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THE futility of the human expectation was never more strictly exemplified, than by the manner in which the predictions of sundry politicians, at the conclusion of the late war, have been frustrated. Those who originally promoted that war, and who were throughout its strenuous advocates, then assumed the language of triumph and success. They exultingly pointed to the long series of glorious actions which had ended in the overthrow of Napoleon's power, and seemed to imagine that the success of our exertions was an unanswerable argument to the objections which had been raised against them by their political opponents. Europe had been emancipated by their counsels, tyranny had been dethroned, and freedom and prosperity already began to shed their fostering influence.

And so far as these exultations related to the honors which our army obtained, and to the glorious spirit which animated this country, whilst contending single-handed against a world in arms, there can be no one who would not have readily lent his voice to swell the Pæan strain. Nor can there be many who would have refused to express their approbation of the determined resolution and the wise counsels of His Majesty's ministers. But there were not wanting at that time able statesmen who doubted the extent of the benefits which we had obtained, and who, whilst the greater part of the population were dazzled with the splendor of our recent success, entertained considerable apprehensions with respect to its ulterior consequences. That these were no idle misgivings we now feel.

If it were my purpose to take a survey of our domestic condition, I should find in our declining commerce and agriculture, in our famished population, and in the embarrassed state of our

finances, bordering upon national bankruptcy, but faint signs of the prosperity which we were taught to anticipate. But at present my attention is directed to another object; and as our fair prospects have not been realized at home, let us see whether we can derive any consolation from the state of affairs on the Continent.

The enthusiastic ardor with which the people of the several kingdoms drove the French from their territories; the vigorous efforts with which, awakening from their lethargic slavery, they broke the bonds of their thraldom, must be fresh in every one's memory. At that time their rulers were lavish in their promises of freedom. Proclamations were circulated encouraging them to shake off their yoke, and holding out to them as an inducement, the enjoyment of free constitutions.

In 1814 Lord William Bentinck addressed a Proclamation to the Italians, in which he called on them to assert their liberties, and assured them that they should be placed in the same situation as Spain then was. At that time the character of the English nation for integrity stood very high on the Continent. No doubt, therefore, was entertained of the sincerity of the pledge thus held out. to the eternal disgrace of this country be it recorded that this, our plighted faith, was violated, and instead of receiving the Spanish constitution, the Neapolitans were placed under the sway of an absolute monarchy. In the hour of success we forgot those promises which we had previously made, and thus rewarded those who had fought by our side. England, by her Minister at the Congress of Vienna, was party to an act, which violated our faith, and tended to rivet the fetters of Italy.

It was not to be supposed that such a Government could be congenial to the wishes of the people. And accordingly, in the course of the last year, the Neapolitans freed themselves from its shackles, and established in its stead the very constitution which the English appear to have proposed as not inappropriate to their nation; I mean the Spanish constitution. It is against this that the Allied Sovereigns have published their Declaration; and it is to punish a people for thus asserting their freedom, that the Emperor of Austria has made war on Naples.

And here, when speaking of this Declaration, let it not be supposed that I hold any principles in common with those base and designing men, who in Italy and other countries are disgracing the sacred name of liberty, by associating it with principles which, if successful, would level with the dust every excitement to virtue, and every security of property. These licentious notions, equally repugnant to the laws of God and man, call for the decided expression of our abhorrence. If the Declaration in question were confined to a denunciation of these principles, it would not, perhaps, be liable to much objection. But, unfortunately, it is promulgated for very

different objects. It denounces rational liberty. It proscribes those exalted virtues which the sages of antiquity taught, which her poets celebrated, and her statesmen and warriors practised. It is a libel upon all history; it is a libel upon all those great patriots, the adamantine pillars of whose fame have withstood the tide of time; it is a libel upon the immutable laws of justice and of reason; and even so, it is a libel upon the free Constitution of England.

It charges the Carbonari with propagating the spirit of discontent and restlessness. Now, if by this is meant discontent under oppression, and restlessness against tyranny, may the efforts of the Carbonari be successful! and may such discontent never cease to exist in Italy until it has destroyed the power of foreign rulers!

It appears, too, that the Carbonari exacted a constitution from their King by military force. Now all these measures may be strange and disagreeable to Their Imperial Majesties; but surely they cannot be matter of much surprise to Englishmen, who reflect that the fathers of their liberties dared to feel discontent against the King; and further dared to demand a constitution at the sword's point. Yet are these the men whom we, their posterity, look up to with respect; these are the men, at the mention of whose names every Briton feels a glow of virtuous pride; these are the men whose principles have been long reverenced amongst us; and long may they continue to be so!

Far be it from me to bestow indiscriminate approbation upon revolutions. The dreadful example of France should give mankind a salutary warning, not to meddle inconsiderately or rashly with so powerful an agent as liberty. But, on the other hand, it is preposterous and absurd to indulge in sweeping anathemas against all innovations. For what at first determined the system in which we object to any change? The circumstances of the times. Now, these circumstances are constantly varying; and with their variations we ought to vary those regulations to which they originally gave birth. In an age like the present, when those who may happen to profess liberal opinions are too apt to be classed with a set of persons with whose projects and notions they hold no communion, I am happy in being able to shelter myself under the authority of the sage Bacon:-" He that will not apply new remedies, must expect new evils; for time is the greatest innovator; and if time, of course, alter things to the worse, and wisdom and counsel shall not alter them to the better, what shall be the end?" But if the conduct of those who were the leaders of the late Neapolitan revolution, be so culpable, what are we to say respecting that of the English in 1814? The Neapolitans caused an innovation in a system established by the Austrian forces. The English proposed an innovation in a system established by the French forces. The Neapolitans have adopted the Spanish constitution, which the English recommended them to adopt. We

are reduced then to this alternative: either the charges against innovation contained in this Declaration of the Allies are groundless, in which case it is incumbent on us to reprobate the hypocritical pretext under which they veil their abominable intentions: or, admitting the truth of the charges, we are in conscience bound to allow that they are applicable to the English Government:-" utrum horum mavis accipe." Let Government take their choice. Will they allow that the Allies have no ground for the censure which they pass on innovations-or will they be content that their own conduct should be held up to the execration of all supporters of legitimacy, and that they who have assumed to themselves such a high character for loyalty, should be branded as the disturbers of the tranquillity of Europe, and should be ranked with those very Carbonari whom they so strongly blame?

But are these the only instances of innovations in the states of Europe? Are there no parallels to be found to these great and crying sins, which have called down the vengeance of the high Allies?

If there were one place more than another, where we should not have expected to find the principle of innovation recognised, it would have been the Congress of Vienna. Surely such heterodox and anarchical notions, fit only for the polluted atmosphere of popular assemblies, can never have found their way into the presence-chamber, where were seated the great supporters of legitimate dynasties. Surely those who thus denounce innovation, cannot have been themselves the greatest of all innovators!

Would to God that I could meet the question with a decided negative! But the difference between the proceedings of that Congress and those of the Neapolitans, was not the difference between dignified and licentious principles, but it was the difference between those who are the authors of innovation in their own kingdom, to ensure its liberty, and those who are the authors of innovations in states with which they have not the least concern, in order to ensure their thraldom. Mockery is added to aggression; and the Allies, not satisfied with marching an army against Naples, have the effrontery to assign as a reason, that Naples has been guilty of innovations, when all the world must know how much greater innovators they have been themselves.

But probably I do injustice to the Allies. Probably they do not intend to oppose all innovations, but only such as do not originate with themselves. Alteration and change may be very requisite and proper, but they ought not to proceed from the low and vulgar herd. What pretensions can this base, degenerate multitude have to legislation? Let us gather wisdom from experience, they may say. It was by such instruments and such means that the British Constitution was established. Let us, then, guard

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against such events; let us be careful how we tolerate principles which would prevent us from enjoying our old hereditary rights of taxing our subjects at pleasure, and of disposing of their persons according to our whim and caprice.

But, allow me to ask, will Europe, in the nineteenth century, calmly submit to be thus dictated to? By what right have these Sovereigns ventured to promulgate these laws for the world, and to enforce them by a recourse to arms? What authority can they adduce for their power? I know of no authority for any power except the choice of a nation, expressed or implied, or the right of conquest. These are the two modes of acquiring power mentioned by Puffendorff: "Interdum per violentiam bellicam aliqui adiguntur in victoris imperium consentire; interdum ultro ad aliquem principem constituendum cives accedunt."

When any men thus assume to themselves a power unsanctioned by law, it is impossible to say where it may stop. As long as that great bulwark of human happiness, law, prevails, whatever extent may be sometimes allowed to indiscretion, or even to passion and prejudice, still there are certain limits beyond which vice cannot pass. But when once this is removed, farewell morality! farewell all safety! The law of nature will be found but feeble and inefficient by itself, since, if it were by itself sufficiently comprehensive and powerful, where would be the necessity for inunicipal law? Municipal law declares and enforces those great truths which natural law enacts, and requires the performance of those other duties which the respective welfare of different states may render expedient. But this handmaid of natural law is rendered useless by a Declaration, which is so far from being made in compliance with the regulations of any municipal law, that it abrogates many of the codes at present held to be legal by various nations, and pronounces that no constitution is valid which does not happen to please the members of the Holy Alliance.

There has indeed been a report, that, in pursuance of their authority, they have already proceeded to revise the laws of this country, and have proposed as a beneficial amendment, that the law which forbids the introduction of foreign troops without the consent of Parliament, should be no longer attended to. I hope that so moustrous a proposal will not be entertained in this country for an instant, whilst there remains one spark of real English feeling. By the respect which it owes to the memory of those great men who framed the Declaration of Rights-by the sense which it ought to entertain of the blessings which that Bill has ensured to it-1 conjure this country never to submit to so flagrant a violation of its fundamental laws. Better to be placed on the very verge of ruin; better to experience any disturbances, or to suffer any distresses, than to surrender our protection into such hands!

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