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tion for the future;—if they had turned from their ranks with abhorrence and contempt those members who disgraced them by their factious designs, and by their association with the radical principles of the day;—if they had come forward and declared, that instead of a systematic opposition carried on in a spirit of most glaring inconsistency with all their former measures, they were now to be regulated by something like a spirit of knowledge, and discrimination, and honesty j—then would it have been most E roper to have forgiven, and, if possile, forgotten, what was past, and to have treated them with all the favour and complacency which are due to men who are sensible that they can do harm no longer.
But has this, indeed, been done? Have the Whigs repented them of that mad opposition which, if successful, would nave bent the spirit of this free and happy country under the yoke of the bloodiest tyrant that the world ever produced? Have they declared their regret, that when a season of distress visited our land, they joined, in their drunken folly, with the ignorant scoffers at our national laws and institutions; and tried to take advantage of that hour of danger to raise their rabble party into power? Have they humbled themselves at the recollection of their efforts to stamp with the name of virtue and suffering innocence, the rankest scenes of indelicacy that ever were brought before aBritish public—and to erect a standard of open andavowedprofligacy for the imitation of the women of England? Have they indeed confessed with contrition, that the only consistent part of their conduct has been their continued opposition to the measures of Ministers; —and that it was only in illustration of this principle that they lately called upon this country to engage in a war, not half so justifiable as one against which they cried for the last twenty years? Have they made their confessions, and their recantations upon these points, that their opponents are now so ready to receive them with favour and regard? . One would really believe, from the tenderness in every quarter as to giving offence to the feelings of these persons, that there was some such change in their conduct, as we have mentioned above. We see, in every case, the most lively concern as to their interests and views.
A public measure must not now be carried, if they are set violently against it;—a firm and manly tone must not now be adopted, if they have brought forward any of their vague and idle charges;—and even persons attached to government, and who have defended it through good and bad report, must be given up to their rage, because their pride and pretensions demand such a victim1. One would believe, that, instead of being men who once held bad and base principles, and who had suddenly abandoned them, they were even viewed as a party of persecuted patriots, who after being unjustly humbled for many years were now to be raised, and to have their hard treatment atoned for by every flattering mark of kindness, of concession, and of conciliation.
And what, after all, is the fact? The truth is, that the Whigs are in all things, except in power, the same now, as they were at any former period of their history. There has been no confession of any of their crimes—no recantation—no atonement. They hold and avow at this day, the self-same principles, which, during the last war, at the time of Radical commotion, when the Queen held her rabble court, and while the Spanish war was last discussed in Parliament, led them successively to worship tyranny abroad, to preach insubordination at home, to follow and acclaim the steps of profligacy—and to declare that consistency formed no part of their creed, whenever the peace and happiness of the country might be destroyed. They are the same in intention now, though their power and influence are utterly gone. Disappointed in their hopes, frustrated in thenintentions, seeing their prophecies disproved, and themselves and their measures covered with contempt, they still cling to their heritage of shame, and glory in shewing their hatred to everything honest in principle and noble in conduct. Their voice has indeed been lost amidst the general shout of exultation which pervades a happy and prosperous country, but their silence is one of necessity, not of contentment. There is no change in their principles, for these are still directed to the hopeless task of raising themselves to power; ■—there is no alteration in their measures, for these are still aimed against the supporters of Government;—they are the same discontented, invidious,
designing, and dishonest men, that they were in the darkest part of their history.
Nor can It even be said, that they have manifested the slightest wish to adopt those measures of conciliation, which they are so ready to demand from others. They have not abated one jot of their virulence, nor shewn the most distant design of acting with candour, far less with courtesy and forbearance. They have not forgotten that there is a difference in principle between themselves and their opponents, though, with a most laughable gravity,they would now wish the Tories to do so. Follow them to their places of convocation, and of party muster— hear them, when their spirits wax big as numbers seem to give a temporary importance to their harangues, and you will find the self-same mad, rabid, and dishonest spirit of discussion which raged during the blackest part of their career. I need not go far to bring you an example to prove this. Look back to the report (corrected by themselves) of their vamped-up speeches at the last dinner in honour of their patron saint, and you will see enough to convince you that, with them, conciliation is still a name. I will not pollute your pages, nor will I give the native and acquired insignificance of the persons who figured there any importance by attacking them here, but I would just allude to a few of the topics then introduced to shew the spirit by which these persons are still guided. We have Jeffrey praising Yankee independence at the expense of English honour; and babbling in his usual style about republics, free-trade, and liberty. Wehave Moncrieff associating the memory of Erskine with trials for treason; and delivering the usual harangue about" trial by jury," one of the greatest benefits of which has been the ridding this country of the libellers and blasphemers who belong to his own set. Then we have Cockburn conjuring up that arch-blunderer Hume —the most dogmatical, stupid, tiresome pest, that ever haunted St Stephens. Could not this economist tell Mr Cockburn how to blot out from the list some of our Scottish pensioners?—this would be a practical good— and perhaps the advocate might point out examples where to begin. I mention not any of their civil and religious liberty toasts—their " freedom of conscience," and "liberty of the press,"
—which mean the destruction of establishments, and all abuse to be on one side; because what I have already said is enough to shew that, with these men, the same bitter, rankling, discontented spirit remains, which has all along distinguished them. What claim, therefore, have these people to conciliation, and upon what right do they receive it?
The truth is, that look intowhatever department of Whig policy we may,we can see no earthly difference between what they now are, and what they were in former times, except that their power is gone. There is still the same outcry against ministers, and the same sullen discontent at all our measures of national policy. True, some of them are at times found, talking of the popularity of Canning, and of the liberality of giving places to some of their friends, but in the next breath we hear it followed with the reflection, that the time has arrived at last when merit is to be rewarded. The party have gaped so long with hungry mouths at the good things which were only to be enjoyed by them in anticipation, that the slightest mark of favour is received as a great and unexpected boon. In all but this, however, their hatred to the measures of administration remain unchanged. It is true, that with the great body of the people these measures are now viewed as the only ones which could be adopted for the prosperity and the honour of the country; but it is not the great body of the people that we call Whigs. There is a circulating mass of our population, which cannot be said to belong to any party whatever. They are led very much by external circumstances, and may be found successively the followers of demagogues; the applauders of praters about constitutional measures, and the ferocious shouters at the bloody triumphs of a tyrant. During times of distress, this partof thepopulation were led by designing demagogues to adopt the levelling principles of the day, but since the return of employment and of plenty, they have with one accord been restored to industry and to allegiance. The Whigs, however, are not the body of the people, but, in this country at least, with a few exceptions, they are confined to some sraatterers in law and other sciences in our metropolis; to a smaller number of discontented traders in our other towns; w''
very fuw erased noblemen and nearly ruined country gentlemen. Wedefy the ingenuity of Jeffrey himself to pick out a single Whig, except in one or other of these degrees. It is vain, therefore, to talk of public feeling and popular sentiment, and to say, that these are Whig opinions coming round in favour of Tory measures; and that conciliation ought, therefore, to be extended to men who are thus changing their views. The mass of the people are not, and never were Whigs; they may be misled for a time, but they generally come right at last; and the fact of their being attached to government at the present day, proves nothing as to Whig feeling at all. That party stands by itself—with all its former rancour and malignity—a prating, discontented, disingenuous, illiberal "few," who seem to be sworn to inconsistency, endless opposition, and enduring contempt.
It is altogether a mistaken idea, therefore, to suppose, that those conciliating or flattering measures adopted towards the Whig party are to have a happy effect upon public feeling in the country. It is a mere assertion, unsupported by argument, and false in fact, to say, that the body of the people rejoice in every act of kindness bestowed upon the members of Opposition. Whatever it once was, the case is now quite the reverse. Ample opportunities have been afforded, of late, to weigh the character and pretensions of those men who come forward as leaders in political discussions, and the public are neither so obtuse, nor so bigotted, as not to draw the proper conclusion. We say, that there is a change in popular feeling (not in Whig feeling be it observed,) towards the supporters of Administration, which a few years ago could not .even have been conceived of. We do not state this upon any process of reasoning which might be disputed, but we appeal to facts, and dare any one to disprove or overturn ihem. In all the department* of the state we find a wonderful change in the sentiments with which every person is regarded who can be said to form a part of Administration. Our judges are revered, our magistrates respected, and every person in authority under the King u viewed with reverence and honour. Instead of being considered as holding power which may be used or oppression, and situations which
are designed for personal aggrandize* ment, a fair and candid admission is now made of their importance to government and to society. In the same way, visit any, the moat remote part of the country, and you find the same sentiments prevail. The rulers in our burghs are viewed as men of the greatest integrity in the community, and the landed proprietors, who are attached to government, are considered to possess the greatest respectability and honour. We state this as the opinion of the mass of the people at the present day—we do so from our observation of them in all ranks —and we decidedly hold, that with them the Whigs are viewed with a feeling somewhat worse than that of mere indifference. They have found in every case, that not only are the measures brought forward by these persons mere chimerical schemes—too often of a selfish kind, which can never lead to practical good; but that, in reality, whenever the Whigs have obtained power, they have exhibited in their own persons an illustration of every evil of which they have complained; and have proved themselves to be the most oppressive and tyrannical of all masters wherever their power was felt and acknowledged.
We have stated this much to shew that the Whigs, in their cry for conciliation, have shewn no wish on their part to adopt any accommodating measures; and that the great body of the people being attached to government, and of course to the Tories who support it, the concessions made to the Whigs can be of no public benefit. The policy therefore is unsound, w we hold it to be mean, which endeavours to sooth and to flatter men who are as rancorous in their hostility us ever, and who are viewed with disgust by the great body of the people.
While I thus state my sentiments frankly and freely upon this subject, I rejoice that you at least have given this principle of conciliation no countenance, either by your precept or exam£. On your part, mere nas, as yet, n no sacrifice of those principles—for principles they must be, by which your public course has been directed. Raised up to check the infidel, licentious, and factious designs of the Whig press, your conduct has been marked by an undeviating and steady devotion to this purpose. And yet there are some who also call upon you for concilia
lion. And what are the arguments upon which they found their demand? Have the retainers of the Whig press ceased to pour out their ribaldry and abuse? Has the Morning Chronicle become tender of female character? Have Moore and Byron ceased to be licentious and blasphemous? Has the Edinburgh Review become a loyal and patriotic work? We bring the matter just to this point, and we affirm, that if there has been the smallest change in these respects in Whig publications, it is only because the public feeling will not admit of their former impertinence and crime. Their weapons may have been shivered in the conflict, but their spirit of hostility is not gone ; and every week, every day, bears witness to some glaring act against the institutions or the religion of the land. Amidst all this demand, therefore, for moderation in regard to the Tory press, there has not been one instance either of forbearance, or of candour, or of liberality, in those with whom the demand originated. Byron writes his blasphemy, and Hunt vends it with the same hardihood, as if conciliation was never dreamt of; and Jeffrey pens his jokes, and vents his politics, with the same pertness, as though his party were in theplenitudeof theirpower. Ami arc all things, honest and dishonest, to be lawful to these men, while you and others are to be smoothed down to suit the altered policy of the day? Is that to be a crime in one which is not only tolerated but applauded in another? And are you to hesitate about speaking the truth boldly, openly, and fully, while your opponents are gloating themselves with every species of falsr
hood, blasphemy, and abuse? Does conciliation demand this? Has the time" arrived when Whig folly and Whig crime are to be buried in oblivion ; and when the party are to commit all manner of offences without either notice or rebuke? No. From you, they cannot expect, nor is it proper that they should receive, anything which is to compromise the principles by which you have all along been animated; principles, with the exercise of which must not only be connected the prosperity, but the very existence of our country.
I trust, therefore, that we are soon to hear less, on all sides, of that conciliation which is the prevailing cry of the day. The Whigs can now do no evil, let us therefore pass them over with contempt; they never can do good, let us therefore despise to court them. From being the most bitter and rancorous enemies of the time-hallowed institutions of the country, they have now becomu empty prattlers, stripped of power, and covered with conscious imbecility. Disappointed in all their plans for the ruin of the country, ami thwarted in all their attempts to raise them* selves to power; they would now stand in the same rank with those, who, against their machinations, have defended the bulwark of the constitution. But the memory of what they were cannot be blotted out, nor the knowledge of what they are be forgotten, and their present meanness only aggravates their past crimes, and secures to them that scorn which is their rightful heritage. Yours truly,
P. S. As I conclude this short letter, I am unfortunately furnished with another example of the nature of Whig conciliation. Parliament has met: met in circumstances of national prosperity unexampled in the annals of this or any other country. Our internal policy lessening our burdens, and improving our trade, commerce, and agriculture; our foreign policy preserving the peace, at the same time with the honour of the kingdom, and making Britain more feared, respected, and courted, than at any former period of her history. These are blessings which one would have expected to have called forth an unanimous expression of exultation and gratitude, and yet a marl of discontent is heard. Brougham—Henry Brougham—the Whig—the wouldbe leader of the broken-down party that is now to be conciliated—he could not repress his growl. But for this man, Britain would have presented to foreigners the noble spectacle of a country in which the senators were unanimous with the people in their approbation of those measures by which its rank and prosperity were procured, and are preserved. But, no—Whig patriotism could not go so far. There must be a speech—an attack—something affecting, directly or indirectly, the measures of ministers. And yet it may be useful. It goes far to establish the point for which we have contended— It is Whig Conciliation.
SOCIETY AND SOLITUDE.
[From a MS. Poem.]
Methinks I see upon some desert coast,
The lowering shades of Darkness are at hand,
Silent and motionless he views the sun
In care-sequestered haunts, to Joy unknown, Where if weeds spring not, flowers are never strewn, Lo! buried in the solitary cell, Where sighs and tears with Superstition dwell,