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a new subject, and set forth some fresh cause of grievance. But such is not his mode of writing pamphlets; having, as he intimates, proved his point beyond contradiction, he sturdily proceeds to prove it again, and starts once more with the subject which he had just wound up; for his conclusions are not at all symptomatic
of the end.
Before, however, he sets out on this second crusade in quest of an object, which just before he assured us that he had already attained, the old stumbling-block of offence meets him at the threshold, and the legends of the Whigs and Tories are again unravelled. How much good writing would this gentleman have spared himself and the public, if he had explained in one short sentence, as he might easily have done, the sum of his reasons for imputing political inconsistency to Mr. Canning. If he had employed a man to walk up and down Piccadilly with a placard on his back, and these words in flaming capitals-" Hear, O Israel ; Mr. Canning is neither a Whig nor a Tory"-we will venture to tell him, that all the knowlege contained in his pamphlet of sixty-five pages would have been gained, and much more generally diffused.
Whig or no Whig, Tory or no Tory, being the chorus of every verse, the same answer is in fact applicable to each part of the charge of inconsistency: the whole of it being neither more nor less than what we have already stated it; viz. that Mr. Canning is not an uncompromising partisan of either of those antiquated factions. For the sake of perspicuity, however, we will take another branch of the accusation apart, and endeavor very shortly to answer it by itself we allude to that part which regards the system of free trade.
And here we beg leave to say, that the task which we have undertaken, is simply to answer the pamphlet before us. Where the author contents himself, as he generally does, with a mere assertion, sometimes conveyed in an affirmative, sometimes in an interrogatory shape, we shall adopt a similar line of moderation; and where our opinion differs from his, shall meet it by an assertion the other way. Not that we are unprepared to do what he has not done, viz. to discuss the expediency of Mr. Canning's policy on the free trade system, and those other questions which our author has connected with it; but that we consider it no part of our duty at present to do more than repel the imputations which he has brought forward, and to measure our defence by the limits of his accusation. Applying ourselves, therefore, to those interrogatories which are put forth with no small pomp and circumstance, we shall take them in the order in which they stand.
With regard, then, to the first; we distinctly deny that Mr. Canning ever recognised the principle of Negro Emancipation,
except in conjunction with what every man of sound and liberal principles must consider a fair and adequate compensation, and we' challenge the accuser to the proof.
Secondly. We hesitate not to declare our firm conviction, that the principles of political economy which Mr. Canning has adopted (with a caution indeed by no means keeping pace with the zeal of the economists) and practically applied, redound most highly to his fame as a statesman, and will, in their operation, confer incalculable benefits upon this country,
Thirdly. Denying in toto the whole doctrine of the tampering with the currency, and the over-issues of the Bank, we refer the evils complained of to other causes, over which the Ministry had no control.
"Now let us ask," says our author, at page 28, "how all this tends to prove the consistency of Mr. Canning?"
"Now let us ask," we say in our turn, "how any part of it tends to prove his inconsistency?"
And, first, we will endeavor to define (although we suspect. that definitions are not much to the taste of this gentleman) what are his ideas of consistency; after which, we will explain our own. According to him, consistency in a public man is, the steady pursuit of a line of politics marked out in early life, and never deviated from, whatever new lights may arise, or however circumstances may alter.-According to us, consistency in a public man is in like manner the steady pursuit of a line of politics marked out from the first, but subject to such modifications as the progress of science, or the alterations of circumstances, may render expedient.
For this reason we do not join in the popular clamor which ascribes inconsistency to Mr. Pitt, because setting out as a strenuous supporter of reform in Parliament, he afterwards, when in power, opposed that measure; since we hold every man justified in varying his opinions according to the varying form of time and
But our author's notions of Mr. Canning's consistency admit of a very short definition: he is consistent, as long as he follows the footsteps of Mr. Pitt, and inconsistent when he deviates from them; and a quotation is introduced from a speech made by Mr. Canning at Liverpool in 1812, in order to prove that he stands pledged to the line of conduct which the Protestant Tory approves. The passage runs thus: "He inherited Mr. Pitt's principles, and would always adhere to his opinions as the guides of his own public conduct." The author then proceeds, as might be expected, to say, that this pledge has not been redeemed, but that the gradual violation of those opinions have marked Mr. Canning's career. This assertion however he does not, as his mode is, pro
duce any evidence to prove. We have no opinions of Mr. Pitt on any subject quoted on the one hand, or the conflicting ones of Mr. Canning on the other; and must therefore make shift to form as shrewd a judgment on the point before us as we can, from the materials which we have in hand. They undoubtedly instruct us that such a notion does haunt the imagination of a certain respectable Protestant Tory, but all beyond that is veiled in doubt and obscurity.
Granting, however, that Mr. Canning was bound by his professions (cæteris paribus) to pursue the policy of Mr. Pitt, how was he to act when new circumstances arose, such as never fell within the circle of Mr. Pitt's experience? Was he to call on Protestant Tories to aid him in guessing how Mr. Pitt would have acted in such cases? or was he to regulate his actions by the resources of his own mind?
But we feel that our readers, like ourselves, must be weary of this idle talk. Blindly to pursue at this day a line of policy marked out more than twenty years ago, is to reject the benefits of experience, and wilfully to remain stationary when all the world is advancing around us. Mr. Pitt, at one time, advocated reform; at another, he opposed it;-had he lived till now, he might possibly have advocated it again, and we, for our part, should have seen no inconsistency in such conduct, if, again, the varying circumstances of this country had, in his opinion, corresponded with his varying line of policy. If, therefore, Mr. Canning, professing to take the principles of Mr. Pitt as his guide, advocates measures now which Mr. Pitt in his day opposed, why is inconsistency to be imputed to him, more than would have been imputed to Mr. Pitt himself under similar circumstances, or than was imputed to him under similar circumstances during his life? Wisely therefore, as eloquently, does Mr. Canning declare of his great master: "That in his brightness he admires him, but ceases to adore him when he suffers an eclipse." Did he do otherwise, he would indeed be an unworthy pupil of that illustrious statesman; for then he would be planted by the side of the high-road of science and improvement which others are pursuing, and hand in hand with the Protestant Tory would dose over the wisdom of our ancestors, instead of benefiting by our own.
Thus we conclude the second part of our inquiry, viz. the political inconsistency of Mr. Canning, and thus we sum it up.
We have divided the charge into two heads:
First. That Mr. Canning joined a Tory administration, although he was imbued with Whig principles.
We have argued, that those rival factions, once so hostile to each other, are now, in the eyes of the nation and of common sense, obsolete; that little but the names remain; that the
opinions of the more moderate and liberal on each side nearly approximate; and that Mr. Canning, by associating with himself some of each party, has acted consistently with his own honor and the interests of the country, by proving that he is guided by principle, and not by party.
Secondly. That Mr. Canning has swerved from the principles of Mr. Pitt, which he professed to take as his guide, by advocating the system of free trade, and other measures, in opposition to Mr. Pitt's policy.
We have stated, in reply, that to pursue implicitly a course of state government marked out twenty years ago, is to reject the advantages of experience, and is alike contrary to the clearest dictates of reason and sound policy; and that Mr. Pitt himself, by advocating Reform at one time and opposing it at another, evinced his sense of the necessity of being guided by circumstances.
We now proceed to offer a few
In making the following general observations, we shall once more turn over the leaves of the pamphlet before us, commenting on such passages as appear to us deserving of notice, and which do not fall under either of the two heads already disposed of. And here we cannot avoid complimenting our author on the consistency, at least, which he has shown in the compilation of his work; one more uniform in all its parts we never remember to have perused. He does not confound us with passages of dazzling brilliancy suddenly starting out from pages of ordinary merit, nor does he offend our taste by an unseemly jumble of the mean with the magnificent-no such thing: the same style (we had almost said of monotonous excellence) pervades the whole, the same clearness of ideas, the same candor. He has shown himself throughout a true English architect, who rejects, with becoming spirit, the meretricious ornaments of the ancient school: no Ionic, no Corinthian, no composite orders for him; the plain British order of lath and plaster is far more congenial to his sound constitutional principles. Of such materials, perishable indeed, but still uniform, he has built up the fabric, which in all its naked simplicity is now before us; and we must acknowlege, that the portico is in strict keeping with the temple.
He sets out with a violent attack on the press. "That the voice of truth," saith he, has been suppressed in this free country at the moment when it ought to have sounded loudest, is unequivocally confirmed by the present state of the public press. Not a paper does aught but re-echo the praises of him whose creature it has become; and the base adulation of those who bow the knee to Baal, is only equalled by their abuse of the high-minded and dis
interested statesmen, who refuse to sanction a faith which they disbelieve, and to burn incense on an altar which they abominate."
Accordingly, in this deplorable state of affairs, the Protestant Tory, with a laudable devotion to the cause of truth, steps forward to wipe away the delusion from the public mind, to chastise the delinquent press, and by means of his little pamphlet, to set every thing once more to rights.
It is needless to say, that we should have passed without notice this most idle imputation of venality to the press, even if Lord Goodriche had not, in his place in Parliament, extinguished, in two sentences, the silly clamor; or even if the author had not, in the next page to the one in which he makes the charge, himself furnished an ample refutation of it. We should have silently treated it as the harmless effusion of an exasperated gentleman, whose reason was obscured by anger, and who was rendered desperate by disappointment and defeat. As, however, he has himself afforded the materials for his own prostration, we will point them out to the notice of our readers.
His object is to stigmatise Mr. Canning, and in his struggles to do so in the most effectual mode, he falls foul of the press. At that name his indignation is diverted into another channel, and it is amusing to see by what conflicting passion he is agitated at this period of his labors; he cannot decide whether Mr. Canning or the press is to be most abused, but being in that respect liberally inclined towards both parties, he bestows his invectives with such indiscriminate profusion, that unfortunately they contradict each other; and whilst the objects of his ire escape unhurt, the shafts recoil on the hand which sent them.
The see-saw, first "Canning," then "the press," will be found to run thus :
What wonder that Mr. Canning should be popular, when he is supported by a press so all-powerful as to be able to suppress voice of truth in this free country."
The press indeed!!! "the bitterest enemy of Mr. Canning could not wish for more, than to see him surrounded, as he now is, by venal newsmongers and parasitical adherents.
"How weak must be a cause which requires contemptible auxiliaries!"
Alas! for the press!!! that engine all-powerful, as we had supposed, and as our author likewise supposed at the second page,