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BEFORE the dawning of the twenty-fifth
day of January, eighteen  hundred and fifty-nine,
it might have been reasonably supposed
that all intelligent people in these realms
were well acquainted with the nature of the
obligations which society owes to ROBERT
BURNS. We all knew, as well as we know
anything, that the Ayrshire Ploughman had
written some of the noblest poetry that ever
fell from mortal pen. We all knew that this
great genius had established undying claims
on our gratitude by contributing in the
highest degree to the most ennobling and the
most intellectual of our pleasures. And,
lastly, we all knew, from the story of his life,
how gloriously his own example had helped
to enforce the great and useful truth, that the
means of winning the highest and the most
enduring of earthly distinctions, rest with the
man himself, and not with the station, high
or low, in which he may be placed by the
accident of his birth.

We knew all this long before the present
year. Was it possible to know more?  Yes:
on the twenty-fifth of last January another
discovery burst on the world. We of the
Public had only learnt to regard Burns
previously as a great Poet. On that memorable
day he was revealed to us in a new light, —as
a great Hat-Peg.

This is very gratifying; and these are,
indeed, remarkable times. To be well aware
that the memory of Burns is something to be
proud of, is only to possess an idea which has
been the common property of former generations.
But to know that the memory of
Burns is likewise something on which the
smallest of us can hang up his own individual
importance; something which may help the
greediest of us to grub up our little handful
of money, and the obscurest of us to emit our
little speech, is to make one of those rare
and remunerative discoveries which we of the
present generation may claim as peculiarly
our own.

So far as mere Englishmen are concerned
(we write of ourselves deferentially, in
consideration of the Scottish nature of the
subject), the honour of discovering that the
memory of Burns might be profitably used
in the capacity of a Hat-Peg, rests with the
Directors of the Crystal Palace Company.
Who first started the idea, has not transpired;
but, the discovery once made, there can be no
question of its vast capabilities of application
to the commercial necessities of the great
Sydenham speculation. Here we are, a
struggling Crystal Palace Company, taking,
in a theoretical point of view, the highest
ground as dispensers of public instruction;
but reduced, in a practical point of view, to
descend to the humbler position which is
occupied by proprietors of public amusements
generally; and forced to consider the
great and difficult money question under
these two aspects only: first, how to make as
much as possible flow in; secondly, how to
let as little as possible flow out again. What
in the world will help us, on some early,
given day, to answer this complicated double
purpose, and to look impressively
intellectual and literary, at the same time?
The memory of Burns. What in the world
will provide us with an excusewhen we
have taken the public shillingsfor giving
the cheapest and shabbiest of musical
entertainments, and trying to palm it off as a
compliment to the visitors, by granting them
permission to join in the choruses? The
memory of Burns. What in the world
will enable our enterprising contractors for
feeding the public, to get a fresh start; to
try some striking novelties; to appeal to
economical nationality on one side of the
Tweed; and to rash curiosity on the other,
with cock-a-leekie and haggis, at three
shillings a-head? The memory of Burns.
Was there ever a Hat Peg discovered
before on which so many small personal
necessities could so profitably be hung up as
great public benefits to the general view?
Here is a new use found out, not in Burns
only, but in all other great men besides.
A few more inexpensive commemorations
easily arranged beforehand by a reference to
the almanac for the current yearand who
shall say what prodigal dividends the Crystal
Palace Company may not end in paying,
after all?

But, the expansive utility of the new
discovery is not confined to Companies. The
convenient Burns Hat Peg, which serves
assembled bodies of men, will answer the