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belongs is calculated to hold eight hundred
people, and it contained thirteen hundred at
the time of which I speak. To lessen an
enormous burden upon ratepayers the workhouse
rules are strict, and no sane man would
consider it a remedy for that great hitch in
our social system which produces such a
population as that here described, to build
more workhouses and fill them with more
poor. Benevolent relief, though it provides
no remedy, saves many a day's hunger and
preserves many a life.

But for the remedy which lies in the correction
of not one or two but twenty social
errors, we must look elsewhere. Honourable
gentlemen have for some time been pledged
to provide two such corrections, but have
not redeemed their pledges. The Law of
Settlement still compels poor men's communities
to stagnate, and practically denies to
thousands who cannot live in one place the
right of going to some other place in search
of better fate. The Law of Partnership still
denies to poor men the right of clubbing their
small means together in a prudent way, and
helping one another to success where they
now fail because they are too feeble to work
singly. The amendment of these bad social
regulations will not convert a pauper neighbourhood
into a Paradise, but it will be at least
a stirring forward in the right direction.
There is a great deal more to be considered
and a great deal more to be done. Wholesome
dwellings must be furnished, children must
be taught. We talk about these things, and
have been talking for generations. Fairly
considering what is here partly shown,
the real urgency of the matter, could we not
feel justified in parting with a little of our
oratory for the sake of a more needful thing,
some vigorous, true-hearted action? Meanwhile
we wait, and wait, and wish good speed
to the time when Lords and Gentlemen,

"Who act the God among external things,
To bind, on apt suggestion, or unbind,"

shall have heard enough of their own thunder.


Pygmies and Polyphemes, by many a name,
Centaurs and Satyrs, and such shapes as haunt
Wet clefts, — and lumps neither alive nor dead,
Dog-headed, bosom-eyed, and bird-footed.
SHELLEY'S Witch of Atlas.

FROM the earliest ages, the minds of men appear
to have been haunted by ideas of anomalous
creatures swarming in earth, air, and sea;
some of them mysterious combinations of
familiar formsothers, vague and undefinable
as the shifting phantoms seen at evening
in the clouds. Indeed, Nature herself has
prompted and almost justified such fancies;
for it would be difficult to surpass in strange
fantastic ugliness some of the reptiles and
marine animals which we know to exist, and
to be reproduced from generation to generation.
Spenser, in that romantic and awful
journey of Sir Guyon and the Palmer to
the Bower of Bliss in the Faery Queene,
speaks of the sea-monsters which the travellers
encounter as being terrible enough even to
appal the power that created them.

Most ugly shapes and horrible aspècts,
Such as Dame Nature selfe mote feare to see,
Or shame, that ever should so fowle defects
From her most cunning hand escapèd bee:
All dreadfull pourtraits of deformitee.

And he adds:

No wonder if these did the knight appall;
For all that here on earth we dreadfull hold
Be but as bugs to fearen babes withall,
Comparèd to the creatures in the sea's entràll.

These sickening distortions (as they appear
to us) of organic life, occasionally beheld in
rapid and fearful glimpses by marinersas
well as the slimy and torpid creatures crawling
in the mud of ditches and damp places,
from which they are scarcely distinguishable
in member, joint, or limb, and the terrible
quadrupeds to be found in many parts of
Asia and Africa, — would naturally suggest,
even to the minds of the wisest, in an age
when men were more inclined to speculate on
abstract theories than to investigate facts, the
notion of appalling departures from the ordinary
course of Nature; such as accidental
combinations of incongruous forms, or hideous
and purposeless phenomena, starting into life
under some malign influence.

It is curious to observe that, in early times,
all nations had a tendency to people countries
remote from them with anomalous shapes, as
well as other prodigies. Thus Plutarch, in
commencing his Lives, says that he could, if
he pleased, speak of stranger and more
ancient things:—Like as the historiographers,
which do set forth the description of the earth
in figure, are wont to place in the lowermost
part of their mappes the farre distant regions
unknowne unto them, and to make in the
margent such like notes and reasons as
these: Beyond these countries are nothing
but deepe dry sands without water, full of
fowle ill-favoured venimous beasts, or
much mudde unnavigable, or Scythia forsaken
for cold, or else the sea frosen with ice.
The Greeks were among the most
distinguished in this kind of romancing. Arabia
was with them chiefly noted as the native
country of the mystical Phoenix. Ethiopia
was the land of Pygmies, of gods, and of god-like
men and with what indescribable and
dream-like presentments (such as those which
glare and lighten over the enchanted island
of Prospero) did they not make awful the
far-removed interiors of India, Scythia, and

All the monstrous forms
'Twist Africa and Ind,

says the Elder Brother, in Comus. In the
childhood of society, as in the childhood of the