Page images






MAY 8th, 1818.

It is impossible for me to close these remarks without expressing the extraordinary gratification which I feel, in observing how amply the poor of this country have, in all ages, been endowed by the pious munificence of individuals. It is with unspeakable delight that I contemplate the rich gifts that have been bestowedthe honest zeal displayed, by private persons, for the benefit of their fellow creatures. When we inquire from whence proceeded those magnificent endowments, we generally find that it is not from the public policy, nor the bounty of those, who, in their day, possessing princely revenues, were anxious to devote a portion of them for the benefit of mankind not from those, who, having amassed vast fortunes by public employment, were desirous to repay, in

charity, a little of what they had thus levied upon the State. It is far more frequently some obscure personage—some tradesman of humble birth—who, grateful for the education which had enabled him to acquire his wealth through honest industry, turned a portion of it from the claims of nearer connexions, to enable other helpless creatures, in circumstances like his own, to meet the struggles he himself has undergone. In the history of this country, public or domestic, I know of no feature more touching than this, unless, perhaps, it be the yet more affecting sight of those, who, every day, before our eyes, are seen devoting their fortunes, their time, their labour, their health, to offices of benevolence and mercy. How many persons do I myself know, to whom it is only necessary to say—there are men without employment -children uneducated—sufferers in prisonvictims of disease_wretches pining in wantand straightway they will abandon all other pursuits, as if they themselves had not large families to provide for; and toil for days, and for nights, stolen from their own most necessary avocations, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and shed upon the children of the poor that inestimable blessing of education, which alone gave themselves the wish, and the power to relieve their fellow men! I survey this pic

ture with inexpressible pleasure, and the rather because it is a glory peculiar to England. She has the more cause to be proud of it, that it is the legitimate fruit of her free Constitution. Where tyrants bear sway, palaces may arise to lodge the poor ; and hospitals may be the most magnificent oraments of the seat of power. But, though fair to the eye, and useful to some classes, their foundations are laid in the sufferings of others. They are supported, not by private beneficence, which renders a pleasure to the giver, as well as a comfort to him who receives ; but by the hard won earnings of the poor, wrung from their wants, and, frequently, by the preposterous imposts laid upon their vices. While the rulers of any people with hold from them the enjoyment of their most sacred rights-a voice in the management of their own affairs, they must continue strangers to those noble sentiments that honest elevation of

purpose, which distinguishes freemen, teaches them to look beyond the sphere of personal interest, makes their hearts beat high, and stretches out their arms for the glory and the advantage of their country. There is no more degrading effect of despotism, than that it limits the charitable feelings of our nature, rendering men suspicious and selfish, and forgetful that they have a country. Happily for England, she has

still a people capable of higher things; but I have been led away from my purpose, which was only to express my admiration of those humane individuals, whose conduct I have so long witnessed-of whom, if I have spoken very warmly-it is because I feel much more for them than I can describe and whose deserts are, indeed, far, far above any praise that language can bestow.






JULY 3d, 1818.

The result of this day's contest has filled different persons with opposite feelings. Good men, who see, in the state of the poll, the cause of independence defeated; and the usurpation of your rights perpetuated; mourn over it. Wicked men see in it the disunion of the county, prolonged; and please the malignity of their nature with a long prospect of struggle, and disturbance. The minions of corruption shout at the temporary failure, as a respite given to that system by which they are upheld, and in which they riot and fatten. Wise men, alone, see the result in its proper light; as a great blow given to oppression, and as a foretaste of certain victory, which nothing but imprudence can frustrate; and which firmness and perseverance must ultimately ensure.

There are some weak

« PreviousContinue »