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the following diagnosis will furnish a picture of the disease, in all probability, to the end of the world:First symptoms-extravagant expectations of the benefit to be derived from reform; an universal passion for change in every department of life; a loosening of the bonds of religion, and general hatred at its ministers; general enthusiasm among the middling and lower orders; distrust and apprehension among the higher; vehement applause of the leaders of the people; unmeasured abuse of their political opponents.
Secondary symptoms-general diminution of expenditure, and alarm among the rich; increased suffering and bitter discontent among the poor; universal stagnation of industry, and want of employment; partial insurrections of the populace; evident weakness of Government; an increased popularity of more extravagant demagogues, and an abandonment of the early leaders of the movement; an augmentation of the standing army, and a diminution of the revenue of the state.
Third symptoms-excessive distress for money on the part of Government; increased expenses, and grievous diminution of income; universal suffering and anguish among the poor; a general clamour for more vehement revolutionary measures, and leaders of more bold and determined character; extreme unpopularity of the early leaders of the democracy; their exile, or death.
Last symptoms-The rise of violent and arbitrary men, and the adoption of extreme revolutionary measures; proscriptions and massacres of the rich; confiscation of property, and general bankruptcy; hopeless agony, and depression among the poor; an universal wish to submit to any government which promises to put a period to the public calamities; and the easy seizure of the throne by a fortunate and audacious military leader.
The reforming journals of this country tell us, that the insurrection at Lyons is unconnected with any political feeling, and they seem to think that that completely prevents its being used as an argument against them by the conservative party. This only shews how little they know of the progress and ultimate tendency
of those very revolutionary movements which they have had so large a share in exciting. They could not have mentioned any circumstance which more completely demonstrates the enormous peril of the course into which they have precipitated this country. It is the early movements of the people which are alone produced by political feeling; the subsequent, and far more serious insurrections, arise from public suffering; from the stagnation of employment and cessation of industry, which has arisen from the shock given to the frame of society. Bread! is then the cry. The tears of weeping families urge the citizens to arms;they are rendered reckless of life from the continued suffering with which it has been attended. In one particular only does the revolutionary passion remain for ever the same, and by one mark may it invariably be characterised; the people, during every stage of its progress, uniformly expect deliverance from still more vehement measures than have been hitherto adopted; and while ground to the dust by the consequences of the democratic convulsion which they have already occasioned, raise their last breath to insist for a greater extension of popular power. "Bread, and the constitution of 1793," was the cry of the populace of Paris, when reduced to starvation by the tyranny of Robespierre; and the leaders of the revolt at Lyons declare, that they can see no prospect of relief to the people, till every workman has got a vote.
Ireland exhibits an equally striking proof of the ruinous effects of concession to democratic ambition; and if our reformers were not literally infatuated, they would learn wisdom from the consequences of the great precedent which the recent history of that country affords. During the dependence of the Catholic question, we were told that this great act of justice would for ever gain the hearts of the Irish people-that the garrison of 30,000 men in the neighbouring island, would no longer be necessary-that tranquillity and gratitude would universally prevail
and that if this great concession was not in itself a boon to the poor, it was at least an indispensable preliminary to all measures for the set
tlement of the country, or their permanent relief. O'Connell declared, that he contended for a measure which should put a final end to agitation, and reduce him from an arch demagogue to the humble rank of a Nisi Prius lawyer. Earl Grey described the effects of such concession in the beautiful words of the Roman poet
"Defluit saxis agitatus humor,
Concedunt venti, fugiuntque nubes,
Nearly two years have now elapsed since this great healing measure was passed by an uncommon effort of political vigour, and against the declared opinion of a majority of the people of England. And what is the consequence? Is O'Connell reduced from the rank of an agitator, to the humble condition of a Nisi Prius lawyer? Have the waves of rebellion receded, or the storms of faction fled from the tranquil shores of the Emerald Isle ? Is the garrison of Ireland reduced, its police force disbanded, or its peasantry contented, since the pacifying measure so loudly demanded, was conceded to the urgent representations of the liberal party? The reverse of all this is notoriously and avowedly the case. Faction never was so powerful, agitation never so vehement, misery never so general, O'Connell never so triumphant.
A new subject of clamour and abuse has been started—the repeal of the Union-among a bigoted and passionate population; and the nation, immediately after this great conciliatory measure, is in a more distracted and threatening state than ever it has been since the battle of the Boyne. The authority of the law is openly contemned-a combination against tythes has destroyed the property of a large portion of the most beneficent of the higher ranks: legal process is at an end in many counties; the few resident proprietors are driven by conflagration and murder to abandon their estates; and in the midst of this scene of demoniac frenzy, the people are dying by thousands of famine, and Britain is overwhelmed by the ceaseless legions of Irish
mendicants who are poured out upon its shores.
These facts are utterly inexplicable, on the Whig principles of conciliation and concession; and accordingly Earl Grey recently declared in Parliament, that he was totally at a loss to explain the failure of Catholic emancipation, to effect any thing towards the tranquillizing of Ireland. We have no doubt of it; the intellect of Bacon or Newton would be equally unable to solve the difficulty on his principles. The Reformers will be equally unable to explain the increased agitation and distraction of Britain, which will immediately follow the passing of the Reform Bill, if that calamitous event ever be realized. But on the principles we have explained, that democratic ambition is an unsatiable passion, which, like every other passion, feeds upon indulgence, gains strength by victory, and is to be met only by firm and resolute resistance, it is not only perfectly susceptible of explanation, but no other result could possibly have been expected.
In truth, the question of Catholic emancipation involved the two principles of concession to democratic ambition, and the redress of a real grievance, but in such different proportions, that the ruinous effect of yielding to the one, has entirely overwhelmed the beneficial consequences of granting the other. In so far as the Catholics demanded, that no difference should be made on account of religious creeds, they asked what every man's conscience must have told him was an equitable system of government, and demanded the removal of a restraint which would have affected from fifty to one hundred of the community. But in so far as they demanded this not as the removal of a real grievance, but as a victory over the Protestant party, and a gratification to their furious and unreasonable passions, they demanded a thing, the acquisition of which was only calculated to inflame these passions with tenfold fury, and augment the very evils under which the nation was already so severely labouring. Accordingly, the result has corresponded to the different degrees in which the good and the bad principles of government were
mingled in this important measure. The removal of the disabilities has conciliated a few hundred reasonable men, who might possibly have been some time or other in life affected by the existing restraints; and it has inflamed with tenfold fury, several millions, who had nothing to lose or gain by the question, but saw only that by clamour, violence, and intimidation, they could prevail over the Government.
It is the mixture of these opposite principles, in every measure of concession to popular outery, which can alone explain the apparently incongruous results which history exhibits on this subject, and furnishes the key both to the great number of wise and good men who were seduced into concession of the Catholic claims, and the total failure of that measure to remove any of the discontent or divisions in Ireland. The author is not ashamed to confess that he was among those who supported Catholic emancipation, in the belief that it was in itself just, and would have the effect of removing the distractions of that unhappy country. Subsequent events have explained the true nature of the illusion under which so many persons laboured on this subject. The liberal party in England were deceived by the names of justice, equality, and Christian toleration, which the agitators put forth; they were not aware of the malignant and insatiable passions which lurked beneath the surface. They gave admission, as they thought, to the fair spirit of religious freedom, and no sooner had they thrown open the gates, than the mask fell from the visage of the entrant, and the foul and fiendish features of democratic ambition appeared.
Thoughtful and sensible men might have been divided on this subject, because reason and equity had much to say on the other side; because a real grievance, how inconsiderable soever in itself, was complained of; because the experiment had not yet been tried in these islands, of the tremendous consequences of yielding to democratic passion. But what shall we say to those who pursue the same system, after experience has so completely demonstrated its failure; when France on the one side,
and Ireland on the other, are teeming with misery from its effects? who apply it to a subject where the union between the redress of wrongs, and concession to popular fury, no longer exist; to the destruction of a constitution which has conferred, and is conferring, greater practical blessings than any which ever existed; not to the redress of any experienced evil, but the reformation of the constitution upon new and hitherto unheard of principles; not to the doing of justice, but the inflaming of passion ?
Look at Belgium; does it exhibit appearances different from either France or Ireland? Does the victory of the democratic party, the successful termination of an unnecessary Revolution, afford any encouragement for the adoption of a similar course in this country? Misery unprecedented since the persecution of the Duke of Alva, has overspread the fair face of Flanders since the glorious expulsion of the Orange dynasty; the kingdom is dismembered, its power destroyed; and the revolutionary monarch, in his first year's finances, is obliged to admit, that while the annual expenditure is 41,000,000 of gilders, the revenue is, from the general suffering, reduced to 29,000,000. Truly, if our Reformers are not influenced by these examples surrounding them on every side, on the south, east, and west, they would not be converted though one rose from the dead.
The existence of suffering in all classes now in this country, is so evident and universal, that it cannot be concealed by the Reformers. It is admitted prominently in the King's speech, and is felt by every man who lives by his industry in the three kingdoms. Bread! Bread! is the cry of the Manchester weavers; the radicals of Paisley are only maintained by the munificent subscriptions of the anti-reform proprietors in their vicinity. But, say the Reformers, this is not owing to Reform, but its refusal; trade was in a prosperous state during the first six months of the discussion of the question, and it has only declined since the bill was thrown out by the Peers; and if the Bill had then been passed, general tranquillity and hap piness would now have prevailed,
How, then, do they explain the grinding misery of France, the agitation and famine of Ireland, or the deplorable condition of the once flourishing Low Countries? No one can dispute that democracy has been triumphant in all these states; that a citizen king, surrounded by republican institutions, is on the throne of the first; that an overpowering demagogue shares with the English viceroy the government of the second; and that a revolutionary monarch, supported by a democratic faction, has been elected to the last. How do the Reformers, who so unanimously refer the existing distress in Great Britain to the resistance to Reform, explain the far greater misery and suffering which, in the three adjoining states, has followed its concession? How can the steadiness of the aristocracy in England be charged with consequences which, at the same moment, in France, Ireland, and Belgium, have attended their submission or overthrow?
The Reformers still put forth the miserable delusion that Reform is to calm the passions, and satisfy the democratic ambition of the country, and they adhere to this expectation in the face of the tenfold agitation which, in spite of all their predictions, concession to the Catholics has produced in Ireland. As well might they expect that victory is to extinguish the passion for conquest, spirits assuage the thirst of the drunkard, or the career of military triumph be cut short by the flight of the vanquished.
The more violent of this class have fairly avowed their motives, and if the English fall into the snare, they at least cannot complain that they have been misled or not duly warned both by their friends and their enemies. O'Connell, who, not three months ago, disclaimed in the House of Commons all ulterior objects, has now laid aside the mask: he has openly avowed his determination to agitate till he obtains a repeal of the Union, and declared "that he is a reformer with ulterior views, and that he will never be satisfied till he sees a parliament in College Green." The majority of the Irish reformers in the
House of Commons, seventy strong, are actuated by the same desire: they will use Reform as a stepping-stone, as they have done with Catholic Emancipation, till they effect the dismemberment of the empire. The English radicals openly declare, with Cobbett at their head, "that they have ulterior views; that no one but a fool can suppose that they want reform for any other reason than the liberation from burdens which it will produce; and that unless it is to lead to the confiscation of church property, and the abolition of the funds, they had much rather remain under the old boroughmongers." Even the Courier, a leading ministerial journal, in the very same leading article in which they declare," from an authority on which they have been accustomed to rely," that the King is to create Peers in order to carry the question, expressly maintain that "this reform may do for two or three years, but that they have said a hundred times, and they say again, that nothing can satisfy the country but the concession of the franchise to every man in the country who pays direct taxes, be they ever so small."* In other words, the movement must continue till every man in the kingdom who pays a penny of taxes is to have a vote!
Now what must be the effect upon public credit, private expenditure, or manufacturing and commercial speculation, we do not say of the legislative adoption, but the serious and continued agitation for the attainment of objects such as these? Will not the distrust and terror of the rich increase, when after the great victory of Reform achieved by the clamour of the popular party, they see these fatal strokes levelled at the industry and wealth of the country? Must not the same stagnation pervade every branch of industry, the same apprehensions check the advance of the capitalist, the same fears paralyze the efforts of the merchant, which are now beginning to weigh down the exertions of the people? Is it to be supposed that landed property is to be encouraged to increase its expenditure, when an incessant outcry is raised to confiscate the whole pos
* Courier, Monday, December 10, 1831,
sessions of the church, or capital to renew its outlay, when the funded property is incessantly menaced? The very first effect of such proposals, supported as they then will be by the whole revolutionary press, and by at least eighty or a hundred radical members in the House of Commons, must be to shake to its foundation the whole funded property of the kingdom; the banks must all contract their discounts; credit will immediately cease; every man's creditors will be on his back at once; delay of payment will be out of the question, and the dreadful catastrophe of December 1825 renewed with far more desperate circumstances, and from causes then beyond the reach of control.
Such is the strength of the arguments against Reform that it will admit of almost any concession-and is equally conclusive whatever view of its consequences be adopted.-If the hopes of the Radicals be realized, and the prophecies of Cobbett and the Examiner prove true, that they are to get an accession of from eighty to a hundred members in the new House, of course, the subsequent revolutionary measures may very shortly be expected; for what chance will the Conservative Party, already so hard put to maintain the institutions of the country, have of continuing the combat when their own ranks are weakened by a hundred members, and their adversaries increased by as great a number? If, on the other hand, the new arguments of the Times and the other Ministerial Journals be well founded, and the measure proves, in its first effects, "highly aristocratic;" if, through the small boroughs and the divisions of the counties, the great Whig nobility acquire a preponderance over the Radical Party, the consequences will be hardly less disastrous. Increased discontent, unceasing agitation, the perpetuity of the miseries the country has endured since the Reform question began, may then be confidently anticipated, until the new bulwarks of the Constitution are overthrown, and the flood of democracy finally overwhelm the land. Can it be supposed, that after the people
have been excited to such a degree as they have been by the efforts of administration, and the fatal union of the Crown and the populace, they will sit down quietly under a new set of aristocratic proprietors? That nomination counties will be allowed quietly to succeed nomination boroughs; and wealth in the small towns to assume the place of wealth in those which have been extinguished? The thing is evidently out of the question; the new Constitution, deprived as it will be of the veneration and sanctity flowing from the weight of time, and all the endearing recollections arising from centuries of happiness, will be speedily swept away by the revolutionary tempest, and Britain put to sea without a rudder on that dark ocean of experiment from which no one has yet been known to return.
"It appears," says Sir Walter Scott, "to be a general rule, that what is to last long, should be slowly matured and gradually improved, while every sudden effort, however gigantic, to bring about the sudden execution of a plan calculated to endure for ages, is doomed to exhibit symptoms of premature decay from its very commencement. Thus, in a beautiful Oriental Tale, a Dervise explains to the Sultan how he had reared the magnificent trees among which they walked, by nursing their shoots from the seed; and the Prince's pride is damped, when he reflects that those plantations so simply reared, were gathering new vigour from each returning sun, while his own exhausted cedars, which had been transplanted by one effort, were drooping their majestic heads in the valley of Orez."*-Such also will be the fate of the new British Constitution. It will never be able to eradicate the original vice of having been struck out at a heat: forged during a period of violent excitement, and concluded at once, without receiving either the alternative of experience or the mellowing of time. Unlike its hardy predecessor which was sown amidst the struggles of Saxon independence, hardened by the severity of Norman rule, watered by the blood of the Pro
*Robert of Paris, vol, i. p. 5.