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THE stoppage and ultimate bank- ing houses there are in this metropolis
ruptcy of Messrs. Marsh and Co. similarly situated, with respect to the in Berner's-street was a circumstance, description of their transactions, and in itself, sufficient to produce a more standing in no respect upon any than nine-days' sensation. Though higher grounds of credit and reputanot bankers of the first order, with tion, than the firm of Marsh and Co. respect to the gross amount of capital had, for several years maintained, will entrusted to their care, the customers it seem other than in the course of of the firm, in point of number, were things, that an eager run of alarm and perhaps more numerous than those of apprehension should be made upon the several of the banking-houses, which minor banking houses, in general; and stand foremost in the ranks of whole- that one in particular (though deficient, sale estimation. A large proportion, perhaps, in nothing but immediatelyalso, of those whose interests were af- availing resources to answer such unfected were probably of those descrip- expected demands), should have been tions to whom the loss, or the tempo- obliged, a few days after, to follow the rary privation even, of their hundreds, ominous example of avowing a temor their thousands, was of more conse- porary inability to answer such imporquence, both to their present credit, tunate claims. The wonder is rather, and their future prospects, than the that more were not reduced to the tens of thousands, and hundreds of same dilemma. thousands of those great capitalists and But these were, in reality, the proprietors, whose securities and rent- slightest of the causes, which excited rolls are vested in the hands, and trust- the general interest and discussion. ed to the management of the supposed “ The extraordinary conduct of the Crøsus of the banking trade. They partner, Mr. Fauntleroy” (to 'adopt were bankers, in fact, in whose hands the language of the firm itself, in the what monied men would call “ small public announcement of their temporasums” were kept : that is to say, with ry suspension of payments), which whom tradespeople, and others of the was the immediate, and, for a while, middle orders of society, were in the supposed to be the only cause of failhabit of trusting the whole of that ure, gave a direction to the general floating capital which their credit or sympathy, more honourable perhaps their concerns rendered it necessary to the social character of the public, should be always at command; but than consoling to the conscious feelings which it was neither safe nor conve- of those to whom it was directed. It nient to keep in their own bureaus. was the crime of an individual,” it The number of families, therefore, was said, not the default of the general whom the sudden stagnation of these firm, that had produced the calamity, resources must have thrown into per- whatever might be its extent; and plexing difficulties, or overwhelmed the partners were joint victims, not with dismay, could not but be very principals or voluntary agents, in the considerable; as the dejected and ruin.” Nor were there wanting among anxious countenances of the multitude the suffering creditors themselves, gathered around the doors, the day those, who expressed more compassion after the suspension of payment was for three respectable families, burled declared, sufficiently evinced: and from esteem and affluence to distress when the secondary and reinote action and degradation, than for their own upon those who, in the complicated pecuniary enibarrassments and losses. chain of trading connexion, were im- The part that was taken, through the plicated with the immediate sufferers, medium of the public press, to extend is considered, it cannot be at all sur- this feeling, is so fresh in remembrance, prising, that a very extensive emotion that it need not here be noticed, if it should have been awakened. Nor, were not for the importance of warnwhen it is recollected how many banks ing the public against the uses that
Punishment by Death, and the Banking System.
467 may be made, as they are attempted to That such has been the result, is be made, of every discrepancy of that sufficiently obvious: that such must, important organ, of its conduct in this ultimately, be the case with respect to particular. The rival eagerness of the all the aberrations of a free press, nurmerous agents of that press to seize recollection and reflection will demorupon every flying rumour, that can strate : it is only inasmuch as it is not gratisy, the avidity, “both of the great free, that the press can be permanentvulgar and the small," for mysterious ly or ultimately injurious, even to those anecdote, personality, and chit-chat whom it wrongfully assails; for the (rather, perhaps, than malignant) slan- day of reaction, if it be free, is sure der, did most assuredly, for a while, to come; when the very wrongs it has blacken, much beyond the measure of committed will become graces. equity and truth, the character of the Whence, but from this very cause, it unfortunate culprit. Accumulated may confidently be demanded, has charges of profligacy and prodigality arisen that very general and very libewere heaped upon the character of ral sympathy expressed for the imMr. Fauntleroy, sufficient to have pending fate of Mr. Fauntleroy ? broken the backs of all the banking Far be it from the thought of every firms in the metropolis. To support friend to the essential justice of huhis luxurious prodigalities, it was sup- manity, when the life of a fellow being posed, the enormous and undoubt- is at stake, to step between the pleaded forgeries had been committed; and ing pity of the public, however excitMessrs. Marsh, Stracey, and Graham, ed, and the attribute of mercy which together with all who had copfided ip becomes the throned monarch better them, were involved in ruin, by the than his crown," and to which that unprincipled dissipation of the manag, sympathy appeals. But, assuredly, it ing and confidential partner ; who had may be said, without detriment to such appealed to forgery, when other re- appeal, which may be urged upon sources failed, to supply his criminal more cogent principles, that there is indulgences.
nothing, in the naked case of Mr. To suspect those partners of having Fauntleroy to distinguish it so broadly been accessory to the dissemination of from those of many a wretched victim, these statements, would be as unau- who has been quietly resigned to the thorized, as it would be uncharitable; merciless penalty of a sanguinary law, but surely it would not be improper tó without a sigh or an effort in his beinquire whether, if they knew them hall, except from private and personal to be untrue, they were not called connexions. It would be absurd to upon, to discourage and contradict suppose, that the extent of the injury them? If the press was misled by resulting from the crime, is the cause gaping newsgatherers, who, like the of the extensive sympathy exerted in spies of a distempered government, favour of the criminal. Whence, then, must have credulity or invention to has arisen this extraordinary sympamake out a tale, if they mean to get thy, but primarily from those very exbread by telling, it was as open to aggerations which the enemies of the them to confute the exaggerations, as public press, on every such occasion, it was, to the gleaners and glossers of would use as an argument for its supthe random gossip of clubs and coffee- pression. It cannot be said that they houses to give them ephemeral cur- had any influence in procuring the rency.
conviction. The Attorney-General But, perhaps, they may answer (for found no political motive for availing they might answer truly that it was bimself of the prejudices excited; he better to leave misrepresentation to its repelled and discarded them, therenatural course -to let the lie of the fore, in a manner which, it is hoped, day gossip itself out of breath; for that will be remenibered as a precedent on Mr. Fauntleroy, in the end, would be all future occasions whatever; and any thing rather than injured by the pothing could be more candid and disexaggerated colourings of his crime. passionate than the whole proceedings.
Mr. Fauntleroy, in fact, was convicted, the nature of the mystery. The pubas far as forgery was at issue, upon lic, in the mean time, in commiseration his own evidence. He had most for the calumnies which had aggrastrangely recorded against himself, that vated so unmercifully the offences of he had committed a mass of forgeries, the criminal, extend their sympathies : which should make the Bank smart from the aggravation to the crime itfor having injured the credit of his self; and by a reaction natural to the house. Let the Bank Directors be- innate, though sometimes slumbering, ware, that in pursuing their victim to benevolence of the human breast, find execution, they mingle, in their turn, ing that the offender has not been so no feeling of retaliative revenge. Some guilty as they imagined, forego their of them, perhaps, are members of the resentment for the proven guilt. Bible Society ; or, at least, occasional- Nor does the current of considerate ly say their prayers. Let them re- inquiry pause even here. General member, that in that short and beauti- conclusions, “ of great pith and moful formula, dictated by the author of ment,” are, not unfrequently, the retheir religion, and which sums up in a sults of the attention excited by indifew words every thing, perhaps, which vidual occurrences. The eyes of the a Christian ought to pray for, there is public seemed to have opened, at last, a clause of covenant,—“ forgive us to the conviction, to which reason our trespasses, as we forgive them that and humanity ought never to have trespass against us ;” and let them re- been blind, that the punishment awardmember that every man who pursues ed is too heavy, and disproportioned to revenge (whether as an individual or a the offence : while the press itself, parcorporationist), every time that he pro- taking of the reaction, urges on the nounces this prayer, pronounces his prayer of mercy and forbearance; and own condemnation.
chimes in with, and diffuses, the general But to return to the cause of the sentiment, that those only who have general sympathy in behalf of the un- shed the blood of man, should pay the happy convict.
price of atonement with their blood. It became evident from the circum
This then, and not any peculiarity, stances, which came out upon the in the particular case itself, is the true trial, that the character of Mr. Faunt- ground of petition for the life of Mr. leroy had been much traduced—that Fauntleroy. his crime, at least, was free from many The necessary limits of this essay of the aggravations imputed, by previ- render it impracticable to enter, at ous rumour; and it is now sufficiently large, into all the important consideranotorious, that a part at least, of his tions involved in the general subject; plea of palliation is substantiated; or to amplify upon the axioms, howthat the monies procured by his for- ever capable of illustration,
that all geries, were not, as had been runour- unnecessary punishments by death are ed, profligately wasted in debauchery no other than legalized murders;-that and extravagance, but were regularly murders, by the law, are, in fact, much paid in to the general stock, to sup- more enormous and atrocious stains port the else tottering credit of the con- upon national character, than murders cern. Hence, to the creditors of the against the law ;-that the latter are firm, the aspect of the onus of moral the crimes of individuals only, the forresponsibility, for the default, becomes mer are the crimes of the state ; and, essentially altered ; and a question as far as the nation can be regarded as naturally arises, whether it was possi- assenting to such laws, are the crimes ble that the partners could be ignorant of the nation at large. that something wrong was going on ? But the best way, perhaps, for the
that the large sums of money, by petitioners to fortify their plea is, by which their credit was, successively, appeal, not to Scripture and Christibolstered, were, to say the least, mys- anity (more talked of than reverenced teriously obtained : whatever reasons in matters of government and legislathey might have for not inquiring into tion!) but to the politician's creed, ex
"For who would lose
pediency. This is, in fact, and, per- we acknowledge as a gentleman, or as haps, for ever must be, while states and worthy of gentlemanly association, the legislation last, the load-star of judicial man whom we believed to be as much enactment. Our constitutional lawyers in dread of death, as of a life of brandwell know, though the surly lexicogra- ed infamy and degradation ? pher, who still from the sepulchre dog- It may be true, indeed that, when it matizes over our language did not,* conies to the pinch--when the executhat the object of punishment is not tioner and vital extinction are immedirevenge, or even atonement, but pre- ately before our eyes, that the invention. 6 You are
not hanged," stinctive shrinking--the fearful clingsaid the judge to a remonstrating con- ing to mere consciousness and sensavict, “ for stealing a sheep; but you tion, which belong to the frailty of our are hanged that sheep may not be nature, may bow almost the proudest stolen."
spirit ; and life, upon almost any terms, The question then resolves itself in- may appear preferable to immediate to this, «Does experience of the past, dissolution.
“ or does what we know of the prospective passions and apprehensions of hu- “ Though full of pain, this intellectual being, man nature, indicate that the punish
“ Those thoughts that wander through eternity ?” ment of death is an adequate, or the But, for objects that are viewed most likely preventive of the crime of in prospective distance,
we have forgery?” To the first part of this different and more reasoning eyes; inquiry, the reply is obvious. Forge- and to the educated mind, familiar to ry has increased, and is increasing in the proud decencies and respectful disdespite of the sanguinary severity of tinctions of society, to die, to cease to the law it and the crime, always, of be, to bid an eternal farewell to the necessity, confined to the comparative- embarrassments and anxieties that surly educated classes, has kept climbing round us to the privations, the expulupwards, in the midst of increasing ex- sion from the accustomed sphere of asecutions, till it bas tainted some of al-sociation that menace us, appears but a most the best families in the nation. It trifle, in comparison with the degradis a crime of gentlemen. And though, ing toil, the branding front, the stig. in all sane and moral estimation, the matizing fetters, the felon's sordid higher the rank of the offender, the garb, the wretched pallet, the noisome more atrocious and unpardonable the dungeon, and, worst of all, the contempoffence ; yet, legislating for preven- tuous exposure and brutified assimilation, we should consider only the mo- tion, to which a less sanguinary code tives of apprehension that are likely to might condemn the educated and sensibe operative on the classes to whom tive offender. It is, in fact, to avoid the legislative prevention is to ap- the lesser degradation, that the offence ply. Now, is the fear of death, the of forgery is frequently committed most powerful of preventive motives that it was, as it appears, committed in in the minds of gentlemen? Should the case in question. How horrible to
imagination the greater which reason * See the miserable misinterpretration of the
would therefore commend as the expeword punishment in Johnson's Dictionary.
dient of preventive legislation. † In Scotland, where it is not punished with death, it is much less frequent.
ON THE STATUE OF CUPID.
TO A LADY, ON HEARING HER SING
“ Angels ever bright and fair,
Take, Oh take me to your care!"
Nay, Chloe, gaze not on his form,
Nor think the friendly caution vain",
And look him into life again.
PALACE OF CONSTANTIA IŃ ÍNDIA, AND GENERAL MARTINE, ONSTANTIA is a coriosity in its mains should be deposited within it,
a kind, perhaps as great as any in thus converting it into a tomb, which Luchow: it was built by General alone would prevent any Mahometan Martine, a French gentleman in the from occupying it as a dwelling. service of the late Nawaub, and his It soon became necessary to obey predecessor A soph u Dowlah.
these directions: the general only Martine was a native of Lyons, and lived to see his future tomb completed; came to India as a private soldier, he breakfasted in it one day only I bewhere he served under Count Lally, lieve, and was never after able to enter and from his own activity and merit, it. He died, and lies embalmeit in a advanced rapidly to a considerable vault which he had constructed : it is rank; but having been disgusted or said to contain specie. Lights are alarmed at certain threats which his continually kept burning there, and commander let fall in the course of a two statues representing grenadiers, negotiation entrusted by him to Mar- one at the head and one at the foot of tine once during the siege of Pondi- the tomb, lean with their ebeeks 'recherry, he took the earliest opportuni- clining upon the buts of their reversed ty of making bis escape and throwing muskets. himself on the protection of Sir Eyre Martine was possessed of a very acCoote, who, doubtless glad to obtain tive and enterprizing genius,and a strong the services and information of a man and liberal mind; if we are to credit who had been very confidentially em- report, he was far from narrow or ployed by his enemy, received him avaricious, although he accumulated with distinction, and soon procured immense wealth. He traded and him a commission in the English army, speculated in every possible way, but in which he rose rapidly to the rank with so much judgment and knowledge of captain ; after which his brevet rank of his subject, that he seldom failed of was by special favour permitted to go success. He was perfect master of the on till he reached that of major-general. nature and rates of exchanges through
He accompanied Sir Eyre Coote to out the country, and united in large Lucnow, where he soon was estab- transactions of that description the lished in the service of Asoph u Dow- shroffs and moneyed men in various lah ; and being a very ingenious me- quarters. He was an excellent judge chanie, as well as an excellent survey of jewels; and extraordinary stories or and general engineer, he made him- are related of the sagacity be displayed self so useful to that prince, that he in his dealings in this line, and the could do nothing without his assistance, great profits he acquired by them. and in a comparatively short time he There was nothing he failed of turning accumulated a prodigious fortune. to account; and he was wont himself Among the last of his undertakings to declare, that were he turned adrift was the building of Constantia, which on the world without a shilling at the was a speculation (like most things he age of sixty, he would not despair of did) in the hope of effecting a sale of dying rich, if it pleased God to proit at a great profit to Saadut Allee. long his life to the usual age of man. The place perhaps did not, under Mar- Neither the amount nor disposition tine's superintendence, cost above four of his wealth, I believe, is accurately lacs of rupees, but he demanded twelve known; the former was, bowever, as its price ; which was refused, and certainly very great, and the latter parthe old man was so indignant at what took a great deal of the eccentricity of he termed the meanness of the Na- the owner's character. About fifty waub, that he swore it never should be thousand pounds were left to his naan habitation for him, and gave direc- tive city; and he directed that the tions that when he himself died, his re- house of Constantia should be kept