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Captain Gregory seemed somewhat disconcerted at seeing his friend-he begged for a little further time. The merchant looked grave-three years had already elapsed. The Captain demurredthe merchant pressed-the Captain blustered-and the merchant, growing angry, began to threaten. All of a sudden Captain Jones's manner changed he seemed to recollect himself, begged pardon, said he could easily procure. the money, desired the merchant to go back to his inn, and promised to call on him in the course of the day. Mynheer Meyer went home, and ordered an excellent dinner. Time passed his friend came not. Meyer grew impatient. He had just put on his hat and was walking out, when the waiter threw open the door, and announced two gentlemen.
“Ah, dere comes de monish," thought Mynheer Meyer. The gentlemen approached the taller one whipped out what seemed to Meyer a receipt. “Ah, ver vell, I vill sign, ver vell!"
Signing, Sir, is useless; you will be kind enough to accompany us. This is a warrant for debt, Sir; my house is extremely comfortable-gentlemen of the first fashion go there-quite moderate, too, only a guinea a-day-find your own wine."
"I do-no-understand, Sare," said the merchant, smiling amiably, "I am ver vell off here-thank you—"
"Come, come," said the other gentleman, speaking for the first time, "no parlavoo Monsoo, you are our prisoner-this is a warrant for the sum of 10,000l. due to Captain Gregory Jones."
The merchant stared-the merchant frowned-but so it was. Captain Gregory Jones, who owed Mynheer Meyer 500l., had arrested Mynheer Meyer for 10,000l.; for, as every one knows, any man may arrest us who has conscience enough to swear that we owe him money. Where was Mynheer Meyer in a strange town to get bail? Mynheer Meyer went to prison.
"Dis be a strange vay of paying a man his monish!" said Mynheer Meyer.
In order to wile away time, our merchant, who was wonderfully social, scraped acquaintance with some of his fellow-prisoners. "Vat be you in prishon for?" said he to a stout respectable-looking man who seemed in a violent passion-" for vhat crime?"
"I, Sir, crime !" quoth the prisoner; "Sir, I was going to Liverpool to vote at the election, when a friend of the opposite candidate's had me suddenly arrested for 2,000l. Before I get bail the election will be over!"
"Vat's that you tell me? arrest you to prevent your giving an honesht vote? is that justice?"
Justice, no!" cried our friend, "it's the Law of Arrest."
"And vat be you in prishon for ?" said the merchant pityingly to a thin cadaverous-looking object, who ever and anon applied a handkerchief to eyes that were worn with weeping.
"An attorney offered a friend of mine to discount a bill, if he could obtain a few names to indorse it-I, Sir, indorsed it. The bill became due, the next day the attorney arrested all whose names were on the bill; there were eight of us, the law allows him to charge two guineas for each; there are sixteen guineas, Sir, for the lawyerbut I, Sir-alas my family will starve before I shall be released. Sir,
there are a set of men called discounting attorneys, who live upon the profits of entrapping and arresting us poor folk."
"Mine Gott! but is dat justice?"
"Alas! No, Sir, it is the law of arrest."
"But," said the merchant, turning round to a lawyer, whom the Devil had deserted, and who was now with the victims of his profession; "dey tell me, dat in Englant a man be called innoshent till he be proved guilty; but here am I, who, because von carrion of a shailor, who owesh me five hundred pounts, takes an oath that I owe him ten thousand-here am I, on that schoundrel's single oath, clapped up in a prishon. Is this a man's being innoshent till he is proved guilty, Sare ?"
"Sir," said the lawyer primly, "you are thinking of criminal cases; but if a man be unfortunate enough to get into debt, that is quite a different thing:-we are harder to poverty than we are to crime !"
"But, mine Gott! is that justice?"
"Justice! pooh! it's the law of arrest," said the lawyer, turning on his heel.
Our merchant was liberated; no one appeared to prove the debt. He flew to a magistrate; he told his case; he implored justice against Captain Jones.
"Captain Jones!" said the magistrate, taking snuff; "Captain Gregory Jones, you mean?"
"Ay, mine goot Sare-yesh!"
"He set sail for Calcutta yesterday. He commands the Royal Sally. He must evidently have sworn this debt against you for the purpose of getting rid of your claim, and silencing your mouth till you could catch him no longer. He's a clever fellow is Gregory Jones !" "De teufel! but, Sare, ish dere no remedy for de poor merchant ?"
Remedy! oh, yes-indictment for perjury."
"But vat use is dat? You say he be gone-ten thousand miles off -to Calcutta!"
"That's certainly against your indictment!"
"And cannot I get my monish ?"
"Not as I see."
"And I have been arreshted instead of him!"
"Sare, I have only von vord to say-is dat justice ?"
"That I can't say, Mynheer Meyer, but it is certainly the law of arrest," answered the magistrate; and he bowed the merchant out of the room.
LETTER FROM THE SAINT SIMONIAN ENVOYS IN ENGLAND, TO THE SUPREME FATHER ENFANTIN AT PARIS.*
YOUR children have obeyed your voice. They have quitted the beautiful France, and commenced the Apostolate in England. Fortified by the consciousness of a sublime mission, we have torn ourselves from the smiling meadows of Calais: we have braved those stormy waves which opposed, and almost baffled Cæsar. More fortunate, because more deserving of fortune, we traversed in safety the desert plains of Kent. We are here, at last, in London-in that London, the object of our distant sighs; and already that spark of truth which St. Simon brought down from heaven is shedding a welcome ray over the moral darkness of the capital of merchandise and aristocracy.
We shall speak with the simplicity becoming the apostles of those wonderful truths which we teach. We shall not pretend to a greater success than that which we have a right to claim. You well know, Father, that the sublime doctrine of the "fusion" of goods makes but too slow a progress in this age; and it is certainly exceedingly difficult to secure it a favourable attention among the people of shopkeepers. We find, too, that the English are very averse to speculations of so abstract a nature as those involved in our philosophy. We have received several inquiries respecting the St. Simonian stocks; but these have proceeded from persons who showed little attraction towards our tenets, and who were particularly disinclined to the doctrine of the "fusion." We have heard speak of a certain philosopher, called "Swing," who has of late been preaching with considerable success, in the south of England, a creed, which is said to have a rude resemblance to our own, with a melange of tenets and rites adopted from those of the ancient fire-worshippers. The peasants of that part of the country have become converts to this new faith, and obtained wages proportioned to their capacities, though, it is said, not exactly to their work. One named "Terry Alt" has announced a similar revelation to the peasantry of Ireland; and it is said that that proud and generous people has adopted the new faith with an impetuous avidity, which has given great uneasiness to a cold and narrow-minded Government. As for M. Owen, he is at present in London, and actively employed in organizing his numerous disciples. He has established an Association for removing the Causes of Ignorance and Poverty, for which purpose he has taken a large room, where the Proselytes of London dance before him, and listen to singing and Italian music. It is said he has converted M. Rothschild. If this be true, it is a great pity, Supreme Father, that our Society had not been beforehand in effecting so valuable a conversion to the doctrine of a "fusion." But on all these matters we propose to make farther inquiries, and give you a digested report of the truths which we may discover.
The gentleman who translated for us the following letter, which was sent us with a huge packet of Le Globe, (evidently put up in mistake) has rigidly adhered even to the gallicisins of the envoys.
The English mind is at present vividly engaged in religious discussions. They are a people sensitively alive to religious impressions. It must be confessed, that their faith appears a little backward. To us, disciples of St. Simon, the English seem to have clung a little too long to antiquated symbols; but nevertheless, in the actual state of European thought, it is a little consoling to find a people so earnestly believing. We collect this from their public acts. We cannot say that we observe anything peculiarly Christian in their morality to dis tinguish it from that of other European nations. Perhaps we have observed here a singular prevalence of those very vices which are most dissonant to the spirit of Christianity: but the English compensate this by a manifestation of zeal in all matters which are generally supposed to be beyond the sphere of religious contemplation. We have been astonished to observe how large a portion of the time of the Chambers is occupied with the discussion of spiritual subjects. To such a pitch has this been carried, that a zealous Puritan Deputy, named James, has actually proposed that the House of Commons devote the Sunday to religious meditation and discussion, under the Presidence of M. the Almoner of the Chamber.
Nevertheless, Supreme Father, we cannot help lamenting that there appear to be parties in these religious questions, as well as in those of a mundane nature. The Anti-reform party appear to have had their hearts touched by their late reverses, and to direct their thoughts to Heaven. The celebrated M. Perceval, a great champion of the rotten boroughs, has succeeded in procuring the appointment of a General Fast. This young man has a very large pension, or place of the kind called a sinecure, and it is very probable that a Reformed Chamber will either deprive him of his income, or make him work for it. This state of things he regards as very calamitous, and he proposed to the Chamber that the people should observe a Fast, in anticipation of that which he considers his own destiny. As he seemed very intent upon gaining this point, Lord Althorp, who is furiously conciliatory, appeased him by assuring him that the King should command his subjects to fast. The Ministers, however, though they kept their promise literally, played M. Perceval a sad trick. For the reason which they assigned in their proclamation is simply the coming of the Cholera, without any mention of the Re form Bill, or of M. Perceval's borough, or his sinecure. It is generally supposed that the Ministers were averse to M. Perceval's proposition in toto; but that gentleman having declared, that in case it were opposed, he should divide the House, in order to bring down the vengeance of God on the "Noes," and the rest of the country, Lord Althorp was terrified at the idea of exposing his country and his friends to such a calamity. The Opposition have lately carried a question respecting the Cholera Bill by means of the same threat; parce q'on croit ici que le bon Dieu se range toujours du côté des Toris. It is said that M. Perceval means to move in the Committee on the Reform, that it is the will of God that Old Sarum should continue to return Members to Parliament; and I don't doubt that, if he speaks for that motion, as if he were under an influence, Lord Althorp will concede the whole, or at least half of what he asks.
Unhappily, however, this precaution has not answered, for the Cholera has just arrived in London. Whether this be owing to the Fast having been fixed for so late a day as the 22nd of March, we cannot say. This is M. Perceval's opinion, apparently, for he has invited Lord Althorp in the Chamber to approximate the Fast; and truly, if the Fast is a precaution which ought to be used at any time, we think the English should act on their own proverb, which recommends them to shut the door before the steed is stolen. M. Perceval will, in consequence, bring the question again before the Chamber; and we propose to ourselves the pleasure of assisting at a discussion to which, we think, the rest of the civilized world would not be able to produce a parallel. It must be confessed that the recommendation of a Fast, as a preventive of the Cholera, appears singularly opposed to the medical theories prevalent on the Continent. But you must not be deceived by words. When the English say that they fast, they do not mean that they go without food, or even that, according to the Catholic mode, they confine themselves to fish. In order to fast in England, it is only necessary to eat a dish of salt-fish before the rest of the dinner. Do not, therefore, let the Society be troubled with any fear of our starving. The fish in London is remarkably good, and we shall eat of it according to our capacities.
The Parliament has not neglected to take other precautions against the Cholera, for a Bill has been passed against it by both Houses in great haste. There was little discussion on it, except with respect to the preamble. This gave occasion to another of those religious debates which distinguish the English Legislature. One M. Priskeau, Deputy of Surri, remarked that the House would show great disrespect to Divine Providence in not giving it the credit of having introduced the Cholera into England. Sir Inglis of Oxford was of the same advice; but the Ministry not thinking it necessary to mention the fact in the law, no alteration was made in the wording of it. In order, however, to conciliate the Opposition, Lord Althorp agreed to a compromise, and the introduction of the Cholera into Scotland was ascribed to Divine Providence. The next day, this amendment to the Scotch Bill was urged by Lord Jeffrey, a pious Presbyterian, whose writings in the Edinburgh Review we have often remarked, as giving to that periodical a tone of piety in which it was previously deficient. M. Hume accused Lord Jeffrey and Sir Inglis of humbug, cant, and hypocrisy : but the Chamber ranged itself on the contrary advice.
The House of Lords has remarked the inconsistency between the two Bills, and on the motion of the Bishop of London, has remedied it, by imputing to Divine Providence the calamity which afflicts England, as well as that which has extended itself into Scotland. Here is a discovery of the causes and remedies of the Cholera, which may be regarded as a valuable contribution to medical science by the countrymen of Harvey and Hunter. The Supreme Being has exerted himself particularly to introduce the Cholera into Great Britain, and it is proposed to induce him to adopt other views by eating salt-fish on the 22nd of March.
But there is a question which at present engrosses much more of the attention of the public, a question also of a religious nature, and to which those which we have been mentioning are, in fact, only subsidiary-it