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benefit to the prosecution. Maddened by his
ill-success, the prosecuting counsel wished, in
defiance of law, to put a question to my
daughter, but our solicitor at once objected
to this, and the judge spoke up against it like
a man, amidst a murmur of approbation
that ran through the whole court. If they had
put the question, I am afraid we should not
have got off as we did, for my daughter is
rather nervous, and could not have stood a
cross-examination. But, we were spared
the trial, and the liberty of the subject was

The case lasted a long time, and during its
progress some very pretty circumstantial
evidence was adduced, which all fell to the
ground, bit by bit, under the vigorous blows of
our solicitor. When the speech for the defence
came, it was necessarily short, for there was
really nothing of any moment to answer.

The summing-up of the judge was pleasant
and dignified, with, of course, a little dash
of the severity required by the duties of his
position. But I cannot think that he was
dissatisfied with his day's work; and the jury,
who had been highly amused by the legal
fencing displayed, and whobless their
hearts!—could not have put a question about
the case to our happy family for the world,
were glad to hurry over an acquittal, and get
to their dinners.

I know that the public press are always
writing against the dangerous classes, of
which I am a member; but seeing that we and
our doings provide them with the most
exciting staple of their news, I cannot think
that they are sincere in the desire they
express to put us down.

I cannot believe that a Bankruptcy
Commissioner dislikes bankrupts; that an
Insolvent Commissioner dislikes insolvents; that
a public hangman dislikes murderers; or that a
Chancery Judge dislikes wretched suitors;—
and, seeing the leniency of the laws, the mode
of criminal procedure, and the vast amount of
employment that we thieves give to capital, I
cannot believe that Judges, Juries, Public
Officers, Police, Gaolers, Governors of
Prisons, Gaol Chaplains, and Legal Practitioners,
are at all earnest and interested in our
extermination. So a long life and a merry one to all
those honest gentlemen, and similarly to us!


ABOUT the time when the noble French
court was fiddling unconsciously on the eve
of its conflagration, posturing in the long
Versailles, and bickering over etiquette
points, and female presentations; about the
time when Bœhmer and Bossange, court-
jewellers, were running over Europe, hunting
up precious stones for a certain necklace,
and when the noble queen for whose defence Mr.
Burke vainly imagined ten thousand swords
would have leaped from their scabbards, was
having curious epithets called after her as
she rolled in her gilded coach along the
boulevards;—at the eve, then, of this crack of
doom, when the air was darkened with signs
and tokens of approaching convulsions, it is
well known in what a strange fashion this
noble French court put their shoulders to the
work, and in a manner helped themselves
over the precipice. The new philosophy,
Encyclopædia, rights of man, freethinking,
and the rest of it, were the main levers that
toppled over this Corinthian order, and
brought about the great Revolution. And
yet, they themselves might be seen toiling in
company with the canaille at these same
levers, insanely working out their own
destruction; for it grew into fashion to be
freethinking and philosophical. It got into the
boudoirs and reception-rooms. Ladies of
noble degree, fair duchesses, and belles who
sat to Boucher and Lancry, studied
metaphysical communism, and talked the Contrat
Social with easy familiarity. Terrible abstract
tedium, fitted conveniently into pretty mouths,
fashioned for no stronger meats than a
bonbon or faded compliment. Messrs. Grim,
Diderot, and Company, went out to parties
with their lion's mane on, and explained to
the admiring quality, how the lowest serf on
their estates was fully equal to the noblest
among them; how, if justice were but done,
these great estates should be cut up and
distributed in equal portions, leaving His
Seigneurie or His Grandeur, no larger share
than his fellows. How this same serf should
be privileged to sit at the same board, if it
should seem fit; should be petted and made
much of for the present, being in what was
called a state of nature, and therefore
singularly instructive. These things to hear, the
lords and ladies assembled would seriously
incline, smiling complacently on one another,
and murmuring applause, as the principles of
their own spoliation were so satisfactorily
established. Holbach, how charming he was!
And ce cher Helvetius, with that new book
of his, how delightful to hear him expound
those curious notions about the soul! How
funny those atheistical stories, and those
queer jokes, of slightly impious flavour,
wherein Davy Hume, ce drôle, figured so
pleasantly. Gradually the joke spread, and
filtered down through intervening classes,
until, curious to say, it reached that lowest
canaille of all, those baseborn coquins who
worked in the fields. They took it in with
infinitely more relish than their seigneurs,.
who had been laughing so suicidically; and,
stranger still, this canaille proceeded to follow
up the joke, and, like Mr. William Bottom,
must needs do it in action. The result the
world knows pretty well.

That knowledge which is power, was not, at
this epoch, confined to metaphysical subtlelies,
but worked itself out more practically in
mechanical inventions and useful arts. Here,
too, in this pie, must the noble French court
have its finger; simpering over mechanical

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