Obrazy na stronie


number,) we are beginning “to collect desirous of more intimate union with our scattered forces,” and to concen It will tend in no small degree, trate here a literature and a communi- we are confident, to smooth the turcating medium of our own. Could we but bulence of faction, thus to cast taste ensure such contributions as these, we and refinement like oil upon the waters. might look to vying with the “modern We have a natural jealousy of receivAthens” at no very distant period. It ing our intellectual aliment from hands should be the object of the thinking not native. We seize with avidity portion of the public, the gentry, the and pride what we know to be indiaristocracy, the talent of the land, to genolis. Let us hope that the patriconfirm and strengthen what has begun otic example of Dr. Anster will be folonder such happy auspices. Let them lowed by all Irish aspirants to literary be assured, that the domestication of fame ; and that Xeniola will but be intellect will tend more than they are one of the earliest of a series of popuaware to unite us to our fellow-country- lar productions, emanating from the men at the other side of the channel, head and heart of our countrymen, and and to render those fellow-countrymen given publicity through the Irish press.



If there were any touch of virtue, or To describe the ministers of the pretrace of magnanimity in the conduct of sent day adequately, we must borrow the Melbourne administration, one the langnage of a more eloquent pecould hardly belp being moved to some riod— we must take the liberiy of apdegree of pity at its present abject con- plying to the body of which this admiditivn,our indignation at iis crimes nistration is composed, the language inight give way, in some measure at used by an “illustrious Irishman," releast, to our commiseration of its specting an individual. wretchedness. But there is nothing in this administration with which any “ In their mind, all is shuffling, ambifeeling of respect or sympathy can pos- guous, dark, insidious, and little ; nothing sibly be associated. Our abhorrence simple, nothing unmixed, all affected of its mischief, is inevitably combined plainness, and actual dissimulation. A with disgust at its meanness. Admi. beterogenous mass of contradictory qualinistrations, like individuals, may be ties, with nothing great but their crimes, great even in their crimes— with a sa. and even those contrasted by the little

ness of their motives, which at once detanic spirit, there may be satanic

note both their baseness and their meanstrength, but this administration is as

ness, and mark them for traitors and paltry, as it is pernicious. The enormous evil which it produces, is not by speeches, there is the same mixture of

tricksters. Nay, in the style of their the exertion of power, but through the

vicious contrarieties. The most grovelabandonment of duty. Even while we behold the coming destruction, which, Aated language, giving mock consequence

ling ideas, they convey in the most inthrough the agency of these ministers, to low cavils, and uttering quibbles in hehas been allowed to beyin its frightful roics, so that their compositions disgust progress, we feel that there is nothing the mind's taste, as much as their actions for great men to grapple with. We excite the soul's abhorrence.” cannot fight with truckling and with treachery. The present administra These words fairly describe the Meltion is a foe, in the neglect of which bourne administration—the administrathere is ruin, but in the conflict with tion which Mr. O'Connell sneeringly which there is no glory. Thus the compliments, upon its disposition to do whole character of public affairs is de- justice to Ireland. Certainly no one graded, and the honest politician is knows its disposition better. He made obliged to descend from the dignity of the discovery at Lichfield House. Its a soldier of the state to the condition talents lie had known long before, and of a constitutional constable-a watcher gave the world the benefit of his knowof faithless servauts, who open the ledge, in his celebrated epistles of Ocdoors to robbers, for the sake of sharing tober, 183 t, to Lord Duncanuon. Mr.

O'Connell very accurately estimates

the spoil.

[ocr errors]

the qualities of the administration, and selves, with which public sentiment is uses it accordingly.

imbued. Does any one deny that this But be ministers what they may, they is true? Let him consider for a mohave their reward. If they pocket the ment what source there is of public public money, they crouch under public sentiment in which this contempt may contempt. If they enjoy the wages of not be traced. It is true that in some perfidy, they also endure the suffering public journals, and at some public of sin. If any man supposes that, meetings, certain measures of ministers though despicable, they do not feel that are applauded. But examine a little they are so, let him walk into the farther-look into the ground of that Houses of Lords and Commons, and applause, and you will see how cerbehold them there. He cannot be de- tainly contempt is associated with it, ceived ; he will see degradation too and how likely the applause is to be palpable to be overlooked even by the merely politic, while the contempt is pomposity and preposterous self-esteem genuine and personal. The republican of Whig-Radical ministers. He will Dissenters, and the political Romanists, see ministers of State cowering beneath for example, applaud ministerial meathe lash of Mr. Roebuck's petulant and sures, when they are favorable to reAippant volubility, and Under Secre- publicanism, and hostile to. the Estaries humbly addressing themselves to tablished Church. They applaud the level of Mr. Hume's honesty, ca- ministers, when ministers act as their pacity, and forbearance. Is it in mor- tools. This they may do without tal man to do this without feeling it? having any respect for ministers, and The malignity of the human disposi- whenever ministers cease to be their tion is generally in proportion to its tools, the real nature of the applause meanness, and can we suppose that and the support which they have resuch men as these ministers, do not ceived from Republicans is soon made writhe with inward rage, while en- manifest. Consider the gracious opendeavouring to avert the dull growl of ing of Mr. Roebuck's speech on Canathe arithmetical member for Middle- dian affairs--a speech to which no sex, or bearing, in silence, the sharp minister attempted a reply. “A few invectives of the republican member nights since," said hefor Bath ? Most assuredly they would

“ A few nights since, in the very place express

their resentment if they dared; I now stadi, 'I found myself advocating, but these members, if their antago- in conjunction with his Majesty's minisnists one day, will be their supporters ters, justice to Ireland. I did so, and I the next. Ministers must not offend would fain have hoped that they did so those by whose aid they live. The not in obedience to any pressing erigency republican phalanx must not be af- —not for the sake of present erpediency fronted, because the King's ministers, but in accordance with great, lasting, and though carrying on monarchy to-day, universal principles of legislation -with and, therefore, supported by the Con- those principles which teach us that if we servatives, will be engaged in work desire the people to be well governed, we tomorrow, wbich Conservatives will must allow them to govern themselves. oppose, and which Republicans can This hope, however, has been raised only support without violating their prin- to be disappointed—a week has not passed ciples. Conservatives, as the minis- before my illusion has been destroyed, ters know, will not desert their prin- and I am compelled to see that we in ciples upon party or personal grounds, vain desire such conduct from men in and therefore, these magnanimous mi. office amongst us, for they have neither nisters feel it safe to insult them.- the capacity nor the courage to be con

sistent.” They are still sure of their support against the enemies of the Church and Here is the opinion of the radicals. the Throne. But the republicans they How much, then, is their applause are not so sure of, and them, there worth to the ministers, in the estimafore, they do not dare to offend, tion of those who intelligenıly judge ? even when their attitude is the most That for which they are applauded is, adverse.

it seems, the practical promotion of the Nor is it, I think, conceivable, that any principle of self-government, or, in convenient cloud of self-conceit should other words, the principle that the so entirely shut out a view of the pub- people shall govern the people. With lic sentiment from these ministers, as profound deference to that most imto free them from the sting of that petuous radical philosopher, Mr, Rot contempt of their measures and them- buck, I take leave to declare my opi.

nion, that his "principle" is neither different sort of representatives from more nor less than a modification of those which the House of Commons the thing called "nonsense.” Most now exhibits. certainly, however, as he himself will It is upon the representatives of the admit, it is not the principle of the new-made boroughs that the present constitution of Great Britain and Ire- ministers depend for their parliamenland, even as altered by that act of the tary strength. These representatives legislature, which, in a spirit of for- are generally men of coarse and confimality or of derision, is similarly de- dent minds, who have begun to study scribed as an act for the “ Reform” of their political books of practice, somethe Commons House of Parliament. what late in life. They appear in the Reform indeed! But let that pass—I political world possessing power withknow what many good men and true out generosity, and age without expeintended it should be, and for that rience. They take up specious theocause I hold my hand. The end to ries, founded upon a low conception of which I mean to come is this, and it utility, and measured perhaps by the defies contradiction by any one who commonest rules of vulgar arithmetic. will use his eyes and ears, and tell the Their views are neither elevated by truth-there is scarcely any public sup- the enthusiasm of youth, nor corrected port of this administration, except on by a mature contemplation of public the part of men who openly avow po- affairs. They are stubborn without litical objects, which they as openly any sense of the dignity of perseverdeclare that these ministers are afraid ance. They are not shocked at low to avow. How does this differ from contrivance. They are easily flattered. contempt?

They are fond of the appearance of But ministers are upheld by the power. They are jealous of those favorable verdict of the House of Com- above them harsh and unfeeling mons. This may be true to the letter, towards those below them. They are but no further. I wish to see this not gentlemen in soul, nor anything matter put upon its right footing. In like it. the first place, whatever may be said of Of such men is the ministerial body the present power of the lower house, in the House of Commons composed. I cannot look upon the spirit which There are a very few of the old race of prevails in it as any thing like a per- English country gentlemen who still manent spirit. It does not sympathise vote with them; and that small number with the heart of the nation. The is continually growing smaller. The mighty change produced by the “ Re- men I have endeavoured to describe form" act is yet in its infancy. That are the ministerialists : the rest of the new system is still acting, and will for House of Commons is made up of the some years yet to come, be acting Republicans and the Conservatives ; upon circumstances which grew up of 'one class, who would uproot and and attained their force and their di- destroy the church, in order that “the rection under a different system. The people might govern themselves,” in representation of many of the large matters of religion, upon “the voluntowns is enjoyed as the reward of the tary principle,” and would also uproot agitation which was found useful in the and destroy the monarchy, and the demolition of the old system. Old aristocracy, in order that

the people enmities are still at work, or the habits might govern themselves," through which grew out of them are still ope- the sole instrumentality of the House rating, when the grievances, real or of Commons-of another class, who supposed, which gave rise to these would uphold the church and the enmities, are gone for ever. A few monarchy, upon principles of religious years, ten or a dozen, perhaps, must and political duty-principles for the alter all this. We know what an al- sake of which they maintain, that all teration the two years between the sacrifices ought to be made, and which first and second general elections under it cannot be expedient to forego. the Reform Act produced. In Ireland Of these two parties the views and the trade of agitation is always kept objects are at least intelligible, and up, let what will happen, and the con- their conduct is consistent with these tinuing cause will produce a continued objects. Whether they support or effect; but in Great Britain, in spite of oppose the administration, these two the Dissenters, the case is different. parties remain true to their principles. As agitation, and the old promoters of When the minister proposes any meait, die away, we may expect a very sure the tendency of which is to un

dermine established institutions in cipled government, and wrong becomes church and state, he is sure to find the right. The old opinion is given upRepublicans with him, and the Con- any thing, every thing is given up, exservatives against him ; when he ven- cept place! tures to uphold these institutions the To do these ministers justice, how. circumstances are reversed-he bas the ever, let it be admitted that within a support of the Conservatives, while he few days, they have removed one of the is obliged to endure the loud re- grounds on which previously they were proaches and the hostile votes of the justly charged with inconsistency. Up republicans. It is, however, to be to the present session of parliament, a observed, that as the general character great difference was observable in their of ministerial policy is destructive, treatment of the Protestant Church in there is a general and pervading sym- England and in Ireland. In Ireland, pathy between ministers and the re- the church was comparatively weak, and publicans, and the latter are uniformly surrounded by turbulent, implacable depended upon for succour when the foes. The government, whose legitiquestion in controversy concerns the mate business is protection, threw the existence of the administration. It is weight of its influence upon the side only now and then, during some acci- of persecution, and therein acted upon dental extravagance of virtue, that the its usual system of siding with the Whig ministers of the king are found party which seems, for the time, the to oppose the decided enemies of the strongest, wholly regardless not only established monarchical government. of the abstract justice of the case, but

The principles upon which the con- of the law of the land, which, in the servative and the democratic parties , persecution of the church, was habituproceed, are, as I have said, broad, ally violated. In England, the church plain, and intelligible. They are also was strong, and in spite of dissent, the directly contrary the one to the other; still paramount religious interest; every and, consequently, whether supporting where commanding respect, and interor opposing the minister, these two woven in many ways, with the most parties are always found on opposite permanent interests of property and sides. But, in the ministerial policy, legal right. The minister did not ven. there is no intelligible principle, except ture to attack this establishment, and it be that of yielding to clamor and in- every step taken with regard to it, was timidation, what they refuse upon any taken in concert with the heads and other plea that may be submitted to rulers of the church. Within these them. That which men of prin- few days, this favorable consideration ciple hold to be true or false, in all of the church in England appears to times, and under all circumstances, have been abandoned.

So lately as they regard as affairs to be determined last June, the leading minister of the by time, and the convenience of the crown in the House of Commons de day. The principle of the appropria- clared in emphatic terms, that it would tion clause, which they scouted in June, be wrong to abolish church rates in 1834, they adopted in January, 1835; England without an equivalent, and the principles which, in February, 1837, that it would be wrong to take that they affirm to be just, with respect to equivalent from the property of the Ireland, they deny in March, 1837, to church. The pressure from without be just with respect to Canada. The which has since occurred, however, principle of vote by ballot, which they the clamor and the menaces of the now oppose, they hint, that, by and by, radical dissenters, have altered the they may, perhaps, think it proper to wrong of last June into right. The support. With them, right or wrong de- government says now, that it is right pends upon the facility with which right to take an equivalent for church rates may be maintained, or the difficulty from the property of the church, and with which wrong may be resisted. without the consent of the church; nay, Every thing is right which must be in direct opposition to what the church done' in order to keep them in their commission has decided as to financial places. That alone is admitted to be possibilities, the government has prowrong which they have power to resist. posed a plan to parliament of as direct Make resistance difficult, swell the po- spoliation, as could have been expected pular clamor, increase the popular agi. had it been the church in Ireland iation, be very violent, and do every which was the object of their care. thing which should disentitle a claimant Both branches of the church now reto regard in the sight of a well-prin- ceive equal measure at the hands of

The go

his Majesty's government.

The rage

which the noble Jord exhi. vernment is now on terms of open hos- bited was very sincere ; for he felt that tility with both, and the consequence, by that speech his days, as a minister, I opine, will be, that the government, were numbered. As to his manner, though leagued with all that is irreli- whoever has seen a detected cheat, gious and rapacious, democratical and striving by outrageous conduct to turn devilish in the whole couutry, will find attention from the investigation of his itself the weaker in the contest. All crime to the repression of his insolence, depended upon the spirit in which the may imagine it. Description could not heads of the church should meet this do it justice. attempt at its immediate spoliation, At this hour, the administration is as and ultimate destruction. They have a tottering wall, and like a broken met the attempt promptly, seriously, hedge. Down it will go, and no and vigorously, and England will rise honest man will be sorry fi:s its fall. in their behalf against the government. Its members are a disgrace even to the Lord Melbourne perceived this as soon party of which they are at the head. as he heard the remarks of the Arch

T. O’R. bishop of Canterbury upon the plan.

St. Giles's, March 13, 1837.



The very 'name of Sheridan brings we know, an imputution of feebleness with it a host of affecting and interest in the love of past associations ; and it ing recollections. It carries us back is to be admitted that the laudator temto a time which presents many curious poris acti is seldom untouched by the contrasts with the present. Of these, rust of time ; but the truth must many are favourable to our time, some be spoken. The spirit which sheds the contrary. Old prejudices have a retined grace over the memory of worn away, and new ones have sprung Burke, and Garrick, and Goldsmith, up. Pillars have drooped to the ground, and Johnson, the dinners of Reynolds, and many of the virtues and graces of and the meeting of the Club, as we the good old times have passed away, look on them afar, from our own prenever to return. But knowledge and tending age--all are of the past. the power which it brings forth have At the very period of transition, from increased. A revolution hath gone the past to the present of these two the round of that cycle, which nations different stages of English society, came often mistake for progress ; because Sheridan, the last, and n't least, brilarts and sciences advance while man liant light. The last of the dramatists, stands comparatively still. We now among the last of the wits of that eldes travel on heiter roads, we cross the and purer school. Not more desisychannel easier, faster, and safer. We in of the place which his ruinis must have more books and cheaper ; our obtain among those whose names ire streets are finer and better lighted. honorable to this couniry, th in affordWe are more numerous; we are safering the attraction of an eventful, chefrom the assassin on the road and the quered, and instructive history ; overduellist in the hall. We have Scott flowing both with incentive and warnand Byron, Laplace and Cuvier ; with ing to those who read it as biography the myriad stars that follow in their should be read, with studious self-aptrain; and the Few who for size and plication ; and abundant in that more brightness can be mistaken for their profound and difficult application by peers.

And yet the days of chival- which the life of the individual dimly ric honor; of unaffected patriotism; of reflects the spirit and form of his geneold hospitality that was a religion; ration. of oratory that rivalled ancient Greece; We have, at the bazurd of being of social wit that adorned the inter- measured with our own standard, precourse of the educated; of refinement mised these reflections, simply because that gave literature a fascination ; of they are the feelings which have been terse and beautiful simplicity, which suggested by our study for this sketch. made poetry the language of nature But in the life we are now to present and the heart : have disappeared, and to our reader, the events are too many left trace bebind. There is, and our space too limited to permit of

[ocr errors]
« PoprzedniaDalej »