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Literary men rarely indeed acquire wealth . They persevere nevertheless . The coinage of their brains supplies the country with its currency of thought . It is not convertible into specie , but it accumulates . The progression of the trading classes is somewhat slower , and that of the hereditary proprietary much slower still . The latter
have obvious inducements to content . The only question for them is , whether they can keep others so . They fear change , for they hold the prizes already . There is nothing for them to get , unless it be moral good and benevolent enjoyment . They doubt whether , for these objects , it would be worth risking the quiet possession of their estates and position , which they apprehend would beat stake , especially while they can bolster up their rents and their station .
Yet they see that the mighty change around them must induce some corresponding change , to them undefined , in themselves . Hence , with the exception of a few fanatics , the mass of the landed Aristocracy is disposed towards some of the various modifications of Conservative Reform . The commercial classes , yet working their way up the ladder of Aristocracy , which reaches from the dust to the heavens of English society , see further than this , even to the necessity and desirableness of such Reform as shall not only
preserve but improve our institutions . Moreover the perception spreads of the identification of the interests of trade and commerce with the Cause of human progression . The principles of Free Trade are a chapter in the bible of the enlightened philanthropist . Political Reform is thus , throughout the various classes of the community , the object of zealous demand , or of temperate desire , or of calm acquiescence , or of unavoidable concession . Some say , ' Hurrah , it shall come ! ' others , ' Alas ! it must come ! ' and
others , ' It is coming , it should come , and let it come V That we have correctly indicated the rapid developement of intelligence , as the main-spring of that movement which takes Political Reform in its road , might be shown by a general survey of the literary productions of our time , including in that term all published thought , with all its latent as well as avowed principle and tendency . We have observed enough to feel no doubt of the results of such an analysis . Intellect is power as truly as steam is
power ; and like that , when generated in a confined space , will act upon the boundaries that qpmpress it until they give way . Here the parallel stops . The material energy dissipates itself , and is lost ; not so the mental . That forms a new and ampler nidus for itself , creates fresh and larger boundaries , and works well within them until a renewed expansion brings disproportion again , and requires a repetition of the process . All demonstrations of progressive intelligence , ( and how abundant they are , ) show that a re-formation of social institutions is in its commencing
course , with that , certainty which belongs , not to the schemes of partisans , or the policy-of administrations , but to the operation of
The True Spirit of Reform . 8
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Jan. 2, 1835, page 3, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2641/page/3/