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FLAGS, pennons, banners, bribery, beer,
cockades, rosettes, brass bands and bludgeons
being manifestly contrary and inimical to
virtue, are to be abolished by the strong arm
of the law. They are not in themselves, as
things, essentially immoral; but they are
vicious, when taken in connection with the
election of members to the Commons House
of Parliament. That assembly, confessed to
be composed of the collective wisdom of the
nation, has perhaps been held to include also
the collective national virtue; and with this
view, a Bill has been introduced, and is now
before the House relating to expenses at
elections, in which war to the knife is
waged against every species of flag, banner,
rosette, cockade, colour, or procession, which
might dare to flaunt its drapery during,
or immediately before or after, an election.
The game is up. The flags must be

Shade of George Crabbe, late of Aldborough,
clerk; shade of William Hogarth, late
of Leicester fields and Chiswick, painter,
engraver,and moralist; shades of Gatton and
of that deathless dead wall which once
represented Old Sarum, and returned
representatives to Parliament; shades of Wilkes and
Luttrell, Fox and Queensbury; shades of all
parliamentary elections past, present, and to
come, gather round me while I meditate on
this redoubted Bill! Elections expenseslike
poor Scotland, as described by the Scotch
gentleman in Macbethwill not only not
stand where they did, but be almost ashamed
to know themselves. No banners! no flags! no
brass bands! no bribery! no open public-
houses! no party processions! Why not as
well have no candidatesno votersno
elections ? Ruthless legislators! would you give
us a marriage without white satin favours,
orange flowers, Malines lace, and bride
cake? Would you have a funeral without
gloves and feathers, cake and wine, and
disconsolate mutes (at one shilling an hour)
who, after a funeral, become liquids? In a
few years, we shall have not only marriages
without favours, funerals without crape and
sherry, and elections without banners, but
royalty without beef-eaters, public offices
without red tape, Lord Mayors without sword
bearers, Field Marshals without gold lace
and cocked hats, and Judges without wigs.
We only want the New Reform Bill with
which we are threatened, and a man instead
of saying, "I belong to the borough of
Split-vote, or the county of Plumpshire,"
will say, "I have a vote for group No. 6, or
for section D," or for some other tabulated
nonentity; into which this unhappy and
ruined, but formerly Conservative country
has been subdivided. Peradventure, if an
antiquary or a speculator does by chance
rummage out from some town-hall lumber
room, many years hence, a few tarnished
banners, a few faded streamers, a few
battered dingy fragments of electioneering
paraphernalia, they will be looked at as
relics of a curious past, like the dried
fowls, old honeycombs, and tear bottles from
the tombs of Thebes; or the winged lions and
ivory thrones from the palaces of Nineveh;
or the drinking cups and baker's loaves from

And not alone to the old school will the
abolition and prohibition of these constitutional
insignia be a source of melancholy,
discomfiture, and foreboding. To them, furled
banners, silenced bands of music, pocketed
cockades, and absent streamers, will be
merely suggestive of the impending
decadence of Britain.They will not, however,
drink one flagon the less, nor be a whit less
jovial; for, it is a curious trait in human
character, that a man bears the misfortunes
of his country much better than he bears his
own. The ruin of the agricultural interest by
fatal tergiversation and heartless duplicity,
&c. &c. on the occasion of the last complete
destruction and final overthrow of Britain,
has not, to my knowledge, affected the
excellent symposia throughout the country,
known as farmers' ordinaries, or in any manner
the appetites of the farmers attending thereat;
nor, although it is well known that the repeal
of the Navigation Laws has hopelessly
crushed and annihilated the shipping interest,
have I, in my experiences of shipping, ship-
launches, and ship-launch-dinners, been
brought into any disagreeable juxtaposition
with sackcloth and ashes. On the contrary, I
have more frequently met "'tween decks,"
with lively long-necked individuals tipped
with tin foil by the name of Clicquot, Ruinart,