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gain immensely by the change; and cipal settlement of the Canadas, the that the proceeds of the vast tracts of fall alike of the fabric of the political country lying north and north-west enthusiast and the fortress of the of the Canadas, their fisheries, their despot in Europe, must cost, it seems, mineral resources, and their other the colonies that government which unused and unappropriated wealth in bore freedom aloft through the wild timber and other things, might be storm. England has stood upon a converted into a sinking fund by the rock, and, after pointing out to her united governments of England and colonies the wreck of human instituher colonies, that, in its effects, might tions, she is about to push them off astonish both England and the world. to share the fate she has taught them We can but throw out the suggestion; so much to dread. If England has it is for others to consider it.
the heart to do it, it must be done. But if the connexion of the colonies Three millions of people will cease to with Great Britain is to be made a say “God save the Queen !” The mere matter of time and convenience, sun will set upon her empire. Full as to when it shall end, or how, then many an honest tear will be shed at it is of little use in hoping much, or hearing that it must. Full many a thinking deeply, upon what may be heart will be torn from what it would pregnant with such vast consequences but too gladly die for. But the days to England's race in America, and of chivalry are gone; the days of even America's own race in it. A time, memory are fied. The selfish, merit would seem, which has tanght cenary nineteenth century will be Britons to know what their institu- marked with the loss of the best jewel tions are worth, must cost them in in Britain's crown, America these institutions. A time, HAMILTON, CANADA WEST, which has exhibited, during the prin
THE ENGLISH MAIL-COACH, OR THE GLORY OF MOTION.
SOME twenty or more vears before first, through velocity, at that time I matriculated at Oxford, Mr Palmer, unprecedented; they first revealed the M.P. for Bath, had accomplished two glory of motion : suggesting, at the things, very hard to do on our little same time, an under-sense, not wplanet, the Earth, however cheap they pleasurable, of possible though indefimay happen to be held by the eccen- nite danger; secondly, through grand tric people in comets: he had invented effects for the eye between lamp-light mail-coaches, and he had married the and the darkness upon solitary roads; daughter* of a duke. He was, there- thirdly, through animal beauty and fore, just twice as great a man as Ga-' power so often displayed in the class lileo, who certainly invented (or dis- of horses selected for this mail sercovered) the satellites of Jupiter, those vice; fourthly, through the conscious very next things extant to mail-coaches presence of a central intellect, that, in in the two capital points of speed and the midst of vast distances, t of storms, keeping time, but who did not marry of darkness, of night, overruled all the daughter of a duke.
obstacles into one steady co-operation These mail-coaches, as organised in a national result. To my own feelby Mr Palmer, are entitled to a cir- ing, this Post-office service recalled cumstantial notice from myself-hay- some mighty orchestra, where a thouing had so large a share in developing sand instruments, all disregarding each the anarchies of my subsequent dreams, other, and so far in danger of discord, an agency which they accomplished, yet all obedient as slaves to the
* Lady Madeline Gordon.
* “ Vast distances.”-One case was familiar to mail-coach travellers, where two mails in opposite directions, north and south, starting at the same minute from points six hundred miles apart, met almost constantly at a particular bridge which exactly bisected the total distance.
supreme baton of some great leader, accordingly, it was possible that a terminate in a perfection of harmony student might have a reason for going like that of heart, veins, and arteries, down to his home four times in the in a healthy animal organisation. But, year. This made eight journeys to finally, that particular element in this and fro. And as these homes lay whole combination which most im- dispersed through all the shires of the pressed myself, and through which it island, and most of us disdained all is that to this hour Mir Palmer's mail- coaches except his majesty's mail, no coach system tyrannises by terror and city ont of London could pretend to terrific beauty over my dreams, lay in so extensive a connexion with Mr the awful political mission which at Palmer's establishment as Oxford. that time it fulfilled. The mail.coaches Naturally, therefore, it became a it was that distributed over the face point of some interest with us, whose of the land, like the opening of apoca- journeys revolved every six weeks on lyptic vials, the heart-shaking news an average, to look a little into the of Trafalgar, of Salamanca, of Vitto- executive details of the system. With ria, of Waterloo. These were the har- some of these Mr Palmer had no convests that, in the grandeur of their cern; they rested upon bye-laws not reaping, redeemed the tears and blood unreasonable, enacted by postingin which they had been sown. Neither houses for their own benefit, and upon was the meanest peasant so much be- others equally stern, enacted by the low the grandeur and the sorrow of the inside passengers for the illustration times as to confound these battles, of their own exclusiveness. These last which were gradually moulding the were of a nature to rouse our scorn, destinies of Christendom, with the vul- from which the transition was not gar conflicts of ordinary warfare, which very long to mutiny. Up to this time, are oftentimes but gladiatorial trials it had been the fixed assumption of of national prowess. The victories of the four inside people, (as an old traEngland in this stupendous contest dition of all public carriages from the rose of themselves as natural Te Deums reign of Charles II.,) that they, the to heaven ; and it was felt by the illustrious quaternion, constituted a thoughtful that such victories, at such porcelain variety of the human race, a crisis of general prostration, were whose dignity would have been comnot more beneficial to ourselves than promised by exchanging one word of finally to France, and to the nations civility with the three miserable delf of western and central Europe, through ware outsides. Even to have kicked whose pusillanimity it was that the an outsider might have been held to French domination had prospered. attaint the foot concerned in that opera
The mail-coach, as the national tion; so that, perhaps, it would have organ for publishing these mighty required an act of parliament to restore events, became itself a spiritualised its purity of blood. What words, and glorified object to an impassioned 'then, could express the horror, and heart; and naturally, in the Oxford the sense of treason, in that case, of that day, all hearts were awakened. which had happened, where all three There were, perhaps, of us gownsmen, outsides, the trinity of Pariahs, made two thousand resident * in Oxford, a vain attempt to sit down at the and dispersed through five-and-twenty same breakfast-table or dinner-table colleges. In some of these the custom with the consecrated four? I myself permitted the student to keep what witnessed such an attempt ; and on are called “short terms;" that is, the that occasion a benevolent old gentlefour terms of Michaelmas, Lent, man endeavoured to soothe his three Easter, and Act, were kept severally holy associates, by suggesting that, if by a residence, in the aggregate, of the outsides were indicted for this ninety-one days, or thirteen wecks. criminal attempt at the next assizes, Toder this interrupted residence, the court would regard it as a case of
*“ R eilent."'-- The number on the books was far greater, many of whom kept up an intermitting communication with Oxford. But I speak of those only who were steadily pursuing their academic studies, and of those who resided constantly as lunacy (or delirium tremens) rather the case of the theatre, it cannot be than of treason. England owes much pretended that the inferior situations of her grandeur to the depth of the have any separate attractions, unless aristocratic element in her social com- the pit suits the purpose of the dramaposition. I am not the man to laugh tic reporter. But the reporter or at it. But sometimes it expressed critic is a rarity. For most people, itself in extravagant shapes. The the sole benefit is in the price. Wherecourse taken with the infatuated out. as, on the contrary, the outside of the siders, in the particular attempt which mail had its own incommunicable adI have noticed, was, that the waiter, vantages. These we could not forego. beckoning them away from the privi. The higher price we should willingly leged salle-à-manger, sang out, " This have paid, but that was connected with way, my good men;" and then enticed the condition of riding inside, which them away off to the kitchen. But was insufferable. The air, the freethat plan had not always answered. dom of prospect, the proximity to the Sometimes, though very rarely, cases horses, the elevation of scat-these occurred where the intruders, being were what we desired; but, above all, stronger than usual, or more vicious the certain anticipation of purchasing than usual, resolutely refused to move, occasional opportunities of driving. and so far carried their point, as to Under coercion of this great prachave a separate table arranged for tical difficulty, we instituted a searchthemselves in a corner of the room. ing inquiry into the true quality and Yet, if an Indian screen could be found valuation of the different apartments ample enough to plant them out from about the mail. We conducted this the very eyes of the high table, or inquiry on metaphysical principles; dais, it then became possible to as- and it was ascertained satisfactorily, sume as a fiction of law-that the that the roof of the coach, which some three delf fellows, after all, were not had affected to call the attics, and present. They could be ignored by the some the garrets, was really the draw. porcelain men, under the maxim, that ing-room, and the box was the chief objects not appearing, and not exist- ottoman or sofa in that drawinging, are governed by the same logical room; whilst it appeared that the construction.
inside, which had been traditionally Such now being, at that time, the regarded as the only room tenantable usages of mail-coaches, what was to by gentlemen, was, in fact, the coalbe done by us of young Oxford? We, cellar in disguise. the most aristocratic of people, who Great wits jump. The very same were addicted to the practice of look- idea had not long before struck the ing down superciliously even upon the celestial intellect of China. Amongst insides themselves as often very sus. the presents carried out by our first picious characters, were we voluntarily embassy to that country was a stateto court indignities? If our dress and coach. It had been specially selected bearing sheltered us, generally, from as a personal gift by George III. ; but the suspicion of being “raff," (the the exact mode of using it was a name at that period for “ snobs,'*) mystery to Pekin. The ambassador, we really were such constructively, by indeed, (Lord Macartney,) had made the place we assumed. If we did not some dim and imperfect explanations submit to the deep shadow of eclipse, upon the point; but as his excellency we entered at least the skirts of its communicated these in a diplomatic penumbra. And the analogy of theatres whisper, at the very moment of his was urged against us, where no man departure, the celestial mind was very can complain of the annoyances inci- feebly illuminated ; and it became dent to the pit or gallery, having his necessary to call a cabinet council on instant remedy in paying the higher the grand state question—" Where price of the boxes. But the sound was the emperor to sit?” The hamness of this analogy we disputed. In mer-cloth happened to be unusually
* “ Snobs," and its antithesis, “nobs," arose ainong the internal factions of shoemakers perhaps ten years later. Possibly enough, the terms may have existed much earlier; but they were then first made known, picturesquely and effectively, by a trial at some assizes which happened to fix the public attention. VOL. LXVI.-20. CCCCVIII.
gorgeous; and partly on that con- respectable, and notorious for affectsideration, but partly also because the ing the chief seats in synagogues, had box offered the most elevated seat, at first loudly opposed this revoluand undeniably went foremost, it was tion; but when all opposition showed resolved by acclamation that the box itself to be ineffectual, our disagreeable was the imperial place, and, for the friend went into it with headlong zeal. scoundrel who drove, he might sit At first it was a sort of race between where he could find a perch. The us; and, as the public is usually above horses, therefore, being harnessed, 30, (say generally from 30 to 50 years under a flourish of music and a salute old,) naturally we of young Oxford, of guns, solemnly his imperial majesty that averaged about 20, had the adascended his new English throne, vantage. Then the public took to having the first lord of the treasury bribing, giving fees to horse-keepers, on his right hand, and the chief jester &c., who hired out their persons as on his left. Pekin gloried in the spec- warming-pans on the box-seat. That, tacle; and in the whole flowery you know, was shocking to our moral people, constructively present by re- sensibilities. Come to bribery, we presentation, there was but one dis- observed, and there is an end to all contented person, which was the morality, Aristotle's, Cicero's, or anycoachman. This mutinous individual, body's. And, besides, of what use looking as blackhearted as he really was it? For we bribed also. And was, audaciously shouted-“ Where as our bribes to those of the public am I to sit?" But the privy council, being demonstrated out of Euclid to incensed by his disloyalty, unani. be as five shillings to sixpence, here mously opened the door, and kicked again young Oxford had the advanhim into the inside. He had all the tage. But the contest was ruinous to inside places to himself; but such is the the principles of the stable-establishrapacity of ambition, that he was still ment about the mails. The whole dissatisfied. “I say," he cried out in corporation was constantly bribed, an extempore petition, addressed to rebribed, and often sur-rebribed; so the emperor through a window, “how that a horse-keeper, ostler, or helper, am I to catch hold of the reins ? ?- was held by the philosophical at that * Any how," was the answer; “ don't time to be the most corrupt character trouble me, man, in my glory; through in the nation. the windows, through the key-holes There was an impression upon the - how you please.” Finally, this public mind, natural enough from the contumacious coachman lengthened continually augmenting velocity of the checkstrings into a sort of jury- the mail, but quite erroneous, that an reins, communicating with the horses; outside seat on this class of carriages with these he drove as steadily as was a post of danger. On the conmay be supposed. The emperor re- trary, I maintained that, if a man had turned after the briefest of circuits: become nervous from some gipsy prehe descended in great pomp from his diction in his childhood, allocating to throne, with the severest resolution a particular moon now approaching never to remount it. A public thanks- some unknown danger, and he should giving was ordered for his majesty's inquire earnestly, — "Whither can I prosperous escape from the disease of go for shelter? Is a prison the safest a broken neck; and the state-coach retreat? Or a lunatic hospital ? Or was dedicated for ever as a votive the British Museum ?" I should have offering to the God Fo, Fo-whom the replied—“Oh, no; I'll tell you what learned more accurately call Fi, Fi. to do. Take lodgings for the next
A revolution of this same Chinese forty days on the box of his majesty's character did young Oxford of that mail. Nobody can touch you there. era effect in the constitution of mail. If it is by bills at ninety days after coach society. It was a perfect date that you are made unhappy-if French revolution ; and we had good noters and protesters are the sort of reason to say, Cairn. In fact, it wretches whose astrological shadows soon became too popular. The " pub- darken the house of life-then note lic," a well-known character, par. you what I vehemently protest, viz., ticularly disagreeable, though slightly that no matter though the sheriff in
every county should be running after worthy brother and next-door neighyou with his posse, touch a hair of bour Ucalegon. The coachman said your head he cannot whilst you keep nothing, but by his faint sceptical house, and have your legal domicile, smile he seemed to be thinking that on the box of the mail. It's felony he knew better; for that in fact, Ucato stop the mail; even the sheriff legon, as it happened, was not in the cannot do that. And an extra (no way-bill. great matter if it grazes the sheriff) No dignity is perfect which does touch of the whip to the leaders at not at some point ally itself with the any time guarantees your safety." In indeterminate and mysterious. The fact, a bed-room in a quiet house connexion of the mail with the state seems a safe enough retreat; yet it is and the executive government - a liable to its own notorious nuisances, connexion obvious, but yet not strictly to robbers by night, to rats, to fire. defined-gave to the whole mail estabBut the mail laughs at these terrors. lishment a grandeur and an official To robbers, the answer is packed up authority which did us service on the and ready for delivery in the barrel of roads, and invested us with seasonthe guard's blunderbuss. Rats again! able terrors. But perhaps these there are none about mail-coaches, terrors were not the less impressive, any more than snakes in Von Troil's because their exact legal limits were Iceland; except, indeed, now and imperfectly ascertained. Look at then a parliamentary rat, who always those turnpike gates; with what dehides his shame in the coal-cellar.” ferential hurry, with what an obedient And, as to fire, I never knew but one start, they fly open at our approach ! in a mail-coach, which was in the Look at that long line of carts and Exeter mail, and caused by an obsti- carters ahead, audaciously usurping nate sailor bound to Devonport. the very crest of the road : ah! traiJack, making light of the law and tors, they do not hear us as yet, but the lawgiver that had set their as soon as the dreadful blast of our faces against his offence, insisted horn reaches them with the proclamaon taking up a forbidden seat in the tion of our approach, see with what rear of the roof, from which he frenzy of trepidation they fly to their could exchange his own yarns with horses' heads, and deprecate our those of the guard. No greater wrath by the precipitation of their offence was then known to mail. crane-neck quarterings. Treason they coaches; it was treason, it was læsa feel to be their crime; each individual majestas, it was by tendency arson; carter feels himself under the ban of and the ashes of Jack's pipe, falling confiscation and attainder : his blood amongst the straw of the hinder boot, is attainted through six generations, containing the mail-bags, raised a and nothing is wanting but the headsflame which (aided by the wind of man and his axe, the block and the our motion ) threatened a revolution sawdust, to close up the vista of his in the republic of letters. But even horrors. What! shall it be within this left the sanctity of the box un- benefit of clergy, to delay the king's violated. In dignified repose, the message on the highroad ?-to intercoachman and myself sat on, resting rupt the great respirations, ebb or with benign composure upon our flood, of the national intercourseknowledge-that the fire would have to endanger the safety of tidings to burn its way through four inside running day and night between all passengers before it could reach our nations and languages? Or can it selves. With a quotation rather too be fancied, amongst the weakest of trite, I remarked to the coachman,- men, that the bodies of the criminals
will be given up to their widows for —“ Jam proximus ardet Ucalegon."
Christian burial? Now, the doubts
which were raised as to our powers But, recollecting that the Virgilian did more to wrap them in terror, by part of his education might have been wrapping them in uncertainty, than neglected, I interpreted so far as to could have been effected by the say, that perhaps at that moment the sharpest definitions of the law from flames were catching hold of our the Quarter Sessions. We, on our