English serfdom

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"The celebrated saying of Sir Richard Fletcher, uttered more than two hundred years ago, 'Let me write the ballads for a people, and I care not who make the laws,' might-be transposed by saying—Let me write fictions for a people, and I care not who make the speeches."—national intelligencer.

"Now step I forth to whip hypocrisy."—shakespear.




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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the Year One Thousand Eight Hundred and Fifty-four, by LUCIEN B. CHASE, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the Southern District of New York.

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Wherein the author portrays the graceful equanimity with which they

regard the horrible condition of the substratum of English society.

Credit is also very properly given them for discovering fascinations

in the sooty progeny of Ham—that excellent gentleman, and

especial favorite of the Almighty—which may vainly be

looked for in their own vulgar race: fascinations

that have aroused the admiration of England's

too susceptible Dames, and awakened the

slumbering goodness of her benevolent

politicians, to such a painful degree,

that they are disqualified for a

performance of those charit-

­able obligations, which

are imposed upon them, to ameliorate the condition of .

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The world is indebted to the philanthropic ladies and gentlemen, who frequent Almacks, and lead London fashion, for several remarkable improvements upon the example set by the Redeemer. Their sensibilities are so much affected by the presence of suffering, that they take especial care to avoid it. At the same time they discreetly compromise with conscience by an ostentatious bestowal of alms upon distant, and, therefore, more worthy objects.

Our Saviour did not avail himself of an expedient which commends itself to persons of less goodness, but greater tact. With him, charity began at home;with them, a commencement there, would preclude the hope of its ever reaching far enough to swell into notoriety; especially where it has so many objects to relieve, as can be found upon every square acre of the British empire. And hence, the folly of making the attempt. Again, Jesus taught humility. Now humility sits very uncomfortably upon a proud man, or woman either, and hence, it is much more agreeable for them to asseverate their own purity, and the sinfulness of the "rest of mankind." They have made a decided improvement upon the teachings of the Saviour, in this regard; for they graciously condescend to point out, and with commendable precision, wherein other nations, and especially the slavery-loving people of the United States, are far less holy than they are. The Redeemer was cele­brated for modesty as well as meekness; both of which traits were, perhaps, eminently suited to his time, and to his

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divine character. The English nobility, however, have effected changes, in this particular, no less striking than appropriate. He rode into Jerusalem, on a certain occa­sion, upon the back of an animal, whose venerable appear­ance cannot fail to win our respect, while the distinguished services rendered by his ancestors, of which mention is made in suitable and flattering terms, by history, sacred as well as profane, places him in the very front rank of four-footed animals. But now, Timothy, Lord Snizzle, and Sir Pertinax McFlummux, would ride their own legs from London to Newcastle, rather than be seen mounted upon a respectable donkey, in the centre of Hyde Park.

There is this striking reason for modification of the crude morality of the Son of God. He was born in a manger, a place that would, of course, preclude him from estab­lishing rules for the government of those who consider poverty highly reprehensible. His circumstances or his inclinations were such, that he neither rejoiced in purple and fine linen, or indulged in the pleasures of the table. There is a marked contrast between his humble career and the dashing life of the English nobility. There is a manifold propriety in the free indulgence by the latter in extrava­gance and folly, else how could they create a sensation, not having a sufficient amount of brains wherewithal to do so. Their only chance of winning celebrity, is by expending with liberal hands the money which is moistened by the tears of the poor—tears that are entitled to no sympathy, from the aristocracy, because they do not shed them!

But seriously—no thoughtful mind can fail to observe, the zeal with which the nobility and politicians of England seek to withdraw public condemnation from their own poli­tical and social organization, by concentrating it upon the peculiar institution of the southern states.

Leaving the tyranny unrebuked, which has debased the spirit, and broken the constitutions of their lower classes, they assail the Americans with a vindictiveness which is only equalled by its unblushing effrontery. Overlooking the ab-

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solute control of the Czar of Russia over life and death, through the terrible agency of the halter, the knout, and the snows of Siberia, they launch their curses against those who are allied to them by the bonds of a communism of language, of interest, and of blood.

What is the motive for this energetic and persevering crusade against a people who, so far from having wronged them, are furnishing cotton for their manufactories, employment for their laborers, food for their starving population, and homes for those who are driven by famine from their native land?

Recognizing with apparent sincerity the existence of those ties which trade and commerce would rivet more closely every succeeding year but for an impertinent interference in the domestic affairs of the great republic, why is it that they assail their transatlantic brethren with the combined power of money and abuse?

The motive is indubitable. They have everything to gain and nothing to lose from the example of Russia, and every­thing to lose and nothing to gain from the example of the United States. The principles upon which the constitution of the model republic is based, are not confined to the west­ern continent. They are wielding a silent but irresistible influence upon the masses of the old world, who are awaken­ing to the grand idea that absolute power is vested in the people alone. To save their rotten institutions from crumb­ling beneath the tread of the Goddess of Liberty, her great exemplar must be destroyed.

Therefore, they leave their own hemisphere to labor be­neath a load of oppression which cries aloud for vengeance, while they cross the ocean in search of objects upon whom they can expend their sympathies, and shed the tears of com­miseration. Abolition agents are sent forth, money is ex­pended, the press of London groans under the weight of misrepresentation and calumny, and the pulpit and the forum swarm with Pharisees, who thank God because they are not like other men. To cap the climax of absurdity, the most

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illustrious of England's Aristocracy, and the favorite of her Queen, indulges herself in the agreeable pastime of chaper­oning a negress!

The patience of a long-suffering people is exhausted. There is a point beyond which detraction cannot go unrebuked. There is a period of time when the assailed will turn upon their foes. That point of time is the present, and by the powerful aid of facts, the author has, in the following pages, exposed the monstrous iniquities which are hourly perpetrated by the slavery-hating government and aristocracy of Great Britain; and with the trenchant blade of truth has assailed cant and hypocrisy, where they seek to entrench themselves behind Pharisaical protestations, a false religion, and a disreputable philanthropy.

New York, January, 1854.


"Behind the master walks, builds up the shocks."—thomson.
The threatening cloud that had been gathering its forces in the west, urged the already wearied laborers to renewed exertions. Shocks of wheat thickly studded the field, but there yet remained upon the earth long rows of gavels ready to be bound into sheaves. The young farmer cast frequent and anxious glances to the dark mass that rose like a moving wall, and then, by his voice and example, stimulated his companion to increased activity. But the relentless storm heeded not his imploring countenance. It hurtled onward, and vivid flashes of lightning gleamed along the base of the cloud and darted into the blue ether above, followed by quick, sharp peals of thunder that increased in violence as they rolled away until the last report shook the earth. Turning his eyes upward to the summit of the cloud, his vision ranged along the broad belt of whirling vapor, until it rested at the point where the dark mass swept along the ground. There his gaze was riveted, and a look of awe overspread his features. Through the mist that partly shaded the body of the cloud, he saw that the storm was raging furiously. Here and there a tree was twisted off, and the roof of a cottage upon a neighboring hill was carried away. He looked toward his own humble dwelling—the chimney was thrown down. Folding his arms, while his teeth set in despair, he saw the advance guard of the storm sweep up the ascent, her­alded by large drops of rain. As it reached the wheat-field, it made a swoop, and those shocks that had been reared with so much labor were scattered over the earth. The next moment the rain descended in torrents.

"Begorra! Misther Christie, thaive lift divil of a shock standin' at all at all."

Christie Kane turned gloomily away, and without seeking shelter from the storm, walked slowly out of the field.

"No wonder the lad takes it to heart, for we've tried hard enough to dry this batch of whate, and now, be me sowl, we must be afther spreadin' it all oot again. Never mind, we poor divils have only got to work all the time; that's some cormfort ony how. So here goes for a dry skin, and a thatch that don't lake."

Saying which, Phelim Savor rapidly proceeded towards the house, dividing his thoughts between the rain that beat through his tattered hat, and the song that had pleased him so much at the last


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wake, short snatches of which burst from his lips between the peals of thunder.

"Be the holy St. Pathrick but the rain, bad luck to it, finds siveral crivices in this coat. Never mind, if it lakes now, it is airy in dry weather, that's some satisfaction, ony how.

'They walked,

And talked.

He tormented.

First she sighed,

Then consented

To be his bride.'

"Niver a dry rag will Phalim Savor have upon his back in the matter of ten minutes."

'He tormented.

First she sighed,

Then consented—

"Arrah! that's the way wid the darlints :—

To be his bride.'

"Whoop, wan't that a smasher! The fayther of the blacksmit' fraternity is forgin' some big thunder to-day, onyhow—

'Then consented.'

"Suzy Gowrie, what dul ye think of this," said Phelim, as he entered the house.

"It's a braw storm, ee'n for the heelands. But where is Mr. Christie?"

"He's offinded bekase the wind blowed over the whate."

"It did not show mickle care in its course, sure enough."

"Nivir mind complainin', Suzy. It's the duty of the lab'rer to work all the time. Don't the praists tell us that we must be satisfied wid our condition, and if the nobility hiv it all their own way in this world, that, perhaps, we shall be as happy as thim in the nixt?"

"I doan't think it right for half of the human family to work for the other half; and you know I doan't."

"Be azy now, Miss Gowrie darlint, don't git on that subject untwil you have something for me to ate. That's a jewell of a gal; cold praties and bread. Now, let me rayson the matter wid you. Do you suppose the nobility and gintry would like to come out of their iligant houses, into the hot fields and bind up the shafes of whate?"

" Hoot! what a question!"

"Well, of coorse you will say no. An' why should they? Wouldn't the sun scorch their white skin? and wouldn't the rough grain, and the thristles, too, hurt their dilicate hands? Isn't it azier for us, who are accustomed to such hardships, to labor for thim, than for such gintlefolks to work for thimselves? Come now, Suzy, ba ginerous, an' admit it."

"And because we have been their slaves, shall we always be so? Oin't we all flesh and blood? If we receive a blow, do we not feel? If we are cut, do we not bleed? If we are hungry, do we

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not want food? If we cease to breathe, do we not die? Hoot mon, you deserve to be a slave!"

And Susan Gowrie proceeded about her work with great, im­petuosity.

"There you go now, Suzy, there's no rayson in a faymale, onyhow. Now see here, Suzy, suppose you was Ellen Knowles, would it ba the likes of yez that would be plazed to scrub the kitchen, and stan' all day fernenst the fire?"

Susan Gowrie deigned no other reply save the indignation that flashed from her eyes.

"Havn't they been towld from their hinfancy that they hiv a dervine right to our services; that we are to work while they are not to do a haperth, and when they hiv such expectations, shall we ba afther baing so mane as to chate thim out of their blissed rights?"

The blue veins were swollen upon Susan's forehead, and she replied with great energy.

"An' we, every mother's chiel of us, must suffer hunger, disease, and death, to gratify the lazy aristocracy! We must toil and sweat from morning till night to minister to their whims. We must broil over the fire, or beneath the scorching sun, while they roll in their carriages, or recline upon their couches! Phelim Savor, you are a fool!"

A merry twinkle appeared in Phelim's eyes, during the nervous retort of the girl, but the reply that rose to his lips was checked by the entrance of Christie Kane, whose dripping garments bore evidence of the severity of the storm. Passing through the kitchen, he entered the humble sitting-room, and throwing himself into a chair, reclined his head upon his hand.

"In the dumps again, are ye?" exclaimed the harsh voice of a female.

The young man remained silent.

"Christie Kane! am I always to see you gloomy and discon­tented? Ever to look upon a frowning brow, and hear nothing but complaints?'' continued the woman, querulously.

Still he deigned no reply.

"Come, come, Christie," she said more kindly; "do not look so disconsolate; your cousin Ellen is in the other room."

A momentary smile crossed the features of the young man, and then they assumed once more an expression of deep gloom.

"Mother, my patience is entirely exhausted."

"Pooh! child; compare your situation with that of your neigh­bors : is it not far better? "

"No! look at the condition of the upper classes, from the Duke of Sunderland to Sir William Belthoven: what occupation have they but to spend—often in wanton extravagance—the money which is earned by toil and suffering? "

"Yes, but see how many there are who are not so fortunate as ourselves. Look at the poor families in our parish. They can hardly obtain sufficient food to keep them from starvation."

"Aye, that is the result of the accursed political system which is grinding the lower classes—the substratum—into the dust."

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"What would you do?"

" Do! I would equalize the condition of the people; educate and elevate the masses; abolish the hunting-grounds and parks of the nobility, and surrender them to the plough; reduce the salaries of corrupt public officers; curtail the benefices of avaricious clergy; and abolish the standing army by rendering its existence unnecessary, when the government is sustained by the affection of the nation. Do? I would apply the knife of reform to the social regulations and laws of England!"

The door was opened, and a girl glided into the room. She had numbered eighteen years, and her form was round and well-devel­oped. Her eyes were blue, and of a strange expression. While the glance of Christie Kane was directed towards her they were demurely turned to the floor, but no sooner was his look withdrawn, than a cunning look gleamed from the sidelong glances of her eyes.

The features of the young man softened as she seated herself in the chair just vacated by Mrs. Kane.

"Ellen, it was kind of you to come over when the sky looked so threatening. I am glad to see you. Did you get here before the rain commenced falling?"

"A few minutes," replied the sweet voice of Ellen Knowles, as her hand rested upon that portion of the chair nearest to Christie Kane.

"What a beautiful hand, Ellen," he said, softly, as he placed the point of his fingers upon it.

As he raised his eyes to her own, the cunning side-long glance was withdrawn. He started to his feet, and turned towards the door.

"You will not encounter the storm again, will you, cousin Chris­tie? The water is still dripping from your coat," said Ellen's gen­tle voice.

"The rain is over," he replied gruffly, as he stood in the door­way.

"Have I offended you, Christie?" inquired the maiden, as a tear gathered in her mild blue eyes.

"Oh, no, Ellen; you could not," said the young man, as he turned frankly toward her. " Come, will you not walk with me? See how the drops of rain glisten upon the trees. I will show you what sad havoc the storm has committed in my wheat field."

"Excuse me, Christie; I fear the damp earth."

"Good-bye, then, Ellen."

"Good-bye," replied the gentle voice.

"She is a strange girl, and I am half afraid of her," muttered Christie Kane, as he emerged from the house. "Why is mother so anxious for me to marry her?"

The storm was raging still far to the east, but the west presented an unclouded sky. Directing his steps down the lane, Christie en­tered the high road crossing the small stream, which was swollen by the rain. He was proceeding slowly through the forest that spanned the valley, when his steps were arrested by a carriage which lay in the middle of the road with one of the axle-trees bro-

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ken, and a wheel lying upon the ground. Looking around to see what caused the accident, his eyes rested upon the form of a young lady, who was standing beneath the bending trunk of a large oak, which had sheltered her from the storm. The maiden gazed half terrified at the young man, but observing his look of open and re­spectful admiration, the warm blood returned to the check from whence alarm had banished it; so truly can the gentler sex inter­pret the impression which their loveliness has produced.

Christie advanced, and with innate courtesy raised his hat.

"Will you suffer me, madame, to inquire the cause of your mis­fortune?"

"A defective axletree;" and the young man thought the voice exceedingly musical.

''Will you allow me to tender my services? "

"They will hardly be required. My companion has been absent at least half an hour, for another carriage."

"But I shall consider it a great, favor if you will permit me to bring a conveyance. I am certain you will take cold, if you re­main long exposed to this damp atmosphere;" said Christie, plead­ingly.

A smile wreathed the lips of the young lady at the earnestness of the stranger. After hesitating a moment, she replied,

"Very well, if you return first, perhaps—"

Christie did not wait to hear the conclusion of the sentence, but with a gratified look, proceeded rapidly towards the cottage.

By the exertions of Mr. Savor, the dapple grey was soon har­nessed to the plain gig, and having changed his hat, coat, and boots, and donned a smart pair of gloves, Christie Kane, with a flushed countenance, drove rapidly away.

"Why didn't he ask me to ride, as well as walk?" exclaimed Ellen, sulkily.

"I can't tell what has come over the child. He has changed for the worse lately. Formerly he was so gentle and obedient, and now he is morose and abstracted; " replied Mrs. Kane.

"Would yez belave it," said Phelim; "he grumbles bekase the likes of us hiv to support the nobility. He niver wonst remimbers that whilst we do that same, we live ourselves; whin the poor divils who are starvin' hiv no support at all at all. But even they hiv the satisfaction of swelling the population of this mighty koontry, though by the holy St. Pathrick its little their amaciated figgers can swell it, onyhow. What's your opinion, Suzy?"

Susan's only reply was a look of mingled pity and contempt.

As young Kane arrived at the spot where he had left the lady, he observed an equipage approach from the opposite direction, from which a young gentleman descended, and offering his arm to the maiden, observed:

"I hope you have been put to no inconvenience by my long absence."

"And if I have not, it surely cannot be because sufficient time has not elapsed since your departure," she replied, tartly.

"I do not deserve that sarcasm," he said, reproachfully; "I made all possible haste. But come, do not delay any longer."

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"I shall ride in this conveyance," and the maiden approached Christie's vehicle, disclosing as she did so, the most bewitching little foot and ankle, encased in the most bewitching little boot that ever caused a thrill in the hearts of the sterner sex. Christie sprang from the gig, and deferentially tendered his hand to aid her ascent, but mentally pronouncing a malediction at the folly which prompted him to wear a glove upon his right hand, thereby de­priving himself—voluntarily depriving himself of the pleasure which a touch of the taper fingers of her ungloved hand would produce.

"Thank you," said the musical voice; and she adjusted her dress so as to make room for Christie Kane by her side.

"And now, Melville, let us see who will reach home first."

The person whom she addressed as Melville, stood with folded arms, and frowning brow.

"Ha! ha! ha!" rang forth the merriest laugh Christie had ever heard. "Come, take the reins," she exclaimed; "I dare you to the trial."

Scowling at young Kane, the stranger sprang into his gig, and wheeling his horse's head, dashed furiously onward.

"Thou art a craven," said the merry girl; "but you may have the advantage of the start. May I test the speed of your horse? " she asked, turning to Christie.

"To the death," replied the young man, to whom she had im­parted her own enthusiasm.

"Then let me take the whip and reins. Stay, change sides— there, that will do. Now forward, my gallant steed," and the lash fell lightly upon him.

The horse had observed with impatience the departure of the other steed, and now, as he felt the touch of the whip, he darted eagerly onward.

"Soho! a spirited fellow," said the damsel, as with form thrown back, she guided the course of the flying animal. Several times she avoided a collision with the trees, as they rapidly crossed the valley, but now they began to mount the ascent that led from the river. Thus far, the leading horse had gained a little upon the other, and the distance between them perceptibly increased before they reached the summit of the hill. Christie watched the two as though life and death depended upon the result.

"Gently, my noble fellow; you have weight against you. Gently, ho! we shall soon be at the summit. There, now!"

The horse advanced at a tremendous rate of speed, as she gave him the reins, and it was soon apparent that he was the fastest horse of the two. The road now led down a gentle descent, and then stretched out across a broad level plain.

"Untie my hat strings," she said.

The hat had fallen back upon her shoulders. Christie's trem­bling hand approached her ivory neck, and he made several in­effectual attempts to untie the ribbon.

"What, a blunderer!" she exclaimed, pettishly. "There, now, make haste;" and she turned her flushed countenance towards his

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own. With a desperate effort he succeeded, and as the hat was removed, a large mass of dark brown hair fell down her back.

"Did ever any one see such a bungler? You have made me lose at least ten feet by your awkwardness." The horse bounded forward under the application of the whip.

As they swept by each field, the laborers turned their wondering eyes to the road, and twice men were seen advancing rapidly, to arrest what they supposed were runaway horses. Christie's horse was not more than ten yards behind the other, and was fast gaining upon him, when the latter diverged from the road, and entered the private carriage-way leading through the grounds and up to the castle of the Earl of Rossmore. To his astonishment, the young lady also drove through the gate, narrowly missing one of the posts, as the horse swerved to one side.

"For heaven's sake, madam, are you not aware that these are private grounds?" he observed, anxiously. She deigned no reply. Her attention was entirely absorbed by the race; and her triumph was now at hand. The head of her horse lapped the wheel of Mel­ville's gig. Twice she requested him to yield part of the narrow way, but he obdurately kept the centre of the road. They now emerged from the grove and swept along the open space in front of the castle. Its inmates collected upon the portico, as if surprised at the unwonted intrusion upon the grounds. The panting and struggling horses were approaching a small sheet of water that spread out directly in front of the castle. Along its border, and elevated three feet above it, ran the road. Each driver was aware that now was the moment for the final struggle.

"Will you yield part of the road?" exclaimed the maiden.

He did not diverge a hair's breadth from his course.

"Then take the consequence!" She wheeled her horse out up­on the greensward. A loud cheer was heard. Casting his eyes toward the castle, Christie saw the waving of hats and handker­chiefs. He had no time for contemplation. They steadily drew forward—she turned the bend of her steed and crowded the other toward the lake. He was forced nearer and nearer, until one wheel rolled over the bank, and Melville was precipitated headforemost into the water. The gig, relieved of its load, bounded upon the bank again, and the horse ran towards the lower end of the park.

Christie anxiously gazed after the form of Melville, but seeing him ascend the bank unharmed, once more addressed the maiden.

"You have triumphed; let us now leave these grounds: we may seriously offend the owner."

The laughing girl heeded him not, but with unabated speed drove in the direction of the goodly company who were cheering and waving their hats and handkerchiefs from the portico. Christie's glance turned from them to his companion, and then back again.

"Why, Kate, mad girl! what prank have you been playing now" said the cheerful voice of Lord Rossmore, as she sprang from the vehicle into his arms.

"Only teaching Melville that he is but an indifferent whip, not­withstanding all his boasting. See what a sorry figure he cuts. Come this way; this way, my Lord Melville."

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But he took his dripping garments around an angle of the castle, without confronting the merry party.

"A right noble horse, papa;" said Katharine Montague, caressing the head of the panting steed.

"And swift of foot," replied the Earl. " Will you sell him?" he continued, addressing Christie Kane, who sat in blushing silence.

"I should be loath to part with Surrey, my lord."

"Where did you pick up your country beau, Kate?" inquired the Countess of Rossmore.

The blood rushed to Christie's face.

"You are wrong, Ma'ma; he picked me up:" replied the maiden, quickly; "and what is more, enabled me to achieve a triumph over the vain Lord Melville. Let this be a slight token of the gratifica­tion which that triumph has given me," and she took the rose that rested upon her bosom, and placed it in the hand of Christie Kane. He returned his thanks, and raising his hat, bowed to the company; then picking up the reins, proceeded slowly homeward. He started as if an adder had stung him, as a masculine voice observed,

"A well-behaved fellow, for a plebeian, and a clodpole."

"Such are the distinctions of society," he muttered gloomily, as the laughter died away that had recorded the unfeeling jest.
" On man, as man, retaining yet,

Howe'er debased, and soiled, and dim,

The crown upon his forehead set

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