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Tories, and insulting the House of Lords)—we believe, we say, that they are the creatures of circumstances—the victims of their own inexecutable system of government. They have, too late, discovered that
• An habitation giddy and unsure
Hath he that buildeth on the vulgar heart.' They are not their own masters—they have no option-no power; they could not, even if they were indifferent to the
patronage of office, venture to resign; for we do them the favour to believe (though the principles and proceedings of one section of the cabinet afford us little reason for doing so) that they do not desire to throw us into an anarchy; and we candidly, though reluctantly, and with deep sorrow, confess that we do not see how any other government can be formed or maintained in our present circumstances. These men may continue for some time longer to go down stairs, they are not yet at the bottom
• Sed revocare gradum, superasque evadere ad auras'is we believe impossible to them ;-nor are we sanguine that any men, or any association of men, can redeem us from the difficulties in which they have plunged us.
Not that it is men that are wanting-men we have, of the purest patriotism, the most commanding talents, the highest courage, the most extensive and deserved influence; but all their qualities will, we fear, be paralyzed by the practical working of the Reform Bill. Let us call the attention of our readers to one practical consideration.
It is well known that the present ministers feel, and to their fidentials avow, that they cannot make the changes which every now and then become necessary to the conduct of the government, under the present state of the law of election; and one of their most intimate friends and most zealous supporters-Sir Robert Heron-gave, about two months ago--not without their sanction -notice of a motion to exempt members of the House of Commons from vacating their seats on a change of office. After some deliberation and a week or two of additional experience, it was seen that even this provision would be inadequate to the purpose, and would moreover have the awkward appearance of giving the present ministers the well-known Irish tenure of a lease of lives renewable for ever,-an object, no doubt, most desirable and the first in their thoughts, but hardly to be ventured upon yet. So that scheme was abandoned, and the same member subsequently repeated his notice--with the amendment of including both acceptance and change-of office; but then, unfortunately, this proposal has the obvious disadvantage of being impartial, and of reVOL. XLIX. NO, XCVIII.
storing to the king and the country the power of calling another man, or other men, to the public service whenever circumstances might require a change. So this motion is suspended sine die. And thus, after stirring once and again this important question, they are bewildered what to do with it: on the one hand, the absence of Sir John Hobhouse presses upon them the necessity of doing something towards restoring to the crown some weight in the choice of its ministers ; on the other hand, the presence of Sir Robert Peel-his great and unbalanced weight even in their devoted House of Commons--terrifies them from anything which might facilitate a change, which they feel to be certain, whenever it may be practicable.
They hesitate—from no sense of shame that Whigs should propose the repeal of an act which Whigs have for above a century lauded as second only in popular importance to the Bill of Rights - from no shame that the first parliamentary regulation after the Reform Bill should be an avowal of its impracticability--no; for the very notice has sufficiently made both those, to them most humiliating, confessions. But what care they for humiliation as long as they can keep their places ? So they submit to the humiliation of having this suspended notice, crying peccuvi, on the order-book of the Reformed House of Commons; with the additional mortification of knowing that everybody appreciates the mean and mercenary motives which keep them, like the schoolman's ass, in this ridiculous dilemma.
Ridiculous to them-fearful to the country. The constitution says the king shall have the power of choosing his ministers—the Reform Bill and the Press, and the example of Westminster, say NO; the people, and the people alone, shall choose the ministers of the crown.
Then a remedy is proposed, which is found impracticable and insufficient as soon as announced ; another is then propounded, which they are afraid to adopt; and so the constitution is at a dead lock. With Sir Robert Heron's notice the most pressing political arrangements are suspended ; and when death or accident makes an inevitable vacancy, the question is no longer the parliamentary talents—the personal integrity—the public services of the candidate-but whether he can secure his re-election! With this practical proof that the constitution has been changed in one of its most essential points, we hardly need the evidence of that sapient seer, Lord John Russell, that the bill of last year was a ' Revolution.'
Can such a state of things go on? Can the national interests be safe under such a system? The notice-book records the answer of the ministers themselves, -No; and the whole country re-echoes that answer. Then what is to be done ?-they know not. What their own personal interests would prompt, they cannot, and what the public good requires, they will not,-- perhaps they dare not do! They are caught in their own trap, and are the first victims of their own short-sighted perfidy.
• Nec est lex justior ullâ
Quam necis artificis arte perire suâ.' But alas ! the danger is not theirs alone-it is ours-it is the nation's ; and when we look at all that is passing around us, we cannot but fear that the Movement Press is right, which boldly and candidly tells us, that nothing but a complete, avowed, and radical Revolution can solve the otherwise inextricable embarrassments in which the bewildered ministry and their impracticable system has involved all the constitutional powers of the state.
We live in times that will be history ;-events are in progress, the enormous magnitude of which is concealed from us by our very proximity; those who stand at a distance see them better: and every European and American publication, from whatever parties they emanate, and whether they hail or deplore it, all admit the fact, that we are in a state of Revolution! Our children too will see clearly the progress of our ruin, and will wonder how any man amongst us could have been blind to it. Let those, at least, who are not blind, vindicate themselves in the eyes of the European world and of posterity. Those whose order in the state, and whose position in society impose any duties of interference, are invested—as they are but too well aware—with a most painful responsibility,--if they acquiesce, they will be accused of helping on the ruin; if they resist, they will be charged with creating it. Hear what a writer, one of the most moderate of his class, is not ashamed to advance :
• Probably the overthrow of our institutions is not so certain through the agency of the Radicals, as it is by that of the Conservatives. Indeed the former would be rendered innocuous by the adoption of remedial measures which are strenuously denied by the latter, who thus furnish the elements of mischief.'-- Reflections on Foreign and Domestic Policy, p. 209.
So, though the Radical aims at the overthrow of our institutions, his intentions are only remedial, and if accomplished would become innocuous; and those who would resist this remedial and innocu
overthrow of our institutions are the very persons who accomplish it; and are accordingly in the deepest degree criminal, if, by their agency, shall be brought about what is remedial and innocuous. This is true revolutionary logic. So the guilt of the 10th of August was on those who resisted the cut-throats who attacked them ;-so Buonaparte would have held Palafox responsible for the thousands of lives lost in Saragossa, because he 2 p 2
was rash enough to oppose an invasion which would otherwise have been quite innocuous ;'--so it was the Police, and not the National Conventionalists, that created the Calthorpe-street riots, -so, when a robber blows out the brains of the
who will not quietly deliver his purse, it is not he, but the victim, who is, in foro radicali conscientiæ, the murderer.
Yes, for all this the Conservatives must be prepared. If the bishops exert a right which the law and the constitution give them ---they shall be slandered in the lowest places, and rebuked in the highest-and shall moreover forfeit that right-unless they will engage never again to exercise it. The Commons will admit the House of Lords to be a power in the state, but on the express condition that it shall have no power whatsoever; and the King shall continue in the undisturbed privilege of naming his ministers, as long as he shall choose no one whom a body of 10l. householders may not approve; and if any of these parties should be so blindly obstinate as to object to being thus made nonentities, they, and they alone, shall be responsible for the state of non-entity to which they may be reduced !
For all this, and for more, we repeat, the Conservatives must be prepared—but the knowledge of their danger should only make their course the more steady—they must be at once firm and conciliatory--not seeking, rather avoiding the exercise of extreme rights—but, on the other hand, abandoning no great principle, and trafficking with no question of conscience. They, perhaps, cannot promise themselves immediate success, but they may be assured that they will be thus laying the foundation of a certain return to a better order of things, when either suffering or good sense shall bring back the people to a true notion of their own interests, and to some respect for the ancient institutions to which thev have so long owed all their happiness and all their glory.
I N D E X
FORTY-NINTH VOLUME OF THE QUARTERLY REVIEW.
ABERNETHY, John, his description of deli-
radox concerning, exposed, 148.
scrit Literature,' 321.
the author of 'Carwell.' See Novels of
of dancing, 61.
the construction of the, 364.
Girolamo, epigram by, 249.
in point of speed, 212—their unfounded
371-inquiry into the genuineness of
the odes attributed to, 374.
to persons dying of peculiar maladies, 180.
factory children, 81.
the Persian of Customs and Manners of
Bacchylides, account of, and of his writings,
tribute to the memory of, 198.
which he was imprisoned after the battle
of Angora, 295.
the Greek Anthology.' See Greek Lyric
drawn by M. Dumont, 172.
104, 122, 123.
his Manuscripts, from Family Papers,