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‘ [354] present near three millions and a half of tons are required yearly by the metropolis; and the whole annual produce cannot, on the most moderate computation, be estimated at less than twenty millions of tons.’

After thus passing in survey the England of our ancestors five or six generations back, the author closes his chapter with some eloquent remarks upon the progress of society. Contrasting the hardness and coarseness of the age of which he treats with the softer and more humane features of our own, he says: ‘Nowhere could be found that sensitive and restless compassion which has in our time extended powerful protection to the factory child, the Hindoo widow, to the negro slave; which pries into the stores and water-casks of every emigrant ship; which winces at every lash laid on the back of a drunken soldier; which will not suffer the thief in the hulks to be ill fed or overworked; and which has repeatedly endeavored to save the life even of the murderer. The more we study the annals of the past, the more shall we rejoice that we live in a merciful age, in an age in which cruelty is abhorred, and in which pain, even when deserved, is inflicted reluctantly and from a sense of duty. Every class, doubtless, has gained largely by this great moral change; but the class which has gained most is the poorest, the most dependent, and the most defenseless.’

The history itself properly commences at the close of this chapter. Opening with the deathscene of the dissolute Charles II., it presents a series of brilliant pictures of the events succeeding.

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