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different circumstances; but in the same age, and under the same circumstances, they are very like similar.
The patriotism of Regulus and Fabricins was very different from that which followed the insurrection of the Gracchi; but Sylla and Marins, Caesar and Pompey, differed, if their real motives arc considered, very little from each other. The same result would probably have followed the triumphs of either. There is no such thing as all the sheep being on one side and all the goats on another, in the same country at the same time. The proportion of good and bad men, of generous and base motives, among the Roundheads and Cavaliers, was much the same. The cabal which was framing a government of despotic power for Charles II., was doubtless selfish and tyrannical; but Algernon Sidney, and the whole patriots who opposed them, except Lord Russell, were quietly taking, the whole time, bribes from Lonis XIV. Severity was doubtless exercised in the punishment of the leaders, some of whom were noble and high-minded men, of the Rye-House Plot; but that was only in retaliation of the still greater atrocities consequent on the fictitious Popish plots, and the perjury of Titus Oates. The Revolution of 1688 was, doubtless, brought about, as a whole, by necessity and patriotic intentions; but Churchill proved a traitor to his benefactor and king, and betrayed his trust to promote that revolution—a crime as deep as that for which Ney justly suffered in the gardens of the Luxembourg—and the blackness of which all the glories of Marlborough have not been able to efface. The government of Lord Bute and Lord North was doubtless mainly based on the influence of official or parliamentary patronage, and the evils of that corruption clearly appeared in the disasters of the American war; but these Tory noblemen only carried on the system invented and brought to perfection, during the seventy years that the Whigs had enjoyed a monopoly of power.
It is a first principle, says Sismondi, in politics, that all classes which have not constitutionally the means of resistance, will bo oppressed. There
can be no doubt that this is true; and it is not less true, that all power which is not systematically watched, will become corrupt. It is these principles which explain the universal and wide-spread corruption which overran the country for a century after the Revolution; and they point to a conclusion of the very highest importance in political science. Direct or tyrannical power, by means of the prerogative, or the simple will, of the sovereign, having become impossible, in consequence of the safeguards established by the Great Rebellion and the Revolution, and the disposition to tyranny and abuse remaining the same, from the corrupt tendency of the human heart, the system of gaining a majority, both in Pariiament and in the constituencies, by means of government influence and official corruption, became the acknowledged, and probably unavoidable, basis of government. During the seventy years that the Whigs were in power, they brought this system to perfection, and extended its ramifications into the remotest corners of the kingdom. A majority of the House of Peers, in the Whig interest, amply provided with emoluments, offices, and dignities, got possession of so many boroughs and counties, that they secured a majority in the Commons also, and got the entire command of government. The sovereigns on the throne—men of little capacity, imperfectly acquainted with English, unable, from that cause, even to preside at the meetings of their own cabinet, and strongly opposed by an ardent and generous, because disinterested, party in the country—became mere puppets in their hands, and rendered the crown nearly destitute of all real or independent weight in the kingdom.
The natural check in a free country upon this corrupt system, into which every constitutional monarchy has so strong a tendency to run, is found in the vigorous opposition and incessant watchfulness of the people. It is this which has been so powerful a restraint upon the abuses of government during the last half century; and which has now become so strong, that the common complaint is, that, in all important appointments at least, theTorv ministry are forgetful of their friends, and select the persons to be appointed from the ranks of their enemies. But this salutary check upon bad government did not exist during the first half of the eighteenth century; or rather, it existed only to fan and augment the inclination, already sufficiently strong, to corrupt administration on the part of the Whig oligarchy, who had got possession of the helm. The popular party were now in power; their leaders had the disposal of every thing, and therefore not a whisper escaped their lips, as to the degrading system which was so fast spreading in the country. The Tories, who were in opposition, were a discredited and defeated party. They had got into ugly company—they had the axe impending over them. The unsuccessful result of the rebellions of 1715 and 1745, had, as is always the case, not only greatly augmented the strength of the ruling government, but it had rendered the Tories, who were in great part, and probably justly, suspected of a leaning to the rebels, to the last degree obuoxious to a large majority of the English people. Religious feeling combined with political antipathy and personal terror to produce this emotion. The Tories were associated, in the popular mind, with Jacobites and rebels; with Popish mummery and national antipathy; with the fires of Smithfield and the defeat of Prestoupans; with Scotch ascendeucy and revenge for the blood shed at Carlisle; with breechless Highlanders and Protestant confiscation. Thus the Tories, as a popular party, capable of exercising any effective control on the vices and corruptions of administration, were practically extinct. Meanwhile, the popular party in England, steeped in corruption, and gorged with the spoils of the state, which the expensive system of government, introduced with the Revolution, had done so much to augment, was effectually gagged, and was enjoying its lucrative abuses in silence. This is the true explanation and real cause of the prodigious corruptions which pervaded every department of the state, and—what was worse—every class in the country during the seventy years which followed the Revolution, and which had wcllnigh proved fatal to all patriotic voi.. Lth. No. cccLin.
spirit, or public virtue in England. The two powers, that of the government and the people, usually opposing each other, had come to draw in the same direction, and they raised between them a spring-tideof corruption, which wellnigh submerged the state. There can be no question, that if this degrading system of government— the necessary and never-failing result of successful revolution—had continued for a generation longer, it would have proved altogether fatal to Great Britain. But, fortunately for the country, George III. and his advisers, from the veryfirst moment of his accession to the throne, set his face against the party which had introduced and matured this system of government; and their efforts, though after a severe struggle, were successful. This was the turning-point of Euglish history; upon the success of that attempt, the future character of the government and of the people mainly' depended. It, for the first time since the Revolution, restored the government to its proper position—it rested it, in its ultimate effects, on property, and put numbers in opposition. This is the only proper basis of good government—for without property ruling, there can be no stability in administration; and without numbers watching, there is no security against the multiplication of abuses. The corrupt system of Sir R. Walpole, and the preceding administrations, had arisen from the popular party— that is, numbers—having become the ruling power, and of course appropriated to themselves the whole spoils of the state. Instantly their watching became equal to nothing, and every abuse was perpetrated withont either exposure or complaint. There were no Wilkeses nor Juninses, to lash the vices of administration, from 1688 to 1761, when the Whigs were in power; though that was beyond all question the most corrupt period of English history. But they appeared fast enough, and did infinite good, as soon as the Tories got possession of the public treasury. This is the true secret of the unbounded corruption of the government of the Convention and Directory in France—of the rapid return to a corrupt system during the ten years of Whig power
which succeeded the downfall of the Tories in 181)0, and of the establishment of Louis Philippe's dynasty, now, on the basis of one hundred and thirty-eight thousand offices, which Toequeville tells us are at the disposal of the ruling power at the Tuileries. It is not that the popular leaders are worse men, or by nature more inclined to evil, than their Conservative opponents, but that, when they arc elevated into power by the result of a revolution or social convulsion, the controlling has become the ruling power ; its leaders and followers alike profit by corruption and mal-administration; and therefore there is no longer any possible restraint on abuse. It is not that the Conservative leaders are by nature better men, or more inclined to eschew evil and do good than their popular opponents; but that, as the basis of their government is property, which uecessarily is vested in comparatively few hands, they are of course opposed and narrowly watched by numbers; and thus they are deterred from doing evil, from the dread of its consequences recoiling upon themselves. And this observation explains the cause of the remark by Montesquieu, which the experience of all ages has proved to be well founded, "that the most degrading despotisms recorded in history have been those which have immediately followed a successful revolution."
The clearest proof of how strongly, and all but indelibly, corruption and abuses had become engrained, as it were, on the practice of the English constitution, is to be found in their long continuance and pernicious effects after the popular party had been thrown back to their proper duty of watching and checking the abuses of government, and despite the prodigious efforts which were made, and the Vast talent which was exerted, to expose and decry it. Walpolc tells us enough of the corrupt means by which Lord Bute's authority was maintained, and of the discreditable intrigues by which succeeding administrations were raised up and cast down. Wilkes and Junins exposed, in cutting libels, and with caustic severity, their real or supposed continuance in a subsequent part of the reign of George III.; Burke and Fox declaimed in a voice
of th under against the vices of Lord North's administration; and the disasters of that untoward period demonstrate but too clearly, that the radical vice of parliamentary influence had almost banished talent and ability from the public service. Every one knows that commissions in the army and navy wore bestowed on children, as the mere price' of support to government; and that, when the little hirelings of corruption were sent forth into the public service, they were utterly ignorant, for the most part, of even the most elementary parts of their duty. The same system continued during the early years of the Revolutionary war; and we all know with what disastrous effects it was then attended. But the Whig orators and patriots, with all their acuteness and zeal, forgot to tell us one thing, which, however, it most behoved them to have told—and that is, that it was themselves who had formed and habituated the nation to this degrading system. They have forgot to tell us that they had the framing of the constitution in church and state, after the Revolution of 1688; that -their power was, for above a century, entirely paramount; and that, if the system of government had come, during that time, to rest on corrupt influences, it was they, and they alone, who are responsible for the practical moulding of the constitution into such a form.
No man who knows the human heart, or has had any experience, cither of public characters in his own, or historic shades in any former age, will suppose that the Conservative party are more inclined in their hearts to pure and virtuous administration than their popular opponents; but, nevertheless, there can be no question that their government, generally speaking, is much more pure, and its effects far more beneficial. Decisive proof of this exists in Euglish history during the nineteenth century. It took nearly forty years of incessant effort on the part of the Whigs to eradicate the harvest of corruption which sprang up since 1761, from the seeds so profusely sowu by their predecessors during the seventy years before that period; and unless they had been aided by the disasters of the Ameri
can, and the perilous chances of the Revolutionary contest, it is probable all their efforts would have been unsuccessful. But when, by the firmness of George III., and the talent of Mr Pitt, the contest for political supremacy was at an end, and government was rested on its true basis— that of property being the ruling, and numbers the controlling power— when the Tory party, freed from the influence of their old Jacobite recollections, had rallied with sincere loyalty round the throne, and the Whigs, having lost the glittering prospect of a return to power and corruption,had been driven toseek forsupport in the passions of the people, what a marvellous display of public virtue and strength did the empire afford! Search the annals of the world, you will find nothing superior, few things equal, to the patriotism, public spirit, and generous devotion of the latter period of the Revolutionary war. Its unequalled triumphs prove this; the biographies of its great men, which arc daily issuing from the press, show from what a noble and elevated spirit these triumphs had sprung. They conquered because they were worthy to conquer. The burning patriotism of Nelson; the prophetic courage of Pitt; the spotless heart of Collingwood; the stern resolves of St Vincent ; the steady jndgment of Eldon; the moral firmness of Castlercugh; the unconquerable resolution of Wellington, shine forth as the most conspicuous ornaments of this brilliant period. But these men, great as they were, did not stand alone. They were in prominent situations, and have thence acquired immortal fame; but they were followed and supported by hundreds and thousands, animated with the same spirit, and possessing, if calledforth,thesameabilities. England at that period seemed to have reached that epoch in national life, "brief and speedily to perish," as Tacitus says, when the firmness of aristocracy had given invincible resolution, and the energy of democracy inexhaustible vigour to the state ; when we had the tenacity of nobles without their pride, and the vehemence of the people without their licentiousness—" Si monumentum quoeris, circumspice." The Emperor Nicholas, therefore,
jndged too hastily when he condemned all free countries and constitutional monarchies as necessarily the seats of corruption. It is no wonder he thought so from the experience he had of them, and that which the greater part of such governments, in his time, had aflbrded. If we had jndged of constitutional monarchy and the cause of freedom from the history of England from 1688 to 1793, we should have said the same. But the subsequent history of the British empire has revealed the real cause of these general and wide-spread abuses. It has shown that they arose not necessarily from the trinmph of freedom, but accidentally from government, in consequence of that trinmph, having for a long period been established on a wrong basis. The contending powers, whose opposition produces equilibrinm, had been brought to draw in the same direction, and thence the spring-tide of corruption. A constitutional monarchy is not necessarily based on patronage; it is so only when the popular party are in power. That party, having, as a whole, little or no interest in the property of the state, can be retained in obedience, and hindered from urging on the revolutionary movement, only by being well supplied with offices. It is like a beast of prey, which must be constantly gorged to be kept quiet. But the holders of property need no such degrading motive to keep them steady to the cause of order. They are retained there by their own private interest; by their deep stake in the maintenance of tranquillity; by their desire to transmit their estates unimpaired to their descendants. They are as certain, in the general case, of supporting the cause of order, and its guardians at the helm of a state, as the passengers in a ship are of standing by the pilot and crew who are to save them from the waves. The true, the legitimate, the honourable support of a Conservative government, is to be found in that numerous class of men who have no favours to ask, who would disdain to accept any gratification, who adhere to the cause of order, because it is that of peace, of religion, of themselves, and of their children. It is a sense of the strength of these bonds,
» knowledge of the independent and disinterested support which they are certain of receiving, which enables a Conservative administration so often to neglect its supporters in the distribution of the public patronage, and seek for merit and worth in the rants of its opponents. A democratic government can never do this, becanse the passions and interests of the great bulk of its supporters are adverse to the preservation of property; and therefore they can be kept to their colours, and hindered from clamouring for those measures which its leaders feel to be destructive, only by the exclusive enjoyment and entire monopoly of all the patronage of the state.
Without undervalumg, then, the effects of the Revolution of 1688; without discrediting the motives of many of the patriots who combmed to shake off the oppressive tyranny and Romish bigotry of James IT., it may safely be affirmed, that it was George III., Lord Bute, and Mr Pitt, who put the British constitution upon Its right, and the only durable and beneficial, basis, and worked out the Revolution itself to its appropriate and beneficent effects. This is the great and important moral of English
history during the eighteenth century; this is the conclusion forced on the mind bv the perusal of Walpole's Memoirs. and his vehement abuse of Lord Bute and George III. for their dismissal of the Whigs from power. Doubtless, they acted from selfish motives in doing so*. The king wanted to regain his prerogative, the minister to secure his power; but still it was, on the part of both, a step in the right direction. But for the resolute stand which they made against the Whig oligarchy— bat for their wisdom in throwing themselves on the property of the nation to withstand its debasement, a domineering party would have become omnipotent, the people would have been irrecoverably plunged in the slough of corruption, and the liberties of England lost for ever, according to all former experience, in the firmly established despotism consequent on a successful revolution. George III. said, on the first decisive parliamentary division which gave a majority to the Tories in 1761—" At length, then, we have a king on the throne in England."' Posterity will add—at length the foundations of a free constitution were laid on a durable and practicable basis.