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private use. It may be said, perhaps, that vanity must have its gratification in some way or other, and that those who cannot build a palace individually, must compound by doing it in company with others, and making a general rather than an individual property. It may be so, but still the public is a gainer by the latter plan, since we can go into some of these for nothing, whereas the palaces are only shown for money,
One thing that has disgusted me most in this city, is the incredible quantity of wretched and profligate beggars who infest many parts, whose ragged, filthy, and debauched appearance turns pity into absolute disgust. I was, the other day, admiring the magnificence of a new palace in one of the fine squares, with my head full of the splendours of this people, when all at once my visions of glory were put to flight by the irruption of a family of most wretched beings of all ages, from the gray headed parent to the little infant holding by the mother's hand. Their story was that of thousands, nay, hundreds of thousands, in this government-ridden nation : want of employment and want of food. If true, it proved how much they were to be pitied; if false, how yet much more they were to be pitied. If necessity drove them to this wretched mode of life, they might still derire some consolation from within ;-if choice, then were they wretched indeed. The splendours of the palace vanished like those of the wicked enchanters of old, and little else remained on my mind but the impression that its walls were reared upon
the miseries of thousands of such as were now begging at the door.
To an American, whose feelings are not yet quite blanted by their perpetual occurrence, such scenes are apt to destroy every pleasing illusion arising from the splendours of the monarch and his noble dependants. No man of reflection,
whose interests are not connected with the maintenance of this monstrous inequality of wealth, which is not the reward of labour, or industry, or exertion, as in our country, can shut his eyes to the melancholy truth, that this overgrown wealth, this outward splendour, this wasteful extravagance, in a few, is balanced, and a thousand times overbalanced, by the dependance, the poverty, the sufferings, and the degradation of millions of men like themselves. The elegancies of life, the refinement, as it is called, of manners, the perfection of the arts, the embellishments of architecture, painting, and sculpture, the loftiest flights of poetry, and the deepest investigations of philosophy,
autiful and glorious as they are, are too dearly purchased at the expense of the sacrifice of hap piness to the many, It is better to be without all these, than that the lower orders should want bread.
Another bad feature in the physiognomy of London, is the number and the profligacy of certain ladies, anciently called the Bishop of Winchester's Geese. Their effrontery, their shocking depravity, disgusting indecency, and total destitution of every female characteristic, are horrible. Indeed, brother, every species of vice is displayed here in its naked deformity, and with a broad and vulgar grossness, that renders London a complete contrast to Paris, at least in outward
appearance. To conclude: London contains, beyond doubt, above a million of inhabitants, among whom, to speak my mind plainly, there are too many rogues. The ordinaries are full of cheats; some citizens are bankrupts, and many gentlemen beggars. A worthy magistrate, Mr. Mainwaring, not long ago asserted in print, that there were upwards of five thousand persons in London, who would murder you with only a remote prospect of gaining a shilling.
BEFORE I set about giving you the results of my general observations on this country and people, I may as well sketch, from my memorandum-book, the outlines of the tours I made from London, after first delivering my credentials to * * * * *, and previously to my final settlement here. As I observed to you in my first letter, I do not mean to trouble
with a relation of all I saw, nor with descriptions of any particular places or buildings, unless they be distinguished by something besides their names. Your general reading, and, in fact, the general reading of all our reading countrymen, has already given them more information concerning this country, than the people themselves possess. Nothing, indeed, can equal their ignorance of every thing that is not directly under their nose, and most especially their ignorance of our country, which is truly profound. With the description of old castles, and the genealogies of their present or former occupants, I shall not trouble you, except in a few instances where they are connected with circumstances not generally recorded, or characters renowned in history or tradition. Occasionally I may renew more vividly the recollection of my impressions on beholding some particular scenes of more than ordinary
beauty; or which are hallowed, either as the former residence of some sage or poet, who has made them illustrious by association or descriptior.. The first thing almost that strikes an American, used to the clear skies and glowing sunshine of his own country, is the humidity of the atmosphere, and the frequent absences of the god of day. St. Simon and Jude's day is almost every other day here. It rains or snows about one hundred and fifty days in the year; and of the remaine der, between fifty and sixty are cloudy. The result is, that the verdure of the country is excessively luxuriant, although, to my mind, the landscapes rather weep than laugh. The grass and the foliage are so deadly green, that they almost look blue, and resemble the effect of distance, which, you know, communicates a bluish tint to the landscape. But the grass grows and the cattle get fat, and the roast beef of Old England is the better for it undoubtedly. To me, however, who you know loves the sunshine like a terrapin, there is something chilly and ungenial in the Eng. lish summer, and it offends me hugely, to hear a fat, puffing, beer-drinking fellow, bawling out to his neighbour, " A fine day," when the sun looks as if it might verify the theory of one of the old Greeks, that it was nothing inore than a great round ball of copper. Whether this inelancholy character in the climate, or the practice of drinking beer in such enormous quantities, or both combined, have given that peculiar cast of bluff and gruff stupidity, observable in the common people of England, I cannot say; but certainly, if man who drinks beer thinks beer," the question is decided at once.
To describe, or even to name, all the villages and seats which I passed, in going out of London at different times, is a task I shall not undertake, VOL. 1.
and which indeed can only be done by a person with more time on his hands than he knows what to do with, and more patience than time. To make you amends for many omissions of this kind,
, I will mention one, the vestiges of which only remain, and that because it is connected with the name of our favourite Pope. It is Canons, once the consummation of all human grandeur; built by a Duke of Chandos, a friend, and as it is said, a benefactor of the bard, who, it is also said, repaid him by a picture of his palace, under the name of " Timon's Villa,” which we have often admired together, as a most capital delineation of wasteful and tasteless extravagance. I remember only the last lines. After describing all the monstrosities, the gilded follies, the purse-proud owner,
&c. he says,
“ Yet hence the poor are cloth’d, the hungry fed;
Health to himself, and to his infants bread,
Another age shall see the golden ear
And laughing Ceres re-assume the land." The prediction was soon fulfilled. The palace was sold, and purchased by a cabinet-maker, who pulled it down, disposed of a part of the materials, and with the remainder built a pretty villa, which still remains. The gossiping taste of the times has been gratified with the important information that this same cabinet-maker's grandson has since bought out two other old families, each of which had been upwards of two hundred years in possession.
" Thus we see how the world wags," my brother
" We Cits are ambitious to make our sons gentlemen;
In three generations they return again ;