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resentment or coolness of their friends, the increased activity and spirit of the Whigs and Radical Reformers, popular discontents at home, and revolutions abroad, combined further to disturb the ministerial majority at the elections. The Duke of Wellington's imprudent handling of the question of parlia. mentary reform speedily completed his ruin. He fell; and at length the Whigs were restored to power, at a time most favorable to the triumph of their principles, and the consol idation of their strength. The ministry of Earl Grey comprised the most eminent Whigs, together with the adherents of Mr. Canning, who had separated from the Duke of Wellington, and were now united with the reformers. This union was natural; and it was permanent. Its seeds had been sown in 1801, when differences first arose amongst the Tories: it had grown throughout the administration of Lord Liverpool : it had ripened under Mr. Canning; and had been forced into maturity by the new impulse of reform.

The time was also propitious for eirlisting on the side of the Whigs the general support of the people. Hitlerto they had fallen, as an aristocratic party, be- Whigs with

the people. tween the dominant Tories on one side, and the clamorous Radicals on the other. Notwithstanding the popularity of their principles, they had derived little support from democracy. On the contrary, democracy had too often weakened their natural influence, and discredited their efforts in the cause of liberty. But now the popular voice demanded a measure of parliamentary reform; and the reform ministry became at once the leaders of the people Even democracy, - hitherto the terror of every government,

was now the turbulent and dangerous, but irresistible ally of the king's ministers. Such was the popular ferment, that it was even able to overcome the close electoral system of

Union of the

1 Supra, Vol. I. 331, Edinb. Rev vol. li. 574; Courts and Cabinets of Will. IV. and Queen Victoria, i. 45, 47, 77, 85, 143.

2 Supra, Vol. I. 331.

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W.R.R. X

the unreformed Parliament. The Tories, indeed, forgetting their recent differences, were suddenly reunited by the sense of a common danger. The utter annihilation of their power was threatened; and they boldly strove to maintain their ground. But they were routed and overthrown. The ascendency of landlords in counties, the local influence of patrons in boroughs, were overborne by the determined cry for reform ; and the dissolution of 1831, when none of the old electoral abuses had yet been corrected, secured a large majority for ministers in the House of Commons. The dissolution of 1832, under the new franchises of the Reform Acts, completed their triumph. Sad was the present down

fall of the Tories. In the first reformed Parliament they Erwin numbered less than one hundred and fifty.' The condition

of the Whigs in 1793 had scarcely been more hopeless. Their majority in the House of Lords was, indeed, unshaken; but it served merely to harass and hold in check their opponents. To conquer with such a force alone, was out of the question.

The two first years after the Reform Act formed the Ascendency

most glorious period in the annals of the Whig after the heat party. Their principles had prevailed: they were

once more paramount in the councils of the state ; and they used their newly acquired power in forwarding the noblest legislative measures which have ever done honor to the British Parliament. Slavery was abolished: the commerce of the East thrown open: the church in Ireland reformed: the social peril of the poor-laws averted. But already, in the midst of their successes, their influ

ence and popularity were subsiding; and new State of ties after the embarrassments were arising out of the altered

relations of parties. While they were still fighting the battle of reform, all sections of reformers united

1 In 1834, Sir R. Peel said one hundred and thirty only. Hans. Deb., 3d Ser., xxvi. 293. It appears from statistics of the old and new Parliaments, in Courts and Cabinets of Will. IV. and Queen Victoria, that there were 119 Conservatives against 509 Reformers of all descriptions, ii. 26.

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to support them. Their differences were sunk in that great contest. But when the first enthusiasm of victory was over, they displayed themselves in stronger relief than ever. The alliance of the Whigs with democracy could not be permanent; and, for the first time, democracy was now represented in Parliament. The radical reformers, or Radicals, long known as an active party in the country, had at length gained a footing in the House of Commons, where they had about fifty representatives. Without organization or unity of purpose, and with little confidence in one another, they were often found in combination against the government. And in addition to this body, the great towns recently enfranchised, and places suddenly released from the thraldom of patrons and close corporations, had returned a new class of reformers, having little sympathy with the old Whigs. These men had sprung from a different source : they had no connection with the aristocracy, and no respect for the traditions of the constitutional Whig party. Their political views were founded upon principles more democratic; and experience of the difficulties, restraints, and compromises of public affairs had not yet taught them moderation. They expected to gather, at once, all the fruits of an improved representation; and were intolerant of delay. They ignored the obstacles to practical legislation. The non-conformist element was strong amongst them; and they were eager for the immediate redress of every grievance which Dissenters had suffered from the polity of a dominant church. On the other hand, Earl Grey and his older aristocratic associates recoiled from any contact with democracy. The great object of their lives had been accomplished. They had perfected the Constitution, according to their own conceptions; they looked back with trembling upon the perils through which it had recently passed ; and dreaded the rough spirit of their restless allies, who — without veneration for the past, or mis

1 Edinb. Rev., July, 1837, p. 270; Bulwer's England and the English, ii. 261; Guizot's Life of Peel, 67.

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givings as to the future — were already clamoring for fur. ther changes in church and state. His younger and more hopeful colleagues had faith in the vital energies of the Constitution, and in its power of self-adaptation to every political and social change. They were prepared to take the lead, as statesmen, in furthering a comprehensive policy, in harmony with the spirit of the times; but they desired to consummate it on safe principles, with a prudent regard to public opinion, the means at their disposal, and the opposition to be overcome. Such has ever been the policy of wise statesmen, in our balanced Constitution. None but despots or democrats expect instant submission to their will. Liberty not only tolerates, but respects the independent judgment of all free citizens.

The social pretensions of these two sections of the Liberal party were not less distinct than their political sentiments.

The Whigs formed an aristocracy of great families, exclutim nawit revisive in their habits and associations, and representing the

tastes of the old régime. The new men, speaking the diaJect of Lancashire and the West Riding, — with the rough manners of the mill and the counting-house, and wearing the unfashionable garb of the provinces, were no congenial associates for the high-bred politicians, who sought their votes, but not their company. These men, and their families, - even less presentable than themselves, — found no welcome to the gay saloons of the courtly Whigs : but were severed,

1 The policy of the Whigs, as distinguished from the impatient tactics of the Radicals, was well expressed by Lord Durham, an advanced member of their party, in a letter to the electors of North Durham, in 1837. Ile announced his determination never to force his measures “ peremptorily and dogmatically on the consideration of the government or the Parliament. If they are (as in my conscience I believe them to be) useful and salutary mea-ures, - for they are based on the most implicit contidence in the loyalty and good feeling of the people, – the course of events and the experience of every day will remove the objections and prejudices which may now exist, and insure their adoption whenever they are recommended by the deliberate and determined voice of the people." - Edinb. Rev. July 1837, p. 282.

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by an impassable gulf, from the real rulers of the people, whose ambition they promoted, but could not hope to share. The Whigs held all the offices, and engrossed every distinction which public service and aristocratic connections confer. The Radicals, while supporting the government against the Tories, were in no better position than that of a despised opposition. A hearty union between men with sentiments, habits, and fortunes so diverse, was not to be expected , and jealousies and distrust were soon apparent in bate, and disagreement in every division."

A further element of discord among the ministerial ranks was found in the Irish party, under the leadership of Mr. O'Connell. They were reformers, in- party. deed, and opposed to the persons and policy of the Tories ; but no sooner did the government adopt coercive measures for the maintenance of peace in Ireland, than Mr. O'Connell denounced them as “ bloody and brutal ;” and scourged the Whigs more fiercely than he had assailed the opponents of Catholic emancipation."

After the Union, the members representing Ireland had generally ranged themselves on either side, according to their several political divisions. Some were returned by the influence of great Whig land-owners; but the large majority belonged to the Protestant and Orange connection, and supported successive Tory administrations. The priests and the Catholic Association wrested, for a time, from the Protestant landlords their accustomed domination, in some of the counties; but the disfranchisement of the 40s. freeholders in 1829 restored it. Soon, however, the Catholic Relief Act, followed by an enlarged representation, overthrew the Tory party in Ireland, and secured a majority for the Whigs and reformers.

But these men represented another country, and distinct

1 Ann. Reg., 1833, pp. 32, 70, 111; Roebuck's Hist. of the Whig Minis. try, ii. 407-409; Courts and Cabinets of Will. IV. and Vict., ii. 45-47.

2 Debate on the Address, Feb. 5th, 1833; Hans. Deb., 8d Ser. xv. 148.

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