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despotic,-nay, much more so. In despotic states, the multitude is unaccustomed to general speculations on politics. Even when men suffer most severely, they look no further than the proximate cause. They demand the abolition of a particular duty, or tear an obnoxious individual to pieces. But they never -think of attacking the whole system. If Constantinople were in the state in which Manchester and Leeds have lately been, there would be a cry against the Grand Vizier or the bakers. The head of the Vizier would be thrown to the mob, over the wall of the Seraglio-a score of bakers would be smothered in their own ovens; and everything would go on as before. Not a single rioter would think of curtailing the prerogatives of the Sultan, or of demanding a representative divan. But people familiar with political inquiries carry their scrutiny farther; and, justly or unjustly, attribute the grievances under which they labour, to defects in the original constitution of the government. Thus it is with a large proportion of our spinners, our grinders, and our weavers. It is not too much to say, that in a season of distress, they are ripe for any revolution. This, indeed, is acknowledged by all the Tory writers of our time. But all this, they tell us, comes of education-it is all the fault of the Liberals. We will not take up the time of our readers with answering such observations. We will only remind our gentry and clergy, that the question at present is not about the cause of the evil, but about its cure; and that, unless due precaution be used, let the fault be whose it may, the punishment will inevitably be their own.
The history of our country, since the peace of 1815, is almost entirely made up of the struggles of the lower orders against the government, and of the efforts of the government to keep them down. In 1816, immense assemblies were convened, secret societies were formed, and gross outrages were committed. 1817, the Habeas Corpus Act was twice suspended. In 1819, the disturbances broke out afresh. Meetings were held, so formidable, from their numbers and their spirit, that the Ministry, and the Parliament, approved of the conduct of magistrates who had dispersed one of them by the sword. Fresh laws were passed against seditious writings and practices. Yet the following year commenced with a desperate and extended conspiracy for the assassination of the cabinet, and the subversion of the government. A few months after this event, the Queen landed. On that occasion, the majority of the middling orders joined with the mob. The effect of the union was irresistible. The Ministers and the Parliament stood aghast; the bill of pains and penalties was dropped; and a convulsion, which seemed
inevitable, was averted. But the events of that year ought to impress one lesson on the mind of every public man,-that an alliance between the disaffected multitude and a large portion of the middling orders, is one with which no government can venture to cope, without imminent danger to the constitution.
A government like that with which England would be cursed, if the present Ministry should fall before the present Opposition, would render such an alliance not only inevitable, but permanent. In less than ten years, it would goad every Reformer in the country into a Revolutionist. It would place at the head of the multitude, persons possessing all the education, all the judgment, and all the habits of co-operation, in which the multitude itself is deficient. That great body is physically the most powerful in the state. Like the Hebrew champion, it is yet held in captivity by its blindness. But if once the eyeless Giant shall find a guide to put his hand on the props of the State-if once he shall bow himself upon the pillars, woe to all those who have made him their laughing-stock, or chained him to grind at their mill!
We do, therefore, firmly believe, that, even if no external cause were to precipitate a fatal crisis, this country could not be governed for a single generation by such men as Lord Westmoreland and Lord Eldon, without extreme risk of revolution. But there are other symptoms in the body politic, not less alarming than those which we have described. In Ireland, there are several millions of Catholics, who do not love our government; and who detest, with all their heart, with all their soul, with all their mind, and with all their strength, the party now in Opposition. The accession of that party to power, would be a death-blow to their hopes of obtaining their demands by constitutional means: and we may fairly expect, that all the events which followed the recall of Lord Fitzwilliam, will take place again, on a greater and more formidable scale. One thing, indeed, we have no right to expect, that a second Hoche will be as unfortunate as the former. A civil war in Ireland will lead almost necessarily to a war with France. Maritime hostilities with France, and the clash of neutral and belligerent pretensions, will then produce war with America. Then come expeditions to Canada and expeditions to Java. The Cape of Good Hope must be garrisoned. Lisbon must be defended. Let us suppose the best. That best must be, a long conflict, a dearbought victory, a great addition to a debt already most burdensome, fresh taxes, and fresh discontents. All these are events
which may not improbably happen under any governmentevents which the next month may bring forth-events, against
which no minister, however able and honest, can with perfect certainty provide,-but which Ministers, whose policy should exasperate the people of Ireland, would almost unavoidably bring upon us. A Cabinet formed by the Ex-Ministers could scarcely exist for a year, without incensing the lower classes of the English to frenzy, by giving them up to the selfish tyranny of its aristocratical supporters, without driving Ireland into rebellion, and without tempting France to war.
There is one hope, and one hope only for our country; and that hope is in a liberal Administration,-in an Administration which will follow with cautious, but with constantly advancing steps, the progress of the public mind; which, by promptitude to redress practical grievances, will enable itself to oppose with authority and effect, the propositions of turbulent theorists; which by kindness and fairness in all its dealings with the People, will entitle itself to their confidence and esteem.
The state of England, at the present moment, bears a close resemblance to that of France at the time when Turgot was called to the head of affairs. Abuses were numerous; public burdens heavy; a spirit of innovation was abroad among the people. The philosophical Minister attempted to secure the ancient institutions, by amending them. The mild reforms which he projected, had they been carried into execution, would have conciliated the people, and saved from the most tremendous of all commotions the Church, the Aristocracy, and the Throne. But a crowd of narrow-minded nobles, ignorant of their own interest, though solicitous for nothing else, the Newcastles and the Salisburys of France, began to tremble for their oppressive franchises. Their clamours overpowered the mild good sense of a King who wanted only firmness to be the best of Sovereigns. The Minister was discarded for councillors more obsequious to the privileged orders; and the aristocracy and clergy exulted in their success.
Then came a new period of profusion and misrule. And then, swiftly, like an armed man, came poverty and dismay. The acclamations of the nobles, and the Te Deums of the church, grew fainter and fainter. The very courtiers muttered disapprobation. The Ministers stammered out feeble and inconsistent counsels. But all other voices were soon drowned in one, which every moment waxed louder and more terrible,-in the fierce and tumultuous roar of a great people, conscious of irresistible strength, maddened by intolerable wrongs, and sick of deferred hopes! That cry, so long stifled, now rose from every corner of France, made itself heard in the presence-chamber of her King, in the saloons of her nobles, and in the refectories of her luxu
rious priesthood. Then, at length, concessions were made which the subjects of Louis the Fourteenth would have thought it impious even to desire,-which the most factious opponent of Louis the Fifteenth had never ventured to ask,-which, but a few years before, would have been received with ecstasies of gratitude. But it was too late!
The imprisoned Genie of the Arabian Tales, during the early period of his confinement, promised wealth, empire, and supernatural powers to the man who should extricate him. But when he had waited long in vain, mad with rage at the continuance of his captivity, he vowed to destroy his deliverer without mercy! Such is the gratitude of nations exasperated by misgovernment to rulers who are slow to concede. The first use which they make of freedom is to avenge themselves on those who have been so slow to grant it.
Never was this disposition more remarkably displayed than at the period of which we speak. Abuses were swept away with unsparing severity. The royal prerogatives, the feudal privileges, the provincial distinctions, were sacrificed to the passions of the people. Everything was given; and everything was given in vain. Distrust and hatred were not to be thus eradicated from the minds of men who thought that they were not receiving favours but extorting rights; and that, if they deserved blame, it was not for their insensibility to tardy benefits, but for their forgetfulness of past oppression.
What followed was the necessary consequence of such a state of feeling. The recollection of old grievances made the people suspicious and cruel. The fear of popular outrages produced emigrations, intrigues with foreign courts; and, finally, a general war. Then came the barbarity of fear; the triple despotism of the clubs, the committees, and the commune; the organized anarchy, the fanatical atheism, the scheming and far-sighted madness, the butcheries of the Chatelet, and the accursed marriages of the Loire. The whole property of the nation changed hands. Its best and wisest citizens were banished or murdered. Dungeons were emptied by assassins as fast as they were filled by spies. Provinces were made desolate. Towns were unpeopled. Old things passed away. All things became new.
The paroxysm terminated. A singular train of events restored the house of Bourbon to the French throne. The exiles have returned. But they have returned as the few survivors of the deluge returned to a world in which they could recognise nothing; in which the valleys had been raised, and the mountains depressed, and the courses of the rivers changed,-in which sand VOL. XLVI. NO. 91. S
and sea-weed had covered the cultivated fields and the walls of imperial cities. They have returned to seek in vain, amidst the mouldering relics of a former system, and the fermenting elements of a new creation, the traces of any remembered object. The old boundaries are obliterated. The old laws are forgotten. The old titles have become laughing-stocks. The gravity of the parliaments, and the pomp of the hierarchy; the Doctors whose disputes agitated the Sorbonne, and the embroidered multitude whose footsteps wore out the marble pavements of Versailles, -all have disappeared. The proud and voluptuous prelates who feasted on silver, and dozed amidst curtains of massy velvet, have been replaced by curates who undergo every drudgery and every humiliation for the wages of lackeys. To those gay and elegant nobles who studied military science as a fashionable accomplishment, and expected military rank as a part of their birthright, have succeeded men born in lofts and cellars; educated in the half-naked ranks of the revolutionary armies, and raised by ferocious valour and self-taught skill, to dignities with which the coarseness of their manners and language forms a grotesque contrast. The government may amuse itself by playing at despotism, by reviving the names and aping the style of the old court-as Helenus in Epirus consoled himself for the lost magnificence of Troy, by calling his brook Xanthus, and the entrance of his little capital the Scæan gate. But the law of entail is gone, and cannot be restored. The liberty of the press is established, and the feeble struggles of the Minister cannot permanently put it down. The Bastille is fallen, and can never more rise from its ruins. A few words, a few ceremonies, a few rhetorical topics, make up all that remains of that system which was founded so deeply by the policy of the house of Valois, and adorned so splendidly by the pride of Louis the Great.
Is this a romance? Or is it a faithful picture of what has lately been in a neighbouring land-of what may shortly be, within the borders of our own? Has the warning been given in vain? Have our Mannerses and Clintons so soon forgotten the fate of houses as wealthy and as noble as their own? Have they forgotten how the tender and delicate woman,-the woman who would not set her foot on the earth for tenderness and delicateness, the idol of gilded drawing-rooms, the pole-star of crowded theatres, the standard of beauty, the arbitress of fashion, the patroness of genius,-was compelled to exchange her luxurious and dignified case for labour and dependence, the sighs of Dukes and the flattery of bowing Abbés for the insults of rude pupils and exacting mothers ;-perhaps, even to draw an infamous and