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of the very first letters he had to write out
after his arrival, when he had not been five
weeks in London, he mentions the surprise
with which he had found "a tenderness in the
minds of many here for America, even of those
who disapprove of the principles of an entire
independence of the British legislature, and
ardently wish an effort may be made to
accommodate." He went hardly anywhere into
English middle class society that he did not,
at the outset of this wretched quarrel, find a
manly tolerance expressed for that of which
he confesses he had himself in America been
very far from equally tolerant. There was one
house indeed, where with the noblest echo of
this better feeling, he might also have heard
a noisier and more violent majority eager to
welcome extremities from which the bulk of
the nation recoiled; but he could not find his
way into it. In the fourth month after his
arrival, Burke was upholding with unabated
and unrivalled eloquence another motion in
that house "to compose the present troubles
and quiet the minds of His Majesty's subjects
in America," but Mr. Curwen in vain exerted
himself to obtain admission. After another
month, Lord North in a very different spirit
was urging there, amid Hear hims! of greater
triumph and with a success of numbers more
potent than Burke's reasoning or wit, his bill
for absolutely prohibiting all future commercial
intercourse with America; and still Mr.
Curwen knocked at the gallery door in vain.
He remonstrated at last; he spoke to Mr.
George Hayley, M.P., whom he met in the
Strand; and Mr. Hayley, an active and
bustling City member in those days, now
faded out of human memory, could only
assure the respected ex-judge that really all
strangers for the present time must be
excluded, for the attendances were great, the
floor of the House too small, and positively
the members themselves could not get on
without the gallery.

But if he must wait (it is only for a time)
the unbarring of those inhospitable doors,
many more genial ones have been meanwhile,
and still are, opening to him. Let us go back
a little, and retrace what amusements or
occupations they were that relieved the first
months of his exile. For this agitated time
offered no exception to the law which prevails
at every other, and which, in presence of the
most trivial interests that can engage the
individual attention, seems to dwarf the
mightiest that affect the welfare of the world.
It is of course not really so, as a very little
reflection teaches us. We perceive it to be the
result of one of the wisest of providential
arrangements, that when we penetrate beneath
the surface of the most wide-spread
calamities that absorb the attention of history, we
should find the ordinary currents of human
life moving on with little suffering or disturbance;
and we can afford to leave entirely
to the use of jaded men of fashion such
regrets as Horace Walpole was at this
particular hour indulging, that so little grief
should be felt by the public for the public
misfortunes, and that theatres, operas,
parties, dinings, merry-makings, fashionable
preachings, and Sunday evening
promenadings, should still be in progress just as
usual, though armies were surrendering,
fleets showing the white feather, and an
incapable ministry despoiling the Crown of
what Horace protests is "its brightest jewel"
the Colonies of North America!

Judge Curwen has only been one day in
London when he is to be discovered strolling
about Westminster Hall, remarking it as
something odd that the Master of the .Rolls
(then Sir Thomas Sewell) should be sitting
in court with his hat on; finding the noise
"much greater than would be allowed in our
American courts;" thinking it unbecoming
the dignity of a judge that, in place of
peremptorily checking the noise and
confusion, Mr. Justice Nares should actually
submit to rise out of his seat, step forward,
and lean down to hear; and giving other
intimations of an old-world formality and love of
grave precision which a modern visitor from
the New World would hardly be expected to
display. He saw, of course, on this and on
other occasions the Chief Justice, and thought
his manner very like "the late Judge Dudley
of Massachusetts;" all but those peering
eyes of his, which denoted a penetration and
comprehension peculiarly his own. After
that hard look at Mansfield, the man whose
eloquence was ever loudest against his
countrymen, and whose politics, admired in his
Tory days in America, now appear to him far
less palatable in these days of exile—(an
"excellent judge and mischievous politician" is
the character he gives of him)—he is most
anxious to get sight of Wedderburn, who
only last year had flung in Benjamin Franklin's
face the grossest insult that language could
frame; and in Mansfield's court he discovers
the indiscreet and fiery little Serjeant, but not
saying anything that was worthy of
remembrance. In the Common Pleas he sees
Blackstone, already famous across the Atlantic
as the author of the Commentaries; and,
before leaving Westminster Hall, he entertains
himself in the committee chamber of
the House of Commons at the examination
of the witnesses in the case of the Worcester
election, observing the M.P.s sitting on an
elevated bench looking like a court of
sessions, and noting that the examination is
carried on by advocates "with regularity and

From the law courts to the theatres is no
violent step, reflecting as they do in pretty
equal proportions the passions and humours
of life, alike dealing largely in fictitious
pathos and purchased buffoonery, and differing
mainly in the fact that the law court beats
the theatre in the reality of the catastrophes
witnessed or inflicted in it. Mr. Curwen
being a man of some taste, of course his first