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NOTIONS OF THE AMERICANS.*
WE have read these volumes with publication as a compliment, and as
a sure sign that he has effected his purpose. But we acknowledge that, in many respects, he lies open to attack. His very title is objection. able, as containing a slang term, which (in the sense in which he uses it) good taste has long ago banished both from polished composition and discourse. With a want of sound discretion, which was little to be expected from him-though done, no doubt, to obviate a natural prejudice
much satisfaction, and earnestly recommend them to all who have been gathering their "Notions of the Americans," without opportunities of correcting them by more competent authorities, from the tours and travels that have for the last ten or dozen years been floating in our literary atmosphere. Generally, the authors of these publications have themselves been uneducated and unlicked persons, aud mixing, as they must have done, with men of their own class and habits-their introduction could of course be to no others--and filled with strange fancies of American equality, they have given of the Americans au impression of pervading, and intolerable and irreclaimable coarseness and vulgarity. The distinctions of political relations were beyond their detection. The same political rights seem to them to establish the social intercourse, as if in such a combination of circumstances, the educated and uneducated, the refined and unrefined, the rich and the poor, must, necessarily, mingle pell-mell in blissful confusion. The very able and effective volumes before us will leave a far different impression upon the reader, accompanied by a conviction of the writer's superior information, and superior title to confidence, and confirmed, too, in the long run, by the eternal principles of human feelings, and human motives.
he assumes the character of an Europeau; but he is himself Ametican, and no other indeed than Coop er, the well known national novelist of America, a man, whose reputa tion, in his particular department, is, or ought to be, second only to Sir Walter Scott's,-able to see, com bine, and describe. To make the matter worse, he has had the misfor tune to imagine himself capable of humor, and thus, without the least particle of the reality, persists in tormenting us with a perpetual display of false humor, that is really painful to behold. To complete the catalogue of his imperfections, his style is coarse, affected, and obscure; and his remarks frequently exhibit considerable conceit and arrogance. In spite of all this, Mr. Cooper's book is the best book that has yet been written on America. We our selves profess liberal principles, and have, consequently, a leaning towards all liberal writers; but we trust we have never shown ourselves blind to their defects, or been dis posed to exaggerate their merits; our readers will, therefore, credit us, when we assert that, in spite of the abuse of the Literary Gazette, and of all the blemishes enumerated above, the work now before us is, as we have said, the most valuable of all the works hitherto written on the country to which it relates. It cer
It is by no means surprising that the Literary Gazette, which considers it complimentary to term a man "a jacobite," and "a high churchman," as in the case of Mr. D'Isra. eli, should lose no opportunity of calumniating and libelling a writer of liberal principles. We therefore trust that the author of the present work will regard the attack of this
* Notions of the Americans: picked up by a Travelling Bachelor. 2 vols. London, 1828.
tainly is not in itself a perfect picture of American character, society, manners or scenery; but it furnishes the reader with materials which will
enable him to come to a tolerably correct conclusion upon each of those subjects, and in the meanwhile will amuse him exceedingly.
THERE is a fund of wit and merriment in Mr. Cruikshank that he may draw upon as lavishly as he pleases without any fear of exhaust ion. This is one of the best of his numerous publications. The first two pages consist of graphic illustrations of the occasional advantages of wooden legs over those of mere flesh and blood. They are rough sketches, but distinguished by great freedom and spirit, and that air of genuine humour which he generally exhibits. The first sketch is of a poacher, whose wooden leg is caught in a steel-trap. The title of it is, "The Advantage of a wooden leg at a Pinch." Then we have a group of dancing girls on stilts, that is to sav, Living on Wooden Legs." We have next a glimpse at a man, who is rushing into a house to avoid a mad dog, but he has his "Best leg foremost," and the animal seizes hold of the wooden one. In another corner of the page is a man who has fallen on the road side. A cart-wheel has passed right over his leg, and crushed it to atoms, but it is a " Trifling Accident," for the leg was wooden, and could easily be replaced by another every whit as good; and a drunken and roaring negro, impatient "to hab tea," thrusts his ligneous supporter into the fire, to make "the kettle bile." On the succeeding page we have some jokes against the ladies' bonnets, which have become, from their prodigious size, an abominable nuisance in all theatres and public exhibitions, where they exclude us from every thing worthy to be seen, not excepting their own delightful faces. In the sketch on the left cor
SCRAPS AND SKETCHES.*
ner, there is a lady, who is unable to pass through Storey's Gate on account of her huge bonnet, and some one is exclaiming, that "Lady Darlington's Bonnet stops the way." Half a dozen milliners, with the assistance of ladders, pulleys, &c. are constructing one of the size of a haystack. To Mr. Cruikshank the ladies are indebted for the suggestion of a vehicle of a peculiar construction, which, from an extraordinary breadth of roof, will allow of a bonnet being comfortably worn within by one person at least. The fashionable females of the present day make their waists so extremely thin, and the head-dresses and low garments so preposterously large, that not only is the human form disfigured by such an approximation to the spider, but we are surprised there are not more accidents similar to the one so cleverly sketched in a corner of this page. A lady is walking on the banks of a river-a terrible storm arises, and her large bonnet and loose sleeves, having caught the wind, the body is separated at the waist, and the upper half which is always the lightest, is carried over the water. The next page is not quite so good as the preceding, though there are many vigorous touches of the pencil in it, and a flash or two of satiric wit. On the top of another page stands a sapient looking pig with his tail curled, and over him the motto, "I could a tale unfold." Then follow some legal witticisms. All kinds of practices "at the bar" are most whimsically illustrated, from the crow-bar in burglary to the bar at the Old Bailey; including the head of "a gentleman
* Scraps and Sketches. Designed, etched, and published, by George Cruikshank, to be continued occasionally.
intended for the bar ;"-a face and expression never to be forgotton, There are some capital things in ilJustration of the March of Intellect." "The Pursuit of Letters" is perhaps one of the cleverest. Children with heads prematurely large are running in go-carts after the letters A, B, C, which are ludicrously sketched with legs. On the first go-cart is the label of "Reading made easy." In the distance, we observe two figures on horseback, with a pack of openmouthed dogs in full chase of a file of the following letters, which have legs like "The Living Skeleton's," LITERATURE. "The Grand March of Intellect," with the soldiers wearing spectacles, and inkstands with quills in them, for their regimen tal caps, is also very humorous. The cant and mystifying phraseology of science, which are now heard at every corner of the street from the mouths of children, are illustrated by a little girl on a stool with an egg in her hand. She is standing before her old grandmama, who is gaping with
DISEASE OF SILK WORMS, AND ITS CURE.
admiration. "You see, gran'ma," says the little child, "before you suck this egg, or, more properly speaking, before you extract the matter contained within this shell by suction, you must make an incision at the apex, and a corresponding aperture at the base.” “Aye, dear!” exclaims her granʼma, “how very clever!! They only used to make a hole at each end in my time !! Well, I declare they are making improvements in every thing!" A table, covered with philosophical apparatus, and a toy basket filled with such trifling works as Newton, Euclid, Shakspeare, Milton, Gibbon, &c. complete the idea. But we cannot afford space for any further notice, and must remind our readers, that, from the bare outlines, the few feeble strokes which we are able to give with the pen, in endeavouring to transfer Mr. Cruikshank's witticisms to our pages, they will be unable to form a proper estimate of the work before us.
IN N the southern provinces of France, where silk worms are bred, it is very common to find them attacked by a disease called the jaundice, in consequence of the color acquired by them: and very careful examination is continually made for the discovery of such worms as may be attacked by it, that they may be removed, lest the disease, being contagious, should spread to the others. The Abbé Eyséeric, of Carpentras, had recourse to a remedy in these cases, which, though apparently dangerous, has been warranted by the success of twenty years. He used to powder his worms over with quick lime, by means of a silk sieve; he then gave them mulberry leaves moistened with a few drops of wine, and the insects instantly set about
devouring the leaves with an eagerness which they did not usually show; not one of the hurdles upon which he raised his worms appeared infected with the jaundice. It was at first supposed that the coccoons of silk were injured by this process; this however is not the case, and his method of practice is now adopted generally in the department of Vaucluse.
The system of telegraphs has arrived at such perfection in the presidency of Bombay, that a communication may be made through a line of 500 miles in eight minutes.
NEW APPLICATION OF STEAM.
A grocer at Sheffield has a steamengine, of half-horse power, for the purpose of roasting and grinding coffee.
BOSTON, SEPTEMBER 15, 1828.
THE LAST CLONMEL ASSIZES.
THE HE mind of any man who habitually attends the assizes of Clonmel carries deep, and not perhaps the most useful, impressions away from it. How often have I reproached myself with having joined in the boisterous merriment which either the jests of counsel, or the droll perjuries of the witnesses, have produced during the trial of a capital offence! How often have I seen the bench, the jury, the bar, and the galleries of an Irish court of justice, in a roar of tumultuous laughter, while I beheld in the dock the wild and haggard face of a wretch who, placed on the verge of eternity, seemed to be surveying the gulf on the brink of which he stood, and presented, in his ghastly aspect and motionless demeanour, a reproof of the spirit of hilarity with which he was to be sent before his God! It is not that there is any kind of cruelty intermixed with this tendency to mirth; but that the perpetual recurrence of incidents of the most awful character divests them of the power of producing effect, and that they
"Whose fall of hair Would at a dismal treatise rouse and stir As life were in't,"
acquire such a familiarity with direness, that they become not only insensible to the dreadful nature of the spectacles which are presented, but scarcely conscious of them.
It is not merely because the Bar itself is under the operation of the incidents which furnish the materials 56 ATHENEUM, VOL. 9, 2d series.
[VOL. 9, N. S.
of their professional occupation that I have selected the last assizes of Clonmel as the subject of this article; in narrating the events which attended the murder of Daniel Mara, and the trial of his assassins, I propose to myself the useful end of fixing the general attention upon a state of things, which ought to lead all wise and good men to the consideration of the only effectual means by which the evils which result from the moral condition of Ireland may be remedied.
In the month of April, 1827, a gentleman of the name of Chadwick was murdered in the open day, at a place called Rath Cannon, in the immediate vicinity of the old Abbey of Holycross. Mr. Chadwick was the member of an influential family, and was employed as land agent in collecting their rents. The person who fills this office in England is called " a steward;" but in Ireland it is designated by the more honourable name of a land agency. The discharge of the duties of this situation must be always more or less obnoxious. In times of public distress, the landlord, who is himself urged by his own creditors, urges his agent on, and the latter inflicts upon the tenants the necessities of his employer. I have heard that Mr. Chadwick was not peculiarly rigorous in the exaction of rent, but he was singularly injudicious in his demeanour towards the lower orders. He believed that they detested him; and possessing personal courage, bade them defiance. He
was not a man of a bad heart; but was despotic and contumelious in his manners to those whose hatred he returned with contempt. It is said that he used to stand amongst a body of the peasantry, and, observing that his corpulency was on the increase, was accustomed to exclaim, “I think I am fattening upon your curses!" In answer to these taunts, the peasants who surrounded him, and who were well habituated to the concealment of their fierce and terrible passions, affected to laugh, and said "that his honour was mighty pleasant; and sure, his honour, God bless him, was always fond of his joke!" But while they indulged in the sycophancy under which they are wont to smother their sanguinary detestations, they were lying in wait for the occasion of revenge. Perhaps, however, they would not have proceeded to the extremities to which they had recourse, but for a determination evinced by Mr. Chadwick to take effectual means for keeping them in awe. He set about building a police barrack at Rath Cannon. It was resolved that Mr. Chadwick should die. This decision was not the result of individual vengeance. The wide confederacy into which the lower orders are organised in Tipperary held council upon him, and the village areopagus pronounced his sentence. It remained to find an executioner. Patrick Grace, who was almost a boy, but was distinguished by various feats of guilty courage, offered himself as a volunteer in what was regarded by him as an honourable cause. He had set up in the county as a sort of knight-errant against landlords, and in the spirit of a barbarous chivalry proffered his gratuitous services wherever what he conceived to be a wrong was to be redressed. He proceeded to Rath Cannon; and without adopting any sort of precaution, and while the public road was traversed by numerous passengers, in the broad daylight, and just beside the barrack, in the construction of which Mr. Chadwick was engaged, shot that unfortunate gentleman, who fell instantly
dead. This dreadful crime produced a great sensation, not only in the county where it was perpetrated, but through the whole of Ireland. When it was announced in Dublin, it created a sort of dismay, as it evinced the spirit of atrocious intrepidity to which the peasantry had been roused. It was justly accounted, by those who looked upon this savage assassination with most horror, as furnishing evidence of the moral condition of the people, and as intimating the consequences which might be anticipated from the ferocity of the peasantry, if ever they should be let loose. Patrick Grace calculated on impunity; but his confidence in the power and terrors of the confederacy with which he was associated was mistaken. A brave, and a religious man, whose name was Philip Mara, was present at the murder. He was standing be side his employer, Mr. Chadwick, and saw Grace put him deliberately to death. Grace was well aware that Mara had seen him, but did not believe that he would dare to give evidence against him. It is probable, too, that he conjectured that Mara coincided with him in his ethics of assassination, and applauded the proceeding. Mara, however, who was a moral and virtuous man, was horrorstruck by what he had beheld; and under the influence of conscientious feelings, gave immediate information to a magistrate. Patrick Grace was arrested, and tried at the summer assizes of 1827. I was not present at his trial, but have heard from good authority that he displayed a fearless demeanour; and that when he was convicted upon the evidence of Philip Mara, he declared that before a year should go by he should have vengeance in the grave. He was ordered to be executed near the spot where his misdeed had been perpetrated. This was a signal mistake, and pro duced an effect exactly the reverse of what was contemplated. The lower orders looked upon him as a martyr; and his deportment, personal beauty, and undaunted courage, rendered him an object of deep interest and sym