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to rank and antiquity, love of what is tranquil and established, will probably maintain monarchy in these islands as long as it deserves to be maintained. The House of Lords will have a more precarious existence; the leading demagogue of our day has declared war against it, and has pronounced it to be doomed and indefensible. Its collisions with a democratic House of Commons will be incessant and inevitable; frequent defeats will impair its strength; frequent concessions will confess its weakness ; frequent compromises will destroy its dignity ;-a policy of yielding will reduce it to insignificance; a policy of resistance can scarcely terminate otherwise than in its abolition. Its extinction may be indefinitely postponed; but the undermining and impairment which will pave the way for that extinction are certain to begin at once. Thus the constitution will not be subverted, but it will be sapped. The other powers of the state will become more and more subordinate to the House of Commons; the House of Commons will become more and more subservient to its constituents; representation will give way to delegation-a process already begun, a tendency unmistakably on the increase.
Nor do we dread any flagrant assault on the rights of property, or any distinct act of confiscation. The sense of justice is still too prevalent among us to permit of any thing of this sort ostensibly or soon ; the holders of property are too many; the love of property is too strong and too tenacious. The burdens of the state may be shifted more and more upon real property, as power is more and more removed from it; accumulation may be discouraged, and subdivision fostered, by indirect enactment; but further or faster than this we shall not go yet. What we do fear is a gradual deterioration of our policy, and a steady degradation of our national life, in obedience to the exigencies of low aims and shallow understandings, till all that is dignified and far-seeing has been eliminated from the one, and all that is chivalric, noble, and high-minded has died out of the other. We dread too, more than we can say, the prospect of a loss sad, inevitable, and irredeemable—the loss of our national reputation and our ancestral fame. NATIONAL CHARACTERas displayed to the world, and as recorded in history at leastdepends on the mental, moral, and social qualities of that class in the nation that is uppermost—that directs the government, that decides the policy, that gives the tone-in a word, that represents the nation in the eyes of other nations. This “national character," therefore, obviously may be altogether changed, without any corresponding alteration in the qualities or nature of any individuals or sections of the nation, by the mere fact of a different class coming to the surface and assuming the com
mand. France and America have offered signal and sad examples of such change. We should be loth to believe that the noblesse of France, or the gentlemen of America, or the real high-class statesmen of either country, have degenerated in the last seventy years to the extent indicated by a comparison between their rulers then and now. Probably the pure and educated aristocracy of France can produce men as polished, as generous, and as able as the Turgots, the Lafayettes, and the Montmorencys of a former day; indeed, we know they can, and need go no further than the names of Montalembert, Tocqueville, and De Broglie, to prove it. But that old and cultivated noblesse which governed and represented France formerly, represent and govern it no longer; their supremacy has long ago been transferred to a lower class and an altogether different race: the Gauls have succeeded the Franks upon the surface; and inevitably, though in part unjustly, we judge of and feel towards France accordingly. For foreign countries, the class which decides the national policy and conducts the national communications is virtually the nation. In like manner we believe, and we know, that the higher ranks of American society contain men worthy to take their place as specimens and statesmen beside Washington and Hamilton; but they are thrown into obscurity, and can no longer speak for or direct their countrymen. We see no reason to suppose that the lower classes of Americans are much more ruffianly, quarrelsome, encroaching, and dishonest now than in the days of Washington; but they were insignificant and unseen then, and they are uppermost and all-powerful now. It is they with whom we have to treat; it is they whose insults and whose piracies we have to resent or to endure; it is they who speak in the name of a powerful nation, who give a vulgar tone to its diplomacy, and a downward direction to its policy; it is from them, therefore, as an inevitable consequence, that we are compelled to form our impression of the PEOPLE, whom in truth, perhaps, they injure, dishonour, and malign. The same will be the case with ourselves. England embodied in Mr. Edwin James, and represented by Mr. John Bright, will hold a very different position in the great commonwealth of nations from that assigned to the England of which Lord Althorp was the résumé, and of which Mr. Canning was the spokesman.
But, to escape from generalities, which, however just, are seldom impressive or instructive, let us specify very briefly what are the principal changes for the worse which we apprehend from the preponderance of the democratic element in our constitution." How will it affect our policy on fiscal questions, on
religious matters, on the conduct of our foreign relations, and on our domestic administration and legislation generally?
I. The history of democratic states, and the language of our democratic leaders, afford pretty plain indications of the ideas and practices which are likely to prevail in reference to taxation and expenditure. Mr. Bright, to be sure, sees fit to anticipate a reign of strict economy, and rigid and regular control over the public expenditure. But Mr. Bright, we know, reads little history, and has a singular faculty of shutting his eyes to every thing going on around him which it does not suit his theory to see. But others, whose vision is less limited or less oblique, are well aware that, whatever be the other virtues of democracies, economy in the outlay of public money is not among them. It is true they are often fitfully and mischievously parsimonious, but never systematically sparing. They often cut down salaries and starve departments, but they seldom reduce the number of employés, or very resolutely insist upon value received. They pinch occasionally, but they job habitually. In no country is the public expenditure, municipal, state, and federal, more completely under popular control than in the United States. Yet in no country, as we are now beginning to understand, are jobs perpetrated of so shameless a character, or on so magnificent a scale; in no country is expenditure so wasteful, and, as a rule, so unchecked. The reason is very simple, and is one which must operate every where as certainly as in America. The demagogues and their immediate supporters can profit incalculably more by the jobs they transact and connive at than they could do by their share of any relief afforded to the general taxpayer; yet, being the practical rulers, no one can effectually thwart them, or dare to unmask and denounce them; public indignation does not blast them, and their private consciences do not withhold them. The tone of public morality being low, and opinion therefore virtually inoperative, it is easy to give a majority of the legislature solid reasons for permitting a profitable peculation. Fifty or a hundred men have a personal and pecuniary interest in doing the job; no one has any thing beyond a philanthropic or a conscientious interest in opposing it. Working men have constantly a direct interest in promoting a lavish expenditure, especially where rich men can be made to pay a large portion of the taxes. Hence wherever working men return the representatives, the expenditure will be lavish. The extent to which this logic operates in the United States is now notorious, and authentic and official documents without number are extant to prove it. In France, the expenditure during the corrupt reign of Louis Philippe was held to be scandalously profuse; that under the present Emperor has far exceeded it; but
the expenditure under the short life of the republic of 1848 surpassed both. In our own country, it is nearly always the Government which desires to control, and the popular demand which strives to increase the public outlay; except, indeed, when, after a fit of wasteful extravagance, the usual reaction seizes on the nation, and drives it to a fit of still more wasteful parsimony. Ever prompt to spend treasure, ever slow to collect revenue; hating economy, yet shrinking from taxation; recklessly lax in ordering the article, disgracefully averse to paying the bill,-a democratic body is the very last from whom the inauguration of a dignified, consistent, and sparing fiscal policy can be expected.
Of the principles of taxation which would prevail in a legislature such as Mr. Bright would substitute for the present House of Commons, he has happily left us in no doubt. He would lay nearly whole of the public burdens on the possessors of accumulated property so invested that it could be caught. He would abolish the income-tax, because it touches himself and his fellow-traders; and he would abolish the customs and excise duties, because they are the only ones which can be made to reach those labouring constituents whom he wishes to endow with supremacy and hopes to lead after his fancy. But when his ideal House of Commons is obtained, it is by no means certain that it will adopt his ideal budget. It will soon discover that Schedule D., especially when confined to the larger class of incomes, is a most just as well as a most productive tax; it will denounce capitalists, as he has denounced landowners, as bloodsuckers who fatten on the plunder of the poor; and, with a consistency which he might envy, but with a logic which he will scarcely like, it will carry into practice more thoroughly than he expected the grand and simple ideal which he has painted before the people's eyes-of “ a social state in which the rich shall pay all the taxes, and the poor shall wield all the power.” Who can for one moment doubt that the fiscal policy of a democratic legislature would soon issue in a profuse expenditure and a niggardly taxation—in an abolition of the indirect imposts which reach labour, and an augmentation of the direct ones which attack capital; and, when this process could be carried no further, in an annual deficit, to be covered by an annual loan-perhaps, as in France, a loan to bear a high interest, and to be adapted to small savings?
II. We do not believe that in religious matters the working classes are more narrow-minded or more intolerant than the middle classes, or at least than that lower section of the middle class which is already possessed of the franchise. On the contrary, we incline to think that the intelligence of some and the indifference of others, among both peasants and artisans, afford a considerable safeguard against any sporadic tendency towards fanatical legislation on their part. "There can be no doubt that the middle ranks of large towns-the sober thriving tradesmen, the orthodox Dissenters, Baptists, Methodists, and Independents -constitute the stronghold of bigotry and sabbatarianism. It is
among these men that dread of free-thinking, hatred of searching exegetical inquiry, hankering after the sweet sanctities of religious persecution, and one-sided reading of the rights of conscience, still linger and most flourish. From time to time they have given us startling warnings of what they would do were their power equal to their will. But, though able to influence to a great degree the elections in populous boroughs, and to warp or dictate the conduct and language in parliament of the representatives of such places, they have hitherto been controlled and neutralised by the absence of allies among the lower classes, and by the almost universal, steady, and quiet opposition of the upper ranks, and the higher intelligences of the land. The peasants of the rural districts have been too stolid to respond to their excitements, and the operatives of the towns had no votes that could be made available ; so that there existed a sufficient preponderance of electoral power among the votaries of religious moderation and mental freedom to prevent that fanaticism, which is always latent and smouldering, from ever making head, and reducing England to the oppressive bigotry of Scotland. But we cannot but feel that this rational ascendency will be in imminent danger from the day when that more decorous and pious portion of the ignorant poor which the Methodists can easily lay hold of are endowed with votes which the minister and the demagogue will share between them, and when the multiplication of large boroughs shall have increased enormously the number of representatives under their influence. The superior classes and the better education of England are at present more than a match for the unsupported bigotry of the ten-pounders, with perhaps 70 or 100 members at their command; will they continue to be so when these middle-class constituencies are reinforced by electors yet more ignorant, if not more narrow than themselves, and when the number of representatives they can return is raised to 150 or 200? This is a serious question, and one that raises grave fears in our minds ; for we know how mighty and undying is the spirit of religious dictation and the liability to religious excitement; and, with a widely extended popular constituency, we should be always oscillating between the perils of an outbreak of sabbatarian rigour on the one side, or of “ No Popery” fury on the other.
III. The foreign policy of a great nation ought to be gene