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clay, receiving ballad-writers and singers, and judging of the merits of any production which was brought to him by having it sung then and there to some popular air played by his fiddler. His broad-sheets contain all sorts of songs and ballads, for he had a most catholic taste, and introduced the custom of taking, from any writer living or dead, whatever he fancied, and printing it side by side with the productions of his own clients. He also appears to have first filled up the corners of his broad-sheets with sentiments, which custom still obtains more or less. We find, for instance, the following, amongst others, on some of the last sheets we have purchased :
“Honour and affluence to the patrons of trade, liberty, and property." “ Improvement to our arts, and invention to our artists."
“May our commanders have the eye of a Hawke, and the heart of a Wolfe.”
“ May the meanest Britain scorn the highest slave.”
“May the produce of Britain never exceed her consumption." We cannot echo the last sentiment, which is the only one of at all a dangerous tendency we have come across.
The great Catnach was equally catholic as to the woodcuts with which he was wont to adorn his broad-sheets. These are taken from any source, with an equal disregard of the laws of copyright and fitness. In most cases they have not the slightest reference to the ballad of which they form the head-piece. To take the first instances at hand, our copy of “ Sally Brown” is headed by a well-worn cut of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza riding, with the windmills in the distance, in which we are much mistaken if we do not recognise the early band of George Cruikshank. Tom Bowling comes under an old Dutch cut of a dame in a steeple-hat, sitting at a table with four wondrous figures before her, one of whom seems to be presenting her with a pug dog or some unknown animal, and the others to be applauding with uplifted hands; while “ The Poacher" comes under a cut of a youth with a large watering-pot tending flowers, in what, from the number of cypresses, we take to be a cemetery.
The decay of the street ballad-singer, which is a fact beyond question, and which we attribute more to the establishment of such places of amusement as Canterbury Hall and the Oxford, and the sale of penny song-books, than to the advance of education or the interference of the police, will probably be followed by the disappearance of the broad-sheet, and may silence the class of authors who write the street ballads. We do not pretend to say that they will be any great loss. At the outset we told our readers that we had nothing either wise or witty to produce to them. But we must say, speaking from a large ac
quaintance with their productions, that, taken as a whole, their speech, though often coarse and rude, is honest and right-minded, and much less likely to do harm to their readers than most of the religious newspapers of our day, or many other organs of high repute in the world. And inasmuch as they still form the principal light reading of a very large number of our fellow countrymen and countrywomen, we cannot think any apology is needed for casting a look at them, little as in themselves they may be calculated to interest or profit us.
We have not yet, however, spoken of what is to us the most remarkable, as well as the most satisfactory, side of our subject.
The ballad-singer, with his rough broad-sheet, travelled, as we have seen, over the whole surface of man's life, political and social. There was one time of the year, however, when he went out of his every-day path, and touched on deeper matters than accidents, murders, battles, or politics. Christmas brought to him, too, and to his audience, its witness of the unity of the great family in heaven and earth, its story of the life and death of Him in whom that unity stands. The Christmas broad-sheet, of which several copies lie before us, has several distinctive marks which show that it was an object of more than ordinary care to publishers and ballad-singers. In the first place, these Christmas sheets are double the size of the ordinary broad-sheet, and contain four or five carols-generally one long narrative ballad of some twenty verses, and three or four short pieces. Each of them is headed by a large woodcut roughly coloured (and so far as our experience goes, in these alone is colour ever used), of the crucifixion, the raising of Lazarus, or some kindred subject, in which, although modern Gothic churches and men in strange costumes are introduced, there is nothing whatever to shock the most reverent Christian. Small woodcuts, also coloured, of the ark, the last supper, the resurrection, are scattered over the sheet, and the printing is much more careful than usual.
Looking at these Christmas broad-sheets, it really would seem as if the poorest of our brethren claimed their right to higher nourishment than common for their minds and souls, as well as for their bodies, at the time of year when all Christendom should rejoice. And this first impression is confirmed when we examine their contents. In all those which we have seen, the only piece fainiliar to us is that noble old carol, “ When shepherds kept their flocks by night.” Where the rest come from, we cannot even conjecture; but in the whole of them there is not one which we should wish were not there. We have been unable to detect in them even a coarse expression; and of the hateful narrowness and intolerance, the namby-panby, the meaningless cant, the flaccid
familiarity with holy things, which makes us turn with a shudder from so many modern collections of hymns, there is simply nothing.
Account for it how we will, there is the simple fact. Perhaps it may lead us to think somewhat differently of those whom we are in the habit of setting down in the mass as little better than heathens. We cannot conclude this article better than by giving an extract or two from these Christmas broad-sheets.
“The Saviour's Garland, a choice Collection of the most esteemed Carols,” published about ten years since, so far as we can learn, has the usual long narrative ballad, which begins:
“Come, all you faithful Christians
That dwell upon the earth,-
Of our dear Saviour's birth :
This is the happy morn
The Son of God was born."
“ Now to Him up ascended,
Then let your praises be,
And He our pattern be;
We may hear His blessed call :
Prepared for you all.'
« Let all that are to mirth inclined
Consider well and bear in mind
There was a blessed Saviour born,” &c.
"* With one consent let all the earth
The praise of God proclaim,
To man salvation came.
All nations join and magnify
The great and wondrous love
And all the joys above.
But vainly thus in hymns of praise
We bear a joyful part,
We lift not up our heart.
We, by a holy life alone,
Our Saviour's laws fulfil ;
Who best perform His will.
May we to all His words attend
'With humble, pious care ;
And find acceptance there."
We do not suppose that the contents of these Christmas broad-sheets are supplied by the same persons who write the murder-ballads, or the attacks on crinoline. They may be borrowed from well-known hymn-books for any thing we know. But if they are borrowed, we must still think it much to the credit of the selectors, that, where they might have found so much that is objectionable and offensive, they should have chosen as they have done. We only hope that their successors, whoever they may be who will become the caterers for their audiences, will set nothing worse before them.
ART. VIII.-TRACTS FOR PRIESTS AND PEOPLE.
I. Religio Laici. By Thomas Hughes, Author of “Tom Brown's
School-Days.” II. The Mote and the Beam: a Clergyman's Lessons from the Pre
sent Panic. By the Rev. F. D. Maurice, Incumbent of St. Peter's,
Vere Street. III. The Atonement as a Fact and as a Theory. By the Rev. Francis
Garden, Sub-Dean of her Majesty's Chapels Royal. IV. The Signs of the Kingdom of Heaven : an Appeal to Scripture
upon the Question of Miracles. By the Rev. John Llewelyn
Davies, M.A., Rector of Christ Church, Marylebone. V. On Terms of Communion :
1. The Boundaries of the Church. By the Rev. C. K. P.
2. The Message of the Church. By J. N. Langley, M.A. VI. The Sermon of the Bishop of Oxford on Revelation, and the Layman's Answer.
1. A Dialogue on Doubt. By J. M. Ludlow.
cumbent of St. Peter's, Vere Street. VII. Two Lay Dialogues. By J. M. Ludlow.
1. On Laws of Nature, and the Faith therein.
London, Macmillan, 1861. It is curious to remark the different effect of excitement from danger to the State and from danger to the Church. The former calls into action, even under absolute governments, generous and uniting passions, before which the lines of party disappear, and the spirit of forbearance and self-sacrifice rises to the ascendant. The latter, even in a free country, seems at once to awaken every dormant ecclesiastical egotisın, to widen every difference, to intensify all dogmatism, and hoot down the catholic and charitable temper. In critical moments for the nation, Parliament knows how to suspend its inner conflicts, and take its measures with reticent dignity. In critical moments for the Church, her Councils and Convocations break into a Babel of contention, where only one thing is certain,--that new truth and gentle wisdom have no chance, but must leave the game to the wrangling of schoolmen, the chatter of popular preachers, the decorous spite of the scholar, and the arts of ecclesiastical diplomats. The recent panic occasioned by the volume of Essays and Reviews presents in general no exception to this