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Upon this our gentleman grows savage, in his turn ; retracts his consent to live peaceably; and " obstinately rejects every overture to a reconciliation.”
Donna Balbina returns again and again to the charge, but in vain. At length she succeeds, in dogging him to his mistress's lodging; and in a few days the wretched woman is found dead, and the mistress condemned to death as her assassin.
There is a passage in Shakspeare, which seems very much to the purpose of this narrative. It is in the Comedy of Errors.'
Abbess. How long hath this possession held the man? -. ..
Adriana. This week he hath been heavy, sour, sad,
* Abb. Hath he not lost much wealth by wreck at sea ?
Adr. To none of these, except it be the last;
Abb. You should for that have reprehended him.
: Aye, but not rough enough. Adr. As roughly, as my modesty would let me. Abb. Haply, in private.
And in assemblies too.
Adr. It was the copy of our conference.
Abb. And therefore came it, that the man was mad.
Observe, we only speak of what appears to have been the case, on the face of it. The husband may have been worse than is understood; the wife may have been better. On the other hand, it is she that may have been worse; and even Louisa herself might have had more to say than we are aware of, beset on one side by the tempting tongue of the barrister, and on the other by that of his wife. “What can we reason but from what we know?” On the face of the matter, the husband is faithless, but not averse to reconciliation; the wife scolding and averse; and the fair vender of oranges an assassin. This is all we know of the affair; and unfortunately, it is a situation of things much too common, with the exception of the murder, which, when it happens on such occasions, is generally one of a much worse . description, and perpetrated by one of the married parties.
We are far from wishing to beg any question against the fair sex, on these or any other points. · Our zeal in their behalf is too well known to render it necessary to deprecate any conclusion of that sort. We think, it is true, that scolding is very unworthy of their fairness, physical or moral, and that in the present instance it was very likely the immediate cause of the whole calamity, as it is of a hundred others. · But our object in noticing the business lies deeper than that, and goes to first causes; which are unquestionably to be found somehow or other in the nature of marriage itself, as at present constituted, and call loudly for the interference of legislation. Men may often be the persons having the more immediate right of complaint ; but if they have not their legal remedies, they take their illegal consolations; while all the feelings of anger and self-love and desolation, of which the female heart (like every other heart) is susceptible, are not only roused by the force of the mortifying circumstances, but taught and expected to be so by the very sex.who complain of them,—the very sex who first made the laws what they are for their own pride and convenience, and then monopolize the right to infringe them.
It is in this anomaly that the first causes of the fate of this unhappy woman are most likely to be found :-in this anomaly even the alleged assassin may find the origin of her misfortunes : while the only one of the sex who make these unequal laws, and whose selfishness and bad conscience hinder them from looking them in the face and making them better, walks abroad with the reputation of being a good-natured man (as he probably is) and a living martyr to a couple of violent women.
To use a common phrase, it is hardly possible now-a-days to take up a newspaper, at least in England, that does not contain the most frightful evidences of the want of a better legislation respecting the union of the sexes. We shall doubtless have too many occasions to return to the subject; and we shall do so, whatever the selfish and hypocritical might think, with feelings of
the most serious interest on behalf of both the sexes, and with a reverence and anxiety for the cause of real love and lasting attachments, equally foreign from profligacy and superstition.
THE “MISERABLE METHODISTS.” "The Duke of WelliNGTON presented a petition from a Congregation at Lewes, Sussex, praying their Lordships not to pass the Bill for repealing the Test and Corporation Acts. The Petitioners stated, the Noble Duke said, and in that statement he concurred, the great advantages that arose from toleration. The Petitioners also expressed great apprehensions -in which he hoped they would be deceived—that if the Act passed into a law, they might suffer considerably.
“Lord King understood that the Petitioners were Dissenters; and if they were, they were very strange Dissenters—they were the miserable Wesleyan Methodists, the most intolerant of sects, who would have tolera- tion for themselves, but would not tolerate any other persons.
“ The Earl of Falmouth did not know why so respectable a body of people should be called in that House miserable Methodists.”—Examiner.
Lord King gave a very good reason why they should be called “ Miserable Methodists,” granting even that there were no other, The Methodists may be divided into two classes, both miserable ; one because they are unhealthy, unhappy men, trying to look for a comfort in the next world, which they cannot find in this; the other, because they are a parcel of shallow, hard people, just the reverse of the former, with no imaginations, who secure themselves a place in heaven, just as they would in the Buckingham stage. The former try in vain to be happy; they are too sensitive and good-hearted for their own opinions; and are haunted with a sense of those who are to be left out of Paradise. . Of this description was poor Cowper; whose fine understanding was no more fitted to put up with their absurdities, than his frightened and shattered frame was to enable him to throw them off. The other methodists care not who is left out of heaven, so that they are in ; they turn it all to the “ glory of God,” whom they make so illustrious for everything inhuman and unjust, that as a philosopher has said, their religion ought to be called Dæmonism, not Christianity. It would be frightfuller than it is, if it were not exceedingly foolish : for in truth, there is no Dzemonism on earth, much less in heaven;
but there is a great deal of folly; and this, accordióg to the temperament it acts upon, produces a great deal of selfishness; so that men utter doctrines, and are unfortunately influenced by them, which with a little help from the physician or “ the schoolmaster,” they would be ashamed of. We attend here to no distinctions of Wesleyan and Whitfieldian Methodists. Temperament makes the real difference. There are frightened Methodists, and hard, unimaginative Methodists. This is the proper distinction. The former are miserable in the ordinary sense of the word; the latter, according to the poet,' may be accounted still more miserable : :
They, so perfect is their' misery,
But boast themselves more lovely than before. The Chronicle, speaking of the Earl of Falmouth's uneasiness at hearing the Methodists called miserable, and his vindication of them as a respectable body of people, says it does not augur well for them. “ We fear,” says the..Chronicle,'" for a sect, when it is called respectable by Lords. It used to be said, in the country, of a youth when he had done growing, that he had got a knock on the head. During the growth of sects, the rule is to hate them; they become respectable when they become stationary, or are on the decline."
There are three things which may be said to have grown up together, and which make a formidable alliteration; Misery, Methodism, and Manufactures. If you wish to see Methodism in all its ingloriousness, go into the lace-making districts. It is there in all its triumph over the poor, the sedentary, and the frightened. However, another M. has come up, still more formidable, which is Machinery. This, after a great deal of trouble, will force its way with its giant arms, and insist upon fairer play being shewn to labour and the right of leisure ; and meanwhile the Press is increasing with it; the two giants, the mechanical and the intellectual, have united their forces; and nothing will stand before them. At this moment, hundreds of iron mouths are at work, pouring forth“ knowledge enormous.” This it is that makes Methodism on the decline; for the Methodist, like any other bigot, dares argue only so far. Knowledge argues as far as
it can; and the Methodist is left behind. “ Two-penny trash” is putting out a world of shilling, eighteen-penny, aye, and sixshilling trash. What is the Methodist's Magazine' once every four weeks, or the lumbering heap of falsehoods and common-places, called the Quarterly,' every three months, to the little weekly and almost every-day papers, that play like spirits about the heads of the community, and keep them fresh and joyous for the rejection of nonsense ? Mr Limbird's - Mirror' alone, merely by circulating a variety of knowledge, throws light upon thousands of human minds, and prepares them to repel with scorn the dark absurdities and frightful shapes, with which bigotry and corruption would hold them bound.*
The Examiner speaks of “ a pious brig.” We happened once to find ourselves on board one of those vessels of sanctification. It was a Margate hoy, which sailed “ by the grace of God." At night-time, walking about to keep ourselves warm, we hit against something on deck, and stooped to examine' it. It was a woman! The Methodists (for theirs was the hoy) had secured all the beds below; and not one of them could be induced to give up his snug corner to the female.
LORD HOLLAND AND THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON. “ In home news,” says the Atlas, “the great event of the past week is the second reading of the Bill for repealing the Test and Corporation Acts, in the House of Lords. It was a marvel peculiar to these latter days, to see Lord Holland, in a measure of such a nature, supported by the King's First Minister, and the whole Episcopal Bench. The last hope of the Ultra-Churchmen was in “Heaven and the Duke of Wellington.” We know not what miracle Heaven' may work for them at the twelfth hour ; but the Duke of Wellington cannot afford to keep open, as a continual subject of rancorous and useless controversy, a question which the opinion of the Country and of the Church, and the vote of the House of Com. mons, have combined to seal,”
Lord Holland, “ supported by the King's First Minister and the whole Bench of Bishops,” upon a religious question, has cer
* We have just seen a late number of the “ Mirror," after a long interval. Mr Limbird has a right to be impartial, and to make his selections from all quarters; but he should take care how he repeats, as facts, assertions which have no authority but that of the “ Quarterly Review ;" a work deficient in common honesty.