« PreviousContinue »
despotisms of the Continent, with no- trust a single shilling, or, if he trustthing to fear from public jealousy, ed, would ever see it again, every one and every thing to fear from external of whom has the virtue of an Aristiforce, or even from popular tumult, des where he can neither gain nor have delayed erecting those places of lose ; and proudly erects himself into security, is not easily to be accounted a guardian of the popular farthings for. In the final remarks of this against the rapacities of national chapter, we fully agree.
demand. And the game is always " Let no nation imagine that the It is this, and nothing but this, magnitude of its resources relieves it which has raised a race of solid blockfrom this necessity, or that the efful- heads, whom every man knows, into gence of its glory will secure it from name-a shelf of living ledgers-a ultimate danger. It was after the file of Parliamentary indexes-a case battle of Austerlitz that Napoleon felt of arithmetical automatons-a Babthe necessity of fortifying Paris. Eng. bage's machinery of calculators; men land now slumbers secure under the with no more feeling for the peoshadow of Trafalgar and Waterloo; ple than a pawnbroker's duplicate, but let not her infatuated children and no more sense of honour than suppose that they are for ever re- a forged bank-note, into the moved from the chances of disaster, tual disposers of the popular influor that the want of citadels to defend
This is the first operation of the arsenals Woolwich, Chatham, the first stage of our boasted Reform. and the Tower, will not erelong be The struggle of our patriots is now bitterly felt against either foreign or to plunge the state into a second domestic enemies." He bowever adds, grade, and give us voters at five with a just estimate of the contemptible pounds, the next will go still deeperspirit in which public men are now in the lowest depth a lower depth, uncontent to bargain for power, that til, wherever the cabinet may sit, the ideas of either public precaution, or true council will be in the hóvel. public greatness, are not likely to be The questions of national existence adopted in the present age, “ with will be disposed at the pleasure of the which foresight is the least cultivated venders of shoes and patchers of raiof national virtues, and in which the ment; and fleets and armies will be democratic character of the legisla- dismantled and scattered at the will ture has tinged the government with of administrations who depend on the that disregard of remote consequences will of Mr A---, the Radical memwhich is the inevitable characteristic ber for a suburb, stocked with paof the masses of mankind.” This is triots of as much virtue and property expressed in the stately style which as himself, and no more—the living belongs to a great history. But the mirror of bankrupts of the purest plain truth is, that men who are con- principle, and beggars of the most tent to purchase place by stooping to delicate respect for property; or Mr the populace, must keep it only by B-~, the oracle of five thousand submitting to their passions. The huts, in which ten times the number love of money is the passion of the of ki Ired spirits nurture themselves lower orders, in every land and in deep from day and the eye of the every age, alike from necessity and policeman, for the ripening emergenfrom the want of any higher object. cies of Chartism. This decides on To this passion the demagogue always any and all demands for the sera appeals, and it never fails him. Let vice, however pressing. We differ him be the most notorious of swine from Mr Alison in attributing the dlers, the most wasteful of spend- penurious absurdity of our time to thrifts, the most corrupt of profligates the mere carelessness of the future, in private life; in public, he is always belonging to the masses of mankind. the economist. The virtue of sav. This is too favourable to our folly, it ing the public purse, of relieving the is above the truth. The history of people from every thing in the shape popular power in all lands is a history of public payment, and of cutting of popular meanness. All democracies, down every thing in the shape of pub. however violent in the seizure of their lic salary, is the charm of his perpe- neighbour's property, have been miser
We could name a crowd ly in the expenditure of their own. of first-rate patriots, to whom indivi- The orator who tells them that he will dually no man in his senses would take their sixpences this year, that the
saving may be nine the next, is the rican, or Swedish, or Danish, or Greek man of the people. The rival orator, for such policy creates contempt, who will promise them to let half the invites enemies, and makes every enesixpences remain in their pockets, will my formidable-shall be seen sweepsupersede the former. And thus were ing our seas, and burning our har. swept away all the colonies of all the bours; or, like the old piracies of the republics of the ancient world-and thus north, throwing swarms of flying robwere swept away all those of the mo- bers on our shore, and ravaging the dern--and thus will England, the more land, what small consolation shall we republican she grows, pay the penalty have in hanging the “ economists of her “ reform" in saving her six- wherever we can find them ?-in ex. pences and losing her millions, in con- terminating the breed like their kinciliating the economists of an age of dred rats and vipers ? --and, before we meanness, malice, and hypocrisy, and die, avenging the land at once on the leaving her shores naked, her arsenals meanest and the most mischievous of at the mercy of chance, her colonies its enemies ? to the knavery of faction; and her But we must come to a close. The hopes, her glories, and her freedom, to remainder, and the still more interestthe clamour of obscure millions, who ing portion of the volume, leads us ought long since to have “fattened through the early period of the Spanthe region of kites with their offal.” ish war, the most romantic, chivalIf we have empire we must pay for it. ric, and gallant scene of arms displayIf we choose to shrink within the bor ed in Europe since the days of the ders of our two islands, we may. But Paladins. Mr Alison's style is as how long, then, shall we be able to much fitted as his feelings for this save even the sixpences ?--where will magnificent period of national energy. be the sources of our strength?—where He has one volume yet to write-it is the outworks which have so long kept for England and the great crowning the battle from our walls ?--where the triumphs of her war. We envy him channels which have poured gold from his theme—this war of the giants of every quarter, with one vast conver- England and France-Wellington and gent tide into England? And in the Napoleon ; Europe the field; the prize day when some Russian fleet, or Ame- the world.
Printed by Ballantyne and Hughes, Paul's Work, Edinburgh.
No. CCLXXXVII. SEPTEMBER, 1839.
THE CHARTISTS AND UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE.
The distracted state of the country, rities that most Revolutions recorded in and the evident peril which has arisen history have been brought about, in to the property and institutions of opposition to the wishes of overthe empire, from the discontent of whelming, but timid and disunited, the working-classes, have at length at majorities. And even if such a catatracted the notice of Government, strophe is to be averted by the and strongly aroused the attention of awakened energies of the English both Houses of Parliament. It is people, still unbounded local distress evident that the people of the country would be occasioned in the conflicts must now make up their minds not which may ensue; and the numerous merely how internal tranquillity is to bodies who now urge on the second be preserved, and property protected stage of the revolution, will be the from spoliation, but how the Consti- first to perish in the distress which tution, such as it is, is to be maintains they themselves have created. ed, and we are to be saved from the When the country is now beginning horrors of a convulsion similar to that to reap the fruits of that popular agiwhich, fifty years ago, spread desola- tation, which for party and selfish purtion and misery through the whole of poses was so strongly promoted by the France. It appears now, from the Whigs seven years ago, it is now of statements in Parliament of the Home little moment to point out with what Secretary, that a large proportion of signal justice the day of retribution the workmen in the manufacturing has come upon the real, though perdistricts are banded together in illegal haps not intentional, authors of these associations—the object of which is, results. It will little avail us now to by terror, intimidation, and violence, observe that Lord John Russell, who, to bring about a fundamental change in 1831, corresponded with the Birin the Constitution ; to obtain Uni- mingham Political Union when they versal Suffrage in the first instance, were organizing the menaces of phyand a universal liberation from taxa- sical resistance throughout the countion and division of property in the try, and boasted that the "whisper of a next. The persons engaged in these faction could not prevail against the detestable and criminal objects, it is voice of the people of England," is now true, though perhaps a majority in compelled to take the lead in the supparticular districts, are but a mino- pression of the revolt which his own rity of the whole community, and conduct had been mainly instrumental that too composed for the most part in producing; and that he is indebted of the lowest, the most ignorant, and to the support of that very party the most desperate of the kingdom. whose voice he denominated a “whisa But every body knows that it is by per,” for the means of suppressing such despicable and abandoned minon that very Reform party whom he then
NO. CCLXXXVII. VOL. XLVI.
nursed up into such fearful array; or less, nothing can be more apparent than that his former Wbig allies, the po- that the mode which they adopted, and litical unionists, have degenerated perhaps have been compelled to adopt, into Chartists, and the town-coun. in checking these outrages, is fraught cil of Birmingham, composed, as is with obvious injustice; and that, while now admitted, exclusively of Whigs, it lets the greatest criminals escape, it Radicals, and Chartists, all appointed involves a numerous body of their by the Home Secretary, without the deluded followers, criminal indeed, but least intermixture of any persons to innocent when compared with the represent the Conservative wealth of leaders, in severe punishment. Every the town, has been compelled to take body knows that the Chartist Conventhe lead in beating down their own tion have now sat in London for nearly supporters; and that Birmingham has six months ; and it may safely be af. been delivered over to the flames, and firmed that hardly a night has passed sacked, like a city taken by storm, in during all that time, in which the most the midst of the “ peace, law, and or- rank sedition has not been spoken and der" of the Chartist masses, their for- delivered at their meetings. Indeed, mer supporters in the magistracy, and many of their proclamations, if they under the Government of their once are not high treason, border so closely esteemed correspondent in the Home- upon it, as to be hardly distinguishOffice. As little will it avail us now able. In fact, the very idea of a Na. to find the principles of rebellion and tional Convention—that is, an Assemthe duties of magistracy so strangely bly of Delegates elected by the people blended together in the same indivi- by Universal Suffrage, without either duals, that the Registrar of Birming the authority of the Crown or the ham is a Chartist or political union sanction of the Legislature, and issuing delegate; and the Clerk of the Peace proclamations and orders which they for the borough, as Lord John Russell expect to be obeyed by millions of admitted, is still so implicated with his the community, and certainly, are former Chartist principles, that at the obeyed and acted upon by hundreds very moment heis drawing out the war- of thousands of the people is itself an rants for commitment of the Chartists, usurpation of the royal prerogative, for Chartist felonies, arsons, and bur- the establishment of an imperium in glaries, within the borough of Birming- imperio, utterly inconsistent with the ham, he is defending the Chartists existence of order or security of pro. arraigned for offences having the same perty in the realm, and which never tendency, committed in the surround would have been tolerated in any other ing county of Warwick. All these age or country. Now, what does are memorable proofs of the effects of Government do with the leaders of political agitation, and of the conse- this monstrous usurpation of the royal quences of that trade in human folly and legislative functions ? Why, it lets and insanity, which the Whigs have them go on day after day, week after so long and so successfully driven. week, month after month, gradually We record them in this place, not usurping more and more of the powers from any wish to embarrass Govern- of Government, and acquiring more ment in their now, we believe, sincere consequence among the disaffected, efforts to suppress the agitation which from the belief that their impunity has they have been so instrumental in arisen from terror, until the people producing ; but from a desire to trans begin to act upon their repeated sugfer into the durable pages of this gestions as to the propriety of arming, journal, facts highly illustrative of the and the necessity of having recourse consequences and effects of revolution- to physical force--till taxes are actually ary measures, which, if not snatched levied by the disaffected under the from oblivion at the time that they flimsy name of a contribution, to avoid occur, would surpass belief in future pillage, to the Chartist funds; and one and more tranquil times.
of the greatest cities in the empire is We have said that Government are delivered up to conflagration and pilnow sincerely anxious to put down the lage, as a warning to the rest of what Chartist agitation; and we commend they may expect, if resistance to the them for the efforts, tardy to be sure, contribution is any longer continued. which they are now making for this Their policy was exactly the same all-important object. But, neverthe. in Canada; and in the cruel devas,
tation and deep wound inflicted on in the House of Commons, that there that beautiful province, may be seen could be no doubt that the Convention the fruits of that weak temporizing and all its members had repeatedly system which dallies with rebellion rendered themselves amenable to the till it has spread its seeds throughout laws of sedition, if not of treason ; the empire. Like their brethren the but that it was not deemed expedient Chartists in Great Britain, the Cana- to prosecute the members, because it dian Revolutionists made no secret was doubtful whether juries would either of their proceedings or inten- convict, and the consideration of Gotions. They had a regularly organized vernment would be seriously weakensystem of delegates from every town- ed by the odium consequent upon an ship of Lower Canada, who held unsuccessful prosecution. Now, what nightly meetings, and inculcated the is this but letting the really guilty necessity of drilling, arming, and ap. parties, the principal offenders, es. pealing to physical force. Lord Gos- cape, and making the law fall with ford and the Government made no unmitigated severity upon the deattempt whatever to arrest and put luded followers whom the violence down these treasonable proceedings of the one party, and the timidity trusting always that that sheet-anchor of the other, have roused into open of Whig imbecility-the good sense acts of hostility ?
Which is most of the people—would prevent their culpable — the stupid deluded opebreaking out into open rebellion, and ratives who take staves in their hands, that Government would be saved and fight the police at Birmingham, the irksome necessity of bringing Llanidloes, Stockport, and Newcastle, its former supporters and friends to in defence of what they are told are trial for high treason. The most noted their rights, and what they believe leaders of the sedition were promoted, are their duties or the reckless dema, entrusted with offices of authority, gogues in the Convention, who, though bome even put on the bench, in order possessed of some talent, education, to conciliate the unruly mass of their and information, stimulate the people followers; and, to show the perfect con- to such reckless and atrocious profidence of Government in their influ. ceedings ? It has been the principle ence over the seditious, the province of good government in contending was left with only three thousand five with revolutionary passion in all hundred men, while unauthorized ages, obsta principiis ; check the evil drilling was going on in almost all in the outset before it has acquired quarters, and within sight of the Go- strength by long resistance, or audavernor's house. The consequences city by experienced impunity, and, were clearly foreseen by all men of sense sparing the deluded followers of rein this country; but they fell like a clap bellion, let the severity of the law of thunder upon the bewildered Libe- fall upon its designing and guilty ral Government. Treason, rendered authors. But our Liberal Governaudacious by long impunity, at length ment have now reversed all this ; became ungovernable ; two successive their maxim is cede principiis ; dally rebellions broke out; blood was shed with treason while in the cradle, proin profusion on all sides; vast plains claim impunity to sedition while in were devastated by fire; hundreds of youth, and only arm in defence of the human beings of both sexes and all community when bloodshed, confiaages were driven into the woods, amidst gration, and plunder, have openly all the severities of a Canadian winter, begun, and then proceed rather against to perish with cold ; above a thousand those who have bludgeons in their persons were thrown into prison, and hands, than those who have sedition on no less than nine-and-twenty expiated their lips or treason in their hearts. their guilt on the scaffold! The emi. If this is the Whig mode of showing grants from Great Britain, who the their tenderness for the people, their year before were twenty-nine thou- great consideration for the gnorance sand, the year after dwindled down to of the masses, and the many allowtwo thousand ; and the province, from ances which they make for the extethe stream of emigration being turned nuating plea of general delusion, we into other quarters, has received an can only say that it is a novelty in irreparable wound.
human affairs; and that if, like the It was lately said by Lord J. Russell New Poor-Law, it is a specimen of the