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SIR THOMAS MORE. And not less frightful when the political evils are contemplated! To the dangers of an oppressive and iniquitous order, such for example as exists where negro slavery is established, you are fully awake in England: but to those of defective order among yourselves, though they are precisely of the same nature, you are blind. And yet you have spirits among you who are labouring day and night to stir up a bellum servile, an insurrection like that of Wat Tyler, of the Jacquerie, and of the peasants in Germany. There is no provocation for this, as there was in all those dreadful convulsions of society: but there are misery and ignorance and desperate wickedness to work upon, which the want of order has produced. Think for à moment what London,.. nay, what the whole kingdom would be, were your Catilines to succeed in exciting as general an insurrection as that which was raised by one madman in your own childhood! Imagine the infatuated and infuriated wretches, whom not Spitalfields, St. Giles’s, and Pimlico alone, but all the lanes and alleys and cellars of the metropolis would pour out;.. a frightful population, whose multitudes, when gathered together, might almost exceed belief! The streets of London would appear
to teem with them, like the land of Egypt with its plague of frogs: and the lava floods from a volcano would be less destructive than the hordes whom your great cities and manufacturing districts would vomit forth !
MONTESINOS. Such an insane rebellion would speedily be crushed.
· SIR THOMAS MORE. Perhaps so. But three days were enough for the fire of London. And be assured this would not pass away without leaving in your records a memorialas durable and more dreadful!
- SIR THOMAS MORE. Its possibility at least ought always to be borne in mind. The French Revolution appeared much less possible when the Assembly of Notables was convoked; and the people of France were much less prepared for the career of horrors into which they were presently hurried.
WALLA CRAG.-OWEN OF LANARK.
It is no wonder that foreigners, who form their notions of England from what they see in its metropolis, should give such dismal descriptions of an English November; a month when, according to the received opinion of continental writers, suicide comes as regularly in season with us as geese at Michaelmas, and green pease in June. Nothing indeed can be more cheerless and comfortless than a common November day in that huge overgrown city; the streets covered with that sort of thick greasy dirt, on which you are in danger of slipping at every step, and the sky concealed from sight by a dense, damp, oppressive, dusky atmosphere, composed of Essex fog and London smoke. But in the country November presents a very different aspect : there its soft, calm weather has a charm of its own; a stillness and erenity unlike any other season, and scarcely
less delightful than the most genial days of Spring. The pleasure which it imparts is rather different in kind than inferior in degree : it accords as finely with the feelings of declining life as the bursting foliage and opening flowers of May with the elastic spirits of youth and hope.
But a fine day affects children alike at all seasons as it does the barometer. They live in the present, seldom saddened with any retrospective thoughts, and troubled with no foresight. Three or four days of dull sunless weather had been succeeded by a delicious morning. My young ones were clamorous for a morning's excursion. The glass had risen to a little above change, but their spirits had mounted to the point of settled fair. All things, indeed, animate and inanimate, seemed to partake of the exhilarating influence. The blackbirds, who lose so little of their shyness even where they are most secure, made their appearance on the green, where the worms had thrown up little circles of mould during the night. The smaller birds were twittering, hopping from spray to spray, and pluming themselves; and as the temperature had given them a vernal sense of joy, there was something of a yernal cheerfulness in their song. The very flies had come out from their winter quarters, where, to their own danger and my annoyance, they establish themselves behind the books, in the folds of the curtains, and the crevices of these loose window-frames. They were crawling up the sunny panes, bearing in their altered appearance the marks of uncomfortable age; their bodies enlarged, and of a greyer brown; their wings no longer open, clean, and transparent, but closed upon the back, and as it were encrusted with neglect. Some few were beginning to brush themselves, but their motions were slow and feeble: the greater number had fallen upon their backs, and lay unable to recover themselves. Not a breath of air was stirring; the smoke ascended straight into the sky, till it diffused itself equally on all sides and was lost. The lake lay like a mirror, smooth and dark. The tops of the mountains, which had not been visible for many days, were clear and free from snow: a few light clouds, which hovered upon their sides, weré slowly rising and melting in the sunshine.