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ishment from the sweet retreat in which they had been nurtured-their painful struggle with poverty and discomfort, in the darksome lanes of the city-the successive deaths of all this affectionate and harmless household, and her own ill-starred marriage to the husband of another wife. Yet we must enable them to form some notion of a work, which has drawn more tears from us than any we have had to peruse since the commencement of our career. This is the account of the migration of the ruined and resigned family from the scene of their early enjoyments.
readers any account of her father's desertion to admit the wheels, and also too steep for a laden of his helpless family-of their dismal ban-horse. Two or three of their new neighbours,persons in the very humblest condition, coarsely decent people, came out from their houses at the and negligently dressed, but seemingly kind and stopping of the cart-wheels. The cart was soon unladen, and the furniture put into the empty room. A cheerful fire was blazing, and the animated and interested faces of the honest folks who crowded into it, on a slight acquaintance, unceremoniously ful welcome to the new dwelling. In a quarter of and curiously, but without rudeness, gave a cheeran hour the beds were laid down,-the room decently arranged,- -one and all of the neighbours said Gude night,'-and the door was closed upon the Lyndsays in their new dwelling.
They blessed and eat their bread in peace. The Bible was then opened, and Margaret read a chap"The twenty-fourth day of November came at There was frequent and loud noise in the lane, last-a dim, dull, dreary, and obscure day, fit for of passing merriment or anger,-but this little conparting everlastingly from place or person ten-gregation worshipped God in a hymn, Esther's derly beloved. There was no sun-no wind-no sweet voice leading the sacred melody, and they sound in the misty and unechoing air. A deadness knelt together in prayer."-Trials of Margaret lay over the wet earth, and there was no visible Lyndsay, pp. 66-70. Heaven. Their goods and chattels were few; but many little delays occurred, some accidental, and more in the unwillingness of their hearts to take a final farewell. A neighbour had lent his cart for the flitting, and it was now standing loaded at the door, ready to move away. The fire, which had been kindled in the morning with a few borrowed peats, was now out-the shutters closed-the door was locked-and the key put into the hand of the person sent to receive it. And now there was nothing more to be said or done, and the impatient horse started briskly away from Braehead. The blind girl, and poor Marion, were sitting in the cart -Margaret and her mother were on foot. Esther had two or three small flower-pots in her lap, for in her blindness she loved the sweet fragrance, and the felt forms and imagined beauty of flowers; and the innocent carried away her tame pigeon in her bosom. Just as Margaret lingered on the threshold, the Robin red-breast that had been her boarder for several winters. hopped upon the stoneseat at the side of the door, and turned up its merry eyes to her face. There,' said she, is your last crumb from us, sweet Roby, but there is a God who takes care o' us a'. The widow had by this time shut down the lid of her memory, and left all the hoard of her thoughts and feelings, joyful or despairing, buried in "darkness. The assembled group of neighbours, mostly mothers with their children in their arms, had given the God bless you, Alice, God bless you, Margaret, and the lave,' and began to disperse; each turning to her own cares and anxieties, in which, before night, the Lyndsays would either be forgotten, or thought on with that unpainful sympathy which is all the poor can afford or expect, but which, as in this case, often yields the fairest fruits of charity and love.
tionate and happy, with a young companion, Her brother goes to sea, and returns, affecwhom the opening beauty of Margaret Lyndsay charms into his first dream of love, and whose gallant bearing and open heart, cast the first, and almost the last gleam of joy and enchantment over the gentle and chastened heart of the maiden. But this, like all her other dawnings of joy, led only to more bitter affliction. She had engaged to go with him and her brother to church, one fine summer Sunday, and-the author shall tell the rest of the story himself.
"Her heart was indeed glad within her, when she saw the young sailor at the spot. His brown sun-burnt face was all one smile of exulting joyand his bold clear eyes burned through the black hair that clustered over his forehead. There was not a handsomer, finer-looking boy in the British navy. Although serving before the mast, as many a noble lad has done, he was the son of a poor gentleman; and as he came up to Margaret Lyndsay, in his smartest suit, with his white straw hat, his clean shirt-neck tied with a black riband, and a small yellow cane in his hand, a brighter boy and a fairer girl never met in affection in the calm sunshine of a Scottish Sabbath-day.
"Why have not you brought Laurence with you?' Harry made her put her arm within his, and then told her that it was not her brother's day on shore. Now all the calm air was filled with the sound of bells, and Leith Walk covered with welldressed families. The nursery-gardens on each side were almost in their greatest beauty-so soft "A cold sleety rain accompanied the cart and the and delicate the verdure of the young imbedded foot travellers all the way to the city. Short as the trees, and so bright the glow of intermingled early distance was, they met with several other flittings, flowers. Let us go to Leith by a way I have dissome seemingly cheerful, and from good to better, covered,' said the joyful sailor-and he drew Mar-others with woe-begone faces, going like them-garet gently away from the public walk, into a reselves down the path of poverty, on a journey from tired path winding with many little white gates which they were to rest at night in a bare and hun-through these luxuriantly cultivated enclosures. gry house. And now they drove through the sub- The insects were dancing in the air-birds singing urbs, and into the city, passing unheeded among all about them-the sky was without a cloud-and crowds of people, all on their own business of a bright dazzling line of light was all that was now pleasure or profit, laughing, jibing, shouting, curs- seen for the sea. The youthful pair loitered in their ing, the stir, and tumult, and torrent of congre. happiness-they never marked that the bells had gated life. Margaret could hardly help feeling ceased ringing; and when at last they hurried to elated with the glitter of all the shining windows, reach the chapel, the door was closed, and they and the hurry of the streets. Marion sat silent heard the service chanting. Margaret durst not with her pigeon warm in her breast below her brown knock at the door, or go in so long after worship cloak, unknowing she of change, of time, or of was begun; and she secretly upbraided herself for place, and reconciled to sit patiently there, with her forgetfulness of a well-known and holy hour. the soft plumage touching her heart, if the cart had She felt unlike herself walking on the street during gone on, through the cold and sleet, to midnight! the time of church, and beseeched Harry to go with "The cart stopt at the foot of a lane too narrow her out of the sight of the windows, that all seemed
watching her in her neglect of Divine worship. So they bent their steps towards the shore.
"Harry Needham had not perhaps had any preconceived intention to keep Margaret from church; but he was very well pleased, that, instead of being with her in a pew there, in crowd, he was now walking alone with her on the brink of his own element. The tide was coming fast in, hurrying on its beautiful little bright ridges of variegated foam, by short successive encroachments over the smooth hard level shore, and impatient, as it were, to reach the highest line of intermingled sea-weed, silvery sand, and deep-stained or glittering shells. The friends, or lovers-and their short dream was both friendship and love-retreated playfully from every little watery wall that fell in pieces at their feet, and Margaret turned up her sweet face in the sun-light to watch the slow dream-like motion of the sea-mews, who seemed sometimes to be yielding to the breath of the shifting air, and sometimes obeying only some wavering impulse of joy within their own white-plumaged breasts. Or she walked softly behind them, as they alighted on the sand, that she might come near enough to observe that beautifully wild expression that is in the eyes of all winged creatures whose home is on the sea. "Alas! home church every thing on earth was forgotten-for her soul was filled exclusively with its present joy. She had never before, in all her life, been down at the sea-shore-and she never again was within hearing of its bright, sunny, hollow-sounding and melancholy waves!
See,' said Harry, with a laugh, the kirks have scaled, as you say here in Scotland-the pierhead is like a wood of bonnets.-Let us go there, and I think I can show them the bonniest face among them a'.' The fresh sea breeze had tinged Margaret's pale face with crimson, and her heart now sent up a sudden blush to deepen and brighten that beauty. They mingled with the cheerful, but calm and decent crowd, and stood together at the end of the pier, looking towards the ship. That is our frigate, Margaret, the Tribune ;-she sits like a bird on the water, and sails well, both in calm and storm.' The poor girl looked at the ship with her flags flying, till her eyes filled with tears. If we had glass, like one my father once had, we might, perhaps, see Laurence.' And for the moment she used the word father' without remembering what and where he was in his misery.There is one of our jigger-rigged boats coming right before the wind.-Why, Margaret, this is the last opportunity you may have of seeing your brother. We may sail to-morrow; nay to-night.' -A sudden wish to go on board the ship seized Margaret's heart. Harry saw the struggle-and wiling her down a flight of steps, in a moment lifted her into the boat, which, with the waves rushing in foam within an inch of the gunwale, went dancing out of harbour, and was soon half-way over to the anchored frigate.
was heedless-the sheet fast-and the boat instantly filling, went down in a moment, head foremost, in twenty fathom water!
"The accident was seen both from the shore and ship; and a crowd of boats put off to their relief. But death was beforehand with them all; and, when the frigate's boat came to the place, nothing was seen upon the waves. Two of the men, it was supposed, had gone to the bottom entangled with ropes or beneath the sail,-in a few moments the grey head of the old steersman was apparent, and he was lifted up with an oar-drowned. A woman's clothes were next descried; and Margaret was taken up with something heavy weighing down the body. It was Harry Needham, who had sunk in trying to save her; and in one of his hands was grasped a tress of her hair that had given way in the desperate struggle. There seemed to be faint symptoms of life in both; but they were utterly insensible. The crew, among which was Laurence Lyndsay, pulled swiftly back to the ship; and the bodies were first of all laid down together side by side in the captain's cabin."-Trials of Margaret Lyndsay, pp. 125–130.
We must conclude with something less desolating and we can only find it in the account of the poor orphan's reception from an ancient miserly kinsman, to whom, after she had buried all her immediate family, she went like Ruth, in the simple strength of her innocence. After walking all day, she comes at night within sight of his rustic abode.
"With a beating heart, she stopt for a little while at the mouth of the avenue, or lane, that seemed to lead up to the house. It was much overgrown with grass, and there were but few marks of wheels; the hedges on each side were thick and green, but unclipped, and with frequent gaps; something melancholy lay over all about; and the place had the air of being uninhabited. But still it was beautiful; for it was bathed in the dews of a rich midsummer gloaming, and the clover filled the air with fragrance that revived the heart of the solitary orphan, as she stood, for a few minutes, irresolute, and apprehensive of an unkind reception.
"At last she found heart, and the door of the house being open, Margaret walked in, and stood on the floor of the wide low-roofed kitchen. An old man was sitting, as if half asleep, in a highbacked arm-chair, by the side of the chimneyBefore she had time or courage to speak, her shadow fell upon his eyes, and he looked towards her with strong visible surprise, and, as she thought, with a slight displeasure. Ye hae got off your road, I'm thinking, young woman; what seek you here?' Margaret asked respectfully if she might sit down. Aye, aye, ye may sit down, but we keep nae refreshment here-this is no a publichouse, There's ane a mile west in the Clachan.' The old man kept looking upon her, and with a countenance somewhat relaxed from its inhospita ble austerity. Her appearance did not work as a charm or a spell, for she was no enchantress in a fairy tale; but the tone of her voice, so sweet and gentle, the serenity of her face, and the meekness of her manner, as she took her seat upon a stool not far from the door, had an effect upon old Daniel Craig, and he bade her come forward, and take a chair farther ben the house.'
"The novelty of her situation, and of all the scene around, at first prevented the poor girl from thinking deliberately of the great error she had committed, in thus employing her Sabbath hours in a way so very different to what she had been accustomed; but she soon could not help thinking what she was to say to her mother when she went home, and was obliged to confess that she had not been at church at all, and had paid a visit to her brother on board the ship. It was very sinful in her thus to disobey her own conscience and her mother's will, and the tears came into her eyes.The young sailor thought she was afraid, and only pressed her closer to him, with a few soothing words. At that moment a sea-mew came winnow ing its way towards the boat, and one of the sailors rising up with a musquet, took aim as it flew over their heads. Margaret suddenly started up, crying, Do not kill the pretty bird,' and stumbling, fell forward upon the man, who also lost his balance.
"I am an Orphan, and have perhaps but little claim upon you, but I have ventured to come here
my name is Margaret Lyndsay, and my mother's name was Alice Craig.' The old man moved upon his chair, as if a blow had struck him, and looked long and earnestly into her face. Her features con firmed her words. Her countenance possessed that strong power over him that goes down mysteriou-ly through the generations of perishable man, or necting love with likeness, so that the child jags
A flaw of wind struck the mainsail—the helmsman | cradle may be smiling almost with the self-same
expression that belonged to some one of its forefathers mouldered into ashes many hundred years ago. Nae doubt, nae doubt, ye are the daughter o Walter Lyndsay and Alice Craig. Never were twa faces mair unlike than theirs, yet yours is them baith. Margaret-that is your name-I give you my blessing. Hae you walked far? Mysie's doun at the Rashy-riggs, wi' milk to the calf, but will be in belyve. Come, my bonny bairn, take a shake o' your uncle's hand.'
"In the quiet of the succeeding evening, the old man took her with him along the burn-side, and into a green ewe-bught, where they sat down for a while in silence. At last he said, I have nae wife like-nae children-nae friends, I may say, Margaret nane that cares for me, but the servant in the house, an auld friendless body like mysel'; but if you choose to bide wi' us, you are mair than welcome; for I know not what is in that face o' thine; but this is the pleasantest day that has come to me these last thirty years.'
Margaret told, in a few words, the principal events of the last three years, as far as she could; and the old man, to whom they had been almost all unknown, heard her story with attention, but said little or nothing. Meanwhile, Mysie came in -an elderly, hard-featured woman, but with an expression of homely kindness, that made her dark face not unpleasant.
"Margaret felt herself an inmate of her uncle's house, and her heart began already to warm towards the old grey-headed solitary man. His manner exhibited, as she thought, a mixture of curiosity and kindness; but she did not disturb his taciturnity, and only returned immediate and satisfactory answers to his few short and abrupt questions. He evidently was thinking over the particulars which she had given him of her life at Braehead, and in the lane; and she did not allow herself to fear, but that, in a day or two, if he permitted her to stay, she would be able to awaken in his heart a natural interest in her behalf. Hope was a guest that never left her bosom-and she rejoiced when on the return of the old domestic from the bed-room, her uncle requested her to read aloud a chapter of the Bible. She did so, and the old man took the book out of her hand with evident satisfaction, and, fastening the clasp, laid it by in the little cupboard in the wall near his chair, and wished her good night.
Mysie conducted her into the bed-room, where every thing was neat, and superior, indeed, to the ordinary accommodation of a farm-house. Ye need na fear, for feather-bed and sheets are a' as dry as last year's hay in the stack. I keep a' things in the house weel aired, for damp's a great disaster. But, for a' that, sleepin' breath has na been drawn in that bed these saxteen years! Margaret thanked her for the trouble she had taken, and soon laid down her limbs in grateful rest. A thin calico curtain was before the low window; but the still serene radiance of a midsummer night glimmered on the floor. All was silent-and in a few minutes Margaret Lyndsay was asleep.
Margaret was now requested to tell her uncle more about her parents and herself, and she complied with a full heart. She went back with all the power of nature's eloquence, to the history of her young years at Braehead-recounted all her father's miseries-her mother's sorrows-and her own trials. All the while she spoke, the tears were streaming from her eyes, and her sweet bosom heaved with a crowd of heavy sighs. The old man sat silent; but more than once he sobbed, and passed his withered toil-worn hands across his forehead.They rose up together, as by mutual consent, and returned to the house. Before the light had too far died away, Daniel Craig asked Margaret to read a chapter in the Bible, as she had done the night before; and when she had concluded. he said, 'I never heard the Scriptures so well read in alk my days-did you, Mysie?' The quiet creature looked on Margaret with a smile of kindness and admiration, and said, that she had never understood that chapter sae weel before, although, aiblins, she had read it a hundred times.'-'Ye can gang to your bed without Mysie to show you the way to-night, my good niece-ye are one of the family now-and Nether-Place will after this be as cheerfu' a house as in a' the parish.'"-Trials of Margaret Lyudsay, pp. 251, 252.
We should now finish our task by saying something of "Reginald Dalton ;"--but such of our readers as have accompanied us through this long retrospect, will readily excuse us, work till another opportunity. There are two we presume, for postponing our notice of that decisive reasons, indeed, against our proceeding with it at present,-one, that we really have not yet read it fairly through-the other, that we have no longer room to say all of it that we foresee it will require.
A GREAT deal that should naturally come under this title has been unavoidably given already, under that of History; and more, I fear, may be detected under still less appropriate denominations. If any unwary readers have been thus unwittingly decoyed into Politics, while intent on more innocent studies, I can only hope that they will now take comfort, from finding how little of this obnoxious commodity has been left to appear in its proper colours; and also from seeing, from the decorous title now assumed, that all intention of engaging them in Party discussions is disclaimed.
I do not think that I was ever a violent or (consciously) uncandid partisan; and at all events, ten years of honest abstinence and entire segregation from party contentions (to say nothing of the sobering effects of threescore antecedent years!), should have pretty much effaced the vestiges of such predilections, and awakened the least considerate to a sense of the exaggerations, and occasional unfairness, which such influences must almost unavoidably impart to political disquisitions. In what I now reprint I have naturally been anxious to se lect what seemed least liable to this objection: and though I cannot flatter myself that a tone of absolute, Judicial impartiality is maintained in all these early productions, I trust that nothing will be found in them that can suggest the idea either of personal animosity, or of an ungenerous feeling towards a public opponent.
To the two first, and most considerable, of the following papers, indeed, I should wish particularly to refer, as fair exponents both of the principles I think I have always maintained, and of the temper in which I was generally disposed to maintain them. In some of the others a more vehement and contentious tone may no doubt be detected. But as they touch upon matters of permanent interest and importance, and advocate opinions which I still think substantially right, I have felt that it would be pusillanimous now to suppress them, from a poor fear of censure, which, if just, I cannot but know that I deserve or a still poorer distrust of those allowances which I have no reason to think will be withheld from me by the better part of my readers.
Essay on the Practice of the British Government, distinguished from the abstract Theory on which it is supposed to be founded. By GOULD FRANCIS LECKIE. 8vo. London: 1812.*
THIS is the most direct attack which we The pamphlet which contains these conhave ever seen in English, upon the free con- solatory doctrines, has the further merit of stitution of England; or rather upon political being, without any exception, the worst writ liberty in general, and upon our government ten, and the worst reasoned, that has ever only in so far as it is free:-and it consists fallen into our hands; and there is nothing inpartly in an eager exposition of the inconveni- deed but the extreme importance of the subences resulting from parliaments or represen- ject, and of the singular complexion of the tative legislatures, and partly in a warm de- times in which it appears, that could induce fence and undisguised panegyric of Absolute, us to take any notice of it. The rubbish that or, as the author more elegantly phrases it, of is scattered in our common walks, we merely Simple monarchy. push aside and disregard; but, when it defiles the approaches to the temple, or is heaped on other rites of expiation, and visited with sethe sanctuary itself, it must be cast out with verer penalties. When the season is healthy, we may walk securely among the elements of corruption, and warrantably decline the inglorious labour of sweeping them away:but, when the air is tainted and the blood impure, we should look with jealousy upon every speck, and consider that the slightest
*I used to think that this paper contained a very good defence of our free constitution; and especially the most complete, temperate, and searching vindication of our Hereditary Monarchy that was any where to be met with: And, though it now appears to me rather more elementary and elaborate than was necessary, I am still of opinion that of use to young politicians,-and suggest cautions and grounds of distrust, to rash discontent and thoughtless presumption.
remission of our police may spread a pesti-dition, he candidly admits that none of those lence through all the borders of the land.
would reach to the root of the evil; which consists entirely, it seems, in our "too great jealousy of the Crown:" and accordingly proceeds to draw a most seducing picture of his favourite Simple monarchy; and indirectly indeed, but quite unequivocally, to intimate, that the only effectual cure for the evils under which we now suffer is to be found in the total abolition of Parliaments, and the conversion of our constitution into an absolute monarchy: or, shortly to "advert," as he expresses himself, "to the advantages which a Monarchy, such as has been described, has over our boasted British Constitution." These advantages, after a good deal of puzzling, he next settles to be-First, that the sovereign will be
more likely to feel a pride, as well as a zeal, to act a great and good part ;”—secondly, that the ministers will have more time to attend to their duties when they have no parliamentary contentions to manage-thirdly, that the publie councils will be guided by fixed and steady principles;-fourthly, that if the Monarch should act in an oppressive manner, it will be easier for the people to get the better of him than of a whole Parliament, who might act in the same manner;-fifthly, that the heir apparent might then be allowed to travel in foreign countries for the improvement of his
There are two periods, it appears to us, when the promulgation of such doctrines as are maintained by this author may be considered as dangerous, or at least as of evil omen, in a country like this. The one, when the friends of arbitrary power are strong and daring, and advantageously posted; and when, meditating some serious attack on the liberties of the people, they send out their emissaries and manifestoes, to feel and to prepare their way-the other, when they are substantially weak, and unfit to maintain a conflict with their opponents, but where the great body of the timid and the cautious are alarmed at the prospect of such a conflict, and half disposed to avert the crisis by supporting whatever is in actual possession of power. Whether either of these descriptions may suit the aspect of the present times, we willingly leave it to our readers to determine: But before going farther, we think it proper to say, that we impute no corrupt motives to the author before us; and that there is, on the contrary, every appearance of his being conscientiously persuaded of the advantages of arbitrary power, and sincerely eager to reconcile the minds of his countrymen to the introduction of so great a blessing. The truth indeed seems to be, that having lived so long abroad manners and understanding;-sixthly, and as evidently to have lost, in a great degree, lastly, that there would be no longer any prethe use of his native language, it is not sur-text for a cry against "what is styled backprising that he should have lost along with stair influence!" it, a great number of those feelings, without which it really is not possible to reason, in this country, on the English constitution; and has gradually come, not only to speak, but to feel, like a foreigner, as to many of those things which still constitute both the pride and the happiness of his countrymen. We have no doubt that he would be a very useful and enlightened patriot in Sicily; but we think it was rather harsh in him to venture before the public with his speculations on the English government, with his present stock of information and habits of thinking. Though we do not, however, impute to him any thing worse than these disqualifications, there are persons enough in the country to whom it will be a sufficient recommendation of any work, that it inculcates principles of servility; and who will be abundantly ready to give it every chance of making an impression, which it may derive from their approbation; and indeed we have already heard such testimonies in favour of this slender performance, as seem to impose it upon us as a duty to give some little account of its contents, and some short opinion of its principles.
The first part of the task may be performed in a very moderate compass; for though the learned author has not always the gift of writing intelligibly, it is impossible for a diligent reader not to see what he would be at; and his doctrine, when once fairly understood, may readily be reduced to a few very simple propositions. After preluding on a variety of minor topics, and suggesting some curious enough remedies for our present unhappy con
Such is the sum of Mr. Leckie's publication; of which, as a curious specimen of the infinite diversity of human opinions and endowments, and of the license of political speculation that is still occasionally indulged in in this country, we have thought it right that some memorial should be preserved-a little more durable than the pamphlet itself seemed likely to afford. But though what we have already said is probably more than enough to settle the opinion of all reasonable persons with regard to the merits of the work, we think we can trace, even in some of the most absurd and presumptuous of its positions, the operation of certain errors, which we have found clouding the views, and infecting the opinions of persons of far sounder understanding; and shall presume, therefore, to offer a few very plain and simple remarks upon some of the points which we think we have most frequently found either misrepresented or misunderstood.
The most important and radical of those, is that which relates to the nature and uses of Monarchy, and the rights and powers of a sovereign; upon which, therefore, we beg leave to begin with a few observations. And here we shall take leave to consider Royalty as being, on the whole, but a Human Institution,-originating in a view to the general good, and not to the gratification of the individual upon whom the office is conferred; or at least only capable of being justified, or deserving to be retained, where it is found, or believed, to be actually beneficial to the whole society. Now we think that, generally speak