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evidence, followed by erroneous reasoning thus collected, the active, energetic, and grasping mind of the pleader did not penetrate, neither did it search, the deeper foundations of truth. Ardent in the cause of improvement and of national reformation, he has at all times and seasons been ever active in promoting this cause, by the adoption of every available course; but impelled by an unsound ambition, and being too highly skilful in that fascinating but dangerous art of making "the worse appear the better reason," he found that the evidence and reasoning collected and compiled by other men, offered a convenient stepping-stone for ascending that pinnacle of glory, the summit of which he longed to attain. Deluded and deceived himself, he has helped greatly to delude and deceive his countrymen and the world.

An awful instance of boldness and of incaution, amounting to recklessness, is here before us. This instance should be brought to an instructive and useful account. It will be upon the arena of practical action that nations will be made to learn, though unhappily too late for their profit and for their safety, the difference there is between the fluent and captivating orator, and the more calm, thoughtful, steady, examining, and wise counsellor-between the brilliant and dazzling meteor, and the steady and enduring light. We should here pause, and consider to what a bad condition the whole circle of human affairs would be reduced, if we had not a stronger and purer light to guide us than that which is afforded even by the highest concentration of human intelligence and power. A most remarkable example of this vast concentration of human intelligence, and of the power of accumulating knowledge, is now before us, and yet what a fall from the region of truth and honour we have to contemplate!

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BOOK II.

CHAPTER I.

The necessity which the statesmen of European nations have felt in modern times for proposing a reformation and relaxation of commercial action and codes.- This reformation undertaken by the British Cabinet, and Mr. Huskisson selected for conducting it. · Mr. Huskisson shown to have begun his great work by the admission and application of a false principle. Evidence adduced showing that he had not prepared himself by a knowledge of the subject. — He commenced by commending and introducing the free or competitive principle of trade. He is shown to have renounced this principle, and to have reversed his course. This done in the case of the Irish linen trade.

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ONE of the most important and instructive inquiries that can be instituted in connection with the interests of the people of our own nation, as well as with the interests of mankind in general, is the manner in which the science of Social and Political Economy has been made a national science, or a science adopted for national guidance. By this inquiry we are led, of course, out of the province of theory and into that of practice. To acquire a clear view of the grounds upon which this practical course has been made to rest, it is necessary to adduce, and to examine carefully, evidence that is contained in those series of discussions on the subject that have been conducted, during a recent epoch, by the collected body of statesmen within the walls of the British Parliament. These discussions may be said to have assumed that more specially scientific, comprehensive, or universal character, of

which it is my purpose to treat, during the epoch which is comprised by the last forty years.

The people of the several nations of Europe having increased in number, in wealth, and more especially in that important feature of civilisation which is imparted by advancement in education and literature, an eager desire for social changes and improvement was seen to pervade the people of these nations, of which France, Germany, Russia, and our own country, may be said to be the more powerful and influential examples.

Under these circumstances of increase of number, of desire for improvement, and of necessity for expanding the opportunities for social and political action, it was inevitable that all those men to whom the high duty of governing was intrusted, should entertain the deepest anxiety on the point of adapting the institutions of each nation to the natural and social wants of the people of each nation: for although the minds of men, and especially the minds of those men by whom a love of arbitrary power has been cherished, have been inclined to neglect and to suppress the just wants and rights of their fellow-men, yet the facts of history, both ancient and modern, are of such a character as to present an awakening and an inciting lesson on this head.

In the difficult and trying emergency thus prevailing, the policy adopted, and more especially by the school of British statesmen, was that of relaxing as much as possible the reins of government, and thereby diminishing, to the utmost extent possible, the responsibility of the governing party; in order that, happen what might, the facts issuing, of whatever kind they might be, whether good or bad, should, at all events, alight on the head of the people themselves, and be attributable to them, because then from the people themselves both the cause and the results would especially emanate.

VOL. I.

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Although the policy thus adopted was neither elevated nor honourable, was alike devoid of courage, as well as of the spirit of any truth, yet, as it appeared to be that policy by which alone safety for the governmental party was to be insured, and as, by it, an appeal was made to the freedom of the people, it was received as the dictate of sagacity, and as the profound conclusion of enlightened humanity and clever statesmanship; and so "free institutions" were announced both by writers and statesmen, and received by a too credulous people, as containing the grand source from which their rights and their happiness were to be derived.

But, when the meaning of these two words, free institutions, is examined, with that care and knowledge which is so greatly required, it is soon discerned that they contain no sound sense; for it is seen, that that which being constituted is instituted, and thus placed within the domain of law, can no longer be free. This case, then, of people and governors, may be compared with the case of the master and the school. The boys, or young men, have so increased in number, have grown so bold, so aspiring, so self-confident, and so unruly, either by reason of their own fault, or by that of the master, that the master feels he can no longer restrain them, and so, under weariness and exhaustion, and in despair, he proclaims to all: "Do as you like for I shall let things alone, since I can no longer influence, control, or sway you." Thus rule or law is abandoned.

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The head, or governor, not only proclaims his will to be to let things alone, to permit all the actors to indulge in free action, but he also withdraws from them the law of action; he no longer enjoins this law upon their consideration and observance. The institution has been deprived of its character institution, and has become free; that is, no true in

stitution at all. What is the working and the result? It is this: - disorganisation, confusion, and total disruption.

The series of evidence, through which I have now to lead the mind of the reader, will be comprised of the main parts of that large volume of assumed theory, and of cited and applied fact and practice, that were advanced in Parliament for the great and ostensible purpose of introducing those changes and relaxations in our national commercial code through which we have advanced to the attainment of our present condition.

At the period when the great European war, that was commenced at the beginning of the present century, was terminated, and when the people, joyfully turning away from the strife, the cost, and the horrors of war, directed their feelings and thoughts to improvements of social condition, and increase of social enjoyments, the body of statesmen of whom the British administration was composed, resolved on undertaking the work of reforming the national commercial code. Finding it to be in the highest degree important, that the subject should be especially confided to the thoughts and studies, to the inquiries and arrangements of one man in particular, or as chief, the selection was wisely made in the person of Mr. Huskisson. The simple, practical, and persevering character of Mr. Huskisson's mind, together with the observation exercised, and the experience acquired by him whilst connected with the British Embassy at Paris, under the presidency of Lord Gower, during the tumultuous scenes of the great French Revolution, marked out Mr. Huskisson as the statesman best fitted for the great work. From an examination, therefore, of the course that was pursued by Mr. Huskisson during his career in the House of Commons, and of the argumentative support that was given to this course by the collective body of the British Parliament, we are enabled to form a judgment on the

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