« AnteriorContinuar »
tises his unstamped two-penny farrago as being conducted upon the same principles. “Numerous,' he says, have been the meetings, singularly wise are the resolutions and petitions passed at those meetings, mwonderful indeed has been the unanimity of the people. Numerous and not less wise, or less unanimous, will those be which are about to follow.'--He talks of the blaze of intellect, the glorious light of knowledge so equally shining and diffused as the meetings for reform shew it to be.' But in what classes,' he asks, ' among whom is it that we witness this knowledge, this improvement of the understanding? Is it among the nobles of the land, our hereditary guardians? Do they manifest superior wisdom? Do they call public meetings? Do they or any of them attend public meetings to instruct the people, and point out the road to good government, to independence, to happiness ? No, not they.--They call no meetings, they uttend no meetings ; they do all they can to prevent meelings. They would have all quiet, quiet as death. They prove, as a wise man once said of them, that in knowledge they are an hundred years behind the state of society in which they live. By an unvaried and unqualitied support of all the violent measures of ministers both at home and abroad, they have reduced the mass of the nation to a state of poverty, of dependence, of starvation: until alarmed for themselves, they have established soup keitles to dole out broin in scanty portions to the industrious people, who, but for their conduct, would have been living as became men, independent-minded men,
from their own earnings.' Mr. Hone will doubtless exempt one of our hereditary guardians from this indiscriminate and sweeping censure,-- he will make honourable mention of the Norfolk meeting, and confer upon Lord Albemarle all the celebrity which the Reformist's Register and Weekly Commentary, conducted upon the principles of Mr. Cobbett, can bestow.
That nobleman has discovered, ' by the blaze of intellect and die glorious light of knowledge' which illuminates-such meetings, that his Majesty's ministers are engaged in plots and conspiracies themselves.' lle has discovered that Spence* was an old gentle
* The following notice respecting this man has been transmitted to us from the Se. cretary of the Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle upon Tyne, through their *very respectable President, Sir John E. Swinburnca:
Newcastle, Feb. 23d, 1817. There did exist a Debating Club at Newcastle more than forty years ago, which assumed the name of the Philosophical Society : they met in a school. Of this society, * or elib, Spencr, then a schoolmaster in Newcastle, was a member, and there produced
his strange paper, wirich was leard with very little attention. Spence, however, got 'it printed and hawked about the town, as an Essay read at The Philosophical Society of Newcastle, upon which a respectable member of the club moved at the next meeling that Spence should be expelled, and he was unanimously expelled accordingly. He
man who had been many years dead, and who was very mad when he was alive ; and that the doctrines of the Spenceans are not dangerous, because of their palpable absurdity. Alas! there are times and places when even such speeches as those at the Norfolk meeting may be mischievous.
Another of Mr. Cobbett's successors commenced his paper una der the title of the Republican; but being told that it would be more generally read if the name were less explicit
, he tells us that he has complied with the wish of persons who are as firm to the cause as himself, and I assure the tyrant and the slave,' be continues,
that I will not swerve one jot from the principles I have begun with. Many other such Successors to Mr. Cobbett' have started up, all printing like him, upon unstamped paper, and like bim, addressing themselves to the poor and ignorant part of the community, for the purpose of persuading them that all their miseries are occasioned by the government. The Stamp Office and the Attorney General are no doubt acquainted with this whole litter of libellers; but there is one circumstance relating to the incendiary whom they are ambitious to succeed, which is little known, and may possibly tend to open the eyes of some of his deluded followers.
About twelve months ago Cobbett began to reprint his Weekly
soon after removed from Newcastle, and was entirely lost sight of there. The period, (1775,) when this circunistance is stated to have taken place, and the present Literary gud Philosophical Society of Newcastle having only been established in 1793, sufficiently proves that Spence had no connexion with it; and our society having last month disniissed from his situation as their Librarian, Mr. Marshall, a printer of Gateshead, for Chaving published the Politicat Litany, may serve as a proof, if any were wanting, that wie Society are determined to adhere strictly to their fundamental Rule,—That Religion and Pulitics are prohibited subjects of discussion.'
We insert this notice because it seems to be the wish of the existing Society that it should thus be made public. But it must be apparent to them, and to every other person, that in simply stating where and in what manner Spence first promulguied his doctrines, no imputation was or could be intended against the Society to which he happened to belong
Spence's name reminds us of the Monthly Magazine, and of what the worthy and witty Editor of that loyal and religious publication has said in reply to what he is pleased to call a dull but wicked article upon Parliamentary Reform,' in the last Number of the Quarterly Review. So we would have him call it :
Wisdom and goodness to the vile seem vile,
Filths savour but themselves. This honourable Editor asserts that the Quarterly Review denies the necessity of Parliamentary Reform" because there exists a society of Spencéan visionaries,' and because (in his own words) we of the Monthly Magazine named a book which was likely to satisfy the curiosity of our rcảders in regard to the views of those visionaries, though we purposely forhore to commend what we plainly admitted we did not unlerstand. That this Editor siould deny his own words, does not surprize us; but that he should do it when any of his readers may convict him of falsehood, by turning back only to his last month's Nämter, is indeed being magnanimously mendacious. These were his words :- His pamphlet (Mr. Evans's) is written with considerable energy. We collect from it that the wain cbject of the Suciety is a more equal occupation (not proprietorship) of land, .prcssciple which-has often been urged in the pages of this Magasine.' мм 3
Political Register at New-York, with a letter in each Number addressed. To the People of the United States in general, and to his old English friends in that country in particular.
"Gratified,' he says, at perceiving that what I have dared to pubJish here (that is in England) appears to bave assisted in causing many amongst you to see the character, conduct, and views of our govern. ment in their true light, I am by no means content with efforts confined within the limits of a press, whence to publish even in the most moderate language, truths disagreeable to men in power, exposes the publisher to punishment little short of death; and I am the less disposed to this mental bondage, to this mere sighing under the terrors of the lash, when I see that there are many even amongst you, who still have a hankering likeness to this government, and some who have the folly to hold it up as the bulwark of religion and liberty."
His object, therefore, is to remove the error of those persons who are ignorant enough to think well of England, and to effect this, he describes the state of abject slavery' to which the English are reduced, a people who are compelled to crouch to insolent Hanoverian soldiers, and some of whom in the very heart of Eng. land have been flogged by those Hanoverians. A nation,' he says of the English, who in their eagerness to enslave and entail slavery on other countries—who in their mischievous zeal for restoring tyranny and persecution in every country where they had been abolished, have plunged themselves into misery, and laid their own breasts bare to those very bayonets, for the employment of which against the breasts of others, they have so cheerfully paid.What a shame is it, he says, for any one to pretend to believe that there is any thing worthy of the name of public liberty, or of private property left in England! What base hypocrisy for any writer to affect to consider us in the light of a free nation!
The charges which this miscreant makes against his country are so absurd, as well as so atrocious, that their notorious falsehood would have exposed him to universal contempt in England. Thus he informs the Americans that the English government sent Buo, naparte back to France from Elba, because they were at once envious and fearful of the happiness and good fortune of France, where the ease, the comfort, the manners, and the morals of the people, and in short every thing, had been improved by the revolution. Buonaparte's return was a premeditated scheme of the English government, and having let him loose, the Guelphs,” he
says, had the impudence to call him an usurper. He says that by chicanery we kept the French prisoners to rot in England, even at the expense of lives of Englishmen in France; and that tortures were inflicted upon these prisoners to make them enter into our service against their own country, at the very time that this govern,
ment was hanging and cutting out the hearts and bowels of Eng? lishmen who had entered into the service of France for the sake of getting out of French prisons.' He says that after the peace with. America was ratified, an English officer at Dartmoor availed bimself of a pitiful pretext for causing several of the Americans who were his prisoners, to be murdered in cold blood,--and the villain insinuates that this officer was selected by the government as a fitt person to inflict tortures and commit murder. The hanging of two French prisoners on a charge of forging Bank notes, he calls the foulest murder that ever was committed.
We will not sully our pages by transcribing the coarse and dist gusting language with which he insults the royal family in all its branches; if the miscreant had not eloped from his creditors the laws would probably bave been called upon to decide whether an Englishman residing in England can cause the most treasonable libels against his own sovereign and his own government to be printed and published in America with impunity. We will only select one passage which might excite the indignation even of his most deluded disciples: it is from a letter dated March 9, 1816, and published at New York on the 22d of June; the intended marriage of the Princess Charlotte being the subject. Of the Prince Regent he says, ' I much question whether the man knows anything at all about his daughter's being about to be married;' and then, alluding to that part of Lord Castlereagh's speech, in which it was said the House of Brunswick had largely contributed to the happiness and liberties of England,' he says, ' as if our liberties had been, or could have been, or ever can be owing, in any degree, to a set of beggarly Germans being put upon the throne, and kept there by a band of boroughmongers as mere tools in their hands!'
Such is the language which this brutal ruffian sent across the Atlantic to be published in America while he remained in England, endeavouring to subvert the institutions of his country by arousing the poor and the ignorant against all who were above them. And how truly his followers had imbibed the same vulgar and ferocious spirit was shown at Maidstone, at one of those meetings,
Where gentry, title, wisdom,
Of general ignorance. After such specimens the reader will not be surprized at finding hina call Mr. Perceval one of the most cruel, as well as most corrupt and hypocritical of men, 'the most malignant of all the tools of tyranny, saying he was exposed to so much detestation that he could hardly hope to escape a violent death;' and asking, ' if it was possible for justice or humanity to follow this corrupt, cruel, and hypocritical tyrant to the grave.'--'You in America,' he says,
will wonder how I can express openly my satisfaction that the time of suffering is arrived, --how I can laugh at and mock the sufferings of these people ;-you will wonder that I do not lose all my readers. To be sure, this consideration would have no weight with me, for what is life without pleasure and how can I have any pleasure as to public affairs if I stifle my sentiments ? It js, perhaps, quite impossible for any writer to be more unpopular than I am. There are, to be sure, a great many thousands who are my staunch friends; but comparatively speaking, these are nothing.' He declares that he should have sunk into a state of inelancholy if he had not felt confident that a short time would verify all his predictions of calamity to this nation and thereby give him ample vengeance; and he boasts that he never laughed so much in his life as at seeing the distress of the Hampshire farmers and freeholders. • The definition of a true patriot;' says the Examiner, ' is a good hater; -and it may be admitted that, according to this definition, Mr. Cobbett is as true a patriot as Mr. Examiner binnself.
TE : This latter patriot has drawn liis own portrait, certainly with
110 intention of presenting an unfavourable resemblance:-it is the picture of a true Jacobine drawn by himself. “A true Jacobine, he says, 'is one who does not believe in the divine right of kings, or any other alias for it, which implies that they reign in contempt of the will of the people; and he holds all such kings to be tyrants and their subjects slaves. To be a true Jacobine a man must be a good hater ; but this is the most difficult and the least amiable of all the virtues.-The love of liberty consists in the hatred of tyrants. The true Jacobine hates the enemies of liberty, as they hate liberty, with all his strength, and with all his might, and with all his heart, and with all his soul. His memory is as strong, and his will as strong as theirs, but his hands are shorter.The sense of wrong, and the barefaced assumption of the right to inflict it, deprives him of his rest. It stagnates in his blood. It loads his heart with aspics tongues, deadly lo venal pens. It settles in his brain. It puts hin beside himself.'-Here the reader will agree with this true patriot. The beginniug of the words of his mouth is foolishness, and the end of his talk is mischievous madness.'. One of the last Numbers of this patriotic Journal contains a tolerably explicit confession of the winter's faith, political and religious. The former is conveyed in a parallel between Paganism and Christianity: Dispules and bloodshed on holy accounts,' he says, “were phenomena in the ancient world. It may bę said that these are the abuses of religion, not religion itself; but, the abuses of Paganism led to no such horrors: they were chiefly on the pleasurable side of things, whereas the former were on the