25 APRIL 1829, Page 10


WE do not head this article with the name of RowLAND STEPHEN- SON from any wish to add to that person's punishment ; and if we were writing in New York instead of London, we should hesitate, because we would rather step aside than trample on a fallen man, to say a word on the subject of his guilt or its consequences. There are two versions of STEPHENSON'S case. According to one, having involved the house of which he was a" partnerin bankruptcy, by his " riotous living," and having, in the process of doing so, com- mitted such offences against the commercial code of the country as placed him in personal danger, he pocketed the whole of the tangible funds of the firm, and ran off with them. According to another (that is, his own account), his partners were participants in the system of delusion which he kept up, and in its profits ; and instead of carrying off a large sum of money, he was indebted to the gratitude of a subordinate agent for the means of purchasing his escape. There is one part of the second statement which we are in- clined to believe : we believe that STEPHENSON is now a poor rogue, though perhaps not so destitute as he is represented. With respect to the charge against his partners, we think the simple fact of their being in England, and STEPHENSON in America, is a suffi- cient answer. Had any or all of them put their necks into the same hazard, we may rest assured that they would have used simi- lar means of extrication.

It is not, however, for the purpose of aggravating the offences of the absent, or of vindicating the character of the present part- ners of the house of REMMINGTONS, that we make these observa- tions ; but there is a maudlin sympathy abroad in regard to the former, which we are desirous to put down.

" Man," says a self-taught poet,

" All in all is a problem would puzzle the Devil."

It is nothing surprising that benefits should be admired in the proportion of their magnitude and extent ; but it is matter of curi- osity, that the magnitude and extent of an injury should not only not aggravate the dislike of those on whom it is inflicted, but con- vert it into reverence. Let a poor starving out-at-elbows rascal pick a gentleman's pocket of a half-worn eighteenpenny handker- chief, and the pump, or the tread-mill, or the hulks—according- to the mood of the mob and the magistrate—are all too little for him. If, aspiring to something higher, the thief should break a pane in the Earl of Wallow-in-wealth's pantry-window, insinuate himself through the aperture, and abstract from the shelf " where they had been but an hour before carefully deposited by his lord- ship's butler," five silver tea-spoons, value 11.3s. 4d., the whole world of London and of Bow Street will be in amaze at an atrocity for which nothing but a short shrift and a stout halter—COTTON and hemp—can possibly atone. But let the offender figure in a suit of the newest cut, with a gold watch and a diamond ring—let him inhabit a fine house, keep a carriage with a pair of greys, and give venison and claret to fiddlers, painters, and small wits,—let him by virtue of these elegant exteriors, rob the aged of their savings, the young of their dower, pluck the shield from the widow and the stay from the orphan—cheat every friend that possesses the materials of being cheated—beggar five hundred families—and then with- draw to the land of liberty and equality beyond the Atlantic, in- stead of being pursued by the execrations, he shall be followed by the pity of the million, and a hundred good reasons invented for the palliation of his villany.

Had not we "by desire separated ourselves" from the crowd, that

we might the better " seek after and intermeddle with all manner of knowledge," we should have felt our bile stirred up from the very bottom, not by such pity, which is generally sincere and well-meant, but by its most unhappily perverted direction. Whatever be said of the increase of crime and the somnolence of watchmen, a very small portion of prudence will enable a quiet man to get through the world unmolested. We solemnly declare, we have never been murdered—either by shooting, as is the practice in Ireland—by Burkina:, according to the custom of Scotland—or by throat-cutting, after the fashion of our own dear countrymen. We never have even had our skull beaten to pieces or our back broken as a pre- liminary to the examination of our small-clothes pockets. We have climbed to five-and-forty without a single adventure in the robbing way, that would have elevated the supercilium of Sir RICHARD BIRNIE the hundredth port of an inch. And we have no doubt, that in this great town there are tens of thousands, who, by the simple expedient of turning aside from occasions of mischief, have contrived to arrive at time same point with as little damage and diffi- culty as ourselves. But though a close-buttoned coat and a care- fully-fastened door may, under Providence and gas lamps, protect its from time "thief in the night;' no precaution can shelter us from that " pestilence by day"—the robber who advances against us in such honest and honourable seeming as charms down the sus- picions even of the wary. And of all the robbers that by fraud or by violence devour the substance of the simple, there is none so much t to he feared, and so difficult to be guarded against, as the swindling banker. The putrer and the duller may cheat us, it is true—still "the gross of green spectacles with shagrecn cases" are worth something., though the rims be of copper instead of silver; lad the i 0 U of him that has no wherewithal to discharge his debts, is more worthless than the basest of metals. The swindling banker, therefore, is of all others the person to whom our suffer- ance is least due; and the ease is the more deserving of puma- meat, if what has been our ruin has been his sport—if the property of winch we have been plundered. has been squandered for the silliest ti,r the basest of purposes—to purchase the flattery of low and worthless companions, or to gratify the least dignified and respectable desires of a reasonable being.