« AnteriorContinuar »
may be united. If the diffusers of science will go hand in hand with the promoters of Christian knowlege, striving neither in policy nor religion at ought beyond human nature, but at the degree of excellence which practice, and not theory, warrants us to expect, and human happiness, in such measure as we are permitted to enjoy it, will be the result. But let us beware how we separate the education of the middle and lower orders from religion and the government of the country. Hitherto they have happily been united. How long they may so continue is a question of the deepest importance. I am, My dear Hughes, Yours, affectionately, J. P. POTTER. Kensington, March 28, 1828.
P. S.—On reading what I have written, when it is too late to correct faults in style, the recurrence of we for I strikes me as likely to give my readers a false impression. It may be necessary to assure them that the above pages were not written for a review, nor does the plural pronoun express either the authority or assistance of a friend. It only expresses the unwillingness of an obscure individual to appear to dictate to his readers, and his endeavor to avoid this by sometimes assuming their assent to what he thought could not fail of obtaining it.
THE DUKE OF NEWCASTLE TO Lord KENyon.
THAT I did not answer your first appeal has been a sufficient reproach to me; I should be ashamed of myself if I could see your second, without making a public avowal of my entire concurrence in your sentiments, and that I heartily back your spirited, appeal to our fellow Protestants of the British empire. • ? I am not more given to dilation with my pen than I am by word. of mouth; I never use either but by compulsion; and if I could now conscientiously avoid the labor and the consequent discomfort, I have every inclination and every motive but one for consulting my ease, and indulging in that privacy which, perhaps, may be most congenial to me. Such a course, however, consistently with what I conceive to be my duty, I cannot find it within me to pursue. I must embark in the same vessel with you, and sink or swim in our endeavor to preserve the religion which we love, the constitution which we reverence. In your own emphatic words, I painfully confess that we do. “live in times when every man who values principles should depend on his own exertions, and not on those of princes, prelates, nobles, politicians, or parliament.” It is but too true that such is, in reality, the case; or, in other words, that if we wish to preserve our religion and our laws, each must use his individual power to defend preventively or absolutely the constitution which he has sworn to preserve inviolable in church and state. It may VOL. XXIX. Pam. NO. LVIII. S
sound finely in a republican ear to be told that all are bound to participate in the management of the national interests, and that the will of the people should direct the affairs of the country. I cannot subscribe to such dangerous doctrine as a maxim; I see the mischief of a popular assumption of the executive, and I would, if I could, avoid it; but, unfortunately, we have no choice now— we are driven into a corner, and we must either make a desperate effort to preserve our constitution or lose it altogether. Deserted or unsupported by those in power, we see ourselves on the brink of ruin; and is it to be imagined that we can or will ignominiously abandon our sacred duty, and basely yield either to our betrayers or our enemies 2 An appeal to the nation is our only resource—it must be made ; and the voice of the nation must decide whether Protestantism or Popery shall prevail; whether, by treading in the footsteps of our forefathers, we will maintain the Protestant ascendancy which their practical wisdom established for us; or whether, to our eternal shame, to our certain punishment, we will see the Jesuits triumphant, and the idolatrous worship of Papists openly displayed throughout this now Protestant land. In short, the nation must decide whether these kingdoms shall be at once the cradle and the citadel of Protestantism and real liberty, or the hot-bed of Popery, with its scarlet train of mental and political despotism. We are now arrived at the period when we are compelled to judge and act for ourselves; the bane and antidote are before us; our choice must be made; we must now decide whether we will range ourselves with Protestants or Papists—whether we will serve God or mammon. o Nothing is to be expected from parliament, because nothing is to be done by the government; nothing is to be done by the government, because neutrality, conciliation, and modern liberality are still ruling the deliberations of the cabinet. Thus the honesty and virtuous feeling for which this country has long been renowned are decreed to be neutralised and deadened; religion and morality, principle, patriotism, and the boasted constitution, are doomed to perish from steerinattention.’ * * * * But will our fellow Protestants commit this suicide? Why is the nation listless, apathetic, and dead, to every patriotic impulse 2 Why are virtue and vice, right and wrong, amalgamated as it were, and so blended together, that the one and the other possess an equal value? or rather I should correct myself, and say, why are the bad qualities predominant? why are the highest and noblest attributes of human nature outraged by a prescribed submission to bad measures, vicious systems, and detestable principles 2 The cause, I fear, may be thus explained. For years past the go
vernment of the country have thought fit blindly to adopt, and obstinately to persevere in, a system of neutrality which has gradually produced the most deadly evil that can befall a nationa loss of principle. It is in vain to say that this or that cause has produced this or that bad effects that the march of intellect, the spread of knowlege, or philosophy, or liberality, or any of those jargonic explicatives, the very sound of which makes the heart sick, have brought the nation into its present state; it is not sowe must put the saddle on the right horse, and I assert openly that the government has done the work. There may, indeed, have been a predisposition to these delusive theories on the part of some restless speculators; but to the government belongs the blame, and the government must bear it.
In 1807 the voice of the nation rejected an administration, strong in talent, but weak in the possession of the public confidence. An overwhelming feeling confirmed the power of its successor, which was proudly and triumphantly favored by popular support, because it was supposed to be purely Protestant, to be pledged to oppose Popery, and to support the national affections, the national interests. Nobly and most beneficially did this administration execute its duty, opposing Popery, upholding Protestantism, supporting the national interests, cherishing the established religion, encouraging national morality as well by its example as by its care, boldly defending the constitution, and preserving it uninjured in church or state from the united attacks of dangerous and desperate men, and, above all things, keeping this leading object in view that it is the duty of a government to act towards the nation as a good father of a family would act towards his family, namely, by the establishment of public virtue founded on public principle. The admirable Perceval knew well by experience, and thus foresaw, that, because it is worthless, nothing can be lasting that is not founded on principled virtue ; that, no nation can endure and prosper without it: that other nations had suffered the severest retributive justice for their national crimes; and that we evidently owed our comparative exemption from the horrors which the divine vengeance poured on those devoted countries, to our own comparative exemption from the vices and corruption which prevailed in them. Taking for his motto that honesty is the best policy, the straightforward, intelligible, and defined policy of the minister gained the applause even of his opponents ; whilst his friends, sure of his support and encouragement in their endeavor to promote his generous measures for the publie welfare, acted with spirit, union, and confidence,
.Thus we continued blessed with an administration which acted on known principles, until in 1812 the same hand which deprived