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DISRAELI 

ON 

WHIGS AND WHIGGISM 




J 



WHIGS AND WHIGGISM 

POLITICAL WRITINGS 

BY BENJAMIN DISRAELI 

EDITED, WITH AN INTRODUCTION, BY 

WILLIAM HUTCHEON 

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS 



SIR ADAM FERGUSON : But, Sir, in the British Constitution it 
is surely of importance to keep up a spirit in the people, so as to 
preserve a balance against the Crown. 

DR. JOHNSON : Sir, I perceive you are a vile Whig. 

BOSWELL : Life of Johnson. 



NEW YORK 
THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 

1914 



PREFATORY NOTE 

THE suggestion for the preparation of a volume of by- 
products of Disraeli's pen came from Mr. John Murray; 
for the selection and treatment I alone am responsible. 
I have to acknowledge Mr. Murray's helpful counsel and 
encouragement, and I have also to express my thanks to 
Mr. Goningsby Disraeli for advice willingly rendered; to 
the proprietors of the Morning Post for special facilities 
for the identification of Disraeli's contributions to that 
journal; to Mr. T. E. Kebbel; to Sir James Murray; to 
Messrs. Maggs Brothers for permission to reproduce the 
Disraeli letters in facsimile from the originals in their 
possession; and to Mr. B. L. O'Malley for his criticisms 
and suggestions. Lastly, I cannot but make grateful 
acknowledgment of my wife's co-operation, which has 
made the work a pleasure. 

It should be noted that the frontispiece, from a dry- 
point by my friend, Mr. James McBey, does not profess 
to be an actual portrait. It is rather an endeavour to 
realise the Young Disraeli from the published descrip- 
tions of the period, with the well-known portrait by 
A. E. Ghalon, K.A., in the possession of Mr. Coningsby 
Disraeli, as a basis. 

W. H. 



CONTENTS 

[Those of Disraeli's political writings which are now reprinted for the first 
time are indicated by an asterisk ; that portion which has been previously 
republished in book form, but which is not now readily accessible, is 
indicated by a dagger.] 

FAOB 

INTRODUCTION - 1 

WHAT is HE ? (1833)f - - 16 

THE CRISIS EXAMINED (1834)* - 23 

PEERS AND PEOPLE (1835)* - - 42 

VINDICATION OF THE ENGLISH CONSTITUTION (1835)f - 111 

THE LETTERS OF RUNNYMEDE (1836)f - - - 233 

Dedication to Sir Robert Peel - 234 

1. To Viscount Melbourne - 238 

2. To Sir John Campbell - 242 

3. To Mr. Thomas Attwood, M.P. - - 247 
4 To Lord Brougham - - 252 

5. To Sir Robert Peel - - 256 

6. To the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Spring 

Rice) - 261 

7. To Lord John Russell - 266 

8. To the People - 272 

9. To Lord Stanley - 277 

10. To Lord William Bentinck - - 282 

11. To Viscount Palmerston - - 289 

12. To Sir John Hobhouse - 294 

13. To Lord Glenelg - - 297 

14. To the Right Hon. Edward Ellice - - 301 

15. To Viscount Melbourne - - 305 

16. To the House of Lords 308 

17. To the House of Lords - 313 

18. To the Lord Chancellor (Lord Cottenham) - 317 

19. To Viscount Melbourne .... 322 



viii CONTENTS 

PAGE 

THE SPIRIT OF WHIGGISM (1836)f - - 327 

OPEN LETTERS (1837-1841)* - - - 367 

To Lord Normanby, by Kunnymede (1837) - - 368 

To Lord Melbourne, by Kunnymede (1837) - - 361 

To Lord John Russell, by Laelius (1839) - 366 

To the Queen, by Lselius (1839) - 368 

To Lord Melbourne, by Lselius (1839) - ' - 372 

To the Duke of Wellington, by Attious (1841) - ' - 378 

DISRAELI OR MAGINN ! (1835-1837)* - - - 386 

POLITICAL SATIRES IN VERSE, BY SKELTON, JUNIOR (1837)* 400 

OLD ENGLAND, BY CCETTR-DE-LION (1838)* ... 408 

A LATER DISRAELIAN CHAPTER (1853)* - - 431 

Coalition (1853) - - - - r - 431 

To the Whigs, by Manilius (1853) ' ' - L ' - * ^ 436 

INDEX - - - - - - :Jr 471 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGE 

DISRAELI THE YOUNGER frontispiece 

From a dry point by JAMES McBEY 

LORD LYNDHURST ..... facing 396 

From the drawing by MACLISE in the Victoria and Albert 
Museum, South Kensington 

FACSIMILE LETTERS: 

Morning Post Articles - - - * -41 

"The Vindication" - - * - 112 

"Atticus" Letter - - - - - 377 



DISRAELI ON WHIGS AND 
WHIGGISM 

INTRODUCTION 



THE contents of this volume call for no elaborate intro- 
duction. Some of them are familiar to close students of 
the life and works of Disraeli, and by reputation to a 
wider circle. The rest are here republished for the first 
time. The early life of Disraeli is a mine in which many 
men have quarried. Every known biographical vein has 
been exhausted, and the output has been turned over, 
sifted, and analysed by hundreds of hands. The book- 
shelves of the British Museum indeed bear notable 
evidence of the monumental industry of Disraeli's anno- 
tators, both at home and abroad. But it fell to the lot 
of the late Mr. Monypenny, through the private papers 
placed at his disposal, to indicate the existence of unsus- 
pected seams in which new material might be found. 
These have now been systematically explored, and that 
portion which has been considered of permanent value 
has been brought to the surface, and is here made avail- 
able to the public. Disraeli contributed freely to the 
Press in the thirties, at a time when he was struggling to 
obtain a foothold in politics. Those contributions varied 
in quality and interest. Not all were worthy of being 
rescued from the dusty files in which they were embedded. 
The others, however, will probably be welcomed by those 
and the number is steadily growing who follow with 
interest the various phases of the career of that marvel- 

1 



2 INTRODUCTION 

lously diversified personality. It has been thought well 
to go outside the period so far covered by the authorita- 
tive " Life " now in process of publication, and to open 
for a moment the pages of a later chapter, when, after a 
lapse of over ten years, Disraeli renewed his connection 
with journalism. That chapter has yet to be written 
from inside knowledge, and very absorbing it should prove. 
For present purposes, however, two extracts only are 
given from his anonymous contributions to his own 
periodical, The Press, which was founded in 1853. To 
facilitate comparison and research, and to complete 
the record of Disraeli's political writings of the period, 
there are included the " Vindication," the Bunny mede 
Letters, and other known works. Readers will thus be 
enabled to trace for themselves at first-hand, in a setting 
deliberately kept free from party bias, the gradual evolu- 
tion of a career that in its opening stages offered so many 
enigmas to the historian, and has been so diversely inter- 
preted. 

The period of Disraeli's greatest journalistic activity 
was that between the passing of the Reform Act in 1832 
and the breaking of the Whig power in 1841. It marked 
a stage of much importance in the political development 
of the young statesman. Through all those writings the 
insistent note is that of fierce and uncompromising hos- 
tility to Whigs and Whiggism, and to Lord Melbourne as 
their official exponent. It makes itself heard in the first 
sentence of "What is He ?" (1833) a tiny and much 
canvassed pamphlet which, though written in advocacy 
of the formation of a national party, is quoted by his 
critics and enemies as showing that he was at the time 
at heart a Radical. It becomes more pronounced in 
"The Crisis Examined" (1834), the manifesto which 
marked his definite alliance with the Conservative party. 
The note becomes vehement in his articles in the Morning 
Post in the summer of 1835, and still more vehement in 
the Letters of Runnymede and other subsequent con- 
tributions to the columns of the .Times. In |the more 



LOED LYNDEUKST'S INFLUENCE 3 

matured letters "To the Whigs " in The Press of 1863, 
there is a searching and acute analysis of the causes of 
their decay as a political factor. Whatever taunts may 
be levelled at Disraeli's inconsistency, he was at least 
unchanging in his whole - hearted hatred of Whig 
rule. 

During the earlier of those busy years the dominant 
influence was that of Lord Lyndhurst. In " Vivian 
Grey " (1826) Disraeli foreshadowed the future with 
prophetic accuracy. "At this moment," exclaims the 
hero, "how many a powerful noble wants only wit to 
be a Minister ; and what wants Vivian Grey to attain the 
same end ? That noble's influence. When two persons 
can so materially assist each other, why are they not 
brought together ? Shall I, because my birth baulks my 
fancy, shall I pass my life a moping misanthrope in an 
old chateau ?" Assuredly there was little of the " moping 
misanthrope " about Disraeli. Into the years between 
1831, when he returned from a prolonged tour in the 
East, and 1837, when he entered Parliament as Member 
for Maidstone, he crowded much varied life. He had the 
qualities necessary to ensure success in politics youth, 
an acute intellect, a mind broadened by travel and read- 
ing, a brilliant pen, and, like Vivian Grey, he " could 
perform right skilfully upon the most splendid of musical 
instruments, the human voice." He had a genius for 
political missionary work, and an extraordinary acquaint- 
ance with men and things. He combined with these 
advantages a force and dash that were ruthless where a 
political end was to be gained. A man of such varied 
parts, endowed by Nature with a striking personality 
accentuated by an extreme coxcombry of dress, was 
bound to be buzzed about in society, and his growing 
fame in politics was aided by his growing fame in litera- 
ture. 

The meeting with his patron in July, 1834, was marked 
by instant and mutual confidence. Lyndhurst had am- 
bitions, and needed Disraeli's pen ; Disraeli had ambitions, 



4 INTRODUCTION 

and needed Lyndhurst's influence. Probably one of the 
first results of the alliance was the publication a few 
months later of " The Crisis Examined." Politics at the 
moment were full of interest. Disraeli was entering on 
his third unsuccessful contest for High Wy combe; his 
future rival, Gladstone, was already Member for Newark. 
Indeed, on the very day (December 16) that Disraeli, 
addressing the Wycombe electors, was taking his fateful 
political plunge, there was in the post the letter from Peel, 
the Tory Prime Minister, that led to Gladstone's first 
brief tenure of office. For the Government in which Mel- 
bourne had succeeded Grey as Prime Minister had been 
summarily dismissed by the King in November. There 
had been numerous changes in its personnel, and the 
King had become disgusted. As Disraeli put it in his 
familiar simile, the six horses on which Ducrow had under- 
taken to ride round the arena had been replaced by 
donkeys. But the Peel Ministry, in which Lyndhurst 
took the Great Seal, lived but a few months, and with 
the defeat of Disraeli for Wycombe, the return of Mel- 
bourne for the second time as the Minister " not of the 
King's choice, but of the King's necessity," and the rele- 
gation of Lyndhurst once more to Opposition, crumbled 
glorious dreams. 

II 

Lyndhurst was what in latter-day politics would be 
termed a " Diehard," and in Disraeli he saw the eager 
dare-devilry of a master-controversialist. The oppor- 
tunity for united action was not long delayed. During 
Lyndhurst's brief Chancellorship he gave a dinner-party 
which is historic as being that at which Gladstone and 
Disraeli, the great protagonists of the Victorian era, 
first met round the same table. To this dinner may, 
perhaps, be traced the series of articles which Disraeli 
contributed to the Morning Post in the summer of the 
same year (1835). Another of the guests was Winthrop 
Mackworth Praed, at the moment terminating his asso- 



CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE "MORNING POST" 5 

elation with the Morning Post as a contributor of graceful 
prose and verse in order to take a place in Peel's Ministry ; 
and so, when opposition to the Municipal Corporations 
Bill was being organised by the " Diehards," what more 
natural than that, through Lyndhurst's influence, Dis- 
raeli should be the chosen writer, and that, through 
Praed's influence, the Morning Post should be the chosen 
journal, to voice the views of the leaders of the cam- 
paign ? 

The origin of the articles may be stated in a few sen- 
tences. Melbourne, on his return to office, had set him- 
self the task of reforming the Municipal Corporations of 
the country. The Commission which had been appointed 
in 1833 to inquire into municipal abuses had issued its 
report, and on June 5, 1835, Lord John Russell, as leader 
of the House of Commons, introduced the Municipal Cor- 
porations Bill. It was read a second time on June 15, 
was in Committee for about a month, and was sent to 
the House of Lords, without material change, on July 21. 
Here there was mustered a strong majority opposed to 
reform. Lyndhurst took the direction of affairs in his 
own hands, and under his masterful leadership the Tory 
peers decided to fight the Bill inch by inch. They intro- 
duced and carried amendments which had been rejected 
in the Commons, and there was soon much talk of the 
inevitability of a " collision " between the Peers and the 
People. For a time the position was threatening, but 
the progress of the Bill was delayed for only a few weeks. 
The House of Commons refused to accept the more drastic 
alterations, Peel discountenanced Lyndhurst's extreme 
methods, Wellington advised compromise, and in the end 
the House of Lords, while holding its own on some points, 
gave way on others, and the " crisis " passed. 

Disraeli's authorship of the Morning Post articles was 
revealed by the following entry in his diary for September, 
1835: 

" Wrote the M.P/ during the English Municipal Bill 
for L three leading articles a day for nearly a month/' 



6 INTRODUCTION 

These articles, and many further contributions to the 
Times in subsequent years, were written for political and 
not pecuniary reward. Disraeli was never a "hired 
scribbler of the Press "; he has himself recorded that his 
sole object in writing for the newspapers at the time was 
to connect himself with a man who had already been a 
Minister, and who was destined to take a conspicuous 
part in public affairs, and to establish a claim upon him 
which might some day be useful. His connection with 
the Post was kept a profound secret. Even to his sister 
Sarah, throughout her life the repository of his secrets, 
he wrote mysteriously on August 20 about a great un- 
known whose exploits in the Post formed almost the sole 
staple of conversation. " All attempts at discovering the 
writer," he added, " have been baffled, and the mystery 
adds to the keen interest which the articles excite." 

The contributions of that week contained really little 
that was distinctive or that would merit reproduction; 
but in the following week, when the Bill reached Com- 
mittee in the Lords, and Lord Lyndhurst was overwhelm- 
ing it with drastic amendments, there was ferment every- 
where. Disraeli, who pooh-poohed the outcry as manu- 
factured clamour, was in his element. From August 22 
onward there appeared a series of articles the brilliance, 
pungency, and vigour of which may well have set political 
London talking. The invective was unsparing, rough, 
and occasionally even coarse, but the literary power was 
marked. That able journalist, the late W. T. Arnold, 
used to trace a relation between the pace at which a thing 
was read and that at which it was written, and one of 
the means by which he thought a sympathetic relation 
between reader and writer might be attained was an 
extreme rapidity in writing; that those who run might 
read, it was best to write running. 1 No better illustra- 
tion of Arnold's theory could be found. Disraeli's articles 

1 "Studies of Roman Imperialism," by W. T. Arnold, with 
memoir of the author, by Mrs. Humphry Ward and C. E. Mon- 
tague. 



INVECTIVE 7 

for the Post were written running. They have no flavour 
of the study and the reference book ; some of them have, 
indeed, the ring of the platform. Swift, unhesitating, 
mocking, his written word was as typical as his speech; 
he talked, it was said, like a racehorse approaching the 
winning-post, every muscle in action. He loved the 
rapier, but he did not disdain to use the bludgeon. 

At the present day few such articles could be published 
without spelling financial ruin to a paper. Each day's 
" airy flank of the thong " would invariably produce its 
concomitant flow of writs. Barnes of the Times com- 
mented on Disraeli's surprising disdain for the law of 
libel. Nowadays the Press is much restricted by the 
libel law ; even a casual slip of the pen may cost thousands 
of pounds. But most journalists would prefer the restric- 
tions and reticence of to-day to the licence of yesterday. 
Throughout the House of Lords crisis of 1910-11 the 
relations between Sovereign and Minister were delicately 
handled by almost every writer in the Press, not through 
fear of libel law or Court displeasure, but because of the 
prevalence of a healthier tone and of a stronger sense of 
responsibility. It was not so in Disraeli's day. It was, 
of course, matter of current gossip that Melbourne and 
his colleagues were no favourites of the King. " I would 
rather see the Devil than any one of them in my House," 
was His Majesty's bitter observation. Disraeli made 
frequent and daring use of the estrangement between 
King and Premier. Time and again he returned to the 
attack on Melbourne, and the assault was carried through 
with a vigour of invective to which the present generation 
is, fortunately, unaccustomed. 

Personalities apart, however, there is much in these 
articles that is worthy of preservation. It was here that 
Disraeli first put forward the Constitutional theories that 
were afterwards more fully developed and identified with 
his name. It is sufficient testimony to their quality that, 
written for the day and fragmentary as they were bound 
to be, they yet have in them, three-quarters of a century 



8 INTRODUCTION 

later, so very much that will secure the approval of the 
Conservative politician of the twentieth century. 

With the passing of the Corporations Bill, Disraeli's 
active association with the Post ceased, although he 
remained for many years in friendly communication with 
it. He entered upon that association to " establish a 
claim " upon Lord Lyndhurst, and he succeeded. The 
Bill passed on September 7; on September 10 he wrote 
to his mother a joyful letter respecting the promise of a 
seat in Parliament. To his sister, recording an invita- 
tion to dine with Lord Lyndhurst and meet certain im- 
portant political personages, he wrote: " I do not know 
what you think of the Morning Post, but Fitzgerald says 
they drank my health in a bumper at Sir H. Hardinge's 
on Saturday, and said ' He is the man.' >J1 



in 

In December, 1835, Disraeli published as a political 
tract his well-known " Vindication of the English Con- 
stitution." It took the form of a letter to Lord Lynd- 
hurst, and is an elaborate and learned disquisition on 
constitutional history. The case for the Peers in their 
recurrent collisions with the People is set out with a 
fulness and subtlety that drew encomiums from Sir 
Robert Peel. At this time of day there is no need to do 
more than refer to its publication, which, according to 
Mr. Monypenny, gave Disraeli what his fugitive efforts 
could never have given him a recognised position as a 
political writer and thinker. A keen judge of his own 
work, Disraeli liked it better than anything he had 
written. 2 

The publication of the " Vindication " gave rise to a 
bitter attack on Disraeli in the Globe. Disraeli's reply 
appeared in the Times, and the controversy was carried 
on with great freedom of language on both sides. It would 

1 See facsimile letter, p. 41. 

2 See facsimile letter, p. 112. 



ASSOCIATION WITH THE "TIMES" 9 

serve no good purpose to republish this correspondence; 
its ashes have been raked over often enough. What is 
of interest is that from now Disraeli went over bag and 
baggage to the Times. Here again Lyndhurst was 
doubtless the moving influence, and there can be little 
question that Barnes, the editor, had noted the effect of 
Disraeli's anonymous work on the reputation of the rival 
paper, and was willing to encourage as Edward Sterling's 
colleague and co-swashbuckler so able a controversialist. 
The full extent of Disraeli's work for the Times will 
probably never be known. Only a very few of the 
contributions have been acknowledged, but buried in the 
files of that journal for the next few years are leading 
articles which proclaim themselves to one familiar with 
his style as unquestionably his. 

Of his now acknowledged contributions to the Times 
the most important were his famous Letters of Runny - 
mede, nineteen in number. Throughout his life Disraeli 
did not publicly accept their authorship, but it was never 
seriously in doubt. They were republished anonymously 
in July, 1836, incorporated with them being a tract 
entitled "The Spirit of Whiggism." The letters rank 
in the public estimation second only to the Letters of 
Junius ; yet they are little read, and, so far as we know, 
they have only once been republished. We are able to 
reprint in this volume two further letters by " Runny- 
mede," which were published in the Times of the follow- 
ing year, and have not since seen the light. They are in 
the same vein as their forerunners. Melbourne, as always, 
comes under the lash. " It has sometimes been my 
humble but salutary office," writes " Runnymede," " to 
attend your triumph and remind you in a whisper that 
you are mortal. Amid the blaze of glory that at present 
surrounds you, it may be advisable for me to resume this 
wholesome function, lest in the intoxication of success 
your Lordship may for a moment forget that, although 
still a Minister, you are yet only a man." 

It seems difficult now to understand why the common 

2 



30 INTRODUCTION 

origin of the Morning Post articles, "The Vindica- 
tion," and " Runnymede," should not at the time have 
been definitely established, and why it should have been 
left to the twentieth century to discover what ought to 
have been palpable to the nineteenth. The parallelism 
in argument was convincing. In the Post he began to 
lay down his theory of the constitutional position; and 
as Disraeli the younger and as " Runnymede " within 
the space of a few short months he re-expounded his 
views. And later, in a speech in the House of Commons 
on household suffrage (March 21, 1839), he propounded 
the same arguments in similar language. Disraeli was 
indeed a confirmed self -plagiarist. One instance may be 
quoted; readers will discover many others for themselves. 
In "The Crisis Examined" (1834), Disraeli the younger 
writes of Lord John Eussell as one 

" who, on the same principle that bad wine produces good 
vinegar, has somehow turned from a tenth-rate author 
into a first-rate politician." 

In the Morning Post of September 4, 1835, we find 
another reference to Lord John as one who 

" has written a book upon the English Constitution, and 
who, on the same principle that bad wine makes very 
good vinegar, has somehow or other been metamorphosed 
from a tenth-rate author into a first-class statesman." 

We turn to the Times of January, 1836 (Runnymede 
Letters), to find that 

" the seals of the principal office of the State are en- 
trusted to an individual who, on the principle that good 
vinegar is the corruption of bad wine, has been meta- 
morphosed from an incapable author into an eminent 
politician." 

It is this characteristic of Disraeli's that emboldens me 
to put forward the view, in a subsequent section, that he 
was the author of at least three of the biographical 
sketches in Fraser (subsequently reprinted in the " Maclise 



OPEN LETTERS 11 

Portrait Gallery ") which up to the present have been 
attributed to Dr. Maginn. 

On December 13, 1836, Disraeli began in the Times a 
series of political allegories entitled " A New Voyage of 
Sindbad the Sailor, recently discovered." This was, 
perhaps, the least happy of his journalistic efforts; it 
was laboured and obscure, and its publication dragged 
over a considerable period. Between the publication of 
the eleventh and twelfth chapters nearly a month elapsed, 
and, though the series was evidently unfinished, Barnes 
appeared to have had enough, and it ended there. More 
happy was the touch in the " Old England " series of 
papers (January, 1838), written in unfamiliar vein, and 
in parts in obvious imitation of Carlyle. It was a vigor- 
ous attempt by the new Member for Maidstone to wake 
up John Bull to a sense that a real " Crisis " in the 
Queen's Government had at last been reached. The 
articles ran through ten issues of the Times, and there 
is contemporary evidence that they were not without 
effect on the public mind. 

So far as is known, that was Disraeli's last contribu- 
tion of any length to the Times. In the previous year 
he had tried his hand at satirical verse, of which several 
samples, now reprinted for the first time, appeared in the 
month of March ; but here again Barnes was not sympa- 
thetic. Disraeli wrote four open letters one to Lord 
John Russell, one to the Queen, one to Melbourne, and 
the last (in 1841) to the Duke of Wellington each with a 
distinct point of interest. In the following year Barnes 
died, and was succeeded by Delane. The Melbourne 
Ministry came to an end, and was followed by Sir Rober t 
Peel's administration, in which, again outdistanced by 
Gladstone, Disraeli to his "intolerable humiliation " found 
no place. 

" I am not going to trouble you," he wrote to Peel, 
" with claims similar to those with which you must be 
wearied. I will not say that I have fought since 1834 
four contests for your party, that I have expended great 



12 INTRODUCTION 

sums, have exerted my intelligence to the utmost for the 
propagation of your policy, and have that position in life 
which can command a costly seat. But there is one 
peculiarity on which I cannot be silent. I have had to 
struggle against a storm of political hate and malice which 
few men ever experienced, from the moment when, at the 
instigation of a member of your Cabinet, I enrolled myself 
under your banner, and I have only been sustained under 
those trials by the conviction that the day would come 
when the foremost man of this country would publicly 
testify that he had some respect for my ability and 
character." 

Peel's reply, however, was cold and formal. With the 
Times under new control, the Whigs out, and a Tory 
Ministry, from which he had been excluded, in power, 
Disraeli's incentive to journalistic effort had gone. 

IV 

It is a long jump from 1841 to 1853, when Disraeli's 
active association with journalism was renewed. In 
those twelve years much had happened. In literature, 
as in politics, he had amply fulfilled his earlier promise. 
The dramatic breach between Peel and Disraeli in 1846 
was followed by the overthrow, and finally by the death, 
in 1850, of the Tory leader. Disraeli's political star rose 
as Peel's fell. He succeeded to the leadership of the 
party in the House of Commons, became Chancellor of 
the Exchequer in Lord Derby's Ministry for a few brief 
months in 1852, and then was sent back once more to 
Opposition. To strengthen his hands in fighting the 
Coalition Government under Lord Aberdeen, Disraeli 
founded The Press, a political weekly. During its early 
years it was ably conducted, and several of its con- 
tributors afterwards attained celebrity in literature. 
After the accession of the Conservatives to office in 
March, 1858, the paper changed hands, and it died in 
1862. The full extent of Disraeli's connection with The 



DISKAELI'S PEKIODICAL 13 

Press will doubtless be revealed by Mr. Buckle, when the 
Beaconsfield papers for the period have been thoroughly 
examined. For much of the information that follows the 
writer is indebted to the kindness of Mr. T. E. Kebbel, 
whose active connection with the paper began in 1855. 
Mr. Kebbel is now a veteran of over fourscore years. Most 
of the staff and contributors at the time were his seniors, 
and he alone survives . We have his authority for stating 
that the leading article on " Coalition " in the first number 
of The Press was by Disraeli, but Mr. Walter Sichel is the 
only writer who has positively identified as Disraeli's the 
masterly series of letters "To the Whigs," which ran 
through the early numbers an identification confirmed 
by the internal evidence. Samuel Lucas, the versatile 
journalist and critic, was the first editor. He resigned 
the position in 1855, though he continued to write for 
the paper afterwards. He was succeeded in 1855 by Mr. 
David T. Coulton, who conducted the paper till his death, 
two years later, and who always wrote the first leader. 
Coulton used to go to the House of Commons on Friday 
nights, and return to the office later laden with notes 
taken down from Disraeli's dictation which he had to 
reduce into leading article form; and very cleverly, says 
Mr. Kebbel, he used to do it. Among the earlier con- 
tributors were Lord Stanley (afterwards fifteenth Earl of 
Derby) ; Shirley Brooks (the novelist and dramatist, 
better remembered as editor of Punch) ; and George Sydney 
Smythe (afterwards Lord Strangford). Then there were 
Madden, who, like Brooks and Lucas, came from the 
Morning Chronicle, and John Holt Hutton, editor of the 
Economist, who was responsible for the financial articles. 
Subsequent contributors were John Robert Seeley, author 
of " Ecce Homo," and subsequently Professor of Modern 
History at Cambridge ; F. W. Haydon (son and biographer 
of Benjamin Robert Haydon, the painter), who was sub- 
editor till 1858, when Disraeli made him an Inspector of 
Factories. A still later editor was Patterson, under whom 
Mortimer Collins, novelist and poet, and Edward Pember, 



14 INTRODUCTION 

the distinguished Parliamentary counsel, were contribu- 
tors. Mr. Kebbel, during his seven years' connection with 
the staff, contributed leaders and reviews, and helped to 
" make up " the paper on Friday nights. Mr. T. H. 
Sweet Escott, in his " Masters of Journalism," says the 
management of The Press was vested in a committee, 
whose meetings Disraeli regularly attended; and he 
records impressively an occasion when the article of the 
week was considered inadequate, and was replaced in 
an hour by another of Disraeli's composition. Having 
regard to the known rapidity of his pen and the extent 
of his journalistic experience, there was nothing in that 
feat to cause surprise. 

A word or two in conclusion on Disraeli's choice of 
pseudonyms, which was influenced by his classical read- 
ing. Apart from " Runnymede," a happy inspiration 
suggested by his immersion at the period in the history 
of the Constitution, there are five which make their 
appearance in this volume c ' Manilius , " " Laelius , ' ' 
"Atticus," "Cceur de Lion," and " Skelton Junior." 
Of the choice of " Manilius " he writes : " The name I 
have assumed is so far appropriate that it is obscure to 
those who may yet well remember the more prominent 
disputants in the grand arena of old Roman politics; it 
is a name incidentally cited by Cicero as that of one, 
amongst others, who had studied the customs of his 
country, and might therefore be competent to suggest 
an occasional counsel to his fellow-citizens." " Lselius " 
was regarded by Cicero as a second Socrates, and figures 
in " De Amicitia," " De Senectute," and " De Republica." 
" Atticus " a nom de guerre also used by Sir Philip 
Francis, in whose footsteps as a writer for the Press Dis- 
raeli clearly followed was the name given to Titus Pom- 
ponius, Cicero's second self, and editor of his letters. 
" Skelton Junior " had a nodding acquaintance with 
Cicero, for, curiously enough, it is said that the first work 
of John Skelton the poet (1460-1529), was a translation 
of Cicero's letters, of which no copy is extant. He was 



A FOLLOWER OF SKELTON 15 

the inventor of Skeltonian metre. Here there may be 
mentioned an added " Curiosity of Literature." The 
only other John Skelton who left behind him a notable 
record was Sir John (1831-1897), an author who was 
appointed by Disraeli to an official position in Scotland 
in 1868, the choice, it is said, having been due to 
Disraeli's admiration of his literary style. In the follow- 
ing year he published a sympathetic sketch entitled 
"Benjamin Disraeli: The Past and the Future." It 
would be interesting to learn whether " Skelton Junior's " 
interest in Sir John was first aroused by his recollection 
of his own earlier usurpation of the name. 

W. H. 
August 30th, 1913. 



16 WHAT IS HE t [1833 



WHAT IS HE ? 

BY THE AUTHOR OF "VIVIAN GREY" 

" I hear that is again in the field ; I hardly know whether 

we ought to wish him success. ' WHAT is HE ?' " Extract from 
. Letter of an Eminent Personage. 

[" WHAT is HE ?" was published in 1833. Disraeli, who 
in 1832 had made two unsuccessful efforts to enter the 
House of Commons for High Wycombe, opened his can- 
didature for Marylebone in the following year, but a 
vacancy did not arise. He seized the opportunity, how- 
ever, to set forth his political views, then in process of 
evolution, in a little pamphlet which purported to be a 
reply to a question in a letter by Lord Grey. In all 
probability the quotation was merely a literary device 
to attract attention. The views propounded gave rise 
to the impression, never since wholly effaced, that Dis- 
raeli was then a Radical. His consistency must not be 
too rigidly insisted upon, but at the time he was really 
unlabelled. " Toryism," he had written of an earlier 
candidature, " is worn out, and I cannot condescend to 
be a Whig." Hence his appeal for the formation of a 
National party. Even when Chancellor of the Exchequer 
in 1852, he returned to the idea of a Eadical-Tory coali- 
tion ; witness his midnight interview with Mr. Bright on 
December 14, and his suggestion of a future Cabinet with 
Cobden and Bright as his co-members.] 



I 

THE Tories have announced that they could not carry on 
the Government of this country with the present State 
machinery; every day the nation is more sensible that 



1833] ARISTOCRATIC PRINCIPLE OF GOVERNMENT 17 

the Whigs cannot. A third party has arisen who propose 
certain additions and alterations in this State machinery, 
by the aid of which, they believe, the Government of the 
country might be conducted. 

II 

The first object of a statesman is a strong Government, 
without which there can be no security. Of all countries 
in the world England most requires one, since the pros- 
perity of no society so much depends upon public con- 
fidence as that of the British nation. 

Our Government, before the recent change, 1 was based 
upon an aristocratic principle, and as the principle was 
decided, the practice was vigorous. By the recent change 
we have deserted the old principle of Government without 
adopting a new one. As the Government has no im- 
pelling principle, the Government cannot of course act. 
Hence a session of Parliament, from which so much was 
expected by the thoughtless, spent only in barren discus- 
sion, in the proposition of abortive measures, or the hasty 
adoption of temporary and provisional enactments. 

Ill 

It is evident that public confidence must decrease in 
exact proportion to the increasing weakness of a Govern- 
ment. Unless means therefore be discovered by which 
the Government in this country can be rendered strong, 
by which it may be enabled to act, a public convulsion 
must soon occur. At present Property is only threat- 
ened ; in a few months it will be a question as to the pres- 
ervation of Order; another year, and we must struggle 
for Civilisation. 

IV 

By what means, then, are we to obtain a strong Govern- 
ment ? We must discover some principle on which it 
can be founded. We must either revert to the aristocratic 
principle, or we must advance to the democratic. 
1 The Reform Act of 1832. 



18 WHAT IS HE ! [1833 



The Tories announce by their leaders that to govern 
the country with the present State machinery is im- 
possible. Unless, therefore, they believe that it is pos- 
sible to restore the old principle of Government, or unless 
they have embraced a martyrdom of political insignifi- 
cance, they must advance to the new. Do they believe 
that they can restore the old principle ? Not merely 
to expedite the argument, I will believe that they do 
not. 

I, for one, believe it utterly impossible to revert to the 
aristocratic principle, for reasons which I shall adduce in 
a subsequent section. Believing so, however, and being 
convinced that, unless the Government of the country be 
founded upon some decided principle, the country must 
fall, I feel it absolutely necessary to advance to the new 
or the democratic principle. 

VI 

In the House of Commons, as at present constituted, 
neither of the principles predominates. Essentially the 
aristocratic is much the strongest, but as the aristocratic 
party is divided into two rival sections, which can seldom 
coalesce, the democratic contrives nearly to balance the 
antagonist principle. Superficial observers cannot under- 
stand how a measure which is so essentially aristocratic 
as the Reform Act has produced such threatening conse- 
quences to the aristocratic principle of government. They 
say, and they say truly, the Reform Act was a law, not 
to destroy close government, but to destroy Toryism. 
The Boroughs of the Tories were invariably sacrificed, 
and those of the Whigs, in many instances, essentially 
preserved. Everywhere the power of Whig nomination 
was favoured. " We have only changed masters," con- 
tinue these observers. " We are governed by an aristo- 
cratic party, and that party how strong ! Mark their 
vast majorities ! Observe the numerous scions of noble 



1833] MENACING THE PEEKS 19 

houses lounging behind the Treasury Bench. Talk of 
Revolution indeed there never was such an aristocratic 
House of Commons as the present !" Doubtless it was 
impressed with these ideas that the Whigs were induced 
to introduce their famous Reform Bill. But if they have 
not already discovered, it is time that they should dis- 
cover, a great truth THE ARISTOCRATIC PRINCIPLE HAS 

BEEN DESTROYED IN THIS COUNTRY, NOT BY THE REFORM 
ACT, BUT BY THE] MEANS BY WHICH THE REFORM ACT 
WAS PASSED. 

VII 

The Whigs, who, with a Sovereign and a House of 
Commons alike pledged to their purpose, were neverthe- 
less so incapable that they could not contrive to carry a 
substantive measure of Reform through the unpledged, 
yet weakest, Estate of the Realm, excited a deadly struggle 
between the House of Lords and the Political Unions. 
The House of Lords was vanquished, and the moment 
that they passed the Reform Act that assembly was as 
completely abrogated and extinguished as if its Members 
had torn off their robes and coronets, and flung them 
into the river, and, stalking in silence to their palaces, 
had never returned to that Chamber, which every Peer 
must now enter with a blush or with a pang. 

The moment the Lords passed the Reform Bill, from 
menace 1 instead of conviction, the aristocratic principle 
of government in this country, in my opinion, expired 
for ever. From that moment it became the duty of 
every person of property, talents, and education, uncon- 
nected with the unhappy party at present in power, to 
use his utmost exertions to advance the democratic prin- 
ciple in order that the country should not fall into that 
situation in which, if I mistake not, it will speedily find 
itself absolutely without any Government whatever. A 
Tory and a Radical, I understand ; a Whig a democratic 
aristocrat, I cannot comprehend. If the Tories indeed 
despair of restoring the aristocratic principle, and are 

1 The threat to create new Peers. 



20 WHAT IS HE? [1833 

sincere in their avowal that the State cannot be governed 
with the present machinery, it is their duty to coalesce 
with the Radicals, and permit both political nicknames 
to merge in the common, the intelligible, and the dignified 
title of a National Party. He is a mean-spirited wretch 
who is restrained from doing his duty by the fear of being 
held up as insincere and inconsistent by those who are 
incapable of forming an opinion on public affairs ; and who, 
were it not for the individual " inconsistency " which 
they brand, would often become the victims of their own 
incapacity and ignorance. A great mind that thinks and 
feels is never inconsistent, and never insincere. He who 
will not profess opinions without first examining them is 
ever considered insincere by the mass who adopt doc- 
trines without thought, and retain them with the ob- 
stinacy which ignorance can alone inspire. He who will 
not act without a reason will always be considered incon- 
sistent by the irrational. The insincere and the incon- 
sistent are the stupid and the vile. Insincerity is the vice 
of a fool, and inconsistency the blunder of a knave. 

VIII 

It is possible that the Tories may imagine that there 
are two modes by which the aristocratic principle may be 
restored firstly, by Force; secondly, by a coalition 
between the two aristocratic parties. 

Firstly, by Force. It seems to me impossible for a 
military leader to practise upon the passions of an insular 
people, to whom he can promise no conquests. If it be 
urged that a military despotism has already been erected 
in this country, I remind the respondent of the different 
state of society in England at present to what it was in 
the time of Cromwell. It appears to me that the manu- 
facturing districts alone, which, in a moment, would 
supply masses of population and abundance of arms, 
are a sufficient security against the imposition of a 
military despotism. 

Secondly, by a coalition between the aristocratic parties. 



1833] DEMOCEATIC METHODS 21 

Such a combination might, unquestionably, retard the 
advance of the democratic principle, and raise, as it were, 
for an instant, a ghost of the departed aristocratic. But 
its ultimate tendency would only be to place the House 
of Commons again at variance with the people, and again 
to develop the triumphant organisation of popular self- 
government. But a coalition between the aristocratic 
parties would be attended with so many difficulties that 
it is almost impossible to conceive its formation. 

IX 

Believing, then, that it is utterly impossible to restore 
the aristocratic principle, and believing that unless some 
principle of action be infused into the Government a con- 
vulsion must ensue, what are the easiest and most obvious 
methods by which the democratic party may be made 
predominant ? It would appear that the easiest and the 
most obvious methods are the instant repeal of the Sep- 
tennial Act and the institution of Election by Ballot, 
and the immediate dissolution of Parliament. 1 There is 
reason to believe that the consequence of this policy 
would be the election of a House of Commons a great 
majority of which would be influenced by the same 
wishes, and, consequently, the machine of the State 
would be able to proceed. I shall not here enter into the 
discussion of the nature of the measures which are likely 
to be adopted by a Parliament so constituted. This is 
not a party Pamphlet, and appeals to the passions of no 
order of the State: I record here my solemn conviction, 
and the result of my own unprejudiced meditation. The 
sole object of these pages is to show that we are in a 
situation in which it is necessary either to recede or to 
advance ; that it is not probable that the present state of 
affairs can subsist six months; and that it becomes all 
men who are sincere well-wishers to their country, and 

1 On October 1, 1832, in his second Wycombe election address, 
he announced that he was prepared to support the ballot, and 
was desirous of returning to triennial Parliaments. 



22 WHAT IS HE ! [1833 

who are really independent that is to say, who are not 
pledged to the unhappy party in power to combine 
together for the institution of a strong Government. 



In conclusion, I must observe that there is yet a reason 
which induces me to believe that the restoration of the 
aristocratic principle in the Government of this country 
is utterly impracticable. Without being a system-monger, 
I cannot but perceive, in studying the history of the past, 
that Europe for the last three centuries has been more or 
less in a state of transition from Feudal to Federal prin- 
ciples of government. If these contending principles of 
government have not originated all the struggles that 
have occurred, they have, at least, in the progress of 
those struggles, in some degree blended with them. The 
revolt of the Netherlands against Spain impelled, if it did 
not produce, the Revolution in England under Charles 
the First. The revolt of the Anglo-American Colonies 
against Great Britain impelled, if it did not produce, the 
revolution in France under Louis the Sixteenth. It is 
unnecessary to touch upon later events. It is wise to be 
sanguine in public as well as in private life; yet the 
sagacious Statesman must view the present portents with 
anxiety, if not with terror. It would sometimes appear 
that the loss of our great Colonial Empire must be the 
necessary consequence of our prolonged domestic dissen- 
sions. Hope, however, lingers to the last. In the sedate 
but vigorous character of the British nation we may 
place great confidence. Let us not forget also an influ- 
ence too much underrated in this age of bustling medi- 
ocrity the influence of individual character. Great 
spirits may yet arise to guide the groaning helm through 
the world of troubled waters spirits whose proud destiny 
it may still be at the same time to maintain the glory of 
the Empire, and to secure the happiness of the People. 1 

1 " Who will be the proud spirit " asked his father, Isaac 
D' Israeli. c 



1834] THE CRISIS EXAMINED 23 



THE CRISIS EXAMINED 

BY DISRAELI THE YOUNGER 

["THE CRISIS EXAMINED " (1834) marks the beginning 
of Disraeli's definite alliance with the Tory party. It was 
published with the following advertisement : 

" The following pages form a genuine report of an 
address to the Electors of High Wycombe, delivered in 
their Town Hall, Dec. 16th. As its subject is one of 
general importance, and as it was then considered that 
a question of great public interest was placed in a proper 
position and a just fight, it has been published." 

Melbourne's Ministry had been dismissed by the King, 
Peel had taken office, and a General Election was in 
prospect. In November, Disraeli was inviting Lord Dur- 
ham's influence in his projected candidature as a Eadical 
for Aylesbury; in the following month his patron, Lord 
Lyndhurst, was striving to secure his selection as Conserva- 
tive candidate for Lynn a "mighty impartial person- 
age," was Greville's comment. In the end it was Wycombe 
again, on the basis once more of a Eadical-Tory alliance. 
A few weeks later Disraeli was nominated for the Carlton 
Club, and finally assumed the Tory label. The pamphlet, 
which has never beenrepublished, contains many passages 
of permanent interest.] 



GENTLEMEN, A considerable period has elapsed since 
I last had the honour of addressing you within these walls ; 
and in that interval great revolutions have occurred 
revolutions of government and revolutions of opinion ; 



24 THE CRISIS EXAMINED [1834 

I can, however, assure you that I remain unchanged. I 
appear before you this day influenced by the same senti- 
ments that I have ever professed, and actuated by the 
same principles I have ever advocated. There are some 
among my supporters who have deprecated this meeting ; 
who have believed that I stood in so favourable a position 
as regarded the final result of this contest that to move 
might perhaps endanger it; who, observing that I was 
supported by individuals of different opinions and hitherto 
of different parties, were fearful that, in hazarding ex- 
planation, I might hazard discomfiture. But, Gentlemen, 
unless I enter Parliament with a clear explanation of my 
views, there is little chance of my acting with profit to 
you or with credit to myself. I cannot condescend to 
obtain even that distinguished honour by Jesuitical in- 
trigue or casuistical cajolery ; I cannot condescend, at the 
same time, to be supported by the Tories because they 
deem me a Tory, and by the Liberals because they hold 
me a Liberal; I cannot stoop to deception, or submit to 
delusion. 

It is the fashion to style the present moment an extra- 
ordinary Crisis. I will not quarrel with the phrase. The 
times are, indeed, remarkable : we have a new Administra- 
tion just formed; a new Parliament immediately threat- 
ened. It is therefore incumbent on the constituent body 
throughout the Empire to prepare, and to resolve upon 
the course expedient to pursue. Hoping, even believing, 
that I shall be your representative, 1 I will venture to 
offer to your consideration the course of policy which, 
under existing circumstances, I think it the duty of an 
Administration to pursue. And, in the first place, I think 
that Administration should be based upon a determina- 
tion to reduce the burthens, to redress the grievances, and 
to maintain the rights of the people. I will not, however, 
and certainly I do not wish them to shield themselves 
under a declaration so vague. Let us, therefore, be 

1 His third contest at Wycombe ended in defeat. The figures 
(January 7, 1835) were Smith, 289; Grey, 147; Disraeli, 128. 



1834] ECCLESIASTICAL REFORM 25 

definite. I think the necessary measures may be classed 
under four heads : Financial Relief, Ecclesiastical Reform, 
Sectarian Reform, and Corporate Reform. I will con- 
sider the Irish Question as collateral to the general one 
of Ecclesiastical Reform. 

As to Financial Relief, I am of opinion that the agri- 
cultural interest at the present moment is more entitled 
than any other class to whatever boon the Minister may 
spare. All who hear me know, and most who hear me 
feel, that that interest is fearfully depressed. We may 
hope, therefore, that the Exchequer may grant them at 
least the partial relief of the malt tax, although I recom- 
mend them to petition for the whole. 1 I would not at 
the same time make a request and intimate a compromise. 
As for any further relief that may be conceded us, I am 
always an advocate, in spite of political economists, for 
the abolition of direct taxes. I hope, therefore, the 
window tax will soon disappear; it is a tax the most 
onerous and the most unjust. 2 Further relief we cannot 
certainly now anticipate. 

I approach now the solemn subject of Ecclesiastical 
Reform. . Church Reform, Gentlemen, is the popular cry 
of the country: and when I recall the desperate profes- 
sions that have been made, and the abortive measures 
that have been prepared upon this subject, I confess I 
recoil from a cant phrase which only reminds me of the 
intrigues of ignorant faction, or the wily projects of the 
protectors of vested interests . I hope the time approaches 
when we may hear less of Church reform, and more of 
Church improvement. I deem it absolutely necessary 
that pluralities should be abolished, 3 and that the great 
and consequent evil of non-residence should be terminated 
for ever. It is, perhaps, unnecessary for me to observe 
that I cannot conceive that this all-important object can 
be obtained without increasing the value of the lesser 

1 This was dealt with in Disraeli's first Budget. 

2 Repealed in July, 1851. 

3 Legislation dealing with this subject was passed in 1838. 

3 



26 THE CRISIS EXAMINED [1834 

livings, and the incomes in general of the inferior clergy. 
Ecclesiastical Eeform naturally and necessarily draws 
our attention to Ireland, a name fatal to so many Govern- 
ments. 

I deem it absolutely necessary, even for the existence 
of the Protestant Establishment itself, that the question 
of the Irish Church should be forthwith grappled with; 
that it should be the object of a measure in its nature as 
final, in its operation as conclusive, as human wit can 
devise. It is now impossible to avoid and too late to 
postpone it; it must be met immediately the question 
is how it may be met efficiently. Twelve months, there- 
fore, must not pass over without the very name of tithes 
in that country being abolished for ever; nor do I deem 
it less urgent that the Protestant Establishment in that 
country should be at once proportioned to the population 
which it serves. But, Gentlemen, I for one will never 
consent that the surplus revenues of that branch of our 
Establishment shall ever be appropriated to any other 
object save the interests of the Church of England, 
because experience has taught me that an establishment 
is never despoiled except to benefit an aristocracy. It is 
the interest of the people to support the Church, for the 
Church is their patrimony, their only hereditary property ; 
it is their portal to power, their avenue to learning, to 
distinction, and to honour. I see no reason why the 
surplus revenues of the Church of England in Ireland 
should not be placed in trust of the Prelates of that land, 
and of lay trustees, for the purpose of advancing the 
propagation of the Protestant faith in Ireland by all 
salutary and sacred means. We may fail, Gentlemen, in 
this great end, but failure under such circumstances is 
preferable in my mind to seeing this property, hallowed 
by its original consecration to the purposes of religion, of 
learning, and of charity, in the ruthless and rapacious 
grasp of some bold absentee Baron. I know the love 
that great Lords, and especially Whig Lords, have for 
abbey lands and great tithes, but I remember Woburn, 



1834] IKELAND 27 

and I profit by the reminiscence. As I am upon the 
subject of Ireland, I will at once declare that I see no 
chance of tranquillity and welfare for that impoverished 
and long-distracted land until the Irish people enjoy the 
right to which the people of all countries are entitled 
namely, to be maintained by the soil that they cultivate 
by their labour. I cannot find terms to express my sense 
of the injustice and the impolicy, the folly and the wicked- 
ness, of any longer denying to Ireland the consolation 
and the blessing of a well-regulated system of poor-laws. 
But not, Gentlemen, that system which has recently made 
all England thrill with feelings of horror and indignation 
as they wept over the simple, though harrowing, tale of 
the sufferings of our unhappy neighbours at Bledlow. 

Under the head of Sectarian Reform I approach the 
delicate subject of the claims of the Dissenters. In my 
opinion these are claims which must not be eluded by 
any Government that wishes to stand. I would grant 
every claim of this great body that the spirit of the most 
comprehensive toleration required, consistent with the 
established constitution of the country. Therefore I 
think that the Registration and the Marriage claims should 
be conceded. As for the question of the Church rate, 
it is impossible that we can endure that every time one 
is levied a town should present the scene of a contested 
election. The rights of the Establishment must be re- 
spected, but for the sake of the Establishment itself that 
flagrant scandal must be removed. These are conces- 
sions which, I think, are due to a numerous and powerful 
portion of our fellow-subjects; due, I repeat, to their 
numbers, their intelligence, and their property, and con- 
sistent, in my opinion, with the maintenance of an Estab- 
lished Church a blessing with which I am not prepared 
to part, and which I am resolved to uphold, because I 
consider it a guarantee of civilisation and a barrier against 
bigotry. 

I now arrive at the fourth head under which I classed 
the measures, in my opinion, necessary to be adopted by 



28 THE CKISIS EXAMINED [1834 

the Government, Corporate Reform a subject, I believe, 
very interesting to those I am now addressing. 1 I am of 
opinion that a municipality should be formed upon the 
model of that mixed constitution which experience has 
proved to be at the same time so efficient and so bene- 
ficial. I am desirous that the burgesses should be elected 
by the general body of inhabitants of a town, subject, of 
course, to certain limitations and restrictions; that the 
Aldermen should be elected by the burgesses, and serve 
the office of Mayor in rotation; for I never will consent 
that the Mayors and returning officers of boroughs shall 
be appointed by the Crown. This is part and parcel of 
the Whig system of centralisation, fatal to rural pros- 
perity and provincial independence one of those Gallic 
imitations of which they are so fond, but which, I hope, 
the sense and spirit and love of freedom of Englishmen 
will always resist. Paris decides upon the fate of France, 
but I hope we may continue to receive our morning 
papers by the Oxford coach without acknowledging a 
ukase in every leading article and recognising a revolu- 
tion in every riot. 

Gentlemen, I need not, I am sure, remind you that 
peace and economy are two things without which no 
Government could now exist four-and-twenty hours. 
The question for you to decide this day is whether, if a 
Government be prepared to adopt and carry measures 
similar to those I have detailed, and are determined to 
support, with their utmost energy and resolution, every- 
thing which may tend to the improvement and ameliora- 
tion of the society of this realm whether, under these 
circumstances, your representative in Parliament is to 
support such a Government ? 

I am glad to hear that cheer. You are not ignorant 
that a contrary axiom is now laboriously propagated. 
I am for measures, Gentlemen, and not men, and for 
this simple reason, that for four years we have had men 
and not measures, and I am wearied of them. But we 

1 In 1835 Disraeli strongly opposed in the Morning Post the 
Municipal Corporations Bill. 



1834] MEASURES NOT MEN 29 

are told we ought not to accept any measures, however 
desirable, from the hands of those who opposed the 
Reform Bill. This is a proposition which it becomes us 
to examine with an unimpassioned spirit and a severe 
scrutiny, for it is a very important one. The country is 
now divided into two parties, headed by different sec- 
tions of the aristocracy : those who introduced, and those 
who opposed, the Reform Bill. Admit the proposition 
of men and not measures, and the party that introduced 
that Bill are our masters for life. Are you prepared for 
this ? Is your confidence in the Whigs so implicit, so 
illimitable, that you will agree to the perpetual banish- 
ment of their political rivals from power ? Are you 
prepared to leave the Whigs without opposition, without 
emulation, without check ? I think it very dangerous; 
I think it very unconstitutional. 

But let us examine this famous proposition a little 
more severely. All of you have heard of the Duke of 
Wellington's declaration against reform. God knows it 
is very famous. 1 One would almost fancy that the 
people of England had listened to a declaration against 
reform from a Prime Minister for the first time in their 
lives. And yet but a few years before, a very few brief 
years, and they had listened to another declaration 
against reform not less decided, not less vehement, not 
less vindictive ay ! and uttered, too, in the House of 
Commons, and not in the House of Lords uttered, too, 
by a Prime Minister the head of a Government of which 
all the individuals composing the recent Cabinet were 
either members or supporters. I allude to the declara- 
tion of Mr. Canning a declaration that compromised 
Lord Lansdowne and Lord Melbourne, and, indeed, every 
member of their party, who are now so loud in their 

1 " I am not only not prepared to bring in any measure of the 
description alluded to by the noble lord " (Lord Grey), " but I 
will at once declare that, as far as I am concerned, as long as I 
hold any station in the Government of the country, I shall always 
feel it my duty to resist such measures when proposed by others." 
The Duke of Wellington in the House of Lords, November 2, 1830. 



30 THE CRISIS EXAMINED [1834 

anathemas against* apostacy, and their personal horror 
of renegadoes. One solitary Whig alone stood aloof from 
Mr. Canning, and that was Lord Grey. Will the late 
Cabinet screen themselves under the shadow of his 
mantle ? Lord Grey did not leave it behind ; he did not 
leave them with his blessing, or the odour of his sanctity. 
Gentlemen, what strange changes have we not lived to 
witness ! You all remember when my gallant opponent, 
for whom I entertain sincere respect, first appeared among 
us ? You remember it was the most sudden thing in the 
world ? We did not know where he came from; we 
thought he had dropped from the skies. You remember 
that Mr. Ellice, the Right Hon. Mr. Ellice, 1 called upon 
us to elect the Colonel, 2 although a stranger, out of 
" gratitude " to Lord Grey. Gratitude to Lord Grey ! 
I suppose, when he makes his appearance among us again, 
we shall be summoned to elect him out of " ingratitude " 
to Lord Grey, for that seems more the fashion now. 
Yes, Gentlemen ! Lord Grey refusing the Privy Seal, 
and Lord Brougham soliciting the Chief Barony, are two 
epigrammatic episodes in the history of reform that can 
never be forgotten. 

But, Gentlemen, fancy Mr. Spring Rice cheering Mr. 
Canning in his anti-reform tirade, and Mr. Ellice, the 
Right Hon. Mr. Ellice, who was so good as to send us 
down a member, crying " hear, hear," and Sir John Hob- 
house, 3 who, from his conservatory of consistency, throws 
stones at the Duke of Wellington Sir John Hobhouse, 
the supporter of Mr. Canning, who sailed into public life 
on the popular wings of Annual Parliaments and Uni- 
versal Suffrage, and i fterwards 

" Got pelted for his pains." 

1 Edward Ellice, Member for Coventry, and brother-in-law of 
Earl Grey. 

2 Colonel (afterwards General) Grey, son of the Prime Minister, 
better known subsequently as private secretary to Queen Vic- 
toria. "That most true-hearted man" (Mr. Gladstone in a letter 
to General Ponsonby, March 5, 1894). 

8 Afterwards Lord Broughton. 



1834] WHIG RENEGADOES 31 

Oh ! rare Sir John Hobhouse ! Are we to be told that 
men like these, who backed and supported Mr. Canning 
under such circumstances, because they afterwards intro- 
duced and supported the Reform Bill, possess an exclusive 
right of calling every man an apostate who sees, in the 
altered condition of affairs, a ground for applying to a 
totally different set of circumstances a class of measures 
essentially new ? What an exquisite pretence to con- 
sistency there is in saying, " So pure is the love we bear 
it, that we will sacrifice for its sake every chance of 
freedom that we will endure the worst tyranny, rather 
than accept the greatest blessings that Reform may 
shower down upon us from the hands of renegadoes ?" 
When the Whigs came forward with their Reform Bill, 
did the country twit them with their inconsistencies, 
gross as they might be ? Did anyone, adopting the prin- 
ciples now so much in vogue among their party, dub 
them renegadoes ? Did anyone chalk " apostate " on the 
back of Lord Palmerston, or outrage the nerves of those 
delicate tergiversators, the Messrs. Grant, 1 by squibbing 
them in the streets for their change of opinion ? On the 
contrary, a remarkable abstinence from such crimination 
prevailed, as, I think, Gentlemen, it prevails at this 
present moment. The people were content to accept the 
Reform Bill as a great remedial measure which they had 
often demanded, and which had been always denied, and 
they did not choose to scan too severely the previous 
conduct of those who conceded it to them. They did 
not go about saying, W T e must have reform, but we will 
not have it from Lord Palmerston, because he is the child 
of corruption, born of Downing Street, and engendered 
in the Treasury, a second-rate official for twenty years 
under a succession of Tory Governments, but a Secretary 
of State under the Whigs. Not they, indeed ! The 
people returned Lord Palmerston in triumph for Hamp- 
shire, and pennies were subscribed to present him with 

1 Charles (afterwards Lord Glenelg), and Robert (afterwards 
Sir Robert), appointed Governor of Bombay in 1834. 



32 THE CKISIS EXAMINED [1834 

testimonials of popular applause. The people then took 
reform as some other people take stolen goods, " and no 
questions asked." The Cabinet of Lord Grey was not 
ungenerously twitted with the abandonment of principles 
which the country had given up, and to which no man 
could adhere who entertained the slightest hope of ren- 
dering himself an effective public servant. 

The truth is, Gentlemen, a statesman is the creature of 
his age, the child of circumstance, the creation of his 
times. A statesman is essentially a practical character ; 
and when he is called upon to take office, he is not to 
inquire what his opinions might or might not have been 
upon this or that subject he is only to ascertain the 
needful and the beneficial, and the most feasible manner 
in which affairs are to be carried on. The fact is, the 
conduct and opinions of public men at different periods 
of their career must not be too curiously contrasted in a 
free and aspiring country. The people have their pas- 
sions, and it is even the duty of public men occasionally 
to adopt sentiments with which they do not sympathise, 
because the people must have leaders. Then the opinions 
and the prejudices of the Crown must necessarily influ- 
ence a rising statesman. I say nothing of the weight 
which great establishments and corporations, and the 
necessity of their support and patronage, must also pos- 
sess with an ambitious politician. All this, however, 
produces ultimate benefit; all these influences tend to 
form that eminently practical character for which our 
countrymen are celebrated. I laugh, therefore, at the 
objections against a man that at a former period of his 
career he advocated a policy different to his present one : 
all I seek to ascertain is whether his present policy be 
just, necessary, expedient; whether, at the present 
moment, he is prepared to serve the country according 
to its present necessities ? Besides, Gentlemen, remember 
our Reform Bill remember that Ministers now have but 
a Ministerial duty to perform. The representatives of the 
people have now, we hope, a due share of power in their 



1834] CONCEKNING CONSISTENCY 33 

hands : they should be able to compel any Administration 
to observe the strict line of its duty, and doubtless would 
make it clearly understand that the tenure of office must 
depend upon an accommodation of its measures to the 
existing wants of the community. No, Gentlemen, these 
are not times when men look complacently on the Phari- 
saical Whig reproaching the Tory for a publican and 
sinner. 1 

But, Gentlemen, upon the authority of the Whigs them- 
selves, I am justified in believing that nothing can be more 
noble, at the same time more wise and more magnanimous, 
than a bold adaptation of policy to the demands of public 
opinion. What is the change now anticipated compared 
with that prodigious alteration which led to the Reform 
Bill itself, and for acquiescing in which Sir Robert Peel 
was so loudly and vehemently applauded by the Whigs 
themselves, they being then out of office I mean the 
carrying of Catholic Emancipation ? Even Dr. Lushing- 
ton himself was among the loudest and most extravagant 
eulogists of the Right Honourable Baronet for proposing 
this measure, and professed himself unable to find lan- 
guage to do justice to the superlative greatness of mind 
which led Sir Robert Peel to become the proposer of that 
momentous change, which throughout his life he had 
always ardently opposed. 

So much for the factious cry of apostacy. Let us now 
endeavour to ascertain what the Whigs did, when in 
power, to entitle them to the extraordinary confidence 
to which they lay claim. They opened business with 
three favourite articles: Peace, Reform, and Retrench- 
ment. I say at once their Peace consisted of blockades, 
their Reform of the creation of commissionerships, and 
their Retrenchment of the cutting down of clerks. But 
they say they have taken off taxes. Could they avoid 
doing so ? No Minister could go on a session without 
taking off taxes long before the Reform Bill. Have they 

1 A much-quoted passage on Consistency. 



34 THE CEISIS EXAMINED [1834 

exceeded the other party in their ratio of progressive 
relief ? I say, no ! I was sure you would respond. The 
Whigs plunged you into a revolution. For what ? To 
take the duty off stone bottles ? Or, if we are indeed to 
" wake a louder and a loftier strain," is your consolation 
for four years of misery to be found in the Irish Coercion 
Bill, or the English Poor Law Bill, their increase of the 
army, or their defence of the Pension List ? I will grant 
that they have undertaken some great questions ; but 
have they disposed of any ? A practical statesman 
would have settled them in a session ; but, for the Whigs, 
their philosophy ends in a report, and their patriotism in 
a job. 

Such are the claims to public confidence which may be 
put forth on behalf of the Whigs ; but if, instead of being 
so miserably slender, they were indeed substantial and 
important, I would say that no claims can entitle them 
to become the masters for life of the British people ; and, 
for my own part, I have no doubt, and I have ever 
thought, that they intended to become our masters for 
life; and decidedly they would have gained their object 
had they succeeded in swamping the House of Peers as 
well as packing the House of Commons. One of the most 
distinguished writers of the day, and a member of the 
extreme Liberal party in the House of Commons, has 
recorded, in a work which many of you have read, his 
regret that he ever was a supporter of the Whigs in their 
threatened attempt to overpower the House of Lords, 
and his self -congratulation that the attempt failed. Had 
it, however, succeeded, Gentlemen, it well fits us to con- 
sider what would have then become of the liberties of 
England. I do assure you that, in drawing your atten- 
tion to this important topic, I am not influenced by any 
party, any electioneering views. The remarks which I 
shall venture to make upon it have pressed upon my 
mind in the calmness and solitude of study. I will allow 
for the freedom of the Press ; I will allow for the spirit of 
the age; I will allow for the march of intellect; but I 



1834] LESSONS FEOM HISTOEY 35 

cannot force from my mind the conviction that a House 
of Commons, concentrating in itself the whole power of 
the State, might I should rather say, would notwith- 
standing the great antagonist forces to which I have 
alluded, establish in this country a despotism of the most 
formidable and dangerous character. Gentlemen, I re- 
peat, I cannot resist the conviction, because I cannot 
shut my eyes to the historical truth. Let us look to the 
reign of Charles the First a period as eventful, ay ! 
infinitely more so, than any that has since occurred in 
this country. Believe me, Gentlemen, we err when we 
take it for granted that this present age in England is 
peculiarly distinguished from preceding ones by the 
general diffusion of public knowledge and public spirit. 
Two great revolutions immediately preceded the events 
of the reign to which I have alluded, revolutions produc- 
tive of as much excitement and as much effect on the 
public mind of Europe as the great French Revolution, 
the Protestant Reformation, and the establishment of a 
Republic in the Netherlands. There was about this time, 
too, doubtless in some degree impelled by these great and 
strange events, a springtide in the intellect of England. 
What marvellous men then met in the walls of Parlia- 
ment. The indefatigable Pym, the inscrutable Hampden, 
the passionate Eliot, the austere genius of Strafford ! 
Worthy companions of these were St. John, Hollis, Vane; 
nor should we forget a Digby and a Capel, the chivalric 
Falkland, and the sagacious Clarendon. Why, Gentle- 
men, these were names that imparted to the deliberations 
of your Parliament an intellectual lustre not surpassed, 
perhaps not equalled, even in the brightest days of Pitt, 
and Fox, and Burke, and Sheridan. There was the same 
feeling abroad in favour of freedom, and the same en- 
thusiasm for the rights of the subject. There was also, 
although it is not generally supposed, the same omnipo- 
tent influence operating in favour of this cause, which we 
now hug ourselves in believing to be an invincible bulwark 
of our liberties. Yes, Gentlemen, I am induced to believe 



36 THE CRISIS EXAMINED [1834 

that the English Press exercised at that moment a power 
not inferior to the authority it wields at the present day. 
Every street had its journal, every alley its ballad; and 
besides these great methods of communication, public 
Opinion, that vaunted public Opinion which we would 
fain believe to be the offspring of the present hour, ap- 
pealed to the people in favour of the people by an oracle 
that for political purposes is now happily silent : I mean 
the pulpit. 

Yet, Gentlemen, notwithstanding all these checks, and 
all these guarantees checks and guarantees for your 
rights and liberties, I maintain, as powerful as any that 
exist at the present day what was the result ? Your 
House of Commons, in which you are now called upon to 
place implicit confidence, your boasted House of Com- 
mons which I for one will no more trust than any other 
human institution your omnipotent House of Commons, 
after having pulled down the throne and decapitated the 
monarch, after having expelled the Bishops from the 
House of Peers, and then abrogated the peerage, set you 
at defiance they concentrated in themselves all the 
powers of the State, and then voted their sittings per- 
petual they began by quarrelling with the King about 
one hundred thousand pounds, and ended, in the short 
space of five years, in imposing upon the people burdens 
to the amount of forty millions sterling; confiscated the 
estates of a large portion of their fellow-subjects, divided 
themselves into separate committees, and monopolised in 
their own persons all the functions of the State, and, 
finally, on one morning, divided among themselves three 
hundred thousand pounds of the public money. Did I 
say fi,nally? Can we forget that this same House of 
Commons, when their rapacity had dried up all other 
sources of spoliation, invented the tax, most odious to 
Englishmen, the Excise, and which they laid, too, not 
merely upon the luxuries, but the very necessaries of 
existence ? 

Looking then, Gentlemen, at such consequences of an 



1834] THE EEFOKM MINISTRY 37 

implicit confidence in the House of Commons, I confess 
myself reluctant to quit the vantage ground on which 
the constitution of the country is now felicitously placed. 
Looking at such consequences, I think we may feel that 
we have some interest in maintaining the prerogative of 
the Crown and the privileges of the Peers. I, for one, 
shall ever view with a jealous eye the proceedings of any 
House of Commons, however freely chosen. Nor have 
I marked in the conduct of the reformed House of Com- 
mons anything, I confess, to lull me into over-confidence 
or security. I think I perceive even thus early in their 
career some symptoms of jobbing which would not have 
disgraced the Long Parliament itself ; and some instances 
of servility which perhaps we must go to the reign of 
Charles the Second to rival. 

So much for the Reformed Parliament, Gentlemen ; and 
now for the Reform Ministry ! 

One would think from the cry that is now raised by the 
partisans of these persons that they were a band of 
patriots, who had never been animated by any other 
sentiment than the welfare of their country, and had 
never, by any chance, quarrelled among themselves. The 
Reform Ministry ! Where is it ? Let us calmly trace the 
history of this " united Cabinet." 

Very soon after its formation, Lord Durham withdrew 
from the royal councils the only man, it would appear, 
of any decision of character among its members. Still 
it was a most " united " Cabinet. Lord Durham only 
withdrew on account of his ill-health. The friends of 
this nobleman represent him as now ready to seize the 
helm of the State; a few months back, it would appear, 
his frame was too feeble to bear even the weight of the 
Privy Seal. Lord Durham retired on account of ill- 
health; he generously conceded this plea in charity to 
the colleagues he despised. Lord Durham quitted the 
"united Cabinet," and very shortly afterwards its two 
most able members in the House of Commons, and two 
of their most influential colleagues in the House of Lords, 



38 THE CRISIS EXAMINED [1834 

suddenly secede. 1 What a rent ! But then it was about 
a trifle. In all other respects the Cabinet was most 
" united." Five leading members of the Reform Ministry 
have departed ; yet the venerable reputation of Lord Grey, 
and the fair name of Lord Althorp, still keep them to- 
gether, and still command the respect, if not the confi- 
dence, of the nation. But marvel of marvels ! Lord 
Grey and Lord Althorp both retire in a morning, and in 
disgust ! Lord Grey is suddenly discovered to be 
behind his time, and his secession is even intimated to be 
a subject of national congratulation Lord Althorp joins 
the crew again, and the Cabinet is again " united" De- 
lightful union ! Then commenced a series of scenes 
unparalleled in the history of the Administrations of any 
country scenes which would have disgraced individuals 
in private life, and violated the decorum of domestic 
order. The Lord Chancellor 2 dangling about the Great 
Seal in postchaises, spouting in pot-houses, and vowing 
that he would write to the Sovereign by the post; while 
Cabinet Ministers exchanged menacing looks at public 
dinners, and querulously contradicted each other before 
the eyes of an admiring nation. Good God, Gentlemen ! 
could this go on ? Why, even Mr. Ellice the Eight Hon. 
Mr. Ellice who was so good as to send us down a Member 
of Parliament, he could no longer submit to nestle in this 
falling House, and he, too, quitted the "united " Cabinet, 
because he had what, for a ducat ? a sore throat ! 

Why, they ridicule themselves ! And yet the tale is 
not all told. There is really too much humour in the 
entertainment. They make us laugh too much the fun 
is overdone. It is like going to those minor theatres 
where we see Listen 3 in four successive farces. Lord 
Melbourne, whose claim to being Prime Minister of 
England, according to the Whigs, is that he is " a gentle- 
man," Lord Melbourne flies to the King, and informs him 

1 Mr. Stanley, Colonial Secretary, and Sir James Graham, First 
Lord of the Admiralty, resigned in 1834 on the Irish Church 
question and were followed by Lord Eipon, Privy Seal, and the 
Duke of Richmond, Postmaster- General. 

2 Lord Brougham. a John Liston, the comedian. 



1834] THE KING AND LORD MELBOUENE 39 

that a plan of " Church Eeform " has been proposed in 
the " united " Cabinet, and that Lord Lansdowne and 
Mr. Spring Rice, the only remaining Ministers in the 
slightest degree entitled, I will not say to the confidence, 
but the consideration of the country, have in consequence 
menaced him with their resignations. 

I doubt not, Gentlemen, that this plan of " Church 
Reform " was only some violent measure to revive the 
agitation of the country, and resuscitate the popularity 
of the Whigs, a measure which they never meant, and 
never desired, to pass. Perhaps, feeling that it was all 
over with them, it was a wretched ruse, apparently to go 
out upon a popular measure. However, Lord Melbourne, 
with as serious a face as he could command, informed 
His Majesty that the remains of the " united " Cabinet, 
Sir John Hobhouse and Lord John Russell, were still as 
"united " as ever, and he ended by proposing that the 
House of Commons should be led by his Lordship, who, 
on the same principle that bad wine produces good 
vinegar, has somehow turned from a tenth-rate author 
into a first-rate politician. 1 And then Lord Melbourne 
says that the King turned them out. Turned them out. 
Gentlemen; why, His Majesty laughed them out ! The 
truth is that this famous Reform Ministry, this great 
" united " Cabinet, had degenerated into a grotesque and 
Hudibrastic faction, the very lees of Ministerial existence, 
the offal of official life. They were a ragged regiment 
compared with which Falstaffs crew was a band of 
regulars. The King would not march through Coventry 
with them that was flat. The Reform Ministry indeed ! 
why, scarcely an original member of that celebrated 
Cabinet remained. You remember, Gentlemen, the story 
of Sir John Cutler's silk hose. 2 These famous stockings 
remind me of this famous Ministry ; for, really, between 
Hobhouse darns and Ellice botching, I hardly can decide 

1 See Introduction, p. 10. 

2 The London miser merchant, of whom Arbuthnot recorded that 
he had a pair of black worsted stockings which his maid darned 
so often with silk that they became at last a pair of silk stockings. 



40 THE CRISIS EXAMINED [1834 

whether the hose -are silk or worsted. The Reform 
Ministry. I dare say, now, some of you have heard of 
Mr. Ducrow, that celebrated gentleman who rides upon 
six horses. What a prodigious achievement ! It seems 
impossible, but you have confidence in Ducrow ! You 
fly to witness it ; unfortunately, one of the horses is ill, and 
a donkey is substituted in its place. But Ducrow is still 
admirable; there he is, bounding along in a spangled 
jacket and cork slippers ! The whole town is mad to 
see Ducrow riding at the same time on six horses; but 
now two more of the steeds are seized with the staggers, 
and, lo ! three jackasses in their stead ! Still Ducrow 
persists, and still announces to the public that he will 
ride round his circus every night on his six steeds. At 
last all the horses are knocked up, and now there are 
half a dozen donkeys. What a change ! Behold the 
hero in the amphitheatre, the spangled jacket thrown 
on one side, the cork slippers on the other ! Puffing, 
panting, and perspiring, he pokes one sullen brute, thwacks 
another, cuffs a third, and curses a fourth, while one brays 
to the audience, and another rolls in the sawdust. Behold 
the late Prime Minister and the Reform Ministry ! The 
spirited and snow-white steeds have gradually changed 
into an equal number of sullen and obstinate donkeys. 
While Mr. Merryman, who, like the Lord Chancellor, 
was once the very life of the ring, now lies his despairing 
length in the middle of the stage, with his jokes exhausted 
and his bottle empty ! 

Enough, Gentlemen, of the Reform Ministry and the 
Reformed Parliament. Let us hope that the time has 
arrived when we may be favoured with a National 
Administration and a Patriotic House of Commons. Let 
us hope that by their salutary influence the peace of 
Europe and the honour of England may be alike main- 
tained; the great interests of the country fostered and 
protected; and those considerable changes firmly, but 
cautiously, prosecuted in our social system, which the spirit 
of the age demands and the necessities of the times require. 




41 



42 PEERS AND PEOPLE [1835 



PEERS AND PEOPLE 

[!N the vigorous leading articles contributed to the 
Morning Post in August and September, 1835, and now 
republished under the title " PEERS AND PEOPLE," Disraeli 
strongly supported the action of the House of Lords in 
amending the Municipal Corporations Bill. They were 
written at the request of Lord Lyndhurst, the prime 
mover in the agitation against the Bill, and their author- 
ship remained a secret until revealed seventy-five years 
later by an entry in Disraeli's diary. They mark the 
beginning of his connection with the Press as a political 
writer ; but Disraeli, though he claimed to be a journalist, 
constantly gibed against the "hired scribbler," and took 
pains to point out that he never received payment his 
price was power for his anonymous contributions to 
political journalism. Only a selection has been given; 
the earlier articles, written before the contending parties 
had got to grips, were irregular in appearance, and lacked 
the fire and continuity of the later contributions. In this 
series Disraeli first outlines his views on Constitutional 
questions, subsequently to be developed more fully in 
"The Vindication," the " Runnymede Letters," the 
" Spirit of Whiggism," and his public speeches.] 



CHAPTEE I 

Lord Melbourne His political profligacy Indolence and ineffi- 
ciency O'Connell's Prime Minister, not the King's The 
Lords and the " People " The coming " collision " Prin- 
ciples of the Corporation Bills Lord Lyndhurst' s qualifica- 
tion The Commissioners. 

Saturday, August 22. 

THE miserable Lord Melbourne, for shame and misery are 
stamped upon his suffering countenance, rose on Thursday 
night in the House of Lords to propose the second reading 
of the Irish Church Spoliation Bill. 



1835] LORD MELBOURNE 43 

The annals of political profligacy do not contain an 
instance of more barefaced apostasy than is exhibited by 
the career of this unhappy leader of the Whigs. 

Always a notorious place-hunter, Mr. William Lamb 
veered for a long time between the two aristocratic 
parties into which the State was then divided, and for a 
considerable period enjoyed the enviable reputation of 
being considered a man ready to sell himself under the 
somewhat disagreeable circumstances of not being able 
to command a market. At length, by dexterously 
coming forward when Lord Castlereagh was rather 
pushed, and defending the Manchester Magistrates, and 
making a somewhat ingenious and very uncompromising 
speech against Parliamentary Reform, the trading 
trimmer succeeded in becoming a recognised Tory. 

Lord Castlereagh despised him, Mr. Canning distrusted 
him, and Lord Grey did both. And now this most indo- 
lent and inefficient of official men this Lord Melbourne 
Manchester-massacre Melbourne is the revolutionary 
Prime Minister of England, by the grace, or disgrace, of 
Daniel O'Connell, with whom Lord Melbourne, in his 
coteries, affects to have no connection. If he be not 
Mr. O'Connell's Prime Minister, his lordship is not the 
King's, our Gracious Sovereign's, whom Lord Melbourne's 
paid servants and instructed toad-eaters load with every 
species of seditious abuse in the solitary organ of the 
Government. There never yet was a public man so 
completely ignorant of public business as this egregious 
nobleman. 

He has read the Edinburgh Review and Horace. 
This is the extent of his studies. His mind is impregnated 
with a sort of bastard French philosophy, filtered through 
the pages of blue and yellow, and relieved with an occa- 
sional gay or poignant reminiscence of an ode, or epistle, 
of the Roman epicurean. It is observable in all debates 
how studiously Lord Melbourne avoids details, and the 
moment he is pressed with an awkward argument, or an 
inconvenient fact, how speedily he takes refuge in some 



44 PEERS AND PEOPLE [1835 

vague generalities about the spirit of the age, the progress 
of philosophy, and the rights of the people. Except 
Palmers ton, he is the veriest and most thorough political 
hack going; but his career until the Eeform Bill was so 
obscure that the mass of the public are quite ignorant of 
his proverbial jobbing and his pitiful tergiversation. 

Yesterday his Lordship dined with his Royal Master. 
Rare occurrence ! Some whisper 'tis the first time during 
his notable Premiership; there is no doubt 'tis for the 

last. 

***** 

The baffled and craven Whigs, trembling at what is about 
to happen, talk daily of " the Lords opposing themselves 
to the wishes of THE PEOPLE." We wish we could induce 
these gentry to define what they mean by this favourite 
phrase of theirs THE PEOPLE. 

The King of England is the avowed leader of the 
Conservative party according to the Whigs, who raise 
seditious cries in consequence. We have upon our side 
also the Peers of England; we have upon our side the 
Gentlemen of England; we have upon our side the 
yeomanry of England; we have upon our side their 
armed and gallant brethren ; we have upon our side the 
universal peasantry of England; we have upon our side 
the army and navy, the Church, the learned professions 
to a man, the Universities, the Judges, the Magistrates, 
the merchants, the corporate bodies of all descriptions, 
and a large party in every town, agricultural, commercial, 
even manufacturing. What constitutes a people if these 
do not afford the elements of a great and glorious nation ? 
Why to say nothing of rank, of property, honour, in- 
telligence, experience in numbers, in sheer and very 
numbers we beat these brawling braggarts. 

Yet the Whig-Radicals talk not only of the indignation 
and resolution, but even of the meetings of THE PEOPLE 
in their favour. 

Where do they meet ? " Yesterday Birmingham met 
to-day Westminster." To tell the truth, when Lord 



1835] "THE PEOPLE" 45 

Ellenborough proposed, and passed, his clause for en- 
trusting the division of the boroughs into wards to the 
Gentlemen of England, and Pis-aller Parkes 1 lost his 
job, we were quite prepared for a Birmingham meeting, 
and meet it certainly did. A precious meeting of THE 
PEOPLE ! The rump of the Political Union, the debris of 
that " aristocracy of blackguards " listening to the brain- 
less brayings of that melancholy ass Attwood 2 over 
Cossacks and currency. But, for Westminster ! Why, 
we live in Westminster ; we ourselves are part and parcel 
of the people of Westminster. And who doth the gentle 
public suppose was the great lion at the Westminster 
meeting of THE PEOPLE ? Why, one Juggins, who 
described himself as a member of " the Annoyance Jury." 
Shade of Dogberry ! Spirit of Verges ! Ye are at length 
outdone. What are ye to Master Juggins of the Annoy- 
ance Jury ? Oh, William Shakspeare ! and, oh, Walter 
Scott ! the most ideal creations of your choice humour 
must yield to this grotesque existence. And Juggins is 
a leader of THE PEOPLE ! And Juggins wishes to know 
what is the use of the Lords ? 

If this be " THE PEOPLE " with whom the threatened 
collision is to take place, we think the fray may fairly be 
left to the new police and with whom else it is to take 
place ? What do the Whig-Radicals mean by this word 
" collision " ? Do they mean civil war ? If so, we 
deprecate, but we are prepared for it. Fancy John 
Russell in a civil war ! Our English Don Carlos 3 would 
scarcely gain as many laurels as his namesake in Navarre. 
Fancy Spring Rice 4 waving a shillelagh, or Palmerston 6 
tilting with a lady's fan. Civil war, indeed ! Why, when 
the last civil war took place it commenced by Hampden's 

1 Joseph Parkes, secretary and solicitor to the Corporations 
Commission. 

2 Thomas Attwood, Member for Birmingham, and father of 
the Political Unions; Cobbett's " King Tom." 

3 Lord John Russell wrote " Don Carlos," a tragedy, 1822. 

4 Chancellor of the Exchequer. 
6 Foreign Secretary. 



46 PEERS AND PEOPLE [1835 

green horsemen riding up from Buckinghamshire, and 
alone overawing the King and Court. Let William the 
Fourth now raise his standard in that very county, ay, 
the birthplace of Hampden, and the whole male popula- 
tion to a man would rally round the Throne. The counties 
within a day's journey of London would furnish His 
Majesty within a week with fifty thousand Cavalry, a great 
portion of them already armed and trained, and led by 
skilful and experienced Officers. 

But the Whigs and the Whig-Radicals do not mean 
a civil war by their word collision. Oh no, they mean a 
row, a riot, a short revolution, a Metropolitan bang-up, 
paving stones, White Conduit House, 1 broken windows, 
a fire or two, Cheapside and Regent Street plundered, 
and the prisons thrown open. This is what the Bang's 
Ministers want. They want three days, three glorious 
days, three glorious and beautiful days, as their prescient 
flashman Macaulay styled the bloody riot that was the 
fitting precursor of the iron despotism of Louis Philippe. 
The Whig Ministers want a revolutionary riot to consoli- 
date their power the power which they have now failed 
in establishing, although they carried the Reform Act, 
and attempted the Corporation Bill. 

But it won't do. We tell these Gallomaniac apes of 
everything that is detestable in the French character 
that these things will ever be " managed better in France 
than in England." Let the " collision " be tried, and as 
soon as they please. They shall have row enough ! 

***** 

We hope, and we believe, that the Lords will not bate 
a jot of their amendments of the Whig Corporations Bill. 
Never were amendments in a projected law more just, 

1 A famous Islington tea-house in bygone days. A mass 
meeting of working men was summoned by manifesto to assemble 
there on November 7, 1831, to ratify a new Bill of Eights. Mel- 
bourne declared that the meeting would certainly be seditious, 
and perhaps treasonable in law, and it was abandoned. Shortly 
afterwards a royal proclamation was issued declaring organised 
political associations, assuming powers independent of the civil 
magistrate, to be " unconstitutional and illegal.'" 



1835] LORD LYNDHURST'S "QUALIFICATION" 47 

more salutary, and more statesmanlike. The majority 
of them are merely, to use the coal-heaving jargon of the 
Radical Press, a carrying out of the principles of the Bill. 

By fully developing the principles of the Bill, the 
Conservatives have simultaneously eradicated the party 
virus of the measure. Thus it is in the clauses in which 
they have baffled the conspiracy to plunder the freemen 
of England, and to deprive them of the political rights 
so recently and so solemnly guaranteed to them by the 
Whigs themselves in their famous final measure; thus it 
is in the Conservative qualification clause, in which the 
Opposition have applied to the town council the test 
which the Government itself have applied to the electors 
of that town council. Nothing is more ludicrous than 
the howlings of the beggarly Radicals at this most dis- 
creet regulation. 

Property not a qualification, forsooth ! What other 
general qualification is there ? That some wealthy 
blockheads may be elected on the town council is possible, 
but rich blockheads are at any rate more trustworthy 
than poor ones ay, more trustworthy than insolent 
knaves. 

The solitary organ of the unhappy Government, in the 
last gasp of its frantic insolence, inquires whether the 
qualification of the Noble Mover of the Amendment for 
a seat in the Upper House is property ? Why, if his 
Lordship were as rich as the Duke of Bedford himself 
if he had been the fortunate descendant of some favoured 
minion of an unprincipled tyrant, and the possessor of 
the plunder of the Church they know that property 
would not be Lord Lyndhurst's qualification for his seat. 
His genius, his learning, his public services, form his 
qualification. These placed him in the House of Peers. 
But if his Lordship were not as independent in his fortune 
as two-thirds of the present Cabinet which we rejoice 
he is are men of Lord Lyndhurst's calibre of such 
common occurrence that we are to legislate upon the 
obvious exception to a plain rule ? 



48 PEERS AND PEOPLE [1835 

How rare such a character must ever be in public life 
is proved by the simple circumstance that the rapacious 
Whigs themselves, eager as they ever are to gorge their 
creatures with the public money, have not yet been able 
to find a single individual in their whole faction competent 
to discharge the onerous duties and to clutch the rich 
remuneration of the office of Lord Chancellor. 

Then for the clause which divides the towns into wards. 
Here again the Conservatives have only adopted and 
developed the principle of the Whig Measure; but then 
they have entrusted its execution to the Gentlemen of 
England, and not to notorious and convicted jobbers. 
Ay, there's the rub ! 

It is true that the Peers, in a wise sympathy with 
ancient associations and time-honoured forms, existing 
authority and vested rights, have retained the titles and 
offices, the powers and privileges, of Aldermen. To be 
sure. Are the institutions of Alfred to be kicked into a 
ditch for the sake of Pis-oiler Parkes and roaring Rushton 
and the sober Drinkwater, and the immaculate Cockburn, 
and that provincial oracle, the thrice-unheard-of Wilkin- 
son, and Dwarris our friend " Horrors-and-Hell " 
Dwarris ? x By-the-by, we owe an apology to this gentle- 
man. We understand his dramatic effusion was never 
performed at Sadler's Wells : it was refused. 2 Fortunatus 
Dwarris (Phoebus, what a name !) 3 lithographs his letters : 
as long as he does not print his tragedies we care not 
what he does. 

To-day it is proposed that Aldermen should be abro- 

1 Edward Rushton (nicknamed " Roaring " Rushton by Cob- 
bett), John Elliott Drinkwater, Alexander James Edmund Cock- 
burn (afterwards Lord Chief Justice of England), G. H. Wilkin- 
son, and Fortunatus William Lilley Dwarris (afterwards Sir 
F. W. L. Dwarris), members of the Corporations Commission. 
Joseph Parkes, in addition to being Secretary of the Commission, 
was the chief Parliamentary agent of the Whig party. 

" We advise him to revise his tragedy of ' Horrors and Hell/ 
and get it again performed at Sadler's Wells." Disraeli in 
Morning Post, August 21. 

3 " Amos Cottle ! Phoebus, what a name !" (Byron, " English 
Bards and Scotch Reviewers "). 



1835] WHIG TENDENCIES 49 

gated to-morrow the constable and the tithing-man will 
be attacked. The militia is already doomed. The 
Whigs have previously carved up the old English Counties, 
and now they are going to Radicalise the old English 
towns. It is their evident determination to assimilate 
the institutions of this country to those of France free 
and favoured France. Instead of the county and the 
borough we shall soon have the arrondissement and the 
commune. The prefet and the gendarmerie follow, of 
course. Alas, Old England ! 



CHAPTER II 

The friends of the " People " Popish rebels Mr. Hume and his 
allies Their illiteracy A comparison O'Connell Patriots 
and conspirators. 

Monday, August 24. 

WHILE the Peers of England have been making a trium- 
phant stand for the rights and liberties of their country- 
men, a knot of individuals, by courtesy styled the House 
of Commons, have been as actively engaged in wagering 
a furious war against all those constitutional securities 
which hitherto, as freeborn men, we have been taught to 
value. 

Some sixty or seventy persons, by courtesy styled the 
House of Commons, all of the same hue and kidney, 
liberals, friends of THE PEOPLE, unchecked by the 
presence of any Members of the Opposition, and utterly 
disregarding the faint remonstrances of the unhappy 
members of the Government who are at their mercy, and 
whom they can place in a minority at a moment's notice, 
have during the last week revived general warrants, 
issued lettres de cachet, inferentially recommended the 
rack, declared that their pleasure is above the law, and 
consistently in the same breath that they denounce what 
they term the irresponsible power of the Peers have 
declared their own power despotic. 



50 PEERS AND PEOPLE [1835 

And of whom is. this knot of tyrants formed ? First 
and foremost, of course, of the Popish rebels. The other 
moiety is led by Mr. Hnme and his Utilitarian or rather 
Brutilitarian allies. They altogether form a company 
utterly contemptible in point of number, intelligence, 
and influence in the country. Besides the Popish rebels, 
we repeat, there is Hume, and Warburton, of course; 
one Tooke, a Socinian attorney; a brother quill-driver, 
Mr. Wilks, the godly father of the Moorfields Tabernacle ; 
Roebuck, the Bath delegate, whose bray was once mistaken 
for a roar, but who of late has shed his lion's skin, and 
most elaborately "written himself down an ass"; a 
pedantic schoolboy, by name Buller; that melancholy 
young man, who must for a few weeks longer misrepresent 
West Somerset, young Mr. Tynte, whom, to distinguish 
from his Parliamentary father, we must in future recognise 
as Tyntoretto. Ranting Attwood must not be forgotten, 
worthy of some theatre " over the water." Wason, 
Whalley, and Wakley complete the crew. 1 Hudibrastic 
triad ! Why, if they could only induce Mr. Abercromby 
to resign the chair, and contrive to smuggle Juggins into 
his seat, we should have a Praise God Barebones Parlia- 
ment again and the Rump to the very life. 

The vast majority of these men, who are thus disposing 
of the lives and fortunes of their fellow-countrymen, are 
illiterate persons. Hume, for instance, can neither speak 
nor write English; his caligraphy reminds one of a 
chandler's shop, and his letters resemble a butterman's 
bill. Warburton is, if possible, more ignorant even 
than Hume, but more discreet and consequently less 
loquacious. Both these men have some property, a rare 
occurrence in the party; and all the petty plunderers, 
would-be Commissioners, and other small toad-eaters, for 

1 A group of Liberal Members of Parliament: Joseph Hume 
(Middlesex), Henry Warburton (Bridport), William Tooke (Truro), 
John Wilks (Boston), J. A. Koebuck (Bath), Charles Buller 
(Liskeard), C. J. K. Tynte (West Somerset), Thomas Attwood 
[Birmingham), Kigby Wason (Ipswich), Sir Samuel Whalley 
(Marylebone), and Thomas Wakley (Finsbury), founder of the 
Lcmcet. 



1835] LEADEKS OF "THE PEOPLE" 51 

the sake of a positive dinner and a possible job, laud 
them with great praise. But the ignorance of Warburton 
rather staggers even these parasites. As a sort of ex- 
tenuating compensation for the Cimmerian gloom of his 
unlettered mind, they assure us he is a man of science, 1 a 
great chemist. A fine qualification this for the part he 
is playing ! We believe he has an air-pump in his house. 
Wakley is of a lighter order of mind than the preceding 
worthies. There is a vulgar vivacity about him which is 
not unamusing. He would make an admirable cad 2 or a 
first-rate conductor of an omnibus. 

Wakley is a great leader of THE PEOPLE, and almost 
as inquisitive an inquirer as to the use of the Lords as 
Juggins himself. No one, indeed, denounces the Peers 
with greater fervour; his anathema of the Duke of New- 
castle set all Finsbury in a roar of indignation. It is 
very evident what Mr. Wakley's definition of THE PEOPLE 
means. It means those electors of Finsbury who hon- 
oured him with their suffrage. Now, with due deference 
to the Editor of the Lancet, we are disposed to believe 
that the Duke of Newcastle is as much one of THE PEOPLE 
as the Honourable Member for Finsbury himself. Some 
heretics may be disposed to hold that His Grace is even a 
more valuable and a more estimable member of that great 
society. 

Comparisons are so proverbially odious, and often so 
very inconvenient, that we are not inclined to push this 
parallel between His Grace and Mr. Wakley any further 
the more so, as we might find some difficulty in ascertain- 
ing the points they hold in common. They both certainly 
have shared one common misfortune they have both had 
their houses burnt down. 3 

1 At Cambridge, according to Grote, Warburton obtained dis- 
tinction as " a scholar and man of science." 

2 Penny Magazine, March 31, 1837 : "He who hangs behind 
who opens the door and receives the money is conductor, or, 
in the vulgar tongue, cad." 

3 Wakley's house was burned to the ground on August 20, 1820, 
by Thistlewood's gang; Nottingham Castle was burned 'down on 
October 10, 1831, during the Keform Riots. 



52 PEERS AND PEOPLE [1335 

And these are our patriots. Different men, certainly, to 
those who headed the Movement of the Seventeenth 
Century. For Hampden we have Hume, and War burton 
for Pym. Sir Samuel Whalley for Sir John Eliot, and, 
instead of Sir Edward Coke, Sir Monsey Eolfe ! l 
O'Connell, indeed, might find a more fitting representa- 
tive in that age. He is doubtless prepared most efficiently 
to perform the part of Sir Phelim O'Neale, 2 his rival in 
savage treachery, but scarcely in savage courage ! 

And these, we repeat, are our patriots. Why, com- 
pared with the heroes of our earlier movement, they are 
as the tallow candles of the Marylebone Vestry in relation 
to the glorious firmament. These are not the men to 
upset an ancient realm, whatever may be their will. 
Such awful exploits require spirits of a different order. 
Such sublime conspirators are found among men who, 
with all their errors and all their fond ambition, are of a 
heroic mould of mind, great scholars, learned in human 
nature and human history, of a commanding eloquence, 
of a marvellous subtilty, and an undaunted courage. 

But if these men were by some ludicrous destiny to 
succeed, what then ? If they were less ignorant, they 
would know that all they are attempting has been already 
achieved. We have " relieved " the Bishops from their 
legislative functions, we have voted the " inutility " of 
the House of Lords, we have rooted up the Throne, and 
what was the result ? The leaders of the present move- 
ment may be too ignorant to know; but the people of 
England, the real people of England, have not forgotten. 

1 Mr. R. Monsey Rolfe was appointed Solicitor-General in 
April, 1835, and was knighted. Afterwards, as Lord Cranworth, 
lie became Lord Chancellor. 

2 Sir Phelim O'Neill (or O'Neale), an Irish rebel, was executed 
on March 10, 1653. 



1835] STOPPING SUPPLIES 53 



CHAPTEE III 

The " Rump " and the Supplies A " Praise God Barebones " 
crew Single Chamber government And Cromwell Airy 
flanks of the Disraelian thong Small deer and their masters 
The Globe and Scipio Africanus. 

Tuesday, August 25. 

So the Rump will stop the Supplies, 1 will they ? Ay, 
and embezzle them too if they can. Pretty pickings 
the revenues of England for the shirtless Tail and the 
starving Brutilitarians. 

We do not know whether the people of England will in 
consequence be tempted to do what the Right Hon. Sir 
John Cam Hobhouse, one of His Majesty's Ministers, once 
recommended them to do, namely, " throw the House 
of Commons into the Thames." 2 But we should not be 
surprised. 

What ! are not general warrants and lettres de cachet, 
and the recommendation of the rack, and the setting up 
of their pleasure above the law, and the declaration 
that their power is irresponsible are not these enough ; 
but, forsooth, our dividends are also to be unpaid, our 
judges and public officers, our sailors and soldiers, to be 
starved ? The conduct of the Ministers on this occasion 
is the most pitiful on record. 

" Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike," 

stood the Chancellor of the Exchequer, while Lord John 
Russell menaced the Peers, and was the next morning 
obliged to eat his words and recant his threat. His 
threat ! In fact, the Ministers are well aware that the 
collision is a failure, and ranting Attwood was obliged 
to acknowledge in the House on Saturday that even the 

1 A threat by Mr. Spring Rice, defended by Lord John Russell. 

2 Hobhouse, in his Radical days, was committed to Newgate by 
the House of Commons for breach of privilege. In an anonymous 
pamphlet (1819) he had asked : " What prevents the people 
from walking to the House, and pulling out the members by the 
ears, locking up their doors, and flinging the key into the Thames?" 



64 PEERS AND PEOPLE [1835 

Birmingham Union could not be revived. According to 
his statement, Attwood had recommended that the Union 
should not be revived, and Lord John Russell praised 
Attwood for his wisdom and moderation. Can anything 
be more supremely farcical ? 

The long and the short of the affair is this, that the 
present leaders of " The People " have just begun their 
collision, or civil war, the wrong way. They have reversed 
the order of revolution they have begun with the Rump 
they have commenced by the ridiculous, and want to 
get on to the sublime. 

If these fellows were not so absurd, we would gravely 
argue the desirableness of this country being governed 
by the House of Commons alone; but it is profaning 
history to appeal to it in order to illustrate the sayings 
and doings of such a Praise God Barebones crew. Yet 
we may as well remember how the House of Commons 
conducted itself when it monopolised for a season the 
whole power of the State. In the course of five years 
that House of Commons levied taxes to the amount of 
forty millions, a sum at that period unprecedented, and 
nevertheless they were loaded with debts and encum- 
brances which the writers of to-day declare to be 
" prodigious." Moreover, one agreeable morning (how 
Wakley's mouth will water !), the House of Commons 
openly took the sum of 300,000 and divided it among 
themselves. Then their Committees, to whom the 
management of the different branches of revenue was 
entrusted, never brought in their accounts, and had 
unlimited power of secreting whatever funds they pleased 
from the public treasure. These branches were needlessly 
multiplied, in order to render the revenue more intricate, 
to share the advantages among greater numbers, and to 
conceal the frauds of which they were universally sus- 
pected. But this is nothing. The House of Commons 
sequestered nearly one half, not only of the lands, rents, 
and revenues of the Kingdom, but nearly one half of the 
goods and chattels of all Englishmen. Finally, when all 



1835] AIRY FLANKS OF THE THONG 55 

other sources of plunder were exhausted, these leaders of 
"The People," the House of Commons, invented the 
Excise, the most odious of taxes, and extended it even to 
provisions and the common necessaries of life. All who 
appealed against these fiscal or other arrangements of the 
House of Commons were sequestered, fined, imprisoned, 
and corporally punished, without law or remedy. Who 
can wonder that the English nation submitted without 
a murmur to Cromwell ? 



What ! There is yelping and whining in the kennel, 
is there, eh ? And miserable moans from our slight 
lashing. These are the bold spirits who menace our 
gracious Sovereign and insult his Royal consort these 
are the men who want to know what is the use of the 
Lords, who sneer at the Church, and brand the Corpora- 
tions these are the men who call each morning for a 
" collision." 

Mark how pale they grow in an instant, how they 
tremble when they are told the bitter truth by concealing 
which they can alone live. They announce an Honourable 
Gentleman as the writer of this journal, and grossly insult 
him, and complain in the same breath of our personalities. 

Personalities, indeed ! Why, if we wished to be per- 
sonal, do they flatter themselves we don't know them ? 
Do they fancy they are " unseen " ? If a single airy 
flank of our thong has created such a pother, what will 
it be if it please our humour to lay it on in good earnest ? 
Lord have mercy upon them ! 

Personal, indeed ! If we had wished to be personal 
if we chose now to follow their example of this morning 
and arraign the confederate scribblers by name do they 
flatter themselves it is not in our power ? Do they hug 
themselves in the fond belief that we could not summon 
before us the old hack who is their nominal chief ; and the 
bankrupt attorney who has turned agitator by trade; 
and the editor of a more reputable journal who fights in 
a visor to conceal his blushes at the ragged ranks in which 



56 PEERS AND PEOPLE [1835 

he is enlisted ; and the pursers 1 and steamboat stewards, 
grotesquely metamorphosed in this age of marvels into 
private secretaries and confidential agents of Peers and 
Ministers; and the " rich banker " of whom they boast, 
and whose opulence is probably as actual as that of 
Laffitte and Ternaux, 2 once equally appealed to for proof 
of the possible combination of liberalism and property 
before the three glorious days revealed the bankrupt 
bank of one, and exposed the mortgaged manufactory 
of the other. 

We wish not to combat with these small deer; our 
business is with their masters. But there are many arrows 
in our quiver, and, if they seek a fray, we are ready, to 
use their jargon, for the " collision." 

So they complain of personality and on the same 
morning publish a lying biography of one of the most 
illustrious men in England, 3 full of base sneers at his 
family, and blackguard stories of his early fortunes, and 
lying reports of his table conversations, styled by these 
eavesdroppers his "opinions." 

Personality, indeed ! Why this very Journal, this 
Morning Chronicle, some little time back sullied even its 
columns with foul and cowardly insinuations against a 
virtuous and accomplished lady who had never stepped 
for a moment out of the decorous privacy of her life. 
And the craven and malignant sneer is actually repeated 
this morning. Is this the spirit in which war is to be 
carried on ? Well let it be so. And let their arch- 
apostate leader, who for a few more hours may be Prime 
Minister of England, look to his character and conduct. 
Are they so pure and immaculate ? 

***** 

The Globe of last night " meant to have taken some 
notice of the peculiar virulence of the Morning Post of 

1 Mr. Tom Young (" Ubiquity " Young), Melbourne's private 
secretary, was originally a purser in the navy. 

2 Jacques Laffitte, the French financier and politician 
(1767-1844), and Baron Ternaux, French manufacturer and repre- 
sentative (1763-1833). 3 Lord Lyndhurst. 



1835] A " GLOBE CRITIC " 57 

Saturday and yesterday, but," adds our considerate con- 
temporary, " we don't see why we should." It is a 
doubtful matter, then. The silly Globe, trying to be 
supercilious, can be only simpering. 'Tis most amusing; 
writing a long belaboured article, intended to be an attack 
upon us, and then suddenly losing courage at the striking 
point . Why, the writer in the Globe knoweth full well that 
he had been concocting an attack upon the Morning Post 
the whole day, yet after all this preliminary bluster he 
suddenly loses heart he tucks up his sleeves and even 
squares his elbows, but then his stomach fails him, and 
he determines to keep the King's peace. The writer in 
the Globe must be more courageous; this is not the way 
great men get out of scrapes. He should take a lesson 
from Scipio Africanus. 



CHAPTER IV 

Protestants and Papists House of Commons not representative 
of the People The "constituency" A tryannical and 
vexatious oligarchy. 

Wednesday, August 26. 

THE division in the House of Lords on Monday night 
realised our proudest anticipations ! We said that on 
that night the Protestant Peers of England were about 
to struggle with Papacy; and their Lordships were con- 
scious of the awful character of the contest. They may 
rest assured that the eyes of all Europe were upon them. 
The speech of the Lord Bishop of London in particular 
was worthy of his high theme, worthy of the august 
assembly to which it was addressed, worthy of the 
reverend and lettered bench of which he is one of the 
most pious and distinguished ornaments. It was earnest, 
it was eloquent, it was argumentative and convincing in 
the highest degree. In fact, it exhausted the subject, 
and the thrilling peroration not only struck to the hearts, 
and was echoed by the voices, of all present, but we feel 

5 



58 PEERS AND PEOPLE [1835 

confident has stirred the spirit, and been responded to by 
the sympathy of every Protestant in the United Kingdom. 

Nothing can exceed the factious conduct of the Premier, 
if Premier he still be, on this great question. Two 
Measures which had no necessary connection with each 
other, but which are avowedly incorporated with each 
other for party purposes of a discreditable character, are 
submitted to the consideration of the House of Commons. 
By a very small majority, confessedly on all hands ob- 
tained by the mere suffrages of the Popish members, the 
Siamese Act passes the Lower House, and is sent to the 
Peers. The Peers, to prove the sincerity of their wishes 
to advance all measures for the benefit of the State, and 
of Ireland especially, allow the Bill to be read a second 
time, pass unanimously in Committee every clause 
which relates to the relief of the practical evils com- 
plained of, and strike out the clauses referring only to 
an abstract principle of the assertion of which nearly half 
the House of Commons had previously disapproved. 

The Prime Minister hereupon turns round, and coolly 
declares that he will not take upon himself the responsi- 
bility of carrying on the measure any further. Could any- 
thing be more barefaced, more unjust, more wicked ? 

Insolent, audacious man ! Or, rather, should we pity 
him ? The loud clamour of his braggadocio failed of its 
purpose. In the midst of it we still heard the clank of 
his fetter. The Slave of O'Connell ! Those who remem- 
ber Lord Melbourne in his calmer and happier hours must 
indeed be thunderstruck. 

Now mark mark the dilemma of this unhappy Minis- 
ter. The Catholic Peers of England, inspired by the 
remembrance of their heroic ancestors, decline voting on 
this occasion in deference to their oath. What a brand for 
O'Connell. Now the Bill has past the Commons only by 
the votes of perjured Papists. So Lord Melbourne 
announces that his consideration for these false slaves 
outweighs his respect for the Peers of England ! We 
leave him in this melancholy position. 



1835] THE CONSTITUENCY 50 

If at this moment Lord Melbourne be Prime Minister 
of England, or is not on the eve of resigning the trust 
which he has abused, then he has virtually announced that 
the Government of this country is in future to be carried 
on by the House of Commons alone. We yield our 
adhesion, of course, to the new order without a murmur, 
knowing full well that if this be the case the career of 
independent journalists is over, and that the year will not 
elapse without some severe ukase being promulgated which 
will efficiently prevent any criticism of the Press upon the 
conduct and " pleasure " of our new lords and masters. 
Yet, while there is time, even if it be the last exercise of 
our right, and the last fruitless fulfilment of our duty, in 
the discharge of the noble function of upholding truth and 
diffusing knowledge, we will attempt to assist our country- 
men in clearly understanding what this hitherto third 
estate of the realm styled the House of Commons really 
is; and what has formerly been the Government of this 
country when carried on by the House of Commons alone. 

The House of Commons affects to be the representative 
of The People. 'Tis no such thing. It never was, it 
never will, it never can be. It is the representative of a 
section, and a limited and varying section of the people, 
called THE CONSTITUENCY a body certainly more 
numerous, but as conventional, as privileged, and as 
irresponsible as the House of Lords itself. The vast 
majority of the people is unrepresented, and must ever 
be unrepresented. No Government of any form or frame 
can last without the existence of some irresponsible power 
in its structure, and if the House of Lords were rendered 
elective to-morrow, what is to check, what is to guard the 
people of England against the irresponsibility of the 
constituency and the Representatives of that constituency 
styled the House of Commons ? 

The constituency of to-day is different, very different, 
from the constituency of five years back, and five years 
hence it may be found to vary still more widely from its 
present character. Only a few days since the King's 



60 PEERS AND PEOPLE [1835 

Minister proposed a measure to Parliament which would 
at one blow have cut off and disfranchised eighty thousand 
members of the constituency. Had the proposition been 
successful, would these men, therefore, have ceased to be 
of the people ? The freemen of England, that is, a por- 
tion of the constituency of England, whose rights were 
menaced by a more powerful portion of the same body, 
acting through their Representatives, fled to the Peers of 
England for succour ; and the Peers saved them ; and 
herein was seen, and in this just and courageous conduct 
might have been detected, the strong claim which those 
" pillars of the State ' 51 have upon the trust and affection 
of the nation; herein might have been discovered the 
reason why, when the constituency of England in the 
seventeenth century had succeeded in abolishing the 
Upper House of Parliament, and in establishing a tyranny 
of the constituency over the people, why the same people, 
harassed and plundered, rose at length against this 
despotic and cruel constituency, called back their ban- 
ished Sovereign and natural leader, and re-established the 
abolished House of Peers, in whom they recognised 
their legal and Constitutional champions against the 
inroads and assaults of a favoured and privileged section 
of their number, namely, that portion of them who are 
entrusted with the right of electing Representatives in the 
House of Commons, and thus have a Chamber set apart for 
the advocacy of their rights and interests, and are 
established into a third estate of the realm an institu- 
tion, we repeat, as purely conventional as the institution 
of the limited Monarchy and the hereditary Peerage. 

Now, the constituency of England, as distinguished from 
the people of England, are, as appears by the divisions in 
their peculiar Chamber, equally divided in opinion. It is 
probable that the majority of the constituency are indeed 
Conservative, for the Conservative Representatives of 
the constituency have in general been elected by large 

1 Shakespeare, 2 Henry VI., I., i. 74 ; see also The Contention, I., 
i. 75, " Braue Peeres of England, pillers of the State." 



1835] A MAEYLEBONE MEETING 61 

majorities, and the Destructive Representatives of the 
constituency by very small ones; but this matters little. 
We have to-day pointed out, for the consideration of our 
countrymen, an important distinction, over which they 
will do well to ponder that there is a vast difference 
between the people of England and its constituency ; that 
this same constituency is a purely conventional body; 
that the House of Commons is their peculiar Chamber, 
and not the Chamber of the people in general; that if 
the House of Commons alone rules the nation, the nation 
will not be ruled by itself or its representatives, but by 
the representatives of a limited section of itself; and 
that the natural consequences of this arrangement will 
be, as it has been before and which we shall take an early 
opportunity of demonstrating that the favoured minority 
who will thus obtain the whole power of the State will 
establish a tyrannical and vexatious oligarchy, and soon 
obtain also the whole property of the State. 

***** 

" Marylebone has met." According to the solitary 
organ of the Government, there were between three and 
four thousand persons present. Why, before the fatal 
competition of the Fantoccini Punch could have assem- 
bled half the number. 

It was a very characteristic meeting of " The People." 
But the muse of the immortal Samuel Butler could alone 
do justice to it. We should like to draw up a catalogue 
of the orators, like Homer's Ships; Potter, and Kensitt, 
and Savage, 1 and Sappy. Why was not Juggins present ? 
Why will that illustrious member of the Annoyance Jury, 
that rival of Dogberry and Verges, devote himself to 
Westminster ? Oh, rare Juggins ! Savage, however, 

1 " Mr. (John) Savage, the Radical, very pertinently observed 
that he knew the faces of the greater number present, and was 
in the habit of meeting them. When it is considered that Savage 
addresses a Radical meeting at his public-house in Circus Street 
every Sunday evening . . . the public voice in Marylebone on this 
occasion will be justly considered in its proper light." Morning 
Post report, August 25, 1835. 



62 PEEES AND PEOPLE [1835 

nearly made up for him, and was as ferocious as his name. 
" Down with the Lords and their foul influence !" This 
was the Savage cry, and received, of course, with " tre- 
mendous cheering . ' ' Another orator declared all the Peers 
were "bastards," a compliment, we suppose, to Lord 
Melbourne. The chivalric Whalley was very elaborate 
on the Qualification Clause, and indignantly asked assem- 
bled Marylebone " what property was." Sir Hudibras 
paused for a reply, and it was not wonderful that no one 
present could furnish him with a definition. Mr. Henry 
Bulwer 1 closed the proceedings. "Alas, poor Yorick !" 
'Tis lamentable to see one who is at least a Gentleman 
and a man of letters in such a predicament. 'Tis paying 
dear for a return even if the expenses of the Parliamentary 
elected were so slight as they boast. Mr. Henry Bulwer 
declared that the Morning Post had announced that the 
Royal Standard was about to be raised, and that fifty 
thousand cavalry would march to London. Lord bless 
his little soul, we said no such thing. We said that, as 
far as we could form an opinion, the " collision " might 
be left to the police. Mr. Henry Bulwer tries to be very 
violent, while he laughs in his sleeve. He must be coarse, 
or, he may take our word for it, at the next election he 
will stand no chance against Juggins. 



CHAPTER V 

The Constitutional position elaborated Hereditary election 
Government by the Commons Whigs and the spirit of the 
age Don Carlos and the Premier The distracted Cabinet 
A new Commission. 

Thursday, August 27. 

WE repeat that the House of Commons is not the repre- 
sentative of THE PEOPLE any more than is the House of 
Lords. The House of Commons is the representative of 
the Commons. The Commons of England (and the Com- 

1 H. Lytton Bulwer (afterwards Lord Dalling) then colleague 
of Sir S. Whalley in the representation of Marylebone. 



1835] PRIVILEGED ORDERS 63 

mons in the original, genuine, and legal signification of 
the term is a title confined to those, and those only, who 
have a right to sit, or to vote for representatives, in that 
estate of the Realm) the Commons of England, like the 
Peers of England, formed and still form a favoured section 
or order of the people enjoying for the advantage of the 
nation in general certain powers and privileges of a very 
eminent and exalted character. 

The number of the Commons, like the number of the 
Peers, is purely conventional. The King can increase 
the number of the Peers, and the King and the Peers 
and the representatives of the Commons can by conven- 
tion increase the numbers of the Commons. During the 
last half-century the number of the Peers has been greatly 
increased; yet the Commons, although far outnumbering 
the Peers, still bear a very small relative proportion to 
the number of the people. Nevertheless the Commons 
are so numerous and so scattered that it is not possible 
for them to assemble together for the purpose of legisla- 
tion; therefore they meet in the persons of their repre- 
sentatives. There is no other apparent reason why the 
Commons should not in their own persons exercise legis- 
lative power. Before the Reform Act they might have 
met in Spa Fields, and now they might meet on 
Salisbury Plain. It would be possible for all the Commons 
of England to encamp within five miles of Stonehenge. 

So much for these two sections or bodies of the people, 
the Peers and the Commons, alike privileged orders 
and alike exercising irresponsible power. And the only 
material difference between them is that the qualification 
of one is purely hereditary, while in addition to the here- 
ditary qualification which is enjoyed by that portion of 
the Commons who are landowners they have also the 
advantage of a qualification by tenure. 

If the Peers, therefore, in voting for laws, exercise a 
power for which they are not responsible, so also do the 
Commons in voting for lawmakers ; and if it be a blot in 
our Constitution that the Peers should be invested with 



64 PEEKS AND PEOPLE [1835 

the function of hereditary legislation, so it must be an 
equal blur that the Commons should be invested with the 
function of hereditary election. Thus much in answer 
to the ignorant fools and superficial knaves who pretend 
to write nowadays on political subjects, and criticise, 
forsooth, our ancient Constitution, of the principles of 
which, as of everything else, they are absolutely and 
profoundly ignorant. 

The Constitution of England consists of King, Lords, 
and Commons, not King, Lords, and People, and the 
member of the House of Commons who talks of " the 
People's House " is either a gross blockhead or an insolent 
usurper. 

Now, will the people of England be governed by the 
Commons alone ? That is the question which we shall 
soon be called upon to decide. Will the people of England 
permit the whole power of the State to be monopolised 
by one favoured class ? For our part, we will not trust 
the Commons of England with despotic power one jot 
more than the Peers of England or the Monarch of 
England. The Monarch of England has at times exercised 
despotic power, and we found it hard enough. The Peers 
of England have never exercised despotic power, and we 
hope never will. But the Commons of England have 
exercised despotic power before this, and compared with 
their infamous tyranny the recollection of the rule of the 
stoutest tyrant that ever waved in this island a solitary 
sceptre is a dream of bliss. Let us not, in God's name, 
try them again ; but if we are mad enough the Republic 
of jobbers will not last long. Some brawny arm will soon 
be extended to " take away this bauble." 

* * * * * 

The Whigs have given us an eminent specimen this 
year of a factious Opposition. It appears they are going 
to favour us now with a factious Government. Vast are 
the obligations for which England is indebted to the 
Whigs. 

They govern in " the spirit of the age " forsooth. If 



1835] CABINET DIFFERENCES 65 

so, 'tis a shabby spirit, a very pitiful spirit, indeed; a 
most lick-spittle, place-loving, pelf-adoring spirit. 

Lord Viscount Melbourne, ever since he assumed office, 
has been the Minister of the King's necessity, not of the 
King's choice. Now, it appears, he is going to carry on 
the Government in spite of the House of Lords. A bold 
fellow this ! If we did not find him crawling in the dust 
before a Popish rebel, one might suppose that he was 
animated with some degree of headstrong heroism. But 
the scene behind the curtain proffers such a humiliating 
and instructive contrast to the swaggering sulkiness with 
which the audience is greeted that the charm vanishes 
in a moment. 

Never was a Cabinet in such a condition: all fighting 
among themselves and contradicting and reproaching 
each other. 

The Premier would retire, but our "Don Carlos," 1 
who is for a " collision," opposes this. 

Then Melbourne urges that he has to bear the brunt of 
the battle, and face each night an overwhelming majority : 
Carlos replies 'tis only for a short season ; and that though 
he, to be sure, has the majority in the Commons on his 
side, 'tis a very delicate one, and then his labour should 
be taken into consideration; some seven months' hard 
work and O'Connell to aid; "while you," he quaintly 
observes, " after all, are only badgered for three weeks." 

"But the King," replies the Premier. "May be," 
etc., says Carlos. 

All this time Lansdowne looks grave, and already 
meditates joining an anti-Papal Cabinet. The needy 
members of the clique, of course, are in convulsions, and 
the moment the division was announced Lord Auckland 
flew to his wine-merchant, and bargained that, in case of 
his appointment 2 being cancelled, the Burgundy was to 

1 Lord John Russell. 

2 To the Governor- Generalship of India, in succession to Lord 
Heytesbury, who, appointed by Sir Robert Peel, never took up 
the office. 



66 PEERS AND PEOPLE [1835 

be taken back, and his Lordship only to pay for the laths 
and sawdust. 'Tis a right merry crew ! 

***** 

On Tuesday night the Marquis of Lansdowne moved 
the second reading of the Charities Commission Bill. On 
this Lord Lyndhurst rose and very pertinently exposed 
the job. Thirty Commissioners appointed to inquire 
thirty more Commissioners ! An arrangement entailing 
such heavy expenses on the country could not be assented 
to without evidence and inquiry . 

Lord Lyndhurst opposed the Bill his recent experi- 
ence of Commissioners did not authorise him to confide 
the execution of any trust to such Gentry without the 
most suspicious inquiry. 

Lord Lansdowne, a great patron of Commissions, for 
he has many proteges, fought hard for his parasites, but 
even Lord Brougham gave up the affair as a bad job, 
and supported the motion of Lord Lyndhurst for throwing 
out the BiU. 

What a cut-up for Parkes, whose name has actually 
become a proverb throughout England for a job and all 
the queer gang, roaring Rushton, and sober Drinkwater, 
and the unknown Wilkinson, and Cockburn the trust- 
worthy, and " Horrors - and - Hell " Dwarris ! Great 
gnashing of teeth, we suspect. 



CHAPTER VI 

A meeting of the " People " Defence of Lord Lyndhurst 
Mushroom Peers The Estates of the Realm Rivalry and 
its sequel A Popish conspiracy Mr. Hume's threat Les- 
sons from past history A challenge to the Courier. 

Friday, August 28. 

ST. GILES'S has met. It was a very great meeting of 
"The People." The rapscallions amounted to some 
hundreds. Juggins was not there, because Juggins is of 
Westminster ; and Sappy was not there, because Sappy 



1835 UPSTAET PEERS 67 

is of Marylebone; and Savage was not there, because 
Savage is the comrade of Sappy; and Sir Hudibras was 
not there, because Sir Hudibras 1 is the confederate of 
Savage. 

But although Savage was wanting, there was no lack 
of unlettered ruffians; and although Sir Hudibras was 
missed, other parochial Cleons poured forth their plebeian 
ribaldry. The dogs demanded the " use of the Lords " 
with a most dinning bow-wow. 

The chief orator, one Dr. Epps, after abusing the 
hereditary legislators, very quaintly and consistently 
assured " the people " that the old Nobles were on their 
side, and that they were only opposed by " Lord Lynd- 
hurst and the Duke of Wellington, and the upstart Peers." 
And then the brute characteristically added, " How Sir 
John Copley's mother would stare if she could rise from 
her grave, and find her son a Lord !" 

Fortunately, there needs no such miracle for that 
happy lady, " Sir John Copley's mother, to find her son 
a Lord." She still lives, in the enjoyment of all her 
faculties, and she has lived, not merely lived to find her 
son a Lord, but twice Lord Chancellor of England. We 
are very much mistaken if, before her venerable eyes be 
closed, and before her pious voice shall exclaim " Now 
let Thy servant depart in peace," this proud mother will 
not have the unprecedented gratification of seeing her 
offspring Lord Chancellor of England for the third time, 
ay, for the third time keeper of that Great Seal which he 
has guarded with such fidelity, and used with so much 
wisdom and so much honour. 

But observe the reasoning of this parish orator and 
we only notice his reasoning because it is a fair sample of 
the political logic of the faction, and only re-echoed from 
the silly and seditious journals which are the evangelists 
of the gang they denounce the principle of hereditary 
legislation, and in the same breath anathematise what 
they call upstart Peers that is, Peers like Lord Lynd- 

1 Sir Samuel Whalley. 



68 PEERS AND PEOPLE [1835 

hurst and the Duke of Wellington, whom they quote, 
raised to that distinction by their public services. 

Now, let us take the case of Lord Lyndhurst, the very 
instance they themselves bring forward. Here is a 
nobleman who has sprung from the Commons, a great 
statesman, a most accomplished orator, an unrivalled 
lawyer. He obtains a seat in the upper House of Parlia- 
ment entirely through the influence of his talents and his 
public services ; and, unfortunately, there is at present no 
prospect of his honours descending to his posterity. 

Why, this is the very ideal of a senator whom the 
Brutilitarian sages are always bawling about, and this is 
the very Peer of England whom their St. Giles's disciples 
denounce as "an upstart." Lyndhurst and Wellington 
upstarts ! Would there were more such mushrooms ! 
* * * * * 

The Constitution of England is a profounder piece of 
human wit than the Brutilitarian philosophers imagine 
when they recommend us their new lamps with so much 
pert conceit, and so much complacent ignorance. The 
Constitution has endured for centuries, and under it the 
country has obtained, and enjoyed, a degree of greatness 
and prosperity which has seldom fallen to the lot of 
empires. As long as the King and the two privileged 
orders of the Kingdom first the Peers and secondly the 
Commons acting through their Eepresentatives have 
drawn together, the polity of Great Britain may be fairly 
instanced as the one which has the nearest approached 
the object of all great legislators, namely, the happiness 
of all the people. 

But when the usual and desirable harmony has not 
subsisted between the King and the estates, and especially 
when an unwholesome rivalry has sprung up between 
the estates themselves, and, from some accession of power 
or other unusual circumstance, one House of Parliament 
has endeavoured to obtain supremacy over the other, 
there have ever been in this land great heart-burnings, 
fatal dissensions, much injury to arts and commerce, 



1835] SINGLE-CHAMBER GOVERNMENT 69 

infringements of our rights and liberties, a halt in the 
prosperity of the realm, a defalcation of the imperial 
revenue, bloodshed and rebellion, and, finally, civil war. 
The great accession of strength which that privileged 
order of the State called the Commons obtained by the 
Whig Reform Act has filled the imaginations of certain 
representatives of the Commons, and members of their 
peculiar House of Parliament, with the bold but ruinous 
project of destroying the authority of the Upper Chamber, 
and so monopolising within themselves, or, rather, a 
petty number of their members, the whole power of the 
State ; whereby they propose founding, as in times past 
they have established, a most grinding tyranny, neither 
respecting the persons nor the properties of the people 
of this realm. And in the first place these arch-con- 
spirators, finding they could not obtain the co-operation 
of a majority of the British members of the House of 
Commons in their wicked device, entered into a most 
infamous and sacrilegious conspiracy with the Popish 
rebels of Ireland, by whose aid alone they have already 
upset the King's Government, and by whose continued 
assistance they propose abolishing the House of Lords, 
and rooting up the Throne itself. 

These conspirators have already afforded the people 
of England a specimen of the mode in which they will 
exercise arbitrary power when they have succeeded in 
obtaining it, and the House of Lords no longer subsists to 
keep them in check. They have already revived general 
warrants and issued lettres de cachet ; they have declared 
their pleasure to be above the law ; and they have 
announced themselves as irresponsible for the exercise 
of their power. Moreover, they have inferentially recom- 
mended the revival of the rack or other similar torture. 

Englishmen will remember the sufferings of their 
fathers under a similar domination, and will take good 
counsel in good time. 

The House of Commons have before this abolished the 
Lords and rooted up the Throne, under the pretence of 



70 PEEES AND PEOPLE [1835 

maintaining the liberties of the people. But when one 
of that people, and not even a Royalist, was summoned 
before that despotic House of Commons, and refused to 
answer certain illegal questions, as Colonel Fair man 1 
did the other day, that same House of Commons, after 
adjourning several times in great dilemma, finally ordered 
a red-hot iron to be bored through the tongue of the 
man who refused to answer their questions ; and the iron 
was heated, and the tongue was bored accordingly. 2 

Now we understand what Mr. Hume means by " com- 
pelling witnesses to answer, whether they will or no." 
The Hon. Member as yet has only inferentially recom- 
mended torture; he has only given it as his abstract 
opinion that " witnesses whether they will or no shall 
be compelled to answer the House of Commons"; but 
the instance of Naylor, which we have quoted above, will 
afford an instructive commentary to Mr. Hume's threat, 
and teach the people of England what they have to 
expect. 

They have other things to expect if the past, instead 
of a dream, be a lesson of practical life and profitable 
experience. They have to expect that the taxation of 
this country will be doubled, while its public debt will 
be simultaneously augmented. They have to expect 
that the Representatives of the Commons will meet one 
fine morning, and vote the money of the people to the 
amount of at least 300,000, or more probably to an 
amount equal to that sum at this day a good million 
openly among themselves. They have to txpect that, 
in order to carry on their tyranny without the slightest 

1 Colonel Fairman, Grand Secretary and Treasurer of the 
Orange Lodges, refused to give up to the House a letter-book 
relating to the correspondence of the Lodges. 

2 The case of James Naylor, a Quaker religious enthusiast, who, 
on October 24, 1656, made a triumphant entry into Bristol after 
the manner of Christ's entry into Jerusalem, was arrested and 
examined by a committee of the House of Commons, and was 
sentenced by the House to be twice set in the pillory, to be 
whipped, to be branded, and to have his tongue bored with a hot 
iron. He was then to be sent to Bristol for a second scourging, 
and to be imprisoned with hard labour in Bridewell. 



1835] IMPENDING CALAMITIES 71 

check, the majority of the House of Commons that is 
to say, the English Radicals and the Popish repealers or 
rebels will vote that the minority are disqualified from 
taking any part in these proceedings ; further, the people 
of England have to expect that their bodies will be tor- 
tured, their properties sequestered, their persons banished, 
and their lives forfeited, without the shadow of redress, 
or the solace even of a murmur ; and that " trial by Jury " 
will be voted, as it hath been voted, " a breach of privi- 
lege." 

The young, the ignorant, the headstrong, who read 
this, may read and shudder. It is but a brief and very 
hurried sketch of a few of the more marked and salient 
features of English revolution. And are all these awful 
calamities impending over this country because a weak 
faction cannot maintain themselves in power without the 
aid of levellers and the co-operation of rebels ? 
* * * * * 

The Courier last night borrowed a little of " Cambyses' 
vein " recently recommended by Lord Melbourne, and 
we have seen a beggar in a barn who has ranted much in 
the same manner. 

The Courier announces that " Ministers are firm, and 
so are the Commons." Thus have we heard exclaim 
two drunken dogs, as they have been reeling home at 
nights. Yet the morning generally finds them in the 
gutter, low and dirty enough, or at the best in the watch- 
house where they are immured, or sent to the treadmill. 

Follows then much twaddle about " the nation " and 
" the people." Define " the nation," Mr. Courier, define 
" the people," define if you can and dare. 

As for coming events, far from thinking it necessary for 
the King to raise his standard, or the Yeomanry to rally 
round it, it is our firm and fixed opinions that "the crisis " 
may be left to the constables, and " the collision " to 
the police. 

Whether we consider the question in reference to 
property, intelligence, or numbers, we are convinced that 



72 PEEKS AND PEOPLE [1835 

the Conservative party has the superiority, and a vast one. 
But as far as we can deduce a meaning from this ranting 
rigmarole of our usually calm contemporary, there is no 
nation, no people of England, at all, for he boldly announces 
that " the Commons are backed by twenty-seven millions 
of constituents." Good Mr. Courier, is it so ? You 
indeed ride post-haste. The constituency of England 
does not amount to the population of a second-rate 
capital, and more than half of that constituency is Con- 
servative. 

"AH power," announces the Courier, "is now in the 
hands of the House of Commons." The deuce it is ! 
Then the sooner we get it out of their hands the better. 
The people of England know by experience the blessing 
of the whole power of the country being in the House 
of Commons. As for that old Brutilitarian charlatan 
Bentham, we will prove any day the Courier likes that 
" the balance " is not a nursery tale. This trash has 
been too long current, but it is base for all that. 

Good-day, Mr. Courier, and we hope you are more sober 
than you appeared last night. We meant to have said 
something to the gentle Globe, but on reflection, to use 
its own dainty phrase, " we don't see why we should." 
The truth is, we do see, but we have not room ; so|to-day 
we will not pluck a laurel from the honoured brow (of 
Scipio Africanus. 



CHAPTER VII 

The Devil and his bond Honest Lord Althorp and high-minded 
Lord Melbourne More about Single Chamber rule Hazel 
rigg precedent Lord Lyndhurst and Lord Denman A 
" violent party man." 

Saturday, August 29. 

THE solitary organ of the Eump raves and rants with 
desperate but desponding fury. It feels, like its doomed 
faction, that the Popish taint has poisoned the fame and 
influence of the Whig-Radicals in this Protestant country 
for ever. In its despair and bewildered cowardice it 



1835] MELBOURNE AND O'CONNELL 73 

abjures its friends; it utterly renounces O'Connell and 
his crew; it exclaims, with frantic ejaculation, " Get thee 
behind me, Satan !" 

But those who have sold themselves to the Devil err 
if they suppose when the dark day of reckoning arrives 
they can extricate themselves from the awful " crisis," 
from the terrible " collision " which they have provoked, 
by taking refuge in this pious retort. The fiend points 
to his bond, and forthwith pitchforks them into Hades. 

The solitary organ asks for evidence of Lord Mel- 
bourne's sacrilegious and treasonable connection with 
O'Connell. We need not go far to find it. Why have 
Lord Melbourne and his colleagues recanted in the course 
of six short months all their previous principles and 
pledges on the sacred subject of the Church of England ? 
To conciliate O'Connell, and, by bribing him with the 
plunder of the Establishment in Ireland, compensate 
themselves with the plunder of the Treasury in England. 

Why, there is not a boy who runs through the street 
on a sixpenny errand who cannot supply the Whigs with 
an answer, quick on the tongue and engraven on the 
heart of every Briton and every Protestant. 

But Lord Melbourne denies the connection, and Lord 
Melbourne, according to the solitary organ of the Rump, 
is " a high-minded Nobleman ' ' We believe Lord Viscount 
Melbourne to be as much a " high-minded Nobleman " as 
Lord Viscount Althorp 1 was an "honest " one. Honest 
Lord Althorp and high-minded Lord Melbourne are fit 
to run together in the national chariot, and dash the 
car down the revolutionary precipice with the greatest 
skill imaginable, while all the time the deluded driver 
flatters himself that one of his steeds is remarkably steady, 
and the other marvellously well broken. " Honest " 
Lord Althorp was no doubt a remarkably honest fellow, 
for all his friends said so; yet his Lordship continued 
sometimes to act like a marvellously indifferent knave; 
and " high-minded " Lord Melbourne is no doubt a very 

1 Leader of the House of Commons in iWelbourne's first Ministry, 

6 



74 PEERS AND PEOPLE [1835 

noble-spirited Gentleman, for all his friends say so; yet 
his Lordship, throughout the whole of his trimming and 
tortuous career, has generally managed to leave the 
impression behind him that he was but a pitiful jobber. 

" High-minded " Lord Melbourne, indeed ! What ! 
William Lamb " high-minded "? William Lamb, the 
pis-aller of Castlereagh, whose best speeches have been 
in defiance of what the Radicals call " the Manchester 
massacre " and in favour of the repeal of the Habeas 
Corpus ! William Lamb, who was always brought for- 
ward by the old Tories to oppose Parliamentary reform, 
and who was the champion of the Indemnity Bill. The 
Arch-apostate ! 

Never mind; he has been used by Castlereagh, abused 
by Canning, drilled by Wellington ; he has intrigued with 
Huskisson against Wellington; he has betrayed Lord 
Grey ; and he has deserted Lord Brougham ; and now he 
is at his old tricks with O'Connell, and we mistake the 
Popish rebel much if he be circumvented by this old 
hack this most unprincipled of public men, even of 
Whigs. 

"And then, he looks so modest all the while." 
***** 

When people wake in the morning, and remember that 
the King's Minister is pursuing a system which must 
ultimately place their lives and properties at the disposal 
of Wakley and Silk Buckingham, 1 they wake in terror. 

The same feeling pervades Society as influences a 
crowded assembly when there is a sudden cry of "Fire !" 
or " Take care of your pockets !" Everyone is alarmed 
and on his guard. 

The Whigs publicly boast now that the House of 
Commons possesses the whole power of the country. 
If this dreadful allegation be true, the sooner we take 
measures to clip their high-flying wings the better for all 
those who value liberty, property, and life, the fruits 

1 James Silk Buckingham, Liberal Member for Sheffield, 
founder of the Athenceum. 



1835] HAZELRIGia AND LILBURNE 75 

of their industry, and the enjoyment of their freedom. 
Never let us forget what the rule of the House of Commons 
was when they before possessed the whole power of the 
country . Never let us forget that the House of Commons, 
when they had got rid of the House of Lords, voted " trial 
by Jury " a breach of privilege; that they doubled the 
taxes of this country, and loaded it at the same time with 
enormous debts; that they divided the public money 
openly among themselves; bored men's tongues with 
red-hot irons who refused to answer their questions ; and 
sequestered the property and imprisoned the persons of 
all whom they styled, or chose to consider, malignants. 

If the Whig-Radicals, by the aid and co-operation of 
the Popish rebels, could re-establish this old despotism 
of the House of Commons to-morrow, as they are trying 
to do, every Conservative would immediately be treated 
as a malignant, and any Parliamentary member of the 
Movement would enjoy the high privilege of seizing any 
of our estates or properties to-morrow, without any chance 
on our side of redress, or even a Court of Justice to which 
we could appeal. 

Hazelrigg, as impudent a fellow as Hume, and as great 
"a Church Reformer," practically exemplified what 
" Church Reform " meant by seizing hold of great portions 
of the Bishops' lands, and sacking them, during one year 
only, to the amount of 60,000; a good booty at all times, 
and equal then to 180,000 of our present money. Em- 
boldened by his impunity, and following the examples 
of his colleagues, who had voted the Conservative minority 
out of the House, Hazelrigg commenced seizing private 
estates, and when the plea of malignancy was exhausted 
he and his friends seized those of their own party. 

Thus this same impudent adventurer, who was the 
Hume of those days, laid violent hands on a profitable 
colliery in the North to which he had taken a fancy, and 
which belonged to the famous Lilburne, a stout fellow 
and " a true reformer " for he stood up right manfully 
against the Star Chamber in the old days of its tyranny, 



76 PEEKS AND PEOPLE [1835 

now so mild in comparison to the free rule of the House 
of Commons. Lilburne petitioned the House. The 
House appointed a Committee on the subject, who, 
without even receiving the evidence proffered in favour 
of this injured man and this " tried Reformer," decided 
that the petitioner, in accusing any Member of the House 
of Commons of forcibly dispossessing him of his estate, 
was guilty of a high contempt and gioss libel, and that 
Lilburne and his fellow-petitioner should consequently 
pay 3,000 to the House of Commons each, and 500 
each to be divided among the Members of the Committee 
itself. 

There, " Reformers of England," you see how your 
friends will treat you. It is evident that a Wakley and 
a Buckingham must have been on the Committee. 
***** 

The overwhelming defeat which the base Whigs ex- 
perienced in the House of Lords on the Corporation job, 
as flagrant a job, by-the-by, as their India Bill, and 
concocted in the same party and anti-national spirit, 
has enraged them beyond measure with the distinguished 
leader of the Conservative party in the Upper House. 
The only way in which they hoped to neutralise the 
irresistible exposure they received from Lord Lyndhurst 
was very Whiggish indeed; they had recourse to a lie, 
and they boldly announced that his Lordship had been 
originally a Radical, or, to use his milder language, " a 
Whig and something more. " 

Lord Lyndhurst met the insinuation with a firm, a 
manly, an uncompromising, and an unequivocal denial. 
Lord Melbourne and poor Lord Lansdowne, who were 
the tools and champions of their proteges and parasites, 
the Commissioners, ate their words, of course, and 
there the matter, so far as authority was concerned, 
ended; and only the confederate scribblers who concoct 
that queer journal which is the solitary organ of the 
Rump repeated the base and recanted imputation. 

But still there were dark whispers about. It was very 



1835] NERO DENMAN 77 

true that Lord Melbourne had recalled his words; " he 
could do no more and he could say no less "; and all that 
gaberdash with which cowardly slanderers conceal their 
flinching scandal and detected calumny. But when Lord 
Denman came to town he would say "such things." 
Lord Denman knew all about it. He was the authority 
old Nero Denman 1 Denman who called His Gracious 
Majesty a slanderer old Nero Denman was to do the 
deed, and " settle " the affair for ever. 

And this was uttered with an air of triumph, and a base 
interchange of smiles, among the initiated, congratu- 
latory of complacent and coming victory. 

Dogs ! and viler far than dogs ! Denman has come to 
town, and has found himself called upon, from the spirit 
of party, to confirm in the most august assembly in the 
world some of the factious exaggerations of his own 
factious falsehoods, uttered after the miserable inspiration 
of some of his own bad wine, at some of his own wretched 
dinners. Denman has " settled " the question with a 
vengeance. We shall hear no more of it. It is the only 
case that Denman ever did satisfactorily settle. 

The most that Lord Denman 's friends could ever say 
for him was that, although an ass, his bray was rather 
melodious ; but in his melancholy exhibition in the House 
of Lords on Thursday night even his voice failed him ; even 
the vox et preterea were wanting ; nihil alone remained. 

He made two accusations, one of which he immediately 
withdrew; the other was destroyed by Lord Lyndhurst 
amid the enthusiastic cheering of the House before his 
luckless antagonist could withdraw it. 

First, he accused Lord Lyndhurst of owing his intro- 
duction to public life to " the Liberals." Lord Lyndhurst 
replied that he owed his introduction to public life to 
Lord Liverpool, and previously to entering Parliament had 
jnever interfered in political affairs in the slightest degree. 

1 Thomas, first Lord Denman, Lord Chief Justice. His sup- 
posed comparison of George the Fourth to Nero was the origin 
of the nickname. 



78 PEERS AND PEOPLE [1835 

Then Lord Denman, having swallowed his previous 
charge, equivocated, and declared that he meant the 
professional life of the Noble Lord. Whereupon Lord 
Lyndhurst rejoined that the only party business in which 
he had been professionally employed was in the defence 
of Watson, a defence which he had undertaken at the 
request of Sir C. Wetherell, with whom he had co- 
operated. Finally he called upon Lord Denman to make 
a specific charge ; even to allege a single private conversa- 
tion which could justify his original imputation, and 
Denman was silent. 

A word or two about this person. Lord Denman may 
be considered a very fortunate individual, for, of humble 
origin, he is now a Peer of the Realm, and fills one of the 
very highest offices in the State. But Lord Denman may 
also be considered a very remarkable individual, for he 
has attained this great eminence confessedly by all parties 
in the total absence of any qualities which could justify 
his rise and his appointment. 

It is a grand characteristic of my Lord Denman that 
he has failed, and failed decidedly, in everything which 
he has undertaken. He was called to the Bar, and was 
soon acknowledged as one of the worst lawyers and one 
of the clumsiest advocates that ever practised; yet he 
was not altogether void of employment, because he was 
a violent party man. 

He was brought into Parliament, and cut so melan- 
choly a figure that he himself voluntarily retired from the 
theatre of his discomfiture. And why was he brought 
into Parliament ? Because he was a violent party man. 
He was then made Common Sergeant, and might just 
as well have been made Jack Ketch ; but he was appointed 
Common Sergeant because he was a violent party 
man. 

At length he was metamorphosed into Attorney- 
General because he was a violent party man ; and he was 
found so clearly incompetent that the Junior Crown 
Officer was obliged to discharge his duties; but this was 



1835] THE COMET AND THE CRISIS 79 

winked at because Sir Thomas Denman was a violent 
party man. 

Now behold him for the same reason a Peer and a Chief 
Justice, a nonentity in the Lords, unfortunately not quite 
a nonentity on the circuit, only a blunderer ; but still his 
incompetence and his mistakes are alike forgiven, because 
he is a violent party man. 

At last Lord Denman resolves to shiver a lance with 
Lord Lyndhurst; and the Lord Chief Justice, who has 
failed in every purpose, of course, as usual, fails in this, 
and the Lord Chief Justice is now universally acknow- 
ledged to be an ass, although he is a violent party man. 1 



CHAPTER VIII 

The approaching " crisis " Principle of the Bill Whig and Tory 
policy Lord Melbourne arid the Irish Church Bill Peers 
and party menaces " And now for Lord Melbourne "- 
Impeachment The advice of the Press Scylla and Charyb- 
dis Sir John Campbell Haggis and cockaleekie. 

Monday, August 31. 

EIGHT-AND-FORTY hours have elapsed since we last 
addressed our readers, and the crisis, like the comet, 2 is 
supposed to be somewhat nearer, though it is not yet 
visible to the naked eye. 

Eight-and-forty hours have elapsed, and Lord Viscount 
Melbourne is still the Prime Minister of England. He 
has sneaked through one day and he has shuffled through 
another, and he is to swindle through a third. By that 
time the storm or the bubble will have burst, and the 
crisis, with its fiery tail, will be fairly in sight. 

The present position of this eminent Minister and 
" high-minded " Nobleman is very peculiar. Let us dis- 
passionately review it. The Ministry of which he is the 

1 The article relates to a somewhat notable encounter between 
Denman and Lyndhurst, in which the former was generally 
acknowledged to have been worsted. 

2 Halley's comet was due to appear about this time. 



80 PEERS AND PEOPLE [1835 

chief carried through the House of Commons a Bill for 
the amendment of the municipal corporations of England 
and Wales. Lord Melbourne introduces his Bill to the 
House of Lords, and the Peers of England in the most 
unqualified manner admit its principle yes, admit its 
principle and we call upon any one of the base block- 
heads who have been for the last three weeks brawling 
about " the mutilation " of their measure, and insulting 
the Lords with the valiant blare of their penny trumpet, 
to deny this if they can. 

Let these imbecile scribblers define " The PRINCIPLE " 
of the Bill. We asked them the other day to define their 
favourite phrase of " The PEOPLE," but not one has been 
skilful enough to satisfy our request. They know very 
well that an analysis of the people would demonstrate that 
all the elements of a great nation are banded and mar- 
shalled in the ranks of the Conservatives. 

Well, we will define what THE PRINCIPLE of the Cor- 
poration Amendment Bill is. The principle is that 

SELF-ELECTION IN MUNICIPAL BODIES SHALL BE TERMIN- 
ATED BY THE SUBSTITUTION OF A FREE ELECTION BY A 

POPULAR CONSTITUENCY. There, that is THE PRINCIPLE 
of the Bill about which we hear so much gaberdash from 
all the brainless knaves who live by writing " on politics," 
forsooth, and asking the use of the Lords. That, we 
repeat, is the principle of the Bill; the principle, the 
whole principle, and nothing but the principle ; and that 
principle, identically as it is carried into effect by the 
clauses of the projected law, has been thoroughly, com- 
pletely, unreservedly, and unequivocally admitted by the 
Peers. Their Lordships have made many and most 
valuable alterations in the details of this measure, but 
with its principle they have never for a moment 
tampered. 

Now, the Whig policy is ever to smuggle in laws for the 
increase and consolidation of the power of their party 
under the specious guise of advancing the cause of popular 
amelioration. The principle of the Corporation Bill 



1835] TORYISM DEFINED 81 

advances the popular cause with which the Tories sym- 
pathise ; the details of the Corporation Bill only promote 
and confirm Whig power, and that the Tories oppose, 
because they believe that power by the Whigs will ever 
be employed for anti-national purposes. 

Toryism is the national spirit exhibiting itself in th\ 
maintenance of the national institutions, and in support 
of the national character which those institutions have 
formed. 

If the Lords bate one jot of their amendments of the 
Whig Corporation Bill, they will deserve all their worst 
enemies wish them, and they will go far to realise the 
ban. Let them bate one jot of those amendments, and 
if they do not find a mysterious and simultaneous cloud 
steal over the jewels of their coronets, then there is no 
magic in the prime tokens of their order. 

But will they bate a jot ? Not they. The Radicals 
have most indiscreetly chosen to make this a trial of 
strength between the two privileged orders of our Con- 
stitution the Peers and the Commons of England. 
Whatever they might deem the result, the Peers of 
England, we imagine, would be just and fear not. But in 
the present instance they may be just without the shadow 
of apprehension. The nation is with the Peers, not with 
the Popish majority of the Commons ; the people will not 
back the factious Representatives of a very limited class 
in this country, and the individuals who form the Popish 
and factious majority are in the main individuals of a 
discreditable character. 

We could dilate upon this theme, but having despatched 
the Corporation Bill we must now proceed to Lord 
Melbourne and the Irish Church Bill. 

We cannot too clearly comprehend the nature of that 
measure by which the Whigs propose to settle the long- 
controverted question of the Church establishment in 
Ireland. Their Bill combines two propositions which 
not only have no natural connection with each other ; 
but two propositions which, less than twelve months ago, 



82 PEEKS AND PEOPLE [1835 

the Whigs themselves, at their own instance, declared to 
have no natural connection with each other. 

One is of a real, the other is of an abstract, character ; 
one is of the most urgent nature, the other only concerns 
the possible and the future. 

One is to settle the question of tithes in Ireland, 
described by the Ministers themselves to be a measure 
of more pressing importance and immediate interest 
than any subject which ever engaged the attention of the 
Legislature; the other is to decide what shall be the 
object of the surplus of Church property which may 
possibly accrue after the projected arrangement be 
completed, and the possible existence of which surplus 
is denied by many and calculated by the Whigs themselves 
at a most insignificant amount. 

This Bill is introduced to the consideration of the Lords 
by the Minister, and the Peers, after a most able dis- 
cussion, have decided exactly as the Whigs did last 
year; they have decided on the adoption of the Minis- 
terial plan for the settlement of the great, practical and 
urgent portion of the Measure ; and with regard to a few 
clauses of the Bill which relate to the abstract principle 
and hypothetical arrangement, they adopt the resolution 
of the Whigs themselves, entered into only a year ago, 
and which nearly half of the House of Commons have 
attempted to establish and guarantee during this very 
session. 

Such is a brief but impartial statement of the conduct 
of the House of Lords on the two great Measures which 
the Minister has submitted to their recent consideration. 
In the first instance they admitted the principle of the 
measure in the most unqualified manner, and confined 
their labours entirely to the alteration of its details; 
in the second instance they adopted, without opposition, 
the entire Ministerial plan for the settlement of the 
practical question of urgent interest, and with regard to 
the abstract principle, the recognition of which could be 
of no urgency whatever, since it only asserted a dogma 



1835] THE USE OF THE LORDS 83 

respecting a nonentity, they adopted the opinion which 
had been advocated by the Government only during the 
last session, and carried, through their influence, by a 
great majority in the House of Commons. 

Is it possible for the conduct of a legislative assembly 
to have been less factious ? Is not the prima facie case 
in favour of the Peers having exercised their power and 
privilege with calmness and conciliatory moderation 
absolutely irresistible ? 

Doubtless the Peers of England who laugh to scorn the 
menaces of their adversaries, and who, as long as they are 
just and honest, will never be influenced in their conduct 
by the fear of consequences doubtless the Peers of 
England have exercised their power and privileges in these 
legislative instances as far as they deemed necessary; 
but how much more vehemently in opposition to their 
measures could they not have constitutionally conducted 
themselves ? And how much less, in deference to the 
high functions which they have to perform, and with 
which they are invested, could they have well achieved ? 
Why, if they had done less, we might well have asked, 
" What is the use of the Lords ?" But, thank God, the 
Peers of England have given a very significant reply to 
that once famous query. 

***** 

And now for Lord Melbourne for to his Lordship all 
this time we are as surely and as scientifically approaching 
as the leaguer makes his way to the citadel. How has 
his Lordship conducted himself towards that august 
assembly of which he appears so often of late to have 
forgotten that he is a member ? 

In return for having unequivocally and cheerfully 
admitted the principle of his Corporation Bill, and con- 
fining their labours merely to the alteration of some of its 
details, Lord Melbourne salutes the Peers of England with 
a menace, announces that he cannot be responsible for the 
Commons listening to a Bill which, in his opinion, is 
destroyed, declares that the Peers of England are suicidal 



84 PEEES AND PEOPLE [1835 

madmen that they have torn up its roots by their own 
authority, and more than insinuates that a revolution is 
consequently inevitable. 

In return for having unequivocally adopted his Lord- 
ship's measure for the settlement of the tithe question in 
Ireland, which he himself describes as the most urgent 
and important measure ever submitted to Parliament, and 
for having, with respect to the contingency of a future 
surplus in correspondence with three hundred Members 
of the House of Commons, adopted Lord Melbourne's 
opinion of last year in preference to Lord Melbourne's 
opinion of the present, the Prime Minister, forsooth, turns 
round in a puerile pet, throws up the urgent and important 
Bill, pouts forth another menace, and more than insinu- 
ates that the Peers will occasion the total destruction of 
the Church in Ireland and a dismemberment of the 
Empire. 

Now, my Lord Melbourne, if, as you assert, a revolu- 
tion and the destruction of the Church, and the dismem- 
berment of the Empire, will be the consequence of the 
Commons not adopting the amendments of the Lords in 
the Corporation Bill, and of your not consenting to the 
separation of the practical relief and urgent settlement 
from the abstract principle and the hypothetical arrange- 
ment in the case of the Church in Ireland why do you 
not secure the adoption of the Corporation amendments 
by the Commons; why do you not assent to the separa- 
tion of the practical from the abstract question in the 
case of the Irish Church, as the Lords have decided by an 
immense majority, of which decision nearly half the 
House of Commons have previously approved ? You 
know very well that you could carry both points by an 
immense majority ! 

Ah, my Lord Melbourne, we have you on the hip. You 
dare not answer these questions. But is there any neces- 
sity ? All England, all Europe, can supply us with a 
solution. 

If you do that which, according to your own statement, 



1835] IMPEACHMENT 85 

will preserve us from a revolution, will save the Church 
of England in Ireland, will prevent a dismemberment of 
the Empire Hume and the English Radicals, O'Connell 
and the Popish rebels, desert you, and your Ministry is 
lost, though your country is saved. 

There is but one way now to manage you, my Lord 
Melbourne, there is but one mode to punish a Minister 
who, for the sake of power and place, leagues with the 
disaffected, and attempts to pass laws which will con- 
fessedly occasion a revolution, the destruction of the 
Church, and the dismemberment of the Empire. You 
have despised the counsel of the English Commons in 
favour of the desires of the Popish rebels ; you have out- 
raged the Peers of England; you are, as we told you 
before, the Minister not of the King's choice, but of the 
King's necessity. The cup is full. The indignant and 
Protestant people of England will endure your impotent 
tyranny no longer; and if we have any knowledge of 
human nature or human history, if we have profited by 
the study of the annals, or the observation of the living 
conduct of our kind, there is an event whose coming 
shadow even now obscures your path, and that is your 
IMPEACHMENT. 

* * * * * 

Confusion and irresolution reign throughout the Minis- 
terial ranks. More than a week has past since the scope 
and tenour of the Lords' amendments of the Corporation 
Bill were known, and yet up to the present hour it 
remains undecided what course the Cabinet will pursue 
relative to those amendments ! It will hardly surprise 
us if, up to the very moment of Lord John's rising this 
afternoon, the Ministerial pack should be left in doubt as 
to the cry they are to set up. A similar case, we will 
venture to say, is not to be found in the British annals. 

Meanwhile this "glorious uncertainty" at head- 
quarters produces a most edifying contrariety of opinion 
among the Treasury scribes. Nothing can be more 
diverting than to see them groping in the dark no two 



86 PEERS AND PEOPLE [1835 

agreeing as to the gourse to be pursued. Take Saturday's 
columns as an example. 

The Morning Chronicle is for dying in the breach. All 
is " Ercles' vein." Ministers must be firm, resolute, and 
the like. They must " put themselves at the head of the 
people " ; there must be "no flinching, no drawing 
back," etc. 

The Globe snatches a momentary courage from an 
article in the Times. This, it considers, shows that the 
Lords are frightened at their own work, and that it will 
be quite " practicable " to make them rescind all their 
own amendments. 

The Courier is evidently in much lower spirits. Any- 
thing, everything, is to be acceded to, so that " the 
principle of the Bill " be preserved. As if the principle 
of the Bill, which is undeniably the termination of the 
close self - elective system, and the establishment of 
popular elections in its room as if this had ever been 
assailed by the Peers ! 

Catching at a sentence in the Times, which suggested a 
slight modification of the Aldermanic terms of office, the 
Courier eagerly exclaims, " There must be no Aldermen 
for life." If this be but conceded by the Peers, the 
Commons may admit all the other amendments ! 

Supposing that the question were narrowed to this 
compass, we would ask the Courier whether the Commons 
would do wisely to reject the amended Bill on so trifling 
a point as whether Aldermen should hold their offices for 
life or for seven years. 

Can it be shown that the average duration of Alder- 
manic existence is equal to a septennial term ? 

However, to come back to the main subject, it is clear 
that the Ministry are at their wits' ends. (Some may 
think, perhaps, that it would not take them long to get 
that length.) In sober sadness, however, their predica- 
ment is assuredly anything but pleasant. 

Common-sense and reason, supposing them to possess 
a few grains of either, would naturally suggest that the 



1835] PRESS ADVISERS 87 

alterations made by the Peers in the Corporation Bill 
are really amendments, and that, whatever O'Connell and 
Hume might say, the correct course would be to adopt 
them all. But then comes a serious question, How are 
they to get on without O'Connell and Hume ? To keep 
on good terms with these two respectable Gentlemen is 
clearly essential to their very existence, and none know 
this better than the said Gentlemen themselves. What, 
then, is to be done ? Scylla is on one side, Charybdis 
on the other ? 

Imagine the honest course taken 'the right of the 
Lords to exercise their own judgment admitted the 
correctness of their judgment in this particular case 
admitted also and, finally, the Corporation Bill, with the 
Lords' amendments finally passed. But, then, how are 
the Movement party to be appeased ? By what means 
can the lost affections of the Roebucks and Wakleys 
be won back ? Yet if every vote is not preserved, what 
chance is there of a week's continuance in office. 

Well, then, suppose the Chronicle's advice be taken; 
the Ministry " puts itself at the head of the people " 
(of St. Giles's and Saffron Hill), and the Bill is rejected. 
What then ? Is the prospect any better now ? Not a 
whit. The result of the whole session will then be 
manifestly set forth in the eyes of all the people that 
the present Cabinet cannot govern the country. The 
longest session ever known will then have been passed 
through without any result . Nor will there be the slightest 
prospect of any more favourable state of things in the 
ensuing year. The reason is obvious. The present 
Ministry, by the terms of their compact with O'Connell, 
are compelled to bring forward none but destructive 
measures. The House of Lords, by their duty to the 
country, by the first law of Nature, that of self-preserva- 
tion, are equally compelled to strip these measures of 
their destructive character, and to make them Conserva- 
tive enactments. Thus " the Tail," with its bare 
majority of thirty in the one House, will ever be weaving 



88 PEEKS AND PEOPLE [1835 

webs of iniquity, which the Peers, with a majority of 
nearly a hundred, will as promptly sweep away. 

The sooner this state of things is made apparent to the 
country the better. The first dissolution of Parliament 
that occurs will easily rectify this matter. But it is not 
the wish of the Ministers that the case should be under- 
stood. They hope to find a way between Scylla and 
Charybdis. The Lords are to be got to concede half 
their amendments, and then the Commons are to agree 
to the other half. And the Ministry are to claim great 
credit with each party in turn for having made so good 
a bargain with the other . 

We doubt, however, if the Conservative Peers will 
submit to be played off in this fashion. We believe they 
have been in earnest in what they have done, that they 
have proposed no alteration in lightness or without just 
grounds, and that it is their deliberate conviction that 
without the amendments which they have introduced 
the Bill would be an unsafe measure. We doubt, there- 
fore, if they can be brought to consent to a compromise 
when they have asked no more than they feel to be right, 
and when they have the power to insist on all that they 
ask. 

The great object, in fact, of the proposed " mutual 
concession " is just to relieve Ministers from their un- 
happy position. But we should like to know what interest 
the Conservative Peers can feel in any such object ? 
***** 

A Radical who fills the office of champion of the Bang's 
prerogatives has a difficult part to play ; yet we can assure 
Sir John Campbell, the King's Jacobin Attorney-General, 
that there is yet a more difficult character for him to 
support, and that is the character of a wit. Indeed, there 
are few things among the petty annoyances of life more 
excruciating than to witness an attempt at playfulness 
by this shrewd, coarse, manoeuvring Pict. 

Fancy an ourang-outang of unusual magnitude dancing 
under a banana-tree, and licking its hairy chaps, and 



1835] SIR JOHN CAMPBELL 89 

winking with exultation its cunning eyes as it beholds 
the delicious and impending fruit, and one may form a 
tolerable idea of Sir John Campbell's appearance in the 
House- of Commons on Friday night when he tried to be 
jocular about the Imprisonment for Debt Bill, 1 and was 
fain to treat the Peers of England and the execution of 
their solemn justice with his base and scullion raillery. 

Sir John Campbell sneer at the Peers of England ! In 
God's name, what next ? 

That the Hudibrastic Hawes 2 should sing a serious 
second to the pothouse playfulness of the Attorney- 
General is not wonderful, for doubtless his ignoble mind 
has its genuine and congenial misgivings as to the " use " 
of a nobility. 

That Wakley should shake his incendiary arm in flaming 
menace at the Peers of England, or 'Conn ell cock his 
red bonnet on his brow with a ferocious grace becoming 
that destructive scalp, were no mighty marvel ; but that 
this baseborn Scotchman, who knows right well that if the 
tide were, in his opinion, the other way, he would lick 
the very dust a Lord might tread on that this booing, 
fawning, jobbing progeny of haggis and cockaleekie 
should dare to sneer at the Peers of England pah ! 
vulgar insolence must have run to seed to have produced 
this scampish jest. 

And look at the facts, too. Here is a Bill which pro- 
poses at one fell swoop to change the whole law of debtor 
and creditor a law upon which the whole present system 
of credit in this great commercial country has been estab- 
lished and is now based. This law has engaged the atten- 
tion of the Commons for two sessions ; it has been during 
their present sittings for two months before the House, 
and that House, feeling the importance of the complicated 
question with which they were called upon to deal, have 
deemed it necessary to submit it to a Committee, who 

1 Campbell, in his "Lives of the Chancellors," records that 
Lord Lyndhurst was "much alarmed" by this Bill; hence, 
probably, Disraeli's savage attack on the Attorney- General. 

a Benjamin Hawes, Member for Lambeth. 

7 



90 PEEKS AND PEOPLE [1835 

have examined into the details and summoned witnesses 
on its subject. 

All this the Commons have felt it fitting to do, and at 
the fag end of August they send their Bill to the Lords, 
their proposition to change one of the most important 
laws of our code a proposition, too, of which the great 
mass of the trading community highly disapprove ; and 
because the Peers will not legislate blindfold, because 
they will not pass this most important and interesting 
Bill without discussing its novel principle, without 
examining its elaborate and complicated details, and 
without obtaining evidence on the controverted subject 
which it presumes to decide, the conduct of the Peers is 
called in question, their " utility " challenged because 
they will not consent to be ciphers, and their wise carriage 
and high authority submitted to the rascal jeering of a 
clumsy ribald who ought, in consequence, to have been 
expelled the high office he degrades the very next morning. 



CHAPTER IX 

The impeachment of Lord Melbourne His Majesty and the 
Premier Playing at statesmen Reign of Charlatans over. 

Tuesday, September 1. 

WHETHER the Lords be right or wrong, one thing is 
certain, that Lord Melbourne cannot carry on the Govern- 
ment of the country, and probably before this article 
appears he may have retired to Brocket, where the Fauns 
and wood-nymphs will receive him with a shout of 
laughter, But if, as we have ever upheld, and, as far 
as we can form an opinion, as the whole country has 
decided, the Peers of England, in the course which they 
have pursued, have only performed their duty to their 
country, and demonstrated the utility of the high powers 
and privileges with which they are invested, if in this 
case Lord Melbourne still retains the reins of power, 
which he originally obtained by a conspiracy, and which 



1835] THE KING AND HIS MINISTER 91 

he now holds to the manifold let and flagrant hindrance 
of all good government, we repeat we deliberately re- 
peat that the high constitutional process of an impeach- 
ment of this weak and guilty man must be the ultimate 
recourse of an injured and insulted nation. 

Lord Melbourne complains of the coldness of His 
Majesty, and Lord Melbourne's solitary organ of the 
Press has squalled out most hideous and seditious cries in 
consequence. That His Majesty must be disgusted with 
the insolent presence of a man who, after having forced 
himself into the Royal councils by one of the most odious 
conspiracies upon record, is now confessedly incapable of 
securing the object for which the plot was formed, and 
the offensive obtrusion was perpetrated, and who, after all 
his faction and effecting a quasi revolution for six months, 
cannot carry on the Government, is the most natural 
circumstance in the world : nor do we require the allega- 
tion of the Morning Chronicle to assure us that His 
Majesty is a Conservative, though, to be sure, it is the 
only assertion of the Morning Chronicle that we ever 
could believe. 

But Lord Melbourne not only cannot carry on the 
Government he never has carried on the Government. 
During the whole period of his Downing Street roost, he has 
done nothing but issue Treasury warrants for his own 
salary, and approve of the project of laws which he knew 
never could be passed. We have heard of children playing 
at soldiers. Lord Melbourne and his fellows have been 
playing at statesmen, and now that the holidays are over 
they must go to school again ; or, rather, they have been 
executing that military exploit which consists of an active 
march over ground from which the battalion never 
budges an inch, and all that is accomplished, after all 
their exertions, is only kicking up a dust. 

The country is sick of these fellows. It positively 
nauseates the whole gang of pseudo-Reformers and 
political economists and inquiring Commissioners and 
dissenting delegates, and all the other base and unsavoury 



92 PEERS AND PEOPLE [1835 

fungi that have been generated of late years in the hotbed 
of Whig agitation. 

It does not become an ancient nation to be inquiring 
for ever into the origin and " utility " of every tradi- 
tionary custom and immemorial institution, like one of 
the vulgar parvenu societies formed ten years back, and 
which in half a century will be forgotten. England can 
no longer submit to be treated like Greece or Guatemala 
for the sake of serving the purposes of a weak faction and 
filling the maws and pouches of their rascally retainers. 

A free, flourishing, and famous people, who have 
acquired their liberty, enjoyed their prosperity, and gained 
their glory, under institutions which have lasted for a 
thousand years do not want to know the pourquoi of all 
their laws and customs. 

The reign of Charlatans is over, and the Minister, their 
chief, if he wishes to avoid punishment, had better imme- 
diately retire to his country-seat. 



1835] THE PEERS' AMENDMENTS 93 



CHAPTER X 

The " collision " and the Comet The " use " of the Lords 
Limits of concession Imprisonment for debt More Com- 
missioners Sir John Campbell's breechless ancestors The 
People's House Popish rebels " Thank God there is a 
House of Lords !" 

Wednesday, September 2. 

WELL, the collision has appeared before the Comet ; and 
if that fiery meteor do not portend worse consequences 
to the Constitution of England than the exhibition in the 
House of Commons on Monday night, there is less chance 
than some imagine of our imitating the grovelling days 
"When Bradshaw bullied in a broad-brim hat." 1 

After all the meetings of THE PEOPLE after all the 
valiant threats and " strong " resolutions after the 
menace of vestries, and the more awful and mysterious 
murmurs of the Ministers after the demand by the 
Radicals from the Government that the Supplies should 
be at least placed in the power of the Commons, and the 
virtual promise of the Government, in answer to thtf 
Radicals, that this great precautionary step should be 
taken what has happened ? 

Why, that the same Ministers and the same Radicals 
have swallowed every important amendment of the Peers 
without a struggle, save in one point the continuance 
of their worships the Aldermen. The political and pro- 
prietary rights of the freemen of England, to destroy 
which the Ministers twice appealed to the House of 
Commons and succeeded in their object, by the votes 
of the Irish Papists, are retained ; although Lord Mel- 
bourne characterised this constitutional amendment of 
the Peers as the most injurious of all their propositions, 
and thought it necessary at the very tenth hour in the 
House of Lords again to declare his invincible aversion 
to its ratification; yet these great and noble efforts of 

1 James Bramston in " A Man of Taste." 



94 PEERS AND PEOPLE [1835 

Lord Lyndhurst and his brother Peers in favour of the 
rights and liberties and property of a vast portion of 
their fellow-subjects are now supported and seconded in 
the House of Commons even without a murmur. 

Who shall hereafter ask the " use " of the Lords ? 

Again the great principle of qualification so violently 
repudiated by that party in the Commons who owe their 
support in so great a degree to the needy and insolvent 
is recognised and submitted to in the same House of 
Commons without a division. 

And will anyone hereafter ask the " use " of the 
Lords ? 

In short, there appear to us to be only three proposi- 
tions of the Peers of any magnitude to which the Ministers 
finally object. The first of these, which relates to the 
toll-exemption of the freeman, may be easily settled by 
compensation; the second, relating to the distribution 
of Church patronage by the Dissenters, will probably be 
managed in a way not injurious to the Church; against 
the third, which regards the retention of the Aldermen 
and Town Clerks for life, the Government is disposed to 
make a stand, because Sir Eobert Peel, the leader of the 
Conservatives of England, combining the quality of 
firmness with the desire of conciliation, does not think it 
necessary to contend for a life tenure of office in the 
Aldermen, when the humbled Whigs and Radicals offer 
to give a six years' lease. 

***** 

Lord Lyndhurst, in the House of Lords on Monday 
night, felt it his duty to notice the impertinent observa- 
tions of Sir John Campbell, the King's Attorney- General 
by the grace of O'Connell, on the reception of the Im- 
prisonment for Debt Bill in their Lordships' House. And 
the murder was soon out, and all the lamentations of the 
Learned Gentleman and his desperate ribaldry soon ex- 
plained, when it turned out that this vaunted Bill, which, 
by-the-by, was indecently passed in a House of Commons 
consisting only of forty Members, proposes, besides other 



1835] IMPRISONMENT FOR DEBT 95 

enormous patronage, to establish FIFTY MORE COMMIS- 
SIONERS. 

Why, if the Whigs go on at this rate, where, in another 
year or two, will be the boasted independence of the 
British Bar ? Fifty more Commissioners, and all with 
heavy salaries, and fifty registrars, and fifty ushers. Why, 
'tis as good as plundering a city ; and not one of Sir John's 
base and breechless ancestors at a Border fray could 
ever have meditated a richer spoil. There was, then, no 
trifle at stake when Sir John Campbell rushed down to 
the House of Commons the other night to insult the Peers 
of England, to the great diversion and edification of the 
assembled Brutilitarians who represent "the People" 
and ask the " use " of the Lords, and to the disgust of 
the Conservative members who were present. Even 
Lord Brougham agreed that this Imprisonment for Debt 
BiU was " too bad." 

The British people will no doubt be of opinion that 
their Lordships acted most discreetly in postponing the 
consideration of such an important measure for another 
session, although the hopes of the crew are again dashed ; 
and Parkes, whose name is now a proverb for a job 
throughout " the two islands " to the plundered people 
of which he so characteristically appeals to abolish the 
House of Lords, must rest awhile from his spoil. We 
hope that Joseph by this time clearly comprehends what 
" the use of the Lords "is. One of the manifold uses of 
that august assembly, Joseph, is to quash jobs by whom- 
soever concocted; and if your mind be not now fully 
enlightened, you may seek further information from the 
roaring Rushton and the sober Drinkwater and the 
unheard-of Wilkinson, or Cockburn the trustworthy, 
and last, but, oh ! not least, " Horror-and-Hell " Dwarris. 
* * * * * 

There was great bawling in the House of Commons on 
Monday night about " THE PEOPLE " and " the wishes of 
the people " and " the power of the people." It was a 
field-day for jargon, and the nonsense that Hume, and 



96 PEERS AND PEOPLE [1835 

O'Connell, and Warburton and Whalley, and that meagre- 
minded rebel Roebuck, and that last desperate effort of 
masculine organisation which lays claim to the name of 
man, Ewart, who looks for all the world like Ralph, Sir 
Hudibras's squire the nonsense, we repeat, that these 
fellows talked has seldom been equalled, even by them- 
selves . 

What do they mean by their favourite phrase, THE 
PEOPLE'S House ? The available constituency of England 
amounts to three hundred thousand. Are these three 
hundred thousand men the people of England ? No, 
these three hundred thousand men are the Commons, 
not the people of England; and these Commons form a 
class in the State, privileged, irresponsible, and hereditary, 
like the Peers. The Commons, on account of their 
number, meet by their representatives, and, to say nothing 
of a majority of the Commons being opposed to the 
Ministerial measure, the question when placed in the 
most favourable light for the Government is just simply 
this: They have thirty-seven Representatives of the 
Popish Commons to place in opposition to one hundred 
British Peers. Now, to say nothing of wealth and stake 
in the country, and the usual considerations, it will be- 
come us during "the collision" exactly to understand 
how these Popish Commons are affected to the Constitu- 
tion under which we have flourished, and which, in spite 
of Brutilitarian nonsense, we are determined to uphold. 

These Popish rebels avow their desire to effect a dis- 
memberment of the Empire. By the aid of the Whigs 
and the Brutilitarians they have nearly uprooted the 
Protestant Church in Ireland; and their prime leader, 
that arch-traitor O'Connell, has seized every opportunity 
to declare that it is his wish, and shall be his endeavour, 
to destroy the authority and abrogate the existence of 
the House of Peers. 

To be sure. Why, it is only the House of Lords 
that at this moment maintains the Protestant cause in 
this realm. " Thank God, there is a House of Lords !" 



1835] PRINCIPLE OF THE BILL 97 

said Cobbett a very short time before he died, and that 
grateful ejaculation should be inscribed in letters of gold 
on every temple and every dwelling-house in this still 
free and still Protestant country. 



CHAPTEE XI 

Nearing a settlement Mutual concessions A remedial measure 
The war upon Aldermen Eeform not necessarily revolu- 
tion State surgery " Proceed, Peers of England " The 
flower of the nation. 

Thursday, September 3. 

THERE seems but one rational and satisfactory standard 
by which the estates of the realm can at this moment 
guide themselves in the mutual concessions which they 
are called upon to make . The House of Commons estab- 
lished a principle as the basis of their Bill for the Amend- 
ment of Municipal Corporations, and this principle was 
the abolition of close bodies by the substitution of a 
popular election. 

The House of Lords admitted the principle of the Bill 
sent up to them by the Commons, and in reserving to 
themselves the right of altering its details established as 
the principle of these alterations that they should secure 
the improvement without aiming at the reconstruction 
of Corporations. 

Now it remains for the two Houses, in the points of 
controversy at present between them, exactly and con- 
sistently to guide themselves by a becoming deference 
to the two principles which they have separately estab- 
lished. This is the only mode by which they can escape 
a factious imputation. As the Lords neither expect nor 
desire that Representatives of the Commons should make 
any concession which may affect the principle which 
Honourable Members have established, so it is equally 
just that the Representatives of the Commons should 






98 PEEKS AND PEOPLE [1835 

neither expect nor desire that the Peers should make 
any concession which may affect the principles which 
their Lordships have established. 

In return for the concessions which the Representa- 
tives of the Commons have made upon the political and 
proprietary rights of freemen, the principle of qualifica- 
tion, and other very important subjects, the Lords, we 
understand, are, with a similar liberality, disposed to 
concede to the House of Commons as to the mode by 
which that qualification shall be ascertained, as to the 
proposed arrangement respecting the ecclesiastical patron- 
age of the Corporations, and the question of tolls, for 
which their Lordships will be satisfied if they obtain for 
the freemen a compensation . 

When we remember that these further concessions are 
offered by an assembly which has already cheerfully and 
unreservedly acceded to the propositions of the Commons 
for abolishing the system of nomination, for establishing 
popular and annual elections, for placing the Corporate 
funds under the supervision of the inhabitants, and for 
providing for the prompt and efficient administration of 
local justice, no impartial person can deny that there is 
on the part of the Peers of England a fixed and friendly 
determination to improve and ameliorate the institutions 
of the Empire. 

With regard to the questions of the justices and the 
division into wards, and one or two points of minor 
interest and importance, the Representatives of the 
Commons, in all probability, will not insist upon their 
opposition to their Lordships' amendments. 

The important clauses retaining Aldermen, acknow- 
ledging the authority of the present Aldermen for life, 
and continuing the official existence of the present Town 
Clerks, remain to be considered. Is a compliance by the 
Commons with the amendments of the Lords in this 
respect inconsistent with the maintenance of the principle 
of the Bill ? In no degree. The most ingenious reasoner 
could not for a moment support a contrary reply. 



1835] THE RIGHTS OF ALDERMEN 99 

These arrangements are the necessary consequence of 
respecting at the same time vested interests while you 
establish popular rights. The Bill is a Bill to amend, 
not to reconstruct, Corporations. This is now the genuine 
character and avowed title of the Bill, and this the Lords 
have established as the principle on which they have 
founded their amendments. 

The Bill is essentially of a remedial nature. The 
grievances occasioned by the existence of the old Corpora- 
tions are to be remedied, but the institutions are to be 
respected. No organic changes are contemplated by the 
measure, which, we repeat, assumes throughout a remedial, 
not a destructive or creative, character. It has been 
determined that the authorities heretofore nominated by 
themselves shall in future be elected by their fellow- 
citizens; but the authorities are still to remain. The 
Alderman in future will be elected by his townsmen ; but 
there is no reason why we should part with a title which, 
as Earl Fitzwilliam wisely and well observed at the 
Yorkshire meeting, " sprang from the cradle of our 
liberties." 

But shall an Alderman who now holds his authority 
under the sanctity of a Royal charter shall he be punished 
for possessing so high a title, and be turned adrift as if 
he had committed a high misdemeanour instead of en- 
joying a high privilege ? Why this war upon Aldermen ? 
Why should not the municipal rights of Aldermen be 
respected as well as the municipal rights of freemen ? 
The Whigs, who proposed to confiscate the property and 
privileges of the freemen, were quite consistent in pro- 
posing to abolish the dignity and authority of Aldermen ; 
but the House of Lords, who have secured the gratitude 
of a hundred thousand of the Commons of England by 
their firm and triumphant vindication of their rights, 
would only be establishing an anomaly to rescue the free- 
men and desert their rulers. The same undeniable prin- 
ciple applies to the Town Clerks. Their municipal rights 
are as sacred as those of the Aldermen and freemen . To 



100 PEERS AND PEOPLE [1835 

neglect them because they are few in number would be 
an act of cowardice of which the Upper House of Parlia- 
ment could never be guilty. 

By establishing at once a popular constituency, and 
allowing them to elect their Town Council, and when a 
vacancy occurs among the other members of the municipal 
bodies to supply the vacant place in the same popular 
mode, the Lords and Commons have most liberally and 
effectually established a system of free election and 
popular control throughout the country. By respecting 
the rights of the existing members of the municipal body, 
the House of Lords have given another proof that reform 
is not necessarily revolution, and that the observance of 
the sanctity of vested rights is not incompatible with the 
establishment of popular franchises. 

We trust the House of Commons will follow their wise 
and patriotic example ; but if, unhappily, the influence of 
a fatal connection force the Ministry to refuse their co- 
operation with the Peers in this great behalf, this we do 
know, that no consideration in the world will induce the 
Peers to depart from their resolution, which will be as 
firmly acted upon as it was deliberately taken. 

The events of the last few hours have not induced the 
Peers to repent the firmness with which they have exer- 
cised their privileges . 

Where now are the incendiary menaces which were 
hurled so liberally but a few days back at this august 
assembly. Why are the leading agitators silent ? Are 
there no more abortive meetings to be dry-nursed ? The 
vestries are as mute as swine that have had their swill. 
The Supplies are not stopped. 

Yet the " mutilations " have been duly sent to the 
House where Hume acutely reasons and Eoebuck softly 
persuades ; and instead of the Lords being arrested under 
the " Cutting and Maiming Act," they have suddenly and 
universally been recognised as very skilful and approved 
State Surgeons. 

Proceed, Peers of England. Proceed in your course 



1835] UNLETTERED CONTROVERSIALISTS 101 

at once wise and courageous, temperate and dignified. 
Your authority rests upon the confidence and affection 
of your fellow - countrymen ; its recent exercise has 
doubly entitled you to their respect and support. It is 
not without a struggle that this England, so free, so 
famous, so abundant in all that maketh the heart glad, 
shall fall before a base and dastardly faction. You are 
the chief flower of the nation, 

"In peace our ornament, in war our shield ;" 

and if the bitter records of the past bear any wisdom, it 
is not lightly, or with a careless spirit, that the people 
of England will part with the salutary institution of 
your high estate. 



CHAPTEE XII 

Reform of the House of Lords Rebellious nonsense Ignorance 
of the Constitution The estates of the realm An exposed 
fallacy Concerning etiquette. 

Friday, September 4. 

MB. HUME and his jackal, Mr. Roebuck, and Mr. Rippon, 
who represents the Commons of Gateshead, opened the 
Parliamentary campaign on Wednesday night against 
the House of Lords by detailing their plans and projects 
for what they called " a reform " of that ancient and 
august institution. 

To carry on a controversy with men so deeply and 
darkly unlettered is impossible. Appeals to history, of 
which they are ignorant, cannot, of course, be expected 
to influence them ; and as for any conclusions which are 
arrived at by the higher process of abstract disquisition, 
it is very plain that we might as well address the member 
for Middlesex in Greek or argue with the Bath delegate 
in some of the dialects of the Hurons. But the rebellious 
nonsense which these men utter affords a convenient peg 
whereon to hang much instruction ; and if we neither hope 
nor desire to convince them, we may at least attempt to 
enlighten those whom they endeavour to delude. 



102 PEERS AND PEOPLE [1835 

And, in the first- place, these men are utterly ignorant 
of the very nature of the English Constitution. Yes, 
these reformers are most completely in the dark as to the 
very character of the institutions which they profess 
their anxiety and intention to alter. 

The other night Lord John Russell, who has written 
a book upon the English Constitution, and who, on the 
same principle that bad wine makes very good vinegar, 
has somehow or other contrived to be metamorphosed 
from a tenth-rate author into a first-rate statesman 1 
the other night Lord John styled the King of England 
one of the estates of the realm. We should like to know 
in what authority his Lordship ever found the King of 
England so styled ? In Coke ? In Selden ? In Black- 
stone ? 

The three estates of the realm are the Lords Spiritual 
and Temporal, and the Commons ; that is to say, originally 
the three privileged classes or orders of the Kingdom 
the Nobles, the Church, and the Commons. And Lord 
John Russell, who made this gross mistake, is a Secretary 
of State, a writer upon our Constitution, and leader of 
one of the Houses of Parliament. 

As little as the KING is an estate of the realm is the 
PEOPLE. Yet the whole basis on which Mr. Hume and 
his click found their arguments and attack upon the 
Upper House of Parliament is the fallacy which we have 
already exposed, that the COMMONS of England are the 
PEOPLE of England. The representative of the Commons 
of Middlesex is not the representative of the People of 
Middlesex ; he is one of the representatives of a privileged 
class or order in the State. The Commons of Middlesex, 
forming a very insignificant fraction of the people of Middle- 
sex, are privileged, irresponsible, and hereditary electors 
of legislators; and they hold and exercise their high 
functions by virtue of the same Convention that the Peers 
of England, who form the other privileged, irresponsible, 

1 See Introduction, p. 10. 



1835] "IRRESPONSIBLE" POWER 103 

and hereditary order of the State, meet and vote in the 
House of Lords. 

Therefore the moment that the rights, powers and 
privileges of the House of Lords are violated by the Repre- 
sentatives of the Commons the Convention is broken, the 
social compact abrogated, society itself resolved into its 
original elements, and the great body of the people called 
upon to create and sanction some new form of government. 
Mr. Hume and his Brutilitarians oppose the Peers 
because they exercise an " irresponsible " power. As 
well might the Peers oppose the Commons because they 
exercise an irresponsible power. Their power to elect 
law-makers is just as irresponsible as the power of the 
Peers to make laws. 

Is irresponsible power a whit more tolerable because 
it is participated in by three hundred thousand men, the 
number of the English Commons who exercised their 
suffrage at the last election, instead of three hundred. 
On the contrary, the three hundred are known, and there- 
fore much more under the influence of public opinion 
than the three hundred thousand who pervade society 
like a favoured sect, and in some degree, like the Jesuits, 
form a secret order. 

Let Mr. Hume and his school push on their principles, 
and see to what results they tend. Destroy the existing 
Constitution of England and establish the principle that 
no class shall exercise irresponsible power, and universal 
suffrage follows, of course. Whether a social system under 
any circumstances could flourish on such a basis is more 
than doubtful that it could be established in this ancient 
realm is morally and physically impossible. Enough for 
the present of these sciolists. That they are completely 
ignorant of the nature of the British Constitution in 
particular and of the nature of human society in general 
is quite evident. When they meet the Peers of England, 
Mr. Hume and Mr. Wakley complain that they must 
stand and doff their beavers while their Lordships are 
seated with covered heads. Why not ? As far as the 



104 PEERS AND PEOPLE [1835 

rationale of etiquette is concerned, it is most fit that 
precedence and superior honours should be enjoyed by 
the Peers, in themselves a privileged order, when they 
meet a deputation of Gentlemen who are only the repre- 
sentatives of a privileged order. 

If precedence and etiquette, and those forms and cere- 
monies which the experience of our ancestors have found 
convenient and decorous, are to be maintained, and we 
are not all at once to sink in the degrading slough of a 
base equality, we are acquainted with no form and cere- 
mony more rational and fitting than the one of which 
these ignorant men complain. 

The order of the Peers is a higher order than that of 
the Commons. Thus the Constitution has decided. As 
well might the Peers complain of vailing their coronets 
before their SOVEREIGN as the Commons or their repre- 
sentatives of uncovering their heads before the Peers, 
and with the same grace that the Eepresentatives of the 
Commons maintain their right to equal ceremonies with 
the Peers might any one of the people summoned to the 
bar refuse to uncover, and claim a seat. 



CHAPTER XIII 

Pym and Hampden A lesson from history An illegal notice 
The law and the Constitution The Lords Spiritual A 
democratic institution. 

Saturday, September 5. 

ABOUT two centuries back the " prentices of London," at 
the instigation of a party in the House of Commons, 
made themselves hoarse with bawling out " Down with 
the Bishops and the rotten-hearted Lords !" The arts of 
insurgency were full as well understood in those days as 
the present ; indeed, we suspect that Pym and Hampden 
were as dexterous hands at getting up a crisis or fostering 
a collision as any Roundhead of the present Cabinet, or 
any Rump-agitator in their train. 



1835] LOED JOHN RUSSELL 105 

In consequence of these riots a pretext was obtained 
for sequestrating the Lords Spiritual from their seats in 
Parliament; and in due course the Lords Temporal were 
as successfully attacked, and the House of Peers, to quote 
the identical language of the resolution, voted " useless." 
In five years' time the omnipotent House of Commons, 
that had carried affairs with this high ambition, was 
itself sequestrated and itself declared " useless," and a 
military despotism established in our country. 

It appears that Mr. Cuthbert Rippon, the Representa- 
tive of the Commons of Gateshead, has revived the cry 
of the " prentices of London " ; and probably thinks he 
is giving utterance to a very bright and original idea. 
The Lords Spiritual have just as much right to question 
the propriety of Gateshead sending their Representative 
to the Lower House as that functionary has to question 
the right of the Lords Spiritual to seat themselves in 
the House of Peers. Their title, indeed, to their power 
and privileges is of a far more ancient date than that of 
the Commons of Gateshead ; nor do we see how, with any 
respect for the old and still existing Constitution of 
these realms, such notices as those of Mr. Rippon and 
Mr. Hume can be publicly given and officially registered 
in the House of Commons. We hesitate not to say 
they are illegal, although John Russell may be of a 
different opinion, and Lord John Russell, as we proved 
yesterday, is especially distinguished for constitutional 
lore. 

Lord John Russell, who announces the King to be one 
of the estates of the realm a fact unknown to Coke, or 
Selden, or Blackstone will perhaps inform us whether 
it would be Parliamentary, constitutional, or legal, to give 
notice of a motion in the House of Commons to question 
the hereditary succession of the Throne, or the Royal 
prerogative to make peace or declare war. Lord John 
Russell knows that such a motion cannot be made, that 
Parliamentary usage alone would not permit it to be 
entered on the journals, and that Parliamentary privilege 

8 



106 PEERS AND PEOPLE [1835 

alone would prevent the mover from being sent to the 
Tower. 

What difference is there in attacking the powers and 
privileges of what Lord John Russell calls and considers 
the second estate of the realm from attacking those of 
the first ? Such notices are, without doubt, illegal ; such 
ir reverend mention of any part or portion, member or 
branch, of the Constitution is a high misdemeanour, and 
it was the duty of some Conservative member immedi- 
ately to prevent the notice of those motions being recorded. 

We repeat that the English Constitution is a conven- 
tional arrangement, that by virtue of the compact certain 
classes or orders of the people are privileged, that if the 
privileges of one order are invaded by the privileges of 
the other the compact is destroyed, and society is re- 
solved into its original elements. 

So much for the law and the Constitution. Let us now 
consider the abstract expediency of Mr. Cuthbert Rippon's 
modest proposition. The great cry of the levellers of 
the present day is against the hereditary jurisdiction of 
the House of Lords. We have at other times shown that 
this privilege is not of the peculiar and exclusive character 
that the superficial imagine, but that it is in harmony 
with the whole system of our Constitution. Neverthe- 
less, for the sake of the argument, we will for a moment 
admit that the privilege is an anomaly, and that the 
consequences may be that the highest powers may be 
exercised by those little qualified for the office. 

Well, then, here is the estate of the Lords Spiritual, the 
very Peerage for life, for which the Radicals clamour 
an estate, too, of which the members must in general 
necessarily be more distinguished for their talents, their 
learning, and their piety, and often spring from the 
humbler classes of the people. 

There is not a more democratic institution in the country 
than the Church, and this is the institution the Radicals 
are ever menacing and decrying. 



1835] PEERS' AUTHORITY ASSERTED 107 



CHAPTER XIV 

The Parliamentary Session Summing up Triumph of Constitu- 
tional principles " A rascally crew of jobbing sciolists " 
Utilitarian misrepresentations Lord John Russell's blunder 
The Revolutionary party Tribute to Sir Robert Peel. 

Monday, September 7. 

THE Parliamentary session about to terminate will be 
memorable for circumstances even more important than 
its unprecedented duration and the passing of the Cor- 
poration Bill. 

The principles of the English Constitution have not 
only rallied, but triumphed. 1 The independent authority 
of the Upper House of Parliament, to the exercise and 
influence of which we have, in so many periods of our 
history, been indebted for the maintenance of our rights 
and liberties, has during the present session been asserted 
by its native and essential strength alone, and will, we 
confidently hope, be this night again virtually and signifi- 
cantly acknowledged by the further and judicious com- 
pliance of the House of Commons with those salutary 
amendments to which the Peers have wisely deemed it 
their duty to adhere, and the propriety of which they know 
to be sanctioned by the opinion of the people. 

It is undeniable that in the later events there is much 
to cheer the heart of every lover of his country, and every 
admirer of those ancient institutions which have alike 
formed and sprung from the national character ; and 
which, like all institutions founded on so sound a basis, 
are invested with a remarkable and a happy power of 
adapting themselves to the wants and wishes of the 
society which they regulate and protect v 

At present the people of England have a wiser trust in 
the practical wisdom of Alfred the Great than in the 
verbose and windy theories of Jeremy Bentham and his 
Utilitarian disciples ; and as long as this be the case we 

1 See parallel passage in Dedication to the Letters of Runny- 
mede. 



108 PEERS AND PEOPLE [1835 

shall adhere to our laws, our customs, and our institu- 
tions. They have made this realm " the inviolate island 
of the sage and free," and we should be base fools indeed 
to desert our Constitution ay, our still unrivalled Con- 
stitution, for such we hold it, and to which we are indebted 
for all our famous liberty, and more than Tyrian wealth, 
and blaze of intellectual glory. 

We are not ashamed in this cold-blooded coxcombical 
nineteenth century to praise the Constitution of England ; 
and if all dared speak as they deem, the good old times 
would soon return, when we were grateful to Providence 
for our free and famous Constitution as for the beauteous 
and fertile land wherein we dwell. 

But a rascally rabble of jobbing sciolists have of late 
years been distilling their leprous poison into the un- 
guarded ears of our generation. We love our Constitu- 
tion, we honour it, we cherish it, and we understand it. 
But as for the Utilitarian sophists who, for the last few 
years, in public and private, in Press and market-place, 
senate and saloon, have been gabbling against the in- 
stitutions and sneering at the wisdom of our ancestors 
they know nothing about the Constitution, they are 
absolutely in the dark respecting the very subject they 
criticise ; every observation they make, when they descant 
on the English Constitution, would apply as well to the 
Aulic Council, the Hungarian Diet, or the Divan itself. 

We have several times of late taken an opportunity in 
this journal of exposing the flagrant fallacies which these 
persons make when they venture on the sacred ground 
they too often violate, and indulge in their Constitutional 
comments and criticisms. We have already destroyed 
the great " discovery " of the Utilitarians to wit, " the 
anomalous irresponsibility of the House of Lords," and 
on which blunder one journal has lived for the last six 
years, and dinned the noisy nonsense every week into the 
ears of the lieges. It may truly be said of the Lords that 
" Sunday shines no Sabbath-day on them." 1 

1 " Ev'n Sunday shines no Sabbath-day to me " (Pope). 






1835] THE UTILITARIANS 109 

This mighty discovery, we repeat this pompous 
axiom, which is regularly enunciated with such practised 
complacency we have already proved to be nothing 
more than a big mare's nest, the Peers of England not 
being one whit more irresponsible than the Commons of 
England. 

The next mischievous representation that the Utili- 
tarians have taken much pains to pass current is that 
the House of Commons is " the People's House." But 
although this statement has passed current, it is never- 
theless base, for, as we have before shown, the House of 
Commons is no more " the People's House " than the 
House of Lords. 

The third artifice of the revolutionary school is their 
abuse of the word " people " altogether. We have 
proved that all the elements of a great people are enlisted 
in the cause of the Constitution, and in analysing the 
elements of the Conservative party we have demon- 
strated that, instead of a party, it is in fact a nation. 

So much for the Utilitarians; they are miserable suc- 
cessors to the Girondists. But the Utilitarians are deep 
enough for the Whigs, when the English leader, who has 
written a book on the English Constitution, describes our 
Most Gracious Sovereign in the assembled House of 
Commons as one of the three estates of the realm. We 
venture to say that, considering the quarter from whence 
it emanated, this was the greatest blunder ever made in 
a legislative assembly. But it is a very instructive 
blunder, people of England and we do not speak to the 
Peers and Commons merely, but to the whole people 
this, we say, is a very instructive blunder for you; for 
by Lord John Russell's knowledge of your Constitution 
you may judge of his ability to amend it. The man who 
is even now ignorant of what the THREE estates of the 
realm really are, was five years ago selected by the 
Whigs to reform ONE of them. We are only surprised 
that he did not fix upon His Majesty by mistake. 

But to-day we are disposed to treat the Whigs with 



110 PEERS AND PEOPLE [1835 

lightness. Lord John Russell, it appears, has not for- 
gotten that his father is Duke of Bedford. 

The judicious and well-timed notices of Mr. Hume and 
Mr. Rippon and Mr. Roebuck have reminded the Whigs 
of what they sometimes would willingly forget. 

The essential strength of the Revolutionary party in 
the House of Commons is much overrated. Five-sixths 
of the present members of the Lower House are personally 
interested in the preservation of the House of Lords and 
the maintenance of its authority. Five-sixths, and more 
than five-sixths, of the people sympathise with them. 

The Whigs and the House of Commons have acted 
wisely; they have done well very well indeed. They 
have not suffered themselves to be misled by the rant 
and riot of a party insignificant in point of number 
more insignificant in point of influence and talent. 

The House of Commons will, we doubt not, accept this 
evening all the important amendments of the House of 
Lords save one, and one only, to the modification of which 
the Lords have consented in deference, not to the Govern- 
ment, but to the wisdom, experience, and moderation of 
the eminent leader of the Conservatives of England, Sir 
Robert Peel. 



1835] LOED LYNDHURST'S SUGGESTION 111 



VINDICATION OF THE ENGLISH 
CONSTITUTION 

IN A LETTER TO A NOBLE AND LEARNED LORD 

By DISRAELI THE YOUNGER 

[ " THE VINDICATION OF THE ENGLISH CONSTITUTION " 
appeared in December, 1835. It took the form of a 
" letter to a noble and learned lord." This was Lord 
Lyndhurst, with whom during the year the young poli- 
tician had become closely connected. The tract is de- 
scribed by Mr. Monypenny as " the most important of 
Disraeli's early political writings," and as giving him 
" what his fugitive efforts could never have given him 
a recognised position as a political writer and thinker." 
It has twice been republished, but the reprints are almost 
as scarce as the original. Its reappearance will be wel- 
comed by those who desire to have by them for reference 
the fullest authoritative exposition of Disraeli's views on 
the Constitution.] 



CHAPTER I 

Of Writers on the English Constitution. 

YOUR Lordship has honoured me by a wish that some 
observations which I have made in conversation on the 
character of our Constitution might be expressed in a 
more formal and more public manner. When I transmit 
you this long letter I fear you may repent your friendly 
suggestion ; but the sub ject has given rise to so many 
reflections that I did not anticipate that what I originally 



112 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

intended for a pamphlet has, I fear, expanded almost 
into a volume. 

The polity of England, which has established the most 
flourishing society of modern ages, and regulated the 
destinies of a nation which for many centuries has made 

LETTER FROM DISRAELI TO HIS SISTER (DECEMBER 5, 1835) 
CONCERNING THE " VINDICATION." 




The letter continues : " It will be out next week, but not, I fear, in the early 

part. ' ' 

(By permission of Messrs. Maggs Brothers, from the original in their possession.) 

a progressive advance in the acquisition of freedom, 
wealth, and glory, undoubtedly presents one of the most 
interesting subjects of speculation in political philosophy. 
Nor is it one that has been neglected; and illustrious 
foreigners have emulated our native authors in their 



1835] A NEW POLITICAL SECT 113 

treatises of the English Constitution. Our own constitu- 
tional writers may, in general, be divided into two classes : 
firstly, the mere antiquaries, whose labours, however, are 
inestimable ; and, secondly, that order of political writers 
who have endeavoured, in an examination of what they 
style the theory of the Constitution, to promulgate the 
opinions and maintain the interests of the party in the 
State in whose ranks they have been enrolled : the disser- 
tations upon our Constitution have therefore been either 
archaeological treatises or party manifestoes. 

Yet for many years the general result of these writings, 
whichever might be the quarter whence they emanated, 
was, as far as their subject was concerned, one of un- 
qualified panegyric. However the excesses of factions 
might be deplored, or the misrepresentations of factious 
writers exposed and stigmatised, the English Constitution 
was universally recognised as an august and admirable 
fabric, and counted among the choicest inventions of 
public intellect on record. That a very different tone 
has of late years been assumed by our public writers is a 
notorious circumstance. A political sect has sprung up 
avowedly adverse to the Estates of the Realm, and seek- 
ing by means which, of course, it holds legal, the abroga- 
tion of a majority of them. These anti-constitutional 
writers, like all new votaries, are remarkable for their 
zeal and activity. They omit no means of disseminating 
their creed : they are very active missionaries : there is no 
medium of the public press of which they do not avail 
themselves : they have their newspapers, daily and weekly, 
their magazines, and their reviews. The unstamped 
press takes the cue from them, and the members of the 
party who are in Parliament lose no opportunity of dila- 
ting on the congenial theme at the public meetings of their 
constituents. 



114 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 



CHAPTER II 

Of the Utilitarian System Its Fallacies. 

THE avowed object of this new sect of statesmen is to 
submit the institutions of the country to the test of 
UTILITY, and to form a new Constitution on the abstract 
principles of theoretic science. I think it is Voltaire who 
tells us that there is nothing more common than to read 
and to converse to no purpose, and that in history, in 
morals, and in divinity, we should beware of EQUIVOCAL 
TERMS. I do not think that politics should form an ex- 
ception to this salutary rule; and, for my own part, it 
appears to me that this term, UTILITY, is about as equivo- 
cal as any one which, from the time of the Nominalists 
and Realists to our present equally controversial and 
equally indefinite days, hath been let loose to breed sects 
and set men a-brawling. The fitness of a material object 
for a material purpose is a test of its utility which our 
senses and necessities can decide; but what other test 
there is of moral and political utility than the various 
and varying opinions of mankind I am at a loss to dis- 
cover; and that this is utterly unsatisfactory and insuffi- 
cient, all, I apprehend, must agree. 

Indeed, I have hitherto searched in vain in the writings 
of the Utilitarian sect for any definition of their funda- 
mental phrase with which it is possible to grapple. That 
they pretend to afford us a definition it would be dis- 
ingenuous to conceal, and we are informed that Utility 
is " the principle which produces the greatest happiness 
of the greatest number." Does this advance us in com- 
prehension ? Who is to decide upon the greatest happi- 
ness of the greatest number ? According to Prince Met- 
ternich, the government of Austria secures the greatest 
happiness of the greatest number: it is highly probable 
that the effect of the Austrian education and institutions 



1835] THE "GREATEST HAPPINESS" PRINCIPLE 115 

may occasion the majority of the Austrian population to 
be of the same opinion. Yet the government of Austria 
is no favourite with the anti-constitutional writers of our 
own country. Gross superstition may secure the greatest 
happiness of the greatest number, as it has done in Spain 
and Portugal : a military empire may secure the greatest 
happiness of the greatest number, as it has done in Rome 
and France: a coarse and unmitigated despotism may 
secure the greatest happiness of the greatest number, as 
it does to this day in many regions of Asia and Africa. 
Every government that ever existed, that has enjoyed 
any quality of duration, must have been founded on this 
" greatest happiness principle," for, had not the majority 
thought or felt that such were its result, the government 
could never have endured. There have been times, and 
those too not far gone, when the greatest happiness of 
Christian nations has been secured by burning men alive 
for their religious faith; and unless we are prepared to 
proclaim that all religious creeds which differ from our 
own are in fact not credited by their pretended votaries, 
we must admit that the greatest happiness of the greatest 
number of mankind is even now secured by believing that 
which we know to be false. If the greatest happiness of 
the greatest number, therefore, be the only test of the 
excellence of political institutions, that may be the plea 
for institutions which, according to the Utilitarians espe- 
cially, are monstrous or absurd : and if to avoid this con- 
clusion we maintain that the greatest number are not 
the proper judges of the greatest happiness, we are only 
referred to the isolated opinions of solitary philosophers, 
or at the best to the conceited conviction of some 
sectarian minority. UTILITY, in short, is a mere phrase, 
to which any man may ascribe any meaning that his 
interests prompt or his passions dictate. With this plea, 
a nation may consider it in the highest degree useful 
that all the statues scattered throughout the museums of 
Christendom should be collected in the same capital, and 
conquer Christendom in consequence to obtain their 



116 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

object ; and by virtue of the same plea, some Iconoclastic 
enemy may declare war upon this nation of Dilettanti 
to-morrow, and dash into fragments their cosmopolite 
collection. 

Viewed merely in relation to the science of government, 
the effect of the test of utility, as we have considered it, 
would in all probability be harmless, and its practical 
tendency, if any, would rather lead to a spirit of con- 
servation and optimism than to one of discontent and 
change. But optimism is assuredly not the system of 
the Utilitarians: far from thinking everything is for the 
best, they decidedly are of opinion that everything is for 
the worst. In order, therefore, that their test of utility 
should lead to the political results which they desire, they 
have dovetailed their peculiar system of government into 
a peculiar system of morals, in connection with which we 
must alone subject it to our consideration. The same 
inventive sages, who have founded all political science on 
UTILITY, have founded all moral science on SELF-IN- 
TEREST, and have then declared that a system of govern- 
ment should be deduced alone from the principles of 
human nature. If mankind could agree on a definition 
of Self-interest, I willingly admit that they would not be 
long in deciding upon a definition of Utility. But what 
do the Utilitarians mean by the term Self-interest ? I 
at once agree that man acts from no other principle than 
self-interest, but I include in self-interest, and I should 
think every accurate reasoner must do the same, every 
motive that can possibly influence man. If every motive 
that can possibly influence man be included in self- 
interest, then it is impossible to form a science on a 
principle which includes the most contrary motives. If 
the Utilitarians will not admit all the motives, but only 
some of the motives, then their science of government is 
not founded on human nature, but only on a part of 
human nature, and must be consequently and propor- 
tionately imperfect. But the Utilitarian only admits 
one or two of the motives that influence man ; a desire of 



1835] MORALS AND POLITICS 117 

power and a desire of property ; and therefore infers that 
it is the interest of man to tyrannise and to rob. 

The blended Utilitarian system of morals and politics, 
then, runs thus : Man is only influenced by self-interest : 
it is the interest of man to be a tyrant and a robber: a 
man does not change his nature because he is a king; 
therefore a king is a tyrant and a robber. If it be the 
interest of one man to be a tyrant and a robber, it is the 
interest of fifty or five thousand to be tyrants and robbers ; 
therefore we cannot trust an aristocracy more than a 
monarch. But the eternal principle of human nature 
must always hold good. A privileged class is always an 
aristocracy, whether it consists of five thousand or fifty 
thousand, a band of nobles or a favoured sect ; therefore 
the power of government should be entrusted to all; 
therefore the only true and useful government is a repre- 
sentative polity, founded on universal suffrage. This is 
the Utilitarian system of morals and government, drawn 
from their " great works " by one who has no wish to 
misrepresent them. Granting for a moment their pre- 
mises, I do not see that their deduction, even then, is 
logically correct. It is possible to conceive a state of 
society where the government may be in the hands of a 
favoured majority ; a community of five millions, of which 
three might form a privileged class. Would not the 
greatest happiness of the greatest number be secured by 
such an arrangement ? and, if so secured, would or would 
not the Utilitarian, according to his theory, feel justified 
in disturbing it ? If he oppose such a combination, he 
overthrows his theory ; if he consents to such a combina- 
tion, his theory may uphold tyranny and spoliation. 

But I will not press this point : it is enough for me to 
show that, to render their politics practical, they are 
obliged to make their metaphysics impossible. Let the 
Utilitarian prove that the self-interest of man always leads 
him to be a tyrant and a robber, and I will grant that 
universal suffrage is a necessary and useful institution. 
A nation that conquers the world acts from self-interest ; 



118 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

a nation that submits to a conqueror acts from self- 
interest. A spendthrift and a miser alike act from self- 
interest: the same principle animated Messalina and 
Lucretia, Bayard and Byng. To say that when a man 
acts he acts from self-interest is only to announce that 
when a man does act he acts. An important truth, a 
great discovery, calling assuredly for the appearance of 
prophets, or, if necessary, even ghosts. But to announce 
that when a man acts he acts from self-interest, and that 
the self-interest of every man prompts him to be a tyrant 
and a robber, is to declare that which the experience of 
all human nature contradicts; because we all daily and 
hourly feel and see that there are a thousand other motives 
which influence human conduct besides the idea of exer- 
cising power and obtaining property ; every one of which 
motives must rank under the term Self-interest, because 
every man who acts under their influence must neces- 
sarily believe that in so acting he acts for his happiness, 
and therefore for his self-interest. Utility, Pain, Power, 
Pleasure, Happiness, Self-interest, are all phrases to which 
any man may annex any meaning he pleases, and from 
which any acute and practised reasoner may most syllo- 
gistically deduce any theory he chooses. " Such words," 
says Locke, " no more improve our understanding than 
the move of a jack will fill our bellies." This waste of 
ingenuity on nonsense is like the condescending union 
that occasionally occurs between some high-bred steed 
and some long-eared beauty of the Pampas : the base and 
fantastical embrace only produces a barren and mulish 
progeny. 



1835J "A PKIOKI" SYSTEMS 119 



CHAPTEE III 

Of Abstract Principles in Politics, and the Degree of Theory that 
enters into Politics. 

WE have before this had an a priori system of celestial 
mechanics, and its votaries most syllogistically sent Galileo 
to a dungeon, after having triumphantly refuted him. 
We have before this had an a priori system of metaphysics, 
but where now are the golden volumes of Erigena, 1 and 
Occam, and Scotus, and Raymond Lully ? 2 And now we 
have an a priori system of politics. The schoolmen are 
revived in the nineteenth century, and are going to settle 
the State with their withering definitions, their fruitless 
logomachies, and barren dialectics. 

I should suppose that there is no one of the Utilitarian 
sages who would not feel offended if I were to style him 
the Angelical Doctor, like Thomas Aquinas ; and I regret, 
from bitter experience, that they have not yet conde- 
scended sufficiently to cultivate the art of composition 
to entitle them to the style of the Perspicuous Doctor, 
like Walter Burley. 

These reflections naturally lead me to a consideration 
of the great object of our new school of statesmen in 
general, which is to form political institutions on abstract 
principles of theoretic science, instead of permitting them 
to spring from the course of events, and to be naturally 
created by the necessities of nations. It would appear 
that this scheme originated in the fallacy of supposing 
that theories produce circumstances, whereas the very 
converse of the proposition is correct, and circumstances 
indeed produce theories. If we survey the career of an 

1 Joannes Scotus Erigena, mediaeval philosopher; wrote "De 
Divisione Naturae." 

2 William of Occam ("Doctor Invincibilis "), John Duns 
Scotus ("Doctor Subtilis"), and Kaimon Lull ("Doctor Illu- 
minatus "), schoolmen of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries t 



120 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

individual, we shall on the whole observe a remarkable 
consistency in his conduct ; yet it is more than possible 
that this individual has never acted from that organised 
philosophy which we style system. What, then, has pro- 
duced this consistency ? what, then, has occasioned this 
harmony of purpose ? His individual character. Nations 
have characters as well as individuals, and national char- 
acter is precisely the quality which the new sect of states- 
men in their schemes and speculations either deny or 
overlook. The ruling passion, which is the result of 
organisation, regulates the career of an individual, sub- 
ject to those superior accidents of fortune whose secondary 
influence is scarcely inferior to the impulse of his nature. 
The blended influences of nature and fortune form his 
character; 'tis the same with nations. There are im- 
portant events in the career of an individual which force 
the man to ponder over the past, and, in these studies of 
experience and struggles for self-knowledge, to ascertain 
certain principles of conduct which he recognises as the 
cause of past success, and anticipates as the guarantee of 
future prosperity: and there are great crises in the for- 
tunes of an ancient people which impel them to examine 
the nature of the institutions which have gradually sprung 
up among them. In this great national review, duly and 
wisely separating the essential character of their history 
from that which is purely adventitious, they discover 
certain principles of ancestral conduct, which they acknow- 
ledge as the causes that these institutions have flourished 
and descended to them; and in their future career, and 
all changes, reforms, and alterations, that they may deem 
expedient, they resolve that these principles shall be their 
guides and their instructors. By these examinations 
they become more deeply intimate with their national 
character; and on this increased knowledge, and on this 
alone, they hold it wise to act. This, my Lord, I appre- 
hend to be the greatest amount of theory that ever enters 
into those political institutions, which, from their perma- 
nency, are alone entitled to the consideration of a philo- 



1835] THE GREAT CHARTER 121 

sophical statesman ; and this moderate, prudent, sagacious, 
and eminently practical application of principles to con- 
duct has ever been, in the old time, the illustrious charac- 
teristic of our English politicians. 



CHAPTER IV 

Of Magna Oharta Petition of Right. 

FROM the days of Magna Charta to those of the Declara- 
tion of Bight, the same wary boldness is perceptible in 
the conduct of our leaders. It is the fashion nowadays 
to depreciate the value of the Great Charter an ominous 
sign of the times, in my belief. For he runs a slight 
chance of being ultimately counted among the false 
prophets of the realm who predicts that, when the men- 
tion of that blessed deed does not command the rever- 
ential gratitude of every Briton, evil fortunes are im- 
pending for this society. Despots may depreciate it, 
whether they assume the forms of crowned monarchs or 
popular tribunes, for it stands alike in their way ; but he 
who really loves freedom and his fatherland will never 
forget that the signet of the tyrant sealed alike our civil 
liberty and our national independence. They were great 
men, my Lord, that Archbishop of Canterbury 1 and that 
Earl of Pembroke, who, in the darkness of feodal ages, 
laid this bold and broad foundation of our national 
liberties; they were great men, and they were great 
statesmen. They did not act upon abstract principles, 
luckily for us, principles which the next age might have 
rejected, and the first schoolman, hired by the King, 
might have refuted; they acted upon positive conven- 
tional right. They set up no new title: they claimed 
their inheritance. They established the liberties of Eng- 
lishmen as a life estate which their descendants might 
enjoy, but could not abuse by committing waste, or 

1 Stephen Langton. 



122 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

forfeit by any false, and fraudulent conveyance. They 
entailed our freedom. 

The Magna Charta, at which our new sect of statesmen, 
the admirers of abstractions, sneer (it would be well if 
they read it oftener or at all), established an equality of 
civil rights to all classes of English freemen. It ter- 
minated arbitrary imprisonment and arbitrary spoliation. 
It enacted that justice should neither be sold, nor denied, 
nor delayed. It virtually established Habeas Corpus. 
It eminently advanced civilisation by curtailing at the 
same time the most crying grievances of the feodal tenure, 
and rendering inviolate the franchises of all mural com- 
munities. It checked the forest laws, established the 
freedom of foreign commerce, and finally secured the 
speedy execution of justice by virtually rendering the 
Court of Common Pleas permanent at Westminster, and 
independent of the Sovereign. 

But, my Lord, these great and manifold blessings were 
not wrested from the Norman oppressor by the Barons 
of England under the plea of Utility, or with some windy 
and senseless cry of securing the greatest happiness of the 
greatest number. Stephen Langton knew the value of 
words as well as any clerk in Christendom ; and he knew 
also that the right that is founded on words may be sub- 
verted by the same machinery ; that what is incontestable 
in the twelfth century may be a subject of great discus- 
sion in the thirteenth; that a first principle in one age 
may become a second principle in a succeeding century, 
or a twenty-second principle. Whether there were any 
Utilitarians under the Plantagenets I pretend not to 
decide. There is generally no lack of political sciolists, 
and, for aught I know, some predecessor of Condorcet 1 
or Bentham may have been innocently dreaming in a 
cloister; but if these abstract-principle gentlemen had 
been as active in the reign of John as in that of our own 
gracious Sovereign, I doubt our great Lord Primate would 

1 Marie Jean Antoine Nicholas Caritat, Marquis de Condorcet 
(1743-1794), French philosopher. 



1835] PETITION OF EIGHT 123 

have placed the State in jeopardy to make it prove and 
square with their cockbrained fancies . The Barons wished 
that the liberties they secured for themselves should like- 
wise descend to their posterity; and as therefore they 
were to become a matter of inheritance, as a matter of 
inheritance they claimed them. They claimed them as 
an inheritance which had been too long in abeyance ; and, 
not content with establishing their confirmation by Henry 
Beauclerk, they traced their glorious pedigree even to the 
Confessor. 

I do not find, my Lord, that at a much later but as 
momentous a period of our history, Selden and Sir 
Edward Coke, though they lived in an age which, in the 
Protestant Reformation and the Revolt of the Nether- 
lands, had witnessed revolutions as awful as any of those 
which we or our fathers can remember; and had, con- 
sequently, the advantage of a far vaster range of political 
experience than the Stephen Langtons and the great 
patriots of the reign of John ; I do not find, my Lord, 
that these wise, and spirited, and learned personages saw 
fit to question the propriety of their great ancestors' con- 
duct. On the contrary, knowing that society is neither 
more nor less than a compact, and that no right can be 
long relied on that cannot boast a conventional origin, 
they were most jealous of our title to our liberties. They 
lavished all their learning in proving its perfection and 
completeness. They never condescended to argue; they 
offered evidence. They were ever ready with their 
abstract of title, and, with very slight alterations, the 
language of the famous Petition of Right itself might be 
transformed into a humble request to a Sovereign for the 
restoration of some real estate some patrimony long 
withheld from a defrauded posterity. In short, all our 
struggles for freedom smack of law. There is throughout 
the whole current of our history a most salutary legal 
flavour. And arbitrary monarchs and rebellious Parlia- 
ments alike cloak their encroachments under the sacred 
veil of right, alike quote precedent and cling to prescription. 



124 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 



CHAPTER V 

Of Precedent, Prescription, and Antiquity Of the Formation of 
a Free Constitution. 

THIS respect for Precedent, this clinging to Prescription, 
this reverence for Antiquity, which are so often ridiculed 
by conceited and superficial minds, and move the especial 
contempt of the gentlemen who admire abstract principles, 
appear to me to have their origin in a profound know- 
ledge of human nature, and in a fine observation of public 
affairs, and satisfactorily to account for the permanent 
character of our liberties. Those great men, who have 
periodically risen to guide the helm of our government in 
times of tumultuous and stormy exigency, knew that a 
State is a complicated creation of refined art, and they 
handled it with all the delicacy a piece of exquisite 
machinery requires. They knew that, if once they ad- 
mitted the abstract rights of subjects, they must inevit- 
ably advance to the abstract rights of men, and then that 
the very foundations of their civil polity would sink 
beneath them. They held this to be too dear a price for 
the barren fruition of a first principle. They knew that 

- the foundation of civil polity is Convention, and that 
everything and every person that springs from that 
foundation must partake of that primary character. 
They held themselves bound by the contracts of their 
forefathers, because they wished their posterity to observe 
their own agreements. They did not comprehend how 
the perpetuity of a State could be otherwise preserved. 

x They looked upon the nation as a family, and upon the 
country as a landed inheritance. Generation after 
generation were to succeed to it, with all its convenient 
buildings, and all its choice cultivation, its parks and 
gardens, as well as its fields and meads, its libraries and 
its collections of art, all its wealth, but all its incum- 
brances. 



1835J KEVEEENCE FOR ANTIQUITY 125 

Holding society to be as much an artificial creation as 
the fields and cities amid which they dwelt, they were of 
opinion that every subject was bound to respect the 
established Constitution of his country, because, inde- 
pendent of all other advantages, to that Constitution he 
was indebted even for his life. Had not the State been 
created the subject would not have existed. Man with'^ 
them, therefore, was the child of the State, and bornj 
with filial duties. To disobey the State, therefore, was 
a crime ; to rebel against it, treason ; to overturn it, parri- 
cide. Our ancestors could not comprehend how this high 
spirit of loyalty could be more efficiently fostered and 
maintained than by providing that the rights, privileges, 
and possessions of all should rest on no better foundation 
than the State itself. They would permit no antagonist 
principle in their body politic. They would not tolerate 
nature struggling with art, or theory with habit. Hence 
their reverence for prescription, which they placed above 
law, and held superior to reason. It is to this deference 
to what Lord Coke finely styles " reverend antiquity " 
that I ascribe the duration of our commonwealth, and it 
is this spirit which has prevented even our revolutions 
from being destructive. 

I do not see, my Lord, that this reverence for antiquity 
has checked the progress of knowledge, or stunted the 
growth of liberty, in this island. We are universally 
held to be the freest people in Europe, and to have en- 
joyed our degree of freedom for a longer period than any 
existing State. I am not aware that any nation can 
fairly assert its claims to superior learning or superior 
wisdom; to a more renowned skill in arts or arms; to a 
profounder scientific spirit ; to a more refined or compre- 
hensive civilisation. I know that a year or two back the 
newspapers that are in the interest of the new sect of 
statesmen were wont to twit and taunt us with the superior 
freedom of our neighbours. " The fact can no longer be 
concealed," announced the prime organ of the party, 
" the people of France are freer than the people of Eng- 



126 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

land. The consciousness of this fact will be the last blow 
to the oligarchy." Profound publicist ! The formation 
of a free government on an extensive scale, while it is as- 
suredly one of the most interesting problems of humanity, 
is certainly the greatest achievement of human wit. Per- 
haps I should rather term it a superhuman achievement ; 
for it requires such refined prudence, such comprehensive 
knowledge, and such perspicacious sagacity, united with 
such almost illimitable powers of combination, that it is 
nearly in vain to hope for qualities so rare to be congre- 
gated in a solitary mind. Assuredly this summum bonum 
is not to be found ensconced behind a revolutionary barri- 
cade, or floating in the bloody gutters of an incendiary 
metropolis. It cannot be scribbled down this great in- 
vention in a morning on the envelope of a letter by 
some charter-concocting monarch, or sketched with ludi- 
crous facility in the conceited commonplace book of a 
Utilitarian sage. With us it has been the growth of ages, 
and brooding centuries have watched over and tended its 
perilous birth and feeble infancy. The noble offspring of 
liberty and law now flourishes in the full and lusty vigour 
of its proud and perfect manhood. Long may it flourish ! 
Long be its life, venerable its age, and distant its beatified 
euthanasia ! I offer this prayer for the sake of human 
nature as much as for my country ; not more for Britain 
than for the world of which it is the ornament and honour. 



CHAPTER VI 

Of the Attempts of the French to form a Free Constitution 
Reasons of their Failure Fallacy of adopting the English 
Constitution in France. 

WHEN the people of France, at the latter part of the last 
century, made their memorable effort for the formation 
of a free government, they acted on very different prin- 
ciples to those that guided Stephen Langton and Selden. 
Their principles, indeed, were as abstract as any Utili- 



1835] FKENCH UTILITARIANS 127 

tarian could desire. They built their fabric, not merely ~J 
upon the abstract rights of subjects, but the abstract j 
rights of men, and at once boldly seized equality for their ^ 
basis. We know the result. Equality, anarchy, tyranny, 
were the necessary gradations of their philosophical system 
of political regeneration. Wearied with fruitless efforts, 
and exhausted by long suffering, they at length took 
refuge in the forced shade of exotic institutions. We 
witnessed the miserable but inevitable fate of the con- 
stitutional studies of the groves of Hartwell j 1 a fate which 
must ever attend institutions that have not been created 
by the genius of a country, and with which the national 
character can never sympathise. 

In Prance, previous to the great revolution, there 
existed all the elements of a free Constitution, although 
not of the English Constitution. In its old local divisions, 
indicated by nature, consecrated by custom, in its ancient 
States, its Parliaments, its corporations, its various classes 
of inhabitants, its landed tenure, its ecclesiastical and 
chivalric orders, there might have been found all that 
variety of interests whose balanced influences would have 
sustained a free and durable constitution. The French! 
leaders neglected these admirable materials. To secure/ 
equality they decided on indiscriminate destruction : they 
not only destroyed law and custom, but they destroyed 
their country. They destroyed Normandy, they de- 
stroyed Provence, they destroyed Burgundy, they de- 
stroyed Gascony; not in name alone, but in very deed 
and fact. They measured their land, and divided it into 
equal geometrical departments, without the slightest 
regard to difference of soil or population, variety of 
manners, or diversity of temperament; and in this 
Laputan state that great country still remains. Why 
the name of France was preserved it is difficult to com- 
prehend. If for its associations, could not these Utili- 
tarian legislators understand that, in destroying the asso- 

1 Hartwell, a Buckinghamshire village, to which Louis the 
Eighteenth retired in 1809. 



128 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

ciations that clung -to the name of Brittany and Bur- 
gundy, they were destroying so many wholesome elements 
of vigorous and enduring government ? Their sentiment 
required that they should still dwell in Paris, beautiful 
and famous Paris. Were they so blind as not to see that 
the outraged sympathy, which would have recoiled from 
styling the capital " the city of the Seine," was equally 
offended when the old dweller in Touraine found that he 
was suddenly transformed into an inhabitant of the 
department of the Loire ? 

When Napoleon obtained supreme power France was 
not a country it was a camp a lawless and disorderly 
camp. Napoleon disciplined it. He found the land 
geometrically parcelled out, and the French nation 
billeted on the soil. With such elements of government, 
even Napoleon could do not more; even with his un- 
limited authority and indomitable will, all that he could 
aspire to was to organise anarchy. The Emperor of the 
French was not one of your abstract-principle gentlemen. 
His was eminently a practical mind. He looked about 
for the elements of government, and he could discover no 
better than those which had been created by the national 
character, and hallowed by the national habits. Even 
his sagacious mind deferred to the experience of ages, 
and even his unconquerable will declined a rivalry with 
the prescriptive conviction of an ancient people. He re- 
established the tribunals; he revived chivalry; he con- 
jured up the vision of a nobility; he created the shadow 
of a Church. He felt that his empire, like all others, 
must be supported by institutions. 

The rapid vicissitudes of his reign prevented these 
establishments from maturing into influence and power, 
and, when Louis the Eighteenth returned to the throne 
of his fathers, he was called upon to establish a Constitu- 
tion without being furnished with the elements to form 
one. The puzzled monarch in despair, with some degree, 
one would think, of that Rabelaisian humour with which 
he was not altogether untinctured, presented his subjects 



1835] CONSTITUTION-MAKING 129 

with the Constitution of another country. Could any- 
thing be conceived more supremely ludicrous ? Was it 
in the power of the most ill-regulated mind to break into 
folly more flagrant ? The lunatic with a crown of straw 
is as much a sovereign as a country is a free country with 
a paper Constitution. France, without an aristocracy of 
any kind, was ornamented with an Upper Chamber ot 
hereditary peers, and a Second Chamber invested with all 
the powers with which, after more than five centuries of 
graduated practice, we ventured to entrust our House of 
Commons, was filled with some hundreds of individuals 
who were less capable of governing a country than a 
debating society of ingenious youth at one of our Uni- 
versities. The good Louis presented his countrymen with 
a free Constitution drawn up in a morning. He did 
that which the great Napoleon never ventured to do. 
Louis the Eighteenth achieved that in one morning 
which in less favoured England has required nearly a 
thousand years for its accomplishment. This innocent 
monarch seems to have supposed that the English Con- 
stitution consists merely of two rooms full of gentlemen, 
who discuss public questions and make laws in the 
Metropolis at a stated season of the year. The King") 
of France had no idea that political institutions, to be , 
effective, must be founded on the habits and opinions 
of the people whom they pretend to govern; that the 
members of a representative body must be composed of 
a class to which the people have long looked up with 
respect and confidence; and that these representatives 
must carry on their affairs in a mode and spirit congenial 
and homogeneous with the prescriptive practice of the 
community. The King of France, good, easy man, had 
forgotten M. de Lolme 1 had not taught him that the 
Parliament of England was only the last, though loftiest, 
gradation in a long flight and series of ascending estab- 
lishments ; that not a man was entrusted with the exer- 

1 Jean Louis de Lolme (1740-1806), who wrote "The Con- 
stitution of England, or an Account of the English Government." 



130 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

else of a political suffrage in England who was not already 
invested with the most precious office in the realm, the 
duty of deciding upon the fortunes and the lives of his 
fellow-citizens, and was thus long, early, and accurately 
practised in the habits of judgment and examination; 
that nearly every member of the Houses of Parliament 
was an active magistrate of the realm, and, in taking his 
legislative seat, bore his quota of local respect to the 
great aggregate of national reverence; that the vast in- 
stitution of the Poor Laws alone connected the thoughts 
and feelings of the unrepresented peasants and populace 
of England with the Parliament in which the local execu- 
tors of those statutes as magistrates took their seats as 
members. 

Louis the Eighteenth forgot that in almost every town 
in England there were corporations which were the express 
image of the political Constitution of the realm, and 
vestries in which the local interests were debated by a 
representative body with an affectation of all the forms 
and ceremonies of Westminster. Louis the Eighteenth 
had no idea that his two rooms full of gentlemen, to be 
obeyed, must actually or virtually, directly or indirectly, 
represent every important interest in the kingdom. He 
had no suspicion that it is not in the power of any legis- 
lator that ever lived, or that ever will live, to frame a 
political assembly a priori that shall represent all, or 
even a majority of, the interests of a complicated society. 
The French Chambers represented none they were only 
fitted to be the tools of a faction, and the tools of a faction 
they became. The two Chambers constituted by the 
Charter were nothing more than two debating societies. 
I am only surprised that the ludicrous imposture lasted 
so long; but we must take into consideration the ex- 
haustion of France when the exotic was introduced and 
planted in its soil, and the unceasing vigilance and 
sleepless care with which the delicate graft was tended 
by the foreign Powers, whose complaisant approval had 
sanctioned its adoption. 



1835] ANDALUSIA AND SICILY 131 



CHAPTER VII 

Of the Attempts to establish the English Constitution in the 
Sicilies and the Peninsula. 

IF the barren adoption of a form of government by 
France, styled by courtesy the English Constitution, 
must be classed among the prime follies of human con- 
duct, what language are we to use when the Anglo-Gallic 
scheme is gravely introduced to the consideration of the 
Lazzaroni of Naples and the Hidalgos of Spain ; we seem 
to have arrived at the climax of human absurdity. The 
classical romance of "Rienzi " was not more ridiculous than 
the first instance ; there is no adventure in " Don Quixote " 
which can rival the frenzy of the second. In France, 
thanks to Equality and its crabbed fruits, there were no 
prejudices to shock; but when we read of the sudden 
transplantation of institutions gradually established in 
the course of centuries by the phlegmatic experience of a 
Saxon people into the most southern soils of Europe, the 
glittering and barbaric Sicilies, and a country which is 
the link between Europe and Africa, and which in the 
fertility of its soil, the temperature of its climate, and the 
character of its inhabitants, resembles Morocco more than 
England, we seem to be perusing the mad pages of a 
political novel poured forth by the wild and mystic genius 
of some inmate of a German University. Undine or Sin- 
tram 1 are more real : the pages of Hoffmann 2 less shadowy 
and more probable. 

I have travelled over Andalusia and Sicily I travelled 
on horseback, for there were no roads I found a feodal 
nobility and a peasantry un tinctured, even in the slightest 
degree, by letters, and steeped in the grossest supersti- 
tion : I found agriculture generally neglected, or unchanged 

1 " Sin tram and his Companions " and " Undine," by Baron 
Friedrich Heinrich Karl de la Motte Fouque" (1777-1843). 

3 Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann, 1776-1822. Of his fairy 
tales, "Der Goldene Topf " was translated by Carlyle in 1827. 



132 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

in its pursuit since the days of Theocritus ; a teeming soil, 
no human energy; no manufactures, no police; moun- 
tainous districts swarming with bandits, plains whose 
vast stillness prepared me for the Syrian deserts; occa- 
sionally I reposed in cities where a comparative civilisa- 
tion had been obtained under the influence of a despotic 
priesthood. And these are the regions to which it is 
thought fit suddenly to apply the institutions which 
regulate the civil life of Yorkshire and Kent ! We may 
celebrate the constitutional coronation of a Bavarian in 
the Acropolis, and surround his free throne with the 
bayonets of his countrymen; we may hire Poles and 
Irishmen as a bodyguard for the Sovereign who mimics 
the venerable ceremonies of Westminster as she opens 
the Parliaments of Madrid or Lisbon; but invincible 
nature will reject the unnatural novelties, and history, 
instead of celebrating the victory of freedom, will only 
record the triumph of folly. 



CHAPTER VIII 

Of the Last Attempt of the French to form a Free Government 
La Fayette and Lord Somers compared. 

CHARLES THE TENTH struggled with the futility of the 
Charter ; he passed years in an impracticable attempt and 
fruitless effort to govern thirty-two millions of people 
with a silly piece of paper. With good intentions but 
with no talents, surrounded by creatures destitute of 
every quality of statesmen, the King at length attempted 
to rid himself, and the nation, of an imposture which only 
supplied a faction with a pretext. Charles failed, but 
even Charles the Tenth nearly succeeded. Louis Philippe 
at the head of a mob crying, " Vive la Republique !" 
established a despotism. Is there no moral in this rapid 
catastrophe ? Are we to be ever deaf and ever blind ? 
Are we never to learn that a Constitution, a real Con- 



1835] GOVERNMENT BY A PHRASE 133 

stitution, is the creation of ages, not of a day, and that 
when we destroy such a Constitution we in fact destroy 
a nation ? 

Let us bestow a little more examination upon the con- 
duct of the French nation during their last Revolution, 
their second great effort to establish a free government. 
Let us contrast La Fayette at the head of France in 1830 
with Lord Somers at the head of England in 1688. The 
parallel will be instructive. When La Fayette had got 
rid of Charles the Tenth, he found himself precisely in 
the same situation in which that unfortunate monarch 
had suffered throughout his reign; he found himself in 
the precise predicament in which Louis the Eighteenth 
was placed when he returned from Hartwell ; he occupied 
the exact site of Napoleon when he declared himself First 
Consul. He found himself at the head of a people with- 
out a Constitution, and not possessing any elements to 
form one. The creative genius of Napoleon instantly 
devised some expedients, and until they could be called 
into action he depended upon the teeming resources of 
his own strong mind, and the devotion of a victorious 
army. Louis the Eighteenth trusted to his allies for sub- 
stantial support, and offered the written description of 
the Constitution of another country as a pretext for the 
loyal allegiance of his own subjects. Charles the Tenth 
had neither a confiding army nor foreign allies; he had 
neither the creative genius of Napoleon nor the epicurean 
adroitness of Louis. La Fayette called out the National 
Guard and changed the national colours for present sup- 
port, and then, that his revolution might be something 
better than merely a revolution of ribbons, he took refuge 
again in abstract principles. Equality would not serve 
the purpose again ; that blooming prostitute had shrunk 
by this time into a most shrivelled and drivelling harridan. 
For Equality the pupil of Washington substituted the 
SOVEREIGNTY OF THE PEOPLE. The people shouted in its 
honour, all was satisfactorily settled, and thirty-two 
millions were again to be governed by a phrase. 



134 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

Let me recall to your Lordship the tone and temper 
with which the intelligence of these exploits was received 
in our own country. I was indeed then absent; but 
although the announcement of this millennium reached me 
in the shadow of the Pyramids, and two years elapsed 
before I returned to a country which I found so changed, 
I returned in time to witness the still exulting and still 
palpitating triumph of that party, who are now so anxious, 
and so active in their anxiety, to abrogate the clumsy 
and chance-born institutions of England, and substitute 
in their place their own modish inventions, formed on the 
irrefragable basis of Reason and Utility. There was no 
class of persons in England with whom the junior French 
Revolution 1 I mean the riot that placed the House of 
Valois 2 on the throne of Paris was so popular in this 
country as our own anti-constitutional writers. It was 
the avowed consummation of all their theoretical wishes : 
the practical adoption of the scheme in England was all 
that was requisite to secure the completion of their 
patriotic satisfaction. I believe there was no individual 
in this country who more ardently admired the conduct 
of France at that period than Mr. Bentham. I have been 
assured this on good authority. Within these last twelve- 
months, even, the principal daily organ of this new sect 
of statesmen has more than once taunted Englishmen 
with the fact that the French were now freer than they, 
and has announced that the consciousness of this fact 
would be " the last blow to the oligarchy." I impute no 
bad motives to these writers; I condescend to none of 
those " vituperative personalities " which their apostle 
deprecates; I avoid the "fallacies ad odium " which their 
evangelist so successfully exposes by fallacies still more 
fallacious (" Book of Fallacies," pp. 127-133); I am con- 

1 The Revolution of 1830. 

2 Disraeli, in a letter to his sister (January 9, 1836), writes: 
" Eliot . . . wants to know, by- the- by, why I called the Orleans 
branch the House of Valois. I am sure I don't know. Pray find 
out for me, and write your answer, if you catch one, as soon as 
possible." 



1835] FKOM LA FAYETTE TO SOMERS 135 

tent ever to take the motives of individuals as I find 
them. I give them full credit for sincerity. But judge, 
oh ! judge by the result, of their capabilities for govern- 
ment ; admire their political prescience, and trust, if you 
will, their practical ability. 

The Constitution founded on the Sovereignty of the 
People has run even a shorter career than the Constitu- 
tion founded on the Equality of Man: one of the most 
gifted and civilised nations that ever existed is enthralled 
by an iron despotism; the liberty of the press is utterly 
destroyed; trial by jury virtually abrogated; arbitrary 
imprisonment in daily practice ; the country covered with 
Bastiles, and the Bas tiles crowded with State victims. 

I turn from France in 1830 to England in 1688; from 
La Fayette to Lord Somers; from the abstract-principle 
politicians eulogised on all occasions by our anti-constitu- 
tional writers to practical statesmen on all occasions the 
object of their sneers, and whom one of their number has 
recently published a quarto volume to decry. No sooner 
had the nation got rid of the Popish tyrant than Lord 
Somers drew up the famous Declaration of Right. Mark 
that title. A Declaration of Right. This document 
enumerated and claimed for Englishmen all the rights 
and liberties to which they were entitled by laws which 
James the Second had violated. So careful were the 
leaders of 1688 of not vitiating or injuring the valued title 
to our liberties that they omitted in this great remedial 
statute all mention of those further guarantees of our 
freedom which they had already devised, and which they 
immediately afterwards proposed and passed in Parlia- 
ment. First, and before they made any addition to their 
inheritance, they determined to secure themselves in the 
clear freehold of their rights. They were careful, while 
they were meditating improvements and increase, that 
they should not, from present neglect, be forced to bring 
actions of ejectment hereafter for property to which they 
had become entitled in the times of Charles the First or 
the Plantagenets, and which in their hot zeal and hurry 






136 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

they had now overlooked. The Declaration of Eight 
connected the pedigree of our rights and liberties with the 
Petition of Right, which again carried them upwards to 
the Great Charter, in like manner dependent on the charter 
of Henry Beauclerk and the laws of the Confessor. 
Whether it ascended further was now a matter of interest 
only to the antiquary. A pedigree of six centuries was 
proud enough even for our glorious British freedom. In all 
this Lord Somers exhibited the same practical wisdom as 
had animated Stephen Langton and guided Selden. Lord 
Somers, I doubt not, was as conversant with abstract 
principles of government as any writer in the Westminster 
Review ; for a quarter of a century before they had been 
rife enough in England, but Lord Somers knew to what 
their adoption had eventually and speedily led. He 
knew that there was a stern necessity in society which 
would occasionally vindicate its way above all law; his 
recent experience would have taught him, if nothing else, 
that occasional revolutions in States were beyond the 
power of human prevention; but, like all other wise 
statesmen, he would not look upon these as the course 
of politics, any more than the earthquake or the hurri- 
cane as the course of nature. He blotted their possi- 
bility out of the statute book, however he might choose 
to speculate over them in a political treatise, in Sidney, 
or Harrington, or Locke. He wished to obliterate from 
the mind of the nation that awful truth, that a deed may 
sometimes be necessary which is not lawful. He knew 
very well that, if a crisis were again to occur that should 
require such a sacrifice, the native instinct of men would 
prompt them to the exploit. They would read their pur- 
pose in each other's eyes, and do the deed. Far from 
braying out the sovereignty of the people, or any such 
perilous stuff, he and his great associates exerted them- 
selves to the utmost to endow King William with a legal 
and hereditary title. They had consented to the neces- 
sary evil of a revolution, but then they had carved the 
State 



1835] PRUSSIA 137 

" As a dish fit for the gods, 1 
Not hewed it as a carcass fit for hounds." 

An English revolution is at least a solemn sacrifice: a 
French revolution is an indecent massacre. 

Lord Somers and the English nation were rewarded 
for their wisdom and their prudent carriage by securing 
for this realm nearly a century and a half of the greatest 
order, prosperity, and glory, that this country, or any 
other country, ever enjoyed. And this leads me, my 
Lord, to another great event in our history : the Reform 
of the House of Commons, to which I shall presently 
advert. 



CHAPTER IX 

Of the Constitutional Development of Prussia. 

I WISH, however, previously, to call your Lordship's at- 
tention to the conduct of a Sovereign who was placed in 
the same situation as Louis the Eighteenth at the same 
period ; but whose policy, fortunately for himself and for 
his subjects, materially differed from that of the brother 
of the unhappy Charles the Tenth. The Sovereign to 
whom I allude is the present King of Prussia. The King 
of Prussia, like the King of France, promised his subjects 
a Constitution ; and we all remember for how many rabid 
years this Sovereign was the object of the virulent invec- 
tive of our own disaffected writers, who, by-the-by, seem 
equally anxious to destroy the English Constitution in 
England, and to substitute it in every other country, for 
not redeeming his pledge and fulfilling his promise. No 
news arrived to the geniuses of our gazettes of the hold- 
ing of any Parliament at Berlin ; no advices reached them 
of any Dukes of Potsdam or Posen moving constitutional 
addresses in the Prussian House of Lords ; there was not 

1 " Let's carve him as a dish fit for the gods, 
Not hew him as a carcass fit for hounds." 

SHAKESPEARE : Julius Ccesar, II. i. 173, 

10 



138 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

even a rumour of any frank having yet been seen in the 
handwriting of any honourable representative of Konigs- 
berg or Erfurt. What royal treachery ! What base, 
despotic, holy-alliance perfidy ! But nations are not to 
be deceived, and outraged, and trampled on, with im- 
punity. The day of retribution was at hand; sooner or 
later the hour of popular vengeance would arrive, and 
then the perfidious tyrant, in spite of his standing army, 
would learn how utterly vain is the struggle with the 
spirit of the age, and how futile the final rivalry of force 
and freedom. Prussia was undoubtedly to be the first 
victim. 

Now this is no misrepresentation, no exaggeration even, 
of the tone in which the disaffected writers of this country 
indulged for a series of years against the King of Prussia. 
I think it expedient to seize an occasional opportunity of 
illustrating the sagacity and information which the dis- 
affected writers in this country invariably bring to the 
consideration of public subjects, and especially to any 
speculations connected with foreign politics. Abstract 
principles and a daily and dexterous practice in the art 
of misrepresenting circumstances which, in the imperfect 
survey of gradual occurrence, cannot always be fully com- 
prehended even by the wisest heads and the calmest 
minds, carry these writers through their domestic lucu- 
brations with a spanking breeze and flying colours; but 
when we catch them fishing in strange waters, we are 
better enabled to test the value of their barren axioms, 
and to gauge the depth and spirit of their acuteness and 
information. 

And so it happened that, when the party throughout 
Europe who, to use the words of Locke, " are the popular 
asserters of public liberty and the greatest engrossers of 
it too, and not unfitly called its keepers ambitious men 
who pull down well-framed Constitutions, that out of the 
ruins they may build themselves fortunes " when, I say, 
it happened that that restless and intriguing minority, 
who ever have the greatest happiness of the greatest 



1835] A STUDY OF PKUSSIAN POLICY 139 

number on their lips, succeeded in 1830 in overthrowing 
the Bourbon Government and embroiling Europe in that 
period of general commotion, when every European State 
was more or less shaken with internal convulsions, when 
Belgium revolted from Holland and Poland from Russia, 
when the tricolor flag was hoisted in Italy, when Spain 
summoned its Cortes, and Portugal expelled its Sovereign 
with foreign bayonets, when even the Swiss Confedera- 
tion shook to its centre, and every minor German State, 
from Baden to Brunswick, was the theatre of revolu- 
tionary riots and last of all, but, oh ! indeed not least, 
when even Great Britain yielded to the tempest, and at 
least a branch of that mighty oak was severed from its 
vigorous though ancient trunk; Prussia, enslaved and 
indignant Prussia, governed by a perfidious despot, whose 
realm was surrounded and even divided in the midst of 
its territory by the very States which were most inflamed, 
alone sent forth neither a shout nor a murmur, and alone 
remained tranquil and undisturbed. How was this ? 
How did this accord with the Utilitarian system of govern- 
ment ? Was Prussia content because it was tranquil ? 
Was it the general conviction that the greatest happiness 
of the greatest number was secured by the influence of 
its polity ? But that polity was absolute. It is the 
interest of every man to be a tyrant and a robber. Was, 
then, the King of Prussia neither a tyrant nor a robber ? 
Was he mild, merciful, just, beneficent, useful ? How 
did this accord with the Utilitarian system of morals ? 

It appears to me that a study of the policy of Prussia 
during the last quarter of a century may tend more to a 
solution of the great problem of government than any 
exercise of reason with which I am acquainted. By it 
we may learn how entirely the result of a principle depends 
upon its method of application, and that that method of 
application, to be beneficent, must be framed in very 
strict, though not absolute, deference to the existing 
civilisation of the country. That a reforming Minister 
must, above all things, be skilful in adaptation is per- 



140 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

haps but a barren phrase ; but this I will observe, that a 
wise statesman will be careful that all new rights shall, 
as it were, spring from out old establishments. By this 
system alone can at the same time the old be purified and 
the new rendered permanent. 

The French Revolution was the death-blow in civilised 
Europe to the long-declining feodal system. An equality 
of civil rights was recognised by the King of Prussia and 
his wise councillors as the basis of their new order of 
society. And how did they obtain this great end ? Not 
by a bombastic decree from Potsdam suddenly braying 
the rights of man into the indefinite ears of the motley 
subjects of the Prussian Government, and creating, prob- 
ably, endless riots in consequence ; but by a series of wise 
edicts which, in the course of twelve years, entirely 
abolished serfage, and effected a complete but gradual 
revolution in the tenure of land, so that at length the 
Prussian nobility found themselves with no other privi- 
lege but the prefixion of a definite article to their name. 
Almost simultaneously with the abolition of serfage 
among the rural population, the citizens were emanci- 
pated by a great municipal charter, which introduced the 
system of popular election into towns, and prepared the 
inhabitants for the function of even higher duties. 1 
assure you, my Lord, that the municipal constitution of 
Prussia might have been referred to with profit in those 
memorable debates, in which you achieved so much 
general benefit and acquired so much personal honour. 

I now arrive at the most important decree of the King 
of Prussia, and the establishment of which I hesitate not 
to class among the wisest, the most benevolent, and the 
most comprehensive institutions on record, and fairly to 
entitle its illustrious originator to rank among the most 
eminent legislators that have flourished. Convinced that 
a practical assembly of national representatives can never 
be collected except in a country in which the inhabitants 
have been long versed in the partial administration of 
affairs, and consequently habituated to the practice of 



1835] THE HEADY TUMULT OF 1830 141 

public discussion, and anticipating that the hour would 
arrive when such an assembly might indeed be holden at 
Berlin, the King in 1815 decreed the erection of Pro- 
vincial States, to whose supervision the interests of their 
respective provinces were intrusted, with full power to 
take into consideration all measures, whether relating to 
persons, property, or taxation, and to advise with the 
King thereon, by the right and process of petition. Here 
the powers of these States ceased; their province was 
merely consultative; they were invested with no legisla- 
tive functions. In this great institution of consultative 
Parliaments, the King of Prussia, by an analogous wisdom 
which cannot be too much admired, has adopted as the 
basis of the future Constitution of his country that 
system of Eemedial, as contradistinguished from Legisla- 
tive, Representation which was long the custom of Eng- 
land, and to the influence of which upon the character of 
the nation we mainly owe our efficient legislative repre- 
sentation in the House of Commons. 

There is no spectacle in the world more delightful than 
that of a wisely-governed and well-ordered community, 
and I could willingly dwell upon the consideration of 
Prussian policy, were the fortunes of that realm the sole 
subject of my remarks, instead of being the incidental 
illustration of an argument. I might show how one of 
the bravest, best disciplined, and most numerous, armies 
in the world was a popular force ; how the boasted career 
of merit of the French Empire is reduced to such prac- 
tical reality in Prussia that to rise to the highest appoint- 
ments in the State requires only a proportionate degree 
of talent, industry, honesty, and study ; and, lastly, how 
the most philosophical system of national education with 
which we are acquainted is preparing the rising genera- 
tion of the realm for all the duties of good citizens, loyal 
subjects, and devoted patriots. 

Having now, I hope, satisfactorily explained why in 
the heady tumult of 1830 the subjects of Prussia were 
alone loyal to their Sovereign, I will ask your Lordship 



142 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

what would have been the situation of that country, then 
and now, had Frederick William, at the same time as 
Louis the Eighteenth, presented his subjects with the 
same Constitution and a free press, and thus avoided the 
diatribes of those enlightened journalists, who for so 
many years described and denounced this great and good 
man as a perfidious despot. We know very well what 
would have happened. A nominally representative 
assembly would 'have met in Berlin, consisting of in- 
dividuals totally inexperienced in the habits of discussion, 
the practice of legislation, and the art of government. 
Invested with power which they could not exercise for 
any beneficial purpose, and representing the nation in 
form only, and not in spirit, they would have soon split 
into factions, having no other object but their own aggran- 
disement. An active click, through the agency of a 
violent press, would have enlisted the physical force of 
the people on their side by affecting an extraordinary zeal 
for popular interests : having obtained a majority in the 
Chamber by repeated elections, rendered necessary by 
their factious conduct, they would have overthrown a 
series of administrations by a series of factious resolu- 
tions. When they had rendered the royal government 
impracticable, they would have forced the King, in 
defence of the nation and his crown, to some necessary 
but unconstitutional decrees, and then we should have 
had " three glorious and beautiful days " at Berlin. 
Perhaps in such a vicinity the conspiracy would have 
been crushed, but where now would have been the 
prosperity and patriotism and philosophy and real 
freedom of Prussia ? The bayonet would have been the 
only law, and a military dungeon the only school of national 
education. The King of Prussia was as careful that the 
rights of his subjects should flow from the royal will, their 
ancient government, as Stephen Langton, Selden, and 
Lord Somers that the liberties of their countrymen 
should be traced to a similar source. All were alike 
practical men ; all avoided the barren assertion of abstract 



1835] UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION 143 

rights; and the same destiny of continued welfare in all 
probability awaits Prussia that has long so blessed our 
native land. 



CHAPTER X 

Constitution of the United States exercises the same Fatal Influ- 
ence over America as that of England over Europe Mexico, 
Chili, Peru, contrasted with France, Spain, and Portugal. 

IT appears to me, my Lord, that it is destined to the free 
Constitution of the United States of North America to 
exercise the same fatal influence over the political society 
of the New World as the Constitution of England has 
wielded over that of the old. The Constitution of the 
United States was applied to the Government of Mexico, 
Colombia, Peru, and Chili, by virtue of the same per- 
emptory and abstract principles that had selected the 
Constitution of England for the government of France, 
Sicily, Spain, and Portugal; and the same results were 
acquired. The European and the American States, that 
have been the victims of this Quixotic spirit of political 
Propagandism, have vied with each other in successive 
revolutions, until at length disorder and even disorganisa- 
tion have universally prevailed, except where anarchy 
has been arrested by despotism. 

Why is this ? Why has the republican Constitution 
flourished in New England, and failed in New Spain ? 
Why has the Congress of Washington commanded the 
respect of civilised Europe, and the Congresses of Mexico, 
or Lima, or Santiago, gained only its derision or disgust ? 
The answer is obvious: The Constitution of the United 
States had no more root in the soil of Mexico, and Peru, 
and Chili, than the Constitution of England in that of 
France, and Spain, and Portugal: it was not founded on 
the habits or the opinions of those whom it affected ; to 
guide, regulate, and control. There was no privity 
between the legislative institutions and the other estab- 
lishments of these countries. The electors and the 



144 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

elected were both suddenly invested with offices for the 
function of which they had received no previous educa- 
tion and no proper training; and which they were sum- 
moned to exercise without any simultaneous experience 
of similar duties. Had it been the Constitution of 
England, instead of that of the United States, which 
they were seeking to establish, these disqualifying cir- 
cumstances alone would have insured failure; but, in 
addition to these disadvantages, picture to yourself the 
frenzy of attempting to establish republican institutions, 
invented by the Puritans and maintained by their 
peculiar spirit, not only among an ignorant people edu- 
cated in Papal despotism, but in revolted colonies possess- 
ing a powerful Church establishment and a wealthy 
aristocracy. In their haste to establish freedom, these 
rudderless States have not secured independence ; their 
revolutions have degenerated into riots, and, if they be 
not wise, may yet turn out to be only rebellions. 

He is a short-sighted politician who dates the Con- 
stitution of the United States from 1780. It was estab- 
lished by the Pilgrim Fathers a century and a half before, 
and influenced a people practised from their cradles in 
the duties of self-government. The Pilgrim Fathers 
brought to their land of promise the laws of England, 
and a republican religion; and, blended together, these 
formed the old colonial Constitution of Anglo- America. 
The transition from such a government to the polity of 
Washington was certainly not greater in degree than the 
difference between Great Britain of 1829 and our country 
at this hour. The Anglo-Americans did not struggle for 
liberty : they struggled for independence ; and the freedom 
and the free institutions they had long enjoyed secured 
for them the great object of their severe exertions. He 
who looks upon the citizens of the United States as a 
new people commits a moral, if not an historical, ana- 
chronism. 

Of the Reform of our House of Commons, it is in this 
place only necessary to observe that the alleged increase 



1835] THE EEFORM ACT 145 

of democratic power was not founded on abstract rights, 
but that the leaders and advocates of the Reform osten- 
tatiously, although ignorantly, recommended their scheme 
as a restoration of the ancient spirit and a return to the 
ancient practice of the Constitution. Whether that 
Reform originated in a Continental or a national impulse ; 
whether it were an expedient or an imprudent measure; 
whether it were framed in harmony or in hostility to 
our existing institutions ; whether it really developed the 
democratic elements of the country in their true and 
comprehensive sense, or only increased the power and 
influence of a sectarian minority; whether that great 
settlement, in short, will be conducive to the ultimate 
prosperity of the community, the happiness of the people, 
and the honour of the Empire, are great questions from 
the discussion of which I do not shrink, but they bear 
no reference to the point at present under our examina- 
tion, and are fully treated in a work which for a long 
period has engaged my time and study. 1 My object 
hitherto has been to prove by reference to the experience 
both of the Old and the New World, and of the several 
States of which they respectively consist, that political 
institutions, founded on abstract rights and principles, 
are mere nullities; that the only certain and legitimate 
foundation of liberty is law; that if there be no privity 
between the old legal Constitution of a country and the 
new legislature, the latter must fall; and that a free 
government on a great scale of national representation 
is the very gradual work of time, and especially of pre- 
paratory institutions. 

1 Possibly at this time Disraeli was engaged on " The Spirit 
of Whiggism," published in the following year, which briefly 
discusses the points mentioned. 



146 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 



CHAPTER XI 

Of the " Wisdom of our Ancestors." 

IT was a conviction of the soundness of these principles 
that guided our forefathers in that prudent practice which 
we have hitherto been in the habit of dignifying by the 
venerable title of the Wisdom of our Ancestors, 1 a phrase 
once ever on the grateful lips of Englishmen, but now the 
object of scorn and ridicule by those who fancy themselves 
very profound, but who in reality are especially super- 
ficial. According to the most eminent of the Utilitarian 
schoolmen, 2 in his " Book of Fallacies " we have all the 
wisdom of our ancestors and our own into the bargain. 
The great detector of the deceits of political logic has 
here, according to his custom, involved himself in a 
position as deceptive as any of those from which he 
intended to dislodge his opponents. The fallacy of the 
great Utilitarian schoolman consists in confounding 
wisdom with knowledge. We may have all the know- 
ledge of our ancestors, and we may have more; but it 
does not follow that we have all the wisdom of our ances- 
tors, and we may have less. In using the phrase " wisdom 
of our ancestors," we, in fact, refer to the conduct of 
those of our ancestors who were wise ; and when we have 
recourse to this phrase in reference to political conduct, 
we especially allude to those of our forefathers, those 
rare great men, who in seasons of singular emergency, 
difficulty, and peril, have maintained the State, and 
framed, fostered, developed, and established, our political 
institutions. 

Let us take a rapid survey of our wise ancestors, in a 
political sense, since the Reformation. We will com- 
mence by a King, that extraordinary being, Henry the 

1 First used, according to Brougham, by Sir William Grant 
(1754-1832). 2 Bentham. 



1835] WISE ANCESTORS 147 

Eighth, for certainly he must not be omitted; Burleigh 
claims a place, and Cecil, and assuredly Walsingham; 
then we may count Sir Edward Coke, and Selden, 
Strafford, and Pym, the Protector, Lord Clarendon, Sir 
William Temple, King William, Lord Somers, the Duke 
of Marlborough, the Duke of Argyll, Sir Robert Walpole, 
Lord Mansfield, Lord Hardwicke, Edmund Burke. The 
name of a twentieth great statesman since the Reforma- 
tion previous to our own age does not easily occur to me, 
although I would include Lord Bolingbroke for reasons 
I may hereafter offer; and I have some doubt whether 
it would be possible, even with research, to fix upon 
another score. Now, it is possible that, having the 
benefit of all these men's knowledge, we may actually 
know more than these men; but suppose we are called 
upon to act to-morrow, and act, as is very probable, very 
unwisely, we may then find that we have not all these 
men's wisdom. 

M. Guizot, who is so learned in British history, who 
writes even our annals, and edits our political memoirs, 1 
doubtless, during the three glorious days and the subse- 
quent settlement, inwardly congratulated the French 
people on being directed by a statesman who had all the 
knowledge of Lord Somers, "and something more." 
But where are the French people now, and what is 
M. Guizot ? A striking evidence that a man may be 
very knowing without being very wise. Throughout the 
whole of our history we observe that the leading men 
who have guided the fortunes of our Commonwealth in 
times of great difficulty and danger have invariably 
agreed in one line of policy namely, to eschew abstrac- 
tions. This resolution is the distinguishing feature of 
English statesmanship ; it is the principal cause of the 
duration of the English State; and herein eminently 
consists the " wisdom of our ancestors." 

1 "M6moires relatifs a la Revolution d'Angleterre " (26 vols.). 



148 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 



CHAPTER XII 

The " House of Commons " not the " House of the People " 
The Political Institutions of England sprung from its Legal 
Institutions Nature of the Representative Principle 
Original Character of the English Parliament. 

BUT, my Lord, to confess the truth, I have my suspicions 
that the new school of statesmen, with all their affected 
confidence in abstract principles, and all their valorous 
determination to construct our coming commonwealth 
on a basis of pure political science, have some misgivings 
that this great result is not to be entirely obtained by the 
virgin influence alone of their boasted philosophy; and 
I am confirmed in this imagination by the distrustful 
circumstance of their simultaneously condescending, 
amid all their theory, to avail themselves, for the purpose 
of advancing their object, of a great practical misrepre- 
sentation of the form and spirit of our Constitution. For 
it is curious to observe that, while they pretend to offer 
us an unfailing test of the excellence and expediency of 
all political institutions, they are at the same time in- 
defatigable in promulgating the creed that the branch of 
our legislature hitherto styled the House of Commons 
is, in fact, the House of the People, and that the members 
of that assembly are consequently and absolutely repre- 
sentatives of the People. Vox POPULI vox DEI is a 
favourite adage, and ever on these persons' tongues: so 
that, if the House of Commons be the House of the People, 
it is also the House of God ; it is omniscient and omnipo- 
jfcent a convenient creed ! There was a time when our 
Kings affected to rule by Divine right. It cost our fathers 
dear to root out that fatal superstition. But all their 
heroic labours will prove worse than fruitless if the Divine 
right of Kings is to be succeeded by the Divine right 
of the House of Commons. In such a belief, I, for one, 
see no security for our cherished liberties; and still less 






1835] THE COMMONS OF ENGLAND 149 

a guarantee for our boasted civilisation : in such a belief 
it seems to me the prolific seeds are deeply sown of tyranny 
and of barbarism, and if this principle is to be the founda- 
tion of our future polity, it requires, in my opinion, no 
great gift of inspiration to foretell that all those evils 
are impending for this country which are the inevitable 
consequences of its destinies being regulated by a vulgar 
and ignoble oligarchy. 

My Lord, I do not believe that the House of Commons 
is the House of the People, or that the members of the 
House of Commons are the representatives of the People. 1 
I do not believe that such ever were the characters, either 
of the House of Commons or the members of the House 
of Commons ; I am sure that such are not now the char- 
acters of that assembly, or of those who constitute 
it, and I ardently hope that such will never be the 
characters. 

The Commons of England form an Estate of the realm, 
and the members of the House of Commons represent 
that Estate. They represent nothing more. It is a very 
important estate of the realm; it may be the most 
important estate. Unquestionably it has of late years 
greatly advanced in power; but at this very moment, 
even with all the accession of influence conferred upon it 
by the act of Reform, it has not departed from the 
primary character contemplated in its original formation ; 
it consists of a very limited section of our fellow-subjects; 
invested, for the general advantage of the Commonwealth, 
with certain high functions and noble privileges. The 
House of Commons is no more the House of the People 
than is the House of Lords ; and the Commons of England, 
as well as the Peers of England, are neither more nor 
less than a privileged class, privileged in both instances 
for the common good, unequal doubtless in number, yet 
both, in comparison with the whole nation, forming in 
a numerical estimation only an insignificant fraction 
of the mass. 

1 Compare argument in Morning Post articles, 1835. 



150 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

Throughout these observations, in speaking of the 
English Constitution, I speak of that scheme of legislative 
and executive government consisting of the King and 
the two Houses of Parliament ; but this is a very partial 
view of the English Constitution, and I use the term 
rather in deference to established associations than from 
being unconscious that the polity of our country consists 
of other institutions, not less precious and important 
than those of King, Lords, and Commons. Trial by Jury, 
Habeas Corpus, the Court of King's Bench, the Court 
of Quarter Sessions, the compulsory provision for the 
poor, however tampered with, the franchises of municipal 
corporations, of late so recklessly regarded by short- 
sighted statesmen, are all essential portions of the English 
Constitution, and have been among the principal causes 
of the excellent operation and the singular durability 
of our legislative and executive Government. The 
.political institutions of England have sprung from its 
legal institutions. They have their origin in our laws 
and customs. These have been the profound and 
perennial sources of their unexampled vigour and benefi- 
cence ; and unless it had been fed by these clear and whole- 
some fountains, our boasted Parliament, like so many of 
its artificial brethren, would soon have dwindled and 
dried up, and, like some vast canal filled merely with 
epidemic filth, only been looked upon as the fatal folly 
of a nation. 

We talk much at the present day of the Representative 
} principle ; yet how little is that principle understood ! 

'_** An assembly may be representative without being elective. 

i No one can deny that the Church of England is at this 
day not only virtually, but absolutely, faithfully, and 
efficiently represented in the House of Lords by the 
Bishops; yet these Lords of Parliament are not elected 
by their clergy. Previous to the Reformation the mitred 
Abbots took their seat in the Upper House. Who can 
deny that these great officers were the direct representa- 
tives of their powerful and wealthy institutions ? If a 



1836] THE KNIGHTS 151 

representative assembly be not necessarily elective, so 
also it may be elective without being legislative. Repre- 
sentation may be purely remedial, and such for a long 
period was the character of English representation. This 
remedial representation arose out of some peculiar 
elements of our ancient Parliament, an assembly which, 
besides being a great national council, was also a high 
court of justice. Our ancient Parliaments, like those of 
other feodal countries, were formed by the simultaneous 
gathering of a vast number of estates, tribunals, and 
public officers, from all parts of the kingdom, who met 
to convey to the Sovereign information of the condition 
of his realm, and to assist him in the execution of justice 
between his subjects. Among those who mingled with 
the prelates of the land, and the Earls and Barons of the 
kingdom, were certain chosen delegates of the counties, 
who were, in fact, elected by a particular order or estate 
of the kingdom to act, not as their legislators, but as 
their judges. These personages were prepared to afford 
immediate information to the Sovereign of the state of 
their districts ; and previous to their arrival at the great 
council they obtained, by the inquisitions of the juries 
of the hundreds, an accurate report of the condition of 
the county, of the necessities of the lieges, of the " oppres- 
sions " to be redressed, and of their ability to contribute 
to the exigencies of the State. 



CHAPTER XIII 

Of the Estate of Knights Rise of the Towns. 

THESE deputies were members of a class of our popula- 
tion which, from the important part it was subsequently 
destined to fill in the fortunes of our country, requires 
our particular attention. I allude to the estate of THE 
KNIGHTS. In spite of some cloudy cavils of Madox, 1 

1 Thomas Madox. English antiquary and royal historiographer 
(d. 1727). 



152 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

our modern inquirers agree with the learned Selden, that 
every immediate tenant of the Crown in England was 
a Baron by virtue of his tenure, and as such entitled to 
be personally summoned to the King's Great Court or 
Council of Parliament, and therein to take his seat. 
But in process of time these military tenants of the Crown 
had, by the alienation and splitting of feofs, become in 
number so considerable, and in personal influence, in 
comparison with their high privilege, so moderate, that 
the Crown neglected to summon them to its councils, 
and, indeed, the burthen of attendance in Parliament 
was so grievous to men whose limited estates required 
their personal supervision that the royal neglect was 
by themselves considered anything but a grievance. In 
the thirteenth century these royal tenants formed the 
great bulk of the freeholders of the kingdom, for I need 
not remind your Lordship that it was not then uncommon 
for a tenant in capite to hold even a fraction of a knight's 
fee. These lower nobility, or minor Barons as they 
were styled, in gradually ceasing to be insignificant 
Peers, subsided, however, into a most powerful eques- 
trian order, in which the lesser portion of the free- 
holders, who were only mesne tenants, by degrees also 
merged. And thus was established the ESTATE of THE 
KNIGHTS. 

The local government of the country was in the hands 
of this order. In their county court, under the style and 
title of " The Community or Commonalty of the County," 
a phrase which has been so much misunderstood, but 
which originally implied nobility, this estate met to 
elect one of their number as the governor or guardian 
of the shire, their choice subject, however, to the royal 
ratification. When the King hefd his great council, he 
directed the Sheriff of the county to return two or more 
knights to present to him the condition of their district. 
These knights, being sworn, summoned before them the 
jurors as witnesses of the hundreds, and, having obtained 
from these inquisitions all necessary information, repaired 



1835] EEMEDIAL REPRESENTATION 153 

to the great council of the kingdom with their quota of 
statistical intelligence. The transition from being merely 
the selected councillors of their Sovereign to being the 
virtual representatives of their order was natural, easy, 
and rapid ; and thus this important and numerous estate 
of the kingdom was in fact represented by deputation 
in the great council a representation, however, merely 
remedial, and not legislative : they came to impart know- 
ledge and inferentially to proffer counsel, to present to 
the King the state of his realm and the " grievances " of 
his subjects, and to assist the monarch in deciding suits 
arising in their districts, and in ascertaining the just 
apportionment of the general taxation. As from coun- 
cillors and judges they became representatives, so also 
in time their sanction was held necessary to the tax which 
originally they had met only to estimate by their in- 
formation. In time, also, their consent was equally held 
necessary to the laws, which, however, they never 
originated. It is, indeed, very questionable whether the 
great office of legislation was then exercised even by the 
more potent estates of the kingdom themselves, who 
appeared personally in Parliament, the Clergy and the 
Peers. In those days legislation was the province of 
the clerk-like councillors of the Sovereign, and I do not 
myself infer any degrading inferiority in the estate of 
the knights from the circumstance of their Parliamentary 
attendance assuming merely a remedial character. Thus, 
gradually, a most important constituent portion of our 
House of Commons developed itself, and so little has 
any preconceived theory ever influenced the formation 
of our political institutions, and so entirely have they 
emanated from the legal economy of the land, that I have 
myself little doubt that this convenient method, by which 
the English knights assumed their fitting place in the 
council of their Sovereign, was derived from ancient and 
analogous, though occasional, customs of our country 
which prevailed in England before the Conquest, and 
which pervaded the Teutonic jurisprudence in every land. 

11 



154 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

The Court of Echevins 1 alone will occur to those who 
are learned in British history, and curious in constitu- 
tional inquiries. 

f~ Thus we find, in the thirteenth century, the King of 
[England surrounded in his council by three estates of 

(his realm his Prelates, his Peers, and his Knights. We 
approach now an interesting period in the history of our 
political Constitution. The reign of Henry the Third is 
one of the most important in our annals. The great 
struggle between the Norman King and the feodal 
aristocracy was at this time conducted on both sides 
with unexampled energy. Undoubtedly the great body 
of the nation in these struggles favoured the aristocracy. 
In England, unlike the Continent, the King was powerful. 
We owe our liberties to our nobility. But I am inclined 
to attribute the sympathy which has ever subsisted 
between the English and their aristocarcy to a more 
influential cause than the mere power and consequent 
tyranny of the Crown, and to this cause, which at present 
flourishes, and to which may be principally ascribed the 
singular prosperity of this country, I shall hereafter 
advert. 

Under the Norman Kings, and especially under Henry 
the Second, the English towns had made rapid advances 
in wealth and population. Charters of incorporation 
became frequent. In the latter part of the twelfth 
century it was impossible for a sagacious politician not 

1 Mr. J. H. Round's discovery, " among the manuscripts of the 
British Museum, of the oath of the ' Commune ' proves for the first 
time that London in 1193 possessed a fully- developed ' Commune ' 
of the Continental pattern. From this we learn that the govern- 
ment of the city was in the hands of a Mayor and twelve echevins 
(skivini); both these names, being French, seem for a time 
to have excluded the Saxon Aldermen. Twelve years later 
(1205-06) we learn, from another document preserved in the 
same volume as the oath, that alii probi homines were asso- 
ciated with the Mayor and echevins to form a body of twenty-four 
(that is, twelve skivini and an equal number of councillors). 
Round holds that the Court of Skivini and alii probi homines . . . 
was the germ of the Common Council." Article on " London," 
" Encyclopaedia Britannica," vol. xvi. ; J. H. Round, " The Com- 
mune of London and Other Studies," 1899, cited. 



1835] ADVANCE OF THE TOWNS 155 

to perceive that new and powerful interests were spring- 
ing up in the Commonwealth, or to shut his eyes to the 
political privileges which awaited the growing wealth 
and increasing numbers of the citizens and burgesses of 
England. But as, from the very nature and origin of 
these mural communities, the Sovereign had the un- 
doubted and unquestioned prerogative of imposing 
tallages or taxes on cities and boroughs at pleasure, there 
existed no obvious or urgent inducement to summon the 
inhabitants to the great council of estates, which prin- 
cipally assembled to apportion the aids to be raised on 
their separate orders. Although the Earl of Leicester, 1 
who headed the rebellious Barons, unquestionably pos- 
sessed many of the eminent qualities becoming the leader 
of a great party, I am not disposed to behold any very 
revolutionary tendency in his conduct when, mighty as 
were the results in his memorable Parliament of 1264, 
in addition to the Prelates, the Magnates, and the Knights, 
he decided to issue writs of summons to " two honest, 
lawful, and discreet " citizens and burgesses from every 
city and burgh. I am more inclined to believe that this 
great movement was rather dictated by a politic appre- 
hension that, however the nation might be disposed to 
view in complacent silence his assumption of many of the 
prerogatives of the King, who was his prisoner, they might 
perhaps have expected that an exception would be made 
in favour of the royal right of arbitrary taxation. I 
suspect that he was of opinion that the tallages would 
be forthcoming with more readiness if the citizens were 
flattered by granting those contributions as a favour 
which were before exacted as a right. Certain it is that 
De Montfort anticipated in some degree the necessities 
of his age; for when, under the vigorous policy of the 
next reign, civil peace again flourished, and the legitimate 
Sovereign found it convenient to avail himself of the new 
machinery which his rebellious subject had introduced, 
no privilege ever conferred by a King was ever received 

1 Simon de Montfort. 



156 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

with more/discontent than the right of returning members 
to his Parliament by his loyal towns. These honest 
burghers were loth to leave their homes and business for 
pursuits with which they were little acquainted, and 
society for which they were unfitted. Petitions to be 
exempted from the grievance of sending members to 
Parliament are not uncommon in our early records ; many 
burgesses when appointed declined to serve, and absented 
themselves from the council; and to remedy these in- 
conveniences the Sheriff was invested with a discretionary 
power of omitting boroughs in his return. It would seem 
that, from experience, the inhabitants of towns preferred 
the arbitrary taxation of their Sovereign to the grants 
of their representatives, and that these worthy traders 
were generally cajoled by the great council into con- 
tributions more liberal than their calmer moments in 
their stores and counting-houses approved. 

We must, however, guard ourselves from supposing 
that these citizens and burgesses who were summoned 
to Parliament were absolutely elected by the inhabitants 
of the towns as their representatives. Their presence in 
Parliament is another instance of representation without 
election. They were often nominated by the Sheriff of 
the county; and even when that great officer, from 
negligence or favour, permitted the return to be made 
by those more interested in the transaction, the nomina- 
tion was confined to the small governing body, who 
returned two of their members, in general very unwilling 
missionaries, to the great council. 



CHAPTER XIV 

Creation of the Estate of the Commons The House of Commons 
an Equestrian Chamber Why the Equality of Civil Rights 
was established in England at so Early a Period in our History. 

AT first the three Estates of the realm held themselves 
aloof ; the Knights by right and custom taking their seats 
among the Peers, while the citizens and burgesses re- 



1835] THE DIVISION OF PARLIAMENT 157 

mained in humble attendance, and, after settling the 
amount of their tallages, gave themselves no further 
concern with the public business, but cheerfully returned 
to their homes and affairs. But the two great causes 
which had simultaneously degraded the lower nobility 
into mere gentry, and raised the burghers into compara- 
tive importance, still operated; the increased division of 
land rendered the first class less influential and more 
numerous, the increase of commerce the last more power- 
ful and more wealthy. The chasm between the magnates 
and the lower nobility or Knights became each year wider 
and more profound, the boundary that separated the 
Knights from the burghers each year less marked and 
definite. It is impossible to fix nicely the period when 
Parliament was divided into two Houses, but I am in- 
clined to place it towards the end of the reign of Edward 
the First. It is easier to ascertain the principles on 
which the memorable division was established. Between 
the Prelates and the Magnates on the one hand, and the 
Knights and Burgesses on the other, there existed this 
memorable distinction. The first were in themselves 
estates of the realm; the last were only representatives 
of estates. To induce the Knights, however, to quit 
their noble companions, of whom the law still held them 
as the personal equals, and mix with the humble burghers, 
required some politic dexterity. It was at length settled 
that a new estate of the realm should be created, styled 
the Estate of the Commons or Commonalty, a title, as 
I have before observed, of great dignity, implying nobility, 
and formerly confined to the landed proprietors. The 
burghers were flattered by merging into the landed gentry 
of the country, and thus obtaining the dignity of the 
lesser nobility, and the Knights were compensated for 
the sullen sacrifice on their part by giving their title to 
the new estate, and impressing their peculiar character 
on the new chamber in which, for a very long period of 
our history, they naturally took the lead. Yet even then 
some time elapsed before the Knights condescended to 



158 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

renounce their old privilege of apportioning the tax of 
their original order, and blending the aids of the Lower 
House of Parliament. 

Thus have I traced, my Lord, and I assure you not 
without some difficulty, the history of the formation of 
our House of Commons. And now to what did this great 
revolution in the Constitution of our country amount ? 
To nothing more nor less than the establishment of AN 
EQUESTRIAN CHAMBER. If such were its original charac- 
ter, that character has been maintained throughout the 
whole of our history, and that character, as I will shortly 
show, has not been affected by the recent Act of Reform. 
It never was the House of the People ; it is not the House 
of the People. The members of the House of Commons 
never were the representatives of the people. They are 
not the representatives of the people. They always were, 
and they are still, the representatives of the Commons, 
an estate of the realm privileged as the other estates, 
not meeting personally for the sake of convenience, but 
by its representatives, and constituting, even with its 
late considerable accession of members, only a small 
section of the nation. We have a curious instance how 
accurately this distinction was observed in the time of 
Henry the Fourth, and how perfect was the order of 
Parliament in that reign. For when the King met his 
Parliament, and, having addressed the estates of the 
Lords Spiritual and Temporal, then turned to the House 
of Commons, he promised that he " would do nothing 
against the liberty of the estate for which they had come to 
Parliament, nor against the liberties of the Lords Spiritual 
and Temporal." The impudent misrepresentation of our 
anti-constitutional writers originates in an ignorant mis- 
conception of words. If the House had been called the 
House of Knights, or rather the House of Squires, which 
is the literal meaning of the word Commons, we should 
have heard nothing of this dangerous nonsense by virtue 
of which it is sought that the whole power of the realm 
shall be concentrated in one of the estates, and that, too, 



1835] AN ESTATE OF THE PEOPLE 159 

one recently remodelled for factious purposes. An Estate 
of the People involves a contradiction in terms, for an 
estate is a popular class established into a political order. 
If, therefore, the Sovereign had established the Lower 
House as the estate of the people, he would have virtually 
declared that the clergy and the nobles, the most in- 
fluential part of the nation, were not a portion of the 
people. Far from this, the cautious monarch refrained 
from even establishing the citizens into a separate estate ; 
instead of doing this, he flattered their vanity while he 
checked their independence, and while he raised them 
to the rank of Commons, he secured, to use the epithet in 
its popular not its correct sense, an aristocratic charac- 
ter for each estate of his realm. As the Upper House 
consisted of two estates of the realm, the Clergy and the 
Peers, so also the Lower House might equally have con- 
sisted of the representatives of two estates of the realm, 
the Knights and the Burgesses. But this was avoided. J 
Yet suppose the Sovereign had thought fit to establish 
a separate estate of the citizens, would the Lower House 
any more have represented the people ? By no means. 
Other classes of the people would still have remained un- 
represented, and classes the most numerous for instance, 
the peasantry. Such estates were not unknown in the 
Middle Ages, and even at this day an Estate of the 
Peasantry meets in the Diets of Sweden and the Storthings 
of Norway. 

By this final constitution of the English Parliament 
the seal was set to that glorious characteristic of our laws 
which various causes had been for a long period silently 
combining to create; to which I mainly attribute the 
freedom, honour, and prosperity of our country, and our 
singular preservation from that whirlwind of outraged 
passion and opinion which swept over Europe during the 
end of the last century, and still threatens Christendom, 
with its wild and moaning wail. This glorious character- 
istic of our laws is our equality of civil rights. By the 
formation of the House of Commons, the great body of 



160 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

the lesser nobility of England formally renounced those 
rights of peerage, the practical enjoyment of which had 
been long escaping them; and instead of that gallant 
but adventurous swarm of personages who, under the 
perplexing title of nobles, abounded in Europe before the 
great French Revolution gave the last blow to the 
crumbling Gothic edifice of feodal polity, men who were 
distinguished from ordinary freemen by privileges in- 
herent in their blood, and held their pedigrees, often 
their only muniments, as valid exemptions from the toils 
and cares of honest industry; men who were free from 
contributing to the public burthens; who alone might 
draw the sword; and whose daughters were defended by 
law from profaning alliances with roturiers arose in this 
our favoured land of Albion, a class of individuals noble 
without privilege, noble from the generosity of their 
nature, the inspiration of their lineage, and the refine- 
ment of their education; a class of individuals who, 
instead of meanly submitting to fiscal immunities, sup- 
port upon their broad and cultivated lands all the burthens 
of the State; men who have conquered by land and sea, 
who have distinguished themselves in every honourable 
profession, and acquired fame in every department of 
learning and in every province of science and of art ; who 
support the poor instead of plundering them, and respect 
the court which they do not fear ; friends alike to liberty 
and order, who execute justice and maintain truth the 
gentlemen of England; a class of whom it is difficult to 
decide whether their moral excellence or their political 
utility be most eminent, conspicuous, and inspiring. 

In due and sympathising deference to the lesser nobility, 
their former equals who subsided into gentry, the mag- 
nates were careful to arrogate to themselves no privileges 
which were not necessary and incidental to them in their 
character of an estate of the realm, and their capacity of 
hereditary legislators of a free people. So that even their 
blood was not ennobled, and their children ranked only as 
Commons; thus distinctly announcing that their rank 



1835] THE PLANTAGENETS 161 

was a political institution for the public weal, and not a 
privilege for their private gratification. Indeed, it would 
not be too much to affirm that the law of England does 
not recognise nobility. It recognises the peerage, and it 
has invested that estate with august accessories; but to 
state that a man's blood is ennobled is neither legal nor 
correct, and the phrase, which has crept into our common 
parlance, is not borrowed from the lawyers, but from the 
heralds. Thus, I repeat, was consummated that glorious 
characteristic of our laws, the equality of our civil rights, 
and to this cause I refer the sympathy which has ever 
subsisted between the great body of the English nation 
and their aristocracy. 



CHAPTER XV 

Why Liberty flourished under the Plantagenets Why Liberty 
declined under the Tudors Primary Effect of Protestantism 
in England not Favourable to our Civil Liberties. 

LIBERTY flourished under the Plantagenets and for this 
reason, that the aristocracy headed the nation, and the 
House of Commons soon learnt to combine with the dis- 
contented party among the Peers. The remedial char-^ 
acter of our representation rapidly expanded into the V 
legislative, and the judge matured into a law-maker. 
Seldom has the crown of this realm circled a more able 
and vigorous brow than that of our third Edward: his 
reign, too, was long and eminently prosperous. Yet as 
early as this reign the illegality of raising money without 
consent of Parliament was firmly and practically estab- 
lished, as well as the necessity of the concurrence of the 
two Houses in any alteration of the law. In this reign, 
too, for the first time, the councillors of the Crown were 
impeached by the Commons, though there is little doubt- 
that the Lower House would not have ventured on so 
bold an advance in authority had they not been secretly 
stimulated by the Prince of Wales, and upheld by the 



162 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

majority of the Peers, jealous of the intrigues of the Duke 
of Lancaster against the interests of the heir-apparent. 
The Parliament that had ventured to resist an Edward 
dared to control a Richard. The Commons now inquired 
into the public expenditure, and even regulated the 
economy of the royal household. The Lancastrian Kings 
owed their throne to the Parliament, and the Parliament 
was mindful of the obligation. Under these three 
Sovereigns the present Constitution of England was 
amply, if not perfectly, developed. The right of taxa- 
tion in the two Houses was never questioned; the direc- 
tion of the public expenditure was claimed and practised ; 
the illegality of royal ordinances declared; Ministers, too, 
were impeached and punished, and finally the privileges 
of Parliament for the first time established. But perhaps 
the most important change in our constitutional system 
was the introduction, in the reign of Henry the Sixth, of 
complete statutes of the Commons, under the title of 
Bills, instead of their old method of Petitions. By these 
means the Sovereign was obliged to sanction or to reject 
the propositions of his Parliament without qualification ; 
and as it had been previously a maxim of Parliamentary 
practice that all laws should originate in the form of 
petitions from the Lower House, the legislative right of the 
Commons was now completely and firmly established. 

If liberty flourished under the Plantagenets, it faded 
under the Tudors. How was this ? Compare the reigns 
of the third Edward or the second Richard with those 
of Henry the Eighth and Elizabeth, and no one can shut 
his eyes to the vast progression which our country has 
made in all the elements of civilisation. We were much 
more populous, infinitely wealthier. We enjoyed a great 
commerce, our manufactures were considerable, our 
ancient military reputation maintained, our advance in 
arts indisputable. Why were we less free ? Why had 
that bold House of Commons, to whom the warlike and 
impatient Edward had to bow before he could carry on a 
struggle flattering to the fame of England, sunk into a 



1835] ADVANCE IN PUBLIC LIBERTY 163 

servile crew, who witnessed without a murmur the forced 
loans of a Privy Seal and a benevolence ? Where were 
the men who, under the wily Henry the Fourth, had 
declared the royal ordinances illegal ? Humbling them- 
selves before royal proclamations, crushed by the oppres- 
sion of the Star Chamber, and yielding without even a 
remonstrance to the enormity of the Council. Who now 
dared to inquire into the public administration ? Why 
were not Wolsey and Burleigh impeached as well as Lord 
Latimer and Suffolk ? Who remembered the statute of 
Henry the Sixth, " for the punishment of such as assault 
any on their way to the Parliament," when any member 
who offended the Sovereign or the Minister was, in 
scornful defiance of his privilege, instantly imprisoned; 
and Henry the Eighth vowed he would behead any of the 
Commons who opposed his will ? We cannot account 
for this extraordinary change in the character of our 
House of Commons by the usual reason of a standing 
army. Henry the Eighth commanded fifty beefeaters, 
and Elizabeth trusted to the guardianship of the trained 
bands. The truth is, the House of Commons was no 
longer supported by the Peers, and the aristocracy no 
longer headed the nation. The great advance in public 
liberty under the Plantagenets was carried on by a Parlia- 
ment in which a perfect understanding subsisted between 
the two Houses. We owe that bold scheme of popular 
government to which Selden and Pym in other days were 
content to appeal to "the wisdom of their ancestors," 
and to the united and harmonious efforts of the three 
estates of the realm. 

The Wars of the Roses were mortal to the great Peers 
and chivalric commons of England, and the tints of those 
fatal flowers were only emblematic of the terror and the 
blood that they occasioned. Unquestionably these evils 
in the course of time might have been remedied, and, 
doubtless, in the natural order of events a new race of 
great national leaders would have arisen, who might 
have restored that noble freedom and that sweet equality 



164 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

which rose under the Plantagenets, struggled under the 
Stuarts, and triumphed under the benignant sway of the 
House of Brunswick : but when, in the reign of Henry the 
Eighth, the aristocracy afforded some indications of 
reviving power, a new feature appeared in European, and 
especially in English, politics, which changed the whole 
frame and coloured the complete aspect of our society 
RELIGIOUS DISSENSION. It was by balancing the great 
parties in which this new spirit, so fertile in discord, 
divided the nation, that the Tudors, and especially 
Elizabeth and her statesmen, succeeded in establishing 
her power, until they delivered over to her successor the 
sceptre of a despot. I have myself no doubt that, 
although in its nature intimately and essentially con- 
nected with the cause of civil liberty, the immediate 
effect of the reformation on our English polity was any- 
thing but favourable to the growth of our liberties and 
^the establishment of our political institutions. The civil 
despotism of the King was in that age the consequence 
of his religious supremacy. The creation of the High 
Commission Court alone, and the sanction which the 
religious passions of a large party in the nation gave to 
that dark tribunal, afforded a fatal precedent for an 
application of analogous discipline to civil affairs which 
in practice reduced our Constitution to a polity befitting 
the meridian of Madrid, or even Constantinople. 



CHAPTEE XVI 

Of the Constitution of the House of Commons under the Tudors, 
and of the System of Borough Eepresentation. 

IF we survey the constitution of the House of Commons 
under the Tudors, we shall find that, although it experi- 
enced several very considerable changes, they were far 
from effecting any departure from the original character 
of that assembly. It did not in any degree more become 



1835] THE TUDORS 165 

the House of the People. It still remained the representa- 
tive of an estate of the realm, an estate in number, I 
apprehend, not very considerable ; inferior probably to the 
fleeting population of any of the large fairs then common 
in the country, and at this day not superior to the popula- 
tion of a second-rate capital. The House, when it was 
first established, consisted of seventy -four knights, and, 
for the causes I have before stated, of a very fluctuating 
number of burgesses : in early times they amounted to 
two hundred and sixty. The knights, in spite of their 
minority, seem to have indulged in no jealousy of their 
humbler brethren, but appear to have exercised in the 
chamber which had derived from them its name all that 
superior authority to which their noble lineage and terri- 
torial possessions entitled them. It is curious that the 
idea of representation, as relative to population, never 
appears to have entered into the consideration of our 
ancestors : York and Rutland returned the same number 
of representatives. I ascribe the apparent anomaly to 
the circumstance of the constituent body being generally 
very limited, arid particularly so in the northern counties. 
It was never intended that the population should be 
represented, but a particular class of it, and, as the spirit 
of the body pervaded all the county representatives, a 
knight of Rutland doubtless considered himself virtually 
as much the guardian of the knights of the county of 
York or Lancaster as of his own shire or that of Hunting- 
don. Moreover, there are reasons to believe that earlier 
than is usually imagined the English knights were in the 
habit of being returned for boroughs; and I apprehend 
that the majority of the House of Commons in the reigns 
of the Lancastrian Kings consisted of the descendants of 
our former minor Barons. 

On the accession of Henry the Eighth, the burgesses 
were in number two hundred and twenty -four. Henry 
extended county representation to Wales, Chester, and 
Monmouth, and even summoned burgesses from his 
Scotch town of Berwick and his French garrison of Calais. 



166 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

Edward the Sixth created fourteen boroughs and revived 
ten : Mary added twenty-one, and Elizabeth sixty. In 
most of these instances the right of representation was 
conceded to insignificant places and confined to mere 
nomination. Elizabeth was the first who worked on an 
extensive scale the great Parliamentary mine of Cornwall, 
and liberally enfranchised fishing-towns and miserable 
villages. The object of the Tudor Sovereigns in this 
increase of the House of Commons was to command 
majorities on the great religious questions. Arbitrary 
in every other respect, they were not unwilling to share 
with the compliant orthodoxy of their Parliament the 
responsibility of those extraordinary statutes which form 
an epoch in the philosophy of legislation. 

But the Tudors, in this extensive exercise of the power 
of Parliamentary appointment, introduced no heretical 
elements into the constitution of our House of Commons. 
As early as Edward the Second the representatives of 
more than twenty boroughs had been added by the King 
to the members of that assembly. I do not believe that 
the representation of our boroughs was originally elective. 
Far from being of opinion that the popular character of 
the third estate had gradually become corrupt and dimin- 
ished previous to the late Act of Reform, I believe, on the 
contrary, that since the accession of the Stuarts it had 
gradually become more vigorous and more comprehensive. 
Our Parliament long possessed, and indeed in some degree 
still retains, its original character of a royal council. 
The object of our Sovereigns was to surround themselves 
by the notable subjects of their realm, and they proceeded 
in the shortest and simplest manner to obtain their 
purpose. The elective character of the Parliamentary 
knights arose from the peculiar circumstances of their 
order and the ancient juridical customs of their shires. 
But these circumstances bore no relation to the Parlia- 
mentary burgesses, and although, honoris causa, they 
were incorporated with the noble Commons of the realm, 
the machinery of their selection was far less nice and com- 



1835] BOROUGH REPRESENTATION 167 

plicated. In general these returns were made by the 
small governing body which must exist in all mural com- 
munities, whether incorporated or not; probably in 
corporations the Aldermen or capital burgesses served by 
rotation. Sometimes, when no leading member of the 
society could be induced to undergo the inconvenience 
of quitting his home and neglecting his affairs, a neigh- 
bouring squire was substituted : sometimes the return was 
at once made by the Sheriff from his knowledge of the 
leading personages of the borough ; sometimes the future 
members were recommended by the Privy Council; 
sometimes the same representatives at once returned to a 
new Parliament, without any intervening ceremony, who 
had been seated in the last. The towns in royal demesne 
were probably always represented by officers of the 
Crown, and, indeed, this class of individuals abounded in 
the Tudor Parliaments. If this loose practice of borough 
representation were occasionally in turbulent or careless 
times drawn into a dangerous precedent for the return 
of knights for shires without the due and legal convoca- 
tion of the county court, it is certain that eventually the 
more formal and comprehensive scheme of county repre- 
sentation exercised a far more decided influence on that 
of the boroughs. As these increased in population and 
intelligence, and the privilege of being represented in the 
royal council became to be more generally understood 
and more finely appreciated, the system of representation 
by election, always more or less maintained by the return 
of the knights, afforded, as the origin of institutions 
became darker, at the same time a precedent for those 
inhabitants who sought a participation in the now envied 
privilege, and a plan by which their wishes might be 
accomplished. Thus the freeholders in boroughs by the 
right of their burgage tenure, 1 the freemen of the cor- 
porations, and sometimes the inhabitants at large, where 
burgage tenure was rare, and the towns, though flourish- 

1 A tenure by which lands or tenements in cities and towns 
were held of the King or other lord for a certain yearly rent 



168 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

ing, had not been, incorporated, gradually established 
their right to the exercise of a suffrage, and thus in the 
course of time the House of Commons came to consist 
of county members elected by the freeholders ; representa- 
tives of cities and boroughs chosen by a popular con- 
stituency where a popular constituency existed; and 
representatives of the same class who retained the old 
exemption from election, because, in fact, the unimportant 
places for which they appeared in Parliament had never 
emerged from their original insignificance, or produced a 
population bold and flourishing enough to usurp the return 
of their representatives from the hands of the governing 
body. 

This I believe to be a very just, as I am sure it is a very 
impartial, view of the formation of our House of Commons ; 
and if the history of our country and our Constitution 
had ever been anything better than a turbulent theatre 
for the gladiatorial struggle of party writers, it is one, I 
believe, which long ere this would have been adopted : 
for it has the merit of being not only consistent with 
human nature and consonant with that profounder 
knowledge of the origin of our political institutions which 
is the privilege of the present day, but it reconciles all 
the characteristics and all the difficulties which have 
been proved and promulgated by the four great theories 
of borough representation that have so long puzzled our 
lawyers and perplexed our antiquaries. 

Those who may imagine that I derive any satisfaction 
in establishing the narrow origin of our present more 
popular representation greatly mistake my feelings and 
opinions. I am not one of those who believe that the 
safety of the Constitution is consulted by encouraging 
an exclusive principle in the formation of the constituency 
of our third estate. It is not the supposed democratic 
character which it has assumed under the new arrange- 
ment I wish I could call it settlement that fills me 
with any apprehensions. On the contrary, I wish it were 
even more catholic, though certainly not more Papist. 



1835] MEHEMET ALI 169 

It is its sectarian quality in which I discover just cause of 
alarm. But it has been necessary for me to show what 
was the original character of our Lower House, and the 
primary intention of the founders of our Constitution. 
In creating a third estate of the realm, they established 
an order of men, limited in number and highly privileged, 
styled the Commons. Although we have increased the 
number of these Commons, we have not increased their 
privileges or enlarged their political capacity. They still 
remain an estate of the realm, and only an estate of the 
realm in spirit as well as in law. For although their 
representatives may be chosen by three hundred thousand 
men instead of one hundred thousand, they are still only 
the representatives of a limited and favoured class of the 
kingdom. The House of Commons is not a jot more the 
House of the People, unless we exclude from our definition 
of the people many of the most essential and most im- 
portant elements of a nation. I shall have occasion in 
due season to speak further of the great reformingscheme 
of 1830. Here I will only observe that, in a hasty and 
factious effort to get rid of representation without elec- 
tion, it will be as well if eventually we do not discover 
that we have only obtained election without representa- 
tion. 



CHAPTER XVII 

Anecdote of the Pacha of Egypt Eepresentation without Election 

illustrated. 

THE current of these observations reminds me of an 
anecdote which may perhaps amuse your Lordship, nor 
be found altogether devoid of instruction. When I was 
in Egypt the Pacha of that country, a personage, as is 
well known, of rare capacity, and influenced by an almost 
morbid desire of achieving in an instant the great and 
gradual results of European civilisation, was extremely 
desirous, among other objects of passion or of fancy, of 

12 



170 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

obtaining a Parliament. Emulous of the prosperity and 
popular power of our Kings, his Highness was eager to 
obtain the means by which, on reflection, he was con- 
vinced not only that our country so eminently flourished, 
but by which our Sovereign succeeded in commanding 
at the same time obedience and affectie n. It so happened 
that a young English gentleman, who was on his travels, 1 
was at this period resident in Cairo, and as he had more 
than once had the good fortune in an audience of en- 
gaging the attention of the Pacha by the readiness or 
patience of his replies, his Highness determined to do 
the young Englishman the honour of consulting him. 

Our countryman received the summons, which all 
instantly obey, and immediately repaired to the Divan 
of the citadel. He found the Pacha surrounded by his 
courtiers, his engineers, his colonels, and his eunuchs. 
At length his Highness^lapped his hands, and the chamber 
was cleared, with the exception of a favourite Minister 
and a faithful dragoman. The surprise of our country- 
man when he received the communication of the Pacha 
was not inconsiderable ; but he was one of those who had 
seen sufficient of the world never to be astonished, not 
altogether untinctured with political knowledge, and 
gifted with that philosophical exemption from prejudice 
which is one of the most certain and the most valuable 
results of extensive travel. Our countryman com- 
municated to the Egyptian ruler with calmness and with 
precision the immediate difficulties that occurred to him, 
explained to the successor of the Pharaohs and the 
Ptolemies that the political institutions of England had 
been the gradual growth of ages, and that there is no 
political function which demands a finer discipline, or a 
more regulated preparation, than the exercise of popular 
suffrage. The Pacha listened in silence, nodding his 
head in occasional approbation : then, calling for coffee, 
instead of looking at his watch like a European Sovereign, 
delicately terminated the interview. 

1 Disraeli himself (see "Home Letters," Cairo, May 28, 1831). 



1835] SPITTING PEARLS 171 

Some short time afterwards the young Englishman 
repaired, as was his occasional custom, to the levee of the 
Egyptian ruler. When the Pacha perceived him, he 
welcomed him with a favouring smile, and beckoned to 
him to advance to the contiguous divan. 

"God is great !" said Mehemet Ali to the traveller; 
" you are a wise man Allah ! kerim, but you spit pearls. 
Nevertheless I will have a Parliament, and I will have 
as many Parliaments as the King of England himself. 
See here !" So saying, his Highness produced two lists 
of names, containing those of the most wealthy and in- 
fluential personages of every town and district in his 
dominions. " See here !" said he, " here are my Parlia- 
ments; but I have made up my mind, to prevent in- 
convenience, to elect them myself." 

Behold, my Lord, a splendid instance of representation 
without election ! In pursuance of this resolution of 
Mehemet Ali, two chambers met at Cairo, called in the 
jargon of the Levant the alto Parliamento, and the basso 
Parliamento. The first consisted of the Pachas and chief 
officers of the capital, the second really of the most re- 
spectable of the provincial population. Who can doubt 
that the basso Parliamento of Cairo, if the invasion of 
Syria had not diverted the attention of Mehemet Ali 
from domestic politics, might have proved a very faithful 
and efficient national council, and afforded the governor 
of the country very important information as to the 
resources, necessities, and grievances of his subjects ? 
Who can hesitate in believing that there was a much 
greater chance of its efficiency and duration when 
appointed by the Pacha himself than when elected by 
his subjects in their present condition ? Who does not 
recognise in such an assembly the healthy seeds of a 
popular government ? I for one should have much more 
confidence in the utility and duration of the Parliament 
of Cairo than in that of Naples or Madrid ; especially as, 
it is but candid to confess, Mehemet Ali had further 
secured a practical term of political initiation for his 



172 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

future legislators by two capital rules: first, that the 
basso Parliamento should only petition and not debate; 
and, secondly, that the alto Parliamento should only 
debate and not vote ! 



CHAPTER XVIII 

Why the Political Consequences of the Protestant Eeligion on the 
Continent were Different to those in England, and why 
Favourable to Civil Liberty Protestantism creates a Republi- 
can Religion Introduction of the Phrase " The People," 
into European Politics. 

THE Protestant Reformation, which, in a political point 
of view, had only succeeded in dividing England into two 
parties and establishing arbitrary power, had produced 
far different effects on the Continent of Europe. There 
it had created a Republican religion: for such was the 
ecclesiastical polity of Calvin. The English Protestants, 
who, flying from the Marian persecution, sought refuge 
at Geneva, in the agony of their outraged loyalty re- 
nounced their old allegiance, applied to civil polity the 
religious discipline of their great apostle, and returned 
to their native country political republicans. Kings 
were the enemies of Protestantism, and Protestants 
naturally became the enemies of monarchy. The Hebrew 
history, which they studied as intently as the Christian 
Gospels, furnished them with a precedent and a model 
for a religious republic. Judges ruled in Israel before 
the royal dynasties of Saul or David. The anti-monarchical 
spirit of Protestant Europe was notorious and incon- 
testable as early as the middle of the sixteenth century. 
The regicides of Holy Writ are the heroes of the turbulent 
tractates of the early missionaries of spiritual democracy : 
the slayer of Sisera, or he who stabbed the fat King of 
Moab in his chamber. Samuel, the prophet of the Lord, 
deposed Kings : Calvin and Knox were the successors of 
Samuel. The bloody massacre of Saint Bartholomew, 



1835] AN INSIDIOUS PHEASE 173 

occasioned by the promulgation of this dangerous political 
religionism, aggravated the danger and determination of 
its votaries. The press of Europe swarmed with re- 
publican treatises composed by the ablest writers. 
Books are great landmarks in the history of human 
nature. Now was heard, for the first time, of the para- 
mount authority of " THE PEOPLE." This is the era of 
the introduction into European politics of that insidious 
phrase, by virtue of which an active and unprincipled 
minority have ever since sought to rule and hoodwink 
a nation. In 1579 appeared the famous " Vindicise contra 
Tyrannos " of Languet, 1 and the revolt of Holland and 
the League of Utrecht, which terminated in the estab- 
lishment of the Dutch Republic, formed a practical com- 
mentary on its virulent and fervent pages. 

The Republican Religion, which revolutionised Holland, 
triumphed in Scotland under Knox, and in France long 
balanced the united influence of the crown and the tiara. 
Even as late as 1621 the genius of Richelieu alone pre- 
vented France from being formed into a Federal Republic, 
and from being divided into circles . 

Such was the spirit of the European movement when 
the aristocracy of England, refreshed and renovated by 
more than half a century of prosperity and peace, deemed 
the accession of Charles the First a fitting season for a 
struggle to restore the ancient liberties of the nation, 
and to regain and complete the Constitution of the Plan- 
tagenets. For nearly two centuries that Constitution 
had been suspended, like an old suit of armour, crusted 
with the blood of the civil wars, and covered with the dust 
of theologic logomachies: but the great spirits of the 
seventeenth century recognised the suit as of good proof, 
and, though somewhat antiquated in its style and fashion, 
possessing all necessary powers of protection and o ence. 
The history of the age of Charles the First has been the 
literary arena of the passions of all parties. The far 
vaster range of political experience which, from the great 

1 Hubert Languet (1518-1581). 



174 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

French Revolution and its consequences, we enjoy than 
our forefathers, our increased, yet not too considerable, 
distance from the passionate period in question, and our 
decreased dependence upon its incidents as the once 
solitary precedents for all popular movements, the re- 
searches of ingenious scholars, and the publication of 
contemporary memoirs, have all combined to render us 
more competent to decide upon the character of the most 
memorable transactions of our annals. 

Until the meeting of the Long Parliament, the King 
appears to have had no party in the nation, and solely 
to have depended upon his courtiers and his Bishops. 
There was a general feeling throughout the leading classes 
of the country that the time had arrived when the settle- 
ment of the State on a broad basis of constitutional 
liberty was indispensable. The aristocracy of England, 
also, was no longer that unlettered class of mere warriors 
who, however great might be their political power or 
ardent their love of public liberty, were necessarily 
debarred by their habits and want of education from 
practising the arts of government and legislation. The 
cultivated intellect of England required a theatre for its 
display and exercise ; it found this in some degree in its 
Parliament, but sought it more decidedly in the adminis- 
tration of the Empire. The time had arrived when a 
prelate could no longer conduct the affairs of the realm 
from his monopoly of learning. The age of royal 
favourites was about to be closed for ever. The monarch, 
though apparently almost a despot, was fast approaching 
the simplicity of his executive capacity : it not only might 
be then obvious to the contemplative, but it was abso- 
lutely determined by practical men, that the administra- 
tion of the kingdom should soon be conducted by those 
of the subjects who were most eminent and distinguished 
in the great national council. 



1835] HAMPDEN AND PYM 175 



CHAPTER XIX 

Attempts of the English Aristocracy to restore the Constitution 
of the Plantagenets under Charles the First Constitutional 
Eeformers and Root and Branch Reformers The Root and 
Branch Reformers attack the Church and alarm the Constitu- 
tional Reformers The Root and Branch Reformers, deserted 
by the Constitutional Reformers, form an Anti-national 
Alliance with the Scotch Covenanters. 

THE two Houses of the first Parliament summoned by 
Charles contained the flower of his kingdom men of 
the highest lineage, the largest estates, the most dis- 
tinguished learning, and the most illustrious accomplish- 
ments. The Opposition in the House of Commons, led 
by Eliot, and supported by the Peers, succeeded, as early 
as the third year of Charles's reign, in obtaining the 
Petition of Bight. But this concession did not satisfy 
the Parliament; they wished to dislodge the favourite; 
to change the Ministry as well as establish the Constitu- 
tion. Charles recoiled from the novel heresy of not being 
the master of his own servant, a heresy soon doomed to 
become orthodox : he determined to support his friend, 
and the King resolved to reign without a Parliament. 

It is singular that the King could have contrived to 
reign ten years without one, but the truth is the state 
of the country, as is admitted and celebrated by all 
foreign writers, was of a prosperity so extraordinary that 
it was difficult to excite discontents among the great 
body of the nation. In this dilemma, the leaders of the 
Opposition among the Commons, Hampden and Pym, 
but concealing their masterly machinations from the 
more numerous and moderate portions of their party, in- 
trigued with the Scotch, and held out to the Presbyterian 
leaders of that nation the prospect of the English Opposi- 
tion assisting them in their favourite project, the over- 
throw of the Church of England in Scotland. The conse- 
quent troubles in Scotland plunged the King in a war, 






176 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

and was the occasion of the summons of the Long Parlia- 
ment. 

The spirit of the King when he met this famous 
assembly was quite broken. He was ready to make any 
concession consistent with the maintenance of a limited 
monarchy. Experience had taught him that the whole 
body of the aristocracy was opposed to him, and we 
know that Charles was perfectly aware of the sacrifices 
which would be demanded of him, and which he was 
prepared to grant without resistance. The objects of 
the King at this time were to obtain the establishment 
of a limited monarchy by constitutional concessions, and 
then to form a Parliamentary administration from the 
most eminent of his previous opponents, in which conduct 
alone he recognised any security for a strong govern- 
ment, and the only prevention of further movement. 

The Long Parliament in a few months restored the 
Constitution of the Plantagenets . It secured the frequent 
assemblage of Parliaments : it terminated for ever arbi- 
trary taxation : it abolished the Star Chamber and the 
High Commission Court. The concessions of Charles the * 
First during the two sessions of this Parliament, previous ^ ( 
to the Civil War, were so ample that the Eevolution of ^v 
1688 added no important feature to our political system. 
Faithful to their purpose, the leaders of this famous 
Opposition not only established our liberties, but im- 
peached the Ministers, and this brought about a result 
not less anxiously and eagerly sought after than the 
abolition of Ship Money : a formal attempt by the King, 
for which he had been long prepared, to form a Govern- 
ment of the more moderate portion of the Parliamentary 
party. I cannot believe that the death of the Earl of 
Bedford could alone have occasioned the failure of this 
intended arrangement; it is more probable that the 
dissensions which soon broke out in the great body of 
the Commons had already covertly appeared. The 
Parliament, although both Houses and the vast majority 
of the Lower had been previously opposed to the King 



1835] A CHECK TO THE COMMONS 177 

for we must not forget that even Hyde and Falkland 
were originally members of opposition had now become 
divided into two parties : the Constitutional Reformers, 
and the Root and Branch Reformers ; Pym and Hampden 
headed the latter. The Constitutional Reformers were 
alarmed by the attack on the Church : the Lords threw out 
the Bill which sought to deprive the Bishops of their 
Parliamentary suffrage. This was the first check that 
the Commons had received from the Upper House. Pym 
and Hampden, deserted by the Constitutional Reformers, 
had thrown themselves into the hands of the Puritans 
and Root and Branch men. Instead of political unions, 
they appealed to the city apprentices, and the trained 
bands; mobs were hired, petitions forged, all the arts of 
insurgency practised. The Peers were daunted, the 
King frightened; Straff ord was executed, the Bishops 
expelled the House of Lords, the House of Commons itself 
rendered independent of the King and its constituents 
by the act which made its dissolution consequent on its 
own pleasure. At length, by the Remonstrance and the 
Propositions the very abrogation of the monarchy being 
attempted, the King raised his standard, and so com- 
pletely had the unhappy monarch by his conduct placed 
the Commons in the wrong, that the very personage who. 
two years before, had absolutely no party in the nation 
found himself supported by a considerable majority of 
his people, and nearly the whole of the Peerage ; while the 
vote which virtually occasioned the struggle, and was 
the trial of strength of the two parties in the House of 
Commons, was only carried by a majority of eleven. The 
success of the royal arms, and the unexpected strength 
of the royal party, filled the Commons with consterna- 
tion. The moderate members continued to flock to the 
King. Pym and Hampden, finding that they were 
deserted by their aristocratic companions, and that the 
Puritans and Root and Branch men were not powerful 
enough to support them, made an open and absolute 
alliance with the Scotch Presbyterians, with whom they 



178 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

had always had a 'secret understanding, swallowed the 
Covenant which they had before disfavoured, decreed the 
extermination of the Church of England, beheaded Laud, 
called in a Scotch army, and maintained their cause by 
a connection offensive to their countrymen. 



CHAPTER XX 

Parallel between passing Events and the Reign of Charles the First 
Government of " the People " established in England Its 
Practical Consequences The Nation seeks Refuge from " the 
People " Public Opinion not less Influential in the Age of 
Charles the First than at the Present Day European Move- 
ment described Of the Latter Stuarts. 

AM I indeed treating of the reign of Charles the First ? 
or is it some nearer epoch that I am commemorating ? 
Am I writing of the affairs of the seventeenth or the 
nineteenth century ? There is such a marvellous simi- 
larity between the periods that, for my part, I find great 
difficulty in discriminating between the two Dromios. 
In both instances the Church of England is the great 
victim, and at both seasons the vast majority of the 
English people were warmly and tenderly attached to 
their establishment . In both cases the aristocratic leaders 
of the movement thought fit to secede from their own 
party, while in both cases their more determined or 
desperate associates compensate themselves for the 
desertion by the alliance of revolutionary or anti-national 
support. In one instance the Radicals, in the other the 
Root and Branch men; in one instance the Dissenters, 
in the other the Puritans. And in both instances, when 
Radicals and Dissenters in the one case and Puritans and 
Root and Branch men in the other fail in making up with 
their influence for the loss of the aristocratic connections 
of the leaders who had summoned them, we find the 
same desperate and treasonable compact, made in one 
age with the Scotch Presbyterians, and in the other 



1835] EARLY UTILITARIANS 179 

with the Irish Papists ; the Solemn League and Covenant 
so long repudiated swallowed as the condition in the first 
instance, and the Irish Church scheme, once so warmly 
opposed, gulped down in the other. 

The Bishops expelled from the House of Lords, the 
Bang defied, then imprisoned, and then decapitated, the 
House of Lords disregarded, and then formally abolished, 
voted " a nuisance, and of no use " you see, my Lord, 
there were Utilitarians even in those days behold the 
great object at length consummated of concentrating 
the whole power and authority of the government in one 
estate of the realm. The verbal process by which the 
revolution was effected was very simple and very logical 
if we only grant the premises ; the schoolmen themselves 
could not have reasoned with more invincible accuracy. 
The House of Commons, having first declared "that the 
people are the origin of all just power " an axiom to 
which any person may annex any meaning of his fancy 
next enunciated that the House of Commons, being 
chosen by the people and representing them, are the 
supreme authority of the nation, and that consequently 
whatever is declared to be law by the House of Commons 
hath the force of law without the consent of the King or 
the House of Peers. First, the constituency of the House 
of Commons, a small fraction of the nation, is declared 
to be the People; their power then becomes invested in 
their representatives; the majority of those representa- 
tives, acting by their supreme authority, then expel from 
their numbers the minority who oppose their projects; 
and then, still acting by their supreme authority, vote the 
power of the triumphant majority perpetual. This is 
the simple process by which we at length obtain a tolerably 
definite idea of what is meant by the phrase " the People, ' r 
and the easy machinery by which a band of two or three 
hundred individuals obtain and exercise despotic power 
over the lives, liberties, and property of a whole nation. 

We still remember in this country the tender and happy 
consequences of being governed by " the People." We 



180 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

have not forgotten- that " the People " established Courts 
more infamous than the Star Chamber in every county 
of England, with power of fining, sequestrating, im- 
prisoning, and corporally punishing all who opposed or 
even murmured against their decrees; that under the 
plea of malignancy " the People " avenged their private 
hatreds, and seized for their private gain and gratification 
any estates or property to which they took a fancy ; that 
" the People " consigned to Bas tiles and perpetual 
imprisonment all those who refused to answer their illegal 
inquiries, and bored red-hot irons through the tongues 
of the contumacious; that not an appearance of law or 
liberty remained in the land ; that " the People " enlarged 
the laws of high-treason so that they comprehended 
verbal offences and even intentions; that " the People " 
practised decimation; that "the People" voted trial 
by Jury a breach of Parliamentary privilege; that "the 
People " deprived of authority all persons of family and 
distinction who had originally adhered to their party, 
because men of blood and breeding would not submit to 
be their disgraceful and ignoble tools, and filled every 
office under them with the scum of the nation ; that the 
very individuals who had suffered and struggled under 
the Star Chamber were visited by " the People " with 
punishments and imprisonments infinitely more bloody 
and more grievous; that "the People" sequestrated 
nearly one-half of the goods and chattels of the nation, 
and at least one-half of its rents and revenues; that in 
seven years "the People" raised the taxation of the 
country from 800,000 per annum to 7,000,000 per 
annum; that "the People" invented the Excise, and 
applied that odious impost even to provisions and the 
common necessaries of life; that "the People " became 
so barefaced in their vile extortions that one morning 
they openly divided 300,000 amongst themselves, and 
settled an annuity of 4 a day on each of their number ; 
that " the People " committed all these enormities in 
the teeth of outraged England, by the aid of an anti- 



1835] EUROPEAN MOVEMENT 181 

national compact with the Scottish Covenanters; and 
that finally the Nation, the insulted and exhausted 
Nation, sought refuge from the Government of " the 
People " in the arms of a military despot. 

I hear much in the present day of the march of in- 
tellect, and the diffusion of knowledge, and the influence 
of public opinion, and there are those who would assure 
us that in these circumstances and qualities we may 
safely count upon finding ample guarantees for not only 
the maintenance but the increase of our liberties, and 
very able securities for every species of good government. 
It will be as well for us, however, to turn aside, if possible, 
for a moment from the exciting tumult in which it is 
the destiny of the present age to flourish, and calmly 
condescend to spare a few moments of consideration to 
the history of that not less agitated and consequential 
age which elapsed from 1550 to the middle of the seven- 
teenth century. The Protestant Reformation and its 
great political consequences, especially the formation of 
the Dutch Republic, had agitated men's minds in a 
degree not inferior to the influence exercised over the 
spirit of the eighteenth and present centuries by the 
French Revolution. The nature and origin of Power 
were not less severely scrutinised; the object and in- 
fluence of Establishments not less sharply canvassed. 
There was as much public intelligence, as much public 
opinion, and as much public spirit, in Europe then as at 
the present hour. The exclusive and local character of 
nations was fast disappearing; patriotism was fast 
merging into philanthropy ; a cosmopolite spirit pervaded 
Christendom: Geneva communicated with Edinburgh or 
Paris; there was a constant spiritual correspondence 
between Amsterdam and La Rochelle and London. The 
political movement in England originated with the aris- 
tocracy; it was supported and advanced by the great 
body of the nation. If the influence of the press were 
less considerable than at the present day, though I much 
doubt it, and the British Museum , which contains so many 



182 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

thousand pamphlets of the times of Charles the First, a 
fraction only of the fugitive effusions, confirms my 
scepticism Public Opinion had yet another and more 
powerful organ, and was influenced by even a more 
potent and passionate medium. If there were ten 
thousand pamphlets, certainly there were ten thousand 
pulpits. 

There was as much communication in 1640 as there is 
likely to be in 1840; if we had no rail-roads, we had men 
who rode " post haste "; there were as many committees, 
there was as complete an organisation; the arts of in- 
surgency reached such a zenith of perfection that the 
unlicensed imagination and unbridled devices of Jaco- 
binical France only imitated and never surpassed them; 
and, more important than all, the Government was much 
weaker. Yet, although the flame of popular liberty was 
fed by such various and vigorous fuel, and although the 
ranks of the popular party were marshalled and led on 
during the contest by statesmen inferior in station, 
capacity, and accomplishment, to none who ever figured 
in this land, the mighty impulse, like the most beautiful 
river of Germany, which, after renovating a country and 
commanding the admiration of a nation, never reaches 
the ocean, but sinks into the swamps of Brabant the 
mighty impulse achieved only destruction, and the move- 
ment ended in mud. 

The reigns of the latter Stuarts are the most disgraceful 
in our annals, but as much from the character of the 
nation as the character of those monarchs. The public 
spirit was broken and the public mind corrupted. Good 
laws are of little avail without good manners, and unless 
there be a wholesome state of mind in the nation to 
regulate their exercise. Trial by Jury in the time of 
Charles the Second was a tyranny as fearful as the Star 
Chamber ; and without any formal violation of our written 
Constitution, it is probable that the government of the 
Tudors would have been re-established in England, had 
not James the Second alarmed the Protestant spirit of 



1835] REFORM BILL OF 1830 183 

the country, and the aristocracy seized the opportunity 
of again establishing our liberties. 

The consequences of the famous revolution which raised 
the Prince of Orange to the throne of these realms were 
very important, but, as they did not affect the form or 
elements of the House of Commons, the remarks which 
it may be necessary to make upon that event will more 
naturally occur to me when I come to consider the nature 
of the executive branch of our Constitution, and the 
character of the kingly office. The history of England 
from that period until 1830 is rather political than con- 
stitutional, and, although extremely interesting to a 
statesman, relates to the struggles of rival parties for 
power instead of the more inspiring contest between royal 
prerogative and Parliamentary privilege, and that more 
noble conflict for their liberties between a nation and 
a Sovereign. The struggles of parties also, as connected 
with Ministerial responsibility, are naturally linked with 
the yet untouched topic of the Crown. 



CHAPTER XXI 

Blunders of the Whigs in their Reform of the House of Commons 
But the Original Character of the House of Commons still 
retained Not the House of the People Of the Constitution 
of the House of Lords. 

VIEWING the Reform Bill of 1830 as the coup d'etat of 
a party who, having obtained power, found themselves 
opposed by all the estates of the realm, and supposing 
that their only object was to establish themselves in 
power by conceding a preponderating influence in the 
constituency to a sectarian minority in the State favour- 
able to their views and policy, the intended measure is 
very intelligible; but, dismissing for the moment from 
our consideration all factious imputations, it must be 
admitted that this reform was conceived and prosecuted 
in a profound ignorance of the nature of our Constitution, 






184 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

to which we may -ascribe all the mischiefs that have 
occurred and that threaten us. 

That the reconstruction of the third estate of the realm 
was necessary is an intelligible proposition; and, had it 
been proved, all that we had to consider was the mode 
by which it should be attained. But the Whigs set out 
with reforming the representatives of the estate instead 
of the estate itself, and the consequences of this capital 
blunder pervade the whole of their arrangement. If the 
proposition of the necessity had been proved, then we 
had to consider the principle on which the Reform should 
be conducted, as population, fiscal contribution, or 
peculiar class. But by reforming the representatives 
instead of the estate, no principle could be adopted, or 
at least could only partially be applied. Hence the 
present system is as anomalous as the late one : communi- 
ties of two or three hundred electors return as many repre- 
sentatives as communities of fourteen thousand; a man 
who rents a 10 house in a town enjoys a suffrage, a man 
who lives in a 40 house out of a town is not an elector. 
It might be undeniable that, if the third estate were to 
be reformed, the principle of representation without 
election no longer suited the present state of society: 
but why then cling to that part of the ancient scheme 
which gave a preponderating influence in numbers to 
the citizens and burgesses because, in fact, they were 
not elected, but only nominated ? All this originated 
in the fallacy of supposing that the state of our repre- 
sentation in many towns was the consequence of decay, 
instead of original intention. Thus whole and important 
districts of the country, and considerable classes of the 
community, are not represented, and the land, which 
originally formed the third estate, assumes only a secondary 
character in its present elements. 

Nevertheless, constituted as the third estate now is, 
and changed as may be its elements, has it in a political 
capacity deviated from its original character ? The 
Commons form still only an estate of the realm, a privi- 



1835] CHARACTER OF THE UPPER HOUSE 185 

leged and limited order of the nation, in numbers a frac- 
tion of the mass, and their representatives can only be 
invested with the qualities of their constituents. To 
maintain that an estate of the realm is the People involves 
a contradiction in terms, for an estate implies a class of 
the People. The Commons of England are not the 
People unless we declare that every person who is not 
a Parliamentary constituent is without the pale of 
national definition. If we agree to this, the people of 
England consists of three or four hundred thousand 
persons, divided into almost equal classes professing the 
most contrary opinions. The absurdity of such a con- 
clusion is evident. The House of Commons is not the 
House of the People, and the members of the House of 
Commons are not the representatives of the People. 

I proceed to consider the Constitution and the character 
of the Upper House of Parliament. The House of Lords 
is the most eminent existing example of representation 
without election. As an estate of the realm which, from 
its unlimited numbers, can with convenience personally 
appear and assemble, the Peers of England do not meet 
at Westminster by their trustees, or deputies, or delegates. 
But this House is nevertheless representative. The 
House of Lords represents the Church in the Lord Bishops, 
the law in the Lord Chancellor and often the Lord Chief 
Justice, the counties in the Lord Lieutenants, the boroughs 
in their noble Recorders. This estate, from the character 
of the property of its members, is also essentially the 
representative chamber of the land ; and as the hereditary 
leaders of the nation, especially of the cultivators of the 
land, the genuine and permanent population of England, 
its peasantry. 

In ruder times, when the King desired to call a great 
council which should represent the interests and consult 
over the welfare of his kingdom, he summoned the Barons 
or chief subjects of his realm. These great councils, 
which were the origin of our Parliaments, and so styled 
before they assumed a legislative character, assembled 

13 



186 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION. [1835 

for the administration of justice. They formed a high 
court of law whither in time repaired, as I have before 
described, deputations of the provincial tribunals and 
the local executors of the law. The Barons originally 
held their Parliamentary privilege by tenure, but the 
King soon mingled among them by his writ of summons 
such individuals as he deemed fit and competent to assist 
them in their great office. Such was the origin of baronies 
by writ; and peerages by patent were also introduced 
as early as the reign of Richard the Second. Gradually, 
as the country advanced in civilisation, and the affairs 
of its population became more complicated, the Sovereign 
delegated portions of his judicial power to appointed 
and permanent tribunals of his palace, presided over by 
his selected councillors, and in time by professional 
lawyers. Such was the origin of our great courts of 
law of King's Bench, of Common Pleas, and of Ex- 
chequer; but the House of Lords, even when the formal 
and present constitution of Parliament occurred, still 
retained, independent of the legislative functions of their 
estate, their original character of a high court of justice, 
which has descended to their successors, who to this 
day form the supreme and efficient Court of Appeal of 
the kingdom. It was this character, indeed, which 
rendered in old days the intermission of Parliaments so 
great a grievance. By not assembling the House of 
Lords, justice was delayed, and when we read in the 
reigns of the Plantagenets of the murmurs of the nation 
at the King not calling his Parliament, it was, in fact, 
the meeting of the Peers which the nation invoked with 
such loud complaints. 

The House of Lords strictly consists of two estates of 
the realm : the Lords Spiritual and Temporal. Originally 
the Lords Spiritual exceeded the Temporal Peers in 
number. In the last Parliament that was held before the 
struggles between the Houses of York and Lancaster, 
so fatal to our ancient Peerage, only fifty-three Temporal 
Lords appeared in Parliament : the Spiritual Lords, on the 



1835] THE BISHOPS 187 

other hand, numbered twenty-one Bishops and thirty-six 
mitred Abbots and Priors. Henry the Seventh could only 
summon to his first Parliament twenty-nine Temporal 
Lords, and even in the reign of Henry the Eighth the 
Temporal Peers did not equal the representatives of the 
Church and the great ecclesiastical corporations. The 
dissolution of the monasteries, which expelled the mitred 
Abbots and Priors from the Upper House, reduced the 
number of the Spiritual Peers to twenty-six, five new 
bishoprics having been created as a species of representa- 
tive compensation to the new Church. From this period 
the political influence of the Lords Spiritual in the Upper 
House has never been of a preponderating character ; and 
although they retained their ancient privilege as a 
separate estate, and the precedence to which they were 
originally entitled, they have in fact, by blending their 
votes with their temporal brethren, contributed to the 
formation of one estate of the realm, in which they have 
long virtually, although not formally, merged. 



CHAPTER XXII 

Of the Spiritual Lords The Bench of Bishops a Democratic 
Institution Of the Temporal Lords. 

I THINK, my Lord, this is not an inconvenient opportunity 
of considering the policy of the presence of these right 
reverend personages in the Upper House of Parliament, 
a policy so unpopular with the anti-constitutional party 
of this country. Whenever the factious leaders of the 
third estate attempt to obtain a preponderating influence 
in the Constitution for the House in which they sit as 
representatives of their order, and to usurp the entire 
government of the country, and exercise despotic control 
over the lives and liberties, the persons and properties, 
of their fellow-subjects, the attack upon the independence 
and influence of the House of Lords is invariably com- 




188 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

menced by an assault upon the ecclesiastical elements of 
its composition. Thus, in the time of Charles the First 
the factious leaders of a majority of the representatives 
of that limited and privileged order of the nation called 
the Commons succeeded, after repeated efforts, in ex- 
pelling the Bishops, or first estate, from the Upper House ; 
and thus certain persons at the present day, who inherit 
all the faction of Pym and Hampden, though none of 
their genius, being as like to them as Butler's Hudibras 
is like to Milton's Satan, have, in a manner at once in- 
decent and unconstitutional, and which, if I have any 
knowledge of the laws of my country, subjects them to 
a praemunire, soiled the notice book of the proceedings 
of the next session of the House of Commons with a vile 
and vulgar menace of this exalted order. 
f The great art in creating an efficient Representative 
| Government is to secure its representation of those 
interests of the country which are at the same time not 
\only considerable, but in their nature permanent. To 
bind up with our form of polity the feelings of vast and 
influential classes of the nation obviously tends to the 
perpetuity of the State; though the danger of making 
sudden and slightly considered additions to the elements 
of our political estates need not be enlarged upon, nor 
the fatal blunder of mistaking an evanescent for a per- 
manent interest. Independent of all those spiritual con- 
siderations, which hitherto have been held as justly and 
wisely influencing the elements and character of the 
English Constitution; dismissing for a moment from our 
thoughts that union of Church and State which hitherto 
has consecrated the commonwealth of England ; granting 
for an instant that that religious connection, which has so 
long tempered power and so often elevated its exercise, 
should indeed cease, and that the authority of the Church 
of England should only be supported by the affections 
and voluntary succour of its votaries ; I have yet to learn 
that the presence in the House of Peers of an order of 
individuals who, in the independence of their means, I 



1835] A DEMOCRATIC BENCH 189 

may say the vastness of their possessions, are inferior to 
none, can be enumerated among the less desirable ele- 
ments of a Senate. To me it seems that a Bishop of 
Durham or of Winchester affords, from his position, 
the probable materials of as efficient a member of the 
Upper House as any Earl or Marquis who bears those 
names. 

But when I recall to my recollection the virulent an- 
tipathy of the anti-constitutional writers of the present 
day against what they style the Hereditary Peerage, and 
the unqualified legislators, who, they pretend, must be 
the inevitable consequences of its institution, I confess 
that I am somewhat astonished that their first and fiercest 
attack should be made on that portion of the House of 
Lords whose office is not hereditary, who in general spring 
from the humbler classes of the community, and who, 
from the nature of their qualification to sit in that august 
assembly, must necessarily be men distinguished for 
their learning, their talents, and their virtues. Of the 
many popular elements of the House of Lords, I have 
always considered that the bench of Bishops was the 
most democratic. 

I have not concealed my conviction, for I plead only 
the cause of Truth, that the Protestant Reformation in 
England originally tended to the establishment of arbi- 
trary power, and of that despotism of the Tudors of which 
Charles the First was the victim. The Church transferred 
their allegiance from the Tiara to the Crown ; the people 
followed the example of their national ecclesiastics. But 
these were the inevitable consequences of unparalleled 
events. The Church is part of our Constitution, and its 
character has changed in unison with that Constitution; 
the clergy in this country, thanks to that Reformation 
whose good fruits we have long enjoyed, both political 
and spiritual, are national ; they are our fellow-subjects., 
and they have changed with their fellow-countrymen. 
Their errors were the errors of their age and of their 
nation; they were no more. The Bishops who, under 



190 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

James the First, maintained the High Commission Court, 
under James the Second were the first champions of our 
liberties; the Establishment which, under Laud, per- 
secuted to obtain Conformity, is now certainly our surest, 
perhaps our only, guarantee of Toleration. 

The English Constitution, while it has secured that 
toleration, absolute and illimitable, has also consecrated 
the State; it has proved that religious government and 
religious liberty are not incompatible. It is one of the 
leading principles of our polity that the religious discipline 
and future welfare of our citizens are even of greater 
importance than their political and present well-being. 
And although the pious and private munificence of an 
ancient people has, in the course of ages, relieved the 
State from the fiscal burthen of a dependent Clergy, 
invested that godly and learned and devoted body with 
a noble and decorous inheritance, and covered our land 
with schools and churches, with sublime temples, and 
august and unrivalled universities ; the State has never- 
theless stepped in as the trustee and guardian of the 
ministers of our religion, adopted them as its children, 
and established their order into an estate of the kingdom. 

The Stuarts were prodigal in the creation of Temporal 
Peers ; one hundred and nineteen met in the Parliament of 
1 640, but in 1 661 the number had scarcely increased. The 
Peers of England led the movement against the unhappy 
son of James the First. A Peer was one of the five mem- 
bers whom the Bang attempted to seize ; but when all those 
concessions were obtained from the Sovereign, which 
would have left the estates, and the nation at large, in the 
possession of even greater privileges than we enjoy at 
this day ; when it was discovered that the monarchy itself 
was aimed at, and that Reform was fast approaching 
Revolution, the great body of the Peerage, in unison with 
the great body of their fellow-subjects, withdrew them- 
selves from the Parliament and adhered to the King. 
So that when the Upper House was formally abolished 
by the vote of the House of Commons, the customary 



1835] A VENETIAN DOGE 191 

attendance of Lords was not more than six or eight. 
Little more than a quarter of a century after the restora- 
tion of the Stuarts, the nation, headed by the Peers, 
expelled them, and established the security of a Protestant 
throne. 



CHAPTER XXIII 

Of the Peerage Bill Attempts of the Whigs to establish an 
Oligarchy Irresponsibility of the House of Lords considered 
The Lords not more Irresponsible than the Commons The 
Qualification of the Peers the same as the Commons, Heredi- 
tary Hereditary Legislators not more Absurd than Heredi- 
tary Electors The Principle of Hereditary Legislation not 
constitutionally Anomalous The Principle of Hereditary 
Legislation not abstractedly Absurd. 

FROM the accession of William the Third to the accession 
of William the Fourth, a period of upwards of one hundred 
and forty years, the House of Lords has not only exer- 
cised an independent, but a considerable, and, as some 
have held, a preponderating, influence in the government 
of the country. The Whigs under George the First, in 
pursuance of their plan of reducing the English monarch 
to the character of a Venetian Doge, succeeded in carry- 
ing a Bill through the Upper House to deprive the King 
of his prerogative of creating further Peers, and thus to 
convert the free and democratic Peerage of England into 
an odious oligarchy of exclusive privilege ; but the House 
of Commons, led by the Tory country gentlemen, rejected 
the proposition with becoming decision. Since that time, 
and especially during the active reigns of the Third and 
Fourth Georges, the royal prerogative has been exercised 
with a liberality which by some has been warmly, but I 
think unwisely, stigmatised. The ranks of our second 
estate have been periodically strengthened by an accession 
of some of the best blood, the greatest wealth, and the 
most distinguished talent, of the community, and its due 
influence alike in the legislature and in national opinion 
has thus been efficiently maintained. 




192 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

The increased strength of the third estate, in conse- 
quence of its recent reconstruction, having filled the 
imaginations of certain factious leaders with the old and 
disastrous machination of establishing the supremacy of 
its representative chamber, and that result not being 
possible unless the independence of the Upper House of 
Parliament is first destroyed, an attack is now made 
with equal violence and perseverance upon the hereditary 
principle of its institution as productive of irresponsibility, 
and thus affording not only a most injurious, but an 
anomalous, feature in the scheme of our legislative and 
executive government . 

Who has not heard of the fatal and anomalous irre- 
sponsibility of the House of Lords ? Of what Whig 
journal does it not form the subject of the choice and 
cockbrained leading article ? Is there a tavern Cleon 
from whose foaming lips its anathema does not flow in 
rabid sentences of seditious folly ? Is there a plebeian 
oracle of a metropolitan vestry who does not warn the 
Peers of England with the solemn stolidity of his Delphic 
utterance ? Nay, the authorised agitator of the adminis- 
tration itself is sent upon a provincial tour of treason to 
open the minds of the King's lieges on this urgent point 
of constitutional revelation the vagabond and over- 
rated rebel vomiting his infamous insolence in language 
mean as his own soul ! 

And yet this fatal and anomalous irresponsibility is 
no more the characteristic of the House of Lords than of 
that third estate itself, in whose supremacy the anti- 
constitutional writers teach us we are alone to find a 
security for good government. 

f The estate of the Peers is in no greater degree irre- 

( sponsible than the estate of the Commons. Both are 

] alike popular classes that is, sections of the nation, 

established for the public and common good into political 

borders or estates. For this reason are they privileged, 

and for no other ; nor is there any privilege of importance 

which the Lords enjoy which the Commons do not share ; 



1835] VOTING BY PKOXY 193 

though there are very many, and those, too, very im- 
portant, privileges which the Commons in the course of 
time have acquired, and which they have jealously 
monopolised. The Commons, for their own convenience, 
meet in Parliament by their representatives ; the Lords, 
from their limited number, meet personally. Yet a Peer 
is allowed to vote by proxy on the same principle that 
the Commons are allowed to vote by their proxies or 
representatives ; it ever being the wish and intention and 
genius of our Constitution that the three estates shall be 
as completely and constantly consulted on all subjects, 
and their consent to all laws as perfectly obtained, as 
human wit could devise. This is the real and original 
cause of the Peers voting by proxy, an analogous privilege 
with that enjoyed by the Commons ; yet in these days of 
profound constitutional learning even this vote by proxy 
is held " an anomaly," and no less a personage than an 
exalted member of the Upper House itself, eager to obtain 
a little vulgar popularity by falling in with the superficial 
humours of the day, has been found anxious to deprive 
his own order to an ancient, and, as I have shown, not a 
peculiar, privilege. 

A political estate is in its nature complete, and there- 
fore, whatever may be the amount of privileges or the 
degree of power with which it is invested, it is necessarily 
independent. Now, all power that is independent must 
be irresponsible. If the state of the Peers be independent 
and irresponsible, and undoubtedly and necessarily it is 
so, to whom is the estate of the Commons responsible ? 
To whom is that privileged order of the kingdom, who 
at the last General Election, to the amount of three 
hundred thousand men, voted for the representatives of 
their order in Parliament to whom are they responsible ? 
What political dependence have they upon the nation at 
large ? What do they care for what the unrepresented 
mass may think of their resolves and conduct ? Are 
they amenable for their political behaviour to any public 
tribunal ? Have they not, if they agree among them- 



194 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 








selves and return their representatives to that effect, 
the power, as far as the assent of their estate is concerned, 
the power to deprive all those who are not of their privi- 
leged order of their rights and liberties ? What lawyer 
can doubt such a right in the Commons, or dispute their 
power, if they choose to exercise it ? Have not the 
majority of their representatives, in fact, often exercised 
the delegated power of their order to this effect ? Why 
has the House of Commons often been unpopular with 
the great body of the nation ? Because their conduct 
opposed its interests or inclinations. Was the House of 
Commons dependent on the nation ? No ! They were 
< dependent on their order, on their privileged constituents, 
who sent them to their chamber, and who, in their turn, 
responsible to no class whatever. If the question of 
responsibility be mooted, what satisfaction or increased 
security to a nation of many millions is it that the 
privileged order of Commons consists of three hundred 
thousand, instead of two hundred thousand, or even one 
hundred thousand persons ? Is a privileged order of 
three hundred thousand individuals, represented by their 
deputies, likely to be more responsible than a privileged 
order of three hundred individuals appearing by them- 
selves ? On the contrary, everyone sees and feels in 
an instant that, as far as the nation is concerned, the 
more limited order, who appear for themselves, and are 
more in the eye of the world, are in fact in a moral point 
of view much more responsible to the general body of the 
people than the more numerous and more obscure class, 
who shuffle off that moral responsibility on their repre- 
sentatives . 

So much for the anomalous irresponsibility of the House 
of Lords. You will perceive, my Lord, that nothing but 
the two capital blunders prevalent among the anti- 
constitutional writers of the present day namely, in the 
first place, confounding the representatives of an estate 
with that estate itself, and, secondly, supposing that their 
presumed estate was in fact representative of no less a 



1835] IDENTICAL QUALIFICATIONS 195 

body than the nation itself, between whom and the House 
of Commons there really exists no privity I repeat, 
nothing but these two capital blunders in our profound 
political instructors can account for the perverse ab- 
surdities of their lucubrations, or the conceited com- 
placency with which they develop their ill-seasoned 
theories. 

If the estate of the Peers be not more irresponsible in 
the exercise of the power with which it is invested than 
the estate of the Commons, so also the qualification by 
which the Peers exercise their power is in its nature the 
same as the qualification by which the Commons exercise 
their power. If the institution of hereditary legislators 
be absurd, I do not see that that of hereditary electors is 
less so. If it be absurd to enact that a man in the most 
elevated and cultivated class of the community should be 
born with a right of becoming, at a legal age, an English 
legislator, so is it equally absurd to maintain that a man 
in one of the humbler and less educated classes of the 
community should be born with the right of becoming, 
at a legal age, the nominator of a legislator. Yet the 
qualification of a majority of the English Commons is 
hereditary. 

So you see, my Lord, it turns out, on a little dispassionate 
examination, that the " anomalous " institution of the 
House of Lords is not quite so irregular, so flagrantly out 
of rule, so absolutely alien to the genius of our Constitu- 
tion, as, were we to place credit in our profound dis- 
quisitionists and reformers, we might too hastily imagine. 

The Lords, it seems, in a legal point of view, are not a 
jot more irresponsible than the other limited and privi- 
leged and purely conventional order of the State; in a 
mere moral point of view, indeed, are more amenable to 
the influence of public opinion than their obscurer rivals ; 
while the qualification both of the Lords and Commons 
is to a great amount identical, and the Commons hold 
and enjoy their privileges by the very same odious 
principle which frights the orators of the Crown and 



196 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

Anchor from their propriety, and stimulates the kennel 
orators of Westminster and Marylebone, in the enthusiasm 
of their rhetoric slang, to denounce the " absurd and 
anomalous authority of the Lords"; to wit, that very 
same, that odious hereditary principle, which pervades 
the whole frame of our society, which has conduced more 
than any other principle to the perpetuity of our State, 
and which at the present day is so greatly abused and 
so little understood. 

But although the exposition into which I have entered 
of the real principles and the genuine nature of the 
English Constitution has destroyed for ever, as far as 
reason can influence and truth prevail, the revolutionary 
objection which it is now the fashion to urge against the 
hereditary principle of the second estate of this kingdom, 
I am far from wishing to avoid the abstract discussion 
of the fitting elements of a senate in which our modern 
anti-constitutional writers, the gentlemen who admire 
abstract principles, and would build up their political 
fabric on a system of pure science, so freely and fre- 
quently indulge. And therefore I will at once admit 
that, if I were called upon to construct a Constitution 
a priori for this country, of which a senate, or superior 
chamber, was to be a constituent part, I am at a loss to 
conceive where I could obtain more suitable materials for 
its construction than in the body of our hereditary Peerage. 
So far from considering that there is anything absurd or 
objectionable in the principle of political inheritance, as 
a statesman who wished to study the perpetuity of his 
State it is the very principle of which I should eagerly 
avail myself, and to which I should cling. Assuredly I 
cannot understand how an efficient senate is to be secured 
by merely instituting another elective chamber, the 
members of which, being the deputies of their constituents, 
must either be the echo of the Lower House, or, if re- 
turned by a different class, the factious delegates of an 
envious and hostile section of the community. Would 
the difficult} 7 be removed, and the object obtained, by 



1835] HEREDITARY LEGISLATORS 197 

allowing the members of the senate to be chosen from 
the body of the Lower House itself ? The trial of 
strength then would be elevated from the choice of a 
Speaker to the election of a House of Lords. This would 
indeed be a struggle ! What a prize for an ambitious 
Minister ! What a noble quarry for the falcon glance of 
a keen Opposition ! After the division, after the high 
blood excited by such an encounter, we might, I think, 
retire to our homes, and return to our constituents at 
once, and leave the victorious party to record their 
decrees without the affectation of discussion and the 
mockery of control. 

What chance do these wild schemes hold out of an 
effective senate ? But would you then cling to your 
hereditary legislators ? Why not ? But the very idea 
of an hereditary legislator is absurd ; who ever heard of an 
hereditary physician, or an hereditary surgeon, or an 
hereditary apothecary ? Such an idea would be absurd; 
therefore the idea of an hereditary legislator is absurd. 
Granted, if legislators be apothecaries. Before we can 
decide whether the idea of an hereditary legislator be 
absurd, we must first ascertain what is meant by the 
word " legislator, " and what are the public duties of this 
personage which we are about to make a matter of 
inheritance to his posterity. If by the word " legislator " 
we mean one of those original and organising minds who 
occasionally arise to frame commonwealths, and to mould 
the minds of nations, I willingly concede that it would 
be very absurd to invest such a character with the neces- 
sary power to fulfil his grand objects, and simultaneously 
to entail the enjoyment of the same power on his pos- 
terity; I freely admit that it is not very probable that 
the entailed legislator, like his sire, would prove either 
a Moses or a Minos, a Numa or a Solon, a Saxon Alfred 
or a Russian Peter. But at the same time I am equally 
of opinion that it is just as probable that the legislative 
descendant of the great legislator would rival his powers, 
as that a Moses or a Minos, a Numa or a Solon, a Saxon 



198 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

Alfred or a Czar Peter, should be returned to Parliament 
as their representative by any body of ten-pounders in 
the kingdom. Such characters are so rare that we do 
not count upon their force and impulse in arranging the 
economy of a State. If the conduct of public affairs 
depended upon the constant presence in the common- 
wealth of such characters, the State would enjoy no 
quality of duration. It seems, therefore, that we must 
be content to require from our legislators a somewhat 
more moderate portion of sagacity and science. And the 
question then naturally arises, What portion ? Whether, 
in fact, the qualities of a legislator in an ancient and free 
and highly civilised and experienced State will not be 
necessarily found among individuals of average intelli- 
gence and high education ; and whether an order of men 
who, from their vast possessions, have not only a great, 
a palpable, and immediate interest in the welfare of a 
country, but by ease, and leisure, and freedom from 
anxiety, are encouraged to the humanising pursuits of 
learning and the liberal love of arts ; an order of men who 
are born honoured, and taught to respect themselves by 
the good fame and glory of their ancestors; who from 
the womb to the grave are trained to loathe and recoil 
from everything that is mean and sordid, and whose 
honour is a more precious possession than their parks 
and palaces ; the question is, whether an order of men thus 
set apart in a State, men refined, serene, and courteous, 
learned, brave, travelled, charitable, and magnificent, 
do not afford the choicest elements of a senate, especially 
when they are distinguished from their fellow-citizens by 
no civil privileges, and the supreme power in the State 
has the capacity of adding to their numbers at his will 
any individuals, however humble and plebeian their 
origin, whose wisdom will in his opinion swell the aggre- 
gate capacity of their assembly ? 



1835] SURVEY OF THE PAST 199 



CHAPTEE XXIV 

Political Institutions must be judged by their Eesults The 
Hereditary Peerage contributes to the Stability of the State 
The House of Lords in Ability always Equal to the House 
of Commons Superior since the Reform The Principle of 
Hereditary Legislation prevalent in the House of Commons, 
and sanctioned by the National Character. 

POLITICAL institutions must be judged by their results. 
For nearly five centuries the hereditary Peerage, as at 
present constituted, has formed an active and powerful 
branch of our legislature. Five centuries of progressive 
welfare are good evidence of the efficient polity of the 
advancing country. No statesman can doubt that the 
peculiar character of the hereditary branch of our legis- 
lature has mainly contributed to the stability of our 
institutions, and to the order and prosperous security 
which that stability has produced. Nor can we forget 
that the hereditary principle has at all times secured a 
senate for this country inferior in intelligence to no 
political assembly on record. If we survey the illustrious 
history of our Parliament since 1688, whether we con- 
sider its career in reference to the patriotic energy that 
has at all times distinguished its councils, its unceasing 
vigilance, its indefatigable industry, its vast and various 
knowledge, its courageous firmness, its comprehensive 
sympathy with all classes of the community, its prescient 
and imperial ambition, or the luminous and accomplished 
eloquence in which its counsels and resolves have been 
recommended and expressed ; assuredly the hereditary 
branch of our legislature need not shrink from a com- 
parison with its elective rival. I do not think, my Lord, 
that anyone will be bold enough to assert or, if bold 
enough to assert, skilful enough to maintain that the 
late Reform, which was to open the doors of the House 
of Commons to all the unearthed genius of the country, 
has indicated as yet any tendency to render this rivalry 




200 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

on the part of the teers of England a matter of greater 
venture. If in old times the hereditary senate has at 
least equalled in capacity the elective chamber, no im- 
partial observer at the present day can for a moment 
hesitate in declaring that, not only in the higher accom- 
plishments of statesmen, in elevation of thought and 
feeling, in learning and in eloquence, does the hereditary 
assembly excel the elective, but, in truth, that for those 
very qualities for the possession of which at first sight 
we should be most disposed to give a House of Commons 
credit, that mastery of detail and management of com- 
plicated commonplaces which we style in this country 
"business-like habits," the Peers of England are abso- 
lutely more distinguished than the humbler representa- 
tives of the third estate. 

But the truth is, my Lord, that the practical good sense 
of this country has long ago disposed of the question of 
the principle of hereditary legislation, even if its defence 
merely depended on its abstract propriety. For if we 
examine the elements of the House of Commons with a 
little attention, we shall soon discover that hereditary 
legislators are not confined to the House of Lords, and 
that the inclination of the represented to make repre- 
sentation hereditary is very obvious and very natural. 
The representative of a county is selected from one of 
the first families in the shire, and ten years after the son 
of this member, a candidate for the same honour, adduces 
the very circumstances of his succession to his father as 
an increased claim upon the confidence of the con- 
stituency. Those who are versed in elections know that 
there is no plea so common and so popular. Such 
elections prove that, far from holding the principle of 
hereditary legislation absurd, public opinion has decided 
that the duties of an English legislator are such as, OP 
an average of human capacity, may descend from sire 
to son ; and that, while there is nothing to shock their 
reason in the circumstance, there is much at the same 
time to gratify the feelings and please the associations 



1836] FRENCH CHAMBER OF PEERS 201 

of an ancient people, who have made inheritance the 
pervading principle of their social polity, who are proud 
of their old families and fond of their old laws. 



CHAPTER XXV 

The Hereditary Principle must not be considered abstractedly 
The French Senate examined Why an Hereditary Senate, 
composed of the Ablest Men, may be a Political Nonentity 
Necessary Qualities of an Assembly like the English House 
of Lords. 

THE hereditary character of our Peerage must be con- 
sidered in relation to the other qualities of that illustrious 
body. No one competent to form an opinion upon public 
affairs can doubt for an instant that, whether the nominal 
honours of those insignificant personages, who at this 
present hour meet in the senatorial chamber of the 
Luxembourg, devolve upon their posterity or not, the 
circumstance one way or the other can neither increase 
nor diminish their public and political authority. The 
Peers of France are nonentities, and nonentities they 
have ever been, as insignificant before the junior French 
Revolution as they are after that bloody riot. If the 
hereditary principle could not render the French Peerage 
more powerful, it is equally true that the intellectual 
qualifications of its members, however eminent, were 
equally unproductive of that result. The Chamber of 
Peers in France since the Restoration has numbered 
amongst its members the most illustrious warriors and 
the most celebrated diplomatists of the kingdom, the 
ablest writers of the day, the most distinguished scientific 
men, marshals, ambassadors, editors of newspapers, wits, 
travellers, authors, mathematicians, chemists: had it 
been selected by a Westminster Reviewer himself, the 
Senate of France could not have consisted of men more 
qualified to develop and demonstrate all " the science 
of legislation." Why, then, are they so insignificant ? 

14 



202 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

Formed of all the talent of the country, the Chamber 
has no authority. What can be the cause ? The heredi- 
tary principle, to be sure the fatal, the absurd, the 
anomalous hereditary principle. The hereditary principle 
is destroyed ! Yes, a revolution is got up to achieve, 
among other great objects, the destruction of the fatal, 
absurd, and anomalous principle of hereditary legislation 
in the French Charter; and the French House of Peers 
in consequence becomes, if possible, more odious and 
more contemptible. 

It is not, then, necessarily the hereditary principle 
which renders the influence of our House of Lords so 
injurious to the commonweal; and it is not, then, a 
collection of all the clever men of a country, under the 
august title of a Senate, which necessarily must be pro- 
ductive of good government. The truth is, a nation will 
not allow three hundred men, however ingenious, to 
make laws for them because the sovereign power of the 
State chooses to appoint that such a number of its 
subjects shall possess this privilege, and meet in a room 
to register their decrees. The King of England may 
make Peers, but he cannot make a House of Lords. The 
order of men of whom such an assembly is formed is 
the creation of ages. In the first place, they must really 
an estate of the realm, a class of individuals who, 
from their property and personal influence alone, form 
van important section of the whole nation. The laws and 
customs of England have compensated its Peers for the 
loss of their feodal splendour. A strong current of 
property and influence from the wide ocean of national 
prosperity perpetually flows into our House of Lords. 
They still form the most eminent class in the State; 
and, instead of the position of the Peers at the present 
day bearing a diminished importance, compared with 
the attitude of the remaining classes of the community, 
as the superficial vulgarly imagine, I shall be surprised 
that, if the subject be more profoundly inquired into, if the 
power and privileges with which the Constitution has 



1835] NECESSAEY QUALITIES 203 

invested him be duly considered, and the indirect support 
which he receives from his alliances with the great 
Commons and the aristocratic classes which have sprung 
up around him be not omitted in the estimate, the in- 
fluence of a great Peer of the present day a Duke of 
Buccleugh or a Duke of Devonshire be ascertained to be 
much inferior to that of an Earl of Pembroke in the time 
of John, or an Earl of Leicester in the reign of his suc- 
cessor. A House of Lords must consist of men whose ") 
influence is not felt merely in their chamber of Parlia-^ 
ment. They must be an order of individuals whose 
personal importance crosses us in all the transactions of 
life, and pervades the remotest nook and corner of the 
country, an importance, also, which we find to arise as 
much from the hallowed associations, or even the in- 
veterate prejudices of society, as from their mere public 
privileges and constitutional and territorial importance. 
Their names, office, and character, and the ennobling 
achievements of their order, must be blended with our 
history, and bound up with our hereditary sentiment. 
They must be felt and recognised as the not unworthy 
descendants or successors of a class that has always 
taken the lead in civilisation, and formed the advanced 
guard in the march of national progress. Vast property, 
and the complicated duties which great possessions entail 
upon their owners, the inspiring traditions of a heroic 
history, the legendary respect of ages, the fair maintenance 
in the order itself of that civility of manners, that love 
of liberal pursuits, and that public spirit which become 
the leaders of a free people, and a strong conviction in the 
nation generally that, under the constitution of which 
this order forms a branch, they have flourished for a 
longer period, and in a greater degree, than any existing 
commonwealth such are some of the elements of which 
a Senate must be formed that attempts to cope with the 
House of Lords of England. 

The English nation has thought that there is a greater 
certainty of securing a Senate of this high character by 



204 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

entailing its functions on the most important order of 
its members than by trusting to the periodical selection 
of any body of individuals whatsoever. It has supposed 
that the chance production of its carefully cultivated 
aristocracy may offer, on the whole, senatorial elements 
preferable to the selected materials of popular choice. 
It has desired that there should be one portion of its 
legislature free from the turbulent and overwhelming 
passions that occasionally assail the less guarded struc- 
ture of its more popular assembly ; and to secure all these 
great purposes, to contrive at the same time, in estab- 
lishing this chamber, its power and its perpetuity, its 
independence and its ability, it has not comprehended 
how a more practical system could be adopted than to 
establish the hereditary legislation of a democratic 
Peerage. 



CHAPTER XXVI 

Causes of the Harmony between the Two Houses The Hereditary 
Principle must also be considered in Eeference to the System 
of Parties in this Country Summary That the Principle of 
Hereditary Legislation is neither constitutionally Anomalous, 
nor abstractedly Absurd, nor practically Injurious, but the 
Eeverse. 

THIS, my Lord, is, I think, one of those cases in which 
" the wisdom of our ancestors " has been conspicuous, 
and the harmony which throughout our history has on 
the whole so remarkably subsisted between our two 
Houses of Parliament, and the effective manner in which 
the machinery of our legislature has consequently 
operated, prove the sound judgment of the national 
mind that has required and sanctioned a Senate thus 
constituted. So profound, indeed, is and ever must be 
the reciprocal sympathy between the Peers and Commons 
of England, that, even after the late factious reconstruc- 
tion of the third estate, a majority of the representatives 
of the English Commons upheld the independence of our 



1835] CIVIL EQUALITY 205 

august Senate. I ascribe this sympathy to a cause I 
have before indicated, to the principle which is the basis 
of our social fabric, our civil equality. It is this great 
principle which has prevented the nobility of England 
from degenerating into a favoured and odious sect; it is 
this great principle which has placed the Peers at the 
head of the People, which has surrounded them with a 
popular aristocracy, and filled the chamber of the third 
estate with representatives connected with our senators 
not only by sympathy of feeling and similarity of pur- 
suits, but by the most intimate relations of birth and 
blood. 

Again, my Lord, the question of our hereditary Peerage 
must be viewed in reference to the state and system of 
parties in this country. It results from the system of 
parties in this country that both Houses of Parliament 
are led and directed by a very few members, and those 
the most eminent for talents, and character, and station, 
in the respective assemblies. Thus the extreme cases, 
which the anti-constitutional writers are ever urging, of 
the legislative function devolving through the medium 
of an hereditary institution to individuals incompetent 
to discharge this high office, never in fact practically 
occur. By ranging himself under one of the political 
banners of the State, every legislator avails himself of the 
intelligence of his leaders; to guide his judgment and 
form his opinion, he has the advantage of the finest talents 
in the country. Thus an individual, abstractedly very 
incompetent, may become practically very useful, and 
thus even a weak brain may assist in passing a wise law. 
Thus we have seen, my Lord, that, viewed in reference 
to the complete scheme of our legislature, the hereditary 
principle of the House of Lords, far from being " anomal- 
ous," is in perfect harmony with the constitution of the 
other estate of the realm ; that if it were as " anomalous " 
as it is regular and consistent, far from being " absurd," 
the application of the principle is extremely rational; 
and that, inasmuch as it is not either constitutionally 



206 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

"anomalous" or abstractedly "absurd," its practical 
results have been such as might have been anticipated 
from an institution suited to the genius of the country, 
in harmony with all its political establishments, and 
founded, not only on an intimate acquaintance with the 
national character, but a profound knowledge of human 
nature in general. 



CHAPTER XXVII 

Of the Kingly Office Unsuccessful Attempts of the Whigs to 
establish an Oligarchy under William the Third Keign of 
Anne Its Influence on Parties More Successful Attempts 
of the Whigs to establish an Oligarchy under George the First 
They establish the Cabinet, and banish the King from his own 
Council ; pass the Septennial Act, and introduce the Peerage 
Bill Oligarchical Coups d'Etat Policy of the Whigs under 
George the First compared with their Policy at the Present 
Day. 

IN these observations on the character and history of our 
two Houses of Parliament, I have already incidentally 
traced, or referred to, the character and history of the 
monarchy. We have seen the Kings of England, in the 
reigns of the Plantagenets, exercising a sovereign power, 
limited, however, in its use by the privilege estates of 
the kingdom, who, although they held the right of 
legislation in its fullest extent, from the imperfect civilisa- 
tion of the times assumed on the whole rather the office 
of powerful councillors of the Sovereign than that of 
the administrators of the kingdom. We have seen the 
same King, in the reigns of the Tudors, an arbitrary 
monarch. We have witnessed the same King, in the 
reigns of the Stuarts, engaged in a continual struggle 
with the reviving and at length preponderating power 
of the long-dormant and paralysed estates. From the 
accession of the Prince of Orange the character of our 
history changes. The old contest between prerogative 
and privilege, between the power of the Crown and the 
liberty of the subject, ceases for ever, and the war of 



1835] UNDER WILLIAM THE THIRD 207 

parties succeeds to the struggles of Kings and Parlia- 
ments. 

The English Constitution under William the Third did 
not secure greater power and privileges to our Parliament 
than it possessed under the reign of Henry the Fourth; 
but the Lords and great Commons of England had since 
that time become the most civilised and highly cultured 
body in Europe ; men exceeding the superior classes of all 
nations in learning, eloquence, and public spirit, in 
practical skill and theoretic wisdom. It is not difficult 
to comprehend that such a body of men in absolute and 
unquestioned possession of the legislature should no 
longer be content that the executive and administrative 
province of the Constitution, with all its pomp and cir- 
cumstance, should be monopolised by a single individual 
and his personal retainers. Here, then, commences the 
age when the influence of the Court rapidly declined, 
when Ministers were virtually appointed by the Parlia- 
ment instead of the Sovereign, and when, by the institu- 
tion of the Cabinet, the scheme and policy of the adminis- 
tration devolved upon a Parliamentary committee, and 
the King was, in fact, excluded from his own council. 

If it be perhaps too strong an expression to say that 
William the Third was called to the throne by the voice 
of the whole nation, it is certain that the whole nation 
ratified the abdication of James the Second. Whig and 
Tory, Churchman and Dissenter, had alike required, and 
alike assisted in, his expulsion. When the excitement 
of this great event had a little subsided, when the rights 
and liberties of the nation had been secured by its Parlia- 
ment, the leaders of the Whigs, including many of the most 
powerful and ancient families of the kingdom, commenced 
a favourite scheme of that party, which was to reduce the 
King of England to the situation of a Venetian Doge. 
But William the Third, like Louis Philippe, was resolved 
to be his own Minister, and it is not very easy to com- 
prehend how in a perilous and revolutionary period a 
Sovereign of great capacity will consent to be deprived 



208 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

of the benefit of his own sagacity. The Whigs therefore 
were obliged to postpone until a more favourable oppor- 
tunity the series of measures by which their great result 
was to be obtained; and for the present indicated their 
spleen by opposing the Sovereign, to whom certainly that 
party had originally attracted the attention of the 
English nation. But William, whose administrative 
talents were of a high order, succeeded, by his adroit 
balance of parties, in keeping the Whigs in check, and 
throughout his reign in maintaining his authority. 

The reign of Anne, which proved that the reign of a 
Stuart might at the same time be glorious, Protestant, 
and prosperous, completely unsettled the public mind of 
England, and made nine-tenths of the people yearn after 
the lost dynasty of their native Sovereigns. The leaders 
of both parties were in secret communication with St. Ger- 
mains, and one circumstance alone prevented the son of 
James the Second from regaining the throne of his 
ancestors his absolute incompetence. The Pretender 
was an incapable bigot, totally devoid of that talent 
which in some degree had always characterised his 
family. 

The Hanoverian accession was secured by the bold 
conduct of the Dukes of Somerset and Argyle. These 
great Whig Peers had the hardihood to attend a Privy 
Council, without being summoned, while the Queen was 
lying in a state almost of lethargy, and absolutely forced 
Her Majesty to appoint the Duke of Shrewsbury Lord 
Treasurer. This is one of the most dramatic scenes in 
our political history: the unexpected arrival of the two 
Dukes, the Queen's desperate state, Bolingbroke's baffled 
hopes, the troops summoned to London, the heralds kept 
in waiting with a company of guards to proclaim the new 
King the moment the throne was vacant. The Elector 
of Hanover ascended the throne of England by the 
sufferance rather than the consent of the nation. Un-' 
supported by the mass of the people, ignorant of our > 
language, phlegmatic in temperament, George the First 



1835] ESTABLISHMENT OF THE CABINET 209 



i 



entirely depended upon the Whig Peers, and the Whig 
i Peers resolved to compensate themselves for the dis- 
| appointment they had experienced under William the 
^Third. They at once established the Cabinet on its 
present basis. It is curious to trace the kingly office 
from the era of the Plantagenets, when the characters of a 
royal council and a legislative chamber were so blended 
together in the House of Lords that the monarch always 
presided over his Parliament, to the moment when the 
Sovereign under the Brunswicks was virtually excluded 
from his own council. Having thus by the establish- 
ment of the Cabinet obtained in a great degree the execu- 
tive power of the State, the Whig Peers ventured to 
propose a measure, in order to consolidate and confirm 
their strength, which is perhaps unequalled by any of the 
machinations of a party so remarkable in all periods of 
our history for the unscrupulous means with which they 
satisfy their lust of power. This measure was the famous 
Peerage Bill, proposed and supported in the House of 
Lords by those very Dukes of Somerset and Argyle who 
had forced a Queen to appoint a Prime Minister on her 
death-bed. This Bill, if passed into a law, would have 
deprived the King of his prerogative of making further 
Peers, and would have occasioned a virtual revolution in 
our government, which from that moment would have 
become oligarchical. George the First assented to the 
Bill, and the House of Lords passed it; but the Tory 
country gentlemen in the House of Commons, aided on 
this occasion by some unusual allies, succeeded in reject- 
ing the measure. The Peerage Bill, my Lord, made as 
much noise in its day as the Reform Bill in our own. 
There was as great a " crisis," as vehement a " collision " 
in 1718, as any we have lately witnessed stalking about 
in their lions' skins; and the press teemed then with 
more pamphlets about " the Lords " than even at this 
hour, when every briefless barrister smells out that the 
surest road to a commissionership or other base job is 
to denounce that House of Parliament which will not 



210 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

truckle to a rapacious and unprincipled faction. The 
Whigs in 1718 sought to govern the country by " swamp- 
ing " the House of Commons: in 1835 it is the House of 
Lords that is to be "swamped." In 1718 the coup 
d'etat was to prevent any further increase of the Lords ; 
in 1835 the Lords are to be outnumbered. Different 
tactics to obtain the same purpose; and the variance to 
be accounted for by the simple circumstance that the 
party which has recourse to these desperate expedients is 
not a national party, influenced by any great and avowed 
principles of public policy and conduct, but a small knot 
of great families who have no other object but their own 
aggrandisement, and who seek to gratify it by all possible 
means. 



CHAPTER XXVIII 

George the Second unsuccessfully struggles against the Whig 
Oligarchs George the Third emancipates the Nation from 
them Of Whigs and Tories Their Origin explained, and 
their Eeal Character ascertained. 

ALTHOUGH the House of Commons, supported by a 
roused and indignant nation, rejected the Peerage Bill, 
still the power of the Whig aristocracy, increased by the 
Septennial Act, was so considerable that they monopo- 
lised the administration of this realm for upwards of 
half a century. George the Second, indeed, struggled 
for a time against these Venetian magnificoes, but when 
he found himself forced to resign his favourite Minister, 
the brilliant Carteret, to the demands of the Pelhams 
and their well-organised connections, the King gave up 
the effort in despair. It was the clear sense and the strong 
spirit of his able grandson that emancipated this country 
from the government of " the great families." The King 
put himself at the head of the nation; and, encouraged 
by the example of a popular monarch in George the 
Third, and a democratic Minister in Mr. Pitt, the nation 
elevated to power the Tory or national party of England, 



1835] WHIGS AND TOKIES 211 

under whose comprehensive and consistent, vigorous and 
strictly democratic system, this island has become the 
metropolis of a mighty Empire, its Sovereign at the same 
time the most powerful and its people the most free, and 
second to no existing nation in arts or arms, in internal 
prosperity, or exterior splendour. 

There is no political subject, my Lord, on which a 
greater confusion of ideas exists, and none on which it is 
more desirable that we should possess very accurate con- 
ceptions, than respecting the nature and character of the 
two great political parties in which England, for the last 
century and a half, has been divided the WHIGS and 
the TORIES. The people of England in the reign of 
George the First formed a community as distinguished 
for their public spirit as any people with which we are 
acquainted. How happened it, then, that nine-tenths of 
the nation were the avowed admirers of arbitrary power, 
of the Divine right of Kings, of the doctrine of non- 
resistance, and of the duties of passive obedience ? How 
came it that the upholders of this servile creed, instead 
of imbibing it from the Court, maintained it in defiance 
of the Court ? How happened it that the supporters of 
the Court themselves were the avowed admirers of the 
most popular opinions, of the sovereignty of the people, 
of the right and duty of resistance, of toleration, and of the 
cause of civil and religious liberty ? How came it that 
the upholders of these popular opinions, instead of 
adopting them to flatter the bulk of the people, maintained 
them in defiance of the people ? And, lastly, how came it 
that, while the professors of arbitrary opinions exhibited on 
every great occasion an unquestioned and undisguised love 
of freedom and their rights, and expelled from the throne 
the Sovereign who menaced them, the professors of popular 
opinions, on the other hand, seized every opportunity of 
curtailing popular power and abridging popular privileges, 
introduced a Peerage Bill in the House of Lords, carried a 
Septennial Act in the House of Commons, and finally 
organised a system of political corruption throughout 



212 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

the Parliament and the country from the taint of which, 
it is not too much to assert, the national character has 
never absolutely recovered ? 

The consequences of the Great Rebellion, Parliamentary 
tyranny, and sectarian fanaticism, had occasioned in due 
season a strong reaction throughout the country in 
favour of the Crown and the Church. Gradually there 
developed themselves two sections of the nation respec- 
tively hostile to one of these institutions sections con- 
nected together by no other similarity of feeling or 
situation, yet finally co-operating for the purpose of 
reciprocal assistance in a united attack upon the 
Monarchy and the Establishment : these were a powerful 
party of the Lords and the Non-conformists . A republican 
feeling united the haughtiest of the Peers with the lowest 
of the Puritans; but the republican model of the House 
of Russell was Venice; of their plebeian allies, Geneva. 

f The Peers, to reduce the power of the Crown, now sup- 

' ported by the great majority of the nation, called in the 
aid of the Puritans, and to obtain the aid of the Puritans 
attacked the Church : the Puritans, to insure the destruc- 
tion of the religious establishment, allied themselves with 
the Peers in their assault upon the King, whose office, 
apart from the ecclesiastical polity, they were inclined 

\|>o respect, and even to reverence. The Puritans, headed 
by the Peers, formed a small minority of the nation, but 
at the same time a party formidable from their leaders 
and their organisation, for the Non-conformists abounded 
in the metropolis, and were chiefly resident in towns. 

"Their cry was, " Civil and Religious Freedom " that is, 

\ a Doge and no Bishops : advocating the liberty of the 
,subject, the Peers would have established an oligarchy; 

/upholding toleration, the Puritans aimed at supremacy. 

1 This is the origin of the Whig party in our country. 



1835] ORIGIN OF THE TORY PARTY 213 



CHAPTER XXIX 

Why the Advocacy of Divine Right, Non-Resistance, and Passive 
Obedience by the Tories in the Reign of George the First were 
Evidences of the Democratic Character of the Party The 
Whigs an Oligarchical Faction The Tories a National Party 
Why the Whigs are, ever have been, and ever must be, 
Odious to the English Nation Why the Whigs are Hostile to 
the Establishments of the Country. 

THE mass of the nation still smarting under the seques- 
trations and imprisonments of Parliamentary committees, 
and loathing the recollection of the fanaticism and the 
hypocrisy of the Roundhead apostles of the tub, clung 
to the national institutions. The clergy, jealous of the 
Non- conformists, and fearful of another deprivation, 
exaggerated the power and character of the Crown, in 
which they recognised their only safeguard. Hence 
Divine right and passive obedience resounded from our 
Protestant pulpits, echoed with enthusiasm by a free 
and spirited people, who acknowledged in these phrases 
only a determination to maintain the mild authority of 
their King and of their Church. This is the origin of the 
Tory party in our country. 

On the one hand civil and religious liberty; on the 
other, Divine right and passive obedience; both mere 
phrases, both the sheer cries of a party, both the mysti- 
fying pretexts that concealed a pregnant cause. The 
avowed upholders of Divine right and passive obedience, 
headed by the national clergy that promulgated these 
doctrines, were the first to expel the Sovereign who aimed 
at their rights and liberties; the avowed advocates of 
civil and religious freedom, when they finally obtained 
power, hazarded a blow at the only foundation of freedom, 
the equality of civil rights, " swamped " the House of 
Commons by the Septennial Act, and nearly concentrated 
the whole powers of the State in the House of Lords by 
the Peerage Bill. 



214 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

It was the intention of the Whigs to have raised the 
Prince of Orange to the throne by the aid of a cabal. By 
this means the Sovereign would have been in their power, 
and they could have realised the object at which they 
had been long aiming. The insurrection of the Tories 
or the national party against James frustrated this 
project : the movement became national, and the settle- 
ment, instead of being factious, was patriotic. The 
powerful capacity of William the Third was not content 
with the limited authority destined for him : he encouraged 
the Tories, he balanced parties, and he maintained his 
throne with all the artifices of a practised politician. 
The reign of Anne, a Stuart, yet strictly Protestant and 
eminently prosperous, broke up in a great degree the 
strong lines of political demarcation, and occasioned the 
blending of parties. In spite of the Act of Settlement, 
the whole nation was prepared for the restoration of the 
ancient line; Whigs and Tories alike corresponded with 
St. Germains, and served together in the same administra- 
tion at home. So weak was the tie of party in this reign, 
that it was not then considered a point of political honour 
to resign your post on a change of administration which 
substituted a Prime Minister of different opinions to 
your own, and to those through whose influence you had 
yourself acceded to office. 

The Whigs secured the Hanoverian succession by a 
coup d'etat. But when the nation had recovered from its 
surprise, the rage of parties increased to a degree un- 
precedented in our history, and that formal and organised 
division of public men occurred which has ever since 
been observed in the world of politics. The dislike of 
the Tories to the new dynasty was, if possible, aggravated 
by the conviction of the impolicy of recalling the old. 
The truly Protestant spirit of England forbade such a 
recourse. The House of Brunswick was supported by 
the great Whig families, the Non-conformists, and what 
was then for the first time called " the money interest," 
the fungus spawn of public loans, who began to elbow 



1835] WHIGS AN ANTI-NATIONAL PARTY 215 

the country gentlemen, and beat them out of the repre- 
sentation of their boroughs by the long purses of a 
Plutocracy. The rest of the nation 'that is to say, nine- 
tenths of the people of England formed the Tory party, 
the landed proprietors and peasantry of the kingdom, 
headed by a spirited and popular Church, and looking to 
the kingly power in the abstract, though not to the 
reigning King, as their only protection from an impending 
oligarchy. The Whig party has ever been odious to the 
English people, and, in spite of all their devices and com- 
binations, it may ever be observed that, in the long-run, 
the English nation declares against them. Even now, 
after their recent and most comprehensive coup d'etat, 
they are only maintained in power by the votes of the 
Irish and the Scotch members. 



CHAPTER XXX 

Probable Consequences of Whiggism, and Degrading Effects of 
Centralisation Democratic Character of Toryism developed 
Why Parties sometimes change their Names and Cries. 

THE reason of this is that the Whigs are an anti-national 
party. In order to accomplish their object of establishing 
an oligarchical republic, and of concentrating the govern- 
ment of the State in the hands of a few great families, 
the Whigs are compelled to declare war against all those 
great national institutions the power and influence of 
which present obstacles to the fulfilment of their purpose. 
It is these institutions which make us a nation. Without 
our Crown, our Church, our Universities, our great 
municipal and commercial Corporations, our Magistracy, 
and its dependent scheme of provincial polity, the in- 
habitants of England, instead of being a nation, would 
present only a mass of individuals governed by a metro- 
polis, whence an arbitrary senate would issue the stern 
decrees of its harsh and heartless despotism. A class 



216 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

of the subjects, indeed, might still possess the fruitless 
privilege of electing its representatives in Parliament, 
but without any machinery to foster public spirit and 
maintain popular power, the whole land a prey to the most 
degrading equality, the equality that levels, not the 
equality that elevates, we should soon see these mock 
representatives the mere nominees of a Praefect, and the 
very first to tamper with our privileges and barter away 
our freedom. In such a state of society, a state of society 
which France has accomplished, and to which the Whigs 
are hurrying us, no public avenues to wealth and honour 
would subsist save through the Government. To that 
government all the ambition and aspirations, all the 
talent and the energy of the subject, would be devoted; 
and from the harsh seat of the provincial governor, to 
the vile office of the provincial spy, every place would be 
filled by the ablest and most unprincipled of a corrupted 
people. 

The Tory party in this country is the national party; 
it is the really democratic party of England. It supports 
the institutions of the country because they have been 
established for the common good, and because they secure 
the equality of civil rights, without which, whatever 
may be its name, no government can be free, and based 
upon which principle every government, however it 
may be styled, is in fact a Democracy. The Whig 
leaders at the commencement of the last century, 
men of consummate ability and great experience in 
affairs, were not blind to the advantage which might 
be obtained by enlarging on the apparent unpopular 
character of Tory tenets. In the reign of George the 
First, both parties in their eagerness had recourse to 
their old cries, without reflecting that the circumstances 
of their respective positions had considerably changed; 
that the advocates of enlarged and comprehensive free- 
dom were now attempting to establish an oligarchy on 
the ruins of the national institutions, and that the votaries 
of Divine right and passive obedience were prepared to 



1835] PAKTY REORGANISATION 217 

rebel against the Sovereign whose authority, by the 
original Act of Settlement, they themselves had mainly 
contributed to establish. However inconsistent might 
be the practice and the professions of the respective 
parties, it was obvious that, in the mutual misrepre- 
sentations, the Whigs had the advantage. An oligarchy 
sought to establish itself by the plea of public freedom; 
a nation struggled to maintain its rights on the principles 
of arbitrary power. This was, indeed, a false position; 
yet so clear-sighted was the people of England, and so 
apt to distinguish their cause from their pretext, that its 
inconvenience was for a long time unfelt, and in the pre- 
ceding reign the nation had sympathised with the triumph 
of Sacheverell, and ridiculed the false pretensions of the 
Whigs to the advocacy and trusteeship of the popular 
cause. 

When, however, the Tory party that is, the English 
nation had renounced all hope or wish for the restora- 
tion of their native Sovereigns ; when, in their Protestant 
feeling, they had taught themselves to look upon the 
establishment of the Hanoverian succession as indispen- 
sable to the maintenance of their liberties, and had thus 
authorised and ratified, without redress or appeal, the 
very political opinions which they had hitherto opposed, 
the inconvenience became more apparent. There are 
periods when the titles and watchwords of political 
parties become obsolete; and when, by adhering to an 
ancient and accustomed cry, a party often appears to 
profess opinions less popular than it really practises, 
and yields a proportionate advantage to its more dexterous 
competitor. In times of great political change and rapid 
political transition, it will generally be observed that 
political parties find it convenient to rebaptise them- 
selves. Thus, in the present day, Whigs have become 
Reformers, and Tories Conservatives. In the early part 
of the last century, the Tory party required a similar 
reorganisation to that which it has lately undergone; 
and as it is in the nature of human affairs that the in- 

15 



218 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

dividual that is required shall not long be wanting, so, 
in the season of which I am treating, arose a man re- 
markable in an illustrious age, who, with the splendour 
of an organising genius, settled the confused and dis- 
cordant materials of English faction, and reduced them 
into a clear and systematic order. This was Lord 
Bolingbroke. 



CHAPTER XXXI 

Character of Lord Bolingbroke His Influence on our History 
Reorganises the Tory Party Founder of Modern Toryism 
The Whigs pursuing the Same Machinations now as under 
George the First. 

GIFTED with that fiery imagination, the teeming fertility 
of whose inventive resources is as necessary to a great 
statesman or a great general as to a great poet ; the ablest 
writer and the most accomplished orator of his age, that 
rare union that in a country of free Parliaments and a 
free press insures to its possessor the privilege of exer- 
cising a constant influence over the mind of his country, 
that rare union that has rendered Burke so memorable; 
blending with that intuitive knowledge of his race, which 
creative minds alone enjoy, all the wisdom which can 
be derived from literature, and a comprehensive ex- 
perience of human affairs no one was better qualified 
to be the Minister of a free and powerful nation than 
Henry St. John ; and Destiny at first appeared to combine 
with Nature in the elevation of his fortunes. Opposed 
to the Whigs from principle, for an oligarchy is hostile to 
genius, and recoiling from the Tory tenets, which his un- 
prejudiced and vigorous mind taught him at the same 
time to dread and to contemn, Lord Bolingbroke, at the 
outset of his career, incurred the common-place imputa- 
tion of insincerity and inconsistency, because, in an age 
of unsettled parties with professions contradictory of their 
conduct, he maintained that vigilant and meditative 
independence which is the privilege of an original and 



1835] LORD BOLINGBROKE 219 

determined spirit. It is probable that in the earlier 
years of his career he meditated over the formation of 
a new party, that dream of youthful ambition in a per- 
plexed and discordant age, but destined in English 
politics to be never more substantial than a vision. More 
experienced in political life, he became aware that he 
had only to choose between the Whigs and the Tories, 
and his sagacious intellect, not satisfied with the super- 
ficial character of these celebrated divisions, penetrated 
their interior and essential qualities, and discovered, in 
spite of all the affectation of popular sympathy on one 
side, and of admiration of arbitrary power on the other, 
that this choice was in fact a choice between oligarchy 
and democracy. From the moment that Lord Boling- 
broke, in becoming a Tory, embraced the national cause, 
he devoted himself absolutely to his party : all the energies 
of his Protean mind were lavished in their service; and 
although the ignoble prudence of the Whig Minister 
restrained him from advocating the cause of the nation 
in the senate, it was his inspiring pen that made Walpole 
tremble in the recesses of the Treasury, and in a series 
of writings, unequalled in our literature for their spirited 
patriotism, their just and profound views, and the golden 
eloquence in which they are expressed, eradicated from 
Toryism all those absurd and odious doctrines which 
Toryism had adventitiously adopted, clearly developed 
its essential and permanent character, discarded jure 
divino, demolished passive obedience, threw to the winds 
the doctrine of non-resistance, placed the abolition of 
James and the accession of George on their right basis, 
and in the complete reorganisation of the public mind 
laid the foundation for the future accession of the Tory 
party to power, and to that popular and triumphant 
career which must ever await the policy of an administra- 
tion inspired by the spirit of our free and ancient institu- 
tions. 

Upwards of a century has elapsed since the Whigs, 
by a series of coups d'etat, attempted to transform the 



220 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

English Constitution into an oligarchy. George the 
Third routed the Whigs; but had their India Bill been 
more fortunate than their Peerage Bill, all the energy of 
that spirited Sovereign would have been fruitless. Stung 
to the quick by their long and merited exclusion from 
power, the Whigs are now playing the same great game 
which was partially successful at the commencement of 
the last century. They have again formed a close and 
fopen alliance with the Dissenters, and again declared 
war against the national institutions. Instead of 
" swamping "the Tory House of Commons by a Septennial 
Act, they have moulded it to their use and fancy by a 
reconstruction which has secured a preponderating in- 
fluence to their sectarian allies: instead of restricting 
the royal prerogative in the creation of Peers, they have 
counselled its prodigal exercise ; but before they had only 
to confirm their power in the House of Lords, now they 
have to create their power. They boast that they hold 
the King in duresse, and probably their boast is not ill- 
founded, but let us hope that our gracious Sovereign 
may take warning from the first of his house that ruled 
these realms, and follow the example of George the Third 
rather than George the First. The House of Commons 
remodelled, the House of Lords menaced, the King un- 
constitutionally controlled, the Church is next attacked, 
then the Corporations, and they do not conceal that the 
Magistracy is to be the next victim: and the nation is 
thus mangled and torn to pieces, its most sacred feelings 
outraged, its most important interests destroyed, by 
a miserable minority arrogating to themselves the bewilder- 
ing title of " the People," and achieving all this misery and 
misfortune, all this havoc and degradation, in the sacred 
name of liberty, and under the impudent pretence of 
advancing the great cause of popular amelioration, and 
securing the common good and general happiness. My 
Lord, the Whigs invoke " the People " ; let us appeal to 
the nation. 

Mark these friends of " the People " installed in power. 



1835] POLICY OF THE WHIGS 221 

What are their great measures ? The Poor Law Bill and 
the projected disfranchisement of all the freemen of 
England. Is this their service to the " People "? Are 
these their measures of popular amelioration ? Is this 
their scheme to secure the happiness and increase the 
power of " the People "? Who does not in an instant^ 
detect that " the People " of the Whigs is that part of 1 
the constituency or Commons of England who yield ^ 
them the advantage of their suffrages ? Now, at the last 
General Election, warm as was the contest, there were not 
more I doubt whether as many than one hundred and 
fifty thousand votes polled in favour of the Whigs. And 
this, too, after they had remodelled the third estate with 
a mere view to the consolidation of their own interest. 
So, then, " the People " of the Whigs is about one hundred 
and fifty thousand persons, and of these, too, the great 
majority sectarians, a class necessarily hostile to our 
Constitution, and long excluded by the nation from the 
exercise of political power for that very reason. It might 
have been very odious, it might have been very illiberal, 
it might have been very unwise, to exclude the Dissenters 
from the exercise of political power ; but is it less odious, 
is it more liberal, is it wiser, to carry on the government 
of the State by the aid of the Dissenters alone ? 



CHAPTER XXXII 

Three Points to which the Tories must at the Present Moment 
apply themselves Tories vindicated from the Charge of 
Corruption, Bigotry, and Hostility to Improvement Causes 
and Consequences of Political Conciliation. 

IF the Whigs at this moment be pursuing the same 
desperate and determined policy that they prosecuted 
so vigorously a century back, it will be well for their rivals 
to adopt the same cautious yet energetic system of 
conduct which, developed at the same period by the 
genius of a Bolingbroke, led in due season to the ad- 



222 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

ministration of a Pitt*. In the conduct of the Tory party 
at this moment, it appears to me that there are three 
points to the furtherance of which we should principally 
apply ourselves : First, that the real character and nature 
of Toryism should be generally and clearly comprehended : 
secondly, that Toryism should be divested of all those 
qualities which are adventitious and not essential, and 
which, having been produced by that course of circum- 
stances which are constantly changing, become in time 
obsolete, inconvenient, and by the dexterous misrepre- 
sentation of our opponents even odious : thirdly, that the 
efficient organisation of the party should be secured and 
maintained. 

The necessity of the third point has already been 
anticipated by the party ; but they have blundered in the 
second, and totally neglected the first. 

Toryism, or the policy of the Tories, being the proposed 
or practised embodification, as the case may be, of the 
national will and character, it follows that Toryism must 
occasionally represent and reflect the passions and preju- 
dices of the nation, as well as its purer energies and its 
more enlarged and philosophic views. In a perilous age 
of war and revolution, throughout the most terrible 
struggle of modern history, the destiny of England was 
regulated by the Tories. They carried us through the 
sharp and flaming ordeal to transcendent triumph and 
unparalleled prosperity. A factious and anti-national 
Opposition, who predicted our discomfiture in every 
engagement, and exaggerated and extolled on every 
occasion the power and pre-eminence of our foe, raised 
a cry of corruption against the Tories during this mighty 
contest because, in the creation of our colonial empire, 
immense establishments were necessarily raised, the 
details of which in the desperate heat of war could not 
be severely scanned; raised a cry of enmity to improve- 
ment against the Tories during this mighty contest, 
because they opposed any examination or remodelling 
of our ancient institutions and domestic polity at a time 



1835] ANTI-TORY CRIES 232 

when all the attention and energies of the nation and its 
rulers should be devoted to their foreign enemy, the 
most terrible for his power, his resources, his talents, and 
his activity, which England had ever encountered ; raised 
a cry of narrow-minded bigotry and hostility to civil and 
religious liberty against the Tories during this mighty 
contest, because at such a moment they refused to sanction 
extensive alterations in the Constitution of the country, 
and declined the responsibility of entrusting, at a season 
ill-suited for experiments, new classes of their fellow- 
subjects with the exercise of political power. Corrup- 
tion, bigotry, hostility to all improvement these were 
the false cries raised by the Whigs against the national 
party during the immortal struggle between Toryism and 
Napoleon. Yet were the Tories advocates of corruption 
when they introduced a Bill into the House of Commons 
for the banishment of all placemen from that assembly, 
and denounced Walpole ? Were the Tories hostile to 
civil and religious liberty when they crushed the Papacy, 
opposed a standing army, cherished free elections, upheld 
short Parliaments ? Were the Tories inimical to national 
improvement when, under Pitt, they first applied phil- 
osophy to commerce, and science to finance ; when, under 
their auspices, the most severe retrenchment was practised 
in every department of the public expenditure; when a 
Bill for the Commutation of Tithes was not only planned, 
but printed; and when nothing but the violence of the 
French Revolution prevented the adoption of a matured 
scheme of Ecclesiastical Reform, which would not have 
left our revolutionary oligarchs a single pretext to veil ^/ 
their present plundering purpose ? Why ! the cry of 
Parliamentary Reform was first raised by a Tory Minister, 
struggling against the bigoted and corrupt authority of 
the Whig oligarchy ; and it was not until the united efforts 
of the Sovereign, the Minister, and the nation, succeeded 
in piercing the serried ranks of the anti-national faction, 
that the Whigs, alarmed at the Tories beginning, by their 
acquisitions, to neutralise the only ill effects of the close 



224 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

borough system, borrowed the watchword of their 
patriotic opponents, became friends of " the People " 
and Parliamentary Reformers. Corruption, bigotry, hos- 
tility to improvement, may be but other names for the 
just and decent influence of a vigorous government, a 
determination to uphold the religious establishment of 
the country, and a resolution to oppose the crude and 
indigested schemes of adventurous charlatans. However 
this may be, it is sufficient for me to show that the quali- 
ties popularly associated with these titles are not peculiar 
to Toryism, that they form no essential portion of that 
national policy, and that when from the course of cir- 
cumstances they have been temporarily adopted by the 
Tories in power, it has been in deference to the national 
voice, of which Toryism is the echo; for we must not 
forget that the war, and all its concomitant expenditure, 
^vas heartily sanctioned by the English nation, and that 
"^that sagacious community discountenanced with an 
almost unanimous expression any experimental tampering 
with our civil or religious establishments, or the general 
scheme of our domestic polity, during the war of the 
Revolution. 

When that war terminated, the alleged advocates of 
" corruption " pursued so vigorous a system of retrench- 
ment that, when their rivals entered office, pledged to 
such marvels of financial regeneration, they were abso- 
lutely baffled to surpass their misrepresented predecessors ; 
the opposers of " national improvement " reformed our 
criminal code, revised our currency, remodelled our 
commercial system; the enemies of civil and religious 
freedom relieved the Dissenters, and emancipated the 
Papists. Far from being corrupt, far from cherishing 
abuses, far from withstanding improvement and uphold- 
ing a system of exclusive bigotry, we know now, and we 
know it too well, that Toryism had unwisely weakened 
the indispensable influence of government, that it indulged 
in a dangerous liberality, in a fallacious conciliation, in 
fantastic empiricism and unnecessary concession. 




1835] THE OLD WHIG GAME 225 

But this was not the fault of the Tory leaders ; it was 
the fault of the party of Toryism of the nation. The 
triumph of the national party at the Peace of Paris over 
their anti-English opponents was so complete that they 
fancied, in the fulness of their pride, that all future 
competition was impossible, so the Tories became merci- 
ful and condescendingly lenient. Conciliation was the 
national motto from the Parliament to the Vestry, and 
Conciliation conducted us in due time to a Revolution. 
The supineness of the nation forced the Tory leaders to 
yield much of which they disapproved. At length the 
reconstruction of the third estate was demanded, and of 
such a change the Tory leaders would not incur the re- 
sponsibility. The old Whig party took advantage of the 
dissensions which it had deeply sown and sedulously 
watched, and appeared again upon the public stage to 
play the old game of a century back, with their mouths 
full of the People, Reform, and Liberty, and their port- 
folios bursting with oligarchical coups d'etat. 

The English nation has now recovered its senses, and 
Toryism has resumed its old healthy complexion. The 
social power of a national party can never be destroyed, 
but a State trick may terribly curtail its political power. 
So it is with the Tories. I do not think there ever was 
a period in our history when the English nation was so 
intensely Tory in feeling as at the present moment; but 
the Reform Act has placed the power of the country in 
the hands of a small body of persons hostile to the nation, 
and therefore there is no due proportion between the 
social and the political power of the national party. 



226 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 



CHAPTER XXXIII 

Vindication of the Recent Policy of Sir Robert Peel and his 
Cabinet The Political Power of the Tories distinguished 
from their Social Power The Political Power maintained at 
Present by a Series of Great Democratic Measures. 

IF, in confirmation of the argument which I have been 
pursuing, I appeal to the measures brought forward by 
Sir Robert Peel and the Cabinet, in which your Lordship 
held the Great Seal of England, as evidence that the 
Tories are not opposed to measures of political ameliora- 
tion, I shall perhaps be met with that famous dilemma 
of insincerity or apostacy which was urged during the 
last General Election on the Whig hustings, with an air 
of irrefutable triumph, which, had it been better grounded, 
had been less amusing. I will grant that Sir Robert 
Peel and his colleagues had previously resisted the 
measures which they then proposed. But in the interval 
the third estate of the realm had been reconstructed, and 
a preponderating influence had been given to a small class 
who would not support any Ministry unprepared to 
carry such measures. If once the Tories admitted that 
it was impossible for them to propose the adoption of 
these measures they simultaneously admitted that they 
could never again exercise power; they conceded to the 
Whigs a monopoly of power, under the specious title of 
a monopoly of Reform ; and the oligarchy against which 
we had so long struggled would finally have been estab- 
lished. Was this the duty of Sir Robert Peel and his 
colleagues ? If they had held it to be such, the nation 
would have rejected them for its leaders. The nation, 
struggling with a sect, menaced by an insolent minority 
of its members, recognised the absolute necessity of such 
concessions on the part of its leaders as would deprive this 
hostile and privileged minority of every just or plausible 
ground of opposition to the national will. The deter- 
mination of Sir Robert Peel and his colleagues to carry 



1835] TORY DEMOCRACY 227 

these measures has already shaken the oligarchy to its 
centre; it has forced it, only four years after having re- 
constructed the third estate for its purposes, to rely upon 
the treasonable support of a foreign priesthood; and it 
has prepared the way for the regeneration of the national 
character. This great deed therefore, instead of being 
an act of insincerity or apostacy, was conceived in good 
faith, and in perfect harmony with the previous policy 
of the party : it was at the same time indispensable, 
and urged alike by the national voice and the national 
interests, and history will record it as the conduct of 
patriotic wisdom. 

I think, my Lord, that I have now shown how unjust 
are those, and how liable to error, who form their opinion 
of Toryism from those accidental qualities which are 
inseparable from all political parties that have been long 
in power, and have exercised that prolonged authority 
under circumstances of extreme difficulty and danger. 
And it is curious to observe that, so difficult is it to 
destroy the original character and eradicate the first 
principles of human affairs, those very members of the 
Tory party who were loudest in upbraiding the Whig 
Reform Act as a democratic measure were simultaneously, 
and have ever since been, urging and prosecuting measures 
infinitely more democratic than that cunning oligarchical 
device. However irresistible may be the social power 
of the Tory party, their political power, since 1831, has 
only been preserved and maintained by a series of 
democratic measures of the greatest importance and 
most comprehensive character. No sooner was the 
passing of the Whig Reform Act inevitable than the 
Tories introduced a clause into it which added many 
thousand members to the estate of the Commons. No 
sooner was the Whig Reform Act passed, and circum- 
stances had proved that, with all their machinations, the 
oligarchy was not yet secure, than the Whigs, under the 
pretence of reforming the corporations, attempted to 
compensate themselves for the democratic increase of 



223 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

the third estate, through the Chandos clause, by the 
political destruction of all the freemen of England; but 
the Tories again stepped in to the rescue of the nation 
from the oligarchy, and now preserved the rights of 
eighty thousand members of the third estate. And not 
content with adding many thousands to its numbers, and 
preserving eighty thousand, the Tories, ever since the 
passing of the oligarchical Reform Act of the Whigs, have 
organised societies throughout the country for the great 
democratic purpose of increasing to the utmost possible 
extent the numbers of the third estate of the realm. The 
clause of Lord Chandos, your Lordship's triumphant 
defence of the freemen of England, and the last Registra- 
tion, are three great democratic movements, and quite in 
keeping with the original and genuine character of 
Toryism. 



CHAPTER XXXIV 

General View of the English Constitution Shown to be a Com- 
plete Democracy English and French Equality contrasted 
Conclusion. 

IF we take a superficial view of the nature of the English 
Constitution, we shall perceive that the government of 
the country is carried on by a King and two limited orders 
of his subjects : but if we indulge in a more profound and 
comprehensive survey if we examine not only the 
political Constitution, but the political condition of the 
country we shall in truth discover that the state of our 
society is that of a complete democracy, headed by an 
hereditary chief, the executive and legislative functions 
performed by two privileged classes of the community, 
but the whole body of the nation entitled, if duly qualified, 
to participate in the exercise of those functions, and con- 
stantly participating in them. 

The basis of English society is Equality. But here let 
us distinguish. There are two kinds of equality: there 



1835] THE HIGHEK EQUALITY 229 

is the equality that levels and destroys, and the equality 
that elevates and creates. It is this last, this sublime, 
this celestial equality, that animates the laws of England. 
The principle of the first equality, base, terrestrial, Gallic, 
and grovelling, is that no one should be privileged; the 
principle of English equality is that everyone should be 
privileged. Thus the meanest subject of our King is 
born to great and important privileges; an Englishman, 
however humble may be his birth, whether he be doomed 
to the plough or destined to the loom, is born to the 
noblest of all inheritances, the equality of civil rights ; he 
is born to freedom, he is born to justice, and he is born 
to property. There is no station to which he may not 
aspire; there is no master whom he is obliged to serve; 
there is no magistrate who dares imprison him against the 
law; and the soil on which he labours must supply him 
with an honest and decorous maintenance. These are 
rights and privileges as valuable as King, Lords, and 
Commons; and it is only a nation thus schooled and 
cradled in the principles and practice of freedom which, 
indeed, could maintain such institutions. Thus the 
English in politics are as the old Hebrews in religion, 
" a favoured and peculiar people." As Equality is the 
basis, so Gradation is the superstructure ; and the English 
nation is essentially a nation of classes, but not of castes. 
Hence that admirable order, which is the characteristic 
of our society; for in England every man knows or finds 
his place ; the law has supplied every man with a position, 
and nature has a liberal charter to amend the arrangement 
of the law. Our equality is the safety-valve of tumul- 
tuous spirits; our gradation the security of the humble 
and the meek. The latter take refuge in their order; the 
former seek relief in emancipating themselves from its 
rank. English equality calls upon the subject to aspire; 
French equality summons him to abase himself. In 
England the subject is invited to become an object of 
admiration or respect; in France he is warned lest he 
become an object of envy or of ridicule. The law of 



230 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

England has invested the subject with equality in order 
that, if entitled to eminence, he should rise superior to 
the mass. The law of France has invested the subject 
with equality, on condition that he prevent the elevation 
of his fellow. English equality blends every man's 
ambition with the perpetuity of the State; French 
equality, which has reduced the subject into a mere 
individual, has degraded the State into a mere society. 
English equality governs the subject by the united and 
mingled influences of reason and imagination; French 
equality, having rejected imagination and aspiring to 
reason, has, in reality, only resolved itself into a barren 
fantasy. The Constitution of England is founded not 
only on a profound knowledge of human nature, but of 
human nature in England ; the political scheme of France 
originates not only in a profound ignorance of human 
nature in general, but of French human nature in par- 
ticular ; thus in England, however vast and violent may 
be our revolutions, the Constitution ever becomes more 
firm and vigorous, while in France a riot oversets the 
government, and after half a century of political experi- 
ments one of the most intellectual of human races has 
succeeded in losing every attribute of a nation, and has 
sought refuge from anarchy in a despotism without lustre, 
which contradicts all its theories and violates all the 
principles for which it has ever affected to struggle. 

The English nation, to obtain the convenience of 
monarchy, have established a popular throne, and, to 
enjoy the security of aristocracy, have invested certain 
orders of their fellow-subjects with legislative functions : 
but these estates, however highly privileged, are invested 
with no quality of exclusion; and the Peers and the 
Commons of England are the trustees of the nation, not 
its masters. The country where the legislative and even 
the executive office may be constitutionally obtained by 
every subject of the land is a democracy, and a democracy 
of the noblest character. If neither ancient ages nor 
the more recent experience of our newer time can supply 



1835] THE BKITISH HEEITAGE 231 

us with a parallel instance of a free government, founded 
on the broadest basis of popular rights, yet combining 
with democratic, liberty aristocratic security and mon-, 
archical convenience ; if the refined spirit of Greece, if the 
great Roman soul, if the brilliant genius of feodal Italy, 
alike failed in realising this great result, let us cling with 
increased devotion to the matchless creation of our 
ancestors, and honour with still deeper feelings of grati- 
tude and veneration the English Constitution. That 
Constitution, my Lord, established civil equality in a 
rude age, and anticipated by centuries, in its beneficent 
practice, the sublime theories of modern philosophy: 
having made us equal, it has kept us free. If it have 
united equality with freedom, so also has it connected 
freedom with glory. It has established an Empire which 
combines the durability of Rome with the adventure of 
Carthage. It has at the same time secured us the most 
skilful agriculture, the most extended commerce, the 
most ingenious manufactures, victorious armies, and in- 
vincible fleets . Nor has the intellectual might of England, 
under its fostering auspices, been less distinguished than 
its imperial spirit, its manly heart, or its national energy. 
The authors of England have formed the mind of Europe, 
and stamped the breathing impression of their genius 
on the vigorous character of a new world. Under that 
Constitution the administration of justice has become so 
pure that its exercise has realised the dreams of some 
Utopian romance. That Constitution has struggled 
successfully with the Papacy, and finally, and for the first 
time, proved the compatibility of sectarian toleration 
and national orthodoxy. It has made private ambition 
conducive to public welfare, it has baffled the machinations 
of factions and of parties, and when those more violent 
convulsions have arisen, from whose periodic visitations 
no human institutions can be exempt, the English Con- 
stitution has survived the moral earthquake, and out- 
lived the mental hurricane, and been sedulous that the 
natural course of our prosperity should only be dis- 



232 VINDICATION OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTION [1835 

turbed, and not destroyed. Finally, it has secured for 
every man the career to which he is adapted, and the 
reward to which he is entitled; it has summoned your 
Lordship to preside over Courts and Parliaments, to 
maintain law by learning, and to recommend wisdom by 
eloquence: and it has secured to me, in common with 
every subject of this realm, a right the enjoyment of 
which I would not exchange even for 

" The errnined stole, 
The starry breast, and coroneted brow " 

the right of expressing my free thoughts to a free people. 



1836] THE LETTEES OF EUNNYMEDE 233 



THE LETTERS OP RUNNYMEDE 

[THE LETTERS OF RUNNYMEDE, written while Disraeli 
was yet in the wilderness, appeared in the Times during 
the first half of 1836, and were republished anonymously 
in July, with the following lines on the title-page : 

" Neither for shame nor fear this mask he wore 
That like a vizor on the battle-field 
But shrouds a manly and a daring brow." 

Disraeli's authorship of the letters was never acknow- 
ledged by him; doubtless as the years passed, and his 
knowledge of the men with whom he had dealt so 
unsparingly became more intimate, he regretted their 
publication. They were mainly a curious compost of 
abuse and panegyric invective against political foes, 
adulation of political friends. But the Letters have an 
abiding reputation, and, like the Morning Post articles, 
to which they have a close kinship, they could not be 
omitted from a volume of his earlier political writings. 
They formed an integral portion of his campaign in 
behalf of Lord Lyndhurst against the Whigs. 

It will be convenient, for the better understanding of 
the Letters, to give here the composition of the Ministry 
of the day : 



Prime Minister 
Lord President of the Council 
Lord Privy Seal 
Chancellor of the Exchequer 

Home Secretary 
Foreign Secretary 
Colonial Secretary 
First Lord of the Admiralty 



Viscount Melbourne. 

The Marquis of Lansdowne. 

Viscount Duncannon. 

Mr. T. Spring Eice (afterwards 

Lord Mont eagle). 
Lord John Eussell. 
Viscount Palmerston. 
Lord Glenelg. 
Lord Auckland; Lord Minto. 



President of the Board of Control Sir John Cam Hobhouse 

(afterwards Lord Brough- 
ton). 

16 



234 THE LETTERS OF RUNNYMEDE [1836 

Secretary at War . . . . . . Viscount Ho wick (afterwards 

Earl Grey). 

Board of Trade Mr. C. Poulett Thomson (after- 
wards Lord Sydenham). 

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lan- 
caster . . . . . . . . Lord Holland. 

Lord Chancellor . . . . In Commission ; afterwards 

Lord Cottenham. 

Irish Secretary Viscount Morpeth. 

Sir John Campbell (afterwards Lord Campbell) was Attorney- 
General, and the Earl of Mulgrave (afterwards Marquis of Nor- 
manby) was Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland.] 



DEDICATION : 
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE 

SIR ROBERT PEEL, BARONET, M.P. 

SIR, I have the honour to dedicate to you a volume 
illustrative of WHIGS and WHIGGISM. It has been my 
object to delineate within its pages not only the present 
characters and recent exploits of the most active of the 
partisans, but also the essential and permanent spirit of 
the party. It appeared to me that it might be advan- 
tageous to connect the criticism on the character of the 
hour with some researches into the factious idiosyncrasy 
of centuries. Political parties are not so inconsistent as 
the superficial imagine; and, in my opinion, the Whig of 
a century back does not differ so materially as some would 
represent from the Whig of the present day. I hope, 
therefore, that this volume may conduce, not only to the 
amusement, but to the instruction of my countrymen. 

It is now, Sir, some six months past since I seized the 
occasion of addressing you another letter, written under 
very different auspices. 1 The session of Parliament was 
then about to commence ; it is now about to close. These 
six months have not been uneventful in results. If they 
have not witnessed any legislative enactment eminently 

1 Letter V., January 26, 1836. 



1836] RALLY OF THE CONSTITUTION 235 

tending to our social welfare, they have developed much 
political conduct for which our posterity may be grateful : 
for this session, Sir, has at least been memorable for one 
great event an event not inferior, in my estimation, in 
its beneficial influence on the fortunes of the country, to 
Magna Charta itself I mean the rally of the English 
Constitution ; I might use a stronger phrase, I might say 
its triumph. 1 

And it has triumphed because it has become under- 
stood. The more its principles have been examined, the 
more the intention of its various parts has been investi- 
gated and its general scope comprehended, the more bene- 
ficent and profound has appeared the polity of our fathers. 
The public mind of late has been cleared of a vast amount 
of error in constitutional learning. Scarcely a hired 
writer would have the front at this day to pretend that 
a difference of opinion between the two Houses of Parlia- 
ment is a collision between the Peers and the People. 
That phrase " the People " is a little better comprehended 
now than it used to be ; it will not serve for the stalking 
horse of faction as it did. We know very well that the 
House of Commons is not the House of "the People "; 
we know very well that " the People " is a body not in- 
telligible in a political sense ; we know very well that the 
Lords and the Commons are both sections of the Nation, 
and both alike and equally representative of that great 
community. And we know very well that if the contrary 
propositions to all these were maintained, the govern- 
ment of this English Empire might, at this moment, be 
the pastime and plunder of some score of Irish adven- 
turers. 

When, Sir, you quitted Dray ton in February, the vaga- 
bond delegate of a foreign priesthood 2 was stirring up 
rebellion against the Peers of England, with the implied, 
if not the definite, sanction of His Majesty's Ministers. 
Where is that hired disturber now ? Like base coin de- 

1 Compare passage in final article of the Morning Post series, 
p. 107. 2 O'ConneU. 



236 THE LETTERS OF RUNNYMEDE [1836 

tected by the very consequences of its currency, and 
finally nailed against the counter it has deceived, so this 
bad politician, like a bad shilling, has worn off his edge 
by his very restlessness. Parliament met, and the King's 
Ministers exhibited with a flourish their emblazoned cata- 
logue of oligarchical coups-d'etat, by which they were to 
entrench themselves in power under the plea of amelio- 
rating our society. Not one of these measures has been 
carried. Yet we were told that their success was certain, 
and by a simple process by the close and incontestable 
union between all true reformers. The union between all 
true reformers has terminated in the mutiny of Downing 
Street. 

I believe that I have commemorated in this volume 
that celebrated harangue, which the Chancellor of the 
Exchequer, at the commencement of the session, ad- 
dressed at a dinner to his constituents - 1 You may perhaps 
remember, Sir, the glowing promises of that Eight 
Honourable Gentleman : they seemed almost to announce 
the advent of a political millennium. " First and fore- 
most," announced the Right Honourable Chancellor, 
" we shall proceed in our great work of the reform of the 
Court of Equity " the opus magnum of the gifted Cot- 
tenham ! It seems the course of nature was reversed 
here, and the butterfly turned into a grub. " Our earnest 
attention will then be directed," quoth Mr. Bice, " to 
the entire and complete relief of our Dissenting brethren 
and fellow-subjects." How liberal, how condescending, 
and how sincere ! The Dissenters are absolutely our 
fellow-subjects. None but a Whig, a statesman almost 
eructating with the plenary inspiration of the spirit of the 
age, could have been capable of making so philosophical 
an admission. In the meantime six months have passed, 
and nothing has been done for our unhappy " fellow- 
subjects," while the Dissenting organs denounce even the 
projected alleviations as a miserable insult. To justice 
to Ireland Mr. Bice of course was pledged, and most 

1 Mr. Spring Rice's speech at Cambridge. 



1836] PLACE WITHOUT POWER 237 

determined to obtain it; but his Bills have been dis- 
honoured nevertheless. And the settlement of the Irish 
Tithe and the Reform of the Irish Corporations are about 
as much advanced by this great Whig Government as the 
relief of the Dissenters and the reform of the Court of 
Chancery. What have they done then ? What pledge 
have they redeemed ? The Ecclesiastical Courts remain 
unpurged. Even the Stamp Act, through the medium 
of which the Whigs, as usual, have levelled a blow at the 
liberty of the press, has not passed yet, and in its present 
inquisitorial form can never become a law. What then, 
I repeat, have they done ? They promised indeed to 
break open the prisons like Jack Cade; but as yet the 
grates are barred; the pensions are still paid, and the 
soldiers still flogged. Oh, ye Scribes of the Treasury 
and Pharisees of Downing Street ! 

Supported in the House of Lords by a body inferior in 
number to the Peers created by the Whigs during the 
last five years, upheld in the House of Commons by a 
majority of twenty-six, Lord Melbourne still clings to his 
mulish and ungenerative position of place without 
power; and with a degree of modest frankness and con- 
stitutional propriety equally admirable pledges himself 
before his country, that, as long as he is supported by a 
majority of the House of Commons, he will remain 
Minister. 1 I apprehend the ratification of a Ministry is 
as necessary by one House of Parliament as by the other ; 
but I stop not to discuss this. The choice of Ministers 
was once entrusted to a different authority than that of 
either Lords or Commons. 

But this is an old almanack ; and I leave Lord Viscount 
Melbourne to shake its dust off at his next interview with 
his projected Doge of Windsor. 

RUNNYMEDE. 
July 27, 1836. 

1 "I conscientiously believe," Lord Melbourne declared, "that 
the well-being of the country requires that I should hold my 
present office and hold it I will till I am constitutionally removed 
from it." 



238 THE LETTEES OF RUNNYMEDE [1836 

LETTER I 
To ViscomsTT MELBOURNE 

MY LORD, The Marquis of Halifax 1 was wont to say 
of his Royal Master, that, " after all, his favourite Sultana 
Queen was sauntering." It is, perhaps, hopeless that 
your Lordship should rouse yourself from the embraces 
of that Siren Desidia to whose fatal influence you are not 
less a slave than our second Charles, and that you should 
cease to saunter over the destinies of a nation, and lounge 
away the glory of an empire. Yet the swift shadows of 
coming events are assuredly sufficiently dark and ominous 
to startle from its indolence even 

" The sleekest swine in Epicurus' sty." a 

When I recall to my bewildered memory the perplexing 
circumstance that William Lamb is Prime Minister of 
England, it seems to me that I recollect with labour the 
crowning incident of some grotesque dream, or that in 
some pastime of the season you have drawn for the 
amusement of a nation a temporary character, ludicrously 
appropriate only from the total want of connection and 
fitness between the festive part and the individual by 
whom it is sustained. Previous to the passing of the 
famous Act of 1832, for the amendment of popular repre- 
sentation, your reputation, I believe, principally depended 
upon your talent for prologue writing. No one was held 
to introduce with more grace and spirit the performances 
of an amateur society. With the exception of an annual 
oration against Parliamentary reform, your career in the 
House of Commons was never remarkably distinguished. 
Your Cabinet, indeed, appears to have been constructed 
from the materials of your old dramatic company. The 

1 Sir George Savile, Marquis of Halifax (1633-1695), a promi- 
nent figure in the reign of Charles the Second. 

2 " Me pinguem et nitidum bene curata cute vises . . . Epi- 
ouri de grege porcum " (Horace, "Epistles," Book I,, iv. 15, 16). 



1836] THE CAST 239 

domestic policy of the country is entrusted to the cele- 
brated author of "Don Carlos"; the Fletcher of this 
Beaumont, the author of the " Siege of Constantinople ' ?1 
(an idea apparently borrowed from your Russian allies), 
is the guardian of the lives and properties of the Irish 
clergy, under the charitable supervision of that " first 
tragedy man," the Lord of Mulgrave; Lord Glenelg ad- 
mirably personifies a sleepy audience; while your Chan- 
cellor of the Exchequer beats Mr. Power ; 2 and your Secre- 
tary for Foreign Affairs, in his mimetic sympathy with 
French manners and intimate acquaintance with French 
character, is scarcely inferior to the late ingenious Charles 
Mathews. That general adapter from the Spanish, Lord 
Holland, gives you all the advantage, in the affairs of the 
Peninsula, of his early studies of Lope de Vega, 3 and, 
indeed, with his skilful assistance you appear, by all 
accounts, to have woven a plot absurd and complicated 
enough even for the grave humour of Madrid or the gay 
fancy of Seville. For yourself is still reserved a monopoly 
of your peculiar talent, and doubtless on February 4 you 
will open your House with an introductory composition 
worthy of your previous reputation. 

I remember some years ago listening to one of these 
elegant productions from the practised pen of the present 
Prime Minister of Great Britain, if not of Ireland. I 
think it was on that occasion that you enunciated to your 
audience the great moral discovery that the character- 
istic of the public mind of the present day was 

" A taste for evil." 

Our taste for evil does not seem to be on the wane, since 
it has permitted this great empire to be governed by the 
Whigs, and has induced even those Whigs to be governed 

1 Viscount Morpeth (afterwards seventh Earl of Carlisle), 
author of " The Last of the Greeks, or the Fall of Constantinople," 
1828. 

2 Tyrone Power. 

3 Lord Holland published in 1806 anonymously, and in 1817 
over his own name, a short Life of Lope Felix de Vega Carpio ; 
and in 1807 " Three Comedies from the Spanish." 



240 THE LETTEKS OF RUNNYMEDE [1836 

by an Irish rebel. Your prologue, my Lord, was quite 
prophetic. 

If your Royal Master's speech at the opening of his 
Parliament may share its inspirations, it will tell to the 
people of England some terrible truths. 

It will announce, in the first place, that the policy of 
your theatrical Cabinet has at length succeeded in 
dividing the people of England into two hostile camps, 
in which numbers are arrayed against property, ignorance 
against knowledge, and sects against institutions. 

It will announce to us that your theatrical Cabinet 
has also been not less fortunate in maturing the passive 
resistance of the enemy in Ireland into active hostility, 
and that you have obtained the civil war from which 
the Duke of Wellington shrank, without acquiring the 
political security which might have been its consequence. 

It will announce to us that in foreign affairs you and 
your company have finally succeeded in destroying all 
our old alliances without substituting any new ones ; and 
that, after having sacrificed every principle of British 
policy to secure an intimate alliance with France, the 
Cabinet of the Tuileries has even had the airy audacity 
to refuse its co-operation in that very treaty in which 
its promises alone involved you; and that, while the 
British Minister can with extreme difficulty obtain an 
audience at St. Petersburg, the Ambassador of France 
passes with a polite smile of gay recognition the luckless 
representative of William the Fourth, who is lounging in 
an ante-chamber in the enjoyment of an indolence which 
even your Lordship might envy. 

It will announce to us that in our colonial empire 
the most important results may speedily be anticipated 
from the discreet selection of Lord Auckland 1 as a suc- 
cessor to our Clives and our Hastings ; that the progressive- 
improvement of the French in the manufacture of beet- 
root may compensate for the approaching destruction of 
our West Indian plantations ; and that, although Canada 

1 Succeeded Lord William Bentinck as Governor-General of India. 



1836] LOED MELBOURNE'S ASSISTANTS 241 

is not yet independent, the final triumph of liberal prin- 
ciples, under the immediate patronage of the Government, 
may eventually console us for the loss of the glory of 
Chatham and the conquests of Wolfe. 

At home or abroad, indeed, an agreeable prospect on 
every side surrounds you. Your Lordship may exclaim 
with Hannibal: "Behind us are the Alps, before us is 
Eridanus !" And who are your assistants to stem the 
profound and impetuous current of this awful futurity ? 
At an unconstitutional expenditure of four coronets, 1 
which may some day figure as an article in an impeach- 
ment, the Whigs have at length obtained a Lord Chan- 
cellor as a lawyer not illustrious, as a statesman a non- 
entity. The seals of the principal office of the State are 
entrusted to an individual who, on the principle that good 
vinegar is the corruption of bad wine, has been meta- 
morphosed from an incapable author into an eminent 
politician. 2 His brother Secretaries 3 remind me of two 
battered female sinners; one frivolous, the other ex- 
hausted; one taking refuge from conscious scorn in 
rouge and the affected giggle of fluttering folly, and the 
other in strong waters and devotion. Then Mr. Spring 
Rice waves a switch, which he would fain persuade you 
is a shillelagh; while the Rienzi of Westminster smiles 
with marvelling complacency at the strange chapter of 
accidents which has converted a man whose friends pelted 
George Lamb with a cabbage-stalk, into a main prop of 
William Lamb's Cabinet. 

Some yet remain ; the acute intelligence of Lansdowne, 
the polished mind of Thomson, Howick's calm maturity, 4 
and the youthful energy of Holland. 

1 In a later letter the " expenditure " of coronets is reduced 
to three. Sir Christopher Pepys, Master of the Rolls, received 
the Great Seal, with the title of Earl of Cottenham; Bickersteth, 
with the title of Lord Langdale, succeeded him as Master of the 
Rolls; and Lady Campbell, wife of Sir John Campbell, Attorney- 
General, was made a peeress in her own right. 

2 Lord John Russell (see Introduction, p. 10). 

3 Lord Palmerston and Lord Glenelg. 

4 Mr. Poulett Thomson and Viscount Howick had just been 
admitted to the Cabinet. 



242 THE LETTEKS OF RUNNYMEDE [1836 

And this is the Cabinet that controls the destinies of 
a far vaster population than owned the sway of Rome in 
the palmiest hour of its imperial fame ! Scarron 1 or 
Butler should celebrate its political freaks, and the 
shifting expedients of its ignoble statecraft. But while I 
watch you in your ludicrous councils, an awful shade 
rises from behind the chair of my Lord President. 
Slaves ! it is your master ; it is Eblis 2 with Captain Rock's 3 
bloody cap shadowing his atrocious countenance. In 
one hand he waves a torch, and in the other clutches a 
skull. He gazes on his victims with a leer of fiendish 
triumph. Contemptible as you are, it is this dark con- 
nection that involves your fate with even an epic dignity, 
and makes the impending story of your retributive for- 
tunes assume almost a Dantesque sublimity. 

January 18, 1836. 



LETTER II 
To SIR JOHN CAMPBELL 4 

SIR, I have always been of opinion an opinion I im- 
bibed early in life from great authorities that the 
Attorney and Solicitor-General were not more the guar- 
dians of the honour and the interests of the Crown than 
of the honour and the interests of the Bar. It appears to 
me that you have failed in your duty as representative 
of this once illustrious body, and therefore it is that I 
address to you this letter. 

Although your political opponent, I trust I am not 

1 The burlesque poet, who married Mademoiselle d'Aubigne, 
afterwards so well known as Madame de Maintenon. 

2 The chief of the fallen angels. 

3 The fictitious name of the leader of the Irish insurgents in 
1822. Maclise's " Installation of Captain Rock " was exhibited 
in 1834. 

4 The Attorney-General, afterwards Lord Campbell. As a 
solatium for being passed over in the appointments of Master of 
the Rolls and Lord Chancellor, Sir John secured the elevation of 
his wife to the peerage as Lady Stratheden. 



1836] A WAIVED RIGHT 243 

incapable of acknowledging and appreciating your abilities 
and acquirements. They are sound, but they are not 
splendid. You have mastered considerable legal reading, 
you are gifted with no ordinary shrewdness, you have en- 
joyed great practice, and you have gained great experi- 
ence ; you possess undaunted perseverance and invincible 
industry. But you can advance no claim to the refined 
subtlety of an Eldon, and still less to the luminous pre- 
cision, the quick perception, the varied knowledge, and 
accomplished eloquence of a Lyndhurst. In profound 
learning you cannot cope for a moment with Sir Edward 
Sugden; 1 as an advocate you can endure no competiton 
with your eminent father-in-law, 2 or with Sir William 
Follett, or for I am not writing as a partisan with Mr. 
Serjeant Wilde. As a pleader I believe you were dis- 
tinguished, though there are many who, even in this 
humble province, have deemed that you might yield the 
palm to Mr. Baron Parke and Mr. Justice Littledale. 

But, whatever be your merits or defects, you are still 
the King's Attorney- General, and as the King's Attorney- 
General you have a prescriptive, if not a positive, right 
to claim any seat upon the judgment bench which becomes 
vacant during your official tenure. This prescriptive 
right has never been doubted in the profession. It has 
been understood and acted upon by members of the 
bar, of all parties, and at all times. In recent days, 
Sir Robert Gifford, 3 though a common law lawyer, 
succeeded to the equity tribunal of Sir Thomas Plomer, 
It is true that Sir Robert Gififord, for a very short time 
previous to his accession, had practised in the Court of 
Chancery, but the right of the Attorney-General to suc- 
ceed, under any circumstances, was again recognised by 
Lord Eldon, when Sir John Copley, 4 who had never been 
in an Equity Court in his life, became Master of the Rolls. 
On this occasion it is well known that Leach, 6 the Vice- 

1 Afterwards Lord St. Leonards and Lord Chancellor. 

2 Sir James Scarlett, afterwards Lord Abinger. 

3 Afterwards Lord Clifford. 

4 Lord Lyndhurst. 6 Sir John Leach. 



244 THE LETTERS OF RUNNYMEDE [1836 

Chancellor, was anxious to succeed Lord Gifford, but 
his request was not for a moment listened to in preference 
to the claim of the Attorney-General. 

In allowing a judge, who a very short time back was 
your inferior officer, to become Lord Chancellor of 
England, and in permitting a barrister, who had not 
even filled the office of Solicitor- General, to be elevated 
over your head into the seat of the Master of the Rolls ; 
either you must have esteemed yourself absolutely in- 
competent to the discharge of those great offices, or you 
must have been painfully conscious of your marked in- 
feriority to both the individuals who were promoted in 
your teeth; or last, and bitterest alternative, you must 
have claimed your right and been denied its enjoyment. 
In the first instance, you virtually declared that you were 
equally unfit for the office you at present hold, and what 
should have been your consequent conduct is obvious ; 
in the second, you betrayed the interests of the bar ; and 
in the third, you betrayed not only the interests of the 
bar, but its honour also. 

Without imputing to Sir John Campbell any mar- 
vellous degree of arrogance, I cannot bring myself to 
believe that he holds himself absolutely unfit for the dis- 
charge of the offices in question. I will not even credit 
that he has yielded to his unfeigned sense of his marked 
inferiority to the supernatural wisdom and miraculous 
acquirements of my Lord Cottenham, or that his down- 
cast vision has been dazzled by the wide extended 
celebrity that surrounds with a halo the name of Bicker- 
steth ! No, Sir, we will not trench upon the manorial 
right of modesty which is the monopoly of your colleague, 
Sir Monsey Rolfe, 1 that public man on the lucus a non 
lucendo principle, that shadowy entity which all have 
heard of, few seen. An individual, it would appear, of 
a rare humility and admirable patience, and born, as it 
were, to exemplify the beauty of resignation. 

I believe, therefore, that you claimed the office that 

1 Afterwards Lord Cranworth and Lord Chancellor. 



1836] AN UNKESENTED INSULT 245 

you claimed your right, and that you were refused it. 
That must have been a bitter moment, Sir John Campbell 
a moment which might have made you recollect, per- 
haps even repeat, the Johnsonian definition of a Whig. 1 
You have not hitherto been held a man deficient in spirit, 
or altogether uninfluenced by that nobler ambition which 
spurs us on to great careers, and renders the esteem of 
our fellow-countrymen not the least valuable reward of 
our exertions. When therefore you were thus insulted, 
why did you not resent the insult ? When your fair 
ambition was thus scurvily balked, why not have gratified 
it by proving to a sympathising nation that you were 
at least worthy of the high post to which you aspired ? 
He who aims to be the guardian of the honour of the 
Crown should at least prove that he is competent 
to protect his own. You ought not to have quitted 
the Minister's ante - chamber the King's Attorney- 
General. 

Why did you, then ? Because, as you inform us, your 
lady is to be ennobled. Is it the carnival, that such jests 
pass current ? Is it part of the code of etiquette in this 
saturnalia of Whig manners that the honour of a man is 
to be vindicated by a compliment to a woman ? One 
cannot refrain from admiring, too, the consistent pro- 
priety of the whole arrangement. A gentleman, whom 
his friends announce as a resolved republican, and to 
whom, but for this slight circumstance, they assert would 
have been entrusted the custody of the Great Seal, is 
to be hoisted up into the House of Lords in the masquerade 
of a Baron; while yourself, whose delicate and gracious 
panegyric of the Peers of England is still echoing from 
the Movement benches of the House of Commons to the 
reeking cellars of the Cowgate, find the only consolation 
for your wounded honour in your son inscribing his name 
in the libro d'oro of our hereditary legislators. Why, if 
Mr. O'Connell were but simultaneously called up by the 

1 Johnson, in his Dictionary, denned " Whig " as " the name 
of a faction." 



246 THE LETTEKS OF KUNNYMEDE [1836 

title of Baron RatHcormac, in honour of his victory, the 
batch would be quite complete. 

What compensation is it for the injured interests, and 
what consolation to the outraged honour, of the bar, 
that your amiable lady is to become a peeress ? On the 
contrary, you have inflicted a fresh stigma on the body 
of which you are the chief. You have shown to the 
world that the leading advocate of the day, the King's 
Attorney-General, will accept a bribe ! JTay ! start not. 
For the honour of human nature, for the honour of your 
high profession, of which I am the friend, I will believe 
that in the moment of overwhelming mortification you 
did not thus estimate that glittering solace, but such, 
believe me, the English nation will ever esteem the 
coronet of Strath-Eden. 

Was the grisly spectre of Sir William Home 1 the 
blooming Eve that tempted you to pluck this fatal fruit ? 
Was it the conviction that a rebellious Attorney-General 
might be shelved that daunted the hereditary courage of 
the Campbell ? What, could you condescend to be 
treated by the Minister like a froward child the parental 
Viscount shaking in one hand a rod, and in the other 
waving a toy ? 

I have long been of opinion that, among other per- 
fected and projected mischief, there has been on the part 
of the Whigs a systematic attempt to corrupt the English 
bar. I shall avail myself of another and early oppor- 
tunity to discuss this important subject. At present I 
will only observe that, whether they do or do not obtain 
their result, your conduct has anticipated the consequence 
of their machinations: the Whigs may corrupt the bar 
of England, but you, Sir, have degraded it. 

January 19, 1836. 

1 Attorney - General in Grey's Ministry ; a " victim to the 
trickery and shuffling of the Chancellor (Lord Brougham), who 
wanted to get him out, and did not care how " (Greville's 
"Memoirs," February 26 1834). 



1836] HIGH NONSENSE AND LOW NONSENSE 247 

LETTER III 
To MR. THOMAS ATTWOOD, M.P. 1 

SIR, You may be surprised at this letter being ad- 
dressed to you; you may be more surprised when I 
inform you that this address is not occasioned by any 
conviction of your political importance. I deem you a 
harmless, and I do not believe you to be an ill-meaning, 
individual. You are a provincial banker labouring under 
a financial monomania. But amid the seditious fan- 
faronade which your unhappy distemper occasions you 
periodically to vomit forth, there are fragments of good 
old f eelings which show you are not utterly denationalised 
in spite of being " the friend of all mankind," and con- 
trast with the philanthropic verbiage of your revolu- 
tionary rhetoric like the odds and ends of ancient art 
which occasionally jut forth from the modern rubbish of 
an edifice in a classic land symptoms of better days, 
and evidences of happier intellect. 

The reason that I have inscribed this letter to your 
consideration is that you are a fair representative of 
a considerable class of your countrymen the class who 
talk political nonsense; and it is these with whom, 
through your medium, I would now communicate. 

I met recently with an observation which rather 
amused me. It was a distinction drawn in some journal 
between high nonsense and low nonsense. 2 I thought 
that distinction was rather happily illustrated at the 
recent meeting of your Union, 3 which, by-the-bye, 
differs from its old state as the drivellings of idiotism from 

1 Member for Birmingham ; a Reform leader, and father of the 
Political Unions; the " King Tom " of Cobbett's Political Register. 

2 Disraeli's own letter to the Times, December 31, 1835: " I 
have often observed that there are two kinds of nonsense high 
nonsense and low nonsense." 

3 Birmingham Political Union, January 18, 1836, presided over 
by Mr. Muntz. 



248 THE LETTEKS OF RUNNYMEDE [1836 

the frenzy of insanity- When your chairman, who, like 
yourself, is " the friend of all mankind/' called Sir Robert 
Peel " an ass," I thought that Spartan description might 
fairly range under the head of low nonsense; but when 
you yourself, as if in contemptuous and triumphant 
rivalry with his plebeian folly, announced to us that at 
the sound of your blatant voice 100,000 armed men would 
instantly rise in Birmingham, it occurred to me that 
Nat Lee 1 himself could scarcely compete with you in 
your claim to the more patrician privilege of uttering high 
nonsense. If, indeed, you produce such marvels, the 
name of Attwood will be handed down to posterity in 
heroic emulation with that of Cadmus; he produced 
armed men by a process almost as simple, but the teeth 
of the Theban King must yield to the jaw of the Bir- 
mingham delegate, though I doubt not the same destiny 
would await both batches of warriors. 

But these 100,000 armed men are only the advanced 
guard, the imperial guard of Brummagem, the heralds 
of a mightier host. Nay, compared with the impending 
legions, can only count as pioneers, or humble sappers at 
the best. Twenty millions of men are to annihilate the 
Tories. By the last census, I believe the adult male 
population of Great Britain was computed at less than 
4,000,000. Whence the subsidiary levies are to be 
obtained, we may perhaps be informed the next time 
some brainless Cleon, at the pitch of his voice, bawls 
forth his rampant folly at the top of New Hall 
Hill. 

Superficial critics have sometimes viewed, in a spirit 
of narrow-minded scepticism, those traditionary accounts 
of armed hosts which startle us in the credulous or the 
glowing page of rude or ancient annals. But what was 
the Great King on the heights of Salamis or in the straits 
of Issus, what was Gengis Khan, what Tamerlane, com- 
pared with Mr. Thomas Attwood of Birmingham ! The 
leader of such an army may well be " the friend of all 

1 Nathaniel Lee, the dramatist. 



1836] THE TEN-POUNDERS 249 

mankind," if only to recruit his forces from his extensive 
connections. 

The truth is, Xerxes and Darius, and the valiant leaders 
of the Tartars and the Mongols, were ignorant of the 
mystical yet expeditious means by which 20,000,000 of 
men are brought into the field by a modern demagogue, to 
change a constitution or to subvert an empire. When 
they hoisted their standard, their chieftains rallied round 
it, bringing to the array all that population of the country 
who were not required to remain at home to maintain 
its order or civilisation. The peasant quitted his plough 
and the pastor his flock, and the artisan without employ 
hurried from the pauperism of Babylon or the idleness 
of Samarcand. But these great leaders, with their 
diminutive forces which astounded the Lilliputian experi- 
ence of our ancestors, had no conception, with their 
limited imaginations, of the inexhaustible source whence 
the ranks of a popular leader may be swollen ; they had 
no idea of " THE PEOPLE." It is " the people " that is 
to supply their great successor with his millions. 

As in private life we are accustomed to associate the 
circle of our acquaintance with the phrase " THE WORLD," 
so in public I have invariably observed that " THE 
PEOPLE " of the politician is the circle of his interests. 
The "people " of the Whigs are the ten-pounders who 
vote in their favour. At present the municipal con- 
stituencies are almost considered by Lords Melbourne and 
John Russell as, in some instances, to have afforded 
legitimate claims of being deemed part and parcel of the 
nation; but I very much fear that the course of events 
will degrade those bodies from any lengthened participa- 
tion in this ennobling quality. It is quite clear that the 
electors of Northamptonshire have forfeited all right to 
be held portion of " the people," since their return of 
Mr. Maunsell; 1 the people of Birmingham are doubtless 
those of the inhabitants who huzza the grandiloquence of 

1 Mr. T. P. Maunsell, Conservative Member for North North- 
amptonshire. 

17 



250 THE LETTERS OF RUNNYMEDE [1836 

Mr. Attwood; and* the people of England, perchance, 
those discerning individuals who, if he were to make a 
provincial tour of oratory, might club together in the 
different towns to give him a dinner. I hardly think 
that, all together, these quite amount to 20,000,000. 

Yourself and the school to which you belong are apt 
to describe the present struggle as one between the Con- 
servatives and the people these Conservatives con- 
sisting merely of 300 or 400 peers and their retainers. 
You tell us in the same breath, with admirable con- 
sistency, that you possess the name, but not the heart, 
of the King; that the Court is secretly, and the Peerage 
openly, opposed to you; the Church you announce as 
even beholding you with pious terror. The Universities, 
and all chartered bodies, come under your ban. The 
Bar is so hostile that you have been obliged to put the 
Great Seal in commission for a year, 1 and have finally, 
and from sheer necessity, entrusted it to the custody of 
an individual whom by that very tripartite trusteeship 
you had previously declared unfit for its sole guardian- 
ship. The gentlemen of England are against you to a 
man because of their corn monopoly ; the yeomanry from 
sheer bigotry; the cultivators of the soil because they 
are the slaves of the owners, and the peasantry because 
they are the slaves of the cultivators. The freemen of 
the towns are against you because they are corrupt; the 
inhabitants of rural towns because they are compelled; 
and the press is against you because it is not free. It 
must be confessed that you and your party can give 
excellent reasons for any chance opposition which you 
may happen to experience. You are equally felicitous 
in accounting for the suspicious glance which the fund- 
holder shoots at you; nor can I sufficiently admire the 

1 When Melbourne returned to office in April, 1835, it was 
determined, after the conduct of Brougham in the previous Mel- 
bourne Administration, not to have him among them again; and 
to soften the blow to Brougham, the Great Seal was put in Com- 
mission until the appointment of Pepys in the following year, 
the Commissioners being Sir Charles Pepys (Master of the Rolls), 
Vice-Chancellor Shad well, and Mr. Justice Bosanquet. 



1836] ELEMENTS OF A NATION 251 

admirable candour with which the prime organ of your 
faction has recently confessed that every man who 
possesses 500 per annum is necessarily your opponent. 
After this, it is superfluous to remark that the merchants, 
bankers, and ship-owners of this great commercial and 
financial country are not to be found in your ranks, and 
the sneers at our national glory and imperial sway which 
ever play on the patriotic lips of Whigs, both high and 
low, only retaliate the undisguised scorn with which their 
anti-national machinations are viewed by the heroes of 
Waterloo and the conquerors of Trafalgar. Deduct these 
elements of a nation, deduct all this power, all this 
authority, all this skill, and all this courage, all this 
learning, all this wealth, and all these numbers, and all 
the proud and noble and national feelings which are 
their consequence, and what becomes of your "people " ? 
It subsides into an empty phrase, a juggle as pernicious 
and as ridiculous as your paper currency ! 

But if you and your friends, " the friends of all man- 
kind," have, as indeed I believe you have not, the brute 
force and the numerical superiority of the population of 
this realm marshalled under your banners, do not delude 
yourselves into believing for a moment that you are in 
any degree more entitled from that circumstance to count 
yourselves the leaders of the English people. A nation 
is not a mere mass of bipeds with no strength but their 
animal vigour, and no collective grandeur but that of their 
numbers. There is required to constitute that great 
creation, a people, some higher endowments and some 
rarer qualities honour, and faith, and justice ; a national 
spirit fostered by national exploits; a solemn creed ex- 
pounded by a pure and learned priesthood; a jurispru- 
dence which is the aggregate wisdom of ages; the spirit 
of chivalry, the inspiration of religion, the supremacy of 
law; that free order, and that natural gradation of ranks 
which are but a type and image of the economy of the 
universe ; a love of home and country, fostered by tradi- 
tionary manners and consecrated by customs that embalm 



252 THE LETTERS OF RUNNYMEDE [1836 

ancestral deeds; learned establishments, the institutions 
of charity, a skill in refined and useful arts, the discipline 
of fleets and armies ; and above all, a national character, 
serious and yet free, a character neither selfish nor con- 
ceited, but which is conscious that as it owes much to its 
ancestors, so also it will not stand acquitted if it neglect 
its posterity ; these are some of the incidents and quali- 
ties of a great nation like the people of England, Whether 
these are to be found in " the people " who assemble at 
the meetings of your union, or whether they may be more 
successfully sought for among their 20,000,000 of brethren 
at hand, I leave you, Sir, to decide. I shall only observe, 
that if I be correct in my estimate of the constituent 
elements of the English people, I am persuaded that in 
spite of all the arts of plundering factions and mercenary 
demagogues, they will recognise, with a grateful loyalty, 
the venerable cause of their welfare in the august fabric 
of their ancient constitution. 

January 21, 1836. 



LETTEE IV 
To LORD BROUGHAM 

MY LORD, In your elaborate mimicry of Lord Bacon, 
your most implacable enemies must confess that, at least 
in one respect, you have rivalled your great original 
you have contrived to get disgraced. In your Treatise 
on Hydrostatics you may not have completely equalled 
the fine and profound researches of " the Lord Chancellor 
of Nature "; your most ardent admirers may hesitate in 
preferring the Penny Magazine to the " Novum Orga- 
non "; even the musings of Jenkins and the meditations 
of Tomkins may not be deemed to come quite as much 
home " to men's business and bosoms " as the immortal 
Essays ; but no one can deny, neither friend nor foe, that 
you are as much shunned as their author almost as 
much despised. 



1836] TWO LORD CHANCELLORS 253 

Whether the fame of his philosophical discoveries and 
the celebrity of his literary exploits may console the late 
Lord Chancellor of William the Fourth in the solitude of 
his political annihilation, as they brought balm to the 
bruised spirit of the late Lord Chancellor of James the 
First in the loneliness of his sublime degradation, he best 
can decide who may witness the writhings of your tor- 
tured memory and the restless expedients of your irritable 
imagination. At present, I am informed that your 
Lordship is occupied in a translation of your Treatise 
of Natural Theology into German, on the Hamiltonian 
system. The translation of a work on a subject of which 
you know little, into a tongue of which you know nothing, 
seems the climax of those fantastic freaks of ambitious 
superficiality which our lively neighbours describe by a 
finer term than quackery. But if the perturbed spirit 
can only be prevented from preying on itself by literary 
occupation, let me suggest to you, in preference, the pro- 
priety of dedicating the days of your salutary retirement 
to a production of more general interest, and, if properly 
treated, of more general utility. A memoir of the late 
years of your career might afford your fellow-countrymen 
that of which at present they are much in want -a great 
moral lesson. In its instructive pages we might perhaps 
learn how a great empire has nearly been sacrificed to the 
aggrandisement of a rapacious faction; how, under the 
specious garb of patriotism, a band of intriguing poli- 
ticians, connected by no community of purpose or of 
feeling but the gratification of their own base interests, 
forfeited all the pledges of their previous careers, or vio- 
lated all the principles of their practised systems ; how, 
at length, in some degree palled with plundering the 
nation, according to the usual course, they began plunder- 
ing themselves ; how the weakest, and probably the least 
impure, were sacrificed to those who were more bold and 
bad; and, finally, how your Lordship, especially, would 
have shrouded yourself in the mantle, while you kicked 
away the prophet. 



254 THE LETTERS OF RUNNYMEDE [1836 

If your Lordship would have but the courageous can- 
dour to proceed in this great production, you might, 
perhaps, favour us with a graphic narrative of that 
memorable interview between yourself and the present 
Premier, when, with that easy elocution and unembar- 
rassed manner which characterise the former favourite of 
Castlereagh, the present First Lord of the Treasury, 
robbing you of the fruit after you had plundered the 
orchard, broke to your startled vision and incredulous 
ear the unforeseen circumstance that your Lordship was 
destined to be the scapegoat of Whiggism, and to be 
hurried into the wilderness with all the curses of the 
nation and all the sins of your companions. This ani- 
mated sketch would form an admirable accompaniment 
to the still richer picture when you offered your congratu- 
latory condolence to Earl Grey on his long meditated 
retirement from the onerous service of a country as grate- 
ful as his colleagues. 

Your Lordship, who is well informed of what passes in 
the Cabinet, must have been scarcely less astonished than 
the public at the late legal arrangements. Every post, 
till of late, must have brought you from the metropolis 
intelligence which must have filled you with anxiety 
almost maturing into hope. But the lion was suddenly 
reported to be sick, and the jackals suddenly grew 
bold. The Prime Minister consulted Sir Benjamin; 1 the 
Serjeant-Surgeon shook his head, and they passed in 
trembling precipitation the paltry Eubicon of their spite. 
When we remember that one voice alone decided your 
fate, and that that voice issued from the son of Lord Grey, 
we seem to be recalled to the days of the Greek drama. 
Your Lordship, although a universalist, I believe, has not 
yet tried your hand at a tragedy ; let me recommend this 
fresh illustration of the sublime destiny of the ancients. 
You have deserved a better fate, but not a degrading one ; 
though Achilles caused the destruction of Troy, we deplore 
his ignoble end from the unequal progeny of Priam. 

1 Benjamin Collins Brodie, appointed Sergeant-Surgeon to the 
King in 1832, and afterwards knighted. 



1836] AN UNFORGIVEN INSULT 255 

And is it possible are you indeed the man whose 
scathing voice, but a small lustre gone, passed like the 
lightning in that great Assembly where Canning grew 
pale before your terrible denunciation, and where even 
Peel still remembers your awful reply ? Is this indeed 
the lord of sarcasm, the mighty master of invective ? Is 
this indeed the identical man who took the offer of the 
Attorney- Generalship, and held it up to the scorn of the 
assembled Commons of England, and tore it, and trampled 
upon it, and spat upon it in their sympathising sight, and 
lived to offer the cold-blooded aristocrat, who had dared to 
insult genius, the consoling compensation of the Privy Seal? 1 

For your Lordship has a genius ; good or bad, it marks 
you out from the slaves who crouch to an O'Connell 
and insult a Brougham. Napoleon marched from Elba. 
You, too, may have your hundred days. What though 
they think you are dying what though your health is 
quaffed in ironical bumpers in the craven secrecy of their 
political orgies what if, after all, throwing Brodie on one 
side and your Teutonic studies on the other, your spectre 
appear in the House of Lords on the fourth of February ! 
Conceive the confusion ! I can see the unaccustomed robes 
tremble on the dignified form of the lordly Cottenham, 
and his spick and span coronet fall from the obstetric 
brow of the baronial Bickersteth, 2 Lansdowne taking 
refuge in philosophical silence, and Melbourne gulping 
courage in the goblets of Sion ! 

January 23, 1836. 



1 " The Chancellor and the Hollands urged Lord Grey to take 
the Privy Seal. Lord Grey . . . rather smiled at the proposi- 
tion, but he did not repress the pious resentment of his children. 
The Grey women would murder the Chancellor if they could. It 
certainly was a curious suggestion. ... It is not always easy 
to discover the Chancellor's motives, but ... he perhaps took 
this opportunity of revenging himself for the old offer of the 
Attorney-Generalship, which he has never forgiven " (Greville's 
"Memoirs," July 21, 1834). 

2 Henry Bickersteth (Lord Langdale) was first educated for 
the medical profession, but his health broke down through over- 
study. 



256 THE LETTERS OF RUNNYMEDE [1836 



LETTER V 
To Sra ROBERT PEEL 

SIR, Before you receive this letter you will, in all 
probability, have quitted the halls and bowers of Drayton ; 
those gardens and that library where you have realised 
the romance of Verulam and where you enjoy " the 
lettered leisure " that Temple loved. Your present pro- 
gress to the metropolis may not be as picturesque as that 
which you experienced twelve months back, when the 
confidence of your sovereign and the hopes of your 
country summoned you from the galleries of the Vatican 
and the city of the Caesars. 1 It may not be as picturesque, 
but it is not less proud it will be more triumphant. 
You are summoned now, like the Knight of Rhodes in 
Schiller's heroic ballad, as the only hope of a suffering 
island. The mighty dragon is again abroad, depopulating 
our fields, wasting our pleasant places, poisoning our 
fountains, menacing our civilisation. To-day he gorges 
on Liverpool, to-morrow he riots at Birmingham: as he 
advances nearer the metropolis, terror and disgust pro- 
portionately increase. Already we hear his bellow, more 
awful than hyaenas; already our atmosphere is tainted 
with the venomous expirations of his malignant lungs ; 
yet a little while and his incendiary crest will flame on 
our horizon, and we shall mark the horrors of his insatiable 
jaws and the scaly volume of his atrocious tail ! 

In your chivalry alone is our hope. Clad in the 
panoply of your splendid talents and your spotless char- 
acter, we feel assured that you will subdue this unnatural 
and unnational monster; and that we may yet see sedi- 
tion, and treason, and rapine, rampant as they may 
have of late figured, quail before your power and prowess. 

1 Sir Robert Peel was in Italy when summoned by the King to 
form an administration in 1834. 



1836] A CONTRAST 257 

You are about to renew the combat under the most 
favourable auspices. When, a year ago, with that devo- 
tion to your country which is your great characteristic, 
scorning all those refined delights of fortune which are 
your inheritance, and which no one is more capable of 
appreciating, and resigning all those pure charms of social 
and domestic life to which no one is naturally more at- 
tached, you threw yourself in the breach of the battered 
and beleaguered citadel of the constitution, you under- 
took the heroic enterprise with every disadvantage. The 
national party were as little prepared for the summons 
of their eminent leader by their sovereign as you yourself 
could have been when gazing on the frescoes of Michel- 
angelo. They had little organisation, less system; their 
hopes weak, their chieftains scattered; no communica- 
tion, no correspondence. Yet they made a gallant rally ; 
and if their numerical force in the House of Commons 
were not equal, Sir, to your moral energy, the return of 
Lord Melbourne, at the best, was but a Pyrrhic triumph ; 
nor perhaps were your powers ever sufficiently appreciated 
by your countrymen until you were defeated. Your 
abandonment of office was worthy of the motives which 
induced you originally to accept power. It was not 
petty pique ; it was not a miserable sentiment of personal 
mortification that led you to decide upon that step. 
You retained your post until you found you were endan- 
gering the King's prerogative, to support which you had 
alone accepted His Majesty's confidence. What a con- 
trast does your administration as Prime Minister afford 
to that of one of your recent predecessors ! No selfish 
views, no family aggrandisement, no family jobs, no 
nepotism. It cannot be said that during your adminis- 
tration the public service was surfeited with the incapable 
offspring of the Premier ; nor, after having nearly brought 
about a revolution for power which he has degraded, and 
lucre which degraded him, can it be said that you slunk 
into an undignified retirement with a whimpering Jere- 
miad over " the pressure from without." Contrast the 



258 THE LETTEES OF KUNNYMEDE [1836 

serene retirement of'Drayton and the repentant solitude 
of Howick; contrast the statesman, cheered after his 
factious defeat by the sympathy of a nation, with the 
coroneted Necker, the worn-out Machiavel, wringing his 
helpless hands over his hearth in remorseful despair and 
looking up with a sigh at his scowling ancestors ! 

But affairs are in a very different position now from 
what they were in November, 1835. 1 You have an addi- 
tion to the scutcheon of your fame in the emblazoned 
memory of your brief but masterly premiership: they 
cannot taunt you now with your vague promises of 
amelioration : you can appeal to the deeds of your Cabinet, 
and the plans which the applause of a nation sanctioned, 
and the execution of which the intrigues of a faction alone 
postponed. Never, too, since the peace of Paris, has the 
great national party of this realm been so united as at 
the present moment. It is no exaggeration to say that 
among its leaders not the slightest difference of opinion 
exists upon any portion of their intended policy. Pitt 
himself, in the plenitude of his power, never enjoyed more 
cordial confidence than that which is now extended to you 
by every alleged section of the Conservative ranks ; all 
private opinions, all particular theories, have merged in 
the resolute determination to maintain the English con- 
stitution in spite of Irish rebels, and to support, without 
cavil and criticism, its eminent champion in that great 
course of conduct which you have expounded to them. 

That this admirable concord, a just subject of congratu- 
lation to the suffering people of this realm, has been in 
some degree the result of salutary conferences and frank 
explanations, I pretend not to deny; nor do I wish to 
conceal a circumstance in which I rejoice, that at no 
period have you displayed talents more calculated for the 
successful conduct of a great party than at the present; 
but, above all, this admirable concord is to be attributed 
to the reason that, however individuals of the Conserva- 
tive party may have occasionally differed as to the means, 

1 An obvious misprint for 1834. 



1836] "KEGISTEK, REGISTER, REGISTER" 259 

they have at all times invariably agreed as to the end of 
their system, and that end is the glory of the empire and 
the prosperity of the people. 

But it is not only among the leaders in the two Houses 
of Parliament that this spirit of union flourishes; it 
pervades the country. England has at length been com- 
pletely organised; the battle which you told us must be 
fought in the registry courts has been fought, and in 
spite of the fanfaronade of the enemy, we know it has 
been won. Every parliamentary election that has of 
late occurred, in country or in town, has proved the dis- 
ciplined power of the national party. It is not that they 
have merely exceeded their opponents on the poll, and 
often by vast majorities ; but they have hastened to that 
poll with an enthusiasm which shows that they are ani- 
mated with a very different spirit to that which impels 
their shamefaced rivals. Contrast these important 
triumphs with the guerilla warfare of the Government 
party on town-clerks and aldermen, and be convinced 
how important have been our efforts in the registry 
courts, by their feeble yet feverish attempts at what they 
style Reform Associations. 

If we contrast also this faithful picture of the state and 
spirit of the party of which you are the leader with the 
situation of your opponents, the difference will be striking. 
Between the Opposition and the Government party there 
is this difference; that, however certain sections of the 
Opposition may occasionally have differed as to measures, 
their end has always been the same ; whereas the several 
sections of the Ministerial party, while for obvious reasons 
they agree as to measures, avowedly adopt them because 
they tend to different ends. The oligarchical Whigs, the 
English Radicals, the Irish Repealers the patrons of rich 
livings, the enemies of Church and State, hereditary 
magistrates, professors of county reform the sons of the 
nobles, the enemies of the peerage the landed proprietors, 
the advocates of free corn, can only be united in a per- 
verted sense. Their union then is this : to a certain point 



260 THE LETTERS OF RUNNYMEDE [1836 

they all wish to destroy; but the Whigs only wish to 
destroy the Tories, the Radicals the constitution, and the 
Repealers the empire. The seeds of constant jealousy 
and inevitable separation are here then prodigally sown. 

What are to be the tactics of this heterogeneous band 
time will soon develop. Dark rumours are about which 
intimate conduct too infamous, some would fain think, 
even for the Whigs. But as for myself, history and 
personal observation have long convinced me that there 
is no public crime of which the Whigs are not capable, 
and no public shame which for a sufficient consideration 
their oligarchical nerves would not endure. But whether 
they are going to betray their anti-national adherents, or 
only to bribe them, do you, Sir, proceed in your great 
course, free and undaunted. At the head of the most 
powerful and the most united Opposition that ever 
mustered on the benches opposite a trembling Minister, 
conscious that by returning you to your constituents he 
can only increase and consolidate your strength, what 
have you to apprehend ? We look to you, therefore, 
with hope and with confidence. You have a noble duty 
to fulfil let it be nobly done. You have a great task to 
execute achieve it with a great spirit. Rescue your 
sovereign from an unconstitutional thraldom, rescue an 
august Senate which has already fought the battle of the 
people, rescue our National Church, which your opponents 
hate, our venerable constitution at which they scoff ; but 
above all rescue that mighty body of which all these great 
classes and institutions are but some of the constituent 
and essential parts rescue The Nation. 

January 26, 1836. 



1836] A MAN OF BUSINESS 261 

LETTER VI 

To THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER 

SIR, I really think that your celebrated compatriot, 
Daniel O'Rourke, 1 when, soaring on the back of an eagle, 
he entered into a conversation with the man in the moon, 
could scarcely be more amazed than Mr. Spring Rice 
must be when he finds himself, as Chancellor of the Ex- 
chequer, holding a conference with the First Lord of the 
Treasury. Your colleagues, who, to do them justice, are 
perpetually apologising for your rapid promotion, account 
for your rocket-like rise by the unanswerable reason of 
your being " a man of business "! I doubt not this is a 
capital recommendation to those who are not men of 
business; and indeed, shrewd without being sagacious, 
bustling without method, loquacious without eloquence, 
ever prompt though always superficial, and ever active 
though always blundering, you are exactly the sort of 
fussy busybody who would impose upon and render 
himself indispensable to indolent and ill-informed men of 
strong ambition and weak minds. Cumberland, 2 who, 
in spite of the courtly compliments of his polished Memoirs, 
could be racy and significant enough in his conversation, 
once characterised in my presence a countryman of yours 
as " a talking potato." The race of talking potatoes is 
not extinct. 

Your recent harangue at Cambridge was quite worthy 

1 Croker's "Fairy Legends," published by Mr. John Murray on 
Disraeli's recommendation. After the publication of the first 
volume, Croker wrote to a friend concerning his tour in the South 
of Ireland " for the purpose of gleaning, in the course of six weeks, 
the remainder of the fairy legends and traditions which Mr. Murray 
of Albemarle Street suspected were still to be found lurking 
among its glens, having satisfied himself as to the value of dealing 
in the publication of such fanciful articles, and the correctness of 
my friend Ben. Disraeli's estimate thereof." 

2 Kichard Cumberland, author and dramatist, died in 1811, 
when Disraeli was seven years old ! 



262 THE LETTERS OF RUNNYMEDE [1836 

of your reputation, and of those to whom it was addressed. 
Full of popular commonplaces and ministerial propriety, 
alike the devoted delegate of " the people " and the trusty 
servant of the Crown, glorying in your pledges, but re- 
minding your audience that they were voluntary, chuck- 
ling in your " political triumph," but impressing on your 
friends that their " new power " must not be used for 
party purposes, I can see you with Irish humour winking 
your eye on one side of your face as you hazard a sneer 
at " the Lords," and eulogising with solemn hypocrisy 
with the other half of your countenance our " blessed 
constitution." * How choice was the style in which you 
propounded the future measures of the Cabinet ! What 
heartfelt ejaculations of " Good God, sir !" mingled with 
rare jargon about "hoping and trusting!" You even 
ventured upon a tawdry simile, borrowed for the occasion 
from Mr. Sheil, 2 who, compared with his bolder and more 
lawless colleague, always reminds me of the fustian lieu- 
tenant, Jack Bunce, in Sir Walter's tale of the " Pirate " 
contrasted with his master, the bloody buccaneer, Captain 
Cleveland. 

You commenced your address with a due recollection 
of the advice of the great Athenian orator, for your action 
was quite striking. You clasped the horny hand of the 
astonished Mayor, and, full of your punch-bowl orgies, 
aptly alluded to your " elevated feelings." As for the 
exquisite raillery in which your graceful fancy indulged 
about Tory port and Whig sherry, you might perhaps 
have recollected that if " old Tory port affects to be a 
new mixture, is ashamed of its colours, and calls itself 
Conservative," that the Whig sherry has disappeared 
altogether, and that its place has been deleteriously 
supplied by Irish whisky from an illicit still, and English 
blue ruin. Your profound metaphysics, however, may 
amply compensate for this infelicitous flash of jocularity. 
A Senator, and a Minister, and a Cabinet Minister, who 

1 Compare " A Character" in Political Satires in Verse, p. 400. 

2 Richard Lalor Sheil. 



1836] A KATTEEFELTO CREW 263 

gravely informs us that " the political history of our 
times has shown us that there is something in human 
motive that pervades and extends itself to human 
action," must have an eye, I suspect, to the representa- 
tion of the University. This is, indeed, " a learned 
Theban." That human motives have some slight con- 
nection with human conduct is a principle which will, 
no doubt, figure as an era in metaphysical discovery. 
The continental imputations of our shallowness in 
psychological investigation must certainly now be re- 
moved for ever. Neither Kant nor Helvetius can enter 
the arena with our rare Chancellor of the Exchequer. 
The fall of an apple was sufficient to reveal the secret 
of celestial mechanics to the musing eye of Newton, but 
Mr. Spring Bice for his more abstruse revelations requires 
a revolution or a Reform Bill. It is " the political 
history of our times " that has proved the connection 
between motives and actions. The Chancellor of the 
Exchequer must have arrived at this discovery by the 
recollection of the very dignified and honourable conduct 
to which the motives of power and place have recently 
impelled himself and his friends. I cannot help fancying 
that this display of yours at Cambridge may hereafter 
be adduced as irrefutable evidence that there is at least 
one portion of the Irish Protestant population which has 
not received " adequate instruction." 

It seems that you and your Katterfelto 1 crew are 
going to introduce some very wonderful measures to 
the notice of the impending Parliament. And, first of 
all, you are about to " remedy the still existing grievances 
to which the great dissenting bodies are subject." " Good 
God ! sir," as you would say, are you driven to this ? 
The still existing grievances of the Dissenters ! Do you 
and your beggarly Cabinet yet live upon these sores ? 

1 Gustavus Katterfelto, conjurer and quack doctor. 

" Katterfelto, with his hair on end 
At his own wonders, wondering for his bread." 

COWPER: The Task. 



264 THE LETTEKS OF RUNNYMEDE [1836 

Dissenting grievances are like Stilton cheeses and Da- 
mascus sabres, never found in the places themselves, 
though there is always some bustling huckster or other 
who will insure you a supply. " The still existing 
grievances of the Dissenters," if they exist at all, exist 
only because, after four years of incapacity, you and your 
clumsy coadjutors could not contrive to remove and 
remedy what Sir Robert Peel could have achieved, but 
for your faction, in four days. 

Then we are to proceed in " our great work of the 
reform of the Courts of Equity." I "hope and trust " 
not. What ! after creating the Court of Review, the 
laughing-stock of the profession; after having at length 
succeeded in obtaining a second-rate Lord Chancellor at 
the expense of four coronets, 1 whose services might have 
been secured without the waste of one; after having 
caused more delay, more expense, more mortification 
and ruin in eight months of reform than the annals of 
the Court can offer in a similar period in the worst days 
of its management still must you amend ! Spare us, 
good sir; be content with your last achievements of law 
reform; be content with having, by your corporation 
magistrates, made for the first time in England since the 
days of Charles the Second, the administration of justice 
a matter of party. Will not even this satisfy the Whig 
lechery for mischief ? 

Then, " Ireland must be tranquillised." So I think. 
Feed the poor ; hang the agitators. That will do it. But 
that's not your way. It is the destruction of the English 
and Protestant interest that is the Whig specific for Irish 
tranquillity. And do you really flatter yourself, because 
an eccentric course of circumstances has metamorphosed 
an Irish adventurer into the Chancellor of the English 
Exchequer, that the spirited people of this island will 
allow you to proceed with impunity in your projected 
machinations ? Rest assured, sir, your career draws 
rapidly to a close. Providence, that for our sins and the 

1 See note 1, p. 241. 



1836] OUT-OF-OFFICE DIVERSIONS 265 

arrogance of our flush prosperity has visited this once 
great and glorious empire with five years of Whig govern- 
ment, is not implacable. Our God is a God of mercy as 
well as justice. We may have erred, but we have been 
chastened. And Athens, when ruled by a Disdar Aga, 
who was the deputy of the chief of the eunuchs at Con- 
stantinople, was not so contemptible as England governed 
by a Limerick lawyer the deputy of an Irish rebel ! 

Prepare, then, for your speedy and merited dismissal. 
It is amusing to fancy what may be the resources of your 
Cabinet in their permanent retirement. The First Lord 
of the Treasury, in all probability, will betake himself 
to Brocket, and compose an epilogue for the drama just 
closed. Your Lord Chancellor may retire to his native 
village, like a returned cheese. Lord John, perhaps, will 
take down his dusty lyre, and console us for having 
starved Coleridge by pouring forth a monody to his 
memory. As for the polished Palmerston and the pious 
Grant, 1 and the other trading statesmen of easy virtue 
for them it would be advisable, I think, at once to erect 
a political Magdalen Hospital. Solitude and spare diet, 
and some salutary treatises of the English constitution, 
may, after a considerable interval, capacitate them for 
re-entering public life, and even filling with an approxi- 
mation to obscure respectability some of the lower offices 
of the State. But, Sir, for yourself, with your " business- 
like talents," which must not be hid under a bushel, it 
appears to me that it would be both the wisest and the 
kindest course to entrust to your charge and instruction 
a class of beings who, in their accomplishments and in- 
defatigableness, alike in their physical and moral qualities, 
not a little resemble you the INDUSTBIOUS FLEAS. 

January 28, 1836. 

1 Lord Glenelg. 



18 



266 THE LETTEKS OF RUNNYMEDE [1836 

LETTER VII 
To LOED JOHN RUSSELL* 

MY LORD, Your name will descend to posterity you 
have burnt your Ephesian temple. But great deeds are 
not always achieved by great men. Your character is 
a curious one; events have proved that it has been im- 
perfectly comprehended, even by your own party. 
Long and, for a period, intimate opportunities of observ- 
ing you will enable me, if I mistake not, to enter into its 
just analysis. 

You were born with a strong ambition and a feeble 
intellect. It is an union not uncommon, and in the 
majority of cases only tends to convert an aspiring youth 
into a querulous and discontented manhood. But under 
some circumstances when combined, for instance, with 
great station, and consequent opportunities of action 
it is an union which often leads to the development of 
a peculiar talent the talent of political mischief. 

When you returned from Spain, the solitary life of 
travel and the inspiration of a romantic country acting 
upon your ambition had persuaded you that you were 
a great poet; your intellect, in consequence, produced 
the feeblest tragedy in our language. The reception of 
" Don Carlos " only convinced your ambition that your 
imaginative powers had been improperly directed. 2 
Your ambition sought from prose-fiction the fame which 
had been denied to your lyre ; and your intellect in conse- 
quence produced the feeblest romance in our literature. 3 
Not deterred by the unhappy catastrophe of the fair maid 

1 In "Coningsby," Book V., Chapter IV., the estimate of Lord 
John Kussell is very different indeed from that contained in this 
Letter. 

2 Yet "Don Carlos" ran through five editions in twelve 
months. 

3 " The Nun of Arrouca," which appeared in 1822, was founded 
on an incident of Lord John's travels in the Peninsula. 



1836] FEOM LITEEATURE TO POLITICS 267 

of Arrouca, your ambitions sought consolation in the 
notoriety of political literature, and your intellect in 
due time produced the feeblest political essay on record. 1 
Your defence of close boroughs, however, made this 
volume somewhat popular with the Whigs, and flushed 
with the compliments of Holland House, where hitherto 
you had been treated with more affection than respect, 
your ambition resolved on rivalling the fame of Hume 
and Gibbon. Your " Memoirs of the Affairs of Europe," 2 
published with pompous parade in successive quarto 
volumes, retailed in frigid sentences a feeble compilation 
from the gossip of those pocket tomes of small talk 
which abound in French literature. Busied with the 
tattle of valets and waiting-maids, you accidentally 
omitted in your " Memoirs of the Affairs of Europe " all 
notice of its most vast and most rising empire. This 
luckless production closed your literary career ; you flung 
down your futile pen in incapable despair; and your 
feeble intellect having failed in literature, your strong 
ambition took refuge in politics. 

You had entered the House of Commons with every 
adventitious advantage an illustrious birth, and the 
support of an ancient and haughty party. I was one 
of the audience who assisted at your first appearance, 3 
and I remember the cheering attention that was extended 
to you. Cold, inanimate, with a weak voice and a 
mincing manner, the failure of your intellect was com- 
plete; but your ambition wrestled for a time with the 
indifference of your opponents and the ill-concealed 
contempt of your friends. 

Having, then, failed alike in both these careers which 
in this still free country are open to genius, you subsided 
for some years into a state of listless moroseness which 
was even pitiable. Hitherto your political opinions had 

1 " An Essay on the History of the English Government and 
Constitution," 1821. 

2 " Memoirs of the Affairs of Europe from the Peace of 
Utrecht," 1824-1829. 

3 1814. Disraeli was then barely ten years old ! 



268 THE LETTERS OF RUNNYMEDE [1836 

been mild and moderate, and, if partial, at least consti- 
tutional; but, as is ever the case with persons of your 
temperament, despairing of yourself, you began to despair 
of your country. This was the period when among your 
intimates you talked of retiring from that public life in 
which you had not succeeded in making yourself public, 
when you paced, like a feeble Catiline, the avenues of 
Holland House; and when the most brilliant poet of the 
day, flattered by your friendship, addressed you a remon- 
strance in which your pique figured as patriotism and 
your ambition was elevated into genius. 1 

Your friends I speak of the circle in which you lived 
superficial judges of human character as well as of every- 
thing else, always treated you with a species of con- 
tempt, which doubtless originated in their remembrance 
of your failure and their conviction of your feebleness. 
Lord Grey, only five years ago, would not even con- 
descend to offer you a seat in the Cabinet, and affected to 
state that, in according you a respectable office, he had 
been as much influenced by the state of your finances 
as of your capacity. Virtual Prime Minister of England 
at this moment, you have repaid Lord Grey for his 
flattering estimate and his friendly services, and have 
afforded him, in your present career, some curious medi- 
tations for his uneasy solitude, where he wanders, like 
the dethroned Caliph in the halls of Eblis, with his 
quivering hand pressed upon his aching heart. 

A finer observer of human nature than that forlorn 
statesman might have recognised at this crisis in a noble 
with an historic name and no fortune, a vast ambition 
and a balked career, and soured, not to say malignant, 
from disappointment, some prime materials for the leader 
of a revolutionary faction. Those materials have worked 
well. You have already banished your great leader ; you 

1 " Thus gifted, thou never canst sleep in the shade 

If the stirring of genius, the music of fame, 
And the charm of thy cause, have not power to persuade 
Yet think how to freedom thou'rt pledged by thy name." 

MOORE'S Bemonstrance. 



1836] A CABINET OF INEFFICIENTS 269 

have struck down the solemn idol which you yourself 
assisted in setting up for the worship of a deluded people ; 
you have exiled from the Cabinet, by your dark and dis- 
honourable intrigues, every man of talent who could have 
held you in check; and, placing in the seat of nominal 
leadership an indolent epicurean, you rule this country 
by a coalition with an Irish rebel, and with a council of 
colleagues in which you have united the most inefficient 
members of your own party with the Palmerstons and 
Grants, the Swiss statesmen, the condottieri of the political 
world, the " British legion " of public life. 

A miniature Mokanna, 1 you are now exhaling upon the 
constitution of your country which you once eulogised, 
and its great fortunes of which you once were proud, all 
that long - hoarded venom and all those distempered 
humours that have for years accumulated in your petty 
heart and tainted the current of your mortified life 
your aim is to reduce everything to your own mean level, 
to degrade everything to your malignant standard. 
Partially you have succeeded. You have revenged 
yourself upon the House of Lords, the only obstacle to 
your degenerating schemes, by denouncing with a frigid 
conceit worthy of "Don Carlos," its solemn suffrage as 
" the whisper of a faction," 2 and hallooing on, in a flimsy 
treble, your Scotch and Irish desperadoes to assail its 
august independence. You have revenged yourself upon 
the sovereign who recoiled from your touch, by kissing, 

1 The Veiled Prophet of Khorassan, an impostor who, being 
terribly disfigured, wore a veil under pretence of shading the 
dazzling light of his countenance. 

" The prophet- chief, 

The Great Mokanna. O'er his features hung 
The Veil, the Silver Veil, which he had flung 
In mercy there, to hide from mortal sight 
His dazzling brow, till man could bear its light." 

MOOEE. 

Maclise exhibited in 1833 " Mokanna unveiling his Features to 
Zelica." 

2 " It is impossible that the whisper of a faction should prevail 
against the voice of the nation " (Lord John Eussell's message to 
the Birmingham Political Union). 



270 THE LETTERS OF RUNNYMEDE [1836 

in spite of his royal soul, his outraged hand. Notwith- 
standing your base powers and your father's fagot 
votes, the gentlemen of England inflicted upon you an 
indelible brand, and expelled you from your own county ; 
and you have revenged yourself upon their indignant 
patriotism by depriving them of their noblest and most 
useful privileges, and making, for the first time since the 
reign of Charles the Second, the administration of justice 
the business of faction. In all your conduct it is not 
difficult to detect the workings of a mean and long- 
mortified spirit suddenly invested with power the 
struggles of a strong ambition attempting, by a wanton 
exercise of authority, to revenge the disgrace of a feeble 
intellect. 

But, my Lord, rest assured that yours is a mind which, 
if it succeeded in originating, is not destined to direct, a 
revolution. Whatever may be the issue of the great 
struggle now carrying on in this country, whether we 
may be permitted to be again great, glorious, and free, 
or whether we be doomed to sink beneath the ignoble 
tyranny which your machinations are preparing for us, 
your part in the mighty drama must soon close. To 
suppose that, with all your efforts and all your despera- 
tion, to suppose that, with all the struggles of your am- 
bition to supply the deficiency of your intellect, your 
Lordship, in those heroic hours when empires are de- 
stroyed or saved, is fated to be anything else than an 
instrument, is to suppose that which contradicts all the 
records of history and all our experience of human 
nature. 

I think it is Macrobius who tells a story of a young 
Greek, who, having heard much of the wealth and wisdom 
of Egypt, determined on visiting that celebrated land. 
When he beheld the pyramids of Memphis and the gates 
of Thebes, he exclaimed: " wonderful men ! what must 
be your gods !" Full of the memory of the glorious 
divinities of his own poetic land, the blooming Apollo 
and the bright Diana, the awful beauty of the Olympian 



1836] MINISTERIAL GODS 271 

Jove and the sublime grace of the blue-eyed Athena, he 
entered the temples of the Pharaohs. But what was his 
mingled astonishment and disgust when he found a 
nation prostrate before the most contemptible and the 
most odious of created beings ! The gods of Egypt are 
the Ministers of England. 

I can picture to myself an intelligent foreigner, attracted 
by the fame of our country, and visiting it for the first 
time. I can picture to myself his admiration when he 
beholds our great public works; our roads, our docks, 
our canals; our unrivalled manufactories, our matchless 
agriculture. That admiration would not be diminished 
when he learnt that we were free; when he became 
acquainted with our social comfort and our still equal 
laws. "0 wonderful men!" he would exclaim, "what 
must be your governors !" But conceive him now, 
entered into our political temple ; conceive his appalled 
astonishment as he gazes on the ox-like form of the Lans- 
downe Apis. On one side he beholds an altar raised to 
an ape, on the other incense is burned before a cat-like 
colleague. Here, placed in the shapes of Palmerston 
and Grant, the worship of two sleek and long-tailed rats ; 
and then learns, with amazement, that the Lord Chan- 
cellor of this great land is an onion or a cheese. Towering 
above all, and resting on a lurid shrine bedewed with 
blood and encircled with flame, with distended jaws and 
colossal tail, is the grim figure of the O'Connell crocodile. 
But, my Lord, how thunderstruck must be our visitor 
when he is told to recognise a Secretary of State in an in- 
finitely small scarabaeus; yes, my Lord, when he learns 
that you are the leader of the English House of Commons, 
our traveller may begin to comprehend how the Egyptians 
worshipped AN INSECT. 

January 30, 1836. 



272 THE LETTERS OF RUNNYMEDE [1836 

LETTER VIII 
To THE PEOPLE 

This is the first direct address that has ever been made 
to the real people of England. For the last few years, 
a gang of scribblers, in the pay of a desperate faction, 
have cloaked every incendiary appeal that they have 
vomited forth to any section of your numbers, however 
slight, or however opposed to the honour and happiness 
of the nation, by elevating the object of their solicitude 
into that imposing aggregate, the people. Thus have they 
played, for their ulterior purposes, dissenting sects against 
the National Church, manufacturing towns against agri- 
cultural districts, the House of Commons against the 
House of Lords, new burgesses against ancient freemen, 
and finally, the Papists against the Protestants. With 
scarcely an exception, you may invariably observe that 
in advocating the cause of "the people " these writers 
have ever stimulated the anti-national passioris of the 
minority. But, in addressing you now, I address myself 
in very truth to the English people to all orders and 
conditions of men that form that vast society, from the 
merchant to the mechanic, and from the peer to the 
peasant 

You are still a great people. You are still in the pos- 
session and enjoyment of the great results of civilisation, 
in spite of those who would destroy your internal pros- 
perity. Your flag still floats triumphant in every division 
of the globe, in spite of the menaces of dismemberment 
that threaten your empire from every quarter. Neither 
domestic nor foreign agitation has yet succeeded in up- 
rooting your supremacy. But how long this imperial 
integrity may subsist, when it is the object of a faction 
in your own land to array great classes of your population 
in hostile collision, and when, from the Castle of Dublin 
to the Castle of Quebec, your honour is tampered with 



1836] GODS AT AUCTION 273 

by the deputies of your sovereign, is a question which 
well deserves your quick and earnest consideration. 

In the mesh of unparalleled difficulties in which your 
affairs are now entangled, who are your guides ? Are 
they men in whose wisdom and experience, in whose 
virtue and talents, principle and resolution, in whose 
acknowledged authority and unblemished honour and 
deserved celebrity, you are justified in reposing your 
hopes and entrusting your confidence ? Lucian once 
amused the ancients with an auction of their gods. Let 
us see what Mr. George Robins 1 might think of an auction 
of your Ministers. The catalogue may soon be run 
over. 

A Prime Minister in an easy-chair, reading a French 
novel. What think you of that lot ? Three Secre- 
taries of State, one odious, another contemptible, the 
third both. They have their price, yet I would not be 
their purchaser. A new Lord Chancellor, like a new 
cheese, crude and flavourless: second-rate as a lawyer, 
as a statesman a nonentity, bought in by his own party 
from sheer necessity. A President of the India Board, 2 
recovering from the silence of years imposed upon him 
by Canning, by the inspiration of that eloquent man's 
chair which he now fills. As we are still a naval nation, 
our First Lord of the Admiralty should be worth some- 
thing; but, unfortunately, nobody knows his name. 3 
The President of the Council 4 has always indicated a 
tendency to join any Government, and therefore should 
be a marketable article enough. In Egypt, where their 
favourite food are pumpkins that have run to seed, such 
a solid and mature intelligence might be worth exporting 
to the Divan. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, being 
"a man of business," would doubtless fetch "a long 
figure "; refer for character to the mercantile deputations 
who leave the Treasury after an interview, bursting 

1 G. H. Kobins (1778-1847), the great auctioneer. 

2 Sir John Cam Hobhouse. 

3 The Earl of Minto. 4 The Marquis of Lansdowne. 



274 THE LETTEKS OF KUNNYMEDE [1836 

with laughter from, sheer admiration of his knowledge 
and capacity. Lord Ho wick, who is a Minister on the 
same principle that the son of an old partner is retained 
in the firm to keep together the connection, might com- 
mand a price on this score, were it not notorious that his 
parent has withdrawn with his person, his capital, and 
confidence. The remainder may be thrown into one 
lot, and the auction concluded with the item on the 
Dutch system. 

Were the destinies of a great people ever yet entrusted 
to such a grotesque and Hudibrastic crew ? Why, we 
want no candid confessions or triumphant revelations 
from Mr. Sheil ; we want no audacious apostacy of a whole 
party to teach us how such a truckling rout governs 
England. They govern England as the mock dynasties 
governed Europe in the time of the Eevolution, by a 
process as sure and as simple, as desperate and as de- 
grading by being the delegates of an anti-national 
power. And what is this power beneath whose sirocco 
breath the fame of England is fast withering ? Were it 
the dominion of another conqueror, another bold bastard 
with his belted sword, we might gnaw the fetter which 
we could not burst ; were it the genius of Napoleon with 
which we were again struggling, we might trust the issue 
to the god of battles with a sainted confidence in our 
good cause and our national energies : but we are sinking 
beneath a power before which the proudest conquerors 
have grown pale, and by which the nations most devoted 
to freedom have become enslaved the power of a foreign 
priesthood. 

The Pope may be an old man, or an old woman, once 
the case, but the Papacy is independent of the Pope. 
The insignificance of the Pope is adduced by your enemies 
as evidence of the insignificance of the Papacy. 'Tis 
the fatal fallacy by which they mean to ride roughshod 
over England. Is the Pope less regarded now than when 
Bourbon sacked Rome ? Yet that exploit preceded the 
massacre of St. Bartholomew and the revocation of the 



1836] AN ESTIMATE OF O'CONNELL 275 

Edict of Nantes. The Constable of Bourbon lived before 
Sir Phelim O'Neale. The Papacy is as rampant now in 
Ireland as it was in Europe in the time of Gregory; and 
all its energies are directed to your humiliation. 

Who is this man whose name is ever on your lips ? 
Who is this O'Connell ? He is the feed advocate of the 
Irish priesthood ; he is the hired instrument of the Papacy. 
That is his precise position. Your enemies, that wretched 
anti-national faction who wish to retain power, or creep 
into place, by clinging to the skirts of this foreign rebel, 
taunt those who would expose his destructive arts and 
unmask the purpose of his desperate principals with the 
wretched scoff that we make him of importance by our 
notice. He cannot be of more importance than he is. 
Demoralised in character, desperate in fortunes, infinitely 
over-estimated in talents, he is the most powerful indi- 
vidual in the world because he is entrusted with the dele- 
gated influence of the greatest power in existence. But 
because an individual exercises a great power, it does not 
follow that he is a great man. O'Connell is not as yet as 
great as Robespierre, although he resembles that terrific 
agitator in everything except his disinterestedness. 
Robespierre presided over public safety as O'Connell over 
Reform. A precious foster-dam ! Would it have been 
any answer to those who would have struggled against 
the great insurer of public security, that his intended 
victims made him of importance by their notice ? Would 
it have been endured that these deprecators of resistance 
should have urged, " He is not a Csesar, he is not an 
Alexander, he has no amplitude of mind, he is not 
a great genius; let him go on murdering, you make 
him of importance by noticing his career of blood and 
havoc !" 

This man, O'Connell, is the hired instrument of the 
Papacy ; as such, his mission is to destroy your Protestant 
society, and, as such, he is a more terrible enemy to 
England than Napoleon, with all his inspiration. Your 
empire and your liberties are in more danger at this 



276 THE LETTEKS OF RUNNYMEDE [1836 

moment than when the army of invasion was encamped 
at Boulogne. 

Now we have a precise idea of the political character of 
O'Connell. And I have often marvelled when I have 
listened to those who have denounced his hypocrisy or 
admired his skill, when they have read of the triumphant 
demagogue humbling himself in the mud before a simple 
priest. There was no hypocrisy in this, no craft. The 
agent recognised his principal, the slave bowed before his 
lord; and when he pressed to his lips those sacred robes, 
reeking with whisky and redolent of incense, I doubt not 
that his soul was filled at the same time with unaffected 
awe and devout gratitude . 

If we have correctly fixed his political character, let 
us see whether we can as accurately estimate his intellec- 
tual capacity and his moral qualities. The hired writers 
would persuade you that he is a great man. He has not 
a single quality of a great man. In proportion as he was 
so gifted, he would be less fitted for the part which he has 
to perform. There is a sublime sentiment in genius, even 
when uncontrolled by principle, that would make it 
recoil with nausea from what this man has to undergo. 
He is shrewd, vigorous, versatile; with great knowledge of 
character, little of human nature ; with that reckless dex- 
terity which confounds weak minds, and that superficial 
readiness that masters vulgar passions; energetic from 
the certainty of his own desperate means, and from the 
strong stimulus of his provisional remuneration; inex- 
haustible in unprincipled expedients, and audacious in 
irresponsible power; a nisi prius lawyer, with the soul of 
a demagogue. That is the man. He is as little a great 
orator as a great man. He has not a single quality of a 
great orator except a good voice. I defy his creatures to 
produce a single passage from any speech he ever delivered 
illumined by a single flash of genius, or tinctured with the 
slightest evidence of taste, or thought, or study. Learn- 
ing he has none; little reading. His style in speaking, as 
in writing, is ragged, bald, halting, disjointed. He has 



1836] A TINSEL RHETORICIAN 277 

no wit, though he may claim his fair portion of that Mile- 
sian humour which everyone inherits who bears a hod. 
His pathos is the stage sentiment of a barn ; his invective 
is slang. When he aspires to the higher style of rhetoric, 
he is even ludicrous. He snatches up a bit of tinsel, a 
tawdry riband, or an artificial flower, and mixes it with 
his sinewy commonplace and his habitual soot like a 
chimney-sweeper on May-day. 

Of his moral character it might be enough to say that 
he is a systematic liar and a beggarly cheat, a swindler 
and a poltroon. But of O'Connell you can even say more. 
His public and his private life are equally profligate; he 
has committed every crime that does not require courage : 
the man who plunders the peasant can also starve his 
child. He has denounced your national character and 
insulted your national honour. He has said that all your 
men are cowards and all your women wantons. He has 
reviled your illustrious princes he has sneered at your 
pure religion he has assailed your National Church. He 
has endeavoured to stir up rebellion against your august 
Senate, and has described your House of Commons, even 
when reformed, as an assembly of "six hundred scoun- 
drels." Everything which is established comes under his 
ban, because everything which is established is an ob- 
stacle to the purpose for which he is paid the destruction 
of everything which is ENGLISH. 

February 2, 1836. 

LETTEE IX 
To LOBD STANLEY 

MY LORD, The classical historian of our country said 
of your great ancestor that " the Countess of Derby had 
the glory of being the last person in the three kingdoms, 
and in all their dependent dominions, who submitted to 
the victorious rebels." Charlotte de la Tremoille was a 
woman who might have shamed the degenerate men of 



278 THE LETTEES OF RUNNYMEDE [1836 

the present day ; but your Lordship may claim, with a 
slight though significant alteration, the eulogium of that 
illustrious princess. The rebels are again victorious, and, 
to your Lordship's lasting honour, you have been the -first 
to resist their treasonable authority. 

Never has a statesman yet been placed in a position so 
difficult and so trying as the present heir of the house of 
Derby ; never has a statesman under similar circumstances 
yet conducted himself with more discretion and more 
courage. When the acerbities of faction have passed 
away, posterity will do justice to your disinterestedness 
and devotion, and the future historian of England will 
record with sympathising admiration the greatness of 
your sacrifice. 

If the gratification of your ambition had been your only 
object, your course was clear. Less than three years ago 
the Whigs, and loudest among them my Lord Melbourne, 
announced you as the future Prime Minister of England. 
Young, of high lineage, of illustrious station, and of 
immaculate character, and unquestionably their ablest 
orator among your own party you had no rival. They 
looked upon you as the only man who could at the same 
time maintain their power and effectually resist the 
machinations of those who would equally destroy the 
constitution and dismember the empire. With what 
enthusiastic cheers did they not greet the winged words 
with which you assailed the anti-national enemy when 
you rose in the House like a young eagle, and dashed back 
his treason in the baffled countenance of the priestly 
delegate ! 

Who could believe that the same men who cheered you 
in the House, and chuckled over your triumphs in their 
coteries, should now be the truckling slaves of the sacer- 
dotal power from whose dark influence they then shrank 
with disgust and terror ? Who could believe that the 
projected treason of these very men should have driven 
you and your high-minded colleagues from the contagion 
of their councils ? Who could believe that the famous 



1836] HONOUR OE INTEREST ! 279 

<c Reform Ministry," that packed a Parliament by bellow- 
ing " gratitude to Lord Grey " throughout the empire, 
should finally have expelled that same Lord Grey from 
his seat, under circumstances of revolting insult; 1 that 
the very Lord Melbourne who had always indicated your- 
self as Lord Grey's successor should himself have slid 
into that now sullied seat, where he maintains himself 
in indolent dependence by a foul alliance with the very 
man whom he had previously denounced as a traitor ? 
Can the records of public life, can the secret archives of 
private profligacy, afford a parallel instance of conduct so 
base, so completely degrading, so thoroughly demoralised? 

You, my Lord, preferred your honour to your interest, 
the prosperity of your native land to the gratification of 
your ambition. You sacrificed without a pang the proudest 
station in your country, to prove to your countrymen 
that public principle was not yet a jest. You did well. 
The pulse of our national character was beating low. We 
required some great example to rebrace the energies of 
our honour. From the moment that you denounced this 
disgusting thraldom and the base expedients of your 
chicaning colleagues, a better feeling pervaded England 
and animated Englishmen. In this sharp exigency you 
did not forget your duty to yourself as well as to your 
country. Yours was no Coriolanus part; neither the 
taunts of the recent supporters who had betrayed you, 
nor the ready compliments of your former adversaries, 
tempted you to swerve for a moment from the onward 
path of a severe and peremptory principle. When Sir 
Robert Peel was summoned to the helm, in the autumn 
of 1834, your position was indeed most painful. Your 
honour and your duty seemed at conflict. You recon- 
ciled them. You supported the policy while you declined 
the power. 

These, my Lord, are great deeds. They will live. The 
defence of Lathom 2 was not more heroic. They will live 

1 The Littleton intrigue with O'Connell, July, 1834. 

2 By Charlotte de la Tr6moille, Countess of Derby, in 1644-45. 



280 THE LETTERS OF RUNNYMEDE [1836 

in the admiration and the gratitude of an ancient and 
honourable nation, ever ready to sympathise with the 
pure and noble, and prompt to recognise a natural leader 
in blood that is mingled with all the traditionary glories 
of their race. 

You had now placed your character above suspicion. 
The most virulent of the hired writers of the faction did 
not dare to impugn the purity of your motives. You had 
satisfied the most morbid claims of an honour which the 
worldly only might deem too chivalrous. When, therefore, 
I find you at length avowedly united with that eminent 
man, on whom the hopes of his country rest with a de- 
serving and discerning confidence, and who, in his parlia- 
mentary talents, his proud station, and his unsullied 
fame, is worthy of your alliance, I was rejoiced, but not 
surprised. It is a fit season to " stand together in your 
chivalry." The time is ripe for union and fair for concord. 
When, some days back, in my letter to Sir Robert Peel 
a letter, let me observe in passing, written by one whose 
name, in spite of the audacious licence of frantic conjec- 
ture, has never yet been even intimated, can never be 
discovered, and will never be revealed I announced the 
fact that the great Conservative party was at length 
completely united, it was a declaration equivalent to 
England being saved. The debates upon the address 
have proved the accuracy of my information. The hired 
writers and the place-hunting dependents of the priestly 
junta triumph over the division in the Commons; they 
might have read their knell in the voice of the tellers. 
They assure us, with solemn or with sparkling counte- 
nance, that they did not reckon upon a moiety of such a 
majority. And do they indeed think that the people of 
England care one jot whether there be ten or twenty 
traitors more or less in the House of Commons ? It is 
not a miserable majority in that assembly, either way, 
that will destroy or preserve the empire. That very 
debate, my Lord, over the result of which these short- 
sighted desperadoes affect to triumph, sealed the doom 



1836] NEED FOR UNITY 281 

of the faction and announced the salvation of the country. 
It will fill every loyal and discerning heart throughout 
England with more than hope. Whatever the hired 
writers and the expectant runners may bawl or scribble, 
that division numbered the days of the present Cabinet. 
And they know it. The sacerdotal delegates know full 
well that the moment the Conservatives are united, the 
priestly plot is baffled. 

When the First Lord of the Treasury was reinstalled in 
the office which he won by so patriotic a process, and 
which he fills with such diligent ability, shrinking from 
the contamination of O'Connell, the very mention of 
whose name in his private circle makes him even now 
tremble with compunctious rage, he declared that affairs 
might be carried on without "the victorious rebels," 
from the mere disunion of the Conservative camp. No 
one was more completely aware than his Lordship that 
the moment that disunion ceased, his authority must 
tremble. To perpetuate distrust, and to excite division 
among the different sections of the Conservative party, 
all the energies of the anti-English cabal have of late been 
directed. The Municipal Bill filled them with a fluttering 
hope; a severance between the Duke of Wellington and 
Sir Robert Peel was announced as inevitable. To-day a 
great commoner and a learned lord no longer meet; to- 
morrow the appropriation clause is to be got rid of by 
some new juggle, and your Lordship and your fellow- 
leaders are to return to the tainted benches of the Trea- 
sury. Now the conferences at Dray ton hang fire; then 
midnight visits from illustrious Princes bode splits and 
schisms. We have scarcely recovered from the effect of 
a suspicious dinner, when our attention is promptly 
directed to a mysterious call. The debates on the address 
have laid for ever these restless spectres of the disordered 
imagination of a daunted yet desperate faction. In a 
Peel, a Stanley, a Wellington, and a Lyndhurst, the people 
of England recognised their fitting leaders. Let the 
priestly party oppose to these the acrid feebleness of a 

19 



282 THE LETTEKS OF KUNNYMEDE [1836 

Russell and the puerile commonplace of a Howick, Mel- 
bourne's experienced energy, and Lansdowne's lucid 
perception ! 
February 6, 1836 

LETTER X 
To LOBD WILLIAM BENTDSTCK a 

MY LORD, I have just read your Lordship's Address 
to the Electors of the City of Glasgow; and, when I re- 
member that the author of this production has been en- 
trusted for no inconsiderable period with the government 
of 100,000,000 of human beings, I tremble. I say not 
this with reference to the measures of which you have 
there announced yourself the advocate, but to the 
manner in which that announcement is expressed. It 
implies, in my opinion, at the same time, a want of 
honesty and a want of sense. 

This Address to the Electors of the City of Glasgow is 
made by an individual who has been employed for more 
than a quarter of a century by his sovereign in foreign 
service of the utmost importance, ascending, at last, even 
to the Viceregal throne of India; he is a member of a 
family of the highest rank and consideration; and some 
very persevering paragraphs in the Government journals 
have of late sedulously indicated him as a fit and future 
member of Lord Melbourne's Cabinet. Your Lordship, 
therefore, is a very considerable personage; the public 
are familiar with your name, if not with your career; 
they are instructed to believe you an individual of great 
mark and likelihood, of great promise as well as of great 
performance; as one who is not unwilling to devote to 

1 Lord William Bentinck (1774-1839), second son of the third 
Duke of Portland, was appointed Governor- General of Bengal in 
1827, and on the passing of the East India Company's Charter 
Act in 1833 became the first Governor-General of India. He 
resigned in 1835, was elected Liberal Member for Glasgow in 
Feburary, 1836, and retained the seat until a few days before his 
death, June 17, 1839. 



1836] ADDRESS TO GLASGOW ELECTORS 283 

their interests at home all those talents which have been 
so long exercised, and all that experience which has been 
so laboriously obtained in their service in other and dis- 
tant lands. 'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view, 
sings a bard of that city which your Lordship is to repre- 
sent : 'tis distance which has invested your Lordship with 
the haze of celebrity; but I doubt whether the shadowy 
illusion will be long proof against that nearer inspection 
and more familiar experience of your judgment and capa- 
city which your Lordship has favoured us with in your 
Address to the Electors of the City of Glasgow. 1 

1 The following is the address alluded to: 

To the Electors of the City of Glasgow. 

GENTLEMEN, It is only in consequence of the very numerous 
requisition which I have had the honour to receive that I could 
have ventured to aspire to the high distinction of representing 
you in Parliament. Encouraged by this invitation, I shall at 
once proceed to state, frankly and explicitly, my opinion upon 
the various topics and measures that are likely to be brought 
before Parliament in the ensuing session, with a confident hope 
that in this exposition nothing will be found at variance with 
those principles which for many years of my life I have pro- 
fessed and practised; and upon which alone, and to no par- 
ticular competency of my own, I can found a claim to your 
suffrages. 

Permit me then, in the outset, to give my adherence to the 
now happily established conviction among all reformers, that by 
firm union, by the abandonment of all separate and minor views, 
and by a steady support of Lord Melbourne's Ministry, the 
present and future cause of reform can alone be supported. 

With respect to expected measures, I should decidedly sup- 
port the ministerial plan of Irish Church Reform, imperfect and 
insufficient as I must consider that measure to be. 

I, of course, am a decided friend to a complete reform of the 
Irish Municipal Corporations. 

I am favourable to the shortening of the duration of Parlia- 
ments; but without having had occasion seriously to consider 
this subject, I should prefer, as a present measure, the quin- 
quennial to the triennial term. 

With respect to the extension of the suffrage, into the details 
of which I have never entered, I can only generally state my 
firm belief that the broader the admission of all the intelligent 
classes to the government of the country, the greater will be the 
security of our existing institutions. 

I am opposed to the vote by ballot; I consider it a complete 
illusion. It will not destroy the exercise of undue influence, 



284 THE LETTERS OF KUNNYMEDE [1836 

There are some, indeed, who affirm and those, too, 
persons of no mean authority that this address may 
even be considered a manifesto of the least constitutional 
portion of the Cabinet to whom your Lordship and my 
Lord Durham are speedily to afford all the weight of your 
influence and all the advantage of your wisdom. How 
this may be, events will prove; the effusion is certainly 
sufficiently marked by the great characteristic of the Whig- 
Radical school; a reckless readiness to adopt measures of 
the details and consequences of which they are obviously 
and often avowedly ignorant. 

The address itself consists of fourteen paragraphs. In 
the first your Lordship informs us that you come forward 
in consequence of " a very numerous requisition." What 
"a very numerous requisition," by-the-bye, may be, I 
pretend not to decipher. It may be Hindostanee; it 
may be Sanscrit; it is not English. With a modesty 
natural to an Oriental Viceroy, the late Master of the 
Great Mogul, you then make your salaam to the electors, 

but it will give rise to another influence still more pernicious 
that of money and corruption, against which there is no security 
but in publicity. At the same time, as the vote by ballot affects 
no existing right, I should willingly acquiesce in the general wishes 
of my constituents to vote for it as an experimental and tem- 
porary measure. 

I am profoundly penetrated with the indispensable necessity 
that the two branches of the Legislature should be brought into 
harmony with each other; and I am of opinion that the result 
may be advantageously accomplished through the constitutional 
exercise of the prerogative of the Crown without any organic 
change. 

I need not promise my support to all measures regarding 
freedom of trade, and economy and retrenchment in every 
department of the State, consistently, of course, with efficiency 
and safety. 

The Corn Laws are a difficult question. I am for their 
abolition. If railways, as I believe, may become necessary in 
the race of competition that we have to run with other coun- 
tries, the prices of subsistence must in a still greater degree con- 
tribute to success. I should hope that an equitable compromise 
between the agricultural and manufacturing interests might not 
be found impracticable. 

I shall advert, in the last place, to the application for a grant 
of 10,000 towards the endowment of additional chapels and 
places of worship for the Established Church of Scotland. I 



1836] AFTER CALCUTTA GLASGOW 285 

assuring them that but for this very numerous requisi- 
tion you " could not have ventured to aspire to the high 
distinction of representing Glasgow in Parliament " of 
representing Glasgow after having ruled Calcutta ! 

Your Lordship then proceeds to state, " frankly and 
explicitly," your political creed, " with a confident hope," 
which seems, however, but a somewhat hesitating and 
trembling trust, that " nothing will be found at variance 
with those principles which for many years of your life 
you have professed and practised." How many years, 
my Lord William ? 

After eulogising " union among all Reformers," but of 
course in favour of Lord Melbourne's Government, and 
the abandonment of " all separate and minor views," you 
immediately declare, with admirable consistency, that 
the Ministerial plan of Irish Church Reform does not go 
far enough, but is " imperfect and insufficient." This is 
certainly a very felicitous method of maintaining union 
among all Reformers. There is no doubt with what 

am entirely averse to this grant. The event, of all others, that 
in my humble judgment would best establish peace and good- 
will and concord among all classes of men, would be a perfect 
equality of civil and religious rights. 

But as this cannot at present be, at least let us be careful 
not to aggravate an obnoxious distinction. Let the Established 
Churches retain what they possess, but let nothing more be 
taken from the public funds. The same religious zeal which 
exclusively maintains all the places of worship and the ministers 
of Dissenters, cannot fail to supply those additional aids of which 
the Established Churches of England and Scotland may stand in 
need. 

I will now conclude with the expression of my very deep 
regret that the effects of the very long and severe illness which 
drove me from India will not allow me without positive risk, 
to appear at the election. But if I am so fortunate as to obtain 
the honour to which I aspire, I shall take the earliest oppor- 
tunity, after the session, of visiting Glasgow; and should it 
then be the opinion of the majority of my constituents that the 
generous confidence which they have been pleased to place in 
me has been in any degree disappointed, I shall be most ready 
to resign the trust confided in me. 

I have the honour to be, Gentlemen, 

Your most obedient servant, 

W. BENTINCK. 

LONDON, 

February 4, 1836. 



286 THE LETTEKS OF KUNNYMEDE [1836 

section of that rebellious camp your Lordship will herd, 
you who are, " of course, a decided friend to a complete 
reform in the Irish municipal corporations." 

Your Lordship, it appears, is also " favourable to the 
shortening of the duration of Parliaments," although you 
ingenuously allow that you " have had no occasion 
seriously to consider the subject"; and that you are 
partial to the " extension of the suffrage," into the details 
of which, however, you candidly admit you " have never 
entered " ! Admirable specimen of the cautious pro- 
fundity of Whig Radicalism ! Inimitable statesman, 
who, busied with concocting constitutions for Sicily, and 
destroying empires in India, can naturally spare but few 
hours to the consideration of the unimportant topics of 
domestic policy. 

Your decisive judgment, however, on the subject of the 
ballot will clear your Lordship in a moment from any 
silly suspicion of superficiality. This paragraph is so 
rich and rare that it merits the dangerous honour of a 
quotation : 

" I am opposed to the vote by ballot ; I consider it a 
complete illusion. It will not destroy the exercise of undue 
influence, but it will give rise to another influence still more 
pernicious, that of money and corruption, against which there 
is no security but in publicity. At the same time, as the 
vote by ballot affects no existing right, I should willingly 
acquiesce in the general wishes of my constituents to vote 
for it as an experimental and temporary measure." 

Without stopping to admire your refined distinction 
between an influence which is undue and " another in- 
fluence " which is pernicious, one cannot too ardently 
applaud the breathless rapidity with which your Lord- 
ship hurries to assure your future constituents that you 
will willingly support an illusion and a pest. 

The ninth paragraph of this memorable production 
informs us that your Lordship is " profoundly pene- 
trated " with an idea. Pardon my scepticism, my Lord; 
whatever other claims you may have to the epithet, I 
doubt whether your Lordship's ideas are radical. I am 



1836] A DULL QUIXOTE 287 

indeed mistaken if their roots have ever " profoundly 
penetrated " your cultured intellect. Was it this " pro- 
found penetration " that prompted the brother of the 
Duke of Portland to declare his conviction of " the 
indispensable necessity of bringing the two branches of 
the legislature into harmony with each other by the 
constitutional exercise of the prerogative of the Crown "? 
Your Lordship may settle this point with His Grace. 

The tenth paragraph is only remarkable for the felicity 
of its diction. The honourable member for Middlesex 
has at length found in the future member for Glasgow 
a rival in the elegance of his language and the precision 
of his ideas. 

But now for your masterpiece ! " The Corn Laws are 
a difficult question; I am for their abolition." How 
exquisitely does this sentence paint your weak and 
puzzled mind and your base and grovelling spirit ! Con- 
fessing at the same time your inability to form an opinion, 
yet gulping down the measure to gain the seat. Space 
alone prevents me from following the noble candidate 
for Glasgow through the remainder of his address, 
admirably characteristic as it is of the same mixture of 
a perplexed intellect and a profligate ambition. 

My Lord, I have not the honour of your acquaintance ; 
I bear you no personal ill-will. I stop not here to inquire 
into the proceedings of your former life of your Sicilian 
freaks or of your Spanish exploits, or of your once im- 
pending catastrophe in India. I form my opinion of 
your character from your last public act, and, believing 
as I do, that there is a conspiracy on foot to palm you 
off on the nation as a great man, in order that your less 
hackneyed name may prolong the degrading rule of a 
desperate faction, I was resolved to chalk your character 
on your back before you entered the House where you 
are doomed to be silent or absurd. There are some of 
your acquaintances who would represent you as by no 
means an ill-intentioned man ; they speak of you as a sort 
of dull Quixote. For myself, I believe you to be without 



288 THE LETTERS OF RUNNYMEDE [1836 

any political principle, but that you are unprincipled 
from the weakness of your head, not from the badness 
of your heart. Your great connections have thrust you 
into great places. You have been haunted with a restless 
conviction that you ought not to be a nonentity, and, 
like bustling men without talents, you have always com- 
mitted great blunders. To avoid the Scylla of passive 
impotence, you have sailed into the Chary bdis of active 
incapacity. 

But you are, or you will be, member for Glasgow. 
The author of such an address meets, of course, with 
"no opposition." Discriminating electors of Glasgow! 
Send up your noble member to the House, where the 
Government newspapers assure us he will soon be a 
Minister. His difference with the present Cabinet is 
trifling. He only deems the Irish Church reform " im- 
perfect and insufficient." He is, "of course," for a 
complete reform of the Irish corporations. He is for 
short Parliaments, he is for the ballot, he is for exten- 
sion of the suffrage, he is for the abolition of the Corn 
Laws, the virtual annihilation of the House of Lords, 
and the gradual destruction of ah 1 alliance between the 
Church and the State. What more can you require ? 
His Sicilian constitution ? 

It would, however, be disingenuous to conceal that 
there is at the conclusion of your Lordship's address a 
sentence which almost leads one to impute its production 
to other causes than the impulse of a party or the original 
weakness of your character. It appears that " a long 
and severe illness drove you from India," and even now 
incapacitates you from personally soliciting the suffrages 
of your choice constituents. Have, then, the republican 
electors of Glasgow, eager to be represented by a Lord, 
selected for their champion in the Senate one of those 
mere lees of debilitated humanity and exhausted nature 
which the winds of India and the waves of the Atlantic 
periodically waft to the hopeless breezes of their native 
cliffs ? The address is ominous; and perhaps, ere the 



1836] UNDER SEVEN PRIME MINISTERS 289 

excitement of a session may have passed, congenial 
Cheltenham will receive from now glorious Glasgow the 
antiquated Governor and the drivelling Nabob ! 

February 11, 1836. 



LETTER XI 
To VISCOUNT PALMERSTON 

MY LORD, The Minister who maintains himself in 
power in spite of the contempt of a whole nation must 
be gifted with no ordinary capacity. Your Lordship's 
talents have never had justice done to them. Permit me 
to approach you in the spirit of eulogy ; if novelty have 
charms, this encomium must gratify you. Our language 
commands no expression of scorn which has not been 
exhausted in the celebration of your character; there is 
no conceivable idea of degradation which has not been, 
at some period or another, associated with your career. 
Yet the seven Prime Ministers, 1 all of whom you have 
served with equal fidelity, might suffice, one would think, 
with their united certificates, to vamp up the first; and 
as for your conduct, so distinguished an orator as your 
Lordship has recently turned out can never want a 
medium for its triumphant vindication, even if it were 
denied the columns of that favoured journal where we 
occasionally trace the finished flippancy of your Lordship's 
airy pen. 

1 Portland, Perceval, Liverpool, Canning, Goderich, Grey, and 
Melbourne. He also served for a few months under the Duke of 
Wellington. On March 8, 1842, in the House of Commons, Dis- 
raeli sharpened the point of this dart against Lord Palmerston, 
who had sarcastically expressed a hope that Disraeli would 
obtain promotion from Sir Robert Peel, who had neglected him 
on forming his administration. Disraeli replied to the following 
effect: " The noble Viscount is a consummate master of the sub- 
ject, and if to assist my advancement he will only impart to me 
the secret of his own unprecedented rise, and by what means he 
has contrived to enjoy power under seven successive administra- 
tions, I shall at least have gained a valuable result by this dis- 
cussion." 



290 THE LETTEKS OF RUNNYMEDE [1836 

The bigoted Tories, under whose auspices your Lordship 
entered public life had always, if I mistake not, some 
narrow-minded misgiving of your honesty as well as your 
talents, and with characteristic illiberality doomed you 
to official insignificance. It was generally understood 
that under no circumstances was your Lordship ever 
to be permitted to enter the Cabinet. Had you been an 
anticipated Aislabie, 1 you could not have been more 
rigidly excluded from that select society; you were 
rapidly advanced to a position which, though eminent, 
was also impassable; and having attained this acme of 
second-rate statesmanship, you remained fixed on your 
pedestal for years, the Great Apollo of aspiring under- 
strappers. 

When the ambition of Mr. Canning deprived him of 
the ablest of his colleagues, your Lordship, with that 
dexterity which has never deserted you, and which seems 
a happy compound of the smartness of an attorney's 
clerk and the intrigue of a Greek of the Lower Empire, 
wriggled yourself into the vacant Cabinet. The Minister 
who was forced to solicit the co-operation of a Lansdowne 
might be pardoned for accepting the proffer of a Palmer- 
ston; but even in his extreme distress Mr. Canning was 
careful not to promote you from your subordinate 
office; nor can I conceive a countenance of more blank 
dismay, if that brilliant rhetorician, while wandering in 
the Elysian fields, were to learn that his favourite port- 
folio was now in your Lordship's protocolic custody. 

A member of Mr. Canning's Cabinet by necessity, you 
became a member of the Duke of Wellington's by suffer- 
ance. You were expelled from your office for playing a 
third-rate part in a third-rate intrigue. Your Lordship 
was piqued, and revenged yourself on your country by 
becoming a Whig. I remember when, in old days, you 

1 John Aislabie (1670-1742), who, for his connection with the 
South Sea Bubble, was compelled to resign his position as Chan- 
cellor of the Exchequer, being adjudged by the House of Com- 
mons guilty of " most notorious, dangerous, and infamous cor 
ruption." 



1836] WHIG LEADER'S CRITICISM 291 

addressed the Speaker on our side of the House, your 
oratorical displays were accompanied not only by the 
blushes, but even the hesitation, of youth. These might 
have been esteemed the not unpleasing characteristics 
of an ingenuous modesty, had they not been associated 
with a callous confidence of tone and an offensive flippancy 
of language, which proved that they were rather the 
consequence of a want of breeding than of a deficiency 
of self-esteem. The leader of the Whig Opposition was 
wont to say, in return perhaps for some of those pas- 
quinades with which you were then in the habit of 
squibbing your present friends, that your Lordship re- 
minded him of a favourite footman on easy terms with 
his mistress. But no sooner had you changed your 
party than all Brooks 's announced you as an orator. 
You made a speech about windmills and Don Quixote, 
and your initiation into Liberalism was hailed complete. 
Your Lordship, indeed, was quite steeped in the spirit 
of the age. You were a new-born babe of that political 
millennium which gave England at the same time a 
Reform Bill and your Lordship for a Secretary of State. 
I can fancy Mr. Charles Grant assisting at your adult 
baptism, and witnessing your regeneration in pious 
ecstasy. 

The intellectual poverty of that ancient faction who 
headed a revolution with which they did not sympathise 
in order to possess themselves of a power which they 
cannot wield, was never more singularly manifested than 
when they delivered the seals of the most important 
office in the State to a Tory underling. You owe the 
Whigs great gratitude, my Lord, and therefore I think 
you will betray them. Their imbecility in offering you 
those seals was only equalled by your audacity in accept- 
ing them. Yet that acceptance was rather impudent 
than rash. You were justly conscious that the Cabinet 
of which you formed so ludicrous a member was about 
to serve out measures of such absorbing interest in our 
domestic policy, that little time could be spared by the 



292 THE LETTERS OF RUNNYMEDE [1836 

nation to a criticism of your Lordship's labours. During 
the agitation of Parliamentary Reform your career re- 
sembled the last American war in the midst of the 
revolutions of Europe : it was very disgraceful, but never 
heard of. Occasionally, indeed, rumours reached the 
ear of the nation of the Russians being at Constantinople, 
or the French in Italy and Flanders. Sometimes we 
were favoured with a report of the effective blockade of 
our ancient allies, the Dutch; occasionally of the civil 
wars you had successfully excited in the Peninsula, 
which we once delivered from a foreign enemy. But 
when life and property were both at stake, when the 
Trades Unions were marching through the streets of the 
metropolis in battle array, and Bristol was burning, 
your countrymen might be excused for generally believing 
that your Lordship's career was as insignificant as your 
intellect. 

But your saturnalia of undetected scrapes and un- 
punished blunders is now over. The affairs of the 
Continent obtrude themselves upon our consideration 
like an importunate creditor who will no longer be denied. 
There is no party cry at home to screen your foreign 
exploits from critical attention. The author of the 
New Whig Guide 1 may scribble silly articles in news- 
papers about justice to Ireland, but he will not succeed 
in diverting public notice from the painful consequences 
of his injustice in Europe. To-night, as we are informed, 
some results of your Lordship's system of non-interference 
in the affairs of Spain are to be brought under the con- 
sideration of the House of Commons. I am not in the 
confidence of the Hon. Gentleman who will introduce 
that subject to the notice of the assembly of which, in 
spite of the electors of Hampshire, your Lordship has 
somehow or other contrived to become a member. But 
I speak of circumstances with which I am well acquainted, 
and for the accuracy of which I stake my credit as a 

1 See Disraeli's note to his " Heroic Epistle to Lord Visct. 
Mel e." 



1836] THE BRITISH LEGION IN SPAIN 293 

public writer, when I declare that of the 10,000 or 
12,000 of your fellow-countrymen whom your crimping 
Lordship inveigled into a participation in the civil wars 
of Spain 1 for no other purpose than to extricate yourself 
from the consequences of your blundering policy, not 
3,000 effective men are now in the field; such have been 
the fatal results of the climate and the cat-o '-nine-tails, 
of ignoble slaughter and of fruitless hardship. Your 
Lordship may affect to smile, and settle your cravat as 
if you were arranging your conscience; you may even 
prompt the most ill-informed man in His Majesty's 
dominions I mean, of course, the First Lord of His 
Majesty's Treasury to announce in the Upper House 
that the career of the British Legion has been a progress 
of triumph, and that its present situation is a state of 
comparative comfort; but I repeat my statement, and 
I declare most solemnly, before God and my country, 
that I am prepared to substantiate it. When the most 
impudent and the vilest of your Lordship's supporters 
next amuses the House with his clap-trap appeals to the 
tears of the widow and the sighs of the orphan, your 
Lordship may perhaps remember the responsibility you 
have yourself incurred, and, sick as the nation may be of 
this inglorious destruction, there is one silly head, I 
believe, that it would grieve no one to see added to the 
heap. It would atone for the havoc, it would extenuate 
the slaughter, and the member for Westminster, who is 
a patriot in two countries, would be hailed on his return 
as the means of having rid both England and Spain of 
an intolerable nuisance. 

For the last five years a mysterious dimness seems to 
have been stealing over the gems of our imperial diadem. 
The standard of England droops fitfully upon its staff. 
He must indeed be an inexperienced mariner who does 
not mark the ground swell of the coming tempest. If 
there be a war in Europe to-morrow, it will be a war 
against English supremacy, and we have no allies. 

1 General de Lacy Evans's British Legion. 






294 THE LETTERS OF RUNNYMEDE [1836 

None but your Lo'rdship can suppose that the Cabinet 
of the Tuileries is not acting in concert with the Court 
of the Kremlin. Austria, our natural friend on the Con- 
tinent of Europe, shrinks from the contamination of 
our political propagandism. If there be a European 
war, it will be one of those contests wherein a great State 
requires for its guidance all the resources of a master 
mind ; it would be a crisis which would justify the presence 
of a Richelieu, a Pombal, or a Pitt. my country ! 
fortunate, thrice fortunate England ! with your destinies 
at such a moment entrusted to the Lord Fanny 1 of 
diplomacy ! Methinks I can see your Lordship, the 
Sporus of politics, cajoling France with an airy compli- 
ment, and menacing Russia with a perfumed cane ! 

February 22, 1836. 



LETTER XII 
To SIB, JOHN HOBHOUSB 

SIB, Your metamorphosis into a Whig and a Cabinet 
Minister has always appeared to me even less marvellous 
than your transformation into a wit and a leader, after 
having passed the most impetuous years of life in what 
might have appeared to the inexperienced the less 
ambitious capacity of a dull dependent. In literature 
and in politics, until within a very short period, you have 
always shone with the doubtful lustre of reflected light. 
You have gained notoriety by associating yourself with 
another's fame. The commentator of Byron, you natu- 
rally became in due season " Sir Francis Burdett's man," 
as Mr. Canning styled you, to your confusion, in the 

1 A nickname originally given by Pope to John, Lord Hervey, 
author of the " Memoirs of the Reign of George the Second " ; also 
called by Pope " Sporus " : 

" What, that thing of silk T 
Sporus, that mere white curd of ass's milk f 
Satire or sense, alas ! can Sporus feel ? 
Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel f " 



1836] DEMAGOGUE OR PLACEMAN 295 

House of Commons; and to which sneer, after having 
taken a week to arrange your impromptu, you replied 
in an elaborate imitation of Chatham, admitted by your 
friends to be the greatest failure in parliamentary 
memory. At college your dignified respect for the 
peerage scarcely prepared us for your subsequent sneers 
at the order. Your readiness to bear the burden of the 
scrapes of those you honoured by your intimacy an- 
nounced the amiability of your temper. Yet, whether 
you were sacrificing yourself on the altar of friendship, 
or concocting notes upon the pasquinades which others 
scribbled, there was always " something too ponderous 
about your genius for a joke "; and when these words 
fell from your lips on Friday night, 1 to me they seemed to 
flow with all the practised grace of a tu quoque, and to 
be not so much the inspiration of the moment as the 
reminiscence of some of those quips and cranks of 
Mathews and Scrope Davies 2 of which you were the 
constant, and often the unconscious, victim. 

It may be the prejudice of party, perhaps the force 
of old associations, but to me your new character seems 
but thinly to veil your ancient reputation. There is a 
massy poise even in your airiest flights, that reminds 
one rather of the vulture than the eagle ; and your lightest 
movements are pervaded with a sort of elephantine grace 
which forces us to admire rather the painful tutorage of 
art than nature's happier impulse. Bustling at the 
University, blustering on the hustings, dangling the seals 
of office a humble friend, a demagogue, or a placeman 
your idiosyncrasy still prevails, and in your case. 
" piddling Theobalds " has, at the best, but turned into 
"slashing Bentley." 8 

Allow me to congratulate you on your plaintive con- 
fession, amid the roars of the House, that " circumstances 

1 In the debate on Spain. 

2 Scrope Berdmore Davies, a " scholar-dandy," the friend of 
Byron. 

3 " From slashing Bentley down to pidling Tibalds." Pope's 
" Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot." 



296 THE LETTERS OF RUNNYMEDE [1836 

have brought you and your noble friend, the Secretary 
of State for Foreign Affairs, together on the same bench." 
The honour of sharing the same seat with an individual 
might, in another's estimation, have sufficed, without 
the additional disgrace of calling attention to the stigma. 
There is something so contaminating in a connection with 
that man that, when you voluntarily avowed it, we might 
be excused for admiring your valour rather than your 
discretion. It is, in truth, a rare conjunction; and Cir- 
cumstance, " that unspiritual god," as your illustrious 
companion, Lord Byron, has happily styled that com- 
monplace divinity, has seldom had to answer for a more 
degrading combination. You have met, indeed, like the 
puritan and the prostitute on the banks of Lethe in 
Garrick's farce, with an equally convenient oblivion of 
the characteristic incidents of your previous careers; 
you giving up your annual parliaments and universal 
suffrage, he casting to the winds his close corporations 
and borough nominees ; you whispering Conservatism on 
the hustings, once braying with your revolutionary up- 
roar, he spouting reform in the still recesses of the dust 
of Downing Street ; the one reeking from a Newgate cell, 
the other redolent of the boudoirs of Mayfair; yet both 
of them, alike the Tory underling and the Radical dema- 
gogue, closing the ludicrous contrast with one grand 
diapason of harmonious inconsistency both merging in 
the Whig Minister. 

That a politician may at different periods of his life, and 
under very different aspects of public affairs, conscien- 
tiously entertain varying opinions upon the same measure, 
is a principle which no member of the present House of 
Commons is entitled to question. I would not deny you, 
Sir, the benefit of the charity of society ; but when every 
change of opinion in a man's career is invariably attended 
by a corresponding and advantageous change in his 
position, his motives are not merely open to suspicion 
his conduct is liable to conviction. Yet there is one 
revolution in your sentiments on which I may be per- 



1836] SALUTARY CANDOUR 297 

mitted particularly to congratulate you and that country 
which you assist in misgoverning. Your sympathy on 
Friday night with the success of the British arms came 
with a consoling grace and a compensatory retribution 
from the man who has recorded in a solemn quarto 1 his 
bitter regret that his countrymen were victorious at 
Waterloo. I always admired the Whig felicity of your 
appointment as Secretary at War. 

Pardon, Sir, the freedom with which I venture to 
address you. My candour may at least be as salutary 
as the cabbage-stalks of your late constituents. 2 There 
are some, indeed, who, as I am informed, have murmured 
at this method of communicating to them my opinion 
of their characters and careers. Yet I can conceive an 
individual so circumstanced that he would scarcely be 
entitled to indulge in such querulous sensitiveness. He 
should be one who had himself published letters with- 
out the ratification of his name, and then suppressed 
them ; he should be one who had sat in trembling silence 
in the House when he was dared to repeat the statement 
which he had circulated by the press; he should be one 
to whom it had been asserted in his teeth that he was " a 
liar and a scoundrel, and only wanted courage to be an 
assassin." It does not appear to me that such an indi- 
vidual could complain with any justice of the frankness 
of " Runny mede." 

February 27, 1836. 

LETTER XIII 
To LORD GLENELG 

MY LORD, Let me not disturb your slumbers too 
rudely: I will address you in a whisper, and on tiptoe. 
At length I have succeeded in penetrating the recesses 

1 " The Substance of Some Letters written by an English 
Gentleman resident at Paris during the Last Reign of the Em- 
peror Napoleon." 

2 The electors of Westminster. 

20 



298 THE LETTERS OP BUNNYMEDE [1836 

of your enchanted abode. The knight who roused the 
Sleeping Beauty could not have witnessed stranger 
marvels in his progress than he who has at last contrived 
to obtain an interview with the sleeping Secretary. 

The moment that I had passed the Foreign Office an 
air of profound repose seemed to pervade Downing Street, 
and as I approached the portal of your department, it 
was with difficulty I could resist the narcotic influence 
of the atmosphere. Your porter is no Argus. " His 
calm, broad, thoughtless aspect breathed repose," and 
when he " slow from his bench arose, and swollen with 
sleep," I almost imagined that, like his celebrated pre- 
decessor in the Castle of Indolence, he was about to 
furnish me with a nightcap, slippers, and a robe de chambre. 
I found your clerks yawning, and your under-secretaries 
just waking from a dream. A dozy, drowsy, drony hum, 
the faint rustling of some papers like the leaves of autumn, 
and a few noiseless apparitions gliding like ghosts, just 
assured me that the business of the nation was not 
neglected. Every personage and every incident gradu- 
ally prepared me for the quiescent presence of the master 
mind, until, adroitly stepping over your private secretary, 
nodding and recumbent at your threshold, I found myself 
before your Lordship, the guardian of our colonial 
empire, stretched on an easy couch in luxurious listless- 
ness, with all the prim voluptuousness of a puritanical 
Sardanapalus. 

I forget who was the wild theorist who enunciated the 
absurd doctrine that "ships, colonies, and commerce," 
were the surest foundation of the empire. What an in- 
finitely ridiculous idea ! But the march of intellect and 
the spirit of the age have cleansed our brains of this 
perilous stuff. Had it not been for the invention of 
ships, the great malady of sea-sickness, so distressing 
to an indolent Minister, would be unknown; colonies, 
like country-houses, we have long recognised to be 
sources only of continual expense, and to be kept up 
merely from a puerile love of show; as for commerce, it 



1836] AN ARISTOCRATIC CABINET 299 

is a vulgarism, and fit only for low people. What have 
such dainty nobles as yourself and Lord Palmerston to 
do with cottons and indigoes ? Such coarse details you 
fitly leave to Mr. Poulett Thomson, whose practical 
acquaintance with tallow is the only blot on the scutcheon 
of your refined and aristocratic Cabinet. 

Although a grateful nation has seized every oppor- 
tunity of expressing their confidence in your Lordship 
and your colleagues, and although myself, among more 
distinguished writers, have omitted no occasion of cele- 
brating your inexhaustible panegyric, it appears to me, 
I confess, that scant justice has hitherto been done to 
the grand system of our present administration, and 
which they are putting in practice with felicitous rapidity 
and their habitual success. This grand system, it would 
seem, consists of a plan to govern the country without 
having anything to do. 

The meritorious and unceasing labours of the noble 
Secretary for Foreign Affairs for the destruction of 
English influence on the Continent will soon permit his 
Lordship to receive his salary without any necessary 
attendance at his office. Lord Morpeth 1 has nearly 
got rid of Ireland. The selection of your Lordship to 
regulate the destinies of our colonies insures the speediest 
and the most favourable results in effecting their emanci- 
pation from what one of your principal supporters styles 
" the unjust domination of the mother country " ; and we 
are already promised a Lord Chancellor who is not to 
preside over the Chancery. The recent government of 
Lord William Bentinck will, I fear, rob Sir John Hob- 
house of half the glory of losing India, and the municipal 
corporations, if they work as well as you anticipate, may 
in due season permit Lord John Russell to resume his 
relinquished lyre. Freed of our colonies, Ireland, and 
India, the affairs of the Continent consigned to their 
own insignificance, Westminster Hall delivered over to 
the cheap lawyers, and our domestic polity regulated by 

1 Chief Secretary for Ireland. 



300 THE LETTERS OF KUNNYMEDE [1836 

vestries and town councils, there is a fair probability 
that the First Lord of the Treasury, who envies you your 
congenial repose, may be relieved from any very onerous 
burden of public duty, and that the Treasury may estab- 
lish the aptness of its title on the non lucendo character 
of its once shining coffers. 

Vive la bagatelle ! His Majesty's Ministers may then 
hold Cabinet Councils to arrange a whitebait dinner at 
Blackwall, or prick for an excursion to Richmond or 
Beulah Spa. Such may be the gay consequences of a 
Reform Ministry and a reformed Parliament ! No true 
patriot will grudge them these slight recreations, or 
hazard even a murmur at their sinecure salaries. For to 
say the truth, my Lord, if you must remain in office, I 
for one would willingly consent to an inactivity on your 
part almost as complete as could be devised by the 
united genius for sauntering of yourself and that energetic 
and laborious nobleman who summoned you to a worthy 
participation in his councils. 

Affairs, therefore, my dear Lord Glenelg, are far from 
disheartening, especially in that department under your 
own circumspect supervision. What if the Mauritius be 
restive let the inhabitants cut each others' throats : that 
will ultimately produce peace. What if Jamaica be in 
flames we have still East India sugar ; and by the time 
we have lost that, the manufacture of beetroot will be 
perfect. What if Colonel Torrens, perched on the 
Pisgah height of a joint-stock company, be transporting 
our fellow-countrymen to the milk and honey of Aus- 
tralia, without even the preparatory ceremony of a trial 
by jury let the exiles settle this great constitutional 
question with the kangaroos. What if Canada be in 
rebellion let not the menacing spectre of Papineau 1 or 
the suppliant shade of the liberal Gosford 2 scare your 
Lordship's dreams. Slumber on without a pang, most 

1 The French leader of the rebellion in Canada. 

2 Lord Gosford, Governor of Canada. 



1836] THE MEMBER FOR COVENTRY 301 

vigilant of Secretaries. I will stuff you a fresh pillow 
with your unanswered letters, and insure you a certain 
lullaby by reading to you one of your own despatches. 

March 12, 1836. 



LETTER XIV 
To THE RIGHT HON. EDWABD 

SIR, In this age of faction, it is delightful to turn to 
one public character whom writers of all parties must 
unite in addressing in terms of unqualified panegyric. 
From " a man discreditably known in the City," you have 
become a statesman creditably known at Court. Such 
is the triumph of perseverance in a good cause, undaunted 
by calumny and undeterred by the narrow-minded 
scruples of petty intellects. That influence which, in 
spite of prejudice, you have gained by the uniform 
straightforwardness of your conduct, you have confirmed 
by that agreeable and captivating demeanour which 
secures you the hearts of men as well as their confidence. 
Uninfluenced by personal motives, always ready to sacri- 
fice self, and recoiling from intrigue with the antipathy 
native to a noble mind, you stand out in bold and 
favourable relief to the leaders of that party whose 
destinies, from a purely patriotic motive, you occasion- 
ally condescend to regulate. 

I ought, perhaps, before this to have congratulated 
you on your return to that country whose interests are 
never absent from your thoughts; but I was unwilling 
to disturb, even with my compliments, a gentleman who, 
I am aware, has been labouring of late so zealously for 
the commonweal as the Right Hon. Mr. Ellice. Your 
devotion in your recent volunteer visit to Constanti- 
nople has not been lost on the minds of your countrymen. 

1 "Bear " Ellice was a business man connected with the north- 
west fur trade. Secretary for War in Lord Grey's Government, 
he went out with Melbourne in 1834, and never again took office. 



302 THE LETTERS OF RUNNYMEDE [1836 

They readily recognise your pre-eminent fitness to 
wrestle with the Russian bear; and they who have wit- 
nessed in a northern forest a duel between those polished 
animals, must feel convinced that you are the only 
English statesman duly qualified to mingle in a combat 
which is at the same time so dexterous and so desperate. 
Happy England, whose fortunes are supervised by such 
an unsalaried steward as the member for Coventry ! 
Thrice fortunate Telemachus of Lambton Castle, guided 
by such a Mentor ! 

After the turmoil of party politics, you must have 
found travel delightful ! I can fancy you gazing upon 
the blue Symplegades, or roaming amid the tumuli of 
Troy. The first glance at the Mge&u must have filled 
you with classic rapture. Your cultured and accom- 
plished mind must have reveUed in the recollections of 
the heroic past. How different from the associations of 
those jobbing politicians, who, when they sail upon 
Salamis, are only reminded of Greek bonds, and whose 
thoughts, when they mingle amid the imaginary tumult 
of the Pnyx at Athens, only recur to the broils of a settling 
day at the Stock Exchange of London ! 

In your political career you have emulated the fame, 
and rivalled, if not surpassed, the exploits of the great 
Earl of Warwick. He was only a King-maker, but Mr. 
Ellice is a maker of Ministers. How deeply was Lord 
Grey indebted to your disinterested services ! Amid the 
musings of the Liternum 1 of Howick, while moralising 
on the gratitude of a party, how fondly must he congratu- 
late himself on his fortune in such a relative. It is said 
that his successor is not so prompt to indicate his sense 
of your services as would be but just. But the ingrati- 
tude of men, and especially of Ministers, is proverbial. 
Lord Melbourne, however, may yet live to be sensible of 
your amiable exercise of the prerogative of the Crown. In 
the meantime the unbounded confidence of Lord Palmer- 
ston in your good intentions may in some degree console 
1 The town to which Scipio AMcanus retired. 



1836] AN EMANCIPATED MIND 303 

you for the suspicions of the Prime Minister, to say 
nothing of the illimitable trust of the noble Secretary for 
the Colonies, who sleeps on in unbroken security as long 
as you are the guardian angel of his slumbers. 

Distinguished as you are by the inflexible integrity of 
your conduct, both in public and private life, by your 
bland manners and your polite carriage, your total 
absence of all low ambition and your contempt for all 
intrigue and subterranean practices, you are, if possible, 
still more eminent for your philosophical exemption from 
antiquated prejudice. The people of England can never 
forget that it was your emancipated mind that first 
soared superior to the mischievous institution of a 
National Church, and that, with the characteristic 
liberality of your nature, yours was the intellect that first 
devised the ingenious plan of appeasing Ireland by the 
sacrifice of England. Had you been influenced in your 
conduct by any factious object of establishing your 
friends in the enjoyment of a power to exercise which 
they had previously proved themselves incapable, it 
might in some degree have deteriorated from the single- 
ness of your purpose; but no one can suppose, for an 
instant, that in forming a close alliance one year with a 
man whom twelve months before they had denounced 
as a rebel, or in decreeing the destruction of an institu- 
tion which they had just recently pledged themselves to 
uphold, your pupils of the present administration were 
actuated by any other motives but the most just, the 
most disinterested, and the most honourable. 

You have recently been gratified by witnessing the 
proud and predominant influence of your country in the 
distant and distracted regions of the East. The compli- 
ments which were lavished on yourself and your com- 
panion by the Czar must have been as flattering to the 
envoy as they were to the confiding sovereign with whose 
dignity you were entrusted. It must be some time before 
the salutes of Odessa cease ringing in your ear, and it 
cannot be supposed that your excited imagination can 



304 THE LETTERS OF RUNNYMEDE [1836 

speedily disembarrass itself of your splendid progress in 
a steamer over the triumphant waters of the Euxine. 
Yet, when you have in some degree recovered from the 
intoxication of success and the inebriating influence of 
Royal and Imperial condescension, let us hope that you 
may deign to extend your practised attention to our 
domestic situation. The country is very prosperous ; the 
Stock Exchange has not been so active since 1825. 
They certainly have missed you a little in Spanish, but 
the railways, I understand, have been looking up since 
your return, especially the shares of those companies 
which have no hope or intention of prosecuting their 
designs. In the meantime, perhaps, for you may be 
destined the glory of inducing Lord Melbourne to tolerate 
the presence of Mr. O'Connell at an official banquet. 
That would be an achievement worthy of your great 
mind. The new Liberal Club, too, which, like Eldorado, 
is to supply 

" Shirts for the shirtless, suppers for the starved," 

may merit your organising patronage. For the rest, the 
unbounded confidence which subsists between our gracious 
Sovereign and his Ministers, the complete harmony at 
length established between the two Houses of Parliament, 
the perfect tranquillity of Ireland, vouched by the 
de facto member for Dublin, and guaranteed by Lord 
Plunket, and the agreeable circumstance that the people 
of England are arrayed in two hostile and determined 
parties, all combine to assure us of a long, a tranquil, and 
a prosperous administration of our affairs by the last 
Cabinet which was constructed under your auspices. 

March 20, 1836. 



1836] RECREATION FOR THE EASTER RECESS 305 

LETTER XV 
To VISCOUNT MELBOURNE 

MY LORD, I always experience peculiar gratification 
in addressing your Lordship your Lordship is such a 
general favourite. I have read somewhere of " the best- 
natured man with the worst-natured muse." I have 
always deemed your Lordship the best-natured Minister 
with the worst-natured party. And really, if you have 
sometimes so lost your temper if for those Epicurean 
shrugs of the shoulder, and nil admirari smiles, which were 
once your winning characteristics, you have occasionally 
of late substituted a little of the Cambyses' vein, and 
demeaned yourself as if you were practising " Pistol " 
for the next private theatricals at Panshanger very 
extenuating circumstances may, I think, be found in 
the heterogeneous and Hudibrastic elements of that 
party which Fate, in a freak of fun, has called upon your 
Lordship to regulate. What a crew ! I can compare 
them to nothing but the Swalbach swine in the Brunnen 
Bubbles, 1 guzzling and grunting in a bed of mire, fouling 
themselves, and bedaubing every luckless passenger with 
their contaminating filth. 

We are all now going into the country, and you and 
your colleagues are about to escape for a season from 
what your Lordship delicately terms the " badgering " 
of Parliament. I trust you will find the relaxation reno- 
vating. How you will recreate yourselves, we shall be 
anxious to learn. I think the Cabinet might take to 
cricket they are a choice eleven. With their peculiarly 
patriotic temperaments and highly national feelings, they 
might venture, I think, to play against " all England." 
Lord Palmerston and Lord Glenelg, with their talent for 

1 Sir Francis Bond Head's "Bubbles from the Brunnens of 

Nassau" (1834). 



306 THE LETTERS OF RUNNYMEDE [1836 

keeping in, would assuredly secure a good score. Lord 
John, indeed, with all his flourishing, will probably end 
in knocking down his own wicket; and as for Sir Cam, 
the chances certainly are that he will be " caught out," 
experiencing the same fate in play as in politics. If you 
could only engage Lord Durham to fling sticks at the seals 
of the Foreign Office, and the agile Mr. Ellice to climb a 
greasy pole for the Colonial portfolio, I think you will 
have provided a very entertaining programme of Easter 
sports. 

My Lord, they say, you know, when things are at 
the worst, they generally mend. On this principle our 
affairs may really be considered highly promising. The 
state of Spain demonstrates the sagacity of our Foreign 
Secretary. The country is divided into two great parties ; 
we have contrived to interfere without supporting either, 
but have lavished our treasure and our blood in upholding 
a Camarilla. This is so bad that really the happiest 
results may speedily be anticipated. Canada is in a state 
of rebellion, and therefore after Easter we may perhaps find 
loyalty and peace predominant, especially when we recall 
to our recollection the profound intellect your Lordship 
has selected for the settlement of that distracted colony. 
The Whigs, my Lord, seem indeed to have a happy knack 
in the choice of Governors, and almost to rival in their 
appointments the Duke in " Don Quixote." To them we 
are indebted alike for the prescient firmness of a Gosford 
and the substantial judgment of a Sligo. 1 The spring- 
like promise of the experienced Elphinstone will explain 
the genial seed so deftly sown by the noble member for 
Glasgow, 2 and complete the trio. Three wise and learned 
rulers ! To whomsoever of the leash my Lord Glenelg 
may award the golden palm, I doubt not it will prove an 
apple of sufficient discord. 

" But all our praises why should Lords engross ?" 



1 Formerly Governor of Jamaica. 

2 Lord William Bentinck, ex-Governor-General of India. 



1836] "TKANQUIL" IKELAN*D 307 

particularly when the appointments of Lord Auckland 
and Lord Nugent 1 are duly mentioned. 

" Kise, honest muse, and sing Sir Francis Head !" 2 

The convenient candour of that celebrated functionary 
will at least afford one solacing reminiscence for your 
Easter holidays. 

But what is Spanish anarchy or Canadian rebellion, the 
broils of Jamaica or the impending catastrophe of Hindo- 
stan, when Ireland is tranquil ? And who can doubt the 
tranquillity of Ireland ? Has not your Lordship the 
bond of the trustworthy Mr. O'Connell, whose private 
praises you celebrate with such curious felicity, and the 
choice collateral security of the veracious Lord Plunket. 
With such a muniment in the strong box of your Cabinet 
securities, what care you for the charges of Baron Smith 
and the calendar of Tipperary ? And yet, my Lord, 
though Ireland is tranquil, and though the Papists, in 
their attempts on the lives of their rivals, seem of late 
charitably to have substituted perjury for massacre, I 
fancy I mark a cloud upon your triumphant brow at my 
incidental mention of that fortunate land. Be of good 
cheer, my Lord; and if you cannot be bold, at least be 
reckless. In spite of the elaborate misrepresentations of 
party, the state of Irish affairs is very simple. The point 
lies in a nutshell, and may be expressed in a single sen- 
tence. Your Lordship's accommodation bills with Mr. 
O'Connell are becoming due, and unless you can contrive 
to get them renewed, the chances are your Lordship's firm 
will become bankrupt. 

It seems, my Lord, that the hon. member for Finsbury 3 
is about to move a petition to our gracious sovereign 
to intercede with the King of the French in favour of the 
State-victims of the three glorious days, persecuted like 
other great men for anticipating their age, and attempting 
to do that in 1830 the consummation of which was re- 

1 High. Commissioner of the Ionian Islands. 

2 Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada. 

3 Mr. Thomas Slingsby Buncombe. 



308 THE LETTERS OF RUNNYMEDE [1836 

served for 1835. My Lord, buffoonery after a while 
wearies ; put an end, I beseech you, to the farce of your 
government, and, to save time, consent at once that you 
and your colleagues should be substituted in their stead. 
Nay, I wish not to be harsh ; my nature is not vindictive. 
I would condemn you to no severer solitude than the 
gardens of Hampton Court, where you might saunter 
away the remaining years of your now ludicrous existence, 
sipping the last novel of Paul de Kock, while lounging 
over a sundial. 

March 30, 1836. 

LETTER XVI 
To THE HOUSE OF LOEDS 

MY LORDS, If there be one legislative quality more 
valuable than another, it is the power of discriminating 
between the CAUSE and the PRETEXT. 1 For two sessions 
of Parliament an attempt has been made to force upon 
your Lordships' adoption a peculiar scheme of policy 
under the pretext of doing " justice to Ireland." A 
majority of the members of the House of Common^ no 
matter how obtained, have not felt competent, or in- 
clined, to penetrate beneath the surface of this plausible 
plea. They have accepted the pretext as a sound and 
genuine principle of conduct, and have called for your 
Lordships' co-operation in measures which you have 
declined to sanction, because you believe you have dis- 
tinguished the concealed from the ostensible motive of 
their proposition. Your Lordships believe, that under 
the pretext of doing " justice to Ireland," you are called 
upon to do "injustice to England," and to assist the 
cause of Irish independence and papal supremacy. 

"A very good pretext may be the delusive cloak of a very 
bad cause" (Disraeli in the Morning Post, August 21, 1835). 
' It is an important principle in morals and in politics not to 
mistake the cause for the pretext, nor the pretext for the cause, 
and by this means to distinguish between the concealed and the 
ostensible motive " (Isaac D'Israeli: " Curiosities of Literature "). 



1836] CAUSE AND PRETEXT 309 

My Lords, the English nation agrees with you. The 
experience of the last few years has not been lost upon 
your reflective countrymen. Under the pretext of eman- 
cipating the Irish people, they have witnessed the estab- 
lishment of the dominion of a foreign priesthood -under 
the pretext of Parliamentary Reform, they have wit- 
nessed the delusive substitution of Whig Government 
under the pretext of Municipal Reform in England, they 
have seen a sectarian oligarchy invested with a monopoly 
of power, tainting the very fountains of justice, and 
introducing into the privacy of domestic life all the 
acerbities of public faction and under the pretext of 
" justice to Ireland," they have already beheld the de- 
struction of Protestant ascendancy, and the Papacy, if 
not supreme, at least rampant. The English nation are 
reaping the bitter fruits of not sufficiently discriminating 
between the ostensible and concealed purposes of legisla- 
tion. Had they been aware some years back, as they 
now keenly feel, that they were only extending power 
and privileges to a priesthood when they thought they 
were emancipating a people, the miserable dilemma of 
modern politics would never have occurred. They would 
not have witnessed the gentlemen of Ireland driven from 
its parliamentary representation, and deprived of their 
local influence; they would not have witnessed a fierce 
and bloody war waged against the property of the Pro- 
testant Church and the lives of its ministers ; they would 
not have witnessed the Imperial Parliament occupied in 
a solemn debate on the propriety of maintaining the 
legislative union. Political revolutions are always 
effected by virtue of abstract pleas. " Justice to Ire- 
land " is about as definite as " the Rights of Man." If 
the Irish have an equal right with ourselves to popular 
corporations, have they less a right to a domestic Legis- 
lature or a native Sovereign ? My Lords, are you pre- 
pared to go this length ? Are you prepared to dismiss 
circumstances from your consideration, and legislate 
solely upon principles ? Is the British Senate an assembly 



310 THE LETTERS OF RUNNYMEDE [1836 

of dreaming schoolmen that they are resolved to deal 
with words in preference to facts ? Is a great empire to 
be dissolved by an idle logomachy ? If Dublin have an 
equal right with Westminster to the presence of a Parlia- 
ment, is the right of York less valid ? Be consistent, my 
Lords, in the development of the new system of politics. 
Repeal the Union, and revive the Heptarchy. 

When the Irish papists were admitted to the Imperial 
Parliament, we were told that they would consist of a 
few gentlemen of ancient family and fortune. That class 
is already banished from our councils. When the Protes- 
tant Establishment in Ireland was reformed by the Whigs, 
we were told that the Church in Ireland would then be as 
safe as the Church in Yorkshire. That Establishment is 
now an eleemosynary one. When the repeal of the union 
was discussed in the English Parliament, we were told 
that it was only supported by a feeble section. That 
section now decides the fate of the British Government 
and the policy of the British Empire. Because much has 
been conceded, we are told that all must be given up; 
because the Irish papists have shown themselves un- 
worthy of a political franchise, we are told that it neces- 
sarily follows that they should be entrusted with a 
municipal one; because * * * 

***** 
***** 
***** 



This new system of inductive reasoning may pass 
current with some bankrupt noble, panting to nestle in 
the bowers of Downing Street ; this topsy-turvy logic may 
flash conviction on the mind of some penniless expectant 
of the broken victuals of the official banquet; but the 
people of England recoil with disgust from the dangerous 
balderdash, and look up to your Lordships as their heredi- 
tary leaders, to stand between the ark of the constitution 
and the unhallowed hands that are thrust forward to soil 



1836] O'CONNELL AGAIN 311 

its splendour and violate its sanctity. The people of 
England are not so far divorced from their ancient valour, 
that, after having withstood Napoleon and the whole 
world in arms, they are to sink before a horde of their 
manumitted serfs and the nisi prius demagogue whom a 
foreign priesthood have hired to talk treason on their 
blasphemous behalf. After having routed the lion, we 
will not be preyed upon by the wolf. If we are to fall, 
if this great empire, raised by the heroic energies of the 
English nation that nation of which your fathers formed 
a part is indeed to be dissolved, let us hope that the 
last moments of our career may prove at least an euthan- 
asia: let no pestilent blight, after our meridian glory, 
sully the splendour of our setting; and whether we fall 
before the foreign foe we have so often baffled, or whether, 
by some mysterious combination of irresistible circum- 
stances, our empire sinks, like the Queen of the Adriatic, 
beneath the waves that we still rule, let not the records 
of our future annalist preserve a fact which, after all our 
greatness, might well break the spirit of the coming 
generations of our species. Let it not be said that we 
truckled to one, the unparalleled and unconstitutional 
scope of whose power is only equalled by the sordid 
meanness of his rapacious soul. Let it not be said that 
the English constitution sank before a rebel without 
dignity and a demagogue without courage. This grand 
pensionary of bigotry and sedition presumes to stir up 
the people of England against your high estate. Will 
the Peers of England quail to this brawling mercenary 
this man who has even degraded crime, who has deprived 
treason of its grandeur and sedition of its sentiment; 
who is paid for his patriotism, and whose philanthropy 
is hired by the job audacious, yet a poltroon agitating 
a people, yet picking their pockets ; in mind a Catiline, in 
action a Cleon ? 

This disturber is in himself nothing. He has neither 
learning, wit, eloquence, nor refined taste, nor elevated 
feeling, nor a passionate and creative soul. What ragged 



312 THE LETTERS OF RUNNYMEDE [1836 

ribaldry are his public addresses, whether they emanate 
from his brazen mouth or from his leaden pen ! His 
pathos might shame the maudlin Romeo of a barn; his 
invective is the reckless abandonment of the fish-market. 
Were he a man of genius, he would be unsuited to the 
career for which he is engaged ; for, after all, he is but 
a slave. But it is the awful character of his master 
that invests this creature with his terrible consideration. 
However we may detest or despise the nisi prius lawyer 
hired to insult and injure the realm of England, we know 
that he is the delegate of the most ancient and powerful 
priesthood in Europe. It is as the great papal nominee 
that this O'Connell, with all his vileness, becomes a power 
to control which requires no common interference. 

My Lords, the English nation believes that that inter- 
ference can be efficiently exercised by your august as- 
sembly. In you are reposed their hopes; you will not 
disappoint them. In a few hours, in obedience to the 
mandate of the papal priesthood, that shallow voluptuary 
who is still Prime Minister of England, will call upon 
your Lordships with cuckoo note, to do " justice to Ire- 
land." Do it. Justice to Ireland will best be secured by 
doing justice to England. The people of England created 
the empire. At the time when we were engaged in that 
great strife which will rank in the estimation of posterity 
with the Punic wars and the struggles of the Greeks 
against Asia, the very men who are now menacing your 
illustrious order, and stirring up war against our national 
institutions, were in communication with our most in- 
veterate foe, and soliciting invasion. My Lords, you will 
not forget this; you will not forget to distinguish their 
pretext from their cause. These men cannot be concili- 
ated. They are your foes because they are the foes of 
England. They hate our free and fertile isle. They hate 
our order, our civilisation, our enterprising industry, our 
sustained courage, our decorous liberty, our pure religion. 
This wild, reckless, indolent, uncertain, and superstitious 
race have no sympathy with the English character. Their 



1836] PAPAL INFLUENCE 313 

fair ideal of human felicity is an alternation of clannish 
broils and coarse idolatry. Their history describes an 
unbroken circle of bigotry and blood. And now, for- 
sooth, the cry is raised that they have been misgoverned ! 
How many who sound this party shibboleth have studied 
the history of Ireland ? A savage population, under the 
influence of the Papacy, has, nevertheless, been so regu- 
lated, that they have contributed to the creation of a 
highly-civilised and Protestant empire. Why, is not that 
the paragon of political science ? Could Machiavel teach 
more ? My Lords, shall the delegates of these tribes, 
under the direction of the Roman priesthood, ride rough- 
shod over our country over England haughty and still 
imperial England ? Forbid it all the memory of your 
ancestors ! Rest assured that if you perform your high 
and august office as becomes you, rest assured that in this 
agony of the Protestant cause and the British empire, 
the English nation will not desert you. All parties and 
all sects of Englishmen, in this fierce and yet degrading 
struggle, must ultimately rally round your House. My 
Lords, be bold, be resolute, be still " the pillars of the 
State." 

April 18, 1836. 

LETTER XVII 
To THE HOUSE OF LORDS 

MY LORDS, You have unfurled the national standard. 
Its patriotic and hearty motto is, " Justice for England." 
The English nation will support you in your high en- 
deavours. Fear not that they will be backward. They 
recognise your Lordships as their natural leaders who 
have advanced, according to your hereditary duty, to 
assist them in the extremity of their degraded fortunes. 
The time is come for bold and vigorous conduct ; the time 
is come to rid ourselves of that base tyranny, offensive 
to the pride of every Englishman, no matter what his 
religious sect or class of political opinions. The English 

21 



314 THE LETTERS OF RUNNYMEDE [1836 

nation will not be ruled by the Irish priesthood. Five 
years of Whig government have not yet so -completely 
broken our once proud spirit that we can submit without 
a murmur or a struggle to such a yoke. If Athens, even 
in her lower fortunes, could free herself of her thirty 
tyrants, let us hope that England, in spite of all the jobs 
of our corrupt and corrupting Government, may yet 
chase away those gentlemen who, fresh from the unction 
of M'Hale and the mild injunctions of the apostolic 
Kehoe, 1 have undertaken to guard over the rights and 
liberties, the property and the religion, of Protestant 
England. We have not reformed the third estate of the 
realm in order that England should be governed by the 
nominees of the Papacy. There is not a man in Britain, 
Tory or Radical, Episcopalian or Presbyterian, who can 
stand this long ; there is not a man in Britain who at the 
bottom of his heart is not proud of our empire, and who 
does not despise the inferior race who dare to menace its 
integrity. However faction may corrupt and machinate, 
the people of England will never long submit to a Milesian 
master ; and when they reflect upon their present degrada- 
tion, and are conscious that they have experienced it 
only to secure in power the dull and desperate remains of 
a once haughty oligarchy, long baffled in their anti- 
national attempts upon the free realm of England, the 
nation will rise in its wrath, and execute vengeance upon 
the cabal which has thus trifled with this great country's 
immemorial honour. 

The English nation requires justice; and it is not con- 
tent to receive that justice by instalments a process 
that may suit their lately manumitted serfs, but which 
will not accord with their stern and determined spirits, 
habituated to the ennobling exercise and the proud enjoy- 
ment of an ancient liberty. They require justice, and 
they will have that justice full and free. It must be meted 

1 John M'Hale (1791-1881), appointed Archbishop of Tuam 
in 1834 ; and possibly John Keogh (1740-1817), the Irish Catholic 
leader, to whose efforts the passing of the Relief Act of 1793 was 
mainly due. 



1836] JUSTICE FOE ENGLAND 315 

out speedily and not scantily. They require this justice, 
with the Peers of England at their head, and the result 
will prove whether the Milesian peasantry, led on by the 
papist priesthood, can cope with this proud and powerful 
society. It is not just to England that the Sovereign 
should be deprived of his undoubted prerogative; it is 
not just to England that M'Hale and Kehoe should dictate 
to our King the servants whom our Royal master should 
employ ; it is not just to England that the King of England 
should by any such an anti-national process be surrounded 
by the Ministers, not of his choice, but of his necessity; 
it is not just to England that a knot of papist legislators 
should deal with the polity and property of our Protestant 
Church; it is not just to England that no English blood 
in Ireland should be secure from plunder or assassination ; 
it is not just to England that a hired disturber, paid by 
the Roman priesthood, should ramble over our country 
to stir up rebellion against your Lordships' august estate; 
that his ribald tongue should soil and outrage all that we 
have been taught to love, honour, and obey our women, 
our princes, and our laws; and lastly, it is not just to 
England that its constitution should be attacked, its 
empire menaced, and its religion scoffed at. 

My Lords, the same party that demands justice for 
Ireland is not less clamorous in its requisition of justice 
for Canada. Will you grant it ? Justice for Botany 
Bay, too, is, I have heard, in the market, and the cry is 
said to be worth some good 2,000 per annum. The 
noble member for Glasgow, the vigorous writer of that 
lucid address which I had the honour of transferring from 
its original Sanscrit and first introducing to the notice of 
the British public, has, I believe, already done justice to 
India. My Lords ! when and where is this dangerous 
nonsense to terminate ? How compatible is the preva- 
lence of such windy words with the subsistence of an 
empire ? It may be as well for your Lordships to ponder 
on the consequences. The English nation formed the 
empire. Ours is the imperial isle. England is the Metro- 



316 THE LETTEKS OF EUNNYMEDE [1836 

politan country, and .we might as well tear out the living 
heart from the human form, and bid the heaving corpse 
still survive, as suppose that a great empire can endure 
without some concentration of power and vitality. 

My Lords, the season is ripe for action. In spite of all 
the machinations of the anti-English faction, never was 
your great assembly more elevated in the esteem and 
affection of your countrymen than at this perilous hour. 
The English are a reflecting and observant people; they 
ponder even amid tumult ; they can draw a shrewd moral 
even from the play of their own passions ; and they cannot 
but feel that after all the revolutionary rhetoric which 
has been dinned into their ears of late in panegyric of 
a Reform Ministry and a Reformed Parliament, and in 
simultaneous depreciation of your Lordships' power and 
usefulness not only in eloquence and knowledge, in 
elevation of thought and feeling, and even in practical 
conduct, your Lordships need fear no comparison with 
that assembly which, from a confusion of ideas, is in 
general supposed to be more popular in its elements and 
character, but that on all occasions when the dignity of 
the empire and the rights of the subject have been threat- 
ened and assailed, the national cause has invariably found 
in your Lordships' House that support and sympathy 
which have been denied to it by the other Chamber. 

Your Lordships, therefore, commence the conflict with 
the anti-English party under great advantages. Not only 
is your cause a just one, and your resolution to maintain 
its justice unshakable, but there happens in your instance 
that which unfortunately cannot always be depended on 
in those great conjunctures which decide the fate of crowns 
and nations. The sympathy of the nation is arrayed 
under your banner. And inasmuch as the popularity 
which you now enjoy is to be distinguished from that 
volatile effusion which is the hurry-skuny offspring of 
ignorance and guile, but is founded on the surer basis of 
returning reason and mellowed passions and sharp experi- 
ence, you may rest assured that the support of your 



1836] A STKUGGLE WITH THE PAPACY 317 

countrymen will not be withdrawn from you in the hour 
of trial. 

But, my Lords, do not undervalue the enemy which, at 
the head of the English nation, you are about to combat. 
If you imagine that you are going to engage only an 
ignorant and savage population, led on by a loose-tongued 
poltroon, you will indeed deceive yourselves, and the 
truth will not be in you. My Lords, you are about to 
struggle with a foe worthy even of the Peers of England, 
for he is a foe that has placed his foot upon the neck of 
Emperors. My Lords, you are about to struggle with the 
Papacy, and in its favourite and devoted land. Whether 
the conspiracy of the Irish priests be more successful than 
the fleets of Spain, and more fatal to the freedom and the 
faith of England, time can alone prove, and Providence 
can alone decide . But let us not forget that Heaven aids 
those who aid themselves, and, firm in the faith that 
nerved the arms of our triumphant fathers, let us meet 
without fear that dark and awful power that strikes at 
once at the purity of our domestic hearths and the 
splendour of our imperial sway. 
April 23, 1836. 



LETTER XVIII 

TO THE LORD CHANCELLOR 1 

MY LORD, The gay liver, who, terrified by the conse- 
quences of his excesses, takes to water and a temperance 
society, is in about the same condition as the Whig 
Ministers in their appointment of a Lord Chancellor, 
when, still smarting under the eccentric vagaries of a 
Brougham, they sought refuge in the calm reaction of 
your sober Lordship. This change from Master Shallow 
to Master Silence was for a moment amusing; but your 
Lordship has at length found the faculty of speech, and 
your astonished countrymen begin to suspect that they 
1 Lord Cottenham. 



318 THE LETTEES OF KUNNYMEDE [1836 

may not be altogether the gainers in the great transition 
from Humbug to Humdrum. We have escaped from the 
eagle to be preyed upon by the owl. For your Lordship is 
also a Reformer, a true Reformer; you are to proceed in 
the grand course of social amelioration and party jobbing, 
and the only substantial difference, it seems, that a 
harassed nation is to recognise, is that which consists 
between the devastation of the locust and the destruction 
of the slug. 

Your Lordship has figured during the last week in the 
double capacity of a statesman and a legislator. With 
what transcendent success let the blank dismay that 
stamped the countenance of the Prime Minister bear 
flattering witness ; as he hung with an air of awkward 
astonishment on the accents of your flowing eloquence, 
and listened with breathless surprise, if not admiration, 
to the development of those sage devices which, by a 
curious felicity of fortune, have succeeded in arraying 
agianst them the superficial prejudices of all parties. 
Yet one advantage, it cannot be denied, has resulted 
from your Lordship's last triumphant exhibition. The 
public at length become acquainted with the object of 
Lord Langdale's surprising elevation, and the agreeable 
office which it appears the noble Master of the Rolls is to 
fulfil in the Senate of Great Britain. We have heard 
before of a Lord Chancellor's devil ; but my Lord Cotten- 
ham is the first guardian of the Great Seal whom his 
considerate colleagues have supplied not only with a 
coronet, but a critic. 

That your Lordship should be an advocate for " justice 
to Ireland," might reasonably have been expected from 
your eminent situation. Your party may share with you 
the odium or the glory of your political projects, but the 
laurels which you have recently acquired by your luminous 
eloquence and your profound legal knowledge are all your 
Lordship's own, and I doubt whether any of your friends 
or your opponents will be aspiring enough to envy you 
their rich fruition. 



1836] CUSTODY OF THE GREAT SEAL 319 

And here, as it is the fashion to do " justice to Whig- 
gism," I cannot but pause to notice the contrast, so 
flattering to the judgment and high principle of your 
Lordship's party, which their legal appointments afford 
when compared with those of the annihilated Tories, and 
especially of the late Government. The administration of 
justice is still a matter of some importance, and we 
naturally shrink from the party who have entrusted its 
conduct to men so notoriously incompetent as a Sugden 
or a Scarlett, or placed upon the judgment seat such mere 
political adventurers as an Alderson and a Park, a 
Patteson and a Coleridge, a Taunton and a Tindal ! How 
refreshing it is, after such a prostitution of patronage and 
power, to turn to a Lord Chief Justice like a Denman, 
raised to his lofty post by the sheer influence of his un- 
equalled learning and his unrivalled practice, or to recog- 
nise the homage which has been paid to professional 
devotion in the profound person of Mr. Baron Williams ! 
I say nothing of your Lord Chancellors ; one you have 
discarded, and the other you are about to deprive of his 
functions. And, indeed, it cannot be denied, that the 
appointment of your Lordship to the custody of the 
Great Seal, as a preliminary step to the abolition of the 
office of Lord Chancellor itself, displayed a depth of 
statecraft in your party for which the nation has hitherto 
given them scarcely sufficient credit. Had it been en- 
trusted to a Hardwicke, an Eldon, or a Lyndhurst, to 
some great functionary to whom the public had been 
accustomed to look up with confidence, and the pro- 
fession with respect, some murmurs might naturally have 
arisen at the menaced disturbance of an ancient order 
which had long contributed to that pure and learned 
administration of justice which was once the boast of 
Britons. But if the Whigs, as their organs daily assure 
us, are indeed to be our perpetual masters, we may be 
excused for viewing with indifference, if not with com- 
placency, that promised arrangement by which the most 
important duties of the State are no longer assigned at the 



320 THE LETTERS OF RUNNYMEDE [1836 

caprice of a party, which, with a singularly sound judg- 
ment, has periodically selected for their performance an 
Erskine, a Brougham, and finally your learned Lordship. 
The still haughty Venetians sometimes console them- 
selves with the belief that their State would not have 
fallen if the last of their Doges had not unfortunately been 
a plebeian; the Bar of England, that illustrious body 
which has contributed to our fame and our felicity not 
less than the most celebrated of our political institutions, 
may perhaps, in a sympathetic strain of feeling, some day 
be of opinion that they would not have been expelled 
from their high and just position in our society if the 
last of the Lord Chancellors had been worthy of being 
their chief ; and posterity may perhaps class together, in the 
same scale of unsuitable elevation, the ignoble Manini 1 
and the feeble Cottenham. 

My Lord, the same spirit that would expel the heads 
of our Church from the Senate, would banish the head 
of our law from the King's Council. Under pretext of 
reform and popular government, your party, as usual, 
are assailing all the democratic elements of our con- 
stitution. The slang distinction of the day between the 
political and legal duties of a Lord Chancellor tends, like 
all the other measures of the party which has elevated 
your Lordship to the peerage, and is now about to lower 
you to a clerkship, to the substitution of an oligarchical 
government. We may yet live to regret that abrogated 
custom which, by giving the head of the law a prece- 
dence over the haughtiest peers, and securing his constant 
presence in the Cabinet of the sovereign, paid a glorious 
homage to the majesty of jurisprudence, announced to 
the world that our political constitution was eminently 
legal, guaranteed that there should be at least one indi- 
vidual in the realm who was not made a Minister because 
he was a noble, insured the satisfactory administration 
of domestic justice, and infused into our transactions with 
foreign Courts and Cabinets that high and severe spirit 
1 Ludovico Manini, the last Doge of Venice. 



1836] LEGAL REFORM 321 

of public rectitude which obtained our own rights by 
acknowledging those of others. 

Will the hybrid thing which, under Lord Cottenham's 
scheme of legal reform, is to be baptised in mockery a 
Lord Chancellor, afford these great advantages in the 
Cabinet or the Senate ? He is to be a lawyer without a 
court, and a lawyer without a court will soon be a lawyer 
without law. The Lord High Chancellor of England will 
speedily subside into a political nonentity like the Presi- 
dent of the Council; that office which is the fitting 
appanage of pompous imbecility. Lord Cottenham may 
be excused for believing that to make a Lord Chancellor 
it is enough to plant a man upon a woolsack, and thrust 
a wig upon his head and a gold-embroidered robe upon 
his back; but the people of England have been accus- 
tomed to recognise in a Lord Chancellor, a man who has 
won his way to a great position by the exercise of great 
qualities a man of singular acuteness and profound 
learning, and vast experience, and patient study, and 
unwearied industry a, man who has obtained the con- 
fidence of his profession before he challenges the confi- 
dence of his country, and who has secured eminence in the 
House of Commons before he has aspired to superiority 
in the House of Lords a man who has expanded from 
a great lawyer into a great statesman, and who brings 
to the woolsack the commanding reputation which has 
been gained in the long and laborious years of an admired 
career. 

My Lord, this is not your portrait. You are the child of 
reform, the chance offspring of political agitation and 
factious intrigue. The Whigs have stirred up and made 
muddy even the fountain of justice; for a moment an 
airy bubble, glittering in the sunshine, floated on the 
excited surface ; but that brilliant bubble soon burst and 
vanished, and a scum, thick and obscure, now crests the 
once pure and tranquil waters . 

April 30, 1836. 



322 THE LETTERS OF RUNNYMEDE [1836 

LETTER XIX 
To VISCOUNT MELBOUBNE 

MY LORD, I had the honour of addressing you on the 
eve of your last holidays; the delightful hour of relaxa- 
tion again approaches : I wish you again to retire to the 
bowers of Brocket with my congratulations. The cam- 
paign about to close has been brief, but certainly not un- 
eventful; I will not say disastrous, because I wish to 
soothe, rather than irritate, your tortured feelings. 
The incidents have been crowded, as in the last act of 
one of those dramas to which it was formerly your ambi- 
tion to supply an epilogue. Why did that ambition ever 
become so unnaturally elevated ? Why was your Lord- 
ship not content to remain agreeable ? Why did you 
aspire to be great ? A more philosophical moderation 
would have saved you much annoyance and your country 
much evil; yourself some disgraceful situations, perhaps 
some ludicrous ones. When I last addressed you, your 
position was only mischievous; it is now ridiculous. 
Your dark master, the Milesian Eblis, has at length been 
vanquished by that justice for which he is so clamorous, 
and which he has so long outraged. The poisoned chalice 
of revolutionary venom which your creatures prepared 
for our august Senate, august although you are a member 
of it, has been returned to their own lips. 1 The House of 
Lords, decried for its ignorance and inefficiency by ad- 
venturers without talents and without education, has 
vindicated its claims to the respect of the country for its 
ability and its knowledge. Held up to public scorn by 
your hirelings as the irresponsible tyrants of the land, a 

1 Cf. " The reformed House of Commons, proud of its new- 
fangled existence . . . permitted a Minister of State to stigmatise 
a vote of the House of Lords as * the whisper of a faction ' ; but 
now the poisoned chalice is returned to their own lips" (Dis- 
raeli in the House of Commons, May 27. 1841) 



1836] WHIG MACHIAVELISM 323 

grateful nation recognises in the Peers of England the 
hereditary trustees of their rights and liberties, the 
guardians of their greatness, and the eloquent and un- 
daunted champions of the integrity of their empire. The 
greater portion of the nation has penetrated the super- 
ficial characteristics of Whig Machiavelism. Your hollow 
pretences all evaporated, your disgraceful manoeuvres 
all detected, your reckless expedients all exhausted, we 
recognise only a desperate and long-baffled oligarchy, 
ready to sacrifice, for the possession of a power to which 
they are incompetent, the laws, the empire, and the 
religion of England. 

My Lord, it requires no prophet to announce that the 
commencement of the end is at length at hand. The 
reign of delusion is about to close. The man who obtains 
property by false pretences is sent to Botany Bay. Is the 
party that obtains power by the same means to be saved 
harmless ? You have established a new colony in 
Australia; it wants settlers. Let the Cabinet emigrate. 
My Lord Glenelg, with all his Canadian experience, will 
make an excellent colonial governor. And there your 
Lordship may hide your public discomfiture and your 
private mortification. And, indeed, a country where 
nature regulates herself on an exactly contrary system 
to the scheme she adopts in the older and more favoured 
world, has some pretensions, it would seem, to the bene- 
ficial presence of your faction. The land where the 
rivers are salt, where the quadrupeds have fins and the 
fish feet, where everything is confused, discordant, and 
irregular, is indicated by Providence as the fitting scene 
of Whig government. 

The Whigs came into office under auspices so favour- 
able, that they never could have been dislodged from 
their long- coveted posts except by their own incom- 
petence and dishonesty. From circumstances which it 
would not be difficult to explain, they were at once sanc- 
tioned by the King and supported by the people. In 
the course of five years they have at once deceived the 



324 THE LETTERS OF RUNNYMEDE [1836 

sovereign and deluded the nation. After having recon- 
tructed the third estate for their own purposes, in the 
course of five years a majority of the English representa- 
tives is arrayed against them; wafted into power on the 
wings of the public press, dusty from the march of intel- 
lect, and hoarse with clamouring about the spirit of the 
age, in the course of five years they are obliged to declare 
war against the journals, the faithful mirrors of the public 
mind. With peace, reform, and retrenchment for their 
motto, in the course of five years they have involved us in 
a series of ignoble wars, deluged the country with jobs and 
placemen, and have even contrived to increase the 
amount of the public debt. 

What rashness and what cowardice, what petty 
prudence and what vast recklessness, what arrogance 
and what truckling, are comprised in the brief annals of 
this last assault of your faction upon the constitutional 
monarchy of England ! Now hinting at organic changes, 
now whimpering about the pressure from without; 
dragged through the mud on the questions of military 
discipline and the pension list, yet ready at the next 
moment to plunder the Church or taint the very foun- 
tain of justice; threatening the Peers of England on one 
day, and crouching on the next before the Irish priests ! 
A few months back you astounded the public by an- 
nouncing that you had purchased a Lord Chancellor at 
the price of three coronets. 1 The cost has been con- 
sidered not only exorbitant, but unconstitutional: but 
the nation, wearied by your vexatious delay of justice, 
was content to be silent, and awaited the anticipated 
presence of a Minos. You produced Cottenham. Moses 
and his green spectacles was not in a more ludicrous 
position than your Lordship with your precious purchase. 
Yet this impotent conclusion was announced in January 
as a coup d'etat, and the people of England were daily 
congratulated on an arrangement now universally ac- 
knowledged as the most ridiculous act even of your ad- 
1 The four coronets have now decreased to three (see note, p. 241). 



1836] " SWAMPING " THE PEERS 325 

ministration. Moralists have contrasted the respective 
careers of the knave and the fool, and have consoled 
humanity by the conviction that the scoundrel in the 
long-run is not more fortunate than the simpleton. I 
leave this controverted question to the fabler and the 
essayist ; the man of the world, however, will not be sur- 
prised at the fate of a political party, the enormity of 
whose career is only equalled by the feebleness of their 
conduct. 

My Lord, the Whigs a century back or so were at least 
no fools. When the Dukes of Somerset and Argyle 
attended a Privy Council without being summoned, 1 and 
forced a dying Queen to appoint the Duke of Shrewsbury 
Prime Minister, they did not perpetrate a greater out- 
rage than the Whig leader, who, by virtue of a papist 
conspiracy, returned to the post from which he had 
been properly expelled, and became the Minister, not of 
the King's choice, but of the King's necessity. These 
same Whig leaders, when thus unconstitutionally estab- 
lished in power, introduced the Peerage Bill, which if 
passed into a law would have deprived the sovereign 
of his prerogative of creating further Peers, and they 
remodelled the House of Commons by the Septennial Act. 
The Whigs in 1718 sought to govern the country by 
" swamping " the House of Commons; in 1836 it is the 
House of Lords that is to be "swamped"! In 1718 
the coup d'etat was to prevent any further increase of the 
Lords ; in 1836 the Lords are to be outnumbered : different 
tactics to obtain the same purpose the establishment of 
an oligarchical government by virtue of a Republican cry. 
Where Argyle and Walpole failed, is it probable that 
Lord Melbourne and Lord John Russell will succeed ? 
The Whigs, a century back, were men of great station, 
great talents, great eloquence, supported by two-thirds 
of the nobles of the land ; by the Dissenters, because they 
attacked the Church, inasmuch as the Establishment, 
like every other national institution, is an obstacle to 

1 July 3, 1714. 



326 THE LETTEKS OF KUNNYMEDE [1836 

oligarchical power; #nd by the commercial and "monied 
interest " of the country, now, like every other interest of 
property, arrayed against them. And what are you ? 
Is it your eloquence, your knowledge, your high descent, 
and vast property, or the following of your order, that 
introduce you into the King's Cabinet ? No, you are 
the slave of a slave, the delegate of a deputy, the second- 
hand nominee of a power the most odious and anti- 
national in existence, foreign to all the principles and 
alien to all the feelings of Britons. My Lord, the popular 
and boisterous gale that originally drove your party into 
power has long since died away, and though some occa- 
sional and fitful gusts may have deceived you into be- 
lieving that your sails were to be ever set and your 
streamers ever flying, the more experienced navigators 
have long detected the rising of the calm yet steady 
breeze fatal to your course. It is a wind which may be 
depended on a great monsoon of national spirit, which 
will clear the seas of those political pirates who have too 
long plundered us under false colours. 

And yet, my Lord, let us not part in anger. Yours is 
still a gratifying, even a great position. Notwithstand- 
ing all your public degradation and all your private annoy- 
ances, that man is surely to be envied who has it in his 
power to confer an obligation on every true-hearted 
Englishman. And this your Lordship still can do; you 
can yet perform an act which will command the gratitude 
of every lover of his country; you can RESIGN. 

May 15, 1836. 



1836] THE " VINDICATION " IN LITTLE 327 



THE SPIRIT OF WHIGGISM 

["THE SPIRIT OF WHIGGISM" was published as an 
addendum to the book containing the Letters of Runny - 
mede. It is the " Vindication " in little a popular sum- 
mary that Disraeli hoped might be easily read and easily 
remembered. It is perhaps freer from extravagances of 
style than any other of his writings of the period. Of its 
genesis little is known. It may be that it represents the 
original form of the Letter to Lord Lyndhurst, when, as 
he says, he found that the subject gave rise to so many 
reflections that what was originally intended for a pam- 
phlet expanded almost into a volume. Published anony- 
mously within a few months of the appearance of the 
" Vindication " which bore his name, it could not have 
failed, by similarity of views and of method of expression, 
to carry conviction that the writer of " Runny mede " 
was identical with Disraeli the Younger.] 



CHAPTER I 

HISTORICAL 

ENGLAND has become great by her institutions. Her 
hereditary Crown has in a great degree insured us from 
the distracting evils of a contested succession ; her Peerage, 
interested, from the vast property and the national 
honours of its members, in the good government of the 
country, has offered a compact bulwark against the 
temporary violence of popular passion; her House of 
Commons, representing the conflicting sentiments of an 



328 THE SPIRIT OF WHIGGISM [1836 

estate of the realm not less privileged than that of the 
Peers, though far more numerous, has enlisted the great 
mass of the lesser proprietors of the country in favour of 
a political system which offers them a constitutional 
means of defence and a legitimate method of redress; 
her ecclesiastical establishment, preseved by its munifi- 
cent endowment from the fatal necessity of pandering 
to the erratic fancies of its communicants, has maintained 
the sacred cause of learning and religion, and preserved 
orthodoxy while it has secured toleration ; her law of pri- 
mogeniture has supplied the country with a band of 
natural and independent leaders, trustees of those legal 
institutions which pervade the land, and which are the 
origin of our political constitution. 

That great body corporate, styled a nation a vast 
assemblage of human beings knit together by laws and 
arts and customs, by the necessities of the present and 
the memory of the past offers in this country, through 
these its vigorous and enduring members, a more sub- 
stantial and healthy framework than falls to the lot of 
other nations. Our stout-built constitution throws off 
with more facility and safety those crude and dangerous 
humours which must at times arise in all human com- 
munities. The march of revolution must here at least be 
orderly. We are preserved from those reckless and 
tempestuous sallies that in other countries, like a whirl- 
wind, topple down in an instant an ancient crown, or 
sweep away an illustrious aristocracy. This constitution, 
which has secured order, has consequently promoted 
civilisation ; and the almost unbroken tide of progressive 
amelioration has made us the freest, the wealthiest, and 
the most refined society of modern ages. Our commerce 
is unrivalled, our manufacturers supply the world, our 
agriculture is the most skilful in Christendom . So nation al 
are our institutions, so completely have they arisen from 
the temper and adapted themselves to the character of 
the people, that when for a season they were apparently 
annihilated, the people of England voluntarily returned 



1836] THE FUKY OF FACTIONS 329 

to them, and established them with renewed strength and 
renovated vigour. 

The constitution of England is again threatened, and 
at a moment when the nation is more prosperous, more 
free, and more famous than at any period of its momen- 
tous and memorable career. Why is this ? What has 
occasioned these distempered times, which make the loyal 
tremble and the traitor smile ? Why has this dark cloud 
suddenly gathered in a sky so serene and so splendid? 
Is there any analogy between this age and that of the first 
Charles ? Are the same causes at work, or is the apparent 
similarity produced only by designing men, who make 
use of the perverted past as a passport to present mis- 
chief ? These are great questions which it may be 
profitable to discuss and wise to study. 

Rapin, a foreigner who wrote our history, 1 in the course 
of his frigid yet accurate pages, indulged in one philo- 
sophical observation. Struck at the same time by our 
greatness and by the fury of our factions, the Huguenot 
exclaimed, " It appears to me that this great society can 
only be dissolved by the violence of its political parties." 

What are these parties ? Why are they violent ? 
Why should they exist ? In resolving these questions, 
we may obtain an accurate idea of our present political 
position, and by pondering over the past we may make 
that past not a prophecy, as the disaffected intend, but a 
salutary lesson by which the loyal may profit. 

The two great parties in which England has during 
the last century and a half been divided originated in 
the ancient struggle between the Crown and the aris- 
tocracy. As long as the Crown possessed or aspired to 
despotic power, the feeling of the nation supported the 
aristocracy in their struggles to establish a free govern- 
ment. The aristocracy of England formed the constitu- 
tion of the Plantagenets ; the wars of the Roses destroyed 
that aristocracy, and the despotism of the Tudors suc- 

1 Paul de Kapin de Thoyras, whose " Histoire d'Angleterre," 
in eight volumes, appeared in 1724. 

22 



330 THE SPIRIT OF WHIGGISM [1836 

ceeded. Renovated by more than a century of peace 
and the spoils of the Papacy, the aristocracy of England 
attacked the first Stuarts, who succeeded to a despotism 
which they did not create. When Charles the First, after 
a series of great concessions which ultimately obtained 
for him the support of the most illustrious of his early 
opponents, raised the royal standard, the constitution of 
the Plantagenets, and more than the constitution of the 
Plantagenets, had been restored and secured. But a 
portion of the able party which had succeeded in effecting 
such a vast and beneficial revolution was not content to 
part with the extraordinary powers which they had 
obtained in this memorable struggle. This section of the 
aristocracy were the origin of the English Whigs, though 
that title was not invented until the next reign. The 
primitive Whigs " Parliament-men," as they liked to 
call themselves, "Roundheads," as they were in time 
dubbed aspired to an oligarchy ; for a moment they 
obtained one ; but unable to maintain themselves in power 
against the returning sense and rising spirit of a generous 
and indignant people, they called to their aid that 
domestic revolutionary party which exists in all countries, 
and an anti-national enemy in addition. These were the 
English Radicals, or Root-and-Branch men, and the 
Scotch Covenanters. To conciliate the first they sacri- 
ficed the Crown ; .to secure the second they abolished the 
Church. The constitution of England in Church and 
State was destroyed, and the Whig oligarchy, in spite of 
their machinations, were soon merged in the common 
ruin. 

The ignoble tyranny to which this great nation was 
consequently subject produced that reaction which is 
in the nature of human affairs. The ancient constitution 
was in time restored, and the Church and the Crown 
were invested with greater powers than they had enjoyed 
previously to their overthrow. So hateful had been the 
consequences of Whig rule that the people were inclined 
rather to trust the talons of arbitrary power than to take 



1836] THE VENETIAN CONSTITUTION 331 

refuge under the wing of these pretended advocates of 
popular rights. A worthless monarch and a corrupted 
Court availed themselves of the offered opportunity ; and 
when James the Second ascended the throne, the nation 
was again prepared to second the aristocracy in a struggle 
for their liberties. But the Whigs had profited by their 
previous experiment: they resolved upon a revolution, 
but they determined that that revolution should be 
brought about by as slight an appeal to popular sym- 
pathies as possible. They studiously confined that appeal 
to the religious feelings of the nation. They hired a 
foreign prince and enlisted a foreign army in their service. 
They dethroned James, they established themselves in 
power without the aid of the mass ; and had William the 
Third been a man of ordinary capacity, the constitution 
of Venice would have been established in England in 
1688. William the Third told the Whigs that he would 
never consent to be a Doge. Resembling Louis Philippe 
in his character as well as in his position, that extra- 
ordinary Prince baffled the Whigs by his skilful balance 
of parties ; and had Providence accorded him an heir, it is 
probable that the oligarchical faction would never have 
revived in England. 

The Whigs have ever been opposed to the national 
institutions because they are adverse to the establish- 
ment of an oligarchy. Local institutions, supported by 
a landed gentry, check them ; hence their love of centrali- 
sation and their hatred of unpaid magistrates. An inde- 
pendent hierarchy checks them; hence their affected 
advocacy of toleration and their patronage of the Dis- 
senters. The power of the Crown checks them; therefore 
they always labour to reduce the sovereign to a nonentity, 
and by the establishment of the Cabinet they have 
virtually banished the King from his own councils. But, 
above all, the Parliament of England checks them, and 
therefore it may be observed that the Whigs at all times 
are quarrelling with some portion of those august estates. 
They despair of destroying the Parliament ; by it. aid by 



332 THE SPIRIT OF WHIGGISM [1836 

it alone, can they succeed in their objects. Corruption 
for one part, force for the other, then, is their motto. In 
1640 they attempted to govern the country by the House 
of Commons, because the aristocracy was then more 
powerful in the House of Commons than in the House of 
Lords, where a Peerage, exhausted by civil wars, had been 
too liberally recruited from the courtiers of the Tudors 
and the Stuarts. At the next revolution which the 
Whigs occasioned, they attempted to govern the country 
by the House of Lords, in which they were predominant ; 
and, in order to guarantee their power for ever, they 
introduced a Bill to deprive the King of his prerogative 
of making further Peers. The revolution of 1640 led to 
the abolition of the House of Lords because the Lords 
opposed the oligarchy; the revolution of 1688 led to the 
remodelling of the House of Commons by the Septennial 
Act, because the House of Commons then were influenced 
by the same feelings as the Lords during the great rebellion . 

The accession of the House of Hanover revived the 
hopes of the Whigs, baffled by the subtle policy of 
William, and by the Tory triumphs of Anne. The new 
dynasty was unpopular with the mass of the nation, 
and proportionately dependent on the Whig oligarchy. 
Having a majority in the House of Lords, the Whigs 
introduced the Peerage Bill, by which the House of 
Lords would have been rendered independent of the 
sovereign ; unpopular with the country, the Whigs 
attacked the influence of popular election, and the 
moment that, by the aid of the most infamous cor- 
ruption, they had obtained a temporary majority in the 
Lower House, they passed the Septennial Act. The 
Whigs of the eighteenth century " swamped " the House 
of Commons; the Whigs of the nineteenth would 
" swamp " the House of Lords . The Whigs of the 
eighteenth century would have rendered the House of 
Lords unchangeable; the Whigs of the nineteenth re- 
model the House of Commons. 

I conclude here the first chapter of the " Spirit of 



1836] KULING FAMILIES 333 

Whiggism " a little book which I hope may be easily 
read and easily remembered. The Whig party have 
always adopted popular cries. In one age it is Liberty, 
in another Reform; at one period they sound the tocsin 
against popery, in another they ally themselves with 
papists. They have many cries, and various modes of 
conduct; but they have only one object the establish- 
ment of an oligarchy in this free and equal land. I do 
not wish this country to be governed by a small knot of 
great families, and therefore I oppose the Whigs . 



CHAPTEE II 

AT WAR WITH THE CONSTITUTION 

WHEN the Whigs and their public organs favour us with 
their mysterious hints that the constitution has provided 
the sovereign with a means to re-establish at all times a 
legislative sympathy between the two Houses of Parlia- 
ment, it may be as well to remind them that we are not 
indebted for this salutary prerogative to the forbearance 
of their party. Suppose their Peerage Bill had passed 
into an Act, how would they have carried the Reform 
Bill of 1832 ? The Whigs may reply, that if the Peerage 
Bill had become a law, the Reform Bill would never have 
been introduced; and I believe them. In that case, the 
British House of Lords would have been transformed 
into a Venetian Senate, and the old walls of St. James's 
might have witnessed scenes of as degrading mortification 
as the famous ducal palace of the Adriatic. 

George the Third routed the Whigs, consolidated by half 
a century of power ; but an ordinary monarch would have 
sunk beneath the Coalition and the India Bill. This 
scheme was the last desperate effort of the oligarchical 
party previous to 1830. Not that they were inactive 
during the great interval that elapsed between the advent 
of Mr. Pitt and the resurrection of Lord Grey : but, ever 



334 THE SPIRIT OF WHIGGISM [1836 

on the watch for a "cry to carry them into power, they 
mistook the yell of Jacobinism for the chorus of an eman- 
cipated people, and fancied, in order to take the throne 
by storm, that nothing was wanting but to hoist the 
tricolour and to cover their haughty brows with a red cap. 
This fatal blunder clipped the wings of Whiggism ; nor is 
it possible to conceive a party that had effected so many 
revolutions and governed a great country for so long a 
period, more broken, sunk, and shattered, more desolate 
and disheartened, than these same Whigs at the Peace 
of Paris. From that period till 1830, the tactics of the 
Whigs consisted in gently and gradually extricating 
themselves from their false position as the disciples of 
Jacobinism, and assuming their ancient post as the 
hereditary guardians of an hereditary monarchy. To 
make the transition less difficult than it threatened, they 
invented Liberalism, a bridge by which they were to 
regain the lost mainland, and daintily recross on tiptoe 
the chasm over which they had originally sprung with so 
much precipitation. A dozen years of " liberal principles " 
broke up the national party of England, cemented by 
half a century of prosperity and glory, compared with 
which all the annals of the realm are dim and lacklustre. 
Yet so weak intrinsically was the oligarchical faction 
that their chief, despairing to obtain a monopoly of power 
for his party, elaborately announced himself as the cham- 
pion of his patrician order, and attempted to coalesce 
with the liberalised leader of the Tories. Had that nego- 
tiation led to the result which was originally intended 
by those interested, the Riots of Paris would not have 
occasioned the Reform of London. 

It is a great delusion to believe that revolutions are 
ever effected by a nation. It is a faction, and generally 
a small one, that overthrows a dynasty or remodels a 
constitution. A small party, stung by a long exile from 
power, and desperate of success except by desperate 
means, invariably has recourse to a coup d'etat. An 
oligarchical party is necessarily not numerous. Its 



1836] OKIGIN OF THE KEFOKM BILL 335 

members in general attempt, by noble lineage or vast 
possessions, to compensate for their poverty of numbers. 
The Whigs, in 1830, found themselves by accident in 
place, but under very peculiar circumstances. They were 
in place but not in power. In each estate of the realm a 
majority was arrayed against them. An appeal to the 
Commons of England, that constituency which, in its 
elements, had undergone no alteration since the time of 
Elizabeth, either by the influence of the legislature or the 
action of time that constituency which had elected 
Pym, and Selden, and Hampden, as well as Somers, 
Walpole, and Pulteney an appeal to this constituency, 
it was generally acknowledged, would be fatal to the 
Whigs, and therefore they determined to reconstruct it. 
This is the origin of the recent parliamentary reform : the 
Whigs, in place without being in power, resolved as 
usual upon a coup d'etat, and looked about for a stalking- 
horse. In general the difficult task had devolved upon 
them of having to accomplish their concealed purpose 
while apparently achieving some public object. Thus 
they had carried the Septennial Act on the plea of pre- 
serving England from popery, though their real object 
was to prolong the existence of the first House of Commons 
in which they could command a majority. 

But in the present instance they became sincerely 
parliamentar}^ reformers, for by parliamentary reform 
they could alone subsist; and all their art was dedicated 
so to contrive, that in this reformation their own interest 
should secure an irresistible predominance. 

But how was an oligarchical party to predominate 
in popular elections ? Here was the difficulty. The 
Whigs had no resources from their own limited ranks to 
feed the muster of the popular levies. They were obliged 
to look about for allies wherewith to form their new 
popular estate. Any estate of the Commons modelled 
on any equitable principle, either of property or popu- 
lation, must have been fatal to the Whigs ; they, therefore, 
very dexterously adopted a small minority of the nation, 



336 THE SPIRIT OF WHIQGISM [1836 

consisting of the sectarians, and, inaugurating them as 
the people with a vast and bewildering train of hocus- 
pocus ceremonies, invested the Dissenters with political 
power. By this coup d'etat they managed the House of 
Commons, and having at length obtained a position, they 
have from that moment laid siege to the House of Lords, 
with the intention of reducing that great institution and 
making it surrender at discretion. This is the exact 
state of English politics during the last five years. The 
Whigs have been at war with the English constitution. 
First of all they captured the King ; then they vanquished 
the House of Commons; now they have laid siege to the 
House of Lords. But here the fallacy of their grand 
scheme of political mystification begins to develop itself. 
Had, indeed, their new constituency, as they have long 
impudently pretended, indeed been " the people," a 
struggle between such a body and the House of Lords 
would have been brief but final. The absurdity of sup- 
posing that a chamber of two or three hundred individuals 
could set up their absolute will and pleasure against 
the decrees of a legislative assembly chosen by a whole 
nation, is so glaring that the Whigs and their scribes 
might reasonably suspect that in making such allegations 
they were assuredly proving too much. But as " the 
people " of the Whigs is in fact a number of Englishmen 
not exceeding in amount the population of a third-rate 
city, the English nation is not of opinion that this arro- 
gant and vaunting moiety of a class privileged for the 
common good, swollen though it may be by some jobbing 
Scots and rebel Irish, shall pass off their petty and selfish 
schemes of personal aggrandisement as the will of a great 
people, as mindful of its duty to its posterity as it is 
grateful for the labours of its ancestors. The English 
nation, therefore, rallies for rescue from the degrading 
plots of a profligate oligarchy, a barbarising sectarianism, 
and a boroughmongering Papacy round their hereditary 
leaders the Peers. The House of Lords, therefore, at 
this moment represents everything in the realm except 



1836] AN OLIGAKCHICAL EEPUBLIC 337 

the Whig oligarchs, their tools the Dissenters, and their 
masters the Irish priests. In the meantime the Whigs 
bawl aloud that there is a " collision " ! It is true there 
is a collision; but it is not a collision between the Lords 
and the People, but between the Ministers and the Con- 
stitution. 



CHAPTER III 

THE REPUBLIC OF THE WHIGS 

IT may be as well to remind the English nation that a 
revolutionary party is not necessarily a liberal one, and 
that a republic is not indispensably a democracy. Such is 
the disposition of property in England that, were a 
republic to be established here to-morrow, it would 
partake rather of the oligarchical than of the aristocratic 
character. We should be surprised to find in how few 
families the power of the State was concentrated. And 
although the framers of the new commonwealth would be 
too crafty to base it on any avowed and ostensible prin- 
ciple of exclusion, but on the contrary would in all prob- 
ability ostentatiously inaugurate the novel constitution 
by virtue of some abstract plea about as definite and as 
prodigal of practical effects as the Rights of Man or the 
Sovereignty of the People ; nevertheless I should be aston- 
ished were we not to find that the great mass of the 
nation, as far as any share in the conduct of public affairs 
was concerned, were as completely shut out from the 
fruition and exercise of power as under that Venetian 
polity which has ever been the secret object of Whig 
envy and Whig admiration. The Church, under such 
circumstances, would probably have again been plun- 
dered, and therefore the discharge of ecclesiastical duties 
might be spared to the nation; but the people would 
assuredly be practically excluded from its services, which 
would swarm with the relations and connections of the 
senatorial class; for, whether this country be governed 



338 THE SPIRIT OF WHIGGISM [1836 

only by the House, of Commons, or only by the House 
of Lords, the elements of the single chamber will not 
materially differ; and although in the event of the 
triumph of the Commons, the ceremony of periodical 
election may be retained (and we should not forget that 
the Long Parliament soon spared us that unnecessary 
form), the selected members will form a Senate as irre- 
sponsible as any House of Parliament whose anomalous 
constitution may now be the object of Whig sneers or 
Radical anathemas. 

The rights and liberties of a nation can only be pre- 
served by institutions. It is not the spread of knowledge 
or the march of intellect that will be found sufficient 
sureties for the public welfare in the crisis of a country's 
freedom. Our interest taints our intelligence, our pas- 
sions paralyse our reason. Knowledge and capacity are 
too often the willing tools of a powerful faction or a dex- 
terous adventurer. Life is short, man is imaginative; our 
means are limited, our passions high. 

In seasons of great popular excitement, gold and glory 
offer strong temptations to needy ability. The dema- 
gogues throughout a country, the orators of town-councils 
and vestries, and the lecturers of mechanics' institutes, 
present, doubtless in most cases unconsciously, the ready 
and fit machinery for the party or the individual that 
aspires to establish a tyranny. Duly graduating in cor- 
ruption, the leaders of the mob become the oppressors 
of the people. Cultivation of intellect and diffusion of 
knowledge may make the English nation more sensible 
of the benefits of their social system, and better qualified 
to discharge the duties with which their institutions 
have invested them, but they will never render them 
competent to preserve their liberties without the aid of 
those institutions. Let us for a moment endeavour to 
fancy Whiggism in a state of rampant predominance ; let 
us try to contemplate England enjoying all those ad- 
vantages which our present rulers have not yet granted 
us, and some of which they have as yet only ventured 



1836] THEEATENED CHANGES 339 

to promise by innuendo. Let us suppose our ancient 
monarchy abolished, our independent hierarchy reduced 
to a stipendiary sect, the gentlemen of England deprived 
of their magisterial functions, and metropolitan prefects 
and sub-prefects established in the counties and principal 
towns, commanding a vigorous and vigilant police, and 
backed by an army under the immediate orders of a 
single House of Parliament. Why, these are threatened 
changes ay, and not one of them that may not be 
brought about to-morrow, under the plea of the " spirit 
of the age " or " county reform " or " cheap govern- 
ment." But where then will be the liberties of England ? 
Who will dare disobey London ? the enlightened and re- 
formed metropolis ! And can we think, if any bold 
Squire, in whom some of the old blood might still chance 
to linger, were to dare to murmur against this grinding 
tyranny, or appeal to the spirit of those neighbours whose 
predecessors his ancestors had protected, can we flatter 
ourselves that there would not be judges in Westminster 
Hall prepared and prompt to inflict on him all the pains 
and penalties, the dungeon, the fine, the sequestration, 
which such a troublesome Anti-Reformer would clearly 
deserve ? Can we flatter ourselves that a Parliamentary 
Star Chamber and a Parliamentary High Commission 
Court would not be in the background to supply all the 
deficiencies of the laws of England ? When these merry 
times arrive the times of extraordinary tribunals and 
extraordinary taxes and, if we proceed in our present 
course, they are much nearer than we imagine the 
phrase " Anti-Reformer " will serve as well as that of 
" Malignant," and be as valid a plea as the former title 
for harassing and plundering all those who venture to 
wince under the crowning mercies of centralisation. 

Behold the Republic of the Whigs ! Behold the only 
Republic that can be established in England except by 
force ! And who can doubt the swift and stern termina- 
tion of institutions introduced by so unnatural and 
irrational a process. I would address myself to the 



340 THE SPIRIT OF WHIGGISM [1836 

English Radicals. . I do not mean those fine gentlemen 
or those vulgar adventurers, who, in this age of quackery, 
may sail into Parliament by hoisting for the nonce the 
false colours of the Movement; but I mean that honest 
and considerable party, too considerable, I fear, for their 
happiness and the safety of the State who have a definite 
object which they distinctly avow I mean those thought- 
ful and enthusiastic men who study their unstamped 
press, and ponder over a millennium of operative amel- 
ioration. Not merely that which is just, but that which 
is also practicable, should be the aim of a sagacious poli- 
tician. Let the Radicals well consider whether, in 
attempting to achieve their avowed object, they are not, 
in fact, only assisting the secret views of a party whose 
scheme is infinitely more adverse to their own than the 
existing system, whose genius I believe they entirely 
misapprehend. The Monarchy of the Tories is more 
democratic than the Republic of the Whigs. It appeals 
with a keener sympathy to the passions of the millions ; 
it studies their interests with a more comprehensive 
solicitude. Admitting for a moment that I have mis- 
taken the genius of the English constitution, what chance, 
if our institutions be overthrown, is there of substituting 
in their stead a more popular polity ? This hazard, both 
for their own happiness and the honour of their country, 
the English Radicals are bound to calculate nicely. If 
they do not, they will find themselves, too late, the tools 
of a selfish faction or the slaves of a stern usurper. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE ESTATES OF THE BEALM 

A CHAPTER on the English constitution is a natural 
episode in the spirit of Whiggism. There is this connec- 
tion between the subjects that the spirit of Whiggism is 
hostile to the English constitution. No political institu- 



1836] LOKD JOHN RUSSELL'S ERROR 341 

tions ever yet flourished which have been more the topic 
of discussion among writers of all countries and all parties 
than our famous establishment of " King, Lords, and 
Commons"; and no institutions ever yet flourished, of 
which the character has been more misrepresented and 
more misconceived. One fact alone will illustrate the 
profound ignorance and the perplexed ideas subsisting on 
this point. The present Whig leader of the House of 
Commons, a member of a family who pique themselves on 
their constitutional reputation, an author who has even 
written an elaborate treatise on our polity, in one of his 
speeches, delivered only so late as the last session of Parlia- 
ment, declared his desire and determination to uphold the 
present settlement of the " three estates of the realm, 
viz. King, Lords, and Commons." Now, His Gracious 
Majesty is no more an estate of the realm than Lord John 
Russell himself. The three estates of the realm are the 
estate of the Lords Spiritual, the estate of the Lords Tem- 
poral, and the estate of the Commons. An estate is a popu- 
lar class established into a political order. It is a section 
of the nation invested for the public and common good 
with certain powers and privileges. Lord John Russell 
first writes upon the English constitution, and then 
reforms it, and yet, even at this moment, is absolutely 
ignorant of what it consists. A political estate is a com- 
plete and independent body. Now, all power that is 
independent is necessarily irresponsible. The sovereign 
is responsible because he is not an estate ; he is responsible 
through his Ministers; he is responsible to the estates 
and to them alone. 

When the Whigs obtained power in 1830, they found 
the three estates of the realm opposed to them, and the 
Government, therefore, could not proceed. They resolved, 
therefore, to remodel them. They declared that the 
House of Commons was the House of the people, and 
that the people were not properly represented. They 
consequently enlarged the estate of the Commons; they 
increased the number of that privileged order who appear 



342 THE SPIRIT OF WHIGGISM [1836 

by their representatives in the Lower House of Parlia- 
ment. They rendered the estate of the Commons more 
powerful by this proceeding, because they rendered them 
more numerous; but they did not render their represen- 
tatives one jot more the representatives of the people. 
Throwing the Commons of Ireland out of the question, 
for we cannot speculate upon a political order so unsettled 
that it has been thrice remodelled during the present 
century, some 300,000 individuals sent up, at the last 
general election, their representatives to Westminster. 
Well, are these 300,000 persons the people of England ? 
Grant that they are; grant that these members are 
divided into two equal portions. Well, then, the people 
of England consist of 150,000 persons. I know that 
there are well- disposed persons that tremble at this 
reasoning, because, although they admit its justice, they 
allege it leads to universal suffrage. We must not show, 
they assert, that the House of the people is not elected 
by the people. I admit it; we must not show that the 
House of the people is not elected by the people, but we 
must show that the House of Commons is not the House 
of the people, that it never was intended to be the House 
of the people, and that, if it be admitted to be so by 
courtesy, or become so in fact, it is all over with the 
English constitution. 

It is quite impossible that a whole people can be a 
branch of a legislature. If a whole people have the power 
of making laws, it is folly to suppose that they will allow 
an assembly of 300 or 400 individuals, or a solitary being 
on a throne, to thwart their sovereign will and pleasure. 
But I deny that a people can govern itself. Self-govern- 
ment is a contradiction in terms. Whatever form a 
government may assume, power must be exercised by a 
minority of numbers. I shall, perhaps, be reminded of 
the ancient republics. I answer, that the ancient re- 
publics were as aristocratic communities as any that 
flourished in the Middle Ages. The Demos of Athens 
was an oligarchy living upon slaves. There is a great 



1836] FRAMERS OF THE CONSTITUTION 343 

slave population even in the United States, if a society 
of yesterday is to illustrate an argument on our ancient 
civilisation. 

But it is useless to argue the question abstractedly. 
The phrase " the people " is sheer nonsense. It is not 
a political term. It is a phrase of natural history. A 
people is a species; a civilised community is a nation. 
Now, a nation is a work of art and a work of time. A 
nation is gradually created by a variety of influences 
the influence of original organisation, of climate, soil, 
religion, laws, customs, manners, extraordinary accidents 
and incidents in their history, and the individual character 
of their illustrious citizens. These influences create the 
nation these form the national mind, and produce in 
the course of centuries a high degree of civilisation. If 
you destroy the political institutions which these in- 
fluences have called into force, and which are the machin- 
ery by which they constantly act, you destroy the nation. 
The nation, in a state of anarchy and dissolution, then 
becomes a people; and after experiencing all the conse- 
quent misery, like a company of bees spoiled of their 
queen and rifled of their hive, they set to again and 
establish themselves into a society. 

Although all society is artificial, the most artificial 
society in the world is unquestionably the English nation. 
Our insular situation and our foreign empire, our immense 
accumulated wealth and our industrious character, our 
peculiar religious state, which secures alike orthodoxy 
and toleration, our church and our sects, our agriculture 
and our manufactures, our military services, our statute 
law and supplementary equity, our adventurous com- 
merce, landed tenure, and unprecedented system of credit, 
form, among many others, such a variety of interests, 
and apparently so conflicting, that I do not think even the 
Abbe Sieves himself could devise a scheme by which this 
nation could be absolutely and definitely represented. 

The framers of the English constitution were fortu- 
nately not of the school of Abbe Sieyes. Their first object 



344 THE SPIRIT OF WHIGGISM [1836 

was to make us free; their next to keep us so. While, 
therefore, they selected equality as the basis of their 
social order, they took care to blend every man's ambition 
with the perpetuity of the State. Unlike the levelling and 
destructive equality of modern days, the ancient equality of 
England elevates and creates. Learned in human nature, 
the English constitution holds out privilege to every 
subject as the inducement to do his duty. As it has secured 
freedom, justice, and even property to the humblest of 
the commonwealth, so, pursuing the same system of 
privileges, it has confided the legislature of the realm to 
two orders of the subjects orders, however, in which 
every English citizen may be constitutionally enrolled 
the Lords and the Commons. The two estates of the 
Peers are personally summoned to meet in their chamber : 
the more extensive and single estate of the Commons 
meets by its representatives. Both are political orders, 
complete in their character, independent in their authority, 
legally irresponsible for the exercise of their power. But 
they are the trustees of the nation, not its masters; and 
there is a High Court of Chancery in the public opinion 
of the nation at large, which exercises a vigilant control 
over these privileged classes of the community, and to 
which they are equitably and morally amenable. Esti- 
mating, therefore, the moral responsibility of our political 
estates, it may f airly be maintained that, instead of being 
irresponsible, the responsiblity of the Lords exceeds that 
of the Commons. The House of Commons itself not 
being an estate of the realm, but only the representatives 
of an estate, owes to the nation a responsibility neither 
legal nor moral. The House of Commons is responsible 
only to that privileged order who are its constituents. 
Between the Lords and the Commons themselves there is 
this prime difference that the Lords are known, and seen, 
and marked; the Commons are unknown, invisible, and 
unobserved. The Lords meet in a particular spot; the 
Commons are scattered over the kingdom. The eye of 
the nation rests upon the Lords, few in number, and 



1836] TWO PROPOSITIONS 345 

notable in position; the eye of the nation wanders in vain 
for the Commons, far more numerous, but far less remark- 
able. As a substitute the nation appeals to the House 
of Commons, but sometimes appeals in vain; for if the 
majority of the Commons choose to support their repre- 
sentatives in a course of conduct adverse to the opinion 
of the nation, the House of Commons will set the nation 
at defiance. They have done so once; may they never 
repeat that destructive career ! Such are our two Houses 
of Parliament the most illustrious assemblies since the 
Roman Senate and Grecian Areopagus ; neither of them is 
the " House of the People," but both alike represent the 
"Nation." 1 



CHAPTER V 

A DEMOCRATIC CONSTITUTION 

THERE are two propositions, which, however at the first 
glance they may appear to contradict the popular opinions 
of the day, are nevertheless, as I believe, just and true. 
And they are these : 

First. That there is no probability of ever establishing 
a more democratic form of government than the present 
English constitution. 

Second. That the recent political changes of the 
Whigs are, in fact, a departure from the democratic spirit 
of that constitution. 

Whatever form a government may assume, its spirit 
must be determined by the laws which regulate the 
property of the country. You may have a Senate and 
Consuls, you may have no hereditary titles, and you may 
dub each householder or inhabitant a citizen; but if the 
spirit of your laws preserves masses of property in a 
particular class, the government of the country will 

1 The argument of this chapter, and indeed the language, may 
be found in the Morning Post articles (Chapters V., VI., XII.), 
and in the " Vindication " (Chapter XXIII.). 

23 



346 THE SPIKIT OF WHIGGISM [1836 

follow the disposition of the property. So also you may 
have an apparent despotism without any formal popular 
control, and with no aristocracy, either natural or arti- 
ficial, and the spirit of the government may nevertheless 
be republican. Thus the ancient polity of Rome, in its 
best days, was an aristocracy, and the government of 
Constantinople is the nearest approach to a democracy 
on a great scale, and maintained during a great period, 
that history offers. The constitution of France during 
the last half century has been fast approaching that of 
the Turks. The barbarous Jacobins blended modern 
equality with the refined civilisation of ancient France; 
the barbarous Ottomans blended their equality with the 
refined civilisation of ancient Rome. Paris secured to 
the Jacobins those luxuries that their system never could 
have produced : Byzantium served the same purpose .to 
the Turks. Both the French and their turbaned proto- 
types commenced their system with popular enthusiasm, 
and terminated it with general subjection. Napoleon and 
Louis Philippe are playing the same part as the Soleimans 
and the Mahmouds. The Chambers are but a second- 
rate Divan; the Prefects but inferior Pachas: a solitary 
being rules alike in the Seraglio and the Tuileries, and the 
whole nation bows to his despotism on condition that they 
have no other master save himself. 

The disposition of property hi England throws the 
government of the country into the hands of its natural 
aristocracy. I do not believe that any scheme of the 
suffrage, or any method of election, could divert that 
power into other quarters. It is the necessary conse- 
quence of our present social state. I believe, the wider 
the popular suffrage, the more powerful would be the 
natural aristocracy. This seems to me an inevitable 
consequence; but I admit this proposition on the clear 
understanding that such an extension should be estab- 
lished on a fair, and not a factious, basis. Here then, 
arises the question of the ballot, into the merits of which 
I shall take another opportunity of entering, recording 



1836] INDUSTRY, LIBERTY AND ORDER 347 

only now my opinion that, in the present arrangement 
of the constituencies, even the ballot would favour the 
power of the natural aristocracy, and that, if the ballot 
were simultaneously introduced with a fair and not a 
factious extension of the suffrage, it would produce no 
difference whatever in the ultimate result. 

Quitting, then, these considerations, let us arrive at 
the important point. Is there any probability of a 
different disposition of property in England a disposition 
of property which, by producing a very general similarity 
of condition, would throw the government of the country 
into the hands of any individuals whom the popular 
esteem or fancy might select ? 

It appears to me that this question can only be decided 
by ascertaining the genius of the English nation. What 
is the prime characteristic of the English mind ? I appre- 
hend I may safely decide upon its being industry. Taking 
a general but not a superficial survey of the English 
character since the Reformation, a thousand circum- 
stances convince me that the salient point in our national 
psychology is the passion for accumulating wealth, 
of which industry is the instrument. We value our 
freedom principally because it leaves us unrestricted in 
our pursuits; and that reverence for law and all that is 
established, which also eminently distinguishes the English 
nation, is occasioned by the conviction that, next to liberty, 
order is the most efficacious assistant of industry. 

And thus we see that those great revolutions which 
must occur in the history of all nations, when they happen 
here produce no permanent effects upon our social state. 
Our revolutions are brought about by the passions of 
creative minds taking advantage, for their own aggrandise- 
ment, of peculiar circumstances in our national progress. 
They are never called for by the great body of the nation. 
Churches are plundered, long rebellions maintained, 
dynasties changed, parliaments abolished; but when the 
storm is passed, the features of the social landscape remain 
unimpaired ; there are no traces of the hurricane, the 



348 THE SPIRIT OF WHIGGISM [1836 

earthquake, or the volcano; it has been but a tumult of 
the atmosphere, that has neither toppled down our old 
spires and palaces nor swallowed up our cities and seats 
of learning, nor blasted our ancient woods, nor swept 
away our ports and harbours. The English nation ever 
recurs to its ancient institutions the institutions that 
have alike secured freedom and order; and after all their 
ebullitions, we find them, when the sky is clear, again at 
work, and toiling on at their eternal task of accumulation. 
There is this difference between the revolutions of Eng- 
land and the revolutions of the Continent the European 
revolution is a struggle against privilege; an English 
revolution is a struggle for it. If a new class rises in the 
State, it becomes uneasy to take its place in the natural 
aristocracy of the land: a desperate faction or a wily 
leader takes advantage of this desire, and a revolution is 
the consequence. Thus the Whigs in the present day 
have risen to power on the shoulders of the manufacturing 
interest. To secure themselves in their posts, the Whigs 
have given the new interest an undue preponderance; 
but the new interest, having obtained its object, is content. 
The manufacturer, like every other Englishman, is as 
aristocratic as the landlord. The manufacturer begins to 
lack in movement. Under W^alpole the Whigs played 
the same game with the commercial interest; a century 
has passed, and the commercial interest are all as devoted 
to the constitution as the manufacturers soon will be. 
Having no genuine party, the Whigs seek for succour 
from the Irish papists; Lord John Russell, however, is 
only imitating Pym under the same circumstances. In 
1640, when the English movement was satisfied, and the 
constitutional party, headed by such men as Falkland 
and Hyde, were about to attain power, Pym and his 
friends, in despair at their declining influence and the 
close divisions in their once unanimous Parliament, fled 
to the Scotch Covenanters, and entered into " a close 
compact " for the destruction of the Church of England 
as the price of their assistance. So events repeat them- 



1836] PROPERTY AND WEALTH 349 

selves ; but if the study of history is really to profit us, the 
nation at the present day will take care that the same 
results do not always occur from the same events. 

When passions have a little subsided, the industrious 
ten-pounder, who has struggled into the privileged order 
of the Commons, proud of having obtained the first step 
of aristocracy, will be the last man to assist in destroying 
the other gradations of the scale which he or his posterity 
may yet ascend; the new member of a manufacturing 
district has his eye already upon a neighbouring park, 
avails himself of his political position to become a county 
magistrate, meditates upon a baronetcy, and dreams of a 
coroneted descendant. 

The nation that esteems wealth as the great object of 
existence will submit to no laws that do not secure the 
enjoyment of wealth. Now, we deprive wealth of its 
greatest source of enjoyment, as well as of its best security, 
if we deprive it of power. The English nation, therefore, 
insists that property shall be the qualification for power, 
and the whole scope of its laws and customs is to promote 
and favour the accumulation of wealth and the perpetua- 
tion of property. We cannot alter, therefore, the dis- 
position of property in this country without we change 
the national character. Far from the present age being 
hostile to the supremacy of property, there has been no 
period of our history where property has been more 
esteemed, because there has been no period when the 
nation has been so industrious. 

Believing, therefore, that no change will occur in the 
disposition of property in this country, I cannot com- 
prehend how our government can become more demo- 
cratic. The consequence of our wealth is an aristocratic 
constitution ; the consequence of our love of liberty is an 
aristocratic constitution founded on an equality of civil 
rights. And who can deny that an aristocratic constitu- 
tion resting on such a basis, where the legislative, and 
even the executive office may be obtained by every 
subject of the realm, is, in fact, a noble democracy ? The 



350 THE SPIRIT OF WHIGGISM [1836 

English constitution, faithfully representing the national 
character, secures to all the enjoyment of property and the 
delights of freedom. Its honours are a perpetual reward of 
industry; every Englishman is toiling to obtain them; 
and this is the constitution to which every Englishman 
will always be devoted, except he is a Whig. 

In the next chapter I shall discuss the second proposi- 
tion. 



CHAPTER VI 

RECENT POLITICAL CHANGES 

THE Tories assert that the whole property of the country 
is on their side; and the Whigs, wringing their hands 
over lost elections and bellowing about "intimidation," 
seem to confess the soft impeachment. Their prime 
organ also assures us that every man with 500 per 
annum is opposed to them. Yet the Whig-Radical 
writers have recently published, by way of consolation 
to their penniless proselytes, a list of some twenty Dukes 
and Marquises, who, they assure us, are devoted to 
" Liberal " principles, and whose revenues, in a paroxysm 
of economical rhodomontade, they assert, could buy up 
the whole income of the rest of the hereditary Peerage. 
The Whig-Radical writers seem puzzled to reconcile this 
anomalous circumstance with the indisputably forlorn 
finances of their faction in general. Now, this little 
tract on the " Spirit of Whiggism " may perhaps throw 
some light upon this perplexing state of affairs. For 
myself, I see in it only a fresh illustration of the principles 
which I have demonstrated, from the whole current of 
our history, to form the basis of Whig policy. This union 
of oligarchical wealth and mob poverty is the very essence 
of the " Spirit of Whiggism." 

The English constitution, which, from the tithing-man 
to the Peer of Parliament, has thrown the whole govern- 
ment of the country into the hands of those who are 



1836] ASPIRING OLIGARCHS 351 

qualified by property to perform the duties of their 
respective offices, has secured that diffused and general 
freedom, without which the national industry would 
neither have its fair play nor its just reward, by a variety 
of institutions, which, while they prevent those who have 
no property from invading the social commonwealth, in 
whose classes every industrious citizen has a right to 
register himself, offer also an equally powerful check to 
the ambitious fancies of those great families, over whose 
liberal principles and huge incomes the Whig-Radical 
writers gloat with the self-complacency of lackeys at the 
equipages and establishments of their masters. There is 
ever an union in a perverted sense between those who are 
beneath power and those who wish to be above it; and 
oligarchies and despotisms are usually established by the 
agency of a deluded multitude. The Crown, with its con- 
stitutional influence over the military services ; a Parlia- 
ment of two houses, watching each other's proceedings 
with constitutional jealousy; an independent hierarchy, 
and, not least, an independent magistracy, are serious 
obstacles in the progressive establishment of that scheme 
of government which a small knot of great families, these 
Dukes and Marquises, whose revenues, according to the 
Government organ, could buy up the income of the whole 
peerage, naturally wish to introduce. We find, therefore, 
throughout the whole period of our more modern history, a 
powerful section of the great nobles ever at war with the 
national institutions; checking the Crown; attacking the 
independence of that House of Parliament in which they 
happen to be in a minority, no matter which ; patronising 
sects to reduce the influence of the Church ; and playing 
town against country to overcome the authority of the 
gentry. 

It is evident that these aspiring oligarchs, as a party, 
can have little essential strength; they can count upon 
nothing but their mere retainers . To secure the triumph of 
their cause, therefore, they are forced to manoeuvre with 
a pretext, and while they aim at oligarchical rule, they 



352 THE SPIKIT OF WHIGGISM [1836 

apparently advocate popular rights. They hold out, 
consequently, an inducement to all the uneasy portion 
of the nation to enlist under their standard; they play 
their discontented minority against the prosperous 
majority, and, dubbing their partisans "the people," 
they flatter themselves that their projects are irresistible. 
The attack is unexpected, brisk, and dashing, well 
matured, dexterously mystified. Before the nation is 
roused to its danger, the oligarchical object is often 
obtained; and then the oligarchy, entrenched in power, 
count upon the nation to defend them from their original 
and revolutionary allies. If they succeed, a dynasty is 
changed, or a Parliament reformed, and the movement 
is stopped; if the Tories or the Conservatives cannot 
arrest the fatal career which the Whigs have originally 
impelled, then away go the national institutions; the 
crown falls from the King's brow; the crosier is snapped 
in twain; one House of Parliament is sure to disappear, 
and the gentlemen of England, dexterously dubbed 
Malignants, or Anti-Reformers, or any other phrase in 
fashion, the dregs of the nation, sequester their estates 
and install themselves in their halls; and "liberal prin- 
ciples " having thus gloriously triumphed, after a due 
course of plunder, bloodshed, imprisonment, and ignoble 
tryanny, the people of England, sighing once more to be 
the English nation, secure order by submitting to a despot, 
and in time, when they have got rid of their despot, com- 
bine their ancient freedom with their newly-regained 
security by re-establishing the English constitution. 

The Whigs of the present day have made their assault 
upon the nation with their usual spirit. They have 
already succeeded in controlling the sovereign and in 
remodelling the House of Commons. They have menaced 
the House of Lords, violently assailed the Church, and 
reconstructed the Corporations. I shall take the two 
most comprehensive measures which they have suc- 
ceeded in carrying, and which at the time certainly 
were popular, and apparently of a very democratic 



1836] EFFECT OF WHIG REFORMS 353 

character their reform of the House of Commons, and 
their reconstruction of the municipal corporations. Let us 
see whether these great measures have, in fact, increased 
the democratic character of our constitution or not 
whether they veil an oligarchical project, or are, in fact, 
popular concessions inevitably offered by the Whigs in 
their oligarchical career. 

The result of the Whig remodelling of the order of the 
Commons has been this that it has placed the nomina- 
tion of the Government in the hands of the popish priest- 
hood. Is that a great advance of public intelligence and 
popular liberty ? Are the parliamentary nominees of 
M'Hale and Keogh more germane to the feelings of the 
English nation, more adapted to represent their interests, 
than the parliamentary nominees of a Howard or a 
Percy ? This papist majority, again, is the superstruc- 
ture of a basis formed by some Scotch Presbyterians and 
some English Dissenters, in general returned by the small 
constituencies of small towns classes whose number and 
influence, intelligence and wealth, have been grossly 
exaggerated for factious purposes, but classes avowedly 
opposed to the maintenance of the English constitution. 
I do not see that the cause of popular power has much 
risen, even with the addition of this leaven. If the 
suffrages of the Commons of England were polled together, 
the hustings-books of the last general election will prove 
that a very considerable majority of their numbers is 
opposed to the present Government, and that therefore, 
under this new democratic scheme, this great body of 
the nation are, by some hocus-pocus tactics or other, 
obliged to submit to the minority. The truth is, that the 
new constituency has been so arranged that an unnatural 
preponderance has been given to a small class, and one 
hostile to the interests of the great body. Is this more 
democratic ? The apparent majority in the House of 
Commons is produced by a minority of the Commons 
themselves ; so that a small and favoured class command 
a majority in the House of Commons, and the sway of 



354 THE SPIRIT OF WHIGGISM [1836 

the administration, as far as that House is concerned, is 
regulated by a smaller number of individuals than those 
who governed it previous to its reform. 

But this is not the whole evil : this new class, with its 
unnatural preponderance, is a class hostile to the institu- 
tions of the country, hostile to the union of Church and 
State, hostile to the House of Lords, to the constitutional 
power of the Crown, to the existing system of provincial 
judicature. It is, therefore, a class fit and willing to 
support the Whigs in their favourite scheme of centralisa- 
tion, without which the Whigs can never long maintain 
themselves in power. Now, centralisation is the death- 
blow of public freedom; it is the citadel of the oligarchs 
from which, if once erected, it will be impossible to dislodge 
them. 

But can that party be aiming at centralised govern- 
ment which has reformed the municipal corporations ? 
We will see. The reform of the municipal corporations 
of England is a covert attack on the authority of the 
English gentry that great body which perhaps forms the 
most substantial existing obstacle to the perpetuation of 
Whiggism in power. By this apparently democratic Act 
the county magistrate is driven from the towns where he 
before exercised a just influence, while an elective magis- 
trate from the towns jostles him on the bench at quarter 
sessions, and presents in his peculiar position an anomaly 
in the constitution of the bench, flattering to the passions, 
however fatal to the interests, of the giddy million. Here 
is a lever to raise the question of county reform when- 
ever an obstinate shire may venture to elect a representa- 
tive in Parliament hostile to the liberal oligarchs. Let 
us admit, for the moment, that the Whigs ultimately 
succeed in subverting the ancient and hereditary power 
of the English gentry. Will the municipal corporations 
substitute themselves as an equivalent check on a cen- 
tralising Government ? Whence springs their influence ? 
Prom property ? Not half a dozen have estates. Their 
influence springs from the factitious power with which the 



1836] CONCLUSIONS 355 

reforming Government has invested them, and of which 
the same Government will deprive them in a session, 
the moment they cease to be corresponding committees 
of the reforming majority in the House of Commons. 
They will either be swept away altogether, or their func- 
tions will be limited to raising the local taxes which will 
discharge their expenses of the detachment of the metro- 
politan police, or the local judge or governor, whom 
Downing Street may send down to preside over their 
constituents. With one or two exceptions, the English 
corporations do not possess more substantial and durable 
elements of power than the municipalities of France. 
What check are they on Paris ? These corporations have 
neither prescription in their favour, nor property. Their 
influence is maintained neither by tradition nor sub- 
stance. They have no indirect authority over the minds 
of their townsmen; they have only their modish charters 
to appeal to, and the newly engrossed letter of the law. 
They have no great endowments of whose public benefits 
they are the official distributors; they do not stand on 
the vantage-ground on which we recognise the trustees 
of the public interests; they neither administer to the 
soul nor the body ; they neither feed the poor nor educate 
the young ; they have no hold on the national mind ; they 
have not sprung from the national character; they were 
born by faction, and they will live by faction. Such 
bodies must speedily become corrupt ; they will ultimately 
be found dangerous instruments in the hands of a faction. 
The members of the country corporations will play the 
game of a London party, to secure their factitious local 
importance and obtain the consequent results of their 
opportune services. 

I think I have now established the two propositions 
with which I commenced my last chapter : and I will 
close this concluding one of the " Spirit of Whiggism " 
withjj|their recapitulation, and the inferences which I 
draw from them. If there be slight probability of ever 
establishing in this country a more democratic govern- 



356 THE SPIEIT OF WHIGGISM [1836 

ment than the English constitution, it will be as well, 
I conceive, for those who love their rights to main- 
tain that constitution; and if the recent measures of 
the Whigs, however plausible their first aspect, have, in 
fact, been a departure from the democratic character 
of that constitution, it will be as well for the English 
nation to oppose, with all their heart, and all then- soul, 
and all their strength, the machinations of the Whigs 
and the " Spirit of Whiggism." 



1837-41] OPEN LETTEKS 357 



OPEN LETTERS 

[THE OPEN LETTERS represent a selection from Disraeli's 
fugitive contributions to the Times. Among them are 
two Runnymede Letters, written after the publication 
of the others in book form, and never since reprinted. 
The Letters signed "Lselius " are in similar vein. Probably 
most interest attaches to that " To the Queen," written 
at Lord Lyndhurst's request, in support of Sir Robert 
Peel in his contention with Queen Victoria over the Ladies 
of the Bedchamber. It is a curious fact that sixty years 
later the Queen said, " I was very young then, and perhaps 
I should act differently if it was all to be done again ;" 
while Disraeli, on the other hand, veered round to the 
view that Sir Robert had made an error in his treatment 
of the young Sovereign. The " Letter to the Queen " 
caused a stir at the time, and was in some quarters 
attributed to Brougham. Thus Disraeli, writing to his 
sister : 1 

" B. denies the letter to the Queen. Croker, ostensibly 
writing to him on some literary point, but really to ex- 
tract some opinion from him on the subject of the letter, 
put in a postscript : 

' ' Have you seen the Letter to the Queen ? They give it to you. 

" Brougham answered, in a postscript also: 

" / have seen the Letter to the Queen. It was lent to me." 

The Atticus Letter to the Duke of Wellington has also 
a value of its own. In 1852 it fell to Disraeli, in his first 
period of office, to deliver as a funeral oration in the 
House of Commons a fuller estimate of the Great Duke. 
The manuscript from which the oration was delivered 
was handed to the Press, and is now to be seen in the 
Manuscript Room of the British Museum.] 

1 Additional Manuscripts, British Museum. 



358 OPEN LETTERS [1837 



To His EXCELLENCY THE LORD LIEUTENANT OF 
IRELAND l 

MY LORD, Allow me to congratulate your Excellency, 
to use the revolutionary jargon of the day, " on carrying 
out " by so unforeseen a method the great measure of 
Roman Catholic Emancipation. It was a bright idea, 
that of emptying the gaols of the Barataria 2 over whose 
destinies your Excellency so shrewdly presides; and it 
is interesting to witness the philosophical civilisation of 
the nineteenth century, in triumphant defiance of ancient 
prejudice, communicating with so much effect the rude 
yet prophetic conceptions of a Jack Cade. Fortunate 
island, that an O'Connell supplies with justice, and a 
Mulgrave with mercy; the severer quality typified by a 
murdered Protestant, the gentler attribute only by the 
release of a Papist convict. 

Your Excellency has by this time doubtless digested 
the Parliamentary bulletin of the grand encounter of last 
week. The annals of political warfare do not record an 
instance of a more arrogant attack, or of a defeat more 
disastrous. 

The recent debates are valuable for weightier reasons 
than the illustrations they richly afford of your Lordship's 
character, in itself, however, no uninteresting topic when 
its spirit may affect the destinies of an empire. Vain, 
volatile, and flimsy, headstrong without being courageous, 
imperious rather than dignified, and restless rather than 
energetic, but always theatrical, with a morbid love of 
mob popularity and a maudlin flux of claptrap sensibility, 
his anger a stage scowl, his courtesy a simper; every 
glance directed to the lamps, every movement arranged 
into an attitude ; now frowning on an Orange functionary, 

1 Constantino Henry Phipps, Earl of Mulgrave, and afterwards 
Marquis of Normanby, was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ire- 
land in 1835, and held the position until 1839. His administra- 
tion was much criticised on account of his leniency to political 
prisoners. 2 gancho Panza's island city. 



1837] FATAL FOLLY 359 

now releasing a criminal with a sympathetic sigh : behold 
the fluttering and tinsel thing of shreds and patches, 
the tawdry-property man, whom the discrimination of the 
Whigs has selected at this crisis to wrestle with the 
genius of the Papacy in its favourite stronghold. 

It is not, however, because the recent debates have 
furnished me with the traits with which I sketched your 
Excellency's portrait, and the English nation with ex- 
perience to appreciate its resemblance, that they are 
principally valuable; these debates, my Lord, have 
demonstrated to the satisfaction of every clear-headed 
Briton the identity of the Irish Government and the 
" National Association." In that case the Irish Govern- 
ment cannot be in worse hands, nor Ireland under a sway 
at the same time more disastrous and more dishonest; 
and I much mistake the character of the English nation 
if they will for a moment submit with humiliating patience 
to a system which enables an impudent assembly of self- 
delegated adventurers, pledged to the eradication of 
every English institution and every English feeling, to 
meet under the shadow of the Viceregal castle, and, 
arrogating to themselves a title so comprehensive and 
corporate, launch their destructive decrees with the 
avowed or implied ratification of the King's repre- 
sentative. 

Well said the eloquent and patriotic Member for 
Cumberland, 1 on passing in review the terrible array of 
your fatal folly, that the question of this mischievous 
identity might be decided by a single instance the 
appointment of Mr. Pigot ! 2 It is in the bosom of the 
rebel Association that the loyal Lord Lieutenant seeks 
his confidential adviser. I also would observe that your 
connection with a single individual is conclusive as to 
this disgraceful union of the power of the Crown and 
the plots of those who are conspiring against its dignity 

1 Sir James Graham. 

2 David Richard Pigot, law adviser to the Lord Lieutenant 
and subsequently Chief Baron of Exchequer in Ireland. 



360 OPEN LETTERS [1837 

this monstrous partnership of authority and insurrection. 
I take the case of a man who is the avowed and acknow- 
ledged founder of the " National Association." I listen 
to him in that assembly venting the most revolutionary 
doctrines and seditious menaces; I trace him afterwards 
on a provincial tour of treason, fresh from these halls of 
initiative outrage, stirring up the multitude even to mas- 
sacre in language unparalleled for its spirit of profligate 
persecution. I hear of this man, at a blasphemous ban- 
quet of his followers still calling for blood, announced 
by a Bishop of his Church with sacerdotal unction as the 
messenger of the Divinity; I am informed that the gentry 
of the county where he made these terrific appeals assem- 
bled together to invoke your protection, as the King's 
representative, against the consequence of his sanguinary 
machinations. And what do you do ? By what means 
does your Excellency testify your disapprobation of his 
career of infamous tumult ? By an invitation to dinner. 
Notwithstanding all that had occurred, and the strongly 
expressed disapprobation of your Sovereign of this man 
ever appearing at your table, he is nevertheless your 
cherished guest. 1 Why, courtesy to this man is no 
longer a question of party politics; it is a question of 
civilisation. After such conduct on your part, who can 
doubt your sanction of the system he had been pursuing ? 
I, for one, cannot hesitate as to the perfect identity of your 
government and the will of this man, even if I had not 
witnessed him the other night in the House of Commons, 
at the conclusion of your delegated defiance, grasp the 
trembling palm of your noble champion with that subtle 
and savage paw that can alike rifle the pocket of a 
Raphael 2 or hurl a dead dog into the grave of a Kavanagh. 
Observe the gradations of official sympathy with Irish 
treason. The Association, repudiated by Lord Melbourne, 

1 The King, in a letter to Lord Melbourne, had protested 
against O'Connell being received at the table of the Lord Lieu- 
tenant. 

2 A charge of misappropriation made against O'Connell by 
Mr. Raphael, M.P. for CarJow, and disproved. 



1837] KUNNYMEDE AND LOED MELBOURNE 361 

is apologised for by Lord John Russell and justified by 
Lord Morpeth. What, then, remains ? The Viceregal 
panegyric. Lord Grey retired from the helm because he 
detected that some of his colleagues had secretly carried 
on a disgraceful intrigue with your Excellency's guest. 
How will Lord Melbourne act now that he discovers that 
the very association he denounced is, in fact, the govern- 
ment of Ireland ? His Lordship is at least a man of 
spirit. There is nothing base in his composition, though 
much that is reckless. He might be induced to become 
a desperate leader, but he will never submit to being made 
the cat's-paw of his own followers. I believe that Lord 
Melbourne will follow the example of Lord Grey; the lion 
stalked oft' with majestic grandeur; the wolf may yet 
effect his retreat with sullen dignity. The rapacious 
band of modern Whigs must seek for a new leader in a 
more ignoble beast of prey. But they need not despair, 
my Lord. The Government need not break up. It has 
at least my ardent aspirations for its continuance. After 
all its transmutations, I wish it to assume its last phasis 
of contempt. Your Excellency is now skilled in govern- 
ment. Come, then, my Lord, and rule us ! Come and 
insult our gentry and open our prisons ! Be the last 
leader of the Reformed Parliament and the Reform 
Ministry. Come, my Lord, and make revolution at length 
ridiculous. 

RUNNYMEDE. 
February 11, 1837. 



To LORD VISCOUNT MELBOURNE 

MY LORD, It has sometimes been my humble but 
salutary office to attend your triumph, and remind you 
in a whisper that you are mortal. Amid the blaze of 
glory that at present surrounds you, it may be advisable 
for me to resume this wholesome function, lest in the 
intoxication of success your Lordship may for a moment 

24 



362 OPEN LETTERS [1837 

forget that, although still a Minister, you are yet only a 
man. 1 I willingly admit, however, that the qualities 
both of your Lordship and your colleagues are far from 
being identical with those of ordinary mortals. If I 
cannot venture to acknowledge them as supernatural, I 
make your Lordship a present of a new word, the intro- 
duction of which into our language the fact of your 
admonition will amply authorise with our future lexi- 
cographers. No one can deny that the abilities of your- 
self and of your colleagues are subterhuman. 

You and your partners appear to me at present to be 
very much in the situation of a firm of speculative 
country bankers who have been generously stimulating 
the prosperity of their neighbourhood by a frank issue 
of their peculiar currency. Whether Ireland required 
justice, or Spain only freedom whether the sectarists 
were anxious to subvert the Establishment, or the 
Papists merely to plunder it they were sure of being 
accommodated at your counter. But your notes are 
now returned, and it seems you lack bullion; and ere 
long it may be expected that you will figure in the 
Gazette, resigning your seals and your salaries, as a bank- 
rupt delivers up to his creditors his watch and his 
purse. 

When the Right Hon. Baronet the Member for Tarn- 
worth, 2 who in all probability will be the official assignee of 
your abortive projects and your disastrous schemes, 
recently seized the happy opportunity of criticising your 
balance-sheet, it appears that his comments called a smile 
to the serene visage of the noble Secretary for Foreign 
Affairs. Our intimate relations with France, the triumph 
of our countrymen in the Peninsula, and the profound 
consideration which Russia seizes every occasion of 
testifying for our flag, might justify the complacent 
ebullition of this fortunate functionary. But why 

4 "A Minister, but still a Man" (Pope's "Epistle to James 
Craggs, Esq., Secretary of State "). 
2 Sir Robert Peel. 



1837] NATIONAL INTERESTS DISORDERED 363 

should smiles be confined to my Lord Palmerston ? 
Why should 

" Quips and cranks, and wanton wiles, 
Nods and becks, and wreathed smiles," 1 

deck merely that debonair countenance ? Could not the 
successful consciousness of his hereditary hostility to a 
Church summon one simper to the pensive cheek of Lord 
John ? Could not Mr. Rice screw his features into 
hilarity ? He might have remembered the deputation 
from Liverpool. Was the state of Manchester forgotten 
by Mr. Thomson that he was so grave ? Or was the 
reminiscence of his Indian majority by Sir John Hob- 
house " too ponderous for a joke "? I think, my Lord, 
if this scene had been performed in the Upper House, 
your Colonial Secretary, the sleeping partner, by-the-by, 
of your confederacy, might have laughed outright at 
some Canadian vision. And you, my Lord, you were 
wont once to be a hearty and jocose man enough: I 
really think the merriment of Lord Melbourne at this 
moment might rank with the fiddling of Nero. 

The state of the realm is indeed unparalleled. Each 
division of the national interests is in like disorder. 
Commerce, manufactures, public credit, our colonial and 
Continental relations the same confusion pervades every 
section of our policy. There is not a department that is 
not in a condition of feeble tumult. You cannot rally, 
you have nothing to fall back upon. Like your famous 
General, you have no reserve. You are all in a state of 
distraction, and all running away at the same time. We 
have before this had unpopular, and feeble, and mis- 
chievous Cabinets. One Minister has been accused of 
sacrificing our foreign influence to our domestic repose, 
another of preferring distant fame to internal prosperity. 
One has been said to mismanage the colonies, another 
suspected of unconstitutional designs upon India. A 
successful expedition has been counterbalanced by an 
improvident loan, or social order has been maintained 

i "L* Allegro." 



364 OPEN LETTERS [1837 

at the cost of despotic enactments. Some department, 
perhaps, of every Ministry has supplied the people with 
a safety-valve of grumbling ; but your administration, 
my Lord, is the first that has failed in every department of 
the State, and covered every member of the Cabinet 
with equal odium. It has failed in everything, both at 
home and abroad. Beneath its malevolent genius our 
glory has been sullied and our purses thinned ; our colonies 
have rebelled, and our allies have deserted us; our 
soldiers are runagates, and our merchants bankrupts. 

Those who know you cannot easily be persuaded that 
you have a serious design on the existence of the empire, 
and some may even question whether you have a serious 
design of any kind. You began in a careless vein, and you 
will terminate in a tragical one. The country was 
swinging itself very prosperously in its easy-chair, when, 
half in mirth and half in mischief, you kicked over the 
unconscious victim, and now, frightened out of your 
wits, in a paroxysm of nervous desperation you are going 
to hack and hew in detail, and add mutilation to murder. 

But never mind, my Lord; Bobadil, though beaten, 
was still a captain, and Lord Melbourne, in spite of all his 
blunders, is still a Reformer. What though Russia cap- 
tures our ships, and Englishmen are saved from Spanish 
bayonets only by their heels, no one can deny that the 
seals of the Foreign Office are entrusted to a sincere 
Reformer. What though Ireland be ruled by the Romish 
priesthood, is not our Home Secretary as ardent a 
Reformer as M'Hale and Cantwell ? Let Canada boast 
her Papineau, we have as tried a Reformer in our Glenelg. 
And though we may be on the verge of national bank- 
ruptcy, 'tis some consolation that a most trustworthy 
Reformer presides over our Exchequer. For six years 
the talismanic cry of reform has reconciled the English 
nation to every vicissitude that can annoy or mortify 
the fortunes and spirit of a people. Soothed by its lullaby, 
we have endured domestic convulsion and foreign disgrace. 
Your Lordship therefore is safe; for who for a moment 



1839] LOKD J. EUSSELL AND REFORM 365 

can suppose that the nation will so stultify itself as to 
suspect, at the tenth hour, that there may be an indis- 
soluble connection between Reform and ruin ? 

RUNNYMEDE. 
April 15, 1837. 



To LORD JOHN RUSSELL 

MY LORD, -I have read your letter to your constitu- 
ents. 1 I like it. It lacks, perhaps, something of the 
racy and epigrammatic vigour which characterised the 
memorable epistle in defence of the corn laws. It is 
somewhat too prodigal, perhaps, of images which are not 
very novel and which are occasionally rather confused; 
but it is thoughtful and determined, and worthy of one 
who, from his lineage, ambition, and career, will occupy no 
mean space in the future history of our country. 

Your Lordship in this document, which will not easily 
be forgotten, figures in a new, a strange, and an impor- 
tant character. You appear as the great Conservative 
Precursor, heralding the advent of a Tory Administra- 
tion, and expounding the rationale of reaction. 

Little more than eight years have elapsed since the 
project of the Reform Act, but they are eight years replete 
with events. Wise men compute time, not by the 
almanacks, but their impressions ; 2 and with reference to 
political instruction the experience of eight such years is 
worth the results of half a century of undisturbed 
prescription. 

It is only by this mode of estimating the progress of 
time that I can philosophically account for the changes 
in your Lordship's opinions, and for the revolution of your 
political temper. The former champion of representa- 
tion instead of nomination in the House of Commons has 

1 "Letter to the electors of Stroud on the Principles of the 
Reform Act." The letter ran through seven editions. 

2 "Count them by sensation, and not by calendars/' wrote 
Disraeli in " Sybil " of the race for the Derby in 1837, " and each 
moment is a day, and the race a life." 



366 OPEN LETTEES [1839 

at length discovered, that we may have election without 
representation; and the denouncer of the constitutional 
decision of the House of Lords as "the whisper of a 
faction " now delicately intimates to his astonished 
followers that " the moral influence " of that assembly is 
alike indisputable and irresistible, and that its members 
are in general superior to the Reformed House in every 
statesmanlike quality. 

The necessity which compels the father of the Reform 
Act to enter, only six years after its passing, into a defence 
of that measure, leads me to reflect upon the nature of 
parties under the new Parliamentary scheme, which is 
threatened never to become old. 

It is, perhaps, a fanciful theory of the physicians who 
hold that man is born with the seeds of the disease which 
terminates his life. Undoubtedly, however, these are the 
exact circumstances which must inevitably attend the 
birth of every " Movement " Administration. The causes 
of their dissolution accompany their nativity. They have 
attained power by agitation. Their success is at the same 
time a precedent and an encouragement for continued 
disturbance. The original innovators, having no inclina- 
tion for further progress, take refuge in " finality." 
Three parties then appear in the State their original 
opponents, who are conservative of institutions; them- 
selves, who are administrative of institutions ; and their 
new adversaries, who are aggressive against institutions. 
The first party may count the nation in their ranks ; the 
last may appeal successfully to the mob; but for the 
middle party only remain the population of the offices 
those who enjoy and those who expect. 

The result, as far as the Government is concerned, can- 
not be doubtful. After having protracted the catastrophe 
by every expedient consistent with their determination not 
to make any substantial concession, they take refuge in 
those conservative opinions of which your Lordship has 
just developed the philosophy; and, retiring from public 
life with the consolation they have enjoyed their fair share 



1839] VIOLENT ALTEEATIVES 367 

of official power, or, to use language sentimental, that 
" they have had their dream," they gratify their spleen as 
well as exemplify their patriotism by crushing the nascent 
efforts of the party that has outbid them in popular 
overtures, and surpassed them in popular favour. 

The fate of the Whig party has indeed been hurried. 
Truly the elements of the famous Reform Ministry seem 
never to have been settled. After two years of initiatory 
tumult, your first session of affairs was distinguished by 
the sullen, yet significant, retirement of Lord Durham. 
Twelve months more, and a Secretary of State, a First 
Lord of the Admiralty, and two of their colleagues 
abruptly quit your councils ; and before the public mind 
has recovered from the uneasiness which such events 
naturally occasion, a conspiracy explodes, and we are 
startled by the overthrow of Lord Grey and the resigna- 
tion of Lord Althorp. In a few months the vamped-up 
Cabinet quits and returns to power. You throw over your 
Lord Chancellor you affect to justify the catastrophe. 
But was Lord Glenelg an intriguer and traitor ? The 
Whigs are said to be bitter opponents; for my part, I 
should shrink from their friendship. 

Eight members of the Reform Ministry betrayed by 
their own party in eight years ! on an average a victim for 
every session. Yet, with all these violent alteratives, the 
original disease has worked its irresistible course, and 
after having immolated your Constitutional colleagues, 
the picture is completed by your Lordship publishing, on 
the same day, a loyal proclamation against the Chartists, 1 
and a Conservative manifesto against the Radicals. The 
history of reform should be written in epigrams. 

The march of events has indeed been rapid. It is only 
five years ago since the staple subject of Whig journalism 
was a jest against reaction. In another year the jest 
became a controversy ; and now, only six years after the 
passing of the Reform Act, the wealth and the irresistible 

1 A proclamation in the London Gazette forbidding unlawful 
assemblies for the purpose of drilling persons to the use of arms. 



368 OPEN LETTERS [1839 

power, the numbers and the high character, of the Tory 
party are sketched by an individual no less celebrated and 
no less free from any imputation of partiality than the 
nobleman who commenced his literary career by defend- 
ing close boroughs, and his political one by destroying 
them. 

Your Lordship will retire from public life with dignity, 
for you have prepared the way for your great rival. He 
has deserved this service, for he has been a generous 
antagonist ; and if you adorn your solitude by writing the 
memoirs of your administration a task which you would 
perform admirably I have such confidence in that 
nobility of sentiment which is inseparable from genius 
that I do not doubt you will do justice to his consummate 
abilities. 

Far, however, is it from my desire that you should 
relinquish the power which you are prepared to exercise 
so much to the satisfaction of every lover of our institu- 
tions. You really seem to me to be the fair ideal of a 
Conservative statesman. They tell me that you are in 
somewhat of a scrape at present about Jamaica. Trust 
to your natural allies, the Tories, to extricate you from it. 
Although not your friend, I am so much your admirer 
that I will present you with a specific for this colonial 
embroilment. 'Tis simple take it. Let Lord Normanby 
return to the first scene of his administrative talents. 
With his peculiar practice of policy I should hardly think 
there would be the present want of accommodation in the 

Jamaica prisons. 

LJELIUS. 
May 4, 1839. 

To THE QUEEN x 

MADAM, That freedom happily secured to us by the 
settlement of your Eoyal race on the throne of this island 
permits me to address your Majesty on an occasion inter- 

1 This letter was written by Disraeli at Lord Lyndhurst's 
request (see "Life of Disraeli," by W. F. Monypenny, vol. ii., 
p. 58). In "Sybil" (1845) Disraeli gave his more matured 



1839] THE BEDCHAMBER INCIDENT 369 

esting to your personal happiness, important to the for- 
tunes of your realm. 

The week that is now closing embraces the most critical 
events in the life of the Queen of England. At its com- 
mencement, your Majesty's Minister publicly and formally 
announced that he no longer possessed the confidence of 
your Parliament, and that he was unable to carry measures 
which he believed to be indispensable to the service of the 
State. Your Majesty accepted his tendered resignation, 
and entrusted to the leader of the party opposed to him 
the formation of another Ministry. It was well known 
that your Majesty honoured your retiring Minister as 
much by your personal regard as by your political con- 
fidence; but your Majesty, with a dignified intelligence 
worthy of your station, encouraged your new adviser by 
a gracious and voluntary expression of the unlimited 
confidence and the unrestricted authority which you ex- 
tended to him. 

Thus auspiciously Sir Robert Peel proceeded to form a 
Government, and in twenty-four hours after receiving 
your Majesty's commands to that effect he waited on 
your Majesty with the announcement that he had achieved 
your object. Then it was learned for the first time that 
your Majesty would permit no change in the female offices 
of the Royal Household, and, though your Majesty's late 
Ministers had quitted your service, and were in all 
probability about to oppose the policy of your new 
councillors, that it was indispensable that their wives, 
sisters, or daughters, should still be the constant com- 
panions of the Sovereign. Under these circumstances 
Sir Robert Peel felt himself bound to resign the task 



opinion as follows: " One may be permitted to think that, under 
all the circumstances, he" (Sir Robert Peel) "should have taken 
office in 1839. His withdrawal seems to have been a mistake. . . . 
It was unfortunate that one who, if any, should have occupied 
the proud and national position of the leader of the Tory party, 
the chief of the people and the champion of the Throne, should 
have commenced his career as Minister under Victoria by an 
unseemly contrariety to the personal wishes of the Queen." 



370 OPEN LETTERS [1839 

which he had been invited to accomplish; and your 
kingdom is, consequently, still governed by a Ministry 
which its leader in the House of Lords describes as not 
possessing the confidence of the country a confidence 
which its leader in the House of Commons has just written 
a pamphlet to prove it never can obtain. 

Unquestionably, Madam, the most painful office of a 
British Minister is the necessity imposed on him of par- 
tially controlling the society of his Sovereign. But there 
are certain combinations of courtly intimacy which, it is 
obvious, cannot be tolerated without great public incon- 
venience and embarrassment. The nation may be in 
error, but it will with difficulty be convinced that a 
Minister possesses the confidence of his Sovereign if the 
family of his predecessor be retained in the Royal House- 
hold, and are seen and heard of as the constant com- 
panions of the Royal person. The public, unaware that 
a Royal mind is schooled from infancy in habits of severe 
self-control, will not be apt to comprehend how the secret 
of the Cabinet can be constantly concealed from the com- 
panion of the closet; and will be indignant, rather than 
astonished, if occasionally the tactics of Opposition be 
felicitously adapted to the concealed weaknesses of the 
Government. Under such circumstances, the Minister, 
if popular, is looked upon, not as the Minister of the 
Crown, but as the Minister of the Parliament; and the 
throne that had been hitherto esteemed as a high political 
institution assumes the unfortunate aspect of a mere 
courtly pageant. 

I can easily conceive how a young and ingenuous 
mind, full of innocence, and giving others credit for the 
same singleness of purpose as animates herself, can, 
without difficulty, reconcile the fulfilment of the duties 
of even a royal station with the indulgence of the affec- 
tions of the heart. Your Majesty looks upon the female 
relatives of your Ministers as the mere companions of the 
pleasures of your life, and doubtless these ladies compli- 
ment your Majesty upon your just and discriminating 



1839] THE ANXIETIES OF A SOVEKEIGN 371 

appreciation of their pursuits and motives. I will even 
myself at present give them credit for sincerity, and, 
while their husbands and their fathers are sitting at your 
council table, they perhaps are not aspiring enough to 
conceive that they are formed for severer duties than to 
glitter at the banquet and glide in the saloon. 

But even Mistresses of the Robes and Ladies of the 
Bedchamber, though angelic, are human. Let their 
relatives quit office and be nightly arrayed in attempts to 
destroy your Majesty's Government; let success to some 
of these relatives in their party conflicts be a matter of 
imperious necessity. Is the courtly child to repudiate 
the faction of her father ? Is the wife in waiting expected 
to feel no sympathy with the Parliamentary assault that 
may bear its plunder to the exhausted coffers of a desperate 
husband ? 

But your Majesty has confidence in the strength of your 
own character. You are convinced that the line of 
demarcation between public duty and private affection 
is broad and deep . On all that concerns the State, you are 
assured that your lips and your heart will be for ever 
closed to the circle in which you pass your life. Be it so. 
I humbly presume to give your Majesty credit for all the 
exalted virtues which become a throne. But where, 
then, are the joys of companionship ? The Royal brow 
is clouded, but the Royal lip must never explain its care. 
The Queen is anxious, but the Lady in Waiting must not 
share her restlessness or soothe her disquietude. 

Madam, it cannot be. You are a Queen ; but you are a 
human being and a woman. The irrepressible sigh will 
burst forth some day, and you will meet a glance more 
interesting because there is a captivating struggle to 
suppress its sympathy. Wearied with public cares, 
crossed, as necessarily you must sometimes be, the 
peevish exclamation will have its way, and you yourself 
will be startled at its ready echo. The line once passed, 
progress is quick ; fascinating sympathy, long suppressed 
indignation, promised succour; the tear, the tattle, the 



372 OPEN LETTERS [1839 

innuendo, the direct falsehood; in a moment they will 
convince you you are a victim, and that they have heroes 
in wait to rescue their Sovereign. Then come the Palace 
conspiracy and the backstairs intrigue. You will find 
yourself with the rapidity of enchantment the centre and 
the puppet of a Camarilla, and Victoria, in the eyes of 
that Europe which once bowed to her, and in the hearts 
of those Englishmen who once yielded to her their devo- 
tion, will be reduced to the level of Madrid and Lisbon. 

And shall this be the destiny of that "fair virgin throned 
in the west," who was to have been our second Elizabeth ? 
the mistress of an Empire more vast than that mighty 
monarchy that attempted to crush Elizabeth with its 
baffled Armadas ? Ah ! Madam, pause. Let not this 
crisis of your reign be recorded by the historian with a 
tear or a blush. The system which you are advised to 
establish is one degrading to the Minister, one which must 
be painful to the Monarch, one which may prove fatal to 

the monarchy. 1 

L^LIUS. 

May 11, 1839. 

To LOUD MELBOURNE 

MY LORD, The world is perplexed about your pur- 
poses; perhaps you share their embarrassment and anxiety. 
For my own part, I cannot forget that in politics, as well as 
in everything else, "no-meaning puzzles more than wit," 
and while some are giving you credit for an impending 
Machiavelian stroke of state, I should not be surprised if, 
after all, you have only turned a fresh page in the chapter 
of accidents. 

Yet are there rumours of great changes . Your followers 
bruit about a "programme of liberal measures." Your 
temporary secession from power, they insinuate, produced 
the most salutary effects upon your intellect and your 
temper. A momentary relief from the toils of State per- 

1 Lord Morley records that Mr. Gladstone also composed on 
the same subject a letter which has not been published. 



1839] A PENNY AND A SHILLING 373 

mitted profound reflection on the spirit of the age. You 
returned to Downing Street as Napoleon from Elba, ready 
to concede a Constitution adapted to the necessities of 
the times. The rapacious appetite of the Republican 
for innovation is to be satiated by paying only a penny 
for his letters; the more moderate Radical professors 
satisfied by not paying a shilling for the registration of 
their votes. A penny and a shilling ! Whig ways and 
means to prevent revolutions and arrest the fall of 
monarchies ! But even this is not all. The Reform Act 
is still to be final, but it is not to be conclusive. Nice 
distinction ! There are to be considerable alterations, 
but then they are to be made in its spirit. More of the 
precious metal, indeed, is not to be introduced into circu- 
lation, but, then, the currency is to be considerably in- 
creased by its debasement. Add to this the strong yet 
not astounding conviction of your colleagues of the neces- 
sity of education, and the " programme " is complete. 
Imaginary resources of beggared gamesters ! 

It will not do, my Lord. These scrapings and cheese- 
parings of your famished larder will never serve a banquet. 
The primary and restless cause of all the embarrassment 
of your party, past and present, can never be removed 
or eradicated. I have traced its fatal birth, its inde- 
fatigable activity, and its inevitable consequences, in the 
letter which I addressed to the most distinguished of your 
colleagues. 1 A " progressive " party is a party that must 
dash over the precipice. 

But your Lordship is again in power. Your bank- 
ruptcy is superseded, though your credit is not restored. 
I admired the characteristic naivete, from one whom his 
experience should have made so close and callous, not 
without charm, with which you assured the House of 
Lords that had your Lordship been in the situation of 
Sir Robert Peel, when recently summoned by his Sover- 
eign, you would have acted very differently. I believe 
you. Enjoying such an opportunity, the leader of a party 

1 The letter to Lord John Kussell, p. 365. 






374 OPEN LETTERS [1839 

such as your Lordship heads would have seen only within 
his grasp power to which neither the essential strength of 
that party nor his own reputation legitimately entitled 
him. The temptation would have been too strong for 
nerves less flexible than those of the former Irish Secre- 
tary of the Duke of Wellington ; and however brief the 
lease of office, however degrading the terms by which it 
was secured, sinister the means by which it was main- 
tained, and mischievous the results which it entailed on 
the Crown and the country, it could bear no damage to a 
party in whose expiring condition even defeat might 
figure as an achievement, as proving their vitality. In 
the most ignominious discomfiture they must reap some 
profit as bands of fugitive marauders can still sack 
villages and plunder peasants. 

But, my Lord, there may be statesmen and parties 
differently circumstanced. Let me consider the character 
and position of a political leader whom, to use only the 
admissions of his adversaries, I may describe as a man 
unrivalled for Parliamentary talents, of unimpeached 
integrity, of unsullied personal conduct, of considerable 
knowledge, both scholastic and civil, and of an estate 
ample and unencumbered one of long official practice, 
of greater political experience; of that happy age when 
the vigour of manhood is not impaired, and when men 
have attained as much experience as, without over-refining 
action, is compatible with practical wisdom; when an 
elevated and thoughtful ambition is not eager, yet 
prepared, for power, free from both the restlessness of 
youth and the discontent of declining age epochs that 
alike deem life too short for delay. Add to this a tem- 
perament essentially national, and a habit of life pleasing 
to the manners and prejudices of his countrymen, with 
many of the virtues of the English character, and some of 
its peculiarities; confident rather than sanguine; guided 
by principles, yet not despising expedients; fearful to 
commit himself, yt never shrinking from responsibility ; 
proud, yet free from vanity, and reserved rather from 



1839] ESTIMATE OF SIR ROBERT PEEL 375 

disposition than from an ungenerous prudence; most 
courageous when in peril; most cautious in prosperity. 

It is difficult to estimate the characters of our con- 
temporaries, but this I believe, though a slight, to be not 
an incorrect sketch of that of Sir Robert Peel a states- 
man who is at the head of the most powerful party that 
ever flourished in this country that in opposition com- 
mands a large majority in one House of Parliament, 
equals the united factions in the other, and, by general 
consent, needs only a recurrence to the sense of the nation 
to overwhelm them. But, moreover, and above all, a 
statesman who has watched and witnessed this mighty 
party congregate and expand under his advice and guid- 
ance, in an ill-favoured season of trial, turbulence, and 
trouble, with small beginnings, forlorn hopes, extreme 
difficulties, struggling at the same time against popular 
prejudice and courtly alienation. 

My Lord, such a man, and the leader of such men, 
must never obtain an entrance to the councils of his 
Sovereign I will not say by artifice or intrigue, but in any 
other style or spirit than become an elevated character 
and a commanding position. His administration must 
never be one existing on sufferance by any branch of the 
Legislature. He forfeits too great a station to accept 
power grudged and hampered by any estate of the realm. 
The essential strength of his party, the permanent char- 
acter of the constitutional principles and material interests 
that bind them together, his own vigorous time of life, 
authorise on his part patience and justify delay. He of 
all men must never deign to be a seeker. Time is one of 
his partisans. For two years Lord Melbourne submitted 
to be the Minister of his late Sovereign's necessity, not of 
his choice. Sir Robert Peel never will. There is the 
difference between you. 

A quarrel about a Lady of the Bedchamber ! Pah ! 
Your Lordship remembers the contemptuous exclamation 
of Mr. Burke when, at the commencement of the great 
revolutionary struggle, the war was described by some 



376 OPEN LETTERS [1839 

superficial rhetorician as a war about the opening of the 
Scheldt. The scornful image which in that instance 
flashed from his indignant and irritated imagination 
would not be altogether out of keeping with that scene 
and sanctuary into which you have at length pursued the 
jaded destinies of your country. But I will not profane 
the mysteries of the Bona Dea. 

It is not want of ability, or lack of knowledge, or even 
deficiency of patriotism, that disqualifies a Lord Melbourne 
or a Lord John Russell from being Ministers of their 
country. Their difficulties, and they are insuperable, are 
inherent in the Whig party. It is a party that now is only 
a name. It has no principle of action, no essential quality 
of cohesion, no bond of union except traditionary exploits 
and hereditary connections, both fast fleeting and fading 
away before the course of time and the stern and urgent 
pressure of reality. It was once a great and high-spirited 
aristocratic confederacy ; it has its place, and will keep it, 
in our history, for its annals are illustrious, but the chapter 
of its fate is about to close; and with your Lordship and 
your colleague it rests whether its end shall be a revolu- 
tionary catastrophe or a patriotic euthanasia. 

L^LIUS. 
May 25, 1839. 



THE STATE OF THE CASE 

["ATTICUS is an immense hit," wrote Disraeli in the 
postscript of a letter to his sister, of which two pages 
are reproduced on p. 377, by permission of Messrs. 
Maggs Brothers, from the original in their possession. 
The text of the letter is as follows : 

CABXTON CLUB, 

March 16 [1841]. 
MY DEAREST SA, 

A most agreeable party at Bulwer's Morpeth, Hanley 
of the Treasury, Mr. Charrington, an Irish ruffian, D'Orsay, 
Col. Maberly, Quin. Much Attic badinage and serious 



1841] 



"ATTICUS AN IMMENSE HIT" 



377 



appreciation; at last Morpeth recited a whole passage of 
Runnymede. Yesterday I dined at the Carlton with Lynd- 
hurst, walking up together past the House. He was most 
amiable and delightful. Rd. Plantagenet, de Lisle, and 




Canterbury came and dined at the next table, and there was 
a feast of reason and a flow of grumbling (on the part of P. 
and C.) very amusing. Esterhazy has sent me an invitation 
for his assembly to-morrow, but he doesn't know that I am 

25 



378 OPEN LETTERS [1841 

married, or that my wife has the honour of his acquaintance, 
and therefore there is no ticket for Mary Anne, but I hope 
we shall arrange it in the course of the day. On Sunday we 
past the day at Boyle Farm, and very agreeably. 1000 loves. 

D. 

The "Atticus " reference, of course, was to Disraeli's letter 
to the Duke of Wellington on "The State of the Case."] 



To THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON. 

Your Grace has performed a greater number of great 
exploits than any living man; but you never achieved a 
deed more remarkable or more difficult than keeping the 
Whigs in office. 

Various reasons are circulated for the permission which 
you accord them to serve their Sovereign and to receive 
their salaries. Some would insinuate that, satisfied not 
to say satiated by the celebrity of an unrivalled career, 
your Grace is indisposed to re-enter the arena of political 
responsibility, content with the possession of passive but 
unquestioned power. But these are speculators who, in 
my opinion, are not very apt in their discrimination of 
your Grace's character, and take but a superficial view 
of the bent and temper of minds of your stamp and order. 
This idea of retiring on a certain quantity of fame, as 
some men retire on a certain quantity of money, has the 
twang of mediocrity. It is generally the refuge of those 
whose distinction has been more owing to chance than 
their own conceptions. They are perplexed, almost 
alarmed, by the results of their good fortune, and in 
retiring from enterprise they think they realise success. 

But original and creative spirits are true to the law of 
their organisation. An octogenarian Doge of Venice 
scaled the walls of Constantinople ; Marius had completed 
his seventieth year when he defeated the elder Pompey 
and quelled the most powerful of aristocracies; white 
hairs shaded the bold brain of Julius the Second when he 
planned the expulsion of the barbarians from Italy; and 



1841] ESTIMATE OF THE DUKE 379 

the great King of Prussia had approached his grand 
climacteric when he partitioned Poland. 1 In surveying 
your Grace's career of half a century, I cannot perceive 
any very obtrusive indications of moderation in your 
purposes, though abundant evidence of forbearance in 
your conduct. Celebrated for caution, I should rather 
select as your characteristic a happy audacity. No one 
has performed bolder deeds in a more scrupulous manner ; 
and plans which, in their initial notion, have assumed 
even the features of rashness have always succeeded from 
the wariness of your details. I speak chiefly of your 
civil life; but I am inclined to believe that your more 
illustrious, though not perhaps your more eminent, ser- 
vices will not contradict this inference. Your physical 
aspect is in complete harmony with your spiritual con- 
stitution. In the classic contour of your countenance 
at the first glance, we recognise only deep thoughtful- 
ness and serene repose ; but the moment it lights up into 
active expression, command breathes in every feature; 
each glance, each tone, indicates the intuitive mind im- 
pervious to argument, and we trace without difficulty the 
aquiline supremacy of the Csesars. 2 

1 Contrast the famous passage in " Coningsby " in which Disraeli 
extols the power of young men: " The history of heroes is the 
history of youth." 

2 The following lines written by Disraeli are quoted from the 
Morning Post by Sir Herbert Maxwell in his " Life of the Duke of 
Wellington ": 

To THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON. 

Not only that thy puissant arm could bind 

The tyrant of a world, and, conquering fate, 

Enfranchise Europe, do I deem thee great; 

But that in all thy actions do I find 

Exact propriety; no gusts of mind 

Fitful and wild, but that continuous state 

Of ordered impulse mariners await 

In some benignant and enriching wind, 

The breath ordained by Nature. Thy calm mien 

Kecalls old Rome, as much as thy high deed; 

Duty thine only idol, and serene 

When all are troubled; in the utmost need 

Prescient; thy country's servant ever seen, 

Yet sovereign of thyself whate'er may speed. 

B. DISRAELI. 



380 OPEN LETTERS [1841 

I dismiss, then, at once the idea that your Grace shrinks 
from action. The sublime vanity of a mind like yours 
will not suffer that any great transactions shall be con- 
ducted in your lifetime without your special interference. 
Is it then, as others suggest, from a subtle regard for the 
ultimate interest of your party that you have more than 
once thrown your aegis over the trembling Treasury 
Bench ? Is it, in short, your Grace's opinion that the 
hour has not yet arrived ? That the triumph of old 
English principles will be not only insured, but confirmed, 
by the prolonged feebleness of that administration, which 
is still representative of the new doctrines, however mean 
and spiritless ? If you looked only to the personal inter- 
ests of your political friends, such consideration might be 
influential, for the duration of the Government that some 
deem impending might probably bear some relation to the 
incapacity of its predecessor. But I know well that your 
mind soars far above such limited calculations, and I 
believe that you are only reconciled to the continuance 
in office of the present administration from an opinion 
that, checked by your power, they can do no harm, 
and in the enjoyment of place they will not care to 
project it. 

Before we can form a correct judgment on this head, 
it is necessary that we should possess a precise idea 
of the present situation of the Government in the 
House of Commons. It is not only curious, it is un- 
precedented. 

Her Majesty's Ministers carry on the government of 
the country by two methods : first, practically, by a Con- 
servative majority, and secondly, theoretically, by a 
revolutionary majority. As long as public credit is to be 
maintained or the national honour vindicated, a tax to 
be raised or an armament equipped in a word, as long 
as anything is to be done, a successful appeal is made to the 
loyal support of the Conservative party ; but the moment 
that party evinces any ambition to possess itself of the 
forms as well as the spirit of power, and because it fills 






1841] RECONNOITRING THE POSITION 381 

the Treasury would sit upon the Treasury Bench, and 
because it mans the fleet would counsel at the Admiralty 
Board then the theoretical method is forthwith recurred 
to by the alarmed administration. Some abstract declara- 
tion as to the nature of ecclesiastical property, or the 
exercise of the political franchise, is pompously announced; 
the capacity of an administrative body is made to depend 
upon the Parliamentary assertion of some unfeasible 
principle; and by the assistance of the revolutionary 
majority it is demonstrated that the Conservative party 
are disqualified for the conduct of public business, because 
at the beginning of a session they vainly declare the im- 
practicability of a measure the impossibility of which is 
not acknowledged by the Government until the close of 
that session. These ingenious manoauvres are described 
in Ministerial rhetoric as the assertion of a great 
principle. 

This, then, is the Parliamentary position which great- 
authorities are not anxious to disturb as one, if not 
productive of benefit, at least inefficient for injury; 
and, on the whole, a political arrangement adapted 
to a country fast rallying from a recent revolutionary 
convulsion. 

Let us reconnoitre the position a little more closely. 

There may be some, perhaps, who may find no mean 
constitutional objections to the government of a country 
being habitually carried on by an Opposition, even if that 
Opposition be headed by such men as the Duke of Welling- 
ton and Sir Robert Peel. These objections may claim 
our future consideration. Here only we may observe 
that it is difficult to foresee how the consequence of such a 
conjecture can ultimately be other than a struggle for 
supremacy between the Crown and the Parliament. For 
the nation it matters little in what form the inevitable 
despotism may develop itself in that of a Select Com- 
mittee or in that of a Privy Council; in the decision 
of a Parliamentary vote or the decree of a Royal 
proclamation. 



382 OPEN LETTERS [1841 

There may be others who may view with apprehension 
a state of affairs which accustoms the great body of the 
people to associate the idea of regular government with 
that of revolutionary doctrines. Your Grace and your 
party have for years inculcated on this nation that the 
doctrines of the persons in power menaced the institutions 
of the country and the existence of the empire. They have 
not changed those doctrines, and their indispensable sup- 
porters, the theoretical majority, have aggravated them. 
Yet the public observe that the affairs of State are con- 
ducted with sobriety and order; they have not time for 
refined speculation on the condition of parties; they 
cannot comprehend that the order and sobriety are in 
contradiction to the doctrines of the Ministry, and in 
spite of the support of their adherents; and thus they 
may cease to connect the idea of revolutionary govern- 
ment with that of revolutionary principles. Hitherto 
they have rallied round you with eager sympathy, and 
readily responded to your call for constitutional succour. 
It may be necessary to appeal to them again. Circum- 
stances may change. The present administration, for 
instance, may cross the floor of the House. What if 
they then consistently spout the sedition which in office 
they have never recanted ? What if they are prepared to 
re-enter office to practise as well as to preach it ? And 
in all probability they would not be able to re-enter office 
on any other terms. Will your cry of the Constitution in 
danger avail you again ? May not the people of England 
fairly rejoin, The cry of the Constitution in danger means 
only the return of the Whigs to power; and why should 
they not return to that power which, when they possessed 
it before, they exercised exactly as yourselves ? Thus, 
Sir, you perceive that refined political tactics may mystify 
the practical simplicity of the popular mind. A nation 
perplexed, like a puzzled man, will act weakly, ineffi- 
ciently, erroneously in a word, blunder. But the 
blunder of a people may prove the catastrophe of an 
empire. 



1841] INDEPENDENT OF PAELIAMENT 383 

I present you, Sir, yet with another great public con- 
sideration which results from your Parliamentary policy. 
It is exactly ten years since the author of the " Essay 
on the English Constitution ' 51 introduced into the House 
of Commons his measure for the reconstruction of the 
third estate of the realm commonly called the Parlia- 
mentary Reform Bill. That violent proposition was 
temperately rejected by the House of Commons ; and the 
House of Commons was instantly dissolved in the then 
state of affairs, I might say destroyed. The reintroduced 
proposition was opposed by the Lords Spiritual, another 
Parliamentary estate of the realm, and the Bishops were 
burnt in effigy, their persons assailed, and their palaces 
plundered. It was opposed by the Lords Temporal, and 
the present Minister of England denounced the constitu- 
tional expression of their judgment " as the whisper of a 
faction." For four years the Whigs hallooed on the 
popular blood against your Grace and your peers; and 
your House tottered. At length, baffled by the returning 
sense of the country, the arrogant hostility that would 
have destroyed the House of Lords was succeeded by the 
sullen vengeance that would rule the country in defiance 
of it. The character and office of the House of Commons 
were systematically exaggerated and misrepresented. 
But by degrees even this reorganised and all-sufficient 
House of Commons began to slip their moorings from the 
Whig sandbank. The Ministers even formally acknow- 
ledged and announced that they had forfeited its confi 
dence. But they are still Ministers. These constitu- 
tional denouncers of " the whisper of a faction " now 
chuckle in their orgies over the consolatory conviction 
that " one is enough," but after the Supplies it seems 
that even a minority of ten will do no harm. And thus 
the great Reform struggle, that has now lasted as long as 
the siege of Troy, terminates by the Reform Ministry 
governing the country independent of the Reformed 
Parliament. 

1 Lord John Kussell. 



384 OPEN LETTERS [1841 

To me there is nothing in this conduct of the Whigs at 
all inconsistent with their whole management since their 
accession to power. To me our domestic history for the 
last ten years is a visible and violent attempt by an 
oligarchy to govern this country in spite of its Parliament. 
The policy of the Whigs has been a continued assault 
upon some portion or other of our Parliamentary institu- 
tions. They destroyed the old House of Commons 
because it was intractable; they menaced the House of 
Lords because it was unmanageable; and, for the new 
House of Commons, they will bully it as long as it is sub- 
missive, and attempt to reconstruct it the moment it is 
mutinous. 

But is it the Duke of Wellington is it that statesman, 
so impressed with the importance of popular responsi- 
bility that he declared that after the Reform Act no 
Prime Minister ought to sit in the Upper House is it you, 
Sir, who will countenance an administration of whom it 
may be said that they are dependent upon everything 
and everybody except Parliament ? 

With the means at the command of the Ministry, it is 
possible that the present state of affairs may be continued 
for three more sessions. But at the inevitable close of 
the existing Parliament are we certain of redress ? What 
if this be the last House of Commons that is elected by 
the present constituency ? What if a Royal proclamation 
issues a Commission to inquire into the best means of 
obtaining a full and fair representation of the people, and 
in the meantime provides that no portion of them shall 
be represented to the detriment of the others by not 
summoning a Parliament on the old scheme ? With a 
skilful adaptation of means, and a dexterous agitation of 
the popular spirit, the Supplies, under such circumstances, 
might perhaps be obtained by an Order in Council. At 
least we have the satisfaction of feeling that in all prob- 
ability our Sovereign would not be destitute, and that a 
Parliament holden in Dublin in 1844, full of " affectionate 
loyalty," could scarcely refuse a civil list. 



1841] THE STATE OF THE CASE 385 

We start at such portents. They are grave pr6b- 
abilities. The Whigs for two centuries have been great 
dealers in coups d'etat. They are the natural conse- 
quences of the Parliamentary policy that permits the 
Whigs simultaneously to carry on the Government by a 
Conservative majority, and to carry on the Revolution by 
a Radical one. 

And this, my Lord Duke, is the state of the case. 

March 10, 1841. ATTICUS. 



DISRAELI OR MAGINN 1 [1835-37 



DISRAELI OR MAGINN ? 

[!N the Introduction it is suggested that three of 
the biographical sketches which appeared in Fraser's 
Magazine in 1835-36, and which have hitherto been 
attributed to Maginn, were in fact by Disraeli. The 
grounds for this belief are to be found in the articles 
themselves; so far as is known there is nothing in Dis- 
raeli's private papers either to confirm or to disprove the 
assumption. In the first eight years of Fraser's existence 
there appeared the famous Gallery of Illustrious Literary 
Characters. The drawings, some eighty in number, were 
by Maclise, and the accompanying biographical sketches, 
concise and witty, were by Maginn. There were some 
known exceptions ; five of the articles have been traced to 
the pens of Carlyle, Lockhart, and Father Prout (the Rev. 
Francis Mahony). All were republished in 1873 by Pro- 
fessor Bates as the " Maclise Portrait Gallery," and dedi- 
cated to Disraeli, whose familiar portrait by Maclise forms 
No. 36 of the Gallery. The original drawing, with many 
others of the series, was purchased by Forster at the 
Maclise sale, and is now in the Forster collection at South 
Kensington. 

When the stock of Illustrious Literary Characters 
showed signs of exhaustion, the net was spread a little 
wider, and a few persons who were of political rather than 
literary repute were admitted to the company of the elect. 
Among them were the Earl of Mulgrave, afterwards 
Marquis of Normanby (No. 64), November, 1835; Sir John 
Cam Hobhouse (No. 72), May, 1836; and Lord Lyndhurst 
(No. 77), October, 1836. These three politicians figure 
frequently in Disraeli's writings, and his mental attitude 
towards them is known. The view of the writer of the 



1835-37] SELF PLAGIAKISM 387 

sketches in Fraser is precisely that of Disraeli in his pub- 
lished writings of the period. Not only so, but character- 
istic phrases which occur in articles now republished for 
the first time as his reappear in the Fraser contributions, 
and are allotted impartially to one or other of the charac- 
acters. Now Disraeli, as has been pointed out, was a 
confirmed self-plagiarist. The main evidence is therefore 
contained in the parallel passages; add to them the fact 
that Disraeli was in friendly relations with the Fraserians, 
and especially with Maclise and Count D'Orsay; note the 
casual allusions to visits paid to Athens and Florence, both 
of which cities had been included in his recent itinerary; 
contrast the Disraelian acerbity of treatment of Cam Hob- 
house and Mulgrave with the humorous badinage meted 
out to other illustrious characters in the Gallery ; compare 
the panegyric of Lord Lyndhurst, his patron, with the 
sentiments in the Times article by Disraeli one of " four 
bolts of veritable Olympian thunder," concerning which 
he wrote to his sister on August 20, 1 836 ; and there will be 
found, surely, an accumulation of evidence sufficient to 
justify the inclusion in this volume of the three sketches 
as Disraeli's. 

Below are set out in adjoining columns the more striking 
parallel passages : 

It was a bright idea, that of Perhaps His Excellency may 
emptying the gaols of the Bara- have stumbled on the second 
taria over whose destinies your part of " Henry the Sixth," in 
Excellency so shrewdly pre- which Jack Cade made his ap- 
sides, and it is interesting to pearance . . . but do we compare 
witness the philosophical civil- the undaunted " Mortimer, Lord 
isation of the nineteenth cen- of the City," to O'ConnelH 
tury, in triumphant defiance of Mulgrave : Frazer's Magazine, 
ancient prejudice, communicat- November, 1835. 
ing with so much effect the rude The time has come when, in the 
yet prophetic conceptions of a queer revolution of things which 
Jack Cade. Fortunate island we are doomed to witness, our 
that an O'Connell supplies with Sancho has got the government 
justice, and a Mulgrave with of an island, and rules India 
mercy ! Open Letters : Runny- with a degree of wisdom which 
mede to Mulgrave, February 11, would excite envy in the Cab- 
1837. inet of Barataria. Hobhouse : 

Fraser's Magazine, May, 1836, 



388 



DISKAELI OR MAGINN 



[1835-37 



My candour may ? at least, be 
as salutary as the cabbage- 
stalks of your late constituents. 
There are some indeed who, as 
I am informed, have murmured 
at this method of communicat- 
ing to them my opinion of their 
characters and careers. Yet I 
can conceive an individual so 
circumstanced that he would 
scarcely be entitled to indulge 
in such querulous sensitiveness. 
He should be one . . . to whom 
it had been asserted in his teeth 
that he was a liar and a scoun- 
drel, and only wanted courage 
to be an assassin. Eunnymede 
Letter to Hobhouse, February 27, 
1836. 

The Rienzi of Westminster 
smiles with marvellous com- 
placency at the strange chapter 
of accidents which has con- 
verted a man whose friends 
pelted George Lamb with a 
cabbage-stalk into a main prop 
of William Lamb's Cabinet. 
Eunnymede Letter to Melbourne, 
January 18, 1836. 

The Commentator of Byron, 
you naturally became in due 
season " Sir Francis Burdett's 
man," as Mr. Canning styled 
you, to your confusion, in the 
House of Commons. Eunny- 
mede Letter to Hobhouse, Feb- 
ruary 27, 1836. 

A demagogue or a placeman. 
Idem. 

That "first tragedy man," 
the Lord of Mulgrave. Eunny- 
mede Letter to Melbourne, Janu- 
ary 18, 1836. 

Vain, volatile, and flimsy, 
headstrong without being cour- 
ageous . . . always theatrical, 
with a morbid love of popu- 
larity and a maudlin flux of 
claptrap sensibility, his anger a 
stage scowl, his courtesy a 
simper; every glance directed to 



This Right Hon. Baronet is 
now a member of the Cabinet 
presided over, at least nomin- 
ally, by the brother of the 
gentleman whom he so un- 
mercifully exposed in Covent 
Garden to the cabbages and 
turnip-tops of its Liberal elec- 
tors. . . . When he makes a 
gathering of the writings attri- 
buted to him, we trust that he 
. . . may append to it, as a 
fitting note, Canning's compli- 
mentary billet that the author 
of a certain pamphlet was a 
liar and a scoundrel, who only 
wanted courage to be an assas- 
sin. Hobhouse : Fraser's Mag- 
azine, May, 1836. 



He began life as a butt of 
Lord Byron's. Cobbett styled 
him Sancho, from his obsequi- 
ous servility to Sir Francis 
Burdett, to whom he bore the 
same relation as the greasy 
clown did to his mistaken but 
chivalrous master. Hobhouse : 
Fraser's Magazine, May, 1836. 

The brawling patriot has been 
transformed into the lickspittle 
placeman. Idem. 

Among fashionable people he 
is distinguished as an amateur 
actor, who is equally meritori- 
ous in his performance of 
" Hamlet " and the " Cock." . . . 
When duly curled, oiled, painted, 
and lighted up, he does look 
passably well, and might be 
trusted in a third-rate walking 
gentleman cast. Mulgrave : 
Fraser's Magazine. November, 
1835. 



1835-37] 



LORD MULGRAVE 



389 



the lamps, every movement 
arranged into an attitude. 
Open Letters : Eunnymede to 
Mulgrave, February 11, 1837. 

Lord Lyndhurst terminated 
last night his splendid career 
for this session by an oration 
which ought to be printed at 
every press and posted under 
every roof in old England. . . . 
For luminous arrangement and 

Eerspicuous statement, com- 
ined with the most polished 
sarcasm and irresistible irony, 
we know no effusion of the 
noble lord, distinguished as 
they ever are by these striking 
qualities of accomplished elo- 
quence, superior to this well- 
timed and well-executed ad- 
dress. Its effect upon the 
House is only the herald of its 
effect upon the country. . . . 
No words can describe the 
outrageous irritability of Lord 
Melbourne or the blank rage of 
Lord Holland. One found 
words in his wrath, and the 
other lost them in his per- 
plexity. In the ''Times," 
August 18, 1836. 

His profound legal know- 
ledge, his calm yet courageous 
bearing, his statesmanlike com- 
prehension of a subject, and 
his humorous eloquence, have 
fairly won him the post of 
leader of the Conservative party 
in the House of Lords. In the 
" Morning Post," August 21, 
1835. 



The celebrated speech which 
closed the last session . . . demol- 
ished the reputation of the un- 
fortunate Government, or rather 
shadow of a Government, strid- 
den over by O'Connell. All 
parties agree that it had the 
most withering effect. The 
Whigs were silent, in breath- 
less rage or fear; the Tories en- 
tranced in admiration and mute 
wonder, as the eloquent periods 
flowed from the lips of the 
stately speaker. Lyndhurst : 
Fraser's Magazine, October, 1836. 



He is the recognised leader of 
the most honourable party in 
what, considered on public 
grounds as a whole, and with- 
out reference to the factious 
fraction which he opposes, is 
the noblest body in the world, 
and he owes this lofty station 
to his own overwhelming 
talents. Lyndhurst : Fraser's 
Magazine, October, 1836.] 



THE EARL OF MULGRAVE 

(Fraser's Magazine, November, 1835.) 

WE present to our readers the ex-Governor-General of 
Jamaica, the President of the Garrick, and the Lord 
Lieutenant of Ireland. Among literary men he is known 



390 DISRAELI OR MAGINN ! [1835 

or heard of as the author of several novels which have 
not materially contributed to swell his repute; among 
fashionable people he is distinguished as an amateur 
actor, who is equally meritorious in the performance of 
" Hamlet " and the " Cock." We recollect him when he 
used to perform in Florence all manners of characters to all 
manners of audiences ; and we never failed to appreciate 
the discriminating civility with which, after having 
crowded his rooms with a miscellaneous collection of all 
the English who could be found tolerant enough to listen 
to him, he used to go through the weary mob, inviting a 
select few, in the hearing of the whole company, to re- 
main to supper (a little supper he used to call it, and in 
that particular he amply kept his word), to the exclusion 
of the indignant multitude, who thought that, in common 
justice, they should have had something to wash down 
his Lordship's dose of histrionism. 

Our artist is rather too favourable to Mulgrave. 
Thanks to Delcroix, or some other artist of that pro- 
fession, the locks look exuberant still ; but woe worth the 
day ! crow's-feet tell about the temples, and deep wrinkles 
beseam the well-rouged face. But still, when duly 
curled, oiled, painted, and lighted up, he does look pass- 
ably well, and might be trusted in a third-rate walking 
gentleman ci'st. He is at present showing off in a part 
for which he is just as much fitted as he is for enacting 
" Romeo," but one in which he can do more mischief than 
could attend the most vigorously hissed performance 
that ever disgraced a theatre. 

Perhaps His Excellency may have stumbled on the 
Second Part of "Henry the Sixth," in which Jack Cade 
makes his appearance. This great reformer declared that 
the laws of England should come out of his mouth (which 
even his own partisans allowed to be foetid and disgust- 
ing) ; that that mouth should be the Parliament of England ; 
that he would leave no lord or gentleman in the land; 
that a universal destruction should take place, so that all 
men should be arrayed in one livery, and worship him 



1835] CADE AND O'CONNELL 391 

their lord. In these particulars we have now a revived 
Jack Cade; but do we compare the undaunted " Mortimer, 
Lord of the City," to O'Connell ? They both may be 
designated beggars ; but the beggary of Cade was 
valiant. He had no vow in heaven to protect him 
from the consequence of his outrages; nor, on the other 
hand, could he, after he had doomed " the nobility 
to go in leathern aprons," have found a representa- 
tive of the King to allow him to play the part of 
" protector over him." That was reserved for our own 
times. 

Mulgrave is poor, and is glad to escape from the elee- 
mosynary hospitality of the Duke of Devonshire on any 
terms. He is vain, and the title of Viceroy must tickle 
his fancy. We are told that he is annoyed at the marked 
absence of the Irish gentry from his parties or levees ; but 
the shouting in the upper gallery compensates in his ear 
for the hissing of the boxes ; and we recommend him to 
exhibit at Donnybrook grinning through a horse-collar, 
which would at once show his features in their most 
appropriate expression, and afford the most congenial 
gratification to the friends on whom he relies. In the 
short list of his ancestors, we find that one invented a 
diving-bell typical of sinking and mud-seeking propen- 
sities; that another was that Lord Chancellor of Ireland 
who was made the victim of Curran's bitterness more than 
a half-century after his death, and about another half- 
century before his descendant grovelled at the hoofs of 
those who adhere to all the sedition, without a tithe of 
the talent, of Curran; that another (Commodore Phipps) 
was, like his nephew, sent upon an experimental voyage, 
in which he had no great success; and that formerly 
His Excellency's father enjoyed, for good reason (vide 
Cobbett), the title of Lord Lonsdale's boots. The 
noble son plays the part of boots to a very different 
person. 

To conclude. Mulgrave is about forty years old, 
desperately hard up, a most industrious scribbler, a 



392 DISRAELI OE MAGINN ! [1836 

capital led-captain, a passable buffoon; but when we see 
him sent to govern Ireland just now, we are irresistibly 
reminded of one of his own novels, and must say : 

" By Yes and No, but it is very strange." 1 



SIR JOHN CAM HOBHOUSE 

(Fraser's Magazine, May, 1836.) 

THIS right honourable Baronet is now a member of the 
Cabinet presided over, at least nominally, by the brother 
of the gentleman whom he once so unmercifully exposed 
in Covent Garden to the cabbages and turnip-tops of its 
Liberal electors, and the unsparing raillery of Mr. Canning, 
poured in with so much effect upon the " mud-bespattered 
Whigs taking refuge from the oppression of their popu- 
larity under the bayonets of the Horse Guards." Times 
are changed since. Hobhouse no longer writes letters to 
Lord Erskine or Lord Erskine's friends, sneering at green 
ribands, and laughing at the pretensions to political 
purity in the holders of place and pension. We are no 
longer told to " Ask him, gentlemen," when any of the 
Whigocracy forgets to advocate in power those doctrines 
which he had maintained to be indispensable to the very 
existence of the country while out of office. No ! the 
usual change has taken place: the brawling patriot has 
been transformed into the lickspittle placeman. 

He began life as a butt of Lord Byron's, who made 
many most unsavoury rhymes on his name. In fact, we 
do not remember any person of note among us who has 
had the fortune of being saluted with titles less redolent 
of grace than Cam Hobhouse. Hook, by an error of 
the press, saluted him with an appellation which, it must 
be admitted, his personal appearance perpetually tends 
to suggest. Gait, in his notice of the Pot and Kettle 
controversy, bestowed upon him the title of the former 

1 Mulgrave was the author of a book entitled " Yes and No." 



1836] COMPLIMENTS TO HOBHOUSE 393 

utensil. Lord Palmerston (we believe) eulogised him in 
an ode in the John Bull, the first distich of which was : 

" I care not a (very familiar beast) 
For John Cam Hobhouse." 

Cobbett styled him Sancho, from his obsequious servility 
to Sir Francis Burdett, to whom he bore the same re- 
lation as the greasy clown did to his mistaken but chival- 
rous master. The time has come when, in the queer 
revolution of things which we are doomed to witness, our 
Sancho has got the government of an island, and rules 
India with a degree of wisdom which would excite envy 
in the Cabinet of Barataria. 

We remember him we regret to say, a good many years 
ago in Athens, where he distinguished himself by wear- 
ing a pair of green baize breeches, which produced an 
epigram hardly fit to be repeated to ears polite; but 
which, nevertheless, has appeared in print. The collec- 
tion of such compliments paid to Hobhouse would be 
large. It is a pleasant reflection for any man that he 
should have been so particularly distinguished by his 
contemporaries. When he makes a gathering of works 
attributed to him, we trust that he will not forget the 
famous letter in which he boasted that three hundred 
Muciuses had sworn to murder Canning. He may append 
to it, as a fitting note, Canning's complimentary billet 
that the author of a certain pamphlet was a liar and a 
scoundrel, who only wanted courage to be an assassin. 
It would also be an agreeable literary curiosity if he 
were to publish at the same time Lord Byron's confi- 
dential note, in which his Lordship recommended certain 
folks not to trouble themselves by making vain efforts to 
appear in the alien character of men of honour. 

He is, perhaps, the best exemplification of Lord Mans- 
field's saying, that popularity is gained without a merit, 
and lost without a fault. He had no claim whatever, 
except impudence and servility, on Westminster, when 
be was elected; and these qualities he possessed when he 
was turned out . One of the main pretences for his ejection 

26 



394 DISRAELI OR MAGINN f [1836 

was his devotion, to the cat-o'-nine-tails. His successor 
has made that much- abused instrument the principal 
engine of discipline in his well- whipped and ill-fed army. 
Of Hobhouse's political career the records are short. The 
man has done nothing, because nothing is in him. Ex 
nihilo nil fit there is no getting blood from a turnip ; and 
it is one of our misfortunes that we should be compelled 
to write about such people at all. But the amber of 
office embalms them for their day. Shrined for a while in 
that, we are doomed to observe the forms of creeping 
things, our wonder at which a small one under existing 
circumstances secures the tribute of a page even to " my 
boy, Hobbio." We have added to his name the title of 
his first performance the Miscellany ; or, as his friend 
Lord Byron (Murray's edition, vol. i., p. 185) too truly 
called it, the Miss-sell-any. The names of his other 
literary performances we have forgotten. 



LORD LYNDHURST 

(Fmser's Magazine, October, 1836.) 

IT is hardly possible to conceive a prouder situation than 
that which is now occupied by Lord Lyndhurst. He is 
the recognised leader of the most honourable party in 
what, considered on public grounds as a whole, and with- 
out reference to the factious fraction which he opposes, 
is the noblest body in the world; and he owes this lofty 
station to his own overwhelming talents. In an assembly 
which comprises men who have filled the greatest offices, 
governed vast provinces, led victorious armies, conducted 
important missions, presided over courts of justice, repre- 
sented large constituencies who have, in short, fulfilled 
with distinction the highest functions of public life in 
every department in an assembly where we find princes 
and marshals, viceroys and ambassadors, chancellors 
and judges, orators and statesmen, knights and nobles, 
the presence of any one of whom, with a few disgraceful 







LORD LYNDHURST. 
From a drawing by Daniel Maclise, K.A, 



1836] LYNDHURST AND O'CONNELL 395 

exceptions, would be considered to be an ornament in 
any company in the world ; in this assembly, illustrious as 
it is by high birth, ancient descent, polished breeding, and 
not more so than by great talent, knowledge, and elo- 
quence, its most illustrious portion has, without a dis- 
senting voice, chosen Lord Lyndhurst as its organ and 
its chief. It is a distinction of which any man might 
justly be proud ; and that just pride must be enhanced by 
the consciousness that he executes the duty entrusted to 
him so as to excite the admiration of his noble allies, and, 
what is a tribute no less decisive, the bitter fury of his 
ignoble antagonists. 

It is quite unnecessary that we should attempt the 
slightest sketch of the life of a man so long before the 
public. The bawling demagogue of the day has threat- 
ened to espose his private history, and he may indulge 
his slandetfous propensities with impunity, for all people 
duly appreciate the reason which dictates the lies he may 
publish in some obscure journals. They feel that in his 
sinking estate for sinking he is, in spite of his swagger 
and bluster he attributes his fall to the eloquence of 
that eminent orator whom we have enrolled in our 
Gallery. The celebrated speech which closed the last 
session, 1 and which gives us the title to place his portrait 
on the opposite page, demolished the reputation of the 
unfortunate Government, or rather shadow of a Govern- 
ment, stridden over by O'Connell. All parties agree that 
it had the most withering effect. The Whigs were silent, 
in breathless rage or fear ; the Tories, entranced in admira- 
tion and mute wonder, as the eloquent periods flowed from 
the lips of the stately speaker. It is generally reported 
that O'Connell was present under the gallery while Lord 
Lyndhurst addressed to him, in one of his speeches, the 
passage directed by Cicero against Catiline, and that the 
triple-bronzed beggar-man shrank away in abashment. 
Yet that passage pleased us not. It was not fair to Cati- 
line to compare him, who, as Sallust tells, was " ndbili loco 

1 Republished as the "Summary of the Session." 



396 DISRAELI OR MAGINN ? [1836 

natus" who never shrank from danger of any kind in the 
midst of the stirring period of human history, whose hands 
are free from the stain of money, and who died gallantly 
fighting, at last, amid his brave companions 

" Each stepping where his comrade stood 
The instant that he fell " 

with one whose name is unconnected with any honour- 
able action, whose whole life has been one scene of skulking 
from dangers into which he had drawn others, and who is 
occupied from one end of the year to the other in devising 
plans of drawing enormous fortunes from squalid beggary. 1 

What Lord Lyndhurst is as a politician and lawyer is 
known to all. In both characters he is pre-eminent. 
We shall invade his private lif e no further than to say that 
the orator of the Senate is the wit of the dinner-table the 
profound lawyer of the Bench or Woolsack, the gayest of 
the gay hi drawing-room and boudoir. Our artist has 
been happy in catching his likeness at a moment when, 
the robes of office or nobility being thrown aside, he aims 
at no other character than one in which he is so well quali- 
fied to shine a gentleman. A pleasanter fellow does 
not exist; and in his case, at least, the fair author was 
mistaken when she said that " the judge and the peer is 
a world-weary man." 

It is rarely that a man of genius leaves behind him a son 
also a man of genius. It has been so, however, in the pre- 
sent case. But little could Copley have contemplated, 
when he was painting his celebrated picture of the death 
of Chatham, that his own son was destined to equal the 
fame of Chatham in such an assembly as that on which 
he was employing his pencil. 

1 " I am not one of those public beggars that we see swarming 
with their obtrusive boxes in the chapels of your creed, nor am 
I in possession of a princely revenue arising from a starving race 
of fanatical slaves" (Disraeli's Letter to O'Connell, May 5, 1835). 



1836] LORD LYNDHURST 397 



THE SUMMARY OF THE SESSION 1 

LORD LYNDHTJRST terminated last night his splendid 
career for this session of Parliament by an oration which 
ought to be printed at every press and posted under every 
roof in old England. It was a summary of the session of 
this session, so memorable in the annals of our country, and 
in which his Lordship has acquired laurels that even his 
most ardent admirers had not anticipated. For lumin- 
ous arrangement and perspicuous statement, combined 
with the most polished sarcasm and irresistible irony, we 
know no effusion of the noble Lord, distinguished as they 
ever are by these striking qualities of accomplished elo- 
quence, superior to this well-timed and well-executed 
address. Its effect upon the House is only the herald of 
its effect upon the country. It fell upon the ranks of the 
Government like a Congreve rocket. Two Cabinet 
Minsters, one the Prime Minister, rose to answer it. They 
spoke one immediately after the other, as if they felt 
conscious that two of their number at least were wanting 
to combat such an antagonist. No words can describe 
the outrageous irritability of Lord Melbourne or the blank 
rage of Lord Holland. One found words in his wrath, 
and the other lost them in his perplexity. Yet the First 
Lord of the Treasury, though he raged, and the Chancellor 
of the Exchequer, though he whimpered, must yield in 
the effect that they produced to the solemn testiness of the 
Lord Chancellor. Lord Melbourne writhed like a scotched 
snake, Lord Holland gambolled like an excited elephant, 
but the present keeper of the Great Seal, the successor of 
Lord Lyndhurst, was the crowning glory of this grand 
scene of Ministerial propriety and administrative justifi- 
cation, and to the satisfaction of all present assuredly 
" wrote himself down " a most grave and reverend, 
though not most potent Signior. 

Will these men go on ? We hope so. Lord Viscount 

1 Leading article by Disraeli in the Times of August 19, 1836. 



398 DISRAELI OR MAGINN t [1836 

Melbourne assured us last night that he was Minister, 
and Minister he would remain, come what might. 1 His 
Lordship condescended to say nothing in favour of the 
Crown, not even of the confidence of the nation. We are 
wearied of experiments and restless change. What this 
country requires is a firm and vigorous and able adminis- 
tration, supported by the property and intelligence of 
the country, not by a pennyless and ignorant faction. 
The Duke of Wellington last night well described the 
character of the British Empire, its vast and various 
interests, its diversified population, and its complicated 
wealth. Can a Ministry, tied to the hackney-chariot 
wheels of a contemptible crew of political adventurers, 
the spawn of a malignant class of our society, generated 
in an ill-seasoned and distempered time, rise to the height 
of this elevated office ? Say what the jobbing levellers 
like, England must still be governed by men whose 
wealth creates a natural anxiety for the stability of all 
property, and whose education and intelligence enable 
them to appreciate, and induce them to cling to, those 
institutions which form the strength and essence of con- 
stitutional freedom. 

The able and seasonable speech of Lord Lyndhurst 
may be considered as the manifesto of the Conservative 
party. Will its delivery assist the Government in their 
machinations as to the King's Speech ? What have they 
heard from Windsor to-day ? Will the paragraph be 
admitted ? 2 What says the worthy Chancellor of the 
Exchequer ? Lord Lansdowne was dumb last night. 
This motion of the great Conservative leader, this powerful 
vindication of the legislative career of the House of Lords 
by its ablest member, chimes in opportunely with the well- 

1 "I conscientiously believe," said Lord Melbourne in the 
debate, "that the well-being of the country requires that I 
should hold my present office and hold it I will till I am 
constitutionally removed from it." 

2 The Tories had spread a report that the Ministers wanted to 
thrust into the Speech some allusions to the conduct of the House 
of Lords, but no such thing was ever contemplated (Greville's 
"Memoirs"). 



1836] A CONSEEVATIVE MANIFESTO 399 

digested scheme of the baffled Whigs to cast contumely 
upon the Upper House of Parliament for their constitu- 
tional opposition to an incapable and unprincipled 
Ministry. This Ministry, vanquished, as Lord Lynd- 
hurst well observes, in one House by an irresistible 
majority, and maintained in the other by abandoning 
their prime measures at the sudden dictation of "a 
mutinous and sullen section " such a Ministry are exactly 
the men to hold the Government in duresse and outrage 
the Constitution ! We tell them once for all, the people 
of England scorns them; we know our countrymen. It 
is our pride to advocate on all occasions their interests, 
maintain their rights, and consult their feelings. It is not 
Lord Viscount Melbourne, with all his loose-tongued and 
ill-conditioned ribaldry, that will persuade us he knows 
more than ourselves of the heart and soul of the English 
nation. We tell him the core of his political body is 
rotten, its foundation sand, and its days mmbered. 



400 POLITICAL SATIKES IN VERSE [1837 



POLITICAL SATIRES IN VERSE 



A CHARACTER 

WITH smile complacent, and with candid air, 
Each gesture frank, and every sentence fair ; 
Skilful alike each party to appease, 
And ready from each side each hint to seize ; 
Fixed to defend the Crown, uphold the Church, 
And meaning but to leave them in the lurch ; 
Firm in his faith, and in his tenets strong, 
Yet open to conviction if he's wrong ; 
Ready to die, and yet prepared to live, 
Eager to grasp, yet half resolved to give; 
Convinced no government is like a King, 
Yet deems republics still may be the thing; 
Abhorring spoliation, hinting plunder, 
And joining Church and State quite well asunder; 
See Blarney' 1 rise; the House attentive listens, 
And quite persuaded all is gold that glistens ; 
Beneath his fostering care exchequers thrive, 
Bright sage, who proves that two and two make five ! 

SKELTON, JOT. 

March 7, 1837. 



1 Mr. T. Spring Bice, afterwards Lord Monteagle, an Irish- 
man, whose Bill for the abolition of Church rates had been intro- 
duced in Parliament. The Times declared of the Chancellor's 
measure that " a more despicable compound of tricky assump- 
tion, political trimming, party inconsistency, false reasoning, 
perverted quotation, unconstitutional principle, and odious pre- 
tence, consummated by a proposal equally insulting to Dissenters 
and treacherous to the Church, has never yet been produced within 
the walls of a deliberative assembly." 



1837-] CHAKLES BULLER 401 



OPEN QUESTIONS : A POLITICAL ECLOGUE 

" Formosum pastor Corydon ardebat Alexin." 1 

FOR charming place the patriot B 1 r 2 sighed, 
And through the Mall with mournful footsteps hied, 
To where its classic front the Treasury rears, 
The solemn temple of his hopes and fears; 
Or down that street now traced his anxious way, 
Sacred to statesmen and to quarter-day : 
There to the sullen windows plaintive sings, 
And with his cries the official welkin rings : 

" Oh, cruel Johnny, are my votes then nought ? (a) 
And must I ever then remain unbought ? 
Will pity never touch that haughty breast, 
Nor nightly labours lead to daily rest ? 
Are all my efforts, then, to save the nation 
To end in nothing but in sharp starvation ? 
Better with Peel on adverse bench to sit, 
And share at least the triumph of his wit : (b) 
Doomed still to see each Lordling seize the prize 
By me secured with unproductive ' ayes.' 

" Was it for this I voted black was white, (c) 
And proved in patriot strains that wrong was right ? 
Ah ! haughty youth, we yet may break the spell, 
Trust not thy vast majorities too well; 
To-morrow's night may prove that white is black, 
To-morrow's night may send thee baffled back 
To those lorn benches where thy youth was spent 
In barren opposition's discontent, 
Mourning in vain thy ineffectual lot, 
A would-be Catiline without a plot. 

1 Virgil's Second Eclogue. 

2 Charles Buller, the clever young Member for Liskeard, whom 
Carlyle described as " the genialest Radical I have ever met." 






402 POLITICAL SATIEES IN VERSE [1837 

" You slight me, Johnny ! think, I have some claim (d) 

M.P. for Lis d ; not unknown to fame ; 

Nor am I such a fool as some men say, (e) 

As lately proved on that memorial day, 

When our good E 1 e 1 Tories caught at fault, 

And true Reform seemed nearly at a halt, 

While in his private pouch the public money, 

Perversely found, made prospects somewhat funny; 

I bore the brunt, and, mingling in the fray, 

I proved the second Scipio pure as day ! (/) 

" Nor pass unnoticed that accomplished pen 

To columns known, if not to gods and men ; 

That can with equal ease, and like applause, 

Remodel Senates, or reform our laws, 

A code contribute, or a Peer disrobe, 

And sway the fortunes of the mighty (g) Globe ! 

" Come, haughty youth, (Ji) I yet will gain thy heart; 

List to the tale my trembling lips impart ; 

Two Rads I lately found in wicked play, 

Young, mischievous, malignant, wild, and gay, 

And ready quite to vote the other way ; (?) 

'Tis I will gain these Rads to thee once more, 

And clip the wings with which they sought to soar ; 

Yes, lead our M th 2 once more to his traces, 

And tempt e'en Ro k s with a choice of places. 

" Fool that I am ! He scorns my tempting bribe, (k) 
And turns a deaf ear to our restless tribe; 
What various tastes divide his fickle crew ! (I) 
L 4 likes a trull, and H d 6 loves a shrew. 

1 Edward Ellice, Member for Coventry, was charged with, 
having used public funds for election purposes in 1832, but the 
charge was refuted. 

2 Sir William Molesworth, Liberal Member for East Cornwall. 

3 J. A. Roebuck, Liberal Member for Sheffield. 
* William Lamb, Viscount Melbourne. 

6 Lord Holland. 



1837] LORD MELBOURNE 403 

In easy-chairs their limbs the G ts 1 intrench. 
While Palmy loves a protocol in French. 

H e 2 they say, before a speech a brimmer, 

And Blarney's 3 ever partial to a trimmer. 
Repentant Rads methought might Johnny please, 
And place a Whigling once more at his ease." 

He ceased, then to the House dejected hies, 
And yields a sullen vote to Whig Supplies. 
March 9, 1837. SKELTON, J TO . 

ORIGINAL FOOTNOTES. 

(a) " crudelis Alexi ! nihil mea carmina curas; 

Nil nostri miserere; mori me denique coges T' 
(6) " Nonne fuit melius tristes Amaryllidis iras " 

(c) " . nonne Menalcan, 

Quamvis ille niger, quamvis tu candidus esses, 
! formose puer, nimium ne crede colori ! 
Alba ligustra cadunt, vaccinia nigra leguntur." 

(d) " Sum tibi despectus; nee qui sim quseris, Alexi." 

(e) " Nee sum adeo informis; nuper," etc. 

(/) The hon. member's parallel between the Right Hon. Mr. 
Ell e and Scipio Africanus will never be forgotten, and is not 
surpassed by anything in Plutarch. 
(g) Q. Mity. 

(h) " Hue ades, formose puer." 
(j) ' duo nee tuta mihi valle reperti 

Capreoli," etc. 

(fc) " Rusticus es, Corydon; nee munera curat Alexis." 
(I) " trahit sua quemque voluptas." 



AN HEROIC EPISTLE TO LORD VISCOUNT MEL 

THOU, who, lolling in an easy-chair, 
Rulest a realm, with far-niente air ; 
Viewing alike with philosophic pride 
An empire threatened, or a law defied ; 
Statesman supreme, who by a secret paction 
Insults a nation, just to gain a faction; 
Scholar refined, whose taste sublime, or bland, 
Now soars to Hooker, and now sinks to Sand; (a) 

1 Lord Glenelg and his brother. 

2 Sir J. Cam Hobhouse. 3 T. Spring Rice, 



404 POLITICAL SATIRES IN VERSE [1837 

Chivalric knight, whose all-considerate love 
The records of thy Master's Bench may prove ; 
To laud thy triple fame this verse shall flow, 
Deep Sage, great Minister, successful Beau ! 

For all thy praises why should Whigs supply ? 
Rise, Tory Muse, and wave thy wings, and try ! 
Still must I hear, shall Globes and Couriers pour 
Their pensioned paragraphs from door to door ? l 
Or some dark Papist, in a patriot guise, 
By Chronny's aid, throw dust in English eyes ? 
Shall to thy fame all strain their loudest pitch, 

From flippant F nb que 2 down to priggish R ; 3 > 4 

And I my modest muse with trembling hide, 
Nor write like Pal n a " New Whig Guide." (6) 

Yet dread not, Sir, this friendly pen shall trace 

Aught that may bring the blushes to your face. 

Unnoticed let me pass, oh ! graceless truth ! 

Your boyish promise and your loyal youth; 

When, foremost struggling in a hallowed cause, 

Your voice upheld a country's outraged laws ; 

Or, mid the tumult of sedition's storm, 

With zeal denounced the juggle of Reform. 

Not mine the pen the struggle to relate 

Of your ambition and your better fate, 

Your half-resolves of good, and desperate deeds of hate, 

Reckless and yet remorseful, rash yet wise, 

The conscious tool of traitors you despise ; 

True to the Crown your faction would alloy ; 

Sighing to save the country you destroy ! 

1 Cf. " Still must I hear ? Shall hoarse Fitzgerald bawl 
His creaking couplets in a tavern hall f ' 

BYRON : English Bards and Scotch Reviewers. 
Albany Fonblanque, the brilliant journalist. 
3 Probably Henry Rich, Liberal Member for Knaresborough, 
and afterwards for Richmond; Lord of the Treasury, 1846 ; author 
of several political pamphlets; created a Baronet, 1863. 
* Of. " From Soaring Southey down to Grovelling Stott." 

BYRON: English Bards and Scotch Reviewers. 



1837] LOED MELBOUENE 405 

Survey the Imperial realm and haughty State, 
To thee entrusted by some freak of fate ! 
Once in each land that meets the solar beam 
The standard of St. George might wave supreme, 
And greet on every shore beneath the sky 
A faithful subject or a fond ally. 
Now panting couriers to thy trembling gate 
But bear the tokens of our falling fate, 
And with a gloomy whisper, quaking, tell, 
How this rejects us, and how these rebel: 
The mournful records of thy rule, comprised 
Of treaties broken and of sway despised. 

Ts't not enough from Lisbon to the Hague 

Thy word is shunn'd, as shuns a Turk the plague : 

That in those lands which Wellesley fought to save, 

Where every victim found a hero's grave, 

By Whiggish skill our British host appears 

To Europe's scorn a band of bucaniers ; 

While the proud flag, that o'er a hundred seas 

Has dared alike the battle and the breeze, 1 

Skulks like a smuggler with a muffled oar, 

Or steals a pirate by Trafalgar's shore ? 

Is't not enough, on Europe's scoffing stage, 
The wars of luckless Pantaloon to wage, 
The jeer of feigning friend and open foe, 
And bustling ever but to gain a blow : 
A smile from Talleyrand, an Austrian leer, 
A scowl from Berlin, from the Russ a sneer ? 

Is't not enough, that H e 2 to break their vow 

May counsel colonies with brazen brow ; 
Or from his penny trump a E b k 3 blow 
The dread defiance of his Papineau ? 

1 Of. "Whose flag has braved a thousand years 
The battle and the breeze." 

CAMPBELL : Ye Mariners of England. 

2 Hume. 3 Eoebuck. 



406 POLITICAL SATIEES IN VEESE [1837 

The proverb says, two differ of a trade, 
Yet these are patriots both, and both are paid. 
Is't not enough that e'en Calypso's rock 
Swells with its tiny cry sedition's stock; (c) 
That, not content with foreign broils and fears, 
You e'en must set the country at its ears, 
Domestic trouble blend with distant shame, 
And blast at once our comfort and our fame ? 

Well for the man who now may hold the helm, 

And guide the groaning fortunes of the realm, 

If faithful messmates and a skilful crew 

Rise to his signal vigilant and true. 

Pipe all your hands, and let old England learn 

Who trims her ballast, and who guides her stern ; 

While swift before the wind the vessel flies 

To meet the gathering menace of the skies ! 

With brooding bosom and with sullen mien, 

Pacing the dangerous deck Lord John is seen 

Your first lieutenant ; yet, if truth appear, 

Trusted perforce, and half a mutineer. 

Beside him lounging, voluble and pert, 

And greatly glorying in a gay check shirt, 

Behold the "New Whig Guide !" Prophetic name ! 

The youthful volume suits his present shame, 

For a most novel Whig, him all decide, 

And everyone must own he needs a guide. 

Meanwhile, with jabber brisk, and bustling air, 
Blarney, the purser, mounts the gangway stair, 
Deals out his junk as if a feast he spread, 
And shares his mouldy biscuit like fresh bread. 
Past midshipmen a type in P tty 1 find, 
That solemn emblem of a seedy mind; 
While on the maintop Gr nt 2 discreetly snores, 
And keeps a sure look-out for hostile shores. 

1 Henry Petty, third Marquis of Lansdowne. 

2 Lord Glenelg. 



1837] LOED MELBOURNE 407 

His quadrant then Dun n n 1 quick prepares, (d) 
And beckons H b e, 2 who the duty shares ; 
H b e, though Indian realms his sway confess, 
A man of science once, and F.R.S. 
While H w k, 3 young Ascanius of the Whigs, 
Sneers at strange shrouds, and lauds his father's rigs, 
And whispers Th m n, 4 much renowned for figs. 
Speed on, bold mariners ! with careless brow, 
Place at your helm, and pension at your prow ; 5 
Say, shall my little bark attendant sail, 
Pursue your triumph and partake the gale ? 
Prompt in bright verse to celebrate your force, 
And keep the log-book of your blundering course ! 

SKELTON, JTJN. 

March 20, 1837. 

ORIGINAL FOOTNOTES. 

(a) The favourite reading of his Lordship consists of old divinity 
and new French novels. From the first he acquires his profound 
knowledge of all details of the Church question, and from the last 
the conviction of the total inutility of ecclesiastical establishment 
at all. 

(b) " The New Whig Guide," a collection of Tory lampoons 
ridiculing the principal leaders and members of the Eef orm party, 
and chiefly written by the present noble and consistent Secretary 
of State for Foreign Affairs. 

(c) Under the Whigs even Malta has rebelled, but the rebellion 
is to be quelled in the true Whig style by a Commission. 

(d) His Lordship, it is said, is in the habit of taking an observa- 
tion weekly, and with a very old-fashioned and rusty instrument. 

1 Lord Duncannon. 2 Hobhouse. 

3 Viscount Howick. 4 Poulett Thomson 

6 " Youth on the prow, and Pleasure at the helm." 

GRAY : The Bard. 



408 OLD ENGLAND [1838 



OLD ENGLAND 

BY CCEUR-DE-LION 

[THE OLD ENGLAND series of articles appeared in the 
Times of January, 1838, just before the opening of the new 
session of the Parliament in which Disraeli had taken his 
seat for the first time as the Member for Maidstone. It is 
cast in quite a different mould from his other writings; but 
the phraseology of Carlyle does not altogether obscure the 
sentiments of Disraeli. Home, foreign, and colonial 
affairs were troublesome; his party were in Opposition; 
full of enthusiasm and excitement, it was his cue for the 
moment to represent that a Crisis not the sham " Crisis " 
of 1834 and 1835, or the daily " Crisis " from Ireland, but 
a real Crisis due to a prolonged deadlock in the workings 
of government had been reached. The nation was de- 
manding to know how the Queen's Empire was to be 
maintained. The key to the deadlock was duty; whoever 
could find that key, and could reinvest the Government 
with the moral power of which it had been stripped by 
the Whigs, was fit to be the Prime Minister of England.] 



CHAPTEE I 

ASLEEP 

ARE you asleep, John Bull ? Could I but hear you snore 
I should not care. They might catch you napping, as 
they have done before this; but what then ? A vigorous 
shake of your drowsy shoulders, and who so alive as you ? 
More lively from a sweet, wholesome slumber, more 
vigorous. 



1838] A QUESTIONING NATION 409 

But now it seems you have fallen into a trance, you do 
not even nod. There is no health in this repose. What 
if you have thrown yourself on your couch only to forget 
sorrows, woes with which you cannot struggle, fate in- 
evitable as an insolvent of vast credit, who knows to- 
morrow must see his name in the Gazette? That would 
be a vile, cowardly rest, if rest such a feeble, nerveless 
swoon deserves to be counted. Have you no dreams ? 
Come, come, John, you must wake. There are many 
messengers waiting in your hall ; many letters to answer ; 
much business to transact ; and, lo ! a new year to transact 
it in. 

Remember what the great Prussian said, old iron- 
hearted Frederick, when affairs were very desperate, 
though his salvation was nearer at hand than he deemed 
it : After seven years of struggle, all parties began to 
know their own position." You, too, have had your 
seven years' war, John. Let us see whether all parties in 
your case do not begin to know their position also. And, 
for the first, what may be yours ? 'Tis seven years and 
more since old William the Fourth, who also had a lion 
heart in his way, did not dine in the city; 1 and the great 
question has not yet been answered, " How is the King's 
Government to be carried on ?" Great question of a 
great man ! 2 True hero-question, prescient, far-seeing, 
not easily answered by common men. 

And now other questions arise, not less great, not more 
easily responded to, and not asked by heroes, but by 
common people. When a nation asks questions, it will 
be replied to. And, first, how is the empire to be main- 
tained ? There is a question. The seven years' war of 
agitation has brought us to that. In 1831 question how 
King's Government is to be carried on: in 1838 question 
how Queen's Empire is to be maintained. Here is phi- 
losophy; the nation has become Socratic; one question 
answered by another question. Will the same solution 
serve for both ? Here be Christmas riddles and new year 

1 November, 1830. 2 The Duke of Wellington. 

27 



410 OLD ENGLAND [1838 

charades, and if we cannot untwist them we must pay 
forfeit. Reformed' Parliament has not answered them ; 
Reform Ministry has not answered them; town councils 
have not answered them ; New Poor Law has not answered 
them ; justice to Ireland has not answered them ; colonial 
conciliation has not answered them; new allies and old 
allies have not answered them ; St. Stephen's is dumb, and 
Downing Street is dumb ; and Castle of Dublin and Castle 
of Quebec, both are dumb; and new Mayors are dumb, 
though their brains be no longer off uscated by Aldermen ; 
and board of guardians are dumb, notwithstanding their 
well-regulated dietaries : no answer from the Euxine ; no 
answer from the Caspian; no answer from Barbary, or 
Spain, or Portugal, or Constantinople. Strange to say, 
no answer from St. Cloud or the Tuileries. 

Yet answers must be found to both to hero question 
and national question. 

You see, John, you must really wake. 

Jcmuary 3, 1838. 



CHAPTER II 

A CONVERSATION BETWEEN OLD ENGLAND AND YOUNG 

FRANCE 

Questions : How King's Government to be carried on t How 
Queen's Empire to be maintained ? John Bull has received no 
answers; but here is a sharp note of a conversation between 
two eminent personages,which came to hand in a manner wonderful 
but nameless, but is nevertheless as authentic as many State 
papers. 

YOUNG FRANCE. How do you do, old foe ? 

OLD ENGLAND. The compliments of the Season to you, 
new ally. 

YOUNG FRANCE. Your Reform Bill, does it please you 
as much as ever ? 

OLD ENGLAND. As much as the three glorious days 
do you. 



1838] AN ANGLO-FRENCH CONVERSATION 411 

YOUNG FRANCE. We have a new dynasty, that is 
something. 

OLD ENGLAND. If we have not yet come to that, our 
Prime Minister, after seven years of reflection, has just 
given in his adhesion to our old monarchy. That is some- 
thing. 

YOUNG FRANCE. Extraordinary reaction ! 

OLD ENGLAND. Undoubtedly, a very great demon- 
stration. 

YOUNG FRANCE. We have at least conquered Barbary. 

OLD ENGLAND. And we have not yet lost Canada. 

YOUNG FRANCE. How is your old favourite, Lord Grey? 

OLD ENGLAND. He is quite as well as Mr. Laffitte. 1 

YOUNG FRANCE. And my Lord Russell ? 

OLD ENGLAND. Is as tall as M. Thiers. 2 

YOUNG FRANCE. We live in droll times. That affair 
of the Vixen ? 3 

OLD ENGLAND. Was purely commercial; at least, they 
tell us so. 

YOUNG FRANCE. And the Prussian league ? 

OLD ENGLAND. Not in the least political; we are well 
assured. 

YOUNG FRANCE. And the Russian tariff ? 

OLD ENGLAND. Entirely an affair of finance, accord 
ing to our Ministers, who ought to know, for they arr 
paid for it. 

YOUNG FRANCE. And Mr. Van Buren, 4 is he quite well : 

OLD ENGLAND. What is Mr. Van Buren to me ? 

YOUNG FRANCE. Some half -century back the same as 
M. Papineau. 5 Do not lose your temper. 

1 The French financier and politician. 

2 Premier and Foreign Minister of France, afterwards President 
of the Kepublic. 

3 In February, 1837, trouble arose with Russia over the capture 
of the Vixen, a British vessel owned by Mr. George Bell, the 
Russian admiral giving as his reason for the act that the Vixen 
was attempting to break a blockade, and that the Circassians 
were at war with Russia. 

4 President of*the United States. 

5 Leader of the Canadian revolt 



412 OLD ENGLAND [1838 

OLD ENGLAND. I assure you I am quite calm. 

YOUNG FRANCE. "I see it. Did you give up your 
sovereignty of the seas with your rotten boroughs ? 

OLD ENGLAND. That is a question with which at least 
you have nothing to do. 

YOUNG FRANCE. Nous verrons. At Paris it is asked, 
Is the sovereignty of the seas in schedule A or schedule B? 

OLD ENGLAND. I have heard it is your habit there to 
ask idle questions. 

YOUNG FRANCE. My Lord Palmerston, it is a great 
man ? 

OLD ENGLAND. He has at least preserved peace. 

YOUNG FRANCE. By the aid of Marshal Evans. 1 

OLD ENGLAND. That was a private business. 

YOUNG FRANCE. Precisely; a speculation, purely com- 
mercial, like Mr. Bell to the Circassians. 

OLD ENGLAND. You seem very lively; you forget our 
intimate alliance. 

YOUNG FRANCE. Not at all; it allows me to take the 
liberty of a close friendship, and to ask you a question. 

OLD ENGLAND. Well, what is it ? 

YOUNG FRANCE. In case of a war with Mr. Van Buren, 
do you count upon Russia ? 

OLD ENGLAND. Perhaps not. 

YOUNG FRANCE. Austria will of course be neutral ? 

OLD ENGLAND. It may be so. 

YOUNG FRANCE. And attend to the carrying trade of 
the Levant. Very wise ! 

OLD ENGLAND. If it were not for these troubles in the 
Atlantic, we should soon settle that question. 

YOUNG FRANCE. Ay, ay, my dear hereditary foe and 
new ally, we shall take care that you have not in future to 
deal with one question at a time. 

OLD ENGLAND. How, this language from you ! Have 
you forgotten our intimate alliance ? 

YOUNG FRANCE. Not on New Year's Day. 'Tis the 
season of mirth. But tell me, how did you get Canada ? 

1 De Lacy Evans, commander of the British Legion in Spain. 



1838] THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON 413 

OLD ENGLAND. You should know. 

YOUNG FRANCE. From old France, I think ? 

OLD ENGLAND. Well ? 

YOUNG FRANCE. And we have gone through two rev- 
olutions to erase the memory of the betises of old France. 

OLD ENGLAND. That is your affair. 

YOUNG FRANCE. Not so quick. Do you believe that 
young France will assist you in maintaining an empire 
wrested by you from old France ? That would be to 
make both our revolutions ridiculous. 

OLD ENGLAND. For my part, I begin to think all 
revolutions are so. 

YOUNG FRANCE. Ha ! ha ! That is very well for you, 
who ever had everything your own way. The use of revo- 
lutions is to destroy monopolies, ancient comrade. 

OLD ENGLAND. Monopolies ? 

YOUNG FRANCE. Verily. You begin to suspect, like 
the Emperor Joseph, that revolution is not your metier. 
There is nothing like experience. Adieu ! We part the 
most intimate friends in the world, but as for our alliance, 
this is the 1st of January; this day three months I will 
send you un poisson d'Avril. 

January 4, 1838. 



CHAPTER III 

THE DUKE'S QUESTION 

I THINK one eye is open, John. Nay, it is even said one 
foot is in the stocking. Come, the other ! What, shaJl 
life consist of putting on one's stockings and pulling them 
off again ? Even that better than nothing. Oh ! Arthur 
Wellesley, great man, great have been thy deeds. Rightly 
art thou a Duke, a true Dux, a leader. Great was thine 
Indian career, greater thine European. Great was 
Assaye, Talavera, Torres Vedras, Salamanca, Vittoria, 
above all Waterloo ! Very great thine entrance into 



414 OLD ENGLAND [1838 

Madrid, into Paris; very great when thou didst hold 
Cabinet Councils without colleagues, and the seals of 
three secretaries dangled at thy side, to say naught of the 
keys of the Exchequer. But greater than all thine ex- 
ploits, is this thy " Question." Truly a Sphinx question 
which has perplexed a nation for seven years, and which 
they seem to be further off from answering than ever. 
Yet answered it must be. The query puzzling, yet the 
response inevitable or ruin. Is not that great ? To 
puzzle a whole nation for seven years. To puzzle all 
Britain, and nineteenth century, and march of intellect, 
and spread of knowledge. Rightly art thou Chancellor 
of Universities. What is Duns Scotus to thee, or Aquinas, 
or Erigena? Doctors seraphic, irrefragable, in vincible ? 
Have not thy fellow-men essayed to answer ? Verily to 
their utmost, to their wit's end. Great question that has 
caused four dissolutions of Parliament, yet, lo ! no reply. 
The chattering of multitudinous hustings, infinite gabble 
of brawling debates, yet all dark dark now as ever 
darker. Great question that has written more pam- 
phlets, set up more newspapers, established more reviews, 
quarterly, monthly, bimensal, than all the causes and 
parties and " great interests " since Fourth Estate was 
recognised. Let my Lord Vaux, with his wrigglings and 
windings and infinite eel-motions, educate us as he will in 
true reverence and adoration of Broughamocracy ; thou 
alone hast set us athinking and with nine words. Spar- 
tan ! Lycurgus-Leonidas ! 

And now the nation, worthily imitating thee, whom it 
cannot answer, has asked its question also " How is the 
Queen's Empire to be maintained ?" What if this 
question be only thine own in another guise ? But nation 
will be answered; nation is omnipotent; will be omnis- 
cient; will go to everyone; will clutch them in the street, 
in House of Lords, House of Commons, quarter-sessions, 
town-councils, mechanics' institutes, will come, among 
others, to thee, and wait for response beneath the far- 
spreading branches, old oak of the forest ! Nation will 



1838] THE TRUE AND THE SHAM 415 

go to Brocket, to Woburn, to Dray ton, to Knowsley, ay ! 
even to Lambeth and Finsbury, but answer it will have. 
If not from palace, from cellar ; if not from common man, 
from man inspired, from prophet; if no prophet, will 
make one, will believe in one. 

This is Tekel Upharsin work ; gold chains and fine linen, 
and robes of purple, honour for whomsoever will expound, 
but answer there must be. Notable the difference be- 
tween moral and material questions : King's Government, 
a spiritual essence; Queen's Empire, form substantial; 
one asked by a far-seeing statesman, no reply ; the other 
asked by a whole nation, by all, even by the mob, and 
must be answered. 

January 5, 1838. 



CHAPTER IV 

NATION-CRIES 

NOTE ever, John, the difference between a true nation-cry 
and a sham nation-cry. Reform House of Commons, 
wise or unwise, true nation-cry ; Reform House of Lords, 
sham nation-cry. Respecting the voice of the nation 
there can be no mistake; it sounds everywhere, in town 
and in country, streets and fields, lordly mansion, ten- 
pound tenement, unglazed hovel. Great chorus wherein 
all join, prince and peasant, farmer and factor, literate and 
illiterate, merchant and artisan, mariner and landlubber. 
The same thought stamped on the brain of everyone, 
from him who wears a coronet to him who drives a coster- 
monger's cart ; same thought on the brain, same word on 
the tongue. 

But a sham cry, however loud, no one knows whence it 
comes. Truly, we are told it is heard everywhere, except 
in the circle wherein we live. Very sham, ultimately 
discovered to be but the roaring of " the public," " the 
people," and the like. Many names has the impostor, 



416 OLD ENGLAND [1838 

numerous as the firms of Coster and Co., or the Sieur 
Minter Hart, but all worth nothing, living on the rascality 
of mutual reference and the scoundrelism of mutual ac- 
commodation. By-and-by the swindlers are found out, 
and fail to gull even the silliest. Then come a new cry 
and a new name like a new quack medicine. Dr. Eady 
is worn out, then try Dr. Morison. " Public Opinion " is 
discovered to be a hoax, then try " The People." If 
" People," with all their irresistible powers, turn out, 
after all, to be but a very drastic dose 1 of gamboge, then 
heigh ! for animal magnetism and " The Masses." 

Public opinion, discovered to be party opinion, is laid 
on the shelf; the people detected to be a little coterie 
dressed up for the occasion, very generally avoided as 
suspicious, with a cry of " Swell mob," and " Take care 
of your pockets." Being analysed, and found consisting 
of a disreputable minority, heard of no more, and the 
Masses introduced; name portentous ! Now, forsooth, 
the Masses are to have it, and all their own way ; for who 
can resist the Masses ? Mighty Masses, mighty mysteri- 
ous ! Papineau orators in the House of Commons quote 
Masses, condescend to represent no other, laugh at all 
constituencies, because they are known, palpable, in- 
scribed on the registry, mere flesh and blood, go for 
nothing; Papineau writers out of Parliament concoct 
articles in reviews, specially in Sunday journals, about 
the Masses ; would have no tax on pen, ink, or paper, or 
be supplied by the Government gratis, that Masses may 
read and believe their lucubrations, which all others do 
most heartily resist. Glory to the Masses ; choice, gener- 
ous phrase ! By no means inert or cloddish ; specially 
complimentary. What if said Papineau orators and 
writers, by some mischance of a lapsus linguce, or damn- 
able error of the press, do but omit the initial letter of 
that name, wherewith they have defined, and in a manner 
baptised, their countrymen ? And may not the next 
stage come even to this ? 



1838] TOMKINS AND JENKINS 417 

First . . . . . . . . Public. 

Second. . . . . . . . People. 

Third . . . . . . . . Masses. 

Fourth . . . . . . . . Asses. 

" Richard ! mon Roi /" O England ! my 
country ! Shall I live even to see this ? Shall I live to 
see thee even governed by the Asses ? Arise Aristoph- 
anes, rise from thine Attic sepulchre, here is theme fit 
only for thee ! Our long-eared Government, braying in 
all quarters, filling Downing Street with their melodious 
song; not condescending, indeed, to stretch out their 
resounding necks in House of Lords or at Quarter 
Sessions, cashiered institutions, not fit indeed for donkeys ; 
but in House of Commons triumphant, as indeed there 
they have had some practice, in town-councils very much, 
and in mechanic lectureshops potent. And by St. 
George, I believe, it will even end in this, unless the old 
Duke's question be not speedily answered. 

January 6, 1838. 



CHAPTER V 

A CONVERSATION BETWEEN MR. TOMKINS, M.P., AND 
MR. JENKINS 

TOMKINS. Jenkins ! or my eyes deceive me. 

JENKINS. The same; you are surprised to find me again 
so unexpectedly in England. I have arrived within these 
ten days from New York. 

TOMKINS. A bearer of good news from Canada, I hope ? 

JENKINS. Quite the contrary; the truth is, our Papi- 
neau is too perfect an imitation of O'Connell. 

TOMKINS. I would he were a bolder copy. 

JENKINS. Liberalism has gained no laurels there; it 
does not shine apparently as much in practice as in theory. 
And, to speak my mind, our affairs do not appear to 
flourish here much more vigorously. I can scarcely be- 



418 OLD ENGLAND [1838 

lieve this is the country I left four years ago so ripe. You 
have had a succession of frosts, I think. 

TOMKINS. Things have certainly changed somewhat; 
we must consider 'tis a bigoted land, encumbered with 
the prejudices of centuries ; nevertheless, our progress has 
not been entirely arrested. 

JENKINS. No; I have heard of your promotion, and 
beg to congratulate you upon it; an unquestioned M.P., 
I believe ? 

TOMKINS. Not even petitioned against. Can I do any- 
thing for you in the franking way ? 

JENKINS. I may avail myself of your kindness. But 
tell me, my dear Tomkins, how can you explain this 
vexatious Conservative rally ? 

TOMKINS. The causes are numerous ; in the first place, 
want of education. 

JENKINS. Indeed ! Why, when I was here last our 
success seemed mainly to depend upon the all-acknow- 
ledged diffusion of intelligence and knowledge. 

TOMKINS. We were too sanguine; the enlightened 
classes who possess power wish to make a monoply of 
their intelligence, and therefore are against us. 

JENKINS. The enlightened classes against us ! 

TOMKINS. It is useless to conceal the difficulties of our 
position, though, of course, as I took occasion to mention 
last night in the House, our ultimate triumph is certain. 
But we must remember that public opinion is a great force 
to struggle against. 

JENKINS. Public opinion ! What, is that against us, 
too ? 

TOMKINS. The public opinion of this country is founded 
on wrong principles, and therefore opposed to us; but, 
still, it is public opinion all the same. 

JENKINS. How are we to change it ? 

TOMKINS. We must change its elements. 

JENKINS. Ah ! our old friend " the People." I see it, 
we must call them in; that will do the business. I will 
answer for the people ; the people has not changed. 



1838] "THE PEOPLE" AT A DISCOUNT 419 

TOMKINS. My dear Jenkins, it is unnecessary for you 
to remind me you have been absent for several years. 
" The People " is a phrase we now never use a body of 
whom we never speak. 

JENKINS. What, our old friend, the People ! Has the 
people turned against us too ? 

TOMKINS. It is not a philosophical term; it served its 
purpose for the time, but it led at length to awkward 
Conservative analyses of the constituent elements of a 
nation, and it began to be turned against us. We never 
mention it now. 

JENKINS. I am afraid affairs are very flat indeed. 

TOMKINS. Oh no ! As I said in the House yesterday, 
" Hon. gentlemen opposite may cheer, and the noble Lord, 
the Secretary for the Home Department, may feel proud 
of his new allies, but the eternal principles of democracy, 



JENKINS. Miss the metaphor ; I see we are at a discount. 
I confess I thought the People was an inexhaustible fund. 

TOMKINS. We overdrew it. We attacked and abused 
so many elections of the population, that at last our adver- 
saries began to count up and to prove that even the 
majority was against us an infamous Tory fallacy, of 
course, but still it began to tell. So it was thought 
prudent to drop the subject. 

JENKINS. Have we come to prudence ? 

TOMKINS. You are impatient. Even the triumph of 
democracy requires time. Is it nothing that even in the 
House of Commons, as at present constituted, with all 
the unphilosophical antagonism of bigotry and property, 
we still have the good fortune of counting a few who are 
not the mere nominees of the aristocracy ? 

JENKINS. A very few indeed ! Why, where is our 
Radical party ? I was glad, however, to see your name 
in the minority on Wakley's motion. 

TOMKINS. Ah ! my dear Jenkins, you know not what 
temptations assail a Radical M.P. The moment he is 
returned to Parliament there comes a most corrupt and 



420 OLD ENGLAND [1838 

insidious invitation to dine with a Minister. A Govern- 
ment should not be permitted to entertain a most 
profligate and unconstitutional method of spending the 
public money. The aristocratic attrition of these official 
banquets is fatal to all the racy roughness of Radicalism. 
Few have sufficient strength of mind to vote against a 
Minister with whom they are in the habit of taking wine. 
Then, sir, it leads to a very disgusting refinement in dress. 
You would be surprised at the number of fine waistcoats 
that gradually steal, as the session advances, among men 
pledged on the hustings against the aristocratic corrup- 
tion of which these fine waistcoats are the symbol. 'Tis 
a trying life. You will find many of your old acquaint- 
ances, friends of the people five years ago, and all that, 
very much altered. 

JENKINS. My eyes begin to open. 

TOMKINS. They will stare soon. 

JENKINS. Our cause seems hopeless. 

TOMKINS. By no means. 

JENKINS. We have no party. 

TOMKINS. Oh yes ! 

JENKINS. Why, Crown, Lords, and Commons, were 
always against us; Church, of course; all learned profes- 
sions and unlearned too; every landholder in the king- 
dom ; every man who has 500 per annum, as we ourselves 
long ago confessed ; the whole agricultural population are 
slaves ; all the small towns rotten boroughs, and half the 
great ones to be purchased by the highest bidder; land- 
holder, fundholder, merchant, manufacturer, every solvent 
tradesman, all are aristocrats. I hear even of Operative 
Conservative Associations; and as for sympathy with 
revolted colonies, 'tis out of the question. The fact is, 
this country is devoted to capital, and every capitalist is 
our enemy. We succeed ! Why, even the Whigs can 
only retain power through the Irish, the Irish whom we 
thought our tools, and whose instruments we have become! 

TOMKINS. A little too fast, friend Jenkins. You forget 
we have on our side the Masses. 



1838] THE MASSES 421 

JENKINS. The Masses ! Who are they ? 

TOMKINS. A body so numerous that it is really im- 
possible to tell you who they may be. But the Masses, 
my dear fellow, will carry us through yet. Never mind 
who they are or where they may be. It is a party ; it is 
our party. The Whigs may intrigue, the Irish may 
blarney, the Tories may egg on Lord John and laugh at 
our minorities, but after all the English Radical leaders 
are backed by the Masses. As long as we have a party, 
never mind. Revolutions are never effected by large 
parties ; ever by small ones. We have an excellent small 
party with an excellent large name. The Masses for 
ever ! They brought me into Parliament, and they shall 
bring you. Come into the Reform Club, and I will give 
you your frank. 

January 8, 1838. 



CHAPTER VI 

CRICIS AT LAST 

JOHN BULL is now fairly awake. He will bestir himself. 
He will know what has been going on in his household. 
There have been strangers and unauthorised visitors ; he 
has heard of them. Who is this Masses who has been 
caught more than once sneaking down the area ? A 
scurvy knave who, it is rumoured, has been round the 
neighbourhood to John's tradesmen, and obtained goods 
under false pretences. John rings the bell for his break- 
fast; substantial meal the roast beef of old England; 
nor shall it be cooked a la Papineau. It shall be still 
dressed in the old way, shall appear still as stately sirloin ; 
nor will John's keen appetite be satisfied even by a slice 
from the rump, Whig fashion. 

And now he must learn the news. While napping, it 
would seem, colonies have revolted, but they tell him are 
now appeased. Be it so; but why revolt ? This must 
be explained. 



422 OLD ENGLAND [1838 

Will explanation come on the 18th of this month at 
Westminster ? 

What if Canada even be quiet, the rationale of revolt 
must now be dissected. Is cause of revolt peculiar to 
Canada ? May not some cause occasion revolt in other 
places ? This must be seen to. Is reason of revolt 
reason why Queen's Empire cannot be maintained ? Is 
it reason why King's Government cannot be carried on ? 
All the same reason ? Here is business. For the great 
Duke's great question mixes with all other questions, and 
lies at the bottom of every well where truth must be 
inquired after. 

So, then, it would seem, if the reason of Canadian revolt 
be discovered, peradventure at length may be discovered 
answer to the Duke's question. Yet it has taken seven 
years to arrive at this. In seven years the difficulties in 
carrying on King's Government, foreseen by a sage, have 
become embodied in a shape palpable and intelligible to 
all. This, then, is a Crisis. 

A Crisis ? What is this same Crisis ? Often have we 
heard of him these last seven years. Now, indeed, it 
would appear he has really come. Who is he ? Who is 
Crisis ? Is he any relation to Masses ? Do we know as little 
about him ? We must have his paternity, his pedigree. 

Advance heralds ! 

We live in an age of change. True ; but what have been 
all ages but ages of change ? But of rapid change. Ay, 
there it is ! Why rapid ? 

The progress of society is gradual, not to say slow. 
When it makes these sudden starts, forward or sideways, 
as it may be, ending ever in as sudden stops and stand- 
stills, has the progress been gradual ? Has not party 
intrigue, for special purpose, mixed itself up with national 
progress, accelerated the movement by temporary stimu- 
lants, say burning draughts, instead of good wholesome 
nutriment, and so national movement, pushed on before 
its time, finds no post-horses ready, and so a dead stop, a 
standstill, a Crisis ! 



1838] CKISIS 423 

In 1830, remodelling of third estate, commonly called 
Reform of Parliament, was required. National progress 
required it, had long summoned it. Remodelling was 
advancing but slowly, gradually, yet its shadow was 
already recognised. A party, shut out from power, by 
an accident possess themselves of power. How to retain 
it ? There is the difficulty All estates of the realm 
arrayed against them; majority against them in House 
of Lords; majority against them in House of Commons. 
The natural changes of national progress will not avail 
them, are too slow for them; change, therefore, must 
become more rapid. 

Whereupon the cork is drawn, and the nation drinks 
the burning draught of agitation. All now is progress; 
the nation is galloping. But at the end of the stage, no 
relays, no horses ready, nothing prepared. Is it a Crisis ? 

No ; for they will post on another stage with the same 
horses. Nevertheless, not quite at the same pace. 

Is there reaction, then ? 

So some say. Those who approve of slower travelling 
are better pleased, while the others curse the drivers, who 
have disappointed them, and who, they say, are to their 
fancy no better than slugs. 

But lo ! another stage; again no post-horses, and the 
old ones, jaded to death, fairly jib and move no more. A 
dead stop, a Crisis at last ! 

Jcmuary 9, 1838. 



CHAPTER VII 

A CONVERSATION BETWEEN JOHN BULL AND CRISIS 

JOHN BULL. So you have come at last ? 

CRISIS. I have indeed that honour. 

JOHN BULL. Honour be hanged; I have heard a great 
deal of you, and nothing to your credit. They tell me 
you have been long expected here. 

CRISIS. I am much flattered. 



424 OLD ENGLAND [1838 

JOHN BULL. Fiddle-faddle ! And where do you come 
from last ? 

CRISIS. Straight from Canada. 

JOHN BULL. And you have been very active there, 
they say. 

CRISIS. I seldom interfere without producing a re- 
sult. 

JOHN BULL. Well, take care of what you are about in 
England. I give you fair notice; I will have no revolu- 
tions here. 

CRISIS. You mistake me; I am connected with no 
party ; I am perfectly independent. 

JOHN BULL. Why, I took you for a regular Jacobin ! 

CRISIS. Quite an error; I never interfere until affairs 
are at a standstill, and then I invariably side with the 
strongest party. 

JOHN BULL. Hem ! Well, I think there is no doubt 
which is the strongest party here. 

CRISIS. We shall see ; the strength of a party does not 
depend upon its numbers, or its property but upon the 
tactics of its leaders. 

JOHN BULL. That sounds very Jesuitical. I am afraid 
you are a Papist. 

CRISIS. My religious opinions are like my political 
they depend upon the circumstances of the moment. 

JOHN BULL. A very dangerous character, I fear. 

CRISIS. On the contrary, a most useful one. I never 
interfere until my interference is a matter of necessity. 

JOHN BULL. Is this your first visit to England ? 

CRISIS. By no means ; I was here in 1640, and again in 
1688. Had I not been very much engaged at Paris, I 
should have paid you a visit in 1830; but some of my 
retinue were here. 

JOHN BULL. I have heard of them, and for the last 
seven years I have almost daily expected yourself. 

CRISIS. In all my visits to this country, I have invari- 
ably found the strong and successful party a very small 
one. It was the same in Paris in 1830. Everybody was 



1838] INVITATIONS IGNORED 426 

surprised at the triumph of Louis Philippe, except myself. 
He owes his crown entirely to my management. 

JOHN BULL. Well, I hope the present instance will 
form an exception to your usual experience, for I think 
the strongest party here is both the most numerous and 
the most wealthy. 

CRISIS. It may be so ; it will soon be decided. 

JOHN BULL. Egad, I shall not be sorry if it be, for, to 
speak the truth, I am heartily wearied of the present 
unfruitful state of affairs. 

CRISIS. Ay ! ay ! There is no doubt I am wanted. 
However, here I am. They have sent for me continually 
of late years ; but I know my time better than those who 
apply to me. They wanted me to come over with Sir 
Eobert Peel in 1834, but I knew better; they urged me 
very much in 1835 to meet Lord Lyndhurst, but they 
were quite mistaken ; there was not the least necessity. 
As for my invitations to Ireland, I have received one 
almost daily for the last twenty years. Whigs, Tories, 
Radicals, Papists, Protestants, Reformers, Orangemen. 
Conservatives, Repealers, have all in turn sent for me, 
but I have no intention of going. 

JOHN BULL. Well, I am glad of that. 

CRISIS. I am generally found where least expected. I 
have been busy at Canada for the last five years, and 
even gave the Whigs warning of it, but nobody attended 
to me. 

JOHN BULL. And, pray, why are you here now ? 

CRISIS. You are frank in your questions. In reply, let 
me ask you one. How does your Government work ? 

JOHN BULL. Work ! Why, not at all ! There has 
been a dead-lock for the last three years. 

CRISIS. And suppose the dead-lock remains, what then ? 

JOHN BULL. What then ! Why, then everything will 
fall into confusion, which indeed it is fast doing. What 
an odd question ! 

CRISIS. And why do you not remedy this inconveni- 
ence ? For is not a Government that cannot govern the 

28 



426 OLD ENGLAND [1838 

greatest practical grievance that a nation can labour 
under ? 

JOHN BULL. It is very fine talking, but how am I to do 
it ? I have tried everything and everybody. No party 
can carry on affairs. I have tried Lord Grey and the 
Whigs, and did all for him I possibly could ; he promised 
everything, but he broke down. Then I tried Peel, much 
against his will: he made a gallant effort, but he broke 
down. Then I tried a Whig-Radical Cabinet, and they 
will not even break down; they stand stockstill. I 
would try the Radicals if they could do anything, but 
they honestly confess the affair is totally beyond their 
capacity. 

CRISIS. You have answered your own question. When 
all parties are confessedly inoperative, I make it a rule 
invariably to appear. 

January 10, 1838. 



CHAPTER VIII 

DEADLOCK 

CRISIS has spoken out; his conversation with John Bull 
yesterday was frank. This visitor, whom all talk of, 
many fear, has told John Bull the truth. He has at 
length come to our shores. He had given us seven years 
to answer the Duke's great question " How is the King's 
Government to be carried on ?" We have not answered 
it, and now Crisis has arrived. Was it not time ? 
Colonies revolting without practical grievances and with- 
out power or capability of independence; plainly be- 
cause they were not governed; colonies revolting, not 
because they were misgoverned or could govern them- 
selves, but because they were not governed at all. It is 
time for Crisis to appear. 

Is Canada the only portion of the realm that is not 
governed ? that rebels, in short, because it is not con- 



1838] CAUSES EXAMINED 427 

trolled ? Are there any others ? Why has the power 
of government of the British Empire in so many quarters 
degenerated into mere administration ? As a nation, are 
we less brave, less rich, less powerful, than heretofore ? 
We have fleets and armies ; we have a great revenue. 
Why, in the words of the great Duke why, then, cannot 
the government be carried on, when all the visible means 
of government are at hand ? It must be answered; it 
cannot longer be delayed. The whole nation cries out: 
" Question, question." 

January 11, 1838. 



CHAPTER IX 

FORMAL POWER AND MORAL POWER 

IN every part of the kingdom and the empire, authority 
has dwindled into a mere affair of administration. Gov- 
ernment has lost its moral power ; it has degenerated into 
a mere formula, obeyed in Britain from habit and the love 
of order peculiar to the nation, the necessary quality of a 
people devoted to industry; obeyed in all other places 
according to circumstances, and of these the principal 
is, whether there be a sufficient physical force to uphold 
it. As long as there be a sufficient force, agitation only; 
if not a sufficient force, then revolt. 

Let us endeavour to ascertain the cause of this un- 
precedented and perilous state of affairs. 

And first we must distinguish between the formal and 
the moral power of the Government. 

The formal power of Government is its authority by 
law, and the modes by which the law has directed such 
authority to be exercised. 

The moral power of Government is the known and 
universally recognised support which it receives from the 
powerful institutions and classes of the State. 

But when a Government accepts formal power on the 



428 OLD ENGLAND [1838 

condition that it sjiall attack the sources of its moral 
power, the necessary consequence must be that its 
authority will rest mainly, not to say merely, on its 
official position, and the physical force with which that 
position invests it. 

A powerful peerage, a powerful Church, a powerful 
gentry, a powerful colonial system, involving the interests 
of the merchant, the manufacturer, and the ship-owner, 
a powerful military system, a learned bar, a literary 
press these were formerly some of the great interests 
on whose support the moral power of a British Govern- 
ment was founded. During the last seven years we have 
seen every one of these great interests in turn attacked. 
And by whom ? By the Ministers of the Crown. 

They have denounced the peerage ; they have attempted 
to degrade the Church ; they have held up the gentlemen 
of England to public reprobation as bigoted oppressors; 
they have maintained themselves in power by means of 
a party who have declared the dominion of the metrop- 
olis over her colonies to be baneful ; they have disbanded 
the militia ; they have menaced the bar ; and they have 
vainly attempted to annihilate the intelligence of the 
press. They have themselves set an example to the mob 
to attack everything that is established. 

Can they be surprised that they themselves are at last 
attacked ? Under the term " agitation " they have en- 
couraged the questioning of all authority except their 
own. Is it wonderful that their own, ever the weakest, 
should be at length assailed ? Threatened themselves, 
they exercise their formal power, and it fails, and must 
fail. What resource remains ? None for the Whigs. 
They cannot call for the support of those institutions and 
classes whom they have taught the mob to hate and 
despise the institutions and classes that formed the 
empire, and by whom alone the empire can be main- 
tained. The Whigs have destroyed the moral influence 
of Government. 

January 13, 1838: 



1838] THE ABSENCE OF DUTY 429 



CHAPTER X 

THE KEY 

IT may perhaps be deemed that we yesterday advanced 
a step in the solution of the great Duke's great question. 
When His Grace asked, " How the King's Government 
was to be carried on ?" he felt that that Government had 
been rudely and suddenly stripped of its sources of moral 
power. 

Invest the Royal Government once more with that 
moral influence, and we shall be able to put an end to 
what may be truly termed our present immoral state; 
for such is the epithet applicable to a condition of public 
society of which the principal characteristic is a total 
absence of duty. 

Here, then, is a key to open the dead-lock could we 
but find it. Here is a word to put the whole machine 
in motion did we but know how to pronounce it. A 
magical word ! But whisper it in the ear of Crisis, and 
he would vanish in an instant. 

Whoever can find this key is fit to be Prime Minister of 
England; and without it, the wisdom of assuming power 
by any existing party in the State would be questionable. 

Where is the key ? 

We know where it is not. It is not at present in Down- 
ing Street. Is it at Lamb ton Castle ? It can scarcely 
be at Petersham. Is it at Strathfieldsaye ? Is it at 
Drayton Manor ? 

Oh ! look sharp, look sharp, noble seigneurs, right hon- 
ourable gentlemen; there are but a few days more, and 
you will all meet at Westminster. Proud will be his 
position who enters either House of Parliament with 
the key to the dead-lock. 

Is not Parliament stuffed full of questions ? Why is 
this great question always forgotten ? All the rest mere 



430 OLD ENGLAND [1838 

mockery ! Yet there are leading questions and second- 
rate questions, and interesting questions and uninteresting 
questions, and important questions and unimportant 
questions, and questions which call hon. members up 
to town and questions which invariably send hon. 
gentlemen out of town. What are Irish questions forms 
of Protean blarney; what military flogging, public walks, 
and Mr. Spottiswoode 1 ; what even Corn Law question, or 
even Poor Law question, compared with this all-absorbing 
query, which, if it be not answered, all questions will alike 
become dumb ? 

Gentle Mr. Stanley, active Mr. Holmes, is it not worth 
a whip ? 

January 15, 1838. 



1 Mr. Spottiswoode, the Queen's Printer, had set on foot a 
subscription list to provide Protestant candidates for Irish 
constituencies and to finance petitions against Eoman Catholic 
members. Disraeli dealt with the matter in his maiden speech 
on December 7, 1837. 



1853] DISEAELI IN THE FIFTIES 431 



A LATER DLSRAELIAN CHAPTER 

[The LETTERS TO THE WHIGS were written in 1853. 
Disraeli was by that time a statesman of assured position ; 
he had succeeded to the leadership of the Tory party in 
the House of Commons on the overthrow of Peel, and he 
had been Chancellor of the Exchequer in Lord Derby's 
Ministry in the previous year. When, the Budget having 
been defeated, the Coalition Government under Lord 
Aberdeen took office, with Gladstone as Chancellor, 
Disraeli founded the Press, a clever weekly political 
organ, to further his views. He probably inspired more 
than he wrote ; and until the private papers of the period 
have been examined, it would be unsafe positively to 
identify as his the brilliant political essays which marked 
the earlier years of that periodical's existence. But that 
his influence and inspiration were over all there can be 
no doubt. " Coalition " was the first leading article 
published in the organ, and the first issue also contained 
the opening chapter of the caustic Letters to the Whigs 
by Manilius, which are now reprinted here for the first 
time.] 

COALITION 

THE state of political parties in England at the present 
moment is very peculiar, and, with a prosperous and 
tranquil surface, not without considerable danger. The 
administration of our affairs is carried on by a Coalition 
of individuals, who have avowedly no opinions in common, 
except upon a subject which is no longer a matter of 
public controversy, the principles of our commercial 
system. There are members of the Ministry who are in 



432 A LATER DISRAELIAN CHAPTER [1853 

favour of vote by ballot ; there are members of the Ministry 
who, having been in favour of vote by ballot, have for- 
mally renounced that conviction within the last two 
years; there are members of the Ministry who are, and 
have been, always decidedly hostile to vote by ballot. 
If we take any of the other great constitutional questions, 
either in Church or State, we shall find among Her 
Majesty's principal advisers equal discrepancies of opinion 
and sentiment. The Coalition is carried on not even by 
a compromise, but by a mere suspension of principle. 
There is no similar instance on record. The Administra- 
tion, therefore, is not morally, but literally, a Government 
without principles. They administer affairs, but they 
represent no opinion. 

The excellence of representative government, however, 
is that it should represent opinion. It is this quality 
which compensates for its inevitable and innate de- 
ficiencies. As a mere instrument of legislation nothing 
can be more clumsy or cumbrous than a process which 
requires the sanction and receives the suggestions of 
between five and six hundred individuals. It is as a 
means which allows the predominant opinion of a com- 
munity to stimulate or control that a representative 
government becomes powerful and beneficial. But the 
representative form is not merely a clumsy machine; it 
has a tendency to be a corrupt one. Five or six hundred 
individuals invested with legislative functions, and sub 
ject to the influences of a powerful executive, are capable 
of any misconduct. Their very numbers divide the 
responsibility, and their assumed popular origin diverts 
and dissipates the odium. 

Our ancestors discovered in party, or political con- 
nection, a remedy for these injurious consequences, and a 
means of combining efficient and comparatively pure 
government with popular authority and control. Bodies 
of men acting in concert, advocating particular tenets, 
and recognising particular leaders, were animated by the 
principle of honour as well as by a sense of duty. The 



1853] SUSPENDED OPINIONS 433 

reputation of the party kept up the high tone of the 
individual who was a member of it, and, deferring to the 
superior judgment of the most eminent of the association, 
union of opinion and of action were found compatible 
with a multitude of counsellors and agents. Notwith- 
standing some passages in the course of two centuries 
touched by the infirmity of human passion, the annals of 
English party form one of the noblest chapters in the 
history of man. 

It is not in a moment that you can dissolve the ancient 
political connections of this Parliamentary country, but 
the first dilapidation of the structure of our free govern- 
ment has taken place when our affairs are administered 
by a Cabinet of suspended opinions. Tradition, the sense 
of honour, the social influences which still prevail among 
the representatives of the landed constituencies, may for 
awhile avert or mitigate the consequences of this state 
of affairs; but these consequences are sure, and will be 
ultimately found in a multitude without cohesion, without 
consistency or even decorum of conduct, in individual 
scandals, in aggregate humiliation, in a general loss of 
weight, authority, and character, which will lower the 
once proud, aristocratic, free Parliament of England to 
the level of those Continental assemblies whose brief and 
tumultuous careers have been alike the terror and the 
ridicule of the world. 

The most singular characteristic of this strange con- 
jecture is the apologetical reason that is given for its 
occurrence. It is conveniently maintained that, in con- 
sequence of the abrogation of the protective principle in 
commerce, the distinctive characters of the two great 
parties in the country no longer exist. The persons who 
circulate this tenet are the very individuals who depre- 
cated the uncompromising opposition of Lord George 
Bentinck, on the ground that the question which then 
divided the Conservative party was only one of tariffs, and 
that the great principles of the Conservative connection 
were in nowise in controversy. 



434 A LATER DISRAELIAN CHAPTER [1853 

It would not, at the first glance, appear that the repeal 
of the Corn Laws or the reduction of the sugar duties 
had solved the momentous problem what classes should 
be the principal depositary of power in this country. 
The nature of the franchise, and its extent, which depends 
on a right appreciation of its nature; whether the royal 
supremacy in matters ecclesiastical should be maintained ; 
whether our Upper House should be a territorial or an 
elective senate; whether, as an element of strength and 
duration, a preponderance should be given in our polity 
to the landed franchise, or whether, on the contrary, the 
municipal ingredient should predominate; the rights of 
inheritance and the laws of tenure these are the vast 
questions of permanent interest which will occupy at 
intervals the mind of the nation, and on which they will 
receive no solution or guidance from a Cabinet consisting 
of members who are diametrically at variance on all these 
important heads. 

It will not do to gloss over then 1 inconsistent and in- 
coherent position by announcing themselves the disciples 
of progress. We want to know of what progress they are 
the votaries. Is it English progress ? Or is it French, 
or American, or German progress ? A centralised adminis- 
tration, a tyrant majority, or a Pantheistic religion ? 
There is no progress for a country except in the spirit of 
its national character, or which runs counter to the 
principle of its institutions. If the national character be 
exhausted, the nation is worn out, notwithstanding the 
price of Consols may be at par. If the principle of its 
institutions no longer animates and inspires, a new race, 
like the Goths in Italy, may establish new institutions; 
but an old race will find that what it deems progress is 
only change, and that change is only the epilepsy of decay 
For our part we have confidence in the enduring char- 
acter of this country, and believe that there is yet an 
inspiring force in the principle of its free aristocracy 
which may secure the continuance of our power and the 
improvement of our society. These ends, however, can 



1853] PANDERING TO AN OLIGARCH 435 

be most surely obtained by the Parliamentary govern- 
ment of this country being carried on by two parties with 
distinctive principles, eliciting in their discussions the 
conclusions of political truth, and giving, by their argu- 
ments and appeals, a tone to the public mind. And what 
prevents all this ? Why has the constitutional habit of 
the realm been disturbed and discontinued ? Why is 
the country governed neither by the Liberal nor by the 
Conservative party ? From personal and petty causes 
only. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, professing high 
Conservative opinions, will not, from a personal feeling, 
combine with the leader of the Conservative party in the 
House of Commons. The morbid vanity of Woburn 
Abbey must be represented without an interval in the 
royal councils. The Whigs may perish, but the Duke of 
Bedford must be satisfied. To accomplish these noble 
ends, to gratify a prejudice, and to pander to an oligarch, 
an austere intriguer, without any following in the country 
and without any lustre of career, is installed in the high 
place. Around him are clustered a motley crew of 
statesmen, who, magnanimously forgetting careers of 
recrimination, and veiling their mutual aversion with 
sinister frankness and affected cordiality, devote their 
heterogeneous energies to the service of a perplexed 
Sovereign and an amazed country. 

May 1, 1853. 



436 TO THE WHIGS [1853 



TO THE WHIGS 

CHAPTER I 

GENTLEMEN, Whatever praise or whatever censure 
attach to the name it was once your boast to assume, the 
name itself is so identified with the History of England 
that we have a right to ask why it has disappeared from 
our records. Hitherto you have been an essential 
element in that collision of opinion from which flash all 
the political truths that enlighten statesmen and save 
nations. Even at the period in which your numbers were 
reduced to the lowest exiled from the Court and alien- 
ated from the People the genius of your leaders sus- 
tained the enthusiasm of Party. It is enthusiasm alone 
that gives flesh and blood to the skeletons of abstract 
opinion, and the devotion of the genial patricians who 
gloried to call themselves the friends of Fox carried on 
that hereditary affection of clanship which bound you 
together, and which ultimately enabled you, in the enact- 
ment of the Reform Bill, to obtain the renown and reap 
the rewards which belong to the successful arbiters 
between rival classes and conflicting passions. It was this 
close and firm connection, however justly it exposed you 
to the charge of exclusiveness, that atoned in discipline 
and compactness for your want of numercial force. 

The enthusiasm is vanished the connection is broken 
the discipline is gone. What and where are the Whigs 
now ? Your history itself seems to cease ; you are merged 
into a section of your former opponents ; you are subordi- 
nates in a Cabinet from which the name of Whig is ex- 
cluded ; your ancient badge is exchanged for a shred from 
the mantle of the dead chief who in life most derided your 



1853] CASHIEEED MINISTERS 437 

pretensions, most damaged your reputation, and who, 
even when accepting your opinions, shrunk pointedly 
from all thought of your alliance. Twice did Sir Robert 
Peel pass into your camp a deserter from his own forces, 
but in neither case an associate with yours. He did but 
seize upon your weapons to pile them up as trophies for 
himself. And perhaps all his hostilities never so injured 
the Whigs as when he appropriated, to enlarge, the 
measures he had before resisted, and showed the practical 
people of England that he alone could perform what you, 
the Whigs, had in vain attempted to do. Nay, even 
when on the abolition of the Corn Laws he assigned to each 
associate in his victory the due proportion of merit, so 
eager was his desire to disparage your earnestness, and 
cast a slur on your own claims to popular gratitude, that, 
with all his habitual abhorrence to extra-forensic agita- 
tion, he gave the lion's share of conceded praise to the 
Orator of the League. 

And yet it is to the special followers of your most 
illustrious enemy that you now postpone all your claims 
of two centuries, not participating on equal terms in the 
spolia opima, 1 and consenting to erase the very name 
of Whig from the cornerstone of the Government, to 
cement the foundation of which you fritter your own 
masonry into splints and rubble. And what do you gain 
by an alliance in which you figure, not as confederate 
potentates, but as dependent auxiliaries ? It is in vain 
to boast of the sacrifices of patriotism of the necessities 
of carrying on the Queen's Government Government in 
which your two most distinguished leaders actually hold 
no official appointment ! From the list which includes 
each scattered subaltern of Peel are cashiered the men 
who had formed the first ranks of your phalanx. The 
thoughtful mind of Lord Grey ; the ready vigour and force 
of his cousin, Sir George; 2 the financial reputation of 

1 The Cabinet was composed of six Peelites, six Whigs, and a 
Radical. 

2 Sir George drey, Home Secretary for nearly twenty years. 
He joined the Coalition Ministry later. 



438 TO THE WHIGS [1853 

Baring; 1 the earnest intelligence of Labouchere; 2 the 
liberal accomplishments and exquisite temper of Car- 
lisle; 3 the wit and the courage of Clanricarde ; 4 the busi- 
ness-like abilities of Seymour ; 5 the scholarship and moder- 
ation of Vernon Smith; 6 the immense erudition and 
dazzling eloquence of Macaulay, 7 are severed from the 
sides of those who serve as subordinates to Gladstone. 
True, Macaulay's abnegation is voluntary. Can you say 
the same of the rest ? Why these exclusions of your own 
natural officers, except that they have been too much 
identified with the memory of your past battles ; and in 
the eyes of your new associates their scars are not the 
tokens of honour, but the excuse for dismissal from 
service ? But the Queen's Government must be carried 
on. True; but how and by whom ? 

The nation is divided between two great parties that 
of the Movement commonly called the Radical, and that 
composed of the supporters of the policy which charac- 
terised the short Government of Lord Derby. Between 
these two great divisions of the electoral body there are 
noble intermediators, I grant men whose sublime duty 
it may be to grasp with firm hand the balance of opposing 
parties. But it is clear that no mere junction of petty 
sections can obtain what is the first requisite of a Govern- 
ment a strength of numbers sufficient to carry its 
measures. But neither of these parties do you gain; 
neither of them do you conciliate in your fusion with 
politicians equally dissevered from both. You win the 
Conservative Gladstone, but not the Conservatives ; you 
win the Radical Molesworth, but not the Radicals. You 

1 Sir Francis Thornhill Baring (Lord Northbrook), Chancellor 
of the Exchequer, 1839-1841. 

2 Henry Labouchere (Lord Taunton). 

8 George W. F. Howard, seventh Earl of Carlisle, who as Lord 
Morpeth took a leading part in the politics of the Reform period. 

4 Postmaster -General in Lord John Russell's administration. 

5 Edward Adolphus (Lord Seymour), Member for Totnes, and 
afterwards twelfth Duke of Somerset. 

6 Robert Vernon Smith, afterwards Lord Lyveden. 

7 T. B. Macaulay. 



1853] THE PEELITES 439 

rally round you no popular sympathies when you invest 
all your political capital in the precarious speculation of 
a Peelite Cabinet. Look to the last General Election. 
What men less popular then than the Peelites, despite 
their unquestionable talents ? Peel himself was a name 
that carried with it the affection and trust of an immense 
proportion of the electoral class. I grant this most fully; 
but to his individual memory alone the popular attach- 
ment confines itself. How many men in the House of 
Commons can be called Peelites ? Are there forty ? So, 
then, is this fragment from the main Conservative body 
without popular prestige, without electoral influence, 
without definite policy you, the Whigs, to whom Lord 
Grey bequeathed the Government of England, while not 
one opposing litigant had resources sufficient to contest 
your title -you, the Whigs, at last sink your identity and 
vanish out of sight ! So thus do the organs of the Govern- 
ment which your leaders help to compose emphatically 
style it the Conservative so thus the very title of Whig 
is ignored as a thing past and obsolete. And the highest 
compliment the Premier can pay to your veteran chief is 
to assure the startled public that My Lord John Russell 
is Conservative ! 

Is this a position that can flatter the just pride of party? 
And is this the Be All and End All of the descendants of 
Somers and Walpole ? Is the position if you grant it 
undignified wholly the fault of the accomplished and 
practised chief to whom the conduct of your party was 
consigned in the Commons when Lord Althorp was lost 
amongst the Peers ? If his be the fault, it arises from no 
defect in the inherent qualities which command admira- 
tion and justify power. To a name to which history has 
given a blazon beyond all the or and azur of heralds, Lord 
John Russell united an intellect refined by letters and 
invigorated by practical life. Consummate in the usual 
tactics of party courteous to opponents, if somewhat 
indifferent to friends rising on legitimate occasions to 
an eloquence ennobled by generous sentiments and en- 



440 TO THE WHIGS [1853 

riched by a various knowledge, Lord John's just preten- 
sions to be the leader of gentlemen and the exponent of 
party opinion were never denied, save by the mutinous 
followers who sat at his rear, only with more effect to 
assail him from behind. 

Where, then, was his fault, when we ask, " What has 
become of the mighty party that passed to his guidance?" 
It seems to me simply this, that he never comprehended 
the true ground he should occupy, nor the directions in 
which he should advance. For the last twenty years one 
choice has lain before the judgment of statesmen, viz., 
the maintenance of those institutions nay, of those 
habits of thought which preserve monarchy, or that 
gradual change into absolute democracy to which Tocque- 
ville somewhat rashly considered all the tendencies of our 
age impel the destinies of Europe. 

It was this choice that Lord John could never prevail 
on himself to make with unequivocal and systematic 
decision ; it is by seeking to evade or to toy with it, and by 
attempting to dignify vacillation into political prudence, 
that, under the leadership of Lord John, you have year 
after year thinned your ranks and damaged your influence. 
And now the sole principle upon which you can defend 
your coalition is based upon precisely the same error 
that of playing Conservatives against Eadicals, and ob- 
taining majorities that have no faith in your policy and 
no heart in your cause. 

Yet your true position was so directly in sympathy 
with the views and wishes of the great middle class of 
which as Whigs you aspire to be the fittest representa- 
tives that you had but to understand and maintain it 
in order to render yourselves indispensable to the neces- 
sities of the State. 

Let us pause and examine. The Parliamentary Reform 
Bill was the great work of the Whigs. From that epoch 
dates the influence they gained with Lord Grey, to lose at 
last under Lord Aberdeen. You had thus created a new 
constitution, amidst the loud hurrahs of the people. 



1853] UNDOING THE EEFOEM BILL 441 

What was your obvious and easy task ? Was it not to 
identify yourselves inseparably with your own work, and 
to be strictly the conservatives of the liberal constitution 
you had formed ? But you imperfectly understood that 
task when, through the mouth of Lord John, you declared 
yourselves for finality. A problem like the Reform Bill 
entails the task of solving its corollaries. To conserve 
this new constitution, you had first, it is true, to maintain 
its roots, but secondly to establish the value of its 
products ; in other words, your task, as the authors of a 
fresh charter between the throne and the people, was to 
maintain the charter intact from democratic invasion, 
and to disarm democracy itself by proving that it sufficed 
for all those ends of practical government, the failure of 
which alone excuses his own creed to the democrat. 
Firmness to defend the reformed constitution, unrelaxing 
energy to work out its legitimate results this should 
have been your twofold aim : this was Lord Grey's. 

And had you proved yourselves equal to that position 
you would have carried off from Conservatives on one 
side, and Radicals on the other, a majority all your own. 
For you would have become the representatives of the 
real sense of the public, and rapidly have formed the 
Third Party amongst the electoral constituencies which 
withered away under your hesitating discouragements. 
For why did the Government of Lord John gradually die 
of exhaustion ? Because it unsettled much as to the 
new constitution, and settled nothing that was expected 
to be the result of it. And just towards the close, at the 
moment most inopportune, when insurgent populations 
and tottering thrones throughout the Continent, when 
quick successions of excess and despotic reaction rendered 
it most unwise to tamper with settled institutions at 
home, and disposed the public least to demand a change, 
my Lord John comes down to the House of Commons 
with his notable proposition to undo the Reform Bill ! 
Six years of languid legislation, six years' subsistence on 
the legacy of Free Trade, six years and nothing done that 

29 



442 TO THE WHIGS [1853 

could show the innate vigour of the existent constitution 
to remove all grievances and advance all progress, con- 
trasted by a spasmodic violence against the Reform Bill 
itself, and a classical dissertation by the very Premier who 
had been most in collision with the democrats during all 
his tenure of office on the advantageous construction of 
the word " democracy " ! All this explains why the Whigs 
had fallen at the commencement of the present Parlia- 
ment into so great disrepute. They had not only thrown 
away their right position; they had perversely taken up 
the wrong one. They had done nothing to prove that 
Reform works well ; and their only pretence to what the 
jargon of the day calls " Liberal opinion " was in the 
abortive attempt to create agitation against the very 
title-deeds of the possessions they had obtained from the 
State. Could it be supposed, then, when thus thrown 
out of power meeting the present Parliament with 
reduced numbers, internal divisions, popular discredit 
they would obstinately insist again on precisely the same 
error ? And yet is not that error the very basis of their 
present coalition, or rather submersion ? They form a 
Government on the principle of a further Reform Bill 
whenever Mr. Gladstone and Sir William Moles worth 1 
can concur in amalgamating the opinions of the Reform 
Club with those of the Carlton. Every attempt to vindi- 
cate the constitution is put off for some indefinite plot on 
the constitution itself, on which, if it be possible to form 
a rational conjecture, not two of the conspirators can 
possibly agree together. It is true, meanwhile, that you 
have assisted to swell the reputation which you, above 
all men, are forbidden to share the reputation that 
Mr. Gladstone has procured from a Budget of which the 
chief popular merit is in its signal contrast to all your 
own financial principles, and its covert blow to the policy 
by which you have hitherto supported Aristocracy as an 
element necessary alike to the safety of freedom and the 

1 The representative of the Kadicals in the Cabinet. 



1853] LORD DERBY'S GOVERNMENT 443 

duration of monarchy. What in this be your gain shall 
be considered later. 

Here I pause for the present. In my next letter I shall 
endeavour to show that the Government of Lord Derby 
assumed precisely that position which you, the Whigs, 
had thrown away; and I shall take leave to inquire if you 
then took the best means to reunite your forces, regain 
your ascendancy, and identify your natural leaders with 
the cause they profess to cherish. 

May 7, 1853. 



CHAPTER II 

GENTLEMEN, The case at issue in the last General 
Election had not been confined to the question whether 
the Act that repealed the Corn Laws should or not be 
modified. Even in the counties the general cry of the 
farmers was, not that Free Trade should be abandoned, 
but that Free Trade should be impartially carried out. 
The paramount question everywhere was " Ay " or " No " 
to a fair trial of Lord Derby's Government. The question 
was answered by the return of about three hundred 
members more or less pledged to grant to the new Ad- 
ministration a support, whether provisional or permanent, 
cordial or qualified. What were the other parties which 
assembled in November last on the floor of the House of 
Commons ? First in point of numbers were the Radicals 
-viz., those who favoured a bold increase of the Demo- 
cratic element in the constitution. Nor was the body 
undistinguished by leaders remarkable for influence and 
energy without the doors of Parliament, and for ability 
and eloquence within its walls. It is impossible to affect 
contempt for a party, whatever its defects, which com- 
prises the ready intellect of Mr. Cobden, the inflexible 
purpose of Mr. Bright, and the perseverance and acumen 
of Mr. Villiers, sharpened into passion by his avowed 
hostility to the aristocracy, to which by birth he belonged . 



444 TO THE WHIGS [1853 

Sir William Molesworth lent his austere philosophy, and 
Mr. Bernal Osborne contributed his caustic wit to the 
intellectual resources of a host thus formidable to any 
Government from its numbers, and still more formidable 
to our mixed constitution from the principles which 
sought to remove the aristocratic medium placed by 
Time between those two contending powers that never 
yet in the history of the world have been long left nakedly 
confronting each other viz., Monarchy and Popular 
Suffrage. 

That all this party, whatever its subdivisions or its 
jealousies, would be actuated and combined for the time 
in one sentiment of hostility to Lord Derby's Govern- 
ment was clear. Free Trade was safe, but so was the 
Constitution; and the common object of this party was 
not only to preserve the one, but to change the other. 

Below the gangway, in the ranks of this motley Oppo- 
sition, assembled the special followers of the late Sir 
Robert Peel, determined not only to protect his policy, 
but to avenge his fall. These gentlemen could not but 
regard in Lord Derby and Mr. Disraeli the most illustrious 
victims they could dedicate to the Manes of their hero. 
With them, therefore, as with the Radicals, it was not 
enough that Free Trade should be recognised as the future 
principle of our financial system; it was not the future 
that engaged their fears; they had to efface a debt of 
resentment in the past. 

Next came the Irish party, popularly termed the 
Brigade. Free Trade was no more to them than Hecuba 
to Hamlet. Whatever the financial measures of Lord 
Derby, to Lord Derby's Government they had pledged 
their opposition, on the simple ground that they had 
deemed it a duty incumbent on their patriotism and their 
conscience to oppose every conceivable Government 
whatsoever. 

Now I turn to you, the Whigs, and I ask what could be 
your sympathy with any one of these three divisions, 
bent on the overthrow of that Government which had 



1853] A NEGLECTED OPPORTUNITY 445 

succeeded to power on the inevitable expiration of your 
own ? Could you sympathise with the ulterior objects 
of the Radicals ? Was the " democracy " of Lord John 
identical with the democracy we will not say of Mr. 
Bright, but of a single honest leader of the Movement ? 
Could you sympathise with the followers of Sir Robert 
Peel ? What to you was their desire of retribution 
against those who had assailed his conversion on the 
question of the Corn Laws ? You sympathise with their 
resentment ! You were the last men to do so ; for none 
were so bitter in all societies against the skilful adversary 
who had contrived to repique you by a bold discard of the 
suit you had counted on his retaining. Free Trade was 
one thing ; that you were bound to defend : the supposed 
wrong to a foe who, by destroying his own party, had 
outwitted yours, was another thing; and that wrong, 
real or imaginary, you were not bound to avenge. Not 
a sarcasm of Mr. Disraeli's in the most heated period of 
old debate but what some of you had cheered in the 
House of Commons, and nearly all of you cited in clubs 
and drawing-rooms, with the acrimonious pleasure of 
furtive enemies, when others say what themselves think, 
but do not think it wise to be the first to utter. 

Lastly, what had you in common with the Brigade ? 
the author of the Durham letter 1 in common with Mr. 
Duffy ? 2 

Thus, really remote from the three sections antagon- 
istic to Lord Derby's Government, and unable to form 
of yourselves an Administration, what was that position 
which became you best ? Surely you had but to evince 
neutrality in order to obtain the office of arbitrators. 

Free Trade was secure. The first act of Lord Derby's 
Government, on the assembling of the new Parliament, 

1 Lord John Russell's letter to the Bishop of Durham (Novem- 
ber 4, 1850) on Roman Catholic pretensions. Disraeli had taken 
a prominent part in the discussion on the letter. 

2 Mr. Gavan Duffy was prominent at the time on account of 
a charge made by him (May 5, 1853) of Ministerial corruption of 
Irish members. 



446 TO THE WHIGS [1853 

was precisely that anticipated by every man of ordinary 
sense. It was the recognition of that principle which 
divides the rulers of a despotism from the Ministers of a 
constitutional monarchy viz., the submission of men, 
made responsible to the Sovereign for the security of the 
realm, to the power of public opinion when unequivo- 
cally expressed by a legitimate appeal to its verdict. 
Here all taunts as to the inconsistency of politicians who, 
in opposition, had opposed a law which in office they 
ratified, were absurd on the lips of those who had studied 
our history and comprehended our constitution. To 
oppose a law, to represent the hardships it may inflict, 
to argue on the consequences it may entail, to advise, 
when it be passed, either congenial modifications or 
supplementary amendments all this belongs to the just 
province of debate. But that law, confirmed in all its 
integrity by fresh proofs of popular assent, and the 
modifications or amendments advised rendered as im- 
practicable as the repeal nothing remains for those who 
have passed from the freedom of opposition to the grave 
responsibilities of office but to accept the law, and seek, by 
means analogous to its spirit, remedies for whatever par- 
tial grievance it may inflict. 

But if certain high and stubborn spirits, who, in the 
severity peculiar to those Censors who cannot aspire to 
be Consuls, refused to acknowledge that there could be 
any virtue in necessity if the Brights and the Bernal 
Osbornes could not enlarge their comprehension of the 
requisites of statesmen beyond quotations from Hansard, 
there were surely some juster thinkers in the House of 
Commons who must have trembled at the doctrine that 
men in office are rigidly to carry out the opinions they 
professed in opposition. Stand forth, my friends the 
Whigs ! Those juster thinkers must be you ! Who in 
opposition had been the most renowned supporter of 
Roman Catholic emancipation ? Was it not the very 
archetype of Whiggery, Charles Fox ? Charles Fox came 
into office. What did he do ? Honestly confess that, if 



1853] AN UNCOMPLETED SACRIFICE 447 

it be the noble duty of a member in opposition to advo- 
cate his own opinions, it is a stern necessity of a Minister 
of the Crown to defer to the opinions of the public and the 
Sovereign. Therefore Charles Fox requested the friends 
of Roman Catholic emancipation not to embarrass the 
Government ; with too lively a remembrance of his former 
services to their cause, the ducal head of the house of 
Russell was commissioned by Mr. Fox to meet the more 
eminent stragglers for political franchise of their religious 
faith, and advise them not even to present their petition 
that session ! The petition was accordingly suspended, 
and the fears of the Ministers relieved. 

Who does not remember that, on the principle embodied 
in the Irish Appropriation Clause, Lord John Russell ex- 
pelled the Government of Sir Robert Peel ? And so 
keen in opposition was my Lord John's sense of the 
immediate and vital adoption of that principle, that he 
declared in Parliament that " he would rather have 
severed his political connection from those with whom he 
had so long allied, than continue any longer a system 
founded on bigotry and oppression !" Abjure his very 
party for a principle ! Noble sacrifice ! not to be com- 
pleted ! Heaven had compassion on the Whigs : the party 
was not abjured, the principle was. 

Lord John had only come into office, and bigotry and 
oppression obtained an instant reprieve. Lord Derby 
fought for his principle as long as there was a chance of 
a majority for its adoption. Lord John, having obtained 
a majority that brought himself into office, immolated 
the principle so intolerable in opposition to the austerer 
deities whom office intrudes into the creeds of men. 
Themis is the goddess of Opposition; Nemesis sits in 
Downing Street. Was it possible, then, that you, the 
Whigs, could have any just quarrel with Lord Derby's 
Government when it adopted your own peculiar policy 
of Free Trade in conformity with your own illustrious 
examples of political expediency ? Or was it for you to 
insult the conscience of honourable men by coupling their 



448 TO THE WHIGS [1853 

public measures with a bill of indictment on their private 
opinions ? 

I grant that if, when Lord Derby's Government at once 
accepted Free Trade as the principle henceforth incor- 
porated in our commercial policy, and to be recognised in 
our financial system, that Government had nevertheless 
evinced, on all general measures, the tendencies to 
arbitrary rule, and resistance to the great law of pro- 
gressive improvement, you, as Whigs, would have been 
justified in combining with all other sections for its down- 
fall. But the whole spirit of Lord Derby's Government 
was to vindicate and to vivify your own Reform Bill to 
preserve the constitution the Reform had created, but to 
put into action all its long-neglected machinery for the 
redress of grievances or the correction of abuse. This, in 
my next letter, I will endeavour to prove. Meanwhile I 
have thus far cleared the ground before us. First, the 
question between Free Trade and Protection no longer 
existed as an insuperable barrier between yourselves and 
any party with which, upon their general conduct upon 
State affairs, your hereditary sentiments might be more 
congenial than with other divisions of political opinion. 
Second, in reviewing those divisions we find banded against 
Lord Derby's Government, no matter what its merely 
commercial policy might be, the party of the Movement, 
regarding it as a barrier to those ulterior objects which 
you, as Whigs, had ever professed to oppose; the section 
of the Peelites, with whose desire for retribution it would 
be hypocrisy indeed, could you affect, to sympathise; 
the Irish Brigade men, no doubt, very ardent in their 
patriotism and very zealous for their faith, but it is only 
to say that you were Protestants and Englishmen to 
prove that with those gentlemen you could have nothing 
in common, unless you could be prepared to destroy any 
Government whatsoever to which Protestants would trust 
their religion and Englishmen their rights. By the help 
of all these divisions you might destroy Lord Derby's 
Administration : by remaining aloof from them you might 



1853] AN ARK GOVERNMENT 449 

save it. You chose the former alternative. No Deluge 
has yet occurred, but it seems that you have foreseen its 
coming ; for the Government you have helped to construct 
very much resembles the Ark, in which creatures of the 
most opposite species went in two by two. 

May 14, 1853. 



CHAPTER III 

GENTLEMEN, I have said that Lord Derby's Govern- 
ment took precisely that ground which the Whigs should 
have appropriated. Brief -lived as that Government was, 
never since the time of Lord Grey's Administration has 
any Cabinet evinced equal energy in the redress of popular 
grievances. 

What was the loudest complaint throughout the 
kingdom ? The abuses of the Court of Chancery. And 
here the reform that had been put out to nurse, swathed 
and coddled by a Commission until it seemed to have 
lost all power of movement, at once assumed vitality and 
vigour; all that the Whigs, throughout six long years, 
had been proposing to do, was done by a Government 
that scarcely lasted six months; the spirit of Bentham 
united itself with the learning of Lord St. Leonards, 1 and 
became practical. What complaint, now so smothered 
(and why it is smothered we shall see later when examining 
Mr. Gladstone's Budget), was then loudest amongst all 
subdivisions of labour and skill ? The unequal assess- 
ment of the income tax. All Governments before had 
refused to deal with the injustice. A Whig Chancellor of 
the Exchequer had proposed to double it. The Govern- 
ment of Lord Derby founded its financial scheme on the 
remedy of this popular grievance. What had been for 
the last four years the urgent demand of the mercantile 
world ? The extension of our trade with China by the 

1 Lord Chancellor in the Derby Administration. 



450 TO THE WHIGS [1853 

diminution of the tea duties. The demand was conceded. 
In a like spirit the complaints of the shipping interest, 
long neglected, were promptly heard. There remained 
the grievances urged by the colonial interest, and still 
more loudly by the agricultural. Here, Free Trade once 
established as a fixed principle, it was only in the power 
of the Government to give such redress as that principle 
permitted. It is true that the Government could not 
here restore immediate prosperity to diminished capital. 
But it could at least achieve one object of immense 
national importance it could conciliate discontented 
classes. 

To judge of the Budget produced by Mr. Disraeli in the 
dry spirit of a financier is to do signal injustice to the 
grand political principle that presided over the whole 
scheme, and should have won favour to a hundred petty 
errors in detail. That principle was the conciliation to 
an inevitable commercial policy of all whom the effects of 
the policy had, for the time, most alienated from the 
Legislature and the Constitution. That principle went 
farther still : it went to the foundation of our repre- 
sentative system; it animated the ancient liberty that 
exists in the Right of Petition ; it connected the supply of 
subsidies with the redress of grievances. 

Its merit here was precisely that which the Whig had 
ever affected to identify with the wisdom of Liberal legis- 
lation the merit of recovering to the State the alienated 
affections of some large division of the people. Thus, 
the Derby Government having conceded Reform to all 
who appeal to law on behalf of property : having met the 
complaint which, day by day, the trading public and the 
press had united to utter against the iniquity of taxing 
precarious income at the same rate as that derived from 
realised capital ; having taken into consideration the just 
assertion contained in the Report of the Committee on 
the Income Tax, that the whole of the burden was at 
present borne by about 350,000 persons, and that under 
such an assessment one person contributed not only his 



1853] A FAKTHING OK A PENNY f 451 

own share to the expenditure, but the share justly charge- 
able on three other capable persons ; having given to the 
merchant the boon he most demanded ; having earned the 
grateful acknowledgment of the representatives of the 
shipping interest it turned to the class most suffering 
from the effects of Free Trade. It could not repeal Free 
Trade for the sake of that class : was it, therefore, to 
exclude that class from the benefits it was conferring on 
those whom free trade had most enriched ? What was 
its language to the agriculturists ? " We accept your 
own cry at the hustings ; we will seek to carry out Free 
Trade fairly. You assert that the excise duty on malt 
cripples your industry in the direction of your capital: 
that assertion no political economist can deny. The 
relief, in such reduction as we can effect, may be small; 
but in dealing with the malt tax, and taking off one 
moiety, we will at least try to do you this justice we 
will prosecute Free Trade for the enlargement of your own 
energies, the freedom of your own capital." And some- 
thing far more important than the reduction of a malt 
tax is the conviction of English fair-play in the mind of 
men in whose loyalty England recognises the best defence 
for her domestic institutions, and the firmest guarantee 
for that safety from a foreign foe for which, at this 
moment, you are levying your militia and manning your 
naval armaments. And yet, all that you, the Whig 
gentlemen who aspire " to make democracy Conservative," 
could see in a measure framed with this obvious end was 
the miserable question whether the gain upon a pot of 
beer would be a farthing or a penny ! 

Well, but the late Chancellor of the Exchequer pro- 
posed to bring the ten-pound householders within the 
pale of taxation. Audacious man ! Regarded solely as 
a question of political prudence, I grant candidly that 
very reasonable doubts may be entertained whether the 
same Budget should have contained an extension of the 
tax on income, and an extension of the tax on houses. 
But with respect to the last, the precise verge of exemption, 



452 TO THE WHIGS [1853 

and the precise amount of the tax imposed, Mr. Disraeli 
wisely and pointedly left as a detail. The principle that 
was asserted, you, the Whigs, were especially bound to 
defend : you had created the class of the ten-pound house- 
holders ; you had made those voters potent agents in the 
decision of all fiscal burdens. And was it for you to say 
that the constituencies you had called into being were to 
stand wholly exempt from the taxation their representa- 
tives were admitted to levy upon all householders save 
themselves ? Was that a doctrine agreeable to the theory 
of representation ? Was that your notion of a " Con- 
servative Democracy "? You inveigh against the bribery 
practised in a borough election. Small indeed is such 
septennial corruption to that which you would perpetuate 
in the doctrine that men who hold a suffrage in right of a 
property qualification should keep sacred from fiscal 
burdens the very property which qualifies them to tax 
their neighbours ! And the danger becomes immeasurably 
heightened when the only excuse you can make for their 
exemption is that it might curtail their franchise (in other 
words, diminish their political power) if you did not 
annex to their right of thrusting their hands into the 
pockets of others the privilege of buttoning up their 
own. 

No, I repeat it, and I challenge you to disprove the 
assertion, there was not a single principle in the Budget 
on which Lord Derby's Government staked its existence 
which you, the Whigs, were called upon to oppose not 
a principle which had not been recognised by all the 
economical authorities you have received as guides not 
a principle which did not tend to consummate that policy 
of which you were the legal inheritors, and to restore to 
it the value it had lost by your neglect. Had you, then, 
refused to join all attempts to overthrow Lord Derby's 
Government upon the introduction of its Budget, you 
would have maintained the position you resigned to Mr. 
Gladstone and his coterie ; you would have been the party 
to form a Cabinet whenever the fitting moment to regain 



1853] THE DESPOTISM OF TO-MORROW 453 

your ascendancy had arrived. I reinforce the proposition 
previously stated present neutrality would have secured 
to you the power of future arbitration. And what then 
would have been your relative gain ? Clearly this: the 
Liberal tendencies of the late Government would have 
compelled you gradually to amalgamate with its chiefs. 
A Government reconstructed from Lord Derby's would 
have united all those who, instead of undoing your 
Reform Bill, would make the Reform Bill do its work. 
The old quarrels between Whigs and Tories would have 
passed away in the midst of the new combinations which, 
as Whigs, sooner or later you must resist, or they will 
sweep you wholly from the scene. Tories had already 
recognised the necessity of employing all the popular 
elements of the Constitution in support of its monarchical 
foundations; and you as Whigs would have recognised 
no less the necessity of preserving all that constitutes the 
life of monarchy from insidious attempts to remove from 
due influence in legislation that order of gentlemen which 
has hitherto given dignity to freedom, and maintained a 
constitutional throne apart from the dangerous hostility 
or the still more dangerous adulation of fickle numbers. 
Remove that order, and the republic of to-day is the 
despotism of to-morrow. Nor is there a country in the 
world in which the reaction from democracy to despotism 
would be so sudden and so complete as in England, 
because in no other country is there the same timidity of 
Capital ; and just in proportion as democratic progress, 
by levelling the influences of birth, elevates the influences 
of money, does it create a power that would at any time 
annihilate liberty if liberty were brought into opposition 
with the Three per Cents. 

But this post of neutrality you renounced. You pre- 
ferred to become the tools of the section most embittered 
against Lord Derby's Government because most identified 
with the memory of your own inflexible opponent. Mr. 
Hayter 1 has conversations (unauthorised, of course all 

1 Afterwards Sir W. G. Hayter, Liberal Whip. 



454 TO THE WHIGS [1853 

such conversations, are) with the chiefs of the Brigade. 
No income tax extends to Ireland, if Sir Charles Wood 1 be 
a consistent man and the member of a new Cabinet. You 
unite with the Radicals, who overthrew you before 
whom, unless you also become Radicals, you can never 
conciliate. You unite with the Peelites, whose organs in 
the press had been, up to the last, treating your principles 
and your party with contumelious disdain. And you 
throw out the Government of which the Premier had been 
the most eloquent defender of your Reform Bill of which 
the leader in the House of Commons had been accused of 
too warm a desire to reanimate that Toryism of Queen 
Anne's day which sought to identify itself with popular 
reforms in order to make a Premier of my Lord Aber- 
deen, and a Chancellor of the Exchequer of Mr. Glad- 
stone ! A Premier of the man who had treated your 
Lord John as a religious incendiary, and your Lord 
Palmerston as a meddling revolutionist ! A Chancellor 
of the Exchequer of the man who, in the very speech that 
preceded his elevation, styled himself "a Conservative," 
pathetically expressing his regret for the rupture of ancient 
ties and his hope of some future reunion. Amiable 
regret ! honourable hope ! reminding us of those inhabi- 
tants of the South Sea Islands who never devour their 
enemies that would be paying them too great a compli- 
ment: they eat up only their own friends and relations, 
with an appetite proportioned to the love that they bear 
to them. And then they hasten to deck themselves in 
the feathers and trappings of those thus tenderly de- 
voured, in memorial of their " regret at the rupture of 
ancient ties," and their "hope of some future reunion " ! 
Do you feel quite safe with your new ally ? Do you not 
dread that the same affectionate tooth will some day be 
fastened upon your own shoulders ? 
May 21, 1853. 



1 Afterwards Viscount Halifax. " Sir Charles Wood in Cabinet 
(April 11, 1853) strongly disapproved of the extension of income 
tax to Ireland " (Morley's "Life of Gladstone"). 



1853] WHY THE GOVERNMENT FELL 455 



CHAPTER IV 

GENTLEMEN, Lord Derby's Government fell, not on a 
question of Free Trade, not on any principle opposed to 
Liberal opinion or to national progress. It fell because 
the Whigs resolved to abet the revenge of the Peelites 
and subserve the ambition of Mr. Gladstone; it fell 
because the party of the Movement desired at all hazards 
to destroy an Administration proving, by the spirit of its 
policy, that our mixed constitution suffices for the 
practical purposes of popular government. Not that 
Lord Derby's Government ever pronounced itself hostile 
to the principle of widening the existent franchise, or of 
securing the franchise we possess from whatever liabilities 
to corruption it is in the power of the law to control or 
counteract. Judging from the general tenor of its meas- 
ures, such defects and anomalies in our representative 
system as are not inherent in all representative systems 
whatsoever would have received due care and correction. 
This only was the position Lord Derby's Government 
assumed : it refused to make its existence dependent upon 
a vague pledge to the Democratic party that it would 
introduce such reforms as the Democratic party might 
support. In a word, it was the guardian of those institu- 
tions which are essential to a tempered monarchy, and 
would therefore have been opposed to the innovations 
that insidiously prepare the way to the republic and the 
dictatorship. The true statesman regards individual 
measures less according to their merits, taken per se, than 
to their consequences as affecting the framework of the 
political system to which they are applied. States derive 
their vitality from elements too familiar to be discernible, 
as the air, the least visible of fluids, is yet the most neces- 
sary to existence. Aristocracy with us has no marked 
limit; the eye cannot track it to its vanishing point; it 
exists in every circle ; you address a mob by the appella- 



456 TO THE WHIGS [1853 

tion of " gentlemen " a noble phrase, denoting a senti- 
ment that elevates the whole tone of our national spirit. 
But it is on this sentiment that the Democratic party 
wage their way ; Mr. Cobden defends the French for their 
indifference to freedom on account of their love of equality. 
Well, then, might the Democrats seek to destroy a 
Government round which the bulk of the gentry had 
rallied. But why the Whigs ? Are the Whigs not 
aristocrats ? 

And now, gentlemen, you have made your choice. 
Half a dozen of you have got place; and the rest of you 
are where ? and what ? " Taciturna noctis signa !" 
Contemplate the position to which you have reduced 
yourselves after twenty years of political supremacy. 
You have no leader in the Lords ; you have scarcely a 
voice of your own in that august assembly; and Lord 
John only holds place in the Cabinet as your representa- 
tive upon that single question on which he has hitherto 
most notably failed, and on which all such perilous success 
as belongs to a compact with democracy must destroy 
irremediably whatever is substantial in Whig power 
remove from between the extremes of party the inter- 
mediate class of statesmen who, representing none of the 
more vehement passions that sway the crowds below the 
hustings, rely for their return to Parliament upon the 
authority which birth, property, and education obtain 
among the smaller or more rural constituencies brought 
under the local influences of personal respect and hered- 
itary affection. 

Lord John holds a seat in the Cabinet solely as the 
trustee for a new Reform Bill. But those who have con- 
signed to him the trust imperatively demand the dis- 
franchisement of small constituencies, and the introduc- 
tion of fresh urban voters into the registration for coun- 
ties. The disfranchisement of small constituencies is the 
disfranchisement of the Whigs; and, if the territorial 
interest is to be converted into a new supplement to the 
electoral influence of urban householders, it is true that 



1853] THE EACE BEFOEE THE FLOOD 457 

you may weaken Conservatism, but you weaken yet more 
every principle which can distinguish the Whig from the 
Democrat. For, after all your endeavours to destroy 
Conservatism, still the eternal and immutable tendencies 
to conserve and to resist must remain. Even in the 
largest mercantile or manufacturing towns there is 
always at least a powerful and united minority in oppo- 
sition to democratic opinion. In counties, swamp them 
as you will with town voters, that opposition will be still 
so vigorous, so sustained, that in the ordinary course of 
events, when undisturbed by great popular excitement, 
Conservatives will secure a large proportion of their 
present strength. But you, who can neither accord with 
the passions of the populace, nor win the favour of yeoman 
and farmer through sympathy with their class and their 
calling, will find that, just in proportion as you destroy 
all the local influences which conciliate differences in 
political opinion, you will vanish more and more from 
the contests of public life. Here and there, as in the case 
of Lord John, rare circumstances of name and past popular 
service may sustain some individual in Parliament, and 
secure to him the suffrages of voters proud of his repute, 
though chafed against the moderation of his sentiments. 
But, as a political party, the Whigs, both in name and in 
thing, will be but as the fossils which speak of the race 
before the flood. And observe, too, that, under the 
peculiar circumstances of the position Lord John has 
assumed, all the ordinary difficulties that attend the 
recasting of the constitution, the remodelling of the 
franchise, are gratuitously increased. For, by the dec- 
larations, hints, and vague promises Lord John has made, 
not only to his allies amongst the Movement, but to that 
more moderate, though not more thoughtful, portion of 
the public which imagines that for every ill legislation 
can find a remedy, this bold statesman has committed 
himself to a task much more difficult than that of com- 
manding the Channel fleet the task of bringing the law 
written upon parchment to bear against the laws im- 

30 



458 TO THE WHIGS [1853 

pressed upon human nature. He undertakes to find, 
against the bribes which the rich candidate offers to the 
poor elector, remedies more effectual than those com- 
prised in the rigorous severity with which Committees of 
the House now unseat every member to whom the practice 
of bribery is brought home remedies that shall meet all 
of which the advocates for secret suffrage complain, yet 
dispense with secret suffrage itself. My Lord John, you 
are pledged to an impossibility ! Not that we need sub- 
scribe to the cynic code of Mr. Drummond, confound all 
men in one principle of corruption, and see no distinction 
between the sale of a vote for five pounds and the generous 
ambition that makes the soldier desire the token of honour, 
or the patriot labour for the power to accomplish noble 
schemes for his country. Narrow the view to the evil 
immediately before us viz., the bribery or intimidation 
of voters; acknowledge the state and conditions of our 
civilisation, with all its disparities of wealth, all the pas- 
sions of ambition and of greed that it engenders. See 
all those disparities brought to bear, all those passions 
let loose, at a contested election, and ask yourself if it be 
possible by any law to prevent wealth from the exercise 
of its power, or place avarice out of the reach of tempta- 
tion ? Yes, there is one law, and but one the law that 
would erase the theory of popular representation from 
our system ; the law that would suspend the franchise or 
restrict it to an oligarchy ; the law that would take wealth 
and poverty from juxtaposition; the law that would 
annihilate constitutional liberty in England, with all its 
virtues and with all its concomitant excesses. There is 
no other law, fill your statute book as you may. And the 
worst of it is that, when men enter into a war with human 
nature, they go on adding threat upon threat, penalty 
upon penalty, till the disproportion between the offence 
and the punishment makes justice itself disappear before 
the common-sense of the tribunal to which the verdict is 
referred. The advocates for the ballot have this at least 
in their favour all your remedies will fail one after the 



1853] MINISTERS AND CORRUPTION 459 

other, and leave but the ballot-box alone untried. Man- 
lier and wiser would have been the frank avowal: We 
must take civilisation and liberty as they exist, lamenting 
the temptations they offer, the excesses to which they are 
incident, seeing that the more civilisation and liberty are 
brought to bear upon the ferment of masses closely pressed 
together in towns, the more your evidence shows that the 
corruption of individuals is in ratio with the active prin- 
ciple that gives life to the State ; and that thus the sparser 
population of agricultural districts is comparatively free 
from the vices which rage in the towns, whose electoral 
influence you desire us to increase. Nor is the large 
city more pure than the small borough. We can dis- 
franchise St. Albans to please you. Would you have us 
disfranchise for the same offence Liverpool and London ? 
Or, if we are to adjust constituencies according to the 
evidences of bribery before our committees, would you 
have us accept those evidences, and say : Agricultural 
constituencies are so rarely condemned in comparison to 
urban that the facts call upon us to give to the rural 
population the very influence of which you would deprive 
them. No ! we cannot separate civilisation from all its 
consequences the same causes that produce the vice 
call forth the virtue ; you show us only the temptation to 
which men have yielded show us also the magnanimity 
with which all threats have been defied and all bribes 
have been disdained. An election is but an epitome of 
human life. And it is to the glory of our commonwealth 
that, upon the whole, honesty is so prevalent; and that 
there never yet existed in the world a popular assembly 
in which the corruption of the representatives themselves 
was so rare as in the British House of Commons. Honour 
to us that, amidst all our hot feuds of faction, amidst all 
the changes of opinion and of party which our statesmen 
undergo, it never yet was suspected that one man to 
whose voice the English Parliament would listen for a 
second had accepted a pecuniary consideration for the 
change of an opinion and the record of a vote. Can you 



460 TO THE WHIGS [1853 

say this even of the first statesmen of France, of America, 
of the chiefs of the old republics ? Individuals may be 
corrupted in our boroughs the National Assembly is 
incorrupt. 

Nor is this rash undertaking to accept civilisation, yet 
reject its conditions, the only difficulty Lord John has 
created for himself in becoming sponsor for a new Par- 
liamentary Eeform Bill. He has undertaken what would 
obviously require the most cordial unanimity as to the 
ulterior objects which such reform, be it large or small, 
should effect in connection with men of opinions the 
most opposite, and with whom the peculiarities of his own 
mind can have the least of that sympathy which he might 
have found amongst the Whigs cashiered from the Cabinet. 
And thus, on the one hand a Gladstone, on the other a 
Molesworth, he is to conciliate the University of Oxford 
with the reforms that will satisfy the electors of Southwark ! 
This is his position, on this ground alone he holds 
office, and to this, after scattering, subdividing, the party 
that he led, does he commit all the chance of their 
reunion ! 

But, Whigs and gentlemen, I have heard some of you 
take this comfort to yourselves : " Rely on it," you say 
" rely on it that, with such colleagues as Lansdowne and 
Aberdeen, Gladstone and Sidney Herbert, Lord John's 
new Reform Bill will be so nominal that even Conserva- 
tives may support it." Well, if that be so, why were 
democrats enticed to destroy a Conservative Govern- 
ment ? Have so many votes been purchased by a bill 
at a year's date, which will then be dishonoured ! Pos- 
sibly it may prove to be the fact. It is easy for one party 
to outbid another for popularity, when there is no inten- 
tion to disburse the difference between the offers . ' ' What 
salary do you give to your secretaries ?" asked a French 
Prince of another grand seigneur. " A hundred crowns," 
was the answer. " A hundred crowns only ! How low ! 
What a trifle ! I give two hundred to mine but, to be 
sure, I never pay them /" 



1853] ME. GLADSTONE'S BUDGET 461 

But in this case the secretaries will be Cobden and 
Bright, and I have a strong suspicion that they intend to 
be paid. Look to it. 

May 28, 1853. 

CHAPTER V 

GENTLEMEN, You have rallied round Mr. Gladstone's 
Budget as round a banner. The Budget is popular, I 
grant it. But why ? Because of the political principle 
that lies concealed amongst its financial details. It is 
popular because it natters all those whose passions are 
yet warmed by the remembrance of the long disputes on 
the Corn Laws. It revives the ignes suppositos by the 
cineri doloso. 1 It renews the triumph over the landed 
interest by a fresh attack upon the land. I have said in 
a former letter that we would consider why the complaint 
against the assessment of the income tax, once so loud, 
was now so silenced. I invite you to that consideration. 
You cannot deny that at the commencement of the 
present Parliament it was generally computed that not 
one hundred and fifty members could be found who would 
vote for the reassessment of the income tax, according to 
the principle upon which it has been imposed and con- 
tinued. Now, Mr. Gladstone has obtained a willing 
majority not only to the renewal but to the extension of 
the tax, unmitigated in its stern principle &nd how ? 
By annexing to it the new duty on successions. Take 
from the Budget this tax, and where would be Mr. Glad- 
stone's popularity where the acquiescence in the renewal 
of the income tax, which, like that grim impartial visitor 
described by the poet, 



pulsat pede pauperum tabernas 
Kegumque turres '"? 2 



1 " Periculosse plenum opus alese 
Tractas; et incedis per ignes 
Suppositos cineri doloso." 

Horace, " Odes," II., i. 6. 

Horace, " Odes," L, iv. 13. 



462 TO THE WHIGS [1853 

It may or may not he true that the new tax on succes- 
sions is but a claptrap for popularity, that it will little 
injure the land, that only 400,000 will be raised from that 
description of property. Not so, at least, was the propo- 
sition regarded by the Movement who cheered the assault 
on aristocracy, and the shopkeeper who silenced as a 
Eadical the complaints he had uttered as a tradesman. 
It became popular solely on the ground that it inflicted 
on the principle of hereditary aristocracy a something that 
had heretofore been resisted as detrimental to its exist- 
ence. The popularity was increased because the attack 
was unaccompanied by one conciliatory measure towards 
the class it assailed not even an attempt to mitigate the 
expenses of the sale or the mortgage which the tax might 
not unfrequently compel. Do the democrats pause to 
to think whether the gain from land will be less than half a 
million ? No ! To use the language of their own press, 
" They have inserted another wedge into the tree." 

I say nothing on the general question as to whether 
real property should or should not be exposed to the 
legacy duty ; or whether it be a sound principle in political 
economy to relieve our own incomes by deductions from 
the capital of posterity. All that I say is that the time 
and the mode in which the duty is now imposed convert 
a question otherwise financial into a measure especially 
political. 

The income tax was mainly defended, as an instrument 
for the abolition of protective duties. And now the sole 
prospect of our release from that burden is made to rest 
upon the profits of a new tax on the very class which the 
abolition of those duties had most galled arid most injured. 
You thus ultimately pay for Free Trade out of the pockets 
of those whom Free Trade had impoverished. You con- 
clude your war, not by grace to the enemy who has retired 
from the field, but by an act that is meant to charge him 
with its expenses. You have cheered on your followers 
by the shout of " Vse victis !" and in the spirit of Eastern 
despots have made the proof of your victory consist in 



1853] FELICITOUS IMITATION 463 

the fine you have levied on the vanquished. Thus it is 
that Mr. Gladstone purchased the popular consent to the 
inequalities of his income tax. And Lord John sate 
beside Mr. Gladstone, and Lord John subscribed to the 
impost, because it was a symbol of political insult having 
during his whole career as a Whig opposed the impost as a 
measure of finance ! And do you think that this fresh 
triumph to the Peelites is no fresh damage to the Whigs ! 

Mr. Gladstone's Budget itself, regarded purely as a 
financial measure, has some great merits; and amongst 
them that which is only second to originality viz., 
felicitous imitation. Mr. Brodie's pamphlet supplies the 
conception of the new succession tax; to Mr. Disraeli's 
Budget we owe the mitigation of the tea duties, the relief 
of the shipping interest. There is one authority, indeed, 
to which Mr. Gladstone never turned his classical taste, 
whether for paraphrase or translation viz., the Budgets 
of the Whigs. 

But that which predistinguishes the scheme of Mr. 
Gladstone from the propositions of Mr. Disraeli is notable 
and significant. It is the utter absence of every desire 
to remove the irritation and to gain the affections of the 
vast class employed in the production of wealth, through 
its earliest and deepest source the cultivation of the soil. 
When our Hannibal of the Exchequer has gained the 
summit of his Alps, and looks down on his Italy of Relief, 
a divine compassion seizes him for the sufferings of all 
except the class which alone has suffered. He thinks the 
case of the posthorse-masters "very hard," he reserves 
a corner of his heart for the wrongs of attorneys, ponies 
and dogs come under benignant consideration; but the 
husbandman whose earnings had been seized to defray 
the cost of ascending the Alps is excluded from all the 
benefits showered down on the rest of Italy! The land is 
ignored for relief it is only remembered for taxation. 
And therefore the old grudge still remains, and the golden 
opportunity of effecting conciliation between town and 
country upon easy terms is irrevocably cast away. Mean- 



464 TO THE WHIGS [1853 

while the Parliament stands pledged for six years to the 
continuance of the income tax, with all the grievances 
which will again find voice when the hurrahs that cheered 
the new tax upon bloated landlords have passed away 
remaining in full force, and extending to a wider range all 
the feelings that weaken respect for property, and all the 
temptations which can demoralise the honest. In the 
speech by which Mr. Disraeli introduced his Budget he 
contemplated the future extinction of the income tax, 
while redressing for the present its inequalities. But 
on what did he rely for aid to the resources obtained from 
the termination of the Long and other Annuities ? Upon 
the diminution of expenditure in the Public Works. The 
two millions which Mr. Gladstone is in six years to obtain 
from a tax that it now seems is to disappoint popular 
expectation, and fall rather upon humble house-owners 
than opulent landholders, Mr. Disraeli would have raised, 
perhaps, in three years, by drawing only on that Magnum 
Vectigal Parsimonia 1 which has no place in the calculation 
of Mr. Gladstone. " Retrenchment " was one of the 
three conditions of Lord Grey when he entered into office ; 
Lord Derby's Government took up the long-dormant 
principle upon which the Whigs had based their preten- 
sions to power; and the Whigs turned aside, to cry out, 
with Mr. Goulburn, " Dangerous and abominable prin- 
ciple ! to count on retrenchment for the future repeal of 
a tax." 

And now, gentlemen, I close my appeal to you. You 
have united yourselves with men opposed to all your past 
policy, for the purpose of suspending your present exist- 
ence as a party, and for the preparation of a measure 
which must either complete your unpopularity by its 
failure, or destroy all the elements of your future power 
by its success. Meanwhile you have the fullest oppor- 
tunities to cultivate the virtue of patience under affront. 
My Lord John has had the presumption to speak for him- 

*" Magnum vectigal est parsimonia" (Cicero, "Paradoxa 
Stoicorum," vi, 3, 49). 



1853] A FINAL APPEAL 465 

self on a question he might well be supposed to under- 
stand ; my Lord Aberdeen disavows, on the part of him- 
self "and many of his colleagues," the sentiments ex- 
pressed by the nominal Leader of the Commons. Periods 
polished with literary care, and delivered with the frigid 
solemnity of elaborate preparation, are excused as ex- 
pressions liable to be " misunderstood," indiscreet ebulli- 
tions from the "heat of debate"! The apology that 
would damage the raw tyro in politics is applied to the 
colleague grey with the experience and conflicts of forty 
years; and the services of Mr. Keogh 1 are repurchased by 
the marked humiliation of the ci-devant First Minister of 
the Crown. Your India Bill, purely Whig, is already 
exposed to contempt by the defenders of that part of the 
Cabinet which is purely Peelite; and the grave troubles in 
the East introduce into your councils every ancient sub- 
ject of discord that can distinguish a Palmerston from 
an Aberdeen. But such differences of policy are in- 
significant compared to that which Lord John himself 
holds in reserve. Let the seeds of disunion lie interred 
through the present session the crop will be richer for 
the repose of the fallow. Another year, and the old 
position of the Whigs will be gone for ever. You must 
then do as others have done before you make your bold 
choice between abjuring your creed of moderation, and 
passing as Radicals to the expectant camp of Mr. Cobden, 
or carrying that creed into the forces that gather round the 
standard of Lord Derby. The brief Government which 
you overthrew lasted long enough to suffice for proof 
that a Ministry which never pledged itself to finality can 
comprehend the necessities of progress; that to redress 
grievances, conciliate classes, retrench expenditure, reform 
the laws, take into council Public Opinion, are not only 
within the power, but become the essential duty, of those 
who call themselves Conservatives simply because they 
would preserve to their children the constitution once 
reverenced by the Whigs. 

1 Irish Solicitor- General. 



466 TO THE WHIGS [1853 

I do not doubt the choice to which intelligence and 
patriotism will compel some amongst you, and those not 
the least eminent nor the least Liberal. And looking to 
your uneasy and undignified post in the present Adminis- 
tration, certain that all the motives which guide human 
conduct forbid you long to retain it conscious that you 
cannot for years to come form an Administration solely 
from your own ranks I foresee that fusion between the 
more thoughtful of the chiefs and supporters of the present 
Government and the leaders of the present Opposition 
which will terminate in the creation of such a Government 
as will bring all the forces of the constitution to bear upon 
the cure of its own diseases. With States, as with men, 
all that physicians can do is to assist Nature. To every 
political constitution is its own nature, its own idiosyn- 
crasies. You cannot amend the abuses that have crept 
into an ancient monarchy by the remedies you would 
apply to the system of a young republic. Attempt it, and 
you do not cure the disease : you destroy the patient. 

For myself, I stand somewhat distinct from the ordinary 
relations of party, and altogether remote from the interests 
of official ambition. The name I have assumed is so far 
appropriate that it is obscure to those who may yet well 
remember the more prominent disputants in the grand 
arena of old Roman politics; it is a name incidentally 
cited by Cicero as that of one among others who had 
studied the customs of his country, and might therefore 
be competent to suggest an occasional counsel to his 
fellow-citizens. I see before me a numerous and powerful 
party, animated by chiefs whose opinions in favour of all 
that can advance the cause of pure Democracy have been 
openly proclaimed. Amongst that party, no doubt 
there are some more moderate than others, some who 
march blindfold towards the goal which those of bolder 
vision see clear through the mists of faction. But all 
unite in the march of the caravan towards the heart of 
the desert ; and if there be those who then discover that 
the fountain which allures them on is but the mirage, it 



1853] CONSOLIDATING THE EMPIEE 467 

will be too late to return, and it will be but destruction to 
pause. To that party the real sense of the country is 
nevertheless healthfully opposed. But what avails the 
sense of the country, when it is subdivided into sections 
who dispute on the straws which the wind will soon whirl 
away from their sight ? If England is to retain that 
empire which she owes to no natural resources, but to the 
various influences of a most complicated and artificial, 
but a most admirable and effective, social system, she 
must gather into one united phalanx all who hold the 
doctrine that England, to be safe, must be great to con- 
tinue free she must rest upon the intermediate institutions 
which fence round monarchy as the symbol of executive 
force from that suffrage of unalloyed democracy which 
represents the invading agencies of legislative change. 
Our system of policy must be opposed to all those who, 
by rules of arithmetic, would reduce the empire in which 
the sun never sets, to the isle of the Anglo-Saxon, and leave 
our shores without defence against a yet craftier Norman. 
Our measures of reform must be so framed as to gain all 
the purposes of good government, yet to admit under the 
name of reform no agency that tends by its own inevitable 
laws to the explosion of the machinery whose operations 
you pretend it will economise and quicken. By what 
plausible arguments were the dwellers in the Pirseus 
admitted to vote in the Athenian Assembly ! They had 
fought at Salamis. What so just as that they should 
possess the franchise of the State they had assisted to 
save ? Regarded in itself, that extension of suffrage 
was reasonable enough; but as applied to the system of 
the Athenian commonwealth, all sound historians concui 
that it became the necessary destruction of Athens. A 
power was brought to play against the tendencies that pre- 
served the good that was acquired from the greed of the 
fatal something that is yet to be obtained. In a word, 
those who had no stake in the soil swamped the votes of 
those who were its natural defenders . Hence, from that 
moment, arise the dictator and the demagogue Pericles 



468 TO THE WHIGS [1853 

and Cleon the flatterer and the tyrant of mobs; hence 
the rapid fluctuations, the greedy enterprises, the dominion 
of the Have-nots, the ruin of the fleet, the loss of the 
colonies, the Thirty Tyrants, the vain restoration of a 
hollow freedom, the conquest of the Macedonian, the 
adulation offered to Demetrius as to a god licence 
corruption servitude dissolution . 

Give the popular assembly of Great Britain up to the 
controlling influence of the lowest voters in large towns, 
and you have brought again a Piraeus to destroy your 
Athens. 

But I see the sole hope for England in the union of those 
men who will defend England as she is. History has 
buried in the past all of the old feuds between Tories and 
Whigs save that mere emulation for power which hunts 
out pretexts for unsubstantial differences. Both have 
now to protect from a common fate the constitution which 
has been corrected and ennobled by their ancient collisions 
of opinion. A manly alliance upon the broad understand- 
ing that reforms are to cement the foundation of mon- 
archy, and not attempt the anomalous paradox of uniting 
democratic institutions to a defenceless throne, would at 
once give to the Whigs all that they require for the re- 
sumption of their historical influence electoral numbers 
and strengthen the liberal disposition of Lord Derby's 
partisans by the accession of all that they need to make 
the public fully comprehend their views viz., colleagues 
experienced in office and eloquent in debate. The 
Whigs may lose that occasion ; the stubborn prejudices 
attached to obsolete feuds not strong enough to resist 
subordination to Aberdeen and Gladstone may yet 
induce them to reject association with men whom at 
heart they more cordially approve. If so, the loss is to 
themselves their extinction will be doomed. It is the 
Gladstones and the Aberdeens who will then ultimately 
obtain all the ground that they forfeit. Meanwhile let 
not the true Conservatives despond let them be patient 
till the storm which their opponents themselves have 



1853] HOUR-GLASS AND SCYTHE 469 

invoked scatter the fleet which carries mutiny on board. 
All wrecks come to the shore the shore does not go to the 
wrecks . 

Not that I would have you suppose that Fortune is a 
goddess that favours the inert. They who think that it 
is sufficient to wait for the ripening season never reap the 
harvest. Sow first, and then wait. " Time," said Lord 
Plunket, in one of his great orations, " is represented with 
the hour-glass as well as with the scythe." By the one 
he mows down by the other he reconstructs. 

MANILIUS. 

June 11, 1853. 



INDEX 



ABERCROMBY, MR. SPEAKER, 50 

Aberdeen, Lord, 12, 431, 435, 440, 
454, 460 

Aislabie, John, 290 (note) 

Althorp, Lord (third Earl Spencer), 
38, 73, 367, 439 

Aquinas, Thomas, 119, 414 

Aristocratic Principle of Govern- 
ment, 17 et seq., 349 

Arnold, W. T., 6 

Athenaeum, the, 74 

" Atticus " pseudonym, 14; Letter to 
the Duke of Wellington, 376-385 

Attwood, Thomas: Runnymede Letter 
to, 247-252; otherwise mentioned, 
45 (note), 50, 53, 54 

Auckland, Lord, 65, 240, 307 

Bacon, 252, 253 

Barataria, 358, 387, 393 

Baring, Sir F. T. (Lord North- 
brook), 438 

Barnes, Thomas (of the Times), 1, 
9, 11 

Bedchamber, Ladies of the, 357, 
368 et seq., 375 

Bedford, Duke of, 26, 47, 110, 435 

Bentham, Jeremy, 107, 122, 134, 
146, 449 

Bentinck, Lord William, Runny- 
mede Letter to, 282-289; otherwise 
mentioned, 299, 306, 315 

Bickersteth, Henry (Lord Langdale), 
241, 255, 318 

Bolingbroke, Lord, 147, 208, 221; 
estimate of, 218 et seq. 

Bright, John, 16, 443, 445, 446 

Brodie, Sir Benjamin, 254 

Brooks, Shirley, 13 

Brougham, Lord : Runnymede Letter 
to, 252-255; otherwise mentioned, 
30, 38, 40, 66, 74, 95, 317, 357, 
367, 414 

Buckingham, James Silk, 74 (note), 
76 



Buckle, G. E., 13 
Budget, Mr. Disraeli's, 450 et seq. 
Buller, Charles, 50 (note), 401 
Bulwer, Sir Henry Lytton (Lord 

Balling), 62, 376 

Burdett, Sir Francis, 294, 388, 393 
Buren, Van, 411 
Burke, Edmund, 35, 147, 375 
Burley, Walter, 119 
Butler, Samuel, 61 
Byron, Lord, 294, 296, 388, 393 

Campbell, Sir John (Lord Camp- 
bell) : Runnymede Letter to, 242- 
246 ; otherwise mentioned, 88, 94 

Canning, George, 29, 43, 74, 255, 
273, 290, 294, 388, 392 

Cantwell, 364 

Capel, Lord, 35 

Carlyle, Thomas, 11, 386, 408 

Castlereagh, Lord, 43, 74, 254 

Chalice, the poisoned, 322 

Character, A. (Mr. Spring Rice), 400 

Charities Commission Bill, 66 

Chartists, 367 

Church Reform, 25 et seq. 

Clanricarde, Lord, 438 

Clarendon, Lord, 35, 147 

Coalition Government (1852), 12; 
article on Coalition, 431 et seq. 

Cobbett, William, 97, 388, 393 

Cobden, Richard, 16, 443, 456, 465 

Cockburn, Lord Chief Justice, 48 
(note), 66, 95 

" Cceur de Lion " pseudonym, 14. 
See Old England 

Coke, Sir Edward, 52, 105, 123, 125, 
147 

Collins, Mortimer, 13 

Commons, oppression by the, 36, 
54, 70, 75, 180 

Condorcet, Marquis de, 122 

Consistency in Politics, 3, 20, 24, 32 

Constitution, Disraeli's theory of 
the, 7, 59, 62, 68, 96, 102, 105, 107, 



471 



472 



INDEX 



148, 158, 169, 185, 192 et seq., 228 
et seq., 340 et seq. 

Constitution of France, 126 et seq., 
132 et seq. 

Constitution of Prussia, 137 et seq. 

Constitution of the United States, 
143 et seq. 

Constitution, Vindication of the 
English, 111-232; otherwise men- 
tioned, 2, 8, 10, 327 

Cottenham, Lord : Runnymede Letter 
to, 317-321; otherwise mentioned, 
236, 241, 244, 264, 271, 324, 397 

Coulton, David T., 13 

Courier, the, 71, 86, 404 

Crisis Examined, The, 23-40; other- 
wise mentioned, 2, 4, 10 

Cromwell, Oliver, 20, 55, 147 

Cutler, Sir John, 39 (note) 

Davies, Scrope, 295 
Debt, imprisonment for, 89, 94 
Delane, J. T., 11 

Democratic Principle of Govern- 
ment, 17 et seq. 
Denman, Lord, 77 (note), 319 
Derby, Lord, Ministry of, 12, 431, 

443 et seq. 

Diary, Disraeli's, 5, 42 
Digby, Lord, 35 
Disraeli, Benjamin: 
Writes Vivian Grey, 3 
Tour in the East, 3, 134, 170 
Enters political life, 3 
Candidatures for High Wycombe, 

4, 16, 23, 24 

Candidature for Marylebone, 16 
Member for Maidstone, 3, 11, 408 
What is He? 16-22 ; otherwise men- 
tioned, 2 
Influence of Lord Lyndhurst, 3, 

23, 42, 111, 233 

First meeting with Gladstone, 4 
The Crisis Examined, 23-40; 

otherwise mentioned, 2, 4, 10 
Contributions to the Morning 
Post (Peers and People}, 41-110; 
otherwise mentioned, 2, 4, 10 
Globe controversy, 8 
Vindication of the English Con- 
stitution, 111-232; otherwise 
mentioned, 2, 8, 10, 327 
Runnymede Letters, 233-326; 

otherwise mentioned, 2, 6, 9 
On Lord Lyndhurst's " Summary 

of the Session," 397-399 
The Spirit of Whiggism, 327-356; 
otherwise mentioned, 9, 145 



Further Letters of Runnymede 
(1837), 357-365; otherwise men- 
tioned, 9 

Contributor to Fraser's Magazine, 
386-399; otherwise mentioned, 
10 
Political Satires in Verse, 400-407; 

otherwise mentioned, 11 
Old England, 408-430; otherwise 

mentioned, 11 

Lcelius Letters : to Lord John 
Russell, 365-368; to the Queen, 
368-372; to Lord Melbourne, 
372-376; otherwise mentioned, 
11, 14 

Atticus Letter to the Duke of 
Wellington, 376-385; otherwise 
mentioned, 11, 14 
Letter to Sir Robert Peel, 11 
Sir Robert Peel's reply, 12 
Leads Tory party in the Com- 
mons, 12, 431 
Chancellor of the Exchequer, 12, 

16, 431 

Founds The Press, 2, 3, 12, 431 
Contributes article on Coalition, 
431-435; otherwise mentioned 
13, 431 
To the Whigs, 436-469; otherwise 

mentioned, 3, 13, 431 
Self-plagiarism, 10 
D 'Israeli, Isaac, 22 
Disraeli, Mrs. (Lady Beaconsfield), 

378 

D 'Israeli, Sarah, 6, 41, 112, 134 
Disraeli or Maginn ? 10, 386-399 
D'Orsay, Count, 376, 387 
Drinkwater, John Elliott, 48 (note), 

66,95 

Ducrow simile, 4, 40 
Duffy, Gavan, 445 (note) 
Duncannon, Lord, 407 
Duncombe, Thomas Slingsby, 307 
Durham, Lord, 23, 37, 285, 306, 367 
Dwarris, SirF. W. L., 48 (note), 66, 95 

Echevins, Court of, 154 

Edinburgh Review, 43 

Eldon, Lord, 243, 319 

Eliot, Sir John, 35, 52, 175 

Ellenborough, Lord, 45 

Ellice, Edward, Runnymede Letter io, 

301-304; otherwise mentioned, 30, 

38, 39, 306, 402 
Erigena, 119, 414 
Escott, T. H. Sweet-, 14 
Esterhazy, Prince, 377 
Evans, General de Lacy, 293, 412 



INDEX 



473 



Facsimile Letters, 41, 112, 377 

Fairman, Colonel, 70 (note) 

Falkland, Lord, 35, 348 

Federal Principle of Government, 22 

Feudal Principle of Government, 22 

Fitzwilliam, Earl, 99 

Follett, Sir William, 243 

Fonblanque, Albany, 404 

Fox, Charles James, 35, 436, 44G 

Francis, Sir Philip, 14 

Fraser's Magazine, 10. See also 

Disraeli or Maginn ? 
Free Trade, 444 et seq., 462 

Gait, John, 392 

Gifford, Sir Robert (Lord Gifford), 

243 
Gladstone, W. E., 4, 11, 372, 431, 

435, 438, 442, 452, 454, 455, 460, 

461, 462, 463, 464 
Glenelg, Lord : Runnymede Letter to, 

297-301 ; otherwise mentioned, 31, 

239, 265, 271, 273, 291, 303, 305, 

306, 323, 363, 364, 367, 403, 406 
Globe, the, 8, 56, 72, 402, 404 
Gosford, Lord, 300, 306 
Graham, Sir James, 359 
Grant, Sir Charles. See Glenelg 
Grant, Sir Robert, 31, 403 
Great Seal in Commission, 48, 250 
Greville's "Memoirs," 23, 246, 255, 

398 
Grey, Earl, 4, 16, 29, 30, 32, 38, 

43, 74, 254, 255 (note), 268, 279, 

333, 361, 367, 411, 426, 437, 440, 

449 

Grey, General, 30 (note) 
Grey, Sir George, 437, 464 
Guizot, M., 147 

Halifax, Lord. See Sir Charles 

Wood 

Halifax, Savile, Marquis of, 238 
Halley's Comet, 79, 93 
Hampden, John, 35, 45, 52, 104, 

175, 177, 188, 335 
Hardinge, Sir Henry, 8, 41 
Hawes, Benjamin, 89 
Haydon, Benjamin, 13 
Haydon, F. W., 13 
Hayter, Sir W. G., 453 
Hazelrigg, 75 

Head, Sir Francis, 305, 307 
Herbert, Sidney, 460 
Heroic Epistle to Viscount Melbourne, 

403 
High Nonsense and Low Nonsense, 

247 (note) 



High Wycombe, candidatures for, 
4, 16, 23, 24 

Hobhouse, Sir John Cam (Lord 
Broughton) : Runnymede Letter to, 
294-297; otherwise mentioned, 30, 
31, 39, 53 (note), 273, 299, 363, 
386, 392 et seq., 403, 407 

Holland, Lord, 239, 241, 389, 397, 
402 

Hollis, 35 

Hook, Theodore, 392 

Home, Sir William, 246 

House of Commons not representa- 
tive of the people, 59, 62, 102, 109, 
148 et seq., 158, 185, 235, 345 

House of Lords: irresponsibility of, 
96, 103, 108, 192, 204 et seq.; 
character and constitution of, 
185 et seq., 199 et seq.; Runnymede 
Letters to, 308-317 

Howick, Lord, 241, 274, 282, 407 

Hume, Joseph, 50 (note), 52, 70, 75, 
85, 87, 95, 100, 101, 103, 105, 110. 
405 

Huskisson, W., 74 

Hutton, John Holt, 13 

Impeachment of Lord Melbourne, 

85,90 
Irish Church Bill, 57, 65, 73, 81, 84, 

96, 237, 285 

Jenkins and Tomkins, 252, 417 
Johnson, Dr., 245 
Junius, Letters of, 9 

Katterfelto, Gustavus, 263 
Kebbel. T. E., 13, 14 
Keogh (or Kehoe), John, 314, 353 
Keogh, Judge, 465 

Labouchere, Henry (Lord Taunton), 

438 

Lcelius Letters. See Disraeli 
" Lselius," pseudonym, 14, 357 
La Fayette, 132 et seq. 
Laffitte, Jacques, 56 (note), 411 
Lancet, the, 51 
Langton, Stephen (Archbishop of 

Canterbury), 121, 126, 136 
Languet, Hubert, 173 
Lansdowne, Lord, 29, 39, 65, 66, 76, 

241, 255, 271, 273, 398, 406, 460 
Leach, Sir John, 243 
Liberty under the Plantagenets, 161 
Liberty under the Tudors, 162 
Lilburne, John, 75 
Liston, John, 38 

31 



474 



INDEX 



Littledale, Mr. Justice, 243 . 

Liverpool, Lord, 77 

Lockhart, J. G., 386 

Lolme, Jean Louis de, 129 

Lucas, Samuel, 13 

Lully, Raymond, 119 

Lushington, Dr., 33 

Lyndhurst, Lord: influence of, 3 et 
seq., 23, 42, 111, 233; estimates 
of, 47, 67, 394 et seq,, 397 et seq. ; 
encounter with Lord Denman, 76 
et seq. ; otherwise mentioned, 56, 
66, 94, 243, 281, 319, 357, 386, 
389, 425 

Macaulay, Lord, 438 

Maclise, Daniel, 11, 386 

M'Hale, John, Archbishop of Tuam, 
314, 353, 364 

Madox, Thomas, 151 

Maginn, Dr., 386-399; otherwise 
mentioned, 11 

Magna Charta, 121 et seq., 235 

Maidstone, Member for, 3, 11, 408 

Malt Tax, 25, 451 
' Manilius " pseudonym, 14, 431. 
See also Whigs, To the 

Mansfield, Lord, 147, 393 

Marylebone, candidature for, 16 

"Masses," the, 416, 420 

Mathews, Charles, 239, 295 

Maunsell, T. P., 249 

Mehemet Ali, 169 

Melbourne, Lord : RunnymeddLetters 
to, 238-242, 305-308, 322-326; 
further letter to, 361-365; Heroic 
Epistle to, 403; Minister not of 
the King's choice, 4, 65, 85, 325, 
375; second Ministry of, 233; 
otherwise mentioned, 2, 5, 7, 9, 
11, 23, 29, 38, 39, 42, 43, 58, 59, 
62, 71, 73, 76, 79, 83, 90, 93, 237, 
254, 257, ?65, 273, 278, 281, 300, 
302, 304, 360, 370, 376, 389, 397, 
402 

Minto, Lord, 273 

Molesworth, Sir William, 402, 438, 
442, 444, 460 

Montfort, Simon de (Earl of 
Leicester), 155 

Monypenny, W. F., " Life of Dis- 
raeli " by, 1,2,8, 111 

Morley, Lord, 372 

Morning Chronicle, the, 13, 56, 86, 
87, 91, 404 

Morning Post, the, 2, 4 et seq., 
233. See also Peers and People, 
42-110 



Morpeth, Lord (seventh Earl of 

Carlisle), 239, 299, 361, 376, 438 
"Movement," the, 245, 366, 438, 

445, 448, 455, 462 
Mulgrave, Lord (Marquis of Nor- 

manby), 239; Runnymede Letter 

to, 358-361; otherwise mentioned, 

368, 386, 389 et seq. 
Municipal Corporations Bill crisis, 

5, 8, 28, 281, 354, 425. See also 

Peers and People, 42-110 
Municipal Corporations Reform 

Commission, members of, 5 

National Association, 359 

National party, advocacy of, 2, 16, 
20 

Naylor, James, 70 (note) 

Newcastle, Duke of, 51 

Normanby, Marquis of. See Mul- 
grave 

Nottingham Castle, burning of, 51 

Nugent, Lord, 307 

Occam, William of, 119 

O'Connell, Daniel: estimates of, 275- 
277, 359-360; otherwise men- 
tioned, 43, 52, 58, 65, 73, 85, 87, 
89, 96, 235, 240, 242, 245, 256, 
265, 269, 271, 279, 281, 304, 307, 
311, 315, 322, 358, 387, 389, 395, 
417 

Old England, 11, 408-430 

O'Neale, Sir Phelim, 52 (note), 275 

Open Letters, 9, 357-385 

Open Questions : a Political Eclogue, 
401 

Osborne, Bernal, 444, 446 

Palmerston, Lord, Runnymede Letter 
to, 289-294; the " Lord Fanny " 
and " Sporus " of Politics, 294; 
office under seven Prime Ministers, 
289; otherwise mentioned, 31, 44, 
45, 239, 265, 271, 273, 299, 302, 
305, 306, 362, 393, 403, 404, 412, 
454, 465 

Papineau, 300, 364, 406, 411, 417 

Parke, Baron, 243, 319 

Parkes, Joseph, 45 (note), 48, 66, 95 

Peel, Sir Robert: Runnymede Letters 
to, 234-237, 256-260; estimate of, 
374; breach between Disraeli and, 
12; death of, 12; otherwise men- 
tioned, 4, 5, 11, 23, 33, 94, 110, 
226, 248, 255, 279, 280, 281, 356, 
362, 369, 373, 381, 425, 426, 431, 
437, 444, 447 



INDEX 



475 



Peelites, the, 439, 454, 455 

Peers, threatened creation of, 19, 34, 

209, 325, 332 
Peers and People, 41-110 
Pember, Edward, 13 
People, Runnymede Letter to the, 

272-277 
" People," the, 44, 49, 54, 59, 61, 62, 

66, 71, 80, 93, 95, 102, 109, 148, 

173, 179, 220, 235, 249, 336, 343, 

352, 416, 418 
Pigot, Chief Baron, 359 
Pitt, 35, 222, 258, 333 
Plomer, Sir Thomas, 243 
Plunket, Lord, 304, 307, 469 
Political Satires in Verse, 11, 400- 

407 

Political Unions, 19 
Poor Law, 27, 34 
Power, Tyrone, 239 
Praed, Winthrop Mackworth, 4, 5 
Press, The. See Disraeli 
Prout, Father, 386 
Pseudonyms, 14 
Pym, John, 35, 52, 104, 147, 163, 

175, 177, 188, 335, 348 

Rapin, 329 

Reform Act, 2, 17 et seq., 29, 31, 33, 
46, 69, 169, 183, 227, 238, 333, 
367, 373, 383, 384, 436, 441, 448, 
456 

Reform, Duke of Wellington and, 
29 (note) 

Reform Ministry, dissensions in, 37, 
65, 254 

Rippon, Cuthbert, 101, 105, 110 

Robins, George, 273 

Roebuck, J. A., 50 (note), 87, 96, 
100, 101, 110, 402, 405 

Rolfe, Sir Monsey (Lord Cranworth), 
52 (note), 244 

Runnymede Letters, 233-326; Further 
Letters of, 357-365; otherwise 
mentioned, 2, 9, 10, 14, 327, 377 

Rushton, Edward, 48 (note), 66, 95 

Russell, Lord John: Runnymede 
Letter to, 266-271; Lwlius Letter 
to, 365-368; on the constitution, 
10, 102, 105, 109, 267, 341, 383; 
otherwise mentioned, 5, 10, 11, 
39, 45, 53, 85, 110, 265, 273, 282, 
299, 306, 325, 348, 361, 363, 370, 
373, 376, 402, 406, 411, 421, 439, 
445, 447, 454, 456 

Scarlett, Sir James (Lord Abinger), 
243, 319 



Scipio Africanus, 57, 72, 403 

Scotus, Duns, 119, 414 

Seeley, J. R., 13 

Selden, 105, 123, 126, 136, 147, 152, 
163, 335 

Septennial Act, 21, 211, 213, 332, 
335 

Seymour, Lord, 438 

Sheil, Richard Lalor, 262, 274 

Sheridan, Richard Brinsley, 35 

Sichel, Walter, 13 

Sieyes, Abbe, 343 

Sindbad the Sailor, A New Voyage 
of, 11 

" Skelton, Junior " pseudonym, 
14. See also Political Satires in 
Verse 

Skelton, Sir John, 15 

Sligo, Lord, 306 

Smith, Robert Vernon (Lord Lyve- 
den), 438 

Smythe, George Sydney (Lord 
Strangford), 13 

Somers, Lord, 132 et seq., 147, 335, 
439 

Spirit of Whiggism. See Whiggism 

Spottiswoode subscription, 430 

Spring Rice, T. (Lord Mounteagle) : 
Runnymede Letter to, 261-265; A 
Character, 400; otherwise men- 
tioned, 30, 39, 45, 53, 236, 239, 
241, 273, 363, 403 

Stanley, Lord (fourteenth Earl of 
Derby), Runnymede Letter to, 
277-282 

Stanley, Lord (fifteenth Earl of 
Derby), 13 

Star Chamber, 75, 163, 176, 180, 
182, 339 

State of the Case, The. See Welling- 
ton, Duke of (AUicns Let'e?) 

St. John, Henry. See Bolingbroke 

Sterling, Edward, 9 

Strafford, Lord, 35, 147 

Sugden, Sir Edward (Lord St. 
Leonards), 243, 319, 449 

Ten-pound householder, the, 184, 

249, 349, 451 

Ternaux, Baron, 56 (note) 
Thiers, M., 411 
Thomson, C. Poulett (Lord Syden- 

ham), 241, 299, 363, 407 
Three Per Cents., 453 
Times, the, 2, 6, 8 et seq., 86, 233, 

357 

Tooke, William, 50 (note) 
Tynte, C. J. K., 50 (note) 



476 



INDEX 



Utilitarians, the, 50, 53, 68, 95, 103, 
107, lUetseq., 122, 134, 139, 146, 
179 

Vane, Sir Harry, 35 

Venetian Constitution, 191, 207, 210, 

212, 320, 331, 333 
Victoria, Queen : Lcelius Letter to, 

368-372; otherwise mentioned, 11, 

373 

Villiers, Charles, 443 
Vindication, The. See Constitution 
Vivian Grey, 3 

Wakley, Thomas, 50 (note), 54, 74, 
76, 87, 89, 103 

Walpole, Sir R., 147, 223, 335, 348, 
439 

Warburton, Henry, 50 (note), 96 

Wason, Rigby, 50 (note) 

Wellington, Duke of: Atticus Letter 
to, 376-385; Disraeli's lines to, 
379; the Duke's question, 409, 
413 et seq., 426, 429; on reform, 
29 (note); otherwise mentioned, 5, 



11, 30, 67, 74, 240, 281, 290, 374, 

398, 405 

Wetherell, Sir C., 78 
Whalley, Sir Samuel, 50 (note), 52, 

62, 67, 96 

W hat is He ? 16-22; otherwise men- 
tioned, 2 
Whiggism, Spirit of, 327-356; other 

wise mentioned, 9, 145 
Whigs, origin of, 330 
Whigs, To the, 436-469; otherwise 

mentioned, 3, 13, 431 
"Whisper of a Faction," the, 269, 

366, 383 

White Conduit House, 46 (note) 
Wilde, Serjeant, 243 
Wilkes, John, 50 (note) 
Wilkinson, G. H., 48 (note), 66, 95 
William the Third, 136, 191 
William the Fourth, 4, 7, 39, 44, 46, 

91, 191, 409 
Window Tax, 25 
Wise ancestors, 146 
Wood, Sir Charles (Viscount Hali- 

fax), 454 



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