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Christian country? Are these the actions of a nation upon which the light of the Gospel has shone ? An indelible stain remains upon the events of that day. It remains on the Records of Heaven, a lasting stigma on those who participated in such inhumanity. May succeeding generations, upon reading the scene which I have just recounted, be warned from that degradation of human nature, to which our countrymen were precipitated by popular Prejudice !
Hitherto, we have viewed Prejudice, and the evils it produces in Public affairs. We have seen to what an excess it has been carried; to what madness and rage it has excited a whole people. We will now make a few observations on its effects in the more immediate concerns of private life.
Nothing is, I think, more conducive to quarrels, jealousies, and heart-burnings in every family, than the foolish partiality which some parents show to a favourite child; while they neglect; or even treat with severity, some other of their offspring. This conduct may be defined, Parental Prejudice. And here it is to be observed that those parents fall into a double error; for while they, from some trifling and ridiculous cause, take a dislike to one child, and make use of every opportunity to afflict and torment him ; while they magnify all his small failings, and pass over his good qualities without notice, they will most probably behave as absurdly in the reverse towards the favourite. All that he does will be right;—he will be set forth as a pattern of cleverness, application, and every good quality, for the imitation of all young people in his vicinity. His very faults will be palliated and unobserved—nay, sometimes even be applauded and deemed worthy of commendation. But what are the consequences of this blind partiality and folly ? The favourite is hated :-—the amity which ought to subsist between each of the family, is destroyed. But the whole consequences of such an error as this are not yet enumerated. At the time when both venture together upon the ocean of life, the one who formerly could depend upon no assistance from his parents, will far surpass the other in the formation of his projects, and the completion of his designs ; while the real good qualities of the favourite will be found to be choked up by the weeds of Selfconceit and Adulation.
Prejudice, when admitted against the various professional duties, is extremely detrimental to many, whose genius deserves a better faté. Nothing can be more disgusting than to hear the Church, the Bar, the Army, Navy, or Medicine attacked, on account of the misconduct of some one individual in these several lines of life, who has disgraced himself and his profession. Yet true it is, that many form their opinions merely from one example, and consider that the probity and honour of all connected with that profession must be weighed by the same standard. Hence many a promising youth, whose talents have been particularly inclined to any one branch of Science, has been placed in a sphere unworthy of him, merely through a foolish dislike which one of his parents have entertained against those men whose studies and occupations he wished to pursue.
Nor is this species of Prejudice to be looked upon as detrimental in one light alone. However great a man's abilities may be, in whatever degree he may deserve praise, should he chance to meet with any misfortune, or fail in the discharge of his duties, so as to excite dissatisfaction and prejudice against him, his utmost exertions will never raise him to his former eminence. The most excellent and harmonious Poet; the bravest Soldier ; the most skilful Physician ; the most able Painters, Sculptors, and Musicians ;—will all, if the breath of Prejudice once taint their fame, verge from the zenith of their glory, and be levelled with the common herd. When, therefore, I hear a good poem ridiculed, or a well-written essay abused, merely because it is the fashion to ridicule and abuse them ; when I hear the character of a brave man attacked, and his conduct depreciated by the general voice, for some offence, the relation of which is most probably founded on Rumour alone; when, in short, I see a man who has signalized himself in any station of life, cast down from the good opinions of all, and reduced to a level, from which he is not allowed, whatever may be bis powers, to rise again ;-) inwardly curse Prejudice, and all the mischiefs she causes.
It is needless to enumerate the many and various less important species of Prejudice. Not a day can pass without presenting to an observant eye, the follies, the inconveniences, and the ridicule, to which all are subjected, when they obey the dictates of this most odious and contemptible Error. It manifests itself not only in the occupations, but even in the amusements of life. What adage is more true than that of Horace ?
“ Oderunt hilarem tristes, tristemque jocosi,
Sedatum celeres, agilem gnavumque remissi;
Nocturnos jures te formidare vapores.” Well did he know, from his intimate acquaintance with the manners and passions of mankind, the influence which Prejudice obtains over so many :clearly has he shown the excess to which it may be carried, even in affairs of the most trifling importance.
One more argument alone need be adduced upon the subject of these observations. When an hundred years from this period shall have come and gone; when we shall be as the dust of the earth, and our very names and actions shall have faded in oblivion ; of what value shall we deem the good or bad opinions of the world to which we formerly were subject in this life, if we have only lived righteously, and according to the dictates of our Redeemer? In the hour of death we shall be free from the virulence of Prejudice; yet, at that future time, a mind conscious of its own virtue, will triumph over the contemptible scoffs and ridicule which were aimed at its quiet, during life ; and exult in the expectation of attaining that heavenly mansion, from whence Care, Enmity, Slander, Prejudice, and all things conducive to our misery in this state of probation, are banished for ever.
LETTER FROM THE REV. MARMADUKE BRADSHAW TO MR. MATTHEW
SWINBURNE, INCLOSING AN ARTICLE.
Broughton, May 4, 1821. MY DEAR MATTHEW, I have two Nephews who were enrolled amongst the number of your schoolfellows about a fortnight before your last Holidays, and, as I know full well, from experience, all that a new boy suffers when first introduced into such a tumultuous company of perfect strangers, I have been looking about among my Etonian acquaintance for some one, who might smooth, perhaps, a few of their difficulties, and give them some little confidence in their new element. You will guess, I am sure, when you have read as far as this, what I have to ask of you : it is, that you will take some notice of these urchins; indeed I am particularly desirous that you should not refuse my request, for I cannot conceive any one better able, from situation in the school and many other reasons, both to assist and protect them. It is quite unnecessary for me to mention any favours that you may confer on the young Rashleighs: you know these matters much better than I; indeed, most probably they are changed, as every thing else has been since my time. Perhaps you might get for them, if the practice is still continued, the liberties of your friend Courtenay, Montgomery, and others, not forgetting Mr. F. Golightly, upon whom I consider myself, and consequently my relations, to have some claim, after the free use which be made of my name and character, in the account which he gave of the Party at the Pelican. You may give him a hint that it will be highly dangerous for him to show himself in this country for some time, as
many of the good folks are highly enraged at being what they call caricatured in print; and that, too, by such a stripling. It is quite impossible for him to dream of going to Mr. Hudson's entertainment any more, whether at the Pelican, or elsewhere. I have before mentioned that your cares will not be single. My nephews are two in number the eldest (Samuel) rather what we used to call a sap, and of a very quiet disposition ; the younger (Henry), perhaps equally clever, but more lively, which latter quality agrees, I think, very well with an Eton education. My representations had a principal part in determining their father in sending them to Eton ; consequently I am the more desirous that nothing should go amiss, as I should be involved in no slight share of the blame. However, I shall be the more satisfied if I can gain for them such an efficient protector; and I assure you, my dear Mat, that any attention that you may pay to the young Rashleighs, will be equally felt and acknowledged by your most faithful friend,
MARMADUKE BRADSHAW. P.S. I have enclosed you three or four Letters, which may serve in some measure to elucidate their characters ; and should these serve to beguile an idle moment, I may be tempted to transmit to you some future depredations from
THE RASHLEIGH LETTER-BAG.
Mr. Samuel Rashleigh to Lady Caroline Rashleigh.
Eton Coll. March 27, 1821. - MY DEAR MAMMA,
No doubt our good Peter has particularly from Mr. Plodwell's long since informed you how safely Academy, that my fears were very he landed his young masters at much abated, and at last my joy at Eton ; and the journey had nothing leaving the latter-mentioned genat all uncommon in it, so that I tleman's institution quite got the shall leave Henry to give you an better of them. We arrived here account, in the next letter, of about five o'clock; and the space all the stage coaches that he saw. in front of the great school was My thoughts were pretty busy the quite filled with boys of all sizes whole of the way, for though I --some, indeed, so big, that I was did not much fancy, as was very half afraid to look at them; and natural, the prospects of going to some so little, that I could not school, yet my uncle Bradshaw had think what business they had at represented Eton as so entirely Eton : they looked as if they were different from all other places, and just delivered from the nursery
Henry was delighted at seeing so in. My Dame (you will hencemany much smaller than himself, forth know Miss by no other and fancied himself already a very name) very goodnaturedly sent a considerable person. In a few boy to conduct us to our Tutor's at minutes we were at Miss Y's the proper hour. He seemed to door, our destined Dame. I na be a very nice sort of man-asked turally enough expected to have us a few questions, and after he had seen, according to the name, a put on his cap and gown, took us very respectable sort of house- straight to Dr. Keate's chambers. keeper---something, perhaps, like There we were entered-a process old Catherine. You may guess, which solely consisted in writing then, my astonishment, and per- our names in a book-and which haps you will be astonished too entitles us to the name of Etonians. yourself, when I tell you that we After this we returned to Mr. were ushered into a room very ele- and he proceeded to examine us, gantly furnished, by a footman in according to the books which we a gay livery, where we found Miss had read, and our respective ages. --- totally different, in every I shall not trouble you any further respect, from what we had ima- than just to inform you of what I gined that is to say, neither old am afraid you will hardly undernor homely, but, on the contrary, stand, that I am placed in the uprather more gaily dressed than you per remove of the Remove, and are in general, and talking quite my brother in the middle Remove like a lady; which, indeed, I have of the fourth form. This informano doubt that she is. First of all, tion will do, if anybody asks she offered us some dinner; but you; and, indeed, until I see you you know how unnecessary that myself, I cannot possibly explain was, for coming to school most ef- it further. fectually takes away one's appe. The next day, at eleven o'clock, tite. She read Papa's letter, and I was to take my place in school. sent the one which he had written You may imagine my dismay, when to Mr. - , or, as I now call I was fairly launched from my him, my Tutor, together with a Dame's house with my books unmessage, desiring to know when he der my arm; and when I saw not could see us. He appointed a only the space which I mentioned time the next morning, and we before quite filled with boys, (they expected it rather in dread, al- call it, absurdly enough, the long though my Dame took every care walk, though it is not a quarter so to persuade us that there was no- long as our avenue,) but also the thing in the world to fear. Henry inner Quadrangle, and the Portico and I have a double-bedded room, under the school, equally crowded. whither, I can assure you, we were I had some vain hopes that I might not at all sorry to go after all our perhaps entirely escape notice fatigues. The whole of the apart- among such a multitude and such ment looked rather strange at first, a confusion; but I had not got for the floor is sanded all over, and very far before I was assaulted by the beds have no curtains at all, but a multitude of voices, inquiring in are shut up in the day-time, which one breath, 66 You, sir! What is is much better, as they take up your name? Who is your Dame? but very little space, and we use Who is your Tutor ?” Some of them the room in the day-time to sit laughed at me, because I said in my