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The present crisis is, beyond all ruption of their government, until question, the most important that has their dreams of eternal power vanishoccurred in this country since the ed into thin air, and the Liberal vision passing of the Reform Bill. The re of everlasting dominion in the British action which the more thoughtful of empire has been cut short by decisive the Conservative party fondly anti hostile majorities of 21, 24, and 36, cipated during the transport of "the on questions admitted to be essential Bill, the whole Bill, and nothing but the to their existence. Bill," and which the democracy so con At such a moment, it well becomes fidently and strenuously maintained all those who are interested in their would never take place, has now, be- country's welfare, to pause for a moyond all question, been fully realiz ment, even amid all the anxiety and ed. It was a very easy matter to excitement of a general election, and deny the existence of this reaction cast a retrospective glance on the as long as the Liberal party con past, and a prospective eye on the trived, by means of Court favour, future. Coming events do now, Ministerial corruption, and Whig- deed, cast their shadows most disRadical delusion, to maintain a majo- tinctly before ; and it requires not the rity in the House of Commons. But gift of prophecy to foretell, that the when all these efforts and arts were days of Whig-Radical rule and Minis. exhausted-when hope deferred had terial corruption are now numbered, made the Radical heartsick -- when and that the ancient, independent spirevenue failing had made the Minis- rit of the British empire is speedily terial purse empty-and truth, reas about to triumph over the combined serting her empire, had rendered even efforts of courtly adulation and Minisurban constituencies hostile, it became terial corruption. But all anticipaimpossible any longer to maintain a tions of the future which are not rest. majority in the House of Commons. ed on the experience of the past, are County after county was lost, from a founded on fallacious grounds; and, growing sense on the part of the agri- however brilliant and cheering may cultural interests, now too fatally be the prospects of the British emproved to be well-founded, of the pire at this time, there could be little dangers with which they were mena solid ground for hope or consolation, ced from the ascendency of the revo if the morning, which is now so brightlutionary party. Borough after bo- ly opening, were not ushered in by rough slipped out of their hands, from the well-known harbingers of a fine the general conviction which pene- day. But such harbingers have aptrated all the intelligent ranks of the peared“the evening red has preurban classes of the hollowness of ceded the morning grey;" and the Whig-Radical professions, the selfish- most cheering
prospects for the inteness of their measures, and the cor rests of the Conservative party, and
VOL, L. NO, CCCIX.
with it the stability and independence human corruption. They see around of the British empire, are to be found them many evils arising from political in the measures which have preceded, institutions, which apparently are susand now attend, the dissolving efforts ceptible of remedy, by the introducof the revolutionary faction.
tion of a more pure or disinterested “ Hypocrisy,” says Rochefoucault, body of men into the administration " is the homage which vice pays to of public affairs. The revolutionary virtue." With equal, perhaps greater party invariably lay hold of these truth, it may be said, that falsehood is evils, whether individual, social, or the homage which revolution pays to political, and never fail to assure their order; and that the discovery of that followers that they spring entirely from falsehood, if made in time, constitutes the selfishness or vices of the governat once the safeguard against its dan- ment, or aristocratic party in power, gers and the punishment of its exces and would be entirely removed by a
Falsehood, from first to last, is due infusion of democratic purity and its essential, never-failing principle of vigour into the administration of pubaction. Bulwer was never more cor lic affairs. The simple masses often rect than when he said that “ lying, believe them merely because they have enormous lying, alone carried the Re never tried them; they readily swallow form Bill.” Dr Johnson long ago the flattering tale, that corruption besaid, that the devil was the first Whig; longs only to the few, because the and in nothing have the present lead- few have generally enjoyed power, ers of the revolution more completely and that integrity is the attribute of taken after their great ancestor, and the many, because they have always in nothing are the features of the fa- been kept in situations where they mily lineage more apparent, than in were never tried. Nevertheless, He the incessant falsehoods which they knew the human heart well who en. perpetually put forward, and the delu- joined us, in our daily prayers, to sive hopes which they are continually supplicate that we should not be led exciting. It was fruit beauteous to into temptation. Experience soon the eye, and pleasant to the taste, which proves, and never so soon as with the serpent proffered to Eve; and not democracies in the ascendant, that less inviting are the fruits which crafty though the opportunities which differLiberalism never fails, in every age, to ent men enjoy of showing their inheoffer to unsuspecting innocence; but rent wickedness are widely different, the nation, not less than the individual, their dispositions to it are exactly the which shall eat thereof, “shall surely same; and that the moment that the die."
Liberal party get into power, they will It is a curious observation, which we exhibit the same decisive proof of the do not recollect of ever having seen inevitable corruption of human nature sufficiently brought before the public, of which they had so loudly combut of its truth every day's experience plained on the part of their adveris affording additional proofs, that the saries in power. And the reason total falsehood of the principles of why the leaders of the democratic Liberalism, constitutes the main source party are so readily believed in these of their strength in the outset of their professions, is just because experience revolutionary career; and that if its has afforded so few instances of their doctrines have not been repudiated by ever having been practically put to the universal practical experience of the test.
The evils of democracy, mankind in every age, it never could, when entrusted with the direction of from time to time, have obtained such public affairs, have in every age been a mastery as it has of their imagina- found to be so excessive, that they tions. The reason, though not appa have immediately led to its abolition ; rent at first sight, must, when once and thus the experience of individuals mentioned, appear conclusive to every does not in every age present the same candid mind. Men in every age, and numerous examples of democratic that more especially in every old and highly it does of aristocratic oppression, just civilized society, find themselves sur
because the former species of governrounded by a multitude of ills—some ment is so dreadful that it invariably, spring from misfortune, others from in every old community, destroys itself sin, in themselves or others—the sad in a single generation, while the latter bequests of the universal germs of often maintains its dominion for hun
dreds, or even thousands of years. way for the government of the sword, History, indeed, is full of warnings of or be itself subverted by the aroused the terrible conflagration which demo- indignation of all the better classes of cracy never fails to light up in society; mankind. The near advent of the and it is a secret consciousness of the one or other of these two results, is damning force with which it overturns inevitable in every old community in their doctrines, that makes the Liberal which the democratic passion has once party every where treat its records as obtained a legislative triumph. Which an old almanac. But how many of of the two results is to obtain, depends the great body of the people, even in entirely on the degree of moral rectithe best informed community, make tude and public spirit which pervades themselves masters of historical in the community where it has arisen. formation ? Not one in a hundred. In ancient Greece, the democratic Thus, in periods of political convul- republicans, after a brief space of sion, history points in vain to the awful glorious existence, sank under the inbeacons of former ruin, to warn man herent evils of the form of governkind of the near approach of ship ment which prevailed; the liberties wreck; while perfidious Liberalism, of Rome, rudely torn by the ambition ever alive to the force of falsehood, of the Gracchi, soon perished under again for the hundredth time allures the contending swords of Cæsar and the unsuspecting multitude by the ex Pompey; the dreams of French equahibition of the forbidden fruit; and lity were speedily extinguished by the democratic change is eagerly longed guillotine of Robespierre and the sword for by the simple masses, just because of Napoleon—for in all these commuits evils are so excessive that they in nities the majority were essentially variably quickly terminate the demo selfish and corrupt; but in Great cratic regime, and actual personal ex Britain the heart of the nation was perience can rarely be appealed to as still sound, and though it was dazzled to the effect of a contagion which for a time by the false glare of the almost always consigns its victims to revolutionary meteor, it has now fixed
And thus it is that the its steady gaze again' upon the blessed strength of revolution consists in the light of the eternal luminary in the very magnitude of the falsehoods on which its promises are founded, and The reason why, in every age of the universally felt impossibility of the world, the triumph of democracy bringing them for any considerable has immediately, or, at least, shortly, time to the test of actual experience. been followed by the destruction of all
But truth is great, and will prevail. the best interests of society, and the “ He was a wise man,” says Cobbett, total ruin in particular of the whole “who said that paper credit is strength principles of freedom for which it itself in the outset, and ruin in the end;" contended, is perfectly apparent; and but the observation is more appli- the moment it is stated it must be seen cable to the ever-changing and fal to be one of universal application. lacious theories of democratic innova It is not that the working classes of tion, than to the fictitious bubbles of the community are in themselves wind bills and rotten currency. How more depraved, or more corrupted, ever alluring theories of government than the classes who possess property may appear when propounded with and have acquired information. It is ingenious sophistry and clothed in probable that all men, in every rank seductive language, experience, when of life, when exposed to the influence they are put in practice, must neces of the same temptations, are pretty sarily bring them to the test. A nearly the same; and whoever asserts system of government founded on that either a monarchical, aristocratic, principles utterly subversive of order, or democratic government will not, security, and property, cannot by any in the long run, endeavour to pervert possibility maintain itself for any the influence of government to their length of time. It must either destroy own selfish interests or ambition, is the community or be destroyed itself. not an assertor of truth, but an aduDemocracy, accordingly, in an old com- lator of whichever of these forms of munity, cannot by possibility exist for government he endeavours to supany lengthened period. It must either port. But there is this difference, destroy national freedom, and pave the and it is an essential one in its ulti.
mate effects upon the interests of totally impracticable in the country ; mankind, that though the dispositions because no power remains in the state of the aristocratic or conservative capable of counterbalancing the inparty may be just as selfish at bottom fluence and authority of the central as those of the democratic, there are government, resting on the armed force several causes which permanently re and universal patronage of the state. tain them in a fixed, safe, and bene “The Romans," says Gibbon,"aspired ficial course of government, and to be equal; they were levelled by the which, as they depend on general equality of Asiatic despotism," principles, may be expected to be of terrible but just expression, pointing universal operation. And these causes at once to the effect of democratic are the following :
triumph in levelling the bulwarks of 1. In the first place, the interests freedom, and drawing over the state of the holders of property permanent. that huge rolling stone which, crushly, are to protect that property from ing all the great interests of society, injury or spoliation ; whereas the prepares the deep and level stagnation interest of the democratic body, who of military despotism. And thus conare for the most part destitute of funds, scrvative principles, as they incessantis to advocate such measures as by ly prompt men to the support of protrenching upon, or ultimately indu- perty and protection of industry, are cing a division of property, may, as the safeguards at once of the springs they hope, have the effect of securing of prosperity and the principles of for them the advantages which at pre- freedom; while democratic ascendsent they do not enjoy. Accordingly, ency necessarily impels the people it has been uniformly found in all into the measures of spoliation, which, ages, that the holders of property ad- however tempting at first to the hunvocate measures to protect that pro- gry masses, bring speedy ruin upon perty ; while the destitute masses are every branch of industry, and inperpetually impelled to measures like- evitably terminate in hopeless desly to lead to revolutionary spoliation. potism. This, however, is a matter of the very 2. In the next place, although no highest importance ; for experience man who is acquainted with human has now abundantly proved what nature would claim, either for the reason from the beginning of the higher ranks or more educated classes world had asserted, not only that the in the community, any natural supesecurity of property in every class of riority in talent over their humble but society, from the lowest to the highest, not less useful brethren ; yet, on the is the mainspring of all prosperity and other hand, nothing can be more happiness, both public and private; consonant to reason than to assert, but that freedom itself is never so that those classes in society who, from much endangered as by measures have their affluence, possess the leisure, and ing a tendency to induce the division from their station have received the of property, and by the success of education, requisite for acquiring exthose measures is immediately and tensive information, are more likely irrevocably destroyed. To be satisfied in the long run to acquire and exhibit of this, we have only to look to the the powers necessary for beneficial condition of France, where measures legislature than those who, from the of the most revolutionary and demo- necessities of their situation, are cratic character, directed against the chained to daily toil, and, from the aristocracy of land, of wealth, and of limited extent of their funds, have been industry, were pursued with the most disabled from acquiring a thorough insatiate thirst, and crowned with the education. In claiming for the higher, most entire success; and in conse and, above all, for the more highly quence there are now no less than educated ranks, a superiority in the ten millions eight hundred and sixty- art of government to the other classes two thousand separate landed pro- of the community, we do no more prietors in that kingdom, while the than assert a principle of universal territorial and commercial aristocracy application, which has not only been is almost totally destroyed. And recognized and acted upon from the what has been the result? Simply beginning of the world, but is perfectly this, that the establishment or preser- familiar to every person practically vation of freedom has been rendered acquainted with life in every depart.
ment. All the professions and all the to what, during the same period, has trades into which men are divided, been brought forward in the House of require a long education, and a not in Commons; and that in the latter as. considerable amount of actual prac. sembly, not merely oratorical talents, tice; and with the exception of those but capacity for public business, have rare individuals to whom nature has hardly in one instance been evinced given the power of mastering various by the popular leaders who have been branches of science or art at once, brought in upon the shoulders of the success is in general only to be acquired supporters of the Reform Bill, while by constant and undivided attention. valuable qualities seem to be still the No person of a different profession exclusive attribute of those more would think of competing with a highly educated classes whose profesphysician in the treatment of a per sion and business, as it were, has beson afflicted with a dangerous illness, come the conduct of public affairs. or with a lawyer in the management 3. In the third place, and this is a of an intricate or difficult litigation ; most important observation, there is and probably the most vehement sup- provided in the ascendency of the porter of popular rights would hesi classes possessed of property and edutate before he gave an order to a cation-provided always they are duly committee of ten.pounders to make a restrained and checked by the more coat for him, or entrusted the building numerous but less educated classes of of his house to the delegates of many society-a permanent security against different trades, instead of a master the corruption of government, and the builder, who had acquired proficiency selfish dispositions of those entrusted in one of them. În asserting and with power while in the possession of maintaining the proposition, therefore, government. By the leaders of the that the classes who enjoy property, democratic party, there are brought and have received an extensive edu- into operation a series of causes which cation, mainly directed to that end as almost instantaneously not merely the profession to which they are call- spread corruption and abuse through ed, are better fitted to discharge with every department of the state, but, by advantage to the public the intricate thoroughly depraving the public mind, and difficult science of government, render that corruption permanent, and than the classes which, though en extinguish every hope of moral or dowed with equal natural talents, have social amelioration. This is perhaps not had them directed to the same the most important observation which objects, or matured in the same man can be made with reference to the ner-we only assert a fact of uni- science of government, and it explains versal notoriety among mankind, and at once the universal failure of all apply to the most difficult branch of attempts to establish good government human knowledge the principles by
on a democratic basis, and the perma. which alone success ever has or can nent provision for its enjoyment under be attained in the easiest. And it a well-tempered and checked aristowould be surprising, indeed, if the cracy. The reason, though not apscience of government-a branch of parent at first sight, is sufficiently knowledge which requires, more than convincing when once stated, and any other, a course of unremitting deserves the serious consideration of. study during a whole lifetime, and every thoughtful mind. which can never be mastered but by It bas often been observed,” says those whose minds have acquired ex. Mr Hume, " that there is a wide diftensive information on a vast variety ference between the judgment which of subjects-could be as successfully befalls the conduct of others, and that pursued by those classes whose time which we ourselves pursue when is almost wholly absorbed in other placed in similar circumstances. The pur: uits, as by those who had made it reason is obvious : in judging of ihe undivided object and study of their others, we are influenced by our realives. And this is the true explana son and our feelings; in acting for tion of the fact which, during the last ourselves, we are directed by our ten years, has been so often observed, reason, our feelings, and our desires." that the talent, and still more the In this simple observation is to be statesmanlike views, displayed in the found the key both to the fatal corHouse of Peers, is so much superior ruption, which democratic ascen