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Art. XI. The New Antijacobin Review.—Nos. I. and II. 8vo.
E ought to apologize to our readers for prefixing to this
article the name of such a publication. The two numbers which lie on our table contain nothing which could be endured, even at a dinner of the Pitt Club, unless, as the newspapers express it, the hilarity had been continued to a very lato hour. We have met, we confess, with nobody who has ever seen them; and, should our account excite any curiosity respecting them, we fear that an application to the booksellers will already be too late. Some tidings of them may perhaps be obtained from the trunk-makers. In order to console our readers, however, under this disappointment, we will venture to assure them, that the only subject on which the reasonings of these Antijacobin Reviewers throw any light, is one in which we take very little interest—the state of their own understandings; and that the only feeling which their pathetic appeals have excited in us, is that of deep regret for our four shillings, which are gone and will return no more.
It is not a very cleanly, or a very agreeable task, to rake up from the kennels of oblivion the remains of drowned abortions, which have never opened their eyes on the day, or even been heard to whimper, but have been at once transferred from the filth in which they were littered, to the filth with which they are to rot. But unhappily we have no choice. Bad as this work is, it is quite as good as any which has appeared against the present administration. We have looked everywhere, without being able to find any antagonist who can possibly be as much ashamed of defeat as we shall be of victory.
The manner in which the influence of the press has, at this crisis, been exercised, is, indeed, very remarkable. All the talent has been on one side. With an unanimity which, as Lord Londonderry wisely supposes, can be ascribed only to a dexterous use of the secret-service money, the able and respectable journals of the metropolis have all supported the new government. It has been attacked, on the other hand, by writers who make every cause which they espouse despicable or odious,- by one paper which owes all its notoriety to its reports of the slang uttered by drunken lads who are brought to Bow Street for breaking windows-by another, which barely contrives to subsist on intelligence from butlers, and advertisements from perfumers. With these are joined all the scribblers who rest their claim to. orthodoxy and loyalty on the perfection to which they have carried the arts of ribaldry and slander. What part these gentle
men would take in the present contest, seemed at first doubtful. We feared, for a moment, that their servility might overpower their malignity, and that they would be even more inclined to flatter the powerful than to calumniate the innocent. It turns out that we were mistaken; and we are most thankful for it. They have been kind enough to spare us the discredit of their alliance. We know not how we should have borne to be of the -same party with them. It is bad enough, God knows, to be of the same species.
The writers of the book before us, who are also, we believe, the great majority of its readers, can scarcely be said to belong to this class. They rather resemble those snakes with which Indian jugglers perform so many curious tricks : The bags of venom are left, but the teeth are extracted. That they might omit nothing tending to make them ridiculous, they have adopted a title on which no judicious writer would have ventured; and challenged comparison with one of the most ingenious and amusing volumes in our language. Whether they have assumed this name on the principle which influenced Mr Shandy in christening his children, or from a whim similar to that which induced the proprietors of the most frightful Hottentot that ever lived, to give her the name of Venus, we shall not pretend to decide; but we would seriously advise them to consider, whether it is for their interest, that people should be reminded of the celebrated imitations of Darwin and Kotzebue, while they are reading such parodies on the Bible as the following:-" In those days, a strange * person shall appear in the land, and he shall cry to the people, “ Behold, I am possessed by the Demon of Ultra-Liberalism; I “ have received the gift of incoherence; I am a political philo“sopher, and a professor of paradoxes.”
We would also, with great respect, ask the gentleman who has lampooned Mr Canning in such Drydenian couplets as this
“ When he said if they would but let him in,
He would never try to turn them out again," whether his performance gains much by being compared with New Morality? and, indeed, whether such satire as this is likely to make anybody laugh but himself, or to make anybody wince but his publisher ?
But we must take leave of the New Antijacobin Review ; and we do so, hoping that we have secured the gratitude of its conductors. We once heard a schoolboy relate, with evident satisfaction and pride, that he had been horsewhipped by a Duke: we trust that our present condescension will be as highly appreeiated.
But it is not for the purpose of making a scarecrow of a ridiculous publication, that we address our readers at the present important crisis. We are convinced, that the cause of the present Ministers is the cause of liberty, the cause of toleration, the cause of political science,—the cause of the people, who are entitled to expect from their wisdom and liberality many judicious reforms,- the cause of the aristocracy, who, unless those reforms be adopted, must inevitably be the victims of a violent and desolating revolution. We are convinced, that the government of the country was never intrusted to men who more thoroughly understood its interest, or were more sincerely disposed to promote it-to men who, in forming their arrangements, thought so much of what they could do, and so little of what they could get. On the other side, we see a party which, for ignorance, intemperance, and inconsistency, has no parallel in our annals,which, as an Opposition, we really think, is a scandal to the nation, and, as a Ministry, would speedily be its ruin. Under these circumstances, we think it our duty to give our best support to those with whose power are inseparably bound up all the dearest interests of the community,—the freedom of worship, of discussion, and of trade,-our honour abroad, and our tranquillity at home.
In undertaking the defence of the Ministers, we feel ourselves embarrassed by one difficulty: we are unable to comprehend distinctly of what they are accused. A statement of facts may be contradicted; but the gentlemen of the Opposition do not deal in statements. Reasonings may be refuted ; but the gentlemen of the Opposition do not reason. There is something impassive and elastic about their dulness, on which all the weapons of controversy are thrown away. It makes no resistance, and receives no impression. To argue with it, is like stabbing the water, or cudgelling a woolpack. Buonaparte is said to have remarked, , that the English soldiers at Waterloo did not know when they were beaten. The Duke of Wellington, equally fortunate in politics and in war, has the rare felicity of being supported a second time by a force of this description,-men whose desperate hardihood in argument sets all assailants at defiance,—who fight on, though borne down on every side by overwhelming proofs, rush enthusiastically into the mouth of an absurdity, or stake themselves with cool intrepidity on the horn of a dilemma. We doubt whether this unconquerable pertinacity be quite as honourable in debate as in battle; but we are sure, that it is
dilficult task for persons trained in the old school of logical tactics to contend with antagonists who possess such a quality.
The species of argument in which the members of tbe Opposition appear chiefly to excel, is that of which the Marquis, in
the Critique de l'Ecole des Femmes, showed himself so great a master :--- Tarte à la crême-morbleu, tarte à la crême !" “ Hé “ bien, que veux tu dire, tarte à la crême ?” “ Parbleu, tarte à “ la crême, chevalier!” “ Mais encore ?” “ Tarte à la crême !" “ Di-nous un peu tes raisons.” “ Tarte à la crême !" " Mais “ il faut expliquer ta pensée, ce me semble.” “ Tarte à la crême, “ Madame.” “ Que trouvez-vouz là à redire ?” 6 Moi, rien; 66 — tarte à la crênfe!” With equal taste and judgment, the writers and speakers of the Opposition repeat their favourite phrases,—“ deserted principles," unnatural coalition,” “ base a love of office.” They have not, we must allow, been unfortunate in their choice of a topic. The English are but too much accustomed to consider every public virtue as comprised in consistency; and the name of coalition has to many ears a startling and ominous sound. Of all the charges brought against the Ministry, this alone, as far as we can discover, has any meaning; and even to this we can allow no force.
To condemn coalitions in the abstract, is manifestly absurd : Since in a popular government, no good can be done without concert, and no concert can be obtained without compromise. Those who will not stoop to compliances which the condition of human nature renders necessary, are fitter to be hermits than to be statesmen. Their virtue, like gold which is too refined to be coined, must be alloyed before it can be of any use in the commerce of society. But most peculiarly inconsistent and unreasonable is the conduct of those who, while they profess strong Party-feelings, yet entertain a superstitious aversion to Coalitions. Every argument which can be urged against coalitions, as such, is also an argument against party connexions. Every argument by which party connexions can be defended, is a defence of coalitions. What coalitions are to parties, parties are to individuals. The members of a party, in order to promote some great com-. mon object, consent to wave all subordinate considerations :That they may co-operate with more effect where they agree, they contrive, by reciprocal concessions, to preserve the semblance of unanimity, even where they differ. Men are not thought unprincipled for acting thus; because it is evident that without such mutual sacrifices of individual opinions, no government can be formed, nor any important measures carried, in a world of which the inhabitants resemble each other so little, and depend on each other so much,-in which there are as many varieties of mind as of countenance, yet in which great effects can be produced only by combined exertions. We must extend the same indulgence to a coalition between parties. If they agree on every important practical question, if they differ only about
objects which are either insignificant or unattainable, no party man can, on his own principles, blame them for uniting. These doctrines, like all other doctrines, may be pushed to extremes by the injudicious, or employed by the designing as a pretext for profligacy. But that they are not in themselves unreasonable or pernicious, the whole history of our country proves.
The Revolution itself was the fruit of a coalition between parties, which had attacked each other with a fury unknown in later times. In the preceding generation their hostility had covered England with blood and mourning. They had subsequently exchanged the sword for the axe : But their enmity was not the less deadly because it was disguised by the forms of justice. By popular clamour, by infamous testimony, by perverted law, they had shed innocent and noble blood like water. Yet all their animosities were forgotten in the sense of their common danger. Whigs and Tories signed the same associations. Bishops and field-preachers thundered out the same exhortations. The doctors of Oxford and the goldsmiths of London sent in their plate with equal zeal. The administration which, in the reign of Queen Anne, defended Holland, rescued Germany, conquered Flanders, dismembered the monarchy of Spain, shook the throne of France, vindicated the independence of Europe, and established the empire of the sea, was formed by a junction between men who had many political contests and many personal injuries to forget. Somers had been a member of the ministry which had sent Marlborough to the Tower. Marlborough had assisted in harassing Somers by a vexatious impeachment. But would these great men have acted wisely or honourably if, on such grounds, they had refused to serve their country in concert? The Cabinet which conducted the seven years' war with such distinguished ability and success, was composed of members who had a short time before been leaders of opposite parties. The Union between Fox and North is, we own, condemned by that argument which it will never be possible to answer in a manner satisfactory to the great body of mankind,—the argument from the event. But we should feel some surprise at the dislike which some zealous Pittites affect to entertain for coalitions, did we not know that a Pittite means, in the phraseology of the present day, a person who differs from Mr Pitt on every subject of importance. There are, indeed, two Pitts,—the real and the imaginary,—the Pitt of history, a Parliamentary reformer, an enemy of the Test and Corporation Acts, an advocate of Catholic Emancipation and of free trade,-and the canonized Pitt of the legend,-as unlike to his namesake as Virgil the magician to Virgil the poet, or St