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an hour or two, wishing to change the theme, I
took occasion of a pause to observe that in this
great political agitation, poetry seemed to have
died out entirely. He said it had; but that was
not the only cause; for there had been, as he
thought, some years ago an over-production and
a surfeit.

Mr. W converses with great earnestness,
and has a habit, as he walks and talks, of stopping
every fourth or fifth step, and turning round to
you to enforce what he is saying. The subjects,
the first evening I passed with him, were, as I have
said, politics and poetry. He remarked afterward
that although he was known to the world only as
a poet, he had given twelve hours thought to the
condition and prospects of society, for one to poet-
ry. I replied that there appeared to me to be no
contradiction in this, since the spirit of poetry is
the spirit of humanity—since sympathy with hu-
manity, and with all its fortunes, is an essential
characteristic of poetry—and politics is one of the
grandest forms under which the welfare of the
human race presents itself.

In politics Mr. W—- professes to be a reformer, but upon the most deliberate plan and gradual scale; and he indulges in the most indignant and yet argumentative diatribes against the pres

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ent course of things in England, and in the saddest i vorebodings of what is to come. The tide is beatban ing now against aristocracy and an established re

ligion, and if it prevails, anarchy and irreligion must follow. He will see no other result; he has no confidence in the people; they are not fit to govern themselves-not yet certainly; public opinion, the foolish opinion of the depraved, ignorant, and conceited mass, ought not to be the law; it ought not to be expressed in laws; it ought not to be represented in government; the true representative government should represent the mind of a country, and that is not found in the mass, nor is it to be expressed by universal suffrage. Mr. W-constantly protested against the example of America—as not being in point. He insisted that the state of society, the crowded population, the urgency of want, the tenures of property in Eng. land, made a totally different case from ours. He seemed evidently to admit, though he did not in terms, that hereditary rank and an established priesthood are indefensible in the broadest views of human rights and interests ; but the argument for them is, that they cannot be removed without opening the door to greater evils—to the unrestrained license of the multitude to incessant change, disorder, uncertainty, and finally to op


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pression and tyranny. He says the world is running mad with the notion that all its evils are to be relieved by political changes, political remedies, practic political nostrums—whereas the great evils, sin, there w bondage, misery, lie deep in the heart, and nothing the sece but virtue and religion can remove them ; and upon the value, and preciousness, and indispensableness admitted of religion, indeed, he talked very sagely, earnestly, elpopu and devoutly.

The next evening I went to tea to Mr. W—'s, isted t on a hospitable invitation to come to breakfast, incip? dinner, or tea, as I liked. The conversation very gre soon again ran upon politics. He thought there could be no independence in legislators who were dependant for their places upon the ever wavering a breath of popular opinion, and he wanted my opinion about the fact in our country. I replied that


po as a secluded man and accustomed to look at the morale of these matters, I certainly had felt that

the tec there was likely to be, and probably was a great want of independence—that I had often expressed the apprehension that our distinguished men were almost necessarily acting under biasses that did not permit them to sit down in their closets and examine great political questions and measures, in a fair and philosophical spirit. Then, he said, how can 01 there be any safety? I answered as I had fre

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1 quently said before, that our only safety lay in

making the people wise: but I added that our the practical politicians were accustomed to say, that

there was a principle of safety in our conflicts, in the necessarily conflicting opinions of the mass-that they neutralized and balanced each other. I admitted, however, that there was danger; that all popular institutions involved danger ; that freedom was a trust, and a perilous trust. Still I insisted that this was only an instance of a general principle; that all probation was perilous ; that the greatest opportunity was always the greatest peril. I maintained, also, that think as we might of political liberty, there was no helping it; that in the civilized world, the course of opinion was irresistibly setting towards universal education and popular forms of government; and nothing was to be done but to direct, modify, and control the tendency. He fully admitted this; said that in other centuries some glorious results might be brought out, but that he saw nothing but darkness, disorder, and misery in the immediate prospect, and that all he could do was to cast himself on Providence. I ventured to suggest that it seemed to me that all good and wise men had a work to do. I said that I admitted, friend to popular institutions as I was, that the world was full of errors

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about liberty ; that there was a mistake and mad-
ness about popular freedom, as if it were the grand
panacea for all human ills, and that powerful pens
were needed to guide the public mind; and that
the pen of genius could scarcely be more nobly
employed. But he has no confidence in the body
of the people, in their willingness to read what is
wholesome, or to do what is right; and this, I
took the liberty to say, seemed to me the radical
point on which he and I differed. I told him that
there were large communities in America in whom
I did confide, and that I believed other communi-
ties might be raised up to the same condition ; and
that it appeared to me that it should be the grand
effort of the world now,

to raise


this mass to knowledge, to comfort, and virtue-since the mass was evidently ere long to rule for us.

After this conversation, Mr. W— proposed a walk to Grassmere Lake, to see it after sunset; and in that loveliest of all the scenes I ever witnessed on earth, were lost all thoughts but of religion and poetry. I could not help saying, with fervent sincerity, “I thank you, sir, for bringing me here, at this hour;" for he had evidently taken some pains, pushing aside some little interferences with his purposė, to accomplish it. He said in reply, that so impressive was the scene to him, that

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