Page images
[ocr errors]

morality of the Duke of Wellington, or of the Duke's humanity.

But as to the second point of those men having saved the country! What have they saved it from? Have they saved it from debt, taxation, poverty, crime, or misery? Have they saved it in such a manner as they can carry on their system for three years longer, or one year without opposition or impediment? What, in the name of Fortune, have they saved it from? It is high time the people set about saving it from the destructive power of such men, or they will find nothing worth saving by and bye. The supporters of the present system are abominably ignorant: there are but few men that have a grain of wit or sense among them, and they are hired apostates, such as Stewart, Stoddart, Dennis O'Bryen, and Robert Southey. But in the corporation of London, there is not a man possessing common sense but is the avowed opponent of the present Ministers.

Another indirect mode has been lately adopted for the further support of Ministers, and that, strange to say, is an affected opposition to them: but with affected opposition is accompanied a uniform abuse and defamation of the Reformers, and an attempt to separate the Queen and her pretended aristocratical friends from countenancing the Reformers. The "True Briton" newspaper has been established solely for this purpose, and although it affects an opposition to Ministers, and makes a fuss about that vague word "The Constitution," still the cloven foot is daily visi ble in its columns. We have some knowledge of the origin of this paper and the parties concerned in it. Gibbons Merle is the publisher of the "True Briton." Gibbons Merle was the editor of that scurvy publication which appeared for some time, called the White Dwarf. Shadgett, who edited a weekly review for some time, was connected with this Gibbons Merle, and Lord Kenyon was their patron. They set out with a great deal of ardour in the year 1818, and were going to write down all the seditious pamphlets of the day. Shadgett in four months was sent to the King's Bench Prison for a debt of as many hundred pounds due to printers and stationers; as all the money he collected from the sale of his Review very naturally went to support him in bread and cheese and porter. The Insolvent Debtor's Court put the sponge to all honest Shadgett's debts, and Lord Kenyon, the Bishop of London, and the Vice Society, again attempted to set Shadgett going, and bought a press and types for him, as no printer would trust him for a far

thing again. Honest Shadgett was now settled at Islington, and his Review still kept on, until he trenched so hard upon the purse of his patrons, that he was obliged to give up; but not until he had written down the Rights of Man, the Age of Reason, Wooler, and Sherwin, and Mr. Cobbett too, although he was in America. He boasted of having reduced all the weekly publications of the seditionists from as many thousands to hundreds, and having left them in an irrecoverable state, he thought it prudent to desist, and gave up the ghost! We have heard nothing of Shadgett since, but he and Gibbons Merle could not agree together, and whether their patrons have chastised and united them, we cannot say.

Gibbons Merle's White Dwarf lived but a short time, that is, just as long as his patrons thought proper to distribute the publication gratis into all coffee houses, taverns, and ale-houses; for scarce a copy ever fetched fourpence. When it broke up, we found Gibbons Merle taxing Lord Sidmouth with ingratitude and treachery, and all the other vices, because his Lordship had promised to pay the stationer and printer, and left Gibbons Merle in the lurch at the time of payment. A threat of exposure appeared in an advertisement in the Times newspaper; but the matter was hushed and the exposure not made. Soon after, this Gibbons Merle started a Sunday paper, or, at least, a weekly paper with a stamp, entitled "The gis;" but this, in a manner of speaking, was dead-born, as nothing scarce was heard of it after the advertisement of the first number. Allthose papers were in direct and avowed support of Ministers, and abuse of Reformers; but now the scene is changed a little, an opposition to the Ministers is affected, a few apparently liberal paragraphs are inserted, but the main object is the abuse of Reform and Reformers; as without attacking the Ministers too, they could not get a paper read. This is the origin and character of the "True Briton." Gibbons Merle is its publisher, and Lord Kenyon and the Vice Society its patrons.

Another roar is to be set up through the country, about sedition and blasphemy, the Ministers' last shift upon all occasions, when they contemplate an abridgement of existing privileges and rights. It might reasonably be expected that this trick will not be swallowed again, after the outrage those very Ministers have committed on the morals and religion of the country. Why are so many of us in prison, if sedition and blasphemy goes on increasing? Why have we Vol. IV. No. 15.


been robbed of all we possess, under the pretence that that robbery would put a final stop to sedition and blasphemy? The alarmists seem to make as much progress in rooting out sedition and blasphemy as the Danaids in dipping the well with a sieve. We perceive by the papers that the Blades and Co. have formed themselves into a Society in the Ward of Farringdon Without, to be called the "Friends of the Constitution" (idle words) and to have for its object "the opposing of the dreadful torrent of sedition and blasphemy which is deluging the country, and to render firm and steady support to such candidates for the various offices of the City as may manifest an independent attachment to the envied Constitution under which we live." Consummate blockheads! Have they not been opposing and prosecuting, and rooting out what they call sedition and blasphemy, for these last thirty years, and still it is found to increase upon them? How is all this to be accounted for, but by saying, that what is commonly called sedition and blasphemy must be synonimous with truth and common sense? Let them oppose; we enjoy their opposition: for every shilling they spend, they throw it, by an indirect channel, into our purse! We thrive better with opposition than without it! But we really should not feel surprize to see some of those "Friends to the envied Constitution" indicted, like Dennis O'Bryen, for a seditious conspiracy, by and bye. As to their endeavour to throw out the present Commen-Councilmen from this Ward, we think they will find themselves mistaken. The grievance is, that by having such a Lord Mayor and Sheriffs as the present, there were no soldiers wanted in the City when her Majesty went to St. Paul's. This was a dreadful falling off on the side of the "Friends to the envied Constitution," and the complaint is laid to the charge of the present City Officers. They, the "Friends to the envied Constitution," rejoice in riots, and pine without them. Their "envied Constitution" is a standing army, and a standing, corrupt Parliament; for the word Constitution means stability in the form of government, and these standing commodities, with standing taxes, and standing misery, are the stabilities of our "envied Constitution."

Every corrupt and rotten corporation in the Island is about to send loyal, and royal, and dutiful addresses to the King, praying that he might live to reign over us, and spend our earnings for many years to come. The Courier has been bawling a long time to get those addresses, but they move very slow and very secret. They are seldom heard of

in the neighbourhood where they are said to come from, until they are mentioned in the Gazette.

The City Address to the King must draw forth an answer, as to whether he intends to continue his late career or not. There can be no shuffling; there must be an answer, yes or no, unless his Majesty (so called) should keep himself at Brighton all the winter. But counter Addresses are manufacturing in both Oxford and Cambridge Universities, the members of which have the same privilege of a direct answer; so that it will be the priests against the people; which shall triumph? For our parts, we are firmly of opinion, that the present Ministers will do the country an essential service, and a lasting benefit, if they will but deign to rule it for six months longer. We have not the least wish to see a change of Ministers for the present winter, and this is our defence of, and tribute to the Ministers. They are preparing the country for an important change, one that is absolutely necessary, and who, or what honest man, can in his heart blame them? The Ministers may make long purses for themselves, but it is very probable that we shall have them thrown back again by and bye, or that we might get hold of the strings and enquire by what means they were filled. They may not be able to find a foreign rendezvous or shelter, and under those circumstances it matters but little what quantity of the public money they board.

Never, never before, has this country approached such a crisis as the present. Delusion has lost its influence; it matters not in what shape it appears, the people have been so long accustomed to it that disguise avails nothing. The people know that the man who abuses reform or its advocates, cannot be an honest man, whatever other pretensions he may make in his tactics of deception. That only remedy for the country cannot be imitated by empirics, nor can the longest list of cures allure the patients to try any other. For our own parts, we value equally alike the abuse of the enemies of reform or its pretended friends, and the sincere applause and approbation of its real friends. This antithesis is to us equally pleasant and agreeable. This is a moment when the bad passions of corrupt men are brought into action, and the reason we hear and see so much clamour and abuse but we do think that we have fought the good fight long enough to convince our enemies that we are invincible; and if we do lay down the pen, it will be with the consoling knowledge that quite enough has been done, and that the current of events cannot now be changed either way, by

writing for or against. The serpent has lost both its tongue and its sting; it will not seduce another Eve, or poison us again with its venom. The Printing Press will prove the grand panacea, and the nearer we approach a revolution, the more effect will it produce, and the acquirement of another glorious revolution will place it on the pedestal of unlimited freedom. Then will its moral energies burst forth like the sun's beams on a summer's morn, and soon pass to its meridian splendour to set no more!



IT was a saying of the great Archbishop Tillotson (who was called an Atheist) "That our best reason is short and imperfect, and since it is no better, we must use it as it is, and make the best of it." But whoever follows this advice, is immediately considered by the prejudiced as an Atheist. Not only the Deist, but all those who cannot digest the creeds of the interested, are branded with this appellation.

Deism has been the avowed religion of some of the most virtuous characters in all ages; it prevailed during the pastoral lives of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, &c. Melchizedek being a priest to "the most High God," until the Bulrush Chief sprang up, and established the metaphysical system, and converted the twelfth part of his nation into priests, and the tenth part of the people to labour for their maintenance, and ever since man has been bred up to his religion as he is to his trade, he is told what doctrines he is to believe, which if he does not practise, he will after this life be eternally miserable.

Deism, or the acknowledgment of something superior to mortality, and the cultivating the moral duties has been described by many of its professors. The learned David Williams says, "Men should be so far from being ashamed or afraid to be called after the name of the Deity, that they should glory in it, as their highest honour, nay, no religious appellation should be applied to men who would not act on the principles of Almighty God. When I have been reproached (by ignorance) with the name of Deist, I felt no other regret than that I was not worthy of that noblest of

« PreviousContinue »