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Title: The Prose Works of William Wordsworth
 - For the First Time Collected, With Additions from Unpublished Manuscripts. In Three Volumes.
Author: Wordsworth, William
Language: English
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THE PROSE WORKS OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH.

FOR THE FIRST TIME COLLECTED,

_WITH ADDITIONS FROM UNPUBLISHED MANUSCRIPTS_.

Edited, with Preface, Notes and Illustrations,

BY THE REV. ALEXANDER B. GROSART, ST. GEORGE'S, BLACKBURN, LANCASHIRE.

IN THREE VOLUMES.

VOL. I.

POLITICAL AND ETHICAL.

LONDON: EDWARD MOXON, SON, AND CO. 1 AMEN CORNER, PATERNOSTER ROW.

1876.

AMS Press, Inc. New York 10003 1967

Manufactured in the United States of America



TO THE QUEEN.

MADAM,

I have the honour to place in your Majesty's hands the hitherto
uncollected and unpublished Prose Works of

WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

--name sufficient in its simpleness to give lustre to any page.

Having been requested thus to collect and edit his Prose Writings by
those who hold his MSS. and are his nearest representatives, one little
discovery or recovery among these MSS. suggested your Majesty as the one
among all others to whom the illustrious Author would have chosen to
dedicate these Works, viz. a rough transcript of a Poem which he had
inscribed on the fly-leaf of a gift-copy of the collective edition of
his Poems sent to the Royal Library at Windsor Castle. This very tender,
beautiful, and pathetic Poem will be found on the other side of this
Dedication. It must 'for all time' take its place beside the living
Laureate's imperishable verse-tribute to your Majesty.

I venture to thank your Majesty for the double permission so
appreciatively given--of this Dedication itself and to print (for the
first time) the Poem. The gracious permission so pleasantly and
discriminatingly signified is only one of abundant proofs that your
Majesty is aware that of the enduring names of the reign of Victoria,
Wordsworth's is supreme as Poet and Thinker.

     Gratefully and loyally, ALEXANDER B. GROSART.

    Deign, Sovereign Mistress! to accept a lay,
      No Laureate offering of elaborate art;
    But salutation taking its glad way
      From deep recesses of a loyal heart.

    Queen, Wife, and Mother! may All-judging Heaven
      Shower with a bounteous hand on Thee and Thine
    Felicity that only can be given
      On earth to goodness blest by grace divine.

    Lady! devoutly honoured and beloved
      Through every realm confided to thy sway;
    Mayst Thou pursue thy course by God approved,
      And He will teach thy people to obey.

    As Thou art wont, thy sovereignty adorn
      With woman's gentleness, yet firm and staid;
    So shall that earthly crown thy brows have worn
      Be changed for one whose glory cannot fade.

    And now, by duty urged, I lay this Book
      Before thy Majesty, in humble trust
    That on its simplest pages Thou wilt look
      With a benign indulgence more than just.

    Nor wilt Thou blame an aged Poet's prayer,
      That issuing hence may steal into thy mind
    Some solace under weight of royal care,

    For know we not that from celestial spheres,
      When Time was young, an inspiration came
    (Oh, were it mine!) to hallow saddest tears,
      And help life onward in its noblest aim?

W.W.

9th January 1846.



PREFACE.


In response to a request put in the most gratifying way possible of the
nearest representatives of WORDSWORTH, the Editor has prepared this
collection of his _Prose Works_. That this should be done _for the first
time_ herein seems somewhat remarkable, especially in the knowledge of
the permanent value which the illustrious Author attached to his Prose,
and that he repeatedly expressed his wish and expectation that it would
be thus brought together and published, _e.g._ in the 'Memoirs,'
speaking of his own prose writings, he said that but for COLERIDGE'S
irregularity of purpose he should probably have left much more in that
kind behind him. When COLERIDGE was proposing to publish his 'Friend,'
he (WORDSWORTH) had offered contributions. COLERIDGE had expressed
himself pleased with the offer, but said, "I must arrange my principles
for the work, and when that is done I shall be glad of your aid." But
this "arrangement of principles" never took place. WORDSWORTH added: "_I
think my nephew, Dr. Wordsworth, will, after my death, collect and
publish all I have written in prose_...." "On another occasion, I
believe, he intimated a desire that his _works in Prose should be edited
by his son-in-law, Mr. Quillinan_."[1] Similarly he wrote to Professor
REED in 1840: 'I am much pleased by what you say in your letter of the
18th May last, upon the Tract of the "Convention of Cintra," and _I
think myself with some interest upon its being reprinted hereafter along
with my other writings_ [in prose]. But the respect which, in common
with all the rest of the rational part of the world, I bear for the DUKE
OF WELLINGTON will prevent my reprinting the pamphlet during his
lifetime. It has not been in my power to read the volumes of his
Despatches, which I hear so highly spoken of; but I am convinced that
nothing they contain could alter my opinion of the injurious tendency of
that or any other Convention, conducted upon such principles. _It was, I
repeat, gratifying to me that you should have spoken of that work as you
do, and particularly that you should have considered it in relation to
my Poems, somewhat in the same manner as you had done in respect to my
little volume on the Lakes_.'[2]

[1] 'Memoirs,' vol. ii. p. 466.

[2] Ibid. vol. i. p. 420.

It is probable that the _amount_ of the Prose of WORDSWORTH will come as
a surprise--surely a pleasant one--on even his admirers and students.
His own use of 'Tract' to describe a goodly octavo volume, and his
calling his 'Guide' a 'little volume' while it is a somewhat
considerable one, together with the hiding away of some of his most
matterful and weightiest productions in local and fugitive publications,
and in Prefaces and Appendices to Poems, go far to explain the
prevailing unacquaintance with even the _extent_, not to speak of the
importance, of his Prose, and the light contentment with which it has
been permitted so long to remain (comparatively) out of sight. That the
inter-relation of the Poems to the Prose, and of the Prose to the
Poems--of which above he himself wrote--makes the collection and
publication of the Prose a duty to all who regard WILLIAM WORDSWORTH as
one of the supreme intellects of the century--as certainly the glory of
the Georgian and Victorian age as ever SHAKESPEARE and RALEIGH were of
the Elizabethan and Jacobean--will not be questioned to-day.

The present Editor can only express his satisfaction at being called to
execute a task which, from a variety of circumstances, has been too long
delayed; but only delayed, inasmuch as the members of the Poet's family
have always held it as a sacred obligation laid upon them, with the
additional sanction that WORDSWORTH'S old and valued friend, HENRY CRABB
ROBINSON, Esq., had expressed a wish in his last Will (1868) that the
Prose Works of his friend should one day be collected; and which wish
alone, from one so discriminating and generous--were there no other
grounds for doing so--the family of WORDSWORTH could not but regard as
imperative. He rejoices that the delay--otherwise to be regretted--has
enabled the Editor to furnish a much fuller and more complete collection
than earlier had perhaps been possible. He would now briefly notice the
successive portions of these Volumes:



VOL. I.

I. POLITICAL.

(a) _Apology for the French Revolution_, 1793.


This is from the Author's own MS., and is published _for the first
time_. Every reader of 'The Recluse' and 'The Excursion' and the 'Lines
on the French Revolution, as it appeared to Enthusiasts at its
Commencement'--to specify only these--is aware that, in common with
SOUTHEY and the greater COLERIDGE, WORDSWORTH was in sympathy with the
uprising of France against its tyrants. But it is only now that we are
admitted to a full discovery of his youthful convictions and emotion by
the publication of this Manuscript, carefully preserved by him, but
never given to the world. The title on the fly-leaf--'Apology,' &c.,
being ours--in the Author's own handwriting, is as follows:

    A
    LETTER
    TO THE
    BISHOP OF LANDAFF
    ON THE EXTRAORDINARY AVOWAL OF HIS
    POLITICAL PRINCIPLES,
    CONTAINED IN THE
    APPENDIX TO HIS LATE SERMON:
    BY A
    REPUBLICAN.

It is nowhere dated, but inasmuch as Bishop WATSON'S Sermon, with the
Appendix, appeared early in 1793, to that year certainly belongs the
composition of the 'Letter.' The title-page of the Sermon and Appendix
may be here given;

A SERMON PREACHED BEFORE THE STEWARDS OF THE WESTMINSTER DISPENSARY, AT
THEIR ANNIVERSARY MEETING, CHARLOTTE STREET CHAPEL, APRIL 1785.

WITH AN APPENDIX, BY R. WATSON, D.D. LORD BISHOP OF LANDAFF.

LONDON: PRINTED FOR T. CADELL IN THE STRAND; AND T. EVANS IN PATERNOSTER
ROW.

1793 [8vo].

In the same year a 'second edition' was published, and also separately
the Appendix, thus:

STRICTURES ON THE FRENCH REVOLUTION AND THE BRITISH CONSTITUTION, AS
WRITTEN IN 1793 IN AN APPENDIX TO A SERMON PREACHED BEFORE THE STEWARDS
OF THE WESTMINSTER DISPENSARY, AT THEIR ANNIVERSARY MEETING, CHARLOTTE
STREET CHAPEL, APRIL 1785,

BY R. WATSON, D.D. LORD BISHOP OF LANDAFF.

_Reprinted at Loughborough, (With his Lordship's permission) by Adams,
Jun. and Recommended by the Loughborough Association For the Support of
the Constitution to The Serious Attention of the Public_.

Price Twopence, being one third of the original price,

1793 [small 8vo],

The Sermon is a somewhat commonplace dissertation on 'The Wisdom and
Goodness of God in having made both Rich and Poor,' from Proverbs xxii.
2: 'The rich and poor meet together, the Lord is the Maker of them all.'
It could not but be most irritating to one such as young
WORDSWORTH--then in his twenty-third year--who passionately felt as well
with as for the poor of his native country, and that from an intimacy of
knowledge and intercourse and sympathy in striking contrast with the
serene optimism of the preacher,--all the more flagrant in that Bishop
Watson himself sprang from the very humblest ranks. But it is on the
Appendix this Letter expends its force, and, except from BURKE on the
opposite side, nothing more forceful, or more effectively argumentative,
or informed with a nobler patriotism, is to be found in the English
language. If it have not the kindling eloquence which is Demosthenic,
and that axiomatic statement of principles which is Baconian, of the
'Convention,' every sentence and epithet pulsates--as its very
life-blood--with a manly scorn of the false, the base, the sordid, the
merely titularly eminent. It may not be assumed that even to old age
WILLIAM WORDSWORTH would have disavowed a syllable of this 'Apology.'
Technically he might not have held to the name 'Republican,' but to the
last his heart was with the oppressed, the suffering, the poor, the
silent. Mr. H. CRABB ROBINSON tells us in his Diary (vol. ii. p. 290, 3d
edition): 'I recollect once hearing Mr. WORDSWORTH say, half in joke,
half in earnest, "I have no respect whatever for Whigs, but I have a
great deal of the Chartist in me;"' and his friend adds: 'To be sure he
has. His earlier poems are full of that intense love of the people, as
such, which becomes Chartism when the attempt is formally made to make
their interests the especial object of legislation, as of deeper
importance than the positive rights hitherto accorded to the privileged
orders.' Elsewhere the same Diarist speaks of 'the brains of the noblest
youths in England' being 'turned' (i. 31, 32), including WORDSWORTH.
There was no such 'turning' of brain with him. He was deliberate,
judicial, while at a red heat of indignation. To measure the quality of
difference, intellectually and morally, between WORDSWORTH and another
noticeable man who entered into controversy with Bishop WATSON, it is
only necessary to compare the present Letter with GILBERT WAKEFIELD'S
'Reply to some Parts of the Bishop of Landaff's Address to the People of
Great Britain' (1798).

The manuscript is wholly in the handwriting of its author, and is done
with uncharacteristic painstaking; for later, writing was painful and
irksome to him, and even his letters are in great part illegible. One
folio is lacking, but probably it contained only an additional sentence
or two, as the examination of the Appendix is complete. Following on our
ending are these words: 'Besides the names which I.'

That the Reader may see how thorough is the Answer of WORDSWORTH to
Bishop WATSON, the 'Appendix' is reprinted _in extenso_. Being
comparatively brief, it was thought expedient not to put the student on
a vain search for the long-forgotten Sermon. On the biographic value of
this Letter, and the inevitableness of its inclusion among his prose
Works, it cannot be needful to say a word. It is noticed--and little
more--in the 'Memoirs' (c. ix. vol. i. pp. 78-80). In his Letters (vol.
iii.) will be found incidental allusions and vindications of the
principles maintained in the 'Apology.'

_(b) Concerning the Relations of Great Britain, Spain, and Portugal, to
each other and the common Enemy, at this Crisis; and specifically as
affected by the Convention of Cintra: the whole brought to the test of
those Principles, by which alone the Independence and Freedom of Nations
can be Preserved or Recovered_. 1809.

As stated in its 'Advertisement,' two portions of this treatise (rather
than 'Tract'), 'extending to p. 25' of the completed volume, were
originally printed in the months of December and January (1808-9), in
the 'Courier' newspaper. In this shape it attracted the notice of no
less a reader than Sir WALTER SCOTT, who thus writes of it: 'I have read
WORDSWORTH'S lucubrations[3] in the 'Courier,' _and much agree with
him_. Alas! we want everything but courage and virtue in this desperate
contest. Skill, knowledge of mankind, ineffable unhesitating villany,
combination of movement and combination of means, are with our
adversary. We can only fight like mastiffs--boldly, blindly, and
faithfully. I am almost driven to the pass of the Covenanters, when they
told the Almighty in their prayers He should no longer be their God; and
I really believe a few Gazettes more will make me turn Turk or
infidel.'[4]

[3] Lucubrations = meditative studies. It has since deteriorated in
meaning.

[4] Lockhart's 'Life of Scott,' vol. iii. pp. 260-1 (edition, 1856).

What WORDSWORTH'S own feelings and impulses were in the composition of
the 'Convention of Cintra' are revealed with unwonted as fine passion in
his 'Letters and Conversations' (vol. iii. pp. 256-261, &c.), whither
the Reader will do well to turn, inasmuch as he returns and re-returns
therein to his standing-ground in this very remarkable and imperishable
book. The long Letters to (afterwards) Sir CHARLES W. PASLEY and
another--_never before printed_--which follow the 'Convention of Cintra'
itself, are of special interest. The Appendix of Notes, 'a portion of
the work which WORDSWORTH regarded as executed in a masterly manner, was
drawn up by De Quincey, who revised the proofs of the whole' ('Memoirs,'
i. 384). Of the 'Convention of Cintra' the (now) Bishop of Lincoln
(WORDSWORTH) writes eloquently as follows: 'Much of WORDSWORTH'S life
was spent in comparative retirement, and a great part of his poetry
concerns natural and quiet objects. But it would be a great error to
imagine that he was not an attentive observer of public events. He was
an ardent lover of his country and of mankind. He watched the progress
of civil affairs in England with a vigilant eye, and he brought the
actions of public men to the test of the great and lasting principles of
equity and truth. He extended his range of view to events in foreign
parts, especially on the continent of Europe. Few persons, though
actually engaged in the great struggle of that period, felt more deeply
than WORDSWORTH did in his peaceful retreat for the calamities of
European nations, suffering at that time from the imbecility of their
governments, and from the withering oppression of a prosperous
despotism. His heart burned within him when he looked forth upon the
contest, and impassioned words proceeded from him, both in poetry and
prose. The contemplative calmness of his position, and the depth and
intensity of his feelings, combined together to give a dignity and
clearness, a vigour and splendour, and, consequently, a lasting value,
to his writings on measures of domestic and foreign policy, qualities
that rarely belong to contemporaneous political effusions produced by
those engaged in the heat and din of the battle. This remark is
specially applicable to his tract on the Convention of Cintra....
Whatever difference of opinion may prevail concerning the relevance of
the great principles enunciated in it to the questions at issue, but one
judgment can exist with respect to the importance of those principles,
and the vigorous and fervid eloquence with which they are enforced. If
WORDSWORTH had never written a single verse, this Essay alone would be
sufficient to place him in the highest rank of English poets.... Enough
has been quoted to show that the Essay on the Convention of Cintra was
not an ephemeral production, destined to vanish with the occasion which
gave it birth. If this were the case, the labour bestowed upon it was
almost abortive. The author composed the work in the discharge of what
he regarded a sacred duty, and for the permanent benefit of society,
rather than with a view to any immediate results.'[5] The Bishop adds
further these details: 'He foresaw and predicted that his words would be
to the public ear what midnight storms are to men who sleep:

[5] 'Memoirs,' as before, vol. i. pp. 383, 399.

    "I dropp'd my pen, and listen'd to the wind,
    That sang of trees uptorn and vessels tost--
    A midnight harmony, and wholly lost
    To the general sense of men, by chains confined
    Of business, care, or pleasure, or resign'd
    To timely sleep. Thought I, the impassion'd strain,
    Which without aid of numbers I sustain,
    Like acceptation from the world will find.
    Yet some with apprehensive ear shall drink
    A dirge devoutly breath'd o'er sorrows past;
    And to the attendant promise will give heed--
    The prophecy--like that of this wild blast,
    Which, while it makes the heart with, sadness shrink,
    Tells also of bright calms that shall succeed."[6]

It is true that some few readers it had on its first appearance; and it
is recorded by an ear-witness that Canning said of this pamphlet that he
considered it the most eloquent production since the days of Burke;[7]
but, by some untoward delays in printing, it was not published till the
interest in the question under discussion had almost subsided. Certain
it is, that an edition, consisting only of five hundred copies, was not
sold off; that many copies were disposed of by the publishers as waste
paper, and went to the trunkmakers; and now there is scarcely any volume
published in this country which is so difficult to be met with as the
tract on the Convention of Cintra; and if it were now reprinted, it
would come before the public with almost the unimpaired freshness of a
new work.'[8] In agreement with the closing statement, at the sale of
the library of Sir James Macintosh a copy fetched (it has been reported)
ten guineas. Curiously enough not a single copy was preserved by the
Author himself. The companion sonnet to the above, 'composed while the
author was engaged in writing a tract occasioned by the Convention of
Cintra, 1808,' must also find a place here:

    'Not 'mid the world's vain objects that enslave
    The free-born soul--that world whose vaunted skill
    In selfish interest perverts the will,
    Whose factions lead astray the wise and brave--
    Not there; but in dark wood and rocky cave,
    And hollow vale which foaming torrents fill
    With omnipresent murmur as they rave
    Down their steep beds, that never shall be still,
    Here, mighty Nature, in this school sublime
    I weigh the hopes and fears of suffering Spain;
    For her consult the auguries of time,
    And through the human heart explore my way,
    And look and listen--gathering where I may
    Triumph, and thoughts no bondage can restrain.'[9]


_(c) Letter to Major-General Sir Charles W. Pasley, K.C.B., on his
'Military Policy and Institutions of the British Empire,' with
another--now first printed--transmitting it_.

[6] 'Poems dedicated to National Independence and Liberty,' viii.

[7] Southey's 'Life and Correspondence,' vol. iii. p. 180; 'Gentleman's
Magazine' for June 1850, p. 617.

[8] 'Memoirs,' as before, vol. i, pp. 404-5.

[9] 'Poems dedicated to National Independence and Liberty,' vii.

The former is derived from the 'Memoirs' (vol. i. pp. 405-20). In
forwarding it to the (now) Bishop of Lincoln, Sir CHARLES thus wrote of
it: 'The letter on my "Military Policy" is particularly interesting....
Though WORDSWORTH agreed that we ought to step forward with all our
military force as principals in the war, he objected to any increase of
our own power and resources by continental conquest, in which I now
think he was quite right. I am not, however, by any means shaken in the
opinion then advanced, that peace with Napoleon would lead to the loss
of our naval superiority and of our national independence, ... and I
fully believe that the Duke of Wellington's campaigns in the Spanish
Peninsula saved the nation, though no less credit is due to the Ministry
of that day for not despairing of eventual success, but supporting him
under all difficulties in spite of temporary reverses, and in opposition
to a powerful party and to influential writers.' The letter
transmitting the other has only recently been discovered on a
reÎxamination of the Wordsworth MSS. Both letters have a
Shakespearian-patriotic ring concerning 'This England.' It is inspiring
to read in retrospect of the facts such high-couraged writing as in
these letters.

_(d) Two Addresses to the Freeholders of Westmoreland_, 1818.

The 'Mr. BROUGHAM' of these 'Two Addresses' was, as all the world knows,
the (afterwards) renowned and many-gifted HENRY, Lord BROUGHAM and VAUX.
In his Autobiography he refers very good-humouredly to his three defeats
in contesting the representation of Westmoreland; but there is no
allusion whatever to WORDSWORTH. With reference to his final effort he
thus informs us: 'Parliament was dissolved in 1826, when for the third
time I stood for Westmoreland; and, after a hard-fought contest, was
again defeated. I have no wish to enter into the local politics of that
county, but I cannot resist quoting an extract from a letter of my
esteemed friend Bishop BATHURST to Mr. HOWARD of Corby, by whose
kindness I am enabled to give it: "Mr. BROUGHAM has struggled nobly for
civil and religious liberty; and is fully entitled to the celebrated
eulogy bestowed by Lucan upon Cato--

    'Victrix causa Diis placuit, sed victa Catoni.'

How others may feel I know not, but for my own part I would much rather
be in his situation than in that of the two victorious opponents;
notwithstanding the cold discouraging maxim of Epictetus, which is
calculated to check every virtuous effort--[Greek: AnikÍtos einai
dunasai, ean ouk eis mÍdena agÙna katabainÍs, ou ouk estin epinikÍsai]
[=You may be invincible if you never go down into the arena when you are
not secure of victory: Enchiridion, cxxv.]. He will not, I hope, suffer
from his exertions, extraordinary in every way. I respect exceedingly
his fine abilities, and the purpose to which he applies them" (Norwich,
July 10, 1826). As Cato owed Lucan's panegyric to the firmness he had
shown in adhering to the losing cause, and to his steadfastness to the
principles he had adopted, so I considered the Bishop's application of
the lines to me as highly complimentary' ('Life and Times,' vol. ii. pp.
437-8). It seemed only due to the subject of WORDSWORTH'S invective and
opposition to give _his_ view of the struggle and another's worthy of
all respect. Unless the writer has been misinformed, WORDSWORTH and
BROUGHAM came to know and worthily estimate each other when the
exacerbations and clamours of provincial politics had long passed away,
and when, except the 'old gray head' of WELLINGTON, none received more
reverence from the nation than that of HENRY BROUGHAM. In the
just-issued 'Memoirs of the Reigns of George IV. and William IV.' by
GREVILLE, BROUGHAM and WORDSWORTH are brought together very pleasingly.
(See these works, vol. iii. p. 504.)

The Author's personal relations to the Lowthers semi-unconsciously
coloured his opinions, and intensified his partisanship and glorified
the commonplace. But with all abatements these 'Two Addresses' supply
much material for a right and high estimate of WORDSWORTH as man and
thinker. As invariably, he descends to the roots of things, and almost
ennobles even his prejudices and alarms and ultra-caution. There is the
same terse, compacted, pungent style in these 'Two Addresses' with his
general prose. Bibliographically the 'Two Addresses' are even rarer and
higher-priced than the 'Convention of Cintra.'


_(e) Of the Catholic Relief Bill_, 1829.

To the great names of EDMUND SPENSER and Sir JOHN DAVIES, as Englishmen
who dealt with the problem of the government of Ireland, and found it,
as more recent statesmen have done, to be in infinite ways 'England's
difficulty,' has now to be added one not less great--WILLIAM WORDSWORTH.
If at this later day--for even 1829 seems remote now--much of the
present letter to the Bishop of London (BLOMFIELD) is mainly of
historical noticeableness, as revealing how 'Catholic Emancipation'
looked to one of the foremost minds of his age, there are, nevertheless,
expressions of personal opinion--_e.g._ against the Athanasian Creed in
its 'cursing' clauses, and expositions of the Papacy regarded
politically and ecclesiastically in its domination of Ireland, that have
a message for to-day strangely congruous with that of the magnificent
philippic 'Of the Vatican Decrees,' which is thundering across Europe as
these words are written. As a piece of vigorous, masculine, and o'times
eloquent English, this letter may take its place--not an inch
lower--beside a 'View of the State of Ireland,' and the 'Discoverie of
the True Cavses why Ireland was never entirely subdued, nor brought
under obedience of the Crowne of England, untill the beginning of his
Maiestie's happie raigne;' while the conflict with Ultramontanism in
Germany and elsewhere and Mr. Gladstone's tractate give new significance
to its forecastings and portents.

The manuscript, unlike most of his, is largely in WORDSWORTH'S own
handwriting--the earlier portion in (it is believed) partly Miss
WORDSWORTH'S and partly Mrs. WORDSWORTH'S. In the 'Memoirs' this letter
is quoted largely (vol. ii. pp. 136-140). It is now given completely
from the manuscript itself, not without significant advantage. It does
not appear whether this letter were actually sent to the Bishop of
London. There is no mention of it in Bishop Blomfield's 'Life;' and
hence probably it never was sent to him. In his letters there are many
references to the present topics (cf. vol. iii. pp. 258-9, 263-4, &c.).


II. ETHICAL.

I. _Of Legislation for the Poor, the Working Classes, and the Clergy:
Appendix to Poems_, 1835.

This formed one of WORDSWORTH'S most deliberate and powerful Appendices
to his Poems (1835), and has ever since been regarded as of enduring
worth. It has all the Author's characteristics of deep thinking,
imaginative illustration, intense conviction and realness. Again, accept
or dissent, this State Paper (so to say) is specially Wordsworthian.

It seems only due to WORDSWORTH to bear in recollection that, herein and
elsewhere, he led the way in indicating CO-OPERATION as _the_ remedy for
the defects and conflicts in the relations between our capitalists and
their operatives, or capital and labour (see the second section of the
Postscript, and remember its date--1835).


II. _Advice to the Young_.

(_a_) Letter to the Editor of 'The Friend,' signed Mathetes.

(_b_) Answer to the Letter of Mathetes, 1809.

'Mathetes' proved to be Professor JOHN WILSON, 'eminent in the various
departments of poetry, philosophy, and criticism' ('Memoirs,' i. 423),
and here probably was the commencement of the long friendship between
him and WORDSWORTH. As a student of WILSON'S, the Editor remembers
vividly how the 'old man eloquent' used to kindle into enthusiasm the
entire class as he worked into his extraordinary lectures quotations
from the 'Excursion' and 'Sonnets' and 'Poems of the Imagination.' Among
the letters (vol. iii. p. 263) is an interesting one refering to 'Advice
to the Young;' and another to Professor WILSON (vol. ii. pp. 208-14).


III. OF EDUCATION.

(_a_) On the Education of the Young: Letter to a Friend, 1806.

(_b_) Of the People, their Ways and Needs: Letter to Archdeacon
Wrangham, 1808.

(_c_) Education: Two Letters to the Rev. H.J. Rose, 1828.

(_d_) Education of Duty: Letter to Rev. Dr. Wordsworth, 1830.

(_e_) Speech on laying the Foundation-stone of the New School in the
Village of Bowness, Windermere, 1836.

In these Letters and the Speech are contained WORDSWORTH'S earliest and
latest and most ultimate opinions and sentiments on education. Agree or
differ, the student of WORDSWORTH has in these discussions--for in part
they have the elaborateness and thoroughness of such--what were of the
substance of his beliefs. Their biographic importance--intellectually
and spiritually--can scarcely be exaggerated, _(a), (b), (c), (d)_ are
from the 'Memoirs;' (_e_) is from the local newspaper (Kendal), being
for the first time fully reprinted.



VOL. II.


AESTHETICAL AND LITERARY.


I. _Of Literary Biography and Monuments_.

(_a_) A Letter to a Friend of Robert Burns, 1816.

(_b_) Letter to a Friend on Monuments to Literary Men, 1819.

(_c_) Letter to John Peace, Esq., of Bristol, 1844.

These naturally group themselves together. Of the first (_a_), perhaps
it is hardly worth while, and perhaps it is worth while, recalling that
WILLIAM HAZLITT, in his Lectures upon the English Poets, attacked
WORDSWORTH on this Letter with characteristic insolence and uncritical
shallowness and haste. Under date Feb. 24th, 1818, Mr. H. CRABB ROBINSON
thus refers to the thing: 'Heard part of a lecture by HAZLITT at the
Surrey Institution. He was so contemptuous towards WORDSWORTH, speaking
of his Letter about Burns, that I lost my temper. He imputed to
WORDSWORTH the desire of representing himself as a superior man' (vol.
i. p. 311, 3d ed.). The lecture is included in HAZLITT'S published
Lectures in all its ignorance and wrong-headedness; but it were a pity
to lose one's temper over such trash. His eyes were spectacles, not
'seeing eyes,' and jaundice-yellow, (_b_) and (_c_) are sequels to
(_a_), and as such accompany it.


II. UPON EPITAPHS.

(_a_) From 'The Friend.' (_b_ and _c_) From the Author's MSS., for the
first time.

Of (_a_) CHARLES LAMB wrote: 'Your Essay on Epitaphs is the only
sensible thing which has been written on that subject, and it goes to
the bottom' (Talfourd's 'Final Memorials,' vol. i. p. 180). The two
additional Papers--only briefly quoted from in the 'Memoirs' (c. xxx.
vol. i.)--were also intended for 'The Friend,' had COLERIDGE succeeded
in his announced arrangement of principles. These additional papers are
in every respect equal to the first, with Wordsworthian touches and
turns in his cunningest faculty. They are faithfully given from the MSS.


III. ESSAYS, LETTERS, AND NOTES ELUCIDATORY AND CONFIRMATORY OF THE
POEMS, 1798-1835.

(_a_) Of the Principles of Poetry and the 'Lyrical Ballads' (1798-1802.)

(_b_) Of Poetic Diction.

(_c_) Poetry as a Study (1815).

(_d_) Of Poetry as Observation and Description, and Dedication of 1815.

(_e_) Of 'The Excursion:' Preface.

(_f_) Letters to Sir George and Lady Beaumont and others on the Poems
and related Subjects.

(_g_) Letter to Charles Fox with the 'Lyrical Ballads,' and his Answer,
&c.

(_h_) Letter on the Principles of Poetry and his own Poems to
(afterwards) Professor John Wilson.

(_a_) to (_e_) form appendices to the early and later editions of the
Poems, and created an epoch in literary criticism. COLERIDGE put forth
his utmost strength on a critical examination of them, oblivious that he
had himself impelled, not to say compelled, his friend to write these
Prefaces, as WORDSWORTH signifies. It is not meant by this that
COLERIDGE was thereby shut out from criticising the definitions and
statements to which he objected.


IV. DESCRIPTIVE.

(_a_) A Guide through the District of the Lakes, 1835.

(_b_) Kendal and Windermere Railway: two Letters, &c.

These very much explain themselves; but of the former it may be of
bibliographical interest to state that it formed originally the
letterpress and Introduction to 'Select Views in Cumberland,
Westmoreland, and Lancashire,' by the Rev. JOSEPH WILKINSON, Rector of
East Wrotham, Norfolk, 1810 (folio). It was reprinted in the volume of
Sonnets on the River Duddon. The fifth edition (1835) has been selected
as the Author's own final text. In Notes and Illustrations in the place,
a strangely overlooked early account of the Lake District is pointed out
and quoted from. The 'Two Letters' need no vindication at this late day.
Ruskin is reiterating their arguments and sentiment eloquently as these
pages pass through the press. Apart from deeper reasons, let the
fault-finder realise to himself the differentia of general approval of
railways, and a railway forced through the 'old churchyard' that holds
his mother's grave or the garden of his young prime. It was a merely
sordid matter on the part of the promoters. Their professions of care
for the poor and interest in the humbler classes getting to the Lakes
had a Judas element in them, nothing higher or purer.


VOL. III.


CRITICAL AND ETHICAL.


I. _Notes and Illustrations of the Poems, incorporating_:

(_a_) The Notes originally added to the first and successive editions.

(_b_) The whole of the I.F. MSS.

This division of the Prose has cost the Editor more labour and thought
than any other, from the scattered and hitherto unclassified
semi-publication of these Notes. Those called 'original' are from the
first and successive editions of the Poems, being found in some and
absent in other collections. An endeavour has been made to include
everything, even the briefest; for judging by himself, the Editor
believes that to the reverent and thoughtful student of WORDSWORTH the
slightest thing is of interest; _e.g._ one turns to the most commonplace
book of topography or contemporary verse in any way noticed by him, just
because it is WORDSWORTH who has noticed it, while an old ballad, a
legend, a bit of rural usage, takes a light of glory from the page in
which it is found. Hence as so much diamond-dust or filings of gold the
published Notes are here brought together. Added, and far exceeding in
quantity and quality alike, it is the privilege of the Editor to print
_completely and in integrity_ the I.F. MSS., as written down to the
dictation of WORDSWORTH by Miss FENWICK. These have been hitherto given
with tantalising and almost provoking fragmentariness in the 'Memoirs'
and in the centenary edition of the Poems--again withdrawn in the recent
Rossetti edition. In these Notes--many of which in both senses are
elaborate and full--are some of the deepest and daintiest-worded things
from WORDSWORTH. The I.F. MSS. are delightfully chatty and informal, and
ages hence will be treasured and studied in relation to the Poems by the
(then) myriad millions of the English-speaking races.

Miss FENWICK, to whom the world is indebted for these MSS., is
immortalised in two Sonnets by WORDSWORTH, which surely long ere this
ought to have been included in the Poetical Works; and they may fitly
reappear here (from the 'Memoirs'):

   '_On a Portrait of I.F., painted by Margaret Gillies_.

    We gaze--nor grieve to think that we must die,
    But that the precious love this friend hath sown
    Within our hearts, the love whose flower hath blown
    Bright as if heaven were ever in its eye,
    Will pass so soon from human memory;
    And not by strangers to our blood alone,
    But by our best descendants be unknown,
    Unthought of--this may surely claim a sigh.
    Yet, blessed Art, we yield not to dejection;
    Thou against Time so feelingly dost strive:
    Where'er, preserved in this most true reflection,
    An image of her soul is kept alive,
    Some lingering fragrance of the pure affection,
    Whose flower with us will vanish, must survive.

                                WILLIAM WORDSWORTH.

    _Rydal Mount, New Year's Day, 1840_.'

    '_To I.F._

    The star which comes at close of day to shine
    More heavenly bright than when it leads the morn
    Is Friendship's emblem, whether the forlorn
    She visiteth, or shedding light benign
    Through shades that solemnise Life's calm decline,
    Doth make the happy happier. This have we
    Learnt, Isabel, from thy society,
    Which now we too unwillingly resign
    Though for brief absence. But farewell! the page
    Glimmers before my sight through thankful tears,
    Such as start forth, not seldom, to approve
    Our truth, when we, old yet unchill'd by age,
    Call thee, though known but for a few fleet years,
    The heart-affianced sister of our love!

                                   WILLIAM WORDSWORTH.

    _Rydal Mount, Feb. 1840_.'

In addition to these Sonnets the beautiful memory of Miss FENWICK has
been reillumined in the 'Memoir and Letters of Sara Coleridge' (2 vols.
1873); _e.g._ 'I take great delight in Miss Fenwick, and in her
conversation. Well should I like to have her constantly in the
drawing-room, to come down to and from my little study up-stairs--her
mind is such a noble compound of heart and intelligence, of spiritual
feeling and moral strength, and the most perfect feminineness. She is
intellectual, but--what is a great excellence--never talks for effect,
never _keeps possession of the floor_, as clever women are so apt to do.
She converses for the interchange of thought and feeling, no matter
_how_, so she gets at your mind, and lets you into hers. A more generous
and a tenderer heart I never knew. I differ from her on many points of
religious faith, but on the whole prefer her views to those of most
others who differ from her' (ii. 5). Again: 'Miss FENWICK is to me an
angel upon earth. Her being near me now has seemed a special providence.
God bless her, and spare her to us and her many friends. She is a noble
creature, all tenderness and strength. When I first became acquainted
with her, I saw at once that her heart was of the very finest, richest
quality, and her wisdom and insight are, as ever must be in such a case,
exactly correspondent' (ibid. p. 397). Such words from one so
penetrative, so indeceivable, so great in the fullest sense as was the
daughter of _the_ COLERIDGE, makes every one long to have the same
service done for Miss FENWICK as has been done for SARA COLERIDGE and
Miss HARE, and within these weeks for Mrs. FLETCHER. Her Diaries and
Correspondence would be inestimable to lovers of WORDSWORTH; for few or
none got so near to him or entered so magnetically into his thinking.
The headings and numberings of the successive Notes--lesser and
larger--will guide to the respective Poems and places. The numberings
accord with ROSSETTI'S handy one-volume edition of the Poems, but as a
rule will offer no difficulty in any. The I.F. MSS. are marked with an
asterisk [*]: They are _for the first time_ furnished in their entirety,
and accurately.


II. _Letters and Extracts of Letters_.

These are arranged as nearly as possible chronologically from the
'Memoirs,' &c. &c., with the benefit, as before, of collation in many
cases of the original MSS., especially in the Sir W.R. HAMILTON letters,
and a number are _for the first time printed_. The Editor does not at
all like 'Extracts,' and must be permitted to regret that what in his
judgment was an antiquated and mistaken idea of biography led the
excellent as learned Bishop of Lincoln to abridge and mutilate so very
many--the places not always marked. On this and the principle and
_motif_ which approve and vindicate the publication of the Letters of
every really potential intellect such as WORDSWORTH'S, the accomplished
daughter of SARA COLERIDGE has remarked: 'A book composed of epistolary
extracts can never be a wholly satisfactory one, because its contents
are not only relative and fragmentary, but unauthorised and unrevised.
To arrest the passing utterances of the hour, and reveal to the world
that which was spoken either in the innermost circle of home affection,
or in the outer (but still guarded) circle of social or friendly
intercourse, seems almost like a betrayal of confidence, and is a step
which cannot be taken by survivors without some feelings of hesitation
and reluctance. That reluctance is only to be overcome by the sense
that, however natural, it is partly founded on delusion--a delusion
which leads us to personify "the world," to our imagination, as an
obtuse and somewhat hostile individual, who is certain to take things by
the wrong handle, and cannot be trusted to make the needful allowance,
and supply the inevitable omissions. Whereas it is a more reasonable and
a more comfortable belief, that the only part of the world which is in
the least likely to concern itself with such volumes as these is
composed of a number of enlightened and sympathetic persons' (as before,
Preface, vii. viii.). The closing consideration ought to overweigh all
scruples and reserve.[10]

[10] The charming 'Journal' in full of Miss WORDSWORTH has only within
the past year been published. The welcome it has met with--having
bounded into a third edition already--is at once proof of the soundness
of judgment that at long-last issued it, if it be also accusatory that
many have gone who yearned to read it. The Editor ventures to invite
special attention to WORDSWORTH'S own express wish that the foreign
'Journals' of Miss WORDSWORTH and Mrs. WORDSWORTH should be published.
Surely _his_ words ought to be imperative (vol. iii. p. 77)?

There _is_ the select circle of lovers of WORDSWORTH--yearly
widening--and there are the far-off multitudes of the future to whom
WILLIAM WORDSWORTH will be the grand name of the 18th-19th century, and
all that SHAKESPEARE and MILTON are now; and consequently the letters of
one so chary in letter-writing ought to be put beyond the risks of loss,
and given to Literature in entirety and trueness. WORDSWORTH had a
morbid dislike of writing letters, his weak eyes throughout rendering
all penmanship painful; but the present Editor, while conceding that his
letters lack the charm of style of COWPER'S, and the vividness and
passion of BYRON'S, finds in them, even the hastiest, matter of rarest
biographic and interpretative value. He was not a great sentencemaker;
in a way prided himself that his letters were so (intentionally) poor as
sure to be counted unworthy of publication; and altogether had the
prejudices of an earlier day against the giving of letters to the world;
but none the less are his letters informed with his intellect and
meditative thoughtfulness and exquisiteness of feeling. It is earnestly
to be hoped that one of the Family who is admirably qualified for the
task of love will address himself to write adequately and confidingly
the Life of his immortal relative; and toward this every one possessed
of anything in the handwriting or from the mind of WORDSWORTH may be
appealed to for co-operation. The 'Memoirs' of the (now) Bishop of
Lincoln, within its own limits, was a great gift; but it is avowedly not
a 'Life,' and _the world wants a Life_. Collation of the originals of
these letters has restored sentences and words and things of the most
characteristic kind. Very gross mistakes have also been corrected.[11]

[11] It may be well to point out here specially a mistake in heading two
of the WORDSWORTH letters to Sir W.R. HAMILTON: 'Royal Dublin Society,'
instead of 'Royal Irish Academy' (see vol. iii. pp. 350 and 352); also
that at p. 394 'of the' has slipped in from the first 'of the,' and so
now reads 'Of the Heresiarch of the Church of Rome,' for 'The Heresiarch
Church,' as in the body of the letter.

     III. _Conversations and Personal Reminiscences of Wordsworth_.

     From 'Satyrane's Letters;' Klopstock.

     Personal Reminiscences of the Hon. Mr. Justice Coleridge.

     Recollections of a Tour in Italy with Wordsworth. By H.C. Robinson.

     Reminiscences of Lady Richardson and Mrs. Davy.

     Conversations recorded by the Bishop of Lincoln.

     Reminiscences by the Rev. R.P. Graves, M.A., Dublin; on the Death
     of Coleridge; and further (hitherto unpublished) Reminiscences.

     An American's Reminiscences.

     Recollections of Aubrey de Vere, Esq., now first published.[12]

     From 'Recollections of the Last Days of Shelley and Byron,' by E.J.
     Trelawny, Esq.

     From Letters of Professor Tayler (1872).

     Anecdote of Crabbe and Wordsworth.

     Wordsworth's Later Opinion of Lord Brougham.

[12] Will the Reader indulgently correct a most unfortunate oversight of
the printers in vol. iii. p. 497, l. 15, where 'no angel smiled'
(mis)reads 'no angle smiled'?

These are included in the Prose inevitably, inasmuch as they preserve
opinions and sentiments, criticisms and sayings, actually spoken by
WORDSWORTH, of exactly the type of which Lord COLERIDGE, among other
things, wrote the Editor: 'I hope we shall have a transcript from you of
the thoughts and opinions of that very great and noble person, of whom
(as far as I know them) it is most true that "the very dust of his
writings is gold." Any grave and deliberate opinion of his is entitled
to weight; and if we have his opinions at all, we should have them whole
and entire.'

The Editor has studied to give WORDSWORTH'S own conversations and
sayings--not others' concerning him. Hence such eloquent
pseudo-enthusiasm as is found in De Quincey's 'Recollections of the
Lakes' (Works, vol. ii.) is excluded. He dares to call it
pseudo-enthusiasm; for this book of the little, alert, self-conscious
creature, with the marvellous brain and more marvellous tongue--a monkey
with a man's soul somehow transmigrated into it--opens and shuts without
preserving a solitary saying of the man he professes to honour. That is
a measure of _his_ admiration as of his insight or no insight. There are
besides personal impertinencies, declarative of essential
vulgarity.[13] Smaller men have printed their 'Recollections,' or rather
retailed their gossip; but they themselves occupy the foreground, much
as your chimney-sweep introduces himself prominently in front of his
signboard presentment of some many-chimneyed 'noble house.' Even
Emerson's 'English Traits' (a most un-English book) belongs to the same
underbred category. The new 'Recollections' by AUBREY DE VERE, Esq., it
is a privilege to publish--full of reverence and love, and so daintily
and musically worded, as they are.

[13] Possibly indignation roused by the 'Recollections' has provoked too
vehement condemnation. Let it therefore be noted that it is the
'Recollections' that are censured. Elsewhere DE QUINCEY certainly shows
a glimmering recognition of WORDSWORTH'S great qualities, and that
before they had been fully admitted; but everywhere there is an
impertinence of familiarity and a patronising self-consciousness that is
irritating to any one who reverences great genius and high rectitude. It
may be conceded that DE QUINCEY, so far as he was capable, did reverence
WORDSWORTH; but his exaggerations of awe and delays bear on the face of
them unveracity.

Such is an account of the contents of these volumes; and it may be
permitted the Editor to record his hearty thanks to the Sons of the
Poet--WILLIAM WORDSWORTH, Esq., Carlisle, and the just dead Rev. JOHN
WORDSWORTH, M.A., Brigham--and his nephew Professor WORDSWORTH of
Bombay, for their so flattering committal of this trust to him; and
especially to the last, for his sympathetic and gladdening counsel
throughout--augury of larger service ultimately, it is to be hoped. To
the co-executor with WILLIAM WORDSWORTH, Esq.--STRICKLAND COOKSON,
Esq.--like acknowledgment is due. He cannot sufficiently thank AUBREY DE
VERE, Esq., for his brilliant contribution to the 'Personal
Reminiscences.' The Rev. ROBERT PERCEVAL GRAVES, M.A., of Dublin
(formerly of Windermere), has greatly added to the interest of these
volumes by forwarding his further reminiscences of WORDSWORTH and the
Hamilton Letters. Fifteen of these letters of WORDSWORTH, not yet
published, will be given in a Life of the great mathematician of
Ireland, Sir W.R. HAMILTON, towards whom WORDSWORTH felt the warmest
friendship, and of whose many-sided genius he had the most absolute
admiration. Mr. GRAVES, walking in the footsteps of FULKE GREVILLE, Lord
BROOKE, who sought that on his tomb should be graven 'Friend of Sir
Philip Sidney' (albeit he would modestly disclaim the lofty comparison),
regards it as his title to memory that he was called 'my highly esteemed
friend' by WORDSWORTH (vol. iii. p. 27). For the GRAVESES the Poet had
much regard, and it was mutual. A Sonnet addressed to WORDSWORTH by the
(now) Bishop of Limerick was so highly valued by him that it is a
pleasure to be able to read it, as thus:

    '_To Wordsworth_.

      The Sages of old time have pass'd away,
      A throng of mighty names. But little power
      Have ancient names to rule the present hour:
      No Plato to the learners of our day
      In grove of Academe reveals the way,
      The law, the soul of Nature. Yet a light
      Of living wisdom, beaming calm and bright,
      Forbids our youth 'mid error's maze to stray.
      To thee, with gratitude and reverent love,
      O Poet and Philosopher! we turn;
      For in thy truth-inspirËd song we learn
      Passion and pride to quell--erect to move,
    From doubts and fears deliver'd--and conceiving
    Pure hopes of heaven, live happy in believing.

_August_ 1833.' C.G.

Lady RICHARDSON has similarly added to the value of her former
'Recollections' for this work. Very special gratitude is due to the Miss
QUILLINANS of Loughrigg, Rydal, for the use of the MS. of Miss FENWICK'S
Notes--one half in their father's handwriting, and the other half (or
thereabout) in that of Mrs. QUILLINAN ('DORA'), who at the end has
written:

     'To dearest Miss Fenwick are we obliged for these Notes, every word
     of which was taken down by her kind pen from my father's dictation.
     The former portion was transcribed at Rydal by Mr. Quillinan, the
     latter by me, and finished at the Vicarage, Brigham, this
     twenty-fifth day of August 1843.--D.Q.'

The MS., he it repeated, is now printed _in extenso_, nor will the least
acceptable be 'DORA'S' own slight pencillings intercalated. The Miss
COOKSONS of Grasmere were good enough to present the Editor with a copy
of the 'Two Letters to the Freeholders of Westmoreland', when he had
almost despaired of recovering the pamphlet. Thanks are due to several
literary friends for aid in the Notes and Illustrations. There must be
named Professor DOWDEN and Rev. E.P. GRAVES, M.A.,[14] Dublin; F.W.
COSENS, Esq., and G.A. SIMCOX, Esq., London; W. ALDIS WRIGHT, Esq.,
M.A., Trinity College, Cambridge.

[14] Mr. Graves has published the following on the Wordsworths: (_a_)
'Recollections of Wordsworth and the Lake Country'; a lecture, and a
capital one. (_b_) 'A Good Name and the Day of Death: two Blessings'; a
sermon preached in Ambleside Church, January 30, 1859, on occasion of
the death of Mrs. Wordsworth--tender and consolatory. (_c_) 'The
Ascension of our Lord, and its Lessons for Mourners'; a sermon (1858)
finely commemorative of Arnold, the Wordsworths, Mrs. Fletcher, and
others.

One point only remains to be noticed. Every one who knows our highest
poetical literature knows the 'Lost Leader' of ROBERT BROWNING, Esq.
Many have been the speculations and surmises and assertions and
contradictions as to who the 'Lost Leader' was. The verdict of one of
the immortals on his fellow-immortal concerns us all. Hence it is with
no common thankfulness the Editor of WORDSWORTH'S Prose embraces this
opportunity of settling the controversy beyond appeal, by giving a
letter which Mr. BROWNING has done him the honour to write for
publication. It is as follows:

     '19 Warwick-crescent, W. Feb. 24, '75.

     DEAR MR. GROSART,

     I have been asked the question you now address me with, and as duly
     answered it, I can't remember how many times: there is no sort of
     objection to one more assurance, or rather confession, on my part,
     that I _did_ in my hasty youth presume to use the great and
     venerated personality of WORDSWORTH as a sort of painter's model;
     one from which this or the other particular feature may be selected
     and turned to account: had I intended more, above all, such a
     boldness as portraying the entire man, I should not have talked
     about "handfuls of silver and bits of ribbon". These never
     influenced the change of politics in the great poet; whose
     defection, nevertheless, accompanied as it was by a regular face
     about of his special party, was to my juvenile apprehension, and
     even mature consideration, an event to deplore. But just as in the
     tapestry on my wall I can recognise figures which have _struck out_
     a fancy, on occasion, that though truly enough thus derived, yet
     would be preposterous as a copy, so, though I dare not deny the
     original of my little poem, I altogether refuse to have it
     considered as the "very effigies" of such a moral and intellectual
     superiority.

     Faithfully yours,

     ROBERT BROWNING.'

The Editor cannot close this Preface without expressing his sense of the
greatness of the trust confided to him, and the personal benefit it has
been to himself to have been brought so near to WILLIAM WORDSWORTH as he
has been in working on this collection of his Prose. He felt almost
awed as he handled the great and good man's MSS., and found himself
behind the screen (as it were), seeing what he had seen, touching what
he had touched, knowing what he had known, feeling what he had felt.
Reverence, even veneration is an empty word to utter the emotion excited
in such communion; these certainly, but something tenderer and more
human were in head and heart. It was a grand, high-thoughted,
pure-lived, unique course that was run in those sequestered vales. The
closer one gets to the man, the greater he proves, the truer, the
simpler; and it is a benediction to the race, amid so many fragmentary
and jagged and imperfect lives, to have one so rounded and completed, so
august and so genuine:

    'Summon Detraction to object the worst
    That may be told, and utter all it can;
    It cannot find a blemish to be enforced
    Against him, other than he was a man,
    And built of flesh and blood, and did live here,
    Within the region of infirmity;
    Where all perfections never did appear
    To meet in any one so really,
    But that his frailty ever did bewray
    Unto the world that he was set in clay.'

(Funeral Panegyric on the Earl of Devonshire, by Samuel Daniel.)

     ALEXANDER B. GROSART.

_Park View, Blackburn, Lancashire_.

NOTE.--It is perhaps right to mention, for Editor and present Printers'
sake, that WORDSWORTH'S own capitals, italics, punctuation, and other
somewhat antique characteristics, have been faithfully reproduced. At
the dates, capitals, italics, and punctuation were more abundant than at
present. _G_.



CONTENTS OF VOL. I.


*** A star [*] designates publication herein _for the first time_.  G.
                                                         =PAGE=
The Dedication to the Queen                                        v
*Poem addressed to her Majesty with a Gift-copy of the Poems.      vi
The Preface                                               vii-xxxviii


POLITICAL.

*I. Apology for the French Revolution, 1793                   1-23
    Appendix to Bishop Watson's Sermon                        24-30
II. The Convention of Cintra, 1809                            31-174
    Appendix by De Quincey                                    175-194
III. Vindication of Opinions in the Treatise on the 'Convention
              of Cintra:'
         (_a_) Letter to Major-General Sir Charles W. Pasley,
                 K.C.B., on his 'Military Policy and Institutions
                 of the British Empire,' 1811                 195-200
         *(_b_) Letter enclosing the Preceding to a Friend
                 unnamed                                      206-209
iv. Two Addresses to the Freeholders of Westmoreland, 1818    211-257
*v. Of the Catholic Relief Bill, 1829                         259-270


ETHICAL.

I. Of Legislation for the Poor, the Working Classes, and the
   Clergy: Appendix to Poems, 1835                            271-294
II. Advice to the Young:
       (_a_) Letter to the Editor of 'The Friend,'
          signed 'Mathetes'                                   295-308
       (_b_) Answer to the Letter of 'Mathetes,' 1809    309-326
III. Of Education:
       (_a_) On the Education of the Young: Letter to a Friend,
             1806                                             327-333
         (_b_) Of the People, their Ways and Needs: Letter to
                 Archdeacon Wrangham, 1808                    334-339
         (_c_) Education: two Letters to the Rev. H. J. Rose,
                 1828                                         340-348
         (_d_) Education of Duty: Letter to Rev. Dr. Wordsworth,
                  1830                                          349
        *(_e_) Speech on laying the Foundation-stone of the New
             School in the Village of Bowness, Windermere, 1830
                                                              350-356

NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS                                       357-360



I. POLITICAL.



I. APOLOGY FOR THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. 1793.

NOTE.

For an account of the manuscript of this 'Apology,' and details on other
points, see Preface in the present volume. G.

APOLOGY FOR THE FRENCH REVOLUTION, 1793.


MY LORD,

Reputation may not improperly be termed the moral life of man. Alluding
to our natural existence, Addison, in a sublime allegory well known to
your Lordship, has represented us as crossing an immense bridge, from
whose surface from a variety of causes we disappear one after another,
and are seen no more. Every one who enters upon public life has such a
bridge to pass. Some slip through at the very commencement of their
career from thoughtlessness, others pursue their course a little longer,
till, misled by the phantoms of avarice and ambition, they fall victims
to their delusion. Your Lordship was either seen, or supposed to be
seen, continuing your way for a long time unseduced and undismayed; but
those who now look for you will look in vain, and it is feared you have
at last fallen, through one of the numerous trap-doors, into the tide of
contempt, to be swept down to the ocean of oblivion.

It is not my intention to be illiberal; these latter expressions have
been forced from me by indignation. Your Lordship has given a proof that
even religious controversy may be conducted without asperity; I hope I
shall profit by your example. At the same time, with a spirit which you
may not approve--for it is a republican spirit--I shall not preclude
myself from any truths, however severe, which I may think beneficial to
the cause which I have undertaken to defend. You will not, then, be
surprised when I inform you that it is only the name of its author which
has induced me to notice an Appendix to a Sermon which you have lately
given to the world, with a hope that it may have some effect in calming
a perturbation which, you say, has been _excited_ in the minds of the
lower orders of the community. While, with a servility which has
prejudiced many people against religion itself, the ministers of the
Church of England have appeared as writers upon public measures only to
be the advocates of slavery civil and religious, your Lordship stood
almost alone as the defender of truth and political charity. The names
of levelling prelate, bishop of the Dissenters, which were intended as a
dishonour to your character, were looked upon by your friends--perhaps
by yourself--as an acknowledgment of your possessing an enlarged and
philosophical mind; and like the generals in a neighbouring country, if
it had been equally becoming your profession, you might have adopted, as
an honourable title, a denomination intended as a stigma.

On opening your Appendix, your admirers will naturally expect to find an
impartial statement of the grievances which harass this Nation, and a
sagacious inquiry into the proper modes of redress. They will be
disappointed. Sensible how large a portion of mankind receive opinions
upon authority, I am apprehensive lest the doctrines which they will
there find should derive a weight from your name to which they are by no
means intrinsically entitled. I will therefore examine what you have
advanced, from a hope of being able to do away any impression left on
the minds of such as may be liable to confound with argument a strong
prepossession for your Lordship's talents, experience, and virtues.

Before I take notice of what you appear to have laid down as principles,
it may not be improper to advert to some incidental opinions found at
the commencement of your political confession of faith.

At a period big with the fate of the human race I am sorry that you
attach so much importance to the personal sufferings of the late royal
martyr, and that an anxiety for the issue of the present convulsions
should not have prevented you from joining in the idle cry of modish
lamentation which has resounded from the Court to the cottage. You wish
it to be supposed you are one of those who are unpersuaded of the guilt
of Louis XVI. If you had attended to the history of the French
Revolution as minutely as its importance demands, so far from stopping
to bewail his death, you would rather have regretted that the blind
fondness of his people had placed a human being in that monstrous
situation which rendered him unaccountable before a human tribunal. A
bishop, a man of philosophy and humanity[15] as distinguished as your
Lordship, declared at the opening of the National Convention--and
twenty-five millions of men were convinced of the truth of the
assertion--that there was not a citizen on the tenth of August who, if
he could have dragged before the eyes of Louis the corpse of one of his
murdered brothers, might not have exclaimed to him: 'Tyran, voil‡ ton
ouvrage.' Think of this, and you will not want consolation under any
depression your spirits may feel at the contrast exhibited by Louis on
the most splendid throne of the universe, and Louis alone in the tower
of the Temple or on the scaffold. But there is a class of men who
received the news of the late execution with much more heartfelt sorrow
than that which you, among such a multitude, so officiously express. The
passion of pity is one of which, above all others, a Christian teacher
should be cautious of cherishing the abuse when, under the influence of
reason, it is regulated by the disproportion of the pain suffered to the
guilt incurred. It is from the passion thus directed that the men of
whom I have just spoken are afflicted by the catastrophe of the fallen
monarch. They are sorry that the prejudice and weakness of mankind have
made it necessary to force an individual into an unnatural situation,
which requires more than human talents and human virtues, and at the
same time precludes him from attaining even a moderate knowledge of
common life, and from feeling a particular share in the interests of
mankind. But, above all, these men lament that any combination of
circumstances should have rendered it necessary or advisable to veil for
a moment the statues of the laws, and that by such emergency the cause
of twenty-five millions of people, I may say of the whole human race,
should have been so materially injured. Any other sorrow for the death
of Louis is irrational and weak.

[15] M. Gregoire.

In France royalty is no more. The person of the last anointed is no more
also; and I flatter myself I am not alone, even in this _kingdom_, when
I wish that it may please the Almighty neither by the hands of His
priests nor His nobles (I allude to a striking passage of Racine) to
raise his posterity to the rank of his ancestors, and reillume the torch
of extinguished David.[16]

[16] See _Athalie_, [act i.] scene 2:

    'Il faut que sur le trÙne un roi soit ÈlevÈ,
    Qui _se souvienne un jour_ qu'au rang de ses ancÍtres.

You say: 'I fly with terror and abhorrence even from the altar of
Liberty, when I see it stained with the blood of the aged, of the
innocent, of the defenceless sex, of the ministers of religion, and of
the faithful adherents of a fallen monarch.' What! have you so little
knowledge of the nature of man as to be ignorant that a time of
revolution is not the season of true Liberty? Alas, the obstinacy and
perversion of man is such that she is too often obliged to borrow the
very arms of Despotism to overthrow him, and, in order to reign in
peace, must establish herself by violence. She deplores such stern
necessity, but the safety of the people, her supreme law, is her
consolation. This apparent contradiction between the principles of
liberty and the march of revolutions; this spirit of jealousy, of
severity, of disquietude, of vexation, indispensable from a state of war
between the oppressors and oppressed, must of necessity confuse the
ideas of morality, and contract the benign exertion of the best
affections of the human heart. Political virtues are developed at the
expense of moral ones; and the sweet emotions of compassion, evidently
dangerous when traitors are to be punished, are too often altogether
smothered. But is this a sufficient reason to reprobate a convulsion
from which is to spring a fairer order of things? It is the province of
education to rectify the erroneous notions which a habit of oppression,
and even of resistance, may have created, and to soften this ferocity of
character, proceeding from a necessary suspension of the mild and social
virtues; it belongs to her to create a race of men who, truly free, will
look upon their fathers as only enfranchised.[17]

[17]

     Dieu l'a fait remonter par la main de ses prÍtres:
     L'a tirÈ par leurs mains de l'oubli du tombeau,
     Et de David Èteint rallumÈ le flambeau.'

The conclusion of the same speech applies so strongly to the present
period that I cannot forbear transcribing it:

     'Daigne, daigne, mon Dieu, sur Mathan, et sur elle
     RÈpandre _cet esprit d'imprudence et d'erreur,
     De la chute des rois funeste avant-coureur_!'



I proceed to the sorrow you express for the fate of the French
priesthood. The measure by which that body was immediately stripped of
part of its possessions, and a more equal distribution enjoined of the
rest, does not meet with your Lordship's approbation. You do not
question the right of the Nation over ecclesiastical wealth; you have
voluntarily abandoned a ground which you were conscious was altogether
untenable. Having allowed this right, can you question the propriety of
exerting it at that particular period? The urgencies of the State were
such as required the immediate application of a remedy. Even the clergy
were conscious of such necessity; and aware, from the immunities they
had long enjoyed, that the people would insist upon their bearing some
share of the burden, offered of themselves a considerable portion of
their superfluities. The Assembly was true to justice, and refused to
compromise the interests of the Nation by accepting as a satisfaction
the insidious offerings of compulsive charity. They enforced their
right. They took from the clergy a large share of their wealth, and
applied it to the alleviation of the national misery. Experience shows
daily the wise employment of the ample provision which yet remains to
them. While you reflect on the vast diminution which some men's fortunes
must have undergone, your sorrow for these individuals will be
diminished by recollecting the unworthy motives which induced the bulk
of them to undertake the office, and the scandalous arts which enabled
so many to attain the rank and enormous wealth which it has seemed
necessary to annex to the charge of a Christian pastor. You will rather
look upon it as a signal act of justice that they should thus
unexpectedly be stripped of the rewards of their vices and their crimes.
If you should lament the sad reverse by which the hero of the
necklace[18] has been divested of about 1,300,000 livres of annual
revenue, you may find some consolation that a part of this prodigious
mass of riches is gone to preserve from famine some thousands of curÈs,
who were pining in villages unobserved by Courts.

[18] Prince de Rohan.

I now proceed to principles. Your Lordship very properly asserts that
'the liberty of man in a state of society consists in his being subject
to no law but the law enacted by the general will of the society to
which he belongs.' You approved of the object which the French had in
view when, in the infancy of the Revolution, they were attempting to
destroy arbitrary power, and to erect a temple to Liberty on its
remains. It is with surprise, then, that I find you afterwards presuming
to dictate to the world a servile adoption of the British constitution.
It is with indignation I perceive you 'reprobate' a people for having
imagined happiness and liberty more likely to flourish in the open field
of a Republic than under the shade of Monarchy. You are therefore guilty
of a most glaring contradiction. Twenty-five millions of Frenchmen have
felt that they could have no security for their liberties under any
modification of monarchical power. They have in consequence unanimously
chosen a Republic. You cannot but observe that they have only exercised
that right in which, by your own confession, liberty essentially
resides.

As to your arguments, by which you pretend to justify your anathemas of
a Republic--if arguments they may be called--they are so concise, that I
cannot but transcribe them. 'I dislike a Republic for this reason,
because of all forms of government, scarcely excepting the most
despotic, I think a Republic the most oppressive to the bulk of the
people; they are deceived in it with a show of liberty, but they live in
it under the most odious of all tyrannies--the tyranny of their equals.'

This passage is a singular proof of that fatality by which the advocates
of error furnish weapons for their own destruction: while it is merely
_assertion_ in respect to a justification of your aversion to
Republicanism, a strong _argument_ may be drawn from it in its favour.
Mr. Burke, in a philosophic lamentation over the extinction of chivalry,
told us that in those times vice lost half its evil by losing all its
grossness. Infatuated moralist! Your Lordship excites compassion as
labouring under the same delusion. Slavery is a bitter and a poisonous
draught. We have but one consolation under it, that a Nation may dash
the cup to the ground when she pleases. Do not imagine that by taking
from its bitterness you weaken its deadly quality; no, by rendering it
more palatable you contribute to its power of destruction. We submit
without repining to the chastisements of Providence, aware that we are
creatures, that opposition is vain and remonstrance impossible. But when
redress is in our own power and resistance is rational, we suffer with
the same humility from beings like ourselves, because we are taught from
infancy that we were born in a state of inferiority to our oppressors,
that they were sent into the world to scourge, and we to be scourged.
Accordingly we see the bulk of mankind, actuated by these fatal
prejudices, even more ready to lay themselves under the feet of _the
great_ than the great are to trample upon them. Now taking for granted,
that in Republics men live under the tyranny of what you call their
equals, the circumstance of this being the most odious of all tyrannies
is what a Republican would boast of; as soon as tyranny becomes odious,
the principal step is made towards its destruction. Reflecting on the
degraded state of the mass of mankind, a philosopher will lament that
oppression is not odious to them, that the iron, while it eats the soul,
is not felt to enter into it. 'Tout homme nÈ dans l'esclavage n‚it pour
l'esclavage, rien n'est plus certain; les esclaves perdent tout dans
leurs fers, jusqu'au dÈsir d'en sortir; ils aiment leur servitude, comme
les compagnons d'Ulysse aimaient leur abrutissement.'

I return to the quotation in which you reprobate Republicanism. Relying
upon the temper of the times, you have surely thought little argument
necessary to content what few will be hardy enough to support; the
strongest of auxiliaries, imprisonment and the pillory, has left your
arm little to perform. But the happiness of mankind is so closely
connected with this subject, that I cannot suffer such considerations to
deter me from throwing out a few hints, which may lead to a conclusion
that a Republic legitimately constructed contains less of an oppressive
principle than any other form of government.

Your Lordship will scarcely question that much of human misery, that the
great evils which desolate States, proceed from the governors having an
interest distinct from that of the governed. It should seem a natural
deduction, that whatever has a tendency to identify the two must also in
the same degree promote the general welfare. As the magnitude of almost
all States prevents the possibility of their enjoying a pure democracy,
philosophers--from a wish, as far as is in their power, to make the
governors and the governed one--will turn their thoughts to the system
of universal representation, and will annex an equal importance to the
suffrage of every individual. Jealous of giving up no more of the
authority of the people than is necessary, they will be solicitous of
finding out some method by which the office of their delegates may be
confined as much as is practicable to the proposing and deliberating
upon laws rather than to enacting them; reserving to the people the
power of finally inscribing them in the national code. Unless this is
attended to, as soon as a people has chosen representatives it no
longer has a political existence, except as it is understood to retain
the privilege of annihilating the trust when it shall think proper, and
of resuming its original power. Sensible that at the moment of election
an interest distinct from that of the general body is created, an
enlightened legislator will endeavour by every possible method to
diminish the operation of such interest. The first and most natural mode
that presents itself is that of shortening the regular duration of this
trust, in order that the man who has betrayed it may soon be superseded
by a more worthy successor. But this is not enough; aware of the
possibility of imposition, and of the natural tendency of power to
corrupt the heart of man, a sensible Republican will think it essential
that the office of legislator be not intrusted to the same man for a
succession of years. He will also be induced to this wise restraint by
the grand principle of identification; he will be more sure of the
virtue of the legislator by knowing that, in the capacity of private
citizen, to-morrow he must either smart under the oppression or bless
the justice of the law which he has enacted to-day.

Perhaps in the very outset of this inquiry the principle on which I
proceed will be questioned, and I shall be told that the people are not
the proper judges of their own welfare. But because under every
government of modern times, till the foundation of the American
Republic, the bulk of mankind have appeared incapable of discerning
their true interests, no conclusion can be drawn against my principle.
At this moment have we not daily the strongest proofs of the success
with which, in what you call the best of all monarchical governments,
the popular mind may be debauched? Left to the quiet exercise of their
own judgment, do you think that the people would have thought it
necessary to set fire to the house of the philosophic Priestley, and to
hunt down his life like that of a traitor or a parricide? that, deprived
almost of the necessaries of existence by the burden of their taxes,
they would cry out, as with one voice, for a war from which not a single
ray of consolation can visit them to compensate for the additional
keenness with which they are about to smart under the scourge of labour,
of cold, and of hunger?

Appearing, as I do, the advocate of Republicanism, let me not be
misunderstood. I am well aware, from the abuse of the executive power
in States, that there is not a single European nation but what affords a
melancholy proof that if, at this moment, the original authority of the
people should be restored, all that could be expected from such
restoration would in the beginning be but a change of tyranny.
Considering the nature of a Republic in reference to the present
condition of Europe, your Lordship stops here; but a philosopher will
extend his views much farther: having dried up the source from which
flows the corruption of the public opinion, he will be sensible that the
stream will go on gradually refining itself. I must add also, that the
coercive power is of necessity so strong in all the old governments,
that a people could not at first make an abuse of that liberty which a
legitimate Republic supposes. The animal just released from its stall
will exhaust the overflow of its spirits in a round of wanton vagaries;
but it will soon return to itself, and enjoy its freedom in moderate and
regular delight.

But, to resume the subject of universal representation, I ought to have
mentioned before, that in the choice of its representatives a people
will not immorally hold out wealth as a criterion of integrity, nor lay
down as a fundamental rule, that to be qualified for the trying duties
of legislation a citizen should be possessed of a certain fixed
property. Virtues, talents, and acquirements are all that it will look
for.

Having destroyed every external object of delusion, let us now see what
makes the supposition necessary that the people will mislead themselves.
Your Lordship respects 'peasants and mechanics when they intrude not
themselves into concerns for which their education has not fitted them.'

Setting aside the idea of a peasant or mechanic being a legislator, what
vast education is requisite to enable him to judge amongst his
neighbours which is most qualified by his industry and integrity to be
intrusted with the care of the interests of himself and of his
fellow-citizens? But leaving this ground, as governments formed on such
a plan proceed in a plain and open manner, their administration would
require much less of what is usually called talents and experience, that
is, of disciplined treachery and hoary Machiavelism; and at the same
time, as it would no longer be their interest to keep the mass of the
nation in ignorance, a moderate portion of useful knowledge would be
universally disseminated. If your Lordship has travelled in the
democratic cantons of Switzerland, you must have seen the herdsman with
the staff in one hand and the book in the other. In the constituent
Assembly of France was found a peasant whose sagacity was as
distinguished as his integrity, whose blunt honesty over-awed and
baffled the refinements of hypocritical patriots. The people of Paris
followed him with acclamations, and the name of PËre Gerard will long be
mentioned with admiration and respect through the eighty-three
departments.

From these hints, if pursued further, might be demonstrated the
expediency of the whole people 'intruding themselves' on the office of
legislation, and the wisdom of putting into force what they may claim as
a right. But government is divided into two parts--the legislative and
executive. The executive power you would lodge in the hands of an
individual. Before we inquire into the propriety of this measure, it
will be necessary to state the proper objects of the executive power in
governments where the principle of universal representation is admitted.
With regard to that portion of this power which is exerted in the
application of the laws, it may be observed that much of it would be
superseded. As laws, being but the expression of the general will, would
be enacted only from an almost universal conviction of their utility,
any resistance to such laws, any desire of eluding them, must proceed
from a few refractory individuals. As far, then, as relates to the
internal administration of the country, a Republic has a manifest
advantage over a Monarchy, inasmuch as less force is requisite to compel
obedience to its laws.

From the judicial tribunals of our own country, though we labour under a
variety of partial and oppressive laws, we have an evident proof of the
nullity of regal interference, as the king's name is confessedly a mere
fiction, and justice is known to be most equitably administered when the
judges are least dependent on the crown.

I have spoken of laws partial and oppressive; our penal code is so
crowded with disproportioned penalties and indiscriminate severity that
a conscientious man would sacrifice, in many instances, his respect for
the laws to the common feelings of humanity; and there must be a strange
vice in that legislation from which can proceed laws in whose execution
a man cannot be instrumental without forfeiting his self-esteem and
incurring the contempt of his fellow-citizens.

But to return from this digression: with regard to the other branches of
the executive government, which relate rather to original measures than
to administering the law, it may be observed that the power exercised in
conducting them is distinguished by almost imperceptible shades from the
legislative, and that all such as admit of open discussion and of the
delay attendant on public deliberations are properly the province of the
representative assembly. If this observation be duly attended to, it
will appear that this part of the executive power will be extremely
circumscribed, will be stripped almost entirely of a deliberative
capacity, and will be reduced to a mere hand or instrument. As a
Republican government would leave this power to a select body destitute
of the means of corruption, and whom the people, continually
contributing, could at all times bring to account or dismiss, will it
not necessarily ensue that a body so selected and supported would
perform their simple functions with greater efficacy and fidelity than
the complicated concerns of royalty can be expected to meet with in the
councils of princes; of men who from their wealth and interest have
forced themselves into trust; and of statesmen, whose constant object is
to exalt themselves by laying pitfalls for their colleagues and for
their country.

I shall pursue this subject no further; but adopting your Lordship's
method of argument, instead of continuing to demonstrate the superiority
of a Republican executive government, I will repeat some of the
objections which have been often made to monarchy, and have not been
answered.

My first objection to regal government is its instability, proceeding
from a variety of causes. Where monarchy is found in its greatest
intensity, as in Morocco and Turkey, this observation is illustrated in
a very pointed manner, and indeed is more or less striking as
governments are more or less despotic. The reason is obvious: as the
monarch is the chooser of his ministers, and as his own passions and
caprice are in general the sole guides of his conduct, these ministers,
instead of pursuing directly the one grand object of national welfare,
will make it their chief study to vary their measures according to his
humours. But a minister _may_ be refractory: his successor will
naturally run headlong into plans totally the reverse of the former
system; for if he treads in the same path, he is well aware that a
similar fate will attend him. This observation will apply to each
succession of kings, who, from vanity and a desire of distinction, will
in general studiously avoid any step which may lead to a suspicion that
they are so spiritless as to imitate their predecessor. That a similar
instability is not incident to Republics is evident from their very
constitution.

As from the nature of monarchy, particularly of hereditary monarchy,
there must always be a vast disproportion between the duties to be
performed and the powers that are to perform them; and as the measures
of government, far from gaining additional vigour, are, on the contrary,
enfeebled by being intrusted to one hand, what arguments can be used for
allowing to the will of a single being a weight which, as history shows,
will subvert that of the whole body politic? And this brings me to my
grand objection to monarchy, which is drawn from (THE ETERNAL NATURE OF
MAN.) The office of king is a trial to which human virtue is not equal.
Pure and universal representation, by which alone liberty can be
secured, cannot, I think, exist together with monarchy. It seems madness
to expect a manifestation of the _general_ will, at the same time that
we allow to a _particular_ will that weight which it must obtain in all
governments that can with any propriety be called monarchical. They must
war with each other till one of them is extinguished. It was so in
France and....

I shall not pursue this topic further, but, as you are a teacher of
purity of morals, I cannot but remind you of that atmosphere of
corruption without which it should seem that courts cannot exist.

You seem anxious to explain what ought to be understood by the equality
of men in a state of civil society; but your Lordship's success has not
answered your trouble. If you had looked in the articles of the Rights
of Man, you would have found your efforts superseded: 'Equality, without
which liberty cannot exist, is to be met with in perfection in that
State in which no distinctions are admitted but such as have evidently
for their object the general good;' 'The end of government cannot be
attained without authorising some members of the society to command, and
of course without imposing on the rest the necessity of obedience.'

Here, then, is an inevitable inequality, which may be denominated that
of power. In order to render this as small as possible, a legislator
will be careful not to give greater force to such authority than is
essential to its due execution. Government is at best but a necessary
evil. Compelled to place themselves in a state of subordination, men
will obviously endeavour to prevent the abuse of that superiority to
which they submit; accordingly they will cautiously avoid whatever may
lead those in whom it is acknowledged to suppose they hold it as a
right. Nothing will more effectually contribute to this than that the
person in whom authority has been lodged should occasionally descend to
the level of private citizen; he will learn from it a wholesome lesson,
and the people will be less liable to confound the person with the
power. On this principle hereditary authority will be proscribed; and on
another also--that in such a system as that of hereditary authority, no
security can be had for talents adequate to the discharge of the office,
and consequently the people can only feel the mortification of being
humbled without having protected themselves.

Another distinction will arise amongst mankind, which, though it may be
easily modified by government, exists independent of it; I mean the
distinction of wealth, which always will attend superior talents and
industry. It cannot be denied that the security of individual property
is one of the strongest and most natural motives to induce men to bow
their necks to the yoke of civil government. In order to attain this end
of security to property, a legislator will proceed with impartiality. He
should not suppose that, when he has insured to their proprietors the
possession of lands and movables against the depredation of the
necessitous, nothing remains to be done. The history of all ages has
demonstrated that wealth not only can secure itself, but includes even
an oppressive principle. Aware of this, and that the extremes of poverty
and riches have a necessary tendency to corrupt the human heart, he will
banish from his code all laws such as the unnatural monster of
primogeniture, such as encourage associations against labour in the form
of corporate bodies, and indeed all that monopolising system of
legislation, whose baleful influence is shown in the depopulation of the
country and in the necessity which reduces the sad relicks to owe their
very existence to the ostentatious bounty of their oppressors. If it is
true in common life, it is still more true in governments, that we
should be just before we are generous; but our legislators seem to have
forgotten or despised this homely maxim. They have unjustly left
unprotected that most important part of property, not less real because
it has no material existence, that which ought to enable the labourer to
provide food for himself and his family. I appeal to innumerable
statutes, whose constant and professed object it is to lower the price
of labour, to compel the workman to be _content_ with arbitrary wages,
evidently too small from the necessity of legal enforcement of the
acceptance of them. Even from the astonishing amount of the sums raised
for the support of one description of the poor may be concluded the
extent and greatness of that oppression, whose effects have rendered it
possible for the few to afford so much, and have shown us that such a
multitude of our brothers exist in even helpless indigence. Your
Lordship tells us that the science of civil government has received all
the perfection of which it is capable. For my part, I am more
enthusiastic. The sorrow I feel from the contemplation of this
melancholy picture is not unconsoled by a comfortable hope that the
class of wretches called mendicants will not much longer shock the
feelings of humanity; that the miseries entailed upon the marriage of
those who are not rich will no longer tempt the bulk of mankind to fly
to that promiscuous intercourse to which they are impelled by the
instincts of nature, and the dreadful satisfaction of escaping the
prospect of infants, sad fruit of such intercourse, whom they are unable
to support. If these flattering prospects be ever realised, it must be
owing to some wise and salutary regulations counteracting that
inequality among mankind which proceeds from the present _fixed_
disproportion of their possessions.

I am not an advocate for the agrarian law nor for sumptuary regulations,
but I contend that the people amongst whom the law of primogeniture
exists, and among whom corporate bodies are encouraged, and immense
salaries annexed to useless and indeed hereditary offices, is oppressed
by an inequality in the distribution of wealth which does not
necessarily attend men in a state of civil society.

Thus far we have considered inequalities inseparable from civil society.
But other arbitrary distinctions exist among mankind, either from
choice or usurpation. I allude to titles, to stars, ribbons, and
garters, and other badges of fictitious superiority. Your Lordship will
not question the grand principle on which this inquiry set out; I look
upon it, then, as my duty to try the propriety of these distinctions by
that criterion, and think it will be no difficult task to prove that
these separations among mankind are absurd, impolitic, and immoral.
Considering hereditary nobility as a reward for services rendered to the
State--and it is to my charity that you owe the permission of taking up
the question on this ground--what services can a man render to the State
adequate to such a compensation that the making of laws, upon which the
happiness of millions is to depend, shall be lodged in him and his
posterity, however depraved may be their principles, however
contemptible their understandings?

But here I may be accused of sophistry; I ought to subtract every idea
of power from such distinction, though from the weakness of mankind it
is impossible to disconnect them. What services, then, can a man render
to society to compensate for the outrage done to the dignity of our
nature when we bind ourselves to address him and his posterity with
humiliating circumlocutions, calling him most noble, most honourable,
most high, most august, serene, excellent, eminent, and so forth; when
it is more than probable that such unnatural flattery will but generate
vices which ought to consign him to neglect and solitude, or make him
the perpetual object of the finger of scorn? And does not experience
justify the observation, that where titles--a thing very rare--have been
conferred as the rewards of merit, those to whom they have descended,
far from being thereby animated to imitate their ancestor, have presumed
upon that lustre which they supposed thrown round them, and, prodigally
relying on such resources, lavished what alone was their own, their
personal reputation?

It would be happy if this delusion were confined to themselves; but,
alas, the world is weak enough to grant the indulgence which they
assume. Vice, which is forgiven in one character, will soon cease to
meet with sternness of rebuke when found in others. Even at first she
will entreat pardon with confidence, assured that ere long she will be
charitably supposed to stand in no need of it.

But let me ask you seriously, from the mode in which those distinctions
are originally conferred, is it not almost necessary that, far from
being the rewards of services rendered to the State, they should usually
be the recompense of an industrious sacrifice of the general welfare to
the particular aggrandisement of that power by which they are bestowed?
Let us even alter their source, and consider them as proceeding from the
Nation itself, and deprived of that hereditary quality; even here I
should proscribe them, and for the most evident reason--that a man's
past services are no sufficient security for his future character; he
who to-day merits the civic wreath may to-morrow deserve the Tarpeian
rock. Besides, where respect is not perverted, where the world is not
taught to reverence men without regarding their conduct, the esteem of
mankind will have a very different value, and, when a proper
independence is secured, will be regarded as a sufficient recompense for
services however important, and will be a much surer guarantee of the
continuance of such virtues as may deserve it.

I have another strong objection to nobility, which is that it has a
necessary tendency to dishonour labour, a prejudice which extends far
beyond its own circle; that it binds down whole ranks of men to
idleness, while it gives the enjoyment of a reward which exceeds the
hopes of the most active exertions of human industry. The languid tedium
of this noble repose must be dissipated, and gaming, with the tricking
manoeuvres of the horse-race, afford occupation to hours which it would
be happy for mankind had they been totally unemployed.

Reflecting on the corruption of the public manners, does your Lordship
shudder at the prostitution which miserably deluges our streets? You may
find the cause in our aristocratical prejudices. Are you disgusted with
the hypocrisy and sycophancy of our intercourse in private life? You may
find the cause in the necessity of dissimulation which we have
established by regulations which oblige us to address as our superiors,
indeed as our masters, men whom we cannot but internally despise. Do you
lament that such large portions of mankind should stoop to occupations
unworthy the dignity of their nature? You may find in the pride and
luxury thought necessary to nobility how such servile arts are
encouraged. Besides, where the most honourable of the Land do not blush
to accept such offices as groom of the bedchamber, master of the
hounds, lords in waiting, captain of the honourable band of
gentlemen-pensioners, is it astonishing that the bulk of the people
should not ask of an occupation, what is it? but what may be gained by
it?

If the long equestrian train of equipage should make your Lordship sigh
for the poor who are pining in hunger, you will find that little is
thought of snatching the bread from their mouths to eke out the
'_necessary_ splendour' of nobility.

I have not time to pursue this subject further, but am so strongly
impressed with the baleful influence of aristocracy and nobility upon
human happiness and virtue, that if, as I am persuaded, monarchy cannot
exist without such supporters, I think that reason sufficient for the
preference I have given to the Republican system.

It is with reluctance that I quit the subjects I have just touched upon;
but the nature of this Address does not permit me to continue the
discussion. I proceed to what more immediately relates to this Kingdom
at the present crisis.

You ask with triumphant confidence, to what other law are the people of
England subject than the general will of the society to which they
belong? Is your Lordship to be told that acquiescence is not choice, and
that obedience is not freedom? If there is a single man in Great Britain
who has no suffrage in the election of a representative, the will of the
society of which he is a member is not generally expressed; he is a
Helot in that society. You answer the question, so confidently put, in
this singular manner: 'The King, we are all justly persuaded, has not
the inclination--and we all know that, if he had the inclination, he has
not the power--to substitute his will in the place of law. The House of
Lords has no such power. The House of Commons has no such power.' This
passage, so artfully and unconstitutionally framed to agree with the
delusions of the moment, cannot deceive a thinking reader. The
expression of your full persuasion of the upright intentions of the King
can only be the language of flattery. You are not to be told that it is
constitutionally a maxim not to attribute to the person of the King the
measures and misconduct of government. Had you chosen to speak, as you
ought to have done, openly and explicitly, you must have expressed your
just persuasion and implicit confidence in the integrity, moderation,
and wisdom of his Majesty's ministers. Have you forgot the avowed
ministerial maxim of Sir Robert Walpole? Are you ignorant of the
overwhelming corruption of the present day?

You seem unconscious of the absurdity of separating what is inseparable
even in imagination. Would it have been any consolation to the miserable
Romans under the second triumvirate to have been asked insultingly, Is
it Octavius, is it Anthony, or is it Lepidus that has caused this
bitterness of affliction? and when the answer could not be returned with
certainty, to have been reproached that their sufferings were imaginary?
The fact is that the King _and_ Lords _and_ Commons, by what is termed
the omnipotence of Parliament, have constitutionally the right of
enacting whatever laws they please, in defiance of the petitions or
remonstrances of the nation. They have the power of doubling our
enormous debt of 240 millions, and _may_ pursue measures which could
never be supposed the emanation of the general will without concluding
the people stripped of reason, of sentiment, and even of that first
instinct which prompts them to preserve their own existence.

I congratulate your Lordship upon your enthusiastic fondness for the
judicial proceedings of this country. I am happy to find you have passed
through life without having your fleece torn from your back in the
thorny labyrinth of litigation. But you have not lived always in
colleges, and must have passed by some victims, whom it cannot be
supposed, without a reflection on your heart, that you have forgotten.
Here I am reminded of what I have said on the subject of
representation--to be qualified for the office of legislation you should
have felt like the bulk of mankind; their sorrows should be familiar to
you, of which, if you are ignorant, how can you redress them? As a
member of the assembly which, from a confidence in its experience,
sagacity, and wisdom, the constitution has invested with the supreme
appellant jurisdiction to determine the most doubtful points of an
intricate jurisprudence, your Lordship cannot, I presume, be ignorant of
the consuming expense of our never-ending process, the verbosity of
unintelligible statutes, and the perpetual contrariety in our judicial
decisions.

'The greatest freedom that can be enjoyed by man in a state of civil
society, the greatest security that can be given with respect to the
protection of his character, property, personal liberty, limb, and
life, is afforded to every individual by our present constitution.'

'Let it never be forgotten by ourselves, and let us impress the
observation upon the hearts of our children, that we are in possession
of both (liberty and equality), of as much of both as can be consistent
with the end for which civil society was introduced among mankind.'

Many of my readers will hardly believe me when I inform them that these
passages are copied verbatim from your Appendix. Mr. Burke roused the
indignation of all ranks of men when, by a refinement in cruelty
superior to that which in the East yokes the living to the dead, he
strove to persuade us that we and our posterity to the end of time were
riveted to a constitution by the indissoluble compact of--a dead
parchment, and were bound to cherish a corpse at the bosom when reason
might call aloud that it should be entombed. Your Lordship aims at the
same detestable object by means more criminal, because more dangerous
and insidious. Attempting to lull the people of England into a belief
that any inquiries directed towards the nature of liberty and equality
can in no other way lead to their happiness than by convincing them that
they have already arrived at perfection in the science of government,
what is your object but to exclude them for ever from the most fruitful
field of human knowledge? Besides, it is another cause to execrate this
doctrine that the consequence of such fatal delusion would be that they
must entirely draw off their attention, not only from the government,
but from their governors; that the stream of public vigilance, far from
clearing and enriching the prospect of society, would by its stagnation
consign it to barrenness, and by its putrefaction infect it with death.
You have aimed an arrow at liberty and philosophy, the eyes of the human
race; why, like the inveterate enemy of Philip, in putting your name to
the shaft, did you not declare openly its destination?

As a teacher of religion, your Lordship cannot be ignorant of a class of
breaches of duty which may be denominated faults of omission. You
profess to give your opinions upon the present turbulent crisis,
expressing a wish that they may have some effect in tranquillising the
minds of the people. Whence comes it, then, that the two grand causes of
this working of the popular mind are passed over in silence? Your
Lordship's conduct may bring to mind the story of a company of
strolling comedians, who gave out the play of _Hamlet_ as the
performance of the evening. The audience were not a little surprised to
be told, on the drawing up of the curtain, that from circumstances of
particular convenience it was hoped they would dispense with the
omission of the character of--Hamlet! But to be serious--for the subject
is serious in the extreme--from your silence respecting the general call
for a PARLIAMENTARY REFORM, supported by your assertion that we at
present enjoy as great a portion of liberty and equality as is
consistent with civil society, what can be supposed but that you are a
determined enemy to the redress of what the people of England call and
feel to be grievances?

From your omitting to speak upon the war, and your general
disapprobation of French measures and French principles, expressed
particularly at this moment, we are necessarily led also to conclude
that you have no wish to dispel an infatuation which is now giving up to
the sword so large a portion of the poor, and consigning the rest to the
more slow and more painful consumption of want. I could excuse your
silence on this point, as it would ill become an English bishop at the
close of the eighteenth century to make the pulpit the vehicle of
exhortations which would have disgraced the incendiary of the Crusades,
the hermit Peter. But you have deprived yourself of the plea of decorum
by giving no opinion on the REFORM OF THE LEGISLATURE. As undoubtedly
you have some secret reason for the reservation of your sentiments on
this latter head, I cannot but apply the same reason to the former. Upon
what principle is your conduct to be explained? In some parts of England
it is quaintly said, when a drunken man is seen reeling towards his
home, that he has business on both sides of the road. Observing your
Lordship's tortuous path, the spectators will be far from insinuating
that you have partaken of Mr. Burke's intoxicating bowl; they will
content themselves, shaking their heads as you stagger along, with
remarking that you have business on both sides of the road.

The friends of Liberty congratulate themselves upon the odium under
which they are at present labouring, as the causes which have produced
it have obliged so many of her false adherents to disclaim with
officious earnestness any desire to promote her interests; nor are they
disheartened by the diminution which their body is supposed already to
have sustained. Conscious that an enemy lurking in our ranks is ten
times more formidable than when drawn out against us, that the
unblushing aristocracy of a Maury or a CazalËs is far less dangerous
than the insidious mask of patriotism assumed by a La Fayette or a
Mirabeau, we thank you for your desertion. Political convulsions have
been said particularly to call forth concealed abilities, but it has
been seldom observed how vast is their consumption of them. Reflecting
upon the fate of the greatest portion of the members of the constituent
and legislative assemblies, we must necessarily be struck with a
prodigious annihilation of human talents. Aware that this necessity is
attached to a struggle for Liberty, we are the less sorry that we can
expect no advantage from the mental endowments of your Lordship.



APPENDIX to Bishop Watson's Sermon.

[It is deemed expedient to reprint here the Appendix to Bishop Watson's
Sermon, which is animadverted on in the preceding Apology. G.]


The Sermon which is now, for the first time, published, was written many
years ago; it may, perhaps, on that account be more worthy of the
attention of those for whose benefit it is designed. If it shall have
any effect in calming the perturbation which has been lately excited,
and which still subsists in the minds of the lower classes of the
community, I shall not be ashamed of having given to the world a
composition in every other light uninteresting. I will take this
opportunity of adding, with the same intention, a few reflections on the
present circumstances of our own and of a neighbouring country.

With regard to France--I have no hesitation in declaring, that the
object which the French seemed to have in view at the commencement of
their revolution had my hearty approbation. The object was to free
themselves and their posterity from arbitrary power. I hope there is not
a man in Great Britain so little sensible of the blessings of that free
constitution under which he has the happiness to live, so entirely dead
to the interests of general humanity, as not to wish that a constitution
similar to our own might be established, not only in France, but in
every despotic state in Europe; not only in Europe, but in every quarter
of the globe.

It is one thing to approve of an end, another to approve of the means by
which an end is accomplished. I did not approve of the means by which
the first revolution was effected in France. I thought that it would
have been a wiser measure to have abridged the oppressive privileges,
and to have lessened the enormous number of the nobility, than to have
abolished the order. I thought that the State ought not in justice to
have seized any part of the property of the Church, till it had
reverted, as it were, to the community, by the death of its immediate
possessors. I thought that the king was not only treated with unmerited
indignity, but that too little authority was left him to enable him, as
the chief executive magistrate, to be useful to the State. These were
some of my reasons for not approving the means by which the first
revolution in France was brought about. As to other evils which took
place on the occasion, I considered them certainly as evils of
importance; but at the same time as evils inseparable from a state of
civil commotion, and which I conceived would be more than compensated by
the establishment of a limited monarchy.

The French have abandoned the constitution they had at first
established, and have changed it for another. No one can reprobate with
more truth than I do both the means and the end of this change. The end
has been the establishment of a republic. Now a republic is a form of
government which, of all others, I most dislike--and I dislike it for
this reason; because of all forms of government, scarcely excepting the
most despotic, I think a republic the most oppressive to the bulk of the
people: they are deceived in it with the show of liberty; but they live
in it under the most odious of all tyrannies, the tyranny of their
equals. With respect to the means by which this new republic has been
erected in France, they have been sanguinary, savage, more than brutal.
They not merely fill the heart of every individual with commiseration
for the unfortunate sufferers, but they exhibit to the eye of
contemplation an humiliating picture of human nature, when its passions
are not regulated by religion, or controlled by law. I fly with terror
and abhorrence even from the altar of Liberty, when I see it stained
with the blood of the aged, of the innocent, of the defenceless sex, of
the ministers of religion, and of the faithful adherents of a fallen
monarch. My heart sinks within me when I see it streaming with the blood
of the monarch himself. Merciful God! strike speedily, we beseech Thee,
with deep contrition and sincere remorse, the obdurate hearts of the
relentless perpetrators and projectors of these horrid deeds, lest they
should suddenly sink into eternal and extreme perdition, loaded with an
unutterable weight of unrepented and, except through the blood of Him
whose religion they reject, inexpiable sin.

The monarch, you will tell me, was guilty of perfidy and perjury. I know
not that he was guilty of either; but admitting that he has been guilty
of both, who, alas, of the sons of men is so confident in the strength
of his own virtue, so assured of his own integrity and intrepidity of
character, as to be certain that, under similar temptations, he would
not have been guilty of similar offences? Surely it would have been no
diminution of the sternness of new republican virtue, no disgrace to the
magnanimity of a great nation, if it had pardoned the perfidy which its
own oppression had occasioned, if it had remitted the punishment of the
perjury of the king to the tribunal of Him by whom _kings reign and
princes decree justice_.

And are there any men in this kingdom, except such as find their account
in public confusion, who would hazard the introduction of such scenes of
rapine, barbarity, and bloodshed, as have disgraced France and outraged
humanity, for the sake of obtaining--what?--Liberty and Equality. I
suspect that the meaning of these terms is not clearly and generally
understood: it may be of use to explain them.

The liberty of a man in a state of nature consists in his being subject
to no law but the law of nature; and the liberty of a man in a state of
society consists in his being subject to no law but to the law enacted
by the general will of the society to which he belongs. And to what
other law is any man in Great Britain subject? The king, we are all
justly persuaded, has not the inclination, and we all know that if he
had the inclination, he has not the power, to substitute his will in the
place of the law. The House of Lords has no such power; the House of
Commons has no such power; the Church has no such power; the rich men of
the country have no such power. The poorest man amongst us, the beggar
at our door, is governed--not by the uncertain, passionate, arbitrary
will of an individual--not by the selfish insolence of an aristocratic
faction--not by the madness of democratic violence--but by the fixed,
impartial, deliberate voice of law, enacted by the general suffrage of a
free people. Is your property injured? Law, indeed, does not give you
property; but it ascertains it. Property is acquired by industry and
probity; by the exercise of talents and ingenuity; and the possession of
it is secured by the laws of the community. Against whom think you is it
secured? It is secured against thieves and robbers; against idle and
profligate men, who, however low your condition may be, would be glad to
deprive you of the little you possess. It is secured, not only against
such disturbers of the public peace, but against the oppression of the
noble, the rapacity of the powerful, and the avarice of the rich. The
courts of British justice are impartial and incorrupt; they respect not
the persons of men; the poor man's lamb is, in their estimation, as
sacred as the monarch's crown; with inflexible integrity they adjudge to
every man his own. Your property under their protection is secure. If
your personal liberty be unjustly restrained, though but for an hour,
and that by the highest servants of the crown, the crown cannot screen
them; the throne cannot hide them; the law, with an undaunted arm,
seizes them, and drags them with irresistible might to the judgment of
whom?--of your equals--of twelve of your neighbours. In such a
constitution as this, what is there to complain of on the score of
liberty?

The greatest freedom that can be enjoyed by man in a state of civil
society, the greatest security that can be given him with respect to the
protection of his character, property, personal liberty, limb, and life,
is afforded to every individual by our present constitution.

The equality of men in a state of nature does not consist in an equality
of bodily strength or intellectual ability, but in their being equally
free from the dominion of each other. The equality of men in a state of
civil society does not consist in an equality of wisdom, honesty,
ingenuity, industry, nor in an equality of property resulting from a due
exertion of these talents; but in being equally subject to, equally
protected by the same laws. And who knows not that every individual in
this great nation is, in this respect, equal to every other? There is
not one law for the nobles, another for the commons of the land--one for
the clergy, another for the laity--one for the rich, another for the
poor. The nobility, it is true, have some privileges annexed to their
birth; the judges, and other magistrates, have some annexed to their
office; and professional men have some annexed to their
professions:--but these privileges are neither injurious to the liberty
or property of other men. And you might as reasonably contend, that the
bramble ought to be equal to the oak, the lamb to the lion, as that no
distinctions should take place between the members of the same society.
The burdens of the State are distributed through the whole community,
with as much impartiality as the complex nature of taxation will admit;
every man sustains a part in proportion to his strength; no order is
exempted from the payment of taxes. Nor is any order of men exclusively
entitled to the enjoyment of the lucrative offices of the State. All
cannot enjoy them, but all enjoy a capacity of acquiring them. The son
of the meanest man in the nation may become a general or an admiral, a
lord chancellor or an archbishop. If any persons have been so simple as
to suppose that even the French ever intended, by the term equality, an
equality of property, they have been quite mistaken in their ideas. The
French never understood by it anything materially different from what we
and our ancestors have been in full possession of for many ages.

Other nations may deluge their land with blood in struggling for liberty
and equality; but let it never be forgotten by ourselves, and let us
impress the observation upon the hearts of our children, that we are in
possession of both, of as much of both as can be consistent with the end
for which civil society was introduced amongst mankind.

The provision which is made for the poor in this kingdom is so liberal,
as, in the opinion of some, to discourage industry. The rental of the
lands in England and Wales does not, I conjecture, amount to more than
eighteen millions a year; and the poor rates amount to two millions. The
poor then, at present, possess a ninth part of the landed rental of the
country; and, reckoning ten pounds for the annual maintenance of each
pauper, it may be inferred, that those who are maintained by the
community do not constitute a fortieth part of the people. An equal
division of land would be to the poor a great misfortune; they would
possess far less than by the laws of the land they are at present
entitled to. When we add to this consideration an account of the immense
sums annually subscribed by the rich for the support of hospitals,
infirmaries, dispensaries--for the relief of sufferers by fire,
tempests, famine, loss of cattle, great sickness, and other misfortunes,
all of which charities must cease were all men on a level, for all men
would then be equally poor,--it cannot but excite one's astonishment
that so foolish a system should have ever been so much as mentioned by
any man of common sense. It is a system not practicable; and was it
practicable, it would not be useful; and was it useful, it would not be
just.

But some one may think, and, indeed, it has been studiously inculcated
into the minds of the multitude, that a monarchy, even a limited one, is
a far more expensive mode of civil government than a republic; that a
civil-list of a million a year is an enormous sum, which might be saved
to the nation. Supposing that every shilling of this sum could be saved,
and that every shilling of it was expended in supporting the dignity of
the crown--both which suppositions are entirely false--still should I
think the liberty, the prosperity, the tranquillity, the happiness of
this great nation cheaply purchased by such a sum; still should I think
that he would be a madman in politics who would, by a change of the
constitution, risk these blessings (and France supplies us with a proof
that infinite risk would be run) for a paltry saving of expense. I am
not, nor have ever been, the patron of corruption. So far as the
civil-list has a tendency to corrupt the judgment of any member of
either house of parliament, it has a bad tendency, which I wish it had
not; but I cannot wish to see the splendour of the crown reduced to
nothing, lest its proper weight in the scale of the constitution should
be thereby destroyed. A great portion of this million is expended in
paying the salaries of the judges, the interpreters of our law, the
guardians of our lives and properties; another portion is expended in
maintaining ambassadors at different courts, to protect the general
concerns of the nation from foreign aggression; another portion is
expended in pensions and donations to men of letters and ingenuity; to
men who have, by naval, military, or civil services, just claims to the
attention of their country; to persons of respectable families and
connections, who have been humbled and broken down by misfortunes. I do
not speak with accuracy, nor on such a subject is accuracy requisite;
but I am not far wide of truth in saying, that a fifth part of the
million is more than sufficient to defray the expenses of the royal
household. What a mighty matter is it to complain of, that each
individual contributes less than sixpence a year towards the support of
the monarchy!

That the constitution of this country is so perfect as neither to
require or admit of any improvement, is a proposition to which I never
did or ever can assent; but I think it far too excellent to be amended
by peasants and mechanics. I do not mean to speak of peasants and
mechanics with any degree of disrespect; I am not so ignorant of the
importance, either of the natural or social chain by which all the
individuals of the human race are connected together, as to think
disrespectfully of any link of it. Peasants and mechanics are as useful
to the State as any other order of men; but their utility consists in
their discharging well the duties of their respective stations; it
ceases when they affect to become legislators; when they intrude
themselves into concerns for which their education has not fitted them.
The liberty of the press is a main support of the liberty of the nation;
it is a blessing which it is our duty to transmit to posterity; but a
bad use is sometimes made of it: and its use is never more pernicious
than when it is employed to infuse into the minds of the lowest orders
of the community disparaging ideas concerning the constitution of their
country. No danger need be apprehended from a candid examination of our
own constitution, or from a display of the advantages of any other; it
will bear to be contrasted with the best: but all men are not qualified
to make the comparison; and there are so many men, in every community,
who wish to have no government at all, that an appeal to them on such a
point ought never to be made.

There are, probably, in every government upon earth, circumstances which
a man, accustomed to the abstract investigation of truth, may easily
prove to be deviations from the rigid rule of strict political justice;
but whilst these deviations are either generally not known, or, though
known, generally acquiesced in as matters of little moment to the
general felicity, I cannot think it to be the part, either of a good man
or of a good citizen, to be zealous in recommending such matters to the
discussion of ignorant and uneducated men.

I am far from insinuating, that the science of politics is involved in
mystery; or that men of plain understandings should be debarred from
examining the principles of the government to which they yield
obedience. All that I contend for is this--that the foundations of our
government ought not to be overturned, nor the edifice erected thereon
tumbled into ruins, because an acute politician may pretend that he has
discovered a flaw in the building, or that he could have laid the
foundation after a better model.

What would you say to a stranger who should desire you to pull down
your house, because, forsooth, he had built one in France or America,
after what he thought a better plan? You would say to him: No, sir--my
ancestors have lived in this mansion comfortably and honourably for many
generations; all its walls are strong, and all its timbers sound: if I
should observe a decay in any of its parts, I know how to make the
reparation without the assistance of strangers; and I know too that the
reparation, when made by myself, may be made without injury either to
the strength or beauty of the building. It has been buffeted, in the
course of ages, by a thousand storms; yet still it stands unshaken as a
rock, the wonder of all my neighbours, each of whom sighs for one of a
similar construction. Your house may be suited to your climate and
temper, this is suited to mine. Permit me, however, to observe to you,
that you have not yet lived long enough in your new house to be sensible
of all the inconveniences to which it may be liable, nor have you yet
had any experience of its strength; it has yet sustained no shocks; the
first whirlwind may scatter its component members in the air; the first
earthquake may shake its foundation; the first inundation may sweep the
superstructure from the surface of the earth. I hope no accident will
happen to your house, but I am satisfied with mine own.

Great calamities of every kind attend the breaking up of established
governments:--yet there are some forms of government, especially when
they happen to be badly administered, so exceedingly destructive of the
happiness of mankind, that a change of them is not improvidently
purchased at the expense of the mischief accompanying their subversion.
Our government is not of that kind; look round the globe, and see if you
can discover a single nation on all its surface so powerful, so rich, so
beneficent, so free and happy as our own. May Heaven avert from the
minds of my countrymen the slightest wish to abolish their constitution!

'Kingdoms,' observes Mr. Locke, 'have been overturned by the pride,
ambition, and turbulency of private men; by the people's wantonness and
desire to cast off the lawful authority of their rulers, as well as by
the rulers' insolence, and endeavours to get and exercise an arbitrary
power over the people.' The recent danger to our constitution was in my
opinion small; for I considered its excellence to be so obvious to men
even of the most unimproved understandings, that I looked upon it as an
idle and fruitless effort, either in foreign or domestic incendiaries,
to endeavour to persuade the bulk of the people to consent to an
alteration of it in favour of a republic. I knew, indeed, that in every
country the flagitious dregs of a nation were always ripe for
revolutions; but I was sensible, at the same time, that it was the
interest, not only of the opulent and powerful, not only of the
mercantile and middle classes of life, but even of honest labourers and
manufacturers, of every sober and industrious man, to resist the
licentious principles of such pestilent members, shall I call them, or
outcasts of society. Men better informed and wiser than myself thought
that the constitution was in great danger. Whether in fact the danger
was great or small, it is not necessary now to inquire; it may be more
useful to declare that, in my humble opinion, the danger, of whatever
magnitude it may have been, did not originate in any encroachments of
either the legislative or executive power on the liberties or properties
of the people; but in the wild fancies and turbulent tempers of
discontented or ill-informed individuals. I sincerely rejoice that,
through the vigilance of administration, this turbulency has received a
check. The hopes of bad men have been disappointed, and the
understandings of mistaken men have been enlightened, by the general and
unequivocal judgment of a whole nation; a nation not more renowned for
its bravery and its humanity, though justly celebrated for both, than
for its loyalty to its princes, and, what is perfectly consistent with
loyalty, for its love of liberty and attachment to the constitution.
Wise men have formed it, brave men have bled for it; it is our part to
preserve it.

R. LANDAFF.

_London, Jan. 25, 1793_.



II. THE CONVENTION OF CINTRA,

1809.

NOTE.

On the 'Convention of Cintra' see Preface in the present volume. G.

CONCERNING THE RELATIONS OF GREAT BRITAIN, SPAIN, AND PORTUGAL, TO EACH
OTHER, AND TO THE COMMON ENEMY, AT THIS CRISIS; AND SPECIFICALLY AS
AFFECTED BY THE CONVENTION OF CINTRA:

_The whole brought to the test of those Principles, by which alone the
Independence and Freedom of Nations can be Preserved or Recovered_.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Qui didicit patriae quid debeat;--------
    Quod sit conscripti, quod judicis officium; quae
    Partes in bellum missi ducis.

       *       *       *       *       *

BY WILLIAM WORDSWORTH.

       *       *       *       *       *

London:

PRINTED FOR LONGMAN, HURST, REES, AND ORME, PATERNOSTER-ROW.

       *       *       *       *       *

1809.

Bitter and earnest writing must not hastily be condemned; for men cannot
contend coldly, and without affection, about things which they hold dear
and precious. A politic man may write from his brain, without touch and
sense of his heart; as in a speculation that appertaineth not unto
him;--but a feeling Christian will express, in his words, a character of
zeal or love. _Lord Bacon_.

ADVERTISEMENT.

The following pages originated in the opposition which was made by his
Majesty's ministers to the expression, in public meetings and otherwise,
of the opinions and feelings of the people concerning the Convention of
Cintra. For the sake of immediate and general circulation, I determined
(when I had made a considerable progress in the manuscript) to print it
in different portions in one of the daily newspapers. Accordingly two
portions of it (extending to page 25) were printed, in the months of
December and January, in the _Courier_,--as being one of the most
impartial and extensively circulated journals of the time. The reader is
requested to bear in mind this previous publication: otherwise he will
be at a loss to account for the arrangement of the matter in one
instance in the earlier part of the work. An accidental loss of several
sheets of the manuscript delayed the continuance of the publication in
that manner, till the close of the Christmas holidays; and--the pressure
of public business rendering it then improbable that room could be
found, in the columns of the paper, regularly to insert matter extending
to such a length--this plan of publication was given up.

It may be proper to state that, in the extracts which have been made
from the Spanish Proclamations, I have been obliged to content myself
with the translations which appeared in the public journals; having only
in one instance had access to the original. This is, in some cases, to
be regretted--where the language falls below the dignity of the matter:
but in general it is not so; and the feeling has suggested correspondent
expressions to the translators; hastily as, no doubt, they must have
performed their work.

I must entreat the reader to bear in mind that I began to write upon
this subject in November last; and have continued without bringing my
work earlier to a conclusion, partly from accident, and partly from a
wish to possess additional documents and facts. Passing occurrences have
made changes in the situation of certain objects spoken of; but I have
not thought it necessary to accommodate what I had previously written to
these changes: the whole stands without alteration; except where
additions have been made, or errors corrected.

As I have spoken without reserve of things (and of persons as far as it
was necessary to illustrate things, but no further); and as this has
been uniformly done according to the light of my conscience; I have
deemed it right to prefix my name to these pages, in order that this
last testimony of a sincere mind might not be wanting.

_May 20th_, 1809.



CONCERNING THE CONVENTION OF CINTRA.

       *       *       *       *       *


The Convention, recently concluded by the Generals at the head of the
British army in Portugal, is one of the most important events of our
time. It would be deemed so in France, if the Ruler of that country
could dare to make it public with those merely of its known bearings and
dependences with which the English people are acquainted; it has been
deemed so in Spain and Portugal as far as the people of those countries
have been permitted to gain, or have gained, a knowledge of it; and what
this nation has felt and still feels upon the subject is sufficiently
manifest. Wherever the tidings were communicated, they carried agitation
along with them--a conflict of sensations in which, though sorrow was
predominant, yet, through force of scorn, impatience, hope, and
indignation, and through the universal participation in passions so
complex, and the sense of power which this necessarily included--the
whole partook of the energy and activity of congratulation and joy. Not
a street, not a public room, not a fire-side in the island which was not
disturbed as by a local or private trouble; men of all estates,
conditions, and tempers were affected apparently in equal degrees. Yet
was the event by none received as an open and measurable affliction: it
had indeed features bold and intelligible to every one; but there was an
under-expression which was strange, dark, and mysterious--and,
accordingly as different notions prevailed, or the object was looked at
in different points of view, we were astonished like men who are
overwhelmed without forewarning--fearful like men who feel themselves to
be helpless, and indignant and angry like men who are betrayed. In a
word, it would not be too much to say that the tidings of this event did
not spread with the commotion of a storm which sweeps visibly over our
heads, but like an earthquake which rocks the ground under our feet.

How was it possible that it could be otherwise? For that army had been
sent upon a service which appealed so strongly to all that was human in
the heart of this nation--that there was scarcely a gallant father of a
family who had not his moments of regret that he was not a soldier by
profession, which might have made it his duty to accompany it; every
high-minded youth grieved that his first impulses, which would have sent
him upon the same errand, were not to be yielded to, and that
after-thought did not sanction and confirm the instantaneous dictates or
the reiterated persuasions of an heroic spirit. The army took its
departure with prayers and blessings which were as widely spread as they
were fervent and intense. For it was not doubted that, on this occasion,
every person of which it was composed, from the General to the private
soldier, would carry both into his conflicts with the enemy in the
field, and into his relations of peaceful intercourse with the
inhabitants, not only the virtues which might be expected from him as a
soldier, but the antipathies and sympathies, the loves and hatreds of a
citizen--of a human being--acting, in a manner hitherto unprecedented
under the obligation of his human and social nature. If the conduct of
the rapacious and merciless adversary rendered it neither easy nor
wise--made it, I might say, impossible to give way to that unqualified
admiration of courage and skill, made it impossible in relation to him
to be exalted by those triumphs of the courteous affections, and to be
purified by those refinements of civility which do, more than any thing,
reconcile a man of thoughtful mind and humane dispositions to the
horrors of ordinary war; it was felt that for such loss the benign and
accomplished soldier would upon this mission be abundantly recompensed
by the enthusiasm of fraternal love with which his Ally, the oppressed
people whom he was going to aid in rescuing themselves, would receive
him; and that this, and the virtues which he would witness in them,
would furnish his heart with never-failing and far nobler objects of
complacency and admiration. The discipline of the army was well known;
and as a machine, or a vital organized body, the Nation was assured that
it could not but be formidable; but thus to the standing excellence of
mechanic or organic power seemed to be superadded, at this time, and for
this service, the force of _inspiration_: could any thing therefore be
looked for, but a glorious result? The army proved its prowess in the
field; and what has been the result is attested, and long will be
attested, by the downcast looks--the silence--the passionate
exclamations--the sighs and shame of every man who is worthy to breathe
the air or to look upon the green-fields of Liberty in this blessed and
highly-favoured Island which we inhabit.

If I were speaking of things however weighty, that were long past and
dwindled in the memory, I should scarcely venture to use this language;
but the feelings are of yesterday--they are of to-day; the flower, a
melancholy flower it is! is still in blow, nor will, I trust, its leaves
be shed through months that are to come: for I repeat that the heart of
the nation is in this struggle. This just and necessary war, as we have
been accustomed to hear it styled from the beginning of the contest in
the year 1793, had, some time before the Treaty of Amiens, viz. after
the subjugation of Switzerland, and not till then, begun to be regarded
by the body of the people, as indeed both just and necessary; and this
justice and necessity were by none more clearly perceived, or more
feelingly bewailed, than by those who had most eagerly opposed the war
in its commencement, and who continued most bitterly to regret that this
nation had ever borne a part in it. Their conduct was herein consistent:
they proved that they kept their eyes steadily fixed upon principles;
for, though there was a shifting or transfer of hostility in their minds
as far as regarded persons, they only combated the same enemy opposed to
them under a different shape; and that enemy was the spirit of selfish
tyranny and lawless ambition. This spirit, the class of persons of whom
I have been speaking, (and I would now be understood, as associating
them with an immense majority of the people of Great Britain, whose
affections, notwithstanding all the delusions which had been practised
upon them, were, in the former part of the contest, for a long time on
the side of their nominal enemies,) this spirit, when it became
undeniably embodied in the French government, they wished, in spite of
all dangers, should be opposed by war; because peace was not to be
procured without submission, which could not but be followed by a
communion, of which the word of greeting would be, on the one part,
insult,--and, on the other, degradation. The people now wished for war,
as their rulers had done before, because open war between nations is a
defined and effectual partition, and the sword, in the hands of the good
and the virtuous, is the most intelligible symbol of abhorrence. It was
in order to be preserved from spirit-breaking submissions--from the
guilt of seeming to approve that which they had not the power to
prevent, and out of a consciousness of the danger that such guilt would
otherwise actually steal upon them, and that thus, by evil
communications and participations, would be weakened and finally
destroyed, those moral sensibilities and energies, by virtue of which
alone, their liberties, and even their lives, could be preserved,--that
the people of Great Britain determined to encounter all perils which
could follow in the train of open resistance.--There were some, and
those deservedly of high character in the country, who exerted their
utmost influence to counteract this resolution; nor did they give to it
so gentle a name as want of prudence, but they boldly termed it
blindness and obstinacy. Let them be judged with charity! But there are
promptings of wisdom from the penetralia of human nature, which a people
can hear, though the wisest of their practical Statesmen be deaf towards
them. This authentic voice, the people of England had heard and obeyed:
and, in opposition to French tyranny growing daily more insatiate and
implacable, they ranged themselves zealously under their Government;
though they neither forgot nor forgave its transgressions, in having
first involved them in a war with a people then struggling for its own
liberties under a twofold infliction--confounded by inbred faction, and
beleagured by a cruel and imperious external foe. But these remembrances
did not vent themselves in reproaches, nor hinder us from being
reconciled to our Rulers, when a change or rather a revolution in
circumstances had imposed new duties: and, in defiance of local and
personal clamour, it may be safely said, that the nation united heart
and hand with the Government in its resolve to meet the worst, rather
than stoop its head to receive that which, it was felt, would not be the
garland but the yoke of peace. Yet it was an afflicting alternative; and
it is not to be denied, that the effort, if it had the determination,
wanted the cheerfulness of duty. Our condition savoured too much of a
grinding constraint--too much of the vassalage of necessity;--it had too
much of fear, and therefore of selfishness, not to be contemplated in
the main with rueful emotion. We desponded though we did not despair. In
fact a deliberate and preparatory fortitude--a sedate and stern
melancholy, which had no sunshine and was exhilarated only by the
lightnings of indignation--this was the highest and best state of moral
feeling to which the most noble-minded among us could attain.

But, from the moment of the rising of the people of the PyrenÎan
peninsula, there was a mighty change; we were instantaneously animated;
and, from that moment, the contest assumed the dignity, which it is not
in the power of any thing but hope to bestow: and, if I may dare to
transfer language, prompted by a revelation of the state of being that
admits not of decay or change, to the concerns and interests of our
transitory planet, from that moment 'this corruptible put on
incorruption, and this mortal put on immortality.' This sudden elevation
was on no account more welcome--was by nothing more endeared, than by
the returning sense which accompanied it of inward liberty and choice,
which gratified our moral yearnings, inasmuch as it would give
henceforward to our actions as a people, an origination and direction
unquestionably moral--as it was free--as it was manifestly in sympathy
with the species--as it admitted therefore of fluctuations of generous
feeling--of approbation and of complacency. We were intellectualized
also in proportion; we looked backward upon the records of the human
race with pride, and, instead of being afraid, we delighted to look
forward into futurity. It was imagined that this new-born spirit of
resistance, rising from the most sacred feelings of the human heart,
would diffuse itself through many countries; and not merely for the
distant future, but for the present, hopes were entertained as bold as
they were disinterested and generous.

Never, indeed, was the fellowship of our sentient nature more intimately
felt--never was the irresistible power of justice more gloriously
displayed than when the British and Spanish Nations, with an impulse
like that of two ancient heroes throwing down their weapons and
reconciled in the field, cast off at once their aversions and enmities,
and mutually embraced each other--to solemnize this conversion of love,
not by the festivities of peace, but by combating side by side through
danger and under affliction in the devotedness of perfect brotherhood.
This was a conjunction which excited hope as fervent as it was
rational. On the one side was a nation which brought with it sanction
and authority, inasmuch as it had tried and approved the blessings for
which the other had risen to contend: the one was a people which, by the
help of the surrounding ocean and its own virtues, had preserved to
itself through ages its liberty, pure and inviolated by a foreign
invader; the other a high-minded nation, which a tyrant, presuming on
its decrepitude, had, through the real decrepitude of its Government,
perfidiously enslaved. What could be more delightful than to think of an
intercourse beginning in this manner? On the part of the Spaniards their
love towards us was enthusiasm and adoration; the faults of our national
character were hidden from them by a veil of splendour; they saw nothing
around us but glory and light; and, on our side, we estimated _their_
character with partial and indulgent fondness;--thinking on their past
greatness, not as the undermined foundation of a magnificent building,
but as the root of a majestic tree recovered from a long disease, and
beginning again to flourish with promise of wider branches and a deeper
shade than it had boasted in the fulness of its strength. If in the
sensations with which the Spaniards prostrated themselves before the
religion of their country we did not keep pace with them--if even their
loyalty was such as, from our mixed constitution of government and from
other causes, we could not thoroughly sympathize with,--and if, lastly,
their devotion to the person of their Sovereign appeared to us to have
too much of the alloy of delusion,--in all these things we judged them
gently: and, taught by the reverses of the French revolution, we looked
upon these dispositions as more human--more social--and therefore as
wiser, and of better omen, than if they had stood forth the zealots of
abstract principles, drawn out of the laboratory of unfeeling
philosophists. Finally, in this reverence for the past and present, we
found an earnest that they were prepared to contend to the death for as
much liberty as their habits and their knowledge enabled them to
receive. To assist them and their neighbours the Portugueze in the
attainment of this end, we sent to them in love and in friendship a
powerful army to aid--to invigorate--and to chastise:--they landed; and
the first proof they afforded of their being worthy to be sent on such a
service--the first pledge of amity given by them was the victory of
Vimiera; the second pledge (and this was from the hand of their
Generals,) was the Convention of Cintra.

The reader will by this time have perceived, what thoughts were
uppermost in my mind, when I began with asserting, that this Convention
is among the most important events of our times:--an assertion, which
was made deliberately, and after due allowance for that infirmity which
inclines us to magnify things present and passing, at the expence of
those which are past. It is my aim to prove, wherein the real importance
of this event lies: and, as a necessary preparative for forming a right
judgment upon it, I have already given a representation of the
sentiments, with which the people of Great Britain and those of Spain
looked upon each other. I have indeed spoken rather of the Spaniards
than of the Portugueze; but what has been said, will be understood as
applying in the main to the whole Peninsula. The wrongs of the two
nations have been equal, and their cause is the same: they must stand or
fall together. What their wrongs have been, in what degree they
considered themselves united, and what their hopes and resolutions were,
we have learned from public Papers issued by themselves and by their
enemies. These were read by the people of this Country, at the time when
they were severally published, with due impression.--- Pity, that those
impressions could not have been as faithfully retained as they were at
first received deeply! Doubtless, there is not a man in these Islands,
who is not convinced that the cause of Spain is the most righteous cause
in which, since the opposition of the Greek Republics to the Persian
Invader at Thermopylae and Marathon, sword ever was drawn! But this is
not enough. We are actors in the struggle; and, in order that we may
have steady PRINCIPLES to controul and direct us, (without which we may
do much harm, and can do no good,) we ought to make it a duty to revive
in the memory those words and facts, which first carried the conviction
to our hearts: that, as far as it is possible, we may see as we then
saw, and feel as we then felt. Let me therefore entreat the Reader
seriously to peruse once more such parts of those Declarations as I
shall extract from them. I feel indeed with sorrow, that events are
hurrying us forward, as down the Rapid of an American river, and that
there is too much danger _before_, to permit the mind easily to turn
back upon the course which is past. It is indeed difficult.--But I need
not say, that to yield to the difficulty, would be degrading to rational
beings. Besides, if from the retrospect, we can either gain strength by
which we can overcome, or learn prudence by which we may avoid, such
submission is not only degrading, but pernicious. I address these words
to those who have feeling, but whose judgment is overpowered by their
feelings:--such as have not, and who are mere slaves of curiosity,
calling perpetually for something new, and being able to create nothing
new for themselves out of old materials, may be left to wander about
under the yoke of their own unprofitable appetite.--Yet not so! Even
these I would include in my request: and conjure them, as they are men,
not to be impatient, while I place before their eyes, a composition made
out of fragments of those Declarations from various parts of the
Peninsula, which, disposed as it were in a tesselated pavement, shall
set forth a story which may be easily understood; which will move and
teach, and be consolatory to him who looks upon it. I say, consolatory:
and let not the Reader shrink from the word. I am well aware of the
burthen which is to be supported, of the discountenance from recent
calamity under which every thing, which speaks of hope for the Spanish
people, and through _them_ for mankind, will be received. But this, far
from deterring, ought to be an encouragement; it makes the duty more
imperious. Nevertheless, whatever confidence any individual of
meditative mind may have in these representations of the principles and
feelings of the people of Spain, both as to their sanctity and truth,
and as to their competence in ordinary circumstances to make these
acknowledged, it would be unjust to recall them to the public mind,
stricken as it is by present disaster, without attempting to mitigate
the bewildering terror which accompanies these events, and which is
caused as much by their nearness to the eye, as by any thing in their
own nature. I shall, however, at present confine myself to suggest a few
considerations, some of which will be developed hereafter, when I resume
the subject.

It appears then, that the Spanish armies have sustained great defeats,
and have been compelled to abandon their positions, and that these
reverses have been effected by an army greatly superior to the Spanish
forces in number, and far excelling them in the art and practice of war.
This is the sum of those tidings, which it was natural we should
receive with sorrow, but which too many have received with dismay and
despair, though surely no events could be more in the course of rational
expectation. And what is the amount of the evil?--It is manifest that,
though a great army may easily defeat or disperse another _army_, less
or greater, yet it is not in a like degree formidable to a determined
_people_, nor efficient in a like degree to subdue them, or to keep them
in subjugation--much less if this people, like those of Spain in the
present instance, be numerous, and, like them, inhabit a territory
extensive and strong by nature. For a great army, and even several great
armies, cannot accomplish this by marching about the country, unbroken,
but each must split itself into many portions, and the several
detachments become weak accordingly, not merely as they are small in
size, but because the soldiery, acting thus, necessarily relinquish much
of that part of their superiority, which lies in what may be called the
enginery of war; and far more, because they lose, in proportion as they
are broken, the power of profiting by the military skill of the
Commanders, or by their own military habits. The experienced soldier is
thus brought down nearer to the plain ground of the inexperienced, man
to the level of man: and it is then, that the truly brave man rises, the
man of good hopes and purposes; and superiority in moral brings with it
superiority in physical power. Hence, if the Spanish armies have been
defeated, or even dispersed, it not only argues a want of magnanimity,
but of sense, to conclude that the cause _therefore_ is lost. Supposing
that the spirit of the people is not crushed, the war is now brought
back to that plan of conducting it, which was recommended by the Junta
of Seville in that inestimable paper entitled 'PRECAUTIONS,' which plan
ought never to have been departed from, except by compulsion, or with a
moral certainty of success; and which the Spaniards will now be
constrained to re-adopt, with the advantage, that the lesson, which has
been received, will preclude the possibility of their ever committing
the same error. In this paper it is said, 'let the first object be to
avoid all general actions, and to convince ourselves of the very great
hazards without any advantage or the hope of it, to which they would
expose us.' The paper then gives directions, how the war ought to be
conducted as a war of partizans, and shews the peculiar fitness of the
country for it. Yet, though relying solely on this unambitious mode of
warfare, the framers of the paper, which is in every part of it
distinguished by wisdom, speak with confident thoughts of success. To
this mode of warfare, then, after experience of calamity from not having
trusted in it; to this, and to the people in whom the contest
originated, and who are its proper depository, that contest is now
referred.

Secondly, if the spirits of the Spaniards be not broken by defeat, which
is impossible, if the sentiments that have been publicly expressed be
fairly characteristic of the nation, and do not belong only to
particular spots or to a few individuals of superior mind,--a doubt,
which the internal evidence of these publications, sanctioned by the
resistance already made, and corroborated by the universal consent with
which certain qualities have been attributed to the Spaniards in all
ages, encourages us to repel;--then are there mighty resources in the
country which have not yet been called forth. For all has hitherto been
done by the spontaneous efforts of the people, acting under little or no
compulsion of the Government, but with its advice and exhortation. It is
an error to suppose, that, in proportion as a people are strong, and act
largely for themselves, the Government must therefore be weak. This is
not a necessary consequence even in the heat of Revolution, but only
when the people are lawless from want of a steady and noble object among
themselves for their love, or in the presence of a foreign enemy for
their hatred. In the early part of the French Revolution, indeed as long
as it was evident that the end was the common safety, the National
Assembly had the power to turn the people into any course, to constrain
them to any task, while their voluntary efforts, as far as these could
be exercised, were not abated in consequence. That which the National
Assembly did for France, the Spanish Sovereign's authority acting
through those whom the people themselves have deputed to represent him,
would, in their present enthusiasm of loyalty, and condition of their
general feelings, render practicable and easy for Spain. The Spaniards,
it is true, with a thoughtfulness most hopeful for the cause which they
have undertaken, have been loth to depart from established laws, forms,
and practices. This dignified feeling of self-restraint they would do
well to cherish so far as never to depart from it without some
reluctance;--but, when old and familiar means are not equal to the
exigency, new ones must, without timidity, be resorted to, though by
many they may be found harsh and ungracious. Nothing but good would
result from such conduct. The well-disposed would rely more confidently
upon a Government which thus proved that it had confidence in itself.
Men, less zealous, and of less comprehensive minds, would soon be
reconciled to measures from which at first they had revolted; the remiss
and selfish might be made servants of their country, through the
influence of the same passions which had prepared them to become slaves
of the Invader; or, should this not be possible, they would appear in
their true character, and the main danger to be feared from them would
be prevented. The course which ought to be pursued is plain. Either the
cause has lost the people's love, or it has not. If it has, let the
struggle be abandoned. If it has not, let the Government, in whatever
shape it may exist, and however great may be the calamities under which
it may labour, act up to the full stretch of its rights, nor doubt that
the people will support it to the full extent of their power. If,
therefore, the Chiefs of the Spanish Nation be men of wise and strong
minds, they will bring both the forces, those of the Government and of
the people, into their utmost action; tempering them in such a manner
that neither shall impair or obstruct the other, but rather that they
shall strengthen and direct each other for all salutary purposes.

Thirdly, it was never dreamt by any thinking man, that the Spaniards
were to succeed by their army; if by their _army_ be meant any thing but
the people. The whole people is their army, and their true army is the
people, and nothing else. Five hundred men, who in the early part of the
struggle had been taken prisoners,--I think it was at the battle of Rio
Seco--were returned by the French General under the title of Galician
Peasants, a title, which the Spanish General, Blake, rejected and
maintained in his answer that they were genuine soldiers, meaning
regular troops. The conduct of the Frenchman was politic, and that of
the Spaniard would have been more in the spirit of his cause and of his
own noble character, if, waiving on this occasion the plea of any
subordinate and formal commission which these men might have, he had
rested their claim to the title of soldiers on its true ground, and
affirmed that this was no other than the rights of the cause which they
maintained, by which rights every Spaniard was a soldier who could
appear in arms, and was authorized to take that place, in which it was
probable, to those under whom he acted, and on many occasions to
himself, that he could most annoy the enemy. But these patriots of
Galicia were not clothed alike, nor perhaps armed alike, nor had the
outward appearance of those bodies, which are called regular troops; and
the Frenchman availed himself of this pretext, to apply to them that
insolent language, which might, I think, have been more nobly repelled
on a more comprehensive principle. For thus are men of the gravest minds
imposed upon by the presumptuous; and through these influences it comes,
that the strength of a tyrant is in opinion--not merely in the opinion
of those who support him, but alas! even of those who willingly resist,
and who would resist effectually, if it were not that their own
understandings betray them, being already half enslaved by shews and
forms. The whole Spanish nation ought to be encouraged to deem
themselves an army, embodied under the authority of their country and of
human nature. A military spirit should be there, and a military action,
not confined like an ordinary river in one channel, but spreading like
the Nile over the whole face of the land. Is this possible? I believe it
is: if there be minds among them worthy to lead, and if those leading
minds cherish a _civic_ spirit by all warrantable aids and appliances,
and, above all other means, by combining a reverential memory of their
elder ancestors with distinct hopes of solid advantage, from the
privileges of freedom, for themselves and their posterity--to which the
history and the past state of Spain furnish such enviable facilities;
and if they provide for the sustenance of this spirit, by organizing it
in its primary sources, not timidly jealous of a people, whose toils and
sacrifices have approved them worthy of all love and confidence, and
whose failing of excess, if such there exist, is assuredly on the side
of loyalty to their Sovereign, and predilection for all established
institutions. We affirm, then, that a universal military spirit may be
produced; and not only this, but that a much more rare and more
admirable phenomenon may be realized--the civic and military spirit
united in one people, and in enduring harmony with each other. The
people of Spain, with arms in their hands, are already in an elevated
mood, to which they have been raised by the indignant passions, and the
keen sense of insupportable wrong and insult from the enemy, and its
infamous instruments. But they must be taught, not to trust too
exclusively to the violent passions, which have already done much of
their peculiar task and service. They must seek additional aid from
affections, which less imperiously exclude all individual interests,
while at the same time they consecrate them to the public good.--But the
enemy is in the heart of their Land! We have not forgotten this. We
would encourage their military zeal, and all qualities especially
military, by all rewards of honourable ambition, and by rank and dignity
conferred on the truly worthy, whatever may be their birth or condition,
the elevating influence of which would extend from the individual
possessor to the class from which he may have sprung. For the necessity
of thus raising and upholding the military spirit, we plead: but yet the
_professional_ excellencies of the soldier must be contemplated
according to their due place and relation. Nothing is done, or worse
than nothing, unless something higher be taught, _as_ higher, something
more fundamental, _as_ more fundamental. In the moral virtues and
qualities of passion which belong to a people, must the ultimate
salvation of a people be sought for. Moral qualities of a high order,
and vehement passions, and virtuous as vehement, the Spaniards have
already displayed; nor is it to be anticipated, that the conduct of
their enemies will suffer the heat and glow to remit and languish. These
may be trusted to themselves, and to the provocations of the merciless
Invader. They must now be taught, that their strength _chiefly_ lies in
moral qualities, more silent in their operation, more permanent in their
nature; in the virtues of perseverance, constancy, fortitude, and
watchfulness, in a long memory and a quick feeling, to rise upon a
favourable summons, a texture of life which, though cut through (as hath
been feigned of the bodies of the Angels) unites again--these are the
virtues and qualities on which the Spanish People must be taught
_mainly_ to depend. These it is not in the power of their Chiefs to
create; but they may preserve and procure to them opportunities of
unfolding themselves, by guarding the Nation against an intemperate
reliance on other qualities and other modes of exertion, to which it
could never have resorted in the degree in which it appears to have
resorted to them without having been in contradiction to itself, paying
at the same time an indirect homage to its enemy. Yet, in hazarding
this conditional censure, we are still inclined to believe, that, in
spite of our deductions on the score of exaggeration, we have still
given too easy credit to the accounts furnished by the enemy, of the
rashness with which the Spaniards engaged in pitched battles, and of
their dismay after defeat. For the Spaniards have repeatedly proclaimed,
and they have inwardly felt, that their strength was from their
cause--of course, that it was moral. Why then should they abandon this,
and endeavour to prevail by means in which their opponents are
confessedly so much superior? Moral strength is their's; but physical
power for the purposes of immediate or rapid destruction is on the side
of their enemies. This is to them no disgrace, but, as soon as they
understand themselves, they will see that they are disgraced by
mistrusting their appropriate stay, and throwing themselves upon a power
which for them must be weak. Nor will it then appear to them a
sufficient excuse, that they were seduced into this by the splendid
qualities of courage and enthusiasm, which, being the frequent
companions, and, in given circumstances, the necessary agents of virtue,
are too often themselves hailed as virtues by their own title. But
courage and enthusiasm have equally characterized the best and the worst
beings, a Satan, equally with an ABDIEL--a BONAPARTE equally with a
LEONIDAS. They are indeed indispensible to the Spanish soldiery, in
order that, man to man, they may not be inferior to their enemies in the
field of battle. But inferior they are and long must be in warlike skill
and coolness; inferior in assembled numbers, and in blind mobility to
the preconceived purposes of their leader. If therefore the Spaniards
are not superior in some superior quality, their fall may be predicted
with the certainty of a mathematical calculation. Nay, it is right to
acknowledge, however depressing to false hope the thought may be, that
from a people prone and disposed to war, as the French are, through the
very absence of those excellencies which give a contra-distinguishing
dignity to the Spanish character; that, from an army of men presumptuous
by nature, to whose presumption the experience of constant success has
given the confidence and stubborn strength of reason, and who balance
against the devotion of patriotism the superstition so naturally
attached by the sensual and disordinate to the strange fortunes and
continual felicity of their Emperor; that, from the armies of such a
people a more manageable enthusiasm, a courage less under the influence
of accidents, may be expected in the confusion of immediate conflict,
than from forces like the Spaniards, united indeed by devotion to a
common cause, but not equally united by an equal confidence in each
other, resulting from long fellowship and brotherhood in all conceivable
incidents of war and battle. Therefore, I do not hesitate to affirm,
that even the occasional flight of the Spanish levies, from sudden panic
under untried circumstances, would not be so injurious to the Spanish
cause; no, nor so dishonourable to the Spanish character, nor so ominous
of ultimate failure, as a paramount reliance on superior valour, instead
of a principled reposal on superior constancy and immutable resolve.
Rather let them have fled once and again, than direct their prime
admiration to the blaze and explosion of animal courage, in slight of
the vital and sustaining warmth of fortitude; in slight of that moral
contempt of death and privation, which does not need the stir and shout
of battle to call it forth or support it, which can smile in patience
over the stiff and cold wound, as well as rush forward regardless,
because half senseless of the fresh and bleeding one. Why did we give
our hearts to the present cause of Spain with a fervour and elevation
unknown to us in the commencement of the late Austrian or Prussian
resistance to France? Because we attributed to the former an heroic
temperament which would render their transfer to such domination an evil
to human nature itself, and an affrightening perplexity in the
dispensations of Providence. But if in oblivion of the prophetic wisdom
of their own first leaders in the cause, they are surprised beyond the
power of rallying, utterly cast down and manacled by fearful thoughts
from the first thunder-storm of defeat in the field, wherein do they
differ from the Prussians and Austrians? Wherein are they a People, and
not a mere army or set of armies? If this be indeed so, what have we to
mourn over but our own honourable impetuosity, in hoping where no just
ground of hope existed? A nation, without the virtues necessary for the
attainment of independence, have failed to attain it. This is all. For
little has that man understood the majesty of true national freedom, who
believes that a population, like that of Spain, in a country like that
of Spain, may want the qualities needful to fight out their
independence, and yet possess the excellencies which render men
susceptible of true liberty. The Dutch, the Americans, did possess the
former; but it is, I fear, more than doubtful whether the one ever did,
or the other ever will, evince the nobler morality indispensible to the
latter.

It was not my intention that the subject should at present have been
pursued so far. But I have been carried forward by a strong wish to be
of use in raising and steadying the minds of my countrymen, an end to
which every thing that I shall say hereafter (provided it be true) will
contribute. For all knowledge of human nature leads ultimately to
repose; and I shall write to little purpose if I do not assist some
portion of my readers to form an estimate of the grounds of hope and
fear in the present effort of liberty against oppression, in the present
or any future struggle which justice will have to maintain against
might. In fact, this is my main object, 'the sea-mark of my utmost
sail:' in order that, understanding the sources of strength and seats of
weakness, both in the tyrant and in those who would save or rescue
themselves from his grasp, we may act as becomes men who would guard
their own liberties, and would draw a good use from the desire which
they feel, and the efforts which they are making, to benefit the less
favoured part of the family of mankind. With these as my ultimate
objects, I have undertaken to examine the Convention of Cintra; and, as
an indispensible preparative for forming a right judgment of this event,
I have already faithfully exhibited the feelings of the people of Great
Britain and of Spain towards each other, and have shewn by what sacred
bonds they were united. With the same view, I shall next proceed to shew
by what barrier of aversion, scarcely less sacred, the people of the
_Peninsula_ were divided from their enemies,--their feelings towards
them, and their hopes for themselves; trusting, that I have already
mitigated the deadening influences of recent calamity, and that the
representation I shall frame, in the manner which has been promised,
will speak in its true colours and life to the eye and heart of the
spectator.

The government of Asturias, which was the first to rise against their
oppressors, thus expresses itself in the opening of its Address to the
People of that Province. 'Loyal Asturians! beloved Countrymen! your
wishes are already fulfilled. The Principality, discharging those duties
which are most sacred to men, has already declared war against France.
You may perhaps dread this vigorous resolution. But what other measure
could or ought we to adopt? Shall there be found one single man among
us, who prefers the vile and ignominious death of slaves, to the glory
of dying on the field of honour, with arms in his hand, defending our
unfortunate monarch; our homes, our children, and our wives? If, in the
very moment when those bands of banditti were receiving the kindest
offices and favours from the inhabitants of our Capital, they murdered
in cold blood upwards of two thousand people, for no other reason than
their having defended their insulted brethren, what could we expect from
them, had we submitted to their dominion? Their perfidious conduct
towards our king and his whole family, whom they deceived and decoyed
into France under the promise of an eternal armistice, in order to chain
them all, has no precedent in history. Their conduct towards the whole
nation is more iniquitous, than we had the right to expect from a horde
of Hottentots. They have profaned our temples; they have insulted our
religion; they have assailed our wives; in fine, they have broken all
their promises, and there exists no right which they have not violated.
To arms, Asturians! to arms!' The Supreme Junta of Government, sitting
at Seville, introduces its declaration of war in words to the same
effect. 'France, under the government of the emperor Napoleon the First,
has violated towards Spain the most sacred compacts--has arrested her
monarchs--obliged them to a forced and manifestly void abdication and
renunciation; has behaved with the same violence towards the Spanish
Nobles whom he keeps in his power--has declared that he will elect a
king of Spain, the most horrible attempt that is recorded in
history--has sent his troops into Spain, seized her fortresses and her
Capital, and scattered his troops throughout the country--has committed
against Spain all sorts of assassinations, robberies, and unheard-of
cruelties; and this he has done with the most enormous ingratitude to
the services which the Spanish nation has rendered France, to the
friendship it has shewn her, thus treating it with the most dreadful
perfidy, fraud, and treachery, such as was never committed against any
nation or monarch by the most barbarous or ambitious king or people. He
has in fine declared, that he will trample down our monarchy, our
fundamental laws, and bring about the ruin of our holy catholic
religion.--The only remedy therefore to such grievous ills, which are so
manifest to all Europe, is in war, which we declare against him.' The
injuries, done to the Portugueze Nation and Government, previous to its
declaration of war against the Emperor of the French, are stated at
length in the manifesto of the Court of Portugal, dated Rio Janeiro, May
1st, 1808; and to that the reader may he referred: but upon this subject
I will beg leave to lay before him, the following extract from the
Address of the supreme Junta of Seville to the Portugueze nation, dated
May 30th, 1808. 'PORTUGUESE,--Your lot is, perhaps, the hardest ever
endured by any people on the earth. Your princes were compelled to fly
from you, and the events in Spain have furnished an irrefragable proof
of the absolute necessity of that measure.--You were ordered not to
defend yourselves, and you did not defend yourselves. Junot offered to
make you happy, and your happiness has consisted in being treated with
greater cruelty than the most ferocious conquerors inflict on the people
whom they have subdued by force of arms and after the most obstinate
resistance. You have been despoiled of your princes, your laws, your
usages, your customs, your property, your liberty, even your lives, and
your holy religion, which your enemies never have respected, however
they may, according to their custom, have promised to protect it, and
however they may affect and pretend to have any sense of it themselves.
Your nobility has been annihilated,--its property confiscated in
punishment of its fidelity and loyalty. You have been basely dragged to
foreign countries, and compelled to prostrate yourselves at the feet of
the man who is the author of all your calamities, and who, by the most
horrible perfidy, has usurped your government, and rules you with a
sceptre of iron. Even now your troops have left your borders, and are
travelling in chains to die in the defence of him who has oppressed you;
by which means his deep malignity may accomplish his purpose,--by
destroying those who should constitute your strength, and by rendering
their lives subservient to his triumphs, and to the savage glory to
which he aspires.--Spain beheld your slavery, and the horrible evils
which followed it, with mingled sensations of grief and despair. You are
her brother, and she panted to fly to your assistance. But certain
Chiefs, and a Government either weak or corrupt, kept her in chains, and
were preparing the means by which the ruin of our king, our laws, our
independence, our liberty, our lives, and even the holy religion in
which we are united, might accompany your's,--by which a barbarous
people might consummate their own triumph, and accomplish the slavery of
every nation in Europe:--our loyalty, our honour, our justice, could not
submit to such flagrant atrocity! We have broken our chains,--let us
then to action.' But the story of Portugueze sufferings shall be told by
Junot himself; who, in his proclamation to the people of Portugal (dated
Palace of Lisbon, June 26,) thus speaks to them: 'You have earnestly
entreated of him a king, who, aided by the omnipotence of that great
monarch, might raise up again your unfortunate Country, and replace her
in the rank which belongs to her. Doubtless at this moment your new
monarch is on the point of visiting you.--He expects to find faithful
Subjects--shall he find only rebels? I expected to have delivered over
to him a peaceable kingdom and flourishing cities--shall I be obliged to
shew him only ruins and heaps of ashes and dead bodies?--Merit pardon by
prompt submission, and a prompt obedience to my orders; if not, think of
the punishment which awaits you.--Every city, town, or village, which
shall take up arms against my forces, and whose inhabitants shall rise
upon the French troops, shall be delivered up to pillage and totally
destroyed, and the inhabitants shall be put to the sword--every
individual taken in arms shall be instantly shot.' That these were not
empty threats, we learn from the bulletins published by authority of the
same Junot, which at once shew his cruelty, and that of the persons whom
he employed, and the noble resistance of the Portugueze. 'We entered
Beia,' says one of those dismal chronicles, 'in the midst of great
carnage. The rebels left 1200 dead on the field of battle; all those
taken with arms in their hands were put to the sword, and all the houses
from which we had been fired upon were burned.' Again in another, 'The
spirit of insanity, which had led astray the inhabitants of Beia and
rendered necessary the terrible chastisement which they have received,
has likewise been exercised in the north of Portugal.' Describing
another engagement, it is said, 'the lines endeavoured to make a stand,
but they were forced; the massacre was terrible--more than a thousand
dead bodies remained on the field of battle, and General Loison,
pursuing the remainder of these wretches, entered Guerda with fixed
bayonets.' On approaching Alpedrinha, they found the _rebels_ posted in
a kind of redoubt--'it was forced, the town of Alpedrinha taken, and
delivered to the flames:' the whole of this tragedy is thus summed
up--'In the engagements fought in these different marches, we lost
twenty men killed, and 30 or 40 wounded. The insurgents have left at
least 13000 dead in the field, the melancholy consequence of a frenzy
which nothing can justify, which forces us to multiply victims, whom we
lament and regret, but whom a terrible necessity obliges us to
sacrifice.' 'It is thus,' continues the writer, 'that deluded men,
ungrateful children as well as culpable citizens, exchange all their
claims to the benevolence and protection of Government for misfortune
and wretchedness; ruin their families; carry into their habitations
desolation, conflagrations, and death; change flourishing cities into
heaps of ashes--into vast tombs; and bring on their whole country
calamities which they deserve, and from which (feeble victims!) they
cannot escape. In fine, it is thus that, covering themselves with
opprobrium and ridicule at the same time that they complete their
destruction, they have no other resource but the pity of those they have
wished to assassinate--a pity which they never have implored in vain,
when acknowledging their crime, they have solicited pardon from
Frenchmen, who, incapable of departing from their noble character, are
ever as generous as they are brave.'--By order of Monseigneur le duc
d'AbrantÈs, Commander in chief.'--Compare this with the Address of
Massaredo to the Biscayans, in which there is the like avowal that the
Spaniards are to be treated as Rebels. He tells them, that he is
commanded by his master, Joseph Bonaparte, to assure them--'that, in
case they disapprove of the insurrection in the City of Bilboa, his
majesty will consign to oblivion the mistake and error of the
Insurgents, and that he will punish only the heads and beginners of the
insurrection, with regard to whom _the law must take its course_.'

To be the victim of such bloody-mindedness is a doleful lot for a
Nation; and the anguish must have been rendered still more poignant by
the scoffs and insults, and by that heinous contempt of the most awful
truths, with which the Perpetrator of those cruelties has proclaimed
them.--Merciless ferocity is an evil familiar to our thoughts; but these
combinations of malevolence historians have not yet been called upon to
record; and writers of fiction, if they have ever ventured to create
passions resembling them, have confined, out of reverence for the
acknowledged constitution of human nature, those passions to reprobate
Spirits. Such tyranny is, in the strictest sense, intolerable; not
because it aims at the extinction of life, but of every thing which
gives life its value--of virtue, of reason, of repose in God, or in
truth. With what heart may we suppose that a genuine Spaniard would read
the following impious address from the Deputation, as they were falsely
called, of his apostate countrymen at Bayonne, seduced or compelled to
assemble under the eye of the Tyrant, and speaking as he dictated? 'Dear
Spaniards, Beloved Countrymen!--Your habitations, your cities, your
power, and your property, are as dear to us as ourselves; and we wish to
keep all of you in our eye, that we may be able to establish your
security.--We, as well as yourselves, are bound in allegiance to the old
dynasty--to her, to whom an end has been put by that God-like Providence
which rules all thrones and sceptres. We have seen the greatest states
fall under the guidance of this rule, and our land alone has hitherto
escaped the same fate. An unavoidable destiny has now overtaken our
country, and brought us under the protection of the invincible Emperor
of France.--We know that you will regard our present situation with the
utmost consideration; and we have accordingly, in this conviction, been
uniformly conciliating the friendship to which we are tied by so many
obligations. With what admiration must we see the benevolence and
humanity of his imperial and royal Majesty outstep our wishes--qualities
which are even more to be admired than his great power! He has desired
nothing else, than that we should be indebted to him for our welfare.
Whenever he gives us a sovereign to reign over us in the person of his
magnanimous brother Joseph, he will consummate our prosperity.--As he
has been pleased to change our old system of laws, it becomes us to
obey, and to live in tranquillity: as he has also promised to
re-organize our financial system, we may hope that then our naval and
military power will become terrible to our enemies, &c.'--That the
Castilians were horror-stricken by the above blasphemies, which are the
habitual language of the French Senate and Ministers to their Emperor,
is apparent from an address dated Valladolid,--'He (Bonaparte) carries
his audacity the length of holding out to us offers of happiness and
peace, while he is laying waste our country, pulling down our churches,
and slaughtering our brethren. His pride, cherished by a band of
villains who are constantly anxious to offer incense on his shrine, and
tolerated by numberless victims who pine in his chains, has caused him
to conceive the fantastical idea of proclaiming himself Lord and Ruler
of the whole world. There is no atrocity which he does not commit to
attain that end.... Shall these outrages, these iniquities, remain
unpunished while Spaniards--and Castilian Spaniards--yet exist?'

Many passages might be adduced to prove that carnage and devastation
spread over their land have not afflicted this noble people so deeply as
this more searching warfare against the conscience and the reason. They
groan less over the blood which has been shed, than over the arrogant
assumptions of beneficence made by him from whose order that blood has
flowed. Still to be talking of bestowing and conferring, and to be happy
in the sight of nothing but what he thinks he has bestowed or conferred,
this, in a man to whom the weakness of his fellows has given great
power, is a madness of pride more hideous than cruelty itself. We have
heard of Attila and Tamerlane who called themselves the scourges of God,
and rejoiced in personating the terrors of Providence; but such monsters
do less outrage to the reason than he who arrogates to himself the
gentle and gracious attributes of the Deity: for the one acts
professedly from the temperance of reason, the other avowedly in the
gusts of passion. Through the terrors of the Supreme Ruler of things, as
set forth by works of destruction and ruin, we see but darkly; we may
reverence the chastisement, may fear it with awe, but it is not natural
to incline towards it in love: moreover, devastation passes away--a
perishing power among things that perish: whereas to found, and to
build, to create and to institute, to bless through blessing, this has
to do with objects where we trust we can see clearly,--it reminds us of
what we love,--it aims at permanence,--and the sorrow is, (as in the
present instance the people of Spain feel) that it may last; that, if
the giddy and intoxicated Being who proclaims that he does these things
with the eye and through the might of Providence be not overthrown, it
will last; that it needs must last:--and therefore would they hate and
abhor him and his pride, even if he were not cruel; if he were merely an
image of mortal presumption thrust in between them and the piety which
is natural to the heart of man; between them and that religious worship
which, as authoritatively as his reason forbids idolatry, that same
reason commands. Accordingly, labouring under these violations done to
their moral nature, they describe themselves, in the anguish of their
souls, treated as a people at once dastardly and _insensible_. In the
same spirit they make it even matter of complaint, as comparatively a
far greater evil, that they have not fallen by the brute violence of
open war, but by deceit and perfidy, by a subtle undermining, or
contemptuous overthrow of those principles of good faith, through
prevalence of which, in some degree, or under some modification or
other, families, communities, a people, or any frame of human society,
even destroying armies themselves can exist.

But enough of their wrongs; let us now see what were their consolations,
their resolves, and their hopes. First, they neither murmur nor repine;
but with genuine religion and philosophy they recognize in these
dreadful visitations the ways of a benign Providence, and find in them
cause for thankfulness. The Council of Castile exhort the people of
Madrid 'to cast off their lethargy, and purify their manners, and to
acknowledge the calamities which the kingdom and that great capital had
endured as a punishment necessary to their correction.' General Morla in
his address to the citizens of Cadiz thus speaks to them:--'The
commotion, more or less violent, which has taken place in the whole
peninsula of Spain, has been of eminent service to rouse us from the
state of lethargy in which we indulged, and to make us acquainted with
our rights, our glory, and the inviolable duty which we owe to our holy
religion and our monarch. We wanted some electric stroke to rouse us
from our paralytic state of inactivity; we stood in need of a hurricane
to clear the atmosphere of the insalubrious vapours with which it was
loaded.'--The unanimity with which the whole people were affected they
rightly deem, an indication of wisdom, an authority, and a
sanction,--and they refer it to its highest source. 'The defence of our
country and our king,' (says a manifesto of the Junta of Seville) 'that
of our laws, our religion, and of all the rights of man, trodden down
and violated in a manner which is without example, by the Emperor of
the French, Napoleon I. and by his troops in Spain, compelled the whole
nation to take up arms, and choose itself a form of government; and, in
the difficulties and dangers into which the French had plunged it, all,
or nearly all the provinces, as it were by the inspiration of heaven,
and in a manner little short of miraculous, created Supreme Juntas,
delivered themselves up to their guidance, and placed in their hands the
rights and the ultimate fate of Spain. The effects have hitherto most
happily corresponded with the designs of those who formed them.'

With this general confidence, that the highest good may be brought out
of the worst calamities, they have combined a solace, which is
vouchsafed only to such nations as can recall to memory the illustrious
deeds of their ancestors. The names of Pelayo and The Cid are the
watch-words of the address to the people of LeÛn; and they are told that
to these two deliverers of their country, and to the sentiments of
enthusiasm which they excited in every breast, Spain owes the glory and
happiness which she has _so long_ enjoyed. The Biscayans are called to
cast their eyes upon the ages which are past, and they will see their
ancestors at one time repulsing the Carthaginians, at another destroying
the hordes of Rome; at one period was granted to them the distinction of
serving in the van of the army; at another the privilege of citizens.
'Imitate,' says the address, 'the glorious example of your worthy
progenitors.' The Asturians, the Gallicians, and the city of Cordova,
are exhorted in the same manner. And surely to a people thus united in
their minds with the heroism of years which have been long departed, and
living under such obligation of gratitude to their ancestors, it is not
difficult, nay it is natural, to take upon themselves the highest
obligations of duty to their posterity; to enjoy in the holiness of
imagination the happiness of unborn ages to which they shall have
eminently contributed; and that each man, fortified by these thoughts,
should welcome despair for himself, because it is the assured mother of
hope for his country.--'Life or Death,' says a proclamation affixed in
the most public places of Seville, 'is in this crisis indifferent;--ye
who shall return shall receive the reward of gratitude in the embraces
of your country, which shall proclaim you her deliverers;--ye whom
heaven destines to seal with your blood the independence of your
nation, the honour of your women, and the purity of the religion which
ye profess, do not dread the anguish of the last moments; remember in
these moments that there are in our hearts inexhaustible tears of
tenderness to shed over your graves, and fervent prayers, to which the
Almighty Father of mercies will lend an ear, to grant you a glory
superior to that which they who survive you shall enjoy.' And in fact it
ought never to be forgotten, that the Spaniards have not wilfully
blinded themselves, but have steadily fixed their eyes not only upon
danger and upon death, but upon a deplorable issue of the contest. They
have contemplated their subjugation as a thing possible. The next
extract, from the paper entitled Precautions, (and the same language is
holden by many others) will show in what manner alone they reconcile
themselves to it. 'Therefore, it is necessary to sacrifice our lives and
property in defence of the king, and of the country; and, though our lot
(which we hope will never come to pass) should destine us to become
slaves, let us become so fighting and dying like gallant men, not giving
ourselves up basely to the yoke like sheep, as the late infamous
government would have done, and fixing upon Spain and her slavery
eternal ignominy and disgrace.'

But let us now hear them, as becomes men with such feelings, express
more cheering and bolder hopes rising from a confidence in the supremacy
of justice,--hopes which, however the Tyrant from the iron fortresses of
his policy may scoff at them and at those who entertained them, will
render their memory dear to all good men, when his name will be
pronounced with universal abhorrence.

'All Europe,' says the Junta of Seville, 'will applaud our efforts and
hasten to our assistance: Italy, Germany, and the whole North, which
suffer under the despotism of the French nation, will eagerly avail
themselves of the favourable opportunity, held out to them by Spain, to
shake off the yoke and recover their liberty, their laws, their
monarchs, and all they have been robbed of by that nation. France
herself will hasten to erase the stain of infamy, which must cover the
tools and instruments of deeds so treacherous and heinous. She will not
shed her blood in so vile a cause. She has already suffered too much
under the idle pretext of peace and happiness, which never came, and can
never be attained, but under the empire of reason, peace, religion, and
laws, and in a state where the rights of other nations are respected and
preserved.' To this may be added a hope, the fulfilment of which belongs
more to themselves, and lies more within their own power, namely, a hope
that they shall be able in their progress towards liberty, to inflict
condign punishment on their cruel and perfidious enemies. The Junta of
Seville, in an Address to the People of Madrid, express themselves thus:
'People of Madrid! Seville has learned, with consternation and surprize,
your dreadful catastrophe of the second of May; the weakness of a
government which did nothing in our favour,--which ordered arms to be
directed against you; and your heroic sacrifices. Blessed be ye, and
your memory shall shine immortal in the annals of our nation!--She has
seen with horror that the author of all your misfortunes and of our's
has published a proclamation, in which he distorted every fact, and
pretended that you gave the first provocation, while it was he who
provoked you. The government was weak enough to sanction and order that
proclamation to be circulated; and saw, with perfect composure, numbers
of you put to death for a pretended violation of laws which did not
exist. The French were told in that proclamation, that French blood
profusely shed was crying out for vengeance! And the Spanish blood, does
not _it_ cry out for vengeance? That Spanish blood, shed by an army
which hesitated not to attack a disarmed and defenceless people, living
under their laws and their king, and against whom cruelties were
committed, which shake the human frame with horror. We, all Spain,
exclaim--the Spanish blood shed in Madrid cries aloud for revenge!
Comfort yourselves, we are your brethren: we will fight like you, until
we perish in defending our king and country. Assist us with your good
wishes, and your continual prayers offered up to the Most High, whom we
adore, and who cannot forsake us, because he never forsakes a just
cause.' Again, in the conclusion of their address to the People of
Portugal, quoted before, 'The universal cry of Spain is, we will die in
defence of our country, but we will take care that those infamous
enemies shall die with us. Come then, ye generous Portugueze, and unite
with us. You have among yourselves the objects of your vengeance--obey
not the authors of your misfortunes--attack them--they are but a handful
of miserable panic-struck men, humiliated and conquered already by the
perfidy and cruelties which they have committed, and which have covered
them with disgrace in the eyes of Europe and the world! Rise then in a
body, but avoid staining your honourable hands with crimes, for your
design is to resist them and to destroy them--our united efforts will do
for this perfidious nation; and Portugal, Spain, nay, all Europe, shall
breathe or die free like men.'--Such are their hopes; and again see,
upon this subject, the paper entitled '_Precautions_;' a contrast this
to the impious mockery of Providence, exhibited by the Tyrant in some
passages heretofore quoted! 'Care shall be taken to explain to the
nation, and to convince them that, when free, as we trust to be, from
this civil war, to which the French have forced us, and when placed in a
state of tranquillity, our Lord and King, Ferdinand VII, being restored
to the throne of Spain, under him and by him, _the Cortes will be
assembled, abuses reformed_, and such laws shall be enacted, as the
circumstances of the time and experience may dictate for the public good
and happiness. Things which we Spaniards know how to do, which we have
done as well as other nations, without any necessity that the vile
French should come to instruct us, and, according to their custom, under
the mask of friendship, should deprive us of our liberty, our laws, &c.
&c.'

One extract more and I shall conclude. It is from a proclamation dated
Oviedo, July 17th. 'Yes--Spain with the energies of Liberty has to
contend with France debilitated by slavery. If she remain firm and
constant, Spain will triumph. A whole people is more powerful than
disciplined armies. Those, who unite to maintain the independence of
their country, must triumph over tyranny. Spain will inevitably conquer,
in a cause the most just that has ever raised the deadly weapon of war;
for she fights, not for the concerns of a day, but for the security and
happiness of ages; not for an insulated privilege, but for the rights of
human nature; not for temporal blessings, but for eternal happiness; not
for the benefit of one nation, but for all mankind, and even for France
herself.'

I will now beg of my reader to pause a moment, and to review in his own
mind the whole of what has been laid before him. He has seen of what
kind, and how great have been the injuries endured by these two nations;
what they have suffered, and what they have to fear; he has seen that
they have felt with that unanimity which nothing but the light of truth
spread over the inmost concerns of human nature can create; with that
simultaneousness which has led Philosophers upon like occasions to
assert, that the voice of the people is the voice of God. He has seen
that they have submitted as far as human nature could bear; and that at
last these millions of suffering people have risen almost like one man,
with one hope; for whether they look to triumph or defeat, to victory or
death, they are full of hope--despair comes not near them--they will
die, they say--each individual knows the danger, and, strong in the
magnitude of it, grasps eagerly at the thought that he himself is to
perish; and more eagerly, and with higher confidence, does he lay to his
heart the faith that the nation will survive and be victorious;--or, at
the worst, let the contest terminate how it may as to superiority of
outward strength, that the fortitude and the martyrdom, the justice and
the blessing, are their's and cannot be relinquished. And not only are
they moved by these exalted sentiments of universal morality, and of
direct and universal concern to mankind, which have impelled them to
resist evil and to endeavour to punish the evil-doer, but also they
descend (for even this, great as in itself it is, may be here considered
as a descent) to express a rational hope of reforming domestic abuses,
and of re-constructing, out of the materials of their ancient
institutions, customs, and laws, a better frame of civil government, the
same in the great outlines of its architecture, but exhibiting the
knowledge, and genius, and the needs of the present race, harmoniously
blended with those of their forefathers. Woe, then, to the unworthy who
intrude with their help to maintain this most sacred cause! It calls
aloud, for the aid of intellect, knowledge, and love, and rejects every
other. It is in vain to send forth armies if these do not inspire and
direct them. The stream is as pure as it is mighty, fed by ten thousand
springs in the bounty of untainted nature; any augmentation from the
kennels and sewers of guilt and baseness may clog, but cannot strengthen
it.--It is not from any thought that I am communicating new information,
that I have dwelt thus long upon this subject, but to recall to the
reader his own knowledge, and to re-infuse into that knowledge a breath
and life of appropriate feeling; because the bare sense of wisdom is
nothing without its powers, and it is only in these feelings that the
powers of wisdom exist. If then we do not forget that the Spanish and
Portugueze Nations stand upon the loftiest ground of principle and
passion, and do not suffer on our part those sympathies to languish
which a few months since were so strong, and do not negligently or
timidly descend from those heights of magnanimity to which as a Nation
we were raised, when they first represented to us their wrongs and
entreated our assistance, and we devoted ourselves sincerely and
earnestly to their service, making with them a common cause under a
common hope; if we are true in all this to them and to ourselves, we
shall not be at a loss to conceive what actions are entitled to our
commendation as being in the spirit of a friendship so nobly begun, and
tending assuredly to promote the common welfare; and what are abject,
treacherous, and pernicious, and therefore to be condemned and abhorred.
Is then, I may now ask, the Convention of Cintra an act of this latter
kind? Have the Generals, who signed and ratified that agreement, thereby
proved themselves unworthy associates in such a cause? And has the
Ministry, by whose appointment these men were enabled to act in this
manner, and which sanctioned the Convention by permitting them to carry
it into execution, thereby taken to itself a weight of guilt, in which
the Nation must feel that it participates, until the transaction shall
be solemnly reprobated by the Government, and the remote and immediate
authors of it brought to merited punishment? An answer to each of these
questions will be implied in the proof which will be given that the
condemnation, which the People did with one voice pronounce upon this
Convention when it first became known, was just; that the nature of the
offence of those who signed it was such, and established by evidence of
such a kind, making so imperious an exception to the ordinary course of
action, that there was no need to wait here for the decision of a Court
of Judicature, but that the People were compelled by a necessity
involved in the very constitution of man as a moral Being to pass
sentence upon them. And this I shall prove by trying this act of their's
by principles of justice which are of universal obligation, and by a
reference to those moral sentiments which rise out of that retrospect of
things which has been given.

I shall now proceed to facts. The dispatches of Sir Arthur Wellesley,
containing an account of his having defeated the enemy in two several
engagements, spread joy through the Nation. The latter action appeared
to have been decisive, and the result may be thus briefly reported, in a
never to be forgotten sentence of Sir Arthur's second letter. 'In this
action,' says he, 'in which the whole of the French force in Portugal
was employed, under the command of the DUC D'ABRANTES in person, in
which the enemy was certainly superior in cavalry and artillery, and in
which not more than half of the British army was actually engaged, he
sustained a signal defeat, and has lost thirteen pieces of cannon, &c.
&c.' In the official communication, made to the public of these
dispatches, it was added, that 'a General officer had arrived at the
British head-quarters to treat for terms.' This was joyful intelligence!
First, an immediate, effectual, and honourable deliverance of Portugal
was confidently expected: secondly, the humiliation and captivity of a
large French army, and just punishment, from the hands of the Portugueze
government, of the most atrocious offenders in that army and among those
who, having held civil offices under it, (especially if Portugueze) had,
in contempt of all law, civil and military, notoriously abused the power
which they had treasonably accepted: thirdly, in this presumed surrender
of the army, a diminution of the enemy's military force was looked to,
which, after the losses he had already sustained in Spain, would most
sensibly weaken it: and lastly, and far above this, there was an
anticipation of a shock to his power, where that power is strongest, in
the imaginations of men, which are sure to fall under the bondage of
long-continued success. The judicious part of the Nation fixed their
attention chiefly on these results, and they had good cause to rejoice.
They also received with pleasure this additional proof (which indeed
with the unthinking many, as after the victory of Maida, weighed too
much,) of the superiority in courage and discipline of the British
soldiery over the French, and of the certainty of success whenever our
army was led on by men of even respectable military talents against any
equal or not too greatly disproportionate number of the enemy. But the
pleasure was damped in the minds of reflecting persons by several
causes. It occasioned regret and perplexity, that they had not heard
more of the Portugueze. They knew what that People had suffered, and how
they had risen;--remembered the language of the proclamation addressed
to them, dated August the 4th, and signed CHARLES COTTON and ARTHUR
WELLESLEY, in which they (the Portugueze) were told, that 'The British
Army had been sent in consequence of ardent supplications from all parts
of Portugal; that the glorious struggle, in which they are engaged, is
for all that is dear to man; that the noble struggle against the tyranny
and usurpation of France will be _jointly_ maintained by Portugal,
Spain, and England.' Why then, it was asked, do we not hear more of
those who are at least coequals with us, if not principals, in this
contest? They appeared to have had little share in either engagement;
(_See Appendix A_.) and, while the French were abundantly praised, no
word of commendation was found for _them_. Had they deserved to be thus
neglected? The body of the People by a general rising had proved their
zeal and courage, their animosity towards their enemies, their hatred of
them. It was therefore apprehended, from this silence respecting the
Portugueze, that their Chiefs might either be distracted by factions, or
blinded by selfish interests, or that they mistrusted their Allies.
Situated as Portugal then was, it would argue gross ignorance of human
nature to have expected that unanimity should prevail among all the
several authorities or leading persons, as to the _means_ to be
employed: it was enough, that they looked with one feeling to the _end_,
namely, an honourable deliverance of their country and security for its
Independence in conjunction with the liberation and independence of
Spain. It was therefore absolutely necessary to make allowance for some
division in conduct from difference of opinion. Instead of acquiescing
in the first feelings of disappointment, our Commanders ought to have
used the best means to win the confidence of the Portugueze Chiefs, and
to induce them to regard the British as dispassionate arbiters; they
ought to have endeavoured to excite a genuine patriotic spirit where it
appeared wanting, and to assist in creating for it an organ by which it
might act. Were these things done? or, if such evils existed among the
Portugueze, was _any_ remedy or alleviation attempted? Sir Arthur
Wellesley has told us, before the Board of Inquiry, that he made
applications to the Portugueze General, FRERE, for assistance, which
were acceded to by General FRERE upon such conditions only as made Sir
Arthur deem it more advisable to refuse than accept his co-operation:
and it is alleged that, in his general expectations of assistance, he
was greatly disappointed. We are not disposed to deny, that such cause
for complaint _might_ exist; but that it _did_, and upon no provocation
on our part, requires confirmation by other testimony. And surely, the
Portugueze have a right to be heard in answer to this accusation, before
they are condemned. For they have supplied no fact from their own hands,
which tends to prove that they were languid in the cause, or that they
had unreasonable jealousies of the British Army or Nation, or
dispositions towards them which were other than friendly. Now there is a
fact, furnished by Sir Arthur Wellesley himself, which may seem to
render it in the highest degree probable that, previously to any
recorded or palpable act of disregard or disrespect to the situation and
feelings of the Portugueze, the general tenour of his bearing towards
them might have been such that they could not look favourably upon him;
that he was not a man framed to conciliate them, to compose their
differences, or to awaken or strengthen their zeal. I allude to the
passage in his letter above quoted, where, having occasion to speak of
the French General, he has found no name by which to designate him but
that of DUC D'ABRANTES--words necessarily implying, that Bonaparte, who
had taken upon himself to confer upon General Junot this Portugueze
title with Portugueze domains to support it, was lawful Sovereign of
that Country, and that consequently the Portugueze Nation were rebels,
and the British Army, and he himself at the head of it, aiders and
abettors of that rebellion. It would be absurd to suppose, that Sir
Arthur Wellesley, at the time when he used these words, was aware of the
meaning really involved in them: let them be deemed an oversight. But
the capability of such an oversight affords too strong suspicion of a
deadness to the moral interests of the cause in which he was engaged,
and of such a want of sympathy with the just feelings of his injured
Ally as could exist only in a mind narrowed by exclusive and overweening
attention to the _military_ character, led astray by vanity, or hardened
by general habits of contemptuousness. These words, 'DUKE OF ABRANTES
_in person_,' were indeed words of bad omen: and thinking men trembled
for the consequences. They saw plainly, that, in the opinion of the
exalted Spaniards--of those assuredly who framed, and of all who had
felt, that affecting Proclamation addressed by the Junta of Seville to
the Portugueze people, he must appear utterly unworthy of the station in
which he had been placed. He had been sent as a deliverer--as an
assertor and avenger of the rights of human nature. But these words
would carry with them every where the conviction, that Portugal and
Spain, yea, all which was good in England, or iniquitous in France or in
Frenchmen, was forgotten, and his head full only of himself, miserably
conceiting that he swelled the importance of his conquered antagonist by
sounding titles and phrases, come from what quarter they might; and
that, in proportion as this was done, he magnified himself and his
achievements. It was plain, then, that here was a man, who, having not
any fellow-feeling with the people whom he had been commissioned to aid,
could not know where their strength lay, and therefore could not turn it
to account, nor by his example call it forth or cherish it; but that, if
his future conduct should be in the same spirit, he must be a blighting
wind wherever his influence was carried: for he had neither felt the
wrongs of his Allies nor been induced by common worldly prudence to
affect to feel them, or at least to disguise his insensibility; and
therefore what could follow, but, in despite of victory and outward
demonstrations of joy, inward disgust and depression? These reflections
interrupted the satisfaction of many; but more from fear of future
consequences than for the immediate enterprize, for here success seemed
inevitable; and a happy and glorious termination was confidently
expected, yet not without that intermixture of apprehension, which was
at once an acknowledgment of the general condition of humanity, and a
proof of the deep interest attached to the impending event.

Sir Arthur Wellesley's dispatches had appeared in the Gazette on the 2d
of September, and on the 16th of the same month suspence was put an end
to by the publication of Sir Hew Dalrymple's letter, accompanied with
the Armistice and Convention. The night before, by order of ministers,
an attempt had been made at rejoicing, and the Park and Tower guns had
been fired in sign of good news.--Heaven grant that the ears of that
great city may be preserved from such another outrage! As soon as the
truth was known, never was there such a burst of rage and
indignation--such an overwhelming of stupefaction and sorrow. But I will
not, I cannot dwell upon it--it is enough to say, that Sir Hew
Dalrymple and Sir Arthur Wellesley must he bold men if they can think of
what must have been reported to them, without awe and trembling; the
heart of their country was turned against them, and they were execrated
in bitterness.

For they had changed all things into their contraries, hope into
despair; triumph into defeat; confidence into treachery, which left no
place to stand upon; justice into the keenest injury.--Whom had they
delivered but the Tyrant in captivity? Whose hands had they bound but
those of their Allies, who were able of themselves to have executed
their own purposes? Whom had they punished but the innocent sufferer?
Whom rewarded but the guiltiest of Oppressors? They had reversed every
thing:--favour and honour for their enemies--insult for their
friends--and robbery (they had both protected the person of the robber
and secured to him his booty) and opprobrium for themselves;--to those
over whom they had been masters, who had crouched to them by an open act
of submission, they had made themselves servants, turning the British
Lion into a beast of burthen, to carry a vanquished enemy, with his load
of iniquities, when and whither it had pleased him.

Such issue would have been a heavy calamity at any time; but now, when
we ought to have risen above ourselves, and if possible to have been
foremost in the strife of honour and magnanimity; now, when a new-born
power had been arrayed against the Tyrant, the only one which ever
offered a glimpse of hope to a sane mind, the power of popular
resistance rising out of universal reason, and from the heart of human
nature,--and by a peculiar providence disembarrassed from the
imbecility, the cowardice, and the intrigues of a worn-out
government--that at this time we, the most favoured Nation upon earth,
should have acted as if it had been our aim to level to the ground by
one blow this long-wished-for spirit, whose birth we had so joyfully
hailed, and by which even our own glory, our safety, our existence, were
to be maintained; this was verily a surpassing affliction to every man
who had a feeling of life beyond his meanest concerns!

As soon as men had recovered from the shock, and could bear to look
somewhat steadily at these documents, it was found that the gross body
of the transaction, considered as a military transaction, was this;
that the Russian fleet, of nine sail of the line, which had been so long
watched, and could not have escaped, was to be delivered up to us; the
ships to be detained till six months after the end of the war, and the
sailors sent home by us, and to be by us protected in their voyage
through the Swedish fleet, and to be at liberty to fight immediately
against our ally, the king of Sweden. Secondly, that a French army of
more than twenty thousand men, already beaten, and no longer able to
appear in the field, cut off from all possibility of receiving
reinforcements or supplies, and in the midst of a hostile country
loathing and abhorring it, was to be transported with its arms,
ammunition, and plunder, at the expence of Great Britain, in British
vessels, and landed within a few days march of the Spanish
frontier,--there to be at liberty to commence hostilities immediately!

Omitting every characteristic which distinguishes the present contest
from others, and looking at this issue merely as an affair between two
armies, what stupidity of mind to provoke the accusation of not merely
shrinking from future toils and dangers, but of basely shifting the
burthen to the shoulders of an ally, already overpressed!--What
infatuation, to convey the imprisoned foe to the very spot, whither, if
he had had wings, he would have flown! This last was an absurdity as
glaring as if, the French having landed on our own island, we had taken
them from Yorkshire to be set on shore in Sussex; but ten thousand times
worse! from a place where without our interference they had been
virtually blockaded, where they were cut off, hopeless, useless, and
disgraced, to become an efficient part of a mighty host, carrying the
strength of their numbers, and alas! the strength of their glory, (not
to mention the sight of their plunder) to animate that host; while the
British army, more numerous in the proportion of three to two, with all
the population and resources of the peninsula to aid it, within ten days
sail of it's own country, and the sea covered with friendly shipping at
it's back, was to make a long march to encounter this same enemy, (the
British forfeiting instead of gaining by the treaty as to superiority of
numbers, for that this would be the case was clearly foreseen) to
encounter, in a new condition of strength and pride, those whom, by its
deliberate act, it had exalted,--having taken from itself, meanwhile,
all which it had conferred, and bearing into the presence of its noble
ally an infection of despondency and disgrace. The motive assigned for
all this, was the great importance of gaining time; fear of an open
beach and of equinoctial gales for the shipping; fear that
reinforcements could not be landed; fear of famine;--fear of every thing
but dishonour! (_See Appendix B_.)

The nation had expected that the French would surrender immediately at
discretion; and, supposing that Sir Arthur Wellesley had told them the
whole truth, they had a right to form this expectation. It has since
appeared, from the evidence given before the Board of Inquiry, that Sir
Arthur Wellesley earnestly exhorted his successor in command (Sir Harry
Burrard) to pursue the defeated enemy at the battle of Vimiera; and
that, if this had been done, the affair, in Sir Arthur Wellesley's
opinion, would have had a much more satisfactory termination. But,
waiving any considerations of this advice, or of the fault which might
be committed in not following it; and taking up the matter from the time
when Sir Hew Dalrymple entered upon the command, and when the two
adverse armies were in that condition, relatively to each other, that
none of the Generals has pleaded any difference of opinion as to their
ability to advance against the enemy, I will ask what confirmation has
appeared before the Board of Inquiry, of the reasonableness of the
causes, assigned by Sir Hew Dalrymple in his letter, for deeming a
Convention adviseable. A want of cavalry, (for which they who occasioned
it are heavily censurable,) has indeed been proved; and certain failures
of duty in the Commissariat department with respect to horses, &c.; but
these deficiencies, though furnishing reasons against advancing upon the
enemy in the open field, had ceased to be of moment, when the business
was to expel him from the forts to which he might have the power of
retreating. It is proved, that, though there are difficulties in landing
upon that coast, (and what military or marine operation can be carried
on without difficulty?) there was not the slightest reason to apprehend
that the army, which was then abundantly supplied, would suffer
hereafter from want of provisions; proved also that heavy ordnance, for
the purpose of attacking the forts, was ready on ship-board, to be
landed when and where it might be needed. Therefore, so far from being
exculpated by the facts which have been laid before the Board of
Inquiry, Sir Hew Dalrymple and the other Generals, who deemed _any_
Convention necessary or expedient upon the grounds stated in his letter,
are more deeply criminated. But grant, (for the sake of looking at a
different part of the subject,) grant a case infinitely stronger than
Sir Hew Dalrymple has even hinted at;--why was not the taste of some of
those evils, in apprehension so terrible, actually tried? It would not
have been the first time that Britons had faced hunger and tempests, had
endured the worst of such enmity, and upon a call, under an obligation,
how faint and feeble, compared with that which the brave men of that
army must have felt upon the present occasion! In the proclamation
quoted before, addressed to the Portugueze, and signed Charles Cotton
and Arthur Wellesley, they were told, that the objects, for which they
contended, 'could only be attained by distinguished examples of
fortitude and constancy.' Where were the fortitude and constancy of the
teachers? When Sir Hew Dalrymple had been so busy in taking the measure
of his own weakness, and feeding his own fears, how came it to escape
him, that General Junot must also have had _his_ weaknesses and _his_
fears? Was it nothing to have been defeated in the open field, where he
himself had been the assailant? Was it nothing that so proud a man, the
servant of so proud a man, had stooped to send a General Officer to
treat concerning the evacuation of the country? Was the hatred and
abhorrence of the Portugueze and Spanish Nations nothing? the people of
a large metropolis under his eye--detesting him, and stung almost to
madness, nothing? The composition of his own army made up of men of
different nations and languages, and forced into the service,--was there
no cause of mistrust in this? And, finally, among the many unsound
places which, had his mind been as active in this sort of inquiry as Sir
Hew Dalrymple's was, he must have found in his constitution, could a bad
cause have been missed--a worse cause than ever confounded the mind of a
soldier when boldly pressed upon, or gave courage and animation to a
righteous assailant? But alas! in Sir Hew Dalrymple and his brethren, we
had Generals who had a power of sight only for the strength of their
enemies and their own weakness.

Let me not be misunderstood. While I am thus forced to repeat things,
which were uttered or thought of these men in reference to their
military conduct, as heads of that army, it is needless to add, that
their personal courage is in no wise implicated in the charge brought
against them. But, in the name of my countrymen, I do repeat these
accusations, and tax them with an utter want of _intellectual_
courage--of that higher quality, which is never found without one or
other of the three accompaniments, talents, genius, or
principle;--talents matured by experience, without which it cannot exist
at all; or the rapid insight of peculiar genius, by which the fitness of
an act may be instantly determined, and which will supply higher motives
than mere talents can furnish for encountering difficulty and danger,
and will suggest better resources for diminishing or overcoming them.
Thus, through the power of genius, this quality of intellectual courage
may exist in an eminent degree, though the moral character be greatly
perverted; as in those personages, who are so conspicuous in history,
conquerors and usurpers, the Alexanders, the Caesars, and Cromwells; and
in that other class still more perverted, remorseless and energetic
minds, the Catilines and Borgias, whom poets have denominated 'bold, bad
men.' But, though a course of depravity will neither preclude nor
destroy this quality, nay, in certain circumstances will give it a
peculiar promptness and hardihood of decision, it is not on this account
the less true, that, to _consummate_ this species of courage, and to
render it equal to all occasions, (especially when a man is not acting
for himself, but has an additional claim on his resolution from the
circumstance of responsibility to a superior) _Principle_ is
indispensibly requisite. I mean that fixed and habitual principle, which
implies the absence of all selfish anticipations, whether of hope or
fear, and the inward disavowal of any tribunal higher and more dreaded
than the mind's own judgment upon its own act. The existence of such
principle cannot but elevate the most commanding genius, add rapidity to
the quickest glance, a wider range to the most ample comprehension; but,
without this principle, the man of ordinary powers must, in the trying
hour, be found utterly wanting. Neither, without it, can the man of
excelling powers be trustworthy, or have at all times a calm and
confident repose in himself. But he, in whom talents, genius, and
principle are united, will have a firm mind, in whatever embarrassment
he may be placed; will look steadily at the most undefined shapes of
difficulty and danger, of possible mistake or mischance; nor will they
appear to him more formidable than they really are. For HIS attention is
not distracted--he has but one business, and that is with the object
before him. Neither in general conduct nor in particular emergencies,
are HIS plans subservient to considerations of rewards, estate, or
title: these are not to have precedence in his thoughts, to govern his
actions, but to follow in the train of his duty. Such men, in ancient
times, were Phocion, Epaminondas, and Philopoemen; and such a man was
Sir Philip Sidney, of whom it has been said, that he first taught this
country _the majesty of honest dealing_. With these may be named, the
honour of our own age, Washington, the deliverer of the American
Continent; with these, though in many things unlike, Lord Nelson, whom
we have lately lost. Lord Peterborough, who fought in Spain a hundred
years ago, had the same excellence; with a sense of exalted honour, and
a tinge of romantic enthusiasm, well suited to the country which was the
scene of his exploits. Would that we had a man, like Peterborough or
Nelson, at the head of our army in Spain at this moment! I utter this
wish with more earnestness, because it is rumoured, that some of those,
who have already called forth such severe reprehension from their
countrymen, are to resume a command, which must entrust to them a
portion of those sacred hopes in which, not only we, and the people of
Spain and Portugal, but the whole human race are so deeply interested.
(_See Appendix C_.)

I maintain then that, merely from want of this intellectual courage, of
courage as generals or chiefs, (for I will not speak at present of the
want of other qualities equally needful upon this service,) grievous
errors were committed by Sir Hew Dalrymple and his colleagues in
estimating the relative state of the two armies. A precious moment, it
is most probable, had been lost after the battle of Vimiera; yet still
the inferiority of the enemy had been proved; they themselves had
admitted it--not merely by withdrawing from the field, but by proposing
terms:--monstrous terms! and how ought they to have been received?
Repelled undoubtedly with scorn, as an insult. If our Generals had been
men capable of taking the measure of their real strength, either as
existing in their own army, or in those principles of liberty and
justice which they were commissioned to defend, they must of necessity
have acted in this manner;--if they had been men of common sagacity for
business, they must have acted in this manner;--nay, if they had been
upon a level with an ordinary bargain-maker in a Fair or a market, they
could not have acted otherwise.--Strange that they should so far forget
the nature of their calling! They were soldiers, and their business was
to fight. Sir Arthur Wellesley had fought, and gallantly; it was not
becoming his high situation, or that of his successors, to treat, that
is, to beat down, to chaffer, or on their part to propose: it does not
become any general at the head of a victorious army so to do.[19]

[19] Those rare cases are of course excepted, in which the superiority
on the one side is not only fairly to be presumed but positive--and so
prominently obtrusive, that to _propose_ terms is to _inflict_ terms.

They were to _accept_,--and, if the terms offered were flagrantly
presumptuous, our commanders ought to have rejected them with dignified
scorn, and to have referred the proposer to the sword for a lesson of
decorum and humility. This is the general rule of all high-minded men
upon such occasions; and meaner minds copy them, doing in prudence what
they do from principle. But it has been urged, before the Board of
Inquiry, that the conduct of the French armies upon like occasions, and
their known character, rendered it probable that a determined resistance
would in the present instance be maintained. We need not fear to say
that this conclusion, from reasons which have been adverted to, was
erroneous. But, in the mind of him who had admitted it upon whatever
ground, whether false or true, surely the first thought which followed,
ought to have been, not that we should bend to the enemy, but that, if
they were resolute in defence, we should learn from that example to be
courageous in attack. The tender feelings, however, are pleaded against
this determination; and it is said, that one of the motives for the
cessation of hostilities was to prevent the further effusion of human
blood.--When, or how? The enemy was delivered over to us; it was not to
be hoped that, cut off from all assistance as they were, these, or an
equal number of men, could ever be reduced to such straits as would
ensure their destruction as an enemy, with so small a sacrifice of life
on their part, or on ours. What then was to be gained by this
tenderness? The shedding of a few drops of blood is not to be risked in
Portugal to-day, and streams of blood must shortly flow from the same
veins in the fields of Spain! And, even if this had not been the assured
consequence, let not the consideration, though it be one which no humane
man can ever lose sight of, have more than its due weight. For national
independence and liberty, and _that_ honour by which these and other
blessings are to be preserved, honour--which is no other than the most
elevated and pure conception of justice which can be formed, these are
more precious than life: else why have we already lost so many brave men
in this struggle?--Why not submit at once, and let the Tyrant mount upon
his throne of universal dominion, while the world lies prostrate at his
feet in indifference and apathy, which he will proclaim to it is peace
and happiness? But peace and happiness can exist only by knowledge and
virtue; slavery has no enduring connection with tranquillity or
security--she cannot frame a league with any thing which is
desirable--she has no charter even for her own ignoble ease and darling
sloth. Yet to this abject condition, mankind, betrayed by an ill-judging
tenderness, would surely be led; and in the face of an inevitable
contradiction! For neither in this state of things would the shedding of
blood be prevented, nor would warfare cease. The only difference would
be, that, instead of wars like those which prevail at this moment,
presenting a spectacle of such character that, upon one side at least, a
superior Being might look down with favour and blessing, there would
follow endless commotions and quarrels without the presence of justice
any where,--in which the alternations of success would not excite a wish
or regret; in which a prayer could not be uttered for a decision either
this way or that;--wars from no impulse in either of the combatants, but
rival instigations of demoniacal passion. If, therefore, by the faculty
of reason we can prophecy concerning the shapes which the future may put
on,--if we are under any bond of duty to succeeding generations, there
is high cause to guard against a specious sensibility, which may
encourage the hoarding up of life for its own sake, seducing us from
those considerations by which we might learn when it ought to be
resigned. Moreover, disregarding future ages, and confining ourselves to
the present state of mankind, it may be safely affirmed that he, who is
the most watchful of the honour of his country, most determined to
preserve her fair name at all hazards, will be found, in any view of
things which looks beyond the passing hour, the best steward of the
_lives_ of his countrymen. For, by proving that she is of a firm temper,
that she will only submit or yield to a point of her own fixing, and
that all beyond is immutable resolution, he will save her from being
wantonly attacked; and, if attacked, will awe the aggressor into a
speedier abandonment of an unjust and hopeless attempt. Thus will he
preserve not only that which gives life its value, but life itself; and
not for his own country merely, but for that of his enemies, to whom he
will have offered an example of magnanimity, which will ensure to them
like benefits; an example, the re-action of which will be felt by his
own countrymen, and will prevent them from becoming assailants unjustly
or rashly. Nations will thus be taught to respect each other, and
mutually to abstain from injuries. And hence, by a benign ordinance of
our nature, genuine honour is the hand-maid of humanity; the attendant
and sustainer--both of the sterner qualities which constitute the
appropriate excellence of the male character, and of the gentle and
tender virtues which belong more especially to motherliness and
womanhood. These general laws, by which mankind is purified and exalted,
and by which Nations are preserved, suggest likewise the best rules for
the preservation of individual armies, and for the accomplishment of all
equitable service upon which they can be sent.

Not therefore rashly and unfeelingly, but from the dictates of
thoughtful humanity, did I say that it was the business of our Generals
to fight, and to persevere in fighting; and that they did not bear this
duty sufficiently in mind; this, almost the sole duty which professional
soldiers, till our time, (happily for mankind) used to think of. But the
victories of the French have been attended every where by the subversion
of Governments; and their generals have accordingly united _political_
with military functions: and with what success this has been done by
them, the present state of Europe affords melancholy proof. But have
they, on this account, ever neglected to calculate upon the advantages
which might fairly be anticipated from future warfare? Or, in a treaty
of to-day, have they ever forgotten a victory of yesterday? Eager to
grasp at the double honour of captain and negociator, have they ever
sacrificed the one to the other; or, in the blind effort, lost both?
Above all, in their readiness to flourish with the pen, have they ever
overlooked the sword, the symbol of their power, and the appropriate
instrument of their success and glory? I notice this assumption of a
double character on the part of the French, not to lament over it and
its consequences, but to render somewhat more intelligible the conduct
of our own Generals; and to explain how far men, whom we have no reason
to believe other than brave, have, through the influence of such
example, lost sight of their primary duties, apeing instead of
imitating, and following only to be misled.

It is indeed deplorable, that our Generals, from this infirmity, or from
any other cause, did not assume that lofty deportment which the
character and relative strength of the two armies authorized them, and
the nature of the service upon which they were sent, enjoined them to
assume;--that they were in such haste to treat--that, with such an enemy
(let me say at once,) and in such circumstances, they should have
treated at all. Is it possible that they could ever have asked
themselves who that enemy was, how he came into that country, and what
he had done there? From the manifesto of the Portugueze government,
issued at Rio Janeiro, and from other official papers, they might have
learned, what was notorious to all Europe, that this body of men
commissioned by Bonaparte, in the time of profound peace, without a
declaration of war, had invaded Portugal under the command of Junot, who
had perfidiously entered the country, as the General of a friendly and
allied Power, assuring the people, as he advanced, that he came to
protect their Sovereign against an invasion of the English; and that,
when in this manner he had entered a peaceable kingdom, which offered no
resistance, and had expelled its lawful Sovereign, he wrung from it
unheard-of contributions, ravaged it, cursed it with domestic pillage
and open sacrilege; and that, when this unoffending people, unable to
endure any longer, rose up against the tyrant, he had given their towns
and villages to the flames, and put the whole country, thus resisting,
under military execution.--Setting aside all natural sympathy with the
Portugueze and Spanish nations, and all prudential considerations of
regard or respect for _their feelings_ towards these men, and for _their
expectations_ concerning the manner in which they ought to be dealt
with, it is plain that the French had forfeited by their crimes all
right to those privileges, or to those modes of intercourse, which one
army may demand from another according to the laws of war. They were not
soldiers in any thing but the power of soldiers, and the outward frame
of an army. During their occupation of Portugal, the laws and customs of
war had never been referred to by them, but as a plea for some enormity,
to the aggravated oppression of that unhappy country! Pillage,
sacrilege, and murder--sweeping murder and individual assassination, had
been proved against them by voices from every quarter. They had outlawed
themselves by their offences from membership in the community of war,
and from every species of community acknowledged by reason. But even,
should any one be so insensible as to question this, he will not at all
events deny, that the French ought to have been dealt with as having put
on a double character. For surely they never considered themselves
merely as an army. They had dissolved the established authorities of
Portugal, and had usurped the civil power of the government; and it was
in this compound capacity, under this twofold monstrous shape, that they
had exercised, over the religion and property of the country, the most
grievous oppressions. What then remained to protect them but their
power?--Right they had none,--and power! it is a mortifying
consideration, but I will ask if Bonaparte, (nor do I mean in the
question to imply any thing to his honour,) had been in the place of Sir
Hew Dalrymple, what would he have thought of their power?--Yet before
this shadow the solid substance of _justice_ melted away.

And this leads me from the contemplation of their errors in the estimate
and application of means, to the contemplation of their heavier errors
and worse blindness in regard to ends. The British Generals acted as if
they had no purpose but that the enemy should be removed from the
country in which they were, upon _any_ terms. Now the evacuation of
Portugal was not the prime object, but the manner in which that event
was to be brought about; this ought to have been deemed first both in
order and importance;--the French were to be subdued, their ferocious
warfare and heinous policy to be confounded; and in this way, and no
other, was the deliverance of that country to be accomplished. It was
not for the soil, or for the cities and forts, that Portugal was valued,
but for the human feeling which was there; for the rights of human
nature which might be there conspicuously asserted; for a triumph over
injustice and oppression there to be achieved, which could neither be
concealed nor disguised, and which should penetrate the darkest corner
of the dark Continent of Europe by its splendour. We combated for
victory in the empire of reason, for strongholds in the imagination.
Lisbon and Portugal, as city and soil, were chiefly prized by us as a
_language_; but our Generals mistook the counters of the game for the
stake played for. The nation required that the French should surrender
at discretion;--grant that the victory of Vimiera had excited some
unreasonable impatience--we were not so overweening as to demand that
the enemy should surrender within a given time, but that they should
surrender. Every thing, short of this, was felt to be below the duties
of the occasion; not only no service, but a grievous injury. Only as far
as there was a prospect of forcing the enemy to an unconditional
submission, did the British Nation deem that they had a right to
interfere;--if that prospect failed, they expected that their army would
know that it became it to retire, and take care of itself. But our
Generals have told us, that the Convention would not have been admitted,
if they had not judged it right to effect, even upon these terms, the
evacuation of Portugal--as ministerial to their future services in
Spain. If this had been a common war between two established governments
measuring with each other their regular resources, there might have been
some appearance of force in this plea. But who does not cry out at once,
that the affections and opinions, that is, the souls of the people of
Spain and Portugal, must be the inspiration and the power, if this
labour is to be brought to a happy end? Therefore it was worse than
folly to think of supporting Spain by physical strength, at the expence
of moral. Besides, she was strong in men; she never earnestly solicited
troops from us; some of the Provinces had even refused them when
offered,--and all had been lukewarm in the acceptance of them. The
Spaniards could not _ultimately_ be benefited but by Allies acting under
the same impulses of honour, roused by a sense of their wrongs, and
sharing their loves and hatreds--above all, their _passion_ for justice.
They had themselves given an example, at Baylen, proclaiming to all the
world what ought to be aimed at by those who would uphold their cause,
and be associated in arms with them. And was the law of justice, which
Spaniards, Spanish peasantry, I might almost say, would not relax in
favour of Dupont, to be relaxed by a British army in favour of Junot?
Had the French commander at Lisbon, or his army, proved themselves less
perfidious, less cruel, or less rapacious than the other? Nay, did not
the pride and crimes of Junot call for humiliation and punishment far
more importunately, inasmuch as his power to do harm, and therefore his
will, keeping pace with it, had been greater? Yet, in the noble letter
of the Governor of Cadiz to Dupont, he expressly tells him, that his
conduct, and that of his army, had been such, that they owed their lives
only to that honour which forbad the Spanish army to become
executioners. The Portugueze also, as appears from various letters
produced before the Board of Inquiry, have shewn to our Generals, as
boldly as their respect for the British Nation would permit them to do,
what _they_ expected. A Portugueze General, who was also a member of the
regency appointed by the Prince Regent, says, in a protest addressed to
Sir Hew Dalrymple, that he had been able to drive the French out of the
provinces of Algarve and Alentejo; and therefore he could not be
convinced, that such a Convention was necessary. What was this but
implying that it was dishonourable, and that it would frustrate the
efforts which his country was making, and destroy the hopes which it had
built upon its own power? Another letter from a magistrate inveighs
against the Convention, as leaving the crimes of the French in Portugal
unpunished; as giving no indemnification for all the murders, robberies,
and atrocities which had been committed by them. But I feel that I shall
be wanting in respect to my countrymen if I pursue this argument
further. I blush that it should be necessary to speak upon the subject
at all. And these are men and things, which we have been reproved for
condemning, because evidence was wanting both as to fact and person! If
there ever was a case, which could not, in any rational sense of the
word, be prejudged, this is one. As to the fact--it appears, and sheds
from its own body, like the sun in heaven, the light by which it is
seen; as to the person--each has written down with his own hand, _I am
the man_. Condemnation of actions and men like these is not, in the
minds of a people, (thanks to the divine Being and to human nature!) a
matter of choice; it is like a physical necessity, as the hand must be
burned which is thrust into the furnace--the body chilled which stands
naked in the freezing north-wind. I am entitled to make this assertion
here, when the _moral_ depravity of the Convention, of which I shall
have to speak hereafter, has not even been touched upon. Nor let it be
blamed in any man, though his station be in private life, that upon this
occasion he speaks publicly, and gives a decisive opinion concerning
that part of this public event, and those measures, which are more
especially military. All have a right to speak, and to make their voices
heard, as far as they have power. For these are times, in which the
conduct of military men concerns us, perhaps, more intimately than that
of any other class; when the business of arms comes unhappily too near
to the fire-side; when the character and duties of a soldier ought to be
understood by every one who values his liberty, and bears in mind how
soon he may have to fight for it. Men will and ought to speak upon
things in which they are so deeply interested; how else are right
notions to spread, or is error to be destroyed? These are times also in
which, if we may judge from the proceedings and result of the Court of
Inquiry, the heads of the army, more than at any other period, stand in
need of being taught wisdom by the voice of the people. It is their own
interest, both as men and as soldiers, that the people should speak
fervently and fearlessly of their actions:--from no other quarter can
they be so powerfully reminded of the duties which they owe to
themselves, to their country, and to human nature. Let any one read the
evidence given before that Court, and he will there see, how much the
intellectual and moral constitution of many of our military officers,
has suffered by a profession, which, if not counteracted by admonitions
willingly listened to, and by habits of meditation, does, more than any
other, denaturalize--and therefore degrade the human being;--he will
note with sorrow, how faint are their sympathies with the best feelings,
and how dim their apprehension of some of the most awful truths,
relating to the happiness and dignity of man in society. But on this I
do not mean to insist at present; it is too weighty a subject to be
treated incidentally: and my purpose is--not to invalidate the authority
of military men, _positively_ considered, upon a military question, but
_comparatively_;--to maintain that there are military transactions upon
which the people have a right to be heard, and upon which their
authority is entitled to far more respect than any man or number of men
can lay claim to, who speak merely with the ordinary professional views
of soldiership;--that there are such military transactions;--and that
_this_ is one of them.

The condemnation, which the people of these islands pronounced upon the
Convention of Cintra considered as to its main _military_ results, that
is, as a treaty by which it was established that the Russian fleet
should be surrendered on the terms specified; and by which, not only the
obligation of forcing the French army to an unconditional surrender was
abandoned, but its restoration in freedom and triumph to its own country
was secured;--the condemnation, pronounced by the people upon a treaty,
by virtue of which these things were to be done, I have
recorded--accounted for--and thereby justified.--I will now proceed to
another division of the subject, on which I feel a still more earnest
wish to speak; because, though in itself of the highest importance, it
has been comparatively neglected;--mean the political injustice and
moral depravity which are stamped upon the front of this agreement, and
pervade every regulation which it contains. I shall shew that our
Generals (and with them our Ministers, as far as they might have either
given directions to this effect, or have countenanced what has been
done)--when it was their paramount duty to maintain at all hazards the
noblest principles in unsuspected integrity; because, upon the summons
of these, and in defence of them, their Allies had risen, and by these
alone could stand--not only did not perform this duty, but descended as
far below the level of ordinary principles as they ought to have mounted
above it;--imitating not the majesty of the oak with which it lifts its
branches towards the heavens, but the vigour with which, in the language
of the poet, it strikes its roots downwards towards hell:--

    Radice in Tartara tendit.

The Armistice is the basis of the Convention; and in the first article
we find it agreed, 'That there shall be a suspension of hostilities
between the forces of his Britannic Majesty, and those of his Imperial
and Royal Majesty, Napoleon I.' I will ask if it be the practice of
military officers, in instruments of this kind, to acknowledge, in the
person of the head of the government with which they are at war, titles
which their own government--for which they are acting--has not
acknowledged. If this be the practice, which I will not stop to
determine, it is grossly improper; and ought to be abolished. Our
Generals, however, had entered Portugal as Allies of a Government by
which this title had been acknowledged; and they might have pleaded this
circumstance in mitigation of their offence; but surely not in an
instrument, where we not only look in vain for the name of the
Portugueze Sovereign, or of the Government which he appointed, or of any
heads or representatives of the Portugueze armies or people as a party
in the contract,--but where it is stipulated (in the 4th article) that
the British General shall engage to include the Portugueze armies in
this Convention. What an outrage!--We enter the Portugueze territory as
Allies; and, without their consent--or even consulting them, we proceed
to form the basis of an agreement, relating--- not to the safety or
interests of our own army--but to Portugueze territory, Portugueze
persons, liberties, and rights,--and engage, out of our own will and
power, to include the Portugueze army, they or their Government willing
or not, within the obligation of this agreement. I place these things in
contrast, viz. the acknowledgement of Bonaparte as emperor and king, and
the utter neglect of the Portugueze Sovereign and Portugueze
authorities, to shew in what spirit and temper these agreements were
entered upon. I will not here insist upon what was our duty, on this
occasion, to the Portugueze--as dictated by those sublime precepts of
justice which it has been proved that they and the Spaniards had risen
to defend,--and without feeling the force and sanctity of which, they
neither could have risen, nor can oppose to their enemy resistance which
has any hope in it; but I will ask, of any man who is not dead to the
common feelings of his social nature--and besotted in understanding, if
this be not a cruel mockery, and which must have been felt, unless it
were repelled with hatred and scorn, as a heart-breaking insult.
Moreover, this conduct acknowledges, by implication, that principle
which by his actions the enemy has for a long time covertly maintained,
and now openly and insolently avows in his words--that power is the
measure of right;--and it is in a steady adherence to this abominable
doctrine that his strength mainly lies. I do maintain then that, as far
as the conduct of our Generals in framing these instruments tends to
reconcile men to this course of action, and to sanction this principle,
they are virtually his Allies: their weapons may be against him, but he
will laugh at their weapons,--for he knows, though they themselves do
not, that their souls are for him. Look at the preamble to the
Armistice! In what is omitted and what is inserted, the French Ruler
could not have fashioned it more for his own purpose if he had traced it
with his own hand. We have then trampled upon a fundamental principle of
justice, and countenanced a prime maxim of iniquity; thus adding, in an
unexampled degree, the foolishness of impolicy to the heinousness of
guilt. A conduct thus grossly unjust and impolitic, without having the
hatred which it inspires neutralised by the contempt, is made
contemptible by utterly wanting that colour of right which authority and
power, put forth in defence of our Allies--in asserting their just
claims and avenging their injuries, might have given. But we, instead of
triumphantly displaying our power towards our enemies, have
ostentatiously exercised it upon our friends; reversing here, as every
where, the practice of sense and reason;--conciliatory even to abject
submission where we ought to have been haughty and commanding,--and
repulsive and tyrannical where we ought to have been gracious and kind.
Even a common law of good breeding would have served us here, had we
known how to apply it. We ought to have endeavoured to raise the
Portugueze in their own estimation by concealing our power in comparison
with theirs; dealing with them in the spirit of those mild and humane
delusions, which spread such a genial grace over the intercourse, and
add so much to the influence of love in the concerns of private life. It
is a common saying, presume that a man is dishonest, and that is the
readiest way to make him so: in like manner it may be said, presume that
a nation is weak, and that is the surest course to bring it to
weakness,--if it be not rouzed to prove its strength by applying it to
the humiliation of your pride. The Portugueze had been weak; and, in
connection with their Allies the Spaniards, they were prepared to become
strong. It was, therefore, doubly incumbent upon us to foster and
encourage them--to look favourably upon their efforts--generously to
give them credit upon their promises--to hope with them and for them;
and, thus anticipating and foreseeing, we should, by a natural
operation of love, have contributed to create the merits which were
anticipated and foreseen. I apply these rules, taken from the
intercourse between individuals, to the conduct of large bodies of men,
or of nations towards each other, because these are nothing but
aggregates of individuals; and because the maxims of all just law, and
the measures of all sane practice, are only an enlarged or modified
application of those dispositions of love and those principles of
reason, by which the welfare of individuals, in their connection with
each other, is promoted. There was also here a still more urgent call
for these courteous and humane principles as guides of conduct; because,
in exact proportion to the physical weakness of Governments, and to the
distraction and confusion which cannot but prevail, when a people is
struggling for independence and liberty, are the well-intentioned and
the wise among them remitted for their support to those benign
elementary feelings of society, for the preservation and cherishing of
which, among other important objects, government was from the beginning
ordained.

Therefore, by the strongest obligations, we were bound to be studious of
a delicate and respectful bearing towards those ill-fated nations, our
Allies: and consequently, if the government of the Portugueze, though
weak in power, possessed their affections, and was strong in right, it
was incumbent upon us to turn our first thoughts to that government,--to
look for it if it were hidden--to call it forth,--and, by our power
combined with that of the people, to assert its rights. Or, if the
government were dissolved and had no existence, it was our duty, in such
an emergency, to have resorted to the nation, expressing its will
through the most respectable and conspicuous authority, through that
which seemed to have the best right to stand forth as its
representative. In whatever circumstances Portugal had been placed, the
paramount right of the Portugueze nation, or government, to appear not
merely as a party but a principal, ought to have been established as a
primary position, without the admission of which, all proposals to treat
would be peremptorily rejected. But the Portugueze _had_ a government;
they had a lawful prince in Brazil; and a regency, appointed by him, at
home; and generals, at the head of considerable bodies of troops,
appointed also by the regency or the prince. Well then might one of
those generals enter a formal protest against the treaty, on account of
its being 'totally void of that deference due to the prince regent, or
the government that represents him; as being hostile to the sovereign
authority and independence of that government; and as being against the
honour, safety, and independence of the nation.' I have already reminded
the reader, of the benign and happy influences which might have attended
upon a different conduct; how much good we might have added to that
already in existence; how far we might have assisted in strengthening,
among our Allies, those powers, and in developing those virtues, which
were producing themselves by a natural process, and to which these
breathings of insult must have been a deadly check and interruption. Nor
would the evil be merely negative; for the interference of professed
friends, acting in this manner, must have superinduced dispositions and
passions, which were alien to the condition of the
Portugueze;--scattered weeds which could not have been found upon the
soil, if our ignorant hands had not sown them. Of this I will not now
speak, for I have already detained the reader too long at the
threshold;--but I have put the master key into his possession; and every
chamber which he opens will be found loathsome as the one which he last
quitted. Let us then proceed.

By the first article of the Convention it is covenanted, that all the
places and forts in the kingdom of Portugal, occupied by the French
troops, shall be delivered to the British army. Articles IV. and XII.
are to the same effect--determining the surrender of Portugueze
fortified places, stores, and ships, to the English forces; but not a
word of their being to be holden in trust for the prince regent, or his
government, to whom they belonged! The same neglect or contempt of
justice and decency is shewn here, as in the preamble to these
instruments. It was further shewn afterwards, by the act of hoisting the
British flag instead of the Portugueze upon these forts, when they were
first taken possession of by the British forces. It is no excuse to say
that this was not intended. Such inattentions are among the most
grievous faults which can be committed; and are _impossible_, when the
affections and understandings of men are of that quality, and in that
state, which are required for a service in which there is any thing
noble or virtuous. Again, suppose that it was the purpose of the
generals, who signed and ratified a Convention containing the articles
in question, that the forts and ships, &c. should be delivered
immediately to the Portugueze government,--would the delivering up of
them wipe away the affront? Would it not rather appear, after the
omission to recognize the right, that we had ostentatiously taken upon
us to bestow--as a boon--- that which they felt to be their own?

Passing by, as already deliberated and decided upon, those conditions,
(Articles II. and III.) by which it is stipulated, that the French army
shall not be considered as prisoners of war, shall be conveyed with
arms, &c. to some port between Rochefort and L'Orient, and be at liberty
to serve; I come to that memorable condition, (Article V.) 'that the
French army shall carry with it all its equipments, that is to say, its
military chests and carriages, attached to the field commissariat and
field hospitals, or shall be allowed to dispose of such part, as the
Commander in Chief may judge it unnecessary to embark. In like manner
all individuals of the army shall be at liberty to dispose of _their
private property_ of _every_ description, with full security hereafter
for the purchasers.' This is expressed still more pointedly in the
Armistice,--though the meaning, implied in the two articles, is
precisely the same. For, in the fifth article of the Armistice, it is
agreed provisionally, 'that all those, of whom the French army consists,
shall be conveyed to France with arms and baggage, _and_ all their
private property of every description, no part of which shall be wrested
from them.' In the Convention it is only expressed, that they shall be
at liberty to depart, (Article II.) with arms and baggage, and (Article
V.) to dispose of their private property of every description. But, if
they had a right to dispose of it, _this_ would include a right to carry
it away--which was undoubtedly understood by the French general. And in
the Armistice it is expressly said, that their private property of every
description shall be conveyed to France along with their persons. What
then are we to understand by the words, _their private property of every
description_? Equipments of the army in general, and baggage of
individuals, had been stipulated for before: now we all know that the
lawful professional gains and earnings of a soldier must be small; that
he is not in the habit of carrying about him, during actual warfare, any
accumulation of these or other property; and that the ordinary private
property, which he can be supposed to have a _just_ title to, is
included under the name of his _baggage_;--therefore this was something
more; and what it was--is apparent. No part of their property, says the
Armistice, shall be _wrested from them_. Who does not see in these words
the consciousness of guilt, an indirect self-betraying admission that
they had in their hands treasures which might be lawfully taken from
them, and an anxiety to prevent that act of justice by a positive
stipulation? Who does not see, on what sort of property the Frenchman
had his eye; that it was not property by right, but their
_possessions_--their plunder--every thing, by what means soever
acquired, that the French army, or any individual in it, was possessed
of? But it has been urged, that the monstrousness of such a supposition
precludes this interpretation, renders it impossible that it could
either be intended by the one party, or so understood by the other. What
right they who signed, and he who ratified this Convention, have to
shelter themselves under this plea--will appear from the 16th and 17th
articles. In these it is stipulated, 'that all subjects of France, or of
Powers in alliance with France, domiciliated in Portugal, or
accidentally in the country, shall have their property of every
kind--moveable and immoveable--guaranteed to them, with liberty of
retaining or disposing of it, and passing the produce into France:' the
same is stipulated, (Article XVII.) for such natives of Portugal as have
sided with the French, or occupied situations under _the French
Government_. Here then is a direct avowal, still more monstrous, that
every Frenchman, or native of a country in alliance with France, however
obnoxious his crimes may have made him, and every traitorous Portugueze,
shall have his property guaranteed to him (both previously to and after
the reinstatement of the Portugueze government) by the British army! Now
let us ask, what sense the word property must have had fastened to it in
_these_ cases. Must it not necessarily have included all the rewards
which the Frenchman had received for his iniquity, and the traitorous
Portugueze for his treason? (for no man would bear a part in such
oppressions, or would be a traitor for nothing; and, moreover, all the
rewards, which the French could bestow, must have been taken from the
Portugueze, extorted from the honest and loyal, to be given to the
wicked and disloyal.) These rewards of iniquity must necessarily have
been included; for, on our side, no attempt is made at a distinction;
and, on the side of the French, the word _immoveable_ is manifestly
intended to preclude such a distinction, where alone it could have been
effectual. Property, then, here means--possessions thus infamously
acquired; and, in the instance of the Portugueze, the fundamental notion
of the word is subverted; for a traitor can have no property, till the
government of his own country has remitted the punishment due to his
crimes. And these wages of guilt, which the master by such exactions was
enabled to pay, and which the servant thus earned, are to be guaranteed
to him by a British _army_! Where does there exist a power on earth that
could confer this right? If the Portugueze government itself had acted
in this manner, it would have been guilty of wilful suicide; and the
nation, if it had acted so, of high treason against itself. Let it not,
then, be said, that the monstrousness of covenanting to convey, along
with the persons of the French, their plunder, secures the article from
the interpretation which the people of Great Britain gave, and which, I
have now proved, they were bound to give to it.--But, conceding for a
moment, that it was not intended that the words should bear this sense,
and that, neither in a fair grammatical construction, nor as illustrated
by other passages or by the general tenour of the document, they
actually did bear it, had not unquestionable voices proclaimed the
cruelty and rapacity--the acts of sacrilege, assassination, and robbery,
by which these treasures had been amassed? Was not the perfidy of the
French army, and its contempt of moral obligation, both as a body and as
to the individuals which composed it, infamous through
Europe?--Therefore, the concession would signify nothing: for our
Generals, by allowing an army of this character to depart with its
equipments, waggons, military chest, and baggage, had provided abundant
means to enable it to carry off whatsoever it desired, and thus to elude
and frustrate any stipulations which might have been made for compelling
it to restore that which had been so iniquitously seized. And here are
we brought back to the fountain-head of all this baseness; to that
apathy and deadness to the principle of justice, through the influence
of which, this army, outlawed by its crimes, was suffered to depart from
the Land, over which it had so long tyrannized--other than as a band of
disarmed prisoners.--I maintain, therefore, that permission to carry off
the booty was distinctly expressed; and, if it had not been so, that
the principle of justice could not here be preserved; as a violation of
it must necessarily have followed from other conditions of the treaty.
Sir Hew Dalrymple himself, before the Court of Inquiry, has told us, in
two letters (to Generals Beresford and Friere,) that 'such part of the
plunder as was in money, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to
identify;' and, consequently, the French could not be prevented from
carrying it away with them. From the same letters we learn, that 'the
French were intending to carry off a considerable part of their plunder,
by calling it public money, and saying that it belonged to the military
chest; and that their evasions of the article were most shameful, and
evinced a want of probity and honour, which was most disgraceful to
them.' If the French had given no other proofs of their want of such
virtues, than those furnished by this occasion, neither the Portugueze,
nor Spanish, nor British nations would condemn them, nor hate them as
they now do; nor would this article of the Convention have excited such
indignation. For the French, by so acting, could not deem themselves
breaking an engagement; no doubt they looked upon themselves as
injured,--that the failure in good faith was on the part of the British;
and that it was in the lawlessness of power, and by a mere quibble, that
this construction was afterwards put upon the article in question.

Widely different from the conduct of the British was that of the
Spaniards in a like case:--with high feeling did they, abating not a jot
or a tittle, enforce the principle of justice. 'How,' says the governor
of Cadiz to General Dupont in the same noble letter before alluded to,
'how,' says he, after enumerating the afflictions which his army, and
the tyrant who had sent it, had unjustly brought upon the Spanish
nation, (for of these, in _their_ dealings with the French, they never
for a moment lost sight,) 'how,' asks he, 'could you expect, that your
army should carry off from Spain the fruit of its rapacity, cruelty, and
impiety? how could you conceive this possible, or that we should be so
stupid or senseless?' And this conduct is as wise in reason as it is
true to nature. The Spanish people could have had no confidence in their
government, if it had not acted thus. These are the sympathies which,
prove that a government is paternal,--that it makes one family with the
people: besides, it is only by such adherence to justice, that, in
times of like commotion, popular excesses can either be mitigated or
prevented. If we would be efficient allies of Spain, nay, if we would
not run the risk of doing infinite harm, these sentiments must not only
be ours as a nation, but they must pervade the hearts of our ministers
and our generals--our agents and our ambassadors. If it be not so, they,
who are sent abroad, must either be conscious how unworthy they are, and
with what unworthy commissions they appear, or not: if they do feel
this, then they must hang their heads, and blush for their country and
themselves; if they do not, the Spaniards must blush for them and revolt
from them; or, what would be ten thousand times more deplorable, they
must purchase a reconcilement and a communion by a sacrifice of all that
is excellent in themselves. Spain must either break down her lofty
spirit, her animation and fiery courage, to run side by side in the same
trammels with Great Britain; or she must start off from her intended
yoke-fellow with contempt and aversion. This is the alternative, and
there is no avoiding it.

I have yet to speak of the influence of such concessions upon the French
Ruler and his army. With what Satanic pride must he have contemplated
the devotion of his servants and adherents to _their_ law, the
steadiness and zeal of their perverse loyalty, and the faithfulness with
which they stand by him and each other! How must his heart have
distended with false glory, while he contrasted these qualities of his
subjects with the insensibility and slackness of his British enemies!
This notice has, however, no especial propriety in this place; for, as
far as concerns Bonaparte, his pride and depraved confidence may be
equally fed by almost all the conditions of this instrument. But, as to
his army, it is plain that the permission (whether it be considered as
by an express article formally granted, or only involved in the general
conditions of the treaty), to bear away in triumph the harvest of its
crimes, must not only have emboldened and exalted it with arrogance, and
whetted its rapacity; but that hereby every soldier, of which this army
was composed, must, upon his arrival in his own country, have been a
seed which would give back plenteously in its kind. The French are at
present a needy people, without commerce or manufactures,--unsettled in
their minds and debased in their morals by revolutionary practices and
habits of warfare; and the youth of the country are rendered desperate
by oppression, which, leaving no choice in their occupation, discharges
them from all responsibility to their own consciences. How powerful then
must have been the action of such incitements upon a people so
circumstanced! The actual sight, and, far more, the imaginary sight and
handling of these treasures, magnified by the romantic tales which must
have been spread about them, would carry into every town and village an
antidote for the terrors of conscription; and would rouze men, like the
dreams imported from the new world when the first discoverers and
adventurers returned, with their ingots and their gold dust--their
stories and their promises, to inflame and madden the avarice of the
old. 'What an effect,' says the Governor of Cadiz, 'must it have upon
the people,' (he means the Spanish people,) 'to know that a single
soldier was carrying away 2580 livres tournois!' What an effect, (he
might have said also,) must it have upon the French!--I direct the
reader's attention to this, because it seems to have been overlooked;
and because some of the public journals, speaking of the Convention,
(and, no doubt, uttering the sentiments of several of their
readers,)--say 'that they are disgusted with the transaction, not
because the French have been permitted to carry off a few diamonds, or
some ingots of silver; but because we confessed, by consenting to the
treaty, that an army of 35,000 British troops, aided by the Portugueze
nation, was not able to compel 20,000 French to surrender at
discretion.' This is indeed the root of the evil, as hath been shewn;
and it is the curse of this treaty, that the several parts of it are of
such enormity as singly to occupy the attention and to destroy
comparison and coexistence. But the people of Great Britain are
disgusted both with the one and the other. They bewail the violation of
the principle: if the value of the things carried off had been in itself
trifling, their grief and their indignation would have been scarcely
less. But it is manifest, from what has been said, that it was not
trifling; and that therefore, (upon that account as well as upon
others,) this permission was no less impolitic than it was unjust and
dishonourable.

In illustrating these articles of the Armistice and Convention, by which
the French were both expressly permitted and indirectly enabled to carry
off their booty, we have already seen, that a concession was made which
is still more enormous; viz. that all subjects of France, or of powers
in alliance with France, domiciliated in Portugal or resident there, and
all natives of Portugal who have accepted situations under _the French
government_, &c., shall have their _property_ of every kind guaranteed
to them by the British army. By articles 16th and 17th, their _persons_
are placed under the like protection. 'The French' (Article XVI.) 'shall
be at liberty either to accompany the French army, or to remain in
Portugal;' 'And the Portugueze' (Article XVII.) 'shall not be rendered
accountable for their political conduct during the period of the
occupation of the country by the French army: they all are placed under
the protection of the British commanders, and shall sustain no injury in
their property or persons.'

I have animadverted, heretofore, upon the unprofessional eagerness of
our Generals to appear in the character of negotiators when the sword
would have done them more service than the pen. But, if they had
confined themselves to mere military regulations, they might indeed with
justice have been grievously censured as injudicious commanders, whose
notion of the honour of armies was of a low pitch, and who had no
conception of the peculiar nature of the service in which they were
engaged: but the censure must have stopped here. Whereas, by these
provisions, they have shewn that they have never reflected upon the
nature of military authority as contra-distinguished from civil. French
example had so far dazzled and blinded them, that the French army is
suffered to denominate itself '_the French government_;' and, from the
whole tenour of these instruments, (from the preamble, and these
articles especially,) it should seem that our Generals fancied
themselves and their army to be _the British government_. For these
regulations, emanating from a mere military authority, are purely civil;
but of such a kind, that no power on earth could confer a right to
establish them. And this trampling upon the most sacred rights--this
sacrifice of the consciousness of a self-preserving principle, without
which neither societies nor governments can exist, is not made by our
generals in relation to subjects of their own sovereign, but to an
independent nation, our ally, into whose territories we could not have
entered but from its confidence in our friendship and good faith. Surely
the persons, who (under the countenance of too high authority) have
talked so loudly of prejudging this question, entirely overlooked or
utterly forgot this part of it. What have these monstrous provisions to
do with the relative strength of the two armies, or with any point
admitting a doubt? What need here of a Court of Judicature to settle who
were the persons (their names are subscribed by their own hands), and to
determine the quality of the thing? Actions and agents like these,
exhibited in this connection with each other, must of necessity be
condemned the moment they are known: and to assert the contrary, is to
maintain that man is a being without understanding, and that morality is
an empty dream. And, if this condemnation must after this manner follow,
to utter it is less a duty than a further inevitable consequence from
the constitution of human nature. They, who hold that the formal
sanction of a Court of Judicature is in this case required before a
people has a right to pass sentence know not to what degree they are
enemies to that people and to mankind; to what degree selfishness,
whether arising from their peculiar situation or from other causes, has
in them prevailed over those faculties which are our common inheritance,
and cut them off from fellowship with the species. Most deplorable would
be the result, if it were possible that the injunctions of these men
could be obeyed, or their remonstrances acknowledged to be just. For,
(not to mention that, if it were not for such prompt decisions of the
public voice, misdemeanours of men high in office would rarely be
accounted for at all,) we must bear in mind, at this crisis, that the
adversary of all good is hourly and daily extending his ravages; and,
according to such notions of fitness, our indignation, our sorrow, our
shame, our sense of right and wrong, and all those moral affections, and
powers of the understanding, by which alone he can be effectually
opposed, are to enter upon a long vacation; their motion is to be
suspended--a thing impossible; if it could, it would be destroyed.

Let us now see what language the Portugueze speak upon that part of the
treaty which has incited me to give vent to these feelings, and to
assert these truths. 'I protest,' says General Friere, 'against Article
XVII., one of the two now under examination, because it attempts to tie
down the government of this kingdom not to bring to justice and condign
punishment those persons, who have been notoriously and scandalously
disloyal to their prince and the country by joining and serving the
French party: and, even if the English army should be allowed to screen
them from the punishment they have deserved, still it should not prevent
their expulsion--whereby this country would no longer have to fear being
again betrayed by the same men.' Yet, while the partizans of the French
are thus guarded, not a word is said to protect the loyal Portugueze,
whose fidelity to their country and their prince must have rendered them
obnoxious to the French army; and who in Lisbon and the environs, were
left at its mercy from the day when the Convention was signed, till the
departure of the French. Couple also with this the first additional
article, by which it is agreed, 'that the individuals in the civil
employment of the army,' (including all the agitators, spies, informers,
all the jackals of the ravenous lion,) 'made prisoners either by the
British troops or the Portugueze in any part of Portugal, will be
restored (_as is customary_) without exchange.' That is, no stipulations
being made for reciprocal conditions! In fact, through the whole course
of this strange interference of a military power with the administration
of civil justice in the country of an Ally, there is only one article
(the 15th) which bears the least shew of attention to Portugueze
interests. By this it is stipulated, 'That, from the date of the
ratification of the Convention, all arrears of contributions,
requisitions, or claims whatever of the French Government against
subjects of Portugal, or any other individuals residing in this country,
founded on the occupation of Portugal by the French troops in the month
of December 1807, which may not have been paid up, are cancelled: and
all sequestrations, laid upon their property moveable or immoveable, are
removed; and the free disposal of the same is restored to the proper
owners.' Which amounts to this. The French are called upon formally to
relinquish, in favour of the Portugueze, that to which they never had
any right; to abandon false claims, which they either had a power to
enforce, or they had not: if they departed immediately and had _not_
power, the article was nugatory; if they remained a day longer and _had_
power, there was no security that they would abide by it. Accordingly,
loud complaints were made that, after the date of the Convention, all
kinds of ravages were committed by the French upon Lisbon and its
neighbourhood: and what did it matter whether these were upon the plea
of old debts and requisitions; or new debts were created more greedily
than ever--from the consciousness that the time for collecting them was
so short? This article, then, the only one which is even in shew
favourable to the Portugueze, is, in substance, nothing: inasmuch as, in
what it is silent upon, (viz. that the People of Lisbon and its
neighbourhood shall not be vexed and oppressed by the French, during
their stay, with new claims and robberies,) it is grossly cruel or
negligent; and, in that for which it actually stipulates, wholly
delusive. It is in fact insulting; for the very admission of a formal
renunciation of these claims does to a certain degree acknowledge their
justice. The only decent manner of introducing matter to this effect
would have been by placing it as a bye clause of a provision that
secured the Portugueze from further molestations, and merely alluding to
it as a thing understood of course. Yet, from the place which this
specious article occupies, (preceding immediately the 16th and 17th
which we have been last considering,) it is clear that it must have been
intended by the French General as honey smeared upon the edge of the
cup--to make the poison, contained in those two, more palateable.

Thus much for the Portugueze, and their particular interests. In one
instance, a concern of the Spanish Nation comes directly under notice;
and that Nation also is treated without delicacy or feeling. For by the
18th article it is agreed, 'that the Spaniards, (4000 in number) who had
been disarmed, and were confined on ship-board in the port of Lisbon by
the French, should be liberated.' And upon what consideration? Not upon
their _right_ to be free, as having been treacherously and cruelly dealt
with by men who were part of a Power that was labouring to subjugate
their country, and in this attempt had committed inhuman crimes against
it;--not even exchanged as soldiers against soldiers:--but the condition
of their emancipation is, that the British General engages 'to obtain of
the Spaniards to restore such French subjects, either military or civil,
as have been detained in Spain, without having been taken in battle or
in consequence of military operations, but on account of the
_occurrences_ of the 29th of last May and the days immediately
following. '_Occurrences_!' I know not what are exactly the features of
the face for which this word serves as a veil: I have no register at
hand to inform me what these events precisely were: but there can be no
doubt that it was a time of triumph for liberty and humanity; and that
the persons, for whom these noble-minded Spaniards were to be exchanged,
were no other than a horde from among the most abject of the French
Nation; probably those wretches, who, having never faced either the
dangers or the fatigues of war, had been most busy in secret
preparations or were most conspicuous in open acts of massacre, when the
streets of Madrid, a few weeks before, had been drenched with the blood
of two thousand of her bravest citizens. Yet the liberation of these
Spaniards, upon these terms, is recorded (in the report of the Court of
Enquiry) 'as one of the advantages which, in the contemplation of the
Generals, would result from the Convention!'

Finally, 'If there shall be any doubt (Article XIV.) as to the meaning
of any article, it shall be explained favourably to the French Army; and
Hostages (Article XX.) of the rank of Field Officers, on the part of the
British Army and Navy, shall be furnished for the guarantee of the
present Convention.'

I have now gone through the painful task of examining the most material
conditions of the CONVENTION of CINTRA:--the whole number of the
articles is twenty-two, with three additional ones--a long ladder into a
deep abyss of infamy!--

Need it be said that neglects--injuries--and insults--like these which
we have been contemplating, come from what quarter they may, let them be
exhibited towards whom they will, must produce not merely mistrust and
jealousy, but alienation and hatred. The passions and feelings may be
quieted or diverted for a short time; but, though out of sight or
seemingly asleep, they must exist; and the life which they have received
cannot, but by a long course of justice and kindness, be overcome and
destroyed. But why talk of a long course of justice and kindness, when
the immediate result must have been so deplorable? Relying upon our
humanity, our fellow-feeling, and our justice, upon these instant and
urgent claims, sanctioned by the more mild one of ancient alliance, the
Portugueze People by voices from every part of their land entreated our
succour; the arrival of a British Army upon their coasts was joyfully
hailed; and the people of the country zealously assisted in landing the
troops; without which help, as a British General has informed us, that
landing could not have been effected. And it is in this manner that
they are repaid! Scarcely have we set foot upon their country before we
sting them into self-reproaches, and act in every thing as if it were
our wish to make them ashamed of their generous confidence as of a
foolish simplicity--proclaiming to them that they have escaped from one
thraldom only to fall into another. If the French had any traitorous
partizans in Portugal, (and we have seen that such there were; and that
nothing was left undone on our part, which could be done, to keep them
there, and to strengthen them) what answer could have been given to one
of these, if (with this treaty in his hand) he had said, 'The French
have dealt hardly with us, I allow; but we have gained nothing: the
change is not for the better, but for the worse: for the appetite of
their tyranny was palled; but this, being new to its food, is keen and
vigorous. If you have only a choice between two masters, (such an
advocate might have argued) chose always the stronger: for he, after his
evil passions have had their first harvest, confident in his strength,
will not torment you wantonly in order to prove it. Besides, the
property which he has in you he can maintain; and there will be no risk
of your being torn in pieces--the unsettled prey of two rival claimants.
You will thus have the advantage of a fixed and assured object of your
hatred: and your fear, being stripped of doubt, will lose its motion and
its edge: both passions will relax and grow mild; and, though they may
not turn into reconcilement and love, though you may not be independent
nor be free, yet you will at least exist in tranquillity,--and possess,
if not the activity of hope, the security of despair.' No effectual
answer, I say, could have been given to a man pleading thus in such
circumstances. So much for the choice of evils. But, for the hope of
good!--what is to become of the efforts and high resolutions of the
Portugueze and Spanish Nations, manifested by their own hand in the
manner which we have seen? They may live indeed and prosper; but not by
us, but in despite of us.

Whatever may be the character of the Portugueze Nation; be it true or
not, that they had a becoming sense of the injuries which they had
received from the French Invader, and were rouzed to throw off
oppression by a universal effort, and to form a living barrier against
it;--certain it is that, betrayed and trampled upon as they had been,
they held unprecedented claims upon humanity to secure them from further
outrages.--Moreover, our conduct towards them was grossly inconsistent.
For we entered their country upon the supposition that they had such
sensibility and virtue; we announced to them publickly and solemnly our
belief in this: and indeed to have landed a force in the Peninsula upon
any other inducement would have been the excess of folly and madness.
But the Portugueze _are_ a brave people--a people of great courage and
worth! Conclusions, drawn from intercourse with certain classes of the
depraved inhabitants of Lisbon only, and which are true only with
respect to them, have been hastily extended to the whole Nation, which
has thus unjustly suffered both in our esteem and in that of all Europe.
In common with their neighbours the Spaniards, they _were_ making a
universal, zealous, and fearless effort; and, whatever may be the final
issue, the very act of having risen under the pressure and in the face
of the most tremendous military power which the earth has ever seen--is
itself evidence in their favour, the strongest and most comprehensive
which can be given; a transcendent glory! which, let it be remembered,
no subsequent failures in duty on their part can forfeit. This they must
have felt--that they had furnished an illustrious example; and that
nothing can abolish their claim upon the good wishes and upon the
gratitude of mankind, which is--and will be through all ages their due.
At such a time, then, injuries and insults from any quarter would have
been deplorable; but, proceeding from us, the evil must have been
aggravated beyond calculation. For we have, throughout Europe, the
character of a sage and meditative people. Our history has been read by
the degraded Nations of the Continent with admiration, and some portions
of it with awe; with a recognition of superiority and distance, which
was honourable to us--salutary for those to whose hearts, in their
depressed state, it could find entrance--and promising for the future
condition of the human race. We have been looked up to as a people who
have acted nobly; whom their constitution of government has enabled to
speak and write freely, and who therefore have thought comprehensively;
as a people among whom philosophers and poets, by their surpassing
genius--their wisdom--and knowledge of human nature, have
circulated--and made familiar--divinely-tempered sentiments and the
purest notions concerning the duties and true dignity of individual and
social man in all situations and under all trials. By so readily
acceding to the prayers with which the Spaniards and Portugueze
entreated our assistance, we had proved to them that we were not wanting
in fellow-feeling. Therefore might we be admitted to be judges between
them and their enemies--unexceptionable judges--more competent even than
a dispassionate posterity, which, from the very want comparatively of
interest and passion, might be in its examination remiss and negligent,
and therefore in its decision erroneous. We, their contemporaries, were
drawn towards them as suffering beings; but still their sufferings were
not ours, nor could be; and we seemed to stand at that due point of
distance from which right and wrong might be fairly looked at and seen
in their just proportions. Every thing conspired to prepossess the
Spaniards and Portugueze in our favour, and to give the judgment of the
British Nation authority in their eyes. Strange, then, would be their
first sensations, when, upon further trial, instead of a growing
sympathy, they met with demonstrations of a state of sentiment and
opinion abhorrent from their own. A shock must have followed upon this
discovery, a shock to their confidence--not perhaps at first in us, but
in themselves: for, like all men under the agitation of extreme passion,
no doubt they had before experienced occasional misgivings that they
were subject to error and distraction from afflictions pressing too
violently upon them. These flying apprehensions would now take a fixed
place; and that moment would be most painful. If they continued to
respect our opinion, so far must they have mistrusted themselves: fatal
mistrust at such a crisis! Their passion of just vengeance, their
indignation, their aspiring hopes, everything that elevated and cheared,
must have departed from them. But this bad influence, the _excess_ of
the outrage would mitigate or prevent; and we may be assured that they
rather recoiled from Allies who had thus by their actions
discountenanced and condemned efforts, which the most solemn testimony
of conscience had avouched to them were just;--that they recoiled from
us with that loathing and contempt which unexpected, determined, and
absolute hostility, upon points of dearest interest will for ever
create.

Again: independence and liberty were the blessings for which the people
of the Peninsula were contending--immediate independence, which was not
to be gained but by modes of exertion from which liberty must ensue.
Now, liberty--healthy, matured, time-honoured liberty--this is the
growth and peculiar boast of Britain; and Nature herself, by encircling
with the ocean the country which we inhabit, has proclaimed that this
mighty Nation is for ever to be her own ruler, and that the land is set
apart for the home of immortal independence. Judging then from these
first fruits of British Friendship, what bewildering and depressing and
hollow thoughts must the Spaniards and Portugueze have entertained
concerning the real value of these blessings, if the people who have
possessed them longest, and who ought to understand them best, could
send forth an army capable of enacting the oppression and baseness of
the Convention of Cintra; if the government of that people could
sanction this treaty; and if, lastly, this distinguished and favoured
people themselves could suffer it to be held forth to the eyes of men as
expressing the sense of their hearts--as an image of their
understandings.

But it did not speak their sense--it was not endured--it was not
submitted to in their hearts. Bitter was the sorrow of the people of
Great Britain when the tidings first came to their ears, when they first
fixed their eyes upon this covenant--overwhelming was their
astonishment, tormenting their shame; their indignation was tumultuous;
and the burthen of the past would have been insupportable, if it had not
involved in its very nature a sustaining hope for the future. Among many
alleviations, there was one, which, (not wisely, but overcome by
circumstances) all were willing to admit;--that the event was so strange
and uncouth, exhibiting such discordant characteristics of innocent
fatuity and enormous guilt, that it could not without violence be
thought of as indicative of a general constitution of things, either in
the country or the government; but that it was a kind of _lusus
naturae_, in the moral world--a solitary straggler out of the
circumference of Nature's law--a monster which could not propagate, and
had no birth-right in futurity. Accordingly, the first expectation was
that the government would deem itself under the necessity of disanulling
the Convention; a necessity which, though in itself a great evil,
appeared small in the eyes of judicious men, compared with the
consequences of admitting that such a contract could be binding. For
they, who had signed and ratified it, had not only glaringly exceeded
all power which could be supposed to be vested in them as holding a
military office; but, in the exercise of political functions, they had
framed ordinances which neither the government, nor the Nation, nor any
Power on earth, could confer upon them a right to frame: therefore the
contract was self-destroying from the beginning. It is a wretched
oversight, or a wilful abuse of terms still more wretched, to speak of
the good faith of a Nation as being pledged to an act which was not a
shattering of the edifice of justice, but a subversion of its
foundations. One man cannot sign away the faculty of reason in another;
much less can one or two individuals do this for a whole people.
Therefore the contract was void, both from its injustice and its
absurdity; and the party, with whom it was made, must have known it to
be so. It could not then but be expected by many that the government
would reject it. Moreover, extraordinary outrages against reason and
virtue demand that extraordinary sacrifices of atonement should be made
upon their altars; and some were encouraged to think that a government
might upon this impulse rise above itself, and turn an exceeding
disgrace into true glory, by a public profession of shame and repentance
for having appointed such unworthy instruments; that, this being
acknowledged, it would clear itself from all imputation of having any
further connection with what had been done, and would provide that the
Nation should as speedily as possible, be purified from all suspicion of
looking upon it with other feelings than those of abhorrence. The people
knew what had been their own wishes when the army was sent in aid of
their Allies; and they clung to the faith, that their wishes and the
aims of the Government must have been in unison; and that the guilt
would soon be judicially fastened upon those who stood forth as
principals, and who (it was hoped) would be found to have fulfilled only
their own will and pleasure,--to have had no explicit commission or
implied encouragement for what they had done,--no accessaries in their
crime. The punishment of these persons was anticipated, not to satisfy
any cravings of vindictive justice (for these, if they could have
existed in such a case, had been thoroughly appeased already: for what
punishment could be greater than to have brought upon themselves the
sentence passed upon them by the voice of their countrymen?); but for
this reason--that a judicial condemnation of the men, who were openly
the proximate cause, and who were forgetfully considered as the single
and sole originating source, would make our detestation of the effect
more signally manifest.

These thoughts, if not welcomed without scruple and relied upon without
fear, were at least encouraged; till it was recollected that the persons
at the head of government had ordered that the event should be
communicated to the inhabitants of the metropolis with signs of national
rejoicing. No wonder if, when these rejoicings were called to mind, it
was impossible to entertain the faith which would have been most
consolatory. The evil appeared no longer as the forlorn monster which I
have described. It put on another shape and was endued with a more
formidable life--with power to generate and transmit after its kind. A
new and alarming import was added to the event by this open testimony of
gladness and approbation; which intimated--which declared--that the
spirit, which swayed the individuals who were the ostensible and
immediate authors of the Convention, was not confined to them; but that
it was widely prevalent: else it could not have been found in the very
council-seat; there, where if wisdom and virtue have not some influence,
what is to become of the Nation in these times of peril? rather say,
into what an abyss is it already fallen!

His Majesty's ministers, by this mode of communicating the tidings,
indiscreet as it was unfeeling, had committed themselves. Yet still they
might have recovered from the lapse, have awakened after a little time.
And accordingly, notwithstanding an annunciation so ominous, it was
matter of surprise and sorrow to many, that the ministry appeared to
deem the Convention binding, and that its terms were to be fulfilled.
There had indeed been only a choice of evils: but, of the two the
worse--ten thousand times the worse--was fixed upon. The ministers,
having thus officially applauded the treaty,--and, by suffering it to be
carried into execution, made themselves a party to the
transaction,--drew upon themselves those suspicions which will ever
pursue the steps of public men who abandon the direct road which leads
to the welfare of their country. It was suspected that they had taken
this part against the dictates of conscience, and from selfishness and
cowardice; that, from the first, they reasoned thus within
themselves:--'If the act be indeed so criminal as there is cause to
believe that the public will pronounce it to be; and if it shall
continue to be regarded as such; great odium must sooner or later fall
upon those who have appointed the agents: and this odium, which will be
from the first considerable, in spite of the astonishment and
indignation of which the framers of the Convention may be the immediate
object, will, when the astonishment has relaxed, and the angry passions
have died away, settle (for many causes) more heavily upon those who, by
placing such men in the command, are the original source of the guilt
and the dishonour. How then is this most effectually to be prevented? By
endeavouring to prevent or to destroy, as far as may be, the odium
attached to the act itself.' For which purpose it was suspected that the
rejoicings had been ordered; and that afterwards (when the people had
declared themselves so loudly),--partly upon the plea of the good faith
of the Nation being pledged, and partly from a false estimate of the
comparative force of the two obligations,--the Convention, in the same
selfish spirit, was carried into effect: and that the ministry took upon
itself a final responsibility, with a vain hope that, by so doing and
incorporating its own credit with the transaction, it might bear down
the censures of the people, and overrule their judgment to the
super-inducing of a belief, that the treaty was not so unjust and
inexpedient: and thus would be included--in one sweeping
exculpation--the misdeeds of the servant and the master.

But,--whether these suspicions were reasonable or not, whatever motives
produced a determination that the Convention should be acted
upon,--there can be no doubt of the manner in which the ministry wished
that the people should appreciate it; when the same persons, who had
ordered that it should at first be received with rejoicing, availed
themselves of his Majesty's high authority to give a harsh reproof to
the City of London for having prayed 'that an enquiry might be
instituted into this dishonourable and unprecedented transaction.' In
their petition they styled it also 'an afflicting event--humiliating and
degrading to the country, and injurious to his Majesty's Allies.' And
for this, to the astonishment and grief of all sound minds, the
petitioners were severely reprimanded; and told, among other
admonitions, 'that it was inconsistent with the principles of British
jurisprudence to pronounce judgement without previous investigation.'

Upon this charge, as re-echoed in its general import by persons who have
been over-awed or deceived, and by others who have been wilful
deceivers, I have already incidentally animadverted; and repelled it, I
trust, with becoming, indignation. I shall now meet the charge for the
last time formally and directly; on account of considerations applicable
to all times; and because the whole course of domestic proceedings
relating to the Convention of Cintra, combined with menaces which have
been recently thrown out in the lower House of Parliament, renders it
too probable that a league has been framed for the purpose of laying
further restraints upon freedom of speech and of the press; and that the
reprimand to the City of London was devised by ministers as a
preparatory overt act of this scheme; to the great abuse of the
Sovereign's Authority, and in contempt of the rights of the Nation. In
meeting this charge, I shall shew to what desperate issues men are
brought, and in what woeful labyrinths they are entangled, when, under
the pretext of defending instituted law, they violate the laws of reason
and nature for their own unhallowed purposes.

If the persons, who signed this petition, acted inconsistently with the
principles of British jurisprudence; the offence must have been
committed by giving an answer, before adequate and lawful evidence had
entitled them so to do, to one or other of these questions:--'What is
the act? and who is the agent?'--or to both conjointly. Now the petition
gives no opinion upon the agent; it pronounces only upon the act, and
that some one must be guilty; but _who_--it does not take upon itself to
say. It condemns the act; and calls for punishment upon the authors,
whosoever they may be found to be; and does no more. After the analysis
which has been made of the Convention, I may ask if there be any thing
in this which deserves reproof; and reproof from an authority which
ought to be most enlightened and most dispassionate,--as it is, next to
the legislative, the most solemn authority in the Land.

It is known to every one that the privilege of complaint and petition,
in cases where the Nation feels itself aggrieved, _itself_ being the
judge, (and who else ought to be, or can be?)--a privilege, the
exercise of which implies condemnation of something complained of,
followed by a prayer for its removal or correction--not only is
established by the most grave and authentic charters of Englishmen, who
have been taught by their wisest statesmen and legislators to be jealous
over its preservation, and to call it into practice upon every
reasonable occasion; but also that this privilege is an indispensable
condition of all civil liberty. Nay, of such paramount interest is it to
mankind, existing under any frame of Government whatsoever; that, either
by law or custom, it has universally prevailed under all
governments--from the Grecian and Swiss Democracies to the Despotisms of
Imperial Rome, of Turkey, and of France under her present ruler. It must
then be a high principle which could exact obeisance from governments at
the two extremes of polity, and from all modes of government
inclusively; from the best and from the worst; from magistrates acting
under obedience to the stedfast law which expresses the general will;
and from depraved and licentious tyrants, whose habit it is--to express,
and to act upon, their own individual will. Tyrants have seemed to feel
that, if this principle were acknowledged, the subject ought to be
reconciled to any thing; that, by permitting the free exercise of this
right alone, an adequate price was paid down for all abuses; that a
standing pardon was included in it for the past, and a daily renewed
indulgence for every future enormity. It is then melancholy to think
that the time is come when an attempt has been made to tear, out of the
venerable crown of the Sovereign of Great Britain, a gem which is in the
very front of the turban of the Emperor of Morocco.--(_See Appendix D_.)

To enter upon this argument is indeed both astounding and humiliating:
for the adversary in the present case is bound to contend that we cannot
pronounce upon evil or good, either in the actions of our own or in past
times, unless the decision of a Court of Judicature has empowered us so
to do. Why then have historians written? and why do we yield to the
impulses of our nature, hating or loving--approving or condemning
according to the appearances which their records present to our eyes?
But the doctrine is as nefarious as it is absurd. For those public
events in which men are most interested, namely, the crimes of rulers
and of persons in high authority, for the most part are such as either
have never been brought before tribunals at all, or before unjust ones:
for, though offenders may be in hostility with each other, yet the
kingdom of guilt is not wholly divided against itself; its subjects are
united by a general interest to elude or overcome that law which would
bring them to condign punishment. Therefore to make a verdict of a Court
of Judicature a necessary condition for enabling men to determine the
quality of an act, when the 'head and front'--the life and soul of the
offence may have been, that it eludes or rises above the reach of all
judicature, is a contradiction which would be too gross to merit notice,
were it not that men willingly suffer their understandings to stagnate.
And hence this rotten bog, rotten and unstable as the crude consistence
of Milton's Chaos, 'smitten' (for I will continue to use the language of
the poet) 'by the petrific mace--and bound with Gorgonian rigour by the
look'--of despotism, is transmuted; and becomes a high-way of adamant
for the sorrowful steps of generation after generation.

Again: in cases where judicial inquiries can be and are instituted, and
are equitably conducted, this suspension of judgment, with respect to
act or agent, is only supposed necessarily to exist in the Court itself;
not in the witnesses, the plaintiffs or accusers, or in the minds even
of the people who may be present. If the contrary supposition were
realized, how could the arraigned person ever have been brought into
Court? What would become of the indignation, the hope, the sorrow, or
the sense of justice, by which the prosecutors, or the people of the
country who pursued or apprehended the presumed criminal, or they who
appear in evidence against him, are actuated? If then this suspension of
judgment, by a law of human nature and a requisite of society, is not
supposed _necessarily_ to exist--except in the minds of the Court; if
this be undeniable in cases where the eye and ear-witnesses are
few;--how much more so in a case like the present; where all, that
constitutes the essence of the act, is avowed by the agents themselves,
and lies bare to the notice of the whole world?--Now it was in the
character of complainants and denunciators, that the petitioners of the
City of London appeared before his Majesty's throne; and they have been
reproached by his Majesty's ministers under the cover of a sophism,
which, if our anxiety to interpret favourably words sanctioned by the
First Magistrate--makes us unwilling to think it a deliberate artifice
meant for the delusion of the people, must however (on the most
charitable comment) be pronounced an evidence of no little heedlessness
and self-delusion on the part of those who framed it.

To sum up the matter--the right of petition (which, we have shewn as a
general proposition, supposes a right to condemn, and is in itself an
act of qualified condemnation) may in too many instances take the ground
of absolute condemnation, both with respect to the crime and the
criminal. It was confined, in this case, to the crime; but, if the City
of London had proceeded farther, they would have been justifiable;
because the delinquents had set their hands to their own delinquency.
The petitioners, then, are not only clear of all blame; but are entitled
to high praise: and we have seen whither the doctrines lead, upon which
they were condemned.--And now, mark the discord which will ever be found
in the actions of men, where there is no inward harmony of reason or
virtue to regulate the outward conduct.

Those ministers, who advised their Sovereign to reprove the City of
London for uttering prematurely, upon a measure, an opinion in which
they were supported by the unanimous voice of the nation, had themselves
before publickly prejudged the question by ordering that the tidings
should be communicated with rejoicings. One of their body has since
attempted to wipe away this stigma by representing that these orders
were given out of a just tenderness for the reputation of the generals,
who would otherwise have appeared to be condemned without trial. But did
these rejoicings leave the matter indifferent? Was not the _positive_
fact of thus expressing an opinion (above all in a case like this, in
which surely no man could ever dream that there were any features of
splendour) far stronger language of approbation, than the _negative_
fact could be of disapprobation? For these same ministers who had called
upon the people of Great Britain to rejoice over the Armistice and
Convention, and who reproved and discountenanced and suppressed to the
utmost of their power every attempt at petitioning for redress of the
injury caused by those treaties, have now made publick a document from
which it appears that, 'when the instruments were first laid before his
Majesty, the king felt himself compelled _at once_' (i.e. previously to
all investigation) 'to express his disapprobation of those articles, in
which stipulations were made directly affecting the interests or
feelings of the Spanish and Portugueze nations.'

And was it possible that a Sovereign of a free country could be
otherwise affected? It is indeed to be regretted that his Majesty's
censure was not, upon this occasion, radical--and pronounced in a
sterner tone; that a Council was not in existence sufficiently
intelligent and virtuous to advise the king to give full expression to
the sentiments of his own mind; which, we may reasonably conclude, were
in sympathy with those of a brave and loyal people. Never surely was
there a public event more fitted to reduce men, in all ranks of society,
under the supremacy of their common nature; to impress upon them one
belief; to infuse into them one spirit. For it was not done in a remote
corner by persons of obscure rank; but in the eyes of Europe and of all
mankind; by the leading authorities, military and civil, of a mighty
empire. It did not relate to a petty immunity, or a local and insulated
privilege--but to the highest feelings of honour to which a Nation may
either be calmly and gradually raised by a long course of independence,
liberty, and glory; or to the level of which it may be lifted up at
once, from a fallen state, by a sudden and extreme pressure of violence
and tyranny. It not only related to these high feelings of honour; but
to the fundamental principles of justice, by which life and property,
that is the means of living, are secured.

A people, whose government had been dissolved by foreign tyranny, and
which had been left to work out its salvation by its own virtues, prayed
for our help. And whence were we to learn how that help could be most
effectually given, how they were even to be preserved from receiving
injuries instead of benefits at our hands,--whence were we to learn this
but from their language and from our own hearts? They had spoken of
unrelenting and inhuman wrongs; of patience wearied out; of the
agonizing yoke cast off; of the blessed service of freedom chosen; of
heroic aspirations; of constancy, and fortitude, and perseverance; of
resolution even to the death; of gladness in the embrace of death; of
weeping over the graves of the slain, by those who had not been so happy
as to die; of resignation under the worst final doom; of glory, and
triumph, and punishment. This was the language which we heard--this was
the devout hymn that was chaunted; and the responses, with which our
country bore a part in the solemn service, were from her soul and from
the depths of her soul.

O sorrow! O misery for England, the Land of liberty and courage and
peace; the Land trustworthy and long approved; the home of lofty example
and benign precept; the central orb to which, as to a fountain, the
nations of the earth 'ought to repair, and in their golden urns draw
light;'--O sorrow and shame for our country; for the grass which is upon
her fields, and the dust which is in her graves;--for her good men who
now look upon the day;--and her long train of deliverers and defenders,
her Alfred, her Sidneys, and her Milton; whose voice yet speaketh for
our reproach; and whose actions survive in memory to confound us, or to
redeem!

For what hath been done? look at it: we have looked at it: we have
handled it: we have pondered it steadily: we have tried it by the
principles of absolute and eternal justice; by the sentiments of
high-minded honour, both with reference to their general nature, and to
their especial exaltation under present circumstances; by the rules of
expedience; by the maxims of prudence, civil and military: we have
weighed it in the balance of all these, and found it wanting; in that,
which is most excellent, most wanting.

Our country placed herself by the side of Spain, and her fellow Nation;
she sent an honourable portion of her sons to aid a suffering people to
subjugate or destroy an army--but I degrade the word--a banded multitude
of perfidious oppressors, of robbers and assassins, who had outlawed
themselves from society in the wantonness of power; who were abominable
for their own crimes, and on account of the crimes of him whom they
served--to subjugate or destroy these; not exacting that it should be
done within a limited time; admitting even that they might effect their
purpose or not; she could have borne either issue, she was prepared for
either; but she was not prepared for such a deliverance as hath been
accomplished; not a deliverance of Portugal from French oppression, but
of the oppressor from the anger and power (at least from the animating
efforts) of the Peninsula: she was not prepared to stand between her
Allies, and their worthiest hopes: that, when chastisement could not be
inflicted, honour--as much as bad men could receive--should be
conferred: that them, whom her own hands had humbled, the same hands and
no other should exalt: that finally the sovereign of this horde of
devastators, himself the destroyer of the hopes of good men, should have
to say, through the mouth of his minister, and for the hearing of all
Europe, that his army of Portugal had 'DICTATED THE TERMS OF ITS
GLORIOUS RETREAT.'

I have to defend my countrymen: and, if their feelings deserve
reverence, if there be any stirrings of wisdom in the motions of their
souls, my task is accomplished. For here were no factions to blind; no
dissolution of established authorities to confound; no ferments to
distemper; no narrow selfish interests to delude. The object was at a
distance; and it rebounded upon us, as with force collected from a
mighty distance; we were calm till the very moment of transition; and
all the people were moved--and felt as with one heart, and spake as with
one voice. Every human being in these islands was unsettled; the most
slavish broke loose as from fetters; and there was not an individual--it
need not be said of heroic virtue, but of ingenuous life and sound
discretion--who, if his father, his son, or his brother, or if the
flower of his house had been in that army, would not rather that they
had perished, and the whole body of their countrymen, their companions
in arms, had perished to a man, than that a treaty should have been
submitted to upon such conditions. This was the feeling of the people;
an awful feeling: and it is from these oracles that rulers are to learn
wisdom.

For, when the people speaks loudly, it is from being strongly possessed
either by the Godhead or the Demon; and he, who cannot discover the true
spirit from the false, hath no ear for profitable communion. But in all
that regarded the destinies of Spain, and her own as connected with
them, the voice of Britain had the unquestionable sound of inspiration.
If the gentle passions of pity, love, and gratitude, be porches of the
temple; if the sentiments of admiration and rivalry be pillars upon
which the structure is sustained; if, lastly, hatred, and anger, and
vengeance, be steps which, by a mystery of nature, lead to the House of
Sanctity;--then was it manifest to what power the edifice was
consecrated; and that the voice within was of Holiness and Truth.

Spain had risen not merely to be delivered and saved;--deliverance and
safety were but intermediate objects;--regeneration and liberty were the
end, and the means by which this end was to be attained; had their own
high value; were determined and precious; and could no more admit of
being departed from, than the end of being forgotten.--She had
risen--not merely to be free; but, in the act and process of acquiring
that freedom, to recompense herself, as it were in a moment, for all
which she had suffered through ages; to levy, upon the false fame of a
cruel Tyrant, large contributions of true glory; to lift herself, by the
conflict, as high in honour--as the disgrace was deep to which her own
weakness and vices, and the violence and perfidy of her enemies, had
subjected her.

Let us suppose that our own Land had been so outraged; could we have
been content that the enemy should be wafted from our shores as lightly
as he came,--much less that he should depart illustrated in his own eyes
and glorified, singing songs of savage triumph and wicked
gaiety?--No.--Should we not have felt that a high trespass--a grievous
offence had been committed; and that to demand satisfaction was our
first and indispensable duty? Would we not have rendered their bodies
back upon our guardian ocean which had borne them hither; or have
insisted that their haughty weapons should submissively kiss the soil
which they had polluted? We should have been resolute in a defence that
would strike awe and terror: this for our dignity:--moreover, if safety
and deliverance are to be so fondly prized for their own sakes, what
security otherwise could they have? Would it not be certain that the
work, which had been so ill done to-day, we should be called upon to
execute still more imperfectly and ingloriously to-morrow; that we
should be summoned to an attempt that would be vain?

In like manner were the wise and heroic Spaniards moved. If an Angel
from heaven had come with power to take the enemy from their grasp (I do
not fear to say this, in spite of the dominion which is now re-extended
over so large a portion of their Land), they would have been sad; they
would have looked round them; their souls would have turned inward; and
they would have stood like men defrauded and betrayed.

For not presumptuously had they taken upon themselves the work of
chastisement. They did not wander madly about the world--like the
Tamerlanes, or the Chengiz Khans, or the present barbarian Ravager of
Europe--under a mock title of Delegates of the Almighty, acting upon
self-assumed authority. Their commission had been thrust upon them. They
had been trampled upon, tormented, wronged--bitterly, wantonly wronged,
if ever a people on the earth was wronged. And this it was which
legitimately incorporated their law with the supreme conscience, and
gave to them the deep faith which they have expressed--that their power
was favoured and assisted by the Almighty.--These words are not uttered
without a due sense of their awful import: but the Spirit of evil is
strong: and the subject requires the highest mode of thinking and
feeling of which human nature is capable.--Nor in this can they be
deceived; for, whatever be the immediate issue for themselves, the final
issue for their Country and Mankind must be good;--they are instruments
of benefit and glory for the human race; and the Deity therefore is with
them.

From these impulses, then, our brethren of the Peninsula had risen; they
could have risen from no other. By these energies, and by such others as
(under judicious encouragement) would naturally grow out of and unite
with these, the multitudes, who have risen, stand; and, if they desert
them, must fall.--Riddance, mere riddance--safety, mere safety--are
objects far too defined, too inert and passive in their own nature, to
have ability either to rouze or to sustain. They win not the mind by any
attraction of grandeur or sublime delight, either in effort or in
endurance: for the mind gains consciousness of its strength to undergo
only by exercise among materials which admit the impression of its
power,--which grow under it, which bend under it,--which resist,--which
change under its influence,--which alter either through its might or in
its presence, by it or before it. These, during times of tranquillity,
are the objects with which, in the studious walks of sequestered life,
Genius most loves to hold intercourse; by which it is reared and
supported;--these are the qualities in action and in object, in image,
in thought, and in feeling, from communion with which proceeds
originally all that is creative in art and science, and all that is
magnanimous in virtue.--Despair thinks of _safety_, and hath no purpose;
fear thinks of safety; despondency looks the same way:--but these
passions are far too selfish, and therefore too blind, to reach the
thing at which they aim; even when there is in them sufficient dignity
to have an aim.--All courage is a projection from ourselves; however
short-lived, it is a motion of hope. But these thoughts bind too closely
to something inward,--to the present and to the past,--that is, to the
self which is or has been. Whereas the vigour of the human soul is from
without and from futurity,--in breaking down limit, and losing and
forgetting herself in the sensation and image of Country and of the
human race; and, when she returns and is most restricted and confined,
her dignity consists in the contemplation of a better and more exalted
being, which, though proceeding from herself, she loves and is devoted
to as to another.

In following the stream of these thoughts, I have not wandered from my
course: I have drawn out to open day the truth from its recesses in the
minds of my countrymen.--Something more perhaps may have been done: a
shape hath perhaps been given to that which was before a stirring
spirit. I have shewn in what manner it was their wish that the struggle
with the adversary of all that is good should be maintained--by pure
passions and high actions. They forbid that their noble aim should be
frustrated by measuring against each other things which are
incommensurate--mechanic against moral power--body against soul. They
will not suffer, without expressing their sorrow, that purblind
calculation should wither the purest hopes in the face of all-seeing
justice. These are times of strong appeal--of deep-searching visitation;
when the best abstractions of the prudential understanding give way, and
are included and absorbed in a supreme comprehensiveness of intellect
and passion; which is the perfection and the very being of humanity.

How base! how puny! how inefficient for all good purposes are the tools
and implements of policy, compared with these mighty engines of
Nature!--There is no middle course: two masters cannot be
served:--Justice must either be enthroned above might, and the moral law
take place of the edicts of selfish passion; or the heart of the people,
which alone can sustain the efforts of the people, will languish: their
desires will not spread beyond the plough and the loom, the field and
the fire-side: the sword will appear to them an emblem of no promise; an
instrument of no hope; an object of indifference, of disgust, or fear.
Was there ever--since the earliest actions of men which have been
transmitted by affectionate tradition or recorded by faithful history,
or sung to the impassioned harp of poetry--was there ever a people who
presented themselves to the reason and the imagination, as under more
holy influences than the dwellers upon the Southern Peninsula; as rouzed
more instantaneously from a deadly sleep to a more hopeful wakefulness;
as a mass fluctuating with one motion under the breath of a mightier
wind; as breaking themselves up, and settling into several bodies, in
more harmonious order; as reunited and embattled under a standard which
was reared to the sun with more authentic assurance of final
victory?--The superstition (I do not dread the word), which prevailed in
these nations, may have checked many of my countrymen who would
otherwise have exultingly accompanied me in the challenge which, under
the shape of a question, I have been confidently uttering; as I know
that this stain (so the same persons termed it) did, from the beginning,
discourage their hopes for the cause. Short-sighted despondency!
Whatever mixture of superstition there might be in the religious faith
or devotional practices of the Spaniards; this must have necessarily
been transmuted by that triumphant power, wherever that power was felt,
which grows out of intense moral suffering--from the moment in which it
coalesces with fervent hope. The chains of bigotry, which enthralled the
mind, must have been turned into armour to defend and weapons to annoy.
Wherever the heaving and effort of freedom was spread, purification must
have followed it. And the types and ancient instruments of error, where
emancipated men shewed their foreheads to the day, must have become a
language and a ceremony of imagination; expressing, consecrating, and
invigorating, the most pure deductions of Reason and the holiest
feelings of universal Nature.

When the Boy of Saragossa (as we have been told), too immature in growth
and unconfirmed in strength to be admitted by his Fellow-citizens into
their ranks, too tender of age for them to bear the sight of him in
arms--when this Boy, forgetful or unmindful of the restrictions which
had been put upon him, rushed into the field where his Countrymen were
engaged in battle, and, fighting with the sinew and courage of an unripe
Hero, won a standard from the enemy, and bore his acquisition to the
Church, and laid it with his own hands upon the Altar of the
Virgin;--surely there was not less to be hoped for his Country from this
act, than if the banner, taken from his grasp, had, without any such
intermediation, been hung up in the place of worship--a direct offering
to the incorporeal and supreme Being. Surely there is here an object
which the most meditative and most elevated minds may contemplate with
absolute delight; a well-adapted outlet for the dearest sentiments; an
organ by which they may act; a function by which they may be
sustained.--Who does not recognise in this presentation a visible
affinity with deliverance, with patriotism, with hatred of oppression,
and with human means put forth to the height for accomplishing, under
divine countenance, the worthiest ends?

Such is the burst and growth of power and virtue which may rise out of
excessive national afflictions from tyranny and oppression;--such is the
hallowing influence, and thus mighty is the sway, of the spirit of moral
justice in the heart of the individual and over the wide world of
humanity. Even the very faith in present miraculous interposition, which
is so dire a weakness and cause of weakness in tranquil times when the
listless Being turns to it as a cheap and ready substitute upon every
occasion, where the man sleeps, and the Saint, or the image of the
Saint, is to perform his work, and to give effect to his wishes;--even
this infirm faith, in a state of incitement from extreme passion
sanctioned by a paramount sense of moral justice; having for its object
a power which is no longer sole nor principal, but secondary and
ministerial; a power added to a power; a breeze which springs up
unthought-of to assist the strenuous oarsman;--even this faith is
subjugated in order to be exalted; and--instead of operating as a
temptation to relax or to be remiss, as an encouragement to indolence or
cowardice; instead of being a false stay, a necessary and definite
dependence which may fail--it passes into a habit of obscure and
infinite confidence of the mind in its own energies, in the cause from
its own sanctity, and in the ever-present invisible aid or momentary
conspicuous approbation of the supreme Disposer of things.

Let the fire, which is never wholly to be extinguished, break out
afresh; let but the human creature be rouzed; whether he have lain
heedless and torpid in religious or civil slavery--have languished
under a thraldom, domestic or foreign, or under both these
alternately--or have drifted about a helpless member of a clan of
disjointed and feeble barbarians; let him rise and act;--and his
domineering imagination, by which from childhood he has been betrayed,
and the debasing affections, which it has imposed upon him, will from
that moment participate the dignity of the newly ennobled being whom
they will now acknowledge for their master; and will further him in his
progress, whatever be the object at which he aims. Still more inevitable
and momentous are the results, when the individual knows that the fire,
which is reanimated in him, is not less lively in the breasts of his
associates; and sees the signs and testimonies of his own power,
incorporated with those of a growing multitude and not to be
distinguished from them, accompany him wherever he moves.--Hence those
marvellous achievements which were performed by the first enthusiastic
followers of Mohammed; and by other conquerors, who with their armies
have swept large portions of the earth like a transitory wind, or have
founded new religions or empires.--But, if the object contended for be
worthy and truly great (as, in the instance of the Spaniards, we have
seen that it is); if cruelties have been committed upon an ancient and
venerable people, which 'shake the human frame with horror;' if not
alone the life which is sustained by the bread of the mouth, but
that--without which there is no life--the life in the soul, has been
directly and mortally warred against; if reason has had abominations to
endure in her inmost sanctuary;--then does intense passion, consecrated
by a sudden revelation of justice, give birth to those higher and better
wonders which I have described; and exhibit true miracles to the eyes of
men, and the noblest which can be seen. It may be added that,--as this
union brings back to the right road the faculty of imagination, where it
is prone to err, and has gone farthest astray; as it corrects those
qualities which (being in their essence indifferent), and cleanses those
affections which (not being inherent in the constitution of man, nor
necessarily determined to their object) are more immediately dependent
upon the imagination, and which may have received from it a thorough
taint of dishonour;--so the domestic loves and sanctities which are in
their nature less liable to be stained,--so these, wherever they have
flowed with a pure and placid stream, do instantly, under the same
influence, put forth their strength as in a flood; and, without being
sullied or polluted, pursue--exultingly and with song--a course which
leads the contemplative reason to the ocean of eternal love.

I feel that I have been speaking in a strain which it is difficult to
harmonize with the petty irritations, the doubts and fears, and the
familiar (and therefore frequently undignified) exterior of present and
passing events. But the theme is justice: and my voice is raised for
mankind; for us who are alive, and for all posterity:--justice and
passion; clear-sighted aspiring justice, and passion sacred as vehement.
These, like twin-born Deities delighting in each other's presence, have
wrought marvels in the inward mind through the whole region of the
PyrenÎan Peninsula. I have shewn by what process these united powers
sublimated the objects of outward sense in such rites--practices--and
ordinances of Religion--as deviate from simplicity and wholesome piety;
how they converted them to instruments of nobler use; and raised them to
a conformity with things truly divine. The same reasoning might have
been carried into the customs of civil life and their accompanying
imagery, wherever these also were inconsistent with the dignity of man;
and like effects of exaltation and purification have been shewn.

But a more urgent service calls me to point to further works of these
united powers, more obvious and obtrusive--works and appearances, such
as were hailed by the citizen of Seville when returning from
Madrid;--'where' (to use the words of his own public declaration) 'he
had left his countrymen groaning in the chains which perfidy had thrown
round them, and doomed at every step to the insult of being eyed with
the disdain of the conqueror to the conquered; from Madrid threatened,
harrassed, and vexed; where mistrust reigned in every heart, and the
smallest noise made the citizens tremble in the bosom of their families;
where the enemy, from time to time, ran to arms to sustain the
impression of terror by which the inhabitants had been stricken through
the recent massacre; from Madrid a prison, where the gaolers took
pleasure in terrifying the prisoners by alarms to keep them quiet; from
Madrid thus tortured and troubled by a relentless Tyrant, to fit it for
the slow and interminable evils of Slavery;'--when he returned, and was
able to compare the oppressed and degraded state of the inhabitants of
that metropolis with the noble attitude of defence in which Andalusia
stood. 'A month ago,' says he, 'the Spaniards had lost their
country;--Seville has restored it to life more glorious than ever; and
those fields, which for so many years have seen no steel but that of the
plough-share, are going amid the splendour of arms to prove the new
cradle of their adored country.'--'I could not,' he adds, 'refrain from
tears of joy on viewing the city in which I first drew breath--and to
see it in a situation so glorious!'

We might have trusted, but for late disgraces, that there is not a man
in these islands whose heart would not, at such a spectacle, have beat
in sympathy with that of this fervent Patriot--whose voice would not be
in true accord with his in the prayer (which, if he has not already
perished for the service of his dear country, he is perhaps uttering at
this moment) that Andalusia and the city of Seville may preserve the
noble attitude in which they then stood, and are yet standing; or, if
they be doomed to fall, that their dying efforts may not be unworthy of
their first promises; that the evening--the closing hour of their
freedom may display a brightness not less splendid, though more aweful,
than the dawn; so that the names of Seville and Andalusia may be
consecrated among men, and be words of life to endless generations.

Saragossa!--She also has given bond, by her past actions, that she
cannot forget her duty and will not shrink from it.[20]

[20] Written in February.

Valencia is under the seal of the same obligation. The multitudes of men
who were arrayed in the fields of Baylen, and upon the mountains of the
North; the peasants of Asturias, and the students of Salamanca; and many
a solitary and untold-of hand, which, quitting for a moment the plough
or the spade, has discharged a more pressing debt to the country by
levelling with the dust at least one insolent and murderous
Invader;--these have attested the efficacy of the passions which we have
been contemplating--that the will of good men is not a vain impulse,
heroic desires a delusive prop;--have proved that the condition of human
affairs is not so forlorn and desperate, but that there are golden
opportunities when the dictates of justice may be unrelentingly
enforced, and the beauty of the inner mind substantiated in the outward
act;--for a visible standard to look back upon; for a point of realized
excellence at which to aspire; a monument to record;--for a charter to
fasten down; and, as far as it is possible, to preserve.

Yes! there was an annunciation which the good received with gladness; a
bright appearance which emboldened the wise to say--We trust that
Regeneration is at hand; these are works of recovered innocence and
wisdom:

    Magnus ab integro seclorum nascitur ordo;
    _Jam_ redit et Virgo, redeunt Saturnia regna;
    _Jam_ nova progenies coelo demittitur alto.

The spirits of the generous, of the brave, of the meditative, of the
youthful and undefiled--who, upon the strongest wing of human nature,
have accompanied me in this journey into a fair region--must descend:
and, sorrowful to think! it is at the name and remembrance of Britain
that we are to stoop from the balmy air of this pure element. Our
country did not create, but there was created for her, one of those
golden opportunities over which we have been rejoicing: an invitation
was offered--a summons sent to her ear, as if from heaven, to go forth
also and exhibit on her part, in entire coincidence and perfect harmony,
the beneficent action with the benevolent will; to advance in the career
of renovation upon which the Spaniards had so gloriously entered; and to
solemnize yet another marriage between Victory and Justice. How she
acquitted herself of this duty, we have already seen and lamented: yet
on this--and on this duty only--ought the mind of that army and of the
government to have been fixed. Every thing was smoothed before their
feet;--Providence, it might almost be said, held forth to the men of
authority in this country a gracious temptation to deceive them into the
path of the new virtues which were stirring;--the enemy was delivered
over to them; and they were unable to close their infantine fingers upon
the gift.--The helplessness of infancy was their's--oh! could I but add,
the innocence of infancy!

Reflect upon what was the temper and condition of the Southern Peninsula
of Europe--the noble temper of the people of this mighty island
sovereigns of the all-embracing ocean; think also of the condition of so
vast a region in the Western, continent and its islands; and we shall
have cause to fear that ages may pass away before a conjunction of
things, so marvellously adapted to ensure prosperity to virtue, shall
present itself again. It could scarcely be spoken of as being to the
wishes of men,--it was so far beyond their hopes.--The government which
had been exercised under the name of the old Monarchy of Spain--this
government, imbecile even to dotage, whose very selfishness was
destitute of vigour, had been removed; taken laboriously and foolishly
by the plotting Corsican to his own bosom; in order that the world might
see, more triumphantly set forth than since the beginning of things had
ever been seen before, to what degree a man of bad principles is
despicable--though of great power--working blindly against his own
purposes. It was a high satisfaction to behold demonstrated, in this
manner, to what a narrow domain of knowledge the intellect of a Tyrant
must be confined; that if the gate by which wisdom enters has never been
opened, that of policy will surely find moments when it will shut itself
against its pretended master imperiously and obstinately. To the eyes of
the very peasant in the field, this sublime truth was laid open--not
only that a Tyrant's domain of knowledge is narrow, but melancholy as
narrow; inasmuch as--from all that is lovely, dignified, or exhilarating
in the prospect of human nature--he is inexorably cut off; and therefore
he is inwardly helpless and forlorn.

Was not their hope in this--twofold hope; from the weakness of him who
had thus counteracted himself; and a hope, still more cheering, from the
strength of those who had been disburthened of a cleaving curse by an
ordinance of Providence--employing their most wilful and determined
enemy to perform for them the best service which man could perform? The
work of liberation was virtually accomplished--we might almost say,
established. The interests of the people were taken from a government
whose sole aim it had been to prop up the last remains of its own
decrepitude by betraying those whom it was its duty to
protect;--withdrawn from such hands, to be committed to those of the
people; at a time when the double affliction which Spain had endured,
and the return of affliction with which she was threatened, made it
impossible that the emancipated Nation could abuse its new-born strength
to any substantial injury to itself.--Infinitely less favourable to all
good ends was the condition of the French people when, a few years past,
a Revolution made them, for a season, their own masters,--rid them from
the incumbrance of superannuated institutions--the galling pressure of
so many unjust laws--and the tyranny of bad customs. The Spaniards
became their own masters: and the blessing lay in this, that they became
so at once: there had not been time for them to court their power: their
fancies had not been fed to wantonness by ever-changing temptations:
obstinacy in them would not have leagued itself with trivial opinions:
petty hatreds had not accumulated to masses of strength conflicting
perniciously with each other: vanity with them had not found leisure to
flourish--nor presumption: they did not assume their authority,--it was
given them,--it was thrust upon them. The perfidy and tyranny of
Napoleon '_compelled_,' says the Junta of Seville in words before
quoted, 'the whole Nation to take up arms and _to choose itself a form
of government_; and, in the difficulties and dangers into which the
French had plunged it, all--or nearly all--the provinces, as it were _by
the inspiration of Heaven_ and _in a manner little short of miraculous_,
created Supreme Juntas--delivered themselves up to their guidance--and
placed in their hands the rights and the ultimate fate of
Spain.'--Governments, thus newly issued from the people, could not but
act from the spirit of the people--be organs of their life. And, though
misery (by which I mean pain of mind not without some consciousness of
guilt) naturally disorders the understanding and perverts the moral
sense,--calamity (that is suffering, individual or national, when it has
been inflicted by one to whom no injury has been done or provocation
given) ever brings wisdom along with it; and, whatever outward agitation
it may cause, does inwardly rectify the will.

But more was required; not merely judicious desires; not alone an eye
from which the scales had dropped off--which could see widely and
clearly; but a mighty hand was wanting. The government had been formed;
and it could not but recollect that the condition of Spain did not exact
from her children, as a _first_ requisite, virtues like those due and
familiar impulses of Spring-time by which things are revived and carried
forward in accustomed health according to established order--not power
so much for a renewal as for a birth--labour by throes and violence;--a
chaos was to be conquered--a work of creation begun and
consummated;--and afterwards the seasons were to advance, and continue
their gracious revolutions. The powers, which were needful for the
people to enter upon and assist in this work, had been given; we have
seen that they had been bountifully conferred. The Nation had been
thrown into--rather, lifted up to--that state when conscience, for the
body of the people, is not merely an infallible monitor (which may be
heard and disregarded); but, by combining--with the attributes of
insight to perceive, and of inevitable presence to admonish and
enjoin--the attribute of passion to enforce, it was truly an
all-powerful deity in the soul.

Oh! let but any man, who has a care for the progressive happiness of the
species, peruse merely that epitome of Spanish wisdom and benevolence
and 'amplitude of mind for highest deeds' which, in the former part of
this investigation, I have laid before the reader: let him listen to the
reports--which they, who really have had means of knowledge, and who are
worthy to speak upon the subject, will give to him--of the things done
or endured in every corner of Spain; and he will see what emancipation
had there been effected in the mind;--how far the perceptions--the
impulses--and the actions also--had outstripped the habit and the
character, and consequently were in a process of permanently elevating
both; and how much farther (alas! by infinite degrees) the principles
and practice of a people, with great objects before them to concentrate
their love and their hatred, transcend the principles and practice of
governments; not excepting those which, in their constitution and
ordinary conduct, furnish the least matter for complaint.

Then it was--when the people of Spain were thus rouzed; after this
manner released from the natal burthen of that government which had
bowed them to the ground; in the free use of their understandings, and
in the play and 'noble rage' of their passions; while yet the new
authorities, which they had generated, were truly living members of
their body, and (as I have said) organs of their life: when that
numerous people were in a stage of their journey which could not be
accomplished without the spirit which was then prevalent in them, and
which (as might be feared) would too soon abate of itself;--then it was
that we--not we, but the heads of the British army and Nation--when, if
they could not breathe a favouring breath, they ought at least to have
stood at an awful distance--stepped in with their forms, their
impediments, their rotten customs and precedents, their narrow desires,
their busy and purblind fears; and called out to these aspiring
travellers to halt--'For ye are in a dream;' confounded them (for it was
the voice of a seeming friend that spoke); and spell-bound them, as far
as was possible, by an instrument framed 'in the eclipse' and sealed
'with curses dark.'--In a word, we had the power to act up to the most
sacred letter of justice--and this at a time when the mandates of
justice were of an affecting obligation such as had never before been
witnessed; and we plunged into the lowest depths of injustice:--We had
power to give a brotherly aid to our Allies in supporting the mighty
world which their shoulders had undertaken to uphold; and, while they
were expecting from us this aid, we undermined--without forewarning
them--the ground upon which they stood. The evil is incalculable; and
the stain will cleave to the British name as long as the story of this
island shall endure.

Did we not (if, from this comprehensive feeling of sorrow, I may for a
moment descend to particulars)--did we not send forth a general, one
whom, since his return, Court, and Parliament, and Army, have been at
strife with each other which shall most caress and applaud--a general,
who, in defending the armistice which he himself had signed, said in
open Court that he deemed that the French army was _entitled_ to such
terms. The people of Spain had, through the Supreme Junta of Seville,
thus spoken of this same army: 'Ye have, among yourselves, the objects
of your vengeance;--attack them;--they are but a handful of miserable
panic-struck men, humiliated and conquered already by their perfidy and
cruelties;--resist and destroy them: our united efforts will extirpate
this perfidious nation.' The same Spaniards had said (speaking
officially of the state of the whole Peninsula, and no doubt with their
eye especially upon this army in Portugal)--'Our enemies have taken up
exactly those positions in which they may most easily be
destroyed'--Where then did the British General find this right and title
of the French army in Portugal? 'Because,' says he in military language,
'it was not broken.'--Of the MAN, and of the understanding and heart of
the man--of the CITIZEN, who could think and feel after this manner in
such circumstances, it is needless to speak; but to the GENERAL I will
say, This is most pitiable pedantry. If the instinctive wisdom of your
Ally could not be understood, you might at least have remembered the
resolute policy of your enemy. The French army was not broken? Break it
then--wither it--pursue it with unrelenting warfare--hunt it out of its
holds;--if impetuosity be not justifiable, have recourse to patience--to
watchfulness--to obstinacy: at all events, never for a moment forget who
the foe is--and that he is in your power. This is the example which the
French Ruler and his Generals have given you at Ulm--at Lubeck--in
Switzerland--over the whole plain of Prussia--every where;--and this for
the worst deeds of darkness; while your's was the noblest service of
light.

This remonstrance has been forced from me by indignation:--let me
explain in what sense I propose, with calmer thought, that the example
of our enemy should be imitated.--The laws and customs of war, and the
maxims of policy, have all had their foundation in reason and humanity;
and their object has been the attainment or security of some real or
supposed--some positive or relative--good. They are established among
men as ready guides for the understanding, and authorities to which the
passions are taught to pay deference. But the relations of things to
each other are perpetually changing; and in course of time many of these
leaders and masters, by losing part of their power to do service and
sometimes the whole, forfeit in proportion their right to obedience.
Accordingly they are disregarded in some instances, and sink insensibly
into neglect with the general improvement of society. But they often
survive when they have become an oppression and a hindrance which cannot
be cast off decisively, but by an impulse--rising either from the
absolute knowledge of good and great men,--or from the partial insight
which is given to superior minds, though of a vitiated moral
constitution,--or lastly from that blind energy and those habits of
daring which are often found in men who, checked by no restraint of
morality, suffer their evil passions to gain extraordinary strength in
extraordinary circumstances. By any of these forces may the tyranny be
broken through. We have seen, in the conduct of our Countrymen, to what
degree it tempts to weak actions,--and furnishes excuse for them,
admitted by those who sit as judges. I wish then that we could so far
imitate our enemies as, like them, to shake off these bonds; but not,
like them, from the worst--but from the worthiest impulse. If this were
done, we should have learned how much of their practice would harmonize
with justice; have learned to distinguish between those rules which
ought to be wholly abandoned, and those which deserve to be retained;
and should have known when, and to what point, they ought to be
trusted.--But how is this to be? Power of mind is wanting, where there
is power of place. Even we cannot, as a beginning of a new journey,
force or win our way into the current of success, the flattering motion
of which would awaken intellectual courage--the only substitute which is
able to perform any arduous part of the secondary work of 'heroic
wisdom;'--I mean, execute happily any of its prudential regulations. In
the person of our enemy and his chieftains we have living example how
wicked men of ordinary talents are emboldened by success. There is a
kindliness, as they feel, in the nature of advancement; and prosperity
is their Genius. But let us know and remember that this prosperity, with
all the terrible features which it has gradually assumed, is a child of
noble parents--Liberty and Philanthropic Love. Perverted as the creature
is which it has grown up to (rather, into which it has passed),--from no
inferior stock could it have issued. It is the Fallen Spirit, triumphant
in misdeeds, which was formerly a blessed Angel.

If then (to return to ourselves) there be such strong obstacles in the
way of our drawing benefit either from the maxims of policy or the
principles of justice: what hope remains that the British Nation should
repair, by its future conduct, the injury which has been done?--We
cannot advance a step towards a rational answer to this
question--without previously adverting to the original sources of our
miscarriages; which are these:--First; a want, in the minds of the
members of government and public functionaries, of knowledge
indispensible for this service; and, secondly, a want of power, in the
same persons acting in their corporate capacities, to give effect to the
knowledge which individually they possess.--Of the latter source of
weakness,--this inability as caused by decay in the machine of
government, and by illegitimate forces which are checking and
controuling its constitutional motions,--I have not spoken, nor shall I
now speak: for I have judged it best to suspend my task for a while: and
this subject, being in its nature delicate, ought not to be lightly or
transiently touched. Besides, no _immediate_ effect can be expected from
the soundest and most unexceptionable doctrines which might be laid
down for the correcting of this evil.--The former source of
weakness,--namely, the want of appropriate and indispensible
knowledge,--has, in the past investigation, been reached, and shall be
further laid open; not without a hope of some result of _immediate_ good
by a direct application to the mind; and in full confidence that the
best and surest way to render operative that knowledge which is already
possessed--is to increase the stock of knowledge.

Here let me avow that I undertook this present labour as a serious duty;
rather, that it was forced (and has been unremittingly pressed) upon me
by a perception of justice united with strength of feeling;--in a word,
by that power of conscience, calm or impassioned, to which throughout I
have done reverence as the animating spirit of the cause. My work was
begun and prosecuted under this controul:--and with the accompanying
satisfaction that no charge of presumption could, by a thinking mind, be
brought against me: though I had taken upon myself to offer instruction
to men who, if they possess not talents and acquirements, have no title
to the high stations which they hold; who also, by holding those
stations, are understood to obtain certain benefit of experience and of
knowledge not otherwise to be gained; and who have a further claim to
deference--founded upon reputation, even when it is spurious (as much of
the reputation of men high in power must necessarily be; their errors
being veiled and palliated by the authority attached to their office;
while that same authority gives more than due weight and effect to their
wiser opinions). Yet, notwithstanding all this, I did not fear the
censure of having unbecomingly obtruded counsels or remonstrances. For
there can be no presumption, upon a call so affecting as the present, in
an attempt to assert the sanctity and to display the efficacy of
principles and passions which are the natural birth-right of man; to
some share of which all are born; but an inheritance which may be
alienated or consumed; and by none more readily and assuredly than by
those who are most eager for the praise of policy, of prudence, of
sagacity, and of all those qualities which are the darling virtues of
the worldly-wise. Moreover; the evidence to which I have made appeal, in
order to establish the truth, is not locked up in cabinets; but is
accessible to all; as it exists in the bosoms of men--in the appearances
and intercourse of daily life--in the details of passing events--and in
general history. And more especially is its right import within the
reach of him who--taking no part in public measures, and having no
concern in the changes of things but as they affect what is most
precious in his country and humanity--will doubtless be more alive to
those genuine sensations which are the materials of sound judgment. Nor
is it to be overlooked that such a man may have more leisure (and
probably will have a stronger inclination) to communicate with the
records of past ages.

Deeming myself justified then in what has been said,--I will continue to
lay open (and, in some degree, to account for) those privations in the
materials of judgment, and those delusions of opinion, and infirmities
of mind, to which practical Statesmen, and particularly such as are high
in office, are more than other men subject;--as containing an answer to
that question, so interesting at this juncture,--How far is it in our
power to make amends for the harm done?

After the view of things which has been taken,--we may confidently
affirm that nothing but a knowledge of human nature directing the
operations of our government, can give it a right to an intimate
association with a cause which is that of human nature. I say, an
intimate association founded on the right of thorough knowledge;--to
contradistinguish this best mode of exertion from another which might
found _its_ right upon a vast and commanding military power put forth
with manifestation of sincere intentions to benefit our Allies--from a
conviction merely of policy that their liberty, independence, and
honour, are our genuine gain;--to distinguish the pure brotherly
connection from this other (in its appearance at least more magisterial)
which such a power, guided by such intention uniformly displayed, might
authorize. But of the former connection (which supposes the main
military effort to be made, even at present, by the people of the
Peninsula on whom the moral interest more closely presses), and of the
knowledge which it demands, I have hitherto spoken--and have further to
speak.

It is plain _‡ priori_ that the minds of Statesmen and Courtiers are
unfavourable to the growth of this knowledge. For they are in a
situation exclusive and artificial; which has the further disadvantage,
that it does not separate men from men by collateral partitions which
leave, along with difference, a sense of equality--that they, who are
divided, are yet upon the same level; but by a degree of superiority
which can scarcely fail to be accompanied with more or less of pride.
This situation therefore must be eminently unfavourable for the
reception and establishment of that knowledge which is founded not upon
things but upon sensations;--sensations which are general, and under
general influences (and this it is which makes them what they are, and
gives them their importance);--not upon things which may be _brought_;
but upon sensations which must be _met_. Passing by the kindred and
usually accompanying influence of birth in a certain rank--and, where
education has been pre-defined from childhood for the express purpose of
future political power, the tendency of such education to warp (and
therefore weaken) the intellect;--we may join at once, with the
privation which I have been noticing, a delusion equally common. It is
this: that practical Statesmen assume too much credit to themselves for
their ability to see into the motives and manage the selfish passions of
their immediate agents and dependants; and for the skill with which they
baffle or resist the aims of their opponents. A promptness in looking
through the most superficial part of the characters of those men--who,
by the very circumstance of their contending ambitiously for the rewards
and honours of government, are separated from the mass of the society to
which they belong--is mistaken for a knowledge of human kind. Hence,
where higher knowledge is a prime requisite, they not only are
unfurnished, but, being unconscious that they are so, they look down
contemptuously upon those who endeavour to supply (in some degree) their
want.--The instincts of natural and social man; the deeper emotions; the
simpler feelings; the spacious range of the disinterested imagination;
the pride in country for country's sake, when to serve has not been a
formal profession--and the mind is therefore left in a state of dignity
only to be surpassed by having served nobly and generously; the
instantaneous accomplishment in which they start up who, upon a
searching call, stir for the Land which they love--not from personal
motives, but for a reward which is undefined and cannot be missed; the
solemn fraternity which a great Nation composes--gathered together, in a
stormy season, under the shade of ancestral feeling; the delicacy of
moral honour which pervades the minds of a people, when despair has been
suddenly thrown off and expectations are lofty; the apprehensiveness to
a touch unkindly or irreverent, where sympathy is at once exacted as a
tribute and welcomed as a gift; the power of injustice and inordinate
calamity to transmute, to invigorate, and to govern--to sweep away the
barriers of opinion--to reduce under submission passions purely evil--to
exalt the nature of indifferent qualities, and to render them fit
companions for the absolute virtues with which they are summoned to
associate--to consecrate passions which, if not bad in themselves, are
of such temper that, in the calm of ordinary life, they are rightly
deemed so--to correct and embody these passions--and, without weakening
them (nay, with tenfold addition to their strength), to make them worthy
of taking their place as the advanced guard of hope, when a sublime
movement of deliverance is to be originated;--these arrangements and
resources of nature, these ways and means of society, have so little
connection with those others upon which a ruling minister of a
long-established government is accustomed to depend; these--elements as
it were of a universe, functions of a living body--are so opposite, in
their mode of action, to the formal machine which it has been his pride
to manage;--that he has but a faint perception of their immediate
efficacy; knows not the facility with which they assimilate with other
powers; nor the property by which such of them--as, from necessity of
nature, must change or pass away--will, under wise and fearless
management, surely generate lawful successors to fill their place when
their appropriate work is performed. Nay, of the majority of men, who
are usually found in high stations under old governments, it may without
injustice be said; that, when they look about them in times (alas! too
rare) which present the glorious product of such agency to their eyes,
they have not a right, to say--with a dejected man in the midst of the
woods, the rivers, the mountains, the sunshine, and shadows of some
transcendant landscape--

     'I see, not feel, how beautiful they are:'

These spectators neither see nor feel. And it is from the blindness and
insensibility of these, and the train whom they draw along with them,
that the throes of nations have been so ill recompensed by the births
which have followed; and that revolutions, after passing from crime to
crime and from sorrow to sorrow, have often ended in throwing back such
heavy reproaches of delusiveness upon their first promises.

I am satisfied that no enlightened Patriot will impute to me a wish to
disparage the characters of men high in authority, or to detract from
the estimation which is fairly due to them. My purpose is to guard
against unreasonable expectations. That specific knowledge,--the
paramount importance of which, in the present condition of Europe, I am
insisting upon,--they, who usually fill places of high trust in old
governments, neither do--nor, for the most part, can--possess: nor is it
necessary, for the administration of affairs in ordinary circumstances,
that they should.--The progress of their own country, and of the other
nations of the world, in civilization, in true refinement, in science,
in religion, in morals, and in all the real wealth of humanity, might
indeed be quicker, and might correspond more happily with the wishes of
the benevolent,--if Governors better understood the rudiments of nature
as studied in the walks of common life; if they were men who had
themselves felt every strong emotion 'inspired by nature and by fortune
taught;' and could calculate upon the force of the grander passions.
Yet, at the same time, there is temptation in this. To know may seduce;
and to have been agitated may compel. Arduous cares are attractive for
their own sakes. Great talents are naturally driven towards hazard and
difficulty; as it is there that they are most sure to find their
exercise, and their evidence, and joy in anticipated triumph--the
liveliest of all sensations. Moreover; magnificent desires, when least
under the bias of personal feeling, dispose the mind--more than itself
is conscious of--to regard commotion with complacency, and to watch the
aggravations of distress with welcoming; from an immoderate confidence
that, when the appointed day shall come, it will be in the power of
intellect to relieve. There is danger in being a zealot in any
cause--not excepting that of humanity. Nor is it to be forgotten that
the incapacity and ignorance of the regular agents of long-established
governments do not prevent some progress in the dearest concerns of men;
and that society may owe to these very deficiencies, and to the tame and
unenterprizing course which they necessitate, much security and tranquil
enjoyment.

Nor, on the other hand, (for reasons which may be added to those
already given) is it so desirable as might at first sight be imagined,
much less is it desirable as an absolute good, that men of comprehensive
sensibility and tutored genius--either for the interests of mankind or
for their own--should, in ordinary times, have vested in them political
power. The Empire, which they hold, is more independent: its constituent
parts are sustained by a stricter connection: the dominion is purer and
of higher origin; as mind is more excellent than body--the search of
truth an employment more inherently dignified than the application of
force--the determinations of nature more venerable than the accidents of
human institution. Chance and disorder, vexation and disappointment,
malignity and perverseness within or without the mind, are a sad
exchange for the steady and genial processes of reason. Moreover;
worldly distinctions and offices of command do not lie in the path--nor
are they any part of the appropriate retinue--of Philosophy and Virtue.
Nothing, but a strong spirit of love, can counteract the consciousness
of pre-eminence which ever attends pre-eminent intellectual power with
correspondent attainments: and this spirit of love is best encouraged by
humility and simplicity in mind, manners, and conduct of life; virtues,
to which wisdom leads. But,--though these be virtues in a Man, a
Citizen, or a Sage,--they cannot be recommended to the especial culture
of the Political or Military Functionary; and still less of the Civil
Magistrate. Him, in the exercise of his functions, it will often become
to carry himself highly and with state; in order that evil may be
suppressed, and authority respected by those who have not understanding.
The power also of office, whether the duties be discharged well or ill,
will ensure a never-failing supply of flattery and praise: and of
these--a man (becoming at once double-dealer and dupe) may, without
impeachment of his modesty, receive as much as his weakness inclines him
to; under the shew that the homage is not offered up to himself, but to
that portion of the public dignity which is lodged in his person. But,
whatever may be the cause, the fact is certain--that there is an
unconquerable tendency in all power, save that of knowledge acting by
and through knowledge, to injure the mind of him who exercises that
power; so much so, that best natures cannot escape the evil of such
alliance. Nor is it less certain that things of soundest quality,
issuing through a medium to which they have only an arbitrary relation,
are vitiated: and it is inevitable that there should be a re‰scent of
unkindly influence to the heart of him from whom the gift, thus unfairly
dealt with, proceeded.--In illustration of these remarks, as connected
with the management of States, we need only refer to the Empire of
China--where superior endowments of mind and acquisitions of learning
are the sole acknowledged title to offices of great trust; and yet in no
country is the government more bigotted or intolerant, or society less
progressive.

To prevent misconception; and to silence (at least to throw discredit
upon) the clamours of ignorance;--I have thought proper thus, in some
sort, to strike a balance between the claims of men of routine--and men
of original and accomplished minds--to the management of State affairs
in ordinary circumstances. But ours is not an age of this character:
and,--after having seen such a long series of misconduct, so many
unjustifiable attempts made and sometimes carried into effect, good
endeavours frustrated, disinterested wishes thwarted, and benevolent
hopes disappointed,--it is reasonable that we should endeavour to
ascertain to what cause these evils are to be ascribed. I have directed
the attention of the Reader to one primary cause: and can he doubt of
its existence, and of the operation which I have attributed to it?

In the course of the last thirty years we have seen two wars waged
against Liberty--the American war, and the war against the French People
in the early stages of their Revolution. In the latter instance the
Emigrants and the Continental Powers and the British did, in all their
expectations and in every movement of their efforts, manifest a common
ignorance--originating in the same source. And, for what more especially
belongs to ourselves at this time, we may affirm--that the same
presumptuous irreverence of the principles of justice, and blank
insensibility to the affections of human nature, which determined the
conduct of our government in those two wars _against_ liberty, have
continued to accompany its exertions in the present struggle _for_
liberty,--and have rendered them fruitless. The British government deems
(no doubt), on its own part, that its intentions are good. It must not
deceive itself: nor must we deceive ourselves. Intentions--thoroughly
good--could not mingle with the unblessed actions which we have
witnessed. A disinterested and pure intention is a light that guides as
well as cheers, and renders desperate lapses impossible.

Our duty is--our aim ought to be--to employ the true means of liberty
and virtue for the ends of liberty and virtue. In such policy,
thoroughly understood, there is fitness and concord and rational
subordination; it deserves a higher name--organization, health, and
grandeur. Contrast, in a single instance, the two processes; and the
qualifications which they require. The ministers of that period found it
an easy task to hire a band of Hessians, and to send it across the
Atlantic, that they might assist _in bringing the Americans_ (according
to the phrase then prevalent) _to reason_. The force, with which these
troops would attack, was gross,--tangible,--and might be calculated; but
the spirit of resistance, which their presence would create, was
subtle--ethereal--mighty--and incalculable. Accordingly, from the moment
when these foreigners landed--men who had no interest, no business, in
the quarrel, but what the wages of their master bound him to, and he
imposed upon his miserable slaves;--nay, from the first rumour of their
destination, the success of the British was (as hath since been affirmed
by judicious Americans) impossible.

The British government of the present day have been seduced, as we have
seen, by the same commonplace facilities on the one side; and have been
equally blind on the other. A physical auxiliar force of thirty-five
thousand men is to be added to the army of Spain: but the moral energy,
which thereby _might_ be taken away from the principal, is overlooked or
slighted; the material being too fine for their calculation. What does
it avail to graft a bough upon a tree; if this be done so ignorantly and
rashly that the trunk, which can alone supply the sap by which the whole
must flourish, receives a deadly wound? Palpable effects of the
Convention of Cintra, and self-contradicting consequences even in the
matter especially aimed at, may be seen in the necessity which it
entailed of leaving 8,000 British troops to protect Portugueze traitors
from punishment by the laws of their country. A still more serious and
fatal contradiction lies in this--that the English army was made an
instrument of injustice, and was dishonoured, in order that it might be
hurried forward to uphold a cause which could have no life but by
justice and honour. The Nation knows how that army languished in the
heart of Spain: that it accomplished nothing except its retreat, is
sure: what great service it might have performed, if it had moved from a
different impulse, we have shewn.

It surely then behoves those who are in authority--to look to the state
of their own minds. There is indeed an inherent impossibility that they
should be equal to the arduous duties which have devolved upon them: but
it is not unreasonable to hope that something higher might be aimed at;
and that the People might see, upon great occasions,--in the practice of
its Rulers--a more adequate reflection of its own wisdom and virtue. Our
Rulers, I repeat, must begin with their own minds. This is a precept of
immediate urgency; and, if attended to, might be productive of immediate
good. I will follow it with further conclusions directly referring to
future conduct.

I will not suppose that any ministry of this country can be so abject,
so insensible, and unwise, as to abandon the Spaniards and Portugueze
while there is a Patriot in arms; or, if the people should for a time be
subjugated, to deny them assistance the moment they rise to require it
again. I cannot think so unfavourably of my country as to suppose this
possible. Let men in power, however, take care (and let the nation be
equally careful) not to receive any reports from our army--of the
disposition of the Spanish people--without mistrust. The British
generals, who were in Portugal (the whole body of them,[21] according to
the statement of Sir Hew Dalrymple), approved of the Convention of
Cintra; and have thereby shewn that _their_ communications are not to be
relied upon in this case. And indeed there is not any information, which
we can receive upon this subject, that is so little trustworthy as that
which comes from our army--or from any part of it. The opportunities of
notice, afforded to soldiers in actual service, must necessarily be very
limited; and a thousand things stand in the way of their power to make a
right use of these. But a retreating army, in the country of an
Ally;--harrassed and dissatisfied; willing to find a reason for its
failures in any thing but itself, and actually not without much solid
ground for complaint; retreating; sometimes, perhaps, fugitive; and, in
its disorder, tempted (and even forced) to commit offences upon the
people of the district through which it passes; while they, in their
turn, are filled with fear and inconsiderate anger;--an army, in such a
condition, must needs be incapable of seeing objects as they really are;
and, at the same time, all things must change in its presence, and put
on their most unfavourable appearances.

[21] From this number, however, must be excepted the gallant and
patriotic General Ferguson. For that officer has had the virtue publicly
and in the most emphatic manner, upon two occasions, to reprobate the
whole transaction.

Deeming it then not to be doubted that the British government will
continue its endeavours to support its Allies; one or other of two
maxims of policy follows obviously from the painful truths which we have
been considering:--Either, first, that we should put forth to the utmost
our strength as a military power--strain it to the very last point, and
prepare (no erect mind will start at the proposition) to pour into the
Peninsula a force of two hundred thousand men or more,--and make
ourselves for a time, upon Spanish ground, principals in the contest;
or, secondly, that we should direct our attention to giving support
rather in _Things_ than in Men.

The former plan, though requiring a great effort and many sacrifices, is
(I have no doubt) practicable: its difficulties would yield to a bold
and energetic Ministry, in despite of the present constitution of
Parliament. The Militia, if they had been called upon at the beginning
of the rising in the Peninsula, would (I believe)--almost to a man--have
offered their services: so would many of the Volunteers in their
individual capacity. They would do so still. The advantages of this plan
would be--that the power, which would attend it, must (if judiciously
directed) insure unity of effort; taming down, by its dignity, the
discords which usually prevail among allied armies; and subordinating to
itself the affections of the Spanish and Portugueze by the palpable
service which it was rendering to their Country. A further encouragement
for adopting this plan he will find, who perceives that the military
power of our Enemy is not in substance so formidable, by many--many
degrees of terror, as outwardly it appears to be. The last campaign has
not been wholly without advantage: since it has proved that the French
troops are indebted, for their victories, to the imbecility of their
opponents far more than to their own discipline or courage--or even to
the skill and talents of their Generals. There is a superstition hanging
over us which the efforts of our army (not to speak of the Spaniards)
have, I hope, removed.--But their mighty numbers!--In that is a delusion
of another kind. In the former instance, year after year we imagined
things to be what they were not: and in this, by a more fatal and more
common delusion, the thought of what things really are--precludes the
thought of what in a moment they may become: the mind, overlaid by the
present, cannot lift itself to attain a glimpse of the future.

All--which is comparatively inherent, or can lay claim to any degree of
permanence, in the tyranny which the French Nation maintains over
Europe--rests upon two foundations:--First; Upon the despotic rule which
has been established in France over a powerful People who have lately
passed from a state of revolution, in which they supported a struggle
begun for domestic liberty, and long continued for liberty and national
independence:--and, secondly, upon the personal character of the Man by
whom that rule is exercised.

As to the former; every one knows that Despotism, in a general sense, is
but another word for weakness. Let one generation disappear; and a
people over whom such rule has been extended, if it have not virtue to
free itself, is condemned to embarrassment in the operations of its
government, and to perpetual languor; with no better hope than that
which may spring from the diseased activity of some particular Prince on
whom the authority may happen to devolve. This, if it takes a regular
hereditary course: but,--if the succession be interrupted, and the
supreme power frequently usurped or given by election,--worse evils
follow. Science and Art must dwindle, whether the power be hereditary or
not: and the virtues of a Trajan or an Antonine are a hollow support for
the feeling of contentment and happiness in the hearts of their
subjects: such virtues are even a painful mockery;--something that is,
and may vanish in a moment, and leave the monstrous crimes of a
Caracalla or a Domitian in its place,--men, who are probably leaders of
a long procession of their kind. The feebleness of despotic power we
have had before our eyes in the late condition of Spain and Prussia; and
in that of France before the Revolution; and in the present condition of
Austria and Russia. But, in a _new-born_ arbitrary and military
Government (especially if, like that of France, it have been immediately
preceded by a popular Constitution), not only this weakness is not
found; but it possesses, for the purposes of external annoyance, a
preternatural vigour. Many causes contribute to this: we need only
mention that, fitness--real or supposed--being necessarily the chief
(and almost sole) recommendation to offices of trust, it is clear that
such offices will in general be ably filled; and their duties,
comparatively, well executed: and that, from the conjunction of absolute
civil and military authority in a single Person, there naturally follows
promptness of decision; concentration of effort; rapidity of motion; and
confidence that the movements made will be regularly supported. This is
all which need now be said upon the subject of this first basis of
French Tyranny.

For the second--namely, the personal character of the Chief; I shall at
present content myself with noting (to prevent misconception) that this
basis is not laid in any superiority of talents in him, but in his utter
rejection of the restraints of morality--in wickedness which
acknowledges no limit but the extent of its own power. Let any one
reflect a moment; and he will feel that a new world of forces is opened
to a Being who has made this desperate leap. It is a tremendous
principle to be adopted, and steadily adhered to, by a man in the
station which Buonaparte occupies; and he has taken the full benefit of
it. What there is in this principle of weak, perilous, and
self-destructive--I may find a grateful employment in endeavouring to
shew upon some future occasion. But it is a duty which we owe to the
present moment to proclaim--in vindication of the dignity of human
nature, and for an admonition to men of prostrate spirit--that the
dominion, which this Enemy of mankind holds, has neither been acquired
nor is sustained by endowments of intellect which are rarely bestowed,
or by uncommon accumulations of knowledge; but that it has risen from
circumstances over which he had no influence; circumstances which, with
the power they conferred, have stimulated passions whose natural food
hath been and is ignorance; from the barbarian impotence and insolence
of a mind--originally of ordinary constitution--lagging, in moral
sentiment and knowledge, three hundred years behind the age in which it
acts. In such manner did the power originate; and, by the forces which I
have described, is it maintained. This should be declared: and it
should be added--that the crimes of Buonaparte are more to be abhorred
than those of other denaturalized creatures whose actions are painted in
History; because the Author of those crimes is guilty with less
temptation, and sins in the presence of a clearer light.

No doubt in the command of almost the whole military force of Europe
(the subject which called upon me to make these distinctions) he has,
_at this moment_, a third source of power which may be added to these
two. He himself rates this last so high--either is, or affects to be, so
persuaded of its pre-eminence--that he boldly announces to the world
that it is madness, and even impiety, to resist him. And sorry may we be
to remember that there are British Senators, who (if a judgement may be
formed from the language which they speak) are inclined to accompany him
far in this opinion. But the enormity of this power has in it nothing
_inherent_ or _permanent_. Two signal overthrows in pitched battles
would, I believe, go far to destroy it. Germans, Dutch, Italians, Swiss,
Poles, would desert the army of Buonaparte, and flock to the standard of
his Adversaries, from the moment they could look towards it with that
confidence which one or two conspicuous victories would inspire. A
regiment of 900 Swiss joined the British army in Portugal; and, if the
French had been compelled to surrender as Prisoners of War, we should
have seen that all those troops, who were not native Frenchmen, would
(if encouragement had been given) have joined the British: and the
opportunity that was lost of demonstrating this fact--was not among the
least of the mischiefs which attended the termination of the
campaign.--In a word; the vastness of Buonaparte's military power is
formidable--not because it is impossible to break it; but because it has
not yet been penetrated. In this respect it may not inaptly be compared
to a huge pine-forest (such as are found in the Northern parts of this
Island), whose ability to resist the storms is in its skirts: let but
the blast once make an inroad; and it levels the forest, and sweeps it
away at pleasure. A hundred thousand men, such as fought at Vimiera and
Corunna, would accomplish three such victories as I have been
anticipating. This Nation _might_ command a military force which would
drive the French out of the Peninsula: I do not say that we could
sustain there a military force which would prevent their re-entering;
but that we could transplant thither, by a great effort, one which would
expel them:--_This_ I maintain: and it is matter of thought in which
infirm minds may find both reproach and instruction. The Spaniards could
then take possession of their own fortresses; and have leisure to give
themselves a blended civil and military organization, complete and
animated by liberty; which, if once accomplished, they would be able to
protect themselves. The oppressed Continental Powers also, seeing such
unquestionable proof that Great Britain was sincere and earnest, would
lift their heads again; and, by so doing, would lighten the burthen of
war which might remain for the Spaniards.

In treating of this plan--I have presumed that a General might be placed
at the head of this great military power who would not sign a Treaty
like that of the Convention of Cintra, and say (look at the proceedings
of the Board of Inquiry) that he was determined to this by 'British
interests;' or frame _any_ Treaty in the country of an Ally (save one
purely military for the honourable preservation, if necessary, of his
own army or part of it) to which the sole, or even the main, inducement
was--our interests contra-distinguished from those of that Ally;--a
General and a Ministry whose policy would be comprehensive enough to
perceive that the true welfare of Britain is best promoted by the
independence, freedom, and honour of other Nations; and that it is only
by the diffusion and prevalence of these virtues that French Tyranny can
be ultimately reduced; or the influence of France over the rest of
Europe brought within its natural and reasonable limits.

If this attempt be 'above the strain and temper' of the country, there
remains only a plan laid down upon the other principles; namely, service
(as far as is required) in _things_ rather than in men; that is, men
being secondary to things. It is not, I fear, possible that the moral
sentiments of the British Army or Government should accord with those of
Spain in her present condition. Commanding power indeed (as hath been
said), put forth in the repulse of the common enemy, would tend, more
effectually than any thing save the prevalence of true wisdom, to
prevent disagreement, and to obviate any temporary injury which the
moral spirit of the Spaniards might receive from us: at all events--such
power, should there ensue any injury, would bring a solid compensation.
But from a middle course--an association sufficiently intimate and wide
to scatter every where unkindly passions, and yet unable to attain the
salutary point of decisive power--no good is to be expected. Great would
be the evil, at this momentous period, if the hatred of the Spaniards
should look two ways. Let it be as steadily fixed upon the French, as
the Pilot's eye upon his mark. Military stores and arms should be
furnished with unfailing liberality: let Troops also be supplied; but
let these act separately,--taking strong positions upon the coast, if
such can be found, to employ twice their numbers of the Enemy; and,
above all, let there be floating Armies--keeping the Enemy in constant
uncertainty where he is to be attacked. The peninsula frame of Spain and
Portugal lays that region open to the full shock of British warfare. Our
Fleet and Army should act, wherever it is possible, as parts of one
body--a right hand and a left; and the Enemy ought to be made to feel
the force of both.

But--whatever plans be adopted--there can be no success, unless the
execution be entrusted to Generals of competent judgement. That the
British Army swarms with those who are incompetent--is too plain from
successive proofs in the transactions at Buenos Ayres, at Cintra, and in
the result of the Board of Inquiry.--Nor must we see a General appointed
to command--and required, at the same time, to frame his operations
according to the opinion of an inferior Officer: an injunction (for a
recommendation, from such a quarter, amounts to an injunction) implying
that a man had been appointed to a high station--of which the very
persons, who had appointed him, deemed him unworthy; else they must have
known that he would endeavour to profit by the experience of any of his
inferior officers, from the suggestions of his own understanding: at the
same time--by denying to the General-in-Chief the free use of his own
judgement, and by the act of announcing this presumption of his
incompetence to the man himself--such an indignity is put upon him, that
his passions must of necessity be rouzed; so as to leave it scarcely
possible that he could draw any benefit, which he might otherwise have
drawn, from the local knowledge or talents of the individual to whom he
was referred: and, lastly, this injunction virtually involves a
subversion of all military subordination. In the better times of the
House of Commons--a minister, who had presumed to write such a letter as
that to which I allude, would have been impeached.

The Debates in Parliament, and measures of Government, every day furnish
new Proofs of the truths which I have been attempting to establish--of
the utter want of general principles;--new and lamentable proofs! This
moment (while I am drawing towards a conclusion) I learn, from the
newspaper reports, that the House of Commons has refused to declare that
the Convention of Centra _disappointed the hopes and expectations of the
Nation_.

The motion, according to the letter of it, was ill-framed; for the
Convention might have been a very good one, and still have disappointed
the hopes and expectations of the Nation--as those might have been
unwise: at all events, the words ought to have stood--the _just_ and
_reasonable_ hopes of the Nation. But the hacknied phrase of
'_disappointed hopes and expectations_'--should not have been used at
all: it is a centre round which much delusion has gathered. The
Convention not only did not satisfy the Nation's hopes of good; but sunk
it into a pitfall of unimagined and unimaginable evil. The hearts and
understandings of the People tell them that the language of a proposed
parliamentary resolution, upon this occasion, ought--not only to have
been different in the letter--but also widely different in the spirit:
and the reader of these pages will have deduced, that no terms of
reprobation could in severity exceed the offences involved in--and
connected with--that instrument. But, while the grand keep of the castle
of iniquity was to be stormed, we have seen nothing but a puny assault
upon heaps of the scattered rubbish of the fortress; nay, for the most
part, on some accidental mole-hills at its base. I do not speak thus in
disrespect to the Right Hon. Gentleman who headed this attack. His mind,
left to itself, would (I doubt not) have prompted something worthier and
higher: but he moves in the phalanx of Party;--a spiritual Body; in
which (by strange inconsistency) the hampering, weakening, and
destroying, of every individual mind of which it is composed--is the law
which must constitute the strength of the whole. The question
was--whether principles, affecting the very existence of Society, had
not been violated; and an arm lifted, and let fall, which struck at the
root of Honour; with the aggravation of the crime having been committed
at this momentous period. But what relation is there between these
principles and actions, and being in Place or out of it? If the People
would constitutionally and resolutely assert their rights, their
Representatives would be taught another lesson; and for their own
profit. Their understandings would be enriched accordingly: for it is
there--there where least suspected--that the want, from which this
country suffers, chiefly lies. They err, who suppose that venality and
corruption (though now spreading more and more) are the master-evils of
this day: neither these nor immoderate craving for power are so much to
be deprecated, as the non-existence of a widely-ranging intellect; of an
intellect which, if not efficacious to infuse truth as a vital fluid
into the heart, might at least make it a powerful tool in the hand.
Outward profession,--which, for practical purposes, is an act of most
desirable subservience,--would then wait upon those objects to which
inward reverence, though not felt, was known to be due. Schemes of ample
reach and true benefit would also promise best to insure the rewards
coveted by personal ambition: and men of baser passions, finding it
their interest, would naturally combine to perform useful service under
the direction of strong minds: while men of good intentions would have
their own pure satisfaction; and would exert themselves with more
upright--I mean, more hopeful--cheerfulness, and more successfully. It
is not therefore inordinate desire of wealth or power which is so
injurious--as the means which are and must be employed, in the present
intellectual condition of the Legislature, to sustain and secure that
power: these are at once an effect of barrenness, and a cause; acting,
and mutually re-acting, incessantly. An enlightened Friend has, in
conversation, observed to the Author of these pages--that formerly the
principles of men wore better than they who held them; but that now (a
far worse evil!) men are better than their principles. I believe it:--of
the deplorable quality and state of principles, the public proceedings
in our Country furnish daily new proof. It is however some consolation,
at this present crisis, to find--that, of the thoughts and feelings
uttered during the two debates which led me to these painful
declarations, such--as approach towards truth which has any dignity in
it--come from the side of his Majesty's Ministers.--But note again
those contradictions to which I have so often been obliged to advert.
The Ministers advise his Majesty publicly to express sentiments of
disapprobation upon the Convention of Cintra; and, when the question of
the merits or demerits of this instrument comes before them in
Parliament, the same persons--who, as advisers of the crown, lately
condemned the treaty--now, in their character of representatives of the
people, by the manner in which they received this motion, have
pronounced an encomium upon it. For, though (as I have said) the motion
was inaccurately and inadequately worded, it was not set aside upon this
ground. And the Parliament has therefore persisted in withholding, from
the insulted and injured People and from their Allies, the only
reparation which perhaps it may be in its power to grant; has refused to
signify its repentance and sorrow for what hath been done; without
which, as a previous step, there can be no proof--no gratifying
intimation, even to this Country or to its Allies, that the future
efforts of the British Parliament are in a sincere spirit. The guilt of
the transaction therefore being neither repented of, nor atoned for; the
course of evil is, by necessity, persevered in.--But let us turn to a
brighter region.

The events of the last year, gloriously destroying many frail fears,
have placed--in the rank of serene and immortal truths--a proposition
which, as an object of belief, hath in all ages been fondly cherished;
namely--That a numerous Nation, determined to be free, may effect its
purpose in despite of the mightiest power which a foreign Invader can
bring against it. These events also have pointed out how, in the ways of
Nature and under the guidance of Society, this happy end is to be
attained: in other words, they have shewn that the cause of the People,
in dangers and difficulties issuing from this quarter of oppression, is
safe while it remains not only in the bosom but in the hands of the
People; or (what amounts to the same thing) in those of a government
which, being truly _from_ the People, is faithfully _for_ them. While
the power remained with the provincial Juntas, that is, with the body
natural of the community (for those authorities, newly generated in such
adversity, were truly living members of that body); every thing
prospered in Spain. Hopes of the best kind were opened out and
encouraged; liberal opinions countenanced; and wise measures arranged:
and last, and (except as proceeding from these) least of all,--victories
in the field, in the streets of the city, and upon the walls of the
fortress.

I have heretofore styled it a blessing that the Spanish People became
their own masters at once. It _was_ a blessing; but not without much
alloy: as the same disinterested generous passions, which preserved (and
would for a season still have preserved) them from a bad exercise of
their power, impelled them to part with it too soon; before labours,
hitherto neither tried nor thought of, had created throughout the
country the minor excellences indispensible for the performance of those
labours; before powerful minds, not hitherto of general note, had found
time to shew themselves; and before men, who were previously known, had
undergone the proof of new situations. Much therefore was wanting to
direct the general judgement in the choice of persons, when the second
delegation took place; which was a removal (the first, we have seen, had
not been so) of the power from the People. But, when a common centre
became absolutely necessary, the power ought to have passed from the
provincial Assemblies into the hands of the Cortes; and into none else.
A pernicious Oligarchy crept into the place of this comprehensive--this
constitutional--this saving and majestic Assembly. Far be it from me to
speak of the Supreme Junta with ill-advised condemnation: every man must
feel for the distressful trials to which that Body has been exposed. But
eighty men or a hundred, with a king at their head veiled under a cloud
of fiction (we might say, with reference to the difficulties of this
moment, begotten upon a cloud of fiction), could not be an image of a
Nation like that of Spain, or an adequate instrument of their power for
their ends. The Assembly, from the smallness of its numbers, must have
wanted breadth of wing to extend itself and brood over Spain with a
quickening touch of warmth every where. If also, as hath been mentioned,
there was a want of experience to determine the judgment in choice of
persons; this same smallness of numbers must have unnecessarily
increased the evil--by excluding many men of worth and talents which
were so far known and allowed as that they would surely have been
deputed to an Assembly upon a larger scale. Gratitude, habit, and
numerous other causes must have given an undue preponderance to birth,
station, rank, and fortune; and have fixed the election, more than was
reasonable, upon those who were most conspicuous for these
distinctions;--men whose very virtue would incline them superstitiously
to respect established things, and to mistrust the People--towards whom
not only a frank confidence but a forward generosity was the first of
duties. I speak not of the vices to which such men would be liable,
brought up under the discipline of a government administered like the
old Monarchy of Spain: the matter is both ungracious and too obvious.

But I began with hope; and hope has inwardly accompanied me to the end.
The whole course of the campaign, rightly interpreted, has justified my
hope. In Madrid, in Ferrol, in Corunna, in every considerable place, and
in every part of the country over which the French have re-extended
their dominion,--we learn, from their own reports, that the body of the
People have shewed against them, to the last, the most determined
hostility. Hence it is clear that the lure, which the invading Usurper
found himself constrained lately to hold out to the inferior orders of
society in the shape of various immunities, has totally failed: and
therefore he turns for support to another quarter, and now attempts to
cajole the wealthy and the privileged. But this class has been taught,
by late Decrees, what it has to expect from him; and how far he is to be
confided-in for its especial interests. Many individuals, no doubt, he
will seduce; but the bulk of the class, even if they could be insensible
to more liberal feelings, cannot but be his enemies. This change,
therefore, is not merely shifting ground; but retiring to a position
which he himself has previously undermined. Here is confusion; and a
power warring against itself.

So will it ever fare with foreign Tyrants when (in spite of domestic
abuses) a People, which has lived long, feels that it has a Country to
love; and where the heart of that People is sound. Between the native
inhabitants of France and Spain there has existed from the earliest
period, and still does exist, an universal and utter dissimilitude in
laws, actions, deportment, gait, manners, customs: join with this the
difference in the language, and the barrier of the Pyrenees; a
separation and an opposition in great things, and an antipathy in small.
Ignorant then must he be of history and of the reports of travellers and
residents in the two countries, or strangely inattentive to the
constitution of human nature, who (this being true) can admit the
belief that the Spaniards, numerous and powerful as they are, will live
under Frenchmen as their lords and masters. Let there be added to this
inherent mutual repulsiveness--those recent indignities and horrible
outrages; and we need not fear to say that such reconcilement is
impossible; even without that further insuperable obstacle which we hope
will exist, an establishment of a free Constitution in Spain.--The
intoxicated setter-up of Kings may fill his diary with pompous stories
of the acclamations with which his solemn puppets are received; he may
stuff their mouths with impious asseverations; and hire knees to bend
before them, and lips to answer with honied greetings of gratitude and
love: these cannot remove the old heart, and put a new one into the
bosom of the spectators. The whole is a pageant seen for a day among men
in its passage to that 'Limbo large and broad' whither, as to their
proper home, fleet

    All the unaccomplish'd works of Nature's hand,
    Abortive, monstrous, or unkindly mix'd,
    _Dissolv'd on earth_.

Talk not of the perishable nature of enthusiasm; and rise above a
craving for perpetual manifestations of things. He is to be pitied whose
eye can only be pierced by the light of a meridian sun, whose frame can
only be warmed by the heat of midsummer. Let us hear no more of the
little dependence to be had in war upon voluntary service. The things,
with which we are primarily and mainly concerned, are inward passions;
and not outward arrangements. These latter may be given at any time;
when the parts, to be put together, are in readiness. Hatred and love,
and each in its intensity, and pride (passions which, existing in the
heart of a Nation, are inseparable from hope)--these elements being in
constant preparation--enthusiasm will break out from them, or coalesce
with them, upon the summons of a moment. And these passions are scarcely
less than inextinguishable. The truth of this is recorded in the manners
and hearts of North and South Britons, of Englishmen and Welshmen, on
either border of the Tweed and of the Esk, on both sides of the Severn
and the Dee; an inscription legible, and in strong characters, which the
tread of many and great blessings, continued through hundreds of years,
has been unable to efface. The Sicilian Vespers are to this day a
familiar game among the boys of the villages on the sides of Mount Etna,
and through every corner of the Island; and 'Exterminate the French!' is
the action in their arms, and the word of triumph upon their tongues. He
then is a sorry Statist, who desponds or despairs (nor is he less so who
is too much elevated) from any considerations connected with the quality
of enthusiasm. Nothing is so easy as to sustain it by partial and
gradual changes of its object; and by placing it in the way of receiving
new interpositions according to the need. The difficulty lies--not in
kindling, feeding, or fanning the flame; but in continuing so to
regulate the relations of things--that the fanning breeze and the
feeding fuel shall come from no unworthy quarter, and shall neither of
them be wanting in appropriate consecration. The Spaniards have as great
helps towards ensuring this, as ever were vouchsafed to a People.

What then is to be desired? Nothing but that the Government and the
higher orders of society should deal sincerely towards the middle class
and the lower: I mean, that the general temper should be sincere.--It is
not required that every one should be disinterested, or zealous, or of
one mind with his fellows. Selfishness or slackness in individuals, and
in certain bodies of men also (and at time's perhaps in all), have their
use: else why should they exist? Due circumspection and necessary
activity, in those who are sound, could not otherwise maintain
themselves. The deficiencies in one quarter are more than made up by
consequent overflowings in another. 'If my Neighbour fails,' says the
true Patriot, 'more devolves upon me.' Discord and even treason are not,
in a country situated as Spain is, the pure evils which, upon a
superficial view, they appear to be. Never are a people so livelily
admonished of the love they bear their country, and of the pride which
they have in their common parent, as when they hear of some parricidal
attempt of a false brother. For this cause chiefly, in times of national
danger, are their fancies so busy in suspicion; which under such shape,
though oftentimes producing dire and pitiable effects, is
notwithstanding in its general character no other than that habit which
has grown out of the instinct of self-preservation--elevated into a
wakeful and affectionate apprehension for the whole, and ennobling its
private and baser ways by the generous use to which they are converted.
Nor ever has a good and loyal man such a swell of mind, such a clear
insight into the constitution of virtue, and such a sublime sense of its
power, as at the first tidings of some atrocious act of perfidy; when,
having taken the alarm for human nature, a second thought recovers him;
and his faith returns--gladsome from what has been revealed within
himself, and awful from participation of the secrets in the profaner
grove of humanity which that momentary blast laid open to his view.

Of the ultimate independence of the Spanish Nation there is no reason to
doubt: and for the immediate furtherance of the good cause, and a
throwing-off of the yoke upon the first favourable opportunity by the
different tracts of the country upon which it has been re-imposed,
nothing is wanting but sincerity on the part of the government towards
the provinces which are yet free. The first end to be secured by Spain
is riddance of the enemy: the second, permanent independence: and the
third, a free constitution of government; which will give their main
(though far from sole) value to the other two; and without which little
more than a formal independence, and perhaps scarcely that, can be
secured. Humanity and honour, and justice, and all the sacred feelings
connected with atonement, retribution, and satisfaction; shame that will
not sleep, and the sting of unperformed duty; and all the powers of the
mind, the memory that broods over the dead and turns to the living, the
understanding, the imagination, and the reason;--demand and enjoin that
the wanton oppressor should be driven, with confusion and dismay, from
the country which he has so heinously abused.

This cannot be accomplished (scarcely can it be aimed at) without an
accompanying and an inseparable resolution, in the souls of the
Spaniards, to be and remain their own masters; that is, to preserve
themselves in the rank of Men; and not become as the Brute that is
driven to the pasture, and cares not who owns him. It is a common saying
among those who profess to be lovers of civil liberty, and give
themselves some credit for understanding it,--that, if a Nation be not
free, it is mere dust in the balance whether the slavery be bred at
home, or comes from abroad; be of their own suffering, or of a
stranger's imposing. They see little of the under-ground part of the
tree of liberty, and know less of the nature of man, who can think thus.
Where indeed there is an indisputable and immeasurable superiority in
one nation over another; to be conquered may, in course of time, be a
benefit to the inferior nation: and, upon this principle, some of the
conquests of the Greeks and Romans may be justified. But in what of
really useful or honourable are the French superior to their Neighbours?
Never far advanced, and, now barbarizing apace, they may carry--amongst
the sober and dignified Nations which surround them--much to be avoided,
but little to be imitated.

There is yet another case in which a People may be benefited by
resignation or forfeiture of their rights as a separate independent
State; I mean, where--of two contiguous or neighbouring countries, both
included by nature under one conspicuously defined limit--the weaker is
united with, or absorbed into, the more powerful; and one and the same
Government is extended over both. This, with clue patience and
foresight, may (for the most part) be amicably effected, without the
intervention of conquest; but--even should a violent course have been
resorted to, and have proved successful--the result will be matter of
congratulation rather than of regret, if the countries have been
incorporated with an equitable participation of natural advantages and
civil privileges. Who does not rejoice that former partitions have
disappeared,--and that England, Scotland, and Wales, are under one
legislative and executive authority; and that Ireland (would that she
had been more justly dealt with!) follows the same destiny? The large
and numerous Fiefs, which interfered injuriously with the grand
demarcation assigned by nature to France, have long since been united
and consolidated. The several independent Sovereignties of Italy (a
country, the boundary of which is still more expressly traced out by
nature; and which has no less the further definition and cement of
country which Language prepares) have yet this good to aim at: and it
will be a happy day for Europe, when the natives of Italy and the
natives of Germany (whose duty is, in like manner, indicated to them)
shall each dissolve the pernicious barriers which divide them, and form
themselves into a mighty People. But Spain, excepting a free union with
Portugal, has no benefit of this kind to look for: she has long since
attained it. The Pyrenees on the one side, and the Sea on every other;
the vast extent and great resources of the territory; a population
numerous enough to defend itself against the whole world, and capable
of great increase; language; and long duration of independence;--point
out and command that the two nations of the Peninsula should be united
in friendship and strict alliance; and, as soon as it may be effected
without injustice, form one independent and indissoluble sovereignty.
The Peninsula cannot be protected but by itself: it is too large a tree
to be framed by nature for a station among underwoods; it must have
power to toss its branches in the wind, and lift a bold forehead to the
sun.

Allowing that the 'regni novitas' should either compel or tempt the
Usurper to do away some ancient abuses, and to accord certain
insignificant privileges to the People upon the purlieus of the forest
of Freedom (for assuredly he will never suffer them to enter the body of
it); allowing this, and much more; that the mass of the Population would
be placed in a condition outwardly more thriving--would be _better off_
(as the phrase in conversation is); it is still true that--in the act
and consciousness of submission to an imposed lord and master, to a will
not growing out of themselves, to the edicts of another People their
triumphant enemy--there would be the loss of a sensation within for
which nothing external, even though it should come close to the garden
and the field--to the door and the fire-side, can make amends. The
Artisan and the Merchant (men of classes perhaps least attached to their
native soil) would not be insensible to this loss; and the Mariner, in
his thoughtful mood, would sadden under it upon the wide ocean. The
central or cardinal feeling of these thoughts may, at a future time,
furnish fit matter for the genius of some patriotic Spaniard to express
in his own noble language--as an inscription for the Sword of Francis
the First; if that Sword, which was so ingloriously and perfidiously
surrendered, should ever, by the energies of Liberty, be recovered, and
deposited in its ancient habitation in the Escurial. The Patriot will
recollect that,--if the memorial, then given up by the hand of the
Government, had also been abandoned by the heart of the People, and that
indignity patiently subscribed to,--his country would have been lost for
ever.

There are multitudes by whom, I know, these sentiments will not be
languidly received at this day; and sure I am--that, a hundred and fifty
years ago, they would have been ardently welcomed by all. But, in many
parts of Europe (and especially in our own country), men have been
pressing forward, for some time, in a path which has betrayed by its
fruitfulness; furnishing them constant employment for picking up things
about their feet, when thoughts were perishing in their minds. While
Mechanic Arts, Manufactures, Agriculture, Commerce, and all those
products of knowledge which are confined to gross--definite--and
tangible objects, have, with the aid of Experimental Philosophy, been
every day putting on more brilliant colours; the splendour of the
Imagination has been fading: Sensibility, which was formerly a generous
nursling of rude Nature, has been chased from its ancient range in the
wide domain of patriotism and religion with the weapons of derision by a
shadow calling itself Good Sense: calculations of presumptuous
Expediency--groping its way among partial and temporary
consequences--have been substituted for the dictates of paramount and
infallible Conscience, the supreme embracer of consequences: lifeless
and circumspect Decencies have banished the graceful negligence and
unsuspicious dignity of Virtue.

The progress of these arts also, by furnishing such attractive stores of
outward accommodation, has misled the higher orders of society in their
more disinterested exertions for the service of the lower. Animal
comforts have been rejoiced over, as if they were the end of being. A
neater and more fertile garden; a greener field; implements and utensils
more apt; a dwelling more commodious and better furnished;--let these be
attained, say the actively benevolent, and we are sure not only of being
in the right road, but of having successfully terminated our journey.
Now a country may advance, for some time, in this course with apparent
profit: these accommodations, by zealous encouragement, may be attained:
and still the Peasant or Artisan, their master, be a slave in mind; a
slave rendered even more abject by the very tenure under which these
possessions are held: and--if they veil from us this fact, or reconcile
us to it--they are worse than worthless. The springs of emotion may be
relaxed or destroyed within him; he may have little thought of the past,
and less interest in the future.--The great end and difficulty of life
for men of all classes, and especially difficult for those who live by
manual labour, is a union of peace with innocent and laudable animation.
Not by bread alone is the life of Man sustained; not by raiment alone is
he warmed;--but by the genial and vernal inmate of the breast, which at
once pushes forth and cherishes; by self-support and self-sufficing
endeavours; by anticipations, apprehensions, and active remembrances; by
elasticity under insult, and firm resistance to injury; by joy, and by
love; by pride which his imagination gathers in from afar; by patience,
because life wants not promises; by admiration; by gratitude
which--debasing him not when his fellow-being is its object--habitually
expands itself, for his elevation, in complacency towards his Creator.

Now, to the existence of these blessings, national independence is
indispensible; and many of them it will itself produce and maintain. For
it is some consolation to those who look back upon the history of the
world to know--that, even without civil liberty, society may
possess--diffused through its inner recesses in the minds even of its
humblest members--something of dignified enjoyment. But, without
national independence, this is impossible. The difference, between
inbred oppression and that which is from without, is _essential_;
inasmuch as the former does not exclude, from the minds of a people, the
feeling of being self-governed; does not imply (as the latter does, when
patiently submitted to) an abandonment of the first duty imposed by the
faculty of reason. In reality: where this feeling has no place, a people
are not a society, but a herd; man being indeed distinguished among them
from the brute; but only to his disgrace. I am aware that there are too
many who think that, to the bulk of the community, this independence is
of no value; that it is a refinement with which they feel they have no
concern; inasmuch as, under the best frame of Government, there is an
inevitable dependence of the pool upon the rich--of the many upon the
few--so unrelenting and imperious as to reduce this other, by
comparison, into a force which has small influence, and is entitled to
no regard. Superadd civil liberty to national independence; and this
position is overthrown at once: for there is no more certain mark of a
sound frame of polity than this; that, in all individual instances (and
it is upon these generalized that this position is laid down), the
dependence is in reality far more strict on the side of the wealthy; and
the labouring man leans less upon others than any man in the
community.--But the case before us is of a country not internally free,
yet supposed capable of repelling an external enemy who attempts its
subjugation. If a country have put on chains of its own forging; in the
name of virtue, let it be conscious that to itself it is accountable:
let it not have cause to look beyond its own limits for reproof:
and,--in the name of humanity,--if it be self-depressed, let it have its
pride and some hope within itself. The poorest Peasant, in an unsubdued
land, feels this pride. I do not appeal to the example of Britain or of
Switzerland, for the one is free, and the other lately was free (and, I
trust, will ere long be so again): but talk with the Swede; and you will
see the joy he finds in these sensations. With him animal courage (the
substitute for many and the friend of all the manly virtues) has space
to move in; and is at once elevated by his imagination, and softened by
his affections: it is invigorated also; for the whole courage of his
Country is in his breast.

In fact: the Peasant, and he who lives by the fair reward of his manual
labour, has ordinarily a larger proportion of his gratifications
dependent upon these thoughts--than, for the most part, men in other
classes have. For he is in his person attached, by stronger roots, to
the soil of which he is the growth: his intellectual notices are
generally confined within narrower bounds: in him no partial or
antipatriotic interests counteract the force of those nobler sympathies
and antipathies which he has in right of his Country; and lastly the
belt or girdle of his mind has never been stretched to utter relaxation
by false philosophy, under a conceit of making it sit more easily and
gracefully. These sensations are a social inheritance to him: more
important, as he is precluded from luxurious--and those which are
usually called refined--enjoyments.

Love and admiration must push themselves out towards some quarter:
otherwise the moral man is killed. Collaterally they advance with great
vigour to a certain extent--and they are checked: in that direction,
limits hard to pass are perpetually encountered: but upwards and
downwards, to ancestry and to posterity, they meet with gladsome help
and no obstacles; the tract is interminable.--Perdition to the Tyrant
who would wantonly cut off an independent Nation from its inheritance in
past ages; turning the tombs and burial-places of the Forefathers into
dreaded objects of sorrow, or of shame and reproach, for the Children!
Look upon Scotland and Wales: though, by the union of these with
England under the same Government (which was effected without conquest
in one instance), ferocious and desolating wars, and more injurious
intrigues, and sapping and disgraceful corruptions, have been prevented;
and tranquillity, security, and prosperity, and a thousand interchanges
of amity, not otherwise attainable, have followed;--yet the flashing
eye, and the agitated voice, and all the tender recollections, with
which the names of Prince Llewellin and William Wallace are to this day
pronounced by the fire-side and on the public road, attest that these
substantial blessings have not been purchased without the relinquishment
of something most salutary to the moral nature of Man: else the
remembrances would not cleave so faithfully to their abiding-place in
the human heart. But, if these affections be of general interest, they
are of especial interest to Spain; whose history, written and
traditional, is pre-eminently stored with the sustaining food of such
affections: and in no country are they more justly and generally prized,
or more feelingly cherished.

In the conduct of this argument I am not speaking _to_ the humbler ranks
of society: it is unnecessary: _they_ trust in nature, and are safe. The
People of Madrid, and Corunna, and Ferrol, resisted to the last; from an
impulse which, in their hearts, was its own justification. The failure
was with those who stood higher in the scale. In fact; the universal
rising of the Peninsula, under the pressure and in the face of the most
tremendous military power which ever existed, is evidence which cannot
be too much insisted upon; and is decisive upon this subject, as
involving a question of virtue and moral sentiment. All ranks were
penetrated with one feeling: instantaneous and universal was the
acknowledgement. If there have been since individual fallings-off; those
have been caused by that kind of after-thoughts which are the bastard
offspring of selfishness. The matter was brought home to Spain; and no
Spaniard has offended herein with a still conscience.--It is to the
worldlings of our own country, and to those who think without carrying
their thoughts far enough, that I address myself. Let them know, there
is no true wisdom without imagination; no genuine sense;--that the man,
who in this age feels no regret for the ruined honour of other Nations,
must be poor in sympathy for the honour of his own Country; and that, if
he be wanting here towards that which circumscribes the whole, he
neither has--nor can have--social regard for the lesser communities
which Country includes. Contract the circle, and bring him to his
family; such a man cannot protect _that_ with dignified loves. Reduce
his thoughts to his own person; he may defend himself,--what _he_ deems
his honour; but it is the _action_ of a brave man from the impulse of
the brute, or the motive of a coward.

But it is time to recollect that this vindication of human feeling began
from an _hypothesis_,--that the _outward_ state of the mass of the
Spanish people would be improved by the French usurpation. To this I now
give an unqualified denial. Let me also observe to those men, for whose
infirmity this hypothesis was tolerated,--that the true point of
comparison does not lie between what the Spaniards have been under a
government of their own, and what they may become under French
domination; but between what the Spaniards may do (and, in all
likelihood, will do) for themselves, and what Frenchmen would do for
them. But,--waiving this,--the sweeping away of the most splendid
monuments of art, and rifling of the public treasuries in the conquered
countries, are an apt prologue to the tragedy which is to ensue. Strange
that there are men who can be so besotted as to see, in the decrees of
the Usurper concerning feudal tenures and a worn-out Inquisition, any
other evidence than that of insidiousness and of a constrained
acknowledgement of the strength which he felt he had to overcome. What
avail the lessons of history, if men can be duped thus? Boons and
promises of this kind rank, in trustworthiness, many degrees lower than
amnesties after expelled kings have recovered their thrones.
The fate of subjugated Spain may be expressed in these
words,--pillage--depression--and helotism--for the supposed
aggrandizement of the imaginary freeman its master. There would indeed
be attempts at encouragement, that there might be a supply of something
to pillage: studied depression there would be, that there might arise no
power of resistance: and lastly helotism;--but of what kind? that a vain
and impious Nation might have slaves, worthier than itself, for work
which its own hands would reject with scorn.

What good can the present arbitrary power confer upon France itself? Let
that point be first settled by those who are inclined to look farther.
The earlier proceedings of the French Revolution no doubt infused
health into the country; something of which survives to this day: but
let not the now-existing Tyranny have the credit of it. France neither
owes, nor can owe, to this any rational obligation. She has seen decrees
without end for the increase of commerce and manufactures; pompous
stories without number of harbours, canals, warehouses, and bridges: but
there is no worse sign in the management of affairs than when that,
which ought to follow as an effect, goes before under a vain notion that
it will be a cause.--Let us attend to the springs of action, and we
shall not be deceived. The works of peace cannot flourish in a country
governed by an intoxicated Despot; the motions of whose distorted
benevolence must be still more pernicious than those of his cruelty. '_I
have bestowed; I have created; I have regenerated; I have been pleased
to organize_;'--this is the language perpetually upon his lips, when his
ill-fated activities turn that way. Now commerce, manufactures,
agriculture, and all the peaceful arts, are of the nature of virtues or
intellectual powers: they cannot be given; they cannot be stuck in here
and there; they must spring up; they must grow of themselves: they may
be encouraged; they thrive better with encouragement, and delight in it;
but the obligation must have bounds nicely defined; for they are
delicate, proud, and independent. But a Tyrant has no joy in any thing
which is endued with such excellence: he sickens at the sight of it: he
turns away from it, as an insult to his own attributes. We have seen the
present ruler of France publicly addressed as a Providence upon earth;
styled, among innumerable other blasphemies, the supreme Ruler of
things; and heard him say, in his answers, that he approved of the
language of those who thus saluted him. (_See Appendix E_.)--Oh folly to
think that plans of reason can prosper under such countenance! If this
be the doom of France, what a monster would be the double-headed tyranny
of Spain!

It is immutably ordained that power, taken and exercised in contempt of
right, never can bring forth good. Wicked actions indeed have oftentimes
happy issues: the benevolent economy of nature counter-working and
diverting evil; and educing finally benefits from injuries, and turning
curses to blessings. But I am speaking of good in a direct course. All
good in this order--all moral good--begins and ends in reverence of
right. The whole Spanish People are to be treated not as a mighty
multitude with feeling, will, and judgment; not as rational
creatures;--but as objects without reason; in the language of human law,
insuperably laid down not as Persons but as Things. Can good come from
this beginning; which, in matter of civil government, is the
fountain-head and the main feeder of all the pure evil upon earth? Look
at the past history of our sister Island for the quality of foreign
oppression: turn where you will, it is miserable at best; but, in the
case of Spain!--it might be said, engraven upon the rocks of her own
Pyrenees,

    Per me si va nella citt‡ dolente;
    Per me si va nell' eterno dolore;
    Per me si va tra la perduta gente.

So much I have thought it necessary to speak upon this subject; with a
desire to enlarge the views of the short-sighted, to cheer the
desponding, and stimulate the remiss. I have been treating of duties
which the People of Spain feel to be solemn and imperious; and have
referred to springs of action (in the sensations of love and hatred, of
hope and fear),--for promoting the fulfilment of these duties,--which
cannot fail. The People of Spain, thus animated, will move now; and will
be prepared to move, upon a favourable summons, for ages. And it is
consolatory to think that,--even if many of the leading persons of that
country, in their resistance to France, should not look beyond the two
first objects (viz. riddance of the enemy, and security of national
independence);--it is, I say, consolatory to think that the conduct,
which can alone secure either of these ends, leads directly to a free
internal Government. We have therefore both the passions and the reason
of these men on our side in two stages of the common journey: and, when
this is the case, surely we are justified in expecting some further
companionship and support from their reason--acting independent of their
partial interests, or in opposition to them. It is obvious that, to the
narrow policy of this class (men loyal to the Nation and to the King,
yet jealous of the People), the most dangerous failures, which have
hitherto taken place, are to be attributed: for, though from acts of
open treason Spain may suffer and has suffered much, these (as I have
proved) can never affect the vitals of the cause. But the march of
Liberty has begun; and they, who will not lead, may be borne along.--At
all events, the road is plain. Let members for the Cortes be assembled
from those Provinces which are not in the possession of the Invader: or
at least (if circumstances render this impossible at present) let it be
announced that such is the intention, to be realized the first moment
when it shall become possible. In the mean while speak boldly to the
People: and let the People write and speak boldly. Let the expectation
be familiar to them of open and manly institutions of law and liberty
according to knowledge. Let them be universally trained to military
exercises, and accustomed to military discipline: let them be drawn
together in civic and religious assemblies; and a general communication
of those assemblies with each other be established through the country:
so that there may be one zeal and one life in every part of it.

With great profit might the Chiefs of the Spanish Nation look back upon
the earlier part of the French Revolution. Much, in the outward manner,
might there be found worthy of qualified imitation: and, where there is
a difference in the inner spirit (and there is a mighty difference!),
the advantage is wholly on the side of the Spaniards.--Why should the
People of Spain be dreaded by their leaders? I do not mean the
profligate and flagitious leaders; but those who are well-intentioned,
yet timid. That there are numbers of this class who have excellent
intentions, and are willing to make large personal sacrifices, is clear;
for they have put every thing to risk--all their privileges, their
honours, and possessions--by their resistance to the Invader. Why then
should they have fears from a quarter--whence their safety must come, if
it come at all?--Spain has nothing to dread from Jacobinism.
Manufactures and Commerce have there in far less degree than
elsewhere--by unnaturally clustering the people together--enfeebled
their bodies, inflamed their passions by intemperance, vitiated from
childhood their moral affections, and destroyed their imaginations.
Madrid is no enormous city, like Paris; over-grown, and
disproportionate; sickening and bowing down, by its corrupt humours, the
frame of the body politic. Nor has the pestilential philosophism of
France made any progress in Spain. No flight of infidel harpies has
alighted upon their ground. A Spanish understanding is a hold too strong
to give way to the meagre tactics of the 'SystËme de la Nature;' or to
the pellets of logic which Condillac has cast in the foundry of
national vanity, and tosses about at hap-hazard--self-persuaded that he
is proceeding according to art. The Spaniards are a people with
imagination: and the paradoxical reveries of Rousseau, and the
flippancies of Voltaire, are plants which will not naturalise in the
country of Calderon and Cervantes. Though bigotry among the Spaniards
leaves much to be lamented; I have proved that the religious habits of
the nation must, in a contest of this kind, be of inestimable service.

Yet further: contrasting the present condition of Spain with that of
France at the commencement of her revolution, we must not overlook one
characteristic; the Spaniards have no division among themselves by and
through themselves; no numerous Priesthood--no Nobility--no large body
of powerful Burghers--from passion, interest, and conscience--opposing
the end which is known and felt to be the duty and only honest and true
interest of all. Hostility, wherever it is found, must proceed from the
seductions of the Invader: and these depend solely upon his power: let
that be shattered; and they vanish.

And this once again leads us directly to that immense military force
which the Spaniards have to combat; and which, many think, more than
counterbalances every internal advantage. It is indeed formidable: as
revolutionary appetites and energies must needs be; when, among a people
numerous as the people of France, they have ceased to spend themselves
in conflicting factions within the country for objects perpetually
changing shape; and are carried out of it under the strong controul of
an absolute despotism, as opportunity invites, for a definite
object--plunder and conquest. It is, I allow, a frightful spectacle--to
see the prime of a vast nation propelled out of their territory with the
rapid sweep of a horde of Tartars; moving from the impulse of like
savage instincts; and furnished, at the same time, with those implements
of physical destruction which have been produced by science and
civilization. Such are the motions of the French armies; unchecked by
any thought which philosophy and the spirit of society, progressively
humanizing, have called forth--to determine or regulate the application
of the murderous and desolating apparatus with which by philosophy and
science they have been provided. With a like perversion of things, and
the same mischievous reconcilement of forces in their nature adverse,
these revolutionary impulses and these appetites of barbarous (nay,
what is far worse, of barbarized) men are embodied in a new frame of
polity; which possesses the consistency of an ancient Government,
without its embarrassments and weaknesses. And at the head of all is the
mind of one man who acts avowedly upon the principle that everything,
which can be done safely by the supreme power of a State, may be done
(_See Appendix F_.); and who has, at his command, the greatest part of
the continent of Europe--to fulfil what yet remains unaccomplished of
his nefarious purposes.

Now it must be obvious to a reflecting mind that every thing which is
desperately immoral, being in its constitution monstrous, is of itself
perishable: decay it cannot escape; and, further, it is liable to sudden
dissolution: time would evince this in the instance before us; though
not, perhaps, until infinite and irreparable harm had been done. But,
even at present, each of the sources of this preternatural strength (as
far as it is formidable to Europe) has its corresponding seat of
weakness; which, were it fairly touched, would manifest itself
immediately.--The power is indeed a Colossus: but, if the trunk be of
molten-brass, the members are of clay; and would fall to pieces upon a
shock which need not be violent. Great Britain, if her energies were
properly called forth and directed, might (as we have already
maintained) give this shock. 'Magna parvis obscurantur' was the
appropriate motto (the device a Sun Eclipsed) when Lord Peterborough,
with a handful of men opposed to fortified cities and large armies,
brought a great part of Spain to acknowledge a sovereign of the House of
Austria. We have _now_ a vast military force; and,--even without a
Peterborough or a Marlborough,--at this precious opportunity (when, as
is daily more probable, a large portion of the French force must march
northwards to combat Austria) we might easily, by expelling the French
from the Peninsula, secure an immediate footing there for liberty; and
the Pyrenees would then be shut against them for ever. The disciplined
troops of Great Britain might overthrow the enemy in the field; while
the Patriots of Spain, under wise management, would be able to consume
him slowly but surely.

For present annoyance his power is, no doubt, mighty: but liberty--in
which it originated, and of which it is a depravation--is far mightier;
and the good in human nature is stronger than the evil. The events of
our age indeed have brought this truth into doubt with some persons: and
scrupulous observers have been astonished and have repined at the sight
of enthusiasm, courage, perseverance, and fidelity, put forth seemingly
to their height,--and all engaged in the furtherance of wrong. But the
minds of men are not always devoted to this bad service as strenuously
as they appear to be. I have personal knowledge that, when the attack
was made which ended in the subjugation of Switzerland, the injustice of
the undertaking was grievously oppressive to many officers of the French
army; and damped their exertions. Besides, were it otherwise, there is
no just cause for despondency in the perverted alliance of these
qualities with oppression. The intrinsic superiority of virtue and
liberty, even for politic ends, is not affected by it. If the tide of
success were, by any effort, fairly turned;--not only a general
desertion, as we have the best reason to believe, would follow among the
troops of the enslaved nations; but a moral change would also take place
in the minds of the native French soldiery. Occasion would be given for
the discontented to break out; and, above all, for the triumph of human
nature. It would _then_ be seen whether men fighting in a bad
cause,--men without magnanimity, honour, or justice,--could recover; and
stand up against champions who by these virtues were carried forward in
good fortune, as by these virtues in adversity they had been sustained.
As long as guilty actions thrive, guilt is strong: it has a giddiness
and transport of its own; a hardihood not without superstition, as if
Providence were a party to its success. But there is no independent
spring at the heart of the machine which can be relied upon for a
support of these motions in a change of circumstances. Disaster opens
the eyes of conscience; and, in the minds of men who have been employed
in bad actions, defeat and a feeling of punishment are inseparable.

On the other hand; the power of an unblemished heart and a brave spirit
is shewn, in the events of war, not only among unpractised citizens and
peasants; but among troops in the most perfect discipline. Large bodies
of the British army have been several times broken--that is, technically
vanquished--in Egypt, and elsewhere. Yet they, who were conquered as
formal soldiers, stood their ground and became conquerors as men. This
paramount efficacy of moral causes is not willingly admitted by persons
high in the profession of arms; because it seems to diminish their value
in society--by taking from the importance of their art: but the truth is
indisputable: and those Generals are as blind to their own interests as
to the interests of their country, who, by submitting to inglorious
treaties or by other misconduct, hazard the breaking down of those
personal virtues in the men under their command--to which they
themselves, as leaders, are mainly indebted for the fame which they
acquire.

Combine, with this moral superiority inherent in the cause of Freedom,
the endless resources open to a nation which shews constancy in
defensive war; resources which, after a lapse of time, leave the
strongest invading army comparatively helpless. Before six cities,
resisting as Saragossa hath resisted during her two sieges, the whole of
the military power of the adversary would melt away. Without any
advantages of natural situation; without fortifications; without even a
ditch to protect them; with nothing better than a mud wall; with not
more than two hundred regular troops; with a slender stock of arms and
ammunition; with a leader inexperienced in war;--the Citizens of
Saragossa began the contest. Enough of what was needful--was produced
and created; and--by courage, fortitude, and skill rapidly matured--they
baffled for sixty days, and finally repulsed, a large French army with
all its equipments. In the first siege the natural and moral victory
were both on their side; nor less so virtually (though the termination
was different) in the second. For, after another resistance of nearly
three months, they have given the enemy cause feelingly to say, with
Pyrrhus of old,--'A little more of such conquest, and I am destroyed.'

If evidence were wanting of the efficacy of the principles which
throughout this Treatise have been maintained,--it has been furnished in
overflowing measure. A private individual, I had written; and knew not
in what manner tens of thousands were enacting, day after day, the
truths which, in the solitude of a peaceful vale, I was meditating. Most
gloriously have the Citizens of Saragossa proved that the true army of
Spain, in a contest of this nature, is the whole people. The same city
has also exemplified a melancholy--yea a dismal truth; yet consolatory,
and full of joy; that,--when a people are called suddenly to fight for
their liberty, and are sorely pressed upon,--their best field of battle
is the floors upon which their children have played; the chambers where
the family of each man has slept (his own or his neighbours'); upon or
under the roofs by which they have been sheltered; in the gardens of
their recreation; in the street, or in the market-place; before the
Altars of their Temples; and among their congregated dwellings--blazing,
or up-rooted.

The Government of Spain must never forget Saragossa for a moment.
Nothing is wanting, to produce the same effects every where, but a
leading mind such as that city was blessed with. In the latter contest
this has been proved; for Saragossa contained, at that time, bodies of
men from almost all parts of Spain. The narrative of those two sieges
should be the manual of every Spaniard: he may add to it the ancient
stories of Numantia and Saguntum: let him sleep upon the book as a
pillow; and, if he be a devout adherent to the religion of his country,
let him wear it in his bosom for his crucifix to rest upon.

Beginning from these invincible feelings, and the principles of justice
which are involved in them; let nothing be neglected, which policy and
prudence dictate, for rendering subservient to the same end those
qualities in human nature which are indifferent or even morally bad; and
for making the selfish propensities contribute to the support of wise
arrangements, civil and military.--Perhaps there never appeared in the
field more steady soldiers--troops which it would have been more
difficult to conquer with such knowledge of the art of war as then
existed--than those commanded by Fairfax and Cromwell: let us see from
what root these armies grew. 'Cromwell,' says Sir Philip Warwick, 'made
use of the zeal and credulity of these persons' (that is--such of the
people as had, in the author's language, the fanatic humour); 'teaching
them (as they too readily taught themselves) that they engaged for God,
when he led them against his vicegerent the King. And, where this
opinion met with a natural courage, it made them bolder--and too often
crueller; and, where natural courage wanted, zeal supplied its place.
And at first they chose rather to die than flee; and custom removed fear
of danger: and afterwards--finding the sweet of good pay, and of
opulent plunder, and of preferment suitable to activity and merit--the
lucrative part made gain seem to them a natural member of godliness. And
I cannot here omit' (continues the author) 'a character of this army
which General Fairfax gave unto myself; when, complimenting him with the
regularity and temperance of his army, he told me, The best common
soldiers he had--came out of our army and from the garrisons he had
taken in. So (says he) I found you had made them good soldiers; and I
have made them good men. But, upon this whole matter, it may appear'
(concludes the author) 'that the spirit of discipline of war may beget
that spirit of discipline which even Solomon describes as the spirit of
wisdom and obedience.' Apply this process to the growth and maturity of
an armed force in Spain. In making a comparison of the two cases; to the
sense of the insults and injuries which, as Spaniards and as human
Beings, they have received and have to dread,--and to the sanctity which
an honourable resistance has already conferred upon their
misfortunes,--add the devotion of that people to their religion as
Catholics;--and it will not be doubted that the superiority of the
radical feeling is, on their side, immeasurable. There is (I cannot
refrain from observing) in the Catholic religion, and in the character
of its Priesthood especially, a source of animation and fortitude in
desperate struggles--which may be relied upon as one of the best hopes
of the cause. The narrative of the first siege of Zaragoza, lately
published in this country, and which I earnestly recommend to the
reader's perusal, informs us that,--'In every part of the town where the
danger was most imminent, and the French the most numerous,--was Padre
St. Iago Sass, curate of a parish in Zaragoza. As General Palafox made
his rounds through the city, he often beheld Sass alternately playing
the part of a Priest and a Soldier; sometimes administering the
sacrament to the dying; and, at others, fighting in the most determined
manner against the enemies of his country.--He was found so serviceable
in inspiring the people with religious sentiments, and in leading them
on to danger, that the General has placed him in a situation where both
his piety and courage may continue to be as useful as before; and he is
now both Captain in the army, and Chaplain to the commander-in-chief.'

The reader will have been reminded, by the passage above cited from Sir
Philip Warwick's memoirs, of the details given, in the earlier part of
this tract, concerning the course which (as it appeared to me) might
with advantage be pursued in Spain: I must request him to combine those
details with such others as have since been given: the whole would have
been further illustrated, if I could sooner have returned to the
subject; but it was first necessary to examine the grounds of hope in
the grand and disinterested passions, and in the laws of universal
morality. My attention has therefore been chiefly directed to these laws
and passions; in order to elevate, in some degree, the conceptions of my
readers; and with a wish to rectify and fix, in this fundamental point,
their judgements. The truth of the general reasoning will, I have no
doubt, be acknowledged by men of uncorrupted natures and practised
understandings; and the conclusion, which I have repeatedly drawn, will
be acceded to; namely, that no resistance can be prosperous which does
not look, for its chief support, to these principles and feelings. If,
however, there should be men who still fear (as I have been speaking of
things under combinations which are transitory) that the action of these
powers cannot be sustained; to such I answer that,--if there be a
necessity that it should be sustained at the point to which it first
ascended, or should recover that height if there have been a
fall,--Nature will provide for that necessity. The cause is in Tyranny:
and that will again call forth the effect out of its holy retirements.
Oppression, its own blind and predestined enemy, has poured this of
blessedness upon Spain,--that the enormity of the outrages, of which she
has been the victim, has created an object of love and of hatred--of
apprehensions and of wishes--adequate (if that be possible) to the
utmost demands of the human spirit. The heart that serves in this cause,
if it languish, must languish from its own constitutional weakness; and
not through want of nourishment from without. But it is a belief
propagated in books, and which passes currently among talking men as
part of their familiar wisdom, that the hearts of the many _are_
constitutionally weak; that they _do_ languish; and are slow to answer
to the requisitions of things. I entreat those, who are in this
delusion, to look behind them and about them for the evidence of
experience. Now this, rightly understood, not only gives no support to
any such belief; but proves that the truth is in direct opposition to
it. The history of all ages; tumults after tumults; wars, foreign or
civil, with short or with no breathing-spaces, from generation to
generation; wars--why and wherefore? yet with courage, with
perseverance, with self-sacrifice, with enthusiasm--with cruelty driving
forward the cruel man from its own terrible nakedness, and attracting
the more benign by the accompaniment of some shadow which seems to
sanctify it; the senseless weaving and interweaving of
factions--vanishing and reviving and piercing each other like the
Northern Lights; public commotions, and those in the bosom of the
individual; the long calenture to which the Lover is subject; the blast,
like the blast of the desart, which sweeps perennially through a
frightful solitude of its own making in the mind of the Gamester; the
slowly quickening but ever quickening descent of appetite down which the
Miser is propelled; the agony and cleaving oppression of grief; the
ghost-like hauntings of shame; the incubus of revenge; the
life-distemper of ambition;--these inward existences, and the visible
and familiar occurrences of daily life in every town and village; the
patient curiosity and contagious acclamations of the multitude in the
streets of the city and within the walls of the theatre; a procession,
or a rural dance; a hunting, or a horse-race; a flood, or a fire;
rejoicing and ringing of bells for an unexpected gift of good fortune,
or the coming of a foolish heir to his estate;--these demonstrate
incontestibly that the passions of men (I mean, the soul of sensibility
in the heart of man)--in all quarrels, in all contests, in all quests,
in all delights, in all employments which are either sought by men or
thrust upon them--do immeasurably transcend their objects. The true
sorrow of humanity consists in this;--not that the mind of man fails;
but that the course and demands of action and of life so rarely
correspond with the dignity and intensity of human desires: and hence
that, which is slow to languish, is too easily turned aside and abused.
But--with the remembrance of what has been done, and in the face of the
interminable evils which are threatened--a Spaniard can never have cause
to complain of this, while a follower of the tyrant remains in arms upon
the Peninsula.

Here then they, with whom I _hope_, take their stand. There is a
spiritual community binding together the living and the dead; the good,
the brave, and the wise, of all ages. We would not be rejected from this
community: and therefore do we hope. We look forward with erect mind,
thinking and feeling: it is an obligation of duty: take away the sense
of it, and the moral being would die within us.--Among the most
illustrious of that fraternity, whose encouragement we participate, is
an Englishman who sacrificed his life in devotion to a cause bearing a
stronger likeness to this than any recorded in history. It is the elder
Sidney--a deliverer and defender, whose name I have before uttered with
reverence; who, treating of the war in the Netherlands against Philip
the Second, thus writes: 'If her Majesty,' says he, 'were the fountain;
I wold fear, considering what I daily find, that we shold wax dry. But
she is but a means whom God useth. And I know not whether I am deceaved;
but I am fully persuaded, that, if she shold withdraw herself, other
springs wold rise to help this action. For, methinks, I see the great
work indeed in hand against the abuses of the world; wherein it is no
greater fault to have confidence in man's power, than it is too hastily
to despair of God's work.'

The pen, which I am guiding, has stopped in my hand; and I have scarcely
power to proceed.--I will lay down one principle; and then shall
contentedly withdraw from the sanctuary.

When wickedness acknowledges no limit but the extent of her power, and
advances with aggravated impatience like a devouring fire; the only
worthy or adequate opposition is--that of virtue submitting to no
circumscription of her endeavours save that of her rights, and aspiring
from the impulse of her own ethereal zeal. The Christian exhortation for
the individual is here the precept for nations--'Be ye therefore
perfect; even as your Father, which is in Heaven, is perfect.'

Upon a future occasion (if what has been now said meets with attention)
I shall point out the steps by which the practice of life may be lifted
up towards these high precepts. I shall have to speak of the child as
well as the man; for with the child, or the youth, may we begin with
more hope: but I am not in despair even for the man; and chiefly from
the inordinate evils of our time. There are (as I shall attempt to shew)
tender and subtile ties by which these principles, that love to soar in
the pure region, are connected with the ground-nest in which they were
fostered and from which they take their flight.

The outermost and all-embracing circle of benevolence has inward
concentric circles which, like those of the spider's web, are bound
together by links, and rest upon each other; making one frame, and
capable of one tremor; circles narrower and narrower, closer and closer,
as they lie more near to the centre of self from which they proceeded,
and which sustains the whole. The order of life does not require that
the sublime and disinterested feelings should have to trust long to
their own unassisted power. Nor would the attempt consist either with
their dignity or their humility. They condescend, and they adopt: they
know the time of their repose; and the qualities which are worthy of
being admitted into their service--of being their inmates, their
companions, or their substitutes. I shall strive to shew that these
principles and movements of wisdom--so far from towering above the
support of prudence, or rejecting the rules of experience, for the
better conduct of those multifarious actions which are alike necessary
to the attainment of ends good or bad--do instinctively prompt the sole
prudence which cannot fail. The higher mode of being does not exclude,
but necessarily includes, the lower; the intellectual does not exclude,
but necessarily includes, the sentient; the sentient, the animal; and
the animal, the vital--to its lowest degrees. Wisdom is the hidden root
which thrusts forth the stalk of prudence; and these uniting feed and
uphold 'the bright consummate flower'--National Happiness--the end, the
conspicuous crown, and ornament of the whole.

I have announced the feelings of those who hope: yet one word more to
those who despond. And first; _he_ stands upon a hideous precipice (and
it will be the same with all who may succeed to him and his iron
sceptre)--he who has outlawed himself from society by proclaiming, with
act and deed, that he acknowledges no mastery but power. This truth must
be evident to all who breathe--from the dawn of childhood, till the last
gleam of twilight is lost in the darkness of dotage. But take the tyrant
as he is, in the plenitude of his supposed strength. The vast country of
Germany, in spite of the rusty but too strong fetters of corrupt
princedoms and degenerate nobility,--Germany--with its citizens, its
peasants, and its philosophers--will not lie quiet under the weight of
injuries which has been heaped upon it. There is a sleep, but no death,
among the mountains of Switzerland. Florence, and Venice, and Genoa, and
Rome,--have their own poignant recollections, and a majestic train of
glory in past ages. The stir of emancipation may again be felt at the
mouths as well as at the sources of the Rhine. Poland perhaps will not
be insensible; Kosciusko and his compeers may not have bled in vain. Nor
is Hungarian loyalty to be overlooked. And, for Spain itself, the
territory is wide: let it be overrun: the torrent will weaken as the
water spreads. And, should all resistance disappear, be not daunted:
extremes meet: and how often do hope and despair almost touch each
other--though unconscious of their neighbourhood, because their faces
are turned different ways! yet, in a moment, the one shall vanish; and
the other begin a career in the fulness of her joy.

But we may turn from these thoughts: for the present juncture is most
auspicious. Upon liberty, and upon liberty alone, can there be permanent
dependence; but a temporary relief will be given by the share which
Austria is about to take in the war. Now is the time for a great and
decisive effort; and, if Britain does not avail herself of it, her
disgrace will be indelible, and the loss infinite. If there be ground of
hope in the crimes and errors of the enemy, he has furnished enough of
both: but imbecility in his opponents (above all, the imbecility of the
British) has hitherto preserved him from the natural consequences of his
ignorance, his meanness of mind, his transports of infirm fancy, and his
guilt. Let us hasten to redeem ourselves. The field is open for a
commanding British military force to clear the Peninsula of the enemy,
while the better half of his power is occupied with Austria. For the
South of Spain, where the first effort of regeneration was made, is yet
free. Saragossa (which, by a truly efficient British army, might have
been relieved) has indeed fallen; but leaves little to regret; for
consummate have been her fortitude and valour. The citizens and soldiers
of Saragossa are to be envied: for they have completed the circle of
their duty; they have done all that could be wished--all that could be
prayed for. And, though the cowardly malice of the enemy gives too much
reason to fear that their leader Palafox (with the fate of Toussaint)
will soon be among the dead, it is the high privilege of men who have
performed what he has performed--that they cannot be missed; and, in
moments of weakness only, can they be lamented: their actions represent
them every where and for ever. Palafox has taken his place as parent and
ancestor of innumerable heroes.

Oh! that the surviving chiefs of the Spanish people may prove worthy of
their situation! With such materials,--their labour would be pleasant,
and their success certain. But--though heads of a nation venerable for
antiquity, and having good cause to preserve with reverence the
institutions of their elder forefathers--they must not be
indiscriminately afraid of new things. It is their duty to restore the
good which has fallen into disuse; and also to create, and to adopt.
Young scions of polity must be engrafted on the time-worn trunk: a new
fortress must be reared upon the ancient and living rock of justice.
Then would it be seen, while the superstructure stands inwardly
immoveable, in how short a space of time the ivy and wild plant would
climb up from the base, and clasp the naked walls; the storms, which
could not shake, would weather-stain; and the edifice, in the day of its
youth, would appear to be one with the rock upon which it was planted,
and to grow out of it.

But let us look to ourselves. Our offences are unexpiated: and, wanting
light, we want strength. With reference to this guilt and to this
deficiency, and to my own humble efforts towards removing both, I shall
conclude with the words of a man of disciplined spirit, who withdrew
from the too busy world--not out of indifference to its welfare, or to
forget its concerns--- but retired for wider compass of eye-sight, that
he might comprehend and see in just proportions and relations; knowing
above all that he, who hath not first made himself master of the horizon
of his own mind, must look beyond it only to be deceived. It is Petrarch
who thus writes: 'Haec dicerem, et quicquid in rem praesentem et
indignatio dolorque dictarent; nisi obtorpuisse animos, actumque de
rebus nostris, crederem. Nempe, qui aliis iter rectum ostendere
solebamus, nunc (quod exitio proximum est) coeci coecis ducibus per
abrupta rapimur; alienoque circumvolvimur exemplo; quid velimus, nescii.
Nam (ut coeptum exequar) totum hoc malum, seu nostrum proprium seu
potius omnium gentium commune, IGNORATIO FINIS facit. Nesciunt
inconsulti homines quid agant: ideo quicquid agunt, mox ut coeperint,
vergit in nauseam. Hinc ille discursus sine termino; hinc, medio calle,
discordiae; et, ante exitum, DAMNATA PRINCIPIA; et expletË nihil.'

As an act of respect to the English reader--I shall add, to the same
purpose, the words of our own Milton; who, contemplating our ancestors
in his day, thus speaks of them and their errors:--'Valiant, indeed, and
prosperous to win a field; but, to know the end and reason of winning,
injudicious and unwise. Hence did their victories prove as fruitless, as
their losses dangerous; and left them still languishing under the same
grievances that men suffer conquered. Which was indeed unlikely to go
otherwise; unless men more than vulgar bred up in the knowledge of
ancient and illustrious deeds, invincible against many and vain titles,
impartial to friendships and relations, had conducted their affairs.'

THE END.



APPENDIX.

       *       *       *       *       *

_A (page 67)_.


When this passage was written, there had appeared only unauthorized
accounts of the Board of Inquiry's proceedings. Neither from these
however, nor from the official report of the Board (which has been since
published), is any satisfactory explanation to be gained on this
question--or indeed on any other question of importance. All, which is
to be collected from them, is this: the Portugueze General, it appears,
offered to unite his whole force with the British on the single
condition that they should be provisioned from the British stores; and,
accordingly, rests his excuse for not co-operating on the refusal of Sir
Arthur Wellesley to comply with this condition. Sir A.W. denies the
validity of his excuse; and, more than once, calls it a _pretence_;
declaring that, in his belief, Gen. Freire's real motive for not joining
was--a mistrust in the competence of the British to appear in the field
against the French. This however is mere surmise; and therefore cannot
have much weight with those who sincerely sought for satisfaction on
this point: moreover, it is a surmise of the individual whose
justification rests on making it appear that the difficulty did not
arise with himself; and it is right to add, that the only _fact_
produced goes to discredit this surmise; viz. that Gen. Friere did,
without any delay, furnish the whole number of troops which Sir Arthur
engaged to feed. However the Board exhibited so little anxiety to be
satisfied on this point, that no positive information was gained.

A reference being here first made to the official report of the Board of
Inquiry; I shall make use of the opportunity which it offers to lay
before the reader an outline of that Board's proceedings; from which it
will appear how far the opinion--pronounced, by the national voice, upon
the transactions in Portugal--ought, in sound logic, to be modified by
any part of those proceedings.

We find in the warrant under which the Board of Inquiry was to act, and
which defined its powers, that an inquiry was to be made into the
conditions of the 'armistice and convention; and into all the causes and
circumstances, whether arising from the operations of the British army,
or otherwise, which led to them.'

Whether answers to the charges of the people of England were made
possible by the provisions of this warrant--and, secondly, whether even
these provisions have been satisfied by the Board of Inquiry--will best
appear by involving those charges in four questions, according to the
following scale, which supposes a series of concessions impossible to
those who think the nation justified in the language held on the
transactions in Portugal.

1. Considering the perfidy with which the French army had entered
Portugal; the enormities committed by it during its occupation of that
country; the vast military power of which that army was a part, and the
use made of that power by its master; the then existing spirit of the
Spanish, Portugueze, and British nations; in a word, considering the
especial nature of the service, and the individual character of this
war;--was it lawful for the British army, under any conceivable
circumstances, so long as it had the liberty of re-embarking, to make
_any conceivable_ convention? i.e. Was the negative evil of a total
failure in every object for which it had been sent to Portugal of worse
tendency than the positive evil of acknowledging in the French army a
fair title to the privileges of an honourable enemy by consenting to a
mode of treaty which (in its very name, implying a reciprocation of
concession and respect) must be under any limitations as much more
indulgent than an ordinary capitulation, as that again must (in its
severest form) be more indulgent than the only favour which the French
marauders could presume upon obtaining--viz. permission to surrender at
discretion?

To this question the reader need not be told that these pages give a
naked unqualified denial; and that to establish the reasonableness of
that denial is one of their main purposes: but, for the benefit of the
men accused, let it be supposed granted; and then the second question
will be

2. Was it lawful for the English army, in the case of its being reduced
to the supposed dilemma of either re-embarking or making _some_
convention, to make _that specifical_ convention which it did make at
Cintra?

This is of necessity and _‡ fortiori_ denied; and it has been proved
that neither to this, nor any other army, could it be lawful to make
such a convention--not merely under the actual but under any conceivable
circumstances; let however this too, on behalf of the parties accused,
be granted; and then the third question will be

3. Was the English Army reduced to that dilemma?

4. Finally, this also being conceded (which not even the Generals have
dared to say), it remains to ask by whose and by what misconduct did an
army--confessedly the arbiter of its own movements and plans at the
opening of the campaign--forfeit that free agency--either to the extent
of the extremity supposed, or of any approximation to that extremity?

Now of these four possible questions in the minds of all those who
condemn the convention of Cintra, it is obvious that the King's warrant
supposes only the three latter to exist (since, though it allows inquiry
to be made into the individual convention, it no where questions the
tolerability of a convention _in genere_); and it is no less obvious
that the Board, acting under that warrant, has noticed only the
last--i.e. by what series of military movements the army was brought
into a state of difficulty which justified _a_ convention (the Board
taking for granted throughout--1st, That such a state could exist;
2ndly, That it actually did exist; and 3rdly, That--if it existed, and
accordingly justified _some imaginable_ convention--it must therefore of
necessity justify _this_ convention).

Having thus shewn that it is on the last question only that the nation
could, in deference to the Board of Inquiry, surrender or qualify any
opinion which, it had previously given--let us ask what answer is
gained, from the proceedings of that Board, to the charge involved even
in this last question (premising however--first--that this charge was
never explicitly made by the public, or at least was enunciated only in
the form of a conjecture--and 2ndly that the answer to it is collected
chiefly from the depositions of the parties accused)? Now the whole sum
of their answer amounts to no more than this--that, in the opinion of
some part of the English staff, an opportunity was lost on the 21st of
exchanging the comparatively slow process of reducing the French army by
siege for the brilliant and summary one of a _coup-de-main_.

This opportunity, be it observed, was offered only by Gen. Junot's
presumption in quitting his defensive positions, and coming out to meet
the English army in the field; so that it was an advantage so much over
and above what might fairly have been calculated upon: at any rate, if
_this_ might have been looked for, still the accident of battle, by
which a large part of the French army was left in a situation to be cut
off, (to the loss of which advantage Sir A. Wellesley ascribes the
necessity of a convention) could surely never have been anticipated; and
therefore the British army was, even after that loss, in as prosperous a
state as it had from the first any right to expect. Hence it is to be
inferred, that Sir A.W. must have entered on this campaign with a
predetermination to grant a convention in any case, excepting in one
single case which he knew to be in the gift of only very extraordinary
good fortune. With respect to him, therefore, the charges--pronounced by
the national voice--are not only confirmed, but greatly aggravated.
Further, with respect to the General who superseded him, all those--who
think that such an opportunity of terminating the campaign was really
offered, and, through his refusal to take advantage of it, lost--are
compelled to suspect in him a want of military skill, or a wilful
sacrifice of his duty to the influence of personal rivalry, accordingly
as they shall interpret his motives.

The whole which we gain therefore from the Board of Inquiry is--that
what we barely suspected is ripened into certainty--and that on all,
which we assuredly knew and declared without needing that any tribunal
should lend us its sanction, no effort has been made at denial, or
disguise, or palliation.

Thus much for the proceedings of the Board of Inquiry, upon which their
decision was to be grounded. As to the decision itself, it declares that
no further military proceedings are necessary; 'because' (say the
members of the Board). 'however some of us may differ in our sentiments
respecting the fitness of the convention in the relative situation of
the two armies, it is our unanimous declaration that unquestionable zeal
and firmness appear throughout to have been exhibited by Generals Sir H.
Dalrymple, Sir H. Burrard, and Sir A. Wellesley.' In consequence of this
decision, the Commander-in-Chief addressed a letter to the
Board--reminding them that, though the words of his Majesty's warrant
expressly enjoin that the _conditions_ of the Armistice and Convention
should be strictly examined and reported upon, they have altogether
neglected to give any opinion upon those conditions. They were therefore
called upon then to declare their opinion, whether an armistice was
adviseable; and (if so) whether the terms of _that_ armistice were such
as ought to be agreed upon;--and to declare, in like manner, whether a
convention was adviseable; and (if so) whether the terms of _that_
convention were such as ought to have been agreed upon.

To two of these questions--viz. those which relate to the particular
armistice and convention made by the British Generals--the members of
the Board (still persevering in their blindness to the other two which
express doubt as to the lawfulness of _any_ armistice or convention)
severally return answers which convey an approbation of the armistice
and convention by four members, a disapprobation of the convention by
the remaining three, and further a disapprobation of the armistice by
one of those three.

Now it may be observed--first--that, even if the investigation had not
been a public one, it might have reasonably been concluded, from the
circumstance of the Board having omitted to report any opinion
concerning the terms of the armistice and the convention, that those
terms had not occupied enough of its attention to justify the Board in
giving any opinion upon them--whether of approbation or disapprobation;
and, secondly,--this conclusion, which might have been made _‡ priori_,
is confirmed by the actual fact that no examination or inquiry of this
kind appears throughout the report of its proceedings: and therefore any
opinion subsequently given, in consequence of the requisition of the
Commander-in-Chief, can lay claim to no more authority upon these
points--than the opinion of the same men, if they had never sat in a
public Court upon this question. In this condition are all the members,
whether they approve or disapprove of the convention. And with respect
to the three who disapprove of the convention,--over and above the
general impropriety of having, under these circumstances, pronounced a
verdict at all in the character of members of that Board--they are
subject to an especial charge of inconsistency in having given such an
opinion, in their second report, as renders nugatory that which they
first pronounced. For the reason--assigned, in their first report, for
deeming no further military proceedings necessary--is because it appears
that unquestionable _zeal and firmness_ were exhibited throughout by the
several General Officers; and the reason--assigned by those three who
condemn the convention--is that the Generals did not insist upon the
terms to which they were entitled; that is (in direct opposition to
their former opinions), the Generals shewed a want of firmness and zeal.
If then the Generals were acquitted, in the first case, solely upon the
ground of having displayed firmness and zeal; a confessed want of
firmness and zeal, in the second case, implies conversely a ground of
censure--rendering (in the opinions of these three members) further
military proceedings absolutely necessary. They,--who are most aware of
the unconstitutional frame of this Court or Board, and of the perplexing
situation in which its members must have found themselves placed,--will
have the least difficulty in excusing this inconsistency: it is however
to be regretted; particularly in the instance of the Earl of
Moira;--who, disapproving both of the Convention and Armistice, has
assigned for that disapprobation unanswerable reasons drawn--not from
hidden sources, unapproachable except by judicial investigation--but
from facts known to all the world.

--The reader will excuse this long note; to which however I must add
one word:--Is it not strange that, in the general decision of the Board,
zeal and firmness--nakedly considered, and without question of their
union with judgment and such other qualities as can alone give them any
value--should be assumed as sufficient grounds on which to rest the
acquittal of men lying under a charge of military delinquency?

       *       *       *       *       *

B _(page 72)_.

It is not necessary to add, that one of these fears was removed by the
actual landing of ten thousand men, under Sir J. Moore, pending the
negotiation: and yet no change in the terms took place in consequence.
This was an important circumstance; and, of itself, determined two of
the members of the Board of Inquiry to disapprove of the convention:
such an accession entitling Sir H. Dalrymple (and, of course, making it
his duty) to insist on more favourable terms. But the argument is
complete without it.

       *       *       *       *       *

C _(page 75)_.

I was unwilling to interrupt the reader upon a slight occasion; but I
cannot refrain from adding here a word or two by way of comment.--I have
said at page 71, speaking of Junot's army, that the British were to
encounter the same men, &c. Sir Arthur Wellesley, before the Board of
Inquiry, disallowed this supposition; affirming that Junot's army had
not then reached Spain, nor could be there for some time. Grant this:
was it not stipulated that a messenger should be sent off, immediately
after the conclusion of the treaty, to Buonaparte--apprising him of its
terms, and when he might expect his troops; and would not this enable
him to hurry forward forces to the Spanish frontiers, and to bring them
into action--knowing that these troops of Junot's would be ready to
support him? What did it matter whether the British were again to
measure swords with these identical men; whether these men were even to
appear again upon Spanish ground? It was enough, that, if these did not,
others would--who could not have been brought to that service, but that
these had been released and were doing elsewhere some other service for
their master; enough that every thing was provided by the British to
land them as near the Spanish frontier (and as speedily) as they could
desire.

       *       *       *       *       *

D _(page 108)_.

This attempt, the reader will recollect, is not new to our country;--it
was accomplished, at one aera of our history, in that memorable act of
an English Parliament, which made it unlawful for any man to ask his
neighbour to join him in a petition for redress of grievances: and which
thus denied the people 'the benefit of tears and prayers to their own
infamous deputies!' For the deplorable state of England and Scotland at
that time--see the annals of Charles the Second, and his successor.--We
must not forget however that to this state of things, as the cause of
those measures which the nation afterwards resorted to, we are
originally indebted for the blessing of the Bill of Rights.

       *       *       *       *       *

_E_ (_page_ 159).

I allude here more especially to an address presented to Buonaparte
(October 27th, 1808) by the deputies of the new departments of the
kingdom of Italy; from which address, as given in the English journals,
the following passages are extracted:--

     'In the necessity, in which you are to overthrow--to destroy--to
     disperse your enemies as the wind dissipates the dust, you are not
     an exterminating angel; but you are the being that extends his
     thoughts--that measures the face of the earth--to re-establish
     universal happiness upon better and surer bases.'

       *       *       *       *       *

     'We are the interpreters of a million of souls at the extremity of
     your kingdom of Italy.'--'Deign, _Sovereign Master of all Things_,
     to hear (as we doubt not you will)' &c.

The answer begins thus:--

'I _applaud_ the sentiments you express in the name of my people of
Musora, Metauro, and Tronto.'

       *       *       *       *       *

_F_ (_page_ 163).

This principle, involved in so many of his actions, Buonaparte has of
late explicitly avowed: the instances are numerous: it will be
sufficient, in this place, to allege one--furnished by his answer to the
address cited in the last note:--

     'I am particularly attached to your Archbishop of Urbino: that
     prelate, animated with the true faith, repelled with indignation
     the advice--and braved the menaces--of those who wished to confound
     the affairs of Heaven, which never change, with the affairs of this
     world, which are modified according to circumstances _of force_ and
     policy.'

       *       *       *       *       *

SUSPENSION OF ARMS

_Agreed upon between Lieutenant-General_ SIR ARTHUR WELLESLEY, K.B. _on
the one part, and the General-of-Division_ KELLERMANN _on the other
part; each having powers from the respective Generals of the French and
English Armies_.

_Head-Quarters of the English Army_, August 22, 1808.


ARTICLE I. There shall be, from this date, a Suspension of Arms between
the armies of his Britannic Majesty, and his Imperial and Royal Majesty,
Napoleon I. for the purpose of negociating a Convention for the
evacuation of Portugal by the French army.

ART. II. The Generals-in-Chief of the two armies, and the
Commander-in-Chief of the British fleet at the entrance of the Tagus,
will appoint a day to assemble, on such part of the coast as shall be
judged convenient, to negociate and conclude the said Convention.

ART. III. The river of Sirandre shall form the line of demarcation to be
established between the two armies; Torres Vedras shall not be occupied
by either.

ART. IV. The General-in-Chief of the English army undertakes to include
the Portugueze armies in this suspension of arms; and for them the line
of demarkation shall be established from Leyria to Thomar.

ART. V. It is agreed provisionally that the French army shall not, in
any case, be considered as prisoners of war; that all the individuals
who compose it shall be transported to France with their arms and
baggage, and the whole of their private property, from which nothing
shall be exempted.

ART. VI. No individual, whether Portugueze, or of a nation allied to
France, or French, shall be called to account for his political conduct;
their respective property shall be protected; and they shall be at
liberty to withdraw from Portugal, within a limited time, with their
property.

ART. VII. The neutrality of the port of Lisbon shall be recognised for
the Russian fleet: that is to say, that, when the English army or fleet
shall be in possession of the city and port, the said Russian fleet
shall not be disturbed during its stay; nor stopped when it wishes to
sail; nor pursued, when it shall sail, until after the time fixed by the
maritime law.

ART. VIII. All the artillery of French calibre, and also the horses of
the cavalry, shall be transported to France.

ART. IX. This suspension of arms shall not be broken without forty-eight
hours' previous notice.

Done and agreed upon between the above-named Generals, the day and year
above-mentioned.

     (Signed) ARTHUR WELLESLEY. KELLERMANN, General-of-Division.

_Additional Article_.

The garrisons of the places occupied by the French army shall be
included in the present Convention, if they have not capitulated before
the 25th instant.

     (Signed) ARTHUR WELLESLEY. KELLERMANN, General-of-Division.

     (A true Copy.)

     A.J. DALRYMPLE, Captain, Military Secretary.

       *       *       *       *       *

DEFINITIVE CONVENTION FOR THE EVACUATION OF PORTUGAL BY THE FRENCH ARMY.

The Generals commanding in chief the British and French armies in
Portugal, having determined to negociate and conclude a treaty for the
evacuation of Portugal by the French troops, on the basis of the
agreement entered into on the 22d instant for a suspension of
hostilities, have appointed the under-mentioned officers to negociate
the same in their names; viz.--on the part of the General-in-Chief of
the British army, Lieutenant-Colonel MURRAY, Quarter-Master-General;
and, on the part of the General-in-Chief of the French army, Monsieur
KELLERMANN, General-of-Division; to whom they have given authority to
negociate and conclude a Convention to that effect, subject to their
ratification respectively, and to that of the Admiral commanding the
British fleet at the entrance of the Tagus.

Those two officers, after exchanging their full powers, have agreed upon
the articles which follow:

ARTICLE I. All the places and forts in the kingdom of Portugal, occupied
by the French troops, shall be delivered up to the British army in the
state in which they are at the period of the signature of the present
Convention.

ART. II. The French troops shall evacuate Portugal with their arms and
baggage; they shall not be considered as prisoners of war; and, on their
arrival in France, they shall be at liberty to serve.

ART. III. The English Government shall furnish the means of conveyance
for the French army; which shall be disembarked in any of the ports of
France between Rochefort and L'Orient, inclusively.

ART. IV. The French army shall carry with it all its artillery, of
French calibre, with the horses belonging to it, and the tumbrils
supplied with sixty rounds per gun. All other artillery, arms, and
ammunition, as also the military and naval arsenals, shall be given up
to the British army and navy in the state in which they may be at the
period of the ratification of the Convention.

ART. V. The French army shall carry with it all its equipments, and all
that is comprehended under the name of property of the army; that is to
say, its military chest, and carriages attached to the Field
Commissariat and Field Hospitals; or shall be allowed to dispose of such
part of the same, on its account, as the Commander-in-Chief may judge it
unnecessary to embark. In like manner, all individuals of the army shall
be at liberty to dispose of their private property of every description;
with full security hereafter for the purchasers.

ART. VI. The cavalry are to embark their horses; as also the Generals
and other officers of all ranks. It is, however, fully understood, that
the means of conveyance for horses, at the disposal of the British
Commanders, are very limited; some additional conveyance may be procured
in the port of Lisbon; the number of horses to be embarked by the troops
shall not exceed six hundred; and the number embarked by the Staff shall
not exceed two hundred. At all events every facility will be given to
the French army to dispose of the horses, belonging to it, which cannot
be embarked.

ART. VII. In order to facilitate the embarkation, it shall take place in
three divisions; the last of which will be principally composed of the
garrisons of the places, of the cavalry, the artillery, the sick, and
the equipment of the army. The first division shall embark within seven
days of the date of the ratification; or sooner, if possible.

ART. VIII. The garrison of Elvas and its forts, and of Peniche and
Palmela, will be embarked at Lisbon; that of Almaida at Oporto, or the
nearest harbour. They will be accompanied, on their march by British
Commissaries, charged with providing for their subsistence and
accommodation.

ART. IX. All the sick and wounded, who cannot be embarked with the
troops, are entrusted to the British army. They are to be taken care of,
whilst they remain in this country, at the expence of the British
Government; under the condition of the same being reimbursed by France
when the final evacuation is effected. The English government will
provide for their return to France; which shall take place by
detachments of about one hundred and fifty (or two hundred) men at a
time. A sufficient number of French medical officers shall be left
behind to attend them.

ART. X. As soon as the vessels employed to carry the army to France
shall have disembarked it in the harbours specified, or in any other of
the ports of France to which stress of weather may force them, every
facility shall be given them to return to England without delay; and
security against capture until their arrival in a friendly port.

ART. XI. The French army shall be concentrated in Lisbon, and within a
distance of about two leagues from it. The English army will approach
within three leagues of the capital; and will be so placed as to leave
about one league between the two armies.

ART. XII. The forts of St. Julien, the Bugio, and Cascais, shall be
occupied by the British troops on the ratification of the Convention.
Lisbon and its citadel, together with the forts and batteries, as far as
the Lazaretto or Tarfuria on one side, and fort St. Joseph on the other,
inclusively, shall be given up on the embarkation of the second
division; as shall also the harbour; and all armed vessels in it of
every description, with their rigging, sails, stores, and ammunition.
The fortresses of Elvas, Almaida, Peniche, and Palmela, shall be given
up as soon as the British troops can arrive to occupy them. In the mean
time, the General-in-Chief of the British army will give notice of the
present Convention to the garrisons of those places, as also to the
troops before them, in order to put a stop to all further hostilities.

ART. XIII. Commissioners shall be named, on both sides, to regulate and
accelerate the execution of the arrangements agreed upon.

ART. XIV. Should there arise doubts as to the meaning of any article, it
will be explained favourably to the French army.

ART. XV. From the date of the ratification of the present Convention,
all arrears of contributions, requisitions, or claims whatever, of the
French Government, against the subjects of Portugal, or any other
individuals residing in this country, founded on the occupation of
Portugal by the French troops in the mouth of December 1807, which may
not have been paid up, are cancelled; and all sequestrations laid upon
their property, moveable or immoveable, are removed; and the free
disposal of the same is restored to the proper owners.

ART. XVI. All subjects of France, or of powers in friendship or alliance
with France, domiciliated in Portugal, or accidentally in this country,
shall be protected: their property of every kind, moveable and
immoveable, shall be respected: and they shall be at liberty either to
accompany the French army, or to remain in Portugal. In either case
their property is guaranteed to them; with the liberty of retaining or
of disposing of it, and passing the produce of the sale thereof into
France, or any other country where they may fix their residence; the
space of one year being allowed them for that purpose.

It is fully understood, that the shipping is excepted from this
arrangement; only, however, in so far as regards leaving the Port; and
that none of the stipulations above-mentioned can be made the pretext of
any commercial speculation.

ART. XVII. No native of Portugal shall be rendered accountable for his
political conduct during the period of the occupation of this country by
the French army; and all those who have continued in the exercise of
their employments, or who have accepted situations under the French
Government, are placed under the protection of the British Commanders:
they shall sustain no injury in their persons or property; it not having
been at their option to be obedient, or not, to the French Government:
they are also at liberty to avail themselves of the stipulations of the
16th Article.

ART. XVIII. The Spanish troops detained on board ship in the Port of
Lisbon shall be given up to the Commander-in-Chief of the British army;
who engages to obtain of the Spaniards to restore such French subjects,
either military or civil, as may have been detained in Spain, without
being taken in battle, or in consequence of military operations, but on
occasion of the occurrences of the 29th of last May, and the days
immediately following.

ART. XIX. There shall be an immediate exchange established for all ranks
of prisoners made in Portugal since the commencement of the present
hostilities.

ART. XX. Hostages of the rank of field-officers shall be mutually
furnished on the part of the British army and navy, and on that of the
French army, for the reciprocal guarantee of the present Convention. The
officer of the British army shall be restored on the completion of the
articles which concern the army; and the officer of the navy on the
disembarkation of the French troops in their own country. The like is to
take place on the part of the French army.

ART. XXI. It shall be allowed to the General-in-Chief of the French army
to send an officer to France with intelligence of the present
Convention. A vessel will be furnished by the British Admiral to convey
him to Bourdeaux or Rochefort.

ART. XXII. The British Admiral will be invited to accommodate His
Excellency the Commander-in-Chief, and the other principal officers of
the French army, on board of ships of war.

Done and concluded at Lisbon this 30th day of August, 1808.

     (Signed) GEORGE MURRAY, Quarter-Master-General. KELLERMANN, Le
     GÈnÈral de Division.

We, the Duke of Abrantes, General-in-Chief of the French army, have
ratified and do ratify the present Definitive Convention in all its
articles, to be executed according to its form and tenor.

     (Signed) The Duke of ABRANTES. _Head-Quarters--Lisbon_, 30 _th
     August_, 1808.

_Additional Articles to the Convention of the 30th of August_, 1808.

ART. I. The individuals in the civil employment of the army made
prisoners, either by the British troops, or by the Portugueze, in any
part of Portugal, will be restored, as is customary, without exchange.

ART. II. The French army shall be subsisted from its own magazines up to
the day of embarkation; the garrisons up to the day of the evacuation of
the fortresses.

The remainder of the magazines shall be delivered over, in the usual
form, to the British Government; which charges itself with the
subsistence of the men and horses of the army from the above-mentioned
periods till they arrive in France; under the condition of their being
reimbursed by the French Government for the excess of the expense beyond
the estimates, to be made by both parties, of the value of the magazines
delivered up to the British army.

The provisions on board the ships of war, in possession of the French
army, will be taken in account by the British Government in like manner
with the magazines in the fortresses.

ART. III. The General commanding the British troops will take the
necessary measures for re-establishing the free circulation of the means
of subsistence between the country and the capital.

Done and concluded at Lisbon this 30th day of August, 1808.

     (Signed) GEORGE MURRAY, Quarter-Master-General. KELLERMANN, Le
     GÈnÈral de Division.

We, Duke of Abrantes, General-in-Chief of the French army, have ratified
and do ratify the additional articles of the Convention, to be executed
according to their form and tenor.

     The Duke of ABRANTES. (A true Copy.) A.J. DALRYMPLE, Captain,
     Military Secretary.

_Articles of a Convention entered into between Vice-Admiral_ SENIAVIN,
_Knight of the Order of St. Alexander and other Russian Orders, and
Admiral Sir_ CHARLES COTTON, _Bart. for the Surrender of the Russian
Fleet, now anchored in the River Tagus_.

ART. I. The ships of war of the Emperor of Russia, now in the Tagus (as
specified in the annexed list), shall be delivered up to Admiral Sir
Charles Cotton, immediately, with all their stores as they now are; to
be sent to England, and there held as a deposit by his Britannic
Majesty, to be restored to His Imperial Majesty within six months after
the conclusion of a peace between His Britannic Majesty and His Imperial
Majesty the Emperor of all the Russias.

ART. II. Vice-Admiral Seniavin, with the officers, sailors, and marines,
under his command, to return to Russia, without any condition or
stipulation respecting their future services; to be conveyed thither in
men of war, or proper vessels, at the expence of His Britannic Majesty.

Done and concluded on board the ship Twerday, in the Tagus, and on board
His Britannic Majesty's ship Hibernia, off the mouth of that river, the
3d day of September 1808.

     (Signed) DE SENIAVIN. (Signed) CHARLES COTTON. (Counter-signed) By
     command of the Admiral, L. SASS, Assesseur de CollËge.
     (Counter-signed) By command of the Admiral, JAMES KENNEDY,
     Secretary.


POSTSCRIPT

ON SIR JOHN MOORE'S LETTERS.

Whilst the latter sheets of this work were passing through the press,
there was laid before Parliament a series of correspondence between the
English Government and its servants in Spain; amongst which were the
letters of Sir John Moore. That these letters, even with minds the least
vigilant to detect contradictions and to make a commentary from the past
actions of the Spaniards, should have had power to alienate them from
the Spanish cause--could never have been looked for; except indeed by
those who saw, in the party spirit on this question, a promise that more
than ordinary pains would be taken to misrepresent their contents and to
abuse the public judgment. But however it was at any rate to have been
expected--both from the place which Sir J. Moore held in the Nation's
esteem previously to his Spanish campaign, and also especially from that
which (by his death in battle) he had so lately taken in its
affections--that they would weigh a good deal in depressing the general
sympathy with Spain: and therefore the Author of this work was desirous
that all which these letters themselves, or other sources of
information, furnished to mitigate and contradict Sir J.M.'s
opinions--should be laid before the public: but--being himself at a
great distance from London, and not having within his reach all the
documents necessary for this purpose--he has honoured the friend, who
corrects the press errors, by making over that task to him; and the
reader is therefore apprised, that the Author is not responsible for any
thing which follows.

       *       *       *       *       *

Those, who have not examined these letters for themselves, will have
collected enough of their general import, from conversation and the
public prints, to know that they pronounce an opinion unfavourable to
the Spaniards. They will perhaps have yet to learn that this opinion is
not supported by any body of _facts_ (for of facts only three are given;
and those, as we shall see, misrepresented); but solely by the weight of
Sir John Moore's personal authority. This being the case, it becomes the
more important to assign the value of that authority, by making such
deductions from the present public estimate of it, as are either fairly
to be presumed from his profession and office, or directly inferred from
the letters under consideration.

As reasons for questioning _‡ priori_ the impartiality of these
letters,--it might be suggested (in reference to what they would be
likely to _omit_)--first--that they are the letters of a _soldier_; that
is, of a man trained (by the prejudices of his profession) to despise,
or at least to rate as secondary, those resources which for Spain must
be looked to as supreme;--and, secondly, that they are the letters of a
_general_; that is, of a soldier removed by his rank from the
possibility of any extensive intercourse with the lower classes;
concerning whom the question chiefly was. But it is more important to
remark (in reference to what they would be likely to
_mis-state_)--thirdly--that they are the letters of a
_commander-in-chief_; standing--from the very day when he took the
field--in a dilemma which compelled him to risk the safety of his army
by advancing, or its honour by retreating; and having to make out an
apology, for either issue, to the very persons who had imposed this
dilemma upon him.--The reader is requested to attend to this. Sir John
Moore found himself in LeÛn with a force 'which, if united,' (to quote
his own words) 'would not exceed 26,000 men.' Such a force, after the
defeat of the advanced armies,--he was sure--could effect nothing; the
best result he could anticipate was an inglorious retreat. That he
should be in this situation at the very opening of the campaign, he saw,
would declare to all Europe that somewhere there must be blame: but
where? with himself he knew that there was none: the English Government
(with whom he must have seen that at least a part of the blame lay--for
sending him so late, and with a force so lamentably incommensurate to
the demands of the service) it was not for him--holding the situation
that he did--openly to accuse (though, by implication, he often does
accuse them); and therefore it became his business to look to the
Spaniards; and, in their conduct, to search for palliations of that
inefficiency on his part--which else the persons, to whom he was
writing, would understand as charged upon themselves. Writing with such
a purpose--and under a double fettering of his faculties; first from
anxious forebodings of calamity or dishonour; and secondly from the pain
he must have felt at not being free to censure those with whom he could
not but be aware that the embarrassments of his situation had, at least
in part, originated--we might expect that it would not be difficult for
him to find, in the early events of the campaign, all which he sought;
and to deceive himself into a belief, that, in stating these events
without any commentary or even hints as to the relative circumstances
under which they took place (which only could give to the naked facts
their value and due meaning), he was making no misrepresentations,--and
doing the Spaniards no injustice.

These suggestions are made with the greater earnestness, as it is
probable that the honourable death of Sir John Moore will have given so
much more weight to his opinion on any subject--as, if these suggestions
be warranted, it is entitled on this subject to less weight--than the
opinion of any other individual equally intelligent, and not liable
(from high office and perplexity of situation) to the same influences of
disgust or prejudice.

That these letters _were_ written under some such influences, is plain
throughout: we find, in them, reports of the four first events in the
campaign; and, in justice to the Spaniards, it must be said that all are
virtually mis-statements. Take two instances:

1. The main strength and efforts of the French were, at the opening of
the campaign, directed against the army of Gen. Blake. The issue is thus
given by Sir J.M.:--'Gen. Blake's army in Biscay has been
defeated--dispersed; and its officers and men are flying in every
direction.' Could it be supposed that the army, whose matchless
exertions and endurances are all merged in this over-charged (and almost
insulting) statement of their result, was, 'mere peasantry' (Sir J.M.'s
own words) and opposed to greatly superior numbers of veteran troops?
Confront with this account the description given by an eye-witness
(Major-Gen. Leith) of their constancy and the trials of their constancy;
remembering that, for ten successive days, they were engaged (under the
pressure of similar hardships, with the addition of one not mentioned
here, viz.--a want of clothing) in continued actions with the
French:--'Here I shall take occasion to state another instance of the
patience (and, I will add, the chearfulness) of the Spanish soldiers
under the greatest privations.--After the action of Soronosa on the 31st
ult., it was deemed expedient by Gen. Blake, for the purpose of forming
a junction with the second division and the army of Asturias, that the
army should make long, rapid, and continued marches through a country at
any time incapable of feeding so numerous an army, and at present almost
totally drained of provisions. From the 30th of October to the present
day (Nov. 6), with the exception of a small and partial issue of bread
at Bilboa on the morning of the 1st of November, this army has been
totally destitute of bread, wine, or spirits; and has literally lived on
the scanty supply of beef and sheep which those mountains afford. Yet
never was there a symptom of complaint or murmur; the soldiers' minds
appearing to be entirely occupied with the idea of being led against the
enemy at Bilboa.'--'It is impossible for me to do justice to the
gallantry and energy of the divisions engaged this day. The army are
loud in expressing their desires to be led against the enemy at Bilboa;
the universal exclamation is--The bayonet! the bayonet! lead us back to
Soronosa.'

2. On the 10th of November the Estramaduran advanced guard, of about
12,000 men, was defeated at Burgos by a division of the French army
_selected_ for the service--and having a vast superiority in cavalry and
artillery. This event, with the same neglect of circumstances as in the
former instance, Sir J.M. thus reports:--'The French, after beating the
army of Estramadura, are advanced at Burgos.' Now surely to any
unprejudiced mind the bare fact of 12,000 men (chiefly raw levies)
having gone forward to meet and to find out the main French army--under
all the oppression which, to the ignorant of the upper and lower classes
throughout Europe, there is in the name of Bonaparte--must appear, under
any issue, a title to the highest admiration, such as would have made
this slight and incidental mention of it impossible.

The two next events--viz. the forcing of the pass at Somosierra by the
Polish horse, and the partial defeat of Castanos--are, as might be shewn
even from the French bulletins, no less misrepresented. With respect to
the first,--Sir J. Moore, over-looking the whole drama of that noble
defence, gives only the catastrophe; and his account of the second will
appear, from any report, to be an exaggeration.

It may be objected that--since Sir J.M. no where alleges these events as
proving any thing against the Spaniards, but simply as accounting for
his own plans (in which view, howsoever effected, whether with or
without due resistance, they were entitled to the same value)--it is
unfair to say that, by giving them uncircumstantially, he has
misrepresented them. But it must be answered, that, in letters
containing elsewhere (though not immediately in connexion with these
statements) opinions unfavourable to the Spaniards, to omit any thing
making _for_ them--_is_ to misrepresent in effect. And, further, it
shall now be shewn that even those three charges--which Sir J.M. _does_
allege in proof of his opinions--are as glaringly mis-stated.

The first of these charges is the most important: I give it to the
reader in the words of Sir John Moore:--'The French cavalry from Burgos,
in small detachments, are over-running the province of LeÛn; raising
contributions; to which the inhabitants submit without the least
resistance.' Now here it cannot be meant that no efforts at resistance
were made by individuals or small parties; because this would not only
contradict the universal laws of human nature,--but would also be at
utter variance with Sir J.M.'s repeated complaints that he could gain no
information of what was passing in his neighbourhood. It is meant
therefore that there was no regular organised resistance; no resistance
such as might be made the subject of an official report. Now we all know
that the Spaniards have every where suffered deplorably from a want of
cavalry; and, in the absence of that, hear from a military man
(Major-Gen. Brodrick) _why_ there was no resistance: '--At that time I
was not aware how remarkably the plains of LeÛn and Castille differ from
any other I have seen; nor how strongly the circumstances, which
constitute that difference, enforce the opinion I venture to express.'
(He means the necessity of cavalry reinforcements from England.) 'My
road from Astorga lay through a vast open space, extending from 5 to 20
or more miles on every side; without a single accident of ground which
could enable a body of infantry to check a pursuing enemy, or to cover
its own retreat. In such ground, any corps of infantry might be
insulted, to the very gates of the town it occupied, by cavalry far
inferior in numbers; _contributions raised under their eyes_, and the
whole neighbourhood exhausted of its resources, _without the possibility
of their opposing any resistance to such incursions_.'

The second charge is made on the retreat to Corunna: 'the Gallicians,
though armed,' Sir J.M. says, 'made no attempt to stop the passage of
the French through the mountains.' That they were armed--is a proof that
they had an _intention_ to do so (as one of our journals observed): but
what encouragement had they in that intention from the sight of a
regular force--more than 30,000 strong--abandoning, without a struggle,
passes where (as an English general asserts) 'a body of a thousand men
might stop an army of twenty times the number?'

The third charge relates to the same Province: it is a complaint that
'the people run away; the villages are deserted;' and again, in his last
letter,--'They abandoned their dwellings at our approach; drove away
their carts, oxen, and every thing which could be of the smallest aid to
the army.' To this charge, in so far as it may be thought to criminate
the Spaniards, a full answer is furnished by their accuser himself in
the following memorable sentence in another part of the very same
letter:--'I am sorry to say that the army, whose conduct I had such
reason to extol in its march through Portugal and on its arrival in
Spain, has totally changed its character since it began to retreat.'
What do we collect from this passage? Assuredly that the army
ill-treated the Gallicians; for there is no other way in which an army,
as a body, can offend--excepting by an indisposition to fight; and that
interpretation (besides that we are all sure that no English army could
_so_ offend) Sir J. Moore expressly guards against in the next sentence.

The English army then treated its Ally as an enemy: and,--though there
are alleviations of its conduct in its great sufferings,--yet it must be
remembered that these sufferings were due--not to the Gallicians--but to
circumstances over which they had no controul--to the precipitancy of
the retreat, the inclemency of the weather, and the poverty of the
country; and that (knowing this) they must have had a double sense of
injustice in any outrages of an English army, from, contrasting them
with the professed objects of that army in entering Spain.--It is to be
observed that the answer to the second charge would singly have been
some answer to this; and, reciprocally, that the answer to this is a
full answer to the second.

Having thus shewn that, in Sir J. Moore's very inaccurate statements of
facts, we have some further reasons for a previous distrust of any
opinion which is supported by those statements,--it is now time to make
the reader acquainted with the real terms and extent of that opinion.
For it is far less to be feared that, from his just respect for him who
gave it, he should allow it an undue weight in his judgment--than that,
reposing on the faithfulness of the abstracts and reports of these
letters, he should really be still ignorant of its exact tenor.

The whole amount then of what Sir John Moore has alleged against the
Spaniards, in any place but one, is comprised in this sentence:--'The
enthusiasm, of which we have heard so much, no where appears; whatever
good-will there is (and I believe amongst the lower orders there is a
great deal) is taken no advantage of.' It is true that, in that one
place (viz. in his last letter written at Corunna), he charges the
Spaniards with 'apathy and indifference:' but, as this cannot be
reconciled with his concession of _a great deal of good-will_, we are
bound to take that as his real and deliberate opinion which he gave
under circumstances that allowed him most coolness and freedom of
judgment.--The Spaniards then were wanting in enthusiasm. Now what is
meant by enthusiasm? Does it mean want of ardour and zeal in battle?
This Sir J. Moore no where asserts; and, even without a direct
acknowledgement of their good conduct in the field (of which he had
indeed no better means of judging than we in England), there is involved
in his statement of the relative numbers of the French and
Spaniards--combined with our knowledge of the time during which they
maintained their struggle--a sufficient testimony to that; even if the
events of the first campaign had not made it superfluous. Does it mean
then a want of good-will to the cause? So far from this, we have seen
that Sir J.M. admits that there was, in that class where it was most
wanted, 'a great deal' of good-will. And, in the present condition of
Spain, let it be recollected what it is that this implies. We see, in
the intercepted letter to Marshal Soult (transmitted by Sir J.M.), that
the French keep accurate registers of the behaviour of the different
towns; and this was, no doubt, well known throughout Spain. Therefore to
shew any signs of good-will--much more to give a kind welcome to the
English (as had been done at Badajoz and Salamanca)--was, they knew, a
pledge of certain punishment on any visit from the French. So that
good-will, manifested in these circumstances, was nothing less than a
testimony of devotion to the cause.

Here then, the reader will say, I find granted--in the courage and the
good-will of the Spaniards--all the elements of an enthusiastic
resistance; and cannot therefore imagine what more could be sought for
except the throwing out and making palpable of their enthusiasm to the
careless eye in some signal outward manifestations. In this accordingly
we learn what interpretation we are to give to Sir J.M.'s charge:--there
were no tumults on his entrance into Spain; no insurrections; they did
not, as he says, 'rally round' the English army. But, to determine how
far this disappointment of his expectations tells against the Spaniards,
we must first know how far those expectations were reasonable. Let the
reader consider, then,

First; what army was this round which the Spaniards were to rally? If it
was known by the victory of Vimiera, it was known also to many by the
Convention of Cintra; for, though the government had never ventured to
communicate that affair officially to the nation, dark and perplexing
whispers were however circulated about it throughout Spain. Moreover, it
must surely demand some superstition in behalf of regular troops--to
see, in an army of 20,000 men, a dignity adequate to the office here
claimed for it of awakening a new vigour and enthusiasm in such a nation
as Spain; not to mention that an English army, however numerous, had no
right to consider itself as other than a tributary force--as itself
tending to a centre--and attracted rather than attracting.

Secondly; it appears that Sir J.M. has overlooked one most important
circumstance;--viz. that the harvest, in these provinces, had been
already reaped; the English army could be viewed only as gleaners. Thus,
as we have already seen, Estramadura had furnished an army which had
marched before his arrival; from Salamanca also--the very place in which
he makes his complaint--there had gone out a battalion to Biscay which
Gen. Blake had held up, for its romantic gallantly, to the admiration of
his whole army.

Yet, thirdly, it is not meant by any means to assert that Spain has put
forth an energy adequate to the service--or in any tolerable proportion
to her own strength. Far from it! But upon whom does the blame rest? Not
surely upon the people--who, as long as they continued to have
confidence in their rulers, could not be expected (after the early
fervours of their revolution had subsided) much to overstep the measure
of exertion prescribed to them--but solely upon the government. Up to
the time when Sir J.M. died, the Supreme Junta had adopted no one grand
and comprehensive measure for calling out the strength of the
nation;--scarcely any of such ordinary vigour as, in some countries,
would have been adopted to meet local disturbances among the people.
From their jealousy of popular feeling,--they had never taken any steps,
by books or civic assemblies, to make the general enthusiasm in the
cause available by bringing it within the general consciousness; and
thus to create the nation into an organic whole. Sir J.M. was fully
aware of this:--'The Spanish Government,' he says, 'do not seem ever to
have contemplated the possibility of a second attack:' and accordingly,
whenever he is at leisure to make distinctions, he does the people the
justice to say--that the failure was with those who should have 'taken
advantage' of their good will. With the people therefore will for ever
remain the glory of having resisted heroically with means utterly
inadequate; and with the government the whole burthen of the disgrace
that the means were thus inadequate.

But, further,--even though it should still be thought that, in the three
Provinces which Sir J. Moore saw, there may have been some failures with
the people,--it is to be remembered that these were the very three which
had never been the theatre of French outrages; which therefore had
neither such a vivid sense of the evils which they had to fear, nor so
strong an animation in the recollection of past triumphs: we might
accordingly have predicted that, if any provinces should prove slack in
their exertions, it would be these three. So that, after all, (a candid
inquirer into this matter will say) admitting Sir J.M.'s description to
be faithful with respect to what he saw, I can never allow that the
conduct of these three provinces shall be held forth as an exponent of
the general temper and condition of Spain. For that therefore I must
look to other authorities.

Such an inquirer we might then refer to the testimonies of Gen. Leith
and of Capt. Pasley for Biscay and Asturias; of Mr. Vaughan (as cited by
Lord Castlereagh) for the whole East and South; of Lord Cochrane
(himself a most gallant man, and giving _his_ testimony under a trying
comparison of the Spaniards with English Sailors) for Catalonia in
particular; of Lord W. Bentinck for the central provinces; and, for all
Spain, we might appeal even to the Spanish military reports--which, by
the discrimination of their praises (sometimes giving severe rebukes to
particular regiments, &c.), authenticate themselves.

But, finally, we are entitled--after the _actions_ of the Spaniards--to
dispense with such appeals. Spain might justly deem it a high injury and
affront, to suppose that (after her deeds performed under the condition
of her means) she could require any other testimony to justify her
before nil posterity. What those deeds have been, it cannot surely now
be necessary to inform the reader: and therefore the remainder of this
note shall be employed in placing before him the present posture of
Spain--under two aspects which may possibly have escaped his notice.

First, Let him look to that part of Spain which is now in the possession
of the enemy;--let him bear in mind that the present campaign opened at
the latter end of last October; that the French were then masters of
the country up to the Ebro; that the contest has since lain between a
veteran army (rated, on the lowest estimate, at 113,000 men--with a
prodigious superiority in cavalry, artillery, &c.) opposed (as to all
_regular_ opposition) by unpractised Spaniards, split into three
distinct armies, having no communication with each other, making a total
of not more than 80,000 men;--and then let him inquire what progress, in
this time and with these advantages, the French have been able to make
(comparing it, at the same time, with that heretofore made in Prussia,
and elsewhere): the answer shall be given from the _Times_ newspaper of
April 8th--'It appears that, at the date of our last accounts from
France as well as Spain, about one half of the Peninsula was still
unsubdued by the French arms. The Provinces, which retain their
independence, form a sort of irregular or broken crescent; of which one
horn consists in parts of Catalonia and Valencia, and the other horn
includes Asturias (perhaps we may soon add Gallicia). The broader
surface contains the four kingdoms of Andalusia (Seville, Grenada,
Cordova, and Murcia), and considerable parts of Estramadura, and La
Mancha; besides Portugal.'--The writer might have added that even the
Provinces, occupied by the French, cannot yet be counted substantially
as conquests: since they have a military representation in the south;
large proportions of the defeated armies having retreated thither.

Secondly. Let him look to that part of Spain which yet remains
unsubdued.--It was thought no slight proof of heroism in the people of
Madrid, that they prepared for their defence--not as the foremost
champions of Spain (in which character they might have gained an
adventitious support from the splendour of their post; and, at any rate,
would have been free from the depression of preceding disasters)--but
under a full knowledge of recent and successive overthrows; their
advanced armies had been defeated; and their last stay, at Somosierra,
had been driven in upon them. But the Provinces in the South have many
more causes for dejection: they have heard, since these disasters, that
this heroic city of Madrid has fallen; that their forts in Catalonia
have been wrested from them; that an English army just moved upon the
horizon of Spain--to draw upon itself the gaze and expectations of the
people, and then to vanish like an apparition; and, finally, they have
heard of the desolation of Saragossa. Under all this accumulation of
calamity, what has been their conduct? In Valencia redoubled
preparations of defence; in Seville a decree for such energetic
retaliation on the enemy,--as places its authors, in the event of his
success, beyond the hopes of mercy; in Cadiz--on a suspicion that a
compromise was concerted with their enemy--tumults and clamours of the
people for instant vengeance; every where, in their uttermost distress,
the same stern and unfaultering attitude of defiance as at the glorious
birth of their resistance.

In this statement, then, of the past efforts of Spain--and of her
present preparations for further efforts--will be found a full answer to
all the charges alleged, by Sir John Moore in his letters, against the
people of Spain, even if we did not find sufficient ground for rejecting
them in an examination of these letters themselves.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Author of the above note--having, in justice to the Spaniards,
spoken with great plainness and freedom--feels it necessary to add a few
words, that it may not thence be concluded that he is insensible to Sir
J. Moore's claims upon his respect. Perhaps--if Sir J.M. could himself
have given us his commentary upon these letters, and have restricted the
extension of such passages as (from want of vigilance in making
distinctions or laxity of language) are at variance with concessions
made elsewhere--they would have been found not more to differ from the
reports of other intelligent and less prejudiced observers, than we
might have expected from the circumstances under which they were
written. Sir J.M. has himself told us (in a letter published since the
above note was written) that he thinks the Spaniards 'a fine people;'
and that acknowledgement, from a soldier, cannot be supposed to exclude
courage; nor, from a Briton, some zeal for national independence. We are
therefore to conclude that, when Sir J.M. pronounces opinions on 'the
Spaniards' not to be reconciled with this and other passages, he
speaks--not of the Spanish people--but of the Spanish government. And,
even for what may still remain charged uncandidly upon the people, the
writer does not forget that there are infinite apologies to be found in
Sir J. Moore's situation: the earliest of these letters were written
under great anxiety and disturbance of mind from the anticipation of
calamity;--and the latter (which are the most severe) under the actual
pressure of calamity; and calamity of that sort which would be the most
painful to the feelings of a gallant soldier, and most likely to vitiate
his judgment with respect to those who had in part (however innocently)
occasioned it. There may be pleaded also for him--that want of leisure
which would make it difficult to compare the different accounts he
received, and to draw the right inferences from them. But then these
apologies for his want of fidelity--are also reasons before-hand for
suspecting it: and there are now (May 18th) to be added to these
reasons, and their confirmations in the letters themselves, fresh proofs
in the present state of Gallicia, as manifested by the late re-capture
of Vigo, and the movements of the Marquis de la Romana; all which, from
Sir J. Moore's account of the temper in that province, we might have
confidently pronounced impossible. We must therefore remember that what
in him were simply mis-statements--are now, when repeated with our
better information, calumnies; and calumnies so much the less to be
excused in us, as we have already (in our conduct towards Spain) given
her other and no light matter of complaint against ourselves.

       *       *       *       *       *

END OF THE APPENDIX.



III. VINDICATION OF OPINIONS IN THE TREATISE ON THE 'CONVENTION OF
CINTRA:'

=VIZ=.

(_a_) LETTER TO MAJOR-GENERAL SIR CHARLES W. PASLEY, K.C.B., ON HIS
'MILITARY POLICY AND INSTITUTIONS OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE,' 1811.

(_b_) LETTER ENCLOSING THE PRECEDING TO A FRIEND UN-NAMED.

       *       *       *       *       *

NOTE.

These two Letters--the latter for the first time printed--form a fitting
sequel to the 'Convention of Cintra.' See Preface in the present volume
for more on them. G.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO CAPTAIN PASLEY, ROYAL ENGINEERS.

Grasmere, March 28, 1811.

MY DEAR SIR,

I address this to the publishers of your 'Essay,' not knowing where to
find you. Before I speak of the instruction and pleasure which I have
derived from your work, let me say a word or two in apology for my own
apparent _neglect_ of the letter with which you honoured me some time
ago. In fact, I was thoroughly sensible of the value of your
correspondence, and of your kindness in writing to me, and took up the
pen to tell you so. I wrote half of a pretty long letter to you, but I
was so disgusted with the imperfect and feeble expression which I had
given to some not uninteresting ideas, that I threw away the unfinished
sheet, and could not find resolution to resume what had been so
inauspiciously begun. I am ashamed to say, that I write so few letters,
and employ my pen so little in any way, that I feel both a lack of words
(such words I mean as I wish for) and of mechanical skill, extremely
discouraging to me. I do not plead these disabilities on my part as an
excuse, but I wish you to know that they have been the sole cause of my
silence, and not a want of sense of the honour done me by your
correspondence, or an ignorance of what good breeding required of me.
But enough of my trespasses! Let me only add, that I addressed a letter
of some length to you when you were lying ill at Middleburgh; this
probably you never received. Now for your book. I had expected it with
great impatience, and desired a friend to send it down to me immediately
on its appearance, which he neglected to do. On this account, I did not
see it till a few days ago. I have read it through twice, with great
care, and many parts three or four times over. From this, you will
conclude that I must have been much interested; and I assure you that I
deem myself also in a high degree instructed. It would be a most
pleasing employment to me to dwell, in this letter, upon those points in
which I agree with you, and to acknowledge my obligations for the
clearer views you have given of truths which I before perceived, though
not with that distinctness in which they now stand before my eyes. But I
could wish this letter to be of some use to you; and that end is more
likely to be attained if I advert to those points in which I think you
are mistaken. These are chiefly such as though very material in
themselves, are not at all so to the main object you have in view, viz.
that of proving that the military power of France may by us be
successfully resisted, and even overthrown. In the first place, then, I
think that there are great errors in the survey of the comparative
strength of the two empires, with which you begin your book, and on
which the first 160 pages are chiefly employed. You seem to wish to
frighten the people into exertion; and in your ardour to attain your
object, that of rousing our countrymen by any means, I think you have
caught far too eagerly at every circumstance with respect to revenue,
navy, &c. that appears to make for the French. This I think was
unnecessary. The people are convinced that the power of France is
dangerous, and that it is our duty to resist it to the utmost. I think
you might have commenced from this acknowledged fact; and, at all
events, I cannot help saying, that the first 100 pages or so of your
book, contrasted with the brilliant prospects towards the conclusion,
have impressed me with a notion that you have written too much under the
influence of feelings similar to those of a poet or novelist, who
deepens the distress in the earlier part of his work, in order that the
happy catastrophe which he has prepared for his hero and heroine may be
more keenly relished. Your object is to conduct us to Elysium, and, lest
we should not be able to enjoy that pure air and purpurial sunshine, you
have taken a peep at Tartarus on the road. Now I am of your mind, that
we ought not to make peace with France, on any account, till she is
humiliated, and her power brought within reasonable bounds. It is our
duty and our interest to be at war with her; but I do not think with
you, that a state of peace would give to France that superiority which
you seem so clearly to foresee. In estimating the resources of the two
empires, as to revenue, you appear to make little or no allowance for
what I deem of prime and paramount importance, the characters of the two
nations, and of the two governments. Was there ever an instance, since
the world began, of the peaceful arts thriving under a despotism so
oppressive as that of France is and must continue to be, and among a
people so unsettled, so depraved, and so undisciplined in civil arts and
habits as the French nation must now be? It is difficult to come at the
real revenue of the French empire; but it appears to me certain,
absolutely certain, that it must diminish rapidly every year. The armies
have hitherto been maintained chiefly from the contributions raised upon
the conquered countries, and from the plunder which the soldiers have
been able to find. But that harvest is over. Austria, and particularly
Hungary, may have yet something to supply; but the French Ruler will
scarcely quarrel with them for a few years at least. But from Denmark,
and Sweden, and Russia, there is not much to be gained. In the mean
while, wherever his iron yoke is fixed, the spirits of the people are
broken; and it is in vain to attempt to extort money which they do not
possess, and cannot procure. Their bodies he may command, but their
bodies he cannot move without the inspiration of _wealth_, somewhere or
other; by wealth I mean superfluous produce, something arising from the
labour of the inhabitants of countries beyond what is necessary to their
support. What will avail him the command of the whole population of the
Continent, unless there be a security for capital somewhere existing, so
that the mechanic arts and inventions may thereby be applied in such a
manner as that an overplus may arise from the labour of the country
which shall find its way into the pocket of the State for the purpose of
supporting its military and civil establishments? Now, when I look at
the condition of our country, and compare it with that of France, and
reflect upon the length of the time, and the infinite combination of
favourable circumstances which have been necessary to produce the laws,
the regulations, the customs, the moral character, and the physical
enginery of all sorts, through means, and by aid of which, labour is
carried on in this happy Land; and when I think of the wealth and
population (concentrated too in so small a space) which we must have at
command for military purposes, I confess I have not much dread, looking
either at war or peace, of any power which France, with respect to us,
is likely to attain for years, I may say for generations. Whatever may
be the form of a government, its spirit, at least, must be mild and free
before agriculture, trade, commerce, and manufactures can thrive under
it; and if these do not prosper in a State, it may extend its empire to
right and to left, and it will only carry poverty and desolation along
with it, without being itself permanently enriched. You seem to take for
granted, that because the French revenue amounts to so much at present
it must continue to keep up to that height. This, I conceive impossible,
unless the spirit of the government alters, which is not likely for many
years. How comes it that we are enabled to keep, by sea and land, so
many men in arms? Not by our foreign commerce, but by our domestic
ingenuity, by our home labour, which, with the aid of capital and the
mechanic arts and establishments, has enabled a few to produce so much
as will maintain themselves, and the hundreds of thousands of their
countrymen whom they support in arms. If our foreign trade were utterly
destroyed, I am told, that not more than one-sixth of our trade would
perish. The spirit of Buonaparte's government is, and must continue to
be, like that of the first conquerors of the New World who went raving
about for gold--gold! and for whose rapacious appetites the slow but
mighty and sure returns of any other produce could have no charms. I
cannot but think that generations must pass away before France, or any
of the countries under its thraldom, can attain those habits, and that
character, and those establishments which must be attained before it can
wield its population in a manner that will ensure our overthrow. This
(if we conduct the war upon principles of common sense) seems to me
impossible, while we continue at war; and should a peace take place
(which, however, I passionately deprecate), France will long be
compelled to pay tribute to us, on account of our being so far before
her in the race of genuine practical philosophy and true liberty. I mean
that the _mind_ of this country is so far before that of France, and
that _that_ mind has empowered the _hands_ of the country to raise so
much national wealth, that France must condescend to accept from us what
she will be unable herself to produce. Is it likely that any of our
manufacturing capitalists, in case of a peace, would trust themselves to
an arbitrary government like that of France, which, without a moment's
warning, might go to war with us and seize their persons and their
property; nay, if they should be so foolish as to trust themselves to
its discretion, would be base enough to pick a quarrel with us for the
very purpose of a pretext to strip them of all they possessed? Or is it
likely, if the native French manufacturers and traders were capable of
rivalling us in point of skill, that any Frenchman would venture upon
that ostentatious display of wealth which a large cotton-mill, for
instance, requires, when he knows that by so doing he would only draw
upon himself a glance of the greedy eye of government, soon to be
followed by a squeeze from its rapacious hand? But I have dwelt too long
upon this. The sum of what I think, by conversation, I could convince
you of is, that your comparative estimate is erroneous, and materially
so, inasmuch as it makes no allowance for the increasing superiority
which a State, supposed to be independent and equitable in its dealings
to its subjects, must have over an oppressive government; and none for
the time which is necessary to give prosperity to peaceful arts, even if
the government should improve. Our country has a mighty and daily
growing forest of this sort of wealth; whereas, in France, the trees are
not yet put into the ground. For my own part, I do not think it possible
that France, with all her command of territory and coast, can outstrip
us in naval power, unless she could previously, by her land power, cut
us off from timber and naval stores, necessary for the building and
equipment of our fleet. In that intellectual superiority which, as I
have mentioned, we possess over her, we should find means to build as
many ships as she could build, and also could procure sailors to man
them. The same energy would furnish means for maintaining the men; and
if they could be fed and maintained, they would surely be produced. Why
then am I for _war_ with France? 1st. Because I think our naval
superiority may be more cheaply maintained, and more easily, by war than
by peace; and because I think, that if the war were conducted upon those
principles of martial policy which you so admirably and nobly enforce,
united with (or rather bottomed upon) those notions of justice and
right, and that knowledge of and reverence for the moral sentiments of
mankind, which, in my Tract, I attempted to portray and illustrate, the
tide of military success would immediately turn in our favour; and we
should find no more difficulty in reducing the French power than
Gustavus Adolphus did in reducing that of the German Empire in his day.
And here let me express my zealous thanks for the spirit and beauty with
which you have pursued, through all its details, the course of martial
policy which you recommend. Too much praise cannot be given to this
which is the great body of your work. I hope that it will not be lost
upon your countrymen. But (as I said before) I rather wish to dwell upon
those points in which I am dissatisfied with your 'Essay.' Let me then
come at once to a fundamental principle. You maintain, that as the
military power of France is in progress, ours must be so also, or we
must perish. In this I agree with you. Yet you contend also, that this
increase or progress can only be brought about by conquests permanently
established upon the Continent; and, calling in the doctrines of the
writers upon the Law of Nations to your aid, you are for beginning with
the conquest of Sicily, and so on, through Italy, Switzerland, &c. &c.
Now it does not appear to me, though I should rejoice heartily to see a
British army march from Calabria, triumphantly, to the heart of the
Alps, and from Holland to the centre of Germany,--yet it does not appear
to me that the conquest and permanent possession of these countries is
necessary either to produce those resources of men or money which the
security and prosperity of our country requires. All that is absolutely
needful, for either the one or the other, is a large, experienced, and
seasoned _army_, which we cannot possess without a field to fight in,
and that field must be somewhere upon the Continent. Therefore, as far
as concerns ourselves and our security, I do not think that so wide a
space of conquered country is desirable; and, as a patriot, I have no
wish for it. If I desire it, it is not for our sakes directly, but for
the benefit of those unhappy nations whom we should rescue, and whose
prosperity would be reflected back upon ourselves. Holding these
notions, it is natural, highly as I rate the importance of military
power, and deeply as I feel its necessity for the protection of every
excellence and virtue, that I should rest my hopes with respect to the
emancipation of Europe more upon moral influence, and the wishes and
opinions of the people of the respective nations, than you appear to do.
As I have written in my pamphlet, 'on the moral qualities of a people
must its salvation ultimately depend. Something higher than military
excellence must be taught _as_ higher; something more fundamental, _as_
more fundamental.' Adopting the opinion of the writers upon the laws of
Nations, you treat of _conquest_ as if _conquest_ could in itself,
nakedly and abstractedly considered, confer rights. If we once admit
this proposition, all morality is driven out of the world. We conquer
Italy--that is, we raise the British standard in Italy,--and, by the aid
of the inhabitants, we expel the French from the country, and have a
right to keep it for ourselves. This, if I am not mistaken, is not only
implied, but explicitly maintained in your book. Undoubtedly, if it be
clear that the possession of Italy is necessary for our security, we
have a right to keep possession of it, if we should ever be able to
master it by the sword. But not because we have gained it by conquest,
therefore may we keep it; no; the sword, as the sword, can give no
rights; but because a great and noble Nation, like ours, cannot prosper
or exist without such possession. If the fact _were_ so, we should then
have a right to keep possession of what by our valour we had
acquired--not otherwise. If these things were matter of mere
speculation, they would not be worth talking about; but they are not so.
The spirit of conquest, and the ambition of the sword, never can confer
true glory and happiness upon a nation that has attained power
sufficient to protect itself. Your favourites, the Romans, though no
doubt having the fear of the Carthaginians before their eyes, yet were
impelled to carry their arms out of Italy by ambition far more than by a
rational apprehension of the danger of their condition. And how did they
enter upon their career? By an act of atrocious injustice. You are too
well read in history for me to remind you what that act was. The same
disregard of morality followed too closely their steps everywhere. Their
ruling passion, and sole steady guide, was the glory of the Roman name,
and the wish to spread the Roman power. No wonder, then, if their armies
and military leaders, as soon as they had destroyed all foreign enemies
from whom anything was to be dreaded, turned their swords upon each
other. The ferocious cruelties of Sylla and Marius, of Catiline, and of
Antony and Octavius, and the despotism of the empire, were the necessary
consequences of a long course of action pursued upon such blind and
selfish principles. Therefore, admiring as I do your scheme of martial
policy, and agreeing with you that a British military power may, and
that the _present_ state of the world requires that it _ought_ to be,
predominant in Italy, and Germany, and Spain; yet still, I am afraid
that you look with too much complacency upon conquest by British arms,
and upon British military influence upon the Continent, for _its own
sake_. Accordingly, you seem to regard Italy with more satisfaction than
Spain. I mean you contemplate our possible exertions in Italy with more
pleasure, merely because its dismembered state would probably keep it
more under our sway--in other words, more at our mercy. Now, I think
there is nothing more unfortunate for Europe than the condition of
Germany and Italy in these respects. Could the barriers be dissolved
which have divided the one nation into Neapolitans, Tuscans, Venetians,
&c., and the other into Prussians, Hanoverians, &c., and could they once
be taught to feel their strength, the French would be driven back into
their own Land immediately. I wish to see Spain, Italy, France, Germany,
formed into independent nations; nor have I any desire to reduce the
power of France further than may be necessary for that end. Woe be to
that country whose military power is irresistible! I deprecate such an
event for Great Britain scarcely less than for any other Land. Scipio
foresaw the evils with which Rome would be visited when no Carthage
should be in existence for her to contend with. If a nation have nothing
to oppose or to fear without, it cannot escape decay and concussion
within. Universal triumph and absolute security soon betray a State into
abandonment of that discipline, civil and military, by which its
victories were secured. If the time should ever come when this island
shall have no more formidable enemies by land than it has at this moment
by sea, the extinction of all that it previously contained of good and
great would soon follow. Indefinite progress, undoubtedly, there ought
to be somewhere; but let that be in knowledge, in science, in
civilization, in the increase of the numbers of the people, and in the
augmentation of their virtue and happiness. But progress in conquest
cannot be indefinite; and for that very reason, if for no other, it
cannot be a fit object for the exertions of a people, I mean beyond
certain limits, which, of course, will vary with circumstances. My
prayer, as a patriot, is, that we may always have, somewhere or other,
enemies capable of resisting us, and keeping us at arm's length. Do I,
then, object that our arms shall be carried into every part of the
Continent? No: such is the present condition of Europe, that I earnestly
pray for what I deem would be a mighty blessing. France has already
destroyed, in almost every part of the Continent, the detestable
governments with which the nations have been afflicted; she has
extinguished one sort of tyranny, but only to substitute another. Thus,
then, have the countries of Europe been taught, that domestic
oppression, if not manfully and zealously repelled, must sooner or later
be succeeded by subjugation from without; they have tasted the
bitterness of both cups, have drunk deeply of both. Their spirits are
prepared for resistance to the foreign tyrant, and with our help I think
they may shake him off, and, under our countenance, and following (as
far as they are capable) our example, they may fashion to themselves,
making use of what is best in their own ancient laws and institutions,
new forms of government, which may secure posterity from a repetition of
such calamities as the present age has brought forth. The materials of a
new balance of power exist in the language, and name, and territory of
Spain, in those of France, and those of Italy, Germany, Russia, and the
British Isles. The smaller States must disappear, and merge in the large
nations and wide-spread languages. The possibility of this remodelling
of Europe I see clearly; earnestly do I pray for it; and I have in my
mind a strong conviction that your invaluable work will be a powerful
instrument in preparing the way for that happy issue. Yet, still, we
must go deeper than the nature of your labour requires you to penetrate.
Military policy merely will not perform all that is needful, nor mere
military virtues. If the Roman State was saved from overthrow, by the
attack of the slaves and of the gladiators, through the excellence of
its armies, yet this was not without great difficulty;[22] and Rome
would have been destroyed by Carthage, had she not been preserved by a
civic fortitude in which she surpassed all the nations of the earth. The
reception which the Senate gave to Terentius Varro, after the battle of
Cannae, is the sublimest event in human history. What a contrast to the
wretched conduct of the Austrian government after the battle at Wagram!
England requires, as you have shown so eloquently and ably, a new system
of martial policy; but England, as well as the rest of Europe, requires
what is more difficult to give it,--a new course of education, a higher
tone of moral feeling, more of the grandeur of the imaginative
faculties, and less of the petty processes of the unfeeling and purblind
understanding, that would manage the concerns of nations in the same
calculating spirit with which it would set about building a house. Now a
State ought to be governed (at least in these times), the labours of the
statesman ought to advance, upon calculations and from impulses similar
to those which give motion to the hand of a great artist when he is
preparing a picture, or of a mighty poet when he is determining the
proportions and march of a poem;--much is to be done by rule; the great
outline is previously to be conceived in distinctness, but the
consummation of the work must be trusted to resources that are not
tangible, though known to exist. Much as I admire the political sagacity
displayed in your work, I respect you still more for the lofty spirit
that supports it; for the animation and courage with which it is
replete; for the contempt, in a just cause, of death and danger by which
it is ennobled; for its heroic confidence in the valour of your
countrymen; and the absolute determination which it everywhere expresses
to maintain in all points the honour of the soldier's profession, and
that of the noble Nation of which you are a member--of the Land in which
you were born. No insults, no indignities, no vile stooping, will your
politics admit of; and therefore, more than for any other cause, do I
congratulate my country on the appearance of a book which, resting in
this point our national safety upon the purity of our national
character, will, I trust, lead naturally to make us, at the same time, a
more powerful and a high-minded nation.

     Affectionately yours, W. WORDSWORTH.[23]

[22] 'Totis imperii viribus consurgitur,' says the historian, speaking
of the war of the gladiators.

[23] _Memoirs_, vol. i. pp. 406-20.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Letter enclosing the Preceding to a Friend unnamed_.

MY DEAR SIR,

I have taken the Liberty of addressing the enclosed to you, with a wish
that you would be so kind as to send it by the twopenny Post. The
Letter, though to a personal Acquaintance and to some degree a friend,
is upon a kind of Public occasion, and consists of Comments upon Captain
Pasley's lately published Essay on the Military Policy of Great Britain;
a work which if you have not seen I earnestly recommend to your careful
Perusal. I have sent my Letter unsealed in order that if you think it
worth while you may read it, which would oblige me. You may begin with
those words in the 1st Page, 'Now for your Book:' which you will see are
legible, being transcribed by a Friend. The rest, in my own hand, is
only an Apology for not writing sooner; save that there are two Sonnets
which if you like you may glance your eye over. Do not forget to put a
wafer on the Letter after you have done with it.

Will you excuse me if I find myself unable to forbear saying, upon this
occasion, a few words concerning the conduct pursued with respect to
foreign affairs by the Party with whom you act? I learn from a private
quarter of unquestionable Authority, that it was Lord Grenville's
intention, had he come into power as he lately expected, to have
recalled the army from Portugal. In the name of my Country, of our
virtuous and suffering Allies, and of Human Nature itself, I give thanks
to Providence who has restored the King's health so far as to prevent
this intention being put into practice hitherto. The transgressions of
the present ministry are grievous; but excepting only a deliberate and
direct attack upon the civil liberty of our own Country, there cannot be
any thing in a Minister worse than a desponding spirit and the lack of
confidence in a good cause. If Lord G. and Mr. Ponsonby think that the
privilege allowed to opposition-manoeuvering justifies them in speaking
as they do, they are sadly mistaken and do not discern what is becoming
the times; but if they sincerely believe in the omnipotence of
Buonaparte upon the Continent, they are the dupes of their own fears and
the slaves of their own ignorance. Do not deem me presumptuous when I
say that it is pitiable to hear Lord Grenville talking as he did in the
late debate of the inability of Great Britain to take a commanding
station as a military Power, and maintaining that our efforts must be
essentially, he means exclusively, naval. We have destroyed our enemies
upon the Sea, and are equally capable of destroying him upon land. Rich
in soldiers and revenues as we are, we are capable, availing ourselves
of the present disposition of the Continent, to erect there under our
countenance, and by a wise application of our resources, a military
Power, which the tyrannical and immoral Government of Buonaparte could
not prevail against, and if he could not overthrow it, he must himself
perish. Lord G. grudges two millions in aid of Portugal, which has
eighty thousand men in arms, and what they can perform has been proved.
Yet Lord G. does not object to our granting aid to a great Military
Power on the Continent if such could he found, nay he begs of us to wait
till that fortunate period arrives. Whence does Lord G., from what
quarter does he expect it? from Austria, from the Prussian monarchy,
brought to life again, from Russia, or lastly from the Confederacy of
the Rhine turning against their Creator and Fashioner? Is the
expectation of the Jews for their Messiah or of the Portugueze for St.
Sebastian more extravagant? But Lord G. ought to know that such a
military POWER does already exist upon the Peninsula, formless indeed
compared with what under our plastic hands it may become, yet which has
proved itself capable of its giving employment during the course of
three years to at least five hundred thousand of the enemy's best
troops. An important fact has been proved, that the enemy cannot _drive_
us from the Peninsula. We have the point to stand upon which Archimedes
wished for, and we may move the Continent if we persevere. Let us
prepare to exercise in Spain a military influence like that which we
already possess in Portugal, and our affairs must improve daily and
rapidly. Whatever money we advance for Portugal and Spain, we can direct
the management of it, an inestimable advantage which, with relation to
Prussia, Russia or Austria, we never possessed. Besides, how could we
govern the purposes of those States, when that inherent imbecility and
cowardice leave them no purpose or aim to which they can steadily adhere
of themselves for six weeks together? Military Powers! So these States
have been called. A strange Misnomer! they are Weaknesses--a true though
ill-sounding Title!--and not Powers! Polybius tells us that Hannibal
entered into Italy with twenty thousand men, and that the aggregate
forces of Italy at that time amounted to seven hundred and sixty
thousand foot and horse, with the Roman discipline and power to head
that mighty force. Gustavus Adolphus invaded Germany with thirteen
thousand men; the Emperor at that time having between two and three
hundred thousand warlike and experienced Troops commanded by able
Generals, to oppose to him. Let these facts and numerous others which
history supplies of the same kind, be thought of; and let us hear no
more of the impossibility of Great Britain girt round and defended by
the Sea and an invincible Navy, becoming a military Power; Great Britain
whose troops surpass in valour those of all the world, and who has an
army and a militia of upwards of three hundred thousand men! Do reflect
my dear Sir, upon the materials which are now in preparation upon the
Continent. Hannibal expected to be joined by a parcel of the contented
barbarian Gauls in the north of Italy. Gustavus stood forth as the
Champion of the Protestant interest: how feeble and limited each of
these auxiliary sentiments and powers, compared with what the state of
knowledge, the oppressions of their domestic governments, and the
insults and injuries and hostile cruelties inflicted by the French upon
the continental nations, must have exerted to second our arms whenever
we shall appear in that Force which we can assume, and with that
boldness which would become us, and which justice and human nature and
Patriotism call upon us to put forth. Farewell, most truly yours,

W. WORDSWORTH.

Shall we see you this Summer? I hope so.



IV. TWO ADDRESSES TO THE FREEHOLDERS OF WESTMORELAND.

1818.

NOTE.

On the occasion of these 'Two Addresses,' and other related matters, see
Preface in the present volume. G.

     TWO ADDRESSES TO THE FREEHOLDERS OF WESTMORELAND.

       *       *       *       *       *
Kendal:

PRINTED BY AIREY AND BELLINGHAM. 1818.

ADVERTISEMENT.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Author thinks it proper to advise his Reader, that he alone is
responsible for the sentiments and opinions expressed in these sheets.
Gladly would he have availed himself of the judgment of others, if that
benefit could have been had without subjecting the Persons consulted to
the possibility of blame, for having sanctioned any view of the topics
under consideration, which, either from its erroneousness might deserve,
or from Party feelings or other causes might incur, censure.

The matter comprised in these pages was intended to compose a succession
of Addresses to be printed in the _Kendal Chronicle_, and a part of the
first was published through that channel. The intention was dropped for
reasons well known. It is now mentioned in order to account for the
disproportion in the length of the two Addresses, and an arrangement of
matter, in some places, different from what would otherwise have been
chosen. A portion also has appeared in the _Carlisle Patriot_.

It is of little importance to add, that this Publication has been
delayed by unavoidable engagements of the Printer.

_March_ 26, 1818.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE READER.

The new Candidate has appeared amongst us, and concluded, for the
present, his labours in the County. They require no further notice here
than an expression of thanks for the success with which he has
co-operated with the Author of these pages to demonstrate, by the whole
of his itinerant proceedings, that the vital principle of the Opposition
ostensibly headed by him, is at enmity with the bonds by which society
is held together, and Government maintained.

_April_ 4, 1818.

TO THE FREEHOLDERS, &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

GENTLEMEN,

Two Months have elapsed since warning was given of an intention to
oppose the present Representatives of the County of Westmoreland, at the
ensuing Election; yet, till so late a period as the 26th of January, no
avowal of such intention appeared from any quarter entitling it to
consideration. For, as to the Body of Men, calling itself the London
Committee, there is not, up to this hour I believe, any public evidence
even of its existence, except certain notices signed by two obscure
individuals. But, in the minds of those naturally interested in the
welfare of the County, a ferment was excited by various devices;
inflammatory addresses were busily circulated; men, laying claim to the
flattering character of Reformers of abuses, became active; and, as this
stir did not die away, they who foresaw its bearings and tendencies,
were desirous that, if there were any just grounds for discontent, the
same should be openly declared, by persons whose characters and
situations in life would be a pledge for their having proceeded upon
mature deliberation. At length, a set of resolutions have appeared, from
a Meeting of dissatisfied Freeholders, holden in a Town, which, if not
the principal in point of rank, is the most populous, opulent, and
weighty, in the County. Among those who composed this Meeting, the first
visible authentic Body which the Opposition has produced, are to be
found persons answering to the description above given--men from whom
might have been expected, in the exposition of their complaints, sound
sense as to the nature of the grievances, and rational views as to the
mode of removing them--Have such expectations, if entertained, been
fulfilled?

The first Resolution unanimously agreed upon by this Meeting, is couched
in these words: 'It is impossible for us, as Freeholders, to submit any
longer to a single Family, however respectable, naming both Members for
the County.' What if this leading article had been thus expressed? 'That
it is injurious to the interests, and derogatory to the dignity, of the
County of Westmoreland, that both its Representatives should be brought
into Parliament, by the influence of one Family.' Words to this effect
would surely have given the sense of the Resolution, as proceeding from
men of cool reflection; and offered nakedly to the consideration of
minds which, it was desired, should be kept in a similar state. But we
cannot '_submit_ any longer'--if the intention was to mislead and
irritate, such language was well adapted for the purpose; but it ill
accords with the spirit of the next Resolution, which affirms, that the
Meeting is wholly unconnected with any political Party; and, thus
disclaiming indirectly those passions and prejudices that are apt to
fasten upon political partisans, implicitly promises, that the opinions
of the Meeting shall be conveyed in terms suitable to such disavowal.
Did the persons in question imagine themselves in a state of
degradation? On their own word we must believe they did; and no one
could object to their employing, among each other, such language as gave
vent to feelings proceeding from that impression, in a way that
gratified themselves. But, by _publishing_ their Resolutions, they shew
that they are not communing for the sake of mutual sympathy, but to
induce others to participate a sentiment which probably they are
strangers to. We _submit_ to the law, and to those who are placed in
authority over us, while in the legitimate exercise of their
functions--we _submit_ to the decrees of Providence, because they are
not to be resisted--a coward _submits_ to be insulted--a pusillanimous
wretch to be despised--and a knave, if detected, must submit to be
scouted--a slave submits to his Taskmaster; but, the Freeholders of
Westmoreland, cannot, _in reason_, be said to submit to the House of
Lowther naming their Representatives, unless it can be proved that those
Representatives have been thrust upon them by an unjustifiable agency;
and that they owe their seats, not to the free suffrages and frank
consent of their Constituents, but to unfair means, whether in the shape
of seduction or threat. If there be an indignity on one side, there must
have been a wrong done on the other; and, to make out this point, it
ought to have been shewn, that some other Person, qualified by his
property, his education, his rank, and character, had stood forth and
offered himself to represent you, Freeholders of Westmoreland, in
Parliament; and that, in this attempt, he had been crushed by the power
of a single Family, careless of the mode in which that power was
exercised. I appeal to those who have had an opportunity of being
acquainted with the Noble Lord who is at the head of that Family,
whether they are of opinion, that any consideration of his own interest
or importance in the State, would have induced him to oppose _such_ a
Candidate, provided there was reason for believing that the unabused
sense of the County was with him. If indeed a Candidate supposed to be
so favoured by the County, had declared himself an enemy to the general
measures of Administration for some years past, those measures have
depended on principles of conduct of such vast importance, that the
Noble Lord must needs have endeavoured, as far as prudence authorised,
to frustrate an attempt, which, in conscience, he could not approve.

I affirm, then, that, as there was no wrong, there is no indignity--the
present Members owe their high situation to circumstances, local and
national. They are there _because no one else has presented himself_,
or, for some years back, has been likely to present himself, with
pretensions, the reasonableness of which could enter into competition
with their's. This is, in some points of view, a misfortune, but it is
the fact; and no class of men regret it more than the independent and
judicious adherents of the House of Lowther: Men who are happy and proud
to rally round the Nobleman who is the head of that House, in defence of
rational liberty: Men who know that he has proved himself a faithful
guardian to the several orders of the State--that he is a tried enemy to
dangerous innovations--a condemner of fantastic theories--one who
understands mankind, and knows the heights and levels of human nature,
by which the course of the streams of social action is determined--a
Lover of the People, but one who despises, as far as relates to his own
practice; and deplores, in respect to that of others, the shows, and
pretences, and all the false arts by which the plaudits of the multitude
are won, and the people flattered to the common ruin of themselves and
their deceivers.

But after all, let us soberly enquire to what extent it is really an
evil that two persons, so nearly connected in blood, should represent
this County. And first looking at the matter _locally_, what _is_ that
portion of England known by the name of the County of Westmoreland? A
County which indeed the natives of it love, and are justly proud of; a
region famous for the production of shrewd, intelligent, brave, active,
honest, enterprising men:--but it covers no very large space on the map;
the soil is in general barren, the country poor accordingly, and of
necessity thinly inhabited. There are in England single Towns, even of a
third or fourth rate importance, that contain a larger population than
is included within the limits of Westmoreland, from the foot of Wrynose
to the sides of Stainmoor, and from the banks of the Kent to those of
the Emont. Is it, then, to be wondered at, considering the antiquity of
the House of Lowther, that circumstances should have raised it to the
elevation which it holds in a district so thinly peopled, neither rich
in the products of Agriculture, nor in the materials of Commerce, and
where it is impossible that any considerable number of Country Gentlemen
of large, or as our ancestors expressed themselves of notable estate,
can co-exist. It must unavoidably happen therefore that, at all times,
there will be few persons, in such a County, furnished with the stable
requisites of property, rank, family, and personal fitness, that shall
point them out for such an office, and _dispose them to covet it_, by
insuring that degree of public confidence which will make them
independent, comfortable, and happy, in discharging the duties which it
imposes. This small number will, at particular periods, be liable to be
reduced; that this _has_ been the case is apparent upon retrospect; and
that the number is not large at present, may be inferred from the
difficulty with which a third Candidate has been found; and from the
insignificant station which the Individual, who has at length obeyed the
call of the discontented, holds in the County.

With these local circumstances _general_ considerations have powerfully
co-operated, to place the representation of Westmoreland where it now
is; and to this second division of the subject I particularly request
your attention, Gentlemen, as reflecting Patriots.

Looking up to the government with respectful attachment, we all
acknowledge that power must be controlled and checked, or it will be
abused; hence the desirableness of a vigorous opposition in the House
of Commons; and hence a wish, grounded upon a conviction of general
expediency, that the opposition to ministry, whose head and chief seat
of action are in Parliament, should be efficaciously diffused through
all parts of the Country. On this principle the two grand divisions of
Party, under our free government, are founded. Conscience regulated by
expediency, is the basis; honour, binding men to each other in spite of
temptation, is the corner-stone; and the superstructure is friendship,
protecting kindness, gratitude, and all the moral sentiments by which
self-interest is liberalized. Such is Party, looked at on the favourable
side. Cogent _moral_ inducements, therefore, exist for the prevalence of
two powerful bodies in the practice of the State, spreading their
influence and interests throughout the country; and, on _political_
considerations, it is desirable that the strength of each should bear
such proportion to that of the other, that, while Ministry are able to
carry into effect measures not palpably injurious, the vigilance of
Opposition may turn to account, being backed by power at all times
sufficient to awe, but never, (were that possible) except when supported
by manifest reason, to intimidate.

Such apportioning of the strength of the two Parties _has_ existed; such
a degree of power the Opposition formerly possessed; and if they have
lost that salutary power, if they are dwindled and divided, they must
ascribe it to their own errors. They are weak because they have been
unwise: they are brought low, because when they had solid and high
ground to stand upon, they took a flight into the air. To have hoped too
ardently of human nature, as they did at the commencement of the French
Revolution, was no dishonour to them as men; but _politicians_ cannot be
allowed to plead temptations of fancy, or impulses of feeling, in
exculpation of mistakes in judgement. Grant, however, to the enthusiasm
of Philanthropy as much indulgence as it may call for, it is still
extraordinary that, in the minds of English Statesmen and Legislators,
the naked absurdity of the means did not raise a doubt as to the
attainableness of the end. Mr. Fox, captivated by the vanities of a
system founded upon abstract rights, chaunted his expectations in the
House of Parliament; and too many of his Friends partook of the
illusion. The most sagacious Politician of his age broke out in an
opposite strain. Time has verified his predictions; the books remain in
which his principles of foreknowledge were laid down; but, as the Author
became afterwards a Pensioner of State, thousands, in this country of
free opinions, persist in asserting that his divination was guess-work,
and that conscience had no part in urging him to speak. That warning
voice proved vain; the Party from whom he separated,
proceeded--confiding in splendid oratorical talents and ardent feelings
rashly wedded to novel expectations, when common sense, uninquisitive
experience, and a modest reliance on old habits of judgement, when
either these, or a philosophic penetration, were the only qualities that
could have served them.

How many private Individuals, at that period, were kept in a rational
course by circumstances, supplying restraints which their own
understandings would not have furnished! Through what fatality it
happens, that Bodies of Men are so slow to profit, in a similar way, by
circumstances affecting their prosperity, the Opposition seem never to
have enquired. They could not avoid observing, that the Holders of
Property throughout the country, being mostly panic-stricken by the
proceedings in France, turned instinctively against the admirers of the
new system;--and, as security for property is the very basis of civil
society, how was it possible but that reflecting men, who perceived this
truth, should mistrust those Representatives of the People, who could
not have acted less prudently, had they been utterly unconscious of it!
But they had committed themselves and did not retract; either from
unabating devotion to their cause, or from false honour, and that
self-injuring consistency, the favourite sister of obstinacy, which the
mixed conscience of mankind is but too apt to produce. Meanwhile the
tactics of Parliament must continue in exercise on some system or other;
their adversaries were to be annoyed at any rate; and so intent were
they upon this, that, in proportion as the entrenchments of Ministry
strengthened, the assaults of Opposition became more careless and
desperate.

While the war of words and opinions was going forward in this country,
Europe was deluged with blood. They in whose hands power was vested
among us, in course of time, lost ground in public opinion, through the
failure of their efforts. Parties were broken and re-composed; but Men
who are brought together less by principle than by events, cannot
cordially co-operate, or remain long united. The opponents of the war,
in this middle stage and desponding state of it, were not popular; and
afterwards, when the success of the enemy made the majority of the
Nation feel, that Peace dictated by him could not be lasting, and they
were bent on persevering in the struggle, the Party of Opposition
persisted in a course of action which, as their countenance of the
doctrine of the rights of man, had brought their understandings into
disrepute, cast suspicion on the soundness of their patriotic
affections. Their passions made them blind to the differences between a
state of peace and war, (above all such a war!) as prescribing rules for
their own conduct. They were ignorant, or never bore in mind, that a
species of hostility which, had there been no foreign enemy to resist,
might have proved useful and honourable, became equally pernicious and
disgraceful, when a formidable foe threatened us with destruction.

I appeal to impartial recollection, whether, during the course of the
late awful struggle, and in the latter stages of it especially, the
antagonists of Ministers, in the two Houses of Parliament, did not, for
the most part, conduct themselves more like allies to a military despot,
who was attempting to enslave the world, and to whom their own country
was an object of paramount hatred, than like honest Englishmen, who had
breathed the air of liberty from their cradles. If any state of things
could supply them with motives for acting in that manner, they must
abide by the consequences. They must reconcile themselves as well as
they can to dislike and to disesteem, the unavoidable results of
behaviour so unnatural. Peace has indeed come; but do they who
deprecated the continuance of the war, and clamoured for its close, on
any terms, rejoice heartily in a triumph by which their prophecies were
belied? Did they lend their voices to swell the hymn of transport, that
resounded through our Land, when the arch-enemy was overthrown? Are they
pleased that inheritances have been restored, and that legitimate
governments have been re-established, on the Continent? And do they
grieve when those re-established governments act unworthily of the
favour which Providence has shown them? Do not too many rather secretly
congratulate themselves on every proof of imbecility or misconduct there
exhibited; and endeavour that attention shall be exclusively fixed on
those melancholy facts, as if they were the only fruits of a triumph,
to which we Britons owe, that we are a fearless, undishonoured, and
rapidly improving people, and the nations of the Continent owe their
very existence as self-governed communities?

The Party of Opposition, or what remains of it, has much to repent of;
many humiliating reflections must pass through the minds of those who
compose it, and they must learn the hard lesson to be thankful for them
as a discipline indispensible to their amendment. Thus only can they
furnish a sufficient nucleus for the formation of a new Body; nor can
there be any hope of such Body being adequate to its appropriate
service, and of its possessing that portion of good opinion which shall
entitle it to the respect of its antagonists, unless it live and act,
for a length of time, under a distinct conception of the kind and degree
of hostility to the executive government, which is fairly warrantable.
The Party must cease indiscriminately to court the discontented, and to
league itself with Men who are athirst for innovation, to a point which
leaves it doubtful, whether an Opposition, that is willing to co-operate
with such Agitators, loves as it ought to do, and becomingly venerates,
the happy and glorious Constitution, in Church and State, which we have
inherited from our Ancestors.

Till not a doubt can be left that this indispensible change has been
effected, Freeholders of Westmoreland! you will remain--but to _exhort_
is not my present business--I was retracing the history of the influence
of one Family, and have shewn that much of it depends upon that steady
support given by them to government, during a long and arduous struggle,
and upon the general course of their public conduct, which has secured
your approbation and won for them your confidence. Let us now candidly
ask what practical evil has arisen from this preponderance. Is it not
obvious, that it is justified by the causes that have produced it? As
far as it concerns the general well-being of the Kingdom, it would be
easy to shew, that if the democratic activities of the great Towns and
of the manufacturing Districts, were not counteracted by the sedentary
power of large estates, continued from generation to generation in
particular families, it would be scarcely possible that the Laws and
Constitution of the Country could sustain the shocks which they would be
subject to. And as to our own County, _that_ Man must be strangely
prejudiced, who does not perceive how desireable it is, that some
powerful Individual should he attached to it; who, by his influence with
Government, may facilitate the execution of any plan tending, with due
concern for _general_ welfare, to the especial benefit of Westmoreland.
The influence of the House of Lowther is, we acknowledge, great; but has
a case been made out, that this influence has been abused? The voice of
gratitude is not loud, out of delicacy to the Benefactor; but, if all
who know were at liberty to speak, to the measure of their wishes, the
services which have been rendered by the House of Lowther to
Westmoreland, its Natives, and Inhabitants, would be proclaimed in a
manner that would confound detraction.--Yet the Kendal Committee of the
26th of January--without troubling themselves to inquire how far this
preponderance is a reasonable thing, and what have been its real and
practical effects--are indignant; their blood is roused; 'and they are
determined to address their Brother Freeholders, and call upon them to
recover the exercise of the elective Franchise, which has been withheld
from them for half a century.'--_Withheld_ from them! Suppose these
Champions, in this their first declaration of hostility, had said, 'to
recover the elective Franchise _which we have suffered to lie dormant_.'
But no!--Who would take blame to himself, when, by so doing, he is
likely to break the force of the indignation, which, whether deserved or
not, he hopes to heap upon his adversary? This is politic--but does it
become professing men? Does it suit those who set forward with a
proclamation, that they are select spirits, free from Party ties; and,
of course, superior to those artifices and misrepresentations--to those
groundless or immoderate aversions--which men who act in parties find it
so difficult to keep clear of?

What degree of discernment and consistency, an assembly of persons, who
begin their labours with such professions and publish such intentions,
have shewn, by making choice of the Individual whom they have
recommended, as eminently entitled to their confidence and qualified to
assist them in attaining their end, may become the fit subject of a
future enquiry.

SECOND ADDRESS.


GENTLEMEN,

Much of my former Address, originated in deference to that sense of
right, which is inseparable from the minds of enlightened Patriots.
Passing from local considerations, I wrote under a belief that, whatever
personal or family leanings might prevail among you, you would be moved
by a wish to see the supporters of his Majesty's Ministers and their
opponents--possessed, relatively to each other, of that degree of
strength which might render both parties, in their several capacities,
most serviceable to the State. I noticed, that this just proportion of
strength no longer remained; and shewed, that the Opposition had caused
it to be destroyed by holding, from the beginning of the French
Revolution, such a course as introduced in Parliament, discord among
themselves; deprived them, in that House and elsewhere, of the respect
which from their Adversaries they had been accustomed to command; turned
indifferent persons into enemies; and alienated, throughout the Island,
the affections of thousands who had been proud to unite with them. This
weakness and degradation, deplored by all true Friends of the
Commonweal, was sufficiently accounted for, without even adverting to
the fact that--when the disasters of the war had induced the Country to
forgive, and, in some degree, to forget, the alarming attachment of that
Party to French theories: and power, heightened by the popularity of
hope and expectation, was thrown into their hands--they disgusted even
bigotted adherents, by the rapacious use they made of that
power;--stooping to so many offensive compromises, and committing so
many faults in every department, that, a Government of Talents, if such
be the fruits of talent, was proved to be the most mischievous sort of
government which England had ever been troubled with. So that, whether
in or out of place, an evil genius seemed to attend them!

How could all this happen? For the fundamental reason, that neither the
religion, the laws, the morals, the manners, nor the literature of the
country, especially as contrasted with those of France, were prized by
the Leaders of the Party as they deserved. It is a notorious fact that,
among their personal Friends, was scarcely to be found a single
Clergyman of distinction;--so that, how to dispose of their
ecclesiastical patronage in a manner that might do them credit, they
were almost as ignorant as strangers landed, for the first time, in a
foreign Country. This is not to be accounted for on any supposition
(since the education of men of rank naturally devolves on those members
of our Universities, who choose the Church for their profession) but
that of a repugnance on their part to associate with persons of grave
character and decorous manners. Is the distracted remnant of the Party,
now surviving, improved in that respect? The dazzling talents with which
it was once distinguished have passed away; pleasure and dissipation are
no longer, in that quarter, exhibited to the world in such reconcilement
with business as excited dispositions to forgive what could not be
approved, and a species of wonder, not sufficiently kept apart from
envy, at the extraordinary gifts and powers by which the union was
accomplished. This injurious conjunction no longer exists, so as to
attract the eyes of the Nation. But we look in vain for signs that the
opinions, habits, and feelings of the Party are tending towards a
restoration of that genuine English character, by which alone the
confidence of the sound part of the People can be recovered.

The public life of the Candidate who now, for the first time, solicits
your suffrages, my Brother Freeholders, cannot, however, without
injustice to that Party, be deemed a fair exponent of its political
opinions. It has, indeed, been too tolerant with Mr. Brougham, while he
was labouring to ingraft certain sour cuttings from the wild wood of
ultra reform on the reverend, though somewhat decayed, stock of that
tree of Whiggism, which flourished proudly under the cultivation of our
Ancestors. This indulgence, and others like it, will embolden him to aim
at passing himself off as the Delegate of Opposition, and the authorized
pleader of their cause. But Time, that Judge from whom none but triflers
appeal to conjecture, has decided upon leading principles and main
events, and given the verdict against his clients. While, with a ready
tongue, the Advocate of a disappointed party is filling one scale, do
you, with a clear memory and apt judgment, silently throw in what of
right belongs to the other; and the result will be, that no sensible man
among you, who has supported the present Members on account of their
steady adherence to Ministers, can be induced to change his conduct, or
be persuaded that the hour is either come, or approaching, when, for the
sake of bringing the power of Opposition in this County nearer to an
equality with that of Ministers, it will be his duty to vote against
those Representatives in whom he has hitherto confided. No, if Mr.
Brougham had not individually passed far beyond the line of that
Party--if his conduct had been such that even they themselves would
admit that he truly belonged to them--the exception would still lie
against the general rule; and will remain till the character of men and
measures materially changes, for the better, assuredly, on the one side,
if not for the worse on the other. Remember what England might have been
with an Administration countenancing French Doctrines at the dawn of the
French Revolution, and suffering them, as it advanced, to be sown with
every wind that came across the Channel! Think what was the state of
Europe before the French Emperor, the apparent, and in too many respects
the real, Idol of Opposition, was overthrown!

Numbers, I am aware, do not cease vehemently to maintain, that the late
war was neither just nor necessary; that the ostensible and real causes
of it were widely different; that it was not begun, and persisted in,
for the purpose of withstanding foreign aggression, and in defence of
social order: but from unprincipled ambition in the Powers of Europe,
eager to seize that opportunity of augmenting their territories at the
expence of distracted and enfeebled France.--Events ever-to-be-lamented
do, I grant, give too much colour to those affirmations. But this was a
war upon a large scale, wherein many Belligerents took part; and no one
who distinctly remembers the state of Europe at its commencement will be
inclined any more to question that the alleged motives had a solid
foundation, because then, or afterwards, others might mix with them,
than he would doubt that the maintenance of Christianity and the
reduction of the power of the Infidels were the principal motives of the
Crusades, because roving Adventurers, joining in those expeditions,
turned them to their own profit. Traders and hypocrites may make part of
a Caravan bound to Mecca; but it does not follow that a religious
observance is not the prime object of the Pilgrimage. The political
fanaticism (it deserves no milder name) that pervaded the Manifesto
issued by the Duke of Brunswick, on his entry into France, proves, that
he and the Power whose organ he was, were swayed on their march by an
ambition very different from that of territorial aggrandizement;--at
least, if such ambition existed, it is plain that feelings of another
kind blinded them to the means of gratifying it. Nevertheless, we must
acknowledge the passion soon manifested itself, and in a quarter where
it was least excusable. The seizure of Valenciennes, in the name of the
Emperor of Germany, was an act of such glaring rapacity, and gave the
lie so unfeelingly to all that had been professed, that the then
Ministers of Great Britain, doubtless, opposed the intention with a
strong remonstrance. But the dictates of magnanimity (which in such
cases is but another word for high and sage policy) would have
been--'this unjust act must either be abandoned, or Great Britain shall
retire from a contest which, if such principles are to govern, or
interfere with, the conduct of it, cannot but be calamitous.' A threat
to this purpose was either not given or not acted upon. _Hinc illae
clades_! From that moment the alliance of the French Loyalists with the
coalesced Powers seemed to have no ground of rational patriotism to
stand upon. Their professed helpers became their worst enemies; and
numbers among them not only began to wish for the defeat of their false
friends, but joined themselves to their fellow-countrymen, of all
parties, who were labouring to effect it.--But the military successes of
the French, arising mainly from this want of principle in the
Confederate Powers, in course of time placed the policy and justice of
the war upon a new footing. However men might differ about the necessity
or reasonableness of resorting to arms in the first instance, things
were brought to such a state that, among the disinterested and
dispassionate, there could be but one opinion (even if nothing higher
than security was aimed at) on the demand for the utmost strength of the
nation being put forth in the prosecution of the war, till it should
assume a more hopeful aspect.--And now it was that Ministers made ample
amends for past subserviency to selfish coadjutors, and proved
themselves worthy of being entrusted with the fate of Europe. While the
Opposition were taking counsel from their fears, and recommending
despair--while they continued to magnify without scruple the strength of
the Enemy, and to expose, misrepresent, and therefore increase the
weaknesses of their country, his Majesty's Ministers were not daunted,
though often discouraged: they struggled up against adversity with
fortitude, and persevered heroically; throwing themselves upon the
honour and wisdom of the Country, and trusting for the issue to the
decrees of a just PROVIDENCE:--and for this determination everlasting
gratitude will attend them!

From the internal situation of France, produced by the Revolution, War
with the contiguous Powers was inevitable; sooner or later the evil must
have been encountered; and it was of little importance whether England
took a share in it somewhat earlier than, by fallible judgments, might
be deemed necessary, or not. The frankness with which the faults that
were committed have been acknowledged entitles the writer to some
regard, when, speaking from an intimate knowledge of the internal state
of France at that time, he affirms, that the war waged against her was,
in a liberal interpretation of the words, _just and necessary_. At all
events our Nation viewed it in this light. A large majority of the
Inhabitants of Great Britain called for the war; and they who _will_ the
end _will_ the means: the war being deemed necessary, taxes became
indispensible for its support. Some might prefer one mode of raising
them--some another; but these are minor considerations. Public men,
united in bodies, must act on great principles. Mutual deference is a
fundamental requisite for the composition and efficiency of a Party:
for, if individual judgment is to be obtruded and insisted upon in
subordinate concerns, the march of business will be perpetually
obstructed. The leaders will not know whom they can depend upon, and
therefore will be at a loss what to recommend, and how to act. If a
public man differs from his Party in essentials, Conscience and Honour
demand that he should withdraw; but if there be no such difference, it
is incumbent upon him to submit his personal opinion to the general
sense. He, therefore, who thought the prosecution of the war necessary,
could not condemn the public Imposts; on this consequence the steady
adherents of Ministers rest their claim to approbation, and advance it
boldly in defiance of the outcry raised against the Government, on
account of the burthens which the situation of Europe compelled it to
lay upon the people.

In matters of taste, it is a process attended with little advantage, and
often injurious, to compare one set of artists, or writers, with
another. But, in estimating the merits of public men, especially of two
Parties acting in direct opposition, it is not only expedient, but
indispensible, that both should be kept constantly in sight. The truth
or fallacy of French principles, and the tendency, good or bad, of the
Revolution which sprang out of them; and the necessity, or
non-necessity--the policy, or impolicy--of resisting by war the
encroachments of republican and imperial France; these were the opposite
grounds upon which each Party staked their credit: here we behold them
in full contrast with each other--To whom shall the crown be given? On
whom has the light fallen? and who are covered by shade and thick
darkness?

The magnanimity which resolved, that for principle's sake no efforts
should be spared to crush a bestial despotism, was acknowledged by every
manly spirit whom Party degenerating into Faction had not vitiated. That
such was the dictate of confiding _wisdom_ had long been inwardly felt;
and the _prudence_ of the course was evinced by the triumphant issue;
but to the very completeness of this triumph may be indirectly
attributed no small portion of the obloquy how heaped upon those
advisers through whom it was achieved. The power of Napoleon Buonaparte
was overthrown--his person has disappeared from the theatre of
Europe--his name has almost deserted the columns of her daily and weekly
Journals--but as he has left no Successor, as there is no foreign Tyrant
of sufficient importance to attract hatred by exciting fear, many honest
English Patriots must either find, or set up, something at home for the
employment of those affections. This is too natural to occasion
surprise; thousands are so framed, that they are but languidly conscious
of their love of an object, unless while they feel themselves in an
active state of aversion to something which they can regard as its
opposite.--Thus we see Men, who had been proud of their attachment to
his Majesty's Ministers, during the awful struggle, as soon as it was
over, allowing on the first temptation that proud attachment to be
converted into immoderate suspicion, and a long experienced gratitude
into sudden alienation.--Through this infirmity, many were betrayed into
taking part with the Men whom they had heretofore despised or condemned;
and assisted them in reviling their own Government for suffering, among
the States of the Continent, institutions to remain which the
respective nations (surely the best, if not the only judges in the case)
were unwilling to part with; and for having permitted things to be done,
either just and proper in themselves, or if indeed abuses, abuses of
that kind which Great Britain had neither right to oppose, nor power to
prevent. Not a Frenchman is in arms in Spain! But (alas for the credit
of the English Cabinet!) Ferdinand, though a lawful, appears to be a
sorry King; and the Inquisition, though venerated by the People of Spain
as a holy tribunal, which has spread a protecting shade over their
religion for hundreds of years, is, among Protestants, an abomination!
Is that, however, a reason why we should not rejoice that Spain is
restored to the rank of an Independent nation; and that her resources do
not continue at the disposal of a foreign Tyrant, for the annoyance of
Great Britain? Prussia no longer receives decrees from the Tuilleries;
but nothing, we are told, is gained by this deliverance; because the
Sovereign of that Country has not participated, as far as became him, a
popular effervescence; and has withheld from his subjects certain
privileges which they have proved themselves, to all but heated
judgments, not yet qualified to receive. Now, if numbers can blame,
without cause, the British Cabinet for events falling below their
wishes, in cases remote from their immediate concerns, the
reasonableness of their opinions may well be questioned in points where
selfish passion is touched to the quick.--Yes, in spite of the outcry of
such Men to the contrary, every enlightened Politician and discerning
Patriot, however diffident as to what was the exact line of prudence in
such arduous circumstances, will reprobate the conduct of those who were
for reducing public expenditure with a precipitation that might have
produced a convulsion in the State. The Habeas Corpus Act is also our
own near concern; it was suspended, some think without sufficient cause;
not so, however, the Persons who had the best means of ascertaining the
state of the Country; for they could have been induced to have recourse
to a measure, at all times so obnoxious, by nothing less than a
persuasion of its expediency. 'But persuasion (an Objector will say) is
produced in many ways; and even that degree of it which in these matters
passes for conviction, depends less upon external testimony than on the
habits and feelings of those by whom the testimony is to be weighed and
decided upon. A council for the administration of affairs is far from
being as favourably circumstanced as a tribunal of law; for the Party,
which is to pronounce upon the case, has had to procure the evidence,
the sum and quality of which must needs have been affected by previously
existing prejudices, and by any bias received in the process of
collecting it.--The privileges of the subject, one might think, would
never be unjustifiably infringed, if it were only from considerations of
self-interest; but power is apt to resort to unnecessary rigour in order
to supply the deficiencies of _authority_ forfeited by remissness; it is
also not unfrequently exerted merely to shew that it is possessed; to
shew this to others while power is a novelty, and when it has long
ceased to be so, to prove it to ourselves. Impatience of mind, moreover,
puts men upon the use of strong and coarse tools, when those of lighter
make and finer edge, with due care, might execute the work much better.
Above all, timidity flies to extremes;--if the elements were at our
command, how often would an inundation be called for, when a fire-engine
would have proved equal to the service!--Much more might be urged in
this strain, and similar suggestions are all that the question will
admit of; for to suppose a gross appetite of tyranny in Government,
would be an insult to the reader's understanding. Happily for the
Inhabitants of Westmoreland, as no dispositions existing among them
could furnish a motive for this restrictive measure, so they will not be
sorry that their remoteness from scenes of public confusion, has placed
them where they will be slow to give an unqualified opinion upon its
merits. Yet it will not escape their discernment, that, if doubts might
have been entertained whether the ignorant and distressed multitude, in
other parts of the Island, were actually brought to a state that
justified the suspension of this law, such doubts must have been
weakened, if not wholly removed, by the subsequent behaviour of those in
the upper ranks of society, who, in order to arraign the Government, and
denounce the laws, have seized every opportunity of palliating sedition,
if not of exculpating treason. O far better to employ bad men in the
detection of foul conspiracies, than to excuse and shelter--(would that
I were allowed to confine myself to these words)--than to reward and
honour--every one that can contrive to make himself conspicuous by
courses which, wherever they are not branded with infamy, find the
national character in a state of degradation, ominous (if it should
spread) for the existence of all that ought to be dear to Englishmen.

But there are points of domestic policy in which his Majesty's
Ministers, not appearing in counterview with their Opponents, are seen
less to their honour. Speaking as an Individual, and knowing that here I
differ from many Freeholders with whom it is an honour to co-operate in
the present struggle, I must express my disapprobation of the patronage
afforded by several persons in power, to a Society by which is virtually
propagated the notion that Priesthood, and of course our own inestimable
Church Establishment, is superfluous. I condemn their sanction (and this
attaches to the whole body) of the malevolent and senseless abuse heaped
upon the Clergy, in the matter of Tythes, through the medium of papers
circulated by the Agricultural Board. I deprecate the course which some
among them take in the Catholic Question, as unconstitutional; and
deplore the want of discernment evinced by men who persuade themselves
that the discontents prevalent in Ireland will be either removed or
abated by such concession. With these errors and weaknesses the Members
of the Administration (as appears to me) may be justly reproached; and a
still heavier charge will lie against them, if the correction of the
Poor Laws be longer deferred. May they exhibit, in treating this
momentous subject, a tenderness of undeceived humanity on the one side,
and a sternness of enlightened state-policy on the other! Thus, and thus
only, can be checked immediately, and in due course of time perhaps
removed, an evil by which one claim and title is set in array against
another, in a manner, and to an extent, that threatens utter subversion
to the ancient frame of society.

This is the heaviest burthen that now lies upon England!--Here is a
necessity for reform which, as it cannot prosper unless it begin from
the Government and the upper ranks in society, has no attraction for
demagogues and mob-exciting patriots. They understand their game; and,
as if the people could in no way be so effectually benefited as by
rendering their Government suspected, they declaim against taxes; and,
by their clamours for reduction of public expenditure, drown the
counter-suggestions from the 'still small voice' of moderation appealing
to circumstances. 'Cry aloud, and spare not!--Retrench and lop off!'
and so they proceeded with the huzza of the multitude at their heels,
till they had produced an extreme embarrassment in the Government, and
instant distress and misery among the People.

One of the most importunate of that class of Economists which Parliament
contained, now Gentlemen, solicits the honour of representing you; and
merit may perhaps be claimed for him for his exertions upon that
occasion. If it be praiseworthy to have contributed to cast shoals of
our deserving countrymen adrift, without regard to their past services,
that praise cannot be denied him; if it be commendable to have availed
himself of inordinate momentary passion to carry measures whereby the
general weal was sacrificed, whether designedly for the attainment of
popularity, or in the self-applauding sincerity of a heated mind, that
praise is due to Mr. Brougham and his coadjutors. But, to the judicious
Freeholders of Westmoreland, whether Gentry or Yeomanry, rich or poor,
he will in vain adduce this, or any other part of the recent conduct of
Opposition, as a motive for strengthening their interests amongst us.
No, Freeholders, we must wait; assuring them that they shall have a
reasonable portion of our support as soon as they have proved that they
deserve it!

Till that time comes, it will not grieve us that this County should
supply two Representatives to uphold the Servants of the Crown, even if
both should continue, through unavoidable circumstances, to issue from
one Family amongst us. Till that change takes place, we will treat with
scorn the senseless outcry for the recovery of an independence which has
never been lost. We are, have been, and will remain, independent; and
the host of men, respectable on every account, who have publicly avowed
their desire to maintain our present Representatives in their seats,
deem it insolence to assert the contrary. They are independent in every
rational sense of the word; acknowledging, however, that they rest upon
a principle, and are incorporated with an interest; and this they regard
as a proof that their affections are sane, and their understandings
superior to illusion. But in certain vocabularies liberty is synonymous
with licence; and to be free, as explained by some, is to live and act
without restraint. In like manner, independence, according to the
meaning of their interpretation, is the explosive energy of
conceit--making blind havoc with expediency. It is a presumptuous
spirit at war with all the passive worth of mankind. The independence
which they boast of despises habit, and time-honoured forms of
subordination; it consists in breaking old ties upon new temptations; in
casting off the modest garb of private obligation to strut about in the
glittering armour of public virtue; in sacrificing, with jacobinical
infatuation, the near to the remote, and preferring, to what has been
known and tried, that which has no distinct existence, even in
imagination; in renouncing, with voluble tongue and vain heart, every
thing intricate in motive, and mixed in quality, in a downright passion
of love for absolute, unapproachable patriotism! In short, the
independence these Reformers bawl for is the worthy precursor of the
liberty they adore;--making her first essay by starting out of the
course for the pleasure of falling into the ditch; and asserting her
heaven-born vigour by soaring _above_ the level of humanity in
profession, that it may more conspicuously appear how far she can fall
_below_ it in practice.

To this spurious independence the Friends of our present Representatives
lay no claim. They assert in the face of the world that those
Representatives hold their seats by free election.--_That_ has placed
them there; and why should we wish to change what we do not disapprove
of--that which could not have been without our approbation? But this
County has not for a long time been disturbed by electioneering
contests.--Is there no species of choice, then, but that which is
accompanied with commotion and clamour? Do silent acquiescence and
deliberate consent pass for nothing? Being contented, what could we seek
for more? Being satisfied, why should we stir for stirring's sake?
Uproar and disorder, even these we could tolerate on a justifying
occasion; but it is no sign of prudence to court them unnecessarily, nor
of temper to invite them wantonly. He who resorts to substantial
unruliness for the redress of imaginary grievances, provokes certain
mischief; and often, in the end, produces calamity which would excite
little compassion, could it be confined to its original author.

Let those who think that they are degraded proclaim their own dishonour.
_They_ choose to regard themselves as shackled Conscripts:--_we_ know
that we are self-equipped Volunteers. If they cannot be easy without
branding themselves as slaves, we would endeavour to dissuade them from
such abuse of their free-agency; but if they persist, we cannot
interfere with their humour: only do not let them apply the iron to our
foreheads! They cry out that they have been in a lethargy; why do they
not add that they would have been asleep to this hour, if they had not
been roused, in their vales and on their moors, by an officious and
impertinent call from the dirty alleys and obscure courts of the
Metropolis?

If there be any honour in England, the composition of the Lowther Party
must be loyal and honourable. Its adversaries have admitted that a large
majority, they might have added nearly the whole, of the leading Gentry;
that the Magistracy--all but a single Individual; that the Clergy and
the Members of the other liberal Professions--with very few exceptions;
and a vast body of Tradesmen and Manufacturers, and of substantial
Yeomen, the honest Grey-coats of Westmoreland, have already declared
themselves of one mind upon this appeal to their judgments. Looking to a
distance, they see the worth and opulence, the weight of character, and
the dignity and respectability of station, that distinguish the numerous
list of Freeholders resident in London, who have jointly and publicly
testified their satisfaction in the conduct of our present
Representatives. The discontented see and know these things; and are
well aware also that the Lowthers cannot justly be accused of inordinate
and disrespectful family ambition, inasmuch as it was not their wish
that the County should be represented by two Members of their House. It
has long been no secret that if any other Gentleman of the County
properly qualified, whose _political principles did not substantially
differ from their own_, would have come forward, he would have been
_sure of their support_. If they resist to the utmost persons of
_opposite_ principles, the points in dispute being scarcely less than
vital, the more must they be respected by every zealous Patriot and
conscientious Man.

From what has been said, it appears that the political influence of the
family of Lowther in Westmoreland is the natural and reasonable
consequence of a long-continued possession of large
property--furnishing, with the judicious Nobleman at its head, an
obvious support, defence, and _instrument_ for the intelligent
patriotism of the County. I have said instrument, and laid an emphasis
upon the word; because they who do not perceive that such is the truth
are ignorant what shape, in these cases, social combinations must take,
in order to be efficient and be preserved. Every great family which many
have rallied round from congeniality of public sentiment, and for a
political purpose, seems in course of time to direct, and in ordinary
cases does direct, its voluntary adherents; but, if it should violate
their wishes and shock their sense of right, it would speedily be
reduced to such support only as it could _command_; and then would be
seen who had been Principal, and who Secondary; to whom had belonged in
reality the place of Agent, to whom that of the Employer. The sticklers
for _emancipation_ (a fashionable word in our times, when rational
acquiescence is deemed baseness of spirit, and the most enlightened
service passes for benighted servility!) have been free on numerous
occasions to make the effort they are now making. Could any considerable
person have been found to share their feeling, they might have proposed
a Representative unacceptable to the Family whose ascendancy they
complain of, with a certainty of securing his election, had the
good-will of the Freeholders been on their side. What could possibly
have prevented this trial? But they talk as if some mysterious power had
been used to their injury. Some call it 'a thraldom from without'--some
'a drowsiness within.'--Mr. Brougham's Kendal Committee find fault with
others--the Chairman of the Appleby Committee is inclined to fix the
blame nearer home. An accredited organ of their Kendal Committee tells
you dogmatically, from the Bill of Rights, that '_Elections shall be
free_;' and, if asked how the citation bears upon the case, his answer
would most likely prove him of opinion, that, as noise is sometimes an
accompaniment of freedom, so there can be no freedom without noise. Or,
does the erudite Constitutionalist take this method of informing us,
that the Lord Lieutenant has been accustomed to awe and controul the
Voters of this County, as Charles the Second and his Brother attempted
to awe and controul those of the whole kingdom? If such be the meaning
of the Writer and his Employers, what a pity Westmoreland has not a
Lunatic Asylum for the accommodation of the whole Body! In the same
strain, and from the same quarter, we are triumphantly told 'that no
Peer of Parliament shall interfere in Elections.' How injurious then to
these Monitors and their Cause the report of the Hereditary High
Sheriff's massy subscription, and his zealous countenance! Let him be
entreated formally to contradict it;--or would they have one law for a
Peer who is a Friend to Administration, and another for such as are its
enemies? Is the same act to pass for culpable or praiseworthy, just as
it thwarts, or furthers, the wishes of those who pronounce a judgment
upon it?

The approvers of that order of things in which we live and move, at this
day, as free Englishmen, are under no temptation to fall into these
contradictions. They acknowledge that the general question is one of
great delicacy: they admit that laws cannot be openly slighted without a
breach of decorum, even when the relations of things are so far altered
that Law looks one way--and Reason another. Where such disagreement
occurs in respect to those Statutes which have the dignity of
constitutional regulations, the less that is said upon the subject the
better for the Country. But writers, who in such a case would gladly
keep a silent course, are often forced out of it by wily hypocrites, and
by others, who seem unconscious that, as there are Pedants in
Literature, and Bigots in Religion, so are there Precisians in
Politics--men without experience, who contend for limits and restraints
when the Power which those limits and restraints were intended to
confine is long since vanished. In the Statute-books Enactments of great
name stand unrepealed, which may be compared to a stately oak in the
last stage of decay, or a magnificent building in ruins. Respect and
admiration are due to both; and we should deem it profaneness to cut
down the one, or demolish the other. But are we, therefore, to be sent
to the sapless tree for may-garlands, or reproached for not making the
mouldering ruin our place of abode? Government is essentially a matter
of expediency; they who perceive this, and whose knowledge keeps pace
with the changes of society, lament that, when Time is gently carrying
what is useless or injurious into the back-ground, he must be
interrupted in the process by Smatterers and Sciolists--intent upon
misdirecting the indignation of the simple, and feeding the ill-humours
of the ignorant. How often do such men, for no better purpose, remind
their disciples of the standing order that declares it to be 'a high
infringement of the liberties and privileges of the Commons, for any
Lord of Parliament to concern himself in the election of members, to
serve for the Commons in Parliament.'--This vote continues to be read
publicly at the opening of every Session,--but practice rises up against
it; and, without censuring the Custom, or doubting that it might be
salutary when first established, (though it is not easily reconcileable
with the eligibility of the eldest sons of Peers to the lower House,
without any other qualification than their birth,) we may be permitted
to be thankful that subsequent experience is not rendered useless to the
living by the formal repetition of a voice from the tombs. Better is it
that laws should remain till long trial has proved them an incumbrance,
than that they should be too hastily changed; but this consideration
need not prevent the avowal of an opinion, which every practical
Statesman will confirm, that, if the property of the Peers were not,
according to the will and by the care of the owners, substantially
represented by Commoners, to a proportionate extent under their
influence, their large Estates would be, for them, little better than
sand liable to be blown about in the desart, and their privileges,
however useful to the country, would become fugitive as foam upon the
surface of the sea.--(_See Note_.)

I recollect a picture of Diogenes going about in search of an honest
man. The philosopher bore a staff in one hand, and a lantern in the
other. Did the latter accompaniment imply that he was a persevering
Spirit who would continue his labour by night as well as by day? Or was
it a stroke of satire on the part of the painter, indicating that, as
Diogenes was a surly and conceited Cynic, he preferred darkness for his
time of search, and a scanty and feeble light of his own carrying, to
the bounteous assistance of the sun in heaven? How this might be with
Diogenes, I know not; but assuredly thus it fares with our
Reformers:--The Journal of some venal or factious scribbler is the black
and smoky lantern they are guided by; and the sunshine spread over the
face of a happy country is of no use in helping them to find any object
they are in search of.--The plea of the degraded state of the
Representation of Westmoreland has been proved to be rotten;--if certain
discontented persons desire to erect a building on a new plan, why not
look about for a firm foundation? The dissatisfied ought honestly to
avow, that their aim is to elect a Man, whose principles differ from
those of the present Members to an extreme which takes away all hope, or
even wish, that the interest he is to depend upon should harmonize with
the interest hitherto prevalent in the County. Every thing short of this
leaves them subject to a charge of acting upon false pretences, unless
they prefer being accused of harbouring a pharisaical presumption, that
would be odious were it not ridiculous. If the state of society in
Westmoreland be as corrupt as they describe, what, in the name of
wonder, has preserved _their_ purity? Away then with hypocrisy and
hollow pretext; let us be no longer deafened with a rant about throwing
off intolerable burthens, and repelling injuries, and avenging insults!
Say at once that you disapprove of the present Members, and would have
others more to your own liking; you have named your Man, or rather
necessity has named him for you. Your ship was reduced to extremities;
it would have been better to abandon her--you thought otherwise; will
you listen then while I shew that the Pilot, who has taken charge of the
vessel, is ignorant of the soundings, and that you will have cause to be
thankful if he does not prove very desperate in the management of the
helm?

The Lands of England, you will recollect, Gentlemen, are originally
supposed to be holden by grants from the King, our liege Lord; and the
Constitution of the Country is accordingly a mellowed feudality. The
oldest and most respectable name for a County Representative is, KNIGHT
OF THE SHIRE. In the reign of Queen Anne it was enacted, that every
Knight of the Shire (the eldest sons of Peers and a few others excepted)
shall have a clear estate of Freehold or Copyhold to the value of £600
per annum. The same qualification continues to be required at this day;
and, if the depreciation of money and other causes have injuriously
affected the _Letter_ of the Statute, the _Spirit_ of it has not only
been preserved in practice, but carried still higher. Hence we scarcely
scruple to take for granted that a County Representative is a man of
substantial landed property; or stands in such known relation to a
conspicuous Estate that he has in it a valuable interest; and that,
whoever be the possessor, such Estate may be looked upon as a pledge for
his conduct.

The basis of the elective Franchise being property, the legal condition
of eligibility to a seat in Parliament is the same. Our ancestors were
not blind to the _moral_ considerations which, if they did not suggest
these ordinances, established a confidence in their expediency. Knowing
that there could be no _absolute_ guarantee for integrity, and that
there was no _certain_ test of discretion and knowledge, for bodies of
men, the prudence of former times turned to the best substitute human
nature would admit of, and civil society furnished. This was property;
which shewed that a man had something that might be impaired or lost by
mismanagement; something which tended to place him above dependence from
need; and promised, though it did not insure, some degree of education
to produce requisite intelligence. To be a Voter required a fixed
Property, or a defined privilege; to be voted for, required more; and
the scale of demand rose with the responsibility incurred. A Knight of
the Shire must have double the Estate required from a Representative of
a Borough. This is the old Law; and the course of things since has
caused, as was observed above, that high office to devolve almost
exclusively on Persons of large Estate, or their near connections. And
why is it desirable that we should not deviate from this track? If we
wish for honesty, we shall select men who, not being subject to one of
the strongest temptations to be otherwise than honest, will incur
heavier disgrace, and meet with less indulgence, if they disappoint us.
Do we wish for sage conduct, our choice will fall upon those who have
the wisdom that lurks in circumstances, to supply what may be deficient
in their personal accomplishments. But, if there _be_ a deficiency, the
fault must lie with the Electors themselves. When persons of large
property are confided in, we cannot plead want of opportunities for
being acquainted with them. Men of large estates cannot but be men of
wide concerns; and thus it is that they become known in proportion.
Extensive landed property entails upon the possessor many duties, and
places him in divers relations, by which he undergoes a public trial. Is
a man just in his dealings? Does he keep his promises? Does he pay his
debts punctually? Has he a feeling for the poor? Is his Family well
governed? Is he a considerate Landlord? Does he attend to his own
affairs; and are those of others, which have fallen under his care,
diligently and judiciously managed? Answers to these questions, where
the Subject of them has but an inconsiderable landed Property, can only
be expected from a very narrow circle of Neighbours;--but place him at
the head of a large Estate, and knowledge of what he is in these
particulars must spread to a distance; and it will be further known how
he has acted as a Magistrate, and in what manner he has fulfilled the
duties of every important office which he may have been called to, by
virtue of his possessions.

Such are the general principles of reason which govern law, and justify
practice in this weighty matter. The decision is not to take place upon
imagination or conjecture. It is not to rest upon professions of the
Candidate, or protestations of his Friends. As a County Representative
is to be voted for by many--many must have opportunities of knowing him;
or, failing that intimate knowledge, we require the pledge of condition,
the bond and seal of circumstance. Otherwise we withhold our confidence,
and cannot be prevailed upon to give, to the opinions of an Individual
unbacked by these advantages, the countenance and authority which they
might derive from being supposed to accord with those of numerous
Constituents scattered over a wide Country, and therefore less liable to
be affected by partial views, or sudden and transitory passion--to
diminish their value.

The Freeholders of past times knew that their rights were most likely to
repose in safety, under the shade of rank and property. Adventurers had
no estimation among them; there was no room for them--no place for them
to appear in.--Think of this, and ask if your Fathers, could they rise
from their tombs, would not have stared, with no small degree of wonder,
upon the Person who now solicits the Suffrages of the County of
Westmoreland. What are his Rents--Where are his comings in? He is
engaged in an undertaking of great expence--how is that expence
supplied? From his own purse? Impossible! Where are the golden sinews
which this Champion of Independence depends upon? If they be furnished
by those who have no natural connection with the County, are we simple
enough to believe that they dip their hands into their pockets out of
pure good-will to us? May they not rather justly be suspected of a wish
to embroil us for some sinister purpose? At all events, it might be some
satisfaction would they shew themselves, so that, if we are to have a
Subscription-candidate, we may know what sort of Persons he is indebted
to, and at least be able to _guess_ what they will require of him.

The principles that have been laid down, and the facts which have been
adverted to, might seem to render it superfluous to retrace the public
conduct of Mr. Brougham, and to enquire whether, in Parliament or at the
London Tavern, in Palace Yard or elsewhere, those acts and courses, to
which he himself refers as his _only_ recommendation, do not still more
unfit him for the trust which he covets. But Persons fond of novelty
make light of deficiencies which would have admitted of no compensation
in the judgment of our Ancestors; and the Candidate, being in no respect
remarkable for deference to public opinion, is willing to avail himself
of new-fangled expectations. Hence it becomes necessary to consider what
would be the _political value of the Freeholds of Westmoreland_, if the
system of Annual Parliaments and Universal Suffrage (countenanced by Mr.
Brougham) should be acted upon. But, as there has been much saying and
unsaying on this subject, let us review the case.

In the House of Commons, on the 17th of February, 1817, Lord Cochrane
affirmed, that, on a certain day which he named, Mr. Brougham, at a
dinner given at the London Tavern, to the Friends of Parliamentary
Reform, used the following words, or words to the same effect:--'As
often as we have required that Parliaments should be chosen yearly, and
that the elective Franchise should be extended to all who pay taxes, we
have been desired to wait, for the enemy was at the gate, and ready to
avail himself of the discords attending our political contests, in order
to undermine our national independence. This argument is gone, and our
Adversaries must now look for another. He had mentioned the two radical
doctrines of _yearly election_, and the _Franchise enjoyed by all paying
taxes_; but it would be superfluous to reason in favour of them here,
where all are agreed on the subject.'

When this, and other passages of like import, were produced by Lord C.
in a paper declared to be in Mr. Brougham's handwriting, and to be a
report made by himself of the speech then and there delivered, did Mr.
Brougham deny that the handwriting was his, and that those words had
fallen from his pen, as the best image that his own memory could furnish
of what he had uttered? No--he gave vent only to a vague complaint of
groundless aspersions; and accused certain persons of rashness and
imprudence, and of not waiting only for a few days longer, when they
would have had a full and fair opportunity of hearing his sentiments on
this momentous subject. He then acknowledged that some observations had
fallen from him _similar_ to what had been read by the Noble Lord; and
added, that he then said, or at least meant to be understood as saying,
(he takes no notice of what he wrote or meant to be understood as
writing,) _what he still maintained_--'that the power of election should
he limited _to those who paid direct taxes_;' in other and more faithful
words, should be _extended_ to all persons in that condition. Mr. B.
proceeded manfully to scout the notion, that the mere production of a
speech delivered by him at a Tavern would make him swerve from the line
of his duty, from the childish desire of keeping up an appearance of
consistency!

What then is the amount? On the 23d of June, 1814, (it cannot be unfair
to state as a fact, that a vacancy in the Representation of Westminster
was at that time looked for,) Mr. B. either was, or wished to be,
accounted an Advocate of Annual Parliaments and Suffrage to be enjoyed
by all paying taxes; and on the 17th of February, 1817, when Mr. B. in
another place is reminded of these, his avowed opinions, he is utterly
mute upon the subject of Annual Parliaments, on the expediency of which
he had before harangued at length, and confines himself to announce, as
the sum of his then opinion, that suffrage should _be co-extensive with
direct taxation_! The question had two faces, and Mr. B. chooses only to
look at one. Hard pressed as he was, we cannot grant him this
indulgence. He has, indeed, denounced, on other occasions, the
_combined_ doctrines of Annual Parliaments and Universal Suffrage as
chimerical and absurd; though how near he came to the point of
recommending both, at the London Tavern, he is any thing but explicit;
(in fact both, as Lord C. shewed, _were_ virtually recommended by him.)
But what does he think of Annual Parliaments, in _conjunction_ with his
rectified opinion of Suffrage, co-extensive with direct taxation? Here
he leaves us wholly in the dark; but if the turbulent workings of Mr.
Brougham's mind, and his fondness for contentious exhibition, manifested
on all possible occasions, may be admitted as positive evidence, to
corroborate the negative which his silence on this point implies, we are
justified in believing that his passions were on that side, whatever
might be the bent of his cooler judgment. But this is of little import.

Introduce suffrage co-extensive with direct taxation, and Annual
Parliaments must unavoidably follow. The clumsy simplicity of the one
arrangement would, in the eyes of its Admirers, match strikingly with
the palpable expediency of the other. Such a union is equally suitable
to an age of gross barbarism and an age of false philosophy. It is
amusing to hear this plan of suffrage for all who pay direct taxes
recommended as consonant to the genius and spirit of the British
Constitution, when, in fact, though sufficiently rash and hazardous, it
is no better than a timid plagiarism from the doctrine of the Rights of
Man. Upon the model of that system, it begins with flagrant injustice to
_chartered_ rights; for if it were adopted, the elective Franchises that
now exist would be depreciated accordingly; an invidious process for
those who would lose by the alteration; and still more invidious for
those to whom the privilege would not be suffered to descend. Alas! I am
trifling with the subject! If the spirit of a People, composed as that
of England now is, were once put into a ferment, by organizing a
democracy on this scheme, and to this extent, with a Press as free and
licentious as our's has long been, what a flimsy barrier would remain to
check the impetus of the excluded! When, in thousands, they bore down
upon the newly constituted House of Assembly, demanding to be placed
upon a level with their fellow-subjects, it would avail little to send a
Peace-officer to enquire--where are your vouchers? Shew us that the
Tax-gatherer has been among you! As soon as the petty Artizans,
Shop-keepers, and Pot-house Keepers, of our over-grown Manufacturing
Towns and our enormous Cities, had each and all been invested with the
right of voting, the infection would spread like a plague.--Our
neighbours on the Continent tried this plan of direct taxation; and, in
the beginning of the third year of _their_ Reform, Universal Suffrage,
which had long ruled in spirit, lorded it in form also, from the
Pyrenees to the Rhine, and from the Straits of Calais to the Shores of
the Mediterranean. Down went the throne of France! and, if we should
take the same guide, the Throne of England must submit a second time to
a like destiny. Most of us would deem this a considerable evil--the
greatest political evil that could befal the Land! Not so, however, our
new Candidate! unless his opinion, if, indeed, he ever _held_ what may
be called an opinion upon any thing, has undergone important changes
since the time when he expressed himself in the following words:--'When
trade and the arts of civilized life have been carried to a certain
length, war is the greatest calamity that can befal a community. Any
state in modern Europe would be so completely ruined by the contests
which Athens and Carthage easily supported, that it would be a matter of
total indifference, whether the war was a series of victories or
disasters. The return of Peace to France or England, after half so long
a contest as either the Peloponnesian or the Punic wars, _would be
cheaply purchased by any conquest or revolution, any change of dynasty
or overthrow of Government_.'--See vol. i. p. 13, of _Colonial Policy_,
by H. Brougham.

The above was given to the world when we were at war with Bonaparte; and
that part of the English nation, who might read the book or hear of this
author's doctrines, was plainly told, that, in _his_ estimation, our
Constitutional liberties were not worthy of being defended at the cost
of a 14 years' war! But the unsuspecting, humane, and hope-cherishing
adherents of the new Candidate will tell you, this does not prove that
Mr. B. sets a small price on the Constitution and Laws of England; it
only shews his tender-heartedness, and his extreme aversion to the
horrors and devastation of war.--Hear then Mr. B. on these points also.
Let his _serious_ Friends take from his pen this pleasant description,
which proves at least that he can be _jocular_ upon a subject that makes
most men grave; although they may not think twice seven years' war so
great a calamity as _any_ conquest or _Revolution_, any change of
dynasty or _overthrow_ of _Government_.--'A species of pecuniary
commutation,' he tells us, 'has been contrived, by which the operations
of war are rendered very harmless; they are performed by some hundreds
of sailors fighting _harmlessly_ on the barren plains of the ocean, and
some thousands of soldiers carrying on a scientific, and regular, and
_quiet_ system of warfare, in countries _set apart for the purpose_, and
resorted to as the arena where the disputes of nations may be
determined. The prudent policy had been adopted of _purchasing defeat_
at a distance rather than victory at home; in this manner we _paid our
allies for being vanquished; a few useless millions, and a few more
useless lives were sacrificed_; and the result was, that we were amply
rewarded by safety, increased resources, and real addition of power.'
(_Edinburgh Review_, No. II., and ascertained to be the writing of Mr.
Brougham, by his having incorporated it in his _Colonial Policy_.)

The new Candidate challenges the strictest scrutiny into his public
life, so that had we gone much farther than the above retrospect, we
should only have been fulfilling his own wishes. Personal enmity towards
the Subject, the Writer has none; being, in all that concerns the
feelings of private life, friendly to Mr. Brougham, rather than
otherwise. That his talents and habits of application entitle him to no
common respect, must be universally acknowledged; but talents in
_themselves merely_ are, in the eyes of the judicious, no
recommendation. If a sword be sharp, it is of the more importance to
ask--What use it is likely to be put to? In government, if we can keep
clear of mischief, good will come of itself. Fitness is the thing to be
sought; and unfitness is much less frequently caused by general
incapacity than by absence of that kind of capacity which the charge
demands. Talent is apt to generate presumption and self-confidence; and
no qualities are so necessary, in a Legislator, as the opposites of
these--which, if they do not imply the existence of sagacity, are the
best substitutes for it--whether they produce, in the general
disposition of the mind, an humble reliance on the wisdom of our
Forefathers, and a sedate yielding to the pressure of existing things;
or carry the thoughts still higher, to religious trust in a
superintending Providence, by whose permission laws are ordered and
customs established, for other purposes than to be perpetually found
fault with.

These suggestions are recommended to the consideration of our new
Aspirant, and of all those public men whose judgments are perverted, and
tempers soured, by long struggling in the ranks of opposition, and
incessant bustling among the professors of Reform. I shall not recall to
notice further particulars, because time, by softening asperities or
removing them out of sight, is a friend to benevolence. Although a
rigorous investigation has been invited, it is well that there is no
need to run through the rash assertions, the groundless accusations, and
the virulent invectives that disfigure the speeches of this never-silent
Member. All these things, offensive to moderate men, are too much to the
taste of many of Mr. Brougham's partizans in Westmoreland. But I call
upon those who relish these deviations from fair and honourable
dealing--upon those also of his adherents who are inwardly ashamed of
their Champion, on this account--and upon all the Freeholders concerned
in the general question, to review what has been laid before them.
Having done this, they cannot but admit that Mr. Brougham's
_independence_ is a dark _dependence_, which no one understands--and,
that if a jewel _has_ been lost in Westmoreland, his are not the eyes by
which it is to be found again. If the dignity of Knight of the Shire is
to be conferred, _he_ cannot be pronounced a fit person to receive it.
For whether, my Brother Freeholders, you look at the humbleness of his
situation amongst Country Gentlemen; or at his amphibious habits, in the
two elements of Law and Authorship, and the odd vagaries he has played
in both; or whether he be tried by the daring opinions which, by his own
acknowledgment, he has maintained in Parliament, and at public meetings,
on the subject of the elective Franchise; we meet with concurring proofs
that HE IS ALTOGETHER UNFIT TO REPRESENT THIS, OR ANY OTHER COUNTY!

If, notwithstanding the truth of this inference, Mr. Brougham's talents,
information, and activity make it desirable that he should have a place
in the House of Commons, why cannot they who are of this opinion be
content, since he is already there? What service he is capable of
rendering may be as effectually performed, should he never aspire beyond
re-election to one of those seats which he now fills. The good, if any
is to be looked for, may then be obtained with much less risk of evil.
While he continues a Member for a close Borough, his dangerous opinions
are left mainly to the support of his own character, and the arguments
which his ingenuity can adduce to recommend them; but should they derive
that degree of sanction from the Freeholders of a County, which success
in his present undertaking would imply, they might become truly
formidable!--Let every one, then, who cannot accompany Mr. B. in his
bold theories, and does not go the length of admiring the composition of
his political life, be cautious how he betakes himself to such help, in
order to reduce, within what he may deem due bounds, the influence of a
Family prominent in the civil service of the County from the earliest
times. It is apparent, if the Writer has not employed his pen in vain,
that against this influence there is no just ground of complaint. They
who think with him will continue to uphold it, as long as the Family
proves that it understands its own interest and honour by a judicious
attention to our's. And should it forfeit our respect by misconduct, in
the unavoidable decline of its political importance which would ensue,
we should not envy that House its splendid possessions or its manifold
privileges; knowing that some Families must be permanently great and
opulent, or there would be no security for the possessions of the middle
ranks, or of the humble Proprietor. But, looking at the present
constitution and measure of this influence, you cannot but perceive,
Gentlemen, that, if there were _indeed_ any thing in it that could
justly be complained of, our duty might still be to bear with the local
evil, as correcting an opposite extreme in some other quarter of the
Island;--as a counterpoise of some weight elsewhere pressing injuriously
upon the springs of social order. How deplorable would be the ignorance,
how pitiful the pride, that could prevent us from submitting to a
partial evil for the sake of a general good! In fine, if a comprehensive
survey enjoined no such sacrifice, and even if all that the unthinking,
the malevolent, and the desperate, all that the deceivers and the
deceived, have conjointly urged at this time against the House of
Lowther, were literally true, you would be cautious how you sought a
remedy for aristocratic oppression, by throwing yourselves into the arms
of a flaming democracy!

Government and civil Society are things of infinite complexity, and rash
Politicians are the worst enemies of mankind; because it is mainly
through them that rational liberty has made so little progress in the
world. You have heard of a Profession to which the luxury of modern
times has given birth, that of Landscape-Gardeners, or Improvers of
Pleasure-grounds. A competent Practitioner in this elegant art begins by
considering every object, that he finds in the place where he is called
to exercise his skill, as having a right to remain, till the contrary be
proved. If it be a deformity he asks whether a slight alteration may not
convert it into a beauty; and he destroys nothing till he has convinced
himself by reflection that no alteration, no diminution or addition, can
make it ornamental. Modern Reformers reverse this judicious maxim. If a
thing is before them, so far from deeming that it has on that account a
claim to continue and be deliberately dealt with, its existence with
them is a sufficient warrant for its destruction. Institutions are to be
subverted, Practices radically altered, and Measures to be reversed.
All men are to change their places, not because the men are
objectionable, or the place is injurious, but because certain Pretenders
are eager to be at work, being tired of both. Some are forward, through
pruriency of youthful talents--and Greybeards hobble after them, in whom
number of years is a cloak for poverty of experience. Some who have much
leisure, because every affair of their own has withered under their
mismanagement, are eager to redeem their credit, by stirring gratis for
the public;--others, having risen a little in the world, take
_swimmingly_ to the trade of factious Politics, on their original stock
of base manners and vulgar opinions. Some are theorists hot for
practice, others hacknied Practitioners who never had a theory; many are
vain, and must be busy; and almost as many are needy--and the spirit of
justice, deciding upon their own merits, will not suffer them to remain
at rest.

The movement made among us, my countrymen of Westmoreland, was preceded,
announced, and prepared, by _such_ Agitators, disseminating falsehoods
and misrepresentations, equally mischievous, whether they proceeded from
wilful malice or presumptuous ignorance. Take warning in time. Be not
persuaded to unite with them who, whether they intend you injury or not,
cannot but prove your enemies. Let not your's be the first County in
England, which, since the days of Wilkes, and after the dreadful example
of France, has given countenance to principles congenial to the vice,
profligacy, and half-knowledge of Westminster; but which formerly were
unheard of among us, or known only to be detested. Places, Pensions, and
formidable things, if you like! but far better these, with our King and
Constitution, with our quiet fire-sides and flourishing fields, than
proscription and confiscation, without them! Long wars, and their
unavoidable accompaniment, heavy taxes--both these evils are liable to
intemperate exaggeration; but, be they what they may, would there be
less of war and lighter taxes, as so many grumblers loudly preach, and
too many submissive spirits fondly believe, if the House of Commons were
altered into one of more popular frame, with more frequent opportunities
given of changing the persons sent thither? A reference to the twenty
years which succeeded the Revolution, may suffice to shew the fallacy of
such expectations. Parliaments were then triennial, and democratic
principles fashionable even among the Servants of the Crown. Yet, during
that space of time, wars were almost incessant; and never were burthens
imposed so far above the apparent ability of the Nation to support them.
Having adverted to the warlike measures of those reigns merely to
support my argument, I cannot forbear to applaud the high-spirited
Englishmen of that age. Our forefathers were tried, as we have been
tried--and their virtue did not sink under the duties which the decrees
of Providence imposed upon it. They triumphed, though less signally than
we have done;--following their example, let us now cultivate fortitude,
encourage hope and chearful industry; and give way to enterprise. So
will prosperity return. The stream, which has been checked, will flow
with recruited vigour--and, when another century shall have passed away,
the ambition of France will be as little formidable to our then-existing
Posterity as it is now to us. But the lessons of History must be
studied;--they teach us that, under every form of civil polity, war will
contrive to lift up its head, and most pertinaciously in those States
where the People have most sway. When I recur to these admonitions, it
is to entreat that the discontented would exercise their understandings,
rather than consult their passions; first separating real from mistaken
grievances, and then endeavouring to ascertain (which cannot be done
with a glance of the mind) how much is fairly attributable to the
Government; how much to ourselves; and how large a portion of what we
have to endure has been forced upon us by a foreign Power, over whom we
could exercise no controul but by arms. The course here recommended will
keep us, as we are, free and happy--will preserve us from what, through
want of these and like precautions, other Nations have been hurried
into--domestic broils, sanguinary tribunals, civil slaughter in the
field, anarchy, and (sad cure and close of all!) tranquillity under the
iron grasp of military despotism. Years before this catastrophe, what
would have become of your Elective Franchise, Freeholders of
Westmoreland? The Coadjutors of the obscure Individuals who, from a
distance, first excited this movement under a pretence of recovering
your Rights, would have played the whirlwind among your Property, and
crushed you, less perhaps out of malice, than because, in their frenzy,
they could not help it.

A conviction that the subject is ill understood by those who were
unprepared for what has just been said, is the excuse to my own mind,
Gentlemen, for having made so protracted a demand upon your attention.
The ruinous tendencies of this self-flattering enterprize can only be
checked by timely and general foresight. The contest in which we are
engaged has been described by Persons noticing it from a distance, as
the work of a Cabal of Electioneering Jobbers, who have contrived to set
up the Thanet against the Lowther interests, that both Parties might
spend their money for the benefit of those who cared for neither. The
Thanet interest in the County of Westmoreland!--one might almost as well
talk of an interest in the moon! The Descendant of the Cliffords has not
thought it worth while to recommend himself to the Electors, by the
course either of his public or his private life; and therefore, though
his purse may have weight, and his possessions are considerable, he
himself, in reference to the supposed object, is nothing. If this had
been really an attempt made by a numerous body of malcontent Freeholders
to carry their wishes for a change into effect, by placing at their head
some _approved_ Chief of an ancient Family, possessed of real
consequence in the County, the proceeding, considered in the abstract,
could not have been objected to. This County is, and ever was, open to
fair and honourable contest, originating in principles sanctioned by
general practice; and carried on by means which, if universally adopted,
would not be injurious to the State. But the present measure stands not
upon any such grounds; it is an attempt, no matter with what ultimate
view, TO EFFECT A TOTAL CHANGE IN THE CHARACTER OF COUNTY ELECTIONS;
beginning here with the expectation, as is openly avowed, of being
imitated elsewhere. It _reverses_ the order hitherto pursued. Instead of
aiming to influence the less wealthy and less instructed Freeholders
through the medium of those whom they have been accustomed to confide
in--instead of descending by legitimate gradations from high to lower,
from the well-instructed and widely-experienced to those who have not
had equal advantages--it commences at the bottom; far beneath the degree
of the poorest Freeholders; and works upwards, with an inflammatory
appeal to feelings that owe their birth to previous mistatement of
facts. Opulence, rank, station, privilege, distinction, intellectual
culture--the notions naturally following upon these in a Country like
England are protection, succour, guidance, example, dissemination of
knowledge, introduction of improvements, and all the benefits and
blessings that among Freemen are diffused, where authority like the
parental, from a sense of community of interest and the natural goodness
of mankind, is softened into brotherly concern. This is no Utopian
picture of the characteristics of elevated rank, wealth, competence, and
learned and liberal education in England; for, with the liberty of
speech and writing that prevails amongst us, if such rays of light and
love did not generally emanate from superiority of station, possessions,
and accomplishment, the frame of society, which we behold, could not
subsist. Yes--in spite of pride, hardness of heart, grasping avarice,
and other selfish passions, the not unfrequent concomitants of affluence
and worldly prosperity, the mass of the people are justly dealt with,
and tenderly cherished;--accordingly, gratitude without servility;
dispositions to prompt return of service, undebased by officiousness;
and respectful attachment, that, with small prejudice to the
understanding, greatly enriches the heart: such are the sentiments with
which Englishmen of the humblest condition have been accustomed to look
up towards their Friends and Benefactors. Among the holders of fixed
property (whether labourers in the field or artisans); among those who
are fortunate enough to have an interest in the soil of their Country;
these human sentiments of civil life are strengthened by additional
dependencies.--I am aware how much universal habits of rapacious
speculation, occasioned by fluctuations in the value of produce during
the late war--how much the spread of manufactories and the baleful
operation of the Poor Laws, have done to impair these indigenous and
salutary affections. I am conscious of the sad deterioration, and no one
can lament it more deeply; but sufficient vitality is left in the Stock
of ancient virtue to furnish hope that, by careful manuring, and skilful
application of the knife to the withered branches, fresh shoots might
thrive in their place--were it not for the base artifices of Malignants,
who, pretending to invigorate the tree, pour scalding water and
corrosive compounds among its roots; so that the fibres are killed in
the mould by which they have been nourished.

That for years such artifices have been employed in Westmoreland, and in
a neighbouring County, with unremitting activity, must be known to all.
Whatever was disliked has been systematically attacked, by the vilifying
of persons connected with it. The Magistrates and public Functionaries,
up to the Lord Lieutenant himself, have been regularly traduced--as
unfaithful to their trust; the Clergy habitually derided--as
time-servers and slavish dependants; and the Gentry, if conspicuous for
attachment to the Government, stigmatized--as Men without honour or
patriotism, and leagued in conspiracy against the Poor. After this
manner have the Provincial Newspapers (the chief agents in this local
mischief,) concurred with the disaffected London Journals, who were
playing the same part towards laws and institutions, and general
measures of State, by calumniating the principal Authorities of the
Kingdom. Hence, instead of gratitude and love, and confidence and hope,
are resentment and envy, mistrust and jealousy, and hatred and rancour,
inspired:--and the drift of all is, to impress the Body of the People
with a belief that neither justice can be expected, nor benevolence
hoped for, unless power be transferred to Persons least resembling those
who now hold it; that is--to Demagogues and Incendiaries!

It will be thought that this attempt is too extravagant to be dangerous;
inasmuch as every member of society, possessed of weight and authority,
must revolt from such a transfer, and abhor the issues to which it
points. Possessed of weight and authority--with whom? These Agitators
_have_ weight and authority there, where they seek for it, that is with
no small portion of what they term the physical strength of the Country.
The People have ever been the dupes of extremes. VAST GAINS WITH LITTLE
PAINS, is a jingle of words that would be an appropriate inscription for
the insurrectionary banner of unthinking humanity. To walk--to
wind--towards a thing that is coveted--how unattractive an operation
compared with leaping upon it at once!--Certainly no one possessed of
_legitimate authority_ can desire such a transfer as we have been forced
to contemplate; but he may aid in bringing it about, without desiring
it. Numerous are the courses of civil action in which men of pure
dispositions and honourable aims, are tempted to take part with those
who are utterly destitute of both. Be not startled, if, merely glancing
at the causes of this deplorable union, as it is now exhibited in this
part of England, I observe, that there is no necessary connection
between public spirit and political sagacity. How often does it happen
that right intention is averse to inquiry as casting a damp upon its own
zeal, and a suspicion upon the intrinsic recommendation of its object!
Good men turn instinctively from inferences unfavourable to human
nature. But there are facts which are not to be resisted, where the
understanding is sound. The self-styled Emancipators have tried their
strength; if there were any thing promising to England in their efforts,
we should have seen this Country arrayed in opposite Parties resembling
each other in quality and composition. Little of that appears. The
promoters of the struggle did not hope for such a result; and many of
them would not have wished for it, could they have expected to be
carried through by that ruinous division of the upper from the lower
ranks of society, on which they mainly relied.

But, Freeholders, wicked devices have not done the service that was
expected from them. You are upon your guard; the result of this canvass
has already shewn that a vast majority of you are proof against assault,
and remain of sound mind. Such example of Men abiding by the rules of
their Forefathers cannot but encourage others, who yet hesitate, to
determine in favour of the good cause. The more signal the victory the
greater will be the honour paid to fixed and true principles, and the
firmer our security against the recurrence of like innovations. At all
events, enough, I trust, has been effected by the friends of our present
Representatives to protect those who have been deceived, and may not in
time awaken from their delusion. May their eyes be opened, and at no
distant day; so that, perceiving the benefits which the laws, as now
enacted and administered, ensure to their native Land, they may feel
towards you who make the wiser choice the gratitude which you will have
deserved.--The beginnings of great troubles are mostly of comparative
insignificance;--a little spark can kindle a mighty conflagration, and a
small leak will suffice to sink a stately vessel. To that loyal decision
of the event now pending, which may be confidently expected, Britain may
owe the continuance of her tranquillity and freedom; the maintenance of
the justice and equity for which she is pre-eminent among nations; and
the preservation of her social comforts, her charitable propensities,
her morals and her religion. Of this, as belonging to the future, we
cannot speak with certainty; but not a doubt can exist that the
practices which led to the destruction of all that was venerable in a
neighbouring Country, have upon this occasion been industriously,
unscrupulously, eagerly resorted to.--But my last words shall be words
of congratulation and thanksgiving--upon a bright prospect that the
wishes will be crossed, and the endeavours frustrated, of those amongst
us who, without their own knowledge, were ready to relinquish every good
which they and we possess, by uniting with overweening Reformers--to
compose the VANGUARD OF A FEROCIOUS REVOLUTION!

A FREEHOLDER.

Westmoreland, February 24, 1818.

       *       *       *       *       *

NOTE.

I have not scrupled to express myself strongly on this subject,
perceiving what use is made by the Opposite Party of those resolutions
of the House of Commons. In support of my opinion I quote the following
from the 'CARLISLE PATRIOT' of the 14th of February, premising, with the
Author of the Letter from which it is extracted, that by far the
greatest number of opulent Landholders are Members of the upper House,
and that the richest subjects are some of its Peers:--

'The Peers of Great Britain, stripped as they now are of the overgrown
importance which they derived from the Feudal System, have made no
acquisition of political influence to compensate for the loss of it, by
an increasing extension of patronage, either collectively or
individually, like the crown; nor have the various circumstances
operated upon their body in any considerable degree, which have effected
such a radical and powerful accumulation of consequence and importance
in the Lower House. Add to this, that the general sentiment or feeling
that commonly exists between them and the body of the people bears no
analogy to the vivid principles of affectionate loyalty that tend so
strongly to secure and guard the person and rights of the King, or the
reciprocal sympathy of congenial interests that acts and directs so
powerfully betwixt the Commons and the Community in general. On the
contrary, the spirit that exists betwixt the Peers as a collectively
distinct body, and the people at large, is a spirit of _repulsion_
rather than of attraction. In a corporate light, they are viewed with no
sentiments of kindly affection, and therefore upon the supposition of a
political contest betwixt them and either of the other two Estates, they
would inevitably labour under the disadvantage of carrying it on against
all the force of the prejudices, which to a great extent always directs
popular opinion; hence, amidst all the contests and straggles which have
agitated or convulsed the Kingdom since the Reign of Henry the Seventh,
the political importance of the Peers, considered as an Estate of
Parliament, has been rather diminished than increased; and were such a
democratical House of Commons as our modern Patriots so loudly call for,
to be efficiently formed, the constitutional equilibrium of our envied
public system would be infallibly destroyed, and the spirit of our
Legislative Body, which in a great measure awards influence in
proportion to property, completely abrogated:--and it is in vain to
suppose that if even such a change was desirable, it could possibly be
effected without producing a train of incalculable miseries that would
much more than overbalance any partial good which could reasonably be
expected from the alteration....'

'As property then is incontestibly the foundation-stone of political
right in Britain, it follows, as an inevitable consequence, that the
ratio of these rights should be in some measure commensurate to the
extent of the property, otherwise the immutable maxims of justice, as
well as the spirit of the Constitution, is violated; for it would be
palpably unjust to put a man who possessed a great stake in the welfare
of the Country, and paid comparatively a greater proportion of its
public revenue, on a level with the inferior freeholders, who, not
possessing any thing like an equal extent of property, cannot possibly
have the means of equally contributing to the exigencies of the State....

'Now if any considerate conscientious man will calmly reflect upon the
power of the House of Commons in the imposition of taxes, and in how
many ways the public burthen affects the landed interest, either
directly or indirectly, he must acknowledge the expediency, as well as
the necessity and justice of the system, which, _steadily though
silently_, protects the great landholders in exercising an appropriate
influence in the election of the Representatives of the
People.--PHOCION.'

Previous to the Reign of Henry the Seventh, the Peers defended their
property and their privileges through the means of armed Retainers. That
politic Prince, by laws directed against the number of these Retainers;
by bringing in use the making of leases; and by statutes framed for the
purpose of 'unfettering more easily the Estates of his powerful
Nobility, and laying them more open to alienation,' prepared the way for
reducing the power of an Order which had been too strong for the Crown.
The operation of these laws, in course of time, would have brought the
Peers, as an Estate of the Realm, to utter insignificance, had not the
practice of supplying the Peerage with new Members, through creation by
patent without intervention of Parliament, been substituted for the only
mode previously tolerated by the great Barons for the exercise of this
royal prerogative, namely, by authority of Parliament. Thus did the
consequence of the Order, notwithstanding the diminution of its power,
continue to be maintained;--rich Commoners and Royal Favourites being
introduced to supply the places of extinguished Families, or those whose
wealth had fallen into decay. This prerogative grew without immoderate
exercise till the close of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth. The first of
the Stuarts employed it lavishly, not considering the changes that had
taken place. His predecessors of the House of Tudor, by breaking down
the feudal strength of the Lords, and by transfer (through the
Reformation) of the Spiritual supremacy to themselves as temporal
Sovereigns, had come into possession of a superfluity of power which
enabled the Crown to supply what was wanted in the Peers for their own
support. But through remote operation of the same causes, the Commons
were rising fast into consequence, with a puritanical spirit of
republicanism spreading rapidly amongst them. Hence the augmentation of
the number of Peers, made by James the First, notwithstanding the
addition of property carried by it to the Upper House, did not add
sufficient strength to that body to compensate for the distastefulness
of the measure to the people; and, as far as the property of the New
Peers was but the creature of prodigal grants from the Crown, the
conjoint strength of the two Estates received no increase. In the
meanwhile surrenders were made of the power of the Crown with infatuated
facility; till the Commons became so strong that the right of creating
Boroughs, being openly disputed, was almost abandoned; and the speedy
consequence of the whole was that the two parliamentary Estates of King
and Lords fell before the intemperance of the third. After the
restoration, the disputes about the bounds of Liberty and Prerogative
were revived; but Prerogative was gradually abandoned for the less
obnoxious and less obvious operations of influence. The numerous
creations of Peers were complained of; but, whatever motive might have
governed those creations, they were justified by the necessity of
things. Large as were the additions made to the number of Peers they
were insufficient to give the House its due weight as a separate Estate
in the Legislature. Through the reigns of Charles, William, and Anne,
whether the Crown was disposed to tyranny, or the Commons were venal,
factious, or arbitrary, we see too many proofs of the Lords wanting
natural strength to maintain their rights, and carry their patriotic
wishes into effect, even when they were supported by marked expressions
of popular opinion in their favour. If the changes which had taken place
in the structure of Society would have allowed them to act regularly as
an independent body upon its intrinsic resources, a deathblow was given
to such expectation towards the close of the reign of Queen Anne, when
twelve Peers were created in one day. This act, deservedly made one of
the articles of impeachment against Lord Oxford, shewed that their
sentiments, as a Body, were at the mercy of any unprincipled
Administration, and _compelled_ them to look about for some other means
of being attended to;--and the most obvious was the best for the Country
and themselves--That of taking care of, and augmenting, the influence
which they possessed in the House of Commons. Reformers plead against
this practice, constitutional resolutions still existing. The slight
review which has been given demonstrates its necessity if the
Constitution is to be preserved. The only question which a practical
politician can tolerate for a moment relates to the _degree_ of this
influence;--has it been carried too far? The considerations which put me
upon writing the present note (for the length of which I ought to
apologise) do not require the discussion of this point. The amicable
reader will rejoice with me that, in spite of mutual shocks and
encroachments, the three Orders of the State are preserved in salutary
equipoise, although the mode of bringing this about has unavoidably
changed with change of circumstances. The spirit of the Constitution
remains unimpaired, nor have the essential parts of its frame undergone
any alteration. May both endure as long as the Island itself!



V. OF THE CATHOLIC RELIEF BILL, 1829.

NOTE.

See Preface in the present volume for details on this 'Letter;' which
was addressed to the Bishop of London (Blomfield). This is printed from
the original Manuscript. G.

OF THE CATHOLIC RELIEF BILL, 1829.


My Lord,

I have been hesitating for the space of a week, whether I should take
the liberty of addressing you; but as the decision draws near my anxiety
increases, and I cannot refrain from intruding upon you for a few
minutes. I will try to be brief, throwing myself upon your indulgence,
if what I have to say prove of little moment.

The question before us is, Can Protestantism and Popery--or, somewhat
narrowing the ground, Can the Church of England (including that of
Ireland) and the Church of Rome--be co-ordinate powers in the
constitution of a free country, and at the same time Christian belief be
in that country a vital principle of action? The States of the Continent
afford no proof whatever that the existence of Protestantism and
Romanism under the specified conditions is practicable; nor can they be
rationally referred to as furnishing a guide for us. In France, the most
conspicuous of these States and the freest, the number of Protestants in
comparison with Catholics is insignificant, and unbelief and
superstition almost divide the country between them. In Prussia, there
is no legislative Assembly; the Government is essentially military; and
excepting the countries upon the Rhine, recently added to that Power,
the proportion of Catholics is inconsiderable. In Hanover, Jacob speaks
of the Protestants as more than ten to one; here, indeed, is a
legislative Assembly, but its powers are ill defined. Hanover had, and
still may have, a censorship of the press--an indulgent one; it can
afford to be so through the sedative virtue of the standing army of the
country, and that of the Germanic League to back the executive in case
of commotion. No sound-minded Englishman will build upon the short-lived
experience of the kingdom of the Netherlands. In Flanders a benighted
Papacy prevails, which defeated the attempts of the king to enlighten
the people by education; and I am well assured that the Protestant
portion of Holland have small reason to be thankful for the footing upon
which they have been there placed. If that kingdom is to last, there is
great cause for fear that its government will incline more and more to
Romanism as the religion of a great majority of its subjects, and as one
which by its slavish spirit makes the people more manageable. If so, it
is to be apprehended that Protestantism will gradually disappear before
it; and the ruling classes, in a still greater degree than they now are,
will become infidels, as the easiest refuge in their own minds from the
debasing doctrines of Papacy.

Three great conflicts[24] are before the progressive nations, between
Christianity and Infidelity, between Papacy and Protestantism, and
between the spirit of the old feudal and monarchical governments and the
representative and republican system, as established in America. The
Church of England, in addition to her infidel and Roman Catholic
assailants, and the politicians of the anti-feudal class, has to contend
with a formidable body of Protestant Dissenters. Amid these several and
often combined attacks, how is she to maintain herself? From which of
these enemies has she most to fear? Some are of opinion that Papacy is
less formidable than Dissent, whose bias is republican, which is averse
to monarchy, to a hierarchy, and to the tything system--to all which
Romanism is strongly attached. The abstract principles embodied in the
creed of the Dissenters' catechism are without doubt full as politically
dangerous as those of the Romanists; but fortunately their creed is not
their practice. They are divided among themselves, they acknowledge no
foreign jurisdiction, their organisation and discipline, are
comparatively feeble; and in times long past, however powerful they
proved themselves to overthrow, they are not likely to be able to build
up. Whatever the Presbyterian form, as in the Church of Scotland, may
have to recommend it, we find that the sons of the nobility and gentry
of Scotland who choose the sacred profession almost invariably enter
into the Church of England; and for the same reason, viz. the want of a
hierarchy (you will excuse me for connecting views so humiliating with
divine truth), the rich Dissenters, in the course of a generation or
two, fall into the bosom of our Church. As holding out attractions to
the upper orders, the Church of England has no advantages over that of
Rome, but rather the contrary. Papacy will join with us in preserving
the form, but for the purpose and in the hope of seizing the substance
for itself. Its ambition is upon record; it is essentially at enmity
with light and knowledge; its power to exclude these blessings is not so
great as formerly, though its desire to do so is equally strong, and its
determination to exert its power for its own exaltation by means of that
exclusion is not in the least abated. The See of Rome justly regards
England as the head of Protestantism; it admires, it is jealous, it is
envious of her power and greatness. It despairs of being able to destroy
them, but it is ever on the watch to regain its lost influence over that
country; and it hopes to effect this through the means of Ireland. The
words of this last sentence are not my own, but those of the head of one
of the first Catholic families of the county from which I write, spoken
without reserve several years ago. Surely the language of this
individual must be greatly emboldened when he sees the prostrate
condition in which our yet Protestant Government now lies before the
Papacy of Ireland. 'The great Catholic interest,' 'the old Catholic
interest,' I know to have been phrases of frequent occurrence in the
mouth of a head of the first Roman Catholic family of England; and to
descend far lower, 'What would satisfy you?' said, not long ago, a
person to a very clever lady, a dependent upon another branch of that
family. 'That church,' replied she, pointing to the parish church of the
large town where the conversation took place. Monstrous expectation! yet
not to be overlooked as an ingredient in the compound of Papacy. This
'great Catholic interest' we are about to embody in a legislative form.
A Protestant Parliament is to turn itself into a canine monster with two
heads, which, instead of keeping watch and ward, will be snarling at and
bent on devouring each other.

[24] In this classification I anticipate matter which Mr. Southey has in
the press, the substance of a conversation between us.

Whatever enemies the Church of England may have to struggle with now and
hereafter, it is clear that at this juncture she is specially called to
take the measure of her strength as opposed to the Church of Rome--that
is her most pressing enemy. The Church of England, as to the point of
private judgment, standing between the two extremes of Papacy and
Dissent, is entitled to heartfelt reverence; and among thinking men,
whose affections are not utterly vitiated, never fails to receive it.
Papacy will tolerate no private judgment, and Dissent is impatient of
anything else. The blessing of Providence has thus far preserved the
Church of England between the shocks to which she has been exposed from
those opposite errors; and notwithstanding objections may lie against
some parts of her Liturgy, particularly the Athanasian Creed, and
however some of her articles may be disputed about, her doctrines are
exclusively scriptural, and her practice is accommodated to the
exigencies of our weak nature. If this be so, what has she to fear? Look
at Ireland, might be a sufficient answer. Look at the disproportion
between her Catholic and Protestant population. Look at the distempered
heads of the Roman Catholic Church insisting upon terms which in France,
and even in Austria, dare not be proposed, and which the Pope himself
would probably relinquish for a season. Look at the revenues of the
Protestant Church; her cathedrals, her churches, that once belonged to
the Romanists, and where, _in imagination_, their worship has never
ceased to be celebrated. Can it be doubted that when the yet existing
restrictions are removed, that the disproportion in the population and
the wealth of the Protestant Church will become more conspicuous objects
for discontent to point at; and that plans, however covert, will be
instantly set on foot, with the aid of new powers, for effecting an
overthrow, and, if possible, a transfer? But all this is too obvious; I
would rather argue with those who think that by excluding the Romanists
from political power we make them more attached to their religion, and
cause them to unite more strongly in support of it. Were this true to
the extent maintained, we should still have to balance between the
unorganised power which they derive from a sense of injustice, real or
supposed, and the legitimate organised power which concession would
confer upon surviving discontent; for no one, I imagine, is weak enough
to suppose that discontent would disappear. But it is a deception, and a
most dangerous one, to conclude that if a free passage were given to the
torrent, it would lose, by diffusion, its ability to do injury. The
checks, as your Lordship well knows, which are after a time necessary to
provoke other sects to activity, are not wanted here. The Roman Church
stands independent of them through its constitution, so exquisitely
contrived, and through its doctrine and discipline, which give a
peculiar and monstrous power to its priesthood. In proof of this, take
the injunction of celibacy, alone separating the priesthood from the
body of the community, and the practice of confession, making them
masters of the conscience, while the doctrines give them an absolute
power over the will. To submit to such thraldom men must be bigoted in
its favour; and that we see is the case of Spain, in Portugal, in
Austria, in Italy, in Flanders, in Ireland, and in all countries where
you have Papacy in full blow. And does not history prove, that however
other sects may have languished under the relaxing influence of good
fortune, Papacy has ever been most fiery and rampant when most
prosperous?

But many, who do not expect that conciliation will be the result of
concession, have a farther expedient on which they rely much. They
propose to take the Romish Church in Ireland into pay, and expect that
afterwards its clergy will be as compliant to the Government as the
Presbyterians in that country have proved. This measure is, in the first
place, too disingenuous not to be condemned by honest men; for the
Government acting on this policy would degrade itself by offering bribes
to men of a sacred calling to act contrary to their sense of duty. If
they be sincere, as priests and truly spiritual-minded, they will find
it impossible to accept of a stipend, known to be granted with such
expectation. If they be worldlings and false of heart, they will
practise double-dealing, and seem to support the Government while they
are actually undermining it; for they know that if they be suspected of
sacrificing the interests of the Church they will lose all authority
over their flocks. Power and consideration are more valued than money.
The priests will not be induced to risk their sway over the people for
any sums that our Government would venture to afford them out of the
exhausted revenues of the empire. Surely they would prefer to such a
scanty hire the hope of carving for themselves from the property of the
Protestant Church of their country, or even the gratification of
stripping usurpation--for such they deem it--of its gains, though there
may be no hope to win what others are deprived of. Many English
favourers of this scheme are reconciled to what they call a modification
of the Irish Protestant Establishment in an application of a portion of
the revenues to the support of the Romish Church. This they deem
reasonable; shortly it will be openly aimed at, and they will rejoice
should they accomplish their purpose. But your Lordship will agree with
me that, if that happen, it would be one of the most calamitous events
that ignorance has in our time given birth to. After all, could the
secular clergy be paid out of this spoliation, or in any other way? The
Regulars would rise in consequence of their degradation; and where would
be the influence that could keep them from mischief? They would swarm
over the country to prey upon the people still more than they now do. In
all the reasonings of the friends to this bribing scheme, the
distinctive character of the Papal Church is overlooked.

But they who expect that tranquillity will be a permanent consequence of
the Relief Bill dwell much upon the mighty difference in opinion and
feeling between the upper and lower ranks of the Romish communion. They
affirm that many keep within the pale of the Church as a point of
honour; that others have notions greatly relaxed, and though not at
present prepared to separate, they will gradually fall off. But what
avail the inward sentiments of men if they are convinced that by acting
upon them they will forfeit their outward dignity and power? As long as
the political influence which the priests now exercise shall endure, or
anything like it, the great proprietors will be obliged to dissemble,
and to conform in their action to the demands of that power. Such will
be the conduct of the great Roman Catholic proprietors; nay, farther, I
agree with those who deem it probable that, through a natural and
reasonable desire to have their property duly represented, many
landholders who are now Protestant will be tempted to go over to Papacy.
This may be thought a poor compliment to Protestantism, since religious
scruples, it is said, are all that keep the Papists out; but is not the
desire to be in, pushing them on almost to rebellion at this moment? We
are taking, I own, a melancholy view of both sides; but human nature, be
it what it may, must by legislators be looked at as it is.

In the treatment of this question we hear perpetually of wrong; but the
wrong is all on one side. If the political power of Ireland is to be a
transfer from those who are of the State religion of the country to
those who are not, there is nothing gained on the score of justice. We
hear also much of STIGMA; but this is not to be done away unless all
offices, the Privy Council and the Chancellorship, be open to them; that
is, unless we allow a man to be eligible to keep the King's conscience
who has not his own in his keeping; unless we open the throne itself to
men of this soul-degrading faith.

The condition of Ireland is indeed, and long has been, wretched.
Lamentable is it to acknowledge, that the mass of the people are so
grossly uninformed, and from that cause subject to such delusions and
passions, that they would destroy each other were it not for restraints
put upon them by a power out of themselves. This power it is that
protracts their existence in a state for which otherwise the course of
nature would provide a remedy by reducing their numbers through mutual
destruction; so that English civilisation may fairly be said to have
been the shield of Irish barbarism. And now these swarms of degraded
people, which could not have existed but through the neglect and
misdirected power of the sister island, are by a withdrawing of that
power to have their own way, and to be allowed to dictate to us. A
population, vicious in character as unnatural in immediate origin (for
it has been called into birth by short-sighted landlords, set upon
adding to the number of votes at their command, and by priests who for
lucre's sake favour the increase of marriages), is held forth as
constituting a claim to political power strong in proportion to its
numbers, though in a sane view that claim is in an inverse ratio to
them. Brute force indeed wherever lodged, as we are too feelingly taught
at present, must be measured and met--measured with care, in order to be
met with fortitude.

The chief proximate causes of Irish misery and ignorance are Papacy--of
which I have said so much--and the tenure and management of landed
property, and both these have a common origin, viz. the imperfect
conquest of the country. The countries subjected by the ancient Romans,
and those that in the middle ages were subdued by the Northern tribes,
afford striking instances of the several ways in which nations may be
improved by foreign conquest. The Romans by their superiority in arts
and arms, and, in the earlier period of their history, in virtues also,
may seem to have established a moral right to force their institutions
upon other nations, whether under a process of decline or emerging from
barbarism; and this they effected, we all know, not by overrunning
countries as Eastern conquerors have done, and Bonaparte in our own
days, but by completing a regular subjugation, with military roads and
garrisons, which became centres of civilisation for the surrounding
district. Nor am I afraid to add, though the fact might be caught at as
bearing against the general scope of my argument, that both conquerors
and conquered owed much to the participation of civil rights which the
Romans liberally communicated. The other mode of conquest, that pursued
by the Northern nations, brought about its beneficial effects by the
settlement of a hardy and vigorous people among the distracted and
effeminate nations against whom their incursions were made. The
conquerors transplanted with them their independent and ferocious spirit
to reanimate exhausted communities, and in their turn received a
salutary mitigation, till in process of time the conqueror and
conquered, having a common interest, were lost in each other. To neither
of these modes was unfortunate Ireland subject, and her insular
territory, by physical obstacles, and still more by moral influences
arising out of them, has aggravated the evil consequent upon
independence lost as hers was. The writers of the time of Queen
Elizabeth have pointed out how unwise it was to transplant among a
barbarous people, not half subjugated, the institutions that time had
matured among those who too readily considered themselves masters of
that people. It would be presumptuous in me to advert in detail to the
exacerbations and long-lived hatred that have perverted the moral sense
in Ireland, obstructed religious knowledge, and denied to her a due
share of English refinement and civility. It is enough to observe, that
the Reformation was ill supported in that country, and that her soil
became, through frequent forfeitures, mainly possessed by men whose
hearts were not in the land where their wealth lay.

But it is too late, we are told, for retrospection. We have no choice
between giving way and a sanguinary war. Surely it is rather too much
that the country should be required to take the measure of the
threatened evil from a Cabinet which by its being divided against
itself, which by its remissness and fear of long and harassing debates
in the two Houses, has for many years past fostered the evil, and in no
small part created the danger, the extent of which is now urged as
imposing the necessity of granting their demands.

Danger is a relative thing, and the first requisite for being in a
condition to judge of what we have to dread from the physical force of
the Romanists is to be in sympathy with the Protestants. Had our
Ministers been truly so, could they have suffered themselves to be
bearded by the Catholic Association for so many years as they have been?

I speak openly to you, my Lord, though a member of his Majesty's Privy
Council; and begging your pardon for detaining you so long, I hasten to
a conclusion.

The civil disabilities, for the removal of which Mr. O'Connell and his
followers are braving the Government, cannot but be indifferent to the
great body of the Irish nation, except as means for gaining an end. Take
away the intermediate power of the priests, and an insurrection in
Brobdignag at the call of the King of Lilliput might be as hopefully
expected as that the Irish people would stir as they are now prepared to
do at the call of a political demagogue. Now these civil disabilities do
not directly affect the priests; they therefore must have ulterior
views, and though it must be flattering to their vanity to shew that
they have the Irish representation in their own hands, and though their
worldly interest and that of their connections will, they know,
immediately profit by that dominion, what they look for principally is
the advancement of their religion at the cost of Protestantism; that
would bring everything else in its train. While it is obvious that the
political agitators could not rouse the people without the intervention
of the priests, it is true that the priests could not excite the people
without a hope that from the exaltation of their Church their social
condition would be improved. What in Irish interpretation these words
would mean we may tremble to think of.

In whatever way we look, religion is so much mixed up in this matter,
that the guardians of the Episcopal Church of the Empire are imperiously
called upon to show themselves worthy of the high trust reposed in them.
You, my Lord, are convinced that, in spite of the best securities that
can be given, the admission of Roman Catholics into the Legislature is a
dangerous experiment. Oaths cannot be framed that will avail here; the
only securities to be relied upon are what we have little hope to
see--the Roman Church reforming itself, and a Ministry and a Parliament
sufficiently sensible of the superiority of the one form of religion
over the other to be resolved, not only to preserve the present rights
and immunities of the Protestant Church inviolate, but prepared by all
fair means for the extension of its influence, with a hope that it may
gradually prevail over Papacy.

It is, we trust, the intention of Providence that the Church of Rome
should in due time disappear; and come what may on the Church of
England, we have the satisfaction of knowing that in defending a
Government resting upon a Protestant basis--say what they will, the
other party have abandoned--we are working for the welfare of humankind,
and supporting whatever there is of dignity in our frail nature.

Here I might stop; but I am above measure anxious for the course which
the bench of bishops may take at this crisis. They are appealed to, and
even by the Heir Presumptive to the throne from his seat in Parliament.
There will be attempts to brow-beat them on the score of humanity; but
humanity is, if it deserves the name, a calculating and prospective
quality; it will on this occasion balance an evil at hand with a far
greater one that is sure, or all but sure, to come. Humanity is not
shewn the less by firmness than by tenderness of heart. It is neither
deterred by clamour, nor enfeebled by its own sadness; but it estimates
evil and good to the best of its power, acts by the dictates of
conscience, and trusts the issue to the Ruler of all things.

If, my Lord, I have seemed to write with over-confidence on any opinions
I have above given, impute it to a wish of avoiding cumbrous qualifying
expressions.

Sincerely do I pray that God may give your Lordship and the rest of your
brethren light to guide you and strength to walk in that light.

     I am, my Lord, &c.



II. ETHICAL.



I. OF LEGISLATION FOR THE POOR, THE WORKING CLASSES, AND THE CLERGY:
APPENDIX TO POEMS.

1835.

NOTE.

On the several portions of this division of the Prose see Preface in the
present volume. G.

OF LEGISLATION FOR THE POOR, THE WORKING CLASSES, AND THE CLERGY.

APPENDIX TO POEMS.


In the present Volume, as in those that have preceded it, the reader
will have found occasionally opinions expressed upon the course of
public affairs, and feelings given vent to as national interests excited
them. Since nothing, I trust, has been uttered but in the spirit of
reflective patriotism, those notices are left to produce their own
effect; but, among the many objects of general concern, and the changes
going forward, which I have glanced at in verse, are some especially
affecting the lower orders of society: in reference to these, I wish
here to add a few words in plain prose.

Were I conscious of being able to do justice to those important topics,
I might avail myself of the periodical press for offering anonymously my
thoughts, such as they are, to the world; but I feel that, in procuring
attention, they may derive some advantage, however small, from my name,
in addition to that of being presented in a less fugitive shape. It is
also not impossible that the state of mind which some of the foregoing
poems may have produced in the reader, will dispose him to receive more
readily the impression which I desire to make, and to admit the
conclusions I would establish.

       *       *       *       *       *

I. The first thing that presses upon my attention is the Poor Law
Amendment Act. I am aware of the magnitude and complexity of the
subject, and the unwearied attention which it has received from men of
far wider experience than my own; yet I cannot forbear touching upon one
point of it, and to this I will confine myself, though not insensible to
the objection which may reasonably be brought against treating a portion
of this, or any other, great scheme of civil polity separately from the
whole. The point to which I wish to draw the reader's attention is, that
_all_ persons who cannot find employment, or procure wages sufficient
to support the body in health and strength, are entitled to a
maintenance by law.

This dictate of humanity is acknowledged in the Report of the
Commissioners: but is there not room for apprehension that some of the
regulations of the new Act have a tendency to render the principle
nugatory by difficulties thrown in the way of applying it? If this be
so, persons will not be wanting to show it, by examining the provisions
of the Act in detail,--an attempt which would be quite out of place
here; but it will not, therefore, be deemed unbecoming in one who fears
that the prudence of the head may, in framing some of those provisions,
have supplanted the wisdom of the heart, to enforce a principle which
cannot be violated without infringing upon one of the most precious
rights of the English people, and opposing one of the most sacred claims
of civilised humanity.

There can be no greater error, in this department of legislation, than
the belief that this principle does by necessity operate for the
degradation of those who claim, or are so circumstanced as to make it
likely they may claim, through laws founded upon it, relief or
assistance. The direct contrary is the truth: it may be unanswerably
maintained that its tendency is to raise, not to depress; by stamping a
value upon life, which can belong to it only where the laws have placed
men who are willing to work, and yet cannot find employment, above the
necessity of looking for protection against hunger and other natural
evils, either to individual and casual charity, to despair and death, or
to the breach of law by theft or violence.

And here, as in the Report of the Commissioners, the fundamental
principle has been recognised, I am not at issue with them any farther
than I am compelled to believe that their 'remedial measures' obstruct
the application of it more than the interests of society require.

And calling to mind the doctrines of political economy which are now
prevalent, I cannot forbear to enforce the justice of the principle, and
to insist upon its salutary operation.

And first for its justice: If self-preservation be the first law of our
nature, would not every one in a state of nature be morally justified in
taking to himself that which is indispensable to such preservation,
where, by so doing, he would not rob another of that which might be
equally indispensable to _his_ preservation? And if the value of life
be regarded in a right point of view, may it not be questioned whether
this right of preserving life, at any expense short of endangering the
life of another, does not survive man's entering into the social state;
whether this right can be surrendered or forfeited, except when it
opposes the divine law, upon any supposition of a social compact, or of
any convention for the protection of mere rights of property?

But, if it be not safe to touch the abstract question of man's right in
a social state to help himself even in the last extremity, may we not
still contend for the duty of a Christian government, standing _in loco
parentis_ towards all its subjects, to make such effectual provision,
that no one shall be in danger of perishing either through the neglect
or harshness of its legislation? Or, waiving this, is it not
indisputable that the claim of the State to the allegiance, involves the
protection of the subject? And, as all rights in one party impose a
correlative duty upon another, it follows that the right of the State to
require the services of its members, even to the jeoparding of their
lives in the common defence, establishes a right in the people (not to
be gainsaid by utilitarians and economists) to public support when, from
any cause, they may be unable to support themselves.

Let us now consider the salutary and benign operation of this principle.
Here we must have recourse to elementary feelings of human nature, and
to truths which from their very obviousness are apt to be slighted, till
they are forced upon our notice by our own sufferings or those of
others. In the Paradise Lost, Milton represents Adam, after the Fall, as
exclaiming, in the anguish of his soul--

     Did I request Thee, Maker, from my clay
     To mould me man; did I solicit Thee
     From darkness to promote me?
     ...My will
     Concurred not to my being.

Under how many various pressures of misery have men been driven thus, in
a strain touching upon impiety, to expostulate with the Creator! and
under few so afflictive as when the source and origin of earthly
existence have been brought back to the mind by its impending close in
the pangs of destitution. But as long as, in our legislation, due
weight shall be given to this principle, no man will be forced to bewail
the gift of life in hopeless want of the necessaries of life.

Englishmen have, therefore, by the progress of civilisation among them,
been placed in circumstances more favourable to piety and resignation to
the divine will, than the inhabitants of other countries, where a like
provision has not been established. And as Providence, in this care of
our countrymen, acts through a human medium, the objects of that care
must, in like manner, be more inclined towards a grateful love of their
fellow-men. Thus, also, do stronger ties attach the people to their
country, whether while they tread its soil, or, at a distance, think of
their native Land as an indulgent parent, to whose arms even they who
have been imprudent and undeserving may, like the prodigal son, betake
themselves, without fear of being rejected.

Such is the view of the case that would first present itself to a
reflective mind; and it is in vain to show, by appeals to experience, in
contrast with this view, that provisions founded upon the principle have
promoted profaneness of life, and dispositions the reverse of
philanthropic, by spreading idleness, selfishness, and rapacity: for
these evils have arisen, not as an inevitable consequence of the
principle, but for want of judgment in framing laws based upon it; and,
above all, from faults in the mode of administering the law. The
mischief that has grown to such a height from granting relief in cases
where proper vigilance would have shewn that it was not required, or in
bestowing it in undue measure, will be urged by no truly enlightened
statesman, as a sufficient reason for banishing the principle itself
from legislation.

Let us recur to the miserable states of consciousness that it precludes.

There is a story told, by a traveller in Spain, of a female who, by a
sudden shock of domestic calamity, was driven out of her senses, and
ever after looked up incessantly to the sky, feeling that her
fellow-creatures could do nothing for her relief. Can there be
Englishmen who, with a good end in view, would, upon system, expose
their brother Englishmen to a like necessity of looking upwards only; or
downwards to the earth, after it shall contain no spot where the
destitute can demand, by civil right, what by right of nature they are
entitled to?

Suppose the objects of our sympathy not sunk into this blank despair,
but wandering about as strangers in streets and ways, with the hope of
succour from casual charity; what have we gained by such a change of
scene? Woful is the condition of the famished Northern Indian,
dependent, among winter snows, upon the chance passage of a herd of
deer, from which one, if brought down by his rifle-gun, may be made the
means of keeping him and his companions alive. As miserable is that of
some savage Islander, who, when the land has ceased to afford him
sustenance, watches for food which the waves may cast up, or in vain
endeavours to extract it from the inexplorable deep. But neither of
these is in a state of wretchedness comparable to that which is so often
endured in civilised society: multitudes, in all ages, have known it, of
whom may be said:--

    Homeless, near a thousand homes they stood,
    And near a thousand tables pined, and wanted food.

Justly might I be accused of wasting time in an uncalled-for attempt to
excite the feelings of the reader, if systems of political economy,
widely spread, did not impugn the principle, and if the safeguards
against such extremities were left unimpaired. It is broadly asserted by
many, that every man who endeavours to find work, _may_ find it. Were
this assertion capable of being verified, there still would remain a
question, what kind of work, and how far may the labourer be fit for it?
For if sedentary work is to be exchanged for standing; and some light
and nice exercise of the fingers, to which an artisan has been
accustomed all his life, for severe labour of the arms; the best efforts
would turn to little account, and occasion would be given for the
unthinking and the unfeeling unwarrantably to reproach those who are put
upon such employment, as idle, froward, and unworthy of relief, either
by law or in any other way! Were this statement correct, there would
indeed be an end of the argument, the principle here maintained would be
superseded. But, alas! it is far otherwise. That principle, applicable
to the benefit of all countries, is indispensable for England, upon
whose coast families are perpetually deprived of their support by
shipwreck, and where large masses of men are so liable to be thrown out
of their ordinary means of gaining bread, by changes in commercial
intercourse, subject mainly or solely to the will of foreign powers; by
new discoveries in arts and manufactures; and by reckless laws, in
conformity with theories of political economy, which, whether right or
wrong in the abstract, have proved a scourge to tens of thousands, by
the abruptness with which they have been carried into practice.

But it is urged,--refuse altogether compulsory relief to the
able-bodied, and the number of those who stand in need of relief will
steadily diminish through a conviction of an absolute necessity for
greater forethought, and more prudent care of a man's earnings.
Undoubtedly it would, but so also would it, and in a much greater
degree, if the legislative provisions were retained, and parochial
relief administered under the care of the upper classes, as it ought to
be. For it has been invariably found, that wherever the funds have been
raised and applied under the superintendence of gentlemen and
substantial proprietors, acting in vestries and as overseers, pauperism
has diminished accordingly. Proper care in that quarter would
effectually check what is felt in some districts to be one of the worst
evils in the Poor Law system, viz. the readiness of small and needy
proprietors to join in imposing rates that seemingly subject them to
great hardships, while, in fact, this is done with a mutual
understanding, that the relief each is ready to bestow upon his still
poorer neighbours will be granted to himself or his relatives, should it
hereafter be applied for.

But let us look to inner sentiments of a nobler quality, in order to
know what we have to build upon. Affecting proofs occur in every one's
experience, who is acquainted with the unfortunate and the indigent, of
their unwillingness to derive their subsistence from aught but their own
funds or labour, or to be indebted to parochial assistance for the
attainment of any object, however dear to them. A case was reported, the
other day, from a coroner's inquest, of a pair who, through the space of
four years, had carried about their dead infant from house to house, and
from lodging to lodging, as their necessities drove them, rather than
ask the parish to bear the expense of its interment:--the poor creatures
lived in the hope of one day being able to bury their child at their own
cost. It must have been heart-rending to see and hear the mother, who
had been called upon to account for the state in which the body was
found, make this deposition. By some, judging coldly, if not harshly,
this conduct might be imputed to an unwarrantable pride, as she and her
husband had, it is true, been once in prosperity. But examples, where
the spirit of independence works with equal strength, though not with
like miserable accompaniments, are frequently to be found even yet among
the humblest peasantry and mechanics. There is not, then, sufficient
cause for doubting that a like sense of honour may be revived among the
people, and their ancient habits of independence restored, without
resorting to those severities which the new Poor Law Act has introduced.

But even if the surfaces of things only are to be examined, we have a
right to expect that lawgivers should take into account the various
tempers and dispositions of mankind: while some are led, by the
existence of a legislative provision, into idleness and extravagance,
the economical virtues might be cherished in others by the knowledge
that, if all their efforts fail, they have in the Poor Laws a 'refuge
from the storm and a shadow from the heat.' Despondency and distraction
are no friends to prudence: the springs of industry will relax, if
cheerfulness be destroyed by anxiety; without hope men become reckless,
and have a sullen pride in adding to the heap of their own wretchedness.
He who feels that he is abandoned by his fellow-men will be almost
irresistibly driven to care little for himself; will lose his
self-respect accordingly, and with that loss what remains to him of
virtue?

With all due deference to the particular experience and general
intelligence of the individuals who framed the Act, and of those who in
and out of Parliament have approved of and supported it; it may be said,
that it proceeds too much upon the presumption that it is a labouring
man's own fault if he be not, as the phrase is, before-hand with the
world. But the most prudent are liable to be thrown back by sickness,
cutting them off from labour, and causing to them expense: and who but
has observed how distress creeps upon multitudes without misconduct of
their own; and merely from a gradual fall in the price of labour,
without a correspondent one in the price of provisions; so that men who
may have ventured upon the marriage state with a fair prospect of
maintaining their families in comfort and happiness, see them reduced to
a pittance which no effort of theirs can increase? Let it be remembered,
also, that there are thousands with whom vicious habits of expense are
not the cause why they do not store up their gains; but they are
generous and kind-hearted, and ready to help their kindred and friends;
moreover, they have a faith in Providence that those who have been
prompt to assist others will not be left destitute, should they
themselves come to need. By acting from these blended feelings, numbers
have rendered themselves incapable of standing up against a sudden
reverse. Nevertheless, these men, in common with all who have the
misfortune to be in want, if many theorists had their wish, would be
thrown upon one or other of those three sharp points of condition before
adverted to, from which the intervention of law has hitherto saved them.

All that has been said tends to show how the principle contended for
makes the gift of life more valuable, and has, it may be hoped, led to
the conclusion that its legitimate operation is to make men worthier of
that gift: in other words, not to degrade but to exalt human nature. But
the subject must not be dismissed without adverting to the indirect
influence of the same principle upon the moral sentiments of a people
among whom it is embodied in law. In our criminal jurisprudence there is
a maxim, deservedly eulogised, that it is better that ten guilty persons
should escape, than that one innocent man should suffer; so, also, might
it be maintained, with regard to the Poor Laws, that it is better for
the interests of humanity among the people at large, that ten
undeserving should partake of the funds provided, than that one morally
good man, through want of relief, should either have his principles
corrupted, or his energies destroyed; than that such a one should either
be driven to do wrong, or be cast to the earth in utter hopelessness. In
France, the English maxim of criminal jurisprudence is reversed; there,
it is deemed better that ten innocent men should suffer, than one guilty
escape: in France, there is no universal provision for the poor; and we
may judge of the small value set upon human life in the metropolis of
that country, by merely noticing the disrespect with which, after death,
the body is treated, not by the thoughtless vulgar, but in schools of
anatomy, presided over by men allowed to be, in their own art and in
physical science, among the most enlightened in the world. In the East,
where countries are overrun with population as with a weed, infinitely
more respect is shown to the remains of the deceased: and what a bitter
mockery is it, that this insensibility should be found where civil
polity is so busy in minor regulations, and ostentatiously careful to
gratify the luxurious propensities, whether social or intellectual, of
the multitude! Irreligion is, no doubt, much concerned with this
offensive disrespect shown to the bodies of the dead in France; but it
is mainly attributable to the state in which so many of the living are
left by the absence of compulsory provision for the indigent so humanely
established by the law of England.

Sights of abject misery, perpetually recurring, harden the heart of the
community. In the perusal of history and of works of fiction, we are
not, indeed, unwilling to have our commiseration excited by such objects
of distress as they present to us; but, in the concerns of real life,
men know that such emotions are not given to be indulged for their own
sakes: there, the conscience declares to them that sympathy must be
followed by action; and if there exist a previous conviction that the
power to relieve is utterly inadequate to the demand, the eye shrinks
from communication with wretchedness, and pity and compassion languish,
like any other qualities that are deprived of their natural aliment. Let
these considerations be duly weighed by those who trust to the hope that
an increase of private charity, with all its advantages of superior
discrimination, would more than compensate for the abandonment of those
principles, the wisdom of which has been here insisted upon. How
discouraging, also, would be the sense of injustice, which could not
fail to arise in the minds of the well-disposed, if the burden of
supporting the poor, a burden of which the selfish have hitherto by
compulsion borne a share, should now, or hereafter, be thrown
exclusively upon the benevolent.

By having put an end to the Slave Trade and Slavery, the British people
are exalted in the scale of humanity; and they cannot but feel so, if
they look into themselves, and duly consider their relation to God and
their fellow-creatures. That was a noble advance; but a retrograde
movement will assuredly be made, if ever the principle, which has been
here defended, should be either avowedly abandoned or but ostensibly
retained.

But after all, there may be a little reason to apprehend permanent
injury from any experiment that may be tried. On the one side will be
human nature rising up in her own defence, and on the other prudential
selfishness acting to the same purpose, from a conviction that, without
a compulsory provision for the exigencies of the labouring multitude,
that degree of ability to regulate the price of labour, which is
indispensable for the reasonable interest of arts and manufactures,
cannot, in Great Britain, be upheld.

       *       *       *       *       *

II. In a poem of the foregoing collection, allusion is made to the state
of the workmen congregated in manufactories. In order to relieve many of
the evils to which that class of society are subject, and to establish a
better harmony between them and their employers, it would be well to
repeal such laws as prevent the formation of joint-stock companies.
There are, no doubt, many and great obstacles to the formation and
salutary working of these societies, inherent in the mind of those whom
they would obviously benefit. But the combinations of masters to keep
down, unjustly, the price of labour would be fairly checked by them, as
far as they were practicable; they would encourage economy, inasmuch as
they would enable a man to draw profit from his savings, by investing
them in buildings or machinery for processes of manufacture with which
he was habitually connected. His little capital would then be working
for him while he was at rest or asleep; he would more clearly perceive
the necessity of capital for carrying on great works: he would better
learn to respect the larger portions of it in the hands of others; he
would be less tempted to join in unjust combinations: and, for the sake
of his own property, if not for higher reasons, he would be slow to
promote local disturbance, or endanger public tranquillity; he would, at
least, be loth to act in that way _knowingly_: for it is not to be
denied that such societies might be nurseries of opinions unfavourable
to a mixed constitution of government, like that of Great Britain. The
democratic and republican spirit which they might be apt to foster would
not, however, be dangerous in itself, but only as it might act without
being sufficiently counterbalanced, either by landed proprietorship, or
by a Church extending itself so as to embrace an ever-growing and
ever-shifting population of mechanics and artisans. But if the
tendencies of such societies would be to make the men prosper who might
belong to them, rulers and legislators should rejoice in the result,
and do their duty to the State by upholding and extending the influence
of that Church to which it owes, in so great a measure, its safety, its
prosperity, and its glory.

This, in the temper of the present times, may be difficult, but it is
become indispensable, since large towns in great numbers have sprung up,
and others have increased tenfold, with little or no dependence upon the
gentry and the landed proprietors; and apart from those mitigated feudal
institutions, which, till of late, have acted so powerfully upon the
composition of the House of Commons. Now it may be affirmed that, in
quarters where there is not an attachment to the Church, or the landed
aristocracy, and a pride in supporting them, _there_ the people will
dislike both, and be ready, upon such incitements as are perpetually
recurring, to join in attempts to overthrow them. There is no neutral
ground here: from want of due attention to the state of society in large
towns and manufacturing districts, and ignorance or disregard of these
obvious truths, innumerable well-meaning persons became zealous
supporters of a Reform Bill, the qualities and powers of which, whether
destructive or constructive, they would otherwise have been afraid of:
and even the framers of that bill, swayed as they might be by party
resentments and personal ambition, could not have gone so far, had not
they too been lamentably ignorant or neglectful of the same truths both
of fact and philosophy.

But let that pass; and let no opponent of the Bill be tempted to
compliment his own foresight, by exaggerating the mischiefs and dangers
that have sprung from it: let not time be wasted in profitless regrets;
and let those party distinctions vanish to their very names that have
separated men who, whatever course they may have pursued, have ever had
a bond of union in the wish to save the limited monarchy, and those
other institutions that have, under Providence, rendered for so long a
period of time this country the happiest and worthiest of which there is
any record since the foundation of civil society.

       *       *       *       *       *

III. A philosophic mind is best pleased when looking at religion in its
spiritual bearing; as a guide of conduct, a solace under affliction, and
a support amid the instabilities of mortal life; but the Church having
been forcibly brought by political considerations to my notice, while
treating of the labouring classes, I cannot forbear saying a few words
upon that momentous topic.

There is a loud clamour for extensive change in that department. The
clamour would be entitled to more respect if they who are the most eager
to swell it with their voices were not generally the most ignorant of
the real state of the Church, and the service it renders to the
community. _Reform_ is the word employed. Let us pause and consider what
sense it is apt to carry, and how things are confounded by a lax use of
it. The great religious Reformation, in the sixteenth century, did not
profess to be a new construction, but a restoration of something fallen
into decay, or put out of sight. That familiar and justifiable use of
the word seems to have paved the way for fallacies with respect to the
term reform, which it is difficult to escape from. Were we to speak of
improvement and the correction of abuses, we should run less risk of
being deceived ourselves, or of misleading others. We should be less
likely to fall blindly into the belief, that the change demanded is a
renewal of something that has existed before, and that, therefore, we
have experience on our side; nor should we be equally tempted to beg the
question, that the change for which we are eager must be advantageous.
From generation to generation, men are the dupes of words; and it is
painful to observe, that so many of our species are most tenacious of
those opinions which they have formed with the least consideration. They
who are the readiest to meddle with public affairs, whether in Church or
State, fly to generalities, that they may be eased from the trouble of
thinking about particulars; and thus is deputed to mechanical
instrumentality the work which vital knowledge only can do well.

'Abolish pluralities, have a resident incumbent in every parish,' is a
favourite cry; but, without adverting to other obstacles in the way of
this specious scheme, it may be asked what benefit would accrue from its
_indiscriminate_ adoption to counterbalance the harm it would introduce,
by nearly extinguishing the order of curates, unless the revenues of the
Church should grow with the population, and be greatly increased in many
thinly peopled districts, especially among the parishes of the North.

The order of curates is so beneficial, that some particular notice of it
seems to be required in this place. For a Church poor as, relatively to
the numbers of people, that of England is, and probably will continue to
be, it is no small advantage to have youthful servants, who will work
upon the wages of hope and expectation. Still more advantageous is it to
have, by means of this order, young men scattered over the country, who
being more detached from the temporal concerns of the benefice, have
more leisure for improvement and study, and are less subject to be
brought into secular collision with those who are under their spiritual
guardianship. The curate, if he reside at a distance from the incumbent,
undertakes the requisite responsibilities of a temporal kind, in that
modified way which prevents him, as a new-comer, from being charged with
selfishness: while it prepares him for entering upon a benefice of his
own, with something of a suitable experience. If he should act under and
in co-operation with a resident incumbent, the gain is mutual. His
studies will probably be assisted; and his training, managed by a
superior, will not be liable to relapse in matters of prudence,
seemliness, or in any of the highest cares of his functions; and by way
of return for these benefits to the pupil, it will often happen that the
zeal of a middle-aged or declining incumbent will be revived, by being
in near communion with the ardour of youth, when his own efforts may
have languished through a melancholy consciousness that they have not
produced as much good among his flock as, when he first entered upon the
charge, he fondly hoped.

Let one remark, and that not the least important, be added. A curate,
entering for the first time upon his office, comes from college after a
course of expense, and with such inexperience in the use of money, that,
in his new situation, he is apt to fall unawares into pecuniary
difficulties. If this happens to him, much more likely is it to happen
to the youthful incumbent; whose relations, to his parishioners and to
society, are more complicated; and, his income being larger and
independent of another, a costlier style of living is required of him by
public opinion. If embarrassment should ensue, and with that unavoidably
some loss of respectability, his future usefulness will be
proportionably impaired: not so with the curate, for he can easily
remove and start afresh with a stock of experience and an unblemished
reputation; whereas the early indiscretions of an incumbent being
rarely forgotten, may be impediments to the efficacy of his ministry for
the remainder of his life. The same observations would apply with equal
force to doctrine. A young minister is liable to errors, from his
notions being either too lax or over-strained. In both cases it would
prove injurious that the error should be remembered, after study and
reflection, with advancing years, shall have brought him to a clearer
discernment of the truth, and better judgment in the application of it.

It must be acknowledged that, among the regulations of ecclesiastical
polity, none at first view are more attractive than that which
prescribes for every parish a resident incumbent. How agreeable to
picture to one's self, as has been done by poets and romance writers,
from Chaucer down to Goldsmith, a man devoted to his ministerial office,
with not a wish or a thought ranging beyond the circuit of its cares!
Nor is it in poetry and fiction only that such characters are found;
they are scattered, it is hoped not sparingly, over real life,
especially in sequestered and rural districts, where there is but small
influx of new inhabitants, and little change of occupation. The spirit
of the Gospel, unaided by acquisitions of profane learning and
experience in the world,--that spirit and the obligations of the sacred
office may, in such situations, suffice to effect most of what is
needful. But for the complex state of society that prevails in England,
much more is required, both in large towns, and in many extensive
districts of the country. A minister should not only be irreproachable
in manners and morals, but accomplished in learning, as far as is
possible without sacrifice of the least of his pastoral duties. As
necessary, perhaps more so, is it that he should be a citizen as well as
a scholar; thoroughly acquainted with the structure of society and the
constitution of civil government, and able to reason upon both with the
most expert; all ultimately in order to support the truths of
Christianity, and to diffuse its blessings.

A young man coming fresh from the place of his education, cannot have
brought with him these accomplishments; and if the scheme of equalising
Church incomes, which many advisers are much bent upon, be realised, so
that there should be little or no secular inducement for a clergyman to
desire a removal from the spot where he may chance to have been first
set down: surely not only opportunities for obtaining the requisite
qualifications would be diminished, but the motives for desiring to
obtain them would be proportionably weakened. And yet these
qualifications are indispensable for the diffusion of that knowledge, by
which alone the political philosophy of the New Testament can be rightly
expounded, and its precepts adequately enforced. In these time, when the
press is daily exercising so great a power over the minds of the people,
for wrong or for right as may happen, _that_ preacher ranks among the
first of benefactors who, without stooping to the direct treatment of
current politics and passing events, can furnish infallible guidance
through the delusions that surround them; and who, appealing to the
sanctions of Scripture, may place the grounds of its injunctions in so
clear a light, that disaffection shall cease to be cultivated as a
laudable propensity, and loyalty cleansed from the dishonour of a blind
and prostrate obedience.

It is not, however, in regard to civic duties alone, that this knowledge
in a minister of the Gospel is important; it is still more so for
softening and subduing private and personal discontents. In all places,
and at all times, men have gratuitously troubled themselves, because
their survey of the dispensations of Providence has been partial and
narrow; but now that readers are so greatly multiplied, men judge as
they are _taught_, and repinings are engendered everywhere, by
imputations being cast upon the government; and are prolonged or
aggravated by being ascribed to misconduct or injustice in rulers, when
the individual himself only is in fault. If a Christian pastor be
competent to deal with these humours, as they may be dealt with, and by
no members of society so successfully, both from more frequent and more
favourable opportunities of intercourse, and by aid of the authority
with which he speaks; he will be a teacher of moderation, a dispenser of
the wisdom that blunts approaching distress by submission to God's will,
and lightens, by patience, grievances which cannot be removed.

We live in times when nothing, of public good at least, is generally
acceptable, but what we believe can be traced to preconceived intention,
and specific acts and formal contrivances of human understanding. A
Christian instructor thoroughly accomplished would be a standing
restraint upon such presumptuousness of judgment, by impressing the
truth that--

     In the unreasoning progress of the world
     A wiser spirit is at work for us,
     A better eye than ours.--MS.

Revelation points to the purity and peace of a future world; but our
sphere of duty is upon earth; and the relations of impure and
conflicting things to each other must be understood, or we shall be
perpetually going wrong, in all but goodness of intention; and goodness
of intention will itself relax through frequent disappointment. How
desirable, then, is it, that a minister of the Gospel should be versed
in the knowledge of existing facts, and be accustomed to a wide range of
social experience! Nor is it less desirable for the purpose of
counterbalancing and tempering in his own mind that ambition with which
spiritual power is as apt to be tainted as any other species of power
which men covet or possess.

It must be obvious that the scope of the argument is to discourage an
attempt which would introduce into the Church of England an equality of
income and station, upon the model of that of Scotland. The sounder part
of the Scottish nation know what good their ancestors derived from their
Church, and feel how deeply the living generation is indebted to it.
They respect and love it, as accommodated in so great a measure to a
comparatively poor country, through the far greater portion of which
prevails a uniformity of employment; but the acknowledged deficiency of
theological learning among the clergy of that Church is easily accounted
for by this very equality. What else may be wanting there, it would be
unpleasant to inquire, and might prove invidious to determine: one
thing, however, is clear; that in all countries the temporalities of the
Church Establishment should bear an analogy to the state of society,
otherwise it cannot diffuse its influence through the whole community.
In a country so rich and luxurious as England, the character of its
clergy must unavoidably sink, and their influence be everywhere
impaired, if individuals from the upper ranks, and men of leading
talents, are to have no inducements to enter into that body but such as
are purely spiritual. And this 'tinge of secularity' is no reproach to
the clergy, nor does it imply a deficiency of spiritual endowments.
Parents and guardians, looking forward to sources of honourable
maintenance for their children and wards, often direct their thoughts
early towards the Church, being determined partly by outward
circumstances, and partly by indications of seriousness, or intellectual
fitness. It is natural that a boy or youth, with such a prospect before
him, should turn his attention to those studies, and be led into those
habits of reflection, which will in some degree tend to prepare him for
the duties he is hereafter to undertake. As he draws nearer to the time
when he will be called to these duties, he is both led and compelled to
examine the Scriptures. He becomes more and more sensible of their
truth. Devotion grows in him; and what might begin in temporal
considerations will end (as in a majority of instances we trust it does)
in a spiritual-mindedness not unworthy of that Gospel, the lessons of
which he is to teach, and the faith of which he is to inculcate. Not
inappositely may be here repeated an observation which, from its
obviousness and importance, must have been frequently made--viz. that
the impoverishing of the clergy, and bringing their incomes much nearer
to a level, would not cause them to become less worldly-minded: the
emoluments, howsoever reduced, would be as eagerly sought for, but by
men from lower classes in society; men who, by their manners, habits,
abilities, and the scanty measure of their attainments, would
unavoidably be less fitted for their station, and less competent to
discharge its duties.

Visionary notions have in all ages been afloat upon the subject of best
providing for the clergy; notions which have been sincerely entertained
by good men, with a view to the improvement of that order, and eagerly
caught at and dwelt upon, by the designing, for its degradation and
disparagement. Some are beguiled by what they call the _voluntary
system_, not seeing (what stares one in the face at the very threshold)
that they who stand in most need of religious instruction are
unconscious of the want, and therefore cannot reasonably be expected to
make any sacrifices in order to supply it. Will the licentious, the
sensual, and the depraved, take from the means of their gratifications
and pursuits, to support a discipline that cannot advance without
uprooting the trees that bear the fruit which they devour so greedily?
Will _they_ pay the price of that seed whose harvest is to be reaped in
an invisible world? A voluntary system for the religious exigencies of a
people numerous and circumstanced as we are! Not more absurd would it be
to expect that a knot of boys should draw upon the pittance of their
pocket-money to build schools, or out of the abundance of their
discretion be able to select fit masters to teach and keep them in
order! Some, who clearly perceive the incompetence and folly of such a
scheme for the agricultural part of the people, nevertheless think it
feasible in large towns, where the rich might subscribe for the
religious instruction of the poor. Alas! they know little of the thick
darkness that spreads over the streets and alleys of our large towns.
The parish of Lambeth, a few years since, contained not more than one
church and three or four small proprietary chapels, while dissenting
chapels of every denomination were still more scantily found there; yet
the inhabitants of the parish amounted at that time to upwards of
50,000. Were the parish church, and the chapels of the Establishment
existing there, an _impediment_ to the spread of the Gospel among that
mass of people? Who shall dare to say so? But if any one, in the face of
the fact which has just been stated, and in opposition to authentic
reports to the same effect from various other quarters, should still
contend, that a voluntary system is sufficient for the spread and
maintenance of religion, we would ask, what kind of religion? wherein
would it differ, among the many, from deplorable fanaticism?

For the preservation of the Church Establishment, all men, whether they
belong to it or not, could they perceive their true interest, would be
strenuous: but how inadequate are its provisions for the needs of the
country! and how much is it to be regretted that, while its zealous
friends yield to alarms on account of the hostility of Dissent, they
should so much overrate the danger to be apprehended from that quarter,
and almost overlook the fact that hundreds of thousands of our
fellow-countrymen, though formally and nominally of the Church of
England, never enter her places of worship, neither have they
communication with her ministers! This deplorable state of things was
partly produced by a decay of zeal among the rich and influential, and
partly by a want of due expansive power in the constitution of the
Establishment as regulated by law. Private benefactors, in their efforts
to build and endow churches, have been frustrated, or too much impeded
by legal obstacles: these, where they are unreasonable or unfitted for
the times, ought to be removed; and, keeping clear of intolerance and
injustice, means should be used to render the presence and powers of
the Church commensurate with the wants of a shifting and
still-increasing population.

This cannot be effected, unless the English Government vindicate the
truth, that, as her Church exists for the benefit of all (though not in
equal degree), whether of her communion or not, all should be made to
contribute to its support. If this ground be abandoned, cause will be
given to fear that a moral wound may be inflicted upon the heart of the
English people, for which a remedy cannot be speedily provided by the
utmost efforts which the members of the Church will themselves be able
to make.

But let the friends of the Church be of good courage. Powers are at work
by which, under Divine Providence, she may be strengthened and the
sphere of her usefulness extended; not by alterations in her Liturgy,
accommodated to this or that demand of finical taste, nor by cutting off
this or that from her articles or Canons, to which the scrupulous or the
overweening may object. Covert schism, and open nonconformity, would
survive after alterations, however promising in the eyes of those whose
subtilty had been exercised in making them. Latitudinarianism is the
parhelion of liberty of conscience, and will ever successfully lay claim
to a divided worship. Among Presbyterians, Socinians, Baptists, and
Independents, there will always be found numbers who will tire of their
several creeds, and some will come over to the Church. Conventicles may
disappear, congregations in each denomination may fall into decay or be
broken up, but the conquests which the National Church ought chiefly to
aim at, lie among the thousands and tens of thousands of the unhappy
outcasts who grow up with no religion at all. The wants of these cannot
but be feelingly remembered. Whatever may be the disposition of the new
constituencies under the Reformed Parliament, and the course which the
men of their choice may be inclined or compelled to follow, it may be
confidently hoped that individuals, acting in their private capacities,
will endeavour to make up for the deficiencies of the Legislature. Is it
too much to expect that proprietors of large estates, where the
inhabitants are without religious instruction, or where it is sparingly
supplied, will deem it their duty to take part in this good work; and
that thriving manufacturers and merchants will, in their several
neighbourhoods, be sensible of the like obligation, and act upon it with
generous rivalry?

Moreover, the force of public opinion is rapidly increasing: and some
may bend to it, who are not so happy as to be swayed by a higher motive:
especially they who derive large incomes from lay-impropriations, in
tracts of country where ministers are few and meagerly provided for. A
claim still stronger may be acknowledged by those who, round their
superb habitations, or elsewhere, walk over vast estates which were
lavished upon their ancestors by royal favouritism or purchased at
insignificant prices after church-spoliation; such proprietors, though
not conscience-stricken (there is no call for that), may be prompted to
make a return for which their tenantry and dependents will learn to
bless their names. An impulse has been given; an accession of means from
these several sources, co-operating with a _well_-considered change in
the distribution of some parts of the property at present possessed by
the Church, a change scrupulously founded upon due respect to law and
justice, will, we trust, bring about so much of what her friends desire,
that the rest may be calmly waited for, with thankfulness for what shall
have been obtained.

Let it not be thought unbecoming in a layman to have treated at length a
subject with which the clergy are more intimately conversant. All may,
without impropriety, speak of what deeply concerns all: nor need an
apology be offered for going over ground which has been trod before so
ably and so often: without pretending, however, to any thing of novelty,
either in matter or manner, something may have been offered to view,
which will save the writer from the imputation of having little to
recommend his labour, but goodness of intention.

It was with reference to thoughts and feelings expressed in verse, that
I entered upon the above notices, and with verse I will conclude. The
passage is extracted from my MSS. written above thirty years ago: it
turns upon the individual dignity which humbleness of social condition
does not preclude, but frequently promotes. It has no direct bearing
upon clubs for the discussion of public affairs, nor upon political or
trade-unions; but if a single workman--who, being a member of one of
those clubs, runs the risk of becoming an agitator, or who, being
enrolled in a union, must be left without a will of his own, and
therefore a slave--should read these lines, and be touched by them, I
should indeed rejoice, and little would I care for losing credit as a
poet with intemperate critics, who think differently from me upon
political philosophy or public measures, if the sober-minded admit that,
in general views, my affections have been moved, and my imagination
exercised, under and _for_ the guidance of reason.

    Here might I pause, and bend in reverence
    To Nature, and the power of human minds;
    To men as they are men within themselves.
    How oft high service is performed within,
    When all the external man is rude in show;
    Not like a temple rich with pomp and gold,
    But a mere mountain chapel that protects
    Its simple worshippers from sun and shower!
    Of these, said I, shall be my song; of these,
    If future years mature me for the task,
    Will I record the praises, making verse
    Deal boldly with substantial things--in truth
    And sanctity of passion speak of these,
    That justice may be done, obeisance paid
    Where it is due. Thus haply shall I teach
    Inspire, through unadulterated ears
    Pour rapture, tenderness, and hope; my theme
    No other than the very heart of man,
    As found among the best of those who live,
    Not unexalted by religious faith,
    Nor uninformed by books, good books, though few
    In Nature's presence: thence may I select
    Sorrow that is not sorrow, but delight,
    And miserable love that is not pain
    To hear of, for the glory that redounds
    Therefrom to human kind, and what we are.
    Be mine to follow with no timid step
    Where knowledge leads me; it shall be my pride
    That I have dared to tread this holy ground,
    Speaking no dream, but things oracular,
    Matter not lightly to be heard by those
    Who to the letter of the outward promise
    Do read the invisible soul; by men adroit
    In speech, and for communion with the world
    Accomplished, minds whose faculties are then
    Most active when they are most eloquent,
    And elevated most when most admired.
    Men may be found of other mould than these;
    Who are their own upholders, to themselves
    Encouragement and energy and will;
    Expressing liveliest thoughts in lively words
    As native passion dictates. Others, too,
    There are, among the walks of homely life,
    Still higher, men for contemplation framed;
    Shy, and unpractised in the strife of phrase;
    Meek men, whose very souls perhaps would sink
    Beneath them, summoned to such intercourse.
    Theirs is the language of the heavens, the power,
    The thought, the image, and the silent joy:
    Words are but under-agents in their souls;
    When they are grasping with their greatest strength
    They do not breathe among them; this I speak
    In gratitude to God, who feeds our hearts
    For His own service, knoweth, loveth us,
    When we are unregarded by the world.



II. ADVICE TO THE YOUNG.


(_a_) LETTER TO THE EDITOR OF 'THE FRIEND,' SIGNED 'MATHETES.'

(_b_) ANSWER TO THE LETTER OF 'MATHETES.'

1809.

ADVICE TO THE YOUNG.

INTRODUCTION TO 'THE FRIEND,' VOL. III. (1850).


(_a_) LETTER TO THE EDITOR BY 'MATHETES.'

     [Greek: Para Sextou--tÍn ennoian tou kata physinzÍn, kai to semnon
     aplastÙs,--Ùse kolakeias men pasÍs prosÍneseran einai tÍn omilian
     autou, aidesimÙtaton de par' auton ekeinon ton kairon einai kai ama
     men apathesaton einai, ama de philosorgotaton kai to idein
     aithrÙpon saphÙs elachison tÙn eautou kalÙn hÍgoumenon tÍn autou
     polymathiÍn].

     M. ANTONINUS.[25]

[25] L. i. 9. But the passage is made up from, rather than found in,
Antoninus. Ed. of _Friend_.

     From Sextus, and from the contemplation of his character, I learned
     what it was to live a life in harmony with nature; and that
     seemliness and dignity of deportment, which insured the profoundest
     reverence at the very same time that his company was more winning
     than all the flattery in the world. To him I owe likewise that I
     have known a man at once the most dispassionate and the most
     affectionate, and who of all his attractions set the least value on
     the multiplicity of his literary acquisitions.

_To the Editor of 'The Friend.'_

SIR,

I hope you will not ascribe to presumption the liberty I take in
addressing you on the subject of your work. I feel deeply interested in
the cause you have undertaken to support; and my object in writing this
letter is to describe to you, in part from my own feelings, what I
conceive to be the state of many minds, which may derive important
advantage from your instructions.

I speak, Sir, of those who, though bred up under our unfavourable system
of education, have yet held at times some intercourse with nature, and
with those great minds whose works have been moulded by the spirit of
nature; who, therefore, when they pass from the seclusion and constraint
of early study, bring with them into the new scene of the world much of
the pure sensibility which is the spring of all that is greatly good in
thought and action. To such the season of that entrance into the world
is a season of fearful importance; not for the seduction of its
passions, but of its opinions. Whatever be their intellectual powers,
unless extraordinary circumstances in their lives have been so
favourable to the growth of meditative genius, that their speculative
opinions must spring out of their early feelings, their minds are still
at the mercy of fortune: they have no inward impulse steadily to propel
them: and must trust to the chances of the world for a guide. And such
is our present moral and intellectual state, that these chances are
little else than variety of danger. There will be a thousand causes
conspiring to complete the work of a false education, and by inclosing
the mind on every side from the influences of natural feeling, to
degrade its inborn dignity, and finally bring the heart itself under
subjection to a corrupted understanding. I am anxious to describe to you
what I have experienced or seen of the dispositions and feelings that
will aid every other cause of danger, and tend to lay the mind open to
the infection of all those falsehoods in opinion and sentiment, which
constitute the degeneracy of the age.

Though it would not be difficult to prove, that the mind of the country
is much enervated since the days of her strength, and brought down from
its moral dignity, it is not yet so forlorn of all good,--there is
nothing in the face of the times so dark and saddening and repulsive--as
to shock the first feelings of a generous spirit, and drive it at once
to seek refuge in the elder ages of our greatness. There yet survives so
much of the character bred up through long years of liberty, danger, and
glory, that even what this age produces bears traces of those that are
past, and it still yields enough of beautiful, and splendid, and bold,
to captivate an ardent but untutored imagination. And in this real
excellence is the beginning of danger: for it is the first spring of
that excessive admiration of the age which at last brings down to its
own level a mind born above it. If there existed only the general
disposition of all who are formed with a high capacity for good, to be
rather credulous of excellence than suspiciously and severely just, the
error would not be carried far: but there are, to a young mind, in this
country and at this time, numerous powerful causes concurring to inflame
this disposition, till the excess of the affection above the worth of
its object is beyond all computation. To trace these causes it will be
necessary to follow the history of a pure and noble mind from the first
moment of that critical passage from seclusion to the world, which
changes all the circumstances of its intellectual existence, shows it
for the first time the real scene of living men, and calls up the new
feeling of numerous relations by which it is to be connected with them.

To the young adventurer in life, who enters upon his course with such a
mind, every thing seems made for delusion. He comes with a spirit the
dearest feelings and highest thoughts of which have sprung up under the
influences of nature. He transfers to the realities of life the high
wild fancies of visionary boyhood: he brings with him into the world the
passions of solitary and untamed imagination, and hopes which he has
learned from dreams. Those dreams have been of the great and wonderful
and lovely, of all which in these has yet been disclosed to him: his
thoughts have dwelt among the wonders of nature, and among the loftiest
spirits of men, heroes, and sages, and saints;--those whose deeds, and
thoughts, and hopes, were high above ordinary mortality, have been the
familiar companions of his soul. To love and to admire has been the joy
of his existence. Love and admiration are the pleasures he will demand
of the world. For these he has searched eagerly into the ages that are
gone; but with more ardent and peremptory expectation he requires them
of that in which his own lot is cast: for to look on life with hopes of
happiness is a necessity of his nature, and to him there is no happiness
but such as is surrounded with excellence.

See first how this spirit will affect his judgment of moral character,
in those with whom chance may connect him in the common relations of
life. It is of those with whom he is to live, that his soul first
demands this food of her desires. From their conversation, their looks,
their actions, their lives, she asks for excellence. To ask from all and
to ask in vain, would be too dismal to bear: it would disturb him too
deeply with doubt and perplexity and fear. In this hope, and in the
revolting of his thoughts from the possibility of disappointment, there
is a preparation for self-delusion: there is an unconscious
determination that his soul shall be satisfied; an obstinate will to
find good every where. And thus his first study of mankind is a
continued effort to read in them the expression of his own feelings. He
catches at every uncertain shew and shadowy resemblance of what he
seeks; and unsuspicious in innocence, he is first won with those
appearances of good which are in fact only false pretensions. But this
error is not carried far: for there is a sort of instinct of rectitude,
which, like the pressure of a talisman given to baffle the illusions of
enchantment, warns a pure mind against hypocrisy. There is another
delusion more difficult to resist and more slowly dissipated. It is when
he finds, as he often will, some of the real features of excellence in
the purity of their native form. For then his rapid imagination will
gather round them all the kindred features that are wanting to perfect
beauty; and make for him, where he could not find, the moral creature of
his expectation; peopling, even from this human world, his little circle
of affection with forms as fair as his heart desired for its love.

But when, from the eminence of life which he has reached, he lifts up
his eyes, and sends out his spirit to range over the great scene that is
opening before him and around him, the whole prospect of civilised life
so wide and so magnificent;--when he begins to contemplate, in their
various stations of power or splendour, the leaders of mankind, those
men on whose wisdom are hung the fortunes of nations, those whose genius
and valour wield the heroism of a people;--or those, in no inferior
pride of place, whose sway is over the mind of society, chiefs in the
realm of imagination, interpreters of the secrets of nature, rulers of
human opinion;--what wonder, when he looks on all this living scene,
that his heart should burn with strong affection, that he should feel
that his own happiness will be for ever interwoven with the interests of
mankind? Here then the sanguine hope with which he looks on life, will
again be blended with his passionate desire of excellence; and he will
still be impelled to single out some, on whom his imagination and his
hopes may repose. To whatever department of human thought or action his
mind is turned with interest, either by the sway of public passion or by
its own impulse, among statesmen, and warriors, and philosophers, and
poets, he will distinguish some favoured names on which he may satisfy
his admiration. And there, just as in the little circle of his own
acquaintance, seizing eagerly on every merit they possess, he will
supply more from his own credulous hope, completing real with imagined
excellence, till living men, with all their imperfections, become to
him the representatives of his perfect ideal creation;--till,
multiplying his objects of reverence, as he enlarges his prospect of
life, he will have surrounded himself with idols of his own hands, and
his imagination will seem to discern a glory in the countenance of the
age, which is but the reflection of its own effulgence.

He will possess, therefore, in the creative power of generous hope, a
preparation for illusory and exaggerated admiration of the age in which
he lives: and this predisposition will meet with many favouring
circumstances, when he has grown up under a system of education like
ours, which (as perhaps all education must that is placed in the hands
of a distinct and embodied class, who therefore bring to it the peculiar
and hereditary prejudices of their order) has controlled his imagination
to a reverence of former times, with an unjust contempt of his own. For
no sooner does he break loose from this control, and begin to feel, as
he contemplates the world for himself, how much there is surrounding him
on all sides that gratifies his noblest desires, than there springs up
in him an indignant sense of injustice, both to the age and to his own
mind; and he is impelled warmly and eagerly to give loose to the
feelings that have been held in bondage, to seek out and to delight in
finding excellence that will vindicate the insulted world, while it
justifies, too, his resentment of his own undue subjection, and exalts
the value of his new found liberty.

Add to this, that secluded as he has been from knowledge, and, in the
imprisoning circle of one system of ideas, cut off from his share in the
thoughts and feelings that are stirring among men, he finds himself, at
the first steps of his liberty, in a new intellectual world. Passions
and powers which he knew not of start up in his soul. The human mind,
which he had seen but under one aspect, now presents to him a thousand
unknown and beautiful forms. He sees it, in its varying powers, glancing
over nature with restless curiosity, and with impetuous energy striving
for ever against the barriers which she has placed around it; sees it
with divine power creating from dark materials living beauty, and fixing
all its high and transported fancies in imperishable forms. In the world
of knowledge, and science, and art, and genius, he treads as a stranger:
in the confusion of new sensations, bewildered in delights, all seems
beautiful; all seems admirable. And therefore he engages eagerly in the
pursuit of false or insufficient philosophy; he is won by the
allurements of licentious art; he follows with wonder the irregular
transports of undisciplined imagination. Nor, where the objects of his
admiration are worthy, is he yet skilful to distinguish between the
acquisitions which the age has made for itself, and that large
proportion of its wealth which it has only inherited: but in his delight
of discovery and growing knowledge, all that is new to his own mind
seems to him new-born to the world. To himself every fresh idea appears
instruction; every new exertion, acquisition of power: he seems just
called to the consciousness of himself, and to his true place in the
intellectual world; and gratitude and reverence towards those to whom he
owes this recovery of his dignity, tend much to subject him to the
dominion of minds that were not formed by nature to be the leaders of
opinion.

All the tumult and glow of thought and imagination, which seize on a
mind of power in such a scene, tend irresistibly to bind it by stronger
attachment of love and admiration to its own age. And there is one among
the new emotions which belong to its entrance on the world, one almost
the noblest of all, in which this exaltation of the age is essentially
mingled. The faith in the perpetual progression of human nature towards
perfection gives birth to such lofty dreams, as secure to it the devout
assent of the imagination; and it will be yet more grateful to a heart
just opening to hope, flushed with the consciousness of new strength,
and exulting in the prospect of destined achievements. There is,
therefore, almost a compulsion on generous and enthusiastic spirits, as
they trust that the future shall transcend the present, to believe that
the present transcends the past. It is only on an undue love and
admiration of their own age that they can build their confidence in the
melioration of the human race. Nor is this faith, which, in some shape,
will always be the creed of virtue, without apparent reason, even in the
erroneous form in which the young adopt it. For there is a perpetual
acquisition of knowledge and art, an unceasing progress in many of the
modes of exertion of the human mind, a perpetual unfolding of virtues
with the changing manners of society: and it is not for a young mind to
compare what is gained with what has passed away; to discern that
amidst the incessant intellectual activity of the race, the intellectual
power of individual minds maybe falling off; and that amidst
accumulating knowledge lofty science may disappear; and still less, to
judge, in the more complicated moral character of a people, what is
progression, and what is decline.

Into a mind possessed with this persuasion of the perpetual progress of
man, there may even imperceptibly steal both from the belief itself, and
from many of the views on which it rests, something like a distrust of
the wisdom of great men of former ages, and with the reverence, which no
delusion will ever over-power in a pure mind, for their greatness, a
fancied discernment of imperfection and of incomplete excellence, which
wanted for its accomplishment the advantages of later improvements:
there will be a surprise that so much should have been possible in times
so ill prepared; and even the study of their works may be sometimes
rather the curious research of a speculative inquirer, than the devout
contemplation of an enthusiast,--the watchful and obedient heart of a
disciple listening to the inspiration of his master.

Here then is the power of delusion that will gather round the first
steps of a youthful spirit, and throw enchantment over the world in
which it is to dwell; hope realising its own dreams; ignorance dazzled
and ravished with sudden sunshine; power awakened and rejoicing in its
own consciousness; enthusiasm kindling among multiplying images of
greatness and beauty, and enamoured, above all, of one splendid error;
and, springing from all these, such a rapture of life and hope and joy,
that the soul, in the power of its happiness, transmutes things
essentially repugnant to it into the excellence of its own nature: these
are the spells that cheat the eye of the mind with illusion. It is under
these influences that a young man of ardent spirit gives all his love,
and reverence, and zeal, to productions of art, to theories of science,
to opinions, to systems of feeling, and to characters distinguished in
the world, that are far beneath his own original dignity.

Now as this delusion springs not from his worse but his better nature,
it seems as if there could be no warning to him from within of his
danger: for even the impassioned joy which he draws at times from the
works of nature, and from those of her mightier sons, and which would
startle him from a dream of unworthy passion, serves only to fix the
infatuation:--for those deep emotions, proving to him that his heart is
uncorrupted, justify to him all its workings, and his mind, confiding
and delighting in itself, yields to the guidance of its own blind
impulses of pleasure. His chance, therefore, of security is the chance
that the greater number of objects occurring to attract his honourable
passions may be worthy of them. But we have seen that the whole power of
circumstances is collected to gather round him such objects and
influences as will bend his high passions to unworthy enjoyment. He
engages in it with a heart and understanding unspoiled: but they cannot
long be misapplied with impunity. They are drawn gradually into closer
sympathy with the falsehoods they have adopted, till, his very nature
seeming to change under the corruption, there disappears from it the
capacity of those higher perceptions and pleasures to which he was born:
and he is cast off from the communion of exalted minds, to live and to
perish with the age to which he has surrendered himself.

If minds under these circumstances of danger are preserved from decay
and overthrow, it can seldom, I think, be to themselves that they owe
their deliverance. It must be to a fortunate chance which places them
under the influence of some more enlightened mind, from which they may
first gain suspicion and afterwards wisdom. There is a philosophy,
which, leading them by the light of their best emotions to the
principles which should give life to thought and law to genius, will
discover to them, in clear and perfect evidence, the falsehood of the
errors that have misled them, and restore them to themselves. And this
philosophy they will be willing to hear and wise to understand; but they
must be led into its mysteries by some guiding hand; for they want the
impulse or the power to penetrate of themselves the recesses.

If a superior mind should assume the protection of others just beginning
to move among the dangers I have described, it would probably be found,
that delusions springing from their own virtuous activity were not the
only difficulties to be encountered. Even after suspicion is awakened,
the subjection to falsehood may be prolonged and deepened by many
weaknesses both of the intellectual and moral nature; weaknesses that
will sometimes shake the authority of acknowledged truth. There may be
intellectual indolence; an indisposition in the mind to the effort of
combining the ideas it actually possesses, and bringing into distinct
form the knowledge, which in its elements is already its own: there may
be, where the heart resists the sway of opinion, misgivings and modest
self-mistrust in him who sees that, if he trusts his heart, he must
slight the judgment of all around him:--there may be too habitual
yielding to authority, consisting, more than in indolence or diffidence,
in a conscious helplessness and incapacity of the mind to maintain
itself in its own place against the weight of general opinion; and there
may be too indiscriminate, too undisciplined, a sympathy with others,
which by the mere infection of feeling will subdue the reason. There
must be a weakness in dejection to him who thinks with sadness, if his
faith be pure, how gross is the error of the multitude, and that
multitude how vast;--a reluctance to embrace a creed that excludes so
many whom he loves, so many whom his youth has revered;--a difficulty to
his understanding to believe that those whom he knows to be, in much
that is good and honourable, his superiors, can be beneath him in this
which is the most important of all;--a sympathy pleading importunately
at his heart to descend to the fellowship of his brothers, and to take
their faith and wisdom for his own. How often, when under the impulses
of those solemn hours, in which he has felt with clearer insight and
deeper faith his sacred truths, he labours to win to his own belief
those whom he loves, will he be checked by their indifference or their
laughter! And will he not bear back to his meditations a painful and
disheartening sorrow, a gloomy discontent in that faith which takes in
but a portion of those whom he wishes to include in all his blessings?
Will he not be enfeebled by a distraction of inconsistent desires, when
he feels so strongly that the faith which fills his heart, the circle
within which he would embrace all he loves--would repose all his wishes
and hopes, and enjoyments--is yet incommensurate with his affections?

Even when the mind, strong in reason and just feeling united, and
relying on its strength, has attached itself to truth, how much is there
in the course and accidents of life that is for ever silently at work
for its degradation. There are pleasures deemed harmless, that lay
asleep the recollections of innocence: there are pursuits held
honourable, or imposed by duty, that oppress the moral spirit: above
all there is that perpetual connection with ordinary minds in the common
intercourse of society; that restless activity of frivolous
conversation, where men of all characters and all pursuits mixing
together, nothing may be talked of that is not of common interest to
all;--nothing, therefore, but those obvious thoughts and feelings that
float over the surface of things: and all which is drawn from the depth
of nature, all which impassioned feeling has made original in thought,
would be misplaced and obtrusive. The talent that is allowed to shew
itself is that which can repay admiration by furnishing entertainment:
and the display to which it is invited is that which flatters the vulgar
pride of society, by abasing what is too high in excellence for its
sympathy. A dangerous seduction to talents, which would make language,
given to exalt the soul by the fervid expression of its pure emotions,
the instrument of its degradation. And even when there is, as in the
instance I have supposed, too much uprightness to choose so
dishonourable a triumph, there is a necessity of manners, by which
everyone must be controlled who mixes much in society, not to offend
those with whom he converses by his superiority; and whatever be the
native spirit of a mind, it is evident that this perpetual adaptation of
itself to others, this watchfulness against its own rising feelings,
this studied sympathy with mediocrity, must pollute and impoverish the
sources of its strength.

From much of its own weakness, and from all the errors of its misleading
activities, may generous youth be rescued by the interposition of an
enlightened mind: and in some degree it may be guarded by instruction
against the injuries to which it is exposed in the world. His lot is
happy who owes this protection to friendship; who has found in a friend
the watchful guardian of his mind. He will not be deluded, having that
light to guide; he will not slumber, with that voice to inspire; he will
not be desponding or dejected, with that bosom to lean on. But how many
must there be whom Heaven has left unprovided, except in their own
strength; who must maintain themselves, unassisted and solitary, against
their own infirmities and the opposition of the world! For such there
may yet be a protector. If a teacher should stand up in their
generation, conspicuous above the multitude in superior power, and still
more in the assertion and proclamation of disregarded truth;--to him, to
his cheering or summoning voice, all those would turn, whose deep
sensibility has been oppressed by the indifference, or misled by the
seduction, of the times. Of one such teacher who has been given to our
own age you have described the power when you said, that in his
annunciation of truths he seemed to speak in thunders. I believe that
mighty voice has not been poured out in vain; that there are hearts that
have received into their inmost depths all its varying tones; and that
even now, there are many to whom the name of Wordsworth calls up the
recollection of their weakness and the consciousness of their strength.

To give to the reason and eloquence of one man this complete control
over the minds of others, it is necessary, I think, that he should be
born in their own times. For thus whatever false opinion of pre-eminence
is attached to the age becomes at once a title of reverence to him: and
when with distinguished powers he sets himself apart from the age, and
above it, as the teacher of high but ill-understood truths, he will
appear at once to a generous imagination in the dignity of one whose
superior mind outsteps the rapid progress of society, and will derive
from illusion itself the power to disperse illusions. It is probable
too, that he who labours under the errors I have described, might feel
the power of truth in a writer of another age, yet fail in applying the
full force of his principles to his own times: but when he receives them
from a living teacher, there is no room for doubt or misapplication. It
is the errors of his own generation that are denounced; and whatever
authority he may acknowledge in the instructions of his master, strikes,
with inevitable force, at his veneration for the opinions and characters
of his own times. And finally there will be gathered round a living
teacher, who speaks to the deeper soul, many feelings of human love that
will place the infirmities of the heart peculiarly under his control; at
the same time that they blend with and animate the attachment to his
cause. So that there will flow from him something of the peculiar
influence of a friend: while his doctrines will be embraced and asserted
and vindicated with the ardent zeal of a disciple, such as can scarcely
be carried back to distant times, or connected with voices that speak
only from the grave.

I have done what I proposed. I have related to you as much as I have had
opportunities of knowing of the difficulties from within and from
without, which may oppose the natural development of true feeling and
right opinion in a mind formed with some capacity for good; and the
resources which such a mind may derive from an enlightened contemporary
writer. If what I have said be just, it is certain that this influence
will be felt more particularly in a work, adapted by its mode of
publication to address the feelings of the time, and to bring to its
readers repeated admonition and repeated consolation.

I have perhaps presumed too far in trespassing on your attention, and in
giving way to my own thoughts; but I was unwilling to leave any thing
unsaid which might induce you to consider with favour the request I was
anxious to make, in the name of all whose state of mind I have
described, that you would at times regard us more particularly in your
instructions. I cannot judge to what degree it may be in your power to
give the truth you teach a control over understandings that have matured
their strength in error; but in our class I am sure you will have docile
learners.

MATHETES.

(_b_) ANSWER TO THE LETTER OF MATHETES.

The Friend might rest satisfied that his exertions thus far have not
been wholly unprofitable, if no other proof had been given of their
influence, than that of having called forth the foregoing letter, with
which he has been so much interested, that he could not deny himself the
pleasure of communicating it to his readers. In answer to his
correspondent, it need scarcely here be repeated, that one of the main
purposes of his work is to weigh, honestly and thoughtfully, the moral
worth and intellectual power of the age in which we live; to ascertain
our gain and our loss; to determine what we are in ourselves positively,
and what we are compared with our ancestors; and thus, and by every
other means within his power, to discover what may be hoped for future
times, what and how lamentable are the evils to be feared, and how far
there is cause for fear. If this attempt should not be made wholly in
vain, my ingenious correspondent, and all who are in a state of mind
resembling that of which he gives so lively a picture, will be enabled
more readily and surely to distinguish false from legitimate objects of
admiration: and thus may the personal errors which he would guard
against be more effectually prevented or removed by the development of
general truth for a general purpose, than by instructions specifically
adapted to himself or to the class of which he is the able
representative. There is a life and spirit in knowledge which we extract
from truths scattered for the benefit of all, and which the mind, by its
own activity, has appropriated to itself,--a life and spirit, which is
seldom found in knowledge communicated by formal and direct precepts,
even when they are exalted and endeared by reverence and love for the
teacher.

Nevertheless, though I trust that the assistance which my correspondent
has done me the honour to request, will in course of time flow naturally
from my labours, in a manner that will best serve him, I cannot resist
the inclination to connect, at present, with his letter a few remarks of
direct application to the subject of it; remarks, I say,--for to such I
shall confine myself,--independent of the main point out of which his
complaint and request both proceed; I mean the assumed inferiority of
the present age in moral dignity and intellectual power to those which
have preceded it. For if the fact were true, that we had even surpassed
our ancestors in the best of what is good, the main part of the dangers
and impediments which my correspondent has feelingly portrayed, could
not cease to exist for minds like his, nor indeed would they be much
diminished; as they arise out of the constitution of things, from the
nature of youth, from the laws that govern the growth of the faculties,
and from the necessary condition of the great body of mankind. Let us
throw ourselves back to the age of Elizabeth, and call up to mind the
heroes, the warriors, the statesmen, the poets, the divines, and the
moral philosophers, with which the reign of the virgin queen was
illustrated. Or if we be more strongly attracted by the moral purity and
greatness, and that sanctity of civil and religious duty, with which the
tyranny of Charles I. was struggled against, let us cast our eyes, in
the hurry of admiration, round that circle of glorious patriots: but do
not let us be persuaded, that each of these, in his course of
discipline, was uniformly helped forward by those with whom he
associated, or by those whose care it was to direct him. Then, as now,
existed objects to which the wisest attached undue importance; then, as
now, judgment was misled by factions and parties, time wasted in
controversies fruitless, except as far as they quickened the faculties;
then, as now, minds were venerated or idolized, which owed their
influence to the weakness of their contemporaries rather than to their
own power. Then, though great actions were wrought, and great works in
literature and science produced, yet the general taste was capricious,
fantastical, or grovelling; and in this point, as in all others, was
youth subject to delusion, frequent in proportion to the liveliness of
the sensibility, and strong as the strength of the imagination. Every
age hath abounded in instances of parents, kindred, and friends, who, by
indirect influence of example, or by positive injunction and
exhortation, have diverted or discouraged the youth, who, in the
simplicity and purity of nature, had determined to follow his
intellectual genius through good and through evil, and had devoted
himself to knowledge, to the practice of virtue and the preservation of
integrity, in slight of temporal rewards. Above all, have not the common
duties and cares of common life at all times exposed men to injury from
causes the action of which is the more fatal from being silent and
unremitting, and which, wherever it was not jealously watched and
steadily opposed, must have pressed upon and consumed the diviner
spirit?

There are two errors into which we easily slip when thinking of past
times. One lies in forgetting in the excellence of what remains the
large overbalance of worthlessness that has been swept away. Ranging
over the wide tracts of antiquity, the situation of the mind may be
likened to that of a traveller[26] in some unpeopled part of America,
who is attracted to the burial place of one of the primitive
inhabitants. It is conspicuous upon an eminence, 'a mount upon a mount!'
He digs into it, and finds that it contains the bones of a man of mighty
stature; and he is tempted to give way to a belief, that as there were
giants in those days, so all men were giants. But a second and wiser
thought may suggest to him that this tomb would never have forced itself
upon his notice, if it had not contained a body that was distinguished
from others,--that of a man who had been selected as a chieftain or
ruler for the very reason that he surpassed the rest of his tribe in
stature, and who now lies thus conspicuously inhumed upon the
mountain-top, while the bones, of his followers are laid unobtrusively
together in their burrows upon the plain below. The second habitual
error is, that in this comparison of ages we divide time merely into
past and present, and place these in the balance to be weighed against
each other; not considering that the present is in our estimation not
more than a period of thirty years, or half a century at most, and that
the past is a mighty accumulation of many such periods, perhaps the
whole of recorded time, or at least the whole of that portion of it in
which our own country has been distinguished. We may illustrate this by
the familiar use of the words ancient and modern, when applied to
poetry. What can be more inconsiderate or unjust than to compare a few
existing writers with the whole succession of their progenitors? The
delusion, from the moment that our thoughts are directed to it, seems
too gross to deserve mention; yet men will talk for hours upon poetry,
balancing against each other the words ancient and modern, and be
unconscious that they have fallen into it.

[26] See Ashe's _Travels in America_.

These observations are not made as implying a dissent from the belief
of my correspondent, that the moral spirit and intellectual powers of
this country are declining; but to guard against unqualified admiration,
even in cases where admiration has been rightly fixed, and to prevent
that depression which must necessarily follow, where the notion of the
peculiar unfavourableness of the present times to dignity of mind has
been carried too far. For in proportion as we imagine obstacles to exist
out of ourselves to retard our progress, will, in fact, our progress be
retarded. Deeming, then, that in all ages an ardent mind will be baffled
and led astray in the manner under contemplation, though in various
degrees, I shall at present content myself with a few practical and
desultory comments upon some of those general causes, to which my
correspondent justly attributes the errors in opinion, and the lowering
or deadening of sentiment, to which ingenuous and aspiring youth is
exposed. And first, for the heart-cheering belief in the perpetual
progress of the species towards a point of unattainable perfection. If
the present age do indeed transcend the past in what is most beneficial
and honourable, he that perceives this, being in no error, has no cause
for complaint; but if it be not so, a youth of genius might, it should
seem, be preserved from any wrong influence of this faith by an insight
into a simple truth, namely, that it is not necessary, in order to
satisfy the desires of our nature, or to reconcile us to the economy of
providence, that there should be at all times a continuous advance in
what is of highest worth. In fact it is not, as a writer of the present
day has admirably observed, in the power of fiction to portray in words,
or of the imagination to conceive in spirit, actions or characters of
more exalted virtue, than those which thousands of years ago have
existed upon earth, as we know from the records of authentic history.
Such is the inherent dignity of human nature, that there belong to it
sublimities of virtues which all men may attain, and which no man can
transcend: and though this be not true in an equal degree of
intellectual power, yet in the persons of Plato, Demosthenes, and Homer,
and in those of Shakespeare, Milton, and Lord Bacon, were enshrined as
much of the divinity of intellect as the inhabitants of this planet can
hope will ever take up its abode among them. But the question is not of
the power or worth of individual minds, but of the general moral or
intellectual merits of an age, or a people, or of the human race. Be it
so. Let us allow and believe that there is a progress in the species
towards unattainable perfection, or whether this be so or not, that it
is a necessity of a good and greatly-gifted nature to believe it; surely
it does not follow that this progress should be constant in those
virtues and intellectual qualities, and in those departments of
knowledge, which in themselves absolutely considered are of most value,
things independent and in their degree indispensable. The progress of
the species neither is nor can be like that of a Roman road in a right
line. It may be more justly compared to that of a river, which, both in
its smaller reaches and larger turnings, is frequently forced back
towards its fountains by objects which cannot otherwise be eluded or
overcome; yet with an accompanying impulse that will insure its
advancement hereafter, it is either gaining strength every hour, or
conquering in secret some difficulty, by a labour that contributes as
effectually to further it in its course, as when it moves forward
uninterrupted in a line, direct as that of the Roman road with which I
began the comparison.

It suffices to content the mind, though there may be an apparent
stagnation, or a retrograde movement in the species, that something is
doing which is necessary to be done, and the effects of which will in
due time appear; that something is unremittingly gaining, either in
secret preparation or in open and triumphant progress. But in fact here,
as every where, we are deceived by creations which the mind is compelled
to make for itself; we speak of the species not as an aggregate, but as
endued with the form and separate life of an individual. But human
kind,--what is it else than myriads of rational beings in various
degrees obedient to their reason; some torpid, some aspiring; some in
eager chase to the right hand, some to the left; these wasting down
their moral nature, and those feeding it for immortality? A whole
generation may appear even to sleep, or may be exasperated with
rage,--they that compose it, tearing each other to pieces with more than
brutal fury. It is enough for complacency and hope, that scattered and
solitary minds are always labouring somewhere in the service of truth
and virtue; and that by the sleep of the multitude the energy of the
multitude may be prepared; and that by the fury of the people the chains
of the people may be broken. Happy moment was it for England when her
Chaucer, who has rightly been called the morning star of her literature,
appeared above the horizon; when her Wicliffe, like the sun, shot orient
beams through the night of Romish superstition! Yet may the darkness and
the desolating hurricane which immediately followed in the wars of York
and Lancaster, be deemed in their turn a blessing, with which the Land
has been visited.

May I return to the thought of progress, of accumulation, of increasing
light, or of any other image by which it may please us to represent the
improvement of the species? The hundred years that followed the
usurpation of Henry IV., were a hurling-back of the mind of the country,
a dilapidation, an extinction; yet institutions, laws, customs, and
habits, were then broken down, which would not have been so readily, nor
perhaps so thoroughly destroyed by the gradual influence of increasing
knowledge; and under the oppression of which, if they had continued to
exist, the virtue and intellectual prowess of the succeeding century
could not have appeared at all, much less could they have displayed
themselves with that eager haste, and with those beneficent triumphs,
which will to the end of time be looked back upon with admiration and
gratitude.

If the foregoing obvious distinctions be once clearly perceived, and
steadily kept in view, I do not see why a belief in the progress of
human nature towards perfection should dispose a youthful mind, however
enthusiastic, to an undue admiration of his own age, and thus tend to
degrade that mind.

But let me strike at once at the root of the evil complained of in my
correspondent's letter. Protection from any fatal effect of seductions
and hindrances which opinion may throw in the way of pure and
high-minded youth, can only be obtained with certainty at the same price
by which every thing great and good is obtained, namely, steady
dependence upon voluntary and self-originating effort, and upon the
practice of self-examination, sincerely aimed at and rigorously
enforced. But how is this to be expected from youth? Is it not to demand
the fruit when the blossom is barely put forth, and is hourly at the
mercy of frosts and winds? To expect from youth these virtues and
habits, in that degree of excellence to which in mature years they may
be carried, would indeed be preposterous. Yet has youth many helps and
aptitudes for the discharge of these difficult duties, which are
withdrawn for the most part from the more advanced stages of life. For
youth has its own wealth and independence; it is rich in health of body
and animal spirits, in its sensibility to the impressions of the natural
universe, in the conscious growth of knowledge, in lively sympathy and
familiar communion with the generous actions recorded in history, and
with the high passions of poetry; and, above all, youth is rich in the
possession of time, and the accompanying consciousness of freedom and
power. The young man feels that he stands at a distance from the season
when his harvest is to be reaped; that he has leisure and may look
around, and may defer both the choice and the execution of his purposes.
If he makes an attempt and shall fail, new hopes immediately rush in and
new promises. Hence, in the happy confidence of his feelings, and in the
elasticity of his spirit, neither worldly ambition, nor the love of
praise, nor dread of censure, nor the necessity of worldly maintenance,
nor any of those causes which tempt or compel the mind habitually to
look out of itself for support; neither these, nor the passions of envy,
fear, hatred, despondency, and the rankling of disappointed hopes, (all
which in after life give birth to, and regulate, the efforts of men and
determine their opinions) have power to preside over the choice of the
young, if the disposition be not naturally bad, or the circumstances
have not been in an uncommon degree unfavourable.

In contemplation, then, of this disinterested and free condition of the
youthful mind, I deem it in many points peculiarly capable of searching
into itself, and of profiting by a few simple questions, such as these
that follow. Am I chiefly gratified by the exertion of my power from the
pure pleasure of intellectual activity, and from the knowledge thereby
acquired? In other words, to what degree do I value my faculties and my
attainments for their own sakes? or are they chiefly prized by me on
account of the distinction which they confer, or the superiority which
they give me over others? Am I aware that immediate influence and a
general acknowledgment of merit are no necessary adjuncts of a
successful adherence to study and meditation in those departments of
knowledge which are of most value to mankind;--that a recompense of
honours and emoluments is far less to be expected; in fact, that there
is little natural connection between them? Have I perceived this truth;
and, perceiving it, does the countenance of philosophy continue to
appear as bright and beautiful in my eyes?--Has no haze bedimmed it? Has
no cloud passed over and hidden from me that look which was before so
encouraging? Knowing that it is my duty, and feeling that it is my
inclination, to mingle as a social being with my fellow men; prepared
also to submit cheerfully to the necessity that will probably exist of
relinquishing, for the purpose of gaining a livelihood, the greatest
portion of my time to employments where I shall have little or no choice
how or when I am to act; have I, at this moment, when I stand as it were
upon the threshold of the busy world, a clear intuition of that
pre-eminence in which virtue and truth (involving in this latter word
the sanctities of religion) sit enthroned above all denominations and
dignities which, in various degrees of exaltation, rule over the desires
of men? Do I feel that, if their solemn mandates shall be forgotten, or
disregarded, or denied the obedience due to them when opposed to others,
I shall not only have lived for no good purpose, but that I shall have
sacrificed my birth-right as a rational being; and that every other
acquisition will be a bane and a disgrace to me? This is not spoken with
reference to such sacrifices as present themselves to the youthful
imagination in the shape of crimes, acts by which the conscience is
violated; such a thought, I know, would be recoiled from at once, not
without indignation; but I write in the spirit of the ancient fable of
Prodicus, representing the choice of Hercules. Here is the World, a
female figure approaching at the head of a train of willing or giddy
followers: her air and deportment are at once careless, remiss,
self-satisfied, and haughty: and there is Intellectual Prowess, with a
pale cheek and serene brow, leading in chains Truth, her beautiful and
modest captive. The one makes her salutation with a discourse of ease,
pleasure, freedom, and domestic tranquillity; or, if she invite to
labour, it is labour in the busy and beaten track, with assurance of the
complacent regards of parents, friends, and of those with whom we
associate. The promise also may be upon her lip of the huzzas of the
multitude, of the smile of kings, and the munificent rewards of senates.
The other does not venture to hold forth any of these allurements; she
does not conceal from him whom she addresses the impediments, the
disappointments, the ignorance and prejudice which her follower will
have to encounter, if devoted, when duty calls, to active life; and if
to contemplative, she lays nakedly before him a scheme of solitary and
unremitting labour, a life of entire neglect perhaps, or assuredly a
life exposed to scorn, insult, persecution, and hatred; but cheered by
encouragement from a grateful few, by applauding conscience, and by a
prophetic anticipation, perhaps, of fame--a late, though lasting,
consequence. Of these two, each in this manner soliciting you to become
her adherent, you doubt not which to prefer; but oh! the thought of
moment is not preference, but the degree of preference; the passionate
and pure choice, the inward sense of absolute and unchangeable devotion.

I spoke of a few simple questions. The question involved in this
deliberation is simple, but at the same time it is high and awful; and I
would gladly know whether an answer can be returned satisfactory to the
mind. We will for a moment suppose that it can not; that there is a
startling and a hesitation. Are we then to despond,--to retire from all
contest,--and to reconcile ourselves at once to cares without a generous
hope, and to efforts in which there is no more moral life than that
which is found in the business and labours of the unfavoured and
unaspiring many? No. But if the inquiry have not been on just grounds
satisfactorily answered, we may refer confidently our youth to that
nature of which he deems himself an enthusiastic follower, and one who
wishes to continue no less faithful and enthusiastic. We would tell him
that there are paths which he has not trodden; recesses which he has not
penetrated; that there is a beauty which he has not seen, a pathos which
he has not felt, a sublimity to which he hath not been raised. If he
have trembled because there has occasionally taken place in him a lapse
of which he is conscious; if he foresee open or secret attacks, which he
has had intimations that he will neither be strong enough to resist, nor
watchful enough to elude, let him not hastily ascribe this weakness,
this deficiency, and the painful apprehensions accompanying them, in any
degree to the virtues or noble qualities with which youth by nature is
furnished; but let him first be assured, before he looks about for the
means of attaining the insight, the discriminating powers, and the
confirmed wisdom of manhood, that his soul has more to demand of the
appropriate excellencies of youth, than youth has yet supplied to it;
that the evil under which he labours is not a superabundance of the
instincts and the animating spirit of that age, but a falling short, or
a failure. But what can he gain from this admonition? He cannot recall
past time; he cannot begin his journey afresh; he cannot untwist the
links by which, in no undelightful harmony, images and sentiments are
wedded in his mind. Granted that the sacred light of childhood is and
must be for him no more than a remembrance. He may, notwithstanding, be
remanded to nature, and with trustworthy hopes, founded less upon his
sentient than upon his intellectual being; to nature, as leading on
insensibly to the society of reason, but to reason and will, as leading
back to the wisdom of nature. A re-union, in this order accomplished,
will bring reformation and timely support; and the two powers of reason
and nature, thus reciprocally teacher and taught, may advance together
in a track to which there is no limit.

We have been discoursing (by implication at least) of infancy,
childhood, boyhood, and youth, of pleasures lying upon the unfolding
intellect plenteously as morning dew-drops,--of knowledge inhaled
insensibly like the fragrance,--of dispositions stealing into the spirit
like music from unknown quarters,--of images uncalled for and rising up
like exhalations,--of hopes plucked like beautiful wild flowers from the
ruined tombs that border the highways of antiquity, to make a garland
for a living forehead;--in a word, we have been treating of nature as a
teacher of truth through joy and through gladness, and as a creatress of
the faculties by a process of smoothness and delight. We have made no
mention of fear, shame, sorrow, nor of ungovernable and vexing thoughts;
because, although these have been and have done mighty service, they are
overlooked in that stage of life when youth is passing into
manhood--overlooked, or forgotten. We now apply for the succour which we
need to a faculty that works after a different course; that faculty is
reason; she gives more spontaneously, but she seeks for more; she works
by thought through feeling; yet in thoughts she begins and ends.

A familiar incident may elucidate this contrast in the operations of
nature, may render plain the manner in which a process of intellectual
improvements, the reverse of that which nature pursues, is by reason
introduced. There never perhaps existed a school-boy, who, having, when
he retired to rest, carelessly blown out his candle, and having chanced
to notice, as he lay upon his bed in the ensuing darkness, the sullen
light which had survived the extinguished flame, did not, at some time
or other, watch that light as if his mind were bound to it by a spell.
It fades and revives, gathers to a point, seems as if it would go out in
a moment, again recovers its strength, nay becomes brighter than before:
it continues to shine with an endurance, which in its apparent weakness
is a mystery; it protracts its existence so long, clinging to the power
which supports it, that the observer, who had lain down in his bed so
easy-minded, becomes sad and melancholy; his sympathies are touched; it
is to him an intimation and an image of departing human life; the
thought comes nearer to him; it is the life of a venerated parent, of a
beloved brother or sister, or of an aged domestic, who are gone to the
grave, or whose destiny it soon may be thus to linger, thus to hang upon
the last point of mortal existence, thus finally to depart and be seen
no more. This is nature teaching seriously and sweetly through the
affections, melting the heart, and, through that instinct of tenderness,
developing the understanding. In this instance the object of solicitude
is the bodily life of another. Let us accompany this same boy to that
period between youth and manhood, when a solicitude may be awakened for
the moral life of himself. Are there any powers by which, beginning with
a sense of inward decay that affects not however the natural life, he
could call to mind the same image and hang over it with an equal
interest as a visible type of his own perishing spirit? Oh! surely, if
the being of the individual be under his own care, if it be his first
care, if duty begin from the point of accountableness to our conscience
and, through that, to God and human nature; if without such primary
sense of duty, all secondary care of teacher, of friend, or parent, must
be baseless and fruitless; if, lastly, the motions of the soul transcend
in worth those of the animal functions, nay, give to them their sole
value; then truly are there such powers; and the image of the dying
taper may be recalled and contemplated, though with no sadness in the
nerves, no disposition to tears, no unconquerable sighs, yet with a
melancholy in the soul, a sinking inward into ourselves from thought to
thought, a steady remonstrance, and a high resolve. Let then the youth
go back, as occasion will permit, to nature and to solitude, thus
admonished by reason, and relying upon this newly acquired support. A
world of fresh sensations will gradually open upon him as his mind puts
off its infirmities, and as instead of being propelled restlessly
towards others in admiration, or too hasty love, he makes it his prime
business to understand himself. New sensations, I affirm, will be opened
out, pure, and sanctioned by that reason which is their original author;
and precious feelings of disinterested, that is self-disregarding, joy
and love may be regenerated and restored; and, in this sense, he may be
said to measure back the track of life he has trodden.

In such disposition of mind let the youth return to the visible
universe, and to conversation with ancient books, and to those, if such
there be, which in the present day breathe the ancient spirit; and let
him feed upon that beauty which unfolds itself, not to his eye as it
sees carelessly the things which cannot possibly go unseen, and are
remembered or not as accident shall decide, but to the thinking mind;
which searches, discovers, and treasures up, infusing by meditation into
the objects with which it converses an intellectual life, whereby they
remain planted in the memory, now and for ever. Hitherto the youth, I
suppose, has been content for the most part to look at his own mind,
after the manner in which he ranges along the stars in the firmament
with naked unaided sight: let him now apply the telescope of art, to
call the invisible stars out of their hiding places; and let him
endeavour to look through the system of his being, with the organ of
reason, summoned to penetrate, as far as it has power, in discovery of
the impelling forces and the governing laws.

These expectations are not immoderate; they demand nothing more than the
perception of a few plain truths; namely, that knowledge, efficacious
for the production of virtue, is the ultimate end of all effort, the
sole dispenser of complacency and repose. A perception also is implied
of the inherent superiority of contemplation to action. The Friend does
not in this contradict his own words, where he has said heretofore, that
'doubtless to act is nobler than to think.'[27]

[27] 'The Friend,' vol. i. p. 158 (ed. 1850). G.

In those words, it was his purpose to censure that barren
contemplation, which rests satisfied with itself in cases where the
thoughts are of such quality that they may, and ought to, be embodied in
action. But he speaks now of the general superiority of thought to
action; as proceeding and governing all action that moves to salutary
purposes; and, secondly, as leading to elevation, the absolute
possession of the individual mind, and to a consistency or harmony of
the being within itself, which no outward agency can reach to disturb or
to impair; and lastly, as producing works of pure science; or of the
combined faculties of imagination, feeling, and reason; works which,
both from their independence in their origin upon accident, their
nature, their duration, and the wide spread of their influence, are
entitled rightly to take place of the noblest and most beneficent deeds
of heroes, statesmen, legislators, or warriors.

Yet, beginning from the perception of this established superiority, we
do not suppose that the youth, whom we wish to guide and encourage, is
to be insensible to those influences of wealth, or rank, or station, by
which the bulk of mankind are swayed. Our eyes have not been fixed upon
virtue which lies apart from human nature, or transcends it. In fact
there is no such virtue. We neither suppose nor wish him to undervalue
or slight these distinctions as modes of power, things that may enable
him to be more useful to his contemporaries; nor as gratifications that
may confer dignity upon his living person, and, through him, upon those
who love him; nor as they may connect his name, through a family to be
founded by his success, in a closer chain of gratitude with some portion
of posterity, who shall speak of him as among their ancestry, with a
more tender interest than the mere general bond of patriotism or
humanity would supply. We suppose no indifference to, much less a
contempt of, these rewards; but let them have their due place; let it be
ascertained, when the soul is searched into, that they are only an
auxiliary motive to exertion, never the principal or originating force.
If this be too much to expect from a youth who, I take for granted,
possesses no ordinary endowments, and whom circumstances with respect to
the more dangerous passions have favoured, then, indeed, must the noble
spirit of the country be wasted away; then would our institutions be
deplorable, and the education prevalent among us utterly vile and
debasing.

But my correspondent, who drew forth these thoughts, has said rightly,
that the character of the age may not without injustice be thus branded.
He will not deny that, without speaking of other countries, there is in
these islands, in the departments of natural philosophy, of mechanic
ingenuity, in the general activities of the country, and in the
particular excellence of individual minds, in high stations civil or
military, enough to excite admiration and love in the sober-minded, and
more than enough to intoxicate the youthful and inexperienced. I will
compare, then, an aspiring youth, leaving the schools in which he has
been disciplined, and preparing to bear a part in the concerns of the
world, I will compare him in this season of eager admiration, to a
newly-invested knight appearing with his blank unsignalized shield, upon
some day of solemn tournament, at the court of the Faery-queen, as that
sovereignty was conceived to exist by the moral and imaginative genius
of our divine Spenser. He does not himself immediately enter the lists
as a combatant, but he looks round him with a beating heart, dazzled by
the gorgeous pageantry, the banners, the impresses, the ladies of
overcoming beauty, the persons of the knights, now first seen by him,
the fame of whose actions is carried by the traveller, like merchandize,
through the world, and resounded upon the harp of the minstrel. But I am
not at liberty to make this comparison. If a youth were to begin his
career in such an assemblage, with such examples to guide and to
animate, it will be pleaded, there would be no cause for apprehension;
he could not falter, he could not be misled. But ours is,
notwithstanding its manifold excellences, a degenerate age; and recreant
knights are among us far outnumbering the true. A false Gloriana in
these days imposes worthless services, which they who perform them, in
their blindness, know not to be such; and which are recompensed by
rewards as worthless, yet eagerly grasped at, as if they were the
immortal guerdon of virtue.

I have in this declaration insensibly overstepped the limits which I had
determined not to pass: let me be forgiven; for it is hope which hath
carried me forward. In such a mixed assemblage as our age presents, with
its genuine merit and its large overbalance of alloy, I may boldly ask
into what errors, either with respect to person or thing, could a young
man fall, who had sincerely entered upon the course of moral discipline
which has been recommended, and to which the condition of youth, it has
been proved, is favourable? His opinions could no where deceive him
beyond the point up to which, after a season, he would find that it was
salutary for him to have been deceived. For as that man cannot set a
right value upon health who has never known sickness, nor feel the
blessing of ease who has been through his life a stranger to pain, so
can there be no confirmed and passionate love of truth for him who has
not experienced the hollowness of error. Range against each other as
advocates, oppose as combatants, two several intellects, each
strenuously asserting doctrines which he sincerely believes; but the one
contending for the worth and beauty of that garment which the other has
outgrown and cast away. Mark the superiority, the ease, the dignity, on
the side of the more advanced mind, how he overlooks his subject,
commands it from centre to circumference, and hath the same thorough
knowledge of the tenets which his adversary, with impetuous zeal, but in
confusion also, and thrown off his guard at every turn of the argument,
is labouring to maintain. If it be a question of the fine arts (poetry
for instance) the riper mind not only sees that his opponent is
deceived; but, what is of far more importance, sees how he is deceived.
The imagination stands before him with all its imperfections laid open;
as duped by shows, enslaved by words, corrupted by mistaken delicacy and
false refinement, as not having even attended with care to the reports
of the senses, and therefore deficient grossly in the rudiments of its
own power. He has noted how, as a supposed necessary condition, the
understanding sleeps in order that the fancy may dream. Studied in the
history of society, and versed in the secret laws of thought, he can
pass regularly through all the gradations, can pierce infallibly all the
windings, which false taste through ages has pursued, from the very time
when first, through inexperience, heedlessness, or affectation, the
imagination took its departure from the side of truth, its original
parent. Can a disputant thus accoutred be withstood?--one to whom,
further, every movement in the thoughts of his antagonist is revealed by
the light of his own experience; who, therefore, sympathizes with
weakness gently, and wins his way by forbearance; and hath, when
needful, an irresistible power of onset, arising from gratitude to the
truth which he vindicates, not merely as a positive good for mankind,
but as his own especial rescue and redemption.

I might here conclude: but my correspondent towards the close of his
letter, has written so feelingly upon the advantages to be derived, in
his estimation, from a living instructor, that I must not leave this
part of the subject without a word of direct notice. The Friend cited,
some time ago,[28] a passage from the prose works of Milton, eloquently
describing the manner in which good and evil grow up together in the
field of the world almost inseparably; and insisting, consequently, upon
the knowledge and survey of vice as necessary to the constituting of
human virtue, and the scanning of error to the confirmation of truth.

[28] 'The Friend,' vol. i. p. 96 (ed. 1850). G.

If this be so, and I have been reasoning to the same effect in the
preceding paragraph, the fact, and the thoughts which it may suggest,
will, if rightly applied, tend to moderate an anxiety for the guidance
of a more experienced or superior mind. The advantage, where it is
possessed, is far from being an absolute good: nay, such a preceptor,
ever at hand, might prove an oppression not to be thrown off, and a
fatal hindrance. Grant that in the general tenor of his intercourse with
his pupil he is forbearing and circumspect, inasmuch as he is rich in
that knowledge (above all other necessary for a teacher) which cannot
exist without a liveliness of memory, preserving for him an unbroken
image of the winding, excursive, and often retrograde course, along
which his own intellect has passed. Grant that, furnished with these
distinct remembrances, he wishes that the mind of his pupil should be
free to luxuriate in the enjoyments, loves, and admirations appropriated
to its age; that he is not in haste to kill what he knows will in due
time die of itself; or be transmuted, and put on a nobler form and
higher faculties otherwise unattainable. In a word, that the teacher is
governed habitually by the wisdom of patience waiting with pleasure. Yet
perceiving how much the outward help of art can facilitate the progress
of nature, he may be betrayed into many unnecessary or pernicious
mistakes where he deems his interference warranted by substantial
experience. And in spite of all his caution, remarks may drop insensibly
from him which shall wither in the mind of his pupil a generous
sympathy, destroy a sentiment of approbation or dislike, not merely
innocent but salutary; and for the inexperienced disciple how many
pleasures may be thus off, what joy, what admiration, and what love!
While in their stead are introduced into the ingenuous mind misgivings,
a mistrust of its own evidence, dispositions to affect to feel where
there can be no real feeling, indecisive judgments, a superstructure of
opinions that has no base to support it, and words uttered by rote with
the impertinence of a parrot or a mockingbird, yet which may not be
listened to with the same indifference, as they cannot be heard without
some feeling of moral disapprobation.

These results, I contend, whatever may be the benefit to be derived from
such an enlightened teacher, are in their degree inevitable. And by this
process, humility and docile dispositions may exist towards the master,
endued as he is with the power which personal presence confers; but at
the same time they will be liable to overstep their due bounds, and to
degenerate into passiveness and prostration of mind. This towards him;
while, with respect to other living men, nay even to the mighty spirits
of past times, there may be associated with such weakness a want of
modesty and humility. Insensibly may steal in presumption and a habit of
sitting in judgment in cases where no sentiment ought to have existed
but diffidence or veneration. Such virtues are the sacred attributes of
youth; its appropriate calling is not to distinguish in the fear of
being deceived or degraded, not to analyze with scrupulous minuteness,
but to accumulate in genial confidence; its instinct, its safety, its
benefit, its glory, is to love, to admire, to feel, and to labour.
Nature has irrevocably decreed, that our prime dependence in all stages
of life after infancy and childhood have been passed through (nor do I
know that this latter ought to be excepted) must be upon our own minds;
and that the way to knowledge shall be long, difficult, winding, and
oftentimes returning upon itself.

What has been said is a mere sketch, and that only of a part of the
interesting country into which we have been led; but my correspondent
will be able to enter the paths that have been pointed out. Should he do
this and advance steadily for a while, he needs not fear any deviations
from the truth which will be finally injurious to him. He will not long
have his admiration fixed upon unworthy objects; he will neither be
clogged nor drawn aside by the love of friends or kindred, betraying his
understanding through his affections; he will neither be bowed down by
conventional arrangements of manners producing too often a lifeless
decency; nor will the rock of his spirit wear away in the endless
beating of the waves of the world; neither will that portion of his own
time, which he must surrender to labours by which his livelihood is to
be earned or his social duties performed, be unprofitable to himself
indirectly, while it is directly useful to others; for that time has
been primarily surrendered through an act of obedience to a moral law
established by himself, and therefore he moves them also along the orbit
of perfect liberty.

Let it be remembered, that the advice requested does not relate to the
government of the more dangerous passions, or to the fundamental
principles of right and wrong as acknowledged by the universal
conscience of mankind. I may therefore assure my youthful correspondent,
if he will endeavour to look into himself in the manner which I have
exhorted him to do, that in him the wish will be realized, to him in due
time the prayer granted, which was uttered by that living teacher of
whom he speaks with gratitude as of a benefactor, when in his character
of philosophical poet, having thought of morality as implying in its
essence voluntary obedience, and producing the effect of order, he
transfers in the transport of imagination, the law of moral to physical
natures, and having contemplated, through the medium of that order, all
modes of existence as subservient to one spirit, concludes his address
to the power of duty in the following words:

    To humbler functions, awful power!
    I call thee: I myself commend
    Unto thy guidance from this hour;
    Oh, let my weakness have an end!
    Give unto me, made lowly wise,
    The spirit of self-sacrifice;
    The confidence of reason give,
    And in the light of truth thy bondman let me live!



III. OF EDUCATION.

(_a_) ON THE EDUCATION OF THE YOUNG: LETTER TO A FRIEND, 1806.

(_b_) OF THE PEOPLE, THEIR WAYS AND NEEDS: LETTER TO ARCHDEACON
WRANGHAM, 1808.

(_c_) EDUCATION: TWO LETTERS TO THE REV. H.J. ROSE, 1828.

(_d_) EDUCATION OF DUTY: LETTER TO REV. DR. WORDSWORTH, 1830.

(_e_) SPEECH ON LAYING THE FOUNDATION-STONE OF THE NEW SCHOOL IN THE
VILLAGE OF BOWNESS, WINDERMERE, 1836.

(_a_) ON THE EDUCATION OF THE YOUNG.

_Letter to a Friend_ [1806].

MY DEAR SIR,

I am happy to hear of the instructions which you are preparing for
parents, and feel honoured by your having offered to me such an
opportunity of conveying to the public any information I may possess
upon the subject; but, in truth, I am so little competent in the present
unarranged state of my ideas to write any thing of value, that it would
be the highest presumption in me to attempt it. This is not mock
modesty, but rigorous and sober truth. As to the case of your own child,
I will set down a few thoughts, which I do not hope will throw much
light on your mind, but they will show my willingness to do the little
that is in my power.

The child being the child of a man like you, what I have to say will lie
in small compass.

I consider the facts which you mention as indicative of what is commonly
called sensibility, and of quickness and talent, and shall take for
granted that they are so; you add that the child is too much noticed by
grown people, and apprehend selfishness.

Such a child will almost always be too much noticed; and it is scarcely
possible entirely to guard against the evil: hence vanity, and under bad
management selfishness of the worst kind. And true it is, that under
better and even the best management, such constitutions are liable to
selfishness; not showing itself in the shape of tyranny, caprice,
avarice, meanness, envy, skulking, and base self-reference; but
selfishness of a worthier kind, yet still rightly called by that name.
What I mean I shall explain afterwards.

Vanity is not the necessary or even natural growth of such a
temperament; quite the contrary. Such a child, if neglected and suffered
to run wild, would probably be entirely free from vanity, owing to the
liveliness of its feelings, and the number of its resources. It would be
by nature independent and sufficient for itself. But as such children,
in these times in particular, are rarely if ever neglected, or rather
rarely if ever not far too much noticed, it is a hundred to one your
child will have more vanity than you could wish. This is one evil to be
guarded against. Formerly, indeed till within these few years, children
were very carelessly brought up; at present they too early and too
habitually feel their own importance, from the solicitude and
unremitting attendance which is bestowed upon them. A child like yours,
I believe, unless under the wisest guidance, would prosper most where
she was the least noticed and the least made of; I mean more than this
where she received the least cultivation. She does not stand in need of
the stimulus of praise (as much as can benefit her, _i.e._ as much as
her nature requires, it will be impossible to withhold from her); nor of
being provoked to exertion, or, even if she be not injudiciously
thwarted, to industry. Nor can there be any need to be _sedulous_ in
calling out her affections; her own lively enjoyments will do all this
for her, and also point out what is to be done to her. But take all the
pains you can, she will be too much noticed. Other evils will also beset
her, arising more from herself; and how are these to be obviated? But,
first, let us attempt to find what these evils will be.

Observe, I put all gross mismanagement out of the question, and I
believe they will then probably be as follows: first, as mentioned
before, a considerable portion of vanity. But if the child be not
constrained too much, and be left sufficiently to her own pursuits, and
be not too anxiously tended, and have not her mind planted over by art
with likings that do not spring naturally up in it, this will by the
liveliness of her independent enjoyment almost entirely disappear, and
she will become modest and diffident; and being not apt from the same
ruling cause,--I mean the freshness of her own sensations--to compare
herself with others, she will hold herself in too humble estimation. But
she will probably still be selfish; and this brings me to the
explanation of what I hinted at before, viz., in what manner she will be
selfish.

It appears, then, to me that all the permanent evils which you have to
apprehend for your daughter, supposing you should live to educate her
yourself, may be referred to this principle,--an undue predominance of
present objects over absent ones, which, as she will surely be
distinguished by an extreme love of those about her, will produce a
certain restlessness of mind, calling perpetually for proofs of
ever-living regard and affection: she must be loved as much and in the
same way as she loves, or she will not be satisfied. Hence, quickness in
taking offence, petty jealousies and apprehensions lest she is neglected
or loses ground in people's love, a want of a calm and steady sense of
her own merits to secure her from these fits of imagined slights; for,
in the first place, she will, as is hinted at before, be in general
deficient in this just estimation of her own worth, and will further be
apt to forget everything of that kind in the present sense of supposed
injury. She will (all which is referable to the same cause) in the
company of others have too constant a craving for sympathy up to a
height beyond what her companions are capable of bestowing; this will
often be mortifying to herself, and burthensome to others; and should
circumstances be untoward, and her mind be not sufficiently furnished
with ideas and knowledge, this craving would be most pernicious to
herself, preying upon mind and body. She will be too easily pleased, apt
to overrate the merits of new acquaintances, subject to fits of
over-love and over-joy, in absence from those she loves full of fears
and apprehensions, &c., injurious to her health; her passions for the
most part will be happy and good, but she will be too little mistress of
them. The distinctions which her intellect will make will be apt, able,
and just, but in conversation she will be prone to overshoot herself,
and commit eloquent blunders through eagerness. In fine, her manners
will be frank and ardent, but they will want dignity; and a want of
dignity will be the general defect of her character.

Something of this sort of character, which I have thus loosely sketched,
and something of the sort of selfishness to which I have adverted, it
seems to me that under the best management you have reason to apprehend
for your daughter. If she should happen to be an only child, or the only
sister of brothers who would probably idolize her, one might prophesy
almost with absolute confidence that most of these qualities would be
found in her in a great degree. How then is the evil to be softened down
or prevented? Assuredly, not by mortifying her, which is the course
commonly pursued with such tempers; nor by preaching to her about her
own defects; nor by overrunning her infancy with books about good boys
and girls, and bad boys and girls, and all that trumpery; but (and this
is the only important thing I have to say upon the subject) by putting
her in the way of acquiring without measure or limit such knowledge as
will lead her out of herself, such knowledge as is interesting for its
own sake; things known because they are interesting, not interesting
because they are known; in a word, by leaving her at liberty to
luxuriate in such feelings and images as will feed her mind in silent
pleasure. This nourishment is contained in fairy tales, romances, the
best biographies and histories, and such parts of natural history
relating to the powers and appearances of the earth and elements, and
the habits and structure of animals, as belong to it, not as an art or
science, but as a magazine of form and feeling. This kind of knowledge
is purely good, a direct antidote to every evil to be apprehended, and
food absolutely necessary to preserve the mind of a child like yours
from morbid appetites. Next to these objects comes such knowledge as,
while it is chiefly interesting for its own sake, admits the fellowship
of another sort of pleasure, that of complacence from the conscious
exertion of the faculties and love of praise. The accomplishments of
dancing, music, and drawing, rank under this head; grammar, learning of
languages, botany probably, and out of the way knowledge of arts and
manufactures, &c. The second class of objects, as far as they tend to
feed vanity and self-conceit, are evil; but let them have their just
proportion in the plan of education, and they will afterwards contribute
to destroy these, by furnishing the mind with power and independent
gratification: the vanity will disappear, and the good will remain.

Lastly comes that class of objects which are interesting almost solely
because they are known, and the knowledge may be displayed; and this
unfortunately comprehends three fourths of what, according to the plan
of modern education, children's heads are stuffed with; that is, minute,
remote, or trifling facts in geography, topography, natural history,
chronology, &c., or acquisitions in art, or accomplishments which the
child makes by rote, and which are quite beyond its age; things of no
value in themselves, but as they show cleverness; things hurtful to any
temper, but to a child like yours absolute poison. Having said thus
much, it seems almost impertinent to add that your child, above all,
should, I might say, be chained down to the severest attention to
truth,--I mean to the minutest accuracy in every thing which she
relates; this will strike at the root of evil by teaching her to form
correct notions of present things, and will steadily strengthen her
mind. Much caution should be taken not to damp her natural vivacity, for
this may have a very bad effect; and by the indirect influence of the
example of manly and dignified manners any excessive wildnesses of her
own will be best kept under. Most unrelaxing firmness should from the
present hour be maintained in withstanding such of her desires as are
grossly unreasonable. But indeed I am forgetting to whom I am speaking,
and am ashamed of these precepts; they will show my good will, and in
that hope alone can I suffer them to stand. Farewell, there is great
reason to congratulate yourself in having a child so promising; and you
have my best and most ardent wishes that she may be a blessing to her
parents and every one about her.[29]

[29] _Memoirs_, vol. ii. pp. 164-70. G.

_(b)_ OF THE PEOPLE, THEIR WAYS AND NEEDS.

_Letter to Archdeacon Wrangham_.

Grasmere, June 5. 1808.

MY DEAR WRANGHAM,

I have this moment received your letter.

--is a most provoking fellow; very kind, very humane, very generous,
very ready to serve, with a thousand other good qualities, but in the
practical business of life the arrantest marplan that ever lived. When I
first wrote to you, I wrote also to him, sending the statement which I
sent to you, and begging his exertions _among his friends_. By and by
comes back my statement, having undergone a _rifacimento_ from his
hands, and _printed_, with an accompanying letter, saying that if some
of the principal people in this neighbourhood who had already subscribed
would put their names to this paper, testifying that this was a proper
case for charitable interferences, or that the _persons mentioned were
proper objects of charity_, that he would have the printed paper
inserted in the public newspapers, &c. Upon which, my sister wrote to
him, that in consequence of what had been already subscribed, and what
we had reason to expect from those friends who were privately stirring
in the business, among whom we chiefly alluded to you, in our own minds,
as one on whom we had most dependence, that there would be no necessity
_for public advertisements_, but that if among his private friends he
could raise any money for us, we should be very glad to receive it. And
upon this does he write to you in this (what shall I call it? for I am
really vexed!) blundering manner! I will not call upon you to undertake
the awkward task of rebuilding that part of the edifice which ---- has
destroyed, but let what remains be preserved; and if a little could be
added, there would be no harm. I must request you to transmit the money
to me, with the names of the persons to whom we are obliged.

       *       *       *       *       *

With regard to the more important part of your letter, I am under many
difficulties. I am writing from a window which gives me a view of a
little boat, gliding quietly about upon the surface of our basin of a
lake. I should like to be in it, but what could I do with such a vessel
in the heart of the Atlantic Ocean? As this boat would be to that
navigation, so is my letter to the subject upon which you would set me
afloat. Let me, however, say, that I have read your sermon (which I
lately received from Longman) with much pleasure; I only gave it a
cursory perusal, for since it arrived our family has been in great
confusion, we having removed to another house, in which we are not yet
half settled. The Appendix I had received before in a frank, and of that
I feel myself more entitled to speak, because I had read it more at
leisure. I am entirely of accord with you in chiefly recommending
religious books for the poor; but of many of those which you recommend I
can neither speak in praise nor blame, as I have never read them. Yet,
as far as my own observation goes, which has been mostly employed upon
agricultural persons in thinly-peopled districts, I cannot find that
there is much disposition to read among the labouring classes, or much
occasion for it. Among manufacturers and persons engaged in sedentary
employments, it is, I know, very different. The labouring man in
agriculture generally carries on his work either in solitude or with his
own family--with persons whose minds he is thoroughly acquainted with,
and with whom he is under no temptation to enter into discussions, or to
compare opinions. He goes home from the field, or the barn, and within
and about his own house he finds a hundred little jobs which furnish him
with a change of employment which is grateful and profitable; then comes
supper, and bed. This for week-days. For sabbaths, he goes to church
with us often or mostly twice a day; on coming home, some one turns to
the Bible, finds the text, and probably reads the chapter whence it is
taken, or perhaps some other; and in the afternoon the master or
mistress frequently reads the Bible, if alone; and on this day the
mistress of the house _almost always_ teaches the children to read, or
as they express it, hears them a lesson; or if not thus employed, they
visit their neighbours, or receive them in their own houses as they drop
in, and keep up by the hour a slow and familiar chat. This kind of life,
of which I have seen much, and which I know would be looked upon with
little complacency by many religious persons, is peaceable, and as
innocent as (the frame of society and the practices of government being
what they are) we have a right to expect; besides, it is much more
intellectual than a careless observer would suppose. One of our
neighbours, who lives as I have described, was yesterday walking with
me; and as we were pacing on, talking about indifferent matters, by the
side of a brook, he suddenly said to me, with great spirit and a lively
smile, 'I _like_ to walk where I can hear the sound of a beck!' (the
word, as you know, in our dialect for a brook). I cannot but think that
this man, without being conscious of it, has had many devout feelings
connected with the appearances which have presented themselves to him in
his employment as a shepherd, and that the pleasure of his heart at that
moment was an acceptable offering to the Divine Being. But to return to
the subject of books. I find among the people I am speaking of,
halfpenny ballads and penny and two-penny histories in great abundance;
these are often bought as charitable tributes to the poor persons who
hawk them about (and it is the best way of procuring them). They are
frequently stitched together in tolerably thick volumes, and such I have
read; some of the contents, though not often religious, very good;
others objectionable, either for the superstition in them, such as
prophecies, fortune-telling, &c., or more frequently for indelicacy. I
have so much felt the influence of these straggling papers, that I have
many a time wished that I had talents to produce songs, poems, and
little histories that might circulate among other good things in this
way, supplanting partly the bad flowers and useless herbs, and to take
place of weeds. Indeed, some of the poems which I have published were
composed, not without a hope that at some time or other they might
answer this purpose. The kind of library which you recommend would not,
I think, for the reasons given above, be of much direct use in any of
the agricultural districts of Cumberland and Westmoreland with which I
am acquainted, though almost every person here can read; I mean of
general use as to morals or behaviour. It might, however, with
individuals, do much in awakening enterprise, calling forth ingenuity,
and fostering genius. I have known several persons who would eagerly
have sought, not after these books merely, but _any_ books, and would
have been most happy in having such a collection to repair to. The
knowledge thus acquired would also have spread, by being dealt about in
conversation among their neighbours, at the door, and by the fire-side;
so that it is not easy to foresee how far the good might extend; and
harm I can see none which would not be greatly overbalanced by the
advantage. The situation of manufacturers is deplorably different. The
monotony of their employments renders some sort of stimulus,
intellectual or bodily, absolutely necessary for them. Their work is
carried on in clusters,--men from different parts of the world, and
perpetually changing; so that every individual is constantly in the way
of being brought into contact with new notions and feelings, and being
unsettled in his own accordingly; a select library, therefore, in such
situations may be of the same use as a public dial, keeping everybody's
clock in some kind of order.

Besides contrasting the manufacturer with the agriculturalist, it may be
observed, that he has much more leisure; and in his over hours, not
having other pleasant employment to turn to, he is more likely to find
reading a relief. What, then, are the books which should be put in his
way? Without being myself a clergyman, I have no hesitation in saying,
chiefly religious ones; though I should not go so far as you seemed
inclined to do, excluding others because they are not according to the
letter or in the spirit of your profession. I, with you, feel little
disposed to admire several of those mentioned by Gilbert Burns, much
less others which you name as having been recommended. In Gilbert B.'s
collection there may be too little religion, and I should fear that you,
like all other clergymen, may confine yourself too exclusively to that
concern which you justly deem the most important, but which by being
exclusively considered can never be thoroughly understood. I will allow,
with you, that a religious faculty is the eye of the soul; but, if we
would have successful soul-oculists, not merely that organ, but the
general anatomy and constitution of the intellectual frame must be
studied; for the powers of that eye are affected by the general state of
the system. My meaning is, that piety and religion will be the best
understood by him who takes the most comprehensive view of the human
mind, and that, for the most part, they will strengthen with the general
strength of the mind, and that this is best promoted by a due mixture of
direct and indirect nourishment and discipline. For example, _Paradise
Lost_, and _Robinson Crusoe_, might be as serviceable as Law's _Serious
Call_, or Melmoth's _Great Importance of a Religious Life_; at least,
if the books be all good, they would mutually assist each other. In what
I have said, though following my own thoughts merely as called forth by
your Appendix, is _implied_ an answer to your request that I would give
you 'half an idea upon education as a national object.' I have only kept
upon the surface of the question, but you must have deduced, that I deem
any plan of national education in a country like ours most difficult to
apply to practice. In Switzerland, or Sweden, or Norway, or France, or
Spain, or anywhere but Great Britain, it would be comparatively easy.
Heaven and hell are scarcely more different from each other than
Sheffield and Manchester, &c., differ from the plains and valleys of
Surrey, Essex, Cumberland, or Westmoreland. We have mighty cities, and
towns of all sizes, with villages and cottages scattered everywhere. We
are mariners, miners, manufacturers in tens of thousands, traders,
husbandmen, everything. What form of discipline, what books or
doctrines--I will not say would equally suit all these--but which, if
happily fitted for one, would not perhaps be an absolute nuisance in
another? You will, also, have deduced that nothing romantic can be said
with truth of the influence of education upon the district in which I
live. We have, thank heaven, free schools, or schools with some
endowment, almost everywhere; and almost every one can read. But not
because we have free or endowed schools, but because our land is, far
more than elsewhere, tilled by men who are the owners of it; and as the
population is not over crowded, and the vices which are quickened and
cherished in a crowded population do not therefore prevail, parents have
more ability and inclination to send their children to school; much more
than in manufacturing districts, and also, though in a less degree, more
than in agricultural ones where the tillers are not proprietors. If in
Scotland the children are sent to school, where the parents have not the
advantage I have been speaking of, it is chiefly because their labour
can be turned to no account at home. Send among them manufacturers, or
farmers on a large scale, and you may indeed substitute Sunday-schools
or other modes of instructing them; but the ordinary parish schools will
be neglected. The influence of our schools in this neighbourhood can
never be understood, if this, their connection with the state of landed
property, be overlooked. In fact, that influence is not striking. The
people are not habitually religious, in the common sense of the word,
much less godly. The effect of their schooling is chiefly seen by the
activity with which the young persons emigrate, and the success
attending it; and at home, by a general orderliness and gravity, with
habits of independence and self-respect: nothing obsequious or fawning
is ever to be seen amongst them.

It may be added, that this ability (from the two causes, land and
schools) of giving their children instruction contributes to spread a
respect for scholarship through the country. If in any family one of the
children should be quicker at his book, or fonder of it than others, he
is often marked out in consequence for the profession of a clergyman.
This (before the mercantile or manufacturing employments held out such
flattering hopes) very generally happened; so that the schools of the
North were the great nurseries of curates, several of whom got forward
in their profession, some with and others without the help of a
university education; and, in all instances, such connection of families
(all the members of which lived in the humblest and plainest manner,
working with their own hands as labourers) with a learned and dignified
profession, assisted (and still does, though in a less degree) not a
little to elevate their feelings, and conferred importance on them in
their own eyes. But I must stop, my dear Wrangham. Begin your education
at the top of society; let the head go in the right course, and the tail
will follow. But what can you expect of national education conducted by
a government which for twenty years resisted the abolition of the slave
trade, and annually debauches the morals of the people by every possible
device? holding out temptation with one hand, and scourging with the
other. The distilleries and lotteries are a standing record that the
government cares nothing for the morals of the people, and that all
which they want is their money. But wisdom and justice are the only true
sources of the revenue of a people; preach this, and may you not preach
in vain!

Wishing you success in every good work, I remain your affectionate
friend, W. WORDSWORTH.

Thanks for your inquiries about our little boy, who is well, though not
yet quite strong.[30]

[30] _Memoirs_, vol. ii. pp. 171-9. G.

(_c._) EDUCATION.

_Two Letters to the Rev. Hugh James Rose, Horsham, Sussex_.

                        Rydal Mount, Dec. 11. 1828.

MY DEAR SIR,

I have read your excellent sermons delivered before the University[31]
several times. In nothing were my notions different from yours as there
expressed. It happened that I had been reading just before Bishop Bull's
sermon,[32] of which you speak so highly: it had struck me just in the
same way as an inestimable production. I was highly gratified by your
discourses, and cannot but think that they must have been beneficial to
the hearers, there abounds in them so pure a fervour. I have as yet
bestowed less attention upon your German controversy[33] than so
important a subject deserves.

[31] _On the Commission and consequent Duties of the Clergy_, preached
before the University of Cambridge, in April 1826, and published in
1828. G.

[32] The title of which is _The Priest's Office difficult and
dangerous_. It will be found in vol. i. p. 137. of Dr. Burton's edition
of the bishop's works. G.

[33] _The State of the Protestant Religion in Germany_, a series of
discourses preached before the University of Cambridge, by the Rev. Hugh
James Rose; Lond. 1825: and his _Letter to the Bishop of London, in
reply to Mr. Pusey's work on that subject_; Lond. 1829. G.

Since our conversation upon the subject of Education, I have found no
reason to alter the opinions I then expressed. Of those who seem to me
to be in error, two parties are especially prominent; they, the most
conspicuous head of whom is Mr. Brougham, who think that sharpening of
intellect and attainment of knowledge are things good in themselves,
without reference to the circumstances under which the intellect _is_
sharpened, or to the quality of the knowledge acquired. 'Knowledge,'
says Lord Bacon, 'is power,' but surely not less for evil than for good.
Lord Bacon spoke like a philosopher; but they who have that maxim in
their mouths the oftenest have the least understanding of it.

The other class consists of persons who are aware of the importance of
religion and morality above everything; but, from not understanding the
constitution of our nature and the composition of society, they are
misled and hurried on by zeal in a course which cannot but lead to
disappointment. One instance of this fell under my own eyes the other
day in the little town of Ambleside, where a party, the leaders of which
are young ladies, are determined to set up a school for girls on the
Madras system, confidently expecting that these girls will in
consequence be less likely to go astray when they grow up to women.
Alas, alas! they may be taught, I own, more quickly to read and write
under the Madras system, and to answer more readily, and perhaps with
more intelligence, questions put to them, than they could have done
under dame-teaching. But poetry may, with deference to the philosopher
and the religionist, be consulted in these matters; and I will back
Shenstone's school-mistress, by her winter fire and in her summer
garden-seat, against all Dr. Bell's sour-looking teachers in petticoats
that I have ever seen.

What is the use of pushing on the education of girls so fast, and mainly
by the stimulus of Emulation, who, to say nothing worse of her, is
cousin-german to Envy? What are you to do with these girls? what demand
is there for the ability that they may have prematurely acquired? Will
they not be indisposed to bend to any kind of hard labour or drudgery?
and yet many of them must submit to it, or do wrong. The mechanism of
the Bell system is not required in small places; praying after the
_fugleman_ is not like praying at a mother's knee. The Bellites overlook
the difference: they talk about moral discipline; but wherein does it
encourage the imaginative feelings, without which the practical
understanding is of little avail, and too apt to become the cunning
slave of the bad passions. I dislike _display_ in everything; above all
in education.... The old dame did not affect to make theologians or
logicians; but she taught to read; and she practised the memory, often,
no doubt, by rote; but still the faculty was improved: something,
perhaps, she explained, and trusted the rest to parents, to masters, and
to the pastor of the parish. I am sure as good daughters, as good
servants, as good mothers and wives, were brought up at that time as
now, when the world is so much less humble-minded. A hand full of
employment, and a head not above it, with such principles and habits as
may be acquired without the Madras machinery, are the best security for
the chastity of wives of the lower rank.

Farewell. I have exhausted my paper.

Your affectionate

W. WORDSWORTH.[34]

[34] _Memoirs_, vol. ii. pp. 180-3. G.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Of the Same to the Same_,

MY DEAR SIR,

I have taken a folio sheet to make certain minutes upon the subject of
EDUCATION.


As a Christian preacher your business is with man as an immortal being.
Let us imagine you to be addressing those, and those only, who would
gladly co-operate with you in any course of education which is most
likely to ensure to men a happy immortality. Are you satisfied with that
course which the most active of this class are bent upon? Clearly not,
as I remember from your conversation, which is confirmed by your last
letter. Great principles, you hold, are sacrificed to shifts and
expedients. I agree with you. What more sacred law of nature, for
instance, than that the mother should educate her child? yet we
felicitate ourselves upon the establishment of infant-schools, which is
in direct opposition to it. Nay, we interfere with the maternal instinct
before the child is born, by furnishing, in cases where there is no
necessity, the mother with baby-linen for her unborn child. Now, that in
too many instances a lamentable necessity may exist for this, I allow;
but why should such charity be obtruded? Why should so many excellent
ladies form themselves into committees, and rush into an almost
indiscriminate benevolence, which precludes the poor mother from the
strongest motive human nature can be actuated by for industry, for
forethought, and self-denial? When the stream has thus been poisoned at
its fountain-head, we proceed, by separating, through infant-schools,
the mother from the child, and from the rest of the family,
disburthening them of all care of the little-one for perhaps eight hours
of the day. To those who think this an evil, but a necessary one, much
might be said, in order to qualify unreasonable expectations. But there
are thousands of stirring people now in England, who are so far misled
as to deem these schools _good in themselves_, and to wish that, even in
the smallest villages, the children of the poor should have what _they_
call 'a good education' in this way. Now, these people (and no error is
at present more common) confound _education_ with _tuition_.

Education, I need not remark to you, is everything that _draws out_ the
human being, of which _tuition_, the teaching of schools especially,
however important, is comparatively an insignificant part. Yet the
present bent of the public mind is to sacrifice the greater power to the
less--all that life and nature teach, to the little that can be learned
from books and a master. In the eyes of an enlightened statesman this is
absurd; in the eyes of a pure lowly-minded Christian it is monstrous.

The Spartan and other ancient communities might disregard domestic ties,
because they had the substitution of country, which we cannot have. With
us, country is a mere name compared with what it was to the Greeks;
first, as contrasted with barbarians; and next, and above all, as that
_passion_ only was strong enough to preserve the individual, his family,
and the whole State, from ever-impending destruction. Our course is to
supplant domestic attachments without the possibility of substituting
others more capacious. What can grow out of it but selfishness?

Let it then be universally admitted that infant-schools are an evil,
only tolerated to qualify a greater, viz., the inability of mothers to
attend to their children, and the like inability of the elder to take
care of the younger, from their labour being wanted in factories, or
elsewhere, for their common support. But surely this is a sad state of
society; and if these expedients of tuition or education (if that word
is not to be parted with) divert our attention from the fact that the
remedy for so mighty an evil must be sought elsewhere, they are most
pernicious things, and the sooner they are done away with the better.

But even as a course of tuition, I have strong objections to
infant-schools; and in no small degree to the Madras system also. We
must not be deceived by premature adroitness. The _intellect_ must not
be trained with a view to what the infant or child may perform, without
constant reference to what that performance promises for the man. It is
with the mind as with the body. I recollect seeing a German babe stuffed
with beer and beef, who had the appearance of an infant Hercules. _He_
might have enough in him of the old Teutonic blood to grow up to a
strong man; but tens of thousands would dwindle and perish after such
unreasonable cramming. Now I cannot but think, that the like would
happen with our modern pupils, if the views of the patrons of these
schools were realised. The diet they offer is not the natural diet for
infant and juvenile minds. The faculties are over-strained, and not
exercised with that simultaneous operation which ought to be aimed at as
far as is practicable. Natural history is taught in infant-schools by
pictures stuck up against walls, and such mummery. A moment's notice of
a red-breast pecking by a winter's hearth is worth it all.

These hints are for the negative side of the question: and for the
positive,--what conceit, and presumption, and vanity, and envy, and
mortification, and hypocrisy, &c. &c., are the unavoidable result of
schemes where there is so much display and contention! All this is at
enmity with Christianity; and if the practice of sincere churchmen in
this matter be so, what have we not to fear when we cast our eyes upon
other quarters where religious instruction is deliberately excluded? The
wisest of us expect far too much from school teaching. One of the most
innocent, contented, happy, and, in his sphere, most useful men whom I
know, can neither read nor write. Though learning and sharpness of wit
must exist somewhere, to protect, and in some points to interpret the
Scriptures, yet we are told that the Founder of this religion rejoiced
in spirit, that things were hidden from the wise and prudent, and
revealed unto babes: and again, 'Out of the mouths of babes and
sucklings Thou hast perfected praise.' Apparently, the infants here
contemplated were under a very different course of discipline from that
which many in our day are condemned to. In a town of Lancashire, about
nine in the morning, the streets resound with the crying of infants,
wheeled off in carts and other vehicles (some ladies, I believe, lending
their carriages for this purpose) to their school-prisons.

But to go back a little. Human learning, as far as it tends to breed
pride and self-estimation (and that it requires constant vigilance to
counteract this tendency we must all feel), is against the spirit of
the Gospel. Much cause then is there to lament that inconsiderate zeal,
wherever it is found, which whets the intellect by blunting the
affections. Can it, in a _general_ view, be good, that an infant should
learn much which its _parents do not know_? Will not the child arrogate
a superiority unfavourable to love and obedience?

But suppose this to be an evil only for the present generation, and that
a succeeding race of infants will have no such advantage over their
parents; still it may be asked, should we not be making these infants
too much the creatures of society when we cannot make them more so? Here
would they be for eight hours in the day like plants in a conservatory.
What is to become of them for the other sixteen hours, when they are
returned to all the influences, the dread of which first suggested this
contrivance? Will they be better able to resist the mischief they may be
exposed to from the bad example of their parents, or brothers and
sisters? It is to be feared not, because, though they must have heard
many good precepts, their condition in school is artificial; they have
been removed from the discipline and exercise of humanity, and they
have, besides, been subject to many evil temptations within school and
peculiar to it.

In the present generation I cannot see anything of an harmonious
co-operation between these schools and home influences. If the family be
thoroughly bad, and the child cannot be removed altogether, how feeble
the barrier, how futile the expedient! If the family be of middle
character, the children will lose more by separation from domestic cares
and reciprocal duties, than they can possibly gain from captivity with
such formal instruction as may be administered.

We are then brought round to the point, that it is to a physical and not
a moral necessity that we must look, if we would justify this disregard,
I had almost said violation, of a primary law of human nature. The link
of eleemosynary tuition connects the infant school with the national
schools upon the Madras system. Now I cannot but think that there is too
much indiscriminate gratuitous instruction in this country; arising out
of the misconception above adverted to, of the real power of school
teaching, relatively to the discipline of life; and out of an over-value
of talent, however exerted, and of knowledge prized for its own sake,
and acquired in the shape of knowledge. The latter clauses of the last
sentence glance rather at the London University and the Mechanics'
Institutes than at the Madras schools, yet they have some bearing upon
these also. Emulation, as I observed in my last letter, is the
master-spring of that system. It mingles too much with all teaching, and
with all learning; but in the Madras mode it is the great wheel which
puts every part of the machine into motion.

But I have been led a little too far from gratuitous instruction. If
possible, instruction ought never to be altogether so. A child will soon
learn to feel a stronger love and attachment to its parents, when it
perceives that they are making sacrifices for its instruction. All that
precept can teach is nothing compared with convictions of this kind. In
short, unless book-attainments are carried on by the side of moral
influences they are of no avail. Gratitude is one of the most benign of
moral influences; can a child be grateful to a corporate body for its
instruction? or grateful even to the Lady Bountiful of the
neighbourhood, with all the splendour which he sees about her, as he
would be grateful to his poor father and mother, who spare from their
scanty provision a mite for the culture of his mind at school? If we
look back upon the progress of things in this country since the
Reformation, we shall find, that instruction has never been severed from
moral influences and purposes, and the natural action of circumstances,
in the way that is now attempted. Our forefathers established, in
abundance, free grammar schools; but for a distinctly understood
religious purpose. They were designed to provide against a relapse of
the nation into Popery, by diffusing a knowledge of the languages in
which the Scriptures are written, so that a sufficient number might be
aware how small a portion of the popish belief had a foundation in Holy
Writ.

It is undoubtedly to be desired that every one should be able to read,
and perhaps (for that is far from being equally apparent) to write. But
you will agree with me, I think, that these attainments are likely to
turn to better account where they are not gratuitously lavished, and
where either the parents and connections are possessed of certain
property which enables them to procure the instruction for their
children, or where, by their frugality and other serious and
self-denying habits, they contribute, as far as they can, to benefit
their offspring in this way. Surely, whether we look at the usefulness
and happiness of the individual, or the prosperity and security of the
State, this, which was the course of our ancestors, is the better
course. Contrast it with that recommended by men in whose view knowledge
and intellectual adroitness are to do everything of themselves.

We have no guarantee on the social condition of these well informed
pupils for the use they may make of their power and their knowledge: the
scheme points not to man as a religious being; its end is an unworthy
one; and its means do not pay respect to the order of things. Try the
Mechanics' Institutes and the London University, &c. &c. by this test.
The powers are not co-ordinate with those to which this nation owes its
virtue and its prosperity. Here is, in one case, a sudden formal
abstraction of a vital principle, and in both an unnatural and violent
pushing on. Mechanics' Institutes make discontented spirits and
insubordinate and presumptuous workmen. Such at least was the opinion of
Watt, one of the most experienced and intelligent of men. And
instruction, where religion is expressly excluded, is little less to be
dreaded than that by which it is trodden under foot. And, for my own
part, I cannot look without shuddering on the array of surgical
midwifery lectures, to which the youth of London were invited at the
commencement of this season by the advertisements of the London
University. Hogarth understood human nature better than these
professors: his picture I have not seen for many long years, but I think
his last stage of cruelty is in the dissecting room.

But I must break off, or you will have double postage to pay for this
letter. Pray excuse it; and pardon the style, which is, purposely, as
meagre as I could make it, for the sake of brevity. I hope that you can
gather the meaning, and that is enough. I find that I have a few moments
to spare, and will, therefore, address a word to those who may be
inclined to ask, what is the use of all these objections? The
schoolmaster is, and will remain, abroad. The thirst of knowledge is
spreading and will spread, whether virtue and duty go along with it or
no. Grant it; but surely these observations may be of use if they tend
to check unreasonable expectations. One of the most difficult tasks is
to keep benevolence in alliance with beneficence. Of the former there is
no want, but we do not see our way to the latter. Tenderness of heart is
indispensable for a good man, but a certain sternness of heart is as
needful for a wise one. We are as impatient under the evils of society
as under our own, and more so; for in the latter case, necessity
enforces submission. It is hard to look upon the condition in which so
many of our fellow creatures are born, but they are not to be raised
from it by partial and temporary expedients: it is not enough to rush
headlong into any new scheme that may be proposed, be it Benefit
Societies, Savings' Banks, Infant Schools, Mechanic Institutes, or any
other. Circumstances have forced this nation to do, by its
manufacturers, an undue portion of the dirty and unwholesome work of the
globe. The revolutions among which we have lived have unsettled the
value of all kinds of property, and of labour, the most precious of all,
to that degree, that misery and privation are frightfully prevalent. We
must bear the sight of this, and endure its pressure, till we have by
reflection discovered the cause, and not till then can we hope even to
palliate the evil. It is a thousand to one but that the means resorted
to will aggravate it.

     Farewell, ever affectionately yours, W. WORDSWORTH.


_Quere_.--Is the education in the parish schools of Scotland gratuitous,
or if not, in what degree is it so?[35]

[35] _Memoirs_, vol. ii. pp. 183-92. G.

(_d_) EDUCATION OF DUTY.

_Letter to the Rev. Dr. Wordsworth_.


                          =Rydal= Mount, April 27. 1830.

MY DEAR BROTHER,

Was Mr. Rose's course of sermons upon education? The more I reflect upon
the subject, the more I am convinced that positive instruction, even of
a religious character, is much over-rated. The education of man, and
above all of a Christian, is the education of _duty_, which is most
forcibly taught by the business and concerns of life, of which, even for
children, especially the children of the poor, book-learning is but a
small part. There is an officious disposition on the part of the upper
and middle classes to precipitate the tendency of the people towards
intellectual culture in a manner subversive of their own happiness, and
dangerous to the peace of society. It is mournful to observe of how
little avail are lessons of piety taught at school, if household
attentions and obligations be neglected in consequence of the time taken
up in school tuition, and if the head be stuffed with vanity from the
gentlemanliness of the employment of reading. Farewell.

W. W.[36]

[36] _Memoirs_, =vol=. ii. p. 193. G.

(_e_) SPEECH ON LAYING THE FOUNDATION-STONE OF THE NEW SCHOOL IN THE
VILLAGE OF BOWNESS, WINDERMERE, 1836.


Standing here as Mr. Bolton's substitute, at his own request, an honour
of which I am truly sensible, it gives me peculiar pleasure to see in
spite of this stormy weather, so numerous a company of his friends and
neighbours upon this occasion. How happy would it have made him to have
been eye-witness of an assemblage which may fairly be regarded as a
proof of the interest felt in his benevolent undertaking, and an earnest
that the good work will not be done in vain. Sure I am, also, that there
is no one present who does not deeply regret the cause why that
excellent man cannot appear among us. The public spirit of Mr. Bolton
has ever been remarkable both for its comprehensiveness and the
judicious way in which it has been exerted. Many years ago when we were
threatened with foreign invasion, he equipped and headed a body of
volunteers, for the defence of our country. Not long since the
inhabitants of Ulverston (his native place I believe) were indebted to
him for a large contribution towards erecting a church in that town. His
recent munificent donations to the public charities of Liverpool are
well known; and I only echo the sentiments of this meeting, when I say
that every one would have rejoiced to see a gentleman (who has completed
his 80th year) taking the lead in this day's proceedings, for which
there would have been no call, but for his desire permanently to benefit
a district in which he has so long been a resident proprietor. It may be
gathered from old documents, that, upwards of 200 years ago, this place
was provided with a school, which early in the reign of Charles II. was
_endowed_ by the liberality of certain persons of the neighbourhood. The
building, originally small and low, has long been in a state which
rendered the erection of a new one very desirable; this Mr. Bolton has
undertaken to do at his sole expense. The structure, which is to
supersede the old school-house, will have two apartments, airy,
spacious, and lofty, one for boys the other for girls, in which they
will be instructed by respective teachers, and not crowded together as
in the old school-room, under one and the same person; each room will be
capable of containing at least 100 children; within the enclosure there
will be spacious and separate play-grounds for the boys and girls, with
distinct covered sheds to play in in wet weather. There will also be a
library-room for the school, and to contain books for the benefit of the
neighbourhood; and, in short, every arrangement that could be desired.
It may be added, that the building, from the elegance of its
architecture, and its elevated, conspicuous situation, will prove a
striking ornament to the beautiful country in the midst of which it will
stand. Such being the advantages proposed, allow me to express a hope
that they will be turned to the best possible account. The privilege of
the school being free, will not, I trust, tempt parents to withdraw
their children from punctual attendance upon slight and trivial
occasions; and they will take care, as far as depends upon themselves,
that the wishes of the present benefactor may be met, and his intentions
fulfilled. Those wishes and intentions I will take upon me to say, are
consonant to what has been expressed in the original trust-deed of the
pious and sensible men already spoken of, who in that instrument declare
that they have provided a fund 'towards the finding and maintenance of
an able schoolmaster, and repairing the school-house from time to time,
for ever; for teaching and instructing of youth within the said hamlets,
in grammar, writing, reading, and other good learning and discipline
meet and convenient for them; for the honour of God, for the better
advancement and preferment of the said youth, and to the perpetual and
thankful remembrance of the founders and authors of so good a work.' The
effect of this beautiful summary upon your minds will not, I hope, be
weakened if I make a brief comment upon the several clauses of it, which
will comprise nearly the whole of what I feel prompted to say upon this
occasion. I will take the liberty, however, of inverting the order in
which the purposes of these good men are mentioned, beginning at what
they end with. '_The perpetual and thankful remembrance of the founders
and authors of so good a work_.' Do not let it be supposed that your
forefathers, when they looked onwards to this issue, did so from vanity
and love of applause, uniting with local attachment; they wished their
good works to be remembered principally because they were conscious that
such remembrance would be beneficial to the hearts of those whom they
desired to serve, and would effectually promote the particular good they
had in view. Let me add _for_ them, what their modesty and humility
would have prevented their insisting upon, that such tribute of grateful
recollection was, and is still, their _due_; for if gratitude be not the
most perfect shape of justice, it is assuredly her most beautiful
crown,--a halo and glory with which she delights to have her brows
encircled. So much of this gratitude as those good men hoped for, I may
bespeak for your neighbour, who is now animated by the same spirit, and
treading in their steps.

The second point to which I shall advert is that where it is said that
such and such things shall be taught '_for the better advancement and
preferment of the said youth_.' This purpose is as honourable as it is
natural, and recalls to remembrance the time when the northern counties
had, in this particular, great advantages over the rest of England. By
the zealous care of many pious and good men, among whom I cannot but
name (from his connection with this neighbourhood, and the benefits he
conferred upon it) Archbishop Sandys, free schools were founded in these
parts of the kingdom in much greater numbers than elsewhere. The learned
professions derived many ornaments from this source; but a more
remarkable consequence was that till within the last 40 years or so,
merchants' counting-houses, and offices, in the lower departments of
which a certain degree of scholastic attainment was requisite, were
supplied in a great measure from Cumberland and Westmoreland. Numerous
and large fortunes were the result of the skill, industry, and
integrity, which the young men thus instructed, carried with them to the
Metropolis. That superiority no longer exists; not so much, I trust,
from a slackening on the part of the teachers, or an indisposition of
the inhabitants to profit by their free schools, but because the kingdom
at large has become sensible of the advantages of school instruction;
and we of the north consequently have competitors from every quarter.
Let not this discourage, but rather stimulate us to more strenuous
endeavours, so that if we do not keep a-head of the rest of our
countrymen, we may at least take care not to be left behind in the race
of honourable ambition. But after all, worldly advancement and
preferment neither are, nor ought to be the _main_ end of instruction,
either in schools or elsewhere, and particularly in those which are in
rural places, and scantily endowed. It is in the order of Providence, as
we are all aware, that _most_ men must end their temporal course pretty
much as they began it; nor will the thoughtful repine at this
dispensation. In lands where nature in the many is not trampled upon by
injustice, feelingly may the peasant say to the courtier--

    The sun that bids your diamond blaze
    To deck our lily deigns.

Contentment, according to the common adage, is better than riches; and
why is it better? Not merely because there can be no happiness without
it, but for the sake, also, of its moral dignity. Mankind, we know, are
placed on earth to have their hearts and understandings exercised and
improved, some in one sphere and some in another, to undergo various
trials, and to perform divers duties; _that_ duty which, in the world's
estimation may seem the least, often being the most important in the
eyes of our heavenly Father. Well and wisely has it been said, in words
which I need not scruple to quote here, where extreme poverty and abject
misery are unknown--

      God doth not need
    Either man's work or his own gifts; who best
    Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best; his state
    Is kingly--thousands at his bidding speed
    And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
    They also serve who only stand and wait.

Thus am I naturally led to the third and last point in the declaration
of the ancient trust-deed, which I mean to touch upon:--'_Youth shall
lie instructed in grammar, writing, reading, and, other good discipline,
meet and convenient for them, for the honour of God_.' Now, my friends
and neighbours, much as we must admire the zeal and activity which have
of late years been shewn in the teaching of youth, I will candidly ask
those among you, who have had sufficient opportunities to observe,
whether the instruction given in many schools _is_, in fact, _meet and
convenient_? In the building about to be erected here, I have not the
smallest reason for dreading that it will be otherwise. But I speak in
the hearing of persons who may be active in the management of schools
elsewhere; and they will excuse me for saying, that many are conducted
at present so as to afford melancholy proof that instruction is neither
_meet nor convenient_ for the pupils there taught, nor, indeed, for the
human mind in any rank or condition of society. I am not going to say
that religious instruction, the most important of all, is neglected; far
from it; but I affirm, that it is too often given with reference, less
to the affections, to the imagination, and to the practical duties, than
to subtile distinctions in points of doctrine, and to facts in scripture
history, of which a knowledge may be brought out by a catechetical
process. This error, great though it be, ought to be looked at with
indulgence, because it is a tempting thing for teachers unduly to
exercise the understanding and memory, inasmuch as progress in the
departments in which these faculties are employed, is most obviously
proved to the teacher himself, and most flatteringly exhibited to the
inspectors of schools and casual lookers on. A still more lamentable
error which proceeds much from the same cause, is an over-strained
application to mental processes of arithmetic and mathematics; and a too
minute attention to departments of natural and civil history. How much
of trick may mix with this we will not ask, but the display of
precocious intellectual power in these branches, is often astonishing;
and, in proportion as it is so, may, for the most part, be pronounced
not only useless, but injurious. The training that fits a boxer for
victory in the ring, gives him strength that cannot, and is not
required, to be kept up for ordinary labour, and often lays the
foundation of subsequent weakness and fatal disease. In like manner
there being in after life no call for these extraordinary powers of
mind, and little use for the knowledge, the powers decay, and the
knowledge withers and drops off. Here is then not only a positive
injury, but a loss of opportunities for culture of intellect and
acquiring information, which, as being in a course of regular demand,
would be hereafter, the one strengthened and the other naturally
increased. All this mischief, my friends, originates in a decay of that
feeling which our fathers had uppermost in their hearts, viz., that the
business of education should be conducted for _the honour of God_. And
here I must direct your attention to a fundamental mistake, by which
this age, so distinguished for its marvellous progress in arts and
sciences, is unhappily characterized--a mistake, manifested in the use
of the word _education_, which is habitually confounded with _tuition_
or school instruction; this is indeed a very important part of
education, but when it is taken for the whole, we are deceived and
betrayed. Education, according to the derivation of the word, and in the
only use of which it is strictly justifiable, comprehends all those
processes and influences, come from whence they may, that conduce to the
best development of the bodily powers, and of the moral, intellectual,
and spiritual faculties which the position of the individual admits of.
In this just and high sense of the word, the education of a sincere
Christian, and a good member of society upon Christian principles, does
not terminate with his youth, but goes on to the last moment of his
conscious earthly existence--an education not for time but for eternity.
To education like this, is indispensably necessary, as co-operating with
schoolmasters and ministers of the gospel, the never-ceasing vigilance
of parents; not so much exercised in superadding their pains to that of
the schoolmaster or minister in teaching lessons or catechisms, or by
enforcing maxims or precepts (though this part of their duty ought to be
habitually kept in mind), but by care over their _own_ conduct. It is
through the silent operation of example in their own well-regulated
behaviour, and by accustoming their children early to the discipline of
daily and hourly life, in such offices and employment as the situation
of the family requires, and as are suitable to tender years, that
parents become infinitely the most important tutors of their children,
without appearing, or positively meaning to be so. This education of
circumstances has happily, in this district, not yet been much infringed
upon by experimental novelties; parents here are anxious to send their
offspring to those schools where knowledge substantially useful is
inculcated, and those arts most carefully taught for which in after life
there will be most need; this is especially true of the judgments of
parents respecting the instruction of their daughters, which _I know_
they would wish to be confined to reading, writing, and arithmetic, and
plain needlework, or any other art favourable to economy and
home-comforts. Their shrewd sense perceives that hands full of
employment, and a head not above it, afford the best protection against
restlessness and discontent, and all the perilous temptations to which,
through them, youthful females are exposed. It is related of Burns, the
celebrated Scottish poet, that once while in the company of a friend, he
was looking from an eminence over a wide tract of country, he said, that
the sight of so many smoking cottages gave a pleasure to his mind that
none could understand who had not witnessed, like himself, the happiness
and worth which they contained. How were those _happy_ and _worthy_
people educated? By the influence of hereditary good example at home,
and by their parochial schoolmasters opening the way for the admonitions
and exhortations of their clergy; that was at a time when knowledge was
perhaps better than now distinguished from smatterings of information,
and when knowledge itself was more thought of in due subordination to
wisdom. How was the evening before the sabbath then spent by the
families among which the poet was brought up? He has himself told us in
imperishable verse. The Bible was brought forth, and after the father of
the family had reverently laid aside, his bonnet, passages of scripture
were read, and the poet thus describes what followed:--

    Then kneeling down to Heaven's eternal King,
       The saint, the father, and the husband prays;
    Hope springs exulting on triumphant wing,
       That thus they all shall meet in future days:
    There ever bask in uncreated rays,
       No more to sigh or shed the bitter tear
    Together hymning their Creator's praise,
       In such society, yet still more dear;
    While circling time moves round in an eternal sphere.

May He who enlightened the understanding of those cottagers with a
knowledge of Himself for the entertainment of such hope, 'who sanctified
their affections that they might love Him, and put His fear into their
hearts that they might dread to offend Him'--may He who, in preparing
for these blessed effects, disdained not the humble instrumentality of
parochial schools, enable this of ours, by the discipline and teaching
pursued in it, to sow seeds for a like harvest! In this wish, I am sure,
my friends, you will all fervently join; and now, after renewing our
expression of regret that the benevolent founder is not here to perform
the ceremony himself, we will proceed to lay the first stone of the
intended edifice.



NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS.

I. POLITICAL.


I. _Apology for the French Revolution_.

P. 3, l. 5. 'A sublime allegory.' 'The Vision of Mirza' of Addison,
originally published in 'The Spectator' (No. 159, Sept. 1, 1711).

P. 4, ll. 38-9. 'A bishop, a man of philosophy and humanity, as
distinguished as your lordship.' This was the AbbÈ GrÈgoire, whom
Schlosser describes as the 'good-natured, pious, and visionary bishop;'
and again, 'particular attention must be paid to the speeches of the
pious GrÈgoire and his dreams of Utopian virtue.' ('History of the 18th
Century,' vol. vi. pp. 203-434). cf. Alison's 'History of the French
Revolution,' vol. ii. c. vii. pp. 81-2 (ed. 1853); vol. xii. p. 3, _et
alibi_.

P. 7, l. 20. 'The hero of the necklace.' Prince de Rohan. More exactly
the Cardinal de Rohan, but who was of the princely house of De Rohan.
Carlyle has characteristically told the story of 'the diamond necklace'
in one of his Essays. Cf. Alison, as before, i. p. 177; and Schlosser,
_s.u._

P. 8, l. 22. 'Mr. Burke, in a philosophic lamentation over the
extinction of chivalry,' &c. The famous apostrophe in relation to Marie
Antoinette in his 'Reflections on the Revolution in France' (1790).

P. 9, ll. 8-12. The author gives no reference whatever to the source of
this French quotation.

P. 14, l. 34. 'The Rights of Man.' The famous (or notorious) book of
Thos. Paine, published in 1791-2 as 'The Rights of Man; being an Answer
to Mr. Burke's Attack on the French Revolution.' See p. 21 for
Wordsworth's vehement denunciation of Burke in the work which Paine
answers, viz. 'The Reflections,' &c. But Wordsworth's ultimate estimate
of Burke is the splendid praise of 'The Prelude,' book vii. ll. 513-544.


II. _The Convention of Cintra_.

Title-page. 'Qui didicit,' &c. From Horace, 'De Arto Poetica,' ll. 312,
314, 315.

_Verso_ of title-page. Quotation from Bacon. From 'Advertisement
touching the Controversies of the Church of England (4th paragraph),
Spedding's Letters and Life,' vol. i. p. 76.

P. 55, l. 40. 'General Loison.' A French general of cavalry. He was
known by the nickname of Maneta, the bloody one-handed. He was the
Alaric of Evora. 'His misdeeds,' says Southey, 'were never equalled or
paralleled in the dark ages.' It was from Orense that Soult invaded
Portugal, having Loison and Foy for his lieutenants.

P. 56, l. 26. 'M. le duc d'AbrantÈs.' Andoche Junot, duc d'AbrantÈs,
born 23d Oct. 1771, and died by his own hand 29th July 1813. He was
created duke by Napoleon when he was sent by him to command the French
army in Portugal (1808); defeated by Sir Arthur Wellesley (Wellington)
at Vimiera, 21st August 1808.

P. 65, l. 27. 'Massaredo.' Rather Mazaredo, a Spanish general. He had
lived much in England. He cleansed and repaired Sir John Moore's tomb at
Corunna, and planted the ground for a public Alameda (walk).

P. 59, ll. 25-6. 'General Morla.' At wind-blown Fuencanal (one league
from Madrid) is an old mansion of the Mendoza family, in which
Buonaparte lodged from Dec. 2, 1808, until Dec. 22; and here, Dec. 3, he
received the Madrid deputation headed by the traitor Morla. 'On the 4th
Dec. 1808, General Morla and General Don Fernando de Vera, governor of
the town (Madrid), presented themselves, and at ten o'clock General
Belliard took the command of Madrid. All the posts were put into the
hands of the French, and a general pardon was proclaimed' (Southey,
_s.n._).

P. 60, l. 15. 'The names of Pelayo and The Cid,' &c. (1) _Pelayo_. The
Moorish descent was made in great force near Gibraltar in 711. The
battle of the Gaudalete (fought near Jerez de la Frontera) followed
immediately; and in the course of three years they (the Moors) had
conquered the whole of Spain except the north-west region (Biscay and
Asturias), behind whose mountains a large body of ChÛntians under Pelayo
retreated. Seven years later he (Pelayo) defeated the Moors, seized
LeÛn, and became the first king of the Asturias. (2) _The Cid_. Rodrigo
Ruy Diaz of Vibar, born in 1026, is the prince the champion of Spain, El
Cid Campeador, and the Achilles and Aeneas of Gotho-Spanish epos. Thus,
as Schlegel says, 'he is worth a whole library for the understanding the
spirit of his age and the character of the old Castilian.' 'Cast in the
stern mould of a disputed and hostile invasion, when men fought for
their God and their father-land, for all they had or hoped for in this
world and the next, the Cid possessed the vices and virtues of the
mediaeval Spaniard, and combined the daring personal valour, the cool
determination and perseverance of the Northman, engrafted on the subtle
perfidy and brilliant chivalry of the Oriental.'

P. 63, l. 15. 'Ferdinand VII.' King of Spain; born 1784; died 1833.
Father of Isabella II., the present ex-queen of Spain. In opposition to
his father and his best advisers, he solicited the protection of
Napoleon, for which he was imprisoned (1807); compelled to renounce his
rights (1808); resided at Bayonne, where he servilely subjected himself
to Napoleon, 1808 to 1813; restored 1814, when he abolished the Cortes
and revived the Inquisition. By the help of a French army he put down au
insurrection, and reÎstablished absolute despotism (1823). He married
Christiana of Naples (now Duchess Rianzanes), 1829. Abolished Salic law
in favour of his daughter, 1830.

P. 84, l. 35. 'Radice in Tartara tendit.' From Virgil, Georg. ii. 292.

P. 92, l. 28. 'General Dupont.' In June 1808, Dupont, commanding the
French army, had marched from Madrid to Andalusia, in the south of
Spain, given Cordova up to pillage, and committed atrocities which
roused the Spanish people to fury. The Spanish general LeastaÒos
(afterwards created Duque de Baylen), with an army sent by the Junta of
Seville, won the sanguinary battle of Baylen, and compelled the French
to surrender at discretion on the 21st July 1808.

P. 96, l. 37. 'General Friere.' More accurately, Freyere, viz. Manuel
Freyere, a Spanish general; born 1795; died 1834. He distinguished
himself in the War of Independence, 1809-1813. He helped much in gaining
the victory at Toulouse, 10th April 1814. Faithful to constitutional
principles, he retired from public life in 1820.

P. 109, ll. 12-16. Quotation from Milton. Adapted from 'Paradise Lost,'
book x. ll. 294-7.

P. 117, l. 33. 'The Boy of Saragossa.' Probably a _lapsus_ for the
_Maid_ of Saragossa, Angustina. This Amazon (in a good, soft sense),
although a mere itinerant seller of cool drinks, vied in heroism with
the noble Condeya de Burita, who amid the crash of war tended the sick
and wounded, resembling in looks and deeds a ministering angel. She
(Angustina) snatched the match from a dying artillery-man's hand, and
fired the cannon at the French; hence she was called La Artillera.

P. 122, ll. 8-10. Latin quotation. Virgil, Eclogae, iv. 6.

P. 149, ll. 16-19. Quotation from Milton, viz. 'Paradise Lost,' book
iii. ll. 455-7.

P. 149, l. 40. 'The Sicilian Vespers.' The historical name given to the
massacre of the French in Sicily, commenced at Palermo 30th March 1282.
The late Earl of Ellesmere wrote a monograph on the subject.

P. 160, ll. 11-13. Quotation in Italian. From Dante, 'Inferno,' c. iii.
ll. 1-3.

P. 165, ll. 30-1. Saying of Pyrrhus. More exactly, 'Another such
victory, and I must return to Epeirus alone' (said of the renowned
battle on the bank of the Siris). See 'Plutarch and Dionysius,' and
Droysen, 'Geschichte des Hellenisinus,' _s.n._

P. 166, l. 31. 'Onward.' Sir Philip Warwick. His 'Memoirs' were
reprinted and edited by Sir Walter Scott (1702). His 'portraiture' of
Cromwell is among the commonplaces of history.

P. 167, l. 30. 'Padre St. Iago Sass.' He is introduced into Wilkie's
famous picture of the 'Maid of Saragossa.'

P. 167, l. 31. 'Palafox.' JosÈ Palafox y Chelzi, Duke of Saragossa, was
born in 1780; heroically defended Saragossa against the attack of the
French, 27th July 1808; sent prisoner to France 21st Feb. 1809; released
11th Dec. 1813; died 16th Feb. 1847.

P. 173-4. 'Petrarch.' From his Epistolae, _s.v._--'Milton.' Apparently a
somewhat loose recollection from memory of a passage in 'The Ready and
Easy Way to establish a Free Commonwealth,' &c. (1659-60), commencing
'It may be well thought strange,' &c.

III. _Vindication of Opinions in the Treatise on the Convention of
Cintra_.

P. 205, footnote. Latin quotation. Read, 'Totis imperii viribus [contra
mirmillonem] consurgitur.' Floras, iii. 20.


II. ETHICAL.

I. _Of Legislation for the Poor_.

P. 275, ll. 28 onward. Quotation from Milton. From 'Paradise Lost,' book
x. ll. 743-747, but changed somewhat in meaning.

P. 277, ll. 16-17. Quotation. Adapted from 'Guilt and Sorrow,' st. xli.
II. 8-9.

II. _(e) Speech on Laying the Foundation-stone of the New School, &c._

On this occasion a prayer was offered by the Rev. R.P. Graves, M.A.,
(then) the curate, which--as admirably suitable, and as having made a
profound impression at the time, the bowed head and reverent look of the
venerable Poet as he joined in it remaining 'pleasures of memory'
still--it is deemed expedient to preserve permanently. I derive it from
the same source as the full Speech itself, and give the context: 'Mr.
Wordsworth then descended a step-ladder to the foundation-stone, and
deposited the bottle in the cavity, which was covered with a brass
plate, having inscribed on it the name of the founder, date, &c. Being
furnished with a trowel and mortar by the master mason, Mr. John Holme,
he spread it; another massy stone was then let down upon the first, and
adjusted to its position, Mr. Wordsworth handling the rule, plumb-line,
and mallet, and patting the stone he retired. The Rev. R.P. Graves next
offered up the following prayer for the welfare and success of the
undertaking: "The foundation-stone of the new parochial school-house of
Bowness being now laid, it remains that, as your minister, I should
invoke upon the work that blessing of God, without which no human
undertaking can prosper,--O Lord God, Who dwellest on high, Whose throne
is the Heaven of heavens, and Who yet deignest to look down with
goodness and mercy on Thy children of earth, look down, we beseech Thee,
with favour upon us who now implore Thy gracious benediction on the work
which is before Thee. The building which Thou hast put into the heart of
Thy servant to erect grant that, as it is happily begun, it may be
successfully completed, and that it may become a fountain-head of
blessing to this place and neighbourhood. Thou hast directed us, O Lord,
to bring up our children in Thy nurture and admonition; bless, we pray
Thee, this effort to secure the constant fulfilment of so important a
duty, one so entirely bound up with our own and our children's welfare.
Grant that here, from age to age, the youth of these hamlets may receive
such faithful instruction as may fit them for usefulness in this life,
and for happiness in the next. Grant that the one school may send out
numbers endued with such principles and knowledge as may make them, in
their several callings, industrious, upright, useful men; in society,
peaceful neighbours, contented citizens, loyal subjects; in their
families, affectionate sons, and husbands, and fathers; in the Church,
dutiful members of that pure and Scriptural Establishment with which
Thou hast blessed our Land; and, as crowning and including all, resolved
and pious followers of our Redeemer Christ. Grant too, O Lord, that the
females which shall be educated in the other school shall receive there
such valuable principles and such convenient knowledge as may fit them
to make happy the homes of such men; that, with Thy blessing on their
instruction, they may become obedient and dutiful children, modest and
virtuous women, faithful and affectionate wives and mothers, pious and
unassuming Christians; so that with regard to both it may be widely and
gratefully owned that here was sown the good seed which shall have borne
fruit abundantly in all the relations of life, and which at the great
day of harvest hereafter shall, according to Thy word, be gathered into
Thy garner. Such, O Lord God, Thou knowest to be the good objects
contemplated by the original founders of the school, and the promotion
of which is at the heart of him whose benefaction we have this day seen
auspiciously begun. Trusting, therefore, O Lord, with full assurance
that Thou dost favourably allow and regard these pious designs, I now
undertake, as God's minister, and in His name, to bless and dedicate for
ever this spot of ground, and the building which, with the Divine
permission, will be here erected, and of which this is the
foundation-stone, to the sound and religious training up of youth from
generation to generation, to the continued grateful remembrance of the
pious benefactor, and to the everlasting glory of God Most High, the
Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And let all the people say,
Amen."'

P. 288, ll. 1-3. These lines might have gone into the closing book of
'The Prelude,' but I have failed to trace or recall them.

P. 223. Long verse-quotation. From 'The Prelude,' book xiii. ll.
220-277.

P. 311, footnote [A], viz. Captain T. Ashe's 'Travels in America in the
year 1806, for the purpose of exploring the rivers of Alleghanny,
Monongahela, Ohio, and the Mississippi, and ascertaining the Produce and
Condition of their Banks and Vicinity.' 3 vols. 12mo, 1808. Alexander
Wilson, the 'Ornithologist,' vainly sought to accompany Ashe. Had he
done so the incredibilities of these Travels had probably been omitted.
(See his Works by me, 2 vols. 8vo, 1875.)

P. 326. Verse-quotation at close. From close of 'Ode to Duty' (xix.
'Poems of Sentiment and Reflection').

P. 353, ll. 7-8. Verse-quotation. Whence? It sounds familiarly.

P. 353, ll. 20-25. From Milton, 'Sonnet xiv.'

P. 356, ll. 16-24. Verse-quotation. From Burns' 'Cottar's Saturday
Night.' It may be noted here that the 'saint, the father, and the
husband' of this imperishable celebration of lowly Scottish godliness
was William Burns (or Burness), father of the Poet; and whilst this note
is being written a copy of a most interesting MS. (about to be
published) by William Burness, prepared by him for his children, reaches
me. It is entitled, 'Manual of Religious Belief, by William Burness, in
the form of a Dialogue between a Father and his Son.' G.



THE PROSE WORKS OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH.

FOR THE FIRST TIME COLLECTED,

_WITH ADDITIONS FROM UNPUBLISHED MANUSCRIPTS_.

Edited, with Preface, Notes and Illustrations,

BY THE REV. ALEXANDER B. GROSART, ST. GEORGE'S, BLACKBURN, LANCASHIRE.

IN THREE VOLUMES.

VOL. II.

AESTHETICAL AND LITERARY.

LONDON: EDWARD MOXON, SON, AND CO. 1 AMEN CORNER, PATERNOSTER ROW.

1876.


AMS Press, Inc. New York 10003
1967 Manufactured in the United States of America



CONTENTS OF VOL. II.


*** A star [*] designates publication herein _for the first time_ G.


AESTHETICAL AND LITERARY.

  I. Of Literary Biography and Monuments:
     (_a_) A Letter to a Friend of Robert Burns, 1816
     (_b_) Letter to a Friend on Monuments to Literary Men, 1819
     (_c_) Letter to John Peace, Esq., of Bristol, 1844
 II. Upon Epitaphs:
     (_a_) From 'The Friend'
    *(_b_) From the Author's MSS.:
       The Country Church-yard, and critical Examination
         of Ancient Epitaphs
    *(_c_) From the Author's MSS.:
       Celebrated Epitaphs considered
III. Essays, Letters, and Notes, elucidatory and confirmatory of
       the Poems, 1798-1835:
     (_a_) Of the Principles of Poetry and the 'Lyrical Ballads,'
                1798-1802
     (_b_) Of Poetic Diction
     (_c_) Poetry as a Study, 1815
     (_d_) Of Poetry as Observation and Description, and Dedication
                of 1815
     (_e_) Of 'The Excursion:' Preface
    *(_f_) Letters to Sir George and Lady Beaumont and others,
                on the Poems and related Subjects[1]
     (_g_) Letter to Charles Fox with the 'Lyrical Ballads,'
                and his Answer, &c.
     (_h_) Letter on the Principles of Poetry and his own Poems
                to (afterwards) Professor John Wilson
 IV. Descriptive:
     (_a_) A Guide through the District of the Lakes, 1835
     (_b_) Kendal and Windermere Railway: two Letters reprinted
                from the _Morning Post_. Revised, with
                Additions, 1844
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS

[1] The Beaumont Letters are given from the originals, and in many
cases, as elsewhere, contain important additions and corrections. G.



AESTHETICAL AND LITERARY.



I. OF LITERARY BIOGRAPHY AND MONUMENTS.


(_a_) A LETTER TO A FRIEND OF ROBERT BURNS, 1816.

(_b_) LETTER TO A FRIEND ON MONUMENTS TO LITERARY MEN, 1819.

(_c_) LETTER TO JOHN PEACE OF BRISTOL, 1844.

NOTE.


For details on the several portions of this division, see the Preface in
Vol. I. G.



A LETTER TO A FRIEND OF ROBERT BURNS: OCCASIONED BY AN INTENDED
REPUBLICATION OF THE ACCOUNT OF THE LIFE OF BURNS, BY DR. CURRIE; AND OF
THE SELECTION MADE BY HIM FROM HIS LETTERS.

BY WILLIAM WORDSWORTH.


_LONDON_:

PRINTED FOR LONGMAN, HURST, REES, ORME, AND BROWN, PATERNOSTER-ROW.

1816.

(_a_) A LETTER TO A FRIEND OF ROBERT BURNS.

TO JAMES GRAY, ESQ., EDINBURGH.

DEAR SIR,

I have carefully perused the Review of the Life of your friend Robert
Burns,[2] which you kindly transmitted to me; the author has rendered a
substantial service to the poet's memory; and the annexed letters are
all important to the subject. After having expressed this opinion, I
shall not trouble you by commenting upon the publication; but will
confine myself to the request of Mr. Gilbert Burns, that I would furnish
him with my notions upon the best mode of conducting the defence of his
brother's injured reputation; a favourable opportunity being now
afforded him to convey his sentiments to the world, along with a
republication of Dr. Currie's book, which he is about to superintend.
From the respect which I have long felt for the character of the person
who has thus honoured me, and from the gratitude which, as a lover of
poetry, I owe to the genius of his departed relative, I should most
gladly comply with this wish; if I could hope that any suggestions of
mine would be of service to the cause. But, really, I feel it a thing of
much delicacy, to give advice upon this occasion, as it appears to me,
mainly, not a question of opinion, or of taste, but a matter of
conscience. Mr. Gilbert Burns must know, if any man living does, what
his brother was; and no one will deny that he, who possesses this
knowledge, is a man of unimpeachable veracity. He has already spoken to
the world in contradiction of the injurious assertions that have been
made, and has told why he forbore to do this on their first appearance.

[2] _A Review of the Life of Robert Burns, and of various Criticisms on
his Character and Writings_, by Alexander Peterkin, 1814.

If it be deemed adviseable to reprint Dr. Currie's narrative, without
striking out such passages as the author, if he were now alive, would
probably be happy to efface, let there be notes attached to the most
obnoxious of them, in which the misrepresentations may be corrected, and
the exaggerations exposed. I recommend this course, if Dr. Currie's Life
is to be republished, as it now stands, in connexion with the poems and
letters, and especially if prefixed to them; but, in my judgment, it
would be best to copy the example which Mason has given in his second
edition of Gray's works. There, inverting the order which had been
properly adopted, when the Life and Letters were new matter, the poems
are placed first; and the rest takes its place as subsidiary to them. If
this were done in the intended edition of Burns's works, I should
strenuously recommend, that a concise life of the poet be prefixed, from
the pen of Gilbert Burns, who has already given public proof how well
qualified he is for the undertaking. I know no better model as to
proportion, and the degree of detail required, nor, indeed, as to the
general execution, than the life of Milton by Fenton, prefixed to many
editions of the _Paradise Lost_. But a more copious narrative would be
expected from a brother; and some allowance ought to be made, in this
and other respects, for an expectation so natural.

In this prefatory memoir, when the author has prepared himself by
reflecting, that fraternal partiality may have rendered him, in some
points, not so trustworthy as others less favoured by opportunity, it
will be incumbent upon him to proceed candidly and openly, as far as
such a procedure will tend to restore to his brother that portion of
public estimation, of which he appears to have been unjustly deprived.
Nay, when we recall to mind the black things which have been written of
this great man, and the frightful ones that have been insinuated against
him; and, as far as the public knew, till lately, without complaint,
remonstrance, or disavowal, from his nearest relatives; I am not sure
that it would not be best, at this day, explicitly to declare to what
degree Robert Burns had given way to pernicious habits, and, as nearly
as may be, to fix the point to which his moral character had been
degraded. It is a disgraceful feature of the times that this measure
should be necessary; most painful to think that a _brother_ should have
such an office to perform. But, if Gilbert Burns be conscious that the
subject will bear to be so treated, he has no choice; the duty has been
imposed upon him by the errors into which the former biographer has
fallen, in respect to the very principles upon which his work ought to
have been conducted.

I well remember the acute sorrow with which, by my own fire-side, I
first perused Dr. Currie's Narrative, and some of the letters,
particularly of those composed in the latter part of the poet's life. If
my pity for Burns was extreme, this pity did not preclude a strong
indignation, of which he was not the object. If, said I, it were in the
power of a biographer to relate the truth, the _whole_ truth, and
nothing _but_ the truth, the friends and surviving kindred of the
deceased, for the sake of general benefit to mankind, might endure that
such heart-rending communication should be made to the world. But in no
case is this possible; and, in the present, the opportunities of
directly acquiring other than superficial knowledge have been most
scanty; for the writer has barely seen the person who is the subject of
his tale; nor did his avocations allow him to take the pains necessary
for ascertaining what portion of the information conveyed to him was
authentic. So much for facts and actions; and to what purpose relate
them even were they true, if the narrative cannot be heard without
extreme pain; unless they are placed in such a light, and brought
forward in such order, that they shall explain their own laws, and leave
the reader in as little uncertainty as the mysteries of our nature will
allow, respecting the spirit from which they derived their existence,
and which governed the agent? But hear on this pathetic and awful
subject, the poet himself, pleading for those who have transgressed!

    One point must still be greatly dark,
    The moving _why_ they do it,
    And just as lamely can ye mark
    How far, perhaps, they rue it.

    Who made the heart, 'tis _he_ alone
    Decidedly can try us;
    He knows each chord--its various tone,
    Each spring, its various bias.

    Then at the balance let's be mute,
    We never can adjust it;
    What's done we partly may compute,
    But know not what's _resisted_.

How happened it that the recollection of this affecting passage did not
check so amiable a man as Dr. Currie, while he was revealing to the
world the infirmities of its author? He must have known enough of human
nature to be assured that men would be eager to sit in judgment, and
pronounce _decidedly_ upon the guilt or innocence of Burns by his
testimony; nay, that there were multitudes whose main interest in the
allegations would be derived from the incitements which they found
therein to undertake this presumptuous office. And where lies the
collateral benefit, or what ultimate advantage can be expected, to
counteract the injury that the many are thus tempted to do to their own
minds; and to compensate the sorrow which must be fixed in the hearts of
the considerate few, by language that proclaims so much, and provokes
conjectures as unfavourable as imagination can furnish? Here, said I,
being moved beyond what it would become me to express, here is a
revolting account of a man of exquisite genius, and confessedly of many
high moral qualities, sunk into the lowest depths of vice and misery!
But the painful story, notwithstanding its minuteness, is
incomplete,--in essentials it is deficient; so that the most attentive
and sagacious reader cannot explain how a mind, so well established by
knowledge, fell--and continued to fall, without power to prevent or
retard its own ruin.

Would a bosom friend of the author, his counsellor and confessor, have
told such things, if true, as this book contains? and who, but one
possessed of the intimate knowledge which none but a bosom friend can
acquire, could have been justified in making these avowals? Such a one,
himself a pure spirit, having accompanied, as it were, upon wings, the
pilgrim along the sorrowful road which he trod on foot; such a one,
neither hurried down by its slippery descents, nor entangled among its
thorns, nor perplexed by its windings, nor discomfited by its founderous
passages--for the instruction of others--might have delineated, almost
as in a map, the way which the afflicted pilgrim had pursued till the
sad close of his diversified journey. In this manner the venerable
spirit of Isaac Walton was qualified to have retraced the unsteady
course of a highly-gifted man, who, in this lamentable point, and in
versatility of genius, bore no unobvious resemblance to the Scottish
bard; I mean his friend COTTON--whom, notwithstanding all that the sage
must have disapproved in his life, he honoured with the title of son.
Nothing like this, however has the biographer of Burns accomplished;
and, with his means of information, copious as in some respects they
were, it would have been absurd to attempt it. The only motive,
therefore, which could authorize the writing and publishing matter so
distressing to read--is wanting!

Nor is Dr. Currie's performance censurable from these considerations
alone; for information, which would have been of absolute worth if in
his capacity of biographer and editor he had known when to stop short,
is rendered unsatisfactory and inefficacious through the absence of this
reserve, and from being coupled with statements of improbable and
irreconcileable facts. We have the author's letters discharged upon us
in showers; but how few readers will take the trouble of comparing those
letters with each other, and with the other documents of the
publication, in order to come at a genuine knowledge of the writer's
character!--The life of Johnson by Boswell had broken through many
pre-existing delicacies, and afforded the British public an opportunity
of acquiring experience, which before it had happily wanted;
nevertheless, at the time when the ill-selected medley of Burns's
correspondence first appeared, little progress had been made (nor is it
likely that, by the mass of mankind, much ever will be made) in
determining what portion of these confidential communications escapes
the pen in courteous, yet often innocent, compliance--to gratify the
several tastes of correspondents; and as little towards distinguishing
opinions and sentiments uttered for the momentary amusement merely of
the writer's own fancy, from those which his judgment deliberately
approves, and his heart faithfully cherishes. But the subject of this
book was a man of extraordinary genius; whose birth, education, and
employments had placed and kept him in a situation far below that in
which the writers and readers of expensive volumes are usually found.
Critics upon works of fiction have laid it down as a rule that
remoteness of place, in fixing the choice of a subject, and in
prescribing the mode of treating it, is equal in effect to distance of
time;--restraints may be thrown off accordingly. Judge then of the
delusions which artificial distinctions impose, when to a man like
Doctor Currie, writing with views so honourable, the _social condition_
of the individual of whom he was treating, could seem to place him at
such a distance from the exalted reader, that ceremony might he
discarded with him, and his memory sacrificed, as it were, almost
without compunction. The poet was laid where these injuries could not
reach him; but he had a parent, I understand, an admirable woman, still
surviving; a brother like Gilbert Burns!--a widow estimable for her
virtues; and children, at that time infants, with the world before them,
which they must face to obtain a maintenance; who remembered their
father probably with the tenderest affection;--and whose opening minds,
as their years advanced, would become conscious of so many reasons for
admiring him.--Ill-fated child of nature, too frequently thine own
enemy,--unhappy favourite of genius, too often misguided,--this is
indeed to be 'crushed beneath the furrow's weight!'

Why, sir, do I write to you at this length, when all that I had to
express in direct answer to the request, which occasioned this letter,
lay in such narrow compass?--Because having entered upon the subject, I
am unable to quit it!--Your feelings, I trust, go along with mine; and,
rising from this individual case to a general view of the subject, you
will probably agree with me in opinion that biography, though differing
in some essentials from works of fiction, is nevertheless, like them, an
_art_--an art, the laws of which are determined by the imperfections of
our nature, and the constitution of society. Truth is not here, as in
the sciences, and in natural philosophy, to be sought without scruple,
and promulgated for its own sake, upon the mere chance of its being
serviceable; but only for obviously justifying purposes, moral or
intellectual.

Silence is a privilege of the grave, a right of the departed: let him,
therefore, who infringes that right, by speaking publicly of, for, or
against, those who cannot speak for themselves, take heed that he opens
not his mouth without a sufficient sanction. _De mortuis nil nisi
bonum_, is a rule in which these sentiments have been pushed to an
extreme that proves how deeply humanity is interested in maintaining
them. And it was wise to announce the precept thus absolutely; both
because there exist in that same nature, by which it has been dictated,
so many temptations to disregard it,--and because there are powers and
influences, within and without us, that will prevent its being literally
fulfilled--to the suppression of profitable truth. Penalties of law,
conventions of manners, and personal fear, protect the reputation of the
living; and something of this protection is extended to the recently
dead,--who survive, to a certain degree, in their kindred and friends.
Few are so insensible as not to feel this, and not to be actuated by the
feeling. But only to philosophy enlightened by the affections does it
belong justly to estimate the claims of the deceased on the one hand,
and of the present age and future generations, on the other; and to
strike a balance between them.--Such philosophy runs a risk of becoming
extinct among us, if the coarse intrusions into the recesses, the gross
breaches upon the sanctities, of domestic life, to which we have lately
been more and more accustomed, are to be regarded as indications of a
vigorous state of public feeling--favourable to the maintenance of the
liberties of our country.--Intelligent lovers of freedom are from
necessity bold and hardy lovers of truth; but, according to the measure
in which their love is intelligent, is it attended with a finer
discrimination, and a more sensitive delicacy. The wise and good (and
all others being lovers of licence rather than of liberty are in fact
slaves) respect, as one of the noblest characteristics of Englishmen,
that jealousy of familiar approach, which, while it contributes to the
maintenance of private dignity, is one of the most efficacious guardians
of rational public freedom.

The general obligation upon which I have insisted, is especially binding
upon those who undertake the biography of _authors_. Assuredly, there is
no cause why the lives of that class of men should be pried into with
the same diligent curiosity, and laid open with the same disregard of
reserve, which may sometimes be expedient in composing the history of
men who have borne an active part in the world. Such thorough knowledge
of the good and bad qualities of these latter, as can only be obtained
by a scrutiny of their private lives, conduces to explain not only their
own public conduct, but that of those with whom they have acted. Nothing
of this applies to authors, considered merely as authors. Our business
is with their books,--to understand and to enjoy them. And, of poets
more especially, it is true--that, if their works be good, they contain
within themselves all that is necessary to their being comprehended and
relished. It should seem that the ancients thought in this manner; for
of the eminent Greek and Roman poets, few and scanty memorials were, I
believe, ever prepared; and fewer still are preserved. It is delightful
to read what, in the happy exercise of his own genius, Horace chooses to
communicate of himself and his friends; but I confess I am not so much a
lover of knowledge, independent of its quality, as to make it likely
that it would much rejoice me, were I to hear that records of the Sabine
poet and his contemporaries, composed upon the Boswellian plan, had been
unearthed among the ruins of Herculaneum. You will interpret what I am
writing, _liberally_. With respect to the light which such a discovery
might throw upon Roman manners, there would be reasons to desire it: but
I should dread to disfigure the beautiful ideal of the memories of those
illustrious persons with incongruous features, and to sully the
imaginative purity of their classical works with gross and trivial
recollections. The least weighty objection to heterogeneous details, is
that they are mainly superfluous, and therefore an incumbrance.

But you will perhaps accuse me of refining too much; and it is, I own,
comparatively of little importance, while we are engaged in reading the
_Iliad_, the _Eneid_, the tragedies of _Othello_ and _King Lear_,
whether the authors of these poems were good or bad men; whether they
lived happily or miserably. Should a thought of the kind cross our
minds, there would be no doubt, if irresistible external evidence did
not decide the question unfavourably, that men of such transcendant
genius were both good and happy: and if, unfortunately, it had been on
record that they were otherwise, sympathy with the fate of their
fictitious personages would banish the unwelcome truth whenever it
obtruded itself, so that it would but slightly disturb our pleasure. Far
otherwise is it with that class of poets, the principal charm of whose
writings depends upon the familiar knowledge which they convey of the
personal feelings of their authors. This is eminently the case with the
effusions of Burns;--in the small quantity of narrative that he has
given, he himself bears no inconsiderable part, and he has produced no
drama. Neither the subjects of his poems, nor his manner of handling
them, allow us long to forget their author. On the basis of his human
character he has reared a poetic one, which with more or less
distinctness presents itself to view in almost every part of his
earlier, and, in my estimation, his most valuable verses. This poetic
fabric, dug out of the quarry of genuine humanity, is airy and
spiritual:--and though the materials, in some parts, are coarse, and the
disposition is often fantastic and irregular, yet the whole is agreeable
and strikingly attractive. Plague, then, upon your remorseless hunters
after matter of fact (who, after all, rank among the blindest of human
beings) when they would convince you that the foundations of this
admirable edifice are hollow; and that its frame is unsound! Granting
that all which has been raked up to the prejudice of Burns were
literally true; and that it added, which it does not, to our better
understanding of human nature and human life (for that genius is not
incompatible with vice, and that vice leads to misery--the more acute
from the sensibilities which are the elements of genius--we needed not
those communications to inform us) how poor would have been the
compensation for the deduction made, by this extrinsic knowledge, from
the intrinsic efficacy of his poetry--to please, and to instruct!

In illustration of this sentiment, permit me to remind you that it is
the privilege of poetic genius to catch, under certain restrictions of
which perhaps at the time of its being exerted it is but dimly
conscious, a spirit of pleasure wherever it can be found,--in the walks
of nature, and in the business of men.--The poet, trusting to primary
instincts, luxuriates among the felicities of love and wine, and is
enraptured while he describes the fairer aspects of war: nor does he
shrink from the company of the passion of love though immoderate--from
convivial pleasure though intemperate--nor from the presence of war
though savage, and recognized as the handmaid of desolation. Frequently
and admirably has Burns given way to these impulses of nature; both with
reference to himself and in describing the condition of others. Who, but
some impenetrable dunce or narrow-minded puritan in works of art, ever
read without delight the picture which he has drawn of the convivial
exaltation of the rustic adventurer, Tam o'Shanter? The poet fears not
to tell the reader in the outset that his hero was a desperate and
sottish drunkard, whose excesses were frequent as his opportunities.
This reprobate sits down to his cups, while the storm is roaring, and
heaven and earth are in confusion;--the night is driven on by song and
tumultuous noise--laughter and jest thicken as the beverage improves
upon the palate--conjugal fidelity archly bends to the service of
general benevolence--selfishness is not absent, but wearing the mask of
social cordiality--and, while these various elements of humanity are
blended into one proud and happy composition of elated spirits, the
anger of the tempest without doors only heightens and sets off the
enjoyment within.--I pity him who cannot perceive that, in all this,
though there was no moral purpose, there is a moral effect.

    Kings may be blest, but Tam was glorious,
    O'er a' the _ills_ of life victorious.

What a lesson do these words convey of charitable indulgence for the
vicious habits of the principal actor in this scene, and of those who
resemble him!--Men who to the rigidly virtuous are objects almost of
loathing, and whom therefore they cannot serve! The poet, penetrating
the unsightly and disgusting surfaces of things, has unveiled with
exquisite skill the finer ties of imagination and feeling, that often
bind these beings to practices productive of so much unhappiness to
themselves, and to those whom it is their duty to cherish;--and, as far
as he puts the reader into possession of this intelligent sympathy, he
qualifies him for exercising a salutary influence over the minds of
those who are thus deplorably enslaved.

Not less successfully does Burns avail himself of his own character and
situation in society, to construct out of them a poetic
self,--introduced as a dramatic personage--for the purpose of
inspiriting his incidents, diversifying his pictures, recommending his
opinions, and giving point to his sentiments. His brother can set me
right if I am mistaken when I express a belief that, at the time when he
wrote his story of _Death and Dr. Hornbook_, he had very rarely been
intoxicated, or perhaps even much exhilarated by liquor. Yet how happily
does he lead his reader into that track of sensations! and with what
lively humour does he describe the disorder of his senses and the
confusion of his understanding, put to test by a deliberate attempt to
count the horns of the moon!

      But whether she had three or four
    He could na' tell.

Behold a sudden apparition that disperses this disorder, and in a moment
chills him into possession of himself! Coming upon no more important
mission than the grisly phantom was charged with, what mode of
introduction could have been more efficient or appropriate?

But, in those early poems, through the veil of assumed habits and
pretended qualities, enough of the real man appears to show that he was
conscious of sufficient cause to dread his own passions, and to bewail
his errors! We have rejected as false sometimes in the letter, and of
necessity as false in the spirit, many of the testimonies that others
have borne against him; but, by his own hand--in words the import of
which cannot be mistaken--it has been recorded that the order of his
life but faintly corresponded with the clearness of his views. It is
probable that he would have proved a still greater poet if, by strength
of reason, he could have controlled the propensities which his
sensibility engendered; but he would have been a poet of a different
class: and certain it is, had that desirable restraint been early
established, many peculiar beauties which enrich his verses could never
have existed, and many accessary influences, which contribute greatly to
their effect, would have been wanting. For instance, the momentous truth
of the passage already quoted, 'One point must still be greatly dark,'
&c. could not possibly have been conveyed with such pathetic force by
any poet that ever lived, speaking in his own voice; unless it were felt
that, like Burns, he was a man who preached from the text of his own
errors; and whose wisdom, beautiful as a flower that might have risen
from seed sown from above, was in fact a scion from the root of personal
suffering. Whom did the poet intend should be thought of as occupying
that grave over which, after modestly setting forth the moral
discernment and warm affections of its 'poor inhabitant,' it is supposed
to be inscribed that

    --Thoughtless follies laid him low,
    And stained his name.

Who but himself,--himself anticipating the too probable termination of
his own course? Here is a sincere and solemn avowal--a public
declaration _from his own will_--a confession at once devout, poetical,
and human--a history in the shape of a prophecy! What more was required
of the biographer than to have put his seal to the writing, testifying
that the foreboding had been realized, and that the record was
authentic?--Lastingly is it to be regretted in respect to this memorable
being, that inconsiderate intrusion has not left us at liberty to enjoy
his mirth, or his love; his wisdom or his wit; without an admixture of
useless, irksome, and painful details, that take from his poems so much
of that right--which, with all his carelessness, and frequent breaches
of self-respect, he was not negligent to maintain for them--the right of
imparting solid instruction through the medium of unalloyed pleasure.

You will have noticed that my observations have hitherto been confined
to Dr. Currie's book: if, by fraternal piety, the poison can be sucked
out of this wound, those inflicted by meaner hands may be safely left to
heal of themselves. Of the other writers who have given their names,
only one lays claim to even a slight acquaintance with the author, whose
moral character they take upon them publicly to anatomize. The
_Edinburgh_ reviewer--and him I single out because the author of the
vindication of Burns has treated his offences with comparative
indulgence, to which he has no claim, and which, from whatever cause it
might arise, has interfered with the dispensation of justice--the
_Edinburgh_ reviewer thus writes:[3] 'The _leading vice_ in Burns's
character, and the _cardinal deformity_, indeed, of ALL his productions,
was his contempt, or affectation of contempt, for prudence, decency, and
regularity, and his admiration of thoughtlessness, oddity, and vehement
sensibility: his belief, in short, in the dispensing power of genius and
social feeling in all matters of morality and common sense;' adding,
that these vices and erroneous notions 'have communicated to a great
part of his productions a character of immorality at once contemptible
and hateful.' We are afterwards told, that he is _perpetually_ making a
parade of his thoughtlessness, inflammability, and imprudence; and, in
the next paragraph, that he is _perpetually_ doing something else; i.e.
'boasting of his own independence.'--Marvellous address in the
commission of faults! not less than Caesar showed in the management of
business; who, it is said, could dictate to three secretaries upon three
several affairs, at one and the same moment! But, to be serious. When a
man, self-elected into the office of a public judge of the literature
and life of his contemporaries, can have the audacity to go these
lengths in framing a summary of the contents of volumes that are
scattered over every quarter of the globe, and extant in almost every
cottage of Scotland, to give the lie to his labours; we must not wonder
if, in the plenitude of his concern for the interests of abstract
morality, the infatuated slanderer should have found no obstacle to
prevent him from insinuating that the poet, whose writings are to this
degree stained and disfigured, was 'one of the sons of fancy and of
song, who spend in vain superfluities the money that belongs of right to
the pale industrious tradesman and his famishing infants; and who rave
about friendship and philosophy in a tavern, while their wives' hearts,'
&c. &c.

[3] From Mr. Peterkin's pamphlet, who vouches for the accuracy of his
citations; omitting, however, to apologize for their length.

It is notorious that this persevering Aristarch,[4] as often as a work
of original genius comes before him, avails himself of that opportunity
to re-proclaim to the world the narrow range of his own comprehension.
The happy self-complacency, the unsuspecting vain-glory, and the cordial
_bonhommie_, with which this part of his duty is performed, do not leave
him free to complain of being hardly dealt with if any one should
declare the truth, by pronouncing much of the foregoing attack upon the
intellectual and moral character of Burns, to be the trespass (for
reasons that will shortly appear, it cannot be called the venial
trespass) of a mind obtuse, superficial, and inept. What portion of
malignity such a mind is susceptible of, the judicious admirers of the
poet, and the discerning friends of the man, will not trouble themselves
to enquire; but they will wish that this evil principle had possessed
more sway than they are at liberty to assign to it; the offender's
condition would not then have been so hopeless. For malignity _selects_
its diet; but where is to be found the nourishment from which vanity
will revolt? Malignity may be appeased by triumphs real or supposed, and
will then sleep, or yield its place to a repentance producing
dispositions of good will, and desires to make amends for past injury;
but vanity is restless, reckless, intractable, unappeasable, insatiable.

[4] A friend, who chances to be present while the author is correcting
the proof sheets, observes that Aristarchus is libelled by this
application of his name, and advises that 'Zoilus' should be
substituted. The question lies between spite and presumption; and it is
not easy to decide upon a case where the claims of each party are so
strong: but the name of Aristarch, who, simple man! would allow no verse
to pass for Homer's which he did not approve of, is retained, for
reasons that will be deemed cogent.

Fortunate is it for the world when this spirit incites only to actions
that meet with an adequate punishment in derision; such, as in a scheme
of poetical justice, would be aptly requited by assigning to the agents,
when they quit this lower world, a station in that not uncomfortable
limbo--the Paradise of Fools! But, assuredly, we shall have here another
proof that ridicule is not the test of truth, if it prevent us from
perceiving, that _depravity_ has no ally more active, more inveterate,
nor, from the difficulty of divining to what kind and degree of
extravagance it may prompt, more pernicious than self-conceit. Where
this alliance is too obvious to be disputed, the culprit ought not to be
allowed the benefit of contempt--as a shelter from detestation; much
less should he be permitted to plead, in excuse for his transgressions,
that especial malevolence had little or no part in them. It is not
recorded, that the ancient, who set fire to the temple of Diana, had a
particular dislike to the goddess of chastity, or held idolatry in
abhorrence: he was a fool, an egregious fool, but not the less, on that
account, a most odious monster. The tyrant who is described as having
rattled his chariot along a bridge of brass over the heads of his
subjects, was, no doubt, inwardly laughed at; but what if this mock
Jupiter, not satisfied with an empty noise of his own making, had amused
himself with throwing fire-brands upon the house-tops, as a substitute
for lightning; and, from his elevation, had hurled stones upon the heads
of his people, to show that he was a master of the destructive bolt, as
well as of the harmless voice of the thunder!--The lovers of all that is
honourable to humanity have recently had occasion to rejoice over the
downfall of an intoxicated despot, whose vagaries furnish more solid
materials by which the philosopher will exemplify how strict is the
connection between the ludicrously, and the terribly fantastic. We know,
also, that Robespierre was one of the vainest men that the most vain
country upon earth has produced;--and from this passion, and from that
cowardice which naturally connects itself with it, flowed the horrors of
his administration. It is a descent, which I fear you will scarcely
pardon, to compare these redoubtable enemies of mankind with the
anonymous conductor of a perishable publication. But the moving spirit
is the same in them all; and, as far as difference of circumstances, and
disparity of powers, will allow, manifests itself in the same way; by
professions of reverence for truth, and concern for duty--carried to the
giddiest heights of ostentation, while practice seems to have no other
reliance than on the omnipotence of falsehood.

The transition from a vindication of Robert Burns to these hints for a
picture of the intellectual deformity of one who has grossly outraged
his memory, is too natural to require an apology: but I feel, sir, that
I stand in need of indulgence for having detained you so long. Let me
beg that you would impart to any judicious friends of the poet as much
of the contents of these pages as you think will be serviceable to the
cause; but do not give publicity to any _portion_ of them, unless it be
thought probable that an open circulation of the whole may be useful.[5]
The subject is delicate, and some of the opinions are of a kind, which,
if torn away from the trunk that supports them, will be apt to wither,
and, in that state, to contract poisonous qualities; like the branches
of the yew, which, while united by a living spirit to their native tree,
are neither noxious, nor without beauty; but, being dissevered and cast
upon the ground, become deadly to the cattle that incautiously feed upon
them.

To Mr. Gilbert Burns, especially, let my sentiments be conveyed, with my
sincere respects, and best wishes for the success of his praise-worthy
enterprize. And if, through modest apprehension, he should doubt of his
own ability to do justice to his brother's memory, let him take
encouragement from the assurance that the most odious part of the
charges owed its credit to the silence of those who were deemed best
entitled to speak; and who, it was thought, would not have been mute,
had they believed that they could speak beneficially. Moreover, it may
be relied on as a general truth, which will not escape his recollection,
that tasks of this kind are not so arduous as, to those who are tenderly
concerned in their issue, they may at first appear to be; for, if the
many be hasty to condemn, there is a re-action of generosity which
stimulates them--when forcibly summoned--to redress the wrong; and, for
the sensible part of mankind, _they_ are neither dull to understand, nor
slow to make allowance for, the aberrations of men, whose intellectual
powers do honour to their species.

               I am, dear Sir, respectfully yours,
                        WILLIAM WORDSWORTH.

Rydal Mount, January, 1816.

[5] It was deemed that it would be so, and the letter is published
accordingly.



(b) OF MONUMENTS TO LITERARY MEN.

_Letter to a Friend_.

                               Rydal Mount, April 21. 1819.

SIR,

The letter with which you have honoured me, bearing date the 31st of
March, I did not receive until yesterday; and, therefore, could not
earlier express my regret that, notwithstanding a cordial approbation of
the feeling which has prompted the undertaking, and a genuine sympathy
in admiration with the gentlemen who have subscribed towards a Monument
for Burns, I cannot unite my humble efforts with theirs in promoting
this object.

Sincerely can I affirm that my respect for the motives which have swayed
these gentlemen has urged me to trouble you with a brief statement of
the reasons of my dissent.

In the first place: Eminent poets appear to me to be a class of men, who
less than any others stand in need of such marks of distinction; and
hence I infer, that this mode of acknowledging their merits is one for
which they would not, in general, be themselves solicitous. Burns did,
indeed, erect a monument to Fergusson; but I apprehend his gratitude
took this course because he felt that Fergusson had been prematurely cut
off, and that his fame bore no proportion to his deserts. In neither of
these particulars can the fate of Burns justly be said to resemble that
of his predecessor: his years were indeed few, but numerous enough to
allow him to spread his name far and wide, and to take permanent root in
the affections of his countrymen; in short, he has raised for himself a
monument so conspicuous, and of such imperishable materials, as to
render a local fabric of stone superfluous, and, therefore,
comparatively insignificant.

But why, if this be granted, should not his fond admirers be permitted
to indulge their feelings, and at the same time to embellish the
metropolis of Scotland? If this may be justly objected to, and in my
opinion it may, it is because the showy tributes to genius are apt to
draw off attention from those efforts by which the interests of
literature might be substantially promoted; and to exhaust public spirit
in comparatively unprofitable exertions, when the wrongs of literary men
are crying out for redress on all sides. It appears to me, that towards
no class of his Majesty's subjects are the laws so unjust and
oppressive. The attention of Parliament has lately been directed, by
petition, to the exaction of copies of newly published works for certain
libraries; but this is a trifling evil compared with the restrictions
imposed upon the duration of copyright, which, in respect to works
profound in philosophy, or elevated, abstracted, and refined in
imagination, is tantamount almost to an exclusion of the author from all
pecuniary recompence; and, even where works of imagination and manners
are so constituted as to be adapted to immediate demand, as is the case
of those of Burns, justly may it be asked, what reason can be assigned
that an author who dies young should have the prospect before him of his
children being left to languish in poverty and dependence, while
booksellers are revelling in luxury upon gains derived from works which
are the delight of many nations.

This subject might be carried much further, and we might ask, if the
course of things insured immediate wealth, and accompanying rank and
honours--honours and wealth often entailed on their families to men
distinguished in the other learned professions,--why the laws should
interfere to take away those pecuniary emoluments which are the natural
inheritance of the posterity of authors, whose pursuits, if directed by
genius and sustained by industry, yield in importance to none in which
the members of a community can be engaged?

But to recur to the proposal in your letter. I would readily assist,
according to my means, in erecting a monument to the memory of the Poet
Chatterton, who, with transcendent genius, was cut off while he was yet
a boy in years; this, could he have anticipated the tribute, might have
soothed his troubled spirit, as an expression of general belief in the
existence of those powers which he was too impatient and too proud to
develope. At all events, it might prove an awful and a profitable
warning. I should also be glad to see a monument erected on the banks of
Loch Leven to the memory of the innocent and tender-hearted Michael
Bruce, who, after a short life, spent in poverty and obscurity, was
called away too early to have left behind him more than a few
trustworthy promises of pure affections and unvitiated imagination.

Let the gallant defenders of our country be liberally rewarded with
monuments; their noble actions cannot speak for themselves, as the
writings of men of genius are able to do. Gratitude in respect to them
stands in need of admonition; and the very multitude of heroic
competitors which increases the demand for this sentiment towards our
naval and military defenders, considered as a body, is injurious to the
claims of individuals. Let our great statesmen and eminent lawyers, our
learned and eloquent divines, and they who have successfully devoted
themselves to the abstruser sciences, be rewarded in like manner; but
towards departed genius, exerted in the fine arts, and more especially
in poetry, I humbly think, in the present state of things, the sense of
our obligation to it may more satisfactorily be expressed by means
pointing directly to the general benefit of literature.

Trusting that these opinions of an individual will be candidly
interpreted, I have the honour to be

                 Your obedient servant,
                         W. WORDSWORTH.[6]

[6] _Memoirs_, ii. 88-91.



(_c_) OF SIR THOMAS BROWNE, A MONUMENT TO SOUTHEY, &c.

_Letter to John Peace, Esq., City Library, Bristol_.

                           Rydal Mount, April 8. 1844.

MY DEAR MR. PEACE,

You have gratified me by what you say of Sir Thomas Browne. I possess
his _Religio Medici, Christian Morals, Vulgar Errors_, &c. in separate
publications, and value him highly as a most original author. I almost
regret that you did not add his Treatise upon _Urn Burial_ to your
publication; it is not long, and very remarkable for the vigour of mind
that it displays.

Have you had any communication with Mr. Cottle upon the subject of the
subscription which he has set on foot for the erection of a _Monument_
to Southey in Bristol Cathedral? We are all engaged in a like tribute to
be placed in the parish church of Keswick. For my own part, I am not
particularly fond of placing monuments in _churches_, at least in modern
times. I should prefer their being put in public places in the town with
which the party was connected by birth or otherwise; or in the country,
if he were a person who lived apart from the bustle of the world. And in
Southey's case, I should have liked better a bronze bust, in some
accessible and not likely to be disturbed part of St. Vincent's Rocks,
as a site, than the cathedral.

Thanks for your congratulations upon my birthday. I have now entered,
awful thought! upon my 75th year.

God bless you, and believe me, my dear friend,

          Ever faithfully yours,
                 WM. WORDSWORTH.

Mrs. Wordsworth begs her kind remembrance, as does Miss Fenwick, who is
with us.[7]

[7] _Memoirs_, ii. 91-2.



II. UPON EPITAPHS.

_(a)_ FROM 'THE FRIEND.'

_(b and c)_ FROM THE AUTHOR'S MSS.



(_a_) UPON EPITAPHS.


_From 'The Friend,' Feb_. 22, 1810.

It needs scarcely be said, that an Epitaph presupposes a Monument, upon
which it is to be engraven. Almost all Nations have wished that certain
external signs should point out the places where their dead are
interred. Among savage tribes unacquainted with letters this has mostly
been done either by rude stones placed near the graves, or by mounds of
earth raised over them. This custom proceeded obviously from a twofold
desire; first, to guard the remains of the deceased from irreverent
approach or from savage violation: and, secondly, to preserve their
memory. 'Never any,' says Camden, 'neglected burial but some savage
nations; as the Bactrians, which cast their dead to the dogs; some
varlet philosophers, as Diogenes, who desired to be devoured of fishes;
some dissolute courtiers, as Maecenas, who was wont to say, Non tumulum
euro; sepelit natura relictos.

     I'm careless of a grave:--Nature her dead will save.

As soon as nations had learned the use of letters, epitaphs were
inscribed upon these monuments; in order that their intention might be
more surely and adequately fulfilled. I have derived monuments and
epitaphs from two sources of feeling: but these do in fact resolve
themselves into one. The invention of epitaphs, Weever, in his
_Discourse of Funeral Monuments_, says rightly, 'proceeded from the
presage of fore-feeling of immortality, implanted in all men naturally,
and is referred to the scholars of Linus the Theban poet, who flourished
about the year of the world two thousand seven hundred; who first
bewailed this Linus their Master, when he was slain, in doleful verses,
then called of him Aelina, afterwards Epitaphia, for that they were
first sung at burials, after engraved upon the sepulchres.'

And, verily, without the consciousness of a principle of immortality in
the human soul, Man could never have had awakened in him the desire to
live in the remembrance of his fellows: mere love, or the yearning of
kind towards kind, could not have produced it. The dog or horse perishes
in the field, or in the stall, by the side of his companions, and is
incapable of anticipating the sorrow with which his surrounding
associates shall bemoan his death, or pine for his loss; he cannot
pre-conceive this regret, he can form no thought of it; and therefore
cannot possibly have a desire to leave such regret or remembrance behind
him. Add to the principle of love which exists in the inferior animals,
the faculty of reason which exists in Man alone; will the conjunction of
these account for the desire? Doubtless it is a necessary consequence of
this conjunction; yet not I think as a direct result, but only to be
come at through an intermediate thought, viz. that of an intimation or
assurance within us, that some part of our nature is imperishable. At
least the precedence, in order of birth, of one feeling to the other, is
unquestionable. If we look back upon the days of childhood, we shall
find that the time is not in remembrance when, with respect to our own
individual Being, the mind was without this assurance; whereas, the wish
to be remembered by our friends or kindred after death, or even in
absence, is, as we shall discover, a sensation that does not form itself
till the _social_ feelings have been developed, and the Reason has
connected itself with a wide range of objects. Forlorn, and cut off from
communication with the best part of his nature, must that man be, who
should derive the sense of immortality, as it exists in the mind of a
child, from the same unthinking gaiety or liveliness of animal spirits
with which the lamb in the meadow, or any other irrational creature is
endowed; who should ascribe it, in short, to blank ignorance in the
child; to an inability arising from the imperfect state of his faculties
to come, in any point of his being, into contact with a notion of death;
or to an unreflecting acquiescence in what had been instilled into him!
Has such an unfolder of the mysteries of nature, though he may have
forgotten his former self, ever noticed the early, obstinate, and
unappeasable inquisitiveness of children upon the subject of
origination? This single fact proves outwardly the monstrousness of
those suppositions: for, if we had no direct external testimony that the
minds of very young children meditate feelingly upon death and
immortality, these inquiries, which we all know they are perpetually
making concerning the _whence_, do necessarily include correspondent
habits of interrogation concerning the _whither_. Origin and tendency
are notions inseparably co-relative. Never did a child stand by the side
of a running stream, pondering within himself what power was the feeder
of the perpetual current, from what never-wearied sources the body of
water was supplied, but he must have been inevitably propelled to follow
this question by another: 'Towards what abyss is it in progress? what
receptacle can contain the mighty influx?' And the spirit of the answer
must have been, though the word might be sea or ocean, accompanied
perhaps with an image gathered from a map, or from the real object in
nature--these might have been the _letter_, but the _spirit_ of the
answer must have been _as_ inevitably,--a receptacle without bounds or
dimensions;--nothing less than infinity. We may, then, be justified in
asserting, that the sense of immortality, if not a co-existent and twin
birth with Reason, is among the earliest of her offspring: and we may
further assert, that from these conjoined, and under their countenance,
the human affections are gradually formed and opened out. This is not
the place to enter into the recesses of these investigations; but the
subject requires me here to make a plain avowal, that, for my own part,
it is to me inconceivable, that the sympathies of love towards each
other, which grow with our growth, could ever attain any new strength,
or even preserve the old, after we had received from the outward senses
the impression of death, and were in the habit of having that impression
daily renewed and its accompanying feeling brought home to ourselves,
and to those we love; if the same were not counteracted by those
communications with our internal Being, which are anterior to all these
experiences, and with which revelation coincides, and has through that
coincidence alone (for otherwise it could not possess it) a power to
affect us. I confess, with me the conviction is absolute, that, if the
impression and sense of death were not thus counterbalanced, such a
hollowness would pervade the whole system of things, such a want of
correspondence and consistency, a disproportion so astounding betwixt
means and ends, that there could be no repose, no joy. Were we to grow
up unfostered by this genial warmth, a frost would chill the spirit, so
penetrating and powerful, that there could be no motions of the life of
love; and infinitely less could we have any wish to be remembered after
we had passed away from a world in which each man had moved about like a
shadow.--If, then, in a creature endowed with the faculties of foresight
and reason, the social affections could not have unfolded themselves
uncountenanced by the faith that Man is an immortal being; and if,
consequently, neither could the individual dying have had a desire to
survive in the remembrance of his fellows, nor on their side could they
have felt a wish to preserve for future times vestiges of the departed;
it follows, as a final inference, that without the belief in
immortality, wherein these several desires originate, neither monuments
nor epitaphs, in affectionate or laudatory commemoration of the
deceased, could have existed in the world.

Simonides, it is related, upon landing in a strange country, found the
corpse of an unknown person lying by the sea-side; he buried it, and was
honoured throughout Greece for the piety of that act. Another ancient
Philosopher, chancing to fix his eyes upon a dead body, regarded the
same with slight, if not with contempt; saying, 'See the shell of the
flown bird!' But it is not to be supposed that the moral and
tender-hearted Simonides was incapable of the lofty movements of
thought, to which that other Sage gave way at the moment while his soul
was intent only upon the indestructible being; nor, on the other hand,
that he, in whose sight a lifeless human body was of no more value than
the worthless shell from which the living fowl had departed, would not,
in a different mood of mind, have been affected by those earthly
considerations which had incited the philosophic Poet to the performance
of that pious duty. And with regard to this latter we may be assured
that, if he had been destitute of the capability of communing with the
more exalted thoughts that appertain to human nature, he would have
cared no more for the corpse of the stranger than for the dead body of a
seal or porpoise which might have been cast up by the waves. We respect
the corporeal frame of Man, not merely because it is the habitation of a
rational, but of an immortal Soul. Each of these Sages was in sympathy
with the best feelings of our nature; feelings which, though they seem
opposite to each other, have another and a finer connection than that of
contrast.--It is a connection formed through the subtle process by
which, both in the natural and the moral world, qualities pass
insensibly into their contraries, and things revolve upon each other.
As, in sailing upon the orb of this planet, a voyage towards the regions
where the sun sets, conducts gradually to the quarter where we have been
accustomed to behold it come forth at its rising; and, in like manner, a
voyage towards the east, the birth-place in our imagination of the
morning, leads finally to the quarter where the sun is last seen when he
departs from our eyes; so the contemplative Soul, travelling in the
direction of mortality, advances to the country of everlasting life;
and, in like manner, may she continue to explore those cheerful tracts,
till she is brought back, for her advantage and benefit, to the land of
transitory things--of sorrow and of tears.

On a midway point, therefore, which commands the thoughts and feelings
of the two Sages whom we have represented in contrast, does the Author
of that species of composition, the laws of which it is our present
purpose to explain, take his stand. Accordingly, recurring to the
twofold desire of guarding the remains of the deceased and preserving
their memory, it may be said that a sepulchral monument is a tribute to
a man as a human being; and that an epitaph (in the ordinary meaning
attached to the word) includes this general feeling and something more;
and is a record to preserve the memory of the dead, as a tribute due to
his individual worth, for a satisfaction to the sorrowing hearts of the
survivors, and for the common benefit of the living: which record is to
be accomplished, not in a general manner, but, where it can, in _close
connection with the bodily remains of the deceased_: and these, it may
be added, among the modern nations of Europe, are deposited within, or
contiguous to, their places of worship. In ancient times, as is well
known, it was the custom to bury the dead beyond the walls of towns and
cities; and among the Greeks and Romans they were frequently interred by
the way-sides.

I could here pause with pleasure, and invite the Reader to indulge with
me in contemplation of the advantages which must have attended such a
practice. We might ruminate upon the beauty which the monuments, thus
placed, must have borrowed from the surrounding images of nature--from
the trees, the wild flowers, from a stream running perhaps within sight
or hearing, from the beaten road stretching its weary length hard by.
Many tender similitudes must these objects have presented to the mind of
the traveller leaning upon one of the tombs, or reposing in the coolness
of its shade, whether he had halted from weariness or in compliance with
the invitation, 'Pause, Traveller!' so often found upon the monuments.
And to its epitaph also must have been supplied strong appeals to
visible appearances or immediate impressions, lively and affecting
analogies of life as a journey--death as a sleep overcoming the tired
wayfarer--of misfortune as a storm that falls suddenly upon him--of
beauty as a flower that passeth away, or of innocent pleasure as one
that may be gathered--of virtue that standeth firm as a rock against the
beating waves;--of hope 'undermined insensibly like the poplar by the
side of the river that has fed it,' or blasted in a moment like a
pine-tree by the stroke of lightning upon the mountain-top--of
admonitions and heart-stirring remembrances, like a refreshing breeze
that comes without warning, or the taste of the waters of an unexpected
fountain. These, and similar suggestions, must have given, formerly, to
the language of the senseless stone a voice enforced and endeared by the
benignity of that Nature with which it was in unison.--We, in modern
times, have lost much of these advantages; and they are but in a small
degree counterbalanced to the inhabitants of large towns and cities, by
the custom of depositing the dead within, or contiguous to, their places
of worship; however splendid or imposing may be the appearance of those
edifices, or however interesting or salutary the recollections
associated with them. Even were it not true that tombs lose their
monitory virtue when thus obtruded upon the notice of men occupied with
the cares of the world, and too often sullied and defiled by those
cares, yet still, when death is in our thoughts, nothing can make amends
for the want of the soothing influences of Nature, and for the absence
of those types of renovation and decay, which the fields and woods offer
to the notice of the serious and contemplative mind. To feel the force
of this sentiment, let a man only compare in imagination the unsightly
manner in which our monuments are crowded together in the busy, noisy,
unclean, and almost grassless church-yard of a large town, with the
still seclusion of a Turkish cemetery, in some remote place; and yet
further sanctified by the grove of cypress in which it is embosomed.
Thoughts in the same temper as these have already been expressed with
true sensibility by an ingenuous Poet of the present day. The subject of
his poem is 'All Saints Church, Derby:' he has been deploring the
forbidding and unseemly appearance of its burial-ground, and uttering a
wish, that in past times the practice had been adopted of interring the
inhabitants of large towns in the country.--

    Then in some rural, calm, sequestered spot,
    Where healing Nature her benignant look
    Ne'er changes, save at that lorn season, when,
    With tresses drooping o'er her sable stole,
    She yearly mourns the mortal doom of man,
    Her noblest work, (so Israel's virgins erst,
    With annual moan upon the mountains wept
    Their fairest gone,) there in that rural scene,
    So placid, so congenial to the wish
    The Christian feels, of peaceful rest within
    The silent grave, I would have stayed:

       *       *       *       *       *

    --wandered forth, where the cold dew of heaven
    Lay on the humbler graves around, what time
    The pale moon gazed upon the turfy mounds,
    Pensive, as though like me, in lonely muse,
    Twere brooding on the dead inhumed beneath.
    There while with him, the holy man of Uz,
    O'er human destiny I sympathised,
    Counting the long, long periods prophecy
    Decrees to roll, ere the great day arrives
    Of resurrection, oft the blue-eyed Spring
    Had met me with her blossoms, as the Dove,
    Of old, returned with olive leaf, to cheer
    The Patriarch mourning o'er a world destroyed:
    And I would bless her visit; for to me
    'Tis sweet to trace the consonance that links
    As one, the works of Nature and the word
    Of God.--JOHN EDWARDS.

A village church-yard, lying as it does in the lap of Nature, may indeed
be most favourably contrasted with that of a town of crowded population;
and sepulture therein combines many of the best tendencies which belong
to the mode practised by the Ancients, with others peculiar to itself.
The sensations of pious cheerfulness, which attend the celebration of
the sabbath-day in rural places, are profitably chastised by the sight
of the graves of kindred and friends, gathered together in that general
home towards which the thoughtful yet happy spectators themselves are
journeying. Hence a parish-church, in the stillness of the country, is a
visible centre of a community of the living and the dead; a point to
which are habitually referred the nearest concerns of both.

As, then, both in cities and villages, the dead are deposited in close
connection with our places of worship, with us the composition of an
epitaph naturally turns, still more than among the nations of antiquity,
upon the most serious and solemn affections of the human mind; upon
departed worth--upon personal or social sorrow and admiration--upon
religion, individual and social--upon time, and upon eternity.
Accordingly, it suffices, in ordinary cases, to secure a composition of
this kind from censure, that it contain nothing that shall shock or be
inconsistent with this spirit. But, to entitle an epitaph to praise,
more than this is necessary. It ought to contain some thought or feeling
belonging to the mortal or immortal part of our nature touchingly
expressed; and if that be done, however general or even trite the
sentiment may be, every man of pure mind will read the words with
pleasure and gratitude. A husband bewails a wife; a parent breathes a
sigh of disappointed hope over a lost child; a son utters a sentiment of
filial reverence for a departed father or mother; a friend perhaps
inscribes an encomium recording the companionable qualities, or the
solid virtues, of the tenant of the grave, whose departure has left a
sadness upon his memory. This and a pious admonition to the living, and
a humble expression of Christian confidence in immortality, is the
language of a thousand church-yards; and it does not often happen that
anything, in a greater degree discriminate or appropriate to the dead or
to the living, is to be found in them. This want of discrimination has
been ascribed by Dr. Johnson, in his Essay upon the epitaphs of Pope, to
two causes; first, the scantiness of the objects of human praise; and,
secondly, the want of variety in the characters of men; or, to use his
own words, 'to the fact, that the greater part of mankind have no
character at all.' Such language may be holden without blame among the
generalities of common conversation; but does not become a critic and a
moralist speaking seriously upon a serious subject. The objects of
admiration in human nature are not scanty, but abundant: and every man
has a character of his own, to the eye that has skill to perceive it.
The real cause of the acknowledged want of discrimination in sepulchral
memorials is this: That to analyse the characters of others, especially
of those whom we love, is not a common or natural employment of men at
any time. We are not anxious unerringly to understand the constitution
of the minds of those who have soothed, who have cheered, who have
supported us: with whom we have been long and daily pleased or
delighted. The affections are their own justification. The light of love
in our hearts is a satisfactory evidence that there is a body of worth
in the minds of our friends or kindred, whence that light has proceeded.
We shrink from the thought of placing their merits and defects to be
weighed against each other in the nice balance of pure intellect; nor do
we find much temptation to detect the shades by which a good quality or
virtue is discriminated in them from an excellence known by the same
general name as it exists in the mind of another; and, least of all, do
we incline to these refinements when under the pressure of sorrow,
admiration, or regret, or when actuated by any of those feelings which
incite men to prolong the memory of their friends and kindred, by
records placed in the bosom of the all-uniting and equalising receptacle
of the dead.

The first requisite, then, in an Epitaph is, that it should speak, in a
tone which shall sink into the heart, the general language of humanity
as connected with the subject of death--the source from which an epitaph
proceeds--of death, and of life. To be born and to die are the two
points in which all men feel themselves to be in absolute coincidence.
This general language may be uttered so strikingly as to entitle an
epitaph to high praise; yet it cannot lay claim to the highest unless
other excellencies be superadded. Passing through all intermediate
steps, we will attempt to determine at once what these excellencies are,
and wherein consists the perfection of this species of composition.--It
will be found to lie in a due proportion of the common or universal
feeling of humanity to sensations excited by a distinct and clear
conception, conveyed to the reader's mind, of the individual, whose
death is deplored and whose memory is to be preserved; at least of his
character as, after death, it appeared to those who loved him and lament
his loss. The general sympathy ought to be quickened, provoked, and
diversified, by particular thoughts, actions, images,--circumstances of
age, occupation, manner of life, prosperity which the deceased had
known, or adversity to which he had been subject; and these ought to be
bound together and solemnised into one harmony by the general sympathy.
The two powers should temper, restrain, and exalt each other. The reader
ought to know who and what the man was whom he is called upon to think
of with interest. A distinct conception should be given (implicitly
where it can, rather than explicitly) of the individual lamented.--But
the writer of an epitaph is not an anatomist, who dissects the internal
frame of the mind; he is not even a painter, who executes a portrait at
leisure and in entire tranquillity; his delineation, we must remember,
is performed by the side of the grave; and, what is more, the grave of
one whom he loves and admires. What purity and brightness is that virtue
clothed in, the image of which must no longer bless our living eyes! The
character of a deceased friend or beloved kinsman is not seen, no--nor
ought to be seen, otherwise than as a tree through a tender haze or a
luminous mist, that spiritualises and beautifies it; that takes away,
indeed, but only to the end that the parts which are not abstracted may
appear more dignified and lovely; may impress and affect the more. Shall
we say, then, that this is not truth, not a faithful image; and that,
accordingly, the purposes of commemoration cannot be answered?--It _is_
truth, and of the highest order; for, though doubtless things are not
apparent which did exist; yet, the object being looked at through this
medium, parts and proportions are brought into distinct view which
before had been only imperfectly or unconsciously seen: it is truth
hallowed by love--the joint offspring of the worth of the dead and the
affections of the living! This may easily be brought to the test. Let
one, whose eyes have been sharpened by personal hostility to discover
what was amiss in the character of a good man, hear the tidings of his
death, and what a change is wrought in a moment! Enmity melts away; and,
as it disappears, unsightliness, disproportion, and deformity, vanish;
and, through the influence of commiseration, a harmony of love and
beauty succeeds. Bring such a man to the tomb-stone on which shall be
inscribed an epitaph on his adversary, composed in the spirit which we
have recommended. Would he turn from it as from an idle tale? No;--the
thoughtful look, the sigh, and perhaps the involuntary tear, would
testify that it had a sane, a generous, and good meaning; and that on
the writer's mind had remained an impression which was a true abstract
of the character of the deceased; that his gifts and graces were
remembered in the simplicity in which they ought to be remembered. The
composition and quality of the mind of a virtuous man, contemplated by
the side of the grave where his body is mouldering, ought to appear, and
be felt as something midway between what he was on earth walking about
with his living frailties, and what he may be presumed to be as a spirit
in heaven.

It suffices, therefore, that the trunk and the main branches of the
worth of the deceased be boldly and unaffectedly represented. Any
further detail, minutely and scrupulously pursued, especially if this be
done with laborious and antithetic discriminations, must inevitably
frustrate its own purpose; forcing the passing Spectator to this
conclusion,--either that the dead did not possess the merits ascribed to
him, or that they who have raised a monument to his memory, and must
therefore be supposed to have been closely connected with him, were
incapable of perceiving those merits; or at least during the act of
composition had lost sight of them; for, the understanding having been
so busy in its petty occupation, how could the heart of the mourner be
other than cold? and in either of these cases, whether the fault be on
the part of the buried person or the survivors, the memorial is
unaffecting and profitless.

Much better is it to fall short in discrimination than to pursue it too
far, or to labour it unfeelingly. For in no place are we so much
disposed to dwell upon those points, of nature and condition, wherein
all men resemble each other, as in the temple where the universal Father
is worshipped, or by the side of the grave which gathers all human
Beings to itself, and 'equalises the lofty and the low.' We suffer and
we weep with the same heart; we love and are anxious for one another in
one spirit; our hopes look to the same quarter; and the virtues by which
we are all to be furthered and supported, as patience, meekness,
good-will, justice, temperance, and temperate desires, are in an equal
degree the concern of us all. Let an Epitaph, then, contain at least
these acknowledgments to our common nature; nor let the sense of their
importance be sacrificed to a balance of opposite qualities or minute
distinctions in individual character; which if they do not, (as will for
the most part be the case,) when examined, resolve themselves into a
trick of words, will, even when they are true and just, for the most
part be grievously out of place; for, as it is probable that few only
have explored these intricacies of human nature, so can the tracing of
them be interesting only to a few. But an epitaph is not a proud writing
shut up for the studious: it is exposed to all--to the wise and the most
ignorant; it is condescending, perspicuous, and lovingly solicits
regard; its story and admonitions are brief, that the thoughtless, the
busy, and indolent, may not be deterred, nor the impatient tired: the
stooping old man cons the engraven record like a second horn-book;--the
child is proud that he can read it;--and the stranger is introduced
through its mediation to the company of a friend: it is concerning all,
and for all:--in the church-yard it is open to the day; the sun looks
down upon the stone, and the rains of heaven beat against it.

Yet, though the writer who would excite sympathy is bound in this case,
more than in any other, to give proof that he himself has been moved, it
is to be remembered, that to raise a monument is a sober and a
reflective act; that the inscription which it bears is intended to be
permanent, and for universal perusal; and that, for this reason, the
thoughts and feelings expressed should be permanent also--liberated from
that weakness and anguish of sorrow which is in nature transitory, and
which with instinctive decency retires from notice. The passions should
be subdued, the emotions controlled; strong, indeed, but nothing
ungovernable or wholly involuntary. Seemliness requires this, and truth
requires it also: for how can the narrator otherwise be trusted?
Moreover, a grave is a tranquillising object: resignation in course of
time springs up from it as naturally as the wild flowers, besprinkling
the turf with which it may be covered, or gathering round the monument
by which it is defended. The very form and substance of the monument
which has received the inscription, and the appearance of the letters,
testifying with what a slow and laborious hand they must have been
engraven, might seem to reproach the author who had given way upon this
occasion to transports of mind, or to quick turns of conflicting
passion; though the same might constitute the life and beauty of a
funeral oration or elegiac poem.

These sensations and judgments, acted upon perhaps unconsciously, have
been one of the main causes why epitaphs so often personate the
deceased, and represent him as speaking from his own tomb-stone. The
departed Mortal is introduced telling you himself that his pains are
gone; that a state of rest is come; and he conjures you to weep for him
no longer. He admonishes with the voice of one experienced in the vanity
of those affections which are confined to earthly objects, and gives a
verdict like a superior Being, performing the office of a judge, who has
no temptations to mislead him, and whose decision cannot but be
dispassionate. Thus is death disarmed of its sting, and affliction
unsubstantialised. By this tender fiction, the survivors bind themselves
to a sedater sorrow, and employ the intervention of the imagination in
order that the reason may speak her own language earlier than she would
otherwise have been enabled to do. This shadowy interposition also
harmoniously unites the two worlds of the living and the dead by their
appropriate affections. And it may be observed, that here we have an
additional proof of the propriety with which sepulchral inscriptions
were referred to the consciousness of immortality as their primal
source.

I do not speak with a wish to recommend that an epitaph should be cast
in this mould preferably to the still more common one, in which what is
said comes from the survivors directly; but rather to point out how
natural those feelings are which have induced men, in all states and
ranks of society, so frequently to adopt this mode. And this I have done
chiefly in order that the laws, which ought to govern the composition of
the other, may be better understood. This latter mode, namely, that in
which the survivors speak in their own persons, seems to me upon the
whole greatly preferable: as it admits a wider range of notices; and,
above all, because, excluding the fiction which is the ground-work of
the other, it rests upon a more solid basis.

Enough has been a said to convey our notion of a perfect epitaph; but it
must be borne in mind that one is meant which will best answer the
_general_ ends of that species of composition. According to the course
pointed out, the worth of private life, through all varieties of
situation and character, will be most honourably and profitably
preserved in memory. Nor would the model recommended less suit public
men, in all instances save of those persons who by the greatness of
their services in the employments of peace or war, or by the surpassing
excellence of their works in art, literature, or science, have made
themselves not only universally known, but have filled the heart of
their country with everlasting gratitude. Yet I must here pause to
correct myself. In describing the general tenor of thought which
epitaphs ought to hold, I have omitted to say, that if it be the
_actions_ of a man, or even some _one_ conspicuous or beneficial act of
local or general utility, which have distinguished him, and excited a
desire that he should be remembered, then, of course, ought the
attention to be directed chiefly to those actions or that act: and such
sentiments dwelt upon as naturally arise out of them or it. Having made
this necessary distinction, I proceed.--The mighty benefactors of
mankind, as they are not only known by the immediate survivors, but will
continue to be known familiarly to latest posterity, do not stand in
need of biographic sketches, in such a place; nor of delineations of
character to individualise them. This is already done by their Works, in
the memories of men. Their naked names, and a grand comprehensive
sentiment of civic gratitude, patriotic love, or human admiration--or
the utterance of some elementary principle most essential in the
constitution of true virtue;--or a declaration touching that pious
humility and self-abasement, which are ever most profound as minds are
most susceptible of genuine exaltation--or an intuition, communicated in
adequate words, of the sublimity of intellectual power;--these are the
only tribute which can here be paid--the only offering that upon such an
altar would not be unworthy.

    What needs my Shakspeare for his honoured bones
    The labour of an age in piled stones,
    Or that his hallowed reliques should be hid
    Under a star y-pointing pyramid?
    Dear Son of Memory, great Heir of Fame,
    What need'st thou such weak witness of thy name?
    Thou in our wonder and astonishment
    Hast built thyself a livelong monument,
    And so sepulchred, in such pomp dost lie,
    That kings for such a tomb would wish to die.



(_b_) THE COUNTRY CHURCH-YARD, AND CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF ANCIENT
EPITAPHS.

_From the Author's Mss._


    Yet even these bones from insult to protect
      Some frail memorial still erected nigh,
    With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck'd,
      Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.
    Their name, their years, spelt by the unletter'd Muse,
      The place of fame and elegy supply,
    And many a holy text around she strews,
      That teach the rustic moralist to die.

When a Stranger has walked round a Country Church-yard and glanced his
eye over so many brief chronicles, as the tomb-stones usually contain,
of faithful wives, tender husbands, dutiful children, and good men of
all classes; he will be tempted to exclaim in the language of one of the
characters of a modern Tale, in a similar situation, 'Where are all the
_bad_ people buried?' He may smile to himself an answer to this
question, and may regret that it has intruded upon him so soon. For my
own part such has been my lot; and indeed a man, who is in the habit of
suffering his mind to be carried passively towards truth as well as of
going with conscious effort in search of it, may be forgiven, if he has
sometimes insensibly yielded to the delusion of those flattering
recitals, and found a pleasure in believing that the prospect of real
life had been as fair as it was in that picture represented. And such a
transitory oversight will without difficulty be forgiven by those who
have observed a trivial fact in daily life, namely, how apt, in a series
of calm weather, we are to forget that rain and storms have been, and
will return to interrupt any scheme of business or pleasure which our
minds are occupied in arranging. Amid the quiet of a church-yard thus
decorated as it seemed by the hand of Memory, and shining, if I may so
say, in the light of love, I have been affected by sensations akin to
those which have risen in my mind while I have been standing by the
side of a smooth sea, on a Summer's day. It is such a happiness to have,
in an unkind world, one enclosure where the voice of Detraction is not
heard; where the traces of evil inclinations are unknown; where
contentment prevails, and there is no jarring tone in the peaceful
concert of amity and gratitude. I have been rouzed from this reverie by
a consciousness suddenly flashing upon me, of the anxieties, the
perturbations, and in many instances, the vices and rancorous
dispositions, by which the hearts of those who lie under so smooth a
surface and so fair an outside have been agitated. The image of an
unruffled sea has still remained; but my fancy has penetrated into the
depths of that sea,--with accompanying thoughts of shipwreck, of the
destruction of the mariner's hopes, the bones of drowned men heaped
together, monsters of the deep, and all the hideous and confused sights
which Clarence saw in his dream.

Nevertheless, I have been able to return (and who may _not_?) to a
steady contemplation of the benign influence of such a favourable
Register lying open to the eyes of all. Without being so far lulled as
to imagine I saw in a village church-yard the eye or central point of a
rural Arcadia, I have felt that with all the vague and general
expressions of love, gratitude, and praise, with which it is usually
crowded, it is a far more faithful representation of homely life as
existing among a community in which circumstances have not been
untoward, than any report which might be made by a rigorous observer
deficient in that spirit of forbearance and those kindly prepossessions,
without which human life can in no condition be profitably looked at or
described. For we must remember that it is the nature of vice to force
itself upon notice, both in the act and by its consequences.
Drunkenness, cruelty, brutal manners, sensuality and impiety,
thoughtless prodigality and idleness, are obstreperous while they are in
the height and heyday of their enjoyment; and when that is passed away,
long and obtrusive is the train of misery which they draw after them.
But on the contrary, the virtues, especially those of humble life, are
retired; and many of the highest must be sought for or they will be
overlooked. Industry, economy, temperance, and cleanliness, are indeed
made obvious by flourishing fields, rosy complexions, and smiling
countenances; but how few know anything of the trials to which men in a
lonely condition are subject, or of the steady and triumphant manner in
which those trials are often sustained, but they themselves? The
afflictions which peasants and rural citizens have to struggle with are
for the most part secret; the tears which they wipe away, and the sighs
which they stifle,--this is all a labour of privacy. In fact their
victories are to themselves known only imperfectly; for it is
inseparable from virtue, in the pure sense of the word, to be
unconscious of the might of her own prowess. This is true of minds the
most enlightened by reflection; who have forecast what they may have to
endure, and prepared themselves accordingly. It is true even of these,
when they are called into action, that they necessarily lose sight of
their own accomplishments and support their conflicts in
self-forgetfulness and humility. That species of happy ignorance, which
is the consequence of these noble qualities, must exist still more
frequently, and in a greater degree, in those persons to whom duty has
never been matter of laborious speculation, and who have no intimations
of the power to act and to resist which is in them, till they are
summoned to put it forth. I could illustrate this by many examples,
which are now before my eyes; but it would detain me too long from my
principal subject which was to suggest reasons for believing that the
encomiastic language of rural tomb-stones does not so far exceed reality
as might lightly be supposed. Doubtless, an inattentive or ill-disposed
Observer, who should apply to surrounding cottages the knowledge which
he may possess of any rural neighbourhood, would upon the first impulse
confidently report that there was little in their living inhabitants
which reflected the concord and the virtue there dwelt upon so fondly.
Much has been said in a former Paper tending to correct this
disposition; and which will naturally combine with the present
considerations. Besides, to slight the uniform language of these
memorials as on that account not trustworthy would obviously be
unjustifiable.

Enter a church-yard by the sea-coast, and you will be almost sure to
find the tomb-stones crowded with metaphors taken from the sea and a
sea-faring life. These are uniformly in the same strain; but surely we
ought not thence to infer that the words are used of course, without any
heartfelt sense of their propriety. Would not the contrary conclusion be
right? But I will adduce a fact which more than a hundred analogical
arguments will carry to the mind a conviction of the strength and
sanctity of those feelings which persons in humble stations of society
connect with their departed friends and kindred. We learn from the
Statistical Account of Scotland that in some districts, a general
transfer of inhabitants has taken place; and that a great majority of
those who live, and labour, and attend public worship in one part of the
country, are buried in another. Strong and unconquerable still continues
to be the desire of all, that their bones should rest by the side of
their forefathers, and very poor persons provide that their bodies
should be conveyed if necessary to a great distance to obtain that last
satisfaction. Nor can I refrain from saying that this natural
interchange by which the living inhabitants of a parish have small
knowledge of the dead who are buried in their church-yard is grievously
to be lamented, wherever it exists. For it cannot fail to preclude not
merely much but the best part of the wholesome influence of that
communion between living and dead which the conjunction in rural
districts of the place of burial and place of worship tends so
effectually to promote. Finally, let us remember that if it be the
nature of man to be insensible to vexations and afflictions when they
have passed away, he is equally insensible to the height and depth of
his blessings till they are removed from him. An experienced and
well-regulated mind, will not, therefore, be insensible to this
monotonous language of sorrow and affectionate admiration; but will find
under that veil a substance of individual truth. Yet upon all men, and
upon such a mind in particular, an Epitaph must strike with a gleam of
pleasure, when the expression is of that kind which carries conviction
to the heart at once that the author was a sincere mourner, and that the
inhabitant of the grave deserved to be so lamented. This may be done
sometimes by a naked ejaculation; as in an instance which a friend of
mine met with in a church-yard in Germany, thus literally translated:
'Ah! they have laid in the grave a brave man: he was to me more than
many!'

    Ach! sie haben
    Einen Braven
    Mann begraben
    Mir war er mehr als viele.

An effect as pleasing is often produced by the recital of an affliction
endured with fortitude, or of a privation submitted to with contentment;
or by a grateful display of the temporal blessings with which Providence
had favoured the deceased, and the happy course of life through which he
had passed. And where these individualities are untouched upon, it may
still happen that the estate of man in his helplessness, in his
dependence upon his Maker, or some other inherent of his nature shall be
movingly and profitably expressed. Every Reader will be able to supply
from his own observation instances of all these kinds, and it will be
more pleasing for him to refer to his memory than to have the page
crowded with unnecessary quotations. I will however give one or two from
an old book cited before. The following of general application, was a
great favourite with our forefathers:

    Farwel my Frendys, the tyd abidyth no man,
      I am departed hens, and so sal ye,
    But in this passage the best song I can
      Is _Requiem Eternam_, now Jesu grant it me.
    When I have ended all myn adversity
    Grant me in Paradys to have a mansion
    That shedst Thy bloud for my redemption.

This epitaph might seem to be of the age of Chaucer, for it has the very
tone and manner of the Prioress's Tale.

The next opens with a thought somewhat interrupting that complacency and
gracious repose which the language and imagery of a church-yard tend to
diffuse, but the truth is weighty and will not be less acceptable for
the rudeness of the expression.

    When the bells be mearely roung
    And the Masse devoutly soung
    And the meate merrely eaten
    Then sall Robert Trappis his Wyffs and his Chyldren be
           forgotten.
    Wherfor Iesu that of Mary sproung
    Set their soulys Thy Saynts among,
    Though it be undeservyd on their syde
    Yet good Lord let them evermor Thy mercy abyde!

It is well known how fond our ancestors were of a play upon the name of
the deceased when it admitted of a double sense. The following is an
instance of this propensity not idly indulged. It brings home a general
truth to the individual by the medium of a pun, which will be readily
pardoned for the sake of the image suggested by it, for the happy mood
of mind in which the epitaph is composed, for the beauty of the
language, and for the sweetness of the versification, which indeed, the
date considered, is not a little curious. It is upon a man whose name
was Palmer. I have modernized the spelling in order that its uncouthness
may not interrupt the Reader's gratification.

    Palmers all our Fathers were
    I a Palmer livËd here
    And travelled still till worn with age
    I ended this world's pilgrimage,
    On the blest Ascension-day
    In the chearful month of May;
    One thousand with four hundred seven,
    And took my journey hence to heaven.

With this join the following, which was formerly to be seen upon a fair
marble under the portraiture of one of the abbots of St. Albans.

    Hic quidem terra tegitur
    Peccati solvens debitum
    Cujus nomen non impositum
    In libro vitae sit inscriptum.

The spirit of it may be thus given: 'Here lies, covered by the earth,
and paying his debt to sin, one whose name is not set forth: may it be
inscribed in the Book of Life!'

But these instances, of the humility, the pious faith and simplicity of
our forefathers, have led me from the scene of our contemplations--a
Country Church-yard! and from the memorials at this day commonly found
in it. I began with noticing such as might be wholly uninteresting from
the uniformity of the language which they exhibit; because, without
previously participating the truths upon which these general
attestations are founded, it is impossible to arrive at that state of
disposition of mind necessary to make those epitaphs thoroughly felt
which have an especial recommendation. With the same view, I will
venture to say a few words upon another characteristic of these
compositions almost equally striking; namely, the homeliness of some of
the inscriptions, the strangeness of the illustrative images, the
grotesque spelling, with the equivocal meaning often struck out by it,
and the quaint jingle of the rhymes. These have often excited regret in
serious minds, and provoked the unwilling to good-humoured laughter.
Yet, for my own part, without affecting any superior sanctity, I must
say that I have been better satisfied with myself, when in these
evidences I have seen a proof how deeply the piety of the rude
forefathers of the hamlet, is seated in their natures; I mean how
habitual and constitutional it is, and how awful the feeling which they
attach to the situation of their departed friends,--a proof of this
rather than of their ignorance or of a deadness in their faculties to a
sense of the ridiculous. And that this deduction may be just, is
rendered probable by the frequent occurrence of passages according to
our present notion, full as ludicrous, in the writings of the most wise
and learned men of former ages, divines and poets, who in the
earnestness of their souls have applied metaphors and illustrations,
taken either from Holy Writ or from the usages of their own country, in
entire confidence that the sacredness of the theme they were discussing
would sanctify the meanest object connected with it; or rather without
ever conceiving it was possible that a ludicrous thought could spring up
in any mind engaged in such meditations. And certainly, these odd and
fantastic combinations are not confined to epitaphs of the peasantry, or
of the lower orders of society, but are perhaps still more commonly
produced among the higher, in a degree equally or more striking. For
instance, what shall we say to this upon Sir George Vane, the noted
Secretary of State to King Charles I.?

    His Honour wonne i'th' field lies here in dust,
    His Honour got by grace shall never rust:
    The former fades, the latter shall fade never
    For why? He was Sr George once but St George ever.

The date is 1679. When we reflect that the father of this personage must
have had his taste formed in the punning Court of James I., and that the
epitaph was composed at a time when our literature was stuffed with
quaint or out-of-the-way thoughts, it will seem not unlikely that the
author prided himself upon what he might call a clever hit: I mean his
better affections were less occupied with the several associations
belonging to the two ideas than his vanity delighted with that act of
ingenuity by which they had been combined. But the first couplet
consists of a just thought naturally expressed; and I should rather
conclude the whole to be a work of honest simplicity; and that the
sense of worldly dignity associated with the title, in a degree
habitual to our ancestors, but which at this time we can but feebly
sympathize with, and the imaginative feeling involved--viz. the saintly
and chivalrous name of the champion of England, were unaffectedly linked
together: and that both were united and consolidated in the author's
mind, and in the minds of his contemporaries whom no doubt he had
pleased, by a devout contemplation of a happy immortality, the reward of
the just.

At all events, leaving this particular case undecided, the general
propriety of these notices cannot be doubted; and I gladly avail myself
of this opportunity to place in a clear view the power and majesty of
impassioned faith, whatever be its object: to shew how it subjugates the
lighter motions of the mind, and sweeps away superficial difference in
things. And this I have done, not to lower the witling and the worldling
in their own esteem, but with a wish to bring the ingenuous into still
closer communion with those primary sensations of the human heart, which
are the vital springs of sublime and pathetic composition, in this and
in every other kind. And as from these primary sensations such
composition speaks, so, unless correspondent ones listen promptly and
submissively in the inner cell of the mind to whom it is addressed, the
voice cannot be heard; its highest powers are wasted.

These suggestions may be further useful to establish a criterion of
sincerity, by which a writer may be judged; and this is of high import.
For, when a man is treating an interesting subject, or one which he
ought not to treat at all unless he be interested, no faults have such a
killing power as those which prove that he is not in earnest, that he is
acting a part, has leisure for affectation, and feels that without it he
could do nothing. This is one of the most odious of faults; because it
shocks the moral sense, and is worse in a sepulchral inscription,
precisely in the same degree as that mode of composition calls for
sincerity more urgently than any other. And indeed where the internal
evidence proves that the writer was moved, in other words where this
charm of sincerity lurks in the language of a tomb-stone and secretly
pervades it, there are no errors in style or manner for which it will
not be, in some degree, a recompence; but without habits of reflection a
test of this inward simplicity cannot be come at; and as I have said, I
am now writing with a hope to assist the well-disposed to attain it.

Let us take an instance where no one can be at a loss. The following
lines are said to have been written by the illustrious Marquis of
Montrose with the point of his sword, upon being informed of the death
of his master, Charles I.:

    Great, good, and just, could I but rate
    My griefs, and thy so rigid fate;
    I'd weep the world to such a strain,
    As it should deluge once again.
    But since thy loud-tongued blood demands supplies,
    More from Briareus' hands than Argus' eyes,
    I'll sing thy obsequies with trumpets' sounds
    And write thy epitaph with blood and wounds.

These funereal verses would certainly be wholly out of their place upon
a tomb-stone; but who can doubt that the writer was transported to the
height of the occasion? that he was moved as it became an heroic
soldier, holding those principles and opinions, to be moved? His soul
labours;--the most tremendous event in the history of the
planet--namely, the deluge, is brought before his imagination by the
physical image of tears,--a connection awful from its very remoteness
and from the slender band that unites the ideas:--it passes into the
region of fable likewise; for all modes of existence that forward his
purpose are to be pressed into the service. The whole is instinct with
spirit, and every word has its separate life; like the chariot of the
Messiah, and the wheels of that chariot, as they appeared to the
imagination of Milton aided by that of the prophet Ezekiel. It had power
to move of itself, but was conveyed by cherubs.

                   --with stars their bodies all
    And wings were set with eyes, with eyes the wheels
    Of beryl, and careering fires between.

Compare with the above verses of Montrose the following epitaph upon Sir
Philip Sidney, which was formerly placed over his grave in St. Paul's
Church.

    England, Netherland, the Heavens, and the Arts,
    The Soldiers, and the World, have made six parts
    Of noble Sidney; for who will suppose
    That a small heap of stones can Sidney enclose?
    England hath his Body, for she it fed,
    Netherland his Blood, in her defence shed:
    The Heavens have his Soul, the Arts have his Fame,
    The Soldiers the grief, the World his good Name.

There were many points in which the case of Sidney resembled that of
Charles I. He was a sovereign, but of a nobler kind--a sovereign in the
hearts of men; and after his premature death he was truly, as he hath
been styled, 'the world-mourned Sidney.' So fondly did the admiration of
his contemporaries settle upon him, that the sudden removal of a man so
good, great, and thoroughly accomplished, wrought upon many even to
repining, and to the questioning the dispensations of Providence. Yet
he, whom Spenser and all the men of genius of his age had tenderly
bemoaned, is thus commemorated upon his tomb-stone; and to add to the
indignity, the memorial is nothing more than the second-hand coat of a
French commander! It is a servile translation from a French epitaph,
which says Weever, 'was by some English Wit happily imitated and
ingeniously applied to the honour of our worthy chieftain.' Yet Weever
in a foregoing paragraph thus expresses himself upon the same subject;
giving without his own knowledge, in my opinion, an example of the
manner in which an epitaph ought to have been composed: 'But I cannot
pass over in silence Sir Philip Sidney, the elder brother, being (to use
Camden's words) the glorious star of this family, a lively pattern of
virtue, and the lovely joy of all the learned sort; who fighting
valiantly with the enemy before Zutphen in Geldesland, dyed manfully.
This is that Sidney, whom, as God's will was, he should therefore be
born into the world even to shew unto our age a sample of ancient
virtues: so His good pleasure was, before any man looked for it, to call
for him again and take him out of the world, as being more worthy of
heaven than earth. Thus we may see perfect virtue suddenly vanisheth out
of sight, and the best men continue not long.'

There can be no need to analyse this simple effusion of the moment in
order to contrast it with the laboured composition before given; the
difference will flash upon the Reader at once. But I may say it is not
likely that such a frigid composition as the former would have ever been
applied to a man whose death had so stirred up the hearts of his
contemporaries, if it had not been felt that something different from
that nature which each man carried in his own breast was in his case
requisite; and that a certain straining of mind was inseparable from the
subject. Accordingly, an epitaph is adopted in which the Writer had
turned from the genuine affections and their self-forgetting
inspirations, to the end that his understanding, or the faculty
designated by the word _head_ as opposed to _heart_, might curiously
construct a fabric to be wondered at. Hyperbole in the language of
Montrose is a mean instrument made mighty because wielded by an
afflicted soul, and strangeness is here the order of Nature. Montrose
stretched after remote things, but was at the same time propelled
towards them; the French Writer goes deliberately in search of them: no
wonder then if what he brings home does not prove worth the carriage.

Let us return to an instance of common life. I quote it with reluctance,
not so much for its absurdity as that the expression in one place will
strike at first sight as little less than impious; and it is indeed,
though unintentionally so, most irreverent. But I know no other example
that will so forcibly illustrate the important truth I wish to
establish. The following epitaph is to be found in a church-yard in
Westmoreland; which the present Writer has reason to think of with
interest as it contains the remains of some of his ancestors and
kindred. The date is 1678.

    Under this Stone, Reader, inter'd doth lye,
      Beauty and Virtue's true epitomy.
    At her appearance the noone-son
      Blush'd and shrunk in 'cause quite outdon.
    In her concentered did all graces dwell:
      God pluck'd my rose that He might take a smel.
    I'll say no more: but weeping wish I may
      Soone with thy dear chaste ashes com to lay.
                                       Sic efflevit Maritus.


Can anything go beyond this in extravagance? yet, if the fundamental
thoughts be translated into a natural style, they will be found
reasonable and affecting--'The woman who lies here interred, was in my
eyes a perfect image of beauty and virtue; she was to me a brighter
object than the sun in heaven: God took her, who was my delight, from
this earth to bring her nearer to Himself. Nothing further is worthy to
be said than that weeping I wish soon to lie by thy dear chaste ashes.
Thus did the husband pour out his tears.'

These verses are preceded by a brief account of the lady, in Latin
prose, in which the little that is said is the uncorrupted language of
affection. But, without this introductory communication I should myself
have had no doubt, after recovering from the first shock of surprize and
disapprobation, that this man, notwithstanding his extravagant
expressions, was a sincere mourner; and that his heart, during the very
act of composition, was moved. These fantastic images, though they stain
the writing, stained not her soul,--they did not even touch it; but hung
like globules of rain suspended above a green leaf, along which they may
roll and leave no trace that they have passed over it. This
simple-hearted man must have been betrayed by a common notion that what
was natural in prose would be out of place in verse;--that it is not the
Muse which puts on the garb but the garb which makes the Muse. And
having adopted this notion at a time when vicious writings of this kind
accorded with the public taste, it is probable that, in the excess of
his modesty, the blankness of his inexperience, and the intensity of his
affection, he thought that the further he wandered from Nature in his
language the more would he honour his departed consort, who now appeared
to him to have surpassed humanity in the excellence of her endowments.
The quality of his fault and its very excess are both in favour of this
conclusion.

Let us contrast this epitaph with one taken from a celebrated Writer of
the last century.

     _To the memory of_ LUCY LYTTLETON, _Daughter &c. who departed this
     life &c. aged_ 20._ Having employed the short time assigned to her
     here in the uniform practice of religion and virtue_.

    Made to engage all hearts, and charm all eyes,
    Though meek, magnanimous; though witty, wise;
    Polite, as all her life in Courts had been;
    Yet good, as she the world had never seen;
    The noble fire of an exalted mind,
    With gentle female tenderness combined.
    Her speech was the melodious voice of love,
    Her song the warbling of the vernal grove;
    Her eloquence was sweeter than her song,
    Soft as her heart, and as her reason strong;
    Her form each beauty of the mind express'd,
    Her mind was Virtue by the Graces drest.

The prose part of this inscription has the appearance of being intended
for a tomb-stone; but there is nothing in the verse that would suggest
such a thought. The composition is in the style of those laboured
portraits in words which we sometimes see placed at the bottom of a
print to fill up lines of expression which the bungling Artist had left
imperfect. We know from other evidence that Lord Lyttleton dearly loved
his wife; he has indeed composed a monody to her memory which proves
this, and she was an amiable woman; neither of which facts could have
been gathered from these inscriptive verses. This epitaph would derive
little advantage from being translated into another style as the former
was; for there is no under current; no skeleton or staminae of thought
and feeling. The Reader will perceive at once that nothing in the heart
of the Writer had determined either the choice, the order or the
expression, of the ideas; that there is no interchange of action from
within and from without; that the connections are mechanical and
arbitrary, and the lowest kind of these--heart and eyes: petty
alliterations, as meek and magnanimous, witty and wise, combined with
oppositions in thoughts where there is no necessary or natural
opposition. Then follow voice, song, eloquence, form, mind--each
enumerated by a separate act as if the Author had been making a
_Catalogue RaisonnÈ_.

These defects run through the whole; the only tolerable verse is,

    Her speech was the melodious voice of love.

Observe, the question is not which of these epitaphs is better or worse;
but which faults are of a worse kind. In the former case we have a
mourner whose soul is occupied by grief and urged forward by his
admiration. He deems in his simplicity that no hyperbole can transcend
the perfections of her whom he has lost; for the version which I have
given fairly demonstrates that, in spite of his outrageous expressions,
the under current of his thoughts was natural and pure. We have
therefore in him the example of a mind during the act of composition
misled by false taste to the highest possible degree; and, in that of
Lord Lyttleton, we have one of a feeling heart, not merely misled, but
wholly laid asleep by the same power. Lord Lyttleton could not have
written in this way upon such a subject, if he had not been seduced by
the example of Pope, whose sparkling and tuneful manner had bewitched
the men of letters his contemporaries, and corrupted the judgment of the
nation through all ranks of society. So that a great portion of original
genius was necessary to embolden a man to write faithfully to Nature
upon any affecting subject if it belonged to a class of composition in
which Pope had furnished examples.

I am anxious not to be misunderstood. It has already been stated that in
this species of composition above every other, our sensations and
judgments depend upon our opinion or feeling of the Author's state of
mind. Literature is here so far identified with morals, the quality of
the act so far determined by our notion of the aim and purpose of the
agent, that nothing can please us, however well executed in its kind, if
we are persuaded that the primary virtues of sincerity, earnestness and
a moral interest in the main object are wanting. Insensibility here
shocks us, and still more so if manifested by a Writer going wholly out
of his way in search of supposed beauties, which if he were truly moved
he could set no value upon, could not even think of. We are struck in
this case not merely with a sense of disproportion and unfitness, but we
cannot refrain from attributing no small part of his intellectual to a
moral demerit. And here the difficulties of the question begin, namely
in ascertaining what errors in the choice of or the mode of expressing
the thoughts, most surely indicate the want of that which is most
indispensible. Bad taste, whatever shape it may put on, is injurious to
the heart and the understanding. If a man attaches much interest to the
faculty of taste as it exists in himself and employs much time in those
studies of which this faculty (I use the word taste in its comprehensive
though most unjustifiable sense) is reckoned the arbiter, certain it is
his moral notions and dispositions must either be purified and
strengthened or corrupted and impaired. How can it be otherwise, when
his ability to enter into the spirit of works in literature must depend
upon his feelings, his imagination and his understanding, that is upon
his recipient, upon his creative or active and upon his judging powers,
and upon the accuracy and compass of his knowledge, in fine upon all
that makes up the moral and intellectual man. What is true of
individuals is equally true of nations. Nevertheless a man called to a
task in which he is not practised, may have his expression thoroughly
defiled and clogged by the style prevalent in his age, yet still,
through the force of circumstances that have roused him, his under
feeling may remain strong and pure; yet this may be wholly concealed
from common view. Indeed the favourite style of different ages is so
different and wanders so far from propriety that if it were not that
first rate Writers in all nations and tongues are governed by common
principles, we might suppose that truth and nature were things not to be
looked for in books; hence to an unpractised Reader the productions of
every age will present obstacles in various degrees hard to surmount; a
deformity of style not the worst in itself but of that kind with which
he is least familiar will on the one hand be most likely to render him
insensible to a pith and power which may be within, and on the other
hand he will be the least able to see through that sort of falsehood
which is most prevalent in the works of his own time. Many of my
Readers, to apply these general observations to the present case, must
have derived pleasure from the epitaph of Lord Lyttleton and no doubt
will be startled at the comparison I have made; but bring it to the test
recommended it will then be found that its faults, though not in degree
so intolerable, are in kind more radical and deadly than those of the
strange composition with which it has been compared.

The course which we have taken having brought us to the name of this
distinguished Writer--Pope--I will in this place give a few observations
upon his Epitaphs,--the largest collection we have in our language, from
the pen of any Writer of eminence. As the epitaphs of Pope and also
those of Chiabrera, which occasioned this dissertation, are in metre, it
may be proper here to enquire how far the notion of a perfect epitaph,
as given in a former Paper, may be modified by the choice of metre for
the vehicle, in preference to prose. If our opinions be just, it is
manifest that the basis must remain the same in either case; and that
the difference can only lie in the superstructure; and it is equally
plain, that a judicious man will be less disposed in this case than in
any other to avail himself of the liberty given by metre to adopt
phrases of fancy, or to enter into the more remote regions of
illustrative imagery. For the occasion of writing an epitaph is
matter-of-fact in its intensity, and forbids more authoritatively than
any other species of composition all modes of fiction, except those
which the very strength of passion has created; which have been
acknowledged by the human heart, and have become so familiar that they
are converted into substantial realities. When I come to the epitaphs of
Chiabrera, I shall perhaps give instances in which I think he has not
written under the impression of this truth; where the poetic imagery
does not elevate, deepen, or refine the human passion, which it ought
always to do or not to act at all, but excludes it. In a far greater
degree are Pope's epitaphs debased by faults into which he could not I
think have fallen if he had written in prose as a plain man and not as a
metrical Wit. I will transcribe from Pope's Epitaphs the one upon Mrs.
Corbet (who died of a cancer), Dr. Johnson having extolled it highly and
pronounced it the best of the collection.

    Here rests a woman, good without pretence,
    Blest with plain reason and with sober sense;
    No conquest she but o'er herself desir'd;
    No arts essayed, but not to be admir'd.
    Passion and pride were to her soul unknown,
    Convinc'd that virtue only is our own.
    So unaffected, so compos'd a mind,
    So firm yet soft, so strong yet so refin'd,
    Heaven as its purest gold by tortures tried,
    The saint sustain'd it, but the woman died.

This _may_ be the best of Pope's Epitaphs; but if the standard which we
have fixed be a just one, it cannot be approved of. First, it must be
observed, that in the epitaphs of this Writer, the true impulse is
wanting, and that his motions must of necessity be feeble. For he has no
other aim than to give a favourable portrait of the character of the
deceased. Now mark the process by which this is performed. Nothing is
represented implicitly, that is, with its accompaniment of
circumstances, or conveyed by its effects. The Author forgets that it is
a living creature that must interest us and not an intellectual
existence, which a mere character is. Insensible to this distinction the
brain of the Writer is set at work to report as flatteringly as he may
of the mind of his subject; the good qualities are separately abstracted
(can it be otherwise than coldly and unfeelingly?) and put together
again as coldly and unfeelingly. The epitaph now before us owes what
exemption it may have from these defects in its general plan to the
excruciating disease of which the lady died; but it is liable to the
same censure, and is, like the rest, further objectionable in this;
namely, that the thoughts have their nature changed and moulded by the
vicious expression in which they are entangled, to an excess rendering
them wholly unfit for the place they occupy.

    Here rests a woman, good without pretence,
    Blest with plain reason--

from which _sober sense_ is not sufficiently distinguishable. This verse
and a half, and the one 'so unaffected, so composed a mind,' are
characteristic, and the expression is true to nature; but they are, if I
may take the liberty of saying it, the only parts of the epitaph which
have this merit. Minute criticism is in its nature irksome, and as
commonly practiced in books and conversation, is both irksome and
injurious. Yet every mind must occasionally be exercised in this
discipline, else it cannot learn the art of bringing words rigorously to
the test of thoughts; and these again to a comparison with things, their
archetypes, contemplated first in themselves, and secondly in relation
to each other; in all which processes the mind must be skilful,
otherwise it will be perpetually imposed upon. In the next couplet the
word _conquest_, is applied in a manner that would have been displeasing
even from its triteness in a copy of complimentary verses to a
fashionable Beauty; but to talk of making conquests in an epitaph is not
to be endured. 'No arts essayed, but not to be admired,'--are words
expressing that she had recourse to artifices to conceal her amiable and
admirable qualities; and the context implies that there was a merit in
this; which surely no sane mind would allow. But the meaning of the
Author, simply and honestly given, was nothing more than that she
shunned admiration, probably with a more apprehensive modesty than was
common; and more than this would have been inconsistent with the praise
bestowed upon her--that she had an unaffected mind. This couplet is
further objectionable, because the sense of love and peaceful admiration
which such a character naturally inspires, is disturbed by an oblique
and ill-timed stroke of satire. She is not praised so much as others are
blamed, and is degraded by the Author in thus being made a covert or
stalking-horse for gratifying a propensity the most abhorrent from her
own nature--'Passion and pride were to her soul unknown.' It cannot be
meant that she had no passions, but that they were moderate and kept in
subordination to her reason; but the thought is not here expressed; nor
is it clear that a conviction in the understanding that 'virtue only is
our own,' though it might suppress her pride, would be itself competent
to govern or abate many other affections and passions to which our frail
nature is, and ought in various degrees, to be subject. In fact, the
Author appears to have had no precise notion of his own meaning. If she
was 'good without pretence,' it seems unnecessary to say that she was
not proud. Dr. Johnson, making an exception of the verse, 'Convinced
that virtue only is our own,' praises this epitaph for 'containing
nothing taken from common places.' Now in fact, as may be deduced from
the principles of this discourse, it is not only no fault but a primary
requisite in an epitaph that it shall contain thoughts and feelings
which are in their substance common-place, and even trite. It is
grounded upon the universal intellectual property of man,--sensations
which all men have felt and feel in some degree daily and
hourly;--truths whose very interest and importance have caused them to
be unattended to, as things which could take care of themselves. But it
is required that these truths should be instinctively ejaculated or
should rise irresistibly from circumstances; in a word that they should
be uttered in such connection as shall make it felt that they are not
adopted, not spoken by rote, but perceived in their whole compass with
the freshness and clearness of an original intuition. The Writer must
introduce the truth with such accompaniment as shall imply that he has
mounted to the sources of things, penetrated the dark cavern from which
the river that murmurs in every one's ear has flowed from generation to
generation. The line 'Virtue only is our own,'--is objectionable, not
from the common-placeness of the truth, but from the vapid manner in
which it is conveyed. A similar sentiment is expressed with appropriate
dignity in an epitaph by Chiabrera, where he makes the Archbishop of
Albino say of himself, that he was

             --smitten by the great ones of the world,
    But did not fall; for virtue braves all shocks,
    Upon herself resting immoveably.

'So firm yet soft, so strong yet so refined': These intellectual
operations (while they can be conceived of as operations of intellect
at all, for in fact one half of the process is mechanical, words doing
their own work and one half of the line manufacturing the rest) remind
me of the motions of a Posture-master, or of a man balancing a sword
upon his finger, which must be kept from falling at all hazards. 'The
saint sustained it, but the woman died.' Let us look steadily at this
antithesis: the _saint_, that is her soul strengthened by religion,
supported the anguish of her disease with patience and resignation; but
the _woman_, that is her body (for if anything else is meant by the word
woman, it contradicts the former part of the proposition and the passage
is nonsense), was overcome. Why was not this simply expressed; without
playing with the Reader's fancy, to the delusion and dishonour of his
understanding, by a trifling epigramatic point? But alas! ages must pass
away before men will have their eyes open to the beauty and majesty of
Truth, and will be taught to venerate Poetry no further than as she is a
handmaid pure as her mistress--the noblest handmaid in her train!



_(c)_ CELEBRATED EPITAPHS CONSIDERED. _From the Author's Mss_.

I vindicate the rights and dignity of Nature; and as long as I condemn
nothing without assigning reasons not lightly given, I cannot suffer any
individual, however highly and deservedly honoured by my countrymen, to
stand in my way. If my notions are right, the epitaphs of Pope cannot
well be too severely condemned; for not only are they almost wholly
destitute of those universal feelings and simple movements of mind which
we have called for as indispensible, but they are little better than a
tissue of false thoughts, languid and vague expressions, unmeaning
antithesis, and laborious attempts at discrimination. Pope's mind had
been employed chiefly in observation upon the vices and follies of men.
Now, vice and folly are in contradiction with the moral principle which
can never be extinguished in the mind; and therefore, wanting the
contrast, are irregular, capricious, and inconsistent with themselves.
If a man has once said (see _Friend_, No......), 'Evil, be thou my
good!' and has acted accordingly, however strenuous may have been his
adherence to this principle, it will be well known by those who have had
an opportunity of observing him narrowly that there have been perpetual
obliquities in his course; evil passions thwarting each other in various
ways; and now and then, revivals of his better nature, which check him
for a short time or lead him to remeasure his steps:--not to speak of
the various necessities of counterfeiting virtue, which the furtherance
of his schemes will impose upon him, and the division which will be
consequently introduced into his nature.

It is reasonable then that Cicero, when holding up Catiline to
detestation; and (without going to such an extreme case) that Dryden and
Pope, when they are describing characters like Buckingham, Shaftsbury,
and the Duchess of Marlborough, should represent qualities and actions
at war with each other and with themselves; and that the page should be
suitably crowded with antithetical expressions. But all this argues an
obtuse moral sensibility and a consequent want of knowledge, if applied
where virtue ought to be described in the language of affectionate
admiration. In the mind of the truly great and good everything that is
of importance is at peace with itself; all is stillness, sweetness and
stable grandeur. Accordingly the contemplation of virtue is attended
with repose. A lovely quality, if its loveliness be clearly perceived,
fastens the mind with absolute sovereignty upon itself; permitting or
inciting it to pass, by smooth gradation or gentle transition, to some
other kindred quality. Thus a perfect image of meekness (I refer to an
instance before given) when looked at by a tender mind in its happiest
mood, might easily lead on to thoughts of magnanimity; for assuredly
there is nothing incongruous in those virtues. But the mind would not
then be separated from the person who is the object of its thoughts; it
would still be confined to that person or to others of the same general
character; that is, would be kept within the circle of qualities which
range themselves quietly by each other's sides. Whereas, when meekness
and magnanimity are represented antithetically, the mind is not only
carried from the main object, but is compelled to turn to a subject in
which the quality exists divided from some other as noble, its natural
ally: a painful feeling! that checks the course of love, and repels the
sweet thoughts that might be settling round the person whom it was the
Author's wish to endear to us; but for whom, after this interruption, we
no longer care. If then a man, whose duty it is to praise departed
excellence not without some sense of regret or sadness, to do this or to
be silent, should upon all occasions exhibit that mode of connecting
thoughts, which is only natural while we are delineating vice under
certain relations, we may be assured that the nobler sympathies are not
alive in him; that he has no clear insight into the internal
constitution of virtue; nor has himself been soothed, cheared,
harmonized, by those outward effects which follow everywhere her
goings,--declaring the presence of the invisible Deity. And though it be
true that the most admirable of them must fall far short of perfection,
and that the majority of those whose work is commemorated upon their
tomb-stones must have been persons in whom good and evil were intermixed
in various proportions and stood in various degrees of opposition to
each other, yet the Reader will remember what has been said before upon
that medium of love, sorrow and admiration, through which a departed
friend is viewed; how it softens down or removes these harshnesses and
contradictions, which moreover must be supposed never to have been
grievous: for there can be no true love but between the good; and no
epitaph ought to be written upon a bad man, except for a warning.

The purpose of the remarks given in the last Essay was chiefly to assist
the Reader in separating truth and sincerity from falsehood and
affectation; presuming that if the unction of a devout heart be wanting
everything else is of no avail. It was shewn that a current of just
thought and feeling may flow under a surface of illustrative imagery so
impure as to produce an effect the opposite of that which was intended.
Yet, though this fault may be carried to an intolerable _degree_, the
Reader will have gathered that in our estimation it is not _in kind_ the
most offensive and injurious. We have contrasted it in its excess with
instances where the genuine current or vein was wholly wanting; where
the thoughts and feelings had no vital union, but were artificial