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Title: A Morning's Walk from London to Kew
Author: Phillips, Richard, 1767-1840
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Morning's Walk from London to Kew" ***








The Author of the following Observations, made during #A MORNING'S
WALK#, will doubtless be allowed to possess but a moderate degree of
literary ambition. He has not qualified himself, by foreign travels,
to transport his readers above the clouds, on the Andes, the Alps, or
the Apennines; to alarm them by descriptions of Earthquakes, or
Eruptions; or to astonish them by accounts of tremendous Chasms,
Caverns, and Cataracts: but he has restricted his researches to
subjects of home scenery, which thousands can daily examine after him;
and consequently has not enjoyed that _latitude_ of fancy, or been
able to exercise any of those rare powers of _hearing_ and _seeing_,
by means of which travellers into distant regions are enabled to
stimulate curiosity and monopolize fame.

The class of readers who seek for sources of pleasure beyond the
ordinary course of nature, will therefore feel disappointment in
attempting to follow a pedestrian tourist through a route so destitute
of wonders. Nor will this feeling, it is to be feared, be confined to
searchers after supernatural phenomena in regard to the facts which
appertain to such a work. In the sentiments which accompany his
narrations, it will be found that the Author, accustomed to think for
himself, admits no standards of truth superior to the evidence of the
senses and the deductions of reason; consequently, that his
conclusions on many important topics are at variance with existing
practices, whenever it appears they have no better foundation than the
continuity of prejudices and the arbitrary laws of custom. He
therefore entertains very serious doubts whether his work will be
acceptable to those #learned Professors# in Universities, who teach no
doctrines or opinions but those of their predecessors; or whether it
will suit #Students#, whose advancement depends on their submission to
the dogmata of such superiors. He questions whether it will ever be
quoted as an authority by #Statesmen# who consider the will of princes
as standards of wisdom;--by #Legislators# who barter away their votes,
and decide on the presumed integrity of ministers and leaders;--by
#Politicians# who banish the moral feelings from their practices;--or
by #Economists# who do not consider individual happiness as the
primary object of their calculations. Nor is he more sanguine that his
work will prove agreeable to those #Natural Philosophers# who account
for phenomena by the operation of virtues or influences which have no
mechanical contact;--or to those #Metaphysicians# who conceive that
truth can be exhibited only in the sophistical subtleties of the
schools displayed in the mazy labyrinths of folios and quartos;--or to
those #Theologians# who maintain that the obligations of reason and
morality are superseded by those of Faith. While, in regard to those
#Topographers# and #Antiquaries# whose studies are bounded by dates of
erection, catalogues of occupants, and copies of tomb-stones;--to
those #Naturalists# who receive delight from enumerations of Linnaean
names of herbs, shrubs, and trees, and from Wernerian descriptions of
rocks;--to those #Bibliomaniacs# who value a book in the inverse ratio
of the information it contains;--and to those #learned Philologists#
who see no beauties in modern tongues, and affect to find (_but
without anticipating any of them_,) all modern discoveries of Natural
Philosophy in Homer, and all improvements of mental Philosophy in the
mysteries of Plato--the author deeply laments his utter inability to
accommodate either his taste, his feelings, or his conclusions.

In regard to the spirit, tone, and character of the author's opinions,
they have necessarily emanated from the state of knowledge, in an era
when, at the termination of four centuries after the adoption of
Printing, mankind have achieved _four_ great objects; (1,) in the
#REVIVAL# of Literature, and #REGENERATION# of Philosophy; (2,) in the
#EMANCIPATION# of Christendom from the systematic thraldom of Popery;
(3,) in the assertion of #THE RIGHTS OF MAN#, against overwhelming
usurpations; and (4,) in the establishment of #A SPIRIT OF FREE
ENQUIRY#, which constitutes the vivifying energy of the age in which
we live, and promises the most important results in regard to the
future condition and happiness of the human race.

The accomplishment of these circumstances has generated, in all
countries, a numerous class of readers, among whom are many
#Professors#, #Philosophers#, #Statesmen#, #Politicians#,
#Theologians#, #Antiquaries#, #Naturalists#, and #eminent Scholars#;
besides #Amateurs# of general Literature, with whose taste, feelings,
and principles, the Author of this volume is anxious to identify his
own, and whose favourable opinion he is ambitious to enjoy;--these are
the free and honest searchers after #MORAL#, #POLITICAL#, and #NATURAL
TRUTH#,--the votaries of #COMMON SENSE#,--the patients of their
#NATURAL SENSIBILITIES#,--all, who are neither #TOO OLD#, #TOO
POWERFUL#, nor #TOO WISE#,--and, finally, all those #WHO PASS THEIR
LIVES IN SEARCH OF HAPPINESS#, and who are not unwilling to be
pleased, in whatsoever form, or by whomsoever the attempt may be made:


                                            _Holloway, Middlesex;_
                                               _February 8, 1817._


  #St. James's Park#
    Milk Fair
    Regent's Palace
    Washington and Alfred
    Public Offices
    Military Slaves
    Country Residents
    St. James's Palace
    Promenade in the Mall
    Suggested Improvements
    The Ty-bourn
    Isle of St. Peter's
    Chelsea Buns
    ---- Hospital
    Villany of War
    Invalid without Arms
    A Centenarian
    Securities of Peace
    Caesar's Ford
    The Botanic Garden
    Don Saltero's
    Sir Thomas More
    Sir Hans Sloane
    Waste of Public Wealth
    Cupidity of Trade
    Insufficiency of Wealth
    Mr. Brunel's Saw Mills
    ---- Shoe Manufactory
    Evils of Machinery
    Lord Bolingbroke's House
    York House
    An American Aloe
    Reflections on Pride
    Phenomena of Rivers
    Distilleries and Drunkenness
    Haunted House
    Causes of Superstition
    Population of Villages
    Iron-Rail Roads
    Borough of Garrat
    Garrat Elections
    Value of Popular Elections
    An Oil Mill
    An Iron Foundry
    Inutility of Machinery
    Demon of War
    A Country Assembly
    Vice of Balloting
    Plan for rendering Society social
    Characteristics of Novels
    ---- Villages round London
    Condition of Poverty
    Poverty and Wealth contrasted
    Inadequate Remuneration of Labour
    Visit to Wandsworth Workhouse
    Philosophy of Roads
    Cruelty to Horses
    Value of good Foot-paths
    Citizen's Villas
    Axioms of Political Economy
  #Putney Heath#
    The Smoke of London
    Earl Spencer's Park
    Hartley's Fire-House
    Means of Preventing Fires in Houses, and on Female Dress
    The Telegraph System
    Suggested Extension of
    Interesting Prospect
    Reflections on the Metropolis
    Criminal Neglect of Statesmen
    Removal of Misery
    Death and Character of Mr. Pitt
    Indifference of Statesmen
    Fruit Trees preferable to Lumber Trees
    Monastic Dwellings
    Inhabitants of Cottages
    Humility of Pride
    Pilton's Invisible Fences
    House and Character of Mr. Goldsmid
    Destructive Electric Storm
    Nature of Electricity investigated
    Secondary Causes discussed
    Security against Lightning
    The District described
    Dundas and Tooke contrasted
    Its Poor-House on a Common
    Wretchedness of Parish-Poor
    Geology of Barnes-Common
    Fitness and Harmony of Things
    Kit-Cat Club Rooms
    Tonson the Bookseller
    Effect of distant Bells
    Chiswick Church
    Barnes Church
    Enclosed Cemeteries
    Benevolence of Mr. Morris
    Tragedy of the Count and Countess D'Antraigues
    Horticultural Speculation of the Marquis de Chabannes
    Supply of London with Vegetables
    Shropshire and Welsh Girls
    Neglect of Public Cleanliness
    Cleanliness an Incentive of Virtue
    Tomb of Partridge
    Pretensions of Astrology
    Doctrines of Fatality examined
    Free-Will and Necessity discussed
    Success of Predictions referable to the Doctrine of Chances
    Art of Fortune-Telling illustrated
    Tomb and Character of Alderman Barber
    Union and Multiplication of the Human Race
    Mortlake Church
    Picture of Parochial Happiness
    Cause of its Failure
    Genuine Religion characterized
    Vulgar Notions of Churches
    Belief in Ghosts exploded
    Reflections on the Deity
    Effluvia of Dead Bodies
    Impostures of Dr. Dee
    Virtues of Sir John Barnard
    Tomb of the Viscountess Sidmouth
    False Foundation of the late War
    Lesson to Mankind
    Patriotism of the Common Council of London
    Improved Psalmody of Gardiner
    Religious Statistics of Mortlake
    Uses and Abuses of Church Bells
    Dee's House
    Female Education discussed
    General Causes of Human Errors
    Proposed Improvement of Education
    Manufactory of Delft Ware
    Progress of the Arts
    Archiepiscopal Residence
    Mercy dispensed by the Catholic Priesthood
    Food and Charity by the same
    Enormous Walnut-Trees
    Box-Tree Arbour
    Disinterment of the Dead
    Abundant Manure of Religious Houses
    Reflections on Past Ages
    Origin of Superstition
    Progress of Mythology
    Intolerance of Philosophical Schools
    Invocation to Philosophy
    The Author's System of Physics
    Popular Schools recommended
    Addresses of Females
    Changes wrought by Rivers
    Alternate Conversion of Land and Sea
    The Primitive Earth
    Origin of Organization
    Laws of Inorganic Matter
    ---- Vegetable Existences
    ---- Loco-Motive Existences
    Principle of Vitality
    Questions of the First Philosophy
    Compatibility, Fitness, and Harmony, illustrated
    The Tides explained
    Phenomena of Rivers
    Causes of Sterility
    The Errors of Man in Society
    Interview with Gipsies
    Social Slavery characterized
    Gipsy Fortune-telling illustrated
    Instance of Vulgar Terror
    Kew Priory described
    Its Chapel
    Tomb of Meyer
    Church Fees
    Tomb of Gainsborough
    Comparison of Poetry and Painting
    Tomb of Zoffany
    ---- Hogarth
    ---- Thomson
    The Author's Reflections and Conclusion

    *.* _To guard the work against some apparent anachronisms, it
    is proper to state, that the substance of the following Pages
    appeared in various Numbers of the Monthly Magazine, between
    the Years 1813 and 1816. In reprinting, in this form, many
    interpolations have been made, and some subjects of a
    temporary nature have been omitted: but it was often
    impossible, in treating of local situations, to avoid some
    reference to temporary circumstances._


We roam into unhealthy climates, and encounter difficulties and
dangers, in search of curiosities and knowledge, although, if our
industry were equally exerted at home, we might find in the tablets of
Nature and Art, within our daily reach, inexhaustible sources of
inquiry and contemplation. We are on every side surrounded by
interesting objects; but, in nature, as in morals, we are apt to
contemn self-knowledge, to look abroad rather than at home, and to
study others instead of ourselves. Like the French Encyclopaedists, we
forget our own Paris; or, like editors of newspapers, we seek for
novelties in every quarter of the world, losing sight of the superior
interests of our immediate vicinity.

These observations may perhaps serve as a sufficient apology for the
narrative which follows:--existing notions, the love of the sublime,
and the predilections above described, render it necessary for a
_home_ tourist to present himself before the public with modesty. The
readers of voyages round the whole world, and of travels into
unexplored regions of Africa and America, will scarcely be persuaded
to tolerate a narrative of an excursion which began at nine in the
morning and ended at six in the afternoon of the same day! Yet such,
truly, are the _Travels_ which afford the materials of the present
narrative; they were excited by a fine morning in the latter days of
April, and their scene was the high-road lying between #London# and
#Kew#, on the banks of the Thames.

With no guide besides a map of the country round the metropolis, and
no settled purpose beyond what the weather might govern, I strolled
towards St. James's Park. In proceeding between the walls from Spring
Gardens, I found the lame and the blind taking their periodical
stations on each side of the passage.--I paused a few minutes to see
them approach one after another as to a regular calling; or as players
to take their stations and _enact_ their settled parts in this drama.
One, a fellow, who had a withered leg, approached his post with a
cheerful air; but he had no sooner seated himself, and stripped it
bare, than he began such hideous moans as in a few minutes attracted
several donations. Another, a blind woman, was brought to her post by
a little boy, who carelessly leading her against the step of a door,
she petulantly gave him a smart box of the ear, and exclaimed, "D----n
you, you rascal, can't you mind what you're about;"--and then, leaning
her back to the wall, in the same breath, she began to chaunt a
_hymn_, which soon brought contributions from many pious passengers.

The systematic movements of these people led me to inquire in regard
to their conduct and policy from an adjacent shop-keeper, who told me,
that about a dozen of them obtained a good living in that passage;
that an attendance of about two hours per day sufficed to each of
them, when, by an arrangement among themselves, they regularly succeed
each other. He could not guess at the amounts thus collected, but he
said, that he had once watched a noisy blind fellow for half an hour,
and in that time saw thirty-four people give him at least as many
halfpence; he thence, and from other observations, concluded that in
two or three hours each of them collects five or six shillings! We
cannot wonder then at the aversion entertained by these unhappy
objects to the indiscriminate discipline of our common work-houses;
nor can we blame the sympathy of those benevolent persons who
contribute their mite to relieve the cries of distress with which they
are assailed. But it excites our wonder and grief that statesmen, who
have superfluous means for covering the country with barracks, should
find themselves unable to establish comfortable asylums for all the
poor who are incurably diseased, in which they should be so provided
for, that it would be as criminal in them to ask, as in others to
afford them, eleemosynary relief.

On my entrance into the Park, I was amused and interested by an
assemblage of a hundred mothers, nurses, and valetudinarians,
accompanied by as many children, who are drawn together at this hour
every fine morning by the metropolitan luxury of milk warm from the
cow. Seats are provided, as well as biscuits, and other conveniences,
and here from sun-rise till ten o'clock continues a _milk fair_,
distinguished by its peculiar music in the _lowing_ of cows, and in
the discordant _squalling_ of the numerous children. The privilege of
keeping these cows, and of selling their milk on this spot, belongs to
the gate-keepers of the Park; and it must be acknowledged to be a
great convenience to invalids and children, to whom this wholesome
beverage and its attendant walk are often prescribed.

On the right hand stands the garden-wall of the puny, though costly,
palace of the Regent, Prince of Wales. It is, however, fortunate, that
it is not larger, if the expenditure of palaces, like that of private
houses, were to keep pace with their bulk. The inside is adorned like
the palace of Aladin; and a better notion of its splendour may be
formed, by stating that it has cost the labours of twenty thousand men
for a year, or of one thousand for twenty years, than that above a
million sterling has at different times been expended upon the
building and furniture. Yet, it is said that it forms but the eastern
wing of a palace, which the architects of this Prince have projected,
and that half the south side of Pall-Mall and considerable tracts of
the Park will be appropriated to complete their plans, if approved by
their royal patron. I am aware, that the love of shew in princes, and
persons in authority, is often justified by the alledged necessity of
imposing on the vulgar; but I doubt whether any species of imposition
really produces the effect which the pomp of power is so willing to
ascribe to it, as an excuse for its own indulgences. Nor ought it ever
to be forgotten, that no tinsel of gaudy trappings, no architectural
arrangements of stone or wood, no bands of liveried slaves, (however
glossed in various hues, or disguised by various names,) can sustain
the glory of any power which despises public opinion, forgets the
compact between all power and the people, violates the faith of public
treaties, and measures its moral obligations, not by the sense of
justice, but by considerations of expediency and self-interest! On
this important, though almost exhausted, topic, it should be known by
all Princes who covet true glory, that #Washington the Great# hired no
armed men to sustain his power, that his habits were in all things
those of a private citizen, and that he kept but one coach, merely for
occasions of state--his personal virtues being his body-guards--the
justice of his measures constituting the strength of his
government,--the renown of his past deeds enshrining him with more
splendour than could be conferred by the orders of all the courts in
Europe--his unquestionable love of public liberty endearing him to the
people over whom he presided--and the pure flame of his patriotism
causing him to appear in their eyes as a being more than mortal!
Britain might envy America her #Washington#, if she could not herself
boast of #an Alfred#, worthy also of being called #the Great#--a
sovereign who voluntarily conceded liberty to his people, and founded
it on bases which all the inglorious artifices of his successors have
been unable to undermine--but, alas! such men, like Epic poets, seem
destined to succeed but once in a thousand years!

On the left hand I beheld, in various magnificent erections, the germs
of innumerable associations, gratifying to the vice of national pride;
but affording little pleasure to one whose prejudices of principle,
and habits of thinking, have taught him to estimate all human labours
by their influence on the happiness of the sentient creatures to whom
the earth is a common inheritance. There was #the British
Admiralty#--the just pride of a people's defence against foreign
invaders--but less worthy of admiration, if ever used as an instrument
of ambition, or as a means of gratifying base passions. There was the
#British War-Office#, of which a Briton can say little, who doubts the
policy of the colonial system, who feels a conviction that "Britain's
best bulwarks are her wooden walls," and who thinks that the sword
should never be wielded but by citizen soldiers, nor ever be used till
the constable's staff has been exerted in vain. And there was #the
British Treasury#, the talisman of whose power has destroyed the
efficacy of title-deeds, and converted the land and houses of the
empire into paper-money and stock-debts, for the purpose of carrying
on wars and performing deeds, which impartial history will justly
characterize, when alas! the truth will be useless to the suffering

Just at this moment I beheld several bands of armed men, disguised in
showy liveries, drawn up in array to exercise themselves for combat.
But, having no taste for such mistakes of power, and being in no
degree deluded by the gloss of their clothes, the glitter of their
murderous weapons, or the abuse of celestial harmony in the skill of
their musicians, I silently invoked the energies of truth to remove
from the understandings of men, that cloud which permits such
illusions to be successful. No legitimate power, like that of the
government of England, founded on such bases as Magna Charta, the laws
of Edward the First, the Petition of Right, the Bill of Rights, and
the Act of Settlement, can, for its lawful purposes, ever stand in
need, in a properly educated community, of the support of a single man
armed with a murderous weapon.

These piles of buildings, ranged in a semi-circular form, are imposing
on, the eye from their magnitude, and on the imagination from their
fame. I paused to enjoy their perspective; but, is not senseless
#WAR#, I exclaimed, even now ravaging or disturbing the four quarters
of the world, and is it not from this scite that it receives its
impulse and direction? I charitably hoped that mere errors of judgment
had guided the councils of the men who inhabit these buildings--but I
sickened as I thought of the consequences of their errors, perhaps at
that moment displayed in distant parts of the earth in agonies of
despair and in smoking ruins--and, to avoid the succession of feelings
which were so painful, yet so unavailing, I turned away from the spot.

In my way towards and along the Mall, I remarked that few were walking
in my direction; but that all the faces and foot-steps were earnestly
directed towards London. The circumstance exemplified that feature of
modern manners which leads thousands of those who are engaged in the
active business of the metropolis to sleep, and to keep their
families, in neighbouring villages. These thousands walk or ride,
therefore, every day to and from London, at hours corresponding with
the nature and urgency of their employments. Before nine o'clock the
various roads are covered with clerks of the public offices, and with
bankers' and merchants' clerks, who are obliged to be at their posts
at that hour, all exhibiting in their demeanor the ease of their
hearts. From nine till eleven, you see shop-keepers, stock-brokers,
lawyers, and principals in various establishments, bustling along with
careful and anxious countenances, indicative of their various
prospects and responsibilities. At twelve, saunters forth the man of
wealth and ease, going to look at his balances, orders, or
remittances; or merely to read the papers and hear the news; yet
demonstrating the folly of wealth by his gouty legs, or cautious
rheumatic step. Such is the routine of the Park, along which no
carriages are allowed to pass; but other avenues into the metropolis
present, through every forenoon, besides lines of pedestrians, crowded
stage-coaches, private coaches, and chariots, numerous gigs and
chaises, and many equestrians.

I amused myself with a calculation of the probable number of persons
who thus every day, between eight and six, pass to and from London
within a distance of seven miles. In the present route I concluded the
numbers to be something like the following, 200 from Pimlico, 300 from
Chelsea, 200 from the King's Road and Sloane Street, 50 from Fulham
and Putney, and 50 from Battersea and Wandsworth; making 800 per day.
If then, there are twenty such avenues to the metropolis, it appears
that the total of the regular ingress and egress will be 16,000
persons, of whom perhaps 8,000 walk, 2,000 arrive in public
conveyances, and 6,000 ride on horseback, or in open or close
carriages. Such a phenomenon is presented no-where else in the world;
and it never can exist except in a city which unites the same combined
features of population, wealth, commerce, and the varied employments
which belong to our own vast metropolis.

I observed with concern that this Park presents a neglected
appearance. The seats are old and without paint, and many vacancies
exist in the lines of the trees. The wooden railing round the centre
is heavy and decayed, and the appearance of every part is unworthy of
a metropolitan royal domain, adjoining the constant residence of the
court. I was also struck with the aspect of St. James's Palace in
ruins! A private dwelling after a fire would have been restored in a
few weeks or months; but the nominal palace of the four preceding
sovereigns of England, the last of the Stuarts and three first of the
Guelphs, and the scene of their chief grandeur, presents even to the
contemporary generation a monument of the instability of every human
work. The door at which Margaret Nicholson made her attempt on the
life of George the Third, and at which the people were used to see
that monarch enter and depart for many years past, is now a chaos of
ruins; as is that entire suite of apartments which led to those
drawing-rooms in which the Court was accustomed to assemble, till
within these five years, on birth and gala days!--He would have been
deemed a false and malignant prophet, who seven years ago might have
foretold that the public Palace of the Kings of England would so soon
become a heap of unrepaired ruins, and its splendid chambers "the
habitation of the fowls of the air." Yet, such has been the fact, in
regard to the eastern apartments of this famous Palace!

My spirits sunk, and a tear started into my eyes, as I brought to mind
those crowds of beauty, rank, and fashion, which, till within these
few years, used to be displayed in the centre Mall of this Park on
Sunday evenings during the spring and Summer. How often in my youth
had I been a delighted spectator of the enchanted and enchanting
assemblage! Here used to promenade, for one or two hours after dinner,
the whole British world of gaiety, beauty, and splendour! Here could
be seen in one moving mass, extending the whole length of the Mall,
five thousand of the most lovely women, in this country of female
beauty, all splendidly attired, and accompanied by as many
well-dressed men! What a change, I exclaimed, has a few years wrought
in these once happy and cheerful personages!--How many of those who on
this very spot then delighted my eyes are now mouldering in the silent
grave!--And how altered are all their persons, and perhaps their
fortunes and feelings! Alas, that gay and fascinating scene no longer
continues, and its very existence is already forgotten by the new
generation! A change of manners has put an end to this unparalleled
assemblage, to this first of metropolitan pleasures, though of itself
it was worth any sacrifice. The dinner hour of four and five, among
the great, or would-be great, having shifted to the unhealthy hours of
eight or nine, the promenade after dinner, in the dinner full-dress,
is consequently lost. The present walk in the Green-Park does not
possess therefore the attractions of high rank; while the morning
assemblages in Hyde-Park and Kensington-Gardens, though gay and
imposing, have little splendour of dress, and lose the effect produced
by the presence of rank and distinguished character, owing to the
greater part of the company being shut up in carriages.

The modern custom of abandoning the metropolis for the sea-coast, or
the country, as soon as the fine weather sets in, operates too as
another draw-back from the fascination and agreeableness of our Sunday
promenades. Ancient manners, in the capricious whirl of fashion, may
however again return; and, if the dinner-hour should recede back to
four, I trust the luxury and splendour of this delightful Mall will be

These Parks may be denominated the Lungs of the metropolis, for they
are essential to the healthful respiration of its inhabitants, by
contributing to their cheap and innocent pleasures. Under a wise and
benevolent administration, they might be made to add still more to the
public happiness, and it would be a suitable homage of the government
to the people, to render these promenades as attractive as possible.
The two bands of the Guards might be allowed to play in the Malls for
two hours every evening, between Lady-day and Michaelmas, and the
number and construction of the seats might be increased and improved.
Such measures would indicate, at least, a desire in the governors to
contribute to the happiness of the governed, and would occasion the
former to appear to the latter in a more grateful character than as
mere assessors of taxes, and as organs of legal coercion.

At Pimlico, the name of Stafford-Row reminded me of the ancient
distinction of Tart-Hall, once the rival in size and splendour of its
more fortunate neighbour, Buckingham-House, and long the depository of
the Arundelian Tablets and Statues. It faced the Park, on the present
scite of James-Street; its garden-wall standing where Stafford-Row is
now built, and the extensive livery-stables being once the stables of
its residents.

I turned aside on the left, to view the river Tye, or _Ty-bourn_,
which runs from the top of Oxford-street, under May-Fair, across
Piccadilly, south-east of Buckingham-House, under the pavement of
Stafford-Row, and across Tothill-Fields, into the Thames. It is a
fact, equally lost, that the creeks which run from the Thames, in the
swamps, opposite Belgrave-Place, once joined the canal in St.
James's-Park, and, passing through White-Hall, formed, by their
circuit, the ancient isle of St. Peter's. Their course has been filled
up between the wharf of the water-works and the end of the canal in
St. James's-Park; and the Isle of St. Peter's is no longer to be
traced. It is singular that such a marsh should have become the focus
of the government, jurisprudence, and power, of this great empire!
Yet, so it is, the offices of Government, the Houses of Parliament,
and the Supreme Courts of Law, stand on the lowest ground in or near
the metropolis; the greater part of which is still the swamp of
Tothill and Milbank-Fields; and the whole is exposed to the
inundations of land-floods or extraordinary tides. A moralist would
say, that such bulwarks of a nation ought to have been seated on a
rock--a wit would refer to the nature of the soil, the notorious
corruptions of the body-politic--and a votary of superstition would
ascribe the splendid fortunes of the scite to the favour of heaven, as
announced in the vision to the monks who, eleven hundred years since,
built Westminster-Abbey, in so unpromising a situation!

The wall of what are called the Gardens of Buckingham House, form one
side of the main street of Pimlico; but these gardens consist merely
of a gravel walk, shaded by trees, with a spacious and unadorned area
in the centre. The whole, is the property of Queen Charlotte, and is
inaccessible to a visit of mere curiosity.

The water-works, to the left of the road, supply Pimlico and part of
Westminster with water, and, I may add, with smoke, of which it emits
large volumes, though there are so many contrivances for consuming it.
It consists simply of a steam and forcing engine, not remarkable for
novelty or ingenuity of construction. Opposite stands the manufactory
of the ingenious #Bramah#, whose locks baffle knavery, and whose
condensing engines promise such important results to philosophy and
the mechanic arts. Belgrave-Place, lower and upper, proves the avidity
of building-speculations, which could thus challenge the prejudices
against the opposite marshes. But I was assured by a resident of
twenty years, that he and his family had enjoyed uninterrupted health
in Upper Belgrave-Place, and that such was the general experience.

On entering Chelsea, I was naturally led to inquire for the scite of
the once gay Ranelagh! I passed up the avenue of trees, which I
remember often to have seen blocked up with carriages. At its
extremity, I looked for the Rotunda and its surrounding buildings;
but, as I could not see them, I concluded, that I had acquired but an
imperfect idea of the place, in my nocturnal visits! I went forward,
on an open space, but still could discern no Ranelagh! At length, on a
spot covered with nettles, thistles, and other rank weeds, I met a
working man, who, in answer to my inquiries, told me, that he saw I
was a stranger, or I should have known that Ranelagh had been pulled
down, and that I was then standing on the scite of the Rotunda!

Reader, imagine my feelings, for I cannot analyze them! This vile
place, I exclaimed, the scite of the once-enchanting Ranelagh!--It
cannot be--the same eyes were never destined to see such a
metamorphosis! All was desolation!--A few inequalities appeared in the
ground, indicative of some former building, and holes filled with
muddy water shewed the foundation walls--but the rest of the space,
making about two acres, was covered with clusters of tall nettles,
thistles, and docks!

On a more accurate survey, I traced the circular foundation of the
Rotunda, and at some distance discovered the broken arches of some
cellars, once filled with the choicest wines, but now with dirty
water! Further on were marks against a garden wall, indicating, that
the water-boilers for tea and coffee had once been heated there! I
traced too the scite of the orchestra, where I had often been ravished
by the finest performances of vocal and instrumental music! My
imagination brought the objects before me; I fancied I could still
hear an air of Mara's; I turned my eye aside, and what a contrast
appeared!--No glittering lights!--No brilliant happy company!--No
peals of laughter from thronged boxes!--No chorus of a hundred
instruments and voices!--All was death-like stillness! Is such, I
exclaimed, the end of human splendour?--Yes, truly, all is vanity--and
here is a striking example!--Here are ruins and desolation, even
without antiquity! I am not mourning said I, over the remains of
Babylon or Carthage--ruins sanctioned by the unsparing march of
time!--But here it was all glory and splendour, even yesterday! Here,
but seven years have flown away, and I was myself one of three
thousand of the gayest mortals ever assembled, in one of the gayest
scenes which the art of man could devise--aye, on this very spot--yet
the whole is now changed into the dismal scene of desolation before
me!--Full of such reflections, I cast my eyes eastward, when
Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's Church presented themselves in a
continued line--Ah! thought I, that line may at some distant epoch
enable the curious antiquary to determine the scite of our British
Daphne; but I could not avoid feeling, that if the pile of Ranelagh
and its glories have so totally disappeared, in so short a season, no
human work, even yonder colossal specimens of Gothic and Grecian art,
or the great Metropolis itself, can be deemed a standard of locality
for the guide of distant ages! I moved pensively from a spot which
exciting such solemn and affecting emotions, had diminished the vigour
of my frame by exhausting my nervous energies.

I soon turned the corner of a street which took me out of sight of the
space on which once stood the gay Ranelagh; but it will be long ere I
can remove from my heart the poignant sensations to which its sudden
destruction had given rise.[1]

    [1] I afterwards learnt in Chelsea, that, latterly, Ranelagh
        did not pay the proprietors five per cent. for their
        capital, and therefore they sold the materials to the best

Before me appeared the shops so famed for _Chelsea buns_, which, for
above thirty years, I have never passed without filling my pockets. In
the original of these shops, for even of Chelsea buns there are
counterfeits, are preserved mementos of domestic events, in the first
half of the past century. The bottle-conjuror is exhibited in a toy of
his own age; portraits are also displayed of Duke William and other
noted personages; a model of a British soldier, in the stiff costume
of the same age; and some grotto-works, serve to indicate the taste of
a former owner, and were perhaps intended to rival the neighbouring
exhibition at Don Saltero's. These buns have afforded a competency,
and even wealth; to four generations of the same family; and it is
singular, that their delicate flavour, lightness and richness, have
never been successfully imitated. The present proprietor told me, with
exultation, that George the Second had often been a customer of the
shop; that the present King, when Prince George, and often during his
reign, had stopped and purchased his buns; and that the Queen, and all
the Princes and Princesses, had been among his occasional customers.

A little further to the west, is a vulgar sign of _Nell Gwyn_, to
whose female sensibility, and influence on royalty, are ascribed the
foundation of the adjoining hospital for invalid soldiers. If the
mistresses of Princes always made a similar use of their ascendency,
and were to teach their royal lovers to respect the duties of
humanity, and build hospitals for the victims of their idiotic
ambition, the world would complain less of their extravagancies and
vices. The excellent hearts of women might warrant such an
expectation; but, unhappily, this depraved portion of the sex
generally part with their feminine sensibilities, at the same time
that they part with their character and modesty. Contemned, despised,
or neglected by the world, they become haters of their species, and
too commonly make use of their power, to avenge on society the
personal affronts which they are compelled to endure.

The approach to the hospital was indicated by the appearance of
numbers of mutilated soldiers. It afflicted me, to see young men of
two or three and twenty, some of whom had lost both their arms, and
others both their legs! I learnt, on enquiry, that a few living
objects of this description are all that now remain of regiments of
their comrades! The rest had been killed in battle, or had died of
fatigue, or camp diseases! The querulous _why_, and _for what_, still
crossed my imagination; but I again referred such busy doubts to
ministers! I _may_ be wrong; they _cannot_ be wrong! No! they _must_
be right, or such things would not be. I confess, notwithstanding,
that it deeply afflicts me that such things _are_; yet how is the play
of human passions to be avoided, and how are the mischiefs of _living_
errors to be corrected? Words, arguments, morality, and religion, at
the commencement of a quarrel, are exerted in vain--the storm of bad
passions carries, for a season, all before it--and after mischiefs are
irretrievably perpetrated, reason and experience produce repentance,
when, alas, it is useless! Princes and statesmen are too proud and
powerful to permit themselves to be instructed, or I would advise them
on such occasions to _doubt_ their imaginary infallibility. Let them
solemnly _doubt_ whenever some mischief, which they cannot repair,
must be the consequence of their decision; and when that decision may,
_perchance_, arise from some mistake! But I fear this just maxim of
Philosophy will never become a practical rule of policy strong enough
to counteract the benefits of extended patronage enjoyed during wars
by corrupt ministers; to allay the puerile love of glory cherished by
weak princes; or to subdue the demoniacal passions and irrational
prejudices artfully excited by rulers, and too often cherished by
infatuated nations.

I accosted a young man, who had lost both arms, and was walking
pensively between the trees. After some expressions of heart-felt
commisseration, I enquired by what mischance he had met with so
untoward a wound? He told me that he was in the act of loading his
musket, when a cannon-ball, passing before him, carried off one arm
above the elbow, and so shattered the other, that it was necessary to
amputate it. He then named some paltry battle where this accident
befel him; the issue of which to either of the contending parties was,
as I recollected, not worth the joint of a little finger, even if the
entire object of the campaign, or war, was worth so much! But, said I,
you are of course well provided for in the hospital--"No, (he replied,)
there is not room for me at present; but, owing to the severity of my
wounds, I have a double allowance as an out-pensioner--yet, (he
modestly remarked,) it may easily be supposed that even a double
allowance is not enough for a man who cannot help himself in any
thing--I cannot dress myself, nor even eat or drink, but am obliged to
be fed like a child; I have a poor old mother who does her best for
me, or"----here the young man's voice faultered, and some tears hung
on his cheeks--for, alas, even these he could neither wipe away nor
conceal! Parched must have been the eye that would not mingle tears
with those of this poor fellow, on hearing the tale of his
unchangeable fate! I found too that my own utterance sympathized with
his--but, shewing him a shilling--and indicating, by signs, the
difficulty I felt in putting him in possession of it--"here sir," said
he, "and God bless you;" then, stooping with his mouth, I put it
between his lips!--Ah, thought I, as I turned from this wretched
object, the most hard-hearted of those who were concerned in breaking
public treaties, and rejecting overtures for peace, would have
relented, if with my feelings they had beheld this single victim of
the millions that have been imolated, to the calculations of their
fallible policy.

I now enquired for veterans--for Fontenoy men--Culloden men--Minden
men--Quebec men! To some of the two last I was introduced; but I found
them blind, deaf, maimed, and childish! What a sickening picture of
human nature, whether we consider the causes, objects, or
consequences! Among these hoary and crippled heroes, I was introduced
to one who is now in his hundred and first year! His name is
Ardenfair, and he is a native of Dorsetshire. He entered into the
Marines about the year 1744; was in Anson's action, in 1747; and in
Hawke's, in 1759. This veteran sees, talks, hears, and remembers well;
and it is remarkable, that he performs the daily drudgery of sweeping
the gravel-walks, and wheeling water in a barrow! One wonders at the
ability to perform such labour, in a Centenarian; that such a one
should be allowed to be the sweeper of the hospital; and still more,
that his age had not recommended him to the special bounty of the
officers. It might be expected, that the successive _fathers_ of these
invalids would, at all times, be exempted from ordinary duties, and
receive some additional means of cheering their extension of life, so
long beyond the ordinary duration.

On the north-east border of this hospital, I was shewn a new erection,
nearly of the same size, devoted to the education of the children of
soldiers. It is, I am told, a very interesting establishment to those
who view with complacency the favourite system of Germanizing the
English people--but how inadequate are all such institutions, to repay
the obligations of any government to its invalided soldiers, if
ambition, prejudice, or a love of false glory, may, on light grounds,
cover the earth with bleeding and mangled victims! As each of the
veterans in such hospitals is often the solitary survivor of a
thousand, of whom the complement have fallen premature victims of the
cruel accidents of war, the authors ought not to conclude that they
atone for their crimes by lodging, feeding, and cloathing the
thousandth man, when he is no longer able to serve their purposes!

Mankind are, however, so selfish, that nothing but the experience or
the imminent danger of great sufferings seems likely to correct the
errors of governments and the infatuations of people on the subject of
war. The best security of peace is, consequently, the danger that the
chances of war may bring its scourges home to the fire-sides of either
of the belligerents. The fears of nations have, therefore, taught them
the duty of doing to each other as they would be done unto. It forms,
however, a new epoch in the history of society, that, owing to their
insular situation, the passions of one great people are unchecked by
this salutary fear; and public morality, in consequence, has stood in
need of some new stimulus, to relieve the world from the danger of
suffering interminable slaughters. What a #TEST# this new situation
afforded to the powers of #Christianity#! But for twenty years, alas,
Christianity has #TOTALLY FAILED#, and pretended zealots of the
religion of peace and charity have been even among the most furious
abettors of implacable war!

Opposite the superb terrace of the Hospital gardens, stands a
tea-drinking house, called _the Red House_; and about fifty yards on
the western side of it is the place at which Caesar crossed the
Thames. The reader who has read Stukeley's reasons for fixing on
Chertsey as the place of this celebrated passage, may startle at the
positive affirmation here made. Stukeley says that the name of
Chertsey is all Caesar; so also is Chelsea, by analogies equally
natural. London, or Lyn-dyn, was then the chief town in South Britain,
and would, as matter of course, be the place towards which the Britons
would retreat and the Romans advance. Landing near Deal, they would
cross the river at the ford nearest their place of landing, and would
not be likely to march to Chertsey, if they could cross at Chelsea;
and the marshes of the Thames, to which the Britons retreated, would
correspond better with the marshes of Lambeth and Battersea than with
the low lands near Chertsey, where the river is inconsiderable, and
where there is no tide to confer strength and military character on
the marshes. This ford, from the Red House to the Bank, near the scite
of Ranelagh, still remains; and I have surveyed it more than once. At
ordinary low water, a shoal of gravel, not three feet deep, and broad
enough for ten men to walk abreast, extends across the river, except
on the Surrey side, where it has been deepened by raising ballast.
Indeed, the causeway from the south bank may yet be traced at low
water; so that this was doubtless a ford to the peaceful Britons,
across which the British army retreated before the Romans, and across
which they were doubtless followed by Caesar and the Roman legions.
The event was pregnant with such consequences to the fortunes of these
islands, that the spot deserves the record of a monument, which ought
to be preserved from age to age, as long as the veneration due to
antiquity is cherished among us. Who could then have contemplated that
the folly of Roman ambition would be the means of introducing arts
among the semi-barbarous Britons, which, in eighteen hundred and forty
years, or after the lapse of nearly sixty generations, would qualify
Britain to become mistress of Imperial Rome; while one country would
become so exalted, and the other be so debased, that the event would
excite little attention, and be deemed but of secondary importance?
Possibly after another sixty generations, the posterity of the savage
tribes near Sierra Leone, or New Holland, may arbitrate the fate of
London, or of Britain, as an affair of equal indifference!

I passed a few minutes in the famous Botanic Garden of the
Apothecaries' Company, founded at Chelsea by #Sir Hans Sloane#. It was
the first establishment of the kind in England, but has now for some
years been superseded in fame and variety by the Royal Gardens at Kew.
It still however merits notice, as containing specimens of all the
plants recognized in the _Materia Medica_, and with that view is
maintained, at a heavy expence to the company, for the use of medical
students. The company's Professor of Botany annually gives lectures at
this institution to the apprentices of the members, and accompanies
them in _simpling_ excursions in the country round the metropolis. The
statue of the public spirited founder still adorns the garden; and the
famous cedars of Lebanon add an air of solemn grandeur to the whole,
which could be conferred by no other objects of nature or art. The
conservatories are on a grand scale; and so many interesting exotics
claimed my notice, that I could have passed a week or a month in
contemplating them.

In Cheyne Walk, facing the Thames, I sought for the Museum and
Coffee-house of Don Saltero, renowned in the swimming exploits of
Franklin. Here stands the same house, and it is still a place of
entertainment; but, about ten years ago, the lease expired, when the
rarities, presented by so many collectors, to the spirited Barber
Salter, (nicknamed, Don Saltero,) were sold by public auction.

A little farther stands the ancient and unostentatious palace of the
Bishops of Winchester, and here has resided the venerable Brownlow
North, during the thirty-three years that he has filled that wealthy
see; and, a hundred yards to the west, I surveyed, with becoming
interest, the decayed premises, now a paper-hanging manufactory, which
once was the residence of the witty Sir Thomas More, and where, as it
is recorded, he entertained Erasmus. I was, therefore, on classic
ground; though Faulkner, in his amusing History of Chelsea, ascribes
the residence of the Chancellor to another situation. The men who
adorned the era of the revival of learning, and, as its patrons,
furnished us with weapons by which to deprive imposition of its
powers, are well entitled to our esteem; but many of them were
entangled in the bridle, by whose means more crafty persons had long
rode on the backs of mankind. Thus the friendship and intercourse of
sir Thomas More and Erasmus were founded on their mutual zeal in
behalf of those ecclesiastical frauds which for so many ages had
subdued every scintillation of reason. They were, in their days, among
the adherents of Popish superstition, what Symmachus had been to the
Roman polytheists in the age of Theodosius--what Peter the Hermit was
to the fanatics of the darker ages--and what Burke was to the bigotted
politicians at the dawn of liberty in France. Erasmus, it is true,
exposed, with great ability much priestcraft and statecraft, yet his
learning and labours were, for the chief part, devoted to the support
of certain irrational points of theological faith; and poor Sir Thomas
More lost his head on the scaffold rather than aid his less fastidious
sovereign in overturning the spiritual supremacy of the bishops of
Rome. We may honour the conscientious scruples of such men; but,
enabled, as we now are, to view their errors at a proper focal
distance, we are warranted, by their example, in drawing the inference
that the highest human authorities are no tests of truth, and that
great energies of intellect often serve but to strengthen prejudices,
and give mischievous force to aberrations of reason.

The tomb of Sir Hans Sloane caught my eye as I passed the corner of
the church-yard, but not in so good a condition as the improved value
of his estates might warrant one to expect. It is surmounted by the
mystic symbols of the _egg_ and _serpent_, in a good style of
sculpture. Part of the church is precisely what it was when the
Chancellor More regularly formed part of its congregation.

In crossing the bridge to Battersea, I was called upon to pay toll,
and was informed, that this bridge is _private_ property.--A bridge
across a great river, in a _civilized_ country, _private_
property!--Is not this monstrous, thought I, in a country in which
seventy millions of taxes are collected per annum, and which has
accumulated a debt of nine hundred millions since the accession of the
house of Guelph? Yet, if bridges remain private property, #FOR WHAT
BENEFIT# has so much money been expended? Have bridges, or hospitals,
or schools, or houses for the poor, been built with the money?--It
seems not!--Have roads been made--canals cut--rivers widened--harbours
improved?--No, these are private and interested speculations! What
then, I exclaimed, has been done with it?

If this bridge cost twenty thousand pounds, one million of the nine
hundred would have built fifty such bridges!--Yet, the war in the
Peninsula, for the purpose of setting up the bigotted Ferdinand in
place of the liberal Joseph, costs the country three millions per
month; or as much as would build a hundred and fifty fine bridges over
the principal rivers of the empire! Another three millions would build
a hundred and fifty great public hospitals for the incurable poor! A
third such sum would make fifty thousand miles of good roads! And a
fourth would construct three thousand miles of canal, or ten or twelve
such as the Grand Junction Canal! That is to say, all these
_substantial_ benefits might be produced to the country by a few
weeks' cost of the war in the Peninsula; a war of such doubtful
benefit, either to England, to Spain, or to humanity!

At the distance of a hundred yards from Battersea Bridge, an extensive
pile of massy brickwork, for the manufactory of Soap, has recently
been erected, at a cost, it is said, of sixty thousand pounds. I was
told it was inaccessible to strangers, and therefore was obliged to
content myself with viewing it at a distance. Such vast piles are not
uncommon in and near London; yet how great and certain must be the
profits of a commodity to warrant the expenditure of such large
capitals before there can be any return! It might seem too that a man
possessed of sixty thousand pounds, or of as much as, at the present
value of money, would purchase for ever the constant labour of from
above sixty to eighty men, would have avoided the hazards of
trade.--Yet in England it is not so--the avaricious spirit of commerce
despises all mediocrity--care is preferred to enjoyment--and the ends
of life are sacrificed to the means! It has always been the foible of
man not to be contented with the good he possesses, but to look
forward to happiness in the anticipation of something which he hopes
to attain. Thus, few congratulate themselves on the comforts they
enjoy, or consider the consequences of losing them; but, neglectful of
blessings in hand, rush forward in quest of others which they may
never be able to obtain, and which, when possessed, are again as
little enjoyed.

Poets, divines, and moralists, have asserted this important truth in
all ages; but have failed to cure the delusion, though it is at once
the cause of the greater part of the miseries of individuals, and of
the mischievous errors of governments. Moses guarded against it by new
subdivisions of property in every year of jubilee; but the fraternal
regulations of the family of Abraham are not conceived to be
applicable to the whole family of man, as blended in modern nations;
and statesmen and economists now think it better that endless
competitions should be encouraged, and indefinite accumulations
tolerated, than that industry should be checked by any regard to the
personal happiness which might result from moderated and bounded
wealth. Hence, he that has health and strength to labour for his own
subsistence is not contented unless he can accumulate enough to
purchase the labour of others--and he who has enough to purchase the
labours of fifty, is miserable if another can purchase the labours of
sixty--while he who can purchase the labours of a thousand is still
wretched if some other can purchase the labours of two thousand. In
the wilds of Africa and America, men suffer every species of misery
for want of the impulse created by the reward of labour; whereas the
suffering is little less, though varied in kind, from the gradations
created in long-established societies by the insatiable cravings of
avarice! I am aware that it is hazardous to discuss a subject which
probes to the quick the sensibility of pride; yet this is a social
problem which merits the consideration of all statesmen who are
anxious to promote the happiness of communities; and it ought not to
be lost sight of by any future Solon who may be called upon to
ameliorate the condition of his country.

At a few yards from the toll-gate of the bridge, on the Western side
of the road, stand the work-shops of that eminent, modest, and
persevering mechanic, Mr. #Brunel#; a gentleman of the rarest genius,
who has effected as much for the Mechanic Arts as any man of his time.
The wonderful apparatus in the dock-yard at Portsmouth, by which he
cuts blocks for the navy, with a precision and expedition that
astonish every beholder, secures him a monument of fame, and eclipses
all rivalry. In a small building on the left, I was attracted by the
solemn action of a steam-engine of a sixteen-horse or eighty-men
power, and was ushered into a room, where it turned, by means of
bands, four wheels fringed with fine saws, two of eighteen feet in
diameter, and two of them nine feet. These circular saws were used for
the purpose of separating veneers, and a more perfect operation was
never performed. I beheld planks of mahogany and rose-wood sawed into
veneers the sixteenth of an inch thick, with a precision and grandeur
of action which really was sublime! The same power at once turned
these tremendous saws, and drew their work upon them. A large sheet of
veneer, nine or ten feet long by two feet broad, was thus separated in
about ten minutes, so even, and so uniform, that it appeared more like
a perfect work of Nature than one of human art! The force of these
saws may be conceived when it is known that the large ones revolve
sixty-five times in a minute; hence, 18 × 3,14 = 56,5 × 65 gives 3672
feet, or two-thirds of a mile in a minute; whereas, if a sawyer's tool
give thirty strokes of three feet in a minute, it is but ninety feet,
or only the fortieth part of the steady force of Mr. Brunel's saws!

In another building, I was shewn his manufactory of shoes, which, like
the other, is full of ingenuity, and, in regard to subdivision of
labour, brings this fabric on a level with the oft-admired manufactory
of pins. Every step in it is effected by the most elegant and precise
machinery; while as each operation is performed by one hand, so each
shoe passes through twenty-five hands, who complete from the hide, as
supplied by the currier, a hundred pair of strong and well-finished
shoes per day. All the details are performed by ingenious applications
of the mechanic powers, and all the parts are characterized by
precision, uniformity, and accuracy. As each man performs but one step
in the process, which implies no knowledge of what is done by those
who go before or follow him, so the persons employed are not
shoemakers, but wounded soldiers, who are able to learn their
respective duties in a few hours. The contract at which these shoes
are delivered to government is 6_s._ 6_d._ per pair, being at least
2_s._ less than what was paid previously for an unequal and cobbled

While, however, we admire these triumphs of mechanics, and
congratulate society on the prospect of enjoying more luxuries at less
cost of human labour, it ought not to be forgotten, that the general
good in such cases is productive of great partial evils, against which
a paternal government ought to provide. No race of workmen being
proverbially more industrious than shoemakers, it is altogether
unreasonable, that so large a portion of valuable members of society
should be injured by improvements which have the ultimate effect of
benefitting the whole.

The low price of labour deprives these classes of the power of
accumulating any private fund, on which to subsist while they are
learning new trades; it seems therefore incumbent on governments to
make sufficient provision, from the public stock, for all cases of
distress, which arise out of changes of this kind. If governments were
benevolent, and vigilant in their benevolence, no members of the
community would, under any circumstances, suffer from causes which are
productive, or supposed to be productive, of general benefit. I
qualify the position by the word _supposed_, because, owing to social
monopolies, and to the advantages taken of poverty by the habits of
wealth, the mass of the people are less benefited by the introduction
of machinery than they ought to be. If a population have been drawn or
driven from agriculture to manufactures, and the lands which
maintained in humble independance the ancestors of the manufacturers
are, in consequence, united into single farms, the manufacturers
should not be left without resource, if their trade fails, or their
labour is superseded by machinery. Against the ill effects of such
changes, paternal governments should provide means of relief, so as to
render them as little prejudicial to individuals as possible; and no
transitions in the productive value of various labour, should be
allowed to destroy the industrious part of the population, or force
them to seek subsistence in foreign climes. It being the object of all
machinery to save human labour, of course society at large ought to
enjoy the benefit; and all who are in danger of suffering for a
benefit to be enjoyed by the whole, should be liberally indemnified
out of the common stock. Nothing could be more easy than for a board
of commissioners or arbitrators to assess on the public such
individual losses; and, in cases of great transitions, imposts should
be so levied on monopoly as to restore the equilibrium of great
branches of industry. For what but for such purposes of equalizing
happiness are governments constituted and maintained?

I passed from the premises of Mr. Brunel, to the nearly adjoining ones
of Mr. Hodgson, an intelligent maltster and distiller, and the
proprietor of the elevated horizontal air-mill, which serves as a
landmark for many miles round. But his mill, its elevated shaft, its
vanes, and weather or wind boards, curious as they would have been on
any other scite, lost their interest on premises once the residence of
the illustrious Bolingbroke, and the resort of the philosophers of his
day. In ascending the winding flights of its tottering galleries, I
could not help wondering at the caprice of events which had converted
the dwelling of Bolingbroke into a malting-house and a mill. This
house, once sacred to philosophy and poetry, long sanctified by the
residence of the noblest genius of his age, honoured by the frequent
visits of Pope, and the birthplace of the immortal Essay on Man, is
now appropriated to the lowest uses! The house of Bolingbroke become a
windmill! The spot on which the Essay on Man was concocted and
produced, converted into a distillery of pernicious spirits! Such are
the lessons of time! Such are the means by which an eternal agency
sets at nought the ephemeral importance of man! But yesterday, this
spot was the resort, the hope, and the seat of enjoyment of
Bolingbroke, Pope, Swift, Arbuthnot, Thomson, Mallet, and all the
contemporary genius of England--yet a few whirls of the earth round
the sun, the change of a figure in the date of the year, and the
groupe have vanished; while in their place I behold hogs and horses,
malt-bags and barrels, stills and machinery!

Alas, said I, to the occupier, and have these things become the
representatives of more human genius than England may ever witness on
one spot again--have you thus satirized the transitory fate of
humanity,--do you thus become a party with the bigotted enemies of
that philosophy which was personified in a Bolingbroke and a Pope? No,
he rejoined, I love the name and character of Bolingbroke, and I
preserve the house as well as I can with religious veneration; I often
smoke my pipe in Mr. Pope's parlour, and think of him with due respect
as I walk the part of the terrace opposite his room. He then conducted
me to this interesting parlour, which is of brown polished oak, with a
grate and ornaments of the age of George the First; and before its
window stood the portion of the terrace upon which the malt-house had
not encroached, with the Thames moving majestically under its wall. I
was on holy ground!--I did not take off my shoes--but I doubtless felt
what pilgrims feel as they approach the temples of Jerusalem, Mecca,
or Jaggernaut! Of all poems, and of all codes of wisdom, I admire the
Essay on Man, and its doctrines, the most; and in this room, I
exclaimed, it was probably planned, discussed, and written!

Mr. Hodgson assured me, this had always been called "Pope's room," and
he had no doubt it was the apartment usually occupied by that great
poet, in his visits to his friend Bolingbroke. Other parts of the
original house remain, and are occupied and kept in good order. He
told me, however, that this is but a wing of the mansion, which
extended in Lord Bolingbroke's time to the church-yard, and is now
appropriated to the malting-house and its warehouses.

The church itself is a new and elegant structure, but chiefly
interesting to me, as containing the vault of the St. John family, in
which lies the great Lord, at whose elegant monument, by Roubilliac, I
lingered some minutes.

On inquiring for an ancient inhabitant of Battersea, I was introduced
to a Mrs. Gilliard, a pleasant and intelligent woman, who told me, she
well remembered Lord Bolingbroke; that he used to ride out every day
in his chariot, and had a black patch on his cheek, with a large wart
over his eye-brows. She was then but a girl, but she was taught to
look upon him with veneration as a great man. As, however, he spent
little in the place, and gave little away, he was not much regarded by
the people of Battersea. I mentioned to her the names of several of
his contemporaries, but she recollected none, except that of Mallet,
who, she said, she had often seen walking about in the village, while
he was visiting at Bolingbroke House. The unassuming dwelling of this
gentlewoman affords another proof of the scattered and unrecorded
wealth of Britain, in works of superior art. I found in her retired
parlour, a fine historical picture, by Vandyke, for which she said she
had been offered 500l. but which she refused to part with, not less
from a spirit of independence, than from a tasteful estimate of the
beauties of the picture.

It was in the warm alluvial plain adjoining this village, the very
swamp into which the Britons retreated before Caesar, that the first
asparagus was cultivated in England. I could learn no particulars of
this circumstance, but such vast quantities are still grown here, that
one gardener has fifty acres engaged in the production of this
vegetable, and there are above two hundred acres of it within a mile
of Battersea church.

Proceeding onward between some ancient walls which bound the grounds
of various market gardeners, I was told that here resided the father
of Queen Anne Boleyn; but I could not fix any thing with precision on
the subject, though it appears from the monument of Queen Elizabeth,
in Battersea church, that the Boleyns were related to the St. John's.

A manufacturer of pitch and turpentine politely shewed me over his
works. I trembled as I passed among his combustible cauldrons, and not
without cause, for the place had recently been burnt to the ground,
and it experienced the same fate a second time, but a few weeks after
my visit. May we not hope that the applicable powers of heated gas
will enable such manufactories to be carried on without the inevitable
recurrence of such conflagrations.

This walk brought me to a large distillery, which still bears the name
of York House, and was a seat of the Archbishops of York, from the
year 1480 to its alienation. Here resided Wolsey, as Archbishop of
York--here Henry VIII. first saw Anne Boleyn--and here that scene took
place which Shakespeare records in his play of Henry VIII; and which
he described truly, because he wrote it for Elizabeth, the daughter of
Anne Boleyn, within fifty years of the event, and must himself have
known living witnesses of its verity. Hence it becomes more than
probable, that Sir Thomas Boleyn actually resided in the vicinity, and
that his daughter was accidentally among the guests at that princely
entertainment. I know it is contended, that this interview took place
at York House, Whitehall; but Shakespeare makes the King come by
Water; and York House, Battersea, was beyond all doubt a residence of
Wolsey, and is provided with a creek from the Thames, for the evident
purpose of facilitating intercourse by water. Besides, the owner
informed me, that a few years since he had pulled down a superb room,
called "the ball-room," the pannels of which were curiously painted,
and the divisions silvered. He also stated that the room had a dome
and a richly ornamented ceiling, and that he once saw an ancient
print, representing the first interview of Henry VIII. with Anne
Boleyn, in which the room was portrayed exactly like the one that, in
modernizing his house, he had found it necessary to destroy.

My polite host took me to his green-house, and shewed me a fine
specimen of that wonder of the second degree of organized
existence--an American aloe, about to put forth its blossoms. Its
vigorous upright stem was twelve feet high, and its head promised a
rich profusion of splendid flowers. It is indeed no fable, that this
perennial plant grows about a hundred years (a few more or less,)
before it blooms; and, after yielding its seed, the stem withers and
dies! I could not avoid being struck with the lesson which this
centenarian affords to the Pride of man, when, on asking its owner,
how he knew that it was a hundred years old, he informed me that "it
had been in his possession the half of his life," that is, the mighty
period of five-and-twenty years! "That it had previously been the
property of the Hon. Mrs. ----," whose name, in spite of her _honour_,
is now as lost to fame as she herself is lost to that existence which
gave rise to any self-importance! That he "had heard, that, before
_her time_, it belonged to Lord ----," a name which I have also
forgotten, because it was unnecessary to remember it, the common-place
peer having also exhausted the measure of his days since our
still-flourishing aloe was in its dawn! "Ah, Sir," said I, "so the
aloe has seen out all those who vainly called it their property--They
have been swept away, generation after generation, yet it still
survives a living commentary on their utter insignificance; and it
laughs at the proud assumption of those who called themselves its
proprietors, but could not maintain a property in themselves! Just so
the same creature of yesterday asserts his property in that ancient
globe, which he is destined to enjoy but an hour; and he asserts, that
all was made for him, though in another hour he leaves all and becomes
again, as to the planet which nurtured him, the nonentity of

Pride, the bane of man--I exclaimed, as I passed the gate--what are
its claims? Does it arise from fine clothing?--let it be remembered
that every part has been stolen from the lowest of Nature's
works--that the finest glitter is but a modification of the very
surface--and that the garments which this year deck beauty and rank, will
in the next be rotting on the dunghill! Does Pride feed on the records
of ancestry?--let it visit the family tomb, and examine the bones and
dust of that ancestry on which it founds its self-importance! Is Pride
derived from titles of distinction?--let it inquire who conferred
them--for what--and by what intrigues--and let it be considered, that
titles or names confer no inherent quality, and do not alter the
nature of any thing to which they are applied! Does an inexperienced
girl take a lesson of Pride from her looking-glass?--she may be cured
of her foible, by conceiving 10 to be added to the date of the year,
or by looking on those ten years older than herself! Is it an office
of power which serves as the basis of a lofty and insulting
Pride?--let him who fills it remember that he is but the puppet of
knaves, or fools; and at best but a mere _servant_ of the public! Does
wealth intoxicate the weakness of man?--let it never be forgotten that
the possession is distinct from the possessor, and that the most
contemptible of the human race have been the accumulators of wealth!
Does the name of wisdom, puff up any of its professors?--of such it
may truly be said, that their wisdom is foolishness--for none truly
wise ever felt, in the researches of man, any ground of arrogance,
while pursuits of philosophy serve only to teach humility!--But to
what purpose tend such observations? Every man is his own microcosm,
and his case, in his own view, is that of no other man! Pride will
always find food in self-love, which in spite of exhortations, it will
devour with ravenous appetite! If men were immortal, how intolerable
would be existence from the arrogance and perpetuity of Pride! While
this passion infects and misleads the governors of the world, the only
consolation in looking on weak princes, wicked statesmen, unfeeling
lawyers, and military butchers, is that, in the course of nature,
Death will soon relieve the world from the pest of their influence!
And there are few men who would, not prefer death as their own fate,
and who would not hail death as a common blessing, rather than live an
eternity under the dominion of the weak, the crafty, or the cruel

The road from York House towards Wandsworth, lay across a Plain of
unenclosed fields, which, before the Thames had carved out the
boundaries of its course, was, I have no doubt, generally covered with
its waters. After the ocean left the land, and the hills became the
depositaries of the clouds, how many ages must have elapsed before the
beds of rivers were circumscribed as we now see them in England. The
water always followed the lowest level, but, being of different
quantities at different seasons, vegetation would flourish on the
sides occasionally covered, and in time would generate banks; while
the stream itself, by carrying off the argillaceous bottom, would add
to the depth--the two combined causes producing all the phenomena of
bounded rivers.[2] The Thames, after heavy rains, or thaws of snow,
still overflows its banks, thereby adding to the vegetable productions
of its meadows, which, if not consumed, or carried away by man, would,
long ere this, have fixed unalterably the limits of its course. The
effect of these inundations in our days, or in past ages, has been to
render its banks the fertile scite of all those fine garden-grounds
which supply the metropolis so abundantly with fruits and vegetables.

    [2] It is difficult to assign limits to the gradual effects
        of the circuit of the waters by evaporation and rain on the
        creation of land, from the decay of vegetable organizations.
        All the rain which falls on such a country as England, from
        two to three feet deep per annum, tends to raise the surface
        of the soil with the substances generated by it, which we
        call solids. How small a portion reaches the rivulets, and
        how little returns to the sea! The consideration seems at
        least to justify the notion, that the waters desiccate in
        spite of the encroachments of currents, and that all things
        have proceeded from the silent agency of water.

Some large Distilleries, on the banks of the river, reminded me of the
bad policy of governments, which, sacrificing the end to the means,
that is, the health and morals of the people to purposes of revenue,
tolerates and even encourages manufactories so pernicious. I am aware
I may be answered, that the working classes love this poison, and must
be gratified; and that in 1813 the duty on British spirits produced
£1,636,504. But I reply, first, that it is obligatory on good
governments to protect the people against the effects of their vices;
and second, that, if the people were not indulged in the ruinous habit
of gin-drinking, and destroyed by it in body and mind, they would be
able to pay a greater sum to the revenue from productions of a
salutary nature. Such are the pernicious effects of drunkenness, and
the numerous miseries created by drinking fermented and spirituous
liquors, that I have often been tempted to consider it as an atonement
for the impostures of Mahomet, that he so forcibly prohibited the
practice, and so far succeeded, that a rigid forbearance is observed
by his followers, and a Musselman rendered beastly, vicious, and
diseased, by habits of drunkenness is never seen. The doctrines of the
New Testament and the example of the Founder of our religion inculcate
an equal degree of abstemiousness, yet how contrary are the practices
of Christians! There seems indeed, in regard to this vice, to be no
middle course. Spirituous, and perhaps also fermented, liquors, will
be abused, or they must be wholly prohibited; because the stimulus
which they create at one time, is sought at another, and the oftener
it is repeated, the oftener it is desired and required; till at length
it becomes necessary to the sense of well-being, or apparently
essential to the power of sustaining the fatigue of life.

In the middle of these fields I passed a handsome house, which
appeared to have been empty for a considerable time. On enquiring the
cause of a young woman, who passed at the moment; she told me, with an
artless countenance, that "_it was haunted_." I smiled, and asked how
she knew it. "Ah, Sir," said she, "its nothing to laugh at--every body
here-abouts knows it well enough--such strange noises are heard in it,
and such lights flit about it at midnight."--Have you seen them? "No,
Sir, but I knows those that have, and I'm sure its true." Seeing a
labouring man at a distance, I enquired what he knew of the haunted
house, when he told me, with a face full of faith, that "he knew
gentlefolks laughed at such things, but seeing was believing--that,
passing the house one night, he was quite sartain he had seen a light
in one of the rooms, and had heard groans---that he got home as well
as he could, but all the world should not induce him to pass the house
again at that time of the night." "And others," said I, "have perhaps
seen the the same?"--"Aye, by goles, have they," exclaimed the fellow
with terror in his countenance.--I then told him, I would with
pleasure sit up in the house to see these ghosts--"Rather you than I,
Sir," said he.--"Nay, nay," said I, "I dare say now for five shillings
you would sit up with me!" "Naugh, dang me if I would, nor for the
best five pounds in the world, much as I wants money! I don't fear
man, but I am naugh match for the devil!--I believes in God, and does
nobody any harm; and therefore don't think he'd let the old-one hurt
me: but some main wicked ones lived, as I've hard, in that there
house, so I'll have naught to do with it; and dang me if any of 'em
shall catch me in it after night."

The poor fellow uttered these sentiments with such earnestness, that
my risible emotions were converted into pity. I forebore, however, to
argue the point with him, for many instances of superstition equally
gross had long convinced me that the untaught and half-taught of my
countrymen are, in this respect, little superior to the savage tribes,
whom we pity, in Tartary, Africa, and America: yet in this instance
the man's inference was a consequence of his premises, and his error
in these it might have been deemed heretical to expose.

The nursery becomes the means of fixing similar impressions in the
families of the most enlightened, and the unformed minds of children
propagate in public schools the stories of their nurses. The lowest
superstition pervades therefore all ranks, even of a population so
comparatively enlightened as that of England; and, being imbibed in
infancy and confirmed, through the entire period of youth, no
impressions are more strong, or more universally operative. The poet
and the priest either encourage the feeling, or do not take any pains
to remove it. The agency of spirits and abstract principles, is
countenanced by some of the records of religion, and by philosophers
and physicians in their reasonings about occult causes, sympathies,
coincidencies, and destinies. It is urged in vain, that ghosts and
supernatural effects are never seen, except by the weakest or most
ignorant of mankind, in ages or states of society when the people
might be made to believe any thing; or at times so distant, or places
so remote, that the narrators run no risk of detection or exposure.
The love of the marvellous, the force of early impressions, the craft
of many persons, and the folly of others, will however occasion every
village to have its haunted house for ages to come, in spite of the
press, and of those discoveries of philosophy which are every day
narrowing the sphere of miracles and prodigies.

In considering this subject with the attention that is due to it, it
has appeared to me that all the stories of ghosts and super, or,
un-natural appearances, may be referred to some of the following

1. To the augmentation produced by fear in any effect on the
senses--thus the ear of a terrified man will convert the smallest
noise into the report of thunder, or his eye will change the stump of
a tree into a monster twenty feet high. As the senses are furnished
for protection, their irritability, under the impression of fear, is
part of their economy, as the means of preserving our being; but it is
absurd to refer back the effects thus augmented, to external causes
which might be capable of producing the augmentation. To such an error
of the senses and of reasoning, is, however, to be referred half the
ghosts and supernaturals of which we hear in village ale-houses, in
nurseries and schools.

2. To diseased organs of sensation; as an inflamed eye producing the
effect of flashes of light in the dark, or fulness of blood producing
a ringing or singing in the ears. Sometimes diseases of the visual
organs are accompanied by hallucinations of mind; and persons ill in
fevers often see successions of figures and objects flit before their
eyes till the disease has been removed. The workings of conscience or
nervous affections will also produce diseases of the senses, and such
hallucinations of mind as to occasion a person to fancy he sees
another, or to be haunted by him. But there is nothing supernatural in
all this; it is sometimes a local disease, sometimes an effect of
fever, sometimes a nervous affection, and sometimes partial insanity.

3. To natural causes not understood by the parties. Thus, anciently
the northern lights were mistaken for armies fighting; meteors and
comets for flaming swords, portending destruction or pestilence; the
electrified points of swords to the favour of heaven; the motions of
the planets to attractive effluvia; and all the effects of the
comixture of the gases to benign or diabolical agency, as they
happened to produce on the parties good or evil. So in the like manner
old houses are generally said to be haunted, owing to the noises which
arise from the cracking and yielding of their walls and timbers, and
from the protection and easy passage which in the course of time they
afford to rats, mice, weasels, &c. whose activity in the night-time
affords the foundation of numerous apprehensions and fancies of the

4. To spontaneous combustions or detonations, which produce occasional
lights and noises, or, under unchanged circumstances, recurring lights
and noises, chiefly claiming attention in the night. Thus houses shut
up and unaired are apt, from the putrefaction of animal and vegetable
matter, to generate hydrogen gas, the accidental combustion of which
by contact with phosphoric matter, naturally generated in the same
situation, will produce those effects of lights and noises heard in
empty houses. So Church-yards, Churches in which the dead are buried,
Cemeteries, and Ruins of old buildings, must frequently give out large
quantities of these gases; and consequently, from exactly similar
causes, they are likely to produce the very effects which we witness
in the will-o'-the-wisp, or in hydrogen gas when inflamed during calm
weather in marshy situations.

5. To the prevailing belief that effects, which cannot readily be
accounted for, or which are caused by the contact of the invisible
fluids or media always in action in the great laboratory of nature,
are produced by the agency of spirits or demons; which belief,
concurring with the unknown causes of the effects, and affording a
ready solution of difficulties, prevents further inquiry, silences
reasoning, and tends in consequence to sustain the prevailing errors
and superstitions.

Such are the general causes of ghosts, spirits, charms, miracles, and
supernatural appearances. They all arise either from hallucinations of
the mind or senses; from the mutual action of the natural, though
invisible, powers of gaseous and ethereal fluids; from the delusions
of ignorance, implicit faith, or the absence of all reasoning.

While occupied in these speculations, I arrived at the entrance of the
populous, industrious, and opulent village of Wandsworth. A reader in
the highlands of Scotland, in the mountains of Wales, or the wilds of
Connaught, will startle when he hears of a village containing 5,644
inhabitants, and 2,020 houses, in which 620 families are returned as
engaged in trade and manufactures. Yet, such are the overgrown
villages round our overgrown metropolis. Even in this vicinity,
Chelsea contains 18,262 inhabitants; Fulham 5,903; Clapham 5,083;
Hammersmith 7,393; Kensington 10,886; Brentford, New and Old, 7,094;
and Richmond 5,219. This village of Wandsworth, in truth, is of the
size of most second-rate towns in distant counties, its main street,
of compact and well-built houses, being half a mile in length, with
several collateral ones a quarter of a mile. It also contains, or has
in its vicinity, many considerable manufactories, which flourished
exceedingly before the silly vanity of ambition and military parade
led a nation of merchants to endeavour to dictate to their foreign
customers, and forced them to subsist without their commodities! The
manufactories of Wandsworth are created or greatly aided by the pure
stream of the Wandle, and by the Surry iron rail-way, which runs from
Croydon to a spacious and busy wharf, on the Thames at this place.
They consist of dyers, calico-printers, oil-mills, iron-founderies,
vinegar-works, breweries, and distilleries. I found leisure to inspect
the two or three which were employed; and I felt renewed delight on
witnessing at this place the economy of horse-labour on the iron
rail-way. Yet a heavy sigh escaped me, as I thought of the
inconceivable millions which have been spent about Malta, four or five
of which might have been the means of extending _double lines of iron
rail-ways_ from London to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Holyhead, Milford,
Falmouth, Yarmouth, Dover and Portsmouth! A reward of a single
thousand would have supplied coaches, and other vehicles of various
degrees of speed, with the best tackle for readily turning out; and we
might, ere this, have witnessed our mail coaches running at the rate
of ten miles an hour, drawn by a single horse, or impelled fifteen
miles by Blenkinsop's steam-engine! Such would have been a legitimate
motive for overstepping the income of a nation, and the completion of
so great and useful a work would have afforded _rational_ grounds for
public triumph in general jubilees!

Wandsworth having been the once-famed scene of those humorous popular
elections of a mayor, or member for #Garrat#; and the subject serving
to illustrate the manners of the times, and abounding in original
features of character, I collected among some of its elder inhabitants
a variety of amusing facts and documents, relative to the eccentric
candidates and their elections.

Southward of Wandsworth, a road extends nearly two miles to the
village of Lower Tooting, and nearly midway are a few houses, or
hamlet, by the side of a small common, called _Garrat_, from which the
road itself is called _Garrat Lane_. Various encroachments on this
common led to an association of the neighbours about three-score years
since, when they chose a president, or _mayor_, to protect their
rights; and the time of their first election, being the period of a
new parliament, it was agreed that the mayor should be re-chosen after
every general election. Some facetious members of the club gave, in a
few years, local notoriety to this election; and, when party spirit
ran high in the days of _Wilkes and Liberty_, it was easy to create an
appetite for a burlesque election among the lower orders of the
metropolis. The publicans at Wandsworth, Tooting, Battersea, Clapham,
and Vauxhall, made a purse to give it character; and Mr. Foote
rendered its interest universal, by calling one of his inimitable
farces, "_the Mayor of Garrat_." I have indeed been told, that Foote,
Garrick, and Wilkes, wrote some of the candidates' addresses, for the
purpose of instructing the people in the corruptions which attend
elections to the legislature, and of producing those reforms by means
of ridicule and shame, which are vainly expected from solemn appeals
of argument and patriotism.

Not being able to find the members for Garrat in Beatson's Political
Index, or in any of the Court Calendars, I am obliged to depend on
tradition for information in regard to the early history of this
famous borough. The first mayor of whom I could hear was called Sir
John Harper. He filled the seat during two parliaments, and was, it
appears, a man of wit, for, on a dead cat being thrown at him on the
hustings, and a bye-stander exclaiming that it stunk worse than a fox,
Sir John vociferated, "that's no wonder, for you see it's a
_poll_-cat." This noted baronet was, in the metropolis, a retailer of
brick-dust; and, his Garrat honours being supposed to be a means of
improving his trade and the condition of his ass, many characters in
similar occupations were led to aspire to the same distinctions.

He was succeeded by Sir Jeffrey Dunstan, who was returned for three
parliaments, and was the most popular candidate that ever appeared on
the Garrat hustings. His occupation was that of buying #OLD WIGS#,
once an article of trade like that in old clothes, but become obsolete
since the full-bottomed and full-dressed wigs of both sexes went out
of fashion. Sir Jeffrey usually carried his wig-bag over his shoulder,
and, to avoid the charge of vagrancy, vociferated, as he passed along
the streets, "old wigs;" but, having a person like Esop, and a
countenance and manner marked by irresistible humour, he never
appeared without a train of boys, and curious persons, whom he
entertained by his sallies of wit, shrewd sayings, and smart
repartees; and from whom, without begging, he collected sufficient to
maintain his dignity of mayor and knight. He was no respecter of
persons, and was so severe in his jokes on the corruptions and
compromises of power, that, under the iron regime of Pitt and Dundas,
when freedom was treason, and truth was blasphemy, this political
punch, or street-jester, was prosecuted for using what were then
called seditious expressions; and, as a caricature on the times, which
ought never to be forgotten, he was in 1793 tried, convicted, and
imprisoned! In consequence of this affair, and some charges of
dishonesty, he lost his popularity, and, at the general election for
1796, was ousted by Sir Harry Dimsdale, muffin-seller, a man as much
deformed as himself. Sir Jeffrey could not long survive his fall; but,
in death as in life, he proved a satire on the vices of the proud, for
in 1797 he died, like Alexander the Great, and many other heroes
renowned in the historic page--of suffocation from excessive drinking!

Sir Harry Dimsdale dying also before the next general election, and no
candidate starting of sufficient originality of character, and, what
was still more fatal, the victuallers having failed to raise a #PUBLIC
PURSE#, which was as stimulating a bait to the _independent_
candidates for Garrat, as it is to the _independent_ candidates for a
certain assembly; the borough of Garrat has since remained vacant, and
the populace have been without a _professed_ political buffoon.

None but those who have seen a London mob on any great holiday can
form a just idea of these elections. On several occasions, a hundred
thousand persons, half of them in carts, in hackney-coaches, and on
horse and ass-back, covered the various roads from London, and choaked
up all the approaches to the place of election. At the two last
elections, I was told, that the road within a mile of Wandsworth was
so blocked up by vehicles, that none could move backward or forward
during many hours; and that the candidates, dressed like
chimney-sweepers on May-day, or in the mock-fashion of the period,
were brought to the hustings in the carriages of peers, drawn by six
horses, the owners themselves condescending to become their drivers!

Whether the effect of inculcating useful principles by means of these
mock politicians, was compensated by the ridicule thrown on the sacred
exertions of patriotism, may perhaps be doubted. These elections
served, however, to keep alive the feelings of the people on public
questions, and tended to increase those discussions and enquiries
which support the arterial circulation of the body politic. The deadly
plague of despotism, and the equally fatal disease of ministerial
corruption, find victims of their influence only among people who are
devoid of moral energies and public spirit, and whose stagnant and
torpid condition generates morbid dispositions that invite, rather
than resist, the attacks of any public enemy.

I am a friend, therefore, on principle, to the bustle and tumult of
popular elections. They are the flint and steel, the animating
friction, the galvanic energy, of society. Virtue alone can face them.
Vice dreads them as it dreads the light. With uncourtly hands, they
tear the mask from Hypocrisy; they arraign at the bar of public
opinion, political Culprits, amenable to no other tribunal; and they
probe to the quick, the seared consciences of Peculators and
Oppressors. If the sycophants of courts, and the sophistical
apologists of arbitrary power, should craftily urge that the people
are sometimes misled by fraud and falsehood, and therefore unable to
distinguish between patriots and plunderers, we should not forget that
occasional errors are misfortunes which do not abrogate general
rights; and that popular elections are never adopted in well-trained
despotisms, as part of the machinery of the state, calculated to
subjugate the bodies and minds of their slaves. Do we hear of the
suffrages of the people among the Turks, the Russians, the Moors, or
the Algerines? Rather, as the means of eliciting the public voice, and
of exciting enquiry, are they not of all despotisms, the bane; and of
all usurpations and abuses of power, the terror; while, by generating
that public spirit which is the animating soul of freedom, they serve
as tests of dauntless public virtue, afford the last and the best hope
of patriotism, and constitute national schools, in which impressive
Lessons of Liberty are taught to the whole people.

In my walk towards Garrat, my attention was attracted by a pretty
mansion, which pleased my eye, though the monotonous blows of its
adjoining oil-mill annoyed my ear. The owner, Mr. Were, politely
exhibited its details; and more mechanical ingenuity than is here
displayed could not well be applied to aid the simple operation of
extracting oil from linseed. A magnificent water-wheel, of thirty
feet, turns a main shaft, which gives motion to a pair of vertical
stones, raises the driving-beams, and turns a band which carries the
seed, in small buckets, from the floor to the hopper. The shock on the
entire nervous system, produced by the noise of the driving-beams as
they fall on the wedges, is not to be described. The sense of hearing
for the time is wholly destroyed, and the powers of voice and
articulation are vainly exerted. The noise is oppressive, though a
rebound, comparatively tuneful, takes place, till the wedge is driven
home; but afterwards, the blows fall dead, and produce a painful jarr
on the nerves, which affected me for several hours with a sense of
general lassitude. The gardens of this sensible manufacturer evince
considerable taste, and produce that agreeable effect which always
results from the combination of comfort, rural beauty, and useful
industry. A manufactory in a picturesque situation, surrounded by the
usual characters of opulence, is one of the most pleasing features of
an English landscape, combining whatever we most admire in nature and
art, with moral associations, that produce in the mind a sentiment of
perfect satisfaction.

Nearer to Wandsworth, Homer would have found imagery by which to
improve his description of the abode of Vulcan; for how feeble must
have been the objects of this nature, which a poet could view on the
shores of the Mediterranean, compared with the gigantic machinery of
an English iron-foundry. The application of the expansive powers of
nature, as a moving agent in the steam-engine; the means of generating
and concentrating heat in our furnaces; the melting of iron; the
casting of the fluid; the colossal powers of the welding hammer, the
head of which, though a ton in weight, gives a stroke per second; the
power of shears, which cut thick bars of iron like threads; the
drawing out of iron hoops by means of rollers, and the boring of
cannon, are the every-day business of one of these manufactories, all
of which I saw going on at the same instant, without bustle or effort.
Iron, the most universal, the most durable, and most economical of the
metals, is thus made subservient to the wants of man, at a time when
his improvidence in the use of timber has rendered some substitute
necessary. New applications are daily made of it, and a new face is,
by its means, promised to society. Used as sleepers and bond-pieces in
the brick-work of houses, it will extend their duration through many
ages; and, as joists, rafters, and plates for roofs, it will defy the
assaults of storms and the ravages of fire. As railing for gardens,
parks, and other enclosures, it combines elegance with security. As
pipes for gas, or for water, it is justly preferred to lead or wood.
As frames for windows, it unites lightness with durability. As
bedsteads, it excludes vermin; and, as square frames for
bridge-pieces, it presents the triumph of human art. Yet these are
only a few of its modern applications, for they are illimitable, and a
description of the manufactories of Birmingham and Sheffield, of which
iron is the staple, would fill a volume. On my remarking to the
proprietor of this foundry, that the men mingled themselves with the
fire like salamanders; he told me, that, to supply the excessive
evaporation, some of them found it necessary to drink eight or ten
pots of porter per day. Many of them presented in their brawny arms,
which were rendered so by the constant exertion of those limbs; and in
their bronzed countenances, caused by the action of the heat and the
effluvia, striking pictures of true sons of Vulcan; and, except in
occasional accidents, they enjoyed, I was told, general good health,
and often attained a hearty old age.

In regard to these manufactories, I learnt, that the application of
machinery in them saves two-thirds of the manual labour; or, in other
words, that a triple effect is produced by the union of a given number
of hands, with appropriate machinery. In this we rejoice; but, from
our past experience of the effects, I ask emphatically, #Why#? If in
this age the same necessaries and luxuries are produced by one-third
of the manual labour which was required in the age of Elizabeth, it is
evident that the English of this day ought to subsist as well by
working not more than half as much as in the days of Elizabeth, or our
boasted machinery is useless. By making the wind, the water, the
elastic fluids, and new combinations of the mechanical powers, perform
our labour, we compel Nature to work for us; and, though in a northern
latitude, we place ourselves in the very situation of the inhabitants
of the Tropics, where the ever-bountiful climate feeds the people with
slight exertions of manual labour. Yet, is such the effect? Enquire of
our labouring classes, who toil for inadequate subsistence from twelve
to fifteen hours per day! Does not some malevolent influence then
deprive us of the advantages of our ingenuity? Doubtless it is so; and
the #Demon of War#, who has so long hovered over this deluded nation,
and whose calls for blood and treasure are so insatiable, is the
sufficient cause. But on this subject the voice of reason and humanity
have been raised so often, that it seems to be as useless as the
appeals of a mother, standing on the seashore, to the tempest which is
destroying her children in a visible wreck. Infatuated nations are
like exhilarated dram-drinkers; they ridicule and despise warning,
till a palsy or apoplexy renders them a proverb among their
neighbours, and brings on a death-bed, but unavailing, repentance!

I had not time to view any of the other ingenious and valuable
manufactories of this place; but, perceiving that the manufacturers
formed a numerous and opulent class of inhabitants, and that there
were many elegant mansions of families living on their fortunes,
besides many respectable shop-keepers, I was induced to seek
information in regard to the state of society and mutual intercourse
in a country-town possessing such capabilities. On enquiring at the
principal Inn, I found that a subscription-assembly was held six times
in the year, at an expence of three guineas, but it had only
thirty-two subscribers, though within a mile there then were a hundred
families that kept their own carriages, and another hundred qualified
by habit and manners to give and receive pleasure at such an
entertainment. I learnt, however, that this solitary establishment,
the only means by which the inhabitants can practically feel that they
do not live in a wilderness, is poisoned at its source by a strict
ballot, which places the privilege of admission in the discretion of
any two or three narrow-minded and impertinent persons, who may have
become directors. Of course, no man of sense or delicacy would ever
expose himself and family to the insult of being black-balled; and
these institutions, which are calculated to promote general happiness,
become, in consequence, a source of mortification to the majority of a
neighbourhood, and of petty and inadequate gratification to those
whose inanity of character, or obsequiousness of manners, have
rendered them tolerable to the family, or small junto, who usually
take it upon themselves to govern such assemblies.

Some observations on this subject merit record, because happiness is
the end of life, the proper business of study, and the true object of
all disquisition; and there is no point in which families are rendered
more uncomfortable, and in which the spirit of caprice and tyranny is
more successfully exerted, than in the institution and conduct of
country assemblies; while, at the same time, nothing would be easier
than to render them a means of happiness to all who are capable of it.
It is evident, that many persons, by habit and education, are
ill-adapted to take part in the polite amusements of an assembly; that
some men are odious by their vices; and that many females of equivocal
character ought not to be allowed to mix with the virtuous part of the
sex; consequently, every inhabitant of a district ought not to be
admitted to join in amusements which imply the contact of dancing and
cards. It is also too certain, that a contemptible and unworthy pride
often accompanies the wealth which assumes an ascendancy in
assemblies; that scandal and falsehood more commonly govern the
decisions of society than charity and truth; and that the base
passions of envy and malice mix themselves more or less with all human
conduct. What then is the security against the intrusion of the
vicious? A ballot, in which one black-ball in ten, or sometimes two or
three among the whole body of the subscribers, operate as an
exclusion, that is to say, are a means of setting a mark on a family,
and placing it at issue with a considerable portion of the
neighbourhood! What a pernicious engine for the gratification of
pride, scandal, envy, and malice! What an inquisition of the few bad
by which to torment the many good! What a dagger in the hands of
tolerated assassins! In short, what a perversion of reason, what a
disease in the very bosom of society, what a lurking demon stationed
at the threshold of every happy family, to blast and thwart the modest
ambition of its amiable members! Doubtless, in and near Wandsworth, a
mistaken constitution in the system of ballot renders a hundred
families uncomfortable, while the thirty-two elect are not benefitted.
The principle, therefore, is erroneous, and exclusion should result
only from a _majority_ of black-balls. For the honour of our nature we
may presume, that a majority of men are not governed by bad passions;
at least, our only security consists in its not being so: it may,
therefore, be presumed, that a majority of black-balls would be fair
evidence of a fault in the candidate rather than in the electors.
Perhaps, a simple majority ought to be decisive; but, to guard against
the intrigues of bad passions, the decision would be more just if
two-thirds were required to be black-balls; for it may be safely
trusted, that no third of a respectable assembly will ever vote for
the admission of a character truly objectionable.

"But am I to mix," exclaims one of my starch female readers, "with
members whom I do not like, or give up my subscription to the
assembly." "Unquestionably, Madam; your dislikes ought not to be
gratified--your hatred and prejudice are odious vices, which you ought
to keep at home, where you can invite whomsoever you like, and reject
those whom you dislike; but a public assembly is the property of
society, whose happiness ought to be consulted in its arrangements,
and which ought to be governed by general rules of morals and justice,
and not by the bad passions of the unworthy few."

After all, is it not matter of wonder, that only once a month, during
the winter, any congregation of part of the inhabitants of Wandsworth
takes place for purposes of amusement? Yet, is not this the general
characteristic of English society, from the Orkneys to the Land's-End?
The inhabitants of populous districts or towns in Britain might as
well, in regard to their intercourse with the community, live in the
wilds of America or Siberia! 'Tis true, they assemble on Sundays at
church or chapel when their devotions forbid the gaiety which ought to
vary the grave pursuits of life--and they meet also in the common
receptacle of mortality in the parish cemetery--but they seldom or
never meet to cheer life's dull round, to soften asperities, to remove
formal distances, to cultivate friendships, and to perform social and
neighbourly offices of courtesy and kindness. Why is there not, in
every populous vicinage or adjoining to every town, a public
gravelled, or paved, Walk, provided with covered and open seats, to
which, from spring to autumn, the inhabitants might resort, and
promenade between the hours of six and eight or nine. Might not such
walk be rendered attractive, during those hours, by being provided
with two, three, or four Musicians to play marches and lively airs,
and increase the hilarity of the scene? A district would thus become
social, and the inhabitants would know each other; though the proud
need not mix with the humble more than would be agreeable. Such an
arrangement would render less necessary those costly and vitiating
excursions to watering-places, which are made in quest of similar
gratifications; and they would render two hours of every twenty-four a
period of enjoyment to tens of thousands, who now enjoy no relief from
gloomy cares, except at the public-house, the card-table, or the
backgammon-board. It would, moreover, be a cheap pleasure, supported
by a rate of half-a-guinea per house per annum, while it would afford
at least 1000 hours of innocent and healthful gratification to their
families. To enumerate all the direct and collateral advantages must
be unnecessary, because it would be difficult to imagine a single
objection that could weigh against the obvious benefits. Society would
then become a social state; and it would no longer be problematical,
whether a man in a wilderness, separated from the bad passions of his
fellow-men, were not happier than he who is surrounded by them, but
who has no counterpoise in their intercourse and affections? May these
considerations sink deep into the minds of "Men of Ross," wherever
they are to be found; and, if acted upon as they merit, I may perhaps
live to form one of many happy groupes of village or parish
promenades, which owe their origin to these observations.

As an infallible test of the intellectual cultivation and social
dispositions of any town, I enquired of two dealers in books, whether
there existed any Book-club, but was answered in the negative. A small
collection of those beguilers of time, or cordials for _ennui_, called
Novels constitute a circulating library; and, judging from the
condition of the volumes, this degree of literary taste is general
among the females of this village. Far be it from me to depreciate the
negative merits of novel-reading, because the majority tend to improve
the heart, to direct the sensibilities and sympathies of the mind, and
to create many liberal and rational reflections, to which without
Novels their readers might have been total strangers. This is no small
praise of any pursuit; yet the same and still higher purposes would be
attained, if real, rather than fictitious, life were the object of
study; if we enquired after man as he was, is, and ever will be,
instead of satisfying ourselves with the contemplation of him in the
false colourings, distorted positions, and caricature resemblances, of
many works of fiction. There can, however, exist no moral agent more
effective than a good novel, wherein Attention is rivetted by the
author's fancy, Taste is fascinated by his style, and Errors,
Prejudices, and Follies of the hour are corrected by his powers of
ridicule or argument. To instruct as well as to amuse--to speak great
truths in epigrams--to exhibit the substance of sermons without
sermonizing--to be wise without appearing so--to make philosophers
trifle, and triflers philosophize--to exhibit precept in action--and
to surprise the judgment through the medium of the passions and the
love of the marvellous,--ought to be the purposes of those who
cultivate this interesting branch of literary composition.

Yet, unsociable as is Wandsworth, it is in that respect like all the
villages round London. Gay and splendid as they appear to the summer
visitor, nothing can be more dull and monotonous than the lives of
their constant residents. Made up of the mushroom aristocracy of
trade, whose rank, in its first generation, affords no palpable ground
of introduction--of pride, whose importance, founded on the chances of
yesterday, is fed on its self-sufficiency--of individuals whose
consequence grows neither out of manners, intellectual endowments,
superior taste, nor polished connections--and of inhabitants of a
metropolis, among whom shyness of intercourse is necessary as a
security against imposture--it is not to be wondered that most of the
showy mansions in these villages are points of repulsion rather than
of attraction. It must, however, be conceded, that many of these
families are hospitable, charitable, sociable, and anxious to be
agreeable--qualities which would serve as the basis of systems of more
liberal intercourse, if properly directed, and if cherished in such
establishments as book-clubs, periodical assemblies, and evening
promenades. Nor should it be forgotten that many of the proprietors of
these mansions consider them as mere retreats from the craft and
selfish jargon of the world, in which, to enjoy the contrast afforded
by the simplicity of nature, they court Solitude, for its own sake,
during their temporary residence from evening till morning, and from
Saturday till Monday.

In a Village once famous for its manufactories, which, as the effect
of the wicked Policy that involved the country in twenty years'
warfare, have lost their powers of giving employment to the population
whom they had drawn together, I was naturally led to inquire the
condition of these helpless victims of deluded and deluding statesmen.
What an affecting topic for the contemplation of Sensibility! How
painful the condition of Poverty, contrasted with that of Wealth; yet
how closely are they allied, and how adventitiously separated! The
Rich solace themselves in a fancied exemption from the miseries and
ignominy which attach to the Poor, though their daily experience of
the caprice of fortune ought to teach them, that, while they have the
power, it would be wiser to diminish the contrast by ameliorating the
condition of Poverty! How glorious is the spectacle afforded by the
contrast of civilized society, with the wretched condition of savages,
though that justly admired civilization is often but a result of
artifices that create the distinctions of rich and poor! What a gulph
between the ancient Britons in the social equality of their woods and
caverns, and the favoured English in their luxurious cities and
magnificent palaces! Yet, alas! wealth and splendour and greatness are
such only by contrast!--Wherever there are rich there must be
poor--wherever there is splendour there must be misery--and wherever
there are masters there must be servants. These conditions of men in
society are like the electrical power in nature, which never indicates
its positive qualities without creating corresponding negations; and
which, when equally diffused, exhibits no phenomena. If then men are
rich merely because they have abstracted or absorbed the wealth of
others, their obligations, as moral and sympathetic creatures towards
those by whose abasement they are exalted, can require no formal
proof. The laws may allow, and the arrangements of society may
require, as a condition of civilization, that the rich should enjoy
their ascendency; but it is neither just, nor wise, nor decent, nor
humane, nor necessary, that the poor should be deprived of benefits
which ought to result to the whole family of man, from the triumphs of
Art over Nature. All are bound cheerfully to concede to superiority in
virtue and intellect, those advantages which are the result of
virtuous and intellectual exertions; but, as common descendants of the
once-equal Britons, the lowest are warranted in claiming, as matter of
right, to be as well fed and as comfortably provided for, on
performing, or on evincing a willingness to perform, the duties of
their stations, as their equal ancestors among the Britons, or society
at large cannot be said to have profitted by our boasted civilization.
To adjust these intricate relations, so that all virtue may partake in
its sphere of the gifts of nature, augmented by the ingenuity of man,
is the arduous, but interesting, task of wise legislation. It would
not be reasonable to expect, that every case should be met, and every
exigency anticipated, by adequate arrangements; but it is the duty of
power, in whomsoever it is placed, to exert itself with unremitting
anxiety, so as in the arrangements of man to approximate to the
dispositions of nature, which are always marked by inexhaustible
abundance, by appropriate benevolence, and by means commensurate to
suitable and desirable ends.

Under the influence of such reasoning, I made a variety of enquiries
between Battersea and Wandsworth, relative to the condition of the
poor. I learnt with grief that the payment of day-labourers varies
from 2_s._ 6_d._ to 1_s._ 6_d._ per day, or on an average is not more
than 12_s._ per week; of women from 1_s._ 3_d._ to 1_s._ or about
6_s._ per week; and of children from 9_d._ to 6_d._ or 4_s._ per week;
though, for the two last classes there is sufficient employment for
only half the year. A poor man, who had a wife and three children to
maintain on 14_s._ per week, told me, that for many months he and his
family had been strangers to meat, cheese, butter, or beer--that
bread, potatoes, nettles, turnips, carrots, and onions, with a little
salt, constituted the whole of their food--that during the winter
months he was obliged to rely on the parish--that in case of sickness
he and his children had no resource besides the workhouse--and that,
though it had pleased God to take two of his children, it was better
they should go to heaven than continue in this wicked and troublesome
world. "But I don't think," said he, "the gentlefolk saves much by
running down we poor so nation hard, for we are obligated to get it on
the parish, which they pay; so it's all one; though it grieves a poor
man, as one may say, to apply to them overseers, and to have no hope
but the workhouse at last."

I agree with this humble Economist that it seems to be as ungenerous
as impolitic to throw on the poor's rates a burthen which ought to be
borne by those who profit from the labour thus inadequately
remunerated. It could not, and ought not, to be difficult to fix a
minimum (not a maximum) on twelve hours' labour per day, such as
should be sufficient to support an average-sized family. Suppose for
bread and flour 6_s._ were allowed; for meat, cheese, butter, milk,
and beer, 4_s._; for potatoes, &c. 2_s._ candles, soap, and coals,
2_s._ cloathing 3_s._ 6_d._ house-rent 2_s._ 6_d._ sundries
1_s._--total 21_s._ Here is nothing superfluous, nothing but what
appertains to the earliest stages of civilization, and what every
well-arranged society ought to be able to give in return for manual
labour of the lowest kind. With inferior means the labourer must
suffer the obloquy of being remunerated from the parish rates, to
which all are forced to contribute as fully as though the employer
paid the fair value of the labour in the first instance, and the
amount were assessed on the price of his commodity, instead of being
assessed in the form of poor's rates.

It being, however, the _favourite_ system to pay the difference
between what the labourer receives, and what he ought to receive,
through the medium of the workhouse or parish officers, I anxiously
directed my way to #Wandsworth Workhouse#, to examine whether it was
an asylum of comfort or a place of punishment? On my entrance I found
the hall filled with a crowd of poor persons, then applying to receive
a weekly stipend from the overseers, who, with other parish-officers,
were assembled in an adjoining apartment. Many women with infants at
their breasts, and other children clinging round their knees,
presented interesting subjects for poets and painters. Every feeling
of the human heart, though in the garb of rags, and bearing the aspect
of misery, evidently filled the various individuals composing this
groupe. I pressed forward to the room, where I found the overseers
were sitting at a table, covered with bank-tokens and other silver for
distribution. They received me politely, and, on learning my wish to
view the interior, directed the matron to accompany me. The manners
and countenances of these overseers flatly contradicted the prejudices
which are usually entertained against persons filling the office; and
it gratified me to hear several of the poor, whose characteristic is
said to be discontent, exclaim, "God bless 'em, they're noble

The matron conducted me into a spacious yard, round which are suites
of rooms, built in the manner of alms-houses, a plan which cannot be
too much commended, because it sufficiently detaches the tenants of
each, secures to every set their peculiar comforts, and may be
rendered the means of separating virtue from vice. In the middle of
the area stand the offices and kitchen, dividing it into two yards,
one for the men, and the other for the women. The whole had been
recently white-washed, and, but for the name of work-house, and
certain restraints on their habits and liberty, it seemed calculated
to secure the comfort of its inmates.

The matron took me into several of the men's rooms, and here I found
tottering grey hairs, crippled youth, inveterately diseased of all
ages, and artizans destitute of employment. Six or eight were in a
room, though I was informed they slept for the most part but one in a
bed. A fine young girl about twelve years old, who had slipped out of
the women's yard, was seated by the side of her father, an interesting
looking artizan, whose trade had ceased to afford him employment.
This, I found, was contrary to the discipline of the house, and the
matron chid the girl for coming there; "however," said she to me in an
under-tone, with great good nature--"one can't blame a child for
getting to her father, nor the father for encouraging his child to
come over to him."--"No, madam," said I, "and no one can blame you for
granting such an indulgence, while all must admire the goodness of
heart which dictates that sentiment." Would to God, thought I, that
all workhouses were governed by matrons as capable of sympathizing
with the feelings of the unfortunate inmates; and that all those who
embitter poverty by directing the separation of parents from their
children, and husbands from their wives, may themselves become the
object of their own law!

My guide now led me to a room where lived a man, his wife, and
children, a sawyer out of work, whose eyes were so affected by the
dust that falls into the pit, as to render him incapable of following
his employment. His pride, as well as that of his wife, seemed to be
piqued at being exhibited to view in the workhouse, and they took much
pains to convince me that it was their misfortune, not their fault or
their wish. Two fine children, one of them a chubby happy creature,
playing on the floor, added to the groupe an interest that was deeply
affecting. Doubtless, thought I, these simple people once entertained
many projects of humble ambition, which, if explained, might draw a
smile from the great--but here, alas! they seem to be entombed for

I now took a cursory view of the women's yard, in which I found the
same appearances of cleanliness and comfort as on the men's side. But
the most interesting scene was the nursery, where sixteen little
cherubs, the oldest about five years, were engaged in their innocent
diversions, regardless whether they were in a workhouse or a palace,
and unsuspicious of the ills that await them in a world governed by
selfishness, where the greatest of all crimes, and the forerunner of
all calamities, is poverty! I was pleased to find that the mother of
three of them was allowed to fill the office of nurse, and the tears
trickled down the poor woman's face, as I particularly admired one
fine boy, who, it happened, was her child. "Ah! Sir, (said she,) he's
so like his poor father!--my poor husband little thought, when he
died, that his dear children would so soon be in a workhouse"--here
her tears and loud sobs stopt her utterance; but, recovering
herself--"if I can't maintain 'em with the labour of my hands, (said
she,) I will do what I can for 'em here; there is no other happiness
for me in this world, and I will continue to do for them till God
shall please to take me also." A woman's and mother's tears are so
contagious, and the scene before me formed so deep a drama of real
life, that I hurried from the room!

The good matron now showed her cleanly kitchen, her well-arranged
laundry, pantry, bakehouse, &c. &c., with which my feelings were not
at that moment in unison; I saw, however, much to admire and nothing
to condemn. On inquiry, I found that these excellent regulations were
the effect of a late revolution in the establishment. Till a very
recent period, it had been the criminal practice of the overseers, and
the negligent sufferance of the parish, to #FARM# or #LET OUT# the
poor to some grim tyrant or task-master, at the average rate of 5_s._
6_d._ per head! This man was to provide for these wretched victims of
the public neglect, and of his miscalculation, out of 5_s._ 6_d._ per
week, rent exclusive; and his remuneration consisted in the difference
between their cost and that pitiful allowance. The cries of the poor
at length forced their way to the ears of the opulent, the contractor
was turned out, and it was then humanely determined that the
overseers, aided by a master and matron, should in future superintend
the workhouse as trustees for the parish.

I understood that they had hitherto performed this duty with great
attention and humanity, giving meat-dinners four days in the week, and
soup-dinners on the other days, the cost proving about 6_s._ 9_d._ per
head, on the one hundred poor in the house, of whom forty were
children. In the petty labours with which the aged, crippled, and
infant poor are too often harassed in these receptacles, they had, as
yet, made no essays. The stipends out of the house amounted, I
learned, to nearly as much as the cost within, or to about 30_l._ per
week, which, at 2_s._ 6_d._ per head, assists two hundred and forty
objects, making a total charge on the parish of from 3 to 4000_l._ per

How many parishes in the metropolis still, however, persist in the
negligent practice of farming their wretched poor at only 4_s._ or
even 3_s._ 6_d._ per week! And how few of the opulent, idle, and
well-intentioned of the parishioners, concern themselves about their
condition or sufferings! When the overseer calls for the rates, they
perhaps complain so heavily of the amount, that he fears to increase
the allowance, however sensible he may be of its necessity; or,
perhaps, when accosted by a beggar in the street, they excuse
themselves by quoting their large contributions to the rates, and
refer the despairing wretch to the workhouse! How incumbent then to
see what that workhouse is!--Whether its arrangements are not more
fitted for dogs or pigs, than for rational and heart-broken
fellow-creatures, however unequal in fortune, or however differing
even in virtue! Let us then neither wonder nor complain, that our
streets or highways are filled with objects of misery, preferring the
cold ground, the unsparing storm, and the inclemency of seasons, to
the provisions legally provided for them; if we have not had the
industry to ascertain, the courage to reform, and the benevolence to
improve, the condition of their parochial asylums!

The reader of sensibility will not, I trust, complain of the length of
details on an object which interests every son and daughter of
Britain. The other demands on my time allowed me to spend but twenty
minutes in this receptacle of the helpless and unfortunate; yet what a
volume of feelings and reflections were excited in that short period!
We have had a #Howard#, I exclaimed, who visited our gaols and
alleviated the condition of those who are forced to drink the dregs of
the cup of misery, from the iron-hearted and unsparing hands of
lawyers, whose practices are sometimes countenanced by the
incorrigible character of criminals! We have a #Webb#, who vainly
assaults the giant Penury on the King's highway, but whose frightful
strides outstrip his generous speed!--We want then some #ANGEL#, in
the form of man, who, uniting the courage and perseverance of a
#Howard# with the liberality of a #Webb#, will visit and report on the
condition of our Workhouses. But, if, as every parish contains its
workhouse, and every county but one gaol, the task in consequence is
too great for one life, though actuated by the godlike zeal of a
#Wesley#; then it is a task worthy of parish committees, composed of
groupes of Angels, in the form of benignant Women, who will find, that
the best-spent and the happiest morning of every month would be passed
in a visit to the workhouse; where, with slender alms, kind advice,
and fostering care, they would be able to soothe the sorrows of the
aged widow,--to comfort the sick and helpless,--to pour balm into the
mental wounds of those who are reduced from affluence by
misfortune,--to raise from hopeless indigence modest merit, which
never found a friend,--and to protect orphan children, who need advice
and pilotage in their outset in life. No pampered minion of fortune
need complain of _ennui_, or be anxious for new amusements, in whose
parish there exists a workhouse. It is a Stage on which Dramas,
serious or tragical, are every day performed; the interest of which is
created by no tricks of the author or machinist, but in which the
performers play their parts according to nature, always touching the
most sensitive chords of the heart. No spectator ever came away from
one of these houses without having his feelings wrought up by actors
of all ages, who far outstrip our Siddonses, Kembles, Bettys, Youngs,
or Keans, and whose petit dramas excel those of Shakespeare, Rowe, or
Otway, in the degree in which suffering and unsophisticated Nature is
superior to the trappings and blandishments of Art.

Wandsworth having engaged me above an hour, I endeavoured to recover
my loitering, by a rapid pace towards #Putney Heath#, where a crowd of
objects presented themselves for description and observation.

The road from #Wandsworth# to #Putney Heath# ascends with a gentle
slope, which is inclined about six degrees from the horizontal plane.
Wandsworth itself lies little above the level of the Thames at high
water; and, as this road ascends nearly a mile, with an angle which
averages six degrees, the height of Putney and the adjoining Wimbledon
Common may be taken at about the tenth of a mile, 180 yards, or 540
feet. The ascent of one yard in ten gives that gentle fall to the
road, which, in a smaller degree, ought to be conferred artificially
on all roads, in order that they might drain lengthways, and that the
argillaceous earth might be carried off in solution, and only the hard
bed of silex remain behind. This beautiful piece of road is a fine
exemplification of that principle; but an elevation of two degrees, or
nearly one yard in thirty, would be sufficient for the purpose; and,
if the rise and fall in flat roads were made to take place at every
quarter of a mile, the difference between the bottoms and tops would
be about fifteen yards. In general, the natural inequalities of the
country would assist such a system of philosophical road-making; but,
notwithstanding the first labour, it merits no less respect in all
dead levels, as the only means of carrying off their standing water
and clay, and of establishing a hard bottom, which, when once formed,
would last for many years. Any person who has not duly regarded this
principle, will be struck with its justness, by taking notice, during
a journey, of any piece of road from which the road-makers have been
unable to turn a stream of running water; and he will find, that it
possesses a hard smooth bottom, and stands less in need of repair than
any road in the same vicinity. Let us then take a lesson from nature
on this subject, as we do on all others when we evince our modesty and

The objection to this form of roads, founded on the increase of
draught required in ascending one side of the inclined plane, has no
validity. An inclination of two degrees rises one yard in thirty;
consequently, such a power as would draw thirty tons on level ground,
must, other circumstances alike, be equal to thirty-_one_ tons on a
road so inclined. The resistance of friction in roads which permit the
wheels to sink into them, rises, however in a much higher proportion.
It may be assumed, that wheels which sink but half an inch, would
require an increased draught of an eighth, or, in the above instance,
of 2-1/2 tons; if an inch, they would require a fourth more, or 7-1/2
tons; if two inches, a half increase, or fifteen tons; and at three
inches, the power would be required to be double. Different soils, and
different wheels, would indicate different proportions, but the above
may be taken as averages; and, when contrasted with the small increase
of power, rendered necessary by the ascent of an inclined plane, the
latter, on the ascending half of any road, will appear to be

The Emperor Napoleon, who endeavoured to apply philosophy to all the
arts of life, decreed, that no public road in France should exceed an
inclination of 4° 46', or rise more than one metre in twelve. This
proportion, it was estimated, would combine the maxima and minima of
the powers; and, in spite of those malignant confederacies which he
was so often called upon to overthrow, the labour of reducing many
steep roads of France to this practicable inclination was
accomplished, and hence the praises of the roads of that country which
we read in the narratives of our tourists. England, which set the
first example to Europe, in this branch of economy, ought not to allow
itself to be outdone by the measures of a reign which it asserted was
incompatible with regal dignity; but, proceeding on correct
principles, it ought in this case to imitate even a _bad_ example, and
to correct its system of patching up its roads under the direction of
surveyors, ignorant of general principles, and at the expence of local
commissioners, who are interested in making their improvements on the
narrowest scale. The rapid advancement of Great Britain in social
comforts, within the last sixty years, may be ascribed to the turnpike
system, which took the jurisdiction of the public roads out of the
hands of parish-officers, and transferred it to commissioners of more
extensive districts. A still further improvement is now called for by
superadding the controul of a #NATIONAL ROAD POLICE#, which should
equalize the tolls, or apply the whole to the unequal wants of various
districts; so that roads of nearly equal goodness might characterize
all parts of an empire which ought to be rendered one great
metropolis, and to be united in means and fraternity by all the
facilities of human art.

A stage-coach toiling against this road of six degrees inclination,
and a flour-waggon traversing from side to side to lengthen the
hypotheneuse, yet stopping at every hundred yards to enable the horses
to recover their ordinary tone of breathing, proved the good policy of
that law in France, which would have lowered this road at the top full
thirty yards, and have extended the hypotheneuse three hundred and
sixty yards under the level road at the summit. If the barbarity of
the practice of tight-reining the heads of wretched horses needed any
exaggeration, its superlative absurdity was evidenced in the horses
which I saw labouring up this hill. Nature, which does nothing in
vain, had a final purpose in giving motion to the vertebrae that join
the head of an animal to the trunk. The moving head is, in truth, one
of the extremities of that compound animal lever, whose fulcrum is the
centre of gravity. The latter point is disturbed in its inertia, and
acquires progressive motion by the action of the extremities of the
lever, which are themselves moved by volition, whose seat is in the
cranium; and the head, in consequence, is in all instances the first
mover. The propulsion or vibration of the head puts the entire
muscular system in motion, disturbs the balance on the centre of
gravity, and so effects the sublime purposes of loco-motion in all
animals. Yet it is this prime mover which the greater brutes, who
profess themselves _knowing_ in the economy of horses, so tie up that
it can in no way exert itself; and then they whip and spur the animal
to force it to make new and unnatural exertions! Let any man, himself
an erect animal, the powers of whose _primum mobile_ are divided
between his head and his hands, cause his head to be so tied back and
fastened behind as to force out his chest. In that position let him
try his comparative powers in walking or running with speed and
safety, or in carrying or drawing a load, and he will soon be
convinced of the cruelty of the practice of tying up the head of a
horse for no other purpose than that he may _look_ bold and noble!
#Wesley# and #Bakewell#, who rode more than any men of their time,
told me that they had suffered from frequent falls, till, by attending
to the evident designs of nature, they suffered the bridle of their
horses to festoon in a semicircle; and since then, in riding thousands
of miles, they had never endured even the anxiety of a stumble.

A pedestrian like the writer could not avoid feeling grateful to the
constructor of this piece of road, for its beautiful and spacious
causeway, which extends from the village of Wandsworth to Putney
Heath. It is in most parts seven feet wide, and it doubtless owes much
of its hardness, smoothness, and dryness, to its declining position,
which causes the water to run off, carrying with it in solution the
argillaceous earth, and leaving a basis of pure but well pulverized
silex. All who reside in the country, ladies particularly, know how to
estimate the worth of a broad, smooth, and dry walk, by the miseries
so generally suffered from those of a contrary description. For the
sake, therefore, of the example and the precept, they will candidly
excuse the eulogy extorted from a wandering pedestrian on meeting with
so agreeable an accommodation in a district, which, in many respects,
seems appropriated to the caprice of wealth. To supply the deficiency
of our Road Bills, one sweeping law ought to enact that all turnpike
roads should be provided with a raised causeway for foot passengers,
at least five feet wide, with cross posts at every furlong to prevent
equestrians from abusing it, and with convenient seats at the end of
every mile. It is too much to expect in these times to see realized
the writer's favourite plan of #MILE-STONE# and #MARINE COTTAGES#,
among a people who have passionately mortgaged all their estates, and
blindly encumbered all their industry, in paying the interest of money
raised to carry on wars made for the purpose of regulating the
independant governments of other countries!

The sides of this road and the openings of the distant landscape,
excite the admiration of the eye of taste by the architectural and
horticultural beauties of mansions which have sprung out of the
profits or artifices of trade. The multiplication of these dormitories
of avarice is considered by too many as the sign of public prosperity.
Fallacious, delusive, and mischievous notion! Was the world made for
the many, or the few? Can any one become rich from domestic trade
without making others poor; or can another bring wealth from foreign
countries except by adding to the circulating medium, and thereby
diminishing the value of money? In either case, what is the benefit to
the public or the community? Yet a benefit is rendered visible--a fine
house has arisen where there stood before but a wretched hovel--and a
paradise has been created out of a sheep pasture!--The benefit,
however, is merely to the individual! His pride and taste have been
gratified, and this gratification is called a benefit--yet with him
the benefit, if to him it really be so, begins and ends. But he
employs the neighbourhood, patronizes the arts, and encourages trade?
Granted,--but whence come his means? His wealth is not miraculous. It
has no exclusive or original properties. If he spend it at Putney, he
must draw it from other places, either from rents of land or houses,
or from interest of money, both the fruit of other's industry, and the
sign of corresponding privations in those who pay them!

For the sake of the elegant arts, which derive their encouragement
from the superfluities of the few, I am no enemy to any moderate
inequalities of means which enable men to become examples of the good
effects of industry; I merely object to the vulgar inference that
splendid mansions serve as signs of the increasing wealth of a
country. Better criterions would be the diffusion of plenty and
comfort--abundance of smoking farm-houses and well-stored
barns--#CHEAP PROVISIONS# and #DEAR LABOUR#--enough with moderate
exertions for home consumption, and something to exchange for the
luxuries of different climates. But it is no index of national
prosperity that elegant villas rise like sun-flowers, as gaudy as
unprofitable, while gaols are crammed with insolvents or needy
culprits, and poor-houses are filled with wretchedness! Poland
astonishes travellers by the splendour of its palaces; while in the
same prospect they are shocked at the huts of the people, exhibiting
the characteristics of English hog-sties! Let the increase of
splendour, therefore, be considered rather as a proof of the
derangement of social order, than as any sign of its triumph; and let
us not forget that, however much fine houses may benefit and gratify
the blameless and often meritorious occupants, they do not, as such,
serve as any signs of increased opulence in the community at large.

On arriving near the top of this road, I obtained a distinct view of a
phenomenon, which can be seen no where in the world but at this
distance from London. The Smoke of nearly a million of coal fires,
issuing from the two hundred thousand houses which compose London and
its vicinity, had been carried in a compact mass in the direction
which lay in a right angle from my station. Half a million of
chimneys, each vomiting a bushel of smoke per second, had been
disgorging themselves for at least six hours of the passing day, and
they now produced a sombre tinge, which filled an angle of the horizon
equal to 70°, or in bulk twenty-five miles long, by two miles high. As
this cloud goes forward it diverges like a fan, becoming constantly
rarer; hence it is seldom perceived at its extremity, though it has
been distinguished near Windsor. As the wind changes, it fills by
turns the whole country within twenty or thirty miles of London; and
over this area it deposits the volatilized products of three thousand
chaldrons, or nine millions of pounds of coals per day, producing
peculiar effects on the country. In London this smoke is found to
blight or destroy all vegetation; but, as the vicinity is highly
prolific, a smaller quantity of the same residua may be salutary, or
the effect may be counteracted by the extra supplies of manure which
are afforded by the metropolis. Other phenomena are produced by its
union with fogs, rendering them nearly opaque, and shutting out the
light of the sun; it blackens the mud of the streets by its deposit of
tar, while the unctuous mixture renders the foot-pavement slippery;
and it produces a solemn gloom whenever a sudden change of wind
returns over the town the volume that was previously on its passage
into the country. One of the improvements of this age, by which the
next is likely to benefit, has been its contrivances for more perfect
combustion; and for the condensation and sublimation of smoke. The
general adoption of a system of consuming the smoke would render the
London air as pure as that of the country, and diminish many of the
nuisances and inconveniences of a town residence. It must in a future
age be as difficult to believe that the Londoners could have resided
in the dense atmosphere of coal-smoke above described, as it is now
hard to conceive that our ancestors endured houses without the
contrivance of chimneys, from which consequently the smoke of fires
had no means of escape but by the open doors and windows, or through a
hole in the roof!

On the left I passed the entrance into the tastefully planned, but
very useless, park of the justly esteemed #Earl Spencer#. It contains
about seven hundred acres, disposed so as to please the eye of a
stranger, but which, like all _home-spots_, soon lose, from their
familiarity, the power of delighting a constant occupant. Why then
appropriate so fine a piece of ground to so barren a purpose? Does the
gratification of strangers, and the first week's pleasure to the
owner, counterpoise the consideration that the same spot would afford
the substantial ornament of ten farms, or subsistence to three hundred
and forty cottages, with two acres of garden and pasture? The superb
mansion of Lord Spencer, with all necessary garden-ground and
pasturage, would not less ornament the landscape, nor be less
ornamented by such an assemblage of humbler happiness. Though a
#Repton# might exhaust his magic art in arranging the still beauties
of a park, yet how certainly would they pall on the eye after the
daily survey of a month! Why then sacrifice to the pride of custom
that which in other dispositions might add so much to the sum of
happiness? Let the means of promoting the felicity of others
constitute part of our own; and, with the aid of the ornamental
gardener, both objects might be combined. He would so dispose of his
white-washed cottages, so groupe his farm-yards, and so cluster his
trees, that from every window of the feudal mansion the hitherto
solitary occupant might behold incessant variety, accompanied by the
pleasing associations growing out of prosperous industry and smiling
plenty. Does Claude ever revel in solitudes? Does Poussin fascinate in
exhibitions of mechanical nature? And when does Woollet enchant us but
in those rich landscapes in which the woods are filled with peeping
habitations, and scope given for the imagination by the curling smoke
of others rising behind the trees?

On entering Putney Heath, my attention was drawn towards an obelisk
which stands by the road-side, recording a wonder of the last age; and
the liberal attention of the public authorities to a discovery which
promised ulterior advantages to the community. Several recent Fires
had led ingenious men to consider of the means of preventing similar
catastrophes. One person improved water-engines, another suggested
floors of stucco, and others contrived means of escape; but David
Hartley, esq. a son of the illustrious writer who traced to their
sources the associations of Ideas, and then a member of parliament,
contrived to build a house which no ordinary application of ignited
combustibles could be made to consume.

This house, still standing at the distance of a hundred yards from the
obelisk, serves as a monument of the inventor's plans; but, like every
thing besides, it recently excited the avarice of speculation, and,
when I saw it, was filled with workmen, who where converting it into a
tasteful mansion, adding wings to it, throwing out verandas, and
destroying every vestige of its original purpose. One of the workmen
shewed me the chamber in which, in 1774, the King and Queen took their
breakfast; while, in the room beneath, fires were lighted on the
floor, and various inflammable materials were ignited, to prove that
the rooms above were fire-proof. Marks of these experiments were still
visible on the charred boards. In like manner there still remained
charred surfaces on the landings of the staircase, whereon fires had
been ineffectually lighted for the purpose of consuming them, though
the stairs and all the floorings were of ordinary deal! The fires in
the rooms had been so strong that parts of the joists in the floor
above were charred, though the boards which lay upon them were in no
degree affected.

The alterations making at the moment enabled me to comprehend the
whole of Mr. Hartley's system. Parts of the floors having been taken
up, it appeared that they were double, and that his contrivance
consisted in interposing between the two boards, sheets of laminated
iron or copper. This metallic lining served to render the floor
air-tight, and thereby to intercept the ascent of the heated air; so
that, although the inferior boards were actually charred, the less
inflammable material of metal prevented the process of combustion from
taking place in the superior boards. These sheets of iron or copper,
for I found both metals in different places, were not thicker than
tinfoil or stout paper; yet, when interposed between the double set of
boards, and, deprived of air, they effectually stopt the progress of
the fire.

The House of Commons voted 2500_l._ to Mr. Hartley to defray the
expences of this building; the sovereign considered it a popular act
to give him countenance; and a patriotic lord-mayor and the
corporation of London, to impress the public with deeper convictions
of its importance, witnessed the indestructible property of the
structure on the 110th anniversary of the commencement of the great
fire of London. Yet the invention sunk into obscurity, and few records
remain of it except the pompous obelisk and the wreck of this house.

It merits observation, that in modern-built Houses taste or accident
has effected sufficient security against fires without any special
preventives. Flame is only ungovernable when in its ascent it meets
with combustible materials. Heat, as the principle of expansion,
rarefies and volatilizes all bodies; and then, as the heavier give
place to the lighter, so bodies subject to its action ascend, and
carry up with them the principle, matter, or action of heat. A chief
object therefore of man's policy in economizing fire, in subduing it
to his use, and in governing its decomposing and destructive powers,
should be to prevent its finding fuel in the ascent. No connected
timbers ought therefore to join an inferior floor with a superior, so
that, if one floor were on fire, its feeble lateral combustion might
easily be extinguished with a mop and a pail of water, provided no
train of combustibles were extended to the floor above. Such is the
language of philosophy, and such the slight process of reason, by
attending to which the habitations of men may at all times be secured
against the calamity of fire. How absurd however was the construction
of our houses till within the last twenty or thirty years! Wooden
staircases, exposed wooden balusters, and wainscotted walls, coated
with paints composed of oil and turpentine, and put together more like
a train of combustibles, than the habitations of beings calling
themselves rational! The taste of modern architecture has, however,
corrected the evil; and stone staircases, iron balusters, plastered
walls, and lofty rooms, contribute to cut off the communication,
though a fire may have seized on a flooring, or on any articles of
furniture. This security might however be further increased by more
strictly regarding the principle; by cutting off all contact between
floor and floor, made by wooden pilasters, window-shutters, &c.; by
the more liberal introduction of iron; and by the occasional use of
Hartley's iron or copper sheets.

By analogous reasoning it is suggested to us, that, if those females
whose clothes have taken fire, and whose head, throat, breasts, and
arm-pits, are consequently exposed to the increasing intensity of an
ascending flame, were instantly to throw themselves into an horizontal
position, their vital parts would not only not be affected, but the
lateral flame would be so trifling as to be easily and safely
extinguished. What in human life can exceed in horror, the
circumstance of a woman in full health, often in the middle of her
friends and family, being roasted alive by combustibles fastened to
her person, from which it is impossible to escape till her most
sensitive parts have been reduced to a cinder! What crime ever
perpetrated by human turpitude could have warranted a more dreadful
fate! What demons, contriving mischief and torments, could have
invented a combination of miseries so terrible and heart-rending? The
decorations of beauty--the gratification of pride--even the humble
means of health and comfort, are thus rendered the unmerciful
instruments of the keenest sufferings, the most frightful sudden
deaths, and the most dismal domestic tragedies! Yet the entire evil
arises from the principle of the ascent of all heat; from the flame
meeting in that ascent with fresh fuel to feed on, by which its
intensity is progressively augmented; and then acting at its summit on
the head, throat, and sensitive vital parts of the agonized victim.
The remedy therefore is simply to lie down, when the roaring flame of
several feet high will be so reduced that it may be put out with the
hands, with the other parts of the garments, or by any extraneous

About a hundred yards from this fire-proof house, stands the Telegraph
which communicates with Chelsea, and forms part of the chain from the
Admiralty to Portsmouth and Plymouth. I learnt that there are twelve
stations between London and Portsmouth, and thirty-one between London
and Plymouth, of which eight are part of the Portsmouth line till they
separate in the New Forest. Another chain, extending from London to
Yarmouth, contains nineteen stations; and another from London to Deal
contains ten stations; making in the whole system sixty-four
telegraphs. The distances average about eight miles, yet some of them
are twelve or fourteen miles; and the lines are often increased by
circuits, for want of commanding heights. In the Yarmouth line
particularly, the chain makes a considerable detour to the northward.

After about twenty years' experience, they calculate on about two
hundred days on which signals can be transmitted throughout the day;
about sixty others on which they can pass only part of the day, or at
particular stations; and about one hundred days in which few of the
stations can see the others. The powers of the stations in this
respect are exceedingly various. The station in question is generally
rendered useless during easterly winds by the smoke of London, which
fills the valley of the Thames between this spot and Chelsea hospital;
or more commonly between the shorter distance of the Admiralty and
Chelsea. Dead flats are found to be universally unfavourable; and
generally stations are useless nearly in the proportion of the miles
of dead flat looked over. On the contrary, stations between hill and
hill, looking across a valley, or series of valleys, are mostly clear;
and water surfaces are found to produce fewer obscure days than land
in any situation. The period least favourable of the same day is an
hour or two before and after the sun's passage of the meridian,
particularly on dead levels, where the play of the sun's rays on the
rising exhalations renders distant vision exceedingly obscure. The
tranquillity of the morning and evening are ascertained to be the most
favourable hours for observation.

A message from London to Portsmouth is usually transmitted in about
fifteen minutes; but, by an experiment tried for the purpose, a single
signal has been transmitted to Plymouth and back again in three
minutes, which by the Telegraph route is at at least five hundred
miles. In this instance, however, notice had been given to make ready,
and every captain was at his post to receive and return the signals.
The progress was at the rate of one hundred and seventy miles in a
minute, or three miles per second, or three seconds at each station; a
rapidity truly wonderful! The number of signals produced by the
English telegraph is sixty-three--by which they represent the ten
digits, the letters of the alphabet, many generic words, and all the
numbers which can be expressed by sixty-three variations of the
digits. The signals are sufficiently various to express any three or
four words in twice as many changes of the shutters.

The observers at these telegraphs are not expected to keep their eye
constantly at the glass, but look only every five minutes for the
signal to make ready. The telescopes are Dolland's Achromatics, at
which one would wonder, if every thing done for governments were not
converted into a job. The intention should have been to enable the
observer to see the greatest number of hours; consequently the light
should be intercepted by the smallest quantity of glass. Dollond's
achromatics contain, however, six lenses, and possess no
recommendation but their enlarged field, and their freedom from
prismatic colours in that field; points of no consequence in looking
through a fixed glass at a fixed and circumscribed object. The field
of the Galilean telescope is quite large enough, and, having but two
lenses, one of which is a thin concave, it exhibits the object with
greater brightness, and therefore ought to have been preferred for
this purpose. It seems strange also, that, to ease the operator, it
has never been contrived to exhibit the fixed spectrum on the
principle of a portable camera, so that, without wearying the eye, the
changes of the distant telegraph might have been exhibited on a plain
surface, and seen with both eyes like the leaf of a book. The
application of optical instruments, between a fixed station and fixed
object, ought to have been made in an appropriate manner, and not
influenced by the practices which prevail in regard to moveable
telescopes for various objects.

I have long thought that a system of telegraphs for domestic purposes
would constitute one perfection of civilization in any country.
Multifarious are the occasions in which individual interests require
that events should be communicated with telegraphic celerity. Shipping
concerns alone would keep telegraphs constantly at work, between all
the ports of the kingdom and Lloyd's coffee-house; and commerce would
be essentially served, if, during 'Change-hours at London, Bristol,
Liverpool, Hull, and Glasgow, communications could be interchanged
relative to the state of markets, purchases, sales, and other
transactions of business. How convenient too would be such a rapid
intercourse between London and country bankers, in regard to balances,
advances, and money transactions; how desirable in law business
between London and country practitioners; and how important in cases
of bankruptcy or insolvency! In family concerns, notices of deaths,
births, accidents, progressive sickness, &c. it would often be deeply
interesting. The state of elections, the issues of lawsuits,
determinations of the legislature, questions for answers, and
numberless events of more or less importance, would occur sufficient
to keep telegraphs in constant requisition, and abundantly repay the
cost of maintaining them. A guinea might be paid per hundred miles,
for every five or six words, which, in matters of private concern,
might, by pre-concert, be transmitted in cypher. Instead of sixty-four
telegraphs, we might then require five hundred, and an establishment
costing 100,000_l._ per annum; yet five hundred messages and replies
per day, between different parts of the kingdom, taken at 2_l._ each,
would in two hundred and fifty days produce 250,000_l._ or a net
revenue of 150,000_l._ But to achieve so vast a purpose, and to confer
on men a species of ubiquity, even if 50,000_l._ per annum were lost
to the government, would it not be worth the sacrifice, thus to give
to the people of England an advantage not possessed, and never likely
to be possessed, by any other people on earth? What a triumph of
civilization would be afforded by such an extension of the telegraphic
system! The combinations of the #TELESCOPE# began what those of the
#TELEGRAPH# would complete. United, they would produce a kind of
_finite ubiquity_, rendering the intercourse of an industrious
community independent of time and distance, and binding the whole in
ties of self-interest, by means which could be achieved only in a high
state of civilization through fortunate combinations of human art.

As I looked around me from this eminence, a multitude of ideas,
sympathies, and affections, vibrated within me, which it would be
impossible or tedious to analyse. The organ of the Eye was here played
upon like that of the Ear in a musical concert. Nor was it the sense
alone which was touched by this visual harmony; but every chord and
tone found a separate concord or discord, in innumerable associations
and reminiscences. It was, in truth, a chorus to the eye, unattended
by the noise and distraction produced by the laboured compositions of
#Handel#; while it filled the whole of its peculiar sense with an
effect like one of the tender symphonies of #Haydn#. It was a
Panorama, better adapted, however, to a poet than a painter; for it
had no foreground, no tangible objects for light and shade, nor any
eminences which raise the landscape above an angle of six or eight
degrees; yet, to a poet, how rich it was in associations--how endless
in pictures for the imagination!

The north and north-east were still obscured by the dingy, irregular,
and dense Smoke issuing from the volcano of the Metropolis; and, in
looking upon it, how difficult it was to avoid tracing the now mingled
masses back to their several sources, considering the happiness or
misery which they reflected from their respective fire-sides, and
gaging the aspirations of hope, or the sighs of wretchedness, which a
fertile imagination might conceive to be combined with this social
atmosphere! Convenient alike to every condition of humanity, it might
be considered as flowing at once from the dungeons of despairing
convicts, the cellars and garrets of squalid poverty, the busy haunts
of avarice, the waste of luxury, and the wantonness of wealth.

Straight before me, the metropolis, like a devouring monster,
exhibited its equivocal and meretricious beauties, its extensive
manufactories, its a_spir_ing churches and towers, and other
innumerable edifices. #Westminster Abbey# stood prominent, at once
reviving the recollection of its superstitious origin, and exciting
deep veneration as the depository of the relics of so much renown.
What topics for commentary, if they had not been recently exhausted in
the classical stanzas of a #Maurice#! St. #Paul's#, the monument of
Wren, was but just visible through the haze, though the man at the
Telegraph asserted, that he could sometimes tell the hour by its dial
without the aid of a telescope! How characteristic is this structure
become of the British metropolis, and how flat the mass of common
spires and smoky chimneys would now seem without it! The Monument,
recording the delusions of faction, and the Tower, with all its gloomy
associations, were visible in the reach of the river. Of Churches
there appeared a monotonous groupe; while the houses presented a dingy
and misshapen mass, as uninteresting at the distance of seven miles as
an ant-hill at the distance of seven feet. Indeed, any wretch capable
of setting his foot upon an ant-hill, and of destroying it, because it
made no palpable appeals to his sympathy, might at this distance, by
parity of feeling, let fall a mill-stone on this great city, and
extinguish in an instant the hopes and cares of its inhabitants. On
this spot then I behold an assemblage of the greatest wonders of man's
creation, at a focal distance, which reduces them to the measure of an
#ANT-HILL#; and still further off they would be diminished even to a
#POINT#! Such is the estimate of the eye, nor is it heightened by that
of the ear; for I was assured that during tranquil nights,
particularly by listening near the ground, the confused hum of the
vast British metropolis could here be compared only to the buz of a
#BEE-HIVE#, or the sound of a #CONCH#! What a lesson do these
considerations afford to the pride of man, whose egotism represents
him to himself as the most important object of the infinite creation;
for whose use, he asserts, all things were made, and to whom all
things are subservient! It is, however, natural that the nearest
object should fill the largest angle, whether viewed by the mind or
the eye; though it is the business of wisdom and philosophy to correct
such illusions of our intellectual or sensitive powers.

Of the moral condition, and feelings, concentrated within a spot thus
embraced by a glance of the eye, how impossible to form an estimate!
Supposing 900,000 human beings are thus huddled together, in 150,000
houses, we may conclude, that 100,000 will always be lying on the bed
of sickness, and that 30,000 are constantly afflicted by mortal
diseases, eighty of whom expire every day, or three in every hour! Of
the 150,000 house-keepers, above 50,000 are racked by poverty, or by
the dread of its approach; other 50,000 maintain a precarious
independence; while the remaining 50,000 enjoy comfort and happiness,
chequered, however, by care and the conflict of human passions. The
greater part of the first class are either already plunged, or
predisposed to plunge, into vices and crimes unknown except in such a
city; those of the second class maintain a virtuous struggle, but more
frequently sink into the lower, than rise into the higher class;
while, among the third class, there are found all degrees of virtue
and worth, although mixed with an envious spirit of rivalry, and an
indulgence in expense and luxury that greatly reduce the number of
truly happy families.

On the north, north-west, and east, I still beheld the signs of this
overgrown metropolis in villages, which branch, like luxuriant shoots,
on every side. And it was only on the south and south-west, in the
swelling downs and in the charms of Box-hill, Leith-hill, and Dorking,
that I could discover the unsophisticated beauties of nature, which
seemed to mock the toils of man, in the contrast they afforded to the
scene in the opposite direction. Yet men, who never receive
instruction except through their own experience, flock in tens of
thousands to share in the lottery presented to their ambition in great
cities, where thousands perish while in pursuit of the prize, where
other thousands obtain nothing but blanks and disappointments, and
whence the tens who achieve their object, gladly escape to enjoy their
wealth, free from the disturbance of city passions, amid the placid
and unchangeable beauties of nature.

In looking around me from the windows of Hartley's Fire-house, it was
impossible to avoid reflecting on the wretchedness of Want existing in
the sooty metropolis, and the waste of Means in the uncultivated
country immediately around me. I had just been sympathizing with the
forlorn inhabitants of the workhouse at Wandsworth, at the distance of
only a mile; and half a dozen other such receptacles of misery invited
commiseration within equal distances, in other directions; yet a
radius of a few hundred yards round this spot would have included as
much unappropriated and useless land as might have sufficed to confer
independence and plenty on their hopeless inmates! In the
north-eastern direction, within a distance of ten miles, at least
twenty thousand families might be discovered pining in squalid misery;
though here I found myself in an unpeopled and uncultivated tract,
nearly four miles square, and containing above fifteen thousand acres
of good soil, capable of affording independent subsistence to half as
many families!

I could not help exclaiming against the perversity of reason--the
indifference of power--the complication of folly--and the ascendancy
of turpitude, which, separately or conjointly, continue to produce
circumstances so cruel and preposterous! Let it be recorded, said I,
to the eternal disgrace of all modern statesmen, of many hundreds of
ambitious legislators, and of our scientific economists, that in this
luxuriant county of Surrey, there still exist, without productive
cultivation, no less than 25,000 acres of open commons; 30,000 acres
of useless parks, 48,000 acres of heaths, and 30,000 acres of chalk
hills, serving but to subsist a few herds of deer and cattle, and to
grow some unproductive trees, though at the very instant 10,000
families in the same county are dependent on the bounty of their
respective parishes! Is this, said I, the vaunted age of reason? Are
these the genuine fruits of civilization? Do such circumstances
indicate the ascendency of benevolence? Do they not rather demonstrate
that the principle of doing to others as we would be done unto, has
little influence on the practices of our Statesmen and Legislators?

I may be told, that the principle of enclosing waste lands has long
been recognised in the prevailing system of economy, and that the
Legislature is incessantly active in passing Bills for new enclosures.
But, I ask, for whom, and for whose benefit, are these bills passed?
Do they provide for the poor? Do they help those who require help? Do
they, by augmenting the supply, make provisions cheaper? Do they
increase the number of independent fire-sides?--Rather, do they not
wantonly add to the means of monopolists? Do they not give where
nothing is wanted, however much may be coveted? Do they not add to the
number of vassals, and diminish the number of freemen? Do they not
abridge the scanty means of the poor in the free use of their
bare-cropt commons? And do they not transfer those means to others who
do not want them, and who, without the aid of new laws could never
have enjoyed them?

Yet does reason afford no alternative? Is benevolence forced to prefer
barren heaths from which cottagers may derive scanty meals, merely
because those who have the power fail to reconcile the rights ©f
others who want, with the benefit of the whole community? Is our
wisdom confined in so narrow a circle? Has nature provided abundance,
and do we create insuperable bars to its enjoyment? Is such the line
of demarcation between the selfish ordinances of man, and the wise
dispensations of Providence?

Let me recommend our legislators for once to put their greedy,
covetous, and inordinate Selves out of consideration. The poor may not
be qualified to plead their rights, except by acts of rioting; but let
them find clamorous advocates in the consciences of some of their
law-makers. In spite, then, of the fees of parliament, I exhort the
Legislature to pass a #GENERAL ENCLOSURE BILL#, not such a one,
however, as would be recommended by the illustrious Board of
Agriculture, but founded on such principles as might appropriately
confer on it the title of #A BILL FOR THE EXTINCTION OF WANT#!

In discussing and enacting its provisions, let it be borne in mind,
that the surface of the earth, like the atmosphere in which we
breathe, and the light in which we see, is the natural and common
patrimony of man. Let it be considered, that by nature we are tillers
of the soil, and that all the artifices of society, and the
employments of towns, are good and desirable in the degree only in
which they promote the comforts of the country. Let it be felt, that
the 10,000 destitute families in this county of Surrey, and the half
million in England and Wales, are so, merely because servitude or
manufactures have failed to sustain them; and that they require, in
consequence, the free use of the means presented by nature for their
subsistence. In fine, let it be considered, that the unappropriated
wastes are a national stock, fortunately in reserve as a provision for
the increasing numbers of destitute; and that no more is required of
the law than to arrange and economize the distribution, consistently
with the wants of some, and the rights of all.

I indulged myself in a pleasing reverie on this subject, while I
rambled from the spot where it originated towards an adjacent house,
in which died the late Mr. #Pitt#, a man who had the opportunity of
executing that which I have the power only to speculate upon, and who,
though resident in this tract, was blind to its capabilities. Ah!
thought I, perhaps in a less selfish age, this very heath, and all the
adjoining heaths, waste tracts, and commons, from Bushy to Wimbledon,
and from Barnes to Kingston, may be covered with cottages, each
surrounded by its two or three acres of productive garden, orchard,
and paddock! The healthful and happy inhabitants, emerged from the
workhouses, the gaols, the cellars, the stews, the St. Giles's, the
loathsome courts, alleys, and lanes of the metropolis, would have
reason to return thanksgivings to the wise Legislature, who had thus
restored them to the condition of men, and enabled them to exhibit the
moral effects of the change. Such, in the opinion of the writer, would
be a radical cure for several of the complicated and deep-rooted
diseases which now afflict British society; at least, it is a remedy
without cost or sacrifice; and, as such, an homage due from affluence
and power to indigence and misfortune. Such a plan would draw from the
over-peopled towns, that destitute portion of the population, whose
means of living have been reduced or superseded by shoals of
adventurers from the country. It would render workhouses useless,
except for the vicious or incorrigibly idle; would diminish the
poor-rates, and deprive the inmates of gaols of the powerful excuse
afforded to crime by the hopeless and galling condition of poverty.

The house in which that darling of Fame, the late Mr. #Pitt#, lived a
few years, and terminated his career, is a modest and irregularly-built
mansion, surrounded by a few acres of pleasure-ground, and situated
about a quarter of a mile from the paling of Richmond Park. My
curiosity led me to visit the chamber in which this minister died, to
indulge in the vivid associations produced by the contemplation of
remarkable localities. I seated myself in a chair near the spot where
stood the couch on which he took his eternal slumber. I fancied, at
the instant, that I still saw the severe visage and gaunt figure of
the minister standing between the Treasury-bench and the table of the
House of Commons, turning around to his admiring partisans, and
filling the ear of his auditory with the deep full tones of a voice
that bespoke a colossal stature. Certain phrases which he used to
parrot still vibrated on my brain: "Bonaparte, the child and champion
of Jacobinism,"--"the preservation of social order in Europe,"--"the
destruction of whatever is dear to our feelings as Englishmen,"--"the
security of our religion, liberties, and property,"--"indemnity for
the past and security for the future," with which he used to bewilder
or terrify the plain country gentlemen, or the youths from Eton,
Oxford, or Cambridge, who constitute a majority of that House. His
success in exciting the passions of such senators in favour of discord
and war, his lavish expenditure of the public money in corrupting
others, and his insincerity in whatever he professed for the public
benefit, rendered him through life the subject of my aversion: but, in
this chamber, reduced to the level of ordinary men, and sinking under
the common infirmities of humanity, his person, character, and
premature decease became objects of interesting sympathy. Perhaps he
did what he thought best; or, rather, committed the least possible
evil amidst the contrariety of interests and passions in which he and
all public men are placed. This, however, is but a poor apology for
one who lent his powerful talents to wage wars that involved the
happiness of millions, who became a willing firebrand among nations,
and who, as a tool or a principal, was foremost in every work of
contemporary mischief. The love of office, and a passion for public
speaking, were, doubtless, the predominant feelings of his soul. To
gratify the former, he became the instrument of others, and thence the
sophistry of his eloquence and the insincerity of his character;
while, in the proud display of his acknowledged powers as an orator,
he was stimulated not less by vanity, than by the virtuous rivalry of
Fox. As a financier, he played the part of a nobleman who, having
estates, worth 20,000_l._ per annum, mortgages them to enable him to
spend 100,000_l._ and then plumes himself on his power, with the same
freeholds, to make a greater figure than his predecessors. But, except
for the lesson which he afforded to nations never to trust their
fortunes in the hands of inexperienced statesmen, why do I gravely
discuss the measures and errors of one who did not live long enough to
prove his genuine character? No precocity of talents, no mechanical
splendour of eloquence, can stand in the place of judgment founded on
Experience. At forty-six, Pitt would have begun, like all other men of
the same age, to correct the errors of his past life; but, being then
cut off--#HIS STORY IS INCOMPLETE#! He had within him the elements of
a great man, yet they were called into action before their powers were
adjusted and matured; and the world suffered by experiments made in
teaching himself, instead of profiting by the union of his experience
with his intellectual energies. He was an actor on the stage, while he
ought to have been in the closet studying his part; his errors,
therefore, merit pity, and those alone are to be blamed for them who
made a dishonest use of his precocious powers.

I learnt in the immediate vicinity, that he was much respected, and
was a kind master to his domestics. A person, who a little before his
death was in this room, told that it was heated to a very high and
oppressive temperature; and that the deep voice of the dying minister,
as he asked his valet a question, startled this visitor, who had been
unused to it. He died calmly, and apparently under none of those
political perturbations which, at the period, were mistakenly ascribed
to his last moments. The Bishop of Lincoln, who acted the part of his
friend and confessor, published an interesting account of his decease,
the accuracy of which has never been questioned.

It being my intention, on leaving this spot, to descend the hill to
Barnes-Elms, and to proceed by that once classical resort through
Barnes and Mortlake to Kew, I left Mr. Pitt's house on the right, and
crossed the common to the retired village of Roehampton.

Opposite to me were the boundaries of Richmond Park; and, little more
than half a mile from the house of Pitt, in one of the most
picturesque situations of that beautiful demesne, stands the elegant
mansion which was presented, it is said, to the then favourite
minister, Mr. #Addington#. Thus it appears, that two succeeding
ministers of England, in an age reputed enlightened, lived in a
district possessing the described capabilities for removing the
canker-worm of poverty, yet neither of them displayed sufficient
energy or wisdom to apply the remedy to the disease. I am not,
however, arrogant enough to adduce my plans as tests of the patriotism
of statesmen; but I venture to appeal from the judgment of this age to
that of the next, whether any minister could deserve the reputation of
sagacity, who, in an over-peopled country, in which large portions of
the inhabitants of the towns were destitute of subsistence, lived
themselves in the midst of waste tracts capable of feeding the whole,
and yet took no measures nor made a single effort to apply the waste
to their wants. If the same facts were related of a ruler in any
foreign country, or in any remote age, what would be the inference of
a modern English reader in regard to his genuine benevolence, wisdom,
or patriotism?

I am desirous of advancing no opinions which can be questioned, yet I
cannot refrain from mentioning, in connexion with this wooded horizon,
my surprise that peculiar species of trees have not yet formed a line
of distinction between inhabited and civilized, and uninhabited and
barbarous countries. Does not the principle which converts a heath
into pasturage and corn-fields, or a collection of furze-bushes or
brambles into a fruit-garden, demand that all unproductive trees
should give way as fast as possible, in a civilized country, to other
trees which afford food to the inhabitants? Are there not desolate
countries enough in which to grow trees for the mere purposes of
timber? Are there not soils and situations even in England, where none
but timber-trees can grow? And is not the timber of many fruit-trees
as useful as the timber of many of the lumber-trees which now encumber
our soil? It is true, that, when wood constituted the fuel of the
country, the growth of lumber-tree was essential to the comforts of
the inhabitants; but that is no longer our condition. I conceive,
therefore, that a wise and provident government, which, above all
other considerations, should endeavour to feed the people at the least
cost and labour, ought to allow no lumber-trees to encumber the soil
until fruit-trees were planted sufficient to supply the inhabitants
with as much fruit as their wants or luxuries might require. The
primary object of all public economy should be to saturate, a
civilized country with food. Why should not pear and walnut-trees
supply the place of oaks, elms, and ash; the apple, plum, cherry,
damson, and mulberry, that of the birch, yew, and all pollards? It
would be difficult, I conceive, to adduce a reason to the contrary;
and none which could weigh against the incalculable advantages of an
abundant supply of wholesome provisions in this cheap form. Nor does
my plan terminate with the ornaments of forests, parks, and
hedge-rows; but I ask, why many hedges themselves might not, in like
manner, consist of gooseberry and currant trees in their most
luxuriant varieties, intermingled with raspberries, nuts, filberts,
bullaces, &c.? Not to give this useful and productive face to a
country, appears to me to be shutting our eyes to the light; to prefer
the useless to the useful; to be so inconsistent as to expect plenty
where we take no means to create it; or, in other words; to sow tares
and desire to gather wheat, or expect grapes where we have planted
only thorns. Let us, even in this point, condescend to borrow a lesson
from an illustrious, though oft despised, neighbour, who, it appears
by the evidence of all travellers, has taken care that the roads and
hedges of France should be covered with productive fruit trees. If
such also were the condition of Britain, how insignificant would
become the anxious questions about a Corn Bill, or the price of any
single article of food. We should then partake of the ample stores
provided, and perhaps contemplated, by our forefathers, when they
rendered indigenous the fruit-trees of warmer climates; and, feeling
less solicitude in regard to the gross wants of animal subsistence, we
should be enabled to employ our faculties more generally in improving
our moral and social condition. We should thus extend the principle,
and reduce the general purpose of all productive cultivation to an
analogous economy, enjoying the fullest triumph which our climate
would admit, of the fortunate combinations of human art over the
inaptitude and primitive barbarity of nature.

The sequestered village of Roehampton consists of about thirty or
forty small houses, in contact; and of a dozen monastic mansions,
inhabited by noblemen and well-accredited traders. Each of the latter
being surrounded by twenty or thirty acres of garden and
pleasure-grounds, and bounded by high brick walls, which in every
direction line the roads, Roehampton presents to a stranger a most
cheerless aspect. As the plantations are old, the full-grown oaks,
elms, and chesnuts, within the walls, add to the gloom, and call to
mind those ages of mental paralysis when Druids and Monks gave effect
to their impostures by similar arrangements.

They serve to prove how slavishly men are the creatures of imitation;
how seldom, in how few things, and by what small gradations genius
gives a novel direction to their practices! When this island was
overrun with beasts of prey, in the shape of quadrupeds, and lawless
bipeds, the baron and the man of wealth found it necessary to shut
themselves within castellated mansions and circumvallated domains; and
hence the vulgar association between such establishments and a
presumed high rank in their occupiers. The state of the country and of
modern society renders them no longer essential to security; yet they
are maintained as the effect of a false association; and half the
stimulus of avarice would be lost without the anticipated grandeur of
a monastic establishment, buried in the centre of a wood, and cut off
from the cheerful world, and the healthful circulation of the
atmosphere, by damp and mouldering walls! It does not signify how
apparently dull, how unappropriate to fixed habits, how unvarying the
inanimate scene, how much the inmates may be visited by low fevers,
agues, rheumatisms, and pulmonary affections; the manor-house, or the
ancient monastery, which has for ages been the residence of nobility,
becomes, in consequence, the meed of wealth, and the goal of vulgar
hope, to be patiently endured, however little it may be enjoyed! Pride
will feed upon the possession; and, if that master-passion be
gratified, minor inconveniences will have little weight in making the

I confess it--and I make the declaration in the humble form of a
confession, in the hope that those who think I have sinned, will be
led to forgive my error--that I could not help thinking that the
inhabitants of the humble cottages by the way-side, whose doors stood
wide open, whose children were intermingling and playing before them,
whose society is restricted by no formal reserve, whose means depend
on their industry, #WHO HAVE NOT LEISURE TO BE UNHAPPY#, who cannot
afford to stimulate their appetites so as to enfeeble themselves by
the languor of repletion, or disease themselves by the corruptions of
plethora, and who would have no wants if the bounties of nature were
not cruelly intercepted--I could not help feeling, that such
unsophisticated beings experience less care, less self-oppression,
less disease, more gaiety of heart, more grateful sympathy, and more
even of the sense of well-being, than the artificial and constrained
personages who, however amiable, and however free from the common
vices of rank and wealth, inhabit the adjacent mansions, with all
their decorations of art, and all their luxuries of hot-houses,
graperies, pineries, ice-houses, temples, grottoes, hermitages, and
other fancies, with which power hopes to cheat itself into enjoyment,
as an apology for its insatiable monopolies.

The inefficacy of wealth to raise man above his cares and mortal
feelings has, however, of late years been so honestly conceded, that
the rich have begun, at least in external appearance, to assume the
condition of the poor. Hence, few of those mansions are built, or even
restored, on whose gloomy character I have been remarking; and our
proudest nobility now condescend to inhabit the cheerful, though
humble, Cottage. They find, or by their practices they seem to prove
they have found, that the nearest approach to happiness, is the
nearest approach to the humility of poverty! The thatched roof--the
tiny flower-garden--the modest wicket--the honey-suckle bower--the
cleanly dairy--the poultry yard--the dove-cote--the piggery--and the
rabbit-pen,--comprehended under the names of the _Ferme Ornée_, or
_Cottage Ornée_, now constitute the favourite establishments of those
who found so few comforts in marble porticoes, in walls hung with the
works of the Gobelins or the Italian school, in retinues of servants,
and extensive parks. What a concession of pride--what a homage
rendered to nature--what a consolation to discontented poverty--what a
warning to inconsiderate ambition!

Yet our taste ought to be governed by our reason and our wants. Large
families require large houses; it is therefore the business of good
taste to combine capacity with cheerfulness. Nothing, at the same
time, within the sphere of human enjoyment, equals the delight
afforded by well-planned garden-grounds; and it is consequently the
duty of the artist to unite these with the cheerful family mansion.
Here, then, begin the obtrusion, and the alledged necessity of those
boundary walls, against which I have been protesting. No such
thing--such walls, thanks to the genius and good taste of a #Pilton#,
are become unnecessary. We may now, without walls, have secure
boundaries--we may keep out trespassers without excluding the fresh
air--and we may circumscribe our limits without diminishing our
external prospects. In that case, how different in appearance would be
this village of Roehampton--how much more tolerable to its
residents--how far more healthy--and how enchanting to strangers,--if,
instead of monotonous brick-walls, the boundaries were formed by the
magical fences of #Pilton#, allowing the free passage of the solar
rays and the vital air, reciprocating delightful prospects from
plantation to plantation, and adding the essential charms of variety
to the pleasures of possession.

The first house in the lane is the classical seat of the Earl of
Besborough, enriched with specimens of ancient statuary from Italy and
Greece, and with exquisite pictures of the Italian, Flemish, and Dutch
schools. Adjoining, is the highly finished residence of the
Marchioness of Downshire; and farther on, are the superb mansions of
Mr. Gosling, a banker; and of Mr. Dyer. In the lane leading to
Richmond Park, across which there is a delightful drive to the
Star-and-Garter, is the charming residence of Mr. Temple; and, farther
north, is the splendid mansion of the late Mr. Benjamin Goldsmid,
since become the property of Lord Chief Justice Ellenborough.

Various associations in regard to its first and its present
proprietor, drew my attention to the site last mentioned. I had not
leisure to examine its interior, but the exterior is in the best style
of such edifices. The house looks to the north-west, and, being the
last in the descent of the hill, commands an uninterrupted prospect
over the country towards Harrow and Elstree. The front consists of a
superb portico of white marble columns, in the Corinthian order; but
in other respects the house is not very striking, and its dimensions
are inconsiderable. The lawn falls pleasingly towards a piece of
water, and on its eastern side is a fascinating drive of half-a-mile,
terminated by a pair of cast-iron gates of singular beauty. But the
object which more particularly called to mind the unbounded wealth of
its former proprietor, is a subterraneous way to the kitchen-garden
and lawns on the opposite side the road. It is finished with gates
resembling those of a fortified castle, with recesses and various
ornaments, all of Portland-stone; and on the near side is a spacious

In this house the late Mr. B. Goldsmid resided, while he balanced the
finances of the British empire, and raised for the Pitt Administration
those vast sums which enabled it to retard the progress of liberal
opinions during the quarter of a century! After the instance of a
Goldsmid, the reputed wealth of a Croesus sinks into insignificance.
The Jew broker, year after year, raised for the British government
sums of twenty and thirty millions, while the Lydian monarch, with all
his boasted treasures, would have been unable to make good even the
first instalment! Such, however, is the talisman of credit in a
commercial and banking country! In addition to their own funds, and to
the funds permanently confided to their prudence from foreign
correspondents, amounting to three or four millions, the brothers,
Benjamin and Abraham Goldsmid, commanded for many years, from day to
day, the floating balances of the principal London bankers; and they
were among bankers, what bankers are among private traders. It was
their daily practice to visit most of the bankers' counting-houses,
and address them briefly--"Will you borrow or lend fifty thousand
to-day?"--According to the answer, the sum required was deposited on
the spot, or carried away--no memorandum passed, and a simple entry in
their respective books served merely to record the hour when the sum
was to be repaid, with its interest. With such credit, and such ready
means, it is not to be wondered that the Goldsmids commanded the
wealth of the world; nor that their services were courted by an
administration which never suffered its projects to languish while
these brokers could raise money on exchequer-bills! A paper
circulation is, however, a vortex, out of which neither individuals
nor governments ever escaped without calamity, and from whose fatal
effects the prudence and integrity of these worthy men served as no
adequate protection. A whisper that they had omitted to repay a
banker's loan at the very hour agreed, first shook their credit; while
some changes in the financial arrangements of government, and the
malignity of some envious persons, (for rivals they could have none,)
led to a fatal catastrophe in regard to one brother in this house;
afterwards to a similar tragedy in regard to the other, at Merton; and
finally to the breaking-up of their vast establishment. Whether their
exertions were beneficial to the country may be doubted; this,
however, is certain, that the Goldsmids were men of a princely spirit,
who possessed a command of wealth, during the twelve or fifteen years
of their career, beyond any example in the domestic history of
nations. In this house Benjamin repeatedly gave banquets, worthy of
his means, to the chief branches of the royal family, and most of the
nobility and gentry of the realm: and it deserves to be mentioned, to
his honour, that he was the constant patron of literature and of
distressed men of letters. Abraham, in like manner, gave royal
entertainments, and was the unshaken friend of Lord Nelson, and of the
interesting widow of Sir William Hamilton, whose premature death in a
state of poverty, was a consequence of the misfortunes of her generous

Adjoining the splendid iron gates which lead into these grounds,
stands a house memorable for the violent effects of a thunder storm.
The records of the year 1780 probably describe the details of these
phenomena; but, happening to meet, on the premises, with a man who had
witnessed the whole, I collected from him the following
particulars:--He related, that, after a pleasant day in September, a
sudden storm of thunder and lightning, accompanied by rain and wind,
took place, which lasted not more than ten or fifteen minutes. That,
believing "the world at an end, his master and family went to
prayers;" but, on the noise abating, they found that their extensive
barn, with various out-buildings, had been entirely carried away.
Parts of them were found, on the following morning, on Barnes Common,
at the distance of a mile, while other parts were scattered around the
fields. He related also, that two horses which were feeding in a shed,
were driven, with their manger, into the ditch on the opposite side of
the lane; and that a loaded cart was torn from the shafts and wheels,
and wafted into an adjoining field. A crop of turnips were mowed down
as with a scythe, and a double row of twenty or thirty full-grown
elms, which stood on the sides of the lane, were torn up by the roots.
One man was killed in the barn, and six others were wounded, or so
severely shocked as to require relief in an hospital.

Having never before met with a case of such total destruction from the
action of electricity, I considered these facts as too interesting to
be lost. It may be worth while to add, in elucidation, that the
mischief was doubtless occasioned by an ascending ball; or rather, as
the action extended over a surface of three or four acres, by a
succession of ascending balls.[3] The conducting substances were dry
or imperfect, and thence the violence of the explosions. This is
neither the time nor place to speak of the erroneous views still
entertained of a power which is only known to us by experiments made
within a non-conducting atmosphere, whose antagonist properties, or
peculiar relations to it, afford results which are mistakenly ascribed
to the power itself, as properties _per se_. Are we warranted in
calling in an independent agent to account for phenomena which are
governed in their appearances by every different _surface_ in
connexion with which they are exhibited, and which can be produced
only in certain classes of _surfaces_ in fixed relations to other
_surfaces_? Can the cause of phenomena, of which we have no knowledge
but in the antagonist relations of _surfaces_ called conducting and
non-conducting, be philosophically considered but as _the mere effect_
of those nicely-adjusted relations? Can that power be said to be
distinct from the inherent properties of various matter, which can
never be exhibited except in contrast, as _plus_ on one surface, and
_minus_ in another, or, if positive on A. necessarily and
simultaneously negative on B.? Are the phenomena called #LIGHT#,
#MAGNETISM#, produced by different powers of nature, or by the action
of one power on different bodies, or by the action of different bodies
on one active power? Do not the phenomena appear constantly to
accompany the same bodies, and are they not therefore occasioned by
the qualities of the bodies? May not the different qualities of bodies
be sufficient to explain the phenomena on the hypothesis of one active
power? Is it necessary that the phenomena should be confined to
particular bodies, if there are as many active fluids as phenomena? Is
not the exact limitation of each set of phenomena to particular bodies
conclusive evidence that the phenomena grow out of some antagonist
qualities of those bodies? In fine, do not the varying powers
calculated to produce the phenomena, consist of the varying qualities
of bodies, and the varying circumstances in which they are placed in
regard to each other; and may not the active power be fixed and always
the same? Does not this conclusion best accord with the simplicity of
nature? Is it probable that two active powers could be co-existent?
May not the elasticity of a universal medium account for most of the
intricate phenomena of bodies? May not motion grow out of the vacuum
between the atoms of that universal medium? May there not be set
within set, each necessary to the motion of the other, till we
approximate a plenum? May not certain varieties of these involved
series of atoms constitute the several media which produce the several
phenomena of matter?

    [3] I use the word _ball_, because I consider the power
        called electric, which shews itself between four containing
        and contained surfaces, as a physical point bearing
        geometrical relations to those surfaces; which point, by the
        rapidity of its motion to restore some disturbed
        equilibrium, generates a continuous fire, and deceives the
        eye by the semblance of a stream.

Prudence forbids me to extend these queries on subjects which will
ever interest the speculative part of mankind, but on which it will be
difficult, if not impossible, to arrive at certain and indubitable
conclusions: as, however, I have been led into this digression by
existing errors relative to Electricity, I may remark, in conclusion,
that the phenomena produced by this power arise from the action of
opposing surfaces through intervening media; that the excitement
impels the surfaces towards each other; and that all the phenomena
grow out of the motive quality of intervening bodies, whose surfaces
are alternately attracted by the comprehending excited surfaces, or
out of the want of perfect smoothness in the opposing or excited
surfaces. Electricity is in fact the phenomena of surfaces, growing
out of the sole property of their mutual mechanical attractions, which
attractions are governed by some necessary relations of the surfaces
of the intervening media to the surfaces of the opposing conductors.

At any rate, it is irrational to suppose that the #CAUSE# of #CAUSES#
operates in the production of natural phenomena by the aid of such
complicated machinery, and such involved powers, as men have forced
into nature, for the purpose of accounting for affections on their
senses, or effects of matter on matter; in the measure of which they
have no standard but their sensitive powers and the undiscovered
relations of the agent and patient. Would it not, on the contrary, be
more consistent with the proper views of philosophy to dismiss all
occult powers, which are so many signs of our ignorance or
superstition, and to search for the #SECONDARY CAUSES# of all
phenomena, as well between the smallest as the largest masses, in the
undeviating laws of #ARITHMETIC#, #GEOMETRY#, and #MECHANICS#; whose
simplicity, sublimity, perfection, and immutability, accord with our
deductions in regard to the attributes of an #OMNISCIENT ARCHITECT#
and #OMNIPOTENT DIRECTOR# of the universe?

This, however, is certain, that such catastrophes as those described
could never occur, if the imperfect conductors of which our buildings
are generally composed, were encompassed by more perfect conductors.
The ridge of the roof of every house should be of metal; and, if that
metallic ridge were connected with the leaden water-pipes, and by them
continued into the ground, all buildings would be protected. A
descending or an ascending ball would then find a conduit, by which to
pass, or freely propagate its powers, without the violent effects that
accompany its transition through air and other non-conductors. The
rods of Franklin are toys, which were ingeniously contrived in the
infancy of this branch of science, but they ought now to be forgotten.

Before I dismiss this interesting topic, I would ask whether the
transmission of the power called _electric_, to a particular spot,
does not always afford evidence, that at that spot there exists,
beneath the surface of the earth, either a vein of metallic ore, a
spring, or some other competent conductor, which the power called
_electric_ is seeking to reach, when the antagonist non-conductors
exhibit their destructive phenomena? Does not the power or vacuum
created by the change of volume in the aqueous vapour of the cloud,
regard only the perfect conductors prepared to receive it, however
deeply they may be concealed beneath the surface of the non-conducting
or imperfectly-conducting soil and vegetable surface? If it were not
so, would not the stroke always affect the higher objects, or prefer
palpable conductors in moderately elevated sites? In this instance 200
degrees of the horizon were more elevated than the place attacked,
while the destruction proves that the superficies invited no
accumulation here. Must not then the predisposing and operative cause
have existed beneath the surface; and, hence, may not the selection of
lightning, in most cases where it prefers lower sites, afford evidence
of the existence of metallic strata, of springs, or other conducting
surfaces, the discovery of which, by such natural test, may sometimes
be important to the owner of the soil?

The bottom of Roehampton-lane joins the road which leads from Putney
and Wandsworth to Richmond. Here I came again upon the same alluvial
Flat which I left when I ascended from Wandsworth to Putney-heath,
having since passed a corner of the undulating high land on which
stand Wimbledon, its common, Roehampton, Richmond-park, and its lovely
hill. A more interesting site of the same extent, is not perhaps to be
found in the world. Its picturesque beauty, and its general advantages
as a place of residence, are attested by the preference given to it by
ministers and public men, who select it as a retreat from the cares of
ambition. On this ridge Pitt, Tooke, Addington, Burdett, Goldsmid, and
Dundas, were recent contemporary residents. Here, amid the orgies of
the latter, were probably concerted many of those political projects
which have unfortunately desolated the finest portions of Europe, for
the wicked, yet vain, purpose of destroying Truth by the sword! In an
adjoining domain, Tooke beguiled, in philological pastime, the evening
of a life whose meridian had been employed in disputing, inch by inch,
the overwhelming march of corrupt influence; while, as though it were
for effect of light and shade, the spacious plain of Wimbledon served
to display the ostentatious manoeuvres of those servile agents of
equivocal justice, whose permanent organization by an anti-human
policy has been engrafted on modern society, but whose aid would
seldom or never be necessary, if the purposes of their employers
accorded with the omnipotent influence of truth, reason, and justice.

I was now on the border of Barnes Common, consisting of 500 acres of
waste; and at a few paces eastward stands #Barnes poor-house#!
Yes!--in this enlightened country--in the vicinage of the residence of
many boasted statesmen--stands a #PARISH POOR-HOUSE ON A WASTE#! The
unappropriated means of plenty and independence surrounding a mansion
of hopeless poverty, maintained by collections of nearly 4000_l._ per
annum from the industrious parishioners! Lest readers in future ages
should doubt the fact, the antiquary of the year 2500 is hereby
assured,--that it stood at the angle of the Wandsworth and Fulham
roads, at the perpendicular distance of a mile from the Thames, and by
the side of the fashionable ride from London to Richmond!--Did so
monstrous an incongruity never penetrate the heads or hearts of any of
the high personages who daily pass it? Did it never occur to any of
them that it would be more rational to convert the materials of this
building into cottages, surrounded by two or three acres of the waste,
by which the happiness of the poor and the interests of the public
would be blended? Can any antiquated feudal right to this useless
tract properly supersede the paramount claims of the poor and the
public?--From respect to any such right, ought so great a libel on our
political economy to be suffered to exist, as a receptacle for the
poor in the middle of an uncultivated and unappropriated waste? To
dwell further on so mortifying a proof of the fallibility of human
wisdom may, however, pique the pride of those who enjoy the power to
organize a better system:--I therefore forbear!

These and other considerations prompted me to visit the interior. I
found it clean and airy, but the best rooms were not appropriated to
the poor. The master and matron were plain honest people, who, I have
no doubt, do all the justice that is possible with a wretched pittance
of 5_s._ 6_d._ per head per week. Should 4_s._ 6_d._ remain to provide
each with twenty-one meals, this is but two-pence half-penny per meal!
Think of this, ye pampered minions of wealth, who gorge turtle at a
guinea a pound, who _beastialize_ yourselves with wine at a shilling a
glass, and who wantonly devour a guinea's worth of fruit after
finishing a sumptuous dinner!--The guardians have judiciously annexed
to the house an acre or two of ground for a garden, which is
cultivated by the paupers, and supplies them with sufficient
vegetables. This, though a faint approach to my plan, is yet
sufficient to prove what the whole common would effect, if properly
applied to the wants and natural claims of the poor. It is too often
pretended that these wastes are incapable of cultivation--but the
fertile appearance of enclosed patches constantly falsifies such
selfish and malignant assertions.

I visited the community of these paupers, consisting in this small
parish of only thirty men, women, and children, in one large room.
Among them were some disgusting-looking idiots, a class of objects who
seem to be the constant nuisance of every poor-house.[4] How painful
it must be to honest poverty to be brought into contact with such
wretched creatures, who are often vicious, and, in their tricks and
habits, always offensive and dirty. Surely, for the sake of these
degraded specimens of our kind, as well as out of respect to the
parish-poor, who have no choice but to live with them, every county
ought to be provided with a special Asylum for idiots; whose purpose
should be to smoothen their passage through life, and to render it as
little noisome to others, and to one another, as possible.

    [4] Since these observations were first published, a new law
        has provided for the separate maintenance of these wretched
        objects, nearly on the plan suggested.

On leaving this poor-house, I crossed Barnes Common in a north-eastern
direction, with a view to visit at Barnes-Elms the former residence of
Jacob Tonson, the bookseller, and once the place of meeting of the
famous Kit-Cat Club.

On this Common, nature still appeared to be in a primeval and
unfinished state. The entire Flat from the high ground to the Thames,
is evidently a mere freshwater formation, of comparatively modern
date, created out of the rocky ruins which the rains, in a series of
ages, have washed from the high grounds, and further augmented by the
decay of local vegetation. The adjacent high lands, being elevated
above the action of the fresh water, were no doubt marine formations,
created by the flowing of the sea during the four thousand years when
the earth was last in its perihelion during our summer months; which
was between twelve and seven thousand years since. The Flat or
fresh-water formation, on which I was walking, still only approaches
its completion; and the desiccated soil has not yet fully defined the
boundaries of the river. At spring-tides, particularly when the line
of the moon's apsides coincides with the syzygies, or when the
ascending node is in the vernal equinox, or after heavy rains, the
river still overflows its banks, and indicates its originally extended
scite under ordinary circumstances.

The state of transition also appears in marshes, bogs, and ponds,
which, but for the interference of man, would many ages ago have been
filled up with decayed forests and the remains of undisturbed
vegetation. Rivers thus become agents of the #NEVER-CEASING CREATION#,
and a means of giving greater equality to the face of the land. The
sea, as it retired, either abruptly from some situations, or gradually
from others, left dry land, consisting of downs and swelling hills,
disposed in all the variety which would be consequential on a
succession of floods and ebbs during several thousand years. These
downs, acted upon by rain, were mechanically, or in solution, carried
off by the water to the lowest levels, the elevations being thereby
depressed, and the valleys proportionally raised. The low lands became
of course the channels through which the rains returned to the sea,
and the successive deposits on their sides, hardened by the wind and
sun, have in five or six thousand years created such tracts of
alluvial soil, as those which now present themselves in contiguity
with most rivers. The soil, thus assembled and compounded, is similar
in its nature to the rocks and hills whence it was washed; but, having
been so pulverized and so divided by solution, it forms the finest
medium for the secretion of all vegetable principles, and hence the
banks of rivers are the favourite residences of man. Should the
channel constantly narrow itself more and more, till it becomes
choaked in its course, or at its outlet, then, for a time, lakes would
be formed, which in like manner would narrow themselves and disappear.
New channels would then be formed, or the rain would so diffuse itself
over the surface, that the fall and the evaporation would balance each

Such are the unceasing works of #CREATION#, constantly taking place on
this exterior surface of the earth; where, though less evident to the
senses and experience of man, matter apparently inert is in as
progressive a state of change from the operation of unceasing and
immutable causes, as in the visible generations of the animal and
vegetable kingdoms. Thus water, wind, and heat, the energies of which
#NEVER CEASE# to be exerted, are constantly producing new
combinations, changes, and creations; which, if they accord with the
harmony of the whole, are fit and "good;" but, if discordant, are
speedily re-organized or extinguished by contrary and opposing powers.
SOON CEASES TO BE!#--Such seems to be the governing principle of
Nature--the key of all her mysteries--the primary law of creation! All
things are the proximate effects of a balance of immutable
powers--those powers are results of a #PRIMORDIAL CAUSE#,--while that
#CAUSE# is inscrutable and incomprehensible to creatures possessing
but a relative being, who live only in #TIME# and #SPACE#, and who
feel and act merely by the #IMPULSE# of limited senses and powers.

A lane, in the north-west corner of the Common, brought me to Barnes'
Elms, where now resides a Mr. Hoare, a banker of London. The family
were not at home; but, on asking the servants if that was the house of
Mr. Tonson, they assured me, with great simplicity, that no such
gentleman lived there. I named the Kit-Cat Club, as accustomed to
assemble here; but the oddity of the name excited their ridicule; and
I was told that no such Club was held there; but, perhaps, said one to
the other, the gentleman means the Club that assembles at the
public-house on the Common. Knowing, however, that I was at the right
place, I could not avoid expressing my vexation, that the periodical
assemblage of the first men of their age, should be so entirely
forgotten by those who now reside on the spot--when one of them
exclaimed, "I should not wonder if the gentleman means the
philosopher's room."--"Aye," rejoined his comrade, "I remember
somebody coming once before to see something of this sort, and my
master sent him there." I requested then to be shewn to this room;
when I was conducted across a detached garden, and brought to a
handsome structure in the architectural style of the early part of the
last century--evidently the establishment of the Kit-Cat Club!

A walk covered with docks, thistles, nettles, and high grass, led from
the remains of a gate-way in the garden-wall, to the door which opened
into the building. Ah! thought I, along this desolate avenue the
finest geniuses in England gaily proceeded to meet their friends;--yet
within a century, how changed--how deserted--how revolting! A cold
chill seized me, as the man unfastened the decayed door of the
building, and as I beheld the once-elegant hall, filled with cobwebs,
a fallen ceiling, and accumulating rubbish. On the right, the present
proprietor had erected a copper, and converted one of the parlours
into a wash-house! The door on the left led to a spacious and once
superb staircase, now in ruins, filled with dense cobwebs, which hung
from the lofty ceiling, and seemed to be deserted even by the spiders!
The entire building, for want of ventilation, having become food for
the fungus, called dry-rot, the timber had lost its cohesive powers. I
ascended the staircase, therefore, with a feeling of danger, to which
the man would not expose himself;--but I was well requited for my
pains. Here I found the Kit-Cat Club-room, nearly as it existed in the
days of its glory. It is eighteen feet high, and forty feet long, by
twenty wide. The mouldings and ornaments were in the most superb
fashion of its age; but the whole was falling to pieces, from the
effects of the dry-rot.

My attention was chiefly attracted by the faded cloth-hanging of the
room, whose red colour once set off the famous portraits of the Club,
that hung around it. Their marks and sizes were still visible, and the
numbers and names remained as written in chalk for the guidance of the
hanger! Thus was I, as it were, by these still legible names, brought
into personal contact with Addison, and Steele, and Congreve, and
Garth, and Dryden, and with many _hereditary_ nobles, remembered, only
because they were patrons of those _natural_ nobles!--I read their
names aloud!--I invoked their departed spirits!--I was appalled by the
echo of my own voice!--The holes in the floor, the forests of cobwebs
in the windows, and a swallow's nest in the corner of the ceiling,
proclaimed that I was viewing a vision of the dreamers of a past
age,--that I saw realized before me the speaking vanities of the
anxious career of man! The blood of the reader of sensibility will
thrill as mine thrilled! It was feeling without volition, and
therefore incapable of analysis!

I could not help lingering in a place so consecrated by the religion
of Nature; and, sitting down for a few minutes on some broken boards,
I involuntarily shed a tear of sympathy for the departed great--for
times gone by,--here brought before my eyes in so tangible a shape! I
yielded to the unsophisticated sentiments which I could not avoid
reading in this #VOLUME# of ruins; and felt, by irresistible association,
that every object of our affections--that our affections themselves--and
that all things that delight us, must soon pass away like this place and
its former inhabitants! #Beginning yesterday--flourishing to-day--ceasing
to-morrow!#--such is the sum of the history of all organized being!
Certain combinations excite, and the creative powers proceed with success,
till balanced by the inertia of the materials--a contest of maturity
arises, measured in length by the activity of the antagonist powers;--but
the _unceasing_ inertia finally prevails over the original excitement
and its accessary stimuli, and ultimately produces disorganization and
dissolution! Such is the abstract view of the physical laws which, in
the peculiar career of intellectual man, successively give rise to
#HOPE# in youth--#PRIDE# in manhood--#REFLECTION# in decay--and
#HUMILITY# in old age. He knows his fate to be inevitable--but every
day's care is an epitome of his course, and every night's sleep
affords an anticipation of its end!--He is thus taught to die--and, if
in spite of his vices or follies he should live till his world has
passed away before him, he will then contentedly await the termination
of that vital action which, creating no passion, affords no enjoyment.
Such, said I, is the scheme of #Benevolence#, which, by depriving the
prospect of death of its terrors, makes room, without suffering, for a
succession of new generations, to whose perceptions the world is ever
young. The only wise use therefore which men can make of scenes like
that before me, is to deduce from them a lesson of moderation and
humility;--for, such as are these dumb, though visible cares of that
generation--such will our own soon be!

On rejoining Mr. Hoare's man in the hall below, and expressing my
grief that so interesting a building should be suffered to go to decay
for want of attention, he told me that his master intended to pull it
down and unite it to an adjoining barn, so as to form of the two a
riding-house; and I learn that this design has since been executed!
The Kit-Cat pictures were painted early in the eighteenth century,
and, about the year 1710, were brought to this spot; but the room I
have been describing was not built till ten or fifteen years
afterwards. They were forty-two in number, and were presented by the
members to the elder Tonson, who died in 1736. He left them to his
great nephew, also an eminent bookseller, who died in 1767. They were
then removed from this building to the house of his brother, at
Water-Oakley, near Windsor; and, on his death, to the house of Mr.
Baker, of Hertingfordbury, where they now remain, and where I lately
saw them splendidly lodged and in fine preservation. It may be proper
to observe, that the house of Mr. Hoare was not the house of Mr.
Tonson, and that Mr. Tonson's house stood nearer to the Kit-Cat
Club-rooms, having a few years since been taken down. The situation is
certainly not a happy one, being on a level with the Thames, and the
adjacent grounds being deeply flooded at high tides. It is, however,
completely sequestered from vulgar approach, and on that account was,
perhaps, preferred as the retreat of a man of business.

At #Barnes' Elms# lived the virtuous minister of Elizabeth, Sir
#Francis Walsingham#, and here he once entertained that chivalrous
queen. #Cowley#, the poet, afterwards resided here; and, in a later
age #Heydegger#, the buffoon, who gave an eccentric entertainment to
the second Guelph, and contrived to gratify his listless mind by an
ingenious surprize, in at first making him believe that he was not
prepared to receive him, and then contriving a sudden burst of lights,
music, and gaiety.

In returning through the lane which led from the Kit-Cat Club-room to
Barnes Common, the keenest emotions of the human mind were excited by
an unforeseen cause. I was admiring the luxuriance and grandeur of the
vegetation, in trees which from the very ground expanded in immense
double trunks, and in the profusion of weeds and shrubs which covered
every part of the untrodden surface--when, on a sudden, I caught the
distant sound of a ring of #VILLAGE BELLS#. Nothing could be more in
accordance with the predispositions of my mind. All the melancholy
which is created by the recurrence of the same succession of tones,
instantly controlled and oppressed my feelings. I became the mere
patient of these sounds; and I sank, as it were, under the force of
gloomy impressions, which so completely lulled and seduced me, that I
suffered without being able to exert an effort to escape from their
magic spell. Seldom had the power of sound acquired a similar
ascendency over me. I seemed to be carried back by it to days and
events long passed away. My soul, so to speak, was absorbed; and I
leaned upon a gate, partly to indulge the reverie, partly as an effect
of lassitude, and partly to listen more attentively to the sounds
which caused so peculiar a train of feeling.

There were six bells; and they rang what might be designed for a merry
peal, to celebrate some village festival; or, perhaps, thought I, they
may be profaning a sanctuary of the religion of peace, and outraging a
land of freedom, to announce some bloody victory, gained by legions of
trained slaves, over patriots who have been asserting the liberties
and defending the independence of their country. Whichever might be
the purpose, (for, alas! the latter, among my degenerated countrymen,
is as likely as the former,) the recurring tones produced
corresponding vibrations on my nerves, and I felt myself played upon
like a concordant musical instrument. Presently, however, it occurred
to me, that I was not an entire stranger to the tones of those bells,
and that part of their fascination arose from an association between
them and some of the earliest and dearest objects in my remembrance.
"Surely," I exclaimed, "they are #Chiswick bells#!--the very bells
under the sound of which I received part of my early education, and,
as a school-boy, passed the happiest days of my life!--Well may their
tones vibrate to my inmost soul--and kindle uncommon sympathies!" I
now recollected that the winding of the river must have brought me
nearer to that simple and primitive village than the profusion of wood
had permitted me to perceive, and my nerves had been unconsciously
acted upon by tones which served as keys to all the associations
connected with these bells, their church, and the village of Chiswick!
I listened again, and now discriminated the identical sounds which I
had not heard during a period of more than thirty years. I
distinguished the very words, in the successive tones, which the
school-boys and puerile imaginations at Chiswick used to combine with
them. In fancy, I became again a school-boy--"Yes," said I, "the six
bells repeat the village-legend, and tell me that "_my dun cow has
just calv'd_," exactly as they did above thirty years since!"--Did the
reader ever encounter a similar key-note, leading to a multitude of
early and vivid impressions; for in like manner these sympathetic
tones brought before my imagination numberless incidents and
personages, no longer important, or no longer in existence. My
scattered and once-loved school-mates, their characters, and their
various fortunes, passed in rapid review before me;--my school-master,
his wife, and all the gentry, and heads of families, whose orderly
attendance at Divine service on Sundays, while those well-remembered
bells were "chiming for church," (but now departed and mouldering in
the adjoining graves!) were rapidly presented to my recollection. With
what pomp and form they used to enter and depart from their house of
God!--I saw with the mind's eye the widow Hogarth and her maiden
relative, Richardson, walking up the aisle, dressed in their silken
sacks, their raised headdresses, their black calashes, their lace
ruffles, and their high crook'd canes, preceded by their aged servant,
Samuel; who, after he had wheeled his mistress to church in her
Bath-chair, carried the prayer-books up the aisle, and opened and shut
the pew! There too was the portly Dr. Griffiths, of the Monthly
Review, with his literary wife in her neat and elevated wire-winged
cap! And oft-times the vivacious and angelic Duchess of Devonshire,
whose bloom had not then suffered from the canker-worm of pecuniary
distress, created by the luxury of charity! Nor could I forget the
humble distinction of the aged sexton Mortefee, whose skill in
psalmody enabled him to lead that wretched groupe of singers, whom
Hogarth so happily pourtrayed; whose performance with the tuning-fork
excited so much wonder in little boys; and whose gesticulations and
contortions of head, hand, and body, in beating time, were not
outdone, even by Joah Bates in the commemorations of Handel! Yes,
simple and happy villagers! I remember scores of you;--how fortunately
ye had escaped the contagion of the metropolitan vices, though distant
but five miles; and how many of you have I conversed with, who, at an
adult age, had never beheld the degrading assemblage of its knaveries
and miseries!

I revelled in the melancholy pleasure of these recollections, yielding
my whole soul to that witchery of sensibility, which magnifies the
perception of being, till one of the bells was overset; when, the peal
stopping, I had leisure to reflect on the rapid advance of the day,
and on the consequent necessity of quickening my speed.

At the end of this lane I crossed a road, which I found led to
Chiswick Ferry. The opening gave increased effect to the renewed peal,
and I regretted that I could not then indulge in a nearer approach to
that beloved spot. I passed a farm-house and some neat villas, and
presently came to the unostentatious, but interestingly-ancient
structure of Barnes Church, situated on the Common, at the distance of
a quarter of a mile from the village. I essayed to enter the
church-yard to read some of the chronicles of mortality, particularly
as it invited attention by the unusual object of a display of elegant
_Roses_, which I afterwards learnt had been cultivated on the same
spot about 150 years, to indulge the conceit of a person of the name
of _Rose_, who was buried there, and left an acre of ground to the
parish to defray the expence; but I found the gate locked, and was
told it was never opened, except during service. I confess I was not
pleased with this regulation, because it appeared to sever the
affections of the living from their proper sympathy with the dead. I
have felt in the same manner in regard to the inclosed cemeteries of
the metropolis: they separate the dead too abruptly from surviving
friends and relatives. Grief seeks to indulge itself unobserved; it
desires to be unrestrained by forms and hours, and to vent itself in
perfect solitude. The afflicted wife longs to weep over the grave of
her husband; the husband to visit the grave of a beloved wife; and the
tender mother seeks the spot endeared by the remains of her child: but
they cannot submit to the formality of asking permission, or allow
their griefs to be intruded upon by strange attendants. Such tributes
to our unsophisticated feelings are, however, denied by the locks,
bolts, and walls, of the metropolitan cemeteries. The practised
grave-digger wonders at the indulgence of unavailing woe--the
unconscious tenants of his domain possess no peculiar claims on his
sympathy--he cannot conceive how any can be felt by others--and, if he
grant permission to enter, it must be for some cause more urgent, and
more apparent, than that of bewailing over a grave! Did it never
occur, however, to the clergymen who superintend these depositories of
mortality, that more respect is due to the feelings of survivors? Is
it necessary for any evident purpose, that the gates should be locked
at any time, or for more than a few hours in the night? And, if even
this privation be suffered merely from the fear of resurrection-men,
is it not due to the best feelings of our nature that the severest
punishment should attach to the crime of stealing dead bodies? What
can now be learnt of anatomy which cannot be found in books and
models, or be taught in the dissection of murderers? I would therefore
rather bury a detected resurrection-man alive with the body he might
be stealing, than shut out the living from all communion with the
dead, and from all the sympathies and lessons addressed to the heart
and understanding by their unrestricted intercourse.

#Barnes# consists of a few straggling houses opposite the Common, of a
mean street leading to the water-side, and of a row of elegant houses
facing the Thames, on a broad terrace nearly half a mile long. On the
opposite side of the river is a tract of new-made swampy ground,
shaped circularly by the winding of the river. The chord of this
circle extends from Chiswick to Strand-on-the-Green; and upon it is
seen the exquisitely beautiful villa of the Duke of Devonshire, where
Charles James Fox lately terminated his patriotic career; and on the
left are the house and extensive grounds long occupied by the amiable
Valentine Morris, esq. who, on his death-bed in Italy, in 1786,
bequeathed these premises and a competent annuity as a provision for
about thirty aged horses and dogs,--and here some of them survived
till within these seven years, dying, from the gradual decay of their
vital powers, at the ages of forty and fifty.

The beauty and seclusion of this terrace have long invited the
residence of persons of wealth and distinction. Many of those
Frenchmen who, from interested connexions, or the prejudices of
education, preferred exile and comparative poverty in foreign lands,
to the reign of liberty and reason at home, came to reside on this
spot. Here was acted the terrible tragedy of the #Count# and #Countess
D'Antraigues#. These famous intriguants, after traversing Europe to
enlist the vain prejudices of kings, and the sycophant spirit of
courtiers, against the unalterable principles of the rights of man,
settled themselves in a small house near the upper end of this
terrace. Here their establishment consisted only of a single Italian
footman, and two maid-servants. One day in every week they went to
London, in a hired coach, to confer with their partizans; and it was
on the morning of one of these excursions that these unhappy persons
were suddenly butchered by their Italian footman. The coach stood at
the door, and the Count and Countess had descended the stairs, when
the servant, rushing from the parlour, fired a pistol at the Count;
the ball of which struck, but did not injure him. It, however, so much
surprised him as to throw him off his guard, when the wretch struck
him with a stiletto between the shoulders. The Count at first reeled
on the step of the door, but instantly rushed up stairs, as is
supposed, to get arms from his bed-chamber, which he reached, but only
to fall dead on the floor. In the mean time, the Countess, who was two
or three paces in advance, and had reached the carriage-door, not
aware of the cause of the report of the pistol, and of the Count's
precipitate retreat, asked the man, peevishly, why he did not open the
door? He advanced as if to do it; but instantly stabbed her in the
breast to the hilt of his weapon: she shrieked, reeled a few yards,
and fell dead beside the post which adjoins the house to the West, on
the pavement near which her blood was lately visible. The villain
himself fled up-stairs to the room where his master lay weltering in
his blood, and then, with a razor, cut his own throat. I saw the
coachman, who told me that scarcely five minutes elapsed between the
time when he heard them approach the carriage and beheld them corpses!
The several acts were begun and over in an instant. At first he could
not conceive what was passing; and, though he leaped from the box to
the aid of the dying lady, he had then no suspicion of the fate of the
Count. I took pains to ascertain the assassin's motive for committing
such horrid deeds; but none can be traced beyond a feeling of revenge,
excited by a supposed intention of his master to discard him, and send
him out of the kingdom; a design which, it is said, he discovered by
listening on the stairs to the conversation of the Count and Countess,
while they were enjoying the water-scene by moon-light, on the
preceding evening, from their projecting windows. It was impossible to
view the spot where such a tragedy had been acted, without horror, and
without deep sympathy for the victims; yet it gratified me to find the
house already inhabited by a respectable family, because it thus
appeared that there are now dispersed through society many whose minds
are raised above the artifices of superstition,--which, in no distant
age, would have filled these premises with ghosts and hobgoblins, till
they had become a bye-word and a heap of ruins!

Nearly adjoining and behind the residence of Count d'Antraigues, stand
the premises and grounds long occupied by another distinguished
emigrant, the Marquis de Chabanes, a relation of the notorious and
versatile Talleyrand. This marquis here pursued two speculations, by
which, at the time, he attracted attention and applause. In the first
he undertook to give useful body and consistency to the dust of coals,
of which thousands of tons, before their application to gas-lights,
were annually wasted in the shipping and coal-wharfs; and for this
purpose he erected a manufactory; but, after much loss of labour and
property, found it necessary to abandon the project. In the second
speculation, he proposed to introduce various French improvements into
English horticulture, and undertook to supply the fruiterers of the
metropolis with tender and unseasonable fruits and vegetables, in
greater perfection, and at a lower rate, than they had heretofore been
supplied by the English gardeners. For this purpose he built large and
high walls, and very extensive hot-houses and conservatories; but,
being unable to contend against the fickleness of our climate, he
found it necessary to abandon this scheme also; when the glasses, the
frames, &c. were sold by auction; and no vestiges now remain of his
labours, but his vines and the ruins of his flues and foundation-walls.

During my inquiries of the working gardener who has succeeded him on
the ground, I learnt some particulars in regard to the economy by
which the metropolis receives its vast supplies of fruits and fresh
vegetables. Mr. #Middleton#, in his philosophical Survey of Middlesex,
estimates the quantity of garden-ground, within ten miles of the
metropolis, at 15,000 acres, giving employment in the fruit-season to
60,000 labourers. The mode of conveying this vast produce to market
creates habits among this numerous class of people which are little
suspected by the rest of the community. A gardener's life appears to
be one of the most primitive and natural; but, passed near London, it
is as artificial and unnatural as any known to our forced state of
society. Covent-garden market is held three days in the week, and
other markets on the same or other days; and, as vegetables ought to
be eaten as soon as possible after they are gathered, it is the
business of the gardener to gather one day and sell the next; hence
the intervening night is the period of conveyance from the places of
growth to those of consumption. All the roads round London, therefore,
are covered with market-carts, and waggons during the night, so that
they may reach the markets by three, four, or five o'clock, when the
dealers attend; and these markets are over by six or seven. The shops
of retailers are then supplied by the aid of ill-paid Irish women, who
carry loads of a hundredweight to all parts of London on their heads,
to meet the demands of good house-wives, who, at ten or eleven, buy
their garden-stuff for the day. This rapid routine creates a
prodigious quantity of labour for men, women, and horses. Every
gardener has his market-cart or carts, which he loads at sun-set; and,
they depart at ten, eleven, twelve, or one o'clock, according to the
distance from London. Each cart is accompanied by a driver, and also
by a person to sell, generally the gardener's wife; who, having sold
the load, returns with the team by nine or ten o'clock in the morning;
and has thus finished the business of the day, before half the
inhabitants of London have risen from their beds. Such is the economy
of every gardener's family within ten miles of London,--of some every
night, and of others every other night, during at least six months in
the year. The high vegetable season in summer, as well as peculiar
crops at other times, call for exertions of labour, or rather of
slavery, scarcely paralleled by any other class of people. Thus, in
the strawberry season, hundreds of women are employed to carry that
delicate fruit to market on their heads; and their industry in
performing this task is as wonderful, as their remuneration is
unworthy of the opulent classes who derive enjoyment from their
labour. They consist, for the most part, of Shropshire and Welsh
girls, who walk to London at this season in droves, to perform this
drudgery, just as the Irish peasantry come to assist in the hay and
corn harvests. I learnt that these women carry upon their heads
baskets of strawberries, or raspberries, weighing from forty to fifty
pounds, and make two turns in the day, from Isleworth to market, a
distance of thirteen miles each way; three turns from Brentford, a
distance of nine miles; and four turns from Hammersmith; a distance of
six miles. For the most part, they find some conveyance back; but even
then these industrious creatures carry loads from twenty-four to
thirty miles a-day, besides walking back unladen some part of each
turn! Their remuneration for this unparalleled slavery is from 8_s._
to 9_s._ per day; each turn from the distance of Isleworth being 4_s._
or 4_s._ 6_d._; and from that of Hammersmith 2_s._ or 2_s._ 3_d._
Their diet is coarse and simple, their drink, tea and small-beer;
costing not above 1_s._ or 1_s._ 6_d._ and their back-conveyance about
2_s._ or 2_s._ 6_d._; so that their net gains are about 5_s._ per day,
which, in the strawberry season, of forty days, amounts to 10_l._
After this period the same women find employment in gathering and
marketing vegetables, at lower wages, for other sixty days, netting
about 5_l._ more. With this poor pittance they return to their native
county, and it adds either to their humble comforts, or creates a
small dowry towards a rustic establishment for life. Can a more
interesting picture be drawn of virtuous exertion? Why have our poets
failed to colour and finish it? More virtue never existed in their
favourite Shepherdesses than in these Welsh and Shropshire girls! For
beauty, symmetry, and complexion, they are not inferior to the nymphs
of Arcadia, and they far outvie the pallid specimens of Circassia!
Their morals too are exemplary; and they often perform this labour to
support aged parents, or to keep their own children from the
workhouse! In keen suffering, they endure all that the imagination of
a poet could desire; they live hard, they sleep on straw in hovels and
barns, and they often burst an artery, or drop down dead from the
effect of heat and over-exertion! Yet, such is the state of one
portion of our female population, at a time when we are calling
ourselves the most polished nation on earth, and pretending to be so
wealthy that we give away millions a-year to foreigners unsolicited,
and for no intelligible purpose! And such too is their dire necessity,
that it would be most cruel to suggest or recommend any invention that
might serve as a substitute for their slavery, and thereby deprive
them of its wretched annual produce!

The transit from Barnes to Mortlake is but a few paces; a small elbow
in the road forming their point of separation. Both of them contain
some handsome villas, and they are pleasantly situated on the banks of
the Thames; yet they are less beautiful than they might be rendered,
by very slender attentions. There is no public taste, no love of natal
soil, no pride of emulation apparent, though the scite is one of the
finest in England. A few mansions of the opulent adorn both villages,
and the country fascinates in spite of the inhabitants; but the third
and fourth rate houses have a slovenly, and often a kind of pig-sty
character, disgusting to those who, in the beautiful towns and
villages of Essex, have seen what may be done, to improve the
habitations even of humble life. Lovely Witham, and Kelvedon, and
Coggeshall! what examples you set to all other towns in your neatly
painted and whitened houses--unostentatious, though cheerful--and
inviting, though chaste and modest! What a contrast do you present to
the towns and villages in Middlesex and Surrey, and even in Kent! If
poverty forbids a stuccoed or plastered wall, the cleanly and
oft-repeated whitewash proves the generous public spirit of the
occupant, while the outside seldom has occasion to blush for the
inside. A spirit of harmony runs through the whole, and a pure
habitation is indicative of pure inhabitants; thus, cleanliness in the
house leads to neatness of apparel--both require order, and out of
order grow moral habits, domestic happiness, and the social virtues.
Nor is this theory fanciful; Witham, Kelvedon, and Coggeshall, form a
district which is at once the most beautiful, the least vicious, and
the happiest, in the kingdom. One virtue is doubtless consequent on
another, and one good habit generates another; the result is the
harmonious triumph of virtue! If it be doubted whether the
white-washed exterior is more than "an outward and visible sign" of
the purity within, I reply--that virtue is so much the effect of
habit, that whatever improves the habits improves the character; and
that, if a house were frequently white-washed within and without, it
could scarcely fail to banish personal filth from the inmates; while
habits of cleanliness, which call for habits of industry, would
produce the rest. I have, indeed, often thought that it would be an
efficacious means of bettering the morals, as well as the health, of
the London poor, if St. Giles's, Hockly-in-the-hole, Fleet-lane,
Saffron-hill, and other dens of vice and misery, were by law
lime-washed inside and outside twice in every year. But, in whatever
degree this doctrine may be just, let me hope these observations will
meet the eye of some active philanthropists, who, being thus taught to
consider cleanliness as an auxiliary of morals and happiness, will be
induced so to paint and whiten our dusky-coloured villages and dirty
towns, as to render them worthy of virtuous residents, in the hope
that, by reciprocation, they may render themselves worthy of their
purified habitations.

I do not charge on Barnes and Mortlake exclusively the characteristics
of filth--they are not inferior to other villages within ten miles;
but the whole require improvement, and I recommend Witham, Kelvedon,
and other places in that district of Essex, to their imitation.

Mortlake church-yard and its ancient church stand pleasantly on the
north side of a large field, across which is a picturesque foot-path
to East Sheen. I inquired eagerly for the tomb of Partridge, the
almanack-maker and astrologer, and found it in the south-east corner,
in a tottering condition. Relics so famous would, it might have been
supposed, have extorted from the Parish Vestry a single hod of mortar,
and an hour's labour of a mason, to sustain it: yet thus it is, not
only at Mortlake, but every where. Nothing is conceded to public
feeling, and the most venerable monuments are suffered to fall to
decay for want of the most trifling repairs. The following inscription
is still legible on the slab of the tomb:--

    #Johannes Partridge#, Astrologus et Medicinae Doctor, natus
    est apud East-Sheen, in comitatu Surrey, 8º die Januarii,
    anno 1644, et mortuus est Londini 24º die Junii, anno 1715.
    Medicinam fecit duobus Regibus unique Reginae; Carolo scilicet
    Secundo, Willielmo Tertio, Reginaeque Mariae. Creatus
    Medicinae Doctor Lugduni Batavorum.

How many are the associations which grow out of this name of
#Partridge#! He was one of the last of the learned votaries of
Astrology, the mother of the sciences, though herself the daughter of
superstition. His works on genitures, and on the errors of his
favourite science, are specimens of acute reasoning, not exceeded by
the ablest disquisitions on more worthy subjects. Yet he was held up
by Swift as an impostor, though Swift himself lived by a show of faith
in other mysteries, for which his reverence is very doubtful. Not so
Partridge; he evidently believed sincerely that the stars were indices
of fate, and he wrote and acted in that belief, however much he may
have been deceived by appearances. He found, as all students in
astrology find, that every horoscope enabled him to foretel with
precision a certain number of events; and, if his prognostics failed
in some cases, he ascribed the failure to no defect of his celestial
intelligencers, but to the errors or short-sightedness of his art.
Good, and even wise men have, in all ages, been deceived by the same
appearances. They found that the planets foretold some events; they
thence inferred that the planets ruled those and all events; and, if
the science often disappointed them, they found an apology for it in
their own mistaken judgments, or in the errors introduced into it by
different authors. Astrologers were therefore not impostors, as they
are often described by the over-righteous, the hasty, or the ignorant.
They found a science reared on the observations and experience of the
remotest antiquity, and their prognostications were deduced from its
established laws. Its practices were directed by the unerring motions
of the earth, moon, and planets; and it possessed characteristics of
grandeur and sublimity, arising from the magnitude and solemnity of
its sources, and from the eternal laws which regulated them.

The errors on which this science was reared, were not, however,
peculiar to astrologers. They were engendered by ignorance, and
nurtured by superstition and priestcraft. Every event happens in its
own way, and cannot happen in any other way than that in which it has
actually happened; or, in other words, an event cannot happen and not
happen, or a thing cannot be and not be. This necessary determination
of every event in a single manner, the consequence of commensurate
proximate causes, which it is often difficult to analyse, served as a
fruitful source of superstitious feeling, and as a handle for the
priests among the early nations of antiquity. In whatever way an event
happened, that was said to be its Fate, notwithstanding a slight
exercise of reason would have shewn that what has happened in one way
could not, at the same time, happen in another way. But, as it did
happen in one way rather than another, the way in which it did happen
was said to be predetermined; the kind of cause was not examined which
determined it to happen as it did happen; the effect was even said to
rule the causes; and all the causes, remote and proximate, were said
to be operative merely for the sake of producing the ultimate effect!

As every event must happen in the way an which it has happened, a
description of it, is but an expression of the _certainty_, that it
has happened in such or such a particular manner. If this result be
fortunate, then all the circumstances which led to it, however remote,
are deemed to have been _lucky_; though, if it prove unfortunate, the
same train of causes are then called _unlucky_. There was, however,
neither luck nor ill-luck in these trains, because the remote or
necessary physical causes did not determine the proximate and
fluctuating mental ones. There existed no _necessary_ connexion
between these trains, besides the necessity or certainty that some
result must be consequent on every train of events growing out of
human life and action. These trains must, in all cases, produce some
result, that is to say, a result of some kind, and not necessarily any
particular result.

In considering the curious enigma in regard to #FATALITY#, men err in
conceiving that all the remote causes which lead to an event, operate
and combine for the sake of some particular result, instead of
considering every personal or social event as the necessary single
effect of the proximate causes; and they also confound the species of
causes which produce events. There are two distinct sets of causes,
the one physical and the other mental. The _physical_ are determined
by fixed, and often by known laws, and hence we are enabled to
_foretel_ the places of the planets and the moment when eclipses of
the Sun and Moon will happen for a thousand years to come. The
_mental_ are governed by the varying experience, caprice, and
self-love, generated within animal minds; and, being therefore
measured by no fixed laws, produce results which cannot be
anticipated, except in their proximate operation. These mental causes,
so to speak, cross each other in every direction, and at one time may
accelerate, though at another time they may retard, or give novel
directions to physical causes; and, as they are generated in every
successive moment by the errors and passions of fallible beings, and
often have an extensive influence on the affairs of mankind, so they
constitute an infinite variety of original causes, which, as no law
creates them, no law leads to their effects; of course, therefore,
their effects are not necessary, and no knowledge can exist, enabling
men to anticipate that which is generated by no fixed laws, and which
therefore is not necessary.

I lately met a friend, who justly passes for a philosopher. He
mentioned the distress of a family which he had just been relieving;
"and, would you believe it," said he--"if I had not passed along a
street where I seldom go, and met a child of the family, I should have
known nothing of their situation? Was it not evidently pre-ordained,
therefore, that I should walk along that street, at that time, for the
purpose of relieving that family?" "So, then," said I, "you make the
consequence determine the cause, rather than take the trouble to
examine whether the causes were not equal to the effect, without being
themselves necessary or irresistible." "But then," he replied, "there
was such an aptness, such a coincidence, such a final purpose!"--"Ah!"
I rejoined, "you cheat yourself by not extending your vocabulary--why
not say there was sufficient affluence, guided by a benevolent
heart--and such distress, that they were called into prompt exertion?
Is it to be regarded as a miracle, that a benevolent heart proved the
sufficient cause of a good action, and that distress was an excitement
equivalent to the effect which you describe? The street was a medium
or stage of action, as capable of leading to evil as to good. You
could not be in two places at the same time; nor could the result be
and not be. Had you been in another place, some other family might
have been relieved from the collision of the same causes; and each
event would, in like manner, have appeared to have determined the
causes, instead of being a single consequence of the causes. Nor were
these causes more necessary than the result. Your feelings were
spontaneous, but you may in future change the result by hardening your
heart, like other rich men." "I will do neither," said he,
quickly.--"No," said I, "I know you won't--you will not violate your
habitual inclinations. In future, however, do them justice; and, when
you perform a kind action, do not make the consequence the cause."[5]

    [5] As doctrines about fate and necessity involve a numerous
        class of mischievous superstitions, and are the bases of the
        success of endless impostures, it seems worth while to turn
        aside for a moment from the high road of my narrative to
        examine them. Some philosophers assert, that we are the
        inert patients of necessary causes: others, that we do what
        we list, without any cause, on the spontaneous impulse of
        our will: while nine-tenths of the human race maintain that
        we are governed by an unalterable fate, which is
        predestined, and that all the events of life take place for
        the sake of accomplishing some end! What is our real
        condition? We exist on a globe which, by a balance of
        mechanical powers, moves round a centre of gravity between
        it and the centre of the sun; and also round its own centre
        of gravity, communicating its aggregate motions to all the
        particles that compose it, and thereby exciting them into
        various modes of action, producing and sustaining all the
        phenomena which we witness. The entire mass then is the
        patient of these arrangements, and every thing on the earth
        is physically subservient to them. But, in animal
        organizations, we find a set of powers different from those
        which characterize inert minerals or plants. An animal has
        his own powers of loco-motion--he moves on his own centre of
        gravity--and, though the earth is his stage and the place of
        his origin, yet he is an independent Microcosm. To assist
        his loco-motion, to enable him to determine his course, to
        preserve his being, and to choose between what is good for
        him, and what is evil to him; he is provided with senses,
        with which he sees, hears, smells, tastes, and feels; with
        memory; and with powers of reasoning by analogy, or his
        senses and his experience would be useless: and yet men say,
        that such a creature is as much the patient of physical
        causes, as a stone or a plant! On the contrary, is it not
        evident, that an animal possesses peculiar powers of sense
        and reason, in order that he may not be the patient and
        victim of physical circumstances? But, say they, his actions
        are determined by his motives, and these are governed by
        causes over which he has no control; those causes are
        necessary, and, therefore, his actions are necessary.
        True--but these exterior causes (granting that they are
        always necessary links of a chain,) operate on a man only
        according to his estimate of them, which varies in different
        men, and in the same men at different times. The causes, at
        least as far as regards beings which are really their
        patients, may be regarded as necessary, and they may govern
        passive existences with absolute dominion; but in all
        animals they have to encounter the principle of
        individuality, the feeling of independence, the desire of
        well-being, and the energies of self-love. These, so to
        speak, enter into an argument with the causes--a process of
        reasoning takes place--a decision of judgment is formed--and
        that judgment it is which directs the will and the action.
        In other words, an erroneous and varying judgment interposes
        between the causes and the action; consequently, however
        absolute and necessary may be the causes, the action
        governed by an intervening imperfect judgment, and a varying
        estimate of these causes, is not equally absolute and
        necessary. Place ten men, or animals, in the same critical
        situation, and their judgment of the circumstances will lead
        each of them to act differently; though the necessary causes
        which ought to have governed their actions were the same;
        but their judgments, their knowledge, or their experience,
        were different, and, therefore, their actions. If animals
        were omniscient, they would have perfect judgments, which
        would exactly accord with the exterior or necessary
        circumstances, by which they might then be said to be
        governed; or, if they were stones and plants, they might be
        inert patients. But theirs is a mixed species of existence,
        they are neither plants nor gods. They have powers which
        plants have not, by which they can freely judge of the means
        of averting many palpable dangers; though their powers of
        judging are too limited to enable them to estimate all
        circumstances correctly, and therefore to move in necessary
        unison with the immutable physical laws that govern the
        changes and the motions of inert matter.

I sat on the tomb of Partridge, and thought it a fit place in which to
ruminate on these involved points. Do the astrologers (said I)
consider the stars as mere indices of pretended fates, or as the
causes of the events which they are enabled to anticipate by the
anticipated motions of the stars? In nativities, they seem to consider
them as _indices_; but, in horary questions, as _causes_. They are
treated as indices in all cases wherein arbitrary numbers or measures,
or imaginary points are introduced; but deemed material causes when
particular events are said to be coincident with actual positions.
Both hypotheses cannot, however, be well founded; and his reason will
call on the astrologer to give up the doctrine of indices of fate, and
prefer that of secondary causes. Here then a still greater difficulty
presents itself; the causes are general, and they must operate on the
whole earth and all its inhabitants alike. A [Symbol: square] of
[Symbol: Mars] and [Symbol: Mercury], or a [Symbol: Triangle] of
[Symbol: Saturn] and [Symbol: Jupiter], (that is, a square aspect of
Mars and Mercury, or a trine of Saturn and Jupiter,) whenever they
happen, are alike applicable to all the inhabitants and regions of the
earth. It was plausible to talk of a planetary aspect as productive of
rain or wind, when the geography of the astrologer did not extend
beyond the plains of Chaldea, or the immediate banks of the Nile; but
our better knowledge of cosmography now teaches us, that, at the time
of every aspect, every variety of season and of weather is prevalent
in different parts of the world; and every contrariety of fortune is
happening to individuals in all countries. The doctrine that the
planets are secondary causes, is, therefore, not supported by the
circumstances of the phenomena.

But the astrologers are not content with natural positions, but, like
the eastern priests with their gods, they assign different parts of
the heavens, and different countries, to each planet; and then found
prognostics on these local positions of the planets. It is evident,
however, that the apparent position of a planet depends on the varying
position of the earth, and that an inferior planet may be in exactly
the same point of space, and yet be seen from the earth in every sign
of the zodiac; though, according to the astrologers, it would in that
same place have very different powers! This doctrine was admissible
when the earth was considered as the centre of the universe; when the
geocentric phenomena were considered as absolute; and when the
apparently quick and slow motions, the retrogradations, and the
stationary positions, were ascribed to caprices of the planets
themselves, or to motives of their prime mover, and therefore were
received as signs of corresponding events and fates!

But the radical error of the art of prediction is more deeply seated
than we are commonly aware of. There is a chance, however difficult it
may be in all cases to reduce it to arithmetical precision, that any
possible event may happen to a particular person. No possible event
can indeed be conceived, that, with regard to a particular person, is
not within the range of arithmetical probability; while all the
probable events, such as predictors announce, are within very narrow
limits. As an example, I assume, that, of any hundred ordinary events
of human life, it may be an even chance that sixty of them will
happen, or not happen; and, of the other forty, it may be as 20 to 1
that 10 of them will happen; as 10 to 1 that other 10 will happen; as
1 to 10 that other 10 will happen; and as 1 to 20 that the other 10
will happen. Then, by averaging all these chances, it will be found
that it is an even chance that the whole will happen, or will not
happen; or, in other words, that half will happen, and that half will
not happen. If, therefore, a dextrous person foretel one hundred
events, by means of _any_ prognosticating key, or any index whose
powers are previously settled,--whether stars, cards, sediments of
tea, lines of the hand or forehead, entrails of animals, or dreams,
signs or omens,--by the doctrine of chances it is an even, or some
other fixed chance, that half, or some other portion, of such events
will come to pass. Superstition will triumph if only 1 in 5, or 1 in
10, happen as foretold; but, if 1 in 2 or 3 should happen by
neutralizing or generalizing the predictions, then the prophet is
accounted a favourite of Heaven, or a familiar of Satan! For this
purpose it signifies not what it is that constitutes the key of fate;
it will sufficiently deceive the practitioner, if it relieve him from
the responsibility of his announcements; and, if he prudently announce
none but events highly probable, he will himself be astonished at the
apparent verity of his art! In truth, he is all the while but the dupe
of arithmetic; and a cool examination would shew him that, for the
most part, it is an even chance that any predicted event will happen,
which has been foretold by any key, or sign, or token. The planets,
the signs of the zodiac, &c. serve as one set of these keys, or
indices--dreams serve as another--the entrails of animals have been
used as another--signs, noises, omens, tokens, sympathies, &c. are a
fruitful source--lines of the hand, forehead, wrist, &c. are
others--moles, marks, &c. furnish others--cards afford a rich
variety--and the sediments of teacups, and I know not what besides,
serve as means of announcing events by pre-arranged laws of
association. The half, or more than half, of such events, must however
necessarily happen by the averages of chances; and this unascertained
and unsuspected coincidence has from age to age countenanced and
confirmed the delusion.

All that a prophet or fortune-teller requires, therefore, is some set
of _indices_, to each of which he can assign particular powers and
significations, and then be able so to vary their order as to give
them new and endless combinations, representing the fortunes of all
mankind. When varied for a particular individual, he has merely to
apply to that person the probable events indicated by the new
combinations; and, according to the law of chances, he must
necessarily succeed in a certain proportion of his prognostics,
because it is within a certain numerical chance that any possible
event will happen to any individual. The prognosticator in these cases
is deceived, because he is solely directed by the order of his
indices. As he finds that he has been enabled to _foretel_ by their
means a certain number of events, he conceives either that these
indices must govern the fates; that the finger of Providence or the
agency of the Devil governed his indices; or, with many grave writers,
that there is a soul of the world which harmonizes all things,
producing an accordance between the #FORTUNES# of the #HUMAN RACE# and
the sediments of tea-cups, the arrangements of cards, the aspects and
positions of the planets, the lines in the hand or forehead, the
indications of dreams, and the entrails of animals! On the other hand,
the dupes of these prognostics, when fortunate, often direct their
best exertions to fulfil them; or, when unfortunate, they sink into a
feeling of despondency, which leads to their fulfilment. And, should
one in ten of the predicted events take place, they become firm
believers in the doctrines of fatality, necessity, and other
superstitions; "for," say they, "how could an event be foretold, if it
had not been irrevocably decreed that it must happen?" What a powerful
handle for priest-craft, state-craft, and all the crafts by which
mankind have been abused in every age of the world!

That this exposition of the true cause of the popular errors, in
regard to any supposed connexion between certain accidents of matter,
and unconnected future events, will not be without its uses, must be
evident from the known influence which some of the means of
prognostication possess over every rank of society. Such scenes as
that described in the Spectator, where so much unhappiness was created
by spilling the salt, are still realized every day in nearly every
family in Great Britain. All phenomena which cannot easily be
accounted for, and hundreds of trivial incidents, are considered by
the gravest as portentous signs of events to come. The coincidence of
any event and its prognostic, though it might have been ten to one
that it would happen, is received as evidence of their connexion,
which it would be impiety to laugh at! But need I quote a more
striking instance than the still prodigious annual sale of 300,000 of
Partridge's and Moore's Almanacks, whose recommendations are their
prognostications, and which a few years since lost most of their
patrons, because the Stationers' Company, in the edition of the year,
left out the predictions as an experiment on the public wisdom!

In returning from the tomb of Partridge, I beheld another, dear to
patriotism and civic glory, that of Alderman Barber, Lord-mayor of
London in 1733. His memory is still cherished among aged citizens, and
the cause is recorded in the following inscription:--

    "Under this stone were laid the remains of #John Barber#, esq.
    alderman of London, a constant benefactor to the poor, true to
    his principles in church and state. He preserved his
    integrity, and discharged the duty of an upright magistrate.
    Zealous for the rights of his fellow citizens, he opposed all
    attempts against them; and, being lord mayor in the year 1733,
    he defeated a scheme of a general Excise, which, had it
    succeeded, would have put an end to the liberties of his

Virtuous citizen! Happy was it that thou didst not live to suffer the
mortification of seeing thy degraded country devoured by swarms of
excisemen, and the third of its population fattening on the taxes
collected from the other two-thirds. Too justly didst thou anticipate
that the terrors and corruptions growing out of such an inquisition as
the excise, would destroy that sturdy spirit of independence, which in
thy day constituted the chief glory of the English country-gentleman
and London merchant. Till it was broken or undermined by the evil
genius of Taxation, that spirit served as the basis of Britain's
prosperity; but now, alas! it seems to be extinguished for
ever.--Patriotic Lord-mayor of London! In thy day to watch with
jealousy the never-ceasing encroachments of the regal prerogatives,
and to render the ministers of the crown accountable at the bar of
public opinion, were paths of honour leading to the highest civic
distinctions! Many of the race that conducted to a wise end the
glorious revolution of 1688 then survived--the genius of liberty
continued to inspire the sons of Britain--the holy flame that punished
two kings for trespassing on the rights of their people, was not
entirely extinguished--the deadly paralysis of the Septennial Act had
not then produced its blighting effects on the whole body politic. But
London ceased to be influenced by the lost voice of #Barber#, and the
Excise system triumphed--the barriers of freedom were passed--trial by
jury was, in certain cases, either dispensed with, or nullified by
well-trained special juries--the public judgment was misled by venal
conductors of the public press--patriotism was deemed faction--liberty
was held up as another name for rebellion--and, in consequence,
of our annals, though thirty years of foreign war served in the
preceding three hundred years to vindicate every British
interest!--Venerated name of #Barber#! Where is the monument to be
found in the public buildings of London, to record thy virtues for the
example of others? Would it not be a worthy companion to the statues
of Beckford and Chatham? And would it not keep in countenance the
honest exertions of the Waithmans--Woods--and Goodbeheres--who in our
days have trod in thy steps, and who, it may be hoped, will have a
long line of successors in the same honourable career?

Being anxious to view the inside of Mortlake church, a boy undertook
to fetch the key from the house of the sexton. In the mean time I
examined around me the humble monuments raised by affection to the
memory of the dead. Here were the pyramid, the obelisk, and the
tumulus, in their most diminutive forms. Here lay decomposed the
mineral parts of those ancestors from whom the contemporary generation
have sprung. Yes, said I, we truly are all of one nature, and one
family; and we suffer a common fate! We burst as germs into
organization, we swell by a common progress into maturity, and we
learn to measure by motion what we call Time, till, our motions and
our time ceasing, we are thus laid side by side, generation after
generation, serving as examples of a similar futurity to those who
spring from us, and succeed us.

I reflected that, as it is now more than four hundred years since this
ground became the depository of the dead, some of its earliest
occupants might, without an hyperbole, have been ancestors of the
whole cotemporary English nation. If we suppose that a man was buried
in this church-yard 420 years ago, who left six children, each of whom
had three children, who again had, on an average, the same number in
every generation of thirty years; then, in 420 years, or fourteen
generations, his descendants might be multiplied as under:

    1st generation         6
    2nd                   18
    3rd                   54
    4th                  162
    5th                  486
    6th                 1458
    7th                 4374
    8th                13122
    9th                39366
    10th              118098
    11th              354274
    12th             1062812
    13th             3188436
    14th             9565308

That is to say, #NINE MILLIONS AND A HALF# of persons; or, as nearly
as possible, the exact population of South Britain, might at this day
be descended in a direct line from any individual buried in this or
any other church-yard in the year 1395, who left six children, each of
whose descendants have had on the average three children! And, by the
same law, every individual who has six children may be the root of as
many descendants within 420 years, provided they increase on the low
average of only three in every branch. His descendants would represent
an inverted triangle, of which he would constitute the lower angle.

To place the same position in another point of view, I calculated also
that every individual now living must have had for his ancestor every
parent in Britain living in the year 1125, the age of Henry the First,
taking the population of that period at 8,000,000. Thus, as every
individual must have had a father and a mother, or two progenitors,
each of whom had a father and a mother, or four progenitors, each
generation would double its progenitors every thirty years. Every
person living may, therefore, be considered as the apex of a triangle,
of which the base would represent the whole population of a remote

    1815, Living individual            1
    1785, His father and mother        2
    1755, Their fathers and mothers    4
    1725,           ditto              8
    1695,           ditto             16
    1665,           ditto             32
    1635,           ditto             64
    1605,           ditto            128
    1575,           ditto            256
    1545,           ditto            512
    1515,           ditto           1024
    1485,           ditto           2048
    1455,           ditto           4096
    1425,           ditto           8192
    1395,           ditto          16384
    1365,           ditto          32768
    1335,           ditto          65536
    1305,           ditto         131072
    1275,           ditto         262144
    1245,           ditto         524288
    1215,           ditto        1048576
    1185,           ditto        2097152
    1155,           ditto        4194304
    1125,           ditto        8388608

That is to say, if there have been a regular co-mixture of marriages,
every individual of the living race must of necessity be descended
from parents who lived in Britain in 1125. Some districts or clans may
require a longer period for the co-mixture, and different
circumstances may cut off some families, and expand others; but, in
general, the lines of families would cross each other, and become
interwoven _like the lines of lattice-work_. A single inter-mixture,
however remote, would unite all the subsequent branches in common
ancestry, rendering the cotemporaries of every nation members of one
expanded family, after the lapse of an ascertainable number of

This principle is curious; and, though in one view it has been applied
to calculations of increasing population, yet I am not aware that it
has previously received the moral application which I draw from it, in
regard to the commixture of the human race. My ideas may be better
conceived, if any person draw two parallel lines to represent the
respective contemporary populations of two distinct epochs; and then
set up on the lower line an indefinite number of triangles. In this
scheme we shall have a just picture of the progressive generations of
every nation, and we may observe how necessarily, in spite of artifice
and pride, they must, by intermarriages, be blended as one family and
one flesh, owing to the individuals of each pair springing from a
different apex, and to every side being necessarily crossed by the
sides of other triangles. By a converse reasoning, or by tracing the
lines from the apex to the base, we may trace the descent as well as
the ascent; and, by a glance of the eye, ascertain not only that every
individual of a living generation must be descended from the whole of
the parents of some generation sufficiently remote, but that every
parent in such remote generation must necessarily have been the
ancestor of every individual of a contemporary generation.

If, during the Crusades, any of the English intermarried with Greeks,
or Syrians, or Italians, all of whom must, by intermingling, have been
descendants of the great men of antiquity, so all the English of this
age must be connected in blood with those intermarriages, and be
descended from the heroes of the classic ages. But let not pride
triumph in this consideration; for every malefactor in every age, who
left children, was equally an ancestor of the living race! The ancient
union of France and England, and of Belgium and Germany with England,
must have rendered those people near of kin; while each adjoining
nation, mixing with its neighbours, must have blended the whole human
race in one great family of remote common origin. This reasoning
explains the cause of national physiognomy and character, the
co-mixture of foreign nations being inconsiderable, and not sufficient
to effect general characteristic changes; while each nation becomes,
in the course of ages, one common and blended family, in physiognomy,
character, and genius. May so plain a demonstration of this great
truth be the means of promoting their concord, their love, the
interchange of mutual good offices, and their common happiness!

The messenger having brought the key, I was admitted into Mortlake
church, the first glance of whose venerable structure, carried my
imagination back through many distant ages, and generated a multitude
of interesting associations. Every part of the building bore an air of
antique simplicity; and it seemed truly worthy of being the place
where the inhabitants of a village ought to meet periodically to
receive lessons of moral instruction, and pour forth their
thanksgivings to the First Cause of the effects which daily operate on
them as so many blessings. Happy system!--so well adapted to the
actual condition of society, and so capable, when well directed, of
producing the most salutary effects on the temper and habits of the
people. Thrice happy man, that parish-priest, who feels the extent and
importance of his duties, and performs them for their own reward, not
as acts of drudgery, or to gratify selfish feelings! Enviable seat,
that pulpit, where power is conferred by law and by custom, of
teaching useful truths, and of conveying happiness, through the force
of principles, to the fire-sides of so many families! Delightful
picture!--what more, or what better, could wisdom contrive?--A day of
rest--a place sanctified for instruction--habits of attendance--a
teacher of worth and zeal--his precepts carried from the church to the
fire-side--and there regulating and governing all the actions and
relations of life!

Such, however, is the composition of the picture, only as seen on a
sunny day! Alas! the passions and weaknesses of men deny its frequent
realization! Authorised instructors cannot enjoy the reputation of
superior wisdom without being excited by vanity, and led to play the
fool--they cannot understand two or three dialects without becoming
coxcombs--they cannot wear a robe of office without being uplifted by
pride--and they cannot be appointed expounders of the simple elements
of morals, without fancying themselves in possession of _a second
sight_, and discovering a _double_ sense in every text of Scripture!
From this weakness of human nature arise most of the mysteries which
discredit religion,--hence the incomprehensible jargon of sects--hence
the substitution of the shadow of faith for the substance of good
works--hence the distraction of the people on theological
subjects--and hence, in fine, its too common inefficacy and
insufficiency in preserving public morals, evinced, among other bad
effects, in its tolerance of vindictive Christian wars.

I appeal, therefore, to conscientious teachers of the people, whether
it is not their duty to avoid discussions in the pulpit on mysteries
which never edify, because never understood; and to confine their
discourses to such topics as those indicated in _the Sermon of Jesus
on the Mount_. Such, at least, appears to be the proper duty of a
national establishment! Empirics may raise the fury of fanaticism
about mysteries with impunity--every absurdity may, for its season, be
embodied in particular congregations--and infidelity, of all kinds,
may be proclaimed at the corners of the streets without danger,
provided the #NATIONAL CHURCH# be founded on the broad principles of
virtue, and on the practice of those morals which are so beautifully
expounded in the New Testament; and provided the parochial clergy do
not mix themselves with those visionary topics which depend for
success more on zeal and credulity, than on argument or reason. Such a
church must flourish, as long as common sense, and a respect for
virtue, govern the majority. In this view, I lament, however, that a
revision has not taken place of those _articles of faith_ which were
promulgated in the sixteenth century, by men newly converted, and
perhaps but half converted, from the Romish faith, and taught to a
people then unprepared to receive all the changes which reason
demanded. As a friend, therefore, to that religion which preserves the
public morals, I hope to live to see many of those articles qualified
which treat of mysteries conceived in the dark ages of monkish
superstition, and countenanced by scholastic logic; considering that
such qualification would probably lead to greater concord in matters
of the highest importance to society, and serve to establish the
Anglican Church on the immoveable bases of reason and truth. It seems,
indeed, to be high time that Protestant churches, of all
denominations, should come to some agreement in regard to the full
extent of the errors which, during twelve centuries, were introduced
into the Christian religion by the craft or ignorance of the Church of
Rome. Did the early reformers detect the whole of them? And, if in the
opinion of discreet persons they did not, or, as is reasonable to
suppose, they could not, is it not important to examine conscientious
doubts, and to restore the religion of Christ, which we profess, to
its original purity, and to #THE ONLY STANDARD OF TRUTH#, which God

Such were the considerations that forced themselves upon me, as I
paced the aisles of this sanctuary of religion. Nor could I avoid
reflecting on the false associations which early prejudices attach to
such enclosures of four walls. By day, they are an object of
veneration; by night, an object of terror. Perhaps no person in
Mortlake would singly pass a long night in this solemn structure, for
the fee-simple of half the town! The objects of their fears none
could, or would, justify; yet the anticipated horrors of passing a
night in a church seems universal! Perhaps some expect, that the
common elementary principles which once composed the bodies of the
decomposed dead, would, for the occasion, be collected again from the
general storehouse of the atmosphere and earth, and would exhibit
themselves, on their re-organization, more hurtful than at first.
Perhaps others expect that some of those unembodied spirits, with
which mythology and priestcraft have in all ages deluded the
vulgar,--though no credible evidence or natural probability was ever
adduced of the existence or appearance of any such spirits,--would
without bodies appear to their visual organs, and torment or injure
them!--Yes--monstrous and absurd though it be--such are the prevalent
weaknesses created by superstition, and wickedly instilled into infant
minds in the nursery, so as to govern the feelings and conduct of
ninety-nine of every hundred persons in our comparatively enlightened

It should now be well understood, that what is contrary to uniform
experience ought to be no object of faith--consequently what no man
ever saw, none need expect to see--and what never did harm, none need
fear! In this view our poets might aid the work of public education,
by dispensing with their machinery of ideal personages, as tending to
keep alive that superstition, which a #Wordsworth# has recently proved
to be unnecessary, in a poem that rivals the efforts of the
Rosicrucian school. Ought not the ghosts of Shakespeare to be
_supposed_ merely as the effects of diseased vision, or a guilty
imagination? Ought an enlightened audience to tolerate the mischievous
impressions produced on the minds of ignorance or youth by the gross
exhibitions which now disgrace our stage in Hamlet, Richard, and
Macbeth? We all know that fever of the brain produces successions of
spectres or images, the result of diseased organs; but no one ever
conceived that such melancholy effects of disease could be seen by
healthy by-standers, till our stage-managers availed themselves of
vulgar credulity, and dared to give substance to diseased ideas as a
means of gratifying their avarice? If Shakespeare intended to give
visible substance to his numerous ghosts, he merely conformed himself
to the state of knowledge in his day, when Demonology was sanctioned
by royal authority, and when the calendars at the assizes were filled
with victims of superstition, under charges of witchcraft! It is,
however, time that we banish such credulity from the minds even of the
lowest vulgar, as disgraceful to religion, education, morals, and

Humanly speaking, I exclaimed--Am I not in the House of God? Is not
this puny structure a tribute of man to the Architect of the Universe?
What a lesson for man's pride!--look at this building, and behold the
Universe! Man is but a point of infinite space, with intellectual
powers, bound in their sphere of action to his body, and subject with
it to the laws of motion and gravitation! For such a being this may
properly be the house of God; but it ought never to be forgotten, that
the only house of God is a universe as boundless as his powers, and as
eternal as his existence! In relation to man and man's pride, what a
sublime and overwhelming contrast is presented by the everlasting
#NOW#, and the universal #HERE#! Yet how can the creature of mere
relations, who exists by generating time, space, and other sensations,
conceive of the immutable #CAUSE OF CAUSES#, to whom his past and
future, and his above and below, are as a #SINGLE TOTALITY#! Wisest of
men is he who knows the most of such a Being; but, chained to a point,
and governed in all our reasonings by mere relative powers, we can
only conceive of _ubiquity_ by the contrast of our _locality_--of
_infinity_ by our _dimensions_--of _eternity_ by our _duration_--and
of _omniscience_ by our _reason_! Creatures of yesterday, surrounded
by blessings, it is natural we should inquire in regard to the origin
and cause of the novel state in which we find ourselves; but the
_finite_ cannot reason on the _infinite_--the _transient_ on the
_eternal_--or the _local_ on the _universal_; and on such subjects all
we can ascertain, is the utter inadequacy of our powers to perceive
them clearly. It seems, therefore, to be our duty to #ENJOY#, to
#WONDER#, and to #WORSHIP#.

On every side of me I beheld records of the wrecks of man, deposited
here merely to increase the sympathy of the living for the place.
Perhaps I was even breathing some of the gaseous effluvia which once
composed their living bodies: but, the gas of a human body differing
in no respect from the gas generated in the great laboratory of the
earth's surface, which I breathe hourly; and being in itself innoxious
in quantity, if not in quality, I felt no qualms from my consciousness
of its source. The putrefactive process decomposes the bodies of all
animals, and returns their generic principles to the common reservoirs
of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen: through life, the same
process, varied in its proportions, is going forward; and the body is
constantly resolving itself into the generic principles of nature,
which generic principles again serve the purposes of respiration in
other animals, and renew other existences as suitably as though they
had never before been employed for the same purposes. Hence it is
probable that the identical atoms composing any of the elements of
nature, may have existed in hundreds of different animals in different
ages of the world; and hence we arrive at a principle of
metempsychosis, without entangling ourselves in the absurdities with
which priestcraft among the Eastern nations has clothed and disguised

Various tablets placed around the walls record departed worth in many
persons of distinction. I could find no memorials of the impostor
#Dee#, whose aged remains were deposited here. He was one of the last
of the race of those men of science who made use of his knowledge to
induce the vulgar to believe him a conjuror, or one possessed of the
power of conversing with #SPIRITS#. His journals of this pretended
intercourse were published after his death, by one of the Casaubons,
in two folio volumes. Lilly's Memoirs record many of his impostures,
and there is no doubt but in his time the public mind was much
agitated by his extravagancies. The mob more than once destroyed his
house, for being familiar with their devil; and, what is more
extraordinary, he was often consulted, and even employed in
negociations, by Queen Elizabeth. He pretended to see spirits in a
small stone, lately preserved with his papers in the British Museum.
His spirits appear to have had bodies and garments thick enough to
reflect rays of light, though they passed freely in and out of his
stone, and through the walls of his room; and organs for articulation,
which they exercised within the glass! How slight an advance in
knowledge exposes all such impostures! In his spiritual visions, Dee
had a confederate of the name of Kelly, who, of course, confirmed all
the oracles of his master. Both, however, in spite of their spiritual
friends, died miserably--the man by leaping out of a window, and the
master in great poverty. Dee is the less excusable, because he was a
man of family and considerable learning, a fellow of Trinity-college,
Cambridge, and a good mathematician. But, in an age in which one Queen
imprisoned him for practising by enchantment against her life, and her
successor required him to name a lucky day for her coronation, is it
to be wondered that a mere man, like tens of thousands of our modern
religious fanatics, persuaded himself that he was possessed of
supernatural powers?

Beneath the same pavement, resolved into kindred elements, though when
in chemical union so different a totality, lie the remains of that
illustrious patriot, Sir John Barnard, who passed a long life in
opposing the encroachments on liberty of the ministers of the first
and second of the #Guelphs#. His statue in the Royal Exchange, London,
would attest his worth, if the same area was not disgraced by another,
of the infamous Charles the Second, thereby confounding virtue and
vice. Sir John, like Alderman Barber, acquired fame by his opposition
to the Excise Laws, and by other exertions in defence of public
liberty, I have been told by one who still remembers him, that he was
an active little man, adored by the Common Hall, and much respected by
various political parties for his long-tried worth.

On the south side of the Communion-table, I was so well pleased with
some verses lately placed on a marble tablet, to record the virtues of
the Viscountess Sidmouth, who died June 23, 1811, that I could not
refrain from copying them. The Viscount and his family have a pew in
the church, and, I am told, are constant attendants at the
morning-service on Sundays.

  Not that to mortal eyes thy spotless life
  Shew'd the best form of parent, child, and wife;
  Not that thy vital current seem'd to glide,
  Clear and unmix'd, through the world's troublous tide;
  That grace and beauty, form'd each heart to win,
  Seem'd but the casket to the gem within:
  Not hence the fond presumption of our love,
  Which lifts the spirit to the Saints above;
  But that pure Piety's consoling pow'r
  Thy life illum'd, and cheer'd thy parting hour;
  That each best gift of charity was thine,
  The liberal feeling and the grace divine;
  And e'en thy virtues humbled in the dust,
  In Heav'n's sure promise was thine only trust;
  Sooth'd by that hope, Affection checks the sigh,
  And hails the day-spring of eternity.

Whenever the remains of the lord of this amiable woman are deposited
on the same spot, I venture humbly and respectfully to suggest, that
the tablet to his memory should include a copy of the most eventful
document of his life and times. He was prime-minister when, in March
1803, the ever-to-be-lamented message charging the French with making
extensive military preparations in the ports of France and Holland,
was advised by the ministry to be sent to both Houses of Parliament.
During the past year he had obtained the glory of concluding a treaty
which restored tranquillity to a suffering world; and yet the
virulence of a contemptible Opposition, and the empirical pretensions
of an Ex-minister, led him and his colleagues tardily to execute the
article which was to restore Malta to its Knights. A demand that this
article should be executed, led to discussions since made public, but
which, in my opinion, have not justified the character given of them
in the message. Nor does it appear that the English ambassador at
Paris had inquired or remonstrated with the French Government on the
subject of the pretended military preparations. The flame, however,
was thus kindled, which spread in due time from kingdom to kingdom;
covering the whole earth with blood and desolation, wasting millions
of lives in battle, siege, imprisonment, or massacre; and transferring
all the rentals and industry of the people of England to the public
creditors, to pay the interest of loans and other consequent
obligations of the state!

Unhappily the #GENIUS# of #TRUTH# was hoodwinked at the time, by the
general corruption of the press; and the #SPIRIT# of #PATRIOTISM# was
overawed by the passionate clamours of a whole people to be avenged
for various alledged affronts! But at this distance of time these are
merely topics for the lamentation of history! It is now, I fear, too
late to institute legislative inquiries; but the case will remain as a
beacon to all people, who should be taught by it to consider ministers
of the Crown, though as amiable in private life as an #Addington#, as
fallible men, liable to be misled by intrigue or passion, and
therefore, in a public sense, not to be _credited_ without other
evidence than their own assertions. Let an exemplary #INSCRIPTION# on
the tomb of the minister of that day serve therefore to teach all
ministers, never wilfully to depart in the most indifferent act of
public policy from #THE TRUTH#; and warn them to pause before they
commit the extensive interests of nations, while they or the people
are under the influence of passion. Alas! what frightful mischiefs
might have been averted if these considerations had governed the
English people, or the English ministry, during the fatal discussions
of Lord Whitworth at Paris!

In charity, I hope the Ministry believed that this dispute might have
ended with a mere demonstration; and I admit that no man can foresee
all the consequences of an action: yet, as the feelings which excited
that message and directed those deliberations, continued to influence
the Ministry during twelve years warfare, and led to the rejection of
seven overtures for peace, made at different times by #Napoleon#; the
character of the age and the future security of the world against wars
of aggression, seem to require that the origin of the late war should
even yet become an object of solemn parliamentary inquiry. The Crown
may have the constitutional power of declaring war, but the ministers
of the Crown are responsible for the abuse of that power; and let it
be remembered, that the origin of every war is easily tried by tests
to be found in #Grotius#, #Puffendorf#, #Vattel#, or other authorities
on the laws of nations; and that, without the combination of justice
and necessity in its origin, no true glory can be acquired in its
progress or in its results.[6]

    [6] While these pages were printing, the Common Council of
        London, the second deliberative assembly in the empire, have
        presented an address to the Throne, in which they describe
        the late devastating Wars as "RASH AND RUINOUS, UNJUSTLY
        OBJECT WAS TO BE OBTAINED;" and they add, that "IMMENSE
        NEIGHBOURS." No friend of Truth could wish to see a more
        correct historical record of these melancholy events; and,
        whether the authors of them are allowed to drop into the
        grave by the course of nature, or should expiate their
        offences on a scaffold, there is not likely to be much
        difference of opinion about them in the year #THREE THOUSAND
        EIGHT HUNDRED# and #SIXTEEN#. Perhaps #FIVE MILLIONS# of
        men, and as many women and children, have fallen victims, in
        the space of twenty-five years, to attempts, as visionary as
        wicked, to destroy by the sword the assertion of Principles
        of Political Justice, which necessarily grew out of the
        cultivation of reason, and which were corollaries of that
        #INTELLECTUAL PHILOSOPHY# of which #Bacon# laid the
        foundation, and which has been matured by #Selden#, #Coke#,
        #Milton#, #Sidney#, #Locke#, #Bolingbroke#, #Montesquieu#,
        #Blackstone#, #Rousseau#, #D'alembert#, #Hume#, #De Lolme#,
        #Mirabeau#, and #Fox#. Rights of social man derived from
        such sources cannot be overwhelmed, though a divided people
        may have been overpowered, though hated dynasties may have
        been restored, and though Popery, the order of Jesuits, and
        the Holy Inquisition, may for a season have resumed their

I learnt with regret that the improved Psalmody of #Gardiner# had not
yet been introduced into the service of this church, and that the
drawling-monkish tunes are preferred to those sublime passages of
Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, which that gentleman has so ingeniously
adapted to the Psalms of David. It might have been expected that every
church in the enlightened vicinage of the metropolis would, ere this,
have adopted a means of exalting the spirit of devotion, which has
received the high sanction of the Regent and the Archbishop of
Canterbury, and which exhibits among its patrons nearly the whole
bench of bishops. I suspect, indeed, that the _shops_ of the mere
trading Methodists attract as many auditors by their singing as by
their preaching; consequently, enlarged churches and improved psalmody
would serve to protect many of the people from becoming the dupes of
that #CANT# and #CRAFT# of #FANATICISM#, which is so disgraceful to
the age, so dangerous to religion, and so inimical to the progress of
truth and knowledge.

Viewing this church in a statistical point of view, I counted 85 pews,
capable of holding about 550 persons, and I learnt that about 100
charity-school and other children sit in the aisles. Hence, perhaps,
600 attend each service; and, if 300 attend in the afternoon who do
not in the morning, then we may calculate the attendants on the
church-service, in this parish, at about 900. The population is,
however, about 2100; from which, deducting 300 children, it will
appear that half the inhabitants are dissenters, methodists, or
indifferents. Of these, about 200 belong to a chapel for the
Independents, and perhaps others attend favourite preachers in the
vicinity. Such are the religious divisions of this parish; yet, as
there are no manufactories, and the clergyman is well respected, the
attendants on the Church may be considered as above even the general
average of the Establishment in other parishes.

I was induced to ascend into the belfry, where I found ropes for eight
bells--those musical tones, which extend the sphere of the Church's
influence, by associations of pleasure, devotion, or melancholy,
through the surrounding country. What an effective means of increasing
the sympathies of religion, and exciting them by the fire-sides, and
on the very pillows of the people! Who that, as bride or bridegroom,
has heard them, in conjunction with the first joys of wedded love,
does not feel the pleasurable associations of their lively peal on
other similar events? Who, that through a series of years has obeyed
their calling chime on the Sabbath morning, as the signal of placid
feelings towards his God, and his assembled neighbours, does not hear
their weekly monotony with devotion? And who is there that has
performed the last rites of friendship, or the melancholy duties of
son, daughter, husband, wife, father, mother, brother, or sister,
under the recurring tones of the awful Tenor, or more awful Dumb-peal,
and does not feel, at every recurrence of the same ceremony, a revival
of his keen, but unavailing, regrets for the mouldering dead? Thus
does art play with our ingenuous feelings; and thus is an importance
given to the established Church in the concords of man's nervous
system, which renders it unnecessary for its priesthood to be jealous
or invidious towards those who dissent from its doctrines for
conscience sake. In truth, such is the imposing attitude of the
national Church, that, if the members leave the Church to sit under
strange pulpits, the incumbent should suspect his doctrines, his zeal,
his talents, or his charity in the collection of his dues and tithes.
What but gross misconduct in the priest--what but doctrines
incompatible with the intelligence of an enlightened age--or what but
the odious impost of tithes-in-kind, can separate the people from the
building where they first heard the name of God, and which contains
the bones of their ancestors?

In conceding to the influence of bells so many services to the
establishment which monopolizes them, I must, however, not forget that
the power they possess over the nerves, however agreeable or
interesting in health, is pernicious, and often fatal, when the
excitability is increased by disease? What medicine can allay the
fever which is often exasperated by their clangor? What consoling hope
can he feel who, while gasping for breath, or fainting from debility,
hears a knell, in which he cannot but anticipate his own?--Hundreds
are thus murdered in great cities every year by noisy peals or
unseasonable knells. Sleep, the antidote of diseased action, is
destroyed by the one; and Hope, the first of cordials, is extinguished
by the other. The interesting sympathies and services of bells appear
to be, therefore, too dearly purchased. In all countries, death-knells
and funeral-tollings ought to be entirely abolished; and even the
ringing of peals should be liable to be interdicted, at the request of
any medical practitioner. Nor ought the sanctuaries of the professed
religion of peace and charity to be disgraced at any time, by
celebrations of those murderous conflicts between man and man, which
too often take place, to gratify the malice and pride of #WEAK
PRINCES#, or sustain the avarice and false calculations of their
#WICKED MINISTERS#. Even in justifiable wars of self-defence, such as
the resistance to the unprincipled invasion of William the Norman, or
of the English people against the tyrannical Charles, the church of
Christ ought only to mourn at the unhappy price of the most decisive

The solemn tick of the parish-clock reminding me of the progress of
the day, I hastened down the worn stairs, which indicated the busy
steps of generations long returned to their gazeous elements, into the
church-yard. The all-glorious sun, mocking the fate of mortals, still
shed a fascinating lustre on the southern fields, and reminded me,
that the village on my left was the eastern #Sheen#, so called from
the very effect which I witnessed. Several pretty mansions skirted the
fields, and the horizon was beautifully filled by the well-grown woods
of Richmond Park, the walls of which were but half a mile distant. The
path across the meadow would have tempted me to enjoy its rare beauty;
but my course lay westward, and I turned from this brilliant scenery
of Nature to the homely creations of man in the village street.

Contemptibly as I think of the morals of Dee, yet, as an able
mathematician and an extraordinary character, I could not resist my
curiosity to view the house in which he resided. It is now a Ladies'
boarding-school; and, on explaining the purpose of my visit, I was
politely shown through the principal rooms. In two hundred years, it
has of course undergone considerable alterations: yet parts of it
still exhibit the architecture of the sixteenth century. From the
front windows I was shown Dee's garden, on the other side of the road,
still attached to the house; down the central path of which, through
iron gates, yet standing, Queen Elizabeth used to walk from her
carriage in the Sheen road, to consult the wily conjurer on affairs of
love and war.

I found the gouvernante of this establishment perfectly intelligent on
the subject of her proper business. Her unaffected politeness induced
me to take a chair and recruit my strength with a glass of water and a
crust of bread. We talked on Education, and particularly on that of
females. She agreed that a female pedant is at best a ridiculous
character, and that retired graces, personal accomplishments, and
useful domestic acquirements, are best adapted to the destiny of
woman. We approved of dancing, because it affords social recreation
and wholesome exercise; and of music, for its own sake, and as a means
of relieving the monotony of the domestic circle in long evenings and
bad weather. She considered the study of a foreign language to be
partly necessary, as a means of acquiring exact ideas of the science
of language generally; and we agreed in preferring the French, for its
conversational powers and its universality as a living tongue. Nor did
we differ in our views of the necessity of making the future
companions of well-educated men intimately acquainted with the leading
facts of geography and history, and with the general principles of
natural philosophy and chemistry. I ventured to suggest, that the
great objection to female boarding-schools, the neglect of the arts of
housewifery might be obviated, by causing two of the pupils, of a
certain age, to assist in the management of the store-room and kitchen
for a week in rotation, during which they should fill up the items of
the house-keeper's account-book, and make purchases of the family
tradesmen. At this the good lady smiled--Ah, sir, (said she,) yours is
a plausible theory, but not one mother in ten would tolerate a
practice which they would consider as a degradation of their
daughters.--But, (said I,) is not household economy the chief pursuit
of nine of every ten of the sex; and is not the system of education
incomplete, if not a waste of time, which does not embrace that
pursuit as part of the plan? And just for that reason, (said she,)
that one in every ten may not have occasion to concern herself in
household affairs, the whole avoid them as degrading--each looks for
the prize in the lottery of fortune, and therefore all pitch
themselves too high--and it would be offensive to the pride and vanity
of parents, to suppose that their daughter might have occasion to know
any thing of the vulgar employments of the house and the kitchen.--It
is the parents, then, (said I, in conclusion,) who require instruction
as much as their children.--We agreed, however, in our estimate of the
superior advantages which children of both sexes enjoy in the present
day, from the improved and extended views of the authors of
school-books. She was warm in her praises of the Interrogative System
of some recent authors; and I found she was no stranger to the merits
of the Universal Preceptor, and of the elementary Grammars of
Geography, History, and Natural Philosophy.

As I continued my course towards the site of the ancient residence of
the Archbishops of Canterbury, which lies at the western extremity of
the village, I could not avoid asking myself, how, in a country
abounding in such means of instruction, political fraud has continued
so successful? Has education yet effected nothing for mankind, _owing
to its servility to power_? Is the press but a more effective engine
for promulgating sophistry, _owing to its ready corruption_? Is
religion in the pulpit but a plausible means of palliating the crimes
of statesmen, _owing to the ambition of its professors_? Would it now
be possible to poison Socrates, banish Aristides, and crucify Jesus,
for teaching truth and practising virtue? Alas! a respect for that
same truth compelled me to say, Yes!--Yes, said I, there never was a
country, nor an age, in which artful misrepresentation could be more
successfully practised than at this day in Britain! Can the _press_
effectually sustain truth, while no penal law prevents the purse and
patronage of ministers and magistrates from poisoning its channels of
communication with the people? Can the _pulpit_ be expected to
advocate political truth, while the patronage of the Church is in the
hands of the Administration of the day? Can _education_ itself be free
from the influence of corrupt patronage, or the force of numerous
prejudices, while an abject conformity to the opinions of each
previous age is the passport to all scholastic dignities? Does any
established or endowed school, and do any number even of private
schools, make it part of their professed course to teach their pupils
the value of freedom, the duties of freemen, and the free principles
of the British constitution? Is the system of the public schools,
where our statesmen and legislators are educated, addressed to the
#HEART# as well as the #HEAD#? Is poverty any where more degraded;
cruelty to the helpless animal creation any where more remorselessly
practised; or the pride of pedantry, and the vain-glory of human
learning, any where more vaunted? In short, are the vices of gluttony,
drunkenness, pugilism, and prodigality, any where more indulged? Yet,
may we not say, as in the days of William of Wykeham, that "_Manners
make the man!_"--and, on the subject of public duties, might we not
derive a lesson even from the ancient institutions of Lycurgus?

The best hopes of society are the progressive improvement of
succeeding generations, and the prospect that each will add something
to the stock of knowledge to that which went before it. But gloomy is
the perspective, if the science of education be rendered stationary or
retrograde by the iron hand of power and bigotry, and if errors by
these means are propagated from age to age with a species of
accelerated force. Yet, what signs of improvement are visible in our
public schools, wherein are educated those youths who are destined to
direct the fortunes of Britain in each succeeding age? Most of these
schools were endowed at the epoch of the revival of learning; yet the
exact course of instruction which was prescribed by the narrow policy
of that comparatively dark age, is slavishly followed even to this
hour! Instead of knowledge, moral and physical, being taught in them,
as the true end of all education,--those dead languages, which in the
15th and 16th centuries were justly considered as the fountains of
wisdom, are still exclusively taught; as though the English language,
now, as then, contained no works of taste and information on a par
with those of the ancients; and as though such writers as Bacon,
Shakespeare, Milton, Newton, Locke, Addison, Pope, Johnson,
Blackstone, Hume, Robertson, and Blair, had never lived! Is it not to
mistake the means for the end, to teach any language, except as the
medium of superior philosophy? And is it not a false inference, to
ascribe exclusively to the study of languages, those habits of
industrious application, which would grow with equal certainty out of
the study of the useful sciences, if pursued with the same system, and
for a similar period of time?

Reason demands, however, on this subject, those concessions from the
#PRIDE# of #PEDANTRY# which that pride will never yield. We seem,
therefore, to be destined, by the force of circumstances, to make slow
or inconsiderable advances in civilization; and it remains for other
nations, the bases of whose institutions are less entangled in
prejudices, to raise the condition of man higher in the scale of
improvement than can be expected in Britain. We may, as a result of
geographical position, attain a certain degree of national
distinction; but, if our system of public education cannot be made to
keep pace with knowledge, and is not calculated to generate a
succession of patriots, who are qualified to sustain liberty at home
and justice abroad, we cannot fail to sink in our turn to the level of
modern Egypt, Greece, and Italy. Those hotbeds of human genius were
ultimately degraded by the triumph of prejudices over principles, by
the extinction of public spirit, by the preference of despotism over
liberty, and by the glare of foreign conquests. The countries, the
soil, and even the cities remain; but, as their youth are no longer
trained in the love of truth and liberty, they exist but as beacons to
warn other people of their fall and its causes.

I turned aside to view a manufactory of Delft and Stone ware, for
which, among potters, Mortlake is famous. A silly air of mystery
veiled these work-shops from public view; and, as I professed mine to
be a visit of mere curiosity, the conductor's taciturnity increased
with the variety of my unsatisfied questions. It was in vain I assured
him that I was no potter--that experimental philosophy and chemistry
had stript empiricism of its garb--and that no secret, worth
preserving, could long be kept in a manufactory which employed a dozen
workmen, at 20_s._ a week. The principal articles made here are those
brown stone jugs, of which the song tells us, one was made of the clay
of Toby Filpot; and I could not help remarking, that the groups on
these jugs are precisely those on the common pottery of the Romans. I
learnt, however, that the patterns employed here are not copied from
the antique, but from those used at Delft, of which this manufactory
is a successful imitation in every particular: and perhaps the Delft
manufactory itself is but a continuation of a regular series of stone
or earthenware manufactories, from the age of the Romans. Each may
have continued to imitate the approved ornaments of its predecessors,
till we trace in the productions of this contemporary pottery, the
patterns used by the nations of antiquity when just emerging from
barbarism. Hunting, the most necessary of arts to the vagrant and
carnivorous savage, is the employment celebrated on all these vessels,
A stag, followed by ferocious quadrupeds and hungry bipeds, forms
their general ornament. I have picked up the same groups among Roman
ruins, have often contemplated them in the cabinets of the curious,
and here I was amused at viewing them in creations but a week old.

To take off ornamental impressions on plastic clay, was a contrivance
which would present itself to the first potters--but perhaps it was
the foundation of all our proud arts of sculpture, painting,
hieroglyphic design, writing, seal-engraving, and, finally, of
printing and copper-plate engraving! What an interesting series!--But
I solemnly put the question, Have we arrived at the last of its terms?
Is the series capable of no further application, extension, or
variation? Have we conceived the utmost limits of its abstractions?
Have we examined the powers of all its terms with equal care? In one
sense, we may never get beyond a Phidias or a Canova--in another,
beyond a Woollet or a Bartolozzi--or, in a third, beyond a Corregio or
a David;--but have we sufficiently examined and husbanded the
abstractions of Thoth or Cadmus?--Ought not the signs of ideas, ere
this, to have become abstract representations; as universal in their
signification as ideas themselves?--Ought we to be obliged to study
all languages and many characters, in order to comprehend the ideas
which are common to the whole human race? Are ideas more numerous than
musical sounds, and tones, and tunes? Do not the powers of musical
characters and of the telegraph prove the facility and capacity of
very simple combinations? Does not the Christmas game of _Twenty_
indicate the narrow range of all our ideas? And is not a fact thereby
ascertained, from which we may conceive the practicability of so
combining hieroglyphic with arbitrary characters, as to be able to
read men's ideas without the intervention of a hundred tongues?

On leaving this manufactory, I proceeded about a hundred yards,
through the main street; and, turning a corner on the right, beheld
the ancient gateway, now bricked up, and the ruined walls of an
enclosure, sanctified, during five centuries, as the residence of
thirty-four successors to the see of Canterbury. Learning that the
enclosure was occupied by a market-gardener, I could not avoid
observing, as a proof of the sagacity of gardeners, and of the luxury
which manured these sites, that I have seldom visited decayed religious
houses without finding them in possession of market-gardeners! Ah!
thought I, as I stopped before the gate, how many thousands of rich
donations used to be brought to that portico by superstitious
votaries, who considered it as the emblem of the gate of St. Peter,
and believed that, if welcomed at the one, they should be equally
welcomed at the other! Poor souls--they and their spiritual protectors
have alike passed away--and we can now look with the eye of Philosophy
on the impotent impostures of one party, and on the unsuspecting
credulity of the other!

I was in haste---yet I could not avoid stopping five minutes--yes,
reader, and it is a lesson to human pomp--I could wait but five
minutes to contemplate the gate through which had passed thirty-four
successive Archbishops of Canterbury, from Anselm, in the time of
William the Norman, to Warham and Cranmer, the pliant tools of the
tyrant Tudor. As leaders of the Catholic Church, we may now, in this
Protestant country, speak, without offence, of their errors and vices.
Ambition and the exercise of power were doubtless the ruling passions
of the majority, who have shown themselves little scrupulous as to the
means by which those passions might be gratified;--yet it would be
uncandid not to admit that many men, like the present amiable
Protestant archbishop, have filled this See, whose eminent virtue,
liberality, and piety, were their principal recommendations--and who
doubtless believed all those articles of the Church's faith which they
taught to others. They were, in truth, wheels of a machine which
existed before their time; and they honestly performed the part
assigned them, without disputing its origin or the sources of its
powers; prudently considering that, if they endeavoured to pull it in
pieces, they were likely themselves to become the first victims of
their temerity. Thus doubtless it was with Cicero and the philosophers
of antiquity; they found theological machinery powerful enough to
govern society; and though, on the subject of the Gods, they prudently
conformed, or were silent, yet we are not at this day warranted in
supposing that they obsequiously reverenced the absurd theology of the
romance of Homer. Of the archbishops who have passed this gate, St.
Thomas à Becket was perhaps the greatest bigot; but the exaltation of
the ecclesiastical over the temporal power was the fashion of his day;
and obedience and allegiance could scarcely be expected of a clergy
who, owing all their dignities to the Pope, owned no authority
superior to that of the keeper of Peter's Keys to the Gates of Heaven!

I could not, even in thus transiently glancing at these meagre
remains, avoid the interesting recollection, that this portico once
served as a sanctuary for the contrition of guilt against the
unsparing malignity of law. In those days, when bigotry courted
martyrdom as a passport to eternal glory, and when, in consequence,
the best principle of religion was enabled to triumph over the malice
of weak princes and the tyranny of despots, this gate (said I) served
as one of many avenues to the emblem of that Divinity to whom the
interior was devoted. It justly asserted the authority of the religion
of charity, whose Founder ordered his disciples to pardon offences,
though multiplied seventy times seven times. Yet, alas! in our days,
how much is this divine precept forgotten! Is not the sanguinary power
of law suffered to devour its victims for _first_ relapses from
virtue, as unsparingly as for any number of repetitions? Do not its
sordid agents exult in the youth or inexperience of offenders, and
often receive contrition and confession as aggravating proofs of more
deliberate turpitude? Has not the modern sanctuary of Mercy long been
shut, by forms of state, against the personal supplications of
repentance, and against humble representations of venial errors of
criminal courts? If sinners would approach that gate, are they not
stopped at the very threshold, and obliged to rely on the intercession
of some practised minister, or seek the good offices of illiberal
clerks? Is this Christendom, the volume of whose faith tells its
votaries to knock without fear at the gate of Mercy, and it shall be
opened by an Heavenly Father?--or England, where a solemn law enacts,
that it is the right of the subject to petition the King, and that all
commitments and prosecutions for such petitioning are illegal?--or
civilized Europe, where it has so often been asserted that the
receiving of petitions, and granting their prayer, is the most
enviable branch of royal prerogative? Alas! will the golden mean of
reason never govern the practices of men? Must we for ever be the
dupes of superstition, or the slaves of upstart authority? Are we
doomed never to enjoy, in the ascendancy of our benevolent sympathies,
a medium between the bigotry of the #Crozier#, the pride of the
#Sceptre#, and the cruelty of the #Sword#?

Nor ought it to be forgotten, that the benevolence which flowed from
this portico, served as a substitute for the poor's-rates, throughout
the adjoining district. Thus #Food#, as well as #Mercy#, appeared to
flow from Heaven, through the agency of the Romish priesthood! Thus
they softened the effects of the monopolies of wealth, and assuaged
the severities of power! And thus, duration was conferred on a system
which violated common sense in its tenets; but, in its practices,
exhibited every claim on the affections and gratitude of the people!
At this gate, and at a thousand others spread over the land, no poor
man sought to satisfy his hunger in vain. He was not received by any
grim-visaged overseer; not called on for equivocal proofs of legal
claims; not required to sell his liberty in the workhouse as the price
of a single meal; not terrified by the capricious justice of a vulgar
constable; nor in fear of the infernal machine, called a
pass-cart--but it was sufficient that he was an hungered, and they
gave him to eat--or that he was sick, and they gave him medicine! Such
was the system of those times; not more perfect for being ancient, but
worthy of being remembered, because justified by long experience.
Thrice the relative wealth, and as much active benevolence, are at
this day exerted to relieve the still unsatisfied wants of the poor,
simply because our workhouses are not regularly provided with an
hospitable monastic portico, where temporary wants might be supplied
with a wholesome meal, without the formality of regular admission,
without proofs of settlement, without the terrors of the House of
Correction, or the horrors of a _middle-passage_ in the pass-cart! The
tenderest sympathy would then be able to excuse itself from the
obligation of granting eleemosynary aid--the act of begging might be
justly punished as a crime--and crimes themselves could never be
palliated by pleas of urgent want.

This entire site was too much consecrated by historical associations
to be passed without further examination. A slight expression of my
feelings procured every attention from Penley, the gardener, who told
me that his family had occupied it since the revolution, and that he
remembered every part above fifty years. He took me to a summer-house,
on the wall next the water, the ruins of which were of the
architecture of the time of the Plantagenets; and, indeed, the entire
wall, above half a mile in circuit, was of that age. Of the ancient
palace no vestige remained; and he could guess its precise site only
by means of the masses of brickwork which he discovered by digging in
certain parts of the garden.

If I was, however, little gratified by remains of the labours of man,
I was filled with astonishment at certain specimens of vegetation,
unquestionably as ancient as the last Catholic archbishops. Among
these were two enormous walnut-trees, twelve feet round the trunk, the
boughs of which were themselves considerable trees, spreading above
twenty-six yards across. Each tree covered above a rood of ground; and
so massy were the lower branches, that it has been found necessary to
support them with props. Their height is equal to their breadth, or
about seventy feet; and I was surprised to find, that, notwithstanding
their undoubted age, they still bear abundance of fine fruit. Mr.
Penley assured me, that in his time he had seen no variation in them;
they had doubtless attained their full growth in his boyhood, but
since then they had maintained a steady maturity. At present they must
be considered as in a state of slow decay; but I have no doubt that in
the year 1916 they will continue grand and productive trees.

I was equally struck with some box-trees, probably of far greater
antiquity. They were originally planted in a semicircle to serve as an
arbour; but in the progress of centuries they have grown to the
prodigious height of thirty feet, and their trunks are from six to
nine inches in diameter.[7] And what was strikingly curious, in the
area which they enclose is seen the oval table of the arbour,
evidently of the same age. It is of the species of stone called
Plymouth marble,--massy, and so well-wrought as to prove that it was
not placed there at the cost of private revenues. It was interesting,
and even affecting, to behold these signs of comfort and good cheer
still remaining, so many ages after those who enjoyed them have passed
away like exhalations or transient meteors! I would have sat down,
and, with a better conscience than Don Juan, have invoked their ghosts
over a bottle of the honest gardener's currant-wine; but he had filled
up the elliptical area of the trees with a pile of fagots, of which
the old table serves as a dry basement.

    [7] The box-wood used in England by the engravers on wood is
        often twelve inches in diameter; this, however, is not of
        English growth, but comes from Turkey, where it is held in
        slight estimation. Of course, when engravings on wood are
        larger than twelve inches in diameter, two blocks are joined
        together, for it is only the transverse section that can be
        wrought for this purpose. The most famous plantations of box
        in England are on the White-hill, near Dorking; but the
        trees there are mere sticks and shrubs compared with those
        at Mortlake; yet many of them are known to be two hundred
        years old.

What was less wonderful, though to the full as interesting--was the
circumstance that the gardener has, at different times, in digging up
the roots of his old fruit-trees, found them imbedded in skeletons of
persons who were interred in or near the chapel of the archbishops. He
told me, that a short time before my visit, in removing a pear-tree,
he had taken up three perfect skeletons; and that one of them was
pronounced by a surgeon in the neighbourhood to be the frame-work of a
man full seven feet high. This probably was an accidental
circumstance; for it is not to be supposed that any of the interments
on this spot took place in those rude ages when bulk and stature led
to rank and distinction, and, by consequence, to costly funerals and
encasements of stone, which often surprize us with specimens of an
apparently gigantic race. Doubtless, however, here were interred
hundreds of pious persons, who calculated, in their last moments, on
the protection of this consecrated ground till "the Earth should be
called to give up its Dead;" and now, owing to the unsatisfied passion
which the first "Defender of the Faith" felt for Anna Boleyn, this
consecrated spot, and a thousand similar ones, have been converted
into cabbage-gardens!

Perhaps more than one archbishop, many bishops, and scores of deans,
angelic doctors, and other reverend personages, lie in this now
profaned and dishonoured spot! So great an outrage might, one would
have supposed, have led them, according to ordinary notions, again to
walk the earth, to despoil the garden, and disturb the gardener's
rest! I expressed my fears on this point to the worthy man; but he
assured me, these good gentlefolks lie very quiet; and that, if they
produced any visible effect, it was as manure, in rendering the part
where they lie a little more productive than the other parts. I
shuddered at this lesson of humility--Alas! thought I, is it for such
ends that we pamper ourselves--that some of us boast of being better
than others--that we seek splendid houses and superfine clothing--and
render our little lives wretched by hunting after rank, and titles,
and riches! After all, we receive a sumptuous funeral, and are
affectionately laid in what is called consecrated ground, which some
political revolution, or change of religion, converting into a
market-garden, our bodies then serve but as substitutes for vulgar
manure! If such an end of the illustrious and proud men, whose remains
now fertilize this garden, had been contemplated by them, how truly
would they have become disciples of the humble Jesus--and how
horror-struck would they have been at the fantastic airs which, in
their lives, they were giving themselves!--Yet, is there a reader of
these pages, the end of whose mortal career may not be similar to
theirs?--and ought he not to apply to himself the lesson thus taught
by the known fate of the former inhabitants of the archiepiscopal
palace of Mortlake?

I shook my head at Penley, and told him, that he was a terrible
"leveller," and that, in making manure of archbishops and bishops, he
was one of the most effective moralists I had ever conversed with!

In walking round this garden, every part proved that its soil had been
enriched from all the neighbouring lands. Whether, according to Dr.
#Creighton#, there are classes of organic particles adapted to form
vegetables and animals over and over again; or whether, according to
the modern chemistry, all organized bodies consist of carbonaceous,
metallic, and gaseous substances in varied combinations; it is
certain, that the well-fed priesthood, who formerly dwelt within these
walls, drew together for ages such a supply of the pabulum of
vegetation, as will require ages to exhaust. All the trees of this
garden are of the most luxuriant size: gooseberries and currants in
other gardens grow as shrubs; but here they form trees of four or five
feet in height, and a circumference of five or six yards. In short, a
luxuriance approaching to rankness, and a soil remarkable for its
depth of colour and fatness, characterize every part. The abundant
produce, as is usual through all this neighbourhood, is conveyed to
Covent-Garden market in the night, and there disposed of by salesmen
that attend on behalf of the gardeners.

I took my departure from this inclosure with emotions that can only be
felt. I looked again and again across the space which, during
successive ages, had given birth to so many feelings, and nurtured so
many anxious passions; but which now, for many ages, has, among
bustling generations, lost all claim to sympathy or notice; and
displays, at this day, nothing but the still mechanism of vegetable
life. There might be little in the past to rouse the affections; but,
in the difference of manners, there was much to amuse the imagination.
It had been the focus, if not of real piety, at least of ostensible
religion; and, dead as the spot now appeared, its mouldering walls,
some of those gigantic trees, and, above all, the box-tree arbour,
had, in remote ages, echoed from hour to hour the melodious chaunts
and imposing ceremonials of the Romish Church. Here moral habits
sanctified the routine of life, and conferred happiness as a necessary
result of restraint and decorum--and here Vice never disgraced Reason
by public exhibitions; but, if lurking in any breast, confessed its
own deformity by its disguises and its secresy. In surveying such a
spot, the hand of Time softens down even the asperities of
superstition, and the shade of this gloomy site, contrasted with the
bright days of its prosperity, inclined me to forget the intolerant
policy which was wont to emanate from its spiritual councils. Under
those fruit-trees, I exclaimed, lie all that remains of the follies,
hopes, and superstitions of the former occupants; for, of them, I
cannot remark as of the torpid remains in Mortlake church-yard, that
they live in the present generation.--No! these dupes of clerical
fraud devoted themselves to celibacy as a service to the procreative
#Cause# of #CAUSES#, and became withered limbs of their family trees.
We can, however, now look on their remains, and presume to scan their
errors:--but let us recollect, that, though we are gazers to-day, we
shall be gazed upon to-morrow--and that, though we think ourselves
wise, we are, perhaps, fated to be commiserated in our turn by the age
which follows. Alas! said I, when will the generation arrive that will
not merit as much pity from succeeding generations as those poor
monks? Yet how wise, how infallible, and how intolerant, is every sect
of religion--every school of philosophy--every party of temporary
politicians--and every nation in regard to every other nation! Do not
these objects, and all exertions of reasoning, prove, that the climax
of human wisdom is #HUMILITY#?

Commending the bones of the monks to the respect of the gardener,
whose feelings, to do him justice, were in unison with my own, I
proceeded, by the side of the wall, towards the banks of the Thames.

The relics of exploded priestcraft which I had just contemplated in
the adjoining garden, led me into an amusing train of thought on the
origin and progress of superstition. I felt that the various
mythologies which the world has witnessed, grow out of mistakes in
regard to the phenomena of #SECONDARY CAUSES#; all natural phenomena,
accordingly as they were _fit_ or _unfit_ to the welfare or caprices
of men, being ascribed, by the barbarous tribes who subsequently
became illustrious nations, to the agency of _good_ and _evil_
spirits. However absurd might be the follies of these superstitions,
they became ingrafted on Society, and were implanted in the opening
minds of every successive generation. Of course, the age never arrived
which did not inherit the greater part of the prejudices of the
preceding age. Reason and philosophy might in due time illumine a few
individuals; yet even these, influenced by early prejudices, and a
prudent regard for their fortunes and personal safety, would rather
support, or give a beneficial direction to, mythological
superstitions, than venture to expose and oppose them. Hence it was
that the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, continued _polytheists_ through
the most brilliant epochs of their history; and hence their
philosophers, as #Pythagoras#, #Plato#, and others, gave to the whole
the plausibility of system, by affecting to demonstrate that the
#FIRST CAUSE# necessarily and proximately generates immortal gods!
Hence too it is that philosophers have, in different past ages,
undertaken to demonstrate the verity of all religions, and according
to the religion of the government under which they lived, they have
either supported Polytheism, Theism, Sabinism, Judaism, Popery, or
Mahomedanism. The fate of #Socrates# has never been forgotten by any
philosopher who possessed the chief attribute of wisdom--#PRUDENCE#;
and no benevolent man will ever seek to disturb a public faith which
promotes public virtue, because the memorials of history prove that no
discords have been so bloody as those which have been generated by
attempts to change religious faith. This class of human errors can
indeed be corrected only by establishing in civilized countries
practical and unequivocal systems of toleration; because, in that
case, truth and reason are sure, in due time, to establish themselves,
while falsehood and fraud must sink into merited contempt.

The fleeting, wild, and crude notions of savages, constituted
therefore the _first stage_ in the progress of mythological
superstition. Their invisible agencies would however soon have forms
conferred upon them by weak or fertile imaginations, and be
personified as men or animals, according to the nature of their deeds.
To pray to them for benefits, and to deprecate their wrath, would
constitute the _second stage_. In the mean time, individuals who
might, by chance or design, become connected with some of these
supernatural agencies, would be led, by vivid or gloomy imaginations,
to deceive even themselves by notions of _election_ or _inspiration_;
and, then superadding ceremonials to worship, they would form a select
class, living, without manual labour, on the tributes offered by the
people to satisfy or appease the unseen agencies. This would
constitute a _third stage_. Each priest would then endeavour to extol
the importance of the god, of whom he believed himself to be the
minister; and he would give to his deity a visible form, cause a
temple to be built for him, deliver from it his oracles or prophecies,
and affect to work miracles in his name. This would constitute the
_fourth stage_. The terror of unseen powers would now be found to be a
convenient engine of usurped human authority, and hence an association
would be formed between the temporal and invisible powers, the latter
being exalted by the former in having its temples enlarged and its
priests better provided for. This would constitute the _fifth stage_;
or the consummation of the system as it has been witnessed in India,
Persia, Egypt, Greece, and Italy.--Hence among the #Hindoos#, those
personified agencies have been systematized under the titles of
Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, Crishna, &c. Among the #Egyptians#, they were
worshipped in the forms of living animals, and called Osiris, Ammon,
Oris, Typhon, Isis, &c. Among the #Chaldeans#, and, after them, among
the #Jews#, they were classed in principalities, powers, and dominions
of _angels_ and _devils_, under chiefs, who bore the names of Raphael,
Gabriel, Michael, Moloch, Legion, Satan, Beelzebub, &c. Among the
#Greeks#, the accommodating Plato flattered the priests and the
vulgar, by pretending to demonstrate that their personifications were
necessary emanations from #THE ONE#; and he, and others, arranged the
worship of them under the names of Jupiter, Neptune, Minerva, Venus,
Pluto, Mars, &c. Among the #NORTHERN NATIONS#, they assumed the names
of Woden, Sleepner, Hela, Fola, &c. Every town and village had,
moreover, its protecting divinity, or guardian saint, under some
fantastical name, or the name of some fantastical fanatic; and, even
every man, every house, every plant, every brook, every day, and every
hour, according to most of those systems, had their accompanying
genius! In a word, the remains of these superstitions are still so
mixed with our habits and language, that, although we pity the
hundreds of wretched victims of _legal wisdom_, who under Elizabeth
and the Stuarts were burnt to death for witchcraft; and abhor the
ghosts of Shakespeare, his fairies, and his enchantments; yet we still
countenance the system in most of the personifications of language,
and practise it when we speak even of the _spirit_ of Philosophy and
the _genius_ of Truth.

Nor have philosophers themselves, either in their independent systems,
or in the systems of the schools, steered clear of the vulgar errors
of mythologists. They have in every age introduced into nature active
causes without contact, continuity, or proximity; and, even in our
days, continue to extort worship towards the _unseen and occult_
powers of attraction or sympathy, and of repulsion or antipathy! It is
true, they say that such words only express _results_ or _phenomena_,
and others equivocate by saying there is in no case any contact:--but
I reply, that to give names to proximate causes does not correspond
with my notions of the proper business of philosophy; and that, in
thousands of instances, there is sensible contact, and in all nature
some contact of intermediate media, in the affections of which, may be
traced the laws governing the phenomena of distant bodies. At the hour
in which I write, the recognized philosophical divinities are called
#Space#, #Matter#, #Inertia#, #Caloric#, #Expansion#, #Motion#,
#Impulse#, #Clustering Power#, #Elasticity#, #Atomic Forms#, #Atomic
Proportions#, #Oxygen#, #Hydrogen#, #Nitrogen#, #Chlorine#, #Iodine#,
#Electricity#, #Light#, #Excitability#, #Irritability#, &c. All these
have their priests, worshippers, propagandists, and votaries, among
some of whom may be found as intolerant a spirit of bigotry as ever
disgraced any falling church. As governments do not, however, ally
themselves to Philosophy, there is happily no danger that an heretical
or reforming Philosopher will, as such, ever incur the hazard of
martyrdom; and, as reason decides all disputes in the court of
Philosophy, there can be no doubt, but, in this court at least,
#Truth# will finally prevail.

Hail, Genius of Philosophy! Hail, thou poetical personification of
wisdom! Hail, thou logical abstraction of all experimental knowledge!
I hail thee, as thou art represented in the geniuses of Pythagoras,
Thales, Aristotle, Archimedes, Ptolemy, Columbus, Bacon, Galileo,
Descartes, Newton, Boyle, Euler, Buffon, Franklin, Beccaria,
Priestley, Lavoisier, Cavendish, Condorcet, Laplace, Herschel,
Berzelius, Jenner, Dalton, Cuvier, and Davy; and I hail thee, as thou
excitest the ambition of the solitary student of an obscure village,
to raise himself among those gods of the human race! How many
privations must thy votaries suffer in a sordid world; and how many
human passions must they subdue, before they can penetrate thy mazy
walks, or approach the hidden sanctuaries of thy temple of Truth!
Little thinks the babbling politician, the pedantic linguist, or the
equivocating metaphysician, of the watchful hours which thy
worshippers must pass,--of the never-ending patience which they must
exert,--of the concurring circumstances which must favour their
enthusiasm! Whether we consider the necessary magnitude of the
library, the ascending intricacy of the books, the multitude of the
instruments, or the variety of the experimental apparatus in the use
of which the searchers into thy mysteries must be familiar; we are
compelled to reverence the courage of him who seeks preeminence
through thee, and to yield to those mortals who have attained thy
favours, our wonder, admiration, and gratitude![8]

    [8] The system of Physics which I have for many years
        inculcated, in the hope of removing from Philosophy the
        equivocal word _attraction_, supposes that space is filled
        with an elastic medium,--that this medium permeates bodies
        in proportion to their quantities of matter,--that
        resistance or re-action takes place between the universal
        medium of space and the novel arrangements of matter in
        bodies,--that this action and re-action diverge in the
        medium of space from the surfaces of bodies,--and that, like
        all diverging forces, they act inversely as the squares of
        the distances. That, if there were but one body in the
        universe, it would remain stationary by the uniform action
        of the surrounding medium,--that the creation of another
        body would produce phenomena between them, owing to each
        intercepting the action of the medium of space on the other,
        in proportion to the angles mutually presented by their
        bulks,--that two such bodies so acted upon by an universal
        medium must necessarily fall together, owing to the
        difference between the finite pressure on their near sides,
        and the infinite pressure on their outsides,--that a stone
        falls to the earth, because, with regard to it, the earth
        intercepts an angle of 180° of the medium of space on its
        near or under side; while, with regard to the earth, the
        stone intercepts but a small proportion of a second,--that
        these actual centripetal forces are very slight, between
        such distant bodies as the planets,--and, that the law of
        the forces is necessarily as their bulks directly, and as
        the squares of their distances inversely. That the
        centrifugal forces result from the same pressure or
        impulse,--that the varied densities of the opposite sides of
        the masses, as land and water, occasion a uniform external
        pressure to produce rotation on an axis,--that the action or
        oscillation of the fluid surfaces, a consequence of the
        rotation, constantly changes the mechanical centre of the
        mass, so as thereby to drive forward the mathematical centre
        in an orbit,--and that this is the purpose and effect of the
        tides, increased by the action and re-action of the fluid
        and solid parts. That centripetal and centrifugal forces so
        created, are necessarily varied by the diverse arrangements
        of the solid and fluid parts of planetary bodies, as we see
        in the northern and southern hemispheres of the earth,--and
        that hence arise the varied motions, the elliptical orbits,
        and all the peculiar phenomena. Attached as the moderns are
        to the terms _attraction_ and _repulsion_, I produce this
        theory with due deference to their prejudices; and I venture
        to presume, that, on examination, it will be found to be a
        fair induction from the phenomena, and also in perfect
        accordance with all the laws of motion. It accounts for the
        uniform direction and moderate exertion of the centripetal
        force towards the largest body of a system; for the mutual
        actions of a system of bodies, or of many systems, on each
        other; and for the constantly varying direction of the
        centrifugal force, by shewing that it is generated within
        the mass. The term _repulsion_ is even more disgraceful to
        Philosophy than that of _attraction_; all repulsion being in
        truth but a relative phenomenon between at least three
        bodies; and its most palpable appearance in electricity
        being but a stronger mechanical action towards opposite
        surfaces. The local impulses of magnets, and of bodies going
        into chemical union, are not better explained by Kepler's
        gravitating sympathy, than by this doctrine of mechanical
        interception; but, I have no doubt that the former of these
        will, in due time, be traced to the difference between the
        rotary motion of the Equatorial and Polar regions; and the
        latter to some laws of the atomic theory, arising out of the
        shape and arrangement of the component particles, with
        reference to those of surrounding bodies.

Overtaking three or four indigent children, whose darned stockings and
carefully-patched clothes bespoke some strong motive for attention in
their parents, I was induced to ask them some questions. They said
they had been to Mortlake School; and I collected from them, that they
were part of two or three hundred who attend one of Dr. Bell's
schools, which had lately been established for the instruction of poor
children in this vicinity. I found that, until this establishment had
been formed, these children attended no school regularly--and, in
reply to a question, one of them said, "Our father could not afford to
pay Mr. ---- sixpence a week for us, so we could not go at all; but
now we go to this school, and it costs father nothing." This was as it
should be; the social state ought to supply a preparatory education of
its members--or, how can a government expect to find moral agents in
an ignorant population--how can it presume to inflict punishments on
those who have not been enabled to read the laws which they are bound
to respect--and how can the professors of religion consider themselves
as performing their duty, if they have not enabled all children to
peruse the volume of Christian Revelation? We are assured by Mr.
Lancaster, that #George the Third# expressed the benevolent wish that
every one of his subjects should be enabled to read the Bible; and his
successors will, it is to be hoped, not lose sight of so admirable a
principle. But a few ages ago, to be able to read conferred the
privileges of the clerical character, and exempted men from capital
punishments--how improved, therefore, is the present state of society,
and how different may it yet become, as prejudices are dispelled, and
as liberal feelings acquire their just ascendancy among the rulers of
nations! These boys spoke of their school with evident satisfaction;
and one of them, who proved to be a monitor, seemed not a little proud
of the distinction. Whether the system of Mr. Lancaster or of Dr. Bell
enjoy the local ascendancy; or whether these public seminaries be
"schools for all," or schools in which the dogmas of some particular
faith are taught, I am indifferent, provided there are some such
schools, and that all children are enabled to read the Bible, and
"_the Catechism of their Social Rights and Duties_."

Seeing several respectable houses facing the meadow which led to the
Thames, I inquired of a passing female the names of their owners, and
learnt that they were chiefly occupied by widow ladies, to whom she
gave the emphatic title of _Madam_--though she called one of them
_Mistress_. It appeared that those who were denominated _Madams_ were
widows of gentlemen who, in their lives, bore the title of _Esquires_;
but that the _Mistress_ was an old maid, whom her neighbours were
ashamed longer to call by the juvenile appellation of _Miss_. _Madam
----_, whose name I ought not to have forgotten, has devoted a paddock
of four or five acres to the comfortable provision of two
super-annuated coach-horses. One of them, I was assured, was
thirty-five years old, and the other nearly thirty; and their
venerable appearance and pleasant pasture excited a strong interest in
favour of their kind-hearted mistress. Such is the influence of good
example, that I found her paddock was opposite the residence of the
equally amiable #Valentine Morris#, who so liberally provided for all
his live-stock about thirty years ago, and whose oldest horse died
lately, after enjoying his master's legacy above twenty-four years.

I now descended towards a rude space near the Thames, which appeared
to be in the state in which the occasional overflowings and gradual
retrocession of the river had left it. It was one of those wastes
which the lord of the manor had not yet enabled some industrious
cultivator to disguise; and in large tracts of which Great Britain
still exhibits the surface of the earth in the pristine state in which
it was left by the secondary causes that have given it form. The
Thames, doubtless, in a remote age, covered the entire site; but it is
the tendency of rivers to narrow themselves, by promoting prolific
vegetable creations on their consequently increasing and encroaching
banks, though the various degrees of fall produce every variety of
currents, and consequently every variety of banks, in their devious
course. In due time, the course of the river becomes choaked where a
flat succeeds a rapid, and the detained waters then form lakes in the
interior. These lakes likewise generate encroaching banks, which
finally fill up their basins, when new rivers are formed on higher
levels. These, in their turn, become interrupted, and repetitions of
the former circle of causes produce one class of those elevations of
land above the level of the sea, which have so much puzzled
geologists. The only condition which a surface of dry land requires to
increase and raise itself, is the absence of salt water, consequent on
which is an accumulation of vegetable and animal remains. The Thames
has not latterly been allowed to produce its natural effects, because
for two thousand years the banks have been inhabited by man, who,
unable to appreciate the general laws by which the phenomena of the
earth are produced, has sedulously kept open the course of the river,
and prevented the formation of interior lakes. The Caspian Sea, and
all similar inland seas and lakes, were, for the most part, formed
from the choaking up of rivers, which once constituted their outlets.
If the course of nature be not interrupted by the misdirected industry
of man, the gradual desiccation of all such collections of water will,
in due time, produce land of higher levels on their sites. In like
manner, the great lakes of North America, if the St. Lawrence be not
sedulously kept open, will, in the course of ages, be filled up by the
gradual encroachment of their banks, and the raising of their bottoms
with strata of vegetable and animal remains. New rivers would then
flow over these increased elevations, and the ultimate effect would be
to raise that part of the continent of North America several hundred
feet above its present level. Even the very place on which I stand
was, according to #Webster#, once a vast basin, extending from the
Nore to near Reading, but now filled up with vegetable and animal
remains; and the illustrious #Cuvier# has discovered a similar basin
round the site of Paris. These once were Caspians, created by the
choaking and final disappearance of some mighty rivers--they have been
filled up by gradual encroachments, and now the Thames and the Seine
flow over them;--but these, if left to themselves, will, in their
turn, generate new lakes or basins--and the successive recurrence of a
similar series of causes will continue to produce similar effects,
till interrupted by _superior_ causes.

This situation was so sequestered, and therefore so favourable to
contemplation, that I could not avoid indulging myself. What then are
those superior causes, I exclaimed, which will interrupt this series
of natural operations to which man is indebted for the enchanting
visions of hill and dale, and for the elysium of beauty and plenty in
which he finds himself? Alas! facts prove, however, that all things
are transitory, and that change of condition is the constant and
necessary result of that motion which is the chief instrument of
eternal causation, but which, in causing all phenomena, wears out
existing organizations while it is generating new ones. In the motions
of the earth as a planet, doubtless are to be discovered the superior
causes which convert seas into continents, and continents into seas.
These sublime changes are occasioned by the progress of the perihelion
point of the earth's orbit through the ecliptic, which passes from
extreme northern to extreme southern declination, and _vice versa_,
every 10,450 years; and the maxima of the central forces in the
perihelion occasion the waters to accumulate alternatively upon either
hemisphere. During 10,450 years, the sea is therefore gradually
retiring and encroaching in both hemispheres:--hence all the varieties
of marine appearances and accumulations of marine remains in
particular situations; and hence the succession of layers or strata,
one upon another, of marine and earthy remains. It is evident, from
observation of those strata, that the periodical changes have occurred
at least three times; or, in other words, it appears that the site on
which I now stand has been three times covered by the ocean, and three
times has afforded an asylum for vegetables and animals! How
sublime--how interesting--how affecting is such a contemplation! How
transitory, therefore, must be the local arrangements of man, and how
puerile the study of the science miscalled Antiquities! How foolish
the pride which vaunts itself on splendid buildings and costly
mausoleums! How vain the ostentation of large estates, of extensive
boundaries, and of great empires!--All--all--will, in due time, be
swept away and effaced by the unsparing ocean; and, if recorded in the
frail memorials of human science, will be spoken of like the lost
Atalantis, and remembered only as a philosophical dream!

Yet, how different, thought I, is the rich scene of organized
existence within my view, from that which presented itself on this
spot when our planet first took its station in the solar system. The
surface, judging from its present materials, was then probably of the
same inorganic form and structure as the primitive rocks which still
compose the Alps and Andes; or like those indurated coral islands,
which are daily raising their sterile heads above the level of the
great ocean, and teaching by analogy the process of fertilization. At
that period, so remote and so obscure, all must have been silent,
barren, and relatively motionless! But, the atmosphere and the rains
having, by decomposition and solution, pulverized the rocks, and
reduced them into the various earths which now fertilize the surface,
from the inorganic soon sprung the vegetable, and from the vegetable,
in due time, sprung the animal; till the whole was resolved into the
interesting assemblage of organized existences, which now present
themselves to our endless wonder and gratification.

I looked around me on this book of nature, which so eloquently speaks
all languages, and which, for every useful purpose, may be read
without translation or commentary, by the learned and unlearned in
every age and clime. But my imagination was humbled on considering my
relative and limited powers, when I desired to proceed from phenomena
to causes, and to penetrate the secrets of nature below the surfaces
of things. I desire, said I, to know more than my intellectual vision
enables me to see in this volume of unerring truth. I can discover but
the mere surfaces of things by the accidents of light. I can feel but
the same surfaces in the contact of my body, and my conclusions are
governed by their reciprocal relations. In like manner, I can hear,
taste, and smell, only through the accidents of other media, all
distinct from the nature of the substances which produce those
accidents. In truth, I am the mere patient of certain illusions of my
senses, and I can know nothing beyond what I derive from my capacity
of receiving impressions from those illusions! Alas! thought I, I am
sensible how little I know; yet how much is there which I do not, and
can never, know? How much more am I incapable of knowing, with my
limited organs of sense, than I might know if their capacity or their
number were enlarged? How can a being, then, of such limited powers
presume to examine nature beyond the mere surface? How can he measure
unseen powers, of which he has no perception, but in the phenomena
visible to his senses? How can he reason on the causes of effects by
means of implements which reach no deeper than the accidents produced
by the surfaces of things on the media which affect his senses, and
which come not into contact with the powers that produce the
phenomena? Ultimate causation is, therefore, hidden for ever from man;
and his knowledge can reach no deeper or higher than to register
mechanical phenomena, and determine their mutual relations. But there
is yet enough for man to learn, and to gratify the researches of his
curiosity; for, bounded as are his powers, he has always found that
_art is too long and life too short_. He may nevertheless feel that
his mind, in a certain sense, is within a species of intellectual
prison; but, like the terrestrial prison which confines his body to
one planet, no man ever lived long enough to exhaust the variety of
subjects presented to his contemplation and curiosity by the
intellectual and natural world.

We seem, however, said I, to be better qualified to investigate the
external laws which govern #INORGANIC MATTER#, than the subtle and
local powers which govern organized bodies. We appear (so to speak) to
be capable of looking down upon mere matter as matter; but incapable,
like the eye in viewing itself, of retiring to such a focal distance
as to be able accurately to examine ourselves. It is not difficult to
conceive that planetary bodies, and other masses of inorganic matter,
may appear to act on each other by mutually intercepting the pressure
of the elastic medium which fills space; and the pressure intercepted
by each on the inner surface of the other, may, by the un-intercepted
external pressure on each, produce the phenomena of mutual
gravitation: nor is it improbable that the curvilinear and rotatory
motions of such masses may be governed by the arrangement and mutual
action of their fixed and their fluid parts; nor impracticable for the
geometrician, when the phenomena are determined, to measure the
mechanical relations of the powers that produce those phenomena; nor
wonderful that a system of bodies so governed by general laws, should
move and act in a dependent, consequent, and necessary harmony.

Thus far the intellect of an organized being may reason safely on the
mechanical relations of inorganic masses, because an unequal balance
of forces produces their motions, and from combined motions result the
phenomena; but, in the principle of organic life, and in the duration
and final purpose of the powers of vegetables and animals, there are
mysteries which baffle the penetration of limited observation and
reason. I behold #VEGETABLES# with roots fixed in the ground, and
through them raising fluids mechanically; but my understanding is
overpowered with unsatisfied wonder, when I consider the animating
principle of the meanest vegetable, which constitutes a selfish
individuality, and enables it to give new qualities to those fluids by
peculiar secretions, and to appropriate them to its own nourishment
and growth. My ambition after wisdom is humbled in the dust, whenever
I inquire how the first germ of every species came into existence;
whenever I consider the details of the varied powers in the energizing
agency which originates each successive germ; and the independent, but
coincident, passive receptacle which nurtures those germs, and,
correcting aberrations, secures the continuity of every species--both
acting as joint secondary causes; and whenever I reflect on the
growth, maturity, beauty, and variety, of the vegetable kingdom! On
these several subjects, my mind renders the profoundest homage to the
#MYSTERIOUS POWER# which created and continues such miracles; and,
being unable to reason upon them from the analogy of other experience,
I am forced to refer such sublime results to agency not mechanical;
or, if in any sense mechanical, so arranged and so moved as to exceed
my means of conception.

Looking once more upon the volume of nature which lay before me, I
behold a superior class of organized beings, each individual of which,
constituting an independent microcosm, is qualified to move from place
to place, by bodily adaptation and nervous sensibility. This kingdom
of #LOCO-MOTIVE BEINGS# ascends, in gradations of power and intellect,
from the hydatid to the sympathetic and benevolent philosopher; and
rises in the scale of being as much above the organization of
vegetables, as vegetables themselves are superior to the inorganic
particles in which they flourish. That they may subsist while they
move, their roots, instead of being fixed in the soil, are turned
within a cavity, or receptacle, called the stomach, into which,
appropriate soil, or aliment, is introduced by the industry of the
creature; and, that their powers of loco-motion may be exerted with
safety and advantage, they are provided with senses for smelling,
tasting, feeling, and seeing their food; and with a power of hearing
dangers which they cannot see. They are, for the same purpose, enabled
to profit by experience in powers of association, of reasoning by
analogy, and of willing according to their judgments; and they are
governed by an habitual desire to associate in species, accompanied by
moral feelings, resulting from obligations of mutual deference and
convenience. Here again, humanly speaking, we have a series of natural
miracles--a permanent connexion between external objects and the
sensations, reasoning, and conduct of the organized being. We trace
the animal frame to two constituent parts--the one mechanical, the
other sensitive; the mechanical consisting of bones, skin, stomach,
blood-vessels, glands, and intestines, provided with muscles and
sinews for voluntary motion; and the sensitive, consisting of nerves
and brain, which direct the motions by the feelings of the organs of
sense--the results of the union constituting creatures whose essence
is perception, springing from a system of brain and nerves, which,
being nourished by the energies of circulating fluids, moved by a
contrivance of muscles, and strengthened by an apparatus of bones,
produce all those varieties of feeling, durable, moving, and powerful
beings, whose functions continue as long as the original expansive
powers balance the unceasing inertia of their materials. But, of that
#SUBTLE PRINCIPLE# which distinguishes _organic life_ from _inert
matter_--of that principle of individuality which generates the
passion of self-love, and leads each individual to preserve and
sustain its own existence--of that principle which gives peculiar
powers of growth, and maturity, to germs of vegetables and
animals--and of that principle which, being stopped, suspended, or
destroyed, in the meanest or greatest of them, produces the awful
difference between the living and the dead--we have no knowledge, and
we seem incapable of acquiring any, by the limited powers of our
senses. Whether this principle of vitality is a principle of its own
kind, imparted from parent plants and animals to their germs; or
whether it is the result of the totality of the being, like the centre
of a sphere,--are questions which must perhaps for ever remain
undetermined by the reasoning powers of man.

The creature of an hour, whose chief care it is to live and indulge
his self-love, who cannot see without light, nor distinctly above a
few inches from the eye, is wholly incompetent to determine those
questions which have so long agitated philosophy; as, Whether the
phenomena of the creation could be made to exist without action and
re-action, and without space?--Whether, consequently, there are
#THREE# Eternals, or #ONE# Eternal?--Whether the #SUPREME
INTELLIGENCE, MATTER# void of form, and #SPACE# containing it, were
all eternal--or whether the supreme intelligence alone was eternal,
and matter and space created?--Whether the supreme intelligence has
only been exerted proximately or remotely on inorganic matter; space
being the necessary medium of creation, and organization being the
result?--Whether the globe of the earth, in form, is eternal, or,
according to Herschel, the effect of "a clustering power" in the
matter of space, beginning and ending, according to the general
analogy of organized beings?--Whether the earth was a comet, the
ellipticality of whose orbit has been reduced; and, if so, what was
the origin of the comet?--How the secondary mountains were
liquefied--whether by fire or by water--and what were the then
relations of the earth to the sun?--How and when that liquefaction
ceased; and how, and when, and in what order of time, the several
organizations arose upon them?--How those organizations, at least
those now existing, received the powers of secondary causes for
continuing their kind?--How every species now lives, and grows, and
maintains an eternal succession of personal identities?--How these
things were before we were, and how they now are on every side of
us--are topics which have made so much learning ridiculous, that, if I
were to discuss them, in the best forms prescribed by the schools, I
might but imitate in folly the crawling myriads, who luxuriate for an
hour on a ripening peach; and who, like ourselves, may be led by their
vanity to discuss questions in regard to the eternity, and other
attributes, of the prodigious globe, which they have inherited from
their remote ancestry, and of which the early history is lost in the
obscure traditions of their countless generations!

Without presuming, however, to argue on premises which finite
creatures cannot justly estimate, we may safely infer, in regard to
the world in which we are placed, that all things which #DO EXIST#,
owe their existence to their #COMPATIBILITY# with other existences; to
the necessary #FITNESS# of all existing things; and to the #HARMONY#
which is essential to the existence of any thing in the form and mode
in which it does exist: for, without reciprocal #COMPATIBILITY#,
without individual #FITNESS#, and without universal #HARMONY#, nothing
could #CONTINUE TO EXIST# which #DOES EXIST#; and, therefore, what
does exist, is for the time #NECESSARILY COMPATIBLE# with other
existences, #FIT# or #NOT INCOMPATIBLE#, and in #HARMONY# with the
whole of #CO-EXISTENT BEING#. Every organized #EXISTENCE# affords,
therefore, indubitable evidence of #FINAL CAUSES# or #PURPOSES#,
competent to produce and sustain it; of certain relations of #FITNESS#
to other beings; of #COMPATIBILITY# with other existences; and of
#HARMONY# in regard to the whole. And every case of #DESTRUCTION#
affords evidence, that certain #FINAL CAUSES# have become unequal to
their usual office; that the being is #UNFIT# to exist simultaneously
with some other beings; that its existence is #INCOMPATIBLE# with
certain circumstances, or that it is contrary to the general #HARMONY#
of co-existent being. May not the fifty thousand species of beings now
discoverable, be all the species whose existences have continued to be
fit, compatible, and harmonious? May not the known extinction of many
species be received as evidence, therefore, of the gradual decay of
the powers which sustain organized being on our planet? May not the
extinction of one species render the existence of others more unfit,
by diminishing the number of final causes? And, may not the successive
breaking or wearing out of these links of final causes ultimately lead
to the end of all organized being, or to what is commonly called, #THE

As I approached a sequestered mansion-house, and some other buildings,
which together bear the name of #Brick-stables#, I crossed a corner of
the meadow towards an angle formed by a rude inlet of the Thames,
which was running smoothly towards the sea at the pace of four miles
an hour. The tide unites here with the ordinary current, and, running
a few miles above this place, exhibits twice a day the finely-reduced
edge of that physical balance-wheel or oscillating fluid-pendulum
which creates the earth's centrifugal power, varies the centre of its
forces, and holds in equilibrium that delicately adjusted pressure of
the medium of space, which pressure, without such balance, would, by
its _clustering power_, drive together the isolated masses of suns and
planets.--In viewing the beautiful process of Nature, presented by a
majestic river, we cease to wonder that priestcraft has often
succeeded in teaching nations to consider rivers as of divine origin,
and as living emblems of Omnipotence. Ignorance, whose constant error
it is to look only to the last term of every series of causes, and
which charges Impiety on all who venture to ascend one term higher,
and Atheism on all who dare to explore several terms (though every
series implies a first term), would easily be persuaded by a crafty
priesthood to consider a beneficent river as a tangible branch of the
Godhead. But we now know that the waters which flow down a river, are
but a portion of the rains and snows which, having fallen near its
source, are returning to the ocean, there to rise again and re-perform
the same circle of vapours, clouds, rains, and rivers. What a process
of fertilization, and how still more luxuriant would have been this
vicinity, if man had not levelled the trees and carried away the crops
of vegetation! What a place of shelter would thus have been afforded
to tribes of amphibiae, whose accumulated remains often surprise
geologists, though necessarily consequent on the fall of crops of
vegetation on each other, near undisturbed banks of rivers. Happily,
in Britain, our coal-pits, or mineralized forests, have supplied the
place of our living woods; or man, regardless of the fitness of all
the parts to the perfection of every natural result, might here, as in
other long-peopled countries, ignorantly have thwarted the course of
Nature by cutting down the timber, which, acting on the electricity of
the clouds, affects their density, and causes them to fall in
fertilizing showers. Such has been the fate of all the countries
famous in antiquity. Persia, Syria, Arabia, parts of Turkey, and the
Barbary coast, have been rendered arid deserts by this inadvertency.
The clouds from the Western Ocean would long since have passed over
England without disturbance from the conducting powers of leaves of
trees, or blades of grass, if our coal-works had not saved our natural
conductors; while this Thames, the agent of so much abundance and so
much wealth, might, in that case, have become a shallow brook, like
the once equally famed Jordan, Granicus, or Ilyssus.

The dingy atmosphere of London smoke, which I had measured so
accurately on Putney Heath, presented itself again over the woods of
Chiswick Grove, reminding me of the cares of the busy world, and
producing a painful contrast to the tranquillity of nature, to the
silently gliding Thames, and to the unimpassioned simplicity of the
vegetable creation. #Man#, I reflected, brings upon himself a thousand
calamities as consequences of his artifices and pride, and then,
overlooking his own follies, gravely investigates the origin of what
he calls #EVIL#:--#He# compromises every natural pleasure, to acquire
fame among transient beings, who forget him nightly in sleep, and
eternally in death; and seeks to render his name celebrated among
posterity, though it has no identity with his person, and though
posterity and himself can have no contemporaneous feeling--#HE#
deprives himself, and all around him, of every passing enjoyment, to
accumulate wealth, that he may purchase other men's labour, in the
vain hope of adding their happiness to his own--#HE# omits to make
effective laws to protect the poor against the oppressions of the
rich, and then wears out his existence under the fear of becoming
poor, and being the victim of his own neglect and injustice--#HE# arms
himself with murderous weapons, and on the lightest instigations
practises murder as a science, follows this science as a regular
profession, and honours its chiefs above benefactors and philosophers,
in proportion to the quantity of blood they have shed, or the
mischiefs they have perpetrated--#HE# disguises the most worthless of
the people in showy liveries, teaches them the use of destructive
weapons, and then excites them to murder men whom they never saw, by
the fear of being killed if they will not kill, or of being shot for
cowardice--#HE# revels in luxury and gluttony, and then complains of
the diseases which result from repletion--#HE# tries in all things to
counteract, or improve, the provisions of nature, and then afflicts
himself at his disappointments--#HE# multiplies the chances against
his own health and life, by his numerous artifices, and then wonders
at the frequency of their fatal results--#HE# shuts his eyes against
the volume of truth, presented by nature, and, vainly considering that
all was made for him, founds on this false assumption various doubts
in regard to the justice of eternal causation--#HE# interdicts the
enjoyments of all other creatures, and, regarding the world as his
property, in mere wantonness destroys myriads on whom have been
lavished beauties and perfections--#HE# is the selfish and merciless
tyrant of all animated nature, no considerations of pity or sympathy
restraining, or even qualifying, his antipathies, his caprices, or his
gluttonies; while, more unhappy than his victims, he is constantly
arraigning that system in which he is the chief cause of more misery
than all other causes joined together--#HE# forgets, that to live and
let live, is a maxim of universal justice, extending not only to all
man's relations with his fellow-men, but to inferior creatures, to
whom his moral obligations are the greater, because their lives and
happiness are often within his power--#HE# is the patient of the
unalterable progress of universal causation, yet makes a difficulty of
submitting to the impartial distribution of the provisions which
sustain all other beings--#HE# afflicts himself that he cannot live
for ever, though he sees all organized being decay around him, and
though his forefathers have successively died to make room for
him--#HE# repines at the thought of losing that life, the use of which
he so often perverts; and, though he began to exist but yesterday,
thinks the world was made for him, and that he ought to continue to
enjoy it for ever--#HE# sees no benevolence in the scheme of Nature
which provides eternal youth to partake of the pleasures of existence;
and which, destroying those pleasures by satiety of enjoyment,
produces the blunted feelings of disease and old age--#HE# mars all
his perceptions of well-being by anticipating the cessation of his
vital functions, though, before that event, he necessarily ceases to
be conscious or to suffer--#HE# seeks indulgences unprovided for by
the course of Nature, and then anxiously employs himself in
endeavouring to cheat others of the labour requisite to procure
them--#HE# desires to govern others, but, regardless of their
dependence on his benevolence, is commonly gratified in displaying the
power entrusted to him, by a tyrannical abuse of it--#HE# professes to
love wisdom, yet in all his establishments for promoting it he sets up
false standards of truth; and persecutes, even with religious
intolerance, all attempts to swerve from them--#HE# makes laws, which,
in the hands of mercenary lawyers, serve as snares to unwary poverty,
but as shields to crafty wealth--#HE# renders justice unattainable by
its costliness; and personal rights uncertain by the intricacy and
fickleness of legal decisions--#HE# possesses means of diffusing
knowledge, in the sublime art of Printing; but, by suffering wealth
and power to corrupt its agents, he has allowed it to become
subservient to the gratification of personal malignity and political
turpitude--#HE# acknowledges the importance of educating youth, yet
teaches them any thing rather than their social duties in the
political state in which they live--#HE# adopts the customs of
barbarous ages as precedents of practice, and founds on them codes for
the government of enlightened nations--in a word, #HE# makes false and
imperfect estimates of his own being, of his duties to his
fellow-beings, and of his relations to all being; and then passes his
days in questioning the providence of Nature, in ascribing Evil to
supernatural causes, and in feverish expectations of results contrary
to the necessary harmony of the world!

I was thus employed in drawing a species of Indictment against the
errors, follies, selfishness, and vices of my fellow-men, while I
passed along a pleasant foot-path, which conducted me from
Brick-stables to the carriage-road from Mortlake to Kew. On arriving
at the stile, I saw a colony of the people called #Gipsies#, and,
gratified at falling in with them, I seated myself upon it, and,
hailing the eldest of the men in terms of civility, he approached me
courteously; and I promised myself, from the interview, a fund of
information relative to the economy of those people.

Policy so singular, manners so different, and passions so varied, have
for so many ages characterized the race of Gipsies, that the incident
of meeting with one of their little camps agreeably roused me from
that reverie on Matter and its modifications, into which I had fallen.
What can be more strongly marked than the gipsy physiognomy? Their
lively jet-black eyes--their small features--their tawny skins--their
small bones--and their shrill voices, bespeak them to be a distinct
tribe of the human race, as different from the English nation as the
Chinese, the North-American Indians, or the woolly-headed Africans.
They seem, in truth, as different in their bodies, and in their
instincts, from the inhabitants of England and other countries in
which they live, as the spaniel from the greyhound, or as the
cart-horse from the Arabian. Our instincts, propensities, or fit and
necessary habits, seem to lead us, like the ant, to lay up stores;
theirs, like the grasshopper, to depend on the daily bounties of
nature;--we, with the habits of the beaver, build fixed habitations;
and they, like the deer, range from pasture to pasture;--we, with an
instinct all our own, cultivate arts; they content themselves with
picking up our superfluities;--we make laws and arrange governments;
they know no laws but those of personal convenience, and no government
beyond that of muscular force growing out of the habits of
seniority;--and we cherish passions of ambition and domination,
consequent on our other arrangements, to which they are utter
strangers. Thus, we indulge our propensities, and they indulge theirs.
Which are the happiest beings, might be made a question--but I am led
to decide in favour of the arts and comforts of civilized life. These
people appear to possess the natural feebleness and delicacy of man,
without the power of shielding themselves from the accidents of
nature. Their darling object appears to be, to enjoy practical
personal liberty. They possess less, and they enjoy fewer, luxuries
than others; but they escape slavery in all the Protean shapes by
which it ensnares the rest of mankind. They do not act as menial
servants, and obey the caprice of a master; nor do they work as
labourers for a tythe of the advantages of their industry. They do
not, as tenants of land, pay half the produce in rentals; nor do they,
as anxious traders, pay half their profits to usurers or capitalists.
They are not liable to the conscriptions of a militia-ballot; nor to
be dragged from their families by the frightful tyranny of the
impress. And, in fine, they are not compelled to contribute a large
portion of their earnings in taxes to support folly or prodigality;
nor are they condemned to pay, through their successive generations,
the interest of money lent for the hire of destroyers of men, who
were, like themselves, guilty only of resolving to be free. Yet, if
they are exempt from the torture of civilized man, of having the
comforts he enjoys torn from him by the sophistry of law, or the
tyranny of governments; they suffer from hour to hour the torments of
want, and the apprehension of not meeting with renewed supplies. If
they are gayer than civilized man, it is because their wants are
fewer, and therefore fewer of them are unsatisfied; and probably the
gaiety which they assume before strangers may result from their
constitution, which, under the same circumstances, may render them
gayer than others, just as a Frenchman is gayer than an Englishman, or
an Englishman than a North-American Indian. In a word, in looking upon
this race, and upon the other recorded varieties of our species, from
the woolly-headed African to the long-haired Asiatic, from the
blue-eyed and white-haired Goth to the black-eyed and black-haired
North American, and from the gigantic Patagonian to the dwarfish
Laplander; we are led to believe, that the human species must
radically have been as various as any other species of animated
beings; and it seems as unphilosophical as impious, to limit the
powers of creation to pairs of one kind, and to ascribe their actual
varieties to the operations of chance.

As I proceeded from the stile towards their tents, the apparent chief
of the gang advanced with a firm step, holding a large knife in one
hand, and some eatables in the other; and he made many flourishes with
his knife, seemingly in the hope of intimidating me, if I proved an
enemy. I civilly begged his pardon for intruding upon their camp, and
assured him that mine was a mere visit of curiosity; that I was not a
justice of the peace, and had no desire to disturb them. He then told
me I was very welcome, and I advanced to their chief tent. "But," said
I to this man, "you have not the gipsy colour and features?" "O, no,"
he replied, "I am no gipsy--the people call us all _gipsies_--but I am
by trade a tinker--I live in ---- Court, Shoreditch, in the winter; and
during the summer I travel the country, and get my livelihood by my
trade." Looking at others of the group, who were sitting at the
entrance of two tents, I traced two sets of features among them, one
plainly English, and the other evidently Gipsy; and, mentioning this
circumstance, he replied, "O yes--though I am not a gipsy, my wife is,
and so is her old mother there--they are true gipsies, every inch of
'em. This man, my wife's brother, is a gipsy--we are useful to one
another in this way of life--and the old woman there is as knowing a
gipsy as any in the country, and can tell your fortune, sir, if you
like to hear it."--His character of the elder gipsy, who resembled
Munden's witch in Macbeth, produced considerable mirth in the whole
party; and the old woman, who was engaged in smoking her pipe, took it
from her mouth, and said: "I ayn't told so many gentlefolks their
fortunes to no purpose, and I'll tell your's, sir, if you'll give me
something to fill my pipe." I smiled, and told her I thanked her; but,
as I was not _in love_, I felt no anxiety to hear my fortune.--"Aye,
sir," said she, "many's the lover I've made happy, and many's the
couple that I've brought together."--Recollecting Farquhar's incident
in the Recruiting Officer, I remarked:--"You tell the ladies what
their lovers hire you to tell them, I suppose--and the gentlemen what
the ladies request you to tell them?"--"Why, yes," said she,
"something like it;" and laughing--"aye, sir, I see you're in the
secret!"--"And then you touch golden fees, I suppose?"--"Yes,"
interrupted the first man, "I've known her get five or six guineas on
a wedding-day, part from the lady, and part from the gentleman; and
she never wants a shilling, and a meal's victuals, when she passes
many houses that I could name."--"True," exclaimed the old beldame,
"that's all true; and I've made many fine folks happy in my time, and
so did my mother before me--she was known far and near!" I had no
occasion to remark on the silly dupes on whom they practised these
impositions, for the whole party expressed their sentiments by bursts
of laughter while the old woman was speaking: but I could not help
exclaiming, that I thought she ought to make the fools pay well who
gave credit to her prophecies.--"Aye," said she, "I see you don't
believe in our art--but we tell all by _the hand_!"--I felt of course
that _the hand_ was as good a key to determine the order of _probable_
events as planets, cards, or tea-sediments; and therefore, concluding
that gipsies, like astrologers and other prophets, are imposed on by
the doctrine of chances, I dropped the conversation; but felt it my
duty to give the old woman a shilling to buy some tobacco for her

I now surveyed the entire party, and in three tents found there were
three men, two women, besides the old woman, four girls, and two boys.
One of the tents was placed at a little distance from the others, and
in that resided a young married couple.--"And pray," said I, "where
and how do you marry?"--"Why," said the first man, "we marry like
other folks--they were married at Shoreditch Church--I was married to
my old woman here at Hammersmith Church--and my brother-in-law here
was married at Acton Church."--"Then," said I, "you call yourselves
Christians?"--At this question they all laughed; and the first man
said, that, "If it depends on our going to church, we can't say much
about it; but, as we do nobody any harm, and work for our living, some
in one way, and some in another, we suppose we are as good Christians
as many other folks."

While this conversation passed, I heard them speaking to each other in
a language somewhat resembling Irish, but it had tones more shrill;
and the first man, notwithstanding his English physiognomy, as well as
the others, spoke with a foreign accent, not unlike that of
half-anglicized Hindoos. I mentioned this peculiarity; but he assured
me that neither he nor any of the party had been out of England. I now
inquired about their own language, when one of them said it was
_Maltese_; but the other said it was their _cant_ language. I asked
their names for various objects which I pointed out; but, after half a
dozen words, the first man inquired, if I had "ever heard of one Sir
Joseph Banks--for," said he, "that gentleman once paid me a guinea for
telling him twenty words in our language." Perceiving, therefore, that
he rated this species of information very high, and aware that the
subject has been treated at large by many authors, I forbore to press
him further.

The ground served them for a table, and the grass for a table-cloth.
The mixture of their viands with dirty rags, and other disgusting
objects, proved that they possess no sentiment, in regard to
cleanliness, superior to lower animals. Like philosophical chemists,
they evidently admitted the elementary analogy of what the delicate
sense of society classes under contrasted heads of _dirty_ and
_clean_. Necessity, in this respect, has generated fixed habits; and
they are, consequently, as great strangers to the refined feeling
which actuates cleanly housewives, as lawyers are to a spirit of
benevolence, or ministers of state to a passion for reform. Their
furniture consisted merely of some dirty rags and blankets, and of two
or three bags, baskets, and boxes; while their tents were formed of a
pole at each end, with a ridge pole, covered with blanketing, which
was stretched obliquely to the ground by wooden pegs. Such rudeness,
and such simplicity, afforded a striking contrast to the gorgeous
array of oriental splendour in the palaces of Royalty; and to the
varied magnificence displayed in those warehouses whence an Oakley, or
a Bullock, supplies the mansions of wealth and grandeur.

Indeed, as I stood conversing with these people, how could I help
marvelling that, in the most polished district of the most civilized
of nations, with the grand pagoda of Kew-Gardens in full view on one
hand, and the towers of the new Bastile Palace in sight on the other,
I should thus have presented under my eyes a family of eleven persons
in no better condition than the Hottentots in their kraals, the
Americans in their wigwams, or the Tartars in their equally rude
tents. I sighed, however, to think that difference of natural
constitution and varied propensities were in England far from being
the only causes of the proximity of squalid misery to ostentatious
pomp. I felt too that the manners of these gipsies were assimilated to
those of the shepherd tribes of the remotest antiquity, and that in
truth I saw before me a family of the pastoral ages, as described in
the Book of Genesis. They wanted their flocks and herds; but the
possession of these neither accorded with their own policy, nor with
that of the country in which they reside. Four dogs attached to their
tents, and two asses grazing at a short distance, completed such a
grouping as a painter would, I have no doubt, have found in the days
of Abraham in every part of Western Asia, and as is now to be found
among the same people, at this day, in every country in Europe. They
exhibit that state of man in which thousands of years might pass away
without record or improvement: and, whether they are Egyptians, Arabs,
Hindoos, Tartars, or a peculiar variety of our species; whether they
exhibit man in the rude state which, according to Lord Montboddo, most
nearly approximates to the ourang-outang of the oriental forests; or
whether they are considered in their separated character--they form an
interesting study for the philosopher, the economist, and the

In a few minutes after I had left the gipsy camp, I was overtaken by a
girl of fifteen, the quickness of whose breathing indicated excessive
alarm. "O, sir," said she, "I'm so glad to come up with you--I'm so
frightened--I've been standing this quarter of an hour on the other
side of the stile, waiting for somebody to come by."--"And what has so
frightened you?" said I.--"O, sir," said the still terrified girl,
looking behind her, and increasing her pace, "those gipsies and
witches--they frighten every body; and I wo'dn't have come this way
for all the world if I'd known they'd been there."--"But," said I,
"what are you frightened at? have you heard that they have done harm
to any one?"--"O dear! yes, sir, I've heard my mother say they
bewitches people; and, one summer, two of them beat my father
dreadfully."--"But what did he do to them?"--"Why, he was a little
tipsy, to be sure; but he says he only called 'em a pack of
fortune-tellers."--"And are all the children in this neighbourhood as
much frightened at them as you?"--"O yes, sir; but some of the boys
throw stones over the hedge at them, but we girls are afraid they'll
bewitch us. Did you see the old hag, sir?" The poor girl asked this
question with such simplicity, and with a faith so confirmed, that I
had reason once more to feel astonishment at the superstition which
infests and disgraces the common people of this generally enlightened
nation! Let me hope that the tutors in the schools of Bell and
Lancaster will consider it as part of their duties, to destroy the
vulgar faith in ghosts, omens, fortune-telling, fatality, and

On my right, my attention was attracted by the battlements of a new
Gothic building, which I learnt, from the keeper of an adjoining
turnpike, was called #Kew Priory#, and is a summer retreat of a
wealthy Catholic maiden lady, Miss Doughty, of Richmond-Hill; after
whom a street has recently been named in London. Learning that the
lady was not there, I turned aside to take a nearer view; and, ringing
at the gate, in the hope of seeing the interior, a female, who opened
it, told me that it was a rule of the place, that _no man_ could be
admitted besides the Rev. Mr. ----, the Catholic priest. I learnt that
the Priory, a beautiful structure on a lawn, consisted merely of a
chapel, a room for refreshments, and a library; and that the lady used
it for a change of scene in the long afternoons of the summer season.
The enclosed space contained about 24 acres, on the banks of the
Thames, and is subdivided by Pilton's invisible fences. Behind the
priory, there is a house for the bailiff and his wife, a capacious
pheasantry, an aviary, and extensive stables. Nothing can be more
tasteful as a place of indulgence for the luxury of wealth; but it is
exposed to the inconvenience of floods from the river, which sometimes
cover the entire site to a considerable depth.

Another quarter of a mile, along a dead flat, brought me upon
#Kew-Green#. As I approached it, the woods of Kew and Richmond Gardens
presented a varied and magnificent foliage, and the pagoda of ten
stories rose in splendour out of the woods. Richmond-hill bounded the
horizon on the left, and the smoky atmosphere of Brentford obscured
the air beyond the houses on Kew-Green.

As I quitted the lane, I beheld, on my left, the long boundary-wall of
Kew-Gardens; on which a disabled sailor has drawn in chalk the
effigies of the whole British navy, and over each representation
appears the name of the vessel, and the number of her guns. He has in
this way depicted about 800 vessels, each five or six feet long, and
extending, with intervening distances, above a mile and a half. As the
labour of one man, the whole is an extraordinary performance; and I
was told the decrepit draughtsman derives a competency from passing

#Kew-Green# is a triangular area of about thirty acres. Nearly in the
centre is the chapel of St. Anne. On the eastern side is a row of
family houses; on the north-western side a better row, the backs of
which look to the Thames; and on the south side stand the
boundary-wall of Kew-Gardens, some buildings for soldiery, and the
plain house of Ernest, duke of Cumberland. Among other persons of note
and interest who reside here, are the two respectable daughters of
Stephen Duck, the poet, who deserve to be mentioned as relics of a
former age. In the western corner stand the buildings called Kew
Palace, in which George III. passed many of the early years of his
reign, and near which he began a new structure a few years before his
confirmed malady--which I call the _Bastile Palace_, from its
resemblance to that building, so obnoxious to freedom and freemen. On
a former occasion, I have viewed its interior, and I am at loss to
conceive the motive for preferring an external form, which rendered it
impracticable to construct within it more than a series of large
closets, boudoirs, and rooms like oratories. The works have, however,
been suspended since the unhappy seclusion of the Royal Architect; and
it is improbable, at least in this generation, that they will be
resumed. The foundation is in a bog close to the Thames, and the
principal object within its view is the dirty town of Brentford, on
the opposite side of the river.

I had intended to prolong my route to the western corner of the Green;
but, in passing St. Anne's Chapel, I found the pew-openers engaged in
wiping the pews and washing the aisles. I knew that that child of
Genius, #Gainsborough#, the painter, lay interred here; and, desirous
of paying my homage to his grave, I inquired for the spot. As is usual
in regard to this class of people, they could give me no information;
yet one of them fancied she had heard such a name before. I was
therefore obliged to wait while the sexton or clerk was fetched, and
in the interim I walked into the chapel. I was, in truth, well re-paid
for the time it cost me; for I never saw any thing prettier, except
Lord Le Despencer's exquisite structure at West Wycombe. As the royal
family usually attend here when they reside at Kew, it is superbly
fitted up, and the architecture is in the best taste. The seats for
the family fill the gallery, and on the ground-floor there are
forty-eight pews of brown oak, adapted for four and six persons each.
Several marble monuments of singular beauty adorn the walls; but the
record of a man of genius absorbed every attraction of ordinary rank
and title. It was a marble slab, to the memory of #Meyer#, the
painter,--with lines by the amiable poet, #Hayley#; and I was led, by
respect for painter and poet, to copy the whole:--

            #Jeremiah Meyer#, R.A.
      Painter in Miniature and Enamel to
            his Majesty Geo. III.
            Died January 19, 1789.

  Meyer! in thy works, the world will ever see
  How great the loss of Art in losing thee;
  But Love and Sorrow find the words too weak,
  Nature's keen sufferings on thy death to speak;
  Through all her duties, what a heart was thine;
  In thy cold dust what spirit used to shine!
  Fancy, and truth, and gaiety, and zeal,
  What most we love in life, and, losing, feel;
  Age after age may not one artist yield
  Equal to thee, in Painting's ample field;
  And ne'er shall sorrowing Earth to Heaven commend
  A fonder parent, or a firmer friend.

                                       _William Hayley_, 1789.

From hence I strolled into the vestry, where I found a table of fees,
drawn with a degree of precision which merits imitation. It appears,
that the fees for #MARRIAGES# with a licence are 10_s._ 6_d._, and by
banns 5_s._ That those for #BURIALS#, to the minister, if the prayers
are said in the church, are 5_s._; if only at the grave, 2_s._ 6_d._
The graves are six feet deep; and, in the church, the coffin must be
of lead. The clerk is entitled to _half_, and the sexton to about a
_third_ more. A vault in the church is charged 21_l._, and in the
church-yard 10_l._ 10_s._; with 5_l._ 5_s._ and 2_l._2_s._
respectively for each time of opening. To non-residents they are
double.--I had scarcely finished this extract, when the clerk's or
sexton's assistant made his appearance; and on the south side of the
church-yard he brought me to the tomb of #Gainsborough#.

"Ah! friend," said I, "this is a hallowed spot--here lies one of
Britain's favoured sons, whose genius has assisted in exalting her
among the nations of the earth."--"Perhaps it was so," said the man,
"but we know nothing about the people buried, except to keep up their
monuments, if the family pay; and, perhaps, Sir, you belong to this
family; if so, I'll tell you how much is due."--"Yes, truly, friend,"
said I, "I am one of the great family bound to preserve the monument
of Gainsborough; but, if you take me for one of his relatives, you are
mistaken."--"Perhaps, Sir, you may be of the family, but were not
included in the Will, therefore are not obligated." I could not now
avoid looking with scorn at the fellow; but, as the spot claimed
better feelings, I gave him a trifle for his trouble, and mildly told
him I would not detain him.

The monument being a plain one, and making no palpable appeal to
vulgar admiration, was disregarded by these people; for it is in death
as in life, if you would excite the notice of the multitude, you must
in the grave have a splendid mausoleum, or in walking the streets you
must wear fine clothes. It did not fall in the way of the untaught, on
this otherwise polite spot, to know that they have among them the
fancy-pictures, and one #OF THE FIRST# in the classes of landscape and
portrait;--a man who recommended himself as much by his superiority,
as by his genius; as much by the mode in which his genius was
developed, as by the perfection of his works; and as much by his
amiable private character as by his eminence in the chief of Fancy's
Arts. There is this difference between a poet and a painter--that the
poet only exhibits the types of ideas in words, limited in their sense
by his views, or his powers of expression; but the painter is called
upon to exhibit the ideas themselves in a tangible shape, and made out
in all their parts and most beautiful forms. The poet may write with a
limited knowledge of his subject, and he may produce any partial view
of it which his powers enable him to exhibit in a striking manner; but
the successful painter must do all this, and he must execute with his
hand as well as conceive with his mind. The poet, too, has the
advantage of exhibiting his ideas in succession, and he avails himself
of stops and pauses; but the great painter is obliged to set his
entire subject before the eye at once, and all the parts of his
composition, his imagination, and his execution, challenge the
judgment as a whole. A great poet is nevertheless a just object of
admiration among ordinary persons--but far more so a great painter,
who assumes the power of creation, and of improving on the ordinary
combinations of the Creator. Yet such a man was #Thomas Gainsborough#,
before whose modest tomb I stood! The following are the words engraven
on the stone:--

      #Thomas Gainsborough#, esq.
          died August 2, 1788.
            Also the body of
      #Gainsborough Dupont#, esq.
      who died Jan. 20, 1797,
          aged 42 years.
  Also, Mrs. #Margaret Gainsborough#,
            wife of the above
      Thomas Gainsborough, esq,
        who died Dec. 17, 1798,
      in the 72d year of her age.

A little to the eastward lie the remains of another illustrious son of
art, the modest #Zoffany#, whose Florence Gallery, Portraits of the
Royal Family, and other pictures, will always raise him among the
highest class of painters. He long resided on this Green, and, like
Michael Angelo, Titian, and our own #West#, produced master-pieces at
four-score. The words on the monument are:

    Sacred to the Memory
  of #John Zoffany#, R.A.
    who died Nov. 11, 1810,
      aged 87 years.

It was a remarkable coincidence, that the bones of #Gainsborough# and
#Zoffany# should thus, without premeditation, have been laid side by
side; and that, but a few weeks before I paid my visit to this spot,
delighted crowds had been daily drawn together to view their principal
works, combined with those of #Wilson# and #Hogarth#, in forming an
attractive metropolitan exhibition. On that occasion every Englishman
felt proud of the native genius of our #Gainsborough#. It was ably
opposed in one line by a #Wilson#, and in another by a #Zoffany#; yet
the works of the untutored #Gainsborough# and #Hogarth# served to
prove that every great artist must be born such; and that superiority
in human works is the result of original aptitude, and cannot be
produced by any servile routine of education, however specious,
imposing, sedulous, or costly.

This valley of the Thames is, however, sanctified every-where by
relics which call for equal reverence. But a mile distant on my right,
in Chiswick Church-yard, lie the remains of the painting moralist
#Hogarth#; who invented a universal character, or species of moral
revelation, intelligible to every degree of intellect, in all ages and
countries; who opened a path to the kindred genius of a #Burnett# and
a #Wilkie#; and who conferred a deathless fame on the manners, habits,
and chief characters of his time. And, but a mile on my left, in
Richmond Church, lie the remains of #Thomson#, the poet of nature, of
liberty, and of man--who displayed his powers only for noble purposes;
who scorned, like the vile herd of modern rhymesters, to ascribe
_glory_ to injustice, _heroism_ to the assassins of the champions of
liberty, or _wisdom_ to the mischievous prejudices of weak princes;
and who, by asserting in every line the moral dignity of his art,
became an example of poetical renown, which has been ably followed by
#Glover#, #Akenside#, #Cowper#, #Robinson#, #Burns#, #Barlow#,
#Barbauld#, #Wolcot#, #Moore#, and #Byron#.

The fast-declining Sun, and my wearied limbs here reminded me that I
was the slave of nature, and of nature's laws; and that I had neither
time, nor power, to excurse or go farther. My course, therefore,
necessarily terminated on this spot; and here I must take leave of the
reader, who has been patient, or liberal enough, to accompany me.

For my own part, I had been highly gratified with the great volume, ten
or twelve miles long, by two or three broad, in the study of which I
had employed the lengthened morning; though this volume of my brief
analysis the reader will doubtless find marked by the short-sightedness
and imperfections which attend every attempt of human art to compress
an infinite variety into a finite compass.

In looking back at the incidents of the day, which the language of
custom has, with reference to our repasts, denominated #THE MORNING#,
I could not avoid feeling the strong analogy which exists between such
an excursion as that which I have here described and #THE LIFE of
MAN#. Like that, and all things measured by #TIME# and #SPACE#, it had
had its #BEGINNING#--its eventful #COURSE#--and its #END# determined
by physical causes.

On emerging in the morning, I foresaw as little as the child foresees
his future life, what were to be the incidents of my journey. I
proceeded in each successive hour even as he proceeds in each year. I
jostled no one, and no one disturbed me. My feelings were those of
peace, and I suffered from no hostility. My inclinations were
virtuous, and I have experienced the rewards of virtue. Every step had
therefore been productive of satisfaction, and I had no-where had
cause to look behind me with regret.

In this faithful journal, I have ventured to smile at folly; I have
honestly reprehended bad passions, and I have sincerely sympathized
with their victims. May all my readers be led to smile, reprehend, and
sympathize with me; and I solicit this result--for their sakes--for
the sake of truth--and in the hope that, if our feelings have been
reciprocal, our mutual labours will not have been wasted! At the end
of my short career, I conscientiously looked back on the incidents of
my course with the complacency with which all may look back in old-age
on the incidents of well-spent lives. Let no one sneer at the
comparison, for, when human life has passed away, in what degree are
its multiplied cares and chequered scenes more important than the
simple events which attend a morning's walk? Look on the graves of
that church-yard, and see in #THEM# the representations of hundreds of
anxious lives! Are not those graves, then, said I, the end of
thousands of busy cares and ambitious projects? Was not life the #MERE
DREAM# of their now senseless tenants--like the trackless path of a
bird in the air, or of a fish in the waters? Were they not #the
Phantasmagoria# which, in their day, filled up the shifting scene of
the world,--and are we not, in our several days, similar shadows,
which modify the light for a season, and then disappear to make room
for others like ourselves? May not the events of a morning which
slides away, and leaves no traces behind it, be correctly likened
therefore to the entire course of human life? The one, like the other,
may be well or ill spent--idly dissipated or beneficially
employed;--and the chequered incidents will be found to be similar to
those which mark the periods of the longest life.

In conclusion, I cannot avoid wishing that my example may be followed,
in other situations, by minds variously stored and directed by
different inquiries. Like the day which has just been recorded, the
incidents of every situation, and the thoughts which pass without
intermission through every mind, would, in a similar portion of time,
fill similar volumes, which, as indices of man's intellectual
machinery, might serve the purpose of the dial of a clock, or the
gnomon of a sun-dial, and prove agreeable sources of amusement, as
well as efficacious means of disseminating valuable principles and
useful instruction.

[Illustration: MAP OF THE AUTHOR'S ROUTE.]



  Accumulation of property, its misery to all
  Admiralty, British, its characteristics
  Addington, Mr. his residence
  ----, political character
  Almanacks of prognostication, their prodigious sale
  Alfred the Great, his rare merits
  American Aloe, reflections on
  Anne Boleyn, her interview with Henry the Eighth
  Animal motion, economy of
  Ancestors, their number ascertained
  Ancestry, no ground of pride
  Anglican Church, its true foundation
  Ant-hill, like the British metropolis
  Antiquities, folly of the science so called
  Archbishops of Canterbury, their ancient residence
  Argument in behalf of poverty
  Aristocracy of trade characterized
  Arithmetic, its connexion with nature
  Articles of faith, necessity of revising
  Asparagus, its extensive cultivation
  Assembly, a subscription one described
  Astrology, its pretensions investigated
  Author, his feelings on concluding his Walk


  Barber, Alderman, his tomb and merit
  Battersea-bridge, reflections on its toll
  Ballot, choice by, its pernicious effect and erroneous principle
  Bakewell, Mr. his mode of riding
  Barnes Poor-house, libel on political economy
  ---- Common, its geological phenomena
  ---- Church-yard, reflections on
  Bastile Palace, at Kew
  Beggars, their habits and gains
  Bee-hive, its buzz that of a distant town
  Besborough, Lord, his seal
  Bells, abuse of them
  Blenkinsop's steam-engine, its convenient powers
  Black balls, a majority of, how produced
  Blair's Universal Preceptor, its merits
  Box-trees, ancient ones
  Botanic Garden, at Chelsea
  Bolingbroke, Lord, his house at Battersea
  ----, recollections of
  Book-clubs, a test of intellectual improvement
  Book of Nature, described
  British society, its radical diseases
  Brunell, Mr. his workshops
  Bramah, Mr. his ingenuity
  Britain, mistress of imperial Rome
  Buckingham House, notice of
  Burke, his bigotry
  Burial fees, account of


  Cæsar, his passage of the Thames
  Causeways, necessity of improving
  Cards, their absurd prognostics
  Cause of causes, its instruments
  ----, its incomprehensibleness
  Catechism of Social Duties, its importance
  Causes, physical and mental, defined
  Causation, original, questions upon
  Centinarian in Chelsea Hospital
  Cemeteries, ought to be open
  Certainty alone necessary
  Chorus of the eye
  Chaldeans, their demonology
  Chances, laws of, govern all prognostication
  Church, system of attendance
  ----, National, grounds for its moderation
  Chabannes, Marquis de, his speculations
  Chiswick, its bells and Church
  Charters of Liberty, enumerated
  Chelsea buns, notice of
  Christianity, its total failure in preserving peace
  ----, vulgar definition of
  Changes, geological, their causes
  Civilized and savage society contrasted
  Clerks, their ease of heart
  Cleanliness, an auxiliary of virtue
  Courtezans, cause of their turpitude
  Contentment, its difficult acquisition
  Commercial enterprise, instance of
  Commons, their anti-social character
  Complaints of the poor
  Cost of the poor at Wandsworth
  Cottages, mile-stone and marine ones proposed
  Conch, its sound that of a distant town
  Cottage ornée described
  Covent-garden market, mode of supplying
  Compatibility of relative existences
  Common Council of London, its patriotic conduct
  Creation, its never ceasing agents
  ----, its progress
  Cuvier, M. his geological discoveries


  D'Antraigues, Count and Countess, their horrible assassination
  Dancing assemblies, their mistaken arrangements
  Death, how a source of consolation
  Demon of war described
  Devonshire, Duchess of, her amiable character
  Demonology, its absurdities
  Dead, the sympathy towards
  Descendants, their numbers ascertained
  Distilleries, the bad policy of encouraging them
  Dimsdale, Sir Harry, Mayor of Garrat
  Don Saltero, his museum
  Dolland's achromatics, their misapplication
  Dormitories of avarice described
  Dreams, no prognostics
  Dramas of real life
  Druids, their impostures
  Drunkenness, its pernicious effects
  ----, its cause
  Dundas, his baneful orgies
  Dunstan, Sir Jeffery, Mayor of Garrat


  East-Sheen, its pleasant sights
  Earth, the, its primative state
  Economy of a workhouse
  ----, political, its primary law
  Education, obligation to make it universal
  ----, ---- to teach public duties
  Egyptians, their absurd mythology
  Ellenborough, Lord, his residence
  Electricity, illustrations of
  Election at Garrat, described
  Eloquence of Pitt, recollections of
  England, its exemplary road system
  Enclosure Bill proposed
  Enclosing parks, objections to
  Entrails of animals, no prognostics
  End of the world, phenomena leading to it
  Erasmus, his character
  Essex, cleanliness of its towns
  Eternals, what are so
  External species infinite in number
  Excise system, its mischievous effects
  Experience, a transcendent quality in a statesman
  ----, a chief test of truth
  Eye, concert played on it


  Family group in a workhouse
  Farming out the poor, its inhumanity
  Fate and fatality, discussion on
  Family of man, its necessary co-mixture
  Fever of the brain, its mental hallucinations
  Fertility, means of preserving
  Ferdinand, cost of his restoration
  Female education, discussion respecting
  Fear, its operation on the mind
  Females on fire, mode of extinguishing
  Ferme ornée, described
  Final causes, their nature
  Fitness in nature, the primary law
  Fires, mode of preventing
  Fire-house, Hartley's
  ---- ----, interesting prospect from
  Finance, Pitt's absurd system
  Flame, when ungovernable
  Food of a labouring family
  Foot-paths, necessity for good ones
  Fortune-telling, its errors exposed
  Fox, Charles James, his patriotic character
  ---- ----, his death
  Food distributed from religious houses
  French Encyclopædists, their oversight
  France, its improvements under Napoleon
  Free agency demonstrated
  Fruit-trees, their general plantation recommended
  Franklin, Dr. his electrical rods


  Gainsborough, his tomb and character
  Garrat, mock mayor of
  Galilean telescopes, preferred for telegraphs
  Gardeners, their habits and slavery
  Geometry, its connexion with nature
  Geocentric phenomena, error relative
  Generations, the law of their mixture
  George III. his liberal views on education
  Geological changes, their causes traced
  Ghosts, vulgar belief in
  Gipsies, interview with
  Gluttony, lesson to
  Goldsmid, Mr. his seat, character and history
  Goodbehere, Alderman, his character
  God, attributes of
  Greeks, their mythological personification
  Gravitation, its causes
  Grief, its luxury described
  Greatness, how best sustained
  Grammars of Philosophy, &c. their merits
  Great buildings, no standard of locality
  ---- men, their opinions no test of truth
  Griffiths, Dr. anecdote of
  Gradation of organized beings
  Guelph, the Second, anecdote of


  Happiness, its production the test of worth
  ---- produced by employment
  Haunted house, anecdotes of one
  Harmony of relative existences
  Harper, Sir John, mayor of Garrat
  Hartley, David, Esq. his fire-house described
  Hayley, Mr. his epitaph on Meyer
  Handel and Haydn compared
  Hamilton, Lady, her distresses
  Hedge-rows ought to be productive
  Heat, its causes
  Heydegger, his entertainment
  Herschell, Dr. his clustering power
  Historical justice, no atonement for suffering
  Hindoos, their absurd mythology
  Houses, method of securing them against fire
  Home Tourist, his expected modesty
  Howard, Mr. his exemplary character
  Horses, cruelty of tight-reining them
  House of Commons, character of its majorities
  Hoare, Mr. his residence
  Hogarth, Mrs. anecdote of
  ----, Mr. his tomb and character
  Horoscope, its supposed powers
  House of God, its inadequacy


  Ignorance, the basis of superstition
  Impress, its frightful tyranny
  Infatuated nations characterized
  Ingenuity superseded by taxation
  Inclination of roads, determined
  Instructors, clerical, their errors
  Intellectual powers, their limited nature
  ---- philosophy, its indestructibility
  Instincts of men compared
  Iron-foundery, description of one
  Isle of St. Peter's, its ancient boundaries and modern splendor


  Jews, their superstitious demonology
  Juries, Special, their disgraceful character


  Kelvedon, its cleanliness
  Kew Priory, described
  ---- Green, ditto
  Kit-Cat Club, its house at Barnes Elms
  ----, pictures


  Language, its means of improvement
  Land, the patrimony of man
  Lancaster, Mr. his system recommended
  Lakes of North America, their probable fate
  Law, its malignity and perversion
  Legislation, summary of its duties
  Life, compared to a morning's walk
  Living errors, corrected too late
  Liberty, taught in popular elections
  Life of man, described
  Lincoln, Bishop of, his attendance on Pitt
  Lightning, destructive effects of
  ----, means of security from
  London, its features of ingress and egress
  ----, reflection suggested by its distant prospect
  ----, its population characterized
  ---- smoke, described
  ---- ----, its moral suggestions
  Loco-motion, means of producing
  Loco-motive beings, their peculiar economy
  Lovers, the dupes of gipsies
  Lumber trees, unfit for a civilized country
  Luck and ill-luck, relative terms


  Matron of a workhouse, her character
  Manners of the Londoners
  Mall in St. James's Park, its ancient splendor
  Manufactory of pitch and turpentine
  Manners, effects of a change of
  Marsh of Westminster, reflection on
  Madam and Mistress, distinction between
  Machinery, ought not to injure workmen
  Maurice, Mr. his merits as a Poet
  Manufactory, a country one described
  Matter, inorganic, laws governing
  ---- ----, whether eternal
  Manual labour, its economy in manufactories
  Maternal feelings in a workhouse
  Man, his false assumption
  ----, his pride
  ----, his unsociable character
  ----, his uncharitableness
  ----, his numerous wants
  ----, his vanity
  ----, his monopolizing spirit
  ----, opposes himself to Providence
  ----, his proper employment
  ----, his true happiness
  ----, his transitory state
  ----, his origin, progress, and decay
  ----, his common nature
  ----, his definite existence
  ----, general views of his social state
  ----, his cruelty to inferior creatures
  Mercy, an engine of priestcraft
  Mechanics, their relation to nature
  Meyer, his tomb
  Milk-fair, description of
  Military education reprobated
  Mile-stone and marine cottages recommended
  Middleton, Mr. his estimates of Middlesex
  Misery, dense mass of
  Ministers of England, their narrow views
  Monks, disinterment of their bones
  Morris, Valentine, Esq. his benevolent character
  Moral deduced from the state of St. James's palace
  ---- rule against great mischiefs
  More, Sir Thomas, his residence and character
  Motion, terrestrial, its general cause
  Mortlake Church-yard, reflections on
  Moral condition of London
  Mortlake Church, reflections within
  Music, its abuse in war
  Mutilated Soldiers at Chelsea Hospital
  Mussulmen, their exemplary sobriety
  Mysteries, religious, their origin
  Mythology, its origin and progress


  Natural feelings violated in workhouses
  Nature superior to art
  ----, its operations uncomplicated
  ----, its governing principle
  Napoleon, his improvements of France
  Nell Gwyn, founder of Chelsea Hospital
  Necessity, doctrine of, investigated
  Novels, characterized


  Obligations of the rich to the poor
  Oil mills, description of one
  Organic life, difficulty of conceiving its principle
  Organized beings, intricacy of the laws governing
  Origin of organized beings, its philosophical obscurity


  Painting and Poetry, compared
  Palace of the Regent, its costly fitting
  Partridge, John, his tomb and errors
  Parks of London, their utility and capability
  ----, noblemen's, their inutility
  Patronage, cause of war
  Parish allowances to the poor
  Panorama from Wimbledon Common
  Paper circulation always ruinous
  Parish poor-houses described
  Peace, its security
  Peach, its crawling myriads
  Peter the Hermit, his fanaticism
  Perihelion point, importance of its place in producing terrestrial changes
  Penley, Mr. his garden at Mortlake
  Philosophy, modern, its divinities
  ----, address to
  Philosophical speculations on unseen powers
  Pilton's fences recommended
  Pitt, Mr. his death and character
  Planetary influences, examined
  Poetry and Painting, compared
  Poor, diseased, provision for
  Pottery, observations on its antiquity and application
  Pope, Mr. his parlour at Battersea
  Popular elections, their importance
  Policy, wicked, its features
  Poverty and wealth, contrasted
  Priestcraft, its origin and progress
  Probabilities, their connexion with fortune-telling
  Productive powers, their intricacy
  Promenades, evening ones proposed
  Prosperity, national, its true signs
  Principals in trade, their cares
  Promenade in St. James's Park, its ancient splendor
  Pride, lessons to correct
  Printing, its abuse
  Public Debt, how has it been expended
  Putney-Heath, objects upon it described
  Public purse, a necessary stimulus to candidates


  Ranelagh, its scite described
  Railways, proposal for extending them
  Religious houses turned into market-gardens
  Reformation of Religion
  Retreats of men of business
  Repton, Mr. his powers of arrangement
  Rivers, absurd worship of
  ----, phenomena of their banks
  ----, agents of never-ceasing changes
  Richmond Park, notice of
  Rights of man, intrigues against
  Road Police, suggested
  Royal Family, fond of Chelsea buns
  Rome sunk and London exalted
  Roads, principle of constructing them
  Roehampton, its cheerless aspect
  Ruins, without antiquity


  Saws, circular, their wonderful powers
  Self-knowledge, neglect of
  Secondary causes, their general nature
  Senses, animal, their limited powers
  Shoe-making machinery, account of
  Show, policy of, among princes
  Shropshire girls, their industry and beauty
  Slavery, its protean shapes
  Sloane, Sir Hans, his statue--tomb
  Smoke, improperly emitted
  ---- of London, its remarkable phenomena
  ---- ----, plans for consuming
  Soldiery, their specious character
  Society, state of, in England
  Soldiers, why and for what they are killed and wounded
  Soldier, who had lost both arms
  Spontaneous combustion, productive of superstition
  Spencer, Lord, his park
  Space, whether eternal
  Stage-coach horses, mismanagement of
  Standard of truth defined
  Sterility of ancient countries, cause of
  Statesmen, their mistaken policy
  St. James's palace, its ruined state
  St. Paul's Cathedral
  St. Lawrence, the, its probable fate
  Surfaces, the residence of electric power
  Surrey, its disgraceful wastes
  Supernatural appearances, referred to their causes
  Survivors in regiments, their small numbers
  Subjects for painters
  Superstition, instances of
  ----, its origin and progress
  Symmachus, his bigotry


  Taxes, not the sole business of governments
  Tart-hall, account of
  Taxation, its pernicious effects
  Telegraphs, particulars of
  ----, their application to domestic purposes
  Terror, vulgar, instances of
  Thames, its phenomena and changes
  Thomson, the Poet, his town and character
  Tides, their nature explained
  Time and space characterized
  Tooke, Mr. Horne, his character
  Tonson, Jacob, his house at Barnes Elms
  Trees, their importance in fertilization
  Treasury, British, its pernicious powers
  Transitory state of man
  Treaty-breakers, appeal to them
  Tragedies, in real life
  Tybourn, its present course


  Vegetables, their organization
  Vital principle, its incomprehensible nature
  Virtue, its worth
  Virtuous exertion entitled to support
  Village promenades, proposal for
  Villages round London, their want of society
  Villas, no signs of public wealth
  Village bells, cause of their peculiar effect
  Virtue, promoted by cleanliness
  Vulcan, his residence


  Washington, the great, his character and glory
  War-office, British, its equivocal merit
  Water, the cause of change
  War, its improper duration
  ----, its horrors, associated with British grandeur
  Want, the seat of its empire
  ----, means of extinguishing
  Wandsworth, its population, &c.
  ---- workhouse, a visit to
  Wages of labour
  Walnut-trees, prodigious ones
  Waithman, Mr. his patriotic character
  Waste lands, a libel on political economy
  Wealth, its personal consequences
  ----, its relative nature
  Welding Hammer, described
  Westminster Abbey, characterized
  Webb, Mr. his benevolent character
  Wesley, Mr. his godlike zeal
  ---- his mode of riding
  Webster, Mr. his geological discoveries
  Welch girls, their industry and beauty
  Witham, its exemplary cleanliness
  Winchester palace, notice of
  Wimbledon Common, its elevation
  ----, its misuse
  Workmen, entitled to indemnity on the introduction of machinery
  Woollet, Mr. his skill as an engraver
  Workhouses, obligation to visit them
  World, its end explained
  Wood, Alderman, his patriotic character
  Wordsworth, Mr. his poetical merit
  Women, an employment worthy of them


  York-house, the residence of Wolsey


  Zoffany, Mr. his tomb and character


At page 65, five lines from bottom, insert three commas after
"beastly, vicious, and diseased,"--and at page 168, line 8, for
_found_ read _formed_.

_Lately were published_,

By the #same Author#,


A LETTER to the LIVERY of LONDON, on the OFFICE of SHERIFF; price 7s.


A TREATISE on the POWERS and DUTIES of JURIES; price 8s.


_In Sheets, for posting in Public Places, price Sixpence each_,




#J. Adlard#, Printer, 23, Bartholomew Close, London.


  _word_ indicates italic in the original
  #word# indicates small capitals in the original
  Page numbers have been removed from the Contents and the Index
  Spellings left as found except as noted below:
    the Apennines (was 'Appenines'); to alarm them by
    the state of knowledge, in an era (was 'æra') when
    and Ruins of old buildings, must frequently (was 'frequenty')
    Hartley, esq. a son of the illustrious (was 'illustrions') writer
    progressively (was 'progresssively') augmented; and then acting
    different (was 'differents') parts of the kingdom, taken at
    A. necessarily and simultaneously (was 'stimultaneously') negative
    Chelsea buns (was 'bunns') -- twice in index only
    Nell Gwyn (was 'Gwin') -- in index only
  Items noted in the Errata section have been repaired.
  Index items are in order as printed.

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