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violence, and attended by a total change in the fundamental laws of a commonwealth, have a natural tendency to throw a power into the hands of their leaders, which, however disguised, must in truth be unlimited and dictatorial. The restraints of law and usage necessarily cease. The factious among the partisans of the revolution, and the animosity of those whom it has degraded or despoiled, can seldom be curbed by a gentler hand than that of absolute power; and there is no situation of human affairs, in which there are stronger temptations to those arbitrary measures of which the habit alike unfits rulers and nations from performing their parts in the system of liberty.
If, on the other hand, a plan of Constitutional Reform were heartily adopted by an Administration, it might reasonably be hoped that the benefits of such an adoption would extend beyond the immediate effects of the Reform itself. It would be a pledge that the Ministers who adopted it, would carry a liberal, popular, and reforming spirit into every branch of their Administration; that they would not only practise economy and retrenchment, and observe moderation in enforcing, as well as lenity in executing the laws, but employ the utmost zeal in all subordinate, though important improvements; that they would undertake the reform of the Criminal, and, where necessary, of the Civil Code; that they would begin the gradual abolition of restraints on Industry and Commerce; and complete the still unfinished fabric of Religious Liberty. Such a Government, which must derive its chief hopes of strength from popular support, would honestly desire to consult the opinions, and, as far as possible, to satisfy the wishes of the people. A fair trial would then be made, whether the people could be conciliated by confidence, and would support a Government that put its trust in them. On the issue of the experiment, the existence of such an Administration must depend. By its failure, the situation of the country could hardly be made worse than it now is. By its success, the King of England, reinstated in the hearts of his people, at the head of a contented and united nation, would resume bis high station in the system of Europe, and, as became a Constitutional Monarch, mediate with decisive effect between the contending powers of Revolution and Despotism; instead of beholding, as at present, the strength of this great nation palsied by internal distractions; his Ministers, despised by his Royal Allies for inability to aid them; and their professions of neutrality scorned by those nations struggling for liberty, who see English Councils still directed by members of the Congress of Vienna.
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