Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

property to the value of twenty mil. had one or two sail of the line more lions on board, are lying clustered or less than are now afloat, or whether together, without any prepared de- Lord This or the Hon. Mr That fence, save their own valour, from the should have been made such an admi. Chinese fireships ; and it is owing to ral's flag-lieutenant. It is no answer the accidental appearance of a frigate to our present disgraceful state of and a sloop of war in those latitudes weakness to say-we are now at peace that a single royal pendant has been with Russia ; still less that we have seen, or that noble fleet has been saved recently concluded a treaty with that from conflagration by the junks of empire for the adjustment of the Canton! If this is the way we are affairs of the East. The withering able to resist the flotilla of the Celestial alliance of such a power is not less empire, what should we say to the perilous than its open hostility. Amity thirty ships of the line of Nicholas, or with the Czar is admirable : but it the twenty of Louis-Philippe? The should be not the amity of the subone attack will, if the present Ministers sidiary rajahs in India with the Eng. continue at the helm, find us just as lish empire; it should be an equal unprepared as the other; the disgrace alliance - an alliance breathing no which has befallen us in the Eastern hostility, but fearing no danger-with will overtake us in the Western Seas; the olive branch in one hand and the and the extraordinary spectacle will sword in the other; and, till we again be exhibited of the three guard-ships, sharpen the edge of the sword, we which form Sir Charles Adam's never shall either be respected abroad boasted protection for England, stri. or in safety at home. ving to save London and Woolwich Look at the army, and the means from a tenfold greater European force. we possess of maintaining our land

In the debates in Parliament on this empire abroad, or holding together subject, the Opposition have never the various and discordant parts of our taken the properground. They have al- immense dominions. Has any thing ways allowed themselves to get invol

commensurate to the dangers with ved in a sea of details, which the nation which we are environed been done in don't understand and don't care about; that department? That our situation and amidst endless discussions about at home and abroad is full of peril, this flag-lieutenant and that two-decker, and such as calls in a voice of thunthis cut-down fifty-gun ship and that der for vigilant watchfulness and unsteamer of war, the one thing needful ceasing preparation, is evident, and -the equipment of a force adequate to admitted on all hands.

We have on the defence of the British empire_is one side Canada, teeming with a fierce totally forgotten. The case lies in a revolutionary alien population, in nutshell, and has nothing to do with which two frightful revolts have only these details, in which Admiralty clerks been suppressed by a deplorable loss or naval officers alone take an interest. of human life, an incredible amount of Have we a fleet in the British harbours human suffering, and an capable of combating the Russian, waste of British treasure :

we have which could be fitted out at a week's the West Indies, with the sword of notice? That is the question : all Damocles—a St Domingo revolt susothers are insignificant in comparison. pended by a thread over our heads, That the Russians have one we all and a sullen spoliated white population know: thirty ships of the line and as to resist it: we have the East lowering many frigates are constantly ready for with a triple war—the Chinese ensea at Cronstadt. What have we, on

gaged in actual hostilities—the Rusthe statementof the present Admiralty, sians already at Khiva, that is, on the to meet them ? Three guard-ships, high-road to Asterabad and the Induseach with a third of their crews on and the whole rajahs in the south of board, to protect the British isles! India leagued in a vast confederacy, What protection have we then for ready to break out like the TugendLondon or Woolwich, Portsmouth or bund of Germany, the moment a Plymouth_our commerce, our riches, serious disaster happens to the British or our liberties? None whatever. These arms ; in England, we have several are the questions which it imports the hundred thousand Chartists, armed, people of England to have answered ; organized, and prepared, at a mo. not whether the Tories in former days 'ment's warning, to renew the fires of

enormous

Birmingham and the insurrection of chequer can now assert is, that no Newport over the whole manufac- ADDITION has been made to the debt turing districts of Britain ; while in during that period! Is this the result Ireland, O'Connell, by his own ad- to which the efforts of all the talents mission, has seven hundred thousand - the condensation of Whig wisdom, fighting men” in the leash, ready to Radical economy, and Liberal legisla. let slip the moment that the fitting tion during ten years, have brought us? time has arrived for turning loose the We have added nothing to the debt in dogs of war. What, then, have Mi. that time! True, it has been a period of nisters done during the last year to profound foreign peace ; true, there guard against such a host of perils at was no extraordinary cause of expenhome and abroad—in the East, in the diture till the Canada revolt broke West, and in the South-above us, out; true, the first four years of it around us, in the midst of us ? Why, were fine years of unexampled agrithey have added ten thousand five cultural produce, and the next three hundred men to the army, of which of unparalleled commercial and maseven thousand are for the service of nufacturing prosperity. All this is the East India Company, and three true ; but somehow or other we could thousand five hundred for Canada, the not pay off any debt during all that West Indies, and the British Islands ! time. Be thankful - we have contractThe whole British army is only 91,000 ed none ! This is Whig - Radical strong; of whom at least 50,000 administration, this the conduct of are required for the garrisons abroad, the economical Government which leaving hardly 40,000 to preserve succeeded the profuse and profligate peace amidst a distracted population Tories, who, in fifteen years, from of 27,000,000 in the British Islands. 1815 to 1830, bad paid off £82,000,000 Was ever such infatuation heard of? of the public debt-in three years, Three ships of the line, and 40,000 from 1827 to 1830, no less than men to guard Great Britain and Ire- twenty millions !—and who left their land! Why, Russia has 100,000 successors a clear admitted surplus of veterans within a day's march of St £2,900,000 a year. At the same rate, Petersburg ; France 80,000 within from 1830 to 1840, the Tories would cannon-shot of Paris, and 300,000 have paid off SIXTY. FIVE MILLIONS, between Calais and the Pyrenees. and liberated the country for ever Even Prussia has 160,000 in arms in from three millions of yearly taxes her dominions : and this is the

way

in and the economical Liberals have not which we uphold the empire of Nelson discharged a farthing! and Wellington the state which But attend a little more closely to thirty years ago had eight hundred the state of the revenue, as it at prethousand men in arms, and two hun- sent stands, and the condition to which dred and forty ships of the line in her this Ministry, in whom the House of service—which beat down Napoleon, Commons have such confidence, have and reseued Europe ! - Quos Deus brought the British finances. It ap-, perdere vult prius dementat.

pears from the official documents now Doubtless, however, since the army laid before Parliament, that not only and navy is in so miserably reduced a has no debt whatever been paid off condition, as compared with the ex- for the last three years, but there isting dangers which threaten the has been a yearly deficit which has empire, the Government will be able stood as follows: to exhibit a favourable set-off in other

1837-£726,000 quarters ; and the quantity of debt they

1838— 440,000 must have paid off during the last ten

1839— 1,512,000 years must have taken a load off the springs of the state, and enabled us, In three years, £2,678,000 with renewed resources, to prepare It is hardly necessary to say, that for any fresh dangers which may

the estimates for 1840 amount to less arise. Yet, marvellous to narrate, here than those for 1839; in addition to too the inveterate vice of the whole which, the loss by the Penny Postage, system of Government is apparent; it is now admitted, will be little short and so far from having paid off one of £1,500,000_a-year: so that, for farthing of debt in the last ten years, the service of 1840, the shortcoming all that the Chancellor of the Ex will be at least £3,000,0001-a state

of things unheard of in peace in the Parliamentary Reform.

Have they whole annals of the British empire. done this? Are the masses quiet?

It was in this disastrous and un- Are there no Cbartists in the land ? precedented state of matters, of which is rebellion unheard of ?-treason unthey were well aware, (for, even if known ? Are the jails empty ? Has they had shut their eyes to it them- general disaffection, amidst the sinking selves, we had clearly pointed out the power, defences, and revenue of the whole matter in our article on Whig state, died a natural death? Alas! and Tory Finance, in October last,*) the very reverse of all this is the case. that the Ministry in whom the So far from disaffection having died a House of Commons have such confi- natural death, it never was so rife since dence proposed and carried the Penny the days of the Great Rebellion. So Postage system-that disgraceful tub far from the jails being empty, they to the whale of Popularity, which they are crammed with convicted rebels. well knew, for all their own servants So far from treason being put down, it in the Post-Office had told them so, has recently in many different quarters would at one blow sacrifice nearly a reared its hateful head-so far from million and a half of revenue, and property being safe, conflagration and double the already fearful deficit in ruin are daily bursting forth from the finances of the country. We Chartist revenge-so far from the doubt if any thing so monstrous and people being quieted and the waves of absurd ever was proposed at such a faction stilled, they are in an unheardtime by any administration, in any of state of excitement, and an inexplicountry; or any thing so utterly ruin- cable Whig blunder has alone saved ous ever assented to by any people a Whig magistrate and two Radical fit to be allowed to walk at large allies from the death of traitors on a out of Bedlam. Post-Office Reform, public scaffold! This is the result of which was loudly called for, had no- the grand experiment for bringing the thing whatever to do with it; it was legislature into a state of harmony easy to have made all the changes with the people—this the issue of the demanded in the rate of postage, with great Liberal nostrum for quieting the out destroying the revenue, or char- masses—this the way in which, by ging a letter the same which travelled conceding to public clamour, they twenty yards or seven hundred miles. have brought all ranks in the state But the state of the Ministry imperi. into cordial unanimity with the House ously called for some holocaust to of Commons! Why, the Reformed mob-popularity. They had hardly Parliament is now the object of more escaped from the rude shock of May inveterate hostility with the masses 1839; they were still sheltered only than the national representatives ever behind the Ladies of the Bed-Cham- were under the old constitution. The ber. Something must be done to re- language which daily is poured forth trieve their sinking credit with their on the liberal Government by their supporters; and the Penny Post sys- old supporters and correspondents in tem was that something; and the re- the Birmingham Political. Union, far venue of the country—the sheet an- exceeds in virulence all that the Tory chor of the empire, that holocaust. press ever uttered ; and so far from

Having thus sacrificed the revenue, the House of Commons, as constituted starved the army, ruined the navy, by our present rulers, possessing the surely the Ministers must have done confidence of the masses, it is their something to give them the recorded uniform and fundamental principle, confidence of the House of Commons that it is altogether incurable, and that --surely they must have conciliated social regeneration need never be the working-classes, and put an end looked for till universal suffrage is to the heart-burnings between the everywhere established. manufacturers and their operatives, Lord Melbourne admits all this. He and brought the House of Commons allows that it is desirable to have a into that state of " harmony with the surplus revenue, and that we have no people," which was held forth as the surplus. He allows it is bad to grand result to be anticipated from have a deficit, and that we have a

* See Vol. xlvi. p. 494.

[ocr errors]

deficit. He allows that the state of with their apparent if not real approthe country is alarming, and that it is bation, they naturally, and, as every in vain to expect any reduction in the man foresaw, unavoidably, brought estimates or expenses for the current about, unintentionally we believe, but year. He allows that the Reform really and effectually, the Birmingham Bill has failed in quieting the people, burnings, the Newport rebellion, the and that the strongest heads in Eu- Sheffield insurrection. So completely rope say,

6. Your new constitution is were the Chartists deluded as to the a very good fair-weather constitution, ability or inclination of Government but show us how it will stand a storm.' to resist them, that they expected, we He admits that it is a grave and seri. are persuaded, any thing rather than ous question how far the new and punishment from the success of their liberal system of allowing the public effort; and never were words spoken mind to be daily drenched with the, with more sincerity than those of Frost to them, uncontradicted falsehoods of to Jones, when he was setting out for a press

" which never utters one word transportation, We little expected of truth, and never utters a falsehood this when we set out on the 4th of without a motive,” can long exist November." without dissolving and destroying so- The next panacea of the Ministry, ciety. Lord John Russell admits in for the admitted and hourly increasing the House of Commons that the state depravity of the manufacturing disof the manufacturing districts is tricts, and the frightful anti-religious alarming—that enormous masses of and anti-social doctrines which have men have grown up in different quar- spread amongst them, is the profuse ters, having no connexion or sym- distribution of the power of reading, pathy with the higher orders, and and the stern denial of all extended exhibiting a “deplorable want of religious instruction; that is, the means education, and above all, religious of perusing the obscenity of the Socieducation." These are the admissions alists and the sedition of the Northern of the leaders of Ministry themselves; Star, but none for hearing the words and what remedy have they proposed of salvation or the Gospel of Christ. for such acknowledged evils ? They They know that crime is increasing are these : impunity to incipient and with a rapidity, in the manufacorganizing treason--stern refusal of turing districts, unprecedented in any religious instruction to the people any other age or country. They -and the system of open questions know, that under the combined operain the Cabinet.

tion of intellectual cultivation, spiThe “ National Convention" began ritual destitution, Socialist meetings, its sittings in London in November halls of science, labourers' insti. 1838. Delegates in September and tutes, penny magazines, mechanics' October had previously been elected reading-rooms, and deserted churches, over the whole manufacturing districts, felonies in the manufacturing districts all of whom were sent there with the are advancing at the rate of fifty per avowed purpose of organizing the most cent every three years, or DOUBLING effectual means of carrying through by EVERY SIX YEARS, while population is “ agitation, intimidation, and if neces- doubling in the same districts in 36 sary, force,” the people's Charter.

in other words, advancing This illegal and seditious assembly was in the manufacturing districts as the allowed to continue its sittings for six square of the population. They are so months, in London, under the very eye conscious of this that they have not yet of the Home-Office; every night spout- printed even the criminal returns ing sedition, and recommending arm. for 1838, far less 1839; they know ing; not unfrequently organizing trea. that the returns show three educated son. Ministers appointed the Radical for one uneducated criminal; and leader and quondam Chartist treasurer knowing this, they have set abroad the at Birmingham, Lord Mayor of the cry, that these their darling returns, town; they had previously made Frost, which they expected were to show the the Chartist delegate, a magistrate of superior innocence ofthe sons of Adam Monmouthshire; and having thus ale who had tasted of the fruit ofthe tree of lowed sedition and treason to acquire knowledge to those who had not, are, consistency and effect organization in M‘Culloch's words, entirely deluas it were under their very eyes, and sive, and fitted more to mislead thap in.

[ocr errors]

years ;

1

1

struct.”. They know all this, and what of the Revolutionists. What is it but remedy do they propose for these enor. saying,-Government is so weak that mous and unheard-of evils? Why, they it cannot maintain any opinion of its make Mr Pare, the noted Socialist, own, even on subjects the most vital Registrar of Marriages at Birming- to the national existence ; it cannot ham; they obstinately resist one far- control the opinion of the masses, even thing to Church-Extension, though in when they are conscious they are urGlasgow alone the report of their own ging the state to perdition; therefore Commissioners showed 66,000 persons all it can do is to let the opposite facfor whom there is no room in any place tions fight it out, and turn them like of worship, established or dissenting ; wild beasts into the great arena of and their remedy for all these evils is Parliament, when the state and all its a grant of £30,000 a-year to Educa. incalculable interests are to be the prey tion Commissioners, apart from and of the strongest ? at variance with the Church, and Lord Melbourne tells us that the where a sort of nondescript morality is idea of abolishing the Corn-Laws is the to be taught, which the Papist, the “ most insane imagination that ever Socinian, the Dissenter, the Presby yet entered into the mind of man." terian, and the Episcopalian can Lord John Russell says, in the House equally swallow. What is this but a of Commons, that the Ballot will prove system which will clearly aggravate fatal to public morality—that it will the very evils which they themselves inevitably lead to the extension of the acknowledge to be now dissolving suffrage; and that again to a republisociety, and, if generally adopted, bring can government and a division of proforth a nest of young infidels—a brood perty. Yet, entertaining these opinof moral vipers into the world, who ions—seeing these dangers—aware of will speedily join the cry of “ com- these perils—these noble lords, as a munity of goods and women," and, convenient way of avoiding the diffigiving full swing to their passions, culty at the moment, make these overwhelm the state with horrors far vital matters open Cabinet questions ; exceeding those of the French Revo- in other words, leave the door open for lution ?

the Revolutionists to work out, by the The last panacea for a distracted destruction of agriculture, the aristostate is the system of open questions. cracy, and the constitution, the ruin of Of all means of hastening the dissolu

the empire.

What is this but a caption of an empire that ever were de- tain, when drifting on the breakers, vised this is the most effectual. What proclaiming it an open question wheis the open question system? Why; ther or not they shall put about the it is just an abdication by Government, helm or furl the sails ; or Wellington on certain subjects, of its vital func- at Waterloo declaring it an open tions—an abandonment of the great question, on which his generals may interests of society to the efforts of follow their own opinion, whether they faction-an open proclamation of the will fight or retreat ? principle, “ Here are the wealth and How, then, has it happened that a property of the state! Huzza for the Ministry, possessing, as their words strongest !” Government, doubtless, demonstrate, the confidence of no indo not intend this, when they go into terest, section, or party in the state ; this short-sighted policy, but they do whose acts have outraged, injured, or a thing which will unquestionably have endangered all the vital interests of the this effect. The subjects which are empire ; and whose avowed principles now to be left as open questions in are alike ruinous to public morality the Cabinet are the Corn-Laws and the and destructive to public safety, should Ballot, to which it is easy to see, at no still command, as they unquestionably distant period, the Extension of the Suf- do, when matters come to a crisis, a frage will be added. To proclaim the majority of the House of Commons ? open question system on such subjects, This is the question which it behoves in such times as the present, is evidently England to answer-this is the questo deliver over the empire to the hands tion on which history will dwell with

*

Will no Conservative move for the Criminal Returns of 1838–1839?_Verbum sapienti.

« AnteriorContinuar »