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THE OLD-SCHOOL ARISTOCRACY.
part-its wealth and power-and fancy there can never be a change. Unable to appreciate the spirit of the age in which they live, thoroughly imbued with the spirit of feudalism, they look with ineffable disdain on the demands of the people. In the British realm it has ever been the duty of the people to submit to their aristocracy, and leave the laws and government to their jurisdiction. The power belonged to them, and the people had nothing to do but to obey, and receive what was given as the gracious benefaction of those who had an exclusive title to all the emoluments of the kingdom. It has been so for centuries; and, arrogant and senseless, they vainly dream it can be so still. They forget that a change in the spirit and wants of the age demands, and will have, a change in its institutions. Magnified to themselves, and blinded by the glare of their own titles, they do not measure the full force that is bearing down on them. Wrapped up in the mantle of feudalism, they sit proudly within the crumbling structure, hoary with age, and gaze on the pictures, and heraldry and symbols, around them, till the past seems revived, and the wild uproar of the starving populace without is changed into the acclamations of humble and obedient serfs.
This class believe all reforms quite unnecessary. Why should they not cling to that which gives them rank and wealth? What has succeeded in the past, will do for the present. They verily believe the same relation that formerly existed between the lord and his serf to be the right one, and may still be preserved.
HIS stupidity seems impossible, amid the turbulent elements that are so rapidly assuming shape around them. But, it may be remembered, a title does not prevent a man from being a fool nay, if he was half a one before, it immediately supplies the deficiency. The less wisdom he possesses, the more inflated he becomes with his rank, and the more profound his
FOLLY-CRUELTY AND HEARTLESSNESS.
wonder at the audacity of the starving wretches, presuming to clamor for bread. Among such men, notwithstanding his military genius and success, we should have placed the Duke of Wellington; unless we chose to explain his conduct, as some others did, and regard him as returning to second childhood, his powers reduced and weakened by age. On no other ground can we account for the false and stupid statement, that although he "deeply lamented the distress that prevailed in some parts of the country, there was no distress arising from the want of food." The noble Duke would probably not believe there was a scarcity of food, till, like La Fayette, he was leading the National Guards against an army of women, besieging the court and the palace, with that most terrific of all popular cries, "bread, bread." On no ground but half idiocy could be justified the declaration, "that the reduction of taxes had been carried as far as it could be, and that of all the constitutions ever devised by man, that of England, with the unreformed Parliament, was the most perfect;" or the still stranger language and cruelty to the Paisley operatives, who sent a deputation to him, begging him to hear their complaints, and relieve their sufferings, when he told them, he was not desirous of hearing any such account, and that he was not one of her majesty's political advisers. And yet, in anticipation of the approaching winter, he did advise her to prorogue Parliament. This noble Duke refused to grant even his hearing to the petition of famishing men; or reply to it in any other form, than by telling them, he was not desirous of listening to the tale of their woes! He refused to extend even private charity, to 10,000 men, women and children, who were then living on a penny-a-head per day-and yet the noble duke received annually from his countrymen a stupendous income. Such are still the views and feelings of many of the nobility of Englandfoolish, heartless and cruel as they are! Such men, if left to themselves, will never come to their senses till their castles are on fire over their heads, and an infuriated and avenging populace is treading down their rich heritage in blood! Such men
ANOTHER CLASS OF NOBLES.
hold the offices in the royal gift, have a seat in the House of Lords, and a vote on all measures of relief for the country.
UT there is another portion of the higher classes of Eng
land who possess clear heads and far reaching penetration. They see the unalterable tendency of things, and the perils around them. These men, when in power, are the throne and the government. The Queen is a mere wax figure in their hands, the motions of which are governed by the wires they hold. Men more entitled to rank for intellect, never existed. Accomplished, learned and dignified, they reflect honor upon the throne. They have carried England through storms that made her reel, and lifted her out of abysses from which other empires never emerged. It is true, love of rank, wealth and power, holds them in subjection, but does not render them ignorant of the position they occupy. They are conscious of the futility of resisting openly the encroachments of the spirit of the age. They also see the danger to the present system of government, in yielding to it. They know that any reforms that would reach the people, to benefit them permanently would in the end overset the entire aristocracy and hierarchy of the realm. Many of the nobility are liberal and benevolent, and would alleviate the distresses of the people by lightening their burdens. They would consent to smaller incomes to remedy this horrible state of things-but they would give the people bread, and not power. Thus some of them voted against the Corn-Laws, and commercial restrictions, while at the same time they oppose granting the lower classes political privileges. Of this number was Macaulay, who could once make Parliament tremble at his eloquence, as he pleaded for the Reform Bill.
But their number is small. Most feel, that something even of political power must be surrendered to still the increasing clamors of the people, but how much, or rather how little, is the question. What they give, they know they can never retake.
CONTEMPT OF THE LOWER CLASSES.
The little the people get, they will hold. Thus, to yield anything is to take a step towards that result which, of all things, they would escape, if yet anyhow possible.
But independent of the interests involved in this contest, they have no confidence in the sagacity or integrity of the people to select their own rulers, and devise plans for their own relief. They most sincerely despise any such pretensions on their part. This feeling of contempt belongs to the whole class. It is a necessary part of such distinctions in rank, for all the wisdom, learning and accomplishments of the nation, they believe to exist within their magic circle. This contempt of "the lower classes" is the most dangerous feature in the aristocracy of England. Sooner or later it will be visited upon them in returned contempt. The benevolence the real kindness of a large portion-their abstract love of liberty, and their political penetration, would lead them to a more liberal course in the present crisis of affairs, were it not for this contempt for the vox populi. It makes them underrate the power of the poor millions, and hence feel less alarm than they ought. The following paragraph, published anonymously in England, is doubtless a correct exhibition of the feelings and policy of the Government.
"In the first place, that as no state of society is essentially and permanently durable, it is the wisdom of legislators to be aware of this tendency to alteration, and not too long to resist such remedies as the altered state of the country may demand.
"In the second place, that in all such changes, however, care should be taken to apply them only to undeniable and pressing exigencies-to avoid the use of all terms fitted to suggest or to foster the hope of universal alterations-and always to be aware that change is essentially of a restless and extravagant character, and constitutes one of the great dangers against which, in its extreme tendencies, the wisdom of legislation has been authorized to guard.
"And, in the last place, that as this desire for universal change is a morbid and delusive state of the public mind
THE ARISTOCRACY WANT NO CHANGE.
and has an essential tendency to defeat all the purposes at which it professes to aim-and in reality to render impossible any good and substantial improvement whatever, it ought to be treated as a malady of a peculiarly dangerous and insidious nature, and repressed by all the means which legislative wisdom can devise as best suited to the case. At the same time, as, from its nature, it is not a malady which can be met in most cases by violent remedies, it is best assailed by preventive measures, and among these, perhaps the chief is, the avoidance, on all occasions, of any such terms or notions as may beget the idea that all things are in a state to require alteration, and which, consequently, seem to consecrate the very work of destruction, by the fallacious and ambiguous terms that veil its malignancy."
HE practical maxims of the British government, however
paragraph. Hence it is evident they never intend to grant the just demands of the people. Afraid to oppose them openly, they endeavor to accomplish their object by trickery and deception. They know that violent measures will excite violent measures in return. They also know that to yield to any one demand is to grant that reform is necessary; that this will awaken greater expectations and enlist stronger opposition. Their political skill and self-control prompt them to a middle course to appear to grant while they really withhold; or if compelled to surrender, to do it with the plainest intimation that this is all that can, with any reason, in safety be permitted. The English government must hold together as it is, or meet an entire overthrow. Lord Eldon was a consistent politician when he resisted every change, because he was aware all the English institutions hung together; that restrictions on trade could not be removed, without giving commerce a pros pect of ascendancy over the landed interests; and the landed