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28

THE REFORM BILL

mongers *) has not perpetually thwarted him in his lawful career of ambition and professional emolument? "I have been in three general engagements at sea," said an old sailor,—"have been twice wounded;—I commanded the boats when the French frigate, the Astrolabe, was cut out2) so gallantly." "Then you are made a Post Captain?" 3) "No. I was very near it; but— Lieutenant Thompson cut me out, as I cut out the French frigate; his father is Town Clerk 4) of the Borough for which Lord F— is Member, and there my chance was finished." In the same manner, all over England, you will find great scholars rotting on curacies6)—brave captains starving in garrets— profound lawyers decayed and mouldering in the Inns of Court8), because the parsons, warriors, and advocates of Boroughmongers must be crammed to saturation7), before there is a moreel of bread for the man who does not sell his votes, and put his country up to auction; and though this is of every day

1. boroughmongers: dealers in boroughs, I.e. people who 'control' boroughs, and can, therefore, make a man a member of Parliament. Seats in Parliament were frequently sold, and it was generally considered as the most natural thing in the world, the borough being looked upon as the 'property* of the 'owner,' who had, indeed, often paid for it, unless he had inherited the property.

2. to cut out a ship: to surprise and carry off a ship from a harbour, etc. by getting between it and the shore; in a figurative sense to cut out means: to get in front of a rival so as to prevent his success, to supplant him.

3. post-captain: commander of a vessel of 20 guns or more.

4. town-clerk: a post similar to that of our gemeentesekretaris.

5. curacy: a situation as curate, i.e. helper of a vicar or rector; curates were among the worst paid of all people. ^50 a year was by no means unusual.

6. Inns of Court: colleges in London whose members have the exclusive right of admitting people to the English Bar, i.e. making them barrlsters. Barristers are the lawyers who piead in court.

.7. saturation [saetjü'reiSan]: state of holding as much of a substance as possible; thus a piece of paper may be saturated with moisture.

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