Page images
PDF
EPUB

such a fate. And yet, if success be the test of good writing, some of these are intitled to a better place than much abler compositions. Thomas Bull's One Pennyworth of Truth was, in the public opiniou, worth all the fine speeches that were made against it.

The popular favour attending this piece gave rise to, and it is hoped will now be an excuse for, the letters and other pieces of the Bull Family to be found in this Collection.

These papers consist of two classes. The first are such Publications as the Society ordered to be printed, after they had been perused and approved by the Committee. The second consists of Tracts that were put to the press, without the special direction or approbation of the Committee, by a person in whoin the Committee confided. This person directed his attention principally to provide for the lower class of readers. The style and manner of some of these papers are, therefore, of a particular fort ; and, that there might not be wanting something forevery taste, there is added, at the end of each Number, a Ballad. However, among these Tracts there are many papers that might very well be placed in the first class.

It was endeavoured, by such Publications as the present, to counteract the poison that had been disTeminated, and to restore the minds of the People to that tone of good sense, which had ever been the characteristic of this country. The success fully antwered the expectation; by these means falsehood was refured, sophistry exposed, and sedition repelled; the peculiar happiness of our Constitution was dir. played ; designs of pretended Reforms were examined ; and the principles of Civil Society were fully opened and explained. The discussions upon these subjects not only convinced the deluded and confirmed the wavering, but presented new lights and suggested additional arguments to those who

thought thought they had already ample reason for support. ing the Establishment under which we live. The value of our Constitution, and the attachment of the People to it, were never before made so manifeft; and it is trusted, the influence of so plain a decision will secure us, at least for the present, not only against attacks from the feditious, but against the visionary speculations of well-meaning men, who may do as much harm with their virtues, as the former with all their vices and crimes.

The Society at whose expence these papers were thus printed, have been the object of much public observatìon. They have been applauded, and their example followed, by those who support the laws and Constitution ; and they have been loaded with imputations by the factious and disaffected. They have feen reasons to be perfectly satisfied with the notice taken of them by these two descriptions of persons,

It is a very general opinion, that the declaration of sentiment which resulted from the forming of Afrociations throughout the kingdom, saved this nation at a time when nothing else could have saved it. The Society may be proud of the part they took in so fortunate a measure. The success that has attended their endeavours has not been tarnished by any thing unworthy or unequal in their subsequent conduct. As they opposed themselves to the madness of sedition with spirit, so they proceeded in their career with firmness; and they have borne their success with moderation.

They affociated on a special occasion, and for a defined purpose; and when that occasion was paffed, and that purpofe was served, they suspended their proceedings. They combined for no private or partial views ; not to extol or depress any party or any individual ; their object was general, and they

4 3

pursued

1

pursued it on general principles. It was neither to set up nor pull down; it was only to preserve ; an employment free from the heat and malice of personal animosities-they could have no enemies but such as the law would term offenders.

When a Society has been formed for preserving That which the whole Nation have followed them in declaring they will preserve with their lives, it seems of little moment to ascertain from what persons such a Society originated, unless, indeed, it may be from an honourable desire of doing justice to its authors. But the origin of this Society has been scrutinized with a very different view. The present opportunity may fairly be taken to lay this speculation at reft, if rest can be obtained from the unceasing importunity of faction and party:

It is due to the Society, to the Ministry, and to the Public, to make this declaration—That none of the King's Ministers knew or heard of this Affociation, till they saw the first advertisement in the public prints. It was planned without their knowledge, and has been conducted to the present moment without their aid. It has received no money but such as is noticed in the subfcriptionbooks, whicli are open to inspection; and there it will be seen, that the Officers of Government contributed little to an undertaking, where they were, however, interested as individuals, not less than others of his Majesty's subjects. So intirely independent has this Society been of Ministerial fup

The truth is, there never was a time when all persons were so completely independent of the existing Administration, as that anxious moment. A much more serious struggle presented itself than whether this or that man should be Minister; it was

port!

a question

a question of-Government or no Government. Licentiousness and sedition had got to such a head, that treason and rebellion seemed to be the stronger fide, where the ambitious inight find promotion, and the base find shelter ; those only who were above mean and personal considerations had the fortitude to stand on the side of the Ministry ; they did this, because the Ministry and the Constitution were at that moment the fame.

Most certainly, the Minister had no more to do in the formation of this Allociation, than of the two thousand and more, that were formed in other parts of the kingdom. They were all of them the voluntary movements of persons, who thought it acrisis in which the Country should declare itself, and strengthen the hands of Government, for the preservation of the King and the Conftitution. When the Nation had thus plainly declared its apprehenfion for our Laws and Liberty, the Government could not do otherwise than concert measures for their preservation. Hence the calling out of the Militia—the assembling of Parliament--the proceedings against seditious perfons and writings. All these measures have been called for or approved by the Nation, as necessary for its safety, both public and private.

It has been alledged, that the alarm in the month of November was raised by the Government, and that there was no juít cause for it. But every one knows, on the contrary, that the alarm was feit by the People long before it openly appeared to have made any impression on the Government; and when the alarm had once prevailed, it seemed clear to everyone, that the alarm itself of a whole Nation was cause abundant for measures that were to dispel the apprehensions of danger.

But the cause of the alarm was well known. It was known, that persons of a certain description had

conceived

conceived hopes of introducing into this country French principles of Liberty and Equality ; that Clubs were formed for propagating these principles; that Addresses were presented to the National Convention, announcing the prospect of a similar Revolution in this kingdom ; that the persons presenting these Addrefles were applauded and encouraged in their treasonable projects by the Convention ; that Emissarics were paid by France to stir up fedition, and Engineers sent to aflift in military operations ; that a revolt was planned for the beginning of December, when the Tower was to have been seized : the agents in these designs, whether French or English, were likewise known.

While rebellion was thus plotted in concert with France, it is well known what arts were practised to foment it at haine. The press daily produced malevolent writings, in which the Constitution was calumniated, and every function of Society was attacked ; all ranks, but more especially the lower, were inflamed by insinuations of grievances ; the foldiers and seamen were tempted from their duty ; the artisans and labourers were made dissatisfied with their state of honeit industry; all were instructed to regard the present Ettablishment as an oppression, and excited to follow the example of France in setting up Equality of Ranks, and Liberty without any bounds. The promoters of these seditious doctrines took courage from the successful enterprizes of the Usurpers in France, and boldly threatened us with the support and co-operation of the natural enemy to this country, which had now become the declared enemy to all Governments nog formed like its own.

All this was well known; and will any one fay it was not cause for alarm, when it had actually produced fuch an alarm as had never before been Jele in this country. The general notoriety of a

fact,

« PreviousContinue »