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Courts Bill, calculated to perpetuate the abuses of our very worst tribunal, passed almost without opposition. With the exception of some slight allusions to the policy and justice of opening the trade to China, little has been said on the depressed, but still fettered, state of commerce, and Mr. Peel, has omitted to give that lucid ex• position of his measures, respecting the currency, which might have served to remove popular prejudice on a subject vitally affecting every man's interests.
For these various sins of omission, the state of Parties affords a reason, some will call it an excuse; but as the confusion of political boundaries has been the work of the administration, we must not suffer them to plead their own wrong, in justification of their inactivity.
An honest, straight-forward course, though it would have changed the materials, would not have altered the constitutional relation of parties; there would have remained a ministerial, an opposition, and a neutral phalanx. The Duke of Wellington might have formed the first, out of the friends who adhered, and the former adversaries, to whose opinions he had conformed; the Ultra Tories would have formed the second ; and the idlers and country gentlemen, as usual, the third. His Grace, however, thinks it better policy to confound party distinctions, and if it be bis object to reduce confidence in political integrity to its lowest ebb, in order to destrov popular faith in future opposition, he has done much for the accomplishment of his purpose. Yet, in exposing the characters of , others, he has not sufficiently guarded the just consistency of his own; the man who would not bear of the mistake of Huskisson, tolerates the tergiversation of Bankes ; he could part with the talents of Lord Dudley; but he could not dispense with the votes of Lord Lowther; he would endure no in-subordination on the disfranchisement of East Retford; but he was bearded by his AttorneyGeneral, till the coldest prudence wondered at his patience; after long delays, widening infirmity of purpose, he has chosen a successor to Sir Charles Wetherall, from the ranks of the regular opposition, and he has given one other appointment, of small value and no influence, to a nobleman of similar opinions; while on the other hand, he has chosen, as his Solicitor-General, the determined advocate of an opposite system, and re-admitted to the Board of Control, one of the most virulent of his adversaries. If the legal appointments had been made on the score of the undenied and undeniable forensic eminence of Sir James Scarlett, and Sir Edward Sugden, we could not have objected to them ; but we are not Utopian enough to suppose that mere merit is yet to be made the criterion of promotion; we must still consider it as an insidious attempt to disarm and debase opposition, and to hold power, quocunque modo, by seducing and sacrificing principle.
From the confusion thus generated, it is exceedingly difficult to state either what parties exist, or to enumerate the members who compose them; the decided colour which once distinguished the
political hosts exist no more ; like the female fashion of the day, the ribbon is so confused by narrow stripes and unexpected crosses of various tints, that it is next to impossible to define the pattern, and quite enough to be able to state the general shade of the ground. With this understanding, we will endeavour to show our distant readers something of the present state of parties.
First in the list, only because first in aristocratic pretension, we place the Ultra Tory, or, as it has been often and properly called, the Servile Party. Generally distinguished by their rank, and seldom indeed by their talent, the members of this faction are the pertinacious defenders of all existing abuses, the dogged opponents of every purposed innovation ; stare super vias antiquas is their motto, and the leading feature of their practice; except, indeed, when an inroad can be made on popular rights, in which they eagerly join, as a mode of recovering their feudal supremacies; selfishness, the leading principle, because the foundation of all aristocracies, is their main motive of action ; looking upon the world as made for them and for their enjoyments, and the rest of mankind as the creatures of their use, they consider all questions as they affect, or may, however distantly, affect their own individual interests : satisfied with their Own state, they dread the first intimation of change, because they cannot calculate how soon the progress of improvement may call for the abolition of their privileges. Is the law to be amended ? they think that real property may be made subject to the payment of simple contract debts. Are the statutes against usury to be repealed ?—they count their mortgages. Is corn to be imported ? they calculate their rents. Are the jails filled with poachers ? they consider their sports an equivalent. When they are satisfied, they hold it the duty of the people to be contented; when they have dined, they cannot conceive that any man is hungry. 'I cannot,' said a celebrated Marchioness, “imagine what they mean by talking of the distresses of the people; I never knew peaches so plentiful, or so cheap, for many winters !
To this class belong the rich and dignified clergy, almost to a man; and their poor brethren (of which the number is, to them, disgracefully numerous) must, if they expect promotion or provision, enlist themselves in the same party; and this is the easier, because it makes the alliance of Church and State one of its principal dogmas; its standing toast is Church and King. You cannot offend a high Tory more grievously than by drinking 'King and Constitution,' for the very word · Constitution' is hateful to them, as implying an antithesis to arbitrary power. Tyranny is their idol, under whatever shape it can be worshipped; whether it be a king or a governor, a prince or a jailer, the autocrat of Canada or Calcutta, it matters not, - let him be the enemy of popular rights, and he is their sworn friend. Thus the beloved Ferdinand, and the amiable Miguel, are the special objects of their fondness and protection ; defended by Lord Aberdeen, and eulogized by “The Age,' they may
console themselves for the hatred of their subjects, in the sympathies of the British Serviles.
But though the divine and indefeasible rights of kings,-passive obedience, and non-resistance, with that prostration of the soul to superior power, which, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury, constitutes the essence of Christian humility,—be the leading principles of this party, as respecting others at all times, and themselves generally; yet if their individual interests are to be affected, they conceive themselves absolved from their vows of obedience. Thus, on the late question, it became difficult to distinguish the Ultra Tories of the House of Lords, from the most furious radicals of Spafields; sedition was invited by their speakers, and rebellion justified by their organs. “The Standard' and · The Morning Journal' endeavoured to excite the more ignorant classes of the people to resistance, in language which, in the days of Sidmouth and Castlereagh, would have consigned their editors to the seclusions of Ilchester and the mercies of its jailer. “The Age,' after its kind, vomited abuse on all the advocates of liberal opinion ; and their former friends, 'The John Bull' and · Courier,' did as much in the trade of aspersion and falsification, as could be consistent with a prudent resolution to keep a retreat open, should the ministry prove victorious.
Brother John, in “The Tale of a Tub,' tearing his coat to tatters in order to divest himself of the trapping of Popery, was a prototype of the holy zeal with which some of the Ultras have become reformers of Church and State ; this, too, will suit the purposes of their more judicious friends; they will readily part with half a dozen votes, in order to render the cause of their adversaries ridiculous, and, as the Duke of Wellington is said to have done on a late occasion, connive at desertions, in the confidence that their spies would mislead their enemies.
The moderate Tories, or Government men, or King's friends, as they are sometimes called, partake of the vices of their more violent leaders ; but in a less degree ; probably for this reason, that they are, for the most part, men of small or moderate fortunes, who look to official emolument for themselves, or relatives, as a principal means of supporting their newly acquired dignities : they cannot, therefore, take so strong a line of politics as to exclude themselves from forming a portion of any ministry; and the fiction of going with the crown, enables them to share its favours under every administration. Of this material are made, Chamberlains, Stewards, Masters of the Horse and Buck Hounds, Captains of Gentlemen Pensioners, Lords of the Bedchamber, and other ornaments of the Court, Chairmen of Committees, Junior Lords of the Admiralty, Under Secretaries, Envoys, and other minor functionaries of the State, Departments, or Diplomacy. They will initiate no good, but they will yield to necessity; they do not love the people, but they will not exasperate them so far, as to risk the closing of their purse-strings. A very small class of independents separate this party from the Whig Aristocracy,-a body sometimes greatly over-valued, sometimes, as in the spirit of the present day, traduced beyond their demerit. It has constituted for many ages the barrier between absolute power and popular right; and if its members have sometimes yielded to the blandishments of a monarch, or the intrigues of a ministry, they have more frequently stood forth as the champions of independence and the opponents of tyranny. Selfish they are, but they have identified their interests, not with the King, but with the people; we owe the Great Charter to the self-interest of the Barons, the Reformation to the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and most probably the Revolution itself to the fear, that, with the restoration of Catholicism, under the Stuarts, would come the restitution of Church Revenue; once convinced that the Abbey-lands were safe, they no longer hesitated to advocate freedom of conscience. This, therefore, will form a distinction between the Whig and Tory Aristocracy; the one will yield a popular right, if it be not inconsistent with its own interest ; the other will oppose it in the dread, that the concession may at some distant day, and by some distant possibility, prove injurious to the privileges or monopolies of “the order.' The Whig nobility have almost uniformly ranged themselves under the popular banner, and though it may be necessary to watch their movements, as it is always expedient to doubt the faith of an auxiliary not bound to you by identity of interest, it is bad policy to declare war ad internecionem with them, because they will not go lengths which are inconsistent with their nature : we still require their aid, we still are bound in gratitude to them for past services; let us not then play the game of the enemy, by depreciating their value. The more furious of the faction, called Radicals, first commenced this false tactic (principally influenced by a personal quarrel), the example has been unfortunately followed by men of higher character, and a party of rising influence, with which it is the fashion to abuse the Whigs with much more acrimony than either the occasion or good policy can require or justify. We, on the other hand, are most anxious to assign to this party its due merit; we believe very many of them to be sincere in their expressed wish to ameliorate the condition of mankind; we acknowledge their talents, and their inclination to encourage talent, not of the first class indeed, for the higher spirits will not brvok the subserviency required or imputed in rich men's houses; but there is much use in the protection of secondary ability, and yet more in those occa. sional examples, where the judicious choice of a retainer has augmented the fortunes of a family. A Tory nobleman fills the House of Commons with his sons, nephews, and cousins; they count in majorities as well as better men ; the Whig Aristocracy, knowing themselves a minority, must make up in talent, and diligence, what they want in number. While in Lord Lonsdale's eleven members there is not a man, except Lord Lowther, of even moderate capacity,
the most shining abilities are to be found among the members introduced by the Duke of Devonshire, Lord Fitzwilliam, and the Marquis of Cleveland.
We have hitherto spoken of parties as constituted by the oligarchy, which is, for the present, the actual government of England; we are now to describe the very small, and unfortunately disunited, force, which constitutes the strength of the people. Under various designations, Whigs, Political Economists, Utilitarians, Benthamites, and Radicals, but properly to be united in the order of Liberals,' are to be found a comparitively small, yet increasing, number of men of high talent, and indefatigable energy; without numerical strength either in, or out of Parliament, they enforce their doctrines, and compel the adoption of their principles. They have already done much; they will do infinitely more, when, disregarding intestine bickerings, they unite for a common purpose, against a common enemy; but as no disputes are so acrimonious as family quarrels, as no differences are so irreconcilable as the polemics of sectarians from the same church, so, also, to the shame of political philosophy, no parties are so bitterly hostile to each other, as those who with a single object, the greatest happiness to the greatest number,' seek different, yet almost parallel, paths to attain it ; split into little divisions of sixes and tens, they constantly annoy by skirmishes, yet not unfrequently afford their enemies the gratification and advantage of seeing a petulant marksman fire a well directed shot into the ranks of his confederates, in resentment of some trifling deviation, slackness, or interference. Those who are irresistible as a phalanx, can only harass in a partizan warfare ; whenever the ministerial masses are brought to bear on them, they are defeated; and while they are priding themselves on the honesty of their independent system, a well disciplined legion is feeding on the plunder of their country. Thus Brougham and Burdett can occasionally rally the dispersed parties, and though they do not carry a question, they make that impression, which, often repeated, insures success; but when Mr. Hume requires their aid to support his less brilliant, and frequently more useful objects, instead of assisting his purpose, they are possibly mimicking his oratory, or ridiculing a blunder, which they are the first to point out to his opponents.
This want of unity of action in Parliament, and the Press, is in all probability the true cause why public opinion (we do not speak of the mass of the people, but of those capable of forming opinions), has made so slow a progress; to facilitate this progress and to hasten the day when the interests of the many, and not the selfishness of a few, may be made the rule of policy, is our object in advocating a union of popular parties : whenever we can see the adverse hosts ranged under the just denominations of Liberals and Serviles, we shall feel no doubt of victory.