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long as they kept working under ground, it was supposed that all might be right enough; but the moment they issued into the open air and light of heaven, it was painful to see the small bleariness of their opaque optics. "They cannot be so blind as they look," was the humane hint of many Christian people; but that inconsiderate suggestion gave place to a wiser judgment, "Why, the creatures are stone-blind," as they were seen treading on each other's tails, in hurry to run their snouts into the traps set for them by those rough rat-catchers-the radicals,-traps easily seen through by the merest glimmer of eyesight— and absolutely unbaited with so much as a bit of cheese!
This may be thought by fastidious persons an undignified style of treating such noblemen and gentlemen as are no longer his Majesty's Opposition, but his Majesty's Ministers. "Is not Lord Grey the English Neckar ?" "And was not Neckar the French Lord Grey ?" We have written of that parallel ere now; but while Christopher North is silent, hear Napoleon Bonaparte. He is speaking to Neckar's grandson, the young De Stael. We quote from the Reply.
"Your grandfather was a fool, an ideologist, an old maniac. At sixty years of age, to think of forming plans to overthrow my constitution! States would be well governed, truly, under such theorists, who judge of men from books, and the world from the map... Your grandfather's work is that of an obstinate old man, who died abusing all governments... He calls me the indispensable man, but judging from his arguments, the best thing that could be done would be to cut my throat! Yes: I was indeed indispensable to repair the follies of your grandfather, and the mischief which he did to France. It was he who overturned the monarchy, and led Louis XVI. to the scaffold.' The young man bere interposes, and says— 'Sire, you seem to forget that my grandfather's property was confiscated, because he defended the King.'. Defended the King! A fine defence truly! You might as well say, that if I give a man poison, and present him with an antidote when he is in the agonies of death, that I wish to save him. That is the way your grand
father defended Louis XVI. As to the confiscation you speak of, what does that prove? Nothing. Why, the property of Robespierre was confiscated; and let me tell you that Robespierre himself, Marat, and Danton, have done less mischief to France than M. Neckar. It was he who You, brought about the revolution. Monsieur de Stael, did not see this: but Í did. I witnessed all that passed in those days of terror and public calamity. But
as long as I live, these days shall never return. Your speculators trace their fine schemes upon paper: fools read and believe them all are babbling about general happiness, and presently the people have not bread to eat; then comes a revolution. Such is usually the fruit of all these fine theories. Your grandfather was the cause of the saturnalia which desolated France.'*
"These are the words of Napoleon Bonaparte; and lest it should seem to any one that they were not applied to the general principles of revolutionary agents, but dictated by some persona feeling towards their more moderate partisans, read one more passage. cobins of Paris had been treating with him. On hearing the price which they set upon their services, he said, 'This is too much; I shall have a chance of de liverance in battle, but I shall have none with these furious blockheads. Ther can be nothing in common between the demagogic principles of 1793 and the monarchy; between clubs of madmer and a regular ministry; between a committee of public safety and an Emperor ; between revolutionary tribunals and established laws. If fall I must, I will not bequeath France to the revolutionists. from whom I have delivered her.'†
"Now, the leader of the demagogic principles in 1793,' was Mr CHARLES GREY; and the monarchy which, according to Napoleon, M. Neckar destroyed. was that of France. The Neckar of 1831 has failed, and the monarchy of England is yet preserved; and with it Lord Grey, and the Duke of Bedford, and the Duke of Devonshire; but let us hear no more of the argument, that there is no danger of a democratic revolution, because these noblemen do not desire it."
A certain respect, it has hitherto been very generally allowed, is due to the very prejudices and bigotries of an ignorant people, from its rulers; and the more especially if that unhappy ignorance has been owing partly to its rulers, though mainly
* Bourrienne's Memoirs of Napoleon, vol. iii. p. 126.
† Ibid. p. 298.
to the constitution under which it has been the people's wretched lot to flourish. Was any such respect, however slight, shewn to the people of Great Britain, by the Paymaster to his Majesty's forces, when he first stood up in the House of Commons, with his Bill in his small lily-white hand? The people, it is said, wished for some Reform-how much is not specified; but judging from the symptoms, which were complete composure, and an almost Pythagorean silence, not a muscle of their mouth moving, the appetite or passion of the people for political food in the shape of a Bill, was such as might have been appeased with a small portion of victual, of wet and dry. Had they been ravenous for Schedule A, they would have roared like any nightingale, but they were mute as tit-mice ere spring shews her violets. Neither had the
Paymaster been previously profuse or prodigal either in promise or performance on the Feast of Reform. For many years he had been one of the prettiest and best behaved young gentlemen of all the bit-by-bit Reformers, and thereby the noble niggard escaped the sarcasms of Canning, who had otherwise "torn off his flesh." Nay, high-up in yonder nook,
Each in its narrow cell for ever laid, The First editions of his Quartos sleep; Nor ever shall profane hand of ours again give to day the diatribes against Reform, and the panegyrics on Old Sarum which their stiff boards and pompous pages preserve in the repose of oblivion. But having eaten in his words (and how sweet is a morsel devoured in a corner well did Solomon and Jack Horner know), swallowed, inwardly digested, and outwardly expelled them," one and all, great and small," with much labour and pains, he not unnaturally, but irrationally, presumed that the people were as hungry as himself, who had just emptied his stomach in the style aforesaid; and bidding them open their mouths like barndoors, into the yawning aperture he flung his Bill. So grotesque in itself was this procedure of his understanding, and so unexpected, that the House of Commons became a convulsive series of guffaws.
"Unextinguished laughter shook the skies."
But it is grievous to know that a guffaw is in nature transitory as a groan, into which indeed it is apt to grow; and that a groan of disgustsuch is the strange constitution of our souls-is often converted into a shout of admiration, while in bad time and early, it settles down into an aimless infatuation of
« The people imagining a vain thing,"
till a whole kingdom becomes a Bedlam.
Offer a dog a pound of butter, a quartern loaf, or a shoulder of mutton, and though tolerably sharpset, he will turn away with a growl, thinking that you mean to insult him; but cajole him, by rubbing his back with the hair, and calling the buffer by his name, and by other charms potent over the canine, and the animal begins to believe that he is dying of hunger. Disregarding the bread and butter, he plays the part of a wolf on the sheep; and offer but to touch the shank now, and he will tear you to pieces. It is in vain to tell him that he has devoured his due, and that he will get the rest at another time; the bare suspicion on his part, of such a base suggestion on yours, will stiffen the upright bristles all over the surly savage, till he seems a live-dog of horrent iron, and you walk off full of " thick-coming_fancies" about canine madness. Next morning, the master shepherd (for we suppose you to be one of the Pastorals) informs you that an outlandish animal, by some supposed a dog, has swum ashore from some Norwegian wreck during the night, and slaughtered some scores of the silly people, all the braes being stained with woolly blood-clouts, and lamb, gimmer, wether, and "ewie wi' the cruickit horn" lying among the broom, and below the birch trees, with holes in their throats and their kidneys, while the Red Rover is seen lying out of musket-shot, on a knoll, licking his paws, and then crouching away into the woods, till hunger shall re-drive him to rapine.
The above is figurative or allegorical-but we can speak pretty plainly when we choose; and, therefore, begging pardon of the populace for likening them for a moment to such
an animal, we ask, what was the conduct, with regard to them, of his Majesty's Ministers, and of all their adherents? Base and unprincipled beyond all precedent, " and, if old judgments hold their sacred course," to be punished, ere long, by irretrievable disgrace, and exclusion from government of that nation, whose character they have done all in the power of their wicked weakness to deteriorate or destroy. By their Bill, it appeared, at first, as if there were no end either of disfranchisement or enfranchisement-nobody could tell whether voters were to be hundreds of thousands, or millions; but the mightier the multitude, the more magnanimous the members who "bestowed the boon;" the fiercer the fever of Reform, when once fairly introduced into the crowded closes and alleys of town and city corruption! There was a stir among all the styes, as if of universal suffrage. In that state of excitement of the people, and of the populace, and of the rabble, Parliament was dissolvedthat representatives might be chosen of the integrity, intelligence, and wisdom of the land! Then we were impiously and dishonestly told, vox populi, vox Dei. Then was the time for that mightiest of all steam engines-the Press-to go to work; and to work it went with a thousand devil power. All angry and evil passions were roused, let loose, and kept alive, all over the land-and they had all but one object-down with the boroughmongers.
men dislike being hissed, hooted, reviled, cursed, threatened, mudded, maimed, murdered; and the billmen had their cue given them to read such practical lessons as these, in state affairs, to all anti-reformers, at and around every hustings," in the season of the year." They had timely advice" to strike at their faces;" to prefer stones to dead cats, as missiles, in electioneering warfare; and the Tory gentlemen of England were warned in all the Ministerial newspapers, that, if they valued their lives, they had better offer no factious opposition to a measure beloved by the King, and annotated on by him to the extent of seventeen pages crown octavo, Rather than encounter such brutal baseness, some of the conservatives declined the honour
of a contest, and others retired from it—not in fear for themselves, but in shame for their countrymen; while many weak, and a few worthless persons got into the House of Commons, who were fitter for a house of correction. But putting all such low elections as these out of sight, it will not be denied now, by any man in his senses, that the populace were pretty generally out of theirs, and that too many of the people were in the same predicament, frequently preserving, in their folly or madness, the most silly, absurd, and scorned individual that would but cry out "the bill, the whole bill, and nothing but the bill," for their delegate in Parliament, to men who had been their benefactors, and whose families had, many a time and oft, when famine had visited this perhaps over-peopled land, saved theirs from starvation. And thus was a new Parliament assembled, in which, had the press been as powerful as it was wicked, the freedom of debate would have equalled that liberty of election, and the minority been dumb. But the minority neither despised nor feared the press-and did their duty nobly, assailed in vain by a perpetual tempest of scorn and insult instigating the weak, the unwary, and the wicked, to outrages against the properties and persons of all who opposed the Bill. The majority smiled, and vapoured, and spouted, and voted-and all the while the land rang with yells of vain applause, and as vain intimidation. But the talent and the integrity, the eloquence and the wisdom, were on one side of the House-the delegates on the other; and in committee the Ministerial majority had no resource in their difficulties but the shameful one of silence, when outargued at every point, and convicted either of dishonesty or stupidity almost incredible, on almost every clause of their own revolutionary bill. Never were seen or heard of before such dogged or dumb constitution-mongers. But without the walls they were still supported by the yell, the voice of their deity, the mob-and Minister sung nightly out to Minister-“ all's well!"
But "what will the Peers do?" was then the cry. And what a cry! Loathsomely expressive of all the in
solence, all the ferocity, and all the vulgarity of the Tail of the revolutionists, and eke of their Head. Down with the Peers-the House of Peers -and all the houses of the Peersunless they pass the Bill-in that event let them live for ever. But then arose the cry-"let the King swamp the House of Peers," and they called him the Modern Alfred. There ought to be no Peers-already are they too numerous by far -therefore let us have a hundred more at the least-that they may restore to us our constitution. The ancient noblesse are all for reformthe novi homines alone against ittherefore more upstarts! True, that nature produces but one Alfred in many centuries-and he is but the exception to the general rule, that all kings who can are tyrants. But let posterity take care of itself and the next king of England-if there is to be another-add his hundred serving-men-for what purpose he may-be it even to bring back the boroughmongers, and that anomalous monster which they worship, and they alone, the British Constitution.
-treason for are they not the sovereign people?
The Peers did oppose their willand what then? Why, the mob were daunted by the aspect of virtue. Nay, the most worthless among them felt that the Peers had done their dutyand the better part of the populace applauded the patriots-but in silence-for they feared as yet to offend their leaders whom that vote maddened. Then the press raved on the Political Unions, and the Political Unions talked of arms, and a national guard was to start up out of the ground, not from serpents, but from sheeps' teeth, with fustian jackets and corduroy breeches, we know not whether to support or supplant the British army, no longer commanded by Wellington, and trustworthy no more in the day of danger. What might be the meaning of such miscellaneous armament? All the nation were for Reform-to a man. Some scores of boroughmongers alone were against the Bill. Mr Place, the tailor, as he calls himself, at the head of that deputation of pawn-bro. kers, that lately waited on the puzzled Premier, he knew not, nor at Was there any effort made to put such untimeous hour could be exdown this Jacobin cry by the anti- pected to know, whether to take his revolutionary reforming Ministry? measure, to receive his pledge, or to No. They joined in it. They did solicit a supper, might surely have so in both Houses of Parliament. The had courage to face that small corps Prime Minister warned the Spiri- of corruptionists, and put them to tual Peers to "put their houses in rout at the point of the needle. Why, order"—the crack ministerial orator then, go the expense of a national in the Lower House pointed to the guard whose office must needs be a expatriated noblesse of France, whom sinecure? But the knaves knew they the great Revolution drove over the lied, when they said that all the nawide world and there was "great tion to a man was for Reform. They cheering." Sneers, taunts, scoffs, inknew that a majority of the indussults, have been so incessantly flung trious, the wealthy, the prosperforth on all things, creeds, offices, ous, the good, and the happy, were persons, hitherto regarded with against such Reform, and they dared respect or reverence, and the Re- to hope, in their drunken insolence, formers have become so habituated that they might frighten the conto the use of their slang vocabula- servatives into the Bill by a naries that they are unconscious of tional guard consisting of innumerbeing foul-mouthed, and turn up able awkward squads, sufficiently eyes to heaven when accused of absurd on paper, but in flesh-andtruculence, like simpletons innocent blood marching order to overthrow of all guile and all guilt, and anxious the British army, ludicrous beyond only for the preservation of social order. Yet these are the Billmen the ineffable military spectacles that sometimes convulse the fancy in these are the people whose voice it dreams, when the forlorn hope, comis the duty of Government to obey-posed entirely of tailors, is seen adwho now demand their rights, and therefore their rights must be given them-to oppose whose will must be
vancing to the storm of a gingerbread stall, from which an old woman arrayed in red is driven with im
mense laughter, till first the vanguard, and then the main body of the deliverers, establish themselves at the point of the spurtle, and to the sound of the penny-trumpets in the Luckenbooths.
In these Political Unions there has indeed been a strange mixture of the formidable and the laughable, representative of the character of our unaccountable times. For example, there is our own Edinburgh Political Union, which its members opine to be a great state-engine at work for Reform. There are people south of the Tweed, who look towards it looming through a Scotch mist, not without alarm. To us it seems at once the most innocent and the most ludicrous association—not of ideas-for goodhumoured scorn to point his slow unmeaning finger at, without any intention of offending its mock-majesty that ever administered to the mirth of Modern Athens. It numbers-or rather did number, among its worthies, two or three authors whom we much esteem-a leash of bibliopoles to whom we wish all prosperity in the trade-a gentleman or two besides of easy fortune and manners -a few worthy masters, a dozen respectable journeymen, and some scores of idle or industrious apprentices in the various handicrafts, whom to employ therein would be to all parties profitable and pleasant, whether it were in slating a house, cobbling a shoe, patching, or even making a pair of breeches. In their personal capacities, or individual selves, it will be seen that we value the members of the Edinburgh Political Union according to their different degrees of merit, and that we should drop the pensive tear on hearing that any one of them had fallen a victim to the cholera. But in their aggregate and composite character of a Political Union, we can regard them, living or dead, but with one sentiment that of the ineffably absurd, which would, we are persuaded, pursue us into the cave of Trophonius, converting it into the boudoir of Euphrosyne. At the gravity with which they guard the peace of our distracted metropolis, the most saturnine might smile. On the eve of every impending great national calamity, we find them at their post. Thus, on that fearful afternoon that
brought our city the dismal intelligence of the rejection of the Bill by the House of Lords, when the street in front of our post-office was alive with all kinds and colours of hats, and when it was thought there would be a general brush, the Political Union, invisible and unappalled, from the mysterious secrecy of their conclave, issued paper-lanterns, imploring peace among the people, and giving promise of a brighter day to the sons of freedom biting their nails in disappointment and despair. We remember that afternoon as well as we do this; and never before to our eyes had the Queen of the North, with more tranquil stateliness, "flung hei white arms to the sea." The westeri sun so smote the city, that all the windows seemed on fire. There wa something heroic in all their vas bright stories; flats were flats no more; light was in every land; and without waiting for the fiery fiat o the Lord Provost, the hotbed of ge nius was self-kindled into a genera illumination. We grew, on the spot into Captain of the Six Feet Club Great was then our perplexity, on be holding men standing like trees, lik poles, calling on us by inscription, i1 largest letters, to be quiet-on no ac count to give vent to our feelings b ̧ any act of violence; for that "a brav time was coming," when there woul be an end to all corruption. In th calm joy of our hearts, we would no at that moment, have hurt a hair o the head of a fly-we would not hav murdered a midge. Why, then, an whence those solemn warnings, thu ostentatiously obtruded on our eye at an altitude even we could no overlook. Why thus, O ye Politica Unionists! conjure up phantoms c fury to disturb such profound re pose? Some shaking of empty heads and some thrusting of hands into al most as empty pockets there migh be with small knots of peripatetis politicians, who, at the crossings o streets, paused to read the friend ly advice to their peers. But, of: row there was no reason to indulg either in fear or hope-and but one opinion prevailed among a peacefu people, between the hours of two and ten, that, of all possible idiots the Edinburgh Political Unionists in their body corporate, were at the head. As darkness descended, the