« 이전계속 »
thought that an increase of allowance was misapplied in this instance; but in the case of the rest, who were all bachelors, it might and it ought to have been withheld at such a period. The flippant gentleman, of whom we have before made honourable mention, had taken to his arms an actress incumbered with children by two other men, and had three children by her himself. Supposing it to be fact, as was · alleged, and may be true, that the lady was as prudent and as domestic as a mistress, or even a wife could be, the tenants were not obliged to maintain her children. Another of these sprigs had taken the wife of one of the theatrical clowns under his clownish protection; he was an unlicked cub, and all that can be said of him is—it is well it is no worse. The other sons were equally genteel lads — the very models of young 'Squire Richard, in the Provoked Husband, or Journey to London.
Do not imagine, Reader, that we would insinuate that we, ourselves, have passed the heighday of flesh and blood without having committed many very many—too many of the frailties of that stage of life, not to be able to
make allowances for them in others ;—(Remember, ours were at our own expense;)-neither are we got so far past it as to be now impregnable to them, being many years younger than some whose follies we have heard denominated youthful ones; but when we consider the unparalleled hardship and pressure of the times, the present distress of the tenantry, and the very distant prospect of alleviation ; we think that the lord, his family and the gentry, far from adding to the natural ruggedness of the roads, should have condescended to put their shoulders to the wheels, and aid the efforts of the tenantry to get the common waggon through the slough. At any other time than one, which is unparalleled in history, and which posterity will almost be inclined to think could never have existed but in the brain of some romance-writer, like ourselves; we could have smiled at these frailties, the venial effects of high life and youth. ful blood; we could enjoy a laugh at their amours, but for the groans of the lower ranks of the Freelanders; but, hearing them, we cannot but exclaim that any kind of public extra. vagance was mistimed - dreadfully mistimed.
We have thus seen how the Brushites recompensed the Squire's brethren, who had espoused his, and we may add their, cause, during Farmer Gildrig's illness. But as the increase of allowance had been at first granted (through a mistake, as Master Minikin stated it afterwards) only during the lord's pleasure, they afterwards extended it during the lives of the annuitants. The fact was, and we dare say that it did not escape the penetration of Farmer Gildrig, that, having by some of their subsequent measures given offence to the lord, they thought proper to render the younger branches of his family as little dependent as possible on him ; and as grateful as they could be, to themselves.
As the Brushites had, in a manner, been forced upon the lord by the coarseness of the times, they imagined that they might intrude a little further upon him to secure their own popularity; and that, by securing that, he should hesitate to take umbrage at their proceedings and to dismiss them. Thus they hoped at once to retain the popular favour and their places. With this view they began to frame some measures, which they knew would
be acceptable to the body of the tenantry. The first of these was a tax on private breweries, which would fall exclusively on the gentry, being exercised only by them ; but the gentry made such opposition to having their houses subjected to excise visits like those of traders, that the household, having their places, more than the public good, at heart, weakly abandoned the scheme.—The next of these measures was a tax on pig-iron, which would have been productive, and could have well been borne by the profits of the trade; but as this measure also threatened to diminish the interest of the household, they relinquished it in an equally pusillanimous manner.
Men must have public minds as well as public salaries, or they will serve private ends at the public expense. It was Roman virtue that raised the Roman name. Billy Vortex !- our eyes are now opened— the dust of sophistry is removed ! — Our hearts are thy monument ! · The tenantry now began to perceive the real weakness and inefficiency of the vain-glorious boasters. What good they could have done, they dared not to do it. Something must be
done, however, and speedily, or the loaves and fishes would be lost.
There bad, for a long time, existed in Freeland (we blush while we tell it, and future ages will scarcely credit it of the seat of Liberty !) a most nefarious and inhuman traffic of equipping vessels to sail to a distant country, where the crews kidnapped their fellow-creatures, or enticed them to wage unprovoked war upon one another, to sell the prisoners on both sides for trifles. The wretches so obtained, were hud. dled one upon another into the confined hold of the ship, where they were so closely stowed as very often to suffocate or trample each other to death. Happier far were those who thus perished; than the survivors, who were carried, exhausted with grief, horror, despondency, fear, close confinement, and unwholesome and scanty provision, more dead than alive, to another distant country, and sold as slaves — for ever! — since the wretched state of slavery did not end with death, but wis entailed upon their hapless posterity. This trade had been for years attacked by the Brushites as a ministerial source of revenue; but their efforts to obtain its abo