« VorigeDoorgaan »
we are gravely.assured, " that the country never had a fairer prospect " of its successful termiyation.” No--not even at the time, when his lordship, who as well as his coadjutors, “ never conducted their " measures by any views or principles of a romantic character, with such combined wisdom and courage, proposed that the British army then attempting the invasion of France, “ should march direct * to Paris !" But what is the obvious lesson enforced on the people of this country after twenty years dear bought experience? That which we for years past, and almost from month to month bave been endeavouring to impress on the minds of our countrymen All the efforts of this country to limit or abridge the dominions and power of France have uniformly ended in their increase! The experience of his lordship at the termination of the first period of the war in 1801, testified, and by his signing the treaty of Amiens, he confessed the fact, that after eight years unparalleled exertions on the part of this country, in which our debts and taxes were doubled, we were compelled to restore to France all her conquests, to leave her in possession of an enormous increase of territory, and of additional and powerful allies; and in short, completely to sacrifice the honour of the British nation, by yielding every one of those objects for the attainment of which we had declared the origin and the perseverance in the war to be just and necessury. And wbat has been the “ experience” of tlie seven campaigns which form the melancholy history of the second period of tbe war? The eud of every campaign has found the dominions and power of France considerably increased ; and although by the most liberal supplies of men and money, we have hitherto prevented the total conquest of Spain and Portugal; whilst we have been spending bundreds of millions in carrying on a war continued, apparently, for no other object than the preservation of these countries; we have not been able to prevent the gigantic strides of the French Emperor in other parts of Europe. But ministers flatter themselves, that because their favourite General, Lord Wellington, has only been driven out of Spain, aud through the greater part of Portugal, “ the 6. prospect of a successful termination of the contest is fairer than “ at any period for the past twenty years ;"' and we fear that a new victory just obtained by Lieutenant-General Graham, in the Isle de Leon, will have the usual fatal result of such victories,- of gulling the people, and of rendering them more willing than they otherwise would be to persevere in a war for a successful termination of which there is not the least national prospect..
Our State Gazette of the 11th instant, contains extracts of two dispatches from Lord Wellington, giving an account of two defeats, one of our Portuguese, the other of our Spanish ally; the latter appears to have been pretty complete ; but to balance these ad
oputes at 800 of the Spanish com which they wer
verse events; the Gazette extraordinary of the 25th. contaius Lieutenant General Graham's account of an action in which with about 3000 British and 2000 Spanish, he defeated the Frencha army which he computes at 8000 men. The British general it ap. pears acting under the direction of the Spanish commander in chief, found himself and bis army in a critical situation, in which they were compelled to fight for their own security: the battle was sustained with that bravery which has so often distinguished our countrymen; but after losing 1200 men, nearly half the army, “ the exhausted “ state of the remainder of the troops made pursuit impossible."
And in whose cause was this battle fought, in which so much British blood has been shed? Why truly, for a people who in general, from the very commencement of the contest to the present moment, bave not thought it worth while even in defence of their independence, to shed their own blood. Our public prints are loud jo declaiming against the conduct of the Spanish commander in chief, General LA PENA, who after drawing the British general into a situation the most bazardous, thought it most prudent to stand aloof from the contest with an army of 7,000 men, which if it had been brought into action, (so our journalists assure us) " instead of kil“ ling only 3000, not a man of the enemy would have escaped." So that the only fruits of this brilliant victory reaped by our British General, has been the exultation be expresses in detailing the numbers of the French killed and wounded, and viewing (what a glorious sight for a warrior !) “ the field of battle covered with the dead bodies and “ arms of the enemy.” It is scarcely necessary to add, that another such « victory" would complete the destruction of Gen. Graham's army.
So much for Lord Liverpool's “ fairest prospect" of a successful termination of the war, which has presented itself ever since the year 1793 !-- There is indeed another view we might take of this very fair prospect,-as it respects our ability to carry on the war. And here a variety of reflections present themselves. The further depreciation of our national bank notes—the rapid increase of our paper circulation-the funding of twelve millons of exchequer bills—the issue of six millions of the same description of paper to sup., port the falling credit of our merchants a large loan, and a heavy. addition to our burdens—These circumstances will doubtless add to the brightness of Lord Liverpool's prospect : but a full view of the 6 fairest prospect which the nation has enjoyed ever since the year « 1793,” will shortly be taken by the legislature, and on the ensuing anonth we shall probably be able to congratulate our countrymen on the “unrivalled success and prosperity" which awaits them, and which will doubtless render this country the admiration and the envy of all people in every part of the globe, civilised or uncivilised ! Harlow, March 28, 1811.
For MARCH, 1811.
THE FREEHOLDERS POLITICAL CATECHISM.
BY LORD BOLINGBROKE.
[2d. Ed. 1748.]
dence that I am born a member of a Who are you?
community governed by laws, and ANSWER:
not by arbitrary power, Tam T. M. a freeholder of Great Q. What dost thou think incumBritain.
bent upon thee, to secure this blesQ. What privilege enjoyest thou sing to thyself and posterity ? . by being a freeholder of Great Bric A. As I am a freeholder, I think tain?
it incumbent upon me to believe 4. By being a freeholder of Great aright concerning the fundamenta! Britain, I am a greater man in my articles of the government, to which civil capacity than the greatest sub. I am sobiect; to write, speak, and ject of an arbitrary prince, because act on all occasions conformably to I am governed by laws, to which I this orthodox faith; to oppose, with give my consent; and my life, li- all the powers of my body and minds berty, and goods cannot be taken such as are enemies of our good confrain me, but according to those stitution, together with all their $€la.vs. I am a freeman.
cret and open abetiors, and to be Q. Who gave thee this liberty ? obedient to the King the supreme
A. No man gave it me. Liberty magistrate of the society." is the natural right of every human Q. Rehearse unto me the articles crcature. He is born to the exercise of thy political creed? of it, as soon as he has attained to $. I believe that the supreme, or that of his reason; but that my li- legislative power of this realm, reberty is preserved to me, when lost sides in the King, Lords, and Comto a great part of mankind, is owing mone; that his Majesiy King George under God to the wisdom and valour the Second is sovereign, or supreme of my ancestors, frècholders of this executor of the law; to whom, upon realm.
that account, all loyalty is due; Q. Wherein does this liberty, that each of the three members of which thou enjoyest, consist ? the legislature are endowed with
A. In laws made by the consent their particular rights, and offices; of the people, and the due execution that the king, by his royal prerogaof those laws. I am free not from tive, bas the power of determining the law, but by the law.
and appointing the time and place of Q. Wilt thou stand fast in this li- the meeting of parliament; that the berty, whereunto thou are born and consent of King, Lords, and Comentitled by the laws of iny country? mons is necessary to the being of a
A. Yes verily, by God's grace, I law, and all the three make but one will; and I thank bis good provi- lawgiver; that as to the freedom of VOL, IX.
consent in making of Jaws, those doms in the world ; and he can have three powers are independent; and no power but what is given him by that each and all the three are bound law; yea, even the supreme, or leto observe the laws that are made. gislative power is bound, by the
.Q. Why is the legislative power rules of equity, to govern by, laws supreme?
enacted, and published in due form; A. Because what gives law to all, for what is not legal is arbitrary. must be supreme.
Q. How comes it that those, who Q. What meanest thou by loyalty endeavour to destroy the authority to the King ?
and independence of any of the A. I have heard that loy significs branches of the legislature, subvert law; and loyalty obedience, accor- the constitutions ding to law; therefore he, who pays A. By the fundamental laws of this obedience, is a loyal subject; the constitution, the free and imparand be, who executes the king's com- tial consent of each of the three mands, when contrary 10 law, is dis members is necessary to the being loyal and a traitor.
of a law; therefore if the consent of Q. Is it not in the law, that the any of the three is wilfully omitted, king can do no wrong?
or obtained by terror or corruption, A. It is; for since kungs do not the legislature is violated ; and inact immediately by themselves, but stead of three there may be really mediately by their officers, and infe- and effectually but one branch of rior magistrates; the wisdom of the the legislature. law provides sufficiently against any Q. Can you illustrate this by any undue exercise of their power, by example? charging all illegal acts, and all A. The royal authority and that kinds of mal-administration upon of the house of peers were both de. their ministers; by the great regard, stroyed by the house of commons, which is paid to the king by this and by a small part of that, in the maxim, laying him under an indisé Tate civil war; so that the very form purable obligation not to screen his of government was annihilated. ministers from public justice, or pub- Q. Can you give me an instance, lic enquiry
where the form of government may Q. What doest thou mean by the be kept, and yet the constitution de royal prerogatives?
stroyed? 'A. A discretionary power in the A. Yes. The forms of the free king to act for the good of the people, government of Rome were preserved where the laws are sileni, never con- under the arbitrary government of trary to law, and always subject to the Emperors. There was a senate, the limitations of the law.
consuls, and tribunes of the people; Q. Is not then the king above the as one might say King, Lords, and lurs ?
Commons ; and yet the government A. By no means; for the inten- under the Emperors was always destion of government being the security potic, and often tyrannical; and in: of the lives, liberties and properties deed the worst of all governments is of the members of the community, tyranny sanctified by ihe appearance they never can be supposed, by the of law. law of nature, to give an arbitrary Q. By what means fell that great power over their persons and estates. people into this state of slavery? King is a ville, which, translated . A. I have read the Roman hisinto several languages, signities a tory, and by what I can judge, it quagistrate with as many different was hy faction, corruption, and standdegtues of power, as there are king ing armis.
Q. All these things might happen arbitrary prince; and that the na. to Romans : but did ever any parlia- tion can never be effectually undone ment of this nation give up the li- but by a wicked parliament ; and berty of the people ?
lastly, to be thankful to God that A. Yes. A packed parliament, under our present and most gracious in Richard the Second's time, esta- king, our constitution is preserved blished by a law the king's arbitrary intire, though at the same time there power, and with leave to name a are many circumstances, which call commission with parliamentary au- loudly for vigilance. thority. Parliaments, in Henry the Q. What are those ? Eighth's time, were slaves to his A. Such as have been the forepassions, and one gave the king a runners and causes of the loss of legislative authority. And there are liberty in other countries; decay of many instances of parliaments mak- virtue and public spirit, luxury, and ing dangerous steps towards the de- extravagance in expence, venality struction of the liberty of the people. and corruption, in private and pub.
Q. Who were the English mo- lic affairs narchs, who were the most indulgent Q. Ilow comes there to be a dem to the liberties of the people? cay of public spirit, when there is
A. The great King ALFRED, who more than usual a desire to serve the declared, that the English nation was public ? as free as the thoughts of man; the A. If a desire to live upon the pub. glorious monarch, Edward the First, lic be a public spirit, there is enough Edward the Third, and Henry the of it at this time; when extravagance Fifth, who would not let his people makes people crave more, and the swear to him till he had an oppor. administration of a puglie revenue tunity of swearing to them, at his (perhaps treble what it was before coronation; and the immortal Queen the revolution) enables the crown to Elizabeth, who deciared it by law give more than formerly. high treason, during her life, and a Q. What dost thon tar from this? premunire afterwards, to deny the A. That such as serve the crown power of parliament in limiting and for reward may in time sacrifice the binding the descent, or inheritance of interest of theircountry to their wants; the crown, or the claim to it. : that greediness of public money may
Q. When were those slavish max- produce a slavish complaisance, as ims of hereditary, indefeazable right, long as the crown can pay; and muand prerogative, superior to law, tiny when it cannot; and, in general first introduced ?
that motives of self-interest will prove A. In the time of James the First; an improper and weak foundation who by endeavouring to establish for our duty to our King and country. ' them, laid the foundation of all the Q. What wouldst thou do for the miseries, which have since happened country? to his family; and it is the greatest A. I would die to procure its prossecurity to the present branch of it, perits; and I would raiher that iny that such doctrines, which sow the posterity were cut of, than that they seed of jealousy between the King should be slaves; as providence at and his people, are by the present present requires none of these sacriestablishment quite exploded. fices, I content myseif to discharge
Q. What didst thou learn from the ordinary duties of my station, those histories?
and to exhort iny neighbours to do A. That a king of this realm in the same. the full possession of the atfections Q. What are the duties of your of his people, is greater than any station ?