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• from day to day. After referring to the opposite doctrines of Adam Sinith and Lord Lauderdale, M. Say and M. Sismondi, on certain points, he adds: “These opinions may be knowledge ' in the making, as Bacon finely calls the opinions of enlightened
inen, hut, until it is made, one would hesitate to stake the hap
piness of a nation upon them. This is very just, but there are circumstances under which a Legislature may be called to take some active measures, and those measures must be regulated by some principles either correct or erroneous ; and the worst is, tbat those individuals who shew the greatest contempt for abstract principles and what they deeni visionary theories, are often the most tenacious of their own unroritten systems, and discover the most slavish adherence to their favourite authorities. It is, however, a good sign, when there exists a pretty brisk conflict of opinions among political writers : it shews that knowledge is making. The remark with which the chapter concludes, is, we think, worth transcription.
• Government will always be conducted for the benefit of those who govern. If the few alone govern, the interests of the few only will be provided for; if the people themselves have a share in the government, the interests of the many will be consulted.'
We have been much pleased with some of the remarks in the paper on Marriage. The longest and most carefully written essay, however, is that on the State of the English Constitu
tion,' which we can cordially recommend to the perusal of our readers. It contains a dispassionate review of the events of the late reign, as they bear upon our constitutional liberties.
• In reckoning up what the crown has gained upon liberty during this reign,' remarks the Writer, we must take into account its two wars, American and French, and the increase of public debt and establishments. In estimating, on the other hand, what new securities liberty has gained, we must put into the balance Mr. Fox's law of Jibel, the resolution against general warrants, and the vast increased weight of public opinion; and this again leads us to the alarms and restrictive measures.
• Whatever may have been the reasons, good or bad, which induced the government of this country to undertake a war against the insurgent colonies of America, and whatever may have been the policy, or even the necessity of entering into a contest with the French republic, it cannot be denied that the object of both these wars was to oppose popular revolution, and that their spirit was contrary to popular principles. It may be said, indeed, that both of these wars were supported by the full concurrence of the people of this country. But this objection takes away nothing from the weight of the observation which I wish to make. It must be recollected, that a high-spirited nation is easily incited to take arms; and, whether they do so, in a cause congenial to freedom, depends entirely upon the occasion which sents itself, and the use which is made of it by those whose talents qualify them to direct public opinion. Now the occasions upon which both of the wars before alluded to, arose, were the resistance of a people to its government; and the arguments adopted to induce this country to declare war, were chiefly an appeal to its insulted dignity, and to its feelings of loyalty and piety. During a long period of this reign, comprising more than half of its extended duration, no attempts have been wanting to inflame the public mind, daily and hourly, against the rebellious subjects of our own king, and against a neighbouring nation, which deposed and executed its sovereign. It is impossible but that these invectives must have had their effect, and it can create surprise in no one that a country so excited, so taught, and so inflamed, and that too by one of the most eloquent writers, and one of the most eloquent speakers whom England has produced, should become at last extremely alive to every supposed misdemeanour against prerogative, and completely dull and insensible to any violation of constitutional rights. Nor will those escape blame in the page of history, if any such there were, who led the people on hy exaggerated representations of facts; who inflamed their imagination by highlycoloured pictures of carnage and of murder, and endeavoured to put a stop to internal and civil bloodshed in one nation, by extending slaughter and desolation to every state in Europe, and every region of the globe. The example of the French Revolution, however, has had an influence still more direct on the progress of our affairs: the French Revolution is ascribed to every thing, and every thing is ascribed to the French Revolution. If a book is written containing new opinions on subjects of philosophy and literature, we are told to avoid them, for to Voltaire and to Rousseau is to be ascribed the French Revolution. If an ignorant cobler barangues a ragged mob in Smithfield, we are told that the state is in danger, for the fury of a mob was the beginning of the French Revolution. If there is discontent in the manufacturing towns, we are told that the discontent of the manufacturing towns in France was the great cause of the French Revolution. Nay; even if it is proposed to allow a proprietor of land to shoot partridges and bares on his own ground, we are told that this would be to admit the doctrine of natural rights, the source of all the evils of the French Revolution.
• It is in vain that these absurd clamours are repeatedly refuted; it is in vain that it is shown that the French Revolution arose from one simple cause, the discordance of a brave and enlightened people with a corrupt, bigoted, and despotic government; it is in vain that the atrocities of the revolution are shown to have been owing partly to the cruel character of the people, and partly to the alarm excited by foreign interference.
• It is to no purpose that it is observed, that no comparison can be drawn between a country which had no constitution and no freedom; and one which has a constitution, and where the whole people are free.
• The voice of reason is not listened to; the whole precedent is taken in the gross as a receipt in full for every bad law; for every ancient abuse ; for maintaining error, and applauding incapacity. It is as if a patient were worn out with bad fare, and exhausted with debility, and a physician should administer copious bleedings, because his door neighbour was dying of a pleurisy.'
The Writer then goes on to shew how,' whilst the powe ' the crown has been thus increased by the doctrines, it has be
no less augmented by the burdens of the war.' The accessit of patronage, derived from the prodigious augmentation of th revenue and the national debt, is incalculable. The collection on this immense revenue, forms in itseļf a powerful engine of state influence ; upwards of four millions a-year being spent in this necessary service.'
• Every year a large book is presented to the House of Commons, containing an account of the augmentation of salaries and superanuations, chiefly in offices of this description. These offices are thus disposed of. The offices of the excise are generally given by the commissioners of excisc appointed by government, a few being re. served for the patronage of the Treasury; i. e. in other words for members of the House of Commons. The offices of the customs are entirely at the disposal of the Treasury; the offices of the stamp and post offices are given by the Treasury, at the recommendation of members of parliament voting with government. The receivers.general of the land tax, whose poundage alone amounts to 78,000l. a year, and whose balances give as much more, are appointed at the recommendation of county members voting with government. In the instance of one county, this office was lately divided into two, to increase the patronage. Where the members for the county both vote with opposition, the appointment is given to the person who the first Lord of the Treasury thinks ought to be member for the county. Thus it is, that the influence of the crown has not only been aug. mented, but organized, and directed in a manner never before known.
In proceeding to examine the new securities which liberty has gained, the Writer admits that the publication of the debates in parliament, and the more general diffusion of political knowledge, form a most important change.
• The censor of the Roman republic, however austere in the exercise of his functions, could never equal in minuteness of enquiry, or severity of rebuke, the unseen and irresponsible public of the British Empire. What statesman can hear with unshaken nerves, that voice, which, beginning in the whispers of the metropolis, rises into the loud tone of defiance within the walls of parliament, and is then prolonged by means of the hundred mouths of the press, till its innume. rable echoes rebound from the shores of Cornwall, and the mountains of Inverness ? What minister, however profligate in his notions, does not, in his parliamentary language, endeavour, in some degree, to conciliate the uncorrupted mind of the multitude
The effect of this power is, however, he proceeds to shew, very vaguely estimated, when it is supposed to overbalance the influence the crown derives from the increase of the standing VOL XIV. N.S.
army and ministerial patronage. All our most valued institutions, the safeguards of our liberty, suppose that public opinion is not a sufficient counterpoise to power. Besides, the persons who advance such an argument, take it for granted that all the opinion which has been admitted to a share of influence in the state, is in a spirit of inquiry and of control upon the Govern ment. To expose the fallacy of this assumption, the Writer takes a view of the parties into which the public are divided. At the beginning of the late reign, several new parties arose, which are briefly characterised.
A fourth party, are those who are attached to the laws, but are perpetual alarmists. They would use the Constitution as some ladies do a new gown, never put it on for fear it should rain. They are continually reminding us of the necessity of burying party animosities for the sake of the country; by which they mean, suspending the laws, to quiet their own nerves. It is upon these persons, especially, that the very name of French Revolution has the greatest effect; they shut their eyes to every thing that is encouraging, in order to fix their gaze upon the low trash by which a few miserable individuals gain a precarious livelihood. It is upon these timid creatures also that the government press has the most pernicious effect; nothing, it is well known, is so likely to forward the sale of a newspaper, as an account of any news that is by the newsmen called "bloody;" and now that the war is over, there is no way of obtaining such news, but by exaggerating the numbers and the violence of public meetings. This manœuvre was practised to such an extent last year, that the whole nation took the alarm, and Englishmen were ready to cut each other's throats in the surmise of a plot. Unhappily, in one instance, they went farther, and blood was shed in civil commotion. May that day never be repeated!' pp. 154, 155.
The New Party' is next examined at full length, and their mischievous influence ably exposed. The new laws restrictive of the freedom of the Press are then adverted to with becoming indignation, and the words of Burke are recalled to us, in application to the present crisis, that liberty is in danger of being made unpopular to Englishmen.' The paper concludes with some judicious remarks on Parliamentary Reform.
We have allowed ourselves no room for further disquisition, and we are glad of it. Though this Gentleman has left his lodgings, we dare say we shall hear of him again.
Art. IX. Lays of Affection. By Margaret Brown. Foolscap 8vo. pp. 224. Price 8s. Edinburgh. 1819.
E shall perhaps gratify an interesting circle of friends by our notice of these effusions of friendship; and we can say with truth, that we know of no worthier purpose that Verse can answer, than to be the vehicle and the record of feelings and
sentiments such as in this instance it has been employed to express. But beyond the circle of those friends for whose gratification, no doubt, the fairly written, hot pressed manuscript was entrusted to the black hands of the compositor, such a volume can scarcely be expected to excite a permanent interest. Political economists tell us that the real price of a thing always represents the quantity of labour exerted in its production. This remark will in a qualified sense apply very generally to literary productions; for it is men of the greatest genius that take the greatest pains, and whose works are, in fact, as estimated by the labour bestowed upon them, the most costly. The poems in the collection before us, appear to have severally occupied as much pains or mental labour as the occasion demanded; and the result bears a fair proportion to the pains: if, then, the price set upon them by the indifferent reader be but adequate to the cost of production, and their value be estimated by the greater or less facility with which they might be replaced by a fresh supply of a similar article, the Writer will have no reason to complain. In order to favour her interests in this respect as much as possible, we shall make room for two short extracts, in the selection of which we do her no injustice.
'Ode written when the French subjugated Holland, Switzerland, and Geneva.
'Tis holy ground ye tread
Why o'er the peaceful, wave the gory spear?
Who late, in praises to the LORD OF ALL,
Batavia! whose renown o'er many a Land
Their armour Faith, resistless as the sway
Of Ocean rous'd by Storms, they rush'd their fateful
City of Science, and of Lore divine!
Who will not mourn, that Bulwarks such as thine
Nameless among the Nations! who shall trace
Ah! rush'd the Foe-thy Sons, thy Daughters pour;