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the dreams of enthusiasm, or the has taken among our people, and its wretchedness of infidelity. If they consequent early interference with, had not been vigorously met and re- and severe encroachment upon, the sisted, the repeal of the Corn Laws vested pecuniary interests of the would have spread distress far and most respectable members of every wide through the whole agricultural class of society. This is a circumclasses, through them depressed im- stance of the very utmost importance measurably the commercial inte- with reference to the future progress rests, and rendered the ultimate pre- of political change; and here, as elseservation of national faith impossible where, we may perceive, that to be from the labouring condition of all exposed to calamity is not always classes of the people. They would to be unfortunate, and that true wishave destroyed the independence of dom in political, not less than prithe hereditary Legislature, by the vate life, is often to be learned racreation of a hundred new Peers, ther in the storms of adversity than and reduced the Crown to the dis- the sunshine of prosperity. grace of itself revoking the benefi- That Revolution will ultimately cence of past sovereigns ; in other fall with unmitigated severity upon words, submitting to the last humi: all classes; that the greatest of all liation of prostrated authority. With sufferers by the changes it induces all this we have been threatened, will be the lowest; and that the cbildand are threatened; from all this we ren and children's children of the have hitherto made only a narrow infatuated people, to the third and escape ; and if the empire has been fourth generation, will lament with brought to the verge of destruction unavailing tears the sins and preci. by the Reforming, it has been pitance of their fathers, is a proposnatched from the gulf solely by the sition so clearly deducible from efforts of the Conservative, party. principle, and so uniformly proved
How then has it happened that by experience, that it may be consia nation, seized as this has been dered as one of the few axioms of with a Revolutionary fever, and that political science. Never was this too of the most malignant kind, great truth more clearly illustrated bas bitherto been spared any violent than it now is in France, where, after convulsion ? that, abandoned by its forty years of revolutionary convul. Government, seduced by too many sions, the working classes are driven of its higher orders, left to struggle by suffering into annual revolts of alone with the malady, it has sur- frightful magnitude, and the cries of vived apparently the worst crisis, a suffering population are stifled by and exbibits new symptoms of a military despotism, so severe, that amendment in public thought which compared to it the ancient rule of the warmest patriot could hardly the monarchy, with all its faults, was have hoped for two years ago ? The as an age of freedom. But the great question is of the most interesting danger is, that this truth is perceived kind, not only with reference to our too late to check the progress of the own prospects, but the great cause evil ; that before suffering has of truth and freedom throughout the brought wisdom to the mass of the world ; and without pretending people, irreparable changes have either to affirm that the danger is been made-institutions, the bulover, or that time has sufficiently warks of freedom, overthrown in the elucidated the whole causes which first fervour of innovation-passions have been in operation, there are of unquenchable violence excited by three circumstances which appear the mutual infliction of irreparable cbiefly remarkable, as having dis- injury, and interests inconsistent tinguished the progress of this coun- with the ultimate establishment, try under the political distemper, either of civil liberty or public profrom that of other States in similar sperity, created by the triumph of circumstances, and to the combined guilty democratic ambition. Where operation of which the present cheer- this has been the case, as it generally ing prospects of amendment are, so is, with a people delivered over for far as we can yet see, to be ascribed. their sins to revolutionary passions,
I. The first of these is the practical amendment is impossible, hope is tendency which the Reforming mania extinguished ; and the nation is irrevocably consigned to an old age of This separation of the mighty torslavery and degradation, as the na- rent of Revolution into a vast variety tural but not undeserved punish- of separate streams, which are now ment of the inordinate indulgence threatening with detached prostraof political extravagance. This was tion so many of the greatest and the fate of Athens and Rome; this is most important interests of the State, the fate of regenerated France. may be discerned in the condition
The great preservative, on the and prospects of every profession other hand, against this melancholy and class of society. Ask the land. progress, and the only one which can owners in what state they now are, generally be relied upon, as likely to and to what extent they find their prove efficacious with the great bulk fortunes improved and prospects of the people, is the occurrence of brightened by the triumph of the such early and wide-spread suffering democratic principles, to forward or apprehension in consequence of which so many of themselves, both the commencement of revolutionary in and out of Parliament, lent their change, as may undeceive a majority enthusiastic aid : and they will anof the influential classes ere it is too swer, that the dagger is at their late; and reclaim the prodigal by throat ; that their rents both for salutary suffering, before he has
corn and grass lands are rapidly and strayed irrevocably from his father's ruinously falling; and that the threahome. This is the only antidote at tened repeal of the Corn Laws, and all commensurate to the virulence of reduction of wheat to forty shillings the poison, this is the one which, a-quarter, would at once reduce there is a reason to hope, the provi- two-thirds of their number to insol. dence of God has permitted to ope- vency. Ask the farmers whether rate in this country. The fervour of they have experienced the benefit innovation, instead of being all con- which they expected when so vast centrated into one vast and impetu- a majority of their number were ous stream to sweep away the re- swept away by the Reform mania, maining bulwarks of order and free and they brought in ninety-eight dom, has been drawn off into an in- out of the hundred-and-one county finity of lesser rills, to remedy the members of England and Wales in real or imaginary evils of the diffe- the reforming interest: and they will rent and highly excited classes of almost universally reply, that they society. This has been a circum- bave been deceived ; that their constance of the very utmost impor- dition and prospects are infinitely tance. The weight of the torrent, worse than before; that the manu. which presses against the general facturing interest has gained a great and important institutions of society, and undue ascendency by the Rehas been materially and providen- form Bill; that, in the existing state tially diminished by the anxiety of of uncertainty as to the Corn Laws, every class to apply an early remedy they can neither enter with spirit to its own peculiar grievances, or into new engagements, nor look forelevate itself upon the ruins of those ward with hope to the performance by which it has hitherto been over- of their old ones; that the market is shadowed; and thus the great fea- paralysed by the perpetual terror of tures of the Constitution are still approaching unlimited foreign imunchanged save by the Reform Bill, portation ; that their capital and while every interest in the Staté stock is unceasingly melting away, finds itself assailed by some lesser, under the continued fall of prices, but to it most formidable antagon- and onerous money engagements; ist. We lament the individual dis- and that if they could only turn their tress, anxiety, and suffering, which effects into money, they would glad. this universal threatening of privately leave the land of their birth, and pecuniary interests necessarily pro. join their happier brethren oa the duces; but we know that it is un- other side of the Atlantic. Ask the avoidable; we foresaw and predicted manufacturer in wbat respect he has it during the transports of the Re- experienced benefit from the change: form mania, and discern in its pre- and he will answer, that a spirit of sent operation the severe school of insubordination has seized his workultimate improvement.
men, which threatens, if long con
tinued, to destroy the very elements of paramount importance. Ask the of our manufacturing prosperity; lawyer whether he is an exception that the plague of Trades' Unions has to the general labouring condition of spread universally, and renders all society and he will at once answer, calculation for the answering of or that the Reform Bill has utterly anders impossible ; that at a time when nihilated the prospects of two-thirds profits are ruinously low, and foreign of his body; that the fever of innocompetition uncommonly severe, he vation has introduced, and is introis assailed with imperious demands ducing, legal changes of the most for a rise of wages from his infatu- ruinous kind; that the business on ated operatives, the only effect of the Circuit is gone, and that of Westwhich, if granted, would be to drive minster Hall not a fourth of its for the British goods from the foreign mer amount; that the independence markets, and extinguish the sales on of the Bar is rapidly giving way unwhich they themselves depend for der the continued decline of busisubsistence. Enquire of the work- ness, and increase of commissions, men, whether the Reform Bill bas under the Whig Lord Chancellor ; brought the age of gold which they and that the establishment of local were promised, and believed they courts, and dissipation of the busiwere to obtain: and they will una- ness among the provincial Bar, will nimously answer, that they have effect a total revolution in the legal been grossly and shamefully decei- practice of England. Enquire of ved; that their wages are so low as the teachers, whether of the young to afford them barely a subsistence; or the professional classes, what and that the time has now arrived their prospects are since the schoolwhen they must take their interests master has been abroad, and you into their own hands, and no longer will find universally that they are of submit to be made the tools of a the most gloomy kind; that their party who use them for their own scholars and students are rapidly political advancement, and, having diminishing, and the pressure from gained it, turn a deaf ear to their below telling with serious effect upcomplaints. Enter the dockyards on their fortunes. Entér the parand the shipwrights' workshops, and sonage-house of the rector, the hall enquire into the state of the ship- of the college, or the palace of the ping interest, and you will hear uni. Bishop, and examine into the condiversally that they are in a state of tion and prospects of that most imunexampled depression ; that the portant class who are intrusted with last Parliamentary investigation has the instruction of the people in the prored that they are labouring be- great duties of religion and moraliyond any other class of society; and ty; and you will hear everywhere that the reciprocity system first the language only of gloom and debrought on them a host of evils, spondency, and perceive a general which are now rendered perpetual anticipation of the time, and that, by the permanent ascendency which too, at no distant period, when the the Reform Bill has given to an ad- ecclesiastical Establishment will be verse interest in the Legislature. destroyed, and the first of Christian Ask the shopkeeper whether he is duties, the religious education of the thriving in the midst of the general poor, left only to the zeal of the secdistress, and he will answer that his tarian, or the indifference of the infiprofits are rapidly falling; that the del. Even the fundholder, notwithdiminished purchases of the landed standing the regularity with which interest and farmers are telling most he receives his dividends, and the powerfully on his sales; and that a rise in real amount which it has rêcontinued and most vexatious com- ceived from the change in the value petition from cheap venders strug- of money, is not without his own gling to rise into business, or the terrors, as well as his less fortunate numerous sales of bankrupt stock brethren ; visions of an equitable which are continually going for adjustment disturb his most pleaward, have, to an extraordinary de- sing reveries, and he is consoled gree, dissipated the business of that only by the hope, that if the Funds numerous class of customers to whom go, every thing will go, and that no economy has now become an object investment, in such a general cala
mity, can be so secure as that which tendency of the Reform mania is to has the tax-gatherer for its collec- be ascribed to the effects of a free tor.
government long operating upon the The multitude of interests wbich people, and the habit which it has are in this way assailed, is producing conferred upon every class, of looka double effect of the most import- ing to their own immediate benefit ant description. On the one hand, from the effect of legislative alterit has divided the stream which ations. But much, also, is probably when united was irresistible; while, owing to the original character of on the other, it has awakened multi- the mixed race of mankind, of which, tudes to a sense of the dangers of fortunately for its inhabitants, the which they never could have been population of the British Islands is made sensible by any efforts of ar- now composed. The practical ha. gument or eloquence. While their bits and methodical ideas of the eyes were all fixed on the Legisla- English people have been proverbial ture—while every imagination was from the earliest times; they have intent on the projects of social ame- probably not so much arisen from Jioration which were afloat, the re- their long established freedom, as spectable reformers suddenly found created it. From the infancy of sothemselves assailed by a furious ciety, even in the days of Edward multitude in their rear; and every the Confessor and the Heptarchy, man in a superior class saw his pros- this invaluable feature is to be obpects threatened, or his income re. served. The laws of Alfred estabduced to a balf, by the pressure from lished in the eighth century a system below in his own profession or line of social organization far superior to of life. This practical result, and what nations infinitely farther adexperienced inconvenience of dis- vanced in civilisation have been able turbing the settled relations of 80- to produce in the nineteenth. It ciety, has been and is of incalcula- may reasonably be doubted whether ble importance. Few can discern either the Poles or the Irish could by argument the force of objections be brought, of their own free will, drawn from history against theore- and without external compulsion, to tical innovations; but every man can establish rational forms of constituperceive the inconvenience of losing tional government in their countries, tive hundred a-year, or going with even after any degree of public iman old coat, from the impossibility provement. Certain it is, that, duof obtaining from the united work- ring the thousand years of their pomen a new one. The more that ap- litical existence, they have made no prehension, anxiety, and distrust sort of advances towards the attainspread through society, from the ex- ment of it. The French, with all travagant efforts of the inferior class their talent and energy, have never in every line of life to better their directed their efforts towards the condition by the ruin of their supe- acquisition of practical advantages; riors, the more certain is the reac- and, after forty years' convulsions, tion against the ulterior march of they are still subject to a property. Revolution, and the greater is the tax of twenty per cent, a most oppres. ground for hope that its progress may sive standing army, and vexatious ultimately be stayed. "The Trades' police,—the great evils which the Unions have done immense good by English would have abolished the bringing home the anxiety and ap- moment the Bastile was stormed prehension consequent on the fever forty-five years ago. It is in vain to of democracy, in the first instance, explain these diversities by differto its noisy supporters in the manu- ence in political bistory or situation facturing towns. If the whole po- alone; powerful as these agents are, pulation of the island could be de- they must have fallen in, in their prived of a single breakfast, dinner, operation, with some agent still and supper, from the consequences stronger; and that is, probably, the of revolution in its outset, its dan- original, orderly,and practical characgers would be at an end for the life- ter of the Gothic or German race iime of that generation.
of mankind. The conclusion to be Much, no doubt, of this practical drawn from this circumstance is,
not that the Revolutionary fever is received as to the inevitable effects divested of all its dangers when it of democratic elevation. falls upon a nation of German descent, but that it is powerfully modi- II. The second great cause of the fied by the character of the people reaction in favour of Conservative to whom it is applied ; and it is the principles, which has taken place part of true political wisdom to ob- during the last year, is the strength serve the peculiar dangers which it of constitution and vigorous resistthreatens, in the novel circumstances ance to evil, which has arisen from under which it has now broken forth, the long-established habits of British and gather consolation from the freedom. grounds of hope which arise from That the resistance to change is the previous symptoms of the ma- always proportioned to the degree lady in former ages amongst us. of previous freedom that has been
It was in the obvious and incon- enjoyed—that no country is so easily ceivable departure from this prin- overturned as a despotic one-and ciple, so strongly, characteristic of that the habits consequent on the the English people, that the enor. long enjoyment of liberty survive mous danger of the Reform Bill its temporary eclipse, and reappear consisted. That there were perhaps on the first return of prosperous some causes of complaint - some days—are propositions so uniformly grievances which had afforded a han- supported by experience, that it was dle to the Revolutionists to rear up the with no small astonishment that discontent wbich preceded that dis- every close observer of the times astrous convulsion,-is self-evident; beheld the general tempest in favour and by applying a cautious and ju- of the Reform Bill, wbich arose upon dicious remedy to these experienced the promulgation of its provisions evils, the Whigs would have confer. by Ministers. The truth is, that the red real blessings upon their coun- friends of the Constitution and of try, and probably have secured a Liberty, numerous and powerful as long lease of power to themselves. they are, were so utterly confounded But, instead of doing this, they in- and astonished at beholding the Mistantly set themselves to confer a nisters of the Crown take the lead vast and unlooked-for accession of in the work of Revolution—the pepolitical power upon the lower or- ril which arose from the monstrous ders, and stirred up the fiercest pas- coalition of the Radicals and the sions of the people, from the extra- Executive was so excessive, that vagant expectations which they set they wellnigh resigned the contest afloat as to the benefits to be derived in despair, and the work of destrucfrom that prodigious change,-obli- tion was long arrested only by a reterating thus the most valuable fea- solute band of determined patriots ture of the British character, and, in both Houses of Parliament, who, instead of the English love of prac- undeterred by revolutionary metical improvement, stirring up the paces, unseduced by Ministerial inFrench passion for political equality. fluence, nobly fought the good fight, They threw about firebrands in every with no hope to cheer them, but direction; but Old England, except that arising from the discharge of in some combustible places, would duty. The glorious struggle, hownot burn. The original character ever, was not made in vain; during and sterling good sense of the people the eighteen months that it lasted, appears to be fast recovering from numbers were converted by arguthe delusion with which, for their ments, still more were subdued by own purposes, they were overspread suffering; and the first burst of Reby the Government; the ulterior volutionary passion, ever the most progress of the Revolutionary move- dangerous, was already over before ment has been modified by the tem- the Reformed Parliament met. per and habits of the classes who The notices of motions then laid found themselves elevated to power, upon the table were amply sufficient, and the chance of ultimate salvation as the Whigs themselves admit, it materially increased by the early and carried, to have torn the empire in practical lesson wbich all ranks have pieces ; but the Conservative party