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attached to their faith beyond any other in Europe ? This single fact is alone an incontrovertible proof (though multitudes of others might be adduced), that the government of the Cortes was in no respect a national or popular government; it was merely the domination of caballing intriguers, and of what is the most hateful of all the monsters that afflict civilized society-military demagogues.
The Spanish constitution—bad in itself, and worse by reason of its incompatibility with the habits and feelings of the people-was rendered still more intolerable by the folly and tyranny with which it was administered. The legislation of the Cortes during the last three years, exhibits a greater number of laws breathing the unmitigated wanton spirit of absolute power, and framed, as it were, for the very purpose of chasing justice from the earth, than any equal period (excluding perhaps the reign of the Jacobins in France) in the annals of despotism. When laws are made to consecrate injustice, acts of particular oppression must abound too ; and though the number of those who have perished on the scaffold in the course of the Spanish Revolution is not very great, exile and imprisonment have been dealt out with a profuse liberality. What tales could not Ivica and the Canaries tell of the tender mercies of revolutionary authorities? There is scarcely a dungeon in Spain, which could not afford the most damning proofs, that democracy has her Inquisition not less terrible than that of ecclesiastical bigotry. Arbitrary exile and imprisonment are doubtless less shocking to our feelings, than arbitrary executions: but they are more dangerous to the happitress of society, because they are more likely to be carried to an excess. Man recoils from blood. The veriest tyrant will not aim the deadly blow at the head of bis victims, unless urged by motives of mighty influence: his hand is withheld by pity, by the anticipations of remorse, by reverence for the sentiments of mankind. But when he consigns to a dungeon the objects of his suspicion, or transports them to a distant region, he has little check, either in his own feelings or in
those of others : while the sufferers pine in confinement, or in hopeless separation from all that they hold dear, the author of their misery seems to himself to have done nothing, because what he has done may be undone, and the attention of the world is scarcely attracted to their fate. It is, therefore, to little purpose to tell us, that the Spanish constitutionalists have perpetrated few murders: tell us, rather, how many hundreds and thousands they have banished or. imprisoned, without even the decent ceremonial of a trial.
If the Spanish constitution should now be destroyed, we certainly shall not mourn over its fall; though we shall regret, that French invasion should have been the immediate instrument of its ruin. The French, if they succeed, will have destroyed that which was eminently worthy of destruction ; but they will erect in its stead what will neither deserve nor be allowed to bave a long existence. Their unjustifiable interference can only prolong the troubles of Spain, and remove to a greater distance the period of her settlement. Unhappy country! that hast only a gloomy tyranny, to which to look either back or forward-that canst see on all sides of thee, nothing but disorder and misrule, with scarcely a chance of permanent repose, and still less prospect of repose under a mild and benignant freedom-that hast been awaked from the slumber of the grave, and made to endure all the pangs of resuscitation, merely to be tortured anew, and to undergo once more the agonies of death! O! that some unexpected turn of fortune, some auspicious course of events, may rescue thee from the fate which seems now to be impending over thee, and bless thee with what hitherto thou hast never possessed—a temperate, a reasonable, and an enlightened government, imbued with the spirit of genuine liberty, and diffusing security and happiness around.
One of the mischievous effects of the French invasion of Spain is likely to be, that it may delude the French government into a false idea of its own strength. Most certainly, the throne of the Bourbons still totters on its base. The annals of this year afford incontestible proof of the prevalence in France of a general idea of the weakness of the government; and, in affairs of state, to have the character of being weak is to be weak, Nor is this weakness the less real, because the present administration seem disposed to strain all their powers to the uttermost, in crushing the germs of liberty among their own countrymen, as well as in reestablishing antiquated tyranny among their neighbours.
In looking round upon such a restless and unsettled state of the world, it is impossible not to cling with more ardent fondness to what we possess at home, and to feel grateful to that superintending Providence, which has, from time to time, blessed us with such a coincidence of fortunate circumstances, as have enabled us alone among the nations of the earth, to build up a system of social freedom, which seems unattainable by mere art or wisdom elsewhere. The speculatist may analyse liberty, as the chemist may reduce the diamond to its constituent charcoal ; but as the philosopher endeavours in vain, by all the resources of his laboratory, to convert charcoal into the most precious of precious stones, so politicians, when they set about constructing from the foundation a practical system of freedom, always fail completely. Men have long been labouring, in various parts of the world, to frame institutions which shall be at once orderly, durable, and free; yet nowhere have they succeeded: nowhere can order, permanence, and freedom be found, except under the shadow of the British constitution, and of the scions that have been transplanted from it to the shores of North America.
July 7th, 1823.
HISTORY OF EUROPE.
COMPLAINTS of the Agricultural Interest—Remedies proposed, and Lan
guage held at their Meetings-Conduct of the Nobility-Nature and extent of the Agricultural Distress—Union of the Grenvilles with the Ministry -Clamours on that Subject-Resignation of Lord Sidmouth, who is succeeded by Mr. Peel-Administration of Ireland-Effect of placing the Government of Ireland in the hands of the friends of the Catholics-Proceedings in Dublin-State of Munster–Various outrages in the County of Cork-Engagements between the Insurgents and the Military in the month of January-State of Kerry, Tipperary, Limerick, Kilkenny, &c. Symptoms of disturbance in Leinster and Ulster-Fundamental causes of the evils existing in Ireland.
Opening of Parliament-King's Speech-Address voted in the House of Lords—Speeches of Lord Lansdown and Lord Liverpool-Address moved in the House of Commons Amendments proposed by Sir Francis Burdett and Mr. Hume-Debates on these Amendments—Measures proposed with respect to Ireland-Provisions of the Insurrection Act-Suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act in Ireland—Grounds on which these Measures were brought forward—The objections made to them--Debates in the House of Commons on these Measures-Amendments proposed by Mr. S. Rice and Mr. Denman-Debates on these Bills in the House of Lords-Amendment proposed by Lord King—Indemnity to those who had seized Arms or Gunpowder-Severe Restrictions on the Importation, Possession, or Sale of Fire-arms and Gun-powder-Exertions of the Irish Government-State of Ireland under the Operation of the new Acts Convictions and Executions under the Special Commission and at the Assizes - Partial diminution of the Outrages-Different Classes of Persons who engaged in these Outrages -The Operation of Tithes and Taxes in producing the Irish Outrages much over-rated-Oppression by the abuse of local Rates and Assessments
- The Smugglers and illicit Distillers probably concerned in promoting the Disturbances.
Famine in Connaught and Munster-Comparative tranquillity of the Country
--The causes of the sudden appearance of the Famine, and of its heing confined to particular districts —Measures adopted by Parliament and by the Irish Government, for the mitigation of the Famine--General Contri
butions and Subscriptions in London, and every part of England - Appli-
cation of the Subscriptions to relieve the Distress-Appropriation of the
Surplus-Renewal of the Insurrection Act-Grounds alleged for the
necessity of this Measure-Objections to it-Provisions of the Constabulary
Act-Debate on this Bill - It is opposed by Mr. C. Grant-Provisions of
the Act concerning Leases of Irish Tithes-Mr. Hume's Motion on Irish
Tithes--Sir John Newport's Amendment-Lord Lansdown's Motion on
the state of Ireland-Hlis views opposed by the Lord Chancellor and Lord
Liverpool—The Disturbances in Munster increase—Changes in the Irish
Magistracy-Anti-Orange Policy of Lord Wellesley-His Unpopularity in
Dublin-He is insulted in the Theatre-Legal Proceedings-Remarks on
Mr. Canning's Bill for the admission of Catholic Peers to the rights of Sitting
and Voting in the Ilouse of Lords---Mr. Cannirg's course of argument in
support of it-The grounds of Mr. Peel's opposition-Mr. Plunkett sup-
ports the Bill Discussion of the Measure in its subsequent stages in the
House of Commons-Its progress in the Lords—Opposed by Lord
Colchester—The Lord Chancellor exposes the fallacy of the grounds on
which the merits of the Measure had been placed by Mr. Canning, and its
advocates-Course of Lord Grey's Argument-Lord Liverpool's Speech-
The Bill is rejected-Remarks on the confined Position in which the
Patrons of the Measure placed themselves, and the unsatisfactory course of
argument into which they were thereby driven-Remarks on the Measure
itself-Lord John Russell's Motion on Parliamentary Reform-Topics em-
ployed by him-Mr. Canning's Speech-Mr. Brougham's Motion on the
Influence of the Crown-Rejection of the Bill for Dividing the County of
York with respect to the Election of County Members--Lord A. Hamil-
ton's Plan of Scotch Burgh Reform-The Lord Advocate's Bill for the Re-
gulation of the Expenditure of Scotch Burghs.
Sir James Mackintosh's Motion respecting the Criminal Law; Opposed by
the Attorney General-Law to extend the Punishment of llard Labour
The severity of the Laws increased against Receivers of Stolen Securities
for Money, Manslaughter, &c.—Mr. Martin's Bill against the Improper
Treatment of Cattle-Alterations in the Bankrupt Laws-New Marriage
Act; totally altered in the House of Lords; difference of the Principle of
the Bill as passed by the Commons, and of the Bill as it finally passed;
keen Opposition to it in the House of Lords—Alteration of the Law rela-
tive to the Composition of Scotch Juries-Mr. Abercromby's Motion for
inquiry into the Conduct of the Law Officers of the Crown in Scotland,
with respect to the Public Press-Nature of the Charges against the Lord
Advocate--His Defence Letters of Mr. Hope and Mr. Menzies, on the
Subject of Mr. Abercromby's Charges—These Letters Voted to be a Breach
of Privilege-Subsequent Proceedings towards Mr. Hope and Mr.
Menzies--Remarks on this Affair.