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ground, and did not trespass on the green corn, that with this extemporized method of lot, and it must have grew unfenced in the neighbouring field—an elder sister either agreed or disagreed with the fact ascertained called me from the end of the house, and held up in her when I reached home; but memory fails to bring up hands one of my pigeons, making signs to indicate that these features of the transaction. One thing I know, the bird was dead. I called across the river with the the
pure little angel-like pet was all well when I reached eagerness of a great grief, demanding to know whether its cot, and eagerly peered in. A millstone was lifted the bird really were dead; and if dead, what creature had from my heart—a millstone that should never have been killed it. She did not give me a direct answer. The laid on it. bird was really living, and she would not tell a direct I must hold the balance even. Now that I have untruth; but she gave evasive answers, and repeated the given one case in which I was the innocent sufferer, I signs, which made me fear the worst. She retired shall narrate another in which I was the guilty perpebehind the house before I could obtain satisfac- trator of a cruel act. Here too it is a pigeon that is tion.
concerned; but in this case it was a wild one. It ocI was left in an agony of suspense. I dared not leave curred also several years later, when I was older,
and my charge. I could not go home till noon. The tor- ought to have had more sense. ment increased, and soon became intolerable. Is my Near the house stood a group of tall old picturesque pigeon living, or dead ? None appeared to tell. Little Scotch firs. Their stems were bare to a great height, did my sister suspect how much pain she had caused of a yellowish white colour, with a glossy surface that me. If she had known how the uncertainty was tearing glanced in the sunbeams. The tops were dark-green, my heart, she would have gone through fire and water approaching to black, broad and circular like the head for my relief. She was not lacking in love; but she of a mushroom. A pair of wood-pigeons had built their lacked wisdom as to how a child should be treated. She nest on the highest pinnacle of one of these trees. The was but a child herself, and had not experience. structure was completed, the eggs laid, and now the
I could not wait till noon : some settlement must im- mother had betaken herself to the task of hatching. mediately be reached. I knew nothing about casting Day after day, night after night, she plied her lonely lots. That method did not occur to me. But another calling on the top of that tall tree, rocked by the sumplan involving the same principle was suddenly sug- mer wind, and cheered by occasional visits of her mate. gested, and as suddenly adopted. I lay stretched on I could not climb the tree. In an evil hour I prothe flowery grass, leaning on my elbows, with my face cured an old musket, and charged it with powder and toward the ground. I gazed tearfully into the roots of lead. I had no experience, and nobody with me to the grass, but could find no light. One of the cows, a teach me. If there had been an onlooker, he would tame and confiding creature, was browsing near, with probably have taken the weapon from me, lest I should her head directly towards my head. It is well known shoot myself. In the enjoyment of the venture, and that cattle, when feeding on pasture, move very slowly eagerness to try whether I could shoot, thoughts of the forward, licking the grass bare as they advance. I knew cruelty of the meditated act seem never to have octhe cox, on coming to the spot where I lay, must ne- curred, or to have been smothered as they rose. I crept cessarily diverge a little, in order to avoid me. Her beneath the tree ; dodged about till I found an opening progress, as yet, pointed in a perfectly straight line to among the branches which gave me an uninterrupted mue, and nothing indicated on which side she would pass. view of the nest, with the head of the pigeon projecting Making an arbitrary rule, I suddenly determined with over one side, and the tail over the other. I raised the myself: If she pass on my right, the pigeon is living; gun to my shoulder. It is easier for feeble arms to bear its if she pass on my left, the pigeon is dead. This settled, weight when it is placed in a perpendicular, than if it I lay as still as a stone, that nothing on my part might were held in a horizontal position. I shut the left eye, derange the balance, and so interfere with the certainty looked with the right along the barrel, until I covered of the result.
the nest with the muzzle. I then drew the trigger, Thus far all is clear. The writing is legible on the and the gun went off. Off flew the pigeon from the tablets of my memory up to this point. But beyond, nest, and fluttered to the ground at my feet. Her there is dimness. The memory of events that occurred wing was broken ; but she lived. I rushed forward with in childhood is like carved slabs in Nimrod's palace, or great glee to seize my prize. But here ended all my the Moabite stone ;--some portions, through accidental happiness. circumstances better preserved, may be read as if they Conquerors have been known to weep as they surhad been written yesterday; while others, more exposed veyed the battle-field—the scene of their triumph. to wind and weather, retain scarcely a trace of the ori. Such was my experience. The victor became the vanginal inscription. Portions of a long past scene may quished. The eye of that gentle, pure, innocent dove, remain on the memory, while other portions of the same casting reproaches on me for my needless cruelty, glows scene may be blotted out and lost. I cannot now recall in my imagination yet, although half a century has inthe result attained, or whether it accorded with the fact. tervened. There must have been a judgment formed in accordance Retribution came, rapid and severe. I was com
pelled to complete my own sad work. Fain would I by authority of parents or masters. The only effectual have set the poor innocent free; but I dared not. I cure is personal conviction. Although all society knew full well that to set it free with its broken wing, should combine against the boy in an effort to repress would only be to prolong its torment. It could never his faults, the faults will maintain their ground, and ascend to its nest, or meet its mate again. It would die come off victorious, unless the boy can be brought to of starvation or be torn by a weasel. While my whole take the side of society against himself. I am quite soul longed for its life, I was obliged to kill it with my sute that the silent testimony of my own conscience ojn hands. So, I shut my eyes, and drew its neck. against my own conduct, when no human being witOh, how its soft, warm, feeble struggles thrilled in my nessed the act, was more effectual in discharging the nerves! This last act of mercy to the pigeon was tor- element of cruelty from my heart and life than a thouture to me.
sand lectures against cruelty to animals, duly endowed The wood-pigeon (in Scotland the cushat-doo) is con- by the benevolent dead, and annually delivered acccordsiderably larger than the domesticated species with | ing to law. Divide and conquer: on other terms you which we are most familiar. It is for the most part of will never conquer. I don't mean that kind of division a lead colour, with lovely rings of white and black about that sets the young culprit on one side, and the whole its neck and breast. Its song, if song it can be called, mass of adult humanity on the other. The little is peculiar, and very affecting. It is a tenderly modu- fellow is, in these circumstances, more than a match for lated and somewhat melanchioly coo. The voice as well the whole world. The scold that comes down upon as the appearance of the bird is strongly suggestive of him like the voice of many waters, will go in by one ear modesty, inoffensiveness, and innocence.
and out by the other. The little fellow, in his own The moment that I was brought face to face with my esteem converted into a hero by the very magnitude of victim was a crisis in my life. The plaintive, upturned the array set against him, will hold his own, and repeat eye, smote me to the heart. I would have given all I the offence on the first favourable opportunity. I mean had in the world to have it restored in health and hap- rather that kind of division which sets one part of the boy piness to its nest again. Some measure of the feeling, in opposition to the other part-the better against the “Why dost thou shake thy gory head at me ?" ran
The division which calls up a tender conscience through my body, and seemed to chill the blood in my with its still small voice-a voice backed by the authoveins. But the deed was done, and could not be un- rity of God—to bear witness against the dastardly deed done. One reckless, useless act, had taken a warm, that his own hand has done—this will conquer- this innocent life away, and left a mate widowed, and a will win. Give the conscience full play: inform and home desolate. I stood and gazed in bitter self-re- stimulate it. In all educational efforts, let the leverage proach. But the remorse was not altogether lost. The employed rest on that pivot planted in the constitution sad lesson came home and bore some fruit. That was by divine foresight and strength. the first pigeon I ever shot,-and the last.
The turning-points of life occur mainly in childhood; Nor did that remorse save the lives of other pigeons and they are for the most part hidden in the heart of merely: it educated me for all the relations of life. It the child. imbued me with a healthful horror of inflicting pain un- It is related of a veteran French soldier of the first necessarily on any living creature. That moment of empire, that, when the surgeons were probing deeply in concentrated anguish, while I was yet young, has ex- his chest in order to extract a ball, thinking that their erted a beneficial influence upon my life. The hearty instruments must be very near the heart, he gaiiy exhatred of myself which I then experienced has re- claimed, “Ge a little deeper, doctor, and you will find bounded in a more tender love for all God's creatures. the emperor.” Such was the soldier's love for the The rebound is equal and opposite to the blow: it is great commander. Some objects and events do get a not amiss for a child to be, by the working of internal place in the heart, as if they were engraved there by a conviction, induced intensely to loathe himself for his pen of iron and the point of a diamond. Some objects, own wrong conduct ; for this bent spring will, according simple in themselves, getting such a place in youth
, to its strength, work outward and upward in efforts to powerfully influence the whole current of the life. If I do good unto others as opportunities may occur. were subjected to an operation similar to that which
I scarcely know any more important item in the the French soldier so courageously endured, the doctraining of the young than this. If habits of heedless tors, I seem to feel, if they should dig deep enough, cruelty to the helpless are allowed to grow into strength would find, in a group of miscellaneous figures, all in the child, the character of the man is undone. Nor sharply cut, distinctly preserved, and mightily effective, will it suffice that acts of cruelty should be suppressed not an emperor, but a cushat-doo.
F the many social questions that simul- ground should be discovered, on which all good
taneously claim the attention of patri- men and true may stand shoulder to shoulder in otic citizens at the present time, that the decisive battle that must ensue.
which bears on the sale and use of Any one who casts an intelligent and compreintoxicating liquors is at once the most pressing hensive glance over the civilized communities and the most difficult. It has been discussed that occupy the more northerly regions of the with great energy for a quarter of a century by a | temperate zone, may perceive that combined and zealous but comparatively small class in the com- national efforts to protect society against the munity. From the agitation conducted by the ravages of intemperance are rising like the tide. total abstainers on the one hand, and the pro- Like the tide, indeed, inasmuch as the wave that moters of the Permissive Bill on the other, the rises is soon broken and thrown back, apparently more influential classes have hitherto, for the as far as it had advanced; but like it, too, in that, most part, held aloof. Legislators, and those amid all the particular disappointments and dewho chiefly influence legislation, have generally feats that occur, there is still a substantial gain, manifested a tendency to scorn the views and and a slow, steady advancement. Efforts, for methods of the more ardent reformers as crude example, made during the last twenty years in and vulgar and impracticable ; while the men of some of the Northern States of the American zeal on the other side have not scrupled to de- Union, have ordinarily been held up to ridicule nounce the apathy of political leaders in terms in this country as the spasmodic action of ignomore distinguished for energy than for elegance. rant zealots, which, under the reaction of common
This division, like all other divisions, has re- sense, soon sinks down to the level from which sulted in weakness and consequent defeat. The it sprang. It is quite true that in the legislatrade in strong drink has acquired such vast pro- tive efforts of our neighbours there have been portions and such an amount of political power, many advances and recessions-restrictive or that thoughtful men of all parties in the State prohibitive laws enacted by one legislature, and begin to regard it with uneasiness and anxiety; repealed by its successor ; yet it remains equally and the results of indulgence have become in true that, on a comprehensive balance, there recharacter and amount such that they threaten mains a substantial gain. The long-suffering nothing short of ruin to the commonwealth. community is gradually and slowly asserting its
At the present date some more favourable power to limit or suppress a traffic that is, in symptoms begin to appear. As in other great point of fact, undermining the foundations of the crises of human history, the extremity of the social edifice. Public opinion in the civilized danger tends to draw the defenders together. It countries of Northern Europe and America is beboves all who fear God and regard man in this gradually awakening to a sense of the danger, community to combine against a common enemy. and the necessity of discovering and applying an for this purpose, it is necessary that a common adequate remedy.
The great and sudden increase in the consumpThe Licensing Law of Sweden." By D. Carnegie, Esq. of Stronyar. Alexander Macdougall, 192 Argyle Street, Glasgow.
tion of spirits, revealed by recent revenue returns, coinciding as it does with the large increase of laird of the lovely Stronvar—had, in the interests wages which the working-classes generally have of suffering humanity, issued forth from his of late secured, has contributed to quicken men's castle to do battle, in the great cities of the land, apprehensions, and even to excite their fears. with a real giant, who shuts up thousands in his Cognate facts, learned partly from official statis- horrid dungeon, and lives upon their blood. tics of crime, and partly from the testimony of We think it fortunate that no prejudice can employers, corroborate the figures of the excise arise in any class against the proposed scheme office, and reiterate the warning.
on account of the person who has introduced it Public attention has lately been called to the to our notice. It is further fortunate that it disease that is wasting the body politic in two hails from Sweden, and not from the United of its many hideous aspects; and corresponding States; for it cannot be denied that some people proposals have been submitted with a view to on this side, when any new measure comes resome palliation, if not to a complete cure. Mr. commended by Americans, are ready to nickDalrymple's bill for the restraint of confirmed name it a Yankee invention, and turn it out of drunkards, deals with a department of the subject doors,—as the Chancellor of the Exchequer can in which the mischief is so specific, and the testify, after having burnt his fingers with Ameriremedy so obvious, that, despite of acknowledged can matches. Legislation that has been found practical difficulties, we may indulge the hope necessary and found successful in the staid and that the country is nearly ripe for legislation. orderly Scandinavian kingdom near our own shore, Reserving our views on this scheme till another will be considered, we may venture to hope, on its opportunity occur, we propose at present to lay own merits, and treated as it may be found to before our readers some notices of another mea- deserve. sure, which is of much wider scope, and involves In the earlier portion of the present century, more of novelty and change.
intemperance spread over Sweden like a flood, and A scheme for the entire reconstruction of the threatened literally to submerge the nation. In licensing system, on principles radically different the year 1830 the number of stills had risen to from any hitherto recognized among us, borrowed 173,000. The quantity of spirits produced is not from recent law and practice in Sweden, has been known, as the duty was levied only on the stills. lately introduced to the attention of this com- In the year 1850, a careful calculation made the munity by Mr. Carnegie of Stronvar, and favour-quantity thirty million gallons-equal to about ably received by many of our experienced and ten gallons per head of the population, or five influential citizens. While we must ultimately times the rate of consumption in Scotland. The judge the measure on its own merits, it is not manufacture and sale of spirits were almost about of place to observe the simple and interest-solutely free. The experiment of free trade in ing auspices under which it has been introduced. this article brought the country to the verge of Mr. Carnegie is neither an orator nor an agitator. ruin. The physical condition of the masses was We are not aware that he has ever had any place wretched; and the criminal calendar is said to or name, either in civic or imperial politics. He have been without parallel in modern history. is a retired merchant, who owns and resides in The country depends mainly on agriculture ; and one of the most beautiful estates that the Scot- the idea that freedom of distillation was necestish Highlands contain. As we gazed last sum- sary to the prosperity of the country's chief inmer on his mansion and the trees that surround dustry, stood long an insurmountable barrier it, mirrored in the glassy surface of the neigh- against any change. bouring lake, and confronted on the other side It is not consistent with our limits to enuby the classic“ Braes of Balquhidder," we thought merate all the provisions of the law on license the spot so like an earthly paradise that it must which the Swedish Parliament enacted in 1855. bind its possessor in silken cords to itself, and A few of the more remarkable provisions way, refuse to let him go. All the greater was our however, be näticed. Wherever spirits are sold surprise that the retired merchant--the fortunate to be drunk on the premises, warm cooked food must also be provided. While the duties on dis- and suggest a remedy. The committee reported tillation are paid to the general government, the that excessive drinking was the cause of the disproceeds of licenses for sale are paid over to the tress; and that no diminution of intemperance local authorities, and go to reduce the burdens could be expected as long as the publicans, who which the use of strong drink entails upon the paid a high sum for their license, found it neceswhole community. No sale is permitted within sary to push the sale of spirits to the utmost. three-quarters of a mile of the spot where a The report of the citizen's committee bore that public auction or fair is held. Regarding Sunday, no remedy could be found, “unless the liquor in no case is it lawful to sell during the hours traffic could be reorganized on an entirely different of religious service; and the local authorities principle.” In the plan ultimately adopted, the may, with consent of the governor, prohibit the subordinate regulations are :- 1. That the sale of sale altogether on that day. No sale is permitted intoxicating liquor on credit, or on pawn-tickets, after ten at night, and none to persons already shall altogether cease; 2. That the premises shall "overloaded," or to young persons. No debts be well lighted, healthy, and clean; 3. That good for spirits are recoverable at law. For the first food shall be provided on the premises at modeoffence the punishment is fine or imprisonment; rate prices.” But the fundamental principlefor the second, forfeiture of license. The magis- the hinge on which this reformation moves—lies trates have power to refuse licenses; and as no in the following rule: "That no individual, either minimum is fixed, “it is within the power of the as proprietor or manager under a public-house local authority, subject to the sanction of ta: license, should derive any private gain from the governor of the province, to prohibit the trade sa e of spirits; thus abolishing all temptation unaltogether in any town or country parish.” Thus duly to extend the consumption.” This, we conthe Swedes have actually achieved a permissive fess, is a revolution; but it may be a peaceful bill. Nor does it lie a dead letter; for it is cer- one in its progress, and glorious in its moral and tified that in many country parishes the sale of economic results. spirits is entirely abolished.
It has been successfully accomplished in the "The effect on intemperance in the country town of Gothenburgh. The law gave the cordistricts was immediate and most remarkable. poration power, as representing the community, In the towns the consumption continued on far to take all the licenses into its own hands. They too large a scale ; but as the country population have acted on this permission, and handed over in Sweden comprises seven-eighths of the whole, their rights
their rights to a limited liability companythe new legislation has succeeded in effecting a posed of the most trusted and patriotic citizensvery great reform in the drinking habits of the who conduct the business in the interests of the Swedes
, who may now be called comparatively a public, and pay over the whole profits to the sober people, instead of the most intemperate in local authorities, to be applied in lieu of poor Europe."
and police rates. In this feature a great act of But a particular measure applicable to towns justice is performed. The profits drawn from has sprung out of the general law in Sweden, drink are employed to punish the crime and rewhich seems to be for us more important than lieve the pauperism which it creates.
In this the general law itself. Borrowing our informa- country, at the present day, the public suffer a tion from Mr. Carnegie's paper, we shall endea- cruel wrong in being obliged to pay for the jails vour to explain the main features of this plan as and poor-houses, which drink renders necessary; it has been carried into effect in the town of while individuals pocket the enormous profits of Gothenburgh,—a sea-port somewhat larger than the trade. Leith, containing a population of about sixty Some licenses in Gothenburgh seem to be the thousand.
permanent property of individuals, like titles and Alarmed by the increase of pauperism and estates in our country, conferred by the crown. crime, the community of Gothenburgh in 1865 The number at the disposal of the local authoriappointed a committee to inquire into the disease | ties was sixty-one. In the course of three years