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original plan of our representation, and to have men within doors to the gentlemen without, formed a most essential part of that plan, may and when they are reproached with not having reasonably hope, whatever other charges they clean hands, it may be very natural for them may encounter, to escape that of a love of to ask a sight of those of their accusers. But innovation.
is this any answer at all, to those who insist There is another topic, on which Mr. Wind- upon the infamy and the dangers of corrupham has dwelt at very great length, which tion in both quarters? Or, is the evil realiy appears to us to bear even less on the merits supposed to be less formidable, because it apof the question, than this of the antiquity of pears to be very widely extended, and to be our constitution. The abuses and corrup- the fair subject, not only of reproach, but of tions which Mr. Curwen aimed at correcting, recrimination? The seat of the malady, and ought not, he says, to be charged to the ac- its extent, may indeed vary our opinion as to count of ministers or members of Parliament the nature of the remedy which ought to be alone. The greater part of them both origi- administered; but the knowledge that it has nate and end with the people themselves, - pervaded more vital parts than one, certainly are suggested by their baseness and self-inter- should not lead us to think that no remedy est, and terminate in their corrupt gain, with whatever is needed,- ,-or to consider the sympvery little voluntary sin, and frequently with toms as too slight to require any particular very little advantage of any sort to ministers attention. or candidates. Now, though it is impossible to But, though we differ thus radically from forget what Mr. Windham has himself said, Mr. Windham in our estimate of the nature of the disgraceful abuses of patronage com- and magnitude of this evil, we have already mitted by men in power, for their own indi- said, that we are disposed to concur with him vidual emolument,* yet we are inclined, upon in disapproving of the measures which have the whole, to admit the truth of this state- been lately proposed for their correction. The ment. It is what we have always thought it bill of Mr. Curwen, and all bills that aim only our duty to point out to the notice of those at repressing the ultimate traffic in seats, by who can see no guilt but in the envied pos- pains and penalties to be imposed on those sessors of dignity and power; and forms, in- immediately concerned in the transaction, ap, deed, the very basis of the answer we have pears to us to begin at the wrong end,--and repeatedly attempted to give to those Utopian to aim at repressing a result which may be or factious reformers, whose intemperance has regarded as necessary, so long as the causes done more injury to the cause of reform, than which led to it are allowed to subsist in unall the sophistry and all the corruption of their diminished vigour. It is like trying to save a opponents. But, though we admit the premises valley from being flooded, by building a palof Mr. Windham's argument, we must utterly try dam across the gathered torrents that flow deny his conclusions. When we admit, that into it. The only effect is, that they will ula part of the people is venal and corrupt, as timately make their way, by a more destrucwell as its rulers, we really cannot see that tive channel, to worse devastation. The uue we admit any thing in defence, or even in policy is to drain the feeding rills at their palliation, of venality and corruption :-Nor fountains, or to provide another vent for the can we imagine, how that melancholy and stream, before it reaches the declivity by most humiliating fact, can help in the least to which the Nat is commanded. While the make out, that corruption is not an immoral spirit of corruption is unchecked, and even and pernicious practice ;-not a malum in se, fostered in the bosom of the country, the inas Mr. Windham has been pleased to assert, terdiction of the common market will only nor even a practice which it would be just throw the trade into the hands of the more and expedient, if it were practicable, to re- profligate and daring, or give a monopoly to press and abolish! The only just inference ihe privileged and protected dealings of Adfrom the fact is, that ministers and members ministration; and the evil will in both ways of Parliament are not the only guilty persons be aggravated, instead of being relieved. in the traffic;—and that all remedies will be We cannot now stop to point out the actual inefficient, which are not capable of being ap- evils to which this corruption gives rise; or plied through the whole range of the malady. even to dwell on the means by which we It may be a very good retort from the gentle think it might be made more difficult : though
among these we conceive the most efficacious With respect to the abuse of patronage, one
would obviously be to multiply the numbers, of those by which the interests of countries do, in and, in some cases, to raise the qualification reality, most suffer, I perfectly agree, that it is like. of voters—to take away the right of election wise one, of which the government, properly so from decayed, inconsiderable, and rotten bocalled, that is to say, persons in the highest offices, roughs; and to bestow it on large towns posare as likely to be guilty, and from their opportu. nities, more likely to be guilty, than any others, sessing various and divided wealth. But, And nothing, in point of fact, can exceed the greedi. though the increased number of voters will ness, the selfishness, the insatiable voraciiy, the make it more difficult to bribe them, and their profligate disregard of all claims from merit or ser: greater opulence render them less liable to be vices, that we often see in persons in high official bribed; still, we confess that the chief benefit stations, when providing for themselves, their re: which we expect from any provisions of this lations or dependants. Tam as little disposed as any one to defend them in this conduct. Let it be repro- sort, is the security which we think they will buted in terms as harsh as any one pleases, and afford for the improvement, maintenance, and much more so than it commonly is."-Speech, p. 28. I propagation of a Free Spirit among the peopla - freling of political right, and of individual, Government, and the wealth employed to obinterest, among so great a number of persons, tain political influence, have increased very as will make it not only discreditable, but un- greatly within the last fifty years; and consists safe
, to invade their liberties, or trespass upon almost entirely in the assertion, that this intheir rights. It is never to be forgotten, that crease, great as it undoubtedly is, yet has not the great and ultimate barrier against oppres- kept pace with the general increase which has sion, and arbitrary power, must always be taken place, in the same period, in the wealth, raised on public opinion-and on opinion, so weight, and influence of the people; so that, valued and so asserted, as to point resolutely in point of fact, the power of the Crown and Boto resistance, if it be permanently insulted, or rough proprietors, although absolutely greater, openly set at defiance. In order to have this is proportionally less than it was at the compublic opinion, however, either sufficiently mencement of ihe present reign; and ought strong, or sufficiently enlightened, to afford to be augmented, rather than diminished, if such a security, it is quite necessary that a our object be to preserve the ancient balance very large body of the people be taught to set of the constitution! We must do Mr. Wind. a value
upon the rights which it is qualified to ham the justice to say, that he does not make protect,--that their reason, their moral prin- much use of this argument; but it forms the ciples, their pride, and habitual feelings, grand reserve of Mr. Rose's battle; and, we should all be engaged on the side of their po- think, is more frequently and triumphantly litical independence,-that their attention brought forward than any other, by those who should be frequently directed to their rights now affect to justify abuses by argumentation. and their duties, as citizens of a free state,- The first answer we make to it, consists in and their eyes, ears, hearts, and affections fa- denying the fact upon which it proceeds; at miliarized with the spectacles, and themes, least in the sense in which it must be asserted, and occasions, that remind them of those in order to afford any shadow of colour to the rights and duties. In a commercial country conclusion. There is, undoubtedly, far more like England, the pursuit of wealth, or of per- wealth in the country than there was fifty sonal comfort, is apt to engross the whole care years ago; but there is not more independence. of the body of the people; and, if property be There are not more men whose incomes extolerably secured by law, and a vigilant police ceed what they conceive to be their necessary repress actual outrage and disorder, they are expenditure;—not nearly so many who conlikely enough to fall into a general forgetful- sider themselves as nearly rich enough, and ness of their political rights; and even to re- who would therefore look on themselves as gard as burdensome those political functions, without apology for doing any thing against without the due exercise of which the whole their duty or their opinions, for the sake of frame of our liberties would soon dissolve, and profit to themselves: on the contrary, it is nofall to pieces. It is of infinite and incalcula- torious, and not to be disputed, that our luxury, ble importance, therefore, to spread, as widely and habits of expense, have increased conas possible, among the people, the feelings siderably faster than the riches by which they and the love of their political blessings—10 should be supported—that men, in general, exercise them unceasingly in the evolutions have now far less to spare than they had when of a free constitution--and to train them to their incomes were smaller-and that if our those sentiments of pride, and jealousy, and condition may, in one sense, be said to be a self-esteem, which arise naturally from their condition of opulence, it is, still more indisexperience of their own value and importance putably, a condition of needy opulence. It is in the great order of society, and upon which perfectly plain, however, that it is not the abalone the fabric of a free government can solute amount of wealth existing in a nation, ever be safely erected.
that can ever contribute to render it politically We indicate all these things very briefly; independent of patronage, or intractable to the both because we cannot now afford room for persuasive voice of a munificent and discerna more full exposition of them, and because it ing ruler, but the general state of content and is not our intention to exhaust this great sub- satisfaction which results from its wealth being ject on the present occasion, but rather to proportioned to its occasions of expense. It place before our readers a few of the leading neither is, accordingly, nor ever was, among principles upon which we shall think it our the poor, but among the expensive and exduty to expatiate at other opportunities. We travagant, that corruption looks for her surest cannot, however, bring even these preliminary and most profitable game; nor can her influand miscellaneous observations to a close, ence ever be anywhere so great, as in a counwithout taking some notice of a topic which try where almost all those to whom she can seems, at present, peculiarly in favour with think it important to address herself, are the reasoning enemies of reform; and to which straitened for money, and eager for preferment We cannot reply, without developing, in a -dissatisfied with their condition as to fortune more striking manner than we have yet done, -and, whatever may be the amount of their the nature of our apprehensions from the in- possessions, practically needy, and impatient fluence of the Crown, and the holders of large of their embarrassments. This is the case properties, and of our expectations of good with the greater part even of those who acfrom the increased spirit and intelligence of tually possess the riches for which this coun
try is so distinguished. But the effect of their The argument to which we allude, proceeds prosperity has been, to draw a far greater proupon the concession, that the patronage of l portion of the people within the sphere of
selfish ambition-to diffuse those habits of jealous of the honours and emoluments it enexpense which give corruption her chief hold joys or distributes, and grudge the expense and purchase, among multitudes who are and submission which it requires, under an spectators only of the splendour in which apprehension, that the good it accomplishes they cannot participate, and are infected with is not worth so great a sacrifice. And, ihirdly the cravings and aspirations of the objects of and finally, those who may be counted for their envy, even before they come to be placed nothing in all political arrangements — who in their circumstances. Such needy adven- are ignorant, indifferent, and quiescent—who turers are constantly generated by the rapid submit to all things without grumbling or progress of wealth and luxury; and are sure satisfaction—and are contented to consider al} to seek and court that corruption which is existing institutions as a part of the order of obliged to seek and court, though with too nature to which it is their duty to accommogreat a probability of success, those whose date themselves. condition they miscalculate, and labour to at- In rude and early ages, this last division tain. Such a state of things, therefore, is far includes by far the greater part of the people: more favourable to the exercise of the cor- but, as society advances, and intellect begins rupt influence of government and wealthy to develope itself, a greater and a greater proambition, than a state of greater poverty and portion is withdrawn from it, and joined to moderation ; and the same limited means of ihe two other divisions. These drafts, howseduction will go infinitely farther among a ever, are not made indiscriminately, or in people in the one situation than in the other. equal numbers, to the two remaining orders; The same temptations that were repelled by but tend to throw a preponderating weighi, the simple poverty of Fabricius, would, in all either into the scale of the government, or probability, have bought half the golden sa- into that of its opponents, according to the traps of the Persian monarch, or swayed the character of that government, and the nature counsels of wealthy and venal Rome, in the of the circumstances by which they have splendid days of Catiline and Cæsar. been roused from their neutrality. The dif
This, therefore, is our first answer; and it fusion of knowledge, the improvements of is so complete, we think, as not to require any education, and the gradual descent and exother for the mere purpose of confutation. But pansion of those maxims of individual or pothe argument is founded upon so strange and litical wisdom that are successively estabso dangerous a misapprehension of the true lished by reflection and experience, necessa. state of the case, that we think it our duty to rily raise up more and more of the mass of unfold the whole fallacy upon which it pro- the population from that state of brutish acceeds; and to show what very opposite con- quiescence and incurious ignorance in which sequences are really to be drawn from the they originally slumbered.' They begin to circumstances that have been so imperfectly feel their relation to the government ander conceivedl, or so perversely viewed, by those which they live ; and, guided by those feelwho contend for increasing the patronage of ings, and the analogies of their private inthe Government as a balance to the increasing terests and aflections, they begin to form. or consequence of the People.
to borrow, Opinions upon the merit or demerit There is a foundation, in fact, for some part of the institutions and administration, to the of this proposition; but a foundation that has effects of wh ch they are subjected; and 10 been strangely misunderstood by those who conceive Sentiments either hostile or friendly have sought to build upon it so revolting a 10 such institutions and administration. If conclusion. The people has increased in con- the goverument be mild and equitable-if sequence, in power, and in political impor- its undertakings are prosperous, its impositance. Over all Europe, we verily believe, tious casy, and its patronage just and imparthat they are everywhere growing too strong tial-the greater part of those who are thus for their governments; and that, if these gov- successively awakened into a state of political ernments are to be preserved, some measures capacity will be enrolled among its supportmust be taken to accommodate them to this ers; and strengthen it against the factious, great change in the condition and interior ambitious, and disappointed persons, who structure of society. But this increase of alone will be found in opposition to it. But consequence is not owing to their having if, on the other hand, this disclosure of intel. grown richer; and still less is it to be provi- lectual and political sensibility occur at a peded against, by increasing the means of cor-riod when ihe government is capricious or ruption in the hands of their rulers. This re- oppressive—when its plans are disastrous, quires, and really deserves, a little more expla- its exactions burdensome—its tone repulsive nation.
-and its distribution of favours most corrupt All political societies may be considered as and unjust;-it will infallibly happen, that divided into three great classes or orders. In the greater part of those who are thus called the first place, the governors, or those who into political existence, will take part against are employed, or hope to be employed by the it, and be disposed to exert themselves for its governors, and who therefore either have, or correction, or utter subversion. expect to have, profit or advantage of some The last supposition, we think, is that which sort from the government, or from subordinate has been realised in the history of Europe for patrons. In the second place, those who are the last thirty years: and when we say that in opposition to the government, who feel the the people has almost every where grown tou, burdens and restraints which it imposes, are I strong for their rulers, we mean only to say,
that, in that period, there has been a prodi- not have suggested itself, even to the personr gious development in the understanding and by whom it has been so triumphantly recom intelligence of the great mass of the popula- mended, unless it had been palliated by some tion and that this makes them much less colour of plausibility: And iheir error (which willing than formerly to submit to the folly really does not seem very unnatural for men and corruption of most of their ancient gove of their description) seems to have consisted ernments. The old instinctive feelings of merely in supposing that all those who were loyalty and implicit obedience, have pretty discontented in the country, were disappointed generally given way to shrewd calculations candidates for place and profit; and that the as to their own interests, their own powers, whole clamour which had been raised against and the rights which arise out of these powers. the misgovernment of the modern world, origiThey see now, pretty quickly, both the weak- nated in a violent desire to participate in the nesses and the vices of their rulers; and, emoluments of that misgovernment. Upon having learned to refer their own sufferings this supposition, it must no doubt be admitted or privations, with considerable sagacity, to that their remedy was most judiciously detheir blunders and injustice, they begin tacitly vised. All the discontent was among ihose to inquire, what right they have to a sove- who wished to be bribed—all the clamour reignty, of which they make so bad a use— among those who were impatient for preferand how they could protect themselves, if all ment. Increase the patronage of the Crown who hate and despise them were to unite to therefore--make more sinecures, more jobs, take it from them. Sentiments of this sort, more nominal and real posts of emolument we are well assured, have been prevalent and honour, -and you will allay the disconover all the enlightened parts of Europe for tent, and still the clamour, which are now the last thirty years, and are every day gain- " frighting our isle from her propriety !!' ing strength and popularity. Kings and nobles, This, to be sure, is very plausible and ingeand ministers and agents of government, are nious—as well as highly creditable to the no longer looked upon with veneration and honour of the nation, and the moral experience awe,--but rather with a mixture of contempt of its contrivers. But the fact, unfortunately, and jealousy. Their errors and vices are is not as it is here assumed. There are two canvassed, among all ranks of persons, with sets of persons to be managed and appeased ! extreme freedom and severity. The corrup- and the misfortune is, that what might gratify tions by which they seek to fortify them- the one would only exasperate the discontents selves, are regarded with indignation and of the other. The one wants unmerited honvindictive abhorrence; and the excuses with ours, and unearned emoluments-a further which they palliate them, with disgust and de- abuse of patronage—a more shameful misaprision. Their deceptions are almost universally plication of the means of the nation. The seen through; and their incapacity detected other wants a correction of abuses-an abridgand despised, by an unprecedented portion of ment of patronage—a diminution of the public of the whole population which they govern. burdens-a more just distribution of its trusts,
It is in this sense, as we conceive it, that dignities, and rewards. This last party is still, the people throughout civilised Europe have we are happy to think, by far the strongest, grown too strong for their rulers; and that and the most formidable: For it is daily resome alteration in the balance or administra- cruited out of the mass of the population, over tion of their governments, has become neces- which reason is daily extending her dominion; sary for their preservation. They have become and depends, for its ultimate success, upon 100 strong,
not in wealth - but in intellect, nothing less than the irresistible progress of activity, and available numbers; and the tran- intelligence—of a true and enlightened sense quillity of their governments has been endan- of interest—and a feeling of inherent right, gered, not from their want of pecuniary in- united to undoubted power. It is difficult, fluence, but from their want of moral respec- then, to doubt of its ultimate triumph; and it tability and intellectual vigour.
must appear to be infinitely foolish to think Such is the true state of the evil; and the of opposing its progress, by measures which cure, according to the English opponents of are so obviously calculated to add to its reform, is to increase the patronage of the strength. By increasing the patronage or inCrown! The remote and original cause of fluence of the Crown, a few more venal the danger, is the improved intelligence and spirits may be attracted, by the precarious tie more perfect intercourse of the people,-a of a dishonest interest, to withstand all atcause which it is not lawful to wish removed, tempts at reform, and to clamour in behalf and which, at any rate, the proposed remedy of all existing practices and institutions. But, has no tendency to remove. The immediate for every worthless auxiliary that is thus reand proximate cause, is the abuse of patron- cruited for the defence of established abuses, age and the corruptions practised by the gov- is it not evident that there will be a thousand ernment and their wealthy supporters:-and new enemies called forth, by the additional the cure that is seriously recommended, is to abuse exemplified in the new patronage that increase that corruption !—to add to the weight is created, and the new scene of corruption that of the burdens under which the people is sink is exhibited, in exchanging this patronage for ing,—and to multiply the examples of parti- this dishonourable support ?-For a nation to ality, profusion, and profligacy, by which they endeavour to strengthen itself against the are revolted!
attempts of reformers by a deliberate augAn absurdity so extravagant, however, could I mentation of its corruptions, is not more poli:
tic, than for a spendthrift to think of relieving and venal, while there is still spirit and virtue himself of his debts, by borrowing at usurious enough left, when the measure of provocation interest to pay what is demanded, and thus is full
, to inflict a signal and sanguinary venincreasing the burden which he affects to be geance, and utterly to overthrow the fabric throwing off.
which has been defiled by this traffic of ini. The only formidable discontent, in short, quity. And there may be great spirit
, and that now subsists in the country, is that of strength, and capacity of heroic resentment in those who are reasonably discontented; and the a nation, which will yet allow its institutions only part of the people whose growing strength to be, for a long time, perverted, its legislareally looks menacingly on the government, ture to be polluted, and the baser part of its is that which has been alienated by what it population to be corrupted, before it be roused believes to be its corruptions, and enabled, by to that desperate effort, in which its peace and its own improving intelligence, to unmask its happiness are sure to suffer along with the deceptions, and to discover the secret of its guilt which brings down the thunder. In such selfishness and incapacity. The great object an age of the world as the present, however, of its jealousy, is the enormous influence of it may be looked upon as absolutely certain, the Crown, and the monstrous abuses of pa- that if the guilt be persisted in, the vengeance tronage to which that influence gives occasion. will follow; and that all reasonable discontent It is, therefore, of all infatuations, the wildest will accumulate and gain strength, as reason and most desperate, to hold out that the pro- and experience advance; till, at ihe last, it gress of this discontent makes it proper to works its own reparation, and sweeps the of. give the Crown more influence, and that it fence from the earth, with the force and the can only be effectually conciliated, by putting fury of a whirlwind. more patronage in the way of abuse!
În such a view of the moral destiny of naIn stating the evils and dangers of corruptions, there is something elevating as well as tion and profligacy in a government, we must terrible. Yet, the terror preponderates, for always keep it in view, that such a system those who are to witness the catastrophe: and can never be universally palatable, even among all reason, as well as all humanity, urges us the basest and most depraved people of which to use every effort to avoid the crisis and the history has preserved any memorial. If this shock, by a timely reformation, and an eamest were otherwise indeed—if a whole nation and sincere attempt to conciliate the hostile were utterly and entirely venal and corrupt, elements of our society, by mutual concession and each willing to wait his time of dishonour- and indulgence. It is for this reason, chiefly, able promotion, things might go on with suffi- that we feel such extreme solicitude for a cient smoothness at least; and as such a na- legislative reform of our system of representa. tion would not be worth mending, on the one tion,-in some degree as a pledge of the wil. hand, so there would, in fact, be much less lingness of the government to admit of reform need, on the other, for that untoward opera- where it is requisite; but chiefly, no doubt, tion. The supposition, however, is obviously as in itself most likely to stay the flood of ve. impossible ; and, in such a country at least as nality and corruption,—to reclaim a part of England, it may perhaps be truly stated, as those who had begun to yield to its seducthe most alarming consequence of corruption, tions,—and to reconcile those to the govern. that, if allowed to go on without any effectual ment and constitution of their country, who check, it will infallibly generate such a spirit had begun to look upon it with a mingled of discontent, as necessarily to bring on some feeling of contempt, hostility, and despair
, dreadful convulsion, and overturn the very That such a reform as we have contemplated foundations of the constitution. It is thus would go far to produce those happy effects fraught with a double evil to a country enjoy- we think must appear evident to all who agree ing a free government. In the first place, it with us as to the nature and origin of the evils gradually corrodes and destroys much that is from which we suffer, and the dangers to truly valuable in its constitution; and, secondly, which we are exposed. One of its immediate it insures its ultimate subversion by the tre- and therefore chief advantages, however, will mendous crash of an insurrection or revolution. consist in its relieving and abating the spirit It first makes the government oppressive and of discontent which is generated by the specintolerable; and then it oversets it altogether tacle of our present condition ; botń by giving by a necessary, but dreadful calamity. it scope and vent, and by the vast facilities it
These two evils may appear to be opposite must afford to future labours of regeneration. to each other; and it is certain, that, though By the extension of the elective franchise, brought on by the same course of conduct
, many of those who are most hostile to the exthey cannot be inflicted by the same set of isting system, because, under it, they are ex. persons. Those who are the slaves and the cluded from all share of power or politica ministers of corruption, assuredly are not those importance, will have a part assigned themin who are minded to crush it, with a visiting both more safe, more honourable, and more vengeance, under the ruins of the social order; active, than merely murmuring, or meditating and it is in forgetting that there are two sets vengeance against such a scheme of exclusion. of persons to be conciliated in all such ques. The influence of such men will be usefully tions, that the portentous fallacy which we exerted in exciting a popular spirit, and in are considering mainly consists. The govern- exposing the base and dishonest practices that ment may
very corrupt, and a very con- may still interfere with the freedom of elecsiderable part of the nation may be de based I tion. By some alteration in the borseghe