« PreviousContinue »
belter regulation of the right of voting, with shortening the duration of Parliaments, would be a great and effective reform, they will not presume to dictate any plan to the House of Commons, but earnestly implore a full and fair inquiry into the subject, which will tend to allay the present discontenis, secure the stability of the government, and promote the prosperity of the country.
Resolved, That a Petition be presented to the hon. House of Commons, praying for an inmediate inquiry into the state of the repre. sentation of the people in Parliament, founded on the foregoing resolutions.”
WOODTHORPE. Whoever drew up those resolutions, they are replete with frivolity, and such as any man, who had marked the progress of the call for reform within these last few years, ought to be ashamed of. Castlereagh and Canning, certainly must laugh within themselves, when they read the present resolutions, and consider how often the Common Council have resolved, and how often they have petitioned on the subject. They are drawn up as if they were asking for something which it would be a great favour to obtain, and something more than a right, How different is the feeling of those whom this Common Council represent. There is an evident sense of degradation in the whole stile and purport of the resolutions. They are in just the same spirit as we might suppose a naughty and troublesome child to be, who has been repeatedly refused something, improper for it to have, by its parents, and after a little murmuring, the child sets about obtaining it by insidious looks and words, and a little coaxing, and too often prevails on its parents by such means. But the present administration of government are not to be coaxed into such a measure by smooth words, they are not to be caught in such a trap, and one might feel astonished that any inhabitant of London had not known them better. A reform in Parliament is only to he obtained by two ways. The first is, that a sufficient number of the people must resolve to withhold all supplies, or the advantage of the breaking up of the funding system must be seized for that purpose. The last appears to me to be the only epoch that we have to look forward to. When the ministers are brought to this touchstone, they will not find the means of continuing their immense standing army. The army is the most effectual, it is the only, effectual bar, to a reform of Parliament. Without the army to oppose them, the people are in a sufficient humour to carry it into effect within a month. The whole nation would be in arms demanding it. A lule
patience will suffice: the ministers are beginning to make the most of the funding system, whilst it lasts. The far-famed Sinking Fund is to be annihilated this year, and the national debt, so called, must soon follow it. The ministers are again about to confer a favour on the people, by another heavy loan, it appears they are anxious to make their debt even money, a thousand millions, and then to wipe it out at one rub. They certainly have some scheme of the kind in view, or intend to fly from their posts, and leave the odium of this last necessary resolve, to a new administration. This will be the moment to look for a reform, every fundholder will be then clamorous for a reform, by which alone he can hope to obtain redress for his losses, and for which he will be likely to clamour in vain. A change in the funding system cannot take place gradually, if the landholder is called on to give up a part of his property to the fundholder, he will immediately protest against the injustice of it, and say, the latter has been a wilful gambler, and deserves the consequences of what has happened to him. This paper bubble will be blown away at a breath, and all those who are dependent on it reduced to beggary. The moment is certainly approaching, and a little patience appears to be the only remedy for our present pains and disorders. Let the people prepare for it, the moment will be a scene of confusion, but a few weeks, nay, a few days, will restore a greater equilibrium and more real prosperity than has existed in the country for some years past. A great portion of those splendid paupers, who fly about and fatten on the distresses of the people, will then take their place in the parish workhouse, whilst the industrious labourer will rise into his native and proper importance. Discussions on the subject of reform, would be very well, if they were kept up with a manly dignity, and assertions and resolutions passed, that it was a right oppressively withheld by corrupt means, and not a favour, to be sought with smooth and flattering words. Tell the ministers, that they must concede; and tell them, that if they make a proper and humble concession of their past misdeeds, they may perchance save themselves from an ignominious death, but if they continue their obstinacy, there is no hope for them.
Dorchester Gaol, May 29, 1820.
À DIALOGUE IN DORCHESTER GAOL BETWEEN A CLERICAL MAGISTRATE AND A PRISONER.
SCENE-A Room in the Prison, in which are a prisoner,
his wife, and infant, locked up: the massive thundering bolt thrown back ; enter keeper and a gentleman.
Keeper.-A magistrate of this county has called to know if you have any complaint to make, Mr. Carlile.
Clerical Magistrate.—(Enters bowing, walks up to the side of the room, leans on the end of a sofa, ogles the prisoner from head to foot, and thus addresses him:)—I see you are young and hale-quite a young man, Mr. Carlile!
Prisoner. I am under thirty, Sir, and hope to live thirty or forty years longer.
C. M.-(Bowing to Mrs. C.) This is Mrs. Carlile, I presume? (ans) Yes, Sir. (Turning to Prisoner) But those unfortunate opinions of yours, Mr. Carlile!
Prisoner. Why unfortunate, Sir ? I consider them no further so, than that I have encountered the prejudices of my countrymen.
C. M.—The prejudices ?
Prisoner.-By encountering the prejudices of my country men, I have subjected myself to this persecution, and the situation in which you see me; I am persecuted by Christians, and consequently made an enemy to the Christian Religion.
C. M.-I am sorry for it: I am a clergyman, and I felt sorry when I first read the account of your prosecution. I presume you are a classical scholar, Mr. Carlile (quoting some Latin distich which we did not catch.)
Prisoner.--No, Sir, I cannot boast much education or scholarship
C. M.--I see you are allowed books, Mr. Carlile (walking across the room and opening a quarto Volume of Essays?) Hume's Essays ?
Prisoner.-No, Sir, they are Bolingbroke’s.
C. M.—Ah, Bolingbroke, an unfortunate man, to imbibe such opinions as he did (looking minutely round the room) You must not consider me over curious, Mr. Carlile, I have no motive.
Prisoner.-There is nothing in the room, nor in my mind, Sir, but what is open to the examination of every individual.
Ć. M.-I should hope not (returning and leaning on the sofa) I cannot conceive how any man can reject the sacred writings; I declare when I open them, accidentally, I am lost in admiration of their beauty and sublimity. Look at the 53d chapter of Isaiah which made such an impression on Lord Rochester,
Prisoner.-Lord Rochester was no criterion whatever, he was a most immoral character, and his nature was exhausted with debauchery when he sought relief in the Bible, and his mind, of course, imbecile and decayed.
C. M.-I admit that Rochester was a most immoral character: but see again the lives of the primitive christians, they are so many proofs of the divinity of the Christian religion.
Prisoner.-I do not think so, Sir, if I am to take my infor mation of the early Christians from Gibbon.
C. M.-Ah, Gibbon is no guide, he was an unfortunate man, and a great Infidel.
Prisoner.—To me, he appears, to have drawn his history of the early Christians, and the rise and progress of Christianity, from the most authentic sources, (Keeper standing by, biting his lips, taking out his watch, and shewing many signs of impatience to be gone.)
C. M.-Ah, he may—but I hope you have the Holy Scriptures here, Mr. Carlile.
Prisoner.-I have two copies of them here, Sir, and I spend a great deal of time in reading them. C.M.-Ah, reading them, but I hope in the proper spirit. Prisoner.- exercise my reason on them, Sir.
C.M.-Certainly it is proper to exercise your reason on them, but—but-but: Good morning to you, Mr. Carlile.
Prisoner.—Good morning to you, Sir, (Exeunt Keeper and Clerical Magistrate ; the ponderous bolt replaced, and the Prisoner not yet a Christian.)
TO THE EDITOR OF THE REPUBLICAN.
The following lines appeared in the Sun newspaper, in the year 1793, on the French decree, “that death is eternal sleep:”—
" Death is eternal sleep, a five long nap,
Might do, but there's a devil in the gap;
The following answer appeared in the Courier newspaper, in a day or two after the appearance of the above :
“Death is eternal sleep, a tine long nap,
“ And tyrants, to protect their hellish schemes."
ERRATUM.--An important error occurred in our last number, which, had it been in any thing but a figure, we should not have noticed. In page 151, the reader will find the following observation:" It is evidently in the power of the reformers of London and its suburbs, to lessen the amount of the revenue to the rate of 300,000), per annum.” The sum is deficient in a cypher, and should have been three millions. It is in some measure open to detection, as the amount of two millions is applied to an abstinence from different ars ticles enumerated just above; and the latter sum, including spirits, and a gross total, could not be less than 3,000,0001.