The Adventures of Caleb Williams; Or, Things as They are, Volume 3

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H. Colburn and R. Bentley, 1830 - Executions and executioners
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User Review  - EadieB - LibraryThing

This book is a very good study of the nature of man. It is also one of the first political, social, and judicial thrillers that had a great influence on such writers as Poe and Dickens and was ... Read full review

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User Review  - amydross - LibraryThing

A rollicking thriller, though gets awfully repetitive at times. Though it was intended as a showcase for Godwin's political ideas, the story takes on a life of its own and sometimes seems to contradict his political precepts. It is perhaps at its most interesting when it does so. Read full review

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Page 313 - I most ardently desired is for ever frustrated. I have spent a life of the basest cruelty, to cover one act of momentary vice, and to protect myself against the prejudices of my species. I stand now completely detected. My name will be consecrated to infamy, while your heroism, your patience, and your virtues will be for ever admired. You have inflicted on me the most fatal of all mischiefs; but I bless the hand that wounds me. And now' — turning to the magistrate - 'and now, do with me as you...
Page 58 - ... crimes, receives them to favour. But the institutions of countries that profess to worship this God, admit no such distinctions. They leave no room for amendment, and seem to have a brutal delight in confounding the demerits of offenders. It signifies not what is the character of the individual at the hour of trial. How changed, how spotless and how useful avails him nothing.
Page 314 - I have for many years (I know not how long) dragged on a miserable existence in insupportable pain. I am at last, in recompense for all my labours and my crimes, dismissed from it with the disappointment of my only remaining hope, the destruction of that for the -sake of which alone I consented to exist. It was worthy of such a life that it should continue just long enough to witness this final overthrow. If, however, you wish to punish me, you must be speedy in your justice ; for, as reputation...
Page 300 - I poison, with sounds the most intolerable to his ears, the last moments of a man like Falkland? It is impossible. There must have been some dreadful mistake in the train of argument that persuaded me to be the author of this hateful scene. There must have been a better and more magnanimous remedy to the evils under which I groaned.
Page 309 - ... soul was poured out. I despaired, while it was yet time to have made the just experiment ; but my despair was criminal, was treason against the sovereignty of truth.
Page 311 - Such were the accents dictated by my remorse. I poured them out with uncontrolable impetuosity, for my heart was pierced, and I was compelled to give vent to its anguish. Every one that heard me, was petrified with astonishment. Every one that heard me, was melted into tears. They could not resist the ardour with which I praised the great qualities of Falkland; they manifested their sympathy in the tokens of my penitence.
Page 318 - I began these memoirs with the idea of vindicating my character. I have now no character that I wish to vindicate : but I will finish them that thy story may be fully understood; and that, if those errors of thy life be known which thou so ardently desiredst to conceal, the world may at least not hear and repeat a half-told and mangled tale.
Page 316 - A nobler spirit lived not among the sons of men. Thy intellectual powers were truly sublime, and thy bosom burned with a god-like ambition. But of what use are talents and sentiments in the corrupt wilderness of human society? It is a rank and rotten soil, from which every finer shrub draws poison as it grows.
Page 255 - The pride of philosophy has taught us to treat man as an individual. He is no such thing. He holds necessarily, indispensably, to his species. He is like those twin-births that have two heads indeed, and four hands ; but if you attempt to detach them from each other, they are inevitably subjected to miserable and lingering destruction.
Page 106 - After supper, the minister withdrew to his chamber, having given his servant directions to call him at seven, on the ensuing morning. No sooner had he retired, than Dundas, conscious how much his mind stood in need of repose, repaired to his apartment, locked the door, and put the key in his pocket; at the same time enjoining the valet on no consideration to disturb his master, but to allow him to sleep as long as nature required. It is a truth that Pitt neither awoke, nor called any person, till...

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