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ignorance,—and who also know, how soon the mind loses its divine attributes in the squalidness and misery amid which many of our countrymen are doomed to live. Our author himself describes the leading tendencies of the parties somewhat after our fashion, though probably he would not be content to go with us in all our definitions. He then proceeds to state truly that,“ The old Whig party wore itself out during the reign of the two first Georges. Having bravely resisted the Stuarts, it corrupted itself by long possession of power; and, doing nothing for the advancement of the people, it fell by dereliction of its own first principles. Governing as Tories, it was necessarily and justly displaced by Tories.”
Well would it have been for the Whigs if their attempts to govern as Tories had terminated with their first overthrow. We should not then have heard of finality, nor had to lament the fatal error committed, when the Coercion Bill came as the first proof of Whig rule in a country already driven almost to madness and despair by long courses of injustice and oppression. Our author does not allude to this disastrous measure, nor to the timid policy of the Whigs when the nation, as the result of the Reform Bill, had given them a majority until that period never possessed by any government. If in the first session of the reformed parliament, “ faithful to their fires," they had carefully and honestly, but above all fearlessly, set about redressing the wrongs of Ireland, instead of passing a law so cruel and so foreign to all their professions as the coercion bill; and had also in the same spirit declared war against class legislation, and hoisted the banner of FREE TRADE, Sir Robert Peel would in all probability have been indulging his taste for the fine arts in the formation of a new picture Gallery, and the iron duke might have helped Colonel Gurwood to edit other volumes of his life and despatches. The Whigs governing as Tories lost power-public opinion was revolted—the liberals saw an attempt to govern Ireland by force, not by equal justice,—and from that day the prestige attached to the Whigs as a party diminished, and a line, the traces of which are yet strongly marked, was drawn between the representatives of Fox and the Charles Grey of 1794, and the great mass of modern reformers. Our author rapidly sketches the history of party, until the breaking up of the duke of Wellington's government in 1829; and he concludes his summary with the following observations, in the truth of which we heartily coincide :
“ Thus ended the Duke of Wellington's and Sir Robert Peel's first experiment of an expediency government. It came in with a high cha
racter and professed principles, it went out without either the one or the other. Its first principle was to resist Roman Catholic and Protestant Dissent, and it was conquered by both ; its next object was to counteract Parliamentary Reform, and it rendered it only the more certain and more extensive.
“ Do we attribute fraud or want of energy to a Government, which so signally broke faith? On the contrary, we think it showed both sense and courage in giving way. But it was guilty of an ignorance of public opinion, and, blinded by its own party repressive principles, it could not comprehend the justice of the claims and rights it opposed. It, therefore, mischievously thwarted and destroyed Mr. Canning's and the Whigs' liberal policy, in order to supersede it by a repressive government against that which manifestly was, and which so soon proved itself to be, too strong for curbing.
The writer then enters on the history of the accession of the Whigs to power, when Lord Grey made his memorable declaration that peace, retrenchment, and reform were the watchwords of Government; alludes to the passing of the Reform Bill, acknowledges that the Whigs carried all before them at the elections, and that when the Reform Bill became the law, “then came their trial.” He thus accounts for the sudden change which came over the public mind:
They had to work their new machine and to bring up all the institutions of the country to a level with its extended representative powers. There were some few who did not see the necessity for such adjustment; others who seeing it yet alarmed by the recent struggles for the Reform Bill, were content to advance only a few of our institutions, and to advance those few far less than was necessary. Others, again, were for pushing on too far. Unity of purpose was lost, and in its stead came dissension. Public acclamation fell off, and within two years after the passing of the Reform Bill, the Whigs were losing their popularity.”
We believe the true reason to have been what we have already stated. And we think the author would have done his party and the country good service by a more accurate examination of the circumstances which produced this revulsion of feeling. After noticing the return of the Tories to power, their signal failure, and the return of Lord Melbourne to office with thinned ranks, he states, and truly states, the triumphs of the Whigs, and says that “the Whig party carried in less than eleven years' possession of office-measures for the advancement and security of RELIGION, EDUCATION, HUMANITY, and LIBERTY, greater than have been carried during the whole period that has elapsed between the revolution of 1688 and their accession in 1830.”
These various measures are then discussed at some length; they comprehend the abolition of pluralities, the partial reform of the Irish church in the reduction of the number of bishops, the Irish Education Bill, the attempt at a plan for national education in England, the abolition of slavery, the reformation of what the writer honestly calls “the sanguinary abominations of our penal code,” the various measures of retrenchment, the reform of municipal corporations, the passing of the penny postage, a firm but peaceable foreign policy, and various other important measures. To carry, even modified as many of these measures were by an opposing House of Lords, so many useful reforms, entitles the Whigs to high praise. The nation, whilst it laments that more was not attempted, and that much was omitted, yet will not be niggardly in awarding approbation. We owe the Whigs much, and we are ready to pay it, the more so because we think in “the mysterious progression of things,” events are teaching them, that true reforms are not to be carried out against powerful, selfish, and unscrupulous adversaries, without determination and vigour; the expression of which, in the recent debates on Ireland, more particularly in the manly speech of Lord Howick, fills us with hope that the day is not far distant, when the Whigs will have another, probably a last opportunity, of peaceably settling the complicated wrongs still endured by the country. Notwithstanding all these acts the Whig Government lost ground.—The writer says that “two powerful and privileged bodies opposed it, the Clergy and the Lords,” the one misrepresenting its policy as hostile to the religion and institutions of the country; and the other with its uncontrolled majority defeating or delaying almost every measure which the ministers sent up from the Commons. This is no doubt true, but if the Whigs had, early in their career, properly estimated the counteracting forces arrayed against them, and had insisted on passing the reform bill without the Chandos clause, without the great augmentation of the county representatives, and without preserving the corrupt old freemen in the parliamentary Boroughs, and above all had they done early as to trade in England, and conciliation in Ireland, that which they did late, the Lords and the Clergy would not have dared to obstruct and impede the progress of a great nation on her peaceful march; or if they had, Lord Grey, or Lord Brougham, might have drawn from his pocket the promise of the maker of Peers to augment the number of the House of Lords, and so have prevented the possibility of any immediate danger of collision, whilst the nation secured the establishment of these great and necessary reforms.
The Lords and the Clergy are wise in their generation, they know well how to distinguish between the voice of a nation and that of a party. The Tory benches were empty when the Reform Bill (albeit sorely mutilated) was wrung from the reluctant hands of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in parliament assembled; but when the more zealous reformers, repelled by the measures to which we have alluded, became distrustful of the Whigs, and myriads of our countrymen left their ancient leaders to augment the Chartist ranks, arrayed under the banners of such men as Feargus O'Connor, then those same Lordly Benches became crowded once more to excess, whenever Whig measures or those having a liberal tendency were to be obstructed or defeated. The Lords became potent when the Whigs lost the people. They scorned all the attempts made to bring them to aid, however slowly, in the work of progression, and we doubt whether any assembly ever displayed more bitterness in its hostility, than that which influenced the Lords during their opposition to the Whigs from the period we have mentioned. This ought to be a lesson to us. The Whigs will do well to erase the word “finality” from their political vocabulary, and gather strength and wisdom from “the sweet uses of adversity.”
The next division of the pamphlet is devoted to the principles and proceedings of the Tory, or repressive Government. Our Author says that the ministry had been constructed by all the experienced state-craft of Sir Robert Peel, strengthened by the Duke of Wellington, Lord Stanley and Sir James Graham, and that “nearly the whole country weary of the checkmated efforts of the Whigs, and deluded by incessant misrepresentations, looked to this powerful and promising ministry to extricate it from all dangers, real or imaginary. Our author here falls into one of the usual mistakes of a party writer. What he says is true, if by the country he means that part of it not friendly to the policy of the Whigs—it is untrue as to the great body of the country. The people, weary with the want of progress, had become indifferent to the predominance of party. Whether Whig or Tory, they found not only no stand made for liberal principles, but often they were doomed to hear that they had gone too fast, if not too far,and though they were anxious to proceed firmly to carry out the measures, which they trusted the reform bill would enable them peacefully to obtain, they were checked in their course by those on whom they mainly relied to keep them in progress. Thus weary and hopeless they lost all energy to embark in a mere party struggle, and this indifference of the people arose
from the neglect of the Whigs to take advantage of their position. The Whigs seem to have regarded the reform bill as an end; the people valued it only as a means. At the eleventh hour Free Trade became a watch word with the Whigs,-it was too late ; the Tories, strong in the popular indifference, had secured the registration courts, and the Whigs were overthrown,
The writer then gives an account of Sir Robert Peel; acknowledges his domestic virtues, admits his talents in debate, his application to business, and his general abilities as a Statesman; calls him, however, only a second-rate man, and says he has originated nothing but the London Police, and that all about him is common-place, second-hand, well got up. Then follows a sketch of the career of Sir Robert Peel, beginning with his opposition to Mr. Horner's resolutions on the Currency,showing that in almost every great measure which has been discussed during the parliamentary life of Sir Robert Peel, he has strongly opposed that which he has afterwards adopted,-and contending that this has led to a general distrust of Sir Robert's politics.
There is much truth in this estimate of Sir Robert Peel. He lacks all the qualities which make a great Statesman, save one, and that one is of great value -we mean discretion. He is a skilful debater; but even in debate he does not succeed as the ally of any great principle, as the unflinching advocate of measures broad and general in their character and their humanity; his is the triumph of dexterity rather than of truth, and he carries with him no conviction that he himself is sincere in his advocacy. He is, in fact, both in his political position and in his measures, a compromise. Sir Robert Peel, in his manners and disposition, is cold and formal: neither in public nor in private has he feelings which make a man fervent friends. He is as much inferior to Canning, as Canning was to Fox. He has none of the warmth of Canning, none of his polished elegance of manner, none of his powers of eloquence, not a particle of his wit. Sir Robert Peel is not, indeed, an originator; he is merely a dexterous fashioner of other men's goods. Throughout his life the raw material of his measures has been furnished by other men.
He is what his father was, a manufacturer. He was educated, as a recruit, to support the aristocracy to which he did not belong; and we do not believe, in the whole course of his career, he has ever, even for a moment, evinced any high faith in mankind-any sympathy for the people. Without these, no man in modern times can be a great Statesman. This coldness and want of faith, we fear, be