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“That doom heaven gives its favorites,
• THE SWAN SONG,
Grieve not that I die young.--Is it not well
Let me depart!
I would depart.
Let me depart !'-pp. 96, 97.
Art. VII. Stanley or Peel ! Who shall lead us ? An Address to Con
seroatives. By a Conservative Member. London: Whittaker.
WHAT have the Whigs done? What have they failed to do? These are very natural questions at a moment like
But it is not our intention just now to attempt an answer to them. To state our judgment on those points fully and discriminately would require some space, and a stronger blending, perhaps, of the language of complaint with the language of approval, than may be strictly expedient in the existing posture of affairs. No liberal politician can need be told that it is in the nature of his principles to expand with circumstances. We do not desert those principles, but are acting in the strictest accordance with them, when we insist on their wider and bolder application, according to the growing intelligence, wealth, and moral power of the people. The liberalism of the parliaments assembled in 1640 and in 1688, was yood in its time. But we are desirous it should be distinctly
understood, that in expressing our admiration of the efforts made by the patriotic men of those times, we are far from meaning to justify the policy of those timid and halting statesmen who seem disposed to make the liberalism of the past their sole guage as to the extent to which such principles should be carried in the present. The true language of such principles is --diffuse the elements of liberty, diffuse them increasingly, largely, to the full extent in which the people are capable of bearing them. That the advocates of these principles in high places have been beset for some time past with formidable difficulties is admitted; but that many in their number, and some from whom better things were to have been expected, have been much wanting in the bold and onward spirit so consistent with their professed principles, is a point on which we can have no doubt. The measure, however, in which such persons have been at fault, has no necessary place in our present argument. It is the historical aspect of the great struggle between the liberal and the illiberal that we wish to make prominent. We wish the great liberal party, both in the past time and the present, to be viewed, not in this or that particular section of it, but broadly and generally; and the conclusion we mean to establish is that the men opposed to that party, or indifferent to its fate, are either the deliberate enemies of English liberty, or men who know not as they ought whence that liberty came. The history of liberalism, and the history of English liberty, are identical. The latter is the pure immediate offspring of the former; and the enemy of liberalism, on the broad basis, is, whether aware of it or not, the enemy of English liberty, on the same scale. If we must be told by such persons, that they are the friends of all our existing liberties, but opposed generally to the party who have unquestionably given them existence; we must be allowed to say that having examined the sort of reasoning by which this class of politicians contrive to reconcile themselves to their course, we have found it wanting; and that we mean, as the effect of this article, to convict the parties who indulge in such idle talk, of gross inconsistency, and of deep political ingratitude.
Two sets of political principles have divided our nation into two great parties. This strong line of demarcation, with a weight preponderating, sometimes on the one side and sometimes on the other, has come down with the stream of our history, for now somewhat more than two hundred years. Time, accordingly, has been afforded to ascertain the natural effect of the two systems, on the men embracing them, and on the community. Supposing the two systems to have continued in substance the same, which we think we shall be able to demonstrate before we conclude, there ought not to be room for much hesitation, on
the part of any intelligent and honest man, as to the side which he should choose in the great dispute between the Whig and the Tory. The experiment in regard to the two systems has been fully made. Space has been given that men might know them by their fruits. Enough, as we think, has happened, to render it certain, that as these systems vary in the relative strength of their adherents, we verge toward liberty or slavery-rise to the position of the great, or sink toward the level of the meanest. We do not make this assertion unadvisedly. We mean to demonstrate its truth from facts-facts which accumulate at every step in our history, until their weight and multitude become overwhelming
I. But what is Toryism?
Doubtless it is a matter not always easy to define. It can change its demeanor, lower its tone, and disguise itself under soft and harmless names, as occasion may demand. It is not too much to say, that there is a consciousness in it that scrutiny, in regard to any pretension founded upon what it is in itself, will not do. When seen as it is, it must be loathed by any people possessing only moderate intelligence, and the smallest passion for liberty. It rests, accordingly, not upon itself, but upon what is adventitious to itself, and moves abroad amidst a world of false appearances. Its great trust is in its policy, not in its principles. Its views in regard to popular perception and popular feeling, do not admit of free exposure, and they are reserved accordingly, as a kind of freemasonry, for the ears of the initiated. Solon founded his claim to the gratitude of the Athenians, on the good laws which he gave them, and made his boast, that his code was so manifestly just, every
virtuous citizen must count obedience a privilege. Toryism is not that—it is anything but that. It has no confidence in popular intelligence or virtue, and is disposed to expect more from the ignorance than from the knowledge of the people. It aims at power and emolument; but it would obtain these through the court favor of the few, as the result of the brute passiveness of the
many. It looks upon offices as made for men, rather than upon men as to be fitted for offices. It courts popular favor so long as it may be obtained after the old feudal fashion ; but advancement by popular suffrage, on the ground of personal merit, is felt as a social degradation—as something beneath the dignity of a gentleman. Its concern is not to establish good laws, but to perpetuate a submissive community. It would be strong, not in the intelligence of the people, but in their abject
If it yields to a pressure from without in such matters, it is always late, reluctantly, and with a bad grace-in resentment more than from principle. If it forbears and fosters, it is in the spirit of a despot, who knows that there is no wisdom in
the policy which cuts down the tree to get at the fruit. It thus inverts the just ordinance of heaven, by accounting the nation as made for its rulers, and not the rulers as made for the nation. It has its shades of difference, no doubt, in different men, from its more rabid forms, in which we see it ripe for every excess, to the more moderate, in which it becomes blended with elements the opposite of its own. But in the main, its nature is as above described; and the great body of its adherents have not only always acted, to the extent of their power, in accordance with its spirit, but, as we fear, would so act again to-morrow, if in circumstances to admit of their doing so. Toryism may dissemble, it does not change. It may embrace many, at particular junctures, who do not imbibe its spirit to the full, but these are the exception and not the rule--an inconsiderate remnant, to be cast off without scruple, if the palmy days of this party should again return. We scarcely need add, that Whigs and Tories have this in common, that they profess to uphold the monarchy and the constitution. But with the one, the leaning is, as we have seen, toward arbitrary power; with the other, toward popular liberty; and the institutes which are to the Tory too much as an end, are of value with the Whig only as means to an endthat end being the public advancement. Hence the Tory party has always rested itself mainly on the strength of the landed interest, and has looked with jealousy on the order of society, and the passion for liberty, commonly generated in cities. Thus the tendency of the one is to keep things as they are, of the other to effect their improvement. This timid clinging to things as they have been, is adapted, in general, to feeble and passive intellects. The opposite system is commonly based on larger views, animated with a higher courage, and carries with it the fresher impulses of humanity and hope.
II. It will appear, then, that we regard Toryism, in its main principles and tendencies, as an inversion of the intelligent, the just, and the humane in social policy; and the first count in our indictment against it is, that throughout our history it has always betrayed a disposition towards oppression, in proportion to its power.
The principles which became known by the names of Whiggism and Toryism in the age of Charles the Second, were the same in substance with those which separated the parliamentarians and royalists from each other in the time of Charles the First. During the reign of the latter prince, the space preceding the meeting of the Long Parliament in 1641, especially the interval from 1629, was one of marked Tory ascendency, and, in common with all such periods in our history, was disgraced by some of the grossest forms of oppression. The king imposed taxes on his own authority, under the name of loans,
and punished men more severely for refusing to pay such arbitrary exactions, than the law would have done for refusing to pay taxes levied by due authority of parliament. By court influence, an opinion was obtained from the judges which swept away at a stroke the whole body of statutes designed to give security to the persons of Englishmen, the bench being made to declare, that the said statutes might be observed or dispensed with, on the part of the king and his council, at their pleasure. The power to imprison indefinitely, was left at the disposal of the government, to be exercised in regard to any such persons, and upon any such grounds, as should appear to them expedient! In the train of these proceedings came the various illegal and oppressive methods of raising money--as the compelling of certain classes to make their eldest sons knights, purely that they might be obliged to pay the fee exacted on such occasions; the revival of the obsolete forest laws, for the purpose of extorting heavy and unjust fines from a large class of landholders; the granting of monopolies, by which almost every branch of trade was subject to permanent injury, that it might be converted into a source of irregular and immediate profit to the government; the issuing of royal proclamations, on all kinds of subjects, which were made to carry with them the force of statutes ; the blow directed against the very existence of parliaments, in the matter of ship-money; the prosecutions in the courts of Star Chamber and High Commission, the one conducting itself as a sort of inquisition in the statethe other acting too much in the manner of the Holy Office in relation to the Church, crushing all freedom of worship, depriving many of the most excellent of the clergy of their livings, and awarding to others hopeless imprisonment, ruinous fines, and almost every kind of torture short of death, such as exposure in the pillory, cutting off the ears, and burning the forehead and the cheeks with hot irons! In Scotland, too, the case of Lord Balmerino, and the manner in which the new Book of Common Prayer was attempted to be imposed upon the people, are sufficient to show that in that kingdom Charles deemed his own will the only law—and that he could exercise that will in a manner as contrary to humanity as to wisdom.
Now how did the good Tory politicians of those times relish these proceedings, which virtually put all law in abeyance, set up a single will in its place, and menaced the utter extinction of English liberty in all ages to come? On this question we have the answer of one of the most honest of historians, who reports to us in this respect what he had himself seen and heard. The serious and just men of England,' says our authority, 'who were no way interested in the emolument of 'these oppressions, could not but entertain sad presages of