Page images
[ocr errors]

immediate means of lightening the toric testimony, which will both estaweight in this country, for mental blish the existence of such a tendenimprovement is of slow progress, will cy, and explain the causes of its frebe found in a more extensive and skil- quent miscarriage. The means of ful cultivation of flax, one of those few counteraction were manifold, and mamanufactories suited to rural manage- ny of them continue to exert a banement, and to which the soil, situation, ful influence to the present day—bad and general circumstances of Ireland governments, licentious habits, savage are peculiarly adapted.

and predatory modes of life, polygaTo the causes of population's rapid my, slavery, pcstilence, famine, and the progress already assigned, I have to desolating ravages of war, frequently add one, now almost forgot, but un- undertaken, not for conquest, but exquestionably entitled to a high place termination. A review of this black in the catalogue.-I mean the cessation catalogue of misfortune, ignorance, and of that dreadful malady, the small pox, iniquity, removes all difficulties from for many years little inferior in devas- the question of multiplying tendencies, tation to the plague itself. Many old and only leaves the reader to wonder people still bear in mind the wailings how, under such circumstances, manoccasioned by the extinction of almost kind could have multiplied at all, for entire families, and I can myself remem- that they did multiply, and that abunber, when few of those who had sur- dantly, in the face of these general disvived its attack were free from marks couragements, is a fact supported by of injury, and when many a face was the same unquestionable evidence. horribly disfigured. The general prac- From what small beginnings the comtice of inoculation took place here monwealth of Rome arose, and what about the middle of last century, and a height of power, an extent of territhe recent introduction of the cow pock tory, and a mass of population, her seems to promise a gradual annihila- steady and skilful policy enabled her tion of the disorder. Indeed, an im- to obtain in the course of not many proved mode of treatment, for want of centuries, is known to every classical which many of the first inoculated school-boy. Greece, too, where arts were sufferers, had, even before Dr and arms so eminently, flourished, Jenner's valuable discovery, almost in spite of her restless spirit

, and undisarmed it of all its terrors.

ceasing as well as sanguinary commoA question will naturally occur—if tions, was obliged to relieve her growmankind in general, and the Irish, in ing weight of populous encumbrance, particular, possess this instinctive and and enlarge her territory by emigrairresistible tendency to multiplication, tion and colonizing. Even the barba-how comes it to pass that the general rians of the North, unpropitious as history of ancient times contains so lit- their mode of life was to the nurture tle complaint of overgrowing popula- of children, became too numerous for tion, and the history of Ireland none at their forests, and after many repulses, all? The question admits of easy so- at length succeeded in overpowering the lution. With respect to times of high degenerate legions of Rome, and getantiquity, the paucity of inhabitants, ting possession of the imperial city. and their simplicity of manners, attest Though their numbers have been exthe truth of the Mosaic account, which aggerated by terror and effeminacy, places the creation of man at no very yet were they in reality very considerearly period of the world. Had it able, supplied from such an immense been otherwise, our globe must have extent of country, capable, under the been fully peopled, and generally civi- hand of civilized culture, of supportlized, long before the date of the oldest ing twenty times their amount. From history. The tendency of man to mul. Cæsar's report of his Gallic campaigns, tiply his kind, a fact incontrovertibly and the multitudes that fell under his established by present experience, did victorious arms, we draw indubitable therefore exist at all times, and if we proofs of theaccelerating progress of pomay believe the maintainers of human pulation even under circumstances of degeneracy, must have been more ope. barbaric discouragement. But rative in those days of superior vigour must not employ a modern scale in esthan at present. To analogical infer- timating the amount of a nation's ence, on which in this case we may people then from the number of its safely enough venture to rely, we can warriors. An army now, even in a add abundant corroboration from his. Buonapartean calculation, makes but a




[ocr errors]

small portion of the people; it is col- might have been extremely pleasant lected either to aggrandize or to defend. and appropriate in their day; yet am All were warriors in those days, and the I inclined to think, that the melodious march of a barbarian army might not bard, who now so patriotically laments unfrequently be called a march of the their loss, would be very little pleased nation. In fact, where herds and flocks to see them revive in any but poetic constitute both the wealth and the shape. The resurrection of these tersubsistence of the people, it is altoge- rible graces, is, I trust, a miracle bether impossible that they can be very yond the utmost hope of the most numerous. Corn, it is true, was cul- sturdy and inveterate Milesian. Yet tivated in Gaul, where civilization had have we lived to witness the return of made some advances, but rarely, if what seemed as little to be looked for at all, in Germany and the northern in the 19th century of the Christian districts. These observations natural

In times of national barbarism, ly supply an answer to the question, as when pious fraud was deemed requia far as Ireland is concerned, the pau- site for the subjugation of minds incity of whose ancient inhabitants, and capable of rational persuasion, and acthe tardy progress of whose population, cessible only through their fears, the serve to prove what indeed has been miracle-monger might have found some pretty well proved already, that their apology for his deception in the necesbest state was little better than a state sity of deceiving. To see it resorted of barbarism, and that they could not to now, to see the divine truths of have possessed the arts of civilization Christianity thrown into the back so lavishly bestowed on them by the ar- ground, and a confederacy of sacerdotal rogant mendacity of modern seribblers, jugglers exhibiting their legerdemain, because those arts must infallibly with nuns and nunneries ; to see pohave led to the building of towns, the pular ignorance, rusticity, and superpursuits of trade, and the cultivation stition, not endeavoured to be removed of land; all which employments would by moral and rational instruction, but of necessity have produced a rapid, endeavoured to be retarded and conand, in no very great length of time, firmed by the grossest frauds of the an overflowing increase of population. grossest ages, is no less to be wonderThe state of Irish society under na- ed at than deplored. Occasional intive chiefs, or rather the perpetual stances of fancied inspiration, of enhostility of those petty predatory po- thusiastic raving, or of monkish quacktentates, was indeed tolerably well cal- ery, would never surprise ; from indi. culated to thin their numbers, and vidual acts of deceit, of folly, and of avert the evils of overgrowth. In this falsehood, no state of society is or ever way it more than answered all the will be exempt. But to behold the happy purposes of Dean Swift's pro- highest dignitaries of a church calling ject for preventing beggary, by eating itself Christian, and professing to be the children of the poor, because it the lineal possessor of apostolic virtue, not only diminished the breed of pau- the perfect patron of evangelical recpers, but kept up a race of heroes. titude, and the sole depository of diHow far such heroism might be con- vine commission to see also a sage ducive to Irish glory, I leave to those assembly of self-constituted senators, who so piteously lament its extinction claiming more than an equal share of to determine ; it was not certainly con- natural talent, of acquired knowledge, ducive to any of those arts and acqui- of legal ability, and

of liberal patriotsitions which the enlightened philo- ism ; to see all these, I say, sanctifysophy of modern days regards as in- ing,' sanctioning, and defending the dispensably necessary to the prosperity miserable delusion, while not a single and renown of a civilized empire. voice among the host of that church's

Though the exquisite soul, or (as an educated and well-informed followers, author like me, who writes only to be raises a fresh sound in defence of reaunderstood, would say) sound of mu- son and of truth, is wonderful and sic, which once delighted the ravish- astonishing indeed !!! If they believe ed ears of Irish demigods in the halls this linsey-woolsey compound of Irish of Tara, and though the songs of min- and German manufacture-what must strels, celebrating exploits not always we call them ?-Fools:--If they do very dissimilar either in plan or exé- not, I leave my readers to find the apcution from those of the Rockite hero, propriate appellation. I have returnVOL. XV.



ed unwillingly to this painful subject; titudes, and covered shivering nakedit recurs irresistibly to every intelli- ness, in the land of miracles in gent and enlightened mind, alive to 1823 ? The power and goodness the feelings of real patriotism, and of God unquestionably; but it was anxious to wipe off the stains of na- the goodness and power of God national reproach. It must, I am con- turally operating on the minds of vinced, lead to an ultimate dereliction the generous and beneficent in both of those unworthy arts, and the adop- islands, and in a more particular and tion of better modes of influence; for, transcendent degree on those of the silent as they may be, shame and sor- heretical inhabitants of Great Britain. row have at this moment a seat in It is thus that the Christian revelation many an honest Irish heart ; and those attests the divinity of its origin, mainwho are now passive under the im- tains its character, and displays its inpressions of habitual respect, of shame, Auence. It is thus that the true proor of surprise, will unquestionably fessor is distinguished from the spuraise their voices at last in defence of rious, by higher views, deeper reflecoutraged decency and truth, and those tions, and more exalted sentiments, voices must be heard. I look not to, by his attachment to the substance, his I never did contemplate, the conversion disregard for the show. Girt with the of that Church to Protestantism; but invulnerable panoply of celestial truth, I do look, and now, perhaps, with diffusing its radiance, though with greater hope, to its adoption of a more unequal lustre, over all the earth, and evangelical character, a more rational receiving hourly accessions to its and efficacious mode of communi- strength, Christianity scorns the puny cating Christian instruction. Though, aid of the bigot's narrow dogmas, or like an overgrown tree, its powers are the wonder-worker's fragile crutch. It now wasted in the production of bar- spurns at the appearance of pious imren foliage, yet may the hand of a ju- posture, whether the result of simple dicious pruner easily repress unpro- superstition, of stupid credulity, of fitable luxuriance, redeem its charac- grovelling ignorance, or of unworthy ter, and restore its fruit. To promote artifice. It rests for support on its this happy change, I take leave to add moral fitness for the wants of man, its a few additional observations.

adaptation to every stage and condiInstances of providential favour and tion of life, the simplicity of its prinprotection, both to nations and to in- ciples, the purity of its doctrines, and dividuals, have been, and now are, suf- the sublimity of its truth. If the Dıficiently apparent in God's moral go- VINE WORD has not been written in vernment of the world. The records vain, we know already, or at least it of the past, and the experience of the is our own fault if we do not know, as present, abundantly attest the over- much of its nature, obligations, and ruling direction and allwise and al- exalted excellence, as can possibly be mighty Power. Although the clear imparted. All that remains to the voice of reason proelaims the necessity pastor is to teach, and all that remains. of miracles to the primary support of for the disciple, is to follow the inour divine religion, at a time when structions of the MASTER. This, and every human power, prejudice, and this only, constitutes the sum and passion warred against it, yet does she substance of the Gospel Covenant ; employ an equal strength of argument this is to act in accordance with the in demonstrating the futility of fancy- beneficent intention of the heavenly ing that they are to remain when Author ; this is, in the best, and only those obstructions have been overcome, present sense of the words, to give and the system they were wanting to EYES TO THE BLIND, and FEET TO THE establish, secured upon an immove- LAME. The Church which departs from able foundation. It must be no ordi- these principles, and substitutes her nary cause that will induce the Deity own prescriptions for those of the ceto change the settled course of things, lestial Healer, written, as they are, in invert his own rules, and disturb the never-fading colours, and attested by order of Nature, for such is the inspired and incorruptible witnesses, power possessed by the real, and may deck herself with what titles or claimed by the pretended performer garments she pleases, but her religion of miracles. Who fed starving mul- is not the religion of Jesus Christ.

G. S.

[merged small][ocr errors]

little foot-page,

"COME hither come hither, my
And beare to my gaye Ladye
This ring of the good red gowde, and be sure
Rede well what she telleth to thee:

"And take tent, little page! if my Ladye's cheeke
Be with watching and weeping pale,

If her locks are unkempt, and her bonnie eyes red,
And come back and tell me thy tale.

"And marke, little page! when thou shewest the ringe, If she snatcheth it hastilye

If the red bloode mount up her slender throate,
To her forehead of ivorye;

"And take good heede, if for gladnesse or griefe, So chaungeth my Ladye's cheere

Thou shalt know bye her eyes-if their light laugh out Throwe the miste of a startynge tear ;

“(Like the summer sun throwe a morninge cloude)
There needeth no further token,

That my Ladye brighte, to her own true Knighte,
Hath keepit her faithe unbroken.

"Nowe ryde, little page! for the sun peeres out Ower the rimme of the eastern heaven;

And back thou must bee, with thye tydinges to mee,
Ere the shadowe falles far at even.'

[ocr errors]

Awaye, and awaye! and he's far on his waye,
The little foot-page alreddye,

For he's back'd on his Lord's owne gallant graye,
That steede so fleete and steddye.

But the Knighte stands there lyke a charmed man,
Watchinge with ear and eye,

The clatteringe speed of his noble steede,
That swifte as the wynde doth flye.

But the wyndes and the lightninges are loiterers alle
To the glaunce of a luver's mynde ;

And Sir Alwynne, I trowe, had call'd Bonnybelle slowe,
Had her fleetnesse outstrippit the wynde.

Beseemed to him, that the sun once more
Had stayedde his course that daye-
Never sicke man longed for morninge lighte,
As Sir Alwynne for eueninge graye.

But the longest daye must end at last,
And the brightest sun must sette.
Where stayedde Sir Alwynue at peepe of dawne,
There at euen he stayedde him yette:

And he spyethe at laste-“ Not soe, not soe,

'Tis a smalle graye cloude, Sir Knighte, That risethe


like a courser's head On that border of gowden lighte.”

« But harke ! but harke! and I heare it now

'Tis the cominge of Bonnybelle !" “Not soe, Sir Knighte! from that rockye height

'Twas a clattering stone that felle."
“ That slothfulle boy ! but I'll thinke no more

Of him and his lagging jade to-daye :"-
Righte, righte, Sir Knighte!”—“Nay, more, bye this lighte,
Here comethe mye page, and mye gallante graye.”

“ Howe nowe, little page ! ere thou lighteste downe,

Speake but one word out hastilye; Little

page, hast thou seen mye Ladye luve ? Hath mye Ladye keepit her faithe with mee?".

[ocr errors]

“ I've seen thy Ladye luve, Sir Knighte,

And welle hath she keepit her faithe with thee."• Lighte downe, lighte downe, mye trustye page;

A berrye browne barbe shall thy guerdon bee. “Tell on, tell on ; was mye Ladye's cheeke

Pale as the lilye, or rosie red ?
Did she putte the ringe on her finger smalle ?

And what was the verye firste word she said ?"

“ Pale was thy Ladye's cheeke, Sir Knighte,

Blent with no streake of the rosie red. I put the ringe on her finger smalle;

But there is no voice amongste the dead."

There are torches hurrying to and froe

In Raeburne Tower to-nighte ;
And the chapelle doth glowe withe lampes alsoe,

As if for a brydalle ryte.

But where is the bryde? and the brydegroome where?

And where is the holye prieste?
And where are the guestes that shoulde bidden bee,

To partake of the marriage feaste?

The bryde from her chamber descendeth nowe,

And the brydegroome her hand hath ta'en ; And the guestes are met, and the holye prieste

Precedeth the marriage traine.

The bryde is the faire Maude Winstanlye,

And death her sterne brydegroome; And her father follows his onlye childe

To her mother's yawning tombe.

« PreviousContinue »