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the Prince had thrown himself entirely into their ideas of the old French monarchy. They the hands of those bigotted emigrants, who have read Burke, till their fancies are someaffect to be displeased with his acceptance what heated with the picturesque image of of a limited crown. In their eyes, the thing tempered royalty and polished" aristocracy, would have been more complete, if the no- which he has held out in his splendid pictures blesse had been restored at once to all their of France as it was before the revolution; feudal privileges, and the church to its ancient and have been so long accustomed to contrast endowments. And we cannot help suspect those comparatively happy and prosperous ing, that they think the loss of those vain and days, with the horrors and vulgar atrocities oppressive trappings, but ill compensated by that ensued, that they forget the many real the increased dignity and worth of the whole evils and oppressions of which that brilliant population, by the equalisation of essential monarchy was productive, and think that the rights, and the provision made for the free succeeding abominations cannot be completeenjoyment of life, property, and conscience, ly expiated till it be restored as it originally by the great body of the people.
existed. Perhaps we exaggerate a little in our rep- All these, and we believe many other illuresentation of sentiments in which we do not sions of a similar nature, slight and fanciful at all concur:-But, certainly, in conversa- as they may appear, contribute largely, we tion and in common newspapers—those light have no doubt, to that pardonable feeling of straws that best show how the wind sits dislike to the limitation of the old monarchy, one hears and sees, every day, things that which we conceive to be very discernible in approach at least to the spirit we have at a certain part of our population. The great tempted to delineate,--and afford no slight source of that feeling, however, and that presumption of the prevalence of such opin- which gives root and nourishment to all the ions as we lament. In lamenting them, how- rest, the Ignorance which prevails in this ever, we would not indiscriminately blame. country, both of the evils of arbitrary govern
- They are not all to be ascribed to a spirit ment, and of the radical change in the feel. of servility, or a disregard of the happiness ings and opinions of the Continent, which has of mankind. Here, as in other heresies, there rendered it no longer practicable in its more is an intermixture of errors that are to be enlightened quarters. Our insular situation, pardoned, and principles that are to be re- and the measure of freedom we enjoy, have spected. There are patriotic prejudices, and done us this injury; along with the infinite illusions of the imagination, and misconcep- good of which they have been the occasions. tions from ignorance, at the bottom of this We do not know either the extent of the misery unnatural antipathy to freedom in the citizens and weakness produced by tyranny, or the of a free land; as well as more sordid inter- force and prevalence of the conviction which ests, and more wilful perversions. Some has recently arisen, where they are best known, sturdy Englishmen are staunch for our mo- that they are no longer to be tolerated. On nopoly of liberty; and feel as if it was an the Continent, experience has at last done insolent invasion of British privileges, for any far more to enlighten public opinion upon other nation to set up a free constitution !- these subjects, than reflection and reasoning Others apprehend serious dangers to our great- in this Island. There, nations have been ness, if this mainspring and fountain of our found irresistible, when the popular feeling prosperity be communicated to other lands.- was consulted; and absolutely impotent and A still greater proportion, we believe, are in- indefensible where it had been outraged and fluenced by considerations yet more fantasti- disregarded : And this necessity of consulting cal.—They have been so long used to consider the general opinion, has led, on both sides, to the old government of France as the perfect a great relaxation of many of the principles model of a feudal monarchy, softened and on which they originally went to issue. adorned by the refinements of modern society, Of this change in the terms of the questhat they are quite sorry to part with so fine tion—and especially of the great abatement a specimen of chivalrous manners and institu- which it had been found necessary to make tions; and look upon it, with all its character in the pretensions of the old governments, we istic and imposing accompaniments, of a bril. were generally but little aware in this country: liant and warlike nobility, -a gallant court, Spectators as we have been of the distant and a gorgeous hierarchy,
-á gay and familiar protracted contest between ancient institutions vassalage, with the same sort of feelings with and authorities on the one hand, and demowhich they would be apt to regard the sump-cratical innovation on the other, we are apt tuous pageantry and splendid solemnities of still to look upon the parties to ihat contest
, the Romish ritual. They are very good Pro- as occupying nearly the same positions, and testants themselves; and know too well the maintaining the same principles, they did at value of religious truth and liberty, to wish the beginning; while those who have been for any less simple, or more imposing system nearer to the scene of action, or themselves at home; but they have no objection that it partakers of the fray, are aware that, in the should exist among their neighbours, that course of that long conflict, each party has their taste may be gratified by the magnificent been obliged to recede from some of its prespectacles it affords, and their imaginations tensions, and to admit, in some degree, the warmed with the ideas of venerable and justice of those that are made against it. pompous antiquity, which it is so well fitted Here, where we have been but too apt to conto suggest. The case is nearly the same with sider the mighty game which has been play. ing in our sight, and partly at our expense, as hands. Compared with acts so unequivocal, an occasion for exercising our own party ani- all declarations may justly be regarded as inmosities, or seeking illustrations for our pecu- significant; but there are declarations also to liar theories of government, we are still as the same purpose ;-made freely and delibesdiametrically opposed, and as keen in our ately on occasions of unparalleled importar ee, hostilities, as ever. The controversy with us —and for no other intelligible purpose but being in a great measure speculative, would solemnly to announce to mankind ihe generous lose its interest and attraction, if anything principle on which those mighty actions had like a compromise were admitted; and we been performed. choose, therefore, to shut our eyes to the great But while these authorities and these con. and visible approximation into which time, siderations may be expected, in due time, to and experience, and necessity have forced the overcome that pardonable dislike to contiactual combatants. We verily believe, that, nental liberty which arises from ignorance or except in the imaginations of English politi- natural prejudices, we will confess that we cians, there no longer exist in the world any by no means reckon on the total disappear. such aristocrats and democrats as actually ance of this illiberal jealousy. There is, and divided all Europe in the early days of the we fear there will always be, among us, a set French revolution. In this country, however, of persons who conceive it to be for their inwe still speak and feel as if they existed; and terest to decry every thing that is favourable the champions of aristocracy in particular, con- to liberty,—and who are guided only by a retinue, with very few exceptions, both to main- gard to their interest. In a government contain pretensions that their principals have long stituted like ours, the Court must almost ago abandoned, and to impute to their adver- always be more or less jealous, and perhaps saries, crimes and absurdities with which justly, of the encroachment of popular printhey have long ceased to be chargeable. To ciples, and disposed to show favour to those them, therefore, no other alternative has yet who would diminish the influence and aupresented itself but the absolute triumph of thority of such principles. Without intending one or other of two opposite and irreconcile- or wishing to render the British crown altoable extremes. Whatever is taken from the gether arbitrary, it still seems to them to be sovereign, they consider as being necessarily in favour of its constitutional privileges, that given to crazy republicans; and very naturally arbitrary monarchies should, to a certain exdislike all limitations of the royal power, bé- tent, be defended; and an artful apology for cause they are unable to distinguish them tyranny is gratefully received as an argument from usurpations by the avowed enemies of all à fortiori in support of a vigorous prerogasubordination. That the real state of things has tive. The leaders of the party, therefore, lean long been extremely different, men of reflec- that way; and their baser followers rush cla. tion might have concluded from the known morously along it—to the very brink of servile principles of human nature, and men of infor- sedition, and treason against the constitution. mation must have learned from sources of un- Such men no arguments will silence, and doubted authority: But no small proportion of no authorities convert. It is their profession our zealous politicians belong to neither of to discredit and oppose all that tends to pro-. those classes; and we ought not, perhaps, to mote the freedom of mankind; and in that wonder, if they are slow in admitting truths vocation they will infallibly labour, so long as which a predominating party has so long it yields them a profit. At the present mothought it for its interest to misrepresent or ment, too, we have no doubt, that their zeal disguise. The time, however, seems almost is quickened by their alarm; since, independ. come, when conviction must be forced even ent of the general damage which the cause upon their reluctant understandings, -and by of arbitrary government must sustain from the the sort of evidence best suited to their capa- events of which we have been speaking, their city. They would probably be little moved by immediate consequences in this country are the best arguments that could be addressed to likely to be eminently favourable to the inthem, and might distrust the testimony of or- terests of regulated liberty and temperate redinary observers; but they cannot well refuse form. Next to the actual cessation of bloodto yield to the opinions of the great Sovereigns shed and suffering, indeed, we consider this of the Continent, and must even give faith to to be the greatest domestic benefit that we their professions, when they find them con- are likely to reap from the peace,—and the firmed at all points by their actions. If the circumstance, in our new situation, which calls establishment of a limited monarchy in France the loudest for our congratulation. We are would be dangerous to sovereign authority in perfectly aware, that it is a subject of regret all the adjoining regions, it is not easy to con- to many patriotic individuals, that the brilliant ceive that it should have met with the cordial successes at which we all rejoice, should hare approbation of the Emperors of Austria and occurred under an administration which has Russia, and the King of Prussia, in the day of not manifested any extraordinary dislike to their most brilliant success; or that that mo- abuses, nor any very cordial attachment to the ment of triumph on the part of the old princes rights and liberties of the people; ard we of Europe should have been selected as the know, that it has been an opinion pretty cur period when the thrones of France, and Spain, rent, both with them and iheir antagonists, and Holland, were to be surrounded with per- that those successes will fix them so firmly in manent limitations,-imposed with their cor- power, that they will be enabled, if they should dial assent, and we might almost say, by their be so inclined, to deal more largely in abuses, and to press more closely on our liberties, than , too, to make a fair and natural appeal 10 the any of their predecessors. For our own part, analogous acts or institutions of other nations, however, we have never been able to see without being met with the cry of revolution things in this inauspicious light ;-and having and democracy, or the imputation of abetting no personal or factious quarrel with our pres- the proceedings of a sanguinary despot. We ent ministers, are easily comforted for the in- shall again see the abuses of old hereditary creased chance of their continuance in office, power, and the evils of maladministration in by a consideration of those circumstances that legitimate hands; and be permitted to argue must infallibly, under any ministry, operate from them, without the reproach of disaffecto facilitate reform, to diminish the power of tion to the general cause of mankind. Men the Crown, and to consolidate the liberties of and things, in short, we trust, will again rethe nation. If our readers agree with us in ceive their true names, on a fair consideration our estimate of the importance of these cir- of their merits; and our notions of political cumstances, we can scarcely doubt that they desert be no longer confounded by indiscrimi-will concur in our general conclusion. nate praise of all who are with us, and in
In the first place, then, it is obvious, that tolerant abuse of all who are against us, in a the direct patronage and indirect influence of struggle that touches the sources of so many the Crown must be most seriously and effect- passions. When we plead for the emancipanally abridged by the reduction of our army tion of the Catholics of Ireland, we shall no and navy, the diminution of our taxes, and, longer be told that the Pope is a mere puppet generally speaking, of all our establishments
, in the hands of an inveterate foe,
,-nor be deupon the ratification of peace. We have terred from protesting against the conflagration thought it a great deal gained for the Consti- of a friendly capital, by the suggestion, that tution of late years, when we could strike off no other means were left to prevent that same a few hundred thousand pounds of offices in foe from possessing himself of its fleet. Exthe gift of the Crown, that had become use- ceptions and extreme cases, in short, will no less, or might be consolidated ;-and now the longer furnish the ordinary rules of our conpeace will, at one blow, strike off probably duct; and it will be impossible, by extraneous ihirty or forty millions of government expendi- arguments, to baffle every attempt at a fair esture, ordinary or extraordinary. This alone timate of our public principles and proceedings. might restore the balance of the Constitution. These, we think, are among the necessary
In the next place, a continuance of peace consequences of a peace concluded in such and prosperity will naturally produce a greater circumstances as we have now been considerdiffusion of wealth, and consequently a greater ing; and they are but a specimen of the kinspirit of independence in the body of the peo- dred consequences to which it must infallibly ple; which, co-operating with the diminished lead. If these ensue, however, and are alpower of the government to provide for its lowed to produce their natural effects, it is a baser adherents, must speedily thin the ranks matter of indifference to us whether Lord of its regular supporters, and expose it far Castlereagh and Lord Liverpool, or Lord Grey more effectually to the control of a weightier and Lord Grenville are at the head of the and more impartial public opinion.
government. The former, indeed, may probe In the third place, the events to which we ably be a little uneasy in so new a posture of have alluded, and the situation in which they affairs; but they will either conform to it, or will leave us, will take away almost all those abandon their posts in despair. To control or pretexts for resisting inquiry into abuses, and alter it, will assuredly be beyond their power, proposals for reform, by the help of which, With these pleasing anticipations, we would rather than of any serious dispute on the prin- willingly close this long review of the State ciple, these important discussions have been and Prospects of the European Commonwealth, wa ved for these last twenty years. We shall in its present great crisis
, of restoration, or of no longer be stopped with the plea of its being new revolutions. But, cheering and beautiful no fit time to quarrel about the little faults of as it is, and disposed as we think we have our Constitution, when we are struggling with shown ourselves to look hopefully upon it
, it a ferocious enemy for its very existence. It is impossible to shut our eyes on two dark will not now do to tell us, that it is both dan- stains that appear on the bright horizon, and gerous and disgraceful to show ourselves dis. seem already to tarnish the glories with which united in a season of such imminent peril or they are so sadly contrasted. One is of longer that all great and patriotic minds should be standing, and perhaps of deeper dye. But entirely engrossed with the care of our safety, both are most painful deformities on the face and can have neither leisure nor energy to of so fair a prospect; and may be mentioned bestow upon concerns less urgent ar vital. with less scruple and greater hope, from the The restoration of peace, on the contrary, will consideration, that those who have now the soon leave us little else to do:—and when we power of effacing them can scarcely be charged have no invasions nor expeditions-nor coali, with the guilt of their production, and have tions nor campaigns-nor even any loans and given strong indications of dispositions that budgets to fill the minds of our statesmen, and must lead them to wish for their removal. We the ears of our idle politicians, we think it al. need scarcely give the key to these observamost certain that questions of reform will rise tions by naming the names of Poland and of into paramount importanoe, and the redress Norway. Nor do we propose, on the present of abuses become the most interesting of pub- occasion, to do much more than to name them. lic pursuits. We shall be once more entitled, of the latter, we shall probably contrive to 75
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speak fully on a future occasion. Of the for. to rouse its vast and warlike population with mer, many of our readers may think we have, the vain promise of independence; while it is on former occasions, said at least enough. perfectly manifest that those, by whom alone Our zeal in that cause, we know, has been that promise could be effectually kept, would made matter of wonder, and even of derision, gain prodigiously, both in securiiy and in subamong certain persons who value themselves stantial influence, by its faithful performance. on the character of practical politicians and it is not, however, for the mere name of men of the world; and we have had the satis- independence, nor for the lost glories of an faction of listening to various witty sneers on ancient and honourable existence, that the the mixed simplicity and extravagance of people of Poland are thus eager to array supposing, that the kingdom of the Poles was themselves in any desperate strife of which 10 be re-established by a dissertation in an this may be proclaimed as the prize. We English journal. It would perhaps be enough have shown, in our last number, the substanto state, that, independent of any view to an tial and intolerable evils which this extinction immediate or practical result in other regions, of their national dignity—this sore and unit is of some consequence to keep the obser- merited wound to their national pride, has vation of England alive, and its feelings awake, necessarily occasioned: And thinking, as we upon a subject of this importance : But we do, that a people without the feelings of namust beg leave to add, that such dissertations tional pride and public duty must be a people are humbly conceived to be among the legiti- without energy and without enjoymenis, we mate means by which the English public both apprehend it to be at any rate indisputable, in instructs and expresses itself; and that the the present instance, that the circumstances opinion of the English public is still allowed which have dissolved their political being, to have weight with its government; which have struck also at the root of their individual again cannot well be supposed to be altogether happiness and prosperity; and that it is not without influence in the councils of its allies. merely the unjust destruction of an ancient
Whatever becomes of Poland, it is most kindom that we lament, but the condemnation material, we think, that the people of this of fifteen millions of human beings to uncountry should judge soundly, and feel right- profitable and unparalleled misery. ly, on a matter ihat touches
on principles of But though these are the considerations by such general application. But every thing which the feelings of private individuals are that has passed since the publication of our most naturally affected, it should never be former remarks, combines to justify what we forgotten, that all the principles on which the then stated; and to encourage us to make great fabric of national independence conlouder and more energetic appeals to the jus- fessedly rests in Europe, are involved in the tice and prudence and magnanimity of the decision of this question; and that no one parties concerned in this transaction. The nation can be secure in its separate existence, words and the deeds of Alexander that have, if all the rest do not concur in disavowing since that period, passed into the page of the maxims which were acted upon in the history-the principles he has solemnly pro- partition of Poland. It is not only mournful fessed, and the acts by which he has sealed to see the scattered and bleeding members of that profession-entitle us to expeot from him that unhappy state still palpitating and agoa strain of justice and generosity, which vul. nising on the spot where it lately stood erect gar politicians may call romantic if they please, in youthful vigour and beauty; but it is unsafe but which all men of high principles and en- to breathe the noxious vapours which this larged understandings will feel to be not more melancholy spectacle exhales, The whole heroic than judicious. While Poland remains some neighhourhood is poisoned by their dif. oppressed and discontented, the peace of Eu- fusion; and every independence within their rope will always be at the mercy of any am- range, sickens and is endangered by the con. bitious or intriguing power that may think fit tagion,
( February, 1811.) Speech of the Right Hon. William Windham, in the House of Commons, May 26, 1809, on
Mr. Curwen's Bill, "for better securing the Independence and Purity of Parliament, by preventing the procuring or obtaining of Seats by corrupt Practices." 8vo. pp. 43. London : 1810.*
Mr. WINDHAM, the most high-minded and in selling seats in parliament openly to ihe incorruptible of living men, can see no harm highest bidder, or for excluding public trusts
The passing of the Reform Bill has antiquated ponents of reform principles which are applicable much of The discussion in this article. as originally io all times, and all conditions of society; and of pritten ; and a considerable portion of it is now, for which recent events and discussions seem to show this reason, omitted. But it also contains answers that the present generation may still need to be reto the systematic apologists of corruption, and op- minded.
generally from the money market; and is of , pernicious and reprehensible of all political
—and that penalties should be inflicted, when extraordinary worth and abilities in an oppos-
tempt to discredit. In the first place, because To those who are already familiar with the it is founded in the very nature of 'men and facts and the reasonings that bear upon this of human affairs, and could not possibly be great question, these brief suggestions will prevented, or considerably weakened, by any probably be sufficient; but there are many to thing short of an universal regeneration; sewhom the subject will require a little more condly, because, though originating from proexplanation ; and for whose use, at all events, perty, it does by no means imply, either the the argument must be a little more opened baseness of venality, or the guilt of corrupup and expanded.
tion; but rests infinitely more upon feelings If men were perfectly wise and virtuous, of vanity, and social instinctive sympathy, they would stand in no need either of Govern- than upon any consciousness of dependence, ment or of Representatives; and, therefore, or paltry expectation of personal emolument; if they do need them, it is quite certain that and, thirdly, because, taking men as they actheir choice will not be influenced by con- tually are, this mixed feeling is, upon the siderations of duty or wisdom alone. We whole, both a safer and a better feeling than may assume it as an axiom, therefore, how- the greater part of those, to the influence of ever the purists may be scandalised, that, which they would be abandoned, if this should even in political elections, some other feel be destroyed. If the question were, always, ings will necessarily have play; and that pas- whether a man of wealth and family, or a man sions, and prejudices, and personal interests, of sense and virtue, should have the greatest will always interfere, to a greater or less ex- influence, it would no doubt be desirable that tent, with the higher dictates of patriotism the preponderance should be given to moral and philanthropy. Of these sinister motives, and intellectual merit. But ihis is by no individual interest, of course, is the strongest means the true state of the contest :-and and most steady; and wealth, being its most when the question is between the influence common and appropriate object, it is natural of property and the influence of intriguing am. to expect that the possession of property bition and turbulent popularity, we own that should bestow some political influence. The we are glad to find the former most frequently question, therefore, is, whether this influence prevalent. In ordinary life, and in common can ever be safe or tolerable-or whether it affairs, this natural and indirect influence of be possible to mark the limits at which it be- property is vast and infallible, even upon the comes so pernicious as to justify legislative best and most enlightened part of the comcoercion. Now, we are so far from thinking, munity; and nothing can conduce so surely to with Mr. Windham, that there is no room for the stability and excellence of a political conany distinction in this matter, that we are institution, as to make it rest upon the general clined, on the whole, to be of opinion, that principles that regulate the conduct of the what we would term the natural and inevita- better part of the individuals who live under ble influence of property in elections, is not it, and to attach them to their government by only safe, but salutary; while its artificial the same feelings which insure their affecand corrupt influence is among the most Ition or submission in their private capacity.