own account, 
with the apprentices, whose labour is thus un- 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



135 



reasonably extended, and whose limbs are weak- 
ened and distorted by the weights which they 
have to carry, and by the distance which they 
have to walic. John Lawless says, ' I have 
known a boy to CiJmb from twenty to thirty 
chimneys for his master in the morning; he 
has then been sent out instantly with the jour- 
neyman, who has kept him out till three or four 
o'clock, till he has accumulated from six to eight 
bushels of soot.' " — Lords' Report, p. 24. 

The sight of a little chimney sweeper often 
excites pity: and they have small presents made 
to them at the houses where they sweep. These 
benevolent alms are disposed of in the following 
manner: — 

" Do the boys receive little presents of money 
from people often in your trade 1 Yes, it is in 
general the custom. — x\re they allowed to keep 
that for their own use 1 Not the whole of it, — 
the journeymen take what they think proper. 
The journeymen are entitled to half by the 
master's orders; and whatever a boy may get, 
if two boys and one journeyman are sent to a 
large house to sweep a number of chimneys, 
and after they have done, there should be a 
shilling or eighteen pence given to the boys, the 
journeyman has his full half, and the two boys in 
general have the other. Is it usual or customary 
for the journeymen to play at chuck farthing or 
other games with the boys] Frequently. — Do 
they win the money from the boys ? Frequently: 
the childien give their money to the journeymen 
to screen for them. — What do you mean by 
screening] Such a thing as sifting the soot. — 
The chiki is tired, and he says, ' Jem, I will give 
you two-pence if you will sift my share of the 
soot ;' there is sometimes twenty or thirty bushels 
to sift. Do you think the boys retain one quar- 
ter of that given them for their own use ] No." 
— Lords' Minutes, p. 35. 

To this most horrible list of calamities is to 
be added the dreadful deaths by which chimney 
sweepers are often destroyed. Of these we 
once thought of giving two examples; one from 
London, the other from our own town of Edin- 
burgh: but we confine ourselves to the latter. 

"James Thomson, chimney-sweeper. — One 
day, in the beginning of June, witness and panel 
(that is, the master, the party accused) had been 
sweeping vents together. About four o'clock 
in the afternoon, the panel proposed to go to 
Albany street, where the panel's brother was 
cleaning a vent, with the assistance of Frazer, 
■whom he had borrowed from the panel for the 
occasion. When witness and panel got to the 
house in Albany street, they found Frazer, who 
had gone up the vent between eleven and twelve 
o'clock, not yet come down. On entering the 
house they found a mason making a hole in the 
wall. Panel said, what was he doing] I sup- 
pose he has taken a lazy fit. The panel called 
to the boy, ' What are you doing] what's keep- 
ing you ]' The boy answered that he could not 
come. The panel worked a long while, some- 
times persuading him, sometimes threatening 
and swearing at the boy to get him down. Panel 
then said, ' I will go to a hardware shop and get 
a barrel of gunpowder, and blow you and the 
vent to the devil, if you do not come down.' — 
Panel then began to slap at the wall — witness 
then went up a ladder, and spoke to the boy 



through a small hole in the wall previously 
made by the mason — but the boy did not answer 
Panel's brother told witness to come down, as 
the boy's master knew best how to manage him. 
Witness then threw off his jacket, and put a 
handkerchief about his head, and said to the 
panel, let me go up the chimney to see what's 
keeping him. The panel made no answer, but 
pushed witness away from the chimney, and 
continued bullying the boy. At this time the 
panel was standing on the grate, so that witness 
could not go up the chimney; witness then said 
to panel's brother, there is no use for me here, 
meaning that panel would not permit him to use 
his services. He prevented the mason making 
the hole larger, saying, Stop, and I'll bring him 
down in five minutes' time. Witness then put 
on his jacket, and continued an hour in the 
room, during all which time the panel continued 
bulli/inn; the boy. Panel then desired witness to 
go to Reid's house to get the loan of his boy 
Alison. Witness went to Reid's house, and 
asked Reid to come and speak to panel's bro- 
ther. Reid asked if panel was there] Witness 
answered he was; Reid said he would send his 
boy to the panel, but not to the panel's brother. 
Witness and Reid went to Albany street; and 
when they got into the room, panel took his head 
out of the chimney and asked Reid if he would 
lend him his boy; Reid agreed; witness then 
returned to Reid's house for his boy, and Reid 
called after him, 'Fetch down a set of ropes 
with you.' By this time witness had been ten 
minutes in the room, during which time panel 
was swearing, and asking what's keeping you, 
you scoundrel] When witness returned with 
the boy and ropes, Reid took hold of the rope, 
and having loosed it, gave Alison one end, and 
directed him to go up the chimney, saying, do 
not go farther than his feet, and when you get 
there fasten it to his foot. Panel said nothing 
all this time. Alison went up, and having fast- 
ened the rope, Reid desired him to come down; 
Reid took the rope and pulled, but did not bring 
down the boy; the rope broke! Alison was 
sent up again with the other end of the rope, 
which was fastened to the boy's foot. When 
Reid was pulling the rope, panel said, 'You 
have. not the strength of a cat;' he took the 
rope into his own hands, pulli7ig as strong as he 
could. Having pulled about a quarter of an hour, 
panel and Reid fastened the rope round a crow 
bar, which they applied to the wall as a lever, 
and both pulled with all their strength for about 
a quarter of an hour longer, when it broke. — 
During this time witness heard the boy cry, and 
say, ' My God Almighty !' Panel said, ' If I had 
you here, I would God Almighty you.' Witness 
thought the cries were in agony. The master 
of the house brought a new piece of rope, and 
the panel's brother spliced an eye on it. Reid 
expressed a wish to have it fastened on both 
thighs, to have greater purchase. Alison was 
sent up for this purpose, but came down, and 
said he could not get it fastened. Panel then 
began to slap at the wall. After striking a long 
while at the wall, he got out a large stone; he 
then put in his head and called to Frazer, 'Do 
you hear, you sir]' but got no answer: he then 
put in his hands, and threw down deceased's 
breeches. He then came down from the ladder 



138 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



At this time the panel was in a state of perspi- 
ration: he sat down on a stool, and the master 
of the house gave him a dram. Witness did 
not hear panel make any remarks as to the 
situation of the boy Frazer. Witness thinks 
that, from panel's appearance, he knew that the 
boy was dead." — Commons' Report, pp. 136 — 
138. 

We have been thus particular in stating the 
case of the chimney sweepers, and in founding 
it upon the basis of facts, that we may make an 
answer to those profligate persons who are al- 
ways ready to fling an air of ridicule upon the 
labours of humanity, because they are desirous 
that what they have not virtue to do themselves, 
should appear to be foolish and romantic when 
done by others. A still higher degree of depra- 
vity than this, is to want every sort of compas- 
sion for human misery, when it is accompanied 
by filth, poverty and ignorance, — to regulate 
humanity by the income tax, and to deem the 
bodily wretchedness and the dirty tears of the 
poor, a fit subject for pleasantry and contempt. 
We should have been loath to believe that such 
deep-seated and disgusting immorality existed 
in these days ; but the notice of it is forced upon 
lis. Nor must we pass over a set of marvel- 
lously weak gentlemen who discover democracy 
and revolution in every effort to improve the 
condition of the lower orders, and to take off" a 
little of the load of misery from those points 
where it presses the hardest. Such are the 
men into whose heart Mrs. Fry has struck the 
deepest terror, — who abhor Mr. Bentham and 
his penitentiary; Mr. Bennet and his hulks; 
Sir James Mackintosh and his bloodless assizes ; 
Mr. Tuke and his sweeping machines, — and 
every human being who is great and good 
enough to sacrifice his quiet to his love for his 
fellow-creatures. Certainly we admit that hu- 
manity is sometimes the veil of ambition or of 
faction; but we have no doubt that there are a 
great many excellent persons to whom it is 
misery to see misery, and pleasure to lessen it; 
and who, by calling the public attention to the 
worst cases, and by giving birth to judicious 



legislative enactments for their improvement, 
have made, and are making, the world some- 
what happier than they found it. Upon these 
principles we join hands with the friends of the 
chimney sweepers, and most heartily wish for 
the diminution of their numbers, and the limi- 
tation of their trade. 

We are thoroughly convinced, there are many 
respectable master chimney sweepers; though 
we suspect their numbers have been increased 
by the alarm which their former tyranny excited, 
and by the severe laws made for their coercion: 
but even with good masters the trade is mise- 
rable, — with bad ones it is not to be endured; 
and the evidence already quoted shows us how 
many of that character are to be met with in the 
occupation of sweeping chimneys. 

After all, we must own that it was quite right 
to throw out the bill for prohibiting the sweep- 
ing of chimneys by boys — because humanity is 
a modern invention; and there are many chim- 
neys in old houses which cannot possibly be 
swept in any other manner. But the construc- 
tion of chimneys should be attended to in some 
new building act; and the treatment of boys be 
watched over with the most severe jealousy of 
the law. Above all, those who have chimneys 
accessible to machinery, should encourage the 
use of machines,* and not think it beneath their 
dignity to take a little trouble, in order to do a 
great deal of good. We should have been very 
glad to have seconded the views of the Climbing 
Society, and to have pleaded for the complete 
abolition of climbing boys, if we could consci- 
entiously have done so. But such a measure, 
we are convinced from the evidence, could not 
be carried into execution without great injury to 
property, and great increased risk of fire. The 
lords have investigated the matter with the 
greatest patience, humanity and good sense; 
and they do not venture, in their report, to re- 
commend to the House the abolition of climbing 
boys. 



* The price of a machine is fifteen sliillings. 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



137 



AMEEICA.* 

[Edinburgh Review, 1820.] 



This is a book of character and authority ; 
but it is a very large book; and therefore we 
think we shall do an acceptable service to our 
readers, by presenting them with a short epi- 
tome of its contents, observing the same order 
which has been chosen by the author. The 
whole, we conceive, will form a pretty complete 
picture of America, and teach us how to appre- 
ciate that countr)% either as a powerful enemy 
or a profitable friend. The first subject with 
which Mr. Seybert begins, is the population of 
the United States. 

Population. — As representatives and direct 
taxes are apportioned among the different states 
in proportion to their numbers, it is provided 
for in the American constitution, that there 
shall be an actual enumeration of the people 
every ten years. It is the duty of the marshals 
in each state to number the inhabitants of their 
respective districts : and a correct copy of the 
lists, containing the names of the persons re- 
turned, must be set up in a public place within 
each district, before they are transmitted to the 
secretary of state: — they are then laid before 
Congress by the president. Under this act three 
census, or enumerations of the people, have 
been already laid before Congress — fur the 
years 1790, 1800 and 1810. In the year 1790, 
the population of America was 3,921,326 per- 
sons, of whom 697,697 were slaves. In 1800, 
the numbers were 5,319,762, of which 896,849 
were slaves. In 1810, the numbers were 7,239,- 
903, of whom 1,191,364 were slaves; so that at 
a rale at which free population has proceeded 
between 1790 and 1810, it doubles itself, in the 
United Slates, in a very little more than 22 
years. The slave population, according to its 
rate of proceeding in the same time, would be 
doubled in about 26 years. The increase of the 
slave population in this statement is owing to 
the importation of negroes betw^een 1800 and 
1808, especially in 1806 and 1807, from the ex- 
pected prohibition against importation. The 
number of slaves was also increased by the ac- 
quisitions of territory in Louisiana, where they 
constituled nearly half the population. From 
1801 to 1811, the inhabitants of Great Britain 
acquired an augmentation of 14 per cent.; the 
Americans, within the same period, were aug- 
mented 36 per cent. 

Emigration seems to be of very little import- 
ance to the United States. In the year 1817, by 
far the most considerable 3'^ear of emigration, 
there arrived in ten of the principal ports of 
America, from the old world, 22,000 persons as 
passengers. The number of emigrants, from 1790 
to 1810, is not supposed to have exceeded 6000 



* Statiuical Annals of Oie United States of America. By 
J> diim Seybert, 4to- Pliiladelphia, 1S18. 
18 



per annum. None of the separate states have 
been retrograde duringthese three enumerations, 
though some have been nearly stationary. The 
most remarkable increase is that of New York, 
which has risen from 340,120 in the year 1790, 
to 959,049 in the year 1810. The emigration 
from the eastern to the western states is calcu- 
lated at 60,000 persons per annum. In all the 
American enumerations, the males uniformly 
predominate in the proportion of about 100 to 
92. We are better ofl^ in Great Britain and Ire- 
land, — where the women were to the men, by 
the census of 1811, as 110 to 100. The density 
of population in the United States is less than 
4 persons to a square mile; that of Holland, 
in 1803, was 275 to the square mile; that of 
England and Wales, 169. So that the fifteen 
provinces which formed the union in 1810, 
would contain, if they were as thickly peopled 
as Holland, 135 million souls. 

The next head is that of Trade and Commerce. 
— In 1790, the exports of the United States were 
above 19 millions of dollars; in 1791, above 20 
millions; in 1792, 26 millions; in 1793, 33 mil- 
lions of dollars. Prior to 1795, there was no 
discrimination, in the American treasury ac- 
counts, between the exportation of domestic, 
and the re-exportation of foreign articles. In 
1795, the aggregate value of the merchandize 
exported was 67 millions of dollars, of which the 
foreign produce re-exported was 26 millions. 
In 1800, the total value of exports was 94 mil- 
lions; in 1805, 101 millions; and in 1808, when 
they arrived at their maximum, 108 million 
dollars. In the year 1809, from the effects of 
the French and English orders in council, the 
exports fell to 52 millions of dollars; in 1810 
to 66 -millions ; in 1811, to 61 millions; In the 
first year of the war with England, to 38 mil- 
lions ; in the second to 27; in the )'ear 1814, 
when peace was made, to 6 millions. So that 
the exports of the republic, in six years, had 
tumbled down from 108 to 6 millions of dollars: 
after the peace, in the years 1815-16-17, thp 
exports rose to 52, 81,87 million dollars. 

In 1817, the exportation of cotton was 8.5 
million pounds. In 1815, the sugar made on 
the banks of the Mississippi was 10 millioa 
pounds. In 1792, when the wheat trade was at 
the maximum, a million and a half of bushels 
were exported. The proportions of the exports 
to Great Britain, Spain, France, Holland and 
Portugal, on an average of ten years ending 
1812, are as 27, 16, 13, 12 and 7; the actual 
value of exports to the dominions of Great 
Britain, in the three years ending 1804, were 
consecutively, in millions of dollars, 16, 17, 13. 

Imports. — in 1791, the imports of the United 
States were 19 millions; on an average of three 
consecutive years, ending 1804 inclusive, they 
u2 



138 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



were 68 millions; in 1806-7, they were 138 
millions; and in 1815, 133 millions of dollars. 
The annual value of the imports, on an average 
of three years ending 1804, was 75,000,000, of 
"which the dominions of Great Britain furnished 
nearly one half. On an average of three years 
ending in 1804, America imported from Great 
Britain to the amount of about 36 millions, and 
returned goods to the amount of about 23 mil- 
lions. Certainly these are countries that have 
some belter employment for their time and 
energy than cutting each other's throats, and 
may meet for more profitable purposes. — The 
American imports from the dominions of Great 
Britain, before the great American war, amount- 
ed to about 3 millions sterling; soon after the 
war, to the same. From 1805 to 1811, both in- 
clusive, the average annual exportation of Great 
Britain to all parts of the world, in real value, 
was about 43 millions sterling, of which one- 
fifth, or nearly 9 millions, was sent to America. 

Tonnage and Navigation. — Before the revolu- 
tionary war, the American tonnage, whether 
owned by British or American subjects, was 
about 127,000 tons; immediately after that war, 
108,000. In 1789, it had amounted to 437,733 
tons, of which 279,000 was American property. 
In 1790, the total was 605,825, of which 354,000 
was American. In 1816, the tonnage, all Ame- 
rican, was 1,300,000. On an average of three 
years, from 1810 to 1812, both inclusive, the 
registered tonnage of the British empire was 
2,459,000 ; or little more than double the Ame- 
rican. 

Lands. — All public lands are surveyed before 
they are offered for sale, and divided into town- 
ships of six miles square, which are subdivided 
into thirty-six sections of one mile square, con- 
taining each 640 acres. The following lands 
are excepted from the sales. One thirty-sixth 
part of the lands, or a section of 640 acres in 
each township, is unilormly reserved for the 
support of schools ; seven entire townships, con- 
taining each 23,000 acres, have been reserved 
in perpetuity for the support of learning: all salt 
springs and lead mines are also reserved. The 
Mississippi, the Ohio, and all the navigable 
rivers and waters leading into either, or into the 
river St. Lawrence, remain common highways, 
and forever lYee to all the citizens of the United 
States, without payment of any tax. All the 
other public lands, not thus excepted, are offered 
for public sale in quarter sections of 160 acres, 
at a price not less than two dollars per acre, 
and as much more as they will fetch by public 
auction. It was formerly the duty of the secre 
tary of the treasury to superintend the sales of 
lands. In 1812, an ofllce, denominated the 
General Land-Office, was instituted. The public 
lands sold prior to the opening of the land-offices, 
amounted to one million and a half of acres. 
The aggregate of the sales since the opening of 
the land-offices, N. W. of the river Ohio, to the 
end of September, 1817, amounted to 8,469,644 
acres; and the purchase-money to 18,000,000 
dollars. The lands sold since the opening of 
the land-offices in the Mississippi territory, 
amount to 1,600,000 acres. The stock of un- 
sold land on hand is calculated at 400,000,000 
acres. In the year 18 17 there were sold above 
two millions of acres. 



Post-Office. — In 1789, the number of post- 
offices in the United States was 75; the amount 
of postage 38,000 dollars ; the miles of post-road 
1800. In 1817, the number of post-offices was 
3,459; the amount of postage 961,000 dollars; 
and the extent of post-roads 51,600 miles. 

Revetiiie. — The revenues of the United States 
are derived from the customs; from duties on 
distilled spirits, carriages, snuff, refined sugar, 
auctions, stamped paper, goods, wares and mer- 
chandise manufactured within the United States, 
household furniture, gold and silver watches 
and postage of letters; from money arising from 
the sale of public lands and from fees on letters- 
patent. The following are the duties paid at 
the custom-house for some of the principal arti- 
cles of importation: — "i^ per cent, on dyeing 
drugs, jewellery and watch-work; 15 per cent, 
on hempen cloth and on all articles manu- 
factured from iron, tin, brass and lead — on but- 
tons, ijuckles, china, earthenware and glass, 
except window glass; 25 per cent, on cotton 
and woollen goods and cotton twist; 30 per 
cent, on carriages, leather and leather manu- 
factures, &c. 

The average annual produce of the customs, 
between 1801 and 1810, both inclusive, was 
about twelve millions of dollars. In the year 

1814, the customs amounted onli/ to four mil- 
lions; and, in the year 1815, the first year after 
the war, rose to thirty-seven millions. From 
1789 to 1814, the customs have constituted 65 
per cent, of the American revenues; loans 26 
per cent.; and all other branches 8 to 9 per cent. 
They collect their customs at about 4 per cent.; 
— the English expense of collection is 6/. 2s.Qd. 
per cent. 

The duty upon spirits is extremely trifling to 
the consumer — not a penny per gallon. The 
number of distilleries is about 15,000. The 
licenses produce a very inconsiderable sum. 
The tax laid upon carriages in 1814, varied 
from fifty dollars to one dollar, according to the 
value of the machine. In the year 1801, there 
were more than fifteen thousand carriages of dif- 
ferent descriptions paying duty. The furniture- 
tax seems to have been a very singular species 
of tax, laid on during the last war. It was an ad 
valorem duty upon all the furniture in any man's 
possession, the value of which exceeded 600 
dollars. Furniture cannot be estimated without 
domiciliary visits, nor domiciliary visits allowed 
without tyranny and vexation. An information 
laid against a new arm-chair, or a clandestine 
sideboard — a search-warrant, and a conviction 
consequent upon it — have much more the ap- 
pearance of English than American liberty. 
The license for a watch, too, is purely English. 
A truly free Englishman walks out covered with 
licenses. It is impossible to convict him. He 
has paid a guinea for his powdered head — a 
guinea for the coat of arms upon his seals — a 
three guinea license for the gun he carries upon 
his shoulder to shoot game: and is so fortified 
with permits and official sanctions, that the most 
eagle-eyed informer cannot obtain the most tri- 
fling advantage over him. 

America has borrowed, between 1791 and 

1815, one hundred and seven millions of dol 
lars, of which forty-nine millions were bor- 
rowed in 1813 and 1814. The internal revenue 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



139 



in the year 1815 amounted to eight million 
dollars; the gross revenue of the same year, 
including the loan, to fifty-one million dollars. 

Army. — During the late war wilh Great Brit- 
tain, Congress authorized the raising of 62,000 
men for the armies of the United States, — 
though the actual number raised never amount- 
ed to half that force. In February, 1815, the 
army of the United States did not amount to 
more than 32,000 men; in January, 1814, to 
23,000.* The recruiting service, as may be 
easily conceived, where the wages of labour 
are so high, goes on very slowly in America. 
The military peace establishment was fixed in 
1815 at 10,000 men. The Americans are fortu- 
nately exempt from the insanity of garrisoning 
little rocks and islands all over the world; nor 
would they lavish millions upon the ignoble end 
of the Spanish Peninsula — the most useless and 
extravagant possession with which any Eu- 
ropean power was ever afflicted. In 1812, any 
recruit honourably discharged from the service, 
was allowed three months' pay, and 160 acres 
of land. In 1814, every non-commissioned 
officer, musician and private, who enlisted and 
was afterwards honourably discharged, was al- 
lowed, upon such discharge, 320 acres. The 
enlistment was for five years, or during the war. 
The widow, child or parent of any person en- 
listed, who was killed, or died in the service of 
the United States, was entitled to receive the 
same bounty in land. 

Every free white male between eighteen and 
forty-five, is liable to be called out in the militia, 
which is stated, in official papers, to amount to 
748,000 persons. 

Navy. — On the 8th of June, 1781, the Ameri- 
cans had onlj' one vessel of war, the Alliance; 
and that was thought to be too expensive ; it was 
sold! The attacks of the Barbary powers first 
roused them to form a navy; which, in 1797, 
amounted to three frigates. In 1814, besides a 
great increase of frigates, four seventy-fours 
were ordered to be built. In 1816, in conse- 
quence of some brilliant actions of their fri- 
gates, the naval service had become very popu- 
lar throughout the United States. One million 
of dollars was appropriated annually, for eight 
years to the gradual increase of the navy; nine 
seventy-fours,! and twelve forty-four gun-ships 
were ordered to be built. Vacant and unappro- 
priated lands belonging to the United States, fit 
to produce oak and cedar, were to be selected 
for the use of the navy. The peace establish- 
ment of the marine corps was increased, and 
six navy yards were established. We were 
surprised to find Dr. Seybert complaining of a 
want of ship timber in America. "Many per- 
sons (he says) believe that our stock of live oak 
is very considerable ; but upon good authority 
we have been told, in 1801, that supplies of live 
oak from Georgia will be obtained with great 
difficulty, and that the larger pieces are very 
scarce." In treating of naval aiTairs, Dr. Sey- 
bert, with a very difl^erent purpose in view, pays 
the following involuntary tribute to the activity 



* Peace with Great Britain was signed in December, 
1S14, at Glient. 

t The American seventy-four gun ships are as bi!^ as 
our first-rates, and tlieir frigates nearly as big as ships of 
the line. 



and effect of our late naval warfare against the 
Americans. 

"For a long time the majority of the people 
of the United States was opposed to an exten- 
sive and permanent naval establishment; and 
the force authorized by the legislature, until very 
lately, was intended for temporary purposes. A 
navy was considered to be beyond the financial 
means of our country; and it was supposed the 
people would not submit to be taxed for its sup- 
port. Our brilliant success in the late war has 
changed the public sentiment on this subject: 
many persons who formerly opposed the navy, 
now consider it as an essential means for our 
defence. The late transactions on the borders 
of the Chesapeake Bay, cannot be forgotten; 
the extent of that immense estuary enabled the 
enemy to sail triumphant into the interior of 
the United States. For hundreds of miles along 
the shores of that great bay, our people were in- 
sulted; our towns were ravaged and destroyed; 
a considerable population was teased and irri- 
tated; depredations were hourly committed by 
an enemy who could penetrate into the bosom 
of the country, without our being able to molest 
him whilst he kept on the water. By the time 
a sufficient force was collected to check his 
operations in one situation, his ships had al- 
ready transported him to another, which was 
feeble, and offered a booty to him. An army 
could make no resistance to this mode of war- 
fare; the people were annoyed; and they suf- 
fered in the field only to be satisfied of their 
inability to check those who had the dominion 
upon our waters. The inhabitants who were in 
the immediate vicinity, were not alone affected 
by the enemy; his operations extended their 
influence to our great towns on the Atlantic 
coast; domestic intercourse and internal com- 
merce were interrupted, whilst that wilh foreign 
nations was, in some instances, entirely sus- 
pended. The treasury documents for 1814, ex- 
hibit the phenomenon of the State of Pennsyl- 
vania not being returned in the list of the 
exporting states. We were not only deprived 
of revenue, but our expenditures were very 
much augmented. It is probable the amount 
of the expenditures incurred on the borders of 
the Chesapeake would have been adequate to 
provide naval means for the defence of those 
waters: the people might then have remained 
at home, secure from depredation in the pur- 
suit of their tranquil occupations. The ex- 
penses of the government, as well as of indi- 
viduals, were very much augmented for every 
species of transportation. Every thing had to 
be conveyed by land carriage. Our communi- 
cation with the ocean was cut off. One thou- 
sand dollars were paid for the transportation of 
each of the thirty-two pounder cannon from 
Washington city to Lake Ontario for the public 
service. Our roads became almost impassable 
from the heavy loads which were carried over 
them. These facts should induce us, in times 
of tranquillity, to provide for the national de- 
fence, and execute such internal improvements 
as cannot be effected during the agitations of 
war." — (p. 679.) 

Expenditure. — The President of the United 
States receives about 6000/. a year; the Vice- 
President about 600/.; the deputies to Congress 



140 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



have 8 dollars per day, and 8 dollars for every 
20 miles of journey. The first clerk of the 
House of Representatives receives about 750/. 
per annum; the Secretary of State, 1200/.; the 
Postmaster-General, 750/.; the Chief Justice of 
the United States, 1000/.; a Minister Plenipo- 
tentiary, 2200/. per annum. There are, doubt- 
less, reasons why there should be two noblemen 
appointed in this country as postmasters-gene- 
ral, with enormous salaries, neither of whom 
know a twopenny post letter from a general 
one, and where further retrenchments are stated 
to be impossible. This is clearly a case to 
■which that impossibility extends. But these are 
matters where a prostration of understanding 
is called for; and good subjects are not to rea- 
son, but to pay. If, however, we were ever to 
indulge in the Saxon practice of looking into 
•our own aflairs, some important documents 
might be derived from these American salaries. 
Jonathan, for instance, sees no reason why the 
first clerk of his House of Commons should 
derive emoluments from his situation to the 
amount of 6000/. or 7000/. per annum ; but 
Jonathan is vulgar and arithmetical. The total 
expenditure of the United States varied, between 
1799 and 1811, both inclusive, from 11 to 17 
millions of dollars. From 1812 to 1814, both 
inclusive, and all these years of war with this 
country, the expenditure was consecutively, 23, 
29, and 38 millions of dollars. The total ex- 
penditure of the United States, for 14 years 
from 1791 to 1814, was 333 millions of dollars; 
of which, in the three last years of war with 
this country, from 1812 lo 1814, there were ex- 
pended 100 millions of dollars, of which only 
35 were supplied by revenue, the rest by loans 
and government paper. The sum total received 
by the American treasury from the 3d of March, 
1789, to the 31st of March, 1816, is 354 millions 
of dollars; of which 107 millions have been 
raised by loan, and 222 millions by the customs 
and tonnage: so that, exclusive of the revenue 
derived from loans, 222 parts out of 247 of the 
American revenue have been derived from fo- 
reign commerce. In the mind of any sensible 
American, this consideration ought to prevail 
over the few splendid actions of their half dozen 
frigates, which must, in a continued war, have 
been, with all their bravery and activity, swept 
from the face of the ocean by the superior force 
and equal bravery of the English. It would be 
the height of madness in America to run into 
another naval war with this country, if it could 
be averted by any other means than a sacrifice 
of proper dignity and character. They have, 
comparatively, no land revenue; and, in spite 
of the Franklin and Gaerrlere, though lined 
with cedar and mounted with brass cannon, 
they must soon be reduced to the same state 
which has been described by Dr. Seybert, and 
from which they were so opportunely extricated 
by the treaty of Ghent. David Porter and Ste- 
phen Decatur are A'ery brave men ; but they 
will prove an unspeakable misfortune to their 
country, if they inflame Jonathan into a love of 
naval glory, and inspire him with any other 
love of war than that which is founded upon a 
determination not to submit to serious insult 
and injury. 

We can inform Jmiathan what are the inevi- 



table consequences of being too fond of glory;— 
Taxes upon every article which enters into the 
mouth, or covers the back, or is placed under the 
foot — taxes upon every thing which it is pleasant 
to see, hear, feel, smell, or taste — taxes upon 
warmth, light and locomotion — taxes on every thing 
on earth, and the waters under the earth — on every 
thing that comes from abroad, or is grown at 
home — taxes on the raw material — taxes on every 
fresh value that is added to it by the industry of 
man — taxes on. the sauce which pampers 7nan's 
appetite, and the drug that restores him to health 
— on the ermine ivhich decorates the judge, and 
the rope which hangs the criminal — on the poor 
man's salt, and, the rich man's spice — on the brass 
nails of the coffin, and the ribbons of the bride — 
at bed or board, couchant or levant, we must pay. 
— The school-hoy whips his taxed top — the beard- 
less youth manages his taxed horse, with a taxed 
bridle, on a taxed road: — and the dying English- 
man, pouring his medicine, which has paid 7 per 
cent., into a spoon that has paid \^ per cent., — 
flings himself back upon his chintz bed, which 
has paid 22 per cent., — and expires in the arms 
of an apothecary, who has paid a license of a 
hundred pounds for the privilege of putting him 
to death. His whole property is then immediately 
taxed from 2 to 10 per cent. Besides the probate, 
large fees are demanded f/r burying him in the 
chancel; his virtues are handed down to posterity 
on taxed marble ; and he is then gathered to his 
fathers, — to be taxed no more. In addition to all 
this, the habit of dealing with large sums will 
make the government avaricious and profuse; 
and the system itself will infallibly generate 
the base vermin of spies and informers, and a' 
still more pestilent race of political tools and 
retainers of the meanest and most odious 
description; — while the prodigious patronage 
which the collecting of this splendid revenue 
will throw into the hands of government, will 
invest it with so vast an influence, and hold out 
such means and temptations to corruption, as 
all the virtue and public spirit, even of repub- 
licans, will be unable to resist. 

Every wise Jonathan should remember this, 
when he sees the rabble huzzaing at the heels 
of the truly respectable Decatur, or inflaming 
the vanity of that still more popular leader, 
whose justification has lowered the character of 
his government with all the civilized nations of 
the world. 

Debt. — America owed 42 million dollars after 
the Revolutionary war; in 1790, 79 millions; in 
1803,70 millions; and in the beginningof Janu- 
ary, 1812, the public debt was diminished to 45 
million dollars. After the last war with Eng- 
land, it had risen to 123 millions ; and so it stood 
on the 1st of January, 1816. The total amount 
carried to the credit of the commissioners of the 
sinking fund, on the31stof December, 1816, was 
about 34 millions of dollars. 

Such is the land of Jonathan — and thus has 
it been governed. In his honest endeavours to 
better his situation, and in his manly purpose 
of resisting injury and insult we most cordially 
sympathize. We hope he will always continue 
to watch and suspect his government as he now 
does — remembering that it is the constant ten- 
dency of those entrusted with power, to con- 
ceive that they enjoy it by their own merits, 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



141 



and foi" their own use, and not by delegation, 
and for the benefit of others. Thus far we are 
the friends and admirers of Jonathan. But he 
must not grow vain and ambitious; or allow 
himself to be dazzled by that galaxy of epithets 
by which his orators and newspaper scribblers 
endeavour to persuade their supporters that they 
are the greatest, the most refined, the most en- 
lightened and most moral people upon earth. 
The effect of this is unspeakably ludicrous on 
this side of the Atlantic — and, even on the other, 
we shall imagine, must be rather humiliating 
to the reasonable part of the population. The 
Americans are a brave, industrious and acute 
people; but they have, hitherto, given no indi- 
cations of genius, and made no approaches 
to the heroic, either in their morality or cha- 
racter. They are but a recent offset, indeed, 
from England; and should make it their chief 
boast, for many generations to come, that they 
are sprung from the same race with Bacon and 
Shakspeare and Newton. Considering their 
numbers, indeed, and the favourable circum- 
stances in which they have been placed, they 
have yet done marvellously little to assert the 
honour of such a descent, or to show that their 
English blood has been exalted or refined by 
their republican training and institutions. — 
Their Franklins and Washingtons, and all the 
other sages and heroes of their Revolution, 
were born and bred subjects of the King of 
England, — and not among the freest or most 
valued of his subjects. And since the period 
of their separation, a far greater proportion of 
their statesmen and artists and political writers 
have been foreigners than ever occurred before 
in the history of any civilized and educated 
people. During the thirty or forty years of 
their independence, they have done absolutely 
nothing for the Sciences, for the Arts, for Lite- 
rature, or even for the statesman-like studies of 



Politics or Political Economy. Confining our- 
selves to our own country, and to the period 
that has elapsed since they had an independent 
existence, we would ask, where are their Foxes, 
their Burkes, their Sheridans, their Windhams, 
their Homers, their Wilberforces? — where their 
Arkwrights, their Watts, their Davys 1 — their 
Robertsons, Blairs, Smiths, Stewarts, Paleys, 
and Malthusesi — their Porsons, Parrs, Bur- 
neys, or Bloomfieldsl — their Scotts, Rogers's, 
Campbells, Byrons, Moores, or Crabbes ? — 
their Siddons's, Kembles, Keans, or O'Neilsl — 
their Wilkies, Lawrences, Chantrys? — or their 
parallels to the hundred other names that have 
spread themselves over the world from our 
little island in the course of the last thirty 
years, and blest or delighted mankind by their 
works, inventions or examples 1 In so far as 
we know, there is no such parallel to be pro- 
duced from the whole annals of this self- 
adulating race. In the four quarters of the 
globe, who reads an American book 1 or goes 
to an American play? or looks at an American 
picture or statue 1 What does the world yet 
owe to American ph3'sicians or surgeons I 
What new substances have their chemists dis- 
covered? or what old ones have they analyzedl 
What new constellations have been discovered 
by the telescopes of Americans'? What have 
they done in the mathematics? Who drinks 
out of American glasses? or eats from Ameri- 
can plates? or wears American coats or gowns? 
or sleeps in American blankets ? Finally, under 
which of the old tyrannical governments of Eu- 
rope is every sixth man a slave, whom his fel- 
low-creatures may buy and sell and torture ? 

When these questions are fairly and favour- 
ably answered, their laudatory epithets may be 
allowed: but till that can be done, we would 
seriously advise them to keep clear of super- 
latives. 



142 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



lEELAND.* 



[Edinburgh Review, 1820.] 



There are all the late publications that treat 
of Irish interests in general, — and none of them 
are of first-rate importance. Mr. Gamble's Tra- 
vels in Ireland are of a very ordinary description 
— low scenes and low humour making up the 
principal part of the narrative. There are 
readers, however, whom it will amuse; and the 
reading market becomes more and more exten- 
sive, and embraces a greater variety of persons 
every day. Mr. Whitelaw's History of Dublin 
is a book of great accuracy and research, highly 
creditable to the industry, good sense and be- 
nevolence of its author. Of the Travels of Mr. 
Christian Curwen, we hardly know what to say. 
He is bold and honest in his politics — a great 
enemy to abuses — vapid in his levity and plea- 
santry, and inlinitely too much inclined to de- 
claim upon common-place topicsof morality and 
benevolence. But, with these drawbacks, the 
book is not ill written; and may be advantage- 
ously read by those who are desirous of informa- 
tion upon the present state of Ireland. 

So great and so long has been the misgo- 
vernment of that country, that we verily believe 
the empire would be much stronger if every 
thirg was open sea between England and ihe 
Atlantic, and if skates and codfish swam over 
the fair land of Ulster. Such jobbing, such 
profligacy — so much direct tyranny and oppres- 
sion — such an abuse of God's gifts — such a 
profanation of God's name for the purposes of 
bigotry and party spirit, cannot be exceeded in 
the history of civilized Europe, and will long 
remain a monument of infamy and shame to 
England. But it will be more useful to suppress 
the indignation which the very name of Ireland 
inspires,and to consider impartially those causes 
which have marred this fair portion of the crea- 
tion, and kept it wild and savage in the midst of 
improving Europe. 

The great misfortune of Ireland is, that the 
mass of the people have been given up for a 
century to a handful of Protestants, by whom 
they have been treated as Heluts, and subjected 
to every species of persecution and disgrace. 
The sufferings of the Catholics have been so 
loudly chaunted in the very streets, that it is al- 
most needless to remind our readers that, during 
the reigns of George I. and George II., the Irish 
Roman Catholics were disabled from holding 
any civil or military office, from voting at elec- 
tions, from admission into corporations, from 
practising law or physic. A younger brother, 
by turning Protestant, might deprive his elder 



*1. W/(lle!aw''s History of the City of Dublin. 4to Ca- 
dell and Davics. 

2. Observntinns on ihe State of Ireland, principally di- 
rected to its As^ricvUure and livral Population; in a series of 
hetters tcritttn on a Tour through that Country. In 2 vols. 
By J. C. Curwen, Esq., M. P. London, l&ia 

3. Gamble's Views of Society in Ireland. 



brother of his birthright; by the same process, 
he might force his father, under the name of a 
liberal provision, to yield up to him a part of 
his landed property: and, if an eldest son, he 
might, in the same way, reduce his father's fee- 
simple to a life estate. A papist was disabled 
from purchasing freehold lands — and even from 
holding long leases — and any person might take 
his Catholic neighbour's house by paying 5/. for 
it. If the child of a Catholic father turned Pra- 
testant, he was taken away from his father and 
put into the hands of a Protestant relation. No 
papist could purchase a freehold, or lease for 
more than thirty years — or inherit from an in- 
testate Protestant — nor from an intestate Catho- 
lic — nor dwell in Limerick or Galway — nor hold 
an advowson, nor buy an annuity for life. 50/. 
was given for discovering a popish archbishop 
— 30/. for a popish clergyman — and 10s. for a 
schoolmaster. No one was allowed to be trustee 
for Catholics ; no Catholic was allowed to take 
more than two apprentices; no papist to be so- 
licitor, sheriff, or to serve on grand juries. 
Horses of papists might be seized for the militia; 
for which militia papists were to pay double, 
and to find Protestant substitutes. Papists were 
prohibited from being present at vestries, or 
from being high or petty constables; and, when 
resident in towns, they were compelled to find 
Protestant watchmen. Barristers and solicitors 
marrying Catholics, were exposed to the penal- 
ties of Catholics. Persons plundered by pri- 
vateers during a war with any popish prince, 
were reimbursed by a levy on the Catholic in- 
habitants where they lived. All popish priests 
celebrating marriages contrary to 12 Geo. I. cap. 
3, were to be hanged. 

The greater part of these incapacities are re- 
moved, though many of a very serious and op- 
pressive nature still remain. But the grand 
misfortune is, that the spirit which these op- 
pressive laws engendered remains. The Pro- 
testant still looks upon the Catholic as a 
degraded being. The Catholic does not yet 
consider himself upon an equality with his for- 
mer tyrant and taskmaster. That religious 
hatred which required all the prohibiting vigi- 
lance of the law for its restraint, has found in 
the law its strongest support; and the spirit 
which the law first exasperated and embittered, 
continues to act long after the original stimulus 
is withdrawn. The law which prevented Ca- 
tholics from serving on grand juries is repealed ; 
but Catholics are not called upon grand juries 
in the proportion in which they are entitled, by 
their rank and fortune. The Duke of Bedford 
did all he could to give them the benefit of those 
laws which are already passed in their favour. 
But power is seldom entrusted in this country 
to one of the Duke of Bedford's liberality ; and 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



K3 



every thing has fallen back in the hands of his 
successors into the ancient division of the pri- 
vileged and degraded castes. We do not mean 
to cast any reflection upon the present secretary 
for Ireland, whom we believe to be upon this 
subject a very liberal politician, and on all sub- 
jects an honourable and excellent man. The 
government under which he serves allows him 
to indulge in a little harmless liberality; but it 
is perfectly understood that nothing is intended 
to be done for the Catholics ; that no loaves and 
fishes will be lost by indulgence in Protestant 
insolence and tyranny; and, therefore, among 
the generality of Irish Protestants, insolence, 
tyranny and exclusion continue to operate. 
However eligible the Catholic may be, he is not 
elected; whatever barriers may be thrown down, 
he does not advance a step. He was first kept 
out by law; he is now kept out by opinion and 
habit. They have been so long in chains, that 
nobody believes they are capable of using their 
hands and feet. 

It is not, however, the only or the worst misfor- 
tune of the Catholics, that the relaxations of the 
law are hitherto of little benefit to them ; the law 
is not )'et sufficiently relaxed. A Catholic, as 
every body knows, cannot be made sheriff; can- 
not be in Parliament; cannot be a director of 
the Irish Bank ; cannot fill the great departments 
of the law, the army and the navy; is cut off 
from all the high objects of human ambition, 
and treated as a marked and degraded person. 

The common admission now is, that the Ca- 
tholics are to the Protestants in Ireland as about 
4 to 1 — of which Protestants, not more than one 
half he]or\g to the Church of Ireland. This, then, 
is one of the most striking features in the state 
of Ireland. That the great mass of the popula- 
tion is completely subjugated and overawed by 
a handful of comparatively recent settlers, — in 
whom all the power and patronage of the coun- 
try are vested, — who have been reluctantly com- 
pelled to desist from still greater abuses of 
authority, — and who look with trembling appre- 
hension to the increasing liberality of the Par- 
liament and the country towards these unfortu- 
nate persons whom they have always looked 
upon as their property and their prey. 

Whatever evils may result from these pro- 
portions between the oppressor and the op- 
pressed — to whatever dangers a country so 
situated may be considered to be exposed — these 
evils and dangers are rapidly increasing in Ire- 
land. The proportion of Catholics to Protestants 
is infinitely greater now than it was thirty years 
ago, and is becoming more and more lavourable 
to the former. By a return made to the Irish 
House of Lords in 1732, the proportion of Ca- 
tholics to Protestants was not 2 to 1. It is now 
(as we have already observed) 4 to 1 ; and the 
causes which have thus altered the proportion 
in favour of the Catholics are sufficiently ob- 
vious to any one acquainted with the state of 
Ireland. The Roman Catholic priest resides: 
his income entirely depends upon the number 
of his flock; and he must exert himself, or he 
starves. There is some chance of success, 
therefore, in his efforts to convert; but the Pro- 
testant clergyman, if he were equally eager, has 
little or no probability of persuading so much 
larger a proportion of the population to come 



over to his church. The Catholic clergyman 
belongs to a religion that has always been more 
desirous of gaining proselytes than the Pro- 
testant church; and he is animated by a sense 
of injury and a desire of revenge. Another rea- 
son for the disproportionate increase of Catho- 
lics is, that the Catholics will marry upon means 
which the Protestant considers as insufficient 
for marriage. A few potatoes and a shed of 
turf are all that Luther has left for the Roman- 
ist ; and, when the latter gets these, he instantly 
begins upon the great Irish manufacture of chil- 
dren. But a Protestant belongs to the sect that 
eats the fine flour, and leaves the bran to others; 
he must have comforts, and he does not marry 
till he gets them. He would be ashamed, if he 
were seen living as a Catholic lives. This is 
the principal reason why the Protestants who 
remain attached to their church do not increase 
so fast as the Catholics. But in common minds, 
daily scenes, the example of the majority, the 
power of imitation, decide their habits, religious 
as well as civil. A Protestant labourer who 
works among Catholics, soon learns to think 
and act and talk as they do — he is not proof 
against the eternal panegyric which he hears of 
Father 0'Lear3% His Protestantism is rubbed 
away ; and he goes at last, after some little re- 
sistance, to the chapel, where he sees every 
body else going. 

These eight Catholics not only hate the ninth 
man, the Protestant of the Establishment, for 
the unjust privileges he enjoys — not only remem- 
ber that the lands of their fathers were given to 
his father — but they find themselves forced to 
pay for the support of his religion. In the 
wretched state of poverty in which the lower 
orders of Irish are plunged, it is not Avithout 
considerable effort that they can pay the few 
shillings necessary for the support of their Ca- 
tholic priest; and when this is effected, a tenth 
of the potatoes in the garden is to be set out 
for the support of a persuasion, the introduction 
of which into Ireland they consider as the great 
cause of their political inferiority, and all their 
manifold wretchedness. In England, a labourer 
can procure constant employment — or he can, 
at the worst, obtain relief from his parish. 
Whether tithe operates as a tax upon him. is 
known only to the political economist: if he 
does pay it, he does not know that he pays it; 
and the burthen of supporting the clergy is at 
least kept out of his view. But, in Ireland, the 
only method in which a poor man lives, is by 
taking a small portion of land, in which he can 
grow potatoes: seven or eight months out of 
twelve, in many parts of Ireland, there is no 
constant employment of the poor: and the po- 
tato farm is all that shelters them from absolute 
famine. If the pope were to come in person, and 
seize upon every tenth potato, the poor peasant 
would scarcely endure it. With what patience 
then, can he see it tossed into the cart of the 
heretic rector who has a church without a con- 
grejjation, and a revenue without duties? 

We do not say whether these things are right 
or wrong — whether they want a remedy at all 
— or what remedy they want ; but we paint them 
in those colours in which they appear to the eye 
of poverty and ignorance, without saying whe- 
ther those colours are false or true. Nor is tho 



144 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



case at all comparable to that of Dissenters pay- 
ing tithe in England; which case is precisely 
the reverse of what happens in Ireland, for it is 
the contribution of a very small minority to the 
religion of a very large majority ; and the num- 
bers on either side make all the difference in 
the argument. To exasperate the poor Catholic 
still more, the rich grazier of the parish — or the 
squire in his parish — pay no tithe at all for their 
grass land. Agistment tithe is abolished in 
Ireland ; and the burthen of supporting two 
churches seems to devolve upon the poorer 
Catholics, struggling with plough and spade in 
small scraps of dearly-rented land. Tithes seem 
to be collected in a more harsh manner than 
they are collected in England. The minute sub- 
divisions of land in Ireland — the little connection 
which the Protestant clergyman commonly has 
with the Catholic population of his parish, have 
made the introduction of tithe proctors very 
general — sometimes as the agent of the clergy- 
man — sometimes as the lessee or middleman 
between the clergyman and the cultivator of 
the land ; but, in either case, practised, dexter- 
ous estimators of tithe. The English clergymen 
in general, are far from exacting the whole of 
what is due to them, but sacrifice a little to the 
love of popularity or to the dread of odium. 
A system of tithe-proctors established all over 
England (as it is in Ireland,) would produce 
general disgust and alienation from the Esta- 
blished Church. 

" During the administration of Lord Halifax," 
says Mr. Hardy, in quoting the opinion of Lord 
Charlemont upon tithes paid by Catholics, " Ire- 
land was dangerously disturbed in its south- 
ern and northern regions. In the south princi- 
pally, in the counties of Kilkenny, Limerick, 
Cork and Tipperary, the White Boys now made 
their first appearance ; those White Boys, who 
have ever since occasionally disturbed the pub- 
lic tranquillity, without any rational method 
having been as yet pursued to eradicate this 
disgraceful evil. When we consider that the 
very same district has been for the long space 
of seven-and-twenty years liable to frequent 
returns of the same disorder into which it has 
continually relapsed, in spite of all the violent 
remedies from time to time administered by our 
political quacks, we cannot doubt but that some 
real, peculiar and topical cause must exist; and 
yet, neither the removal nor even the investiga- 
tion of this cause has ever once been seriously 
attempted. Laws of the most sanguinary and 
unconstitutional nature have been enacted; the 
country has been disgraced and exasperated 
by frequent and bloody executions ; and the 
gibbet, that perpetual resource of weak and 
cruel legislators, has groaned under the multi- 
tude of starving criminals : yet, while the cause 
is suffered to exist, the effects will ever follow. 
The amputation of limbs will never eradicate 
a prurient humour, which must be sought in its 
source, and there remedied." 

"I wish," continues Mr. Wakefield, "for the 
sake of humanity, and for the honour of the 
Irish character, that the gentlemen of that coun- 
try would take this matter into their serious 
consideration. Let them' only for a moment 
place themselves in the situation of the half- 
famished cotter, surrounded by a wretched fami- 



ly, clamorous for food ; and judge what his feel- 
ings must be, when he sees the tenth part of the 
produce of his potato garden exposed at harvest 
time to public cant; or, if he have given a pro- 
missory note for the payment of a certain sum 
of money, to compensate for such tithe when it 
becomes due, to hear the heart-rending cries of 
his offspring clinging round him, and lamenting 
for the milk of which they are deprived, by the 
cows being driven to the pound, to be sold to dis- 
charge the debt. Such accounts are not the 
creation of fancy ; the facts do exist, and are 
but too common in Ireland. Were one of them 
transferred to canvas by the hand of genius, 
and exhibited to English humanity, that heart 
must be callous, indeed, that could refuse its 
sympathy. I have seen the cow, the favourite 
cow, driven away, accompanied by the sighs, 
the tears and the imprecations of a whole fami- 
ly, who were paddling after, through wet and 
dirt, to take their last affectionate farewell of 
this their only friend and benefactor, at the 
pound gate. I have heard with emotions which 
I can scarcely describe, deep curses repeated 
from village to village as the cavalcade pro- 
ceeded. I have witnessed the group pass the 
domain walls of the opulent grazier, whose 
numerous herds were cropping the most luxu- 
riant pastures, while he was secure from any 
demand for the tithe of their food, looking on 
with the most unfeeling indifference." — Wake- 
field, p. 486. 

In Munster, where tithe of potatoes is exact- 
ed, risings against the system have constantly 
occurred during the last forty years. In Ulster, 
where no such tithe is required, these insurrec- 
tions are unknown. The double church which 
Ireland supports, and that painful visible con- 
tribution towards it which the poor Irishman is 
compelled to make from his miserable pittance, 
is one great cause of those never-ending in- 
surrections, burnings, murders and robberies, 
which have laid waste that ill-fated country for 
so many years. The unfortunate consequence 
of the civil disabilities, and the church payments 
under which the Catholics labour, is a rooted 
antipathy to this country. They hate the Eng- 
lish government from historical recollection, 
actual sufferings and disappointed hope ; and 
till they are better treated, they will continue to 
hate it. At this moment, in a period of the 
most profound peace, there are twenty-five 
thousand of the best disciplined and best ap- 
pointed troops in the world in Ireland, with 
bayonets fixed, presented arms, and in the atti- 
tude of present war: nor is there a man too 
much — nor would Ireland be tenable without 
them. When it was necessary last year (or 
thought necessary) to put down the children of 
reform, we were forced to make a new levy 
of troops in this country — not a man could 
be spared from Ireland. The moment they 
had embarked, Peep-of-day Boys, Heart-of-Oak 
Boys, Twelve-o'clock Boys,Heart-of-Flint Boys, 
and all the bloody boyhood of the Bog of Allen, 
would have proceeded to the ancient work of 
riot, rapine and disaffection. Ireland, in short, 
till her wrongs are redressed, and a more liberal 
policy is adopted towards her, will always be a 
cause of anxiety and suspicion to this country; 
and, in some moment of our weakness and de- 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



14 



pression, ■will forcibly extort what she would 
now receive with gratitude and exultation. 

Ireland is situated close to another island of 
gi'eater size, speaking the same language, very 
superior in civilization, and the seal of govern- 
ment. The consequence of this is the emigra- 
tion of the richest and most powerful part of the 
community — a vast drain of wealth — and the 
absence of all that wholesome influence Avhich 
the representatives of ancient families residing 
upon their estates, produce upon their tenantry 
and dependents. Can any man imagine that 
the scenes which have been acted in Ireland 
within these last twenty years, would have 
taken place, if such vast proprietors as the 
Duke of Devonshire, the Marquis of Hertford, 
the Marquis of Lansdowne, Earl Fitzwilliam, 
and many other men of equal Avealth, had been 
in the constant habit of residing upon their Irish, 
as they are upon their English estates 1 Is it of 
no consequence to the order and the civilization 
of a large district, whether the great mansion is 
inhabited by an insignificant, perhaps a mis- 
chievous, attorney, in the shape of agent, or 
whether the first and greatest men of the United 
Kingdoms, after the business of Parliament is 
over, come with their friends and families, to 
exercise hospitality, to spend large revenues, to 
diffuse information and lo improve manners'! 
This evil is a very serious one to Ireland; and, 
as far as we see, incurable. For if the present 
large estates were, by the dilapidation of fami- 
lies, to be broken to pieces and sold, others 
equally great would, in the free circulation of 
property, speedily accumulate; and the moment 
any possessor arrived at a certain pilch of for- 
tune, he would probably choose to reside in the 
better country, — near the Parliament or the 
court. 

This absence of great proprietors in Ireland 
Eecessarily brings with it, or if not necessarily, 
has actually brought with it, the employment 
of middlemen, which forms one other standing 
and regularlrish grievance. We are well aware 
of all that can be said in defence of middle- 
men ; that they stand between the little farmer 
and the great proprietor, as the. shop-keeper 
does between the manufacturer and consumer; 
and, in fact, by their intervention, save time, and 
therefore expense. This may be true enough 
in the abstract; but the particularnatureof land 
must be attended to. The object of the man who 
makes cloth is to sell his cloth at the present 
market, for as high a price as he can obtain. If 
that price is too high, it soon falls; but no injury 
is done to his machinery by the superior price 
he has enjoyed for a season — he is just as able 
to produce cloth with it, as if the profits he en- 
joyed had always been equally moderate ; he 
has no fear, therefore, of the middlemen, or of 
an}' species of moral machinery which may help 
to obtain for him the greatest present prices. 
The same would be the feeling of any one who 
let out a steam-engine, or any other machine, 
for the purposes of manufacture ; he would natu- 
rally take the highest price he could get: for he 
might either let his machine for a price propor- 
tionate to the work it did, or the repairs, estima- 
ble with the greatest precision, might be thrown 
upon the tenant; in short, he could hardly ask 
any rent too high for his machine which a re- 
19 



sponsible person would give ; dilapidation would 
be so visible, and so calculable in such in- 
stances, that any secondary lease, or subletting, 
would be rather an increase of security than a 
source of alarm. Any evil from such a practice 
would be improbable, measurable and reme- 
diable. In land, on the contrary, the object is 
not to get the highest prices absolutely, but to 
get the highest prices which will not injure the 
machine. One tenant may ofler and pay double 
the rent of another, and in a few years leave the 
land in a state which will efl^ectually bar all fu- 
ture offers of tenancy. It is of no use to fill a 
lease full of clauses and covenants; a tenant 
who pays more than he ought to pay, or who pays 
even to the last farthing which he ought to pay, 
will rob the land, and injure the machine, in 
spite of all the attorneys in England. He will 
rob it even if he means to remain upon it — 
driven on by present distress, and anxious to 
put off the day of defalcation and arrear. The 
damage isoften difficult of detection — not easily 
calculated, not easily to be proved; such for 
which juries (themselves, perhaps, farmers) 
would not willingly give sufficient compensa- 
tion. And if this is true in England, it is much 
more strikingly true in Ireland, where it is ex- 
tremely difficult to obtain verdicts for breaches 
of covenant in leases. 

The only method then of guarding the machine 
from real injury is, by giving to the actual oc- 
cupier such advantage in his contract, that he 
is unwilling to give it up — that he has a real 
interest in retaining it, and is not driven by the 
distresses of the present moment to destroy the 
future productiveness of the soil. Any rent 
which the landlord accepts more than this, or 
any system by which more rent than this is ob- 
tained, is to borrow money upon the most usu- 
rious and profligate interest — to increase the 
revenue of the present day by the absolute ruin 
of the property. Such is the effect produced by 
a middleman : he gives high prices that he may 
obtain higher from the occupier; more is paid 
by the actual occupier than is consistent with 
the safety and preservation of the machine; the 
land is run out, and in the end, that maximum of 
rent we have described is not obtained: and not 
only'is the property injured by such a system, 
but in Ireland the most shocking consequences 
ensue from it. There is little manufacture in 
Ireland; the price of labour is low, the demand 
for labour irregular. If a poor man is driven, 
by distress of rent, from his potato garden, he 
has no other resource — all is lost: he will do the 
impossible (as the French say) to retain it : and 
subscribe any bond, and promise any rent. The 
middleman lias no character to lose; and he 
knew, when he took up the occupation, that it 
was one with which pity had nothing lo do. On 
he drives; and backward the poor peasant re- 
cedes, losing something at every step, till he 
comes to the very brink of despair; and then 
he recoils and murders his oppressor, and is a 
WTiite boi/ or a Right boy : — the soldier shoots 
him, and the judge hangs him. 

In the debate which took place in the Irish 
House of Commons, upon the bill for preventing 
tumultuous risings and assemblies, on the 31sl 
of January, 1787, the attorney-general submitted 
to the House the following narrative of facts. 
N 



146 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



"The commencement," said he, "-was in one 
or two parishes in the county of Kerry; and 
they proceeded thus. The people assembled in 
a Catholic chapel, and there took an oath to 
obey the laws of Captain Right, and to starve the 
clergy. They then proceeded to the next pa- 
rishes, on the following Sunday, and there swore 
the people in the same manner; with this addi- 
tion, that they (the people last sworn) should, 
on the ensuing Sunday, proceed to the chapels 
of their next neighbouring parishes, and swear 
the inhabitants of those parishes in like manner. 
Proceeding in this manner they very soon went 
through the province of Munster. The first 
object was the reformation of tithes. They swore 
not to give more than a certain price per acre; 
not to assist, or allow them to be assisted, in 
drawing the tilhe, and to permit no proctm-. 
They next took upon them to prevent the collec- 
tion of parish cesses; next to nominate parish 
clerks, and in some cases curates: to say what 
church should or should not be repaired; and 
in one case to threaten that they would burn a 
new church, if the old one were not given for a 
mass-house. At last, they proceeded to regulate 
the price of lands; to raise the price of labour; 
and to oppose the collection of the hearth money, 
and other taxes. Bodies of 5000 of them have 
been seen to march through the country un- 
armed, and if met by any magistrate, they never 
offered the smallest rudeness or offence,- on the 
contrary, they had allowed persons charged with 
crimes to be taken from amongst them by the 
magistrate alone, unaided by any force." 

"The attorney-general said he was well ac- 
quainted with the province of Munster, and that 
it was impossible for human wretchedness to 
exceed that of the peasantry of that province. 
The unhappy tenantry were ground to powder 
by relentless landlords ; that, far from being 
able to give the clergy their just dues, they had 
not food nor raiment for themselves — the land- 
lord grasped the whole; and sorry was he to 
add, that, not satisfied with the present extortion, 
some landlords had been so base as to instigate 
the insurgents to rob the clergy of their tithes, 
not in order to alleviate the distresses of the 
tenantry, but that they might add the clergy's 
share to the cruel rack-rents they already paid. 
The poor people of Munster lived in a more ab- 
ject state of poverty than human tiature could be 
supposed equal to bear." — Grattan's Speeches, vol. 
i. 292. 

We are not, of course, in such a discussion, 
to be governed by names. A middleman might 
be tied up by the strongest legal restriction, as 
to the price he was to exact from the under- 
tenants, and then he would be no more perni- 
cious to the estate than a steward. A steward 
might be protected in exactions as severe as the 
most rapacious middleman ; and then, of course, 
it would be the same thing under another name. 
The practice to which we object is, the too 
common method in Ireland of extorting the last 
farthing which the tenant is willing to give for 
land, rather than quit it: and the machinery 
by which such practice is carried into effect, is 
that of the middleman. It is not only that it 
rums the land; it ruins the people also. They 
are made so poor — brought so near the ground 

-that they can sink no lower; and burst out at 



last into all the acts of desperation and revenge 
for which Ireland is so notorious. Men who 
have money in iheir pockets, and find that they 
are improving in their circumstances, don't do 
these things. Opulence, or the hope of opulence 
or comfort, is the parent of decency, order and 
submission to the laws. A landlord in Ireland 
understands the luxury of carriages and horses; 
but has no relish for the greater luxury of sur- 
rounding himself with a moral and grateful 
tenantry. The absent proprietor looks only to 
revenue, and cares nothing for the disorder and 
degradation of a country which he never means 
to visit. There are very honourable exceptions 
to this charge : but there are too many living in- 
stances that it is just. The rapacity of the Irish 
landlord induces him to allow of the extreme 
division of his lands. When the daughter mar- 
ries, a little portion of the little farm is broken 
off— another corner for Patrick, and another for 
Dermot — till the land is broken into section?, 
upon one of which an English cow could not 
stand. Twenty mansions of misery are thus 
reared instead of one. A louder cry of oppres- 
sion is lifted up to Heaven; and fresh enemies 
to the English name and power are multiplied 
on the earth. The Irish gentlemen, too, ex- 
tremely desirous of political influence, multiply 
freeholds and split votes; and this propensity 
tends of course to increase the miserable re- 
dundance of living beings, under which Ireland 
is groaning. Among the manifold wretchedness 
to which the poor Irish tenant is liable, we 
must not pass over the practice of driving for 
rent. A lets land to B, who lets it to C, who 
lets it again to D. D pays C his rent, and C 
pays B. But if B fails to pay A, he cattle of 
B, C, D are all driven to the pound, and after 
the interval of a few days, sold by auction. A 
general driving of this kind very frequently 
leads to a bloody insurrection. It may be 
ranked among the classical grievances of Ire- 
land. 

Potatoes enter for a great deal into the pre- 
sent condition of Ireland. They are much 
cheaper than wheat; and it is so easy to rear a 
family upon them, that there is no check to 
population from the difficulty of procuring food. 
The population, therefore, goes on with a ra- 
pidity approaching almost to that of new coun- 
tries, and in a much greater ratio than the 
improving agriculture and manufactures of the 
country can find employment for it. All degrees 
of all nations begin with living in pig-styes. 
The king or the priest first gets out of them; 
then the noble, then the pauper, in proportion 
as each class becomes more and more opulent. 
Better tastes arise from better circumstances; 
and the luxury of one period is the wretched- 
ness and poverty of another. English peasants, 
in the time of Henry the Seventh, were lodged 
as badly as Irish peasants now are; but the 
population was limited by the difficulty of pro- 
curing a corn subsistence. The improvements 
of this kingdom were more rapid ; the price of 
labour rose; and, with it, the luxury and com- 
fort of the peasant, who is now decently lodged 
and clothed, and who would think himself in the 
last stage of wretchedness, if he had nothing 
but an iron pot in a turf house, and plenty of 
potatoes in it. The use of the potato was intro- 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



147 



duced into Ireland when the wretched accommo- 
dation of her own peasantry bore some propor- 
tion to the state of those accommodations all 
over Europe. But they have increased their 
population so fast, and, in conjunction with the 
oppressive government of Ireland retarding im- 
provement, have kept the price of labour so low, 
that the Irish poor have never been able to 
emerge from their mud cabins, or to acquire 
any taste for cleanliness and decency of appear- 
ance. Mr. Curwen has the following descrip- 
tion of Irish cottages. 

"These mansions of miserable existence, for 
so they may truly be described, conformably to 
our general estimation of those indispensable 
comforts requisite to constitute the happiness of 
rational beings, are most commonly composed 
of two rooms on the ground floor, a most ap- 
propriate term, for they are literary on the 
earth ; the surface of which is not unfrequently 
reduced a foot or more, to save the expense of 
so much outward walling. The one is a refec- 
tory, the other the dormitory. The furniture of 
the former, if the owner ranks in the upper part 
of the scale of scantiness, will consist of a 
kitchen dresser, well provided and highly deco- 
rated with crockery — not less apparently the 
pride of the husband than the result of female 
vanity in the wife : which, with a table, a chest, 
a few stools and an iron pot, complete the cato- 
logue of conveniences generally found as be- 
longing to the cabin ; while a spinning-wheel, 
furnished by the Linen Board, and a loom, or- 
nament vacant spaces, that otherwise would 
remain unfurnished. In fitting up the latter, 
which cannot, on any occasion, or by any dis- 
play, add a feather to the weight or importance 
expected to be excited by the appearance of the 
former, the inventory is limited to one, and 
sometimes two beds, serving for the repose of 
the whole family! However downy these may 
be to limbs impatient for rest, their coverings 
appeared to be very slight; and the whole of 
the apartment created reflections of a very pain- 
ful nature. Under such privations, with a wet 
mud floor, and a roof in tatters, how idle the 
search for comforts !" — Curwen, I. 112, 113. 

To this extract we shall add one more on the 
same subject. 

"The gigantic figure, bare-headed before me, 
had a beard that would not have disgraced an 
ancient Israelite — he was without shoes or 
stockings — and almost a sans-culotte — with a 
coat or rather a jacket, that appeared as if the 
first blast of wind would tear it to tatters. 
Though his garb was ,thus tattered he had a 
manly commanding countenance. I asked per- 
mission to see the inside of his cabin, to which 
I received his most courteous assent. On 
stooping to enter at the door I was stopped and 
found that permission from another was neces- 
sary before I could be admitted. A pig, which 
was fastened to a stake driven into the floor, 
with length of rope suflicient to permit him the 
enjoyment of sun and air, demanded some cour- 
tesy, which I showed him, and was suffered to 
enter. The wife was engaged in boiling thread; 
and by her side, near the fire, a lovely infant 
was sleeping, without any covering, on a bare 
board. Whether the fire gave additional glow 
to the countenance of the babe, or that Nature 



impressed on its unconscious cheek ablush that 
the lot of man should be exposed to such pri- 
vations, I will not decide; but if the cause be 
referable to the latter, it was in perfect unison 
with my own feelings. Two or three other 
children crowded round the mother: on their 
rosy countenances health seemed established 
in spite of filth and ragged garments. The dress 
of the poor woman was barely sufficient to sa- 
tisfy decency. Her countenance bore the im- 
pression of a set melancholy, tinctured with an 
appearance of ill health. The hovel, which 
did not exceed twelve or fifteen feet in length 
and ten in breadth, was half obscured by smoke 
— chimney or window I saw none ; the door 
served the various purposes of an inlet to light, 
and the outlet to smoke. The furniture consist- 
ed of two stools, an iron pot and a spinning- 
wheel — while a sack stufi'ed with straw, and a 
single blanket laid on planks, served as a -bed 
for the repose of the whole family. Need I 
attempt to describe my sensations 1 The state- 
ment alone cannot fail of conveying, to a mind 
like yours, an adequate idea of them — I could 
not long remain a witness to this acme of hu- 
man misery. As I left the deplorable habita- 
tion, the mistress followed me to repeat her 
thanks for the trifle I had bestowed. This gave 
me an opportunity of observing her person 
more particularly. She was a tall figure, her 
countenance composed of interesting features, 
and with every appearance of having once been 
handsome. 

"Unwilling to quit the village without first 
satisfying myself whether what I had seen was 
a solitary instance, or a sample of its general 
state; or whether the extremity of poverty I had 
just beheld had arisen from peculiar improvi- 
dence and want of management in one wretch- 
ed family; I went into an adjoining habitation, 
where I found a poor old woman of eighty, 
whose miserable existence was painfully con- 
tinued by the maintenance of her granddaugh- 
ter. Their condition, if possible, was more de- 
plorable."— Cw?-;<;en, I. 181. 183. 

This wretchedness, of which all strangers who 
visit Ireland are so sensible, proceeds certainly, 
in great measure, from their accidental use of a 
food'so cheap, that it encourages population to an 
extraordinary degree, lowers the price of labour, 
and leaves the multitudes which it calls into 
existence almost destitute of every thing but 
food. Many more live in consequence of the 
introduction of potatoes ; but all live in greater 
wretchedness. In the progress of population, 
the potato must, of course, become at last as dif- 
ficult to be procured as any other food ; and then 
let the political economist calculate what the 
immensity and wretchedness of a people must 
be where the farther progress of population is 
checked by the difficulty of procuring potatoes. 

The consequence of the long mismanagement 
and oppression of Ireland, and of the singular 
circumstances in which it is placed, is, that it is 
a semi-barbarous country: — more shame to those 
who have thus ill treated a fine country, and a 
fine people; but it is part of the present case of 
Ireland. The barbarism of Ireland is evinced 
by the frequency and ferocity of duels, — the he- 
reditary clannish feuds of the common people, 
— and the fights to which they give birth, — the 



148 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



atrocious cruelties practised in the insurrections 
of the common people — and their proneness to 
insurrection. The lower Irish live in a state of 
greater wretchedness than any other people in 
Europe, inhabiting so fine a soil and climate. 
It is difficult, often impossible, to execute the 
processes of law. In cases where gentlemen 
are concerned, it is often not even attempted. 
The conduct of under-sheriffs is often very cor- 
rupt.* We are afraid the magistracy of Ireland 
is very inferior to that of this country; the spirit 
of jobbing and bribery is very widely diffused, 
and upon occasions when the utmost purity pre- 
vails in the sister kingdom. Military force is 
necessary all over the country, and often for the 
most common and just operations of govern- 
ment. The behaviour of the higher to the lower 
orders is much less gentle and decent than in 
England. Blows from superiors to inferiors 
are more frequent, and the punishment for such 
aggression more doubtful. The word gentleman 
seems, in Ireland, to put an end to most pro- 
cesses of law. Arrest a gentleman! !!!— take 
out a warrant against a gentleman — are modes 
of operation not very common in the adminis- 
tration of Irish justice. If a man strikes the 
meanest peasant in England, he is either knock- 
ed down in his turn, or immediately taken before 
a magistrate. It is impossible to live in Ireland 
without perceiving the various points in which 
it is inferior in civilization. Want of unity in 
feeling and interest among the people, — irrita- 
bility, violence and revenge, — want of comfort 
and cleanliness in the lower orders, — habitual 
disobedience to the law, — want of confidence 
m magistrates, — corruption, venality, the per- 
petual necessity of recurring to military force, 
— all carry back the observer to that remote and 
early condition of mankind, which an English- 
man can learn only in the pages of the antiquary 
or the historian. We do not draw this picture 
for censure but for truth. We admire the Irish, 
— feel the most sincere pity for the state of Ire- 
land, and think the conduct of the English to 
that country to have been a system of atrocious 
■cruelty and contemptible meanness. W^ith such 
a climate, such a soil and such a people, the in- 
feriority of Ireland to the rest of Europe is di- 
rectly chargeable to the long wickedness of the 
English government. 

A direct consequence of the present uncivi- 
lized state of Ireland, is that very little English 
capital travels there. The man who deals in 
steam-engines and warps and woofs, is naturally 
alarmed by Peep-of-Day Boys, and nocturnal 
Carders ; his object is to buy and sell as q uicklly 
and quietly as he can; and he will naturally 
bear higJi taxes and rivalry in England, or emi- 
grate to any part of the Continent, or to America, 
rather than plunge into the tumult of Irish poli- 
tics and passions. There is nothing which Ire- 
land wants more than large manufacturing towns 
to take off ils superfluous population. But in- 
ternal peace must come first, and then the arts 
of peace will follow. The foreign manufac- 
larer will hardly think of embarking his capital 
wiere he cannot be sure that his existence is 
safe. Anothercheck to the manufacturing great- 
ness of Ireland, is the scarcity — not of coal — 



* The diiBculty often is to catch the sheriff. 



but of good coal, cheaply raised; an article in 
which (in spite of papers in the Irish Transac- 
tions) they are lamentably inferior to the Eng- 
lish. 

Another consequence from some of the 
causes we have stated, is the extreme idleness 
of the Irish labourer. There is nothing of the 
value of which the Irish seem to have so little 
notion as that of time. They scratch, pick, dau- 
dle, stare, gape, and do any thing but strive and 
wrestle with the task before them. The most 
ludicrous of all human objects is an Irishman 
ploughing. — A gigantic figure — a seven foot 
machine for turning potatoes into human na- 
ture, wrapt up in an immense great coat, and 
urging on two starved ponies, with dreadful im- 
precations, and uplifted shillala. The Irish crow 
discerns a coming perquisite, and is not inatten- 
tive to the proceedings of the steeds. The fur- 
row which is to be the depository of the future 
crop, is not unlike, either in depth or regularity, 
to those domestic furrows which the nails of the" 
meek and much-injured wife plough, in some 
family quarrel, upon the cheeks of the deserv- 
edly punished husband. The weeds seem to 
fall contentedly, knowing that they have ful- 
filled their destiny, and left behind them, for the 
resurrection of the ensuing spring, an abundant 
and healthy progeny. The whole is a scene of 
idleness, laziness and poverty, of which it is 
impossible, in this active and enterprising coun- 
try, to form the most distant conception; but 
strongly indicative of habits, whether second- 
ary or original, which will long present a pow- 
erful impediment to the improvement of Ireland. 

The Irish character contributes something to 
retard the improvements of that country. The 
Irishman has many good qualities: he is brave 
witty, generous, eloquent, hospitable and open 
hearted ; but he is vain, ostentatious, extrava- 
gaii:, and fond of display— light in counsel — 
deficient in perseverance — without skill in pri- 
vate or public economy — an enjoyer, not an 
acquirer — one who despises the slow and patient 
virtues — who wants the supei-structure without 
the foundation — the result without the previous 
operation — the oak without the acorn and the 
three hundred years of expectation. The Irish 
are irascible, prone to debt and to fight, and 
very impatient of the restraints of law. Such 
a people are not likely to keep their eyes 
steadily upon the main chance, like the Scotch 
or the Dutch. England strove very hard, at 
one period, to compel the Scotch to pay a 
double church ; — but Sawney took his pen and 
ink; and finding what a sura it amounted to, 
became furious, and drew his sword. God for- 
bid the Irishman should do the same ! the re- 
medy, now, would be worse than the disease; 
but if the oppressions of England had been 
more steadily resisted a century ago, Ireland 
would not have been the scene of poverty, 
misery and distress which it now is. 

The Catholic religion, among other causes, 
contributes to the backwardness and barbarism 
of Ireland. Its debasing superstition, childish 
ceremonies, and the profound submission to the 
priesthood which it teaches, all tend to darken 
men's minds, to impede the progress of know- 
ledge and inquiry, and to prevent Ireland from 
becoming as free, as powerful, and as rich aa 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



149 



the sister kingdom. Though sincere friends to 
Catholic emancipation, we are no advocates for 
the Catholic religion. We should be very glad 
to see a general conversion to Protestantis,m 
among the Irish; but we do not think that vio- 
lence, privations and incapacities are the pro- 
per methods of making proselytes. 

Such, then, is Ireland, at this period, — a land 
more barbarous than the rest of Europe, because 
it has been worse treated and more cruelly op- 
pressed. Many of the incapacities and priva- 
tions to which the Catholics were exposed, have 
been removed bylaw; but, in such instances, 
they are still incapacitated and deprived by cus- 
tom. Many cruel and oppressive laws are still 
enforced against them. A ninth part of the 
population engrosses all the honours of the 
country; the other nine pay a tenth of the pro- 
duct of the earth for the support of a religion in 
which they do not believe. There is little capi- 
tal in the country. The great and rich men 
are called by business, or allured by pleasure, 
into England; their estates are given up to fac- 
tors, and the utmost farthing of rent extorted 
from the poor, who, if they give up the land, 
cannot get employment in manufactures, or 
regular employment in husbandry. The com- 
mon people use a sort of food so very cheap, 
that they can rear families, who cannot procure 
employment, and who have little more of the 
comforts of life than food. The Irish are light- 
minded — want of employment has made them 
idle — they are irritable and brave — have a keen 
remembrance of the past wrongs they have 
suffered, and the present wrongs they are suf- 
fering from England. The consequence of all 
this is, eternal riot and insurrection, a whole 
army of soldiers in time of profound peace, and 
general rebellion whenever England is busy 
with other enemies, or off her guard! And 
thus it will be while the same causes continue 
to operate, for ages to come, — and worse and 
worse as the rapidly increasing population of 
the Catholics becomes more and more nume- 
rous. 

The remedies are, time and justice; and that 
justice consists in repealing all laws which 
make any distinction between the two religions; 
in placing over the government of Ireland, not 
the stupid, amiable, and insignificant noblemen 
who have too often been sent there, but men 
who feel deeply the wrongs of Ireland, and who 
have an ardent wish to heal them; who will 
take care that Catholics, when eligible, shall be 
elected;* who will share the patronage of Ire- 
land proportionally among the two parties, and 
give to just and liberal laws the same vigour of 
execution which has hitherto been reserved only 
for decrees of tyranny, and the enactments of 
oppression. The injustice and hardship of sup- 
porting two churches must be put out of sight, 
if it cannot or ought not to be cured. The po- 
litical economist, the moralist and the satirist, 
must combine to teach moderation and superin- 
tendence to the great Irish proprietors. Public 
talk and clamour may do something for the poor 
Irish, as it did for the slaves in the West Indies. 
Ireland will become more quiet under such 



* Great merit is due to the AVhigs for the patronage be- 
stowed on Catholics. 



treatment, and then more rich, more comfortable, 
and more civilized; and the horrid spectacle of 
folly and tyranny which it at present exhibits, 
may in time be removedfrom the eyes of Europe. 

There are two eminent Irishmen now in the 
House of Commons, Lord Castlereagh and Mr. 
Canning, who will subscribe to the justness of 
every syllable we have said upon this subject; 
and who have it in their power, by making it 
the condition of their remaining in office, to 
liberate their native country and raise it to its 
just rank among the nations of the earth. Yet 
the court buys them over, year after year, by 
the pomp and perquisites of office, and year 
after year they come into the House of Com- 
mons, feeling deeply and describing powerfully, 
the injuries of five millions of their countrymen, 
— and continue members of a government that 
inflicts those evils, under the pitiful delusion 
that it is not a cabinet question, — as if the 
scratchings and quarrellings of kings and 
queens could alone cement politicians together 
in indissoluble unity, while the fate and fortune 
of one-third of the empire might be compliment- 
ed away from one minister to another, without 
the smallest breach in their cabinet alliance. 
Politicians, at least honest politicians, should be 
very flexible and accommodating in little things, 
very rigid and inflexible in great things. And 
is this not a great thing] Who has painted it 
in finer and more commanding eloquence than 
Mr. Canning] Who has taken a more sensible 
and statesmanlike view of our miserable and 
cruel policy than Lord Castlereagh] You 
would think, to hear them, that the same planet 
could not contain them and the oppressors of 
their country, — perhaps not the same solar 
system. Yet for money, claret and patronage, 
they lend their countenance, assistance and 
friendship, to the ministers who are the stern 
and inflexible enemies to the emancipation of 
Ireland! 

Thank God that all is not profligacy and cor- 
ruption in the history of that devoted people — 
and that the name of Irishman does not always 
carry with it the idea of the oppressor or the 
oppressed — the plunderer or the plundered — the 
tyrant or the slave. Great men hallow a whole 
people and lift up all who live in their time. 
What Irishman does not feel proud that he has 
lived in the days of Ghattan] who has not 
turned to him for comfort, from the false friends 
and open enemies of Ireland] who did not re- 
member him in the days of its burnings and 
wastings and murders] No government ever 
dismayed him — the world could not bribe him 
— he thought only of Ireland — lived for no other 
object — dedicated to her his beautiful fancy, his 
elegant wit, his manly courage and all the 
splendour of his astonishing eloquence. He 
was so born and so gifted, that poetry, forensic 
skill, elegant literature and all the highest at- 
tainments of human genius, were within his 
reach; hut he thought the noblest occupation of 
a man was to make other men happy and free; 
and in that straight line he went on for fifty 
years, without one side-look, without one yield- 
ing thought, without one motive in his heart 
which he might not have laid open to the viewr 
of God and man. He .is gone! — but there is not 
a single day of his honest life of which every g. vd 



150 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



Irishman would not be more proud, than of the | the annual deserters and betrayers of their na- 
■whole political existence of his countrymen — | live land. 



SPEING-GUNS.* 



[Edinburgh Review, 1821.] 



Whek Lord Dacre (then Mr. Brand) brougrht 
into the House of Commons his bill for the 
amendment of the game laws, a system of 
greater mercy and humanity -wa.s in vain re- 
Commended 10 that popular branch of the legis- 
lature. The interests of humanity, and the inte- 
rests of the lord of the manor, were not, however, 
opposed to each other; nor any attempt made 
to deny the superior importance of the last. No 
such bold or alarming topics were agitated ; but it 
•was contended that, if laws were less ferocious, 
there would be more partridges — if the lower 
orders of mankind were not torn from their 
families and banished to Botany Bay, hares and 
pheasants would be increased in number, or, at 
least, not diminished. It is not, however, till 
after long experience that mankind ever think 
of recurring to humane expedients for effecting 
their objects. The rulers who ride the people 
never think of coaxingand petting till they have 
worn out the lashes of their whips, and broken 
the rowels of their spurs. The legislators of 
the trigger replied, that two laws had lately 
passed which would answer their purpose of 
preserving game: the one, an act for transport- 
ing men found with arms in their hands for the 
purposes of killing game in the night; the other, 
an act for rendering the buyers of the game 
equally guilty with the seller, and for involving 
both in the same penalty. Three seasons have 
elapsed since the last of these laws was passed ; 
and we appeal to the experience of all the great 
towns in England, whether the difliculty of pro- 
curing game is in the slightest degree increased ? 
— whether hares, partridges and pheasants are 
not purchased with as much facility as before 
the passing this act 1 — whether the price of such 
unlawful commodities is even in the slightest 
degree increasedl Let the Assize and Sessions' 
calendars bear witness, whether the law for 
transporting poachers has not had the most 
direct tendency to encourage brutal assaults and 
ferocious murders. There is hardly now a jail- 
delivery in which some gamekeeper has not 
murdered a poacher — or some poacher a game- 
keeper. If the question concerned the payment 
of five pounds, a poacher would hardly risk his 
life rather than be taken; but when he is to go 
to Botany Bay for seven years, he summons 
together his brother poachers — they get brave 
from rum, numbers and despair — and a bloody 
battle ensues. 

Another method by which it is attempted to 



* The Shooter's Guide. By J. B. Johnson. 12mo. Ed- 
wards and Kuibb, 1&19. 



defeat the depredations of the poacher, is by set- 
ting spring-guns to murder any person who 
comes within their reach; and it is to this last 
new feature in the supposed game laws, to which, 
on the present occasion, we intend principally 
to confine our notice. 

We utterly disclaim all hostility to the game 
laws in general. Game ought to belong to those 
who feed it. All the landowners in England 
are fairly entitled to all the game in England. 
These laws are constructed upon a basis of 
substantial justice; but there is a great deal of 
absurdity and tyranny mingled with them, and 
a perpetual and vehement desire on the part of 
the country gentlemen to push the provisions of 
these laws up to the highest point of tyrannical 
severity. 

"Is it lawful to put to death by a spring-gun, 
or any other machine, an unqualified person 
trespassing upon your woods or fields in pursuit 
of game, and who has received due notice of 
your intention, and of the risk to which he is 
exposed 1" This, we think, is stating the ques- 
tion as fairly as can be stated. We purposely 
exclude gardens, orchards and all contiguity to 
the dwelling house. We exclude, also, all fe- 
lonious intention on the part of the deceased. 
The object of his expedition shall be proved to 
be game ; and the notice he received of his dan- 
ger shall be allowed to be as complete as pos- 
sible. It must also be part of the case, that the 
spring-gun was placed there for the express 
purpose of defendmg the game, by killing or 
wounding the poacher, or spreading terror, or 
doing any thing that a reasonable man ought to 
know would happen from such a proceeding. 

Suppose any gentleman were to give notice 
that all other persons must abstain from his 
manors; that he himself and his servants pa- 
raded the woods and fields with loaded pistols 
and blunderbusses, and would shoot any body 
who fired at a partridge ; and suppose he were 
to keep his word, and shoot through the head 
some rash trespasser who defied this bravado, 
and was determined to have his sport: — Is there 
any doubt that he would be guilty of murder? 
We suppose no resistance on the part of the 
trespasser; but that, the moment he passes the 
line of demarcation with his dogs and gun, he 
is shot dead by the proprietor of the land from 
behind a tree. If this is not murder, what is 
murder? We will make the case a little better 
for the homicide squire. It shall be night ; the 
poacher, an unqualified person, steps over the 
line of demarcation with his nets and snares, 
and is instantly shot through the head by the 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



151 



pistol of the proprietor. We have no doubt 
that this would be murder — that it ought to be 
considered as murder, and punished as murder. 
We think this so clear that it would be a waste 
of time to argue it. There is no kind of resist- 
ance on the part of the deceased ; no attempt to 
run away; he is not even challenged: but in- 
stantly shot dead by the proprietor of the wood, 
for no other crime than the intention of killing 
game unlawfully. We do not suppose that any 
man, possessed of the elements of law and com- 
mon sense, would deny this to be a case of 
murder, let the previous notice to the deceased 
have been as perfect as it could be. It is true, 
a trespasser in a park may be killed ; but then 
it is when he will not render himself to the 
keepers, upon a hue and cry to stand to the 
king's peace. But deer are property, game is 
not; and this power of slaying deer-stealers is 
by the 2 1st Edward I., de Makfudarihus in Parcis, 
and by 3d and 4th William & Mary, c. 10. So 
rioters may be killed, house-burners, ravishers, 
felons refusing to be arrested, felons escaping, 
felons breaking jail, men resisting a civil pro- 
cess — may all be put to death. All these cases 
of justifiable homicide are laid down and ad- 
mitted in our books. But who ever heard that 
to pistol a poacher was justifiable homicide 1 It 
has long been decided that it is unlawful to kill 
a dog who is pursuing game in a manor. " To 
decide the contrary," says Lord Ellenborough, 
"would outrage reason and sense." (Vere i'. 
Lord Cawdor and King, 11 East, 368.) Pointers 
have always been treated by the legislature 
with great delicacy and consideration. To 
" wish to be a dog and to bay the moon," is not 
quite so mad a wish as the poet thought it. 

If these things are so, what is the difference 
between the act of firing yourself and placing 
an engine which does the same thing] In the 
one case your hand pulls the trigger; in the 
other, it places the wire which communicates 
with the trigger, and causes the death of the 
trespasser. There is the same intention of slay- 
ing in both cases — there is precisely the same 
human agency in both cases ; only the steps are 
rather more numerous in the latter case. As to 
the bad effects of allowing proprietors of game 
to put trespassers to death at once, or to set 
guns that will do it, we can have no hesitation 
in saying, that the first method, of giving the 
power of life and death to esquires, would be 
by far the most humane. For, as we have ob- 
served in a previous Essay on the Game Laws, 
a live armigeral spring-gun would distinguish 
an accidental trespasser from a real poacher — 
a woman or a boy from a man — perhaps might 
spare a friend or an acquaintance — or a father 
of a family with ten children — or a small free- 
holder who voted for administration. But this 
new rural artillery must destroy, without mercy 
and selection, every one who approaches it. 

In the case of Hot versus Wilks, Esq., the four 
judges. Abbot, Bailey, Holroyd and Best, gave 
their opinions smaZ/V/i on points connected with 
this question. In this case, as reported in Chet- 
wynd's edition of Burn's Justice, 1820, vol. ii. 
p. 500, Abbot, C. J. observes as follows : — 

"I cannot say that repeated and increasing 
acts of aggression may not reasonably call for 
increased means of defence and protection. I 



believe that many of the persons who cause en- 
gines of this description to be placed in their 
grounds, do not do so with an intention to injure 
any person, but really believe that the publica- 
tion of notices will prevent any person from 
sustaining an injury ; and that no person having 
the notice given him, will be weak and foolish 
enough to expose himself to the perilous conse- 
quences of his trespass. Many persons who 
place such engines in their grounds, do so for 
the purpose of preventing, by means of terror, 
injury to their property, rather than from any 
motive of doing malicious injury." 

" Increased means of defence and protection," 
but increased (his lordship should remember) 
from the payment of five pounds to instant death 
— and instant death inflicted, not by the arm of 
law, but by the arm of the proprietor; — could 
the Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench in- 
tend to say, that the impossibility of putting an 
end to poaching by other means would justify 
the infliction of death upon the offender! Is he 
so ignorant of the philosophy of punishing, as 
to imagine he has nothing to do but to give ten 
stripes instead of two, an hundred instead of 
ten, and a thousand, if an hundred will not do? 
to substitute the prison for pecuniary fines, and 
the gallows instead of the jail ? It is impossible 
so enlightened a judge can forget, that the sym- 
pathies of mankind must be consulted; that it 
would be wrong to break a person upon the 
wheel for stealing a penny loaf, and that grada- 
tions in punishments must be carefully accom- 
modated to gradations in crime ; that if poaching 
is punished more than mankind in general think 
it ought to be punished, the fault will either es- 
cape with impunity, or the delinquent be driven 
to desperation ; that if poaching and murder are 
punished equally, every poacher will be an as- 
sassin. Besides, too, if the principle is right in 
the unlimited and unqualified manner in which 
the chief justice puts it — if defence goes on in- 
creasing with aggression, the legislature at least 
must determine upon their equal pace. If an 
act of Parliament made it a capital offence to 
poach upon a manor, as it is to commit a bur- 
glary in a dwelling-house, it might then be as 
lawful to shoot a person for trespassing upon 
your manor as it is to kill a thief for breaking 
into your house. But the real question is — and 
so in sound reasoning his lordship should have 
put it — "If the law at this moment determines 
the aggression to be in such a state that it merits 
only a pecuniary fine after summons and proof, 
has any sporadic squire the right to say, that it 
shall be punished with death, before any sum- 
mons and without any proof?" 

It appears to us, too, very singular to say 
that many persons who cause engines of this 
description to be placed in their ground, do not 
do so with an intention of injuring any person, 
but really believe that the pubhcation of notices 
will prevent any person from sustaining an 
injury, and that no person, having the notice 
given him, will be weak and foolish enough to 
expose himself to the perilous consequences of 
his trespass. But if this is the real belief of 
the engineer — if he thinks the mere notice will 
keep people awa)' — then he must think jt a 
mere inutility that the guns should be placed 
at all ; if he thinks that many will be deterred, 



153 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



and a few come, then he must mean to shoot 
those few. He who believes his gun will never 
be called upon to do its duty, need set no gun, 
and trust to rumour of their being set, or being 
loaded for his protection. Against the gun 
and the powder we have no complaint; they 
are perfectly fair and admissible: our quarrel 
is with the bullets. He who sets a loaded ^i\n, 
means that it should go off if it is touched. 
But what signifies the mere empty wish that 
there may be no mischief, when I perform an 
action which my common sense tells me may 
produce the worst mischief? If I hear a great 
noise in the street, and fire a bullet to keep 
people quiet, I may not, perhaps, have intended 
to i<ill; I may have wished to have produced 
quiet by mere terror, and I may have expressed 
a strong hope that my object has been effected 
without the destruction of human life. Still I 
have done that which every man of sound in- 
tellect knows is likely to kill; and if any one 
falls from my act, I am guilty of murder. — 
"Further," (says Lord Coke,) "if there be an 
evil intent, though that intent extendeth not to 
death, it is murder. Thus, if a man, knowing 
that many people are in the street, throw a 
stone over the wall, intending only to frighten 
them, or to give them a little hurt, and there- 
upon one is killed — this is murder — for he had 
an ill intent; though that intent extended not to 
death, and though he knew not the party slain." 
(3 Inst. .57.) If a man is not mad, he must be 
presumed to foresee common coni^equences if 
he puts a bullet into a spring gun — he may be 
supposed to foresee that it will kill any poacher 
•who touches the wire — and to that consequence 
he must stand. We do not suppose all pre- 
servers of game to be so bloodily inclined that 
they would prefer the death of a poacher to 
his staying away. Their object is to preserve 
game; they have no objection to preserve the 
lives of their fellow-creatures, also, if both can 
exist at the same time; if not, the least worthy 
of God's creatures must fall — the rustic without 
a soul — not the Christian partridge — not the 
immortal pheasant — not the rational woodcock, 
or the accountable hare. 

The chief justice quotes the instance of 
glass and spikes fixed upon walls. He cannot 
mean to infer from this, because the law con- 
nives at the infliction of such small punish- 
ments for the protection of properly, that it 
does allow, or ought to allow, proprietors to 
proceed to the punishment of death. Small 
means of annoying trespassers may be con- 
sistently admitted by the law, though more 
severe ones are forbidden, and ought to be for- 
bidden; unless it follows, that what is good in 
any degree, is good in the highest degree. You 
may correct a servant boy with a switch; but 
if you bruise him sorely, you are to be indicted 
— if you kill him, you are hanged. A black- 
smith corrected his servant with a bar of iron ; 
the boy died, and the blacksmith was executed. 
(Grey's Case, Kel. 64, 65.) A woman kicked 
and stamped on the belly of her child — she 
was found guilty of murder. (1 Ead, P. C. 
261.) Si immoderafe suo jure uialur, (ittic reus 
homicidii sif. There is, besides, this additional 
difference in the two cases put by the chief 
justice, that no publication of notices can be so 



plain, in the case of the guns, as the sight of 
the glass or the spikes; for a trespasser may 
not believe in the notice which he receives, or 
he may think he shall see a gun, and so avoid 
it, or that he may have the good luck to avoid 
it, if he does not see it; whereas, of the pre- 
sence of the glass or the spikes he can have no 
doubt; and he has no hope of placing his hand 
in any spot where they are not. In the one 
case, he cuts his fingers upon full and perfect 
notice, the notice of his own senses; in the 
other case, he loses his life after a notice which 
he may disbelieve, and by an engine which he 
may hope to escape. 

Mr. Justice Bailey observes, in the same case, 
that it is not an indictable offence to set spring- 
guns : perhaps not. It is not an indictable offence 
to go about with a loaded pistol,intending to shoot 
any body who grins at you; but if you do it, you 
are hanged; many inchoate acts are innocent, 
the consummation of which is a capital offence. 

This is not a case where the motto applies' 
of Volenti non Jit injuria. The man does not 
will to be hurt, but he wills to get the game; 
and, with that rash confidence natural to many 
characters, believes he shall avoid the evil and 
gain the good. On the contrary, it is a case 
which exactly arranges itself under the maxim, 
Qiiando aliqiiid proliibetur ex direct o, prnhibetur 
et per obliqiiuni. Give what notice he may, the 
proprietor cannot lawfully shoot a trespasser 
(who neither runs nor resists) with a loaded 
pistol; — he cannot do it eo; directo; — how then 
can he do iiper ohUquum, by arranging on the 
ground the pistol which commits ihe murder] 

Mr. Justice Best delivers the following opin- 
ion. His lordship concluded as follows: — 

" This case has been discussed at the bar, as 
if these engines were exclusively resorted to 
for the protection of game; but I considerthem 
as lawfully applicable to the protection of every 
species of property against unlawful trespass- 
ers. But if even they might not lawfully be 
used for the protection of game, I, for one, 
should be extremely glad to adopt such means, 
if they were found sufficient for that purpose; 
because I think it a great object that gentlemen 
should have a temptation to reside in the coun- 
try, amongst their neighbours and tenantry, 
whose interests must be materially advanced by 
such a circumstance. The links of society are 
thereby better preserved, and the mutual advan- 
tage and dependence of the higher and lower 
classes of society, existing between each other, 
more beneficially maintained. We have seen, 
in a neighbouring country, the baneful conse- 
quences of the non-residence of the landed 
gentry; and in an ingenious work, lately pub- 
lished by a foreigner, we learn the fatal eflTects 
of a like system on the Continent. By preserv- 
ing game, gentlemen are tempted to reside in 
the country; and, considering that the diversion 
of the field is the only one of which they can 
partake on the estates, I am of opinion that, for 
the purpose I have stated, it is of essential im- 
portance that this species of property should 
be inviolably protected." 

If this speech of Mr. Justice Best is correctly 
reported, it follows, that a man may put his fel- 
low-creatures to death for any infringement of 
his property — for picking the sloes and black- 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



153 



berries off his hedges — for breaking a few dead 
sticks out of them by night or by day — with re- 
sistance or without resistance — with warning or 
■without warning; — a strange method this of 
keeping up the links of society, and maintain- 
ing the dependence of the lower upon the higher 
classes. It certainly is of importance that gen- 
tlemen should reside on their estates in the 
country ; but not that gentlemen with such opin- 
ions as these should reside. The more they are 
absent from the country, the less strain will 
there be upon those links to which the learned 
judge alludes — the more firm that dependence 
upon which he places so just a value. In the 
case of Dean versus Clayton, Bart., the Court of 
Common Pleas were equally divided upon the 
lawfulness of killing a dog coursing an hare by 
means of a concealed dog-spear. We confess 
that we cannot see the least difference between 
transfixing with a spear, or placing a spear so 
that it will transfix; and, therefore, if Vere ver- 
sus Lord Cawdor and King is good law, the ac- 
tion could have been maintained in Dean versus 
Clayton; but the solemn consideration concern- 
ing the life of the pointer is highly creditable to 
all the judges. They none of them say that it 
is lawful to put a trespassing pointer to death 
under any circumstances, or that they them- 
selves would be glad to do it; they all seem 
duly impressed with the recollection that they 
are deciding the fate of an animal faithfully 
ministerial to the pleasures of the upper classes 
of society; there is an awful desire to do their 
duty, and a dread of any rash and intemperate 
decision. Seriously speaking, we can hardly 
believe this report of Mr. Justice Best's speech 
to be correct; yet we take it from a book which 
guides the practice of nine-tenths of all the 
magistrates in England. Does a judge, — a cool, 
calm man, in whose hands are the issues of life 
and death — from whom so many miserable, 
trembling human beings await their destiny — 
does he tell us, and tell us in a court of justice, 
that he places such little value on the life of 
man, that he himself would plot the destruction 
of his fellow-creatures for the preservation of 
a few hares and partridges'? " Nothing which 
falls from me" (says Mr. Justice Bailey) "shall 
have a tendency to encourage the practice." — 
"I consider them" (says Mr. Justice Best) " as 
lawfully applicable to the protection of every 
species of property; but even if the}' might not 
lawfully be used for the protection of game, / 
for one should be extremely glad io adopt them, 
if they were found sufficient for that purpose." 
Can any man doubt to which of these two ma- 
gistrates he would rather entrust a decision on 
his life, his liberty and his possessions? We 
should be very sorry to misrepresent Mr. Jus- 
tice Best, and will give to his disavowal of 
such sentiments, if he does disavow them, all 
the publicity in our power; but we have cited 
his very words conscientiously and correctly, 
as they are given in the Law Report. We have 
no doubt he meant to do his duty; we blame 
not his motives, but his feelings and his reason- 
ing. 

Let it be observed that, in the whole of this 

case, we have put every circumstance in favour 

of the murder. We have supposed it to be in 

the night time; but a man may be shot in the 

20 



day* by a spring-gun. We have supposed the 
deceased to be a poacher; but he may be a very 
innocent man, who has missed his way — an 
unfortunate botanist, or a lover. We have sup- 
posed notice; but it is a very possible event 
that the dead man may have been utterly igno- 
rant of the notice. This instrument, so highly 
approved of by Mr. Justice Best — this knitter 
together of the different orders of society — is 
levelled promiscuously against the guilty or the 
innocent, the ignorant and the informed. No 
man who sets such an infernal machine, believes 
that it can reason or discriminate ; it is made to 
murder all alike, and it does murder all alike. 

Blackstone says, that the law of England, 
like that of every other well-regulated commu- 
nity, is tender of the public peace, and careful 
of the lives of the subjects; "that it will not 
suffer with impunity any crime to be prevented 
by death, unless the same, if committed, would 
also be punished by death." {Commentaries, vol. 
iv. 182.) "The law sets so high a value upon 
the life of a man, that it always intends some 
misbehaviour in the person who takes it away, 
unless by the command, or express permission 
of the law." — "And as to the necessity which 
excuses a man who kills another se defendendo. 
Lord Bacon calls even that necessitas culpubHis." 
{Commentaries, vol. iv. p. 187.) So far this 
luminary of the law. — But the very amusements 
of the rich are, in the estimation of Mr. Justice 
Best, of so great importance, that the poor are 
to be exposed to sudden death who interfere 
with them. There are other persons of the 
same opinion with this magistrate respecting 
the pleasures of the rich. In the last session 
of Parliament a bill was passed, entitled " Au 
act for the summary punishment, in certain 
cases, of persons wilfully or maliciously damag- 
ing, or committing trespasses on public or pri- 
vate property." Anno prima — (a bad specimen 
of what is to happen) — Georgii IV. Regis, cap. 
56. In this act it is provided, that "if any per- 
son shall wilfully, or maliciously, commit any 
damage, injury, or spoil, upon any building, 
fence, hedge, gate, stile, guide-post, milestone, 
tree, wood, underwood, orchard, garden, nursery- 
ground, crops, vegetables, plants, land, or other 
matter or thing growing or being therein, or to 
or upon real or personal property of any nature 
or kind soever, he may be immediately seized 
by any body, without a warrant, taken before a 
magistrate, and fined (according to the mischief 
he has done) to the extent of 5/.; or, in default 
of payment, may be committed to the jail for 
three months." And at the end comes a clause, 
exempting from the operation of this act all 
mischief done in hunting, and by shooters who 
are qualified. This is surely the most impudent 
piece of legislation that ever crept into the sta- 
tute-book; and, coupled with Mr. Justice Best's 
declaration.constitutes the followingaffectionate 
relation between the different orders of society. 
Says the higher link to the lower, "If you meddle 
with my game, I will immediately murder you; 
— if you commit the slightest injury upon my 
real or personal property, I will take you before 
a magistrate, and fine you five pounds. I am ia 

* Large damagrs have been given for wounds inflicted 
by spring-guns set in a garden in the day-time, where the 
party wounded had no notice 



154 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



Parliament, and you are not ; and I have just 
brought in an act of Parliament for that purpose. 
But so important is it to you that my pleasures 
should not be interrupted, ihat I have exempted 
myself and friends from the operation of this 
act; and we claim the right (without allowing 
you any such summary remedy) of riding over 
your fences, hedges, gales, stiles, guide-posts, 
milestones, woods, underwoods, orchards, gar- 
dens, nursery-grounds, crops, vegetables, plants, 
lands or other matters or things growing or 
being thereupon — including your children and 
yourselves, if you do not get out of the way." 
Is there, upon earth, such a mockery of justice 
as an act of Parliament, pretending to protect 
property, sending a poor hedge-breaker to jail, 
and specially exempting from its operation the 
accusing and the judging squire, who, at the 
tail of the hounds, have that morning, perhaps, 
ruined as much wheat and seeds as would pur- 
chase fuel a whole year for a whole village? 

It cannot be urged, in extenuation of such a 
murder as we have described, that the artificer 
of death had no particular malice against the 
deceased; that his object was general, and his 
indignation leveled against offenders in the 
aggregate. Every body knows that there is a 
malice by implication of law. 

" In general, any formal design of doing mis- 
chief may be called malice; and therefore, not 
such killing only as proceeds from premeditated 
hatred and revenge against the person killed, 
but also, in many other cases, such as is ac- 
companied with those circumstances that show 
the heart to be perversely wicked, is adjudged 
to be of malice prepense." — 2 Haw. c 31. 

"For where the law makes use of the term, 
malice aforethought, as descriptive of the crime 
of murder, it is not to be understood in that 
narrow restrained sense in which the modern 
use of the word malice is apt to lead one, a prin- 
ciple of malevolence to particulars; for the law, 
by the term malice, malilia, in this instance, 
meaneth, that the fact hath been attended with 
such circumstances as are the ordinary symp- 
toms of a wicked heart, regardless of social 
duly, and fatally bent upon mischief." — Fvst. 
256, 257. 

Ferocity is the natural weapon of the com- 
mon people. If gentlemen of education and 
property contend with them at this sort of war- 
fare, they will probably be defeated in the end. 
If spring-guns are generally set — if the common 
people are murdered by them, and the legisla- 
ture does not interfere, the posts of gamekeeper 
and lord of the manor will soon be posts of 
honour and danger. The greatest curse under 
heaven (witness Ireland) is a peasantry demo- 
ralized by the barbarity and injustice of their 
rulers. 

It is expected by some persons, that the se- 
vere operation of these engines will put an end 
to the trade of a poacher. This has always 
been predicated of every fresh operation of se- 
verity, that it was to put an end to poaching. 
But if this argument is good for one thing, it is 
good for another. Let the first pickpocket who 
is taken be hung alive by the ribs, and let him 



be a fortnight in wasting to death. Let us seize 
a little grammar boy, who is robbing orchards, 
tie his arms and legs, throw over him a delicate 
puff paste, and bake him in a bun-pan in aa 
oven. If poaching can be extirpated by inten- 
sity of punishment, why not all other crimes? 
If racks and gibbets and tenter-hooks are the 
best method of bringing back the golden age, 
why do we refrain from so easy a receipt for 
abolishing every species of wickedness? The 
best way of answering a bad argument is not 
to stop it, but to let it go on in its course till it 
leaps over the boundaries of common sense. 
There is a little book called Beccaria on Crimes 
and Punishments, which we strongly recom- 
mend to the attention of Mr. Justice Best. He 
who has not read it, is neither fit to make laws, 
nor to administer them when made. 

As to the idea of abolishing poaching altoge- 
ther, we will believe that poaching is abolished 
when it is found impossible to buy game; or 
when they have risen so greatly in price, that 
none but people of fortune can buy them. But 
we are convinced this never can, and never 
will happen. All the traps and guns in the 
world will never prevent the wealth of the mer- 
chant and manufacturer from commanding the 
game of the landed gentleman. You may, in 
the pursuit of this visionary purpose, render * 
the common people savage, ferocious and vin- 
dictive ; you may disgrace your laws by enor- 
mous punishments, and the national character 
by these new secret assassinations ; but you 
will never separate the wealthy glutton from 
his pheasant. The best way is, to take what 
you want, and sell the rest fairly and openly. 
This is the real spring-gun and steel trap which 
will annihilate, not the unlawful trader, but the 
unlawful trade. 

There is a sort of horror in thinking of a 
whole land filled with lurking engines of death 
— machinations against human life under every 
green tree — traps and guns in every dusky dell 
and bosky bourn — the /eras naluru, the lords of 
manors eyeing their peasantry as so many butts 
and marks, and panting to hear the click ot the 
trap, and to see the flash of the gun. How any 
human being, educated in liberal knowledge 
and Christian feeling, can doom to certain de- 
struction a poor wretch tempted by the sight 
of animals that naturally appear to him to be- 
long to one person as well as another, we are 
at a loss to conceive. VJe cannot imagine how 
he could live in the same village, and see the 
widow and orphans of the man whose blood he 
had shed for such a trifle. We consider a per- 
son who could do this, to be deficient in the very 
elements of morals — to want that sacred regard 
to human life which is one of the corner stones 
of civil society. If he sacrifices the life of man 
for his mere pleasures, he would do so, if he 
dared, for the lowest and least of his passions. 
He may be defended, perhaps, by the abomi- 
nable injustice of the game laws — though we 
think and hope he is not. But there rests upon 
his head, and there is marked in his account, 
the deep and indelible sin of blood-guiltiness. 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



155 



P EI SONS.* 

[Edinburgh Retiew, 1821.] 



There are, in every county in England, large 
public schools, maintained at the expense of 
the county, for the encouragement of profligacy 
and vice, and for providing a proper succession 
of house-breakers, profligates and thieves. They 
are schools, too, conducted without the smallest 
degree of partiality or favour; there being no 
man (however mean his birth, or obscure his 
situation,) who may not easily procure admis- 
sion to them. The moment any young person 
evinces the slightest propensity for these pur- 
suits, he is provided with food, clothing and 
lodging, and put to his studies under the most 
accomplished thieves and cut-throats the county 
can supply. There is not, to be sure, a formal 
arrangement of lectures, after the manner of our 
universities; but the petty larcenous stripling, 
being left destitute of every species of employ- 
ment and locked up with accomplished villains 
as idle as himself, listens to their pleasant nar- 
rative of successful crimes, and pants for the 
hour of freedom, that he may begin the same 
bold and interesting career. 

This is a perfectly true picture of the prison 
establishments of many counties in England, 
and was so, till very lately, of almost all; and 
the etfects so completely answered the design, 
that, in the year 1818, there were committed to 
the jails of the United Kingdom more than one 
hundred and seven thousand persons.'! a num- 
ber supposed to be greater than that of all the 
commitments in the other kingdoms of Europe 
put together. 

The bodily treatment of prisoners has been 
greatly improved since the time of Howard. 
There is still, however, much to do; and the 
attention of good and humane people has been 
lately called to their state of moral discipline. 

It is inconceivable to what a spirit of party 
this has given birth; — all the fat and sleek peo- 
ple, — the enjoyers, — the mumpsimus, and " well 
as we are" people, are perfectly outrageous at 
being compelled to do their duty, and to sacri- 
fice time and money to the lower orders of man- 
kind. Their first resource was, to deny all the 
facts which were brought forward for the pur- 
poses of amendment; and the alderman's sar- 
casm of the Turkey carpet in jails was bandied 
from one hard-hearted and fat-witted gentleman 



*1. Thovghtsnn the Crimitial Prisons of this Country^oc- 
easioned by the Bill nov in the House of Commons, for Con- 
tolicJating and amending the Laivs relating to Prisons; %oith 
t<y>}ie Remarks on the Practice of looking to t/te Task-Master of 
the Prison rather il^n to the Chaplain for the Reformation of 
Offenders; and of purchasing the Work of those whom, the 
Lain has condemned to Hard Labour as a Punishmeitt. by 
allowing them to spend a Portion of their Earnings during 
their Imprisonment. By George llollbrd, Esq. M. P. Riv- 
iiigton. 1-21. 

2. Gurney on Prisons. Constable and Co. 1S19. 

3. Report of Society for bettering the Condition of Prisons. 
Bensley. IsSO. 

t Report of Prison Society, xiv. 



to another: but the advocates of prison improve- 
ment are men in earnest — not playing at reli- 
gion, but of deep feeling, and of indefatigable 
industry in charitable pursuits. Mr. Buxton 
went in company with men of the most irre- 
proachable veracity; and found, in the heart of 
the metropolis, and in a prison of which the 
very Turkey carpet alderman was an official 
visitor, scenes of horror, filth and cruelly, which 
would have disgraced even the interior of a 
slave-ship. 

This dislike of innovation proceeds sometimes 
from the disgust excited by false humanity, cant- 
ing hypocrisy, and silly enthusiasm. It pro- 
ceeds, also, from a stupid and indiscriminate 
horror of change, whether of evil for good, or 
good for evil. There is also much party spirit 
in these matters. A good deal of ihese humane 
projects and institutions originates from Dis- 
senters. The plunderers of the public, the job- 
bers, and those who sell themselves to some 
great man, who sells himself to a greater, all 
scent from afar the danger of political change — 
are sensible that the correction of one abuse may 
lead to that of another — feel uneasy at any visi- 
ble operation of public spirit and justice — hate 
and tremble at a man who exposes and rectifies 
abuses from a sense of duty — and think, if such 
things are suffered to be, that their candle-ends 
and cheese-parings are no longer safe : and these 
sagacious persons, it must be said for them, are 
not very wrong in this feeling. Providence, 
which has denied to them all that is great and 
good, has given them a fine tact for the pre- 
servation of their plunder: their real enemy is 
the spirit of inquiry — the dislike of wrong — the 
love of right — and the courage and diligence 
which are the concomitants of these virtues. 
When once this spirit is up, it may be as well 
directed to one abuse as another. To say you 
must not torture a prisoner with bad air and 
bad food, and to say you must not tax me with 
out my consent or that of my representative, are 
both emanations of the same principle, occur 
ring to the same sort of understanding, congenial 
to the same disposition, published, protected 
and enforced by the same qualities. This it is 
that really excites the horror against Mrs. Fry, 
Mr. Gurney, Mr. Bennet, and Mr. Buxton. 
Alarmists such as we have described have no 
particular wish that prisons should be dirty, 
jailers cruel, or prisoners wretched; they care 
little about such matters either way ; but all their 
malice and meanness are called up into action 
when they see secrets brought to light, and 
abuses giving way before the diffusion of intel 
ligence, and the aroused feelings of justice and 
compassion. As for us, we have neither love 
of change, nor fear of it; but a love of what is 
just and wise, as far as we are able to find it 
out. In this spirit we shall offer a few obse.rva- 



156 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



■.ions upon prisons, and upon the publications 
oefore us. 

Tlie new law should keep up the distinction 
between jails and houses of correction. One 
of each should exist in every country, either at 
a distance from each other, or in such a state 
of juxtaposition that they mi<,'ht be under the 
same governor. To the jail should be committed 
all persons accused of capital offences, whose 
trials would come on at the assizes ; to the house 
of correction, all offenders whose cases would 
be cognizable at the Quarter Sessions. Sen- 
tence of imprisonment in the house of cor- 
rection, after trial, should carry with it hard 
labour; sentence of imprisonment in the jail, 
after trial, should imply an exemption from 
compulsory labour. There should be no com- 
pulsory labour in jails — only in houses of cor- 
rection. In using the terms Jail and House of 
Correction, we shall always attend to these dis- 
tinctions. Prisoners for trial should not only 
not be compelled to labour, but they should have 
every indulgence shown to them compatible 
■with safet3^ No chains — much better diet than 
they commonly have — all possible access to 
their friends and relations — and means of earn- 
ing money if they choose it. The broad and 
obvious distinction between prisoners before 
and after trial should constantly be attended to; 
to violate it is gross tyranny and cruelty. 

The jails for men and women should be so 
far separated, that nothing could be seen or 
heard from one to the other. The men should 
be divided into two classes: Is/, those who are 
not yet tried; 2d, those who are tried and con- 
victed. The first class should be divided into 
those who are accused as misdemeanants and 
as felons; and each of these into first misde- 
meanants and second misdemeanants, men of 
better and worse character; and the same with 
felons. The second class should be divided 
into, l.s/, persons condemned to death; 2f//y, per- 
sons condemned for transportation; 3 J/;/, first 
class of confined, or men of the best character 
under sentence of confinement; 4//i/y, second 
confined, or men of worse character under sen- 
tence of confinement. To these are to be added 
separate places for king's evidence, boys, luna- 
tics, and places for the first reception of prison- 
ers, before they can be examined and classed: 
— a chapel, hospital, yards and workshops for 
such as are willing to work. 

The classifications in jails will then be as 
follows : — 

Men before Trial. Men after Trial. 

1st Misdemeanants. Sentenced to death. 

2rf Ditto. Ditto transportation. 

1st Felons. 1st Confined. 

2d Ditto. 2d Confined. 

Other Divisions in a Jail. 
King's Evidence. 
Criminal Lunatics. 
Boys. 

Prisoners on their first reception. 
And the same divisions for Women. 

But there is a division still more important 
than any of these; and that is, a division into 
much smaller numbers than are gathered to- 
gether in prisons: — 40, 50 and even 70 and 80 
feious.are often placed together in one yard and 



live together for months previous to their trial. 
Any classification of ofl^ences, while there is 
such a multitude living together of one class, is 
perfectly nugatory and ridiculous ; no character 
can escape from corruption and extreme vice 
in such a school. The law ought to be peremp- 
tory against the confinement of more than fifteen 
persons together of the same class. Unless 
some measure of this kind is resorted to, all re- 
formation in prisons is impossible.* 

A very great, and a very neglected object in 
prisons, is diet. There should be, in every jail 
and house of correction, four sorts of diet; — 1st, 
Bread and water; 2dli/, Common prison diet, to 
be settled by the magistrates; 3d/i/, Best prison 
diet, to be settled by ditto; ithlt/, Free diet, from 
which spirituous liquors altogether and fer- 
mented liquors in excess, are excluded. All 
prisoners, before trial, should be allowed best 
prison diet and be upon free diet if they could 
aflx3rd it. Every sentence for imprisonment 
should expressly mention to which diet the pri-" 
soner is confined; and no other diet should be, 
on any account, allowed to such prisoner after 
his sentence. Nothing can be so preposterous 
and criminally careless as the way in which per- 
sons confined upon sentence are suffered to live 
in prison. Misdemeanants, who have money 
in their pockets, may be seen in many of our 
prisons with fish, buttered veal, rump steaks 
and every other kind of luxury; and as the 
practice prevails of allowing them to purchase 
a pint of ale each, the rich prisoner purchases 
many pints of ale in the name of his poorer 
brethren and drinks them himself. A jail should 
be a place of punishment, from which men re- 
coil with horror — a place of real suffering, pain- 
ful to the memory, terrible to the imagination; 
but if men can live idly, and live luxuriously, 
in a clean, well-aired, well-warmed, spacious 
habitation, is it any wonder that they set the 
law at defiance, and brave that magistrate who 
restores them to their former luxury and easel 
There are a set of men well known to jailers, 
called FamUymen, who are constantly returning 
to jail, and who may be said to spend the greater 
part of their life there, — up to the time whea 
they are hanged. 

Minutes of Evidence taken before Select Com' 
mi f tee on Gaols 

"Mr. WiLtiAM Bf.eht, Keeper of the New 
Clerkenwell Prison. — Have you many prisoners 
that return to you on re-commitment? A vast 
number; some of them are frequently dis- 
charged in the morning and I have them back 
again in the evening; or they have been dis- 
charged in the evening, and I have had them 
back in the morning." — Evidencebefore the Conv 
mitlee of the House of Commons in 1819, p. 278. 

"Francis Const, Esq., Chairman of the Mid* 
dlesex Quarter-sessions. — Has that opinion been 
confirmed by any conduct you have observed 
in prisoners that have come before you for 
triah I only judge from the opposite thing, that, 
going into a place where they can be idle, and 
well protected from any inconveniences of the 
weather and other things that poverty is open 



* We sliould much prefer solitary imprisonment; but 
are at present speaking of the regulations in jails where 
that system is excludeU. 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



157 



to, tliey are not amended at all ; they laugh at it 
frequently, and desire to go to the house of cor- 
rection. Once or twice, in the early part of the 
winter, upon sending a prisoner for two months, 
he has asked whether he could not stay longer, 
or. words to that effect. It is an insulting way 
of saying they like \\.."--Evidence before the Com- 
nnttee of the House of Commons in 1819, p. 285. 

The fact is, that a thief is a very dainty gen- 
tleman. Male parta cifo dilabuntur. He does 
not rob to lead a life of mortification and self- 
denial. The difficulty of controlling his appe- 
tites, in all probability, first led him to expenses, 
•which made him a thief to support them. Hav- 
ing lost character and become desperate, he 
orders crab and lobster and veal cutlets at a 
public house, while a poor labourer is refresh- 
ing himself with bread and cheese. The most 
vulnerable part of a thief is his belly; and there 
is nothing he feels more bitterly in confinement 
than a long course of water-gruel and flour- 
puddings. It is a mere mockery of punishment 
to say, that such a man shall spend his money in 
luxurious viands, and sit down to dinner with 
fetters on his feet, and fried pork in his stomach. 

Restriction to diet in prisons is still more 
necessary, when it is remembered that it is im- 
possible to avoid making a prison, in some 
respects, more eligible than the home of a cul- 
prit. It is almost always more spacious, cleaner, 
better ventilated, better warmed. All these ad- 
vantages are inevitable on the side of the prison. 
The means, therefore, that remain of making a 
prison a disagreeable place, are not to be ne- 
glected; and of these, none are more powerful 
than the regulation of diet. If this is neglected, 
the meaning of sentencing a man to prison will 
be this — and it had better be put in these 
words — 

" Prisoner at the bar, you are fairly convicted, 
by a jury of your country, of having feloniously 
stolen two pigs, the property of Stephen Muck, 
farmer. The court having taken into conside- 
ration the frequency and enormity of this of- 
fence, and the necessity of restraining it with 
the utmost severity of punishment, do order and 
adjudge that you be confined for six months in 
a house larger, better aired, and warmer than 
your own, in company with 20 or 30 young per- 
sons in as good health and spirits as yourself. 
You need do no work, and you may have any 
thing for breakfast, dinner and supper, you can 
buy. In passing this sentence, the court hope 
that your example will be a warning to others ; 
and that evil-disposed persons will perceive, 
from your sulfering, that the laws of their 
country are not to be broken with impunity." 

As the diet, according to our plan, is always 
to be a part of the sentence, a judge will, of 
course, consider the nature of the oflTence for 
which the prisoner is committed, as well as the 
quality of the prisoner: and we have before 
stated, that all prisoners, before trial, should be 
upon the best prison diet, and unrestricted as to 
what they could purchase, always avoiding in- 
temperance. 

These gradations of diet being fixed in all 
prisons, and these definitions of Jail and House 
of Correction being adhered to, the punishment 
of imprisonment may be apportioned with the 
greatest nicety, either by the statute, or at the 



discretion of the judge, if the law chooses to 
give him that discretion. There will be — 

Imprisonment for different degrees of time. 

Imprisonment solitary, or in company, or in 
darkness. 

In jails without labour. 

In houses of correction with labour. 

Imprisonment with diet on bread and water. 

Imprisonment with common prison diet. 

Imprisonment with best prison diet. 

Imprisonment with free diet. 

Every sentence of the judge should state diet, 
as well as light or darkness, time, place, solitude, 
society, labour or ease; and we are strongly of 
opinion, that the punishment in prisons should 
be sharp and short. We would, in most cases, 
give as much of solitary confinement as would 
not injure men's minds, and as much of bread 
and water diet as would not injure their bodies. 
A return to prison should be contemplated with 
horror — horror, not excited by the ancient filth, 
disease and extortion of jails; but by calm, 
well-regulated, well-watched austerity — by the 
gloom and sadness wisely and intentionally 
thrown over such an abode. Six weeks of 
such sort of imprisonment would be much 
more efficacious than as many months of jolly 
company and veal cutlets. 

It appears, by the Times newspaper of the 
24th of June, 1821, that two persons, a man and 
his wife, were committed at the Surrey Sessions 
for three years. If this county jail is bad, to 
three years of idleness and good living — if it is 
a manufacturing jail, to three years of regular 
labour, moderate living and accumulated gains. 
They are committed principally for a warning 
to others, partly for their own good. Would not 
these ends have been much more effectually 
answered, if they had been committed for nine 
months, to solitary cells upon bread and water; 
the first and last month in dark cells'? If this 
is too severe, then lessen the duration still 
more, and give them more light days and fewer 
dark ones; but we are convinced the whole 
good sought may be better obtained in much 
shorter periods than are now resorted to. 

For the purpose of making jails disagreeable, 
the prisoners should remain perfectly alone all 
nighf, if it is not thought proper to render their 
confinement entirely solitary during the whole 
period of their imprisonment. Prisoners dis- 
like this — and therefore it should be done; it 
would make their residence in jails more dis- 
agreeable, and render them unwilling to return 
there. At present, eight or ten women sleep in 
a room with a good fire, pass the night in 
sound sleep or pleasant conversation; and this 
is called confinement in a prison. A prison is 
a place where men, alter trial and sentence, 
should be made unhappy by public lawful enact- 
ments, not so severe as to injure the soundness 
of mind or body. If this is not done, prisons 
are a mere invitation to the lower classes to 
wade through felony and larceny to better ac- 
commodations than they can procure at home. 
And here, as it appears to us, is the mistake of 
the many excellent men who busy themselves 
(and wisely and humanely busy themselves; 
about prisons. Their first object seems to be 
the reformation of the prisoners, not the refor- 
mation of the public; whereas the first object 
O 



158 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



should be, the discomfort and discontent of their 
prisoners; that they should become a warning, 
ieel unhappy, and resolve never to act so again 
as to put themselves in the same predicament; 
and then as much reformation as is compatible 
■with this the better. If a man says to himself, 
this prison is a comfortable place, while he says 
to the chaplain or the visitor that he will come 
there no more, we confess we have no great 
confidence in his public declaration; but if he 
says "this is a place of misery and sorrow, you 
shall not catch me here again," there is much 
reason to believe he will be as good as his 
word; and he then becomes (which is of much 
more consequence than his own reformation) 
a warning to others. Hence it is we object to 
that spectacle of order and decorum — carpen- 
ters in one shop, tailors in another, weavers in 
a third, sitting down to a meal by ring of bell, 
and receiving a regular portion of their earnings. 
We are afraid it is better than real life on the 
other side of the wall, or so very little worse 
that nobody will have any fear to encounter it. 
In Bury jail, which is considered as a pattern 
jail, the prisoners under a sentence of confine- 
ment are allowed to spend their weekly earnings 
(two, three, and four shillings per week) in fish, 
tobacco and vegetables ; so states the jailer in 
his examination before the House of Commons 
— and we have no doubt it is well meant ; but 
is it punishment? We were most struck, in 
reading the evidence of the jail committee be- 
fore the House of Commons, with the opinions 
of the jailer of the Devizes jail, and with the prac- 
tice of the magistrates who superintend it.* 

"Mr. T. BuuTTOJf, Governor of the Gaol at 
Devizes. — Does this confinement in solitude 
make prisoners more averse to return to pri- 
son? I think it does. — Does it make a strong 
impression upon them] I have no doubt of it. 
— Does it make them more obedient and orderly 
while in gaol? I have no doubt it does. — Do 
you consider it the most effectual punishment 
you can make use of? I do. — Do you think it 
has a greater effect upon the minds of prisoners 
than any apprehensions of personal punishment? 
I have no doubt of it.— Have you any dark cells for 
the punishmentof refractory prisoners? I have. 
— Do you find it necessary occasionally to use 
them ? Very seldom. — Have you, in any in- 
stance, been obliged to use the dark cell, in the 
case of the same prisoner twice? Only on one 
occasion, I think. — What length of time is it 
necessary to confine a refractory prisoner to 
bring him to his senses? Less than one day. — 
Do you think it essential, for the purpose of 
keeping up the discipline of the prison, that you 
shopld have it in your power to have recourse 
ta> t^e punishment of dark cells ? I do ; I con- 
sider punishment in a dark cell for one day, has 
a greater effect upon a prisoner than to keep 
him on bread and water for a month." — Evi- 
dence before the Committee of tlie House of Com- 
mons in 1819, p. 359. 

The evidence of the governor of Gloucester 
jail is to the same effect. 

" Mr. Thomas Cunningham, Keeper of Glouces- 
ter Gaol. — Do you attribute the want of those 



* The Winchester and Devizes jails seem to us to be 
eondueted upon lietter principles llian any other, though 
even tliuso are by no means what jails should be 



certificates entirely to the neglect of enforcing 
the means of solitary confinement? I do most 
certainly. Sometimes, where a certificate has 
not been granted, and a prisoner has brought a 
certificate of good behaviour for one year. Sir 
George and the committee ordered one pound 
or a guinea from the charity. — Does that arise 
from your apprehension that the prisoners have 
not been equally reformed, or only from the 
want of the means of ascertaining such refor- 
mation? It is for want of not knowing; and 
we cannot ascertain it, from their working in 
numbers. — They may be reformed? Yes, but 
we have not the means of ascertaining it. There 
is one thing I do which is not provided for by 
the rules, and which is the only thing in which 
I deviate from the rules. When a man is com- 
mitted for a month, I never give him any work; 
he sits in solitude, and walks in the yard by him- 
self for air; he has no other food but his bread 
and water, except twice a week a pint of peas 
soup. I never knew an instance of a man com- 
ing in a second time who had been committed 
for a month. I have done that for these seventeen 
or eighteen years. — What has been the result? 
They dread so much coming in again. If a man 
is committed for six weeks we give him work. 
Do you apprehend that solitary confinement for 
a month, without employment, is the most bene- 
ficial means of working reform ? I conceive it 
is. — Can it operate as the means of reform, any 
more than it operaies as a system of punish- 
ment? It is only for small offences they com- 
mit for a month. — Would not the same effect be 
produced by corporeal punishment? Corporeal 
punishment may be absolutely necessary some- 
times; but I do not think corporeal punishment 
would reform them so much as solitary confine- 
ment. — Would not severe corporeal punishment 
have the same effect? No, it would harden 
them more than any thing else. — Do you think 
benefit is derived from the opportunity of reflec- 
tion afforded by solitary confinement? Yes. — 
And very low diet also? Yes." — Evidence be- 
fore the Committee of the House of Commons in 
1819, p. 391. 

We must quote, also, the evidence of the go- 
vernor of Horsley jail. 

"Mr. William Stokes, Governor of the House 
of Correction at Horsley. — Do you observe any 
difference in the conduct of prisoners who are 
employed, and those who have no employment? 
Yes, a good deal; I look upon it, from what judg- 
ment I can form, and I have been a long while 
in it, that to take a prisoner and discipline him 
according to the rules as the law allows, and if 
he have no work, that that man goes through 
more punishment in one month than a man who 
is employed and receives a portion of his labour 
three months ; but still I should like to have em- 
ployment, because a great number of times I 
took men away, who have been in the habit of 
earning sixpence a week to buy a loaf, and put 
them in solitary confinement; and the punish- 
ment is a great deal more without work. — Which 
of the prisoners, those that have been employed, 
or those unemployed, do you think would go out 
of the prison the better men? I think, that let 
me have a prisoner, and I never treat any one 
with severity, any further than that they should 
be obedient, and to let them see that I will do 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



159 



my duty, T have reason to believe, that, if a pri- 
soner is committed under my care, or any other 
man's care, to a house of correction, and he has 
to go under the discipline of the law, if he is in 
for the value of a month or six weeks, that man 
is in a great deal better state than though he 
stays for six months ; he gets hardened by being 
in so long, from one month to another. — You are 
speaking now of solitude without labour; do you 
think he would go out better, if he had been em- 
ployed during the month you speak of? No, 
nor half; because I never task those people, in 
order that they should not say I force them to 
do more than they are able, that they should not 
slight it; for if they perform any thing in the 
bounds of reason, I never find fault with them. 
The prisoner who is employed, his time passes 
smooth and comfortable, and he has a propor- 
tion of his earnings, and he can buy additional 
diet ; but if he has no labour, and kept under the 
discipline of the prison, it is a tight piece of 
punishment to go through. — Which of the two 
should you think most likely to return immedi- 
ately to habits of labour on their own account! 
The dispositions of all men are not alike; but 
my opinion is this, if they are kept and disci- 
plined according to the rules of the prison, and 
have no labour, that one month will do more 
than six; I am certain, that a man who is kept 
there without labour once, will not be very ready 
to come there again." — Evidence before the Com- 
mittee of the House of Commons, pp. 398, 399. 

Mr. Gurney and Mr. Buxton both lay a great 
stress upon the quiet and content of prisoners, 
upon their subordination and the absence of all 
plans of escape; but, where the happiness of 
prisoners is so much consulted, we should be 
much more apprehensive of a conspiracy to 
break into, than to break out of, prison. The 
mob outside may, indeed, envy the wicked ones 
within ; but the felon who has left, perhaps, 
a scolding wife, a battered cottage, and six 
starving children, has no disposition to escape 
from regularity, sufficient food, employment 
which saves him money, warmth, ventilation, 
cleanliness and civil treatment. These symp- 
toms, upon which these respectable and excel- 
lent men lay so much stress, are by no means 
proofs to us that prisons are placed upon the 
best possible footing. 

The governor of Bury jail, as well as Mr. 
Gurney, insist much upon the few prisoners 
who return to the jail a second time, the manu- 
Acturing skill which they acquire there, and the 
complete reformation of manners for which the 
prisoner has afterwards thanked him the go- 
vernor. But this is not the real criterion of the 
excellence of a jail, nor the principal reason 
why jails were instituted. The great point is, 
not the average recurrence of the same prison- 
ers, but the paucity or frequency of commit- 
ments, upon the whole. You may make a jail 
such an admirable place of education, that it 
may cease to be infamous to go there. Mr. 
Hoiford tells us (and a very curious anecdote it 
is,) that parents actually accuse their children 
falsely of crimes, in order to get them into the 
Philanthropic Charity! and that it is conse- 
quently a rule with the governors of that cha- 
rity never to receive a child upon the accusa- 
tion of the parents alone. But it is quite obvious 



what the next step will be, if the parents cannot 
get their children in by fibbing. They will take 
good care that the child is real/y qualified for the 
Philanthropic, by impelling him to those crimes 
which are the passport to so good an education. 

" If, on the contrary, the offender is to be pun- 
ished simply by being placed in a prison, where 
he is to be well lodged, well clothed, and well 
fed, to be instructed in reading and writing, to 
receive a moral and religious education, and to 
be brought up to a trade ; and if this prison is 
to be within the reach of the parents, so that they 
may occasionally visit their child, and have the 
satisfaction of knowing, from time to time, that 
all these advantages are conferred upon him, 
and that he is exposed to no hardships, although 
the confinement and the discipline of the prison 
may be irksome to the boy ; yet the parents may 
be apt to congratulate themselves on having 
got him off their hands into such a good berth, 
and may be considered by other parents as hav- 
ing drawn a prize in the lottery of human life 
by their son's conviction. This reasoning is not 
theoretical, but is founded in some degree upon 
experience. Those who have been in the habit 
of attending the committee of the Philanthropic 
Society know, that parents have often accused 
their children of crimes falsely, or have exag- 
gerated their real offences, for the sake of induc- 
ing that society to take them ; and so frequent 
has been this practice, that it is a rule with 
those who manage that institution, never to 
receive an object upon the representation of its 
parents, unless supported by other strong testi- 
mony." — Hoiford, pp. 44, 45. 

It is quite obvious that, if men were to appear 
E^gain, six months after they were hanged, hand- 
somer, richer, and more plump than before exe- 
cution, the gallows would cease to be an object 
of terror. But here are men who come out of 
jail, and say, 'Look at us, — we can read and 
write, we can make baskets and shoes, and we 
went in ignorant of every thing: and we have 
learnt to do without strong liquors, and have no 
longer any objection to work; and we did work 
in the jail, and have saved money, and here it is." 
What is there of terror and detriment in all this 1 
and how are crimes to be lessened if they are 
thus "rewarded 1 Of schools there cannot be 
too many. Penitentiaries, in the hands of wise 
men, may be rendered excellent institutions ; 
but a prison must be a prison — a place of sor- 
row and wailing; which should be entered with 
horror, and quitted with earnest resolution never 
to return to such misery; with that deep impres- 
sion, in short, of the evil which breaks out into 
perpetual warning and exhortation to others. 
This great point effected, all other reformation 
must do the greatest good. 

There are some very sensible observations 
upon this point in Mr. Holford's book, who upon 
the whole has, we think, best treated the sub- 
ject of prisons, and best understands them. 

"Inibrmer times, men were deterred from 
pursuing the road that led to a prison, by the ap- 
prehension of encountering there disease and 
hunger, of being loaded with heavy irons, and 
of remaining without clothes to cover them, or 
abed to lie on; we have done no more than 
what justice required in relieving the inmates 
of a prison from these hardships; but there is 



160 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



no reason ihat they should be freed from the fear 
of all other sufferings and privations. And I 
hope that those whose duty it is to take up the 
consideration of these subjects, will see, that in 
penitentiaries, offenders should be subjected to 
separate confinement, accompanied by such 
work as may be found consistent with that sys- 
tem of imprisonment ; that in jails or houses of 
correction, they should perform that kind of la- 
bour which the law has enjoined; and that in 
prisons of both descriptions, instead of being 
allowed to cater for themselves, they should be 
sustained by such food as the rules and regula- 
tions of the establishment should have provided 
for them ; in short, that prisons should be con- 
sidered as places of punishment, and not as 
scenes of cheerful industry, where a compro- 
mise must be made with the prisoner's appetite 
to make him do the common workof a journey- 
man or manufacturer, and the labours of the 
spinning-wheel and the loom must be alleviated 
by indulgence."* 

This is good sound sense; and it is a pity 
that it is preceded by the usual nonsense about 
" the tide of blasphemy and sedition." If Mr. Hol- 
ford is an observer of^ tides and currents, whence 
comes it that he observes only those which set 
one wayl Whence comes it that he says no- 
thing of the tides of canting and hypocrisy 
which are flowing with such rapidity"? — of abject 
political baseness and sycophancy — of the dis- 
position so prevalent among Englishmen, to sell 
their conscience and their country to the Mar- 
quis of Londonderry for a living for the second 



* " That I am g^jilty of no exaggeration in thus describ- 
ing a prison conducted upon tlie principles now coming 
into fashion, will be evident to any person who will turn 
to the latter part of the article, ' Penitentiary. MiUbank,' 
in Mr. Buxton's Book on Prisons. He there states what 
passed in conversation between himself and the gover- 
nor of Bury jail, {whichjail, by the bye, he praises as one 
of the three best prisons he has ever seen, and strongly 
recommends to our imitation at Millbank.) Having ob- 
served that the governor of Bury jail had mentioned his 
.having counted 34 spinning-wheels in full activity when 
he left that jail at 5 o'clock in the morning on the preced- 
ing day, Mr. Buxton proceeds as follows : — ' After he had 
seen the Millbank Penitentiary, I asked him what would 
be the consequence, if the regulations there used were 
adopted by him V ' The consequence would be,' he replied, 
' that every wheel would be stopped.' Mr. Buxton then 
adds, 'I would not be considered as supposing that the 
prisoners will altogether refuse to work at Millbank — 
they will work dunng the stated hours; but the present 
incentive being wanting, the labour will, I apprehend, be 
languid and desultory.' I sliail not, on my part, under- 
take to say that they will do as much work as will be 
done in those prisons in ^vhich work is the primary ob- 
ject; but, besides the encotiragement of the portion of 
earnings laid up for them, they know that diligence is 
among the qualities that will recommend them to the mer- 
cy of the crown, and that the want of it is, by the rules and 
regulations of the prison, an offence to be punished. The 
governor of Bury jail, who is a very intelligent man, 
must have spoken hastily, in his eagerness to support his 
o^vn system, and did not, I conceive, give himself credit 
for as much power and authority in his prison as he 
really possesses. It is not to be wondered at, that the 
keepers of prisons should like the new system: there is 
less trouble in the care of a manufactory than in that of a 
jail ; but I am surprised to find tliat so much reliance is 
placed in argument on the declaration of some of these 
officers, that the prisoners are quieter where their work 
is encouraged, by allowing them to spend a portion of 
their earnings. It may naturally be expected, that 
offenders will be least discontented, and consequently 
least turbulent, where their punishment is lightest, or 
where, to u.se Mr. Buxton's own words, ' by making 
labour productive of comfort or convenience, you do 
much towards rendering it agreeable ;' but I must be per- 
mitted to doubt, whether these are the prisons of which 
men will live in most dread." — Holford, pp. 78 — 80. 



son — or a silk gown for the nephew — or for a 
frigate for my brother the captain 1 How comes 
bur loyal careerist to forget all these sorts of 
tides'? 

There is a great confusion, as the law now 
stands, in the government of jails. The justice.^ 
are empowered, by several statutes, to make 
subordinate regulations for the government of 
the jails ; and the sheriff supersedes those regu- 
lations. Their respective jurisdictions and 
powers should be clearly arranged. 

The female prisoners should be under the 
care of a matron, with proper assistants. Where 
this is not the case, ihe female part of the prison 
is often a mere brothel for the turnkeys. Can 
any thing be so repugnant to all ideas of re- 
formation, as a male turnkey visiting a solitary 
female prisoner 1 Surely, women can take care 
of women as effectually as men can take care 
of men ; or, at least, women can do so properly 
assisted by men. This want of a matron is a 
very scandalous and immoral neglect in any 
prison S3'Stem. 

The presence of female visitors, and instruc- 
tors for the women, is so obviously advantageous 
and proper, that the ofl^er of forming such an 
institution must be gladly and thankfully re- 
ceived by any body of magistrates. That they 
should feel any jealousy of such interference is 
too absurd a supposition to be made or agreed 
upon. Such interference may not efl^ect all that 
zealous people suppose it will elfect; but, if it 
does any good, it had better be. 

Irons should never be put upon prisoners 
before trial; after trial, we cannot object to the 
humiliation and disgrace which irons and a 
parti-coloured prison dress occasion. Let them 
be a part of solitary confinement, and let the 
words "Solitary Confinement," in the sentence, 
imply permission to use them. The judge then 
knows what he inflicts. 

We object to the office of prison inspector, for 
reasons so very obvious, that it is scarcely neces- 
sary to enumerate them. The prison inspector 
would, of course, have a good salary; that, in 
England, is never omitted. It is equally matter 
of course that he would be taken from among 
treasury retainers ; and that he never would look 
at a prison. Every sort of attention should be 
paid to the religious instruction of these unhappy 
people; but the poor chaplain should be paid a 
little better; — every possible duty is expected 
from him — and he has one hundred per annum. 

Whatever money is given to prisoners, should 
be lodged with the governor for their benefit, to 
be applied as the visiting magistrates point out 
— no other donations should be allowed or ac- 
cepted. 

If voluntary work before trial, or compulsory 
work after trial, is the system of a prison, there 
should be a task-master; and it should be re- 
membered, that the principal object is not profit. 

Wardsmen, selected in each yard among the 
best of the prisoners, are very serviceable. If 
prisoners work, they should work in silence. At 
all times, the restrictions upon seeing friends 
should be very severe; and no food should be 
sent from friends. 

Our general system then is — that a prison 
should be a place of real punishment; but 
of known, enacted, measurable and measure 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



161 



punishment. A prisoner (not for assault, or 
refusing to pay parish dues, but a bad felonious 
prisoner), should pass a part of his three months 
in complete darkness; the rest in complete soli- 
tude, perhaps in complete idleness, (for solitary 
idleness leads to repentance, idleness in com- 
pany to vice.) He should be exempted from 
cold, be kept perfectly clean, have sufficient 
food to prevent hunger or illness, wear the 
prison dress and moderate irons, have no com- 
munication with any body but the officers of 
the prison and the magistrates, and remain 
otherwise in the most perfect solitude. We 
strongly suspect this is the way in which a bad 
man is to be made afraid of prisons; nor do we 
think that he would be less inclined to receive 
moral and religious instruction than any one 
of seven or eight carpenters in jail, working at 
a common bench, receiving a part of their earn- 
ings, and allowed to purchase with them the 
delicacies of the season. If this system is not 
resorted to, the next best system is severe work, 
ordinary diet, no indulgences, and as much 
seclusion and solitude as are compatible with 
work; — always remarking, that perfect sanity 
of mind and body are to be preserved. 

To this system of severity in jails there is 
but one objection. The present duration of 
punishments was calculated for prisons con- 
ducted upon very different principles; — and if 
the disciplineofprisons was rendered more strict, 
we are not sure that the duration of imprison- 
ment would be practically shortened ; and the 
punishments would then be quite atrocious and 
disproportioned. There is a very great disposi- 
tion, both in judges and magistrates, to increase 
the duration of imprisonment; and, if that is 
done, it will be dreadful cruelty to increase the 
bitterness as well as the time. We should think, 
for instance, six months' solitary imprisonment 
to be a punishment of dreadful severity; but 
we find, from the House of Commons' report, 
that prisoners are sometimes committed by 
county magistrates for two years* of solitary 
confinement. And so it may be doubted, whe- 
ther it is not better to wrap up the rod in flannel, 
and make it a plaything, as it really now is, than 
to show how it may be wielded with effectual 
severity. For the pupil, instead of giving one 
or two stripes, will whip his patient to death. — 
But if this abuse were guarded against, the real 
■way to improve would be, now we have made 
prisons healthy and airy, to make them odious 
and austere — engines of punishment and ob- 
jects of terror. 

In this age of charity and of prison improve- 
ment, there is one aid to prisoners which appears 



to be wholly overlooked ; and that is, the means 
of regulating their defence, and providing them 
witnesses for their trial. A man is tried for 
murder, or for house-breaking or robbery with- 
out a single shilling in his pocket. The non- 
sensical and capricious institutions of the Eng- 
lish law prevent him from engaging counsel to 
speak in his defence, if he had the wealth of 
Croesus; but he has no money to employ even 
an attorney, or to procure a single witness, or 
to take out a subpoena. The judge, we are told, \ 
is his counsel; — this is sufficiently absurd; but 
it is not pretended that the judge is his witness. 
He solemnly declares that he has three or four 
witnesses who could give a completely different 
colour to the transaction ; — but they are sixty or 
seventy miles distant, working for their daily 
bread, and have no money for such a journey, 
nor for the expense of a residence of some days 
in an assize town. They do not know even the 
time of the assize, nor the modes of tendering 
their evidence if they could come. When every 
thing is so well marshaled against him on the 
opposite side, it would be singular if an inno- 
cent man, with such an absence of all means 
of defending himself, should not occasionally 
be hanged or transported: and accordingly we 
believe that such things have happened.* Let 
any man, immediately previous to the assizes, 
visit the prisoners for trial, and see the many 
wretches who are to answer to the most serious 
accusations, without one penny to defend them- 
selves. If it appeared probable, upon inquiry, 
that these poor creatures had important evidence 
which they could not bring into court for want 
of money, would it not be a wise application of 
compassionate funds, to give them this fair 
chance of establishing their innocence? — It 
seems to us no bad finale of the pious labours 
of those who guard the poor from ill-treatment 
during their imprisonment, to take care that 
they are not unjustly hanged at the expiration 
of the term. 



* House of Commons' Report, 355. 



* From the Clonmell Advertiser it appears, that John 
Brien, alias Captain Wheeler, was found guilty of murder 
at the late assizes for the county of Waterlbrd. Previous 
to his execution he made the following confession : — 

" I now again most solemnly aver, in the presence of 
that God by whom I will soon be judged, and who sees 
the secrets of my heart, that only three, viz , Morgan 
Brien, Patrick Brien and my unfortunate self, committed 
the horrible crimes of murder and burning at Bally- 
garron, and that the four unfortunate men who have be- 
fore suffered for them, were not m the smallest degree 
accessary to them. I have been the cause for which they 
have iiuiocently suffered death. I have contracted a 
death of justice with them — and the only and least re- 
stitution I can make them, is tlms publicly, solemnly, and 
with death before my eyes, to acquit their memory ol^any 
guilt in the crimes for which I shall deservedly sutler! 1 '* 
—Philanthropist, No. 6. 208. 

Ptreunt et imputantxir. 



21 



02 



m 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



PRISONS.* 



[Edinburgh Review, 1822.] 



There never was a society calculated, upon 
the whole, to do more good than the Society for 
the Improvement of Prison Discipline; and, 
hitherto, it has been conducted with equal en- 
ergy and prudence. If now, or hereafter, there- 
fore, we make any criticisms on their proceed- 
ings, these must not be ascribed to any defi- 
ciency of good will or respect. We may dilfer 
from the society in the means — our ends, we 
are proud to say, are the same. 

In the improvement of prisons, they consider 
the small number of recommitments as the great 
test of amelioration. Upon this subject we 
have ventured to differ from them in a late 
number; and we see no reason to alter our 
opinion. It is a mistake, and a very serious 
and fundamental mistake, to suppose that the 
principal object in jails is the reformation of the 
offender. The principal object undoubtedly is, 
to prevent the repetition of the offence by the 
punishment of the ofl'ender; and, therefore, it 
is quite possible to conceive that the offender 
himself may be so kindl}^ gently and agreeably 
led to reformation, by the efforts of good and 
amiable persons, that the efiect of the punish- 
ment may be destroyed, at the same time that 
the punished may be improved. A prison may 
lose its terror and discredit, though the prisoner 
may return from it a better scholar, a better 
artificer, and a better man. The real and only 
test, in short, of a good prison system is, the 
diminution of offences by the terror of the pun- 
ishment. If it can be shown, that in propor- 
tion as attention and expense have been em- 
ployed upon the improvement of prisons, the 
number of commitments has been diminished, 
this indeed would be a convincing proof that 
such care and attention were well emploj'ed. 
But the very reverse is the case; the number 
of commitments within these last ten years 
having nearly doubled all over England. 

The following are stated to be the committals 
in Norfolk county jail. From 1796 to 1815, the 
number averaged about 80. 

In 1816 it was 134 

1817 - 142 

1818 - 159 

1819 - 161 

1820 - 223.— i?f;?or/,p.57. 
In Staffordshire, the commitments have gradu- 
ally increased from 195 to 1815, to 443 in 1820 
—though the jail has been built since How- 
ard's time, at an expense of 30,000/. — (Report, 
p. 67.) In Wiltshire, in a prison which has 



* 1. The Third Report of the Committee of the Society for 
the Improvement of Prison Discipline, and for the Reforma- 
tion of Jvvenile Offenders. London, 1621. 

2. Remarks upon Prison Discipline, ^c SfC, in a Letter 
addressed to the Lord-Lieutenant and Magistrates of the 
County of Essex. By C. C. Western, Esq. M. P. London, 
182L 



cost the county 40,000/., the commitments have 
increased from 207 in 1817 to 504 in 1821. 
Within this perriod, to the eternal scandal and 
disgrace of our laws, 378 persons have been 
committed for game ofl^ences — constituting a 
sixth part of all the persons committed; — so 
much for what our old friend, Mr. Justice Best, 
would term the unspeakable advantages of 
country gentlemen residing upon their own 
property! 

When the committee was appointed in the 
county of Essex, in the year 1818, to take into 
consideration the state of the jail and houses 
of correction, they found that the number of 
prisoners annually committed had increased, 
within the ten preceding years, from 559 to 
1993; and there is little doubt (adds Mr. West- 
ern) of this proportion being a tolerable speci- 
men of the whole kingdom. We are far from 
attributing this increase solely to the imper- 
fection of prison discipline. Increase of popu- 
lation, new statutes, the extension of the breed 
of pheasants, landed and mercantile distress, 
are very operative causes. But the increase 
of commitments is a stronger proof against the 
present state of prison discipline, than the de- 
crease of recommitments is in its favour. — 
We may, possibly, have made some progress 
in the art of teaching him who has done 
wrong to do so no more ; but there is no proof 
that we have learnt the more important art of de- 
terring those from doing wrong who are doubt- 
ing whether they shall do it or not, and who, of 
course, will be principally guided in their de- 
cision by the sufferings of those who have pre- 
viously yielded to temptation. 

There are some assertions in the report of 
the society, to which we can hardly give 
credit, — not that we have the slightest sus- 
picion of any intentional misrepresentation, but 
that we believe there must be some uninten- 
tional error. 

" The Ladies' Committees visiting Newgate 
and the Borough Compter, have continued to 
devote themselves to the improvement of the 
female prisoners, in a spirit worthy of their 
enlightened zeal and Christian charity. The 
beneficial effects of their exertions have been 
evinced by the progressive decrease in the 
number of female prisoners recommitted, which 
has diminished, since the visits of the ladies to 
Newgate, no less than 40 per cent." 

That is, that Mrs. Fry and her friends have 
reclaimed forty women out of every hundred, 
who, but for them, would have reappeared in 
jails. Nobody admires and respects Mrs. Fry 
more than we do; but this fact is scarcely cre- 
dible; and, if accurate, ought, in justice to the 
reputation of the society and its real interests, 
to have been thoroughly substantiated by names 
and documents. The ladies certainly lay claim 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



103 



to no such extraordinary success in their own 
report quoted in the Appendix: but speak 
■with becoming modesty and moderation of the 
result of their labours. The enemies of all 
these reforms accuse the reformers of enthu- 
siasm and exaggeration. It is of the greatest 
possible consequence, therefore, that their state- 
ments should be correct, and their views prac- 
tical; and that all strong assertions should be 
supported by strong documents. The English 
are a calm, reflecting people; they will give 
time and money when they are convinced; but 
they love dates, names and certificates. In the 
midst of the most heart-rending narratives. 
Bull requires the daj'^ of the month, the year 
of our Lord, the name of the parish and the 
countersign of three or four respectable house- 
holders. After these affecting circumstances, 
he can no longer hold out; but gives way to 
the kindness of his nature — puffs, blubbers and 
subscribes: 

A case is stated in the Hertford house of 
correction, which so much more resembles the 
sudden conversions of the Methodist Maga- 
zine, than the slow and uncertain process by 
which repentance is produced in real life, that 
we are a little surprised the society should have 
inserted it. 

"Two notorious poachers, as well as bad men, 
■were committed for three months, for not pay- 
ing the penalty after conviction, but who, in 
consequence of extreme contrition and good 
conduct, were, at the intercession of the clergy- 
men of their parish, released before the expira- 
tion of their term of punishment. Upon leaving 
the house of correction, they declared that they 
had been completely brought to their senses — 
spoke with gratitude of the benefit they had 
derived from the advice of the chaplain, and 
promised, upon their return to their parish, that 
fhey would go to their minister, express their 
thanks for his interceding for them; and more- 
over that they would, for the future, attend their 
duty regularly at church. It is pleasing to add, 
that these promises have been faithfully fulfil- 
led."— ^yD/7. to Third Report, pp. 29, 30. 

Such statements prove nothing, but that the 
clergyman who makes them is an amiable man, 
and probably a college tutur. Their introduction 
however, in the report of a society depending 
upon public opinion for success, is very detri- 
mental. 

It is not fair to state the recommitments of 
one prison, and compare them with those of 
another, perhaps very differently circumstanced, 
—the recommitments, for instance, of a county 
jail, where offences are generally of serious 
magnitude, with those of a borough, where the 
most trifling faults are punished. The import- 
ant thing would be, to give a table of recom- 
mitments, in the same prison, for a series of 
years, — the average of recommitments, for ex- 
ample, every five years in each prison for twen- 
ty years past. If the society can obtain this, it 
will be a document of some importance, (though 
of less, perhaps, than they would consider it to 
be.) At present they tell us, that the average 
of recommitments in certain prisons is 3 per 
cent.: in certain other prisons 5 per cent.: but 
what were they twenty years ago in the same 
prison? — what wer*! they five years ago? If 



recommitments are to be the test, we miistkno-nr 
whether these are becoming, w any given pri' 
son, more or less frequent, before we can deter- 
mine whether that prison is better or worse 
governed than formerly. Recommitments will 
of course be more numerous where prisoners 
are received from large towns, and from the 
resorts of soldiers and sailors ; because it is ia 
these situations that we may expect the most 
hardened offenders. The different nature of the 
two soils which grow the crimes, must be con- 
sidered before the produce gathered into prisons 
can be justly compared. 

The quadruple column of the state of prisons 
for each year, is a very useful and important 
document; and we hope, in time, the society 
will give us a general and particular table of 
commitments and recommitments carried back 
for twenty or thirty years; so that the table may 
contain (of Gloucester jail, for instance,) 1st, 
the greatest number it can contain ; 2dly, the 
greatest number it did contain at any one period 
in each year; 3dly, its classification; 4thly, the 
greatest number committed in any given year; 
5thly, four averages of five years each, taken 
from the twenty years preceding, and stating 
the greatest number of commitments; 6lhly, the 
greatest number of recommitments in the year 
under view ; and four averages of recommit- 
ments, made in the same manner as the average 
of the commitments ; and then totals at the bot- 
tom of the columns. Tables so constructed 
would throw great light upon the nature and 
efficacy of imprisonment. 

We wish the society would pay a little more 
attention to the question of solitary imprison- 
ment, both in darkness and in light; and to the 
extent to which it may be carried. Mr. West- 
ern has upon this subject some ingenious ideas. 

"It appears to me, that if relieved from these 
impediments, and likewise from any idea of the 
necessity of making the labour of prisoners 
profitable, the detail of corrective prison discip- 
line would not be difficult for any body to chalk 
out. I would first premise, that the only pun- 
ishment for refractory conduct, or any misbe- 
haviour in the gaol, should, in my opinion, be 
solitary confinement; and that, instead of being 
in a dark hole, it should be in some part of the 
house where they could fully see the light of the 
day; and I am not sure that it might not be 
desirable, in some cases, if possible, that the/ 
should see the surrounding country and mov 
ing objects at a distance, and every thing that 
man delights in, removed, at the same time, 
from any intercourse or word or look with any 
human being, and quite out of the reach of beuig 
themselves seen. I consider such confinement 
would be a punishment very severe, and calcu- 
lated to produce a far better effect than dark- 
ness. All the feelings that are good in men 
would be much more likely to be kept alive; the 
loss of liberty, and all the blessings of life which 
honesty will insure, more deeply to be felt. 
There would not be so much danger of any de- 
linquent sinking into that state of sullen, insen- 
sible condition, of incorrigible obstinacy, which 
sometimes occurs. If he does, under those 
circumstances, we have a right to keep him out 
of the way of mischief, and let him there remain. 
But I believe such solitary confinement as I 



164 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



have described, with scanty fare, would very 
rarely fail of its effect." — Western's Remarks, pp. 
59, 60. 

There is a good deal in this ; it is well worth 
the trial; and we hope the society will notice it 
in their next report. 

It is very difficult to hit upon degrees; but we 
cannot help thinking the society lean too much 
to a system of indulgence and education in jails. 
We shall be very glad to see them more stern 
and Spartan in their discipline. They recom- 
mend work, and even hard work; but they do 
not insist upon it, that the only work done in 
jails by felons should be hard, dull and uninte- 
resting; they do not protest against the conver- 
sion of jails into schools and manufactories. 
Look, for example, to " Preston House of Cor- 
rection." 

" Preston House of Correction is justly distin- 
guished by the industry which prevails. Here 
an idle hand is rarely to be found. There were 
lately 150 looms in full employ, from each of 
which the average weekly earnings are bs. 
About 150 pieces of cotton goods are worked 
ofTper week. A considerable proportion of the 
looms are of the prisoners' own manufacture. 
In one month, an inexperienced workman will 
be able to earn the cost of his gaol allowance 
of food. Weaving has these advantages over 
other prison labour: the noise of the shuttle 
prevents conversation, and the progress of the 
work constantly requires the eye. The ac- 
counts of this prison contained in the Appen- 
dix, deserve particular attention, as there ap- 
pears to be a balance of clear profit to the 
county, from the labour of the prisoners, in the 
year, of 1398/. 9s. id. This sum was earned by 
weaving and cleaning cotton only; the prison- 
ers being besides employed in tailoring, white- 
washing, flagging, slating, painting, carpenter- 
ing and labourers' work, the earnings of which 
are not included in the above account." — Third 
Report, pp.21, 22. 

"At Worcester county gaol, the system of 
employment is admirable. Every article of 
dress worn by the prisoners is made from the 
raw material; sacking and bags are the only 
articles made for sale." — lb. p. 23. 

"In many prisons, the instruction of the pri- 
soners in reading and writing has been attend- 
ed with excellent effects. Schools have been 
formed at Bedford, Durham, Chelmsford, Win- 
chester, Hereford, Maidstone, Leicester house 
of correction, Shrewsbury, Warwick, Worces- 
ter, &c. Much valuable assistance has been 
derived in this department from the labours of 
respectable individuals, especially females, act- 
ing under the sanction of the magistrates, and 
direction of the chaplain." — lb. pp. 30, 31. 

We again enter our decided protest against 
these modes of occupation in prisons; they are 
certainly better than mere idleness spent in so- 
ciety; but they are not ihe kind of occupations 
which render prisons terrible. We would ban- 
ish all the looms of Preston jail, and substitute 
nothing but the tread-wheel, or the capstan, or 
some species of labour where the labourer 
could not see the results of his toil, — where it 
was as monotonous, irksome and dull as pos- 
sible, — pulling and pushing, instead of reading 
and writing, — no share of the profits — not a sin- 



gle shilling. There should be no tea and sugar, 
— no assemblage of female felons round the 
washing-tub, — Nothing but beating hemp, and 
pulling oakum, and pounding bricks, — no work 
iDut what was tedious, unusual and unfeminine. 
Man, woman, boy and girl, should all leave the 
jail, unimpaired, indeed, in health, but heartily 
wearied of their residence; and taught, by sad 
experience, to consider it as the greatest misfor- 
tune of their lives to return to it. We have the 
strongest belief that the present lenity of jails, 
the education carried on there — the cheerful 
assemblage of workmen — the indulgence in 
diet — the shares of earnings enjoyed by prison- 
ers, are one great cause of the astonishingly 
rapid increase of commitments. 

Mr. Western, who entirely agrees with us 
upon these points, has the following judicious 
observations upon the severe system: — 

" It may be imagined by some persons, that 
the rules here prescribed are too severe; but. 
such treatment is, in my opinion, the tenderest 
mercy, compared with that indulgence which is 
so much in practice, and which directly tends 
to ruin, instead of saving, its unfortunate vic- 
tim. This severity it is which in truth forms 
the sole effective means which imprisonment 
gives; only one mitigation, therefore, if such it 
may be termed, can be admissible, and that is, 
simply to shorten the duration of the imprison- 
ment. The sooner the prisoner comes out the 
belter, if fully impressed with dread of what he 
has suffered, and communicates information to 
his friends what they may expect if they get 
there. It appears to me, indeed, that one great 
and primary object we ought to have in view 
is, generally, to shorten the duration of impri- 
sonment, at the same time that we make it such 
a punishment as is likely to deter, correct and 
reform; shorten the duration of imprisonment 
before trial, which we are called upon, by every 
principle of moral and political justice, to do; 
shorten also the duration of imprisonment after 
trial, by the means here described; and I am 
satisfied our prisons would soon lose, or rather 
would never see, half the number of their pre- 
sent inhabitants. The long duration of impri- 
sonment, where the discipline is less severe, 
renders it perfectly familiar, and, in conse- 
quence, not only destitute of any useful influ- 
ence, but obviously productive of the worst 
effects; yet this is the present practice; and I 
think, indeed, criminals are now sentenced to a 
longer period of confinement than formerly. 

"The deprivation of liberty certainly is a 
punishment under any circumstances; but ihe 
system generally pursued in our gaols might 
rather be considered as a palliative of that pun- 
ishment, than to make it effectual to any good 
purpose. An idle life, society unrestrained, 
with associates of similar character and habits, 
better fare and lodgings in many cases, and 
in few, if any, worse than falls to the lot of 
the hard-working and industrious peasant; and 
very often much better than the prisoners were 
in the enjoyment of before they were appre- 
hended. 

" I do not know what could be devised more 
agreeable to all the different classes of offenders 
than this sort of treatment: the old hardened 
sinner, the juvenile offender, or the idle vaga- 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



166 



bond, who runs away and leaves a sick wife 
and family to be provided for by his parish, 
alike have little or no apprehension, at present, 
of any imprisonment to which they may be sen- 
tenced; and thus are the most effective means 
we possess to correct and reform rendered 
totally unavailable, and even perverted, to the 
more certain ruin of those who might be restored 
to society good and valuable members of it. 

"There are, it is true, various occupations 
now introduced into many prisons, but which, I 
confess, I think of very little use; drawing and 
preparing straws, platting, knitting, heading 
pins, &c., weaving and working at a trade even, 
as it is generally carried on — prisoners coaxed 
to the performance of it, the task easy, the re- 
ward immediate — afford rather the means of 
passing away the time agreeably. These occu- 
pations are, indeed, better than absolute idleness, 
notwithstanding that imprisonment may be ren- 
dered less irksome thereby. I am far from 
denying the advantage, still less would I be sup- 
posed to derogate from the merits of those who, 
with every feeling of humanity, and with inde- 
fatigable pains, in many instances, have esta- 
blished such means of employment; and some 
of them for women, with washing, &c., amount 
to hard labour; but I contend that, for men, they 
are applicable only to a house of industry and 
by no means suited to the corrective discipline 
which should be found in a prison. Individuals 
are sent here to be punished and for that sole 
purpose; in many cases for crimes which have 
induced the forfeiture of life: they are not sent 
to be educated, or apprenticed to a trade. The 
horrors of dungeon imprisonment, to the credit 
of the age, no longer exist. But, if no cause of 
dread is substituted, by what indication of com- 
mon sense is it that we send criminals there at 
ain If prisons are to be made into places in 
which persons of both sexes and all ages may 
be well fed, clothed, lodged, educated and taught 
a trade, where they may find pleasant society, 
and are required not to take heed for the mor- 
row, the present inhabitants should be tuined 
out, and the most deserving and industrious of 
our poorest fellow-subjects should be invited to 
take their place, which I have no doubt they 
would be eager to do." — Wester?!, pp. 13-17. 

In these sentiments we most cordially agree. 
They are well worth the most serious attention 
of the society. 

The following is a sketch from Mr. Western's 
book of what a prison life should be. It is im- 
possible to write with more good sense, and a 
more thorough knowledge of the subject. 

"The operations of the day should begin with 
the greatest punctuality at a given hour; and as 
soon as the prisoners have risen from their 
beds, they should be, according to their several 
classes, marched to the workhouses, where they 
should be kept to hard labour two hours at 
least; from thence they should be taken back to 
wash, shave, comb and clean themselves; thence 
to the chapel to hear a short prayer, or the go- 
vernor or deputy should read to them in their 
respective day-rooms; and then their breakfast, 
which may, altogether, occupy an hour and a 
half or more. I have stated, in a former part of 
my letter, that the hours of meals and leisure 
should be in solitude, in the sleeping cells of the 



prison ; but I presume, for the moment, this may 
not always be practicable. I will, therefore, 
consider the case as if the classes assembled at 
meal-times in the different day-rooms. After 
breakfast they should return to hard labour for 
three or four hours, and then take another hour 
for dinner; labour after dinner two or three 
hours, and their supper given them to eat in 
solitude in their sleeping cells. 

"This marching backwards and forwards to 
chapel and mill-house, &c., may appear objec- 
tionable, but it has not been so represented to 
me in the prisons where it actually now takes 
place; and it is, to my apprehension, materially 
useful in many respects. The object is to keep 
the prisoners in a state of constant motion, so 
that there shall be no lounging time or loitering, 
which is always favourable to mischief or cabal. 
For the same reason it is I propose two hours' 
labour the moment they are up, and before 
washing, &c., that there may be no time lost, 
and that they may begin the day by a portion 
of labour, which will tend to keep them quiet 
and obedient the remainder of it. Each interval 
for meal, thus occurring between labour hours, 
has also a tendency to render the mischief of in- 
tercourse less probable, and at the same time the 
evening association, which is most to be appre- 
hended in this respect, is entirely cut off. The 
frequent moving of the prisoners from place to 
place keeps the governor and sub-officers of the 
prison in a similar state of activity and atten- 
tion, which is likewise of advantage, though 
their numbers should be such as to prevent 
their duty becoming too arduous or irksome. 
Their situation is not pleasant and their resp.on- 
sibility is great. An able and attentive governor, 
who executes all his arduous duties with unre- 
mitting zeal and fidelity, is a most valuable 
public servant and entitled to the greatest re- 
spect. He must be a man of no ordinary capa- 
city, with a liberal and comprehensive mind, 
possessing a control over his own passions, 
firm and undaunted, acharacter that commands 
from those under him, instinctively, as it were, 
respect and regard. In vain are our buildings, 
and rules, and regulations, if the choice of a 
governor is not made an object of primary and 
most solicitous attention and consideration. 

"It does not appear to me necessary for the 
prisoners to have more than three hours' leisure, 
inclusive of meal-times; and I am convinced 
the close of the day must be in solitude. Eight 
or ten hours will have passed in company with 
their fellow-prisoners of the same class (for I 
am presuming that a separate compartment of 
the workhouse will be allotted to each) where, 
though they cannot associate to enjoy society 
as they would wish, no gloom of solitude can 
oppress them: there is more danger even then 
of too close an intercourse and conversation, 
though a ready cure is in that case to be found 
by a wheel put in motion, the noise of which 
speedily overcomes the voice. Some time after 
Saturday night should be allowed to them, more 
particularly to cleanse themselves and their 
clothes, and they should have a bath, cold or 
warm, if necessary; and on the Sunday they 
should be dressed in their best clothes, and the 
day should be spent wholly in the chapel, the 
cell, and the airing-ground; the latter in presence 



166 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



of a day-watchman, as I have described to be in 
practice at Warwick. I say nothing about 
teaching to read, write, work, &c. &c.; any pro- 
portion of time necessary for any useful pur- 
pose may be spared from the hours of labour or 
of rest, according to circumstances ; but I do not 
place any reliance upon improvement in any 
branch of education: they would not, indeed, be 
there long enough. All I want them to learn is, 
that there exists the means of punishment for 
crime, and be fully impressed with dread of re- 
petition of what they have undergone; and a 
short time will suffice for that purpose. Now, 
if each successive day was spent in this manner, 
can it be doubted that the frequent commission 
of crime would be checked, and more done to 
deter, correct and reform than could be accom- 
plished by any other punishment ] A period of 
such discipline, longer or shorter, according to 
the nature of the otfence, would surely be suffi- 
cient for any violation of the law short of mur- 
der, or that description of outrage which is likely 
to lead on to the perpetration of it. This sort of 
treatment is not to be overcome: it cannot be 
braved, or laughed at, or disregarded, by any 
force of animal spirits, however strong or vigo- 
rous of mind or body the individual may be. 
The dull, unvarying course of hard labour, with 
hard fare and seclusion, must in time become 
so painfully irksome, and so wear and distress 
him, that he will inevitably, in the end, be sub- 
dued." — Western, pp. 64-69. 

There is nothing in the Report of the Prison 
Society so good as this. 

The society very properly observe upon the 
badness of town jails, and the necessity for 
their suppression. Most towns cannot spare the 
funds necessary for building a good jail. Shop- 
keepers cannot spare the time for its superin- 
leiidence; and hence it happens that town jails 
are almost always in a disgraceful state. The 
society frequently allude to the diffusion of 
tracts. If education is to be continued in jails, 
and tracts are to be dispersed, we cannot help 
lamenting that the tracts, though full of good 
principles, are so intolerably stupid — and all 
apparently constructed upon the supposition, 
that a thief or a peccant ploughman is inferior 
in common sense to a boy of five years old. The 
story generally is, that a labourer with six chil- 
dren has nothing to live upon but mouldy bread 
and dirty water; yet nothing can exceed his 
cheerfulness and content — no murmurs — no 
discontent: of mutton he has scarcely heard — 
of bacon he never dreams: furfurous bread 
and the water of the pool constitute his food, 
establish his felicity, and excite his warmest 
gratitude. The squire or parson of the parish 
always happens to be walking by and overhears 
him praying for the king and the members for 
the county, and for all in authority ; and it gene- 
rally ends with their offering him a shilling, 
which this excellent man declares he does not 
want, and will not accept! These are the 
pamphlets which Goodies and Noodles are dis- 
persing with unwearied diligence. It would be 
a great blessing if some genius would arise who 
had a talent of writing for the poor. He would 
be of more value than many poets living upon 
the banks of lakes — or even (though we think 
highly of ourselves) of greater value than many 



reviewing men living in the garrets of the 
north. 

The society offer some comments upon the 
prison bill now pending, and which unfortu- 
nately* for the cause of prison improvement, 
has been so long pending in the legislature. In 
the copy of this bill, as it stands at present, 
nothing is said of the limitation of numbers in 
any particular class. We have seen forty felons 
of one class in one yard before trial. If this 
is to continue, all prison improvement is a mere 
mockery. Separate sleeping cells should be 
enacted positively, and not in words, which 
leave this improvement optional. If any visit- 
ing justice dissents from the majority,-)- it should 
be lawful for him to give a separate report upon 
the state of the prison and prisoners to the judge 
or the quarter sessions. All such reports of 
any visiting magistrate or magistrates, not ex- 
ceeding a certain length, should be pu'blished 
in the county papers. The chairman's report 
to the secretary of state should be published in 
the same manner. The great panacea is pub- 
licity; it is this which secures compliance with 
wise and just laws, more than all the penalties 
they contain for their own preservation. 

We object to the reading and writing clause. 
A poor man, who is lucky enough to have his 
son committed for a felony, educates him, under 
such a system, for nothing; while the virtuous 
simpleton on the other side of the wall is pay- 
ing by the quarter for these attainments. He 
sees clergymen and ladies busy with the larce- 
nous pupil; while the poor lad, who respects 
the eighth commandment, is consigned, in some 
dark alley, to the frowns and blows of a ragged 
pedagogue. It would be the safest way, where 
a prisoner is kept upon bread and water alone, 
to enact that the allowance of bread should not 
be less than a pound and a half for men, and a 
pound for women and boys. We strongly re- 
commend, as mentioned in a previous number, 
that four sorts of diet should be enacted for 
every prison; 1st, Bread and water; 2d, Better 
prison diet; 3d, Best prison diet; 4th, Free diet 
— the second and third to be defined by the 
visiting magistrates. All sentences of impri- 
sonment should state to which of these diets the 
prisoner is to be confined ; and all deviation 
from it on the part of the prison officers should 
be punished with very severe penalties. The 
regulation of prison diet in a prison is a point 
of the very highest importance ; and to ask of 
visiting magistrates that they should doom to 
bread and water a prisoner whom the law has 
left at liberty to purchase whatever he has the 
money to procure, is a degree of severity which 
it is hardly fair to expect from country gentle- 
men, and, if expected, those expectations will 
not be fulfilled. The whole system of diet, one 
of the main-springs of all prison discipline, will 
get out of order, if its arrangement is left to the 
interference of magistrates and not to the sen- 
tence of the judge. Free diet and bread diet 
need no interpretation : and the jailer will take 
care to furnish the judge with the definitions of 



* Tlie county of York, with a prison under presentment, 
has been waitinsr nearly three years for this bill, in order 
to proceed upon the improvement of their county jail. 

fit would be an entertaining change in human affairn 
to determine every thing by rm7iciTities. They are almosi 
always -i the right. 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



167 



letter prison diet and best prison diet. A know- 
ledge of the diet prescribed in a jail is absolutely 
necessary for the justice of the case. Diet dif- 
fers so much in different prisons, that six weeks 
in one prison is as severe a punishment as three 
months in another. If any country gentleman, 
engaged in legislation for prisons, is inclined to 
undervalue the importance of these regulations, 
let him appeal to his own experience, and re- 
member, in the vacuity of the country, how 
often he thinks of his dinner, and of what there 
will be for dinner; and how much his amenity 
and courtesy for the evening depend upon the 
successful execution of this meal. But there is 
nobody so gluttonous and sensual as a thief; 
and he will feel much more bitterly fetters on 
his mouth than his heels. It sometimes hap- 
pens that a gentleman is sentenced to imprison- 
ment for manslaughter in a duel, or for a libel. 
Are visiting justices to doom such a prisoner to 
bread and water, or are they to make an invidi- 
ous distinction between him and the other pri- 
soners? The diet should be ordered by the judge, 
or it never will be well ordered — or ordered at 
all: 

The most extraordinary clause in the bill is 
the following — 

" And be it further enacted, that in case any 
criminal prisoner shall be guilty of any repeated 
offence against the rules of the prison, or shall 
be guilty of any greater offence which the jailer 
or keeper is not by this act empowered to pun- 
ish, the said jailer or keeper shall report the 
same to the visiting justices, or one of them, for 
the time being; and such justices, or one of 
them, shall have power to inquire upon oath, 
and determine concerning any such offence so 
reported to him or them, and shall order the 
offender to be punished, either by moderate 
whipping, repeated whippings, or by close con- 
finement, for any term not exceeding .' — 
^c/, p. 21. 

Upon this clause, any one justice may order 
repeated whippings for any offence greater than 
that which the jailer may punish. Our respect 
for the committee will only allow us to say, that 
we hope this clause will be reconsidered. We 
beg leave to add, that there should be a return 
to the principal secretary of state of recommit- 
ments as well as commitments. 

It is no mean pleasure to see this attention to 
jail-discipline travelling from' England to the 
detestable and despotic governments of the con- 
tinent, — to see the health and life of captives 
admitted to be of any importance, — to perceive 
that human creatures in dungeons are of more 
consequence than rats and black beetles. All 
this is new — is some little gained upon ty- 
ranny; and for it we are indebted to the labours 
of the Prison Society. Still the state of prisons, 
on many parts of the continent, is shocking be- 
yond all description. 

It is a most inconceivable piece of cruelty and 
absurdity in the English law, that the prisoner's 
counsel, when he is tried for any capital felony, 
is not allowed to speak for him; and this we 
hope the new prison bill will correct. Nothing 
can be more ridiculous in point of reasoning, or 
more atrociously cruel and unjust in point of 
fact. Any number of counsel may be employed 
to take away the poor man's life. They are at 



full liberty to talk as long as they like; but not 
a syllable is to be uttered in his defence — not a 
sentence to show why the prisoner is not to be 
hung. This practice is so utterly ridiculous to 
any body but lawyers (to whom nothing that is 
customary is ridiculous), that men not versant 
with courts of justice will not believe it. It is, 
indeed, so utterly inconsistent with the common 
cant of the humanity of the English law, that it 
is often considered to be the mistake of the nar- 
rator, rather than the imperfection of the sys- 
tem. We must take this opportunity, therefore, 
of making a ievj observations on this very 
strange and anomalous practice. 

The common argument used in its defence is 
that the judge is counsel for the prisoner. But 
the defenders of this piece of cruel and barbar- 
ous nonsense must first make their election, 
whether they consider the prisoner to be, by 
this arrangement, in a better, a worse or aa 
equally good situation as if his counsel were 
allowed to plead for him. If he is in a wc/rse 
situation, why is he so placed? Why is a man, 
in a solemn issue of life or death, deprived of 
any fair advantage which any suitor in any 
court of justice possesses'' This is a plea of 
guilty to the charge we make against the prac- 
tice; and its advocates, by such concession, are 
put out of court. But, if it is an advantage, or 
no disadvantage, whence comes it that the 
choice of this advantage, in the greatest of all 
human concerns, is not left to the party or to 
his friends] If the question concerns a foot- 
path — or a fat ox — every man may tell his own 
story, or employ a barrister to tell it for him. 
The law leaves the litigant to decide on the 
method most conducive to his own interest. 
But, when the question is whether he is to Hv« 
or die, it is at once decided for him that his 
counsel are to be dumb! And yet, so ignorant 
are men of their own interests, that there is not 
a single man tried who would not think it a 
great privilege if counsel were allowed to speak 
in his favour, and who would not be supremely 
happy to lay aside the fancied advantage of 
their silence. And this is true not merely ot 
ignorant men; but there is not an Old Bailey 
barrister who would not rather employ another 
Old -Bailey barrister to speak for him, than en- 
joy the advantage (as the phrase is) of having 
the judge for his counsel. But in what sense, 
after all, is the judge counsel for the prisoner? 
He states, in his summing up, facts as they 
have been delivered in evidence; and he tells 
the jury upon what points they are to decide: 
he mentions what facts are in favour of the 
prisoner, and what bear against him; and he 
leaves the decision to the jury. Does he do 
more than this in favour of the prisoner? Does 
he misstate? does he mislead? does he bring 
forward arguments on one side of the question, 
and omit equally important arguments on the 
other? If so, he is indeed counsel for the pri- 
soner; but then who is judge? who takes care 
of the interests of the public? But the truth is, 
he does no such thing; he does merely what we 
have stated him to do; and would he do less, 
could he do less, if the prisoner's counsel spoke 
for him? If an argument was just, or an in- 
ference legitimate, he would not omit the one, or 
refute the other, because they had been put or 



168 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



drawn in the speech of the prisoner's counsel. 
He would be no more prejudiced against the 
defendant in a criminal than in a civil suit. He 
would select from the speeches of both counsel 
all that could be fairly urged for or against the 
defendant, and he would reply to their fallacious 
reasonings. The pure administration of justice 
requires of him, in either case, the same con- 
duct. Whether the whole bar spoke for the 
prisoner, or whether he was left to defend him- 
self, what can the judge do, or what ought he to 
do, but to state to the jury the facts as they are 
given in evidence, and the impression these 
facts have made upon his own mind? In the 
mean time, while the prisoner's counsel have 
been compelled to be silent, the accuser's, the 
opposite party, have enjoyed an immense ad- 
vantage. In considering what bears against 
the prisoner, the judge has heard, not only the 
suggestions of his own understanding, but he 
has been exposed to the able and artful reason- 
ing of a practised advocate, who has been pre- 
viously instructed in the case of which the 
judge never heard a syllable before he came 
into court. Suppose it to be a case depending 
upon circumstantial evidence; in how many 
new points of view may a man of genius have 
placed those circumstances, which would not 
have occurred to the judge himself! How 
many inferences may he have drawn, which 
would have been unnoticed but for the efforts 
of a man whose bread and fame depend upon 
his exertions, and who has purposely, and on 
contract, flung the whole force of his under- 
standing into one scale! In the mean time, the 
prisoner can say nothing, for he has not the gift 
of learned speech; his counsel can say nothing, 
though he has communicated with the prisoner, 
and could place the whole circumstances, per- 
haps, in the fairest and clearest point of view 
for the accused party. By the courtesy of Eng- 
land this is called /ws/fce — we in the north can- 
not admit of the correctness of the appellation. 
It seems utterly to be forgotten, in estimating 
this practice, that two understandings are better 
than one. The judge must inevitably receive many 
new views against the prisoner by the speech 
of one counsel, and lose many views in favour 
of the prisoner by the silence of the other. We 
are not to suppose (like ladies going into court 
in an assize town) that the judge would have 
thought of every thing which the counsel against 
the prisoner has said, and which the counsel 
for the prisoner would have said. The judge, 
wigged and robed as he is, is often very inferior 
in acuteness to either of the persons who are 
pleading under him — a cold, slow, parchment 
and precedent man, without passions or prse- 
cordia, — perhaps a sturdy brawler for church 
and king, — or a quiet man of ordinary abilities, 
steadily, though perhaps conscientiously, fol- 
lowing those in power through thick and thin — 
through right and wrong. Whence comes it 
that the method of getting at truth, which is so 
excellent on all common occasions, should be 
considered as so improper on the greatest of all 
occasions, where the life of a man is concerned? 
If an acre of land is to be lost or won, one man 
says all that can be said on one side of the ques- 
tion — another on the other; and the jury, aided 
by the impartiality of the judge, decide. The 



wit of man can devise no better method of disen- 
tangling difficulty, exposing falsehood, and de- 
tecting truth. " Tell me why lam hurried away to 
a premature death, and no man suffered to speak in 
my defence, when at this very moment, and in my 
hearing, all the eloquence of the bar, on the other 
side of your justice hall, is employed in defending 
a path or a hedge? Is a foot of land dearer to any 
man than my life is to me? The civil plaintiff has 
not trusted the smallest part of his fate or for^ 
tune to his own efforts; and will you grant me no 
assistance of superior wisdom, who have suffered a 
long famine to purchase it — who am broken by 
prison — broken by chains — and so shamed by this 
dress of guilt, and abashed by the presence if my 
superiors, that I have no words which you could 
hear without derision — that I could not give way 
for a moment to the fulness and agitation of my 
rude heart without moving your contempt?" So 
spoke a wretched creamre to a judge in our 
hearing! and what answer could be given but 
"Jailer, take him away?" 

We are well aware that a great decency of 
language is observed by the counsel employed 
against the prisoner, in consequence of the 
silence imposed upon the opposite counsel ; but 
then, though there is a decency as far as con- 
cerns impassioned declamation, yet there is no 
restraint, and there can be no restraint, upon 
the reasoning powers of a counsellor. He may 
put tog:ether the circumstances of an imputed 
crime in the most able, artful and ingenious 
manner, without the slightest vehemence or 
passion. We have no objection to this, if any 
counter statement were permitted. We want 
only fair play. Speech for both sides, or speech 
for none. The first would be the wiser system; 
but the second would be clear from the intolera- 
ble cruelty of the present. We see no harm 
that would ensue, if both advocates were to fol- 
low their own plan without restraint. But, if 
the feelings are to be excluded in all causes of 
this nature (which seems very absurd), then let 
the same restraint be exacted from boih sides. 
It might very soon be established, as the eti- 
quette of the bar, that the pleadings on both 
sides were expected to be calm, and to consist 
of reasoning upon the facts. In high treason, 
where the partiality of the judge and power of 
the court are suspected, this absurd incapacity 
of being heard by counsel is removed. No 
body pretends to say, in such cases, that the 
judge would be counsel for the prisoner; and 
yet, how many thousand cases are there in a 
free country which have nothing to do with high 
treason, and where the spirit of party, unknown 
to himself, may get possession of a judge? 
Suppose any trial for murder to have taken 
place in the Manchester riots, — will any man 
say that the conduct of many judges on such a 
question ought not to have been watched with 
the most jealous circumspection? Would any 
prisoner — would any fair mediator between the 
prisoner and the public — be satisfied at such a 
j)eriod with the axiom that the judge is counsel 
for the prisoner? We are not saying that there is 
no judge who might not be so trusted, but that 
all judges are not, at all times, to be so intrusted. 
We are not saying that any judge would wil- 
fully do wrong; but that many might be led to 
do wrong by passions and prejudices of which 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITIT. 



169 



they were unconscious; and that the real safe- 
guard to the prisoner, the best, the only safe- 
guard, is full liberty of speech for the counsel 
he has employed. 

What would be the discipline of that hospi- 
tal where medical assistance was allowed in all 
trifling complaints, and withheld in every case 
of real danger 1 where Bailey and Halford were 
lavished upon stomach-aches and refused in 
typhus fever? where the dying patient beheld 
the greatest skill employed upon trifling evils of 
others, and was told, because his was a case of 
life and death, that the cook or the nurse was to 
be his physician? 

Suppose so intolerable an abuse (as the at- 
torney and solicitor-general would term it) had 
been established, and that a law for its correc- 
tion was now first proposed, entitled an Ad to 
prevent the Counsel fur Prisoners fmn being heard 
in their Defence ! ! ! 

What evil would result from allowing counsel 
to be heard in defence of prisoners ? Would 
too many people be hung from losing that valu- 
able counsellor, the judge ? or would too few 
people be hung? or would things remain much 
as they are at present? We never could get 
the admirers of this practice to inform us what 
the results would be of deviating from it; and 
we are the more particularly curious upon this 
point, because our practice is decidedly the re- 
verse, and we find no other results from it than 
a fair administration of criminal justice. In all 
criminal cases that require the intervention of 
a jury in Scotland, a prisoner must have, 1st, a 
copy of the indictment, which must contain a 
minute specification of the offence charged; 
2dly, a list of witnesses; 3dly, a list of the as- 
size; and, 4thly, in every question that occurs, 
and in all addresses to the jury, the prisoner's 
counsel has the last word. Where is the boasted 
mercy of the English law after this ? 

The truth is, it proceeds from the error which, 
in all dark ages, pervades all codes of laws, of 
confounding the accused with the guilty. In the 
early part of our state trials, the prisoners were 
not allowed to bring evidence against the wit- 
nesses of the crown. For a long period after 
this, the witnesses of the prisoner were not suf- 
fered to be examined upon oath. One piece of 
cruelty and folly has given way after another. 
Each has been defended by the attorney and 
solicitor-general for the time, as absolutely 
necessary to the existence of the state, and the 
most perfect performance of our illustrious an- 
cestors. The last grand hope of every foolish 
fierson is the silence of the prisoner's counsel, 
n the defence of this, it will be seen what stu- 
pidity driven to despair can achieve. We beg 
pardon for this digression; but flesh and blood 
cannot endure the nonsense of lawyers upon 
this subject. 

The society have some very proper remarks 
upon the religious instructions of the chaplain — 
an appointment of vast imporiance and utility; 
unfortunately very ill paid, and devolving en- 
tirely upon the lower clergy. It is said that the 
present Bishop of Gloucester, Dr. Ryder, goes 
into jails and busies himself with the temporal 
wretchedness and the eternal welfare of the 
prisoners. If this is so, it does him great 
honour, and is a noble example to all ranks of 



clergy who are subject to him. Above all, do 
not let us omit the following beautiful anecdote, 
while we are talking of good and pious men. 

"The committee cannot refrain from extract- 
ing from the report of the Paris Society, the 
interesting anecdote of the excellent P6re Jous- 
sony, who being sent, by the Consul at Algiers, 
to minister to the slaves, fixed his residence in 
their prison; and, during a period of thirty 
years, never quitted his post. Being compelled 
to repair to France, for a short period, he re- 
turned again to the prison, and at length resign- 
ed his breath in the midst of those for whose 
interests he had laboured, and who were dearer 
to him than life." — Report, p. 30. 

It seems to be a very necessary part of the 
prison system, that any poor person, when ac- 
quitted, should be passed to his parish ; and 
that all who are acquitted should be imntediately 
liberated. At present, a prisoner, after acquit- 
tal, is not liberated till the grand jury are dis- 
missed,* in case (as it is said) any more bills 
should be preferred against him. This is really 
a considerable hardship; and we do not see, 
upon the same principle, why the prisoner may 
not be detained for another assize. To justify 
such a practice, notice should, at all events. Be 
given to the jailer of intention to prefer other 
charges against him. To detain a man who is 
acquitted of all of which he has been accused, 
and who is accused of nothing more, merely 
because he may be accused of something more, 
seems to be a great perversion of justice. The 
greatest of all prison improvements, however, 
would be the delivery of jails four times in the 
year. It would save expense; render justice 
more terrible, by rendering it more prompt; 
facilitate classification, by lessening numbers; 
keep constantly alive, in the minds of wicked 
men, the dread of the law ; and diminish the 
unjust suiferings of those who, after long im- 
prisonment, are found innocent. 

" From documents," says Mr. Western, "upon 
the table of the House of Commons in 1819, 1 
drew out an account, which I have already ad- 
verted to in part, but which I shall restate here, 
as it places, in a strong point of view, the ex- 
tent of injustice, and inconsistency, too, arising 
out of the present system. It appeared that, at 
the Maidstone Lent Assizes of that year there 
were one hundred and seventy-seven prisoners 
for trial ; of these, seventeen were in prison be- 
fore the 1st of October, eighty-three before the 
1st of January, the shortest period of confine- 
ment before trial being six months of the former, 
three months of the latter. Nothing can show 
us more plainly the injustice of such confine- 
ment than the known fact of six months' impri- 
sonment being considered a sufficient punish- 
ment for half the felonies that are committed* 
but the case is stronger, when we consider the 
number acquitted; seventeenof the twenty-seven 
first mentioned were acquitted, nineof the seven 
teen were discharged, not being prosecuted, or 
having no bill found against them. On the 
other side it appeared, that twenty-five cou 
victed felons were sentenced to six months' im 
prisonment, or under, the longest period of 
whose confinement did not, therefore, exceed 



* This has since been done away with, 
P 



170 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



the shortest of the seventeen acquitted, or that 
of the nine, against whom no charge was ad- 
duced; there were three, who, after being about 
seven months in prison, were then discharged, 
whilst various convicted felons suffered six- 
sevenths only of the punishment, including the 
time before trial as well as after condemnation. 
By the returns from the Lent Assizes at Chelms- 
ford, the same year, the cases were not less 
striking than those of Maidstone: the total num- 
ber was one hundred and sixty-six; of these, 
twenty-five were in prison before the 1st of Oc- 
tober, of whom eleven were acquitted, and of 
these eleven, six were discharged without any 
indictment preferred; two were in prison eight 
months ; three, seven months and fifteen days, 
three, six months and fifteen days. On the other 
hand, sixteen convicted of felony, were consi- 
dered to be sufficiently punished by imprisonment 
under six months. Upon the whole, it appeared 
that four hundred and five persons had been in 
gaol before the 1st of October, whilst eight hun- 
dred convicted felons were sentenced to a lighter 
■punishment, to a shorter duration of imprison- 
ment, than these four hundred and five had ac- 
tually undergone. 

"It is a curious fact, that, upon an average, 
more than one-third of the total number com- 
mitted for trial are acquitted. In the seven 
years ending 1819, seventy-two thousand two 
hundred and sixteen persons were committed ; 
of these, fourteen thousand two hundred and 
ninety-one were acquitted on trial, eleven thou- 
sand two hundred and seventy-four were dis- 
charged, there being no prosecutions, or no bills 
found against them. This large proportion of 
acquittals aggravates the evil and injustice of 
long confinement before trial; but were it other- 
wise, what possible right can we have to detain 
a man in custody six months, upon any charge 
exhibited against him, before he is brought to 
trial 1 What excuse or palliation can be found 
for so barbarous a violation of all the principles 
of justice and humanity] How contemptible 
it is, by way of defence, to talk of the inexpe- 
diency of increasing the number of the judges, 
the expense, inconvenience, trouble, &c.! It is 
wrong to contend with such arguments against 
the unanswerable claims of justice, as it is only 
to admit they are entitled to weight. The fact 
is, we are so completely under the influence of 
habitual respect for established practice, that 
we do not stop to question the possibility of the 
existence of any serious defects in the adminis- 
tration of the law that can be capable of remedy. 
The public attention has never been earnestly 
and steadily fixed and devoted to the attainment 
of a better system." — Western, pp. 80 — 83. 

The public cannot be too grateful to Mr. 
Western for his labours on this subject. We 
strongly recommend his tract for general cir- 
culation. It is full of stout good sense, without 
one panicle of nonsense or fanaticism: — good 
English stuff, of the most improved and best 
sort. Lord Londonderry has assented to the 
measure; and his assent does him and the 
government very great credit. It is a measure 
of first-rate importance. The multiplicity of 
imprisonments is truly awful. 

Within the distance of ten miles round Lon- 
don, thirty-one fairs are annually held, which 



continue eighty days within the space of seven 
months. The effect of these fairs, in filling 
the prisons of the metropolis, it is easy to ima- 
gine; and the topic is very wisely and properly 
brought forward by the society. 

Nothing can be so absurd as the reasoning 
used about Jla.sk houses. They are suffered to 
exist, it seems, because it is easy to the officers 
of justice to find, in such places, the prisoners 
of whom they are in search ! But the very 
place where the thief is found is most probably 
the place which made him a thief. If it facili- 
tates the search, it creates the necessity for 
searching, and multiplies guilt while it pro- 
motes detection. Wherever thieves are known 
to haunt, that place should be instantly purged 
of thieves. 

We have pushed this article to a length 
which will prevent us from dwelling upon that 
part of the plan of the Prison Society which 
embraces the reformation of juvenile delin- 
quents, of whom it is calculated there are 
not less than 8000 in London who gain their 
livelihood by thieving. To this subject we 
may, perhaps, refer in some future number. 
We must content ourselves at present with a 
glimpse at the youthful criminals of the metro- 
polis. 

" Upon a late occasion (in company with Mr. 
Samuel Hoare, the chairman of the Society for 
the Reform of Juvenile Delinquents), I visited, 
about midnight, many of those receptacles of 
thieves which abound in this metropolis. We 
selected the night of that day in which an exe- 
cution had taken place; and our object was, to 
ascertain whether that terrible demonstration 
of rigour could operate even a short suspen^ 
sion of iniquity, and keep for a single nigh 
the votaries of crime from their accustomed 
orgies. In one room, I recollect, we found a 
large number of children of both sexes, the 
oldest under eighteen years of age, and in the 
centre of these a man who had been described 
to me by the police as one of the largest sellers 
of forged bank-notes. At another part, we were 
shown a number of buildings, into which only 
children were allowed to enter, and in which, 
if you could obtain admission, which you can- 
not, you would see scenes of the most flagrant, 
the most public, and the most shocking de- 
bauchery. Have I not, then, a right to say, 
that you are growing crimes at a terrible rate, 
and producing those miscreants who are to dis- 
turb the public peace, plunder the public pro- 
perty, and to become the scourge and the dis- 
grace of the country]" — Buxton, pp. 66, 67. 

Houses dedicated to the debauchery of chil- 
dren, where it is impossible to enter ! ! ! Whence 
comes this impossibility] 

To show that their labours are not needlessly 
continued, the society make the following state- 
ment of the present state of prisons: — 

" But although these considerations are highly 
encouraging, there is yet much to accomplish 
in this work of national improvement. So ex- 
tensive are the defects of classification, that in 
thirty gaols, constructed for the confinement of 
2985 persons, there were, at one time in the last 
year, no fewer than 5837 prisoners; and the 
whole number imprisoned ii those gaols, dur- 
ing that period, amounted to 2o.703 There are 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



171 



yet prisons where idleness and its attendant 
evils reign unrestrained — where the sexes are 
not separated— where all distinctions of crime 
are confounded — where few can enter, if uncor- 
rupted, without pollution; and, if guilty, with- 
out incurring deeper stains of criminality. — 
There are yet prisons which receive not the 
pious visits of a Christian minister — which the 
light of knowledge never enters — and where 
the truths and consolations of the Gospel are 
never heard. — There are yet prisons where, for 
the security of the prisoners, measures are re- 
sorted to as revolting to British feeling as they 
are repugnant to the spirit and letter of English 
law." — Report, pp. 63, 64. 

With this statement we take our leave of the 
subject of prisons, thoroughly convinced that, 
since the days of their cleanliness and salu- 



brity, they have been so managed as to become 
the great school for crimes and wretchedness ; 
and that the public, though beginning to awake, 
are not yet sufficiently aware of this fact, and 
sufficiently alarmed at it. Mrs. Fry is an ami- 
able, excellent woman, and ten thousand times 
belter than the infamous neglect that preceded 
her; but hers is not the method to stop crimes. 
In prisons, which are really meant to keep the 
multitude in order, and to be a terror to evil 
doers, there must be no sharing of profits — no 
visiting of friends — no education but religious 
education — no freedom of diet — no weavers' 
looms or carpenters' benches. There must be 
a great deal of solitude ; coarse food ; a dress 
of shame; hard, incessant, irksome, eternal la- 
bour; a planned and regulated and unrelenting 
exclusion of happiness and comfort. 



178 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



PERSECUTING bishops; 



[Edinburgh Review, 1S22.] 



It is a great point in any question to clear 
away encumbrances, and to make a naked 
circle about the object in dispute, so that there 
may be a clear view of it on every side. In 
pursuance of this disencumbering process, we 
shall first acquit the bishop of all wrong inten- 
tions. He has a very bad opinion of the prac- 
tical effects of high Calvinistic doctrines upon 
the common people ; and he thinks it his duty 
to exclude those clergymen who profess them 
from his diocese. There is no moral wrong 
in this. He has accordingly devised no fewer 
than eighty-seven interrogatories, by which he 
thinks he can detect the smallest taint of Cal- 
vinism that may lurk in the creed of the can- 
didate ; and in this also, whatever we may 
think of his reasoning, we suppose his pur- 
pose to be blameless. He believes, finally, 
that he has legally the power so to in- 
terrogate and exclude ; and in this perhaps 
he is not mistaken. His intentions, then, are 
good, and his conduct, perhaps, not amenable 
to the law. All this we admit in his favour: 
but against him we must maintain, that his 
conduct upon the points in dispute has been 
singularly injudicious, extremely harsh, and, 
in its effects (though not in its intentions), 
very oppressive and vexatious to the clergy. 

We have no sort of intention to avail our- 
selves of an anonymous publication to say 
unkind, uncivil, or disrespectful things to a 
man of rank, learning, and character — we 
hope to be guilty of no such impropriety; but 
we cannot believe we are doing wrong in 
ranging ourselves on the weaker side, in the 
cause of propriety and justice. The mitre 
protects its wearer from indignity ; but it does 
not secure impunity. 

It is a strong presumption that a man is 
wrong, when all his friends, whose habits na- 

* 1. ^n Appeal to the Leg-islature and Public; or, the Le- 
gality of the Kifslitti-sepeH Queatinns proposed by Dr. Her- 
bert Marsh, the Bishop of Peterborougli, to Candidates for 
Holy Orders, and for Licenses, irithin that Diocese, consi- 
dered. 2d Edition, London, Seely, 1821. 

2. ./? Speech, delirered in the House of Lords, on Friday, 
June 7, 1822, by Herbert, Lord Bishop of Peterboroush, on 
the Presentation of a Petition ofrainst his Examination 
Questions : with Kxplanaiory J^nlcs, a Supplement, and a 
Copy of the Questions. London, Uivinf;ton. 182'2. 

3. The IVroncrs of the Clergy of the Diocese of Peterbo- 
rough stated and illustrated. By tlie Rev. T. S. Grim- 
BHAWR, M. A., Rector of Burton, Nortliainptonshire ; and 
Vicar of Biddenham, Bedfordshire. London, Seely, 1822. 

4. Episcopal Innovation : or, the Test of Modern Ortho- 
doxy, in Eighty-seven Questions, imposed, as Jlrticles of 
Faith, upon Candidates for Licenses and for Holy Orders, 
in the Diocese of Peterborough ," with a distinct Answer to 
each Question, and General Reflections Relative to their II- 
le.iral Structure and Pernicious Tendency. London, Seely, 
1820. 

5. Official Correspondence between the Right Rev. Her- 
bert, Lord Bishop of Peterborough, and the Rev. John 
Oreen, respecting his JVomination to the Curacy of Bla- 
therwycke, in the Diocese of Peterborough, and County of 
JVorthampton : Also, betjseen His Grace Charles, Lord 
Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Rev. Henry William 
JVemle, M. A., Rector of Blatherwycke, and of Cottesmore 
in the County of Rutland. 182L 



I turally lead them to coincide with him, think 
him wrong. If a man were to indulge in 
taking medicine till the apothecary, the drug- 
gist, and the physician, all called upon him to 
abandon his philo-cathartic propensities — if he 
were to gratify his convivial habits till the 
landlord demurred and the waiter shook his 
head — we should naturally imagine that ad- 
vice so wholly disinterested was not given be- 
fore it was wanted, and that it merited some 
little attention and respect. Now, though the 
Bench of Bishops certainly love power, and 
love the church, as well as the Bishop of 
Peterborough, yet not one defended him — not 
one rose to say, "I have done, or I would do 
the same thing." It Avas impossible to be pre- 
sent at the last debate on this question, without 
perceiving that his lordship stood alone — and 
this in a very gregarious profession, that ha- 
bitually combines and butts against an oppo- 
nent with a very extended front. If a lawyer 
is wounded, the rest of the profession pursue 
him, and put him to death. If a churchman is 
hurt, the others gather round for his protection, 
stamp with their feet, push with their horns, 
and demolish the dissenter who did the mis- 
chief. 

The bishop has at least done a very un- 
usual thing in his Eight3^-seven Questions. 
The two archbishops, and we believe every 
other bishop, and all the Irish hierarchy, ad- 
mit curates into their dioceses without any 
such precautions. The necessitjr of such se- 
vere and scrupulous inquisition, in short, has 
been apparent to nobody but the Bishop of 
Peterborough; and the authorities by wliich he 
seeks to justify it are any thing but satisfac- 
tory. His lordship states, that forty years ago, 
he was himself examined by written inter- 
rogatories, and that he is not the only bishop 
who has done it; but he mentions no names; 
and it was hardly worth while to state such 
extremely slight precedents for so strong a de- 
viation from the common practice of the 
church. 

The bishop who rejects a curate upon the 
Eighty-seven Questions is necessarily and in- 
evitably opposed to the bishop who ordained 
him. The Bishop of Gloucester ordains a 
young man of twenty-three years of age, not 
thinking it necessary to put to him these inter- 
rogatories, or putting them perhaps, and ap- 
proving of answers diametrically opposite to 
those that are required by the Bishop of Peter- 
borough. The young clergyman then comes 
to the last-mentioned bishop, and the bishop, 
after putting him to the question, says, "You 
are unfit for a clergyman," — though, ten days 
before, the Bishop of Gloucester has made him 
one ! It is bad enough for ladies to pull caps, 
but still worse for bishops to pull mitres. 
Nothing can be more mischievous or indecent 



WORKS OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH. 



173 



than such scenes; and no man of common 
prudence, or knowledge of the world, but must 
see that they ought immediately to be put a 
stop to. If a man is a captain in the army in 
one part of England, he is a captain in all. 
The general who commands north of the 
Tweed does not say, You shall never appear 
in my district, or exercise the functions of an 
officer, if you do not answer eighty-seven 
questions on the art of war, according to my 
notions. The same officer who commands a 
ship of the line in the Mediterranean, is con- 
sidered as equal to the same office in the 
North Seas. The sixth commandment is sus- 
pended, by one medical diploma, from the 
north of England to the south. But, by this 
new system of interrogation, a man may be 
admitted into orders at Barnet, rejected at 
Stevenage, re-admitted at Brogden, kicked out 
as a Calvinist at Witham Common, and hail- 
ed as an ardent Arminian on his arrival at 
York. 

It matters nothing to say that sacred things 
must not be compared w-ith profane. In their 
importance, we allow, they cannot ; but in their 
order and discipline they may be so far com- 
pared as to say, that the discrepancy and con- 
tention which would be disgraceful and per- 
nicious in worldly affairs, should, in common 
prudence, be avoided in the affairs of religion. 
Mr. Greenough has made a map of England, 
according to its geological varieties; — blue for 
the chalk, green for the clay, red for the sand, 
and so forth. Under this system of Bishop 
Marsh, we must petition for the assistance of 
the geologist in the fabrication of an ecclesias- 
tical map. All the Arminian districts must 
be purple. Green for one theological extre- 
mity — sky-blue for another — as many colours 
as there are bishops — as many shades of these 
colours as there are archdeacons — a tailor's 
pattern card — the picture of vanity, fashion, 
and caprice! 

The bishop seems surprised at the resist- 
ance he meets with; and yet, to what purpose 
has he read ecclesiastical history, if he expects 
to meet with any thing but the most determined 
opposition 1 Does he think that every sturdy su- 
pralapsarian bullock whom he tries to sacrifice 
to the genius of orthodoxy, will not kick, and 
push, and toss ; that he will not, if he can, 
shake the axe from his neck, and hurl his 
mitred butcher into the air? His lordship has 
undertaken a task of which he little knows the 
labour or the end. We know these men fully 
as well as the bishop ; he has not a chance of 
success against them. If one motion in Par- 
liament will not do, they will have twenty. 
They will ravage, roar, and rush, till the very 
chaplains, and the masters and Misses Peter- 
borough request his lordship to desist. He is 
raising up a storm in the English church, of 
which he has not the slightest conception ; 
and which will end, as it ought to end, in his 
lordship's disgrace and defeat. 

The longer we live, the more we are con- 
vinced of the justice of the old saying, that an 
ounce of mother wit is worth a pound of clergy ,• 
that discretion, gentle manners, common sense, 
and good nature, are, in men of high ecclesias- 
tical station, of far greater importance than 



the greatest skill in discriminating between 
sublapsarian and supralapsarian doctrines. 
Bishop Marsh should remember, that all men 
wearing the mitre work by character, as well 
as doctrine ; that a tender regard to men's 
rights and feelings, a desire to avoid sacred 
squabbles, a fondness for quiet, and an ardent 
wish to make eveiybody happ