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learned, wherever they are to be found; to be habituated in armies to command and to obey; to be taught to despise danger in the pursuit of honour and duty; to be formed to the greatest degree of vigilance, foresight, and circumspection;
a state of things in which no fault is committed with impunity, and the slightest mistakes draw on the most ruinous consequences; to be led to a guarded and regulated conduct, from a sense that you are considered as an instructor of your fellow-citizens in their highest concerns, and that you act as a reconciler between God and man; to be employed as an administrator of law and justice, and to be thereby amongst the first benefactors to mankind; to be a professor of high science, or of liberal and ingenuous art; to be amongst rich traders who, from their success, are presumed to have sharp and vigorous understandings, and to possess the virtues of diligence, order, constancy, and regularity; and to have cultivated an habitual regard to commutative justice ;—these are the circumstances of
men, that form what I should call a natural aristocracy, without which there is no nation.
"The state of civil society which necessarily generates this aristocracy, is a state of nature; and much more truly so than a savage and incoherent mode of life. For man is by nature reasonable, and he is never perfectly in his natural state but when he is placed where reason may be best cultivated, and most predominates. Art is man's nature. We are as much at least in a state of nature in formed manhood, as in immature and helpless infancy. Men qualified in the manner I have just described, form in nature as she operates in the common modification of society the leading, guiding, and governing part. It is the soul to the body, without which the man does not exist. To give, therefore, no more importance in the social order to such descriptions of men than that of so many units, is an horrible usurpation.
"When great multitudes act together under that discipline of nature, I recognise the PEOPLE. I acknowledge something that perhaps equals, and ought always to guide the sovereignty of convention. In all things the voice of this grand chorus of national harmony ought to have a mighty and decisive influence. But when you disturb this harmony; when you break up this beautiful order, this array of truth and nature, as well as of habit and prejudice; when you separate the common sort of men from their proper chieftains, so as to form them into an adverse army, I no longer
know that venerable object called the people."
Seldom now is reference made, in political discussion, to the great authorities in political science; when you do so, the Radical rout scout the wisdom that has immortalized the names of the mighty men from whose lips it flowed like inspiration. The Gentlemen of the daily Press are not in general much given to readingthey have recourse to a volume of inelegant extracts for stale quotations to clench their stalest arguments, and they give the go-by to reasonings that would drive them into the ditch. All Reformers, far from single-minded, are one-eyed, and with it-seldom much of a piercer-they look at one side of every questionalmost always the wrong one; some of them believing, and all of them swearing, that the question has but one side, though it may be at the least octagonal. Why does not Sir James Mackintosh give us his edition of Burke? The Reformers would not buy a hundred copies, but the Conservatives would exhaust it in a few weeks. How admirably does he speak of the irresolution and timidity of those who compose the "middle order" between the principal leaders in Parliament and their lowest followers out of doors! Irresolution and timidity often perverting the effect of their controlling situation. The fear of differing with the authority of leaders on the one hand, and of contradicting the desires of the multitude on the other, induces them, he says, to give a careless and passive assent to measures in which they never were consulted; and thus things proceed, by a sort of activity of inertness, until whole bodies, leaders, middle-men, and followers, are all hurried, with every appearance, and with many of the effects, of unanimity, into schemes of politics, in the substance of which no two of them ever fully agreed, and the origin and authors of which, in this circular mode of communication, none of them find it possible to trace. The sober part give their sanction, at first through inattention and levity, at last they give it through necessity; a violent spirit is raised, which the presiding minds, after a time, find it impracticable to stop at their plea
sure, to control, to regulate, or even to direct.
Is it not so at this time? Ask Lord Brougham and Vaux wherefore he dropped on his knees and implored the Peers "to pass this Bill?”
The following wise passage might have been written since the new year :
"This shews, in my opinion, how very quick and awakened all men ought to be, who are looked up to by the public, and
who deserve that confidence, to prevent a
surprise on their opinions, when dogmas are spread and projects pursued, by which the foundations of society may be affected. Before they listen even to moderate alterations in the government of their country, they ought to take care that principles are not propagated for that purpose which are too big for their object. Doctrines limited in their present application, and wide in their general principles, are never meant to be confined to what they at first pretend. If I were to form a prognostic of the effect of the present machinations on the people, from their sense of any grievance they suffer under this constitution, my mind would be at ease. But there is a wide difference between the multitude when they act against their government, from a sense of grievance, or from zeal for some opinions. When men are thoroughly possessed with that zeal, it is difficult to calculate its force. It is certain that its power is by no means in exact proportion to its reasonableness. It must always have been discoverable by persons of reflection, but it is now obvious to the world, that a theory concerning government may become as much a cause of fanaticism, as a dogma in religion. There is a boundary to men's passions when they act from feeling; none when they are under the influence of imagination. Remove a grievance, and when men act from feeling, you go a great way towards quieting a commotion. But the good or bad conduct of a government, the protection men have enjoyed, or the oppression they have suffered under it, are
of no sort of moment, when a faction, proceeding upon speculative grounds, is thoroughly heated against its form. When a man is from system furious against monarchy or episcopacy, the good conduct of the monarch or the bishop has no other effect than further to irritate the adversary. He is provoked at it as furnishing a plea for preserving the thing which he wishes to destroy. His mind will be heated as much by the sight of a sceptre, a mace, or a verge, as if he had been daily bruised and wounded by these symbols of authority."
To return to Sir John Walsh. Towards the end of his pamphlet he finds himself led to the following conclusions-that the late changes on the Continent have revived the great struggle of 1792, of a levelling democracy aspiring to govern society upon theoretical principles against the forms of monarchy, and the laws, institutions, manners, and habits, which their feudal origin had so deeply ingrafted in the nations of Europe, that the British Empire is equally with the Continent the theatre of a conflict between these opposing principles, that in England a spirit of rational and wise freedom, an infusion of democracy, had been so happily blended with the feudal laws and institutions, as to produce the greatest amount of prosperity ever enjoyed by a people,-that in proportion to the security so long possessed, to the stupendous but artificial structure of wealth, of credit, and of commercial and manufacturing greatness built upon it, would be the ruin and the misery, national and individual, consequent upon every convulsion,-that the idea of its being possible to accomplish the ultimate views of the democratic party with regard to Ireland, the Church, the magistracy, the poor laws, and a vast reduction of taxes, without an extra breaking up of the whole frame of society, is perfectly chimerical,—that the present imminent danger of the country from such a destructive influence, arises from the alliance which has been established between this party and the Executive, that, feeling itself too weak to stand alone, the latter has sought some point of agreement which should unite with it the democratic leaders,—and that having found that in the Reform Bill-or rather, having given them the great bonus of the Reform Bill, it has rendered itself absolutely dependent on them; and that they are now lying at the mercy of that faction and its mobs, who could upset them to-day if they chose, and who would, if the Bill were to pass, certainly upset them to-morrow. approaching struggle in this country, then, is one, he thinks, of classes and divisions of society, not of parties. It is the attack of the lower and a portion of the middling classes, incited and led on by demagogue leaders, against existing institutions,
the gentry, and the property of the country. And this movement the Whigs have headed at a time when every indication by which we can judge of the future, had revealed to them the dark course on which they had voluntarily entered. The Reform Bill, without regarding its abstract consequences or operation, is a trial of strength, is a great pitched battle, between the friends of the existing order of society and the advocates of indefinite innovation and revolution.
In this state of things, all good men and true, we say, ought to look with a jealous and stern eye on all the movements of any supposed influential persons of the Conservative Party, towards any such conciliation with the Ministry as would infer a compromise of principles essential to the existence of the British Constitution. For our parts, we never liked the notion of those interviews and conferences of which we heard some time ago; and we trust that they never will be renewed; for it is impossible they can ever lead to any result, without sacrifice of faith and loss of honour. The Ministers are bound hand and feet to the Radicals by fetters of their own imposing; and though they might break them with perfect safety, and without blame except from the base, yet are they utterly obstinate to pledges which they ought never to have stooped to give, and will maintain their position till driven from it.
The Conservatives can never treat with such people till they are met at least three-fourths of the way; till Ministers become as moderate as Lord Brougham was not many months ago in his plans of Reform. Let there be a conference on that basis, or on the basis of one or other of those schemes which were advocated by some of the most distinguished Whigs for nearly thirty years in the Edinburgh Review. All the wild and reckless provisions of the Bill, in its more than Protean changes always a slippery monster, have been, over and over again, demolished in that able Periodical; the reasonings therein contained have produced a deep, an uneffaceable impression on the best intellect of the country; nor is it to be thought that
the patriotic exertions of those then enlightened men are to be all rendered vain by the mad measures of a Ministry, incomprehensibly composed of their own inconsistent selves, and of some others whom they had for a quarter of a century held up as dangerous visionaries, or something worse, to the ridicule or the indignation of all lovers of rational liberty. Not a step should be taken, in an affair of such prodigious importance, as the pulling down and building up of the British constitution, without the most anxious premeditation; not till all the political philosophy expounded with so much eloquence and with such powerful logic in that justly-celebrated work, be proved false and fatal, and confessed to be so by its various authors, of whom it will not be too much then to expect, or rather to demand, that, clothed in a white sheet, they read their recantation every Sabbath during the current year, each in his own parish-church, and eke every Wednesday or Saturday in the market-place, when crowded with people from rural districts, as well as with the inhabitants of the respective
As for those who think the Bill bad, but would yet wish it to pass, that the country might be quieted, most of them are such thorough idiots, that we shall not waste a word on people in their unfortunate condition; but as some of them are, we are sorry to say it, sensible persons on other subjects, nay, even enlightened, we do earnestly request them to reflect on their folly, and not, in their vain anxiety to save the country from some temporary excitation, do all in their power to promote the success of measures which they confess will ultimately afflict or ruin it. What signifies all the loss caused by the stagnation of trade, and which will be made up erelong by natural processes, after the nefarious Bill has been strangled, and buried in the cross-roads, in comparison with the everlasting evils that, in their own opinion, would disturb and darken all the land in the event of its becoming law! They who speak thus call themselves the Moderates. At this crisis they are the worst enemies we have; but as, in spite of their melancholy aberration of reason, we re
gard many of them with affection and respect, we are not without hopes that this kindly but strong remonstrance with them on a weakness so unworthy their character, will be kindly taken, and have the effect of establishing them firmly in the ranks of the Conservatives, to which they naturally belong, and in which they will feel a sudden accession of mental strength and contentAt present they are sneered at contemptuously by Reformers; and regarded suspiciously by their own friends, who will hear of no compromise between expediency and conscience. It would be wrong to call them Trimmers; but we cannot call them True-men. Their moods of mind are fluctuating and uncertain; without seeming to know it, their writings are full of inevitable inconsistencies and contradictions; their lucubrations, in their guardedness, are most vapid; and ever and anon may be seen that awkward expression of self-imposed constraint, which, when visible in people who may be free if they choose, cannot but inspire a painful suspicion of insincerity, or lukewarmness in a cause that should be supported with all the feelings and faculties of our souls. In this war let there be no neutrals. Are they waiting to join the victorious side? They will not be suffered to do so; therefore let them leave the Shilly-shally School of Politics, else they may in good earnest experience the Knout.
The character drawn of themselves by the Reformers, Radicals, and Revolutionists, is surely a caricature. They have, they say, made prodigious advances in knowledge of late years, and outrun the British Constitution. They must have a system to live under more suitable to their expanded and exalted souls. The roof of the one they now seek to demolish is too low-its walls too narrow-its site too small-its foundations too superficial-the materials of which it is built too soft-mouldering away in weather-stains. Heaven help them -giants in their own conceit-they are dwarfs in nature; and among them, too, are many melancholy specimens of strange spinal distortion. Like geese ducking under a gateway high enough to admit without stooping a mounted lifeguardsman with
his waving crest, they complain of the entrance to Honour and Power; and nothing will satisfy their towering ambition but to subvert the edifice.
Some able men there are among them, all of whom, as we have said, are either openly against the present government, or with it because they see it blindly co-operating with them to its own destruction along with that of the state. But pray where are we to look for all the enlightenment and wisdom of which we hear so much now-a-days in the rhetoric of the Radicals? What really is the nature of that spirit spoken of as being all impatiently afloat over the land, for a new order of things outwardly commensurate with its inward greatness? It is the spirit, we are told, of the middle ranks. Middle ranks! Between what extremes ? The answer is, we presume, between the labouring classes and the aristocracy. Do you mean by the labouring classes, all persons living by the mere muscular use of their hands, with or without the aid of improved machinery in agriculture and manufactures? If so, then according to your plan of Reform, they are all excluded-or nearly so-from any share of direct political power, and are slaves. Do you mean by the aristocracy, all persons who, speaking generally, may be called gentlemen ? At no former period of the history of Britain have they ever stood so high, as now, on the scale of intellect; never have they enjoyed the blessings of an education at once so ornamental and so useful-classical and scientific-as may be seen in many even of the Whigs, and in nearly all the Tories. The Bill is to strengthen their power-is it? So say some sumphs among themselves, and so say some of the swindlers who would prefer cheating them out of all their privileges to highway robbery, merely to save trouble; but the bolder and honester of the Radical Reformers scorn to hide their hate, and foresee in the Bill the downfall of the gentlemen of England. Not but that there are gentlemen among the Radical Reformers themselves; but to what pernicious courses will not disturbed ambition drive strong minds that have got a twist the wrong way by accidental circumstances, and
chosen, in moody dissatisfaction, to cultivate assiduously and skilfully all the causes from which it springs? Their understandings, and, along with them,their feelings,become thoroughly perverted; and they hate with a bit ter hatred the very class to which they naturally belong, and which, had their better sentiments been allowed to flow along the natural channels, their accomplishments would have graced, and their talents, their virtues, have strengthened and defended, instead of being a reproach and a peril.
We find, then, that by the middle classes, let us say it at once, for it is undeniable, are meant the L.10 and L.20 house-renters! In many places a most estimable class-in villages and moderate-sized towns, in large towns and cities, a class containing many most worthy, and not a few very enlightened persons; but, as a class, destitute of the qualifications essential in the character of those who ought_to_possess the chief power over the Representation in a mighty nation like ours, which stands now on the summit of civilisation, and has reached it by moral and intellectual greatness, placed beyond the sphere in which they move, and operating on materials of which they do not dream the existence. This class absurdly called the middle-with more truth might be called the mean; it is perhaps of all classes the most dependent; more open than any other to corruption, as has been often so strongly insisted on in the Edinburgh Review; of necessity educated just up to the perilous pitch of imperfection; very presumptuous, because very shallow; and proud to believe itself-the People. A more certain way could not be devised to foster all the vices and injure all the virtues of this class, than to put into their hands the prodigious political
power that would be given them by the "Great Measure;" making them lords paramount in the State, over the labour below them, and the light above them-labour which thenceforth would be paralyzed, and light which would shine in vain. Already they are puffed up with the most ludicrous pride by the mere prospect of the Bill; scowl from their shopdoors on all who fairly estimate their character and condition; and believe what they are told by their false flatterers-in the face of their true friends, who are not insensible to their worth, or indifferent to their welfare, always respecting the one and promoting the other—that they, forsooth, are the head and heart of the nation-that they alone can feel and think for its good and glorythat they are foremost in the "march of intellect"-and that in them resides the spirit of the age, demanding the reconstruction of all our old establishments.
But we must conclude our article with a parting malediction on the Ministers, unconnected with Reform. The Chancellor of the Exchequer cannot count his fingers without being perplexed by the puzzling occurrence of his thumbs; yet trusts that the sum total is ten. The omission of such an insignificant item as L.360,000 or so has not to be apologized for, he thinks, but merely acknowledged with a panegyric on his own candour; after his miscalculations had been exposed by the production of papers, which, if they had not been demanded, had remained in concealment. While his friend, the Fructifier, prefers L.700,000 of a deficit to L.500,000 of a surplus; and chuckles, nay, crows over the bankruptcy of the Exchequer. But in our next Number we shall expose the portentous ignorance of these fumbling Financiers.