Images de page

temptuous expression ( for I rather choose to call it

by this name than the English government), appears, since its political connexion with Germany, to have been so completely engrossed and absorbed

by foreign affairs, and the means of raising taxes, " that it seems to exist for no other purposes.

The government of the country then does not exist for the purpose of preserving our lives and properties ; but the government, I mean the constitution of the country, King, Lords, and Commons; exists for no purpose but to be the instruments of raising taxes. To enter into any discussion of that, is taking up your time unnecessarily—I only beg to draw your attention to the dogmatical and cavalier manner in which these things are asserted : further, he says—“ Domestic concerns are neglected; and " with respect to regular law, there is scarcely such

a thing.”

I stand in the city of London ; I am addressing myself to gentlemen eminent in that city: whether the legislature, since the Revolution, has, or has not, adverted to domestic concerns, I think I may ap. peal to the growing prosperity of this country, from the moment that the nightmare has been taken off its stomach, which pressed upon it

up to that mo. ment.

We then proceed to page 63, where, after the whole constitution of this country has been thus treated in gross, he proceeds a little to dissect and


consider the component parts of that constitution ; and in page 63, in a dogma, we have this:

“With respect to the two Houses of which the

English Parliament is composed, they appear to “ be effectually influenced into one ; and, as a le

gislature, to have no temper of its own. The

minister, whoever heat any time may be, touches it, “ as with an opium wand, and it sleeps obedience.”

Now, Gentlemen, here is another dogma without a single fact, without a single argument; but it is held out to the subjects of this country, that there is no energy or activity in either the aristocratical or democratical parts of this constitution, but that they are asleep, and you might just as well have statues there ; it is not merely said that it is so now, but it is in the nature of things, says he, that it should

be so.

“ But if we look at the distinct abilities of the

two Houses, the difference will appear so great as “ to show the inconsistency of placing power where “ there can be no certainty of the judgment to use “it.-Wretched as the state of representation is “ in England, it is manhood compared with what is - called the House of Lords; and so little is this “ nicknamed House regarded, that the people “ scarcely inquire at any time what it is doing. It ap

pears also to be most under influence, and the “. furthest removed from the general interest of the 46 nation.”

Now, Gentlemen, this is again speaking in this

[ocr errors]

man's contemptuous manner, at the expense of the aristocratical part of our constitution of government; an essentially beneficial part, whose great and permanent interest in the country renders it a firm barrier against any encroachment. I am not to suppose that you are so ignorant of the history of

your country, as not to know the great and brilliant characters that have sat in that House. No particular period of time is alluded to in this passage. He surely cannot mean the present time ; but I conceive he speaks of all times, and that from the very nature of our government it must everlastingly be so. Slander upon that very great and illustrious part of the Legislature (untrue at any period), written in this scurrilous and contemptuous manner, is distinguished greatly indeed from any sober discussion of, whether an aristocratical part of government is a good or bad thing, and is calculated only to mislead and inflame.

If you look next to page 107, there you will find that two of the component parts of the Legislature having been thus disposed of, we come up to the Throne itself, and this man says very truly of himself:

“ Having thus GLANCED at some of the defects "s of the two Houses of Parliament, I proceed to what is called the Crown, upon which I shall be

very concise :

“ It signifies a nominal office of a million a year, ('the business of which consists in receiving the

money ; whether the person be wise or foolish,

[ocr errors]


sane or insane, a native or a foreigner, matters

not. Every minister acts upon the same idea “ that Mr. Burke writes; namely, that the people “ must be hoodwinked, and held in superstitious “ ignorance by some bugbear or other; and what is “ called the Crown answers this purpose, and there“ fore it answers all the purposes to be expected from « it.This is more than can be said of the other « two branches.

“ The hazard to which this office is exposed in “ all countries,” including this among the rest, “is “ not from any thing that can happen to the man, s but from what may happen to the nation-the danger

of its coming to its senses." Then, Gentlemen, we have been insane for these seven or eight hundred years : and I shall just dismiss this with this observation, that this insanity having subsisted so long, I trust in God that it is incurable.

In page 116, you have this note—“ I happened “ to be in England at the celebration of the centenary

of the Revolution of 1688. The characters “ of William and Mary have always appeared to me “ detestable; the one seeking to destroy his uncle, " and the other her father, to get possession of

power themselves; yet as the nation was disposed to think something of that event, I felt hurt at “ seeing it ascribe the whole reputation of it to a

man who had undertaken it as a job, and who, « besides what he otherwise got, charged six hun

66 his

" dred thousand pounds for the expense of a little “ fleet that brought him from Holland.-George the “ First acted the same close-fisted part as William “ had done, and bought the Dutchy of Bremen “ with the money he got from England, two hun“6 dred and fifty thousand pounds over and above

pay as King ; and having thus purchased it at " the expense of England, added it to his Hanoverian « dominions for his own private profit. In fact,

every nation that does not govern itself, is governed

as a job. England has been the prey of jobs ever s6 since the Revolution.”

Then, Gentlemen, what he calls a nation governing itself is something extremely different from a nation having consented from time immemorial to be governed by a democracy, an aristocracy, and an hereditary executive supreme magistrate ; and moreover, by a law paramount, which all are bound to obey : he conceives, I say, that sort of government not to be a government of the people themselves, but he denominates that sort of government a job, and not a government,

Gentlemen, such are the passages which I have selected to you, as those that disclose the most offensive doctrines in the book ; that is, such as go fundamentally to the overturning the government of this country. I beg pardon--I have omitted one which contains more of direct invitation than any thing I have yet stated. It is in page 161; it is said, “ the fraud, hypocrisy, and imposition of go

« PrécédentContinuer »