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says, in a letter to Lord Althorpe :*-that the circulation of foreign newspapers in England and the transmission of English newspapers to foreign countries have hitherto furnished their sole remuneration to certain persons in the post office; and that if salaries were paid to these persons, such salaries would amount to £3500.
"It is," continues his Grace, "for the Treasury to “decide whether it should burthen the country with this "£3500 for no other purpose but supplying a few persons, "who wish to receive foreign journals in this country or "English papers abroad, with an article of luxury.
"The circulation of foreign journals, in this country, " and the transmission of English newspapers abroad, "has been from time immemorial the privilege of the "officers of the foreign post-office, and the proceeds "form the sole remuneration for official services to the "head of that office and fifteen clerks.
"If salaries were to be paid to those persons, the aggregate would not amount to less than £3500, and "it is for the Treasury to decide whether the revenue "shall be burthened with an additional charge to this "extent; and this not for the purpose of any general
advantage to the public at large, but solely for the re"lief of the few who are desirous of receiving foreign 'journals in this country, or English papers abroad as "" an article of luxury."
* See " papers relating to the post-office."
What is this all that a minister, a cabinet minister, presiding over one of the most important state departments-is this all that he sees in the free circulation of the opinions of one country among the people of another?
The Duke of Richmond is a clever man ; but were we to estimate his mind by the observation I have quoted, we should most assuredly deem it ill-qualified to use advantages and appreciate the nature of his situation.
Let us not quarrel with this nobleman for one inadvertance; but let me say a word or two here on the system which too often introduces into power men unworthy of being compared with him, and who are chosen-not from their talent, but their rank-to which, perhaps he himself notwithstanding his ability chiefly owed his elevation. I detest the cant which condemns men because they are of noble birth; but I also despise the mockery of selecting them merely for their pedigree.
You shudder, my countrymen, at the idea of a rogue being elevated to an important office in the state; and your feeling is honourable to the national character of England. But what is the difference between a rogue of ability, and an honest man without ability? why, just this: the one does as much good to himself as he can with as little harm to you; the other does you
incalculable injury without benefiting himself.
Besides, even let us suppose a political villain as bad as he can be; let us suppose that he plays in the funds, ruins the stockbrokers and provides for his relations-whom does he injure ? -a few individuals of the present generation.
A fool, however-an honest fool, scatters more far and wide the effects of his non-intelligence; he insinuates his stupidity into all parts and branches of the state, into all corners and classes of society, into all interests, and into all opinions.
That stupidity affects the bread you eat, the clothes you wear, the books you read; and not only does it affect you, but your grandchildren's children; its dull shadow is cast far into futurity, and blights all things within its baleful reach.
Rank and wealth afford every advantage for acquiring knowledge; as such they should be valued and respected; so far the intelligent people of England—prime minister, whoever you may be !* will go with you. But you should not take the means for the end, or make a man a minister because he is a lord, any more than you should make a man a professor of mathematics because he has been left a case of astronomical instruments.
* This exhortation would, I need not say, be unnecessary, if addressed to the present Prime Minister.
Act otherwise! and do you know where it will lead to? Place titled incapacity in conspicuous situations, and you will arrive at the very point which you wish to avoid !* Make persons ministers on account of their rank, in the present state of opinion and intelligence, and you will find that the people will look with distrust and loathing on men of rank in spite of their ability.
Let us beware how we tread, even lightly in this course! Let us beware how we inspire the belief that a lord is made a minister at home, or an ambassador abroad merely because he is a lord.-Let us, in God's name, beware how we allow it for an instant to be supposed that any family, or set of families pretend to make an hereditary estate of the public service!
But, at last it appears that some change is really to take place in our post-office arrangements; that there are some individuals penetrating enough to perceive, through the opaque bodies of frowning clerks, that the gratification
The Duc de St. Simon, who tried the experiment, acknowledges that nothing was so likely to hasten the movement he wished to prevent-as the failure of his scheme, if it were defeated—and the public exhibition of good men testifying their incapacity in great places.
of a few luxurious gentlemen is not all the benefit that can be derived from an interchange of daily opinion between France and England.*
And now, at the moment when French journals arrive more cheaply to our hands, let us enquire into their character and their influence; the opinions and the classes they represent; and the advantages and the causes of a general newspaper system altogether different from our
* See appendix for what has been done.
†These are the principal newspapers of Paris, and but
a short time since the newspapers of Paris formed the