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URING the last session of parliament the house of Commons was so much employed in the important Inquiry respecting his Royal Highness the Duke of York, and in attending to various corrupt practices in our public men, that the attention of ministers was principally occupied in devising the best means of preventing the effects of some of those inquiries, and of stifing the rest, They were, as usual, supported by large majorities, and after a stormy session, appeared secure in their respective places..
As the year advanced, the triumphs of NAPOLEON at. tracted their attention. To arrest his progress, and to afford to their own country, and to Europe, a display of their talents, and of the skill of their chosen commanders, Sir A. Wellesley, and Lord Chatham, the expeditions to Spain and Walcheren were contrived, and carried into execution. The effects of this united exertion of talent are now' fully displayed to the public!
That disaster and disgrace should be the only effects of our councils, cannot, when' we reflect on their distracted nature, excite much surprise. Weakness, incapacity, rashness,' in attention to the lessons of experience have characterised the conduct of both counsellors and commanders.
Whether these disasters and disgraces, and a waste of British resources, and British blood, almost unparalleled, will awaken the serious attention of parliament remains to be seen. When we, however, reflect on the increased and continually increasing venality and corruption of the times, and the supineness of the people, we confess, we entertain but slender hopes that any effectual inquiries will take place, $. Public attention has been somewhat diverted from that reflection our situation so imperiously demands, by the circumstance of the tools of ministers having contrived the observance of a Jubilee, on account of bis Majesty entering on
ths 50th year of his reign. Our melancholy task has been to expose the odious flatteries, so peculiarly disgraceful 10 a free and virtuous people, which have distinguished not only the usual herd of adulators in church and state, but the serions of those divines, both of the establishment, and of Protestant Dissenters, who profess sentiments peculiarly enlighten. ed, and evangelical ! The state of Britain resembles that of Israel of old, when most degenerated: when the priests were the most forward in flattering their rulers, civil and ecclesiastical, and thereby accelerating the rain of their country. ? . In such circumstances the only encouragement and support to a writer who is feelingly alive to the real state of our på tional affairs, and who cannot swiin with the polluted stream, 'arises from the consciousness of persevering in the path of integrity, and the reflection, that the GRBAT GOVERNOR OF THE UNIVERSE is, in spite of all the machinations of men and devils, accomplishing his own vast and glorious designs, and perpetually educing good out of eril. With ihe fiemest conviction, therefore, that those principles of REBORM, and of POLITICAL, ČIVIL, and RELIGIOUS LIRERTY which have uniformly characterised the POLITICAL RevIEW, are of the uimost importance to the welfare, yea to the salvation of the British empire, we close the sixth volume by expressing our determination to persevere in the undeviating course we have hitherto pursued.
That virtuous part of the public who entertain sentiments similar to those we have inculcated; the friends of the genuine British Constitution, and of peaceable reform; the enemies of abuses, and of priestcraft in all its windings and ramifications, in whatever church or sect it may rear its odi'ous and unblushing front, will, we doubt not, persevere in encouraging a publication, which we may with truth pro'nounce, the only one of its kind.
A j • We return our thanks to those of our friends, who have favoured us with their communications. More able discussions on the constitutional rights of Britons, we may venture to affirm, will not be found in any publication of the present day,
.::11, dinisen ? Harlow, Dec. 29. 1809.
A MIDST all the disorders and calamities which have attended the various repolutions on the continent during the past twenty years, there is one event that has been gradually accomplishing, and which we ardently hope is at length accomplished; an event, which although it appears to be contemplated with indifference, if not with disgust, by a majority of our countrymen, of all parties and sects, political and religious, demands the attention of the philosopher, the politician, and more especially of the christian; an event, the distant prospect of which was once contemplated with satisfaction by every friend of mankind, and with delight by every believer in divine revelation. Our limits will only allow us, for the present, to make a few general observations, on a subject of equal importance with any in which the world at large has been interested, from the commencement of the christian era to the present day. ( 93 bola no ti
By a recent decree of the Emperor of France, it is declared, " That the states of Rome are united with the French empire, and " that the temporal power and authority of the Pope is annihilated." The reasons assigned for this decree on the part of NAPOLEON, are as follow:--"When our illustrious predecessor, Charlemagne, * presented to the bishops of Rome, various lands, he resigned them "only as leaseholds to strengthen the loyalty of bis subjects, and " with a view that Rome should form a part of his empire." To found a claim to the papal states on the plea of the design of the founder of those states, eleven hundred years since, affords additional evidence to that recorded in the historic page of almost every age and country,—that Emperors and Kings, when they have an inclination to extend their power, or dominions, are never at a loss for a pretence, which, although it may not be satisfactory to the world, is sure to be satisfactory to themselves. The sword of NAPOLEON has given him the papal states, and it is of little consequence to inquire what were the views of Charlemagne in bestowing a patri.
mony on the see of Rome, and transferring the governinent to its bishops.*
The second reason assigned for this measure isu_. The union “ of the two powers, the spiritual and temporal, which has been #sinee that period, as it is still at this day, the source of incessant "disputes; the spiritual, princes bave studied nothing but to aug.
ment the influence of a power which enabled them to support the “ assumption of others; and for that reason the spiritual powers “ which were invariable in their policy have interfered with the tem“poral, which change according to the circumstances and policy of “ the times:" and “ that all attempts to reconcile the safety and “ tranquillity of the French empire with the temporal pretension “ of the spiritual princes have proved in vain.” The truth of most of the positions stated in this paragraph will not be disputed, by any one who has read with common attention the history of the church of Rome. Indeed these positions will admit of a more ex tended applieation than that made by the French Emperor. "The 11 union of the two powers, the spiritual and temporal" in the bishop of Rome, has led to ans assumption of power" utterly irreconcilable, not only with the isafety and tranquillity of the French empire 4 and people, but of every empire, ostate, and people of Christen. dom. This is assumption of powerlinas enabled the Popes of Rome to enslave Sovereigns, to robi them of their dominions, to plunder mankind, in every succeeding age and nation, of their property, and of every righty natural or acquired; this is assumption of power" has caused the massacre of countless millions of the human race, while it bas enabled the perpetrators of that massacre to riot in' every species of luxury and lust; and although owing to the light of the neformation, and to the wisdom of the sovereigns and people of Europe, this assumed pover" has been considerably diminished, yet, in proportion to its exercise, misery and disgrace have been the certain consequence. The cities of Naples and of Rome, were, antik:
* The statement of Napoleon, respecting the views of Charlemagne, appears to be correct. That excellent ecclesiastical historian, Mosheim, after stating his liberal grant to the see of Rome, remarks as follows:- Upon « his elevation to the empire of the West, and the government of Rome, he U seems to have reserved to himself the supreme dominion, and the unalien"able rights of Majesty, and to have granted to the church of Rome, a' " subordinate jurisdiction over that great city, and its annexed territorý, "....That Charlemagne, in effect, preserved entire his supreme authority. “ over the city of Rome, and its adjacent territory; gave law to the citizens " by judges of his own appointment; punished malefactors, enjoyed the « prerogatives, and exercised all the functions of royalty, has been demon6 strated by several of the learned, in the most ample and satisfactory, “ manner, and confirmed by the most unexceptionable and authentic testi“ monies..