Imágenes de página

ing state of that part of the Legisla- Penryn we have not given, because 'ture. What interest is there not it appeared to possess litte indepen. fully represented ? In what assem- dent interest. With regard to Grambly on earth are the same talents and pound, Lord John Russell announced learning to be found ? Where is the his intention to propose next session pulse of the public mind to be so a measure of modified reform, by dissurely felt and ascertained ? Here franchising burghs convicted of gross we find men ever watchful to pro- and notorious corruption, and trans. claim error and enforce truth, to ferring the elective franchise, of which vindicate the cause of the oppress- they should thus be deprived, to large ed, to urge inquiry, to bring delin- towns, as Manchester or Leeds, which quency to exposure and guilt to pu- formerly sent no member to Parlia. nishment, to denounce ministerial ment, or to extensive counties inade. tyranny, and to assert the rights quately represented. An account of of the people. Administration acts, this motion, and its result, will be like the man of Momus, as it were, found in our next chapter. with a window in its breast. Add to On the 1st of July, Sir Francis this the agency of the press, which Burdett brought forward a motion disseminates over the island and on the subject of Parliamentary Reover Europe, the doctrines that are form, the object of which was to maintained, the measures that are pledge the House of Commons, early discussed, and the nature of the po- in the ensuing session, to take into licy that is followed; which, in short, consideration the state of the repregives tenfold energy to public opi- sentation. This motion he introduced nion, and renders all public men in a long speech, in which he assailcautious, circumspect, and, to a ed the present system as substantialcertain degree, virtuous. We there. ly rotten at the core, and consequentfore agree with Mr Canning, that ly wholly inadequate to the exercise the system, as it is constituted at of the functions for which it was opresent, “ works well," and that it riginally intended. The motion nawould be little short of madness, in turally led to a long debate, and the order to get rid of partial defects, to reiteration of those common places, fily to greater unexplored evils. with which the public are already so

At the same time, we have to state familiar ; but it is remarkable that that several instances of notorious none of the bright luminaries on bribery and corruption in the elec. either side of the House thought tion of members of Parliament were proper to mingle in the discussion, this session brought under the coge or to dart a single coruscation of nisance of the House of Commons. new light on the tame and vapid deThese were Grampound, Barnstaple, clamation with which the proposiand Penryn; and in all the three the tion of the honourable Baronet was corruption was proved by the fullest supported. On a division, the moand most conclusive evidence. The tion was lost by a majority of 153 to consequence was, that Parliament 58. ordered prosecutions against the in- On the 13th of July, this busy Ses. dividuals implicated ; and the facts sion of Parliament, in which, to use charged being proved, conviction fol- the words of the Speaker of the lowed. The trial of Sir Manasseh M. House of Commons, “ the subjects Lopez will be found in the Appendix. that had occupied its attention had That of Mr Swann for bribery at been more numerous, more various,

and more important, than are usually rive much satisfaction from the besubmitted to the consideration of lief, that the means which you have Parliament in one session," was clo- devised for this purpose are calcu. sed by the following speech, deliver- lated to press as lighily on all classes ed from the throne by the Prince of the community as could be exRegent, and Parliament prorogued pected when so great an effort was till the 24th day of August next : to be made. “ My Lords and Gentlemen,

My Lords and Gentlemen, “ It is with great regret that I am 66 I continue to receive from fo. again obliged to announce to you the reign powers the strongest assurances continuance of his Majesty's lament of their friendly disposition towards ed indisposition.

this country: “ I cannot close this session of Par. " I have observed, with great conJiament without expressing the satis. cern, the attempts which have recentfaction that I have derived from the ly been made, in some of the manu. zeal and assiduity with which you facturing districts, to take advantage have applied yourselves to the seve- of circumstances of local distress, to ral important objects which have excite a spirit of disaffection to the come under


consideration. institutions and government of the • Your patient and laborious in- country. No object can be nearer vestigation of the state of the circu. my heart than to promote the wellation and currency of the kingdom fare and prosperity of all classes of demands my warmest acknowledg. his Majesty's subjects; but this canmerts; and I entertain a confident not be effected without the mainteexpectation, that the measures a- nance of public order and tranquil. dopted, as the result of this inquiry, lity. will be productive of the most bene. " You may rely, therefore, upon ficial consequences.

my firm determination to employ for “ Gentlemen of the House of Com- this purpose the powers intrusted to mons,

me by law; and I have no doubt that, " I thank you for the supplies on your return to your several coun. which you have granted for the ser. ties, you will use your utmost endeavice of the present year.

vours, in co-operation with the ma. “ I sincerely regret, that the neces- gistracy, to defeat the machinations sity should have existed of making of those whose projects, if successany addition to the burdens of the ful, could only aggravate the evils people; but I anticipate the most im- which it is professed to remedy; and portant permanent advantages from who, under the pretence of reform, the effort which you have thus made have realiy no other object but the for meeting at once all the financial subversion of our happy constitu. difficulties of the country; and I de. tion."



Apparent causes of the disturbances in the manufacturing districts.- Re-assembling of Parliament in November.-Regent's Speech.-Debates on the Address.Report on the Address.Measures proposed by Ministers for regulating public Meetings, preventing secret military training, searching for arms, and restraining the licentiousness of the press.Bill for preventing seditious meetings.Motions in both Houses of Parliament for the appointment of Committees to inquire into the State of the Country:-Mr Bennet's motion for a Committee to inquire into the present state of the manufacturing districts.-Bill for preventing training passed into a lavo.

Mr Hobhouse sent to Newgate for a libel on the House of Commons. —Lord John Russell's resolutions on the subject of Parliamentary Reform.Sir W. De Crespigny's motion for a Select Committee to inquire into the practicability of Mr Owen's plan

for relieving the distresses of the lower classes.--Bill introduced for the disfranchisement of Grampound.The arms' seizure bill, · the misdemeanour traverse bill, the seditious meetings' bill, the newspaper stamp-duty bill, and the seditious publications' bill, passed.- Adjournment of Parliament.

HOOKER commences his admirable to the principle of insubordination, work on Ecclesiastical Polity with but naturally prompts the immediate this observation ; “ He that goeth sufferers to catch at every hope, howabout to persuade a multitude that ever delusive, at every reed, however they are not so well governed as they frail, that promises present relief ought to be, shall never want atten- and safety. "It is on such occasions tive and favourable hearers.” This as this that the demagogue comes remark, at once eloquent and just, into play. While people are enjoyindicates a deep insight into the prin- ing plenty, they are naturally easy, ciples of human nature. In all com- good-natured, and indifferent; as munities, however well governed, they feel no wants, they dream of no and however equal and impartial the abuses; the system of Government is protection and security afforded by allowed to pursue its course undis. the laws, we may nevertheless detect turbed ; and no man labouring with the elements of discontent, which, his hands for his daily bread suspects unless duly and energetically repress that he is competent to point out ed, will in time break through the and expose errors, to reform abuses, restraints of civil order, and produce and, in short, to mend the State. But confusion and anarchy. But there the period of reduced wages and are times when this dangerous spirit, consequent privation arrives, and the as it may be more effectually roused, same man becomes at once sensitive ought to be more carefully and vigo- and credulous ; he feels strongly the rously watched ; times when general contrast of his present wants with his distress not only gives fresh activity former abundance or luxuries; and he naturally believes every lying spirit out exciting much jealousy, and callwho furnishes him with something to ing forth the keenest animadversion ; curse as the cause of his calamity, we are aware that suspicion will aland with a nostrum or specific to hold ways attach to every act which has forth as a sovereign remedy for all for its object to restrain public opi. ills. Hence, we have seen Parlia- nion, however misdirected, and howmentary Reform gravely proposed ever pernicious : and we are also as a remedy for the evils flowing aware, that this salutary vigilance is from a bad harvest or low prices, one of the elements that go to the and the abolition of sinecures re- composition and preservation of the commended as an infallible expedient just equipoise of the constitution. for opening the foreign market to But we are equally satisfied that, in British manufactured produce. such circumstances, Government has

In no country upon earth does no alternative, but to proceed in a this proneness to crimination, and steady and energetic course ; and this aptitude of delusion exist to that pusillanimous submission to posuch an extent as in our own: and pular delusion, wrought up to frenzy, it is perhaps one of the unavoidable would be the worst sort of treason consequences of that freedom which which governors could commit awe enjoy, and which gives to every gainst the best and vital interests of man a stake in the Government, the community at large. and a deep and paramount interest The year 1819 is, in many rein the measures pursued by the go. spects, one of the most remarkable veroors. But there can be no doubt in our recent history. At its comthat it also opens a large field for mencement, the country enjoyed the speculations and activity of de- comparative general tranquillity ; signing men, who, insignificant and the evils inseparable from the sudden contemptible by themselves, be- cessation of a long war, which had come truly dangerous and formid. occasioned the expenditure of hun. able when they have gained a vicious dreds of millions, and consequently ascendancy over multitudes, and given a vast and unexampled stican lead thousands of their fellow. mulus both to industry and the prinsubjects to embrace the most absurd ciple of population, had, in some and preposterous doctrines, and, oc. measure, subsided ; symptoms of casionally, to commit the most illegal the revival and renovation of our and dangerous acts of aggression a. commerce had begun to manifest gainst the laws and constitution of themselves ; our agriculturists had the kingdom. Then, accordingly, borne the pressure of low prices it is, that the Government ought to and high rents with that resignation interfere ; then it is that measures and patience which hope inspires ; both penal and precautionary must and among the lower classes, whose be adopted, to repress the mischief sufferings had been more immediate that has been already done, and to and personal, there appeared but rescue the people from the destruc- few indications of that turbulent and tive arts and machinations of those seditious spirit which afterwards who have made them only an instru. burst forth with such almost unprement for the accomplishment of their cedented fury. Public meetings own base and profligate ends. In a and inflammatory speeches, when Government constituted like ours, these produce no actual results bewe are well aware, that the arm of yond the expenditure of some foul power can never be so extended with. breath, we make no great account

of; considering them as, in some meeting at Manchester on the 16th sort, the safety valves of the State, of August ; a meeting, the illegality by which that highly expansive va- of which has been very generally pour is disengaged and set free, admitted by men of all parties, which, if compressed, might dis- whatever have been their sentiments plode and produce wide-spread ruin as to the method taken to disperse and destruction. But as the sum. it. For who can doubt, if a hunmer advanced, things began to put dred thousand men, in military ar. on a very different aspect. It then ray, marshalled under subordinate appeared, that the reform meetings, leaders, at the beck of an arch-dewhich were multiplying in all direc. magogue, with banners inscribed with tions, were only so many parts of a “ Equal Representation or Death,system regularly and artfully orga- can march to a meeting under the nized to overturn the Government; Aimsy pretence of merely petitionthat incredible pains had been taken, ing, that there is at once an end not merely to poison the minds of to the constitution, and that such an the people by seditious and blas- imperium in imperio must either dephemous publications, but to teach stroy or be destroyed? The purpose ihem the dangerous secret of their was avowedly hostile, the pretence own strength, and to inculcate the a deception, the grand object intiminecessity of combined efforts no less dation. If petitioning Parliament for than sameness of creed and concert a redress of grievances had been the of purpose; that drillings to the use real, instead of the ostensible end, it of arms had prevailed to an alarming is clear that the constitution had proextent in many of the most populous vided a method by which it could districts; and, in short, ihat the have been attained without at once whole of the manufacturing popula- violating the fundamental principles tion had been silently and unobserve of that to which they looked for reedly undergoing a process of tuition, lief, endangering the public peace of for the purpose of enacting in Eng. a large and populous district, and land the bloody drama of the Re. perhaps letting loose all the horrors volution of France. Emissaries is. and calamities of a civil war. If sued forth from London, that great such a meeting as that of the 16th focus of turbulence and sedition in of August were to take place in Ire. all periods of the monarchy: Blas. land, who could doubt for a moment, phemy, the usual concomitant of that unless instantly dispersed by treason, was disseminated in penny military force, treason would stalk publications : And, when the artful abroad in the confidence inspired by contrivers of disturbance and com- impunity, and rebellion be the consemotion imagined that their tools and quence? But, at the time in question, instruments were prepared for their the manufacturing districts of Engpurpose, or nearly so, the decisive ex. land, and particularly the country in periment was attempted of assem- and about Manchester, were in a bling the people in great masses, and state nearly, if not altogether, as in the regular and imposing attitude disturbed and disloyal as Ireland in of military array, with revolutionary the worst times; and hence, the ensigns, and all the paraphernalia of exigency of the moment called for sedition, that, feeling their own energy, not merely to anticipate the strength, they might entorce their de- evil, but to overawe the disaffected. mands by menace and intimidation. We are perfectly well aware how Such an experiment we consider the this will be, and has been met, by the VOL. XII. PART I.


« AnteriorContinuar »