« AnteriorContinua »
servant to remain in office who so grossly disobeyed instructions.
The subsequent history of the mine is curious. Although the public paid £1,000,000 for it, not a farthing was reserved for working capital. The mine was productive when purchased, and the ore on hand was sold with the mine. Enough, therefore, was extracted to pay working expenses and twelve one and a half per cent. dividends. A thirteenth was paid, but the amount was borrowed from Mr. Park on the security of the ore in transit. The ore did not cover the advances, and the Company remains in debt to Mr. Park. There being no more productive ground within reach, and no money wherewith to make explorations, mining was stopped and litigation begun, for which stockholders were willing to furnish the means who had declined subscribing a penny for exploratory work in a mine, which apparently had yielded £180,000 profit in a twelvemonth. A Tunnel Company, with more faith, has since run a gallery under the mine, and is now extracting rich ore from the lode within a few feet of the old workings. The moral is-not to embark in any mining enterprise which promises inordinate profits, and where a large sum is demanded for a property which, if the statements of the prospectus be true, the proprietors are arrant fools for parting with; but, having embarked your money, do not be disheartened at the first check, nor abandon the enterprise while there is reasonable hope of
The same periodical mining fever, which was taken advantage of by Messrs. Park and Stewart, was turned to account to float several doubtful Canadian schemes. Two oil properties were bought, which turned out very disastrously, and led to two criminal actions against the English Directors; and two Quebec Copper Mining Companies were formed, the directors of one of which have been proved to have received as a gift the stock they were supposed to have purchased. Another Copper Company was organised, but fortunately the scheme was foiled, by the adverse report of a delegation of the board on the properties, before the purchase money had been paid. In every instance the reports on which the properties were sold were so highly coloured that the results did not realize the promises. No profits have accrued in any case, though
in one prospectus dividends of eighty per cent. per annum were foretold; and the properties were always sold to the Company at a higher price than they were valued at by the original vendors.
In one instance there is reason to believe a property was sold to a British Company by the intermediate bogus purchaser, who, as is generally the case, was a clerk in the broker's office, for £120,000, when £60,000 was all that was really received by the Canadian owners. In the case of the Consolidated Copper Company, which was nipped in the bud, two properties, for which we believe £120,000 was to have been paid by the Canadian intermediate buyer, were offered by the London brokers for £225,000; so that the brokers would have received £105,000 for their expenses and risk. When such large sums realized with so little labour, of course the broker can afford to be liberal, and to throw about thousands of pounds more lavishly than most men would their pennies. Thousands are used to bribe newspapersa fact now proved in a Court of Justice, to the disgrace of British journalism-bankers are paid to lend their names, brokers in all parts of the kingdom are paid to make fictitious bids for the stock, men of the highest standing in the community are paid to serve on the Board; and when the trap to catch the public has, by such means, been well baited, prospectuses are showered over the kingdom by hundreds of thousands. As many as 300,000 prospectuses have been issued at once. One is sure to reach every widow with a small income, and every needy clergyman. Both these classes being pinched for means and credulous are likely to be tempted to buy shares, and the broker counts that among 300,000 there is sure to be a given proportion of fools who will be duped; therefore the more dubious the speculation the greater the number of prospectuses.
There can be little doubt that this system of raising joint-stock companies and afterwards so manipulating them as to conceal the fraud to which all concerned have been knowingly or inadvertently parties, has done more than anything else to corrupt commercial morality in England. The chief conspirator-the broker-may be the chief criminal; but the man who sells to him, knowing that he will use his property to
perpetrate a fraud, is not innocent; the director who accepts qualification shares, which he is supposed to have paid for, is certainly doing wrong; and and everybody, whether broker or client, who buys and sells, perhaps at a premium, stock which he knows to be intrinsically valueless, helps to maintain a swindle. The result is invariably disastrous. Even if the property purchased be good, so much has been grabbed by the broker and his satellites that little or nothing is left to develop its resources: if the property prove valueless, a stigma attaches, not only to those who sold
it under false pretences, but to the whole community where it is situated. Doubtless Canadian credit has suffered through the failure of the companies whose rise and fall we have been discussing. So many have lately got into trouble through aiding in the organisation of companies that probably no more will be brought out on the old system; but it is fruitless to hope that any simple, straightforward plan of enlisting capital in reliable enterprises will take its place, as this would throw the broker out of employment and interfere with stock speculation.
MY LITTLE FAIRY.
Y little fairy hath no wings;
No sweets from distant climes she brings,
Not in the golden cowslip's bell,
She seeks not there repose.
Nor doth she lure the seaman brave
To where, not far beneath the wave,
Nor robe from moonbeams made;
Where doth my little fairy hide?
I'll venture now to guess,
Not here then I must peep behind
If there' my puss' I do not find,
So then you see my fairy bright
With rosy cheeks and ringlets light,
No other fairies need we here
Our homes, our hearths to bless, If children's happy forms be near To fondle and caress.
"Come, 'Totty' darling, one kiss more, Pray, pet, then haste to bed.
Thy blessing, Father, I implore
On this, my dear child's head!"
THE POETRY OF CHARLES HEAVYSEGE.
BY DANIEL CLARK, M.D., TORONTO.
ENIUS is unique, and follows no model in its manifestations. It may build the walls of the edifice of its ideality out of old material, but the order of construction and the design must be original creations. Naught but infinity can limit its explorations, nor can anything make it a copyist of aught but the supreme excellencies of the great Original in whose bondage is the greatest freedom. This is particularly true of poetic genius; and where there is a subservient imitation, there is little if any originality, and no strong imaginative power. Its gifts and graces may be prostituted for ignoble purposes, but that is an abnormal condition, and not natural to the possessor. True nobility of soul gives chasteness of expression, lofty sentiment, and ardent aspirations after good. These are emblazoned as insignia on the escutcheon of poesy, for if it descends from this supreme level, the afflatus may be present, but not in its normal exercise. The high vocation is debasedf or mercenary, vindictive, or prurient ends, and with such degeneracy true poetry has no sympathetic relations. The gushing, plethoric stream of versification, which pours from day to day through our public press as original, has indeed but few waves of poetic beauty and power in the flowing torrent of mechanical rhyme, and these are often lost in the seething maelstrom of stirring events incident to a fast age. The skeleton is there, and it may even be covered with flesh, but no life has been breathed by divine impulse into its nostrils. The outline and construction need the soul of poetry to endow with vitality, beauty, and immortality. To such an extent has this flux of chronic rhymal mania prevailed, that the productions of children of the muse which reach far above mediocrity, and "on the outstretched finger of all time sparkle for ever," are looked upon with suspicion, distrust, and coldness. Such an epidemic of jingling rhymes is feared by the reading public, and the worthy are neglected. The poet's corner is shunned, when "origi
nal" heads the column, lest the oft cheated reader finds nonsense clothed in the garb of an angel of light and love and beauty. The door of the heart has so often opened to importunate knockings of worthless mendicants clothed in borrowed raiment, until some luckless day we turn a deaf ear to the heavenly visitant, seeking in vain a welcome and a home in our affections, because we want faith in native genius and home productions.
We have an illustration of this in the life of Heavysege, whose poems are still with us, but who has himself passed away for ever. His biography is that of many a son of genius. He was cradled in poverty
cramped in his aspirations from the want of a thorough education—a machinist by necessity, from boyhood to middle lifestruggling with the inevitable in gaining a bare subsistence for himself and family by the sweat of his brow; yet the creative power was not latent, although nurtured in the midst of great discouragements. His literary culture was limited; his ambition to immortalize himself in song was wanting-for he was nearly forty years of age ere any of his productions were set up in type. The spring bubbled, rippled, and sang its melody without mortal ken, because, as he sings, "Faith lacking, all his works fell short." The flower budded, blossomed, and bore fruit, "wasting its sweetness on the desert air." Through all his earlier years of anxiety and toil, he wrote much from the innate promptings of his ardent nature, but was dissatisfied with the results. A poem in blank verse was printed anonymously in 1854, for private distribution, but even among his friends it was not well received. It was possibly crude and immature, and not fit for the light. Shortly afterwards appeared a collection of fifty sonnets, fragmentary and varied. Some of these are vigorous and lofty in tone; many of them epigrammatic and chaste in style, although unfinished in polish and crude in verbal expression. These, however, were only scin
tillations of the central fires which subsequently burst forth with volcanic grandeur, in the elevated manifestations of epic power and in the midst of dramatic ebullitions of sublimity not equalled in the annals of our country. These are seen and appreciated in the sacred tragedies of "Saul" and "Jephthah's Daughter." There is a pathos and sadness in all his writings, as if a shadow of ominous intensity overhung his mentality, possibly more natural than any occasioned by untoward events. Now and then a vein of quiet, quaint humour is perceived in the rich mine, but it never culminates to the sharpness of wit. Occasionally irony and incisive sarcasm crop out, which show that there is a precious and more abundant reward to the seeker. His characters are distinct and original, and are drawn with a dramatic power that reminds us of the creations of Milton and Shakespeare. Many of them are of a philosophical turn of mind, and fond of soliloquy; many are ill at ease with themselves and their surroundings; but their unrest is sketched with masterly exactitude, and the mental phenomena are in keeping with the consistent laws which guide the promptings, desires, impulses, emotions, and the multifarious manifestations of humanity, although the possessors may be angels or demons. The ideal is made subservient to the real. This is an important law in the poetic art, if the fundamental principle of the great Athenian critic be true, that "tragic poetry is the imitation of serious action, employing pity and terror for the purpose of chastening the passions." The imagination of the true poet does not run wild after every extravaganza, exercising no judgment in its daring flights. At the same time, the poet does not curb his fancy in its impersonation of passion, but boldly puts the colours on the canvas with a master's hand. It is evident that nature did more for Heavysege than culture. The halting lines-want of rhythmical accuracy-often a mechanical, prosaic construction of sentences—lack of high artistic skill, and heedlessness of the laws of the drama, show this. These are, however, minor faults, and may be, to some extent, a perfect abandon to a free fancy, which will not be curbed by philosophical rules or empirical dictation. No imagery, however, is confused; and rich, new, quaint, and original thought is in every line. This is the more
refreshing, when such floods of so-called poetic literature are poured from so many sources, which seem like paraphrases of Tennyson or Longfellow. He has no ideas attenuated to nothingness in a luxuriant verbiage, nor clothed in such ambiguity that patience will never unravel them. The figures are cleanly cut, and stand out in bold relief. The utterances are terse, fresh, and explicit. The dramatic personages are consistent with themselves and their associations. Hatred has its perfect work of evil to the bitter end
indefatigable, relentless, cruel, crafty, and often victorious. Goodness, on the other hand, is never untrue to itself, but, "hoping all things," and believing in an ultimate triumph, is benignant, patient, serene, and faithful to the end.
The sonnets were scarcely heard of beyond a small circle of friends. "Saul" was published in 1857, and met with a chilling reception from the Canadian public. What home author can tell a different story? An educated people of four millions are so dead to the worth of native genius, that not one of its many sons or daughters of song has met with success, in a financial point of view, or favour from the masses of the people. Literature (except political) of Canadian growth is received with perfect indifference, "charm it never so wisely," or so sweetly; and although not absolutely condemned, is consigned to oblivion, with not even the compliment of a "Dead March in Saul." This had almost been the fate of "Saul," had it not been for an accidental circumstance. Heavysege sent a copy of it to Hawthorne, the American author, then residing in Liverpool, who had a review of it inserted in the North British Review in 1858. Thus far not a pen had written in its behalf in Canada. A few copies had been sent to the United States, and had caught the attention of Longfellow and Emerson, the former of whom pronounced "Saul" to be the best tragedy written since the days of Shakespeare. Field, a gentleman of high literary repute, gave a favourable review of it in the Atlantic Monthly of October, 1865. Then we began to inquire who this poet was whom foreigners praised, and made partial atonement for past culpable neglect. The man who could rise above the din of machinery, the dust of the workshop, the clangour of hammers, and the dull, plodding routine of constant servitude, to such heights of poetic fancies
and beauties, was no common person. Shakespeare passed his life in the midst of theatrical representations from day to day, and must have been steeped in the spirit of drama. He had numberless foreign plays and native material to cull from, in his matchless compilations and creations. Milton conjured up his weird phantasmata in quietude, peace, and plenty. Longfellow and Tennyson can ruminate with facts and fancies in rural retreats far from the din of commerce and the roar of the whirlwind of ceaseless human industries; but here was a poor son of toil, soaring in matchless sublimity of thought, while his hands were busy in arduous labour, and the sweat of necessary physical exertion was on his brow. The taskmaster of need at home, and the inexorable demands of the workshop, would have crushed the poetic life out of aught but unconquerable genius, towering above the prison-house in the richness of imagination and ideal beauty. In such weary hours he doubtless carried out his own behest,-which finds a response in every breast:—
"Open, my heart, thy ruddy valves,—
Let me go down, and, curious, trace
Open, O heart! and let me view
Expose thyself, thou covered nest
A few specimens of the "triple extract" of thought might be given at random. How succinct, forcible, and pregnant with meaning are the following passages:
"No angel fully knows that he is blessed;
No miser knows the value of his gold :
While dripped the ooze from limbs of mighty mould.
But who the bard that shall in song express
A kindred subject is treated forcibly in one of the sonnets, with fine reflection, thus:
"Why should I die, and leave the ethereal night,
"The dross of life, men's vices and their failings,
""Tis cowardly Thus to desert me slowly by degrees, Like breath from off a mirror.'
"Now let me curb my anger,
Lest it should gallop with me off the field."