Зображення сторінки

conceals weaknesses is disarmed by the certainty of a woman's sympathy. The instinctive dread of incurring the ridicule of affectation or sentimentality often drives men into contrary extremes, and hides, under the garb of rudeness, irony, or persiflage, those gentler emotions, that real earnestness, that seri. ousness which are unbosomed to a woman, who hails with approving smiles their existence and expression. Again, a woman's love for detail, her patience in listening, encourages the fullest unburdening of the pent-up soul. She is riveted with breathless curiosity in the exposure of the secret springs, the, to her, mysterious processes, by which the stronger sex is influenced. All these exhibitions are anticipated and discounted by men ere detailed, and if continued, are listened to with cold. ness and ennui. But women submit readily to be bored by clever men, and, since the days of Omphale, are well pleased to see the lords of the creation prostrate or spinning (even long yarns) at their feet; and men fly in moments of sorrow to their soothing ministry; they rely on the tenderness of touch, the delicacy with which the balm will be poured into the festering wound. They trust to woman's tact, to her felicity in saying the little word at the right time. The man is off his guard, and betrays the secret of his strength or weakness: no glance of the eye, no curl of the lip, no remark shot unawares from the secret quiver of his heart escapes a woman, which in the generalising, careless commerce of man with man would be overlooked; hence, we suspect, the superior insight into character* which such a woman as Mrs. Dugald Stewart must necessarily have obtained and hence the secret of her paramount influence over those who approached her, and particularly over a inan constituted as her young friend was.

On leaving Scotland, Mr. Ward entered into parliament. All his early opinions tended to the right way in politics. His maxim was, · Fear God and honour the king. His ample fortune secured him from the 'urgens necessitas et evidens utilitas,' which has passed from the Institutes of Coke into the portfolios of mercenary ministers. He was independent in every sense ; bound, in his own words, by í no ties of hope or personal interest.' Under the pressure of motives which, however misinterpreted by contemporary spleen, posterity will never question, he twice in the course of his life appeared, to a certain extent, as the ally of

* Lord Dudley, in his review on Miss Edgeworth's PATRONAGE, neatly and justly alludes to 'her intuitive judgment of character; one of those delicate and rapid operations of the mind, which is seldom analysed even by those who perform it with the most ease and rapidity, the result of practised acuteness, by which we are enabled to catch as they arise all the fine evanescent indications of habit or passion, and to deduce from them instant and certain conclusions.'-Quart. Rev. X. p. 310.


the Whigs; but he ended, as he began, and as we believe he always was at heart, and as to all points of real consequence in domestic politics—but one--a Conservative.

He remained for some years a silent listener to the giants of those days, whose power made him distrust himself, and tremble at the unequal contest. He delighted in private to respeak the speeches of Pitt, which he imitated with singular accuracy of manner as well as language. He was first urged to speak for himself by a friend of his, whom we are also proud to call ours, by whom the success of Lord Lansdowne (then Lord Henry Petty) was held up as an encouragement; his sad reply revealed the secret of his past and subsequent reluctance :Do you not reflect that Lord Henry has had the very best, and that I have had the very worst of educations?' The advice, however, fortunately prevailed ; after nearly five years' apprenticeship, he began to take part in debate, speaking seldom, but never except to the purpose and with great effect, while his manner, remarkably free from all browbeating, overbearing tone, conciliated by the respect and deference with which he addressed them, an audience the most difficult and most fastidious that has ever been got together.

Mr. Ward soon formed an ardent friendship for the brilliant and generous Canning; in literature, and to a considerable extent in politics, he seems to have made him his master and model. Mr. Canning, born, as it were, witty and eloquent, while yet a schoolboy had combined poetry with criticism-had astonished Eton and Oxford with verses, serious and comic, English and Latin-and had also commenced reviewing, that “most prosaic of tasks, according to Mr. Thomas Moore,* himself a poet and first-rate reviewer of poetasters. Canning, patronised in his dawn by Sheridan and the Whigs, was, however, first placed in Parliament by Pitt, who saw the power of his talents without being blind to the defects of his character. He kept him in subordinate situations. • Alas !' said he, if that man would but go straight to his purpose, he might become truly great.' Men,' observed Lord Dudley, in 1822, quoting Voltaire, 'succeed less by their talents than their character: Castlereagh and Canning are remarkable instances of this maxim.' (Letter 64.) Canning, generous as he was in the main, displeased all parties by a certain intriguing turn; hence the bitter illdisguised hostility of the Whigs, the gloomy silence, the ill-concealed mortification of some of the second-rate Tory people in office.' (Letter 29.) The followers of Pitt suspected and feared,

* Art. on Lord Thurlow's Poems, Edinburgh Review, vol. xxiii. p. 411.

while those of Fox proudly scorned him. The more moderate and more hungry of each faction rallied under this banner of the

juste milieu. Brookes's followed Brougham when Lord Grey stood • aloof. This half-and-half coalition could not stand in troubled

times, when antagonist principles were arrayed in fierce collision. • He that is not with me is against me.' Of course the most reckless, violent, and aggressive party prevailed. Canning was forced to become a liberal, to use the word in its present degraded signification. He hoped to be able to let loose the Æolus of revolution in the new world, and to chain the demon in the old ; to ride the tempest, and regulate the hurricane. He fondly dreamed of conciliating those who are not to be conciliated, forgetting friends, and forgiving enemies. He began the dangerous game of emancipations and concessions, which were received as weaknesses, which they always are; the enemy was let into the citadel; the system of surrender began; and down to the bottom of the pit must it roll, like the stone of Sisyphus, ever increasing in velocity and destructiveness. But Mr. Canning was sound at heart; passion may have for the moment led him to tamper with dangerous men and doctrines and measures; but had he lived, he would soon have seen through them and his own error; and we sincerely believe that the loss of him at the time when he was taken from us was the greatest personal loss, save one, that could have befallen England and the world.

Lord Dudley, like his master, was a reformer abroad, a conservative at home. He was frightened at his own noise, when the hollow echo rebounded across the narrow channel. He feared the 'going too far,' the dangerous experiment of "rumfordising an old monarchy.' He saw truly that our once revered constitution, in church and state, although possibly defective in theory, worked well. He appealed to that result as the surest test, to a century of increased wealth, happiness, and population at home; of power, respect, and victory, abroad; from La Hogue to Trafalgar, from Blenheim to Waterloo. At home he was not to be misled by fine speeches : he knew the ease with which philanthropical democrats combine the theory of liberty with practical despotism and contempt of the laws of humanity. He sickened at the cant which prates about mercy and justice while knee-deep in blood and confiscation. He saw the vicious circle into which French (no) principles would plunge the world, -revolution, anarchy, terror, and its euthanasia, despotism.

He was inconsistent in his condemnation of systems of government in other countries, to which, with a generous but mistaken love of freedom, he was anxious to see our better but peculiar institutions extended : he was inconsistent even in his condemna

tion of what he calls Austrian* and Italian despotism. You know what sort of a government they have here (in Austria]: a lazy, stupid, and stupifying despotism' (Letter 35)—by the fruits shall ye know them.'—Turn to the next letter! · Crime seems scarce among them! and I must do Germany the justice to say that it appears to me of all the countries I have been in, that in which there is the most tranquil and inoffensive enjoyment of life.' (Letter 36.) The fact is, he evidently entertained a personal dislike towards Metternich, who had on some occasion been inattentive to him (doubtless from not knowing who a Mr. Ward was). This gave a taint, a jaundiced character, to all his notions concerning · Austrian barbarians. His language must be discounted when carried to these lengths. • Poor Napoleon! if it were not for our particular sake, I should begin to wish him back again. At any rate he was a great man ; but it is quite intolerable to see the greatest part of Europe bullied by a drawing-room coxcomb like Metternich' (Letter 29). And on what occasion is this extravagant anti-Trollopism called forth? The interference with the lazzaroni revolution; that caricature of a constitution; that tadpolepuddle in a storm!

We may observe that he was influenced in the same manner by his private feelings, in his strong condemnation of certain colleges, individuals, and systems of education, at Oxford. He was singularly sore on the defects of his own education, and included in one sweeping diatribe every part and parcel with which he had been mixed up himself. So many and such great beneficial changes have since taken place at Oxford—reforms, not forced by ignorant pressure from without, but calmly considered, deliberated, and carried out by grave and competent persons within--that we could have wished those charges omitted which are now unfounded, those comparisons which are odious, those reflections which must give pain. But to return.

Lord Dudley, in his parliamentary speaking, confined himself principally to four topics,—the Roman Catholic question, the Greek cause, slave emancipation, and parliamentary reform. These four experiments, these four concessions, have now been made, and, even in the admission of their most honest or dishonest advocates, have all alike proved signal, lamentable, undeniable failures. None of the benefits anticipated by mistaken good intentions have been realised; while every evil wished for by knaves and foreseen by the wise, has been painfully verified. The wild rashness of fanaticism has made the emancipation of the slaves equivalent to the loss of half our West Indian islands, and yet

* He spoke strongly against the Austrian loan, June 22, 1821.--Hans. vol. xlvi. p. 1282.


put back the chance of Negro civilization. The reform bill, as Sir R. Peel predicted, already exists only by the protection of its former opponents, against the parricidal attacks of its guilty and unnatural authors.

In this mischief, at least, Lord Dudley had no hand. Every proposition of that sort found him 'anxious to place his opposition on record.' He resisted the little wedge' of revolution in every insidious disguise, by which the breach was to be made in the constitution for the banditti to rush in. He had learnt what Whiggism he ever had about him under •Fox, than whom there has seldom existed a more hearty anti-reformer' (Letter 58)— · Fox, whose reform,' says Lord Brougham, would have gone into a mighty narrow compass.' He had studied under those Whigs who coldly supported Mr. Pitt's reform, which was carried out (until Pitt would not have known it), and carried at last by recreants, by Lords Melbourne, Palmerston, and Glenelg, who had spent all their life in opposing it;- Reformers, as they have been lucky enough to get themselves called, thereby begging the whole matter in dispute' (Letter 48);—' Qui, ut imperium evertant, libertatem proferunt; si perverterint, libertatem ipsam adgredientur.

The eloquence and arguments of Lord Dudley, were, as he felt, too fine;' they were Greek to the oi monoi. They addressed the sense, while unscrupulous demagogues took the nonsense of the people by appealing to their bellies; the whole bill' must make bread cheap. The consumers carried it: their whole strain flattered human self-sufficiency; they called into action and concentrated all the restless vanity, all the desperate arrogance, all the rankling discontent, of the scum or dregs of the social system. Their banner collected an innumerable rabble of conceited regenerators. They called from their holes those unclean spirits which vainly will they attempt to lay :-those men, “to whom,' says Burke, “a state of order would become a sentence of obscurity,' were nourished into a dangerous magnitude by the heat of intestine disturbances. Lord Dudley contended that the real secret of discontent was excessive taxation, which these nostrums would never cure; but, alas ! this disease has a morbid tendency to fly from the regular practitioner to the miracle-professing quack.

Our limits will only permit us to refer to Hansard for Lord Dudley's speeches—they bear marks of his own correctionfor instance that (Hans. xxiii. 13) on Mr. Brand's motion, May 8, 1812 (xxxvi. 758); and that on Sir F. Burdett's motion for Parliamentary Reform, May 27, 1817. This speech, in his own words, contains all I have to say upon the matter, or nearly so.' (Lett. 48.) In this very speech he was admirably seconded by


« НазадПродовжити »