« PreviousContinue »
learn the compositions of the great masters those so precious transcripts of the music of nature — God's music, that infinite solace and forecast of heaven. Loving sentiments, garbed in gracious melodies, are calculated to reform the world. Whom would they not benefit; for who is wholly free from the plague-spots. of error and sin? It would recall the lullabies of infancy — the low sweet voices on a mother's knee. The haven of rest and of a blessed eternity, albeit dim and distant, would open again ; while, swelling, sweetly swelling, on the elemental air, floods of glorious harmony would waft the regenerate soul to heaven once more !
“ But should we neglect the parent while we fostered the child ? That were not well. For every peasant I would construct, and maintain in substantial repair, a well-built cottage. There should be poultry, a cow, and the peasant's wealth, a swine, with large enclosed garden, the whole at an acreable rental. I would supply each family with seeds, plants, cuttings, free of cost ; and, further, allow one day in the week, without deduction of wages, for the culture of the little spot. I should, moreover, maintain a model farm and garden accessible to all; and in cases of sickness or accident, send some one to look after the poor man's affairs.
“ The estate should be drained and trenched at my own expense : while I advised the general adoption of spade labour, with house-fed cattle, my draught oxen should be at the service of the tenants in all agricultural straits. I would follow the best system of alternate husbandry, and, both by precept and example, do what I could to extend to all the advantages I enjoyed. Encouragement should be given to those who kept the neatest houses and most comfortably attired families, as well as prizes for superior stock and crop. And every month my butcher should slaughter, by the humane and almost painless method of pithing, abundant sheep, swine, oxen, on which occasions well-cured joints and fresh meats should find their way to every householder.
“I would maintain decked vessels for the deep-sea fishery, and nets for drawing along the shore. My people would catch enough for sale at nominal prices to cover expenses, as well as leave a handsome surplus for gratuitous distribution. Turf, well compressed and dried, should be everywhere available at cost price. A skilful physician, with competent assistants, should attend the poor ; and disease would no longer ensue from destitution and neglect.
“ In other respects,” said Cornelius, “ I should arrange that my labourers, either in addition to, or in lieu of wages, should have a proportion, say a tenth, of the aggregate produce of the soil. Having a direct interest in the fruits of
their toil, they would redouble exertion, and realize an increase beyond any thing that mere driving could insure. Landlords would gain, not lose, by leases in perpetuity; arrangements founded on human nature, and directly conducive to the interests of all concerned. For labour, this so precious yet underprized commodity, will not always so abound; inducements one day shall be held out to cause the husbandman to remain, in place of brutally driving him away.
“ Already, I have purchased tracts in Canada and at the Cape, far exceeding my paternal domains. These are under proper management, and my tenants, when their numbers surpass the bounds of decent subsistence at home, shall be at liberty to settle on my colonial estates abroad, where well-appointed farms and comfortable dwellings await them. The voyage would be performed in vessels chartered for the purpose, in the society of friends, and would resemble a party of pleasure rather than the dreary transit of forlorn emigrants. And thus," continued Cornelius, “ I should provide for the
· I was affected, I shall confess it, and prayed the Lord, with heart and soul, that life and means might be accorded to accomplish his designs, and set a golden example to the aimless, thriftless, unfeeling landlords of Ireland and of the world.
“ You accord me more credit,” resumed Cornelius, “ than I deserve. It is well to propose, better still to execute; success, after all, is the criterion to which I cheerfully bow. I am far, indeed, from thinking, that a world where death and sin and care find admission, is convertible into a paradise — for earth is not man's abiding-place; but I believe that it is susceptible of infinite amelioration, improvements