« AnteriorContinua »
No matter, no matter, though all are away,
All alone in her chamber the lovers are met,
Madeline and Eugene shall be buried to-day ! A chaffing dish of charcoal. Two young persons of Marseilles lately died there, under circumstances closely resembling the above.
MR. HUME AND THE SMALL WHIGS.
Such of our readers as are old enough politicians to remember Vansittart Chancellor of the Exchequer, are acquainted with the commencement of Mr. Hume's Parliamentary career. The nation, no longer distracted by external wars, was beginning to look more narrowly into do. mestic arrangements; and, finding much that was cumbersome, and inef. ficient, and extravagant, was muttering to itself, much after the fashion of Meg Dods, while taking a survey of the kitchen in the absence of her servants : -" The hizzy Beenie, the jaud Eppie, the deil's buckie of a callant ! anither plate gane! they'll break me out of house and ha'!” The labouring classes, “constantly on poortith's brink,” were the first to feel the pressure, and to offer remonstrances. The more opulent classes, at ease themselves, were slow to feel the necessity of retrenchment. They shrunk from the trouble of thinking and acting; they found it more genteel to adhere to the powers that be, than to shake hands with greasy mechanics ; they cheerfully lent their most sweet voices to swell the war-whoop, “disaffection, revolutionary doctrines,” &c. By the reckless and unprincipled machinations of the then government, considerable bodies of the working classes were lured to rise in premature and isolated revolt, in different districts. A spirit of hatred and mistrust between rich and poor was sedulously cherished; the two classes sundered into hostile bodies; and every day threatened to increase their mutual defiance. The country stood on the brink of a civil war.
There were not wanting, at this perilous crisis, men who saw the danger in which we stood : but the tyrants of the day succeeded in defeating their opposition, by representing them as mere theorists, ignorant of practical statesmanship, or as dangerous and designing men. It was at this critical period of our national fortunes, that Mr. Hume commenced his financial lectures. He attached himself to the cotton bag which then filled the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer, and insisted upon bringing all his plausible statements to the test of the rule of three. He exposed the incorrectness of ministerial calculations, the falsehood and fallacy of the arguments built upon them. This he did not once and away, but night after night. Vansittart was no sooner seated, than up rose his indefatigable adversary. Hume stuck to the skirts of the harrassed and sickening Chancellor, with the snap of a greyhound and the pertinacity of a bull.dog. The greater caution and economy forced upon government was the least part of the gain. The eyes of the mer. cantile portion of the community were opened to the manner in which the national money was squandered. They quickly discovered that no hopes of more rational management could be entertained under the old system of government; and thus a most important and influential portion of the community were won over to the cause of reform.
It would be absurd to attribute to Mr. Hume the whole merit of breaking up the old Tory phalanx ; of bringing Canning and Huskisson, in the great heap of their wisdom to coquet with liberal principles, to seek to sew new cloth on old garments, to put new wine into old bottles. The best talents of the land were labouring day and night to bring about that consummation which has at length arrived. Our increasing poverty was working to the same end. But this we will say, that the appearance of a man of Mr. Hume's peculiar turn of mind at the time he commenced his career, and the steadiness with which he clung to his purpose, undetarred by the opposition of enemies and the coldness of friends, by the angry
nour of abuse, and by sneers not the less galling for their silliness, hy
enlisting in the ranks of the good cause, the plain, practical, hard-working portion of our capitalists, has done more towards the salvation of his country than has been effected by the efforts of any other single individual.
But Mr. Hume has greater claims upon the public gratitude and confidence than are due even for this important service. There are many public men who see deeper into the workings of the human mind; many who are more extensively and intimately acquainted with the complexities of our law, and the remedies which may be applied to it; many who may be more ingenious in devising light yet efficient modes of taxation; many with more glowing sentiments of patriotism, genius, or philanthropy ; many with powers of fairer and more sounding speech ;—but there exists not one who sees and grasps more clearly what lies within his range, none who has more uncompromisingly and undeviatingly identified himself with the people, none who has shewn a tithe of his sturdy perseverance and unwearied activity. Never hurried off his feet by passion, the practical always maintains the ascendency in his plans of action. His policy is direct, going at once to the point aimed at—and no further.
Were we called upon to point out to any community the model of a representative, we should desire no better than Mr. Hume. And yet an eager attempt is at this moment making to throw him out of the representation of Middlesex. In favour of whom? Of Lord Henley, a man of whom The Edinburgh Review, now turned dispenser of conservative doctrines, says, “ He has no leaning whatever towards the principles of innovation, nor any disposition to “meddle with them that are given to change;' a man who has published a pamphlet on Church Reform, in which he contemplates, as the most eligible mode of effecting his object, leaving the matter in the hands of the Bishops, or re-assembling the Convocation. And by whom? By an unhallowed alliance of the Whigs, the out-and-out supporters of Ministers and the Tories. “ Mr. Hume is no stanch friend,” cries the one paek, “ and therefore he must out.”—“Mr. Hume voted with Ministers on the question of the Russo-Dutch loan,” cries the other, “and therefore he must out.” And then both join in the yelping chorus, “ He must out."
The cuckoo song of the Whigs at present is, that the Radicals are sacrificing all principle, and colleaguing with the Tories to oppose them. “With whom,” says The Edinburgh Review, “ are they [the Tories] everywhere making common cause against the Government? With the Radical party." This charge has twice been brought by The Times against two individuals, and twice indignantly repelled. And now the more wary Review takes care to save itself from the disgrace of contradiction, by framing its assertion so vaguely that no one can disprove it. What is the Radical party? There is a Tory party,-a large body of men leagued and allied to attain office, and keep themselves in it. There is a Whig party, united for the same purpose. These men stand all for one, and one for all; and for the conduct of each individual member the party is responsible, if it do not expressly disavow him, But there is no Radical party ; no servile unity of opinion, no organization among those to whom this appellative is vaguely and arbitrarily given. Each individual, or each community, is responsible for its own deeds, and for them alone. If, then, it shall appear that in any place the politicians called Radicals aided the Tories and opposed the Whigs, they are a pack of fools for their pains. The Whigs may turn out to be knaves ; but the Tories ostentatiously proclaim themselves to be knaves. This is all that can be said. But what terms shall we apply to those Whiglings who, borne into office on the backs of the people, now begin to curry favour with the Tories, and seek to insinuate distrust or contempt of every independent man who refuses to swallow implicitly every word of their political creed ?
This accusation is not rashly urged. We could prove it in more instances than one ; but Mr. Hume's is as good a case in point as any. Mr. Hume is opposed in Middlesex by Lord Henley. Now what is the line of conduct adopted by the organs of the Whig party? The last number of The Edinburgh Review lies upon our table. It contains an article entitled, “Working and Prospects of Reform.” In this paper all reformers whose opinions are of a bolder cast than those entertained by the writer, are unceremoniously described as << few in number and in. considerable in weight;" as “ wild fantastic theorists, profligate speculators in confusion, for the chance of what they may be able to snatch in a scramble, or for the mere gratification of a preposterous vanity, seek. ing momentary distinction and speedy destruction;" as “ a band leagued together by the mere indiscriminate love of destruction.” We are also told that the return to Parliament of a large number of the enemies of reform is far less perilous to the state than would be any trust reposed in these persons. And occasion is taken to represent the hissing of the King after he had played Earl Grey false, and the pelting of the Duke of Wellington with mud, “ as a disgrace more foul and lasting than we in Scotland endure this day for the sordid crime of the seventeenth century.” Most appropriately do we find a fulsome lick-spittle eulogium of Lord Henley and his pamphlet, introduced into the same number of the Review, which contains this clumsy pawing of the Duke, and these indiscriminate calumnies against the independent reformers.
In the circumstances of the case, we should have thought ourselves entitled thus to infer the Machiavellian purpose of these innuendos, even without further aid. But when we find The Times sneering in its own awkward manner, day after day, at Mr. Hume's “ crotchets,”+ and warning the country against his attempts to smuggle a party into Parliament pledged to his impracticable schemes, it is impossible to doubt. As if to accumulate proof where it is no longer required, The Globe congratulates the country that not above fifteen of the extreme Radicals who vote with Mr. Hume will be returned to Parliament. The Courier dis. covers that since the bill has been carried, its friends and foes are equal. ly eligible. The Standard accuses the member for Middlesex of irreli. gion ; and—“ unkindest cut of all,”—Sir Francis Burdett sneers at his petty details of retrenchment.
The meaning of all this is obvious enough : but the country is not to be hoodwinked by such gross and palpable juggling. We cannot bring ourselves to believe that Ministers lend their countenance to these dirty tricks. It would be unjust to hold them responsible for the knavery of every dirty fellow who has forced his services upon them. At the same time, they will do well to order their curs “ to heel.” We have known a decent farmer fined for the misdeeds of his “ dunching bull” before now. They may take our word for it, that Mr. Hume is disposed to render them every assistance if they will only act so that he can conscientiously do it. The conduct of their tools, as often happens, is as foolish as rascally ; tending to force a friendly man to take up a hostile position.
This illustration is singularly unfortunate in a work which not long ago undertook to prove that the Scots were not accessary to the death of Charles I., and that his execution was no great crime after all.
+ Short Parliaments, the Ballot, Reduction of Expenditure, Church Reform, &c.
“ THE RHINE-THE RHINE, O!"
Burthen of a Drinking Song. Ar the commencement of last spring, when the cholera, having donned its seven-leagued boots to take a ramble over Europe, was spreading consternation from capital to capital, it was our misfortune, or fault, or folly, to be infected with the general mania of flying before an enemy, who “ came neither from the East, nor from the West, nor yet from the Sonth.” Driven from our aërial quatrième in the Rue Montblanc by a panic still more fatally contagious than the malady itself, and forewarned that qnarantine was already established in all the ports of La Manche, we threw our despairing selves and microscopic valise into the Strasburg malle poste, determined to go and drink the waters of Selters, fresh from the rock, and, if possible, outstrip the pursuit of the ogre. The month was May, the weather May-like; and already the sun was assuming sufficient ardour to enhance the attraction of blue waters and green woods. With kindling enthusiasm, we now longed to behold the waves of the Rhine eddying round the Bingerloch, or rippling over the black altar-stone of Bacharach ; and the coup d'ail of the white walls, lofty poplars, and confluent streams of Coblentz filled us with agreeable anti. cipations !
Eighteen years had elapsed since our eyes were first feasted with “ Ehrenbreitstein and its shattered wall.” During the Congress of 1814, while Elba afforded only a temporary imprisonment to the ex-Postmaster General of the Continent, we had the good luck to achieve the tour of the Rhine ; to behold it ere yet the dust raised by invading armies was laid upon its highways, and while the gloss of nationality was still bright upon the land. No tourist had been maundering there with his sketch-book, no poet with his rhymes ; there was no steam-boat, no Schreiber, no Reichard ! and the Rheingan, the Taunus mountains, Rolandseck, Nonnenwerder, and fifty other places, (now mere Cockney cake houses,) came upon us with the freshness of fairy-land !
On this, our second visit, we were aware that a change must neces. sarily “ come o'er the spirit of our dream ;” that we must prepare to behold this most frequented of aquatic gangways invested with somewhat of the familiar vulgarity of Fleet Street. The mere news. paper advertisement of “ Guides to the Rhine,” and “ Panoramas of the Raine,” and “ Picturesque views of the Rnine,” and “ Lays of the Ruine,” having extinguished the romantic associations of the excursion, it is now a mere affair of seeing the Lions; a sort of holyday trip to the Hornsey or Hackney of Germany. Scarcely, however, had we arrived at Coblentz, established ourselves at the inn of the Trierische Hof, and looked out on the Platz to bestow, for the fiftieth time, our fiat of approval on the soldierlike breadth of chest distinguishing the troops of the
Schneider König, when (by the ministry of that most worthy and most tedious of men and hosts Herr Maas, once mâitre d'hotel to the Marquis of Huntly, now mâitre of the best hotel in Coblentz) a list of the company at the Baths of Emms was placed in our hands; containing among the rest, the transcribable, but somewhat unpronounceable, patronymic of a certain Bohemian Princess, our favourite partner of the last Carnival, who was drinking the waters on her way to Vienna, across the Duchy of Nassau. Without a moment's hesitation, we secured a place for Emms by the earliest diligence ; but, as a compensation to our XO, VIII, VOL. II.