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the late measures for the relief of his public, in the speech of any convert Majesty's Roman Catholic subjects to the expediency of breaking in on was, that they served to exhibit the the constitution. Parliament and the people in a state, It is by no means a moderate evil, if not of hostility, of aversion. Had that the measures adopted by the lethe legislature been bought by foreign gislature shall not appear to originate gold, or possessed by a spirit of hatred in the opinions and persuasions by to British institutions, they could not which it is attempted to recommend have accomplished the task assigned them. The Parliamentary assemblies to them with a more remorseless cele- became thus deprived of their chief rity—they could not have evinced a interest; and instead of being accounta more thorough indifference to the opi- ed deliberative bodies, whose proceeda nion of the people, over whose inte- ings are important in the highest derests they were the official guardians. gree, they are shrunk, in the estima
On the 5th of April his Majesty re- tion of the people, into chambers calle commended, that " when the essential ed for the purpose of recording and object" (of acquiring powers by which registering the determinations of a he could maintain his just authority) closed and uncontrollable divan. Law “ had been accomplished, Parliament loses what, in the old time, was its should take into its deliberate considere strongest sanction, the willing accepation the whole condition of Ireland, tation of the people. It appears rather and review the laws which impose an importation from a foreign soil, civil disabilities on his Roman Catho than a growth conformable to the gelic subjects.” Two short months had nius of the British constitution; and scarcely elapsed before—without any the freedom and openness of Parlia. deliberate consideration of the state of mentary debates, which had been forIreland, without any review of the merly instrumental in the great work laws which imposed civil disabilities of linking the people with the laws, on the Roman Catholics—Parliament begins to serve only the unhappy end called for his Majesty's assent to a re- of exhibiting legislators constraining peal of these hastily condemned laws. themselves to yield to what has been, On the 5th of April his Majesty die because of some unknown reason, rected his Parliament “ to consider forced upon them; and labouring to whether the removal of those disabili, find or to set forth some excuse or exe ties could be effected consistently with tenuation for their abandonment of the full and permanent security of the principle. established church and state, with the It is a very unhappy and menacing maintenance of the reformed religion, state of things when the legislators of established by law, and of the rights Great Britain are exposed in so humiand privileges of the bishops and clergy liating a condition. When the people of this realm, and of the churches are taught to suspect that evil designs committed to their charge.” At the are cherished against their personal or same time, his Majesty acquainted Par- collective interests, and are justified, liament, that “ these were institutions or, at least, countenanced, in apprewhich must ever be held sacred in hending, that the public acts of their this Protestant kingdom, and which legislature are not the acts of delibeit is the duty and the determination rative bodies, and are important only of his Majesty to preserve inviolate"- so far as they affix authority upon and presently, members of the Impe- measures, which they are commanded rial Parliament are found to recom- to sanction, and as they answer the mend, that these institutions be ex- purpose of a blind, behind which, the posed to dangers, from which, it was plotters against the national interest their opinion in former days (an opi- and honour may perpetrate their evil nion which they declared was still intents in peace and with impunity: unchanged) the Protestant establish- If it had ever happened that foreign ment could not escape. Surely it is gold, or that any other unworthy atimpossible to read such recommenda- traction, were employed to seduce from tions, and such admissions, without prudent and direct counsels, a memfeeling a conviction, that whatever was ber of the British government-if such the actuating motive of altered coun- a one, overpowered or confused by a sels with unchanged opinions, that sordid or a voluptuous passion, gave motive was not made known to the himself up to work evil in the cabinet, and to recommend evil to the nation, sibility of his place, and the im. upon what would the people rely that mense increase of responsibility under his machinations would be frustrated? which, from the peculiarity of the cirMainly upon the indisposition of Par- cumstances, he was placed, wantonly liament to sanction measures which exposed his life, and proved that his were likely to prove detrimental. Even country was less dear to him than the though the evil were approved by the gratification of a splenetic passion! King's responsible advisers, the people It were a sorry termination for the might have trusted that, however dis- conqueror at Waterloo to fall in a duel, guised it might have been in secret by the hand of Lord Winchilsea! conclave, when it was introduced into “The boy is father of the man,” says the national assembly, it would be Wordsworth, somewhat quaintly. Is detected and dismissed. But when there not here a practical reversal of that they find, in this assembly, measures saying? Do we not seem to behold the advocated by men who do not profess man again becoming a boy; and the to think them good ; when they find renowned and redoubted warrior, over that men who stood so pledged to eter- whom the shield of heaven had been nal resistance, as that it would surpass extended in an hundred fights, slighting even modern indecency, were they to the laws, renouncing the protection, declare their opinions changed, can and challenging the vengeance, of that avow themselves, equally as in past Providence by whom he had been so times, apprehensive of evils, while re- long and so signally protected, only commending the measure from which because he was chated, in his domithey declare that evil was to arise, neering mood, by the warm but homen will say and feel, that, in Parlia- nest expressions of a youthful noblementary debates, they are no longer to man, whose heart was wrung at the hope for an opposition to bad measures thought that he, of all men, should or an explanation of good ones; but have plotted and perpetrated the overe rather an exercise of ingenuity, where. throw of the constitution ? by men seek to keup themselves in The leading novelty in the debate countenance, notwithstanding their on the Roman Catholic question was dereliction of all former pledges and certainly the part which Mr P-el unprinciples, notwithstanding their ac- dertook to perform. There was no knowledgment that those principles doubt a novelty of a more splendid were true, and those pledges such as, description, the speech of the new but for some reason with which postee member, Mr Sadler ; but as far as rity is to be acquainted, they would mere surprise was concerned, it is proat all hazards have redeemed.
bable that the conduct of Mr Peel was In such a state of things, where is the most effectual ingredient in prothe confidence and hope of a people to ducing it. be placed? Where, humanly speak- That he should have retired from ing, is Britain now to confide? 'Par- public life, because of his inability to liament has obviously and declaredly maintain the cause of which he was acted on principles which it has not the declared champion, was, perhaps, avowed. In the cabinet there are within the contemplation of many counsellors, who, without apology or ex- whose estimate of his talents was corplanation, have lent themselves to the rect, and who had formed an erroneous carrying, by secret arts, a measure to judgment of his principles. That he which they stood especially opposed. should have abandoned former opi. On the throne, they see a monarch pions; and, instructed by the times, whom they believe to have been, by adopt new views, and suggest altered unhappy circumstances, constrained to counsels, was, it can it be imagined, sign his assent to what, in his heart, not altogether unreasonable to anticia he strongly reprobated. Where is then, pate. But that, retaining all his forupon earth, their trust? In the pre- mer fears, possessed with the appremier? in the Duke of Wellington ? hensions which had, in old times, inTrust in him !!! He would not, when fluenced bim, he should have retained the interests of the nation were, as he his place in the cabinet, and recomstated, in the most imminent peril, mended to the adoption of England postpone the indulgence of his piqué what he had repeatedly declared it to watch over them. Trust in him ! a was inexpedient and dishonourable to man who, knowing the solemn respon adopt; that he should have resisted
concession, while it could have been nour-he may be contented to appear graciously made; and recommended in public with all the marks of reit when it had become actual prostra- creancy about him, like the friend and tion;
this, no man, unacquainted with minister of that great Eastern king, Mr Peel's personal character, could of whom ancient history makes menhave accounted possible. This, con- tion-he may be content to dwell sequently, may justly be regarded as among the people whom he has rethe leading novelty in the leading mea- solved to betray, and to bear about sure of the late Session of Parliament; with him for ever the hideous deand it naturally suggests the propriety formity to which he has consigned of bestowing upon the speeches of that himself; and when he looks at the personage somewhat more of attention horrid visage which his mirror prethan their importance otherwise de- sents, or hears his character in the op
probrious epithets which his treachery When Mr Peel rose for the first has wrung from too confiding ada time to deliver in Parliament his al. mirers, in all the fervour of a generous tered sentiments, he prefaced his re- soul, he may rejoice in the good he cantation with words to this effect, has achieved, even more than he is “ That Ministers stood in a situation depressed by the consciousness of his different from that in which 'other infamy; but his rejoicing is mistaken members were placed ; that they had NOMEASURE CAN BE WORTH, TOAN access to information which his ho- HONEST PEOPLE, THE FORFEITURE OF nourable friends had not; and, above THEIR LEGISLATORS' REPUTATION. all, that they stood in a peculiar rela- Imagine the greatest political good tion to his Majesty, by which they that could be wrought, and if it be had contracted an obligation as respon- accompanied by a change of conduct sible servants of the Crown, and could such as causes distrust of public men, not relieve themselves, by any reference evil preponderates. Not so much then to past declarations or past circum- for what Mr Peel owed to himself and stances, from the duty of giving the his name, as because of those engagebest advice which they could form as ments to which he made so solemn an to any measure, under the then existe allusion, he should have explained to og situation of affairs."
the satisfaction of the British people By the report of the debate, as the grounds of his altered conduct, or, given in the public journals, it ap- unable to do so, he should have served pears that this sentiment was applaude them in a private station. ed: nor, considering it in itself alone, Mr Peel was the more bound to exis it one which a rational man feels culpate himself, because the dissatis disposed to censure. Ministers are faction at his conduct was felt and pledged to recommend what they bee manifested where he could not imalieve to be for the interest of the gine that it would be lightly harbourcountry; they have access to sources ed.
No man appeared more sensible of information such as are peculiar to of the honour conferred upon him themselves; and if they are thus led than Mr Peel, the representative of to form opinions different from what, Oxford-no man less disposed to un, in past times, they entertained, it is dervalue the judgment or disregard no doubt their duty to act in the spi, the good opinion of his constituents. rit of the trust confided to them, and If, therefore, he remained unmoved to prefer the public good to the pre- by the expressed indignation of the servation of an apparent consistency: entire Protestant people, his discom
As persons, however, to whom the fiture at Oxford must have smote him honour of the nation has been con- with great strength, and forced open fided, they owe it to the character of all the stores of knowledge which the country, whose interests they are could possibly be rendered available for appointed to guard, that their change his justification. It may fairly be set of measures shall correspond with their down, that, although Mr Peel might altered opinions; and that they shall be comparatively indifferent to the furnish satisfactory proof that the mo- upraised voice of England, or at least tives which influenced them are such not so moved as to be very studious as an honest man may fearlessly avow. of defence, the intimation that Oxford A minister may in the spirit of pure joined in the general expression of patriotism submit himself to disho« censure, must have awakened him to
the necessity of justifying himself; members of his Majesty's government and, in consequence, that the justifie thought it right that the Roman Cacation now before the public, is the tholics should be indulged in their best that could be provided.
demands; some conceived that their This defence, to use the words of claims should be resisted ; but if, at Mr Peel himself, is contained in the one side or the other, there were found following propositions :-" That we individuals unwilling to join in the are placed in a situation in which we effort to suppress disturbance, and cannot remain—that something must bring to nought insurrectionary atbe done that we cannot remain sta- tempts, the services of such men, or tionary, and that there is that degree their pretended services, the nation of evil in divided councils and a dis- could well dispense with. Mr Peel united cabinet, which could no longer should have accordingly added, for be suffered to continue." His next po- the completeness of his disjunctive sition was, supposing the first to be ese premise, an additional case. Govern. tablished, and supposing it to be admit- ment should either increase or dimi. ted that a united government ought to nish Roman Catholic privileges was be formed; " that that government will his premise-to this he should have have the choice of one of two courses, added, “ or should assist in the reand only of two. It must either grant storation of order ;” and it may very the Roman Catholics farther political readily be believed that no man could liberties, or retract those which have be esteemed a suitable adviser for a already been granted them—it must British monarch who dissented from either remove those barriers which this third condition. obstruct the flow of the waters, which And let it not be imagined that it are pressing on the institutions of this is a condition of trivial importance. country, or must throw back the cur- Events of no ordinary magnitude may rent wbich has now set in.” The remo- soon disabuse the minds of such as val of the barrier was Mr Peel's choice, are disposed to think so. and his justification was rested upon fully persuaded, that independently the truth of his two propositions, and of the necessary adjuncts or conseon his alleged inability to procure, quences of the late measures, consifor the constitution as it had existed, dered in themselves alone, there were sufficient parliamentary support. We very important consequences to be shall bestow a very brief consideration apprehended from the manner in on the duty of a government, as mark, which they were carried. We beed out in the above propositions, and lieve, that to a madman, in the rage the difficulty to which the evils of a of frenzy, a strait waistcoat should too long divided cabinet had reduced be assigned, rather than liberty and the defenders of the constitution. stimulating diet; and we are con
And for the first, we altogether vinced, that while Ireland was ripe deny the fitness of the advice as to and ready for insurrection, from the how the Government should be con- Giant's Causeway to Cape Clear, it ducted. We admit that a divided would have been far wiser to shew cabinet was an evil ; but we have no the rebels that the heart of Britain hesitation in affirming, that the prin- was steady, than to attempt propiciple on which a cabinet should be tiating ruthless assailants by an unformed, was not so much a principle conditional surrender. of resistance or concession to the Ro- There is a fiction which may be man Catholic claims, as of a deter- regarded as having its origin and mination to consult, in the first place, authority in the eternal fitness of for the honour and interest of the things ; which we find in all states of country. Whether it was or was not society, and decorating all species of wise to accede to these claims, it was literature-the classical—the romana certainly wise, first, to tranquillize the tic-the heroic age-the age of chie country. In late days, men seem to valry-namely, the fiction of lands have lost sight of the proper meaning visited for the wickedness of their of words. For years back, to concede inhabitants, by the devastations of and to conciliate, appear synonymous,
some ferocious monster, whose rage except in the minds of those to whom can only be allayed by the sacrifice of it would be most desirable that they a young and spotless virgin. The should suggest the same ideas. Some stories invariably represent the mon. ster unappeased by the sacrifices offerger, he recommends that the risk ed to him, and the blood which he should be run; he is censured behas drunk. Mr Peel, when he flung cause of the policy he proposes; he the virgin Constitution of England rests his defence on the secret inforbefore the unsightly monster which mation he has acquired ; and triumphs Popery conjured up, should have re- because the Ministers of England are membered the instruction which the not more at a loss to discover what is moral of this tale affords. If England for the good of the country, than had the power, she should have met other individuals who have not acand conquered rebellion; and any man cess to the sources of information to who shrunk from the consequences wbich he has been admitted. “ A great and the responsibility of such an un- matter truly,” said the rustic,“ to dertaking, ought not to have been come and see how this dog can spell ; – ranked among her constitutional ad- call him a learned dog !--why, I can visers.
spell as well myself.” Mr Peel's quesIs it to be believed, that if in Eng- tion was highly censurable, and should land it were proposed to establish as have been met with the rebuke its the principle by which public proceed- effrontery deserved, and with this anings were to be regulated, that, through- swer—"Lay before the House, lay out the empire, the disorderly should before a Select Committee of the be checked, and the disaffected pu. House, the information by which you pished, those who aspired to high have been so strangely affected, and offices in the State could safely repu- then demand whether no better meadiate such a principle? If Mr Peel sure than your relief bill can be dedeclared himself willing to enquire in- vised; but if you refuse the country to the whole state of Ireland, and re- this satisfaction, we ask you in your solved to concede to the Roman Ca. turn, what have you ever done or suftholics whatever could safely be grant- fered to justify us in relying upon ed, and, in order that concession should your present declarations, in direct be safe, called upon all who had the hostility to the entire tenor of your power to aid him in his endeavours to past political life ?" Asto the question, restore general tranquillity, is it to be then, upon which Mr Peel placed so believed, that he who refused his as honourable a reliance, we reply-This sistance to such an enterprise could was to be done-REBELLION SHOULD retain respectability of character ? As. BE DISCOUNTENANCED ; and when it suredly no. Here would be a touch- was asked how this good end could be stone by which true principle could accomplished, an enquiry into the be ascertained. The man who coun- whole state of the country should be selled concession to armed and band, had, in order to furnish the answer. ed traitors, would be regarded and re- But upon the evasive apologies of probated as a traitor himself; and if Mr Peel we will no longer dwell. hollow allies fell off from the sup- Suffice it to say, they are worthy the porters of sound principle, all that was man and his cause; and pass exactly good and loyal in the land would rally for what they are worth, and no more, in their defence.
with the public. Indeed, it is scarce“ But,” said he, “ what is to be ly left us to exercise that vindictive done? What will you propose better, censorship, which becomes us as guaryou who censure my conduct ?" This dians of public morals in those cases was the language by which the right where public decency has been out. honourable offender hoped to silence raged, and the public interests betrayhis betrayed accusers. Was not this ed; as, in short, nothing remains to question indecent? He (Mr Peel) be added to the fulness of reprobation made it his boast, that he had access which has already been visited upon to information from which all but the right honourable delinquent. 'Tis Ministers were excluded; and he true, he may console himself for this, expects that the members of the by the power he enjoys, and the pas House of Commons, without this in- tronage he dispenses. The people may formation, shall suggest a good coun- execrate him, while he reverences himsel, which he is himself incapable of self. “Populus me sibilat," says the giving. He proposes a measure, of man in Horace, “ at mihi plaudo ipse whose consequences he is fearful. domni, simul ac nummos contemplor With a declared consciousness of dana in arcâ.” While the treasury is at his