Page images
PDF
EPUB

parishes, two or three farmers have come were built by crazy people. They were and swallowed up farms, formerly occu- built without any reason for building them. pied by probably fifty farmers. Nothing is Many of them stand within a mile of each more common than to see a man occupying other ; and it frequently happens, that the land, which formed, not more than thirty, two parishes do not now contain people forty, or fifty years ago, twenty farms. enough, allowing for sick people, and litThree, four, or five farms, made into one, tle children, and for those that must stay is a thing to be seen everywhere. And yet, at home to take care of the house or of the as I observed before, the population of the cattle-it frequently happens that the two villages is decreased. In going through a parishes do not, if you make these allow.' village, in almost any part of the country, ances, contain people enough to fill one except where the funds or the manufactu. pew! It is monstrous, then, to suppose ring establishments have an influence, you that these parishes have not, in a great are sure to see ten houses almost falling measure, been depopulated. How are we down, for every one that you see building. to believe, that people could have built In numerous instances, I found, in my churches, unless there had been numbers rides during the last fall, houses quitted, sufficient to fill them! It is not in one, from the danger of their falling down ; and two, or three, but in hundreds of instances, I very seldom found that any new house that the churches are now wholly gone." was building in the stead. I went into - The size, the size of the churches scarcely any agricultural village, where I this alone would be enough to convince did not see the old bricks and other rub. any man of sound judgment, that there has bish of a house or two, that had recently been a prodigious decrease in the populastood upon the spot where the rubbish now tion of a great part of the kingdom. The

On the outskirts of almost all the curious Return of which I have spoken villages, you find still remaining small en- above, professes to have in view to ascerclosures of land, each of which has mani. tain how many people the several churches festly had its house formerly. They are will hold. So that one naturally is inclined generally in pasture at this time; but, if to look, with a good deal of curiosity, to you look attentively at the ground, you what is said upon this subject, in cases will see unevennesses which shew you that where the population is reduced to a mere here are the relics of the foundations of nothing. Let us take a little list here. The houses ; while, if you look at the fences, parish of BREMHILLHAM contains sixteen you will see gooseberry, currant, or rasp- persons altogether. The parish is a rectory. berry bushes, making their appearance The parson is required to write down, numhere and there. In the middle of such ber of persons they can contain ;' that is to little plots of ground, you frequently see say, number of persons the churches can old pear-trees or apple-trees, or the stumps contain. Now, this parson of BermHILLof them, remaining. All these are so many HAM states in his answer, that his church proofs of a greatly diminished, and of a still will contain the population ;' that is to diminishing, population.

was.

say, his church is capable of holding six“ It is possible that as much human teen persons, supposing the whole of the sustenance may be produced in these agri- people of the parish to be at church at one cultural parishes as there used to be, though time. Now, sixteen grown-up men can the number of hands may be much smaller. stand in a space four feet square. We It is very well known, that horses and know that six can sit in a stage-coach ; tackle now do, in many cases, what was and yet this parson tells us, that his church formerly done by the hand of man. But • can contain the population' of his parish, that there was more land in cultivation for- What, then, is there a double meaning merly than there is now, nobody can doubt. here? Is there a little bit of the Jesuit They produce to us the long list of enclo- played off among us sincere Protestants ? sure bills ; but it is curious enough that The church can contain the population ; they never tell us, that the far greater part but the pious pastor does not say thar it of this land was cultivated formerly, with. can contain no more! But this was not the out any enclosure bill at all. If the Par. question : the question was, what number liament would lay out a few thousand of persons they can contain ; that is to say, pounds of our money, in order to ascertain how viany persons can your church con. how many hundreds of thousands of acres tain ? This is the amount of the question ; of land was in cultivation before the Revo- and, notwithstanding this, it is stated, in lution, more than is in cultivation now, I this Return, that the church can contain should not grudge that money, as I do the the population,' in the case of scores of money laid out in Population Returns. parishes, where the population is under However, the great proof the undeniable forty. Perhaps there is not a church in proof, of depopulation, throughout a con- England, the porch of which would not siderable part of the kingdom, is this fact hold twenty men. Certainly not one, the --that there are nearly a third part of the chancel of which would not hold a hun. whole of the churches, which, if the popu- dred men, standing upright; and, perhaps, lation were the same, when the churches there is not one that would not hold more were built, that it is now, those churches than three hundred. We have seen above,

that there are eight people living in SHARN. amount to two hundred. There were about cot, in the Return, the rector (for this is ten thousand churches in England ; and, a rectorial living) says that his church can at this very moment, the whole of the prehold eight people! And this he signs with sent population could, except in those parts his name ; and it is sent to the bishop; where men have been drawn together by and the bishop sends it to the King in the paper-money, be no: only accommodacouncil ; and the King in council lays it ted with these churches, but, with the help before Parliament. So that, here is the of a little straw in each parish, actually Parliament informed, and here is the na. hidden under the roofs of these churches. tion taxed to pay for the printing of the “ Back I come then, after exhibiting all information, that there is a church at these very suspicious circumstances relative SHARNCUT, in Wiltshire, that can con- to these Clerical Returns ; back I come to tain' eight living souls a whole eight of inquire once more, what ground there can them, at one and the same time. After be for supposing that the population of this, it must be a pretty beastly people to England has increased ? Here we have a be guided by these Returns. The thing to whole list of parishes actually wasting away remark with regard to this Return, is the to nothing. This is a fact that it is imcavalier-like impudence of it. It is mani. possible to deny; and yet you, and your fest that the question was intended to get patrons the boroughmongers, insist upon an account of what number each church it that there is an increase of the populawould contain, when it was sufficiently tion; and, what is more, a great part of filled. There was no sense in the question the public believe you. This is one of if this was not the object of it; and yet, those falsehoods that men tell till they behere is a man to take his pen and write lieve it to be true themselves. There have down the figure eight, against this ques- been several of these great national lies." tion, and send it off to the bishop without any ceremony. In all probability his church I have omitted about as much more would contain several hundreds of persons. of abuse, as I have quoted of argument. I never yet saw a church that would not. Indeed, if Cobbett did not render it It is very seldom, indeed, that the meanest impossible for himself to be read by and most miserable country church is less, weighing his books down with unnein the clear, than fifty feet long. Cut off a bit for a belfry, and leave a piece for the cessary filth, who would be the fool to

make extracts from such a writer as he communion-table, and you have still a

is ? room thirty feet long, at least, and from fifteen to twenty feet wide. Two rows of

Before I leave him, I must not omit people, sitting on benches up the middle to take notice of the great service of this room, will make three score. There which he really appears to have been are about fifteen or sixteen pews generally doing in the introduction of the plate in such a place. It must be a miserable ting of straw for hats. But as his Cota hole that has not a gallery to contain a tage Economy, in which this matter is hundred. Add a few cross benches here abundantly explained, ought to be in and there. But why need I make any every cottage in the empire, * I shall do such calculations, when it is notorious, that Methodist meeting-houses, not a quar- for once Cobbett has had the merit of

no more than say, once for all, that ter part so big as the smallest church in the kingdom, contain two or three hundred introducing a great good, unclogged

with even the least of evil. I am heartily pleased to hear that the new

manufacture is getting the name of “ The size of the churches is a thing of

“ the Cobbett Platt.” He deserves the great consequence. We find them, through compliment; and I should not be much out the agricultural part of the country, to surprised if this were to be the salvabe out of all reason too large. I have shewn tion of his name after all the books that there are many hundreds of parishes, he has written are forgotten. the whole population of each of which

For forgotten they cannot fail to be! might be placed in the porches of the It is indeed a melancholy truth, that church. I have given instances of several parishes, the present population of each of every author diminishes his chance of which might be put into a stage-coach. I surviving in the ratio wherein he in

creases (after a certain limit, of course, have given instances, or, at least, have stated, that there are hundreds and hundreds I mean,) the bulk of his works. How of parishes, the present population of each

little is this thought of in this thriceof which do not amount to a hundred ; and bookish age! Had Swift concentrated that there are several thousands of parishes, all his wit in one volume, or in three the present population of which does not volumes, would not his book have been

persons each."

Not until the blasphemy and sedition are erased from it, Mr Tickler. Even Brougham w as much.-C. N.

in every man's, woman's and child's not new, but well cleaned (another rehand, wherever, and to whatever age, lic probably of his camp-habits,)-he the English tongue is spoken ! Instead had strong grey worsted gloves, and a of that, we have a book in twenty vo- stout ash plant in his hand. If he had lumes, price five or six guineas ! The not been pointed out to me by one who same way with Dryden--the same way knew himn, I should probably have withMilton-the same waywithShake- passed him over as one of the innocent speare himself to a certain extent bacon-eaters of the New forest; but and, if Shakespeare had written two or when I knew that it was Cobbett, you three hundred plays, instead of two or may believe I did not allow his placid three dozen, (which he would have easy eye and smile to take me in. done had his time been like ours,) I was excessively sorry, that, being what would have been the conse- entangled with a party of young squires quence? It is this that gives the ancient and parsons, I could have no chance Classics one of their great advantages. of getting into Cobbett's company. I I can carry my Horace, my Sallust, am no beer-drinker ; but if Cobbett my Virgil even, my whole Virgil, in will drink nothing else, I should cermy pocket. But Cobbett! there is, in- tainly be most happy to crack a pot deed, the depth of despair. His good with him. They say he is coming to things lie scattered over such a surface Scotland soon ; and I hope, as Messrs -to speak in his own way, there is Brougham and Denman are to have such a wilderness about every settle- public dinner, he may not want the ment, that I fear there is but a slen- same compliment. Yours, der chance of future times doing any

T. T. measure of justice to one, who, with Southside, Sept. 10, 1823. all his faults, has the intellect and the language of an English classic.

That poor devil, Fearon, (in his P.S. I forgot to say at the proper Sketches,) gives, on the whole, a fair place, that I don't believe one syllable account of Cobbett's exterior, and, I of Cobbett's story about his own peshould think, even of his manner- cuniary distresses, &c. &c. How should although I by no means take his word he have fallen into poverty? For many for anything beyond this : indeed years, as it was proved upon one of his Cobbet's book has completely negatived trials for libel," he was in the receipt him quoad alia. I myself never saw this of L.60 a-week, as editor of his Regisextraordinary character but once-It ter. He was all the while a farmer too, was at a county meeting in Hampshire, and, according to himself, a skilful in the days of poor Lord Cochrane. and a successful one. Where did all He is perhaps the very man whom I the money go to? I have, in short, no would select from all I have ever seen sort of doubt that Cobbett's nest is if I wished to shew a foreigner the very comfortably feathered. beau ideal of an English yeoman. He What is this story of Cobbett's going was then, I should suppose, at least to settle in France? I can't believe a fifty years of age ; but plump, and word of it. He may take a run thither as fresh as possible. His hair was for a few weeks; and, indeed, his reworn smooth on his forehead, and dis- cent praises of the Bourbons, and of played a few curls, nut-brown then, catholicism, look very like as if he had but probably greyish by this time, some such matter in his head : Butquit about his ears. There is something very old England for good and all? give up firm and stately in his step and port—at the Register? cease from writing and least there was so in those days. You abusing? I cannot believe any such could see the serjeant blended with the miracles-they would beat Prince farmer in every motion of his body. His Humbughohe all to nothing. eye is small, grey, quiet, and good-tem- And yet, good gracious! if it should pered-perfectly mild—You would be so in right earnest—if William say, “there is a sweet old boy-butter Cobbett should really become a memwould not melt in his mouth.” He was ber of the holy Roman Church, and dressed the day I saw him, in brown a French proprietaire- Imagine that coat, waistcoat, and breeches, all of the termination to that career ! Monsieur same piece—a scarlet under-waistcoat, le Compte de Cobbette ! or M. le Mara drab great-coat hanging wide, and quis, maybe ! Sir Gregor Macgregor's fastened before by a "fying strap,"top- Serene Highness-ship was nothing to boots of a true work-like pattern, and this Signiory. VOL. XIV.

2 T

ON THE PLUCKLESS SCHOOL OF POLITICS.

No II.
Letter to the Editor, from Andrew Ardent, Esq.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

MY DEAR CHRISTOPHER, you, with your Athenian pretensions I NEVER was more surprised and dis- and your Parthenons, to allow the merpleased in my life, than, upon the re- chants of your sea-port, the men of ceipt of your last Magazine, to find no tar, potashes, molasses, rum, sugar, notice taken in it of the anniversary hemp, and tallow, to run before you in of the King's visit to Scotland. I verily the road of loyalty, and read you a lesand truly thought that the new Baro- son in the bienseances of civilized life! net, your Provost, would have given You don't deserve a King; and I ain an entertainment on the occasion; that almost ashamed to call you Scotsmen. the Corporation would have made it a The Whigs were, no doubt, glad at matter of conscience to dine publicly this want of respect in our city rulers. and together on that day; or, at least, Joseph Hume and the Stot may even that you yourself would have had a snug praise them for abstinence; and the party at Ambrose's,—to all, or some King himself, God bless him, who one of which I expected to be invited, thinks ill of nobody, may not much and had actually engaged a post-chaise mind the, I hope, unintentional neglect. that I might not disappoint you, my But will you, Christopher, the chamfriend Sir William, or myself. But the pion of loyalty-the pillar of the church day approached, letter after letter ar- --and the friend of all that is great rived, in course of post as they say, but and good in human nature will you, no invitation, or the semblance of one, my dear friend, ever forgive yourself, reached my quarters. It then struck for not stepping forward and putting me that some subscription business your public in mind of their duty, would take place at Oman's, to which or, at least, setting the example in you did not think it worth while for Ambrose's, of joyous loyalty, by a comme to come so far; but no such thing, memoration banquet among the intelas far as I understand, was ever agita- lectual censors of public opinion and ted.

public morals ? This is passing strange, Christopher. I should not have minded though Have the bailies, old and new, lost I was not there, if you or Sir William their stomachs—the trades and mer- had held a chapter of good fellows. My chant counsellors the faculty of degluti- not receiving an invitation would only tion-or the deacons of the incorpora- have saved me eighty miles posting, ted trades the power of mastication ? and the loss of a week's recreation ; And was there no patriotic butcher, and I expect to see, in the forthcoming vintner, or dealer in wines, in the Maga, notwithstanding all I have said council, to whom a dinner might have of you personally, that in defiance of been an acceptable job ? Are the Ma- my supicions, you were as happy on gistrates of our loyal city turned Whigs the 15th as good meat, good drink, good all at once? And will posterity believe appetites, and loyalty, could make you, that a civilized corporation could so- But tell your provost and bailies that lace their stomachs with Crawley spring they ought either to have given or pawater on such a day, and let so fair an tronised a royal, jovial public dinner. opportunity pass without a jollifica. Your town ought to have been illumi. tion? Is there no loyalty but in Leith nated, and all the bells set a ringing. --no public spirit but with the unpoe- The population should have been retical names of Macfie and Reoch? galed with oxen roasted whole, and

My dear Christopher, it is a perfect good beer, in the King's Park; and disgrace to the intellectual city—a Mr Murray should have opened the stain not to be wiped away from Edin- doors of the Theatre gratis, and given burgh for a century at least. On the 15th all poor devils, who can't afford to pay of August the King landed upon your for it, the sight of a good play, and reshores-held courts at your ancient galed them with “God save the King." palace of Holyrood-House-made your Contrast your conduct, my dear felprovost a baronet-shook hands with low, with the Whigs, whom you and yourself-was kind to every one and I despise. I see by the newspapers,

[merged small][ocr errors]

that the Ex-Attorney-General and the upon any conditions, would, I have Ex-Solicitor-General of the late Queen, no doubt, be very acceptable. insignificant though they be in any I say, Christopher, unless I find view, are getting dinners from the you have had a party at Ambrose's or small remnant of ultra-Whigs. Joseph elsewhere, in honour of the King's viHume, himself, got a seven-and-six- sit to Scotland, I shall never write anpence patch up, if I am not mistaken, other line in your Magazine.-I shall at Aberdeen, last year; and it is re- not even enter the modern Athens, as ported the whiglings of Glasgow medi- your Gutterbloods choose to call it, tate, (at least so the newspapers say,) but take lodgings at loyal Leith, and giving Messrs Brougham and Denman start a Royal Visit Club, under the a charity sort of half-guinea blow-out, patronage of Messrs Reoch and Macfie. at some of the public taverns, where For my own part, seeing nothing all the grievances of being out of place, better to be done, I set myself down and not in high esteem, will no doubt in the parlour of an inn to a leg of be detailed with lugubrious loquacity; mutton, a bottle of claret, and a jug the pressure of taxes, and the extrava- of good toddy-got a bonfire of old gance of government, will, as usual, thatch lighted before my window; and be dilated upon; the pusillanimity of knocked up a kind of ball with “buirdministers, for not dragging their coun- ly chiels and sturdy hizzies," collecttry into war, in which they can have ed by the piper in the neighbouring no interest, and passing new taxes for glen, which was opened by myself and its support, will afford a fine subject the matron of the party, Mrs Macinfor tavern eloquence; and the com- tyre, my landlord and his wife, in a pany, neither drunk nor sober, shall Highland reel, and which was kept up depart precisely at twelve o'clock, with with a great fund of animal spirits, the pleasant feeling, in spite of the evi- supported by suitable quantities of dence of their own senses, that the mountain dew, judiciously administercountry is ruined beyond redemption, ed, till day-break on the 16th. unless the weight of the government I am, my dear Christopher, were really and truly laid upon the

Yours ever faithfully, little shoulders of the Whig barristers

ANDREW ARDENT. and their associates, to whom place, KILLIN, Sept. 5, 1823.

ANSWER,

Extracted from Mr North s Letter-Book. This is all very pretty and very peppery, Mr Andrew. So you really blame us for the deficiencies of our friends the Pluckless-so you really imagine we had no Ambrosial Feed on the 15th, and you will never write another line in Maga for it! We have a huge fancy to put the veto upon your communication, for the bare supposition, and for the further offence of non-compearance. Why, man, we did not even suppose that the Pluckless themselves needed a jog upon such an occasion. When we recollect how they were all figged out last year, performing the part of savages or mountebanks, or ata tempting that of court-gallants-all plastering on their loyalty a foot thickhow could we imagine that their patriotism or their gratitude required the stimulus of a present Sovereign? But you! in truth, it well becomes you to find fault with others-Suffice it to say, that when ODoherty was making the punch in the morning, preparatory to its being put in ice, he gave one extra lemon to the sherbet, exclaiming, “Here goes a cooler for Ardent !" that a chair, plate, knife and fork, spoon and napkin, tumbler, porter-swigger, sherry-bibber, and whisky-sipper, were all duly placed for you, the plate being turned up, and marked double A, between those of the Adjutant and Tickler; and that a spit was prepared, and a large dish warmed, for four brace of grouse,

which we expected you to bring along with you. And lo! he came not !-Well, you

« PreviousContinue »