Abbildungen der Seite

behind a tree. Amidad Peterś was one, and a settler whom I did not know the other. After speaking a few words of condolence to my wife, I expressed my surprise to Amidad at seeing him there at that time of night and armed, thanking both him and his companion for their áttention and saying, I would watch the remainder of the night myself.

"“But one” said Amidad, “is not sufficient, it will require for we have already been twice scared.”

"“Scared !" cried I “by what? who have we to fear ?"

""The wolves” replied the stranger, “they scent the dead afar off!"" -Vol. i. p.226.

A fit of the 'cruel and indiscriminating ague' fell upon Lawrie after this distress, which however he bore up against, and succeeded in finishing his house before the winter set in. The listlessness of the long winter nights, and the want of occupation during that season for his sons, forced upon the mind of the settler their want of a schoolmaster. Lawrie's activity brought about this great good : it was the first and he undertook as a public character in the settlement, and it also may be marked as the commencement of his prosperity; a poor but gentlemanly old man, a Mr. Herbert, who had lived in a superior condition of life, but whom misfortune had driven into the woods, was fixed upon for the office. The arrival of Mr. Hoskins and his wife who had determined to give up specs on the ocean, and had sold his farm in Vermont State with a view of operating with his capital in the woods, was a circumstance also of favourable omen. He proposes a partnership in store-keeping, and takes bis usual droll mode of communicating his intentions; he had been wandering about the settlement for some days a' making his calculation, and at length broke out with the result

oor Well I ai'nt going to be 'quivocal, but to speak sheer to the point. When squire Lawrie shall have made all tight and right and clear on his location, will he then turn cordwainer and make trampers ?"

My dear sir!” exclaimed I “ what puts such a thing into your head ? I never bored a hole with an elsin in my life.”

* By this time he had lighted his cigar, and giving a puff he coolly inquired without making any reply "will the gentleman make coatees and straw hats ?"

•“ Gude guide us, Mr. Hoskins ! what do you mean?"
o«Will he keep a tavern?"
""Me keep a public, Mr. Hoskins ?”

"" Then if you don't,” said he, giving a cool methodical puff, " the devil may spit brimstone on you by the gallon, if you ai'nt as flat as the walls of Jericho, either as a dead or ruined duck before thunder sours my wife's heer in June after next. Look ye! squire, this here land a farm in Jersey State, (Lawrie's unfortunate speculation)

allow that--but this Belmandel town ha’nt got nothing for tradę.”. and gave

.«« Well" replied I eagerly, discerning something of his meaning, " well, what then ?"

«« Cockles and crabfish! sha'nt you starve ?"

«« But I'm no, feart," was my answer in a light manner, “ for I have been making my calculations too:"'-Vol. i. pp. 245, 246.

Mr. Todd then explains that he proposed to revive his seed business, keep a store of agricultural business, and send his sons, one to learn the business of a millwright, and the other that of a storekeeper. Mr. Hoskins appeared to be satisfied, but the further communication of his plans at the moment, was interrupted by the cry of the settlers apparently in hot pursuit of some animal : when Mr. Hoskins and Lawrie presented theme selves at the door to see what was going on, they were met by a furious bear attempting to make its escape. They endeavoured to get out of the way, but he laid hold of the Yankee caleulator,

him such a hug that it was some time before he could resume his projects. But at length, a great store of all kinds of articles useful in an early settlement is procured, and a lucrative business established. Mr. Hoskins, however, always dissatisfied with the location of Babelmandel, takes various solitary wander-, ings in the neighbourhood, sails some way down the river, narrowly escapes being engulphed in the falls like another sir. Humphrey Davy, [See his Last Days,'] and at last fixes upon the site of another town which after his niece, Mrs. Todd, who unhappily dies, is called Judiville. Lawrie himself drives a cunning bargain with the land agent for the pre-emption of twenty thousand acres of land in the neighbourhood of Mr. Hoskins's town, which turns out to be so judiciously located for trade and communication, that it quickly rises into importance. Roads are cut through Lawrie’s pre-emption land, and settlers flock in to buy his lots, which he sells at no small advance. So that together with storekeeping and land-selling Mr. Todd becomes a great capitalist. Hoskins and Todd set up a bank, build a church and let it, hire a preacher, establish saltworks, contract for mills, in short become the principal operators and first citizens in that corner of the world. It would be endless for us to go into the detail of this rise, suffice it to say that the fullest particulars down to even the smallest of Lawrie's specs are detailed in his life, where we recommend every body to peruse them. They have afforded us great entertainment, and must be full of instruction to all those whose views turn towards emigration. The various persons who figure in the history, besides Mr. Todd himself, we have had no opportunity of mentioning : of Baillie Waft a most amusing oddity, and Mr. Todd's great tormentor, we can only afford to record the name.

A part of the latter volumes, is occupied by a visit to Scotland and a third marriage : we felt the return to Europe a change for the worst, and are decidedly of opinion that Lawrie's residence in the royal borough of Chalky Štanes where he finds his third wife, is the only blemish that can be detected in the book.

[blocks in formation]

If a number of individuals had constructed a machine of

great complexity and serious expense, in the final working of which they were all deeply and irrevocably interested, to the extent of the whole wealth of each being dependent on the dividend which should arise from its performance,—the feeblest of all policies, in the opinion of men of the ordinary calibre of intellect, would be one which should derange or interfere with the general result, by making a deduction of sixpence in the oil.

If a merchant, a philosopher, or a man of literature, were asked what it was that ensured the movement of that part of the machine of society in which he is specially concerned, he would reply that it was the facility which the modern state of society and art afforded for communicating the knowledge of his operations. He would state, in brief, that the invention of printing, accompanied by the liberty of using it, was what had enabled men to become richer, wiser, and more scientific than their forefathers, He would not say it was the moving force ; because it is plain that the moving force resides in the desire common to all


to do and learn every thing by which they may better their condition. But he would


it was what had given freedom to the communication of one man's thoughts, aspirations, and discoveries, to the corresponding wishes and capabilities of other men, and had thereby ultimately brought about the accumulation of mutual action which distinguishes the present movement of the machine.

But though the merchant, the philosopher, or the man of literature, may have all this at his fingers ends, the politician for some reason or other is still a day's march behind. It might be supposed to have been equally clear, that a tax upon the oil-pot of the national engine could be no gain in the end, to those whose power, influence, and dignity, depended on the magnitude of the total forces of which the direction was to be wielded by themselves. It might have been expected that under such circumstances, statesmen would have been seen running about with the important faces of steam navigators in a

slorm, and begging that no lady or gentleman would elbow the boy who kept the machinery in grease. No anxiety of this kind, however, appears hitherto to have disturbed their repose. Your statesman, in general, is a great admirer of the good the gods provide him ;' and little anxious to compare the Thais by his side, with even a wilderness of nymphs a little farther ott. A tax is to him a tax; and he has small idea of giving up one to-day, for the expectation of twenty to-morrow. He has a lively faith that in one way or other he shall get all he wants; and he leaves to his providers to debate upon the greater or less economy of his proceedings.

On no other ground is it possible to account for so apparently irrational a proceeding, as levying, in what calls itself a great mercantile country, a tax of 155,0001. a year upon advertisements,-at the expense of causing all merchants, tradesmen, booksellers, and attorneys, to get for six, eight, or ten shillings, what they otherwise would have for one.

In no other way can it be held credible that a government should not discern, that all it compasses by this most pitiful effort of taxation, is gained at the expense of future advantages of vastly greater moment,--and is in truth of a cast of policy greatly inferior to that which directed the killing of the goose to get at the eggs, or any other folly which has been embalmed in proverbs or preserved in rhymes.

But if this be foolishness,' what shall be said of a tax upon a nation's news ? a tax which declares there shall be a premium upon the ignorance of all present things, and holds out a reward to every man who will be content to live in this world as not being of it? And this leads straight down upon the explanation of the whole. There are depths of unreasonableness, which surpass all human folly, and are only soluble on the hypothesis of crime. The gone-by government to which we owe this monument of shame, was the enemy of information, because the extension of information was its deadliest fo

was a goo vernment whose proceedings would have been impracticable, under a state of public information equal, for example, to that of the present period; and consequently its first interest was to do all that might retard those advances, which it could not totally prevent, and which have not been prevented accordingly, It is no answer to say, that the imposition pressed equally on the communication of the sentiinents of all parties. It is clear that in its operation it was a British neutrality,-all on one side, The powerful, the grasping, the unjust,—the individuals who meditated, and were permitted to succeed in bringing on, the present misery of the suffering multitude --were partially affected by it, or not at all. The sweet morsel was under their tongues, and they could afford to pay a stamp-duty to keep it there. But the losers were the many, who were the poor; the scattered, the uninstructed, the men who knew little and were only half-inclined to know more, the individuals who were trembling on the balance between light and darkness, likely enough to imbibe dangerous knowledge if it lay in their way, or to throw up their caps for all despotisms in all countries if it could be withheld from them.* Nobody can look back on the period when this disgraceful tax had its origin, without perceiving that the crime of newspapers was that they treated of all knowable things, and it was no more the interest of the government of those degrading times (now happily sunk in the slough of history), that its subjects should make progress in the knowledge of all knowable things, than it is the interest of the Georgian slaveholder to educate the negro he is determined to oppress. There are diversities in honour and in dishonour; as one star differs from another in glory. The Georgian statesman summarily makes it capital for his black to read; the British only visited his white, with a fine of fourpence-halfpenny for each offence. Compare in the two cases the certainty, the promptitude, and the profitableness of the punishment; and it will give the measure of the comparative ability with which the two statesmen went about to compass their design.

But it would be a blank account if the reckoning stopped here. There were further enactments against the press, making part of what are known to gods and men by the title of "the Six Acts ;” and in consequence of that fatality by which all things bad are in this country preserved for the chance of future use, they still hang up in the armoury of the law, and wait only for a hand to take them down and send to their vocation. It is true they are so tyrannous, that no one in this age would wish to use them, unless he saw an immediate peril to his cause sufficient for the risk. All men say they will not use them ; no man dares use them; but the will and the daring are dependent only on the absence of inducement. So long as they are sedulously preserved, it is clear that there is a lurking hope that somebody will both will and dare, whenever the time comes that the users may be advantaged by it.

There is hardly a town of 8 or 10,000 persons in the United States, that does not support its daily newspaper. With the exception of the metropolis, there is not one daily newspaper in Great Britain. In the metropolis there are but twelve, to a population of 1,500,000 souls. To what is this marked depression to be attributed? The duty is 266 per cent.'--Spectutor Newspaper.

Look here, Americans; and see what it is that will be stopped, if ever you come to be governed hy 'the higher orders.'

« ZurückWeiter »