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Sir Henry suggests both with a view to present relief, and to future contingencies,
* 1st. Such a revision and reform of taxes, and of commercial regulations, as shall remove all existing obstructions in the way of extending industry and national wealth; so that the sources of war-taxes may be increased as much as possible.
* 2ndly. Such a revision and reform of the public expenditure as shall carry retrenchment into every part of it, and reduce the peace establishment to the lowest point consistent with the public service.
• 3rdly. The imposing of an income tax of one and a half or two per cent, in order that one of ten or twelve per cent may be brought into full operation the moment a war becomes inevitable.
4thly. The funding of at least two-thirds of the unfunded debt.'
Sir Henry points out the enormous losses suffered by borrowing a nominal capital at a fixed rate of interest, instead of a real capital at the current rate of interest, and suggests the creating long annuities for the unfunded debt, the 4 per cent, and afterwards for the 3} per cent, stock; these are topics worthy of very serious consideration.
In the power we again repeat of the British nation to surmount its financial difficulties, we entertain, with our excellent financier, unbounded confidence, and shall conclude with a word or two of warning and of counsel.
Let the nation not forget that the government is only the Treasurer and the Trustee of the national taxation; that it has no right to claim one farthing nor the fraction of a farthing except for some purpose of public good; that it is bound to give satisfactory reasons why the revenue is gathered in one form in preference to another, and why applied to one purpose in preference to another. In judging of the merits of any system of rule, let the people apply to all the details of its administration the principles which wise and honest men apply to their individual con
Under any circumstances they will pay a high price for their government: let them take care that the high-priced commodity is at least worth something; and that they are not put off with a bane or a bauble, instead of a benefit. Ås in their private transactions they learn to be on their guard against all dishonest puffing, so in public matters let them especially beware that the flash words of dignity,' station in society' and such like, are not used merely as instruments of depredation, or employed as shields over depredations committed. Let them in short, look closely into the affairs which so nearly concern them, and as an important step to their relief let them encourage by their approbation, and second by their co-operation, suc valuable labours as are represented in Sir Henry Parnell's volume, to which again and again we call the attention of our readers.
Art. IX.–Lawrie Todd, or the Settlers in the Woods. By John Galt,
Author of Annals of the Parish, &c. &c. Colburn and Bentley.
LAWRIE Todd is the supposed auto-biography of a humble
Scotsman, who rose to opulence as a settler in the woods of America. If it were not too evidently the composition of a practised writer and a man of genius, it would be easy to mistake it for the production of the hero of the story : so minute is it, so real, so consistent, so probable, so like the writing of a man who is looking into himself for his original.
If the disappointment of any man could give us pleasure, we should have rejoiced at the circumstances which brought back Mr. Galt to his native shores, rejoicing in his natural powers of invention, and enriched with his experience in the New World. We missed this truest of painters of national manners, and though his subject was always Scotsmen and Scotland, there is variety enough'in that interesting country to furnish inexhaustible materials for him who has the gift of observation. The truth is, that the groundwork of the novelist, the passions of human nature, are pretty much the same all over the world; it is the colouring which differs, and which may be said to represent, with a few accidental effects of light and shade, all that we mean by national characteristics. Mr. Galt is an artist as profound in his general knowledge of the workings of the human heart, as he is familiar with those modifications of and variations from the general standard which occur among his shrewd and logomachical countrymen. This mastery over his subject, enables him to venture on new ground: he is as much at home with his Scotsman in America as in Peebles : the transplantation only shews the peculiarities likely to be developed by a new soil.
In the former works of this author, it is probable that he looked for no higher end than to amuse his readers, and gratify himself by the exercise of his own powers : but in Lawrie Todd, it is impossible not to remark that a more practical view has been entertained. He does not tell us that Lawrie Todd is to be considered the settler's Vade mecum or American Emigrant's guide ; but we have no doubt that the fiction has been intended to be subservient to such a purpose. It is remarkable how similar modes of genius fall into similar modes of operation. Defoe's views in fabricating his fictions, was simply that of instruction, that, which with others assumed the principal importance, was with him secondary : in order to instruct the world in the nature of the civil war, he naturally fell into the
memoirs of a Cavalier, and had he had to furnish instructions to settlers in new countries, he would undoubtedly, as in his Robinson Crusoe, have invented a Lawrie Todd. And it is singular enough, that Lawrie Todd has his original as well as Robinson Crusoe his Selkirk. We are told by the author, that his work is founded upon the memoirs of a real and remarkable person with whom he is acquainted ; some of whose original letters he has added by way of appendix to the end of the book. The author has also stated in his preface, that he has had in view the information necessary to an emigrant, and has further told us, that such as is to be found in his book may be relied on as authentic.
Lawrie Todd begins his life with that epoch of it which an autobiographer can only know by report, his birth : a man generally, however, has the facts connected with it on such undeniable evidence, that he may be allowed to speak of it as a circumstance of which he is cognizant. Born in a little village on the Esk, the son of a pious father, by trade a nail-maker, Lawrie lost his mother in his infancy, and with her care, he lost his strength and infant robustness. It appears that he narrowly escaped being a cripple from bad nursing; and that if he was not actually a dwarf, he never rose above the lowest standard of men.
This diminutiveness is much dwelt upon all through the work, and it appears to have been the secret spring of many of the characteristics and peculiarities of the future Lawrie Todd. As the key to Byron's oddities was in his clubfoot, so did those of Lawrie grow out of his littleness. It is probable, that were men looked into more narrowly, personal formation would be found as commonly modifying character as more far-fetched influences. The greatness of little men is as proverbial as the pride and loftiness of bearing in hunchbacks whom the vulgar promote to the hereditary legislature under the title of my lord. Be this as it may, Lawrie dwells with apparent truth on the influence of his crippled and curtailed proportions on his infant mind; and finds in it the parent of much reflection, and the spring of much ambition, not to call it conceit. In this early part of the work, there is much to be pleased with : humble domestic life in Scotland is so marked by strong affections, piety and principle, that we never fail to be interested in the pictures of it; and how many, and how admirable are the painters of it—Galt, Wilson, the author of Mansie Wauch rise instantly to the recollection. The earliest event which remained in the memory of the young Lawrie, was the death of his mother; this misfortune, greatest of all in the poor man’s cottage, is touched upon slightly, but so marked by a true home stroke, that it will not be forgotten by the most careless reader.
““I was then in my third year : of herself I bear no recollection, but the death-bed spectacle is still vivid. I yet see the family weeping around her—and I hear a fearful sound : my father gives her drink from a small white porringer which, long afterwards, as it stood untouched in the cupboard, I regarded with awe and sorrow, I knew not wherefore. He softly withdraws his arm from behind her-he rises from the bed-side--the sound is gone-and she moves no more,” 'i. p. 3.
His father was a pious, upright and good-natured man, who shewed that he also possessed good sense, by sending his hopeful son to America: for Lawrie, as he grew up, was moved to reform the parliament, joined the society of the Friends of the People, and managed to secure his own apprehension for high treason. His father took this as a hint, that America was a fitter scene for him than Scotland, and sent him and his brother packing with twenty shillings in their joint purse for the city of New York. On the passage, Lawrie gave signs of the spirit within him : he composes differences, regulates the mess, and seems to have been elected a kind of moderator of the goodly crew of Scotch emigrants, with which the vessel was charged, and of whom he does not fail to give some characteristic touches of description. Theology, after treacle and fresh water, seems to have been the principal source of discord, which was, however, partly got under by a royal" ordonnance” of the captain, who took up the matter en roi.
«“We had men" says Lawrie, "of diverse religions and of no religion ; and it was not uncommon, when the wind was fair and the weather fine, to see an anti-burger minister, one of whom was on board, holding forth on the quarter-deck and singing the old version of the psalms of David, and at the same time a batch of eight or ten universalists chaunting the Winchester hymns on the forecastle. At last their controversies grew to such a pitch, that the captain was obliged to put a stop to their strivings, by declaring the Presbyterian religion to be the established religion of his ship." -s. I. p. 33.-4.
The two brothers arrived off New York, with the better part of a crown remaining of the “pound which their loving father had bestowed upon them, with the tear in his eye, and his blessing.” But besides these treasures, he had endowed his only sons with an old family chest, containing a great many useful articles of dress, and other needs. Among these was a bottle of wine, and the management of this bottle of wine may be considered a good augury of future success.
"" While we were conversing," writes Mr. Todd," 'a passenger who had been on shore returned, and having changed a guinea, he
paid me six-pence which he owed me for a glass of wine to one of his children when it was sick. At the time there was none but ours remaining on board, all that had been provided for the cabin passengers was drank out: we had been then eight weeks at sea. I should here note as a matter worthy of remark, and creditable both to my brother and me, although we could afford to bring with us but one bottle of wine, we yet, by a judicious economy, had the last wine in the ship.'” i. p. 38—9.
Nail-makers, for such was the trade of both the youths were in request: employment was quickly found and the career of Lawrie Todd in America began. Labour produced dollars, and dollars begat the idea of a hardware store : the desire both to make nails and sell the contents of the shop, put the idea of a helpmate into the head of the industrious nail-maker. Chance led him to board in the habitation of Rebecca, a pious and beautiful girl whom the diminutive and swarthy nail-maker contrived to carry off from a wealthy and comely suitor. Lawrie's perseverance and industry deserved his prize, for he carried them into love as well as nail-making.
““My nail-shop-window opened into the yard of the house where I boarded, and where Rebecca lived ; and after I came from the store in the evening, she used to come like a dove to the window: I helped her in where she stayed, sewing or knitting, till midnight - I working and courting-killing two birds with one stone."!—. p. 61.
It is good to know what an amiable and thriving pair may commence upon in a primitive country; the simplicity of Lawrie's establishment will make some people laugh, others will sigh orsneer at the necessary superfluities which the progress of what is called civilization has created in the shape of “ traupeaus," jewels, carriages, footmen, houses, and French cooks.
«« We had a bed,” says Lawrie, speaking of himself and the sweet tempered Rebecca, “and bedstead, good and most comfortable of their kind--a fine table worth no less than half a dollar--three Windsor chairs, one for each of us and a spare one for a friend—a soup-pot, a tea-kettle, likewise a tea-pot, six cups and saucers, three soupplates, which on days of fish and steaks served as well as plain ones could have done-three pewter tea-spoons and two soup-ditto of the same material : three knives and forks, a girdle for cakes, a fryingpan and a gridiron-it was enough, it was all we wanted, we were all the world to one another. Then was, indeed, the midsummer of my life ; for now that I have carpets to be shaken, brasses to scour, stairs to scrub, mahogany to polish, china to break, servants to scold, and a cat that plays the devil, I often say to myself, in the words of Solomon, · Vanity of vanities, all is vanity."'-p. 69. 70.
Rebecca was one of those sainted persons who seem by nature to be disposed to more than mortal excellence, and