What is the main idea of the third paragraph in Book the first, Chapter I?A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Having established a parallel between France and England in the first paragraph, in the third paragraph Dickens expresses his fears that England is ripe for revolution.  But, when Dickens writes, "Spiritual revelations were conceded to England at that favoured period" and Mrs. Southcott, a proclaimed prophetress, predicted that she would give birth to a Messiah, and he also points to the interest in another supernatural happening, that of the Cock Lane ghost.  While these happenings drew much interest and sensationalism. the American Revolution went virtually unnoticed by the English. This, then, is the point of this third paragraph:  Why do the people attend to trivial and sensational nonsense when their country ignores the "mere messages of the earthly order of events" which are much more importance?  Could England not find itself in the same circumstances of revolt?