صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

The Society therefore took into consideration the means by which it could procure more ample resources; and availing itself of the advantages which its position afforded, of establishing paupers on the colony, on conditions not less advantageous for itself than for charitable institutions, it resolved to undertake the support of the poor at the low rate of 25 florins each per annum. Orphans, foundlings, and deserted children at present cost the hospital near 120 florins a year. The Society undertakes the care of them for half that sum. It does more: if public institutions or charitable persons subscribe for six children above six years of age, the Society charges itself, at the same time, and without any augmentation of expense, not only with the maintenance of two persons, to whom the care and superintendance of the children are confided, but also with two whole establishments, each consisting of six per


In this way, twenty persons are provided for by means of a sum, which before was not equal to the support of four orphans.

Parishes (communes), hospitals, and individuals, who supply the funds, are empowered to name the persons whose misery they desire to alleviate. The engagements which they contract for this purpose with the Society are not indeed revocable at pleasure, like those which are referable to the annual contributions of the members of the Society, but those who fulfill them for sixteen years at the maximum, obtain by this means, without any new payment for this purpose, the right of disposing, in favour of the poor in whose fate they are interested, of establishments created by the employment of their funds-establishments, which will at that period be free, and exonerated from all charge or claim.

We do not at present call the attention of our readers to a particular development of this part of the Society's plan; the principles of the calculation, however, rest on the solid basis of experience. We are more inclined to dwell for a moment on the multiplied and important advantages, which public beneficence may receive by these arrangements.

According to the Report which the Secretary for the Home Department (Ministre de l'Interieur) made to the States-General, on the 9th of March, 1818, the number of persons supported by the hospitals in the northern provinces of the kingdom amounted to 20,000, for the most part orphans; and cost annually 2,400,000 florins, that is, 114 florins for each orphan.

Supposing then that 12,000 of these orphans were placed in the colony, they would be distributed into 2000 establishments, consisting of 16,000 persons; because, according to the plan projected by the Society, to each family of six children must be added two adult persons charged with the management of them.


By adding to this number that of 24,000 paupers, peopling 4000 establishments, with the support of which, the Society charges itself at the same time, and for the same sum; public charitable institutions will be relieved from the maintenance of 40,000 paupers, by means of a sum to be paid for sixteen years at the most, scarcely amounting to 18 florins a-head per annum.

Now the average expense for orphans in the hospitals amounting to 114 florins, and that fixed by the Society being only 60, a saving of 54 florins a-head will be effected by this means, which for 12,000 orphans makes on the whole a saving of 648,000 florins. And if we reckon, that the 24,000 paupers which the Society in addition engages to support for the same sum, would have, besides, cost the local authorities and managers of public institutions, suppose only 10 florins a-head, the savings will amount to 240,000 florins more. These sums will together amount to nearly 900,000; to which may be added the annual saving, which parishes and public institutions will successively realize, in consequence of their arrangements with the Society. And this is not all: at the expiration of sixteen years, which is the ultimate term of payment, 12,000 poor children will have an asylum and the means of subsistence in our colonies gratuitously. This will be a new saving of 60 florins for each child, 720,000 for the whole. Thus the entire accumulation of these savings will amount to no less a sum than 1,600,000 annually, at the end of 16 years

[We are compelled to break off:-there is much still that requires' to be stated, for a complete understanding of this interesting establishment; and in our next Number we hope to be able to present our readers with the latest intelligence relative to the state of this successful undertaking. Our account, it will be observed, refers to 1819, the first year of its establishment. There are now 3000 colonists, and the Society have extended their purchases of land to 7000 acres. A Permanent Commission for the Southern Provinces has also been appointed at Brussels, and a new colony is forming at Wortel, near Hoogstraeten, between Antwerp and Breda.]





American Poetry.

ART. III.—American Poetry*.

HIS little volume, though in one respect it has somewhat

[ocr errors]

tion; the disappointment, perhaps, resulted from the want of proper reflection, a priori, on our own parts; for the gratification, we are unquestionably indebted to our transatlantic brethren, and their editor. A few words will suffice to explain in what it has fallen short of our preconceptions: on the interest it has excited, we shall perhaps be more diffuse. The main defect, then, of the book to our taste is, that it is not enough American; it has not enough of the genuine transatlantic flavour; it wants somewhat more of the Jonathanian raciness. "What's in a name?" asked Wordsworth, when he indited Benjamin the Waggoner. If we take up a volume of American poetry, we wish in its perusal to be frequently reminded. of its "birth, parentage, and education;" and not every now and then fancy we are reading The Pleasures of Hope, or Beppo. To a certain extent, however, our more mature deliberative judgement inclines us to admit that, as respects American poets, this similarity to our English bards is almost an unavoidable, and for the present it ought to be a prepossessing, defect, if it be a defect at all: and so far as the rising poets of America choose to make the excellencies of our English poets their models of imitation, we think they do honour to themselves and to us. We hope they will stop here, and follow our example no further than it is worthy imitation. But more of this hereafter. We must now state more fully why we have been so much interested and gratified by the pages before us. Few subjects can offer more pleasing themes for speculation to the philosopher or the philanthropist, than the advancement of literature in nations or states possessing already influence and power, and destined in all probability hereafter to have that influence immensely extended, that power incalculably increased. We are not, assuredly, amongst those who view with a jaundiced eye the rising greatness of America; on the contrary, it gives us cordial pleasure to see her thus cultivating the refining and humanizing arts of polished life, and adding the ornamental graces of elegant literature to her other national acquirements. In poetry more especially, we do think she has ample, almost unbounded scope for the development

* Vide Specimens of the American Poets, with Critical Notices, and a Preface: 1822.


and exercise of powers which may obtain her honourable fame, and not only advance her in the scale of empires, but at the same time add incalculably to her happiness and virtues. It has been with hopes and anticipations of this nature, that we have perused these specimens of her native poets; and it is chiefly under the influence of such feelings that we wish to comment on them to our readers. The volume has, we believe, been reviewed before by different periodicals, with which we have no idea of disputing the palm of criticism. And perhaps, as this is the first time we have introduced a volume of poetry to our readers, it may not be amiss for us to observe that in this, as in any future instances, neither priority of notice, peculiar elegance of style, brilliancy of wit, or pungency of sarcasm, will be objects of ambition with us in our occasional notices of the labours of those who "build the lofty or the lowly rhyme." We shall act "THE INQUIRER's" part, when poetry comes before us, with reference to higher canons than those of verbal criticism; and estimate the effusions of the bard rather by their probable bearings on the happiness of his readers, by their ultimate tendencies to make mankind wiser and more benevolent, than by any hope of rendering our verdicts in the least degree popular with what is called "the reading public." But enough of introduction: we are, without intending it, approaching the prospectus style, to which we have as great an antipathy as our readers possibly can cherish. We gladly turn from our own prose to "American Poetry."

Of Mr. Pierpont, the whole of whose Airs of Palestine is given as a specimen, the editor says, we think with justice as respects bis versification and diction, that he " is evidently a faithful scholar of the school of Pope." Unfortunately Pope's versification and diction are not precisely to our taste. But we have no ambition to plunge into the Byron and Bowles controversy, as to whether Pope was a natural or an artificial poet, nor to revive the often agitated question as to the harmony or monotony of his verse: he is certainly not the poet to whom we should have expected an American bard would have looked for a model, any more than we should have expected to meet with the Twickenham Grotto on the banks of the Ohio: but that Mr. Pierpont approaches very closely to Pope's smooth and flowing line, no reader of the following extract, we think, can doubt.

In what rich harmony, what polish'd lays,

Should man address thy throne, when Nature pays
Her wild, her tuneful tribute to the sky!

Yes, Lord, she sings thee, but she knows not why.


The fountain's gush, the long resounding shore,
The zephyr's whisper, and the tempest's roar,
The rustling leaf, in autumn's fading woods,
The wintry storm, the rush of vernal floods,
The summer bower, by cooling breezes fann'd,
The torrent's fall, by dancing rainbows spann'd,
The streamlet, gurgling through its rocky glen,
The long grass, sighing o'er the graves of men,
The bird that crests yon dew-bespangled tree,
Shakes his bright plumes, and trills his descant free,
The scorching bolt, that, from thine armoury hurl'd,
Burns its red path, and cleaves a shrinking world;
All these are music to Religion's ear :-

Music, thy hand awakes, for man to hear.

"The Backwoodsman," by Mr. Paulding, as its title indeed would indicate, comes nearer to our anticipations of American poetry: its story is of a very simple kind, consisting merely of the real or imaginary adventures of a settler and his family, adopted, as the author himself states, for the purpose of introducing in an easy and natural way a greater variety of scenery. The resources of an American poet in this respect are, indeed, vast and magnificent; and some of the extracts adduced by the editor from "The Backwoodsman" show that Mr. Paulding can wield them with considerable power and address. He is more distinguished, we think, by the former, than the latter; but, perhaps, on that very account, and his coming in the volume before us directly after Mr. Pierpont, we have been more struck with his homely vigour. We give the following extract from an American landscape, principally for the sake of its spice of Nationality, with which we are by no means inclined to quarrel. Thus would we have a poet think of his native country.

In truth it was a landscape wildly gay
That 'neath his lofty vision smiling lay;
A sea of mingling hills, with forests crown'd,
E'en to their summits, waving all around,
Save where some rocky steep aloft was seen,
Frowning amid the wild romantic scene,

Around whose brow, where human step ne'er trode,
Our native Eagle makes his high abode;
Oft in the warring of the whistling gales,

Amid the scampering clouds, he bravely sails;
Without an effort winds the loftiest sky,
And looks into the Sun with steady eye:
Emblem and patron of this fearless land,
He mocks the might of any mortal hand,


« السابقةمتابعة »