« PoprzedniaDalej »
put things to rights. The French la- the hearty concurrence of that same boured under disadvantages which we French people. The petitions now do not. They had not two Houses of poured in from all I parts of this kingLegislature, to which the people had dom, like the instructions sent to the been accustomed for ages and ages, and States General, contain not a breath a King with functions as clearly defined from which it can be inferred that any as those of Justice of the Peace or man in the kingdom wishes for the deof Constable. Their legislative bodies, struction of the kingly government, therefore, fell into disputes relative to nor for that of any order in the State; their functions and rights; but these contain not a single breath, from which disputes would have been of trifling im it can be inferred that any man wishes portance, if the aristocracy had been for any change in the form of the sincere in favour of a reformation of government, or for any alteration that abuses. For I appeal to BURKE, as I shall abridge the prerogatives of the recently have done, as complete autho-King, or the just, the long-established, rity for saying, that, in the instructions privileges of the peers. The people of which the people sent to their repre- England NOW feel as the people of sentatives from every part of the king-France felt in 1788; and, let it be for dom, in those written and positive in-ever remembered, that if their feeling structions, not a single word was found should change, as those of the people of to indicate a wish for the destruction of France changed, it will not be their any institution of the country; not a fault; but the fault of those who, in single wish to change the form of the imitation of the fatal example of the Government in the smallest particular; aristocracy of France, shall resist and not a single word expressive of a wish defeat the prayer for reformḤ of alda for any-thing but a reformation of The punishment inflicted on the arisabuses, and a taking from the aristocra-tocracy of France was very great; and cy those powers which they had usurped, the degradation which they had to contrary to the ancient laws and usages of the kingdom.
endure was still greater; but, neither was greater than they deserved; for it was they, it was their injustice and arrogance, that brought the King to the block, and that plunged their country " in blood. : at 9 otal 591:19UUTA (29,"
This was the temper of the people of France in the year 1788. In January, 1789, the representatives of the people met with these instructions in their hands. In the month of July, in that The great object of the French ped-/ same year of 1789, the Bastile was taken ple was to compel the aristocracy too by the people in spite of the military, and surrender the enormous powers which then the work of destroying the monarchy they had by degrees usurped over both was fairly begun; we all know that Louis king and people. They had usurped to XVI. was dethroned in August, 1792; themselves all the offices, all the emu that he was put to death in the month ployments, all the valuable privileges, of January, 1793, and what we have even down to the carrying on of profitnow to do is to ascertain the cause of able trades. They had all the offices of the progress from a desire to do nothing the army and navy in their bands, or in but reform, to this tragical mark of those of their relations and dependents. complete revolution, Observe, that They had ten thousand of their order, BURKE himself states, that when the or belonging to their order, on the penStates-General met in 1789, he is con- sion and half-pay list of the army vinced that there was not a man in all alone. MADAME DE POMPADOUR repreFrance, who would not have heard sents Louis XV. as thanking God for a with scorn and indignation any propo defeat of his army; because every vicsition for the destruction of the motory brought swarms of the noblesse to narchy; yet, in the course of three be put on the pension-list, for services years, that monarchy was, in fact, com- or pretended services. This cormorant pletely subverted; and that, too, with noblesse had beggared the nation.
They had drained it to such an extent self, he was continually induced to act that the farmers were unable to pay an insincere part, continually making wages to the labouring people; the promises and continually breaking them. land was falling out of cultivation; This, however, only tended to urge the people of property emigrating in all nation on, step by step, till at last, the directions, and a half starvation was National Assembly, which now represeen to spread itself over whole pro-sented, all the people, proceeded to the vinces. making of a new constitution, which This monstrous oppression the people should deprive their arrogant enemies, for traced to the unjust power of the ever, of their power of oppression. The noblesse who, and whose families and King gave his consent to this constitudependents, were wallowing in luxury, tion; but, in secret, "made a protest while the industrious classes were pe- 661 against the sanction which he had rishing, Therefore, to take from the" already given, against the present noblesse this usurped and mischievous" sanction, and every sanction that power, was the great object of the" should be obtained from him in people of France, It was, too, the" future by what he called, violence." object of LA FAYETTE and numerous This was in the month of June, 1791. others of the nobility themselves, who The emigrants had already obtained a saw, not only that the people must coalition of the despots; and the French continue to suffer, but that their country people ascribed these to the influence of must sink into a state of insignificance, the Queen and the feebleness and insinunless some great change were adopted. cerity of the King, who had refused his The main body of the noblesse, however, assent to several decrees against the unable to bring themselves to give up emigrants; but who was now about to the prey which they had so long en- be put to the trial by accepting or rejoyed, opposed themselves to this fusing the constitution itself. reform; insisted that only some slight To avoid this, he was advised to take corrections of abuses were necessary; a step that determined his fate; namely, dwelt on the antiquity and sacredness of that of escaping out of the territories of their rights and privileges; and, unable France, and joining the enemies of his to make impression on the minds of the people. He and his whole family people by means like these, many of secretly departed from his palace in the them emigrated into Germany and the night of the 20th of June; but, by the Netherlands, intrigued with foreign vigilance of the country people, he was despots, and made preparations for stopped on the road at a short distance forming an alliance of those despots, to from the frontiers, and brought back to compel the French people, by force of Paris, his two brothers having got safe arms, to desist from their efforts to ob- out of France by another road. After tain the grand reform which they this, no soul in France ever placed consought. But, the great resource of this fidence in his word. He accepted the wicked and tyrannical aristocracy was, constitution, signed it, and swore to their influence over the mind of the poor maintain it; but nobody ever believed king,1 7, who appears to have been an him sincere. He was continually accused honest and humane man ; but a man of of secretly siding with the enemies of mind too weak to resist the seductions France. His brothers and their friends by which he was beset. His Queen, a formed part of an army at Coblentz, princess of the house of Austria, to ready to invade France. was ind whom haughtiness of the Luciferian France from February, 1792, till Sepstamp was natural, had great power tember in that year. The emigrants over him. His two brothers, since and the despots were hovering with w Louis XVIII and CHARLES Xwere their armies on the borders of Franceglie also bitter enemies of all reformation. and though the King signed declara So that however good vand sincere a tions against them, devery isbult in man the king might have been in him-France, down to the little carter boys
and shepherd boys, believed him to year 1788 was, that they should give wish success to their enemies, and to up the power which they had usurped. be aiding them to the utmost of his Their titles and estates they might still power, by listening to others than his have enjoyed; but by resolving to preown Ministers, and by acting, in fact, serve the powers that they had usurped ; contrary to the pledges which he had by their efforts to preserve these, they given to his Ministers and to the peo-not only lost these, but their titles and ple. At last the people, with one ac- estates into the bargain! What a cord, seemed to demand his dethrone- lesson! ment, which took place on the 10th of After this, one is astonished to hear August, 1792, while I was in Picardy, people referring to the French Revoluon my road from St. Omer's to Havre tion for arguments against reform. Arde Grace. It is well known that he guments for it that Revolution furnishes was beheaded in January, 1793; and the most cogent in the world. An atthus ended this King, not a victim to tempt to bring back the ancient usurpaeither vice or folly; for he was not a tions of the aristocracy, and to restrict fool, and by no means a vicious man; the people in the enjoyment of their not a victim to a tyrannical disposition, political rights, produced the fall of nor a disposition to waste the means of CHARLES X. An endeavour, or rather, his people, for he was a mild and a series of endeavours, to prevent the humane man, and not a luxurious and people of France from freely choosing profligate squanderer; not to any ob- their representatives, are producing all stinacy in resisting the just claims of his the troubles of Louis-PHILIPPE, who suffering people, for it appears to have must finally yield to the reasonable debeen his most anxious desire to accede mands of the people, or share the fate to them. But a victim he fell to the of his predecessors. All Europe is in a incessant importunities, the false repre- state of commotion, every-where are sentations, the insidious advice, of a the people on foot to obtain a just share crafty, a greedy, an arrogant, an insolent in the government of their country; and and cruel aristocracy, who could not is it to be believed that England is the endure the idea of stooping from their only country in which the people are usurped height, and of withdrawing not to succeed! their ever-grasping hands from the pockets of the industrious parts of the community.
In every view that one can possibly take of the matter, it appears to be madness in the English aristocracy, From the melancholy fate of this de-above all men living, to resist this Bill luded King, let us turn with feelings very or to attempt to chip it to pieces. The different from those which that fate in- Bill'is essentially a whole: take away spires, to the well-merited fate of that one part, you spoil all the rest. When aristocracy. Let us behold them, and one looks at the magnitude of its oblet those who revile the Reform Bill of jects, and the number of its provisions, Lord GREY behold them, scattered, like one can hardly believe one's eyes at the blaspheming Jews, over every perceiving so much matter so clearly country upon earth, and every-where expressed and in so small a compass. pursued by the curses of their own There is deep reflection imprinted on country and the contempt and scorn of every line of it. It is all that we want, all the rest of mankind. Even when and we want it all. "THE BILL," as crept back again into their native land, some gentleman said, at the Surrey those of them who survived their Meeting, "THE WHOLE BILL, AND ignominious exile, were stripped of NOTHING BUT THE BILL," let this their estates, and restored to their title be the unanimous cry of the people of as it were in mockery, and to per- England'; and, the people will then be petuate their treason to their country safe, the King great and happy, and the and to their King. Alas, all that the aristocracy safe and rich in spite of French people wanted of them in the themselves.
householders. If it were possible, one
This Bill, which I inserted at full" of a much more extensive nature. It length in the last number of the Regis-was, that the remaining four hundred ter, will be one of the great constitu- members should be returned by one tional landmarks of England; and, bare" description of persons, which were. justice will always demand that, as "PEEL'S Bill" stands inseparable from" person should not be permitted to the name of its author, so ought this vote for more than one member of Bill, the one as famous for the mis- Parliament. In order to prevent exchiefs it has done as the latter for the "pense, the poll ought to be taken good which it will inevitably do. I through the whole kingdom at one have before distinctly stated that this "time this was the outline of his Bill was proposed to the Parliament plan; to state that it could be obtained thirty-four years ago, by LORD GREY; "at first with exactness, or was not but, in a matter of such importance," liable to difficulties, would be preand especially in a case where justice is" sumptuous and absurd. But he flatto be done to one who has conferred so "tered himself there would be found no great a benefit on his country, it is insuperable or fundamental objections right to produce indubitable proof of "to it. The landowner would find his the correctness of the statement, which property suitably represented; the I here do in an extract from the AN- inerchant support in the householders; NUAL REGISTER for the year 1797. "and men of respectability and talents "On the twenty-sixth of May, Mr." in the different professions would find "GREY rose, in pursuance of previous" a fair door open for admission into notice, to move for a reform in the "Parliament. The only persons whom representation of the people. After he wished to exclude from that House, “ an exordium, contrasting our former" were men who were neither possessed "prosperity with our present distress," of landed property, nor engaged in "and also asserting, the purity and pa-" commercial enterprise, nor professors "triotism of his present intentions, he" of any particular science, and who, "expressed his wish that our establish without property, without industry, ment should remain as it was, com- "and without talents, obtained seats in "posed of Lords and Commons. He" the House of Commons, by the inproposed, that the county representa- "fluence of great men, for the purpose, “tion should remain nearly on the same "not of consulting the good of the footing: only,that instead of ninety-two people, but of promoting their own "county members, there should be one" interests." "hundred and thirteen. For instance, And is this nobleman, now that he "instead of two for the county of York, has the whole of the people at his back, "there should be two for each Riding; going to abandon this measure? Is and so in other counties, where the he going to suffer it to be chipped present representation was not pro- away in a committee? Oh, no! The portionate to the extent of population. only question, as I said before, is, will "In order to put an end to compro- the King consent to dissolve the Par"mises, each county, or riding, should liament, or will he not; or rather, that "be divided into grand divisions, each is the only question with those who "of which should return one repre- oppose the Bill; but with me, and with “sentative. With regard to the quali- the rest of the King's dutiful and tax-pay"fications of electors, instead of con- ing subjects, it can be no question at "fining the right of election to free- all. But a king is still but a man, and "holders, it should be extended to copy-is "holders and lease-holders, who were "bound to pay a certain annual rent, a "certain number of years. But the re"form which he had to propose, in the "other branch of representation, was
liable to importunities, blandishments, and delusive statements,' like other men. It is therefore the duty of the people now humbly to pray him to dissolve this present Parliament, and by that exercise of his undoubted preroga
tive, to give them an opportunity, in uses his utmost endeavours to cause a legal and constitutional manner, the passing of this bill, which, in every to support his Ministers on this great line of it, promises security to the and important pecasion, when the riches of the rich, and peace and plenty honour of their country, as well as its to the labourer's dwelling. Once more, peace and happiness, are so manifestly therefore, my friends, and with this I at stake. That every man of you, my conclude," the Bill, the whole Bill, and friends, will discharge your duty in this nothing but the Bill;" and, in order respect, I have no doubt, and if the that we may ensure to ourselves and people in general imitate your laudable our children this great blessing, humble example, we shall have what has al- and earnest supplications ought to be ways been the first wish of my heart, a made to his Majesty, that, in justice reform of Parliament by peaceable and mercy to his suffering and dutiful people, he will be graciously pleased to dissolve this Parliament. „M Adyani ng
Your faithful friend,
And most obedient servant, chun do WM. COBBETT.
TWO-PENNY TRASH for April, containing instructions to LABOURERS for planting COBBETT'S CORN, will be published 1st April.
On the bit-and-bit reform patronised by Lord CARNARVON, while his son is, bythe by, sharply looking out for the county of Hunts, it is unnecessary to say anything to you, who have read the pretty little sharp, biting speech of Lord P. S. From a speech of Lord Grey, BROUGHAM, except perhaps just to men last night (it is now Friday), I think it tion, that a HERBERT never was known is evident that the Parliament will be to deviate from a certain point, any dissolved. This is the only thing, to mornin than the needle from the pole. which we have now to look. there was another lord, an Irish lord, who said that the effects of Lord GREY's reform might be judged of by the persons who most loudly applauded it; and his Lordship was pleased to hint that the radicals, or jacobins, were the loudest of those applauders. Now I am looked as not the least of the jacobins, or those who have been accused of revolution, confusion, aud anarchy I deny the accusation; but if I did wish for revolution, confusion, and anarchy I should,so help me God! wish for the rejection of this Bill! wish see Lord GREY driven from power, and wish to see WELLINGTON and PEEL back again at the head of affairs. There has been great talk about "political suicide; but of all the acts of self-destruction
No 4 of GEORGE IV will be published next Saturday 0,99700)
wait till I have leisure to give him a
List of the Majority and Minority on the
The following Lists are taken from ever committed by mortal man, not The Morning Chronicle of the 24th excepting that of CASTLEREAGH, at inst. North Cray, in Kent; of all the acts of insanity,bco-operating within governable rage, none ever equalled the act of that man, who, being dem sirous to see anarchy and confusion i the country, being desirous to see the complete overthrow of every ancient Ackland, Sirds Devonshire Dail institution, to see all property spread Adeane, H. J. 19129319 Cambridgeshire, abroad for scramble, nevertheless Althorp, Viscountvi.Northamptonshire
• MAJORITY. sridenovs Juñóɔai,orgunda ENGLAND.