Imágenes de páginas

revenge gross insults and injuries. There was deep and wide discontent among our people ; but, for want of good leaders, it knew not how effectually to express itself. Great forces were arrayed against our government; but they were divided and uncertain of plans of action. Nature, at last, seemed to array herself on the side of the people, and by threatening them with famine aroused them to revenge.

We had two insufficient harvests, and the roots upon which a great part of our population (especially in the smaller island) subsisted were destroyed by a blight. The extreme peril of keeping a large portion of our population continually just upon the brink of starvation (and this in one of the most fertile islands on the globe !) had frequently been exposed ; but all reasonings were lost upon men who, though adorned with high titles, lay and spiritual, were only distinguished by their larger plunder, which the protection of conventional law gave to them.

At last the people arose, and the indig which had been gathering for many years of oppression, broke out in a terrible storin.

As the winter came on its gloom was lit up by incendiary fires. We poured our soldiers into the country, and presented what we called justice to the country, in the shape of a host of bristling bayonets, while the maddened people armed themselves against us with the agricultural implements which we had prevented them from employing in a more peaceable way.

Meanwhile there were large and formidable bands of malcontents in the larger island, who had only waited for a favourable opportunity of insurrection. Meetings of tens of thousands were held in the open air all over the country, to denounce the ruling policy. The miners met together in vast congregations on the moors in the north ; the manufacturing people refused to labour until our government would resign; and even the peasantry caught the prevailing discontent, and met together to propose carrying out reform with scythes and pitch-forks.

Constantine was the only man in high places who had long been aware of the extent of our peril. IIe had attached to his views a considerable number of men of intellect and moral influence, whom he now despatched into the disturbed parts of the country, to exhort the people to abandon all unlawful and violent measures, and to convert that which threatened to become a sanguinary contest into a moral argument. These superior and

rational reformers fultilled their duts often at the risk of their own lives; but their success was considerable, and to their efforts rather than to any mea-ures of our government the deliverance of our country musi lie a-cribed. The doctrines which they taught were those whick l'onstantine maintained in his addresses to the people.

- The si:rest in-," said he, of a people contending, not for vill license, but for right, are determination and patience. Lay

down these rude instruments of illage Warfare. Be men ! Fight mrally, intellectually, siliciou-lv. Trouse the consciences of your oppressors by the utterance of truth. spread your convictions until you gain a moral and intller-tual majority before which men only armeil with steel and empowiler will quail. If you contend for the right the power is yours, in the victory will surely be yours; but be patient -- it the truth is in you, you will be patient—the work of an age cannot be done in a day. The work of the mind cannot be done with clubs and brick-lats. Error is hasty and violent, because it knows that its time is short: truth is patient and forbearing, for it knows that the ages to come will be devoted to its triumphs. Be firm ; be peaceable ; and your wildren will live to bless the hands that heathed the world, and the lips that proclaimed the truth.”

Constantine's speeches in the senate were in: plain and bold as those which he adressed to the populace.

“Even now it is not too late," said he ; " though we have around us the elements of anarely, I still believe in the power of honest and benevolent liearts. Litlis :peak to the people plainly and faithfuily, as men should speak to men. Let us confess the errors of our government, and promise that they shall be speedily corrected. Let our aristocracy, if they can, renounce the conventional corruptions which threaten to involve us all in ruin, and return to the normal relations which God has established between the rich and the poor. None will deny that the evils of our present condition are great: our deliverance from them will demand great sacrifices from our selfishness and prejudices; but the

way is simple. We need no new invention : we have had too many in provements upon the old laws which are the basis of that religion which we still profess. To these old laws, and to institutions in accordance with them, let us return. Reverend fathers, who sit here among us to remind us that laws from heaven should preside over all carthly politics, I pray you discharge your duty

more boldly. Exhort the teachers of the people who are under you to lay aside the wordy disputes of centuries as not worth the ink in which they have been written, and to return, both in teaching and in practice, to the original faith. A dozen words out of your inspired book, thoroughly believed and put into operation, will save this nation :


“ Amen!” said a young sprig of the aristocracy, with an assumed nasal twang like that of a parish-clerk, as Constantine concluded his address. But the prospects of our aristocracy were soon too serious to admit of joking. Many of our country residences were burned and pillaged, and our standing army was insufficient to quell the universal disorder. No doubt, tlic exertions of Constantine in a great measure softened the violence of the popular storm that was rising ; but in some parts of the country the disturbances were alarming, and especially in the district where my country residence was situated.

I have omitted to mention that my only son was in love with the daughter of Constantine. I had left him in our mansion, near the city, where the disturbance first assumed an alarming character. Unhappily, the popular anger, from which I had made an escape into secrecy, directed itself against my son, though he had never taken any serious part in political affairs. An infuriated mob had taken possession of the city, and filled the streets with curses upon my name and the names of my colleagues in government. The churches were demolished, houses were burned, and at last, the whole fury of the mob gathered around the mansion in which my son had imprudently remained. Meanwhile, in the hour of peril, the daughter of Constantine had found her way to my residence, to exhort her lover to flee from the danger ; but her advice was too late. On all sides the house was surrounded by a gathering crowd of men, women, and children, demanding the surrender of the place, and crying fiercely “Give up the traitor !” For a short time the few servants within the house made a show of defence ; but this only more exasperated the mob : several parts of the house were soon in flames ; doors and windows were crashed, and, as the fierce crowd poured into the rooms, with triumphant shouts and execrations, the daughter of Constantine, overcome with terror, died in her lover's arms. The house was a smoking ruin

before the military arrived to re-tore oriler in the city; and when I returned in the evening. I found my son standing, in dumb despair, beside the Wacked pil. Illd me to a neighbouring house, where lay the corpore of his promised bride. Ile stooped and kissed her pallidl face; then sail, See, thus mysteriously the innocent utför for the cuilly: Sir, I do not curse the miserable creatures who were her murderers; but I curse that system of policy which dergradul those relandrove them to desperation."

The death of that one good and wantle creature had a more subduing intinence upon the feelings of the populace than all our military movement in consentine followed his daughter to the grave, many of the peopentant people walked after him in sorlow.

In a tow days the ilgitution of the country subsided, and confidence and hope were l'entoreil ::- it became known that the government was to be placed in the hands of Constantine. Since then I have wi!

Wred to imel tro in the earth, repenting of a career of injustices

. I have one singular gift box which I can recognize, at a glance, any of the descendants of my once proud and wealthy colleagues in the government. I have seen these sons of noble familie- recluced to the most decraded situations, and unconsciously bearing the burden of micry which their fathers imposed upon the prople. But my operience has some consolation, as I see the pirit of contantine still living and moving among the people, delighted with the gradual fultilment of his benevolent designs.

Last ove, il rill of waters sort and clear
Attuned its gladsome voice; it.comthing lay,
Most eloquent, it fell upon mine car,
Making the night pass musical away.
The spirits of all liappy thoughts seemed near,
Granting the heart swert holiday from tivar
Of worldly griefs, and heavy cares of clay.
And lo! anon the moon shone ver the parth,
Revealing, half in shaile, the streamlet's birth.
A mortal symbol did the view display:
That little fount a type of some fair life
That through the lights and shadows in its course
Passes, unmindful of world-pomps or strife----
Its death as peaceful as its quiet source.

W. BrailSFORD.



[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

CRINKUM CRANKUM always had a will of his own: I mean, his grandmother and the elderly ladies of the family used to say so. But whether they really knew anything about it, or only spoke from

guess, I will not undertake to say. I am the more diffident about making any assertion on this point,' from the fact that Master Solomon Soundcap, the village apothecary, who knew every argument in Jonathan Edwards by heart, always maintained that the question of the will was one with which his neighbour Crinkum ought never to be mixed up. Master Solomon's notion was, that the whole family of the Crankums had invariably been governed by whim rather than will.

“ The will, sir,” Master Solomon would say, suspending any compounding operation in which he happened to be busied, and laying his forefingers across, while he looked as potently logical as any pleader at Equity,—" the will, sir, is too high a faculty to be confounded with the mere fits and starts of a man who never looks before he leaps; it is determined by motive, and is, therefore, a faculty related to the human reason or understanding, not to the passions. A man who is governed by impulse, or rather, who is under no government at all, ought to be regarded as a mere compages


gross animal matter, through which runs the smallest modicum of nervous fluid, just to render it sensitive. And such, sir, are the constituents of all the Crankums: ergo, you may safely assert that my neighbour has whims, but not a will of his own.

Now, I do not say that Master Solomon Soundcap convinced me that he understood this profouud subject any more thau did Crinkum Crankum’s grandmother. Nevertheless, his mode of argument, with his reputation as a reasoner, were so imposing to one but little acquainted with the mazes of metaplıysics, that, as I have observed before, I am somewhat diffident of placing my own immature opinion in contradiction to his.

« AnteriorContinuar »