« AnteriorContinuar »
times, induced to visit this part of the existence. The same has happened island, or to inquire into its history, in regard to this country. But our as well as by those among ourselves having previously existed as a distinct who have been led to investigate the nation, has not only made us more causes, and record the progress of im
careful in our selection of the customs provements so important to us as indi- and improvements of England, but viduals, and so creditable to us as a has considerably modified them, so as nation. The subject has been as va to make them suit, with less apparent riously considered as the objects and unfitness, our former habits and our habits of those by whom it has been present condition. treated have differed from each other ; The errors, however, which we seem one class giving more weight to the to have committed, are evidently of influence of our connection with Eng- the same class, and have arisen from land and her colonies, while others a hastiness in following, or rather from ascribe a greater part of our improve- a desire to adopt the manners, the ments to the natural progress of so customs, the style, and mode of live ciety, aided by the genius, and active, ing existing in England, and among and acute disposition of the people. English society, without considering
We are inclined ourselves to coin- how far they were suited to our circide in opinion with those who con cumstances, and without endeavoursider that the progress of our improve- ing to preserve the entire resemblance ment has not only been hastened, but of that which we admired, by transthat it has received its present direc- ferting what belonged to the same class tion from our connection and depend- inEngland to the same class in Scotland. ence on our southern neighbours, mo It will be found, indeed, that, by not dified by the peculiar character of our attending to this, we have committed countrymen : And that it not only some injudicious mistakes; and that never would have made the same pro we have often, in consequence, been gress, but that it never would, as it contented with the shadow, while we now exists, have taken place at all, if abandoned the substance ; or perhaps the country had been left to its own it would be more correct to say, that, unaided efforts.
in our desire to acquire what was, in The very nature of the progress fact, beyond our reach, and unfitted which has been made, the order in for our condition, we have done no which it has proceeded, all strongly more than make a vain display, withtend to prove that much of what now out its being in our power to obtain exists in this country has been adopted the actual enjoyment of what we were on the principles of imitation alone, inconsiderate enough to covet. and not in the regular and natural This circumstance has accordingly course of things, and evidently with- affected our domestic arrangements, out the necessity or propriety of much our style of living, our occasional enof that which has been acquired havtertainments, and our comparative gee ing been either felt or called for. neral want of comfort.
This branch of the subject is one It is to be observed in the size of of considerable interest and curiosity, our houses, and their want of furniboth as it more particularly relates to ture and of paint,-in our display of ourselves, and also as a question of water-closets, and the total neglect more general inquiry, when consider- of their cleanliness,-in the mode of ed in relation to the history of the laying out our places, and carrying on progress of society in Ireland and the our improvements. In short, it will United States of North America. be found, upon examination, that we
In these latter instances, and par- have, in general, rather preferred an ticularly in that of Ireland, the in- attempt to ape our betters, than copy fluence of the metropolitan country from our equals, and, in vaturally over the provincial one is much more failing to reach the former, we have evident. And one is forcibly struck lost the comforts which are enjoyed by with the incongruity of a style of life, the latter. deriving its origin from one of the These observations apply more oldest civilized states of Europe, tack- particularly to the upper class of soed to customs and habits belonging to ciety in Scotland, and though it a stage of society far removed from, may be rejected as paradoxical by and incompatible with, their natural some, yet we state our opinion with
some degree of confidence as to its been, that there has taken place a sort being correct, when we assert, that of jumble in regard to the habits and this class of society have in some par- feelings of this class, now the first in ticulars made less progress in the im- Scotland, far from advantageous to provement peculiarly adapted to their the country, and still less conducive fortunes and circumstances in life, to the enjoyment of those comforts than the class immediately below and conveniences which should bethem. Not only so, but owing to the long peculiarly to those who compose mistake which has thus been commit- it, and which so remarkably distinted in selecting the model which we guish and form the characteristic exbave followed, we have done much to cellence of the same class in England. perpetuate some of the worst customs In place of attempting that good sound peculiar to this class in Scotland, and sterling common sense and every-day have at the same time stood in the comfort, which is in that country disway of the general improvement of played and enjoyed by this class, in athe whole country in the articles of dapting the size of their houses to the tidyness, neatness, fitness, cleanliness, extent of their fortunes, and the estaand comfort; in matters which have blishment they keep, to both, there relation to the daily, nay, hourly has unfortunately been preferred a detransactions and convenience of man. sire to imitate the style of living which
It is no difficult matter to point out prevails among the highest and richest the manner in which this has happened, class of England; erroneously conand it is not perhaps astonishing, that ceiving that they would accomplish it should have taken the course it has this by procuring with difficulty a done. The Union with England, fol- certain portion of silver plate, or some lowed by the more frequent and in- such other mark of wealth, with a timate intercourse which took place display of wines as rare as they are between the two countries, scon melt- various ; * forgetting that the reality ed into the mass of the upper class of is still wanting, in the absence of that English society, those few Scotch fitness and propriety in all its parts, noblemen, and still fewer commoners, of that sumptuousness of the manwhose fortunes enabled them to mix sion and its furniture, of the numbers without impropriety with the more and splendour of the retinue, of the splendid of the English nobility, and rank and wealth of the possessor,—-of her wealthy cominoners.
that, in short, which constitutes the The growing prosperity of the coun one entire whole, and which gives to try, by increasing the value of Scotch the style of living among the aristoproperty, fortunate connections with cracy of the country, that tone of eleEnglish heiresses, and a more inti- gance and magnificence, accompanied mate union generally, has, by degrees, by real enjoyment, which so particudrawn the bulk of the Scottish aristo- larly distinguishes their so-iety, and cracy into the same class. The thea- the want of any part of which renders tre of their display has been transiere that which is obtained only more une red from their own country to the fit and less proper. metropolis of the British empire. In place of adopting this vain disWhat was before in Scotland, and is play, the reality of which we never still in England, the second class, has, can hope to possess, had we not better in the former country, become the endeavour to secure that which is withfirst: That class, in short, which is in both countries composed of the There has been as yet no accumulation country gentlemen of moderate pro- of capital in Scotland. If a man in trade, perty; of all the well-informed of the or belonging to a profession, should happen mercantile class ; of all professional to live within his income, and thereby reamen; of men of science and of litera- lise a small property, he speedily quits his ture: That class, which, in its inter- employment, and lives upon the interest of course with the other, lends it a large what he has accumulated. From this cirshare of that independence of conduct, charities or subscriptions, which do such
cumstance we have none of those splendid of that vigour of intellect, and of those honour to the people of England. There elegant and noble acquirements which is hardly a provincial town in England of adorn the best society of the capital, any extent, that does not for this reason and distinguish our own.
far exceed in libcrality the utmost stretch sequence of this state of things has of an Edinburgh subscription. .
in our reach? There is no error more those who are to provide it be expectcommon amongst us, than to set out ed to do so? If, for example, we in with a house beyond our means, and the south of Scotland find no fault too large for our fortune ; what is the with the bread we live upon, (and consequence? Either that we run into which no stranger can eat,) while the difficulties in furnishing it, from rest of Scotland enjoy it of an excelwhich we do not soon extricate our lent quality, why should the bakers selves, or, what is more common, we who supply us endeavour to make it spend many years of our life in a house better? If, in the same way, we are without being painted, incompletely contented that our fish should be soft, furnished, and never cleaned. Ex- ill washed, and bruised, our butter ilí hausted by the purchase of the house, tasted, full of hairs, and, as if it were, we are unable to keep servauts to made of skimmed milk, why should clean it. Should we not, for exam those who provide these several artiple, improve most materially our in- cles exert themselves for the mere love dividual and domestic comforts, and of cleanliness, which those who enjoy also our social intercourse, if-instead thein seem neither to wish for nor unof retaining a person, by way of a derstand ? Surely if these virtues are servant out of livery, habited in a coat to be cultivated for themselves alone, of dirty blue or faded brown, of a it is natural to expect their existence fashion not the most recent, nor in in the highest and best educated class point of cleanliness the most agreea- oi the community, and not among the ble--we should dress our servants labouring and least cultivated. But with that attention to their livery, to 80 little dous this feeling appear to the neatness of their linen, and the form part of our character, that they cleanliness of their person, which we do not seem to exist even where they owe as much in true politeness to our are required, to secure what must in neighbours, as in point of comfort to terest each of us most intimately ourselves. In the same way, are we and continually. How much more not bound in common decency, and consistent would it be for us to for the sake of our daughters, to in- tuin our attention to the removal of sist upon our female servants dressing these evils, than to a vain display of in shocs and stockings, in place of dis mere outward shew?-the more vain playing their naked limbs, and on as the incongruity is, more striktheir puiting on some additional dressing. besides that scanty jacket called We should have abstained from short fown,” and the indelicacy of a discussing what relates to our persingle petticoat? If we, in the upper sonal habits, as the subject is one ranks, daily, and without observation, which cannot be easily treated, either submit to such things in our own with a due regard to our own feelings, houses, how can we complain if the or the delicacy of our readers: but lower orders continue in the practice in its nature is so essential both to our of habits which reflect more disgrace akn comforts and those who visit us, on us than on them? They have uni- and is one which at the same time afforinly shewn a realy inclination feets our character so deeply, as a cito adopt every improvement which vilized people, that we cannot help they were enabled to do, and from conquering the disgust we have even which they were not prevented by in alluding to it, in the hope, that, obstacles expressly retained, or creat sooner or later, our attention may be ed, or indirectly raised, by the apathy thorougirly roused, that the odium ator example of their botters.
tached to it may be removed. We Considering the matter in this view, are induced to notice it besides, as it has always appeared to us that thé afiords an excellent illustration of the well intentioned novel of the Cottagers truth of the principles which we have of Glenburnie entirely failed in its endeavoured to inculcate in the forepraiseworthy object, by mistaking the guing remarks. origin and source of the evils which What can concern more immediateit meant to attack, and hoped to re- ly the lasting comforts of mankind, or
Until those who lead, shew what so materially affect our health the example, how can the herd learn and all our other habits, as delicacy to follow ? Until those who create the and cleanliness in complying with demand ask for the supply, how can those calls of nature, which are as ne.
cessary to our existence as the con- by their example and exertions that sumption of food ? * Can we say to this disgrace to our country can be reourselves, that, in this material ob- moved. This they would soon acject, we have made any real improve- complish, if proper praise and encoument whatever? Of late years, to be ragement were held out to the deservsure, we have got water-closets, fitted ing, and the contrary to those who up with all the nicety of modern con- persevered in their ancient habits. trivance. This, however, must al. We finish by asking one question :ways be the luxury of a few; and, in Is there a country gentleman, from their extension, whether in private one end of Scotland to the other, who houses or hotels, let us be permitted thinks such a convenience a necessary to ask, whether they have not, from appendage to any new cottage which want of attention and carelessness, he has built? Or, is there an archibecome greater nuisances than what tect who, in any of the larger towns, they have succeeded ? It is not to provides one for each house he conthese more select conveniences, but to structs on speculation, except those of those of a much more extended use, the first class ? In the same spirit, that we think our attention should be how many a worthy laird sets about peculiarly directed. In order that we constructing a grape-house, before he may remove one of the deepest re- thinks it necessary to bestow any atproaches our country is subject to, it tention to such matters,-matters is not merely that the construction of much more important to his daily and these latter must be improved, by hourly comforts, the acquisition of making a pit to each, and without which would stamp a much higher which nothing effectual can be done, character upon his gentility than the but soap and water must be frequent- display of a bad dessert. ly applied, to secure a requisite clean Indeed, nothing can be more whimsi. liness. As Scotchmen, proud of that cal than this rage for hot-bouses and name, and tremblingly alive to the garden-walls, which is diffused all over reputation and character of our coun- Scotland, the offspring of the same printry, we never cease to be shocked when ciple which has been before explained. we reflect how every inn exhibits to The manner which this operating every stranger the dirty habits and, principle has affected the style of disas yet, the incurable apathy of this tribution and of decoration adopted in country, casting the deepest stain on laying out our country seats, both as the better classes of society; for, if it regards the comfort and beauty of the existence of such a nuisance was the place, has led us still further astray abhorrent to our feelings, or averse to than in any other circumstance conour habits, the natural disgust it nected with our present object of inwould excite would soon remove it. quiry. It has not only made us, as in In place of this, the whole occurs as a the instances formerly mentioned, samatter of course, and, as naturally crifice comfort to a display of what we might be expected, the same indif- have failed to acquire, but it has, at ference which prevents all observa- the same time, led us, in our rage tion, and secures acquiescence on the for imitation, to overlook entirely the part of the gentleman, will not fail to peculiar distinctive characters of the check all exertion or wish to do better two countries of England and Scotin the innkeeper. We cannot, there- land. By attending to this, as far as fore, too often beseech the gentlemen their own country is concerned, the of Scotland to recollect, that it is only people of England have at once ac
complished that which has conduced
most to their comfort, and produced • We are called upon, in fairness to that which is, in point of taste, most ourselves, to mention, that in no respect correct. England, generally speakis the worst custom of Scotland behind ing, is a flat, uniform country, withthose of Cornwall and Devon in this parti- out much variety of surface. With cular, including Exeter, the provincial capital of the west of England; and be it re
no striking outline, or the grander fermenbered, too, that these counties have tures of nature, it, moreover, exhibits the benefit of a biennial visit from the gen- one uniform scene of cultivation and tlemen of the westem circuit, with every inclosure, decorated with the most other advantage arising from the example magnificent timber in the hedge-rows, of the rest of England.
interspersed with forests of the most
luxuriant growth. The hand of man shewed us the road we ought to have has stamped the land with the proud- pursued. est monuments of his industry, from The character of Scotland is in all one end of the country to the other. respects the reverse of that of EngInsensible, indeed, must that man be, land, consisting of plains of inconsiwhose good fortune may have carried derable extent, bounded on one side him much over England, if he has by mountains, on the other by the not been struck with admiration and sea; or of narrow valleys, surroundinward satisfaction at the display of ed on all sides by hills. The plains, such a scene of comfort, happiness, though they are, in general, cultiand the general diffusion of wealth, vated, are only partly inclosed, and as have been created by the industry of that generally with stone walls. the people, and preserved by the bles. The mountains and elevated districts sings of the constitution of England. are open; and though numerous and At the same time, we are ready to ad- extensive plantations are everywhere mit, that, in all this, there is none of rising, yet the general character of the those picturesque beauties, from the country is still and must continue to contemplation of which all cultivated be bare and bleak; destitute of hedges minds derive so much pleasure and and hedge-row trees, the few old trees enjoyment; none of that variety which are, or, perhaps, we ought to which is necessary to produce gaiety, say were, to be seen, were planted or of that intricacy which is required round and close to the seats of the to create surprise. To produce these richer proprietors; calculated to sheleffects, as far as the means would per- ter the house from the fury of the mit, was a natural and desirable ob- storm and the inclemency of the cliject. It was to be effected by con- mate ; while long narrow stripes of verting several inclosures into one, to planting were drawn round those inproduce the appearance of extent; by closures in the immediate vicinity of bringing some of the finer hedge-row the mansion. In many instances, no trees into a more prominent situation, doubt, these trees were planted so close and throwing others more into the to the house as materially to interfere back ground, to produce variety ; by with the comfort and health of those disposing the front in the most appro-. who resided in it; in place, however, priate position, and throwing the of cutting down those only which so whole together, so as to produce one offended, or waiting until an outer uniform and consistent effect. The plantation should arise, to afford the extent of these arrangements differed necessary shelter, without obstructing according to the circumstances of the the comfort of the residence, a fatal individuals who made thein. With desire to possess the semblance of a the wealthier proprietor, the chase and park, seized every proprietor in Scotthe pursuits of the field converted the land. In order to carry this desire lawn into a park. Still, however, the into effect, they employed some procomfort of the residence remained un fessional artist to give them a plan redisturbed. The extent of land not gularly laid down, according to rule bounded by a hedge was enlarged, and compass, without any regard to but the general features of the coun the character of the place, or of the try remained the same. The charac- country. Because a lawn was a good ter was not altered, for the lawn or thing in England, it was conceived park was the exception; the extent of that it must be the same in Scotland; inclosure the general rule. More- forgetting that the one was a level over, the garden and well-kept plea- and completely inclosed country, the sure ground still formed the natural other a hilly and a bare one; that accompaniments of the house, and the climate of the former also excelled kept at a due distance the treal, and that of the latter in mildness and still less agreeable consequences of steadiness. In the same way, because permitting cattle to graze up to the single trees looked well in England, door.
it was conceived that they must do Forgetting, or not feeling, these the same here, forgetting the glorious things, we have followed the same timber the former country can boast style of laying out our places and dis- of in every hedge ; and that the latter, posing our grounds, totally discarding except in a few spots, has no trees ize wisdom of our ancestors, who deserving the name.