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horrid oaths, and proffered to pro now shouting out to save the brave duce them both alive if suffered to fellow. The order was instantly depart on his parole.
obeyed; he was set at liberty, and, David replied, “That as for pro ere he left the platform, was invited ducing the virgins alive, after their to be the principal guest of the noble murder had been confessed by his party in the castle. companion, with the rope about his So ends my tale; and it would neck,-after their bodies had both perhaps be better to let it end bere, been found and buried, was what no without any explanation, as there is Scottish judge would swallow; he one circumstance, and one only, doubted `if even an English one which I cannot explain. This brave would; and that it was natural for Englishman's name was Henry Wilsuch a culprit to wish to be set at son. He had been for a number of liberty ; but for his part, he certainly years house-steward to the Earl of knew of no man living who better Northumberland, and heard daily deserved the gallows."
that this great and royal heiress's The Englishman then began an name was a favourite theme with that explanation, as well as his rage would ambitious family. On his lord's going let him ; but his dialect was not quite up to court at London, Wilson was intelligible to David Dallas, who dismissed for some irregularities, could only smile at such a strange which he took greatly to heart. And defence, the tenor of which was, that he being a man out of place, and pro“he undertook the murder of the two bably a dissipated character, was young ladies to save them alive.” The applied to, among others, to make steward had no farther patience; so away with this dangerous heiress to he ordered him to be manacled, con two crowns. He agreed to it at once, veyed to the castle, and chained in promising, for a high reward, to be the dungeon. The Countess, after the principal agent, but determined, consulting with the steward and se- by some means or other, to save the veral others, entertained no doubt young lady's life, as the sure means that this man was the murderer of of ingratiating himself with his beher only daughter and Lucy. In- loved and indulgent master. Fordeed, as the evidence stood, it was tune favoured him particularly on his impossible to believe otherwise. gracious intent in the first instance; And it is therefore probable, that, for, on the night when he had probefore she left her country, she had mised to bring the young lady, dead resolved to give up the detested or alive, to his associates, there agent of a detested womau to popu- chanced to be the corpse of a French lar vengeance, for shortly after, he girl in the castle, newly dead and was brought to the castle, at least in screwed in her coffin, and it was for a few days, a great mob assembled her the new grave was made in the and peremptorily demanded his life. churchyard. That body he took to So he was, as if by compulsion, given his associates, filling the coffin with up to them, placed on a platform in rubbish ; and the young lady he confront of the castle, the rope put about veyed safe to Alnwick Castle. She his neck, and a certain time allowed being most anxious to have her fosterhim to make a full confession. He sister, Lucy, with her, and the latter began the same confused story about proving a great stumbling-block to the Earl of Northumberland, and of the new claimant, he undertook, on his undertaking the murder of the two the promise of another reward, to young ladies to save their lives; but make away with her also, and sink his voice was often drowned by re- her in the loch beside her mistress, peated hurras of derision. At length, He so managed matters, that he reas if driven to desperation, he began ceived the reward, and deceived the a hurraing louder than any of them, villain a second time, conveying Lucy jumping on the platform as if gone safe to her beloved mistress; but mad, and shouting louder and louder, where he procured the second body till, on looking around, they beheld that was sunk in the sack, is the a party coming up at full canter, only circumstance which I never their own young lady in front, and heard explained. The presumptive the young Lord Piercy on her right heiress of two crowns was joyfully hand, and Lucy on her left, who were received, and most honourably treat
ed by the Piercys, while young if any one suspects that the story Lord Piercy and she were privately is forged, out of malice to Queen betrothed to each other, while the in- Elizabeth, the greatest and vilest of defatigable Henry Wilson was raised her sex, let such turn to Lodge's Ilhigher in his chief's favour than ever. lustrations of British History, vol. ii.
1 must now add a suggestion of p.123; ditto, vol.iii. p. 178; Pennant's my own, of the certainty of which I London, p. 259 ; and see, also, Grainhave no doubt. It is, that the witch- ger’s Biographical History, and the wife was the Countess Dowager in Peerage of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 98, and deep disguise,remaining on the estate State Trials, vol.i. p.174, and such will to watch and assist the progress of be satisfied, that, had Elizabeth never events. And I think, that in order to been guilty of another act of cruelty keep her people free of all blame or during her long and illustrious reign, suspicion, that it was she who had the treatment which that beautiful engaged a sept of the M Farlanes to and accomplished lady received, was come down and cut off the intruding more than sufficient to have made the incendiary.
name of this sovereign to stink in the Now, although a small share of nostrils of all her sex, and every free these incidents are traditionary, subject of this empire.
LETTER FROM A LIBERAL WHIG.
TO CHRISTOPHER NORTH, ESQ.
Sir,-It is now several years since you honoured some lucubrations of mine with a place in your Magazine, under the designation (if I forget not, conferred by yourself) of " A Liberal Whig."
Times are since altered, and the terms “ Whig” and “ Tory' are now almost (as they ought to have been long since) forgotten, or lost in distinctions of more recent creation. Between the “ Conservatives" and the “ Radicals” of the present generation there exists a far wider difference, and of a far more vital character, than any that could have been fairly drawn between the professed principles, however at variance with each other, of their respective political ancestors. Yet, wide as is the apparent distance between them, it is found by experience not so great as to prevent their occasional coalition for the unworthy purpose of crushing, by their opposite and contending weights, those whose pride or whose misfortune it is to be placed between them. Among the number-I trust considerable enough for the purpose of self-preservation-of those who think with the latter class, I wish myself to be ranked; and, continuing of the same creed as that which I held when I formerly addressed you—a time, certainly, not more critical than the present-that a spirit of moderation and concession is alone capable of saving the country from a state of civil war, revolution, and anarchy, I cannot forbear entertaining the hope that you also may not be less disposed than you then were to make room in your Miscellany for the reflections of one, whom, though you may not always agree with him, you have flattered with the idea that you respect both his motives and his capacity.
The accompanying pages are chiefly devoted to the great subject of a Reform in Parliament-nor do they presume to offer any suggestions, either new or old, as to the shape which that measure is to assume, or the extent to which it is to be carried. Their object is the more humble one, of endeavouring to repress bootless alarms, and restrain wild and unreasonable expectations—to expose, at the same time, the wickedness of revolutionary agitators, and the madness of obstinate and uncompromising defenders.
The author is, at the same time, far from partaking in the absurd delusion, that Reform in Parliament is the only, or even the most important subject of political consideration; or that, when conceded to the utmost limits that any wise or moderate man can allow of its being carried, the discussion of those far greater points that remain behind will be assisted, or at
all materially affected or influenced by it. Reform, or no Reform, the mighty and all-engrossing question of the actual relative condition and prosperity of the different classes of British society, is that which must and will be examined, and probed to the bottoin; and if the suggestions of overweening Pride, or narrow Selfishness, are not alike removed from the consideration of it, dreadful indeed must be the consequence. The middle ranks, which form the largest and only healthy portion of that society, must be preserved and strengthened; and the immense, unnatural, and antiChristian disparity between the worldly conditions of the highest and lowest greatly diminished, if we hope to escape the miserable alternative of all ranks and conditions being confounded together in one common ruin and subversion.
On this and other momentous points of actual politics, I may find occasion to intrude my speculations upon you hereafter : but at present I have only time to bring myself again to your recollection, by my old signature of
METRODORUS. Lincoln's-Inn, Feb. 10, 1831.
[We were most happy to receive, again, a communication from our highlyesteemed correspondent, Metrodorus. Had it reached us in time, we should have given it a conspicuous place in our last Number. Before our present Number appears, the fate of the Three Bills will have been decided; but the opinions and sentiments expressed by this “Liberal Whig,” will be read with interest, whatever may befal the measures now brought forward by his Majesty's Ministers. While it is needless for us to say that on some points, and those most important ones, we differ from him very essentially, still we feel assured that they are worthy the consideration of patriotic men of all parties.
CORRECTION, MELIORATION, REFORMATION, REVOLUTION.
Our present political condition is tion, Revolution. These four words such as to demand some change. will, it is apprehended, be found to This is a proposition which nobody comprehend the various forms and in his senses now ventures to deny. degrees of alteration which differThe nature and extent of the change ent persons propose, and in one or demanded, are the points upon which more of which all unite, since all the only, and (it must be added) a admit that some alteration is necesvery great, diversity of opinion exists; sary; and the first fallacy, or misand, without attempting what is ma- understanding, which it seems desinifestly impossible, to reconcile such rable to prevent, is that which arises diversity, a well-wisher to the peace from the indiscriminate use of the and prosperity of the country may word “ Reform,” as applied to each nevertheless be not ill employed in of these several modes of alteration. endeavouring to bring men to some Now, if the word “Reform" is to be general understanding as to the use taken merely as synonymous with of those terms, which are necessary change, that is, with such change as to the right expression of the opi- would, in the opinion of the person nions they respectively entertain. using it, be an improvement of Much fallacy, much exaggeration, something already existing, there can much animosity, much consequent be no objection to the word being so mischief, may be avoided by such applied, provided all persons are general understanding. Without it, agreed in so understanding it; and, men talk of they know not what, and in that case, we have only to distinlisten to they know not what, and guish the different degrees of Reare liable to they know not what form intended, by the use of some inferences or imputations from those characteristic epithet, as moderate, who listen or talk to then).
radical, and so forth. But if the word Correction, Melioration, Reforma- “Reform" be understood more strict ly, as meaning reformation, in its tinction, it is fit that some precise only proper sense, that of re-edifica- meaning should be attached to the tion, re-construction, then a great word " revolution,” when used in a proportion of those who now call political sense, as something differthemselves, and are (either in praise ent from, and more extensive than, or reproach) called by others," Re- any of the other forms of change to formers," will be found to have no which human institutions are thus right to the distinction; since, in the constantly liable. Revolution then, sense now spoken of, all alteration in this its more peculiar sense, may (even for the better) is not Reform, be said to denote a. total change in any more than (in justice it must be the fundamental laws and instituadded) Reform is necessarily Revo- tions of a nation; an alteration of the lution. To reform, in the sense now acknowledged form, or virtual and spoken of, implies that there is some
essential character of its governthing which has been, or must be, ment; as, from an absolute to a lipreviously subverted. To correct, mited monarchy, from a limited moimplies only that there are certain narchy to a republic; or again, from existing defects which require to be despotism to oligarchy or aristocracy, removed—to meliorate or improve, and from either of these to demoonly that there are some existing cracy, or vice versa. Keeping this dematerials which may be rendered finition in view, the several changes, more useful—but to reform, implies or many of them, through which the that in the very original frame or French nation passed, between the constitution of that which it is sought periods of the first meeting of the to reform, there are defects too deep- States-General, and the recall of the ly seated, too radically inherent, to Bourbons, might each, with propriety, be removed, without the previous be marked as a distinct revolution. destruction of that something to So the establishment of our English which they are attached, or that the Commonwealth, after the death of materials of which that something Charles I., and so also the Restorais composed, are so essentially bad tion of Charles II., were each of them as to be incapable of any improve- revolutions in the sense of the term ment, or at least of such improve- now insisted on. Our Revolution ment as is judged to be necessary. (commonly so called) of 1688, and Now, even in this sense, as has been the memorable event which took already observed, and (to avoid mis- place at Paris last July, to which the understanding) it is as well to repeat, same appellation has also been given, reform is not necessarily revolution; would be improperly classed under and, to comprehend what is meant by that term, unless by assuming that this last proposition, it becomes re- by a succession of arbitrary acts in quisite to settle what is, or ought to be, England, and by the promulgation of meant by the word “Revolution,” the fatal ordinances in France, the
Now, in a physical or a moral sense, form of government in each country we, and all the rest of mankind, may had been already previously changed be said not only to be constantly from that of a limited to an absolute liable to revolution, but to be con- monarchy-which change was in it. stantly undergoing the actual process. self a revolution, of however short a The earth and all its inhabitants are duration—and then the subsequent perpetually revolving on the earth's changes, to which only the term is axis. The individual of to-day, is usually given, would, with reference neither physically nor morally the to what had already taken place, be individual of yesterday. He is not more fitly designated as counter-revothe same individual for an hour to- lutions respectively. A mere change gether. And the same may be said of dynasty, in the person or family of the laws and constitution-the of the reigning sovereign, is not to political essence-of every nation or be characterised as a revolution, unsociety. To ascribe immutability, less accompanied by a change in the or even permanence, to any thing very frame of the government itself. whatever of human origin, is (as we Nor ought every change, even in the shall find occasion to repeat) a mere frame of the government, to be so perversion of language.
designated, but only such as go to Nevertheless, for the sake of dis. the extent of fundamental subversion VOL. XXIX. NO. CLXXIX.
and reconstruction. And thus the ment of a mere abstract notion or difference between Reform and Re opinion in favour of a republican as volution, in the restricted sense, the best form of government, theorewhich it is now sought to assign to tically considered, and a design, or them respectively, consists mainly even an inclination, to substitute it in this
that the former term is ap in the room of that form of governplicable to the process of subversion ment which we now enjoy, taking and reconstruction of certain parts into account the hazard of ultimate of the political machine, the other failure, the risk of establishing desto that of the machine itself, or of its potism instead of it, and the certainty chief component parts, together with of an intermediate state of disorganthat which forms the very principle ization, bloodshed, anarchy, and geor bond of union betwixt them. neral misery, which must be passed
If this definition be admitted, it through in order to the attainment of should seem to follow that the only it. Those, therefore, who, preferring changes to which the state of Great a republican form of government in Britain is liable, and to which the the abstract, would yet scruple the term revolution can properly be ap means necessary to acquire it, are on plied, are (as to its form of govern no account to be set down as revoment) to an absolute monarchy on lutionists, to whatever extent their the one hand, or to a republic on the views may carry them in the secondother : and (as to the fundamental ary light of reformers. Those, on nature of its constitution) from its the other hand, who, whatever may present mixed character to that of be their own opinions or ultimate pure despotism, or pure democracy object, yet, having the power and La pure aristocracy being a phan means of persuasion, urge on the tom of the imagination which can ignorant and unthinking to acts of never have any actual existence, and violence, depredation, and blood. aristocracy itself only an ingredient, guiltiness, by false or exaggerated by the greater or less admixture of statements of the evils of their prewhich the power of the sovereign sent condition, and of the benefits to or of the people, or of both, may be be derived to them from such a more or less tempered, and changed change as would be nothing less from a pure or perfect, to a mixed or than a revolution, are themselves reimperfect state of political essence. volutionists in the truest, as well as
To apply these remarks to the pre- by far the worst, sense of the term; sent state of society in this country. and it is most devoutly to be prayed -It may be safely assumed that for by all well-wishers to society, there is no political party existing that such men as these, while they which has for its object, either avow are instigating their poor deluded ed or real, such a revolution as con victims to the commission of revosists in the establishment of an ab lutionary outrage and insurrection, solute monarchy or despotism, in under the assurance that “ the pasplace of our presentinstitutions. The sage will be sharp but short" * to the only object of a revolutionary party, possession of that full beatitude (in the sense now attached to the which they hold out to them as the word,) supposing any such to exist, end of the struggle, are, in fact, digmust therefore be the establishment ging for themselves a pitfall
, into of a republic; and here it must be which they will, sooner or later, be observed, in the first place, that plunged, amidst the loud and genethere is a wide and most important ral execrations of those whose ruin difference between the entertain- they are thus attempting. With per
See the Westminster Review for January, 1831, No xxvii. p. 245, Art. “ The Wellington Administration.” To avoid repetition, it is as well to mention that every succeeding quotation is from the same article, to the writer of which it is recommended to peruse with attention a little twopenny pamphlet, published by Effingham Wilson, entitled, “ A short Account of the Life and Death of Swing the Rick-burner, written by one well acquainted with him ; together with the Confession of Thomas Goodman, now under sentence of death, in Horsham jail, for rick-burning." He will scarcely be able to read, without some sentiments of doubt, if not of contrition, even the imaginary tale, still less the actual avowal, of guilt and suffering occasioned by the teaching of lessons such as it is the object of that article to inculcate.