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-containing considerably upwards of us from it, not only rapidly, but with four millions of square geographical credit ; not merely with credit, but miles of land; that is, nearly a ninth with glory. To appreciate our prepart of the whole terrestrial surface sent position, we must refer to that of the globe! *_besides nearly a mil- which we occupied some twelve or lion and a half miles of water-five eighteen months ago; and that will hundred thousand of these square necessarily involve a brief examinamiles being capable, and in rapid tion of the policy and proceedings of progress, of profitable cultivation! the late, and of the present Governat more than three thousand miles' ment. We shall speak in an unredistance from the mother country, served and independent spirit in giving and in immediate juxtaposition to the utterance to the reflections which have territory of our distinguished but jea- occurred to us during a watchful atlous descendants and rivals—a rising tention paid to the course of public nation—the United States! Pausing affairs, both foreign and domestic, in here in the long catalogue of our fo. the interval alluded to; though feel. reign possessions, let our fancied ob- ing the task which we have underserver turn back his eye towards the taken both a delicate and a difficult little island that owns them; will he not be filled with wonder, possibly After a desperate tenacity in rewith a conviction that Great Britain taining office exhibited by the late is destined by Almighty God to be Government, which was utterly unthe instrument of effecting His su- exampled, and most degrading to the blime but hidden purposes with refer- character and position of public men ence to humanity? Assume, however, engaged in carrying on the Queen's our observer to be actuated by a hos Government, Sir Robert Peel was tile and jealous spirit, and to regard called to the head of affairs by her our foreign possessions, and the na- Majesty, in accordance with the detional greatness derived from them, clared wishes of a triumphant majoras only nominal and apparent--to in- ity of her subjeets---of a perfectly sinuate that we could not really hold overwhelming majority of the eduthem, or vindicate our vaunted sue cated, the thinking, and the monied premaey if powerfully challenged and classes of society. When he first resented. Let him then meditate upon placed his foot upon the commanding the authentic intelligence which we eminence of the premiership, the sight have just received from the East: which presented itself to his quick and what must then be his real sentiments comprehensive glance, must have been, on this the 1st day of January 1843? indeed, one calculated to make Let us ask him, in all manly calmness,

“ the boldest hold his breath whether England has not done what he doubted or denied her ability to

For a time.” do ? whether she has not shown the What appalling evidence in every world that she may, indeed, do what direction of the ignorance and madshe pleases among the nations, so long ness of his predecessors! An excheas her pleasure is regulated and sup- quer empty, exactly at the moment ported by her accustomed sagacity when it ought to have been fullest, in and spirit ? She has, however, re- order to support our tremendous opecently had to pass through an awful rations in the East and elsewhere : in ordeal, principally occasioned by the fact, a prespect of immediate national brief ascendeney of incompetent coun- insolvency ; all resources, ordinary cils; and while expressing, in terms and extraordinary, exhausted ; all inof transport, our conviction that, “out come anticipated : an average defiof this nettle danger, we have plucked ciency of revenue, actual and estithe flower safety"-we cannot re- mated, in the six years vext prepress our feelings of indignation ceding the 5th of January 1843, of against those who precipitated us into L.10,072,000! Symptoms of social that danger, and of gratitude towards disorganization visible on the very those who, under Divine Providence, surface of society : ruin bestriding have been instrumental in extricating our mercantile interests, palsied every

Malte Brun, xi. 179. Alison, X. 256.

where by the long pressure of finan- Queen Victoria in having, at such a cial misrule : credit vanishing rapidly: moment, such a man to call to the the working-classes plunged daily head of her distracted affairs, as Sir deeper and deeper into misery and Robert Peel. He was a man prestarvation, ready to listen to the most eminently distinguished by caution, de-perate suggestions : and a Govern- sobriety, and firmness of charactermeut bewildered with a consciousness by remarkable clear-sightedness and of incompetency, and of the swiftly strength of intellect—thoroughly pracapproaching consequences of their tical in all things-of immense knowmisrule, at the eleventh hour-on the ledge, entirely at his command of eve of a general election---suddenly consummate tact and judgment in the resolving in the language of their conduct of public affairs-of indefatiown leader) to stir society to its foun, gable patience and perseverance of dations, by proposing a wild and imperturbable self-possession. Ho ruinous alteration in the Corn-Laws, seemed formed by nature and habit to declaring that it, and it only, would be the leader of a great deliberative bring cheap bread to the doors of the assembly. Add to all this--a pervery poorest in the land :-after the sonal character of unsullied purity, manner of giving out ardent spirits to and a fortune so large as to place him an already infuriated mob. In Ire beyond the reach of suspicion or templand, crime and sedition fearfully in tation. Such was the man called upon the ascendant ; treasonable efforts by his sovereign and his country, in a made to separate her from us; threats most serious crisis of her affairs. He even held out of her entering into a was originally fortunate in being surforeign alliance against us. So much rounded by political friends eminently for our domestic-now for our foreign qualified for office; from among whom condition and prospects. He would he made, with due deliberation, a sesee Europe exhibiting serious symp; lection, which satisfied the country the toms of distrust and hostility: France, instant that their names were laid beirritated and trifled with, on the verge fore it. We know not when a British of actual war with us : our criminally sovereign has been surrounded by a neglected differences with America, more brilliant and powerful body of fast ripening into the fatal bloom of ministers, than those who at this mowar: the very existence of the Ca- ment stand around Queen Victoria. nadas at stake. In India, the tenure They constitute the first real GOVERNby which we hold it in the very act MENT which this country has seen for of being loosened'; our troops shed- the last twelve years; and they inding their blood in vain, in the prose- stantly addressed themselves to the cution of as mad and wicked an enter- discharge of the duties assigned to prise as ever was undertaken by a them with a practised skill, and energy, civilized nation; the glory of our and system, which were quickly felt in hitherto invincible arms tarnished; the all departments of the State. In confinances of India deranged and wasted tenting himself with the general superaway in securing only fresh accessions intendence of the affairs of his governof disgraceful defeat. In China, we ment, and devolving on another the were engaged, in spite of the whisperharassing office of Chancellor of the of oor guardian angel, Wellington, in Exchequer, which, till then, had been a little war, and experiencing all its conjoined with that of the First Lord degrading and ruinous consequences of the Treasury, Sir Robert Peel acted to our commerce, our military and with his usual judgment, and secured, naval reputation, our statesmanship, in particular, one capital object-unity our honour. Did ever this great em- of action. pire exhibit such a spectacle before as As soon as the late Ministry and their that which it thus presented to the adherents perceived that Sir Robert anxious eye of the new Premier ? Ha- Peel's advent to power was inevitable, ving concluded the disheartening and they clamorously required of him a full alarming survey, he must have de- preliminary statement of the policy scended to his cabinet oppressed and he intended to adopt on being actually desponding, enquiring who is sufficient installed in office! By those who had for these things? With no disposition foundered on, session after session, to bestow an undue encomium on any from blunder to blunder, from folly one, we cannot but say, happy was to folly-each more glaring and de

we

structive than the preceding one-he Conservative newspaper press, both in was modestly expected to commit the metropolis and in the country. himself instanter to some scheme To select particular instances, would struck off, to please them, at a heat! be vain and invidious; but while the A cut-and-dried exposition of his whole country has daily opportunities plans of domestic and foreign policy, of judging of the assistance afforded before it was even certain that he to the Conservative cause by the would ever be called on to frame or powerful and independent metropoact on them ; before he had had a litan press, few are aware, as glimpse of the authentic and official are, of the very great ability genedata, of which none but the actual rally displayed by the provincial Con. adviser of the crown could be in pos- servative press. Their resolute and session. This was doubtless their persevering exposure of the dangernotion of statesmanship, and faith- ous false doctrines of our unscrupufully acted on from first to last; but lous adversaries, and eloquent advoSir Robert Peel and his friends had cacy of Conservative principles, are been brought up in another school, above all praise, and are appreciated whose maxim was—priusquam incipias, in the highest quarters. consultased ubi consulueris, mature The winter was at length nearly facto, opus est. The Premier stood passed through when Parliament asunmoved by the entreaties, the coax- sembled. The distress which the ings, and the threatenings of those people had suffered, and continued to wriggling before him in miserable dis- suffer, no pen can adequately describe, comfiture and restlessness on the ab- or do justice to the touching fortitude horred benches of Opposition; calmly with which those sufferings were demonstrating to them the folly and borne. It wrung the hearts of all who injustice of which they were guilty. had opportunities of personally obYet the circumstances of the country serving it. They resisted, poor famade his adherence to this first deter- mishing souls ! all the fiendish atmination exquisitely trying. He re- tempts that were systematically made lied, however, on the cautious inte to undermine their loyalty, to seduce grity of his purposes, and the neces- them into insubordination and rebelsity of the case ; and amidst the silent lion. Let us, by and by, see how far agitation of friends, and the fren- the result has justified this implied zied clamour of opponents, and with confidence of theirs in the power, the a dreadful prospect before the country wisdom, and the integrity of the new in the ensuing winter-maintained the Government. After all the boasting silence he had imposed upon himself, of the Opposition in spite of their and, with his companions, entered vehement efforts during the recess, to forth with on a searching and complete concert and mature what were given investigation of the affairs of the na- out as the most formidable system of tion. Not seduced by the irrepressi- tactics ever exhibited in parliament, ble eagerness of friends, or dismayed for the dislodgement of a Ministry by the dark threats and dismal predic- denounced as equally hateful to the tions of enemies, who even appealed Queen and to the country, the very direct to the throne against them, first division utterly annihilated the Ministers pursued their course with Opposition. So overwhelming was calmness and determination, till the the Ministerial majority, that it aslegitimate moment had arrived for tonished their friends as much as it announcing to the country their dismayed their enemies : and to an acthoroughly considered plans for the curate observer of what passed in the future. Sir Robert Peel is undoubte House of Commons, it was plain that edly entitled to the credit of resusci- the legitimate energies of the Oppositating and re-organizing the great tion were paralyzed thenceforth to the party all but annihilated by the passe end of the session. Forthwith, there ing of the Reform Bill. It is under sprung up, however, a sort of conspivast obligations to him ; but so is he

racy to annoy the triumphant Ministo it. What fortitude and fidelity ters, to exhaust their energies, to imhave been theirs ! How admirable pede all legislation, as far as those ends their conduct on the occasion we are could be attained by the most wicked alluding to! And here let us also and vulgar faction ever witnessed withpay a just tribute of respect to the in the House of Commons !

The precise seat of Sir Robert it will clearly cost Peel his placePeel's difficulty at home was, that his then we return, and will go the rest of immediate predecessors had (whether the journey, and quickly arrive at the wilfully or otherwise signifies nothing goal of free-trade in corn, and every for the present) raised expectations thing else, except those particular aramong the people, which no party ticles in which we deal, and which could satisfy; while their measures must be protected, for the benefit of had reduced the people to a state in the country, against foreign competiwhich the disappointment of those ex- tion." Then the Radical journals pectations seemed to excuse, if not teemed with joyful paragraphs, anjustify, even downright rebellion. nouncing that Sir Robert Peel's minTney arrayed the agricultural and istry was already crumbling to pieces! manufacturing interests in deadly hos- The farmers, it would seem, were tility against each other; they sought every where up in arms; confusion to make the one responsible for the (and something a vast deal worse!) consequences springing only from the was drunk at all their meetings, to reckless misconduct of the other. The Peel! Nevertheless, these happy farmers must be run down and ruin- things came not to pass ; Sir Robert ed, in order to repair the effects of Peel's Ministry would not fall to excessive credit and over-trading pieces ; and the curses of the farmers among the manufacturers; the corn- came not so fast or loud as their eager grower must smart for the sins of the disinterested friends could have wished! cotton-spinner. Such were some of To be serious, the alteration of the the fierce elements of discord in full Corn-Laws was undoubtedly a very action, when the affairs of the nation bold one, but the result of most were committed by her Majesty to anxious and profound consideration. her present Ministers, on whom it lay A moment's reflection on the character to promote permanent domestic trans and circumstances of the Ministry who quillity, amidst this conflict between proposed it, served first to arrest the interests which had been taught that apprehensions entertained by the agrithey were irreconcilable with each cultural interest ; while the thorough other; to sustain the public credit at discussions which took place in Paronce, without endangering our inter- liament, demonstrating the necessity pal peace and safety, or compromis- of some change—the moderation and ing the bonour of the nation in its caution of the one proposed-several critical and embarrassing foreign re- undoubted and very great improvelations. How were they to effect ments in details, and, above all, a these apparently incompatible objects? formal recognition of the principle of See,” said the enemies of the Minis- agricultural protection, still further altry, “ see, by and by, when Parlia- layed the fears of the most timorous. ment assembles, a cruel specimen of To us it appears, that the simple class legislation—the unjust triumph principle of a scale of duties, adapted of the landed interest--the legitimate to admit foreign corn when we want working of the Chandos clause in the it, and exclude it when we can grow Reform Bill!” But bear witness, sufficient ourselves, is abundantly vinparliamentary records, how stood the dicated, and will not be disturbed for fact !

many years to come, if even then. That the present Ministry are Has this principle been surrendered mainly indebted for their accession to by Sir Robert Peel? It has not; and power, to the prodigious exertions of we venture to express our confident the agricultural interest during the belief, that it never will. He cannot, last general election, is, we presume, of course, prevent the subject from undeniable. It was talked of as their being mooted during the ensuing sesmere tool or puppet. Their first act sion, because there are persons, unis to lower the duties on the importa- fortunately, sent to Parliament for the tion of foreign corn, and then to per- very purpose ; but while he is listenmit the importation of foreign cattle! ing with a calm smile, and apparently “ We are ruined !" cried the farmers thoughtfully, to the voluble tradesin dismay; and the Duke of Bucking. men who are haranguing him upon bam withdrew from the Cabinet. the subject, it is not improbable that “ This is a step in the right way," he will be revolving in his mind matsaid the opponents of Ministers, “but ters much more personally interesting

even

and important to them; viz. how he found them. With an immediate and shall put a stop to the monstrous perspective increase of expenditure joint-stock banking system frauds, that was perfectly frightful-in the as exhibited at this moment at Man- meditation and actual prosecution of chester, in the Northern and Central vast but useless enterprises-- of foreign Banking Company, and other simi- interference and aggrandizement, to lar establishments, blessed with the secure a little longer continuance of disinterested patronage of the chief popular favour, they deliberately demember of the " Anti-Corn-Law stroyed a principal source of revenue, League." The mention of that snug by the reduction of the postage duties, little speculation of two or three in- in defiance of the repeated protests genious and enterprising Manchester and warnings of Sir Robert Peel, manufacturers, forces from us an ob- when in Opposition. They had, in servation or two, viz. that the thing fact, brought matters to such a pitch, will not do, after all. There is much as to render it almost impossible for cry, and little wool; very little corn,

a heaven-born minister" to and a great deal of cotton. They conduct the affairs of the nation, with have a smart saying at Manchester, safety and honour, without inflicting to the effect, that it is no use whistling grievous disappointment and sufferagainst thunder; which we shall in- ings, and incurring thereby a degree terpret to mean, that all their "great of obloquy fatal to any Ministry. meetings," speechifyings, subscrip. They seemed, in fact, to imagine, as tions, and so forth, will fail to kindle they went on, that the day of reckona single spark of real enthusiasm in ing could never arrive, because they their favour, among those who are had resolved to stave it off from time daily becoming more and more per- to time, however near it approached, sonally sensible, first, of the solid be- by a series of desperate expedients, nefits conferred by the wise policy of really destructive of the national prothe present Administration ; secondly, sperity, but provocative of what served of the want of personal respectability their purposes, viz. temporary popuamong the leaders of the League; lar enthusiasm. What cruelty! what and lastly, the necessity and vast ad- profligacy! what madness! And all vantage of supporting the agriculture under the flag on which were inscribof Old England. The recent discus- ed“ Peace! Retrenchment! Reform!". sions on the Corn-Laws, in Parlia- Acting on the salutary maxim, that ment and elsewhere, the masterly the knowledge of the disease is half expositions of the true principles on the cure, Sir Robert Peel resolved to which they are really based, have lay before the nation the whole truth, thrown a flood of light on the subject, however appalling. Listen to the folpow made visible and intelligible to the lowing pregnant sentences which he lowest capacity. That some further addressed to the House of Commons, alteration may not erelong be made within a few moments after he had on the scale of duties, no one can as- risen to develope his financial policy, sert, though we have no reason to we mean on the 11th of March 1842: believe that any such is at present

L" It is sometimes necessary, on the contemplated; but that the principle occasion of financial statements of this of the ci sliding scale," as it is called, kind, to maintain great reserve, and to will be firmly adhered to, we entertain speak with great caution. A due reno doubt whatever. The conduct of gard for the public interest, may imthe agricultural interest, with refer- pose on a Minister the duty of only ence to subjects of such vital impor- partially disclosing matters of importtance to them as the Corn-Law Bill ance. But I am hampered by no fetand the Tariff, has been characterized ters of official duty. I mean to lay by signal forbearance and fortitude; before you the truth--the unexaggenor, let them rest assured, will it be rated truth, but to conceal nothing. I lost upon the Ministry or the country. do this, because in great financial dif

The next step in Sir Robert Peel's ficulties, the first step towards improvebold and comprehensive policy, was ment is to look those difficulties boldly to devise some method of recruiting in the face. This is true of indivi. forthwith its languishing vital energies duals—it is true also of nations. There

-to rescue its financial concerns from can be no hope of improvement or of the desperate condition in which he recovery, if you consent to conceal from

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