Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

find that constant employment which brings plenty into their houses; the young are nurtured and educated; the old and disabled decently maintained; early marriages are promoted, and vice and immorality discountenanced. The whole demesne of the earl wears a cheerful aspect : his farmers grow rich; his peasantry are comfortable ; and wherever he goes he is hailed by all as the beneficent author of all these blessings.

To the exquisite mental pleasure of having contributed so largely to the expansion of human happiness, this nobleman has united the more gross, but by no means despicable one, of having added to his fortune by a very great and permanent revenue : for the improvements in agriculture have enlarged the income of his estates beyond conception; and the town, which has now been peopled about twentythree years, has long repaid its original expenses, and now brings him a yearly accession of wealth, but which he protests shall never enter his coffers, but be expended in works of general utility; and I find he has erected several little villas, to which he has drawn some of his earlier acquaintance, who were wearied with the world, or had too much exhausted their fortunes to live in it with their accustomed splendour.

The countess, possessing a soul congenial with his own, has in all things concurred with her lord; and this truly noble pair have largely gratified the princely propensities of their spirit, not only without ultimate expense, but with vast pecuniary profit.

What an example, my Elizabeth, to the nobility and gentry possessing estates in the poorer and depopulated counties! Few would, indeed, afford s ample a field : yet, on a smaller scale, much might in most be done by their owners, at once for their own emolument, and the happiness of mankind*.

[ocr errors]

* If the statements in this interesting tale should be, as it is repeated they are, founded in fact, what a lesson does the con. duct of this nobleman furnish to his equals in life! whose views are either the monopoly of estates for condensing into large farms, or the oppressing and impoverishing of their industrious lenantry, that they may pursue their excess of dissipation in the metropolis.

The size of farms on land of a good quality ought in no case to exceed the rental of 5001. per annum, and fronu that to descend to 51. which would enable every poor cottager to keep a cow. Thus would every acre of land be turned to the best ad. vantage. This project might be easily aceomplished in time of war; for, as Dr. Smith has shewn in his Wealth of Nations, “ as the market rate of interest rises, the price of land falls."

In other parts of Europe, except Britain, it has often been found convenient to secure tenants both against heirs and purchasers. Before the revolution in France a very absurd law existed in this respect. There a lease was sacred as between the proprietor and tenant, but a sale by the proprietor bruke the lease, which no longer held with the new proprietor. The Duke of Orleans let the whole of the Palais Royal in different arcades, receiving 72,000 livres for each lease, to the amount of near 100 leases: he no sooner had the money than he sold the whole building, and thus realized, by a species of robbery, a sum of near three hundred thousand pounds sterling. What laws, and what a prince!! Very long leases are perhaps as hurtful to a country as very short ones. The improvements in agriculture in Scotland followed renewals, and seldom preceded then.

INTREPIDITY OF GEORGE II.

GEORGE III. King of England, the best and most po-. pular of sovereigns, has been three times in danger of assassination. Once by an unfortunate woman in a state of lunacy. The king, who immediately perceived the unhappy condition of the woman, ordered her to be treated with humanity and every possible care.

The second attempt was made when his majesty was going in great state to the house of peers. A ball, supposed to be aimed from an airgun, passed through the carriage within a finger's breadth of the king's face. The Earl of Westmor. land and Lord Onslow, who were in the coach with his majesty, being greatly agitated, he exhorted them to be composed; and being solicited on his returu, to enter another carriage, and pursue another route, he rejected both propositions, saying, “ that the same Providence which had shielded him on his way thither, would also protect him returning.” The third attempt happened at the theatre. At the moment of the king's entrance, amidst the loudest acclamations of a crouded audience, who thus testified their joy at the appearance of their sovereign, a pistol was fired from the pit, and the ball passing close by the king, entered the ceiling of his majesty's box. The general confusion and uproar that succeeded, is not to be described, but the king remained, perfectly composed; and the same evening, at his

usual hour of going to bed, he said to the queen,

“I am somewhat fatigued, and I believe I shall sleep soundly. May it please God, that he who fired the pistol at me, may enjoy as profound a rest as I shall have!

A PICTURESQUE VIEW OF SCOTLAND.

“ In compliance with the last request which closed your most welcome letter, I have to tell

you

that the years which I have passed in Scotland are to be numbered among the happiest of my life. The Scotch are a people particularly intelligent and enterprising; the improvement of the mind seems to be the business of life here amongst the literary and scientific men, and their transcendant powers have made, and do now make, themselves to be felt over every part of the earth. My mind receives inexpressible delight, and a continued accession of strength, by listening to, and conversing with some of the ablest men that ever adorned and dignified human nature. Since I have been in Scotland my soul has been enriched and strengthened by the study of metaphysics and political economy, in addition to my classical and physiological attainments.

“ But to leave myself, and turn to a much more interesting subject. The women in Scotland possess personal charms, that surpass even those of the blue-eyed daughters of Circassia; they are lively, elegant, easy, and very attractive in their manners, 80 that even a philosopher might be forgiven if he loses his heart irrevocably in Scotland.

As for the scenery round this heavenly spot, how can I convey to you a description of its beauty and its grandeur? It is often my delight to wander alone on the banks of the winding stream, and listen to the songsters of the wood, at the close of the day.

“ I often steal out from my chamber, in the dead of night, and scale the craggy cliffs, which are piled in hoary grandeur high o'er the glimmering dale; or wander, lone and pensive, in the woods, along whose windings wild murmurs the solemn gale; and solitary, musing, slow, I haunt the scenes where melancholy strays forlorn, and woe retires to weep, what time the wan moon's yellow horn gleams on the western deep, tinging faint the broad extended bosom of the western main.

" But my soul is wakened to sublimer thought, when I traverse the sheltered side of a grove in a cloudy winter's morn, and hear the storm rave among the trees; and

my heart swells with enthu. siastic devotion to the Lord of all the earth, and of the heavens, when I wind my way up some steepy bill during the agitations of the elements; and striding along the summit of the rugged rock, while the lightning flashes arround me, and amidst the howlings of the tempest, I apostrophize the genius of the storm, and hear the angry spirit of the waters shriek.

" But I am running on about myself, when I ought

« AnteriorContinuar »