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THE GENTLEMAN'S MAGAZINE, For JULY, 1816.
Mr. Urban, July 17.
THE observations of News-writers, if not always worthy of attention, have sometimes a force and propriety which entitle them to preservation in some more permanent work. In fact, the authors of those fugitive records are, in general, men of quick parts, who, if they were not compelled by their employment to write much and read little, would be equal to the production of more valuable publications. The following passage from a daily paper, veryiateYy published, appears to me to be a striking example of the first remark.
"Emigrations from this Country to France are more to be regretted in a moral than in a financial point of view; and we shall be much surprised if they do not produce a disastrous effect upon the manners and morals of this Country. Above all, we dread the effect upon the female part of the empire. A British woman is a character mi generis. There is a delicacy, a timidity, a tenderness, a loveliness in it, that we shall vainly seek in any other portion of the globe. How admirably adapted to be the real comforters of our lives! such good mothers, such dutiful children, such affectionate wives, so graceful in their carriage, so perfectly formed to make home the seat and centre of all human happiness! Now, as we would have Bo alloy in this pure and bright silver, so we fear to see it exposed to admixture with other nations. It is the usual practice of the French to ridicule the dress and manners of English women. They want the Freuchjene icai quoi, tournure, &c. In other words, they have that retiring timidity which adds a charm to loveliness; and they want that decisive look, and walk, aud carriage, which the French call tournure. Ridicule is a powerful weapon, and the timid are ever unable
to resist it. Hence the very timidity of our countrywomen may induce* them to copy the manners of the French, rather than expose themsel ve* to raillery and sarcasm. Adieu then all the domestic comforts j for of all people on the earth, the French have no home, in our sense of the word. Absent in the morning, and absent in the evening: they fly from home to theatres and operas; and the little circle of family affections that surround and gladden a British fire-side, may be looked for in France in vain.
"It is the grafting of French man-, ners upon British that we dread; and hence it is that we view the numerous Emigrations to France with regret and apprehension, particularly those of the female members of families. Let fathers think well of this! But was it not so, we may be asked, before the Revolution r Not to such an extent. But who is there that does not see the vast difference between the French character before the Revolution and since?"
Whoever this writer is, he has touched a string with which many a British heart will vibrate in unison; and with which they ought to vibrate, since its sounds are those of truth; the expression of good judgment and right feeling. An English woman frenchilied, is a creature corrupted and degraded; and though this is almost equally true of an Englishman, yet the danger is not the same, for the reason above assigned. John Bull is sturdy and rough, and will not, ia many instances, be led to imitate what, in his heart, he dislikes and despises. Instead of being abashed by ridicule, he will repay it by contempt. Not so the more sensitive sex, which thereby is the more endangered.
To our men, however, rather than our women, is the contagion of actual profligacy lively to extend, Mixing
without without fear in every kind of society, they will fall, as formerly they did, into the snares of gamblers, pandars, and prostitutes. But the effects will chiefly fall upon the individuals; returning home with their foreign depravities and diseases, they will be despised bv the community at large, and" the infection will not spread. There is, however, a species of moral po son which, even now, is diligently smuggled into the country, and which, if the magistrates are not vigilant, may produce much evil. I speak of licentious prints, which already are openly exhibited for sale, having been either actually imported, or founded upon hints suggested by French depravity. There is one kind in particular, which, presenting nothing improper to the eye, is exposed without scruple in the windows of a shop; but which, by -i slight machinery contrived in it, admits of a sudden metamorphosis of the most profligate nature. Such figures are now actually offered for sale in great numbers at a house within the precincts of the royal residences; thus aspiring to rival, if it can he done with impunity, the Palais rot/iil at Parr. But happily we have laws to prevent such improprieties; we have magistrates accustomed to enforce them; and a voluntary Society, whose professed object is to watch over the mor ils of the people, and to stop, as modi as possible, such channels of corruption. This abuse, I trust, cannot long escape their notice; and, that it may have the less chance ofdoiag so, I have taken the trouble, Mr. Urban, of thus stating the fact for publication in y our useful repository. If the progress of vice cannot wholly be prevented, under the present state of intercourse with the most corrupt of people, let it at least be compelled, as formerly, to have recourse to artifice and secret expedients j and not he suffered thus to insult the British public k by indecencies so slight:y veiled that they cannot fail to explain their real intention to the least inquisitive eye.
Yours, lie. Antic, W.i.k us.
Mr. Urban, July 19.
IT is a matter of very deeo regret to every person who has the good of his Country sincerely at heart, that at the present moment, when every exertion is imperiously called tor 10
support public credit, and to give employment to the thousands of artizans who are starving for want of it, such vast numbers of our countrymen should pats over to France, and there consume the income which is drawn from their native land, to the enriching of the former, and the great impoverishment of the L itter.
Were the design of these numerous visitors merely confined to a short sojourn in a land which, for the last 24 years, has been the theatre of such surprising Revolutions: — were they desirous only of viewing the effects which have been produced on the national manners and character of a people, by the very extraordinary experiments which they have made in Religion and in Politics during the above interval,—we should not feel inclined very severely to condemn their conduct. But when we behold almost innumerable families of the first consideration, both as to rank and opulence, systematically determine to quit their own country for a number of years, and to carry with them their large establishments, with a view of living abroad and letting their houses and estates in this country; the public evils which must at length arise from this plan, and the mischiefs which will fall upon these mistaken persons themselves from it, are well deserving the most serious attention. And perhaps if these p ins can be shewn to be founded in error, as will in all probability be made manilest ere long to those who are now making the experiment, others may be deterred from following their culpable example, and may be induced to rest contented in the country which gave them birth; and iu which, if they will hut consider the matter with unprejudiced eyes, they may enjoy blessings and advantages which no other country upon earth affords.
(economy is the first general object which presents itself to the mind, as an advantage of so serious a kind that many ii.con veuieiicirs, they think, are to be hazarded to accomplish it; but in thisthereare very cogent reasons to suppose those who make the experiment will be considerably disappointed. More than one publication has been recently laid before the publick, tending to prove "that the ex pences of removing a family from England to France will be at least
equal equal to the whole savings that can be made in two years." And we receive daily accounts from a variety of quarters, that the price of ail the necessaries of lite is so constantly increating in France, that, before the period above-named shall be expired, it will be as expensive living there us it is in England. Should this be the case, as we have every reason to think will really come to pass, the first, and must seducing reason for emigration will absolutely prove false aud deceitful.
Kiii'cati On of Children is the second reason winch has generally been urged in favour of Emigration to France; winch, it is said, can be as well accomplished as iu England, aud at a much cheaper rate. Bui here the same objection with respect to the question of Cheapness will present itself, as in the instance we have mentioned above. Masters will very soon learn to set such a price upon the instruction wlicb they give, as will render the stranger uo gainer by the change wnioh he his ui.de. The mischief, bnnevcr, as to this object, it is feared will ant rest here. When we consider the corrupted Religion which is Dnw established in thai country,— the shocking ami indeed horribly relaxed stale ot Morality,—and the unsettled Politics, which still prevail there; whal principles in these three very important branches of EducaTion can we expect will be instilled into the ductile minds of youth, but such as are corresponding to the present prevailing system of those Sciences!!
It is now pretty clearly ascertained that Jacobinism, which caused such horrible tragedies during "the System of i'error," and brought so many innocent victims to the Guillotine, is so far from being extinguished in Fba-.ce, that it is even now in full activity in that country; and if any faTourabte combination of circumstances should allow it to once more display its lull energies, a repetition might be looked lor of those scenes which once deluged that unhappy country with the blood of her citizeus. The principles of this blood-stained monster would, uo doubt, be imbibed in that system of education laught in France, and very probahly would thus be introduced in no long period into this Cooutry; aud what might be the pro
bable consequence of this introduction is almost too shocking to contemplate!! A poem, iu the dramatis torn), faithfully pourtrayiog the features of this Fiend, and intituled "Do. Hano, or Jacobinism Displayed," is now iu the press, and will be publishcd very speedily, wherein will be seen what unfeeling cruelty and baseness those can be guilty of who arc actuated by its diabolical spirit.
The limits.of a post letter will not allow me to enter more fully into the discussion of this important subject; otherwise it would be no ilifiicult matter, both by reasoning aud by examples that might be adduced, to prove that the habits, customs, and manners,—the insincerity, deceit, and hypocrisy,—thefitlhiness, both in the habitations and cookery, of the French nation, — the frequent ignorance of their language, which many Englishmen carry with them,—and, above ait, the rooted antipathy, let them cover it with what grimace and external politeness soever they will, which Frenchmen probably always will entertain for Englishmen, must almost necessarily make a residence of any continuance amongst them of an English family, irksome and disgusting iu the extreme!!
1 recommend, Sir, these considerations to the serious reflection of your numerous Readers, if you will honour them with a place iu your publication.
Yours, &c. Mentor,
Tour through various parts O/flanDers, GermanY, and Holland, in the year 1815. ( Continued from Part I. p. 488.)
ON my arrival at Lille, 1 repaired to a spacious and elegant hotel, to which 1 had been recommended by the French lady whose keen wit and lively humour had afforded me so much entertainment in travelling from Calais to Dunkirk. On presenting a note from that lady to the maitresse d'hotel, 1 met with marks of attention no less distinguished thau if, instead of being Monsieur le Cure, I had oeen Monseigneur l'Eveque. 1 bad travelled pari of the way to Lille with three English gentlemen and a young lady, the sister of one of them, who, ou our being set down at the post house, were pleased to express a wish ot accompanying me to my hotel t and tor
my my take, or rather for my fair fellowtraveller's wake, they were welcomed with equal attention. They had crossed the channel for the purpose of visiting (lie field of Waterloo. I (soon found them to be an agreeable party, and the cy made me a proposal, in a maiu.er too flattering to be relisted, that we should travel together to that celebrated spot. Although I generally dislike to be tied and bound to a party of strangers, yet on the present occasion I felt great satisfaction in the prospect of passing a fevr days in a society which promised me it large share of rational and elegant enjoyment. After getting rid of the dust of our journey from Cassel, we fat down to a well, cooked, handsome dinner, consisting of two courses and ■ luxurious dessert, at a cheaper rate than we could have had a bit of fish and a beef-steak at one of the Covent Garden hotels, or even at toy favourite place of resort, the London Coffee House on Ludgate Hill. The Burgundy was exquisite, and the flavour of it was heightened by the enjoyment of the ftQ.ll of reason and the flow of soul: our hearts beat in unison to the first toast—Old England in a bumper. They who have never been upon foreign ground can form no conception of the feelings which swell the heart on recollecting the natale solum with all its endearing associations: on such occasions we heartily de pise those cold-blooded political Theorists whose system of civic education would exclude from their vocabulary the love of country, to make way tor the more liberal phraseology of citizen of the world. The party with which I now had the pleasure of associating, felt the amor patriot in a strong degree, but without forfeiting their claim to philanthropy. They were Christians as well as Patriots, and could see no reason why the benevolent affections which a Christian cherishes towards the whole human race, should extinguish the glow of patriotic feeling, and the attachments of friendship, notwithstanding all that a fanciful lay Theologian * has advanced to prove the contrary. The next toast was given and received with warm sensibility, "All who are near and dear to us on the other side
. * See Soame Jenyns's "View of the Internal Evidence of the Christian Religion," p. 58, &c.
of the water." Home rushed in full tide upon all our hearts; I thought of that beloved spot
"qua se subducere colles Incipiunt, molllque jugum demittere clivo Usque ad aquam, et veteris jam fraeta
cacumina * quercus:" even the hills of Charowood receding, and gradually sloping down to one of Soar's tributary streams, on whose banks, fringed with willow and alder, I can spy from my study window thebroken tops of the old oak, "et mla, Mobilibus pomaria rivis."
Sweet scene, at once Virgilian and Horatiau! I thought also of
"The shade Of Templar oaks inf R—th—y glade;" and the hospitable abode of the lord of the manor,
"His house embosom'd in the grove, Sacred to social life and social love."
Nor did I forget
"Low Thurcaston's sequester'd shade,* once the residence of the classic Huni, now possessed by a worthy friend, "Through whose free-opening gate None comes too early—none departs to»
late." With these and various other scene* before the mental eye, I drank the toast con amore. I had hitherto been an entire stranger to every one of the parly ;but, upon comparing notes over the social glass, several pleasing discoveries took place in regard to places, acquaintance, and friends, which attached' us more closely to each other than we could have conceived at our first interview. We seemed to forget that we were in French Flanders, and could scarcely talk of any thing but S—SS —x and L—c^-t—sh.
After dinner we sallied forth to view the town, attended by a guide who was dignified with the title of commissionaire, in other words a licensed valet de place, who, in rather a grotesque style of dress, strutted before us with a consequential air, repeating the nomenclature of streets, squares,
* A betcblree is wanting to make the scene quite Virgilian.
t See a poem, lately published, intituled "Rofuley Temple," by the Rev. T. Gisborne, an effort of genius and taste which Spenser's muse would not have disowned.
churches, and public edifices. I have nothing to add to the general description given of Lille in my last letter, that would be particularly interesting; and shall only re >. ark that I have seen but few places in the course of my travels which surpass it in magnificence, beauty, and regularity. There is much refinement and elegance among the higher classes of society in Lille. Those who have a taste for public amusements may find ample gratification here; and the garrison diffuses through the place an air of gaiety and gallantry, without which the French may be said to be out of their element. "Gay sprightly land of mirth and social
ease, Pleas'd with thyself, whom all the world can please." Goldsmith's Traveller. Lille abounds with churches, but I fear there is not much of the spirit of true devotion among the clergy or laity. I happened to be introduced to an elderly lady residing at Lille, a warm devotee of the Romish church, with whom I had a conversation on the state of religion there. The good lady lamented the decay of piety throughout the country at large, which she was firmly convinced might be traced to the profligacy of the priesthood, who might thank themselves for the spoliation they had undergone during the Revolution. "They had previously lost (I use her own words) the confidence of the people, and they became the unpiticd victims of revolutionary rage." I observed, that Mr. Burke, in his memorable Reflections on the Revolution in France, had given a very different representation of the character of the French clergy, and that he had laboured to impress upon the people of England that,"generally speaking,before the period of the Revolution,. they stood high in public estimation, both in regard to attention to their duties, and the goodness of their morals." "Oh! Sir," replied the good lady, "Mr. Borke knew but little of them, if he said so; you would be astonished to think what shoals of reverend sceptics and atheists polluted France at the accession of LouisXVI.; and hence that moral profligacy in the Sanctuary which sickened the hearts of the faithful." I fully agreed with her that nothing had so direct a tendency as Infidelity to harden the heart
and to generate sensuality; and I had no doubt she would agree with me that the greatest monster in human nature was an unbelieving priest, to whom, above all other men, might enipnaticaliv be applied the words of the Psalmist, "that the things which should have been for his we alth, are unto him an occasion of falling." Had I been disposed to enter into an argument with the good I idy, I might have shown the tendency of Popery to generate Infidelity*, where the mind is enlightened by science, but unacquainted with the pure fountain of Inspiration; but I forbore, from tenderness to her deeply-rooted prejudices, and remembering that it is written "No manputleth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment—neither do men put new wine into old bottles."
But I had like to have forgot that I was perambulating the streets of Lille. After our precursor had gone through his vocabulary, he re-conducted us to our hotel, not a little fatigued with our survey of the town; and here I had the pleasure of finding the French officer whom I mentioned in my last letter, waiting for my return. This gentleman had a strong sense of religion upon his mind, although, like Pope, he might be said to be "Nor Papist, nor Protestant, but both
between, Like good Erasmus in an honest mean." In regard to the state of religion at Lille and the country in general, he said there was too much truth in the information I had received from the pious Catholic lady. He was sorry to say that, generally speaking, the clergy in French Flanders were lar from being patterns of purity; in proof of which he reminded me of au observation made by a gentleman with whom we had travelled in the diligence from Cassel, that many of them lived openly in a state of concubinage; to which another gentleman, who was a zealous Catholic, subjoined in a warm tone
"Pudet tuec opprobria nobis Et dici potuisse et non potuisse refelli."
* It was observed by Dr. Warton, in one of the notes to his edition of Pope, that in France Popery produced Infidelity, and Despotism Anarchy; an observation which may be considered as a sufficient answer to Mr. Burke's splendid Rhapsody of 356 pages.