Gambar halaman

garded places, and left to spread and increase in rank and deleterious luxuriance."

What is so poetically and graphically described by Mr. Howitt, is verified in its minutest details in the “Glory and Shame of England,” a very interesting work by C. Edwards Lester, an abolitionist of New York.




We take what follows from the January No., 1849, of the Westminster Review-we having nothing to remark, except as to the line from the French song, which has taken the place of the Marseilloise as the great National Song, we should rather say, National Dirge. It is the maddening cry of hunger for employment and bread, and more resembles the howl of the wolves of the Pyrennes, as they start in quest of prey, than the Anthem of Liberty. It truly represents, embodies and personifies the great Socialistic movement of the day. Whilst statesmen and philosophers speculate, the mass agitate, organize and threaten. Winter before last, they took possession of the streets of New York, and levied enforced charity. This spring, they meet in the Park and resolve, “that there were fifty thousand men and women in vain seeking employment during the last inclement winter. America echoes to France, “Vivre en travaillant, ou mourir en combatant!” 'Tis the tocsin and the watchword of free society. 'Tis the grum

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

bling noise of the heaving volcano, that threatens and precedes a social eruption greater than the world has yet witnessed. But let us give the language of the Reviewer:

“The question of human misery—its causes and their removal, is at the bottom of the movement which is now convulsing Europe, and which threatens to agitate it for some time to come. Could some practicable scheme of relief, generally acceptable to all classes and adequate to cope with the magnitude of the evil, be but suggested, what a load of anxiety would be taken from the mind of many a Minister of State !-what comfort would be offered to many a desponding philanthropist!

“Human misery has at last found tongues and pens to make itself heard and felt. It appeals to our feelings and our understandings, to our sympathies and fears. Its wails melt us to pity, its ravings terrify us, its woes sicken us.

It will no longer hide itself. We must either remove it, or submit to have it constantly exposed to our gaze in all its horrid deformity.

« Hitherto the comfortable classes have virtually answered the bitter complaints of the uncomfortable classes in some such terms as these: 'Poor people! we are very sorry for your suffering-we really feel for you-take this triflemit will be some relief. We wish we could do more;—and now pray be quiet-don't distress us with your writhings and agonies-resign yourselves to the will of Providence, and bear hunger and cold in peace and seclusion;-above all, attempt no violence, or we must use violence to keep you quiet.' The answer of the un


comfortable classes to such admonitions, day by day becoming more unmistakable, is: Relieve us, relieve us! Make us comfortable, or show us how we may make ourselves comfortable: otherwise we must make you uncomfortable. We will be comfortable or uncomfortable together.'

"Vivre en travaillant, ou mourir en combatant.' In our last number, we ventured to offer a few indications as to wbat we considered a part, an important part, of the remedial measures to be resorted to for the prevention of human misery. We were then dealing with that question as a whole. We now propose to address ourselves to miseries of a class.

“The sufferings of the distressed needle-woman har obtained an infamous notoriety—they are a scandal to our age and a reproach to our boasted civilization. They have been clothed in language at once truthful and impressive, full of pathos and yet free from exaggeration. Well known as Hood's immortal lines may be, we reproduce them here, because no narrative, no statistics of ours, could be more true nor half so much to the purpose :


"With fingers weary and worn,

With eyelids heavy and red,
A woman sat, in unwomanly rags,

Plying her needle and thread.

In poverty, hunger, and dirt;
And still, with a voice of dolorous pitch,

She sang the •Song of the Shirt!'


While the cock is crowing aloof!
And work-work-work!

Till the stars shine through the roof!
It's O! to be a slave,

Along with the barbarous Turk, Where woman has never a soul to save,

If this is Christian work!

6. Work-work-work!

Till the brain begins to swim;

Till the eyes are heavy and dim!
Seam and gusset and band,

Band and gusset and seam,
Till o'er the buttons I fall asleep,

And sew them on in a dream !

"O! men, with sisters dear!

O! men, with mothers and wives,
It is not linen you're wearing out!

But human ereatures' lives!

In poverty, hunger, and dirt;
Sewing at once, with a double thread,

A shroud as well as a shirt!


“But why do I talk of death?

That phantom of grisly bone?
I hardly fear his terrible shape,

It seems so like my own!
It seems so like my own,

Because of the fasts I keep-
Oh, God! that bread should be so dear,

And flesh and blood so cheap!

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »