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fact mere renegades from the standard of theory. The battle being now concluded, there seems to be no longer any call for this delicacy. The trite saying that, in politics, we must assume every man to be a knave, or, what appears to be the same thing, that we must assume every man to be actuated exclusively by motives of self-interest, was originally, we believe, propounded, not by men of .practice, but by some of the most subtle dissertators that ever reasoned on the principles of government. If false, it is not a vulgar bounce, but a metaphysical paradox. At the same time, we would by no means insinuate that the high derivation of the maxim ought to screen it from the levelling wrath of a reformer, and are very contented spectators of its fate in the hands of Mr. Roscoe.
• Dark as the political horizon may appear, yet if we look into the circles of private life, we shall find that integrity, truth, and justice, are not yetexploded amongst mankind--that magnanimity excites admiration, generosity gratitude, and that all the best feelings and affections of the heart, yet exist in their full force. Where, then, is the absurdity of presuming that he who would not commit a dishonest action in private life, would not lend his aid to an act of public injustice? That he who would not be guilty of a highway robbery, would not willingly associate himself with a band of pirates ? That he who would shudder at the thought of mur. dering his neighbour, would not, for the sake of his private emolument, instigate' or encourage a war, in which thousands of his neighbours must inevitably perish? It is only by extending his sphere of action, and supposing that an individual will most probably perform upon a large scale, the same part that he does upon a small one, and the absurdity vanishes.'-pp. 11, 12.
The opportunity shall not be lost on us of observing that, of the good qualities and amenities of private life, few men have the character of being more worthy or better qualified to speak than Mr. Roscoe. We echo too with eagerness the remark that individual virtue yet subsists in England, and subsists in full force and exercise. Through the yawning breaches' of the tempestuous clouds and ever-during dark that deform and agitate our political atmosphere, it is recreating to cast an occasional glance at the repose of this distant perspective, with its cottages and spires, its sunlight and shade.- But we cannot afford time to be sentimental; and the ques. tion is as to what follows.
That men will usually act in an extensive, as they would act in a narrow sphere, and that, consequently, the public virtue of an individual may generally be measured by his private and social virtue, are at least consolatory doctrines; doctrines, indeed, so delightfully consolatory, that the introduction of them, however gratuitous or irrelevant, is always welcome, and may be forgiven even where it appears manifestly prejudicial to the cause in support of which it
is hazarded. For such, as we apprehend, is but too plainly the case in the instance before our eyes.
The crimes of the British cabinet constitute the grand argument for reform, both with Mr. Roscoe in these works, and with all reformers in all their works. We are here instructed, however, that` an individual will most probably perform upon a large scale the same part that he does upon a small scale.' Now few things, it may be submitted, are more certain than that, within the period of the present generation, the majority of his Majesty's confidential servants have, as to their individual conduct, entirely respected the penal code of their country. We are not indeed aware that the faintest insinuation has ever been breathed, or the slightest suspicion entertained to the contrary. We have heard ministers charged, in their public capacity, with the excitement of wars, the fomentation of rebellions, the imposition of arbitrary taxes, the dissipation of the national resources, the destruction of the national liberties; but know not that they have been reduced in their individual character, to plead to any indictment of treason, murder, mayhem, horsestealing, cow-maiming, or larceny. Their state-correspondence has been arraigned as violent, malignant, or base; but they have never themselves been arraigned for sending clandestine letters of a threatening nature. It has been urged that they have governed by a system of terrorism and popular clamour; but no member of the cabinet has subjected himself to a trial for a riot, assault, and false imprisonment. We dare affirm, that dividing and dissolving the Houses of Parliament have been their nearest approaches to the offence of house-breaking; and are persuaded that the ReceiverGeneral has been very little addicted to the reception of stolen goods. In whatever degree, then, the alleged presumption from private to public conduct has weight, in that degree the perfect and undeniable immunity of the personages in question from individual transgression, affords satisfactory proof of their political innocence and purity. In that degree, the common-place about the crimes of cabinets is refuted. And be it remembered, that the presumption, being declaredly general, ought, in so great a number of instances as are now alluded to, undoubtedly to prevail on the whole.
It thus appears that the advantage gained by this intrepid combatant over his practical antagonists, has not been procured without some little sacrifice on his own part;--to say the plain truth, not without an approach to the sacrifice of one principal point in dispute. And Mr. Roscoe seems placed by fortune in that interesting but somewhat critical situation described by Goldsmith's poor disabled soldier, where he says, Unluckily, we lost all our men, just as we were going to get the victory.'
Under these circumstances, what step must next be taken? A question which could not, for more than a single moment, perplex a patriot possessing the spirit of an old Roman. It now indeed remains to die ; and Mr. Roscoe, after a few almost inarticulate mur-. murings, addresses himself to the task with all the sang froid of a self-executioner in ancient history. In other words, he deliberately sets about effecting the destruction of those principles, of which he has just been employed in the recommendation. The following are the particulars of this uncommon sacrifice.
What, then, has the politician to do, but to apply to the affairs of nations, and the intercourse of states, those principles of morality which he finds in the relations of private life? 10 banish the absurd and dangerous maxim, that there is one line of moral conduct for nations and another for individuals, to exemplify in public, those maxims of justice, sincerity, moderation, and good will, towards which every government pays a nominal homage, and which are the very cement of private society; and to render a government the example and pattern, and not the corruption and opprobrium of the people?"
These words, we most humbly suggest, plainly imply that public men are, in fact, prone, however preposterously, to make a distinction between political and private morality; that they do, in fact, recognize the absurd and dangerous maxim' which would establish that distinction; and that they do not exemplify in public, those maxims of justice, sincerity, moderation, and good will, which are the very cement of private society. It would indeed have been truly ridiculous to propose the ' banishment of a maxim which had no where any subsistence, and to recommend the public ' exemplification' of maxims which were already in full force and exercise. But, if such be the practical inconsistencies of public men, then there is the absurdity of taking it for granted, that an individual will most probably perform upon a large scale, the same part that he does upon a small scale-- then, there is the absurdity of presuming that he who would not commit a dishonest action in private life, would not lend bis aid to an act of public injustice;' or * that he, who would shudder at the thought of murdering his neighbour, would not, for the sake of his private emolument, instigate or encourage a war, in which thousands of his neighbours must inevitably perish.' (p. 11.)
Thus does our author sever bimself in twain with his own sword; and, though for upwards of sixty pages, confused sounds still continue to murmur on his tongue, of constitution and corruption, reforms and forms, free and fee, minister and sinister, yet of this blow he in fact expires, and becomes food for-bookworms.
Mankind, says Montesquieu, and his remark of course includes the writing part of mankind, may be divided into two classes ; ceur
qui pensent, et ceux qui amusent. Where the public, however, exercise a deliberate and uninflamed judgment, an effectual discrimination takes place between these two descriptions of persons ; and, if ignorance and frivolity, aspiring beyond their privilege, assume the guise of wisdom and reflection, they are quickly unplumed of their pretensions. It is otherwise, when the device is practised in favour of opinions that deeply interest the passions of a considerable proportion of the community, especially if that proportion consist of the lower, or at least the less elevated orders. In such a case, it frequently happens that the shallowness of the trifling, and the solemnity of the reflective, are combined together, and this with great and, it needs scarcely be added, pernicious effect. The facility, indeed, with which the effect is produced, seduces even men of genuine talent, when they espouse a popular cause, into habits of loose thinking and confident assumption; and, sacrificing all the superfluous part of their ability, they contentedly descend to that level of courageous and clamorous thoughtlessness, on which the battles of vulgar prejudice may always be inost conveniently fought. It was the well-known observation of a great statesman, See by how small a quantity of intellect the world
may be governed: but it is equally obvious, and much more painful, to reflect, by how minute a fraction even of that small quantity the world may be disorganized.
Such is the best explanation which we are able to afford, of the phænomenon before us ; two pamphlets, proceeding from an author, not exactly eminent for profound thought, but whose gifts and acquirements can be questioned only by insolence or bigotry; containing, indeed, evident, though interrupted, indications of those gifts and acquirements; yet deformed by such undigested and indigestible crudities of reasoning as have been cited in the course of the present article. The cause of reform, whether just or not, is precisely of such a description that it will be less effectually supported by a powerful argument closely and consistently deduced, than by a hardy and dogmatic diatribe, in which each third page shall be directly invaded and overthrown by its successor, secure of finding an avenger in the next but one. Every man instinctively feels this to be the case, and, if he is a reformer and a writer on reform, must be greatly more laborious than wise, not to act on that feeling.
To the truth of these remarks, the compositions of the reformers of all ages bear witness, from Rullus down to Mr. Roscoe. The English gentleman, indeed, might almost literally appropriate the indignant remonstrance which was drawn from Cicero by the Agrarian law of the Roman tribune: Et is orbem terrarum constringit novis legibus, qui, quid in secundo capite scriptum est, non meminit in tertio?'
Into the main question agitated in these pamphlets, the necessity or expediency of a parliamentary reform, we have already declined entering; a circumstance, from which no other inference can properly be drawn, than that we do not attach to that question the importance which it appears to possess in the eyes of some persons. At the same time, there is one ground confidently relied on by Mr. Roscoe, on which we are tempted to venture for a moment; not, indeed, with any reference to the particular use which our author would make of it, but for separate and independent reasons.
The most cogent, and in point of fact the most effective arguments in favour of a reform, Mr. Roscoe conceives to be supplied by the present state of the country. Under that general description, are more particularly enumerated the increasing weight of taxation, and the profuse waste of the blood and treasure of the nation;' or, what may be considered as equipollent expressions,
the slaughter of the people in sanguinary and unnecessary wars, the oppressive weight of taxation, and the general diffusion of dissatisfaction, poverty, and distress. On these representations we do not consider ourselves as inflicting any violence, when we collect from them this plain averment, that the present war, deeply and essentially connected, as it has now long been, with the cause of Spain, has yet owed its continuance, exclusively or chiefly, to the unconstitutional and corruptly-purchased influence of our ministers; that, the national voice, could it bụt be fairly heard, would dictate peace with France, and the abandonment of the peninsula, so far as England is concerned, to its own struggles against the imbodied hostility of Gallic Europe.
We shall not here embark in any controversies on matters of opinion. Our sole object is a matter of fact. Our concern is with the statement apparently implied in the representations referred to, and which if they do not imply, they are nothing to the purpose, that the interposition of this country in the affairs of the peninsula, has been the work, not of the people of England, but of a wicked, :hireling, arbitrary minority. Will Mr. Roscoe seriously assert that such is the just account of the case? What valid security is to be found for national reputation or historical faith, we protest that we are ignorant, if such capital misrepresentations are so coolly to be circulated ; if they are to be circulated, not merely by those vile pandars to revolution who, were they under any circumstances to deviate from their system of low falsehood, were they not in all situations faithful to the predestinated baseness of their natures, would štartle us as with a prodigy, but by authors of undoubted patriotism and respectability; if such men are thus to write curses and infamy on the most radiant page of a people's glory. If there be, within possibility, so general an agreement of opinions among the inbabi