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penses, and leave a profit of nearly 50 per cent. on each letter. Such indeed is the profit on the 1900 penny-post letters already established throughout the kingdom, and many of these posts carry letters as much as 38 miles for the penny.1
Let it also be borne in mind, that at a penny charge the smuggling postman carries letters profitably, and what a private agency can do, a public one certainly could do, if
properly conducted. To say that an uniform rate is just appears a fallacy. Such however is the fact, at least it is much more just than a rate varying according to distance, because the cost of carriage is determined by the number of the letters carried, and not by the distance they are carried. The PostMaster-General himself proves, that a Louth or a Stroud letter actually costs the post-office more for carriage than one sent to Edinburgh. We need not adduce a long list of postoffice statistics to establish this point; the reason lies in this, that the Louth letters are few in proportion to the expense, whilst those to Edinburgh are many.
The public advantages of payment in advance, besides that of suppressing annoying letters already shown in Mr. Flight's evidence, consist in greatly expediting the delivery of letters, as the postman will not have to wait for the money in going his rounds; in saving time and trouble, as a dozen postages may be made at one time for a shilling; and in preventing
! We subjoin the three most important resolutions which were passed by the Committee.
The Committee are of opinion, that as soon as the state of the public revenue will adınit of the risking a large temporary reduction, it will be expedient to subject all inland letters to an uniform rate of 1d. per balf ounce, increasing at the rate of 1d. for each additional half ounce.
The Committee are of opinion, that prior to establishing the uniform rate of 1d. it would be expedient, in the first instance, to reduce the rates on inland general post letters to an uniform rate of 2d. per half ounce, increasing at the rate of 1d. for each additional half ounce; reserving all cases of prices current, the letters of soldiers and sailors, where 1d. only is now charged, and of such short inland rate as is hereinafter recommended to be charged on a distance of fifteen miles.
The Committee are of opinion, that considering the strength of concurrent evidence on the evasion of postage chargeable between neighbouring towns, and also that the present system of penny posts is partial and unequal, a uniform rate of 1d. per half ounce ought immediately to be established for all distances not exceeding fifteen miles from the post-office where the letter is posted, the payment being made in advance through the medium of some kind of stamp, and that the charge, when not so paid in advance, should be %d.
those frauds which take place under the present system, when letters are sent to the post-office to be post-paid. A charge by weight will very beneficially supersede the present absurd practice of charging by the number of pieces of paper.
That this universal penny-post will be ultimately carried we do not in the least doubt; whether or not in the forthcoming session will depend very much on the popular demonstration in its favour. Let the petitions increase in the same proportion as they did last session, that is, from five to three hundred and twenty, and its success is certain.
ART. III.-THE LIFE OF LORD ELDON— continued.)
We live too near the times over which the Chancellor exercised so decided a control, to judge with perfect impartiality of his merits and defects as a statesman. In the
In the eyes of eager reformers he is considered as the determined opposer of every thing good—the zealous, able and indefatigable supporter of every thing evil-called by Romilly in his gloomy moods the evil spirit, and accused by Bentham of nipping in the bud the spread of improvement over the habitable globe. In such a fanatical spirit is Lord Eldon judged and condemned in the coteries of self-styled Liberals. By the good old Tories, on the other hand, the “laudatores temporis acti," the defenders of church and state, he has been regarded with almost idol worship as the pattern statesman, the civil Fabius, whose caution saved our commonwealth--the champion of Protestant ascendency, to whom the voices of all loyal subjects, and one cheer more, should freely and heartily be given. But though the partiality of friends and admirers may view his career through an exaggerating medium, their homage rests on a much more solid basis than the reproaches of his adversaries. We refer to our annals during the last twenty years of George the Third and the Regency for proof that he rendered his king and country good service in the cabinet, no less than on the judgmentseat, in the senate as well as in his court. He was among the most influential members of a ministry who waged a war of extent and cost and danger before unknown, for the existence of this country as a first-rate power—for the preservation of ships, colonies and commerce--for national honour and individual safety,-crowning the glorious contest which necessity had extorted with a permanent, because honourable, peace. Instead of huckstering hostility, they waved our standard in triumph over the sea at Trafalgar, and exalted the English name at Waterloo. The instruments they employed were doubtless the chief occasion of the final victory-to Nelson and Wellington more praise may with justice be awarded than to the decision of the government. But to have selected such commanders is no slight merit, and surely they ought not to be defrauded of a large share of honour, who, in defiance of the humiliating motions and pusillanimous prophecies of an exasperated opposition, persevered through evil report in rescuing Spain from the despot, in maintaining that independence which the Whigs declared was no longer maintainable, and in vanquishing the invincible. Arrayed by Grey and Whitbread, a formidable phalanx entreated ministers to restrain their military ardour, and conjured the country, by the adoption of other and more pacific councils, to retreat from certain destruction :
“Stabant orantes primi transmittere cursum,
Tendebantque manus ripæ ulterioris amore." To the honour of the Chancellor be it recorded, that he always advocated most strongly, both in council and in
parliament, a persevering endurance of the war. His predecessor, Lord Hardwicke, did not enforce military measures with more warmth when he elicited the sarcastic praise of Walpole, “ Bravo, General Yorke!” But it must be confessed that Lord Eldon was too averse to change when a state of peace, and, with it, the reforms usefully engrafted on a state of peace had arisen. A more faithful servant never stood beside the throne-a more true and zealous son never knelt within the walls of the Established Church. He viewed with a jealousy too keen, and not free from prejudice, the hasty designs of theorists, and in an excess of caution ne quid detrimenti respublica caperet, allowed the season for much safe and salutary change in the church, and law, and state polity to escape. But he was just verging on three-score years and ten when peace was established, and had attained that age at which “ even the wisest object too much, consult too long, adventure too little, and repent too soon.” Some minds, says Crabbe,
“ Like smelted iron still the form retain,
But once impressed, will never melt again.” His mind seems to have been moulded between 1788 and 1798, and to have subsequently undergone no material alteration,-mistrusting the most specious improvement, considering any organic change as synonymous with confusion, and satisfied that audacity in reform was the principle of revolution. He paid too little heed to the advancing spirit of investigation, and persisted in following at the flood those ancient fords and path-ways which could only be pursued in safety at an ebb tide. It was the natural error of an old lawyer, but not the less to be deprecated.
Unlike his prototype, Lord Somers, he shrunk from the task of legislation, and declined to rest his renown on the amelioration of our civil and social institutions. Timidity of temper and excess of official toil are sufficient reasons for this reserve, without imputing unworthy motives as harsh professional critics have not scrupled to do. “Lord Eldon," we are told, “ came into power at a conjuncture when the decided change which was taking place in the texture of social wealth, in the commerce and population of the country, indicated that a greater change in our law and legal institutions would soon become desirable than had taken place at any antecedent period of our history. Had he prompted, promoted, or superintended this great work, the length of his reign, and extent of his influence, would have enabled him to bring it almost or altogether to its completion, and thus to leave a monument to his memory which it falls to the lot of few individuals to have the power of erecting. Unfortunately for the country, and his own reputation, he pursued a totally opposite course. Feeling that his strength did not lie in the depth and comprehensiveness of his general views, so much as in the extent of his acquaintance with the minutiæ of precedents and practice, and perceiving also that the surest way of continuing in place was to abstain from all innovation, his
love of power combined with bis love of superiority to induce him to withhold from all decided improvements himself, and to look with an unfavourable eye on those which were proposed by others.” The same kindly but erroneous feeling which is said to have stayed the hand of the Chancellor D’Aguésseau, may have also made him averse from attempts at improvement in his own peculiar department. According to the authority of the Duc de St. Simon, the French Chancellor being asked whether, with his experience of the chicanery of the law in legal process, and of the length of legal proceedings, he had never thought of some regulation which might put an end to them? “ I had gone so far,” said D'Aguesseau, “as to commit to writing the plan of such a regulation, but after I had made some progress, I reflected on the great number of attornies and officers whom it would ruin; compassion for them made the pen drop from
my hand.” These professional prejudices might have interfered with his reforming ordinances, but they seem to have been more completely conquered by the French than by the English Chancellor. Other professional reasons may be assigned for Lord Eldon's timid shrinking from innovation. Lawyers are naturally partial to a science in which, after years of painful study, they have become proficients, and from their experience of its danger are averse to change. Even the acute Dunning defended the absurd trial by wager of battle as one of the pillars of the constitution; he should rather have said, if disposed to be metaphorical, one of the cobwebs that had gathered over it. With a similar superstitious feeling of law-craft, Lord Raymond opposed the sensible statute requiring all law proceedings to be in English, on the practical ground that as they were to be obeyed in Wales we must have them also in Welch! The apprehensions of Lord Eldon were not so far strained, but he appears to have been equally sensitive of danger.
He saw with intuitive acuteness the abuse, but “ his heart failed him for fear” when he came to apply the remedy. Soon after taking his seat in Lincoln's Inn Hall, he denounced certain defects in his Court, but the guilty were not alarmed, for his thunder rolled innocuously away, and a perfect calm succeeded. “ It is absolutely necessary,” he declared,