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* tradiction in terms. Liberty under a connivance ! Connivance

is a relaxation from slavery, not a definition of liberty. What * is connivance, but a state under which all slaves live! If I • was to describe slavery, I would say with those who hate it, it ó is living under will, not under law. .... Toleration an at

tack upon Christianity! What, then, are we come to this pass, " to suppose that nothing can support Christianity but the prin• ciples of persecution: Is that, then, the idea of establishó ment? Is it, then, the idea of Christianity itself, that it ought

to have establishments, that it ought to have laws against Dissenters, but the breach of which laws is to be connived at? What a picture of toleration ; what a picture of law, of estab“ lishments; what a picture of religious and civil liberty! I am persuaded that toleration, so far from being an attack upon • Christianity, becomes the best and surest support that possibly can be given to it. The Christian religion itself arose without establishment; it arose eren without toleration, and whilst its * own principles were not tolerated, it conquered all the powers

of darkness; it conquered all the powers of the world. The mo"ment it began to depart from those principles, it converted the * establishment into tyranny; it subverted its foundations from * that very hour .... I know nothing but the supposed necessity of persecution, that can make an establishment disgusting.

• The honourable gentleman insists much upon this circum'stance of objection, namely the division among the Dissenters.

Why, Sir, the Dissenters, by the nature of the term, are open to have a division among themselves. They are Dissenters, “because they differ from the Church of England; not that they agree among themselves . . . . But, says the honourable gentle

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you suffer them to go on, they will shake the funda'mental principles of Christianity. Let it be considered, that 'this argument goes as strongly against connivance, which you * allow, as against toleration, which you reject.

Nothing has driven people more into that house of seduction, infidelity, than the mutual hatred of Christian congregations. Long may we enjoy our church under a learned and edifying episcopacy. But episcopacy may fail, and religion exist. The most horrid and cruel blow that can be of'fered to civil society is through atheism. Do not promote di

versity ; when you have it, bear it; have as many sorts of re• ligion as you find in your country: there is a reasonable wor

ship in them all. The others, the infidels, are outlaws of the constitution ; not of this country, but of the human race. They 6

are never, never to be supported, never to be tolerated .. How shall I arm myself against them? By uniting all those in affection who are united in the belief of the great principles of the Godhead that made and sustains the world ....

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The honourable gentleman would have us fight this confederacy ' of the powers of darkness with the single arm of the Church of

England; would have us not only fight against infidelity, but 'fight at the same time with all the faith in the world except

Strong as we are, we are not equal to this. T'he cause of the Church of England is included in that of religion, not that of religion in the Church of England. I will stand up at all times for the rights of conscience, as it is such, not for its particular modes against its general principles. One may be right; another mistaken ; but, if I have more strength than my brother, it shall be employed to support, not to oppress his weakness. If I have more light, it shall be used to guide, not to dazzle him.'* (March, 1773.)

That the writer of these noble sentiments should have viewed the French Revolution with passionate abhorrence and alarm, might have been anticipated; but who could have expected to find him, in 1790, opposing the repeal of the test and corporation acts, or, in 1792, that of the penal statutes, and ridiculing the abstract principle of toleration'? The spirit which breathes in these later speeches, is that of another man. In the former, we might fancy ourselves listening to an oration from Grattan or Burdett: in the latter, it is Sir Robert Inglis or Sir Charles Wetherell. The moral metamorphosis is as complete as though the original Burke had transmigrated into another form, and the spirit of some Romish jesuit had taken possession of the untenanted frame of the accuser of Hastings and the champion of the rights of America.

A not less flagrant instance of his inconsistency occurs in his speech in opposition to Mr. Pitt's bill for reforming the public offices, in March 1785, which this great ci-devant Economical Reformer stigmatised as 'a slander upon the whole official es

tablishments of the kingdom !! In precisely the spirit in which the Conservatives of the present day have assailed the commission for inquiring into corporation abuses, and by similar arguments, did Mr. Burke oppose that bill; and referring to an expression used by Mr. Sheridan, -vermin abuses,' he said, with more wit than good manners: “It was but too true the right honourable gentleman opposite to him loved to hunt in holes and

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Had been Tom's food for seven long year.” This would have been worthy of the haughtiest and most reck

*

Speeches, Vol. I. pp. 152---154; 159; 162–164.

less champion of all abuses; yet, how short a time before had Mr. Burke put himself forward as the arras-mender' of the State, the reformer of 'the great wardrobe,' and the abolisher of useless offices in the royal household ? * What was this but hunting into the dusty corners of the palace, and preying on small deer? The avowed object of his plan of Economical Reformation of the civil and other establishments, was, to promote the better security of the independence of Parliament.' It was then substantially a plan of parliamentary reform, though it did not propose to touch the machinery of representation ; and all the arguments by which Mr. Burke urged the adoption of his plan, are strictly applicable to the Reform bill of Earl Grey, and to the Municipal Reforms advocated by the present Lord Chancellor. And yet, in 1792, he could affect to doubt whether abuses existed which rendered any reformation necessary! He even ridiculed the idea of 'a moderate or temperate reform as 'impossible;' t and concluded his speech by putting it to the House, whether they knew of any existing grievance that warranted the risk that must inevitably attend the proposed motion for a parliamentary reform!! With equal heat and passion, in April 1794, he deprecated any reduction of the salaries of the servants of the crown, in opposing the motion for taxing placemen and pensioners; on which occasion he used this remarkable language: 'It was the peculiar province of the Crown to measure and distribute the proportion of rewards to the merits of its servants; and he was astonished that the House should be called

upon to interfere in a matter not within the scope of their ordinary functions !'I How such language would now be received by the House, we need not say ; but what the Mr. Burke of 1780 would have replied to it, the reader may infer from the following extracts, taken from his magnificent pleadings in favour of his Plan of Economical Reform. At the present moment, sentiments like these deserve to be transcribed and circulated; and if they cannot derive weight from Mr. Burke's ambiguous authority, they have at least the full benefit of his eloquence.

' A general sense prevails of the profusion with which all our affairs are carried on, and with it a general wish for some sort of reformation. That desire for reformation operates every where, except where it ought to operate most strongly-in this House .. Old parliamentary forms and privileges are no trifles; I freely grant it. But the nation calls for something

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* See debate of March 20, and April 28, 1780. Speeches, Vol. II.

pp. 137–150.
+ Speeches, Vol. IV., pp. 42—49.
# 16., p. 162. Compare this with Vol. II. p. 59.

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more substantial than the very best of them : and if form and duty are to be separated, they will prefer the duty without the form, to the form without the duty. If both Lords and Commons should conspire in a neglect of duty, other ways, still more irregular than the interference of the Lords may now appear, will be resorted to : for I conceive the nation will, some way or other, have its business done, or it is a nation no longer.'

'I cannot help observing, that the whole of our grievances are owing to the fatal and overgrown influence of the Crown; and that influence itself to our enormous prodigality. They move in a circle ; they become reciprocally cause and effect; and the aggregate product of both is swelled to such a degree, that not only our power as a state, but every vital energy, every active principle of our liberty will be overlaid by it. To this cause I attribute that nearly general indifference to all public interests, which for some years has astonished every man of thought and ' reflection. Formerly, the operation of the influence of the Crown only touched the higher orders of the state. It has now insinuated itself into every creek and cranny in the kingdom. • There is scarce a family so hidden and lost in the obscurest recesses of the community, which does not feel that it has something to keep or to get, to hope or to fear, from the favour or displeasure of the Crown.

The worst of public prodigality is, that what is squandered is not simply lost: it is the source of much positive evil. Those who are negligent stewards of the public estate will neglect every thing else. It introduces a similar inaccuracy, a kindred slovenliness, a correspondent want of care, and a want of foresight into all the national management. What is worst of all, it soon surrounds a supine and inattentive minister with the designing, confident, rapacious, and unprincipled men of all 'descriptions. They are a sort of animals sagacious of their proper prey; and they soon drive away from their habitation all contrary natures. A prodigal minister is not only not saving, but he cannot be either just or liberal. No revenue is large enough to provide both for the meritorious and undeserving ; to provide for service which is, and for service which is not incurred.

6 I know that this influence is thought necessary for government. Possibly, in some degree, it may. But I declare, it is for the sake of government, for the sake of restoring to it that reverence which is its foundation, that I wish to restrain the exorbitance of its influence. Is not everyone sensible how much that influence is raised ? Is not every one sensible how ' much authority is sunk? The reason is perfectly evident. 'Government ought to have force enough for its functions; but

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'it ought to have no more. It ought not to have force enough to support itself in the neglect or the abuse of them. If it has, they must be, as they are, abused and neglected. Men will • throw themselves on their power for a justification of their want of order, vigilance, foresight, and all the virtues, and all the qualifications of a statesman. The minister may exist, but the government is gone."

If there is any one eminent criterion which, above all the rest, distinguishes a wise government from an administration weak and improvident, it is this ;-“well to know the best time and manner of yielding, what it is impossible to keep.” There have been, Sir, and there are, many who choose to chicane with “their situation, rather than be instructed by it. Those gentlemen argue against every desire of reformation, upon the principles of a criminal prosecution. It is enough for them to justify their adherence to a pernicious system, that it is not of their contrivance; that it is an inheritance of absurdity, derived to them from their ancestors; that they can make out a long ' and unbroken pedigree of mismanagers that have gone before • them. They are proud of the antiquity of their house ; and

they defend their errors, as if they were defending their inheritance : afraid of derogating from their nobility, and carefully avoiding a sort of blot in their scutcheon, which they think would degrade them for ever.

" It was thus that the unfortunate Charles the First defended himself on the practice of the Stuart who went before him, and of all the Tudors. His partizans might have gone to the Plantagenets. They might have found bad examples enough, both abroad and at home, that could have shewn an antient and il·lustrious descent. But there is a time, when men will not suffer “bad things because their ancestors have suffered worse. There ' is a time, when the hoary head of inveterate abuse will neither draw reverence nor obtain protection. If the noble lord in the blue ribbon pleads, “not guilty,to the charges brought against • the present system of public economy, it is not possible to give a • fair verdict by which he will not stand acquitted. But pleading ' is not our present business. His plea or his traverse may be

allowed as an answer to a charge, when a charge is made. But · if he puts himself in the way to obstruct reformation, then the ' faults of his office instantly become his own. Instead of a pub"lic officer in an abusive department, whose province is an object

to be regulated, he becomes a criminal who is to be punished. 'I do most seriously put it to Administration, to consider the wisdom of a timely reform. Early reformations are amicable

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* Speeches, Vol. II. pp. 5, 6.

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