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and to press more closely on our liberties, than too, to make a fair and natural appeal to the any of Their predecessors. For our own part, analogous acts or institutions of other nations, however, we have never been able to see without being met by the cry of revolution things in this inauspicious light;—and having and democracy, or the imputation of abetting no personal or factious quarrel with our pres- the proceedings of a sanguinary despot. We ent ministers, are easily comforted for the in- shall again see the abuses of old hereditary creased chance of their continuance in office, power, and the evils of maladministration in by a consideration of those circumstances that legitimate hands; and be permitted to argue must infallibly, under any ministry, operate from them, without the reproach of disaffecto facilitate reform, to diminish the power of tion to the general cause of mankind. Men the Crown, and to consolidate the liberties of and things, in short, we trust, will again rethe nation. If our readers agree with us in ceive their true names, on a fair consideration our estimate of the importance of these cir- of their merits; and our notions of political cumstances, we can scarcely doubt that they desert be no longer confounded by indiscrimiwill concur in our general conclusion. nate praise of all who are with us, and in

In the first place, then, it is obvious, that tolerant abuse of all who are against us, in a the direct patronage and indirect influence or struggle that touches the sources of so many the Crown must be most seriously and effect- passions. When we plead for the emancipaually abridged by the reduction of our army tion of the Catholics of Ireland, we shall no and navy, the diminution of our taxes, and, longer be told that the Pope is a mere puppet generally speaking, of all our establishments, in the hands of an inveterate foe,-nor be deupon the ratification of peace. We have terred from protesting against the conflagration thought it a great deal gained for the Consti- of a friendly capital, by the suggestion, that tition of late years, when we could strike oft no other means were left to prevent that same a few hundred thousand pounds of offices in foe from possessing himself of its fleet. Exthe gift of the Crown, that had become use- ceptions and extreme cases, in short, will no less, or might be consolidated;-and now the longer furnish the ordinary rules of our conpeace will, at one blow, strike off probably duct; and it will be impossible, by extraneous thirty or forty millions of government expendi- arguments, to baffle every attempt at a fair esture, ordinary or extraordinary. This alone timate of our public principles and proceedings. might restore the balance of the Constitution. These, we think, are among the necessary

In the next place, a continuance of peace consequences of a peace concluded in such and prosperity will naturally produce a greater circumstances as we have now been considerdiffusion of wealth, and consequently a greater ing; and they are but a specimen of the kinspirit of independence in the body of the peo- dred consequences to which it must infallibly ple; which, co-operating with the diminished lead. If these ensue, however, and are alpower of the government to provide for its lowed to produce their natural effects, it is a baser adherents, must speedily thin the ranks matter of indifference to us whether Lord of its regular supporters, and expose it far Castlereagh and Lord Liverpool, or Lord Grey more effectually to the control of a weightier and Lord Grenville are at the head of the and more impartial public opinion.

government. The former, indeed, may probIn the third place, the events to which we ably be a little uneasy in so new a posture of have alluded, and the situation in which they affairs; but they will either conform to it, or will leave us, will take away almost all those abandon their posts in despair. To control or pretexts for resisting inquiry into abuses, and alter it, will assuredly be beyond their power. proposals for reform, by the help of which, With these pleasing anticipations, we would rather than of any serious dispute on the prin- willingly close this long review of the State and ciple, these important discussions have been Prospects of the European Commonwealth, waived for these last twenty years. We shall in its present great crisis, of restoration, or of no longer be stopped with the plea of its being new revolutions. But, cheering and beautiful no fit time to quarrel about the little faults of as it is, and disposed as we think we have our Constitution, when we are struggling with shown'ourselves to look hopefully upon it, it a ferocious enemy for its very existence. It is impossible to shut our eyes on two dark will not now do to tell us, that it is both dan- stains that appear on the bright horizon, and gerous and disgraceful to show ourselves dis- seem already to tarnish the glories with which united in a season of such imminent peril or they are so sadly contrasted. One is of longer that all great and patriotic minds should be standing, and perhaps of deeper dye.-But entirely engrossed with the care of our safety, both are most painful deformities on the face and can have neither leisure nor energy to of so fair a prospect; and may be mentioned bestow upon concerns less urgent or vital. with less scruple and greater hope, from the The restoration of peace, on the contrary, will consideration, that those who have now the soon leave us little else to do;—and when we power of effacing them can scarcely be charged have no invasions nor expeditions—nor coali- with the guilt of their production, and have tions nor campaigns—nor even any loans and given strong indications of dispositions that budgets to fill the minds of our statesmen, and must lead them to wish for their removal. We the ears of our idle politicians, we think it al- need scarcely give the key to these observamost certain that questions of reform will rise tions by naming the names of Poland and of into paramount importance, and the redress Norway. Nor do we propose, on the present of abuses become the most interesting of pub- occasion, to do much more than to name them lic pursuits. We shall be once more entitled, Of the latter, we shall probably contrive to 75

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speak fully on a future occasion. Of the for- to rouse its vast and warlike population with mer, many of our readers may think we have, the vain promise of independence; while it is on former occasions, said at least enough. perfectly manifest that those, by whom alone Our zeal in that cause, we know, has been that promise could be effectúally kept, would made matter of wonder, and everi of derision, gain prodigiously, both in security and in subamong certain persons who value themselves stantial influence, by its faithful performance. on the character of practical politicians and It is not, however, for the mere name of men of the world; and we have had the satis- independence, nor for the lost glories of an faction of listening to various witty sneers on ancient and honourable existence, that the the mixed simplicity and extravagance of people of Poland are thus eager 10 array supposing, that the kingdom of the Poles was themselves in any desperate strife of which to be re-established by a dissertation in an this may be proclaimed as the prize. We English journal. It would perhaps be enough have shown, in our last number, the substanto state, that, independent of any view to an tial and intolerable evils which this extinction immediate or practical result in other regions, of their national dignity—this sore and unit is of some consequence to keep the obser- merited wound to their national pride, has vation of England alive, and its feelings awake, necessarily occasioned: And thinking, as we upon a subject of this importance: But we do, that a people without the feelings of na. must beg leave to add, that such dissertations tional pride and public duty must be a people are humbly conceived to be among the legiti- without energy and without enjoyments

, we mate means by which the English public both apprehend it to be at any rate indisputable, in instructs and expresses itself; and that the the present instance, that the circumstances opinion of the English public is still allowed which have dissolved their political being, to have weight with its government; which have struck also at the root of their individual again cannot well be supposed to be altogether happiness and prosperity; and that it is not without influence in the councils of its allies. merely the unjust destruction of an ancient

Whatever becomes of Poland, it is most kindom that we lament, but the condemnation material, we think, that the people of this of fifteen millions of human beings to uncountry should judge soundly, and feel right- profitable and unparalleled misery. ly, on a matter that touches on principles of But though these are the considerations by such general application. But every thing which the feelings of private individuals are that has passed since the publication of our most naturally affected, it should never be former remarks, combines to justify what we forgotten, that all the principles on which the then stated; and to encourage us to make great fabric of national independence conlouder and more energetic appeals to the jus- fessedly rests in Europe, are involved in the tice and prudence and magnanimity of the decision of this question; and that no one parties concerned in this transaction. The nation can be secure in its separate existence, words and the deeds of Alexander that have, if all the rest do not concur in disavowing since that period, passed into the page of the maxims which were acted upon in the history—the principles he has solemnly pro- partition of Poland. It is not only moumful fessed, and the acts by which he has sealed to see the scattered and bleeding members of that profession—entitle us to expect from him that unhappy state still palpitating and ago. 'a strain of justice and generosity, which vul- nising on the spot where it lately stood erect gar politicians may call romantic if they please, in youthful vigour and beauty; but it is unsafe but which all men of high principles and en- to breathe the noxious vapours which this larged understandings will feel to be not more melancholy spectacle exhales.

The whole heroic than judicious. While Poland remains some neighbourhood is poisoned by their difoppressed and discontented, the peace of Eu- fusion; and every independence within their rope will always be at the mercy of any am- range, sickens and is endangered by the conbitious or intriguing power that may think fit tagion.

8vo. pp. 43

( February, 1811.) Speech of the Right Hon. William Windham, in the House of Commons, May 26, 1809, on Mr. Curwen's Bill, " for better securing the Independence and Purity' of Parliament

, bu preventing the procuring or obtaining of Seats by corrupt Practices." London : 1810.*

Mr. WINDHAM, the most high-minded and in selling seats in parliament openly to the incorruptible of living men, can see no harm highest bidder, or for excluding public trusts

The passing of the Reform Bill has antiquated ponents of reform principles—which touch of ihe discussion in this article, as originally to all times, and all conditions of society; and of written ; and a considerable portion of it is now, for which recent events and discussions seem to show this reason, omitted. But it also contains answers that the present generation may still need 10 be reto the systematic apologists of corruption, and op. I minded.

are applicable

generally from the money market; and is of pernicious and reprehensible of all political opinion that political influence arising from abuses. property should be disposed of like other The natural influence of property is that property. It will be readily supposed that which results spontaneously from its ordinary we do not assent to any part of this doctrine; use and expenditure, and cannot well be mis. and indeed we must beg leave to say, that to understood. That a man who spends a large us it is no sort of argument for the sale of income in the place of his residence--who seats, to contend that such a transference is subscribes handsomely for building bridges, no worse than the possession of the property hospitals, and assembly-rooms, and generally transferred; and to remind us, that he who to all works of public charity or accommodaobjects to men selling their influence, must tion in the neighbourhood -and who, morebe against their having it to sell. We are over, keeps the best table for the gentry, and decidedly against their having it—to sell! has the largest accounts with the tradesmen and, as to what is here considered as the —will

, without thinking or caring about the necessary influence of property over elections, matter, acquire more influence, and find more we should think there could be no great diffi- people ready to oblige him, than a poorer man, culty in drawing the line between the legiti- of equal virtue and talents—is a fact, which mate, harmless, and even beneficial use of we are as little inclined to deplore, as to call property, even as connected with elections; in question. Neither does it cost us any pang and its direct employment for the purchase to reflect, that, if such a man was desirous of of parliamentary influence. Almost all men representing the borough in which he resided, indeed, we think, all men—admit, that some or of having it represented by his son or his line is to be drawn;-that the political influ- brother, or some dear and intimate friend, his ence of property should be confined to that recommendation would go much farther with which is essential to its use and enjoyment; the electors than a respectable certificate of --and that penalties should be inflicted, when extraordinary worth and abilities in an opposit is directly applied to the purchase of votes; ing candidate. though that is perhaps the only case in which Such an influence as this, it would evidently the law can interfere vindictively, without in- be quite absurd for any legislature to think troducing far greater evils than those which of interdicting, or even for any reformer to atit seeks to remedy.

tempt to discredit. In the first place, because To those who are already familiar with the it is founded in the very nature of men and facts and the reasonings that bear upon this of human affairs, and could not possibly be great question, these brief suggestions will prevented, or considerably weakened, by any probably be sufficient; but there are many to thing short of an universal regeneration; sewhom the subject will require a little more condly, because, though originating from proexplanation; and for whose use, at all events, perty, it does by no means imply, either the the argument must be a little more opened baseness of venality, or the guilt' of corrupup and expanded.

tion; but rests infinitely more upon feelings If men were perfectly wise and virtuous, of vanity, and social instinctive sympathy, they would stand in no need either of Govern- than upon any consciousness of dependence, ment or of Representatives; and, therefore, or paltry expectation of personal emolument; if they do need them, it is quite certain that and, thirdly, because, taking men as they actheir choice will not be influenced by con- tually are, this mixed feeling is, upon the siderations of duty or wisdom alone. We whole, both a safer and a better feeling than may assume it as an axiom, therefore, how the greater part of those, to the influence of ever the purists may be scandalised, that, which they would be abandoned, if this should even in political elections, some other feel be destrồyed. If the question were, always, ings will necessarily have play; and that pas- whether a man of wealth and family, or a man sions, and prejudices, and personal interests, of sense and virtue, should have the greatest will always interfere, to a greater or less ex- influence, it would no doubt be desirable that tent, with the higher dictates of patriotism the preponderance should be given to moral and philanthropy. Of these sinister motives, and intellectual merit. But this is by no individual interest, of course, is the strongest means the true state of the contest :-and and most steady; and wealth, being its most when the question is between the influence common and appropriate object, it is natural of property and the influence of intriguing amto expect that the possession of property bition and turbulent popularity, we own that should bestow some political influence. The we are glad to find the former most frequently question, therefore, is, whether this influence prevalent. In ordinary life, and in common can ever be safe or tolerable-or whether it affairs, this natural and indirect influence of be possible to mark the limits at which it be- property is vast and infallible, even upon the comes so pernicious as to justify legislative best and most enlightened part of the comcoercion. Now, we are so far from thinking, munity; and nothing can conduce so surely to with Mr. Windham, that there is no room for the stability and excellence of a political conany distinction in this matter, that we are in- stitution, as to make it rest upon the generai clined, on the whole, to be of opinion, that principles that regulate the conduct of the what we would term the natural and inevita- better part of the individuals who live under ble influence of property in elections, is not it, and to attach them to their government by only safe, but salutary, while its artificial the same feelings which insure their affecand corrupt influence is among the most Ition or submission in their private capacity

There could be no security, in short, either sequence of the extension of their possessions for property, or for any thing else, in a coun- and the decline of the population. Consider: try where the possession of property did not ed in this light, it does not appear that they bestow some political influence.


with any propriety, be regarded either as This, then, is the natural influence of pro- scenes of criminal corruption, or as examples perty; which we would not only tolerate, but of the reprehensible influence of property. If encourage. We must now endeavour to ex- a place which still retains (however absurdly) plain that corrupt or artificial influence, which the right of sending members to parliament, we conceive it to be our duty by all means to comes to be entirely depopulated, like Old resist and repress. Under this name, we would Sarum, it is impossible to suppose that the comprehend all wilful and direct employment nomination of its members should vest in any of property to purchase or obtain political one but the Proprietor of the spot to which power, in whatever form the transaction might the right is attached: and, even where the be embodied: but, with reference to the more decay is less complete than in this instance, common cases, we shall exemplify only in the still, if any great family has gradually acquirinstances of purchasing votes by bribery, or ed the greater part of the property from which holding the property of those votes distinct the right of voting is derived, it is equally from any other property, and selling and trans- impossible to hold that there is any thing corferring this for a price, like any other market- rupt or reprehensible in its availing itself of able commodity. All such practices are stig. this influence. Cases of this sort, therefore, matized, in common language, and in common we are inclined to consider as cases of the feelings, as corrupt and discreditable; and fair influence of property; and though tre the slightest reflection upon their principles admit them to be both contradictory to the and their consequences, will show, that while general scheme of the Constitution, and subthey tend to debase the character of all who versive of some of its most important princiare concerned in them, they lead directly to ples, we think they are to be regarded as flaws the subversion of all íhat is valuable in a and irregularities brought on by time and the representative system of government. That course of events, rather than as abuses introthey may, in some cases, be combined with duced by the vices and corruptions of men. that indirect and legitimate influence of pro- The remedy—and we certainly think a very perty of which we have just been speaking, obvious and proper remedy-would be, to and, in others, be insidiously engrafted upon take the right of election from all places so it, it is impossible to deny; but that they are small and insignificant as to have thus be. clearly distinguishable from the genuine fruits come, in a great measure, the property of an of that influence, both in their moral character individual—not to rail at the individual who and their political effects, we conceive to be avails himself of the influence inseparable equally indisputable.

from such property-or to dream of restrain. Upon the subject of direct bribery to incli-ing him in its exercise, by unjust penalties vidual voters, indeed, we do not think it ne- and impossible regulations. cessary to say any thing. The law, and the The great evil, however, is in the other de. feeling of all mankind have marked that prac- /scription of boroughs—those that are held by tice with reprobation : and even Mr. Wind- agents or jobbers, by a very different tenure ham, in the wantonness of his controversial from that of great proprietors and benefactors, scepticism, does not pretend to say, that the and are regularly disposed of by them, at law or the feeling is erroneous, or that it would every election, for a price paid down, either not be better that both should, if possible, be through the mediation of the ministry, O! made still stronger than they are.

without any such mediation : a part of this Setting this aside, however, the great prac- price being notoriously applied by such agents tical evils that are supposed to result from the in direct bribes to individual voters—and the influence of property in the elections of this remainder taken to themselves as the lawful country, are, ist, that the representation of profits of the transaction. Now, without going certain boroughs is entirely, necessarily and into any sort of detail, we think we might at perpetually, at the disposal of certain fami- once venture to ask, whether it be possible for lies

, so as to be familiarly considered as a any man to shut his eyes upon the individual part of their rightful property; and, 2dly, infamy and the public hazard that are involvthat certain other boroughs are held and ma- ed in these last-mentioned proceedings, or for naged by corrupt agents and jobbers, for the one moment to confound them. even in his express purpose of being sold for a price in imagination, with the innocent a:d salutary ini. ready money, either through the intervention fluence that is inseparable from the possession of the Treasury, or directly to the candidate. and expenditure of large property? The ditlerThat both these are evils and deformities in ence between them, is not less than between our system of representation, we readily ad- the influence which youth and manly beauty, mnit; though by no means to the same extent, aided by acts of generosity and proofs of ho. leading to the same effects, or produced by nourable intentions may aitain over an object the operation of the same causes.

of affection, and the control that may be ac, With regard to the boroughs that are per- quired by the arts of a hateful procuress, and manently in possession of certain great pro- by her transferred to an object of natural disprietors, these are, for the most part, such gust and aversion. The one is founded upon small or decayed places, as have fallen, al principles which, if they are not the most most insensibly, under their control, in con- I lofty or infallible, are still among the most amiable that belong to our imperfect nature, by whom the frame of our constitution was and leads to consequences eminently favour- laid; and it is confessedly a perversion and able to the harmony and stability of our social abuse of a system, devised and established institutions; while the other can only be ob- for very opposite purposes. Let any man ask tained by working with the basest instruments himself, whether such a scheme of represenon the basest passions; and tends directly to tation, as is now actually in practice in many sap the foundations of private honour and pub- parts of this country, can be supposed to have lic freedom, and to dissolve the kindly cement been intended by those who laid the foundaby which nature herself has knit society to- tions of our free constitution, or reared upon gether, in the bonds of human sympathy, and them the proud fabric of our liberties ? "Or mutual trust and dependence. To say that let him ask himself, whether, if we were now both sorts of influence are derived from pro- devising a system of representation for such a perty, and are therefore to be considered as country as England, there is any human being identical, is a sophism scarcely more ingeni- who would recommend the adoption of the ous, than that which would confound the oc- system that is practically established among cupations of the highwayman and the honour- us at this moment,

-a system under which able merchant, because the object of both was fifty or sixty members should be returned by gain; or which should assume the philoso- twenty or thirty paltry and beggarly hamlets, phical principle, that all voluntary actions are dignified with the name of boroughs; while dictated by a view to ultimate gratification, in twenty hirty great and opulent towns had order to prove that there was no distinction no representation ;—and where upwards of a between vice and virtue; and that the felon, hundred more publicly bought their seats, who was led to execution amidst the execra- partly by a promise of indiscriminate support tions of an indignant multitude, was truly as to the minister, and partly by a sum paid meritorious as the patriot, to whom his grate- down to persons who had no natural influence ful country decreed unenvied honours for its over the electors, and controlled them uotodeliverance from tyranny. The truth is, that riously, either by direct bribery, or as the there is nothing more dangerous than those agents of ministerial corruption If it be metaphysical inquiries into the ultimate con- clear, however, that such a state of things is stituents of merit or delinquency, and that, in itself indefensible, it is still clearer that it in every thing that is connected with practice, is not the state of things which is required by and especially with public conduct, no wise the true principles of the constitution ; that, in man will ever employ such an analytical pro- point of fact, it neither did nor could exist at cess to counteract the plain intimations of the time when that constitution was estabconscience and common sense, unless for the lished; and that its correction would be no purpose of confounding an antagonist, or per- innovation on that constitution, but a benefiplexing a discussion, to the natural result of cial restoration of it, both in principle and in which he is unfriendly on other principles.

practice. But if the practices to which we are alluding If some of the main pillars of our mansion be clearly base and unworthy in the eyes of have been thrown down, is it a dangerous in. all upright and honourable men, and most novation to rear them up again? If the roof pregnant with public danger in the eyes of has grown too heavy for the building, by reall thinking and intelligent men, it must ap- cent and injudicious superstructures, is it an pear still more strange to find them defended innovation, if we either take them down, or on the score of their Antiquity, than on that strengthen the supports upon which they deof their supposed affinity to practices that are pend? If the waste of time, and the eleheld to be innocent. Yet the old cry of Inno- ments, have crumbled away a part of the vation! has been raised, with more than usual foundation, does it show a disregard to the vehemence, against those who offer the most safety of the whole pile, if we widen the basis cautious hints for their correction ; and even upon which it rests, and endeavour to place Mr. Windham has not disdained to seek some it upon deeper and firmer materials? If the aid to his argument from a misapplication of rats have eaten a way into the stores and the the sorry commonplaces about the antiquity cellars; or if knavish servants have opened and beauty of our constitution, and the hazard private and unauthorised communications in of meddling at all with that under which we the lower parts of the fabric, does it indeed have so long enjoyed so much glory and hap- indicate a disposition to impair the comfort piness. Of the many good answers that may and security of the abode, that we are anxious be made to all arguments of this character, to stop up those holes, and to build across we shall content ourselves with one, which those new and suspicious approaches ?-Is it seems sufficiently conclusive and simple. not obvious, in short, in all such cases, that

The abuses, of which we complain, are not the only true innovators are Guilt and Time; old, but recent; and those who seek to correct and that they who seek to repair what time them, are not innovating upon the constitu- has wasted; and to restore what guilt has tion, but seeking to prevent innovation. The destroyed, are still more unequivocally the practice of jobbing in boroughs was scarcely enemies of innovation, than of abuse? Those known at all in the beginning of the last cen- who are most aware of the importance of re tury; and was not systematized, nor carried form, are also most aware of the hazards of to any very formidable extent, till within the any theoretical or untried change ; and, while last forty years. At all events, it most cer- they strictly confine their efforts to the restitu tainly was not in the contemplation of those tion of what all admit to have been in the

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