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tó vaunt with regard to the new London bridge ; which, from its first projection, has been so especially a thing of their own dandling, and in arranging the different details concerning which, these eminent judges proceeded, as has already been seen, with such singular selfpossession and calmness ? Although this structure is as yet barely peeping above the water, the fourth act of parliament relating to it is at this moment in progress, -and yet the point rentains altogether to he ascertained-in what way, when the bridge is completed, access to it can possibly be obtained : unless it be by a sacrifice of property literally tremendous, and even then in the teeth of the very interests which first and foremost in the undertaking, it was proposed should be served by it.
In this particular connexion we may state, that we apprehend the reputation of our legislature in nothing rests upon a more frail basis, than in bridge matters generally; always excepting, however, the case of canals. In both these ways, the monuments of its failure, in truth, are lamentably numerous ; and till it shall be proved—which we challenge any one to do-that good on the whole, ensues from these, in so many instances unrequired, improvident, and bankrupt concerns, we shall, for our own parts, not cease to charge upon pailiament, an aggregate of folly committed, and of wrong done, too weighty, if we mistake not, to be easily shifted off its shoulders.' pp. 99, 100.
It is clear that if parliament renounced the practice of meddling with things it has no capacity or aptitude for dissecting, there would yet be a necessity for some improved system in its procedure, in order to render it competent to the making of laws. A mob is constitutionally unfit for this office, and small standing committees of the ablest and most diligent members would seem the best attainable expedient for the end in view In any way the final control of the assembly in mass cannot be avoided, but their judgment would be less likely to err upon, or to derange, studied and finished labours, than a question debated in ignorance and passion, or partial glimpses of the merits, the means, and the objects. We are aware that the name of committees suggesting ideas of what committees are and have been, carries any thing but a recommendation with it to the popular ear. Their talk is not heard, and their vices and abortions are notorious, hence they are considered as the whole House would be, were it, as we have before put the case, known only by its deeds; but the committees we have in prospect would be committees neither for jobs, nor the evasion of improvements-committees, therefore, which parlianient has at present constituted will by no means be apt to form-committees, which are, among the visions of reform, dreams of no very distant-coming events.
With regard to the committees of the hacknied character, we shall quote the words of Mr. Wickens, who, having represented the libraries of reports unknown, or unheeded, put forth by these bodies (some few of which, we must not omit to concede, are rare, and therefore the more honourable exceptions from the general description given of the class), goes on to express his surprise that,
The very term committee has not long ere this become odious to the nation. We ourselves have lived to witness so much time, thought, and labour, often expended, not only by some of the parties forning these committees, but likewise by the numerous individuals attending upon them; and then, after all, so many hopes frustrated—the recommendations in which this time and ihese efforts end, being so soon laid aside and forgotten – that we acknowledge we recoil at the very mention of a " parliamentary committee." We look upon the phrase as little else than a synonynı for anxieties or solicitude-superfluously awakened; for toil-fruitlessly incurred; for expectations we are almost tempted to say-wantonly blasted.'-p. 15.
The predominant and notorious vice of parliament is its dishonesty, and the public mind which fixes upon the gravest offence is not sufficiently regardful of the inability which is the next fault chargeable against the collective wisdom. The inability may be broadly described as of two kinds, the inability identical with incapacity; and the inability arising from the pressure of private professional occupations, which leave the cleverest men in the House of Commons no leisure for the study of public affairs. Generally speaking, the men of pleasure who have the spare time, have not the habits of application ; and the men of business, who have the habits of application, have not the spare time. To remedy one branch of the evil, Mr. Wickens proposes
" to disqualify all individuals,-the ministers of the Crown only excepted, from becoming legis.' lators, so long as they continue actively engaged in other pursuits or avocations."
We are not prepared to pronounce on the policy or practicability of the suggested regulation, but of this we are quite confident, that the morality of individuals should forbid them to undertake trusts, the careful discharge of which they must know to be beyond their powers. And the insensibility to the obligation is the singular defect which lies at the root of the neglect in question. A man of talents, and practised industry, goes into parliament not for the service of the country, but for his own individual honour. His object is not to watch over the administration of affairs for the public benefit, but to regard them as materials for his speeches; and little obtains his at
tention which is not convertible into aliment for his personal fame. Exceptions are to be admitted ; there are a round dozen of men in the six hundred who condescend to be useful, and are ridiculed for the humility of their ambition.
It is not difficult to show that no reproach is supposed to attach to the neglect of public business, and that the duty, for it capriciously has that name without the force, is made dependent on the personal convenience or humour of the party. Thus public duty is exactly fulfilled by the attention a member may. chance to be able to spare from his private concerns.
Of the truth of this representation, Mr. Wickens furnishes abundant proof in very striking instances. The Great Whig, Mr. Brougham, is the inost forcible example. The truth of the statement, and the accuracy of the inference, are beyond question:
an apology made not long since by lord Nugent at a public meeting, for the unexpected absence of Mr. Brougham, the noble lord assured the company that “ that gentleman's time, in the discharge of his various and important duties, was measured out by grains." We put in plicit faith in the statement; and our precise case, at least at this nioment, against Mr. Brougham, is, that so few grains of his time fall to the lot of his parliamentary duties. Did we not know this to be true, we should say, the fact must be so upon lord Nugent's own shewinghis very metaphor implying, that each of the many matters which call for the attention of Mr. Brougham, receive their dividend or pittance, their inch-we beg pardon---their “ grain," of his time or consideration. Besides his long absence every session on the circuit, the learned gentleman's so often unoccupied place in the House of Commons-attests the accuracy of this representation generally; and shews also, that in the business of graduating his time, of parcel. ling out his attention, Mr. Brougham acts with rigid impartiality-in no degree suffering the parliamentary to take any undue precedence of the professional claims there may be upon him.
* By the “unoccupied place" in parliament of the honourable member, we mean, of course, his public place there. We advert not to the pains-taking, the scrutiny, and toil, which some may think the learned gentleman, in common justice to his colleagues and to the nation, ought to undergo in the committee-rooms of the House. That, indeed, is a part of the subject, upon which Mr. Brougham may be heard for himself :-"I am not," said he, House of Commons, February 15th, 1828, “ without desire to advance the objects of the committee (the celebrated Finance Committee, which had previously, and has since, given rise to so much—we should say, futile expectation); but I am under the necessity of declining to be one of its members. To be present at its sittings would interfere with my professional avocations--the weight of which is such, that, especially at this season of the year, I never could hope to be able to give my attendance."-pp. 163-165,
What better example than this can we have of the lax way in which parliamentary duty sits on members. Until virtue has its respect there is no hypocrisy, and here we see that frank renouncement of action which indicates the absence of the opinion of obligation. Were a few of the confessed coquetters with business thrust out of the House, the pretences of attention would be assumed by those who refuse the labour. In a reformed parliament, a Mr. Brougham would not have dared to utter the declarations we have quoted. He would have felt the hazard of striking the just reflection out of the public mind by presenting his rules of neglect in such rude nakedness. But members who walk into boroughs for a certain admission-money are unaffected by such apprehensions.
Wherever private interest comes into contact with public duty, we observe the preference of the former to be an avowed principle in parliament. The following instance in point we regard in the light of an exposure :
«“It is true," observed Mr. Brougham, in his place in parliament, May 17, 1827, "a petition from Mr. Bishop Burnett I did present to the House, and that, not without taking the previous precaution of examining and cross-examining Mr. Burnett, as to the correctness of his charges. Four or five days, however, after I had done this, I found myself professionally retained in an appeal cause before the privy council. Upon looking at my instructions, it appeared that the party, who, in the petition, complained of the alleged corruption of the noble governor of the Cape, had applied to the privy council for a revision of the decision of the governor ; and that I was retained as counsel at the opposite side. This was the reason why I proceeded no further in the business of the petition. The delicacy of my situation forbade it. I felt myself bound, right or wrong, to discharge my duty as a counsel ; and to advocate the interests of one party hefore the privy council, one day, and the interests of the rival party in this House the next;-how was it possible for me to do it?" Away, therefore--taking the case from Mr. Brougham's own lips-away went Mr. Bishop Burnett, and his host of reputed wrongs, together with the grievances of the whole Cape of Good Hope population! and, as a legislator as a judge, indeed, in the cause of these various parties, the learned gentleman from that moment stood before us all, as he has ever since remained-not merely mute, but fairly emasculatedi' pp. 172-173. What a " delicacy of situation" was that
a fee on one hand, a community's alleged interests on the other! The profession prevails the patriot is silenced. What a fearful reflection is thus suggested of the extent to which a corrupt Treasury might deprive us even of Mr. Brougham's services by timely retainers. In cases of oppression it would only be necessary to retain him
for the defendant, and his voice, by his own shewing, must straight be silenced. Oh the delicacy of his situation. The Strand at midnight has no choices surpassing it in nicety.
We cannot, upon the present occasion, pursue this subject to its bearings upon reform in parliament. The main object at this moment, and one greatly favoured by the temper of the public mind, is to shew the pervading vices of parliament, for the remedy will be half obtained when the disease is made manifest. Corruption, negligence, and incapacity, are the evils under which we have long laboured, and for the prevention of which we have to provide. A sense of the nuisance is now beginning to prevail generally, and the agitation, by the provincial press, of the once abhorred and forbidden subject of reform, cheeringly indicates the movement of the public mind to that end. That it should have so long been tolerant, if not acquiescent, in the evil would be a matter
of wonderment, were we not aware of the power of custom, and of that praise, which, once established, so long cleaves to all worthlessness by force of prescription.
There is a nation of savages who worship a shark as a god, and surely their devotion is only to be likened to the admiration formerly professed by Englishmen for their “matchless constitution.' The savages possessed the advantage of adoring their greedy deity in an element bounding its powers of harming its worshippers, but our omnipotent shark, less conveniently placed, has, after a long series of practical demonstration of the attributes, rendered its voracity destructive of its reverence.
Arr. VII.-1. The Speech of Michael T. Sadler, Esq. M.P. on the State
und Prospects of the Country; delivered by him at Whitby, on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 1829, at a Public Dinner given to him by the Merchants, Ship-owners and Ship-builders, of that place. London.
Seeley. pp. 35. 2. The Condition of the Empire. Blackwood's Edinburgh Maga
zine, for July 1629. THE monkeys in Exeter Change used to be confined in a row of narrow cages,
each of which had a pan in the centre " of its front for the tenant's food. When all the monkeys were
supplied with their messes, it was observable that scarcely any
one of them ate of his own pan. Each thrust his arm through " the bars, and robbed his right or left hand neighbour. Half
what was so seized was spilt and lost in the conveyance; and " while one monkey was so unprofitably engaged in plundering,