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man enters into any civilized society-of adopting its general principles, and submitting his peculiar feelings and fancies, on individual points, to the necessity of having some common standard of manners, and some safe guide of action.

We resume. We are persuaded, from the present aspect of the House of Commons, that the more immediate danger of a revolutionary crisis arises from the feeble state-or rather dissolutionof what used to be called Party, and from the necessity in which gentlemen will feel themselves, of obeying, not their own wishesto say nothing of their own judgment—but the external impulse which they will receive from without. An assembly, acting under external impulses, is the worst form of democracy and the most degrading image of slavery; and we fear that but a short time will elap se before we have lamentable proofs of the truth of these assertions. See what has already happened: the ministers boasted, and apparently with perfect truth, that the results of the general election were the n.ost favourable that any administration had ever accomplished —their office-men were elected almost without exception, and their soi-disant friends and nominal partisans were returned in a vast majority. Yet that great party, as it seemed, has proved itself to be but a rope of sand; and on three late occasions in which general and permanent principles of government were at stake--viz, on Mr. Hume's motion, involving the powers of the crown as to military offices,-Mr. Attwood's proposition tending to the change of the currency,—and Mr. Robinson's motion for a general commutation of taxes,-on each of these occasions the government were brought to the very brink of dissolution—and were only saved, by the interposition of those Conservatives, whom they hate and persecute, from the attacks of soi-disant friends and allies.

But this is not the worst. Not only is the ministerial party incapable (without the help of the Conservatives) of conducting the ordinary affairs of the state ;—but the composition of those large minorities which put them in jeopardy is equally unsatisfactory—they were formed of no union of principles, and had no unity of view—every man voted on his own special reasons, and many, with contradictory objects, united in the same vote. If either Mr. Attwood or Mr. Robinson had been able (through the inaction or division of the Conservatives) to carry their point, and so to displace the government, they had no party at their back, which could have undertaken to give effect to the victorious proposition; and the country would have been in the unprecedented state of having a certain line of conduct adopted by a legislature which did not afford either heads or hands able to carry it into practical execution—which is anarchy! And for all this peril, nobody is to blame. Ministers, no doubt, are deeply



culpable for having, by their Reform Bill, brought the legislature into this state-but-the House of Commons being once constituted as it is-nobody is to blame--what has happened (and it is but an indication of what must soon follow in rapid and more perilous succession) is the natural and, we believe, inevi. table consequence

of the new distribution which has been made of political power, and of the new motives and principles under which the individuals composing the House of Commons are and must be obliged to act. As general rules often strengthened, or at least elucidated by their exceptions, it is observable that some gentlemen, who on these occasions gave ministers their confidence, and voted with them as a party, have been called to account by their constituents for their votes, and several of them have been summoned to resign their seats. We believe and hope, that the very first principles of a deliberative assembly are not already so far lost and forgotten amongst us, that these summonses are likely to be obeyed; but this indication of the popular expectation is enough to show how false and hollow is the basis on which the Reform Bill has placed the administration of public affairs.

Another symptom, both of the inefficiency of the Bill for any good, and of its applicability to dangerous purposes-one which was distinctly foreseen and foretold by its opposers in the debates on the Metropolitan boroughs—has lately verified their predictions. A very numerous deputation (above one hundred) of the inhabitants of the Metropolitan electoral districts, Middlesex, East Surrey, London, Westminster, Marylebone, Finsbury, Tower Hamlets, Lambeth, Southwark, and Greenwich, headed by their respective members, lately waited on the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to urge the repeal of the House and Window Tax. Now, if there be any portion of the empire from which all excuse for such primary assemblies, and such a direct interference of the people, has been taken away by the Reform Bill, it is these very districtswhich have no less than twenty-two representatives, and which have elected men not to be suspected of any backwardness in stating their grievances or urging their wishes in the House of Commons. But what is the result? So far from trusting their cause to their proper organs in the proper place, the inhabitants, or persons assuming their name and authority, form a combination, never heard of before, and suggested only by the Reform Bill, of all those districts, and proceed in person to urge their claims in Downing-street. If these districts have not contidence in their members, and if the members be not adequate to discharge their duties, the Reform Bill, as it regards them, has totally failed ;-if, on the other hand, they are duly represented, is

it not monstrous that they should, nevertheless, attempt to exercise the direct intluence of their vicinity and their numbers, and endeavour to overpower the minister with the double force of immediate as well as representative solicitation? What is to become of the general interests of a country, if the district in which the government happens to reside is to exert such an influence over it?

an influence which will, in the course of practice, inevitably assume a higher tone and a more commanding attitude ; and which may, at length, prostrate all England at the feet of the metropolis, as, during the French Revolution, Paris, by the agency of her electoral districts, became the bloody tyrant of France. But this deputation, thus dangerous in principle, seems to have been exceedingly offensive in its manners. What must the public think of such passages as the following, which we extract from the published report of the transaction?

Mr. C. Pearson said, that in his opinion the motion of Sir John Key ought to be brought forward previous to bringing forward the Budget, otherwise the noble Lord would be in the dark respecting the merits of this question.

• Lord Althorp. I don't think I can be much in the dark. There is a good deal of light in this room (a laugh).

• Mr. Pearson. I wish your Lordship had a little more fire~(renewed laughter).' And this Mr. Pearson was thus constituted spokesman of the deputation in the presence, but to the exclusion, of the twenty-two members for the Metropolitan district! My Lord Grey, who has been broken into this kind of visit by Mr. Place, and Lord Althorp, who once before received with great pride' Mr. Stevens and a deputation from Bishopsgate, may be callous to the personal degradation of such intrusion and such language: but we appeal to the country at large, whether the King's government can be maintained in the respect and authority to which it is constitutionally entitled, if such practices are allowed to continue, and (if they continue) to increase both in frequency and in insolence? And as, in a system like ours, local interests are frequently adverse to each other, will Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, and indeed all the rest of the empire, see, without jealousy and fear, London throwing its numerical weight into the councils of the Cabinet ?

In the conduct of the business of the House, the same prin-, ciples produce effects equally indicative of feebleness and uncertainty in the government, and of an undue interposition of external infuence. In the old days of what was called virtual representation, the practice of petitioning was natural and necessary; for when great classes thought and said (however errone


ously) that they were not represented in the House, it was reasonable that they should convey their sentiments by petitions. But it is obvious that the nearer we approach to direct universal representation, the less occasion there must be for petitioning. Manchester and Birmingham have, one should have thought, less occasion to urge their sentiments in the shape of petitions, since they have acquired representatives, than when they had no other direct channel of expressing their wants and wishes. How has it turned out? why, that petitioning has increased tenfold—and that the

very first act of the new Parliament is to put itself to the intolerable (as it will be found) inconvenience of a morning sitting, for the sole purpose of receiving petitions from the reformed constituency.

In addition to the extraordinary and instructive coincidences, which we in former articles have noticed, between these times and the crisis which preceded the Grand Rebellion, the report of a committee lately appointed to consider the best mode of facilitating the presentation of public petitions, affords the following:

• 12th Dec. 1640.—Committee of petitions appointed to peruse all petitions that are come in, or to come in, and to peruse them and see what petitions are fit to be received and to what committee they are fit to be referred, and to report the same to this house.'-(Journals, vol. ii. p. 49.) And this committee appears to have continued to sit, with occasional additions, till 1653, the very year when a certain Oliver Cromwell was declared Protector of the liberties of England and we hear no more of the committee of petitions ! But-on this precedent of 1640—the present House of Commons has appointed a committee for similar purposes.

Of the labours of this committee, or its utility, we know nothing ; but, in spite of its appointnient, we see that the meridian sittings of the house are continued -and, as far as we can judge from the newspaper reports, they appear to be a most idle and unprofitable waste of the public time. We say nothing of the personal grievance to the Speaker and the ministers, who are obliged to attend the meridian as well as the post-meridian meetings : we wonder where they find time for. the animal functions of life. Sure we are that such over-work can produce no good; and that the official and real business of the country must be neglected for this extra show of diligence and zeal. We are not insensible, any more than Mr. Sadler, or his worthy successor, Lord Ashley, to the sufferings of the poor factory children, but we really think a ten-hours bill for the House. of Commons itself is of hardly less pressing necessity.

And, after all, are the petitions, to which all this apparent deference is shown, really the more attended to, or the better discussed or considered ? We understand that the morning sittings are attended by few but those who have petitions to present_or, as one gentleman is reported to have said, to get rid of; and that, when a member happens to get possession of the house, he presents not only all his own petitions on all sorts of subjects, but his friends, weary of waiting for their turn, hand to him their petitions on all sorts of subjects, which he presents, knowing nothing and, we presume, caring nothing about them. So that no practical benefit can ensue; and the only result is to countenance and propagate the system of out-of-doors interference, and to create political agitations in every village and corner of the empire, where busy and presumptuous and, generally, ignorant men imagine that it is their duty to instruct their representatives on subjects the most difficult, the most delicate, and often the most remote from either the knowledge, the business, or the interests of the petitioners.


Nor is this all: these petitions, so far from being humble, as petitions used formerly to be designated, seem occasionally to assume quite a contrary character, and to be rather designed to insult than to entreat the house. We read in the papers that, on the 11th of March, Mr. Cobbett presented a petition, to the indecorous language of which he very fairly and very properly called the attention of the house :• The honourable member would not repeat the name the petitioners gave to the bill-his modesty made him not like to pronounce it'-(Morning Post, March 12.) And, a little after, Mr. Roebuck presented another, which he said

was worded in a way he should not have worded it; but it was his duty to present all petitions that came to him.'-(Ibid.) How these petitions were worded, we know not; but it must have been something rather strong which Mr. Cobbett or Mr. Roebuck would not have said. It appears, by the same paper,

that the ministerial leader, Lord Althorp, was then in the house; but it does not appear that any notice was taken of these petitions, thus characterized by the very gentlemen who presented them. Upon all this we shall hazard but one remark, and that shall be an aphorism, which is so trite that we hope we may quote it without offence that the authority which is not respected will not be long obeyed.

There are some other circumstances, which, though not really more important (because all are of equal importance-as indicating the imbecility and incapability of what calls itself the government), are more striking On Mr. Hume's motion, before mentioned, the ministry, as we have said, would probably have been beaten, if the Conservatives, actuated by personal or political hostility, or revenge, or disappointment, or a very natural indignation


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