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an Utopia. Then, his lordship said, berality of the great leaders of the that such tenants would always be Whigs has ever been of a peculiarly most happy to oblige their land- abstract and speculative character, lords by voting with them in all cases dealing much in generals, but little where a legitimate influence lay with marked by any unusual affability or the landlords. Sir Robert Peel, in urbanity of demeanour, or by any ata few words, dispelled that delusion traction of social or friendly inter-in which his lordship seems to see, course with less distinguished ranks.” in this provision of the bill, increase Most true indeed; and it is as creof the power of the aristocracy. In ditable to Sir John's temper as to his times of political quiet perhaps it talents, to be able to speak so mildly might be as he said ; but how of this part of the universal Whig now? or during any similar storm ? character. Even the very meanest
But we are leaving the subject, we born among them are as proud of fear, a few inches; all we meant now their birth as so many little loathsome to say was, that neither Mr Horace lucifers. Or if not proud, worseTwiss, nor any one else on his side ashamed; and they hang down their of the House, said a syllable that was heads before those who may accinot true, about those said “middle dentally have discovered that they orders”—and that the savage worry were " drab-delivered in a ditch," or in which he and others, who uttered whelped in a kennel. But of the the same truths, found themselves Whig-magnates of the land, the pride involved for weeks, was disgraceful of person and of place, as well as of even to the canine and canaille that birth, is so monstrous, that somewaged it
. Why, the Lord Advocate times they seem, as they pass mere himself—a few years ago in the mortals by, like maniacs conceiting Edinburgh Review—wrote a severer themselves to be each the angel Mitruth of these same middle or- chael. Even the few men of high ders,” which in the House he so mental endowments they have ever beautifully eulogized. “ It unfor- had among them, held their heads abtunately happens, that this sound surdly high after this fashion ; and so and pure body bave more to hope likewise—if after_no other-did the from the favour of government than women. Charles Fox himself-kindany other part of the nation. The hearted as he was—and having in the higher class may, if they please, be article of birth so very little to be independent of its influence; the proud of_except about electionlower are almost below its direct ac- time, held aloof in hauteur from bis tion; upon the middling classes it greasy constituents--nor was there acts with concentrated and unbroken on earth one more ignorant of the force. True or not, this opinion is common character and ordinary onnot very reconcilable with his Lord- goings of middle or lower life than ship’s enthusiastic delight in his ten- the Man of the People. Nor much pounders. They ought immediately knew of her fellow-creatures, out to be discharged.
of her own high circle, the beauBut why do not the Ministers, who teous and lovely Devonshire, al* build their bill on the character of though once she kissed a butcher. the middle orders, as on a founda- Eulogiums, then, from Whig lords tion, explain to us the virtues—and and lordlings, come with a bad grace the vices, if indeed they have any-of and a good guffaw, on the character that character ? Simply because they of the “middle orders.” They have know nothing about it. “I confess," not among them all the tenth-part of says Sir John Walsh," it appears to an idea of what is the meaning of me that they have the very loosest these two words. Nor is their ignoand most inaccurate ideas of those rance without excuse; for besides the orders, for whom they profess so disadvantage of the seclusion of their profound a respect. It is not won- own estate, they have this difficulty derful, that, contemplating this divi- to encounter on coming to the consion of society from the lofty emi- sideration of the subject--that it is nence of their aristocratic elevation, most various and complex and inmany shades and gradations in it cluding-which many others as well should have escaped them, quite ap- as they do not seem to be aware of parent to nearer observers. The li
differences of character and
of condition, all absurdly slumped a mighty, multiform, multifarious, together into one undistinguishable and multitudinous society as ours mass of confusion-under the unde- can be wisely consulted, and hapfinable terms—“ middle orders." pily promoted, and sacredly guarded
Why, in some countries, it is said by one arbitrarily-drawn line, which, lamentingly, by philanthropists hope- as it sweeps along, cuts off in a thouless of revolution, that there are, sand places the very best of those alas ! no middle orders—as in Spain. whom it was intended to include, That is not altogether true; but we and in as many places includes as shall suppose it so, and what is the many persons whom it was intended meaning of the sigh? Why, that to cut off ! there is a nobility and a mobility; or And this brings us to say a few say rather a few thousand tyrants and words on one argument, (argument !) a good many million slaves, with no of most illustrious silliness, used by "middle-order” between, no freemen. the weakest of the violent reformBut the Bill is about Britain, and in ers, in proof of the bill being a good Britain-in this sense—there is assur- and safe bill (which all but the weakedly a mighty “ middle order.” As est of the violent reformers know that most poetical of all political eco- it is not) for the aristocracy of the nomists, James Ramsay MacCulloch, land. It must be so-one frequentvaccinated the Stot, says of the gra- ly hears the feebles fiizz—" because dation of rich and poor soils, in his all the most enlightened of the noillustration of the Andersonian doc- bility are eager for the bill.” And trine of rent, that they run into each who are all the most enlightened of other“ like the colours of the rain the nobility? Why, they who are eager bow,” so may we say, that in our fa- for the bill--and because they are voured land thus blends into one Iris- eager for the bill. A very simple like arch, of which King and Consti- and compendious process it is, wheretution are the key-stones--all classes by to settle a somewhat difficult of the nation. True, that this is but a political question, to assume that a simile--and that our population is ford is enlightened because he seems not absolutely a rainbow. But the to admire a particular plan of Parliasimile suffices for illustration of a mentary reform; and then to assume great political truth. Attend now that that particular plan of Parliamentto this, we beseech you ;-between ary reform must therefore be most the aristocracy, itself gorgeous with admirable—although, perhaps, the various colours, and the democracy, very lord, who is now lost in adminot without its lights and shadows ration thereof, a few months before, too, there lies outspread at this would, had he dreamed of its existmoment before our eyes such an- ence, have shuddered at it as a monother living landscape as makes our strum horrendum, informe, ingens, cui hearts burn within us, and glory in lumen ademptum, and for a dozen being British-born. “ These”-say years before had been shouting, or we exultingly," these are the mid- rather squeaking for another biil, no dle orders--let them elect their own more like it than an albino to a blackarepresentatives—and,' come against moor. If this be not reasoning in a her all the world in arms, no fears circle, then never saw we a turnspit have we for the Isle of the Free !" in a wheel, nor in a cage a squirrel.
But stone-blind, or, which is worse, Sir John Walsh looks on this folly for utter gloom is not so dangerous with the eye of a political philosoas imperfect glimmer, rather pur- pher. “If,” says he, “we could find blind must those ministers be, who, an adequate guarantee for the seculooking in vain from the distant alti- rity of the constitution, in the great tude of their own station, through a personal stake which the ministers, as glass that, even to clear eyes, would individuals, have in its preservation, shew objects distortedly as well as there can be no doubt that we might dimly-and in case of a not unlikely safely dismiss all anxiety upon the blunder by the unscientific, perhaps subject. The list of the cabinet is upside down-think they see the peculiarly and loftily aristocratic. glorious middle orders of England Of fourteen members who compose in-the L. 10 householders !-and be it, ten are in the House of Lords. lieve that the great interests of such of the four who are in the House of Commons, one is the heir-apparent dangerous audacity of reform, can of a wealthy and distinguished peer- their fears be allayed by any conage, one an Irish peer, and one a sideration of the hopes of a set of baronet of very ancient family, and men who, though they have indeed very extensive landed property. Nor much to lose in revolution, have do the other members of govern- neither been gifted by nature with ment present a less dignified cata- any uncommon sagacity or foresight, logue of noble names. Every con- nor instructed by experience in that solation which these circumstances high world-wisdom, without which can afford us, the 'certainty that, if statesmen must not think to lay even they do not misconceive the con- the hands of healing on the magnifisequences of their own measures, cent fabric of our constitution, even they will pay a fearful penalty for though it should seem to exhibit their error, we possess in a supreme some few slight symptoms of timedegree. But we must take this com- worn decay. fort with some qualifications."
But granting that each “ Order" We must indeed. For, set aside knows best its own interests-and the Canning party-whose reputa- generally speaking we should never tion for ability is higher than for any dream of denying it—though as little thing else--and who do not appear will any rational mind deny that at to have had or to have much to say times the judgment of each“ order” (interpret that as you will) on these is dismally darkened-we have not measures is not this not heaven. yet been able to bring ourselves to born but high-born ministry, as Sir believe that the majority of those John Walsh says, “totally inexpe- persons belonging to my Lord Grey's rienced and untried in the manage. * order," who are as devoted as he ment of state affairs ?” Only think to the preservation of its privileges, of the Budget! The same gentle- agree with him in seeing security to man finely and truly says," the qua- them in this all-providing Bill
. We lities of mind, the habits, the des- believe that the great majority of his cription of talent, requisite to form “ order” see in it alarming perilsa brilliant rôle in the ranks of an and that hundreds as wise and as opposition, are very distinct from firm as he, in awe of the disastrous those necessary to a statesman ad- signs of great change now lowering ministering the affairs of a great on the horizon, fear that they who nation. There is a certain tact of are now sowing the wind will reap government wholly different from the whirlwind. the art of attack in debate. The Again-is this “ order” alone, of all present ministers have had no op- enlightened orders, the best judge of portunity of acquiring this by the its own well-being? Is it wiser thaneducation of office, and they have the church? The Church has declared not yet shewn among them that na- its sense of the “scope and tendency? tive genius which would enable them of this Reform-that it is fraught with to dispense with previous training. the seeds of ruin. But Cambridge and We have not, therefore, in addition Oxford are dim, dark places, that lie to the assurance which their own out of the day! Owl-eyed, moping state affords us, that confidence monks alone haunt their cloisters. which in times of difficulty and The universities are sacred to ignodanger we feel in seeing the powers rance and superstition-the heads of of government wielded by hands of colleges, in the march of intellect, beknown and practised skill, directed hind the tails of pot-houses, and the by heads of true and experienced bodies of mechanics’institutions, who ability. There is often so much of lead the van of the age. Such is the recklessness and temerity in those insolent slang of the worthless leborn to great advantages and fortune, gions of libellers and liars that, that I should much doubt whether among the provisions of their darling in fact prudence would be most ge- Bill, grimly foresee, as they think, the nerally found in its possessors.” No- overthrow of our church-establishthing can be more admirable ; and ment-of that “ Church-of-Englandsuppose, then, that millions are as- ism," as it was christened by an old tonished at what seems to them the heathen, who, in his delirious dotage, bas been long babbling at the head ceeding to legislate upon this vital of the worse than rabble-rout, the question, with the glimmering and radical ring of Reform.
uncertain lights of former documents, But much more might be said, with and extracted from the cobwebs effect, on the folly of attributing all of official Bureaux. We can make the wisdom resident in their“order" every allowance for the difficulties to the Seven Wise Men. On getting of their situation; but it was not less into office, the Ministers unasked — a matter of regret for the country, at least we do not remember that that a subject, involving its national any body asked them-volunteered existence, should not have had the three pledges, Peace, Retrenchment, good fortune to be brought forward and Reform. The Lord Advocate, in by an Administration strong enough one of his electioneering speeches, to be gentle, cautious, and deliberate. called them banners-and also stars. We are not reassured on entering Retrenchment is a queer star, some- this dangerous path, because we must thing like a farthing candle; the star tread it in the dark, and follow leadof Reform about as big and bright as ers who advance with the reeling, an oil-lamp before the use of gas- yet hurried steps of desperate weakthat of Peace, no doubt, is respectable, ness.” As for Lord Durham, he may and though not much of an original, very easily be a wiser man than he may pass in a crowd. As to banners, was when he framed the plan of Rethe only one that had any beauty in form that fell under the castigation the eyes of the Chancellor of the of the Edinburgh Review ; but the Exchequer was, as he thought, the plan itself being paper, does not imtricolor; whereas it turned out to be prove in wisdom by age, nor like a but a fancy-flag of some Spittalfields winter pear, by lying on the floor of weavers. Retrenchment, it turned a garret. It is the same crude plan it out, had been carried to its utmost was, when by the Lord Advocate by the Wellington Ministry; and these “with spattering noise rejected ;" Whigs, less scrubby than they were yet now with avidity is it swallowed esteemed by themselves and others, piecemeal by all the Ministers. Whatforth with added to the Army and ever fruit it be, it is not worth a Navy Estimates, and refused to adopt plum-a green gage it certainly is the recommendations of that very not-nor yet a Magnum-bonumcommittee for retrenchment of the Ci- nor should we be surprised were the vil List, whose appointment had been Premier himself yet to choke on the the cause of their accession to power. stone. The Bill, at least, is not As to peace, they illustrated the prin- Brougham's Bill. But Brougham's ciple of non-intervention by a system Bill, was to be the delight of gods of interference as various as unlucky; and men, children and old women; and an armament was on the very and how then happens it that a Bill, point of being dispatched by them to which is not only not Brougham's the Scheldt. We refer those who are Bill, but a Bill which some ten years not familiar with the Greatest Blun- ago had his contempt and derision, der of the Age, to an article in this should now be the Bill of all Bills, number of Maga on their Budget. and pregnant with salvation ? So There they stood on the brink of much at present-and no more-for being-over which they were about the embodied wisdom of the “ Orto be blown by the breath of a na- der.” tion's ridicule. Their brazen coun- Is this, then, an aristocratical or a tenances seemed scorn-proof; but democratical Bill? And whatever it their feeble bodies were staggering really be, what do ministers think it? under the burden of derision. In Let us hear the well-weighed and this pitiable predicament, they clung impartial opinion of Sir John Walsh, for life to the Bill. « In this very a man esteemed by all respectable critical position,” says Sir John parties, and allowed by them to be Walsh," they had no power to de- one of the most enlightened men of lay the Question of Reform, until the age. His opinion may be thus they could procure for themselves stated partly in his words, and partly and for the House the necessary re- in our own : turns and information ; they had no The first decided accession to the choice between retirement, or pro- democratic influence is—the proposed destruction of fifty-eight or sixty observer, is the transfer of the franmembers. The 168 seats which it is chise to the large towns, chiefly maproposed to disfranchise, are filled nufacturing, in England, and to the by a class of members eminently at- great suburbs of London, in all 44 ; tached to all the existing institutions (recollect the statement respecting of the country. And one of the best those suburbs we gave a few pages arguments in favour of close bo. back from Lord Wharncliffe, and roughs, he wisely says, in contradice which we see confirmed by that untion to the follies we have quoted confirmed paper-voter the Courier, above, is, that they afford a field, a whose affection for L.10 householdnoble one, for the fair play of intel- ers doth fluctuate to and fro like the lect; and that a private gentleman soap-suddy waves in a wash-hand has, through them, an opening to de- basin,) in Scotland and Ireland 14 clare his honest convictions, without more; all these returned by electors, subserviency to the dictation of one voting according to the very low rate peer, or of twenty thousand opera- of qualification fixed on, (whether it tives. But be this as it may, the is to be adhered to or not, the Lord men who have filled the seats about Advocate, in his late letter, sayeth to be disfranchised, have always been not, because he knoweth not, although accused by their opponents of be- in a postscript, always the most imlonging to the conservatives. Well portant part of a letter to or from a then, since 168 are to be taken away, sady, he tells the Pensive Public that and 108 or 110 added, there is a re- circumstances had occurred, since he duction of about a tenth of the whole concluded the main body of his episHouse, and it is accomplished by a tle, to confirm him in the belief that deduction to the whole amount of the no alteration is to be made-or, as we difference, from the number of those should say in his ignorance on the members, who, whether in the mi- only point on which the Pensive Puhnisterial or opposition sides, are, from lic required any elucidation of his their class and the tenure of their bill) and you get another tenth of seats, likely to unite in defending the the House added to the democragreat institutions of the country. tic scale, or elected by voters on
The next accession to the demo- whom no aristocratic or permanent cratic weight, in his opinion, arises influence of any kind can be suppofrom leaving so many flourishing sed to exist. Add to all this the throwtowns of the second class with only ing open the right of voting, from the one member, and adding only one corporations to the L.10 householdmember to several great manufactu- ers, in towns like Bath, Bury St Edring towns. He remarks, that that monds, &c., which is of course ansort of
compromise which now takes other transfer of power to the demoplace very generally throughout the cracy, exactly equivalent to that of a kingdom, between the influence of close borough to a large town—and the upper classes resident in coun- in counties the weight--not inconsitry towns, and the numerical majo- derable-thrown into the popular rity of the lower-ending, for the scale by copyholders and leaseholdmost part, in each returning a mem- ers; and who, after examining and ber whose opinions assimilate to their enumerating all these additions to the own, is an arrangement which will democratic influence in the state, be no longer practicable under the direct or indirect, will not agree with new Bill. For with but one mem- Sir John Walsh, that the change in · ber-in these all party spirit will be our Government is even more vast
more violent, and there will be a and comprehensive than at first view struggle everywhere between what we should have been led to suphe calls, observingly, the aristocracy pose ? and democracy of the middle or- Why—the Lord Advocate himselfders; and in the sixty-four boroughs the man of the people-never dreamwhich could, under the new arrange- ed, in his fairest visions of reform, ment, return one member only, a of any such victory as this won by great preponderance would be given his democratic constituents. “ The to the spirit of pure democracy. first article in a wise plan of reform
The next element of democracy, ation, would be, in our opinion, the pointed out by this calm and acute immediate addition of twenty mem