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WHIGS TOO STERN AND FASTIDIOUS.
from them, they must just go after them and bring them back: And are no more to be excused for leaving them to be corrupted by Demagogues, than they would be for leaving them to be oppressed by tyrants. If a party is to exist at all, therefore, friendly at once to the liberties of the people and the integrity of the monarchy, and holding that liberty is best secured by a monarchical establishment, it is absolutely necessary that it should possess the confidence and attachment of the people; and if it appear at any time to have lost it, the first of all its duties, and the necessary prelude to the discharge of all the rest, is to regain it, by every effort consistent with probity and honour.
Now, it may be true, that the present alienation of the body of the people from the old constitutional champions of their freedom, originated in the excesses and delusion of the people themselves; But it is not less true, that the Whig royalists have increased that alienation by the haughtiness of their deportment-by the marked displeasure with which they have disavowed most of the popular proceedings-and the tone of needless and imprudent distrust and reprobation with which they have treated pretensions that were only partly inadmissible. They have given too much way to the offence which they naturally received from the rudeness and irreverence of the terms in which their grievances were frequently stated; and have felt too proud an indignation when they saw vulgar and turbulent men presume to lay their unpurged hands upon the sacred ark of the constitution. They have disdained too much to be associated with coarse coadjutors, even in the good work of resistance and reformation; and have hated too virulently the demagogues who have inflamed the people, and despised too heartily the people who have yielded to so gross a delusion. All this feeling, however, though it may be natural, is undoubtedly both misplaced and imprudent. The people are, upon the whole, both more moral and more intelligent than they ever were in any former period; and therefore, if they are discontented, we may be sure they have cause for discontent: if they have been deluded, we
272 PARLIAMENTARY REFORM SAFE AND PRACTICABLE.
may be satisfied that there is a mixture of reason in the sophistry by which they have been perverted. All their demands may not be reasonable: and with many, which may be just in principle, it may, as yet, be impracticable to comply. But all are not in either of these predicaments; though we can only now afford to make particular mention of one; and one, we are concerned to say, on which, though of the greatest possible importance, the people have of late found but few abettors among the old friends of the constitution, we mean that of a Reform in the representation. Upon this point, we have spoken largely on former occasions; and have only to add that, though we can neither approve of such a reform as some very popular persons have suggested, nor bring ourselves to believe that any reform would accomplish all the objects that have been held out by its most zealous advocates, we have always been of opinion that a large and liberal reform should be granted. The reasons of policy which have led us to this conviction, we have stated on former occasions. But the chief and the leading reasons for supporting the proposal at present is, that the people are zealous for its adoption; and are entitled to this gratification at the hands of their representatives. We laugh at the idea of there being any danger in disfranchising the whole mass of rotten and decayed boroughs, or communicating the elective franchise to a great number of respectable citizens: And as to the supposed danger of the mere example of yielding to the desires of the people, we can only say, that we are far more strongly impressed with the danger of thwarting them. The people have far more wealth and far more intelligence now, than they had in former times; and therefore they ought to have, and they must have, more political power. The danger is not in yielding to this swell, but in endeavouring to resist it. If properly watched and managed, it will only bear the vessel of the state more proudly and steadily along;-if neglected, or rashly opposed, it will dash her on the rocks and shoals of a sanguinary revolution.
We, in short, are for the monarchy and the aristocracy
AUTHORITY MUST NOW HAVE AID OF AFFECTION. 273
of England, as the only sure supports of a permanent and regulated freedom: But we do not see how either is now to be preserved, except by surrounding them with the affection of the people. The admirers of arbitrary power, blind to the great lesson which all Europe is now holding out to them, have attempted to dispense with this protection; and the demagogues have taken advantage of their folly to excite the people to withdraw it altogether. The true friends of the constitution must now bring it back; and must reconcile the people to the old monarchy and the old Parliament of their land, by restraining the prerogative within its legitimate bounds, and bringing back Parliament to its natural habits of sympathy and concord with its constituents. The people, therefore, though it may be deluded, must be reclaimed by gentleness, and treated with respect and indulgence. All indications, and all feelings of jealousy or contempt, must be abjured. Whatever is to be granted, should be granted with cordial alacrity; and all denials should be softened with words and with acts of kindness. The wounds that are curable, should be cured; those that have festered more deeply should de cleansed and anointed; and, into such as it may be impossible to close, the patient should be allowed to pour any innocent balsam, in the virtues of which he believes. The irritable state of the body politic will admit of no other treatment.-Incisions and cauteries would infallibly bring on convulsions and insanity.
We had much more to say; but we must close here: Nor indeed could any warning avail those who are not aware already. He must have gazed with idle eyes on the recent course of events, both at home and abroad, who does not see that no government can now subsist long in England, that is not bottomed in the affection of the great body of the people; and who does not see, still more clearly, that the party of the people is every day gaining strength, from the want of judgment and of feeling in those who have defied and insulted it, and from the coldness and alienation of those who used to be their patrons and defenders. If something is not done to
conciliate, these heartburnings must break out into deadly strife; and impartial history will assign to each of the parties their share of the great guilt that will be incurred. The first and the greatest outrages will probably proceed from the people themselves; but a deeper curse will fall on the corrupt and supercilious government that provoked them: Nor will they be held blameless, who, when they might have repressed or moderated the popular impulse, by attempting to direct it, chose rather to take counsel of their pride, and to stand by, and see the constitution torn to pieces, because they could not approve entirely of either of the combatants!
The History of Ireland. By JOHN O'DRISCOL. 8vo. pp. 815. London: 1827.*
In two vols.
A GOOD History of Ireland is still a desideratum in our literature; - and would not only be interesting, we think, but invaluable. There are accessible materials in abundance for such a history; and the task of arranging them really seems no less inviting than important. It abounds with striking events, and with strange revolutions and turns of fortune-brought on, sometimes by the of enterprising men, but more frequently agency by the silent progress of time, unwatched and unsuspected, alike by those who were to suffer, and those who were to gain by the result. In this respect, as well as in many others, it is as full of instruction as of interest, -and to the people of this country especially, and of this age, it holds out lessons far more precious, far more forcible, and far more immediately applicable, than all that is elsewhere recorded in the annals of mankind. It
*It may be thought that this should rather have been brought in under the title of History: But the truth is, that I have now omitted all that is properly historical, and retained only what relates to the necessity of maintaining the legislative and incorporating union of the two countries; a topic that is purely political; and falls, I think, correctly enough under the title of General Politics, since it is at this day of still more absorbing interest than when these observations were first published in 1827. If at that time I thought a Separation, or a dissolution of the union, (for they are the same thing,) a measure not to be contemplated but with horror, it may be supposed that I should not look more charitably on the proposition, now that Catholic emancipation and Parliamentary reform have taken away some, at least, of the motives or apologies of those by whom it was then maintained. The example of Scotland, I still think, is well put for the argument: And among the many who must now consider this question, it may be gratifying to some to see upon what grounds, and how decidedly, an opinion was then formed upon it, by one certainly not too much disposed to think favourably of the conduct or the pretensions of England.