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property worth L.2,500,000, now vested in the Scotch freeholders? Lords Eldon and Tenterden, it is to be recollected, have declared that these rights" are a property as well as a trust."* They stand therefore on the same foundation as Lord Fitzwilliam's right to his Irish tithes. No more injustice is done by confiscating the one than the other. But this is just an instance how clear-sighted men are to the "robbery" of revolutionary measures when they approach their own door, and how extremely blind when it touches upon the freeholds of others. Lord Milton was a keen supporter of schedule A, and disregarded the exclamations against "robbery and spoliation," which were so loudly made by the able and intrepid Conservative band in the House of Commons. Did his lordship ever imagine that the system of spoliation was to stop short at the freehold corporations, or the boroughs of Tory Peers? He will learn to his cost that the radicals can find as good plunder in the estates of the Whig as the Conservative nobility. But when the day of reckoning comes, he cannot plead the excuse of the honest and benevolent Bishop of Chartres. He was well forewarned of the consequences; the example of France was before his eyes, and it was clearly pointed out to his attention; but he obstinately rushed for ward in the insane career of innova tion, which, almost under his own eyes, had swallowed up all the reforming nobility and clergy of that unhappy kingdom.
The vast importance of words in revolutionary convulsions, of which Napoleon was so well aware when he said that "it was by epithets that you govern mankind," appears in the account given by this able and impartial writer on the designation which the Tiers Etat chose for themselves before their union with the other orders.
"The people of Versailles openly insulted in the streets and at the gates of the Assembly those whom they called Aristocrats. The power of that word became magical, as is always the case with
party epithets. What astonishes me is, that there was no contrary denomination fixed on by the opposite party. They were called the Nation. The effects of these two words, when constantly opposed to each other, may readily be conceived.
Though the Commons had already become sensible of their power, there were many opinions on the way in which it should be exerted, and the name to be
given to the Assembly. They had not as yet all the audacity which they have since evinced; but the men who looked into futurity clearly saw that this determination would have been of the most import
the National Assembly was to count for ant consequences. To declare themselves nothing the king, the noblesse, and the clergy; it was equivalent to a declaration of civil war, if the government had had sufficient vigour to make any resistance. To declare themselves the Assembly of the Commons, was to express what undoubtedly was the fact, but what would not have answered the purpose of compelling the clergy and nobles to join them. Many denominations were proposed which
were neither the one nor the other of
these; for every one as yet was desirous to conceal his ultimate pretensions; and which tended to preserve the distinction even Sieyes, who rejected every thing of orders, did not venture to table the expression, National Assembly. It was hazarded for the first time by a deputy named Le Grand; there was an immediate call for the vote, and it was carried by a majority of 500 to 80 voices.”—Pp. 73-74.
This is the never-failing device of the democratic party in all ages. Trusting to the majority of mere numbers on their side, they invaria bly represent themselves as the whole nation, and the friends of the constitution as a mere fragment, utterly unworthy of consideration or regard. "Who are the Tiers Etat ?" said the Abbé Sieyes. "They are the French nation, minus 150,000 privileged individuals.”. "Who are the Reformers?" says the Times. "They are 24,000,000 of men, minus 200 boroughmongers." By such false sweeping assertions as these, are men's eyes blinded not only to what is honourable, but to what is safe and practicable. By this single device of calling the usurping Com
* In debate on Reform Bill, Oct. 8, 831.
mons the National Assembly, the friends of order were deterred from entering into a struggle with what was called, and therefore esteemed, the national will; and many opportunities of stemming the torrent, which, as Dumont shews, afterwards arose, irrecoverably neglected. This matter is worthy of the serious consideration of the Conservative leaders in this country. We frequently hear it said that "the people" are for Reform, and there fore it is in vain to strive against them. The fact is not so; and the expression should never be used by any one who is a friend to his country. Say, if you please, that the whigs are for Reform; that the radicals are for Reform; that the reformers are for Reform; but do not let the sacred word, "the people," be prostituted to the mere purposes of a faction, or the revolutionists be permitted to keep out of view the vast and powerful party who support constitutional principles by the mere device of calling themselves the nation. The opinion of Napoleon is never to be forgotten, that it is by nicknames and epithets that mankind are governed. It is of the highest importance, therefore, to adopt and permanently affix to the revolution ary party some epithet which shall at once distinctly shew that they are not the nation, but only a part of the nation, and in what light the other part regard their extravagant proceedings.
Of the fatal weakness which attended the famous sitting of the 23d June, 1789, when Louis made such prodigious concessions to his sub jects, without taking at the same time any steps to make the royal authority respected, the opinion of Dumont is as follows:
"Neckar had intended by these concessions to put democracy into the royal hands; but they had the effect of putting the aristocracy under the despotism of the people. We must not consider that royal sitting in itself alone. Viewed in this
light, it contained the most extensive cons cessions that ever monarch made to his people. They would, at any other time, have excited the most lively gratitude. Is a prince powerful? Every thing that he gives is a gift, every thing that he does not resume is a favour. Is he weak? every thing that he concedes is considered
as a debt; every thing that he refuses, as an act of injustice.
"The Commons had now set their heart upon being the National Assembly. Every thing which did not amount to that was nothing in their estimation. But to hold a Bed of Justice, annul the decrees of the Commons, make a great noise without having even foreseen any resistance, or taken a single precaution for the morrow, without having taken any steps to prepare a party in the Assembly, was an act of madness, and from
it may be dated the ruin of the monarchy. Nothing can be more dangerous than to drive a weak prince to acts of vigour which he is unable to sustain; for when
he has exhausted the terrors of words he has no other resource; the authority of the throne has been lowered, and the people have discovered the secret of their monarch's weakness."-P. 87.
The Reformers in this country say, that these immense concessions of Louis failed in their effect of calming the popular effervescence, because they came too late. It is difficult to say what they call soon enough, when it is recollected that these concessions were made before the depu ties had even verified their powers; before a single decree of the Assem bly had passed, at the very opening of their sittings; and when all their proceedings up to that hour had been an illegal attempt to centre in themselves all the powers of government. But, in truth, what rendered that solitary act of vigour so disastrous was, that it was totally unsupported; that o measures were simultaneously taken to make the royal authority respected; that the throne was worsted from its own the the very Commons, and, consequently, unbounded encouragement was afforded to their future democratic ambition.
first with the in
The National Assembly, like every other body which commits itself to the gale of popular applause, experienced the utmost disquietude at the thoughts of punishing any of the excesses of their popular supporters. How exactly is the following denations! scription applicable to all times and ede bag getur
; "The disorders which were ere prolonged in the provinces, the massacres which stained the streets of Paris, induced many estimable persons to propose an address of the Assembly, condemnatory of such
proceedings, to the people. The Assembly, however, was so apprehensive of offending the multitude, that they regarded as a snare every motion tending to repress the disorders, or censure the popular excesses. Secret distrust and disquietude was at the bottom of every heart. They had triumphed by means of the people, and they could not venture to shew themselves severe towards them; on the contrary, though they frequently declared, in the preambles of their decrees, that they were profoundly afflicted at the burning of the chateaux and the insults to the nobility, they rejoiced in heart at the propagation of a terror which they regarded as indispensable to their designs. They had reduced themselves to the necessity of fearing the noblesse, or being feared by them. They condemned publicly, they protected secretly; they conferred compliments on the constituted authorities, and gave encouragement to license. Respect for the executive power was nothing but words of style; and in truth, when the ministers of the crown revealed the secret of their weakness, the Assembly, which remembered well its own terrors, was not displeased that fear had changed sides. If you are sufficiently powerful to cause yourselves to be respected by the people, you will be sufficiently so to inspire us with dread; that was the ruling feeling of the Cote
This is precisely a picture of what always must be the feeling in regard to tumult and disorders of all who have committed their political exist ence to the waves of popular support. However much, taken individually, they may disapprove of acts of violence, yet when they feel that intimidation of their opponents is their sheet-anchor, they cannot have an insurmountable aversion to the deeds by which it is to be effected. They would prefer, indeed, that terror should answer their purposes without the necessity of blows being actually inflicted; but if mere threats are insufficient, they never fail to derive a secret satisfaction from the recurrence of examples calculated to shew what risks the enemy runs. The burning of castles, the sacking of towns, may indeed alienate the wise and the good; but alas! the wise and the good form but a small proportion of mankind;
and for one whose eyes are opened by the commencement of such deeds of horror, ten will be so much overawed, as to lose all power of acting in obedience to the newly awakened and better feelings of his mind.
"Intimidation," as Lord Brougham has well observed, " is the neverfailing resource of the partisans of revolution in all ages. Mere popularity is at first the instrument by which this unsteady legislature is governed; but when it becomes apparent that whoever can obtain the direction or command of it must possess the whole authority of the state, parties become less scrupulous about the means they employ for that purpose, and soon find out that violence and terror are infinitely more effectual and expeditious than persuasion and eloquence. Encouraged by this state of affairs, the most daring, unprincipled, and profligate, proceed to seize upon the defenceless legislature, and, driving all their antagonists before them by violence or intimidation, enter without opposition upon the supreme functions of government. The arms, however, by which they had been victorious, are speedily turned against themselves, and those who are envious of their success, or ambitious of their distinction, easily find means to excite discontents among the multitude, and to employ them in pulling down the very individuals whom they had so recently elevated. This disposal of the legislature then becomes a prize to be fought for in the clubs and societies of a corrupted metropolis, and the institution of a national representation has no other effect than that of laying the government open to lawless force and flagitious audacity. It was in this manner that, from the want of a natural and efficient aristocracy to exercise the functions of hereditary legislators, the National Assembly of France was betrayed into extravagance, and fell a prey to faction; that the Institution itself became a source of public misery and disorder, and converted a civilized monarchy first into a sanguinary democracy, and then into a military despotism."* How exactly is the progress, here so well de
* Edinburgh Review, vi, 148.
scribed, applicable to these times! "Take this bill or anarchy," says Mr Macauley." Lord Grey," says the Times," has brought the country into such a state, that he must either carry the Reform Bill or incur the responsibility of a revolution."* How exactly is the career of demo cratic insanity and revolutionary ambition the same in all ages and countries!
Dumont, as already mentioned, was a leading member of the committee which prepared the famous declaration on the Rights of Man. He gives the following interesting
account of the revolt of a candid and sagacious mind at the absurdities which a regard to the popular opinion constrained them to adopt :
"Duroverai, Claviere, and myself, were named by Mirabeau to draw up that celebrated declaration. During the course of that mournful compilation, reflections entered my mind which had never before found a place there. perceived the ridiculous nature of the undertaking. A declaration of rights, I immediately saw, may be made after the proclamation of a constitution, but not before it; for it is laws which give birth to rights they do not follow them. Such general maxims are highly dangerous; you should never bind a legislature by general propositions, which it afterwards becomes necessary to restrain or modify. 'Men,' says the declaration, are born free and equal;' that is not true; they are so far from being born free, that they are born in a state of unavoidable weakness and dependence: Equal-where are they? where can they be? It is in vain to talk of equality, when such extreme difference exists, and ever must exist, be tween the talents, fortune, virtues, industry, and condition of men. word, I was so strongly impressed with In a the absurdity of the declaration of the Rights of Man, that for once I carried along with me the opinions of our little
committee; and Mirabeau himself, when
presenting the report to the Assembly, ventured to suggest difficulties, and to propose that the declaration of rights should be delayed till the constitution was completed. I tell you,' said he, in his forcible style, that any declaration of rights you may make before the constitution is framed, will never be but a one year's almanack.' Mirabeau, always sa
tisfied with a happy expression, never gave himself the trouble to get to the bottom of any subject, and never would go through the toil to put himself in posses sion of facts sufficient to defend what he advanced. On this occasion he suffered under this: this sudden change became the subject of bitter reproach. Who is this,' said the Jacobins, who seeks to em. ploy his ascendant over the Assembly, to make us say Yes and No alternately? contradictions?' There was so much reaShall we be for ever the puppets of his son in what he had newly advanced, that he would have triumphed if he had been the attempt at the very time when seve able to bring it out; but he abandoned ral deputies were beginning to unite themselves to him. The deplorable nonsense went triumphantly on, and generated that unhappy declaration of the duced such incredible mischief. I am in Rights of Man which subsequently propossession at this moment of a complete refutation of it, article by article, by the hand of a great master, and it proves to demonstration the contradictions, the ab surdities, the dangers of that seditious composition, which of itself was sufficient
to overturn the constitution of which it formed a part; like a powder magazine placed below an edifice, which the first spark will blow into the air."-Pp. 141-2.
These are the words of sober and experienced wisdom; and coming, as they do, from one of the authors of this celebrated declaration, are of the very highest inportance. They prove, that at the very time when Mirabeau and the popular party in the Assembly were drawing up their perilous and highly inflammatory declaration, they were aware of its absurdity, and wished to suppress the work of their own hands. They could not do so, however, and were their popularity, to throw into the constrained, by the dread of losing bosom of an excited people a firebrand, which they themselves foresaw would speedily lead to a confiagration. Such is the desperate, the hopeless state of slavery, in which, during periods of excitement, the representatives of the mob are held by their constituents. The whole purposes of a representative form of government are at once destroyed; the wisdom, experience, study, and reflection of the superior class of
* Times, March 27, 1832.
statesmen are trodden under foot; and the enlightened have no chance of keeping possession of the reins of power, or even influencing the legis lature, but by bending to the pas⚫sions of the ignorant.
This consideration affords a deci* sive argument in favour of the close, aye, the nomination boroughs. Their existence, and their existence in considerable numbers, is indispensable towards the voice of truth being heard in the national councils in periods of excitement, and the resistance to those measures of innovation, which threaten to destroy the liberties, and terminate the prosperity, of the people. From the popular representatives during such periods it is in vain to expect the language of truth; for it would be as unpalatable to the sovereign multitude as to a Sovereign despot. Members of the legislature, therefore, are indispensably necessary in considerable numbers, who, by having no popular constituents, can venture to speak out the truth in periods of agitation, innovation, and alarm. The Reformers ask, what is the use of a representative of a green mound, or a ruined tower, in a popular Parliament? We answer, that he is more indispensable in such a Parliament than in any other. Nay, that without such a class the liberties of the nation cannot exist five years. Representatives constantly acting under the influence or dread of popular constituents, never will venture, either in their speeches to give vent to the language of truth, nor in their conduct to support the cause of real freedom. They will always be as much under the influence of their tyrannical taskmasters, as Mirabeau and Dumont were in drawing up, against their better judgment, the Rights of Man. It is as absurd to expect rational or independent measures from such a class, as it is to look for freedom of conduct from the senate of Tiberius or the council of Napoleon. We do not expect the truth to be spoken by the representative of a mound, in a question with its owner, or his class
of the owner of the mound; and by the representatives of the mound, as against the passions of the people; and that thus, between the two, the language of reason will be raised on every subject, and that fatal bias the public mind prevented, which arises from one set of doctrines and principles being alone presented to their consideration. In the superior fearlessness and vigour of the language of the Conservative party in the House of Lords, to what is exhibited in the House of Commons, on the Reform question, is to be found decisive evidence of the truth of these principles, and their application to this country and this age.
Of the fatal 4th August, "the St Barthelemy of properties," as it was well styled by Rivarol, and its ruinous consequences upon the public welfare, we have the following striking and graphic account :
"Never was such an undertaking accomplished in so short a time. That which would have required a year of care, meditation, and debate, was proposed, deliberated on, and voted by acclamation. I know not how many laws were decreed in that one sitting; the abolition of feudal rights, of the tithes, of
provincial privileges; three articles, which of themselves embraced a complete system of jurisprudence and politics, with ten or twelve others, were decided in less time than would be required in England for the first reading of a bill of ordinary importance. They began with a report on the disorders of the provinces, chateaux burnt, troops of banditti who attacked the nobles and ravaged the fields. The Duke d'Aguillon, the Duke de Noailles, and several others of the democratic part of the nobility, after the most disastrous pictures of these calamities, exclaimed that nothing but a great act of generosity could calm the people, and that it was high time to abandon their odious privileges, and let the people taste the full benefits of the Revolution. An indescribable effervescence seized upon the Assembly. Every one proposed some sacrifice every one laid some offering on the altar of their country, proposing either to denude themselves or denude others; no time was allowed for reflection, ob
in society, nor by the representatives jection, or argument; a sentimental conof the people, in a question which interests or excites the public ambition. But we expect that truth will be spoken by the representatives of the people, as against the interests
tagion seized every heart. That renunciation of privileges, that abandonment of so many rights burdensome to the people, these multiplied sacrifices, had an air of magnanimity which withdrew the atten