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a magnificent analogy, which explain each other. As long as man can still improve, there is always a higher existence which awaits him. Since he has before him the perspective of a higher existence, he ought always to improve.- Virtues acquired in old age are still the shoots of a new adolescence; they are like those flowers, the forerunners of a new spring, which make their way through the slight frosts. The more we meditate on the numerous mysteries, the succession of which composes our rapid passage on this earth, the more we recognise in each of them indications that show in this passage a true preparation; and that is the reason, that for most men it is a long and painful trial. The trial is a pledge. This education is the more laborious, as it ought to be more solid and more useful. If we give so much care to that, the fruits of which will subsist but for a few years, and will be destroyed, perhaps by an early death ; what attention, what efforts does not that require, the effects of which must one day extend to a futurity, without uncertainty, as without limits ? Children of the world, we make immense provisions for a short and uncertain journey; children of heaven, what ought we not to provide for the abodes of immortality! With this perspective, what value does the season of the maturity of life acquire, too often considered as the time of enjoymentan enjoyment, in general, so miserable and so poor; and also the season of old age, considered as the time of a sterile repose, troubled by so many cruel infirmities ! Then we judge these reasons no longer only in their narrow connexion with the past; we judge them as they are co-relative to a future developpement; they become more fruitful—the evening that terminates the day is the forerunner of the morrow.
Philosophers have justly remarked, that the only solid instruction is that which the pupil draws from his own resources; that real instruction is not that which imparts notions, but that which renders one capable of forming good notions. What they have said on this respect of intellectual faculties, applies alike to moral faculties; and as there is for the mind an autodidactique education, there is for the soul a spontaneous education—that on which depends all real progress in perfection.
We observe with a lively curiosity the process of those ingenious and varied arts which present to material wants the productions of industry. Ought we to be indifferent to the secret process of this marvellous art which forms truly distinguished men; which performs the great work of happiness and virtue; and which bestows on the world its finest ornament, by raising human nature to its highest dignity. We will, by a laudable robbery, gain from good people their most intimate secrets; they will become our subject of study—may they own our maxims, recognize therein the recapitulation of their own experience; and while we declare that we have limited ourselves to borrowing our science from them, may we, indeed, have deserved to be their interpreter. If this art, the first of arts, by its universality, as by its importance, can be reduced to practical maxims, as it is destined for the use of all men, these maxims ought to be within the compass of all understandings. Then they must not only suit those
privileged beings whom nature has endued with eminent faculties, who have little want of advice, because they find it in their own inspirations, they must also be suited to common weakness; they must enlighten, even from the first steps, which are often the most difficult, those who undertake their own improvement. They must also rest essentially on facts, which belong to a universal experience. They will, consequently, be supported by truths already familiar. Far from rejecting them as generally known, we ought to applaud ourselves at finding them already received and owned by all. Each one can verify them, judge them, and he will be much better able to apply them to himself. It is a fine prerogative for moral truths, that of establishing one's-self on a general opinion ; and being but the expression of the conscience of mankind. Let us take heed not to deprive them of it! they would become less sublime, and less useful, on ceasing to be popular. Finally, these maxims ought to agree with the variety of opinions, as much, at least, as these opinions agree with the interests of virtue; they ought to be disengaged, as much as possible, from all systematical theory; not, but that the fine and high speculations which embrace the principles of duty, and the route of moral approbation, are one of the most worthy objects for the meditation of thinking men; but in- uniting to this class of speculations, the precepts of an ordinary art, we should run the risk of compromising them in arduous discussions, in the eyes of those who would have neither the leisure, nor the spirit to set themselves up as judges of these serious controversies.
Such is according to the judgment of those who have the most investigated them ; such is, happily, the result to which one is led, by the comparative examination of divers theoretical systems, that the counsels of wisdom, such as they are inspired by the uprightness of the heart, received from them a fresh confirmation. We see the authors of these systems, after having differed in speculative considerations, unite almost in the same practical results, with the sole difference, that some of them give more or less energy to some of the principal springs of the will, encircle certain virtues with more or less favor. We, perhaps, may conclude from thence, that of all systems, the most solid and the truest, is, that which, without excluding any, recognizes in all, something useful, combines them judiciously one with the other, and reproaches each, but with becoming incomplete and defective, from having been too exclusive.
There are, however, certain fundamental points, which it is first necessary to establish, or rather to recall to mind, in order to place them beyond all dispute. In this study of the phenomena of moral life, of the improvement of which it is capable, the means of advancing it, to determine what it may become, we must acknowledge the conditions by which it exists, and the elements of which it is composed. — Moral life needs reality, as well as the life we call physical, although it preserves a much greater pre-eminence. Its reality is even more certain ; physical life we know but by its effects, as we know bodies, but by their surfaces. But we know moral life by the evidence of our conscience; we can penetrate the depths of our own hearts. In the scenes of moral life, the soul is at once actor and witness. It is this history of inward life, which must serve as a prelude and introduction to self-education, because it ought to teach what are the materials and instruments, this important work makes use of: it will be drawn from intimate experience, an experience certainly more positive than the experience of our external senses, since it is grounded on immediate intuition, although it is more delicate and more difficult, because it makes use of the aid of reflection, a tardy faculty, and cramped in its flight here below, by a thousand obstacles. This preliminary study will lead us to acknowledge, that, if our inclinations and our actions are the materials for moral perfectionnement, the two principal springs consist in the love of good and selfgovernment, two powers which constitute all the moral man, and which, we will endeavour to characterise and define. The one determines the purity of motives, and is grounded on disinterestedness as its essential condition; the other renders us capable of acting from the best motives, and supposes as an essential condition, that man has not only power, but authority over himself. One directs the end ; the other furnishes the instrument.
This being supposed, we shall first examine how, by the exercise of these two great powers, results all that is good in us, and how the degree of their application is the measure of merit and demerit of human sentiments and actions; how, it is the measure of esteem granted by the judgment of good men. We shall see them at first act separately, and by turns, as much, at least, as they can act singly. We shall afterwards see them combine with one another, for it is on their union and harmony alone that all moral perfection depends. Finally, we shall inquire what are the best means to cultivate in us these two great powers, give them the highest degree of energy of which they are susceptible, and to preserve between them that harmony equally necessary to both. Thus will we conclude, the views we propose to show forth on self-education - - views which embrace but a scanty portion of this grave subject.
We shall thus find ourselves naturally led to seek some remedies for the two principal moral maladies which afflict humanity, and perhaps more particularly, in our time; the first, that egotism, which separates men, renders them strangers to each other, diminishes or destroys all ties of affection, and concentres individual activity in the search of enjoyments; the other, that weakness of character which abandons men as slaves to a blind imitation, or to their own inclinations. Happy, if, at an epoch when so many circumstances seem to call society to serious habits or vocations, in which the dignity of man seems better understood, we can co-operate by our small tribute to raise this dignity, and keep up the sacred fire of noble and generous affections.
THE CONDITION OF IRELAND.*
The saddest sight under the Sun is to be seen in Erin's tragic isle. There, men are not only bookless, but beefless, baconless, breadless; and millions are stalking about in idleness, dirt, and want, with pipes in their mouths, hunger in their bellies, and despair in their souls. The time has now come when every thinking being in this land should know and gravely reflect on the condition of Ireland. Haply it is not a difficult task to learn the true state of things in that unhappy country.
In the month of August, 1845, the spirited proprietors of the “ TIMES” commissioned a gentleman of good education and well-regulated mind to proceed to Ireland, for the purpose of faithfully recording the social condition of the Irish people. That gentleman, THOMAS CAMPBELL FOSTER, accordingly went, and, with scrupulous fidelity, performed the task he undertook. Week after week there appeared in the columns of the leading journal of Europe, the experiences of the • Times Commissioner,' and these have now been collected into one volume, which volume we certainly consider to be the most important work of the day. By its aid, it is our own intention to show to our readers a part of the sorrowful spectacle that is to be witnessed daily in England's sister land.
Mr. Foster dates his first letter from the town of Cavan, where, he says, "armed police and soldiers are parading about, and there are everywhere notices offering rewards for private information relative to the secret society commonly called ‘Ribandmen, 'or ‘Molly Maguires,' and directing the arrest of all vagrants and suspicious persons.” This was in consequence of a system of lawless violence which had rendered life and property for some months previous totally unsafe. Murders, robberies, and assaults had been perpetrated, and no punishment could be inflicted, for the perpetrators were never to be found! At last, one of the magistrates of the county of Cavan, (Mr. Bell Booth,) was shot in the broad day, when returning from the worship of his Maker, in company with his children. The assassin fled, and, though there were several persons on the road where the catastrophe occured, no one pursued the fellow, or took any step to bring him to justice. The sister-in-law of the murdered magistrate was so near to the villain who fired the
* Letters on the Condition of the People of Ireland : By THOMAS CAMPBELL FOSTER. Chapman and Hall.
shot, that she closely observed him, yet dare not attempt identification," lest, perchance, she also should fall by the musket's deadly aim. Assassination is saleable in Ireland! Mr. Foster was told in Tipperary that “if a man took a dislike to him, plenty of men might be hired for thirty shillings to shoot him!!!” and this system of intimidation is universal throughout the land. “Men there bear things and do things contrary to their inclination, for fear of offending persons, or of becoming unpopular, or of being threatened to be shot, which no man in England would think of submitting to for a moment on any consideration.” Farmers go about in such a state of alarm, that they wear fire-arms, and when coming from market will keep their “cts in clusters," in order to protect themselves from attack. Some monstrous evil must be at the bottom of all this. But what is it? Mr. Foster considers the great bane to be THE WANT OF EMPLOYMENT FOR THE PEOPLE. Being in the county of Cavan, he takes the facts of that portion of the country to illustrate his belief. He says, –
“ According to the census of 1841, there are 25,041 farms in the county of Cavan, and the number is thus constituted :Above 1 to 5 acres
Thus, 23,000 out of the 25,600 farms are under fifteen acres, or of a size so small that each occupant is capable of cultivating his farm by himself, they offer no occupation to the labourer. It is probable, also, that in many cases each occupant, with the aid of his family, can, without further assistance, cultivate the farms which range from fifteen to thirty acres. Then, what remains as a source of employment for the natural increase of population, and for those who may be divested of employment ? - the labor which 668 farms, above thirty acres, can give, in the whole county of Cavan. But these farms are already stocked with laborers. It is almost needless to prove that they do not afford scope for the surplus industry of the unemployed. The census of 1841, however, will do it in two lines. Out of the 57,651 individuals of the population of Ireland who annually migrate to England in search of harvest work, squeezed out to look for employment, and thereby, by competition, to reduce to their own condition the poor laborers of England, the county of Cavan sends forth 1904. If they could find work at home, they would not go to England to search for it. These few farms, therefore, about and above thirty acres, do not find means of employment for the unemployed. The same observations will apply to the narrow field for employment which trade and manufactures afford. The trades and