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RED TAPE.

Your public functionary who delights in
Red Tapethe purpose of whose existence is
to tie up public questions, great and small, in
an abundance of this official articleto make
the neatest possible parcels of them, ticket
them, and carefully put them away on a top
shelf out of human reachis the peculiar
curse and nuisance of England. Iron, steel,
adamant, can make no such drag-chain as Red
Tape. An invasion of Red Ants in innumerable
millions, would not be half so prejudicial
to Great Britain, as its intolerable Red Tape.

Your Red Tapist is everywhere. He is
always at hand, with a coil of Red Tape,
prepared to make a small official parcel of the
largest subject. In the reception room of a
Government Office, he will wind Red Tape
round and round the sternest deputation that
the country can send to him. In either House
of Parliament, he will pull more Red Tape
out of his mouth, at a moment's notice, than a
conjuror at a Fair. In letters, memoranda,
and dispatches, he will spin himself into Red
Tape, by the thousand yards. He will bind
you up vast colonies, in Red Tape, like cold
roast chickens at a rout-supper; and when
the most valuable of them break it (a mere
question of time), he will be amazed to find
that they were too expansive for his favourite
commodity. He will put a girdle of Red Tape
round the earth, in quicker time than Ariel.
He will measure, from Downing Street to the
North Pole, or the heart of New Zealand, or
the highest summit of the Himalaya
Mountains, by inches of Red Tape. He will rig all
the ships in the British Navy with it, weave
all the colours in the British Army from it,
completely equip and fit out the officers and
men of both services in it. He bound NELSON
and WELLINGTON hand and foot with it
ornamented them, all over, with bunches of
itand sent them forth to do impossibilities.
He will stand over the side of the steam-
ship of the state, sounding with Red Tape,
for imaginary obstacles; and when the office-
seal at the end of his pet line touches a
floating weed, will cry majestically, "Back
her! Stop her!" He hangs great social
efforts, in Red Tape, about the public offices,
to terrify like evil-minded reformers, as great
highwaymen used to be hanged in chains on
Hounslow Heath. He has but one answer to
every demonstration of right, or exposition of
wrong; and it is, "My good Sir, this is a
question of Tape."

He is the most gentlemanly of men. He
is mysterious; but not more so than a man
who is cognisant of so much Tape ought to
be. Butterflies and gadflies who disport
themselves, unconscious of the amount of Red
Tape required to keep Creation together, may
wear their hearts upon their sleeves; but he
is another sort of person. Not that he is
wanting in conversation. By no means. Every
question mooted, he has to tie up according to
form, and put away. Church, state, territory,
native and foreign, ignorance, poverty, crime,
punishment, popes, cardinals, Jesuits, taxes,
agriculture and commerce, land and seaall
Tape. "Nothing but Tape, Sir, I assure you.
"Will you allow me to tie this subject up, with
a few yards, according to the official form?
Thank you. Thus, you see. A knot here;
the end cut off there; a twist in this place; a
loop in that. Nothing can be more complete.
Quite compact, you observe. I ticket it, you
perceive, and put it on the shelf. It is now
disposed of. What is the next article?"

The quantity of Red Tape officially
employed in the defence of such an imposition
(in more senses than one) as the Window-Tax;
the array of Red Tapists and the amount of
Red Taping employed in its behalf, within the
last six or seven years; is something so
astounding in itself, and so illustrative of the
enormous quantities of Tape devoted to the
public confusion, that we take the liberty, at
this appropriate time, of disentangling an
odd thousand fathoms or so, as a sample of
the commodity.

The Window-Tax is a tax of that just and
equitable description, that it charges a house
with twenty windows at the rate of six
shillings and twopence farthing a window;
and houses with nine times as many windows,
to wit a hundred and eighty, at the rate of
eightpence a window, less. It is a beautiful
feature in this tax (and a mighty convenient
one for large country-houses) that, after
progressing in a gradually ascending scale or
charge, from eight windows to seventy-nine,
it then begins to descend again, and charges a
house with five hundred windows, just a
farthing a window more, than a house with

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