Imágenes de página

pose l pass over this, and do not stop t) ask what ty was unquestioned, though their wisdom inight reason there can be for these 2400 men being be doubted, led them a good deal further than guards, and not simply troops of the line—those this. Meetings were encouraged to address the troops required to maintain our final and conclu- Crown, and testify the resolution to support its sive settlement, and enforce the profound tran- prerogatives. Bonds were entered into før ds. quillity in which Europe is every where enwrapt; fending the Constitution, believed to be threatsuppose I admit, for argament' sake, and in my ened. Pledges of life and fortune were given to haste to get at the main question, that these 2400 stand by the established order of things, and rc. guards may be necessary-what is to be said of sist to the death all violence that might be diall the rest ? There remain no less than 7600 rected against it. Parliament was not alone ie to account for. What reason has been assigned, countenancing these measures, proceeding froic what attempt ever made by the noble Lord to alarm. Both Houses addressed the Throne; both assign a reason why 3600 more guards should joined in asserting the existence of great peril to be wanted more than in Mr. Pitt's celebrated the Constitution; both declared that the public establishment of 1792? I desire, however, to peace was in danger from the designs of the evil. have this explained—I demand the ground for disposed. To read the language of those times, this enormous augmentation of what you call both in public meetings and their addresses, and your "household force" - I have a right to know in parliamentary debates, and resolutions of the why this increase is called for- I call for the rea- two Houses, any one would have thought that a son of it, and the reason I will have. Deduct all wide-spreading disaffection had shot through the you require, or say you require, for France ; what land; that the materials of a vast rebellion were has happened since Mr. Pitt's time to justify you every where collected; and that the moment was in nearly doubling the number of the guards ? | tremblingly expected when some spark lighting That is the question, and it must be answered to on the mass should kindle the whole into a flame, Parliament and to the country - answered, not and wrap the country in destruction. Yet in that by vague generalities — by affected anxiety for state of things, and with these testimonies to its discussion — by shallow pretenses of desire to menacing aspect, Mr. Pitt, at the very time when have the fullest investigation—by blustering de he was patronizing the doctrines of the alarmists, fiances to us — and swaggering taunts that we encouraging their movements, and doing all he dare not investigate. We do investigate—we do could to increase rather than allay their fears; advance to the conflict-we do go into the de- when he was grounding on the panic that pretails — we do enter upon the items one by one ; vailed, those measures out of which his junction and the first that meets us on the very thresh- with a part of the Whigs arose, whereby he sucold, and as soon as we have planted a foot upon ceeded in splitting that formidable party-jet it, is this doubling of the guards. Then how do never dreamed of such a force as we are nov you defend that? Where is the ground for it? told is necessary for preserving the public peace. What is there to excuse it or to explain ? Mr. He proposed no more than 4000 guards; and No disorders Pitt found 4000 enough in 1792—then held that amount to be sufficient. throughout the country

ure what is there to make 7600 wanting We are challenged to go into particulars; we to require now? Look at home. Is the country are defied to grapple with the ques. The increase se! these troope, as in 1792."" less peaceable now than it was then ? tion in detail. Then I come to par- required for ile Quite the contrary. It was then disturbed; it is ticulars and details with the noble metropolis, now profoundly quiet. Then, although there was Lord. The main duty of the guards is the Lon no insurrection, nor any thing that could be called don service—that is the district to which their by such a name, unless by those who sought a force is peculiarly applicable. To keep the peace pretext for violating the Constitution, and, by sus- of this great metropolis is their especial province; pending its powers, securing their own, yet still and I grant the high importance of such functions. no man could call the state of the country tran Then I ask when London was ever more quiet quil. Universal discontent prevailed, here and than at this moment? When were its nomerthere amounting to disaffection, and even break- ous inhabitants ever more contented, more obeing out into local disorders; rumors of plots float- dient to the laws, more disinclined to any thing ed every where about; while meetings were held like resistance ? At what period of our history .-unmeasured language was used-wild schemes was the vast mass of the people, by whom we were broached - dangerous associations were are surrounded, ever more peaceably disposed, formed. Though no man had a right to say that more unlikely to engage in any thing approachthe government was entitled to pursue unconsti- ing to tumult than now? Why, they have even tutional courses for meeting those evils, every given over going to public meetings; the very man fel: obliged to admit that there was reason trade of the libeler languishes, if it be not at for much anxiety—that the aspect of things was end, in the general tranquillity and stagnation lowering; the alarm was a natural feeling—that of these quiet times. All is silence, and indil. the duty of the executive was to be vigilant and ference, and dullness, and inertness, and assured to be prepared. The fears of men, whose inaction. To the unnatural and costly excite

ment of war has succeeded a state of collapse ereigns kept for a time a large body of troops in perhaps from exhaustion, but possibly from con France, to secure the execution of the treaty made trast alone. The mighty events of the latte by the Bourbon government

days when the materials for the history of 3

security of the

country were crowded into the space of a few not the shadow of justification for this increase months, have left the public mind listless and of force, what shall we say of the

Muit less does vacant. The stimulus is withdrawn, and change state of foreign affairs ? Above all, the state of

for tign affair has had its accustomed sedative influence. They what shall we say of the comparison Jeruand these who had been gazing till their eyes ached, and between the face of those affairs now forces. they dcubted if they were awake, upon the most and its aspect in 1792 ? That was really a prodigious sights ever presented in the political period of external danger. Never was there and the moral world—upon empires broken up greater room for anxiety; never had the statesand formed anew-dynasties extinguished or men, not of England only, but of all Europe, springing up the chains cast off by not merely more cause for apprehension and alarm—more a people, but a hemisphere; and half the globe occasion for wakefulness to passing eventssuddenly covered with free and independent more ground for being prepared at every point. states-wars waged, battles fought, compared to A prodigious revolution had unchained twenty. which the heroes of old had only been engaged six millions of men in the heart of Europe, gal. in skirmishes and sallies-treaties made which lant, inventive, enterprising, passionately fond of disposed of whole continents, and span the sate military glory, blindly following the phantom of of millions of men--could hardly fail to find the national renown. Unchained from the felters contemplation of peace flat, stale, and unprofit that had for ages bound them to their monarchs, able. The eye that had been in vain attempt they were speedily found to be alike disentan. ing to follow the swift march of such gigantic gled from the obligations of peaceful conduct events, could not dwell with much interest upon toward their neighbors. But they stopped no: the natural course of affairs, so slow in its mo here. Confounding the abuses in their political tion as to appear at rest. And hence, if ever institutions with the benefits, they had swept there was a time of utter inaction, of absolute away every vestiga of their former polity; and, rest to the public mind, it is the hour now chosen disgusted with the rank growth of corruption to for supposing that there exists some danger which religion had afforded a shelter, they tore which requires defensive preparation, and the up the sacred tree itself, under whose shade increase of the garrison with which the listless France had so long adored and slept. To the and motionless mass of the London population fierceness of their warsare against all authority, may be overawed. Why, my honorable and civil and religious at home, was added the fiery learned friend (the Attorney General] has had zeal of proselytism abroad, and they had rushed nobody to prosecute for some years past. It is into a crusade against all existing governments, above two years since he has filed an ex-officio and on behalf of all nations throughout Europe, information, unless in the exchequer against proclaiming themselves the redressers of every snugglers. Jacobinism, the bugbear of 1792, grievance, and the allies of each people that das for the past six years and more never been chose to rebel against their rulers. The uniform even named. I doubt if allusion to it has been triumph of these principles at home, in each sucmado in this House, even in a debate upon a cessive struggle for supremacy, had been fol. King's speech, since Mr. Pitt's death. And to lowed by success almost as signal against the produce a Jacobin, or a specimen of any other first attempts to overpower them from without, kindred tribe, would, I verily believe, at this and all the thrones of the Continent shook before time of day, baffle the skill and the perseverance the blast which had breathed life and spirit into of the most industrious and most zealous col. all the discontented subjects of each of their lector of political curiosities to be found in the trembling possessors. This was the state of whole kingdom. What, then, is the danger- things in 1792, when Mr. Pitt administered the what the speculation upon some possible and affairs of a nation, certainly far less exposed expected, but non-existing risk—which makes either to the force or to the blandishments of the it necessary at this time to augment the force revolutionary people, but still very far from beapplied to preserve the peace of the metropolis ? ing removed above the danger of either their But I fear there are far other designs in this arts or their arms; and the existence of peril in measure, than merely to preserve a peace which both kinds, the fear of France menacing the inno man living can have the boldness to contend dependence of her neighbors, the risk to our dois in any danger of being broken, and no man mestic tranquillity from a party at home strong. living can have the weakness really to be ap- ly sympathizing with her sentiments, were the prehensive about. Empty show, vain parade, topics upon which both he and his adherents will account for the array being acceptable in were most prone to dwell in all their discourses some high quarters; in others, the force may be of state affairs. Yet in these circumstances, recommended by its tending to increase the the country thus beset with danger, and the powers of the executive government, and ex peace thus menaced, both from within and from tend the idfluence of the prerogative. In either without, Mr. Pitt was content with half the es. lighi, it is most disgustful, most hateful to the tablishment we are now required to vote! But eye of every friend of his country, and every one see only how vast the difference between the who loves the Constitution-all who have any ? This is a favorable specimen of Mr. Brougham's regard for public liberty, and all who reflect on free, bold, animated painting and declamation, al the burdens imposed upon the people.

ways made directly subservient to his argument But if the internal state of the country offers and filling his speeches with life and interest.

present aspoct of affairs and that which I have I am now speaking the language of the noble been feebly attempting to sketch from the rec- Lord's argument, and not of my own. He holds ords of recent history, no page of which any of it to be unfair toward the guards that they should us can have forgotten! The ground and cause be reduced, after eminently meritorious service of all peril is exhausted—the object of all the -he connects merit with the military statealarms that beset us in 1792 is no more-France disgrace, or at least slight, with the loss of this no longer menaces the independence of the station. He holds the soldier to be preferred, world, or troubles its repose. By a memorable | rewarded, and distinguished, who is retained in reverse, not of fortune, but of Divine judgments the army-him to be neglected or ill used, if not meting out punishment to aggression, France, stigmatized, who is discharged. His view of the overrun, reduced, humbled, has become a subject Constitution is, that the capacity of the soldier is of care and protection, instead of alarm and dis. more honorable and more excellent than that of may. Jacobinism itself, arrested by the Direct- the citizen. According to his view, therefore, ory, punished by the Consuls, reclaimed by the the whole army has the same right to complain Emperor, has become attached to the cause of with the guards. But his view is not my view; good order, and made to serve it with the zeal, it is not the view of the Constitution; it is not the resources, and the address of a malefactor the view which I can ever consent to assume as engaged by the police after the term of his sen- just, and to inculcate into the army by acting as tence had expired. All is now, universally over if it were just. I never will suffer it to be held the face of the world, wrapped in profound repose. out as the principle of our free and popular gorExhausted with such gigantic exertions as man ernment that a man is exalted by being made a never made before, either on the same scale or soldier, and degraded by being restored to the with the like energy, nations and their rulers rank of a citizen. I never will allow it to be have all sunk to rest. The general slumber of said that in a country blessed by having a civil, the times is every where unbroken; and if ever and not a military government; by enjoying the a striking contrast was offered to the eye of the exalted station of a constitutional monarchy, and observer by the aspect of the world at two dif- not being degraded to that of a military despois ferent ages, it is that which the present posture ism, there is any pre-eminence whatever in the of Europe presents to its attitude in Mr. Pitt's class of citizens which bears arms, over the class time, when, in the midst of wars and rumors of which cultivates the arts of peace. When it wars, foreign enemies and domestic treason vieing suits the purpose of some argument in behalf of together for the mastery, and all pointed against a soldiery who have exceeded the bounds of the the public peace, he considered a military estab- law in attacking some assembled force of the peolishment of half the amount now demanded to ple, how often are we told from that bench of of be sufficient for keeping the country quiet, and fice, from the Crown side of the bar, nay, from repelling foreign aggression, as well as subduing the bench of justice itself, that by becoming sol. domestic revolt.

diers, men cease not to be citizens, and that this Driven from the argument of necessity, as the is a glorious peculiarity of our free Cor.stitution? Respect for the noble Lord seemed to feel assured he Then what right can the noble Lord have to coetroops no res should be the moment any one exam- sider that the retaining men under arms, and in son for still ined the case, he skillfully prepared the pay of the state, is an exaltation and a dison look for his retreat to another position, tinction which they cease to enjoy if restored to somewhat less exposed, perhaps, but far enough the status of ordinary citizens ? I read the Coifrom being impregnable. You can not, he said, stitution in the very opposite sense to the noble disband troops who have so distinguished them. Lord's gloss. I have not sojourned in congrese selves in the late glorious campaigns. This topic es with the military representatives of military 1 he urged for keeping up the guards. But I ask, powers: _I have not frequented the courts, ao which of our troops did not equally distinguish more than I have followed the camps of these themselves ? What regiment engaged in the potentates—I have not lived in the company o wars failed to cover itself with their glories ? crowned soldiers, all whose ideas are fashioned This argument, if it has any force at all, may be upon the rules of the drill and the articles of the used against disbanding a single regiment, or dis- fifteen maneuvers-all whose estimates of a coutcharging a single soldier. Nay, even those who try's value are framed on the number of troops by the chances of war had no opportunity of dis- will raise, and who can no more sever the ida playing their courage, their discipline, and their of a subject from that of a soldier, than if mes zeal, would be extremely ill treated if they were were born into this world in complete armor, s' now to be dismissed the service merely because Minerva started from Jupiter's head. My ideas it was their misfortune not to have enjoyed the are more humble and more civic, and the con same opportunity with others in happier circumstances of sharing in the renown of our victories.

The unusual course taken by Lord Castleretta It is enough to have been deprived of the laurels

as minister, of going himself to the varios ce which no one doubts they would equally have

gresses on the Continent in 1815, instead of des

an embassador, had before this drawn forth the e won had they been called into the field. Surely, verest strictures from the Opposition, who co sidersi surely, they might justly complain if to the disap- him as inflated by vanity, and in danger of being pointment were added the being turned out of the duced into measures anbecoming the representata service whica no act of theirs had dishonored. I of a free people.

These troops

language I know, or can speak, or can under treat the common sailors who compose our instand in this House, is the mother tongue of the vincible navy? All are at once dismissed. The old English Constitution. I will speak none oth Victory, which carried Nelson's flag to his inva. er-I will suffer none other to be spoken in my riable and undying triumphs, is actually laid up presence. Addressing the soldier in that lan- in ordinary, and her crew disbanded to seek a guage-which alone above all other men in the precarious subsistence where some hard fortune country he ought to know to which alone it pe- may drive them. Who will have the front to culiarly behooves us that he, the armed man, contend that the followers of Nelson are less the should be accustomed - I tell him, “You have glory and the saviors of their country than the. distinguished yourself-all that the noble Lord soldiers of the guards? Yet who is there cansays of you is true-nay, under the truth-you did enough to say one word in their behalf when have crowned yourself with the glories of war. we hear so much of the injustice of disbanding But chiefly you, the guards, you have outshone our army after its victories? Who has ever all others, and won for yourselves a deathless complained of that being done to the seamen fame. Now, then, advance and receive your re which is said to be impossible in the soldier's ward. Partake of the benefits you have secured case? But where is the difference? Simply for your grateful country. None are better than this: That the maintenance of the navy in time you entitled to share in the blessings, the inesti- of peace never can be dangerous to the liberties mable blessings of peace-than you whose valor of the country, like the keeping up a standing has conquered it for us. Go back, then, to the army; and that a naval force gives no gratificarank of citizens, which, for a season, you quitted tion to the miserable, paltry love of show which at the call of your country. Exalt her glory in rages in some quarters, and is to be consulted in peace, whom you served in war; and enjoy the all the arrangements of our affairs, to the exclurich recompense of all your toils in the tranquil sion of every higher and worthier consideration. retreat from dangers, which her gratitude be | After the great constitutional question to stows upon you.” I know this to be the lan- which I have been directing your at- guage of the Constitution, and time was when tention, you will hardly bear with me far more exnone other could be spoken, or would have been while I examine these estimates in those of thien understood in this House. I still hope that no any detail. This, however, I must

line. one will dare use any other in the country; and, say, that nothing can be more scandalous than least of all, can any other be endured as address the extravagance of maintaining the established to the soldiery in arms, treating them as if ment of the guards at the expense of troops of they were the hired partisans of the Prince, a the line, which cost the country so much less. caste set apart for his service, and distinguished Compare the charge of two thousand guards with from all the rest of their countrymen, not a class an equal number of the line, and you will find of the people devoting themselves for a season to the difference of the two amounts to be above carry arms in defense of the nation, and when £10,000 a year. It is true that this sum is not their services are wanted no more, retiring nat- very large, and compared with our whole exurally to mix with and be lost in the mass of penditure it amounts to nothing. But in a state their fellow-citizens.

burdened as ours is, there can be no such thing But it has been said that there is injustice and as a small saving; the people had far rather see

ingratitude in the country turning adrist millions spent upon necessary objects, than thouNor doesjusuce require her defenders as soon as the war is end sands squandered unnecessarily, and upon mat

ed, and we are tauntingly asked, “Is ters of mere superfluity ; nor can any thing be this the return you make to the men who have more insulting to their feelings, and less bearfought your battles ? When the peace comes able by them, than to see us here underrating which they have conquered, do you wish to starve the importance even of the most inconsiderable them or send them off to sweep the streets?” I sum that can be added to or taken from the inwish no such thing; I do not desire that they tolerable burdens under which they labor. should go unrequited for their services. But I As for the pretext set up to-night that the can not allow that the only, or the best, or even question is concluded by the vote of last Friday, a lawful mode of recompensing them, is to keep nothing can be more ridiculous. This House on foot during peace the army which they com. never can be so bound. If it could, then may it pose, still less that it is any hardship whatever any hour be made the victim of surprise, and the for a soldier to return into the rank of citizens utmost encouragement is held out to tricks and when the necessity is at an end, which alone maneuvers. If you voted too many men before justified bis leaving those ranks. Nor can I be you can now make that vote harmless and inop. lieve that it is a rational way of showing our erative by withholding the supplies necessary for gratitude toward the army, whose only valuable keeping those men on foot. As well may it be service has been to gain us an honorable peace, contended that the House is precluded from to maintain an establishment for their behoof, throwing out a bill on the third reading, because wliich must deprive the peace of all its value, it affirmed the principle by its voto on the sec. and neutralize the benefits which they have con- ond, and sanctioned the details by receiving the Serred upon us.

committee's report. See, too, the gross inconsistency of this argu- The estimate before you is £385,000, for the ment with your whole corduct. How do you / support of eight thousand one hundred guarde

The speaker

ty if the in

Adopt my honorable friend's amendment (Mr. twice as great as was formerly deemed sufficient Calcraft), and you reduce them to about four when all Europe was involved in domestic trout. thousand, which is still somewhat above their les, and war raged in some parts, and was about number in the last peace.

to spread over the whole. It is not my fault Sir, I have done. I have discharged my duty that peace will have returned without its accus. Peroration : to the country; I have accepted the tomed blessings; that our burdens are to remain free from all challenge of the ministers to discuss undiminished; that our liberties are to be menresponsibili

the question ; I have met them fairly, aced by a standing army, without the pretenso jurious sys and grappled with the body of the ar- of necessity in any quarter to justify its continusued. gument. I may very possibly have ance. The blame is not mine that a brilliant failed to convince the House that this establish and costly army of household troops, of unpre. ment is enormous and unjustifiable, whether we cedented numbers, is allowed to the Crown with. regard the burdened condition of the country, or out the shadow of use, unless it be to pamper a the tranquil state of its affairs at home, or the vicious appetite for military show, to gratify a universal repose in which the world is lulled, or passion for parade, childish and contemptible : the experience of former times, or the mischiev- unless, indeed, that nothing can be an object of ous tendency of large standing armies in a con- contempt which is at once dangerous to the Constitutional point of view, or the dangerous nature stitution of the country, and burdensome to the of the arguments urged in their support upon resources of the people. I shall further record the present occasion. All this I feel very deep- my resistance to this system by my vote; and ly; and I am also very sensible how likely it is never did I give my voice to any proposition with that, on taking another view, you should come more hearty satisfaction than I now do te the to an opposite determination. Be it so; I have amendment of my honorable friend. done my duty; I have entered my protest. It can not be laid to my charge that a force is to The amendment was voted down by a major be maintained in profound and general peace'ity of eighty.




INTRODUCTION. MR. WILLIAMS was edito: of the Chronicle, a paper published at Durham, in the north of England and distinguished for its assertion of free principles in Church and State.

When Queen Caroline died, August 7, 1821, the established clergy of Durham would not allow the bells of their churches to be tolled in the ordinary manner as a token of respect to her memory. This 'act called out the following remarks from Mr. Williams, in his paper of August 10, 1821 :

* So far as we have been able to judge from the accounts in the public papers, a mark of respect to aer late Majesty has been almost universally paid throughout the kingdom, when the painful tidings of ner decease were received, by tolling the bells of the cathedrals and churches. But there is one excer cion to this very creditable fact which demands especial notice. In this episcopal city, containing sis churches independently of the cathedral, not a single bell announced the departure of the magnanimous spirit of the most injured of queens--the most persecuted of women. Thus the brutal enmity of those who embittered her mortal existence porsues her in her shroud.

“We know not whether any actual orders were issued to prevent this customary sign of mourning, but the omission plainly indicates the kind of spirit which predominates among our clergy. Yet these men profess to be followers of Jesus Christ, to walk in his footsteps, to teach his precepts, to inculcate his spirit, to promote harmony, charity, and Christian love! Out upon such hypocrisy! It is such con dact which renders the very name of our established clergy odious, till it stinks in the nostrils; that makes our churches look like deserted sepulchers, rather than temples of the living God; that raises up conventicles in every corner, and increases the brood of wild fanatics and enthusiasts; that causes our bea eficed dignitaries to be regarded as usurpers of their possessions; that deprives them of all pastoral in Auence and respect; that, in short, has left them no support or prop in the attachment or venerrtion at the people. Sensible of the decline of their spiritual and moral influence, they cling to temporal power and lose in their officiousness in political matters, even the semblance of the character of ministers of re ligion. It is impossible that such a system can last. It is at war with the spirit of the age, as well as with justice and reason, and the beetles who crawl about amid its holes and crevices act as if they were striving to provoke and accelerate the blow, which, sooner or later, will inevitably crush the whole fab ric and level it with the dust."

Mr. Williams was prosecuted for these remarks as a libel on the clergy of Durbam, and was detesi ed by Mr. Brougham in the following speech, which for bitter irony and withering invective has karin its equal in our language

« AnteriorContinuar »