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WE read a short time ago among the town and country talk of a weekly paper, "An eminent housebreaker, having completed the term of his imprisonment, applied to the Grimsby magistrates to have his skeleton keys and other professional tools given up to him." After laughing at the title of eminence as applied to a burglar, being a character not famed for the possession of the cardinal virtues, the thought struck us that, comparing great things with small, the demand of Russia to keep up an undiminished force in the Black Sea after the conclusion of peace, which occasioned the breaking up of the Vienna conferences, was very much of the same description. Supposing a peace to have been patched up, Russia might have been said to have completed the term of her imprisonment, her ships of war and offensive stores at Sebastopol being considered as her professional tools, her cannon and mortars as the skeleton keys which she would use to pick the lock of the Ottoman Porte; and which, honest in a sense at last when brought to bay, she naively declares
her determination to use with greater precaution and better luck next time. The difference in the case is, and that not altogether an unimportant one, that the Grimsby magistrates had got possession of the tools of their eminent practitioner; while we have shut up ours, tools and all, and are even now employing efforts the most forcible, with some doubtfulness of issue, to get his tools from him; for he clings to them like grim Death, and will cling to them to all appearance until he is fairly caught by the throat and choked off."
Now, supposing that our Grimsby friend wanted to prove himself, in Jack Sheppard phrase, as innocent as the babe unborn after his false imprisonment, what do we suppose that he would say? He would probably say that he had been drinking with some friend, name unknown; had slightly exceeded, and in consequence lost his way; strayed upon a gentleman's lawn, and tumbled up against his library shutters, when he was caught by Lion and the butler; and he would account for the possession of the queer things found in his
SCHLOSSER'S Geschichte des 18ten und des 19ten Jahrhunderts.
Histoire de Russie. Bibliothèque de Lille.
VOLTAIRE. Pierre le Grand.