In Whitman's Hand

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About this Item

Title: The English Masses

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: Between 1850 and 1860

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00199

Source: Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. Transcribed from digital images of the original. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the marginalia and annotations, see our statement of editorial policy.

Editorial note(s): At one point, this manuscript formed part of Whitman's cultural geography scrapbook.

Contributors to digital file: Caterina Bernardini and Kevin McMullen



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TThe English Masses

(Talk with Frank Leonard, "Yank," &c—their travels through English towns with the American Circus)

The large mass (nine tenths) of the English people, the peasantry, laborers, factory-operatives, miners, workers in the docks, on shipping, the poor, the diseased, the old, the criminals, the numberless flunkies of one sort and another, ^have some of the bull-dog attributes but are all generally minus the best attributes of humanity; they have some of the bull-dog attributes They are not a race of fine physique, or any spirituality, ^or manly audacity, or with ^—have no clarified faces, candor, freedom, agility, and quick wit.—They are short, have mean physoiognomies, (such as you are in the caricatures in "Punch,") and fine-shaped men


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and women, ^city bred, being almost hardly ever met rarely very seldom met with in the scity, and becoming less ^and less common in the country.—Bad blood, goitre, scro consumption, and the diseases that branch out from vener[r?]ealisim, gin-drinkinkingg, and excessive toil, and poor diet, are to-day apparent, to a greater or less degree, in two-thirds of the population of common-people of Great Bri England.—They are wretchedly poor, own neither houses nor lands for themselves—have no homes—cannot ^look to have any homes—and are acquiring a something fierce, and morose, threatening in their physiognomy.—In

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their phrenology there is athe most substantial basis of any race known, but with—all that can make a solid nation, and has made it.—

Among the common classes, ^in towns, chastity is not common.— dwindling out.—It All drink—few are virtuous. In regard to intelligence, education, knowledge, the masses of the people, are belong to the in comparison with the masses of the US. are at least two hundred years behind [h?] us.—With all thisese terrible things about the common people, what grand things must be said about England! Power, wealth, ^materials, energy, individualism, a proud pride, command, are her's—and there is to-day but one nation greater than she is, and that one nation is her own daughter.—


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