30 JUNE 1855, Page 16


COULD the interests of particular classes be represented as different kinds of stock are, by quotations in the market, there is one at least that would be distinguished from all others by the glaring decline of its estimation. While the quotations of labour are rising in the Irish as well as the English market, the position of the younger son is decidedly lower. There is a run upon him by the Anglo-Saxon race. It has been a hard task with him for some time past : the family estate has been undergoing an increase of encumbrances; in Ireland, the estate has in many cases been swamped; in England, the claims upon the paternal land are so many that the provision for the younger son is scarcely enough for pocket-money. He is doomed to celibacy, with a club and a Inakeshift existence, or to loss of caste by plunging into the strug- gles of the middle ranks.

Curiously enough, there is the same kind of run upon the same class in the Anglo-Saxon country beyond the Atlantic; and the coincidence has its lesson for the class in this country. The Re- publican Government of America has just been revising its am- bassadorial and consular establishments, partly with a view to re- ductions, although in some eases the expenditure is raised. The salary of the American Minister in England is advanced from 9000 dollars to 17,500 dollars, and there is a corresponding ad- vance in the pay of the representatives of America in the other countries of Europe. A number of small consulships seem im- perilled, though they are reprieved by the construction which the Foreign Department of the United States has put upon the new act. But one article in the act declares, "That all acts and parts of acts authorizing attaches to any of our Legations, or the pay- ment to Ministers and Consuls of the United States of outfits or infits, or salaries for clerk-hire and office-rent, be, and the same are hereby repealed." Now there are other motives at the bottom of this enactment besides economy. The pay for the post of attaché has never been sufficient to defray all the expenses in- volved. The charge of a court-dress, and the customs of society into which a court-dress conveys a man, have called upon the private purses of the attaches. The consequence is, that the post could only be accepted by young men who have means. It was a kind of gentlemanly employment for sons of " the upper ten thousand " in the United States. A young aristocracy was thus growing up with official habits, European connexions, and feelings not Republican : the American Congress has nipped the growing aristocracy in the bud. We are not wrong, then, in saying that the prejudice created in the public mind against "young lords" by the agitators of the day is an impulse common to the Anglo-Saxon. And we are not unaware that the movement creates perhaps not unfounded un- easiness amongst the young lords, their parents and patrons. There are more than one young gentleman born to be " honour- able," but not rich, who does not know what will become of him ; more than one young lord who feels his title as an exclusion; and what is more, there have been eases in which noble connexions have positively operated as an exclusion from those very favours which are vulgarly said to be reserved for the aristocracy. It is really a practical question for the younger son. Some of his class are not very well trained to answer it. Cowardice is not a trait of the English character in any station ; and the jests that have been levelled at officers who stopped at home are in every case, with the proverbial exception, vulgar blunders. But to be afraid of the Russian and to be afraid of the discomforts of camp life, the want of the club or of the opera, or of evening amusements after the opera, are different things ; and we will not say that all of the younger-son class are equally free from the more artificial kind of cowardice. Others have known their duty to their es- outcheon as well as to themselves; but there is a further duty exactly the converse of the treachery of which the epicurean younger sons have been guilty towards their own order. Even those who cannot seek distinction at the cannon's mouth and earn pay from the state must look to themselves for an establishment, and must be prepared to show that they can take their chance equally with other ranks. One man of the order at all events has already rendered himself more distinguished by throwing himself amongst the middle class, and taking a commercial position, than his father was able to do by endeavouring to accumulate a princely territory and attempting to keep up the pageantries of the past. The younger sons of our day cannot live in the middle ages ; they must do the best they can to live in the middle classes.