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offices which were incumbent upon him in the care of his own affairs and relations of life, and therefore dreaded (though he had great talents) to go into employments of state, where he must be exposed to the snares of ambition. Innocence of life and great ability were the distinguishing parts of his character; the latter, he had often observed, had led to the destruction of the former, and he used frequently to lament that great and good had not the same signification. He was an excellent husbandman, but had resolved not to exceed such a degree
of wealth ; all above it he bestowed in secret bounties many years after the sum he aimed at for his own use was attained. Yet he did not slacken his industry, but to a decent old age spent the life and fortune which were superfluous to himself in the service of his friends and neighbours.”
The ghosts which used to haunt Sir Roger's mansion were laid, even in his time, by a good orthodox process :
· My friend Sir Roger has often told me, with a great deal of mirth, that at his first coming to his estate he found three parts of his house altogether useless; that the best room in it had the reputation of being haunted, and by that means was locked up; that noises had been heard in his long gallery, so that he could not get a servant to enter it after eight o'clock at night; that the door of one of his chambers was nailed up, because there went a story in the family that a butler had formerly hanged himself in it; and that his mother, who lived to a great age, had shut up half the rooms in the house, in which either her husband, a son, or daughter had died. The knight, seeing his habitation reduced to so small a compass, and himself in a manner shut out of his own house, upon the death of his mother ordered all the apartments to be flung open, and exorcised by his chaplain, who lay in every room one after another, and by that means dissipated the fears which had so long reigned in the family.”
But the belief in apparitions was not passed away. The haunted ruins are described by Addison with his usual grace :
“At a little distance from Sir Roger's house, among the ruins of an old abbey, there is a long walk of aged elms, which are shot up so very high, that when one passes under them, the rooks and crows that rest upon the tops of them seem to be cawing in another region. very much delighted with this sort of noise, which I consider as a kind
of natural prayer to that Being who supplies the wants of his own creation, and who, in the beautiful language of the Psalms, feedeth the young ravens that call upon him. I like this retirement the better, because of an ill report it lies under of being haunted; for which reason (as I have been told in the family) no living creature ever walks in it besides the chaplain. My good friend the butler desired me, with a very grave face, not to venture myself in it after sunset, for that one of the footmen had been almost frighted out of his wits by a spirit that appeared to him in the shape of a black horse without a head; to which he added, that about a month ago one of the maids, coming home late that way with a pail of milk upon her head, heard such a rustling among the bushes that she let it fall.”
The fame of the Spectator's Sir Roger de Coverley was revived some twenty years ago by one of the most beautiful pictures of the modern English school, the charming representation, by Newton, of the fine old squire coming out of church, amidst the reverential greetings of his affectionate tenantry. This was a real old English scene; and such as touched our sympathies even in an age when much of this cordial intercourse between the great and the humble has passed away. The paper of the Spectator' upon which this picture is founded is by Addison, and in his best style :
"I am always very well pleased with a country Sunday, and think, if keeping holy the seventh day were only a human institution, it would be the best method that could have been thought of for the polishing and civilizing of mankind. It is certain the country people would soon degenerate into a kind of savages and barbarians, were there not such frequent returns of a stated time, in which the whole village meet together with their best faces, and in their cleanliest habits, to converse with one another upon different subjects, hear their duties explained to them, and join together in adoration of the Supreme Being. Sunday clears away the rust of the whole week, not only as it refreshes in their minds the notions of religion, but as it puts both the sexes upon appearing in their most agreeable forms, and exerting all such qualities as are apt to give them a figure in the eye of the village. A country fellow distinguishes himself as much in the churchyard, as a citizen does upon the 'Change, the whole parish politics being generally discussed in that place either after sermon or before the bell rings.
“My friend Sir Roger, being a good churchman, has beautified the
inside of his church with several texts of his own choosing. He has likewise given a handsome pulpit-cloth, and railed in the communiontable at his own expense. He has often told me, that at his coming to his estate he found his parishioners very irregular: and that in order to make them kneel, and join in the responses, he gave every one of them a hassock and a Common Prayer-book; and at the same time employed an itinerant singing-master, who goes about the country for that purpose, to instruct them rightly in the tunes of the Psalms, upon
which they now very much value themselves, and indeed outdo most of the country churches that I have ever heard.
“As Sir Roger is landlord to the whole congregation, he keeps them in very good order, and will suffer nobody to sleep in it besides him. self; for if by chance he has been surprised into a short nap at sermon, upon recovering out of it he stands up and looks about him, and if he sees anybody else nodding, either wakes them himself, or sends his servants to them. Several other of the old knight's particularities break out upon these occasions. Sometimes he will be lengthening out a verse in the singing Psalms, half a minute after the rest of the congregation have done with it; sometimes when he is pleased with the matter of his devotion, he pronounces Amen three or four times in the same prayer; and sometimes stands up when everybody else is upon their knees, to count the congregation, or see if any of his tenants are missing.
"I was yesterday very much surprised to hear my old friend, in the midst of the service, calling out to one John Matthews to mind what he was about, and not disturb the congregation. This John Matthews it seems is remarkable for being an idle fellow, and at that time was kicking his heels for his diversion. This authority of the knight, though exerted in that odd manner which accompanies him in all the circumstances of life, has a very good effect upon the parish, who are not polite enough to see anything ridiculous in his behaviour; besides that the general good sense and worthiness of his character make his friends observe these little singularities as foils that rather set off than blemish his good qualities.
“ As soon as the sermon is finished, nobody presumes to stir till Sir Roger is gone out of the church. The knight walks down from his seat in the chancel between a double row of his tenants, that stand bowing to him on each side; and every now and then inquires how
such a one's wife, or mother, or son, or father do, whom he does not see at church; which is understood as a secret reprimand to the person that is absent.
“The chaplain has often told me, that upon a catechising day, when Sir Roger has been pleased with a boy that answers well, he has ordered a Bible to be given to him next day for his encouragement, and sometimes accompanies it with a flitch of bacon to his mother. Sir Roger has likewise added five pounds a year to the clerk's place; and, that he may encourage the young fellows to make themselves perfect in the church service, has promised upon the death of the present incumbent, who is very old, to bestow it according to merit.
"The fair understanding between Sir Roger and his chaplain, and their mutual concurrence in doing good, is the more remarkable, because the very next village is famous for the differences and contentions that arise between the parson and the 'squire, who live in a perpetual state of war. The parson is always preaching at the 'squire, and the 'squire, to be revenged on the parson, never comes to church. The 'squire has made all his tenants atheists and tithe-stealers, while the parson instructs them every Sunday in the dignity of his order, and insinuates to them, in almost every sermon, that he is a better man than his patron. In short, matters are come to such an extremity, that the 'squire has not said his prayers either in public or private this half-year; and the parson threatens him, if he does not mend his manners, to pray for him in the face of the whole congregation.
"Feuds of this nature, though too frequent in the country, are very fatal to the ordinary people; who are so used to be dazzled with riches, that they pay as much deference to the understanding of a man of an estate as of a man of learning; and are very hardly brought to regard any truth, how important soever it may be, that is preached to them, when they know there are several men of five hundred a year who do not believe it."
The quiet humour of this pleasant description furnishes in itself a tolerable example of the state of opinion in the reign of Queen Anne
Lour Augustan age, as it has often been called. It shows the cold and worldly aspect which the most solemn institutions presented to the
eye of the conventional moralist. There is something much higher in the association of Christians in public worship than even the good of meeting together with “best faces and cleanliest habits.” Sunday is to be observed for something better than "clearing away the rust of the
week,” and “putting both sexes upon appearing in their most agree. able forms.” But for too long a period this has been very much the orthodox notion of Sunday and Sunday duties; and the real purpose of public worship, that of calling forth the spiritual and unworldly tendencies of our nature, to the exclusion of the ambition and vanity of every day life, is only beginning yet to be generally felt in town or village. We lost for two or three centuries the zealous spirit which made the cathedral and the church a refuge from the hard and irritating cares which belong to a life of struggle and vexation; which there lifted us up to a calm and earnest reliance on the protection of the great Father of all; which made all men equal in their capacity for partaking of this elevation of spirit; which for a while excluded the distinctions that belong to transitory things alone. The solemn responses, the soul-uttering chants, the assembling together in temples venerable for their antiquity and impressive in their beauty, gave a loftier tone to the mind of the most uninformed than belongs to the discussion of parish politics “after sermon or before the beil rings.” A reform of somewhat too sweeping character changed the feelings of the people. Religion çame either to be looked at as a severe thing or as a formal thing; and then followed what Addison has painted too truly in the conclusion of his paper, “the differences and contentions between the parson and the 'squire.” In this respect we may earnestly hope that the description of the Essayist is wholly obsolete.
14.-OF THE JEALOUSY OF TRADE.
David HUME. [David HUME was born in 1711;-died in 1776. His first publication was a Treatise of Human Nature,' which appeared in 1738. According to his own account it “fell dead-born from the press.” In 1742 he published a volume of 'Essays,' which was better received. Hume's philosophical works were the subject of much controversy in his day. They display great acuteness, but leave no convictions. As a thinker on questions which we now class under the head of political economy, he was before his age, and far in advance of its prejudices. In reading these productions we must not forget that they were written a century ago. The following is one of the Essays in which he asserts principles that have still to seek that universal acceptance to which they are entitled. Every one is familiar with Hume's History of England,'—a work which, in spite of manifold defects, has a charm which few historians have been able to command.]