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les esprits qu'on avait exasperes, former des reunions faites pour représenter la ville et non une faction, rendre a tous une justice egale, tendre aux malheureux une main secourable.
II a fallu ensuite inspirer aux persecuteurs une crainte utile, donner quelque satisfaction aux persecutés; pour cela, huit maires ont ete suspendus de leurs fonctions, et six officiers ont 6te renvoyés. Le gouvernement a sanctionne ces mesures. Les maires ont ete définitivement revoques, et les six officiers renvoyés dans leurs foyers.
'II n'en a pas coute davantage pour retablir le calme; de nouvelles autorites le maintiennent, et se feront benir par une population paisible.' p. 28, 29.
It is only doing justice to add, that the King, as soon as he became acquainted with the truth, extended his royal mercy towards all the unfortunate persons whose sentences had not been already executed.
In the course of this article, we have taken occasion to remind the reader of the similar transactions which, about the same time, afflicted, though in an inferior degree, our own country. It is very painful to reflect upon those disgraceful scenes. Whoever feels for the honour of the nation, must look back upon them with a mingled sentiment of indignation and shame. It seemed as if we were a people so extremely ready to believe whatever was told in a mysterious way; so apt to take fright at the first rumour of danger; and so very careless of the invaluable Constitution which we are always eager enough to hold up as our proudest distinction, that the moment a riot broke out in a county town, and a few magistrates told the Secretary of State there was a plot hatching, we grew sick of law and liberty, and desired to seek for shelter from some uncertain danger, in the certain mischief and degradation of a despotic government. The most unworthy arguments were successfully used to quiet all scruples on this head. We were told that the absolute power entrusted to the ministers would, in all probability, not be abused; and Englishmen were found degenerate enough to consent no longer to hold the liberty which is their birthright, during life or good behaviour, but durante bencplacito of the servants of the Crown. Upon this humiliating picture of national delusion, we shall make no further remarks; for the country has long since completely recovered from it. But its origin deserves always to be held in remembrance, for the sake of example in after times, when similar devices may be resorted to. The ministers found themselves in jeopardy; the aspect of the times was lowering; and their own recorded imbecility had prepared, to all human appearance, their immediate downfal. The plot was invented to stay their fate; and, for a season, the stratagem succeeded. But they know full well that this trick cannot prevail a second time. The people of England are never to be gulled twice with the same story. They might as well attempt to raise again the cry of No-popery, as of Conspiracy. By that they got, and by this they have kept their places; but some new scheme must be invented to maintain them for the future. Let the country, wise by the experience of the past, be on its guard against any such attempt to perpetuate, at the expense of its liberties, the mismanagement of its affairs.
Art. VII. Remarks on the recent State Trials, and the Rise and Progress of Disaffection in this Country. By William Frith, Esq. Sergeant-at-Law. 8vo. London, 1818.
A Bill of Rights and Liberties; or an Act for a Constitutional Reform of Parliament. By Major Cartwright. 8vo. London, 1818.
"1%/tany remarkable circumstances concur in rendering the pre-*--*- sent moment peculiarly adapted to a calm and impartial survey of the state of political parties in this country. The change from war to peace has naturally altered the relations between certain classes of statesmen, by terminating several most important questions, and removing some of the most serious grounds of party hostility. The same transition has, in other points of view, raised new grounds of political distinction, or strengthened those which already existed. It has also materially varied the course of publick opinion, and either opened the eyes of the people to the delusions under which they laboured, both with respect to their own interests and the views of their political leaders, or new-moulded those interests, and changed those views. Again, the progress of knowledge among all classes of the community has begun to produce its effects upon the aspect of publick affairs. In no period of our history has the good sense of the country been more tried by arbitrary measures on the one hand, and by extravagant violence on the other:—and at no time has a more rational conduct been observed, in spite of all efforts to mislead. Every one may now be satisfied, that popular confidence can only be gained by such a line of conduct as clearly shows that the true interests of the nation are its ruling object. The scrambles for power among a few great families are no longer to be dignified with the title of party differences; whoever would attain preeminence, must take the high ground of publick principle; the
voice of the community must be heard—its sense consulted; and statesmen must mingle with their party discussions a perpetual appeal to the undeniable interests and strong feelings of a well informed and inquiring nation. The events of the last two or three months, but especially the evidence of sound popular sentiments evinced during the late General Election, may be stated as another and a most decisive reason for pausing at the present moment, to observe and to note the situation of the country, with reference to the parties that divide its inhabitants. But as no subject has been productive of more erroneous and ignorant assertion than the use and object of party connexions, we shall first endeavour to clear the way, by stating the true principle of such unions.
When a number of men associate themselves from a general «... . Agreement in political opinion, and pursue in one body a certain course of measures, it is extremely common to hear them accused of various crimes. If they attack the government of the day, they are by its friends stigmatized as disloyal, by aid of the established sophism which confounds the sovereign with his councillors,—the constitution with the ministry of the day. By the people, they are apt to be regarded as prosecuting their own interests; and only desirous of changing the present servants of the Crown, to take their places. Even the more thinking classes of the community, unconnected with government, are apt to see something factious in a systematic opposition; it seems as if men, and not measures, were the criterion of praise or blame; as if the same persons would approve the same propositions, which they now most loudly condemn, were they but made by their own chiefs. The common question is, Are the ministers always in the wrong? And an inference is thus drawn by those who say they retain the unbiassed exercise of their own judgment, that there is almost as great a sacrifice of conscience in always agreeing with an opposition, as in constantly supporting a minister. It is the interest, and the never-failing practice of the government, to encourage such notions;—the minister has no better friends than those who rail at all party as an interested and factious league of place-hunters or zealots—nor any more useful resources than in the number of well-meaning and not very clearsighted persons, who, from tender consciences, or perhaps from the vanity of always thinking for themselves, keep aloof from party connexion as unprincipled and degrading. Another charge against party, arises out of the coalitions which, from time to time, are framed between men of different political connexions, who have once been opposed to each pther. No more fruitful source can be assigned of the prejudices which have been conceived against various parties, and of the general disposition, which for a long while has existed, to question the purity of publick men generally. As superficial observers cannot comprehend the principle which unites individuals together in political cooperation, or conceive how a man may, to promote a just cause, overlook slighter differences of opinion, and act with those of whom he does not in every particular approve—so the same reasoners find it still more difficult to understand on what grounds persons, long inveterately hostile, can unite when circumstances are changed: And as party union is termed a combination for power or place, and party hostility a factious scramble—so a coalition of parties is deemed a profligate abandonment of publick principle for private advantage. The two most celebrated measures of this kind, in more modern times, have given rise to an infinity of such feelings in the public mind.
The last cause we shall here state, of the odium that has lately fallen upon party, is the conduct almost inevitably pursued by every opposition, upon its accession to power, and tha disappointment arising from thence, both to the publick and to individuals. How sparing soever an opposition may be of their promises to the country, far more will always be expected of them than any man can perform. Whatever has been done amiss by the former ministry, they are called upon to rectify, and instantly—for delay is held equal to non-performance, At all events, they are not suffered to continue for one moment in the steps which they had blamed their predecessors for pursuing; although it may be perfectly consistent in those who inveighed against a measure, to persevere in it, when once adopted, as the lesser evil; or, if resolved upon abandoning it, to do this cautiously and slowly. The heedless multitude however cry out, that the new men are just as bad as the old, and would always have acted like them, had they been in their place. And hence a new topic for those whose clamour is, that all publick men are alike. In the mean time, the impossibility of satisfying the private claims of those who follow the party for the sake of its patronage, fills the ranks of the discontented; and the loss of power having disarmed the popular indignation against the fallen ministry, publick censure is almost exclusively reserved for their successors. These, too, are for a long time regarded rather as an opposition, inexpertly converted into ministers, than as regular placemen; and the dislikes excited by whatever they do, or leave undone, tinge the publick opinion respecting opposition parties in general. These appear to us the principal sources of the unpopularity into which regular party has fallen, . We are very far indeed from denying, that there have been. in all times, abuses of the principle which justifies party union —or that most parties, in their turn, have had errors and crimes to answer for, which afford some colour to the charges indiscriminately made against them all. We may even admit, that, unless strictly watched, and controlled by the great check of publick opinion, party association is apt to degenerate and produce serious evils, by its perversion to purposes of a private nature. Nevertheless, we conceive, that the plan of acting in parties, has its foundation in the necessity of the case, and that it affords the only safe and practical means of carrying on the business of a free country—not, as ignorant men imagine, by a collusion between different juntos of men, but by a mode at once peaceful and effectual, of giving their full influence to different principles. Let us then attend to the ground upon which alone such associations are to be defended.
As long as men are ambitious, corrupt and servile, every sovereign will attempt to extend his power; he will easily find instruments wherewithal to carry on this bad Ework; if unresisted, his encroachments upon public liberty will go on with an accelerated swiftness, each step affording new facilities for making another stride, and furnishing additional confidence to attempt it. It requires no argument, then, to show the absolute necessity of strictly watching every administration at all times. But if any given set of ministers has adopted a system of government grossly erroneous, or corrupt, or unconstitutional, a necessity arises for taking every lawful means to displace them, and prevent further mischief. The question is, how can they be most effectually watched in the one case, and opposed in the other? Now, we must consider the means of supporting themselves, which all ministers have, and the power which is thus afforded them of eluding the vigilance and overcoming the resistance of insulated individuals. Every ministry is necessarily a league—a party—a party, too, regularly marshalled, and kept together in one solid body,—as much more compact than the best organized opposition, as a standing army is better disciplined than a corps of volunteers. The ministers have all the force and all the influence of the Government at their disposal. The fears of some, the hopes of others, range around them a vast host of persons whom they can dispose of at pleasure, without ever consulting their wishes. It is enough for those multitudes that the Government wills any thing; and straightway they feel themselves bound strenuously to promote it. Add to this, the strength derived from the good will, and often the cooperation, of a great and even respectable class, who give themselves little trouble to inquire into the merits of measures, but are re-»