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IF I had not been in London within the
last month, and seen the wondrous tide of
emigration setting out from the Docks there;
if I had not read in this journal of the Jeremy
Diddler and its teeming cargo; if I had
not passed through the port of Southampton
lately, and gazed upon the Hampshire folk
singing loud emigratory pœans, and departing
by whole tribes for the Diggings, with cradle,
mattock, and spade; if many weeks had
passed since at Havre I saw the Grand Bassin
crammedchoked, with Yankee liners, with
emigrant ships for the States, for California,
and for Australia (some of which, I make bold
to tell you in confidence, were in my private
opinion no better than tubs); if I did not
know that Plymouth, and Bristol, and Cork,
yea, and the American seaboard far away
(wheels within wheels) had each their exodus;
that in remote South Sea islands and Pacific
inlets painted savages were packing up their
wardrobes, consisting, I suppose, of a tomahawk
and a toothpick, neatly folded in a plantain
leaf; if I did not know that in swarming Canton
and thieving Shanghae, and piratical little mud
and thatch villages on the Yo-hang-ho and
Yang-tse-Kiang, broad-hatted and long-tailed
Chinamen were saving up pice and cash for
passage-money and gold-digging tools; if I
did not know that, from Indus to the Pole,
blacks, whites, tawnies, and mulattos, were
baking human heads, and polishing skulls,
and carving concentric balls, and weaving
gorgeous shawls, and curing reindeers' tongues,
and fermenting Champagne wine for
the Australian market; that wherever there
there were hearts to feel and tongues to express
the fierce, raging lust for gold, the cry was,
"Off, off, and away!"—if I did not know this,
I say, I should be tempted to think that from
Liverpool alone the great army of voluntary
exiles was setting forth; that there, and
there alone, was the Red Sea and the host
of Israel, with their gold and silver and
precious stones; there, the pillar of fire and the
pillar of cloud; there, the prospect of wandering
in a watery desert not forty, but one
hundred days: for, verily, all Liverpool seems
to be off.

"A king stood on the rocky brow
That looks o'er seaborn Marathon . . ."

But I, poor, penniless plebeian, with never
a regal bend in my scutcheon, stand on the
stones of mud-born Liverpool; every stone of
whose docks, and every brick of whose warehouses
was wont to be cemented, according
to Mr. George Frederick Cooke, "by the
blood and sweat of the enslaved and murdered
African;" and from the brows of
Prince's Dock, and Canning Dock, and
Bramley Moore Dockfrom the brows of that
unequalled line of basins, reaching from the
shore opposite Eastham to below Bootle and
WaterlooI gaze on the "ships by thousands,"
and the "men in nations," that lie below.

Oh, cheerily, cheerily! is the anchor-song,
morning, noon, and night in the great docks
where the vessels from the coast of Africa lie,
which have come home laden with gold-dust,
and palm-oil, and elephants' teeth, and which
are off again, ere many days, with huge
packages of Birmingham hardware and Manchester
goods, coral necklaces and gimcrack
ornaments for Mumbo Jumbo and Ashantee
fetishes, slop rifles and cutlasses for the King
of Dahomey's amazons. Bright blue or bright
green, with brave streaks of white, are these
vessels paintedhulls, masts, and yards;
whether that the rays of the African sun fall
less fiercely on them than on a black surface,
or whether to dazzle and bewilder the simple
savages with harlequin colours, deponent
sayeth not. A strong, a very strong odour of
palm-oil scents the breeze, pervades the
decks, breaks out in a rich oleaginous dew
on the apparel and faces of the bystanders.
Here is a gruff mate, seated on a water-cask,
teaching a parrot to swear, who is all oil
clogged and sticky with the luscious product.
Talk of the Hull whalers! what are those
train-oil-indued vessels to these greasy ships
and greasier men? Gigantic tubs and casks
of palm-oil, worth, they tell me, from thirty
to forty pounds each, are being hoisted on
shore, rolled about the quays, gauged by the
vicious-looking boring tools of the Custom-house
officers, and carted away in greasy vans.

Empty casks there are also, and in plenty,
which are to be conveyed back to Africa;
then, brought home full of oil again. How
many voyages have these ill-coopered tubs
made since they were hammered up by
swarthy, black Kroomen, in some sweltering
barracoon on the Guinea coast? What