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that kingdom in disguise. If they have but three weak monarchs successively on the throne, the mask will be laid aside, and France will certainly be
In accordance with the above sentiments, wherein Mr. Fox discriminated between licentiousness and liberty, he more than once, whilst advocating the cause of Reform in the House of Commons, reprobated the democratic writings of Paine and others. He was called on to do this, for his own vindication from the insolent aspersions of Mr. Burke, who, after going over to the Ministry, attributed to him and his party the general disaffection to the Government which
prevailed throughout the country. On one occasion, Mr. Fox went even farther, viz. at the Whig Club, somo time in 1791.
The apparently successful example of the French Revolution had set the whole kingdom in a ferment; and nothing short of altering the form of the government, seemed likely to content the democratic part of the public; among whom, several names of considerable influence had been enrolled. Mr. Fox was alarmed; for he by no means wished to go such lengths ; and he foresaw that even the question of reform itself was a dangerous subject to be agitated at this critical period. He therefore without compromising his principles, resolved to withdraw his sanction from their proceedings, which he did in the following words :“However warmly I may have wished and indeed still wish, for reform in the system of our representa
* The Earl of Chesterfield, likewise, who died in 1773, foretold that the French Monarchy would not last to the end of the eighteenth century.
tion, I certainly do not agree with a considerable number of my friends who have revived the question with such spirit and vigour at the present moment. Depend on it, gentlemen, this is not the proper season for agitating this important question. By striving for a part, now, we run the risk of losing the whole.”
This candid avowal of his sentiments, however, did not add to Mr. Fox's popularity : indeed, many of his auditors felt considerable offence at what they termed a desertion of the public cause, and a sort of deputation of three of them waited on him next day, to remonstrate.
He received them in his dressing-room, and in answer to their appeals to his former political professions, he said, “Gentlemen, I perceive that you are going far beyond the mark :you wish for a revolution, and to establish some sort of republic, or God knows what sort of system,- I wish no such thing: and you have mistaken me entirely. But I have no time to discuss forms of government now ; for I am just going under the hands of the barber. Sit down, however ; you may amuse yourselves with a book whilst I am dress
He then directed his servant to go for a particular book, which, having opened, he presented to one of them, with a leaf folded down, saying :-" There, Sir, read, -read pro bono publico: you will there find. opinions on republicanism which I think you will allow to be incontrovertible: they are the opinions of an excellent man and a sound constitutional lawyer, Delamere, Earl of Warrington. Although firmly attached to William the Third, he delivered that charge
to the grand jury of Wiltshire, not long before the abdication of James the Second."
The gentleman read as follows :—"I am apt to believe that those persons who are not contented with the government of England, have not considered aright what a commonwealth is. A commonwealth makes a sound and shadow of liberty to the people, but in reality is but a monarchy under another name. For, if monarchy be tyranny under a single person, a commonwealth is tyranny under several persons : as many persons that govern, so many tyrants ; but, let it be the best that can be, yet the people under any commonwealth enjoy not that liberty which we do.
“ Gentlemen, as the excellency of the English government is an argument sufficient to dissuade any
of us from the least attempt at alteration ; so, experience has taught us, that no sort of government but that under which we live, will suit or agree with England. Let us but consider the late troubles : how many several kinds of government were then set up, one after another ! All ways were tried, but nothing would do, till we were returned to our old and ancient way.
“Well, Gentlemen,” said Mr. Fox, “ what think you of that? don't you think that the Earl is in the right; and, that, instead of adopting the political theories of visionary schemers, we had not better stick to the natural and ancient orders of King, Lords, and Commons ? Our Constitution is good, although some of the limbs and organs are rather out of repair ; we shall, at a fitting time, do all in our power to restore them to health and vigour ; but, in the present critical state of the patient, I deem it more than dangerous to attempt a remedy. When the time arrives, however,
that we can administer a dose of Reform with safety, I shall be happy to join you-heart and hand. In the mean time, permit me to relate an anecdote which applies very well to the present business, and to all those who are desirous of pulling down the ancient fabric of our Constitution :
“In the year 1567, when the Scotch fanatics, headed by that arch-barbarian, John Knox, were desolating their country, by pulling down the cathedrals and monasteries, and destroying the other institutions of their forefathers, they were stopped in their progress, or, rather, they were prevented from completing their work of destruction, by the sagacious remark of a simple country man. This man, who was gardener to a neighbouring abbey or convent, happened to be in Glasgow when the mob werc rushing towards the cathedral of that city and bellowing forth their usual war-cry of, "Pull down the rooks' nests, and then the foul birds winna' come back;' which signified, that when the buildings were destroyed, the priests, who had fled in every direction, would have no temptation to return at a future period.
“ The gardener, having contrived to arrest their attention, thus addressed them :-"My friends, are ye all mad ?-Why would ye destroy the cathedral? why pull down that fine building--the ornament of your city? Cannot you make it a house for serving God in your own way? for I am sure it will cost you a great deal of money to build such another.'
“ The multitude looked at each other with surprise and shame, for their religious fervour had prevented such an idea from before entering their minds; they desisted, and having thanked the gardener by loud ac
clamations, returned quietly to their homes. The cathedral in question was the only one in Scotland that remained entire; and divine service is performed in it until the present day.-Go ye, and do likewise.'
The deputies, convinced of Mr. Fox's political honesty, thanked him for his plain-dealing, and departed.