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that must be replaced with Purbeck; many timbers rotten, which must be renewed with heart of oak. They who deny that the parliament wants reform, are of that description of men, who, like some noisome insects, can only subsist in corruption. They feed and fatten in filth, and cleanliness is their bane. And here I cannot but animadvert on those, who stigmatize all who wish to reform the most manifest abuses in the constitution of the senate, as its enemies; and would proscribe them under invidious names, basely thrown out to provoke the multitude against them. Who is the best friend of the sick man, the venal practitioner, who treacherously protracts the disorder for the sake of fees, and the lucre of vending his medicines; or the honest and liberal hysician, who restores him to health, regardless of #. private interest, with all possible expedition ? Those calumnies against the best friends of the state, which endeavour to expose them to public resentment, as its enemies, will in time be treated with general indignation. The torrent of self-interest and timidity, rushing on to the dead lake of despotism, will soon be stemmed by the spirit and vigour of a people, whose history evinces, that however they may be overwhelmed by artifice for a time, they will emerge at last to light and liberty. There is in freeborn men a native elasticity, which will throw off every superincumbent weight, not imposed with their own concurrence, or submitted to from conviction of expediency. Coercion, whether from the ruling powers, or from a party or faction among themselves, will not be long borne by a whole people, unless, like the strait-waistcoat to the lunatic, it is necessary, in a morbid state, to their speedy convalescence. But who shall judge of the insanity? —A partial few, interested in the lunatic's confinement? - The general voice will be one day clamorous, though now overawed to whispers, for a reform of parliament. But when a reform of parliament is mentioned, it means not the house of commons only. The house of lords must reform itself, by training up a rising generation of patriots, with hearts inclined, and understandings enlightened, to pursue and accomplish whatever is best calculated to promote the happiness of a nation, of which they are born legislators. Can he be noble, who, in his sordid attention to borough elections, forgets what he owes to his country, what he owes to human nature? The abolition of Nobility in France naturally excites some degree of alarm in England. The alarm, perhaps, is most concealed by those who feel it most; by those who affect contempt, while they burn with anger. The examples of two empires like America and France, a great portion of the inhabited globe, cannot but operate powerfully on the mind of neighbouring nations; on patricians and on plebeians; on those who fear, and on those who hope. Discussions are already begun on subjects which once were thought, like the holy of holies, too sacred to be entered upon by the profane. If the alarm, which has been founded, be just, the friends of the constitution, and the favourers of Nobility, will labour to render the one pure, and to preserve the other in its degree of due estimation, that they may both be retained amid the convulsion of neighbouring states; retained inviolate, for their evident utility in promoting the general happiness of man in society, and the welfare of this country. To prove their evident value and utility, and to restore them to their native dignity in the public esteem, will be to support them better than by levying legions of soldiers. Build them on any other foundation than ublic conviction of their real use and value, and ike the house of the fool founded on the sand, they will one day fall, beaten down by the rains and winds of popular commotion. To preserve the lustre of nobility unsullied, is the scope of the following pages. The lower orders of mankind have made wonderful advances in knowledge; I wished the higher to make a proportionable progress, and to preserve a due interval, by a preeminence of real excellence; by a nobility of virtue and merit, superadded to the nobility of civil institution. - The times certainly require great wisdom and great virtue in all who take the lead in administration, or in a salutary opposition to it. He, therefore, who recommends to the great the study of models, best calculated to form the understanding, and to infuse a taste for that sublime of public virtue which soars above self-interest, is most effectually serving his country; he is sowing the seeds of plants, whose foliage may adorn and shelter the land; he is raising a future generation of HAMPDENs, SIDNEYs, CHATHAMs; he is providing a succession of FoxES, GREYs, and LANSDownes. The noble stand made by a few independent peers for the liberty of man, the liberty of thought and speech, and the liberty of the press, on which it must ever depend, retrieves the credit of a venal age, and recalls ideas of Roman magnanimity. The tide of corruption flowed strong and full against them; but they stood their ground, despising danger, and pitying that weakness of the multitude, which rendered them, during a temporary mania, the dupes of placemen, pensioners, expectants, dealers in o and factors of corruption. The encouragement indeed of the late associations in every little corner of the kingdom, though apparently adverse, is, perhaps undesignedly, favourable to the cause of liberty. It calls thousands and tens of thousands, in all ranks, from their indolent repose, to the investigation of political subjects. It awakens them to political life, and prompts them to read forbidden books of which they had scarcely heard the names before. It makes them feel their own weight, and will teach them to throw it into the opposite scale, when they find themselves deluded by their artful leaders; or when their artful leaders, dis
appointed in the hopes of reward for their present exertions, shall excite them on some future panic, to associate in opposition. This step may be said in some respect to resemble the calling forth the notables in France, and declaring the legislative and executive powers incompetent, without extraneous assistance. Is not this to sap the constitution, or to proclaim its imbecility and decrepitude? And are such associators friends, and the only friends to their country?
The truth is, that the people themselves are at this moment the best friends to the constitution, as consisting of king, lords, and commons: they wanted no associations to threaten them with prosecution; they were loyal from affection and from conviction; and, if any individual violated the law, punishment was certain; for the law retains all its vigour, and justice is administered with the purity of Heaven's tribunal. The people heard insurrections announced ; but they looked, and, lo ! all was peace. The insurrections, which were intended to strike a panic, resembled, in the circumstance of their reality, the ghost of Cock-lane, at which the whole nation from one extremity to the other was once unaccountably alarmed. Truth brought her torch; the ghost vanished ; and the people laughed at their own credulity!
Men who dare to come forward in the moment of political frenzy, to oppose its extravagance, and to check that intemperate zeal, which, in its fear of republicanism, seems willing to rush into the extreme of despotism, are truly noble, and therefore worthy of being pointed out as patterns to the young aspirant at personal nobility. They afford an example of that greatness of mind, the only foundation of true grandeur, which the precepts of this book are intended to inspire.
Many enter into opposition as an adventure; they bring a certain quantity of ability and influence into the market, which is to be bought up, when it
appears worth while, by those who possess patronage and the command of a treasury. But men who continue firm in their opposition, in their defence of general liberty, when their prospect of personal emolument is forlorn, when reviled by cabals, and when deserted by their adherents, are of that description who founded noble families; themselves, though untitled, the noblest of the human, as well as of their own, race. The army of Xerxes consisted of myriads; yet Leonidas comprised, in his firm, united, little band, more true spirit, more genuine nobility, than the swarms of an oriental despot. To the Constitution of England, to its spirit, which is its essence, those who have thus stood forth are true friends. They have a great stake in the country, though not the stake of places and pensions. They have well-grounded hopes of being rewarded with its honours. They only wish to restore it to its first principles, that they may retard its decay, and build the fine pile of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy, on marble columns, instead of posts crumbling with putrefaction. I avow myself with them, (though the avowal is, I own, unimportant,) a sincere lover of a government so supported; and am happy, however feeble my aid, to cooperate with their generous efforts. I have, with this view, attempted, in the following pages, to add to the personal merit of the aristocracy. If I lean to liberty, I glory in it. I lean to that which every independent mind must love. He who is cordially attached to letters, will probably be attached, with peculiar affection, to H. for liberty is the friend of literature, as well as of every thing beautiful and honourable. Tyranny hates it. Tyranny has commonly been ignorant. Tyrants over men, and slaves to their own passions and caprice, have usually been brought up in illiterate Voluptuousness; and seem, like the poor savages of Some desert isle, to hate letters and sciences, merely because they are strangers to them. Weak eyes WOL. W. C