Obrazy na stronie

say, he resolved to change his ministers! Aling the Catholics, and of preserving some ground for doing this was, however, a difficulty little matter of character for political consisto be got over. To allege and promulgate the tency and honesty, entered, in the Counciltrue ground would never do; for then the Book, a minute in these words: "That they public would have cried aloud for the publica-"trusted that his Majesty would see the intion, which contained matter so deeply scan- "dispensable necessity of their expressing, on dalous to the King and all the Royal family." withdrawing the bill, the strong persuasion Therefore another ground was alleged; and they felt of the benefits which would result herein we are going to behold another and" from a different course of policy to the Caanother important consequence, and other "tholics of Ireland; and they further stated, national calamities, proceeding from this dis-" that it was indispensable to their characters, pute between the prince and his wife. "that they should openly avow these senti

[ocr errors]

74. This other ground that was chosen was ments, not only on the present occasion, the CATHOLIC BILL. The Whigs stood" but in the event of the Catholic petition pledged to pass a law for the further relief of "coming forward: and they further insisted, the Roman Catholics. They had in Septem-"that the present deference to his Majesty ber, 1806, dissolved the Parliament, though it might not be understood as restraining was then only four years old, for the purpose them from submitting for his Majesty's de. of securing a majority in the House of Com-" cision, from time to time, such measures as mous; aud into this new House, which had "circumstances might require respecting the met on the 19th of December, 1806, they had" state of Ireland."` introduced the CATHOLIC BILL, by the hands of Mr. GREY (now become Lord Howick), with the great and general approbation of the House, and with a clear understanding, that, nootwithstanding all the cant and hypocrisy that the foes of the Catholics had, at different times, played off about the conscientious scruples of the KING, the King had now explicitly and cheerfully given his consent to the bringing in of this bill. What, therefore, was the surprise of every-body, when on the 13th of March (mark the dates), it began to be rumoured through the newspapers, that the King had changed his mind about the CATHOLIC BILL; that his scruples of conscience had returned upon him. This caused dread-this ful alarm in the tabernacles of the Whigs, the understrappers of which faction, who had scarcely as yet touched the second half-year's salary, ran about in a fright as great as that of people who feel an earthquake under their feet. To make a young man of sound mind in sound body resolve never to be a state-dependent, to hedge or ditch or fill dung-cart, rather than depend on a government for food and raiment, there needed nothing but the bare sight of these wretched people at that time.

76. The King, or rather Perceval, seems to have had no idea of the possibility of the Whig Ministry remaining in office after they had been told that the King disapproved of the bill; he must, indeed, have regarded it as impossible that any men on earth could be so base as to withdraw, for the sake of retaining their places, a measure which they had repeatedly represented as "absolutely necessary to the tranquillity and safety of the kingdom." Alas! well as he knew them, he greatly underrated the extent of their political meanness and servility. He was, therefore, astonished when he found them still clinging to their places on the miserable shuffle contained in minute of council; and, therefore, to make short work with them, to choke them off as it were, the King was advised, not only to express his disapprobation of this minute of council, but to require of the Ministers that they should withdraw it too; and, further, that they should sign a declaration of a directly opposite nature, pledging themselves never to bring forward again the measure they had abandoned; nay inore, never to propose, even to the King himself, any-thing connected with the Catholic Question.

77. If this had failed, the king must have set 75. Their fears were but too well founded, fire to Whitehall and Downing street. It sucthough the chiefs of the faction did every- ceeded, however, not because the Whigs would thing in their power to preserve their places. not have signed even this declaration, if they They not only offered to withdraw the Catholic could have hoped that they could thereby have Bill, but actually withdrew it, and that, too, retained their places; but they saw in this by the hands of that same Lord HowICK (now paper not the hand and the mind of the poor Earl Grey) who had brought it in amidst the old king, but of somebody else, and they could plaudits of that same House, who now, on the see that that somebody, or those somebodies, 18th of March, without a single word, suffered who were indeed Perceval and his party, had that very bill to be withdrawn! But, the doc- got the power of turning them out; and that, trine that the Whigs now openly avowed, and therefore, even the signing of this declaration, which we shall presently have to notice, ex-degrading as it would have been, would not hibited the nature of this "beautiful constitution" in its true light. They withdrew the bill; but the Catholics, to whom they stood solemnly pledged, were coming with a petition for the bill that had been thus withdrawn. The Ministers (having no thought of quitting their places), therefore, in the hope of pacify

save them. Having refused to set their hands and seals to such a glaring proof of their baseness, they were turned out, and were of course succeeded by Perceval, Eldon, and the rest of that set who, under Pitt, had so long ruled this deluded nation.

78. The defence of themselves, on the part

of the Whigs, and the subsequent conduct and course, feel myself very culpable, if I management of the parliament, exhibit, in" attempted to bring forward any measures their full blaze, all the beauties of this beauti-" in parliament as a ministerial measure unful and "venerable constitution." The history" less I had previously submitted that measure of the withdrawing of the Catholic bill now" to the consideration of the king, and ob came out: and a history more disgraceful,“ tained his majesty's consent to its adoption. never stained the character of any government" It was therefore that I laid before his maon earth. The public cried aloud for an ex- "jesty all the particulars with regard to the planation of this matter. It was at once under-" measure respecting the Catholics, and waited stood by every-body that the ministers had to obtain his majesty's approbation before been turned out on account of the Catholic bill," I attempted to submit the consideration of and a cry was raised that they had attempted" that measure to this house." Here we have to force the king to break his coronation oath by making concessions to the Catholics! O how this nation was the sport of hypocrisy on this occasion! The Whigs, in order to parry this deadly cry, said that what they had done had been with the king's consent; that so far from their having, in this case, attempted to force him to act against his conscience, they had consulted 'him before they brought in the bill, and not only consulted him, but had explained all the details of the measure to him, and had, after this, brought in the bill with his cordial approbation.

the modern creed of the Whig politicians. What does the English constitution, or the law of parliament, know of any two-fold capacity of the members of the House of Commons? According to that constitution, those members are the guardians of the property and the liberties of the people; and they are nothing else. But now we learn; now, for the very first time since the parliament of England began to exist, the House of Commons are flatly and plainly told, that there is another body, namely, the Cabinet Council, who discuss bills, and resolve upou adopting them, 79. No doubt of the truth of this; but then before they are presented to that house, before the withdrawing of the bill, which was a fact leave be given to bring them in! One of their then fresh in every mind, became, in the eyes own members rises in his place, and plaiuly of every man of sense, an act of indelible dis- tells them, that he has recently brought in a grace, involving a principle utterly subversive | bill because the king wished him to do it, and of every idea of any-thing like representative that he has since withdrawn that bill because government. Lord Howick, who was now, the king changed his mind, and for no other Fox having died in the autumn of 1806, be- reason whatever, though he was, at the same come secretary of state for foreign affairs, had time, firmly convinced, that the passing of to perform the task of giving, in the House of the bill was necessary to tranquillize and conCommons, the explanation of this matter, ciliate a fourth part of the people of the kingwhich, on the 26th of March, 1807, he did, in dom! Nay, he does not stop here; but goes on these strange and memorable words: "It has to say, that unless he had obtained the king's "been stated," said he," by some persons approbation for bringing in the bill, he should "who have animadverted upon this transac- have regarded it as an act highly culpable to "tion, that ministers were not warranted in have brought it in! We might, perhaps, have "bringing forward a public measure without presumed before, that such really was the "previously obtaining the consent of his ma- case; but now it is openly avowed, that bills, "jesty. But this extravagant proposition before leave be moved for to bring them in, "scarcely deserves serious notice. According are discussed and resolved upon in the cabinet; "to any rational view of the subject, the duty that is to say, amongst men who are the king's "of a magistrate appears to be two-fold. He servants during pleasure, and that they re"may act in a double capacity upon different ceive the sanction of their master before they "occasions; namely, as a minister, and as an are proposed to the parliament. What pretty "individual member of parliament. There stuff have Blackstone and Paley and that fo"was no minister who had not acted so occa-reign sycophant De Lolme been writing about "sionally. If, indeed, it were culpable to the checks and balances in that wonderful "pursue the course some extravagant writers product of human wisdom called the English "now maintain, Mr. Pitt's conduct upon the constitution! As to the distinction between "slave trade and parliamentary reform would bills brought forward as measures of the "have been highly censurable; for that dis- cabinet, and bills originating with persons as "tinguished statesman, in both these in- individual members of Parliament, what does "stances, brought forward the propositions as the constitution know of such distinction? "an individual member of parliament. The Does any writer upon our constitution make "constitutional distinction which, in concur- such a distinction? Does Blackstone, who "rence with my colleagues, I take between has given us a commentary upon the whole of "the duty of a minister in the one case and our laws talk of any such distinction? Has "the other, is this; that when a minister he once named such a thing as a cabinet? "brings forward any motion as a measure of Can the parliament recognise the existence of "government which has undergone any dis- any such council, or body of men? Is not such "cussion in the cabinet, he violates his duty a body utterly unknown to our laws? Besides, "unless such measure shall have received let us ask a little, what bills there are of any "the sanction of that authority. I should, of consequence, which are not measures of the

of the deceivers! The mind shrinks back at the thought of an eternity of suffering, even as the lot of the deliberate murderer; but if the thought were to be endured, it would be as applicable to that awful sentence awarded to hypocrisy like this.

cabinet, if we admit of this distinction? All these words, sometimes in chalk and somebills relating to the army; all bills relating times in paint; the clergy and the corporato the navy; all bills relating to the church; tions were all in motion; even the cottages all bills relating to the colonies; all bills re- on the skirts of the commons and the forests lating to foreign connexions and subsidies; all heard fervent blessings poured out on the head bills relating to loans and taxes, not only in the of the "good old king for preserving the principal, but also in the amount; in short, no "nation from a rekindling of the fires in one will pretend to deny, that every bill in" Smithfield!" Never was delusion equal which the people are generally interested, to this! Never a people so deceived; never must, according to this distinction, be re- public credulity so great; never hypocrisy so garded as a measure of the cabinet; and there- profound and so detestably malignant as that fore, if to all such bills the king's consent, previously obtained, be an indispensable requisite, we may call upon Blackstone and Paley to come forth from the grave, vindicate their writings, aud tell, if they can, of what use is a House of Commons, except that of amusing the unthinking mass of the people 81. However, it answered its purpose for with the idea that they are represented, and the time; the rage of the people, from one that the laws by which they are taxed and end of England to the other, was excited bound are made with their own cousent. against the Whig ministry; and in this state Yes, Mr. Blackstone, you, who through four of things, on the 27th of April, 1807, the parmortal volumes, which, piled upon one ano-liament was dissolved. It was done by comther, might supply the place of a stool, have mission, in a speech which contained the folrung the changes upon the blessings arising lowing passage: "We are further commandfrom the checks and balances of the English"ed to state to you, that his Majesty is constitution, do rise and tell us where, if" anxious to recur to the sense of his people, Lord Howick's doctrine be sound, or if the "while the events which have recently taken parliament be content to act upon it, or rather" place are yet fresh in their recollection. to be passive under it, we are to look for those" His Majesty feels, that in resorting to this inestimable checks and balances. It is the" measure, under the present circumstances, peculiar business of the House of Commous" he at once demonstrates, in the most unequito frame and to pass bills for the raising of" vocal manner, his own conscientious persuamoney upon the people; and when they pass" sion of the rectitude of those motives upon any bill for the placing of the public money" which he has acted; and affords to his at the disposal of the crown, it is called a people the best opportunity of testifying grant. Now, as all these bills, without one "their determination to support him in every exception, are what Lord Howick terms, " exercise of the prerogatives of his crown, measures of the cabinet, what a farce, if this which is conformable to the sacred obligadoctrine were sound, would this granting work" tions under which they are held, and conbe! According to this doctrine, it is resolved" ducive to the welfare of his kingdom, and in the cabinet to bring in a bill for granting" to the security of the constitution. His the king money; the king has the bill sub-" Majesty directs us to express his entire mitted to him, and directs it to be brought in; "conviction that, after so long a reign, the secretary to the treasury brings it in; it is "marked by a series of indulgences to his passed without a division; and this, this, Lord" Roman Catholic subjects, they, in common Howick would tell us, is the true "practice of "with every other class of his people, must the constitution in this free country," where," feel assured of his attachment to the prinas Blackstone says, the people, by their representatives, tax themselves!

80. Here was, then, a grand blow given to the "venerable constitution." But it was speedily followed by another, coming from the same cause. We have seen that the Whig ministry dissolved the parliament when it was four years old, and we are now going to see this parliament dissolved when only four months old! The new ministry had nominally at its head the late Duke of Portland; but PERCEVAL, who was chancellor of the exchequer, was, in fact, the master of the whole affair, co-operating, however, cordially with ELDON, who now again became chancellor. The moment the dismission of the Whigs was resolved on, the other party set up the cry of "NO POPERY." The walls and houses, not only of Loudon, but of the country towns and villages, were covered with


"ciples of a just and enlightened toleration; "and of his auxious desire to protect equally, "and promote impartially, the happiness of "all descriptions of his subjects."

82. Away went the delusion all over the country! The ministerial members got turned out of their seats, as a set of delinquent servants are driven out of their places. Many of them did not dare to show their faces in the boroughs and counties where they before had been elected; and, in short, as Mr. WINDHAM told PERCEVAL in the House of Commons, the new ministry sent the majority of the parliament back to the people to be torn to pieces. And all this on a pretext as false as perjury itself! There were the people putting up prayers for the prolongation of the life of the "good old king," as their sole protector against the horrors of popery, and exclaiming against those ministers who

83. These transactions, however, disgrace

had wanted to force him to break his corona- BENETT, of PYTHOUSE, at whom some tion oath when he had actually consented to of you are said to have flung flint-stones the measure after all its details had been explained to him; and he had had no objection some time ago. I have heard of all to it, and no thought of changing the ministry, your recent sufferings, about which I till the Princess threatened him with the pub- shall not be more particular here. I lication of the BOOK! have long known how greatly you have suffered from want of a sufficiency of food and raiment; and, in the letter which I intend to address to you, I will explain to you all the causes of that suffering, and will expose the baseness of the cruel villains who would make you live upon potatoes, and who would make you believe that you have of late years been as well off as your forefathers


ful as they were to the factions, and little creditable as the temporary delusion might be to the understandings of the people, did a great deal of good in the end, by opening the eyes of the people with regard to the true character of the factions, and of the House of Commons. The people saw Ministers bring in a bill; they saw the House approve of it; they saw the same Ministers withdraw the bill without a word from the House against this step; they heard the Ministers declare that they held it to be their duty to have the King's I am glad to hear that your wages previous consent to every bill that they brought in; they heard them declare that the bill had have been raised, and I need not tell you been withdrawn because the King had changed what has been the cause of that rise. his mind relative to it; they saw one Parliament dissolved, at four years old, to suit The Two-PENNY TRASH will be pubone Ministry; they saw another dissolved at lished on the 1st of March, and it will four months, to suit another ministry. They be at Salisbury the next day. I beg could not see all this without great disgust you to read it, when you get it, with being excited in their minds with regard to the factions and the House also. Great dis- great attention, and to fling away the nongust was excited; and from the period of these sensical little books which are given you striking transactions the factions date their to read, and to make you believe that it fall. From this time the main body of the is necessary for you to be starved to people began to see that there was no differ- death in order to ensure you a place in ence in the factions; that both sought the public money; that all their professions and heaven after you are dead. I shall show promises were false; and that, of every quarrel you that God never intended that those between them, the people became the only who did all the work should live on a sufferers. So that from this affair of the poor miserable root, nine-tenths of which ill-treated Princess, arose this great good to the nation, that it never, since that time, has consist of dirt and water. been the sport of any faction; but, as we shall see in the sequel, this was only a small part of the good which ought to endear her memory to the people of England.

(To be continued.)

I am your friend,

[blocks in formation]


THE week before last I addressed the Ministers, and in the most respectful, though in the most urgent manner, to do certain things to put an end to these calamitous and disgraceful conflagrations; and I never was more certain of any thing than I am, that the measures which I recommended would, if adopted, have had that effect. Those measures would, as I then observed, not have taken three days in adopting; would have interfered with no man's property, would have been no innovation, could have given offence reasonably to no man; would have been agreeable to the

cordial wishes of ninety-nine hundreths" there was a very extensive fire be
of the people, and would have brought" tween Popham-lane and Winchester.
blessings on the head of their royal "There was also a fire at Fareham, near
master from millions of lips. They" Gosport, on Thursday last. One rick
have not listened to my advice; and, I" in the middle of a row of 13 was on
do not say the consequences are before fire, but from the snow on the roofs
us; but, at any rate, the terrible" of others, they were untouched when
disgrace has not been removed. I" assistance arrived. A farm-yard of
understand that the country news- "Micheldever has also been consumed."
papers, which are almost wholly under With regard to the fire on ALEXAN-
awe of the aristocracy, the clergy DER BARING's estate, as mentioned in
and the magistrates, have been, in many the first paragraph, it is probably the
places, actually forbidden to publish ac- same as the first fire mentioned in the
counts of the fires as they occur. At second paragraph, and it is probably
any rate, that they do occur is certain, Sir THOMAS BARING's farm, and not
and I am informed that in Hampshire that of ALEXANDER; because the estate
and Wiltshire, where the "exposition of of the former, and his house also, lie
the law" has, God knows, been pretty between Popham-lane and Winchester.
ample, they are occurring with more The farm mentioned in the latter part
violence than ever. I have been told of the second paragraph, as lying at
that fifteen fires have taken place in the Micheldever, must belong to Sir
vicinage of one single market-town in THOMAS Baring; because he is not
Hampshire, and seven of them since only the owner of all the land, but lay
the conclusion of the Special Commis-impropriator of all the tithe. It is
sion; and five of them since the hang- curious that these two fine parishes of
ing of COOPER and COOK. But Stratton and Micheldever were the
though I could state particulars, I shall private proverty of King Alfred the
not do it here; but in these cases I shall Great, who bequeathed them as an en-
confine myself, as far as particulars go, dowment to the monastery which he
to what I find in the newspapers, or founded at Winchester, and in which
other publications. In the Morning
Chronicle of the 9th inst., I find the
first of the following paragraphs: the
second paragraph I take from the Morn-
ing Chronicle of the 10th instant.

he was buried. They were seized by the ruthless Henry the Eighth, and given to Wriothesly, one of his tools, who was made Earl of Southampton. From him they passed by marriage into "A messenger arrived yesterday at the hands of the Russels; and from "the town residence of A. Baring, Esq., the present Duke of Bedford they passed "and stated that a valuable farm upon into the hands of these BARINGS. But "that gentleman's estate in Hampshire where did the Morning Chronicle get "had, at a late hour on Monday night, its information, that it is " rather extra"been discovered on fire. Every ex-ordinary" that this should be the work "ertion was used by the servants and of an incendiary? Where did Dr. Black "others to suppress the flames, but learn that these Barings petitioned to "without effect, and the whole was save the life of Cook? And how came "consumed. The fire is supposed to the Doctor to connect Cook's name "be the work of an incendiary, which is with this fire? And who told him to "rather extraordinary, as Mr. Baring say that Baring refused to appear "not only refused to appear against againt Cook, who was hanged? And "Cook, who attempted his life, but had, who told the Doctor that Cook at"together with the whole of the mem-tempted Baring's life? Did the Doctor "bers of his family, signed the petitions dream all this, or did somebody write "in favour of the convicted."

[ocr errors][merged small]

it to him that he might publish it? As
dead men tell no tales, dead men can
set no fires; and, therefore, Cook could
not have set this fire. Does the Doctor

[ocr errors]
« PoprzedniaDalej »