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which present themselves to these from being mere speculations of gemore extensive plans.” Now, this neral convenience, and which promore extensive plan is neither more nounces the forfeiture of both, only nor less than the very grand mea- where there is a gross and flagrant sure itself, “the Bill, the whole Bill, violation of the trust from which they and nothing but the Bill!” Here they are derived. Thirdly, it must be obare-the one or two of the numerous served, that the power of disfranobjections—in themselves a host. chisement is capable of great and
“ In the first place, no such dis- dangerous abuse. The majority of franchisement is known to the prac- a legislative body might employ it tice, or even the principles, of the to perpetuate their own superiority, British Constitution. It has often and to destroy every power that bestowed the elective franchise on could withstand them. If the examgrounds of general utility; but it has ple were once set, of using it on mere never, on such grounds alone, taken grounds of convenience, it would be that franchise away. All political easy to find, on every occasion, plauquestions, indeed, are to be determi- sible pretexts of that nature. As ned on the principles of utility. But long as it is confined to cases of deit is very useful to a free common- linquency, it cannot be so abused : wealth to adhere to its fundamental but if it were once freed from that institutions; and whenever a sub- restraint, it would become unlimited, stantial reform can be effected, or, in other words, despotic." agreeably to their principles, it is So much for the Body of our artigenerally unwise, for the sake of cle-the Head you will find upon its quicker reformation, to act on max- shoulders--and now for the Tail. ims hitherto untried. The reform The “ inhabitants,” the “ citizens" here proposed, (see the Review), of Edinburgh declared to a man, wois limited by the practice of the man, and child, through the Eleven English constitution. It proposes Deacons, the seventeen thousand nothing unauthorized by that prac- signatures, and other public organs, tice, and it offers that security to all that they must have "the Bill, the who adopt it, against its leading to whole Bill
, and nothing but the Bill." consequences which cannot be fore. Very well. Let them have it. But, seen or conjectured. The more ex- not contented with the Bill, the tensive plan, on the other hand, quits greedy dogs (we go no farther) must the solid ground of the practice of also have the Right Honourable the constitution, and ventures on the Francis Jeffrey, Lord Advocate of slippery path of general speculation. Scotland,” for their member ;-and It necessarily appeals to principles, why? Because they swear that he which, in the hands of other men, has ever been the bosom-friend of may become instruments of farther, Reform, and has undertaken, as acand of boundless, alteration. Se- coucheur, to deliver her of the Bill. condly, we doubt whether the cau- The teeming matron is near her time, tion hitherto observed in this re- and from her bulk you may back her spect, be not founded on true wis- for trins. Yes !-she will, to a cerdom. It is the policy of a free state tainty, produce three chopping Bills. to keep up the importance and dig- But will the expecting grey-headed nity of popular privileges. The right sire trust his pregnant consort in the of election, the first of them all, ought hands of a man, who, through the long to be held high. The body of elect- space of twenty revolving years, so ors ought to be considered as a sort far from ever having promised to deof nobility, from which the members liver her, has been publicly threatenare not to be too easily degraded. ing, if ever Reform should conceive, As a monarchy and aristocracy have and his obstetrical services be called their splendour, eo democracy has in, to strangle her Bills in the birth its own peculiar dignity, which is all her three pretty little Bills at chiefly displayed in the exercise of one fell swoop," and leave
her like this great right. There is something, Rachel in Ramah heard weeping for in our opinion, truly republican in her children ? the policy which places the elective Let us try to be serious. Suppose franchise and the royal dignity on on the day of the Edinburgh election, the same footing, which secures both the Seventeen had, through Mr Black
wood, their spokesman, asked the their teeth; for their brain keeps Lord Advocate, “ if he would pledge them to its convictions, and so does himself to support, with all his might their conscience. There is no need and main, that moderate reform, for us to tie his Lordship down to away from which though he had once the opinions of the boldest, and rather averted his face, he had after- brightest, and maturest period of a wards made amends for that cold man's life--that between his 25th and disfavour, by promoting its cause in his 55th year; for were he to strugmany elaborate articles for twenty gle as madly as a bed-ridden lameter years--and to continue to the end of to leave a house on fire, to get free life that unflinching hostility to the from the thousand invisible bonds Bill, the whole Bill, and nothing but of thought and feeling that have been the Bill,' which he had persevered gathering about his heart and underin, through good report and through standing during all that long time, bad report, all through the prime of never, never, could he break away manhood, and well on to the verge from their bondage. His party came of old age”-and what sort of a face, into power-and
they could not do think ye, would his Lordship have without him in Scotland. To that put on and pulled in answer to the eminent situation he was called; for Bailie? Ask George Cruikshanks. it was due to his character, and al
Lord Althorpe, we think it was, lotted to him by the voice of his (bis Lordship assuredly is no long- country; nor could he, however reer a boy,) who spoke of the “puerile luctant, decline the service and the vanity of consistency !" Now, a honour. His acceptance was duegreater than Lord Althorpe-plain if to no other-to the friend of his William Wordsworth—has said, that brilliant prime-personal, philoso“ The boy is father of the man.
phic, and political-Lord Brougham. And I would wish my days to be He must support the men and their Bound each to each by natural piety." measures. And that he does so, is a This is good poetry--good philosophy proof, no doubt, that he has brought --but it seems bad politics. There, himself to see, or to think he sees, the consistent boy should beget an the Bill in a less disastrous light inconsistent father; or rather, the than, judging from all his opinions old boy should give the young one in the past, one would have believed not only a long lecture, but a sound possible; but it is no proof (nor can licking, for daring to fling in bis face this world, or this life afford one) puerilities that he has long outgrown, that he has deserted the doctrines a face once made of blushes, but now he espoused in his prime of youth, of brass-once bright as morn with and was faithful to through his man" the liquid dew" of candour and hood,“ even to the very time he did consistency, now black as night with not bid me tell it.” shifting shadows, through which But whatever the radical reformer break at times, struggling like drown- may say to this, and even had the ed starlight, a few fitful gleams of Lord Advocate thrown off his old truth “seen but by glimpses.” “The opinions and put on new-old opitimes are out of joint," when a re- nions, allow us to say, are not like spectable dull man like Lord Al- old clothes, the worse, but they are thorpe on political apostacy attempts almost always the better for wear. to be jocular.
So there lies his Lordship’s cast-off Mr Jeffrey is “in wit a man;" and, suit, if no longer fashionable, yet to in spite of Lord Althorpe's sneer, our classical taste, which tries all would that he were likewise“ in sim- things by an invariable standard, fit plicity a child;" for, with all due de- alike for Parliament or parlour, and ference to the House of Spencer, more becomingly exhibiting the light there is not one puerility—but there but vigorous and elegant proportions are many puerilities ; and better of his person, (we speak both literaleven after your time to be an in- ly and figuratively,) than that more fant, than before it a dotard. Men gorgeous apparel, though frilled of genius, and great talents, and mayhap with lace, and formed of vel. integrity, like the Lord Advocate, vet, in which he attended the Lord cannot change their opinions at will Chancellor's levee, and in which, one no, not in spite of their tongue and of these days, he will probably be attending the levee of the most gra- declared, is now in a state of transicious of all Whig-worshipped kings. tion, it has out-grown the institutions
Hundreds of thousands of persons, which were sufficient for its earlier now reformers to the utmost extent days, it has wants and desires which of the bill, and indeed to any extent are irrepressible, it is moving in a that the ministers might have chosen course which we may guide, but to go, went along with the anti-re- which we cannot arrest. We are form or moderate reform opinions supposed to be in a sort of chrysalis and arguments of Mr Jeffrey during state, but undergoing that transforupwards of twenty years; and now, mation which is to supply us with at Lord Brougham's bidding and new wings, to soar to a yet higher his, they have made-not a wheel - pitch of prosperity and happiness. not a gradual Scotch reel-but a The whole of this argument may be sharp turn-about on the heel, with true, and yet the Bill of Reform one shout “The Bill, the Bill!" Now, the worst possible, since the means weask these noisy persons, who have adopted to facilitate the transition, answered the arguments and set may be far too violent and sudden. aside the opinions that, during these I object to the whole doctrine, if aptwenty or thirty years, usurped the plied to justify a Government in efseat of their understandings? Cer- fecting great and immediate changes tainly not the Lord Advocate; for in national institutions. I can only though his speech on reform in Par- subscribe to it as a ground of gentle liament was a pleasant speech, and and gradual modification. It may be also not unphilosophical, it bore but a curious speculation of moral philolightly indeed on the Bill, and would sophy in the closet, to trace this have been every whit equally as working of a new spirit in the human suitable an eulogium on any or either race, and to measure the chances of of a hundred imaginable moderate its fermentation, eventually produreform bills. If it touched at all on cing some great and novel benefits to “ Principles or Details," it was with mankind. But I contend that our the touch of a feather. Indeed the faculties are too finite, and our exbest passage in it was little more perience too limited, to allow of than a rifaccimento of several pas- practically shaping our course upon sages in old numbers of the Blue confused perceptions of an occult and Yellow, that had originally been moral influence. The statesman is indited for a different purpose, and not justified in steering his course on it merely went to shew that as the sucħ metaphysical abstractions. He whole framework of society was must cling to certainties.-Who, for now wonderfully changed, and ex- example, is to calculate whether this panded by wealth and knowledge, so shock of conflicting principles in Euought the constitution of govern- rope is to be succeeded by a new ment and the system of representa- impulse of improvement, or whether tion. Sir John Walsh has some fine it is to shake the whole social fabric, reflections on this part of the Lord and throw us back into disorganizaAdvocate's speech -- which his Lord- tion and anarchy? Such a crisis may ship must himself admire, but which be at hand, but if so, I have not philoare far above the comprehension of sophy enough to contemplate such a ninety-nine in a hundred who are prospect without alarm; I am not now blustering about the Bill.
sanguine enough to look at it with Another view of this subject, a hope. History teaches us that these very ingenious and striking view of portentous periods, happily of rare it, was brought forward by the Lord occurrence, are, to those who live in Advocate. It is, perhaps, somewhat them, periods of great suffering and too abstract and philosophical in its calamity. Social order cannot take nature, to be exactly adapted to the an entirely new form, without wreckHouse of Commons, and would be ing the happiness of a whole generabetter suited to a literary essay. His tion in its fearful change. If, indeed, theory appeared to be, that we are one of these great mortal convulsions now arriving at an epoch of great is at hand, we cannot hope to avert change, that one of those mighty its progress. It belongs to greater crises which occur in the history of wisdom to foresee, to greater power civilisation is at hand. Society, it is to direct its terrible course. We all hope for happiness beyond the grave, what Mr Jeffrey-for example-was, yet we recoil at the prospect of that every night and day of his life, bedread change with instinctive hor- tween the 1800 and 1830 ? Do you, ror and avoidance. The night of re- gentlemen of the ink press, if- not of volution may be succeeded by a the wine, look back with disgust and bright aurora of prosperity and hap- anger on all the past life of that dispiness, but it is beyond our ken, and tinguished person ? Had he been cut probably it will never dawn to us. short in his career before the Bill The very insufficiency of our facul. arose to enlighten the Bar, bad his ties to calculate such stupendous re- miserable soul, think ye ! been for sults, renders it our plain duty, our ever lost? And what! if the newclear interest, to avert such trials, if light bath not yet dawned upon Mathey can be averted by prudence, by ga, and other frail sisters-nor on temper, by policy, or by courage." Christopher, and other frail brothers
But though the opinions sworn to -remember that, “ Though many for twenty or thirty years have been are called, few are chosen;" and that all Aung aside, or forgotten, by the though tergiversation is in the power serviles who never understood them; of all men, to a few only belongs no change has taken place anywhere conversion. but in the jumble in their brains. Praise ye then the Bill, the whole The opinions, as we said, are as good Bill—(Heaven forbid we should add, as ever, and most of them-are ours. nothing but the Bill!)—and we as lust
The truth is that an opinion-com- ily shall abuse it with a correspondmon name of an idea-is a strange ing deprecation. Let the groundthing. Seemingly sometimes change work of our article be-argument, ful in its colours as the chameleon, and the mere ornaments, vituperait is yet all one as the unchanging tion; and we care not, then, what blue of its native sky. Your eye is figure you make of us,nor we hope, in fault--and there is blame too, per- in our hands, need you—though we haps, in your position. Nay, who should seem mutually to make knows but you squint, and are posi- mouths at one another, like a brace tively in the jaundice ? Poor misera- of Frankensteins designed by Mrs ble crooked and yellow political opi- Shelly, and wrought in worsted by nion! You look at it superciliously, Miss Linwood. askance, and adunic, and the world Say not that we are Satan reprowonders at the elevation of your ving Sin. Compare our vilest abuse eyebrows, the misdirection of your of the most blackguard even of the eyes, and the dilation of your nostrils. Billmen, with yours of many of the You kick it from you as it is lying most respectable, and some of the inoffensively in your path, or trample most illustrious, of our Men-at-arms, it under your feet, as a weed or a and ours will absolutely appear paworm. But “igneus est olli virtus et negyrical. Every man, young or old, cælestis origo;" what you thought a that opened his mouth in the House crushed weed, springs upwards un- against the measure, was, while on harmed from your heel“ a brightcon- his legs at least, and generally ever summate flower”-what you thought since he sat down, in all the London a writhing worm,(and even if it were, newspapers, except two, a distinoh! why did you tread on it ?) was guished idiot, a fool likely one day in truth a wing-folded bird, that up to be famous, or a knave worthy of into the sun-light that shines not for being known across the most distant such children of the dust as he who
This is surely de trop-an knew not its simple plumage, soars unseemly neglect of the ne quid nisinging to Heaven's gate, and disap- mis—and will yet, we trust, so sicken pearing therein, mingles its hymns the country of all violent reformers, with those of the immortal choir. as to impel her to throw them from
But, to“ descend from these ima- her stomach. ginative heights,” will the people Suppose we give you some inwho work the press, consider for a stances of what we mean--not the moment what they are doing, in first that come to hand-for these are heaping such loads of hardly-human shocking-but two or three of a abuse on the heads of all moderate slighter sort, where the abuse on reformers ? What worse are we than their part, though gross, was not in
tolerable. No. Even these are lis- Are all men there likely, then, to be gusting—so, with a very few remarks, enlightened electors ? and does the let us hasten to our end.
bill amount in many large districts to Mr Horace Twiss is a very respect- universal suffrage ? able man, and a man of very excel- Sir John Walsh is not a man-is lent abilities; and that is no high- he?-to be abused and sneered at flown eulogium, surely, on one who and what says he about the L.10 was once in office-not, indeed, un- householders, and others of their der Lord Grey-but the Duke of class? Why, he says this—“I admit, Wellington. Well, then-Mr Horace and admit with that pleasure with
Twiss, being of opinion that L.10 was which I shall ever observe the real too low a qualification for the elect- improvement of my country, that a ive franchise among householders, great advance has been made of late was so presumptuous as absolutely years, in the acquirement of knowto rise up in the House, and, among ledge, and in the mental cultivation other matters, to say so—not sparing of a considerable portion of those to give calm utterance to what seems ranks. Among the opulent shopto us a self-evident truth, “ that a keepers in London, among the relarge portion of them must be men spectable retail dealers in the provinof narrow babits, scanty informa- cial towns, among the superior class tion, and strong prejudices—little of yeomen and farmers, I have met shopkeepers, and small attorneys” very generally a degree of intelli-and others, of whom the author gence and information not merely of Ecclesiasticus, he truly added, confined to their own business, but had no higher opinion, as public embracing a more extensive range. counsellors, than himself, who was I have observed a facility of language, not the son of Sirach. Now, such and a propriety and correctness of gentlemen as think, in opposition to thought, which denoted a considerMr Horace Twiss and the author of able share of education and refineEcclesiasticus, that little shopkeep- ment. If these persons really have ers and small attorneys are, for the a very eager desire to possess votes most part, men of wide habits, full for the return of members to Parliainformation, and weak prejudices, ment, I should certainly not be incliought assuredly to say so-but not ned to throw any obstacle in their with a loud voice, and “ visage all way. But I contend that Ministers inflamed”-neither should they have have, in their measure, exercised abused the ex-secretary like a gang no discrimination. The qualification of pickpockets. Why, the most im- Ministers have adopted will have the portant point about the whole bill is effect of introducing, not the intellithe character of the L.10 a-year house- gent and educated portion of the midholders—and if not a single syllable dle ranks alone, but a vast majority must be said in detraction from their very differently endowed. I am sure Liigh merits, why any debate? Pass that to no portion of the community the bill, and by vote by ballot-that would this measure be practically we may all be mutes.
inore unsatisfactory than to the vaLord Wharncliffe had no disposi- luable part of the middle classes, tion to dishonour those classes of who would be thus confounded with persons who pay L.10 rent for their those so much their inferiors both in houses, but he found, ou enquiry, attainments, property, and station in that, in large towns, and in the neigh. society." bourhood of London, from which The Lord Advocate, to be sure, sixteen additional members are to be drew a picture of L.10 a-year housesent to a Reformed Parliament, there hold life in great towns and cities, were few houses indeed under that exhibiting something like the relics rent. And if you add to the L.10 of the golden age. Alas ! his lord, householders in Mary-le-bone, Pan- ship's fancy was too poetical-and cras, and other parishes in the neigh- the records of the Sheriff-court in bourhood of the metropolis, the same Glasgow, for example, and the staclass of householders in the exten- tistical enquiries of Mr Cleland, (see sive villages of Greenwich and Wool- article on the French Revolution and wich, you will have a constituency Parliamentary Reform,) will conenormous beyond all calculation, vince him that he was dreaming of