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Augustan Review.

No. X. for FEBRUARY, 1816.


Public Affairs.

ENGLAND has not, for upwards of a century, been without men engaged in public affairs, who have uniformly styled themselves, the popular party. But, as their claim to public favor has uçually rested, not on services done the people, but on opposition made to ministers, they ought to have been called only by their more obvious title, the anti-ministerial party.

Ministers are often bound by their duty to call for the punish, ment of offenders against the general peace and safety; and in the most lenient performance of that imperious duty, their opponents constantly discern ground for censure and clamour. Witness the distracted times of Tooke and Hardy. We had then as substantial reasons, though happily not quite so many of them, for trying individuals capitally, as the French now have. Like them we tried and executed some; but others escaped-not, however, because ministers winked at their escape ; but because both barristers and jurymen really were somewhat tinctured with jacobinism. The acquittal of the culprits was sometimes made the subject of remark in parliament : NO. X. Aug. Rev.


and nobody can have forgot the violent outcry against government, not merely for their cruelty in persecuting the friends of freedom, but for the extreme indecency of terming them acquitted felons- upon the flimsy ground of the soundest and most temperate lawyers in the kingdom still considering them decided traitors.

The French Deputies are, now that the troubles of Europe are said to be over, as greatly dissatisfied with their ministers, as our patriots were with our ministers when those troubles began--not however for having tried a few of those who had insulted majesty, and violated the laws; but for having set bounds to public justice, and for not having arraigned all who had been suspected. In France rampant royalism is to be found only among the representatives of the people ; democratic licentiousness only at court. So amusing an aspect of affairs has not been witnessed in this country ; nor can it, while we set our faces against the radical reform in church and state on which the lovers of revolution still seem desperately bent.

Experience has shown, through the beneficial effects of firm councils, that the humanity of our patriots was false, and would have ruined more kingdoms than these, had government unhappily been infected with it: 'experience will also in due time demonstrate, through the adoption, in France, of sounder principles than those of its igovernment, the pernicious nature of the forbearance which they have proposed to practise. Louis has not been able to control the majority of the Deputies; and he knew he durst not dissolve their Chamber. They have compelled him to prepare for punishing the guilty, which is one half of his duty; the other half the paternal protection of the innocent-he will discharge with alacrity from the impulses of his own amiable disposition. All the odium will attach to them, all the favor to him. He cannot, it seems, well tolerate so much royaltys much democracy would not long tolerate him. He has done well « to keep the ills he has." But in

countries whose legislative powers are poised like those of England and France, the Peers are the constitutional mediators between the king and his people. Accordingly it has been concluded, that the Peers of France would so interpose their healing influence in the present novel conflict, as to render it harmless—if not entirely to put an end to it.--They have, without hesitation, approved of all that had been done by the Deputies ; and the king has lost no time in commending the wisdom of both!

Who could have said to public writers in England, that the French government was averse from inflicting just punishment on those by whom it had more than once been subverted ? They lately descanted much on the necessity of deterring traitors by awful examples : some blamed the king and his ministers for their lenity ; o:hers alleged that they only procrastinated till the Chambers should sanction their proceedings. We venture to assert that, whatever the Duke de Richelieu and his colleagues. may have thought it prudent to say, the alteration of the conditions of the law of amnesty, has never been displeașing to them ; but, in good truth, the consummation of their desires and hopes. They know well that the country will ever be in danger—the stbrone ju: most imminent dangeran while so many powerful indigulunls, who haver been publicly threatened with indelible disgrace for crimes of which they are coascious, shall continue to enjoy the privilege of mixing freely with the mass of the people. They also knows that, through the treasons of those guilty. wretches; an hundred thousands of their fellow creatures, one half of them Frenchmen-chave been sacrificed ; that the number of the accusedwould not exceed 2,or 300; while perhaps not one man would suffer death. The trials would be neither tedious nor expensive, and would run thus. Two hundred of you (honorable patriots) were regicides, and have held places under the usurper since his last return? Yes. You are guilty.

You are guilty. One hundred of you (re

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