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During hard winters the crows suffer severely, and perish in considerable numbers from hunger, though they endure a wonderful degree of abstinence without much injury. When starved severely, the poor wretches will swallow bits of leather, rope, rags, in short anything that appears to promise the slightest relief. Multitudes belonging to the Bristol roost perished, during the winter of 1828-9, from this cause. All the water-courses were solidly frozen, and it was distressing to observe these starvelings every morning winging their weary way towards the shores of the sea in hopes of food, and again to see them toiling homewards in the afternoon, apparently scarce able to fly.
In speaking of destroying crows, we have never adverted to the use of poison, which in their case is wholly inadmissible, on this account where crows are common, hogs generally run at large; and to poison the crows would equally poison them-the crows would die and fall to the ground, where they would certainly be eaten by the hogs.
Crows, when caught young, learn to talk plainly, if pains be taken to repeat certain phrases to them, and they become exceed ingly impudent and troublesome. Like all of their tribe, they will steal and hide silver or other bright objects, of which they can make no possible use.
TO AN INDIAN GOLD COIN.
Written in Chérical, Malabar. SLAVE of the dark and dirty mine!
What vanity has brought thee here? How can I love to see thee shine
So bright, whom I have bought so dear? The tent-ropes flapping lone I hear,
For twilight converse, arm in arm ;
The jackal's shriek bursts on mine ear, When mirth and music wont to charm.
By Chérical's dark wandering streams,
By Esk at Eden's classic wave,
Where loves of youth and friendship smiled, Uncursed by thee, vile yellow slave.
Fade, day-dreams sweet, from memory fade !-
I haste to an untimely grave;
The daring thoughts that soar'd sublime,' Are sunk in ocean's southern wave.
Elave of the mine! thy yellow light
My lonely widow'd heart to cheer;
Her fond heart throbs with many a fear!
I cannot bear to see thee shine.
For thee, for thee, vile yellow slave!
I left a heart that loved me true!
I cross'd the tedious ocean-wave,
Ha! comest thou now so late to mock
Of sun-rays tipp'd with death has borne ;
From love, from friendship, country, torn, To memory's fond regrets the prey? Vile slave, thy yellow dross I scorn! Go mix thee with thy kindred clay !
[The author of this poem was born on the banks of the Teviot, in Roxburghshire. He was educated at Edinburgh, for the church of Scotland, and was ordained in 1798: but not expecting to succeed as a minister, he turned to the study of medicine, and went out to the East Indies as an assistant surgeon. Here he applied himself to the study of the Eastern languages, in which he acquired great proficiency. He was promoted from the post of surgeon to that of professor of Hindustani; was made a judge; and afterwards was made assay-master at the Calcutta mint. He was a man of rare endowments, and his early death was much regretted, not only amongst his friends, but the lovers of literature generally. He died at Java in 1811, in the 36th year of his age.]
PROPERTY, CAPITAL, AND credit.
THE following eloquent exposition of some of the fundamental principles of political economy are from an "Address delivered before the Mercantile Library Association, at the Odeon in Bos ton, Sept. 13th, 1838. By Edward Everett."
"Some attempts have been made of late years to institute a comparison between what have been called the producing and the accumulating classes, to the disadvantage of the latter. This view I regard as entirely erroneous. Accumulation is as necessary to farther production as production is to accumulation; and especially is accumulation the basis of commerce. If every man produced, from day to day, just so much as was needed for the day's consumption, there would of course be nothing to exchange; in other words, there would be no commerce. Such a state of things implies the absence of all civilisation. Some degree of accumulation was the dictate of the earliest necessity; the instinctive struggle of man to protect himself from the elements and from want. He soon found such is the exuberance of nature, such the activity of her productive powers, and such the rapid development of human skill-that a vast deal more might be accumulated than was needed for bare subsistence.
"This, however, alone did not create commerce. If all men accumulated equally, and accumulated the same things, there would still be no exchanges. But it soon appeared, in the progress of social man, that no two individuals had precisely the same tastes, powers, and skill. One excelled in one pursuit, one in another. One was more expert as a huntsman, another as a fisherman; and all found that, by making a business of some one occupation, they attained a higher degree of excellence than was practicable while each one endeavoured to do every thing for himself. With this discovery commerce began. The Indian, who has made two bows, or dressed two bear-skins, exchanges one of them for a bundle of dried fish or a pair of snow-shoes. These exchanges between individuals extend to communities. The tribes on the sea-shore exchange the products of their fishing for the game or the horses of the plains and hills. Each barters what it has in excess, for that which it cannot so well produce itself, and which its neighbours possess in abundance. As individuals differ in their capacities, countries differ in soil and climate; and this difference leads to infinite variety of fabrics and productions, artificial and natural. Commerce perceives this diversity, and organises a boundless system of exchanges, the object of which is to supply the greatest possible amount of want and desire, and to effect the widest possible diffusion of useful and convenient products. The extent to which this exchange of products is carried in highly-civilised countries, is truly wonderful. There are probably few individuals in this assembly who took their morning's meal this day, without the use of articles brought from almost every part of the world. The table on which it was served was made from a tree which grew on the Spanish Main or one of the West India Islands, and it was covered with a table-cloth from St. Petersburgh or Archangel.
The tea was from China; the coffee from Java; the sugar from Cuba or Louisiana; the silver spoons from Mexico or Peru; the cups and saucers from England or France. Each of these articles was purchased by an exchange of other products-the growth of our own or foreign countries-collected and distributed by a succession of voyages, often to the farthest corners of the globe. Without cultivating a rood of ground, we taste the richest fruits of every soil. Without stirring from our fireside, we collect on our tables the growth of every region. In the midst of winter we are served with fruits that ripened in a tropical sun; and struggling monsters are dragged from the depths of the Pacific Ocean to lighten our dwellings.
"As all commerce rests upon accumulation, so the accumulation of every individual is made by the exchanges of commerce to benefit every other. Until he exchanges it, it is of no actual value to him. The tiller of a hundred fields can eat no more, the proprietor of a cloth factory can wear no more, and the owner of a coal-mine can sit by no hotter a fire, than his neighbours. He must exchange his grain, his cloth, and his coal, for some articles of their production, or for money, which is the representative of all other articles, before his accumulation is of service to him. The system is one of mutual accommodation. No man can promote his own interest without promoting that of others. As in the system of the universe, every particle of matter is attracted by every other particle, and it is not possible that a mote in a sunbeam should be displaced without producing an effect on the orbit of Saturn; so the minutest excess or defect in the supply of any one article of human want produces an effect-though of course an insensible one-on the exchanges of all other articles. In this way, that Providence which educes the harmonious system of the heavens out of the adjusted motions and balanced masses of its shining orbs, with equal benevolence and care furnishes to the countless millions of the human family, through an interminable succession of exchanges, the supply of their diversified and innu
"In order to carry on this system of exchanges, it is necessary that the articles accumulated should be safe in the hands of their The laws of society for the protection of property were founded upon the early and instinctive observation of this truth. It was perceived, in the dawn of civilisation, that the only way in which man could elevate himself from barbarism, and maintain his elevation, was by being secured in the possession of that which he had saved from daily consumption, this being his resource for a time of sickness, for old age, and for the wants of those dependent upon him, as well as the fund out of which, by a system of mutually beneficial exchanges, each could contribute to the supply of the wants of his fellow-men. To strike at the principle which protects his earnings or his acquisitions, to destroy the assurance that the field which he has enclosed and planted in his youth will remain for the support of his advanced years—that the portion of its fruits which he does not need for immediate consumption will remain a safe deposit, under the protection of the public peace,-is to destroy the life-spring of civilisation. The philosophy that denounces accumulation is the philosophy of barbarism. It places man below the condition of most of the native tribes on this continent. No man will voluntarily sow that another may reap. You may place a man in a paradise of plenty on this condition, but its abundance will ripen and decay unheeded. At this moment, the fairest regions of the earth-Sicily, Turkey, Africa, the loveliest and most fertile portions of the East, the regions that, in ancient times, after feeding their own numerous and mighty cities, nourished Rome and her armies-are occupied by oppressed and needy races, whom all the smiles of Heaven and the bounties of the earth cannot tempt to strike a spade into the soil, farther than is requisite for a scanty supply of necessary food. On the contrary, establish the principle that property is safe, that a man is secure in the possession of his accumulated earnings, and he creates a paradise on a barren heath; alpine solitudes echo to the lowing of his herds; he builds up his dykes against the ocean, and cultivates a field beneath the level of its waves; and exposes his life
fearlessly in sickly jungles, and among ferocious savages. Establish the principle that his property is his own, and he seems almost willing to sport with its safety. He will trust it all in a single vessel, and stand calmly by while she unmoors for a voyage of circumnavigation around the globe. He knows that the sovereignty of his country accompanies it with a sort of earthly omnipresence, and guards it as vigilantly in the loneliest island of the Antarctic Sea as though it were locked in his coffers at home. He is not afraid to send it out upon the common pathway of the ocean, for he knows that the sheltering wings of the law of nations will overshadow it there. He sleeps quietly, though all that he has is borne upon six inches of plank on the bosom of the unfathomed waters; for even if the tempest should bury it in the deep, he has assured himself against ruin by the agency of those institutions which modern civilisation has devised for the purpose of averaging the losses of individuals upon the mass.
"It is usual to give the name of capital to those accumulations of property which are employed in carrying on the commercial as well as the other business operations of the community. The remarks already made will enable us to judge, in some degree, of the reasonableness of those prejudices which are occasionally awakened at the sound of this word. Capital is a property which a man has acquired by his industry, or has, under the law of the land, become possessed of in some other way; and which is invested by him in that form, and employed in that manner, which best suit his education, ability, and taste. No particular amount of property constitutes capital. In a highly prosperous community. the capital of one man, like the late Baron Rothschild, at London, or of Stephen Girard, at Philadelphia, may amount to eight or ten millions, the capital of his neighbour may not exceed as many dollars. In fact, cne of these two extraordinary men, and the father of the other, passed from one extreme to the other in this scale of prosperity; and the same law which protected their little pittance at the outset, protected the millions amassed by their perseverance, industry, and talent.
Considering capital as the mainspring of the business operations of civilised society-as that which, diffused in proportionate masses, is the material on which enterprise works, and with which industry performs its wonders, equally necessary, and in the same way necessary, for the construction of a row-boat and an Indiaman, a pair of shoes and a rail-road-I have been at some loss to account for the odium which at times has been attempted to be cast on capitalists, as a class; and particularly for the contrast in which capital has been placed with labour, to the advantageous employment of which it is absolutely essential.
"I have supposed that some part of this prejudice may arise from the traditions of other times, and the institutions of other countries. The roots of opinion run deep into the past. The great mass of property in Europe, at the present day, even in England, is landed property. This property was much of it wrested from its original owners, by the ancestors of its present possessors, who overran the countries with military violence, and despoiled the inhabitants of their possessions; or still worse, compelled them to labour as slaves on the land they had once owned and tilled as free men. It is impossible that an hereditary bitterness should not have sprung out of this relation, never to be mitigated, particularly where the political institutions of society remain upon a feudal basis. We know from history, that after the Norman invasion, the Saxon peasantry, reduced to slavery, were compelled to wear iron collars about their necks, like dogs, with the names of their masters inscribed upon them. At what subsequent period, from that time to this, has anything occurred to alleviate the feelings growing out of these events? origin of the great mass of the property must place its proprietors in some such relation to the rest of the community, as that which exists between the Turks and Rayas in the Ottoman empire, and may have contributed to produce an hereditary hostility on the part of the poor toward the rich, among thousands who know not, historically, the origin of the feeling.
"It is obvious that the origin of our political communities and
the organisation of society among us furnish no basis for a preju-
OUR LITERARY LETTER-BOX.
We have received a considerable number of letters respecting EMPLOYMENTS FOR FEMALES. None of them, except one, convey any useful information on the subject, or even hints; they are occup ed in deploring the evils, but have nothing to suggest as to remedies. One says that, in Birmingham, females are employed working at a lathe, gun-barrel filing, and other such feminine employments; while men pass their time behind a counter, measuring ribbon, tapes, &c." Another, in the same strain, thinks that there must be " something wrong in our arrangements, when men are handing silk gloves to ladies, while women, with girdles round their waists, are actually dragging coal-waggons at the bottom of our dark mines." "But for young ladies," continues this correspondent, "of good education, there appears to me one path yet untrodden in the line of useful and elegant instruction. Botany is very imperfectly understood, very imperfectly taught; and my opportunities of observation enable me to say that a young lady who should make herself capable of teaching it as a science, not only from books, but from specimens in our fields and gardens, through the varying seasons-and who should also attain sufficient ability in drawing and colouring for the purposes of illustration and instruction therein, -would be possessed of a ready introduction to employment in schools and families, in giving stated lessons: and we all know that any branch of education professionally taught is often more profitable to the individual than are the more general duties of a governess. Within my own knowledge, there is a most respectable ladies' school eager for lessons in botany at the hands of a lady."
SOME of our English readers, who may not be so familiar with the Bible as our northern friends, may regard the question contained in the following letter as rather droll, and think it should be classed amongst the " rejected addresses," as "frivolous," if not vexatious:
"Sir,-Can you inform me what occupation in Ur of the Chaldees, Terah, the father of Abraham, followed? I cannot find in the Bible the information I desire, and yet I have an impression on my mind that I have seen it there. I am, Sir, your constant reader, "SAM. BRUCE, Seedsman.
Mr. Bruce has not informed us what object he had in view in inquiring after the occupation of Terah; yet we have an idea that he is somewhat of a philosopher, and has been speculating on the origin of idolatry. To certain classes of minds inquiries into the early history of our race have peculiar attractions; and it is certainly an interesting speculation to endeavour to ascertain if image worship existed amongst any people in the time of Abraham. That the worship of the heavenly bodies had already sprung up amongst the Chaldeans, the parents of astronomy, appears all but certain; but the author of the." Pictorial History of Palestine"-no mean authority-thinks, "that idol worship, in the restricted sense, as meaning the worship of images, was then known, is not very probable, and is, at least, incapable of proof." "The Jewish traditions," he adds, "undertake to decide the question whether image worship had commenced at this early date, by assuring us that Terah was himself a maker of images;" and various stories are told of him. But all this is mere tradition, of no value.
What connexion had idolatry with the early history of art?
penny) and fourthlings (farthings); and it is stated that scarcely a find of Anglo-Saxon coins occurs amongst which the silver penny is not found, cut into halves and fourths.
Our gold coinage is next in antiquity to the silver: but our copper coinage is quite a modern innovation. "Guinea," as a now" departed" twenty-oneshilling coin was termed, borrowed its name from the Gold-coast of Africa. "Shilling," again, is of doubtful etymology; it is either of Anglo-Saxon or German origin; but the coin so called in use amongst us was originally coined by Henry VII., in 1503, and was at first called a testoon, from the teste or tête, the head of the king upon it; and hence, probably, the origin of the vulgar word, a tester. But festoon gave way to shilling, a name derived, perhaps, from scilling, which is said to have been a word in use amongst our AngloSaxon predecessors, as an appellation for a piece of money. "The gold coinage of England is next to the silver in point of antiquity. The gold current with us till the 41st Henry III. was foreign. In that year, 1257, a manuscript chronicle in the archives of the city of London states, that the king made a penny of the finest gold, which weighed two sterlings, and willed that it should be current for twenty pence (of silver). Three specimens of it only are yet known to have reached us, and two out of the three are preserved in the British Museum." "The copper coinage of England arose a thousand years later than its silver. Queen Elizabeth had a great aversion to copper money, although the necessities of her people for small change were obvious. She suffered a pattern to be struck as the PLEDGE. OF.A. HALF. PENNY, and James I. and Charles I. actually issued farthing tokens as pledges; but no authorised coinage of copper was struck till 1672, when halfpence and farthings of that metal were first made public money."
A NEWCASTLE SUBSCRIBER." Luddism" originated, we believe, about the year 1812. In that year the state of England was alarming. A long and tremendous war was not concluded; our relations with the United States were disturbed; and the country was internally convulsed. Secret associations were formed amongst the working classes; riots broke out; manufactories of pikes, darts, &c. were set a-going; and special commissions were sent into Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cheshire, &c., to try prisoners. The fury of the working classes was specially directed against machinery; and in Nottingham and other towns, lace, silk, and cotton frames were broken by hundreds, and the amount of other property destroyed was very great. We are not aware of the origin of the word "Luddism;" but the "Luddites" may be regarded as English "Ribbon-men," formed into secret associations, bound by illegal oaths; while the word "Lud," or "Ludd," was used much in the same way as "Captain Rock" in Ireland, being appended to threatening letters, and otherwise used in terrorem. The "Luddites" kept the country in an unquiet state at intervals during several years after 1812; and the wanton and stupid destruction of machinery and other property effected by them may be regarded as one of the original causes of those exertions which were afterwards made to diffuse "useful knowledge" amongst the people.
A. B., DEVONPORT.-The power of the rudder is reducible to that of the lever. When exactly in a line with the keel, it produces no effect, except perhaps a very slight check to the headway; but if it be turned to one side or the other, it receives an immediate impulse from the water, which, displaced by the ship's progress, glides along its bottom in running aft, and this fluid impels it towards the opposite side, while it continues in that situation; so that the stern, to which the rudder is confined, receives the same movement, and the ship receiving an impulse sideways, her stem turns accordingly. The pivot
on which the vessel turns is regulated by the distance of the rudder from the centre of gravity, and the velocity of the ship's progress; much of the effect of the rudder also depends upon the particular angle in which it is hung: but it would be out of place to introduce a lengthened dissertation on these points into our columns, and it would need a long paper to illustrate them properly.
An intelligent but somewhat long letter has reached us from HUDDERSFIELD on the proper management of children, which has been called forth by the letter of "A Mother of Eight Children," in the Letter-Box of No. 66. The truth is, GOOD SENSE on the part of parents is of infinitely greater importance in the management of children than any set of formal rules. Without that practical tact or intelligence which goes by the name of common sense, a set of formal rules become, in application, frequently absurd, and sometimes oppressive. We pity from our heart a family of lively children under the care of a rigid formalist, who often compels the right thing to be done at the wrong time, and crushes all natural hilarity with pedantic distinction. It is well to have a system in training up children; but let that system be under the control of an adapting and considerate common sense.
A. B. asks the etymology of the words "Pounds, Shillings, and Pence." The Anglo-Saxon "pund" was, says Richardson, "generally a weight; then applied to a specific weight, consisting of a certain number of equal parts; to a certain number of pieces of money amounting to such weight; to a coin equalling such number of pieces in value. Anglo-Saxon, pund, pond; Dutch, pond; German, pfund-from the Latin ponda, pondus, weight." "Penny" is of unknown etymology; but the name, as applied to a coin, is of great antiquity. In fact, during the Anglo-Saxon and the early part of the AngloNorman times, the "penny" was the chief coin, the measure or standard of value; it was of silver, and, being a definite portion of a pound weight of that metal, etymologists fancy that the origin of the name may be found in We are much obliged to AN IRISH FARMER for his reproof, his advice, and his pendo, to weigh. For convenience, the penny was divided into halves (half-request. He says that the JOURNAL is read by some farmers, and thinks we
should devote more space to agricultural matters and rural affairs generally. We recommend him, as we have already done on a previous occasion to another correspondent, to read the MAGAZINE OF DOMESTIC ECONOMY; he will find much that he wants better attended to there than we can do it, and as the periodical costs only sixpence monthly, it is within his means.
W. O. asks the origin of SIGNS for inns, &c. The practice of denoting a profession or calling by a particular sign or indication is of great antiquity; the sign of the Chequers being stated to have been found at Pompeii, while the barbers, in their capacity of barber-surgeons, can boast of a remote antiquity in the practice of hanging out a pole. Inns were indicated by a bush; hence, probably, the proverb-" Good wine needs no bush." Originally, signs were probably mere simple symbols, a sort of professional alphabet; but in course of time they became professional badges, or coats of arms; and art being called in to emblazon them, innkeepers, shopkeepers, &c., vied with each other in spending a great deal of money on their signs and sign-posts. Much curious and some useless discussions have been spent in tracing the origin of some of our modern signs through their popular perversions up to their original or primitive meanings.
J. A. H.-" Does the office of high-priest still exist among the Jews? If it does exist, is there a high-priest in the chief town of every kingdom in which they are settled, or is there one at the head of the whole Jewish nation ?-and are the present duties of the office similar to those which were attached to it before the destruction of Jerusalem? I have been led to trouble you with these questions from observing that, in an account of the opening of the synagogue in Great St. Helens, London, Dr. Herschell is called high-priest as well as chief rabbi."
The Jewish priesthood ceased with the destruction of the temple at Jerusalem. The acts which only a priest could perform-chiefly sacrifice-were, even in Palestine, performed only in that temple; nor did priests discharge elsewhere any duties which any other person was not equally entitled to perform. The priesthood, therefore, ceased—that is, had no peculiar functions to perform-when the only legal altar was destroyed.
The present personages whom we call high-priests and priests do not pretend themselves to the titles which, from a confusion of ideas, we apply to them. They are men learned in the law and the traditions, appointed as teachers and guides of the people. Rabbis and chief rabbis are their proper titles. They do little which was not done in the synagogues of Judea by persons other than priests, during the existence of the Jewish nation, while the temple, and consequently the priesthood, still existed. Israel is not only now without a temple and without an altar, but without a priest.
AMICUS, DUNDEE.-Thomas Savery, one of the early improvers of the steamengine, and to whom a patent was granted in 1698 for a steam-engine to be applied to the raising of water, &c., was the first who suggested the method of expressing the power of an engine with reference to that of horses. "When steam-engines were first brought into use, they were commonly applied to work pumps for mills, which had been previously worked or driven by horses. In forming their contracts, the first steam-engine builders found themselves called upon to supply engines capable of executing the same work as was previously executed by some certain number of horses. It was therefore convenient, and indeed necessary, to be able to express the performance of these machines by comparison with the animal power to which manufacturers, miners, and others had been so long accustomed. When an engine, therefore, was capable of performing the same work in a given time as any given number of horses of average strength nsually performed, it was said to be an engine of so many horses' power. Steam-engines had been in use for a considerable time before this term had acquired any settled or uniform meaning; and the nominal power of engines was accordingly very arbitrary. At length, however, the use of steam-engines became more extended, and the confusion and inconvenience arising out of all questions respecting the performance of engines, rendered it necessary that some fixed and definite meaning should be assigned to the terms by which the powers of this machine were expressed. Messrs. Boulton and Watt caused experiments to be made with the strong horses used in the breweries in London; and, from the result of these trials, they assigned 33,000 lbs. raised one foot per minute as the value of a horse's power. This is the unit of engine-power now universally adopted; and when an engine is said to be of so many horses' power, what is meant is, that that engine, in good working order, and properly managed, is capable of moving a resistance equal to 33,000 lbs. through one foot per minute. Thus, an engine of ten-horse power is one that would raise 330,000 lbs. weight one foot per minute. Whether this estimate of an average horse's power be correct or not, in reference to the actual work which the animal is capable of executing, is a matter of no present importance in its application to steam-power. The steam-engine is no
longer used to replace the power of horses, and therefore no contracts are based upon such a comparison."-Lardner on the Steam-Engine.
If we may draw an inference from the number of letters we have received respecting self-instruction, we may conclude that amongst our readers there is a considerable number of young men, laudably anxious to repair the defects of education, especially with relation to the acquisition of modern and some of the dead languages. We had intended to devote an article or two to the subject, with the view of making them answer various correspondents. Not yet having been able to do this, we may here briefly notice several of our correspondents' queries,
To those who want to master their own language (and we have had several queries as to the best mode), we would say, first study English grammar. Cobbett's Grammar is very good; a youth must be a dunce who could not understand the grammar of his native tongue from a study, or rather a perusal, of it. But the spirit of the book is far from being commendable; it is full of Cobbett's furious partisanship; he cannot correct bad English without a sneer, nor show one how to write good English without growling at everything and everybody but himself. We would, therefore, in preference to it, advise youths to get "Mary's Grammar; interspersed with Stories, and intended for the use of Children. By Mrs. Marcet. Longman and Co. 1838." This is one of the many admirable books with which Mrs. Marcet has blessed the rising generation;-all honour to her for the exercise of her clear intellect, and her " aptness to teach." Youths need not foolishly shrink from the " Grammar," because it is said to be "intended for the use of children." those who might be so deterred, we may recommend "A Manual of English Grammar, by the Rev. J. M'Culloch. Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1834." After understanding English grammar-and there is no absolute necessity for loading the memory with rules, so that the principles are understood-read good English authors, prose writers and poets. Here there is no necessity for following particular plans; read, if the authors are worth reading,-there are plenty of "Standard Libraries" to pick and choose from; read with understanding; read with enjoyment; and if, after a course of this kind, a young man does not begin to understand his own language, why we fear he never will. To those who wish to acquire the French language by self-instruction, we might recommend several admirable works; but, on the whole, we should advise Cobbett's. His French Grammar is not disfigured, like his English one, by political partisanship, and he takes great pains to "insense" his reader, as an Irishman would say: still it has its faults; it is apt to discourage a timid learner-for Cobbett sets prodigious tasks, and seems to make so light of them, that one who cannot stride after him might be apt to say, "Oh, I'll never be able to learn French!" But let the young learner be patient and steady; let him get on by small degrees at first, acquiring the language, as it were, inch by inch; and he will be surprised, after a time, to find himself able to get on with great rapidity.
We should say that neither French nor German can be acquired without a teacher. Of course, the principles of the grammars may be acquired by selfinstruction; and to those who wish only to read, without requiring to speak, self-instruction will give them nearly all they want. But self-instruction has faults as well as merits. The eye, in looking at words, is very apt to convey a silent sound to the ear; and as the pronunciation of French and German cannot possibly be acquired by an Englishman, by his own unaided efforts, a vicious pronunciation is imperceptibly acquired. It would be far better for several young men to combine into a little club, or association, meeting, say twice a week, and unite their finances to hire an instructor; doing, on a small scale, what is done on a larger in the classes of Mechanics' Institutions.
Lastly, one correspondent asks if, by "close application, three hours a day, for six months, he could acquire the rudiments of the Latin language?" Undoubtedly, if he cared for the language at all, he would in that time acquire so much as to make him wish to acquire more. Hunter's Ruddiman's Rudiments (Oliver and Boyd), and some such book as Swain's Collection of Easy Sentences from the best Latin Authors, are very good to begin with.
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LONDON SATURDAY JOURNAL
PUBLISHED BY WILLIAM SMITH, 113, FLEET STREET.
SATURDAY, MAY 2, 1840.
THE BRITISH PARLIAMENT.
No civilised country exhibits any public institution more suitable to the genius of its inhabitants than our PARLIAMENT is to our general natural character. It may perhaps be said that this character is, in fact, the result rather of our long-established customs (those customs being of course intimately connected with our old institutions), than of any inherent propensity in our dispositions. There is some weight, undoubtedly, in this remark. Nevertheless, we can trace, as far back as the light of history will permit, debating popular assemblies amongst our Saxon and other German ancestors; and whether the national character has been parent to the institution, or the institution to the character, at all events, it is manifest that the plant, when brought to this country, found here a most congenial soil, and that here it flourishes in all the perfection of which it is susceptible.
It is curious to observe the very slender progress which the parliamentary system has yet made in France, although, in fact, the existence of it in that country was coeval with our own, and derived in a great measure from the same sources. One reason for the difference of its fate there is this, that in the early and middle ages the French popular institutions were localised-there were provincial and Parisian parliaments-no general, at least no powerful, permanent general assembly; the monarchs who found them inconvenient easily subdued them, therefore, in detail, and eventually converted them into mere courts for the registry of royal decrees. It was in this condition they existed anterior to the Revolution, and some of the earliest symptoms we can find, indicating the changes which were to produce that great epoch, are the attempts made by the Parliament of Paris to resume a portion of its ancient liberties. Those attempts were indeed put down, but not with the facility which marked the suppression of preceding similar efforts. The resistance of the members helped to diffuse a spirit through society, that of itself constituted no mean element in the caldron of discontent, which not long after boiled over on every side.
The multitudinous and stormy conventions brought forth by the Revolution at no period assumed a true parliamentary character. That character I take to be most accurately exhibited in a council of prudent men, each prepared to pay respect to the opinions which he hears, pleased to find those opinions freely and deliberately expressed, and resolved to deliver his own with equal manliness and candour, without desiring to dictate to others, and resisting any attempt that might be made to dictate to himself. Untrammelled discussion-unheated argument-discreet thought, guided by calm and unvacillating judgment, these are, or ought to be, the main features of a meeting of men summoned to consult together upon matters of national importance. A council of this description admits of true eloquence; that is, of soberly-flowing, sound common sense, clothed in suitable, clear, idiomatic, unstudied language. It discourages all appeals to the passions. Though pleased by those exertions of fancy, and those elegantly rounded phrases, in which rhetoricians indulge, for the sake of showing off their talents rather than for proving that they care about the practical consequences of the debate, with reference to its effect upon the welfare of the country; nevertheless a well-constituted house of parliament soon fixes such exhibitors
in their right places-places, that is, which in point of real influence, are by no means to be envied.
The flashy, frothy harangues of the revolutionary orators of France were necessarily evanescent in their character; the conventional assemblies never advanced towards a solid, well-organised council, and when the dictator appeared, he easily banished them from the arena. Napoleon, during his ascendancy, preserved, indeed, the forms of parliamentary institutions, and these were reestablished at the restoration with some greater appearances of liberty, which approximated more closely to the system of our legislature. But the monarchy and the chambers have never yet worked well together:-they have been constantly like two illtempered mastiffs chained together, pulling different ways, and in that contention expending their best energies.
The French chamber of deputies is even now, after an experience of a quarter of a century, little more than an assembly of academicians. The members write their speeches beforehand, thereby showing that they do not come together to deliberate, to hear opinions, to discuss them on the spot, to allow influence to judicious suggestions, to modify their own views, and to extract from the collision of mind with mind the light that might lead to the right paths of conduct: no; not a thought of this kind enters the heads of these sage lawgivers! They produce their folios of manuscript, read their effusions from a pulpit, which they call the tribune, finish their lesson, then run back to their places, where they are congratulated by their friends, as schoolboys are after they have delivered themselves at an exhibition, of a poem or an oration got up for a prize. If what is called "sensation" be produced by the said recited manuscript-then an interval follows, during which there arises a talking "row," not at all unlike that which takes place in a crowded school-roomwhen the master has left it for a few moments.
Such a chamber as this has no aptitude-indeed, no dispositionfor legislation. The members infinitely prefer the excitement and intrigues for office. They have no settled rules of action, no strong combinations calculated to carry on the business of the country. The minister of the day-and never was the phrase more frequently appropriate than during the last ten years— can seldom depend upon the votes of those whom he supposes to be his friends. He is in a perpetual uncertainty, and often, when he leasts expects it, is left in a minority, which upsets all his policy.
It is the most difficult task which a sovereign has ever had to perform, to share the powers of government with a council like this. Properly speaking, according to the principles of the representative system, and the express terms of the charter, he ought to be subject to the control of the chamber, and to that of a cabinet possessing its confidence. But the chamber itself is a body endowed with no moral influence; it domineers over the cabinet by the mere force of numbers. A cabinet so subjugated can have no real influence which a sovereign could dread, and therefore he contemns it. We see here nothing whatever beyond the bare outward forms of our constitutional fabric: "the rest is but leather or prunello."
The Belgian, Spanish, Portuguese, and South American legislative chambers are very little better than those of France, in a constitutional point of view. Those of Holland and Hungary approach much nearer to ours. The senate and house of representatives constituting the congress of the United States possess too much
Bradbury and Evans, Printers, Whitefriars.