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timents, which I trust will be found in the Man! Reasons of no less weight than the support of a wife and family, have pointed out as the eligible, and, situated as I was, the only eligible, line of life for me, my present occupation. Still my honest fame is my dearest concern ; and a thousand times have I trembled at the idea of those degrading epithets that malice or misrepresentation may fix to my name. I have often, in blasting anticipation, listened to some future hackney scribbler, with the heavy malice of savage stupidity, exulting in his hireling paragraphs—“BURNS, notwithstanding the fanfaronnade of independence to be found in his works, and after having been held forth to public view, and to public estimation, as a man of some genius, yet, quite destitute of resources within himself to support his borrowed dignity, dwindled into a paltry exciseman, and slunk out the rest of his insignificant existence in the meanest of pursuits, and among the vilest of mankind." In your illustrious hands, Sir, permit me to lodge
my disavowal and defiance of these slanderous falsehoods. — BURNS was a poor man from birth, and an exciseman by necessity : but, I will say it! the sterling of his honest worth no poverty could debase, and his independent British mind oppression might bend, but could not subdue! Have not I, to me, a more precious stake in my country's welfare, than the richest dukedom in it ?-I have a large family of children, and the prospect of many more.
I have three sons, who, I see, already have brought into the world souls ill qualified to inhabit the bodies of SLAVES.—Can I look tamely on, and see any machination to wrest from them the birth-right of my boys,-the little independent Britons, in whose veins run my own blood ? —No, I will not ! should my heart's blood stream around my attempt to defend it! Does any man tell me, that my
full efforts can be of no service; and that it does not belong to my humble station to meddle with the concerns of a nation ?
I can tell him that it is on such individuals as I, that a nation has to rest; both for the hand of support, and the eye of intelligence. The uninformed mob may swell a nation's bulk; and the titled, tinsel, courtly throng, may be its feathered ornament; but, the number of those who are elevated enough in life to reason and to reflect, yet low enough to keep clear of the venal contagion of a court;—these are a nation's strength.
I know not how to apologize for the impertinent length of this epistle; but one small request I must ask of you
farther When you have honoured this letter with a perusal, please to commit it to the flames. Burns, in whose behalf you
have so generously interested yourself, I have here, in his native colours, drawn as he is; but, should any of the people in whose hands is the very bread he eats, get the least knowledge of the picture, it would ruin the poor BARD for ever!*
LONDON. R. MUDIE.—“Babylon the Great." LONDON may be considered, not merely as the capital of England or the British empire, but as the metropolis of the world, -not merely as the seat of a government which extends its connexions and exercises its influence to the remotest points of the earth's surface,—not merely as it contains the wealth and the machinery by which the freedom and the slavery of nations are bought and sold,—not merely as the heart, by whose pulses and tides intelligence, activity, and commerce are made to circulate throughout every land, - not merely as possessing a freedom of opinion, and a hardihood in the expression of that opinion, unknown to every other city,—not merely as taking the lead in every informing science, and in every useful and embellishing art, but as being foremost, and without a rival, in every means of aggrandisement and enjoyment, and also of neglect and misery—of every thing that can render life sweet and man happy, or that can render life bitter and man wretched ! Considered by itself, and without reference to the power
and influence of that government of which it is the chief locality, or of the extended ramifications of those people of which it forms the connecting link, it is a great nation in respect of the numbers of its people, and a mighty one when their wealth, their intelligence, their concentration, and the prompt and immediate use to which all of them can apply their talents, are taken into the account. Within a circumference, the radius of which does not exceed five miles, there are never fewer than two millions of human beings; and if the great bell of St. Paul's were swung to the full pitch of its tocsin-sound, more ears would hear it than could hear the loudest roaring of Ætna or Vesuvius,-or, indeed, the mightiest elemental crash that could happen at any other spot upon the earth's surface; and if one were to take one's station in the ball or the upper gallery of that great edifice, the wide horizon, crowded as it is with men and their dwellings, would form a panorama of industry and of life, more astonishing than could be gazed upon from any other point. In the streets immediately below, the congregated multitude of men, of animals, and of machines, diminished as they are by the distance, appear like streams of living atoms reeling to and fro; and, as they are lost in the vapoury distances (rendered murky by the smoke of a million fires), the sublime but sad thought of the clashing and careering streams of life hurrying to, and losing themselves in, the impervious gloom of eternity, starts across the mind. Nor is the contemplation of the marvels of man's making, which that horizon displays, less wonderful than the multitudes and the movements of the men themselves. It seems as if the wand of an enchanter had been stretched out, or the fiat of a creating Divinity had
* Though Burns' letters have been charged with a tinge of pedantry and assumption, a modern critic, Dr. Drake, has said and perhaps, upon the whole, justly—that “ Modern Europe has not equalled the epistolary productions of Cowper and Burns.” The unfortunate Ayrshire Bard died in 1796, in the 38th year of his age. This highly gifted genius (who has been called the “Shakspeare of Scotland") has been considered to possess the humour of SMOLLETT; the tenderness of STERNE or RICHARDSON ; the real life of FIELDING; and the descriptive powers of THOMSON.
forth over every
foot of the land and of the waters. To-day one may discover a line of hovels; a month passes, and there is a rank of palaces. Now, the eye may haply light upon a few spots of that delicious
which is the native vesture of Old England; but, ere the moon has exhibited all the phases of her brief circle of change, the earth shall have been moulded into abodes for the ever-accumulating multitude. House after house, palace after palace, street after street, and square
after square.it stretches on and on, till the eye fails in catching its termination, and the fancy easily pictures it as every where gliding into the infinitude of space.--If the love of moralizing, or even the common reflection of man, shall happen to come upon him who stands upon this airy height, and views the magnificence, the bustle, and the confusion of the great Babylon beneath and around him, there is one subject that he cannot easily overlook; and that is, - Where have gone those countless multitudes, which, during hundreds of years, and, for aught that history tells
to the contrary, during hundreds of ages, succeeded one another in this most wonderful of cities? He will look to the places of their residence, little lowly spots of dull earth, scattered here and there, and deformed by a few crumbling stones, the inscriptions
upon which men are forgetting, or have forgotten ; and he will remark the vast difference that there is between the stir and bustle and pretence of one generation of living men, and the stilly silence and unobtruding humility of a thousand generations that are now in the dust. He will think of the atoms of once animated clay, that must be scattered through, and mingled with, every thing in such a place : and he cannot refrain from imagining that the present inhabitants of London trample upon the bodies of their ancestors in the streets, and tenant them in the houses. When the merchant trudges through the mire from his warehouse to his banker's, or from his counting-house to 'Change, one component part of the mire that cleaves to his boots may be the substance of a merchant of the olden times, who was as keen in the pursuit, and as comfortable in the enjoyment of wealth as himself. The foot of the barrister, as he runs from court to court, may fall upon part of the tongue of him after whom he copies his eloquence—the chariot-wheel of the peer may roll over the head of the peer who preceded him — the mud which soils the slipper of the present beauty, may have bloomed in the cheek of one as fair and as fascinating -and the walls of the apartment where aldermen dine, may be plastered with those who in their time dined as copiously and with as fond a zest.—The train of speculation which this single thought opens up, runs into channels into which feeling will not look, and which fancy fears to imagine ; and London seems as wonderful in the multitudes which it has lost, as in those which it displays in every shade of station, of conduct, and of character,
JOHN BULL. R. MUDIE." Babylon the Great." The imprint upon John is as deeply stamped as upon a Greek medal ; and wherever
find him, whether in London or Calcutta, whatever be his rank, and whether he commands or obeys, he never can be mistaken. Every where he is a blunt matter of fact sort of being, very honest, but cold, and repulsive withal. He has the solidity of a material substance all over; and you can never fail to observe, that wherever he is, or with whomsoever he associates, John always considers himself the foremost man, nor will he take an advice or a lesson from any body that previously gives him a hint that he needs it. Wherever he is, too, you can perceive that his own comfort—his own immediate personal comfort—is the grand object of all his exertions, and all his wishes.
John Bull, if he thinks there is any chance of making a profit by it, will bargain with you at first sight; but before you can make an intimate of him, you must court him as you would a lady; and even then, if you be romantic in your friendships, you soon discover that his friendship, like the love of a coquette, is not much worth the having. He gives you cold and polite civility before his courting, and he has not much more to give you after. There is such a mechanical formality, and such à frank avowal of that selfishness which other people may feel just as strongly, but which they are more careful to conceal, that
you do not enjoy the luxury of an Englishman's feast with half the zest that you would a handful of dates with the Bedouin in the desert.
But, while he is thus the coldest friend that you can imagine, he is the safest neighbour, and the most fair-dealing and generous enemy : while he keeps his own castle like a bashaw, he never thinks of invading yours. Comfort—meaning thereby the capacity of purchasing whatever he thinks will render himself snug; and independence—that is, feeling that he can do whatever he wishes, and say whatever he thinks,-being the grand objects with him, he cares not a straw for those adventitious, and perhaps ideal distinctions, that so much plague the rest of the world. His pride—and pride he has in great abundance—is not the pride of Haman ; he cares not a straw though Mordecai the Jew should sit ever so long at his gate, his only solicitude being that the said Mordecai shall not come within it, without the special permission of the owner, and that granted for something that shall conduce to the said owner's advantage or comfort.
His selfishness is not like the selfishness of most other nations : it does not go out after ideal whims and visionary fancies, but remains constant and attentive to himself. No man can devote himself more entirely or more successfully to the accumulation of wealth than John Bull, nor is any
nation so little