Imatges de pàgina

the interim every measure should be taken to increase the revenue with a view to the reduction of the debt.

Heligoland, indeed, after a period of bungling and robbery, was placed in the same financial position as the United States after a period of war. In one case, as in the other, taxation was the only remedy. But the Heligolanders did not like their medicine, and, like children, protested that they were quite well. They refused to entertain a new and startling idea, still less, to pay for it. They had never heard of such a thing before; their fathers and grandfathers had never paid taxes, and why should they? It was no use telling them that other people paid taxes. They were not other people. They were Heligolanders. This, it seems, when spoken in their own patois, means a great deal; for they consider themselves intellectually and morally superior to all the other nations of the earth, whom they call, individually and collectively, skit, a word in their language signifying dirt. As soon as it was known that an ordinance enacting taxation on real and personal property" had been "enacted by the Governor of Heligoland, with the advice and consent of the Legislative Council, and the concurrence of the Combined Court," there was a grand disturbance. A reactionary party immediately arose, with the cry of The old state of things, and no taxation! When the tax-collectors went round, the men laughed in their faces, and the women called them names. It was in vain that the Governor summoned a meeting of the inhabitants, and addressed them in very excellent German, and gave them six months to turn the matter over in their minds. At the end of that time they were still obstinate, the tax-collectors resigned, and this victory was celebrated with festivities. But suddenly a British man-of-war appeared; a file of marines marched on shore; the ring leaders of the reactionists were put into


durance vile for an afternoon; and the taxes were paid up with marvellous rapidity.

The next move of the opposition was a petition, which was signed by three hundred and fifty out of the two thousand islanders, and was sent into the Colonial Office, protesting against the new constitution, and requesting the abolition of all the ordinances which it had passed. Since a certain occurrence which took place in the reign of George III., the British government has been in the habit of paying most careful attention to all popular petitions from the colonies, but this one, as may well be imagined, was refused. The constitution being popular, and the taxes being light, (there is but one person on the island who pays as much as £3 a year,) and the population extracting considerable wealth from their season visitors, they have no real grievance to complain of, and when last I heard from the island I was informed that the public debt was rapidly melting away, and that peace and good feeling had been quite restored.

This Liliput Province, in which the Governor is the only Englishman, and his cow almost the only quadruped, deserves to be more frequently visited by tourists, as it is perfectly unique in its way. It also merits the study of English politicians. This island rock is the Gibraltar of the North Sea. With a few companies of infantry and casemated batteries, it might be held against any force, and it commands the mouths of the Weser and the Elbe. The Heligolanders are not Germans, ethnology perhaps would rather class them with the Danes, and they have no German sympathies. There can be no excuse, therefore, for giving up the island to Prussia, as has been seriously recommended in an English journal; though the objection to this that by so doing England might lose prestige upon the Continent - is a groundless fear at the present moment she has none to lose.


Early and Late Papers, hitherto uncollected. By WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY. Boston: Ticknor and Fields.

Ir appears to us that the graceful art of Thackeray was never more happily employed than in the first paper of this series. The "Memorials of Gormandizing" is a record of thrilling interest, and every good dinner described has the effect upon the reader of a felicitous drama. He goes from course to course, as from act to act of the play; he is agonized with suspense concerning the fate of the dishes, as if they were so many heroes and heroines; if the steak is not justly cooked, it shall give him almost as great heart-break as a disappointment of lovers; when all is fortunately ended, he takes a long breath, as when the curtain falls upon the picture of the united young people, the relenting uncle, and the baffled villain. As good as a novel? There are mighty few novels that have so much of life and human nature in them as that simple and affecting history, given in this book, of a dinner at the Café de Foy, in Paris. But they make one hungry with an inappeasable appetite, these "Memorials of Gormandizing," bringing to mind all the beautiful dinners eaten in Latin countries, and filling the heart with longing for the hotels that look out on the Louvre at Paris, the Villa Reale at Naples, the Venetian sunsets, the Arno at Florence, and even for the railway restaurants which so enchantingly diversify the flat, monotonous, and desolate Flemish landscape.

We travel with Mr. Titmarsh to Bruges, Ghent, and Antwerp, through the latter region, and we enjoy every one of those "Roadside Sketches," so delicate, so unerring, and so suggestive. Thackeray is a delightful traveller; for he, who can talk more wisely of old clothes than most preachers of eternity, gets out of the nothings that tourists see the very life and spirit of a country. Here is something also about modern art and pictures in England and France, which comes as near not at all boring as anything of that nature can; but we find the account of "Dickens in France" so much more attractive, that we shall always read it by preference hereafter.

For this is a book to be read many times by those loving to feel the conscious felicity of a writer who knows that every sentence shall happily express his mind, and succeed in winning the reader to the next. The security is tacit in the earlier papers here reprinted; in the later ones it is more declared, and becomes somewhat careless, though it can never beget slovenliness. It appears to this great master that what he does so easily can scarcely be worth doing, and he mocks his own facility.

The spirit of the book is the same throughout. It is not different from that of Thackeray's other books, and it is that of a man too sensible of his own love of the advantages he enjoys from the existing state of things ever to assail, with any great earnestness of purpose, the errors and absurdities of the world, who trusted, for example, in one of his essays, never to be guilty of speaking harshly either of the South or North of America, since friends in both sections had offered him equally good claret. He is forever first in his art; and if we do not expect too much from him, he gives us so much that we must rejoice over every line of his preserved for our perusal.

A Vindication of the Claim of Alexander M. W. Ball, of Elizabeth, N. J., to the Authorship of the Poem, "Rock me to Sleep, Mother." By A. O. MORSE, of Cherry Valley, N. Y. New York: M. W. Dodd.

IT is no great while since Miss Peck proved to her own satisfaction her claim to what Mr. Morse would style the " maternity" of " Nothing to Wear," and now hardly has Judge Holmes of Missouri determined that the paternity of Shakespeare is due to Bacon, when the friends of Mr. Ball of New Jersey spring another trouble upon mankind by declaring him the author of Mrs. Akers's very graceful and touching poem, "Rock me to Sleep, Mother," which we all know by heart. In the present pamphlet they give what evidence they can in Mr. Ball's behalf, and, to tell the truth, it is not much. It appears from this and other sources that Mr. Ball is a person of independent property, and a member of the New

Jersey Legislature, who has written a great quantity of verses first and last, but has become all but "proverbial” in his native State for his carelessness of his own poetry; so that we suppose people say there of a negligent parent, "His children are as unkempt as the Hon. Alexander M. W. Ball's poems"; or of a heartless husband, .“His wife is about as well provided for as Mr. Ball's Muse." Still Mr. Ball is not altogether lost to natural feeling, and he has not thrown away all his poetry, but has even so far shown himself alive to its claims upon him as to read it now and then to friends, who have keenly reproached him with his indifference to fame. To such accidents we owe the preservation in this pamphlet of several Christmas Carols and other lyrics, tending to prove that Mr. Ball could have written "Rock me to Sleep" if he had wished, and the much more important letters declaring that he did write it, and that the subscribers of the letters heard him read it nearly three years before its publication by Mrs. Akers. These letters are six in number, including a postscript, and it is not Mr. Ball's fault if they all read a good deal like the certificates of other days establishing the identity of the Old Original Doctor Jacob Townsend. Two only of the six are signed with the writers' names; but these two have a special validity, from the fact that the writer of one is a very old friend, who has more than once expressed his wish to be Mr. Ball's literary executor, while the writer of the other is evidently a legal gent, for he begins with "Relative to the controversy in re the authorship," etc., like a legal gent, and he concludes with the statement that he is able to fix the date when he heard Mr. Ball read "Rock me to Sleep" by the date of a paper which he thinks he called to draw up at Mr. Ball's residence some time in the autumn of 1859. This is Mr. J. Burrows Hyde. Mr. Lewis C. Grover, who would like to be Mr. Ball's literary executor, is more definite, and says that he heard Mr. Ball read the contested poem with others in 1857, during a call made to learn where Mr. Ball bought his damask curtains. H. D. E. is sorry that he or she cannot remember where he or she first heard Mr. Ball read it, but he or she distinctly remembers that it was in 1857 or 1858. L. P. and I. E. S. witness that they heard Mr. Ball read it in his study in 1856 or 1857, and state that the date may be fixed by reference to the time "when Mrs. Ball took Maria to Dr. Cox's,

and placed her in the school in Leroy," and the pamphleteer, turning to a bill rendered by the principal of the Leroy school, "fixes the date called for by the writers in February, 1857," at which time, according to the pamphleteer himself, Mr. Ball was on his way to California in an ocean steamer! The postscript mentioned among the letters is said to be dated at Brooklyn in 1858, and merely asks Mr. Ball to "send by the doctor"-not a dozen more bottles of his invaluable Sarsaparilla, but-the poem entitled "Rock me to Sleep," and this postscript has no signature, and is therefore worthless.

It appears, then, that these letters do not establish a great deal; the legal gent fixes the time when he heard the poem by the date of a paper which he thinks was drawn up at a certain period; H. D. E. is sorry that he or she cannot remember, and then distinctly remembers; the postscript is without signature; two other friends declare that they heard Mr. Ball, in his own study, read "Rock me to Sleep, Mother," at the moment when the poet was probably very sea-sick on a California steamer. Mr. Grover alone remains to persuade us, and we respectfully suggest to that enthusiast whether it was not "Rock-a-by Baby" that he heard Mr. Ball read? We do not think that he or the other writers of these letters intend deceit; but we know the rapture with which people listen to poets who read their own verses aloud, and we suspect that these listeners to Mr. Ball were carried too far away by their feelings ever to get back to their facts. They are good folks, but not critical, we judge, and might easily mistake Mr. Ball's persistent assertion for an actual recollection of their own. We think them one and all in error, and we do not believe that any living soul heard Mr. Ball read the disputed poem before 1860, for two reasons: Mrs. Akers did not write it before that time, and Mr. Ball could never have written it after any number of trials.

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It raised my thoughts to heaven, and in converse with them there

I felt a joy unearthly, and lighter sat world's


For it opened up the vista of an echoless dim shore,

let him go be elected to the New York Common Council.

Of this pamphlet, aside from Mr. Ball, we have merely to say that it appears to be written by the most impudent and the most

Where my mother kindly greets me, as in good absurd man in America. days of yore."

Here, then, is that quality of peculiarly hopeless poetasting which strikes cold upon the stomach, and makes man turn sadly from his drivelling brother. Do we not know this sort of thing? Out of the rejected contributions in our waste-basket we could daily furnish the inside and outside of a dozen Balls. It is saddening, it is pathetic; it has gone on so long now, and must still continue for so many ages; but we can just bear it as a negative quality. It is only when such rubbish is put forward as proof that its author has a claim to the name and fame of a poet, that we lose patience. The verses given in this pamphlet would invalidate Mr. Ball's claim to the authorship of Mrs. Akers's poem, even though the Seven Sleepers swore that he rocked them asleep with it in the time of the Decian persecution. But beside the irrefragable internal evidence afforded by the specimens given of Mr. Ball's poetry, and by his "first draft" of the disputed poem, and by his "completed copy" of the poem, there is the well-known fact that Mr. Ball is a self-confessed plagiarist in one case, and a convicted plagiarist in several others. He has lately allowed in a published letter that he used a poem by Mrs. Whitman in "concocting" one of his own. It was some years since proven that he had plagiarized other poems, -even one from

Mrs. Hemans.

Mr. Ball has some claims to forbearance and interest as a curious psychological study. Kleptomania is a well-known disorder. The unhappy persons affected steal whatever they can, wherever they can, and come home from evening parties with their pock. ets full of silver spoons, which are usually sent home with the apologies of mortified friends. We believe, however, this is the first instance of kleptomania of which the victim not only steals, but turns upon the person plundered and makes accusation that the stolen goods had been first filched from him. Mr. Ball is phenomenal, but is a legislative assembly the place for this sort of curiosity? If he is of sound mind, he is guilty of a very cruel and shameless wrong, meriting expulsion from any body that makes laws against larceny. If sane,

Literature and its Professors. By THOMAS
PURNELL London: Bell and Daldy.

A CULTIVATED intellect, a fair degree of shrewd perception, an inviolable conscientiousness, a common sense frankly selfsatisfied, are some of the qualifications which Mr. Purnell brings to the discussion of literature as seen in modern journalism, and in the lives of Giraldus Cambrensis and Montaigne,- of Roger Williams, the literary statesman, of Steele, Sterne, and Swift, essayists, - of Mazzini, the literary patriot.

Many of the conditions of literary journalism alluded to in these essays are unknown in our country, where literature has not yet become merely a trade, and where we cannot see that literary men are sinking in popular esteem, and deservedly sinking, as being no better informed, or better qualified to control opinion, than their non-writing neighbors. We can better understand Mr. Purnell when he speaks of the imperfections and discrepancies of criticism, but are not better able to sympathize with all his ideas. The trouble is not, we think, that "critics who conceive themselves to be men of taste give their opinions fearlessly, having no misgivings that they are right," and "if a book is bad, feel it is bad," without being able to refer to a critical principle in proof, but that many who write reviews have not formed opinions and have not felt at all, and have rather proceeded upon a prejudice, a supposed law of æsthetics applicable to every exigency of literary development. A sense of the inadequacy of criticism must trouble every honest man who sits down to examine a new book; and it might almost be said, that no books can be justly estimated by the critic except those which are unworthy of criticism. Upon certain points and aspects of an author's work the critic can justly give his convictions, and need have no misgivings about them; but how to present a complete idea of it, and always to make that appear characteristic which is characteristic, and that exceptional which is exceptional, is the difficulty. Still, criticism must continue: the perfect equipoise may never be attained, and yet

we must employ the balance, or nothing can be appraised, and traffic ceases.

It appears to us that criticism would be even more inadequate than it is, however, if, as Mr. Purnell desires, it should have "to do solely with the disposal of the materials, and but incidentally with the quality of the materials themselves." If the German critics whom we are asked to imitate have taught us anything, it is to look through form at the substance within, and to judge that. When criticism was supposed a science, it declared with a mathematical absoluteness that no drama was good or great which did not preserve the unities. Yet Shakespeare has written since, and no critic in the world thinks his plays bad or weak, thanks, chiefly, to the German criticism, which is an art, and not a science, as Mr. Purnell desires us to think it. In fact, criticism is almost purely a matter of taste and experience, and there is hardly any law established for criticism which has not been overthrown as often as the French government. Upon one point-namely, that a critic should judge an author solely by his work, and never by anything known of him personally we think no one will disagree with our essayist.

We hardly know how much or how little to value the clever workmanship of these essays, which is characteristic of a whole class of literature in England, though we suspect it has not much greater claim to praise than the art possessed by most Parisians of writing dramatic sketches of Parisian society. It seems to come of a condition of things, rather than from an individual faculty. Still, it is remarkable, and even admirable, though in Mr. Purnell's case it is not inconsistent with dealing somewhat prolixly with rather dry subjects, and being immensely inconclusive upon all important matters, and very painfully conclusive on trivial ones. Our essayist says little that is new of Montaigne, and does not add to our knowledge of Steele, Swift, and Sterne, though he speaks freshly and interestingly of Roger Williams as the first promoter of religious toleration. He requires seventeen pages (“Literary HeroWorship") to declare that a great poet ought not to be thought great because he is not a great soldier, and vice versa; he is neat and cold, and generally doubtful of things accepted, and assured of things doubted, and, without being commonplace himself, he seems to believe that he was born into the world to vindicate mediocrity of feeling.

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The College, the Market, and the Court; or, Woman's Relation to Education, Laber, and Law. By CAROLINE H. DALL. Boston: Lee and Shepard.

HERE is a woman's showing of women's wrongs, a woman's appeal to men for simple justice. All the facts of the matter are grouped and presented anew with emphasis and feeling; and a demand is finally made for the right of suffrage as the protection for women from all kinds of oppression.

We do not care to discuss the wisdom of this conclusion; but from the premises no man can dissent. It is unquestionably true that thousands of women in America suffer an oppression little less cruel than slavery; that they toil incessantly in shops and garrets for a pittance that half sustains-life, and at last drives them to guilt as the alternative of starvation; it is true that women are shut out from the practice of the liberal professions; it is true that in the trades to which they are educated they often receive less pay than men for the same amount and quality of work; it is true that the laws still bear unfairly upon them. If the right of suffrage will open to them any means of earning bread now forbidden them, if it will help in any way to give them an equal chance with men in the world, they ought to have

it. We are all alike guilty of their wrongs, as long as they continue; it is not the wretch who enslaves the needlewoman, it is not the savage in whose "store" or "emporium" the poorly paid shop-girl is forbidden to sit down for a moment, and swoons away under the ordeal, it is not the rogue who gives a woman less wages than a man for a man's service, it is not these and their kind who are alone guilty, but society itself is guilty. The reform of very great evils will be cheaply accomplished if women by voting can right themselves. It must be confessed, to our shame, that we have failed to right them; though it may at the same time be doubted whether the elective franchise, which is claimed as the means of justice, would not now belong to women, if it had been even generally demanded. So far the responsibility is partly with woman herself, who must also help to bear the blame for failure to ameliorate the condition of her sex in the existing political state. Mrs. Dall is by no means blind to this fact, and she speaks candidly to women, as she speaks fearlessly to men. We think her arguments would have been more forcible if they had been less com

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