Black Dwarf,  1 (1817), 746–50.

Imlac on Reform: Letter III  [3/4]

Imlac, St. James's


Letter, Serial


Astronomy, Botany, Human Species, Climatology, Christianity, Radicalism, Surgery, Invention

    The correspondent laments the recantation by Charles Grey (2nd Earl Grey) of his more reformist opinions, stating: 'However melancholy is the disappearance of that bright constellation which has shone on the annals of British history and sanctified the cause of the PEOPLE, I am not desponding'. Continues by pointing to the rejection by the late Charles Lennox (3rd Duke of Richmond) of the French Revolution as another example of 'a mournful instance of the weakness of our nature when exposed to the poisonous atmosphere of the Upas Tree' (746). Later questions the game laws, suggesting that they will achieve 'the preservation of wild animals and the extinction of the human species' (747). Observes: 'The Royal Society have told us much of a change of seasons, but there is yet more extraordinary change being effected by the Holy alliance. We are approaching that millennium, when all the nations of the globe will be one family, and the citizens of the world will intermingle in patriarchal fellowship. With the change of climates we have become unfitted for those countries in which God has placed us. Like swallows we are to migrate' (748). When discussing growing recognition of a right to representation, states: 'Many an imprudent act is committed before experience is bought, and because the first practitioners in surgery committed fatal errors, were we therefore to relinquish the science?' (749). In reference to the errors made after the French Revolution, quotes: '"Surely," says Lord Bacon, "Every medicine is an innovation, and he that will not apply new remedies, must expect new evils; for time is the greatest innovator; and if time of course alter things to be worse, and wisdom and counsel shall not alter them to be better, what shall be the end?"' (749).

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