Page images
PDF
EPUB

end of the hall, ' a word with you-come here. I need courage you. I will-I will'- and he mopped his eyes not ask if you have kept your promise ? You have put with the end of his bundle — I will go home directly, that detestable vase out of the way?'

and tell mother!' and Jacob lifted up his voice and “Think it done!' replied the wife gaily.

wept aloud, groping his way to the door through his * And with your own hands ? for I would not have tears. any accident happen to it after all. Eh?'

*Stay, boy,' said Uncle John, after a moment's pause ; Can you doubt it?' demanded the wife reproach- | 'you have given us all a lesson, and I trust we shall be fully.

the better for it. It seems I am as bad as any of you ! Forgive me, dear love; you are truth itself!' and Well, I cannot deny it. None of us, I believe, meant the blush that rose into the cheek he kissed made him any mischief. We persuaded ourselves that we were think that even truth is capable of being embellished telling only a harmless lie! There is no such thing. by beauty. The young couple now ventured into the The effect of falsehood depends upon circumstances of presence of Uncle John.

which we are ignorant, and which we cannot control. There was something so calm and stern in the old | The moment the lie has left our lips, it is beyond our man's appearance, that both nephew and niece felt a reach, and we have put a missile of destruction into the sudden chill.

hands of the demons. Let us forgive one another, and 'I called,' said he, ' in order to walk with you to my forget the “crock.” Get you into your livery again, solicitor's; but since my niece is here, I shall take the Jacob; and do you, nephew, give me your arm to the opportunity of letting her know the position in which solicitor's.' we stand. I opposed your marriage on principle, because I saw that, having precisely the same defects of character, you were quite unqualified to go through the THE FOREIGN COMMERCE OF GREAT BRITAIN. world together. Your headstrong folly, however, was The comparative advantages of home and foreign trade partly my own fault, and I determined to make the have been frequently, and, we think, needlessly disbest of matters as they stood, provided I was well cussed. Both are in reality one thing—a result of the assured that the serious warning you had received had necessities and demands of society; and one cannot be at least cured you of your habits of extravagance. All favoured in preference to the other, without inflicting a this, however, I have been obliged to take merely upon general injury. Nevertheless, from the beginning of your own word ; proceeding upon the supposition that the world, foreign trade has been looked upon with falsehood is not one of your vices. Nephew, what do jealousy by politicians, as if it was something that did you say?'

not come into the ordinary stream of events at all. It 'I hope I bear the character of a man of honour!' is as natural, however, as the currents of the ocean or Niece ?'

the course of the storm. Winds, waters, birds, and 'I would not deceive my dearest uncle for the world.' men, are alike the ministers of nature in carrying her Uncle John removed the screen from before the vase. productions froin one country to another, and planting

What is this ?' said he. 'Have you any explanation new seeds in every soil adapted for their reception; and to make ? You—I say you, nephew?' But the nephew that nation which refuses the treasures proffered by was gazing at his wife, with expressions of scorn, rage, commerce, or accepts them under invidious restrictions, and pity chasing each other across his face. He whis is not more wise than if it drew a cordon round its pered something in her ear. It was a smooth, yet coasts to prevent the material agents of the bounty of vulgar, frightful word of two syllables ; and staggering Heaven from bestowing a new fruit or flower upon the away from him, she appeared about to fall, as if she soil. had received a blow. Jemima, who was at the door, Few countries owe so much as Great Britain to the flew in, and canght her mistress in her arms; but the agency of man in this kind of distribution; or, in other latter reviving at the touch, thrust her away with words, few possess less indigenous wealth, with the exabhorrence.

ception of that of the mineral kingdom. The inhabi• Base, ungrateful, detested .!' said she, and the tants lived on roots, berries, flesh, and milk, till agrishort smooth word came forth like a pistol-shot. It culture was introduced upon the coasts by colonies from was instantaneously echoed hy Jemima herself, who Belgium, and extended subsequently by the fortunate bestowed it upon Jacob, together with a sound cuff on tyranny of the Romans, who exacted a tribute of corn, the side of the head. Jacob, resplendent no more in At this time our fruits were nearly confined to blacklivery, was now in the garb of a ploughboy, with a berries, raspberries, sloes, crab-apples, wild strawberries, stick and his bonnet in one hand, and a small dirty cranberries, and hazel-nuts. In all Europe, according to bundle in the other. He had entered the room with Humboldt, the vine followed the Greeks, and wheat the his usual want of ceremony, and the salute of Jemima Romans. We had hardly any culinary vegetables of went nigh to make him vanish in the same fashion. our own; and one of the queens of Henry VIII. was

Oh, I don't mind it,' said he ; not a bit. I wish obliged to send to Flanders on purpose when she wanted you would give me one a-piece, for I deserve them all! a salad. It was not till the reign of Elizabeth that edible Mother will give me worse than thatand what can roots began to be produced in England. The bean is such a desperate liar expect?'

from Egypt; the cauliflower from Cyprus; the leek from "Why, what have you been doing, boy ?' demanded Switzerland; the onion from Spain ; spinach and garlic Uncle John sternly.

from France; beet from Sicily ; lettuce from Turkey; • Oh, don't you talk to me!' said Jacob; ‘for bad as I parsley from Sardinia ; mustard from Egypt; artichoke am, it's not all my fault. By telling a lie to Jemima, 1 from Africa; rhubarb, radish, and endive from China ; did the mischief; but if it had not been for you, you and the potato from America. Our present fruits, with wicked old man! it would have come out right in the the exception of the few we have mentioned, are all end. I heard master tell mistress that he repented exotic; and in the animal kingdom, our horses, cattle, buying that ugly crock; that he never would do so sheep, swine, &c. have been so much crossed and reagain, that he would confess all to you; and that he crossed by foreign breeds, that our ancestors, if perwould make you a present of it to-morrow-much good mitted to revisit the earth, would hardly recognise the might it do you ! Now, if I had told him in time what species. I ought, does it not stand to reason that he would have The growth of the foreign trade of England is both a made all right before it came to calling names and curious and an important subject. Before the Conquest, slapping people's faces ? But you, you wicked old it was carried on by means of strangers; the English man! to put a second lie in my mouth-to bribe a poor receiving passively silk, Oriental luxuries, books, preboy with a crown to go on from bad to worse; to-to-cious stones, and relics, in return for metals, slaves, you ought to be ashamed of yourself! But I will give trinkets in gold and silver, and silk embroidery. Athelyou back your money: no I wont; it would only en- stan had tried in vain to tempt his own subjects into

commerce, by ordaining that a merchant who had made and, in smaller quantities, woollen manufacture, salt, three long sea voyages on his own account, should be coal, hardware, lead and shot, tin, &c.; together with admitted to the rank of a gentleman. But in two cen- coffee, indigo, spices, and other articles of foreign and turies after this, we find English writers boasting that colonial produce. This trade employs much shipping, all the world is clothed with their wool. The wool was almost wholly the property of English merchants. The manufactured into cloth in Flanders. In 1354, the ex- total average amount of our own produce and manuports, consisting chiefly of wool, amounted to L.212,338, factures exported is about L.1,816,000. without including tin and lead; and the imports, of Our trade with Sweden and Norway consists of imfine cloth, wine, wax, linens, merceries, &c. to L.38,383. ports of timber, iron, and bark, and exports of cottons The balance, therefore, must have been considerably in and cotton-twist, woollens, earthenware, hardware, and our favour. Trade now seems to have been looked colonial produce. The amount exchanged is about upon with some interest, and our princes would needs L.250,000 each way. have the kindness to encourage it; in pursuance of which From Denmark we receive about L.213,000 worth of good intention the parliament, in 1402, ordered all corn-rapeseed and other articles in smaller quantity; importers to invest the whole proceeds of their cargoes sending her in return coal, salt, iron, earthenware, in English merchandise for exportation. At this time machinery, and colonial produce. the chief revenue of the country was drawn from such Our exports to Germany, including Prussia, amount sources; but political economy had not yet taught that to upwards of L.6,000,000, and consist of cotton-stuffs and tire best way for governments to encourage trade is to twist, woollens, refined sugar, hardware, earthenware, let it alone.

iron and steel, coal, salt, &c. and a very large quantity The kings, however, were not satisfied with drawing of colonial produce. The imports are chiefly wool, corn, customs from the industry of their subjects; they took flax, timber, zinc, &c. to trade on their own account. The kings of Sweden, Holland and Belgium supply us with butter, cheese. Naples, and Scotland, were merchants on a small scale; corn, madder, geneva, flax, hides, &c. to the amount of while King Edward of England was an extensive ship- L.4,500,000; receiving, in return, cotton-stuffs and twist, owner, and, as an old author tells us, 'like a man whose woollens, hardware, earthenware, salt, coal, &c. and living depended upon his merchandise, exported the colonial produce. finest wool, cloth, tin, and the other commodities of the The average exports to France consist of linens and kingdom, to Italy and Greece, and imported their pro- linen-yarn, brass and copper manufactures, machinery, duce in return, by the agency of factors and super-coal, horses, &c.; and the imports are brandy, wine, cargoes. In 1615, an anonymous writer enumerates silk (raw and manufactured), gloves, madder, eggs, 454 English ships employed in foreign commerce, be- skins, and fruit. The amount is as yet under L.3,000,000, sides those trading to India; but he gives us no idea of but will doubtless increase, as the insane jealousy of the amount of tonnage. In 1622, however, the total the two governments, which so long distracted the amount of exports had increased to L.2,320,436, and world, is now disappearing—at least from the tariffthat of imports to L.2,619,315; and in 1648, we are told like other venerable follies. by a pamphleteer that · England alone enjoyed almost From Portugal and Spain we have wine, wool, fruits, the whole manufacture, and the best part of the trade olive oil, quicksilver, barilla, cork, &c. to the amount of of Europe. In 1662, the imports were L.4,016,019, nearly L.1,500,000; paying for these articles in cottons, and the exports only L.2,022,812, showing a balance woollens, linens, hardware and cutlery, iron and steel, against us of nearly L.2,000,000. In 1720, the im- soap and candles, leather, &c. Spain is our largest ports were upwards of L.6,000,000, and the exports customer for cinnamon. nearly L.7,000,000. In 1750, the imports were nearly Italy furnishes us with thrown silk of the finest L.8,000,000, and the exports between L. 12,000,000 and quality; olive oil; straw.plait, and straw for hats, which L.13,000,000. In 1800, the exports were upwards of we now mostly manufacture ourselves; wheat (chietly L.45,000,000, and the imports upwards of L.24,000,000. at second hand from the Black Sea), fruit, wine, barilla,

This fortune is the more brilliant, from the calamities marble, and other articles. We give in return a consiour merchants had to endure; who lost, in the American derable quantity of cotton-stuffs and twist, woollen mawar of independence, L.2,600,000, in ships and cargoes nufactures, refined sugar, hardware and cutlery, iron taken by the enemy. But the loss of the enemy them- and steel, &c.; besides large supplies of colonial produce. selves, they had the comfort of knowing—including the This trade exchanges upwards of L.2,500,000. deprivation of their fisheries-was still greater; which Our exports to Turkey, Greece, &c. are of the same *puts one in mind,' says Macpherson, 'of the story of kind, but to the amount of little more than L.1,500,000; the attorney who, when his client complained that he while we receive from these countries opium, madder, was reduced to his last guinea by his lawsuit, comforted fruits, oil, cotton, drugs, and dye-stuffs, &c. him with the assurance that his adversary was reduced The amount of the trade to the whole of Africa, into his last farthing. In 1780, the commerce of the cluding Egypt and our own provinces, is considerably country received another tremendous blow from the under 1.2,000,000. It supplies us with cotton-wool, French and Spaniards, in the capture of five East Indian flax, and some drugs, and other raw produce from and forty-seven West Indian ships at one fell swoop; Egypt, for which we make the usual returns, with the and before the end of the century, it is calculated that addition of glass and machinery. we had lost in this contest at least three thousand In the markets of the United States our business vessels.

maintains the same ascendancy as when the country In 1820, the exports, including foreign and colonial was a colony of our own; only exhibiting an increase goods reshipped, were, in round numbers, L.44,000,000, proportioned to the waxing greatness of the two naand the exports L.30,000,000; _in 1830, the exports tions. Cotton and tobacco are the staple imports, with L.46,000,000, and the imports L.42,000 000; in 1840, wheat-flour and wheat, rice, skins and furs, hides, staves, the exports L.65,500,000, and the imports L.60,500,000; &c.; and the staple exports cotton, linen, and woollen and in 1846, the exports L.76,000,000, and the imports manufactures, with hardware and cutlery, earthenware, L.83,000,000.

salt, brass, copper, apparel, books, &c. The annount The figures of this last paragraph are taken from exchanged is considerably upwards of L.6,000,000. M'Culloch’s ‘ Account of the British Empire;' and the Our trade with the whole of the rest of the American same authority is followed (although without adherence continent, with the exception of our own colonies, is not to his plan) in the following view of the actual foreign so great by nearly L. 1,000,000. We import bullion and trade of Great Britain.

precious stones, dye-stuffs, cabinet-woods, cotton-wool, From Russia we receive tallow, wheat, flax and hemp, sugar, coffee, cocoa, &c.; and remit chiefly in cottons, rapeseed and linseed, tar, timber, bristles, ashes, hides, linens, and woollens. and wax; in payment of which we send her cotton-twist, Tea and silk are the principal imports from China,

and indigo and sugar from India, together with smaller the world was clothed with our wool, we find that the quantities of cotton, silk, coffee, saltpetre, piece gaods, whole quantity exported could not have amounted in spices, drugs, rice, &c. To the former country we export value to nearly L.250,000. In what relative condition goods to the amount of little more than L.1,000,000; must our customers be now, when they buy from us and to the latter about L.6,000,000, chiefly in cotton- L.24,000,000 worth of manufactured wool? In the stuffs and twist.

seventeenth century, again, we hear that England was The colonial trade supplies us with wool, wine, hides, the greatest trading country, and almost the only manuivory, &c. from the Cape of Good Hope, to the amount facturing country, in Europe. At that time we imported of 1.500,000, paid for in the usual exports; and with L.4,000,000, and exported L.2,000,000; whereas at prepalm-oil, ivory, teak, hides, wax, &c. from Western sent, when we enjoy only a portion (although the largest Africa, to about the same amount, paid for in cottons, portion) of trade and manufactures, the mere duties on guns and pistols, hardware, &c. The principal import our imports alone amount to L.22,000,000. What, then, from Mauritius is sugar. Exports as usual, to the must be the relative position of Europe in the sevenamount of more than L.250,000.

teenth and nineteenth centuries ? Commerce, in fact, Our North American colonies take from us about is twice blessed to the nation which gives, and to that L.2,750,000 worth of woollens, cottons, linens, &c. pay- which receives ; and in reflecting on the wonderful desing in timber, wheat, furs, fish, ashes, turpentine, &c. tinies of our country, we should never forget her influThe West Indies supply us with sugar, coffee, rum, ence on the destinies of mankind. cotton, pimento, molasses, mahogany, logwood, fustic, cocoa, cochineal, ginger, hides, &c. Here we are tempted to enter upon an investigation of the value of the colo

GOVERNMENT EDUCATION. nial trade generally, deducting fiscal expenditure; but | We have on divers occasions shown the necessity for a this we shall leave to a subsequent paper, and in the national system of education ; the subject has indeed meanwhile adhere to what properly constitutes British been so often spoken of in these pages, that we are foreign commerce; drawing our statistics from mis- almost ashamed to return to it. And yet perhaps the cellaneous but trustworthy sources.

friends of a general system, conducted under the authoNo view of the commerce of a country can approach rity, and at the expense, of the state, never required to to completeness without some distinct idea being given speak out with greater vigour. What we want may be of the customs charged by the government. In Eng- told in a single sentence. We desire to see a system of land, the origin of these duties is hidden in the dark national secular education, projected and maintained ages : but at the close of the tenth century, we know by the public, for the benefit of the whole people. We that every boat arriving at Billingsgate paid for custom detest everything like sectarianism: it is the blight of one halfpenny; a large boat with sails, one penny; a every national improvement, and is keeping the people keel or hulk, fourpence; a vessel with wood, one piece in ignorance. In order that government may, with of wood, &c. At that time vessels from the continent propriety and justice to all, interfere on behalf of the

showed their goods, and cleared the duties. The nature public in this momentous question, it is our opinion of these duties may be collected from the fact, that that nothing beyond secular instruction on a broad German merchants paid at Christmas and Easter two principle should be given in the national schools; and gray cloths and one brown one, ten pounds of pepper, that the religious portion of the instruction which is five pairs of men's gloves, and two vessels of vinegar. desirable, should be given separately by the clergy of

In 1266, we find a regular export duty on wool, pay- the different denominations. Such we believe to be the able, like the above, twice a-year; and in 1282, the form of educational belief entertained by every one who total amount of customs is stated at L.8411, 19s. 114d. is governed by motives of impartiality, and really deThe king's claim to the duties was not established by sires to see the people instructed. As for the proposal statute till the reign of Edward I. ; but they seem to to educate the bulk of the poor by charitable subscriphave been all along tacitly considered his private pro- tions, or the voluntary principle, as it is called, we conperty. They were frequently assigned to foreign mer sider it to be worse than a fallacy. chants in payment of a debt of the king; and in Scot But we are told that government has not the power land, Alexander I. turned to this account the customs to institute so broad a system as we desiderate. Perreceived at Berwick.

haps such is the case, though we are inclined to think In 1303, we find a charter of commerce granting that a lack of courage to announce the principle is more certain facilities to foreign merchants, in return for conspicuous than a want of ability to carry it into exewhich they came under covenant to pay certain duties. cution. In the meantime, therefore, as nothing else In this charter the ' earnest penny' is mentioned as a seems possible, the country will make up its mind to seemingly indispensable part of a wholesale bargain. see either an endowed system of sectarian instruction, In 1329, the whole customs of England were farmed by or see nothing. What is doing at present to educate a Florentine company for L.20 a-day. In 1354, the the lower classes, is a perfect farce. Thousands on customs on exports (consisting almost wholly of wool) thousands get no education at all. England continues amounted to L.81,846, 12s. 2d., and those on imports to the laughing-stock of Europe--a country in which great L.586, 68. 8d. Twenty-eight years after this, the first principles are sacrificed, in order to please the fancies of attempt was made to anticipate the revenue, by grant- time-servers and demagogues. ing a handsome discount to those merchants who paid That education is desirable on a far more effective duties in advance. So late as the reign of Queen Eliza- scale than that which now exists, is evident from the beth, the customs were farmed for L.14,000; but that lately published minutes of the Committee of Council on princess increased the sum to L.42,000, and afterwards Education. The two volumes of which these consist to L.50,000. In 1613, they were estimated, including are composed from the reports of the various inspectors imports and exports, at L.148,075; in 1641, at L.500,000; of schools, and it is from these that we gather inforin 1657, at 1.700,000 ; and in 1709, at L.1,353,483. mation as to what is doing in the great work of educatIn every tenth year, from 1760 to 1800, the movement ing the people. is as follows :-L.2,000,000 ; L.2,500,000 ; L.2,800,000 ; The council have received applications during the L.3,750,000 ; and L.6,800,000. In 1815, the customs' year for aid from 518 places in England, Wales, and revenues amounted to L.11,360,000; and in 1845, to Scotland. Most of these are for the enlargement of L.21,706,197.

school-houses, and the building of residences for the masThese are the heads of the strangest of all the strange ter or mistress, for repairs and fittings,' and in some chapters in the world's history. But in reviewing it, instances for ventilation. Some of the memorials pray we are apt to forget the effect of the industry of this for the foundation of exhibitions' of L.10 and upwards, island upon the fortunes of the other nations. If we to stimulate the industry of the older scholars; and we look back to the twelfth century, when we are told all learn by a circular that it is proposed to pay those

selected to qualify themselves as 'pupil teachers,' L.103 were found to be provided with the outbuildings in the first year, L.13 in the second, and L.16 in the necessary for decency. As a portion of the church is, third. This is, however, in connection only with the in Radnorshire, the most common place for schoolLondon diocesan schools. Notwithstanding the ge- keeping, the evils of such a deficiency appear in their neral poverty of the population of Wales, we are most repulsive form.' Where so little regard prevails informed that urgent demands are made for efficient for decency, it is not surprising there should be a want schoolmasters and schoolmistresses ; but as the salary of morality. While the proportion of illegitimate births is not more than L.25 per annun, 'there is no induce throughout England is estimated at 1 in 16, in Radnorment for young persons possessing the requisite quali. shire it is 1 in 7 of the whole. fications to offer themselves for the work. According Mr Cook states, in his report of schools in the to the evidence, the only means of preventing the pre- eastern district, that 'we not only lose our children at sent schools from becoming 'worse than useless,' will be a very early age, without any systematic means, or inhy the establishment of a model school, and a general deed, for the most part, without any kind of means of increase of the salaries paid to the teachers.

keeping up an intercourse with them after leaving The southern district comprehended in the counties school, but that a fearfully large proportion of poor chilof Berks, Bucks, Hants, Herts, Kent, Surrey, Sussex, dren either do not enter our schools at all, or remain and Wilts, contains three hundred and forty schools, in them so short a time, that any expectation of their visited by the inspector at an expense of L.2, 6s. 4d. for receiving real benefit from the instruction therein given each school. At Upton, we read that the floor of the must be a mere illusion. It is true that so many schools schools being of asphalte, the children suffer from chil- have been established in which instruction, if not enblains in the winter. In others, the master is described tirely gratuitous, is attainable at a trifling cost, that as overtaxed,' or 'trusting too much to his monitors, every parent who desires to secure the advantages of instead of working himself,' or 'unnecessarily severe.' education for his child may find one in most quarters But by far the greater number of teachers are described of London within a moderate distance ; but it is equally as zealous and painstaking, and the schools generally true that thousands are either too indifferent, or too as greatly improved since the visit of the previous year. ignorant, or too vicious, or too little able to command Singing appears frequently as part of the course of in their children, ever to avail themselves of the opporstruction; and being pronounced 'good' in the majority tunity. One consequence of this want of elementary of cases, shows the great value of this delightful accom- education, whether we consider it as a want of knowplishment in the training of youth. Want of funds and ledge or of training, is admitted to be a frightful inof properly-trained teachers are, however, everywhere crease of depravity among pauper children. At the late urged as the chief impediments in the way of diffusing Middlesex sessions, it was stated by Mr Sergeant Adams a better and more comprehensive education among the that no fewer than 500 children, between seven and people at large. The necessities of past times,' writes twelve years of age, had been summarily convicted by Mr Allan, “familiarised the people to the notion that a the magistrates, within a comparatively short period, few weeks'attendance at an organised school, where what as reputed thieves. All that the magistrates could do, was called “the National System” might be learned, was to send these children to prison for six weeks, or two was sufficient to transmute a decayed tradesman, with months; and when the poor creatures came out again, some knowledge of writing and accounts, into a national they were compelled to follow their former pursuits, schoolmaster. But, happily, the conviction is daily because they were without any other means of obtaining gaining ground, that for a supply of well - qualified subsistence. We have on several occasions pointed out teachers, we must look to our training establishments, the remedies for this state of things in articles on schools where they may remain long enough to have their in different parts of Scotland. It is to be hoped that characters moulded, and to receive that education in by the establishment of Ragged Schools, and the meaother respects which may fit them for their work.' sures contemplated by government, this juvenile sub.

Another passage of this gentleman's report amply stratum of society will be converted into moral and confirms the often-expressed opinion of the high value intelligent beings. of music as a moral agent. Scarcely any school, he The Midland district includes the counties of Chester, observes, visited in my district, in which music is Stafford, Derby, Nottingham, Lincoln, Leicester, Wartaught successfully, fails to rise to considerable emi- wick, and Northampton. The number of schools visited nence in other respects. The schools at Longparish by the inspector, Mr Moseley, was 247 ; and the ag. and Farton, where great attention is paid to this art, gregate number of children 13.381 ; of these 1 in 6 can and where it proves a powerful means of attaching the read 'with tolerable ease and correctness,' 1 in 3 read scholars to the church, are excellent specimens of a easy narratives, and the remainder read letters and mostrong moral influence being exercised thereby. Our nosyllables. One in 4 were learning to write on paper, forefathers reckoned music among the seven liberal | 4 in 15 were in the first four rules of arithmetic, 1 in 15 sciences; and I hope that we are making a considerable in the compound rules, while not more than 1 in 53 was advance in the right direction, in bringing back into acquainted with the rule of three, and 1 in 9 with our schools an art which, under proper management, geography. Mr Moseley objects strongly to the delega. cultivates a certain delicacy of feeling and gentleness tion of the master's authority to monitors. The whole greatly needed by the children of the poor, making time,' he observes, allowed out of the life of a poor their tempers plastic, and contributing in various ways child for its school-days is all too short, and it is daily to harmony and order.'

decreasing. Nothing can be expected to be done unless In five counties in South Wales, the schoolmasters the most powerful of the resources which the schoolare described as `imperfectly acquainted with English, master has at his command be brought to bear upon and who have received little mental training of any every moment of it. If his work be not taken in hand kind. Some are discarded excisemen; some are broken- forthwith, not only will he have lost the most favour. down tradesmen or beer-sellers ; some have been soldiers able season for itthat when the mind is most readily or sailors, who, with a little skill in writing and figures, imbued—but the whole opportunity. I claim, therefore, have picked up in their travels a little knowledge of as a privilege of the child, and as a paramount duty of English.' Many of them are habitually addicted to the master, that his own individual culture of the child's liquor, and frequently appear in public in a state of mind, his own direct and personal labour upon it, should intoxication. What, however, can be expected, where begin from the moment when the child first enters the the first question asked when a schoolmaster's post school, and never be interrupted until it leaves it.' becomes vacant, is not .Who is likely to fill the place We pass over the other reports, to come to those of best?' but · Whose circumstances most need the emolu. Mr Gordon on education in the counties of Stirling, ment?' This low moral character shows itself in other Clackmannan, Linlithgow, and Renfrew. Of the 166 respects—Of 15 schools visited in Radnorshire, only schools under the parochial act, 13 are described as

insufficient in size, 12 insufficiently furnished, 6 want- trifling to require mention. The promise of this introing repair, and 15 imperfectly ventilated. Besides duction, however, we are bound to say, is by no means these, there are 102 non-parochial schools, 90 of which fulfilled. The reader will here look in vain for new come under the above classification of imperfection. views of the Chinese character, or new materials for Of the school accommodation generally, it is observed, forming such views; and before closing the book, he

that the dimensions of the apartments in length will come to the conclusion that a man may be an exand breadth, but more especially in height, are too cellent practical botanist (as Mr Fortune doubtless is), often insufficient; and that, both in situation and without possessing any extraordinary talent for obserstructure, the means of securing proper ventilation are vation on other subjects. The • Wanderings,' in fact, often wholly neglected. That the parochial schools always excepting the information they communicate are for the most part better provided in this respect in agriculture, gardening, and botany--are mere illusthan the act is understood to have required; and trations, though sufficiently agreeable illustrations, of at the same time, that the school-houses which have what was already familiar to us from other sources ; originated in free gift are somewhat more nume- but they can lay no claim whatever to originality, or rous than those which have been produced at the com even to that vividness of description which sometimes mand of the statute; still leaving, however, more than compensates for the want of it. a third part of the whole number to be provided by the In the discussion that has been carried on respecting teachers themselves at their own expense.' of the the extent to which the soil of China is cultivated, Mr parochial schoolmasters, 10 receive an income of L.50 Fortune takes a part against the hypothesis which annually; 14 from L.50 to L.60; 8 from 1.60 to 1.70; assumes that little more is left to be done that any 8 from L.70 to L.90; and 9 from L.90 to L.120. The further increase of the population must depend for subpopulation of the four counties is 283.156; and of the sistence upon foreign supplies. This is perhaps one of number of children frequenting the schools, 10-150 are the most important of all the subjects that relate to the taught reading, 3270 writing, 1200 grammar, and 1515 destinies of the further East; for China has, for some geography. “In seventy of the schools, no instruction time past, taken a part which attracts far less attention has been given or attempted in geography, solely for than it deserves in the history of these regions. This want of maps. ... In the better schools, the large maps people, amounting in number to between three and four published by Messrs Johnstone and by Messrs Chambers hundred millions, have long reached the point of starare common. In some a small hand atlas is employed, vation at which emigration becomes necessary. In vain which the teacher finds to have its advantages, as the were all things made to give way before agriculture. pupils can be taught to point out places upon it without The flocks and herds, which formed the wealth of their any direction from the sight of names-a mode of the ancestors, vanished, and the lands on which they had same principle which has produced maps without names fed were turned into fields of grain. The profession of at all, or with only their initial letters. In a few in the husbandman was reckoned the most honourable, stances the pupils have been well exercised in the con next to that of the literati ; and the emperors set the exstruction of maps. But it scarcely ever happens that ample to their subjects, by holding the plough. But all they are taught to trace an outline of countries on the would not do: and then rice was eagerly sought for in board.' The general bearing of education in the four the neighbouring countries, and a large premium offered counties is said to be towards improvement. “On the upon its importation in the shape of exemption from one band, it receives a tendency to advance from minis- duties. Home production, however, and foreign imters and presbyteries, and from many of the heritors ports, even in their union, were insufficient; and the and schoolmasters; but this is too often checked by in- masses of the people had recourse to anything and creasing indifference to it among the people, especially everything that could sustain animal life, however disthose of the mining and manufacturing classes.' gusting, however horrible to the appetite in other

Wherever we look, the same conclusion appears to be regions. Nay, the common substances which elsewhere inevitable. To be really beneficial, the scope and aim form the food of human beings, were devoured by them of education must expand in proportion to the increas- in a state of decomposition, till the odour of putridity ing wants of the age. It is now conceded on all hands became a national taste. Thus the Chinese would seem that the only remedy for the evils of ignorance consists to have arrived at the utmost edge of the circle within in education. Let it, then, be applied to the circum- which nature confines the movement of population; and stances of the case in a broad and liberal spirit, and, the fact is proved by the result. Emigration is not although not over-sanguine as to immediate effects, we merely discouraged by the government—it is forbidden ; have no doubt whatever as to the ultimate result. but although it is treason to go, it is starvation to stay

behind, and every year the excess of population from this

vast country bursts in resistless surges over the neighFORTUNE'S WANDERINGS IN CHINA.*

bouring regions. Throughout Siam, Burmah, British Some few years ago, it was predicated that the ‘Wan- Malacca, the Indian Archipelago, flows the ceaseless derings' now before the public would not only conduce tide of a race whose fecundity is elsewhere without greatly to the advancement of botanical science, but example in the human kind; and it is no wild speculaopen new views of the Chinese character, and pointtion to suppose that the new empires of which the out new fields for commercial intercourse. This of English have laid some faint foundations in Australia, course heightened the interest with which we took up will be mainly peopled by Chinese. Already they form a volume on a subject so interesting in itself; and the one-half of the inhabitants in the great and thriving introductory chapter was well calculated to raise expec- British settlement of Singapore. tation to a pitch of excitement.

Mr Fortune bestows no attention upon any such facts The author begins by informing us that he is to be connected with the position of the people. He supposes, no common author; that he is to eschew the errors and from the natural sterility of the hills, that a certain porabsurdities of former writers; and that in his book will tion of the country is uncultivated ; and this is true, be found a picture of the Chinese as they are. This he since no cultivation in such places could be of any use. does in such general and ambiguous terms, as to give But he adds likewise the vague assertion (for his opporone the idea either that his censure included the recent tunities of observation in so vast a country were limited), productions of Davis, Gutzlaff, and Medhurst, or that that even in the most fertile mountain districts in Centhese contributions to our knowledge of China were too tral China the greater part of the soil lies in a state of

nature, and has never been disturbed by the hand of * Three Years' Wanderings in the Northern Provinces of China, man.' This would appear to be quite incredible of any Account of the Agriculture and Horticulture of the Chinese, New part of China, excepting perhaps the range of mounPlants, &c. By Robert Fortune. With Illustrations. London: tains which separate the provinces on the southern coast John Murray. 1847.

from those in the centre, and where, among the other

« PreviousContinue »