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nary usurper-of talents certainly, and of all the fierce activity of military ambition with the robe of a wisdom to be neither inquired into nor resisted, but to be obeyed-and profanely sent him forth on his progress of devastation, with the pomp and authority of a minister of heaven. On a Ministry of this kind, what dependence was to be placed ? We do not think it was their intention to have debased the country. They would have still thought the crown of England in its more fitting place on the brow of the King of England, than trampled under the hoofs of Napoleon's charger. We do not think that they could have ruined the British empire, for it has an energy of vitality which it was not for them either to discover or to guide. We will go even to the doubtful length of believing, that this empire would finally have triumphed over France, in defiance of their incompetency, cold-heartedness, and awe of the enemy. But the victory would have been gained through an incalculable increase of peril, and wasted wealth, and sanguinary reverses. On their voyages of headlong experiment, they would have found the new world at last, but they would have looked for it by turning their prows, not to the west, but to the east—they would first have circumnavigated the globe.
Those who can believe in nothing but a paltry lucre, or a still more paltry ambition, as the stimulants of accomplished minds, to guide the state, are not worthy of an answer. Yet the denial of all disinterested impulses comes with a dubious grace from those who profess themselves ready to dip their hands in blood, and dare the scaffold for simple patriotism.
But the competition is not between ministers and their parliamentary opponents. We are not called on to any nice and pacific balance of wisdom or wit-Mr. Tierney's modicum of pleasantry against Mr. Canning's eloquence-or Mr. Brougham's furious garrulity, and never-ending panegyric of himself and his friends, loose as they are on the face of a troublesome world,
“Rari nantes in gargite,” against Lord Castlereagh's temperance, decorum, and knowledge or Lord Carnarvon's contempt of the English language, and merciless, blind, indiscriminate butchery of law, politics, and divinity, against the Premier's senatorial sense and dignity. This was for “ the piping times of peace.” We have now no choice but between the constitution as it stands, and none; the seats from which the ministry were expelled, would not be left to the stiff and formal possession of parliamentary successors. They would be leapt into, before they were cold, by the men of the dungeon—by hungry fraudulent bankruptcy-by rapine fresh from his chains—by haggard, insane, remorseless homicide.
But, in this consummation, there would be no conclusion, the victory would be only the signal for inore inveterate animosity; the triumph of Radicalism would generate nothing of even the ominous and gloomy repose that follows the ordinary triumph of tyranny. The right hand of Radicalism hates the left, and the first labour of the prosperous would be, to send their associates, where, after life's fitful fever, if they did not “ sleep well,” they should at least sleep soundly. The late proceedings in Westminster Hall have not a little added to the general knowledge of this faction.
Cobbett, “clarum et venerabile nomen," to the whole musterroll of public disturbers, has been lately brought to justice for two libels; the latter, one of that atrocious nature which his jury thought not underserving of a mulct of one thousand pounds, a sum which would drain the united purses of the whole body corporate of revolution to pay. These libels were against two of his own helpers in the Register, now old and venomless. But the chief amusement was furnished by Mr. Brougham, who conducted the former of those cases. The spruce barrister, now still more spruce, from his new honours of the gown, was palpably afraid to trust himself within the brawny sweep of his antagonist. He began with a profusion of compliment, and wandered about the skirts of the accusation with a mixture of mauvaise honte, affected meekness and zeal, very delightful to, in the theatrical phrase, “one of the most crowded and fashionable audiences of the season." Cobbett kept his eye fixed on his future victim with grim and sardonic contempt. Still, the Queen's attorney-general mustered his tropes, and paced his ground, like the reluctant hero of the highway.
“ He handled the rope, and he traversed the cart,
And he often took leave, but was loath to depart." Towards the close of his speech, insipid as his best in St. Stephen's, he ventured a little onward, and talked of libel in a tender and enigmatical way. This was the least return for his brief. But then came Cobbeti's turn; he made but a single spring till he reached the centre of the question, and leaving Cleary untouched, rushed mugiens, with hoof and horn upon the barrister. The battle was here “to the strong.” He tossed and gored the unfortunate jurisconsult with ferocious and exulting ease. He tore his pleadings into fragments, and flung them up to the sport of the ring. He scattered the silken advocate's metaphors, compliments, and reasonings, smoothly as they were laid, like the Sybil's leaves, into nonsense by the puff of his nostrils. The triumph was complete. Mr. Brougham sank under his merciless and persevering burlesque, and when the turn for revenge was come, and his bulky antagonist stood over him breathless with his sport, he shrunk away without ever turning to cast a glance
upon him. He made no reply. Mr. Brougham was not engaged on the next trial. We by no means rank this person among the pledged subverters, but he had no answer when Cobbett charged him to his teeth with having, as Dogberry would have said, “ written himself down-radical;" and we presume he now rather regrets his early indiscretions.
We have not time now to do more, than to advert to a project, which would form a relief to those miserable bustlings of mediocrity. A Royal Society for the encouragement of Literature is about to be formed. Nothing can be more promising or admirable than the principle. But in the general opinion of London, it is already evident that the intended number of associates is too small. The institution ought to comprehend every name that has done honour to the literature of the country, and to open its doors to the hope of every one who may yet do it honour. It should be a great assemblage and array of loyal genius, against the libelling and seditious scribbling of the day. This is, we understand, exclusively, the project of the King: the man on whom faction has done its worst, and who makes only returns of this order to the people, deserves any thing but hostility. On this topic we may yet talk more, but for the present we must draw to a conclusion. We cannot do so, however, without casting one glance backwards to the picture we have drawn of the state of public feeling in England, and then, expressing our regret that such should be the moment selected by the chosen wits and wise men of the North—the “ Arbitri Elegantiarum” of the worldthe “delicæ generis humani”—the all-be-praised, all-admired geniuses of the modern Athens—for calling together“ a Meeting of Inhabitants,” to address the King to turn out his Ministers and that too in terms which convey and imply either the most unworthy sympathy with the phrenzy of the mob, or the most base adulation of its mad and mischievous leaders ! Such is the moment when Mr. Francis Jeffrey, and Mr. J. P. Grant, and Mr. Henry Cockburn, have thought fit to hold a solemn festival of fraternization with the elite of the Cowgate, congregated in the Pantheon--and when Mr. James Moncrieff has not disdained to hear the applauses of tailors cheering the periods of jurisconsults—as all the changes were rung on the necessity of public assemblies—the freedom of the press not forgetting the never-to-be-forgotten crambe recocta of the massacre of Manchester.
But in this too it is quite easy to see the traces of the same universal spirit of base compliance, whose operations we have already been noticing in so many more important spheres. The Outs of the north are a sorely divided, split, uncompacted crew; being all Outs, they have indeed one name in common, but that Vol. II.
is the most of it. And of all this, there is good reason to think, the men of the Cowgate were already beginning to have some slight suspicion, and sundry manifestations had occurred of an incipient distrust, spreading widely and surely among the servum pecus, and the general superintendents of all disaffection perceived that it was necessary, by some “great show of circumstance,” to dazzle the eyes that had begun to be too piercing, and deafen the ears that had begun to swallow with more caution. And some happy spirit suggested the spectacle of the Pantheon ; and the rabble, if not their panem, had at least their circenses administered to them : and even the sternest and most aristocratical of the old Lauderdale faction, did not abstain from this mockery, with whatever secret qualms they may have first embraced it; but finding in the Edinburgh Reviewers the convenient middle term, the proper bonds of cohesion, they leant boldly on those all-agreeable worthies, “gratos supremis Deorum gratos et imis," and shook hands with the Radicals. A little airy sportive chat about independence, and scorn of power, will not suffice to wipe out the least of the stains which this uphallowed connexion has fixed upon all that partook in its symbols.a
In common justice, however, we should speak gently on this occasion; for it is already sufficiently visible that the effect of the spectacle has been exactly the reverse of what its devisers and principal performers must have had in view. It is quite right that they who are in should be in all things more moderate than they who are out ; but in the case of our friends the Tories, (as they are absurdly enough called, for want of a better name, we do think this system of moderation is sometimes carried not a little farther than it ought to be. Their enemies never confer any favour on them willingly, but if they were desirous of finding out a favour of real moment to confer upon them—they could not light on any thing more admirably adapted for their interests than the holding of such a meeting as this. It binds people visibly, who are too often apt to forget the real bonds that always subsist between them. It brings Whigs and Radicals together-but it brings the Tories together too, and then there is no reason to fear for the issue. We conclude as we began, with the words of Coriolanus,
“STAND FAST! WE HAVE AS MANY FRIENDS AS ENEMIES!"
a We are most happy to learn, however, that the “facile princeps” of the Scottish Whigs, Mr. Cranstqun, although he did sign the requisition for this meeting, did not attend it.
2. [From the same Magazine—for Jan. 1821.] An association, on a scale of great extent, in number, principle, and public influence, has lately been formed in London, for the purpose of resisting to the utmost, the progress of revolutionary fanaticism. The names already comprehend the chief of that class which forms the sinew of the public strength members of the different learned professions-commercial men of known respectability—and persons of independent private income.....A meeting has been already held; and the “Constitutional Association” has properly begun, by publishing a statement of its views. The following are the principal passages. [We extract two of them.]
• The press has unhappily become, in the hands of evil men, a lever to sbake the very foundations of social and moral order. It cannot but be matter of serious alarm to observe that a very large proportion of our periodical publications is under the direction either of avowed enemies of the Constitution, or of persons whose sole principle of action is their own selfish interest. By these, and by occasional writers of a like character and description, every artifice is employed, with daily increasing boldness, to render the people discontented with the Government and disobedient to the Laws ; to persuade them that they are betrayed by those who should protect them ; to seduce them from their affection and allegiance to their sovereigns; and, finally, to bring about a Revolution, to which the wealth, the prosperity, the internal happiness, and the political greatness of the Empire, must inevitably be sacrificed.
As it is clear that isolated, individual exertion, would be utterly inadequate to cope with all the evil energies now arrayed against public order and the public peace ; so it is to be feared, that the Government and Legislature themselves might find the contest difficult, without the active, zealous, and persevering co-operation of the loyal and well-disposed part of the community ; which co-operation, to be effectual, must be the result of a regular and systematic union of individuals.'
The essence of the authority of government is opinion. Without the national reliance, the most powerful administration is feebleness; it is met, at every step, by some new obstacle ; it may carry on, for a time, a heartless, tormenting, losing warfare, against the embittered and pursuing animosity of the nation ; but it must finally, and that at no great interval, find its resources cut off, and its only hope in a degrading capitulation. With the public faith for its ally, there is, humanly speaking, no limit to its power; it is the Giant, with the hundred hands, yet lifted and mighty only for the purposes of preservation; it has found the spot from which the realm, and with it the world, is to be