« AnteriorContinuar »
Minor Morals for Young People, illustrated in Tales and Travels
"J. W.’s” lament is too lamentable. We are sorry we cannot tell the world why
REMARKS ON THE ENGLISH NAVY, AND THE
NECESSITY OF A NAVAL BREVET.
We are aware that there are many other
which induce visionary and revolutionary partisans to rail, as they do, against the army and the navy, now that their services are supposed to be no longer required. There are certain topics which are very valuable to an orator on the hustings, and invariably conciliate the good opinion of a large portion of the public, who care little for sound sense or argument, for the best of all possible reasons, because either is above their comprehension. A would-be legislator knows that he is certain to raise a cheer if he declaims, or even stammers, upon such popular questions as the abolition of slavery, the pension and sinecure list, or, above all, the talismanic cry of reform. But slavery is abolished, much against the wishes of those who spouted most copiously for its abolition ; for with that abolition has also been abolished their ephemeral influence, and the many good things which that influence put into their power. The pension and sinecure list has also been so pared down, that even Mr. Hume has nothing more to say ; and as for reform, people begin to be fatigued with hearing or expatiating on its merits, when they cannot discover or prove that any advantage has hitherto been obtained. A portion of corrupt Tory boroughs have indeed been disfranchised, but many equally rotten Whig boroughs have been preserved, because the Whigs had the arrangement of the bill. If reform was really wished, like the Triumviri in former days, who met together with their respective lists of each other's friends, and their own enemies, and heroically sacrificed them in exchange, so should the Tories, Whigs, and Radicals, have met in secret conclave, and have disfranchised boroughs in exchange as the Triumviri sacrificed heads, then we should have had a real reform. How many counties or boroughs would then have been left as qualified to return members to parliament, it would be invidious to surmise ; but if we may judge from the various cases of bribery on every side brought forward since the passing of the Reform Bill, we are inclined to think that there would be no occasion to go to the expense of a new House of Commons.
But if the above ad captandum questions have been worn threadbare, or have died a political death, still there is one subject which will last as long as there is a king upon the throne, or ministers in office, or a House of Lords, or a House of Commons. How long
Sept. 1835.–VOL. XIV.--N0. Lili,
these are to be suffered to exist, we cannot pretend to say; but when we hear such opinions expressed by the aristocracy as are ascribed to his Grace the Duke of Bedford, and such bills brought forward by his son, as the “ Sacrilege made easy Bill,” we shall feel no surprise if some fine morning we wake up and find that his Majesty has posted to Hanover, that the several heads of the House of Lords adorn the several lamp-posts of Regent Street, that the National Assembly have already been summoned, and the guillotine is already hard at work in Trafalgar Square. The popular subject to which we refer, is retrenchment; and in the propriety of it we agree with the most radical, not like him to gain the plaudits and votes of the people, but from a conviction that the necessities of the country will each year increase, and therefore will each year more imperiously demand it. Many who are equally moderate with ourselves in their opinions, will join the factious on this question, although they will hold aloof from them in every other. But the Whigs have begun to find, now that they are in power, that the reiterated bringing up of this question is excessively troublesome and perplexing; they have discovered that, with all their boasted patriotism, their party is a party who cannot be held together without a consideration; and after having declaimed upon retrenchment until they were hoarse, that they might obtain power, now wish that the subject was not quite so often and inconveniently canvassed. They have discovered that “the labourer is worthy of his hire," and that there is no patriotism without pay; in short, that there are no men who will undergo the fatigues and responsibility of office for nothing. Even political dinners are very expensive, and how can a party be kept together in England without feeding them ? Impossible.
We recollect a very amusing exhibition some years ago upon the stage at Astley's Amphitheatre-a castle defended by monkeys, and attacked by dogs. The former were supplied with large sticks, and certainly displayed great address against the rabid attacks of their assailants. Now that the monkeys should fight in their own defence was natural enough; but what surprised the audience was, that the dogs should display such fury in the attacks, as individually they could have no animosity against the monkeys. The secret was this. The dogs had been confined for some time without food, and were ravenously hungry. Underneath the battlements of the castle, at a height at which the dogs could scarcely reach with their utmost exertions, were hung pieces of meat. These were not perceived by the audience, and hence their surprise at the extraordinary efforts made by the dogs to get over the castle walls. The good people of England are the audience, the monkeys are those in office, and the dogs are the opposition.
We have said that we agree with others in the necessity of the greatest possible retrenchment; and it is because the country is in a state of the greatest possible suffering ;-agriculture, which is the true staple of our wealth, is at the greatest depression ;-thousands and thousands have emigrated, enriching other nations by the expenditure of those millions, the circulation of which would have so much contributed to relieve the distresses of their own countrymen ;-internal