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they have eúlogised all the revolutions that have taken place in Europe, and zealously inculcated all the principles that led to them, it is worse than absurd to assert that in any one essential point, their conduet has differed from that of the Revolutionists.
Our questions are now answered. Public libels owe their origin, almost wholly, to the opposition. Let the Whigs imitate the conduct of the Marquis of Lansdown, and become a constitutional opposition, and their prints will immediately abandon that path which they now tread, to their own disgrace and the ruin of the nation. Let them, in all conflicts between the law and seditious and blasphemous libels, remain neutral,- we do not ask them to act the patriot and to support the law,-and in six months these libels will be one and all suppressed.
The Opposition-we speak of it in its usual characteris formed for the purpose of opposing indiscriminately all the measures of the ministers, without any reference to their merits ; and of driving them from office, whatever may be their ability, and however disastrous the consequences may prove to the nation. It struggles, not for the good of the country, but for the virtual sovereignty of the country--not for public benefit, but for personal profit and aggrandisement at the public cost.
While such are its motives and objects, its power and resources are of the most formidable kind. Its wealth is immense, it carries along with it a very large portion of the community, it possesses half the public prints, and its numbers have no other limit than its inability to increase them. Its actual influence in the state is thus secondary only to that of the government, and instances are not wanting in which this influence has overpowered the government, and seized the dominion of the country in direct opposition to its will.
It is in all essential matters the personal interest of the ministers to study the benefit of the nation. The favour of the sovereign, whatever it once was, is now of inferior value to them; the favour of the people can alone maintain them in office, and this can only be obtained and preserved by serving the nation ably and faithfully. Whether their motives be the grovelling ones of thirst for lucre and love of place, or the ennobling one, the pássion for fame, they can only enjoy what they seek by the display of talent and integrity in the discharge of their duty. But it is the personal interest of the opposition in essential matters to deceive the nation. The acquiescence of this body in any of the leading measures of the ministry would furnish such evidence of the ability of the latter as no opposition could prevail on itself to give; and therefore, however wise and necessary such measures
may be, it regularly obstructs or withstands them. If agriculture or commerce be in distress, instead of assisting in endeavours to discover the cause, it labours to involve it in still deeper obscurity—instead of joining in a remedy, it opposes with all its might the application of such remedy. It bewilders the discussion of public questions by distortions, misrepresentations, and personal vituperations, and its constant occupation is to render the functionaries of the government odious and contemptible, and to 'create discontent and division in the community. It must do this to keep itself in sight and existence. As we have already said, the objects of the opposition and the Revolutionists, up to a very high point, are the same. The former may entertain no hostility towards the institutions of the state; but its first wish is to effect a complete change of rulers, and to obtain the reins of government, and it must therefore travel in the same path with the latter.
The necessity for the existence of an efficient opposition is nevertheless only secondary in degree to the necessity for the existence of a ministry. Although this body is self-appointed, is scarcely tolerated by the letter of the constitution, and exists even in defiance of the laws, it has to perform public duties of the very highest importance to the state. It has to act as the guardian and champion of the constitution and laws—as the inspector of the conduct of the ministers, the denouncer of their incapacity and misdeeds and as the leader of the nation in its opposition to their measures and in the attempts to remove them from office. It forms almost the chief instrument by which they are spurred to the able and upright discharge of their duty, and restrained from the abuse of their power. By holding itself constantly in readiness, and duly fitted at all points for undertaking the direction of public affairs, it gives to the sovereign and nation that perfect independence and efficient controul over the ministers, on which the good of the state so essentially depends.
Such is opposition; and we think it must be clear to the dullest capacity
1. That if those who constitute it are not men of high honour and sound patriotism-do not identify themselves with the institutions of the nation, civil and ecclesiastical-do not defend the constitution and laws from all assailants whatever-do not possess the confidence and support of a considerable portion of the intelligent classes—and are disqualified by the want of talent and integrity from becoming the ministry, such men are altogether useless as an opposition; and so long as they form it, so long will the nation be deprived of those services for which alone the existence of the opposition is tolerated.
2. That if they are regardless of personal honour and reputation-labour to delude the nation, and throw its affairs into confusion-league themselves with traitors and blasphemers, and carry on war against our institutions in church and state-such men will render the opposition, from the immunities and influence which it possesses, the most terrible scourge that could visit, and the most formidable enemy that could be arrayed against, the empire. By this test must the conduct of the whigs be judged.
At this moment we possess no genuine, and, if we may so speak, constitutional opposition. The Whigs, when they separate themselves from the Revolutionists, have no weight or influence in the nation, and therefore, so far as the ministers are kept in the line of duty by hostility to their measures, they are kept in it by the Revolutionists. There is no man of discernment in the nation who, whatever may be bis politics, believes that the Whigs are capable of conducting the affairs of the empire, or ought to be entrusted with power; and therefore the sovereign and country possess no longer an alternative in the choice of ministers, and the ministers no longer feel that powerful stimulant and effectual curb—the consciousness that men exist, anxious and able to replace them. Were the present ministers as imbecile, as they are able, they must still be kept in office, for they would still be infinitely preferable to men solemnly pledged to make the most comprehensive and fearful changes in the constitution, and the state of society.
That this is pregnant with public calamities may be easily demonstrated. Its direct tendency is to make the offices of the ministers, virtually, hereditary to a party, and to make the crown and the nation absolutely dependant on this party, so long as it shall abstain from attacking the constitution. Should ministers pervert their power into the means of plundering and overthrowing the church-blotting from our law books the statutes which form the foundation of society-encouraging and protecting the press in vilifying the crown, the aristocracy, or whatever else might thwart their wishes—and pulling to pieces the constitution for the purpose of making the most dangerous experiments upon it--who is to oppose them? Not the opposition, for it would support them with all its might. If at this moment the Attorney General were to convert his office into a sinecure, and suffer the nation to be deluged with treasonable and blasphemous writings, who would impeach him for it? If the Home Secretary were to suffer the lives and property of the peaceable and loyal to be assailed by seditious rioters, who would denounce his flagrant breach of duty to the country? Most assuredly not the
opposition, for, instead of attacking neglect of duty, it only attacks the discharge of it. We repeat, that the Whigs are wholly useless as an opposition, and that all the benefits which the nation has been wont to draw from it, are lost. How far they have rendered it a public curse may be the best determined by exa amining their words and actions for the last six years, and the history of the country for the same period.
The Marquis of Lansdown and the few Whigs who, like him, have adhered to the faith of their ancestors, and scorned to mix themselves up with the Revolutionists, will not understand any thing that we have said to apply to them. These most respectable men have been placed in the most trying situation, by the preposterous and criminal conduct of their colleagues; if they have fallen into occasional errors, they have upon the whole acted nobly, and we will cast no censure where there is so much to panegyrise. That they are but a few straggling, uninfluential members of the opposition, instead of forming the majority of it, is to be deplored as a national misfortune; for nothing can shake our conviction, that if the great body of the Whigs had acted as they have acted, the calamities and disgraces of late years would never have been known, and the country would not have been what it now is.
We say again for the thousandth time, that, had it not been for the example and protection of the Whigs, the herd of revolutionary writers and orators would never have been able to circulate their writings and collect their mobs; the operation of the laws would never have been suspended, public morals would have remained uninjured, and public tranquillity would never have been disturbed.
We ask the Whigs again, then—what is the nation to think -what can it think of them, after their past and present conduct?
The great object of their confederation and efforts is, possession of the reins of government, and they must know, as well as all other men, that they can never be successful, unless they prove, to the nation, that they are friendly to the constitution and laws that they duly understand the interests of the country--and that their honour and integrity may be safely relied on—in a word, that they are in a reasonable degree qualified for the office which they seek to fill.
To effect this, they must return to the Whiggism of 1688-remould their creed until it harmonises with truth, experience, human nature and common sense--subscribe no more for such men as Hone and Wilson, and protect no longer such as Benbow and Thelwall. They must expel from their ranks all the friends of revolution, and dissolve all connexion with radicalism.
They must make no more false and inflammatory speeches to the multitude; oppose no longer the enforcing of the laws; and clamour no further for change and innovation. Without this they must remain as they now are, unworthy of being called a party, deserted by the prudent and patrioticə-despised by the populace and powerless for every thing but mischief. The wealth, intelligence and wisdom of the nation set so strongly against their present opinions and practices, that there is no alternative. Those who virtually elect and depose ministries are not to be imposed upon by professions, or misled by personal partiality. They have infinitely more at stake than the rival candidates. In chusing a ministry, they chuse the guardians of their lives and fortunes, and they do not ask, which is the Whig, or which is the Tory; but which is the friend of the constitution, the laws, religion and order; wbich is the statesman, and which is the man of talent, wisdom, honour and virtue.
ART. XIII.-1. Napoleon in Exile ; or a Voice from St. Helena.
The Opinions and Reflexions of Napoleon on the most important Events of his Life and Government, in his own Words. By Barry E. O'Meara, Esq. his late Surgeon. London. 1922,
2 vols, pp. 511–542. 2. Memorial de Ste. Hélène. Journal de la Vie privée et des
Conversations de l'Empereur Napoléon à Ste. Hélène. Par le Comte de Las Cases. London. 1923. 1 vol. 2 Parts. pp,
420-398. 3. Mémoires pour servir à l'Histoire de France sous Napoléon,
écrits à Sté. Hélène, sous le dicta de l'Empereur, par les Généraux qui ont partagé sa Captivité, et publiés sur les Manuscrits entièrement corrigés de su main. Tome I., dicté au Général
Gourgaud. London. 1823. pp. 384. 4. Mélanges Historiques. Vol. I., dicté au Comte de Montholon. London. 1822.
1822. pp. 358. IN N our former Numbers we apprized our readers of the plan by
which Buonaparte designed to keep himself alive in the public recollection, and to maintain by successive publications the hopes of the disaffected throughout Europe ; and we exposed the art with which he contrived to have his agents successively dismissed from St. Helena, that they might, in due order, contribute their respective quotas to the series of libels, by which the world was to be persuaded to tolerate the return of Buonaparte himself. First came the fabricated Letters of that poor bungler Warden, reviewed in our Thirty-first Number; then we had Signor Santini's Appeal to Europe; and the Letter by. Buonaparte himself,