Imatges de pÓgina

It is obvious, after this declaration, independently even of the Regent's previous antipathy, that Lord Grey could come into office only like Lord Chatham, upon the shoulders of the people; yet did he continue to stand aloof, both from the people and the court, upon his high ground, with the Whigs dangling idly in his train. In 1815, he partly broke the bond which bound him to Lord Grenville. He maintained the right of France to choose or change her own Government, and reprobated, with the generous eloquence of his earlier years, the odious tyranny and hypocritical effrontery with which, at that period, independent states were bartered and bandied to a foreign yoke, and free communities despoiled of their laws and liberties. He opposed the despotic measures which soon after sprang, not so much from the extent of danger to the public peace, as from the timid violence and arbitrary imbecility of the Administration. His speech upon Lord Sidmouth's famed circular (directing magistrates to issue their warrant in cases of libel charged upon oath) may take its place as a constitutional law-argument with the two chefs-d'æuvre of Lords Mansfield and Somers. The late Lord Ellenborough, an able lawyer, and still more able orator, had the manliness to eulogise whilst he failed to refute it.

The retirement of Lord Grenville from public life further loosened Lord Grey's ties with that party, which, after a few years of partial and discordant co-operation with the Whigs, went over, or rather back, to the Tories. Lord Grey, instead of profiting by his independent votes and speeches, the popularity which they could not fail to command, and his release from the Grenvilles, by frankly embarking himself and the Whigs in the popular cause, neutralized' his advantages by volunteering a formal recantation of Reform as a rash heresy of his youth, and by declaring himself the champion of aristocracy and privilege.

The enlightened and active portion of the Tory Administration had been for some time disengaging itself from the more inveterate and incompetent of the party. The schism became complete on the illness and incapacity of Lord Liverpool, and the succession of Mr. Canning as Prime Minister. It would be confidently expected from Lord Grey's principles and independence that he should support that Minister, who rested upon popular opinion, if ever Minister did, and who had the merit of being opposed, with all the animosity of personal hatred, by borough oligarchy and Toryism. But no: in his haughty intolerance of the ascendant of a junior politician, Lord Grey first withheld his confidence, and then openly lent his character and his eloquence to the virulent passions of an opposition in common with which he had no one public principle or feeling. The Whigs, however, instead of continuing as an idle pageant in his train, now left him to the enjoyment of his stately solitude, and to the hollow, unenviable homage of Lords Eldon, Bathurst, and Westmoreland.

It was not to be expected that Lord Grey should take office under Mr. Canning; but a disinterested, unofficial support of that Minister, when his genius had at last emancipated itself from thraldom, instead of detracting from the superior station of Lord Grey, would have been regarded as a proof of political magnanimity.

Had Lord Grey's ambition been less personal and his pride less jealous; had he been more just to himself; had he reflected that the man who was a firstrate figure by the side, not only of Lord Grenville, but of Fox, and opposed to Pitt, could not suffer by being seen in juxtaposition with Burdett or Canning; had he assumed the chieftaincy in the war of Reform, which has been long and honourably waged by Lords John Russell and Durham (Mr. Lambton); had he gone with his party, and the most enlightened and liberal portion of the public, both Whigs and Reformers, in supporting Mr. Canning, he would, in the former case, have hastened the triumph of Reform ; in the latter, the downfall of Toryism; and in both consulted his own ambition and renown.

Events have done for Lord Grey that which he seems to have almost perversely laboured to prevent. The death of the late King removed two obstacles between him and public office—that King's strong personal alienation, and a system of secret influence, against which Lord Grey had expressly pledged himself. It is difficult to speak in commendation of a living and reigning Prince without the appearance of fattery. It may be said, however, that the new King

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the royal functions without idle phantasies or personal antipathies, ungoverned by any secret or sinister influence, with a spirit of frankness, directness, and, it may be said, royal probity, to which the Court and Government of this country had been strangers, not merely for generations, but for centuries. All this would not have been sufficient for opening the path of office to Lord Grey, without the infatuated spirit of contemptuous despotism with which the military Premier affected to govern. He dragooned his colleagues, the Bench of Bishops, and the Parliament into the concession of the Catholic claims,a just, generous, and truly historic measure, which wants only to have been carried by the more suitable means of truth and eloquence ;-and, in the intoxication of his success, he proclaimed his intention of dragooning public opinion into the worship of borough-corruption. The public reason of the country, insulted by this arrogant pretension, and by the flagrant East Retford job, was too strong, even acting indirectly, through the enfeebling and unfaithful medium of the House of Commons; and the Duke of Wellington descended from the Premiership to be regarded as an incapable shrivelled politician instead of a successful soldier.

By a most singular concurrence of circumstances, advocacy of Reform and hostility to borough oligarchy became recommendations for the Ministry. This alone would not have tempted Lord Grey to relapse into a Reformer. But the nation now rallied round the cause, and Lord Grey condescended once more to patronize it.

Will Lord Grey continue minister ? The frank and manly character of the Sovereign who seeks an honest and able counsellor, not an accommodating courtier, is in favour of his continuance in office. He has redeemed his pledge of Reform honourably by an efficient measure, and consistently by reviving the plan which he had formed and advocated in his earlier years. Lord Grey has the advantage of political study and experience, generous principles and grand views of policy, enlightened knowledge of the laws and Constitution, a sincere love of liberty, an exalted integrity of character, upon which calumny has never even attempted to breathe; eloquence of the highest order and rarest stamp, instinct with deliberative wisdom and classic fire, set off by a personal delivery at once popular and noble. Yet, with all these qualifications, his tenure of office is precarious. The early sympathy between him and the people has been long suspended, and he has not yet wholly revived it. Lord Grey should not forget that he is the Minister of the people. If he wishes to continue so, he must condescend to exercise the necessary and not unbecoming arts which secure popular support. Instead of economising his eloquence and standing aloof, he must throw himself implicitly upon the tide of popular feeling, and rally opinion round him in great masses. The mention of Mr. Canning, as an example in point, may probably revolt his pride rather than win his assent.

Lord Grey is said to be wholly free from reserve, and extremely engaging in social intercourse. Perhaps he is not aware that the stateliness of his official manner alienates and offends many of those who support his Government in the House of Commons. Lord Grey seems to think that the Reform Bill is all-sufficient; that the framing of it is a merit which supersedes those conciliatory deferences without which no Minister can or ought to rule a free people and their representatives. The Reform Bill is certainly his sheet-anchor, and without it his Administration would have been wrecked by this time. But it is not enough for him to say, “ I am the Reform Minister, therefore your voices ;" he should, if the word be admissible, popularise both himself and his Administration.

The composition and character of Lord Grey's Ministry are no earnest of its endurance." The chief members of it, without the excuses which may be made for the Premier, are charged with the same haughty negligence and reserve. This is a characteristic vice of the Whigs. It would appear as if, in making their party professions of identity with the people, they were afraid of being taken by the people at their word. They may with advantage take a lesson in this respect from the Tories, who, to do them justice, are more agreeable and unpretending in their intercourse and manners.

The Ministry has public virtue and the best intentions, but it is notorious that few of the working men of the cabinet possess commanding talents, or that superior sagacity which anticipates and supplies the place of the experience which they want. If the Ministers wish to avoid the humiliating repetition of such errors as those which the country has so indulgently overlooked, they must consult men of practical experience, both in the business of office and in the details of those great and delicate interests of the community upon which they will have to propose legislative enactments for the purposes of revenue and the promotion of the national wealth. There are measures, especially of finance, which should be sacredly concealed until the proper time, but there surely must be experienced individuals whom a minister may safely consult and confide in.

The state of Ireland will occupy more than its proper share of the attention of the Government. It would appear that the Irish Secretary has hitherto administered measures for that country from his single head. If, like the Emperor Joseph, he consults only“ sa tête seule,he may provoke the same disagreeable consequences. The Secretary is doubtless marked out by others and himself for the highest offices of the State. He has passed through the interior routine of the bureau, it is said, with diligence and labour; he is one of the most distinguished and able debaters in Parliament; he is, in short, qualified, by a rare union of political acquirement, capacity, and principle; but still he should take counsel of persons better acquainted with the state of Ireland, the character, dispositions, passions of parties and the people; the vices of the political and social order; the remedial measures which would be at once congenial and salutary.

The Irish Secretary is right in keeping at their proper distance extreme factions and vulgar partisans : but there are men of political and Parliamentary experience, possessing the confidence of the great mass of the Irish people, and well acquainted with their interests and wishes, who have a positive right to be consulted upon measures which they are expected to support. Had one two of these men been of counsel with the Secretary in framing his “ Arms Importation Bill," he would have avoided the startling outcry which interrupied him whilst introducing it to the acquaintance of the Irish members of the House of Commons, as well as the mortification of being obliged to abandon one of its chief provisions. It is said that the provisions of that bill were wholly unknown, not only to the Irish members, but to one of the principal functionaries of the Irish Government then in London, until they exploded by surprise in the House of Commons. It is incumbent upon the Irish Secretary, as a Minister, to profit by the knowledge and experience of those who know Ireland better than he does, or can; and it may be prudent in him, as a politician, to pay more deference to the opinion of the Irish members.

The gentlemen of Ireland have a great deal of what they call prideothers self-conceit, or amour propre--and a great deal of that pretension which is called provincialism. The English politician, who would have their support, must respect and manage not only their opinions but their weaknesses.

Another element of dissolution in the Ministry of Lord Grey is the too great proportion of aristocracy. There are too many Lords and Honourables: an infusion of plebeian intellect and sentiment is wanted. The contrast, in this respect, between it and the late Government, has not, and could not have escaped observation. Yet, if the Whig Ministry should break down ; if the Ministerial succession should not continue in the same party-dynasty long after the Reform has taken place, it will be owing to the party itself

. The people will feel the same suspicious dread of committing the Reform Government to Tories, which, after 1688, excluded Tories from the Revolution Government-and with good reason. It will be as long before they are sincerely reconciled to the one Revolution as to the other.






Many a league and many a day

Have vanish'd since our last adieu,
And evil tongues have said their say,
That time and space may wend their way

For ever 'twixt us two;
But evil tongues, and time, and space,
Change but the feeble and the base,
And still adorn with lovelier grace

The noble and the true!
I know that it were less to do

To pluck the stars from Heaven's concave,
Than steal the gentle thoughts that strew
The memory thou didst vow them to,

Like garlands o'er the grave;
I knew it, and from every blast
Of sorrows that pursued me fast,
Clung to thy image as they pass'd,

To shelter me and save.
It saves, if not to sunny days,

To darkness, that is starlit still-
If not to hope, to that which plays
Sweet music to my heart, and says

Hope was not at thy will--
If not to burn, as once I might,
At rosy looks and revel night,
To muse where thou hadst loved to light,

By forest, rock, and rill.
How oft within that little grot,

By weeping foliage fair conceal'd,
We watch'd the swallow as he shot
O'er dimpling stream and daisied plot,

And envied him his field-
O'er merry France, with all her vines-
O'er Switzer, with her scathed pines-
Alps, Pyreneans, Apennines,

And regions unreveald!
I could not link my fate with thine-

I link'd it with thy chosen bird's
But wheresoe'er my flights incline,
I feel thy fancied hand in mine,

And hear thy very words-
And borrow from thine eaglet eyes
The charm to see a thousand dyes,
Which mountain-mirror ne'er supplies,

Though lash'd by all its herds.
Where then in exile did we haste-

Thy shade and I?-) scarce can tell;
My mind was all a ruin'd waste,
Where nought but broken flowers were traced,

And blasts I could not quell.
First I recall a crimson dawn,
Mid dewy vines and yellow lawn,
Where hiss'd and writhed his journey on,

The serpent, sweet Moselle.

Not far, in rose and ruby dye,

An ancient chateau dropp'd aslant,
Which melting in the soft, rich sky,
Seem'd but the shade of days gone by,

All shapeless, grim, and gaunt ;
And faint and far in summer sheen,
Of pearl and purple, gold and green,
The pine-clad Vosges rose up to screen

Whate'er might less enchant.
This look'd like France, unsullied France,

Ere waken'd by her dreams intense, When eyes were oped by warm romance, To close like flowers beneath the glance

Of chilling sober sense ;
And life was a poetic toy,
And hearts were Helicons, to buoy
Young Revelry, that died of joy,

More fresh to re-commence.
Oh! then I mused on fair Versailles,

On quaint arcade and carved jet d'eau,
Spouting a Lethe, to beguile
Each prospect that might mar a smile,

Or hint at future woe-
On gilded beam and painted roof,
Where gods could scarcely stand aloof
From mixing madly in the proof

Of greater bliss below.
And then I saw the million hues

Of waving plume and silken train,
Where cross and star their rays diffuse
From palpitations true as bruise

The love-knot of the swain;
For there were jousts for ladies' eyes,
(They were thine own sweet summer-skies,)
And there was one who gain'd the prize,

And gain'd it o'er again.
Oh! that Reflection's hand of frost

Should e'er have come to chill the maze,
Where sorrow was so sweetly lost,
And lead me o'er the lands I cross'd

From such entrancing gaze!
For I could give no look, no thought,
Except on that which might be fraught
With some delusion wildly wrought

Of thee and brighter days !
On, on There was a downward flight

Of mighty Rbine-men came to see
And breathless stand beneath, and write
Their names, as having seen that sight,

But it was nought to me; 'Twas in the desert I would stray With her the world had stolen away, Where o'er their crags the roebucks play, All fearless and all free.

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