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ADDRESS TO THE PUBLIC.
At the recommencement of the Publishing Season—we seize the opportunity presented to us of addressing our Readers. In this momentous and critical period, it is well for all men appearing before the Public, either in Literature or in Politics, to be fully understood by heir tribunal. No occasion that enables them the better to secure this advantage is to be lost.
Every man, however mediocre in genius, who writes without prejudice and without fear, is at this moment possessed of some portion of that magnificent power, the power of influencing Public Opinion. And never, since England" plumed her wings " against the usurpations of Charles Stuart, was there a moment when he who holds such power ought to pause more cautiously before he exerts it—to strike more boldly when the decision is made. Whatever have been the divisions of Parliament, thank God the Press which at present atones to the people for Parliamentary weakness and Parliamentary impurities THE Press have done their duty! The Press have had no interest counter to the interest of the People—they have had no boroughs to protect—no sinecures to defend: in general abuses they have had no sectarian advantages-from the expenditure of a nation's wealth they have filled no individual coffers. With the People has been their interest; with the People has been their battle; with the People have they shared the slander and the assault; with the People they shall gain the acquittal and enjoy the triumph.
Of that Press, thus identified, and thus directed, we are proud to form, however humble, à part. A dark and troubled period lies before us.
We have nerved ourselves to meet it. We have engaged new allies; we have provided ourselves with new resources; we have spared no exertions that may render the Advocate worthy of the Cause. What is that Cause ? Peace, Order, and the People! whatever enlightens, whatever humanizes, whatever directs-these are the objects of Literature, and of Politics no less. These objects are ours ! In general Politics we shall bring before the Public whatever seems to us to require reform, or to need protection. The great questions, which one question greater than all at present conceals,—shall all and each, in due season, when the Public mind is prepared to discuss them, meet with a full and impartial examination. In that narrower sphere of Politics, more relating to persons-politics more individual, and more belonging to the day, we are disposed to regard, not with the blind zeal of partisans, but with the prudent confidence of independent men, a Ministry, who, for the first time in English History, have braved the privileged order in support of the general mass; who have attempted to disrobe themselves of the hereditary livery of corruption, and to convert, by one generous act of legislation, the divisions of an incensed, to the loyalty of a contented, people.
This is a time when, if no expense, no exertion be spared, to secure contributors of equal eminence and equal ability, the political part of a Monthly ought to rise into greater importance than that of
Nov. 1831..VOL. XXXII. NO, CXXXI.
a Quarterly, Journal. The rapidity, the stir, the variety, the change of late events—is a work, appearing at intervals of three months, suited to embrace, to vivify, to pourtray these? Is not a Quarterly Journal forced sometimes to forego much that was important at the moment, but is now passed away, or sometimes to dilate over what was important, and is now forgotten ? In a word, are not these rare and grave apparitions of Literature suited to the old tardiness and monotony of affairs; and what a Quarterly Review once was to the Annual Register, may not a Monthly Miscellany shortly become to a Quarterly Review ?
But Politics do not make the principal, though they may make the guiding portion of our Journal. Even in the angriest times there is an under-current of peaceful literature, which, more than ever, it shall be our aim to watch and to divert to our pages. Perhaps of direct and grave Politics we shall give less than we hitherto have done ; and as the season advances, or as public affairs subside into a more calm and legitimate channel, we shall increase our attention to the politer letters. There seems to us to be a wide and vacant field in criticism, which we are disposed to enter upon. The more important of our contemporaries are occupied with formal treatises and party disputes, and we look round in vain for those beautiful and not prolix criticisms, which gave to the two elder Quarterly Journals the chief reputation of their youth. Something of that criticism we invite our contributors to restore ; and we promise and pledge to their efforts in these pages a space free, at least, from individual jealousies or individual interests.
Things that occur daily, the common records of the month, in times like the present, have an ulterior and deep interest, which the light observer does not readily perceive; and to seize and select these—the straws that betray the wind-we shall redouble our vigilance and care : hoping, perhaps, to breathe into them and into the general spirit of our Periodical, a more steady and uniform purpose, a more complete singleness of design than it has, as yet, been the fortune of the Magazine to effect.
With these intentions and this ambition, we greet our readers at the onset of a new campaign. Prosperous and successful may be that campaign! Our objects—the objects of men who seek in the career of letters a private, blended with the general, interest—are the objects of a nation. It is ours to wish and to strive for restored tranquillity to England, fresh tributes to her literature, new impulse to her trade, farther benefits from her Statesmen, reforın to her laws, and unanimity to her People !
Note.-In the arrangement of our Magazine we defer one or two meditated improvements till the commencement of the new year.
HOW WILL THE PEERS BE GAINED ?
“ PLEASANT lounging," said the soldier of Toulouse, as he stretched himself to sleep, after a hard day's work, upon a barrel of gunpowder. We enjoy the same luxurious repose as the soldier of Toulouse. We have shut up our Parliament—we have signed a truce—we have suspended hostilities; and after severe battle and prolonged hardship we have stretched ourselves to sleep upon a barrel of gunpowder.
Seriously, the state of the country is fraught with grounds for solemn and deep alarm. Look around I-Winter is fast approachingit is at hand. In the calmest times winter produces distress, and therefore discontent. You have the experience of last year fresh in your memories : an experience fraught with the desperation of men, ignorant and therefore fierce—struggling for bread, and therefore deaf to reason ;-an experience fraught with conflagration and riotwith excesses in which the least danger was in the present, the greatest in the threats of future, offence, and the whole dark and shadowy assembly of evils and menace subsiding at last, but sullenly and scarcely for a permanence, into commissions of punishment and death—the treacherous security of the gaol and hulks—the dread expedient of a gibbet, erected for the purposes of terror rather than justice, and striking into the hearts of those it was to warn-a silence that has, indeed, something of fear,-and—something also of revenge. You cannot imagine that the state of the agricultural districts is one of quiet. You have not yet removed from the peasants a single one of the true causes of disaffection. Are wages higher? Are tithes lower? Are the poor-rates better administered? Are the minds of the labourers better cultivated ? Not at all. You have, then, the seeds of the same violence that you encountered last year ; —they may be hidden in most parts—they are crushed in none.
Do not flatter yourself, you who live in London, in the midst of indolent and aristocratic traders, that you know any thing of the unallayed and angry spirit that is abroad among the rural populationabroad in Kent, in Sussex, in Norfolk. Mount your horse-go down among that population-talk to yon grim and sturdy labourer who has got his notions of politics from some itinerant demagogue hot with strange mixtures of Owen and Paine ;-he, once a follower of others, is now perhaps the leader of men—who, however originally honest, are necessarily soon misguided. How can it be otherwise with men to whom the Parish is the chief support, and Discontent is the only tutor? Men of this sort do not greatly want a Parliamentary Reform. Their hatred is not to property in boroughs so much
as to property in general. But these poor and misjudging creatures are not yet dangerous in the aggregate ; the aggregate, thank Heaven! wants a head, an organization, a single and developed purpose. Tremble-yes, Lords and Commons, high and low, rich and poor, one with another—let us tremble lest so large a mass of men, easily led and easily inflamed, ever obtain that head—that organization—that purpose. How can they obtain these ? Look at Birmingham-at Sheffield. The answer is clear ;-By an union with the greater enlightenment, the more systemized brotherhood of the manufacturing towns. How could that union be brought to pass ? By Reform despaired of. How would its possibility be averted at once? By Reform obtained! The agricultural labourer, I mean he who is ill off and discontented—the labourer of Norfolk and Kentdoes not zealously require Reform ;-the manufacturer does. But the agricultural labourer of that tribe wants disturbance-and the manufacturer will brave disturbance if he can get reform by no other means. Here, then, is the chain of alliance. Had the Lords passed the Bill, that chain would have been broken ;-silently, but not less strongly, have its links been now riveted. The sole evil to the manufacturer is, not that the Bill should be lost-it is an evil to him that the Bill should be delayed. He may stifle now-can he stifle for long his discontent at the increasing and fearful stagnation of trade which that delay produces? Will there not to other stimuli soon be added the stimulus of want? The worse men's present condition, the greater their desire of change. You may compound matters safely with stern politicians, but not with a despairing poor.
This, then, is the state of the country. Public business arrested -trade stagnant—the manufacturing towns silent-intent-disciplined-prepared ;-the agricultural districts, burthened with a population of fierce paupers, to whom we cannot give the work that would occupy their minds, and whom we have denied the education that might soften ;-the two Houses of Parliament in a real and hostile collision ;-a vague and unsatisfied apprehension as to the result in the minds of both parties ;--the eyes of the nation fixed on the Ministers-trusting their intentions, and suspicious of their power.
Forty-one Peers make the majority in the House of Lords, say the people to the Government : “ You must gain that majority in order to pass the Bill; have you made one step towards it? Where the Peers you have created—where the Bishops you have neutralized—is a particle of that balance that was against us, transferred as yet to our account?”
This is now the great question-the universal question—let us examine it. What are the Ministers about?-How will they gain their majority ?-nay, will they attempt to gain it ? or will they once more
suffer the Bill to go up to the Lords, and once more be rejected. There are many who think this may be their policy ;-they go upon false data,—they fancy, that because other Bills insisted upon by the Commons have been twice or thrice rejected by the Lords, (the Ministers nevertheless retaining office,) and after such repeated rejection, passed at length,—they fancy that a similar course of patience-of iteration—" of holding out to tire each other down," may be pursued in regard to this Bill;—Fools !—this is the true legislation of the Boudoir—this is the true politics of drawing-rooms and dinner-tables. What had other Bills analogous to this ?-another law rejected — was but a good deferred; the rejection of this Bill is an evil prolonged; it is, in other words, the maintenance of distress, excitement, and disaffection ; the widening of a dark and soon, perhaps, a lasting gulf between the Lords and the Commons, between the People and their Institutions. If the Ministers once more bring forward Reform, and once more suffer it knowingly to be rejected Then they can only excuse themselves from folly by pleading dishonesty; or from dishonesty by the apologies of folly-for not to know pretty nearly the numbers for and against the proposed measure in the House of Lords, when that new measure is once made public, would be an ignorance of which no moderately shrewd and accurate calculator—no man to be trusted with the guidance of public affairs could be guilty. A great deal may be said for the first Rejection-an exact calculation of haughty and independent men was not easily to be made, before that test which we now have, of opinion, a vote recorded on the subject. But what could be said to convince the Country, if a second rejection occur, that the Ministers were not prepared for it-viz: that they knew they were encouraging false hopes, and leading to dangerous disappointment, through a long and barren interval of interrupted commerce and unwholesome excitement. Resign, if a second rejection occur-resign they must!—if anticipating resignation then, how far better and wiser to resign now !-resign with the gratitude, not the loathing--with the confidence, not of the Country ;-resign-to be brought back on the shoulders, not trampled beneath the feet, of the People-resign as the baffled friends of a Country, not the dupes of an Aristocracy-resign as a triumph and not as a disgrace. Of this they must be sensible ;-they are men, (at least the more prominent,) who are proud of high character, and have given us the guarantee of long consistence. Lord Althorpe confesses, or rather boasts, with Cicero and with Fox, that he loves popularity -Lord Grey, not enamoured of popularity, is proverbially tenacious of honour. Either tendency in a statesman is like pride in a woman the corroborative of virtue or the substitute. I confide, then, in Ministers- I believe they have made up their minds that the