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THE CABINET AND THE COUNTRY,
By M. GUIZOT.
SOLD ALSO BY ALL THE BOOKSELLERS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM.
PRINTED BY BALLANTYNE AND CO. EDINBURGH,
Three years ago Lord Brougham patience of the public, and the singusent the Melbourne Cabinet into the lar leniency of the national protectors world with the brand of “ The Inca- in Parliament, is, we take it for grantpables" on its forehead. Among all ed, wholly undeniable by any man changes of principle and practice, who knows his right hand from his they have been true to their title. left. Another point is equally to be They intended nothing ; they were taken into consideration. The Cacapable of nothing; and they have binet is not more frivolous as a body, fulfilled both their intention and their than impotent in its members. The capacity. The country has gone on broadest glance cast over British hiswithout them. They are no more tory can absolutely find nothing so responsible for its movements than destitute of all the qualifications for the barnacles on the ship's bottom are the government of empire. A bril. responsible for the ship's course. The liant and bold ambition has sometimes business of the barnacles is to cling dazzled the nation into the endurance where they have been once stuck on, of bad men and bad measures ; supeand their instinct is to repel any force rior eloquence, and the art of persuathat would scrape them off. The ding great assemblies, has often beCabinet have the same business, and wildered the nation ; a character for the same instinct, and no more. They honest public intentions, sanctioned would perhaps, like the barnacles, by private decency of life, has raised have some sense of inconvenience, if and kept many a man of mediocrity the ship were to be bulged against the in high station ; even the habit of rocks, or broken up by utter rotten- being known as the client of a popuness; but, like them, they will only lar and generous line of politics has follow their natural impulse in cling- had its effect. Thus the Walpoles, ing to it, while there is a plank toge. Chathams, Foxes, hazardous as they ther, and in sucking that plank while were, and even the Liverpools, simple they live.
and stagnant as they showed themThat this is wholly a new condition selves in the midst of the most glowof a British Government we perfectly ing impulses of the most glowing acknowledge; that the individuals times, and, last and least, the slippericomposing this Government are ut- ness of Canning, were more than terly helpless, trifling, and ridiculous, tolerated; nay, in some instances, we suppose no man of any kind of exact the same retrospective homage observation in the country doubts in from the national memory, with which the slightest degree ; and that this we look upon the sword and armour state of public matters has been suf- of some great champion, hung above fered to go on merely through the his tomb; or fix our eyes on the fiery VOL, XLIV. NO, CCLXXVI.
line in the horizon, which tells us that language often enriched by allusions there the sun has set. But the Mel- of classic elegance, render him one of bourne Cabinet have discovered an- the most accomplished of living speakother source of distinction, which, if ers. But he can cut deep. His casfew may desire to rival, none can tigation of O'Connell, when that truhope to exceed. They are contempti- culent bully ventured to come into ble. Their feebleness is so complete the House of Peers, probably with the ly beyond all controversy, that they hope of overawing him, the resistless have the double advantage of being contempt with which he lashed the supposed incapable of mischief, and fellow, and the summary justice with of exciting commiseration, in every which he actually foreed him to take instance where they are attacked. Sir fight, are still remembered by the Robert Peel against Lord John Rus- House as among the public services sell! Why, every sense of common of the noble Lord, and have sunk into humanity enlists itself on the side of the memory of O'Connell as among the little victim querulously writhing the bitterest debts of that sweeping in the grasp of the powerful Opposi- vengeance which cankers his heart. tion leader. Lord Melbourne against In the hands of such a man imbecility Lord Lyndhurst! Was there ever can only fret and foam. But it is when such painful inequality ? When the Lord Brougham makes the assault great Law Lord rises to inflict the that the condition of the Premier belash upon his nerveless and frighten- comes utterly pitiable. Brougham ed opponent, however justice may pays no attention to those etiquettes command severity, every feeling of which restrain execution in the hands compassion longs to save the startled of Lord Lyndhurst. His style is culprit from the scourge, which, trenchant, fierce, and desperate. He like the knout, may extinguish bis darts upon his prey like a vulture, and public existence at a blow. We is not content with striking it down; have, of course, no wish to touch upon he tears and gnaws; he turns it over the mysteries of high men and things. in every direction, and strikes again But if those scenes occurred in China, wherever a vestige of life or vulneracaricature might amuse itself richly bility remains. Even the noble Lord's with the burlesque of the Chief Man- eccentricity gives him additional power darin. Not the possession of the in this species of conflict; like the bird “ blue button, and the peacock’s fea- of the churchyard, he fights better on ther,”—not bowing Mandarins, and his back than on foot or wing, and Tartars kissing his
feet-not even the plies the beak and the claw to the exclusive ear of the sitter on the impe- last with remorseless fury, and never rial cushion could save him from be- finishes while there is a wound to be ing consummately laughed at. Of giveri, or a feather to be torn away. the multitude of trifling, unpurposed, But leaving the Cabinet en masse to and shallow speakers who figure so the scorn which its impotence dedisastrously before the people of Eng. serves ; if we enquire what has been land, the Premier with all his accom- done by its individual members, we plishments, probably ranks among only descend from its general usefulthe worst; he is certainly the worst ness to personal inanity. If we ask who ever attempted the part of a what has that man of the red ribbon leader of the Cabinet. After his and “all the loves," the Foreign Sefirst half-dozen sentences, he becomes cretary, done, since his unhappy fixwholly confused, evidently loses all ture on the public purse, we can find sequence of thought, blunders from nothing but a list of public failures, one folly to another, and after a help- resulting from a policy in direct conless discharge of the most unhappy tradiction to all the old established verbiage, either drops into silence, maxims of England, and that contrafrom mere powerlessness of saying diction resulting from the new-fangled any thing, or attempts to cover his re- deference of an English ministry for treat by falling into a ridiculous pas- the power of the rabble leaders at sion. On the other hand, Lord Lyndhome. We thus have as the memora. hurst's force, combined with his calm- bilia of the noble lord the blockade ness, his full and palpable knowledge of Holland; the Anglo-Spanish exof every subject on which he treats, pedition; the Turkish diplomacy ; his easy mastery of language, and that the Greek instalments; the American boundary negotiation; the negotia- rica give us time? No. What says tion with France on the infamous Russia? Follow your worthless policy, seizure of Algiers ; the negotiation for it is my profit; but interfere with with Spain and Portugal for the sup- my projects in the east or the west, pression of the slave trade. If all and then look to the consequences if these were not failures, we demand jou dare. Is it not notorious, that the evidence of success in any one of while our Ministry are thus doing nothem.
thing at home, and England is lookFrom the Foreign Secretary we ing on with a mixture of contempt turn to the Colonial. There the single and amazement, Russia is atming on word “ Canada” is more than enough. every frontier, building vast fleets, The infinite dulness that could not and in the midst of the most profound see rebellion preparing year after peace, and without a rival to fear, is year; the infinite tardiness that so calculating on the conquest of counlong pondered about sending out tries, of which fifty years ago she had the force which was so imperiously scarcely heard the name? Is it not necessary; the infinite foolery which notorious that France is openly calcusuffered such a personage as Lord lating on the possession of the whole Durham to go out as “the peace- northern coast of Africa before our maker," attended with such guardians face, a possession which would seal of publie interests, and such examples up the Mediterranean from us, as of personal conduct, as the Turtons, Russia has sealed up the Euxine ? Is Wakefields, and Duncombes. Such it not notorious that America is mak are a few features of the Secretary's ing an iniquitous demand for the sur. achievements in a single branch of render of that vast territory which, his office. But we leave the Mor- lying between New Brunswick and pheus of the Cabinet to his poppies. the St Lawrence, seals up the mouth
What exhibition has the Home Se- of that great communication between cretary made of his fitness for power? our Canadian empire and the ocean? Has there been a single bill of the ses- But all this is done because the at. sion which has not been either given tention of the Cabinet is employed on over to the Opposition to correct into Ireland. So say the defenders of the the capability of public use, or beeň Premier and his colleagues. Ireland trampled under foot by them? Has he must first be pacified; you must first had a will of his own for an hour to let us soothe the Agitator, and satisfy gether? Has he been able to bring a the Irish Papist, and then- The Greek single measure of Government into Calends will be an early date for the action but by the sufferance of Sir arrival of that day. We say unRobert Peel; and is he not at this hesitatingly that this hope of settlemoment a puppet, pulled alternately ment is an absurdity. Or, that if by the strings of the Irish faction at the Cabinet believe that any arrange: his back, and the Opposition in his ment for the peace of Ireland will front? As for the remainder of his be valid with Popery for a moment coadjutors they are fit to draw on the beyond its own convenience in breakTreasury once a quarter, and that is ing through that arrangement, we the sum total of their capacities. must hold the Ministerial intellect in
But how long is this system of ne- still more condign scorn. gations to go on? How long can Eng- We ask, what have the Ministry land endure to see eleven five thou. ever been able to fix, or the nation to sands a-year given to the necessities gain, in the negotiations with the of eleven luminaries of this order? Agitator and his tribe ? To talk of How long are those men to be suffer- the utter vileness of Papist politics is ed to sow the seed of their Whig-Ra wholly superfluous. But while he redicalism in every spot of office at mains the acknowledged regulator of home, in every colony, in every regi. our public measures, the master of our ment, in every ship; to turn all pub- public men, the lord of British counlic employment into a Whig retaining cil, those things invest his opinions fee, and fasten upon the nation, in the with an importance which makes their form of well paid pauperism, the dregs perfidy an object of public peril. of worthless partisanship? Will Eu- It will be found that, in all the great rope give us time for the quiet pro- points in dispute between Irish faction cess of this experiment? Will Ames and national safety, the Papist has