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As the Diary to which we referred at the commencement of this article must be an object of some curiosity, we extract the editor's record of what he knows about it :
I called on her one day, and at an early hour, by her desire; when she showed me a heap of what are termed pocket-books, and said she was sorely embarrassed on a point, upon which she condescended to say she would take my advice. « You see in that collection," she continued, “ a diary of mine of more than fifty years of my life: I have scarcely omitted any thing which occurred to me during the time I have mentioned; my books contain the conversation of every person of almost every class with whom I have held intercourse; my remarks on what was said ; downright facts, and scandalous on dits ; personal portraits, and anecdotes of the characters concerned ; criticisms on the publications and authors of the day, &c. Now I am approaching the grave, and agitated by doubts as to what I shall do-whether burn my manuscripts, or leave them to futurity! Thus far, my decision is to destroy my papers ; shall I, or shall I not?”
• I took the freedom of saying, “ By no means do an act which done cannot be amended; keep your papers safe from prying eyes ; and, at last, trust them to the discretion of survivors.” Her answer was, that, at least for the present, they were rescued from the flames; and so saying, she replaced the numerous volumes in her cabinet, I did not not see the inside of one of them, and, of course, can say nothing from my own knowledge of the contents; but cannot doubt that they were, in all respects, most interesting. I am led to think this from recollecting the character of her mind ; the eagerness with which she sought the society of the distinguished in her day; the elevated circles in which she was privileged to move; the closeness of observation with which she viewed life and manners, and her wondrous strength of memory. To wish that the reading world should be put in possession of all she had gathered might be extravagant; but undoubtedly many portions of her Diaries would have admitted of publication, and been perused with avidity.”—p. 45.
In this we very much agree, and we trust the possessor of the manuscript may adopt the suggestion thus offered.
Johnson's • lively lady' had by nature a very quick perception ; she had seen much of the world; had lived familiarly with some of the greatest men the world has ever produced; and, old as she was, her observations on passing events are now and then rather sharp. In proof of this, we shall conclude by quoting the following hints on the first slight attack of the Reform mania, in 1819, which we think will appear to our readers equally curious
and just :
• I thought London was to have run mad last week; but the fever of Reform is not yet hot enough. You will see that the great men
who think they are making Hunt and Co. their tools to pull down one set of ministers, and put up another set which they can command, will themselves at length be used as tools by the multitude, who are honest in the a vowal of their meaning, however absurd. They mean, like the wise men of Gotham, to pull the pins out of London-bridge, and oil them. And I remember wondering, when a baby, why that was thought so very foolish a project; for I doubted not but they wanted something, as we say, to be done to them! Indeed, a later adventure showed me how cautiously a work of reformation must be conducted: an old wall we wished to repair, down in Denbighshire, was all overgrown with ivy: "Cut it away,” said we; “ But,” replied an experienced workman, "it has grasped the stones it loosened at the beginning; and if we cut it away, the whole will drop to pieces: the ivy now helps to support that wall to which it once clung for support itself.” So, I recollected the more serious allegory of the corn and tares, and let the business rest.'— pp. 141, 142. And again :
* With regard to the conspicuous miseries of the land we live in, let us thank God that the times we see are not like the times we read of. A Regent there, in history I mean, would take advantage of the mob's delusion, cajole the populace, rival Mr. Hunt; suffer him, however, and his adherents to destroy the Peers and Commons as an intermediate state ; pronounce against their corruption, declare his resolution to reign in the hearts of his beloved people; take, with their assistance, money from the aristocracy of the realm, and rule, without a parliament, despotic! The bulk of mankind always like that form of government best; the mub can suffer one man's sway willingly; they hate that of five hundred, half of them uninformed as themselves, and risen from the ranks.'-pp. 146, 147.
A year, nay two months, ago his majesty's ministers would have thought these the reveries of a doating old woman; suspect they are now very much of Mrs. Piozzi's opinion :-our readers, at least, will have read these latter extracts with a painful conviction of their truth, and will believe that the world is not a worse school of politics than an hermitage.
ART. XIV.-The Present and Last Parliaments. Containing
Authentic Results of the Various Polls. Ridgway. London, 1833. HE
and read in every journal is, that the Reform Bill has disappointed everybody. Yet we believe that the truth is, that the Reform Bill has disappointed nobody. Sure we are it has not disappointed us—the new parliament is composed and is working exactly as all the leaders of the Conservative party, and as we
humble scheme ;
humble followers in that honourable train--predicted ; and the avowed partisans of the Bill, who so loudly complain that they have been disappointed, make the slight mistake of confounding their promises with their purposes. It has certainly flagrantly contradicted all their prognostics-it has not produced a parliament enjoying the respect, or ministering to the wants of the people ; but we are satisfied that no thinking man amongst them ever thought that it would. The Whigs or Ministerialists, with purblind selfishness, believed that it would enable them to plunder the Tories of political power, and to continue themselves in office for a session or two-and they have not been disappointed; the longer-sighted Radicals saw that, by playing the temporary game of the Whigs, they were laying the foundations of their own not distant supremacy, and that the first step towards a complete democratical revolution was, to have a House of Commons which should bring itself into contempt, and all old and constituted authorities into odium and peril-and have they been disappointed ?
We think it highly important to establish this distinction between the disappointment of predictions and the disappointment of expectations, because we foresee that the general murmurs which are already heard as to the failure of the Bill will soon become a storm of indignation; and in the awful crisis which that storm must produce, it may be essential to the very existence of civilized society in this land, to discriminate between the principle of the Bill, which will have been the real cause of our ruin, and those clumsy, inconsistent, and absurd details, on which the radical mob will be inclined to lay the whole blame, and in the amendment—that is, the democratic extension of which, they will affect to see the only remedy. The Bill has disappointed nobody -it has worked, as the ministers calculated, a Whig predominance; and is now working, as the Tories feared and as the Radicals hoped, an ultimate but certain revolution.
Let us now endeavour to trace the steps by which these calculations, these fears, and these hopes have been, or are in process of being, verified.
The ministers, under the pretence of advancing the public interests, devised in secrecy and fraud the exaltation of their own party :- The better representation of the people in parliament' was their pretence; the transfer of power from the Tories to the Whigs was their real object. The destruction of all nomination boroughs was their profession—the overthrow of Tory nomination, and the maintenance and extension of Whig nomination their intention! But such a design was too monstrous to be openly avowed-some show of fairness and justice was necessary to the success of their scheme; the commonest swindler that attempts to defraud a tradesman assumes a decent appearance he arrives in a respectable equipage, and offers vouchers for his character-he talks liberally and plausibly-affects a careless indifference to set sus. picion asleep, and is even sometimes forward to pay ready money for a few trifling articles, in order to obtain credit for the larger plunder which he meditates. So the ministers drew a certain line and produced a certain standard, by the application of which each case would be, they asserted, fairly, impartially, and, as it
were, by lot decided; but the lot was as fair and impartial as the pea-andthimble at a country fair. The honest line of their first bill was so drawn, and their equitable standard so applied, that, while the county towns of Appleby, Buckingham, Bodmin, Cockermouth, Huntingdon, Guildford, and Dorchester, were to be wholly or partially disfranchised; my Lord Radnor's borough of Downton--my Lord Lansdowne's Calne—the Duke of Devon's Knaresborough-the Duke of Norfolk's Horsham and Arundel-Lord Carlisle's Morpeth -the Duke of Bedford's Tavistock—and Lord Fitzwilliam's Malton and Peterborough-were to be wholly or partially preserved. We beg of our readers to keep these names in their minds, and to recollect also that Lords Lansdowne and Carlisle were cabinet ministers--that Lord John Russell, the proposer of the Bill, is the son of the Duke of Bedford—that the Duke of Devonshire was Lord Chamberlain—and that the proprietors of Horsham and Arundel, and Downton, and Malton, and Peterborough, were close allies and vehement supporters of the ministry. This was too bad—the Bill was rejected in the House of Lords; and the ministers, though they had forced it, with all its atrocities, through the House of Commons, were obliged, in a new Bill, to confess either their ignorance or their artifice, and to adopt a different honest line and a new impartial standard.
Now let us see how the second chance of the pea-and-thimble was to operate. · Downton was given up; but, lest that should look like a concession to justice, we were told that it was so at the private request of Lord Radnor; and to balance it, the Tory borough of St. Germains was, without any other reason or motive, also disfranchised. Calne too, and Horsham, lost one member; and there ended, we believe, the Whig sacrifices of the second bill: but if one Cabinet Minister lost one member in Calne, another gained a member in Morpeth, to which the new standard adjudged two; and Westbury, from which, in the interval, a Tory had been ejected and a Whig substituted, was reinvested with its entire franchise; and, in tine, not to trouble our readers with too much detail, the number of Whig Nominations was, in the second and amended Bill, increased, and .VOL. XLIX. NO. XCVII.
of Tory Nominations still further decreased. Nominations did we say? oh, no! the Whigs assured us that no Nominations would survive--many places formerly under Whig, and a few under Tory influence, would, they confessed, still return members, but the new constituency, they averred, was so arranged, that nothing like either Whig or Tory Nomination could exist; and this Bill, which contradicted and stultified, in so many flagrant instances, the Bill which had so lately passed by such overwhelming majorities, was now passed by majorities still more enormous, and, as we shall see, equally infallible. But again, this Bill too was lost: and the ministers who had vouched, and the House of Commons which had voted, that the two former standards were fair and just, now discovered that they were neither; and a third and different standard was therefore proposed, which, after so much doubt and contradiction, was to be, after all, the real Simon Pure.
The Bill, founded on this new, and at last pure, standard, passed ; and we shall now proceed to show, by the unerring test of the elections, how truly it has executed its promised purpose of extinguishing Whig Nomination. Early in the session Mr. Hume moved for some returns to show the practical operation of the Reform Act, but they do not appear to have been yet made, though we should have supposed that one week would have been sufficient to collect them, for, as we understood his motion, the materials were all ready, and only required being copied out; butas we have not these more exact materials-we must content ourselves with the information supplied by the little volume whose title stands at the head of this article, and which furnishes us with the account of what places were not contested, and of the actual polls at all the contests which occurred. With this guide, for want of a better, we must examine the composition of the new House of Commons.
It is not easy to define exactly the degree of influence that may amount to Nomination ; but at least it will be admitted, that in such a state of excitement as existed at the late general election, and with new constituencies created in every town in the empire, the return, without contest, of the relations or connexions of the great man, who formerly nominated for the borough, may be taken as prima facie evidence that his influence has not been much impaired; so again, where the contest between the old and the new interest has been decided in favour of the former by a large and irresistible majority. There are 187 boroughs in England, (exclusive of the two universities): of these 140 were contested, and in 47 there was no oppositionthe proportion therefore of contested to uncontested places was three to one. Now, let us examine by this proportion the places