« FöregåendeFortsätt »
been chairman of a Catholic meeting, held at Dublin in July for the purpose of petitioning the Prince-Regent. The trial took place at the Court of King's Bench in Dublin, on November 12th ; and although the Chief Justice, in his charge to the jury, gave a decided opinion that the law was against the defendant, in which his brethren on the Bench fully concurred, a verdict was brought in of Not guilty, amidst the enthusiastic applauses of a crowded court, In consequence of this defeat, the Attorney-General dem clined bringing on the other trials, affecting to hope, that since the law had been clearly laid down by the court against the Catholic convention, those gentlemen would not persist in its viola.. tion. On December 23d the committee of Catholic delegates met again at the Theatre in Dublin, when Lord Fingal took the chair. Ile had not been long seated, before Counsellor Hare, a police magistrate, eutered and placed himself by the side of the chair
; and in several repeated questions endeavoured to obtain from his Lordship an avowal that it was a meeting of the Catholic cummittee; but could get uo other answer than that they were assembled for a legal and constitutional purpose. Mr. Hare at length officially moved Lord Fingal from his chair, as he did likewise Lord Netterville who took it after him. The meeting then dispersed; and a pumber of gentlemen afterwards assembling at another place, for the purpose of signing a requisition to call an aggregate meeting of the Catholics, Mr. Ilare and another magis. trate appeared among them, and enquired whether they were met as individual gentlemen : being informed that they were so, he said he should not give them any molestation. If any system can be traced in the proceedings of Government on this occasion, it must be that of persisting to oppose anything like a convention formed by delegation; but surely it is a very narrow and blind policy, by a series of petty insults and inefficacious prosecutions to gall and irritate a powerful party, who must in the end carry their point, supported as they now are by the most respectable of their countrymen of all persuasions, and to lose all the advan. tage of bestowing gracefully what cannot be withheld.
Of immediately domestic events during the last half year, few of a political kind are to be recorded. Parliament was prorogued on July 24th, when the Lord Chancellor delivered a speech in the Regent's name, commending, as usual, all the public proceedings of the last sessions. The very liberal aid granted to the nations of the Peninsula, and the means employed for securing an annual supply to the regular army, were subjects of particular approbation. No change having been made in the ministry, it was of course expected that the same measures would continue to be pursued, at least till the Regent should think proper to act as the real possessor of regal authority, rather than as a temporary
representative représentative of royalty. This he might have done the more confidently, as the hopes of his Majesty's return to mental sanity grew fainter and fainter, till at length they were entirely resigned even by the most determined courtiers. The Prince, however, has hitherto given no indications of a wish to interfere in the system of administration ; and it is a common opinion that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, by plausibility and obsequiousness, has acquired an ascendancy over his mind which is likely to perpetuate his own authority. But of this no true judgment can be formed, till the period arrives when every restriction imposed upon the Regent must be taken off.
Six months have seldom passed in which the nation has been less agitated by political contests and discussions, than in those just expired. Two causes may be assigned for this state of quiescence: one, the uncertainty in which parties are placed with respect to the future possessors of ministerial power, and the plans likely to be pursued; the other, the pressure of the times, which has borne so heavily upon a great part of society, that public feeling has been lost in private. Some feeble attempts have been made to revive the public interest in the cause of Parliamentary Reform, but their effect has been inconsiderable. The AttorneyGeneral has taken care occasionally to draw attention to the important subject of the Liberty of the Press, by new prosecutions for libels; and in one case, that of the trial of Mr. White, for a libel published in the Independent Whig, consisting of some trifling remarks relative to the distribution of honorary medals in the army, the friends of freedom have been gratified with a verdict of acquittal; but as this was given somewhat inconsistently, and apparently in compassion to a man just released from a prison, the triumph was not pure.
The interruption to the regular demand for our manufactures in consequence of the war, among other evils, has been the primary cause of a course of rioting, which, commencing in or near Nottingham, has spread to such a degree as to require the attention of government. The discharge of some workmen in the stocking-manufactory, followed by come contrivances by newa invented frames to abridge labour, and further to lessen the demand for hands, and attended, it is said, with a reduction of the usual payment for work, all conspiring with the present high price of the necessaries of life, excited a spirit of discontent in the lower classes, which broke out in numerous and serious acts of violence. The popular rage was at first directed against the new frames, and they went about in strong parties for the purpose of breaking and destroying them. This mischief they effected over a wide extent of country, and to a great value of property ; and under the dominion of the mob, other outrages were joined to it-such as the destruction of corn-mills, and the plunder of farm-houses. The magistrates were not wanting in timely attention to suppress those disorders by the civil power, and military force has also been sent to their aid; yet the practice of frame. breaking still continues to a certain degree; and the rioters are said to have adopted an organization which will render it very difficult to prevent their ravages, and bring the offenders to justice. The evil has spread to the neighbouring counties of Leicester and Derhy, and probably will not be entirely removed without some compromise between the masters and workmen.
Housebreaking and other robberies, attended with circumstances of atrocity, have been unusually frequent in various parts of the kingdom ; but the alarm excited by them has not been comparable to that which pervaded the metropolis in the month of December, in consequence of the savage murder of two whole families. The first was that of the family of Mr. Marr, in Ratcliffe-highway. It appears that his house was broken into about twelve at night, during the absence of a maid servant upon an errand ; at whose return, the master, his wife, a shop-boy, and an infant in the cradle, were all found savagely murdered. The perpetrators had escaped by a back-door, and had been disturbed too soon to carry off any booty. The public horror at this event had not subsided, when, very near the same part of the town, another equally shocking scene of bloodshed occurred, at a public-house in Gravel-lane, kept by one Williamson. Between eleven and twelve at night, a lodger escaping through an upper chamber-window raised a cry of “ Murder!” and, upon breaking into the house, the landlord, his wife, and a maid-servant, were found dead, with their throats cut from ear to ear. The terror struck by this reu peated butchery, not only through the neighbourhood, but the whole capital and its vicinity, is indescribable: none thought themselves secure from the murderer's knife in their houses; and though it soon appeared probable that the villains were few in number, perhaps not exceeding two or three, they were multiplied by fear as if distributed into every quarter. Extraordinary rewards were offered by government for discovering the perpetrators, and the police set every engine at work for the same purpose. At length one man was apprehended upon a strong suspicion, which he con firmed by committing suicide in prison. The secret probably has died with him; but the impression on the public mind has also become comparatively faint, though an uncommon frequency of crimes continues to disturb the security of social life.
Arr. XVI.-Project for making Beaux and Belles useful.
MR. REFLECTOR, Being called upon lately, in the character of Executor, to inspect the affairs of a deceased literary friend, I proceeded in pursuance of my solemn duty to frame an exact inventory of his property; when, as I expected, I found scarce any treasures except the treasures of the mind, consisting of a considerable number of worm-eaten classics, and an overwhelming quantity of his own manuscript writings on various subjects. As I looked upon these original compositious to be legacies to society, in discharge of those debts which every member of the community is supposed to contract, and which my iend neither could nor would pay in any other coin, I conceived it to be incumbent on me to take a particular account of these incorporeal possessions, and arrange them in the best manner for the benefit of his sole legatee, Posterity. I therefore began a very careful examination of his papers, and discovered, what indeed I had often suspected, that my friend, though but little useful to the world by his personal and corporeal labours, had projected in his study a vast number of schemes to promote general happiness, if any persons could be found sufficiently public-spirited to put them in execution. Such of these projects as seem to me most calcalated to produce their intended effect, I shall give to the public : but as bequests like those of my friend are, from the shortsighted selfishness of man, not sought for with half the eagerness which is excited by a pecuniary legacy, I shall have time to select and dispose them to the best advantage. In the meanwhile, to pacify those few who feel a little anxiety for other concerns besides money, I shall produce one specimen of these mental labours; though I am afraid that I shall have occasion to observe, with sorrow,
friend has evinced a solicitude for the good of mankind, to which their gratitude will bear a very inadequate proportion.
This first plan, then, is on a subject which will prove the ardent enterprize of the Projector's mind, that could impel him to labour on materials which some persons have rejected with contempt, and some with indignation ;-he has undertaken the very unpromising task of improving and eliciting the cupabilities of those barren tracts of moral nature, called Beaux and Belles. I must confess, when I first sead the title of this project, that much as I admired the courageous benevolence of the schemist, yet I could not but consider it as merely one of those magnificent and golden visions of a pleasingly-deranged fancy, in which my chimerical friend was but too apt to indulge. I, however, altered my opinion after
a careful perusal, and found myself compelled to acknowledge, that there was
method in his madness." I was even seduced into an approbation of the plan, in which I think your readers will join with me, except, perhaps, with a few objections to the style in which it is conveyed: it is, indeed, rather too dogmatical; but this is a fault to which most literary men are subject, because their solitary habits do not admit much interchange of thought with persons as wise as themselves, and especially because they are far too well-bred and too well-natured to contradict their own assertions, however broad or unfounded. I have vene tured to drop this observation, in apology for a man who was personally modest,nay, timidly dillident; but who had been accustomed, even in his most unwarrantable positions, to be lis. tened to with such implicit submission by his walls and his two cats,-his almost only companions,--that he concluded, with a hastiness surely natural and venial, that all which came from his mouth bore the force of incontrollable truth; of which the dignity would be compromised, if it condescended to assume the insinuating graces of a power not so irresistible. Here follows the plan. A PHILOSOPHER'S ACCOUNT OP BEAUX AND BELLES, WITH SOME HINTS
TOWARDS MAKING THEM USEFUL.
In my extensive peregrinations and observations on the phy. sical and moral world, I have been much struck with a particular race of animals : I will not, indeed, assume the merit of having discovered them, because they exist, and I am told have long existed, in the midst of civilized society; but as the visual ray of few men is sufficiently purged to see with accuracy, and as a vast number of persons, who have never been blessed with my large experience, may have never heard of them, I shall, for their benefit, describe and comment on this strange class of creatures. And here I must premise, that I find no mention of them either in the profound Aristotle, or in a modern naturalist, who really is not without some merit, and whom I take this opportunity of recommending to some notice,-one Linnæus. The animal, then, in its appea rance, partakes of the human and bestial nature, bearing in its manners and senseless features a resemblance to the orang-outang, but affecting, by its habiliments, to imita'e our species. Like us, and indeed like the major part of the creation, it is divided into two nature's, male and female; though as my own observation has convinced me that it is incapable of the sexual affection, and as I have been told by persons who are more conversant with the familiar habits of the creatures that they, for the most part, die unpaired, I have been much puzzled to conceive how the species are propagated : that they are propagatud,