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ART. XII.-Speech of the Honourable Fox Maule, M.P. for the County of Perth, at a Public Meeting of the Electors of that County, held 7th July, 1837. Perth.

THE new reign is beginning well. The temporary clouds, lately

proach. It is scarcely two months since the farmer was threatened with a second 1816,-the merchant with another 1825. Providentially the Corn-Fields and Mark Lane agree in the brightness of our actual prospects. The political spectres which, for the last six years, have been stalking and gibbering in our streets, have also disappeared. During all that period we could hear nothing but one everlasting cry of Wolf.'. The horrors of the French Revolution were daily knocking at our doors. At present, not only has the revolutionary alarm subsided, but most persons admit that history presents few national spectacles more encouraging than the manliness and moderation which marked the conduct of the English people throughout this stirring crisis-their honest consciousness of the rectitude of their purpose, and their just reliance on the stability of the institutions which they loved. With what vigour did they shift the helm and put about, when they saw that the vessel of the state was already almost on the breakers! How instinctively, as it were, did the good ship seem to right itself, in spite of mutineers aboard! And, ever since, how steady and gallant has been its bearing over the open sea-the fury of adverse winds from opposite quarters of the heavens only serving to keep it truer to its determined course!

The late King came to a throne shaking under accumulated discontents. Of these, the greater part has been removed by an administration of affairs in unison with the spirit of the age. The rest' bide their time,' in the confidence that justice is delayed for the moment, only that the grant of it may be made more easy and more complete. It was not with our late Sovereign, dignus imperii, nisi imperâsset. We have learned to forget the faults of the Duke of Clarence in the merits of King William. While George IV. was satisfied with the boast that he found his Capital brick and left it stucco, William IV. struck out a nobler path for his ambition. He found an empire disturbed and sick at heart; he left one tranquil and full of hope. He was certainly eminently fortunate in the immediate services which it fell to him to confer upon his people. His understanding may not have been of as high an order as his good nature and his good in

tention. But in ratifying the promises of Lord Grey,—in protecting peace, economy, and, above all, reform,-he secured for himself, together with the honours which should accompany old age,' a name which posterity will not allow to die. Invaluable as we think the benefits of his reign, taken by themselves, its lessons, properly appreciated and applied, will be still more useful. The great moral comprised in them is one which no country can afford to overlook or trifle with. Least of all, a country whose opinions civil and ecclesiastical,-whose middle and lower classes, are all rapidly growing and changing, dividing and subdividing, day by day,-whose intelligence and wealth are so progressive, and whose habits are yet so stationary,—as the English. We think that we do not overstate the virtue of the policy of the reign of William IV. when we say that in all human probability it saved us from a revolution. But it has left us much to do in working upon the same pattern. Nation after nation, as family after family, have been ruined, for want, on the part of the old authorities, of a reasonable confidence in human nature,-of a timely view of the altered relation of the parties,—and of a graceful and cordial adoption of new powers and understandings into honourable partnership with their own. Let us be wiser. However slow we may seem to go, are going, and indeed in some questions ought to go, let our feet only be on the right path, and our faces in the right direction.

This is an undertaking in which we can advance only by degrees. But the spirit which is gone out, is in the meanwhile softening the stoney heart, and making smooth the way lately so impassable. There is happiness in the belief, that the temper of the times is every day increasing the facilities for bridging the gulf which separates our past and future; and for peaceably completing the transition which triumphant Toryism so long and mischievously postponed. Reform, civil and ecclesiastical, is and must continue, for our lives at least, to be the order of the day. The subject will not be soon exhausted at the only pace at which it can proceed. Under these circumstances we must be careful how we settle the course to be pursued. A prudent selection of particular measures for adoption, and even for paramount discussion ought not at the present to be regulated solely by comparing their general importance. The science of politics, as well as of agriculture and medicine, is not so difficult as its application. The farmer, in sowing seed, must look to the nature and preparation of the soil. The doctor varies his prescription according to the constitution of his patients. In

determining the precedence between this and that political measure, the decisive considerations are-the pressure of the subject to which the measures respectively relate, and the degree to which the public mind is ready for the reception of the principles which they involve.

The Tory, standing on the sacredness of prescription, shrinks from what he calls innovation, until his concessions have lost all their grace, and much of their usefulness. The Radical, relying on the truth of popular axioms and deductions, harangues with undoubting confidence a circle of undoubting partisans-illa se jactat in aulâ Æolus-and seems to think that the merits of his case, as a practical politician, are not in the least affected by the quality, or number, of his opponents. The one would be for going as much too fast as the other has been going, and would always go, too slow. It is the tenets and the conduct of these extreme parties which has necessarily determined the actual position and character of the Whigs of the present day. They are distinguished, on the one hand, from the Radicals, instructed or uninstructed, by the letter of their express doctrines; by a reverence for the traditional renown of the Constitution; and by a belief in its capabilities and power of adaptation. On the other hand, they are separated from the Tories even more widely still. For the separation in this latter case is one not so much of opinions, as of very nature; in comparison with which all distinctions of mere opinion vanish into air. The Whig is not only willing, but feels that it is a joy and a duty to enlarge the old foundations. He takes a pride in welcoming within the sanctuary the children of the bondsman and the stranger;—all who have embraced its faith and are calling on its name. If he learns by sign and omen from without, that the tones of philosophy and freedom which from ancient times have solemnized its worship, are to be touched by further inspirations in these later days, he understands their meaning;-he finds an echo to them in the conscious revelations of his own heart, and gladly accepts his portion of the responsibility and glory. In this last conviction we are better acquainted with the necessities of our times than Selden and some of his patriot colleagues were with theirs. While they were urging on the movement, they thought that they were only demanding to stand still. On the contrary, while we look back to the institutions of our fathers, we know that we are looking forward to something more. The name by which this party is to be called is a matter of comparative indifference; but the existence of a powerful party in the intermediate position which is occupied by the Whigs at present, is a national blessing. It is their existence which prevents the extremes from rushing into immediate

and fierce collision. It is their possession of authority which prevents liberal sentiments from being discouraged, and the public confidence from being withdrawn. The peculiar characteristic of the administrations of Lord Grey and Lord Melbourne is, the proportions on which they rest. These proportions consist in the combination of popular principles, bottomed on a respect for liberty, property, and order-principles good in themselves, and necessary for the age with a practical discretion, equally necessary; since it mainly depends upon a dispassionate calculation of the means at their command, and the means which are yet arrayed against them. The rules derived from this combination constitute the only policy, which we believe to be consistent, certainly with the tranquillity, probably with the security of the state. A government standing in this position, and formed upon these principles, could alone have the inclination and the power to take advantage of opportunities, and incorporate into our institutions, at the lucky moment, the new elements of their strength. The experiment of governing England upon any other system, at a season of so much unreasonable apprehension on the one hand, and unreasonable expectation on the other, must be full of imminent and daily danger. God forbid that the public peace should be so fearfully exposed; and that the reign of a young and innocent princess, whom all eyes are now regarding with so much tenderness and hope, should be ever clouded over by the interminable troubles which an exclusive government, Tory or Radical, must bring. A return to Tory principles would be as wise as thinking to stop the sun. The sun may be darkened: it cannot be turned back.

A central post, like that now maintained by the Whigs, is indispensable to the real interests of the country; and is advantageous, on the whole, to the party as a body; but it is far from being a comfortable situation for the individuals who have the task of defending it in detail. The consideration, which is in truth their great merit, at first sight, tells most against them. There seems something self-willed and paradoxical in standing out with equal pertinacity against directly opposite objections. They can never lay aside their arms for a moment, or know from what quarter the next shot may come; for the necessity, which makes their being and usefulness,' puts them and keeps them betwixt two fires. There is a constant repetition of distinctions, and explanations, to prevent the answers to one set of opponents from being construed into admissions to the others. A statement of the extreme opinions on either side is naturally clear and simple, and carries with it an honest, straightforward, uncompromising air. On the contrary, enume

rations of the limitations and exceptions, by which alone abstract principles can be made true in practice, is, on most occasions, a complicated affair. The addition of expositions of the collateral views on which their usefulness always, and often even their practicability must depend, carries the hearrer still farther off the single sunbeam on which he would like to glide to a clear indisputable truth. Mixed considerations of this nature are represented to be the shifty subterfuges of an artful sophist, seeking to mystify plain men. An equal accessibility to what is easy and what is difficult, is not a matter of course in the House of Commons;it is out of the question on the Hustings. Yet, what are the consequences of being misunderstood? Suspicion, contumely, and reproach. Another prejudice arises from the fact, that an intermediate party, proceeding upon its own principles, agrees to a certain extent with both extremes. These partial approximations mortify and provoke rather than conciliate. For both parties are less gratified with you, by your going part of the way with them, than they are indignant at you for not going the remainder.

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The embarrassments and annoyances which belong to such a state of things are great; nevertheless, where political necessities have once created a large intermediate party of this description, the tendency of a well-intentioned and well-judging people will be to swell and strengthen it, until the necessities have passed away. The supposed necessity consists in the nature of the extreme opinions which are opposed to each other; and in the temper, power, and number of the classes which are embodied under them. In Ireland, for instance, the Irish people and the Orange faction stand in so critical a relation, that, were it not for a middle man, in the person of an impartial supreme authority, they would soon bé at each other's throats. The chasm in English society, where it is widest and most abrupt, is of a far less fatal character. But the differences which have opened it, are too many and recent, even there, to admit a hope that if the parties were left to themselves, it would close quietly of its own accord. They stand like cliffs that have been rent asunder, and an ocean flows between. On the side of the Tories, a suspicious jealousy of popular excesses is too inveterate. On the side of the 'masses' (as some Radical writers love to call the working classes), a recollection of the insolence of the palmy days of Toryism is too fresh-disgust at the hostile air with which the Tories have given way in part to opinions which they did not share, but which they no longer ventured to resist, is too ill suppressed-apprehensions of the spirit and the designs with which a Tory Government would return to authority, are too natural and intense. There are many measures and arrange

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