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I've hardly time to save the packet; so remain, your affectionate grandson,
P.S.-They do say that Mr Courtenay wants to be made a martyr of. But the days for burning are all gone by. Besides, other folks declare that the parson of St Sidwell's would have been too green to burn at any time.
LETTER IV.-To Michael Hedgehog, at Hong-Kong.
DEAR MICHAEL,-When you quitted England, in the Hong-Kong division of police, I promised to write you all the news I could; at least, such news as I knew you'd like. The crimes and evils of population were, I know, always a favourite matter with you. I'm sorry to say the evil's getting worse every day; and no wonder. You'll hardly believe it, Michael, seeing what a surplus of pauper flesh and blood respectable people have upon their hands, that there's a set of ignoramuses who absolutely offer a premium for babies; for all the world, as they give away gold and silver medals for prize pigs. I take the bit of news I send you from the Times.
You must know that a few weeks ago a Clements of 21 Hunt Street, Mile-end, Newtown," had at once" three children, two girls and a boy," all, too, impudent enough to live. Well, the Times published an account of the misdemeanour, andwould you believe it?-some "generous individuals," as they are stupidly called, sent, among 'em, £38 for the mother and little ones.
Now, what is this, as you'd say, but fostering a superabundance of population? It's no other than offering bribes to bring people into the country, already as full as a cask of herrings; and when every trade is eating part of its members up, for all the world as melancholy monkeys eat their own tails! Isn't it shocking to encourage the lower classes to add to themselves? There's nothing that money won't do ; and I've no doubt whatever that, for some years to come, all children at Mileend will be born by threes and fours. A shrewd fellow like you must have remarked how people imitate one another. You never yet heard of an odd act of suicide, or any kind of horror with originality in it, that it didn't for a little time become the fashion, as if it was a new bonnet or a new boot. And so, among the lower orders, it will be in the matter of babies. Now, if Mrs Clements had been sent to prison for the offence, then the evil might have been nipped in the bud; but to reward her
for her three babies, who could show no honest. means of providing for themselves, why, it's flying in the face of all political economy. Three babies at once at Mile-end is monstrous.
should be confined to the higher ranks.
You'll be glad to hear that we 've been giving a round of dinners to your Chinese hero, Sir Henry Pottinger. At Manchester he was hailed as the very hero of cotton prints. They dined him very handsomely, and you may be sure there was a good deal of after-dinner speaking. A Rev. Canon Wray answered the toast for the Clergy. I once read of a melancholy man, who thought all his body was turned into a glass bottle, and so wouldn't move for fear of going to pieces. Now, I'm certain of it, that there's a sort of clergyman who, after some such humour, thinks himself a forty-two pounder; for he is never heard at a public meeting that he doesn't fire away shot and gunpowder. The Rev. Canon said (or rather fired) his thanks, that Sir H. Pottinger "had opened a way for the march of the gospel." Now, Michael, I never heard of any artillery in the New Testament. And he further said :
"British arms seem scarcely ever to know a defeat. In the east, west, north, and south, our soldiers and sailors are, in the end, ever victorious. I cannot but think that, as great Britain holds the tenets of the gospel
in greater purity than any other nation, so she is intendedby the Divine will to carry inestimable blessings to all distant benighted climes."
Well, Michael, I've heard of a settler in mistake sowing gunpowder for onions; but the Rev. Canon Wray, with his best knowledge about him, thinks there's nothing like sowing gunpowder for the "scriptural mustard-seed." I suppose he's right, because he's a canon; and therefore not to be disputed with by your ignorant, but affectionate brother, JUNIPER HEDGEHOG.
LETTER V.-To Mrs Barbara Wilcox, at
DEAR SISTER,-It gave me much pleasure to learn from your letter that yourself, husband, and baby got safe and sound to your present home. You ask me to send you my portrait. It isn't in my power to do so at present; but if I should be unfortunate enough to kill anybody, or set a dockyard a-fire, or bamboozle the Bank-or, in short, do anything splashy to get a front place in the dock at the Old Bailey-you may then have my portrait at next to nothing. Then, I can tell you, it
will be drawn in capital style-at full length, three quarters, half length, and I know not what.
I've read somewhere, that in what people call the good old times-as times always get worse, what a pretty state the world will be in a thousand years hence !-when there were dead men's heads on the top of Temple Bar, grinning down, what people call an example, on the folks below, that there used to be fellows with spyglasses; and, at a penny a peep, they showed to the curious all the horror of the aforesaid heads, not to be discovered by the naked eye. Well, the heads are gone, and the spyglass traders to; but for all that, there's the same sort of show going on, and a good scramble to turn the penny by it, only after a different fashion. Murderers are now shown in newspapers. They are no longer gibbeted in irons; no, that was found to be shocking, and of no use: they are now nicely cut in wood, and so insinuated into the bosoms of families. The more dreadful the murder, the greater value the portrait; which, for a time, is made a sort of personal acquaintance to thousands of respectable folks who pay the newspaper owner-the spyglass-man of our time-so much to stare at it as long as they like. I am certain that the shortest cut to popularity of some sort is to cut somebody's throat. A dull, stupid fellow, that pays his way and does harm to nobody, why,