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British constitution, however convenient to the Heir, was by no means so agreeable to the Regent. He retained a Tory ministry in office, and the Whigs were naturally driven into more ardent opposition than before. A year or two passed by, and, owing to causes which no legislation could have wholly prevented or removed, a revival of popular discontent, scarcely less alarming than the events of '93 and '94, spread throughout the length and breadth of England. Arms were taken by violence from the gunsmith's shops. Tumultuous meetings of 80,000 or 100,000 men assembled together, with a visible attempt at something like military organization. Treasonable and seditious pamphlets were published and dispersed, and, as has since been admitted by an eminent Whig authority, the country was in as dangerous a state as Ireland in 1844. The Government introduced a series of coercive measures. And at this test the bond which had united the Whig party with the Liberals from 1806 downwards, snapped in two, and the whole body fell away into two different divisions. The Whigs who remained in opposition became more violent than ever, and denounced the measures of the ministry as cruel, unconstitutional, and intolerable. The "Liberals" who drew off on the other side re-united their forces with the Government, convinced that times were changed, and that the part taken by the Whigs was as discreditable to them, as it was dangerous to the public peace. Lord Grenville and the Marquis of Buckingham were the acknowledged political chiefs of this party; and they numbered a good following in the House of Commons under Mr. Wynn, Mr. Freemantle, and Mr. Sturges Bourne. But as Parliament is always more or less the index of the public mind, we may be sure that a corresponding change of feeling had also taken place in the country; and that many men who had nourished dreams of political improvement would begin to see that it was no time to set about it while ricks were burning, democrats arming, and conspiracies in progress from one end of the United Kingdom to the other. "Order is Heaven's first law," and it is man's first necessity. A great mass of the Liberal opinion of that day began to side with Gov

ernment. And among others who felt the force of this reaction was the leader of the Midland Circuit, Mr. Sergeant Copley. He had been, perhaps, a speculative republican. But that such views as these, even had he entertained them, should have compelled him to feel any sympathy with the English Radical of the year 1820, is one of those convenient hypotheses which may serve the purpose of a political rival in debate, but will not stand the test of calm investigation for a moment.

The charges of insincerity, therefore, which have been brought against Lord Lyndhurst, and based upon his alleged conversion to Toryism, in obedience to his professional interests, we hold to be utterly worthless. The truth we take to be, that his political principles were as undefined as those of the majority of professional men who have never been obliged to act upon them; and that his political morality was neither above nor below the average standard of the day.

The second ground upon which Lord Lyndhurst's political morality has been questioned is his conduct on Roman Catholic emancipation. This charge is not merely unjust, like the last one-it is absurd. The former had some show of plausibility on its side; the latter is transparently untrue. Let us see then how the matter stands. Sir John Copley, when Master of the Rolls, spoke against Roman Catholic emancipation; the year following he accepted the Great Seal from Mr. Canning, who was in favour of emancipation. He continued to hold it under the Duke of Wellington, while the Duke was still antiCatholic; and in 1828 he again spoke in opposition to the Relief Bill. When the Duke changed his opinion, Lord Lyndhurst also changed his; and in 1829, in his place in the House of Lords, contradicted what he had said in 1828. Now it must strike every one who understands the history of that period, that the only inconsistency of which his Lordship was really guilty took place after he had become Lord Chancellor, and not before. Had he been ever so uncompromising an opponent of the Romish claims, there would have been no inconsistency in his joining Mr. Canning's Government, in which, as in Lord Liverpool's, the question was

expressly left an open one. Mr. Peel and the Duke of Wellington did not refuse to act with Canning because he was in favour of emancipation, but for other reasons well known to political students. Mr. Peel had privately told Lord Liverpool, as early as 1825, that the Catholic claims must be conceded; and the Duke of Wellington resumed his old place under Lord Goderich, an equally Catholic Prime Minister, from which he had retired under Canning. It was quite possible, therefore, for Lord Lyndhurst to have served under Canning without any change of opinion whatever upon the question of emancipation. He was not, moreover, a violent opponent of that measure. He had always adopted that more moderate view of the subject, according to which emancipation was only to be resisted till adequate securities could be agreed upon for the safety of the Anglo-Irish church. It seems to us, therefore, that Lord Lyndhurst's change of mind must stand upon exactly the same footing as Peel's and the Duke of Wellington's. He was not bribed to it by the promise of the Great Seal, for there is no evidence to show that any change in his mind took place till two years after the Great Seal had been conferred on him. In 1829, when it was a question of conversion or resignation, he acted as Wellington and Peel acted; and that is the worst that can be said of him. He could not have given up his opinions in order to be made Lord Chancellor, for he was Lord Chancellor before he was asked to give them up. And a good proof that no peculiar baseness was supposed by contemporaries to attach to him is the admission, by his most hostile critic, that the reputation of Peel suffered far more than that of Lyndhurst from the share which they both took in these memorable transactions.

These are the only two passages of Lord Lyndhurst's career which his enemies in general have deemed sufficient to sustain these accusations. But some there are who still think it possible to extract matter for censure from his acceptance of the Chief Baronship. He," says The Law Magazine, "probably asked, and certainly accepted, judicial office at the hands of that political chief, whose principles of Government he had


throughout many years condemned, and whose measures of reform he was prepared to resist." The insinuation conveyed by this last sentence is wholly unjustifiable. An analogous case would be the appointment of the present Lord Chelmsford to succeed Sir Frederick Pollock at the Exchequer. But, though the probability of such an appointment has frequently been discussed in legal circles, nobody ever imagined that Lord Chelmsford would have had to turn Whig.

The only other charge which has ever been made against Lord Lyndhurst was one of corruption in the distribution of his political patronage. This was in the year 1829, when a libel was circulated in the Morning Journal, accusing the Lord Chancellor of having obtained a loan of £30,000 from Sir Edward Sugden, on condition of recommending him for the situation of Solicitor-General.

The defendant, upon trial, was found guilty. It is needless to add that not even Lord Lyndhurst's most bitter foes have ever treated this report as anything but a scandalous and ridiculous figment, hatched in the heat of party warfare, and published by a reckless radical scribbler.

Having thus wiped off the various little scraps of mud which either prejudice or malignity have stuck upon the memory of the great Tory leader, we may proceed to consider the nature of the part which he played, and the degree of genius which he exhibited, in the various political transactions with which his name is associated. There are some half dozen public questions which supply us with fair tests of the character of his political genius. These are:-The Alien Bill, the Religious Relief Bills of 1818-19, the Reform Bill, the Municipal Reform Bill, Life Peerages, and our Foreign Policy in the East. We cannot undertake to examine each of these at length. We merely mean that these are the sources to which we should direct any man who professed an intention of writing the life of Lord Lyndhurst.

The circumstances under which the Alien Bill was first introduced, and afterwards renewed, can scarcely fail of being familiar to all our readers who take any interest in politics. The peace of 1815 had by no means tranquillized the continent of Europe. In

Italy, in Spain, and in Portugal, the revolutionary spirit had, after a momentary lull, broken out again. Political refugees were flocking to this country, and here, in turn, they were met by a wave of still fretting discontent, which required very little encouragement from abroad to swell into a fresh storm. That this danger was very properly encountered by the defensive measures of Government, seems now to be generally admitted. The writer in The Law Magazine, actuated, as he is, by_the_bitterest spirit towards Lord Lyndhurst, is obliged to allow that "the measures proposed, from time to time, by the Government of the day, with a view to its having some control over the stream of foreigners which was pouring into this country, and permeating every county, were neither unnecessary nor inexpedient." Under these circumstances Mr. Sergeant Copley delivered his maiden speech, on the 19th of May, 1818. Among the other speeches of the night, it shines like a gem. He had then, as ever, the happy art of going straight to the point of seeing exactly where the gist of the matter lay-without being so unduly curt as to appear dictatorial, or so nakedly logical as to rob his language of all rhetorical embellish


In a few words he exposed that most astounding, because most prevailing, fallacy, that preventive measures ought never to be adopted because they have often been successful; and that the tranquillity by which they have been followed is sufficient evidence to prove that they never were required! Sergeant Copley was followed on this occasion by Sir James Macintosh; but we cannot discover in his speech anything like an answer to the pertinent arguments of the Sergeant.

The Roman Catholic question had, by 1829, been exhaustively discussed, as far as principles were concerned; the fact being, that the real issue had been fought and lost in 1828, on the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts.

According to some reasoners, Church and State were one and undivisible: spiritually the State was contained within the Church, and politically the Church within the State. Such has been the view of many men who

differed very widely upon doctrine of Coleridge, of Arnold, of Mr. Gladstone. According to these, a National State and a National Church should be co-extensive. The fact that many of the inhabitants of the country do not belong to the one does not affect its nationality, if they take no part in the other; for, as the Legislature is supposed to be the embodiment of the national will, and, so to speak, the condensed essence of the nation, those who stand outside of it are, as it were, extra-national. Such were the relative positions of the populus and the plebs in old Rome; and such, down to 1828, was the position maintained towards Dissenters of every denomination by the United Church of England and Ireland. This was, at all events, a compact and intelligible theory. It was the one accepted by Lord Eldon as the theory of the British Constitution. And we can see more clearly now than our fathers could then, that the formal recognition of Dissenters, as entitled to all the privileges of citizens, was quite incompatible with this theory of Church and State. It is perfectly clear, we repeat, that the above theory was given up with the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts; but in order to understand the views adopted upon the whole of this great question, we must recur to the earlier debates upon the subject of Romish Emancipation, in which the principle at stake had been exhaustively discussed before the first of the two great Relief Acts was completed.

On these two questions, then, Lord Lyndhurst seems to have contented himself with adopting a purely practical line of argument, and not to have concerned himself so much with the principles which were really at stake, as Lord Eldon did. Indeed, we are bound to say, that throughout all the debates on both branches of this great subject, we are struck with the limited range of argument, and the something like poverty of thought which are discernible on both sides. Lord Eldon, it has always seemed to us, took the most truly philosophic and constitutional views of these questions. His idea was that the legislation which followed the Civil wars, merely fixed what had hitherto been floating. Before that time there was no such thing as a Dissenter. The Puritan

members of the House of Commons were all professedly Churchmen, while any Roman Catholics who sat in Parliament before the Revolution were exceptions and merely tolerated until it was seen whether the breach between the two Churches was finally irreparable. When the essential tendencies of Puritanism on the one hand, and the finality of the breach between Rome and Canterbury on the other, had been fully demonstrated, then, and not till then, were both classes of malcontents cast out as no longer members of the "Church." But Lord Lyndhurst, and Wellington, and Peel, just as much as Lord Holland or Lord Grey, confined themselves entirely to the supposition that Papists and Presbyterians had been excluded from all share in the State, solely because they were disloyal, and not at all because they were apostate. If they had ceased to be dangerous they might now cease to be proscribed. Above this view of the question, Lord Lyndhurst, we imagine, did not rise. And it is unfair to tax any man with inconsistency who changes his views on such a mere matter of detail as this. As far, however, as the practical sagacity and foresight of the promoters of Emancipation were concerned, Lord Lyndhurst was as wrong as the rest. He predicted that Ireland would be tranquil; that the priesthood would be loyal; that no more attempts against the Established Church of the empire would have to be expected. He lived to see Ireland more turbulent than she had been for half a century; the priesthood heading a crusade against the law of the land and the lives and properties of individuals; and Romish members of the House of Commons assiduously promoting and supporting every conceivable device for the destruction of the United Church. In 1851 he confessed as much with his own lips.

We gladly pass from the contemplation of this subject to another great struggle, wherein Lord Lyndhurst's powers shone forth with unclouded lustre in the advocacy of a cause, the foundations of which lay deep in logic, in philosophy, and in history.

On the question of Parliamentary Reform, so disastrously completed by the Whigs when, with unskilled

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hands and dizzy heads, they mounted the chariot of the State, Lord Lyndhurst spoke twice, and twice succeeded in arresting that headlong race. It is, in some sense, unfortunate for his fame, that he had been preceded by such a statesman as Mr. Canning, who, in his various speeches on the subject, had exhausted both reason and rhetoric. But still Mr. Canning had been dead four years when Lord Lyndhurst rose to his height" in that memorable debate which tore in two the second Reform Bill. The arguments of that illustrious man, to whom Sir Robert Peel so beautifully applied the words in which Ulysses deplores the chance which had made any contest possible for the possession of the arms of Achilles, would well bear repetition from the lips of his ablest disciple. And certainly, we may, in turn, apply to Lord Lyndhurst the classical quotation which Lord Palmerston so generously and justly used in praise of that statesman's pupil. If the Constitution could have been saved, Lord Lyndhurst's speeches would have saved it. Clearly the two main points to be argued, as far as the principle was concerned, were these:-First, what was the intention of the Constitution, and had that intention been defeated by the changes which time had made in the distribution of wealth and population? Secondly, if this were not so, was the working of the existing system so bad as to make a Reform Bill indispensable, even though it went the length of giving a new Constitution? The style in which Lord Lyndhurst argued both of these points was masterly; and the force with which he turned against themselves certain previous admissions of the Whig leaders would have caused any set of men to pause who were not obstinately bent upon arriving at a given goal through sense and through nonsense.

The second reading of the second Reform Bill was thrown out in the Lords by a majority of forty-one. The division took place early in the morning of the 8th of October; and Parliament was prorogued soon afterwards. In less than six weeks, however, Parliament reassembled; and a third Reform Bill was carried through the House of Commons. During the interval it appears that the Tory

party had begun to lose hope; and when Lord Lyndhurst and the Duke mustered their forces against the second reading of this Bill they found themselves left in a minority-the numbers being 184 for, and 175 against. All that it was then possible for Lord Lyndhurst to do, he did. He rallied his party in committee, and brought back a good many of those who, in his own words, "had not deserted, but departed, from its ranks." The result was, that when he made his motion for postponing the disfranchising clauses of the Bill to the enfranchising ones, he obtained a majority against Ministers of thirtyfive. Had Ministers accepted this decision they would have endangered those provisions of the Bill which they, doubtless, deemed the most important. When Manchester and Birmingham had gained all they wanted, the honour and emolument, namely, of two representatives in Parliament, they might, perhaps, become less zealous for disfranchising Ludgershall and Bedwin. That would never do, and Ministers at once resigned. It is clear, that at this moment the hopes of both the King and the Tories were centred on Lord Lyndhurst. He was closetted with his Majesty, and declared his willingness to make one of a Cabinet that should fight out the battle with the Commons. How far the Duke himself, with his well-known terror of civil contests, supported or shared in this resolve is not exactly known. But whatever might have been his Grace's sentiments, the bolder section of the Tory party was not sufficiently numerous to justify so daring an experiment. Sir Robert Peel declined to share in any such deep responsibility. Like all men who have spent their early life in resistance, and then suddenly give way, now that he had begun to yield, he never knew when to stop. The result was, that the formation of a Tory Ministry was found to be impossible. The Chief Baron, who had been driving backwards and forwards between the Palace, Downing-street, and Apsley House, amid the execration of the London mob, went back to his Law Court. Lord Grey returned to office; and the Reform Bill became law.

The next occasion upon which Lord Lyndhurst took a decided lead was

the passage of the Municipal Reform Bill. Here, again, Lord Lyndhurst was willing to have stood boldly in the breach, and to have thrown out the Bill on the second reading, instead of confining his exertions to the amendment of its details. The secret history of this particular period-the spring and summer of 1835-has lately been revealed in the Times, to the no small astonishment of the public; though we ourselves see no reason to doubt that the story is substantially correct. But still the whole train of events is to some degree obscure. Abandoning the design of resisting the second reading of the Bill, which, owing to the timidity or lukewarmness of the Peelites, might not have been successful, Lord Lyndhurst and the Duke of Wellington threw their whole strength into the advocacy of a series of amendments which it was thought, with justice, would cleanse it of its worst features. The amendments were triumphantly carried; and so sensible were Ministers of the sweeping nature of the changes thus engrafted on it, that when, on the 28th of August, the Bill was read a third time, they retired to the foot of the throne, and declined to sanction by their votes a measure which reversed their own intentions. Then came the tug of war. Lord John Russell, the representative of Government in the House of Commons, positively refused to agree to the majority of the amendments. This, of course, had been foreseen by the Tory leaders in the House of Lords, and they were prepared to stand firm; but Sir Robert Peel declined the onus of supporting the amendment in the House of Commons; and it would seem that it was at this particular juncture, when the Ministry, disgusted with their defeat in the House of Lords, might daily be expected to resign, that, in contemplation of this event, those arrangements were begun, which The Times has been the first to make public. The feeble resistance offered by Sir Robert Peel to the Corporation Bill, in its original progress through the Lower House, had completed the estrangement which his faintheartedness in the Reform struggle had begun: and a powerful section of the Tory party was eager to hail Lyndhurst as its chief. Still the only chance of carrying out this scheme

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