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PRELATES AND PROMOTION.
sake no small-tooth combs!" After all, I believe Bishop Monk has been the cause of much more laughter than ever I have been; I cannot account for it, but I never see him enter a room without exciting a smile on every countenance within it.
Dr. Monk is furious at my attacking the heads of the church; but how can I help it? If the heads of the church are at the head of the mob, if I find the best of men doing that which has in all times drawn upon the worst enemies of the human race the bitterest curses of history, am I to stop because the motives of these men are pure, and their lives blameless? I wish I could find a blot in their lives, or a vice in their motives. The whole power of the motion is in the character of the movers; feeble friends, false friends, and foolish friends, all cease to look into the measure, and say, "Would such a measure have been recommended by such men as the prelates of Canterbury and London, if it were not for the public advantage?" And in this way the great good of a religious establishment, now rendered moderate and compatible with all men's liberties and rights, is sacrificed to names; and the church destroyed from good breeding and etiquette! the real truth is, that Canterbury and London have been frightened-they have overlooked the effect of time and delay-they have been betrayed into a fearful and ruinous mistake. Painful as it is to teach men who ought to teach us, the legislature ought, while there is yet time, to awake and read them this lesson.
It is dangerous for a prelate to write; and whoever does it ought to be a very wise one. He has speculated why I was made a canon of St. Paul's. Suppose I were to follow his example, and, going through the bench of bishops, were to ask for what reason each man had been made a bishop; suppose I were to go into the county of Gloucester, &c., &c., &c.!!!!!
I was afraid the bishop would attribute my promotion to the Edinburgh Review; but upon the subject of promotion by reviews, he preserves an impenetrable silence. If my excellent patron, Earl Grey, had any reasons of this kind, he may at least be sure that the reviews commonly attributed to me, were really written by me. I should have considered myself as the lowest of created beings, to have disguised myself in another man's wit and sense, and to have received a reward to which I was not entitled.**
I understand that the bishop bursts into tears every now and then, and in in
I presume that what has drawn upon me the indignation of this prelate, is the observations I have, from time to time, made on the conduct of the Commissioners, of which he positively asserts himself to have been a member; but whether he was, or was not, a member, I utterly acquit him of all possible blame, and of every species of imputation which may attach to the conduct of the Commission. In using that word, I have always meant the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of London, and Lord John Russell; and have, honestly speaking, given no more heed to the Bishop of Gloucester, than if he had been sitting in a commission of Bonzes in the Court of Pekin.
To read, however, his Lordship a lesson of good manners, I had proposed for him a chastisement which would have been echoed from the Seagrave who banqueteth in the Castle to the idiot who spitteth over the bridge at Gloucester; but the following appeal struck my eye, and stopped my pen: "Since that time my inadequate qualifications have sustained an appalling diminution by the affection of my eyes, which has impaired my vision, and the progress of which threatens to consign me to darkness; I beg the benefit of your prayers to the Father of all mercies, that he will restore to me the better use of the visual organs, to be employed on his service; or that he will inwardly illumine the intellectual vision, with a particle of that divine ray, which his Holy Spirit can alone impart."
It might have been better taste, perhaps, if a mitred invalid, in describing his bodily infirmities before a church full of clergymen, whose prayers he asked, had been a little more sparing in the abuse of his enemies; but a good deal must be forgiven to the sick. I wish that every Christian was as well aware as this poor bishop of what he needed from Divine assistance; and in his supplication for the restoration of his sight, and the improvement of his understanding, I most fervently and cordially join.
says that I have set him the name of Simon [ante. p. 333], and that all the bishops now call him Simon. Simon of Gloucester, however, after all, is a real writer, and how could I know that Dr. Monk's name was Simon? When tutor in Lord Carrington's family, he was called by the endearing, though somewhat unmajestic name of Dick; and if I had thought about his name at all, I should have called him Richard of Gloucester.-Author's Note.
LETTERS ON RAILWAYS.
"LOCKING IN" ON RAILWAYS.
To the Editor of the Morning Chronicle :—
SIR: It falls to my lot to travel frequently on the Great Western Railway, and I request permission, through the medium of your able and honest journal, to make a complaint against the directors of that company. It is the custom on that railway to lock the passengers in on both sides- -a custom which, in spite of the dreadful example at Paris, I have every reason to believe they mean to continue without any relaxation.
In the course of a long life I have no recollection of any accident so shocking as that on the Paris railway*—a massacre so sudden, so full of torment-death at the moment of pleasure— death aggravated by all the amazement, fear, and pain, which can be condensed into the last moments of existence.
Who can say that the same scene may not be acted over again on the Great Western Railroad?-that in the midst of their tunnel of three miles length, the same scene of slaughter and combustion may not scatter dismay and alarm over the whole country?
It seems to me perfectly monstrous that a board of ten or twelve monopolists can read such a description, and say to the public, "You must run your chance of being burnt or mutilated. We
* The accident in May, 1842, on the Versailles line, near Meudon. By the breaking of the axle of the first engine, the other engine and cars attached were forced forward and set fire to. In consequence of keeping the doors of the cars locked, more than a hundred persons were burnt alive, without possibility of escape.
have arranged our plan upon the locking-in system, and we shall not incur the risk and expense of changing it."
The plea is, that rash or drunken people will attempt to get out of the carriages which are not locked, and that this measure really originates from attention to the safety of the public; so that the lives of two hundred persons who are not drunk, and are not rash, are to be endangered for the half-yearly preservation of some idiot, upon whose body the coroner is to sit, and over whom the sudden-death man is to deliver his sermon against the directors.
The very fact of locking the doors will be a frequent source of accidents. Mankind, whatever the directors may think of that process, are impatient of combustion. The Paris accident will never be forgotten. The passengers will attempt to escape through the windows, and ten times more of mischief will be done than if they had been left to escape by the doors in the usual manner.
It is not only the locking of the doors which is to be deprecated; but the effects which it has upon the imagination. Women, old people, and the sick, are all forced to travel by the railroad; and for two hundred miles they live under the recollection, not only of impending danger, but under the knowledge that escape is impossible-a journey comes to be contemplated with horror. Men cannot persuade the females of their families to travel by the railroad; it is inseparably connected with abominable tyranny and perilous imprisonment.
Why does the necessity of locking both doors exist only on the Great Western? Why is one of the doors left open on all other railways?
The public have a right to every advantage under permitted. monopoly which they would enjoy under free competition; and they are unjust to themselves if they do not insist upon this right. If there were two parallel railways, the one locking you in, and the other not, is there the smallest doubt which would carry away all the business? Can there be any hesitation in which timid women, drunken men, sages, philosophers, bishops, and all combustible beings, would place themselves?
I very much doubt the legality of locking doors, and refusing to open them. I arrive at a station where others are admitted; but I am not suffered to get out, though perhaps at the point of death. In all other positions of life there is egress where there is ingress.
Man is universally the master of his own body, except he chooses to go from Paddington to Bridgewater: there only the Habeas Corpus is refused.
Nothing, in fact, can be more utterly silly or mistaken than this over-officious care of the public; as if every man, who was not a railway director, was a child or a fool. But why stop here? Why are not strait-waistcoats used? Why is not the accidental traveller strapped down? Why do contusion and fracture still remain physically possible?
Is not this extreme care of the public new? When first mailcoaches began to travel twelve miles an hour, the outsides (if I remember rightly) were never tied to the roof. In packets, landsmen are not locked into the cabin to prevent them from tumbling overboard. This affectionate nonsense prevails only on the Great Western. It is there only that men, women, and children (seeking the only mode of transit which remains), are, by these tenderhearted monopolists, immediately committed to their locomotive prisons. Nothing can, in fact, be so absurd as all this officious zeal. It is the duty of the directors to take all reasonable precautions to warn the public of danger—to make it clear that there is no negligence on the part of the railroad directors; and then, this done, if a fool-hardy person choose to expose himself to danger, so be it. Fools there will be on roads of iron, and on roads of gravel, and they must suffer for their folly; but why are Socrates, Solon, and Solomon, to be locked up?
But is all this, which appears so philanthropical, mere philanthropy? Does not the locking of the doors save servants and policemen? Does not economy mingle with these benevolent feelings? Is it to save a few fellow-creatures, or a few pounds, that the children of the West are to be hermetically sealed in the locomotives? I do not say it is so; but I say it deserves a very serious examination whether it be so or not. Great and heavy is the sin of the directors of this huge monopoly, if they repeat upon their own iron the tragedy of Paris, in order to increase their dividends a few shillings per cent.
The country has (perhaps inevitably) given way to this great monopoly. Nothing can make it tolerable for a moment, but the most severe and watchful jealousy of the manner in which its powers are exercised. We shall have tyrannical rules, vexatious