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the curse ! Well for the drones of the social hive that there are pees of so industrious a turn, willing for an infinitesimal share of the honey to undertake the labor of its fabrication !
Let these considerations avail an unfortunate man, or rather youth, perhaps an oppressed one, subject to the tyranny of some such ticket system as lately required the interference of the home secretary, in behalf of the laborers of another county.
Methinks I see him, poor phantom ! an impertinent unit of a surplus population, humbly pleading for bread, and offered an acre of stones—to be cleared at five farthings a rood. Work and
wages for the asking !-with the double alternative of the Union-house, or a free passage—the North-West one-to the still undiscovered coast of Bohemia !
Is a rash youth, so wrought on, to be eternally Ex-Isled from this sweet little one of our own, for only throwing a few intemperate “ thoughts that breathe and words that burn anonymous letter ?
Let these things plead for a fellow-creature, goaded, perhaps, by the sense of wrong, as well as the physical pangs of hunger, and driven by the neglect of all milder applications to appeal to the selfish fears of men who will neither read the signs of the times, nor heed warnings, unless written, like Belshazzar's, in letters of fire !
One thing is certain. These are not times for visiting with severity the offences of the laboring poor; a class who, it is admitted by all parties, have borne the severest trials that can afflict the soul and body of man, with an exemplary fortitude, and a patience almost superhuman. A great fact at which every true Englishman should exult, as at a national victory, as in moral heroism it is. I, for one, am proud of my poor country. men, and naturally loth to believe that a character which so reluctantly combines with disaffection, and indulges so sparely in outbreak, will freely absorb so vile a spirit as that of incen. diarism. At any rate, before rashly adopting such a conclusion, common justice and common sense bid me look elsewhere for the causes of any unusual number of fires in the rural districts. As a mere matter of patriotism, one would rather ascribe such unfilial outrages to an alien than to a son of the soil. We have
lately seen a foreign prince, an ally, in a time of peace speculating with much playful naïveté on the best modes for squibbing our shipping and rocketing our harbors—the facility with which he could ignite the Thames and mull the Medway-sink the Cinque Ports-blow off Beachy's head, shiver Deal into splinters, and knock the two Reculver steeples into one. His Highness, it is true, contemplated a bellicose state, ceremoniously proclaimed according to the usage of polite nations ; but suppose some outlandish savage, as uncivilized as unshorn, say from Terra del Fuego, animated with an insane hostility to England, and burning to test his skill in Pyrotechnics—might not such a barbarian be tempted to dispense with a formal declaration of war, and make a few experimental essays how to introduce his treacherous combustibles into our perfidious towns and hamlets ? Foreign incendiaries for me, rather than native; and accident or spontaneous combustion before either! But if we must be. lieve in it home-made-surely, in preference to the industrious laborer, suspicion should fall on those sturdy trampers that infest the country, the foremost to crave for food and money, the last to ask for work, and one of whom might light up a dozen par. ishes. If it be otherwise, if a class eminently loyal, patieni, peaceable, and rational, have really become such madmen throw. ing about fire, it is high time, methinks, with universal Artesian borings, to begin to scuttle our island for fear of its being burnt. But no--that Shadow of an incendiary, with uplifted hands, and streaming repentant eyes, disavows with earnest gesture the foul intent; and shadow as he is, my belief acquits him, and makes me echo the imaginary sigh with which he fades again into the foggy distance between me and Port Sydney.
It is in your power, Sir James Graham! to lay the ghost that is haunting me. But that is a trifle. By a due intercession with the earthly fountain of mercy, you may convert a melan. choly shadow into a happier reality-a righted man-a much pleasanter image to mingle in our waking visions, as well as in those dreams which, as Hamlet conjectures, may soothe or disturb us in our coffins. Think, sir, of poor Gifford White-inquire into his hard case, and give it your humane consideration,
as that of a fellow.man with an immortal soul-a“ possible an. gel”—to be met hereafter face to face.
To me, should this appeal meet with any success, it will be one of the dearest deeds of my pen. I shall not repent a wide deviation from my usual course ; or begrudge the pain and trouble caused me by the providential visitings of an importunate phantom. In any case, my own responsibility is at an end. I have relieved my heart, appeased my conscience, and absolved
THE BRIDGE OF SIGHS,
“ Drowned! drowned !”-HAMLET.
ONE more Unfortunate,
Take her up tenderly,
Look at her garments
Touch her not scornfully;
Make no deep scrutiny
Past all dishonor,
Still, for all slips of hers,
Alas! for the rarity
Where the lamps quiver