Page images
PDF
EPUB

even think so. “ Fear God and honour the King,” is equally a maxim at all times and seasons. The personal character of the king has nothing to do with the question. Thus the extrinsic is set up over the intrinsic by authority: wealth and interest lend their countenance to gilded vice and infamy on principle, and outward shew

and advantages become the symbols and the standard of respect in despite of useful qualities or well-directed efforts through all ranks and gradations of society." From the crown of the head to the sole of the foot there no soundness left." The hole style of moral thinking, feeling, acting, is in a false tone-is hollow, spurious, meretricious. Virtue, says Montesquieu, is the principle of republics; honour of a monarchy. But it is “honour dishonourable, sin-bred"—it is the honour of trucking a principle for a place, of exchanging our honest convictions for a ribbon or a garter. The business of life is a scramble for unmerited precedence. Is not the highest respect entailed, the highest station filled without any possible proofs or pretensions to public spirit or public principle? Shall not the next places to it be secured by the sacrifice of them? It is the order of the day, the understood etiquette of courts and kingdoms. For the servants of the crown to presume on merit, when the crown itself is held as an heir-loom by prescription, is a kind of lèse majesté, or high treason, an indirect attainder of the title to the succession. "Are not all eyes turned to the sun of court favour? Who would not then reflect its smile by the performance of any acts which can avail in the eye of the great, and by the surrender of any virtue, which attracts neither notice nor applause? The stream of corruption begins at the fountain-head of court influence. The sympathy of mankind is that on which all strong feeling and opinion floats; and this sets in full in every absolute monarchy to the side of tinsel shew and iron-handed power, in contempt and defiance of right and wrong. The right and the wrong are of little consequence, compared to the in and the out. The distinction between Whig and Tory is merely nominal: neither have their country one bit at heart. Pshaw! we had forgot_Our British Monarchy is a mixed, and the only perfect form of government; and therefore what is here said cannot properly apply to it.- Hazlitt.

Expense of Monarchy.— The mere trappings of a monarchy would be sufficient to support a commonwealth.-Milton.

Reform.--All governments and societies of men do in process of long time gather an irregularity; and wear away much of their primitive institution. And therefore the true wisdom of all ages hath been to review at fit periods those errors, defects, or excesses, that have insensibly crept into the public administration; to brush the dust off the wheels, and oil them again, or, if it be found advisable, to choose a set of new ones. And this reformation is most easily, and with least disturbance, to be effected by the society itself, no single men being forbidden by any magistrate to amend their own manners, and, much more, all societies having the liberty to bring themselves within compass.-Andrew Marvel.

Fate has but very small distinction set
Betwixt the counter and the coronet.

Daniel Defoe.

Government.-Rank, privileges, and prerogatives in a state, are constituted for the good of the state, and those who enjoy them, whether they be called kings, senators, or nobles, or by whatever names or titles they be distinguished, are, to all intents and purposes, the servants of the public, and accountable to the people for the discharge of their respective offices. If such magistrates abuse their trust, in the people lies the right of deposing, and consequently of punishing them. And the only reason why abuses which have crept into offices have been connived at, is, that the correcting them, by having recourse to first principles, is far from being easy, except in small states, so that the remedy would often be worse than the disease. But, in the largest states, if the abuses of government should at any time be great and manifest; if the servants of the people, forgetting their masters, and their masters' interest, should pursue a separate one of their own, if, instead of considering that they are made for the people, they should consider the people as made for them; if the oppressions and violations of right should be great, flagrant, and universally resented; if, in consequence of these circumstances, it should become manifest, that the risk which would be run in attempting a revolution would be trifling, and the evils which might be apprehended from it, were far less than those which were actually suffered and which were daily increasing; what principles are those which ought to restrain an injured and insulted people from asserting their natural rights, and from changing, or even punishing their governors; that is their servants, who had abused their trust; or from altering the whole form of their government if it appeared to be of a structure so liable to abuse ?—Priestley.

THE TENURE OF KINGS AND MAGISTRATES. To say, as is usual, the king hath as good right to his crown and dignity, as any man to his inheritance, is to make the subject no better than the king's slave, his chattel, or his possession that may be bought or sold: and doubtless, if hereditary title were sufficiently inquired, the best foundation of it would be found but either in courtesy or convenience. But suppose it to be of right hereditary, what can be more just and legal, if a subject for certain crimes be to forfeit by law from himself and posterity all his inheritance to the king, than that a king for crimes proportional should forfeit all his titles and inherit

the people? Unless the people must be thought created all for him, he not for them, and they all in one body inferior to him single;, which were a kind of treason against the dignity of mankind to affirm. Thirdly, it follows, that to say that kings are accountable to none but God, is the overturning of all law and government. For if they may refuse to give account, then all covenants made with them at coronation, all oaths are in vain, and mere mockeries; all laws which they swear to keep, made to no purpose; for if the king fear not God (as how many of them do not !) we hold then our lives and estates by the tenure of his mere grace and mercy, as from a God, not a mortal magistrate; a position that none but curst parasites or men besotted would maintain Milton.

Reason for Union.--As ignorance of union and want of communication appear amongst the principal preservatives of civil authority, it behoves every state to keep its subjects in this want and ignorance, not only by vigilance in guarding against actual confederations and combinations, but by a timely care to prevent great collections of men of any separate party or religion or of like occupation or profession or in any way connected by a participation of interest or passion from the same vicinity.Archdeacon Palry.

The Laws of England have been the subject of eulogy to many sagacious and learned men. I find them often dilatory, often uncertain, often contradictory, often cruel, often ruinous. Whenever they find a man down they keep him so, and the more pertinaciously the more earnestly he appeals to them. Like tilers, in mending one hole they always make another. There is no country in which they move with such velocity where life is at stake, or where property is to be defended, so slowly. Can it be wondered that, upon a bench under so rotten an effigy of justice, sat a Saggs, a Jefferies, a Finch, and a Page! Law has become in England not only the most expensive, but the most rapacious and dishonest of trades.-Landor.

ones.

The Haranguer.His measure of talk is till his wind is spent, and then he is not silenced, but becalmed.

His ears have catched the itch of his tongue; and though he scratch them, like a beast with his hoof, he finds a pleasure in it.

He shakes a man by the ear as a dog does a pig, and never looses his hold till he has tired himself as well as his patient.

He is a walking pillory, and crucifies more ears than a dozen standing

He will hold any argument rather than his tongue, and maintain both sides at his own charge; for he will tell you what you will say, though perhaps he does not intend to give you leave.

His tongue is always in motion, though very seldom to the purpose; barber's scissors which are kept snipping as well when they do not cut, as when they do.

He is so full of words that they run over, and are thrown away to no purpose; and so empty of things, or sense, that his dryness has made his leaks so wide, whatsoever is put in him runs out immediately:

He is so long delivering himself, that those that hear him desire to be delivered too, or dispatched out of their pain.—Butler.

like a

Like a rootless rose or lily;

Like a sad and life-long sigh;
Like a bird pursued and weary,

Doom'd to flutter till it die;
Landless, restless, joyless, hopeless,

Gasping still for bread and breath,
To their graves by trouble hunted,

Albion's helots live for death.
Tardy day of hoarded ruin!

Wild Niagara of blood !
Coming sea of headlong millions,

Vainly seeking work and food'!
Why is famine reap'd for harvest?

Planted curses always grow:
Where the plough makes want its symbol,

Fools will gather as they sow. Ebenezer Elliott.

Porto Rico is an island of the West Indies, sixty miles east of St. Domingo. -If the earthquakes in these regions are the indignant throes of the earth groaning beneath the slavery of her children, 'tis wonder that Britain, the Šlave-empire, has not experienced terrible and frequent shocks. But there are more fearful convulsions than the heaving of the volcanic earth-the outbreak of the long-suppressed wrath of a trampled People, in which the tottering houses of the great shall be swallowed up, and their infamy buried for ever. The fire is smouldering even now.

HYMNS FOR THE UNENFRANCHISED.

No. V.
ARISE! the linked Error must be broken :

Haste to atone the Past's long agonies !
The grey world from its old-time dream hath woken-

The old entanglement of injuries.
Like a shamed libertine, whose penitence

O'erclimbeth pledges, Life's new energies
Circle our Home with giant confidence :-

Watchers of holiest Liberty, arise !
Liberty! through all forms thy thought is gliding,

Liké God's Word through the Infinite Mystery ;
Too long have tyrants and their slaves been hiding

The lorn world's peace in wrongful anarchy: Amid the world-old tempest unalarm’d,

Thou hear'st the panic-stricken nations' cries :
“ Be still !"—the accustom’d Tyranny is calm'd :-

Watchers of equal Liberty, arise !
Claim we our right of equal interference-

The natural right of all humanity-
In the common rule ! No longer shall Expedience

Vex our unheald griefs with its sophistry.
No longer shall the Nation's Will be mute,

Tongue-fetter'd by unjust monopolies; The Tree of Liberty must bear us fruit :

Hereditary Bondmen, now arise ! Arise, the truth of Love to vindicate! Rouse

ye, the heart-worn fetters to unbind! Rouse

ye,

to crush all ills that militate
Against the common-weal of humankind !
In the name of the old martyrs memory-tomb'd,

For the sake of home and living sympathies,
Even for that peace your own hopes have foredoom'd,

Watchers of human Liberty, arise !

No. VI.
We have no food, my babe and I:
I am the mother of Misery :

I was Hope, till I was wed,

Like a victim, bound, priest-led,
To the miner Industry.
Chamberlain of the woe-weary,
Light me heavenward ! life is dreary.

Let me die!
We have no child, my wife and I :
The breast of the famish'd one is dry :-

Why do the Men of Substance tread

On our hearts? if we were dead,
We should be used more tenderly.
Yon Lord has a costly funeral pyre:
We will warm us yet at the Noble's fire,

Ere we die.

Spartacus.

ILLICIT MARRIAGES. " In the House of Lords, on Tuesday, the Bishop of London called attention to a marriage which had taken place under the new Marriage Act, between a man and the widow of his grandfather, a young woman, under age. He had been intrusted with petitions stating the facts, but would not found any motion upon them."-Spectator: March 9th. How blessed and pure and heaven-like a community is ours! how angelic our moral condition! The spiritual keenness of a bishop Blomfield, watchful for abuses whose correction might well employ the rusty energies of hereditary wisdom, can discover no crime of deeper dye than the marriage of a young man with a young woman against the strict letter of an absurd law. Řather should we exclaim, how depraved must be society when this formal cant can dare to obtrude its foulness in the very face of the public! What is this man's crime! It is nought. What is the woman's ? Nothing, also; unless it be in her previous marriage with a man certainly old enough to be her grandfather. But the zealous bishop did not object to this. He sees no harm in youth selling herself for a maintenance to the lewdness or the decrepitude of a grave-claimed age; he sees no immorality in old age, even with the worms around it, laying the clamminess of its decay beside warm-hearted life. This was the “ marriage,” thou reverend perverter of God's truth! which called for attention. On this thou mightest have founded some motion; here mightest thou have shewn a passion. Other occasion too mightest thou have found for holiest indignation. What bishop has yet called attention to that fearful and woful and most unholy marriage of Penury with Industry, which is daily solemnized throughout this priest-ridden and lord-driven land, with the full approbation of the whole legislature, ay, even of the bench of bishops? Which of the “Fathers” has called attention to the disgusting connection of Church and State, the marrying of things of heaven and things of the earth—earthy, the legal prostitution of the Gospel for hire, and for the service of thieves? which of the Mitred has yet denounced that worst soldering of incongruities, the ever-repeated attempt to unite the selfish, heartless, malignant, and truckling Spirit of Commerce to the Religion of Christ? Are the bishops of Christ's church in earnest? or must we know them by their fruits, and denounce them as dumb dogs who leave the fold unwatched—and why? because they themselves are devouring the entrails of their flock. Some little time indeed spares the metropolitan Apostle from mumbling the many carcases, to growl over the petty offences of his lambs against the discipline of their keepers. Gentle Shepherd / what has aroused thy well-gorged fretfulness? Not so much this horrible marriage, as the heinousness of its performance by license of a registrar. The rival shop! Christ's vicar and his partner, Mammon, are defrauded of their accustomed profits. Do you not know, Charles Blomfield ! that the clergy of your diocese are in the habit of marrying persons within the prohibited degrees, winking at the “irregularity” and asking no questions for the sake of their fees? If you do not know this, how dare you so neglect your episcopal duty of supervision? if you do know it, what name shall we give to your conduct, your call for attention? Was it most hypocritical effrontery, or earnest regard for the public welfare? But, you would found no motion on that call. Fool! what motion could you have founded ? A demand for inquiry into the present state of the relations between man and woman in this christian country? (What “inconvenience” might not such a motion have caused ! dlas I even bishops keep mistresses; bishops even do worse.) Or would you give a charge to your clergy, and, complimenting the Gathercoles, command preaching till further notice" against the heinousness of young men'marrying old men's young widows. This would be in fine keeping with the usual doctrinal effusions of the Establishment.-And so are we continually mocked by those who have the rule over us. Labouring men, the nation's honestest, are trodden into their graves by the fiend Wealth, the ermined and aproned Wealth ; the famished petition for bread, and stones are cast deri

« PreviousContinue »