Imágenes de páginas


Of the history of the town of Windsor, I cannot find anything that is not comprised in the history of the Castle, of which the town is strictly the dependant and the creature. The population is about seven thousand. Two Members are returned to Parliament, and the town is governed by a Mayor, Aldermen, and Councillors.

There is no object of particular curiosity in the town, unless we choose to except a stroke of sly humour displayed by Sir Christopher Wren, who, having finished the Town Hall, was remonstrated with by some of the more portly burgesses upon the apparent want of stability of the edifice. In order to allay, while he rebuked their groundless fear, he erected six stone pillars, without, however, allowing them to touch the beams they appear intended to uphold. The corpulent citizens, however, trusted their valuable lives to the deceptive supporters, and dismissing further solicitude, “greatly daring, dined.

We must by no means omit an example of the sublime profound—the bathos of servile adulation, as exhibited in a Latin inscription on the base of a statue of Queen Anne which ornaments the Town Hall. We subjoin a translation :

Sculptor, thy art is vain. It cannot trace
The semblance of the Royal Anna's grace.
Thou mayest as soon to high Olympus fly
And carve the model of some deity.

S. CHAPMAN, Mayor.

When we recollect that Queen Anne was, without flattery, the plainest of the plain, we will be obliged to give Mr. Chapman, Mayor, credit for excess of loyalty, or rather, in the words of Ben Jonson, he would seem to have

“ Understood things as most chapmen do!”

It would be improper not to make honourable mention of an institution founded here by a benevolent gentleman, Mr. Samuel Travers, for the provision of seven superannuated or disabled lieutenants in the navy, who reside here in handsome apartments, and mess together. The building stands at the end of Datchet Lane, and commands, from its neatly-kept garden, a fine view of the Castle.

If the happiness and comfort of the inmates of any institution, where the inmates are gentlemen, were to be considered, the provision intended for them by their generous benefactor should never be made dependent upon their leading a solitary conventual life—a barbarous relic of the monkish period. Age and infirmity require the privilege of living where they please-pleasant converse of intimates chosen by themselves, and above all the sweet solicitude of female relations or friends; nor, perhaps, is there any condition of life more opposed to happiness than that of a number of sick and infirm gentlemen compelled to live as it were on shipboard, to depend upon their own, or each other's resources, and to mess together. It is like putting sick lions in the same cage; there can be neither comfort nor retirement—the best medicines for the age that succeeds a weather-beaten youth.

The true philanthropist, in conferring a benefit, will rather strive to hide its eleemosynary character from the receivers, or at all events, if he cannot prevent that which he gives being considered as a gift, he will not neutralise the benefit to be derived from it, by clogging its dispensation with conditions incompatible with happiness. He who provides for gentlemen upon condition that they shall live solitarily within four walls, in age and infirmity, apart from relatives and friends, may be said only to perpetuate his ostentatious benevolence by a monument whose statues are alive.




« AnteriorContinuar »