Hide Articles List

9 articles on this Page

THE COURT. --

POLITICAL GOSSIP. ---ø.--

THE ARTS, LITERATURE, &c.…

SPORTS AND PASTIMES. --+-

How Damp Grain may be Harvested.

Flower Garden and Shrubberies.

Hardy Fruit and Kitchen Garden.

TOPICS OF THE WEEK. i

News
Cite
Share

TOPICS OF THE WEEK. i EMANCIPATING THE NEGROES.—President Lincoln's proclamation for emancipating the negroes is adopted by the Federal convention, and awkwardly vindicated by its author. It has not produced the expected anarchy in the South, and it has not, thus far, inter- fered with the success of the war. It would have been more to the purpose to explain how it has promoted the cause of reunion, or in what manner it has facili- tated military operations. The proclamation was issued in virtue of a supposed prerogative which the Republicans describe as the war power, and it was professedly intended, not to benefit the negroes, but to weaken or intimidate the insurgents. If it had produced a servile rebellion, it would have been an inexcusable crime, but not, as at present, an idle menace. If the dread of its operation had induced any Confederate State, or part of a State to submit, the questionable justice of the act might have been partially redeemed by its successful operation; but, after the experience of eight months, Mr. Lincoln can only say that the war progresses as successfully since the issue of the proclamation as before. Peace, if it is ever to be restored, must necessarily be less distant than before, but it has by no means been accelerated by the device which was justly denounced as culpable until it proved itself abortive. The Republicans will have derived little advantage from the opportunity of pledging themselves to anticipations which may not improbably be falsified by events. If, after the lapse of another year, peace has not approached visibly nearer, the professions which are now thought at- tractive to the constituency will have become generally distasteful. It will then be the turn of the Democrats to show whether they have learnt moderation and honesty during their temporary exclusion from political power.—Saturday Review. FRUIT V. BIRDs.-The Times has had a vast deal of correspondence about the destruction of birds. On the one hand it is contended that the birds are the police appointed by nature to keep down insect life, which would otherwise swarm so as to devour crops and poison the air, a plague which is beginning to be felt in France, where a war of extermination has been waged with birds. On the other hand it is asserted that the birds are nothing but thieves, that they rob gardens of all their fruit, and will not trouble them- selves to pick up a caterpillar while a cherry, a rasp- berry, or plum can be had. A country parson writes a long letter of mixed lament and complaint. He has, he says, a weakness for fruit and a fondness for birds, but he finds it impossible to have both—non bene conveniunt, nee in Wita sede morantur. The black- birds ate all his strawberries, with some help from thrushes and robins. The gooseberries followed; but there was balm in Gilead, and the parson com- forted himself with the thought of the ripening pears, for which the good man has a particular weakness." Indeed, he seems to have a weakness for every- thing eatable in his garden, and would have been much misplaced in Eden. The destruction of half his crop of pears he lays to the charge of the birds, and accuses them of now having designs on the winter sort. The sanguinary conclusion the rev. gentleman arrives at is, that the small birds must be destroyed or fruit cannot be had at a price suiting his pocket. Another clergyman, a London incumbent, accuses the birds as follows:—They consumed all the currants and all the gooseberries, they devoured all the peas, and we left them making holes in the plums to see if they were ripe in the intervals of their hammering at the nuts and filberts. Now one of two things must b3 certain, either that the incumbent had very little fruit, or that the birds must have swarmed in his garden in numbers never yet seen or heard of except in this complaint. If birds could collect in force capable of the havoc described, they would have some quarrels and grudges to settle amongst themselves which would seriously interfere with the business of regaling. We believe the destruction to be enor- mously exaggerated in these representations. The confessed weakness for fruit has introduced a vindictive spirit into the report, magnifying the trespasses of the poor birds. But the question is not, as stated, between birds and fruit, but between birds and insects, and if the country parson destroys the small birds to preserve his strawberries and gooseberries, will he be content to be overrun and choked with insects ? A writer, who signs himself Sense," denies, indeed, that the birds render the service of destroying snails, caterpillars, &c., and it is possible that in certain short seasons they prefer a vegetable diet; but the experience of France proves that where birds have been exterminated, insects and vermin have multiplied to a disgusting, destructive, and noxious extent. And birds, we take it, have the same manners and habits in all lands. It is remarkable that most of the witnesses against the birds are clerical, and their judgments marker. with the severity that generally characterises the cloth in the magistracy. We are sorry for it, as the example of the parson is too likely to counteract the endeavours (hitherto promising well) to put an end to the wanton destruction of nature's police for the suppression of insects and vermin. It is a very short-sighted policy and economy to grudge this force their wages, for which, besides their more substantial services, they please our eyes with their beauty and our ears with their song. But what, asks the country parson, are these gratifications compared with gooseberries.—-Examiner. BRIGHTON AS IT Is.-England is indebted to George IV. for Brighton in its present state. The Pavilion, which now belongs to the town, is a monu- ment of that monarch's taste—or want of taste. There were some points of resemblance between George IV. and Charles II.: but how many points of difference! King Charles had a fine intellect, misdirected by the accidents of his early life. He was a good mathema- tician and chemist-a man of real courage, as he showed in his escape after Worcester, when he swam a wide river with a peasant on his shoulders. Every one remembers Rochester's epigrammatic epitaph— Here lies our sovereign lord the King, Whose word no man relies on, Who never said a foolish thing, And never did a wise one. Elsewhere the witty Earl describes King Charles as The easiest prince and best bred man alive. Although it was the boast of George IV. to be "the first gentleman in Europe," it may well be doubted whether he would have held that rank in the eyes of so good a judge as Rochester. Praed's comment on his career is terribly sharp A noble, nasty course he ran, Superbly filthy and fastidious; He was the world's first gentleman And made the appellation hideous. Peace to his Manes But when one looks at that vile Pavilion of his, which disfigures Brighton, it is im- possible not to pity a man who filled a position for which he was so terribly unfit. To be King of England -how glorious the career! It is simply the noblest thing earth has to offer. Nobly was the position occupied by Edward I.-by Edward III.: nobly will it, we trust, by Edward VII. But it is sad when a man who would have made an excellent tailor is called to such a career. A dissertation on extinct monarchs has been provoked by the Pavilion. However, the Pavilion gardens are pleasant enough—are peculiarly pleasant in a place like Brighton, where there are scarcely any trees for miles. The slopiug downs in the vicinage are wide and breezy: but Englishmen cannot do without foliage. So, while the Pavilion itself is an abomination, its gardens are delightful— and the corporation of Brighton are wise to maintain them in their present state. Tired of the glare of sunlight upon the open sea, you take up the last French novel to be had for love or money (kappy if it be Edmond About's), or, failing this, an English one— and then, selecting a patulous elm in which the rooks are musical, you lie on the turf beneath and read till dinner time. The soft susurrus of the tide reaches you at intervals. You are in the land In which it seemeth always afternoon, and with the immense advantage that a capital dinner awaits you at your hotel, the lotos being brought in merely for dessert. Still, Brighton is by no means perfect for those who desire thorough enjoyment of the sea. Its very popularity has spoilt it. Its excellence deteriorates it. London removed to the margin of ocean-wide waters in front and wide downs behind- is very charming in theory; but it charms other people, it brings with it the excellent and agreeable acquaintances who have bored you all through the season, it compels you to dine with men you are tired of dining with, though they are the best fellows in the world, and give capital dinners. Hence our verdict is that though Brighton is without rival for the man who wants a few desultory days by the sea, longer vacation should be spent in some spot less known and less fashionable.—Spectator.

OUR MISCELLANY. --