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that of Mercury. He can transform himself
into a bird or an animal; in fact take any
shape under which he can best surprise those
who do not think enough about him. He
has no power over those who are constantly
remembering his existence.

Such are some of the national customs and
superstitions of which M. Fauriel gives an
account before introducing his songs to the
reader's notice. The translation of the ballads
into French is literal; from it we may judge
of the racy and individual flavour of the
ballads themselves. Abrupt, wild and
dramatic are they; not unlike, in vividness of
painting and quick transition from one part
to another, to some of Robert Browning's
smaller poems. They are full of colour;
there is no description of feeling; the actions
of the dramatis personæ tell plainly enough
how they felt. Reading any good ballad is
like eating game; almost every thing else
seems poor and tasteless after it.


THAT most respectable of flagsthe Union
Jackis flapping just now in a perfectly fresh
gale of public favour, Vessels of war, when
they want men, can get them. It is no
longer requisite to knock Britons down, in
streets and public houses, and to carry them
off, fettered, to ship slavery. For slavery
there is now substituted honest service; the
British Government, obedient to the spirit of
the time, has dropped the use of the press-
gang, and endeavours to man its navy by the
help of a better sort of press.

There lies before us now a little tract
addressed to "Enterprising Youths" and
"Mariners of England," which we think we
are not far wrong in treating as an official
document, a sort of bill offered by the
recruiter-general for the acceptance of young
seamen or young landsmen with sea-going
fancies. If we should happen to be wrong
in our assumption, we hurt nobody thereby,
for it is really a pleasant fact and a most
happy reminder of the improved temper of
society, if it be true, as we suppose it is, that
certain improvements for the benefit of the
seamen having been made in navy regulations,
nothing more is desired than to diffuse
a correct knowledge of the position taken by
those who now enter the navy. That is the
purpose of the plain little statement of facts
put into a tract twelve pages long, which
has of late been distributed about the country.
One copy of it has been placed in our hands
with a view, we suppose, of inducing us to
consider whether it would not be in accordance
with the best interests of this Journal
for all hands, from its Conductor downwards,
to volunteer on board some man-of-war,
where they might all start fair as second-class
boys, and race up to the post of admiral.
Not being able (by reason of prior engagements)
to take the advice offered to us in
this tract, we pass it on. Doubtless it will
come into the hands of thousands who can
make no more use of it than we can; let us
regard it, therefore, purely in the light of
information. We know it to be true, and hold
it to be, so far as it goes, satisfactory.

We have alluded to the press-gangs; they
represent not an extinct but a dormant
power. We believe that there is no instance
on record of the betrayal of fair and honest
confidence reposed in the English people.
The press-gang implies one of two things:
either that we are as a mass not honest men
enough to enter the Queen's service willingly,
or that there is not honesty enough in the
Queen's service to induce men to take part
in it without compulsion. We are now told,
and truly, that a seaman in the British fleet
will be henceforward put in a better worldly
position than a seaman in the English
merchant service;—of the American we say
nothing. The complete removal of injustice
suffices to remove the bar that kept out navy
volunteers. Let the iniquitous old system of
impressment, therefore, be formally declared
illegal. If there be any reason for its
maintenance, remove at once the ground on which
such reason rests. A practice that is absolute
and evident iniquity can only be based on
evil. Right is no horse to carry Wrong
upon its back. The power of impressment
is a portion of the filth left behind them by
those who lodged in the land before our day;
we have spent much time to good purpose in
the sweeping of our premises, and there is no
reason why we should protect and hoard this
little heap of dirtiness. Out with it then!

The naval service has now fair attractions.
We have had too many occasions of showing
that in a painfully large number of instances
the position of a seaman in the English
merchant service is very far indeed from what it
ought to be. Both our navy and our merchant
services have need to take example from
America; meanwhile, America wins from us
our best seamen by thousands. It was time
that Jack should be made more fairly at home
on board a British man-of-war. Let us see
what offers are now made to him.

In berth and cabin accommodation, and in
victualling, and on the whole, in social rank
and treatment, the man of war's man has
decidedly the advantage. His average day's
work is far from heavy; he is not called upon
to perform the work of three in an under-
manned ship, or a ship manned by lubbers;
his berth is dry and comfortable; he is
everywhere free from dirt; his clothes are of the
best quality, and cost him no more than the
Admiralty pays for them; he has never to
buy vile slops at something more than retail
prices. He is allowed liberal provision, and
is paid for what he does not eat. The daily
allowance consists of a pound of meat, half
a pound of vegetables, a pound of biscuit,
or more than a pound of fresh bread, half a