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clearly perceived these truths. Not Let it not be supposed that the withstanding all the efforts of admi Scottish character, if exposed to the nistration and of the radical press,
influence of the same causes, is any they have hardly anywhere respond-proof against similar desolating poed to the call for petitions. The litical frenzy. The agitation and agricultural class, it may with confi fanaticism of the Covenant proves dence be affirmed, are adverse to the reverse. If we would seek for a the conferring of the elective fran- parallel to the distracted state of the chise on themselves. They know Irish tenantry, we must recur to well what it has done for Ireland; the ruinous divisions of this country, they see in the multitude of Irish after the great rebellion had stirred poor by whom they are overwhelm- up the passions of the rural populaed, the dismal consequences of the tion. Slow to immerse in political extension of political agitation to the contests, the Scottish peasantry,when rural districts.
once roused, either by political or Nothing can be conceived more religious fanaticism, are the last in disastrous than the effects of sha the world to lay it down. The old king, by political convulsion, the ru leaven of the covenant—the memory ral tenantry. Who formed the
pro of Bothwell Brig-the preachings at tection of the state during the radical Ayr Moss, still work in the bosoms times in 1820, when the standard of the western peasantry. If their of revolt was displayed in Bridge plunge into the sea of politics once ton, and 100,000 weavers in the west fairly rouses and exasperates the were ready to rise in open revolt ? tenantry of Scotland, the fatal poison The yeomanry of the agricultural will not, in all probability, be expelcounties, who turned out with an led for two centuries. alacrity in defence of their country, “The Americans,” it has been obwhich could not have been exceeded served by a most competent observer, by regular troops trained to assemble “will never rival England, either in daily at their trumpet call. If this agriculture or manufactures. The class, too, are to be involved in poli- never-ending agitation of politicstical agitation, what bulwark remains the incessant turmoilof elections, fills to protect the cause of order from the heads of the people from one the increasing ambition of the manu year's end to another. Instead of atfacturing classes ? Let it not be sup- tending to their business,they are conposed, that by their remote situation, stantly going to the corners of streets secluded life, and tranquil labours, to put pebbles into ballot-boxes.” the cultivators of the soil are neces Such is the result of democratic insarily withdrawn from the fever of stitutions upon a great scale. The democratic passion. The example consequences of this ruinous distracof Ireland proves the reverse. What tion of thought, are not as yet felt in is the situation of the remote and that great continent, from the boundagricultural county of Clare? An less field for industry and facility of insurgent peasantry, landlords driven obtaining subsistence which preinto the cities to save their lives, the vails. But they may be anticipated, soil turned up and destroyed by re- when employments begin to be filled bels; twelve cold blooded murders up, and the pressure for food begins. perpetrated in open day within a few But what would they be in an old weeks by wretches still at large country such as Scotland, with all among their kindred peasantry; jury- employments filled up, with the men who cannot venture to meet at pressure of domestic taxation, and the assizes ; witnesses not daring to the rivalry of foreign competition ? come forward from the terror of death. They may easily be anticipated What has produced this deplorable, they are the same which, in all ages, this unexampled state of things ? The have followed the uncalled-for exsubdivision of farms, and increase of tension of political power to the paupers, consequent upon the free- people-diminished employmentholds of the tenantry; the agitation increasing distress—the destruction of politics; the election of O'Connell. of the first class of innovators by the
• Captain Hall,
multitude whom they have deluded Maitland knocked down, and the --the establishment of democratic election, which ran to within one vote, tyranny, from the general suffering carried by open violence. At Forfar, which has roused every labouring on the last election, the reforming man into action.
candidate, the Lord Advocate, was The evils of bribery, hitherto com so alarmed at the threatening aspect paratively unfelt in this part of the of the multitude arrayed against himisland, will, under the new constitu. self, that he sent, in the middle of tion, spread with unheard of velocity. the night, to Perth for dragoons, a Struggling for existence with a nu distance of thirty miles; although merous and audacious democratic the same learned functionary, on the faction, Wealth and Property will be appearance of the Edinburgh riots compelled to enter the field. Bri- against his adversaries, thought fit to bery, as at Liverpool, must be con order them to leave the town. The ducted on the largest scale. It will radicals of Glasgow, Falkirk, and all emerge from the precincts of the the manufacturing districts of the Town Council, to stalk through eve country, were assembled, by printed ry street and alley of Scotland. The placards, at Stirling on the day of passion for power among the popu election, to intimidate the freeholdface must be combated by their ers from voting for the anti-reform thirst for gold-the rival corrupters
candidate; and the admirable firmof human nature must be arrayed in ness and dispositions of the sheriff hostility against each other, but with only preserved the freedom of eleccombined injury to the deluded mul tion. If such is the state of mattitude. And the people will be de ters even where the lower orders moralized equally by their supporters have, comparatively speaking, so lit. and their seducers. While the de tle influence, and where no interest mocratic press fans the flame of po of theirs is at issue, what may be ex. pular ambition, commercial wealth pected when the elective franchise will poison the fountain of public is so immensely extended, and when virtue; and the Constitution, hither bands of the rural tenantry march to securely based on the property into the towns to meet the manufacand intelligence of the country, will turers in a contest for the abolition vibrate between the influence of sel of the Corn laws, or other subjects fish corruption, and the fury of ple- intimately connected with the pecubeian ambition.
niary interests of every elector ? Nor is the actual violence to They know little of the fervidum Sco-, which these contested elections will torum ingenium who can anticipate give rise, the least formidable con any thing but bloodshed and civildissideration in the new constitution, sension from such a collision. It is with which we are threatened. Eng no answer to this to say, Scotland land hitherto has only known Scot must learn to exercise the rights of land as a quiet unobtrusive province freemen. We may be reduced to of the empire, which took nothing the condition of the county of Clare from the national strength, and in the course of the apprenticeship. largely poured the fruits of its in If a man in perfect health is comdustry into the national exchequer. pelled to swallow a dangerous mediWe shall see how long this state of cine, it is little consolation to him to things will continue-- how long a be informed, that, after years of sufgarrison of 1200 men will suffice fering and misery, he may regain the for the reformed kingdom. The healthful state which he had lost. riots and devastation have alrea The confiscation of property condy been mentioned which preceded sequent on the passing of the Reand followed the contest in Edin form Bill in Scotland is another most burgh, and the other parts of the serious consideration, which has kingdom have exhibited similar dis never met with the attention it degraceful scenes of intimidation and serves. There are thirty counties in violence. At Lauder, one of the elec the kingdom, and their united freetors was forcibly carried off, in de holders amount to about 2500 perfiance of the whole civil force of sons. Supposing each vote to be Berwickshire, at the door of the worth L.800, which, on an average, court-house, the sheriff and Lord it certainly is, since in Lanarkshire
and Mid-Lothian they have been nents of L.800 each, can make no sold for L.1500 and L.2000 each, the reasonable objection to being called amount of property vested in these on themselves to pay L.20. freeholds is L.2,000,000. The whole This consideration points out the of this property is threatened with utter inconsistency of those who stigdestruction; for it is needless to say, matize as interestedall the anti-reform that from the day that the L.10 voters petitions, because they spring from are admitted, no freehold will be persons threatened with loss, and worth any thing. Here, then, is an hold up as disinterested all those equalizing measure, which, delibe- which emanate from classes prorately and without compensation, takes mised a gain—that is, the victims of L.2,000,000 sterling from the higher spoliation are grossly interested, beorders, to divide it among the lower. cause they strive to save themselves It is not surprising that, with such a from loss; the supporters of it perglittering boon before their eyes, fectly pure, because they strive to there were numerous signatures from possess themselves of their neighthe working classes to the Reform bour's property. Henceforth, the petitions.
highwayman will be deemed wholly It is no answer to the palpable disinterested—the robbed traveller injustice of such a proceeding to say, the selfish party. that individual interest must fre If this great measure of spoliation, quently give way to the public good. under pretence of the public good, So it undoubtedly must. But when is once admitted, what limits can be this is the case, it uniformly hitherto assigned to the extension of the prinhas been the practice to make a pro- ciple ? If titles of honour are assailed, per compensation to the suffering how are they to be maintained after party. Thus, when it was deemed
the grand precedent in the case of expedient, from their obvious bad the elective franchise? If the church consequences, to abolish the herita- is made the next victim, the princible
jurisdiction of particular families, ple now admitted is of irresistible in 1745, due compensation was made application. If the fundholder is by Government to the parties who threatened on the principle of an formerly possessed them. Even after “ equitable adjustment,” that is, the the heats and animosities of the re confiscation, as in revolutionary bellion, the doctrine was not then France, of half his property, what acted upon, that private rights are line can be drawn between his case to be inyaded on considerations of and that of the sacrificed freeholder? public utility, without compensation If the estates of the nobility are seto the suffering party. In all bills lected, they will seek in vain for a for canals, roads, harbours, or other distinction between their case and public works, when private property that of the original voters. C'est le is invaded or deteriorated, compen- premier pas qui coute in politics, as sation is uniformly provided. It was well as in morals ; every subsequent reserved for the fanatical supporters step is easy, after the original injusof immediate abolition of slavery to tice of sacrificing individuals to the promulgate, for a reforming adminis- public is admitted. There will netration to act upon, such a principle. ver be wanting multitudes who call
The mode of obviating this injus- themselves the public, and who are tice is obvious. Let those who ac willing to vindicate the robbery of quire a privilege which they did not their neighbours under the specious before possess, pay for it. Let the title of the general good. 100,000 voters, to whom a privilege Another point deserving of espeis to be extended for the first time, cial consideration in the Scotch bill, compensate those who lose it, or is the new and alarming prepondewhose property is so much dete- rance given to the manufacturing over riorated as to be of no value. If the the landed interest, not only in the reformers really are anxious for po- composition of the freeholders, but litical power, and do not make it a the actual number of the representpretence for putting their hands in ed places. At present there are 30 their neighbours' pockets, let them county and 15"borough members. submit to this sacrifice. Men who By the bill, there are to be 28 county are clear for depriving their oppo- and 22 borough members. On what
principle is this alarming dispropor. Reform; Bute, Sir William Rae, and tion between the representation of has done the same; Selkirk, Mr the two classes vindicated ? Is it said Pringle of Whytbank, the tried that the manufactures and wealth of friend of the Constitution; Peebles, the cities have enormously increased? Sir George Montgomery, also an 80 they have; but the increase of the anti-Reform member. In this disagriculture and the landed rent has franchisement, it is not difficult to been at least as great. Such an in- see the blow aimed at the political crease may be a ground for increa- influence of the Duke of Montrose, sing the representation of both inte- the Marquis of Bute, and the Duke rests in Parliament; it can be none of Buccleuch. On the other hand, for enlarging the one at the expense these members are to be given to of the other. The real reason may Dundee, the enthusiastic supporter probably be found in a different of the Lord Advocate on the last cause: the experienced tendency of election, and to Leith, of old estathe boroughs to the innovating, of the blished radical celebrity. counties to the conservative side. It is in vain to attempt to vindicate
In truth, there is but one part of the disfranchisement of these rural the Reform Bill which we approve, districts by the scantiness of their and that is the clause giving five ad- opulation. By the last returns the ditional representatives to Scotland; population of the threatened counties and the only objection we have to it stands as follows: is, that it does not go nearly far enough. It is clear, that, both with re
Dumbartonshire, 27,000 ference to its population and wealth,
10,000 Scotland is extremely under-repre- while the county of Rutland, which, sented. The population of Scotland under the new bill, is to have four is now 2,500,000; that of England members between the county and the and Wales probably 15,000,000. In borough, has only a population of proportion to the numbers of the peo- 18,000 souls. ple, therefore, there should be one- In estimating also the consequence sixth of the members returned for of this great change, the alarming inthe one country as the other; where- crease of litigation concerning the as the members of Scotland are 45, small votes is not to be overlooked. and those of England 500; in other Every man practically acquainted words, above eleven times as great. with the habits of the lower orders of The clear revenue yielded by Scot- Scotland, is aware of their extraordiland to the treasury of the empire in nary predilection for forensic dispute, 1814, was L.4,500,000, independent and that the chief duty of every honest of the Scottish duties paid 'in Lon- legal practitioner is to moderate the don, which brought it to L.5,000,000; litigious propensities of his clients. that of England, L.$6,000,000. In The astounding facts that there are this proportion, therefore, the Scot- annually determined in the Sheriff tish representatives, instead of 45, Courts of Scotland no less than 20,000 should be 72. If innovations are to causes, being almost three times as be practised on the Constitution, much as in the whole Courts of Rehere is a change founded in justice, cord over all England; and that in injurious to no interest, threatening the Small Debt Court of Edinburgh to no class of society. Nor need and Glasgow there are determined the precedent be dreaded as applied besides, from 6000 to 8000 annually, to Ireland. When that island yields may convey some idea of the veheas large a surplus revenue to the mence with which the fervidum Sco. empire as Scotland, let her prefer torum ingenium has flowed into these her claims for an extended repre- new and bloodless channels. If sentation ; but not till then.
100,000 votes are to be added to In the proposed disfranchisement Scotland, with the keenness of conof the counties of Dumbarton and tested elections, it is difficult to estiBute, Peebles and Selkirk, it is not mate the consequences of such an to be overlooked, that the sitting extraordinary stimulus to the litimembers are on the anti-Reforn gious passions of the lower orders. side. Dumbarton returns Lord W. Of no value to their superiors, these Graham, and has petitioned against votes will be of prodigious conse
VOL, XXIX. NO. CXXXI.
quence to them ; and the hard earn- men of our own country, gives no ings of many years will be squan- reason to hope that Great Britain dered in lawsuits in which they have forms any exception to the rule. no practical interest, but into which The political economists in the they have been plunged by the am- Edinburgh Review, incessantly urged bitious designs of their demagogues. the reduction of the duties on whis
It may be added that, in deciding ky; and, in an evil hour, the late adon these votes, a new and most for- ministration yielded to the clamour. midable power is placed in the hands The “ Giant Smuggler," it was said, of the Sheriff of the county, an officer would thus be demolished : Spirits, in the appointment of the Crown. from being so common, would cease It is enacted “That the judgment of to be so much prized, and public the Sheriff shall, as long as it stands, morality be improved by the change. be conclusive of the claimant's right The consequence was, that the conto be registered and vote; provided sumption of spirits annually in Scotalways that it shall be competent for land rose, at once, from 2,400,000 to any claimant who is rejected to sub- 5,600,000 gallons ; crime in every mit his claim to the re-consideration quarter was doubled; habits of inof the Sheriff, and to require, if so toxication spread to a degree almost advised, the vi sict of a jury on any incredible. Five thousand men were disputed facts : provided that the saved from demoralization on the judgment of the Sheriff may be Highland frontier, and 500,000 were brought under review by summary plunged into it in the manufacturing petition to the Court of Session: but districts, and a blow given to the haprovided also, " that no alteration of bits of the people more serious than the Sheriff's judgment shall affect the it has received since the foundation merits of any election actually com of the monarchy. pleted and carried through before the Incessant were the clamours, nudate of such alteration, except in so merous the arguments, great the exerfar as effect may be given to such al- tions, directed from the same jourteration by any Committee of the nal, against the banking system of House of Commons.” The result of Scotland. During the panic followthis is, 1. That the judgment of the ing the great bankruptcy of 1825, Sheriff is final unless the costs of a these principles were embraced by lawsuit in the Court of Session are Administration. A system, convictincurred, which may be on an ave- ed of no weakness, bringing on no rage L.60 in each case. 2. That if the disaster; which, without risk, quaSheriff's judgment is not reversed drupled the capital of the country; before the election is completed, the under which the invaluable habits of vote, how bad soever, must stand for saving and frugality had spread to an the successful candidate, unless an unparalleled extent among the poor, expenditure of L.2000 is incurred in was threatened with destruction. petitioning the House of Commons. Here, fortunately, the good sense of In either view it is evident that a the Scottish nation averted the mismost formidable power is vested in fortune : the people rose as one man the hands of the Sheriff, who, though against the threatened change, and a generally a legal practitioner of re- calamity, greater than ever was in. spectability, is certainly appointed Aicted by philosophy on mankind, by Ministers, and as certainly looks to was kept at a distance by those whom them for ulterior promotion. its professors affected to despise.
“ If I wished,” said Frederick the It is from the same quarter, and in Great, “ to reduce the most flourish- pursuance of the same principles, ing province of my dominions to that we are now threatened with a utter sterility, I could not take so subversion of the constitution. The effectual a course as by putting it for adoption of such a system by men of a few years into the hands of philoso- tried ability, known eloquence, and phers." " If an empire,” said Napo. acknowledged taste, is a striking leon, were made of adamant, it proof how different a thing it is to would be pounded to dust by the po censure others and to act ourselves; litical economists.” The experience how perilous are the experiments of of what we have suffered, and are speculative men on human institulikely to suffer, from the speculative tions, and how wide is the distinc