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Vernon Smith ; and now you've seen I like to be liberal with my food, but the best of them."
I refuse to eat it with the thin sour Fain would I have inquired as to sauce of Whiggery. I like also, in a the names and parentage of some reasonable way, to be liberal with my likely Whiglings who followed, but drink, but I won't have your Tavismy guide could only exclaim with tock concoctions of sloe-liquor and Pandarus, “ Asses, fools, dolts ! chaff verjuice. Iam liberal in my opinions, and bran, chaff and bran! porridge but I deny that they are those of after meat! Ne'er look, ne'er look; Whiggery. So when I saw, as I the eagles are gone ; crows and daws, then saw, that remarkable combinacrows and daws !” And so that tion of persons, many of whom were splendid cortège vanished from my not considered to be patterns of inview.
tegrity or virtue, against a party Now, why had all these men come whose most eminent representative together in conclave? Whom were was the foremost man in Europe, I they opposing? What enemy of the began to reflect, somewhat seriously, State had marched into the bowels of upon the political aspect of society, the land? What pernicious influ- and the various sections of politicians. ence was at work which required so “First,” said I to myself
, “let me strong a combination to repress it ? ascertain, if possible, with precision, Who was the arch-fiend whom those what this thing Whiggery, really Zephons and Ithuriels sought to is ; how far it has gone, and how far scare away? I was not long left in it proposes to go ; what are its aims ignorance of that. A deep execra- and objects, and how far these may tion from my friend the placeman be intended for and compatible with warned me of the presence of the the public good. When these points evil one. I looked up and saw- are ascertained, I shall be able to reThe Duke of Wellington.
solve a doubt which has just arisen A singular destiny was that of in my mind, as to whether it is the great soldier of the age in con- really possible for a Whig to be a nection with the Whigs. Twice by Liberal.” their machinations as a party was Accordingly I set me down, as dehis career impeded and reputation liberately as a freshman settles to his assailed, and twice he rose in the Euclid, to solve the first problem, universal esteem of the nation above “What is Whiggery?”but, alas ! it their paltry malice. During the has been worse than the pons asinoPeninsular campaign they did all that rum–I can by no means get over it. men could do to thwart him. Their Simple as the question seems, just malignity was silenced at the crown- let any one of your readers try to ing victory of Waterloo. During the answer it satisfactorily to himself, agitation for the Reform Bill they and I will venture to bet a puncheon and their creatures so perverted the of rum that he fails. Try it yourpopular_mind, that the man who self. You ought to know something saved Europe was pelted in the about it, for your Magazine has been streets of London, and the windows a hammer, a scourge, a flail, a knout, of his mansion were shattered by the a cat-o'-nine-tails to the Whigs. They missiles of a brutal mob. Pass a never see it without experiencing quarter of a century, and the heads sympathetic pains in the back and even of the lowest are bowed in sor- ribs; they never hear its name prorow as the veteran is lowered into nounced without uttering a short his grave. O yes, the people may be spasmodic squeal. Yet is there one misled ; they may be perverted and thing wanting in the Magazine, and imposed on-taught to worship false that is a proper, just, and distinct idols, and to put trust in most ex- definition of Whiggery. The origin ceeding knaves, but their instinct is of the word is said to be Scotch, towards true greatness, and nobility" whig” signifying some beastly kind of heart and soul, and deception can- of whey in a partial state of decomnot last for ever.
position ; but that don't help us Sir, I speak as a Liberal, not as a much, except by the insinuation of Whig. I love liberality in all things. bad taste and acrid flavour. Ask
Lord John Russell for a definition, which they do not understand. In and he will begin a wonderful and short, we must look to the sympwearisome discourse about the great toms. These may be discussed under Lord Somers, the acknowledged prin- the next head of inquiry : "How ciples of the British Constitution, far has Whiggery gone, and how far Magna Charta, the Jew Bill, the tra- does it propose to go ?" ditions of great houses, Algernon How far has it gone? A very long Sydney, the Bill of Rights, and the way, you would be inclined to say, Constitutions of Clarendon, until your judging from the jaded looks of its head becomes as bewildered as though professors. But halt you there, my you had lost your way in a fog on master! Are you quite sure that the the Moor of Rannoch. Next call respectable gentlemen are not shaminto court Lord Macaulay, the histo- ming? There is a story told in Holy rian of the party, who ought to be Writ how the men of Gibeon, being able, if any man can do it, to afford terrified by the might and progress us a full explanation, and he will of Joshua, sent certain deputies, commence somewhat as follows, ore feigning to be ambassadors, with rotundo :-"In answering, sir, that patched wine-bottles, mouldy bread, question categorically, which I hum- old shoes, and tattered garments, bly conceive to be the only method of " and they went to Joshua unto the explication suitable for an interroga- camp at Gilgal, and said unto him tory at once so momentous and so and to the men of Israel, We be intricate, I conceive that it is first come from a far country : now therenecessary to advert to those princi- fore make ye a league with us.” Now, ples which dictated the revolution it seems to me that the Whigs are settlement of 1688;"—and there you very much like the men of Gibeon. are thrown back to the commence- They took up Parliamentary reform, ment of his volumes, which you must like everything else, not as a matter read through (and they are not finish- of principle, but as a ready means of ed yet), before you can be brought in- getting possession of power. The to a proper frame of mind to under- party who really prepared the way stand the nature of his profession. for that measure were the Radicals, I have, I own, met with some shorter whom the Whigs used to sneer at and definitions. "What is Whiggery?” decry, and whose views they treated said I once to a bluff Radical, who as visionary. The Whigs, previous has a sincere abhorrence of the sect: to 1830, were doctrinaires, carpers, “Jobbery," was the curt reply. “Jaw critics--but never earnest workmen, and nothing else,” was the answer of However, when they saw that a a second. “Selling British folks change in the system of Parliamento foreigners,” replied a third, who tary representation was imminent, had some kind of interest in the they, following the example of the Vixen ; and more than once I have Gibeonites, made a league with the been assured that “bosh” was the men whom they formerly affected to proper synonyme. For my own part, despise ; and not only that, but they I have been compelled to abandon in had the address to get themselves despair the attempt at any solution put at the head of the movement, and beyond a negative one. But sure to make conquest of the coveted terand certain am I that Whiggery is ritory. Some cities, however (I not Liberalism.
ought to say nomination boroughs), Certainly it is a great discourage- they did not destroy utterly. A few ment to find at the outset of a spe- fortalices, such as Calne, Marlborculative disquisition like this, that ough, and Tavistock, belonged heyou cannot clearly
define the thing reditarily to representatives of the which you are going to discuss. But "great houses," and these were relias there is no help for that, even giously spared'; and the triumphant though we appeal to the collective procession moved on until it halted sapience of the party, the only course at Downing Street. Into the stately which can be pursued is that of the mansions there the Whigs rushed doctors when compelled to investi- with precipitation, taking no further gate a new disease, the nature of notice of the multitude without, than to desire them, from the windows, to never recanted one of the opinions disperse, and go home as quickly as which they then expressed." I repossible, since everything was now member, too, a certain speech which arranged entirely to the Whig satis- won for a certain noble lord the faction,
ludicrous title of "Finality Jack, " Now, I don't say that the Whigs and which, I suppose, he is not now were wrong in moving for Parlia- very anxious to see republished. mentary reform. I think there was That the old Tories of the last genean absolute necessity for reform, and ration did, indeed, commit an error that the Tories committed a great in opposing Parliamentary, reform, error in not having recognised that is, I believe, admitted now by every necessity, and in not having taken man of sense and intelligence. I use the matter into their own hands. the word error, not as signifying a Certainly they have suffered no light blunder in tactics, but a real subpenance for that error; seeing that, stantial mistake. The old system for the last five-and-twenty years, was too narrow, too complicated, too unremitting efforts have been made inconvenient to be longer continued. by the Whig orators and journalists The large increase of the population, to represent them as bigoted ob- the acquired wealth, the extended structives and fanatical enemies of commerce, the new interests which progress. That notion has been pro- had sprung up, and the general difpagated so very sedulously, that even fusion of education, made a change now its effects are visible. I remem- in the representative system absober the time when I considered a lutely necessary; and it was sad Tory, however amiable, wise, bene- folly to suppose that it was possible volent, or gifted he might be, as a for any party to prevent that which kind of moral ogre, or at least as a the great majority of the nation was social oppressor. Í remember also determined to obtain. Reform was when I regarded the stupidest Whig wanted; but the nature of that reas a much better man than the most form was an indefinite idea in the accomplished Tory; and that because minds of most. The Whigs showed I had been told that the Tory creed great astuteness on that occasion. was antagonistic to everything like By securing to themselves the framliberty: And even now the same ing of the bill, they gained a double game is being played. In February advantage. First, they conciliated tast the Whig government went to the popular favour by the show of pieces, not broken by a party blow, taking the initiative ; secondly, they but sbattered by a downright direct were able to adjust the details of the stroke from the fist of the country measure, so as exactly to suit their at large, given with hearty British own party purposes. good-will, because all men, except Certainly they could not have the Whigs and their satellites, felt devised a measure more perfectly that the honour of the nation was not favourable for themselves; the best safe in their peddling hands. What proof of which is their intense refollowed then? Why this—that the suctance to make any further changes. Whig organs began to raise a cry of Had Lord John Russell adhered to alarm at the advent of the_Tory the finality view which he once anparty. Why? O, because the Tories nounced — had he plainly told the are, have been, and ever will be, the Liberals that, although he had no enemies of progress-remember the theoretical objection to a further exReform Bill! I remember it perfect- tension of the franchise, he would ly, or at least I have read the records not consent to frequent changes in of that eventful period; and I find, the representation - I should at least among the advocates of Parliamen- have respected his sincerity. But he tary reform in those days, at least did nothing of the kind. He gave three men who are chiefs in the pre- up the notion of finality, because he sent Cabinet. The Earl of Derby, thought it might make him unpopuMr Disraeli, and Sir E. Bulwer Lyt- lar; and, without communication with ton were all conspicuous reformers; his own party, he announced a new and, so far as I know, they have Reform Bill. There has been a good deal of speculation as to the real cause Whigs, being wise enough when their of the dissension which prevails in own party interests are concerned, the Whig camp; and various reasons were most loth to contemplate a have been assigned for that coldness, change. and even dislike, which many of his What could they hope, by any posold followers have manifested for sibility, to gain through a measure some time back, to Lord John Rus- which should materially increase the sell, contrasting strangely with the electoral rolls? They did not expect devotion which they once displayed. that more Whigs would be returned It has been insinuated that this to the House of Commons. If, inestrangement arose mainly through deed, the wit of man could have rivalry of the chiefs, Tavistock try- devised any scheme likely to promote ing emulously, but in vain, to mea- so desirable an end, they would most sure its stature against that of eagerly have accepted it; but, alas ! Tiverton, and being very sulky in the thing could not be. They knew consequence. The plain matter of full well that they would not be perfact is this, that Lord John Russell mitted to erect supplementary nomilost his influence with his party, on nation boroughs; they even trembled the day when he made that hasty for the existence of those which they and uncautious announcement of a held, if any great and comprehensive new Reform Bill. Either his evil scheme for reforming the representastar was then in the ascendant, or he tion should engross the attention of must have eaten something that dis- the country. In the cities and large agreed with him.
towns, whiggery was put to sore No wonder that the Whigs were straits in maintaining its ground bitterly incensed at this incompre- against Radicalism, and could only hensible conduct on the part of their do so through the operation of the little chief. So long as they could ten-pound franchise. Even that did command a liberal majority under the not always secure them such victories existing system, that system was all as they could have desired. that they could desire ; nay, the best Had Lord John Russell been that their imagination could admit thoroughly convinced of the proof. True, that under that system priety and expediency of making a they never could muster a pure Whig change in the system of our parliamajority--for this simple reason, that mentary representation, he might the Whigs were but a fraction of the have been entitled to some credit for people, and were not peculiarly be- his zeal, though perhaps to little for loved. They were, however, the aris- his discretion, considering the positocrats of Liberalism. All, or almost tion which he then occupied. For it all, of the Liberal peers were steeped is undeniable that there was no call in Whiggery above the eyebrows; throughout the country at large for their nomination boroughs were re- any great measure of reform. Some presented by an adroit band of prac- things undoubtedly there were which tised besiegers of the Treasury ; they were capable of amendment; but had a staff of veterans initiated'in all the people generally were contented the mysteries of office, and unequalled with the franchise as it stood, and for their tenacity of gripe. They agitation in that direction had quite felt thoroughly sure that they could died away. Still, if Lord John not be superseded by the democratic Russell had maturely considered the section of the Liberals. The latter subject (as he was well entitled to were not numerous nor influential do, he having been the nominal enough to stand by themselves—that parent of the Act now in existence, is, to aim at office; besides, they and in some measure being answerwanted cohesion, and were split up able for its deficiencies) - if he into sub-divisions. The grand desi- thought, right or wrong, that the deratum was to perpetuate Whig rule time had arrived for alteration or by means of Liberal majorities; and amendment, I shall not say that he as that seemed secured by the opera- was blamable in giving utterance tion of the franchise on its present to that conviction. But in that case, basis, and to its present extent, the surely his political friends, if not the
public, were entitled to expect that, lad. However, they did what was before so doing, he should have pre- possible to escape from, or at all pared and matured his plan, resolved events postpone, the evil. In the upon its principle, and adjusted its hands of the jaunty Palmerston that details, so far at least as to have been pledge became practically innocuous. ready to obviate any real difficulty It was annually renewed with as which might arise. There is a cer- much precision as the Mutiny Act; tain point beyond which rash an- but the performance of it was postnouncements on the part of a Cabinet poned, owing to the state of foreign Minister become culpable. It is not affairs. I will say this for Palmerenough that he should have the will ston, that a better man for shelving to apply a remedy to any fretted or troublesome questions, on account of disordered part of the body politic, intricate relations with other states, he ought to consider what is the never put pen to a protocol. suitable remedy, before he tells the were actually not in some mess or public that he is about to make the other-(I own that this looks very application. Also, in such cases, it like an impossible hypothesis, Palis convenient that there should be merston being in office)—he could consultations ; for it has happened get up a war or a quarrel in any part ere now that a too confident and of the globe at less than a fortnight's empiric practitioner has clapped on notice, quite serious enough to justify a blister when there was simply oc- the postponement of any disagreeable casion for healing ointment. But business. No wonder Palmerston Lord John, with a jocundity pecu- was a favourite with the Whigs ! liarly his own, despised all counsel ; It was as good as a febrifuge to hear and, what is more and worse, he had him parrying awkward questions, not prepared his plan.
generally with a playful blandness That he had not done so, is evi- which almost conciliated his oppodent from the fact that he after- nents, but sometimes, when really wards, in fulfilment of his pledge, galled, with intemperate ferocity. brought forward two bills for reform No wonder that they backed him up of the representation, which were to the last, called him their own utterly incongruous and irreconcil- dear old Pam, and swore that he able. They were so utterly bad in was worth a dozen of the cankered detail that nobody would look at little gentleman who had landed them; and when the younger bant- them in such difficulties. And if by ling of the two was strangled in the the continuance of war all question House of Commons, the Whigs cor
of home reform could have been dially assisting in the operation, the avoided, small indeed would have bereaved father burst into tears! been the labours of the Whigs so But a pledge of this sort, once given, long as Palmerston was to be found cannot be easily recalled. It was in the Ministry given, be it remarked, not in name Well, the Whigs went out, or rathof Lord John Russell as an indi- er were forced out, in February last, vidual, but in name of his party; ignominiously as some think-in conand as
none of them were bold sequence of a factious combination, enough to repudiate it, or perhaps as they.themselves maintain. Never were prevented by prudential con- grudge them that solace, man! Let siderations from doing so, they have them have the benefit of that excuse, succeeded to what I know they re- for they surely need one, as an unguent gard as an heritage of woe. They to their consciences, for their subsehave punished the offender well; quent scandalous behaviour. It is a they have withdrawn their confi- cruel thing to deprive a malefactor of dence from him; they have ostra- the mitigating plea of provocation, cised him; they have handed bim even though we should be satisfied over to their organs to be pilloried that the plea is based upon a falsity. and pelted : but they could not get They went out, having up to that rid of that pledge, which hung over time given no fulfilment of their them as the curse of Kehama rested pledge ; but we were told, in answer on the head of the agonised Ladur- to some rather pressing inquiries,