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BY THE “ SILENT MEMBER
OF BLACKWOOD's MAGAZINE.
THE POSITION WHICH THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY OUGHT TO TAKE. The Conservative party will never take their proper position in the country, nor will they ever be able to protect either it or themselves, till they have shaken off that timidity which passes for prudence, and which makes them look on, merely, when they should be acting. We may call this quality, prudence, or timidity, or by what name we will, but it amounts, in fact, to nothing more than neutrality; and the times admit no neutrality in any person worthy of the name of man. ()ther times, perhaps other measures : but in these times their course should be made up of nothing but courage, decision, manliness, and rectitude.
Observe the policy of the enemy. Do they “look on,” or are they incessantly, and every where, in action? Do they wait till opportunity holds out her hand, or do they go in search of her, drag her into their ranks, and compel her to serve ? Do we find them shrinking from the avowal of their principles, or concealing their designs? Do they şhun each other, or go about their work, as if they were either ashamed or afraid to be seen engaged in what they intend ? So far from it, they exult, boașt, and fill the air with their shouts. They magnify both themselves and their designs, by an allowable delusion, and by an enthusiasm that would be praiseworthy, if the end were so. All their geese are swans. A radical auctioneer, or a shallow knight, if he only mouth vulgar politics for the rabble, is not permitted to go to his grave without a monument or an obelisk, reared to perpetuate--not his memory, for that dies with him—but the cause that rever dies. :-that cause which lies deep in the depravity of our common naturethe cause that nourishes discontent by teaching the idle, the profligate, and the needy, that they have rights at variance with the rights of honester and better men, and that they have only to demand possession of these rights, to become at once rich, happy, and independent.
There is, at all times, in every free state, and perhaps in every state, a floating mass of this distempered feeling, ready to burst forth when there bappen to coincide circumstances which ripen it into festering malignity. And when these circumstances do coincide, it becomes as clearly the interest of those who would not catch the infection, to prevent its, spreading, as it is the interest of men, in a season of pestilence, to prevent it from reaching their own dwellings. Now, they whose interest it is to check this moral and political pestilence, are all who have pot already sickened with it, whọ have not already got the plague-spot upon them, all (to drop the metaphor) who cannot possibly be benefited, but who must inevitably be injured, because most certainly they would be stripped of property, of liberty, perhaps of life, if ever this class of speculative robbers should have it in their power to reduce their confiscating theories of plunder to practice.
The question then is, are we now exposed to this danger ? Is there, in the present state of the country, any thing to justify the apprehension in sober minds, that unless sufficient remedies be applied, we shall arrive at a crisis when these theories will be brought into full play? Perhaps, we have disqualified ourselves to answer the inquiry, by the very terms in which we have propounded it. Perhaps, we shall be told that we are not sober-minded persons, and therefore not to be heeded, when we reply, that if every recognized principle of cause and effect be not suddenly grown obsolete and become exploded, causes are now, and have long been, in operation, which ought, according to all experience, to be followed by the effects that have invariably followed them. We are docile, however; willing, most willing, to learn. We are ready to hear whatever can be advanced, tending to shew by the discoveries of modern science, that the soil most favourable to religion is atheism ; that morals thrive as virtue declines; that the best guardians of the property of others, are they who have none themselves; that the most upright dispensers of justice, must be sought among those who have the least reverence for the laws: and that liberty can never be so secure, as when in the hands of men who desire its utmost latitude-but for themselves alone.
It is to this inverted state of the social system that we consider ourselves to be hastening; and we confess we see nothing which can stop us in our accelerated and accelerating advance to it, but the firm, resolute, combined efforts of the higher classes ; of those persons who by education, moral culture, the authority of birth and station, the influence of wealth, and the yet higher influence of wisdom, talent, and character, are, we might almost say, the natural bulwarks which society spontaneously throws up, as a protection from the stormy surges of popular encroachment, that are evermore restlessly breaking against the base of the edifice.
THE RAMSGATE DINNER-THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON.
This dinner, though professing
to be only a mark of respect to his Grace, as Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, became, as it was natural it should, a tribute of admiration, an occasion for doing honour (in which occasion the town of Ramsgate was itself honoured) to a man whose name is imperishably linked with every noble and exalted feeling that belongs to our country. The tribute was complete; the occasion gloriously used. Enthusiasm was at its height. As long as the Duke of Wellington remembers any circumstance of his illustrious career flattering to the honest pride of virtuous ambition, he will not, he cannot forget the unbought, unsolicited, unadulterated homage of his Ramsgate friends. He may have received from other of his countrymen devotion as warm, respect as intense, veneration as fervid ; but by none has his reception ever been exceeded in these points.
Among the incidents of the evening, there was not one more impressive than the simple, unaffected, soldier-like testimony which thát gallant officer, Colonel Mair, bore to the deep feeling of esteem and veneration" which he, who had served under the Duke, felt, in common with the whole army, for “ his great commander.” The matter of this speech was singularly interesting, but the manner of it was still more so.
In ordinary times, we should be content to regard any demonstrations of popular affection towards the Duke of Wellington, as springing merely from a grateful recollection of his eminent services, and a just appreciation of his distinguished character. At the present moment we give to these demonstrations a wider range. We regard them as compounded of remembrance and hope : of remembrance that points to what he has done; of hope that anticipates what he may yet do: the hope, that having saved his country in battle, he may also be destined to save her in council. nized head of the Conservative party, it may fairly be assumed, that if his political principles were as unpopular, as his militiary renown is transcendant, there would sometime arise a difficulty, which we no where find to exist, in discriminating between what was intended for the conqueror and what was not intended for the statesman. And here, instead of pursuing these reflections, will the reader forgive us, if we indulge in some reminiscences of our own, relating to his Grace? There are few things more interesting than to contemplate the succession of events, by which a man raises himself from comparative obscurity to the highest point of human grandeur. We remember the Duke of Wellington when, as Sir Arthur Wellesley, he held the situation of chief secretary for Ireland, and when it was his business, in the House of Commons, to debate matters of local moment connected with the
As the recog
affairs of that country; and we think we do not err in saying, that one of the longest speeches we ever heard him deliver in the House, while filling that office, was upon á bill for paving some part of the city of Dublin.
This was on the eve of his being appointed to take the command of the British forces in Portugal. Although he had won bright laurels in India, although the battle of Assye, and the plains of Seringa patam, and the whole course of his campaigns in the East, had largely contributed to the military fame of Sir ARTHUR WELLESLEY, it can hardly be supposed that they who knew him best, or were most competent to form a correct judgment respecting him, would have ventured to predict, in whatever favorable circumstances he might have been placed, the stupendous series of successes which afterwards immortalized the DUKE OF WELLINGTON.
And surely, there must be moments when this illustrious man himself looks back upon his career, with emotions scarcely less enviable than any he may have known in the proudest ones of victory. Can he connect these two periods of time, for instance—his present unequalled greatness in the estimation of all Europe, and the period when he accompanied his brother, the MARQUIS WELLESLEY, (then Earl of Mornington) to India, as the Hon. COLONEL WELLESLEY, without a feeling of astonishment ? Can he recal what were in all probability the utmost limit of his hopes and of his ambition, forty years ago, contrast them with the splendor of his subsequent career and actual position, and not be secretly affected with an amazement at least equal to the complacency with which he may survey his achievements ? And may we not suppose, in such retrospections, that he, like every other man who has climbed to greatness, is secretly conscious of how much should be justly ascribed to accident, which is now given to design? In the most important and complicated, as well as in the more ordinary concerns of life, a very small proportion of that which does happen, happens either as we have anticipated, or strictly as a consequence of causes which we have ourselves prepared and set in motion.
But, whatever may have been the elenients of his greatness, in whatever way it was achieved, we all know its actual magnitude. In an age preeminently warlike, and consequently distinguished by many renowned cummanders, it was reserved for England to send forth one that surpassed them all. We do not make this assertion from the mere circumstance that he triumphed over all who were opposed to him, closing the bright series of his victories with the subjugation of NAPOLEON himself, though that single fact might be deemed sufficiently conclusive of his superiority. Neither do we make it, from the extraordinary circumstance that he never sustained a defeat: but we look to the means with which he performed his great achievements, means so strikingly inadequate to the stupendous results that were accomplished, and from that single circumstance we pronounce him not only the greatest general of his own age and country, but of any age or country; not excepting the two illustrious names of antiquity, Alexander and Cæsar.
Whoever looks upon the situation of the DUKE OF WELLINGTON, when he lay entrenched behind the lines of Torres Vedras, in one corner of Portugal, and then traces him step by step, victory after victory, till he finds him planting his colors upon the walls of Bayonne and Thoulouse, and while he so traces him, marks the discordant and incongruous elements he had to assimilate; the feuds, jealousies, intrigues he had to counteract; the unwarlike habits of the auxiliary troops of Spain and Portugal, which were his only resources beyond the mere handful of British soldiers he commanded; whoever, we say, takes all these circumstances into his consideration, and adds to them, the cold support he found at home in the outset, with the factious opposition of the whigs to the war itself, will not merely acknowledge the capacious mind, and the moral energy, which could have adapted such means to such results as we know were produced, but wonder how any mind, whatever might be its capacity, or any moral energy however robust, could have succeeded in producing them.
The Duke of WELLINGTON had not, like BONAPARTE, a mighty nation at his beck and confederated nations under his controul; he could not, by his fiat, assemble one, two, or three hundred thousand men, led on by consummate generals, and complete in all the appointments of the field, to execute his designs; neither had he, at first, the talismanic influence on his side, of that confidence which so often secures victory, from the implicit conviction that it must follow. On the contrary, when he took the command of the army in Portugal, owing to previous disasters, he had to contend with exactly the opposite influence, an apprehension, if not a moral certainty, that French troops were invincible, and that England, like all the other monarchies of Europe, could make no effectual stand against them. Yet we find him driving back the legions of France, defeating, one after another, her greatest generals, and ending, as we have said, with the crowning victory of Waterloo, where he triumphed over the great master of war, the modern Alexander himself. It is upon these grounds, thus faintly stated, that we claim for the DUKE OF WELLINGTON a renown which posterity will confirm the renown of transcending every commander of former times.
What a host of recollections, public, private, national, heroic, sublime, start into existence at the mention of the battle of Waterloo ! Tyranny struck down—the tyrant, á recreant fugitive first, to be an abject captive after--the liberties of the world asserted—emancipated nations rejoicingthe name of England encircled with surpassing glory—and every Englishman feeling himself ennobled by the renown achieved for his country-by the privilege he possessed of claiming for his countrymen, the heroes who fought, and, above all, him, the mighty conqueror, who that day accomplished what he, and he alone could, a triumph eclipsing all his former ones ! Well do we remember the almost frenzied joy, which burst forth in every corner of the land, as the knowledge of that transcendant exploit spread from east to west, from north to south. The empire was one vast jubilee. Even hearts that sorrowed for the slain--the orphan and the widow, the childless parent and the bereaved brother, felt a joyful grief. Their tears fell, but their pulse beat high with generous patriotism; they had lost those they loved, but their country was exalted! To be able to say “ my son, my father, or, my husband died at Waterloo"-gave to the mourner a proud distinctiontity of grief among the afflicted. Public sympathy hallowed their tribulation, and the consciousness of that sympathy infused a precious consolation.
Well, too, do we remember, with what idolatry the name of WELLINGTON was everywhere pronounced ; with what a worshipping of eyes and tongues the conqueror was received when he returned to the grateful bosom of his country. Exulting thousands crowded to behold and welcome him ; songs of triumph greeted him on every side; garlands and laurels were strewed in his path; and triumphal arches reared themselves to grace his progress.
Such was the DUKE OF WELLINGTON in 1815. Such he continued to be, till his country was laid at the feet of the lowest rabble, whose passions had been infamed to a revolutionary delirium against all that was great, and noble, and intellectual, and venerable. And then it was that we saw the DUKE OF WELLIINGTON,-aye-even on the anniversary of the very day of Waterloo—(we speak of what we ourselves witnessed in the streets of London, on the 18th of June, 1832)--this illustrious hero—this foremost man of his age-baited by a ruffian crew-groaned at-hissed-pelted-and one cowardly scoundrel (we warrant he would have dived into the dirtiest ditch a filthy imagination can picture, rather than have stood by the hero's side but half a minute in battle) laying a begrimed hand upon his person to unhorse him !
And what did the Duke do? Nothing. What should he have done? Fear was a stranger to him : defence a chimera; for he was hemmed round with four or five hundred brutal wretches, every one of whom was ready to play the assassin. In the protecting grandeur of his own character, he looked upon the howling blood-hounds, (whose ferocious countenances were
distorted like the furies) with a mind as calm, a mien as composed, and an eye as dignified, as he would have gazed upon a roaring multitude assembled to welcome him after one of his victories.
This outrage was of one of the earliest fruits of that frantic zeal for the great whig bubble reform, which the revolutionary journals had excited. Neither rank, nor virtue, nor character, nor talent, was a protection from the bullies of the reform press. The man who was not for reform, became, ipso facto, a knave, fool, hireling, anything or everything, which could mark him out for the vengeance of the mob. All this was gross and disgusting enough to intelligent persons ; but it was gospel to the million : oracular to all who received opinions instead of forming them : and these are ninety-nine out of every hundred. Your original thinker is a rare animal: your receiver of thoughts, as common a one as dogs and cats. Can we suppose:any one of the brutes who surrounded the Duke of WELLINGTON, on the occasion to which we have referred, could have told why he hooted, yelled, or pelted. But we beg pardon of Messieurs the mob. We have no doubt they could all have assigned the same excellent reason as the drayman did, who stood at our elbow. " It sarves him right,” said he. “What has he done, my friend ?' we inquired. “ Done?" responded the indignant man of beer, “ why harn't he a hanti ?” « A hanti ?"_Yesma hanti-a hanti-reformer and warn't he trying to presarve the corrupt holligarky what as been the ruin of us ?”. Here was the language of the Times, and other revolutionary papers, translated into the kindred dialect of $t. Giles's.' Suppose we had said to this learned Theban” that we too, were hantis, and that seeing he was a reformer, we should testify our disapprobation of his principles by kicking him into the kennel and smothering him with mud? We dare say he would not have been able to comprehend what right we had to maintain our opinions after that fashion, though he was for thus maintaining his own.
FORGOTTEN POETRY. Everybody has heard of " Dodsley's Collection of Poems by Several Hands—” many, have the six volumes on their library shelves— few are now familiar with their contents. Their day has gone by. But amid much that is peurile, and dull, there are some things worth remembering ; effusions sparkling with wit, gay, elegant, flowing verse, the products of cultivated minds, of refined tastes, and sometimes, of genius. Among them are to be found the compositions of Gray, Johnson, Mason, Shenstone, Sir C.Hanbury Williams, and others whose works have since become part of the recognised literature of the country. These have pothing to do with the fleeting celebrity once enjoyed by those pieces which must be classed among " forgotten poetry”-and frona which may be selected a poetical posegay not unworthy of blooming afresh in the pages of the CANTERBURY MAGAZINE. What is good, but unknown, has all the recommendations of novelty and merit, when resuscitated. So let us begin to select the flowers for our bouquet: beginning with the ben
ginning - even with the very first piece in the first volume Tickell's poem. “On the Prospect of Peace.”
When this poem appeared, Addison, who was the friend of Tickell, com-, mended it in the Spectator, calling it a noble performance." Johnson, excited by such praise, says," after having long wished to peruse it, I laid hold on it at last, and thought it unequal to the honors which it had received. I found it a piece to be approved rather than admired.” Johnson was right. Yet, temporary circumstances lent such an influence at the time, that six editions of it were sold.
It is a long tedious poem, and has only one passage that merits transcription: the following description of a soldier returned to the bosom of his family.
See the fond wife, in tears of transport drown'd,