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juries of those who suffered in the same place spoilers than any of the hated English, whose centuries ago. They are most of them half ancestors never adventured to the neighbour. English, by blood and lineage—and much ing island. Mr. O'Driscol's partiality for the more than half English, in speech, training, ancient Irish, therefore, is truly a mere pecucharacter, and habits. If they are to punish liarity of taste or feeling-or at best but an the descendants of the individual English who historical predilection; and in reality has no usurped Irish possessions, and displaced true influence, as it ought to have none, on his Irish possessors, in former days, they must views as to what constitutes the actual grievpunish themselves;—for undoubtedly they ances, or is likely to work the deliverance, of are far more nearly connected with those I the existing generation.
(December, 1826.) Memoirs of the Life of the Right Honourable Richard Brinsley Sheridan. By Thomas MOORE.
Fourth Edition. 2 vols. 8vo. London: Longman and Co. 1826.* We have frequently had occasion to speak between them, seem to be chiefly two:of the dangers to which the conflict of two First, that their doctrines are timid, vacillatextreme parties must always expose the peace ing, compromising, and inconsistent; and, and the liberties of such a country as England, secondly, that the party which holds them is and of the hostility with which both are apt small, weak, despised, and unpopular. These to regard those who still continue to stand are the favourite texts, we think, of those neutral between them. The charges against whose vocation it has lately become to preach this middle party–which we take to be now against us, from the pulpits at once of servility represented by the old constitutional Whigs and of democratical reform. But it is necesof 1688—used formerly to be much the same, sary to open them up a little farther, before though somewhat mitigated in tone, with we enter on our defence. those which each was in the habit of address- The first charge then is, That the Whigs ing to their adversaries in the opposite ex- | are essentially an inefficient, trimming, halftreme. When the high Tories wanted to way sort of party—100 captious, penurious, abuse the Whigs, they said they were nearly and disrespectful to authority, to be useful as bad as the Radicals; and when these wished servants in a Monarchy, and too aristocratical, in their turn to lessen the credit of the same cautious, and tenacious of old institutions, to unfortunate party, the established form of re- deserve the confidence, or excite the sympaproach was, that they were little better than thies, of a generous and enlightened People. The Tories! Of late years, however, a change Their advocates, accordingly—and we our seems to have come over the spirit, or the selves in an an especial manner—are accused practical tactics at least, of these gallant bel- of dealing in contradictory and equivocating ligerents. They have now discovered that doctrines; of practising a continual see-saw there are vices and incapacities peculiar to of admissions and retractations; of saying now the Whigs, and inseparable indeed from their a word for the people—now one for the aris. middle position: and that before settling their tocracy-now one for the Crown; of paralysing fundamental differences with each other, it is all our liberal propositions by some timid and most wise and fitting that they should unite paltry reservation, and never being betrayed to bear down this common enemy, by making into a truly popular sentiment without ingood against them these heavy imputations. stantly chilling and neutralising it by some It has now become necessary, therefore, for cold warning against excess, some cautious those against whom they are directed, to in- saving of the privileges of rank and establishquire a little into the nature and proofs of ment. And so far has this system of inculpą. these alleged enormities; the horror of which tion been lately carried, that a liberal Journal, has thus suspended the conflict of old heredi- of great and increasing celebrity, has actually tary enemies, and led them to proclaim a done us the honour, quarter after quarter, of truce, till the field, by their joint efforts, can quoting long passages from our humble pages, be cleared for fair hostilities, by the destruc- in evidence of this sad infirmity in our party tion of these hated intruders.
and principles. Now, the topics of reproach which these Now, while we reject of course the epithets two opposite parties have recently joined in which are here applied to us, we admit, at directing against those who would 'mediate once, the facts on which our adversaries pro
fess to justify them. We acknowledge ihat * What is here given forms but a small part of we are fairly chargeable with a fear of oppo, the article originally published under this lille, in site excessesma desire to compromise and 1826. But it exhibits nearly the whole of the Gen- reconcile the claims of all the great parties in eral Politics contained in that arricle ; and having the State-an anxiety to temper and qualify been, as I believe, among the last political discussions, I contributed to the Review, I have been whatever may be said in favour of tempted to close, with it, this most anxious and a steady reservation of whatever may be justly perilous division of the present publication. due to ihe rest. To this sort of trimming, to
this inconsistency, to this timidity, we dis-, followed with regard to us,—that our advertinctly plead guilty. We plead guilty to a saries have effected, or rather pretended, an love to the British Constitution and to all unnatural union against us,-and, deserting and every one of its branches. We are for not only the old rules of political hostility, King, Lords, and Commons; and though not but, as it humbly appears to us, their own perhaps exactly in that order, we are prond fundamental principles, have combined to atto have it said ihat we have a word for each tack us, on the new and distinct ground of in its turn; and that, in asserting the rights our moderation,—not because we are opposedl of one, we would not willingly forget those to their extreme doctrines respectively, but of the others. Our jealousy, we confess, is because we are not extremely opposed to them! greatest of those who have the readiest means -and, affecting a generous indulgence and of persuasion; and therefore, we are generally respect for those who are diametrically against far more afraid of the encroachments of them, seem actually to have agreed to join arbitrary power, under cover of its patron- forces with them, to run down those who stand age, and the general love of peace, security, peacefully between, and would gladly effect and distinction, which attract so strongly to their reconcilement. We understand very the region of the Court, than of the usurpa- well the feelings which lead to such a course tions of popular violence. But we are for au- of proceeding; but we are not the less conthority, as well as for freedom. We are for vinced of their injustice,-and, in spite of all the natural and wholesome influence of wealth that may be said of neutrals in civil war, or and rank, and the veneration which belongs interlopers in matrimonial quarrels, we still to old institutions, without which no govern- believe that the Peacemakers are Blessed, ment has ever had either stability or respect; and that they who seek conscientiously to as well as for that vigilance of popular control, moderate the pretensions of contending facand that supremacy of public opinion, without tions, are more likely to be right than either which none could be long protected from of their opponents. abuse. We know that, when pushed, to their The natural, and, in our humble judgment, ultimate extremes, those principles may be the very important function of a middle party said to be in contradiction. But the escape is, not only to be a check, but a bulwark to from inconsistency is secured by the very ob- both those that are more decidedly opposed; vious precaution of stopping short of such ex- and though liable not to be very well looked tremes. It was to prevent this, in fact, that on by either, it should only be very obnoxious, the English constitution, and indeed all good we should think, to the stronger, or those who government everywhere, was established. are disposed to act on the offensive. To them Every thing that we know that is valuable in it naturally enough presents the appearance the ordinances of men, or admirable in the of an advanced post, that must be carried bearrangements of Providence, seems to depend fore the main battle can be joined,—and for on a compromise, a balance; or, if the expres- the assault of which they have neither the sion is thought better, on a conflict and strug- same weapons, the same advantages of posigle, of opposite and irreconcileable principles. tion, nor the same motives of action. To the Virtue-society-life itself, and, in so far as weaker party, however, or those who stand we can see, the grand movements and whole on their defence, it must, or at least should, order of the universe, are maintained only by always be felt to be a protection,—though resuch a balance or contention.
ceived probably with grudging and ill grace, These, we are afraid, will appear but idle as a sort of half-faced fellowship, yielded truisms, and shallow pretexts for foolish self- with no cordiality, and ready enough to be commendation. No one, it will be said, is withdrawn if separate terms can be made for any thing but the British constitution; and with the adversary. With this scheme of nobody denies that it depends on a balance tactics we have long been familiar; and for of opposite principles. The only question is, those feelings we were prepared. But it is whether that balance is now rightly adjusted; rather too much, we think, when those who and whether the Whigs are in the proper are irreconcileably hostile, and whose only central position for correcting its obliquities. quarrel with us is, that we go half the length Now, if the attacks to which we are alluding of their hated opponents,-have the face to had been reducible to such a principle as this, pretend that we are more justly hateful to
-if we had been merely accused, by our them, than those who go the whole length, brethren of the Westminster, for not going far that they have really no particular quarrel enough on the popular side, and by our breth- with those who are beyond us, and that we, ren of the Quarterly, for going too far - we in fact, and our unhappy mid-way position, should have had nothing to complain of, be- are the only obstacles to a cordial union of yond what is inseparable from all party con- those whom it is, in truth, our main object to tentions; and must have done our best to an- reconcile and unite! swer those opposite charges, on their separate Nothing, we take it, can be so plain as that and specific merits, -taking advantage, of this is a hollow, and, in truth, very flimsy course, as against each, of the authority of the pretext: and that the real reason of the aniother, as a proof, à fortiori, of the safety of mosity with which we are honoured by the our own intermediate position. But the pe- more eager individuals in both the extreme culiarity of our present case, and the hardship parties is, that we afford a covering and a which alone induces us to complain of it is, shelter to each-impede the assault they are that this is not the course that has been lately impatient mutually to make on each other, 78
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and take away from them the means of that, within their reach, it is not the less unfair and direct onset, by which the sanguine in both unw
nworthy in itself, nor the less shortsighted hosts imagine they might at once achieve a and ungrateful in the parties who are gtilty decisive victory. If there were indeed no of it. For we do not hesitate to say, that it belligerents, it is plain enough that there could is substantially to this calumniated and rebe no neutrals and no mediators. If there tually reviled Whig party, or to those who aci was no natural war between Democracy and on its principles, that the country is truly inMonarchy, no true ground of discord between debted for its peace and its constitution, and Tories and Radical Reformers-we admit one at least, if not both of the extreme parthere would be no vocation for Whigs: for the ties, for their very existence ! If there were true definition of that party, as matters now no such middle body, who saw faults and stand in England, is, that it is a middle party, merits in both, and could not consent to the between the two extremes of high monarchical unqualified triumph or unqualified extirpation principles on the one hand, and extremely of either—if the whole population of the popular principles on the other. It holds no country was composed of intolerant Turies peculiar opinions, that we are aware of, on any and fiery reformers,—of such spirits, in short, other points of policy,—and no man of com- to bring the matter to a plain practical bearmon sense can doubt, and no man of common ing, as the two hostile parties have actually candour deny, that it differs from each of the chosen, and now support as their leaders and other parties on the very grounds on which spokesmen, does any man imagine that its they differ from each other,—the only distinc- peace or its constitution could be maintained tion being that it does not differ so widely. for a single year? On such a supposition, it
Can any thing be so preposterous as a pre- is plain that they must enter immediately on tended truce between two belligerents, in an active, uncompromising, relentless conorder that they may fall jointly upon those tention; and, after a short defying parlez, who are substantially neutral ?-a dallying must, by force or fear, effect the entire suband coquetting with mortal enemies, for the version of one or the other; and in either case, purpose of gaining a supposed advantage over a complete revolution and dissolution of the those who are to a great extent friends? Yet present constitution and principle of goverg. this is the course that has recently been fol. ment. Compromise, upon that supposition, lowed, and seems still to be pursued. It is we conceive, must be utterly out of the ques. now some time since the thorough Reformers tion; as well as the limitation of the contest began to make awkward love to the Royalists, to words, either of reasoning or of abose. by pretending to bewail the obscuration which They would be at each other's Throats, before the Throne had suffered from the usurpations the end of the year! or, if there was any conof Parliamentary influence,—the curtailment promise, what could it be, but a compromise of the Prerogative by a junto of ignoble bo- on the middle ground of Whiggism !-a vitroughmongers, — and the thraldom in which tual conversion of a majority of those very the Sovereign was held by those who were combatants, who are now supposed so to hate truly his creatures. Since that time, the more and disdain them, to the creed of that mod. prevailing tone has been, to sneer at the Whig erate and liberal party? aristocracy, and to declaim, with all the bit- What is it, then, that prevents such a morterness of real fear and affected contempt, on tal conflict from taking place at the present the practical insignificance of men of fortune moment between those who represent them. and talents, who are neither Loyal nor Popu- sent themselves respectively, as engrossing lar—and, at the same time, to lose no oppor- all the principle and all the force of the tunity of complimenting the Tory possessors country? what, but the fact, that a very large of power, for every act of liberality, which portion of the population do not in reality behad been really forced upon them by those long to either; but adhere, and are known to very Whigs whom they refuse to acknowledge adhere, to those moderate opinions, for the as even co-operating in the cause! The high profession of which the Whigs and their adTory or Court party have, in substance, played vocates are not only covered with the obloquy the same game. They have not indeed af- of those whom they save from the perils of fected, so barefacedly, an entire sympathy, or such frightful extremities, but are prepostervery tender regard for their radical allies : but ously supposed to have incurred the dislike they have acted on the same principle. They of those with whom in fact they are identified, have echoed and adopted the absurd fiction and to whom they belong? of the unpopularity of the Whigs,-and, speak- And this leads us to say a few words on the ing with affected indulgence of the excesses second grand position of the Holy Allies, into which a generous love of liberty may oc- against whom we are now called to defend casionally hurry the ignorant and unthinking, ourselves, that the Whigs are not only inconhave reserved all their severity, unfairness, sistent and vacillating in their doctrines, but, and intolerance, for the more moderate oppo- in consequence of that vice or error, are, in nents with whose reasonings they find it more fact, weak, unpopular, and despised in the difficult to cope, and whose motives and true country. The very circumstance of their being position in the country, they are therefore so felt to be so formidable as to require this eager to misrepresent.
strange alliance to make head against them, Now, though all this may be natural enough and io force their opponents 10 intermit all in exasperated disputants, who are apt to other contests, and expend on them excluwreak their vengeance on whatever is most sively the whole treasures of their sophistry
and abuse, might go far, we think, to refute ministration in some measure in their hands, this desperate allegation. But a very short would be glad enough to put down all popuresumption of the principles we have just lar interference, whether by assemblies, by been unfolding will show that it cannot pos- speech, or by writing; and, in fact, only allow sibly be true.
the law to be as indulgent as it is, and its adWe reckon as Whigs, in this question, all ministration to be so much more indulgent, those who are not disposed to go the length from a conviction that they would not be supof either of the extreme parties who would ported in more severe measures, either by now divide the country between them,-all, public opinion without, or even by their own in other words, who wish the Government to majorities within the walls of the Legislature. be substantially more popular than it is, or is They know very well that a great part of their tending to be--but, at the same time, to re- adherents are attached to them by no other tain more aristocratical influence, and more tie than that of their own immediate interest, deference to authority, than the Radical Re--and that, even among them as they now formers will tolerate :-and, we do not hesi- stand, they could command at least as large tate to say, that so far from being weak or a following for Whig measures as for Tory inconsiderable in the country, we are perfectly measures, if only proposed by an administraconvinced that, among the educated classes, tion of as much apparent stability. It is not which now embrace a very large proportion necessary, indeed, to go farther than to the of the whole, it greatly outnumbers both the common conversation of the more open or others put together. It should always be careless of those who vote and act among the recollected, that a middle party like ihis is Tories, to be satisfied, that a very large proinvariably much stronger, as well as more portion, indeed, of those who pass under that determined and formidable, than it appears. title, are what we should call really Whigs in Extreme doctrines always make the most heart and conviction, and are ready to declare noise. They lead most to vehemence, pas- themselves such, on the first convenient opsion, and display,—they are inculcated with portunity. With regard to the Radical Remost clamour and exaggeration, and excite formers, again, very little more, we think, can the greatest alarm. In this way we hear of be necessary to show their real weakness in them most frequently and loudly. But they the country, than to observe how very few are not, upon that account, the most widely votes they ever obtain at an election, even in spread or generally adopted ;-and, in an en- the most open boroughs, and the most populightened country, where there are two oppo- lous and independent counties. We count for site kinds of extravagance thus trumpeted nothing in question the mere physical abroad together, they serve in a good degree force which may seem to be arrayed on their as correctives to each other; and the great side in the manufacturing districts, on occabody of the people will almost inevitably set- sions of distress and suffering; though, if they tle into a middle or moderate opinion. The felt that they had even this permanently at champions, to be sure, and ambitious leaders their command, it is impossible that they on each side, will probably only be exasperat- should not have more nominations of parliaed into greater bitterness and greater confi- mentary attomeys, and more steady and imdence, by the excitement of their contention. posing exhibitions of their strength and union. -But the greater part of the lookers-on can At the present moment, then, we are perscarcely fail to perceive that mutual wounds suaded that the proper Whig party is in reality have been inflicted, and mutual infirmities by much the largest and the steadiest in the revealed, - and the continuance and very country; and we are also convinced, that it is fierceness of the combat is apt to breed a in a course of rapid increase. The effect of general opinion, that neither party is right, to all long-continued discussion is to disclose the height of their respective pretensions; flaws in all sweeping arguments, and to muland that truth and justice can only be satis- tiply exceptions to all general propositionsfied by large and mutual concessions. to discountenance extravagance, in short, 10
Of the two parties—the Thorough Reformers abate confidence and intolerance, and thus to are most indebted for an appearance of greater lay the foundations for liberal compromise and strength than they actually possess, to their mutual concession. Even those who continue own boldness and activity, and the mere curi- to think that all the reason is exclusively on osity it excites among the idle, co-operating their side, can scarcely hope to convert their with the sounding alarms of their opponents, opponents, except by degrees. Some few rash -while the high Tories owe the same advan- and fiery spirits may contrive to pass from one tage in a greater degree to the quiet effect of extreme to the other, without going through their influence and wealth, and to that pru- the middle. But the common course undoubt. dence which leads so many, who in their edly is different; and therefore we are entitled hearts are against them, to keep their opinions to reckon, that every one who is detached from to themselves, till some opportunity can be the Tory or the Radical faction, will make a found of declaring them with effect. Both, stage at least, or half-way house, of Whiggism; however, are conscious that they owe much and may probably be induced, by the comfort to such an illusion,-and neither, accordingly, and respectability of the establishment, to rehas courage to venture on those measures to main : As the temperate regions of the earth which they would infallibly resort, if they are found to detain the greater part of those trusted to their apparent, as an actual or avail- who have been induced to fly from the heats able strength. The Tories, who have the ad- 1 of the Equator, or the rigours of the Pole.
Though it is natural enough, therefore, for siderable time, the general sway of men prothose who hold extreme opinions, to depreciate fessing Tory principles; and their speedy res the weight and power of those who take their toration, when driven for a season from their station between them, it seems sufficiently places by disaster or general discontent: aud certain, not only that their position must at all ihe Whigs, during the same period, must contimes be the safest and best, but that it is des- tent themselves with preventing a great deal tined ultimately to draw to itself all that is of evil, and seeing the good which they had truly of any considerable weight upon either suggested tardily and imperfectly effected. by hand; and that it is the feeling of the con- those who will take the credit of origliating stant and growing force of this central attrac- what they had long opposed, and only at last tion, that inflames the animosity of those adopted with reluctance and on compulsion. whose importance would be lost by the con- It is not a very brilliant prospect, perhaps, ror vergence. For our own part, at least, we are a very enviable lot. But we believe it to be satisfied, and we believe the party to which what awaits us; and we embrace it, not only we belong is satisfied, both with the degree cheerfully, but with thankfulness and prideof influence and respect which we possess in thankfulness, that we are enabled to do even the country, and with the prospects which, so much for ihe good and the liberties of our we think, upon reasonable grounds, we may country—and pride, that in thus seeking her entertain of its increase. In assuming to our service, we cannot well be suspected of selfish selves the character of a middle party, we or mercenary views. conceive that we are merely stating a fact, The thorough Reformers never can be in which cannot well be disputed on the present power in this country, but by means of an acoccasion, as it is assumed by both those who tual revolution. The Whigs may, and occa. are now opposed to us, as the main ground of sionally will, without any disturbance to its their common attack; and almost all that we peace. But these occasions might be multihave said follows as a necessary consequence plied, and the good that must attend them of this assumption. From the very nature of accelerated and increased, if the Reformers
: the thing, we cannot go to either of the ex- aware of the hopelessness of their separate treme parties; and neither of them can make cause, would throw their weight into the scale any movement to increase their popularity and of the Whigs, and so far modify their pretensubstantial power, without coming nearer to sions as to make it safe or practicable to supus. It is but fair, however, before concluding, port them. The Whigs, we have already to state, that though we do occupy a position said, cannot come to them; both because between the intolerant Tories and the thorough they hold some of their principles, and their Reformers, we conceive that we are consider- modes of asserting them, to be not merely unably nearer to the latter than to the former. In reasonable, but actually dangerous; and be our principles, indeed, and the ends at which cause, by their adoption, they would at once we aim, we do not materially differ from what hazard much mischief, and unfit themselves is professed by the more sober among them; for the good service they now perform. But though we require more caution, more securi- the Reformers may very well come to the ties, more exceptions, more temper, and more Whigs; both because they can practically do time.
nothing (peaceably) for themselves, and be That is the difference of our theories. In cause the measures which they might occa. practice, we have no doubt, we shall all have sionally enable the Whigs to carry, though time enough :-For it is the lot of England, not in their eyes unexceptionable or sufficient, we ha
little doubt, to be ruled in the main must yet appear to them better than those of by what will be called a Tory party, for as the Tories—which is the only attainable al. long a period as we can now look forward to ternative. This accordingly, we are persuadwith any great distinctness—by a Tory party, ed, will ultimately be the result; and is alhowever, restrained more and more in its pro- ready, we have no doubt, in a course of pensities, by the growing influence of Whig accomplishment; — and, taken along with principles, and the enlightened vigilance of the gradual abandonment of all that is offenthat party, both in Parliament and out of it; sive in Tory pretensions, and the silent adopand now and then admonished, by a temporary tion of most of the Whig principles, even expulsion, of the necessity of a still greater by those who continue to disclaim the name, conformity with the progress of liberal opin- will effect almost all that sober lovers of their ions, than could be spontaneously obtained. country can expect, for the security of her The inherent spirit, however, of monarchy, liberties, and the final extinction of all ex: and the natural effect of long possession of treme parties, in the liberal moderation of power, will secure, we apprehend, for a con- Whiggism.