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ment, in the heretofore balanced powers of the three estates, is responding to the democratic call from without, and manifesting a disposition to constitute itself the government; not yet, I admit, by the undisguised assertion of its own authority, but consequentially, by impugning the right of the House of Lords to assert its authority, as a co-ordinate branch of the legislative body:
No enlightened politician now talks of reform, as a thing to be argued upon any view of its practical merits; as a measure to be discussed with reference to its expediency or danger. It has found a place in our political system from which it cannot be removed ; and what remains to be done is to adjust that system, as cautiously and prudently as we can, to the influence of this new element. The balance has been disturbed; the spirit has been raised. Can we again poise the one? Can we govern the other ?
Much of the madness of reform has passed away. The nation is unquestionably in a healthier state than it was two years ago; and there are encouraging symptoms of still further amendment. They who from the beginning supported reform as a means to an end, and that end revolution, are growing desperate in proportion as they see those by whom they were then joined, drawing back, because it is no longer doubtful whither it was intended to lead them.
There is a principle of safety in both these circumstances. The revolutionary reformers are stripped of their disguise. They can no longer swell their ranks by delusion. Whatever their strength is, to whatever extent that strength may enable them to carry their designs, the limit is defined; while on the other hand, they who were partisans because they were deceived, and whom it would have been difficult, if not impossible, to convince of the danger of reform, had reform never been allowed to develope its own schemes, are now, from experience, sensible of that danger.
It cannot be denied, that this experience has been dearly purchased ; that a heavy price has been paid for it ; that the country has been made acquainted with the peril, by an evidence not unlike that which convinces a child of the power of flame to scorch. But it is something to have gained the knowledge, before the knowledge was useless.
For the same reason, it is matter of congratulation, that the whigs have had a trial of sufficient duration to shew, beyond the power of misrepresentation hereafter, what they are as a party in the state. A trial of less duration, might have left them in the possession of the charm which has so long served their purpose-the charm of whig professions that Utopia of political felicity, that millennium of political regeneration. Every thing that the tories bad not done, but which, according to whig doctrines, they ought to have done, the whigs promised to do, if once permitted to grasp the reins of power. The permission was granted, and the charm dissolved. Come what may, for a century, at least, the very idea of a whig government, will be synonimous with all that is shuffling, imbecile, rash, selfish, and contemptible.
The policy of the whigs, upon assuming the management of affairs, was simple and perspicuous; level to the comprehension of all. It was, so to unhinge the entire frame of government, loosening the foundations of all the great institutions of the country, and plunging everything into such sudden confusion, that honester and wiser statesmen than themselves should fear to take charge of the tottering fabric, while at the same time, they would be anxious to prevent a still more reckless class of politicians from doing so, and from rushing in, to complete the mischief. What Dr. Beal, in his sermon at Breda, said of the doings of the army and parliament in 1647--that
they made the Devil's dance"-may be equally asserted of the doings of the whig cabinet.
In 1832, it was a legitimate question for the consideration of the friends of the constitution as it then existed, how the impending revolution could be averted, And had that question been decided at the time, and in the place,
when and where it ought to have been decided, had the House of Lords made the stand then, which they have to make now, it is indisputable that it would have been made under more auspicious circumstances. Never was there a greater error committed, than supposing, if it was supposed, (and if not, it was an act of political cowardice,) that concession to popular clamor then, would prevent the necessity for other and more dangerous concessions, or render resistance to them easier. There was a time when we used to buy off our invaders. What was the consequence? They came every year; and every year demanded a higher price to go away. At last we fought them; and then, they rarely came twice to receive their wages.
I have said it was a legitimate question in 1832, how the impending revolution could be averted. The question now is, at what point can it be stopped? The revolution has commenced, is proceeding, and will proceed. But how far? There is only one barrier that can be opposed to it. That barrier is the House of Lords. Behind that barrier, the people, (understanding by the word, the intelligence, wealth, and moral character, of the country) are ready to array themselves.
Collision! A collision between the two houses of parliament! Dreadful! Who can foretel the consequences? Who will be bold enough to hurry it on? This is the bugbear by which it is hoped to keep us in helpless terror and degrading submission, to the Bobadils that hold it before our eyes.
What is this so dreaded collision? I grant it can be defined : can be shewn. Can it also be shewn that we may avoid it? Assuredly not. Sooner or later, come it must; and like all the inevitable evils of this world, the sooner it comes, the better. There will be an end to all feverish anxiety, with more than a chance that the shock will be less violent, in proportion to the abridged duration of that anxiety.
Either the House of Commons must be brought into harmony with the House of Lords, or the House of Lords, into harmony with the House of Commons. At first sight, this may seem a convertible proposition ; but it is not. By the former, we shall adjust the new Constitution to the principles, not yet discarded, of the old one; by the latter, we shall utterly sacrifice those principles, and exchange our present form of government for a pure democracy.
FRIENDLY EPISTLES TO GEOFFREY OLDCASTLE.
[Mr. Oldcastle has made the following selection, from the letters he has received, since the first announcement of the CANTERBURY MAGAZINE. The only one that staggered him, was that of the honest brazier; and for a time, it determined him to renounce his undertaking. But, upon consideration, he saw no reason why one man's brass should not sell, because another's had not. Every day's experience confutes the hypothesis. Upon the whole, however, it will be seen that Mr. Oldcastle has brought out his first number, under the most flattering auspices, so far as the letters of his correspondents may be taken as indications of public opinion.]
To Geoffrey Oldcastle, Gent. Sir,- I was in a company the other evening where the conversation turned upon your MAGAZINE.
“ It will never do:" said Alderman shaking his head, and half closing his left eye,—" it will never do.-Too dear.— I take in the Penny Magazine, between three of us; and I wish we could make a fourth, for the literature of the country ought to be supported; but I would not pay a shilling for a magazine, if it was written by the Pope himself. Times are changed. Formerly, nothing was thought good that was not dear: now, the best things are the cheapest.” No one dissented from this doctrine of Alderman ; so I determined to let you know what passed, that you might consider the propriety of publishing your Magazine for a halfpenny ; in which case you may put my name down as a subscriber, provided it does not come out more than once a month. June 12th.
Your obd. svt.
Dear Geoffrey,—I don't know who you are, and don't want to know; but I advise you to make all you can by your first number, for you will make nothing by your second. Shall I tell you why? Because every body says the CANTERBURY MAGAZINE will be a failure. But as every body will probably buy the first number, to see if everybody is right, you can't be wrong in looking after number one.
Your sincere friend, June 2nd.
J. C. C.
H. W. F. Cooper presents his compts. to Mr. Oldcastle, and begs leave to return him the prospectus of his Magazine, which he has not had time to read. H. W. F. C. never subscribes to any thing. Canterbury,
, June 5th.
To Geoffrey Oldcastle, Esq. My dear friend, I hate to damp a man's hopes : but depend upon it, if you want to get anything by your brains, you have come to the wrong place. I have lived in Canterbury all my life, and seen some scores of persons thrive here : but not by their brains. I hope you will take the hint in good part. It comes from one who was once your near neighbour in St. Mary-Axe.
Your's, June 9tb.
To Mr. Oldcastle. Sir,-I heartily wish you success in your new undertaking, though I am afraid you will not meet with it. Nothing sells in Canterbury. Two years ago, I opened a brazier's shop; and during the whole six months I kept it open, sold only one candlestick; and that was to an old woman who paid for it with a bad half-crown. I leave you to judge, therefore, what chance you have, who appear to be a modest man, when I had none with all my brass. To be sure, some of my friends told me, it was carrying coals to Newcastle, offering to supply Canterbury with brass.
Your well wisher, June 10th.
P. Q. P.S. I shall try and borrow your first number to see how you get on.
To the Editor of Mr. G. Oldcastle's Can. Mag. Sir,--My aunt wishes to know whether your Mag. will contain recipes for family cookery and cholera morbus; also, for home made wines; and whether it can be bad at half price when it is a week old? Also, whether it will be in large print, with plenty of poetry and conundrums?
I am, sir, your's, &c. June 17th.
MR. OLDCASTLE cannot think of taking any advantage of the ignorance of his friends, by assuming that they who signified their intention of having the first number of the CANTERBURY MAGAZINE, before they knew what it would be, will continue it now they know what it is. He therefore begs leave to intimate, that those only who do not announce their disappointment in ten days, from this time, will be considered by him as firm and fast supporters to the end of the first volume : i.e. Dec. 31, 1834.
St. Mary Axe, June 29th.
Printed (by C. W. Banks,) for the Proprietors, Kentish Observer Office, Canterbury.
By Geoffrey Oldcastle, Gent.
“ AT THAT TRIBUNAL STANDS THE WRITING TRIBE,
It was a clear, frosty, moonlight evening, in the month of January, 1641, that a horseman, unattended, and crossing the bridge at full speed, entered the town of Hull. He rode directly up to the gates of Sir John Hotham's house; and as the news soon spread that it was the knight's eldest son, who had arrived from London, groups of citizens collected in the streets to learn what tidings he had brought of the Parliament.
But no one could tell anything about it; which was not surprising, considering that no one had yet spoken to Master Hotham. A serving man, indeed, who came out of the house to go upon an errand, told a worthy currier, who had married his aunt, that they might look for dismal doings ere long, for he had heard Sir John say something to his son which foreboded nothing less. Upon this hint it was soon currently reported, that the King had committed every member of the House of Commons, who was not able, like Sir John's son, to make his escape in time, to prison.
Leaving the good citizens of Hull to their imaginings, let us attend young Hotham into his father's presence, and learn what it really was that had occasioned this his so'sudden departure from London.
Throwing himself from his reeking steed, and disencumbering himself merely of his heavy riding cloak, he entered the room where Sir John and his lady were sitting, before they were apprized of his arrival. Their astonishment was great; but after a few basty congratulations on both sides, he proceeded to answer their inquiries as to what had brought him thus unexpectedly.
“I am the Parliament's messenger," said he, drawing a paper from his pocket which he gave to his father. « First read that then we will talk."
Sir John broke the seal. It was an order of the Parliament, setting forth that “whereas there was a magazine of arms and ammunition in Hull for sixteen thousand men, and considering there was no great strength in the town, while the country about it was full of papists and malignants, they granted authority to him (Sir John,) with certain of the neighboring trainbands which he was to assemble for the purpose, to keep the place till his Majesty's authority, signified by the Lords und Commons, required him to surrender it."
“ That will I, to the utmost stretch of loyalty !” exclaimed the knight, when he had finished reading the letter. “Hull is the King's, while life is mine."
“ The King's and the Parliament's,” said his son.
“ And the Parliament's, I add,” answered his son, firmly. “ You may not take up your commission, Sir, by a single handle. It hath two. You must hold it by both, or not at all. Look ye,” he continued, pointing to the letter as it lay open upon the table, and reading, slowly, these words“ you are 'to keep the place till his Majesty's authority, signified by the Lords and Commons, requires you to surrender it.'”
“ What if the King command me by his single authority ?"
“ You must deny him, or disobey the Parliament—that is, provided you consent to be their officer. Sir, I can tell you this matter hath been gravely argued ; and when I took upon myself to be the bearer of that order, I gave a pledge to those who sent me, it should speed well, with God's blessing ; and weary as I am, I must return, swifter than I came, if you cannot swallow it without chewing.”
“ This language befits you !” exclaimed his father sternly.
“I pray you,” continued his son, “ account it not as mine, but their's who sent me. Though, peradventure," and his countenance darkened as he spoke, “ I am not so King-ridden as to wish the nation's pulse, which now beats high for liberty, calmed down."
“ That pulse beats too high,” observed his mother, the Lady Grace, who had hitherto taken no part in the conversation, though deeply moved by it. “ Too high !” she repeated; “ for when men acknowledge no will but their own, it is not liberty they seek.”
“ Sweet-heart !” exclaimed her husband, “ thou hast said well; but thou wouldst have done better, hadst thou said nothing." Then turning to his son," I do remember, when I was of thy age, I would needs be a soldier, and had much ado to win my father's consent. I would not be denied, however; so he gave it, but with these words, which I scarcely heeded then; though they have come across my memory of late like a prophecy— Son said he, when the crown of England lies at stake, you will have fighting enough.'—You talk of liberty:-Alas! If the sword be once drawn, it will be as in the time of Cesar and Pompey, whoever hath the better, liberty will have the worse. Nevertheless, touching this order from the parliament, it shall be obeyed; so far as my obedience draw me not into rebellion."
“ How should it?" replied his son. “ It is not the King we oppose, but his evil counsellors."
“ Subtle words !” said the Knight, shaking his head. « Evil counsellors indeed he hath; and England is groaning, and Ireland bleeding, because of their baneful influence. But when you pluck away the climbing ivy, take heed you do not also pull down the wall to which it clings.”
“ Let it tumble, if it be too rotten to stand . without such support!" exclaimed his son.
" And crush all beneath ?"
“ He who will adventure nothing that may breed danger,” replied young Hotham,“ shall never be honoured in his epitaph. Look at the rashness,