ページの画像
PDF
ePub

6

an inward turning of the eye-a consciousness on the part of the artist that he was sketching himself as well as the Great Commoner. It relates to the intrigue by which Chatham was supplanted, and is as follows: There can be little doubt that this

scheme was only rendered practicable by the hostility which the 'great Minister's unbending habits, his contempt of ordinary men, and his neglect of every-day matters, had raised against

him among all the creatures both of Downing Street and St. • James's. In fact, his colleagues, who necessarily felt humbled ' by his superiority, were needlessly mortified by the constant

display of it; and it would have betokened a still higher reach of understanding, as well as a purer fabric of patriotism, if he,

whose great capacity threw those subordinates into the shade, and before whose vigour in action they were sufficiently willing 'to yield, had united a little suavity in his demeanour with his 'extraordinary powers, nor made it always necessary for them to acknowledge as well as to feel their inferiority.'

In the absence of more explicit information, we are led to attribute Lord Brougham's exclusion from the councils of his former associates to the very defects to which he here points attention, and on which he so justly animadverts. The case is singular, and not devoid of instruction : but, admitting all which can justly be urged on these grounds, the country is still entitled to ask why one of the earliest and most consistent, and confessedly the most able of its popular chiefs, was thrown off by his party, at a time when his services was most needed and would have proved most valuable ? We wait for the reply which coming times will furnish to this query. Whether it was wise in the Whig ministers to alienate so important an ally; one who had served their party beyond all other men, and stood confessedly in its foremost rank, is now no longer a question of doubt. The parliamentary experience of recent sessions has determined the point, and the ministers themselves must see that it has done so. It may have been right, for aught we shall say at present, to drive Achilles from their camp, but that it was eminently impolitic, and has proved most disastrous, we need use no words to show. The records of the Upper House-its debates and its votes—fully establish this.

It must not be supposed, from what we have said, that we are any admirers of Lord Brougham's recent doings. We make the confession in very sadness of heart, but it is extorted from us, and as we have freely expressed our admiration of his talents, and gratitude for his former services, we now as freely give utterance, though with very different feelings, to the mortification awakened by many of his recent exhibitions, in which passion has been strangely mistaken for principle, and the bitterness of a galled and mortified spirit has been thinly veiled under the guise of patriotism. We regret, deeply regret, that another instance has been added to those previously on record, of great intellectual powers unsustained by a corresponding moral elevation; a long course of enlightened and consistent public conduct marred, if not utterly despoiled, by the predominance of one dark passion, which knows no object, and seeks no gratification, but the indulgence of its own vindictive temper. There is scarcely one of our public men, of whom we would not rather have been compelled to make this admission, than of Lord Brougham. We would rather have given up some dozen others, than have relinquished our confidence in Henry Brougham, the champion of a persecuted and murdered Queen; the unbought advocate of the martyred Smith; the zealous friend of popular education; the very personification of a nation's feelings, when, in a strain of eloquence unrivalled in modern times, he besought the infatuated members of the Upper House not to rouse 'a peace-loving, but a resolute people,' by the rejection of the Bill on which they had set their hearts.*

We do not censure his lordship for being frequently in opposition to her Majesty's present ministers, but for so conducting that opposition as to render his oratory powerless, and to awaken sympathy, rather than otherwise, for the men whose measures he has scattered to the wind. We are only giving utterance to the feeling which is all but universal among true reformers when we say, that the acrimony and vindictiveness, the obvious strugglings of wounded pride and of ungratified ambition recently exhibited by his lordship, have done more to damage his reputation, and to shake the confidence of his friends, tban could have been effected by his exclusion from a dozen such administrations as now exists. Determined to make his power felt, where his aid was spurned, he has forgotten the feelings of bystanders, and the regard that was due to his own high character.

We are no admirers of Lord Melbourne's administration, and have now relinquished our last hope of them. For a time we were willing to believe-nay, we thought it certain-that their return to office would be attended with a change in their policy. We did not conceive it possible that any set of men could be found—much less any professed Liberals—to retain office, after having confessedly lost the confidence of the Lower House, unless prepared to bring their policy and their measures into better harmony with the known sentiments of their supporters. Experience, however, has taught us our error; yet we do not regret the hopes we cherished, or the public demonstrations which were made. The country has thus vindicated itself, and left the minister and his associates without excuse. The opportunity proffered them has, indeed, been lost, and history will testify

• Lord Brougham's Speeches, ii. 630.

whose was the imbecility, or the lukewarmness, or the treachery to which the failure is attributable. If it be true, as some allege, that certain sections of the Whig party are too purely aristocratic to allow of any further concession to the popular will, then we fear that the glory of Whiggery is gone; that it has accomplished its work; has performed its vocation;

and must henceforth be content to act a subordinate and inglorious part in the guidance of affairs. On many accounts we regret this, but the course of events cannot be stopt, nor are the interests of a great nation to be sacrificed to the pride of an aristocratical faction, whether Whig or Tory. The imbecility of the present government has long been notorious :-all that its bitteresť foes could desire was that it should brand itself with the folly of which it has recently been guilty.

Some change must occur, ere long, and better any than that the present state of things should continue. We are fully persuaded that there is no love of Toryism in the heart of the people; and we cannot, therefore, share in the terror with which some good folks contemplate the possibility of Sir Robert Peel's premiership. Come when it may-and the more powerfully, the sooner it happens-it will sound an alarm throughout the empire which will make men bestir themselves.

In the approaching struggle, we are not without hope, that Lord Brougham willyet enact a part worthy of his better self; that, laying aside all personal considerations; forgetful of wrongs, if wrongs have been perpetrated; nobly superior to all vindictiveness, and alive only to the inspirations of true genius and patriotism; he will come forth to the advocacy of a nation's cause, against the embattled hosts by which the relics of feudal times, and the selfishness of short-sighted and most pernicious monopolies are defended. Identified with the people by a long series of useful labour, his truest glory consists in following out the policy of his former life, regardless of the neglect of his recent associates, and disdainful of the cheers with which a Tory majority of the Upper House are now accustomed to welcome the bitter effusions of his wrath. An unoccupied field is yet before him, and he has no competitor if found true to himself. The popular mind calls for some leader in whose talents and integrity it may repose confidence, and would hail with rapturous joy any indication of his lordship's return to that sober, enlightened, and masculine view of the signs of the

times,' by which he was once distinguished. Some persons may deem our anticipations delusive, but we cannot yet consent to relinquish the hope, that the calmer judgment and deep-searching of his lordship’s intellect will find utterance in the language attributed by the great dramatist to young Harry of Monmouth, when the nobler elements of his nature, rising in triumph over the follies and vices of youth, prompted him to exclaim,

Yet herein will I imitate the sun,
Who doth permit the base contagious clouds
To smother up his beauty from the world,
That when he please again to be himself,
Being wanted, he may be more wondered at,
By breaking through the foul and ugly mists

Of vapours that did seem to strangle him.' We have exceeded the space allotted us, and must close. Before doing so, however, we remark, that if any of our observations have exceeded the just limits of our province, we have only to plead in extenuation of the fault, the deep interest which we feel in the public life of Lord Brougham, and our solicitude that his name should go down to posterity among the illustrious few, whose conduct has been worthy of the highest powers with which our nature can be endowed.

Brief Notices.

Encyclopædia Britannica. Seventh Edition, greatly improved, with

the Supplement to the former editions incorporated. Illustrated by an entirely new set of Engravings on Steel. Edited by Professor Napier. Part CVIII. Edinburgh : Adam and Charles Black.

In common with a large class of our countrymen, we were much gratified by the commencement, some few years since, of the publication of a new and greatly improved edition of this standard work ; and we avail ourselves of the appearance of the present Parl, to record our admiration of the spirited manner in which the undertaking has been carried forward, and to commend it to the confidence and patronage of our readers. No expense has been spared by the enterprising publishers in bringing up the work to the present advanced state of the sciences. A very large proportion of the articles have been recomposed, and vast additions have been made to their number. Of the literary and scientific character of the work, the name of the Editor and the list of his distinguished contributors, are an ample guarantee. The most eminent men in the several departments of human knowledge have been engaged, and their papers are every way worthy of their fame. The mode of publication is eminently convenient, and greatly facilitates the taking in of the work by persons of limited incomes. It is issued in Parts once a fortnight at 3s., in Monthly Parts at 6s., and in half volumes, which appear quarterly, at 18s. As the work is now nearly completed, a new issue has been commenced of a half volume monthly, to meet the convenience of new subscribers. The present Part contains several articles of sterling

value; on one of which, Religious Missions,' by James Douglas, Esq., of Cavers, we had intended to have dwelt at some length. From this purpose however we are induced to desist, as we intend, ere long, to enter somewhat largely on the subject of this paper, when we shall make free use of the valuable suggestions which it contains. English Stories of the Olden Time. By Maria Hack, Two volumes.

12mo. London: Harvey and Darton.

One of the most instructive and captivating works for young people which we have met with for a long time past. Having witnessed its power of rivetting their attention, we can speak confidently on this point, and would recommend all parents and instructors of youth to place it immediately in the hands of their charge. The form of stories has been preferred to that of a continuous narrative, and the style maintained is at once clear, simple, and attractive. Having stated in a preface distinguished by its modesty and good feeling, that the work was “intended for children of twelve or thirteen years old,' Mrs. Hack subsequently remarks • Those who have finished their school education will find much in these pages which the abridgments used in the seminaries they have quitted, do not contain ; and, without pretending to the dignity of a regular history, I hope these little narratives and conversations will convey a more distinct and faithful idea of the events and characters which they attempt to delineate, than has yet been offered to the notice of young persons.'

We need say no more than, that in placing these volumes in the hands of our own children, we feel assured that we are at once securing their growth in useful knowledge, and the innocent recreation of their minds.

The Revival of Religion. By James Douglas, Esq., of Cavers.

Edinburgh : A. and C. Black

An admirable tribute, by one of our best writers, to the cause of pratical Christianity, which we commend to the immediate, most attentive, and prayerful perusal of all our readers. The pamphlet is printed in a cheap form for general circulation, and our rich men would be doing good service to the church, were they to distribute it among their poorer brethren.

Journal of Three Voyages along the Coast of China in 1831, 1832,

and 1833, with Notices of Siam, Corea, and the Loo-Choo Islands. By Charles Gutzlaff. To which is prefixed an Introductory Essay on the Policy, Religion, &c., of the Chinese. By the Rev. W. Ellis. Third Edition. London: Thomas Ward and Co.

The work of a man who has done more to break down the barrier which prevents the entrance of Christian missionaries into China, than any other human being. It must therefore be read with interest by all who are solicitous to promote the spiritual welfare of mankind; and we rejoice to see upon our table a third edition, with a suitable

« 前へ次へ »