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LATIVE TO THE PRESERVATION OF
as Cromek did *, with the help of his the cause of song in general. If simfriend Allan Cunningham, having no- plicity be the last refinement, and the thing but a few ancient chorusses or highest excellence to which a poet can couplets, familiar among the peasantry, reach, then these lyrical effusions of to bear them through ; yet I certainly our ancestors possess it in a very high would like to see a saving hand stretch- degree-true, it is not always elegant ed out to rescue these relics of broad simplicity, but it is better than pomand simple humour ; and rather than pous affectation. Every thing in the they should perish, or give offence to universe moves in a circle till the two modesty and good breeding, venture extremes meet; thus the highest reto use the pruning-knife a little. Are finement returns again to where it set we to lose such productions as “ The out—the walks of simple nature. Wyfe of Auchtermuchtie,” because, May 27, 1817.
S. forsooth, there may be two words in it that one would not choose to read aloud in a mixed company?
EXPERIMENT, BY MR LAUDER DICK, Ritson has done a good deal for the
YOUNGER OF FOUNTAINHALL, REpreservation of our lyrical lore; Johnson has done more ; and as both their works are wearing scarce, it would surely be a good speculation to republish them together, with such omis MR EDITOR, sions or additions as a man of judg. The following is an extract of a letment might see meet. I look upon ter from my friend, Mr Lauder Dick, Johnson's Museum as the most valu- dated Relugas, near Forres, 6th May able collection of that nature that ever 1817. It contains a short notice of an was made in our country not so much experiment, which, taken in connexion on account of the songs, (for many of with some others of a similar nature, them are now to be found in other col- already familiar to the vegetable phylections) as for the great mine of ori- siologist, may perhaps appear of conginal music which it contains. Many siderable interest to some of your readof these tunes, it is true, have been I am, sir, your most obedien since modernised, and certainly are servant,
G. improved by the symphonies, graces, and accompaniments, that have been
" A friend of mine possesses an esadded ; still the preservation of them tate in this county, a great part of in their simple and original state is a which, lying along the Moray Frith, laudable and desirable object; and was, at some period not very well asthere is no doubt but an enlarged edi- certained, but certainly not
less than tion of that work, wherein elegance sixty years ago, covered with sand, and utility might be conjoined, is a
which had been blown from the westdesideratum in the vocal and musical ward, and overwhelmed the cultivated miscellanies of the day.
fields, so that the agriculturist was Observing that you had set out on forced to abandon them altogether. your miscellaneous career, with the My friend, soon after his purchase of resuscitation of some valuable old po- the estate, began the arduous but juetic lore, I have thrown these few cur dicious operation of trenching down sory remarks together, in hopes they the sand, and bringing to the surface may be instrumental in bringing to the original black mould. These opelight some more relics of the pastoral, rations of improvement were so proromantic, and rustic poetry of former ductive, as to induce the very intelliages, which
you will do well to pre- gent and enterprising proprietor to unserve, and of which the collectors of dertake, lately, a still more laborious songs and music may afterwards avail task ; viz. to trench down the superthemselves to their own advantage, and incumbent sand, on a part of the proWe have inserted our correspondent's feet deep.
perty where it was no less than eight remarks as they came to hand, though we profess ourselves ignorant with regard to the
Conceiving this to be a favourable ground of the charge that he makes against opportunity for trying some experiCromek. We trust he can make good his ments relative to the length of time assertion. It would be a curious instance which seeds preserve their power or of literary fraud.
EDITOR. vegetation, even when imniersed in
the soil, I procured from my friend a that, upon perceiving his situation, he quantity of the mould, taken fresh undressed himself, and plunged into from under the sand, and carefully the sea; seemingly with the intention avoiding any mixture of the latter. of attempting to drag the boat with This was instantly put into a jar, his clothes to land. Finding that, which was stopped up close, by means however, impracticable, he next at of a piece of bladder tied tightly over tempted returning to the boat, but its mouth. Having prepared a couple failed in getting into it, and with his of flower-pot flats, by drilling small struggling upset it; and there is not holes in the bottom of them, so as to a doubt but he must have perished, admit of the ascent of water, I filled had not some salmon-fishers been most the flats with some of the mould, and providentially employed within sight placing them in a very wide and shal- of him, and rowed to his assistance. low tub made on purpose, I covered By the time they reached him, he was each of them with a large glass receiver. nearly exhausted by his exertions; and Each receiver, however, was provided having been repeatedly completely unwith a brass rim, having little brass der water, was so benumbed with cold, knobs on it, so as to raise its edge from that they were obliged to strip them the bottom of the tub, and leave a small selves of what clothes they could spare, opening for the admission of air. The and put on him-his own being quite whole apparatus was placed in my wet from the upsetting of the boat. library, of which the door and win- They then very humanely brought dows were kept constantly shut. him home, carrying him great part of
This was done on the 17th of Feb- the way, until he recovered strength ruary last. It is now the 6th of May; and warmth sufficient to enable him and, on examining the flats, I find to walk. “ It is curious enough,” says about forty-six plants in them, ap- his intelligent sister, “ to observe the parently of four different kinds; but, sagacity displayed in some of his acas they are yet very young, I cannot tions. His shoes were found with a determine their species with any de- stocking and garter stuffed into each gree of accuracy. The final result of of them, and his tobacco-pipe in his the experiment I shall not fail to com- coat-pocket, rolled up in his neckcloth, municate to you."
The shoes (having got them on new
with when restored to him, they have DEAF BOY, JAMES MITCHELL, FROM
ing been found when the tide ebbed.
His first action, when I met him upon DR GORDON has lately read to the being brought home, wes to pull off a Royal Society of Edinburgh, a letter worsted night-cap, and give it to me, from Miss Mitchell, giving an ac with rather an odd expression of coun, count of the conduct of her brother, tenance. The men had been obliged the blind and deaf boy, some time ago, to put it on him, his hat having sharwhen in imminent danger of being ed the fate of his clothes in the boat; drowned.
and he certainly made a mostgrotesque There is a point of land leading appearance altogether, which he seemfrom Nairn (the town where he lives), ed to be in some degree aware of, as, along the side and to the mouth of the after getting on a dry suit of his own river, and which, with high tides, is clothes, he frequently burst out a overflowed by the sea, where there are laughing during the evening ; als boats frequently left fastened to some- though, upon the whole, he appeared thing for the purpose. He had been grayer, and more thoughtful than uin the habit, it seems, of going down sual. He has not suffered any injury to these boats; and had that day gone from this accident, which had so neardown and stepped into one of them as ly proved fatal to him.” His family usual.
Before he was aware, howe are in hopes that he has got a fright ever, he was afloat, and completely that will prevent his returning to the surrounded with water. Had he re same amusement again, although they mained quietly there until the tide have not yet recovered their former ebbed, he probably would not have confidence in his safety when absent been in any danger ; but instead of from them.
NARROW ESCAPE OF THE BLIND AND
EXTRACTS PROM A COMMUNICATION by the use of animal power, of machiņa
TO J, C. CURWEN, ESQ. CHAIRMAN ery, and of capital, are often insuffi OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE POOR
cient to make the earth repay the ex: LAWS..
penses of cultivating, sowing, and manuring it. How vain, then, must
appear the hope, that that object will Two errors, it seems to me, less difæ be effected, if the expense be increase ferent in their result than in their na ed more than fivefold! Gardens are ture, may be committed in legislating indeed cultivated profitably by the for our Poor ; the one, the seeking spade; but the system of gardening to patch up and amend a system which has narrow limits, being bounded by is defective in its very principle; and the demand for the produce, and stiil the other, the too rashly embracing more by the means and cost of procurof visionary schemes. By the first, ing manures. If we will calculate we may give permanency to evils which too, how little of the time of Mr a firmer policy could remove; by the Owen's poor could be spared from the second, we may be so entangled in labours of tillage, we must suppose costly and unavailing projects, as to the profits of manufactures to be great be forced, after a time, to retrace our indeed, to support, even on the scansteps.
tiest fare, such a numerous society. Of those plans of provision for the But even if we can believe that such poor which have been made known, an establishment could repay its exthat of Mr Owen seems to be treated penses and support its members; and by the public with the greatest favour. if all the objections could be obviated The favour, however, is perhaps more which arise from the vast numbers of due to the benevolence of the author, those institutions which would need than to the merits of his design. To to be formed, to maintain our excresme, at least, it appears, that though cent population, and from the turnMr Owen may have succeeded in a ing of so many thousand acres from partial experiment, his system, as the profitable cultivation into the most. permanent one of a great and popu- wasteful system of management that lous nation, would be impracticable can be devised; still I maintain, that in the ultimate execution, and would the system is founded on principles lead, in the attempt, to innumerable very different from those which will evils.
ever enable us to better the condition, In the opinion of this gentleman, and eradicate the vices, of the labourso great has been the lessening of the ing
poor. need of human labour by the use of The argument for resorting to this machinery, and so diminished will be system is founded upon an assumption the demand for the products of our unsupported by experience, and withindustry by the cessation of war, that out evidence or probability to support we shall never be able to employ our it-namely, that the simplification of whole people as in the times that are labour by mechanism, and the ceasing past; we must now afford them em- of the demand for warlike stores, will ployment for no other purpose than render it impossible for us to employ, to keep them from vice and idleness. as hitherto, our manufacturing popuTo this end it is proposed, that we lation. That many thousand labourshall form societies of 1200 or 1500 ers, artisans, and traders, derived their persons, and purchase an equal num- chief or entire subsistence from the ber of acres of land, to be cultivated preparation and sale of those .commoentirely by human labour. The time dities which the demands of war callthat can be spered from this occupa- ed forth, is true; but shall we believe tion by the men, and a part of the that the opening of so many markets time of the women and children, are formerly closed against us, and that to be employed in certain manufac- the prosperity which we may reasontures, from the profits of which the ably hope from a commerce interrupt. whole expenses of the establishment ed only by the rivalship of less skilful are to be defrayed, and the inhabitants and less wealthy nations, will not insupported in a little Utopian common- demnify us for the loss of our warlike wealth.
manufactures ?-The cheapness with Now, it is known, that all the enwhich the objects of luxury and use ergy and frugality of a farmer, aided can be supplied, have never yet failed
to increase the demand in a corres- structive lesson—that is, in its origin, ponding ratio. At this time, depress- and before it has degenerated into ao ed and impoverished as the nations a- buse; for in this state it may still be round us are, there is no such decay of said to be in most parts of Scotland: our exports, as to justify an opinion, and I have observed, that nothing is that we shall not be able to export as more hurtful to the morals and usemuch of the products of our industry fulness of the poor, than removing as ever. The most important of all from them, in the least, the shame of our markets, that of the home con- dependence. Even the slight provisumer, will still be open to us; and, sion which we make in Scotland, .is as before, we shall have the markets universally admitted to produce, on the of colonies, which are themselves an manners of the lower classes, a result empire. Surely, from the mere ap- that is to be deplored. This is maniprehension of an improbable event, it fested in many ways; but in nothing were a rash policy to establish amongst more than in the change of treatment us a new and permanent system of de- to which it exposes the old and infirm, pendence on public support, and in- from those who are bound by the ties stead of cherishing sentiments of in- of nature to support them. Formerly, dependence amongst the poor, to in- the poorest person who was blessed vite them to live on alms and a come with health would have held it scanmon; to relinquish, on some hundred dalous to have suffered a parent or a thousand acres, all the benefits we de near friend to depend on the public rive from the improvements in the arts for support. But every parish meetof tillage; and to make it better for a ing, now, furnishes evidence that this man to live on a public provision, than honourable feeling decays with the into offer his services where they could crease of the public bounty. be most useful. No political evil will In short, sir, it seems to me, that more certainly work its own cure than we cannot commit a greater error, in that over.cheapness of labour, which legislating on this subject, than to we are advised to prevent by artificial make it better for the poor to depend regulations. The cheapness of labour, on the public than on themselves for as of most things besides, increases the the means of life, or in any way to demand for it, by rendering the em train them to dependence by removployment of it more profitable.-In ing the shame of it. Mr Owen, how. our country, from 20 to 30 millions ever, by the tempting allurement of sterling have been annually lent by comforts, invites his poor to depend individuals to the state, and thence, upon a public provision. He does inby the purchase of warlike stores and deed propose to make them work, and the various expenditure of govern- he hopes to make them virtuous; but ment, sent again, by innumerable their labour will be useless to the comramifications, into the
general circula- monwealth ; the manner of employing tion. A great part of this vast sum, it will have all the effects of a charity; by being now employed directly in and their virtues will not be those of objects of private or public utility, men trained to an honest reliance on in new manufactures, canals, harbours, their own industry. railways, buildings, the embellishment Of the two classes of people who, or improvement of landed property, by usage or the law, are the subjects &c. &c.--will give employment to our of parish support, the one consists of population, and raise the rate of la- those who are disabled by age or natbour, in like manner, as the former ural infirmity from earning to themexpenditure of the state. Emigration, selves a subsistence; the other of too, will relieve us of part of our un those who possess the physical power, employed poor, and that assuredly to but who are supposed to be destitute no trivial extent, if the rate of labour of the means to obtain that return for shall be very low.
their labour which will afford them a
livelihood. The first deserves all the You, sir, have had an opportunity sympathy which is due to age and misof marking the effects of a public pro- fortune ; and though it would be well vision for the poor, in the fulness of that the task of relieving their wants the abuse of the system. I have had were exercised by those on whom pathe means of marking its cffects, at a ture imposes it as a duty, yet, in the time when it affords a hardly less in- present corrupt state of this part of
society we cannot always entrust those who was capable of labour, the means unhappy persons to kinsmen who may of finding employment, we should go bė unjust and cruel, and whom cus far to lay the axe to the root of all this tom has long released from a natural monstrous system of abuse and error. obligation.
'Tis then the two classes of poor would But of those whose claim for public be entirely separated ; no one whom support is founded on their inability nature had not unfitted for toil could to procure a return for that industry be held to have a claim for public which they are able to exert, every support ; and the whole object of the reasonable claim will be satisfied, if laws would be confined to a part of they are presented with an object for the poor which does not perhaps extheir industry, and a return for its ex ceed one-fifth of those to whom assista ercise. It were well that they them- ance is now afforded. selves were forced to seek for the one, These things are necessary,
if and, like the inhabitants of every other would accomplish this great work : country, to take the market value of the labouring poor must be contented the other. But the greatness of our to receive the market value of their manufacturing population, the sudden labour, as they would be forced to do variations of commerce, the increase in every country but their own; and of our numbers, long use, and the dis- if the community shall supply them missal from the service of the state of with objects of industry, they must thousands who were formerly main- look for no better return for it than tained by it-render a return to this will afford them food and raiment, natural state impracticable for the which we may consider as the minia present, and will probably render it so mum rate of labour in a prosperous for as long a time as any of this gene- country. The community, again, in ration has to live. Necessity, there. affording the materials of industry, fore, will impose on the community and in placing them within the reach the burden of affording support to of every person, must be careful to those who are destitute of the means hold out no boon for the people to of obtaining employment; but neither labour for the public rather than for necessity nor humanity call upon the themselves, or for those who can empublic to minister, as hitherto, to ha- ploy them. bits of vice and excess, and to cherish By adopting a plan founded on these idleness by an indiscreet profusion. principles, we should enable every per. It were idle to descant on the evils of son to procure to himself a maintensuch a course. Our present system ance, without being beholden to any has, for more than a century, been a species of degrading charity; we should source of vexation and abuse. The not interfere injuriously with the price laws of settlement, to which it has of labour, but should suffer it to rise given birth, are, perhaps, beyond all or fall, as it ever ought, with the delaws that ever were devised, perplexed mand for it, and the profits of it; we and confused—are the source of innu- should teach the labouring classes to merable frauds and never ending liti- resort to the frugal habits becoming gation, and subject the poor of Eng. their condition in life, and most suited land to a tyranny and control unsuite to their own lappiness and virtue ; able to the spirit of a free people. Our and we should wonderfully simplify fatal desire to promote the comfort of the business of legislating for the poor, the poor has rendered every eighth by rendering none but the really helpperson a beggar, in a country where less the objects of parish support. All the demand and reward for industry but these unfortunate persons might have been greater than in any other in have employment, if they chose to acEurope; has removed from many cept of such an equivalent as the prohundred thousand souls the shame of fits of it could afford: if they would dependence on a public charity ; and, not-if they would renounce none of in rendering the old degraded and de- their luxuries when the rate of labour praved, has contaminated the young was low-not even the dear delights of to future times.
the gin shop—the folly and the punI presume to think, that if a method ishment would be all their own. If could be devised, cheap, simple, and the poor of England shall be able to of easy execution, to afford to every indulge in habits unknown to the poor person, of either sex and of every age, of any nation in Europe, it will be