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[224] great metropolis where crime and poverty lie down together,—localities which Dickens has pictured with such painful distinctness. Here, to his surprise, he met a number of thieves and outlaws, who declared themselves extremely anxious to know whether any hope could be held out to them of obtaining an honest living, however humble, in the colonies, as their only reason for continuing in their criminal course was the impossibility of extricating themselves. He gave them such advice and encouragement as he was able, and invited them to assemble again, with such of their companions as they could persuade to do so, at the room of the Irish Free School, for the purpose of meeting Lord Ashley. On the 27th of the seventh month last the meeting took place. At the hour appointed, Lord Ashley and five or six other benevolent gentlemen, interested in emigration as a means of relief and reformation to the criminal poor, entered the room, which was already wellnigh filled. Two hundred and seven professed thieves were present. ‘Several of the most experienced thieves were stationed at the door to prevent the admission of any but thieves. Some four or five individuals, who were not at first known, were subjected to examination, and only allowed to remain on stating that they were, and being recognized as, members of the dishonest fraternity; and before the proceedings of the evening commenced the question was very carefully put, and repeated several times, whether any one was in the room of whom others entertained doubts as to who he was. The object of this care was, as so many of them were in danger ’

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