Abbildungen der Seite

472 DR. FRANKLIN'S POEM ON PAPER. perturbed scene with the recollection, that good unalloyed with evil is not the lot of man in this world—that the right of choosing representatives in parliament is the palladium of the British constitution--and that, whilst we are desirous of further emendations, we ought gratefully to acknowledge and diligently to improve the civil and religious advantages of our native Country.

Maidstone and vicinity are at present distinguished for hops and paper-mills. The latter were many of them fulling-mills, when the cloth manufacture was the employ of this part of the country. Since that period the making of paper has been in a measure substituted in its place, and at present a large trade is carried on in this article of business.'

Paper, with regard to the manner of making it, and the materials employed, is reducible to several kinds, as Egyptian paper, made of the rush papyrus (whence, indeed, the name paper is originally derived); bark paper, made of the inner rind of several trees; cotton paper; incombustible paper; and lastly, European paper, made of linen rags. · You will not be displeased with my transcribing a little poem, by the late Dr. Franklin; the application of the different kinds of paper cannot fail of creating a smile

SOME wit of old, such wits of old there were,
Whose hints show'd meaning, whose allasions 'care,

DR. FRANKLIN'S POEM ON PAPER. By one brave stroke to mark all human kind, Call'd clear blank paper ev'ry infant mind, Where still, as opening sense her dictates wrote, Fair virtue put a seal, or vice a blot. The thought was happy, pertinent, and true, Methinks a genius might the plan pursue. I, (can you pardon my presumption,) I, No wit, no genius, yet for once will try. Various the papers, various wants produce, The wants of fashion, elegance, and nse ; Men are as various, and if right I scan, Each sort of paper represents some man. Pray note the fop, half powder and half lace, Nice as a band-box were his dwelling place. He's the gilt paper, which a part you store, And lock from vulgar hands in the scrutoire. Mechanics, servants, farmers, and so forth, Are copy-paper of inferior worth ; Less prized, more useful for your desk decreed, Free to all pens, and prompt at ev'ry need. The wretch whom av’rice bids to pinch and spare, Starve, cheat, and pilfer, to enrich an heir, Is coarse brown paper, such as pedlars choose To wrap up wares which better men will use, Take next the miser's contrast, who destroys Health, fame, and fortune, in a round of joys. Will any paper match him ? Yes, throughout He's a true sinking paper, past all doubt. The retail politician's anxious thought Deems this side always right, and that stark nought; He foams with censure, with applause he raves, A dupe to rumours, and a tool of knaves; He'll want no type his weakness to proclaim, While such a thing as fools-cap has a name. The hasty gentleman, whose blood runs high, Who picks a quarrel if you step awry; Who can't a jest, or bint, or look endure ; What's he? What! touch-paper to be sure. What are our poets, take them as they fall, Good, bad, rich, poor, much-read, not read at all?

SOLDIER'S FUNERAL. Them and their works in the same class you'll find, They are the mere waste-paper of mankind. Observe the maiden innocently sweet ; She's a fair white-paper, an unsullied sheet, On which the happy man whom fate ordaips May write his name, and take her for his pains. One instance more, and only one, I'll bring; "Tis the great man, wbo scorns a little thing, Whose thoughts, whose deeds, whose maxims are his onn, Form’d on the feelings of his heart alone, True genuine royal paper in his breast, Of all the kinds-most precious, purest, best ! Of the other article, Hops, I have already spoken in my account of Canterbury.

Maidstone is a place of considerable extent, and indeed one of the best towns in the county. A theatre has been built by Mrs. Baker, which is well attended. A Concert, conducted by gentlemen of the town, is held once a week during the winter season. Nor must it be forgotten, that a distillery is carried on here, which produces a nauseous spirituous liquor in high request, called Maidstone Geneva. Here are two Public Prints weekly published, which have a considerable circulation in the county.

About half a mile from Maidstone, on the road to Chatham, are large and handsome barracks. Though not partial to the military character, except in case of defensive war—a soldier's funeral has always appeared to me an impressive sight. I was gratified, during my stay at Maidstone, with beholding this mournful spectacle—for one of the volunteers died; on a Sunday evening he was interred with the usual solemnity. The crowds of


475 people pouring from almost every quarter- the corpse borne on the shoulders of his comrades, with the accoutrements of the deceased lying on the coffin-the band of music playing in strains suited to the occasion, and the volunteers marching slowly with their arms inverted, rendered the funeral interesting to a mind disposed for reflection. The stillness of the evening, which was advanced, heightened the scene—whilst the setting sun indicated the certain termination of all human glory!

There are two principal events recorded in the English history, both of which took place at Maidstone or in its vicinity. To prevent Queen Mary's marriage with Philip of Spain, Sir Thomas Wyat, Sir Henry Isley, Thomas Isley, Esq. and George Maplesden, raised a rebellion, the design of which was declared, January 27th, 1553, at the little conduit, in this town, where the two Isleys were, upon the suppression of the insurrection, executed. Sir Thomas Wyat, who was beheaded on this occasion, resided at Allington Castle, about a mile from the town; its remains are still to be seen : 'and on the opposite side of the Medway, in a romantic situation, stands Gibraltar House, an agreeable place of resort in the summer-time for the inhabitants of Maidstone. I once dined there with a respectable Book Society, in the month of July. The rusticity of the scene was gratifying to the pensive mind. From the room in which we dined, the ruins of the dilapidated castle were visible; on each side the harmless sheep were crop

ing the herbage, and beneath us the Medway
rolled along its silent waves

Whilst through yonder haze,
Peer'd faintly from afar the swelling sail
Of some poor home-bound bark, that scarce
The wat'ry mirror agitates !



The other event recorded in the annals of our country, and connected with the subject of my letter, relates to the civil wars between Charles I. and his Parliament. In May, 1648, the county of Kent joined in an attempt to rescue Charles from the power of the parliamentary army. General Fairfax was sent against them to Maidstone, where the royalists had concentrated their forces. Getting round by Farley, he entered the town, and took it, after a dreadful struggle; some say that blood ran down the streets! Great bravery was displayed on both sides; but the friends of the captive monarch being defeated, no further attempt was made to rescue him from the hands of his enemies, into which he was now fallen. Alas! history has been denominated with justice, records of carnage-chronicles of blood.

In the neighbourhood of Maidstone stands the Moat, the seat of Lord Romney, the present lordlieutenant of the county. The mansion was. of ancient date; and in the reign of Henry III. belonged to the family of Leyborn, who procured from the crown a grant of a fair and a market to be held at this place. After having passed through

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »