Page images
PDF
EPUB

CHAPTER II.

POLITICAL NOVELISTS—THE RESPONSIBILITY

OF POLITICIANS.

It may be supposed that every man feels a holy consciousness of a responsible duty when he enters the Houses of Parliament; not the ambition, not the power, not the littleness ascribed to most men, must always be mixed in his composition from the hour M.P. signs its contract with power. There are diviner virtues in man's breast, sweeter theories than self, and it is with loathing that liberal minds turn from those biting sarcasms upon man, showing him in his worst light and most

paltry character. As soon as a law is instituted, popular novelists aim their ridicule at it, thoughtless pens deride that which wisdom has created. Nay, the very politician who has sat with his brother members satisfies his leisure ambition and the craving of angry duns by a work founded on crying down the law which his brothers and himself have instituted. It is divulging the secrets of the house, placing the weapon of discontent in the hands of the people, placing a barrier before the amelioration of a law in its infancy, to thrust its cons so much before its pros, in the brilliant three volumes which vilify his brother members, and make the author popular almost at the expense of honour. In those brilliant pages the suffering child of want reads his first lesson of discontent, the labourer sues for more than he had otherwise wished for, the poor look upon the rich as a vast assembly

of tyrants, and curse them in their hearts, whilst they cringe beneath their bounty.

Will the poor never be taught to know their true position ? never whilst the rich himself pens the very fact of his tyranny. Oh! ye poor, believe not in the happiness which Mammon confers on its favorites ; think that every thousand the rich man possesses only makes him crave for a thousand more; know that he cannot supply any of his luxurious wants without the assistance of your laborious hands ; that the charity he bestows is not all charity, for even in the union more prosperous man reaps the equal benefit of poor to rich, and rich to poor.

Discontent is, in fact, engendered by education; for behold the contented smile_the helpless happiness of infancy and young days in all ranks of life. Behold those lovely hours of youth, ere lips have learned sighing, and eyes have shed a tear; behold the beggar's child, and behold that of the rich, nay, if there be any favour on the side of happiness, the poor child claims it. The march of intellect which induces all classes to know how to read, ought to teach authors, and especially political authors, to take care what they write.

Would it be reasonable to place a knife in a child's hand and bid him not cut? Is it right to furnish the poor with the weapons of discontent and bid them not rebel?

Oh! ye who are gifted in eloquence, exert that power to a better end than an all-engrossing selfishness, which finds its food in that popularity—the fame of brilliant authorship. Remember the thrilling feeling which crept over you when ye stood, for the first time, within parliamentary walls. In your most enthusiastic moments, forget not that ye represent the nation, that although no one member has uncontrollable authority, yet each voice helps to abrogate and revise the laws.

The opening of Parliament is in itself a most soul-interesting sight.

How many creatures may be made happy or unhappy, ere that important body has issued forth its last decree of the season. There are assembled the talented, the persevering, and the intellectual. The heroes of battles, the lions of oratory, the phalanx who protect our nation.

Spirit of Justice, balance well thy scales ; Honour, Truth, and Sincerity attend each meeting, for responsible and sacred is the task which each member of Parliament has taken upon himself.

Should any doubt this ?

Why, then, do we offer up prayers in our church, when Parliament is engaged in its

« PreviousContinue »