Page images
[ocr errors]

gift of speech when taught: the organization of the human body only enables it to utter a greater variety of sounds, which being formed into words of speech, produce ideas, and hence that noble faculty we call reason. Our pride and vanity might induce us to feel a wish for immortality, but knowing that we must die, we have trumped up the story of a resurrection, a soul, and a hundred other delusions, for the mere gratification of our own idle vanities, and without a shadow of proof or reason for any thing of the kind. The idea of immortality is also delusion. As far as our bodies are a component part of matter, we are immortal, but our present form, our sense, our feeling, our life, is mortal. In short, as human beings or animals,' there is nothing mortal about us: in contemplating eternity, we can only consider ourselves as the breath of a moment. As mortal creatures, it does not become us to deny the existence of a God, or great creating power; but to keep free from delusion,, we must argue without the admission. We had better steer clear of an incomprehensibility if we wish to keep in a right path: in studying nature, we neither ought to deny or to adinit what may become an obstacle to our pursuit, without any the least proof to guide us. If the reader will act upon these few hints, he will keep clear of delusion on matters of religion: and now I come to the delusion of the law.

The laws of this country form a general mass of delusion, for statute has been heaped upon statute for these last five hundred years, that our lawyers ought to live as long as the fabled antediluvians, to make a full research and to become acquainted fully with the whole. Ambiguous as are those statutes, and liable to so many interpretations, according to the interest or caprice of the reigning judges, it is well known that some of them are in direct contradiction to others. But the greatest delusion is what is called the common law. This is another incomprehensibility, and we are obliged to believe it to be just what the legal monks tell us it is. lawyers tell us that the Common Law rests in the bosom of the Judge; therefore, we are left to presume that it is a sort of inspiration, like the Holy Ghost in the Christian world, and that the Judges too are impelled to that office by the Holy Ghost, and not for the sake of filthy lucre! The hypocritical gravity which our legal wigs and robes confer on their wearers forms another source of delusion; for neither a Judge or a Barrister would dare to utter the language in a plain dress, which she utters in her legal habiliments. In

Court, they are a species of scare-crow, and to frighten, baffle, and intimidate, seems to be the chief part of their business. The representative system of government is become absolutely necessary to put down, or rather to keep under, and suppress the mischief occasioned by this order of monks and priests. For, at present, our law is but another system of priesteraft, and our Judges, whilst they are in the very act of catering to the appetite of Corruption, will cry out, "God forbid that I should do wrong! God forbid that any person should suffer from my error!" and the next moment, pack off an honest, and upright, and innocent individual to two or three years imprisonment in a country gaol! In our courts of law we have delusion, but not justice: and with those brief observations on the law and lawyers, I shall pass on to the delusion of the political world.

Here I find a wide field to range. Here I shall have to trace delusion from the palace to the cottage, from the soldier to the citizen, and from the minister to the meanest underling in office. To paint political delusion in its strongest colours, I must repeat, that the representative, is the onlynatural system of government, and therefore, we must test every part of the existing system by this natural guide. As I have before observed, the representative system of government is the fittest for all the stages of society, from the Hottentot to the most refined of the European societies. The sovereignty is then vested in its proper piace--the People. No other sovereign can be acknowledged without encouraging delusion, and supporting tyranny. Let me go to Court, and see what delusions are to be found there, under the present noxious system; under the absence of the representative system of government, for I will not admit for a moment, that there is any thing like representation in this Island: the present sham systent of representation is absolutely worse than the absolute government of Russia, Austria, or Denmark. At present, we find the executive vested in a King, an hereditary executive, who by his immense patronage, and the unlimited sums of money he grasps for distribution, is sure to be surrounded by a host of sycophantic courtiers, who are at all times ready to minister to the appetites of the King, whatever they may be. This King is as positively absolute in his authority as if he had no Parliament, and the only check upon him is the growing intelligence of the age, which he avowedly strives to keep under as far as possible. This King chooses his own Ministers, his own Judges, in fact, every authority, save those of corporated and chartered towns, is filled

by his appointment, and the maxim of the present day is, to make no other appointment than those servile minds who will pledge themselves to a support of all the existing abuses, and if the post be lucrative, it is sold to the best bidder, who purchases it as he would a freehold, and, consequently, his first aim is to make as much money as possible out of it. Under the circumstances by which he obtains his office, his first object is naturally to reimburse himself the money he has laid down, and then to make it as profitable as possible. It is notorious, that the Chief-Justiceship, the office of Attorney-General, the rich bishoprics, and most of the sinecures, are disposed of in this manner. So that almost every man in office, from the conditions which are imposed upon him in entering that office, feels himself stimulated and encouraged to prey upon the public property, as far as possi ble. So that our rulers, in their relations with the people, are more like beasts of prey than just authorities. All this is owing to the delusion of hereditary monarchy, which was ever, and ever will be, a corrupting and destructive power, and a power which none but rogues and fools will ever encourage. It is the very reverse of the representative. system of government, where the people retain the power of appointment to every office of state, and where it becomes impossible that any office should ever be lucrative enough to be purchased, and where every man who is appointed to an office, will obtain that appointment solely from his competency to fill that office, and will be obliged personally th perform its duties. Under the present system of hereditary monarchy, patronage and power is the only guide to office, and it matters not whether the holder be a fool or a rogue. The most extensive means to support the abuses of the system, will be sure to reach the highest posts. Our present rulers, with their official underlings, are more like a nest of maggots devouring the body politic, than as just and natural rulers. Church and State are linked together on this score; and the official members of both seem to have but one object in view PUBLIC PLUNDER. Delusion is necessary to foster this destructive power, and two words, religion and loyalty, are its test of operation. Thus in all the present hole-andcorner meetings, for the publication of loyal and religious declarations, we hear the interested and the initiated crying out: without religion man is a monster, and without loyalty to government a brute! although that religion is a convicted imposture, and the present government one notorious mass of corruption. The man is both a brute and a monster that

supports either, and to be honest and useful members of society, it is essential that we decry both, as founded in delusion, and procreating nothing but delusion and misery to the great body of the people. The government we seek is that by representation, and then all disloyalty must vanish. The word will be no longer required in our vocabulary.. Nature makes man prone to bow with submission to that which is just and honest: it commands respect even from the vicious; whilst delusion and corruption will ever find the hate of honest men.

But I have not yet said enough about the delusion of the Court. The gaudy trappings of monarchy will always delude weak minds, or men with the minds of women; the majority of whom are captivated with trifles and little fineries. The courtier, in his court dress, feels a similar distinction and importance to the ploughboy with a new suit of clothes on a holiday, or the female after she has spent an hour or two at the toilette adjusting a new dress. A court might be viewed as composed of men without minds, for a man with a mind could not live in the sycophantic atmosphere of a court. He would be nauseated in an instant, and if he retained his senses would feel an irresistible impulse to retire. It is a species of political idolatry to set up one man to whom all others shall be required to bend the knee: and idolatry must be the offspring of delusion. He who can look through the gaudy trappings, and view the man, must feel disgusted at the distinctions which are paid to a monarch. It exhibits the weakness and not the strength of a nation, to support such idle and individual splendour. True splendour can only accompany the moral energies of the nation, and exist in the same ratio. The United States in North America exhibit more real splendour than any other country on the face of the earth, although those States are but in infancy: by the time they reach manhood, their strength, form, and splendour will become gigantic. The monarchical form of government will keep a country in a state of continual decrepitude, because under that system virtue and courage struggle in vain, unless it be in the army or navy, where true virtue must be destroyed, as the employment is not strictly essential to the interests of the community, and its necessity has been engendered by monarchy. I could never view the uniform of the soldier or sailor but as the livery of monarchy, and I would here drop a hint to that society, which calls itself a peace society, and say, that the only chance of procuring universal and continual peace, and of putting a stop to the


horrors of war, is to abolish the monarchical form of government in all countries, and to establish governments by representation. The majority of a nation will never be prone to war unless it be to repel an invasion, or to prevent it when threatened, which is not likely to occur when our neighbours are civilized by a natural government as well as ourselves. There can be no lasting peace while an individual can rule a nation. The want or disposition for war can only happen with the want of the means.

Another anomaly in the monarchical form of government is, that be the monarch a murderer, an adulterer, or the most abandoned villain, he is supposed incapable of committing. wrong! We are daily robbed in the name of the King, and if we seek redress, we are told that the King can do no wrong. If a lawyer proceeds to harass us at law, in the name of the King, and the action or indictment proves unjust and unfounded, we are told the King pays no costs; so that every kind of villainy might be practised in the name of the King, and no one be responsible for it! Monarchy and tyranny are synonymous, and where it exists the people are no better than deluded slaves. The tax-gatherer is a complete task-master, and in default of performing our task, the dungeon is substituted for the lash.

The increased and increasing intelligence of the age bas certainly abolished many of the old delusions which were formerly attendant on monarchy; such as touching for the King's evil, a scrofula so called, and a great variety of services which every manor and estate had to perform when the King passed by. But now the Monarch is obliged to skulk about like a thief in the night, and the only thing he fears is being known, or his route discovered. This is one proof that the delusion is wearing away, and at least, that the folly of the monarchical form of government is fully discovered. The King lives in fear, and dreads the good sense of the people. The plough-boy would now consider an attention to his plough and his cattle of more importance than running after the King, if he passed his neighbourhood. This change is evidently the result of education, and the beneficial and powerful effect of the Printing Press.

But the chief delusion of the moment, is the attempt set on foot throughout the country to save the present Ministers, by saying, that without them every thing that is valuable in the country will be lost. Those very Ministers have their agents in every town and village, and nothing is more natural than that they should combine to save their masters, and in '



« PreviousContinue »