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But on the question of retrench ment, it seems to be overlooked, that the call for reform necessarily arises from those out of office. The machines of official routine cannot detect the effects of their own movements, and it is a factious misrepresentation to say, because ministers hesitate and pause, to consider what may be the result of that revulsion which any proposed change may produce upon the general system, that they are, therefore, averse to improvement. This obloquy, however, they share in common with all the possessors of public trusts. What, for example, can be more ungrateful than the manner in which it is heaped upon the magistrates of towns, whose time and talents are gratuitously given to the public service, and who, of all men, have the strongest motives to be found clear in their office and trust, at the expiry of their temporary authority. But the spirit of the age is against all in stituted power, and it is only to be appeased by a sedulous endeavour on the part of those in authority to anticipate complaints. This spirit has arisen out of our embarrassments, and it can never be effectually laid but by a resolution as universal as the circumstances which have called it forth. The nation is pining under the dif. ficulties which have resulted from the profusion of the war, and seeks alleviation to individual suffering, in an abridgment of the expence of the public establishments. It seems, however, to be forgotten, that every man discharged from the public service is a new member added to the number of the needy, and that every diminution of salary substracts so much from the expenditure among the tradesmen where the placeman is located, while the amount of the reduction scarcely produces any palpable effect in the public treasury. It may, therefore, I suspect, be almost said that the reductions of the national establishments have a tendency to engender dissatisfaction; and indeed, if they are not met by a determination on the part of the people to return to their old frugality, there can be no effectual cure applied to the disease with which the state is afflicted.
curtailing every unnecessary expenditure. But still we must bear in mind, that the quantity of the circulating medium would be in consequence reduced, and that labour, already too cheap, would become still more so in the market-that the good which would result from any reduction of the taxes, to those particular classes who have fixed incomes, would be balanced by as much evil to those who depend on the interchanges of the circulating medium. The satisfaction, therefore, to be obtained from retrenchment on the part of government, and of a stricter fiscal administration in towns and corporate bodies, together with a return to greater temperance in domestic economy, will not consist in possessing greater means of enjoyment, but in that moral pleasure which is derived from the contemplation of integrity and rectitude in public trusts. This, however, is not the result that the reformers in general look for. They thirst for more luxury, and consider the expences of public institutions as so much substracted from their means of procuring enjoyment-forgetting that profits are derived from prodigality, and that labour, to be lucrative, must be in request.
It is astonishing to think of the effects that may be produced, of the alleviation that might be extended to many families, were the corporations of towns to act upon a principle of
It may perhaps be said, that this view of the subject is calculated to be construed into a defence of existing abuses; inasmuch as it would imply, that no effectual remedy can be applied to our privations. No doubt it may be so construed; public abuses have always been private advantages; but it does not therefore follow, that they are not great evils, although I do contend, that the removal of all the abuses in the administration of the country, cannot have the effect of restoring the affluence which flowed in upon the kingdom during the late war. truth, the utmost that can be said of the call for retrenchment is, that it is founded in an abhorrence of an unwarrantable dissipation of the public wealth, and that, with the reflecting portion of the people, it is not expected that any perceptible advantage will be experienced in private life, from all the reductions in the power of any administration to propose, in the present state of the world, and the order of things in this country.
Before concluding, it was my intention to have said something to those who seem to expect manna and quails from what is called a Reform in Par
liament, but the subject will furnish materials for another letter; not that I think it likely any thing I have to say can be found either new or interesting, but only because it bears upon the topic which first induced me to address you-namely, the absurdity of encouraging a spirit of alarm, while in
fact the government in every part of the country is so obviously, by the reduction of the military, demonstrating its confidence in the good sense and loyalty of the people.
HENRY LASCELLES. London, Gloucester Place, 3d October, 1821.
THE VIGIL OF ST MARK.
A Dramatic Tale.
Scene on the Banks of a River-Time, Evening.
THIS is the bank on which my childhood slept,
And delicate Laburnum. On the air
To this toil-harden'd frame. I have return'd
I saw it not, for my soul's eye was fix'd
On the dear bank, where my gay childhood play'd,
Upon that very bank, and she is still,
Still sitting there, and constant, lovelier too,
Than when, some ten years since, I roam'd away,
And left my youthful love to weep the parting.
Cecily. Now, Wanderer, I shall chide thee! wherefore thus
Steal from my side to court the Moon, and say
Mocking the nightingale.
In Norfolk, the blackbird, from the sweetness of his song, is called the mocknightingale.
Thy flatteries to the flowers! I should be
I love for thy dear sake-for they all sing
By such true, graceful homage.
Where hast thou
Nay, then it is my turn for jealous fit.
What knows my Cecily of England's King,
Whose favours are so valued? When, dear maid,
To tax the duty of our city, York,
When he came
Our maidens went to meet him at the gates,
Tranquil-but the white locks were clotted. I
Drew back, and shriek'd-but Edward laugh'd, and bade
Them wash the soiled face, and trim the beard,
And send it to his lady! then he turn'd
Gaily to kiss my redder lip, he said—
But found that red lip pale!
He is our master now!-I thought at first
He was a lovely youth; but from my thought
The image of the monarch, it still comes
Thou must perforce have seen. They tell us here
Unless they turn to Mahound, and become
Of Tewksbury,) most wond'rous things I saw
Achiev'd by one, an old Toledan he,
Before their path a bridge of yielding air,
To tempt their passage; and when they would risk
Its shadowy sides were crowded-then it sunk,
The unbelievers died!
And strange!-but didst thou see with thine own eyes
Sooth he did-
I met no danger; but once, as I stay'd
Thou know'st this is the fourth month of the year,
Walter. Ah, I will watch
To-night! I will be there. Dear Cecily,
Not danger-fraught This quest, I trust, dear Walter-But I will Not mar thy wishes-Come.
Scene, the Churchyard-Walter sitting in the Porch. Walter. How beautiful is Night when vested thus! With what a soft solemnity she glides
Onward unto her death !—And when she dies,
With antic tricks, the clouds, which when we see
Wilt thou accept my prayer! I have thrown off,
Which from my childhood round my neck I wore,
The Agnus Dei, which my mother's hand
And one phrase serves for all!-But, hark! what sound
Like distant music swells upon the wind,
And sweeps around the porch!-A mist hath risen