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fires, and the inhabitants fondly hoped that the insane measure of encouraging the industry of foreigners, instead of that of our own subjects, was for ever defeated. What their feelings now are, may be easily understood. They are penetrated with the most lively apprehensions, but by no means with the alarm prevalent in this country, because the remedy is easy—they have only to declare themselves independent, and the sway of the British multitude over them at least is at an end.
The taxes proposed by Ministers may convey a clear idea of the policy which will be imposed on our future Government by the sovereign multitude. They proposed to tax Cape wine ad internecionem, and diminish the duties on French wines; and to destroy Canadian industry, by lowering the tax on Baltic timber. Such conduct would be inconceivable, if it were not that history informs us that, in all ages, those who rule by the multitude are driven to similar measures to maintain their ascendency over them; and that the mob, for an immediate advantage to themselves, are always willing to sacrifice the interests of the remote dependencies of the empire. The mob of Paris, and of all the great towns in France, were clear for the law of the maximum in the price of provisions, though it brought immediate ruin on their country neighbours, and ultimate misery on themselves.
Three measures may be expected after the Reform Bill has come into operation ; and which no wisdom or firmness, on the part either of Government or the Legislature, will be able to avert.
1. The duties on Baltic timber will be repealed. This measure will be warmly supported by the £10 householders. To such men, the prospect of getting the best wood at half its present price will be an invincible argument for such a measure. By this means Canada will be sacrificed; and a colony, possessing nearly a million of souls, taking off annually fifty thousand emigrants, employing four hundred thousand tons of British shipping, and consuming £2,500,000 of British manufactures, will be lost to the empire.
2. The protecting duties on East India sugar will be repealed, and the immediate emancipation of the negroes
forced on the West India proprietors. By these means, either the flame of revolt will be spread among the slave population, and 130 millions of British capital perish in the flames which have consumed St Domingo, and rendered that flourishing colony a desert, or the planters will throw themselves into the arms of the Americans. In either view, the West Indies, one great nursery of our seamen, will be for ever lost to England. The mother country, distracted with its own troubles, will be as unable to preserve its dominion over those distant possessions, as the French revolutionary government was to save the wreck of its once-flourishing West India colonies. 3. India, and the China trade, will be thrown
to the clamorous multitudes, who will seek in the Eastern world that subsistence which the passions of the demagogues have denied them in their own country. They will carry with them to the shores of the Ganges the fierce passions and unbending democracy of the mother state ; and the airy fabric of our Indian empire, now upheld only by the steady rule of a stable and despotic government, will be overthrown. Fifty thousand men can never maintain their sway over 100 millions, but by the firm hand of absolute power. The passions of a democracy will speedily tear that splendid, but unstable and flimsy empire, in pieces. The loss of all our colonies may be looked forward to as the inevitable result of the Reform Bill. How can it be otherwise with a measure which at once disfranchises all the colonial interests, which closes the door by which they have hitherto been represented ?
Such extreme disasters will for certain produce one effect. All parties will become weary of distraction and suffering; the period, the inevitable period, will arrive, when the dominion of a firm hand will be required to stanch the wounds of the state. A Cæsar, a Cromwell, a Napoleon, will seize the sceptre, and military despotism close the drama of British Reform. It will close it after years of anguish and suffering; after the empire has lost its colonies, and with them its naval supremacy; after unheard-of suffering has tamed our people, and the glories of the British name have ceased for ever.
In the preceding view, melancholy and overcharged as it may appear to many, we have yet carefully omitted the darker, but not improbable parts of the picture. We have not supposed a civil war in the empire ; we have not supposed any guilty ambition, or insane passions, either in our Government or Legislature ; we have presumed that they are to do everything to stem the torrent after it has been put in motion. In truth, that is the most probable course of events. It is not so much by the guilt of ambition, as the irresistible force of events, that great national catastrophes arise. Cromwell said, that no man ever rises so high as he who does not know where he is going ; and the observation is true of the leaders in all popular movements. It is the pressure from below which pushes them forward; the fatal consequences of one irretrievable step, which precipitates nations, as well as individuals, into a career of guilt. The authors of the most terrible measures are, generally, not by nature worse than most other men ; they are carried onward by the course of events, because they feel that to recede is impossible.
When the disunion among his adherents had brought the constitution into the highest peril ; when public opinion was violently shaken, and the press, as usual, was fanning the flame, there was one man who dared in Parliament to front the danger ; who threw away unequalled popularity, and abandoned supreme power to discharge his duty ; who greatly dared to tell an insane nation that they were rushing on destruction—that man was the Duke of Wellington. Again we repeat what we said on 1st January last, There never was a determination of a minister so much the subject of obloquy at the time, as his declaration against Reform in November last. There is none to which posterity will point with more exultation :
" Justum, et tenacem propositi virum,
Mente quatit solidâ, neque auster,
Impavidum ferient ruinæ."
The ultimate success or rejection of this measure is altogether immaterial in the estimate of the moral grandeur of this conduct. We contemplate with more admiration the firmness of Cato at Utica, than the triumph of Cæsar at Pharsalia.
“Victris causa Deis placuit, sed victa Catoni."
MILITARY TREASON AND NATIONAL GUARDS
(BLACKWOOD'S MAGAZINE, APRIL 1831)
Of the numerous delusions which have overspread the world in such profusion during the last nine months, there is none so extraordinary and so dangerous as the opinion incessantly inculcated by the revolutionary press, that the noblest virtue in regular soldiers is to prove themselves traitors to their oaths, and that a national guard is the only safe and constitutional force to which arms can be intrusted. The troops of the line, whose revolt decided the three days in July in favour of the revolutionary party, have been the subject of the most extravagant eulogium from the liberal press throughout Europe ; and even in this country, the Government journals have not hesitated to condemn, in no measured terms, the Royal Guard, merely because they adhered, amidst a nation's treason, to their honour and their oaths.
Hitherto it has been held the first duty of soldiers to adhere with implicit devotion to that fidelity which is the foundation of military duties. Treason to his colours has been considered as foul a blot on the soldier's scutcheon as cowardice in the field. Even in the most republican states, this principle of military subordination has been felt to be the vital principle of national strength. It was during the rigorous days of Roman discipline, that their legions conquered the world ; and the decline of the empire began at the time that the Prætorian Guards veered with the mutable populace, and sold the Empire for a gratuity to themselves. Albeit placed in power by the insurrection of the people, no men knew better than the French Republican