« AnteriorContinuar »
Glasgow during the last nine months, servatives are imperatively called upon is in the proportion of 382 to 602 for to unite. Recent disclosures of a very the same period in the previous year! startling nature have forced upon us Glasgow, as every one knows, owed the conviction, that the Whigs are its rise and opulence to its connexion worse than weak, and that they canwith the colonies, more especially the not be depended on as steadfast guarWest Indies; and here is the beavi- dians of the crown. There is more in est blow which probably was ever the famous letter written by Mr heard of in the history of commerce, Thomas Young, formerly private struck, through free trade, at the second secretary to Lord Melbourne, than city of Britain. It is good that we meets the eye. We attach no undue should know these things; better if, importance to this epistle—we shall by revolving them, we can turn experi- not stoop so low as to examine the ence to advantage. Let the electors motives and intention of its author. throughout the kingdom, more espe- His own attempted explanation is, it cially in the towns, meditate seriously possible, more damning than the before they are again called on to use treasonable missive itself. We could their political franchise ; let them re- only, were we to exhaust our whole flect on their own diminished prosperi. powers of illustration, repeat what ty, and beware of that hollow liberal- has been already stated in the masism combined with quackery which terly article of the Standard. It is as is the stain and the curse of the age. clear as day, that at the time of the
To this position we have been passing of the Reform Bil, the underbrought by a bad commercial policy, lings of the Whig administration were originated by mean and mercenary cognisant of a hideous project for a men, and most unhappily adopted by violent and bloody revolution, and a minister who became a convert that, to take the mildest point of view, towards the close of a long official they concealed that knowledge from life. We have seen and felt the sys- their masters. Franks were obtained tem as it works; and the only ques. from the Home Office, for the purpose tion now for our consideration is, of suborning the loyalty of at least whether we are to suffer it to endure ? one officer, high in his Majesty's serIf we do so, it is vain to deny that vice, and proposing to him the odious we are on the verge of general ruin. part of a leader in a popular insurrecThere is not a symptom of improve- tion. Whether that letter, written ment. Day by day the cry of distress as it probably was in the fullest conwaxes louder, and yet we hesitate to fidence, ought or ought not to have take the necessary steps for effecting seen the light, especially after the our own emancipation. There is lapse of so many years, is a matter hardly one man in the country—the with which we have no concern. That bailie of Blairgowrie perhaps excepted is a question which is only personal - who can have, or feels, the slightest to Mr Young and his correspondent; confidence in the abilities of Lord John but we have the document, and the Russell. Such a cabinet as this, in whole nation is entitled to inquire into point of political decrepitude and im- its tenor. And never, upon any acbecility, was never yet formed; and it cusation of so grave a nature, was a could not live for an hour save for the more miserable defence preferred. In unseemly dissensions in the Conserva- fact there can be, and there is, no tive camp. These cannot be per- escape from the legitimate conclusion. mitted to last. There is no merit Atthat time a section of the Whigs were in personal devotion when pushed ready, for the sake of carrying their own beyond its proper sphere; and the best scheme, not only to have connived at, service which Sir Robert Peel can but to have lent their whole influence render to his sovereign, is utterly to to a popular outbreak and rising, abjure all pretension of ever returning which might, in all human probability, to power. Surely he can have no bave been subversive of the constituwish to head a reactionary movement, tion of the country. Lord Melbourne or expose himself to the obloqay of might not have known of that letter : recanting the last edition of his views. we go farther, and state our positive
There is another reason why the Con- opinion that he was utterly ignorant
of its existence, because, however we tation, more reckless experiments may have differed from him in politics, upon the stability of our trade and he is a man whose personal honour commerce, and more culpable bidding and loyalty have always been free by ministries for popularity in every from a stain. We believe and are shape. Where is to be the end of such glad in stating it—that he was utterly an agitation-unless, indeed, we were ignorant of the vile treason which was to follow the notable examples of hatching in his own department; but France and Germany, and adopt uniwe shall not extend the same shelter versal suffrage-if, on each occasion of belief to others of his unpatriotic when the country is suffering under party. That treason was meditated the pressure of noxious laws, no mode is plain; and very thankful shall we of relief can be suggested, save through be if the higher order of the Whigs an extension of the Reform Bill ? We shall take the pains, by disavowing should have thought that the success and repudiating the acts of their sub- of the first experiment was not quite ordinates, and by withdrawing from so conspicuous as to invite another of those implicated the unmerited re- the same nature. The impudence of wards of their sedition, to clear them- the Radical faction is really almost selves from the heavy suspicion which incredible. Mr Cobden and his conthis document undoubtedly affixes on federates have got free trade, from the their loyalty. It is a disclosure too effects of which we are presently langrave to be met with a light explana- guishing; and they now propose to retion. The fact of meditated treason, vive our spirits and replenish our purses known to Whigofficials, has transpired, by stocking the House of Commons and we are entitled to know how far with an additional importation of men upwards the rank contagion had of precisely the same caste and opinions spread.
as their own! We suspect that the That letter, apart from its historical funds would scarce be lively if the value, is important at the present country were assured that forty moment, inasmuch as we think that Brights, instead of one, were seated no one can peruse it without feeling in our National Assembly. convinced that, in any struggle for We therefore again implore the power, the Whigs would have no Conservatives to unite without loss of scruple in sacrificing principle to their time, since in their hands alone can interest. They have done so already we have a thorough guarantee for the repeatedly, and their tactics have safety of the crown, the stability of always been to retain or recover office the national churches, and for the by making large concessions to the integrity of the constitution. Let all demands of the Radical or the Irish lukewarmness, all promptings of perparty. We are not without appre- sonal ambition, all latent rancour, and hension that they are, even now, con- all absurd and unreciprocated confidtemplating some move of a similar ence, be given to the winds at once; and nature, to be made during the ensuing let us seriously and diligently apply session of Parliament, for the purpose ourselves to the task of recalling to of retrieving some portion of their lost Britain and her colonies that measure popularity. The Radical party have of prosperity which we possessed beopenly threatened to withdraw their fore evil counsels prevailed, and which, support from the ministry unless some even now, is not beyond our power to increase of the suffrage shall be grant recall. The industrious classes of the ed; and an agitation to that effect community, impoverished and straitwould be particularly palatable to the ened as they have been, have a right free-traders, as it might tend, in some to this service from the high-minded degree, to draw public attention from gentlemen of England. The power the utter failure of their schemes. and the ability are with us, if we only Any movement, in such a direction, testify the disposition; and surely it is would be followed by the most disas- madness to remain at idle feud while trous consequences. A further infusion the enemy are visible at the gate. of the popular element into the House These remarks are not based upon of Commons, would simply lead to mere speculation. We are well asgreater encroachments on the consti- sured that, during the last few months, much progress has been made towards a few years ago, were his most steada thorough fusion of the two sections fast and faithful followers, and that of the Conservative party, upon clear far more through his own deliberate and common grounds. All difficulties acknowledgment of double-dealing, would by this time probably have than from a mere change of opinion been removed, but for the scruples of upon any one point of commercial two or three gentlemen who are sup- policy, however important it might posed to possess the private confidence appear. It may be the misfortune of of Sir Robert Peel, and who have Peel, rather than his fault, that he hitherto identified themselves with cannot estimate the proper value of his fortunes. Now, as it must be plain manly confidence and unshrinkperfectly apparent to any man of ing candour ; that he has invariably common reflection, that the bulk of declined the straight for the crooked the Conservatives never can, under path; and that an excess of ingenuity any circumstances, consent to act -a vast misfortune for a statesmanunder the leadership of Peel ; as he has tempted him to meddle, repeatedly himself has, over and over again, and almost incessantly, with interests publicly stated that no motive or con- far too important to be approached sideration would induce him to return except with extreme deliberation. to power- it is absolutely incompre- These are the considerations which hensible to us how such scruples can must preclude him from being restored exist in the minds of the individuals to his former rank as leader of the to whom we allude, if they really great Conservative party; and we believe in the sincerity of this last notice them now, not as matter of declaration of their leader. No one blame to him, but in explanation of wants him to take office, and he says the general feeling. And we go furthat he will not accept it. So far all ther than this. We say that, in order are agreed. If we believed that any to render the Conservative union enone of these distinguished and honour- during, it will be absolutely necessary able men is convinced that the com- to reconstruct the party upon clear, mercial policy of the last three years avowed, solid, and proclaimed princihas been wise and sound, and that, ples, so that no doubt whatever may with any amount of trial, it can ter- be left as to the course which in future minate otherwise than fatally for the is to be pursued. Instead of that interests of the country, we should shifting and wavering policy which have no right to address them upon a has paralysed our colonies, terrified subject so momentous as this, and our merchants, and depressed the certainly no desire for one moment to money market, we must resolve upon gain their co-operation. But we can a definite plan for the future, which very well distinguish betwixt a feeling shall restore confidence, and secure us, of strong attachment to an individual so far as may be, against the recurwhose talents they have been accustom- rence of similar disasters. We must ed to respect, but whose views they bave also determine whether the present only partially penetrated, and a settled currency laws are to be maintained, or conviction in the soundness of the whether they shall undergo such alterpolicy which it has been his destiny ations as shall prevent them from agto originate. We believe that, hither- gravating the pressure in circumstances to, the former sentiment, and not the of unforeseen difficulty. On all these latter one, must be taken as the true points Sir Robert Peel stands strongly explanation of their conduct — that and unfortunately committed. Even they are unwilling to abandon the since he has been in opposition, he man, although they have lost their has shown no symptoms of the slightfaith in the efficacy of his measures. est relaxation of his last adopted ideas; Now, if this be the case, how can they and it is quite impossible for us to justify themselves for opposing, upon forget that, through his influence, the such slender grounds, the reconstruc- Whigs were enabled to carry that bill tion of the Conservative party? They which is universally acknowledged to must be well aware that Sir Robert be the death-warrant of our West Peel has forfeited for ever the confi- Indian colonies. Under these circumdence of a large majority of those who, stances, the devotion of his few adhe
rents is not only an act of Quixotry, ployed by all the friends of the old but a serious injury to the party which Conservative cause for the promotion has a right to expect their services of union, and the establishment of a thoand their aid; and, however much we roughly good understanding amongst may respect the talents of the gentle- ourselves. Let all former causes of men to whom we have alluded, we offence be cordially forgiven : let us must tell them that the period for a consider what we are to do, and whom definite selection has arrived, and that we are to follow; and, these disposiby standing in the way of Conserva- tions made, let them be adhered to tive reconciliation and union, they with integrity and honour. The Whig are not performing their proper duty faction is utterly effete and incapable either to their country or their Queen. of maintaining its ground. The free
With such financiers as Goulburn traders stand before the nation as deand Herries in the Commons,-with tected charlatans and impostors. There such eminent statesmen as Lords is no enemy to fear, if we only go on Stanley, Lyndhurst, and Aberdeen in boldly and do our duty. But if we the House of Peers, there can be no hesitate and hang back at the present doubt of the strength and the success crisis, and decline to assume a position of the Conservative party if once more which might soon enable us to apply thoroughly united. We have always an effectual remedy to the most pressregarded the unfortunate division as ing disorders of the country, can we one of the most serious disasters that be surprised if the masses, irritated ever befell the country, not only be- and provoked, seeing no one great cause it destroyed the cohesion and party in the state ready to come to severed the councils of a body which, their assistance, should begin to claunder any circumstances, would have mour for organic changes; or if the been strong enough to keep both the colonies, weary of their suffering, and Whigs and the Radicals in check, despairing of sympathy, should ques. but also because it engendered much tion the worth of the bonds which bind apathy and some disgust amongst men them to the mother country? who were the most valuable supporters Thus far we have thought it our of Conservative principles, and who, in duty to speak in all sincerity and consequence, ceased for a time to take plainness. We know well that these any active interest in public affairs. sentiments are far from being confined The unseemly election contests which to ourselves. We feel assured that repeatedly took place in England, be- many of the wisest and best men who tween parties mutually designating ever adorned her Majesty's councils, themselves Protectionists and Peelites, or those of her royal predecessors, are -sometimes terminating in the defeat deeply desirous that the present anoof both, or in the triumph, through malous state of party should be cortheir idle rivalry, of a liberal candi- rected, and unwholesome separation date, who otherwise never could have be superseded by cordial union. This, succeeded-did a great deal to widen we firmly believe, could be effected the breach, and to lessen the mass of without any sacrifice of principle, and the opposition; and we revert with the sooner it is accomplished the better. considerable pride and satisfaction to There is but one topic more to which the fact, that in Scotland no such un- we would fain allude before concluding natural dissension was exhibited, but the present article. The late rebelthat men belonging to every shade of lious outbreaks in Ireland seem, in Conservatism were eager to act in con- certain quarters, to have revived the cert, whenever a candidate appeared. notion of the expediency of a state We can make allowance for some ex endowment of the Roman Catholic asperation on both sides, under such priesthood. We place very little faith very peculiar and novel circumstances; in the sincerity of an announcement but we hope that we have seen the which some time ago was put forth, last of these discreditable and weak- on hierarchical authority, in the public ening contests.
prints, to the effect that, even were Let, then, the short period which is such an endowment to be offered, it left between the present time and the would be peremptorily and indignantly reassembling of Parliament be em- refused. But, sincere or not, that
statement may serve as an answer to mere private crotchet, or a prepared the writer in the last Number of the scheme, to come forth in due seasonQuarterly Review, who supports the we are perfectly satisfied that it will endowment •scheme with an unction be met throughout the country with a which we were certainly not prepared righteous storm of indignation. The to expect. His argument, from first Protestantism of Britain has been its to last, implies the same unhappy strength and its glory; and it was yielding to agitation and terrorism, only when called upon to choose bewhich, when applied to civil matters, tween that sacred principle and the has ended in open rebellion, and hardly less revered one of loyalty, that which, if applied to ecclesiastical our forefathers thought themselves jusaffairs, would infallibly result in the tified in summoning an alien to the total overthrow and annihilation of British throne. What cost us then both the Protestant Church in Ireland. tears and blood is anoperating principle Does he really believe that—to assume now; and if, through the grace of God, no argument of a graver nature-the we have seen order maintained and repeople of Great Britain will be ready, bellion crushed at home, at a period in the present desperate state of their when half of Europe is plunged in the finances, to submit to additional horrors of anarchy, we do not fear the taxation for the purpose of establish- charge of bigotry, if we attribute our ing, in permanent comfort, the true preservation as much to the religious instigators of the disturbances which establishments of the land, as to the have caused us so much anxiety and free institutions which Protestantism pain? Why, if such endowment can has enabled us to maintain. Loyalty be vindicated upon any intelligible is not a thing to be bought : it is a principle, is it to be confined to the spontaneous feeling, unpurchaseable Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland at any price; and if the Irish Catholic alone, and not extended to the dis- clergy have it not now, the most senting denominations throughout the liberal endowment will work no width and breadth of the land ? On change in their political feelings. what plea could the Free and Episco- One of the arguments most compal churches in Scotland, or the Wes- monly urged by those who advocate leyan Methodists of England, be ex- this system of endowment, is, we cluded, if such a proposition were for a think, both erroneous in its asmoment to be seriously maintained ? sumption and weak in its applicaThe reviewer professes to reject, in toto, tion. They maintain that the any idea of the confiscation of exist- Catholic clergy, if in the pay of the ing church property, and therefore state, would have less power over the he must fall back, as his sole resource, peasantry of Ireland than at present. upon government endowment, which Is that altogether a state of matters means simply a new tax on the people which it would be desirable to bring of Great Britain, for the benefit of about? Would it be well to sap the Ireland-a country which is already influence of this moral police? There exempted from her share of our hea- is not a Roman Catholic priest in Ireviest burdens, and annually receiving land at this moment who does not eleemosynary aid to an amount know, that were he to give open which has grievously contributed to countenance to rebellion, he would increase our late monetary pressure. not only be amenable to the laws of It may be that some such project is his country, but, under a firm exein contemplation, for we never have cutive government, would be selected been able to comprehend, without as the earliest example. The some such motive as this, the extraor- situation of Ireland is such, that dinary anxiety exhibited by the present we can never calculate upon the Whig government in carrying through loyalty of a large portion of its poputheir bill for the establishment of Di- lation. Centuries have rolled by, plomatic relations with Rome, at the and still the Celtic race persist in very moment when the last fragment being aliens from our own. We canof temporal power was passing from not tame them, cannot cultivate them, the hands of the Pope. But whether cannot win their hearts by any imathis be so or not, whether this is a ginable sacrifice. They persist in