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would have led Lady C. to stay much at home. But, with a view to the amusement of her young Irish friends, Lord and Lady M-sy, but chiefly the latter, she accepted invitations almost daily. Lord M-sy was often called away to London or Ireland; but I was the invariable attendant of the two ladies; and thus, under Lady C.'s protection, I came to see the English aristocracy, the great Houses of Belvoir, (pronounced Beevor,) Burleigh, &c., and the crowds of subordinate families, with their winter visiters, more extensively than ever I had seen the aristocracy of Ireland; and this with a freedom of intercourse which would not have been conceded to me at a more advanced age.
THE revolution in the system of travelling, naturally suggested by my position in Birmingham, and in the whole apparatus, means, machinery, and dependencies of that system a revolution begun, carried through, and perfected within the period of my own personal experience merits a word or two of illustration in the most cursory memoirs that profess any attention at all to the shifting scenery of the age and the principles of motion at work, whether manifested in great effects or in little. And these particular effects, though little, when regarded in their separate details, are not little in their final amount. On the contrary, I have always maintained that in a representative government, where the great cities of the empire must naturally have the power, each in its proportion, of reacting upon the capital and the councils of the nation in so conspicuous a way, there is a result waiting on the final improvements of the arts of travelling, and of transmitting intelligence with velocity, such as cannot be properly appreciated in the absence of all historical experience. Conceive a state of communication between the centre and the extremities of a great people, kept up with a uniformity of reciprocation so exquisite as to imitate the flowing and ebbing of the sea, or the systole and diastole of the human heart; day and
night, waking and sleeping, not succeeding to each other with more absolute certainty than the acts of the metropolis and the controlling notice of the provinces, whether in the way of support or of resistance. Action and reaction from every point of the compass being thus perfect and instantaneous, we should then first begin to understand, in a practical sense, what is meant by the unity of a political body, and we should approach to a more adequate appreciation of the powers which are latent in organization. For it must be considered that hitherto, under the most complex organization, and that which has best attained its purposes, the national will has never been able to express itself upon one in a thousand of the public acts, simply because the national voice was lost in the distance, and could not collect itself through the time and the space rapidly enough to connect itself immediately with the evanescent measure of the moment. But as the system of intercourse is gradually expanding, these bars of space and time are in the same degree contracting, until finally we may expect them altogether to vanish: and then the whole empire, in every part, will react upon the whole through the central forces, with the power, life, and effect of immediate conference amongst parties brought face to face. Then first will be seen a political system truly organic i. e. in which each acts upon all, and all react upon each: and a new earth will arise from the indirect agency of this merely physical revolution.
The reader whose birth attaches him to this present generation, having known only Macadamized roads, cannot easily bring before his imagination the antique and almost aboriginal state of things which marked our travelling system down to the end of the eighteenth century, and nearly through the first decennium of the present. very few lines will suffice for a few broad notices of
our condition, in this respect, through the last two centuries. In the Parliament war, (1642–46,) it is an interesting fact, but at the same time calculated to mislead the incautious reader, that many officers of distinction, on both sides, brought close carriages to head-quarters; and sometimes they went even upon the field of battle in these carriages - not mounting on horseback until the preparations were beginning for some important manœuvre, or for a general movement. The same thing had been done throughout the thirty years' war, both by the Bavarian, Imperial, and afterwards by the Swedish officers of rank. And it marks the great diffusion of these luxuries about this era, that, on occasion of the reinstalment of two princes of Mecklenburg, who had been violently dispossessed by Wallenstein, upwards of eighty coaches mustered at a short notice, partly from the territorial nobility, partly from the camp. Precisely, however, at military head-quarters, and on the route of an army, carriages of this description were an available and a most useful means of transport. Cumbrous and unwieldy they were, as we know by pictures, and they could not have been otherwise they were built to meet the roads. Carriages of our present light and reedy [almost, one might say, corky] construction, would, on the roads of Germany or of England, in that age, have foundered within the first two hours. To our ancestors such carriages would have seemed playthings for children. Cumbrous as they were, they could not be more so than artillery or baggage wagons: where these could go, coaches could go. So that, in the march of an army, there was a perpetual guarantee to those who had coaches for the possibility of their transit. And hence, and not because the roads were at all better than they have been generally described in those days, we are to explain the fact that both in the Royal
camp, in Lord Manchester's, and afterwards in Lord