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speak, he is comparatively a new star; and he is one of the first magnitude. Of the two other speakers before us, the merits have long been so intimately known, either by fame or by personal experience, to every thinking individual in this country, that any delineation of the general style or manner of either would be quite superfluous. With respect to the particular specimens of their powers now under consideration, the Speech of Mr. Canning appears before the reader, despoiled of what is said to have been one of its principal virtues, that of a strict relation to the previous course of the debate. Yet, even under this disadvantage, we find in it no scanty or dubious vestiges of that excellence, which, long after midnight, and for upwards of two hours, captivated the attention, and governed the feelings, of a before exhausted and impatient House. The brilliancy indeed, for which the speaker is so eminent, has with great judgment been in this instance somewhat repressed. But, in every part of his address, the most just and constitutional principles of policy are enforced; and he throughout displays that curious felicity,' which, in its application to the mere concern of diction, is an exquisite accomplishment, but which, when directed to the more important task of selecting, arranging, and mutually harmonizing the topics and arguments belonging to a whole subject, rises, the ancients themselves being the judges, into the very bighest sphere of oratorical excellence.
Lord Grenville's is one of his noblest, and at the same time most characteristic efforts. It is altogether the discourse of a great and dignified parliamentary leader on an occasion of momentous gravity. Secondary ornaments, if not severely rejected, are at least not sought:—there is little of impassioned, and none of what may be called poetic eloquence: but every page bears, in lines the most deeply engraven, the impress of deliberation' and public care;' and the deepest conviction insensibly steals over us, while, in a strong and manly, yet strictly correct and classical style, the distinguished senator lays open the critical state of his country, unmasks the cruel designs of her domestic enemies, and instils into the minds of the august assembly he is addressing, the requisite counsel and instruction. From this masterly, statesmanlike and majestic exposition, we shall, in our further progress, derive our most copious extracts; not because we deem it the best of the compositions before us; but because it is (as we have already observed, and for the reasons we have given) the most comprehensive.
It cannot be necessary minutely to recall to the memory of the reader the circumstances which led to the assembling of Parliament in the month of November last. Through the whole of the preceding summer, parts of the country had been more or less disturbed ; and partial disturbance had created general alarm. The foundation, or (if the expression may be used) the nucleus, of these disturbances was, undoubtedly, the distress which affected many portions of the community, and particularly the population of some of the manufacturing districts. Distress produced a degree of discontent and disaffection, confused notions of political wrong, and vague desires of change. These were the distempered imaginations, the ægri somnia, engendered by hunger and misery ; but there wanted not worse suggestions and wickeder counsellors. Busy men,—some of them excluded from the more estimable parts of society and compelled to walk through the dry places of the earth, seeking rest,-others, desirous of distinction, or eager for gain, and exactly shrewd enough to suspect that they could never become either great or rich, except by being mischievous, had lotig employed themselves in the dissemination of doctrines equally antisocial, anti-moral, and anti-christian. These familiars now availed themselves of the prevalent distresses and discontents, to propagate their low poisons with increased effect; they, in fact, systematized, so far as the powers of intellects not eminently prone to system would permit, a regular conspiracy against the welfare of the state; a conspiracy, ostensibly aiming at little less than the establishment of democracy in policy, and deism by way of religion, In the prosecution of this design they found unconscious, or at least unintentional, auxiliaries in better men than themselves; in some, who, hating them, joined them simply for the purpose of swelling the cry against government; in others, who, refusing to join them, swelled the cry against government notwithstanding : for, at such periods, there is no middle party; they who are not with the constituted authorities are against them. The friends of the government, meanwhile, and, probably enough, the govern. ment themselves, felt somewhat embarrassed as to the mode of treating the fast-growing mischief. Remedies for the distresses of the country were not easily to be found ; and, at all events, immediate remedy was out of ihe question : that is, the fuel that fed the flame could not be removed. The only alternative was, to deal with the evil directly; and here the difficulty lay between the danger of fomenting it by indulgence, and that of exasperating it by opposition. Under these circumstances, some public crisis or other could not fail speedily to occur ; whether at Manchester or elsewhere might be a matter of conjecture; but, somewhere or other, it might have been predicted, even on the faith of no better oracle than the chapter of accidents, that the opposite elements now abroad and in motion would undoubtedly meet and justle and conflict together.
Chance, as in most similar cases, determined the first rencounter. The demagogues had meditated, and, in fact, actually organized, an immense meeting to be held at Manchester on the 9th
August, collected from a considerable extent of country, for the purpose, as they publicly notified, of discussing the most speedy and effectual mode of obtaining a radical reform of the House of Commons, and the propriety of the unrepresented inhabitants of Manchester electing a person to represent them in parliament, as also the adoption of Major Cartwright's bill. This meeting, had it been held, would not only have been illegal, but, according to the high authority of Mr. Plunket, would have amounted to an act of treason. No wonder, therefore, that it was prohibited by a public proclamation of the magistrates. The effect was singular. It often happens that men abandon their measures, while they retain their design; but in this instance,-such are the inversions of Radicalism,-though the treasonous purpose was ostensibly abandoned, the aparchists announced that the meeting would be held notwithstanding. It was now advertised for the 16th August, with the object of taking into consideration the most legal and effectual means of obtaining a reform. A previous address was issued by the notable mountebank whom the party had elected to be their spokesman and ring-leader, their trumpeter-hornet,' for the oca casion, in which this man of peace, according to the settled usage of Radicalism in such cases, exhorted his followers to maintain a firm and temperate deportment, warning them that their sanguinary enemies would seek every occasion to create riot and bloodshed ; at the same time that he invited the 'wise magistrates,' who with threats had prohibited the former meeting, to be present at this, and very fairly assured them that the radicals despised their threats.—The meeting took place accordingly, to the number, as some of the radical leaders afterwards boasted, of 100,000 or 130,000 persons. Certainly the number was immense.
[After making a long extract from Lord Grenville, the reviewer remarks ;]
The noble speaker proceeds, at considerable length and with great ability, to show that measures of purely economical policy are but little calculated to meet the existing evil. Through the greater part of this ground we should follow him with implicit acquiescence ; there are some points on which, with all humility, we differ from him, as indeed, on subjects involving so much fact and speculation, perfect coincidence of opinion is not to be expected. This is not, however, the place for entering into discussion on the points in question ; more especially, as we entirely subscribe, not only to the conclusions, but to all the leading positions, maintained by Lord Grenville, - both in support of his general theorem, that our refuge does not lie in the regulations of political economy, and in opposition to the particular remedies of an economical nature, saggested by Lord Lansdowne. - [The following is from Mr. Plunket's speech.1 'Is it perfectly VOL. ).
fair to call the attention of the House from the consideration of * this public danger, and its remedies,—from the machinations and • arts of those who are preparing measures for the subversion of the • state, and the overthrow of every constituted authority,—to the • plans and objects of that portion of the peaceful and loyal subjects of this country, who respect the law and constitution, and are desirous of improving them? This latter description of persons are entitled to the most attentive and respectful consideration. How• ever I may differ from them, on the subject of parliamentary re
form, I consider their objects as honest, and their means of effect*ing them as constitutional. Whenever, at any proper time, and
in any proper form, their claims shall be brought before Parliament, they should be listened to with attention, and with respect. Their proposals, if reasonable, should be yielded to; if not so, should be met by fair argument and calm discussion : and the result, in either event, will be satisfactory and conciliating. The people of England are a reasoning and reasonable people : but is • it fair, either to them or to the country, to confound their cause and * their objects, with the persons whom we now are called upon to · deal with, whose undisguised aim is to pull down the entire fabric of our constitution, and to effect a revolution by force? Against this immediate and overwhelming danger it is the first duty of Parliament to provide. And to turn aside from the discharge of this * urgent and paramount duty, to the discussion of subjects of infe'rior importance, and of distinct consideration, would be an aban* donment of the interests of the country. When I see a revolutionary project, ripe for execution—when I see that sedition and blasphemy are the instruments by which it works, and that open-force is to be employed for its accomplishment, I feel it 10 be trifling with the duties of the House, and with the safety of the country, to turn our view to any other object, until the terrors which hang over our existing establishments are first dispelled.
No person, I am happy to see, denies the existence of these · dangers; but I think there is some tendency to underrate their ex"tent, and to undervalue their consequence. It is said, that the pub• lic mind in general is sound : I trust and firmly believe it is so. I • am convinced that the strength and spirit of the loyal subjects are * sufficient to put down the enemies of law and of order; I therefore
am apprehensive, not of revolution, but of the attempt at revolu• tion, which I believe in my conscience will be made, if not prevented by the vigilance and energy of Parliament: and what I contemplate with the deepest alarm is, the miseries which such an attempt, in its progress to certain and necessary failure, must pro duce. If this mischief should once burst forth, I anticipate a series of horrors which must shake the safety and happiness of this · country to its foundations. The very circumstances which must
* ensure the ultimate failure of the enterprise aggravate its dangers. * Revolution, always calamitous, yet, when pursued for some defi* nite purpose, conducted by abilities, tempered by the admixture of * rank and of property, may be effected, as it has before been in this country, without any incurable shock being given to the safety of persons or of property. But here is a revolution to be achieved by letting loose the physical force of the community against its constituted authorities; a revolution for the sake of revolution; to take away the property of the rich, and to distri
bute it among the rabble; and this, too, no ordinary rabble, but one previously debauched by the unremitting dissemination of * blasphemous libels, and freed from the restraints of moral or reli
gious feeling. On this subject I feel sufficient confidence at once 'to express my opinion, without waiting for any of those documents ' which the noble Lord proposes to lay before the House. There are facts of public notoriety, known and seen by every man who does not choose to shut his eyes. Have not meetings been propo*sed for the purpose of assuming the functions which belong only
to the sovereign power of the state-meetings, which, if they had 'been actually held, would have been acts of high treason? When
it was found that matters were not sufficiently ripe for this undis'guised act of public rebellion, have not the same masses of the populace been again convened, under the direction of the same leaders, under the pretext of seeking universal suffrage and annual parliaments,--their very pretexts such as the constitution
could not survive, if they were effectuated, but their real object being to 'overawe the constituted authorities by the display of “their numerical strength, and to prepare for direct, immediate, * forcible revolution ? Have we not seen the same itinerant moun"tebank, who set their powers in motion, publicly assisting at the Corgies of the blasphemous wretch lately convicted ? and can we
doubt that treason is the object, and that blasphemy and sedition are the means? When I see these fiends in human shape endeavouring to rob their unhappy victims of all their consolations here, and of all their hopes hereafter,—when I see them with i their levers placed under the great pillars of social order, and "heaving the constitution from its foundation, I am rejoiced to see Parliament assembled.'
The following extract from Mr. Canning contains a miniature whole-length of the leaders of this conspiracy. He has just been showing, with unanswerable force of reasoning, that the various local petitions for a parliamentary inquiry into the proceedings at Manchester, furnished little or no argument for such an inquiry, inasmuch as they were, for the most part, grounded on clear and glaring misapprehensions, both of law and fact. He then