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the loss or the decay of all those characteristics by which the Englishman was supposed to be distinguished from his continental cotemporaries. It does appear that the principles of the revolution have lost some of that salutary influence amongst our politicians, which is the surest safeguard against despotism. But the individual honour of private character is still intact; our social institutions are still inviolate; our establishments, our virtues, domestic and national, to the man of whatever country, who is willing, and has had the opportunity to appreciate the comparative qualities of peoples, must still raise us far above our rivals, or our associates, in the scale of humanity. The majority even of our prevailing statesmen are not tainted with any of the baser vices, nor with a settled design against the constitution, and may be acquitted of every delinquency not included in prejudice, , presumption, and obstinacy. A pamphlet, with the title de l'Angleterre et les Anglais, by M. T. B. Say, which was in considerable vogue during the latter part of my stay at Paris, attempted to show the exceeding degeneracy and distress of England; but as the author's complaint or pity was chiefly directed towards us because we had given a pension to the family of Nelson, an admiral killed in battle; because
there were no workmen descuvrés to be seen in our coffee-houses; because the studies at Oxford were un peu Gothiques, and books were getting so dear that few could read; because there were no people in Great Britain idle by profession ; and, lastly, because we drank bad port, I thought Mr. Say might have as well have confined himself to the copious quotations he made from Hamilton on the Public Debt, and, accordingly, took occasion to tell him so in a short answer to his pamphlet, written for one of the French journals. Certainly, books are too dear, and our port wine is very bad; but these evils hardly deserve to be put by the side of our great national calamity, which promises certain destruction,
So many predictions have been falsified, so many periods assigned for a general bankruptcy have passed harmless and unnoticed, that the prevalent persuasion has, until lately, been, that a resisting power resides in the public purse, which is augmented by, and will perpetually reply to increased pressure. The affluence of the country has appeared inexhaustible, since, whatever draughts are drawn from this reservoir, the source, like the end of Odin's horn, is sunk into
When our financiers found that the sum beyond which eyen Mr. Pitt had considered
an extension of the debt totally impracticable had been exceeded by two hundred millions, they saw no end to the credit of the government, nor to the principle of supply. The facility with which their loans are always negotiable must have aided the delusion; and the occasional success of a scheme of taxation, as it flattered their vanity, so it increased their hopes, until at last they were bold enough to adduce the length to which they had already stretched the rope, as a proof that it would bear farther tension ; although, to the uninstructed capacity of common men, all former experiments reduced, rather than increased, the chance of future resistance. Now, however, that it seems decided, that not only we cannot bear more because we have borne so much, but that what we now bear can be no longer borne, we begin to question the merit of that system pursued for so many years, which has terminated in advantages of a doubtful nature, but in an evil unquestionable, weighing upon all, and coming home to every apprehension, and to all classes of society. At least one half of those who have ever turned to political reflections, either as a study or an amusement, are disinclined to the establishment of Lord Castlereagh's ancient social system, and conceive all our blood and treasure to have been
squandered in a cause which, notwithstanding its apparent success, neither can be able, nor ought, finally, to triumph. Whilst not one individual amongst us, no, not Lord Castlereagh himself, can deny, that the sacrifices, indispensable perhaps with the perseverance of such a system, have brought us to the verge of a gulf which has swallowed up many other states and nations, and may therefore be expected to be fatal to our own. Our military glory may illustrate but not prevent our fall; and ruin may follow upon victory no less certainly than disgrace has been the companion of defeat.
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