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enactments so inaccurately laid down, and their language so contradictory and unintelligible, that it was found necessary to add statute after statute to explain, amend, enlarge, or confirm, as the case might be, those which had preceded them! Thus we went on blundering and wallowing in the mire we had created for ourselves, ad infinitum, which was long ago most properly defined as the peculiar number of fools. But the legislators of that long and grievous period have not only to be charged with all this folly, but with the heinous offence of having based their laws upon the principle of the bloody code of Draco. It was found necessary, (so said these lawmakers in many of their preambles,) as commerce increased, to visit the frequent offences of stealing in dwelling houses, and shops, and from the person, with DEATH! This barbarous law was acted upon for many years, with how much efficacy the Newgate Calendar, as well as those of other prisons in populous neighbourhoods, will shew. In fact it was proved at every Old Bailey sessions, and country assizes, that the severity of the punishment did not by any means diminish the number of cases.
During a part of this period, it happened that one Mary Jones, (a name certainly not unmusical to Cambrian ears,) was indicted under the Shoplifting act, for stealing, mark the words of the indictment, from a tradesman's counter, a piece of coarse linen, of very trifling value. She was found guilty, and executed; and the circumstances of her case present an appalling picture of cruelty, not to be exceeded in the annals of human tyranny. prosecution of this unfortunate woman took place at the time when press warrants were issued on account of the alarms then entertained about the Falkland Islands. The husband of Mary Jones was pressed, and one of his creditors immediately seized her slender stock of goods and chattels, selling her bed from under her, while she was turned into the street, with two infants, a forlorn widowed wife, and an outcast beggar. Her age was barely nineteen, and she was remarkably handsome. Notwithstanding that she was indicted for an actual theft, the evidence did not go further than to prove that she went into a linen-draper's shop, took some coarse linen off the counter, and endeavoured to slip it under her cloak; that the shopman saw her, when she replaced it on the counter; and for this she was hanged! gracious God! and dared her prosecutors to look for mercy at the hands of their Creator, having denied it to this poor Welsh girl ? In her defence she told the court—" I lived in comfort, and wanted for nothing, till a pressgang came and stole my husband from me; but since then I have had no bed to lie on, and nothing to give my children to eat, though they be starving, and almost naked. I know I have done wrong, but I did not know what I did at the time ; grief had crazed me." The parish-officers testified the truth of her story; but it was urged against her, that, as there had been a good deal of shop-lifting about Ludgate, another example of death was necessary, and the wretched Mary Jones was told she must be hanged for the satisfaction of a few tradesmen on Ludgate hill. But come we to the accursed conclusion. When brought up to receive the sentence of the court, she was in such a frantic state as proved her reason had vanished ; yet was she taken to Tyburn, and executed, or rather murdered, in a state of unconscious delirium, whilst her youngest infant was sucking at her breast, until rudely torn from that fountain which alone should have supplied nourishment for its helpless existence!
It was truly said afterwards by Sir William Meredith, in the House of Commons, that “take all the circumstances together, I do not believe a fouler murder was ever committed against law, than the murder of this
woman by law." However we thank God that we live in times, when an execution for such a crime would not be sanctioned by the authorities, or permitted by the people.
We had intended to have said a word or two upon the subject of the law in operation against forgery; but our space will not permit of our doing more, at present, than to promise to give our readers, in due time, a series of articles on the state of our civil and criminal code, which we intend to consider separately; and we hope we may be enabled to point out certain defects, and also to suggest such measures of amendment as may not prove unworthy the consideration of the legislature, or unacceptable to our friends. ]
Three things there are, not known, they say,
A BARD'S-EYE VIEW OF WALES.
By a Hermit Poet.
Wales, though abandoned to the tourist by the modern poet, forms an attractive subject for a contemplative poem.
The contemplatist, in the following poem, is supposed to be an ambitious student, who has retired in disappointment from the race of literary emulation,-not from having been outstripped, he having never run, but in indignant disgust at the venality and sycophancy of both umpires and competitors; in plain terms, at the shameless conspiracy between critics and writers, between the book-seller liege lord, and his feudal vassal, the bookmaker, sworn-pen, hand, and soul, to the service of his master, in the cause of Mammon instead of fame!
Our wanderer of Wales having devoted his soul to literature, (not the bibliopolist,) having endured that sort of death to the world which perhaps is requisite to the zealot, or rather bigot, in that species of derotion, to prepare him by martyrdom for his crown, is represented as waking, too late, to the discovery that he has so died in vain! that renouncement of its aims,that estrangement from its ties, that unsocial solitude, that loneliness of long mental preparation, the sadness and the sickness of “hope deferred," all-all have been endured in vain — that for him there is no crown-or rather that it is become no longer a distinctive mark of the mind-royal, (even if one legitimate heir of fame survive) that its gold is tarnished, its gems stolen, mock ones substituted ; that it is ready for every head, and any head whose emptiness, a mock wreath of paper laurel, (fac-simile of the true evergreen of Apollo,) may encircle, and lastly that it is conferred by the idol, fashion, set up on the deserted pedestal of honorable fame.
Convinced that there no longer exists any arena in England for fair literary ambition, he is drawn as forswearing his life-long pursuit, and even all mental exercise, with a sort of horror. Fuit fama!
“sad historian” for the “pensive plain," has been drawn (from life or fancy matters not) to excuse some out-pourings that might seem too intense for the inspiration of mere scenery, but not for its effects on a mind, as it were, amalgamating itself with nature and solitude.
A BARD'S-EYE VIEW OF WALES.
« Woe to the fame-smit mind Fame leaves afar,
Curs'd with “immortal longings,' heaves to die,
Some of the following stanzas form a poetical preface to the Welsh Decameron, now in course of publication.
Woe, woe to him, his golden world to find
Thus spoke ambition blighted, in a form
Fame's martyr! yet for fame had never striven;
Back to his boyhood's dream, “heaven-kissing "* Wales,
But souls that rage “in populous city pent,'
kneel softlier to be nurst.
• “Now lighted on a heaven-kissing hill.”—SHAKSPEARE. + “Thrice changed with pale ire, envy, and despair.”-Milton.
Thus early anchored, life's short voyage lost,
Yet as the clouds of broken thunder-storms
“ Behold your work,” he cried, “this mourning mind
You led to moonlit, left to moonless, wood;
The poet's mind “his kingdom” poets call;
“My mind to me a kingdom is.”—Old Song. + Alluding to the tale of the Prince of the Black Isles, in the Arabian Nights, petrified to his throne of black marble by enchantment, and scourged by his queen, the sorceress who enchanted him.