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day. The moment the thought occurred, “ This is all a dream ; I have murdered the old man !” I was awake, so that I cannot be sure that I thought of it till I was awake. Once he came to me in my sleep, and looked more cheerful and friendly than I had ever seen him. “Come,” said he, “we will let this matter drop; 'tis a folly to make our lives so wretched. I will be a good man, and you shall be a good boy." This was very strange, and unlike what is usually said of dreams; but I remember it was the case. I got through the country, and plunged into London to lose myself amid its millions of caring, fearing, toiling, bustling mortals ; but it did not seem so busy and crowded as I had expected. The people seemed to have leisure to stare even on the arrival of one poor countryman. They looked out of shops and out of chamberwindows. The coachmen and cabmen stared at me. Several persons turned to look back after passing me. A little boy looked up in my face and whispered something to his companion. All kinds of thoughts—of secret associations for detection of criminalsof speedy intelligence conveyed to London to arrest me—of all the persons to whom I had spoken, or of whom I had bought anything on my way, being in a plot for my conviction-passed through my mind. I did not feel the ground firm under my feet. I could not find air enough to breathe. I walked on, on, on ; but no street seemed obscure enough ; the people seemed on the watch for me everywhere. - I cannot describe to you the life I passed for some weeks in London ; how I wandered from the obscurest lanes into the fashionable streets and squares, and gazed vacantly upon a thousand objects of curiosity, yet seeing everywhere and at all times only one object-my crime. At last, when half-famished, I found employment at a wharf. Here I laboured hard, but could not rest ; for my fellow-labourers seemed to suspect me. I left London and went to work at an excavation on a railway. I fell and broke a limb, which confined me to my lodgings for some weeks, and my health was now reduced to such a weak state that I could not endure severe toil. I next found employment under a gardener, who treated me with considerable kindness. This kindness gave me a new view of life. I saw that it might be made a happy life, and this thought only increased my anguish on account of the crime which had excluded me from all communication with good and happy men. Oh, many of the things that men have been so long complaining about–bad climate, the necessity of toil, sick
ness, poverty, death, are not worth a moment's discontent. If men would consult together how to deal fairly and kindly with each other-how to live free from crime and evil passions—the world might be a happy place without making all men rich, or healthy, or immortal—without mending the climate, or making the earth teem with fruits, unassisted by the hand of cultivation. Have not men been thinking and complaining, for the greater part of their existence, of things which do not concern them, and, meanwhile, neglecting the plain, simple things, which they might do and ought to do for their own good and the good of others ? The rich farmer goes to church, hears how the ground was cursed for Adam's sake, and concludes that Adam was a very wicked man; then comes home, and will not let the poor have a fair share of the fruits which the earth is still willing to yield. Then his stacks are burned ; he imprisons the men, whom he would not feed, and goes to church again to lay all the blame upon Adam ! This is making the worst of the world! Must contrast always be necessary to show us the value of things ? Can none but men who have been sick feel the pleasure of health ? Must it ever be necessary to go through a purgatory to know what a paradise means? Must the world be thus ever blended of light and darkness, joy and woe, heaven and hell? I know not; but never did I see the heavenly happiness that may be upon earth, amid all its common cares and troubles, until I viewed it in contrast with my own remorse and despair. “ Oh men, women, and children, who are free from crime," I often felt disposed to exclaim, “ you are in heaven-yes, in heaven itself, did you but know it. Labourer ! coming from the field of toil, reposing in your cottage amid your children, sitting down at your lowly board, while your wife prepares your comforts with a busy hand, complain not that your dwelling is humble ; divine joys inhabit it ; tell me not that your windows are low and narrow; the divine light shines through them ; it is godlike; it visits all ; the breath of heaven blows through them, and you are free to enjoy these visitations ; and you who dwell in pleasant houses, with peace of mind and with plenty around you, not only happy yourselves, but able to make others happy, what have the angels which you have not? One kind action may prevent a multitude of crimes. Oh! to live surrounded with the smiles, the good wishes, the thankfulness of the poor ! To feel that the good, the riches you enjoy, are not stolen from the general good—not bought by the sufferings of others—but that they are a cup of happiness filled from heaven, and running over plenteously for the relief of all around you!”
Deep sorrow is the source of deep thoughts. How I strove to forget my own crime and my own remorse in plans of benevolence for all mankind! That duty, justice, right is the absolute basis of all human existence ; that only in living and acting in accordance with the laws of general welfare, the life and happiness of the individual can be well-founded how deeply I felt this! What unnecessary truisms did all arguments in books, to prove the reality of conscience and religion, appear to me! I felt them in my own existence; I might have doubted of them could I have doubted of my own being, but not before. It is when a man has offended against the laws of society (the true necessary laws, I mean) that he feels how deeply his own life and happiness are one with them
-how it is impossible to live in alienation from them. As the whole trunk, all the branches and the boughs, every twig and every leaf of the expanded oak-tree are contained in the closelycompacted acorn, so all the laws of social existence, unity and order are implied in the conscience of a man. They may be shut up, iron-bound for awhile ; but there they are. I felt this. However the transgressor may hide himself from the outward operation of the law, he cannot hide himself from its inward reality. How can he flee from his own true self-existence? I felt that a crime against society demands retribution. I understood the motive, the heart-impulse, which has driven the offender to offer up his life to appease offended justice. This power of conscience, when undirected to its true object, thought I, has produced gloomy superstitions and demanded cruel sacrifices for atonement ; but I sometimes hoped to satisfy its demands in a milder way. I would endeavour to do good. I would make my whole life a sacrifice for the good of others. I would work hard, early and late, deprive myself of all things but the barest necessities, and spend all my earnings upon objects of charity. But how could I put this resolution into practice? Where could I find an entrance into the world ? It seemed closed against me, as with gates of brass. Or even if I could do all this, I thought again, it would only be my duty for the present-it could not be more than right. How could it have superabundant merit to atone for the past? how could it call the dead to life again ? Bad as he was, he was still a man. Heaven was merciful to him, and would have given him time for repentance. What right had I to take the sword out of the judge's hand, and strike the poor culprit down ? His voice seemed crying in my ears—" You would not give me time!”
Sometimes I tried to find comfort in a false religion-in arguing that my own deed was an inevitable necessity ; but it would not do. I could run on with reasons, and say, “Who provoked me to the deed? My uncle. And what made him so harsh and oppressive ? Want of better teaching ; ” and so on and on up to the first man ; but I could not feel it to be true. I could not remove the load from my own conscience to that of any other man. I felt that if all the world were cruel tyrants and oppressors, still the command for me was as clear and authoritative as ever“Thou shalt do no murder!”
At other times my thoughts endeavoured to excuse the deed ; but oh, they seemed but like weak, sophistical, special pleaders before an inexorable, penetrating judge. They said, “ The man deserved to die—he was cruel, oppressive, injurious to society ;” but conscience replied, “ He was still a man ; God gave him life ; who had a right to take it away?” Then I said to myself, “ But I was brought up in darkness and ignorance ; what did I know of the value of human life-how divine and happy it may be ? Would I now injure one human being ? No, rather would I die myself. Then let me judge myself according to what I now am, and try to forget the past." But conscience answered, “You are a murderer !_nothing can excuse the crime-you are not fit to live !"
Sometimes my feelings were poisoned with hatred to mankind. "If I am to be punished for my crime,” said I, “ let the rich, the selfish, and the self-righteous, who leave the poor in ignorance and misery_let them be punished too. Are those only who yield to temptation, when it is overpowering, and not also those who lead us into temptation, to be punished? Who punishes those who commit slow murder ?-who, gradually but surely, starve and Overwork and degrade the poor man until his existence becomes a burden to him. Shall one hasty act of passion be punished, and cool, selfish, calculating villany be honoured and respected ?
f justice is to be done, let it be done upon a broad scale, and then how many of the respectable and the rich will be found to be accomplices in the crimes committed by the poor and ignorant!"
But all my complaints against the defects of human laws would not stifle the voice of God's law in my conscience " Thou shalt
not kill !” I dared not enter a church for fear of seeing those words emblazoned before me.
I had always had a taste for reading, which I had now some opportunity of indulging. I borrowed some books of history, and spent my leisure evenings in reading of wars and cruelties, until I sometimes almost felt a moment's consolation in reflecting that there had been worse men than myself in the world. Said I, “ If our kings, and judges, and warriors, and priests, had employed themselves, instead of making wars and fomenting hatred, in making the world better, in teaching men how to deal fairly and kindly with each other, we might be saved from crime and misery; but what have they taught poor people?”
I continued some time in my situation, until my master recommended me to a gentleman in the country, under whom he had served ; and I again sought relief in a change of place. When I arrived at my destined place of labour, what a paradise it appeared to be for a man with a mind at ease! I had the care of a beautiful garden, and the family whom I served was one of the most amiable in existence. What a heaven this world may be made by kindness and goodness! What a hell it may be made by oppression and evil passions! This seems to some only a common-place thought ; but I felt it deeply. I had once believed that the earth was almost solely inhabited by cruel, unfeeling, selfish creatures-now I found that there were angels on the earth ; but I knew it not until it was too late for me to enjoy their society ; until, by crime, I had excommunicated myself from the company of the good and the happy. My master's eldest daughter frequently came into the garden to converse with me; she observed my gloom, and would sometimes say kind words to mitigate my despondency ; at other times, she gently reproved me for not appearing at church. How little could her gentle spirit comprehend of the depths of despair into which I had fallen! I bent over my spade as she spoke, and never dared to look her in the face. The little children kindly noticed me. I could look upon their innocent faces, and it sometimes did me good. Sometimes I thought, (or rather endeavoured to think,) “I shall be judged by merciful Heaven according to my present will and disposition, and not according to what I have done in my madness. I cannot be yet an utter reprobate, or these children would not trust themselves in my presence." I tried to see smiles from heaven in the smiling faces of these children. But these thoughts would not