Imatges de pÓgina

all these proceedings, that there is a strong feeling of animosity in the ministerial mind against the people, and of friendship towards those who oppose them. We see, and so must every one who has common sense, the nature of the great struggle now going on. We, the people, are on one side ; they, the aristocracy, are on the other. The Ministers well know that this is the case; and, knowing it, how have they acted ? A commanding officer evinces great repugnance to slaughtering his fellow-citizens; he does all in his power to avert the shedding of their blood; he acts in a truly humane and patriotic spirit. What is the consequence to him ? He is pursued by a severe inquisition. He sees arrayed against him furious partisans of those who delight in trampling the people under foot; he sees ruin and disgrace coming on him for his bumarity; and in despair, he puts an end to his existence. Thus is he a fearful warning to all soldiers who, hereafter, shall exhibit sympathy with the suffering people.” That is an unfair inference," says a friend of moderation, Is it so ?” says the sharp-sighted plebeian; “ then let us see whether other facts will accord with, or oppose it.

Not long after, a private soldier, in a letter, expresses the same feelings as those on which poor Colonel Brereton acted. He manifests humanity, and repugnance to butchery. He is immediately flogged; disgraced by the infliction of a degrading punishment; lowered to the condition of a slave ; treated like a brute animal ; robbed of the dignity of his nature, and branded with eternal infamy. I speak not of the mere physical suffering ; I think of his mental agony ; I see him choke with the stilling feelings of shame and horror. 'Tis the deadly sickening of his manly heart, when he beholds the ghastly preparations for his ignominious punishment, that I contemplate. Good God! has this man friends ? has he a mother, a brother, sister, or wife ? Can a gentleman, a man of honour, delight in harrowing up every tender, every generous feeling, by such brutal infliction? Can it be believed that a deadly desire of revenge haunts not the poor victim of this fearful system? There are men who, with steady, concentrated, calculating vengeance, would

pursue the authors of these atrocities the wide world over; men, whose purposes no time would alter, nought but death could satisfy. Against the steadfast wrath of such men the world would offer no asylum ; mankind in arms, and on the watch, would be no safeguard. Is it not won.. derful, under such circumstances, that men can be found possessed of blind fool-hardiness sufficient to inflict such punishments ? Let me, however, return from this digression, and make the case bear upon my reasoning. I put Somerville's case by the side of Colonel Brereton's. I find the self-same offence visited in the self-same spirit, with signal punishment. Is it strange, that my former conclusion or inference should be strengthened? The case, however, ends not here. The people at Clitheroe are ridden down. Now, here are soldiers and officers acting in the spirit opposite to that of Brereton and Somerville. Are they punished ? Is a scrutinizing court-martial held over them? Do they see the people arrayed as witnesses, and the Ministers, the people's friends, as counsel against them ? No, they see none of these things. They are allowed to go unmolested; knowing that they have the cordial approbation of Lord Hill, whatever the Ministers may think of the matter.” Looking at the Ministry as a whole, and without reference to one or two of its members, we are compelled to say, that these inferences seem but too correct.

These, however, are not the only circumstances which have induced our suspicions, as respects the future conduct of the present Ministers. Among their other declarations, the one for which they most obtained the good will of the thinking part of their fellow-countrymen, was that in which they stated that they were hostile to all checks upon the diffusion of knowledge. They promised, solemnly promised, (Lord Althorp cannot deny this,) to take off all imposts which prevented instruction. When this solemn promise was made, the Ministers were actually dependent for their very existence, as Ministers, on the good opinion of the people ? Had they, then, been unsupported by the popular voice, they would not have remained an hour in office. They knew this. In order to gain the all-important support of the people, they promised to their leaders this great boon.* The news went abroad to every part of the country, and was hailed as a sure sign of the good intentions of the Whigs. It was said, that they were not mere vulgar politicians; claims of a higher order were advanced on their account, and the world were not unwilling to admit them. But what has been the result of these great professions ? Absolutely nothing. The Ministers have been two years in office, and those acts which were passed by Lord Castlereagh, in the most doubtful and distressed times of our history,-acts that disgrace even the statute-book, viz. the Six Acts, as they are called, are still unrepealed.t Nothing could exceed the indignation of the Whigs on the passing of them. Destruction was foretold by every loud-tongued orator of the day. There was much commonplace rhetoric thrown away on what they were pleased to consider and call our liberties. Yet, when they have power, the same foul blot remains. Under what pretence? The revenue is talked of; and Lord Althorp is ready, as usual, to say that he is not prepared to admit the change ; he does not know that evil might not arise from their repeal. We listinctly say, this is a subterfuge. These acts were imposed expressly to keep instruction from the people. Lord Castlereagh in no degree hid his purpose. The Whigs of that day taunted him, abused him, raved about the atrocity of the act. With what conscience can they now talk about them as mere matters of revenue? Place the question for a moment on this ground, however. Are the Ministers prepared to defend the taxing of knowledge ? Are they ready to take their stand with the herd of vulgar politicians, and declare that they think an ignorant can ever be a happy people ? As a matter of revenue, do they pretend to assert that instruction is not the best police officer, the best judge, and thus the most efficient economist of expense ? Out upon such sorry drivelling! The Government exists, not to maintain great offices, and to pay large salaries, and hear people talk nonsense in the House of Commons. Government exists in order that

The radical members of the House of Commons, on this express promise, postponed the agitation of the question. At the time, the postponement seemed to us unwise; for then, as now, we doubted the sincerity of such suspicious promises, made for the sake of delay. However, we appeal to Mr. Warburton and Mr. Hume in support of our statements, as regards Lord Althorp's solemn promise on the occasion ; and we ask them, whether they did not consent to delay, on the faith of such promise ?

of It cannot be said for Ministers, that they have not had time or opportunity for abating the Taxes on Knowledge. They have more to answer for, as to this matter, than merely omitting to do what they ought to have done. The Taxes on Knowledge were fairly brought under consideration, in the House of Commons, by Mr. H. Lytton Bulwer; and his good intentions were defeated by Ministerial influence, more than once plainly exhibited.

E. T. M.

the people may be happy; and this they cannot be unless they are instructed. The first great duty of a Government, one as compared with which all others sink into insignificance, is to educate the people. One of the most efficient means to this great end is, to permit the free circulation of cheap publications. In consequence of the immensely increased power of machinery, and the growing feeling existing among the more highly instructed, that increased knowledge among the people is our surest means of defence against despotism, and anarchy, and popular imprudence, it would be possible to spread over every part of the country, to put into every man's hand, books which would instruct every class in the great duties of their several stations. We might soon have a people who would obey the law from reason and love; who would guard against misfortune by steady prudence ; who would derive their pleasure from intellectual sources, and not the gratification of their brute appetites. Every thing proves that this would soon take place. The popular mind is in a ferment for instruction. The people actually pant for knowledge ; and would hail, as their best friend, him who would sedulously convey it to them. This time of ardent desire is trifled away by a pence-shillings-and-.pound calculation, by the Chancellor of the Exchequer; a calculation as false in its result, as it is hypocritical in its purport.* Advisedly do we say, that from the beginning to the end, the affair is a subterfuge. Honest intentions in our rulers, and the conti. nued existence of these disgraceful checks upon the diffusion of knowledge, are utterly incompatible. It is a remarkable circumstance in the Whig administration, that they never show determination and courage against any body but the people. If a Tory magistrate or officer misconduct himself, no punishment follows. The public are told that conciliation is necessary. But let one of the people offend ; then there is no impunity granted, and the law must have its course. The abominable laws against the diffusion of knowledge have on various occasions been condemned by the Ministers; nevertheless, while allowing the laws to be detestable, no sooner does a poor wretch break through them, than he is mercilessly hunted into jail. Within the last eighteen months, the number of persons imprisoned for selling cheap publications is three hundred. Mr. Carpenter’s Political Letter was sternly suppressed, and he sent to prison. And all these things have been performed by an administration constantly making professions of their ardent desire to educate the people.

Our arraignment of the Ministers has not yet ended. The list is a long one, and the task of exhibiting it is a disagreeable task; yet, for their sakes and our own, we must unflinchingly continue.

The next accusation is that of extravagance. The circumstances already mentioned, mark, on the part of our rulers, great want of sympathy with the people in their moral well-being ; this new one, too plainly shows that they care little for their physical misery. But while it thus demonstrates the absence of those higher qualities which distinguish

• If it be requisite to obtain a revenue as large as the present, still there is no justification for taxing knowledge. Raise a revenue if you will : but never tax instruction. Tax any thing, or every thing, but that. The taxes on knowledge produce little more than half-a-million. It is quite possible to raise the present revenue without the assistance of this most impolitic impost. Lord Althorp does, or ought to know this; and therefore ought to be aware that his talk will be deemed a poor subterfuge.

enlightened from vulgar politicians, it proves, with painful certainty, that the common sin of this last wretched herd is one in which they participate. A low desire of money, a thoroughly vulgar cupidity is prevalent in the ranks of the Whigs. With them, moreover, this wretched vice is attended with a disgrace unknown to their enemies. The Tories never yet have made professions as to the purity of their motives,-never have pretended that the expenses of the Govern. ment could be less than at present. Thus, their craving cupidity was not attended with low subterfuge, and manifest breach of principle. They boldly declared that such a sum was needed ; and they took it. They made no secret of their favouritism: they paid their friends highly, and unblushingly avowed and defended the extravagance. Not so with the Whigs. They make constant professions of a desire to retrench. The moment they, in appearance, save a sixpence, that moment they claim, and loudly too, praise for their economy. Lord Althorp, at the commencement of his career as a public servant, was profuse in his enunciation of good principles. Nobody was to be paid who did not render service ; and nobody was to be paid too highly for such service as he might render. These were cheering sounds to the starving multitudes, who believe that much of their misery results from overtaxation. But how has this promise also been kept ? After the same fashion with those respecting the Taxes on Knowledge. Between 6000 and 7000 men are added to the army,—six thousand more than was demanded by the imperious Duke of Wellington. Not content with this increased army, they filled up the yeomanry, which Lord Goderich had reduced to four corps; then came the estimates on a scale of extravagance equal to any that the most profuse of the extravagant Tories ever attempted. Not satisfied with the breach of that part of their promise, which declared that none should be paid too highly, they have actually filled up every sinecure that has become vacant. We have before us a curious correspondence,* lately published at Poole, connected

• The following extract from a letter of Mr. Hume, which forms part of the correspondence referred to, is quoted, to show how entirely what we have said as to Ministerial extravagance coincides with the sentiments entertained by that stanch friend of good government.

“ Having supported Lord Grey's Government under the confident belief that they would put an end to all sinecures and useless offices as soon as possible, and would do every thing in their power to reduce the expenses of the country, I made, under their peculiar situation, great allowance for their continuing the large army and naval establishments for this year; and, in consideration of what they were doing in the Reform of Parliament, I did not oppose, as I ought, and would otherwise have done, the enormous estimates of the year: but, after the Reform Bill was passed, and restraint no longer necessary, I did, in the House of Commons, charge Lord Althorp and the Ministry with a dereliction of principle, and a direct violation of their pledges of economy, particularly in their filling up several of the sinecure Military Governorships which had just fallen vacant. One of these became vacant by the death of General Hart, Governor of Londonderry, and I called on Lord Althorp publicly to abolish the office, it being a perfect sinecure. The annual income is about 11001. or 12001., and is made up of about 4001. paid from the annual votes (taxes) of the country, 2001. paid by the Irish Society in London, in virtue of an old grant, and there is an estate of 300 or 400 acres of lands, (crown land), which brings in 5001. a-year, or thereabouts.

All that amount, I contend, might be saved, and ought to have been saved, if the Ministers had thought proper to keep faith with the public; but they, contrary to my protest, appointed Sir John Byng to Londonderry, and other officers to the other sinecure places, as I contend, most improperly, and against all principle of good and economical government.

with the filling up of a military sinecure. General Hart, Governor of Londonderry, died some weeks since, and thus left vacant a sinecure of £1200 per annum. The Ministry filled up the vacancy by appointing Sir John Byng. They could not, in this case, plead inadvertence : they could not say they were taken by sarprise. Lord Althorp had notice, before the place was given to Sir John Byng, that questions respecting the conduct that would be pursued by Ministers as to this sinecure, would be publicly put to him in the House. He begged for delay, and said, that in a few days he would be ready to give all the information required. The delay was granted. Days passed over, and no information came. Remonstrance followed : still no answer ;-when, at length, Mr. Dawson, a Tory opponent of the Ministers, brought the matter before the House, by attacking the Ministers for giving away this sinecure, and thus falsifying their promises. The delay that Lord Althorp demanded, served only to enable the Ministers to give away the place. They had recourse to this subterfuge in order to carry their wishes into effect. Had the thing been mentioned before the post had been disposed of, they could not have avoided abolishing it ; so they employed an unworthy artifice, to gain time. This is only one instance out of many ; and is mentioned, because, from its attendant circumstances, it is pregnant with instruction.

Thus, if we consider the nature of their general proceedings, or view the particular cases by which those proceedings are accompanied, causes of suspicion and distrust arise at every step: not such suspicion as would arise only in the mind of one prone to jealousy, but even in the minds of confiding friends. The people were confiding friends of ministry ; and not till this hearty confidence had been shaken, by repeated trials, did they entertain or express any doubt. Now we have had two years' sad experience. Every day has brought something deserving of reproach; and the sum of their misdeeds has, at length, mounted so high, that the people can no longer be silent spectators of these proceedings. If the Ministers be really of honest intentions, they will take these remonstrances in good part; they will rejoice at being warned in time, and will regulate their future conduct by what they see to be the feelings of the nation.

Of the conduct of the present Government, as respects Ireland, we have spoken in a former number; and, in the present number, we have drawn a parallel between the persecution in Scotland in the sixteenth century, and that in Ireland in the nineteenth. It is therefore unnecessary that we should dilate upon the policy pursued by the Ministry towards Ireland here. Still, when bringing forward a list of our grievances, this great stain on the present Administration must not be forgotten. Mr. Stanley's whole conduct is more suited to the meridian of Turkey than of England;

“ The answer given to me by Lord Althorp was not, as you suppose, satisfactory to me; but, on the contrary, was most unsatisfactory: and I regret that my reply to him was not reported. I said, 'that if sinecure offices are not to be abolished, how are the expenses of the country, and the heavy taxation of the country, to be reduced : that at the present time of the session, and under the particular circumstances of the Administration, I would not take the sense of the House against it; but that I hoped the Reformed Parliament would abolish all these and other sinecure offices without ceremony.' I further added, that I did not blame Sir John Byng for taking the office, so much as I blamed the Government for giving it to him, when there was actually a deficient revenue and excessive taxation.”

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