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est and coolest effrontery in the his strongest position," that the world, for these hired lackeys of members are not fairly chosen by the public delinquents to stand up as people, but are either nominated by advocates of the disgraceful service the influence of great families, or they are embarked in.” That is but purchase the seats from a junto of one specimen of the style of speech venal electors.”. What style of fightthat for some months past has kept ing does the champion of Parliament perpetually flowing from the hired adopt in conflict with such an “ugly and unhired friends of reform. It is customer?” He takes the bull by the as insolent as may be; but not nearly horns, and by a sudden twist-like 80 savage as many thousand others another Milo-Alings the rough comthat must have met the eyes of all moner over his knee whap upon the persons who take up a newspaper. sod-knocking out his wind, and Sir Thomas Denman, the Attorney- rendering him, by that single crossGeneral of England, in his place in buttock, incapable of coming to time the House of Commons, said that he —nay, when time is called, deaf as could not say that the allegations in any post under government. In other the above passage from the Times words, more intelligible, perhaps, were not true. We see no discoun- to Edinburgh Deacons--except the tenance of these and other greater Deacon of the Fleshers--Mr Jeffrey atrocities, that in fact fill all the admits all that Mr Cobbett has here newspapers, the demi-ministerial said, and boldly declares to the whole ones especially, to the brim, frowned world that such is-if not the very now from the Blue and the Yellow, best imaginable—the very best pracwhich, on the contrary, smiles sweet- ticable constitution of any Parlialy on all the villains and all their vil- ment. That it is, and must be so, he lainies, and reserves all its vitu proves by many pretty pages of arperation for the friends of that con- gument and illustration, to which we stitution which it once would have beg to refer all Deacons, and hereby annihilated Cobbett for attacking, offer a reward of a complete Set of but which it now assails with en. Maga to him who shall produce such ginery more powerful than could a refutation as shall seem even plauever be in the hands of private men
sible to a Constituent Convenery as. -enginery worked by his Majes- sembled to decide on the comparaty's ministers—a park of light artil- tive power and glory of the two lery having been committed to the political literatures,” the one Mr “Right Honourable Francis Jeffrey, Jeffrey's, so adverse to the Bill and Lord Advocate of Scotland,” under the whole Bill, and the other the whose sharp and scientific eye it Prize-Deacon's, name and nature yet has been brought to play against unknown, who shall succeed in githe Constitution with beautiful and ving that great Anti-reformer bis pernicious precision-till erelong a quietus, and in rescuing Cobbett breach will be effected-and the ra- from his borough-mongering grasp. dicals rushing on, in immense num- Mr Jeffrey makes short work with bers, succeed, we fear, in over- William Cobbett’s arguments, and powering thegarrison, dispirited from treats the strongest of them haut-enhopelessness of succour or supplies, bas thus :-“ With regard to the inand at the very commencement of terference of peers in elections, it is the siege deserted by the governor. evidently impossible to prevent it by
But what else and what more said any statutory or authoritative reguMr Cobbett of yore to kindle the pa- lation; and as, in fact, it is not very triotic rage of Mr Jeffrey? Why he different from the interference of said—and Mr Jeffrey is astounded at wealthy commoners,” (which interthe statement_" that all the evils ference the dauntless Deacon who under which we were groaning are shall buckle to Mr Jeffrey in single produced by the improper composi- combat for the prize Set will please tion of the legislative bodies, and es- to observe his antagonist had, in an pecially of the House of Commons." earlier part of his article, shewn to To refute this wicked assertion, Mr be attended with the happiest reJeffrey set himself to work like a sults,)“ it is needless to say any hero as he was and is; and first of thing more on the subject.”. all boldly met the incendiary on this That was a right-handed facer no ty,” &c.
skill could parry, and in a moment would not be at all unfavourable to poor Cobbett's daylights were dark. that part of our constitution.” ened-for it seems he had recovered What say the Eleven Deacons and from his insensibility, and insisted on the Seventeen Thousand Signatures renewing the fight. Mr Jeffrey was to that? Or to Mr Jeffrey's concluwilling to accommodate the glutton ding chuckle or crow over Cobbett —and do admire with us as clever lying like a huge hulk of a dunghill, a knock-down blow as ever teased with his broken and blunt natural smeller or potatoe-trap. “We are spurs, beneath such a game-cock as not much afraid of the influence of our friend Mr Scot himself would noble families. It is not, in general, admire, one of those ginger-piles a debasing or ungenerous influence; that slaughter in silver ?* Upon the and in this country, there is so little whole, we hope we have said someof the oppressive, tyrannical spirit thing to justify our love of our acof some aristocracies, that we have tual constitution-our aversion to really no apprehension at all from Mr Cobbett's schemes of reformthe prevalence of such a temper in and our indignation at his attempt our government. An English peer to weaken the respect and attachhas scarcely any other influence than ment of the people to forms and an English gentleman of equal for- establishments, without which, we tune, and scarcely
any other interest are persuaded, there would be no to maintain it. The whole landed security for their freedom.” interest, including the peerage, is And the man who thus wrote in scarcely a match for the monied in the prime of his learned life, and terest, either in Parliament or socie. vigour of his fine faculties, is now
the advocate-the Lord Advocate But Mr Jeffrey does not stop here for “the Bill, the whole Bill, and --but adds, that he has “still a word nothing but the Bill !" or two to say on the subject of venal Bad as all Mr Cobbett's arguments boroughs, and we shall then take were in Mr Jeffrey's eyes—they our leave of Mr Cobbett, and relieve were not so bad as the spirit in our readers from this unreasonable which they were urged-which was demand on their attention." Let nothing less than a desire to create us hear this word or two from Mr in the minds of ignorant persons Jeffrey's lips about venal boroughs discontent with the best government --for he avoids the epithet “rotten," that'ever fostered and guarded freeas not fit to mention before ears po- dom. Mr Jeffrey laughed to scorn, lite. “ We are by no means certain too, and withered with the fires of that the consequences are so ex- his indignation, the wicked assertremely injurious to the constitution tion that a reform of Parliament as he appears to imagine. A venal would relieve the people from the borough is a borough which govern- weight of taxation. As “to sinecure ment has not bought; and which places or pensions, these,” said Mr may therefore be bought by Mr Jeffrey, “are mere trifles. The most Cobbett, or any other independent rigorous and unsparing reformer man. When a seat in Parliament is probably would not state the sum advertised for sale, a pretty fair at a million annually. Mere faction competition, we think, is opened to to say that either this, or the sums politicians of all descriptions. The lost by peculations, can make any independent and well-affected part sensible addition to the burdens of of the nation is far richer than the a nation which raises nearly fifty government or the peerage; and if millions in the year, and that the all seats in Parliament could be ho- poor would be at all relieved by a nestly and openly sold for ready retrenchment to that extent.” Taxamoney, we have no sort of doubt tion, he shewed, was made necessary that a very great majority would be by our debt—and our debt created purchased by persons unconnected by wars—and wars by whom? By with the Treasury or the House of the people ; and that therefore were Lords. Wealth is one of the demo- Parliament more popular-that is, cratical elements in this trading were the voice of the people louder, and opulent country; and an ar- then-we should have more wars rangement which gave it more im- more debt-and more taxation. But mediate political efficacy probably with too much war, too much debt, and too much taxation even with In pursuance of this plan, he asks, that constitution of Parliament which what are the great leading evils in Mr Cobbett desired to reform, but our constitution ? And these, he Mr Jeffrey to preserve in statu quo— thinks, are, first, the burden of the “ So far,” says Mr Jeffrey, in answer taxes ; second, the preponderating to Mr Cobbett, who, it seems, had influence of the crown; and, third, said this country was not worth the monopoly of political power, fighting for—" so far from being a which the very permanency and nacountry the measure of whose suf- ture of the constitution has a tenferings is full, and to which every dency to create in the hands of a change must be gain, we conceive it small part of the nation. “To these, to be obvious, on a very slight con- and for all the other disorders which sideration, that we have attained a threaten our body politic, the pogreater portion of happiness and ci- pular prescription,” says Mr Jeffrey, vil liberty, than has ever before with a slight sarcastic smile playing been enjoyed by any other nation; -we may well conceive while he and that the frame and administra- was writing-about these thin, fine, tion of our polity is, with all its de- eloquent-looking lips of his —" is fects, the most perfect and beneficial Parliamentary Reform. An amendof any that men have yet invented ment in the representation of the and reduced to practice.”.
Commons, we are assured, is to ease The snake, however, if scotched, us of our taxes-to reduce the inwas not killed—and the cry was still fluence of the crown-and to heal kept up by Cobbett, Burdett, and all breaches and heart-burnings beothers, for Reform. Mr Francis Jef. tween the governors and the governfrey, therefore, the great Anti-re- ed. We are rather partial to this former, was called upon by the con- medicine on the whole; but it reservative party again to buckle on quires no ordinary skill and caution the “armour of the invincible knights in the preparation and dosing; and, of old,” and returning to the charge, at all events, we are perfectly certo put all the enemies of the consti- tain, is not capable of effecting half tution to rout-in one total and ir- the wonders that are expected from retrievable overthrow. As brave as it. No man of sense has any faith in patriotic, and as prudent as brave, universal specifics; and it is the part and as skilful as prudent, and as wise of an enemy, or a very pernicious as skilful, and as learned as wise, friend, to degrade this useful mediand as virtuous as learned, the cham- cine by investing it with the attripion of the constitution“ insup- butes of a quack panacea, and thus portably his foot advanced,” and in effectually to exclude it from all rean hour the day was won. The na- gular practice." tion, it seems, during the two or With regard to taxes-extremely three years that had elapsed since he vexatious as Mr Jeffrey admits taxes chastised Cobbett, had grown ex- to be—be says very properly, that ceedingly discontented with the go- “ the actual burden of the taxes does vernment; and he at once admitted not necessarily indicate any thing that “there was a very general de- unsound or corrupt in the constisire for a more radical reform than tution or administration of the gocould be effected by a mere change vernment;" and then shews, as we of ministry.” Evils, he cheerfully said half a page ago, that their great admitted, there must be ; for bow amount was entirely owing “ to the else account for the discontent? but warm and sanguine temper of the then, said the wary anti-reformer, al- inhabitants," who would have war, most assuming the character of a and yet were so unreasonable as to moderate reformer, “ We shall still expect to indulge in that luxury have to determine whether the ex- without paying for it.
« With reisting evils are capable of any reme- gard,” says he, " to the taxes, in the dy; whether the remedies which first place, it appears to us in the have been suggested are likely to highest degree chimerical to imagine prove effectual ; and whether they that any change in the plan of reprecould be applied without the hazard sentation should sensibly lessen the of greater evils than those which amount.” This chimera he is very they were expected to cure,” anxious, indeed, to destroy-for it is
a chimera breathing flames and fury House of Commons, who can make --and feeding upon the very vitals a Minister, and by whom all Minisof poor people. Thrice he slays this ters know that they are made and slain chimera-and the third time continued ; that in whatever way we thus :-“ We are clearly of opinion, conceive this assembly to be constithat whatever other benefits might tuted, and by whatever form of elecresult from a reform in Parliament, tion its members are supposed to it would be of no sensible benefit to be returned, still as long as men are the people by lightening the burden men, and while causes and effects of the taxation; and that no delusion maintain their usual relations in apcan be greater, and in some respects plication to human conduct, it cannot more mischievous, than that which fail to happen that the persons in represents these two things as essen- whom this patronage is vested will tially connected with each other.” often be tempted to exercise it in We presume, that what was true their own favour, or in favour of their then, is true now, with regard to immediate connexions ; that this is taxes—and yet this is the very chi. an evil which a change in the plan of mera that all the reformers are now representation would not only fail to feeding-till he is as big as the Bon- cure, but would not in any degree
We may likewise say now, touch or alleviate; that the people what Mr Jeffrey said then, " that to themselves are infected with this love this false opinion, and to the pains of place and emolument, and that which have been taken to dissemi. therefore the House, in case of so nate it, we are perhaps indebted to many more popular elections, would a good part of the apparent zeal and be just so much the more liable to activity which has lately been mani- the same temptations; and very imfested on the subject of reform;" and portant, though not very recondite, all —what say the Deacons ?
these truths doth Mr Jeffrey expisThe second point for Mr Jeffrey's cate, and expound,and sift, and search, consideration, is the operation of and illustrate, with a copiousness of Parliamentary Reform in diminish diction and a felicity of argument ing the influence of the Government which will prove puzzling to the Dea--that is, of the King and his Minis- con who, fired with the hope of posters. The power of the Crown was sessing and enjoying a Set of Maga, for many years either the bear or the shall enter the lists with this doughbugbear of the Blue and Yellow. In ty anti-reformer, who now delivers almost every number you were sure speeches somewhat fåde, and indites to see the nondescript monster-at epistles not very intelligible about one time scampering through a forest, the Bill, the whole Bill, and nothing at another asleep in a cavemat an- but the Bill. other sucking his paws with a grim A zealous Anti-reformer in the satisfaction which it might not have Quarterly Review—whose admirable been safe to disturb. We suspect that essays have attracted such universal we shall hear no more for some time notice, and met with such partial reof this bear, or bugbear, or bugaboo, futation-proposed that this paper from the “Right Honourable Francis of Mr Jeffrey's on Parliamentary ReJeffrey, Lord Advocate of Scotland.” form, once famous in its day, should But fearful a monster as was the be republished; and Mr Croker quopower of the Crown, in former times, ted from it an unanswerable passage and formidable that of the Ministry, in his speech in answer to the Lord Mr Jeffrey “could see no prospect of Advocate. Perhaps there is as much removing, or even alleviating it, by any fine “political literature" in it as in alteration in the constitution of the any thing that ever dropped from bis House of Commons.” He is at pains eminent pen-nor does he in it conto shew how any such expectation fine bimself to those airy or glowing would be absurd; that the King, in- generalities which too often elude the dividually, neither is, nor can be con- grasp, but he proposes such a plan sulted on the greater part of the ap- of Reform as he thinks practicable, pointments which are made in his and explains “its principles, if not name; that the patronage is vested its details,” to which had the Lord substantially in the majority of the Advocate adhered, it would not have been to the detriment of his reputa- has done so; and the Lord Advocate tion, either for practical sagacity or is not only willing, but anxious, to theoretical wisdom.
swallow the whole Bill! Mr Jeffrey-after stating his own Mr Jeffrey, during the course of views-says, “ Our popular reform- these his various disquisitions, occaers are undoubtedly far more speci. sionally whispers such soft things fic. They are for cutting off the rot- into the ear of the Pensive Public as ten boroughs, enlarging the elective “ We were always favourable to franchise, and shortening the dura. Parliamentary Reform.” “ We have tion of Parliament.” But he says no great affection for rotten bothat he is satisfied that such propo- roughs”-and so forth—as, if consals “could not be attempted with. scious of his own coldness or coolout the greatest danger."
ness, or at best lukewarmness in the To what length, therefore, does he cause, he wished to prevent that, if think wise lovers of this matchless not suspicious, yet sagacious Lady constitution might go in the matter from smoking, or say rather scenting of a moderate reform? “We would the real state of his heart. If the not scruple," he says, “ to take away Pensive Public, in the shape of Rethe right of electing from several form, were indeed his mistress, then close and several decayed boroughs, never had mistress so “ cauld-rifed” and to give more members to several a lover-and we do not wonder that populous districts. The pecuniary erelong she gave him his dismissalqualifications of the electors ought, sent him off with a flea in his earat the same time, to be somewhat and told him never to look in her raised, especially in the open bo- face more. Could bis dull addresses, roughs; but, to compensate this, it his chill embrace be the effect of inought to be estimated in the coun- fidelity ? Shocking suspicion to cross ties, as well as elsewhere, not mere- the soul of fair Reform! Could he ly by property or interest in land, be dallying with some venal burgh ? but by property of all sorts, perhaps Or, horror of horrors ! with some rotby the payment of taxes to a certain ten wretch corrupt as the grave ? amount, paying a due tribute to the What else could Reform think on superior weight and respectability of overhearing her false lover thus solithe landed interest; and making the loquize! «i The Borough representqualification lower for them than foration is the next subject which claims other proprietors. Some regulations our attention ; but it is one of great should also be adopted for avoiding difficulty, and requires much cauthe tumult and disorder which now tion-not that the abuses in this part disgrace our most popular elections, of the system are inconsiderable, or and which have inspired many worthy unfit for rigorous correction, but bepeople with a general horror at the cause they are mixed up with much very name of a popular reform.” that is good, as preventing greater Much farther than this the deponent evils, and because the sudden and sayeth not; but he sayeth that such complete alteration of this branch of a moderate measure of reform would the representation, by bringing it not materially touch the state of tax back to its first principles, is an exation or influence; that it would ra- periment of vast difficulty and hather increase the aristocratical influ- zard, and ought, therefore, to be postence over the whole kingdom, in- poned until a beginning of Reform stead of excluding from the House has been made on points where the those who are now sent there by evil is more unmingled with good, the interest of many noble families; and the remedy more certain and and that if he thought it likely safe. To take only a single example, to produce an opposite effect, he -No man can deny that it would be should think it his duty to strive highly impolitic to throw open all against it, as against a measure which the boroughs in which the right of would deprive us of all the practical voting at present belongs to certain blessings of our constitution. parts of the population. No man of
When expressing such enlighten- common sense would wish to see the ed opinions as these now-a-days, mo- worst description of boroughs multiderate reformers are told to cease plied, in which from two to five huntheir “wretched gabble;” Mr Jeffrey dred' inhabitants have votes-bo