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"power, whether it be from God or whether it be from the people ;-but, alas, the time is gone by for men to learn their politics from the word of God: the church is become too evangelical to meddle with matters political, and the poor statesmen are left to make the best shift for themselves. O, ye self-sufficient statesmen! ye will bring this kingdom to a direful end."
The PuilosoPHY OF MILLINERY.-In a French piece, played with great success at the Adelphi, called Victorine, there is a scene between two females reduced in life and a former companion of their ci-devant pleasures. He also is reduced lower than poverty-to crime: he had been the cause of the ruin of one of the women, and by some of his infamous machinations had deprived her of her house and her little property. When they meet again, he is fresh from a burglary, and has got a handkerchief full of jewels and trinkets. On his renewing his acquaintance, he perceives considerable reluctance on the part of his former acquaintance to acknowledge him; he is naturally regarded with abhorrence. When he sees how the wind sits, with what a Frenchman would call a knowledge of human nature, he begins to spread out his trinkets. The eyes of the women are riveted and dazzled by' so much finery, and their disgust quickly dissolves into exclamations of delight. The rogue meditates a present: he desires his comrade to select some earrings; pick out the largest bobs, he whispers to the fellow. The gift of a pair of colossal earrings, even to a little lady with her head tied up in a handkerchief, is enough it seems to overcome all abhorrence and disgust even of a person who she is aware is destitute of every claim to respectability--a man, in short, steeped to the lips in crime.
This is not English, but we believe it to be French; not that we have any worse opinion of their morals than ours: but every body who has known French women must have been struck with their passion for bijouterie, which, however, is only a branch of their great master passion for setting off the person to the best advantage. Shallow persons call it vanity—they themselves call it coquetterie. It results, however, from a profound and sensitive feeling of the nature of the female position in modern society. The adornment of the person and the heightening of all natural charms is their proof armour of defence, and it is, moreover, the charm by which they exact obedience and perpetuate their sway. No women in the world are better treated than the French; nowhere do the women entrench themselves behind their sex in such force. A French woman never merges all her interests in those of her husband; she is affectionate, tender, delicate, but always herself. The English and the Italian women not unfrequently abandon themselves utterly both to the passions and the interests of their lovers-the French very rarely. The centre of a French lady's circle is herself: it is herself she studies, schools, disciplines, and calculates the results of her pleasant labour in its effects upon others. To this universal feeling among them, may be traced the excellence in every art which relates to personal appearance which marks the Frenchwoman: and this not in a few instances of skill and dexterity distinguished in the capital and the principal towns; but spreading from the duchesses of Paris to the meanest village girl in her sabots.
CATALOGUES of French MSS. AND A MUTUAL EXCHANGE OF LITERATURE. The value of the documents in the French archives is well known. As far back as the year 1802, Mr. Fox and Sir James Mackintosh endeavoured to procure catalogues of all those relating to this country. The war and other circumstances rendered those endeavours abortive ; but the same work has been recently undertaken by Lord Brougham, with greater success. Instructed by him, a gentleman of the Chancery Bar, it is said, has lately succeeded in obtaining full descriptive catalogues of all the manuscripts in the different repositories of France connected with the history of this kingdom, to the end of the reign of Henry VII. ; and the French Government have very liberally promised that copies shall be taken of all such instruments as the Trustees of the British Museum, or the Record Commissioners, may select. Several manuscripts have been discovered that throw great light upon the origin of our Parliaments.” -Morning Chronicle.
This is all very well if it be true. There is no doubt of the value of the Historical MSS. relative to England in the libraries of France. It would, however, take a Chancery Barrister a considerable part of his life to make a catalogue of them instead of a summer vacation divided between the Salons and the Bibliotheque du Roi. Up to this moment we have but very imperfect catalogues
of our own Museum ; and no student undertakes a historical investigation without finding MSS. entered under wrong titles, and many not mentioned in the catalogue at all.
A proposition which was made on the part of the Martignac administration is well worthy of being taken up by the present government, and Lord Brougham in particular may do some good in it." M. Buchon was sent over to propose an exchange between all the publications of England and those of France. The means are an alteration in the act which sends a copy of every printed work to such places as Sion College, a hole in the city, where city clergymen alone have the right of reading, and where they never read.
Dramatic Criticism.—The dramatic critic of the Morning Chronicle, in speaking of Reynolds's play of “the Exile,” makes this remark.
« We regretted to see Macready's fine talents thrown away upon such a part as Daran, and Miss Phillips is above Alexina." We complain of the airs actors give themselves, but surely they are excusable when thus encouraged by the public press. Daran and Alexing may not be very bad parts, but why should they not be made the best of? Would the critic have been better satisfied if inferior actors had been put into the parts, and Mr. Macready and Miss Phillips had been sitting by the fire-sides of their respective homes? The managers have a sad time of it with all the ridiculous caprices of favourite actors, and they are not likely to have better when the public critics regret that bad parts are not filled by bad actors.
English GALLANTRY.—At the Adelphi, during the performance ou Wednesday night, a gentleman in the pit addressed the manager and said—“Mr. Yates, here is a lady seated two seats before me in a huge purple bonnet--there, that lady (pointing to her), and will persist in keeping it on, though it shuts out from us behind nearly the whole view of the stage.” Mr. Yates replied—“Sir, you ought to have more English gallantry than to demand that which will in the least degree inconvenience any lady.” The gentleman left the theatre.
Surely Mr. Yates ought to have had more English good sense than to have been guilty of so great an absurdity. But it is the vocation of an actor to talk cant. Blue bonnets have increased, are increasin and ought to be diminished, and the manager,
allowing that the vast size of the blue bonnet might be an evil, might have stated that still it was an evil not to be mitigated on the instant, or he might have said with perfect good humour, that “ he lamented the inconvenience the gentleman was put to by being unhappily seated behind a lady so much in the fashion, and that as it was his duty to see that every body who did him the honour to attend his theatre was accommodated, he begged to offer him a chair on the stage, and that in the mean time, while the gentleman was taking his seat, the orchestra should strike up the air of " Blue bonnets o'er the Border."
THE CASE OF MR. GREEN.-A police case has attracted some attention in the course of the month from the respectability of one of the parties and the singularity of its nature. A female of the class which assumes to itself the name of the unfortunate, has accused a Mr. Green, the son or nephew of a wealthy merchant, said to be highly respectable, (such is the word) with having stolen her watch nearly three years ago from her chamber where he had accompanied her from the theatre. "It was in the theatre that she again saw him, and had him immediately apprehended. Her story was one of extreme circumstantiality, and she swore to the identity of the person without hesitation. Her evidence was, however, utterly unsupported by other testimony. The magistrate nevertheless held to bail in very considerable sums, and he must take his trial.
Several questions of importance to society rise out of this proceeding. Any woman, however abandoned, may pick out of a theatre or other place of public resort any young man, and though he may have the best reputation, utterly ruin him. The police examiuation and the Old Bailey trial are stains which, however unjustly inflicted, Mr. Green will never get over. If he be a sensitive person, he will never attempt it,
If on the other hand the magistrate had refused to entertain the charge, he would have declared virtually to the whole world that this large and unbappy class of women were denied all redress, and that in addition to the ill treatment they now receive, they were at the mercy of all the sharpers and pickpockets in the metropolis; that, in short, they were put out of the pale of the law.
If it had come to a comparison of character and a balance of probability, it is not unlikely that Mr. Green would have been discharged. But general respectability, or what may be called wealthy connexion, is in reality no answer to a charge of thievery. It is well known that there are numerous instances of persons now living who have such an itch for stealing that they rarely go into a shop without endeavouring to appropriate something. It is a matter of dotoriety that a lady of high rank and one in high fashion Dever used to enter a shop without stealing, or dine at a table without purloining plate. It was, however, so well understood to be a malady, that the shopman regularly sent in his bill, and the butler made a rule to send next day to the lady's maid for the articles of plate which her mistress had carried home with her.
Some of the most respectable families in the country have members which disgrace the rest: there are more men of truly respectable, and even powerful connexions, at Port Jackson and Macquarrie, than is commonly supposed. The gaming-table and the pawnbroker's shop are the antichambers of the gallies. Magistrates are, of course, well aware of these circumstances, and cannot fail to call them to mind when respectability of connexion iş adduced to rebut a positive charge of theft. The very severe and condemnatory leader of the “ Morning Chronicle" against the magistrate on this occasion, we cannot help thinking unjust and uncalled for.
It is a complex affair, however; for it is very possible that the accused may be the individual who took the female home in a coach, and only left her in the morning, and yet may not be the person who stole the watch, though she may fancy it was he—there were other persons in the house.
Nolo EPISCOPARI.—The odium which the Bishops have incurred is profounder than any which has been heaped upon a body of men in our time. They have been hanged and burnt in effigy all over the country, instead of Guy Faux; and were, in fact, a selection to be made for translation from the Bench to the New Drop, the temper of the people is such, that, we believe, they would witness the auto da fè without commiseration. The faculty of persecution is not confined to priests--they, who were once its instigators, may become its victims.
As Mr. Alley was arguing a case before the magistrates against Mr. Charles Phillips, he made some reference to the Bishops, and quoted the phrase, “Nolo Episcopari;" whereupon Mr. Phillips, with the tact of an Irish barrister, got up indignantly, and declared he had no connexion with the Bishops whatever. The mob took the hint, and overwhelmed his antagonist with hooting, hissing, and groaning-displaying both their logic and their zeal.
Mr. C. Phillips is well enough acquainted with the management of a mob, whether jurors or auditors, to know that it is only necessary to raise the bugbear, and, right or wrong, it is hunted down.
HIGH PRICE OF KITTENS.—We lately heard that, in the Northern Ocean, ChoJera had become very virulent among the fish, and that the sea was covered with the victims of this terrible disorder. A correspondent of the “Medical Gazette," however, recollects a plague among the cats," when,” as he says,
“ the purringrace suffered such a havoc of diminution, that, within his knowledge, kittens were, in one instance, sold at a shilling each, probably for the first and last time.” This is not quite correct; in long sieges, cats rise extremely in estimation, and we remember reading in some author of a couple of soldiers who fought to the death as they watched the breeding of an old she cat, in consequence of one of them zing a kitten out of his turn.
DIALOGUE BETWEEN A REFORMING COMMONER AND
A TORY PEER.
Commoner. Well, my Lord, the time draws near when the battle will again be fought—it is to be hoped with better success than heretofore for the Reformers. We, or rather the signs of the times, have made, I believe, some converts amongst your august body since our journals went into mourning for the loss of the Bill.
Peer. If converts be made, it is more than I know of: but I do not object to that mode of gaining your (pardon me,) revolutionary objects. These, I am quite ready to grant, are times when we cannot lay down abstract and unchanging rules. What is violence in opinion one month, may be moderation the next.
Commoner. Exactly so, my Lord. Had the Duke of Wellington, when in power, for instance, proposed a Bill enfranchising ten towns, and disenfranchising twelve boroughs, there can be little doubt but that the Tories in general would have cried out on the violence of the Reform. Now, it must be confessed, you would be happy to compound with so moderate a measure. Beware in time! Public opinion, once turned to popular subjects, marches by giant strides. The day may be at hand when you will think the present Reform as moderate as you would now think that which the Duke of Wellington might once have substituted for it.
Commoner. Nay, is warning, threat? We do not speak to arouse your fears, but to express our own. Our safety is bound up in yours. All respectable classes have a common interest. I tremble at the future: am I to stifle my apprehension lest your pride take alarm ? But what folly is this talk of intimidation. Suppose you had a fit of the cholera-you may have it yet—(though Heaven forbid, and keep the disease for the poor !) and the doctor cried out:-“ Go into this vapour-bath ; drink this laudanum ; throw away those salts ; for God's sake, put your arm under the bed-clothes, or you are a dead man!” would your Lordship take pet, bristle up your languid energies, and cry with a querulous voice, “ Do you think, Sir, that I am to be frightened ?" My Lord, my Lord, there is a moral malady in England, more deadly than the physical one, which I trust we shall escape—that malady is DisCONTENT. Why quarrel, then, with advice? Why swallow the salts, and refuse the oil? Why declare, that to caution is to terrify, and to warn is to insult ?
Peer. All this is very fine. But I think the case must be put thus: either there is one strong and bitter feeling against the aristocracy, or there is not. If there exist that feeling, we are doomed already. We can but defer our fate—let us rather meet it bravely, and die in
the first ditch, not the last. If there does not exist that feeling, it would be madness in us to encourage a democratic change in the country, while we are able, if not to prevent, at least to modify it.
Commoner. I thank you, my Lord, for your frankness; and this, I believe, is the common view which your party take of the question. As right and just notions on this point are, then, of great consequence, let us here pause for a moment. You have read the work called “ The Tour of a German Prince." You may remember (or if not, you may deign to turn to a review on that work in this Magazine,) how much the Tourist comments upon the aristocratic tendencies that in this country pervaded all classes two years ago. It is what every observant foreigner then and before remarked of us. There was, at that day, in this great country, no feeling against the aristocracy. Our vice ran the other way. You were by far the safest, the most powerful, the most solidly based portion of the state. You are now in danger-you allow it. You have become the most obnoxious, and in a revolution, would be the most exposed, body in the community; so much so, that even the Whig noblemen suffer for the dislike to the Tory, and Lord Althorp and Lord Grey are sometimes suspected to be insincere, merely because they are known to be Lords. This change, my Lord, from power to weakness, from safety to danger, from a servile homage to a calumniating hatred, ought, suffer me respectfully to say, to teach your assembly one truth, which it seems resolved not to learn, and that resolution is the cause of all the obscure and confused notions which men less intelligent than your Lordship have formed on your side of the question—that change ought, I say, to teach you in what your strength consists. It does not consist in your estates; it does not consist in your titles; it does not consist in your Norman pedigree, or your Saxon gold; it consists solely in Public Opinion. When you talk of despising the press and the popular clamour, your boast may
be very sounding, but it is very irrational. You are despising the foundation of the House you inhabit, and crying, as you sit on the roof, that you care not a straw what may become of the kitchen. Public Opinion was in your favour, and you were strong; Public Opinion is now against you, and you are weak. Do you wish to be safe? Do you wish to be powerful? You must first be popular. Your Lordship’s logical dilemma gives way in either horn. Public feeling is against you-brave it—and you may, perhaps, be swept away by its flood ! But it has so recently been turned against you—the feeling is so contrary to old habits, that you have only to conciliate in order to be once more stronger even than I would wish you.
I repeat—the secret of power, in all ages, is to be popular. In Morocco, the Muleys were popular. It was a fine thing, according to an old Eastern saying, to be subject to a King who could cut off as many heads as he pleased. Whatever be the shape of power, whether it wear a despotic garb, or a liberal, it must be cheerfully acknowledged, in order to be permanent. You, on the other hand, would guard your hereditary power by offending the opinions on which it is based ; and you think you have done great things for the aristocracy by an act that has rendered them as odious as possible.