14 MAY 1831, Page 18


FICTION Gait's Bogle Corbet .,


Nichols's Illustrations of the Li-

HisT"Y• terary Ilistory of the Eighteenth }Vol. VI. —{ Century (

BlvTreozoh Reightlev's Mythology of Greece vol.

ir . 1 and Italy

POLITICAL Jones on theihstribution ofWeulth ECONOMY.. 1 and the Sources of Taxation

PERI° Try7

' •

LITERTURE United Service Journal

A ■

Foreign Quarterly Review No.XIV.

EMBELLISHED 1 Roscoe's British Novelist's Li- I No'

NOVELS. I brary •

TOPOGRAPUY .-GortotesTopographicalDictionary

Colburn and Bentley. Nichols.

Whittaker and Co.


Colburn and Bentley.

Treuttel and Wtirtz. ( Cochrane and Pick- ) engin. Whittaker.


Bogle Corbel is the Emigrant's Guide to Upper Canada; and if ever a-didactic work was made to arrest the attention and excite the sympathies, it is this novel. No one ever thought of learning to farm from the Georgics, or to practise the art of making cider from PHILLIPS'S poem on that subject ; but persons of a certain class may take up Bogle Corbet as a romance, and lay it down as

practical book of hints. Indeed, the works for the guidance of emigrants have been so loosely got up, and written with such con- fined views and limited experience, that it would be difficult to

point out any books on which the emigrant, whose purposes were not settled, could have relied, until the appearance of Lawrie Todd and Bogle Corbet. The whole business of emigration has all along been so shamefully neglected or mismanaged, that it is only one more extraordinary fact added to the rest, that the best instruction concerning it is to be picked up in a novel. Bogle Corbel, when compared to Lawrie Todd, is inferior in the number and force of its graphic scenes, as well as in the richness and strength of its characters : but the incidents are somewhat more striking, as they relate to a person of much more sensibility, greater reach of thought, and of a higher grade in society. Bogle Corbet, taken by itself, is a work of great and extraordinary merit ; it is only as compared with Lawrie Todd that we should stand higgling about its inferiority. As a fictitious autobiographer—in the power or at least in the facility, of first conceiving a character, and then throwing himself into it totis viribuvand by ten thousand strokes of humour, sense, and observation, laying himself or his assumed self bare, as it were unconsciously, to the world—Mr. GALT sur- passes every writer certainly of this day, and perhaps of any time. From such a writer, every thing, therefore, in the kind wherein he excels, must be valuable. Bogle Corbel is so in a very high degree.

The subject of this history is a dreamy youth, of unsettled pur- poses, possessing some fortune, whom his doers or guardians (for he is an orphan), from an idea of the growing prosperity of the cotton trade,' most absurdly put to business, first in a weaving manufactory, and next in a warehouse of Glasgow goods, at Glasgow itself. The inconsistency of the youths habits and feel- ings with the abilities and qualities demanded for this line of life, ultimately end, after numerous stages, incidents, and im- portant changes, in the loss of his capital, the ruin of his house, and in the melancholy fact of Bogle Corbel being a broken mer- chant. The settlement of his affairs occasions a visit to Jamaica; after which he starts again in London as a West India agent or con- signee. In this case, he loses his business through the decline of that branch of trade, and not through any fault of his own or his part- ners ; and, after a second marriage, he resolves upon the great step of emigration. We wish he had done so sooner ; for, al- though his London experience introduces us to many extraordi- nary characters, drawn with a profound knowledge of human na- ture, we could have spared them for the more novel and interest- ing scenes of an emigrant's life ; but we perceive that, having spun out the earlier part of the history at too great a length (without intention—for a man of genius cannot write to order, and make a book as a carpenter makes a box, so many inches cubic), he has been compelled to compress the scenes in Canada into a smaller space, and contract them Prom their fair and beautiful proportions. The characteristic of Mr. GALT'S mind is subtlety, combined with

a keen sense of humour and a considerable play of fancy. When he fails, it is only failure to the coarse observer and to the ruder sympathies : his web is sometimes spun too fine for vulgar eyes : it is then said his good qualities are not brought to bear upon the work,—while the fault is, that a microscope and a patient eye and some science are required for their examination. In a practical point of view, Bogle Corbet will be more useful than Lawrie Todd. Such men as the latter are sure in all situa- tions to fall upon their feet, and whether they remain in one rank or rise to another, it does not much matter: but for the intellec- tual, benevolent, but somewhat whimsical and imaginative man, who, like Bogle Corbet, is always somewhat "feckless" as far as action is concerned,—and of this class there are thousands,—there is great danger. Good guidance is to him all-important : every thing depends upon the road he takes,—to the left, there may be success, usefulness, and happiness ; to the right, failure and wretchedness. Bogle Corbet, with his busy thoughts, his amiable propensities, and limited capital—" with a waning income and a waxing family," as he says—is not a man openly demanded in any colony or set- tlement, but who may be extremely useful or prosperous in many. If he wishes to know how to proceed, and what he will have to suffer, and what he may look to, let him lose no time in procuring the three volumes of Bogle Corbet. We wish New South Wales had now such a book as Canada can boast. From the emig.ratory part of the work it is not easy to make ex tracts which will be understood ; but from that portion of it that relates to the various and multiform motives of emigration, we can copy a scene of great pathos and beauty, which will show the quality of Mr. GALT.S powers of domestic painting.

" Independent of the peculiar feelings by which I observed the intend- ing emigrants so generally actuated, there were among my visitors seve- ral characters of the most interesting description, even without reference to their immediate circumstances. To have attended only to their tales, one might have thought they could show cause enough, apart from all pe- cuniary considerations, to seek another world. One of these was no less than a grandmother, upwards of sixty years of age, the mother of the landlady of the public-house where the stages stopped when we lived at Oakhill, and where I had sometimes noticed her, interested by the gene- ral neatness of her appearance, and a pensive cast of countenance, which may be described as the complexion of a beautiful old age. " One morning she called, attended by two of her grandsons, stout, good-looking striplings, older than boys and yet not old enough for men. I was astonished when she told me, that the object of her visit was to consult me about going to Canada. A little embariassment in her air increased the interest which her explanation of the motive of her visit ex- cited, and I perceived her look once or twice at the lads, as if she wished they had not been present ; at last she told them to go to their brother in the street, and she would join them in a few minutes. " When they were gone, I saw the tear start, and after a short pause, she said : " No wonder, Sir, that you are surprised at my errand here ; you could not, indeed, but have a light notion of my prudence, when I spoke of going, at my years, to that far-off land. But I have many reasons, and some of them sad enough. These boys are two of five left by an unfor- tunate—a lovely—and my heart would say, my ever dearest daughter; I had but two—Mrs. Purl of the Horse and Groom, whom you know, was one of them. The eldest boy, though of a gallant and proud spirit, would not come in, for it molests him to think—poor tender lad !7-of what is no fault of his, and yet the thought of hiding ourselves in Canada is the invention of his modesty.'

" Hiding yourselves ! Mrs. Paddock ? what has happened, that you should ever think of that ? '

" She wept profusely, and after a little space of time replied-

" I am sorry, Sir, to be so troublesome, but it will not make you think less of us to tell you all. I thought, however, you had heard of our dishonour. Alas ! it is not the bluntest pang of such afflictions to fancy all the world sees the stain, RS well as we ourselves feel it. Mrs. Purl, as you well know, is a good and kind wife and mother ; I could never have had a more dutiful child ; she was my second daughter. The mother of these children was Eliza, my eldest : she was the flower of our village, but she fell, and I have never seen her again. Vain words, I see her ever still, blossoming in her beauty and innocence

"The tone of exquisite grief in which the old woman uttered this pathetic remembrance, I can never forget ; she paused, and then pro- ceeded.

"' He was a gentleman, and wo tome! she lived with him in shame many years, and was the mother of the five orphans. When he died, she was not forgotten by his brother the heir, but she lived not long after. What could I do ? the children were Eliza's, whom though I would never see while she was happy in her error, I could not but gather them—alas Sir, it was under a widow's wing. "'1 have brought them up ; I have done all I could for them, and the eldest is now ready to go into the world; but in his father's house he had grown familiar with gentility, and servitude—he has no other lot— he cannot abide, so we arc thinking of going to Anierica, for we have friends already in Ohio, that write enticing accounts of their prosperity, and Canada is understood to be a neighbour town.'

"I must let the reader imagine for himself the effect of this simple • story upon me, for without well knowing what escaped from me I said : " 'It was a wild thought at her time of life; could the lad not be better persuaded ?'

" Ah, Sir, I cannot urge him, and he has infected all his brothers with his pride ; but if they had it not, good servitude is growing scarce in England, and Mr. Purl has his own sons to provide for.' "It seemed to me that the simple expression servitude is growing scarce,' was fearfully ominous of something fatal in the State. It ac- corded with what had been the tenor of my own reflections, when my spirits were languid, but! had recovered, and in my cooler moments it would have been considered as a morbid sentiment; at the time, however, its import was serious, and might have become solemn, had not my wife entered the room.

" ' What 's this I hear, Mrs. Paddock?' said she; and so ye 're think- ing of crossing the seas tool—they are too well at home who think of that for a diversion.'

" It may be so, Madam,' replied the old woman, you know best your own feelings.' "1 was not ill-pleased at the retort, for Mrs. Corbet should have seen her distress ; however, none daunted at the reproof, she rejoined,

" They are indeed fond of an ado that seek to make one. And so those three boys at the door are your grandsons, are they ?' " 'It is my misfortune and my pleasure to call them so.'

"1 perceived my wife was in the wrong, but I knew that she would, as soon as convinced of it, make a liberal atonement, and therefore did not interfere.

"'But how was it,' inquired Mrs. Corbet, that all the time we lived at Oakhill we never heard of this family ? '

"Mrs. Paddock looked at me, as if to ascertain what I suffered, and then said respectfully, but with a slight inflection of resentment in her voice, " Madam, I believe that in most families there is always something unfit to be made a boast of. You are a happy lady who have not yet known this—if you do not ? ' " Do you know, Mr. Corbet,' said my wife, a little bamboozled, and looking sedately at me, in evident confusion, they say these obstrepe- rous boys, and the three others, are the grandsons of Mrs. Paddock ?' " I have been told so,' was my reply, affecting the most excessive meekness, but ready to bite off her head, as if she had been Mr. Mac-. indoe's gingerbread lady ; and I gathered my brows at the same moment into a most appalling scowl. Mrs. Corbet saw at once her mistake, and turning towards the old woman, was greatly shocked to see her weeping grievously. To make, therefore, short work of the equivoque in our situation, I related gently the heads of Mrs. Paddock's account of her grandchildren, and it immediately had the effect intended ; my wife in- stantly forgot her apparent heartlessness, and sympathized with the poor old woman with more than her wonted benevolence. "'But,' said she, 'would it not be as much to the purpose, were Mrs. Paddock, instead of this Canadian adventure, to represent the condition of the poor boys to their uncle ? He could do something, surely, for them ? '

"'He never shall !' was the spirited answer; if need be, I would go into the workhouse first. I am old and infirm, but not so old that I may not help their householdry. I will cross the waves with therm—I 'II dive into the woods with therm—we '11 go together where we never have been known, and God's blessiins' will go with us; for our purpose is honest,

ml the blessing will not be withheld if shere be charity in heaven. No, Madam, we are poor, but proud, and not more proud than just. I will not injure these boys, were their uncle to befriend them ; but never will I ask the blood of their father for any favour, so help me, thou living Lord!'

"And at these words, uttered with an indescribable energy, she fell upon her knees, and spread her arms, as if in imprecation, then paused, and rising, said calmly, It would be to curse my EliZa'S children.'

"My wife stood petrified with consternation at her eloquence and energy, nor was I capable for some time to utter a word—the scene, the feeling, and the impassioned grief surpassed all description. Its vehe- mence was the more impressive by the powerful contrast which it afforded to the pale thoughtfulness of the old woman's calm habitual look.

"'You know not, lady,' she affectingly exclaimed, the resolution of a mother's heart, when she thinks of the dishonour of her child. Nineteen years have I passed in hidden sorrow, but nineteen hundred years will not heal the wound that ever rankles here !' and she smote her bosom at the same time with such an upward look of anguish, that Mrs. Corbet burst into tears and fell Upon my shoulder.

" I beseech you, Mrs. Paddock,' I exclaimed, to repress these violent feelings; they are not seemly at your age.' " rknow, I know it !' was her impassioned answer ; it is the out- breaking of nineteen years of secretly collected sorrow. I little thought to utter it in this world. Oh, Eliza! her fault will make the everlasting skies a mournful place to me!'

The chapter entitled " A Wet Day," presents the emigrants under an interesting point of view.

" During the hubbub described in the preceding chapter, Dungowan • went into the house and shut the door ; no one followed, and he re- mained with his cousin Mrs. Paddock some time, in the course of which she fully explained to him her own situation, and those of the boys. "I was apprehensive that the inconvenience occasioned by the ludi- crous interference of Mrs. Clavering, would have had an injurious effect on her weakness, but it proved otherwise; she felt renovated strength. The truth is, that from the period of her removal from our house to her own cottage in Stockwell, she had become gradually depressed in mind, and there was more of intellectual despondency in her malady than of physical disease. The disturbance had, in consequence, the effect of rousing her; and when I saw her after her explanations with Dungowan, she surprised me by the healthy tone of her spirits.

"Partaking in some degree of her resolution of character, it was de- termined between her and the Captain, that the blemish in the birth of the children should be concealed. Nothing required its disclosure, and she had nut alluded to it, fortunately, to the nurse. In so far, therefore, an incident that would have materially affected the comfort of both, might be considered suppressed ; and it was in the course of the day ar- ranged, that the Captain should fix his location near Sylvany, and that she should take the management of his house, and superintend the Evelyns, who were also to live with them.

"With the exception of this little affair, which took place late in the autumn while I was arranging for closing the summer work, and sending the emigrants on to the chopping of their own land, as it is called, mean- ing the felling of trees, and the clearing of the soil for cultivation, no occurrence of any remarkable kind happened; but the weather was then broken, and interspersed with such dsaily wet days, that all out-door labour was necessarily suspended. Whether my old habits of reverie and rumination were coming back, I know not; I was not conscious of it —but my wife thought she discerned symptoms, and exerted herself, as she said, te scare away the vapours.' Some of the expedients to which she had recourse were exceedingly simple, often absurd; but the end and drift of all was to keep me in motion, and the house was accordingly bravely thrown into what I felt a state of the most vexatious distraction.

" The courteous reader may smile at hearing this, but he should recal to mind that a deluge is pouring out-of-doors, that our habitation is framed of thin deals, and that the slightest noise in it is heard throughout. No moving object is visible from the windows, save the boughs and branches of the forest occasionally shaken by the wind; even the wind itself is as it were cowering from the rain, and, like the poultry, spreading yawningly its idle wing. The smoke from the chimney-top of the wash-house hangs like a wreath of mist lazily on the roof. The pools overflow before the door, and are trenching the path into channels like the ruts of waggon- wheels : ducks and geese, each standing single-legged, eye the unceasing shower, and the turkeys, melancholy in the shed, utter now and then brief sentences of sound, the apophthegems of dripping dejection.

" Our view, not extensive, is circumscribed by the woods; not another dwelling is in sight, nor for several miles accessible; no post brings even an afflicting letter. The newspaper of last week has been already read all over, advertisements and all, a score of times. The faculties of the mind are relaxed : not a book is worth reading. It requires fine weather, a frosty night, and a bright fire, to discover the genius of Shakspeare. Our hearth is piled with splintering pine, and it would be cruel to make the servant look for better in the wood-shed on such a night as this. The children quarrel, they know not wherefore; Mrs. Corbet has a box not opened till to-day since we left London ; moths may have got into the clothes, its contents are spread abroad, and sure enough a mouse has made a nest in the corner, and has three young ones—all is deplorable. I sit by the fire thinking unutterable things, and saying to myself, This is life, and the pleasure of mine for all my days,—heigh ho !

" But it is in vain to attempt any adequate description of the drouze that falls upon the senses of an emigrant during the soaking days of the decline of the first year's residence in the woods. "The contrast between London and the country would at any time, in dull weather, have tried my equanimity ; but the low spirits to which I have for so many years been occasionally subject, make me sensitive to all the dismal influences of the wilderness.

"On such a day, about ten days or a fortnight after the affair which brought Dungowan and his venerable cousin hito a proper understanding in so accidental a manner, I was sitting in the afternoon quietly by my- self, having beseeched Mrs. Corbet to spare me from the din and turmoil in which she was keeping all the house astir. For some time, the pro- spect before me, both to the eye and the mind, was equally disconsolate, but at last the rain began to abate ; and although I had no raven to send forth, I yet openecithe window, and, stretching out my handlike another Noah, found the waters assuaged. The skies, which had all the time of

the deluge been of one uniform grey, began to curdle into clouds, and lo ! at last, the blue welkin was seen in two or three places, and at last a gleam of sunshine sprinkled itself over the topmost boughs of the neighbouring woods.

" This long desired change gave a new impulse to my spirits, and I or- dered my horse to ride out before night; but the ground was so saturated with wet, that the newly trodden out road was impassable. The horse plunged and struggled with me for two or three hundred yards from the house, and at last stood still. It would have been a moral sin to have urged him to proceed farther, so I alighted and led him with some diffi- culty back to the stable; where, having given him to our hewer of wood, the man we were obliged to employ to cut up our fuel, I picked my steps into the house, and resumed my seat at the window, where Iliad been previously sitting, thinking of nothing at all save only an observation which my wife made on seeing me return :

" I fear, Bogle Corbet,' said she, that you do not feel comfort able ?'

" Such a question, after what I had suffered, surely was quite needless; and, to confess the truth, I answered her tartly, expressing my astonish- ment at her making it. But she only laughed at me, and bade me amuse myself with my own sulks till she disturbed me. This was intolerable, and although it was but an example of her careless dialect, it certainly did not tend to soothe my humour, so I sat down at the window and looked out, closing, as I may thus describe it, a wet day in the woods, alike incapable of exercising the faculties of imagination, memory, or reflection."