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If there be any truth in these views fallacious. We conceive it undeniable of the subject, we leave the popular wri- that expediency, the tendency to proters to consider, how far the studied mote the welfare of the society, must obloquy and derision which they con. be the main part of the merits of tinually throw on every thing connect- any representative system. It may ed with royalty, is or is not conducive not then appear very illiberal to assert, to the true interests of freedom. A as a leading principle of expediency, tendency to the vices of self-indulgence that the administration should be chiefis certainly an evil to which heredi- ly in the hands of the most enlightened tary princes, like others unfortunately and best informed part of the commusurrounded with too ample means of nity. The interest of all the orders gratification, are liable. There have of society is so linked together, that no doubt been brilliant exceptions; and, scarcely one of them, if they know after all, these vices have been more gross well what they are doing, will injure and conspicuous in individuals raised the rest. Do we not see how Russia to the throne from a private station. has flourished under a despotic governStill they are prevalent failings of he- ment, because that government has reditary princes, and, in point of ex- imported, and as yet chiefly monopoample, have certainly a pernicious in- lized the knowledge of more improved fluence. Although, therefore, in a he- countries? We would never compare reditary limited monarchy, the general the Russian people to one, a large proand salutary rule be, to abstain from the portion of which are qualified to exerperson of the monarch, yet we should cise a free voice in public deliberations. not be sorry on such points to see the Still, being such as it is, who can doubt application of a little “grave rebuke,” that, with a different government, it which, if it could not be expected to would have been a century back in cifall with much weight on the quarter vilization ? England, more happy, pos. towards which it was pointed, might sesses a large body of citizens, who are yet tend to preserve unaltered, in the capable of the salutary and ennobling minds of the nation, the distinctions of exercise of deliberating for the public right and wrong. This, however, weal. Still, if we consider cultivation ought, we conceive, to be done with of mind, as a requisite for the exercise an anxious care to avoid throwing con- of political functions, we must at pretempt on the person and office of the sent in Britain, as in every other coundistinguished individual thus animad- try, restrict them to a minority. We verted on, not, as usual, for the express are not among those who would for purpose of producing that effect. ever doom to ignorance, as well as
The next particular in which a toil, that portion of the society which change is still more pointedly and ear subsists by manual labour. nestly demanded, is the state of the no obstacle to their attaining one day national representation. The system a considerable extent of intellectual called for by the mass of the people is, culture ; we have no doubt of their doand always must be, one and the same ing so; but we expect it, like all the -universal suffrage. The fact is, this great processes of nature, to take place system is so natural and plausible, that only gradually, and after the lapse of we ought not too much to blame raw ages. Knowledge, it is true, is beginpoliticians for deeming it'the best. In ning to dawn on all the dark corners of theory it seems to be so; but in poli- the earth. Multitudes who never read tical affairs, first views are extremely before, read now, and are making use
VOL. XI. PART I.
of their newly acquired faculty, by de. blind passion of the numerous classes voting themselves to political discussion to whom their sheets are addressed. and inquiry. But, though we see much All things then considered, we scarceto make this class of persons suppose ly hesitate to conelude, that the meathemselves fit for the task of legisla- sure of knowledge and political inquiry tion, we see very little to make them newly diffused among the less enlightreally fit. This early dawn, shewing on. ened orders, is, for the present, rather ly the dim erroneous surfaces of things, a disqualification than otherwise for is more deceitful than even the dark. the exercise of any high political funcness which it has begun to dispel. One tions. The discussion of such subfeature which invariably accompanies jects, if conducted at least in a somethe decisions of unexperienced intellect what different style from the present, on any new subject, is an unbounded may give, indeed, a certain enlargeconfidence in its own hasty decisions ment to their mind, and may lead ulThus no one judges himself fitted, timately to farther improvements. Let without a long previous apprentice- the mechanic decide the fate of emship, to manufacture a loaf of bread, pires over his pot of ale ; but let him or a web of cloth-most useful opera. not yet seek, by his decision, to regu. tions, and demanding, we believe, a late the destinies of the world. greater share of intellectual exertion Upon the grounds now stated, we than is commonly supposed; yet they may be enabled to form an opinion as can scarcely be supposed so very much to the expediency of general suffrage. easier than the task of giving laws to Its evident and inevitable tendency nations, that the latter may be taken must be to throw the whole power up at once without pains or study. It into the hands of the uninstructed seems now supposed, not only that classes ; of those whose education and the legislator, like the poet, is born, habits disqualify them for forming an but that while a select few only are opinion on those high and complicated born poets, all are born legislators. questions submitted to legislative disUnfortunately there is no science in cussion. Those better qualified; by which first appearances are so decei. leisure and education, for the task, ving as in politics and political econo must be so far completely outnumbermy;; nor any class of measures which ed, that their voice would have scarceso often terminate in the direct con- ly any weight in the decision. The trary of their obvious and apparent multitude, indeed, will, by several irtendency. The consequence is, that resistible causes, be prevented from the unexperienced politician not only chusing representatives from among is very uncertain of being in the right, themselves; but they will easily find in but has many chances of being in the another class, proper organs, who will wrong. His eager zeal too for these court their favour by adopting and inlittle-pondered opinions, and bis infu- faming all their passions and prejuriate rage against all who in any shape dices. The councils of the nation, dissent from them, preclude all prospect dictated from the ale house and the of an error once committed being ever smithy, could scarcely fail to bear retrieved. Far less are his eyes ever some stamp of the scenes amidst which likely to be opened by the political they originated. The opulent classes, oracles to whose responses he listens ; indeed, find sometimes à remedy, by and who, as already observed, know keeping the labouring population in their trade too well not to use all their such a state of depression and dependarts to inflame, instead of calming every ence as may entirely deprive them of
the exercise of their free will in voting. constitution from taking root in the Such a system, we believe, is carried nation, and in paralyzing, at a critical on to a certain extent in England, and moment, any efforts for its preserva
to a much greater among the landed tion. We do not then wish the sway = proprietors of Ireland. It is a remedy, of the lower orders, in the national
however, still worse than the disease, councils, to be increased, but neither being attended with the deepest de- do we desire that what they have pression, intellectual and economical, should be taken from them. There both to the persons endowed with this may appear room even for a certain vain privilege, and to the nation in ge- degree of local adjustment between the
places which have lost their populaFrom the whole of these considera. tion, and those which have gained a retions we are led to believe, that there markable accession. A town has not
is nothing clamant in the state of Bri. perhaps very much reason to complain itish representation, and that it is very of non-representation, if others, placed
fairly calculated to embody the sense in the same situation, and having the of the respectable and intelligent part same interests with itself, are representof the nation. We should hesitate, in ed. But there appears to be a class of fact, in wishing to see it reformed up- newly-formed manufacturing establishon any systematic and theoretical prin- ments, which stand almost by themciple, even the most accordant with selves, and have no means to secure a our own general views. There appear guardian of their interests in the na. to exist in the present system useful tional assembly. However apocryphal anomalies, which it would be absurd the authority may appear to many
of to introduce deliberately, but which, our readers, we should perhaps strongbeing there, ought to remain. Thus ly object to the very moderate and raalthough we consider a certain measure tional plan laid down in a late number of property, as in the present state of of the Edinburgh Review. The views society, naturally connected with the now given, however, would obviously information and intelligence requisite involve a dissent from the idea, that for the due exercise of elective func. the principle of such alteration should tions, we doubt the expediency of a be the reduction of the power of the rigid and total exclusion, even of the crown, still less the extension of the lowest ranks. It is probably expedient elective franchise to the less educated that the multitude, though in a par- and informed classes. Amply suffitial and irregular manner, should have cient, in this last respect, appears to some organs in the House, who may have been done by the fall in the va. plead their cause, and compensate for lue of money, which has reduced al. the smalloess of their numbers by their most to nothing the original freehold zeal, and the large body by which they qualification of two pounds a-year. are backed. By their orations, even At the same time, those who view though noisy and turbulent, they may things on the whole as well, and reforce into view those interests of their gard with alarm any sudden and exconstituents, which might otherwise be tensive change, may yet concur in the overlooked ; their clamour may even correction of 'striking and palpable serve as a substitute for more perilous abuses, on single and special grounds, external tumults. It may be questioned, without any shock to the general syswhether the want of this might not tem. have its effect in preventing the French
OPENING OF PARLIAMENT.
Speech of the Prince Regent.-Attack on his Royal Highness.- Proceedings in
Parliament upon this subject.-Debates on the Address in the House of Lords - In the House of Commons.
The first event by which the year was territory of Algiers, and to the renundistinguished was the meeting of par- ciation by its government of the prac. liament. The session proved a very tice of Christian slavery. I am perbusy one, and marked by the vehe- suaded that you will be duly sensible mence of its political conflicts. The of the importance of an arrangement meeting took place on the 28th Janu. so interesting to humanity, and reflectary. The views and intentions of go- ing, from the manner in which it has vernment were as usual announced by been accomplished, such signal honour the speech from the throne, which it to the British nation. In India, the will therefore, we conceive, be satis. refusal of the government of Nepaul factory to give at full length. to ratify a treaty of peace which had
“ My Lords and Gentlemen, been signed by its plenipotentiaries, It is with deep regret that I am
occasioned a renewal of military opeobliged to announce to you, that no rations. The judicious arrangements alteration has occurred in the state of of the governor-general, seconded by his Majesty's lamented indisposition. the bravery and perseverance of his I continue to receive from foreign Majesty's forces, and of those of the powers the strongest assurances of East India Company, brought the their friendly disposition towards this campaign to a speedy and successful country,
and of their earnest desire to issue ; and peace has been finally estamaintain the general tranquillity. The blished upon the just and honourable hostilities to which I was compelled to terms of the original treaty." resort, in vindication of the honour of “Gentlemen of the House of Commons, the country against the government of I have directed the estimates for the Algiers, have been attended with the current year to be laid before you. most complete success. The splendid They have been formed upon a full achievements of his Majesty's fleet, in consideration of all the present circonjunction with a squadron of the cumstances of the country, with an King of the Netherlands, uuder the anxious desire to make every reduction gallant and able conduct of Admiral in our establishments which the safety Viscount Exmouth, led to the imme- of the empire and sound policy allow. diate and unconditional liberation of ' I recommend the state of the public ail Christian captives then within the income and expenditure to your early
and serious attention. I regret to be difficulties in which we are involved. under the necessity of informing you In considering our internal situation, that there has been a deficiency in the you will, I doubt not, feel a just indigproduce of the revenue in the last year; nation at the attempts which have been but I trust that it is to be ascribed tó made to take advantage of the distemporary causes: and I have the con. tresses of the country, for the purpose solation to believe that you will find it of exciting a spirit of sedition and vio. practicable to provide for the public lence. I am too well convinced of the services of the year, without making loyalty and good sense of the great any addition to the burthens of the body of his Majesty's subjects, to be. people, and without adopting any mea- lieve them capable of being perverted sure injurious to that system by which by the arts which are employed to sethe public credit of the country has duce them ; but I am determined to been hitherto sustained.”
omit no precautions for preserving the “ My Lords and Gentlemen, public peace, and for counteracting « I have the satisfaction of informing the designs of the disaffected ; and i you, that the arrangements which were rely with the utmost confidence on made in the last session of parliament, your cordial support and co-operation, with a view to a new silver coinage, in upholding a system of law and gohave been completed with unprece vernment, from which we have derived dented expedition. I have given di- inestimable advantages, which has enarections for the immediate issue of the bled us to conclude, with unexampled new coin, and I trust that this measure glory, a contest whereon depended the will be productive of considerable ad- best interests of mankind, and which vantages to the trade and internal has been hitherto felt by ourselves, as transactions of the country. The dis- it is acknowledged by other nations, to tresses consequent upon the termina- be the most perfect that has ever fallen tion of a war of such unusual extent to the lot of any people.” and duration, have been felt, with While the houses were proceeding, greater or less severity, throughout all according to custom, to take this the nations of Europe ; and have been speech into consideration, in order to considerably aggravated by the unfa. frame a corresponding answer,* their vourable state of the season. Deeply deliberations were broken in upon by as I lament the pressure of these evils intelligence of an unexpected and apupon this country, I am sensible that palling nature. Before the debate had they are of a nature not to admit of an begun in the Lords, Viscount Sid. immediate remedy; but whilst I ob- mouth rose and said that he had a most serve with peculiar satisfaction the for- important communication to make ; titude with which so many privations that as his Royal Highness was returnhave been borne, and the active bene. ing from the house, and the carriage volence which has been employed to was passing in the Park, at the back mitigate them, I am persuaded that of the garden of Carlton House, the the great sources of our national pro- glass of the window had been broken sperity are essentially unimpaired, and either by a stone, or by two balls from I entertain a confident expectation that an air-gun, which appeared to have been the native energy of the country will, aimed at his Royal Highness. Lord at no distant period, surmount all the James Murray was then called in, and
We suspend for the present the commencement of the debate in the Commons, in order to give the whole hereafter in a connected form.