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and instinctively, selected as it were for herself a few whose regard, whose esteem,
with a miser's avarice, she wished to appropriate and preserve. It is truly from
this cause, ma chere Mademoiselle, that any, the least, service I can be of to you
gives me most real pleasure. God knows, I am a powerless individual; and when
I thought on my friends, many a heartache it has given me! But if Miss Fontenelle
will accept this honest compliment to her personal charms, amiable manners, and
gentle heart, from a man too proud to flatter, though too poor to have his compli-
ments of any consequence; it will sincerely oblige her anxious friend and most
devoted humble servant,
ROBERT BURNS.

TOKENS OF THE TIMES.

MANNERS, Sentiments, feelings-sentiments, feelings, manners, are the never ending cant of the day. The very "soul is sick" of the pertinacity with which these misused words are dinned in the ear from all classes. From the noble to the plebeian, thousands give way to the infection without remarking the inconsistencies which a false application of the terms forces on the notice such as coolly reflect or perhaps without understanding or caring to understand their true meaning -it is enough that the terms have become the "mode" in certain societies, and that a great portion of every-day society passes them currently. This is a full and sufficient reason for justifying much more extravagant errors, than calling things by wrong names, nicknaming God's creatures, or conventionally twisting the truth into a lie! At the present rate we must soon bid farewell to the established meaning of words. Religion is become a current term for hypocrisy; feeling is to be understood as a sympathy with knavery and crime, and is to be used for what we once called pity; peculation from fine feeling, is, in robbers of the public chest, substituted for felony; sentiment is a puling affectation of opinions gathered from Leadenhall novels and the bas bleus; manners are an intermixture of the puppyism of the Brummel school, the prizefighters' blackguardism, and the post-boys' insolence. The race of Chesterfield gentlemen is nearly extinct or grey with age—the race that in a beggar's garb was instantly recognized for its inherent good manners. But the terms manners, sentiments, and feelings, have been perverted in other ways: scenes, where the low and profligate alone formerly felt a sympathetic pleasure, are now haunted by persons of unimpeachable morals, as far as common honesty is concerned, and with superfine coats on their backs. In past times we should have wondered at these things, but how the modern diffusion of intellect and knowledge has not produced a wider effect here, is a problem that can be solved no other way than by ascribing it to the reaction of the money-getting spirit upon our social system-that spirit which, in the sphere of petty accumulation, infallibly renders the mind callous and deceitful. Characters and conduct are become changed in proportion to that moral laxity which is generated by an admiration of wealth, the Dagon of England-the more favoured devotees of which are exonerated from virtuous obligation, and looked upon with unmingled awe and undisguised respect and admiration. Can truth in its severe beauty-can high and chivalric sentiments, generous feelings, and pure manners harmonize with sordid imbecility-with minds that, were they in Heaven, would have their thoughts bent downward,

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admiring more

The riches of Heaven's pavement, trodden gold,
Than aught divine.

Every thing great and good in the world is, according to them, visible in the subterranean treasury of the Bank. The Shylock of Ragfair, who might live in worse than Israelitish covetousness and groveling of soul, and die in the pestilential cellar in which he first drew breath, if by some lucky hit, some well-managed usury, he become enormously rich, is at once the object of doating admiration—a Phoenix in the public eye; and the very hem of his garment is regarded with veneration by those whom, as well as their faith, he heartily abhors. Let the female, whose susceptible feelings and strong passions have forced her at last to a life of prostitution for her daily sustenance-let her be scoffed at and sent to the tread-mill to labour and to sorrow; but is this the lot of the coarse being who calculatingly sells her person to impotence or age-who, destitute of passion, is excited only by profit, and just knows how to acquire wealth by violating the dictates of nature? No, she is the idol of the money-getting mob, a gilded personification for thousands of all classes to extol, flatter, and admire; for talent (of a certain sort) to honour, peers to bow to, coxcombs to gape at, and for women, at least of exterior and reputed virtue, to make a companion. England is the only modern country among civilized nations where the untalented, unnobled, ungentle, and the vilest possessor of wealth is an envy and marvel with no small portion of its society. This almost religious veneration for riches is most prevalent among minds that are wholly employed in acquiring them for themselves. Among the high-minded, riches are coveted to increase luxury, but among the low they are coveted from the pride of outshining a neighbour, and by some of the latter, simply that they may die in the possession of the utmost possible amount of them. With the majority of money-getters, ostentation abroad, and niggardliness at home, is a fundamental principle; all that looks well and wealthy is good, all that looks poor and mean is evil. This rule governs absolutely with them, and is a sad picture of sordid spirit. What claim has he to attention whose coat is threadbare, whose shoes have been mended, whose hat is shabby, let his merit be what it may? In the Highlands of Scotland-among the wild and hospitable Irish, such an one might pass, but nowhere else in these kingdoms. In foreign countries they can believe virtue to be extant under a coat two years old, and the people are not ashamed of associating with the wearer of one. Let a botanist, a man of renown in his science, but meanly dressed, attempt to travel on foot through England, culling his plants on his way with his bag in his hand; however unoffending he may be, what will his scientific plea avail him? The tread-mill would be his fate on suspicion of vagrancy-without crime but the being apparently poor, and not satisfying a country justice of the possibility of a man so devoting himself. The plain-garbed curate, perhaps a sincere and devoted representative of a minister of the religion he professes, with eighty pounds a-year his all, sedulous in his holy calling-who notices him but with pity as he walks at humble distance aside or behind his bloated, proud and rich vicar-the representative of luxury and this world-who is the great and admired man with the many? Even the twelve apostles, were they to re-appear in England as fishermen, with

out more astonishing miracles than they have left upon record, would they be other than despised men by the idolaters of gold-the moneygetters and wealth-worshippers of the nation? Alas, they must go again, as they did in their day, to the poor and lowly! to the wretched and the outcast!

I do not wish to disparage wealth; in itself it is a great and glorious advantage to the nation. The majority of our great merchants, who live" as princes," and the industrious acquirers of fortune, with a view to competency and retirement and the respectability of their children, are an honour to any country. Of many in ours Rome might have been proud in her glory. But it is the consequence of directing exclusively all the faculties of the soul to this object by a great portion of society, and particularly by the uneducated, and the infallible consequence ensuing, of the effacement of the finer feelings of the heart, and the generating a coarse mercenary disposition, that, destitute of real sensibility, substitutes for appearance, a cold superficial affectation, which such persons persuade themselves is refinement and humanity-it is of this evil I speak. This is the consequence of money-getting, so much to be deprecated, which taints the manners, and in despite of the wish to make all appear super-excellent, breaks out upon every occasion in which curiosity, apathy of feeling, rudeness, and even ferocity, make them inadvertently drop the mantle of deceit, which they put on to pass well in society. This money-getting spirit, this adoration of gain as the summum bonum, it is that neutralizes the effect of advancing mental culture. It is true, that of the moral evil of which I speak we may find instances in all communities, however constituted, but they are comparatively rare now in the higher, still scarcer in the cultivated, or in the genteel and independent ranks. What men of rank but those comparatively vulgar and brutalized attend cock-fights and boxing-matches? Who among the well-informed, the cultivated, and the better part of society, flock to Old Bailey executions? These ranks have their coarser exceptions, no doubt, but in general their's are rather follies of inheritance and custom, like fox-hunting and play, which they do not pretend to conceal under the external covering of humanity-the affected robe of sympathy and commiseration. The vices or profligacy of the wellinformed and better classes, are more those of the civilized and refined; they do not seek to be what they are not. But those of the class of which I speak, would be very sorry not to be deemed humane, generous, kind, and would be angry if the world did not deem them so. It must be confessed that many look the characters well, but if some exhibition take place that arouses the latent passion, they fling off the mask in a moment of forgetfulness, and appear in puris naturalibus.

I might pursue these kind of observations much further, and give instances in illustration; but I shall only remark that it is the abuse of wealth, a soul-ingrossing passion for it, which produces the consequences I deprecate; and that these consequences are more glaring in persons of a particular direction of mind and calling. Though moneygetting in general has a tendency to contract the soul, and blunt it against the firmer sympathies of our nature-the better educated, and those of nobler dispositions, have that in themselves which neutralizes the evil. We have great and glorious examples of virtue and humanity, and it is not to the possession of riches, but to the spirit of accumula

These are unfor

tion, in coarse minds particularly, to which I allude. tunately too numerous. Boast as we may, too many are far behind in refinement of manners and humane feelings-in matters which the passing stranger may easily observe. There is too much coarseness and ferocity among us, particularly among the lower classes, which some wiseacres call an exhibition of independence. Nothing can be a greater mistake. The insolence of the petty tradesman to his inferiors, and his fawning servility to those above him, the insults he will take from his customers when his interest is concerned, are but sorry tokens of independence in his class; and who are so mean and cringing as the peasantry, in their present state of demoralization, to the overseer and the village-tyrant!

The recent execution of a great and unhappy criminal, in truth many circumstances in the development of the proceedings against him, prior to the moment when he expiated his crime with his life, afford a remarkable exhibition of coarseness and vulgarity of feeling, when, according to some accounts, nearly a fifth-part of the adult population of the metropolis of England assembled to witness the expiring agonies of a fellow-creature, suffering under a law, the severity of which is justified on no other ground than by the possession of the power to inflict it. That the station of the sufferer in life, and the extent of his guilt, made his case a singular one, there can be no doubt: and if he had been pardoned, no one with any shadow of equity could be again executed under the existing law, his criminality being so notorious. But that the singularity of an offence should constitute a reason for gratifying a coarse ferocious curiosity-that it should make tens of thousands rise from their beds on a cold wet wintry morning, nay, some to remain on the Golgotha all night, for the purpose of witnessing the convulsions and throes of death of a fellow-creature under a punishment inflicted for such a crime in no country but this, seems most unnatural among a refined people. It can only be charged to an insensibility of feeling, an obtuse reckless sentiment of disregard for all but self-gratification—a weakened humanity, sacrificed without a thought to the indulgence of a useless and cruel curiosity. The low and vulgar have been in all times forward upon such occasions, but the mob which witnessed the execution of the before-mentioned criminal consisted of persons far above this class. Numbers of women too—of well-dressed women-of those with whom we usually ally ideas of tenderness and purity, of sensibility and feeling, were present. The house-tops in particular were covered with them, and though some, fond of sporting paradoxes rather than abiding by truth, have attempted to show that such an exhibition of female curiosity is produced solely by the love of excitement, it can only be ascribed to its proper cause, an utter destitution of those sympathies which adorn the female nature-an abandonment of those principles which elevate the sexual character, and a reckless want of regard to its reputation. It would be well if these dames could be marked out in future by a particular dress—a sort of prison uniform-that we might know them, avoid an approximation to them, and give them the ban of society. It may safely be alleged of the thousands of individuals present, a large proportion were of the moneygetting vocation, in the less enlarged sense of the term ;-these being always the most indurated. But what is to be said respecting the effect of VOL. IX, No. 49.-1825.

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money-getting on manners, when we are informed that places in the houses in sight of the scaffold, which only afforded standing-room, were let out for heavy sums of money, and actually crowded with spectators -that a sort of blood-money was exacted-a fixed entrance price to a spectacle of death! What is to be thought of the payers and receivers at such a scene? Colour the matter any how-spin new theories to account for it, puzzle the mind respecting it as much as possible, the plain truth is at last found to be, that in the bosoms of such persons the better feelings of the heart were subservient to a base inquisitiveness, and that the greater part of the spectators had very little sympathy with human suffering. Their daily pursuits had never left them leisure to view it in any other regard under the like circumstances, than an exhibition interesting in proportion to the novelty of the incidents attached to the chief victim of the tragedy. Thus the last agony of suffering nature was turned to fiendish profit by one grasping party present, while another was running greater hazards by extracting theirs covertly from the pockets of the senseless multitude, both thinking, doubtless, what the amount of the exhibition would produce them, and wishing for a speedy repetition of it. Those who justify the frequent infliction of the punishment of death, on the ground of example, must have been highly gratified at the scene, as, according to their reasoning, there is very little chance of any of those who witnessed this execution committing the crime of forgery. It has been said, that could there be security given (which there cannot be) that those entrusted with authority would never abuse it, executions should take place in private, if to impress terror on society and to diminish crime by the fear of consesequences were their object, and not in public, as the effect of public executions is not half as efficacious as the mystery of private ones would be. The effect of public executions, so notoriously common as they are in England, is always to diminish their horror. When death was an object of the greatest fear in society, gibbeting in irons, dismembering, and other inventions to strike terror might be of some utility; but in these days many things are deemed much more terrible than death, many disgraces, many penalties, many sufferings.

But I digress here upon a subject on which a great deal may and has been said. I must proceed to notice another "Token of the Times,” in which the money-getting spirit appears in a different form, hardening, brutifying, and rendering ferocious the national character, and which in the last thirty or forty years has risen up and spread like a mania among the coarse-minded and profligate as well as some of the would-be decorous and respectable, namely, prize-fighting. As a portion of the manners of the time, the journalist may be justified in noting it, that posterity may receive a picture of the disgusting manners of their forefathers, and avoid following their example. Duelling is a barbarism handed down from savage nations; and though nine times out of ten duellists are among the profligate and dishonourable, and go out to settle quarrels as men of honour, when they can lay no claim to the epithet, they are still the result of angry passion; and no one ever accuses the duellist of mercenary motives. The class in society presumed by the man of honour, as he styles himself, to have no claim to settling their quarrels by a duel, determine them with the fist. With respect to

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