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HI. DOWNING STREET. From all corners of the wide British Dominion
there rises one complaint against the ineffectuality of what are
nicknamed our ' redtape' establishments, our Government Offices,
Colonial Office, Foreign Office and the others, in Downing Street
and the neighbourhood, To me individually these branches of human
business are little known; but every British citizen and reflective
passer-by has occasion to won- der much, and inquire earnestly,
concerning them. To all men it is evident that the social interests
of One-hundred and fifty Millions of us depend on the mysterious
industry there carried on; and likewise that the dissatisfaction
with it is great, universal, and continually increasing in
intensity, ?in fact, mounting, we might say, to the pitch of
settled despair. Every colony, every agent for a matter colonial,
has his tragic tale to tell you of his sad experiences in the
Colonial Office; what blind obstructions, fatal indolences,
pedantries, stupidities, on the right and on the left, he had to do
battle with; what a world-wide jungle of redtape, inhabited by
doleful creatures, deaf or nearly so to human reason or entreaty,
he had entered on; and how he paused in amazement, almost in
despair; passionately appealed now to this doleful creature, now to
that, and to the dead redtape jungle, and to the living Universe
itself, and to the Voices and tothe Silences;?and, on the whole,
found that it was an adventure, in sorrowful fact, equal to the
fabulous ones by old knights-errant against dragons and wizards in
enchanted wildernesses and waste howling solitudes; not achievable
except by nearly superhuman exercise of all the four cardinal
virtues, and unexpected favour of the special blessing of Heaven.
His adventure achieved or found unachievable, he ha...
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