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speak ont, had introduced the subject of their own accord, and discussed it day after day, they inight have lost a few votes; they might have been compelled to face a few dead cats ; but they would have put down the prejudice effectually. Five or six friends of the claims might have been unseated, but the claims would have been carried.
The popular aversion to them is an honest aversion ; according to the measure of knowledge which the people possess, it is a just aversion. It has been reasoned down wherever the experiment has been fearlessly tried. It may be reasoned down everywhere. The war should be carried on in every quarter. No misrepresentation should be suffered to pass unrefuted. When a silly letter from Philo-Melancthon, or Anti-Doyle, about the Coronation Oath, or divided allegiance, makes its appearance in the corner of a provincial newspaper, it will not do merely to say, 6 What stuff !” We must remember that such statements constantly reiterated, and seldom answered, will assuredly be believed. Plain, spirited, moderate treatises on the subject, should find their way into every cottage;—not such rancorous nonsense as that for which the Catholics formerly contracted with the fiercest and basest libeller of the age, the apostate politician, the fraudulent debtor, the ungrateful friend, whom England has twice spewed out to America ; whom America, though far from squeamish, has twice vomited back to England. They will not, they may be assured, serve their cause by pouring forth unmeasured abuse on men whose memory is justly dear to the hearts of a great people ;-men mighty even in their weaknesses, and wise even in their fanaticism ;—the goodly fellowship of our reformers,—the noble army of our martyrs. Their scandal about Queen Elizabeth, and their wood-cuts of the devil whispering in the ear of John Fox, will produce nothing but disgust. They must conduct the controversy with good sense and good temper, and there cannot be the slightest doubt of the issue. But of this they may be fully assured, that, while the general feeling of the Nation remains unchanged, a Ministry which should stake its existence on the success of their claims, would ruin itself, without benefiting them.
The conduct of the Catholics, on the present occasion, deserves the highest praise. They have shown that experience bas at last taught them to know their enemies from their friends. Indeed there are few scenes in this tragicomic world of ours more amusing than that which the leaders of the Opposition are now performing. The very men who have so long obstructed Emancipation,—who have stirred up the public feeling in England against Emancipation,—who, in fine, have just resigned their offices, because a supporter of Emancipation was placed at the head of the government,—are now weeping over the disappointed hopes of the poor Papists, and execrating the perfidious Whigs who have taken office without stipulating for their relief! The Catholics are, in the meantime, in the highest spirits, congratulating themselves on the success of their old friends, and laughing at the condoling visages of their new champions.
Something not very dissimilar is taking place with respect to Parliamentary Reform. The reformers are delighted with the new Ministry. Their opponents are trying to convince them that they ought to be dissatisfied with it. The Whigs, we suppose, ought to have insisted that Reform should be made a Ministerial measure. We will not at present inquire whether they have, as a body, ever declared any decided opinion on the subject. A much shorter answer will suffice. Be Reform good or bad, it is at present evidently unattainable. No man can, by coming into office, or by going out of office, either effect it or prevent it. As we are arguing with people who are more influenced by one name than by ten reasons, we will remind them of the conduct pursued by Mr Pitt with regard to this question. At the very time when he publicly pledged himself to use his whole power, “ as a man and as a minister, honestly and boldly” to carry a proposition of Parliamentary Reform, he was sitting in the same Cabinet with persons decidedly hostile to every measure of the kind. At the present juncture, we own that we should think it as absurd in any man to decline office for the sake of this object, as it would have been in Sir Thomas More to refuse the Great Seal, because he could not introduce all the institutions of Utopia into England. The world would be in a wretched state indeed, if no person were to accept of power,
under a form of government which he thinks susceptible of improvement. The effect of such scrupulosity would be, that the best and wisest men would always be out of place; that all authori-: ty would be committed to those who might be too stupid or too selfish to see abuses in any system by which they could profit, and who, by their follies and vices, would aggravate all the evils springing from defective institutions.
But were we to admit the truth of every charge which personal enemies or professional slanderers have brought against the present ministers of the Crown, were we to admit that they had abandoned their principles, that they had betrayed the Catholics and the Reformers, it would still remain to be considered, whether we might not change for the worse.
We trust in God that there is no danger. We think that this country never will, never can, be subjected to the rule of a party so weak, so
violent, so ostentatiously selfish, as that which is now in Opposition. Has the Cabinet been formed by a coalition? How, let us ask, has the Opposition been formed ? Is it not composed of men who have, all their lives, been thwarting and abusing each other, Jacobins, Whigs, Tories, friends of Catholic Emancipation, enemies of Catholic Emancipation,-men united only by their common love of high rents, by their common envy of superior abilities, by their common wish to depress the people and to dictate to the throne? Did Lord Lansdowne at any time differ so widely from Mr Canning as Lord Redesdale from Lord Lauderdale--sometime needle-maker, and candidate for the shrievalty of London? Are the Ministers charged with deserting their opinions? and can we find no instances of miraculous conversion on the left of the woolsack? What was the influence which transformed the Friend of the People into an aristocrat, “resolved to stand or fall with his order ?” Whence was the sudden illumination which at once disclosed to all the discarded Ministers the imperfections of the Corn Bill? Let us suppose that the Whigs had, as a party, brought forward some great measure before the late changes, that they had carried it through the Commons, that they had sent it up, with the fairest prospect of success, to the Lords, and that they had then, in order to gratify Mr Canning, consented, in the face of all their previous declarations, to defeat it, what a tempest of execration and derision would have burst upon them! Yet the conduct of the Ex-Ministers, according to the best lights we can obtain
upon it, was even more culpable than this. Not content with doing a bad thing, they did it in the worst way. The bill which had been prepared by the leader for whom they professed boundless veneration, which had been brought in under their own sanction, which, as they positively declared, had received their fullest consideration, which one of themselves had undertaken to conduct through the House of Lords, that very bill they contrived to defeat:-and, in the act of defeating it, they attempted to lay upon the colleagues whom they had deserted, the burden of public resentment which they alone had incurred. We would speak with indulgence of men who had done their country noble service before--and of many of whom, individually, it must be impossible to think otherwise than with respect. But the scene lately passed in that great assembly has afflicted and disgusted the country at large; and it is not the least of its evil consequences, that it has lessened in the public estimation, not only a body which ought always to be looked up to with respect, but many individuals of whose motives we cannot bring ourselves to judge unfavourably, and from whose high qualities
R VOL. XLVI. NO. 91.
we trust the country may yet receive both benefit and honour. Mr Peel fortunately did not expose himself quite as effectually as his associates; though we regret that the tone he adopted was so undecided and equivocal. It was not for him to pronounce any judgment on the wisdom of their conduct. He was fully convinced of the purity of their motives. And finally it was the eighteenth of June !-a day on which, it seems, the Duke of Wellington is privileged to commit all sorts of mischief with impunity to the end of his life. The Duke of Wellington, however, though the part which he took was unfortunately prominent, seems to have been comparatively innocent. He might not, while in office, have paid much attention to the measure in its original form. He might not have understood the real nature of his own unlucky amendment. But what were the motives of Earl Bathurst ? Or where were they when he undertook the care of the bill in its former shape ? Nothing had been changed since, excepting his own situation. And it would be the very madness of charity to believe, that, if he had still been a colleague of Lord Liverpool, or had been able to come to terms with Mr Canning, he would have pursued such a line of conduct. Culpably as all his coadjutors have acted in this transaction, his share of it is the most indefensible.
And it is for these men,- for men who, before they have been two months out of office, have retracted the declarations which they made on a most important subject just before they quitted office,-that we are to discard the present ministers, as inconsistent and unprincipled! And these men are the idols of those who entertain so virtuous a loathing for unnatural coalitions, and base compromises. These men think themselves entitled to boast of the purity of their public virtues, and to repel, with indignant amazement, any imputation of interested or factious motives.
We dwell long on this event; because it is one which enables the country to estimate correctly the practical principles of those who, if the present ministers should fall, will assuredly take their places. To call their conduct merely factious, is to deal with it far too mildly. It has been factious at the expense of consistency, and of all concern for the wishes and interests of the people. Was there no other mode of embarrassing the government? Could no other opportunity be found or made for a division? Was there no other pledge which could be violated, if not with less awkwardness to themselves, at least with less injury to the state ? Was it necessary that they should make a handle of a question on which the passions of the people were roused to the highest point, and on which its daily bread might depend, that they should condemn the country to another year of agitation, and expose it to dangers, which, only a few months before, they had themselves thought it necessary to avert, by advising an extraordinary exercise of the prerogative? There is one explanation, and only one. They were out, and they longed to be in. Decency, consistency, the prosperity and peace of the country, were as dust in the balance. They knew this question had divided men who were generally united, and united others who were usually opposed; and though they themselves had already taken their part with their colleagues in office and the more intelligent part of their habitual opponents, they did not scruple, for the sake of embarrassing those they had deserted, to purchase the appearance of a numerous following, by opposing a measure which they had themselves concocted, and pledged themselves to support. From the expedients to which they have resorted in Opposition, we may judge of what we have to expect if they should ever return to office.
They will return too, it must be remembered, not, as before, the colleagues of men by whose superior talents they were overawed, and to whose beneficial measures they were often compelled to yield a reluctant consent. The late change has separated the greater part of them from all such associates for ever: it has divided the light from the darkness: it has set all the wisdom, all the liberality, all the public spirit on one side; the imbecility, the bigotry, and the rashness on the other. If they rule again, they will rule alone.
They will return to situations which they will owe neither to their talents nor to their virtues, neither to the choice of their King nor to the love of their country; but solely to the support of an Oligarchical Faction, richly endowed with every quality which ensures to its possessors the hatred of a nation, a faction arbitrary, bigoted, and insolent,-a faction which makes parade of its contempt for the dearest interests of mankind, which loves to make the people feel of how little weight, in its deliberations, is the consideration of their happiness.
On this party, and on this alone, must such ministers, returning from such a secession, rely to uphold them against the public opinion, against the wishes of a King who has wisely and nobly performed his duty to the state, against the most beloved and respected portion of the aristocracy, against a formidable union of all the great statesmen and orators of the age. It was believed by those of whose wisdom Lord Eldon and the Duke of Newcastle think with reverence, that, in the bond between a sorcerer and his familiar demon, there was a stipulation that the gifts bestowed by the Powers of Evil should