The final postgraduate reading group Industry In Theory runs this Friday. Peter O’ Connor (PhD candidate, History) will be presenting extracts Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790). To go with this three nineteenth century texts dealing with the United States will be presented. These are Frances Trollope’s Domestic Manners of the Americans (1832), Charles Dickens’s American Notes for General Circulation (1842) and his Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit (1844). We will then open out into a discussion!
Join us on Friday 17th May, 4-5pm in Lipman 121 for an hour of Burke, Dickens and free wine! We hope to see you there.
Ps if you would prefer to be familiar with the texts the relevant extracts are below- but no advance reading required!
Edmund Burke- Reflections on the Revolution in France (London: J Dodsley, 1790)
'I flatter myself that I love a manly, moral, regulated liberty as well as any gentleman of that society, be he who he will ; and perhaps I have given as good proofs of my attachment to that cause, in the whole course of my public conduct. I think I envy liberty as little as they do, to any other nation. But I cannot stand for ward, and give praise or blame to anything which relates to human actions, and human concerns, on a simple view of the object, as it stands stripped of every relation, in all the nakedness and solitude of metaphysical abstraction. Circumstances which with some gentlemen pass for nothing) give in reality to every political principle its distinguishing colour, and discriminating effect. The circumstances are what render every civil and political scheme beneficial or noxious to mankind. Abstractedly speaking, government, as well as liberty, is good; yet could I, in Common sense, ten years ago, have felicitated France on her enjoyment of a government (for she then had a government) without enquiry what the nature of that government was, or how it was administered ? Can I now congratulate the fame nation upon its freedom? Is it because liberty in the abstract may be classed amongst the blessings of mankind, that I am seriously to felicitate a madman, who has escaped from the protecting restraint and wholesome darkness of his cell, on his restoration to the enjoyment of light and liberty ? Am I to congratulate an highwayman and murderer, who has broke prison, upon the recovery of his natural rights ? This would be to act over again the scene of the criminals condemned to the gallies, and their heroic deliverer, the meta- physic Knight of the Sorrowful Countenance.’ (7-8)
‘Through the fame plan of a conformity to nature in our artificial institutions, and by calling in the aid of her unerring and powerful instincts, to fortify the fallible and feeble contrivances of our reason, we have derived several other, and those no small benefits, from considering our liberties in the light of an inheritance. Always acting as if in the presence of canonized fore fathers, the spirit of freedom, leading in itself to misrule and excess, is tempered with an awful gravity. This idea of a liberal descent inspires us with a fense of habitual native dignity, which prevents that upstart insolence almost inevitably adhering to and disgracing those who are the first acquirers of any distinction. By this means our liberty becomes a noble freedom. It carries an imposing and majestic aspect. It has a pedigree and illustrating ancestors. It has its bearings and its ensigns armorial. It has its gallery of portraits; its monumental inscriptions; its records, evidences, and titles. We procure reverence to our civil institutions on the principle upon which nature teaches us to revere individual men; on account of their age; and on account of those from whom they are descended. All your sophisters cannot produce any thing better adapted to preserve a rational and manly freedom than the course that we have pursued, who have chosen our nature rather than our speculations, our breasts rather than our inventions, for the great conservatories and magazines of our rights and privileges.’ (49-50)
‘Far am I from denying in theory; full as far is my heart from withholding in practice (if I were of power to give or to withhold) the real rights of men. In denying their false claims o fright, I do not mean to injure those which are real, and are such as their pretended rights would totally destroy. If civil society be made for the advantage of man, all the advantages for which it is made become his right. It is an institution of beneficence; and law itself is only beneficence acting by a rule. Men have a right to live by that rule ; they have a right to justice ; as between their fellows, whether their fellows are in politic function or in ordinary occupation. They have a right to the fruits of their industry; and to the means of making their industry fruitful. They have a right to the acquisitions of their parents; to the nourishment and improvement of their offspring; to instruction in life, and to consolation in death. Whatever each man can separately do, without trespassing upon others, he has a right to do for himself; and he has a right to a fair portion of all which society, with all its combinations of skill and force, can do in his favour. But as to the share of power, authority, and direction which each individual ought to have in the management of the state, that I must deny to be amongst the direct original rights of man in civil society ; for I have in my contemplation the civil social man, and no other. It is a thing to be settled by convention.
If civil society be the offspring of convention, that convention must be its law. That convention must limit and modify all the descriptions of constitution which are formed under it. Every sort of legislative, judicial, or executory power are its creatures. They can have no being in any other state of things ; and how can any man claim, under the conventions of civil society, rights which do not so much as suppose its existence ? Rights which are absolutely repugnant to it? One of the first motives to civil society, and which becomes one of its fundamental rules, is, that no man should be judge in his own cause. By this each person has at once divested himself of the first fundamental right of uncovenanted man, that is, to judge for himself, and to assert his own cause. He abdicates all right to be his own governor. He inclusively, in a great measure, abandons the right of self-defence, the first law of nature. Men cannot enjoy the rights of an uncivil and of a civil state together. That he may obtain justice he gives up his right of determining what it is in points the most essential to him. That he may secure some liberty, he makes a surrender in trust of the whole of it.
Government is not made in virtue of natural rights, which may and do exist in total independence of it; and exist in much greater clearness, and in a much greater degree of abstract perfection : but their abstract perfection is their practical defect. By having a right to every thing they want every thing. Government is a contrivance of human wisdom to pro vide for human wants. Men have a right that these wants should be provided for by this wisdom. Among these wants is to be reckoned- the want, out of civil society, of a sufficient restraint upon their passions. Society requires not only that the passions of individuals should be subjected, but that even in the mass and body- as well as in the individuals, the inclinations of men should frequently be thwarted, their will controlled, and their passions brought into subjection. This can only be done by a power out of themselves ; and not, in the exercise of its function, subject to that will and to those passions which it is its office to bridle and subdue. In this sense the restraints on men, as well as their liberties, are to be reckoned among their rights. But as the liberties and the restrictions vary with times and circumstances, and admit of infinite modifications, they cannot be settled upon any abstract rule; and nothing is so foolish as to discuss them upon that principle.
The moment you abate any thing from the full rights of men, each to govern himself, and suffer any artificial positive limitation upon those rights, from that moment the whole organization of government becomes a consideration of convenience. This it is which makes the constitution of a state, and the due distribution of its powers, a matter of the most delicate and complicated skill. It requires a deep knowledge of human nature and human necessities, and of the things which facilitate or obstruct the various ends which are to be pursued by the mechanism of civil institutions. The state is to have recruits to its strength, and remedies to its dis tempers. What is the use of discussing a man's abstract right to food or to medicine? The question is upon the method of procuring and administering them. In that deliberation I shall always advise to call in the aid of the farmer and the physician, rather than the professor of metaphysics. The science of constructing a commonwealth, or renovating it, or reforming it, is, like every other experimental science, not to be taught a priori. Nor is it a short experience that can instruct us in that practical science; because the real effects of moral causes are not always immediate; but that which in the first in stance is prejudicial may be excellent in its remoter operation; and its excellence may arise even from the ill effects it produces in the beginning. The reverse also happens; and very plausible schemes, with very pleasing commencements, have often shameful and lamentable conclusions. In states there are often some obscure and almost latent causes, things which appear at first view of little moment, on which a very great part of its prosperity or adversity may most essentially de pend. The science of government being therefore so practical in itself, and intended for such practical purposes, a matter which requires experience, and even more experience than any per son can gain in his whole life, however sagacious and observing he may be, it is with infinite caution that any man ought to venture upon pulling down an edifice which has answered in any tolerable degree for ages the common purposes of society, or of building it up again, without having models and patterns of approved utility before his eyes.’ (86-91)
‘But one of the first and most leading principles on which the commonwealth and the laws are consecrated, is lest the temporary possessors and life-renters in it, unmindful of what they have received from their ancestors, or of what is due to their posterity, should act as if they were the entire masters; that they should not think it amongst their rights to cut off the entail, or commit waste on the inheritance, by destroying at their pleasure the whole original fabric of their society ; hazarding to leave to those who come after them, a ruin instead of an habitation — and teaching these successors as little to respect their contrivances, as they had themselves respected the institutions of their forefathers. By this unprincipled facility of changing the state as often, and as much, and in as many ways as there are floating fancies or fashions, the whole chain and continuity of the commonwealth would be bro ken. No one generation could link with the other. Men would become little better than the flies of a summer.’ (141)
‘But admitting democracy not to have that inevitable tendency to party tyranny, which I suppose it to have, and admitting it to possess as much good in it when unmixed, as I am sure it possesses when compounded with other forms ; does monarchy, on its part, contain nothing at all to recommend it ? I do not often quote Bolingbroke, nor have his works in general, left any permanent impression on my mind. He is a presumptuous and a superficial writer. But he has one observation, which in my opinion, is not without depth and solidity. He says, that he prefers a monarchy to other governments; because you can better in graft any description of republic on a monarchy than anything of monarchy upon the republican forms. I think him perfectly in the right. The fact is so historically; and it agrees well with the speculation.’ (187)
‘So far from this able disposition of some of the old republican legislators, which follows with a solicitous accuracy, the moral conditions and propensities of men, they have levelled and crushed together all the orders which they found, even under the coarse unartificial arrangement of the monarchy, in which mode of government the classing of the citizens is not of so much importance as in a republic. It is true, however, that every such classification, if properly ordered, is good in all forms of government ; and composes a strong barrier against the excesses of despotism, as well as it is the necessary means of giving effect and permanence to a republic. For want of something of this kind, if the present project of a re public should fail, all securities to a moderated freedom fail along with it ; all the indirect restraints which mitigate despotism are removed ; insomuch that if monarchy should ever again obtain an entire ascendency in France, under this or under any other dynasty, it will probably be, if not voluntarily tempered at setting out, by the wise and virtuous counsels of the prince, the most completely arbitrary power that has ever appeared on earth. This is to play a most desperate game.’ (275)
Frances Trollope- Domestic Manners of the Americans (London: Whittaker, 1832)
‘The gentlemen in the cabin (we had no ladies) would certainly neither from their language, manners, nor appearance, have received that designation in Europe ; but we soon found their claim to it rested on more substantial ground, for we heard them nearly all addressed by the titles of general, colonel, and major. On mentioning these military dignities to an English friend some time afterward, he told' me that he too had made the voyage with the same description of company, but remarking that there was not a single captain among them ; he made the observation to a fellow-passenger, and asked how he accounted for it. "Oh, sir, the captains are all on deck," was the reply.
Our honours, however, were not all military, for we had a judge among us. I know it is equally easy and invidious to ridicule the peculiarities of appearance and manner in a people of a different nation from ourselves; we may, too, at the same moment, be undergoing the same ordeal in their estimation ; and, moreover, I am by no means disposed to consider whatever is new to me as therefore objectionable ; but, nevertheless, it was impossible not to feel repugnance to many of the novelties that now surrounded me.
The total want of all the usual courtesies of the table, the voracious rapidity with which the viands were seized and devoured ; the strange uncouth phrases and pronunciation ; the loathsome spitting, from the contamination of which it was absolutely impossible to protect our dresses ; the frightful manner of feeding with their knives, till the whole blade seemed to enter into the mouth ; and the still more frightful manner of cleaning the teeth afterward with a pocket knife, soon forced us to feel that we were not surrounded by the generals, colonels, and majors of the old world ; and that the dinner hour was to be anything rather than an hour of enjoyment. The little conversation that went forward while we remained in the room was entirely political, and the respective claims of Adams and Jackson to the presidency were argued with more oaths and more vehemence than it had ever been my lot to hear. Once a colonel appeared on the verge of assaulting a major, when a huge seven-foot Kentuckian gentleman horse-dealer, asked of the heavens to confound them both, and bade them sit still and be d — d. We too thought we should share this sentence ; at least sitting still in the cabin seemed very nearly to include the rest of it, and we never tarried there a moment longer than was absolutely necessary to eat.’ (36-37)
THE greatest difficulty in organizing a family establishment in Ohio, is getting servants, or, as it is there called, " getting help," for it is more than petty treason to the republic to call a free citizen a servant. The whole class of young women, whose bread depends upon their labour, are taught to believe that the most abject poverty is preferable to domestic service. Hundreds of half-naked girls work in the paper-mills, or in any other manufactory, >r less than half the wages they would receive in service ; but they think their equality is compromised by the latter, and nothing but the wish to obtain some particular article of finery will ever induce them to submit to it. A kind friend, however, exerted herself so effectually for me, that a tall stately lass soon presented herself, saying, " I be come to help you." The intelligence was very agreeable, and I welcomed her in the most gracious manner possible, and asked what I should give her by the year.
"Oh gimini !" exclaimed the damsel, with a loud laugh, " you be a downright Englisher, sure enough. I should like to see a young lady engage by the year in America! I hope I shall get a husband before many months, or I expect I shall be an outright old maid, for I be 'most seventeen already; besides, mayhap I may want to go to school. You must just give me a dollar and half a week, and mother's slave, Phillis, must come over once a week, I expect, from t'other side the water, to help me clean." I agreed to the bargain, of course, with all dutiful submission ; and seeing she was preparing to set to work in a yellow dress parseme with red roses, I gently hinted that I thought it was a pity to spoil so fine a gown, and that she had better change it. )' 'Tis just my best and my worst," she answered, " for I've got no other."
And in truth I found that this young lady had left the paternal mansion with no more clothes of any kind than what she had on. I immediately gave her money to purchase what was necessary for cleanliness and decency, and set to work with my daughters to make her a gown. She grinned applause when our labour was completed, but never uttered the slightest expressions of gratitude for that, or any thing else we could do for her. She was constantly asking us to lend her different articles of dress, and when we declined it, she said, "Well, I never seed such grumpy folks as. you be ; there is several young ladies of my acquaintance what goes to live out now and then with the old women about the town, and they and their gurls always lends them what they ask for ; I guess you Inglish thinks we should poison your things, just as bad as if we was Negurs." And here I beg to assure the reader, that whenever I give conversations they were not made a loisir, but were written down immediately after they occurred, with all the verbal fidelity my memory permitted.
This young lady left me at the end of two months, because I refused to lend her money enough to buy a silk dress to go to a ball, saying, " Then 'tis not worth my while to stay any longer."’ (61-62)
‘Their glorious institutions, their unequalled freedom, were, of course, not left unsung.
I took some pains to ascertain what they meant by their glorious institutions, and it is with no affectation of ignorance that I profess I never could comprehend the meaning of the phrase, which is, however, on the lip of every American, when he talks of his country. I asked if by their institutions they meant their hospitals and penitentiaries. " Oh no ! we mean the glorious institutions which are coeval with the revolution." "Is it," I asked, "your institution of marriage, which you have made purely a civil and not a religious rite, to be performed by a justice of the peace, instead of a clergyman ?"
"Oh no ! we speak of our divine political institutions."
Yet still I was in the dark, nor can I guess what they mean, unless they call incessant electioneering, without pause or interval, for a single day, for a single hour of their whole existence, "a glorious institution."
Their unequalled freedom, I think, I understand better. Their code of common law is built upon our; and the difference between us is this, in England the laws are acted upon, in America they are not.’ (136)
‘The privilege of attending these debates would be more valuable could the speakers be better heard from the gallery ; but with the most earnest attention, I could only follow one or two of the orators, whose voices were peculiarly loud and clear. This made it really a labour to listen; but the extreme beauty of the chamber was of itself a reason for going again and again. It was, however, really mortify to see this splendid hall, fitted up in so stately and sumptuous a manner, filled with men sitting in the most unseemly attitudes, a large majority with their hats on, and nearly all spitting to an excess that decency forbids me to describe.
Among the crowd who must be included in this description, a few were distinguished by not wearing their hats, and by sitting on their chairs like other human beings, without throwing their legs above their heads. Whenever I inquired the name of one of these exceptions, I was told that it was Mr. This, or Mr. That, of Virginia.
One day we were fortunate enough to get placed on the sofas, between the pillars, on the floor of the House; the galleries being shut up for the purpose of making some alterations, which it was hoped might improve the hearing in that part of the house occupied by the members, and which was universally complained of as being very defective. But in our places on the sofa we found we heard very much better than up-stairs, and well enough to be extremely amused by the rude eloquence of a thorough horse-and-alligator orator from Kentucky, who en treated the House repeatedly to " go the whole hog."
If I mistake not, every debate I listened to in the American Congress was upon one and the same subject, namely, the entire independence of each individual state with regard to the federal government. The jealousy on this point appeared to me to be the very strangest political feeling that ever got possession of the mind of man. I do not pretend to judge the merits of this question. I speak solely of the very singular effect of seeing man after man start eagerly to his feet, to declare that the greatest injury, the basest injustice, the most obnoxious tyranny that could be practised against the state of which he was a member, would be a vote of a few million dollars for the purpose of making their roads or canals; or for drainage, or, in short, for any purpose of improvement whatsoever.’ (183-184)
Charles Dickens- American Notes for General Circulation (1900 repr. New York: Charles Scribner & Sons, 1842)
‘I am by no means a wholesale admirer of our legal solemnities, many of which impress me as being exceedingly ludicrous. Strange as it may seem too, there is undoubtedly a degree of protection in the wig and gown — a dismissal of individual responsibility in dressing for the part — which encourages that insolent bearing and language, and that gross perversion of the office of a pleader for The Truth, so frequent in our courts of law. Still, I cannot help doubting whether America, in her desire to shake off the absurdities and abuses of the old system, may not have gone too far into the opposite extreme; and whether it is not desirable, especially in the small community of a city like this, where each man knows the other, to surround the administration of justice with some artificial barriers against the "Hail fellow, well met" deportment of everyday life. All the aid it can have in the very high character and ability of the Bench, not only here but elsewhere, it has, and well deserves to have ; but it may need something more : not to impress the thoughtful and the well-informed, but the ignorant and heedless; a class which includes some prisoners and many witnesses. These institutions were established, no doubt, upon the principle that those who had so large a share in making the laws, would certainly respect them. But experience has proved this hope to be fallacious ; for no men know better than the Judges of America, that on the occasion of any great popular excitement the law is powerless, and cannot, for the time, assert its own supremacy.’ (64-65)
‘It is an essential part of every national character to pique itself mightily upon its faults, and to deduce tokens of its virtue or its wisdom from their very exaggeration. One great blemish in the popular mind of America, and the prolific parent of an innumerable brood of evils, is Universal Distrust. Yet the American citizen plumes himself upon this spirit, even when he is sufficiently dispassionate to perceive the ruin it works ; and will often adduce it, in spite of his own reason, as an instance of the great sagacity and acuteness of the people, and their superior shrewdness and independence.
"You carry," says the stranger, " this jealousy and distrust into every transaction of public life. By repelling worthy men from your legislative assemblies, it has bred up a class of candidates for the suffrage, who, in their very act, disgrace your Institutions and your people's choice. It has rendered you so fickle, and so given to change, that your inconstancy has passed into a proverb; for you no sooner set up an idol firmly, than you are sure to pull it down and dash it into fragments : and this, because directly you reward a benefactor, or a public servant, you distrust him, merely because he is rewarded ; and immediately apply yourselves to find out, either that' you have been too bountiful in your acknowledgments, or he remiss in his deserts. Any man who attains a high place among you, from the President downwards, may date his downfall from that moment ; for any printed lie that any notorious villain pens, although it militate directly against the character and conduct of a life, appeals at once to your distrust, and is believed. You . will strain at a gnat in the way of trustfulness and confidence, however fairly won and well deserved ; but you will swallow a whole caravan of camels, if they be laden with unworthy doubts and mean suspicions. Is this well, think you, or likely to elevate the character of the governors or the governed, among you? "
The answer is invariably the same: "There's freedom of opinion here, you know. Every man thinks for himself, and we are not to be easily overreached. That's how our people come to be suspicious."
Another prominent feature is the love of " smart " dealing : ^ which gilds over many a swindle and gross breach of trust; many a defalcation, public and private ; and enables many a knave to hold his head up with the best, who well deserves a halter; though it has not been without its retributive operation, for this smartness has done more in a few years to impair the public credit, and to cripple the public resources, than dull honesty, however rash, could have effected in a century. The merits of a broken speculation, or a bankruptcy, or of a successful scoundrel, are not gauged by its or his observance of the golden rule, " Do as you would be done by," but are considered with reference to their smartness. I recollect, on both occasions of our passing that ill-fated Cairo on the Mississippi, remarking on the bad effects such gross deceits must have when they exploded, in generating a want of confidence abroad, and discouraging foreign investment: but I was given to understand that this was a very smart scheme by which a deal of money had been made: and that its smartest feature was, that they forgot these things abroad, in a very short time, and speculated again, as freely as ever. The following dialogue I have held a hundred times : " Is it not a very disgraceful circumstance that such a man as So-and-so should be acquiring a large property by the most infamous and odious means, and notwithstanding all the crimes of which he has been guilty, should be tolerated and abetted by your Citizens ? He is a public nuisance, is he not ? ". "Yes, sir." "A convicted liar?" "Yes, sir." "He has been kicked, and cuffed, and caned?" "Yes, sir." "And he is utterly dishonourable, debased, and profligate ? '" " Yes, sir." "In the name of wonder, then, what is his merit?" " Well, sir, he is a smart man."’ (292-293)
Charles Dickens- The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit Volume One (1866 repr.London: Chapman & Hall, 1844)
‘Martin thanked him, and took leave of Mr. Scadder ; who had resumed his post in the rocking-chair, immediately on the General's rising from it, and was once more swinging away as if he had never been disturbed. Mark looked back several times as they went down the road towards the National Hotel, but now his blighted profile was towards them, and nothing but attentive thoughtfulness was written on it. Strangely different to the other side ! He was not a man much given to laughing, and never laughed outright ; but every line in the print of the crow's foot, and every little wiry vein in that division of his head, was wrinkled up into a grin ! The compound figure of Death and the Lady at the top of the old ballad was not divided with a greater nicety, and hadn't halves more monstrously unlike each other, than the two profiles of Zephaniah Scadder.
The General posted along at a great rate, for the clock was on the stroke of twelve ; and at that hour precisely, the Great Meeting of the Watertoast Sympathisers was to be holden in the public room of the National Hotel. Being very curious to witness the demonstration, and know what it was all about, Martin kept close to the General : and, keeping closer than ever when they entered the Hall, got by that means upon a little platform of tables at the upper end : where an arm-chair was set for the General, and Mr. La Fayette Kettle, as secretary, was making a great display of some foolscap documents — Screamers, no doubt.
"Well, sir ! " he said, as he shook hands with Martin, "here is a spectacle calc'lated to make the British Lion put his tail between his legs, and howl with anguish, I expect !”
Martin certainly thought it possible that the British Lion might have been rather out of his element in that Ark : but he kept the idea to himself. The General was then voted to the chair, on the motion of a pallid lad of the Jefferson Brick school : who forthwith set in for a high-spiced speech, with a good deal about hearths and homes in it, and unriveting the chains of Tyranny.
Oh but it was a clincher for the British Lion, it was ! The indignation of the glowing young Columbian knew no bounds. If he could only have been one of his own forefathers, he said, wouldn't he have peppered that same Lion, and been to him as another Brute Tamer with a wire whip, teaching him lessons not easily forgotten. " Lion ! (cried that young Columbian) where is he ? Who is he ? What is he ? Show him to me. Let me have him here. Here ! " said the young Columbian, in a wrestling attitude, " upon this sacred altar. Here ! " cried the young Columbian, idealising the dining- table, "upon ancestral ashes, cemented with the glorious blood poured out like water on our native plains of Chickabiddy Lick ! Bring forth that Lion ! " said the young Columbian. " Alone, I dare him ! I taunt that Lion. I tell that Lion, that Freedom's hand once twisted in his mane, he rolls a corse before me, and the Eagles of the Great Republic laugh ha, ha !
"When it was found that the Lion didn't come, but kept out of the way ; that the young Columbian stood there, with folded arms, alone in his glory; and consequently that the Eagles were no doubt laughing wildly on the mountain tops, — such cheers arose as might have shaken the hands upon the Horse-Guards' clock, and changed the very mean time of the day in England's capital.
" Who is this ? " Martin telegraphed to La Fayette.
The Secretary wrote something, very gravely, on a piece of paper, twisted it up, and had it passed to him from hand to hand. It was an improvement on the old sentiment : " Per haps as remarkable a man as any in our country."
This young Columbian was succeeded by another, to the full as eloquent as he, who drew down storms of cheers. But both remarkable youths, in their great excitement (for your true poetry can never stoop to details), forgot to say with whom or what the Watertoasters sympathised, and likewise why or wherefore they were sympathetic. Thus, Martin remained for a long time as completely in the dark as ever ; until at length a ray of light broke in upon him through the medium of the Secretary, who, by reading the minutes of their past proceedings, made the matter somewhat clearer. He then learned that the Watertoast Association sympathised with a certain Public Man in Ireland, who held a contest upon certain points with England: and that they did so, because they didn't love England at all — not by any means because they loved Ireland much; being indeed horribly jealous and distrustful of its people always, and only tolerating them because of their working hard, which made them very useful ; labour being held in greater indignity in the simple republic than in any other country upon earth. This rendered Martin curious to see what grounds of sympathy the Water- toast Association put forth ; nor was he long in suspense, for the General rose to read a letter to the Public Man, which with his own hands he had written.
"Thus," said the General, "thus, my friends and fellow- citizens, it runs :
" ' Sir, '"I address you on behalf of the Watertoast Association of United Sympathisers. It is founded, sir, in the great republic of America ! and now holds its breath, and swells the blue veins in its forehead nigh to bursting, as it watches, sir, with feverish intensity and sympathetic ardour, your noble efforts in the cause of Freedom.' " At the name of Freedom, and at every repetition of that name, all the Sympathisers roared aloud ; cheering with nine times nine, and nine times over. " ' In Freedom's name, sir — holy Freedom — I address you. In Freedom's name, I send herewith a contribution to the funds of your Society. In Freedom's name, sir, I advert with indignation and disgust to that accursed animal, with gore- stained whiskers, whose rampant cruelty and fiery lust have ever been a scourge, a torment to the world. The naked visitors to Crusoe's Island, sir ; the flying wives of Peter Wilkins ; the fruit-smeared children of the tangled bush ; nay, even the men of large stature, anciently bred in the mining districts of Cornwall ; alike bear witness to its savage nature. "Where, sir, are the Cormorans, the Blunderbores, the Great Feefofums, named in History? all, all, exterminated by its destroying hand. " ' I allude, sir, to the British Lion. " ' Devoted, mind and body, heart and soul, to Freedom, sir — to Freedom, blessed solace to the snail upon the cellar- door, the oyster in his pearly bed, the still mite in his home of cheese, the very winkle of your country in his shelly lair — in her unsullied name, we offer you our sympathy. Oh, sir, in this our cherished and our happy land, her fires burn bright and clear and smokeless : once lighted up in yours, the lion shall be roasted whole. " ' I am, sir, in Freedom's name, " ' Your affectionate friend and faithful Sympathiser, " ' Cybus Choke, " 'General, U.S.M.'
" It happened that just as the General began to read this letter, the railroad train arrived, bringing a new mail from England ; and a packet had been handed in to the Secretary, which during its perusal and the frequent cheerings in homage to freedom, he had opened. Now, its contents disturbed him very much, and the moment the General sat down, he hurried to his side, and placed in his hand a letter and several printed extracts from English newspapers; to which, in a state of infinite excitement, he called his immediate attention.
The General, being greatly heated by his own composition, was in a fit state to receive any inflammable influence ; but he had no sooner possessed himself of the contents of these documents, than a change came over his face, involving such a huge amount of choler and passion, that the noisy concourse were silent in a moment, in very wonder at the sight of him.
" My friends ! " cried the General, rising ; " my friends and fellow-citizens, we have been mistaken in this man."
" In what man?" was the cry.
" In this," panted the General, holding up the letter he had read aloud a few minutes before. " I find that he has been, and is, the advocate — consistent in it always too — of Nigger emancipation !
" If anything beneath the sky be real, those Sons of Freedom would have pistolled, stabbed — in some way slain — that man by coward hands and murderous violence, if he had stood among them at that time. The most confiding of their own countrymen, would not have wagered then; no, nor would they ever peril ; one dunghill straw, upon the life of any man in such a strait. They tore the letter, cast the fragments in the air, trod down the pieces as they fell; and yelled, and groaned, and hissed, till they could cry no longer.
" I shall move," said the General, when he could make himself heard, " that the Watertoast Association of United Sympathisers be immediately dissolved ! " Down with it ! Away with it ! Don't hear of it ! Burn its records ! Pull the room down ! Blot it out of human memory ! "
But, my fellow countrymen ! " said the General, " the contributions. We have funds. What is to be done with the funds?"
It was hastily resolved that a piece of plate should be presented to a certain constitutional Judge, who had laid down from the bench the noble principle, that it was lawful for any white mob to murder any black man ; and that another piece of plate, of similar value, should be presented to a certain Patriot, who had declared from his high place in the Legislature, that he and his friends would hang, without trial, any Abolitionist who might pay them a visit. For the surplus, it was agreed that it should be devoted to aiding the enforcement of those free and equal laws, which render it incalculably more criminal and dangerous to teach a negro to read and write, than to roast him alive in a public city. These points adjusted, the meeting broke up in great disorder : and there was an end of the Watertoast Sympathy.
As Martin ascended to his bedroom, his eye was attracted by the Republican banner, which had been hoisted from the house-top in honour of the occasion, and was fluttering before a window which he passed.
" Tut !" said Martin. " You're a gay flag in the distance. But let a man be near enough to get the light upon the other side, and see through you ; and you are but sorry fustian !"’ (374-379)
Charles Dickens- The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit Volume Two (1899, repr. New York: Charles Scribner & Son, 1844)
There is little doubt that Chollop would have planted this standard in Eden at Mark's expense, in return for his plain ness of speech (for the genuine Freedom is dumb, save when she vaunts herself)> but for the utter desolation and decay prevailing in the settlement, and his own approaching de parture from it. As it was, he contented himself with showing Mark one of the revolving-pistols, and asking him what he thought of that weapon.
"It ain't long since I shot a man down with that, sir, in the State of Illinoy," observed Chollop.
"Did you, indeed ! " said Mark, without the smallest agitation. "Very free of you. And very independent ! "
"I shot him down, sir," pursued Chollop, " for asserting in the Spartan Portico, a tri-weekly journal, that the ancient Athenians went a-head of the present Locofoco Ticket."
"And what's that?" asked Mark.
"Europian not to know," said Chollop, smoking placidly. "Europian quite ! "
After a short devotion to the interests of the magic circle, he resumed the conversation by observing: " You won't half feel yourself at home in Eden, now ? "
"No," said Mark, "I don't."
"You miss the imposts of your country. You miss the house dues?" observed Chollop.
"And the houses — rather," said Mark.
"No window dues here, sir," observed Chollop.
"And no windows to put 'em on," said Mark.
"No stakes, no dungeons, no blocks, no racks, no scaffolds, no thumbscrews, no pikes, no pillories,'" said Chollop.
"Nothing but rewolwers and bowie-knives," returned Mark. " And what are they ? Not worth mentioning ! "
The man who had met them on the night of their arrival came crawling up at this juncture, and looked in at the door.
" Well, sir," said Chollop. " How do you git along ?
" He had considerable difficulty in getting along at all, and said as much in reply.
" Mr. Co. And me, sir," observed Chollop, " are disputating a piece. He ought to be slicked up pretty smart, to disputate between the Old World and the New, I do expect?"
" Well ! " returned the miserable shadow. " So he had."
"I was merely observing, sir," said Mark, addressing this new visitor, "that I looked upon the city in which we have the honour to live, as being swampy. What's your sentiments ? "
" I opinionate it's moist perhaps, at certain times," returned the man. "But not as moist as England, sir?" cried Chollop, with a fierce expression in his face.
" Oh ! Not as moist as England ; let alone its Institutions," said the man. "I should hope there ain't a swamp in all Americay, as don't whip that small island into mush and molasses," observed Chollop, decisively. "You bought slick, straight, and right away, of Scadder, sir ? " to Mark.
He answered in the affirmative. Mr. Chollop winked at the other citizen.
" Scadder is a smart man, sir ? He is a rising man ? He is a man as will come up'ards, right side up, sir?" Mr. Chollop winked again at the other citizen.
" He should have his right side very high up, if I had my way," said Mark. "As high up as the top of a good tall gallows, perhaps."
Mr. Chollop was so delighted at the smartness of his excel lent countryman having been too much for the Britisher, and at the Britisher's resenting it, that he could contain himself no longer, and broke forth in a shout of delight. But the strangest exposition of this ruling passion was in the other: the pestilence-stricken, broken, miserable shadow of a man: who derived so much entertainment from the circumstance, that he seemed to forget his own ruin in thinking of it, and laughed outright when he said " that Scadder was a smart man, and had draw'd a lot of British capital that way, as sure as sun-up."’ (127-129)