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and at all times dedicating the productions of his literary talents, and his legal knowledge, to the service of different parts of the empire. We are now going to behold him moving in a higher and wider sphere, embracing objects of universal importance, and successfully pursuing measures, on the issue of which depended the salvation of the state, the secure enjoyment of every thing dear to Englishmen, and the transmission of these blessings to our remotest posterity. It is scarcely necessary to say, that we allude to Mr. Reeves's becoming the founder and promoter of “Associations for protecting Liberty and Property against Republicans and Levellers.” In the course of the year 1792, the revolutionary principles by which France had been for some time so dreadfully agitated began to disclose themselves in Great Britain to a most alarming extent. Wicked ambition, grown wild by repeated disappointment, was eager for any change, and therefore resolved to pull down, if possible, the pillars of the state, at the hazard of being crushed to death under its ruins. Other characters, no less desperate, being equally void of principles and of property, longed for some general convulsion, in which, if they could not repair their shattered fortunes, they hoped, at least, to enjoy the hellish consolation of seeing the great and the good levelled to an equality of distress with themselves. The secret motives of all these parties were concealed under the show of the most ardent zeal for the public good. By ten thousand modes of delusion, they found dupes and proselytes in every corner of the kingdom; and whereever they gained ground they did not fail to establish clubs, for the purpose of disseminating their baleful doctrines. Such was the alarming career of sedition, at the time of Mr. Reeves's return from his second voyage to Newfoundland. The very day after his arrival he had a consultation on the subject with a small party of his legal friends, eminent both in character and in station. At this meeting it was determined that the most proper antidote to be opposed to the prevailing poison of the day, was that which counter-associations, composed of loyal and well-affected men, would supply; and Mr. Reeves undertook to create them in a short time. He accordingly drew up an appropriate advertisement, which, operating like an electric shock, produced the desired effect. The public spirit manifested itself with the rapidity of lightning, — crowds instantly flocked to the Crown and Anchor, the appointed place of meeting; and it became evident that nothing more than a rallying point, which the well-directed zeal of an individual had now supplied, had been wanting, to which the real friends of the country might repair, in order to combine their efforts for the resistance of that rising spirit of disaffection which had already assumed so frightful an aspect. Such was the eagerness of individuals for a public declaration of their sentiments, and such were the zeal and activity which marked the conduct of the worthy father of the Loyal Associations, that not more than ten days elapsed between the first conception and the final execution of the plan. A committee, consisting of nineteen independent gentlemen, of different descriptions, was formed, appropriate resolutions were communicated to the public, and, in a very short time, the spirit of loyalty spread through the country, and gave birth to similar meetings in every part of the kingdom. It was the general opinion, that the declaration of sentiment which resulted from the forming of these associations saved this nation at a time when nothing else could have saved it. The voice of sedition, lately so loud, was now silenced, or, at least, reduced to the necessity of uttering its murmurs in private. Confidence succeeded to doubt, apprehension, and dismay; and the hands of government were strengthened by the almost unanimous assurances of adequate support in the arduous struggle in which it was easy to foresee they must soon be involved. It was by no means an unnatural supposition that a scheme, fraught with so much public benefit, had been conceived by ministers, or had at least been aided and encouraged by them. Assertions, indeed, to this effect, were advanced with confidence, but in direct opposition to the fact. The first intelligence which the government received of it was from the advertisements in the daily papers; their curiosity was, of course, excited, and they soon learnt by whom the plan was conceived, digested, and executed. Mr. Pitt, far from giving his countenance to it, in the first instance had great doubts of its policy and expediency. He, indeed, in a very early stage of the business, expressed his wish that a total stop should be put to all further proceedings, as he had it in contemplation to frame a bill for the prevention of all political meetings whatever, except such as were necessary for the exercise of the constitutional right of petition. But, although this plan had been adopted with expedition, it had not been executed without much reflection on its nature and consequences. It was the work, too, of one who knew the law and constitution of the country as well as the minister himself, and who was, probably, better acquainted with the temper and disposition of the people. Mr. Reeves, and those who now acted with him, conceived themselves competent judges of the remedy best adapted to the peculiar circumstances of the times: they were impressed with the conviction, that the period had at length arrived when men must take care of themselves; and, knowing that assemblies of respectable individuals, acting in strict subordination to the constituted authorities of the country, were perfectly legal, they refused to comply with the wishes of Mr. Pitt. The minister, however, on further reflection, altered his mind: he expressed his approbation of the committee, when their names were read to him; and although he never afforded the associations the smallest pecuniary or other assistance, he felt and thought, as every real unprejudiced friend of the country must have felt and thought, respecting the important services which they rendered to the state at a crisis of peculiar alarm, and imminent danger. In the year 1795, Mr. Reeves published a pamphlet, entitled “Thoughts on the English Government, addressed to the quiet Good Sense of the People of England, in a Series of Letters. Letter the First; ” in which, by what must be ackowledged to be a somewhat bold metaphor, he compared

the constitution to a tree, the stock of which is the Monarch, and of whigh the Lords and Commons are the branches. “But these,” he observed, “are only branches, and derive their origin and their nutriment from their common parent: they may be lopped, and the tree be a tree still; shorn, indeed, of its honours, but not, like them, cast into the fire. The kingly government may go on in all its functions, without lords and commons; it has heretofore done so for years together, and, in our times, it does so during every recess of parliament; but without the king, his parliament is no more.” Mr. Sturt first called the attention of the House of Commons to Mr. Reeves's pamphlet, which he termed “a libel on the constitution;” and introduced the above passage by requesting permission to read “a bit of treason.” The subject, thus mentioned incidentally, was afterwards taken up by Mr. Sheridan, who, on the 26th of November, 1795, brought it regularly and formally before the House, and moved, “That the said pamphlet is a most malicious, scandalous, and seditious libel, and highly reflecting on the glorious Revolution; containing matters tending to create jealousies and divisions among his Majesty's subjects, to alienate their affections from our present happy form of government, as established in King, Lords, and Commons, and to subvert the true principles of our free constitution; and that the said pamphlet is a high breach of the privileges of this House.” A long and curious debate ensued. The motion was warmly supported by Mr. Jekyll, Mr. Erskine, and Mr. Courtenay. Mr. Windham alone endeavoured to stem the torrent. He had on the first introduction of the subject condemned the indecent language which had been applied to Mr. Reeves, and had expressed his hope that neither the House nor the nation would forget that gentleman's patriotic exertions in 1792. Upon the present occasion, he entered into a masterly analysis of the tract, discriminating between its different parts and positions, and pointing out what appeared to him to be its clear and obvious meaning. With great force of reasoning he vindicated the freedom of discussion on historical VOL, XIV. U

subjects. He showed that on such speculative topics as that discussed by Mr. Reeves, various and contrary opinions were held, not by ignorant and uninformed men, but by persons of acknowledged judgment in law and politics. It was no easy matter to find two men of sense and learning who could perfectly agree upon the same definition of the constitution. With respect to the passage in question, he thought that to all candid minds the fair interpretation of it exempted it from the implication charged upon the intention of the writer. When they came to a matter of such difficulty as the constitution of England in the abstract, — a constitution of a great country, of amazing elasticity, and consequent modification, under different emergencies, what was it but the highest absurdity to treat such a speculation like a cause in a criminal court, conducted by an attorney, with the aid of a special pleader, and witnesses. Points of law demanded one mode of consideration, points of science another. It was one thing to explain mathematics, another to develope political truth. In all writings on government, the evil tendency, either near or remote, should be regarded. With respect to the particular work under consideration, it should be enquired what was the general idea resulting from the whole, — what was the peculiar object of the selected passage, – whether it was a lapse in the author from the general spirit of the work, or what latent motive was likely to have induced him to compose it. Unless such a liberal investigation of facts were adopted, no man could be expected to treat a subject of such difficulty as the nice and careful analysis of the British constitution with fairness. To the reading of such works an enlarged mind should be applied; and they should be examined with something of the spirit with which they were written. Having premised thus much, Mr. Windham proceeded to examine the passage in question with the spirit which he recommended; but, at the same time, with the greatest critical acumen, he followed the author through the train of ideas, or rather through the series of facts, which led to the conclusion that the government of England is a monarchy. He challenged any one to say that

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