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mitted with respect to the population in particular districts, let those errors undoubtedly be amended. If consistently with the main scope and object of the measure, the elective franchise can be conferred upon a still greater number of persons than had been at first contemplated, let that too be done. If it should happen that, from local circumstances, the number of voters would be rather diminished than enlarged, by the operation of the principle laid down in the Bill, let special clauses exempt them from it, and let provision be made, at all events, for securing a popular constituency in all such places. Nay, we would even see without regret, a larger addition made to the number of members for Ireland and Scotland, and some arrangement effected, whereby the boroughs in either country, which do not contain a population of two thousand souls, should be enlarged by contributory towns within fifteen miles distance around them. These changes, instead of infringing the principle of the measure, would on the contrary rather strengthen and im
After what has occurred, there can be no apprehension for the fate of the Bill in the House of Commons. It has been calculated upon the safest data, and speaking within bounds, that there will be, at the least, a majority of one hundred and twenty-five in its favour, in that branch of the legislature. This majority will be quite sufficient to secure its success there, and is, perhaps, as much as we can hope for, seeing that the rotten-borough system has in itself a corps of interested auxiliaries, amounting to upwards of two hundred. But what will become of the Bill in the House of Lords? This is the question which every body is now putting to himself, and to his friends ; a question upon the solution of which depend the destinies of this nation, its tranquillity at home, its power and influence in all parts of the world, and the whole wonderful fabric of its wealth and commerce. The very able pamphlet before us, which evidently proceeds from a person in authority, to whose name we will not venture more particularly to allude, would lead us to believe, that difficulties of no ordinary importance will, at least for a season, prevent this question from being answered in a satisfactory manner. The writer, indeed, anticipates much more of opposition to the popular wishes in that quarter, than we had been at all prepared for.
When Sir Joseph Jekyll died, he left his fortune to pay the national debt. “ Sir,” said Lord Mansfield, to one of his relations, “Sir Joseph was a good man and a good lawyer, but his bequest is a very foolish one -he might as well have attempted to stop the middle arch of Blackfriars Bridge with his full-bottomed wig !" So say we, to these opponents of reform—and we particularly beg the attention of Lord Mansfield's descendant to the apophthegm of his ancestor. The House of Lords can no more stop the success of Reform, than Sir Joseph Jekyll's bequest could pay the national debt, or his wig impede the current of the river Thames. Many of the persons we are now addressing are, doubtless, like Sir Joseph,
good men; and some of them, like him, may be good lawyers—but their conduct, like his bequest, is exceedingly foolish. Nay, it is worse than foolish, it is dangerous in the extreme. It is, doubtless, impossible for the House of Lords to stem the tide of reform-but, in attempting to do it, the rash act may endanger their own safety, and, with theirs, that of all of us, who are, to a certain degree, in the same boat with them. The opposition of the Lords must be powerless for any good purpose, but it may be yet pregnant with evil. Their continued resistance to the measure, so ardently desired by the people, may cause convulsions in this now happy land-nay, eren civil war. And, if this, unhappily, should be the case, it will be but poor consolation to those who are fellow-sufferers in the anarchy and confusion that would be thus produced, that the immediate authors of it would be, as is certain to be the case, its first victims.
• If the Tory Lords had any chance of being able, by their opposition to it, to prevent the progress of reform, we should not be surprised, with the view they take of that question, at their exerting themselves strenuously against it. But is this the case? We will put it to the understanding of any one of them, whether there is even a possibility of their resisting, successfully, the current of public opinion, which now sets so strongly one way. Is there any instance in history of their ever having been able to do so, under similar circumstances? It is true, they rejected the Catholic question, till Ireland was all but in open rebellion-but then the King, and the great body of the people of England were with them; now all are united on the other side : and great is their danger who resist the united will of a great nation.
• If, therefore, it is clear, that the Lords cannot prevent the success of Reform, will they, for the imaginary pleasure of preserving their political consistency, endanger the peace of the country, the security of the throne, and the stability of their own order? These are the fearful consummations which their anti-reforming zeal, upon the present occasion, may bring upon themselves and upon all--and that without the slightest hope, on the other hand, of their obtaining the object they have in view.
When the burst of popular indignation in France swept away, during the revolution, the nobility of that country, one of the principal causes which led to this catastrophe, was the feudal intrenchment of separate privileges and separate interests, which divided the higher orders from the great body of the nation. Hence, these two parts of the body-politic had nothing in cominon-each viewed the other with suspicion and dislike; and thus, when the current of events gave the power into the hands of the people, they wreaked their vengeance upon those whom they considered as their enemies. We ought to be thankful that such a state of things does not exist in England. Here, the nobility have, for the most part, as plebeian an origin as the people; and, though they are placed at their head, they enjoy no exclusive privileges which are onerous to the rest of the community. Hence, the feeling between them and their fellow-countrymen is of a friendly kind, and one that is caused and fostered by the communication of mutual benefits. There is but one thing which could sever this union; and that would be, if the House of Lords were obstinately to oppose, upon any one great question, the deliberate wishes of the rest of the nation. This would be sure to engender suspicion against them—to make the people think that their interests, and those of the nobility, must be
different; and, if such an opinion once gained ground, we fear the tenure of the Lords, as a branch of the legislature, would be but an insecure one. We say, we fear, because we are well convinced that the best interests of this country are involved in their retaining that power and that station in the government of the state, which at present belongs to them.-pp. 8-11.
To this conviction we also most sincerely subscribe. If it ever happen that the powers of the legislature shall be exclusively confined to the King and the House of Commons, the monarchy may, from that day, count upon its annihilation as a part of the constitution of this country. The consequences would be, that the Commons would absorb all the power of the State; that laws would be passed without sufficient consideration upon the mere impulse of the moment, and that the kingdom would be changed into, not a republic, but a tyranny, which would be of the most oppressive nature. We are fully of opinion that it would be impossible for a highly civilized and active community, to enjoy a larger share of practical freedom than we are likely to attain, under a Parliament reformed to the extent which the Bill proposes; and that any excess beyond that will not be liberty, but violence and licentiousness. If the Bill be quietly adopted by the Lords, all will go on well; they are secure in the possession of their privileges, their property, and their station in the constitutional system ; but, if they be mad enough to throw out the Bill, then every thing is at hazard—the aristocracy, the monarchy, the democracy itself, in its legal sense.Confusion, bankruptcy, ruin, await all ihe interests in the nation. This is not declamation; we are uttering our deliberate and most serious sentiments; the momentous importance of the destinies now at stake, for good or for evil to our country, would forbid exagge. ration at such a time, and upon such an occasion. If the Lords be truly anxious to discharge, faithfully and rightly, the duty which they owe to themselves, and to the nation of which they constitute so distinguished a part, they will hasten to profit by the friendly advice, for most friendly it is, which this writer offers for their consideration.
The author very ably combats the idea that reform is a novelty, a plant of yesterday's growth, which it might be safe carelessly to prune, or wholly to pluck up. It has been in the ground some fifty years or more; originally a mere mustard seed, it is now, like the seed in the Scripture, grown up into a large tree, and multitudes have gathered together beneath its luxuriant shade. The folly of those who thought that they could keep it for ever in the earth, without the power to lift itself above them, has been demonstrated by the experience of the last six months; the conduct of those persons, in withstanding all concession, has served, more than any other circumstance, to make concession more necessary, and much more extensive, than they had, even in their worst fears, anticipated.
The author, after commenting in forcible terms upon the conduct
of the University of Cambridge during the late contest, and especially upon the ominous votes given in favour of the anti-reformers by a great majority of the clergy, points out the dangers which await the Church, should the Bishops in Parliament sanction and follow up the short-sighted policy of the subordinate members of the hierarchy. He next exposes, with peculiar astuteness and felicity, the 'subtle arts of opposition,' to which, he thinks, the factious nobles will have recourse, such as throwing out the Chancellor's law reforms, and all the minor measures brought forward by Government, in order, through such indirect and unworthy means, to undermine the progress of the Bill, before it reaches their House. He shews, in an unanswerable train of reasoning, that the Bill, instead of removing the land-marks of the constitution, as some of the enemy have contended, on the contrary, cleanses them from the rubbish which has too long encrusted them, and which has, for many years, kept out of sight the true and original boundaries. The author winds up his argument with a hint to the Lords, which, we trust, may not be lost upon them.
• Putting aside however, for the moment, the consideration of the consequences that may result from the successful opposition of the Lords to the Reform Bill, as regards the country, let us merely consider in what a position they would find themselves, with reference to the other House of Parliament, by pursuing such a line of conduct. It is now quite certain, that the House of Commons, which has just been chosen, is a reforming one in the most decided sense of that word. The members of it have been selected by the people, wherever the voice of that people has any weight in the Elections, for the sole purpose of supporting the Reform Bill. Their duty, therefore, to their constituents, is to use every means which
may be legally within their power, to enable that Bill to pass into a law. Now, under these circumstances, if the Lords negative the Bill, it is quite obvious that the natural course which the Commons have to pursue, is to stop the public business, and refuse the supplies. Here, then, the Lords are at a dead lock—what are they to do?
We will suppose, for argument's sake, that they succeed in turning out the present government-or in disgusting them so, that they throw up their offices.-In come the feebles again—and if, under these perilous circumstances, the feebles dare to accept office, they have but one step to take, namely, to dissolve Parliament. We ask any calm and unprejudiced observer, what would be the result of such a proceeding? It is obvious it must be the returning of a House of Commons twice as reforming, and ten times as radical as the present. For if the country is, to a man, for Reform now, what will it be when irritated by further opposition-by the turning out of those ministers who had promised them the boon they so anxiously desire, and by the coming back of the rule of the feebles, which they so much abhor. Thus, then, the last state of the House of Lords would be worse than the first—they would find themselves equally without supplies, and without the means of carrying on the business of the country—and in a state of exasperated hostility with the people and their representatives.
“The present House of Commons is not likely to wish to injure, or trench upon, the privileges of the other House of Parliament; but this would VOL. II. (1831.) No. II.
probably not be the case with one summoned under the circumstances which we have imagined. In such a case, the war between the two Houses would be internecine; and if this were once commenced, it is not difficult to see which party would be victorious, especially where the one would be backed by the whole power of the people, and the other would have become suspected by it.
In the time of the civil war in England, we find it stated, that, in the year 1646, “ The majorities of the House of Lords and Commons differed from each other upon almost every political topic; and it was only by the reluctant and ungracious yielding of the former, that public business was at all enabled to proceed."
• What was the consequence? We turn to another page of the same history, and we find, that, “On the 6th of February, 1649, it was voted, that the House of Peers in Parliament is useless, dangerous, and ought to be abolished.'”+ The misery and disturbances which followed these dissentions in the different branches of the Legislature are well known to all. Then came the iron rule of Cromwell—the merciless restorationthe tyranny and folly of the Stuart brothers—nor was England destined to enjoy tranquillity or happiness, till the period of the revolution at length gave her a constitution which had the support of the people as well as of the court.'—pp. 28-30.
At the same time that we cordially unite with the author of this clever brochure, in urging the Lords to consider well what they are about to do with respect to the Reform Bill, we must express our confident hope that they will act in the true spirit of Englishmen, and consult not their own individual interests on this occasion, but the interests of the country at large. We owe to the Barons of England, the Great Charter; we owe to them its preservation and observance during more than one stormy reign; we partly owe to one of their body, the rise of the House of Commons itself, and chiefly to them are we indebted for all the grand outlines of the revolution. The Peerage of England stands the first among the aristocracies of the world—at least it has hitherto occupied that position, from which it can only be cast down by its own folly, in resisting the spirit of the age, and the just wishes of the people.
Art. XII.-Substance of several the taste for music is at present
courses of Lectures on Music, more generally spread, and infinitely read in the University of Oxford, more refined, in this country, than it and in the Metropolis. By William had been at any former period, yet Crotch, Mus. Dr. &c., 8vo. pp. the art itself has been constantly on 175. London: 1831.
the decline. The witty earnestness It seems a paradox, and yet it is
with which Addison assailed the perfectly true to assert, that although Italian opera, upon its introduction