Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

kept in constant alarm by a flying squadron of our ships with troops on board, we might reasonably hope to see the overgrown power of France curtailed, the wings of her tyranny clipped, and an opening made for the total emancipation of Europe from that state of slavery, into which the perfidious and sanguinary policy of the Corsican has plunged her subjugated people.

While this chearing prospect thus opens upon us from one part of Europe, we are dispirited and disgusted by the intelligence received from another. The gallant monarch of Sweden has been deposed by his rebellious subjects; and, to render his fate more severe, this regicidal blow has been struck by a near relative; from whoin he had every right to expect protection and support. It is the uncle of Gustavus who has basely hurled him from his throne; it is that un. natural wretch who, when the late king, pierced by the dagger of an assassin, and stretched upon the bed of death, recommended his infant son to his care, and besought him to become a parent to his child, vowed to fulfill his trust with religious scrupulosity. Thus has he kept his vow! thus has discharged his duty to his brother, to his nephew, and to his sovereign! Base and perfdious rebel ! Wretched hypocrite! who, net content with betraying a trust so sacred, with breaking a vow so solemn, with deposing his lawful monarch, presumes to justify the regicidal act, dares to allege, as a motive for his treason, that his king, forsooth! did not pursue that line of policy which to him seemed most eligible; -- that he did not sacrifice the honour, the interest, and the independence of his people ti the attainment of an inglorious and insecure peace; that he did not deign, in short, to become a wretched vassal to the Corsican tyrant; that he did not want to be chained to his car, and to swell the train of the great destroyer! This is the crime which Gustavus has committed; this is the offence for which a subject, and that subject his guardian, his uncle, dares to arraign his sovereign at the bar of the public; to rob him of his 'crown, and to consigņ him to a prison! The very spirit of regicide France marks the whole of this disgraceful; this odious, transaction. The wretched Duke of Sudermania, who has usurped the supreme authority of the state, marked his usurpation of power, by a dastardly application for peace to the Emperor of Russia, and to Napoleone Buonaparte; thus disgracing his ancestors, his sovereign, and his countrymen! He must know, too, the determination of the dictator of Europe to make

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

to peace with Sweden, but upon conditions which would inevitably tend to a war with England! We trust, that the British cabinet will cause strong remonstrances to be made in behalf of the injured monarch; and, if they be not attended with the desired success, that they will recall the English ambassador from Stockholm, and indignantly refuse to receive any minister or envoy, whom this rebel Duke of Sudermania niay send. The interposition which we recommend is perfectly conformable with the acknowledged law of nations; which authorise a state, where two parties exist in a foreign country, one favourable and another hostile to that state, to interfere 'in behalf of that party which is well disposed to her. Besides, the cause of the King of Sweeden is the common cause of all legitimate sovereigns; and his magnanimous and consistent conduct, during the whole progress of the revolutionary war, gives him an irresistible claim to the support of every power which is iniinical to the system of subversion-adopted and pursued by the government of France.

In our domestic politics, the prominent object is the public meetings, which have been called in consequence of the decision of the House of Commons on the inquiry into the conduct of the commander-in-chief. In an early stage of this unfortunate business, we deprecated every attempt to make it a party question; and we foresaw, that, if such an attempt were successfully made, the inevitable consequence would be-popular assemblies, strong resolutions, and great discontent. Our sentiments upon the whole of that inquiry have been fully explained to our readers, without partiality and without reserve; and nothing has occurred to produce the smallest alteration in them. We shall not, therefore, be suspected of such a prejudice, when we reprobate the language which has been held at some of the public meetings which have been recently called; especially at those of Middlesex, and the city of London. That the freeholders, or corporate bodies, have a right to assemble for the purpose of declaring their opinion on such a question, and to vote their thanks to any members who may have taken that part in the discussion of it which, to them, appeared most conducive to the ends 2of justice, it would betray woeful ignorance of the principles of our free 'constitution, and a shameless contempt of the rights of the people, to deny.. Had the meetings in question, then, gone no further than this, we should certainly have been much more disposed to commend than to censors them. Bot we condemn them; first,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

for digressing into subjects, and for framing resolutions, which had no connexion with the topic which they were specifically assembled to discuss. The tolerance of this irregular conduct proved either the ignorance or the profligacy of the individuals who presided over these meetings, and whose duty it was to prevent it. The second point, for wbich we condemn thèm, is for the unconstitutional violence of their language, and for their flagrant violation of every principle of justice, in impeaching the motives of others, while they insist on the purity of their own. Surely, if we take credit for the integrity of our own conduct, we cannot, without injustice, deny the same credit to others merely because they differ in opinion from ourselves. But these raving demagogues, who betray their ignorance in their violence, seem to act upon the monstrous supposition, that every minister must be a rogue; and that a man, whose moral character has never been impeached, whose integrity and virtue, public and private, have never been made the subject even of, a doubt, becomes dishonest and corrupt, belies all his former principles, acts in direct contradiction to the whole conduct of his life, nay, changes his very motives the moment he becomes a minister: There is something in this supposition só revolting to common sense, that it is wonderful it should obtain currency with any rational beings. Yet, true it is, that it has a great effect on the minds of the ignorant and credulous multitude, whose ears have been so long stunned, by trading patriots, with the sound of plucemen, that they really are led to regard them as a species of non-descript monster, or beast of prey, a burden to society, and whom it would be laudable to extirpate! These beings never take the trouble reflect, that a government can no more be carried on without officers to execute the duties of its various departnıents, than the concerns of a mercantile establishment can be managed without the assistance of clerks. They never consider that every clerk in a counting-house, every journeyman in a shop, is as-nuch a placeman as an officer of the crown. They are all alike paid by their respective masiers for the services which they render, are all alike accountable for their conduct, and equally subjected to dismission at the will of their employers. The office of a minister, at such a perind as the present, God knows, can be little envi

and they must have most serdid souls and most contracted minds who can believe any pecuniary reward to be an

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]


adequate compensation for the anxiety which he must feel, the labour which he must sustain, and the vast weight of responsibility which he mụst of necessity bear. We do not expect that reflexions like these will ever enter the heads of those traders who compose that motley assembly ycleped a Common Hall; or that considerations of this nature will have the smallest effect on either their feelings or their in= tellects. Indeed, the late meeting of the Livery of London was much more like a bear-garden than an assembly of rational beings. Every thing was carried, consistently enough, a la Française, by acclamation. To accord with them, to condemn without trial was an effect of patriotism; while to hear an accused party in his own defence, was the mark of an ignoble and uncivic mind. Indeed, $0 scandalous was the conduct of this senseless rabble, that we really think Mr. Wardle disgraced by their thanks, and the Lord Mayor honoured by their censures. The lead upon these occasions has been taken by a new demagogue, who may justly be called the ubiquarian patriot, for he is here, there, and every where, at the call of faction. This man, who keeps a retail shop in the city, and daily ekes out yards of flannel, and ells of cotton, for petticoats and gowns, for the Poissardes and Dames de la Halle of the neighbouring market, bids fair to riva! the well-earned fame of the patriotic brewer, who has hitherto been the Solon of Guildhall, the Demosthenes of the London Tavern, and the Brutus of St. Stephen's Chapel. He is, indeed, orator-general to the party, and a distinguished member of the WHig-Club. He has, of course, received the science of legislation, and the knowledge of a statesman, which enables him to speak with decision on the most complicated and difficult subjects of political economy, by intuition. For as the early, and the greater, part of his life was passed in the humble capacity of a shopman, in an obscure part of the town, and as his business rust, of course, have since occupied the whole of his time, which is not appropriated to the trade of patriotism, he cannot have had much leisure, much opportunity, or much capacity, for such studies. That this man should display the most consummate ignorance of some of the plainest principles of the constitution, that he should totally misconceive and grossly misrepresent the duties of a representative, and that he should talk without reason, and vilify without argument, is as perfectly natural, as it is that he should find fools to emulate his conduct, and foole No. 130. Vol. 32. April. 1809.

2 F

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

to adinire it. But when we hear so many violent declamations about the corruptions of the couri, we are naturally led to expect some unequivocal proofs of the parity of the city. Now, however it may excite the indignation of these worthies of the Common-hall, we will tell them to their faces, that a greater sink of corruption, than the city of London, is not to be found. If we look at the means adopted for obtaining any situation in the gift of the corporation, we shall find as much scurrility, as much sycophancy, as much secret solicitation, as much artifice, as much intrigue, and as much sordid and interested motives, as mark any transaction of the most corrupt court. If we examine the whole system with a scrutiaising eye, from the public vender of prohibited goods to the petty pilferer of sweetmeats at a city dinner, we shall find cause for resentment at any reproaches from that quarter, for corruption, dishonesty, or fraud! We may recur to this subject, hereafter, as it affords much fund for reflexion; but at present we shall confine our attention to one branch of it, which has lately become the subject of legal animadversion.

On a recent trial Lord Ellenborough had occasion to reprobate the shameful manner in which the police of the city was conducted. Civic dignity could ill brook the reproach of the Chief Justice; a municipal meeting was convened; and in an advertisement, in which truth and decency were equally violated, the lie almost was given 10 his lordship. Now we not only coneur in the censure pronounced by Lord Ellenborough, but we plainly and unequivocally state, that a more wretched system of police than that which prevajts in the city of London, does not disgrace any town or country in Europe. We maintain, that more public brothels, more known receptacles for stolen goods, and more disorderly houses of, every kind, together with more thieves and receivers, are established here, than in the whole kingdom besides. Nay, we will go still further, and assert, without fear of contradiction, that the ignorance of the individuals, who are entrusted with the administration of justice, is very frequently such, as not merely tends to a neglect to enforce an observance of the laws, but even to the commission of evils contrary to law. . Of the truth of these assertions, we can and will, if necessary, produce specific proofs. Let us, then, hear no more of the boasted excellence of the city police. The civic patriots would do the country more service by promoting a radical

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »