British Workman Vol. 1, No. 12 (1856)


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No. 12]

Published for the Editor by S. W. PARTRIDGE, at the Office of the “British Workman,” No. 9, Paternoster Row, London. [Price One Penny.


Ben Jonson, one of the most distinguished dramatic poets of England, was originally a bricklayer. His father (who was descended from a Scotch family) dying before Ben was born, and his mother marrying a bricklayer for her second husband, Ben was taken from school to work at his father-in-law’s trade. Not liking this employment, he went into the low countries, and enlisted as a soldier. After this he turned actor, and Shakespeare is said to have first introduced him to the notice of the world. His “ Alchymist” gained him such reputation that, in 1619, he was made poet laureate to King James 1st., and master of arts at Oxford. As a dramatist, he is regarded by many as second to Shakespeare, the many intellectual excellencies for which this celebrated man was distinguished, his wit, observation, judgment, memory, and learning, gained his unbounded applause. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, and on his tomb is this inscription. — “O, rare Ben Jonson!”

Thomas Choker, of Gloucester, who, like good Bishop Hooper, suffered martyrdom for his testimony to the truth, was a poor working bricklayer.

Henry Lee, of London, who built the Dover Refuge or Harbour, the New River Company’s Works, &c., and who now ranks as one of the largest contractors in Europe, was originally a journeyman bricklayer.

Samuel Grimsdell, one of the largest builders, not only in London, but in the world, is the son of a working bricklayer.

Jas. McCurry, a well known London Builder, the owner of valuable property in Pimlico, and an active and highly esteemed member of the London Temperance League, was only a few years ago a poor friendless, and almost penniless bricklayer. The history of this prosperous builder affords one of the most striking illustrations of what a man, by true sobriety and industry, may, under the divine blessing accomplish. We trust that Mr. McCurry may be induced to comply with our request, and favour our readers with his Autobiography. A narrative of deeper interest, not only to bricklayers, but to working-men generally, was perhaps never issued to the world. Its publication would, we doubt not, prove a blessing to many who are now “friendless and forlorn.”

“He who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.” Hebrews iii. 3—4.

“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” 2 Cor. v. 1.

“He (Jacob) looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”—Heb. xi. 10.


Bricklayer. I say, Pat, did you ever know such a thing as a bricklayer’s Paddy rising to eminence?

Paddy. Sure an’ I do, and isn’t it meself that’s dooin that all the day long? And it’s me that would be likin to know where a journeyman bricklayer ever rose so high on the ladder of larning as Docthor John Kitto, the great Bible scholar; and wasn’t he once a brother Paddy ? Sure enough an’ he was ! an’ I’m afther thinkin that when your great Ben Jonson has long been forgotten, the good works of Dr. Kitto will live, and shew what a Paddy can do.

By the late G. Mogridge, Esq.*

While music of different kinds, from the simplest to the most complicated sounds,—from the soothing murmur of the (Eolian harp to the sublime diapason of the pealing organ,—is spreading its influence around, sometimes moral, sometimes immoral, there is a music of another kind, and this we would call moral music.

This music requires no orchestra of performers, nor gathered throng of enthusiastic listeners, for its display; and is in itself so simple and unobtrusive as almost to escape the notice of mankind in general.

It spreads a grateful influence round,
And plays its gentle part;
Sets honest Industry to work,
And wakes the sluggish heart.

By this moral music we mean, no more nor less than those sounds that of necessity accompany honest labour in its varied pursuits.

Let us, for example, illustrate this by the ringing of the

Bricklayer’s Trowel.

Who has not awoke early on a summer’s morning, and heard while lying in bed this pleasant music. Some buildings near are being erected, and the bricklayers are early at their work; the ear is suggestive to the imagination, and thus a busy scene is presented to the eye; we see a building before us, with its tall scaffold poles and the scaffolding; masons are making their mortar; and

Irish labourers

with their hods are ascending and descending ladders that bend beneath their weight; some workmen are using their plummets, while one high above the rest is shortening a brick with his trowel; loud and shrill is the ring that echoes from the building. The whole scene thus presented to the ear and the eye is full of life, animation and cheerfulness! it speaks of lusty labour, and honest industry. Oh, there is much morality in the ring of the

Bricklayer’s Trowel!

Again, walk abroad on a Spring morning, approaching Summer – time, and among other sounds that may reach the ear, listen to the whetting of the mower’s scythe. What could be more unwelcome than the harsh discord of a rugged stone being rubbed against the rough edge of a crooked scythe ? And yet the sibilant sound, softened by the distance, becomes absolutely musical; and why ? in a great measure because it is a necessary accompanying symbol of honest industry. It speaks of something being done and something to be done, and we think well of the distant labourer, and wish him God speed. Yes; there is morality in the music of the

Mower’s Scythe!

*Now better known as “Old Humphrey”

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With a satisfaction of the same kind, we have all of us been influenced with the music made by the tools of the carpenter. The industrious artisan, with his white apron and paper cap, up to his knees in the dry shavings, is driving his nails, or sawing his materials into proper proportions, or planing the ribbon-like shavings from the dry planks. We recall to memory our boyish works in wood, when we made our first little boat, and built our first rabbit hutch behind the coal house. This is another exhibition of honest labour that we cannot but respect, and we feel kindly towards the carpenter. There is morality in the whistling music of the
Carpenter’s Plane!

When the wind is blustering around the farmyard and outhouses, and the drizzling shower is descending on the earth, how pleasant to listen to the sturdy strokes of the thresher’s flail! Safe from the wind and the rain, all alone in the dry barn, with his blue coat and red waistcoat hanging from a pike in the corner, the old man steadily pursues his occupation. With age on his brow, he is not without vigour in his limbs ; the song of his flail is a proof of his progress; truly may we say there is morality in the monotonous music of the

Thresher’s Flail!

A common circumstance it is on a market day, or amid the mingled sounds in the street on a Saturday night, to hear the merry catch of a shoemaker’s voice. We turn round and see our humble friend in his little cellar-like stall, working with all his might; now he is shaping out a heel-tap, now cutting out an upper leather; now with lusty arms making his waxen thread thrum again, as he spreads out both his hands. Now he is beating apiece of stiff leather on his lap-stone; all this time he is blithely singing, as happy as a king, and diffusing cheerfulness around. Truly, there is much morality in the sound of a
Cobbler’s Hammer

and lapstone!

How pleasant, how cheerful, how animating it is, on a rough winter’s night, when snow lies on the ground, and the pitiless storm is descending in showers, to look upon the ruddy glow of a blacksmith’s shop, and to listen to the blast of his bellows, as he blows up his flickering fire. Man pursues his labour, reckless of the storm. The influence of the whole is great, and there is, indeed, morality in the music of the blast of the

Blacksmith’s Bellows.

A bible reader will not fail to enrich this subject, with the remembrances of Holy Writ. The bricklayer will not fail to remind him of that house, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. The mower with his scythe will bring before him the fact that man springeth up as a flower and is cut down, and continueth not in one stay. The carpenter will set before him the ark of olden times, a striking emblem of our redemption ; and he will not forget that the reputed father of our loving Lord was a carpenter. The thresher will again present to his memory the striking folly of that man who would add house to house, and barn to barn, without considering how soon his soul might be required of him. The cobbler may call up the desire in his mind, that his feet may be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, and his heart be engaged in heavenly pursuits; and the lusty smith may remind him of those who of olden time shaped themselves gods in the fire, and fell down and worshipped them. You will see my object in this paper is to show that there is a true nobility in honest labour : “ the diligent man shall stand before kings. ’’ Apply this principle spiritually, as well as temporally, adopting the motto, “ not slothful in business ; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.” Horn. xii. 11.

We working men are often in one respect like children. During their holidays children become weary for want of lessons to learn, and work to do, and with men the case is somewhat similar. When daily work is over, or when a holiday is given, for want of knowing how to employ their time better they turn into the public-house, and waste it in idleness and gossip. Can this be remedied? I think it may. Let the workingman become animated with a desire to make his home comfortable, and that will supply him employment in his leisure hours. Change of occupation affords recreation to the mind just as a succession of different kinds of vegetables allows a soil to feed instead of impoverishing it. There are many little repairs that require effecting in the labourer’s cottage. Let him supply himself with a kettle of glue, and a few tools, and turn joiner, and mend his cranky tables, repair his infirm chairs, and creaking bedsteads; supply the place of the lost handles of his drawers, fasten the door-latch, put up convenient shelves, and make wooden boxes for domestic use. Or let him become painter and colourer, and make his house look clean and comfortable by a fresh coat of paint on the chimney-piece and window-seat, and by whitewashing the ceiling and colouring the walls; or let him try his hand at cobbling, and by his bright house-fire turn up and sole the shoes of his household with dry, waterproof gutta percha soles; or let him practise the art of soldiering; very likely his wife has candlesticks and pans laid aside because they have been broken, and to repair these will be a useful and pleasant employment for an evening or two. Then he may turn glazier, and mend or replace the broken panes of glass in his house; or he may sit down to the task of book-binding and mending; he may have several loose numbers of a periodical in his drawers; these, if stitched together and fastened within a cover, will make a durable volume; or some of his children’s school books have got sadly dog’s-eared, and knocked to pieces, and a nice job it will be to renovate them; he may also collect the wood-cuts and engravings that come in his way and make a nice picture-book for his young children, or newspaper scraps, which he can paste into a book for his own use. He may become for the time a locksmith, a tailor, and a net-maker ; in fact, though every working man should be an adept at one particular trade, or branch of trade, by which he earns his livelihood, he may very properly be a “ Jack of all Trades” at home. We know a gentleman, who, after the business of the day is over, takes a pleasure in performing any necessary repairs in his house, and who is competent to many jobs which other persons are apt to think themselves unable to do; and though we would always wish those who are able, to encourage and employ the industry of their poorer neighbours, we borrow from the case of our friend a useful illustration. The workingman who spends his evenings at home, and keeps his cottage in repair, not only makes his wife and children comfortable, but fosters within himself a spirit of self-dependance which will aid him much in the world, and render him honoured by those who know him.

J. E. B.


There is a large lace warehouse in Nottingham, belonging to Messrs. Adams, Page, & Co., in which has been established now, for some months, previously to commencing work, a morning service by a paid chaplain of the Church of England. At eight o’clock all the outer doors are closed, within a minute or two the workers are all assembled in a beautiful little chapel neatly fitted up in the basement story, which has lately been licensed by the Bishop of Lincoln. Service commences by singing two verses of a hymn, then a few select prayers are read, then a psalm, and it closes with a short extempore prayer. The attendance at the service has very greatly increased within the last few weeks, and generally numbers from 250 to 300 persons. At half-past eight every person is in his or her proper place, and the work goes on as usual.

The workpeople have lately subscribed about £150 for a new organ for this little chapel, and it has been presented to the masters by them. It is usually played by one of the partners. A more goodly sight cannot present itself to the eye than that of masters and work-people thus assembled in domestic worship together as one family, whose temporal and spiritual interests are thus bound up in one ; for it adds greatly to the value of the service, and to the character of the establishment, that though Mr. Adams resides some distance from his work, he is almost always present, sometimes accompanied by his family, to be found in his place, worshipping among those who are dependent upon him for employment.

Would that there were more masters like Adams, Page, & Co., more chaplains like the Rev. Ed. Davies, and more congregations like that which meets in this chapel to bless God for the past, and to seek his favour for the future.

Pope Adrian VI. had this inscription on his monument:—

“ Here lies Adrian Vith, who was never so unhappy in any period of his life as at that in which he was a prince.”


The following interesting fact shewing the good effects of scattering profitable reading amongst soldiers, is related by a London gentleman. He says “When I was residing in Hastings some years ago, I was one morning on my way to my place of worship, in the Croft, near the door-of-which I found three soldiers standing. I put my hand on the shoulder of one of them and kindly said, “Come in, soldiers, who can tell but that a little leaven may leaven the whole lump ! ” One soldier answered, that they were going to the barracks, and had not time. I however presented them with some religious tracts. Two years after, on going to Eastbourne, I passed a large regiment on the parade, and soon after reaching my family’s abode, a soldier called. He had come in haste, to say that the sergeant much wished to see me. I told him that he must be labouring under some mistake, as I had but just arrived at Eastbourne, and had never been there before. He replied, that no error had occurred for 1 had been recognised whilst passing the regiment.

On entering further into conversation with him I found that one object was to procure an extended supply of tracts. I appointed the following day for the sergeant to call. When he came, he was overjoyed at seeing me. On my intimating that I had no recollection of having ever been in his company before, he expressed surprise, saying, “ What 1 Do you not remember, two years since, at Hastings, addressing three soldiers and saying, “ Come in, soldiers, come in; who can tell but a little leaven may leaven the whole lump.” The barrack regulations not allowing us time sufficient to attend the service, you gave us some religious tracts, for which I have cause to bless and praise God, for though ours is an immoral regiment, through their influence, there are now above a dozen praying men.

Happy was I to furnish the sergeant with a fresh assortment of tracts, and frequently was I gratified while at Eastbourne, by seeing six or eight soldiers together, one of them reading a tract, and the others listening to its contents.

“In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand, for thou knowest not whether shall prosper either this or that.”

“Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters.”

A woman who kept a small shop, heard a sermon, wherein, among other evil practices, the use of dishonest weights and measures was exposed. With this discourse she was much affected. The next day, when the minister according to his custom, went among his hearers, and called upon the woman, he took occasion to ask her what she remembered of his sermon. The poor woman complained much of her bad memory, and said she had forgotten almost all that he delivered. “But one thing,” said she, “I remembered; I remembered to burn my bushel.” A doer of the word cannot be a forgetful hearer.

How rapidly time rolls on—how swiftly our lives are passing away? In a few years, reader, the place that now knows you will know you no more. What preparation have you made for a future state?


The following’ affecting details are extracted from the Memoirs of Lieutenant Shipp, of H.M. 87th Foot. He says, as to one of the soldiers, “ I shall not mention the name of—-, lest my narrative should by possibility meet the eye of some dear relative who still lingers on earth, and droops under the recollection of the sad event, Through the whole course of his drills and military exercises, I ever found this young man attentive, obedient, and willing to learn: and he promised to be an ornament to the army. He glided through the commencement of his career with the smile of joy on his youthful countenance These were halcyon days, which were not long to last: the poisonous cup of inebriety seduced him from the paths of duty, and he drank deep of its baneful contents. This indulgence in intemperance led him from one error to another ; on account of which, from time to time, he incurred serious admonitions; until, at length, for the commission of a more aggravated offence, he fell under the displeasure of his superior officer, and was deservedly punished Irritated by the infliction of a supposed wrong, inflamed with liquor, and smarting under the disgrace, the unhappy youth, in a fatal moment, yielded to the instigations of revenge and in the frenzy of intoxication, made an at tempt on the life of the officer, (a quarter-master in the same troop,) by whom, as he supposed, he had been injured. This dreadful attempt was as wanton and unprovoked, as it was unjustifiable. The chastisement which the young man had received, was such as he would himself, in his sober moments, have admitted he had justly deserved. He fired at the quarter-master; the shot did not take effect as intended, but the crime was that of mutiny, and punishable, by military law, with the heavy penalty of death.

“The culprit was immediately dragged to the guard-room, and then confined in irons. Imagine the feelings of this unhappy wretch when he awoke from his intoxicated slumbers, and the first objects that met his eyes were the fetters by which he was secured!

I was sergeant of the guard at the time, and had the melancholy task of informing the offender of the dreadful crime for which he was fettered I and imprisoned. His youthful countenance showed a death-like paleness, he closed his eyes, clasped his hands, and exclaimed, ‘ Good God, what have I done V He seemed, now that he was sober, as unconscious of every intention of committing the crime he was charged with, as the child still unborn; but yet he stood unequivocally arraigned for the crime of mutiny and attempt to murder. The culprit was, a short time afterwards, summoned before a general court-martial, on trial for his life, without having a single iota to offer in his defence, except the plea of drunkenness, which only aggravated his offence. He stood before the court-martial a sad monument of what the use of liquor may bring the most docile and humane creature to.

“This melancholy instance will, I trust, show the absolute necessity of guarding, more particularly in a hot climate like that of India, where this event took place, (or when in an excited state of mind, or heated state of body,) against the use of spirituous liquors. If a passion for drink is once allowed to gain dominion, it is seldom, or never eradicated. Cup will follow cup, and crime succeed crime, till the envenomed draught brings its sad votary to some sudden and calamitous end. Could I but impress this fact upon the minds of young soldiers, and save every one from that degrading vice, I should think myself amply rewarded.

“The criminal was, of course, found guilty. He was ordered for public execution—to be shot. On the fatal morning, the chaplain was early with his charge. He washed and dressed himself and tied a piece of black crape—————- round his arm. He took some pains in the adjustment of his clothes and hair, and then went to prayer, in which every one of the guard joined him though in a separate room. I do not think I ever witnessed more real commiseration in my life than was displayed on this occasion. When the first trumpet sounded for the execution parade, the notes seemed to linger on the morning breeze, and a death-like stillness to predominate over the atmosphere, which chilled the blood of all assembled. Not a voice was heard: all was hushed and quiet, save the workings of -the fond bosoms of his pitying comrades. These plainly bespoke the horror they felt in the contemplation of the approaching scene. The prisoner affectionately took his leave of all the guard, warning them by his sad fate to beware of that accursed liquor which had sealed his doom. He seemed composed and calm, and said he would submit to the offended laws of his country, as the just reward of his crimes. The soldiers turned out with evident reluctance, each head resting on a sorrowing bosom; but they at last reached the place of the sad catastrophe.

“The regiments, both of which were European, then formed three sides of a square, of which the firing party, with the coffin formed the other. Scarcely was this accomplished, when we heard the dismal sounds of the muffled drum, and the doleful notes of the band, playing the “Dead March in Saul. ” The procession thus moved on:—Provost sergeant in front, on horseback, followed by two files of soldiers. Then the chaplain in his sombre robes, with the prisoner, both in deep meditation and earnest prayer. After them followed the firing party,—one sergeant, one corporal, and twelve privates—the twelve next men for general duty in the whole regiment. They entered on the right flank of the square, and passed along the front of the line to the left; the soldiers resting upon their arms reversed, that is, muzzle down, and with their hands upon the bottom of the butt. The sobbing of many of the men could be distinctly heard, and some could not even look on the poor fellow, as he paced along the front of the weeping lines. Some of his comrades, who had been more intimately acquainted with the prisoner than the other soldiers, asked permission, under pretence of some indisposition, to leave the ranks, and thus avoid the appalling sight. The poor fellow himself looked like one long since dead, but he evinced great fortitude and resignation. When we brought round his left shoulder, on reaching the left of the line, what a sight was before him ? His place of execution, his coffin, or roughly wrought shell, and his executioners in the persons of his comrades! He knelt down by the side of his coffin, and prayed for a short time. He then embraced, and bade farewell to his instructor, who wept most piteously, calling upon Divine mercy to receive the soul of a penitent sinner. The criminal’s eyes were then bound, and his death-warrant read. During the reading he exhibited an unshaken firmness, clasping his hands, and holding them fixed against his heart. Scarcely had the last word of his death-warrant vibrated on his ear, when the signal was given. When the firing party came to the “present,” every eye was turned from the dreadful scene; but at the well understood signal, six or more of the men fired, and he instantly fell, five of the shots having lodged in his heart. The troops then moved, and every man passed him singly, marching at slow time. This was a ceremony more afflicting than most people would imagine; and to add to the melancholy exhibition, the clothes of the poor fellow had taken fire. When we passed, he was nearly enveloped in smoke; but his last breath had long since fled, and he suffered not. Thus ended the short and sad career of one, who but for drink, might have lived and risen high in the ranks of the army.

The following figures are extracted from a valuable paper. On the Sickness and Mortality amongst the European and Native Troops of the Madras Army,” contributed in April, 1855, to the “Assurance Magazine,” by W. H. Scales, Esq., one of the medical officers of the East India Company’s service.

Class. Strength. No. of No. of Results.
Trials by Punish¬ One One
Court ments Court Punish –
Martial. inflicted. Martial ment
to (about) to (about)
Teetotallers 589 3 71 196 8
Temperate 6801 196 3856 35 2
Intemperate 1534 393 2229 4 1

From this it appears that 1 out of 4 of the intemperate; 1 out of 35 of the temperate; with only 1 out of 196 teetotallers were subjected to trial by Court Martial. And that as regards punishments actually inflicted during the period over which the observations extend, it appears that upon an average, every one of the intemperate men had been punished at least once, and more than one-half of the temperate, hut only one-eighth part of the teetotallers.

A CROW, ready to die with thirst, flew with joj to a Pitcher, which he saw at a distance. But when he came up to it, he found the water so low that with all his stooping and straining he was unable to reach it. Thereupon he tried to break the Pitcher; then to overturn it; but his strength was not sufficient to do either. At last, seeing some small pebbles at hand, he dropped a great many of them, one by one, into the Pitcher, and so raised the water to the brim, and quenched his thirst.

Skill and Patience will succeed where Force fails. Necessity is the mother of Invention.
From James’s Fables of Aesop.

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A Great deal of injury is done to children by their parents’ scolding. Many children have been nearly or quite ruined by it, and often driven from home, to become wanderers and vagabonds by scolding. It sours their temper, so that one thorough scolding prepares the way for two or three more. It sours your own temper, provided it is sweet, which is a question. The more you scold, the more you will have to scold; because you will become crosser, and your children likewise.

Scolding alienates the hearts of your children Depend upon it they will not love you as well after you have be-rated them, as they did before. You may approach them with firmness and decision you may punish with severity adequate to the nature of their offences, and they will feel the justice of your conduct, and love you notwithstanding all but they hate scolding. It stirs up the bad blood while it discloses your weakness and lowers you in their esteem. Especially at night, when they are about to retire, their hearts should be melted and moulded with voices of kindness, that they may go to their slumbers with thoughts of love stealing around their souls and whispering peace Christian Treasury.

A very clever physician asserts that the words, looks, and actions which infants see and hear in the first two or three years of their lives do actually form the grand essential outlines of their future characters, and so indelibly are they impressed that it will be difficult to new-model them in future years. How careful then should the mother be as to the kind of words her babe hears, and the kind of actions he sees! How wise should she herself be! How perfect too!


An aged couple, in the vicinity of London, who in the early part of life, were but poor, but who, by the blessing of God upon their industry enjoyed a comfortable independency in their old age, were called upon by a Christian Minister, who solicited their contributions to a charity.

The old lady was disposed to make out some excuse, and to answer in the negative, both for her husband and herself; and therefore replied, “Why, sir, we have lost a deal by religion since we began; my husband knows that very well;” and being wishful to obtain her husband’s consent to the assertion, she said, “Have we not, Thomas?”

Thomas, after a long and solemn pause, said, “Yes, Mary, we have lost a deal by our religion! I have lost a deal by my religion. Before I got religion, Mary, I had a wood pail in which I carried water, and that you know I lost many years ago. And then I had an old slouched hat, a patched coat, and mended shoes and stockings; but I have lost them also, long ago. And Mary, you know that, poor as I was, I had a habit of getting drunk, and quarrelling with you; and that you know I have lost. And then I had a burdened conscience and a wicked heart; and then I had ten thousand guilty feelings and fears ; but all are lost, and like a millstone, cast into the deepest sea. And, Mary, you have been a loser too, though not so great a loser as myself. Before we got religion, Mary, you had a washing-tray, in which you washed for hire ; and God Almighty blessed your industry; but since we got religion, you have lost your washing-tray. And you had a gown and bonnet much the worse for wear, though they were all you had to wear; but you have lost them long ago. And you had many an aching heart concerning me, at times ; but those you happily have lost. And I could even wish that you had lost as much as I have lost and even more; for what we lose by religion, Mary, will be our eternal gain.” We need not add that the minister did not go away without substantial proof that Thomas deemed his losses for religion, his most weighty obligations to the goodness of Almighty God, as the richest boon of grace on earth, and the most authentic pledge of glory in the world to come.


“I have seen with the deepest concern, several instances of women, otherwise amiable, who have fallen victims to the slow consuming poison of spirituous liquors, secretly conveyed by nurses or servants, into the lying-in bed-chambers of the patient.under the pretence of their being cordials.”

Dr. Leake

Another medical authority says, “Nursing mothers, by drinking intoxicating liquor, inflict serious evils upon their children. That the food of the infant partakes of the nature of whatever is eaten or drunk by the mother, is a truth so obvious, as to need no confirmation. How wrong then, it must be, to poison the very fountain of infant life, by the use of liquors, whose inflaming and irritating effects upon even adults, have driven thousands upon thousands from the comforts and endearments of the domestic and social circle, to a mad-house. The children of this country are known, almost universally, to be distinguished by their feverishness and irritability. Vast numbers of them die of different inflammatory complaints, which are far more certainly the results of a too stimulating diet, than of any other cause. It has been proved, by the London Bills of Mortality, for the last hundred years, that in proportion as the deaths of adults have increased, with the increased consumption of Intoxicating Liquors, the deaths of infants, under two years of age, have also increased ; and that in the same proportion as the deaths of adults have decreased, with the decreased consumption of intoxicating liquors, the deaths of infants have, in like manner, decreased ; thus clearly proving, that such liquors, when taken by nursing mothers, are capable of destroying their offspring. I am personally acquainted with females, who never reared their infants until they became total abstainers; but now they have fine, healthy, and thriving children. The young of all animals in creation, except of the human species are reared without the assistance of intoxicating stimulants; how absurd then to suppose they are necessary to the rearing of human beings; but if they are not necessary, they are of too active and violent a character, to be harmless. The mothers of Greece and Rome, in the purest period of their country’s history, drank no intoxicating liquors; but they produced and reared a powerful and unconquerable race.

The mother of Samson was commanded by the Angel of the Lord to “ Drink no wine nor strong drink,”* and the Roman women were forbidden by law to taste these liquors.
* See Judges xiu. 4, 7, 14.

J. Higginbottom, Esq., of Nottingham, one of the most talented surgeons in the county, stated at a public meeting some time ago: “I once met with a woman ninety-three years of age, who, in the course of her life had suckled twenty-four children of her own and other people’s, some.of the principal families in the place. She was a fine, tall, stout, healthy old woman. I often greatly regret to find females, who according to their age, ought to be in the prime of life, worn out, in consequence of their taking stimulants so freely, to assist them, as they supposed in suckling their families. I earnestly advise mothers not to take another drop ; they may feel a little low at first but a little barley broth, and good beef and mutton will prove most effectual restoratives.”
Life, and particularly the married life, is generally made up, not of great sacrifices or duties, but of little things, in which smiles and kindnesses, and little attentions are the things that win and preserve the heart, and secure comfort. Little attentions are the heralds of affection—units they are which lead to mighty products. They are often laid aside after marriage; but when this is the case there is some danger of the decline and fall of love’s empire.

Mother’s Friend.
In affliction we obtain clear views of the insufficiency of all earthly things. A dark shade is thrown over the smiling scenes of busy life; and we learn to estimate above all treasures an assured interest in Christ.
The Lungs.—The number of air-cells in the human lungs amounts to no less than six hundred millions. According to Dr. Hales, the diameter of each of these may be reckoned at the 100th of an inch; while, according to the more recent researches of Professor Weber, the diameters vary between the 70th and the 200th of an inch. Now, estimating the internal surface of a single cell as about equal to that of a hollow globule of equal internal diameter, then by adopting the measurement of Hales, we find that 600 millions of such cells would possess collectively a surface of no less than 145 square yards; but by basing our calculations on the opinions of Weber—opinions, remember, which the scientific world receives as facts—we arrive at the still more astounding conclusion, that the human lungs possess upwards of one hundred and sixty-six square yards of respiratory surface, every single point of which is in constant and immediate contact with the atmosphere inspired. It will be useful, then, to imprint on the memory that, whether we breathe pure or putrid air, the air inspired is ever in immediate contact with an extent of vital surface ample enough for the erection of two or three large houses.
A Liverpool surgeon, was asked some time ago, “ How do you account for the great mortality amongst infants in this country.” He replied, “ One of the chief causes is the use of Gin, by nursing mothers.” Not a few of our dissipated criminals may thank their mothers for sowing the seeds of their ruin in infancy.”
A young lady was lately reckless enough to reach over the table-rock which overhangs the falls of Niagara, that she might pluck some flowers on its edge, but as she stooped, she lost her balance and .dreadful thought! was dashed from that awful height to the abyss below. We almost think we hear her wild death shriek, and feel her giddy whirl. By and by a father comes to the spot, to gaze on that scene of unrivalled sublimity. The flowers attract the notice of his little child, and she too steps forward. But quick as thought, the parental hand drags her back, while, with all the eloquence of a father’s voice, he tells the fatal story. Fathers and Mothers! thousands of little ones have gone down a more awful gulf. Will you sport on the brink, as if danger there were not? Or will the hand that drags back from temporal death furnish more dreadful ruin?—Rev. W. Reid.

In the village of —– there lived a steady industrious labouring man and his wife, whose cottage was noted for its clean and tidy appearance.

The village postman having died, Robert, was by general consent elected as his successor.

All went on well until Christmas Day, when on going his rounds, a lady handed him a shilling and a glass of rum, as his “Christmas Box.”

Unfortunately for Robert he was not a pledged abstainer, and although he would rather have declined the liquor, yet, when the glass was so smilingly held out to him by the hand of a fair lady, it was no easy task to refuse it.

At many other houses, particularly the farm-houses, glasses were handed to Robert, and he was urged to drink them off,—“ It will do you good,” said one, “It will keep the cold out, Robert,” said another.

Before the postman had got half through his rounds, he was so tipsy that he fell into a ditch, and was carried home in a sad plight.

He never looked up afterwards; he was so ashamed of his conduct that he took to constant drinking to drown his sorrow.

Poor fellow, his heart-broken wife and child have often had to go out late at night to search for him, and on more than one occasion have found him laid by the road-side, so drunk as to be quite unable to move, and there is reason to fear that Robert went down to a drunkard’s grave.

Thousands of families are every year plunged into distress through our Christmas Drinking Customs. Reader! do what you can to abolish these injurious Drinking Customs.
[From Illustrated Hand-Bills, No. 16.
Sold in packets of Fifty copies, price Sixpence.




Poor Margaret Trip! who would have thought when she was playing about her father’s garden, a merry, rosy-cheeked innocent child, that she would live to be a sorrow and a disgrace, and end her days in a prison? But so it was. And yet she was no hardened offender. The steps by which she fell were so easy as to seem almost imperceptible Reader! a danger is often all the greater and all the nearer when we are unconscious of it; as the following short, true narrative may prove.

Richard Trip was a market gardener, living near London; he had a large family, and some of the younger children were sickly, so that the elder sons and daughters were obliged as they grew up to go out to earn their living, rather sooner than their industrious parents would have chosen, if they could have afforded to keep them longer at school. One son—the eldest, a fine lad, had gone years before our story commences, to Canada; and was doing so well there that his next brother and sister had joined him. The fourth child of the family worked with his father; and the fifth, Margaret, the favourite of all, from her happy disposition, and sweet temper, had been taken by a Lady while as yet quite a child, and was thought fortunate in having a comfortable situation.

Margaret had an easy, pliant nature—loved to please and to be praised; and as long as she was with good people who led her right, all went well outwardly. She never remembered about God’s eye being on her at all times. He was not in all her thoughts. So her good conduct arose merely from a kindly impulse, and not from a strong right principle. As she grew up her mistress’s circumstances altered, and in the course of years, instead of being as at first employed only at the light tasks of a lady’s attendant, she gradually had to perform the whole domestic work. The house, too large for the Lady’s altered fortune, was in part let to another family. It was the fact of having lodgers in the house that caused Margaret’s mistress to leave her in town in the autumn, when she made her annual visit to her relations in the country.

A young servant left in charge of a house needs to be very prudent and conscientious, for in most districts there are prowling vagrants who soon know when a house is so left. To be sure, in this case Margaret was not alone, for there were the lodgers. Yet an old woman who hawked haberdashery and trinkets called one morning early, and displayed her finery to Margaret, who knew very well that articles both better and cheaper might be bought at the shops— but yet she did not like to tell the old woman plainly she did not mean to buy. So she weakly let all the things be turned out, and then heard a long gossiping story about what high wages some servant-maids were paid, and what holidays they had; and before the old woman left, Margaret rather inclined to think she had a hard, dull place of it—a thought she never had before. And when, as she could not afford to buy anything, the old woman gave her a pair of side combs, the poor girl believed she had never seen such a nice good natured old woman; and so the acquaintance began, and in a very few days after, Margaret finding it very dull to be always alone, “a downright shame,” as the old woman said, she invited her new friend to take a cup of tea; taking care to let her in at the back door; in case, as the old woman whom we will call Bridget Crafty, said “the lodgers might be spies, and tell her mistress.” After tea the old hawker pulled out a pack of greasy cards from her pocket, and began to spread them in rows upon the table to tell Margaret’s fortune. The silly girl at first did not like this, but she could not say “no”—and looked on half vexed and half amused, and then at last interested and pleased; for there was such a fine fortune promised to Margaret.—She was to “see the person who would make a lady of her, if she went where a bird flew among the gaslights in a great road at the north side of London.” “Oh dear, where could that be?” “How should she find it!” “How could she go out.” “ Alas, only on Sunday evening to Church did she ever go out at night.” Her scruples were soon quieted, and she agreed to meet Mrs. Crafty the next Sunday night in the City Road, only a mile from where she lived at Pentonville. That was the road, and they would find the place the cards indicated.

So she went—No one making any comment, for Margaret always attended evening service. It was a rainy night, and she began to regret before she met old Crafty, but then there was the curiosity ; and the excitement, and the poor girl was “ struck all of a heap,” as she said, when they reached a large house bright with gas, and a great bird at the top—sure enough there was the bird among the gas-lights, and a young man came up and said to her the very words that the cards had told her he would utter. She refused to go into the garden, but it rained heavily, and she was half pulled in to take shelter. In her fright and surprise she dropped her latch-key, and though they all three looked for it, no key could be found, so she for once was firm and would go home. The young man returned with her, she had to ring for admission, and the son of the lodger coming on the step at the same time, said, “Oh Margaret, was that your brother who just left you?” The frightened girl, glad of the mistake he had made, muttered “Yes,” while her heart smote her for the lie.

This was the beginning of evil to Margaret. The end came very speedily. Bridget Crafty was always groping about at early morning or at twilight, offering second-hand finery for sale, or bringing foolish letters from the stranger. As to buying, Margaret had no money; but her new friend promised to lend her some, until her wages were due ; and produced a five-pound note, which she said she had saved to pay her rent; and Margaret went to a draper’s near to change it, and borrowed ten shillings. The day after there was a complaint made by the lodger at not receiving a letter she expected in answer to one of importance sent days before; and Margaret’s face looked confused as she heard it, for she remembered that instead of posting the letters herself, she had given them to old Bridget.—”Surely the old woman had not lost them?” But how great was her concern to find the letter which caused uneasiness contained a five-pound note. The look and manner of Margaret did not escape the lodger, who wrote off for her Lawyer to come the following day. Oh what a time of misery did Margaret pass; for her mind misgave her, and yet she did not instantly confess her suspicions, but went early to bed to avoid being seen and questioned, leaving the lodgers to fasten up the house. That night before the time when the house was usually secured for the night, a thief entered, with a pass-key, broke open a cupboard where the plate-basket was kept, and managed to steal upstairs and bear off a desk of the lodger’s, containing money and valuables; and escaped before the return of the lodger’s son and the bolting of the outer door. The robbery was not discovered until breakfast-time, next morning, when the Lady missed her desk; and running down stairs met Margaret, who, pale as death had only a few minutes before found out the cupboard was rifled, and had now thrown on her bonnet and shawl, and was hastening off to tell her father. To stop Margaret, who was thought to be escaping—and call the police, was the work of a few minutes to the Lady and her son; then came the Lawyer; and Margaret, ready to call on the houses to fall on her, feeling every look a stab, was taken to the Police Office, a rude rabble following. How clear was the chain of evidence—her going to the —— City Road. Her giving the latch-key—no one believed she had dropped it—her saying the man who walked home with her was her brother—her changing the note—the Draper brought it, the very note that the lodger had sent in the letter, and told her to post —and then going to bed early, and leaving the house clear for the robber. Her agonizing protest that she did not know the man she met, was treated as another lie. She named Bridget Crafty, and a neighbour bore testimony to seeing the old woman enter the back door and stay a! the house; this only made matters worse, for this woman

Uncorrected OCR-PAGE 48



was well known to the police as belonging to a gang. Margaret was fully committed before her mistress had heard of the robbery; the lodger being bound over to prosecute. On her second examination old Bridget stood at her side, strong and hard in sin, denying all that could tell in favour of her victim; she even said Margaret had wanted her to change the note, and she refused to do it. To tell the misery of the wretched girl’s heart, and the distraction at her parents’ home would take a volume. The interval between her commitment and trial she spent in the infirmary of the prison; so ill in mind and body, that the doctor, used to see cases of great suffering among criminals, for Satan is a hard master, feared for her life.

Then came the trial. The man had not been taken, but all was clear against Margaret, and her companion. In vain, when asked for her plea, she said, “I meant no harm and kept repeating the words like one in a dream. She had done harm,—harm to her mistress, harm to her parents, harm to herself, harm to society, harm in the sight of God.

When sentence was pronounced she could not stand up, but reeled against old Bridget. Well might she shrink and faint, for in the court, looking up to her with agony was her eldest brother come from Canada, to take them all back, for God had prospered his industry and piety. Yet this sore affliction—the once gay, lovely, innocent Margaret, a convicted felon! struck him to the heart, and made all seem bitter. That dear good brother; oh, to meet him thus!

Old Bridget was sentenced to seven years’ transportation, and in consideration of Margaret’s youth, and her mistress with tears recommending her to mercy, she had two years’ imprisonment.

One moment, but one, her grey-headed old father, and her agonized brother caught her hand as she was hurried away. “My poor child!” “Oh dear Margaret!” was all they could say amid stifling sobs.—“She’s well off,” said her tempter, “it’s only two years for her.” “It’s enough,” said Margaret, panting for breath: and so it proved, in five months afterwards there was an inquest in the House of Correction, on a young woman who had pined away; she died penitent and resigned, and her last effort was to write to her parents the words, “Forgive your unhappy daughter.” But long before that, she had prayed from her heart, “Father I have sinned, and am no more worthy to be called thy child,” and those words no one ever uttered from the heart in vain.


A firm faith is the best divinity; a good life the best philosophy; a clear conscience the best law ; honesty the best policy; and temperance the best physic.
A Word to Employers.—“There is a limit to toil set by God. He who has given bounds to the ocean—who has placed the duration of light and darkness under rule—who has put all things under law—whose universe is an embodiment of order, has made it impossible to continue toil beyond a certain limit without detriment. And if that limit be passed—injury succeeds….

. . . . The man made rich by the long-hour system may be a murderer of men—the destroyer of morals and happiness—the adversary of souls; and may hold riches as Judas held the thirty pieces of silver—his gains may be the price of blood! —Rev. S. Martin.

The establishment of libraries in connection with large business firms conduces not more to the benefit of the workpeople employed than to that of the firm itself. The young men employed by Messrs. Millington and Hutton, Wholesale Stationers, have lately exerted themselves to form a library in their place of business: and it has already been productive of good. “ This library is a saving to me,” said one of the young men: “how much do you think it saves me ? ” “I cannot say,” was the reply. “It saves me three shillings a week,” said he, “for I used to go to the public-house, and smoke and drink; but now, I spend my evenings in reading, at home.” G. B., London.


In a gale off the coast, a vessel was driving ashore. Her anchors were gone, and she refused to obey the helm. A few moments more, and she would strike. If any were saved, they must be tossed by the waves on the beach. In the midst of the general consternation that prevailed, there was one man calm. He had done all that man could do to prepare for the worst when the wreck was inevitable ; and now that death was apparently near, he was quietly waiting the event-A friend of his demanded the occasion of his calmness in the midst of danger so imminent. “Do you not know that the anchor is gone, and we are drifting upon the coast?”

“Certainly I do, but I have an anchor to the soul.”

On this was his trust. It entered into that within the veil. It was the ground of his confidence in the storm,and enabled him to ride securely, in view of instant and awful death.

This anchor, every man should have. Life is a sea. It is often stormy. The soul needs an anchor in the hour of danger. Reader, have you the anchor of Hope? Can you say “Christ is mine—I am his?”


In Dr. Duncan’s “Sacred Philosophy of the Seasons,” recently published, is the following interesting anecdote of Burns. “While yet a schoolboy, I enjoyed an opportunity of hearing, in my father’s manse, a conversation between the poet Burns and another poet, my near relation, the amiable Blacklock. The subject was, the fidelity of the Dog. Burns took up the question with all the ardour and kindly feeling with which the conversation of that extraordinary man was so remarkably imbued. The anecdotes by which it was illustrated have long escaped my memory; but there was one sentiment expressed by Burns, with his own characteristic enthusiasm, which, as it threw a new light into my mind, I shall never forget. ‘Man,’ said he ‘is the god of the Dog; he knows no other; he can understand no other And see, how he worships him! — with what reverence he crouches at his feet—with what love he fawns upon him — with what dependence he looks up to him —and with what cheerful alacrity he obeys him. His whole soul is wrapt up in his god; all the powers and faculties of his nature are devoted to his service; and these powers and faculties are ennobled by the intercourse. Divines tell us, that it ought just to be so with the Christian but the Dog puts the Christian to shame!’ The truth of these remarks, which forcibly struck me at the time, have since been verified by experience : and often have events occurred, which, while they reminded me that ‘Man is the god of the Dog,’ have forced from me the humiliating but just confession, that ‘the Dog puts the Christian to shame!’”

The year rolls round and steals away,
The breath that first it gave;
Whate’er we do, where’er we be,
We’re travelling to the grave.

Our wasting lives grows shorter still,
As days and months increase!
And every beating pulse we tell,
Leaves but the number less.


We cannot complete our First Yearly Part without returning thanks to the numerous friends who have given our pages a welcome reception.

Our desire has been to promote the Health, Wealth, and Happiness of the Working Classes, and whilst conscious of many imperfections we are thankful to learn from one source that we have not laboured altogether in vain.

We require a circulation of 100,000 to cover the outlay, bud we have not yet averaged 30,000, and therefore the publication has hitherto been attended with heavy pecuniary loss. The circulation of the November Number has reached 83,000, so that if each of our readers will secure two new subscribers, we shall not be under the painful necessity of discontinuing our labours.

With the earnest desire that all our readers may have a “Joyous Christmas and a Happy New Year,” we bid farewell to the eventful year of 1885.

A Working-Man writes from Hallingward Common, thus; “In No. 8 of the “British Workman” it was said that it circulated 20,000, and could not be carried on without a circulation of 100,000; and if each subscriber could persuade four others to follow his example, the circulation required for its continuation would be secured. I thought it would be a sad thing if so valuable a publication as the “British Workman” was likely to be to the Working Classes, could not be carried on, and I therefore determined that I would try what I could do; since that time I have obtained thirty subscribers, and I hope that all the subscribers to the “British Workman” will co-operate with me, and then we shall soon be able to relieve the Editor of the heavy load that has been lying on him throughout the year that is nearly gone, and give him our hearty support far the time to come. I do believe that this will be a valuable work for the industrious classes.” If the good example of our Derbyshire Correspondent be followed by other 2000 working-men, we shall then be enabled to go on.

Crimea. A packet containing Nos. 1 to 12 will be sent post free, to any soldier in the Crimea, on the receipt of twelve postage stamps, by Messrs. Partridge and Co., 34, Paternoster Row, London.

Reading for the Soldiers. Packet of printed matter, not exceeding 4 ozs. in weight can be sent post free, from any part of the country, to the Army in the Crimea for one penny postage; not exceeding 8 ozs. for 2d.; not exceeding 1 lb. for 4d.

A Hint. A Correspondent who appears to be troubled on account of some of his fellow labourers being so forgetful about the payment of various debts, and who has found their word of promise repeatedly broken, asks us to give them a gentle reminder. The request is a very novel one, but we have endeavoured to comply with it, and hope that this notice may be of service to others as well as to the debtors of our correspondent.




1. The Goose Club, 5 Illustrations………….. 1d.

2. The Man in the Well, 2 Illustrations…….. 1d.

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4. The Sailor’s Home, 2 Illustrations …………….. 1d.

5. The Door in the Heart, 1 Illustration …. 1d.

6. The Ox Sermon, 2 Ilustrations…………….. 1d.

7. The Pressgang, 1 Illustration…………….. 1d.

8. Water is Best, 1 Illustration ……………. 1d.

9. Unfaithful Steward ……………………… 2d.

10. Let every Man Mind his own Business…. 2d.

11. Two Christmas Days, 4 Illustrations……… 6d.

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“The ‘British Workman’—admirably suited to its purpose.
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Earl of Albemarle

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