페이지 이미지

monster,' the 'great unwashed,' the 'lower orders,' as if there really were an organic constitutional distinction between the flesh and blood of poor and useful men, and the flesh and blood of rich men, and, moreover, as if that organic distinction were of course always in favour of the rich!

"Doubtless, the increased power given by the Reform Act to the many, has rendered them liable to be imposed on by interested and designing persons for party and political purposes. This may account for much of that honied phraseology which we sometimes hear applied to the people; but there are other indications, in times when party and political feeling is at its minimum, which doubtless result from real and substantial improvement of character in the half-educated masses, which improvement is daily diminishing the number of their traducers, and increasing the number of their friends, amongst the more highly educated.

"A little knowledge' is no longer considered a more 'dangerous thing' than no knowledge. Within a quarter of a century, the British and Lancasterian schools have sent out their missionaries of education into every humble circle; the mechanics' institutions, and the penny publications, have largely administered to that insatiable appetite for useful knowledge, which has grown by what it fed on; and a nation of vigorous and energetic peoplenotorious in every country of Europe, but a few years since, as semi-barbarians, distinguished for their supremacy in boxing and bull-dogs-are now admitted freely into the national museum, the royal palaces, and the royal parks, and give indubitable evidence, that the monsters do really know how to behave themselves. This is a pleasant result for those who have taken their stand, as upon a rock, on the natural love of virtue and decorum, which they believe to be universally implanted in the uncontaminated heart of man. It will scarcely prove less pleasant to those well-meaning revilers of the canaille, who have been misled either by conventional prejudice, or that most detestable species of arrogance-the pride

of caste.

"It has recently been our grateful office to notice the almost unexampled liberality of a gentleman of this neigh

bourhood, in granting the mechanics' institution the use of his beautiful pleasure-grounds for their annual festival, and to exult at the perfect decorum which characterised the gratifying exhibition. It is just possible that this generous confidence in, and regard for, the happiness of the many, may have in some degree induced another, and perhaps the most noble act of a similar nature which has ever been recorded. On the 16th September, Mr. Joseph Strutt presented a piece of land, eleven acres in extent, to the Town Council of Derby, for the use and recreation of the inhabitants of that town for ever. The landwhich is studded with seats, and which has been ornamentally laid out by the justly celebrated landscape-gardener, Mr. Loudon, the walks of which are fifteen feet wide, and which has been planted with several thousand different sorts of trees and shrubs, all scientifically classed and named—is estimated to be worth £10,000. Every tree and shrub is numbered; an elaborate catalogue has been published by Mr. Loudon, and books, giving a full description of every tree in this splendid arboretum, are deposited in two handsome architectural lodges at either end of the grounds. The following are among the reasons offered by this truly munificent gentleman for this splendid donation:

“It has often,' Mr. Strutt observed, 'been made a reproach to our country, that in England, collections of works of art, and exhibitions for instruction or amusement, cannot, without danger of injury, be thrown open to the public. If any ground for such a reproach still remains, I am convinced that it can be removed only by greater liberality in admitting the people to such establishments by thus teaching them that they are themselves the parties most deeply interested in their preservation, and that it must be the interest of the public to protect that which is intended for the public advantage. If we wish to obtain affection and regard towards them; if we seek to wean them from debasing pursuits and brutalising pleasures, we can only hope to do so by opening to them new sources of rational enjoyment. It is under this conviction that I dedicate these gardens to the public; and I will only add, that, as the sun has shone brightly on me through life, it would be ungrateful in me not to

employ a portion of the fortune which I possess, in promoting the welfare of those amongst whom I live, and by whose industry I have been aided in its acquisition.'

"How many thousands of men have amassed splendid fortunes, and have spent long lives, the soulless moneygrubbers of filthy lucre, in towns which have neither benefited by their lives or their deaths. What a contrast to such unfortunate persons is here presented in Mr. Strutt! No honour that human praise can convey is too high for such noble conduct.

"The celebration' of this noble act was a sort of three

days' holiday for the good people of Derby. On the first day, a procession was formed of the Corporation and officers; on the second day, of all the Trades', Benefit, Friendly, and Odd-fellows' Societies of the town, with the numerous and respectable Mechanics' Institution (of which Mr. Strutt is President); and on the third day, of several thousand children; each of which processions formally took possession of the ground; and if we may judge by the excellent account of the proceedings given in the Derby Reporter, the scene on each day must have been of the most joyous and exciting kind.

"We sincerely hope that the opening of the Derby arboretum may prove the precursor of similar acts of true glory and philanthropy in numerous other towns."

THE Annual Meeting of the teachers and friends of the High-Street Chapel Sunday - School, Portsmouth, was held on October 14th. Upwards of 250 persons sat down to tea, in the Green-Row Assembly-room. After a hymn had been sung, the Rev. E. Kell of Newport, Isle of Wight, was called to the chair, and opened the proceedings of the evening by congratulating the assembly on the prosperous state of their Sunday-schools, especially of their Boys' School, which, since their last meeting, had been considerably increased. He remembered being much struck by a remark made by one of the speakers at the last anniversary, in reference to the former smallness of their Boys' School: he said, that of all the towns in the kingdom, there was none where it was of more importance to pay particular attention to the instruction of the young than Portsmouth. From this great depot of our navy,

proceed every year a large number of brave tars to every quarter of the globe, taking with them our habits and manners; and as foreign nations derive their impression of the morals and intelligence of a country, in some measure, from the character of those with whom they come in contact, and are liable, moreover, to be corrupted or benefited by such intercourse, it is highly desirable that our sailors should be persons of a good moral and religious education. The Chairman said, he was glad to find that this sentiment did not fall inoperative on the minds of others, and that a goodly band of young men had responded to the call, and had established a Boys' School on a larger scale; and he thought he should only be fulfilling the wishes of the meeting, if he offered a few words of encouragement to such, and of exhortation to others to join them in "this work and labour of love." He was the more led to offer a few remarks on this subject, because he knew the obtaining of teachers for a boys' school was the weak point in the ordinary management of our Sundayschools. It is comparatively a matter of ease, where the minister of the chapel takes an interest in Sunday-school instruction, to establish a good girls' school. The great difficulty is to obtain teachers for the boys, arising in a great measure from the more numerous avocations in which they are engaged. He did not wish to detract from the superior merits of the female teachers, for he believed that their hearts were generally more open to the influence of religion and the impulse of benevolence; but still, it would be acknowledged that there were greater obstacles to young men engaging in Sunday-school instruction, from the pressure of their occupations during the week. Now, he (the Chairman), for one, did not consider this as a sufficient cause to prevent the successful establishment of a boys' school. He might be allowed, in an audience of that description, to take it for granted, that they did not consider the attainment of riches, and the pursuit of their own amusement, as the sole objects of human solicitation -he might be allowed to hope, that they regarded the improvement of the heart, in all holy and benevolent affections, the growth of the soul in the higher graces of the character, as also desirable objects of attainment; and if this were granted, it must be further allowed, that these

can only be attained by the exercise of the virtues of self-denial and benevolence. How were all those characters formed around you, who are most distinguished for superior philanthropy? How were those characters formed, whose names stand out as stars in the moral firmament of our species, the reverent gaze and admiration of all mankind-such men, in former times, as Socrates and Cato, and in later, as your Howards, your Washingtons, your Clarksons, yes, and your own John Pounds-but by repeated acts of self-denial and benevolence? The contemplation of such characters excites a throb of admiration in our breasts, and we cannot but wish in some humble measure to resemble them; but, if we wish to be like them, we must imitate their self-denial and philanthropy. Now, there is no effort of benevolent exertion more likely to generate the spirit of philanthropy, than the performance of the duties of a Sunday-school teacher, whether we regard the self-denial it imposes, the destitution of the objects of our kindness, or the magnitude of the benefits conferred, extending to their interests both for time and eternity. He could testify, that some of the most benevolent men he had been acquainted with, in his own congregation and elsewhere, had been those who had devoted themselves in early life to the labours of the Sunday-school; and he had been lately struck with a remarkable instance of philanthropy (which may be considered as in some degree illustrative of the influence of the labours of the Sunday - school in aiding to develope the benevolent character), in reading, in the public prints, of a munificent donation to the inhabitants of Derby. A gentleman is there recorded to have given eleven acres of land, in the immediate vicinity of the town, as a place of public resort for the inhabitants. He has had it laid out by the celebrated Loudon, according to the most approved principles of landscape gardening. He has planted it with the choicest trees and shrubs, all arranged so as to afford instruction as well as amusement to the visitor. He has decorated it with agreeable seats and terraces. In short, he has embellished it in every mode which can render it a most delightful place of recreation for the wearied artisan after the labours of the day. And who is the man that has so far got the start of his fellow

« 이전계속 »