Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

den will go down to his posteri- only a part of them? Or is this ty.

phraseology quite accurate when apBut the grand objection to all plans plied to a country in which one man that have it for their object to ame consumes the food that would support liorate the condition of the lower many, and in which a large proporclasses, and the indirect apology for tion of the produce is consumed by all abuses on the part of their eupe- animals kept for pleasure ? There can riors, is, that the causes of their mi- surely be no direct pressure of popusery are deeply seated in human na lation against food in such a country; ture. Population, it is said, is con- and to explain the fact that many stantly pressing against the limits of want what others enjoy in profusion, subsistence, whether its numerical a- it is necessary to recur to the lanmount be great or small. In all stages guage and facts of real life. Now, the of society, from the savage upwards, whole amount of this tendency to inmen increase not only up to the means crease beyond the limits of subsiste of subsistence which at any time existence, this cause of misery deeply within their reach, but they are con seated in the laws of naturc, is nostantly struggling to increase beyond thing more than this not very reconthem. Enlarge the quantity of tool, dite discovery, that in almost every and population will increase in a still society there is a number, smaller greater ratio. The relation between or greater, according to circumstanpopulation and food cannot be kept ces in nowise referable to the nusteady ; nor the progressive advancc merical amount of the population, who of both rendered uniform. If the have no equivalent to give in exchange produce of Britain, for instance, were for food. They do not starve because doubled, by cultivating new lands, there is not food sufficient for their and improving the old, the same pres. subsistence, but they are ready to sure against the limits of subsistence starve because their labour will not would be felt at every step. It is procure it. The poor you have alquite erroneous, therefore, to imagine ways, and in every old peopled counthat the earth can never become over try; this is the literal expression of populous, as long as so large a portion the formidable principle which it has. of it remains unproductive ; with very taken two large octavos to establish. few exceptions, such as seem to be ad The cause of this poverty, Mr Malmitted in the case of Russia and Ame- thus tells us, is in the conduet of the rica, every part of it is already peo- people themselves. Let them cease pled up to the full extent of its pro to marry, and beget children, that is, duce. “And within this limit the let them by degrees cease to exist, and people are necessarily confined by want then they will be no longer miserable. and misery.

Other writers have ascribed the poIf Mr Malthus has not proved this verty and misery of Spain, of Italy, of point, he has proved nothing; all his Sicily, of Egypt, and of other counreasoning is either directed to this tries, that were once fertile and popusingle dogma, or proceeds upon the lous, to tyranny and superstition. A supposition of its being fully establish- late traveller, in the true spirit of ed.

He has endeavoured to prove system, ascribes the misery of the Spathis constant pressure in every stage nish peasantry to the principle of poof society, by referring to almost pulation. The laws of nature are to every nation of whom any thing is bear all the blame, not the wickedness known, either from history or modern and folly of man. travels and voyages; and he still finds There is certainly nothing very orithat people multiply too fast, and, ginal in the injunction not to inarry therefore, that they are miserable. It without a probability of being able to is no matter what may be their go- support a family, though the duty is vernment, or the structure of society; so important, that it can never be too the source of their misery is in them- frequently inculcated : Yet, it will selves, in excessive population. not be easy to give a definite and tan

But what, in fact, is the nature of gible meaning to the terms. Frankthis pressure, of this overwhelming lin's commendation of early marriages and almost exclusive source of human may apply to America, but certainly misery? Do all the people press equally not to Europe. Another writer, howa against the limits of subsistence, or ever, has gone at once to the opposite

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

extreme. He is no friend to Saving bounty of nature. If we wish to eBanks, for this remarkable reason, that qualize population and subsistence, young people might save as much as that scale which, at any time, happens would furnish a house, and then, of to preponderate, may be brought to course, they would marry, and bring an equipoise by increasing the weight themselves to misery. It were better, in the other ; and the recurrence of perhaps, theyshould spend their wages a similar inequality may be obviated in an ale-house. There is, indeed, no by the general prevalence of habits of absurdity in reasoning, no outrage up- indlustry and economy among the peoon feeling, to which this dread of po- ple, on the one hand, and wise measures pulation may not lead, if the principle of domestic and international policy be carried to its utmost limits. Poor-, on the part of their rulers, on the on rates and private charity may be the ther. There is no law of nature to first victims, but a step farther prevent either. It is not less natural sweeps away all the infirm in body for men in power to repress proor mind among the working classes, duction or misemploy the means of and then comes slavery to complete subsistence, than it is for the lower the care, by placing the lives of the orders to supply consumers too libea, great body of the people entirely at rally. Mr Malthus has given his atthe mercy of a few. At nature's feast tention exclusively to the errors of the there is no room for more than they latter, and Mr Ensor to the more inchoose to admit; the seats are all pre- excusable misconduct of the former ; occupied, many of them by the in- a third, more cautious and impartial ferior animals.

than either, and of more enlarged: If it were true that the great cause views, such a man as Hume or Smith, of the misery of society were to be must yet appear to examine the subfound in this principle of population, ject in all its bearings, and present it it might be naturally expected that to the public eye in a clear and steady. the condition of the lower classes at light.

+ T.; least, would be constantly deteriorating as population increased. And yet, the fact is quite the reverse. In every country where personal freedom

PIT, NEAR PAISLEY, AND RESCUE and the rights of property are secured, OF TWO MEN WHO HAD BEEN IM-1 population seems to be increasing, and yet famine and pestilence occur more rarely than formerly. The condition MR EDITOR, of the labouring classes in Britain is

THERE are some situations into certainly better than it was at the beginning of the eighteenth century, lamity, which, more powerfully than

which men are brought by sudden ca. 1 when the population did not exceed others, excite our commiseration. Of half the present number.

this kind, none could be more affecta! We have no wish to conceal the ing than that into which the sufferers trath, that much individual suffering is occisioned by inconsiderately bring. Quarrelton coal-pit, near Paisley.

were thrown by the late accident at ing into the world children for whom the parents are not likely to have the been aware that they were working in

The colliers employed in it had means of subsistence, but he who as- the neighbourhood of a waste, * filled cribes the misery of the lower classes with water, but thought that all dana to this cause, shuts his eyes to the comperisations which both the indi- ger from it had then ceased. Having viduals themselves, and society at gone down, as usual, on the morning large, obtain from it. It is to this their labour, å dreadful gush of wa

of the 2d May last, and commenced tendency to multiply, this pressure ter followed the stroke of one of their against the limits of subsistence, that we owe the progress of man, from the before it with the rapidity and vio

picks, which soon swept every thing hunter to the shepherd state, and lence of a swollen river. The men from the shepherd to the agricultural Aed with precipitation, and, crying and commercial. The powers of the mind as well as of the body would aloud, sent the alarm through the pit. have lain dormant, if subsistence had * A waste is an old working place-conbeen provided by the 'unsolicited nected with a pit.

ACCIDENT AT

QUARRELTON

COAL

MUKED FOR TEN DAYS.

[ocr errors]

VOL. IV.

E

Struggling with the growing force of was soon suggested that a little above the stream, which threatened to hur- the surface of the water, which had ry them along with it, and, in the now ceased to rise, a nine might be confusion, having most of their lights driven, so as to reach these higher dashed from their hands, all rushed rooms in a certain time, viz.-six or instinctively towards the bottom of seven days. The execution of this the pit. Out of 20, 13 reached the plan, so promising and well conceived, bucket, and were drawn up; one of was unfortunately delayed, from not whom, so narrow was their escape, unreasonable apprehensions of danhad been twice thrown down by the ger, by the closing in of the mine, and violence of the current. Seven of the the explosion of the damp air; and men were yet in the pit, but the wa there was but too much reason to ter soon rose above the mouth of the fear that the unhappy objects of their mine, and their communication with pursuit would have perished before it was cut off. For these the most they could reach the spot. The men, lively concern was iminediately felt too, were dejected and spiritless at the by their companions ; and the pro- frightful fate of their companions. gress of the water was anxiously ob- The work was not therefore begun served. The engine, connected with till two days had been suffered to the pump, was set in motion, but al- elapse, which, in calculating the prothough the quantity it drew up was bability of success, were to be added immense, yet the water, for some to the unfavourable side. At this time, rather increased than diminish- time the workmen at the neighbour. ed. The only way in which they ing pit of Auchlodmont offered their could assist their unfortunate fellow- assistance to the Quarrelton colliers, workmen seemed to fail them ; but and the inine was begun. Two men they consoled themselves with the only could work at a time; they were hope that they might have escaped to taken from the two sets of colliers al. a higher part of the pit, an upper tier ternately, and, without intermission of rooms, which they knew to be still or abatement of exertion, they plied above the reach of the devouring elc- the work night and day. All eagerly ment.

looked to the period in which the The knowledge of this fatal acci- mine was to be completed. Despair dent was, by this time, rapidly spread had begun to predlominate, when, on ing over the country; and as it passed the morning of the 12th, the glad tidfroin village to village, and cottage to ings were heard that the mine was ficottage, excited in every breast a feel- nished, and that two of the men ing of mingled sympathy and horror. were alive. These were brothers, of Crowds were

seen gathering the name of Hodgart, who had fondfrom every quarter towards the spot, ly clung to each other, during the and relating to each other, as they whole of their confinement. To add went, the numerous reports which to the interesting scene of their delinow began to circulate ; and, on verance, their father went down into reaching the pit, they seemed to look the mine, just before it was dug with awe on a spot which covered hu- through, heard their voice, and was so man beings, thus shut out from the overpowered, that he had to be carried world, and, apparently, cut off from up; happily removed from witnessall human aid. The colliers of the ing the difficulties which were yet to village, also, as evening advanced, be encountered. “ By this time,” acwere seen collected in groups, listen- cording to a narrative of the circuming to the expression of each others stances, prepared by the colliers themfeelings, and devising plans for rescu- selves, " the damp or bad air had put ing their fellow-workmen from their out their lights; and as Bowie was miserable situation. With the accu- advancing forward, the damp seized racy not uncommon to the labouring him before he could get hold of any class of our countrymen, they consi- of them, and he returned back to get dered the size of the rooms in which breath. Allan immediately stript off themen might be supposed to have taken his coat and vest, and went forward, refuge, the quantity of air which these in desperation, but was also obliged could contain, and the time it might to return, and with difficulty escaped support them; and the probability of with his life, and had to he helped their having any food in the pit.' It out to the fresh air, when he said he

soon

was sorry he had heard them, for he mouth of the mine; but the water doubted their lives would go yet. Pa was running with such rapidity, that trick and Bowie then called out to I found it impossible to reach the botthem to come forward, for they could tom of the pit. I then saw the boy, not coine to them. By this time Per Shaw, coming down the water ; I pullter Barr came to their assistance, and ed him out, and I saw my brother, the two Hodgarts, creeping towards and I helped him out. Then I saw Patrick and Bowie, and Patrick and Brydon, and I gript him, but I lost Bowie rushing forward towards them, the grip. Then the other six were succeeded in laying hold of the hand altogether. Then I saw there was of William Hodgart, and brought him no help for us, but to flee to the highinto the mine-while his brother, who est part in the pit. I was in great was left behind, cried with a la- fear of being sulfocated for want of mentable voice for help. Barr, Pa- air, I immediately ran to a bigin * trick, and Bowie, rushed again for that was connected with another pit, ward, and James Hodgart creeping to but found it had no effect; I built it meet them, they succeeded in getting up again. There we lay for some hold of him also, and brought him time, but we don't know how long. -into the mine beside his brother By Then we thought to try the water this time it was about four o'clock in aguin; and the water seeined for some the morning, and after resting a little, time neither to rise nor fall, so that and getting the good air to breathe, we thought the run from the crush Patrick, Bowie, and Barr, asked them

was still keeping the engine going; how they had supported themselves but on examining the place, we found for meat? When they told, that they the water hat stood so near us had had got a little oatmeal-bread in one been damn.ed in with sludge, for we of the men's pockets who had escaped, heard the water ruming from us. and a little oil they had for light; Then we returned back to the men and being asked it they knew any again, and we wished them to come thing about the rest, who were onclose along with us, to try if we could ed along with them, they said there reach the bottoin of the pit. So we were done in their company, except all came together to the place where Alexander Barr, and they supposed he the water was running; but the two was dead two days ago. They also old men did not cross the water, so the said that they heard the engine going other four crossed it, but were obliged all the time, and heard the men inin- to turn back to the place we had left; ing for them two or three days before and we lay there for a considerable they came to them.”

time before we attempted it again, and Although every exertion was made all that we could get was a drink of to get out the other five, it was im- cold water, which we carried in an possible to reach them till the water oily can. Then we thought of trying was drawn off. One of the bodies was the water again; so we wished them found on the 28th May, and the others all to come, but the old men said they on the 3d and 4th June.

were not fit to come, and wished the As soon as the brothers were re

little boy to stay, and he did so. We stored to health, all were impatient to came away, Barr, my brother, and know how they had saved themselves myseli, and we got through with from the water? How they had spent great difficulty, for the roads that we their time in the pit ? What were had to come were almost filled with their endeavours to escape? What dirt and water. Then we got to the their feelings ? And what tht con- place where we heard the engine goduct of those, who, unlike them, had, ins, which continued night and day, - alas ! found in it a tomb? We have an and the sound of the picks in the account of some of these particulars, mine. Soon after we came to the which we subjoin—it is the more va- place where we heard the sound of luable, as it is written by Jaines the engine and picks, our clothes being Hodgart, one of the brothers.

very wet, we became very cold. Then “On the 2d of May 1818, when I

we thought of searching for the men's Fas at my work, I was, about eight clothes that had made their escape, in the morning, alarmned by the cries of the men, that the waste was A bigging --a partition between one broken; I immediately ran to the working or pit and another.

us.

rem."

which we found, and searching them, goodness and mercy a cloak for the we found some pieces of bread, but worst of passions and vices. The ab, they were almost spoiled with the wa- ject of a good education is to form ter and the dampness of the pit. the heart and to cultivate the intelThere we lay for some time, and heard lect; and in this essay we shall enthe men working for us ; so we went

deavour to determine if corporal punto a man's room and brought a pick, ishment is efficacious in either of these and chapped with it, and marked the cases. water with ; but they did not hear The instructor of youth in our

We then turned weak, and could great schools has many difficulties to not go, (walk,) so we lay there till contend with ;-it is his duty to corthe mine came through."

rect errors of temper and of habit, to These dismal wanderings in the excite the sluggish to exertion, to bowels of the earth, in darkness and cheer the ardent and ingenious in the horror, forcibly remind us of these road of an honourable ambition, and beautiful lines of Virgil :

so to communicate knowledge, as to

make the scholar in love with it. He “ Ibant obscuri sola sub nocte per um. bram

must so manage the reins of disciPerque domos Ditis vacuas, et inania regna: pline as to temper firmness with genQuale per incertam Lunam sub luce ma

tleness, and to make an absolute and ligna

a prompt submission the offspring of Est iter in silvis, ubi cælum condidit um- love and respect, not of fear, and abra

bove all, perhaps, inspire those come Jupiter, et rebus nox abstulit atra colo- mitted to his care with an idea of the

most perfect impartiality in all his arBut what must have been their rangements. Corporal punishment, feelings, it is not easy for unlettered which is the most summary of all the men to express. They appear to have modes of discipline, is, notwithstandspent much of their time in sleep, ing, the least efficient of all. It detheir bodies bearing evident marks of grades the master in his own opinion, the roughness of the place of their re

ruins his temper, and reduces him to pose. The sound of the engine, and the level of a common executioner. the first stroke of the miners which It was bardly to be expected that the reached their ears, must have mingled man whose duty it was to cherish the a gleam of hope with the unspeaks opening blossoms of virtue and of inable horrors of their gloomy man

tellect in the young mind, should sion.

W.

have had a lash put into his hands, Edinburgh, Dec. 12, 1818.

like a slave driver; or if such an indignity was offered to him, that he should not have cast it from him as equally unworthy of himself and his vocation. We find him armed with

this odious instrument, however, in " He that spareth the rod hateth all the schools of the world perhaps, the child,” is a maxim that has been and by the common consent of manin the mouth of the advocates of cor- kind ; and our present business is to poral punishment since the days of consider the consequences of its use, Solomon, and in it they have too free and whether education might not be quently sought an apology for acts more successfully conducted without it. that disgrace humanity. if, however, A youth of sixteen, of noble birth any portion of the volume of inspired perhaps, on his knees, and a Doctor wisdom is brought in palliation of of Divinity standing over him with a cruelty, it may be inferred, that it whip in his hand, which he is applyhas either been misunderstood or wil. ing to the most delicate parts of the fully perverted. A favourite attri- human body, while the blood streams bute of the Author of that book is mer at the stroke, is a rare portrait of hua cy, and it is somewhere beautifully man degradation ; yet such a sight has said, that the merciful man is merci- been, and may perhaps still be seen, ful to his beast. Nothing is so dan- in the sanctuaries of learning. That gerous as to take passages of scripture a man of a cultivated, and in many separated from the scope of the whole, cases, po doubt, of a humane mind, for thus we may make the words of should have been found to inflict such

ON THE USE OF CORPORAL PUNISH.

MENT IN OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »