An Essay Picked by blupete

"The Opposition and The Courier" 1

July 19, 1817

The opposition, it seems, with Mr Brougham at their head, "attack all that is valuable in our institutions." So says Lord Castlereagh; and, to make the thing the more incredible, so says The Courier! They attack Sir Judkin Fitzgerald and the use of the torture; and therefore they attack all that is valuable in our institutions. They attack the system of spies and informers; and therefore they attack all that is valuable in our institutions. They object to the moral characters of such men as Castles and Oliver; and therefore they attack all that is most respectable in the country. They consider Lord Sidmouth, who is "to acquaint us with the perfect spy o' the' time," as no conjurer, treat his circular letters and itinerant incendiaries with as little ceremony as respect; and therefore they are hostile to all that is venerable in our constituted authorities. They do not approve of the Suspension of the Habeas Corpus, of Standing Armies, and Rotten Boroughs; and therefore they would overturn all that is most valuable in the Constitution. They say that Lord Castlereagh was connected with the measures of the Irish government in the year 1798; and they are said to hold a language "grossly libellous. They say that they do not wish the same system to be introduced by his Lordship in this country; and their principles are denounced as "of a decidedly revolutionary character." They think of the present administration as Mr Canning formerly thought if it, and they think of Mr Canning as all the world think. Is that all? Oh no! They speak against the renewal of the Income Tax; and this, in the opinion of some persons, is attacking what is more valuable than all our other institutions put together! For our own parts, our political confession of faith on this subject is short: we neither consider Lord Castlereagh as the Constitution, nor the The Courier as the Country.

But if, after all, and in spite of our teeth, we should be forced to acknowledge that Sir Judkin Fitzgerald and the use of the torture, that the system of spies and informers, that Lord Sidmouths' sagacity, circulars, and travelling delegates, that arbitrary imprisonment and solitary confinement, the Suspension of the Habeas Corpus, Standing Armies, and Rotten Boroughs, Lord Castlereagh's past measure or future designs, Mr Canning's love of liberty, and Mr Vansittart's hankerings after the Income Tax, are all that is left valuable in our institutions, or respectable in the country, then we must say, that the more effectually the Opposition "attack all that is valuable in such institutions," the more we shall thank them; and the sooner we can get rid of all that is "most respectable" in such a system, the less occasion we shall have to blush for the Country.



1 Hazlitt's "The Opposition and The Courier" is to be found in Political Essays (1819)..


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