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Urbanus then seized the opportunity of declaring, that he would not remain in the Council a single hour, if its attention was to be engrossed by law and political economy, or those other matters connected with government or party, upon which every dabbler, and sciolist, and adventurer, in the kingdom, seemed to consider himself bound to expatiate ; until the press groaned under the load, and the heads of the people were thrown into inextricable confusion. And far less would he stay among them, if they often interfered with the squabbles of criticism, the attacks and recriminations, pleas and counter-pleas of authors and reviewers. “ It must be our business, at least in part," he eagerly continued, “ to look into the world of men and women, rather than into the world of books and makers of books. It will be no useless or inglorious occupation to examine, and stop, where we are able, the havoc of repose, the inroads upon happiness and comfort, which are daily made by the vices of individuals, by private injustice, inhumanity, and ingratitude: and to call out, with the voice of warning, to those who are rushingimpetuously and madly rushing, to the abyss of debt, degradation, and despair. Shall I be allowed,” he asked, “ to carry my view into the frame and habits of society; and trace a dim outline of those events, which, as they have been for my shame, may be for the instruction of others ?" You shall--you shall," answered the Censor; “ let that be your peculiar business. For me there will be sufficient employment in the duties of my station as the President of this assembly. I shall not venture to take upon myself any particular task.”

Here a multiplicity of inquiries was addressed to the President at once. “ What sorts of poetry will come within the scope of our plan!” –“ How far will the pursuit of science be found compatible with the objects of the undertaking ?” with a number of similar questions, to which the President expressed his utter inability to return an immediate answer. He observed, however, that very many subjects, which would claim a great share of their regard, had been hitherto completely untouched, altogether unapproached. The places of their Interior Cabinet might be all occupied : members might be appointed to the Foreign Department, to the Home Department; to the Literary Department; to the Social Department: but there must still be a vast deal left for the joint and common consideration of the whole Council. Much, too, must be done by other persons, in addition to all assembled, who would be invited to co-operate with their plans, and participate in their deliberations. The Merchant inquired, what, in that case, was to become of their appellation, as “ The Council of Ten”-a name peculiarly pleasing to himself, as it reminded him of the days of merchant-warriors, merchant-nobility, and merchant-kings. To this question the President replied, that, however their scheme should ultimately be enlarged, a council, composed of their present number of members, might always form a part of it with advantage.

The conversation which ensued is not destined for the public ear. It is enough to state that it led to the unanimous adoption of the following resolutions :

Resolved, That the present meeting form itself into an Association, for purposes and objects hereafter to be specified, under the name and title of “ The Council of Ten.”

That this Council is now to be considered as preparatory to a larger association ; and will be subsidiary to it when formed.

That for the present the Council shall publish a monthly Report of their transactions.

That any member who endeavours to use the resources and opportunities of the Council as the means of private advancement, shall be punished by perpetual expulsion.

Tuat any member may introduce to the Council any number of friends upon whose secrecy

and honour he can rely. That immediate redress, or explanation be given to any person or persons who shall feel himself or themselves aggrieved by any remarks or proceedings of the Council, upon application by letter to the Secretary.

That the Council shall meet regularly once a week, and have extraordinary meetings on extraordinary occasions.

That the first meeting be on the 25th of April at midnight.
We have thus at length brought back our readers to the

point from which we started: after relating some particulars of the conversation which took place on that me, morable morning when our plan was in some measure organized, and moulded into shape. It is true, that a few remarks which occurred in subsequent conversations, have been introduced, and interwoven with that discourse. This is perhaps an error: but the avowal of it may save others the trouble of detecting our anachronisms; and ought to have the effect of shewing the authenticity and sincerity, with which we write ; and proving that our publication is, what Montaigne said was the case with very few—“un livre de bonne foi."

Moreover, we had a very good reason for incorporating these remarks with an antecedent conversation for ingrafting them, as it were, upon an older stock. We were unwilling to trespass more, than was necessary, upon the public time and the public patience. A separate account of meetings, which were chiefly occupied with our private ar. rangements, has, therefore, been avoided. One thing, however, requires mention: when the minutes of our conversation were read over at the last of them, it was judged not sufficiently explanatory, nor even sufficiently intelligible, to form of itself the substance of our first Report. It was agreed in consequence, that the President, with the assistance of the Secretary, should draw up, in the name of the Council, a more regular and systematic detail of its hopes, its intentions, its means, its objects, and its claims.

This was accordingly done in the following




We address ourselves to you all; to the court---to the nobility-tothe commonalty-to the whole realm.The purposes, for which we address you, are not frivolous: the motives which have induced us to address you are not slight. As attached to you by a thousand indissoluble ties, as having the same common interests-as being a part of yourselves, to you we dedicate our labours. Earnestly, then, we solicit your attention, for your sakes and for our own, while we explain ourselves upon the principal points relating to our undertaking. And, first, with regard to the name.

Who has not heard of the old Council of Ten, il gran Consiglio de Dieci? What that Council was to Venice, our Council shall be to England and to Europe. But we must not be misunderstood. God forbid that we should possess, or be thought to possess, all the characteristic marks which stamped and branded that dreadful government “ in the most high and palmy days” of the Venetian republic. We abhor its principles; we shudder at its spirit; we recoil from such a system as from something venomous and deadly. It is scarcely possible for a mind, imbued with a genuine love of freedom, to recollect, even now, without a feeling of terror, its impenetrable secrecy; its terrible ubiquity; its mysterious agency; its searching, restless, all-pervading authority; its power, which shut out every hope of evasion or resistance, which never threatened in vain, and struck almost before it threatened. The soul trembles, as it meditates upon the array of “ Familiars” and “ Apparitors ;" the secret denunciations; the lions, with their open mouths and distended jaws, gaping for midnight informations, dark suggestions, and anonymous calumnies; the long course of suspicious despotism, legal iniquities, and vengeful prosecutions. Is this, then, our model? Again we say, God forbid that it should be! We would neither exercise, nor hold, such frightful influencesuch monstrous facilities for the perpetration of any conceivable acts of injustice and horror. We wish to be an engine of public good, not an infernal machine of tyrannyan authorized instrument of torture and death. We are none of those who “ scire solunt secreta vomus, atque inde timeri :" we consider home an inviolable sanctuary; and the very word a charm, a spell, a talisman, against the intrusion, not only of lawless force, but of prying inquisition: with us every man is sacred, not merely in his person, but his character, from the moment that he has entered the threshold of his own door. Yet our Council, also, has its train of messengers—its retinue of Familiars : we, too, have our means of information and intelligence: we have the ability, as may be seen, whenever an imperative sense of duty calls it into action, to detect, to expose, and tochastise: we have the power, which must be exerted whenever the necessity exists, to make our voice heard, and our censure felt. In short, we hope to retain some portion of the authority, with which that older Council was invested, without incurring one jot or particle of the odium into which it fell :- to use our opportunities and resources for the common welfare; and in time to reconcile to the world this formidable appellation.

As we have taken one hint from the Venetian government, we have taken another from the Roman; we have called ourselves Decemvirs. Who these personages were is pretty generally known: but we shall quote a short account of them from Adam's Antiquities, instead of Livy, for the benefit of the ladies. He writes thus: “ Ten men were created from among the Patricians with supreme power and without liberty of appeal, to draw up a body of laws:” and shortly afterwards the whole regulation of the state was intrusted into their hands. “ The Decemvirs behaved at first with great moderation: they administered justice to the people, and performed many other excellent services to the republic. Now, so far it is sufficiently evident, that these “ ten men” were only prototypes of ourselves: but the parallel stops here. We shall preserve the “ moderation” with which they began their career, without sliding into the tyranny and oppression with which they closed it. For the rest, we have no more wish to imitate their conduct, than-may Heaven avert the omen !- to share their ultimate fates; since “ the Decemvirs all perished either in prison or in banishment."

We are also Censors. This is a great and venerable name; and we would not consciously abuse it. We remember that, in ancient Rome, as long as it was free, and powerful, and happy, the censorship was more honoured than the dignity of consul; and, moreover, that this high consideration was then only lost, when the age was too degenerate for the office, when morals were corrupted, and liberty was no more. We feel, therefore, that it is neither a title to be assumed lightly, nor an employment to be executed carelessly. And, although we have no desire, after the example

VOL. 1.

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