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mately come down in price; the corporal and sergeant are sure of double pay; bad poets will expect a demand for their epics; fools will be disappointed, as they always are; reasonable men, who know what to expect, will find that a very serious good has been obtained.'
Much was done for Reform by the Grey ministry, after the passage of the bill. In less than two years, West India slavery was abolished-the East India Company's monopoly destroyed—the poor laws amended—the criminal code softened—the administration of the Courts essentially improved —the Scotch municipal corporations totally reformed-and many abuses corrected in the Irish Church Establishment. But young ladies, bad poets, and fools of all sorts, clamored for more; and many reasonable men were disappointed. The dead weights on advance movements were the Melbournes, the Palmerstons, the Grants, who, having bitterly opposed Reform all their days, were converted at the eleventh hour of the recent struggle, and brought into the Cabinet. The fatal measure of the Administration was an attempt to suppress agitation in Ireland, by a Coercion bill, which excited a quarrel with O'Connell, and divisions in the Cabinet, and finally led to the resignation of Grey. Glad to escape from an uneasy position, Brougham soon followed. Would that he could have got rid of his title, like Mirabeau, by opening a shop, and gone back to the Commons ! But it stuck to him like the tunic of Nessus. Though consigned to perpetual membership in a body possessing no original influence in the State, and hemmed in by the usages of a mere revisional council, he has now and then shown himself “Harry Brougham” still. His speeches in the
ords on Parliamentary, legal, municipal, and poor laws Re form ; on popular education ; abolishing subscription in the universities ; retrenchment; abolition of negro apprenticeship, and the African and Eastern slave trade; Canadian independence ; repeal of the corn laws; and other topics, exhibit no abatement of intellectual power, or, so far as concerns those
subjects, of regard for popular rights and social improvement Indeed, some of them rank among his greatest and best forensic displays. The speech on the education of the people in 1835 contains as much valuable information, and that on negro apprenticeship in 1838, as many eloquent passages, as any he ever delivered.
The conflict with Melbourne in 1837–8, which threw him out of Court and Whig favor, was a matter of course, if not premeditated. In a speech at Liverpool, just after his resignation in 1835, he declared that “his position of absolute political independence” would not be abandoned to join or sustain any Ministry that did not stand by the people, and go for large measures of reform. In 1837–8, on the Canada question, he first assailed the Melbourne Cabinet ; he being for restoring peace to the colony, by granting the petition of its Legislature for an elective council, they for crushing disaffection by a dictator and the sword. His defense of the Canadian reformers was generous, bold, radical, and eloquent; worthy of the times when the young Commoner shook the Tory chiefs from the point of his lance, and fulminated living thunders at the crowned despots of the Holy Alliance. Pointing his long finger at the quailing Melbourne, he said, “Do the Ministers desire to know what will restore me to their support, and make me once more fight zealously in their ranks, as I once fought with them against the majority of your lordships? I will tell them here ! Let them retract their declaration against Reform, delivered the first night of this session ; and their second declaration, by which, to use the noble Viscount's phrase, they exacerbated the first; or let them, without any retraction, only bring forward liberal and constitutional measures, and they will have no more zealous supporter than myself. But, in the mean time, I now hurl my defiance at their heads !")
But, the truth of history requires that another view be taken of these transactions of 1835–8, and a far less eulogistic strain be employed in noticing the course of Lord Brougham for the last ten or twelve years. Early taught to admire him as the gallant leader of English reformers, it is painful to say, that during this period his conduct has been frequently such as to forfeit the esteem and confidence of his friends on both sides of the Atlantic, and to give currency to the charge that his line of action has been caused by chagrin at being left out of the Melbourne ministry, and to strengthen the suspicion that his denunciations of that Administration for faltering in the work of reform were dictated by mortified pride and thwarted ambition. For five or six years subsequent to 1835, he frequently attacked men and principles which he had won all his fame by previously advocating. But, it must not be forgotten, that, though supported by neither party and assailed by both, and set upon by Tory terriers and Whig whipsters, which betrayed him into losses of temper and dignity, it was in these years that he carried through Parliament several valuable reforms; whilst his writings—those records for the perusal of posterity--exhibited no marked change in his regard for liberal institutions.
On the return of the Tories to power, in 1841, he made a still wider departure from his early path. He has since shown much acerbity of temper, given his vote quite as often to the opponents as to the friends of reform, and has succeeded in alienating the affections of many of those who adhered to him during the Melbourne Administration. He has been alternately wayward, sour, vindictive, bold, brilliant, noble citing the contempt and fears of his enemies, and the disgust and admiration of his friends; now cracking a joke on the Duke of Wellington, that set the House in a roar, and then pounding the head of Melbourne till its chambers rang again ; playing off eccentricities on some railway bill for the amusement of Punch, while sending to press a work on Voltaire and Rousseau that astonished Paris ; giving his cheering voice to the repeal of the corn laws, and his growling "non-content"
against the repeal of the navigation laws; making himself ridiculous by trying to force his way into the French National Convention, and being received with loud plaudits as he entered the ball of the French National Institute ; now losing and then winning the favor of the people ; and ever and anon silencing the cry that “his powers were failing,” by pronouncing a speech that startled the walls of St. Stephen's, and made every hilltop and valley in the land echo back the shout, “Brougham is himself again!"
It was a remark of Madame de Stael, that “ Foreigners are a kind of cotemporaneous posterity." Americans may therefore pass an unbiased judgment upon the character of Lord Brougham. When his imperfections are forgotten in the grave, and the mists of prejudice and of party are cleared away, Posterity, which generously throws a vail over the follies and frailties of genius, will not willingly withhold from his tomb the epitaph he coveted in one of his earliest speeches
“ HERE LIES THE DEFENDER OF LIBERTY, THE ADVOCATE OF PEACE, THE FRIEND OF THE PEOPLE !"
CHAPTER X VII.
Charles, Earl Grey-Advocates Abolition of the Slave Trade His
Rise to Power-His Aid in Carrying the Reform Bill-Sydney Smith's Eulogy-His Two Great Measures, Parliamentary Reform and Abolition of Slavery–The Old and New Whigs—The “ Coming Man."
A SKETCH of Modern English Reformers, which should omit special mention of CHARLES, EARL GREY, would be defective. For fifty eventful years, he took an active part in public affairs, and, with scarcely an exception, was found on the liberal side. With a mind cast in a highly polished, but not extraordinarily capacious mold, and in the attributes of originality and genius dwindling by the side of Fox and Brougham, he fully equaled either of these great men in calm sagacity and firmness of purpose. And if his oratory was not of the bold and vigorous type which marked theirs, it was of a high order ; graceful, Aowing, and classical, and set off by a manner always dignified, and in his younger days peculiarly fascinating
Entering Parliament in 1786, when he had just reached majority, he immediately distinguished himself by a speech in opposition to the policy of Mr. Pitt. His rapid rise in the House is attested by the fact, that two years after his entrance, he was thought fit to occupy a place on the committee for the impeachment of Warren Hastings, by the side of Burke, Fox, Wyndham, and Sheridan. The year before, he had given a remarkable exhibition of the firmness and integrity which