Page images
[blocks in formation]

order which hur: it d him to an untinely grave. Henry on his death bed gave the regency of France to the Duke of Bedford, a prince, who to great courage and consummate skill in war added civil predence and conciliatory manners; the delight of the ar. my, the favourite of the people, the admiration no less than terror of his ene, ies. To the regency of England he named kis young st brother, the Duke of Gloucester, who had acquitted himself of a simiar trust more thin once, with care integrity, and ability, to the general satisfaction. The Bishop of London had attended his Royal M ster abroad, as Chan, ellor of the Duchy of Normandy. His charge expiring with the King, he delivered up the great seal to the Regent at Rouen. † by advice of the Duke of Exeter, the Earl of March, the Earl of Warwick, and other of the English lords who were present; and also, from necessity, as he afterwards declared, that the course of justice might not suffer any interruption. From the state, perhaps, of the Duchy and France, the validity of this proceeding seems never to have been questioned, and the Duke of Bedford quietly assumed and exercised the Regor, cy. o It was not so at home. As soon as the King's death was ascertained ere, Langley, Bishop of Durham, then Chancellor, repaired to Windsor, with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of Winchester, and others both of the spiritual and temporal lords, and there in the presence of the Duke of Gloucester gave up the Great * The King himself, in the last eight years of his reign, hold only three parliarests; the Duke of Bedford, as guardian, jour; and the Duke of Gloucester, in the sane character, one. - * ~ * # This was his own account to Parlianient. See Rolls, Vol. IV. 1 H. VI. No. 14. The bishop had also in his custodya dulocate of the great deal of England, which & afterwards gave up at Windsor.

[ocr errors]

Seal to the infant King.” Humphrey then took and consigned it to the custody of Si. mon Gaustede, the Master of the Rolls; whether purposely passing by the late Chancellor as thinking him adverse to his interests, or in consequence of that prelate decliring any share in a transaction, which might appear to sanction the Duke's claim to the regency, is uncertain.t. Two days after, the same peers with such others as could most readily be collected, met at Westminster, in the Star-Chamber, and there held an irregular sort of great council. Their first care was to continue without intermission the administration of justice. They directed, therefore, new commissions to be made out to the judges, the sheriffs, escheators, and other similar offcers of the crown. They next took into their consideration the difficulty which existed, and for a long time must exist, with regard to the exercise of the royal functions; and came to a resolution that the question ought to be referred entire to the common assembly of all the estates of the realm, to provide by their united wisdom, the best mode of government for the person and estate of the King, as well as for the kingdom, in the exigency of their present situation : with which intent they authorised the issuing of the usual writs to suumon a Parliament without delay. We are

not informed whether the Duke of Glou.

cester on this occasion brought forward his so it is probable, however, that e would not pass this opportunity of asserting them, though he night cheerfully concur in the finas determination of the council. He had formerly presided on be: half of his late brother during a whole Pasliament; he foresaw that no one but him: self could be appointed to act for his in: fant nephew in the ensuing session; and, however tenacious of what he believed to

[blocks in formation]

be his own rights, he was never disposed to treat with disrespect the liberties of the peo. ple by whom he was beloved. In fact, therefore, he had anticipated the measure which was advised; * the writs, which were now sealed, had been prepared and dated on the preceding day at Windsor. From that time, the new Lord Keeper, though by virtue of the appointment which has been related, he was in possession of the office, and was allowed the established salary for it, was not called upon to put the seal to any instrument of great public inportance, till the meeting of Parliament approached, when it was indispensable, according to the just notions of that day, that the King, or some representative of the King in his name, should be present to open the session. Accordingly, three days before the meeting, a commission was addressed to the Duke of Gloucester, giving him full power so to appear there, to proceed therein, to do there whatever the King himself ought to do for the good government of the realm, and all the dominions thereunto belonging, and finally, with the assent of the council, to close and dissolve the assembly: in short, it vested in him for one whole session the entire legislative authority of the crown. He presided ; + his commission was read; and at his command the Archbishop of Canterbury explained the causes of the summons, which he said were to provide, during the tender age of the King, for the good governance of the royal person, the conservation of internal peace and the due execution of the laws, the se. curity and defence of the kingdom; but avoiding every allusion to a regent, he fixed the attention of the two houses wholly on the choice of a proper council. “ It “ principally imported them,” he said, “to “ provide for the first of the purposes which he had mentioned, some honourable and discreet persons, in which, they allought to give their best advice; agreeably to “ the counsel of Jethro to Moses, they should take such as feared God, wise men and religious, hating covetousness,

“ of influence and authority in the state.”

* If the second meeting in Rymer, and that mentioned in the Rolls be the same, as in the preceding note I have supposed them to be, and as I think clear; then what I have assumed above is the most obvious and only admissable way of accounting for the fact that the writs are dated on the 29th stom


+. It is to be found both in Rymer and the Rolls. What follows is from the Rolls.

In conclusion, he desired the Commons to go and elect their speaker. He was presented to the duke and approved by him. The proceedings which immediately fo!lowed relative to Humphrey's claims to the regency of the kingdom, would much exceed the space which you can allot me in your present number. I think it better, therefore, to stop here, than to break off in the niddle of them. My next letter will contain the whole of the discussions on the subject of the Protector's power during the King's infancy.—I am, Sir, &c. T. M. Middle Temple, Dec. 17, 1804.

WAR C F W ORDS. s SIR,-From the style and temper in which some late occurrences have been announced and commented upon, in some of our daily prints, it should secon that we are engaged. in a war of words, rather than in a conflict of arms, with our antient and inveterate foe: a method of hostility less deadly no doubt, but not greatly redounding to the national honor and credit; it being easy enough to collect and employ injurious epithets and phrases, in the use of which, we may become as skilful and acrimonious as our neighbours, though we cannot, by such futile weapons, expect to humble their pride or reduce their power. The seizure of Sir George Rumbold's person and papers has been inveighed against as a deed of the deepest malignity and perfidy! a violation of the law of nations most heinous ! unheard of: and without precedent! and every odious appellation has, in consequence, been poured upon Buonaparté, its abominable and atrocious author and contriver. The act itself, in truth, is not to be vindicated: it is one in the long list of teacherous and disgusting proceedings, to which the blind acrimony of nations, whether civilized or uncivilized, when at war, too often gives birth; but it is not marked with peculiar novelty or atrocity. The jealous intrigues and subtle enterprizes of one state, occasion similar proceedings to be adopted by another: and you have as little reason to look for an uniform reverence of the focrson of an ambassador, or an undeviating respect for a neutral territory, as you have to imagine your enemy's artillery should not be pointed against your fortresses lest perchance it should sweep away some of their peaceable inhabitants. If, instead of giving way to these violent ebullitions of wrath and indignation, we were to consult history, we should find that similar transactions have passed again and again, and have found their apology in the policy of the times; in our own country indeed, and under the House of Brunswick, an example offers itself of as bold and irregular an exertion of power as that of which, in this our day, we so loudly and grievously complain. The History” states, that in the year 1715, Charles XII, had formed a project to invade England, and was deep engaged in negotiation with the English malcontents. George the First having received from different quarters various information of this conspiracy, on his return from the Continent caused Count Gyllenberg the Swedish ambassador to be arrested in London: and by his requisition, Baron Goertz, the Swedish resident in Holland, was likewise arrested by order of the States-General; their papers were seized and searched, and amongst them were found ample proofs of the suspected machinations. The foreign ministers expressed much astonishment and regret at the proceedings; but Mr. Methuen, the Secretary of State, pleaded the urgent necessity which had compelled the King to this mea

sure; and it does not appear that either the

king or his minister were on account of it either libelled or stigmatized throughout the rest of Europe. Abusive language is not the weapon by which such unwarrantable an exercise of power is to be restrained. In public as in private affairs, fortiter in re, suaviter in modo, is the better maxim: for whetlier it be the object to coerce or conciliate the enemy, hard blows may possibly effect the one, whereas hard words may prove

a serious obstacle to the other.—A. T. —

Dec. 12, 1804.

* - Cotto NATION OF N A Po Leon.

Paris, Dec. 1, 1804.—— The Senate, in pursuance of a resolution passed in its sitting of the 20th of Nov., presented itself in a body at eleven o'clock this morning at the Palace of the Thuilleries. Having been introduced into the Chamber of State, they were presented to his Imperial Majesty by his Imperial Highnes, Prince Joseph, Grand Flector. His Excellency M. Francois (de Neufchâteau), the President, addressed his Majesty in the following terms:–

“ Sirc, The first attribute of the sovereign power of a people is the right of suf frage specially applied to fundamental laws. It-is this that constitutes real citizens. Newer has this light been more free, more independent, more certain, nor more legally exercised by any people, than it has been amongst us since the happy 9th of Nov. (18. Brumaire). One plebiscitum place

[ocr errors]

* * * -

[blocks in formation]

Imperial blood of France; and that the new.

throne raised for Napoleon, and rendered illustrious by him, shall never cease to be possessed either by the descendants of your Majesty, or by those of the princes, your brothers.-This last testimony of the confidence of the people, and of their just gratitude, ought to be flattering to your Imperial Majesty's heart. It is glorious for a man, who has devoted himself, as you have done, to the welfare of his peers, to learn that his name alone is sufficient to unite such a vast number of men. In this instance, Sire, the voice of the people is the voice of God. No government can be founded on a more indisputable title. The senate, the depository of this title, has passed a resolution to present itself in a body before your Imperial Majes: ty. It comes to display the joy with which it is penetrated, to offer you the unfeigned

tribute of its felicitations, of its respect, of:

its love, and to applaud itself for the object of this proceeding, in as much as that consuo mates what it expected from your foresigo',

to tranquillise the uneasiness of all good.

Frenchmen, and to conduct into port the bark of the republic.—Yes, Sire, of the republic | This word might wound the to of an ordinary monarch. Here the word is in its proper place before him, whose genu" has enabled us to enjoy the thing in the sense in which it can exist amongst a great peo" ple; you have done more than extending to imits of the republic, for you have establish“d it on a solid base. Thanks to the Empo" ror of the French, the conservative princi" ples of the interests of all, have been into duced into the government of one, and the strength of a monarchy founded in a repub: lic. For forty centuries, past, the question, which form of government is best, has bottl agitated; for forty centuries past the monas' chical form of government has been como

dered as the chef d’aeuvre of political wisdom, and the wole secure harbour of the human race. But there was one thing wanted, to unite without risque, the elements of liberty to its unity of power, and the certainty of its succession.—This improvement in the act of governing, is an advance which Napoleon at this moment produces in the social science. He has laid the foundation of representative states; he has not confined his views to their present existence; he has implanted in them the seeds of their future perfection. Whatever is wanted to their completion at first, will grow out of their own progress. It is the honour of the present age; the hope and the model of future ages. Sire, the first rank amongst the greatest men that have done honour to the earth, is reserved for the founders of Empires. Those, who have ruined them, have

enjoyed but a fatal glory; those who have

suffered them to fall to ruin, are every where objects of reproach. Honour to those who raise them They are not only the creators of nations, but they secure their continuance by laws which become the inheritance of futurity. We owe this treasure to your Imperial Majesty; and France proportions the measure of those thanks, which the Conservative Senate now presents to you in its name, to the magnitude of this blessing.— If a pure republic had been possible in France, we cannot doubt that you would have wished to have the honour of establishing it; and if it were possible, we should never be exonerated from the guilt of not having proposed it to a man having power sufficient to realise the idea of it; personally great enough not to need a sceptre, and geuerous enough to sacrifice his own interests to the interests of his country. Though, like Lycurgus, you should have to banish yourself from that country, which you would have organised, you would not have hesitated. Your profound meditations have been more than once directed to this great problem; but this problem was not to be solved even by your genius.--Superficial minds, struck with the ascendancy which so much success and glory so happily acquired for you over the spirit of the nation, have fancied, that you had it in your power to give it at discretion a popular government or a monarchical regime. There was no medium : not a soul wished for aristocracy in France : but the legislature ought to take men such as they are, and to give them, not the most perfect laws that could be devised, but like Solon, the best they can bear. Though the chisel of a great artist forms at pleasure, out of a block of marble either a tripod or a god, the body of a nation cannot be modelled on the

same principle. It is true, Sire, that your life is a tissue of prodigies: but though you might have bent the nature of things and the character of men to such a pitch, as to cast the masses of France once into the mould of democracy, this wonder would have been but a transient illusion : should we have concurred in it, we should only have forged chains for poster ty.——When our representatives, placed on the ruins of the throne, believed they could establish a republic, their intentions were pure: before sad experience released them from the enchantment, they sincerely worshipped that delusive phantom which they took for equality. We can speak of an error by which we had been dazzled for a moment, Alas! who could avoid it? The popular torrent hurried along the most indifferent in spite of themselves.---It is said, that the ancient Persians in order to: convince the people of the terrible danger of an abuse of liberty, used to employ a very extraordinary custom : they used to inoculate themselves for a short time with the plague of political bodies. When any of their kings died, five days were spent in anarchy without authority or laws. licentiousness was neither restrained then nor punished afterwards; they were five days given up to the spirit of vengeance, to excess, to violence, in a word, they were five days of revolution. This proof, it is said, used to make the people return with much joy to submission to their prince.--—After fluctuations more terrible than those of a troubled sea, it was thought that an infallible remedy had been discovered for popular convulsions in a polygarchy. The depositing of authority in the hands of many, was better than the absence or the dispersion of this authority: but differing spirits, and opposite wills could not be included in the same body, as the Manicheans used to place two contrary principles at the head of the universe. The struggle between these two principles would have annihilated France, if the course that has been taken had not been adopted, to return to a more concentrated power. [To be continued.]

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]


with unfairness of argument, party and personal motives, with misrepresentation and perversity; but, as relating to Mr. Canning and his colleague, Lord Hawkesbury, he scruples not to accuse me, at once, of falsehood; and, though he has the goodness to leave a loop-hole for me by the way of “total ignorance;" yet, the statement must, according to him, still be false; so that, at best, the Register, through my ignorance, is become the propagator of falsehood. He says, (paragraph 2), that it is within his own knowledge, that I was totally ignorant of every circumstance that concerned Mr. Canning and Lord Hawkesbury; that he is not at liberty to enter into the detail, but that I may be assired, that it would prove no less honourable to the former than disgraceful to the latter; and that, therefore, it is unpleasant to hear censures that are unjust, and that prove my entire ignorance of the real state of the case. I would first beg leave to ask this gentleman, whether, if it be unpleasant to hear unjust censure of others, it can be very pleasant to hear unjust censure of oneself? And, if it cannot be, I think, it will not be denied, that we should be very cautious how we express our censure to the person against whom it is directed, even though we do it anonymously. Whether my Correspondent has acted upon this principle, or whether he has entirely disregarded it, will presently appear. I have, this writer seems to think, censured Mr. Canning for his conduct in the affair alluded to. What he may consider as censure, I do not know ; but my statement respecting Mr. Canning will shew, I think, that, ac, ording to the usual acceptation of the word, my

censure of that gentleman was not, at most,

very strong. I stated, in page 783, that “ it was said, that Mr. Canning, before he “would consent to take office in the pre“sent ministry, insisted that Lord Hawkes. “ bury should be removed from the office of “ foreign affairs;” and, I further stated,

that this report was, in a great degree, con. . firmed by wiłat Mr. Canning himself said

in the House of Commons, where, on the 18th of Jāne last, thinking it necessary to stite the grounds upon which he thought himself justified in joining the new ministry, he said, “I shall content myself with “ vindicating my own consistency. I ob. “jected to the administration of foreign af. “fairs, and that has been changed.” Now,

I ask any candid man, whether this can,

with any propriety, be called censure of Mr. Canning. o 824, the subject was revived, so consolence of the letter of a correspond ot, who positively issured me, that


[ocr errors][merged small]

Lord Hawkesbury's conduct had been truly dignified, and that it was Mr. Canning who had acted the submissive part, upon the oc. casion alluded to. I just observed, that barely asserting this, either to me or to the public, appeared by no means satisfactory, And I said, as upon the former occasion, that the only facts which the world knew were these : that Lord Hawkesbury had been removed from the office of foreign affairs; and that Mr. Canning had publicly said, that he had objected to the administration of that office under Lord Hawkesbury. Was here any censure of Mr. Canning 2 Upon the report, that Mr. Canning had made Lord Hawkesbury's removal one of the terms of his condescending to join the ministry, I did, indeed, observe, that, in any other times than the present, such a person as Mr. Cab. ning having obtained a similar influence would have been matter of great asionishment; and this observation l now wish to be understood as repeating. But, all this is no censure of Mr. Canning. Censure of Mr. Pitt, indeed, might hence be inferred; and as my Correspondent does not allow me to make any statement wherefrom such an inference can possibly be drawn, I may, on this account, have, according to bis notions, incurred just blame; but, certainly not on account of censure of Mr. Canning.—I am, however, not quite satisfied with baving shown, that I passed no censure upon this gentleman It is not pleasant to hear oneself reproached with “total ignorance" of any sort, and particularly upon a subject whereon one has taken the liberty to speak to the public. This Correspondent bids me be “assured,” that I am totally ignorant upon this subject, and that, though he is not at liberty to enter into any detail, I may venture to state, that the transaction was “ not less honourable to Mr. Canning than disgraceful to Lord Hawkesbury." That the gentleman expected his letter to be pub: lished, or that he wished it to be, there can be no doubt; and, it will be for the reader to say, whether his treatment of Lord Hawkesbury exhibits any very striking

proof of that fairness, which he is so

anxious to inculcate with respect to every discussion wherein Mr. Pitt is concerned. But before I proceed to attempt to show, that all the ignorance of this matter does not lie on my side, and that I should notb" justified in venturing to make any such sratement as that, with which he has fur

nished me, let me ask, what pretensions he

has to such implicit confidence 2 and whe: ther, from experience, I have not good reason to doubt, I will not say of his wo

« PreviousContinue »