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BY THOMAS WALKER, M.A.
TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE,
BARRISTER AT LAW, AND ONE OF THE POLICE MAGISTRATES OF THE METROPOLIS.
PUBLISHED EVERY WEDNESDAY AT 12 O'CLOCK, BY H. RENSHAW,
356, STRAND, NEARLY OPPOSITE WELLINGTON STREET.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 20, 1835. [Price 3d.
Dear READER, I address you without ceremony, because I do not like ceremony, and because I hope we shall soon be on intimate terms. I have long meditated this mode of introducing myself to your acquaintance, from a belief that it might be for our mutual advantage ; for mine, by furnishing a constant and interesting stimulus to my faculties of observation and reflection ; for yours, by setting before you an alterative diet of sound and comfortable doctrines blended with innoxious amusement.
It is my purpose to treat, as forcibly, perspicuously, and concisely as each subject and my own ability will allow, of whatever is most interesting and important in Religion and Politics, in Morals and Manners, and in our Habits and Customs. Besides my graver discussions, I shall present you with original anecdotes, narratives, and miscellaneous matters, and with occasional extracts from other authors, just as I think I can most contribute to your instruction or amusement; and even my lightest articles I shall, as often as I am able, make subservient to the illustration of some sound principle or the enforcement of some useful precept at the same time rejecting nothing as too trifling, provided it can excite in you an antibilious sensation, however slight.
Aloof from sect and party, my chief and steady aim will be to satisfy the wants of those who thirst after the truth, and to excite a love of it, where a love of it does not now exist. Certain it is, the vast majority of human kind pass through life in ignorance of its inspirations. They flatter themselves indeed to the contrary, if they only do not wantonly quit its path, or if in their zig-zag course they sometimes cross or deviate into it, as party, sect, or narrow interest leads them; but alas! by the pure love of truth their actions are never guided. As long as the truth suits their purpose-well; but the moment it does not, they shut their eyes, or turn away. Look wherever you please-in public or in private—and you will find that it is so. Yet our holy religion again and again commands, and our worldly welfare, properly understood, unceasingly requires, that we love and follow the truth.
In conclusion, I must tell you, that with regard to pecuniary profit as an author, I estimate that, as I do popularity in my capacity of magistrate. A desire for popularity has no influence on my decisions ; a desire for profit will have none on my writings. I hunt neither after one nor the other. If they follow as consequences of a patient and fearless perseverance in the establishment of right,—well and good; I value them on no other terms. I aspire in my present undertaking to set an example towards raising the national tone in whatever concerns us socially or individually; and to this end I shall labour to develope the truth, and seasonably to present it in a form as intelligible and attractive to all ages and conditions as lies in my power.
I have given you my name and additions, that you may be the better able to judge what credit I am entitled to in respect to the different subjects of which I may treat, and as the best security against that licence which authors writing anonymously, even when known, are but too apt to allow themselves. PRINCIPLES OF GOVERNMENT.
By the Democratic principle, I mean the principle of popular government fitly organized.
By the Ochlocratic principle, I mean the principle of mobgovernment, or government by too large masses.
By the Oligarchic principle, I mean the principle of exclusive government, or government by too few.
The Democratic principle is the fundamental principle of English government, and upon its effective operation depend the purity and vigour of the body politic. This principle has a tendency in two different directions, and constant watchfulness and skill are required to preserve it in its full force. Unless its application is varied as population increases, it becomes in practice either oligarchical or ochlocratical; oligar. chical, for instance, in the ancient corporations of thriving towns, and ochlocratical in increasing parishes with open vestries.
The Oligarchic principle tends to make those who attain power, tenacious, arbitrary, and corrupt; those who wish for it, discontented and envious, and the rest fatally indifferent. Hence our long-standing and fierce party struggles on ques tions of reform—hence the ochlocratic principle so slowly called into action, and hence the headlong consequences; all of which evils would have been entirely prevented, had the democratic principle been duly kept, or put in operation.
Ochlocracy (which is derived from two Greek words signifying mob-government) is the most inquisitorial, dictatorial, and disgusting of all governments, and its tendency is to despotism as a more tolerable form of tyranny. It is an unwieldy monster, more potent in the tail than in the head, and is hardly stimulated to action but by the garbage or trash thrown to it by the base or the weak for their own base or weak purposes.
Notwithstanding almost all our institutions have from time to time been neglected, or unskilfully reformed, yet the original democratic principle has still been there ; and it is that principle, however weakened or obscured, which has preserved our constitution as a blessing to ourselves and an example to others, through barbarous ages, through the most violent political and religious storms, amidst the desolation of civil wars, and under the weakest and most arbitrary of our monarchs. This consideration should excite in us the most jealous care of a principle to which we owe so much, and through which alone we and posterity can derive all the benefits of increasing civilisation. Such care is the more necessary, as a foreign principle, called the principle of Centralization, is creeping in amongst us; a principle chiefly cried up by men who are totally ignorant of the efficacy of the democratic principle--men who, with strange inconsistency, are perpetually calling out for popular enlightenment, whilst they are striving with all their might to take away popular power, except, indeed, so far as it may be made available for party purposes-men who contemptuously turn from the practical wisdom of their own free and noble institutions to the theories and devices of novices in liberty, or proficients in despotism ; as if France and Prussia were fit examples for the imitation of Britain.
There are two vices inherent in the centralization principle, which are quite sufficient to render it odious to all true Englishmen. In the first place, it must necessarily create a tribe of subordinate traders in government, who, with whatever English feelings they might set out, must, from the nature of things, they or their successors, become arbitrary, vexatious, and selfish. In the second place, as it would deprive the citizens of the invigorating moral exercise of managing their common affairs, it would soon justly expose them to the reproach of that Roman emperor, who to certain Grecian deputies, claiming for their country a restoration