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leaving scarce a perceptible fraction to be diverted to the encouragement of British manufactures.
Let the truth, then, be fairly stated at once. It is neither from any idea that our farmers, weighed down with the burdensome rents and taxes of this country, can compete in the growth of grain with the agriculturist of foreign states, who pay half-a-crown an acre for the best wheat land, and can command the stoutest labourer at fivepence a-day, nor from any idea that the opulent and sturdy race of British cultivators, consuming at an average five pounds' worth of British manufactures a-head, can ever be compensated in the encouragement of our manufac. turing industry by the wretched and squalid serfs of Poland or Russia, who have hardly a shirt to their backs, and consume sixpence worth of the same manufactures, that the efforts of the anti-national faction are so strongly directed to the substitution of foreign for British grain in the supply of the home market. It is because they think that the price of provisions, and consequently of wages, will be permanent ly lowered in this country, that they make such strenuous exertions to effect the destruction of domestic, for the protection of foreign agriculture. But is this a change in which the other classes of society have any interest? Must not the wages of labour immediately fall in proportion to the cost of subsistence? Nay, is it not on the supposition of such a fall, and of its being durable, that all the calculations of the anti-national faction are founded? What the better will the labouring man be then, when wheat falls from sixty to forty shillings a quarter, if, at the same time, his wages descend from eighteenpence to a shilling aday?
Nay, will even the master manufacturers themselves be, in the end, bene fited by such a reduction in the money wages of labour? Must not the price of the commodities which they manufac ture be speedily reduced, by competition, to the lowest level consistent with making a moderate profit at the re
duced rate of wages? There is at once an end, then, of all profit to be derived on each individual bale, from the reduction in the rate of wages. And as to the extension of the foreign market from this lower rate of price, or the increased opulence of the foreign growers of grain, is not this the most illusory and chimerical of all possible advantages, if it is to be purchased by the sacrifice of our own agricultural industry-straining thus after a remote, uncertain, precarious foreign commerce, which nourishes only our ene mies, instead of a certain, steady, and constantly increasing market just at our own doors, which enriches only ourselves?
Agriculture, in all its branches, yields about two hundred and fifty millions' worth a-year of produce in the British islands. Manufactures, in all their branches, produce one hundred and fifty millions' worth a-year of produce, of which only fifty millions' worth are raised for exportation, the remainder being consumed in the home market. The families employed in agriculture, in Great Britain and Ireland, amounted, in 1831, to eighteen hundred thousand; those employed in manufactures, as distinguished from retail dealers, &c., amounted to eight hundred thousand, of whom not more than a half, or four hundred thousand, are employed in producing for the foreign market. Thus, neither the number of the inhabitants in the empire employed in manufactures for foreign exportation, nor the wealth they produce, is so much as a fourth part of that which is produced or maintained by agricultural industry. And it is this anti-national factionnot a fourth either in number or value to their antagonists-who, relying on the possession of capital, and in the force of concentrated masses, have the audacity to call upon the Legislature to sacrifice, for the problematical contingent extension of their sales in di tant lands, the certain welfare, subsistence, and independence, of the immense majority of the people of both Great Britain and Ireland!
Ir is said continually-that the age of miracles is past. We deny that it is so in any sense which implies this rage to differ from all other genera tions of man except one. It is neither past, nor ought we to wish it past. Superstition is no vice in the constitution of man: it is not true that, in any philosophic view, primus in orbe deos fecit timor - meaning by fecit even so much as raised into light. As Burke remarked, the timor at least must be presumed to pre-exist, and must be accounted for, if not the gods. If the fear created the gods, what created the fear? Far more true, and more just to the grandeur of man, it would have been to say-Primus in orbe deos fecit sensus infiniti. Even } in the lowest Caffre, more goes to the 11 sense of a divine being than simply his wrath or his power. Superstition, indeed, or the sympathy with the invisible, is the great test of man's nature, as an earthly combining with a celestial. In superstition lies the possibility of religion. And though superstition is often injurious, degrading, demoralizing, it is so, not as a form of corruption or degradation, but as a form of non-development. The crab is harsh, and for itself worthless. But it is the germinal form of innumerable finer fruits: not apples only the most exquisite, and pears; the peach and the nectarine are said to have radiated from this austere stock when cultured, developed, and transferred to all varieties of climate. Superstition will finally pass into pure forms of religion as man advances. It would be matter of lamentation to hear that superstition had at all decayed until man had made corresponding steps in the purification and development of his intellect as applicable to religious faith. Let us hope that this is not so. And, by way of judging, let us throw a hasty eye over the modes of popular superstition. If these manifest their vitality, it will prove that the popular intellect does not go along with the bookish or the worldly (philosophic we cannot call it) in pronouncing the miraculous extinct. The popular feeling is all in all.
This function of miraculous power,
which is most widely diffused through Pagan and Christian ages alike, but which has the least root in the solemnities of the imagination, we may call the Ovidian. By way of distinction, it may be so called; and with some justice, since Ovid in his Metamorphoses gave the first elaborate record of such a tendency in human superstition. It is a movement of superstition under the domination of human affections; a mode of spiritual awe which seeks to reconcile itself with human tenderness or admiration; and which represents supernatural power as expressing itself by a sympathy with human distress or passion concurrently with human sympathies, and as supporting that blended sympathy by a symbol incarnated with the fixed agencies of nature. For instance, a pair of youthful lovers perish by a double suicide originating in a fatal mistake, and a mistake operating in each case through a noble self-oblivion. The tree under which their meeting has been concerted, and which witnesses their tragedy, is supposed ever afterwards to express the divine sympathy with this catastrophe in the gloomy colour of its fruit:
"At tu, quæ ramis (arbor!) miserabile Nunc tegis unius, mox es tectura duorum, Signa tene cædis:-pullosque et luctibus aptos
Semper habe fructus-gemini monumenta cruoris:"
Such is the dying adjuration of the lady to the tree. And the fruit be comes from that time a monument of a double sympathy-sympathy from man, sympathy from a dark power standing behind the agencies of nature, and speaking through them. Meantime the object of this sympathy is understood to be not the individual catastrophe; but the universal case of unfortunate love exemplified in this particular romance. The inimitable grace with which Ovid has delivered these early traditions of human tenderness, blending with human superstition, is notorious; the artfulness of the pervading connexion, by which every tale in the long succession is made to arise spontaneously out of
that which precedes, is absolutely unrivalled: and this it was, with his luxuriant gayety, which procured for him a preference, even with Milton, a poet so opposite by intellectual constitution. It is but reasonable, therefore, that this function of the miraculous should bear the name of Ovidian. Pagan it was in its birth; and to paganism its titles ultimately ascend. Yet we know that in the transitional state through the centuries succeeding to Christ, during which paganism and Christianity were slowly descending and ascending, as if from two different strata of the atmosphere, the two powers interchanged whatsoever they could. (See Conyers Middleton; and see Blount of our own days.) It marked the earthly nature of paganism, that it could borrow little or nothing by organization: it was fitted to no expansion. But the true faith, from its vast and comprehensive adaptation to the nature of man, lent itself to many corruptions-some deadly in their tendencies, some harmless. Amongst these last was the Ovidian form of connecting the unseen powers moving in nature with human sympathies of love or reverence. legends of this kind are universal and endless. No land, the most austere in its protestantism, but has adopted these superstitions: and everywhere by those even who reject them they are entertained with some degree of affectionate respect. That the ass, which in its very degradation still retains an under-power of sublimity, or of sublime suggestion through its
ancient connexion with the wilder ness, with the Orient, with Jerusalem, should have been honoured amongst all animals, by the visible impression upon its back of Christian symbols -seems reasonable even to the infantine understanding when made acquainted with its meekness, its patience, its suffering life, and its association with the founder of Christi anity in one great triumphal solemnity. The very man who brutally abuses it, and feels a hard-hearted contempt for its misery and its submission, has a semi-conscious feeling that the same qualities were possibly those which recommended it to a distinction when all things were valued upon a scale inverse to that of the world. Certain it is, that in all Christian lands the legend about the ass is current amongst the rural population. The haddock, again, amongst marine animals, is supposed, throughout all maritime Eu rope, to be a privileged fish; even in austere Scotland, every child can point out the impression of St Peter's thumb, by which from age to age it is distinguished from fishes having otherwise an external resemblance. All domes. ticated cattle, having the benefit of man's guardianship and care, are be lieved throughout England and Germany to go down upon their knees at one particular moment of Christmaseve, when the fields are covered with darkness, when no eye looks down but that of God, and when the exact anniversary hour revolves of the angelic song, once rolling over the fields and flocks of Palestine. The Glastonbury
This, however, was
“An under-power of sublimity”—Every body knows that Homer compared the Telamonian Ajax, in a moment of heroic endurance, to an ass. only under a momentary glance from a peculiar angle of the case. But the Mahometan, too solemn, and also perhaps too stupid to catch the fanciful colours of things, absolutely by choice, under the Bagdad Caliphate, decorated a most favourite hero with the title of the Ass-which title is repeated with veneration to this day. The wild ass is one of the few animals which has the reputation of never flying from an enemy.
+ "Which recommended it to a distinction"—It might be objected that the Oriental ass was often a superb animal; that it is spoken of prophetically as such; and that historically the Syrian ass is made known to us as having been used in the prosperous ages of Judea for the riding of princes. But this is no objection. Those circumstances in the history of the ass were requisite to establish its symbolic propriety in a great symbolic pageant of triumph. Whilst, on the other hand, the individual animal, there is good reason to think, was marked by all the qualities of the general race as a suffering and unoffending tribe in the animal creation. The asses on which princes rode were of a separate colour, of a peculiar breed, and improved, like the English racer, by continual care.
Mahometanism, which every where pillages Christianity, cannot but have its own face at times glorified by its stolen jewels. This solemn hour of jubilation, gathering even the brutal natures into its fold, recalls accordingly the Mahometan legend (which
Thorn is a more local superstition; but at one time the legend was as widely diffused as that of Loretto, with the angelic translation of its sanctities: on Christmas morning, it was devoutly believed by all Christendom, that this holy thorn put forth its annual blossoms. And with respect to the aspen tree, which Mrs Hemans very naturally mistook for a Welsh legend, having first heard it in Denbighshire, the popular faith is universal-that it shivers mystically in sympathy with the horror of that mother tree in Palestine which was compelled to furnish materials for the cross. Neither would it in this case be any objection, if a passage were produced from Solinus or Theophrastus, implying that the aspen tree had always shivered-for the tree might presumably be penetrated by remote presentiments, as well as by remote remembrances. In so vast a case the obscure sympathy should stretch, Janus-like, each way. And an objection of the same kind to the rainbow, considered as the sign or seal by which God attested his covenant in bar of all future deluges, may be parried in something of the same way. It was not then first created-true but it was then first selected by preference, amongst a multitude of natural signs as yet unappropriated, and then first charged with the new function of a message and a ratification to man. Pretty much the same theory, that is, the same way of accounting for the natural existence without disturbing the supernatural functions, may be applied to the great constellation of the other hemisphere, called the Southern Cross. It is viewed popularly in South America, and the southern parts of our northern hemisphere, as the great banner, or gonfalon, held aloft by heaven before the Spanish heralds of the true faith in 1492. To that superstitious and ignorant race it costs not an effort to
suppose, that by some synchronising miracle, the constellation had been then specially called into existence at
the very moment when the first Christian procession, bearing a cross in their arms, solemnly stepped on shore from the vessels of Christendom. We Protestants know better: we understand the impossibility of supposing such a narrow and local reference in orbs, so transcendently vast as those composing the constellation-orbs removed from each other by such unvoyageable worlds of space, and having, in fact, no real reference to each other more than to any other heavenly bodies whatsoever. The unity of synthesis, by which they are composed into one figure of a cross, we know to be a mere accidental result from an arbi. trary synthesis of human fancy. Take such and such stars, compose them into letters, and they will spell such a word. But still it was our own choice a synthesis of our own fancy, originally to combine them in this way. They might be divided from each other, and otherwise combined. All this is true: and yet, as the combination does spontaneously offer itself to every eye, as the glorious cross does really glitter for ever through the silent hours of a vast hemisphere, even they who are not superstitious, may willingly yield to the belief that, as the rainbow was laid in the very elements and necessities of nature, yet still bearing a prededicationto a service which would not be called for until many ages had passed, so also the mysterious cypher of man's imperishable hopes may have been entwined and enwreathed with the starry heavens from their earliest creation, as a prefiguration . as a silent heraldry of hope through one period, and as a heraldry of gratitude through the other.
All these cases which we have been rehearsing, taking them in the fullest literality, agree in this general point of union, they are all silent incarnations of miraculous power-miracles, supposing them to have been such originally, locked up and embodied in the regular course of nature, just as we see linea
the reader may remember is one of those incorporated into Southey's Thalaba,) of a great hour revolving once in every year, during which the gates of Paradise were thrown open to their utmost extent, and gales of happiness issued forth, upon the total family of man.
*"Does spontaneously offer itself."-Heber (Bishop of Calcutta) complains that this constellation is not composed of stars answering his expectation in point of magnitude. But he admits that the dark barren space around it gives to this inferior magnitude a very advantageous relief.
ments of faces and of forms in petrifactions, in variegated marbles, in spars, or in rocky strata, which our fancy interprets as once having been real human existences; but which are now confounded with the substance of a mineral product. Even those who are most superstitious, therefore, look upon cases of this order as occupying a midway station between the physical and the hyperphysical, between the regular course of nature and the providential interruption of that course. The stream of the miraculous is here confluent with the stream of the natural. By such legends the credulous man finds his superstition but little nursed; the incredulous finds his philosophy but little revolted. Both alike will be willing to admit, for instance, that the apparent act of reverential thanksgiving, in certain birds, when drinking, is caused and support ed by a physiological arrangement; and yet, perhaps, both alike would bend so far to the legendary faith as to allow a child to believe, and would perceive a pure childlike beauty in believing, that the bird was thus rendering a homage of deep thankfulness to the universal Father, who watches for the safety of sparrows, and sends his rain upon the just and upon the unjust. In short, the faith in this order of the physico-miraculous is open alike to the sceptical and the nonsceptical: it is touched superficially with the colouring of superstition, with its tenderness, its humility, its thankfulness, its awe; but, on the other hand, it is not therefore tainted with the coarseness, with the silliness, with the credulity of superstition. Such a faith reposes upon the universal signs diffused through nature, and blends with the mysterious of natural grandeurs wherever found-with the mysterious of the starry heavens, with the mysterious of music, and with that infinite form of the mysterious for man's dimmest misgivings
"Whose dwelling is the light of setting
Ovidian, is too aerial, too allegoric, almost to be susceptible of much terror. It is the mere fancy, in a mood halfplayful, half-tender, which submits to the belief. It is the feeling, the sen timent, which creates the faith; not the faith which creates the feeling. And thus far we see that modern feeling and Christian feeling has been to the full as operative as any that is peculiar to paganism; judging by the Romish Legenda, very much more so. The Ovidian illustrations, under a false superstition, are entitled to give the designation, as being the first, the earliest, but not at all as the richest. Besides that, Ovid's illustrations emanated often from himself individually, not from the popular mind of his country; ours of the same classification uniformly repose on large popular traditions from the whole of Christian antiquity. These again are agencies of the supernatural which can never have a private or personal application; they belong to all mankind and to all generations. But the next in order are more solemn ; they become terrifie by becoming personal. These comprehend all that vast body of the marvellous which is expressed by the word Ominous. On this head, as dividing itself into the ancient and modern, we will speak next.
Every body is aware of the deep emphasis which the Pagans laid upon words and upon names, under this aspect of the ominous. The name of several places was formally changed by the Roman government, solely with a view to that contagion of evil which was thought to lurk in the syllables, if taken significantly. Thus, the town of Maleventum, (Illcome, as one might render it,) had its name changed by the Romans to Beneven tum, (or Welcome.) Epidamnum again, the Grecian Calais, corresponding to the Roman Dover of Brundusium, was a name that would have startled the stoutest-hearted Roman "from his propriety." Had he suffered this name to escape him inadvertently, his spirits would have forsaken himhe would have pined away under a certainty of misfortune, like a poor Negro of Koromantyn who is the victim of Obi. * As a Greek word, which it
*"The victim of Obi."-It seems worthy of notice, that this magical fascination is generally called Obi, and the magicians Obeah men, throughout Guinea, Negroland, &c.; whilst the Hebrew or Syriac word for the rites of necromancy was Ob or Obli, at least when ventriloquism was concerned.