Page images
PDF
EPUB

The proper portion of this influence knowledge, wisdom, and virtue of the can only be obtained by great powers, nation, and whether it shall do this and more especially by powerful ora or not, depends mainly on its leaders. tory; it cannot be given by office or These can make it at their pleasure a authority; a party cannot bestow it, source of national error, delusion, and and a party cannot divide it among mischief. As the influence of the them; it must belong to the indivi- leader depends chiefly on his own dual, and the individual must acquire powers, and his exercise of them, if it by his talents and exertions; inte- his eloquence be not allied with very grity, knowledge, and wisdom, will great political ability and integrity, he not gain it without eloquence. The will never make much impression on Opposition could make Mr Tierney that part of the community which deits leader in the House of Commons, cides between parties. He may marbut it could not give him this influ« shal around him the lower classes, ence. Mr Canning derives his influ- and the shallow and wicked portion ence, not from his ministerial or paré of the middling and upper ones, he liamentary office, not from any supe- may make his party mighty for evil, riority over his colleagues in know he may convulse the empire to its ledge and wisdom, but from his elo- centre, and still he will only lead those quence. A party, whether it forms who follow him to what parties ever the Ministry or the Opposition, must seek to avoid. It is idle to say that prosper even more by its words than creeds govern party leaders. The its deeds. However wise the conduct creed of the present Whigs, as Burke of a Ministry may be, it will be scarce incontrovertibly proved, is directly ly possible for it to stand, if it be opposed to the Whiggism of 1688. overpowered by the Opposition in ora The Toryism which flourished forty tory. The individuals who plead the or fifty years since has vanished from cause, hold in their hands the fortunes the land, and that which was then of parties. A parliamentary leader Whiggism is now Toryism; in truth, may be unprincipled, he may be gross our present Tories have embraced no ly ignorant and imbecile as a states small portion of that new Whiggism man, and yet he may by eloquence which that genuine Whig Burke so alone control half the nation ; he may loudly reprobated. Fox embraced a be virtuous, he may be an accom new creed when he separated from plished minister, and yet he may, from Burke, yet he continued to call himthe want of eloquence, be unable to self a Whig; the Ministers hold opobtain any but the most inadequate posite opinions on more than one ima portion of interest with Parliament portant question, yet they are all calland the country:

ed Tories. Creeds are but words, the It is necessarily of the first import- meaning of which party men change ance, both to his party and his coun at pleasure ; they are the tools of such try, that the mighty influence of an men, but not the guides. eloquent parliamentary leader should Burke and Fox at different periods be properly employed; and, of course, led the Whigs in the House of Comit is of the first importance that he mons, and the different consequences should be a finished statesman in ta which resulted from the difference in lents and acquirements, and a man of character and conduct between the two the most incorruptible and chivalrous leaders, will illustrate the truth of our honour. If the House of Commons observations. We will look, in the ought to represent the feelings and first place, at the consequences to the wishes of the country, it ought always country. to be able to give to the country cor Burke raised the character, capaci. rect feelings and wishes. Things are ty, qualifications, and power of the in a bad state when the House and House of Commons, in a wonderful the country are at variance, but they degree. By arguing questions upon are in a ruinous one when the latter their merits, and by addressing himis the guide, and the former is the self solely to the intelligence, reason, follower. That which is the centre and virtue of the State, he gave the of information and discussion, ought most exalted tone to the debates. He ever to be the leader of public feelings filled the House with knowledge of and wishes. The House ought ever the interests of the nation, and the to stand at the head of the ability, science of government with intellect

and wisdom. He rendered it impose was the first to organize the lower ore sible for any but men of great powers ders into a gigantic faction-into a and acquirements, to obtain influence disaffected and turbulent faction, and within it, and he made it what it to place the Opposition at their head. ought ever to be, a proper political This multiplied demagogues in Parschool and guide for the country. Byliament as it multiplied them out of scrupulously avoiding to address the it; it rendered the House of Commultitude, and by steadily resisting mons, among other things, the teachevery effort to bring the multitude er and protector of the vilest offend. into the political arena, he kept from ers. If the traitor needed words, he his party the temptation to become could find them in the debates ; if he demagogues, led a powerful Opposie needed a model, he had only to look tion without generating disaffection, at the conduct of the Opposition memand left to Parliament no favour to bers; if he needed defenders, the whole court but that of the knowing and Opposition was at his nod. The Op. honest part of the community. position and the populace stimulated

Fox, assuming that he only became each other reciprocally, until they left the uncontrolled leader of the Whigs scarcely anything undone that could when he separated from Burke, did injure the empire. the reverse of this; what his prede For many years, one of the great cessor had gained for the House of parties of the House of Commons Commons, he dissipated. He argued publicly protected the blasphemer and questions, not with reference to their the traitor-for many years it stremerits, but with reference to the nuously laboured to screen from the wretched tenets of revolutionism. laws those who were leading the mass With bim, it was the alteration, not of the people to infidelity and rebelthe preservation, of the Constitution lion-for many years it laboriously dethe practice of the new doctrines offended the revolutionary crimes of the liberty, and not the good of the na- rabble-for many years the members tion. To make way for these doc- of this party mixed with the ignorant trines, he drove public interests and and infuriated populace at public true principles of government out of meetings, to deal out to it the most Parliament. In Parliament, as well as inflammatory and revolting misrepreout of it, he was the demagogue ap- sentations and slanders-for many pealing to the ignorance and passions years this party indirectly carried on of the lower orders, against the know- a bitter war against religion, morals, ledge and reason of the upper ones. loyalty, and order. What this conHe thus lowered the tone of the de- duct in a mighty portion of the House bates, until the most ignorant, frothy, of Commons was calculated to proweak, and wicked speakers, were ena- duce, it did produce; we need not bled to shine in them; and be thus specify the products; they are too enabled such politicians as Burdett to deeply engraven on the remembrance form parties in the House, and to be- of the country. Upon Fox all this come to a certain extent leaders in it. must be charged; those who have so. He rendered it one of the leading efficiently worked the system since his sources of error, delusion, turbulence, death,

revere him as their parent. and disaffection to the country.

If Fox had never existed, and if The discussion of public affairs Burke had remained at the head of ought always, if possible, to be con- the Opposition, any change that the fined to the middle and upper classes French Revolution might have proof society; the lower orders can only duced in the political feeling of this take a part in it to produce very mighty country, would have endured only for evils. ' If an Opposition address itself a moment. The union of the two to the multitude, it can scarcely fail great parties would have effectually of rendering the mass of the people prevented any revolutionary faction disaffected and turbulent. Previously from taking permanent root in the nato the days of Fox, the leading men of tion. The tremendous dangers through all sides generally scorned to speak to, which we have passed would not have or have any connexion with, the pos visited us. The Opposition would not pulace. If the lower orders came into have been now solemnly pledged to the political field, all parties common- make vital changes in the constitution ly united to drive them out of it. Fox and the feelings of society; the for

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

midable literary faction which is now rity, their grand objects are legitimate so laboriously at work to destroy our fame, a glorious name in history—a whole system, religious and political, splendid reputation with posterity. would have been unknown, or it would Now, how is the case at present? if only have existed to be scorned. Fox's name were not eternally repeat

We will now examine how the ed by a party from interested motives Whigs prospered as a party under the if this party did not eternally chant different leaders.

his praise to preserve itself from inBurke found the Whigs feeble, dis- famy—he would be even now either united, devoid of talent, and with very forgotten, or only remembered to be little of reputation, and he made them compassionated by the few, and cona body of able, patriotic statesmen; demned by the many. While this is he rendered thein powerful and ho- the case with Fox, Burke, although nourable. Fox took them in this state, no party has an interest in protecting and he converted them into a party of his fame, and almost all have an intefactious fanatics; he stripped them of rest in injuring it, is already, in the ability and character, covered them eyes of the independent part of the with the scorn of the intelligence and nation, taking his place among the honour of the country, cemented them most illustrious of our departed statesand the revolutionary rabble into one, men. When the interests, passions, and led them to disgrace and party and prejudices of the present generaruin. Burke overthrew the Toryism tion shall have passed away, the most of his day, and harmonised Whiggism dazzling blaze of glory that ambition with the reason, right feeling, and in- could sigh for, will encircle the grave terests of the nation. His creed, as we of Burke, while Fox will only be rehave already said, was in several points membered as a man who employed higher Toryism than that which now great powers in the most injurious, exists; the upper classes were rapidly and the least excusable, manner. conforming themselves to it, and if We have been led into these obserthe Whigs had adhered to him, he vations by a wish to see some change, would have given to them office which not in the construction, but in certain they would in all probability have very important parts of the conduct, held at this moment. Fox, instead of of the House of Commons. For many binding the Tories to their falling years the Opposition has discussed creed, by attaching himself to the one every great question, not with reference that Burke had perfected, surrendered to the constitution, to English liberty, to them the latter, which they imme- to the interests of the empire, to the diately embraced ; and he then adopte interests of Europe, to the balance of ed the most revolting one in the eyes power, to the good of mankind; but of the influential part of the nation, with reference to the wretched tenets that could have been devised; he thus of Liberalism-of Jacobinism. No positively incapacitated the Whigs for matter how a measure harnionized acquiring public confidence and hold with the constitution, or how impeing the reins of government. If the riously it was called for by public inWhigs are now helpless, disgraced, terests, if it militated against the creed suspected, and despised—if they do and conduct of foreign revolutionists, not possess sufficient ability among and the preposterous doctrines of moa. them to form a Ministry—if they hold dern Whiggism, it was fiercely. dea creed which those who virtually nounced. A set of principles have been choose and dissolve Ministries abhor fabricated which are demonstrably and if they have not the least hope of false, and which have ten thousand being ever able to reach office as a se times been proved to be false—by these parate independent party, they must everything is to be measured-and to ascribe it to the circumstance that they these, England and the whole world forsook Burke and followed Fox. are to be sacrificed. “Your measure is

The different consequences which hostile to changes which we intend to the different conduct of the two lead- make in the constitution and the feelers produced to themselves, must not ings of the country—it clashes with be overlooked. We willingly believe the views of the enlightened constituthat such men think but little of emo- tionalists of Europe—it is discordant lument, and that whatever value they with the abstract rights of man-it may set on power, rank, and popula- comes in collision with the wrangling

tenets of political economists; there- like, or, at the best, with indifference. fore, a fig for patriotism, wisdom, ex- Everything that can implant good pediency, national interests, and the principles and check licentiousness of good of the world—we will oppose it !” manners, is zealously attacked ; and -Such is, virtually, the language of the most odious vices, the most disOpposition.

gusting immoralities, are openly deFor many years a very large portion fended. We need not say what all this of the House of Commons has been will produce in the end, if it be contiproclaiming almost every component nued. part of the constitution to be in the There is a remedy. Let those, who most imperfect and corrupt state- hold in their hands the destinies of the to be in a state which produced the nation, at the approaching Election exmost grievous public evils. For many clude from the House of Commons years a very large portion of the House all the fanatics and mountebanks. Let of Commons has been lavishing the the mob-sycophant-the political liar most fulsome panegyrics on both Eng- the man who is eternally crying up lishmen and foreigners, who were no other countries, and slandering his own toriously infidels and traitors who —the profligate in private life-the were abandoned profligates in both confederate of foreign infidels and traipublic and private life-who openly tors—the visionary innovator—and the violated everything that religious men patron of “ liberal opinions” be recall religion, that moral men call mo- jected ; and let the stanch patriotrality, that gentlemen call honour. the sterling Englishman-the sound

The natural consequence of this is, statesman-the high-minded gentlethat a vast portion of the Press is zea man-the man of chivalrous houourlously writing down almost every opi- be chosen. This will go far to “renion and feeling that ought to actuate form" the House of Commons, the the nation. British interests—the fe-' Press, and everything that gives feeling deral system of Europe—the balance and opinion to the nation. But the of power—the things which formerly thing that is indispensable is, that the formed the foundation of all political Opposition in the House should be put discussion-are never mentioned ; and under the efficient control and guidance everything is debated with reference of such a man as the Marquis of Lansto the mock rights of man, and mock down. There is another point which liberty. The prejudice “ our country” we must not overlook. Nearly all the is eradicated; the feeling of nationality leading speakers of the Opposition are has vanished; and the Englishman can lawyers. If we exclude Brougham, worship and fight for any country but Mackintosh, Scarlet, Denman, Lushhis own. Libels on our country and ington, and Williams, all lawyers, we our countrymen are now applauded in take from it almost every member who our Edinburgh Reviews and Morning can open his lips in the House. We Chronicles, which, in better times, should derive much pleasure from seewould have subjected the despicable ing the greater part of these replaced wretches who fabricated them to the by independent gentlemen. Burke disconsuming scorn of the whole nation. liked lawyer-statesmen ; we do the The pennyless, brainless, profligate, same. He wished the country to be branded, revolutionary mountebank, governed by law, but not by lawyers ; is cried up until he alone is thought to and we feel the same wish ; for we are be a proper object of imitation-until pretty sure that if the country be gohe alone can obtain what is called po- verned by lawyers, it will not be gopularity. A vast portion of the popu- verned by law.* lation regards our institutions with dis

Y. Y. Y.

We shall perhaps, on another occasion, take some notice of Burke's advocacy of the cause of the Irish Catholics. Suffice it here to say, that the emancipation which he contended for, was, in every point, different from that which now bears the name. The most important things that he recommended have been already conceded to the Catholics ; they have got more in the elective franchise than he would ever hare granted them ; and with regard to their admission to power, his plan would only have admitted them into the Irish Government and the Irish Parliament ; it would not have brought them into the English Government and the English Parliament. The Union changed the nature of the question altogether; it was a measure which he did not contemplate, and to which he was rather adverse than friendly.

MOMUS-OR AN HOUR AT BATH. Dear NORTH, I enclose a record of Bath as it was in my puppy days, which I found in an old drawer, on changing my Oriel rooms for my present legal domicile. My cousin and namesake, quondam of Brasenose, who still sighs at his curacy over the blessed memory of your grouse-pies and Farintosh, tells me I ought to have tied a note explanatory to the “ Crabstick.". The apocryphal anecdote of our common ancestor, the Judge, and of his legal decision respecting the standard gage of the matrimonial sceptre, was, I thought, generally known, at least the report annoyed the old boy extremely. The scrap of Brighton gossip I sent you may possibly be also apocryphal, but it certainly deserves to have happened to a "Whig Orator" of the Cockney School. By the by, it ought to have been printed the Tragic," not " Magic Lay," except inasmuch as it was laid at the feet of your saucy daughter Maga, of whom, my dear Kit, I beg to subscribe myself always the true and faithful cavalier,

T. BULLER. Temple, Dec. 11th.

Deep imbibed at Daffyt club,
THRICE the Abbey clock doth chime, Roll some booted youth, sore mist all
Momus cries, “ 'Tis time, 'tis time." By their careful sires at Bristol.
To Upham's or to Barret's go ;*

Little dream the honest fograms,
Mark the crowds that thither flow. Plodding in perplexity
Clod, that in this land of fun,

'Mid their sugar-casks and grograms, Days and nights hast twenty-one, How, meanwhile, their guineas fly. Fashion's dawning notions got,

Next, in various groups combined, Shine thou first i'th' hopeful lot.

Each according to his kind, Double, double, toil and trouble,

Like the stock of Noah's ark, Gossips meet, and numbers double. Gaping gudgeon, greedy shark,

Johnny Raw and shambling shandy, Polish'd women next, and men, Scheming belle and broken dandy, One, or two, perhaps, in ten,

Shrewdly shunning one another, Staring with astonish'd eye

As a kite avoids his brother; At some new absurdity;

Rusty bachelors and maids, Stationary families,

All religions and all trades, By whose philosophic eyes

Independents, jumpers, shakers, Mark'd no more than cabbage stalks, Anabaptists and wet quakers, Folly's concourse walks and talks ; Little, wealthy, bilious Aaron, Add to these an earl or two,

Like a yellow rose of Sharon, Viscounts and their dames a few,

Aim'd at whom, like gilt bull's eye, Stolen from London's scenes of riot Beauty's arrowy glances fly; For a taste of health and quiet,

Beau mulatto, and beau black, Finding matters nought amend,

Bagman Joe, and Bagman Jack. But, where'er their steps they bend, Reigning stars, we may presume, Elbow'd by a motley crowd,

Of Trowbridge, Varminster, or Frome, Like stars eclipsed by foggy cloud. Resting here a leisure day, Now the thronging numbers thicken, Dizen'd in their best array ; Now the deaf'ning noises quicken; Nabobs flabby, fat, and pale, See, as at a cover-side,

Like a turbot waxing stale, The living links personified,

Objects of maternal scheme, Which connect each nice gradation Themes of many a golden dream. In the chain of rural fashion,

Chubby sons of country codgers, From bon-ton to slang and dirt;

Jobs and Jacobs, Ralphs and Rogers, Namely, squire, squirrett, and squirt; Pinch'd and padded into shape, From the high-bred county man

Bath's more taper sons to ape, To Jack Scamp, who, as he can,

Unlick'd cub, and solemn fool, Ekes small rents by profit made

Fresh from Oxford or from school, In his favourite jockey-trade,

Dull, but learning in a trice Or the bet, a welcome catch!

Airs, extravagance, and vice. Won at race or boxing match.

These, and strange sorts many more, Next, elate with brimful pockets, Pace, in strings of three and four, Cutting invoices, and dockets,

Up and down the same dull round, Redolent of punch and shrub,

Like blind asses in a pound

• The principal libraries.

† The Bristol imitation of the P. C.

« PreviousContinue »