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The second was to render the Go- On the 8th of March, O'Connell vernment more dependent upon this made, Sir John Walsh says, the ablest party, by causing the most complete and most effective speech in favour rupture between it and all the inde- of the Reform Bill which had been pendent and moderate men, whether delivered on that side of the question. in parliament or in the country, who No great praise. Such is the power were attached to existing institutions of this man in Ireland, that it was and averse from desperate courses. perfectly certain that if he continued The creation of the movement in- in open enmity with the Cabinet, it to a party directly influencing the con- would have been totally impossible duct of Government, and possessing to venture on the expedient of a disa real weight in the Legislature, has solution; without some understandbeen entirely the work of the pre- ing that his interest would not be sent Administration. Before their exerted against them, they must have accession to office, it was confined to resigned. He supported the Bill with a lower and subordinate sphere. all his influence, and maintained a truce with the government upon every other subject of difference; and the elections passed over much more quietly in Ireland than in England. Were the Cabinet to bring up for judgment the man who had insulted and saved them? Terrified, they truckled, and England saw Ireland despising them like dirt.

The third was to lay a sure train for a collision, the most menacing to the permanence of the British constitution, between the House of Lords and a new House of Commons elected under popular excitement, and backed by the passions of the demo

cracy.

Let us look for a few minutes at the total change of their policy with respect to Ireland. They had assumed, as we have seen, towards O'Connell, an attitude of hostility apparently the most resolute! they prosecuted, and they convicted the agitator of a violation of the law. Will you punish him, asked the Marquis Chandos ? Yes-was the answer of Mr Stanley. "It is the unalterable determination of the law officers in Ireland to follow up the present proceedings against him-the law will take its full course." "The Crown has procured a verdict against Mr O'Connell, and it will undoubtedly call him up to receive judgment upon it." This was said on the 14th and 16th of February, and on the 28th Mr Stanley had a brush with O'Connell, when he charged him with a systematic attempt to agitate the minds and rouse the passions of the people; an accusation which he preferred in language as strong as was consistent with the usage of Parliament. had himself been grossly insulted by that unprincipled demagogue, and called, we think, a " shave-beggar;" but though on this occasion he lashed his libeller like another Christopher, he could not silence the shameless brute, who charged Ministers with a tyrannical and despotic spirit, compared with whom, he said, the former administration was a blessing to Ireland. They were its curse.

He

"At this time he adopted a measured tone of conciliation and partial approbation towards the Ministers, yet carefully guarding himself from taking a position among their regular supporters. He pretion, assisting the Reform Bill with every served his separate and independent staeffort, whether by his votes, his interest, or his talents for debate; yet keeping aloof from any cordial union with the Whigs upon the general principles of their policy. Nor did the session proceed very far without exhibiting symptoms of the little real agreement between them, and evidence of the formidable accession

of influence which the results of the elections had given to Mr O'Connell. There arose two subjects of serious difference, in which the policy of the Government underwent the most pointed animadversion from him and from the Irish members who generally concurred with him. These were Mr Stanley's Registration of Arms Bill, and the Yeomanry Corps of Ireland. The first was a measure certainly of an arbitrary character, which could ing state necessity, and which the highonly be justified on the grounds of press

est Tory might well have refused to pass as a permanent law. In deference to the

strongly expressed opinions of Mr O'Con

nell and the other Irish members returned on the Catholic interest, this Bill, after

having been postponed repeatedly, was suffered to drop.

"The question of the Irish yeomanry involved the whole subject of those unhappy divisions of party and religion

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which have so long distracted that country. The great remedy of the repeal of the disabilities has failed entirely in reconciling them, to the deep disappointment of every friend of that country. Nothing could keep them in check but a strong and firm executive. A weak, temporizing, vacillating government, allows both sides to acquire added strength, and nourishes every feeling of unrestrained and bitter animosity. The Ministry in

vain endeavoured to fall upon some course which should satisfy both the contending divisions. It was placed in a difficult position: it leaned upon one side for its maintenance in office, and upon the other for the preservation of the peace and integrity of the empire. The Protest ants were alarmed and indignant.

The members in the Catholic and popular interest were exasperated to the highest pitch at the refusal of the government to allow the printing of a petition from Waterford, praying that the yeomanry might be disarmed. They had, in consequence, meetings with Lord Grey, Lord Althorp, and Mr Stanley; were very much dissatisfied with the arrangement they proposed, and almost threatened to withdraw their support from them. Thus did this party, fostered by the present Cabinet, press upon and dictate to it; and such are the unequivocal warnings it receives of the dangers upon which it is so obstinately rushing. Nor were the Protestants less irritated at the regulations proposed, which would, they asserted, have the effect of placing the yeomanry at the mercy of their enemies, and utterly destroying their efficiency. I will only further recall to my readers the support Mr O'Connell lent to Lord Ebrington's motion for a resolution declaratory of confidence in the government; the compliment paid him of a silk gown and a patent of precedence; the rumoured offer to him of the Attorney-Generalship of Ireland; and the course he has recently again reverted to, of which the newspapers are full; viz. open war with the executive. The epitome of Mr O'Connell's history for 1831 is, that he was prosecuted to conviction by the government; that he laid it under essential obligations to him; that he supported it, schooled it, and thwarted it; was honoured by it, and spurned it. Possibly in 1832, if indeed the catastrophe of the drama is not still nearer at hand, he may support it, and school it, and spurn it again.' Heaven forefend that we should trace the progress of the misgovernment in our own island. They have

asinine association, and mulish union, on whose hide they have awkwardly attempted to curry favour; and have been seen in all directions sprawling in the dust. Mr Place the tailor has gone forth against them, with a polished spear, two inches long, and prevailed; the ship of the statepermit us the privilege of the ordinary national image-has well-nigh foundered in attempting to thread the Needles.

What then are the prospects of the country? Many think gloomy in the extreme-we see streaks of nascent light dawning on the horizon. It is cheering to know that the Ministry are on their last legs; and it would be the easiest thing in the world to nominate-perhaps not to appoint→ their successors. Coming after such a set, it is impossible to imagine any Ministry unpopular. They are despised by all who do not detest them; with the exception of a third party, [in whom all other feelings are merged in disgust. Prone as the people of this country are to unaccountable fits of admiration, we must yet do them the justice to say, that dual, however odd, who admired the we have never met with any indivipresent Ministry. The Reformers themselves have shewn a power of discrimination, in their liking to the Bill, and their dislike of the men who framed it, from which we augur great good, as soon as this effervescence has expired, and their blood has been restored to its natural temperature. They have persuaded themselves that the provisions of the Bill are wholesome; but they feel no gratitude to the givers of the feast. This not unfrequently happens in private life. You yourself may have been one of a score of guests gobbling up what you thought a good dinner, yet all the while in your heart cursing the host as a stindesigns in deviating so widely from gy and hypocritical old hunks, whose his established system, you cannot but suspect must be sinister. Should your stomach be disordered during the night, you even think of poi

son.

Hear on this the sober language of Sir John Walsh.

"No observations have led me to the conclusion that the present government is

been kicked by the hoofs of every generally popular. They have done much

to beg and court mob popularity; but
the immediate leaders of this power are
not disposed to share it. They take their
Reform Bill at their hands as a conces-
sion to their own irresistible strength,-
the footing, indeed, upon which the Mi-
nistry put it, but it creates no enthu-
siasm for its authors. They are watched,
on the contrary, with jealous vigilance,
and some suspicion. Among the upper
classes of society, there is a widely spread
hostility to men who are considered as
placing in jeopardy all that is valuable in
civilized life. A variety of mercantile
and colonial interests are opposed to them;
and all Ireland, Protestant and Catholic,
is unanimous on that point alone. These
are formidable masses. The whole con-
duct of the Ministry since they have held
office has been such as to excite against
them a steady and permanent feeling of
distrust and opposition in different influ-
ential classes of the community. They
have not obtained the command, although
they have received the temporary support,
of that fleeting and unmanageable popu.
lar cry which they have themselves cre-
ated into a fourth estate in the realm.
If, as I have argued in preceding parts of
this essay, the Whigs were a party who
had declined in general influence and esti-
mation in the course of the last 40 years,
I do not think that the consequences of
their latter policy have re-established
them in the regard of the educated ranks,
or even in the versatile affections of the
masses. In Parliament they have not
exhibited any of that commanding elo-
quence, those abilities of the first order,
which attach people to the individual,
and which kindle that enthusiasm so ab-
solutely requisite for men to inspire who
hope to lead opinion in times like these.
Their first step was an arrangement by
which they deprived their party of its great
prop and stay in the House of Commons.
If they looked alone to their strength and
influence in that assembly, and their per-
manent authority in the country, they
never committed a grosser blunder than
in removing Lord Brougham from that
peculiar sphere of his greatness. They
probably felt, that with a seat in the Ca-
binet, and a place on the Treasury bench

of that House, whoever might have been
the titular head of the government, he
would have been the real Prime Minister
of England. This elevation might not
have been agreeable to other members of
the government, or to the high aristo-
cratic families of the Whigs. His remo-
val has left Sir Robert Peel confessedly
without a rival in the Lower House in all

the qualities of Parliamentary eloquence. The very consciousness of this undispu

ted authority has, perhaps, given to his speeches a loftier and firmer tone. Whether from considerations of convenience, inclination, or necessity, the ministerial bench during almost all the discussions seemed to observe a studied silence, and to impose the same curb upon their adherents. This policy has not tended to strengthen their influence with the country at large. They have not been sufficiently on the scene before the public."

Did the Ministry shew the slightest symptoms of strength, we should indeed be low-spirited about the state of our country. But "kicked and cuffed on all sides" as they are, (we use the words of the Examiner,) and unable to ward or return a single blow, we are cheery on their approaching exit. Under a sensible and strong government, which we must soon have, the doctrines which appear now somewhat dangerous, will be hissed and hooted from the press as foolish; and people will be ashamed of ever having lent an ear, for a moment, to such paltry preachments. We shall hear no more of the repeal of the Union-of the separation of England and Ireland—of one red-hot Irishman holding in his hands the fate of a British Ministry of the abrogation of the law of primogeniture-of the expulsion of the Bishops-of the abolition of the House of Lords-of the change of our monarchical form of government into republican-of the majesty of mobs-and the reign of the rabble. But for the infatuation of a Whig Ministry, we should have heard little or nothing about them now; for though the spirit of democracy be sufficiently strong to shew itself with great audacity when unresisted, and in the perpetration of the worst crimes, when encouraged, as it has been by our weak and wicked rulers, yet it knows well that it could not stand one day against the uproused loyalty of the land, and would shrink and fade away from the encounter. Then, with what gladness would myriads of worthy people, who had fallen into delusion, but whose eyes have been long opening or opened to the evils with which our best institutions are threatened, return from the error of their ways, as soon as it was safe to do so, and rejoin-never again to leave them-the ranks of the faithful. We are sick of the silly

use of the word reaction. There is no need of any; the desperadoes who cling for life to the Bill, will bellow for it till it has been struck out of their grasp; so will the renegades and apostates; so will the obstinate ignorants who run after all kinds of quackery; and so will a few thousand fierce republicans, whose well-educated leaders are now among the most powerful organs of the Press. But the energies of all the factions would be soon deadened by a vigorous government, supported as it would be, from the moment of its formation, by ninetenths of the talent, integrity, riches, and rank of the country; and their measures would in a few weeks convince THE PEOPLE that the Reform now clamoured for was Revolution. Since the Ministry, then, are on the brink of dissolution, we can see little or no reason for alarm. Here we differ in opinion from Sir John Walsh, who sees, we think, the prospects of the country through too gloomy a light. Yet he beautifully expresses his manly fears, which are those of a lover of liberty. In our happy country, he finely says, where peace, order, and internal tranquillity have been established by a long and glorious prescription, men are ashamed, they fear the ridicule of their hearers, in prognosticating such evils as revolution, civil war, and anarchy. There are those who say Old England has ridden out so many storms, that we fancy she must get through this somehow or other. The payment of the dividends seems to the fundholder as natural as the recurrence of spring, or the dawn of day. The dominion of the laws, securing property and person, appears almost as fixed and unalterable as that of those which regulate the movements of the physical world. The reason of the thinking part of the community shews them the reality of the peril; but the imagination, which generally is more excursive, and outruns the reasoning faculties, has been so disturbed in this particular direction that it cannot readily picture such novel scenes. Oh! splendid testimony-he adds to the excellence of those institutions which have so

long preserved to our country a precious immunity from half the evils

VOL. XXXI. NO. CXCII.

of humanity! Even when those evils are most menaced, much of our danger arises from our slowness to imagine it possible that so sacred a palladium can be broken, and that our day can furnish the mournful exception to the established precedent of centuries!

Such a magnificent fabric may not be doomed to fall under hands so mean; having stood so many blasts, without bending more than a tree, and in living growth from age to age it is a tree, it surely will not sink before my Lord John Russell, puffing away at it with a pair of smallish bellows. In Burke's time it was assailed, we think, by more potent engineers; and he had his fears, which inspired his love with eloquence that saved the state. Nobly did he shew that the whole scheme of our mixed constitution is to prevent any one of its principles from being carried as far as, taken by itself theoretically, it would go. low that to be the true policy of the British system, and then most of the faults with which that system stands charged will appear to be, not imperfections into which it has inadvertently fallen, but excellencies which it has studiously sought. He shewed, that it is the result of the thoughts of many minds, in many ages; no simple, no superficial thing, nor to be estimated by superficial understandings.

Al

Do our reformers ever read now-adays his Appeal from the New to the Old Whigs-his Observations on the Conduct of the Minority-his Letters on the Regicide Peace? They who truly mean well, he would tell them, must be fearful of acting ill-that the British Constitution may have its advantages pointed out to wise and reflecting minds, but that it is of too high an order of excellence to be adapted to those which are common. It takes in too many views, it makes too many combinations, to be so much as comprehended by shallow and superficial understandings. Profound thinkers will know it in its reason and spirit. The less inquiring will recognise it in their feelings and experience. They will thank God they have a standard, which, in the most essential point of this great concern, will put them on a par with the most wise and knowing.

2 F

So thought one of the wisest of the sons of genius; but what knew Edmund Burke of the science of politics, in comparison with that terrible Tailor, whose stitches hold together the Westminster Review?

Burke has told us that it was common with all those who were favourable to Fox's party, though not at all devoted to all their reforming projects, to argue in palliation of their conduct, that it was not in their power to do all the harm which their actions evidently tended to. But what would he have said had he seen the very Ministry themselves at the head of the mob, not perhaps in the burning of Bristol, which was a trifle, but in sacking the Constitution?" I cannot flatter myself-he said that these incessant attacks on the constitution of Parliament are safe." But he was then slashing a mere minority not a revolutionizing Ministry with an old Jacobin at their head, and a young boroughmonger at their tail. Hear the Prophet. These gentlemen he writes are much stronger too without doors than some calculate. They have the more active part of the Dissenters with them; and the whole clan of speculators of all denominations, a large and growing species. They have that floating multitude which goes with events, and which suffers the loss or gain of a battle, to decide its opinions of right and wrong. As long as by every art this party keeps alive a spirit of disaffection against the very constitution of the kingdom, and attributes, as lately it has been in the habit of doing, all the public misfortunes to that constitution, it is absolutely impossible but that some moment must arrive, in which they will be enabled to produce a pretended reform and a real revolution!

With what a masterly hand Burke elsewhere exposes the folly-the wickedness, of the conduct of those factions, who, in order to divest men of all love for their country, and to remove from their minds all duty with regard to the state, endeavoured to propagate an opinion that the people, in forming their commonwealth, have by no means parted with their power over it. Discuss, says he, any of their schemes-their answer is-it is the act of the people -and that is sufficient. Are we to

deny to a majority of the people the right of altering even the whole frame of society, if such be their But Burke shews that pleasure? neither the few nor the many have a right to act merely by their will, in any matter connected with duty, trust, engagement, or obligation. And that as for number, the number engaged in crimes, instead of turning them into laudable acts, only augments the quantity and quality of the guilt. No wise legislator, at any period of the world, has willingly placed the seat of active power in the hands of the multitude, because there it admits of no control, no regulation, no steady director whatever. In England neither has the original, nor any subsequent compact of the state, expressed or implied, constituted a majority of men, told by the head, to be the acting people of their several communities. Give once a certain constitution of things, which produces a variety of conditions and circumstances in a state, and there is in nature and reason a principle, which, for their own benefit, postpones, not the interest, but the judgment of those who are numero plures, to those who are virtute et honore majores. When the supreme authority of the people is in question, he remarks that, before we attempt to confine or extend it, we ought to fix in our minds, with some degree of distinctness, an idea of what it is we mean, when we say the people. How grand-how simple -and how true, the following passage, from the Appeal from the New to the Old Whigs-and how applicable to our present condition!

"A true natural aristocracy is not a separate interest in the state, or separable from it. It is an essential integrant part of any large body rightly constituted. It is formed out of a class of legitimate presumptions, which, taken as generalities, must be admitted for actual truths. be bred in a place of estimation; to see nothing low and sordid from one's infancy; to be taught to respect one's self; to be habituated to the censorial inspection of the public eye; to look early to public opinion; to stand upon such ele

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vated ground as to be enabled to take a large versified combinations of men and affairs in view of the wide-spread and infinitely direflect, to converse; to be enabled to draw a large society; to have leisure to read, to the court and attention of the wise and

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