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KING WILLIAM AND THE REVOLUTION.
It is not the power of aristocracy that will be destroyed by these measures, but the unfair power. If the Duke of Newcastle is kind and obliging to his neighbours, he will probably lead his neighbours; if he is a man of sense, he will lead them more certainly, and to a better purpose. All this is as it should be; but the Duke of Newcastle, at present, by buying certain old houses, could govern his neighbours and legislate for them, even if he had not five grains of understanding, and if he were the most churlish and brutal man under heaven. The present state of things renders unnecessary all those important virtues, which rich and well-born men, under a better system, would exercise for the public good. The Duke of Newcastle (I mention him only as an instance), Lord Exeter will do as well, but either of those noblemen, depending not upon walls, arches, and abutments, for their power— but upon mercy, charity, forbearance, indulgence, and examplewould pay this price, and lead the people by their affections; one would be the god of Stamford, and the other of Newark. This union of the great with the many is the real healthy state of a country; such a country is strong to invincibility — and this strength the borough system entirely destroys.
Cant words creep in, and affect quarrels; the changes are rung between revolution and reform; but, first settle whether a wise government ought to attempt the measure—whether anything is wanted-whether less would do-and, having settled this, mere nomenclature becomes of very little consequence. But, after all, if it is revolution, and not reform, it will only induce me to receive an old political toast in a twofold meaning, and with twofold pleasure. When King William and the great and glorious Revolution are given, I shall think not only of escape from bigotry, but exemption from corruption; and I shall thank Providence, which has given us a second King William for the destruction of vice, as the other, of that name, was given us for the conservation of freedom.
All formal political changes, proposed by these very men, it is said, were mild and gentle, compared to this; true, but are you on Saturday night to seize your apothecary by the throat and to say to him, "Subtle compounder, fraudulent posologist, did not you order me a drachm of this medicine on Monday morning, and now you declare that nothing short of an ounce can do me any
HEPTARCHY OF THE PEESS.
good ?" "True enough," would he of the vials reply, "but you did not take the drachm on Monday morning-that makes all the difference, my dear sir; if you had done as I advised you at first, the small quantity of medicine would have sufficed; and instead of being in a night-gown and slippers up-stairs, you would have been walking vigourously in Piccadilly. Do as you please—and die if you please; but don't blame me because you despised my advice, and by your own ignorance and obstinacy have entailed upon yourself tenfold rhubarb and unlimited infusion of senna."
Now see the consequences of having a manly leader, and a manly Cabinet. Suppose they had come out with a little illfashioned seven months' reform; what would have been the consequence? The same opposition from the Tories-that would have been quite certain-and not a single Reformer in England satisfied with the measure. You have now a real Reform, and a fair share of power delegated to the people.
The Anti-Reformers cite the increased power of the press this is the very reason why I want an increased power in the House of Commons. The Times, Herald, Advertiser, Globe, Sun, Courier, and Chronicle, are a heptarchy which governs this country, and governs it because the people are so badly represented. I am perfectly satisfied, that with a fair and honest House of Commons the power of the press would diminish—and that the greatest authority would centre in the highest place.
Is it possible for a gentleman to get into Parliament, at present, without doing things he is utterly ashamed of-without mixing himself up with the lowest and basest of mankind? Hands accustomed to the scented lubricity of soap, are defiled with pitch, and contaminated with filth. Is there not some inherent vice in a Government, which cannot be carried on but with such abominable wickedness, in which no gentleman can mingle without moral degradation, and the practice of crimes, the very imputation of which, on other occasions, he would repel at the hazard of his life?
What signifies a small majority in the House? The miracle is, that there should have been any majority at all; that there was not an immense majority on the other side. It was a very long period before the courts of justice in Jersey could put down smuggling, and why? The judges, counsel, attorneys, crier of the court, grand and petty jurymen, were all smugglers, and the
THE NEW REPRESENTATIVES.
high-sheriff and constables were running goods every moonlight night.
How are you to do without a government? And what other government, if this Bill be ultimately lost, could possibly be found? How could any country defray the ruinous expense of protecting, with troops and constables, the Duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel, who literally would not be able to walk from the Horse-Guards to Grosvenor Square, without two or three regiments of foot to screen them from the mob; and in these hollow squares the Hero of Waterloo would have to spend his political life? By the whole exercise of his splendid military talents, by strong batteries, at Boodle's and White's, he might, on nights of great debate, reach the House of Lords; but Sir Robert would, probably, be cut off, and nothing could save Twiss and Lewis.
The great majority of persons returned by the new Boroughs would either be men of high reputation for talents, or persons of fortune known in the neighbourhood; they have property and character to lose. Why are they to plunge into mad revolutionary projects of pillaging the public creditor? It is not the interest of any such man to do it; he would lose more by the destruction of public credit than he would gain by a remission of what he paid for the interest of the public debt. And if it is not the interest of any one to act in this manner, it is not the interest of the mass. How many, also, of these new legislators would there be, who were not themselves creditors of the state? Is it the interest of such men to create a revolution, by destroying the constitutional power of the House of Lords, or of the king? Does there exist in persons of that class, any disposition for such changes? Are not all their feelings, and opinions, and prejudices, on the opposite side? The majority of the new members will be landed gentlemen: their genus is utterly distinct from the revolutionary tribe; they have molar teeth; they are destitute of the carnivorous and incisive jaws of political adventurers.
There will be mistakes at first, as there are in all changes. young ladies will imagine (as soon as this bill is carried) that they will be instantly married. Schoolboys believe that gerunds and supines will be abolished, and that currant tarts must ultimately come down in price; the corporal and sergeant are sure of double pay; bad poets will expect a demand for their epics; fools will be
BENEFITS OF REFORM.
disappointed, as they always are; reasonable men, who know what to expect, will find that a very serious good has been obtained.
What good to the hewer of wood and the drawer of water? How is he benefited, if Old Sarum is abolished, and Birmingham members created? But if you ask this question of reform, you must ask it of a great number of other great measures. How is he benefited by Catholic emancipation, by the repeal of the Corporation and Test Act, by the Revolution of 1688, by any great political change? by a good government? In the first place, if many are benefited, and the lower orders are not injured, this alone is reason enough for the change. But the hewer of wood and the drawer of water are benefited by reform. Reform will produce economy and investigation; there will be fewer jobs, and a less lavish expenditure; wars will not be persevered in for years after the people are tired of them; taxes will be taken off the poor and laid upon the rich: demotic habits will be more common in a country where the rich are forced to court the poor for political power; cruel and oppressive punishments (such as those for night poaching) will be abolished. If you steal a pheasant, you will be punished as you ought to be, but not sent away from your wife and children for seven years. Tobacco will be two pence per pound cheaper. Candles will fall in price. These last results of an improved government will be felt. We do not pretend to abolish poverty, or to prevent wretchedness; but if peace, economy, and justice, are the results of reform, a number of small benefits, or rather of benefits which appear small to us but not to them, will accrue to millions of the people; and the connection between the existence of John Russell, and the reduced price of bread and cheese, will be as clear as it is has been the object of his honest, wise, and useful life to make it.
Don't be led away by such nonsense; all things are dearer under a bad government, and cheaper under a good one. The real question they ask you is, What difference can any change of government make to you? They want to keep the bees from buzzing and stinging, in order that they may rob the hive in peace.
Work well! How does it work well, when every human being in doors and out (with the exception of the Duke of Wellington) says it must be made to work better, or it will soon cease to work at all?
It is little short of absolute nonsense to call a government good, which the great mass of Englishmen would before twenty years were elapsed, if reform were denied, rise up and destroy. Of what use have all the cruel laws been of Perceval, Eldon, and Castlereagh, to extinguish reform? Lord John Russell and his abettors, would have been committed to jail twenty years ago for half only of his present reform; and now relays of the people would drag them from London to Edinburgh; at which latter city we are told by Mr. Dundas, that there is no eagerness for reform. Five minutes before Moses struck the rock, this gentleman would have said that there was no eagerness for water.
There are two methods of making alterations; the one is to despise the applicants, to begin with refusing every concession, then to relax to making concessions which are always too late; by offering in 1831 what is then too late, but would have been cheerfully accepted in 1830-gradually to O'Connellize the country, till at last, after this process has gone on for some time, the alarm becomes too great, and everything is conceded in hurry and confusion. In the meantime, fresh conspiracies have been hatched by the long delay, and no gratitude is expressed for what has been extorted by fear. In this way, peace was concluded with America, and emancipation granted to the Catholics; and in this way the war of complexion will be finished in the West Indies. The other method is, to see at a distance that the thing must be done, and to do it effectually, and at once; to take it out of the hands of the common people, and to carry the measure in a manly liberal manner, so as to satisfy the great majority.-The merit of this belongs to the administration of Lord Grey. He is the only minister I know of who has begun a great measure in good time, conceded at the beginning of twenty years what would have been extorted at the end of it, and prevented that folly, violence, and ignorance, which emanate from a long denial and extorted concession of justice to great masses of human beings. I believe the question of reform, or any dangerous agitation of it, is set at rest for thirty or forty years; and this is an eternity in politics.
Boroughs are not the power proceeding from wealth. Many men, who have no boroughs, are infinitely richer than those who have but it is the artifice of wealth in seizing hold of certain localities. The boroughmonger is like rheumatism, which owes its