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knowledge, wisdom, and virtue of the nation, and whether it shall do this or not, depends mainly on its leaders. These can make it at their pleasure a source of national error, delusion, and mischief. As the influence of the leader depends chiefly on his own. powers, and his exercise of them, if his eloquence be not allied with very great political ability and integrity, he will never make much impression on that part of the community which decides between parties. He may marshal around him the lower classes, and the shallow and wicked portion of the middling and upper ones, he may make his party mighty for evil, he may convulse the empire to its centre, and still he will only lead those who follow him to what parties ever seek to avoid. It is idle to say that creeds govern party leaders. The creed of the present Whigs, as Burke incontrovertibly proved, is directly opposed to the Whiggism of 1688. The Toryism which flourished forty or fifty years since has vanished from the land, and that which was then Whiggism is now Toryism; in truth, our present Tories have embraced no small portion of that new Whiggism which that genuine Whig Burke so loudly reprobated. Fox embraced a new creed when he separated from Burke, yet he continued to call himself a Whig; the Ministers hold opposite opinions on more than one important question, yet they are all called Tories. Creeds are but words, the meaning of which party men change at pleasure; they are the tools of such men, but not the guides.
Burke and Fox at different periods led the Whigs in the House of Commons, and the different consequences which resulted from the difference in character and conduct between the two leaders, will illustrate the truth of our observations. We will look, in the first place, at the consequences to the country.
Burke raised the character, capacity, qualifications, and power of the House of Commons, in a wonderful degree. By arguing questions upon their merits, and by addressing himself solely to the intelligence, reason, and virtue of the State, he gave the most exalted tone to the debates. He filled the House with knowledge of the interests of the nation, and the science of government-with intellect
The proper portion of this influence can only be obtained by great powers, and more especially by powerful oratory; it cannot be given by office or authority; a party cannot bestow it, and a party cannot divide it among them; it must belong to the individual, and the individual must acquire it by his talents and exertions; integrity, knowledge, and wisdom, will not gain it without eloquence. The Opposition could make Mr Tierney its leader in the House of Commons, but it could not give him this influence. Mr Canning derives his influence, not from his ministerial or parliamentary office, not from any superiority over his colleagues in know ledge and wisdom, but from his eloquence. A party, whether it forms the Ministry or the Opposition, must prosper even more by its words than its deeds. However wise the conduct of a Ministry may be, it will be scarce ly possible for it to stand, if it be overpowered by the Opposition in oratory. The individuals who plead the cause, hold in their hands the fortunes of parties. A parliamentary leader may be unprincipled, he may be grossly ignorant and imbecile as a statesman, and yet he may by eloquence alone control half the nation; he may be virtuous, he may be an accomplished minister, and yet he may, from the want of eloquence, be unable to obtain any but the most inadequate portion of interest with Parliament and the country.
It is necessarily of the first importance, both to his party and his country, that the mighty influence of an eloquent parliamentary leader should be properly employed; and, of course, it is of the first importance that he should be a finished statesman in talents and acquirements, and a man of the most incorruptible and chivalrous honour. If the House of Commons ought to represent the feelings and wishes of the country, it ought always to be able to give to the country correct feelings and wishes. Things are in a bad state when the House and the country are at variance, but they are in a ruinous one when the latter is the guide, and the former is the follower. That which is the centre of information and discussion, ought ever to be the leader of public feelings and wishes. The House ought ever to stand at the head of the ability,
and wisdom. He rendered it impossible for any but men of great powers and acquirements, to obtain influence within it, and he made it what it ought ever to be, a proper political school and guide for the country. By scrupulously avoiding to address the multitude, and by steadily resisting every effort to bring the multitude into the political arena, he kept from his party the temptation to become demagogues, led a powerful Opposition without generating disaffection, and left to Parliament no favour to court but that of the knowing and honest part of the community.
Fox, assuming that he only became the uncontrolled leader of the Whigs when he separated from Burke, did the reverse of this; what his predecessor had gained for the House of Commons, he dissipated. He argued questions, not with reference to their merits, but with reference to the wretched tenets of revolutionism. With him, it was the alteration, not the preservation, of the Constitution -the practice of the new doctrines of liberty, and not the good of the nation. To make way for these doctrines, he drove public interests and true principles of government out of Parliament. In Parliament, as well as out of it, he was the demagogue appealing to the ignorance and passions of the lower orders, against the knowledge and reason of the upper ones. He thus lowered the tone of the debates, until the most ignorant, frothy, weak, and wicked speakers, were enabled to shine in them; and he thus enabled such politicians as Burdett to form parties in the House, and to be come to a certain extent leaders in it. He rendered it one of the leading sources of error, delusion, turbulence, and disaffection to the country.
The discussion of public affairs ought always, if possible, to be confined to the middle and upper classes of society; the lower orders can only take a part in it to produce very mighty evils. If an Opposition address itself to the multitude, it can scarcely fail of rendering the mass of the people disaffected and turbulent. Previously to the days of Fox, the leading men of all sides generally scorned to speak to, or have any connexion with, the populace. If the lower orders came into the political field, all parties commonly united to drive them out of it. Fox
was the first to organize the lower orders into a gigantic faction-into a disaffected and turbulent faction, and to place the Opposition at their head. This multiplied demagogues in Parliament as it multiplied them out of it; it rendered the House of Commons, among other things, the teacher and protector of the vilest offenders. If the traitor needed words, he could find them in the debates; if he needed a model, he had only to look at the conduct of the Opposition members; if he needed defenders, the whole Opposition was at his nod. The Opposition and the populace stimulated each other reciprocally, until they left scarcely anything undone that could injure the empire.
For many years, one of the great parties of the House of Commons publicly protected the blasphemer and the traitor-for many years it strenuously laboured to screen from the laws those who were leading the mass of the people to infidelity and rebellion-for many years it laboriously defended the revolutionary crimes of the rabble-for many years the members of this party mixed with the ignorant and infuriated populace at public meetings, to deal out to it the most inflammatory and revolting misrepresentations and slanders-for many years this party indirectly carried on a bitter war against religion, morals, loyalty, and order. What this conduct in a mighty portion of the House of Commons was calculated to produce, it did produce; we need not specify the products; they are too deeply engraven on the remembrance of the country. Upon Fox all this must be charged; those who have so efficiently worked the system since his death, revere him as their parent.
If Fox had never existed, and if Burke had remained at the head of the Opposition, any change that the French Revolution might have produced in the political feeling of this country, would have endured only for a moment. The union of the two great parties would have effectually prevented any revolutionary faction from taking permanent root in the nation. The tremendous dangers through which we have passed would not have visited us. The Opposition would not have been now solemnly pledged to make vital changes in the constitution and the feelings of society; the for
midable literary faction which is now so laboriously at work to destroy our whole system, religious and political, would have been unknown, or it would only have existed to be scorned.
We will now examine how the Whigs prospered as a party under the different leaders.
Burke found the Whigs feeble, disunited, devoid of talent, and with very little of reputation, and he made them a body of able, patriotic statesmen; he rendered thein powerful and honourable. Fox took them in this state, and he converted them into a party of factious fanatics; he stripped them of ability and character, covered them with the scorn of the intelligence and honour of the country, cemented them and the revolutionary rabble into one, and led them to disgrace and party ruin. Burke overthrew the Toryism of his day, and harmonised Whiggism with the reason, right feeling, and interests of the nation. His creed, as we have already said, was in several points higher Toryism than that which now exists; the upper classes were rapidly conforming themselves to it, and if the Whigs had adhered to him, he would have given to them office which they would in all probability have held at this moment. Fox, instead of binding the Tories to their falling creed, by attaching himself to the one that Burke had perfected, surrendered to them the latter, which they immediately embraced; and he then adopted the most revolting one in the eyes of the influential part of the nation, that could have been devised; he thus positively incapacitated the Whigs for acquiring public confidence and holding the reins of government. If the Whigs are now helpless, disgraced, suspected, and despised-if they do not possess sufficient ability among them to form a Ministry-if they hold a creed which those who virtually choose and dissolve Ministries abhorand if they have not the least hope of being ever able to reach office as a separate independent party, they must ascribe it to the circumstance that they forsook Burke and followed Fox.
The different consequences which the different conduct of the two leaders produced to themselves, must not be overlooked. We willingly believe that such men think but little of emolument, and that whatever value they may set on power, rank, and popula
rity, their grand objects are legitimate fame, a glorious name in history-a splendid reputation with posterity. Now, how is the case at present? If Fox's name were not eternally repeated by a party from interested motives
if this party did not eternally chant his praise to preserve itself from infamy-he would be even now either forgotten, or only remembered to be compassionated by the few, and condemned by the many. While this is the case with Fox, Burke, although no party has an interest in protecting his fame, and almost all have an interest in injuring it, is already, in the eyes of the independent part of the nation, taking his place among the most illustrious of our departed statesmen. When the interests, passions, and prejudices of the present generation shall have passed away, the most dazzling blaze of glory that ambition could sigh for, will encircle the grave of Burke, while Fox will only be remembered as a man who employed great powers in the most injurious, and the least excusable, manner.
We have been led into these observations by a wish to see some change, not in the construction, but in certain very important parts of the conduct, of the House of Commons. For many years the Opposition has discussed every great question, not with reference to the constitution, to English liberty, to the interests of the empire, to the interests of Europe, to the balance of power, to the good of mankind; but with reference to the wretched tenets of Liberalism-of Jacobinism. No matter how a measure harmonized with the constitution, or how imperiously it was called for by public interests, if it militated against the creed and conduct of foreign revolutionists, and the preposterous doctrines of modern Whiggism, it was fiercely. denounced. A set of principles have been fabricated which are demonstrably false, and which have ten thousand times been proved to be false-by these everything is to be measured-and to these, England and the whole world are to be sacrificed. "Your measure is hostile to changes which we intend to make in the constitution and the feelings of the country-it clashes with the views of the enlightened constitutionalists of Europe-it is discordant with the abstract rights of man-it comes in collision with the wrangling
tenets of political economists; there fore, a fig for patriotism, wisdom, expediency, national interests, and the good of the world-we will oppose it!" -Such is, virtually, the language of Opposition.
The natural consequence of this is, that a vast portion of the Press is zealously writing down almost every opinion and feeling that ought to actuate the nation. British interests-the federal system of Europe-the balance of power-the things which formerly formed the foundation of all political discussion—are never mentioned; and everything is debated with reference to the mock rights of man, and mock liberty. The prejudice " our country' is eradicated; the feeling of nationality has vanished; and the Englishman can worship and fight for any country but his own. Libels on our country and our countrymen are now applauded in our Edinburgh Reviews and Morning Chronicles, which, in better times, would have subjected the despicable wretches who fabricated them to the consuming scorn of the whole nation. The pennyless, brainless, profligate, branded, revolutionary mountebank, is cried up until he alone is thought to be a proper object of imitation-until he alone can obtain what is called popularity. A vast portion of the population regards our institutions with dis
like, or, at the best, with indifference. Everything that can implant good principles and check licentiousness of manners, is zealously attacked; and the most odious vices, the most disgusting immoralities, are openly defended. We need not say what all this will produce in the end, if it be continued.
For many years a very large portion of the House of Commons has been proclaiming almost every component part of the constitution to be in the most imperfect and corrupt stateto be in a state which produced the most grievous public evils. For many years a very large portion of the House of Commons has been lavishing the
There is a remedy. Let those, who hold in their hands the destinies of the nation, at the approaching Election exclude from the House of Commons all the fanatics and mountebanks. Let the mob-sycophant-the political liar
lishmen and foreigners, who were notoriously infidels and traitors-who were abandoned profligates in both public and private life who openly violated everything that religious men call religion, that moral men call morality, that gentlemen call honour.
most fulsome panegyrics on both Eng--the man who is eternally crying up other countries, and slandering his own the profligate in private life-the confederate of foreign infidels and traitors-the visionary innovator-and the patron of "liberal opinions" be rejected; and let the stanch patriotthe sterling Englishman-the sound statesman-the high-minded gentleman--the man of chivalrous honourbe chosen. This will go far to "reform" the House of Commons, the Press, and everything that gives feeling and opinion to the nation. But the thing that is indispensable is, that the Opposition in the House should be put under the efficient control and guidance of such a man as the Marquis of Lansdown. There is another point which we must not overlook. Nearly all the leading speakers of the Opposition are lawyers. If we exclude Brougham, Mackintosh, Scarlet, Denman, Lushington, and Williams, all lawyers, we take from it almost every member who can open his lips in the House. We should derive much pleasure from seeing the greater part of these replaced by independent gentlemen. Burke disliked lawyer-statesmen; we do the He wished the country to be governed by law, but not by lawyers; and we feel the same wish; for we are pretty sure that if the country be governed by lawyers, it will not be governed by law.*
Y. Y. Y.
We shall perhaps, on another occasion, take some notice of Burke's advocacy of the cause of the Irish Catholics. Suffice it here to say, that the emancipation which he contended for, was, in every point, different from that which now bears the name. The most important things that he recommended have been already conceded to the Catholics; they have got more in the elective franchise than he would ever have granted them; and with regard to their admission to power, his plan would only have admitted them into the Irish Government and the Irish Parliament; it would NOT have brought them into the English Government and the English Parliament. The Union changed the nature of the question altogether; it was a measure which he did not contemplate, and to which he was rather adverse than friendly.
MOMUS-OR AN HOUR AT BATH.
I ENCLOSE a record of Bath as it was in my puppy days, which I found in an old drawer, on changing my Oriel rooms for my present legal domicile. My cousin and namesake, quondam of Brasenose, who still sighs at his curacy over the blessed memory of your grouse-pies and Farintosh, tells me I ought to have tied a note explanatory to the "Crabstick." The apocryphal anecdote of our common ancestor, the Judge, and of his legal decision respecting the standard gage of the matrimonial sceptre, was, I thought, generally known, at least the report annoyed the old boy extremely. The scrap of Brighton gossip I sent you may possibly be also apocryphal, but it certainly deserves to have happened to a Whig Orator" of the Cockney School. By the by, it ought to have been printed the " Tragic," not " Magic Lay," except inasmuch as it was laid at the feet of your saucy daughter Maga, of whom, my dear Kit, I beg to subscribe myself always the true and faithful cavalier,
Temple, Dec. 11th.
THRICE the Abbey clock doth chime,
Polish'd women next, and men,
By whose philosophic eyes
* The principal libraries.
Deep imbibed at Daffy† club,
+ The Bristol imitation of the P. C.