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sheer nonsense ; mere sham ; unless the fight, but the conclusion always is, that we framers of it had supposed cases, in which have gained nothing solid, while he, who the king might differ in opinion and views has sworn our destruction, keeps on his firm from the people ; for, it is manifest, that and steady pace of encroachment and of unless such difference arise, the rights can conquest. never be brought into exercise. But, the In this way have we been proceeding for opposers of petitioning upon the present.oc- fifteen long and disgraceful years. The casion, whose arguments will, indeed, ap- country is not so destitute of men of disply to all other occasions, would fain have us cernment as for these things, together with believe, that we have the right only when we their causes and their necessary consequendo not want to make use of it; and yet, to ces, not to be clearly perceived; but, so preserve the constitution, of which the enormous, so overbearing, are become the right of petition is a principal feature, these powers of seduction and corruption, and so same persons call upon us to spend our last completely have even good mep been divided shilling and to shed the last drop of blood; by faction, alarmed by craft, and awed by aye, the last drop of our blood for rights, meances of ruin, that at last, public spirit
, which according to their doctrine, we are though not quite extinguished, exists only in never to exercise !
latent sparks in the bosoms of individuals, Gentlemen, before the answer was given and is as useless as tbe fire in the ffint buried to the city of London, there was but one weder ground. Many are the occasions, object in petitioning the king; namely, to even within these few years, when a spirit obtain a full and impartial developement of worthy of Englishmen bas made its appear all the causes that led to the Convention in ance ; but, the moment it began to be perPortugal, and to produce the punishment due ceived, forth has issued the demons of faction, to its real authors. Now, there is this object, with all their train of insinuations, calum, and, in addition, the more important object nies, lies, and hypocrisy, 'till, in a short of asserting one of our principal rights; of time, followed confusion, strife, and, finally, convincing the niinistry and the world, that that, in which alone the guilty could hope we have not entirely given up all pretensions for impunity, the division of good men 1 to the enjoyment of ihose political liberties, would fain hope, Gentlemen, though I i for the recovery and preservation of which aware that it is too sanguine a hope to e our fathers wrote and fought with such au- tertain, that, upon the present occasion, nu mirable ability, perseverance, and courage. attempt will be made to render your feelinga We are told not to forget the feelings of of indigation at this national injury subser« our old and venerable king." We do not; vient to the views of faction ; for, much as but, neither do we forget our own feelings, I desire you to add your voice to that of our own sacrifices, losses, and sufferings, others who have called for an inquiry, I and the hardships, which, by the deeds of would infinitely rather see you mute, than which we complain, will be entailed upon behold you the tools of selfish and ambitious our children's children. If we have had It is not against the ministry that we " forty eight years of experience" of the have to petition ; it is not for the purpose of king, the king has had forty-eight years ex- putting one ministry out and another in, that perience of us; and never did king meet we are about to nieet; it is for the porpose with subjects more generous, dutiful and of obtaining justice for a great national patient. 'In what instance have we been re- i wrong and of securing ourselves and our fractory or niggardly ? Has not our subinis.
children against that ruin, which, from the siveness been unbounded? Have we not prevalent incapacity, or perfidy, of persons poured out our all at his feet? And; shall entrusted with our affairs, now so awfully
, we now be reproved and rebuked because threatens us. What is it to me, or to any of we pray, that he will be pleased to order an my neighbours, who enjoy the honours or inquiry into the conduct of those, who, in the emoluments of office, so that we are our opinion, have with the treasure and the ably and faithfully served? What a foul
, blood of the country, purchased its lasting what a contemptible thing, must that man injury and disgrace? Expedition after ex- be, who, having no selfish views, makes pedition is fitted out; expence after expence himself the tool of a party; gives up bis is iričurred; the treasury of the nation is understanding to others; sees with their thrown open, and her sons are shipped off eyes and hears with their ears ; voluntarily in thousands; battles are won, `rejoicings abandons truth, impartiality, and integrity, are beard ; and, at every close, comes a or, at best, exchanges them for the honour dismal' account of failure. All is in vain. of being designated by an appellation proWe
pay and hunger and labour and arm and ceeding from the name of some detestabi'y
impndent knave, who is, or has been, the the necessity may not to the vulgar eye be leader of a party! The very existence of a quite so obvious, to the other. koave implies the co-existence of a fool; That the present contest in Spain is not, but, it is the lot of this nation to see men of as some had imagined, a mere war of priests sense as well as worth become the instru- and court nobles, who desire oniy to expel ments of knavery. The silly ambition of the French, as their rivals in despotism, being thought to belong to a party has cor- that their own power and that of the crown rupted the hearts of thousands, and has may be restored in their full extent, as ex. made millions instrumental in their country's ercised prior to the late events, without any disgrace. From this supremely contemp- thought of recovering the national liberties, tible passion, I hope, Gentlemen, that you we have now, in the oath of the deputies, will prove yourselves to be free, and in ihat on opening the supreme national junta, no hope I remain
That oath, if we may Your friend,
take it to mean what it says,--and I cannot
WM. COBBETT. have the slightest suspicion of the contraryBotley, 27th Oct. 1809.
indeed, contains in it every thing which *** Major Hogaar's interesting pam patriotism can wish. Knowing how phlet is, I see, working its way. It must
passionately the people are devoted to the work, and must lead to good. ---- There
religion of their ancestors, as well as the are two other pamphlets, which I beg my
opinion which, in that particular, they readers to peruse ; " A LETTER TO THE
entertain of the French, the preservation of "King, STATING THE INCOMES AND SER
their religion is very properly made the first TICES OF THE ROYAL DUKES, &c. &c." object of the oath. Conscious likewise of And " A LETTER TO THE Duke of YORK,
the strong attachment of the people to their RESPECTING SIR HEW DALRYMPLE."
native princes, of their universal detestation Ob! that all England could read this last- of the altempt to force on them a new mentioned pamphlet! The author, Mr.
dynasty, and the excess of indignation felt TAOMAS HAGUE, manfully puts his name
by all Spain at the perfidy of Buonaparte, to it. I did not think that so much bold.
and at his wickedness in making war upon ness was to be found in the kingdom.
them in a cause the most infamous, they
would have been bad politicians had they COBBETT'S
not, independent of any sense of duty,
concurred in the choice which the nation Parliamentary Debates.
with one voice had made of Ferdinand VII. The Eleventh Voluine of the above and in their predilection for a
" succession Work, comprising the Period from the in the reigning family;" that, whatever Ilth of April to the close of the Session on might betal Ferdinand and the rest who the 4th of July, 1808, will be ready for de- are in the power of the tyrant, there might livery on Saturday next.
be no want of an object around which the
nation might rally. Major CARTWRIGHT, ON THE AFFAIRS Having very wisely laid these foundaOF SPAIN.
tions of union and enthusiasm in defence Sir,--Praying a truca tò personal com- of their country, they then shew their ad. pliment, let us as honest men continue our herence to the family of their choice is to efforts in the cause of human freedom, be no bar to whatever reformations of persuaded that such efforts will in some way their government, and whatever future liand at some time prove serviceable to man- mitations of the regal power, experience kind, although they should not immediately may have shewn them to be necessary; for succeed. It has been well said, that he they bind themselves under tbe most sowho causes two blades of grass to grow lenjn of all sanctions to the duties of pawhere only one grew before, is a benefactor triotism. They swear that they “will proto the public ; and the same may doubtless mote the preservation of the rights and be said of him wlio either produces or privileges, the laws and usages of their disseminates political truth. Although our country; " and finally, that they will proobservations shall at this time refer to the mote every thing conducive to the general case, of Spain, yet, as before observed, welfare and happiness of the kingdom, and they may not be unserviceable to our own the amelioration of its customs." After country, since the cause of liberty is now thus swearing, they farther pronounce on common to both ; and the very same re
themselves a solemn imprecation, in case forms, which are necessary to the salvation they shall not act up to what they have of the one, are no less necessary, although sworn; for, as a response to the officiating
prelate, who says:
you do so, God bel of their designs from the men of detail on you helper ; and if not, may he penish their staft, as well as even from comyou, as one who has taken his holy name missaries, and such like. in vain," ther, on their part, say “ Amen." Whọn, indeed, we reflect on the dis
In this most rational oath of allegiance, advantages under which, ever since the reign we are reminded of the ancient oath of the of Philip the 211, the science of government Arragonese, who in return for protection must have been studied in Spain, and the pepromised allegiance, “but if not, not." culiar advantages whic's since the sane era The present oath, however, is a happy our own more fortunate country has com. improvement on that model ; for the junta paratively enjoyed, it may reasonably be now expressly swear allegiance to the liber- imagined, that ihe inost enlightened patriots ties of their country, as well as to their of Spain have already studied politics in the prince. While they promise to “detend | English school, and will cast a not unwilling their king, his rights and sovereignty," they eye on what may now issue from the Euge also unequivocally swear to perform the lish press, that shall be applicable to the duties of patriot reformers. Can the friends work' they have in hand Should they not of human liberty and good government find themselves instructed, a sympathy of wish for more? And this oath, so different sentiment, and a desire to serve them must, from the fabrications of statesmen under at least, be causes of complacency, and *court influence, must, as I conceive, have cements of the alliance now subsisting be been privately drawn up and agreed on by tween the two nations. the members of the jnota themselves; for Having, Sir, in my late letters, touched on it is not to be believed that any oath, of the fundamentals of a free and sound govern. which they were previously ignorant, ment, namely, the militia and a legislative could have been proposed to them ; vor was representation, it is time we advert to the there in existence any power capable of executive. In treating on this branch of a dictating what they were not disposed to government, we shall have considerable pr adopt. In this view of the matter, the judice to encounter. From causes 100 • excellence and value of this oath rise in our vious to need specifying, we know that on estir tion; it is not an ordinary official this topic inore than any other, not even oath, taken as a thing of course; it is not excepting religion, pains have been taken the invention ef i, to be sworn to by B; to establish erroneous and even absurd creeds, but is an oaih first drawn up, and then and to fortify those creeds by mystery, bivoluntarily taken by tie same men ; who, gotry, corruption, and terror. Hence the had they not been determined to have ac- almost universal despotism of governments quitted themselves as real reformers, would and the intinity of human calamities of bave pui together a very different form of which that curse to our species is the immewords. I shall conclude these observations diate cause! But he who, in the extraordinary on the oath of the Spanish jaata, with an convulsions of our day, convulsions by wbich ardent wish that the English privy councii, both hemispheres bave been shaken, and and members of both houses of parliament, by which Europe from one extremity to the would, by a like solemnity, bind themselves oiber is at this moment violently agitgled, to the duties of state reformation,
he, I sły, who in these convulsions does not This Spanish oath is in its orvo nature perceive political light breaking in upost the an invitation to discussions and communica- human mind, for correcting past error on tions on the science of government, for the subject of executive government, must men who swear." they will promote every have little profited from experience or rething conducive to the general welfare and flection. happiness of the kingdom, and the amelio- That something radically ponatural, and ration of its custonis," do in fact, by the
in the highest degree adverse to the whole
. publication of their oath, seek the aid of some reginen which is vecessary to the such as are like-minded. Such statesmen political health and bappiness of nations
, is are the last to arrogato to themselves to be found in their executive governments, Is omniscience, and ever the most ready 10 a broad fact to which all bisiery bears testireceive information. They are aware that niony. But it is a fact of a more peculiar na he must have liule knowledge of statesmen, ture, that, on taking a survey of the reigning who does tiot discorer that the most ac- families in Europe within the last halfcentury, complished among them frequently needs it attords a sort of presumption, especially the aid of men of very interior capacities when coupled with the above-mentioned and attainments; as the greatest warriors convulsions, that Providence has for some derive services essential to the prosecution
time past been preparing the human mind
for a salutary change of opinion on the sub- I say proper sovereignty, because it is in ject of executive government. No have fact the only one which in strict propriety is they been less instructed as to the necessity entitled to that appellation ; for in the nature of such an improvement, from the actual of things there cannot be two supremes ; disposal of thrones which those convulsions the cause and the effect, the parent and the bave already produced, and ihe means em- offspring, the fountain and the stream, canployed. We inay therefore hupe the time is not be one and the same, nor can we but drawing nigh, when, potwithstanding the understand which of these respectively is efforts of even a Napoleon to keep alive an first. It is oily through the poverty of impious imposture, we shall hear no more human languag. that in our speech the three of any thing nrysterious about the office, or species of sovereignty have been confounded; sacred * about the person, of any chief ma- as in practice it has also, to the misfortune gistrate of whatever denomination ; but that of mankind, been generally found, that their commissions and their duties will every- even the third, last, and inferior of the where become subjects of sober reasoning, three, has monopolized all power. In this, and honest regulation, in like manner as I say, there is something radically unnatural: those of all interior officers, and thereby and when the order of political nature is rendered subservient to the welfare of nations. ! subverted, we must not be surprised at the It may contribute to this end if we establish | despotism and calamity with which human correct ideas on the nature of sovereignty, society is but too generally deluged. Had the different species of which, although the science of governinent been as open to perpetually presenting themselves to our discussion as physic, astronomy, or cheminds, we are not in the habit of distin- mistry, and had such rewards and honours guishing.
awaited those who had therein enlarged the The word sovereignty has three separate sphere of human knowledge by their significations; and although, for reasons discoveries, as the suffiages of mankind sufficiently obvious, sovereignty is for the have conferred on a Harvey, a Nesv. most part ascribed solely to the executive lon, and a Davy, the condition of nations - magistrate, yet, by a little attention to the would ere now bave been infinitely more nature of things, it will soon appear, that happy than it is; and the activity and the sovereignty of the chief magistrate, is energies of mankind would have had a the most interior of the three species we better direction than in mutual slaughter, designate by that term. It is observert by for searing on thrones the pests of the huLocke that is there can be but one supreme
In the science of government power, to which all the rest are, and inust the generality of nations are in the darkest be sebservient ; yet the legislative being only ignorance, and even the generalisy of statesa tiduciary power, to act for ceriain ends, men in mere infancy. Inded. considering there remains still in the people a supreme the corparatively swall progress made in power to reriove or alter tue l'gislative, this science, which, by the way, is to manwhen they find the legislative act contrary to kind more inportant than any other (for rethe trust reposed in them ”f Here, then, ligion, as a revela ion from the Deity, I do we sce two of the three species of sovereign- not call a science) it would be presumptuous ty; one active, the other, except in elec- in any mail to pretend to be complete tipns and on extraordinary occasions, qui- 13ster; but still there are probably soine escent; the one derivative, the other original; few in different nations wbo have studied it the one limited, the other by nature bound- abstracte ily, and who might be able, if opless; a fiduciary or 'vicarious sovereignty poriunities invited, lo incroduce valable inibeing conferied upon, and entrusted 10, ihat legislative which the will and pleasure of the
he Pale is out my intention to undervalue, brit nation have cieated for its own service and to make a right estinse of, the portical henefit; while the only underived, absolute, knowledge o: Statesmen; 2..d when we or proper sovereignty is that which is, and
consider te geto al motives of action, and must be, inherent in the people.
how little jope a real political reformer can * This word is objecied to only when
entertain of ever being mimitle:iniu a polisuperstitiously or absurdly or servilely ap
tical party, much less of arriving at state
advanreinent, it will not perhaps be un. plied. From wrong or violence of every
charitable to remark of salesmen, as Mr. kind, every man's person is as sacred as that of any other. Inviolability of person,
Tuoke, upon his trial in 1794, observed of
is mere political invention, unconnected with
the lawyers. As these, according to that
gen: icman, studied only those parts of the any superstitious fancy.
law; by which they were to shine in West+ On Government, B. 2. C. 13.
minster Hall and get their wealth ; 80 the
others may, too generally, be thought to voice in its favour, it must, pro tempore, study only those parts of government and assume the functions of both; and there state policy, by which they are to make a should, seem to be nothing in the way of its figure in courts, camps, or senates, and work proposing to the Spanish nation a constitutheir way to high offices in the state. Un- tion of great perfection. In proportion as, der a government in a state of such purity in that particular, it should aim at simplicity, and vigour, as to make patriotism of in. it would probably succeed. Perhaps it trinsic value to the individual, by raising him would be advisable to confine its interfe. to distinction, the science of government rence to that end, to three objects, namely, will be properly studied, for preserving the the militia, the legislature, and the execa. laws and liberties of the people, and ad- tive po ver ; leaving all else to be the work vancing the true glory of the state; but of subsequent legislation. As the imme. when corruption has found its way into the diaie end of a constitution is to preserve the legislature, and faction and favouritism are liberties of a nation, should those three the bigh roads to power or to honour, to powers be clearly defined in writing, adoptseats in a cabinet or the command of armies, ed, and introduced in practice according to all knowledge of the true principles and the written model, all that would be actualends of government will go to decay, and ly necessary as the fundamentals of " c corstatesmen become subtle and expert only in stilution should seem to be provided. It those parts of knowledge by which they can might still be highly expedient, as soon as tbe come in for a share of the power and spoil legislature should commence its functions, of their country; and a resistance of all that a declaration of rights, after the maureformation will become a conspicuous part ner of our Magna Charta and Bill of Rights, of their policy.
should, as the very first of its acts, and with But let us return to the affairs of Spain. peculiar solemnity, be passed as a fundamen- . Considering the condition of her government tal law. Every means ought then to be for pearly three centuries past, it would be adopted, by periodical readings in all court miraculous, indeed, were her supreme junta of justice, places of Worship, and seminaris composed of none but men, who by their of education ; by the annual oaths of a previous studies, had completely qualified legislators and magistrates; and other ser themselves for state reformers : but we may lemnities; that such fundamental law should hope, that, in the present exigency, men in be impressed upon the mind of the whole general of talents and integrity have been nation, that they might understand their poclosen ; and we have grounds for believing litical rights : nor ought such a fundamental that some among them are highly enlighten- law to be capable of the smallest alteration, eland of the most patriotic sentiments. It by a decision of any less number than threeis to the influence of these eminent indivi- fourths of the legislature. duals, Spaiu must chiefly look for salvation. Possibly, Sir, many of your English readThe Junta are to Spain, what the original ers may not at once perceive the sufficiency Congress was to America, and the first Na- of such a constitution, as above-mentioned, tional Assembly to France. To both, they for the security of a nation's liberties. Before may look back with advantage, and in the they can accede to such an opinion, it will present temper of the Spanish inind we perlaps be, necessary they should acquire may safely conclude, they will have no great correct ideas of what the militia, and the predeliction for improperly following French legislature of their own country, accordiog examples. Perhaps they may see a closer to its genuine constitution, ought to be : as parallel to their own case, in the Conven: well as more constitutional notions of the tion Parliament of England, wbich bad at proper office and powers of an English king, once to supply a vacancy in the throne, oc- than are to be derived from the slavish doccasioned by the abdication of James, and to trines introduced with the Bastard of Nor. restore the government by a substantial re- mandy, who, with no better title to the formation, from despotism to constitutional throne of England than Joseph Napoleon freedom. But if that way they should cast has to that of Spain, unhappily succeeded their eyes, I trust they will not only review in establishing his dynasty, as well as in adthat boasied era in our annals, but likewise ministering poisons to both our constitution our subsequent history, and therein see what and our law, from the effects of which they they have to avoid.
have not to this day wholly recovered. Although the junta has not in it the pro- In addition to what I have already said in my per character, either of a legislature, or an letters which appeared in your Register of exccutive power, yet, from the necessities of the 17th of Sept. and 1st of this month, og the case, and on the authority of the general the subject of a militia, and have laid down