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THE IMAGINARY MIRROR OF PARLIAMENT. Being Oratorical defences of Conservative Statesmen. By JOSEPH DOWNES, Author of the "MOUNTAIN DECAMERON." „ THUGGISM AND THE ANTI-CORN LAW LEAGUE! (Concluded from our last.) Sir, let me disclaim all design of imputing to any man, however weak, rash, insolent, or headstrong may be his folly, the dreadful crime of blood-guiltiness in design, which L), in the sight of God, murder. I am willing to hope that the infirmity of the offender's mental vision made him purblind to the danger of pointing to any individual" as the arch enemy—as the very evil genius of another—a desperate one !—as the sole artificer of that misery which is driving him to desperation—the still more enormous danger of thus denouncing one man—the very" forcmost of the age." Not to one, but tens of thousands! not thinking educated, hut credulous, untaught sufferers-of that class which hunt down poor, decrepit old Women as witches when their cattle die, or other natural evil presses on them; who run mad about poisoned wells and such dreams, when God has o'er some high-viced city swung his poison in the sick air," and often persecute to death the most innocent men-their fellow citizens-accused of such crime, if some mischievous simpletons happen to point to them as the poisoners, the public enemies. I say, sir, that in charity we may hope that the ill-educated, worse- regulated mind of a man of trade might forget what he owed to the high office to which it had pleased mammon to call him, and bring to this assembly all the vulgar dictatorial vanity and impatience of opposition, which he indulges in market-halls or on exchange, and so pounce on the Premier, stare at him, and browbeat him (if he could), and lay hands on him, as it were, in the spirit of a bum-bailiff tapping the shoulder of a debtor, with—" I arrest you at the suit of, &c."—" Sir, I charge you at the suit of the Corn Law League, &c." Still, shall we acquit a man of heinous wickedness, who, drunk or mad, rushes into the street, like the Japanese when he has lost by gambling, and runs a muck" at his fellow-men without personal malice No!—the spontaneous indignation of so many honourable men, usually calm, always preserving the decencies of society, unless hurried out of themselves by some sudden impulse, proved that such acquittal were contrary to the innate sense of justice and mercy implanted in the hearts and minds of men (at least, civilized men) for Judex damnatur cum nocens absolvitor." Yes, yon, sir, as placed at the head of this tribunal would have shared the degradation, if snch dreadful injustice, as that committed against a statesman labouring day and night, and wearing out all his energies for the sal- vation of the state, had been suffered to pass unnoticed, and the instigator of raging, desperate men against that statesman, as their arch enemy, instead of their indefatigable, pitying friend, to walk forth absolved from the execrations he so justly encountered I repeat, I am proud as a British senator of that noble burst of humanity and honour. As a Briton, I exult in the recollection of it, as illustrating the sentiment the sentiment of our national song—" Britons never will be slaves." Never slaves to any tyrants, much less to tyrants from the counter, and dictators from the factory. I glory in it as a man for what more unmanly aggression than to pit a mob, and a starving mob, against one unoffending manl Yet have the friends of Mr. Cobden dared to talk of the right honourable baronet's unfairness in exciting the greater part of the members against his opponent, by a false interpretation of his meaning! Oh cruel and exceedingly humane gentleman. Poor Mr. Cobden was, no doubt, put in danger of his life while softly lapped in cotton within the walls of St. Stephen's. But, then, what unequal odds So many groaning, hissing against one. That one, however, gentle" friends of humanity 1" possessed one advantage, outweighing that of numbers—he could sting as well as hiss. There was a poisonous venom in his wound in a tims like this, when despairing creatures are seeking objects for their insane revenge, almost as eager as they seek a remedy and a eaviour for it is in human nature so to do. Numbers against one in the House of Commons, forsooth1. Why, sir, thousands of reckless, lawless, want-goaded, and vice-goaded men will read in their hundred organs of re- bellion and anarchy that the sole, the "individual" cause of their wants is Peel." That "he who makes work scarce and wages low is Peeland tens of thousands will catch the cry, and "Peel" is to be seen daily—too eminent to be concealed. Let him refresh himself for a day in the green country, breath what others can breath all day—its sweet air—but for one hour, there he meets the public and if that public be poisoned against him—public wrath. If he return to his toils foi that public, he cannot walk down to his la- bour-house without meeting the same—wrath. What, is the anger of gentlemen roused by no appeal to their hunger, or their hungry wives and little ones, only excited by just emotions, restrained by the habits of gentlemen from in- flicting coarser chastisement, however merited, compared with that anger which lours from under the frowning brows of miserable men at any object believed to delight in their misery, to have produced it, to be perpetuating it indivi- dually Vox et prwtera nihil! The case, therefore, stands thus. A. charges B. with enormous criminality—he denounces him—not to law, not to justice (for there is, as yet, no law that recognises as crime tbe differing from Mr. Cobden in opinion), but to Lynch law-but to the wikl justice of popular wrath, as the sole cause of national suffering. B. ventures to declare his impatience of such charge, as amounting to a threat. A.'s friends are indignant at this, as exposing the threatener to the consequences of his own act. Why, if his life were en, dangered by the anger of the house, instead of his ears and cheek (if he is not yet past sense of shame and power to blush), what is that to B. ] His shame or his expulsion from the house would be the result of his own outrageous injustice, and B. would but point the retribution, not award or inflict it. This ridiculous turning of the table, this wilful confounding of aggressor and sufferer, is as droll in its audacity of trick as any thing ever heard of. It reminds me of a pleasant anecdote told by Lord Bacon, how a brazen- faced rogue being brought before the judge at assize for trial, for some crime, cried out, hastily, pointing to his lord- ship, I swear the peace against yonder man, for I go in fear of my life from him." I go in fear of my character," quoth Mr. Cobden, from that man, for he evokes the spirit of justice, of humanity, against me, in the minds of all 4 to the despicable quibbling by which the man I *ndiisJJefVenders have tried to evade the consequences of ) ife-ateocifv, I can only say, that I cannot even understand f;< j theiK'X^ft'-Vrawn distinction (without a difference) between by" virtue of an office," or as the head of a and personal responsibility. It is to be expected, P ) me coauft^a crowd suffer, as they are told, by one man's cruelty—will comprehend, and be appeased by such casuistry Every one knows, every one feels that the words conveyed a direct threat of punishment. At what tribunal ? There exists none to put a Prune Minister on his trial for not obeying a league, except that of the mob. Sir Robert Peel, first adviser of her Majesty, was required either to make Mr. Cobden his first adviser—aye, dictator, too!—or cease to be her's. This was the express requisition—the modest demand, the refusal of which was to be visited by the vengeance of his believers and followers. It cannot be denied, that he who instigates others to any crime is himself an arch criminal. Qui facit per alios facit per sea And what species of penalty is inflicted by the Pellple Souveraine in rebellions of the belly," as they have been emphatically termed, is too terribly proved by all his- tory. Did he not know that an attempt, seemingly prompted by a foolish belief iu that monstrous accusation reiterated by him against Sir Robert Peel, had just been made upon that valuable life1-for that attempt (it matters not whether frustrated by mistake in the identity of the victim, or a pistol's missing fire, or any other accident) was unquestion- ably directed against a more exalted sufferer than him who actually suffered. And with this terrific warning of the consequence of such impressions on heated minds, maniacal or sane, before their eyes—the innocent individual who had escaped, as if by the interposing hand of the Almighty, also in his sight—the preserved hope and dependence of numbers of his countrymen—the head of her Majesty's Councils—and is it nothing to add—a father, a husband, a man of the highest moral character1? I say, this was the moment which that person selected in which, after painting the people's sufferings in the character of a popular champion to those sufferers, eager to redress their imagined wrongs to turn on that God-rescued individual, and. standing thus between him and his country, say emphatically, This is the man!" Sir, I repeat, if the huntsman hallowed the pack on to the covert of the stag—if a general pointed to a town believed tfaYagiïig by his army ere they can enjoy victory—I say, if these persons, severally, are accessory to the death of the stag—to the destruction by sword and fire of that town and its dwellers—then is the man who publicly denounces any other in a time of public calamity as its sole cause, ■ re- sponsible for all possible tragedies ensuing (which, it is a stretch of candour to say he may not wish for), and it is just to turn upon him, as he upon the Minister of the Crown, and say—" I hold you, you "individually" responsible, body and soul (for God is just), for the national delusion, mad- ness, and all the crimes and horrors which may be perpetrated in that madness against life, and innocence, and institutions, and itself." Builth.


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