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respect would follow. Yet such is the aristocracy contemplated by the constitution, not one lowered and adulterated by admixture with democracy, from which it is expressly intended to protect our institutions.

It has been laid down that “ the aristocracy form the manners of life, the people produce the revolutions of thought.” By such an education as we have proposed, the aristocracy would have får greater influence in both, and it would be also far better. But it is exceedingly doubtful whether the aristocracy do “form the manners of life.” There is but too much cause to suspect that this is an error arising out of the same fatal confounding of fashion and wealth with the real and nobler distinction of rank. Every class, nay, almost every profession, has its own péculiar manners copied after individuals; the manners of fashionable or of ordinary life bear no more resemblance to the ease, dignity, courtesy, and simplicity of the truly noble in station, (very often a matter of habit and institution, as much as of mind,) than the imitations of the stage, varying and declining as they do from the theatres royal to the barn. It was observed of the ancient noblesse of France, and the remark applies with equal truth to the English nobility, that, knowing their place, they affected nothing they took it at once. And so it is in any society where the place of each person is well defined; every one is assured of the respect that belongs to and awaits him; no one dreads the slightest offence to his feelings in word, thought, or deed, amongst the well-bred. Hence there is no captiousness-no straining after notice; quietude, ease, (now, perhaps, carried too far,) and a desire to oblige, these are the constituent manners of this class of society; where these distinctions are not, are found the pretenders. Unluckily, society in general exhibits no such absolute identity with the qualities recited as to give any sanction to the dictum that“ the aristocracy form the manners.”

Neither can we be brought to perceive the immense influence attributed to aristocracy over all our social relations and public institutions. Here, also, there appears to us the same confounding of accessories; all the vast, the indefinite, unconfinable impulse appertaining to wealth and power is mixed up with aristocracy. Now it is capable of demonstration, because in conformity with the law of Nature, that the power of bestowing benefits of whatever kind, however low or however high,

will always exert a force, differing only in degree, upon all men. This force is wholly independent of rank, and would follow wealth and power, if privileged rank were not*. The statesman in office and the keeper, but to the company they meet in the drawing-room. Profligacy forms no bar to the reception of notorious individuals, if they possess rank and fortune. Virtue and eminent talent, when not set off by birth or wealth, are but too slight an introduction. A right estimation of character is thus broken down, because the mark is not set upon the one, nor the meed awarded to the other. We have often seen with surprise the sensitive apprehension with which even those whose natural and generous impulses, if obeyed, would lead to loftier and better judgments, shrink from acknowledging connections with inferiors in station whom we have known they cordially respected, lest they should draw down the paltry suspicions, or invidious observations of persons of their own class, whom, in truth, they as cordially despised. This want of self-respect, this ignorance of true dignity, is a failing every nobleman ought to weed out.

* " It is true that the peers have a great influence in the kingdom and in every part of the public concerns. While they are men of property, it is impossible to prevent it, except by such means as must prevent all property from its natural operation ; an event not easily to be compassed, while property is power, nor by any means to be wished, while the least notion exists of the method by which the spirit of liberty acts, and of the means by which it is preserved. If any particular

millionaire would have the same following at the levee or in life, were they or were they not of an hereditary order. The subserviency complained of is only the ambition to rise, which is universal, because of nature. The deference to wealth is neither more por less than the desire of participating the enjoyments wealth can purchase and bestow, which has existed ever since the world began.

It is a laudable attempt to enforce upon mankind the do rine that virtue ought to be preferred to all other claims, but there is nothing new or profound in it. Society differs not now in this particular from its long-accustomed usage, nor will it ever, till philosophy obtain the place of mere sense. There are two kinds of happiness, “ vulgar or civil happinéss, which is to covet much and to enjoy much-philosophical happinéss, which is to be content with little.», The world then must be converted into a world of philosophers, the dominion of the senses must be subdued, before wealth and power, in their vulgar interpretation, shall lose their worshippers. The influence of the aristocracy is, indeed, commensurate with their possessions. Title is, in some sort, an additional source of admiration, and, therefore, augments the impetus in a degree ; but under any forms of society, rank or no rank, wealth and the superiority it implies will always purchase its slaves. No political forms cán obliterate (they scarcely modify) the passions natural to man *.

peers, by their uniform upright, constitutional conduct, by their public and private virtues, have acquired an influence in the country, the people on whose favour that influence depends, and from whom it arose, will never be duped into an opinion that such greatness in a peer is the despotism of an aristocracy, when they know and feel it to be the effect and pledge of their own importance. I am no friend to aristocracy, in the sense at least in which that word is usually understood. If it were not a bad habit to moot cases on the supposed ruin of the constitution, I should be free to declare, that if it must perish, I would rather by far see it resolved into any other form, than lost in that austere and insolent domination.”Thoughts on the Present Discontents.

* It is very curious that the gentleman who has most bitterly assaulted the aristocracy, has made this very admission in the strongest terms. “Come,” says Mr. Bulwer, “ let us suppose that the wish of certain politicians were gratiñed ; let us suppose that a republic were established to-morrow. I will tell you what would be the result-your republic would be the very worst of aristocracies ! Do not fancy, as some contend, that the aristocracy would fall if the King fell. Not a whit of it. You may sweep away the House of Lords if you like; you may destroy titles ; you may make a bonfire of orb and ermine; and, after all your pains, the aristocracy would be exactly as strong as ever. For its power is not in a tapestried chamber, or in a crimson woolsack, or in ribbons and stars, in coronets and titles ; its power, my friends, is in yourselves--its power is in the aristocratic spirit and sympathy which pervades you all. In your own hearts, while you shout for popular measures, you have a reverential notion of the excellence of aristocratic agents; you think rich people alone. respectable ;' you have a great idea of station ; you consider a man is the better for being above his fellows, not in virtue and intellect, but in the good things of life. Believe me, then, that if you were to institute a republic to-morrow, it would be an aristocratic republic ; and though it would be just as bad if it were an aristocracy of shopkeepers, as if it were an aristocracy of nobles, yet I believe on the whole it would be an aristocracy very much resembling the present one, only without the control which the King's prerogative at present affords him. And for one evident reasonnamely, the immense property of our nobles and landed gentry. Recollect, that in this respect they differ from most other aristocracies, which are merely the shadows of a court, and without substance in themselves. From most other aristocracies sweep away the office and the title, and they themselves are not; but banish from court a Northumberland, a Lonsdale, a Cleveland, a Bedford, or a Yarborough ; take away their dukedoms and their earldoms, their ribbons and their robes, and they are exactly as


Was Cromwell less a monarch in reality than Charles ? Is Mr. Rothschild less potent because he lacks the title of a duke, or the place of a peer of the realm? Why, then, attribute to aristocracy what belongs to Nature, as displayed in the institution of society itself? To desire and to endeavour to promote the sole dominion of ability and virtue is praiseworthy, is wise; but it is only to revive the lessons of the Portico, and of all the other self-denying ordinances of autocratic origin, and will be no more effectual than the stoicism of Zeno, or the penances of the Ascetics.

But the question is to be examined from another point of view. Granting for a moment that the desire of aristocratic distinction, or aristocratic prejudices and associations, begin with the education, mould the manners, preponderate in the legislation, and so affect the whole circle of an EngIishman's being—is it for evil? This must be proved before the case against the aristocracy is made out. What, then, are the tendencies of aristocratic feelings and notions ? Those who would narrow them to the mere establishment of the wealth, enjoyments, and power of the few and of the noble, in subversion of the happiness and prosperity of the many, mistake the issue as widely as they mistake the objects of this influence. The well-born and highly-nurtured are, by nature no less than by position, of more acute sensibility than the classes exposed to the rougher collision of the world of professional exertion, of art, or of commerce. Take the vast majority (of the wealthy even) and they will be found to be anxious to confer all the benefits they can upon their fellow-creatures. Observe the habits of families of noblemen at their country-seats. They found schools *, visit their poor neighbours, and employ a great portion of their time, and much money, in acts of pure kindness. The gentlemen in their capacity of magistrates, the ladies as visitants of civility and charity, confer most important benefits; and it would be found, could the matter be fairly investigated, that disorder prevails to the greatest extent where this supervision is precluded by non-residence t.

Their virtue lies in action 1. Studious persons, above all others, are powerful, with those broad lands and those mighty rent-rolls, as they were before. In any republic you can devise, men with this property will be uppermost ; they will be still your rulers, as long as you yourselves think that property is the legal heir to respect. always suppose, my friends, in the above remarks, that you would not take away the property, as is recommended by some of the unstamped newspapers, to which our Government will permit no reply, and which therefore enjoy a monopoly over the minds of the poor ; I always imagine, that, republican or monarchical, you will still be English; I always imagine, that come what may, you will still be honest, and without honesty it is useless to talk of republics. Let possessions be insecure, and your republic would merge rapidly into a despotism. All history tells us, that the moment liberty invades property, the reign of arbitrary power is at hand the flock fly to a shepherd to protect them from wolves. Better one despot than a reign of robbers. If we owe so much of our faults and in perfections to the aristocratic influence, need I ask you if you would like an unrelieved aristocracy? If not, my friends, let us rally round the throne."England und the English.

* The Marchioness of Westminster has not less than eight or ten foundations of her own, and we could quote multitudes of instances ; indeed, the exception is so rare that the difficulty must be to find it.

† One of the most fortunate effects for the country of the repeal of the corn-laws would be, that a reduced income would compel the gentry to a residence on their estates, and keep them from the profusion and profligacy of an annual visit to the metropolis.

It is objected, and we admit often with truth, that the wealthy are ready to bestow their money, but not to endure personal inconvenience. The following anecdote is told in illustration :-The late Duke of Dwas walking in St.

prone to measure every man's usefulness by his scientific or literary attainments. But is this a standard to be employed by or upon mankind at large ? If it were, the world would stand still. The mere scholar, except he be one of such lofty capacity, that, by discoveries in science, he is gifted to promulgate great truths of practical application to the order of nature or the business of life, is generally amongst the least useful. Nor is it possible that high science, in the abstract sense of the word, should be cultivated by the aristocracy in general. The management of their property, the duties it entails, their extended commerce with the world, their functions as legislators and magistrates, all demand action, and their minds are formed accordingly. Much of their knowledge is obtained orally, rather than from books. We shall, however, be content to put the matter to this single test. Does any class of the same number include so many statesmen, soldiers, or authors, in the highest degree, as the Peerage? The quantity of business, transacted by the men of business of the aristocracy, far surpasses that even of the mercantile class. Yet, with all this, there is no order better informed upon subjects with which it is their duty to be conversant, or so well, as the aristocracy, taken in the aggregate *

From these facts, and they are facts, it must happen that the direction given by their instrumentality to the general tone of society operates to mitigate its hard and coarse selfism, to exalt and liberalize its notions, to soften its manners—in a word, to give it an upward progression. On the other hand, the impulse of a democracy goes directly contrary. If an example upon a great scale be required, we need only refer to the transactions of the French Revolution of 1788—a revolution produced by a desire the most ardent for intellectual illumination, originated by philosophers, and acted by their disciples. What did it effect in any of the particulars we have recited ? It exhibited only the most ferocious and unsparing tyranny, established by the usurpation of the most violent tempers and the coarsest manners; and it ended in a military despotism, greedy of dominion, and careless of human life and human suffering beyond all precedent. This, be it remarked, is a modern instance-an instance mollified by all that the bland influence of letters and the philosophy of that philosophical age could bring in aid. The people also were the rulers; and such must ever be the tendency of the power of democracy, varying, of necessity, according to the degree in which it prevails. Aristocracy may enervate, and even corrupt, for it mingles with its own pride the snares of riches; but it can scarcely act other

James's-street, in a hard frost, when he met an agent, who began to importune his Grace in behalf of some charity which had enjoyed his support.

" Put me down for what you please,” peevishly exclaimed the Duke; “but, for God's sake, don't keep me in the cold.”

* In spite of all that has been said to contravene the utility 'of patronage, it is to the noble use made by some of the aristocracy of their vast fortunes that the arts are indebted for the magnificent edifices containing the splendid collections of books, statues, pictures, &c. this country contains. We may adduce, without a chance of invidious interpretation, the name of Earl Spencer, the Marquis of Westminster, and the Duke of Sutherland. Where, indeed, is the mansion of the peer in which are not to be found specimens of the taste of its owner, and their promotion of lite. rature and the fine arts ? The English are neither by temperament, climate, nor religion, enthusiasts in art; they are a profound, an active, an industrious, an accumulating people. By the aristocracy the existence of the arts began in England; by the aristocracy, in a good degree, they preserve their elevation.


wise than to liberalize, to soften, and to ennoble the thoughts and conduct of a nation. This is all that is or can be meant by the charge of a too devoted admiration and subservience to station and opulence, if it mean anything at all beyond the hacknied, but impracticable, recommendation of a devotion to virtue, which has never existed in any stage of society beyond that common demonstration which society exhibits in all its stages. What would the Spartan discipline now be thought ?what the democracy of Rome? Did either confer more happiness upon the bulk of mankind than England has enjoyed in her rise, progress, and, if you please, her decline ?

But the modern republicanism of America is now constantly taken for the exemplar. Look, say our democrats, at the prosperity of the United States. Political science has taught us that this is the mere effect of the redundant supply of food from the youth of a new country. Land is cheap, taxation small, labour dear: hence the comforts are many, because the wants are few. Luxuries, refinements, except in the thickly-peopled towns, there are none. Enlarge the agricultural field of English labour, and the same prosperity would raise up the industrious classes, while the opulent would continue the progress of civilization. But the aristocracy has contrived to fasten its younger

branches upon the revenues of the country! Ay, there's the rub.” How? In the diplomacy, the naval and military, the civil and ecclesiastical services, and lastly, by unmerited pensions. The answer is, that, in all but the latter, they earn their salaries. Can it be pretended, with any show of truth, that the children of nobility have made worse public servants than those of plebeian extraction ?' The greatest statesmen of the last three ages,--the ages of the older and the younger Pitt, and of this our generation,-have been of the aristocracy. Marlborough and Wellington, the greatest captains, were of aristocratic birth. Nor, if the catalogue could be made up, would there be wanting names to take and to merit precedence-intellectual precedence-in nearly all the walks of political distinction. Even in the latest periods, the debates in the House of Peers have evinced a talent equal, at the least, to that of the Commons, doubled as they are in numbers, and assured by selection. The discussions upon Catholic Emancipation and Reform are instances all-sufficient.

We enter into no defence of many of the appointments of the pension list. They belong not, however, to aristocracy in its own nature ; for they have grown out of the abuses of the prerogative of the Crown and the

Government. Ministers, ever since the days of Sir Robert Walpole to the accession of Earl Grey, have deemed it indispensable to govern by corrupt means. They pampered and they debased by buying the aristocracy, while they represented the purchase as a just reward for adhesion to the Government. This was the temptation and the nurture under which the borough system grew so monstrously. The external pressure and the internal alarm occasioned by the French Revolution aggravated while they concealed the mischief; but reform, it is palpable, has, in this respect at least, reduced aristocracy to its wholesome, because to its natural, dimensions. If any power is to be dreaded, it is the increase and the violence of democracy. The crown and the ariştocracy have need to combine, in order to counterbalance (not destroy)

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