Abbildungen der Seite


feint, a ruse de guerre, to gull or blind observe, that the Ministry who will our government, during Mr Mac- agree to allow the ships of the United Lean's negotiation for opening the States to carry American produce to West India ports.

the West Indies, to the utter ruin of Let us grant what privileges we the merchants and traders, who inmay to the Americans, so intent are vested their whole means in the interthey upon, and so well do they un colonial trade, under the confidence derstand, their own interest, that we that they were acting safely, in recan never satisfy them. If we grant lying upon the future firmness of Brithem the advantage of trading to the tish policy towards the Americans, West Indies, and give them up the will plant causes of discontent and disputed territory, they will never distrust in British America, that may rest afterwards, until they obtain the finally unfold themselves in consefree navigation of the St Lawrence; quences fatal to British commerce, and that once obtained, they will be and to the political power of the emjustified in demanding of us the rich pire. iron and coal mines of Nova Scotia, No measures are so hazardous as and also the gypsum quarries of changing commercial regulations, or Cape Breton, so essential to them for interfering with any well-established

trade. The sad story of American inIn the minds of some men, who think dependence commenced with the im. that his Majesty's North American politic and unjust interference of our possessions must inevitably merge in Ministry with the contraband trade the United States, we had better sell between British and Spanish America the Colonies at once to the Ameri- in 1755. Previously to that period, if cans. Admitting this—What would ever any country might be considered follow? Why, the American Repub- the seat of human felicity, that counlic would gain great and powerful try was the provinces now forming strength, and the British Empire the United States; and if Ministers would in the same degree be weaken- do not meddle with the trade of the ed. But if we were even so impolitic British Colonies, by giving undue adas to abandon our North American Co- vantages to foreigners, British Amelonies, or to attempt transferring them rica will in a few years contain the to the United States, a mutual hatred most contented and happy populaexists between both countries that tion in the world, consisting of men, will ever prevent their union. Nor whose circumstances will be in that, can the Americans ever reduce the probably most happy, medium state, Colonies by force. During the last between great riches and great powar, the progress made towards con verty. quering Canada, was little more than Let Ministers, therefore, sir, treat desultory attacks, although the de- them with prudent liberality and fence of the country depended chief deference; let their interests not ly on the bravery of the Canadian be sacrificed, nor their loyalty be militia.

weakened, by a mistaken generosity The British Colonies can now raise on the part of our Government, in an effective militia, of at least 160,000, order to enrich, to strengthen, or to of men equally brave as, and much gratify, the Americans; and should better disciplined than any troops the the Mother Country, which God forAmericans can bring against them; bid, ever require the assistance of and still happy and contented under the Colonies, they will, from gratitude their own Government, there is not and affection, freely grant any aid in the world a more loyal people than they can afford, which could never the inhabitants of British America. be extorted from them by severity as

I may, however, sir, from my a claim of right. own knowledge of all the British

JUNIUS COLONUS, American Colonies, take upon me to LIVERPOOL, 6th Mar. 1830.


TO CHRISTOPHER NORTH, ESQ. MY DEAR SIR, Judge of the estimation in which I hold both yourself and the pages of your incomparable Maga, by the offering I am about to make you and them.' I have just taken my seat in the Commons House of Parliament for

- ; and, God willing, intend to immortalize myself as a true patriot. But it is uncertain when I shall begin, for I feel, at present, an unconquerable reluctance to open my mouth. Three several times, on the first night of the Session, I was half out of my seat, and once stood up, remaining on my legs full a quarter of a minute; but “ Mr Speaker” fell from my lips in such a dying murmur, that the chair (to speak technically) did not catch my voice, and I did not catch its eye. Since that time, I have made eleven more attempts, and “Mr Speaker,” in a whisper, was all that my tongue could utter, in four out of the eleven; while the other seven were confined to that curvature of the back which boys make when playing at leap-frog. Whether the warm weather will bring me forward, as it does every thing else, remains to be ascertained. I have my doubts, however; and to say the truth, my resolution is nearly taken, to desist from any further experiments till next Session. But though I cannot play the midwife to my own thoughts and deliver them, my brain is prolific, to a degree of fecundity which would amaze you, if you could know all it teems with. I think speeches, although I cannot speak them; and I think what I think is very often much better than what I hear from many who have acquired the art of speaking without thinking: Most certainly, friend Christopher, there exists no necessary connexion between the tongue and the head. I mean, that the former may be fluent, when the latter is stagnant; that the one may be full of words, while the other is as empty of ideas as a herring. Take for example :-But no-I will not be personal, and therefore I abstain from mentioning the names of Waithman, Thompson, Sir Robert Wilson, Hume, and many others, whom I was about to enumerate.

It is not unknown to you, to whom every thing is known, that in times past (and those not remote times either) there have been examples of men, members of both houses of Parliament, who have published speeches which they never spoke, -saving the solecism. I do not allude to the now common practice of members writing out their own speeches for the newspapers, wherein they remember to insert all that they forgot to say, but to the uncommon practice of publishing in the form of a pamphlet, what was intended to be said. It was reserved for me, however, to go one step further, and to print, not what I have spoken, not what I intended to speak, but what I think I should have spoken if I had spoken at all. In short, Mr North, I wish, through your“ widely-circulated columns,” (as A. B. says in a letter to the Editor of the Morning Post, or of any other paper, upon gas-lights, turnpikes, and the currency,)

to give the world my silent speeches. Do not be alarmed. You will find them brief, pithy, sententious; the longest, such as might be delivered, with “good emphasis and discretion,” in five minutes; the rest, not half the length of what is uttered when an honourable member rises to say a “ few words in explanation.” I shall discard all forms of parliamentary debate, especially in sometimes noticing what passes in “ another place,” and throw my observations into the form of desultory reflections rather than of set harangues. But whatever shape they may take, I trust that neither you, nor your readers, will forget while reading them, that they are the genuine thoughts of a Member of Parliament, suggested to him by what he hears in his place, and, for the most part, written down at the moment, or immediately after. It is these pecuJiar circumstances which will give them, I hope, their raciness; and I shall be much disappointed, if I do not learn, as soon as they appear, it is the opinion of some, that Parliament and the country would be the better for it, if such silent speeches were often heard within the walls of both Houses, --I remain, Dear Mr North, your sincere friend and admirer,

HT-, M.P. for


Wuat a lean, undignified, com been put together,--how rickety and mon-place, unsatisfactory, linsey- disjointed it is, and how. coarsely it woolsey, and ungrammatical thing is has been finished off. Which of his a King's Speech? I do not mean that Majesty's Ministers holds the pen,

I a King, by virtue of his office, is to know not, or whether each in turn be considered incapable of deliver writes his own paragraph, conveying ing a suitable, judicious, and even his own notions of affairs; but one eloquent oration to his subjects; still thing is quite evident, that if the raw less do I mean (God forbid I should!) material be supplied in the way of a that our own revered and excellent joint contribution, some master mind monarch could not express himself is afterwards employed in cementing on any subject, and on any occasion, and varnishing the whole, so as to in a manner befitting his exalted sta- give it a uniform appearance of detion, his august character, and above fect. This is the age of innovation, all, his acute, masculine, and clear however; not only the “ schoolmasunderstanding.. What I allude to, ter is abroad," but change is abroad is the sheet of foolscap paper, which „demolition is abroad—the ploughthe Cabinet Ministers, twice a-year, share of improvement is passing over blot some twelve or fou een the land, uprooting and destroying meagre paragraphs, in most abomin what our fathers sowed, planted, able English, and advise their royal reared, and loved, because they saw master to read, or cause to be read, it was good, though we, their wiser to both Houses of Parliament. It is children, sweep them from our really amazing how this absurd prac- sight, as humiliating monuments of tice,* (absurd in its mode of execu their folly. Let us hope, therefore, tion, not in its principle) has been that as we have adopted the converse suffered to prevail so long; or why of the poet's maxim, and act upon

the it has not shared the fate of another gratuitous assumption, that “whatpractice to which it bears so striking ever is, is wrong," we shall soon be an analogy, that I should think the brought to acknowledge it is wrong one must have suggested the other. to make the Monarch of a mighty emFormerly, no new tragedy or comedy pire address his Parliament in a strain ever presumed to make its appear which would be beneath the dignity ance without a prologue and an epi- of a Chairman at Quarter Sessions, logue; but this custom, of late years, and is only just superior to the celehas fallen into disuse. King's Speech- brated oration of Dogberry to his es, at the opening and closing of each companions of the watch. Session of Parliament, are but its prologue and epilogue, without any of There is something very servile, the wit, humour, or poetry, which and at the same time very ridiculous, sometimes distinguished their dra- in the abject mock-solemnity of an matic prototypes, and the sooner they “ Address.” It is most properly are reformed altogether the better. terined the echo of his Majesty's graAt any rate, if they are continued, do cious Speech; for it is, in truth, an let us have common sense, good Eng- airy nothing. The King is made to Jish, and something about “ things in say nothing; and both Houses of general," instead of nothing about any Parliament are made to say they are thing. Look at the Speech just read humbly grateful for receiving so vafrom the chair; look at it critically, Juable a communication. If a memgrammatically, and politically, and if ber, in the simplicity of his heart, it be not a thing to scoff at for its bar. rises to expostulate against this foolrenness, to despise forits composition, ery, he is told, with all imaginable and to condemn for its studied imbeci- gravity, by some Cabinet Minister, lity, its elaborate burlesque of what it that it is foolery,-neither more nor ought to be, why then, Mr Speaker, less that it means nothing—and that - Mr North, I mean,-“I am a soused as soon as the silly farce is over, they gurnet.” It would savour too much may all set to work, and do whatever of hypercriticism, to take this clumsy they please, in direct contradiction article of cabinet-work to pieces, for to every thing which the Address the sake of shewing how vilely it has may happen to contain. Sometimes,

[ocr errors]

indeed, this absurdity is carried to predicted many strange and incredi. its climax, when a First Lord of the ble abominations. Your foresight, Treasury,—his Grace of Wellington however, can be known only to yourhas done so this very evening-com- self; but your predictions—where plains that Parliament refuses to fol are they recorded? Where are the low his Majesty's advice. His Ma- sibylline leaves that bear witness to jesty's advice? What despicable non- your gift of inspiration? Do they consense! His Majesty's advice, as it is tain the prediction of your own called, is what his Majesty's respon- change of opinion? Or was your sible advisers write down for him, mind like the eye, which sees every and when a Minister has the weak- thing but itself? There is a cheap ness to employ such an argument, it kind of wisdom which men somecan only be because he lacks the times bid for, consisting in the diseffrontery to say boldly, “Do as I bid play of a sagacious knowledge that you.” A man must be inordinately things which have happened, were the slave of custom, and must bend sure to take place. Your Lordship, the neck of his reason most submis- perhaps, may be a seer of this kind, sively to the yoke of opinion, who and catch your vaticinations, not from can advocate this preposterous mum coming events which cast their mery, which serves no other end shadows before,” but from events under heaven, but to enable callow which are come, and leave their shamembers to essay their first flights dows behind. One thing is certain. from the Treasury nests, or sometimes If, like the rest of mankind, your (my Lord Darlington for example) lordship is no prophet in your own to facilitate the escape of an old Whig country, you would be an oracle in rat from the empty garners of the the East; and might assert your Opposition. What a miracle, by the claim to that distinction upon this sinway, we all witnessed this evening! gle sentence of your speech: "If I “ Seventeen years," said the noble were asked to what sort of an admi. lord, “I have sat in this House, and nistration I should be inclined to give never, till the present occasion, have my support, I should say, in answer, I opened my mouth upon any ques

to a Tory administration acting upon tion of importance.” And what was WHIG PRINCIPLES !!!” Venerable the important question that now un shade of the immortal Joseph Miller, closed his lips ? Verily, the same as hail your legitimate brother! What, has made many a man an orator, for is an apple-pie made of quinces ?once in his life, at the bar of the Old or, (as we heard with our own ears, Bailey--to explain how he fell into not a week since)-a rice-pudding bad company:

“ When I first had made of isinglass, compared to a Tothe honour of obtaining a seat in the ry administration acting upon Whig House, about the end of the Penin- principles ? Superlative wisdom ! sular war, the war of Whigs and Go on, my lord! Go on, for the Tories was raging as wildly in this love of Heaven; and teach us how House as the military mania was fla a Christian bishop may be a deist, a ming all over the continent. For rea- loyal subject, a rebel, a remorseless sons which it is not necessary to de: tyrant, God's vicegerent upon earth, tail, I unfortunately took my station, and an apostate statesman, a martyr at the moment, on the side of the Whig to his principles. There is nothing party." Why “unfortunately," my too vast in absurdity, for the grasp of lord, if, as you go on to say, though a mind that can expect the sun to set you took no active part in the politi- in the east, or the north wind to come cal conduct of the side to which you abroad, upon the flagging wings of attached yourself, you gave them the the south! Oh! how your “ right hobenefit of your silent votes ? But nourable friend below you, the Seyou were a prophet, it seems; and cretary for the Home Department," with a salvo for your modesty, which writhed and winced under this porall men must allow to be great, since tentous definition. I watched his it fettered your tongue for seventeen countenance, as he drew his hat upon years, you declare that "you not un his brow, and looked askance at the frequently foresaw and predicted the friends he had deserted. It was a various changes of opinions and mea bitter blunder, my lord; for though sures that afterwards actually came it spoke sheer nonsense, it proclaim to pass.” Then you foresaw and ed the grounds of your conversion,

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

Or rather, it proclaimed this shining Miss Fanny Kemble does not act declaration, in spite of the confusion more for public applause at Coventof your own ideas_“I am unchan- Garden Theatre, than we harangue ged—but you, the King's Ministers, for it at Westminster. Be this as it have put on the livery of my party, may, however, I agree with the Marand therefore I come among you. quis of Blandford, that “ these are It was easy to perceive what you not times for men to waste hours in meant to say, though impossible to lengthy orations, or to be striving to comprehend what you did say, outdo in effusions of frothy elo

quence, when they should be found Sir Edward Knatchbull is a sen- acting. Neither are the times suited sible man, and says, of course, very for the apprehensive sensibilities of sensible things. But your merely the timid, nor for the silly lispings of sensible men are like beds of cab- the mealy-mouthed.” bages and potatoes in a kitchen-garden; useful, almost necessary, though I could not imagine what was the as little thought of as another useful cause of a sudden movement which and necessary article—the air we I observed in the House, and of a breathe. I begin to think common crowd of members hurrying towards sense is too common to be attrac- the door, as if impatient to get out. tive; and that paradoxical assertions, At first, I thought there was going to incomprehensible arguments, facts be a division, and I was considering made for the occasion, or occasions how I should vote, (though I had made for the facts, something, in not heard enough on either side to short, to“ elevate and surprise,” are make me alter my original intenthe only modes by which the atten- tion, which was not to vote at all,) tion can be arrested. Yet the Mar- when I caught hold of my friend quis of Blandford made a common Cam Hobhouse, and asked him what sense speech, and wonderfully to the was the matter ? “ The linen-draper purpose; though Icould not help sus is up,” said he, with a look of conpecting, while listening to him, that sternation, and joined the terrified he had the copy of it in his pocket. throng, which kept moving onwards His manner was altogether more like to the lobby, while the Speaker kept recitation than extempore speaking. calling, Order! Order! to no purI liked it none the worse for that pose. “ The linen-draper is up!" I however. On the contrary, I wish exclaimed to myself; “ what did every Member who can think would Hobhouse mean?” I cast my eyes do so, before he opened his mouth; round the House, and saw a little and especially I wish every Member ill-looking man, the exact image of who cannot, would never open his my tailor, (who is a very decent and mouth at all. There would then be respectable sort of a person, by the less truth than there now is, unfortu- by, for a tailor,) addressing the nately, in one observation which fell Chair; but I could not hear a word from the Marquis, that the “ Mem- he said, on account of the noise bers of this House say a great deal, which still continued from Members but do a very little.” Most assuredly, leaving the House. At length a kind since the practice of reporting the of silence was obtained, though nodebates in Parliament has been re- body seemed to be paying the least duced to its present elaborate sys- attention to the little gentleman, who, tem, nine out of ten of all the speeches by the motion of his arms, was evithat are uttered, if not every speech, dently making a very energetic are spoken more for display than speech. I had the bench on which business, more for the country at I sat to myself; but behind me there large, or constituents in particular, was a corpulent county Member, than from any desire to advance the leaning his head against the pillar, public welfare. I should be called with his eyes half closed. Before to order, if I stated this in my place, they were quite shut, I took the libecause we pretend not to know berty of tapping him on the knee, that there is such a monstrous breach to enquire who was speaking, “Oh, of privilege committed every day, as it is Waithman !” he replied, in a printing and publishing our proceed- tone of peevish impatience, which ings; but the fact is as notorious as conveyed every thing that could posthe breach of privilege itself; and sibly have been said expressive of

« ZurückWeiter »