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in the “Coutumes du Peuple, on trois tomes," where we ought to find it, and which omits every thing relating to les mæurs.
What was the state of Hygienne, of the public health, the comparative value of life; and how far that depended on neglect of a police of health, dirty habits and manners, in the habitations and modes of living, and excess in food, or in stimulating liquors? Points, that until lately, have given a most decided preponderancy to French customs over English, with every reasonable observer. Without recurring to the sweating sickness, the jail fever, and the plague of former times, even at the present day, more than three parts out of four of the diseases and deaths of Great-Britain, are owing, directly or indirectly, to the two great causes of mortality, excess in eating and drinking, and malaria in all its forins.
Another inquiry connected with the subject, and of no small importance, is, what was the ease or difficulty of procuring the necessaries and comforts of life, compared with the laborious exertion required for the purpose; and the effects of the principles of government, the national taxes and public burthens, as influencing the ease and comfort of living, among the great mass of the people? And the actual operation of gross ignorance of the true principles of political economy in connexion with these facis, notwithstanding i he labours of Quesnai, followed afterwards by Mirabeau the elder, Turgot aud Mercier de la Riviere? And when these inquiries are extended, as for the purposes of accuracy they should be, to the various periods in France and England, into which the series of years embraced, must be divided, it is manifest that a volume will only suffice to skim over the surface of these important questions, of which the book before us scarcely treats. We are not to wonder, therefore, that our author only culls a few flowers, here and there, and leaves a vast mass of inquiry, of real importance, untouched. In fact, it is a book written more for the titled and wealthy classes, than for the bulk of the public; it deals too much with the manners of kings and queens, and princes, and courts and courtiers—with the fashionables who crowd and elbow each other amid the selfish vices of a metropolis ; with the idle, the wealthy, the luxurious, the worthless; with the drones of society, the“ fruges consumere nati”-it dwells too much upon these persons to be a very useful or a very popular book. It has its value, however, and is worth attention ; it fills up a small part of the canvass of a large painting; and it is done by a limper, who seems to have had some personal opportunities of studying the fashionable world during half a century past, in VOL. VI.-N0. 12.
actual contact and company with them, as well as in "memoires pour servir,” and other works of literature.
The introduction gives a short account of the state of society in England, from about 1640 to 1660, through the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell, and until the Restoration. The sombre style of intercourse at the court of Charles I. ; the national dread of popery; the aversion, in consequence of it, to foreign travel; the want of that knowledge of the world that arises from a comparison of the manners and customs, and modes of thinking, of foreign nations with our own; the intolerance and severity of the old puritanical, sectarian notions; the morose melancholy of their mode of life ; these, together with the rough, coarse, but substantial hospitality of the wealthy, country gentlemen, unitedly considered, form a contrast of habits and manners with those of modern days, not much, in our opinion, in favour of our ancestors, however objectionable and disgraceful may be many features of our own.times. During this period, the line of demarcation between country life and court life was so distinctly drawn, that the former appears to have been very slowly, and, indeed, very little influenced by the latter. The state of the roads, the modes of conveyance, and the prejudices of the country, constituted, not an impassable, but a very formidable obstacle to the intercourse between the two portions of the English kingdom. That some of the females of Charles' days, like Mrs. Hutchinson, were well educated, we can reasonably believe, but they were not specimens of the class, but exceptions to it. Even so late as Addison's time, the occupations of the ladies, we find from the Spectator, were to work tapestry and furniture for the apartments, to lay up a store of home-made linen against marriage, and superintend the annual supply of sweetmeats, pickles, preserves, and family medicines, handed down as dainties aud specifics from time immemorial, from one good old lady to her daughters, and through successive generations.
The following portrait of a country gentleman of former times, from the “Connoisseur,” vol. iii. No. 81, is in perfect harmony with Addison's Tory fox-hunter, and Fielding's Squire Western. It is an account of the house and way of living of Mr. Hastings of Woodlands, in Hampshire, the second son of an Earl of Huntingdon, said to be drawn up by the first Earl of Shaftesbury. It gives the following curious picture of the sporting life and rude habits of an English country gentleman, of a date somewhat antecedent to that of which we have been speaking
“ In the year 1638, lived Mr. Hastings, by his quality, son, brother and uncle to the Earls of Huntingdon. He was, peradventure, an original in our age, or rather the copy of our ancient nobility, in hunting, not in warlike times.
“He was low, very strong, and very active; of a reddish flaxen hair; his cloaths always green cloth, and never worth, when new, five pounds.
“His house was perfectly of the old fashion, in the midst of a large park, well stocked with deer; and near the house, rabbits to serve his kitchen; many fish ponds; great store of wood and timber, a bowling green in it long but narrow, full of high ridges, never having been levelled since it was ploughed. They used round sand bowls; and it had a banqueting house, like a stand, built in a tree.
“He kept all manner of sport hounds that run buck, fox, hare, otter, and badger; and hawks long and short winged. He had all sorts of nets for fish. He had a walk in the New Forest and the manor of Christ Church. This best supplied him with red deer, sea and river fish. Indeed, all his neighbours grounds and royalties were free to him who bestowed all his time on these sports, but what he borrowed to caress his neighbours wives and daughters; there not being a woman in all his walks of the degree of a yeoman's wife or under, and under the age of forty, but it was extremely her fault if he was not intimately acquainted with her. This made him very popular, always speaking kindly to the husband, brother, or father; who was to boot, very welcome to his house whenever he came. There he found beef, pudding, and small beer in great plenty: a house not so neatly kept to shame him, or bis dirty shoes. The great hall was strewed with marrow bones, full of hawk's perches, hounds, spaniels and terriers; the upper side of the hall hung with fox skins of this and the last year's killing, here and there a pole cat intermixed; game keeper's and hunter's poles in great abundance.
" The parlour was a large room as properly furnished. On a great hearth paved with brick lay some terriers, and the choicest hounds and spaniels. Seldom but two of the great chairs had litters of young cats in them, which were not to be disturbed, he having always three or four attending him at dinner; and a little white, round stick about fourteen inches long, lying by his trencher, that he might defend such meat as he had no mind to part with to them. The windows which were very large, served for places to lay his arrows, cross-bow, stonebows, and other such like accoutrements. The corners of the room were full of the best chosen hunting and hawking poles.
An oyster table at the lower end, which was of constant use twice a day all the year round; for he never failed to eat oysters before dinner and supper throughout all seasons: the neighbouring town of Pool supplied him with them. “ The
upper part of the room had two small tables and a desk; on the one side of which was a church bible, and on the other the book of martys. On the tables were hawks' hoods, bells and such like; two or three old green hats with their crowns thrust in so as to hold ten or twelve eggs, which were of pleasant kind of poultry he took much care of, and fed himself. Tables, dice, cards, and boles were not wanting. In a hole of the desk were store of tobacco pipes that had been used.
“On one side of this end of the room was the door of a closet, wherein stood the strong beer and the wine, which never came thence but in single glasses, that being the rule of the house exactly observed : for he never exceeded in drink or permitted
On the other side was the door of an old chapel not used for devotion. The pulpit, as the safest place, was never wanting of a cold chine of beef, venison pasty, gammon of bacon, or great apple pie with thick crust extreinely baked.
“Ilis table cost him not much though it was good to eat at : bis sports supplied all but beef and mutton, except Fridays, when he had the best salt fish (as well as other fish) he could get; and was the day the neighbours of best quality most visited bim. He never wanted a London pudding, and always sung it in with “ My purt lays therein-a !" He drapk a glass or two of wine at meals; very often of syrup of gilliflower in his sack, avd. had always a tun-glass, without fert, stood by him holding a pint of small beer, which he often stirred with rosemary.
“He was well natured but soon angry, calling his servants bastards and cuckoldy knaves; in one of which he often spake truth to his own knowledge, and son etimes in both, though of the same man. He lived to be a bundred; never lost his eyesight, but always wrote and read without spectacles, and got on horseback without help. Until past forescore he rode to the death of a stag as well as any."
This is an entertaining but not a very strange narration : saving the difference that less wealth and abundance would occasion, the foregoing is a tolerably good account of the life and habits of a Cheshire fox-hunting squire in England, even down to the middle of the eighteenth century. The influence of London on the country must be dated from the fuli introduction of turnpike roads; a system, which though commenced in 1663, was hardly in full credit and practice for upwards of a century after that period. Turnpikes introduced stage
coaches, and stage coaches produced intercourse between the metropolis and the interior. Nor was this very extensive till Mr. Palmer's projection of mail stages, which were, at the time, when first introduced, what steam vessels are now.
During this period, the neglect of foreign travel, produced an ignorance of foreign languages, and a deficiency of persons qalified for foreign missions, as great even as in America at present. * Chancellor Clarendon, in 1613, refused the siiuation of Secretary of State, “ on account of his unskilfulness in languages.” Foreign travel did not take place till the disaffected lories in the time of the Protectorate (chevaliers as they called themselves) applied in crowds for permission to go beyond sea, which Cromwell, with a wisdom and magnanimity far superior to the nionarchisis of that or any other day since, granted liberally, without remark and without fear. A ruler, who ineans honestly to do his duty, has no fears to harrass him. Such was Croinwell's case, notwithstanding the digesting obloquy that the venal historians of Great Britain have endeavoured to cast on the memory of that great man.
The only bistories of those times in which the truth is fearlessly told, are those of Mis. Catharine Macaulay, and Mr. Godwin; which will be more valued twenty years hence than they are now. Much of this propensity to foreign travel, was owing also to the oppressive bigotry of the religionis tenets, and the harsh intolerant conduct of the puritans, whose influence increased, as the tendencies to popery in the Court of Charles I. were remarked and dreaded by the public. The sombre, gloomy, melancholy shade that these men cast over all social intercoursethe burthensome character of their religious observances and injunctions—the strange and disgusting medley of solemn exhortation, and ludicrous imagery in their tedious discourses, inconsistent not merely with all good taste, but with all real religious feelings, and setting common sense at utter defiance, are noticed by this writer in a few specimens from puritan sermons during that period: but it is strange that on such an occasion he should forbear to cite one of the wittiest books in the English language, the works of Dr. Eachard, and his “Grounds and Reasons for the Contempt of the Clergy." Moderate men who had reason or inclination for travel, and many who had none, went abroad, partly to get rid of political and partly of
* Of our Ministers at the Court of France, a Court whose language has long been the language of Europe, have we hadone even tolerably acquainted with that language except Mr. Gallatin? Do any of our Ministers pretend to know German or low Dutch or Russian ? There is scarcely a well-bred man in England who cannot converse in French, and, for the most part, fluently."