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not exist two powers in a state,' and that the only alternative now left is either the re-establishment of the rotten borough system
- which of course is not to be thought of-or the annihilation of the House of Lords !'
And what is to follow ? Liberty and prosperity?-no-democracy and despotism! - In the House of Lords first germed the liberties of England, and with the House of Lords they will expire. And can the House of Lords avert the evil? We know not; but we know that they can escape the guilt! - As long as they are permitted to express an opinion, they must, as free agents, follow the course of law, and obey the dictates of their consciences; and when that power shall be denied to them, either by actual interference or such certain indications of approaching violence, as cannot be mistaken, they must console themselves with the suggestion of a true Whig of the old school, that
when impious men bear sway,
The post of honour is a private station.' But while we deduce these conclusions from the general principles that have been unbridled— we see, in several passing circumstances, an accession of difficulty and peril. There is not one of the foreign topics which we enumerated at the outset of this article, which may not endanger the peace of Europe ; and however erroneous, or impolitic, or disgraceful the conduct of our ministers may be, there is now neither check, control, nor remedy. The House of Commons has neither time, nor patience, nor information to handle such nice details; and, when any of them have been occasionally touched in debate, it seems inclined to place a careless, ignorant, and therefore unbounded confidence in ministers : and if the House of Lords were to presume again to form a judgment upon any such matters, even though it should be one on which the House of Commons were before indifferent, the opportunity would no doubt be eagerly seized of giving it another * rebuff' from the throne -of overwhelming it again with the calumnies and menaces of the Press—and of eliciting from the zealous Commons a conflicting and even a hostile vote. In our domestic system, everything is at sea, except our ships. The East Indies and the West—the banks, national and private—the Law -the Discipline of the Army and of the Navy—the Corporations -the Church; and, incidentally to this latter subject, the connexion between Church and State, and the Union between Great Britain and Ireland ;-all are in jeopardy. There is, in Burke's Reflections on the French Revolution, a passage which so wonderfully describes our present condition, even to some of its details, that it seems as if it had been inspired by a spirit of prophecy, rather than by mere human sagacity :
• Is our monarchy (he asks) to be annihilated with all the lawsall the tribunals and all the ancient corporations of the kingdom? Is every landmark in the country to be done away in favour of a geometrical and arithmetical constitution ? Is the House of Lords to be voted useless ? Is episcopacy to be abolished? Are the church-lands to be sold to Jews and jobbers? Are all taxes to be voted grievances ? Are curales to be seduced from their bishops by holding out to them the delusive hope of a dole out of the spoils of their own order? Is a compulsory paper currency to be substituted in place of the legal coin of the kingdom?'-Reflections, p. 114.
Would not one believe that this had been written but yesterday? So accurately did Mr. Burke discern what would be the symptoms and what must be the march of Revolution.
But the conduct of ministers, as it has produced most of these difficulties and dangers, so it aggravates them all: their views liave been so rash and so weak, so hasty and so slow, so bold in the project and so wavering in the execution, that they have lost the confidence of every party in the country; and in the House of Commons itself, though it follows and supports them out of fear of a dissolution, they are the objects of hatred, or pity, or contempt. As long as the present House of Commons, as a body, believes that its own permanence depends upon that of the ministry—as long as individual members are not disturbed by the prospect of meeting their constituents--and as long as they fancy they can postpone the day of reckoniug—so long we think that the present administration may drag on a dishonoured existence. But the period of a dissolution must at last come round, and members mast, however reluctant, begin to think of forfeited pledges and disappointed constituencies; and the cry of wolf against the Tories will every hour become more notoriously contemptible; and having already lost the populace, ministers will also lose the venal, the time-serving, and profligate portion of the press; and then where are they?
In all times and in all countries, the immediate cause or excuse for revolutions has been finance. It was by an exaggeration of our fiscal difficulties that the present ministers obtained power-it was for the purpose of ultimately remedying them that they introduced their Reform Bill-it was by promises of economy in expenditure, and alleviation of taxation, that they obtained whatever intluence they have with the public. How stands that matter now? Infinitely worse than it did at their accession to office. There has been no real alleviation of the burthens of the people, and there has been a wasteful and profligate increase of public expenditure, which must eventually lead to an increase of taxation infinitely beyond all the tritling, ill-managed, and worse-distributed economies
and remissions which they have affected to make. We knew and know, and they knew and know, that no considerable reduction of taxation was possible--but why then did they promise it?- why did they, for party purposes, excite expectations which they knew that they could not fulfil — whyintlate hopes which must be disappointed? Why, with the knowledge that they were about to incur fifteen or twenty millions of debt on account of West India compensation, why did they yet make a remission of taxes to nearly the exact amount which this arrangement will oblige them to re-impose ? Their economies may starve individual families—but have they given, or can they give, one additional slice of bread to the artizan or the peasant? They have sent many a poor clerk and his wife and children to the workhouse--but have they rescued one individual from it? But they have remitted taxes—yes, truly, on tiles, and tallow, and marine insurances, and cotton--all proper enough to be removed whenever the state of the revenue might admit, but most improper to be the first removed. But while they made these inconsiderable and ill-selected remissions, what have they been doing on the other hand ? Increasing, with a blind and wanton profusion, the pecuniary difficulties and embarrassments of the country. Like those unhappy people, who, having been guilty of some offence, or subjected to some imputation which they have not courage to face, they ruin themselves in hush money -and the first reform ministry, and the first reform parliament, have given us examples, beyond all precedent and parallel, of solving their difficulties, not by measures, but by money—the most deplorable symptom of an unnerved authority and a degraded spirit. Let us touch a few of these instances.
To obtain a German youth of sixteen, with the auspicious name of Otho, as king for Greece, they guarantee a third part of a loan of sixty millions of livres. To arrange that the boundary line of this new kingdom shall pass at the north side of a range of barren mountains, instead of the south, they sanction a payment of 500,0001. Last year they got out of their heedless engagements about Irish tithes by a payment computed at 60,0001.; and again, in the present session, they have attempted, but in vain, to quiet another storm in the same quarter by the panacean application of half a million: and thus the distractions and animosities of Ireland, which were fostered and exaggerated by their own imprudence-by giddy promises and random expressions* -are to be suspended, not removed-palliated, not pacified—by additional burthens on the peaceable inhabitants of the rest of the empire. To extricate themselves from their difficulties with the Bank, they liquidate 25 per cent. upon their debt; and * Mr. Stanley's'extinction of tythes,' &c.
after stating in their first deliberate proposal that they should require a sacrifice of 250,0001. a year from the Bank, together with a participation in its ultimate profits, as a fair price for the renewal of the charter, they have accepted 120,0001. per annum,-a reduce tion equivalent in value to about 2,700,0001., and they abandon altogether the promised participation in the future profits. To obtain the Emperor of Russia's acquiescence in new-fangling the Netherlands, they renew the expired engagements for the RussianDutch loan of 5,000,0001. To arrange the Negro-slavery question, they offer a loan of 15,000,0001.—and when every one exclaimed against the mingled extravagance and inefficacy of that device, they amend the matter by changing the loan into a gift, and—instead of making a proportionate diminution in the sumthey increase the 15,000,0001. into 20,000,000l. With the East India Company, their negociation, though more obscure and complicated, is on the same principle—they take the Company's assets, which will give them a present sum of money, but they saddle the country with debt, engagements and expenditure to an infinitely greater amount; and the goodness of this bargain will be best understood by stating that East-India shares have risen near 40l. during this session :- -Whence is to come that enormous profit to the India proprietors ?—whence—but from the pockets of the opposite party in the negociation—the public?
Do we object to the charitable justice done to the Irish clergy—o the compensation to the West India proprietors, or to the favour shown to the Bank or to the East India Company? Far from it—but we produce these facts as proofs of the weakness and incapacity of the men who wantonly incur such enormous expenses under the pretence of economy and good management, and who can find no other mode of solving any difficulty, foreign or domestic, than the easy one of buying the acquiescence which they have neither ability to obtain by negociation, nor strength to carry by authority.
Does it give us any satisfaction to be able to allege these facts against the ministry ?-Alas, no! far from it-we do it more in sorrow than in anger.' We admit-and the conservatives in either house of parliament should never forget—that the accession of unpopularity which has lately fallen on the administration is produced chiefly, if not solely, by their reluctance to accelerate the work of destruction—by their attempting to put a drag on the wheel of revolution. Had they not started at the precipice to which they were driving, they might have still enjoyed the drunkenness of their false popularity. We firmly believe that (with the exception of the poor, low-minded arts, with which they think they can keep themselves in office, by slandering the Tories, and insulting the House of Lords) - we believe, we say, that they are the creatures of circumstances--the victims of their own inexecutable system of government. They have, too late, discovered that
• An habitation giddy and unsure
Hath he that buildeth on the vulgar heart.' They are not their own masters—they have no option--110 power; they could not, even if they were indifferent to the pay and patronage of office, venture to resign; for we do them the favour to believe (though the principles and proceedings of one section of the cabinet afford us little reason for doing so) that they do not desire to throw us into an anarchy; and we candidly, though reluctantly, and with deep sorrow, confess that we do not see how any other government can be formed or maintained in our present circumstances. These men may continue for some time longer to go down stairs, they are not yet at the bottom
• Sed revocare gradum, superasque evadere ad auras'is we believe impossible to them ;-nor are we sanguine that any men, or any association of men, can redeem us from the difficulties in which they have plunged us.
Not that it is men that are wanting-men we have, of the purest patriotism, the most commanding talents, the highest courage, the most extensive and deserved influence; but all their qualities will, we fear, be paralyzed by the practical working of the Reform Bill. Let us call the attention of our readers to one practical consideration.
It is well known that the present ministers feel, and to their confidentials avow, that they cannot make the changes which every now and then become necessary to the conduct of the government, under the present state of the law of election; and one of their most intimate friends and most zealous supporters--Sir Robert Heron-gave, about two months ago—not without their sanction -notice of a motion to exempt members of the House of Commons from vacating their seats on a change of office. After some deliberation and a week or two of additional experience, it was seen that even this provision would be inadequate to the purpose, and would moreover have the awkward appearance of giving the present ministers the well-known Irish tenure of a lease of lives renewable for ever,--an object, no doubt, most desirable and the first in their thoughts, but hardly to be ventured upon yet. So that scheme was abandoned, and the same member subsequently repeated his notice—with the amendment of including both acceptance and change--of office; but then, unfortunately, this proposal has the obvious disadvantage of being impartial, and of reVOL. XLIX. NO. XCVIII,