« PreviousContinue »
whole population . . . . . . . . . .
NOT without regret, in a manner so contrary to what will be seen to have been his original intention, is the personality of the author at length exposed to the view of the company, a company, not small either in eminence or numbers,--of those who in so many parts of the work, will find more or less cause to be dissatisfied with it.
From the view of a determinate individual, in the character of the instrument by which the reproach is cast, the dissatisfaction can not but receive more or less increase : and, assuredly, of the object which he has all along been aiming at, never has the production of pain in any shape, to so much as a single individual, formed any part : never any more than of that of the surgeon in the probing of a wound.
To the regret thus expressed one alleviation however remains : viz. that among existing individuals scarcely could any one be found, from whose personality any uneasiness, in the production of which he may thus have been instrumental, could receive less
increase. Coming from a recluse, who forms no part of society-whose destiny keeps his person as completely, as if he were immured in a solitary cell, out of all chance of offending the eyes of any of the distinguished functionaries and other personages, to whose mind the offence, such as it is, will have been given—a work presenting no name but that of a person so circumstanced, will in the scale of inoffensiveness be found to stand next in order to an anony- . mous one.
With the exception of the title and of this lastwritten though first stationed preface, the whole contents of this volume will here be seen in the exact state in which, more than a twelvemonth ago, having passed through the press, they were made ready for the bookseller.
From booksellers, to whom the work had been either shewn or mentioned by description, the answer was—“Yes, with a name readily: but not otherwise :" with a name, meaning the name of the author whoever he might be : for, as to the name of the real author, it was not, it is believed, mentioned.
In the Introduction to the work intituled Plan of Parliamentary Reform, &c., a sort of sketch was given of one of the two natures, of which our constitution, such as it is, is composed, viz. the temporal one. - In the present work may be seen a portrait of the other nature, viz. the spiritual one. The sketch was but a miniature, and that a mere outline: the portrait will be found to be of a larger size, and more particularly delineated as well as coloured.
In this instance, as in that other, whether it be with an immediate view to reformation,or, as an indispensable means to that end, in the character of an object of censure,—the system—against that it is, and that alone, had there been any choice, the censure could have been pointed. The system, yes: individuals, no : because; the individuals, being but the children of the system-bred under the system,had the existing individuals never had existence, under that system others exactly like them, differing in nothing but in name, would have occupied their places.
But of the system-a system in the abstractwithout bringing to view any of the individuals acting under it, to give any intelligible representation-any representation on which any hope of good, how faint so ever, could have grounded itself, was not found practicable. Of all that, which will here be seen to have been done, (saying included) by an Archbishop of Canterbury, a Bishop of London, a Rector of St. James's, a Lord President of the Council, a Chancellor of the Exchequer, a Chief Judge of the Roman law, Civil and Canon-a Rector of St. James's with their 'et cæteras upon et ceteras,-scarce is there anything, that, by any person, if any such there be, in whose judgment it had been better left undone than done, would have been recognized as possible, or at any rate as likely to have been done, if it had not been seen actually done : actually done by certain individuals, such as those by which those same
characters will be seen to have been actually performed.
Had it not then been for individual acts and discourses, such as those here exhibited and held up to view in detail, the author would have been called to order for seeking, on grounds so purely imaginary, to destroy all confidence in public men. This for reproof: while for refutation, the words abstract, visionary, utopian, speculative, enthusiastic, with their respective conjugates, on one side of the field, with the names of Marat and Robespierre on the other, would have been uttered and received—as so many instruments, not less sufficient than simple and concise.
As to accusation, imputation, crimination, condemnation, censure—whatsoever may be regarded as seeking to attach itself, in a strain expressed by any of those words, to this or that individual,—to the acts or discourses of the individual in question, as exhibited by the documents all along quoted or referred to-documents all along of the most authentic and unquestionable nature—everything of that sort not only is now, but from first to last has all along been meant to be confined. Of this meaning and intention, notice, it is believed, will, in places more than one, be found given in the body of the work. But, for further assurance, a declaration thus all-comprehensive, and placed at the very threshold, may perhaps be found not altogether misemployed.
In so melancholy a state of things as will be seen