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would create a fierce democratic constituency, and therefore fierce democratic representatives.” “ It would establish a wild democracy, a complete democratic assembly under the name of a House of Commons.” And are the people to expect any thing even less fierce, less wild, less democratic, from his grace's hands? No such thing. He had nothing to offer in place of the bill himself, and he besought the lords, who were of his party,“ in deciding upon
this bill, not to pledge themselves to any other which might be proposed. Such a course as this, is any thing but the course of a statesman, or of a pacificator, and he may depend upon it, that any measure which he may hereafter propose, short of the bill which he rejected, will be flung back into his face, without the slightest ceremony, by the people. They are not to be insulted with
impunity, even by the victor of Waterloo.
There is a sort of a peer in the house, who has gained some reputation, we hardly know how, for wit and eloquence, who some time ago was titled Lord Dudley and Ward ; but soon after he became minister for foreign affairs, as the locum tenens of Mr. Canning, was promoted, for no services that we have ever heard of, to the dignity of Earl Dudley. There is, we believe, no Countess Dudley, but it is understood that the noble lord is not without a family ; that he is very weaithy; mingles in his common conversations the slang of the fancy with quotations from the classics; and has as small a portion in him of the dignity of the statesman, the tact of the diplomatist, or the wisdom of the legislator, as poor Lord Kenyon himself, who is agreed upon all hands to be the very paragon of an aristocratic fool; the ne plus ultra of titled obtuseness. We had thought, when we read the Duke of Wellington's speech, and considered the many phrases which he used in order to condemn the democratic tendency of the bill, that he could not possibly be surpassed in that tone of invective, by any succeeding peer. But Earl Dudley shewed that we were wrong, for he maintained that the bill would establish" something beyond a republic—a democracy which would soon swallow up the monarchy and the peerage.” Certainly, if the existence of the peerage depend upon the preservation of the rotten boroughs, as Earl Dudley seems to think, the sooner it is swallowed up, or got rid of in some way or other, the better. We can tell the noble lord, that the people of this country do not want, and will no longer endure, a peerage which has already swallowed up so large a portion of their rights and privileges, and has been for centuries preying upon the very vitals of their prosperity. As to the monarchy, so long as its prerogatives are wielded by such individuals as William IV.-a prince who has truly, frankly, and bravely performed all his duties by his people, and who will persevere in that noble career, as long as he lives—the monarchy will be worshipped as the most sacred, and the most useful portion of our constitution. It will be the best source of peace, and liberty, and security, to which the people can look in times of commotion; in times of
tranquillity, they will regard it as the brightest ornament of their country, nearly connected with all their associations of national pride, and the mirror of their own majesty. Upon this point, therefore, we consider Lord Dudley's apprehensions as simply ridiculous.
There is about the Marquis of Londonderry a gleam of talent, though, unhappily, it is mixed up so much with admiration for the name of his late brother, than whom he thinks a wiser or a greater statesman never lived; and with a personal infirmity of mind which leads him to believe that he himself is, or ought to be, the first man in the country, that his real worth becomes lost in our wonder at the eccentric capers in which he frequently indulges. This curious peer had the courage to reject the bill upon the ground that “it robbed people of their vested rights, and subverted every institution in the country.” This is indeed placing the nomination system upon high grounds. Vested rights forsooth! We should like to see by what title any English peer can claim under the constitution, the right of sending members to the House of Commons, for any one of the boroughs which they now hold in their hands! They can have no right of the kind, though we too well know that they exercise the
of nomination to a formidable extent. If they can have no right of this description, it would be whimsical to suppose that they can have any vested interest worth the slightest respect, in that which cannot legally exist. We should like, moreover, to see a list of the institutions (the noble lord says every institution in the country) which the bill attempted to subvert. Did it make any
inroad upon the trial by jury, the first and greatest institution we know of, and the bulwark of all the rest ? Did it subvert the press ? Did it trench upon the courts of equity and common law? Did it even touch those grand nuisances, the spiritual courts of the provinces of Canterbury and York ? Did' it take away a soldier from the army, or so much as a rope from the navy ? Did it destroy either of the universities? These, assuredly, are properly enumerated among the institutions of the country, and yet the bill passed them by altogether. The assertion of the noble marquis is, therefore, a mere gratuitous piece of declamation, resorted to, we really believe, less for the purpose of argument, than for that of giving a sounding termination to a sentence.
We were particularly amused by the manner in which Lord Haddington treated the grave question, upon which were suspended the destinies of the whole empire. “ He had almost," he said, “made up his mind to vote for the second reading,” but, oh most lame and impotent conclusion! he could not help allowing “things to remain as they were.” What a pity it was that this vacillating peer could not screw up his courage to the sticking place! We confess that we have a much greater respect for the straightforward and manly declaration of Lord Falmouth, who “could not persuade himself that the bill was capable of being converted by any metamorphosis into a safe or proper measure.” The world, perhaps,
has forgotten, but we reviewers, being bound to have good memories, have not yet lost sight of a long poem entitled “ The Moor,” published some years ago by Lord' Porchester. Though it wanted the artist-like touch of a master, that composition displayed some genius, and obtained for his lordship a considerable degree of reputation, upon which, we regret to add, he has not since at all improved. We own that we were rather surprised at the time, at the appearance of that work from the hands of any member of Lord Caernarvon's family, as we had not the least idea that it had ever distinguished itself in literature, or made the slightest pretensions to the poetical character. But the late debate undeceived us upon this, as well as upon many other points, for we found that unless Lord Porchester wrote his father's speech for him, the faculty of imagination, and of manufacturing metaphors in infinite variety, must have been transmitted to him by the same hereditary process, which will one day entitle him to a peerage. We certainly never read of so many whirlwinds and storms, as the noble lord contrived to summon up from the “ vasty deep” of his brain, in the course of his most extraordinary oration. It was one of the most drunken appeals to the passions, that ever was heard in that house, and yet the whole object of it was to shew that the people were drunk with the fumes of this bill. The noble peer seemed anxious to refer the consideration of the measure from “ Philip drunk to Philip sober," and yet every argument he uttered, every phrase he used in the excited strains which he poured forth, was calculated to throw every possible impediment in the way of Philip ever becoming sober again, and in fact to render hin ten times inore drunk and more frenzied in his indignation than he ever was before. “ The measure, said he, “dow proposed, would lead to a republic more dreadful than that which had been established in France,”—that is to say, it would make us in the first place murder our beloved king, hang, draw and quarter as many of the nobles as we could catch, exile the rest, confiscate their properties, desecrate the temples of religion, cut off the heads of some millions of our fellow subjects, drown as many more in the river Thames, or the neighbouring sea, and place the reins of our government in the hands of a succession of Robespierres ! The man who took it upon himself so to characterize a bill, brought forward with the sanction of his Majesty, of Earl Grey, and the Lord Chancellor, must, we should very much fear, have been at the time in the condition in which Philip was, when he was not sober.
We cannot conjecture to what mood of mind Lord Wynfordthe amiable, good tempered, polished, and very learned (especially in Scotch law,) Lord Wynford—had attained, when he spoke of the bill as having originated in a “ base cry for reform.”. Here is a man very recently raised from amongst the people, raised by the mere personal favour of the late king, without a shadow of sterling merit to justify such a proceeding. At the bar, Mr. Serjeant Best was
VOL. III. (1831.) NO. III.
never deemed any thing more than a warm advocate; as a lawyer he never cut any figure. He was elevated to the bench through the same favour which gave him the peerage, he having happened to serve the Prince of Wales in some capacity, which we now forget. His temper, however, was found, after repeated trials, to be utterly inconsistent, not only with the dignity of the bench, but with his duties as a judge. The scenes which occurred between him and an eminent practitioner in the Court of Common Pleas, are too well remembered to need description. The court was almost abandoned by the public, and it was found essentially necessary to invite, or at least to encourage, his lordship to retire upon a pension. But the indulgence of the late king covered the retiring judge with the mantle of the peerage, and it was said at the time, that he was to take a very active part in the business of the privy council. This was given out by way of excuse, for allowing him to withdraw from the bench before he had served the usual number of years. Well, to the privy council he went; he was wholly unacquainted with colonial and 'Indian law, but he was resolved to be very industrious. He filled his library with books upon these branches of professional learning, and it is even said that some very curious treatises upon the laws of the Medes and the Persians, of the Chinese and those who dwell in the islands of the eastern Archipelago, are to be found in his collection. Unhappily, he spent so much time in collecting and arranging his books, that he found no time for reading them, and the knowledge which they contained remained to him in such dead letters, that he was either invited or encouraged to give up the legal presidency of the privy council, which for a time he had assumed. Well, he still could not be idle, so he would hear appeals in the House of Lords, and above all others he gave a decided preference to Scotch appeals, it being notorious that he had never, when at the bar, any practice in that peculiar department of the profession. The consequence was that he fell into some very odd mistakes, one of which was so singular in its consequences, that the Lord Chancellor was obliged to bring in a bill within the last month, for the purpose of rectifying a blunder which Lord Wynford made in one of his judgments! Now this is the man who dares to tell the people of England that their universal demand for reform was a “ base cry!” Nay, he had the hardihood to say in substance, that the people were a very respectable, good kind of people enough, but that there were some matters “not suited to their capacities and stations,” and that he would not trust them with “rights which they were not capable of exercising.” By a retributive fatality, mischievous men sometimes furnish weapons for their own destruction. The language which this mushroom baron, this ex-chief-justice; ex-lord-president of the privy council, and ex-judge of Scotch appeals, has applied by way of reproach to the people, is precisely the language that best describes his own condition. He has found to his mortification, that there were indeed
some matters “not suited to his capacity,” and the people have found to their dismay, that he has been too often trusted with“ rights which he was not capable of exercising." And to his imputation that the cry for reform was a base cry,” we answer, that his vote against reform was a “ base vote.” So much for Baron Wynford. Old Eldon we pass by out of pure pity.
He is in his dotage, and nothing that he says can either excite surprise, or do harm. The poor old garrulous man gave a history of his rise from a very humble station, to the first honours of the state, and expressed himself much pleased with the idea, that he is held out by many fathers as an example to the young men of England. One would expect that such a successful adventurer as this, might display some little attachment to the liberties of the people, from amongst whom he sprung. But, on the contrary, he was the most violent of all the faction against reform. Sorry indeed should we be to hold out such a man as this as an example to our children. There are two ways of getting to the top of a pyramid. The eagle rests upon it in his flights to the region of the sun ; the worm crawls to it in its search after food. Lord Eldon rose to the honours of the state upon the ruins of national freedom. It was by prosecuting the press, and the men who, at the close of the last century, asserted the liberties of the country, that he obtained distinction; to him we owe many bad laws against popular rights, some of which still disgrace our statute books; and to his uniform resistance against concessions of any kind, we are, in a great measure, indebted for the dangerous agitation which now prevails throughout the country. He, forsooth, an example to the youth of England ! God forbid ! We trust that they will look a great deal higher, and never follow the slimy track of an Eldon, while they can imitate the towering career of a Brougham.
Lord Lyndhurst is a clever man; but he showed upon the Catholic question that he can be equally clever upon either side of an argument, and that circumstances (personal, not political, circumstances) determine the side which he is to take on any given subject. We have no doubt that if he had remained chancellor under Lord Grey, he would have made a better speech in favour of the bill than he pronounced against it. He has long since lost all character for sincerity; his pompous manner and sonorous voice have all the marks of hypocrisy. It is a great pity that he is not a bishop.
Cumberland had not the manliness to speak his sentiments upon this occasion : he left that task to his silly cousin of Gloucester, who echoed the oft-repeated phrases “ pregnant with mischief, and leading to the overthrow of the state."
Although three or four of the episcopal lords gave no vote upon the second reading of the bill, yet they must be considered as agreeing in the sentiments expressed, not in his own name alone, but in that of the whole of the right reverend bench, by the Arch