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5 th February . —The King ' s Speech . —The Session now commencing will probably decide , in the minds of the many , who wield the physical force , the question whether anything is to be hoped from the higher classes , and whether the people shall , or shall not , take their affairs into their own hands .
In the first Session of the Reformed Parliament , many allowances were made , which will not be made again : the new legislative body had the full benefit of the reluctance to consider a first trial as final ; and the novelty of the situation was such that the public were bewildered , and did not themselves see with sufficient clearness what ousrht to be done , to render them
very severe judges of their representatives for what , they left undone . The public had expected much , but did not know exactly what . They felt sure that the Reform Bill must somehow be a great good to them , and they trusted that those who had been sufficiently their friends to give them the Bill , would find the means of making it have its natural effects . The first
Session taught them that they were not to expect this : the Reformed Ministry and the Reformed Parliament would do no good spontaneously . The second will show whether they are capable of doing any when they are forced . If this trial should also fail , we live in times when mankind hurry on rapidly to ultimate consequences : the ne $ t question will be , what is the easiest and most expeditious way of getting rid of them .
Were Ministers in their senses , when , in so critical a position , they opened a session , perhaps destined to be the most important in our annals , with a speech , if possible , more unmeaning even than the common run of King ' s speeches ? A speech studiously framed in such language as to promise nothing—to commit the Government to nothing ?
Ministers are ig norant of the very first principles of statesmanship . The one maxim of a wise policy , in times of trouble and movement , is that which Madame Roland recommended to the Girondists : — c Take the initiative I 1 Be you the first in the Jield , with whatever purpose . Whatever you do , do it before you are forced to it : do it while you may be supposed to have willed it , and not to have been passive instruments of some other will . If you would not be like dead twig s on an eminence ,
reud y to be swept away by the first gust—if you would be something- and not nothing—could you not for once seem to have a purpose , apian , an idea , of your own ! Could you not assume what gives dignity even to wickedness ! Do good , do even ° vil , but let it be from choice . If you cannot show a worthy t ' haracter , show some character : if you cannot be loved , prithee bo haUul . but be not desuised !
Notes On The Newspapers.
NOTES ON THE NEWSPAPERS .
No . 87 . N
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), March 2, 1834, page 161, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2631/page/1/