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-that is, bound to the soil, a bit of the earth, a lump of the clay, with no more power to remove themselves than a bramble-bush; if they did, see what came to 'em. I've only just picked up the matter, but here it is-let it be a warning to you. In the time of Richard the Second-what a very pauper he'd been if born one !-if any poor man left his home without a justice's leave, and was taken in the crime, why, he was put in the stocks for his rascality. Henry the Eighth-a real tiger of the royal menagerie-made a law that whipped any beggar begging from his native place. Another of his laws-some of 'em were written in the best blood of the country-only whipped the beggar for his first offence, but cut off his right ear for the second, and blackened him from head to heel a felon for the third. Well, Edward the Sixth, or his ministers, branded the vagabond on the shoulder, and gave him as a slave to anybody who 'd be troubled with. him, to be beaten, chained, and otherwise remonstrated with for being poor. He might also, for further ill-manners of running away, be branded in the cheek, and made a slave for life. Another running away, and—here really came a bit of summary humanity-he might be hanged! Queen Elizabeth punished the beggar by ordering his ear to be "burned through the gristle with a hot iron, of a compass of an inch about "-that is, not much thicker.
Now, John, I hope you lay these things to your heart I hope you will at once acknowledge the wickedness that has very properly been put upon poverty for hundreds of years, and don't disgrace yourself and your relations by becoming a pauper. I have a great regard for you-a very great regard; nevertheless, if you come to want, I give you up for ever, and renounce you. I hope, therefore, you will take this warning in good part, and believe me, your affectionate cousin,
THANK heaven and the printer that there are such things as You, my dear friend, will know to whom they apply, and may therefore receive this letter without its bringing down upon you the Government of Naples. However, don't venture to write me any answer, for I'm in Sir James Graham's books; I'm down-a marked man. Unhappily for me, a Polish refugee lives in our garret, and the eye of Russia is upon me. Nevertheless, there has been, I find, some good-luck in this. I've now discovered that the two gentlemen with beards, who used to hire me when the Emperor Nicholas was here, to drive them from
one end of the town to the other, did so to come at the plot which was hatching in our attic. However, they got nothing out of me but, as old Lumpy says, wicey-warsy. Still I'm not comfortable. As a cabman, I've been boxed up with Spaniards, Italians, Sardinians, Austrians-men of all countries and colours. Well, I don't know at this moment that every letter to Juniper Hedgehog—that is, every copy-isn't in the office of Sir James Graham. A nice thing this to go to bed and sleep upon! When I think of the sort of letters-full of delicate and tender matters-that has come to me, I own it does make me burn and fluster to think that I may not have a single secret to myself: no, Sir James -the Post-Office burglar-has broken into my affairs, and at this moment he knows all my poverty, all my little strugglings with little debts-in fact, all my inner man. I seem to myself to walk about the world turned inside out! And this evil, be it remembered, may be the fate of thousands, although, poor wretches, they may not know it. Who shall tell how many men's souls are at the Home Office, under the Graham lock and key? Still, says Sir James, the whole security, not only of this country, but, in truth, of the whole world, depends upon wax and wafers.
There is no doubt that last summer a few
Italians were denounced to the Government of Naples, and duly shot, in consequence of seals, broken at Downing Street. This is comfortable to reflect upon. Though if Sir James was a squeamish man-which he is not, for no man ever braved the pillory with all its unsavoury accidents with a stronger stomach-then would he never again behold the Queen's head upon the red post-stamp without thinking of human blood!
Sir James, however, has two natures, or rather two parts. Like the picture of Death and the Lady, Sir James is only corrupt on one side. Thus spoke Tom Duncombe to the foolscap burglar— the sealing-wax Jack Sheppard: "He has had the meanness, ay, and the baseness, to conceal his act and has not had the courage to avow it."
Upon this, the Speaker, in one of his conciliatory moods, observed that "such observations were very personal. Would the honourable gentleman withdraw them?" Whereupon Mr Duncombe answered: "Sir, I applied those observations to the right honourable gentleman in his ministerial capacity: to those observations and to those topics I adhere; so they must and shall remain."
And they do remain. And Sir James remains "as a minister," a "mean," "base," cowardly agent! How strange is the distinction between the
minister and the man!—they're quite two different things, like the calipee and calipash of a turtle.
Sir James Graham rose to answer, with a confidence that would have honoured the Old Bailey. He said, "Mr Duncombe was a person quite indifferent to him." This reminds me of the chap who, after he'd been flogged half a mile and more at the cart's tail, with all the world looking on, said to the man that had flayed him, "Sir, you're beneath my notice." I could write more, but Lumpy's called me for a fare. The fun, however, is not yet over; and you may hear more of Sir James in my next. Meantime, if you write, don't either use wax or wafers; it's only wasting property. Send your letters open, and believe me, your faithful friend,
LETTER IX.-To Mrs Hedgehog of New York.
DEAR GRANDMOTHER,-It was very kind of you, though away from Old England, to have prayers put up for the Bishops of Exeter and London, and Mr Courtenay and Mr Ward, with all the unfortunate young clergymen who 've been fright