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VOL. XV. No. 10.] LONDON, SATURDAY, MARCH 11, 1809.
"That they may do evil with both hands carnestly, the prince asketh, and the judge a-keth for a "reward: and the great man, he uttereth his mischievous desire: so they wrap it up."-MICAH, Chapter vi verse 3.
DUKE OF YORK.
means that were taken to check the free(Continued from page 347.) dom of public discussion, with respect to IN all the books of the Holy Scriptures; the subjects of these ruinours and reports. amongst all the strong descriptions of pre- The charges were, too, received in a manvalent corruption, contained in those writ-ner, well calculated to heighten the inings, I know of none more impressive, more characteristic of a rotten state of things, than that which I have taken for my motto to this sheet. I have, however, not selected it under an idea, that it will be found at all applicable to the result of the proceedings, which have, for so many weeks past, wholly occupied the attention of the public; but, on the contrary, with the confident hope, that the reader will be able to draw a pleasing contrast between that result and the sort of actions, to which the prophet alludes, and at which he expresses the displeasure of the Almighty Ruler of the universe, "the God of truth and justice."- -I trust the House of Commons, and every individual of that House, will dismiss all prejudice from their minds, whether it be against or for the Duke of York; and, I will go further, and say, that I do believe that now, whatever may have passed before, whatever symptoms of prejudice may have appeared, on the one side or the other, substantial justice will be done, without any regard to the feelings of either the high or the low.
Upon no occasion, perhaps, since the Revolution in 1688, has there existed, in this country, so great an interest, as to what would be the conduct of its government, as that which exists at the present moment. People, in all ranks of life, have from the beginning of the late Inquiry, been alive, in an unusual degree, to all that was passing. The open statement of the Charges against his Royal Highness had been preceded by numerous rumours and reports, which, though, by the impartial and considerate, were looked upon as including, in many cases, at least, great exaggerations, had produced, as it was natural they should, a very great degree of latent discontent; and this discontent was, assuredly, not at all diminished, by the
terest naturally attached to the intrinsic merits of the case. Instead of opposing them by a direct or implied negative, the friends of the illustrious personage resorted to recrimination, and dealt their charges about so roundly and so widely, and in a manner so little discriminating, that they compelled all those, who were connected with the press, to wish that the result might show the charges not to have originated in that traiterous conspiracy, which was asserted to exist, of which the press was alledged to have been the organ, and in the fate of which the fate of the press appeared to be completely involved. Hence the press has not failed to participate in the public feeling, nor to gratify the public impatience, in the doing of which, with the greatest possible effect, the form of proceeding, injudiciously chosen by the friends of the Duke of York, has afforded it perfect facility; so that, at this moment, even now, before the discussion upon the evidence has taken place, in the House of Commons, there is scarcely a single person in the whole kingdom, who has not weighed the several cases in his mind with as much care as if they had come before him, he being in the capacity of a juror. Not only, therefore, are there, in this case, the circumstances of the accused party being the Commander in Chief of the Army, a Son ofthe King, and so near to the Crown as to have but two lives between him and the wearing of it himself; not only are there, in this case, these circumstances, of themselves sufficiently interesting, but there are the additional circumstances, mentioned above, rendering, all together, the sum of interest now excited far greater than what has ever been felt, in this kingdom, since the era of the Revolution.
The eyes of the nation are directed to
contents of the nation do not now, as formerly, operate in a partial direction. It is not upon a part of the House; it is not upon this or that ministry, that the blame now falls; but upon the whole House, and upon all public men: a consideration of great moment, when we consider the crisis in which we now live, and as to the final event of which so much must depend upon the conduct, and, of course, upon the opinions of the people, supposing, which we must, in this case, suppose, that the people will still remain free. Formerly what was disliked by the nation was, by one half of the nation, imputed to one half of the parliament and one half of the public men. Hope was kept alive in the other
wards its rulers in general; towards the whole of its government, king, lords, and commons. Many persons, accustomed to take little or no interest in public affairs, take interest in this affair. The whole mass of the national thought has been set in motion. What will be the conduct of the several branches of the government, is the question that now engrosses every mind; but, in a more direct and particular manner are the eyes of the nation, for reasons too obvious to point out, fixed upon the House of Commons; and I am persuaded, that every man will agree with me, that, in almost whatever light it be considered, the result of the discussion of Wednesday next, will be the most important that this nation has witnessed for more than a hun-half, and resentment was counterbalanced dred years past.
by hope. This is no longer the case. There are still persons wishing for a change of ministry, because there are always persons who wish to obtain possession of power and emolument; but, beyond that circle, which, though extensive, is nothing when compared to a whole nation, there are very few persons indeed to be found who have even a wish upon the subject, and absolutely none at all, who sincerely believe that such a change would be attended with any substantial national benefit.
It must have struck every man, who has been long in the habit of contemplating political motives and actions, that the interest and the importance, which discussions in the House of Commons formerly owed to considerations of party, now exist but in a comparatively trifling degree. The death of the two great opposing leaders, under whom the people, as well as the members, ranged themselves, may have contributed towards this result; but, the fact is, that, long before the death of Pitt, the attachments of party had become It has long been the opinion of many, greatly enfeebled, and are now dwindled that the present state of the representation almost to nothing. Indeed, there is now is such as to leave the people little or no in existence nothing that resembles party check upon their rulers. Since the year but the name. There are men, who are 1780, when the late Pitt and the late in place, and others who, upon all occasions, Duke of Richmond were the partizans of whether right or wrong, censure the mea- reform of parliament, this subject has besures of ministers, with the sole view of come very familiar to the public. Those supplanting thein. But, in any other who deny the necessity of reform have sense, the word party has now no more not, as far as I have observed, actually meaning than has the word Tory, which no justified the public advertising of Seats man has any longer the impudence to use. for sale; but, they have contended, that Parties were formerly distinguished by the House of Commons, constituted as some great and well-known principles of it is, is quite sufficient for all the purforeign or domestic policy. Now, there poses for which the constitution intendare no such distinguishing marks; and, as ed such a House; and that, though it a natural consequence, the people have does happen, some-how, or other, that become quite indifferent as to all conside- every ministry, as long as they remain in rations connected with party. Whether, place; that every set of men, who are the as a general proposition, this indifference servants of the king, have a majority in that be a good or an evil, I will not now at- House, and do carry every question that tempt to discuss; but, I venture to state, they please to carry, if it be of any impor not without confidence of its meeting with tance to them, or to the crown; though this general assent, that this change in the be allowed, still it is contended, that somemind of the nation has not been favoura-how or other, the representation is a suffible to the House of Commons, both sides of which united have not now to boast that warmth of popular attachment which each side before possessed. Another consequence of this change, is, that the dis
cient check upon the power of the crown. In opposition to this doctrine of invisible influence, of effects without causes, and of causes without effects, various instances might be quoted, wherein the power of
the crown has been suffered to bear down, tion than we are in under the family of Brunsall before it. But there has been no occa- wick. Amongst the means, are of course, sion since the reign of James II, on which the keeping of the family of Brunswick the personal interests of any part of the upon the throne; maintaining all the just family of the king have been so directly prerogatives of the king, and the like; brought within the scope of parliamentary but the great end in view, is to prevent power, as the interests of the Duke of York ourselves from being made worse off than How are; and, therefore, now, more clear- we now are. Well then, this being the case, ly than upon any former occasion, the peo- let us examine, a little, how we should be ple have had, and will have, an opportuworse off And here it must be first obnity of ascertaining the degree of power served, that we," thus used, does not which the House of Commons possesses in-apply to a few thousands of courtiers and dependent of the Crown. placemen and pensioners, for, if it did, no examination would be necessary. It applies to the whole of fourt.en millions of people. He would, it is said, take away our property; but, what would he do with He could not carry the land to France, nor the goods; nor could he take from the land its productive quality; nor could he unstring the arms of a labourer; nor would it be his interest so to do. No, it is not in this way that we should experience much of a change, the manifest interest of the conqueror being to leave the people in general, in the possession and enjoyment of all the property in land and in trade, that they now possess and enjoy. But, without supposing a danger to property, there is quite a suflicient motive for resisting Napoleon, and for making any sacrifices that are really necessary for that purpose. There is no doubt, that, if he were to succeed in the conquest of Eng. land, he would treat us as a conquered people; he would take from us our laws, and give us his edicts in their stead; he would rule us as an absolute monarch; his soldiers would be our masters under him; and we should not dare to complain of any act of his, however oppressive, or however insolent. Yet, notwithstanding this powerful motive to resistance, it is necessary that the people of this country should be convinced; that they should see, daily, proofs, of the value of what they now possess; that they should be able to draw a triumphant contrast between what now is, and what would be in case they were conquered by Napoleon; that they should want no one to tell them, that their constitution is worth being defended with their last shilling, and the last drop of their blood; that they should reel this from the bottom of their hearts; that they should stand no more in need of being reminded of it, than they do of being reminded of the necessity of eating when they are hungry, or drinking when they are thirsty.
The long and expensive and bloody war, in which we are engaged, and to which no man can see the prospect of a termination, has caused an extension of the taxing system, almost beyond the compass of an ordinary mind's conception. In answer to all our complaints on this score, we are told, that the burthens are necessary to preserve us against the inroads of the enemy. The argument, carried out to its full length, is this: If you do not give the king the means of keeping up an immense fleet and army, Napoleon will conquer the country and will make you more miserable than you now are. As to the words, loss of our constitution, and making us slaves, we will lay them aside for the present, as not being definite enough for any six men to come to an agreement about their meaning. By the necessity of sacrifices for our own good, we must understand it to be meant, that Napoleon, were he to become our master, would make our situation worse than it is under the sovereignty of the family of Brunswick; for, unless this be the case; unless this be the jet of the argument, there is no motive for our resistance, and, of course, none for the sacrifices which we make, and which, by law, we are compelled to make, in order to render that resistance efficient. For, as to loyalty, it is an empty sound, unconnected with the general good. Kings, like other individuals, have their personal friends; but personal friendship for a king forms no ingredient of loyalty, which means fidelity to the king as king; as the guardian of the nation's interest, honour, and renown. Subjects in general know nothing of the king but through the laws, and every man, as long as he obeys those laws, is a loyal man, whatever may be his opinion or his feelings with regard to the person, or the family, of the king. Thus, then, it is, I think, evident, that the motive to resist Napoleon, and to make sacrifices for that purpose, will, at last, come to this: to save ourselves from being in a worse situa
Now, connecting these more general
evils, the cause of national degradation and ruin. Partiality even in the distribution of favours, when those favours are paid for by the public, is mischievous and hateful enough; but, not a millionth part so mischievous and so hateful, so detestable in the eyes of every just man, and of virtue, as partiality in the distribution of punishments. It is mortifying enough in all conscience to see the parasite pampered with the means of rewarding the meritorious; but, to see the great villain brav ing the laws, while the petty are hanged in chains, is what no man can bear without feeling a desire to see overturned, torn up from the foundation, utterly destroyed and scattered to the winds, the whole of the system and fabric of that government, where such partiality has proceeded. I state this as a general proposition; I say it merely by way of illustration, and not at all in allusion to the case of the Duke of York, or to any anticipated decision of the House of Commons; but, on the contrary, with a confident hope and reliance, that the decision of that House will be strictly just; and, that the House will now prove to the world, that it is not to be swayed, on the one side or the other, by any influence but that which fairly and obviously arises from the evidence taken at its bar.
observations with the subject immediate- | forms the close of a long list of national ly under contemplation, is it not, with a view to the stability of the throne as well as to the permanent internal peace and happiness of the country, a thing of vast importance, that the decision, upon the case of the Duke of York, should be such as to convince the whole nation, that they have now got; that they possess and cijoy, a system of government, the loss of which would be greatly injurious to them? Is it not of incalculable consequence, that every man should, by this decision, be induced to exclaim: "What would have been the proceedings and what the decision, if "Napoleon had been our master, and if one " of his relations had been thus accused!" The more circumstance of there being a House of Commons now, and of its being possible that there would be none then, is nothing at all. It is the real effect which only is worthy of attention. Napoleon has his Corps Legislatif in France. It is the power which this body possesses, not in theory, but in practice, which we are to look to. It is not what it might do, but what it actually does do, that we are to consider. Men do not give their money, or lay down their lives, for a theory. When we are called upon to spend our last shilling and to shed the last drop of our blood in defence of the constitution, it surely never is meant, that we should do this for something theoretical; for a thing that exists in name only! No, but a thing which is our shield againt oppression; a thing that secures justice to us; a thing necessary, in short, to our safety and happiness; and, therefore, upon this occasion, where the constitution is to be put to the test, it is of the greatest conse-place; but, I cannot refrain from offering quence, with an eye to the future as well my opinion, as to the importance of the as the present, that it should stand that case. It is a thing not to be disguised, test; that it should give proofs of its ex- that the present situation of the throne, cellence; that its practice, upon this great in this country, has in it circumstances occasion, should give the lie to all its one- very peculiar, to describe them by no epimies. There is nothing which mankind thet of more strong or distinct incaning. in general dislike so much as partiality in In the natural course of things it must rethe administration of justice; there is quire great wisdom at the head of affairs nothing so grating to the mind. As justice to prevent those circumstances from haris the first attribute of power, so the abuse ing an injurious operation towards the and perversion of its name and its forms throne itself. It has been observed, that are amongst the wickedest, if not the very long and quiet reigns have, almost always, wickedest, acts, of which a government been followed by times of a different de can be guilty. When we would give inscription. The reasons for this are obvious stances of the badness of a government, we are sure to wind up the climax of it's sins by saying, that it has one law for the rich and another law for the poor:
"Law grinds the poor, and rich men rule the law,"
I presume not to dictate to the House; I presume not to say, what ought to be the substance of its decision, or the mode of its proceedings, on this momentous case; and, indeed, what I am now writing cannot be read by the public 'till after the discussion and the decision have taken
enough to the reflecting mind; and, when we consider the peculiar circum stances, above alluded to, taking into view the general degradation of royalty upon the continen, it is impossible not to be impressed with very serious thoughts with
respect to our own prospects in this particular. From the first, I was of opinion, that wise counsellors would avoid every thing which was likely to give rise to a belief, that the king, or any part of the royal family, wished to use any endeavours whatever to obstruct the course of justice; because, if the people, who would not fail to be extremely jealous upon that score, once imbibed a suspicion of the sort, it would be very hard to remove it, and the consequence of its remaining in their minds is too manifest to need pointing out. Whether the king's ministers have so acted, I must leave the public to judge; but, I am sure, that if all wisdom has not fled from their counsels, they will so act now, now when all the evidence is before the public, and when the only point, of any interest, that remains, is, to know how the ministers, how the advisers of the king and their friends in the House of Commons will act.
It is the habit of courtiers and men in power to regard as their enemy, and, what is more, as the enemy of the existing government altogether, every one who opposes any of their measures, or censures any part of their conduct. It is their creed, and that all those, who wish to gain or preserve their friendship, well know; and know it so well, that they are sure never to hear a painful truth from their lips. All those who praise them are friends, all who censure are enemies, of the government. Hence it is, that they never take warning in time; and hence the fall of so many governments and dynasties; a fall sudden to them, but long foreseen and foretold by others. With all the talk about "a conspiracy" in this country, not the smallest proof, not the most distant ramification, has been found during the whole of the long and rummaging inquiry, that has just taken place. But, if there be any such conspiracy; if there be any set of men in this kingdom, who wish to see the House of Commons held in universal contempt, trodden down, and spit upon, and along with it the kingly government and royal family; if there be any such men, the first wish of their hearts must be, that the conduct of the House of Commons should, on this trying occasion; on this occasion when every man in the country is in possession of all the merits of the case, and has his eyes fast fixed upon the House, be marked with that base partiality, which, more than any thing else, excites the hatred and resentment of mankind, and of which, I trust,
their conduct will not bear the smallest trace. Men, in possession of power, are too apt to rely wholly upon the means which that power affords them, for the preservation of the power itself. But, that which is not to be accomplished to-day, may be to-morrow. A thousand unexpected events take place in the course of a few years. Few important effects have been produced by one cause, and still fewer have immediately followed the first existence of its real cause or causes. The match is all that meets the eye; but, the match is not the great efficient cause of the explosion and destruction. A government to be suddenly destroyed, must have a people well-prepared; amply charged with mortifications and heartburnings. If, therefore, the king's ministers are wise; if their love of their country; their regard for their master; and their desire to preserve the throne, be as great as they ought to be, they will not, in the approaching discussion and decision, make use of any influence, other than that of truth, fairly applied. They should bear in mind, they should never lose sight of the fact; that they are the servants of the king, with this additional and peculiar circumstance, that they came into power, they were chosen by the king, for this reason openly avowed, that they would do, at his request, what his late ministers would not do. It becomes them, therefore, to be doubly cautious upon this particular occasion. Their conduct, whether good of bad, and I do not presume it will be the latter, will admit of, and will receive, a very wide construction and application; they will now, the day after to-morrow (this is Monday), do more good, or more harm, to the government of England, than all the ministers, for a century past, have had it in their power to do.
With what will be done on Wednesday I cannot become acquainted many hours before this sheet will be in the press; but, these observations I have thought it my duty to offer to my readers, and there is, perhaps, an advantage in their having been written while the event, to which they relate, was, as yet, unknown.
I shall now return to my Analysis of the Cases; and, for this week, shall take those cases, which appear to me to be of the most importance, as connected with the conduct of the king's servants in the House of Commons. I allude particularly to the cases of SANDON and CLAVERING, and shall begin with the former.