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CAN SCOTLAND REASONABLY COMPLAIN OF INJUSTICE FROM ENGLAND ?
It is a humiliating fact, that reasonable / of Great Britain depends upon the three men should now be called on to discuss such kingdoms maintaining a cordial sympathy, a question as this. So long, however, as instead of raising questions of real or prethere are those whose sophistry or declama- tended national grievance, which would contion is harmful, the irksome task will be stantly suggest the idea of these being imposed of combating the errors which they united only by a weak bond, and having a endeavour to disseminate. A few individuals number of separate or opposing interests. have united in Scotland, to stir up the em- Such a course would arouse the suspicions of bers of national animosity, in imitation of foreign powers-would take away our unity the repeal agitation in Ireland. Their lan- of sympathy, which is the source of our guage is more extravagant, bombastic, and national strength—and would be the foreinflammatory than is usual even at the runner of Britain's fall. It is undeniable that commencement of a revolutionary campaign. Scotland has received immense benefits from There can be no doubt that the leaders of the union with England, -benefits in comthe Scottish Rights movement look forward parison with which her grievances are with pleasure to a general agitation, for the as nothing. Her commerce has been largely consequences of which they would not hold increased; much of English wealth flows in themselves responsible. There is indeed no- upon her; many government offices are held thing more natural than the expectation by Scotchmen. Scotchmen find their way that we shall soon have tradition, if not in England to an opulence which their own treason, as prevalent here as was the case country could not give them. It is danin Ireland. We believe there is no grievance gerous to raise, by means of agitation, a few of which Scotland can possibly complain, paltry cases of grievance, as such agitation greater than that her loyal and dutiful sons would go on even after these had been remedied, may probably have to submit to the aliena- and lead to an examination by England, as tion of the English people, in consequence well as Scotland, of the principles on which of the declamation of a few agitators. The the union is based, and either to a separaawakening of national hatred, which the tion of the countries, or to conditions less Scottish Rights movement is sure to cause, advantageous to Scotland. if adopted by the population, would prove a We submit that we have now stated very curse to Scotland, as certainly as such ani- strong reasons for refusing to commit ourmosity has blighted Ireland. We live in selves to an agitation which, if it once gains extraordinary times: witness a groundless sufficient prominence, cannot be bridled. We agitation suddenly raised in the midst of a add, that such an agitation cannot possibly peaceable and contented people. The times obtain the objects sought for. The reason is are extraordinary enough to render it not obvious. By the union we have merged improbable, that although now writing arti- much of our national power in that of Engcles against each other's views, we may, if | land. For example, the members of parthis tumult be allowed to increase, be draw- liament returned from Scotland are only a ing swords against each other. This would small portion of the House of Commons. It be a backward movement, it is true, but the is clear, therefore, that it must be either progress of society is not always unchecked. from the good will of England, or from naBackward and forward the pendulum swings tional menace or rebellion, that we can which marks the slow progress of human obtain the redress of any of our grievances; affairs. There is a villanous tendency in and we do not believe that Scotland is such an agitation as we condemn, to gather strong—or at all events united-enough, to new strength as it proceeds. The prosperity enable her to dissolve the union, or to force
England to yield to her demands. We ob- 1 We cannot now enter into an examination serve, as a reason against the Scottish Rights of all the charges made by our opponents agitation, that Scotland is flourishing, and against England. The utmost ingenuity her population comparatively happy and and diligence have been exerted to discover contented. Till the year now closed, we cases of grievance. We shall only animadhad no such complaint of injustice to Scot- vert on the leading grievances alleged; and land, since the union. There seems reason it is proper to observe, that our remarks on to suspect that men are here annoying them- these are generally applicable to those we do selves about trifles. None felt that any griev- not notice. ances existed, until the population were told 1. The agitation began by an unscrupuso by a few individuals. We have not the lous procedure. It was first a complaint, excuse of poverty and distress, which the made by memorials and otherwise, by a few Irish had for the repeal agitation. It is obscure persons, not of a social grievance, a evident, therefore, both from our prosperity, religious grievance, or a pecuniary grievance, and the long time which has elapsed since but a heraldic grievance! At this time, the union without such agitation, that it is however, the great design of a general aginow too late to attempt to raise it, and is tation against Scottish grievances was caregroundless in point of equity.
fully concealed. It was decided at once by The principle upon which wise men act, is the competent authorities, and it is now not doggedly to carry out abstract princi- generally acknowledged, that the complaint ples, but to support those political institu- was groundless. Yet this decision was kept tions which work well, and are suited to the back by those who made the complaint, age. At the same time, their abstract prin- we suppose, in “justice” to the community. ciples may be wisely set forth, and gradually It appears that the lion has all along been adopted. Great Britain condemned the in its proper place in the national arms, and chartist agitation, as ignoring such policy. that the unicorn has, except during a short Our Scotch opponents are falling into the interval, been without a crown. In the same errors, not omitting the error of need- twenty-fourth section of the treaty of union, less agitation. Notwithstanding the various it is expressly stated, that “the quartering inequalities which exist, the government of of the arms, and the rank and precedency of this country, on the whole, is wisely con- the Lyon King of Arms of the kingdom of ducted. If we go into matters of abstract Scotland, as may best suit the union, be left justice, we should require to touch upon to Her Majesty.” The complaint, frivolous various things maintainable only on account as it was, is thus shown to have no foundaof their expediency. The cry of justice is tion.—2. It was complained that the Free here a miserable pretence. Scotchmen con- Library Act, and other acts of public utility, demned the Irish agitation, and do not now were not extended to Scotland. The public pretend to uphold it. What injustice can were led to believe that the Scotch people Scotland complain of nearly so glaring as were taxed for the maintenance of free that which presses down Irelandan eccle- libraries in England. Certain English towns siastical establishment, paid for by those of wished the Free Library Act, and it was a different faith, who constitute a very large passed. Not having been asked for in majority of the people? Why do our oppo- Scotland, it was not extended to that counnents not strengthen the cause of justice to try at the time. It might be considered as Scotland, by supporting the dissenters of an experimental measure, and thus was proIreland in attempting to rid themselves of perly limited at first in its application. It this burden? They dare not. The fact is, is possible that such legislation might prove there is no great principle involved in their injurious; but in this view Scotland would agitation. The movement is destitute of all be free from it. At the same time it is value, either as regards principle or expe perfectly possible for Scotch members to diency. The objects desired by the Chartists introduce and pass measures for Scotland are being gradually secured without agita alone. Thus the tests in the Scottish tion; and we may be assured, that if Scotland | universities have been virtually abolished, has any proper grounds of complaint, these whilst the English universities are closed will be remedied without popular clamour. against dissenters. The Scotch are likely
to have the benefit of a national education England itself has no such universities as sooner than the English. A new free library government gave to Ireland. The latter act would have required to be introduced country was discontented, and Sir Robert applicable to Scotland, as Mr. Ewart's act | Peel, amidst general clamour, built and encould not have been well adapted to our dowed those colleges, and increased the municipal institutions. The writer of the endowment of Maynooth; and, in doing so, present article vainly endeavoured to induce perhaps went too far in that direction. We the town council of Edinburgh, or the think that because government, actuated by general population, to take up the subject, state policy, planted colleges in certain after the act had been for some time in force quarters, it is not bound to do so in other in England. Only one petition was sent from parts of the kingdom. To expend public Scotland in favour of the extension of the money in that way, without the necessity of act-a petition which emanated from a so- a large increase of taxation, we believe, after ciety with which he is connected, and the all, would be wise; and we have no doubt act was soon afterwards extended. The that, in connexion with a national system of hollow agitators never pressed the subject, education, our government will be soon wiland now that the act is extended, have ling, and indeed glad, to build and endow made no effort for it to be carried out. “ people's" colleges, both in Scotland and We would here make a remark sufficiently England.-5. Scotland, it is said, has reason significant. Mr. Ewart, the author of to complain that she has no proper means of the act in question, assured us, that when defence. Sir Archibald Alison states that he introduced it, he made a strong attempt the English have 40,000 regular troops, and to have it applied to Scotland; but that this 80,000 militia, and that the Irish have was opposed, and his object defeated by 22,000 troops, and 12,000 armed police. certain members of parliament returned In Scotland, again, there are only two batfrom the northern part of the United King- talions of infantry, and one negiment of dom. The preceding views have been stated cavalry. Why should Scotland have solat some length, as they apply generally to diers? Because an invasion is feared! The the whole qnestion of the passing of mea- alleged grievance is only an application of sures of public utility, applicable at first to the invasion panic to Scotland, and the most only one part of the kingdom.-3. It is liberal politicians have regarded such fears urged that London and Dublin have various as groundless. A few years ago, the French, charitable institutions, supported or assisted under Louis Philippe, were expected to inby government, while those of the Scottish vade England, and march upon London; capital receive no such aid. London, from more recently it was the French under Naits immense population, and Dublin, from poleon III.; now it is the Russians who are the poverty which prevails there, have pro- to attack Scotland! The fact is, the British bably greater need of government endow- army are chiefly placed round the seats of ments than Edinburgh, which abounds with government, and in Ireland, where they are hospitals which are made an improper use most needed; and to send them to Scotland, of. We contend, however, that all such | where they are not required, would be a grants should be withdrawn. That these palpable absurdity. The remark of Sir are given to two of the capitals, is no reason Archibald, that the troops are used for the why they should be extended to the third. defence of the “ English” only, is a mere --4. It is alleged that large sums are ex- quibble. It is obvious that before an attack pended by government in the endowment of on Scotland could be made, the whole army English colleges, but that Scotland receives in the two other kingdoms could and would a much smaller sum for her universities; be concentrated in Scotland in a few hours. also, that Ireland alone has received the We are gravely asked, under these circumbenefit of the Queen's Colleges. As to the stances, to submit to a permanent increase first point, it is sufficient to reply that the of the British army. As for a militia, we do Scotch universities receive annually £7,560 not require such a burden. The militia from the state, while the English universi- existing are judged sufficient for the proties receive £6,000, although entitled to tection of the kingdom; and if a greater much more. Regarding the other matter, number should be needed, Scotland will
assuredly be called on to contribute her officer, the Secretary of State for the Home proportion. Meanwhile, we suppose there Department acts for Scotland as well as is nothing to hinder our patriotic opponents England; there is also a Scotch lord at the from forming rifle clubs, or enlisting in the Treasury Board, and a number of Scotch army, if they prefer it. Nearly similar peers and members of parliament. If these remarks might be offered as to the com- cannot attend to the interests of Scotland in plaint that Scotland is destitute of proper the legislature, it is absurd to expect that a arsenals. Those in England are situated secretary of state could do so. It appears where they are absolutely required. - 6. to us that such an office would only lead to Holyrood Palace and Chapel, it is com- greater indolence on the part of those whose plained, are allowed to go to ruins, whereas duty it is to co-operate in promoting ScotHampton Court, and other English palaces, tish interests in parliament.-8. The last are carefully preserved. The latter are complaint which we shall notice is that of needed for state purposes: on the other an adequate representation of Scotland in hand, Holyrood is scarcely used; and we the House of Commons. The Act of Union have no evidence that our Queen would declares the number of members to be 513 abandon Balmoral, and reside at Holyrood for England, and 45 for Scotland. The RePalace for a considerable part of each year, form Bill, again, fixes the proportion as 493 if the latter were repaired. We think to 53. It is urged that Scotland should all that a government should do with such have twenty additional representatives. In edifices, is merely to keep them from decay. estimating the increase of members from To expend large sums of money upon them Scotland as only nine since the union, our would be a vain extravagance; and this evil, opponents forget that England has twenty if it prevails in England, should be checked, members less than previously. We cannot not extended to Scotland. Various ancient avoid noticing the gross insincerity of the buildings have claims as well as Holyrood. Tories, who are the leaders of the Scottish But our opponents either display ignorance Rights movement. The Reform Bill was or duplicity in pretending that government framed, allowing to Scotland exactly the has done nothing for Holyrood. Some years number of members to which she was entiago they paid a large sum for plans to put a tled according to the combined estimate of roof on the chapel, but it was discovered that taxation and population on which the bill the walls were too weak to support one. It was founded, but all this, and much more, appears from a parliamentary return issued was defeated by the Tories. Sir A. Alison, in 1830, that during the previous nine years and his friends, opposed the extension of the upwards of £29,000 had been squandered franchise, and, in terms of impertinent scuron the palace in question. Within a few rility, attacked the character of the proposed years, £45,000 of public money have been ten-pound voters: his opinions, therefore, on expended on the adjacent park, all for the all such matters, seem little worth. We benefit of the Scottish metropolis: but of deprecate any great increase in the number course our opponents quietly ignore these of the Scotch representatives, because it facts.-7. Scotland, it is said, requires a would be the means of introducing into the secretary of state. It had one before, but legislature a greater number of obstructive the office fell into disrepute, and there does | Tories, and nameless and incapable Liberals. not seem much encouragement to revive it. | As in Ireland there is a Romanist party, in To make the office independent of changes Scotland we should have an anti-Romanist of ministry would be adverse to the spirit faction, each making the House of Commons of the constitution. What is here wanted the scene of ecclesiastical wrangling. We would promote that very evil of centraliza- wish to see a British liberal party, not either tion which our opponents affect to condemn. an Irish or Scotch party. We feel it would It is true that the Lord Advocate, who vir- lead to dissatisfaction in England if her tually fills the office of secretary of state, representation were diminished, and the may be overworked; but the same remark number of members taken from her shared applies to other members of the government, between Ireland and Scotland, or given to so that the grievance does not apply to Scotland alone. Scotland has never been Scotland in particular. Besides this law refused any measure of justice by having a
smaller rather than a larger number of proper issue for this question. Not cermembers. Half-a-dozen enterprising mem- tainly strife,-agitation. That would only bers could introduce and carry measures alienate the two kingdoms, and diminish affecting Scotland, as well as a' greater our means of improvement and redress. We number. The whole matter of the national have had enough of agitation in Scotland. representation is soon to be taken up by We live here in the midst of an intense government, and if any inequality exists, it worldliness, met, alas! by an intensely conmay be removed. The legislature have troversial spirit, which pains and harasses never been asked for an increase of Scotch all to whom Christianity is a spirit of genrepresentatives, and, of course, it has not tleness and good will. Shrinking, as we do, refused to give it.
from the popular doctrine of spiritual indeIt is evident, in reviewing the alleged pendence, we would be most unwilling to grievances now adverted to, that the Scot- weaken the bond which unites us with noble tish Rights movement is based on a number England. We speak in these friendly pages of gross fallacies. For example, it looks to many Englishmen, and we feel assured only to what government has not done, not that they mean to inflict no injustice upon also to what it has done, for Scotland alone. us: hence agitation is a crime. Let ScotIt forgets the claims of the English pro- land use the means which the constitution vinces. We may add, it implies that the allows for the removal of every abuse. grievances complained of, if just, will not be There are no greater evils than those which removed without agitation. It very impro- men bring on themselves. Let us not experly expects everything to be done at once. pend our strength upon the removal of For example, if something has been pro- imaginary evils. Let us not fall into the mised, government commissioners sent down, vulgar error—that which stands on the very and plans made, yet if any delay occurs in front of this movement-of ascribing too the final execution, the government are bit- much to mere legislation. Did Scotland get terly blamed. But every other part of the everything our opponents wish, she would United Kingdom may make the same com be no better, no happier. She would have plaint.
learnt to repeat the cry, “Give," “ Give," It appears to us, that any grievances and idly relying upon government, would justly complained of are chargeable against cease to exert the energies which have raised Scotland alone. The Scotch think that their her so high amongst the nations. The cure own members fail to do their duty; yet, in of Scotland's political evils lies, we think, place of electing better, our opponents vul- not in supporting an agitation led by men in garly seek a mere numerical increase in the whom we can have no faith—who never did number of representatives. Many of the us any good as politicians, but in promoting members sent from Scotland never open the cause of true, though gradual, reform of their lips on Scotch grievances, or Scotch that great rational liberal party whose prinbusiness in parliament; a considerable mi-ciple and desire it is to remove every politinority are given over to the most rabid tory- cal abuse. Our Macaulays, our Humes, and ism, and stand in the way of all improve our Ewarts, are the men whom we ought to ment. To attach blame to England, under trust. these circumstances, seems a wrong course. Edinburgh.
T. U. In conclusion, let us inquire what is the
AFFIRMATIVE ARTICLE.-I. HAD we been at the framing of the above must address ourselves to our task, and we question, we should certainly have demurred expect to find that task a very easy one, to the wording of it, believing, as we do, that convinced that no one who is at all acquainted Scotland has no cause of complaint against with Scottish affairs, and the way in which England, but only complains against the these affairs are managed, will attempt to partial government of Great Britain; how- maintain the negative of this question. ever, as the question has been fixed, we can- / We rejoice that it is our privilege to live not now pretend to quarrel with it, but in an age that delights in bringing all things,