A FAIR TRIAL, QUOTH SITE; MARRY, HANG HER, QUOTII HE!
"Our citizens fret, and our countrymen foam : We're half killed abroad, and half murdered at home;
By fatal experience, in time we'll grow wise.
And when we're all ruined, we'll open our eyes."—Ozo Sonn.
PARIS, 24th February 1833. THE verdict is brought in, the sentence passed, and the culprit in answer to " why execution shall not be done ?" demands a "fair trial !" This is " too bad," as Lord LIVERPOOL said of Lord LONDONDERRY; this is presuming rather too far on JOHN'S known love of fair play ; Mr. Beta, is a bon homme, but he is not so bon as that comes to. The Tory bellwethers cry oat "fair trial!" in behalf of a party convicted of half a century's misrule, and con- demned by the Reform Bill to perpetual exclusion from office. If they are in again, it is not by virtue of the Bill, but in spite of it; not with the will of the Nation, but in defiance of it. The fruits anticipated from that bill were many and various, but one, though merely negative, was preeminent ; and it was on all hands acknowledged that the measure would fall wofully short of the mark, if it did not prove an everlasting barrier to the recurrence of Toryism in power. Whatever other benefits might eventually flow from it, this was the great, immediate, practical good, for which the old anti the young, men, women, and children, fatigued Heaven with their prayers. Yet, like the ill weed, which neither hoe nor spade can extirpate, but springs where least expected and disfigures the parterre, the thing is up again in place, mopping and mowing at the Nation, asking for a fair trial, and by the mouthpiece of its bellwethers preaching domination, and reviling the spirit of freedom, as loudly as when in 1774 it beat up for a war against the Colonies, and in 1791 blew a blast against France. The nuisance is recurring to vex the neighbourhood, and prays forbearance from those whose nostrils it offends. We have known " the worst of it," says the canting Timer; perhaps its odour will be found less intolerable than heretofore, see whether you cannot put up with it ; if it can be endured, it ought to be suffered. It has been, poor thing, only the source of all the mischiefs which for more than sixty years we have been plagued withal ; it has only proclaimed servility and gone to war for it—enacted it by law and executed the law in massacres ; it has curtailed only a fourth of every man's loaf for all generations to come, and is preparing to exact only another fourth! Like VIRGlis snake, mala gramina pastus, it has renewed its blood-dropped coat, is throwing up its dangerous head, and quivering its forked and venomous tongue; and the creature cries, "Give me a fair trial; foi de serpent, 1 Will not sting you l" Yes, such a trial as the clodhopper gives to the scotched adder he encounters on his road, and despatches with his cudgel : sage clodhopper! for, saith he within himself, "Many strong men have been slain by thee, but I will bruise thy head; thou shalt cast down no more." A fair trial yes, if by some dreadful visitation of Providence chastening us for our insular pride if, par impossible, a fleet issuing from Sebastopol had broken our line of battle, and Cossacks were stabbing in West- niinster ; if eight centuries of national independence, and two of domestic liberty, or at least of struggles for it, had expired at the feet of the Muscovite patron of the Tories, we would give them a fair trial—even such a trial as France gave her restored Legiti- wales ; and, as France did by her Legitimates, we would eject them at the end of it. But, thanks to the God that giveth the victory, the waves roll round Britain ; they enclose a people high of heart and stout of hand as ever ; and while their fleets ride the seas
unbroken, they say that no Tory Ministry shall ride them. Humbled by no defeat, cast down by no disaster—damaged, it is true, by half a century of bloodshedding and million-squandering, yet giant-like still, though in ruins—how dare you ask of a nation not yet prostrate, to swallow again the dose she revolts at, and return to the vomit she had ejected ?
Did we beg the Tories to try their hands again at slaughtering, taxing, fleecing, jobbing, gagging,beggaring the Nation, that they should whine for a fair trial from us ? Did we storm Heaven with
our prayers, and the Throne with our petitions, to give us again our sore, our gangrene, our leprosy, our galloping consumption, the thing of which we die a shameful death—we, born to freedom and self-government, being a people of cool heads and long memories? Did the great cities of the empire, unrivalled by aught the world contains, for populousness, industry, and intelligence, cover parch- ments reaching from Edinburgh to London and hearing for burden —" May it please your Majesty to give us back our Tories ; we wax wanton, like so many bulls of Boson ; a course of Tory ism will cure our obesity ; restore us the daughter of the horse-leach, whose cry is, give, give And your petitioners shall ever pray ?"
The close of the last session of Parliament left a Ministry in power supported by an overwhelming majority in a House re- turned only two years before by nearly a million electors. Here, assuredly, was a base broad enough to tranquillize that paternal Prerogative which ever watches to keep the state pyramid on its bottom and to prevent its being turned upside down, and made to vibrate hazardously on its pointi for the satisfaction of corrupt minorities, who desire to be themselves the pivot of the machine. The Nation content, Prerogative at liberty to go to sleep—the state in which BURKE says it abideth with most safety for itself and every body else—" its repose may be the preservation of its exist- ence ;" not so much as a policeman's head in the way of being broken at home, and peace troubled abroad only by Tory despots out of place like their friends ; no clap of thunder on a fair frosty day, as Bishop BURNET says, ever astonished the world more than the dismissal of the MELBOURNE Administration. This abrupt ex- trusion from office of the first popular Cabinet England had wit- nessed for many a day, startled us ; but what followed astounded us. The Cabinet thus supported by a nation thus in repose, Par- liament turned country gentleman and gone a partridge-shooting, things pursuing their even everyday course; so imminent, it seems, was the danger, so imperious the urgency, so pressing the need, that a change was to be made at all risks, not only of decency and common respect for eminent men, of whom some had been de- clared to have deserved well of the Nation, but even of the tenderly cherished Constitution itself. The latter in the midst of all this quietude, distasteful to none perhaps but politicians, stood, it ap- pears, in such jeopardy, that its guardians and saviours, to rescue it, did not scruple to deal the darling a most ungentle blow. The Ministers are turned bead and shoulders out of the Cabinet, and in their room is substituted a single individual—the very man of the Three Nations whose character, precedents, and position, made this constitutional solecism yet more glaring and offensive. The King might have sent for my Lord P. or my Lord Q.; and the People, disposed to take all in good part from a Prince to whom it good- naturedly has given the credit of its own works, and loves for his imputed righteousness, might perhaps have only stared as at a boutade of Royalty hereditary in the GEORGES. But sending for the man who for a month did actually fill as many offices as Fee- faw-fum the giant had toes on his feet, was too like the House of Brunswick putting itself under the skirts of Lord WELLINGTON, to be viewed with the same Bull-like bon-homie. The King, whose assent had ratified the Reform Bill, turns off his Reform Ministers; and instead of stretching out his arms, as before, to bless his people, points to them to keep their distance, with the sword of Waterloo. This was the "unkindest cut of all."
Stolen back into office under these auspices, and by such a gap in the Constitution—a most ugly, perilous, SruAar-looking gash, as ever the seventeenth century witnessed—the Tories, the old Tories, the Waterloo and Peterloo, the Washington and Copen- hagen, the Conde and Valenciennes Tories, the fighting, million- spending, dragooning, gagging, and coercing Tories, booted and spurred, whip in hand, ready to mount for another half century, and ride down liberty wheresoever, ask a fair trial of their horse- manship from the patient animal whose galled flanks were but just beginning to heal, and which, having flung its rider, was pricking its ears and preparing to mend its pace. They fill the Cabinet with every name branded by national scorn and no- torious for narrowness and bigotry, and they ask a fair trial ! They break the First Reform Parliament, when it had run out but two sessions of its existence ; they demonstrate the worst that Tories can do in the way of bribery and intimidation ; they work all the engines of corruption, of which the dilatory Whigs had left but too many standing ; they exert the convulsive efforts of which drowning men alone are capable ; the Second Reform Parliament assembles, and by its first vote protests against their Government; and they ask for a fair trial ! When in that " slow and silent stream" we have drunk oblivion of our past existence; when a long-remembering people have forgotten how we have been made to war to the knife on our kinsmen and our neighbours, against a cause that was our own ; how you have borrowed our sword to de- face in better worlds God Almighty's; principle of civil liberty, by which England has grown great and glorious ; bow you seized the opportunity of our scarlet fever and Waterloo intoxication, to at- tempt an old Bourbon system of government in Great Britain, and to massacre our countrymen assembled to protest against your doings ; how you have hived your hatred of British liberty in our statute book, and laid up in the lumber-room of law, ugly, feloni- ous weapons, for the use of Tories, whenever their odious Govern- ment is to be fastened on a reluctant people ; when your 700 millions of debt are duly paid, and your 700 millions of political abominations expunged from the book of memory, come and ask us for a fair trial. But whilst the labourer works ten hours for his loaf, and six to pay your debts and maintain your younger sons, let the fraudulent bankrupt demand to administer his effects, but do not ask a trial for a Tory Administration.
Fair trial for Toryism !—fair trial for ratsbane, for hemlock, for prussic acid ! Lord, what an impudent world is this we live in !
—And their impudence subjoins that the Reformers cannot make
on Administration. They can at least make one, and fill it with ELLEN and MARY-BOROUGHS; they can collect WHARNCLIFFES and KNATCHBULLS enow out of a single ,county ; they can cut
Gold Sticks and Silver Sticks out of any hedge ; they can send a hussar to St. Petersburg-, put a general in the Foreign Office, and a sophistical plausibility in the House of Commons; they can amass prejudice, narrrowness, bigotry, stiff-neckedness, obduracy, official pretension, and real mediocrity, in perhaps yet richer abun- dance, though that is a bold word; they can lay the weight of all this on the safety-valve, and be blown gloriously up at the end. They can forget that England stands where she did—hoar veteran of liberty ; that Scotland, newly called into political existence, and purged of her old corporations, adds the fervour of youth to the sobriety of age; that Ireland's millions, steadied by existence, and purged of her old corporations, adds the fervour of youth to the sobriety of age; that Ireland's millions, steadied by a long and cruel experience of the inefficacy of desultory inter- mitting efforts" and disciplined and instructed by a long course of political agitation, breathe their native ardour into the colder but
more constant breasts of Englishmen, which begin to glow
again. They can see the State bound to a sect, which has already once entailed ruin on its protector, and turning its back on a multitude of other sects, of which all are aggrieved, and the most numerous one dragooned and slaughtered. They contemplate an overwhelming load of debt, an enormous expenditure, and a corn- monopoly, weighing like an incubus on industry, and forcing the million to work sixteen hours a day for a wretched existence, whose hideousness is set off by the unexampled wealth and luxury of the few. They can see the mass of the Three Nations dependent even for its privilege of toiling sixteen hours a day on a foreign commerce, subject for its uninterrupted prosecution to the pleasure of military despotisms, who have no thought, no sympathy, no feeling, for aught but the perpetuating of their own soul-subduing oppression. They can see all the elements of revolution gathering round, and join the despots in exterminating liberty, and with liberty industry, and with industry commerce; they can protect abuses at home, and cultivate them abroad ; they can exasperate Ireland into rebellion, and provoke Manchester Into insurrection ; they can raise "a dust" in every city of the two islands, and lay it, if it can be so laid, " in blood." All this they can do ; for in order thereto they have only to collect into the Cabinet a number of heads fashioned and furnished like those by which it is already filled. A fair trial !