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are fixed, with an intensity of interest which foreign nations are not reluctant to acknowledge. And to what does our country owe her lofty pre-eminence in the scale of nations? It is but begging the question to point to her patriots, her enlightened statesmen, her constitutional freedom, the illumination, industry, and virtue of her people; for the question still returns upon us, whence did she derive those features of national character in which her real greatness consists? To this question I can find no satisfactory reply, but by referring to her Protestantism, or rather to her rejection of the spirit and dogmas of the Romish Church. The triumph of the Reformation in this blessed land has been the harbinger of unrivalled prosperity: it has been the grave of despotism on the one hand, and of anarchy on the other; and thus it is that a soil. has been prepared for the growth of well-defined freedom-for national and domestic virtue ; and that true constitutional liberty is more firmly rooted, at the present moment, in this country, than in any other nation in the civilized world. But if the spirit of the Reformation shall be suffered to decay ; if ecclesiastical tyranny shall again paralyze the energy of our national character; if we begin so far to sympathize with Rome as to call her “mother,” and lament over the rash zeal of our forefathers, who shook off her yoke and denounced hier as the Antichrist of the Bible, then may we prepare to drink of that cup of wrath which has been passing round among all the nations of Europe which have given their “power to the beast,” and may look forward to a day not far distant when our boasted glory shall be taken from us and given to some other people more worthy of the distinctions conferred on them by Divine Providence.”
“I look on those who would rob us of the inheritance bequeathed to us by the Reformation as the greatest enemies of our country. They may do it 'ignorantly and in unbelief;' but their conduct is no less injurious on this account. The doctrines of the Reformation are those of the Bible; and wherever Romanism, in whole or in part, is substituted in their place, the blighting influence of heaven may be expected to follow. Popery is the abomination which everywhere maketh desolate ;' and if the day should ever arrive when Great Britain shall cease to be Protestant, her sun will go down in darkness, and her history will be traced in characters of blood. She is great because Protestant-greater than the other nations of Europe because more Protestant than they; but if in an evil hour, and by pernicious counsellors, she shall ever be tempted to abandon the true source of her greatness, she may be expected to dwindle into comparative insignificance, and to be mentioned in future ages as that beacon-nation which knew not the merciful day of her visitation" (pr. 390-92).
In conclusion, we beg most heartily to recommend this work to the favourable consideration of our readers. We thank Dr. Morison for his zealous labours in exposing Popery and pseudo-Protestantism, we thank him for his kindliness and amity to the Church of England, and we are only sorry that he is a Dissenter.
RURAL RECORDS–No. VI.
(Continued from p. 175). Jos had no sooner obtained a strong light in the tube of his pipe, than he took it from his lips, and holding it forth with an air peculiar to smokers, exclaimed, “ I cannot think, sir, how a poor man can leave bis fireside in the evening for the beer-shop. To me there is no enjoyment like that which you now witness. Surely the cheerful smiles of a wife are sweeter than the countenances of strangers, and the prattle of one's own children better than the boisterous conversation of the half-drunken. And how they can find the money I cannot think. And yet I know which way the wind sets in this respect. Their families are half-starved, and they have long bills against them at the baker's and the grocer’s.”
“And have they not at the beer-shops also, Job?” I enquired. Job drew a lengthened whiff, and replied with a knowing look“No, sir, that would not do for the landlords. They know their characters too well to give them much credit. Take, but not give,' is their motto, and they rarely depart from it. Give credit to a drunkard, indeed! When do you think they would get their money? No, no! that will never do! Landlords know the length of a poor man's purse to a nicety, and they measure out their drink accordingly. Have as much as you like of that which will make your face glow again, as long as you have money; but swipes, or not a drop, after your purse is empty."
Having said this, Job drew an impetuous wbiff, which indicated that his wrath was kindling, and then resumed—“Sir, I can hardly restrain my feelings, when I think how the poor man wrongs himself and family. Hc may talk of the oppression of the rich, but I know from experience that he himself is alone to blame. He places himself, by his drunken habits, beneath their feet. Does farmer Truniper oppress me? No, he does not. Let him lower my wages, and I have the choice of half a dozen masters who are ready to give me what I now obtain. Although a poor man, I am at least independent!”
The air of indignation which played upon the face of Job when he commenced his philippic against the man who lowered the standard of his character by drunkenness was changed, before he had concluded, for an air of self-importance. He threw his head back upon the chair, as if to indicate that he would now hear what I had to say. I replied, that I believed he was right, and that there could be but little doubt that the poor man was his own foe, and that, as the common phrase reads, “he stands in his own light." But, I added, “ how comes it, Job, that while the landlord will not give credit to a poor man who frequents bis house, he cuts such a conspicuous figure in the books of the baker and the grocer ?"
Drawing his chair towards me, and leaning over to my face, Job replied in a half whisper, lest his children should licar—“I will tell you, sir. It is not the man that obtains the goods, but the woman, and I
speak it to her shame--she too often obtains them by fraud. But I do not so much blame the woman as her husband. He it is, by his spendthrift habits, who makes his wife a liar. You shall be sure to have your money (says she to the tradesman) at such a time;' but when the time comes, part only is forthcoming, and by insensible degrees the account runs on till it fills many a page of the long black book.
And this is not the only evil attached to this system of credit. A tradesman sees ruin stare him in the face, if he goes on thus trusting with fair profits, and therefore he not only purchases an inferior article for such customers, but charges them the highest price. The evil arising from drunkenness, therefore, is never-ending. Like a ball of snow gathered by the hand and rolled along, it becomes a heap too huge to move. It is happy for those who avoid this evil. They enjoy many comforts unknown to those who are in the habit of spending their spare time and their money at the ale-house. Ready money, as I often say to my wife, is ticket good enough to pass through any door. And she finds it so. Let her go to whatever shop she may, whether the baker's, butcher's, grocer's, draper's, or any other, it is sure to be,
How do you do, Mrs. Moody? Pray sit down, and you shall be served instantly.' 'Aye, and she is served too, and that with advantage. She has the best goods at the lowest price. That's the way to go to market in old England! Shopkeepers will never turn away ready money."
Job's pipe was now fairly gone out, and observing this, he continued, " It is such a pleasure to talk to you, sir, that I really forget ny evening solace. But never mind, I have yet a candle and a fire. And let me tell you that it is not every poor man that can keep a candle on his table and a fire in his grate. These are luxuries which, from their improvident habits, are unknown to many. And what is worse than that, sir, when they go to bed they have not sufficient clothing to keep them warm : their comforts are all clean washed away by intemperance. If you could go into Tom Herbert's cottage this bleak evening, you would witness a scene that would make your blood run cold. He himself is sitting, no doubt, at the Rodney's Head, by the side of a great fire, but his poor wife and six children are all huddled together in a room, round which you would scarcely have room to swing a cat, trying to obtain slumber beneath a thin covering at which the winds of heaven laugh. And all this, sir, is in old England !--in that country which was ever celebrated for happy peasantry. My heart is ready to burst with indignation.”
Job had now fairly worked himself up into a rage, and relighting his pipe, whiffed away with impetuosity, while I thus replied—“ If, Job, what ancient writers have written concerning the English peasantry be true, then are they indeed changed in babits and manners! And I have no reason to doubt their testimony. Englishmen have naturally an integrity of heart and a love of simplicity, and in that age the poor man was not assailed by temptation as he is now. Publichouses were then erected for the accommodation of the traveller, and not for the sot. But how stands the matter now? As the poet says
• Pass where we may, through city or through town,
That law has licensed, as makes Temperance reel.' And well may he add, looking at the effects which they produced upon society :
• Behold the schools in which plebeian minds,
Shakes her encumbered lap, and casts them out.' -Cowper. These, Job, are the places from whence our gaols are filled : from the vice there nurtured arises the crimes which fill the long pages of a gaol calendar. Nor is the evil confined to your own class. From the delinquency of those who are literally sent down in one continuous stream to our county gaols, much misery is inflicted upon the farmer and the tradesman : their finances are ransacked for their support. The largest item paid out of our poor-rates is for the support of our gaols. One day comes an order for about eighty pounds upon our parish ; in less than six weeks comes another for an equal sum : and there is no appeal. If we complain, the answer is, “You send us culprits, and you must support them.' And do we not send them culprits, Job?
“Indeed we do," replied Job, as he breathed forth a volume of smoke.
“Indeed we do (I reiterated), for the very constable is greeted on the road with this exclamation- What, travelling this road again, master constable ?' Master constable gives a knowing look, and simply replying. All right,' passes on to the gaol, and handing over his companion or companions, receives his wages—thirty shillings a head, Job, for expenses. « No!
you don't say so," returned Job with a stare of incredulity. "I do say it (I rejoined), and I mean it likewise, Job. And what makes the matter worse, very frequently the sum total of the value of the article stolen does not exceed fourpence. A dish of turnips taken from a field, or a bundle of furze cut from an enclosure, round which there is a hedge, to mark that it is private property, are sufficient to send man, woman, or child to our gaols for one, two, or three months. It is doubtless right that the thief should be punished, but then I think it might be done, in such cases, in a more summary manner, and at less expense. In the cases of women and children especially this might be done, for they are made thieves by the brutal negligence of their husbands and parents. Job, my eyes have run down with tears when I have seen youth handed to prison by our constable. At these seasons I have looked into futurity and saw their certain fate. “They are gone (said I to myself) to a place where their morals will receive a mortal stab. They know but little vice now perhaps : they will be familiar with it when they return home. Forced to mingle with old and hardened offenders, they will learn that which ought never to have met their ears, and they will doubtless soon take another trip to the same place, and probably, as a wind-up to their career, will finally be transported, or come to the gallows. And all this arises, Job, from their being compelled by their heartless parents to take a few turnips to satisfy the cravings of hunger, or to cut a little furze to warm their shivering limbs. Cage them for a week, ye authorities, or, if ye piease, whip them up our village at a cart's tail; but send them not to prison to be confirmed in vice and crime!' Job, you were incredulous just now, when I told you how much our constable received per head for travelling expenses : prepare now to have your belief fairly staggered. A friend of mine, who was professionally employed at the last sessions in our county, stated the other day that he had the curiosity to calculate what cach prisoner cost the county upon an average, for thefts committed under the value of a sorry sixpence. And let the result be known throughout the United Kingdom of Great Britain, Scotland, and Ireland. It was but a trifle less than twenty pounds per prisoner, and there were near one hundred such delinquents—that is, for about two pounds ten sluillings stolen, a sum of about two thousand pounds was expended in the punishment of the culprits, or what might more truly be said, in confirming them in vice."
On hearing this statement Job started from his scat, and letting fall bis pipe, the broken fragments of which were scattered over the floor, askeil in a Stentorian voice—“ Are we English peasants ?"
“ Really, Job (I replied), the question is a difficult one, and I can only reply to the effect that if you are, as a body your race is much degenerated. As old Hartley often says to me, indeed, Englishmen in general are not what once they were. They are as unlike their ancestors, as ripe fruit is to the blossom which gave it birth.' But I am sorry, Job, that I have spoiled your enjoyments, and caused you to break your pipe. You must allow me to send one in return, that will not so readily break.” “ I thank you, sir, for your kindness (replied Job), but
will excuse me if I cannot accept it. Old-fashioned things are best, and there is nothing like a piece of clay for a pipe : when it is broken, you can replace it by another. Besides, I pride myself in not receiving assistance from the richer sort of folk.' While I am able to work, everything I possess shall be obtained by my own hands. The pittance of charity is not acceptable to Job Moody. He loves to be independent! The squire's lady knows this. Like a good creature as she is, she has often wanted to give my wife clothing for herself and children, but I tell her I have already provided them with as much as they require; and that there are many in the world, and in our own parish, to whom such gifts would be acceptable. I have no