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prize of her citizens, afford scope for ditional force. The habits of reading, improvement, to which it would be and the productions of the press, have presumptuous to set almost any limit. been diffused in an unprecedented de

Having made these observations on gree among all classes, while the exthe subject of the national distress, we tended facilities of travelling and comcome to those equally unwelcome re. munication have conveyed

the habits flections inspired by its action upon of metropolitan society to the remotest the public mind. Yet, though this has districts. Noble causes ! from which, certainly been powerful, it were too we fear, some unhappy effects have much to ascribe to it alone that blaze arisen. The first and favourite use of popular discontent, which has been which the multitude have made of so remarkable during these recent these benefits, consists in the habit of years. It was prepared at least by inquiring after news, and of reasoning some more secret principles in the and judging on public concerns. This structure of society. There is a flux is a natural habit, and which we should and reflux in human affairs and feel. be slow to condemn. The human mind ings. Frail mortals, once involved in justly seeks to extend its sphere of exthe political vortex, seem unable to istence beyond those narrow local li. take any steady or moderate view of a mits which

originally enclose it. The subject, and are perpetually tossed be. man, who feels sympathy and interest tween opposite extremes. That blind in the welfare of a large portion of his and daring spirit of innovation, which species, is a being of a higher order, was generated by the first spread of than he who is wholly absorbed in his the revolutionary system, gradually private concerns and connections. Yet gave place to the reign of anti-jaco. it so happens, that even in minds not binism; a system of bigotry hostile wholly uncultivated, we do not always alike to the freedom of thought and observe what is called politics to have action ; which treated as sedition every the most improving effects on the temdoubt as to the expediency of every per and disposition. Too often does it measure of the existing administration, appear rather as an arena for the disand which sought to give to the esta- play of all the most furious and maligblished church an almost popish sway nant passions which can agitate human over the consciences of men. Men nature. If these are its effects, even on gradually grew sick of this, and events not uninformed minds; with the vul. occurred which obtained for the pro- gar, politics are little more than a conscribed name of liberty a reception even tinued system of abuse and invective in courtly circles. The undisguised against those who happen to be the obdespotism established in France, the jects of their enmity. combined independence and loyalty in A democratic body forms perhaps the efforts of the Spanish people, had a necessary, and even, within certain equally this tendency. So far all was limits, not a hurtful element in a mix. well; but it had been too much to ed constitution. Ever since the ori, hope, that men should stop here. The gin of popular government in Engtide, once set in on the popular side, land, a number of persons may be ob. flowed with a continually increasing served, eager for change, and not scrucurrent, till at length all the landmarks pulous as to the means of effecting it. of reason and experience began to give Hitherto, however, unless upon extraway. Other circumstances, almost new ordinary occasions, this body remainin the bistory of the world, gave it ad. ed drawn up behind the regular parlia. mentary whigs, aiding, by its impulse, of others of more congenial character. to push them forward, while they in This state of affairs was soon espied retum modified and repressed those ir- by some who had eagerly driven the regular movements to which it was trade of anti-jacobinism while it conprone. If ever any of those troops tinued profitable, but who now, seemade too rash an advance, the whig ing the best customers gone to the chiefs employed themselves in a friend. other side, resolved to go along with ly manner, first in recalling them to them. It is a mistake to suppose that their natural place, and then in throw- there is any serious danger attendant ing a protecting shield over any excesses on such a transition. The multitude, into which they might have been hur always wholly engrossed with the preried. This alliance, after having sub. Sent object of their enthusiasm, forget sisted so long with the greatest mutual and forgive all things to those who benefit, was suddenly dissolved. The will humour them in it. The experievent took place unexpectedly, and ment, therefore, was completely sucduring a period of the greatest seeming cessful; and its proceeds were such as prosperity. We allude to the apparent- soon to call up rivals, who vied with ly secure, though really so short, pos. each other in that coarse ribaldry, ex. session of power by the Whig party after aggerated invective, and extravagant the demise of Mr Pitt. It was alleged promises from a total change of all that they had shewn a very peculiar things, which were calculated to realacrity in tasting the sweets of office; commend their 'lucubrations to the that in seeking to satisfy their numer- reading multitude. The vastly augous retainers, they had adopted mea- mented number of political students af, sures savouring still less of economy forded an ample and immediate reward than those which they had so loudly to popularity, and under this impulse reprobated in their predecessors; final. there was certainly produced no inconly, that of all these mighty changes siderable portion of that homely and which, with or without reason, their declamatory eloquence, which suited popular adherents had confidently an- the object and the readers. In runticipated, scarcely one had been even ning the race of popularity, it was mentioned. So long, however, as Fox soon found the most expedient course survived, his amenity, address, and to proceed the utmost length which long-established influence, warded off was consistent with keeping on the an open rupture. After him, the supre- outside of a prison wall. It is true, macy came into the hands of Lords that in performing their rounds conGrey and Grenville, men of aristo. tinually, so close to these ever patent cratic habits, of high and proud ho- gates, it was not always possible to nour, and wholly incapable of brook. avoid being attracted inwards. An ing the coarse reproaches with which extensive circulation, however, could they were assailed by this class of quon- pay for a fine and a few months im. dam associates. The popular chiefs at prisonment, not to mention the inlength declared open war against every crease of popularity derived from this thing that bore the name of Whig, and temporary martyrdom. Works conloudly avowed a predilection for mini. ducted on sueh principles, and becosters themselves, as open enemies, ra. ming the popular creed in every part ther than for these false and treachers of the kingdom, could not fail to proous friends. The people, having thus duce a spirit which, when inflamed by quitted the guides in whom they had public distress, must be dangerous to long trusted, were open to the action the public tranquillity.

The democratic spirit which has for high in this latter list, does not hesisome time past been so strong in this tate to express his belief of a change country, though probably a revival of in favour of the crown. Yet, after that excited during the early periods bestowing a good deal of consideraof the French revolution, does not pre- tion upon this question, we hesitate sent itself altogether under the same not to assert, that the influence of the features. It is of a ruder character, crown has diminished, is diminishing, and not illumined by those lights of and (we do not say ought to be in. fancy and philosophy, which threw a creased, but) certainly stands in no lustre over those daring chimeras. In need of any artificial means to effect return, its pretensions are not carried its farther diminution. quite to so extravagant a length. Those In the frequent references made to early apostles treated with disdain the rights once enjoyed by Britons, and panegyrics lavished for so many ages now wrested from them, it is extremeupon the British constitution, as the ly difficult to determine what is the most perfect instrument by which any golden era alluded to. No one assusociety had yet been governed. They redly, who has the least tincture of demanded that it, equally with every history, can look back for it to the other, should be thrown aside, and be feudal

when the body of the succeeded by an ideal system, founded people, as in Russia at present, were on the supposed inherent “Rights of bondsmen attached to the glebe, and Man,” The events of the last twenty sold on the ground like cattle ; when years have broken the spell of these there was not a House of Commons visionary systems. The British con- in existence; and when the barons, stitution also having become more than who alone enjoyed independence, were ever, and to all the nations of Europe, more disposed to carry on discussions the object of enthusiastic admiration, with their sovereign, sword in hand at and of eagerly practised or desired imi. the head of their vassals, than to contation, it seemed scarcely possible to fine his power within legal or parliadeny that it possessed some kind of mentary limits;-or under the Tudors, excellence. It was only contended, the most popular, but at the same time that this was past ; that from the glo- the most arbitary monarchs that ever rious liberty enjoyed by our ancestors, swayed the English sceptre ; and who we had sunk into the most cruel and scarcely viewed parliament otherwise shameful bondage ; that all the rights than as a council, whose advice they for which they bled, had been suc- were bound to follow only in so far as cessively wrested from us ; that the to themselves appeared perfectly agreelegislative assemblies were become able. The Tudors broke the powers of mere tools of the crown; and that to the nobles ; so far they did well, and, restore that, which could justly be quite unconsciously to themselves, laid called the British constitution, would the foundation for the future rise of require a change nearly as total as the the popular power ; but the efforts ideal one proposed by the early revo. which that branch faintly and timidly lutionists. This system of opinion is made to rear its head, were resented deserving of the greater consideration, and crushed as acts of unheard of ausince the general principle, that the dacity. As little will this bright crown has gained and is gaining, is very era be sought under the first Stuarts, generally beld even by moderate whigs, when the claim of divine right and unand not unfrequently admitted by mo- limited power in the sovereign, now derate tories. Hume, who ranks pretty carried higher than ever, came into open collision with the matured ener« even the idea of such a power as apgies of the Commons. The former, pertaining to parliament.King Wil. however, unless by short intervals, kept liam, indeed, sometimes made partial the field, till the long pent-up stream of changes, with the view of conciliating popular power burst its barriers, and that assembly, and smoothing the way swept all before it. After sweeping to his grand system of continental war; away the crown, it was itself carried but however odious some of his coundown in the tide of its own raising; sellors might be, no attempts were and all the consitutional members of made by Parliament to effect their disthe state were sunk for a time beneath missal. "Towards the end of the reign the waves of military despotism. Still of Queen Anne, although the whig less will any Whig refer to the second ministry became very unpopular by Stuarts, whose sway was marked by continuing the war after all its objects so many outrages on the rights and were attained, they were removed, not lives of the subject, and whose career by any interference of parliament, but of arbitrary power was only interrupt. solely through the Duchess of Marled by some transient paroxysm of po- borough being supplanted by Mrs Mapular frenzy. The only period then, sham in the favour of the Queen. Two upon which any rational man can fix years after, George I. succeeded, when as the golden age of England's liber- the whigs were restored to power, in ty, is that which elapsed from the Re- consequence of the sole determination volution to the commencement of the of the king. Presently Oxford and Boreign of George II., or rather of the lingbroke, who just before commanded ministry of Sir Robert Walpole. If great majorities, and held their adverthen it can be proved that the British saries close shut up in the Tower, were constitution, during that very era, was obliged to fly the kingdom, in order to not so free as at this moment, the age save their heads. It was to George of lost liberty, so continually invoked, I.'s mistresses, and George II's queen, will plainly prove to be a perfect chi- not to parliament, that statesmen lookmera. We shall not enter into any ed for promotion. After the memoraabstruse reasonings upon the subject, ble example of Walpole, this high conbut shall merely state a few plain facts, troul of royal prerogative remained drawn from no very recondite sources, dormant for thirty years, when it was which must, we think, convince every again exercised against Lord North ; one who is not predetermined to be- and these two formed the only decided lieve otherwise.

ages,

instance of its exercise during the cenOf all the exercises of power by tury. Now, in the course of the last which Parliament can display its inde- twenty years, parliament have dismisspendence and supremacy, the highest ed one whole ministry, (the Addingseemstobe,that of compelling thecrown tons)—one half ministry, (for we canto change its ministers ; and any pe- not consider Lord Melville as holding riod in which this power has been most less than that proportion)—and they frequently exercised, bears, beyond any have half-impeached a prince of the other, the stamp of liberty. Now, the blood; and all this in the heart of a fact is, that no one instance occurred, war, represented as tending to carry from the Revolution, till the case of Sir the royal influence to the most alarniRobert Walpole-the very man under ing height. It does not seem extravawhom the constitution is asserted to gant to say, that these stretches of parhave first declined from its original pu- liamentary power, fairly equal all those rity. Prior to this time, there was not put together made from the Revolution, down to the commencement of a notwithstanding all the clamours to the war represented as involving the down- contrary, to be exemplified in the comfall of British liberty.

parative amount of the civil list ; which, At the Revolution, we find the crown doubtless, must always have been a fain full possession of that Veto which vourite object with the prince. In the the constitution professes to bestow; reign of William, it was fixed by par. it was exercised by William on several liament at 700,0001., a sum which would most important occasions. This pre- be rated very low by considering it rogative is annihilated. The royal as- equal to two millions of our present sent is universally regarded as a mere money. The present civil list is onform, which must be affixed to any ly 1,028,0001., a nominal increase so bill that has passed the ordeal of the small, as to be a great virtual diminu. two Houses. Under George I. it was tion. The salary of the office of king understood that the bulk of the nation, has, therefore, not been augmented in and particularly of the landed interest, proportion to almost any other salary, were tories ;* not such tories as we much less to the remarkable increase now see, but old genuine tories—in- both in the landed and monied incomes veterate sticklers to the doctrines of throughout the nation. divine right, passive obedience, and In proportion to the decline of the non-resistance-doctrines which, du- ancient veneration for the person and ring the height of the reign of anti- authority of the sovereign, has been jacobinism, a faint attempt was made the increase of tenderness and regard to revive, but which seem now con- for the people, of the want of which signed for ever to oblivion. In our they complain so bitterly. It appears days, the loyalty even of the most loy- alniost miraculous, when we consider al, is a very cool and deliberate senti. the immense amount of taxes imposed ment. The high tory by principle, under the Pitt administration, how

very is merely a great lover of peace and few affect the necessaries of life. Even good order ; an instinctive foe to all tu. these few were taxed previous to the mult and disturbance; one who wishes late war; and the most important one, to enjoy tranquilly the good things that on salt, existed already in the reiga of this life ; and who dreads, in every of King William. Holland, formerly innovation, a tendency to subvert the indeed reckoned the most heavily burestablished order of good things. These dened country in Europe, but which are cold sentiments, compared to the has now fully yielded to us that sad preemotions of enthusiastic loyalty with eminence, though a republic, had taxes which our father's were animated ; and imposed on bread and on butcher meat, being opposed to the greatly increased the two first necessaries of life. How force of the popular spirit, must neces

would the honest labourer of the presarily produce a state of the public sent day relish the revival of the taxes mind unfavourable to the increase, or imposed in 1695, for the support of even maintenance of the monarchical King William's wars? At that time, power. The action of this spirit seems, all who received wages of from four to

* Coxe's Memoirs of Walpole I. 93. Down to 1741, the electors of Westminster took the instructions of the ministry as to the persons whom they were to clict, and who consisted usually of two lords, one of the Treasury, and the other of the Adiniralty. We shall not inquire what notice a recommendation of this nature would be likely to incet with at the present day.-- Ibid. 111. 224.

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