« ElőzőTovább »
fortresses. In the middle ages at Rome, the Colonnas, the Orsini, the Frangipani, &c., had each their castle in the midst of the city-one fortified the top of the arch of Titus-another that of Janus Quadrifrons. It was the same thing at Paris during the civil wars; but since those days, we are not aware that any capital has exhibited such a spectacle, as is now to be witnessed in the outward appearance of the houses of the principal Anti-Reformers. The Duke of Wellington's mansion, Apsley House, is boarded up on all sides-so is Mr. Alexander Baring's—as for His Highness of Gloucester's, it is an absolute fortification-every chink and cranny is boarded over, while the spikes and chevaux de frises on the wall towards Piccadilly, give it quite the appearance of a fortified position. Lord Wharncliffe, we are informed, is strongly entrenched in Curzon Street; and Lord Londonderry, who prefers fortifying his person to his house, as we know, carries, and threatens to fire loaded pistols ; while that temple of the winds, his habitation, exhibits all the marks of popular fury.
• Then, when they stir out of these feudal castles, the Anti-Reformers are forced to be escorted by bands, either of soldiers or policemen. With the assistance of the latter, His Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland was so fortunate as to get down to the House of Lords ; but poor Lord Londonderry was driven back by a shower of missiles; and had the Noble Lord been hit any where but on the head, the blow might have had serious consequences.
But if the Anti-Reformer leaves London, and seeks the rural shades of his country seat, is his condition there the more gracious.—On his journey he is groaned at and pelted in every market town, where he is known (e. g. Lord Tankerville at Darlington, Lord Bute at Banbury, Lord Londonderry at Thirsk); and when he arrives, at length, at his own domain, he is only enabled to take and keep possession of it, by means of troops of Yeomanry, and Special Constables. See the account in all the newspapers, of the manner in which the Duke of Newcastle is about to keep his Christmas at Clumber. Four hundred Yeomanry partaking of his hospitality, and eating him out of house and home-cannon planted round the house-videttes all about the Park, to take up suspicious characters, &c.
We have already done wondering at this state of things, when our attention is called to another part of the newspaper, where we find that two troops of dragoons have been ordered to be in readiness, to escort Sir Charles Wetherell into Bristol, to discharge the duties of Recorder of that City. The following days bring the accounts of the frightful riots, occasioned by the presence of the anti-reforming knight. The records of his calamitous visit to that city, are, indeed, written in blood and flame. Nor can we help remarking, that he might as well have avoided going to a place, where he must have been aware, (for we believe he was duly warned of the consequences) his presence was likely to cause bloodshed and tumult. But we think, if we remember right, Sir Charles was one of the loudest in his prophecies, with regard to the anarchy and confusion, which the excitement upon Reform was sure to cause. And as he found the people of England were, on the contrary, very patient and long suffering, he, perhaps, wished to assist in furthering the acccomplishment of his own predictions.
" It is said, that he also considered himself in the light of a martyr
and gloried, before hand, in the sufferings he was about to undergo. If this were so, he appears to have thought better of it, when the danger was really imminent. For his sudden retreat from Bristol, in the very midst of the riots he had occasioned, remind us of that of Jean Bon St. André, in Lord Howe’s battle, as celebrated in the Anti-Jacobin :
«“Good John was a gallant Captain,
In battles much delighting ;
But he bude the rest keep fighting !” "It is evident, from all these things, that the prophecy of the ingenious author of " Mr. Dyson's Speech to the Freeholders is on the eve of fulfilment ; where he says, that if the Reform Bill does not pass, the Duke of Wellington, Sir Robert Peel, &c., will have to pass their lives in hollow squares of troops -- happy, if even these, these hired defenders, do not fail them in their need.'---pp. 20—24. But this state of things cannot go on.
It is but the preparation on one side for the offensive war which will soon be commenced on the other, should the Bill be rejected a second time. We beg leave here to record our entire concurrence in the view which the author of the pamphlet just quoted has taken upon all this part of the subject.
If the Peers continue to resist the changes, which the rest of the nation so loudly demand, it is quite clear that the people will call to mind the apothegm of Mr. Gibson Craig, that “the people can do without the Peers.” That the House of Lords is an essential part of the Constitution, and one of the three estates of the realm ; and that, therefore, their annihilation would be a great, and perhaps irreparable calamity, is certain. But will the many think so, when they are goaded almost to madness, by the pertinacious obstinacy and resistance of that body; and when they find their wishes-wishes, too, sanctioned by the approval of the King, his Ministers, and the House of Commonscrossed and defeated only by them? It is absurd to suppose that they will then stop to weigh with nicety abstruse constitutional questions. They will consider the Aristocracy as their enemies ; and so considering, they will use the means they possess—and these means, if they once know them, and bring them into action, are means of terrific power,—to be rid of them. It will then be in vain, that the moderate of all parties will strive to arrest the torrent of popular indignation and popular vengeance.
Deeply shall we deplore that day, if it do come ; and anxiously would we endeavour, were it in our power, to avert it. But that power rests not with us—it rests with the Peers themselves; and we implore theni, if they value their honours, their stations, and the good of their country, to hesitate, before they again venture to dash the cup of promise from the lips of an expecting people.
Another vote similar to the one they have already given, may render conciliation too late, and concession useless.
'Let them pause, then, ere they give it--and let them take counsel upon the subject, of their own excellent understandings; and not of a few factious men, who, untaught by the past and reckless of the future, are
only anxious to see themselves again in place. These persons, whose whole souls are in the offices they have lost, (we hope we may say irrecoverably lost,) believe, or affect to believe, that the present struggle, like the many that took place during the last century, is merely a contest between the two parties of Whig and Tory. Let them disabuse themselves, before it be too late, of this vain delusion. It is not now a question between two factions ; but between the people and the Boroughmongers -between a nation seeking its rights, and the few who wish to withold those rights from them.
*Again, there are others among the Anti-Reformers, who go into the other extreme-who profess to expect, that revolution and anarchy will be the consequences of the perilous contest they are waging with the country-and who are ready, nay anxious for these calamities, if, by their means, they can get rid of the present ministry and the present Reform Bill. It is said of the Great Captain, we know not whether truly, that his remark upon the state of things is, “ We must come to a fight; and therefore the sooner we do so, the better.” But all these are but the wild incoherencies of mortified vanity and frustrated ambition. They speak for themselves, and will deceive nobody; and it is not therefore necessary or adviseable, to waste time in confuting them, or in warning others against them. Besides, it is a truly remarkable thing, and worth the attention of the conscientious Anti-reforming Peers, that the Duke has ended by advertising himself as ready to bring in a Reform Bill, if he can only once more get into place. We believe no considerable man's friends ever held down their heads more than did the Duke's, upon hearing this most wonderful declaration. It really exceeded all belief, and shows how sweet a thing office must be when lost !
* And here we would fain call the attention of the Anti-reforming Peers to a higher subject than themselves—we mean the country, and the state to which they are themselves bringing it by their conduct. For if dangers and difficulties arise, they may rest assured, that it is in a great measure their rancorous opposition to the wishes of their countrymen, that has caused them. What they are heaping upon their own devoted beads, we have endeavoured to lay before them--or, in other words, to explain to then), what will probably be done with them.
“The possible fate of the country is a more serious matter—and what is the most serious part of it is, that that fate would appear, in a considerable degree, to depend on the Anti-reformers. That the 199 Anti-reforming Peers are powerless to do good, except by resigning themselves to the Bill, and allowing it to pass, is evident; but though powerless to a good purpose, they may be powerful to a bad one : like the evil Genii of the fairy tales, whose attributes restrained them from conferring benefits, but left them free to work mischief.-Their ill-timed resistance may kindle a flame in the nation, which no wisdom can quench. The prolonged struggle occasioned by them, may irritate the people against all rule.They may ex.cite universal discontent, and even wide-spread rebellion; and if the latter, once excited, were successful, the whole frame of government inight be destroyed, and the very elements of society be again resolved into chaos—And all by their means. They may think this picture an overcharged one—we fear it is not so.
Already, had they almost driven the people into a resolution not to pay
taxes; and from such a determination, (against which, if generally taken, there can be no remedy,) there is but one step to universal anarchy. The people, as it is, have been led to form political unions; and were on the eve of turning themselves into National Guards. The first of those institutions, if carried to their full extent, would take the trouble of governing the country out of the hands of the Executive ; and the latter would terrify into obedience those, who seemed disposed to resist such a tremen. dous tyranny. These are, indeed, the natural consequences of a prolonged struggle between a portion of the higher orders, and the whole of the lower and middling classes. The latter are indignant at being thwarted by a miserable oligarchy-by a bandful of pensioners; they throw the blame indiscriminately upon all those, who are above them, and determine at once to take the government into their own hands.'—pp. 25—30.
When we come to consider the materials of which the anti-reforming peerage is composed, we cannot but feel indignant that the people should have been thwarted in their just desires by a set of individuals, the great majority of whom have held, or still hold, offices or pensions, paid out of the taxes annually taken out of the pockets of the middle and industrious classes. Who stands the first upon the list which the author of the “ People's Manual” has so seasonably put forth ?- The Duke of Cumberland, of whom it is truly added, that he is “ too notorious to require any particulars to be related of him.” His royal highness (how great titles are sometimes abused !) is followed by the Duke of Gloucester, formerly a Whig, but now a Tory, because Lord Grey would not give him the appointment of Commander-in-chief; by the Duke of Buckingham, proprietor of the two boroughs of St. Mawes and Buckingham, one of which is disfranchised, the other opened, by the Bill; by the Duke of Wellington, of whom we need say nothing; by the Duke of Beaufort, patron of the borough of Monmouth, which is opened by the Bill; by the Dukes of Leeds, Rutland, Dorset, Newcastle, Manchester, Marlborough, and Northumberland, all of whom, with the exception of the poor Duke of Dorset, and the pauper Marlborough, are boroughmongers in the worst sense of the word. These are succeeded by a list, with appropriate and pointed annotations, of the marquisses, earls, viscounts, and barons, who have voted against the Bill, and from which a few selections may be deemed curious.
BEAUCHAMP, Earl of.- Whose Earldom is said to have been purchased a few years ago. He is naturally a supporter of the present system of corruption. Did he lend 15,000l. to the Private Secretary of the Prince Regent ? It is said, the Secretary understood the loan to be a gift, which led to a little difference between the Noble Lord, and the very dutiful Secretary; but the quarrel occurred after the Noble Lord was eleyated to the Earldom,
‘GUILFORD, Earl of.-A richly-beneficed non-resident Clergyman. He also, of course, is in favour of the abuses of the system,
Eupon, Earl of.-The Ex-Tory Chancellor ; and who, though possessed of a fortune of between 40 and 50,0001. a year, condescends to
VOL. II. (1831.) NO). IV.