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but, in the meanwhile, the example was working here. The Septennial bill had produced all its natural consequences, wars, debts, and taxation; and, as the cause of the evils was seen, the people had begun, even during the American war, to demand a REFORM IN THE COMMONS HOUSE OF PARLIAMENT as the only cure for existing evils, and as the only security against their recurrence for the future. When the standard of the right of representation had been raised by thirty millions of people only twenty miles from them, those of England could not be expected to be dead to the call. They were not; and it required no long time to convince our aristocracy that one of two things must take place; namely, that the French people must be compelled to return under their ancient yoke; or, that a change must take place in England, restoring to the people the right of freely choosing their representatives; the consequences of which, to this aristocracy, were too obvious to need pointing out, even to parties not deeply interested in those consequences. The obstacles to war were very great. There was the DEBT, which, by the unsuccessful American war, had been made to amount to a sum, the annual interest of which demanded six times the amount of the taxes which had existed in the reign of James II. There were, besides, heavy burdens entailed upon the country by that war on account of half-pay and of other things. On the other
hand, we had a most advantageous commercial treaty with France, which the Republicans in France were ready to continue in force. The interests of the people of England manifestly pointed to peace: their wishes, too, were in favour of peace; and this latter is proved by their conduct, and still more clearly by the PROCLAMATIONS for checking French principles; by the ARISTOCRATICAL ASSOCIATIONS formed for that purpose; and by the TERRIBLE LAWS passed for the purpose of cutting off all communication between the people of the two countries.
22. But the alternative was, Parliamentary Reform, or put down the Republic of France. That really was the alternative, and the only one. The former ought to have been chosen; but the latter was resolved on, and that, too, in spite of the acknowledged risk of failure; for, so much did the aristocracy dread the other alternative, that failure, when compared with that, lost all its terrors. To war then they went; in war they continued for twenty-two years, except the short respite procured by the peace of Amiens, which was, in fact, a truce rather than a peace. At the end of twenty-two years, Louis XVIII. was restored to the throne of France; but of that event, and its causes and consequences, the details will come into the history to which this sketch is an introduction.
23. During the fight every thing but the dread
of the effect of the example of the French appears to have been overlooked by our aristocracy ; and, of course, they thought nothing of the DEBT which they were contracting, though that was, as the sequel will show, destined to undo all that they were doing against the French, and to render that parliamentary reform, which it had been their great object to root out of the minds of the people, more necessary and more loudly called for than ever. They had advanced only about six years in the war when they found themselves compelled to resort to a paper-money, and to make it a legal tender. This was a very important crisis in the affairs of the septennial parliament and of the aristocracy, and the consequences which have resulted, and will result from it, are to be ranked amongst those which decide the fate of governments. Therefore this matter calls for full explanation.
24. At the time when this war began, 1793, WILLIAM PITT, a son of the late Earl of Chatham, was the Prime Minister. He had established what he called a SINKING FUND, and had adopted other measures for reducing the amount of the DEBT, which had now reached the fearful amount of two hundred millions and upwards. A new war was wholly incompatible with Pitt's schemes of reduction; and he, of course, would be, and he really was, opposed to the war of 1793, though he carried it on (with the excep
tion of the truce before-mentioned) until the day of his death, which took place in 1806. And here we behold the direct, open, avowed, and all-ruling power of the aristocracy! This body had, for many years, been divided into two "parties," as they called them, bearing the two nick-names of TORIES and WHIGS, the etymology of which is of no consequence. The TORIES affected very great attachment to the throne and the church; the WHIGS affected perfect loyalty, indeed, but, surprising devotion to the rights of the people, though it was they who had brought in the Dutch king and his army, and who had made the Riot act and the Septennial bill; so that, if they were the friends of the people, what must their enemies have been! The truth is, there was no difference, as far as regarded the people, between these two factions; their real quarrels were solely about the division of the spoil; for, whenever any contest arose between the aristocracy and the people, the two factions had always united in favour of the former; and thus it was in regard to that all-important question, the war against Republican France.
25. PITT, who was the son of a Whig-Pensioner and had begun his career, not only as a Whig, but as a Parliamentary reformer, was now at the head of the Tories; and CHARLES FOX, who had not only been bred a Tory and begun his career as a Tory, but who had, and who held
to the day of his death, two sinecure offices, was at the head of the Whigs. These were the two men of the whole collection who could talk loudest, longest, and most fluently, and who were, therefore, picked out by their respective parties to lead in carrying those "DEBATES," as they are called, which have been one of the great means of amusing and deluding and enslaving this nation. Every effort was made by the respective parties to exalt their champions in the public estimation: they were represented as the two most wonderful men that the world had ever seen: as orators, Pitt was compared to CICERO, and Fox to DEMOSTHENES: Pitt, as a lawgiver, surpassed LYCURGUS; Fox more nearly resembled SOLON! The people, always credulous and vain enough as to such matters, carried away by the jugglery, ranged themselves under one or the other of these paragons and took their respective names as marks of honourable distinction; and thus, for thirty long years, were the industrious and sincere and public-spirited people of this country divided into PITTITES and FOXITES; thus were they for those thirty years the sport of the aristocracy who employed these political impostors, while every year of the thirty saw an addition to their burdens and a diminution of their liberties.
26. In this state stood the factions, when, in 1793, came the question of war against the