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Miscellany: An English Nailer

Miscellany: An English Nailer image
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I w sdticNly diverted from my contempla(oh of thie m m ni ficen t scenery by a full ol heavy rnitt di.'K. as ike prelude ef art mpenrfing sliowcr. Seeintf a gaie open, and hearing a fttimliar clickingbehind the hedge, I etepped through into a iiule Wíckmith's Uup. about as large as an Americw enioke-houee for curing bscon. The firirt object :ht my eyes rcKtcd upón, wae a full grown nwn. nino ycars of a, aud nearly three feet high; perched upon a ■tone of half ttiai hei$ltt, to mise m breaet to the lovel of hit) father'e anvil, t whicli ke was at work, wilh all the vigor of his linio ehort arme, making nails. í say fv.ll groten man, for I fear he cn never groiy lirger, pliyeically or mentaüy. Aa I put my hand on his shoulder in a futnilinr way, to mke myscl: at borne with him, and to remove the timiifity wilh which my suelden appenrance seemed to inspire him. by a pleasnnt word or two of greeting, his flosh fclt casohardened into al! tbe indurntion úítoiling nnnhood. and as unsutceptiblc of growth his anvil biock. Fixed manhood had net in upon him in the greenness of his yomh; and there he was, by his faihcr's side, a etinted, promaturo man ; with his childhood cut off ; with no sjiuco to grow in bctwecn (he cradie and the anvil block; chnsed, assoon as he cjuld sinnd o his li t tic lcg!,from the henrthBtonc to theforgr-stone, by iron necessity, that would notloi him 6top Ion? enough to pick up h letter of the línglish olphabet on the wny. O, Lord John Russell ! think of it 1 Of thisEnglishman's son, placed by his mother, scarcely weaned, on n high coldstons, barefooted, before ihft anvil: thero to lmrden, senr nnd blisler its young hnnd by heating and hammering rnggcd nailrods, for the suslcnnnce lier bronst can no longer supply ! Lord John ! look at those naila as ihcy ltty hisöing on tho block. Know yon iheir meaning, use, and language ? Picase youi lordship, let me tell you - I hnvo mndo nails before now - thnj are iron exclamat'on points, which this unlfttercd, dwarfish boy ig unconsciously arraying iigainst you, against tho British t;ovcrnment, and the ministry of British litcrnture, for cntiing him off without a letter of the Englisb alphabet, when printing is dono by steam! incarcerating him, for no sin on his or his parent'sside, bnt poverty, into n d.irk, sixby-ciht prison of hard labor, a youtiles-i beinc - think of it ! nn infant hardened, almosi in its inoiher's arms, into a nan. by toil tliot bows the s'urdie8t of the world's laborers who come to manhood thrcugh intervening years of childhood ! Tho boy's fnther was nt work with his bnck townrds mo, when I cnterod. At niy first wonl of nahitation to tho lad, he turned around anf] Qccosied moalittlc bnshfully, ns if unaecustomed w thc eight of strnngers in that plnce, or reluctunt to Iet them inio the scène and secret of his po - erty. I sot down upon ono end of his tiail-honch. and told him I was nn American blncksmiiii by trnde, and thnt 1 liad como in to ?eo how he got on in tho wurld ; whe'her he was carning preti} good wages nt his business, so that he could live comfortably, nnd send his children to echool. - As I said thie, I glancod inquiringly toward the boy, who was looking stcadily at me from hisstono stool by the anvil. Two or three linie crock-faccd girls. from two to five ycara of ago, had stolen in timidly, and a couple of yourtg frightcncd eyes were peering over the door-sill at me. They II looked as f some task werc dnüy allottcd tlictn in '.hc soot and einders of their faiher's forge, even to the sharp-eyed baby at the door. The poor Englishmnn - !ie was as niuch an Englishman as the Duke of Wellington - looked at his bushy-headcd. barefooted children, and said softly, with a melancholy shake of the head, thot tho time3 were rathor hard wilíi him. Il troublcd his heart, nnd mnny houra of the night he had been kept awakfi by the thought of it. that he could not send his children to school, nor teach ihem himself to read. Thcy were iood children, ho said, with a rnoist yearning in tiis eyes ; they were all tho wealth he had, and ao loved them the more, tbe harder he had to work for them. The poorest part of the poserty hal was on him, was tliat hc could not give hie children tho IctterB. They were good children. or all the crock of the shop wns on their faces, and their fingere were bent like eaglea' c!aws with hundling nails. Hc had been a poor man all his dnys. and hc knew his children would bc poor all their days, and poorer than h, if the nail business 6hould continue to grow wors. - If he could only give them tho letters, or the al)habet as they cnlled t, it would make them (he ike of rich ; for then they could read tho Testament. Ho could read tho Testamenta linie, for he had learued the lotters by firehght. It was a good book, was the Testament; neversaw any other book - heard teil of some in rich peo. ple's houses ; but it mmterod bul linie with lim. The Testament, he was sure it was made lor nailers and such likc. It helpcd him wonderfully wben the loaf was small on his table. - He had but little time to read it when the sun was up, and it took him long to read a little, for lio Jearned the letters whqn he was old. Dut he laid it beeide his dish at dinner time and led his heart with it, whilo tho children were eating the bread thnt feil to his sharc. And wben he had spelt out a line of the shortest words, he read them aloud, and his eldesi boy, the one on the block there, could say several whole verses he had learned in this way. It was a great comfort to him to think that Jeemes could take into his heart eo many verses of the Testament which-hc could not rend. He intended to teach all his children in this way. It was all he couid do fir them ; and this he had to do at mcal times ; tor all the otbcr houre he had to bc at ibe anvil. Tbe nailing business was growing harder, ho was erowing old, and hia fnmily large. Hc had to work from four o'clock in ike viorning tiil ten o' doek at night to tam eighttcn pence. His wages nveroged only nbout seven skilliugs a week ; and there were five of thotn in the fanuly to iive on whM they could earn. It was hard to mak:; up the lo of an hour. Not one of thoir hands however liitle, could ba spnred. Jemmy wns oing on uine yeare of age and o helpjul lad wns ho; and the poor mnn looked at him doatinalv. Jemmy could worl; ofTa thouaand naile a dny, of the emnllest size. Tha rent of their little hop, tenement and garden, wos five pounds a yenr ; ond a fewpenniesearnedly the youngeatofthem was of great account. Uut, continued the father, speaking cheOrily, I am not the one that ou?ht to complain. IVlany is the man that has a harder io: of it than T, among the nailers long these hille and in the vslley. My neihbor in the next door could teil you something about tabor you may never have heard the like of in your country. He is an older man than I, and thero are sevcn of them in his family ; and for all that, he has no boy likc Jemmy horo to help him. Soroe of hm little ijirls are sickly, and their mother is not over strong, and itall comes on him. He is nn oldísh man, as I was eaying, vet he not nnlv works eighteen houre every day at his forge. but evenj Friday in tis ycar he tcorks all night long, and never lays off his clothes till late of Saturday night. A good neighbor is John Stubbins, and the only man just in our neighborhood who can read t!ie newspnper. It is not often he geU a nevvspapcr ; for it is not like of us that can hnve newspnpere and brend. too, in our houses nt the s.ime time. But now nnd then he bega nn old one, partij torn. nt the bnkcr'n, nnd reads t to us of a Sunday night. So once in two or threc weeks we hear something of what ík going on in the world - something about corn-lawe and tho Duke of Wellington, and Oregon and Indin, nnd Ireland and othor places in Englnnd. We heard teil, nwlnlo ago, that the poor people would not have to make so mnny nai's for a loaf ui brend niuch longcr, bccauso Sir Robert Peel. nnr some other men, were going to take off the portlocks and other tnx"s. and let us buy bread o them that could sell us the choapest. When we hflard this lalked of without knowing tho truth ot t. John Stubbins took a penny and went to 'he White Har: nnd bonght a drink of beer, and then the landlady let him look into the newspnper which ehe kceps for her customprs. When he carne back, he told us a grent deal of whnt wns going on, and said hc wns sure the times wouk bc botter one of these dayp. The man wns interniptedhere by the entrancc of his neighbor, who hnd been attracted in by the sound of an unusuul conversntiqo in his fellow nnilor's end of the building. I pulled of my knnpsnek and did whnt I could to teacl thom the nlphnbct of the King's Knglish with regard to the National Debt, nnd all the oiher burdenswhich the poor laboring people of the ronlm had to bear. I think I succccdcd in impressing their mindsw.'th n few enluto' y conviclions M'ith regard to theconnection between military gLfry nntl po'erty. I shall reservp for nnothcr Lcaf oftlie Editor's Journal, my exposiiion of the Exciso Duty to thoso honst. unlcttered nnilers.