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lution, instead of weakening the existing order of things throughout Europe, has had the effect of strengthening their stability. In the first rush of the deluge, and blast of the tempest, the enclosures, the shrubberies, and the pleasant arbours that surrounded the venerable edifice, were swept away; the ivy torn from the walls, and the standard broken on the tower; but when the storm subsided, and the devastation was contemplated to its whole extent, embankments were formed to controul the rise of future deluges, and new abutments added where the walls appeared weakest. Mankind have been taught by the horrors of that period, that the only right method for attaining political improvements, is by the genial influence of public opinion upon rulers, and that nothing but anarchy can be expected from any exercise in public affairs, of the brute force and physical strength of a nation. There are, no doubt, demagogues of a different opinion, and credulous and ignorant disciples of theirs, who think otherwise; but the great body of the people of this enlightened country are opposed to them, not only on theoretical principle, but by their personal interests, the criterion, after all, by which the utility or expediency of political changes are in reality measured.
On radicalism, I would simply remark, that when it was made the subject of legislative discussion, it ought to have been considered that the number of persons implicated, could not possibly be great in a national point of view; for, in the first place, the disease was confined to the manufacturing towns, where the suspension of trade, and the pressure of distress among the artizans, though not a legitimate reason for discontent, was a natural enough cause for insubordination. The distemper was wholly limited in its symptoms to the poor operative classes, and to those only who were engaged in sedentary employments. The millions of the agricultural population were sound and sane in all their feel ings; the Englishman, on the generous soil of England, was uninfected with the French philosophy. Proud of the renown of his country's battles, exulting in the demonstration of her ancient supremacy over her old and constant foe,--he never called in question the virtues of that system of go
vernment which had won so much honour and so gratified his national pride, though he felt in every limb the weight of the burdens, and the fatigue of the toil that had been imposed upon him in the struggle. He asked for no dissolution of the consecrated institutions of his fathers, but only trusted and expected that the same ability and wisdom which had made the British name the foremost of all the world, would be earnestly and speedily directed to lighten the pressure that was bending him down. In Scotland, the same feelings were as devoutly cherished; but among your wary and prudential countrymen the remedy for the public suffering was more clearly discerned. The machinery of the revenue is more simple among them. You are free from all those vexatious and mortifying spectacles which the English poor laws bring home to every man's business and bosom. The Scotch farmers saw that the rents which had been increased in consequence of the inordinate demands of a state of war must be necessarily reduced, and anticipated, from their inability to pay, a consequent reduction of rent on the part of the landlord. In Scotland, accordingly, there has been none of those shuffling attempts among the landlords to deduct from the poor-rates those abatements in rent which the times required they should make from their own incomes. On the contrary, I may venture to assert what will astonish many of your readers in this part of the kingdom, that since the Peace, a disposition has actually arisen among the gentry of different parts of Scotland, to favour the revival of that code of poor-laws which has been so long obsolete, in your parochial proceedings. With respect, then, to the radical epidemic, I think you must feel yourself in candour obliged to acknowledge, that too much importance has been attached to it, and that it is now quite ridiculous to suppose a few thousands of pale, lank, and famished weavers, with reeds in their feeble and emaciated hands, were ever able to overthrow the constitution of this great country, defended as it was by millions of the sturdy sons of the soil, headed by their he reditary and accustomed masters.
Upon the radical question I conceive the Queen's trial to have been productive of the most important con
sequences. Had it been possible to devise a plan to bring all the various ranks and classes of the discontented into simultaneous action against the state and monarchy, it was the agitation of that most inexpedient measure. Nothing could be more complete and perfect than the demonstration which it has produced of the insignificance both as to talent and number, of the radical faction. For even with all the aids of those who took the Queen's part, from mere sympathy at the sublime spectacle of a weak, poor, and despised old woman contending with the most powerful government on earth-with all the encouragement of those who, like myself, condemned the proceedings against her, both in principle and effect-with all the artifices of the Whigs, to convert that public disgrace to their own private advantage-with all the energies of desperate characters, that looked to public commotions as the only means of repairing their ruined fortunes-with
all the exhortations of vain and insolent demagogues-with all the countenance of corporations in Common Council openly assembled, boldly declaring their abhorrence of a persecution that no man could justify, and with the example of all those proud and brave processions, whose innumerable banners insulted the faces of the very sentinels at the palace gates -the mean, wretched, starvling, and pusillanimous radicals, did not venture to make one single demonstration of manly hostility to that government which they had proscribed in so many resolutions, and at such numerous meetings," as one too intolerable to be longer endured, and which, by something that may now be almost described as a fortunate fatality, had embarked in an undertaking which set at nought the laws of God, and the opinions of man. The peaceable termination of the Queen's business settled the radical question. The miserable creatures will never again be of any political importance in our time. They may vamp up grie vances, and disseminate their "twopenny trash," as long as there are ears to be annoyed, or they can find means to pay for paper and printing; but their power is departed, the frauds of their mysteries are exposed to derision, and their penny tricks, to buy seats for Hunt and Cobbet in Parlia
ment, is the last drivelling of craze and dotage.
But, sir, allow me to inquire why you continue to uphold their degraded cause? for such I contend is the natu ral consequence of representing the multitudes, who, either from persua sion, or a generous delusion, took the Queen's part. That the radicals did all, in their puny and contemptible power, to make her a handle for their own mis chievous purposes, is without doubt; but that all those who took an interest adverse to the persecution to which she was subjected, are to be considered as radicals, is manifestly absurd, if founded on any process of persuasion, and wicked, if made with a view to represent the opponents of her trial, as actuated by disloyal principles, The trial was a measure which rested on special grounds, and some of the best and wisest friends not only of the King personally, but of the ministers politically, as well as personally, have not scrupled openly to express their sorrow that a question so pregnant with mischief to public morals, and with evil to the monarchy, should ever have been agitated. But where now is the wisdom of keeping alive the divisions to which it gave rise, by insulting the public principles of ma ny, who in all other things have, perhaps, too liberally approved of the present administration? Wherein consists the truth or the justice of repre senting the evanescent apparition of a resistance to some score or two of soldiers, on the part of those who had cheered the Queen in her difficulties, and who had, with true English constancy, assembled to pay the generous homage of their respect to her remains,
wherein consists the truth or justice of representing such an accidental incident as the manifestation of some concentrated and organized system of defiance, having rebellion for its means and the overthrow of the state for its object? Sir, in that business every friend of the ministers who will frankly speak his sentiments, must confess that the order of the funeral was essentially absurd, and the result was exactly what ought to have been foreseen, and what ministers from the first ought to have allowed it to be. But it partook of the character of the whole course of the proceedings to which the ill-fated Princess had been subjected. It is a maxim of
expediency, never to risk any undertaking except with the hope of advantage-no advantage was proposed to be obtained by the trial of the Queen, and none could be gained by opposing the popular affections at her funeral. To do so, was an act of singular political folly, and only to be equalled by the inadequacy of the means employed to carry it into effect. But to suppose, because the inadequacy of those means enabled the populace to carry their point, that the strength of the government has been in any degree weakened in the estimation of the people in general, is to ascribe effects to a cause which it is incapable of producing. The whole affair cannot and never will be regarded as any thing else than as an incident arising from a temporary cause, and consequently temporary in its effects. It had nothing to do either with radicalism, or rebellion, or discontent; it belonged to a series of fatalities in the history of an individual, whom many strange and impressive circumstances had rendered a remarkable object of popular interest and commiseration, and the whole impression and impulse which it produced must perish, as the heat which her case had excited gradually
But as the Queen's trial served to demonstrate the strength with which the frame of the government is upheld by the great masses of the people, notwithstanding the political blunder which it was throughout, so her funeral contributes to prove the little importance that should be attached to the sentiments of the mob of London, even when it may be said they are in the right, and the government in the wrong. It cannot, I think, be questioned, that the public funeral, which was got up for the men accidentally slain in the scuffle with the soldiers, was a guilty device, contrived for the express purpose of bringing the populace and the military into open hostility. Yet what was the result ?— A little hooting and a few peltings at the gates of the barracks, mere 66 row," not half so outrageous as hundreds that happen annually in country towns on market-days; but which the daily newspapers, who have an interest in the exaggeration of every political occurrence, endeavoured to swell into the most alarming consequence. The fact is, that, with
all the inestimable benefits which the free circulation of the daily press con fers on the country, it is one of the greatest sources of popular delusion. Not that I think the newspapers are conducted on any principle of deception,—I merely regard them as influenced by the feelings of self-interest, to render their columns as attractive as possible; and I daresay it will be allowed, that there is no readier access to circulation among a numerous and sensitive class of politicians, than by cherishing the apprehensions of popular dangers. No doubt, in the appearance of a London mob, there is much that justifies those enormous raw-head-and-bloody-bones stories of the newspapers, which so afflict and alarm honest John Bull at his country fire-side; but the vital part, the stirring energies of the multitude, the ignitious nucleus of the mass, bears no proportion to the magnitude of the whole. A London mob is naturally greater than a mob in any other town of the kingdom, merely owing to the greater population there congregated. Independent, however, of that, many circumstances peculiar to the metropolis, tend to swell the numerical appearance, without adding to the viofence; on the contrary, perhaps they have the effect to lessen it. In the first place, there is always in London a prodigious floating multitude of curious strangers; and the Londoners themselves are remarkably under the influence of curiosity. And, in the second place, there is a nefarious and unknown number of miscreants, ever ready to profit by tumults, and who, in all assemblages of the populace, strenuously exert themselves to produce turbu lence, purely as such, without any reference to what may be the objects of the meeting.
Owing to these circumstances, to the vastness of the multitude, consisting, for the major part, of persons brought together by motives of curiosity, and to the turbulence produced by disorderly characters, the appearance of
- a a London mob is much more tremendous than of mobs in general elsewhere; but, from the very nature of the same things, it is in fact much more pusillanimous. Strangers are more apt than the townsmen to the impressions of fear; and curiosity, of all moods of the mind, is the least calculated to withstand the influence of panic-de
linquents, still more than even strangers or the curious, are liable to give way at alarms. The flight of a detected pickpocket in the crisis of a tumult in London, is sufficient to occasion the dissolution of a mob. You are not, therefore, to believe, when you read in the newspapers of the prodigious thousands assembled on occasions of popular interest, that it either indicates the strength or the popularity of the cause. I have myself, more than once, seen ambassadors among crowds assembled for radical purposes; but it might as truly and as justly be said, that the presence of such personages on such occasions, was in consequence of some dark and dreadful machination of foreign policy, as that the thousands, whom any fantastical and povertystricken orator of sedition may, at any time, assemble, meet for the purpose of tearing down the government. I remember a meeting in WestminsterHall about the Duke of York's affair with Mrs Clarke, to which I accompanied a friend from the country, a gentleman of great learning and high acknowledged talents, but who had never seen any thing of the kind before. The snuff-man Wishart played a distinguished part, and the speeches spoken on the occasion, were as bold and seditious as any thing of the kind that either the Whigs or the Radicals have since attempted-and they were, of course, most vehemently applauded. My friend was petrified, and expected nothing less than an immediate revolution-all the afternoon he was thoughtful and sentimental. He had no appetite for his dinner, and at his wine after, rapped his snuff-box with more than common emphasis, and prophecied about the axe and scaffold, and all the other et ceteras of anarchy, with the accents of a seer, and the sagacity of a sybil. But here we are; the Duke's case was soon forgotten; the Queen's is fast following; and even Sir Robert Wilson's, that is but bursting the bud, will perish, and like every other, from the triumph of Dr Sache verel, in Queen Anne's time, to that of Hunt, in our own, will only serve to swell the catalogue of innocuous ma nifestations of popular feeling in a free country.
But independent of the Queen's case and radicalism, it is supposed and alleged, that there are serious and deeply-seated causes of national discon
tent; and the Whigs tell us, that these are entirely owing to a Tory administration, and only to be removed by a reform in the representation. Any reform is a good thing; and certainly the representation might be improved; for it cannot be questioned that by commerce and manufactures, a vast mass of unrepresented wealth has accumulated in the country. But itis, I think, not very clearly made out, that by any change in the representation, by any extension of the elective franchise, our existing burdens and difficulties would be more speedily relieved, than by the system which it is the interest of Government to adopt, and which, it appears, ministers are steadily pursuing. I do not think, for example, that Mr Lambton or his friends have yet shewn that any alteration in the construction of the House of Commons would have the effect of increasing the income of landlords, or of lessening the difficulties of tenants
of procuring better markets for our merchants abroad, or more lucrative employment for our artizans at home
the evils with which the kingdom, at the present time, is most deeply afflicted. On the contrary, that pros perous state, from which landlords, tenants, merchants, and manufactu rers have declined, was produced under the existing system of the representation, and has been blighted by causes altogether independent of any thing in the frame of the legislature, and the principles upon which the government is administered, and can only be renovated by the application of adequate remedies-remedies which it is less in the power of Government than of the people themselves, to apply.
The prodigious expenditure of the war, the circulation of the trade of the world through this country, like the blood through the heart, the energy of successful speculations, and the superiority which our manufactures had acquired in every market, had introduced into every family habits of luxury and expence, which the more limited channels of profit, in a sober state of peace, could never supply. Things have fallen back to their old level, but these habits have not been changed; and the adversaries of Government dexterously ascribe the difference between our means and our wants, entirely to the operation of
mal-administration, although perfect ly aware that retrenchment and reduction in our family establishments are as requisite as in those of the State. Indeed, without a co-operation in private life, along with the economy which the Government is gradual ly introducing, and introducing quite as rapidly as the circumstances of the country will allow, all the frugality that any set of ministers might practice, would be of very little effect on the aggregate of those burdens which our habits, more than the taxes, make us suffer.
There is, perhaps, no popular error more flagrant than that which is so constantly preached by the Opposition, that ministers are the patrons of corruption, and are, from the possession of place and power, the enemies of the people. The mere statement of the dogma in this form shews its absurdity; for, to every man who reflects for one moment, it must be evident that ministers themselves, having a large stake in the country personally, cannot but have a deep interest in every plan for alleviating the public burdens, which bear as hard upon them as upon the other classes of the community. In addition to this, in order to preserve their official superiority, they have the strongest motives to cultivate the good will of the people, which can only be done by a sincere and practical enmity to corruptions. To this, however, it may be said, that although the case should be so, yet history and experience instruct us of the contrary, and that the possessors of place and power have in all ages conceived themselves, as it were, in hostility with the people. It cannot be denied, that it is natural to man, when dressed in authority, to play many fantastic tricks. But then it is always shewn by the means which he employs; and the spirit of the British constitution so works upon our rulers, as to abridge the power of doing mischief, while it compels an endeavour to do good. Were the ministers for the benefit of their own partizans, at the present'time, so mad as to persist in maintaining the establishments which the war obliged them to form, the force of public opinion would soon shake them from their places, and were they to reduce them as rashly as the impatience of popular orators would require, they would not be less blameable. There is, in truth, no
thing so delicate in the management of public affairs, as the disbanding of an army, and the reduction of national establishments. Nothing, certainly, could have been easier, than immediately, on the signature of the treaty of peace, to have paid off the army and navy, the clerks in the offices, and the labourers in the arsenals. But what was to become of the men? Would they have been less a burden to the country, on the poor-rates of their respective parishes, than on the general revenue of the kingdom? And I would therefore ask if it was not a wiser policy on the part of government, to go on with the reductions gradually, preparing the minds of the men for the change, and allowing the demand for labourers to absorb from time to time one portion of the disbanded, before another was sent in quest of employment? Has the policy of government, in this respect, been fairly appreciated; on the contrary, are not all the opponents of ministers constantly endeavouring to make it appear, that every reduction in the national expenditure, is a boon obtained by them? How much, for example, is said by them of Mr Hume's industry? No person can be more impressed with the extent of that gentleman's merits than I am; and considering that he is not in office, and obliged to seek his details from indirect sources, I confess that his perseverance, and the degree of his accuracy, are quite wonderful. But does it therefore follow that because Mr Hume has made himself master of the public accounts, in a manner which no man in Opposition ever before could pretend to, that we are to ascribe to his representations those abridgments of the war establishments, which the crown is carrying into effect? In truth, even his friends must allow that his exertions, meritorious as they undoubtedly are, have not been conducted in the most judicious spirit, and that he has too often considered the necessary protection which ministers are obliged to extend over office, as proceeding from a personal regard for official corruption-just as if men in such conspicuous stations, were less sensible to the feelings of honour than others of the same rank in life, or that their responsibility should make them less awake to the consequences of malversations, injurious to their personal comforts and honest fame.