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lodgings, with no estate, properly so
called, he has merely to state this fact to the
willing ear of the court, and leave me, like a
baffled tiger, howling for my prey. If my
victim thinks proper to set sail for the Cocos
Islands, or some other land, where creditors
cease from troubling, and the debtor is at
rest, I can watch him go on board his bounding
bark, and, like Calypso, mourn for the departure
of my Ulysses; but alas! I can do no
more, for he only owes me nineteen pounds
nineteen shillings and elevenpence. Twopence
more, andshades of Solon and Lycurgus
I am avenged!

When I turn over the old unpaid bills of
exchange of my predecessor, the late John
Smirker, and find amongst them many under
five pounds, I am reminded of an old act
passed in the time of George the Third, and
never yet repealed, that is a perfect triumph
of protective legislation. The bill of exchange
the pride and glory of modern commerce
is looked upon as a luxury intended
only for the enjoyment of the wholesale
trade, and only granted to the retail under
the most praiseworthy precautions. Poor
Smirker's bills, I need not say, are so much
waste paper; for he had no idea of the
requirements of the law touching the
implements he was dealing with. A bill of
exchange, according to George the ThirdI
say according to him, because he was anything
but a royal nonentity in the stateif
under five pounds, must not be drawn at a
longer period than twenty- one days; it must
be paid away on the same day as that on
which it is drawn; its endorsement must set
forth the name and address of the person to
whom it is endorsed, and such endorsement,
with every name upon it but the acceptors',
must bear the signature of an attesting
witness! If any one of these requirements
is neglected, it is fatal to the validity of the
instrument. When this cautious clause was
perfected, the old king must have felt that
although he had entrusted a dangerous squib
in the hands of the small ignorant traders of
the country, he had taken every precaution
to issue directions for letting it off, so that
the case might not burst and injure their
fingers. Our present rulers must be of the
same way of thinking, as they allow the
clause to remain unexpunged from the
statute-book, and deny the benefits of bills of
exchange as proofs of debts and negotiable
instruments, to all transactions under five

The next thing that troubles me is a lingering
remnant of feudality. The haughty
baron of the nineteenth century does not
despoil his humble retainer, the tradesman,
but he takes credit, which is nearly the same
thing. If the haughty baron is a member of
the royal household, the feudal element is
increased. The haughty baron rides roughshod
over all human feelings, and wears out
patience of the most endurable kind. The
haughty baron keeps me at bay to the very
verge of the Statute of Limitations, and, in
self-defence, I am obliged to have recourse
to the law. The law informs me that I
can do nothing without the written sanction
of the lord steward of her Majesty's
household. I go to Buckingham Palace,
and after the usual delay and trouble, I
obtain an interview with an under-secretary,
who tells me that my application for
permission to sue must be made in writing,
accompanied with full particulars of my
claim; and he kindly advises me to make it
upon folio foolscap, with a margin. I send
in my claim upon the haughty baron in the
required form, and in a few days I receive a
reply from the lord steward, stating that if
the money be not paid within a certain
liberal specified time from the date of the
lord steward's communication, I have the
lord steward's permission to take legal
proceedings against the haughty baron. It is
amusing to find a royal palace converted into
a sanctuary for haughty but insolvent barons.
It is possible that if the rude emissary of the
law was allowed free entrance to the sacred
precincts of the household, the royal banquet
in the evening would be graced with at least
one gold stick in waiting less than the royal
eyes had whilome been accustomed to look

I believe that the best authorities on
government hold that taxes are paid for
protection to person and property. I will admit
that my person is fairly protected; but if my
heroic statesmen can spare a little time from
those brilliant employments of ornamental
government,— Indian annexations, colonial
extensions, military campaigns, diplomatic
subtleties, and foreign legationsfor the
more homely task of protecting my property,
by looking into the relations of debtor and
creditor, the successor of the late John
Smirker, the next time the collector calls,
will pay his taxes with a more cheerful

Early in December will be published, price Threepence,
or stamped Fourpence,
Of HOUSEHOLD WORDS; and containing Thirty-six
pages, or the amount of One regular Number and a Half.
Household Words Office, No. 10, Wellington Street
North, Strand. Sold by all Booksellers, and at all Railway Stations.

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