Page images

and take away from them the means of that, within their reach, it is not the less uz fair an ! direct onset, by which the sanguine in both unworthy in itself, nor the less shortsighted hosts imagine they might at once achieve a and ungrateful in the parties who are guilty 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 mu. be no neutrals and no mediators. If there tually reviled Whig party, or to those who act 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 Tories 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 bear. mon sense can doubt, and no man of common ing, as the two hostile parties have actually cardour 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 parley, 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 govern. 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 abuse. by pretending to bewail the obscuration which They would be at cach other's Throats, before the Throne had suffered from the usurpations the end of the year! or, if there was any comof 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 vir. roughmongers, -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 10 require this eager to misrepresent.

strange alliance to make head against them, Now, though all this may be natural enough and to force their opponents to intermit all in exasperated disputants, who are apt to other contests, and expenc on them exclu wreak 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 ad. We 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 late 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 prososed 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 this 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 this 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 attorneys, 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, to

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- 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: and certain, not only that their position must at all the Whigs, during the same period, must contimes be the safest and best, but that it is des- tent themselves with preventing a great dea] 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 in perfectly effected, by hand; and that it is the feeling of the con- those who will take the credit of originating 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, nor 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 the 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 occaare 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 thei. 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 beour 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 beThat is the difference of our theories. In cause the measures which they might occapractice, 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 have 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 allong 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.


(May, 1820.) In Appeal from the Judgments of Great Britain respecting the United States of America. Part First. Containing an Historical Outline of their Merits and Wrongs as Colonies, and Strictures on the Calumnies of British Writers. By ROBERT WALSH, Esq. 8vo. pp. 505 Philadelphia and London: 1819.*

ONE great staple of this book is a vehe- , deed, on the score of this author's imputament, and, we really think, a singularly un- tions, or had any desire to lessen the just effect just attack, on the principles of this Journal. of his representations, it would have been Yet we take part, on the whole, with the au- enough for us, we believe, to have let them thor:—and heartily wish him success in the alone. For, without some such help as ours, great object of vindicating his country from the work really does not seem calculated to unmerited aspersions, and trying to make us, make any great impression in this quarter of in England, ashamed of the vices and defects the world. It is not only, as the author has which he has taken the trouble to point out in himself ingenuously observed of it, a very our national character and institutions. In this clumsy book,” heavily written and abominapart of the design we cordially concur—and bly printed,—but the only material part of it shall at all times be glad to co-operate. But -the only part about which anybody can now there is another part of it, and we are sorry to be supposed to care much, either here or in say a principal and avowed part, of which we America — is overlaid and buried under a cannot speak in terms of 190 strong regret and huge mass of historical compilation, which reprobation--and that is, a design to excite would have little chance of attracting readers and propagate among his countrymen, a gene at the present moment, even if much better ral animosity to the British name, by way of digested than it is in the volume before us. counteracting, or rather revenging, the ani- The substantial question is, what has been mosity which he very erroneously supposes the true character and condition of the United to be generally entertained by the English States since they became an independent naagainst them.

tion,—and what is likely to be their condition That this is, in itself, and under any circum- in future? And to elucidate this question, stances, an unworthy, an unwise, and even a the learned author has thought fit to premise criminal object, we think we could demon- about two hundred very close-printed pages, strate to the satisfaction of Mr. Walsh him- upon their merits as colonies, and the harsh self, and all his reasonable adherents ; but it treatment they then received from the mother is better, perhaps, to endeavour, in the first country! Of this large historical sketch, we place, to correct the misapprehensions, and cannot say, either that it is very correctly dispel the delusions in which this disposition drawn, or very faithfully coloured. It prehas its foundation, and, at all events, to set sents us with no connected narrative, or interthem the example of perfect good humour and esting deduction of events--but is, in truth, a fairness, in a discussion where the parties mere heap of indigested quotations from comperhaps will never be entirely agreed; and mon books, of good and bad authority—inarwhere those who are now to be heard have the tificially cemented together by a loose and strongest conviction of having been injuriously angry commentary. We are not aware, in. misrepresenteil. If we felt any soreness, in- deed, that there are in this part of the work


any new statements, or any new views • There is no one feeling-having public con- or opinions; the facts being mostly taken cerns for its object-with which I have been so from Chalmers' Annals, and Burke's European long and so deeply impressed, as that of the vast Settlements; and the anthorities for the good importance of our maintaining friendlv, and even conduct and ill treatment of the colonies, cordial relations, with the free, powerful, moral, and industrious States of America :-a convivion upon

being chiefly the Parliame: tary Debates and which I cannot help thinking that not only our own Brongham's Colonial Policy. freedom and prosperity, but that of the better part But, in good truth, these historica. recollec. of the world. will ultimately be found to be more tions will go but a little way in determining and more dependent. I give the first place, there that great practical and most important quesfore, in this concluding division of the work. to an tion, which it is Mr. W.’s intention, as well earnest and somewhat imporiunate exhortation to this effect—which I believe produced some impres- as ours, to discuss-What are, and what ought sion at the time, and I trust may still help forward to be, the dispositions of England and Amerie he good end to which it was directed.

ca towards each other? And the general facts


as to the first settlements and colonial history, ter the general feeling, and to keep alive the of !he latter, in so far as they bear upon this memory of animosities that ought not to have question, really do not admit of much dispute. been so long remembered. At last came peace, The most important of those settlements were —and the spirit, we verily believe, but unforunquestionably founded by the friends of civil tunately not the prosperity of peace; and the and religious liberty-who, though somewhat distresses and commercial embarrassments of precise and puritanical, and we must add, not both countries threw both into bad humour; à little intolerant, were, in the main, a sturdy and unfortunately hurried both into a system and sagacious race of people, not readily to of jealous and illiberal policy, by which that be cajoled out of the blessings they had sought bad humour was aggravated, and received an through so many sacrifices; and ready at all unfortunate direction. times manfully and resolutely to assert them In this exasperated state of the national against all invaders. As to the mother coun. temper, and we do think, too much under its try, again, without claiming for her any ro- influence, Mr. Walsh has now thought himmantic tenderness or generosity towards those self called upon to vindicate his country from hardy offsets, we think we may say, that she the aspersions of English writers; and after oppressed and domineered over them much arraigning them, generally, of the most inless than any other modern nation has done credible ignorance, and atrocious malignity; over any such settlements—that she allowed he proceeds to state, that the EDINBURGH and them, for the most part, liberal charters and QUARTERLY Reviews, in particular, have been constitutions, and was kind enough to leave incessantly labouring to traduce the character them very much to themselves;—and although of America, and have lately broken out into she did manifest, now and then, a disposition such "excesses of obloquy,' as can no longer to encroach on their privileges, their rights be endured; and, in particular, that the pros. were, on the whole, very tolerably respected pect of a large emigration to the United States so that they grew up undoubtedly to a state has thrown us all into such “ paroxysms of of much prosperity and a familiarity with spite and jealousy,” that we have engaged in freedom in all its divisions, which was not a scheme of systematic defamation that sets only without parallel in any similar establish- truth and consistency alike at defiance. To ment, but probably would not have been at- counteract this nefarious scheme, Mr. W. has tained had they been earlier left to their own taken the field—not so much to refute as to guidance and protection. This is all that we retort--not for the purpose of pointing out our ask for England, on a review of her colonial errors, or exposing our unfairness, but, rather, policy, and her conduct before the war; and if we understand him aright, of retaliating on this, we think, no candid and well-informed us the unjust abuse we have been so long pourperson can reasonably refuse her.

ing on others. In his preface, accordingly, he As to the War itself, the motives in which fairly avows it to be his intention to act on the it originated, and the spirit in which it was offensive—to carry the war into the enemy's carried on, it cannot now be necessary to say quarters, and to make reprisals upon the honany thing—or, at least, when we say that hav- our and character of England, in revenge for ing once been begun, we think that it termi- | the insults which, he will have it, her writers nated as the friends of Justice and Liberty have heaped on his country. Ke therefore must have wished it to terminate, we con- proposes to point out, -not the natural comceive that Mr. Walsh can require no other plexion, or genuine features, but “ the sores explanation. That this result, however, should and blotches of the British nation," to the have left a soreness upon both sides, and scorn and detestation of his countrymen; and especially on that which had not been soothed having assumed, that it is the intention of by success, is what all men must have ex- Great Britain to educate her youth in sentipected. But, upon the whole, we firmly be- ments of the most rancorous hostility to Amerlive that this was far slighter and less durable ica," he assures us, that this design will, and than has generally been imagined; and was must be met with corresponding sentiments. on likely very speedily to have been entirely ef- his side of the water! faced, by those ancient recollections of kind- Now, though we cannot applaud the gen. ness and kindred which could not fail to recur, erosity, or even the common humanity of and by that still more powerful feeling, to these sentiments—though we think that the which every day was likely to add strength, American government and people, if at all of their common interests, as free and as com- deserving of the eulogy which Mr. W. has mercial countries, and of the substantial con- here bestowed upon them, might, like Cromformity of their national character, and of well, have felt themselves too strong to care their sentiments upon most topics of public about paper shot—and though we cannot bot and of private right. The healing operation, feel that a more temperate and candid tone however, of these causes was unfortunately would have carried more weignit, as well as thwarted and retarded by the heats that rose more magnanimity with it, we must yet begin out of the French revolution, and the new in- by admitting, that America has cause of comterests and new relations which it appeared plaint;—and that nothing can be more despifor a time to create :-And the hostilities in cable and disgusting, than the scurrility with which we were at last involved with America which she has been assailed by a portion of herself—though the opinions of her people, as the press of this country—and that, disgrace. well as our own, were deeply divided upon ful as these publications are, they speak the both questions—served still further to embit- I sense, if not of a considerable, at least of a

« PreviousContinue »