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Recollections of Writers
Douglas Jerrold to Mary Cowden Clarke, 22 February 1850

Chapter I.
Chapter II.
Chapter III.
Chapter IV.
Chapter V.
Chapter VI.
Chapter VII.
Chapter VIII.
Chapter IX
John Keats
Charles Lamb
Mary Lamb
Leigh Hunt
Douglas Jerrold
Charles Dickens
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West Lodge, Putney Common, February 22nd, 1850.

My dear Mrs. Clarke,—I will share anything with you, and can only wish—at least for myself—that the matter to be shared came not in so pleasant a shape as that dirt in yellow gold. I have heard naught of the American, and would rather that his gift came brightened through you than from his own hand. The savage, with glimpses of civilization, is male.

Do you read the Morning Chronicle? Do you devour those marvellous revelations of the inferno of misery, ot wretchedness that is smouldering under our feet? We live in a mockery of Christianity that, with the thought of its hypocrisy, makes me sick. We know nothing of this terrible life that is about us—us, in our smug respectability. To read of the sufferings of one class, and of the avarice, the tyranny, the pocket cannibalism of the other, makes one almost wonder that the world should go on, that the misery and wretchedness of the earth are not, by an Almighty fiat, ended. And when we see the spires of pleasant churches pointing to Heaven, and are told—paying thousands to bishops for the glad intelligence—that we are Christians! the cant of this country is enough to poison the atmosphere.
I send you the Chronicle of yesterday. You will therein read what I think you will agree to be one of the most beautiful records of the nobility of the poor: of those of whom our jaunty legislators know nothing; of the things made in the statesman’s mind, to be taxed—not venerated. I am very proud to say that these papers of “Labour and the Poor” were projected by
Henry Mayhew, who married my girl. For comprehensiveness of purpose and minuteness of detail they have never been approached. He will cut his name deep. From these things I have still great hopes. A revival movement is at hand, and—you will see what you’ll see. Remember me with best thoughts to Clarke, and believe me yours sincerely,

Douglas Jerrold.