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period with something of the true gentleness of letters. For ourselves, we have purposely, in this month, gone somewhat back to the treasures of less recent literature; for there we find the principles of that criticism which we are called upon, in newer books, to apply; and we will thus begin the year with old friends, as the best chance of enabling us to end it with new. Our hearts warm at this season to those whom we loved when young. We spring forward to welcome the kind face that smiled upon us when we were boys: we find our steps insensibly wander to that part of our library which contains the well-remembered books that first taught us to glow with the poet, to muse with the sage, to laugh with the satirist; we forget that we are anxious, toiling, hoping, yet care-worn men; and we recur-as the year itself to a renewal of our youth.

The New Year: and what differences in society-on the great superficies of the World's Mind, in manners, in habits, in customs, does the New Year portend, and bring? Let us pause. A great change is working over even the surface of things. Fashion, within the last twelve months, has been shaken on her throne. Among the great events of time, frivolities cease to charm. People talk no more about Almack's and fine ladies; and Agitation, which works in good as in evil, has done this much-it has called forth the higher, the graver, the steadier properties of the English character. Our attention has been bent upon the realities of things, and we forget our reverence for the appearances. Deep and stern remembrances have been evoked from the depths of the public mind; and these, in their turn, call for that which the past teaches rather by fits and starts than in a continuous lesson-the necessity of amendment for the future. It was a fine saying, though in the mouth of a court poet, that

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the people are much like the sea,
That suffers things to fall, and sink into
The bottom in a calm, which in a storm
Stirr'd and enraged, it lifts and doth keep up."

The New Year-the time of charities, of cordiality, of genial and warm feelings the time that knits together in

one bond of amity the old and the young, the rich and the poor. It pleases us at this time, to read in our journals of men in all ranks, and of all opinions, uniting in remembrance to their humbler brethren. We love to read of the loaves, and the fuel, and the warm garments, and the old English hospitality, which we are now reminded that it is a pleasant duty to bestow. But while we do not scorn these private benefits, and while we do homage to these individual benefactors, let us not omit the opportunity of inculcating one great truth-legislation is the only means of effecting general and permanent good; and one wise law does more for the morals, the comforts, the happiness of our peasantry than a thousand Sir Roger de Coverleys.

The New Year-and what hopes, dear reader, (for why should we not be friends, united in a common object?) and what hopes, dear reader, does it find within ourselves, who now address you? May it be father to that time when we may talk to you of what we have done, and when you may feel for us something of that good-will that we now heartily experience for you!




EXTREMES often meet, but parallel straight lines running close to each other never do. The differences between moderate men are infinitely more obstinate than those between ultra-politicians. Our most distant acquaintance is our nearest neighbour; and we are sure to feel a peculiar dislike for the opinions that lodge next door to our own. Hence perhaps it is that the two most hostile parties into which the country is rent, still profess to have the same objects in view. The last election is a proof that the general body of the English people are really agreed, that a policy at once liberal and moderate ought to be adopted. On this abstract principle there is but little dispute: one party have expressed their wish that a policy thus described should be carried out under the auspices of Sir Robert Peel; another party prefer the agency of the existing Administration: still a reference to the speeches and manifestoes of the majority of candidates at the last election will show that a policy at once moderate and liberal was advocated by both parties; the Reformers professing moderation-the Conservatives affecting liberality.

Of the two extremes of ultra Tories and ultra Radicals, the last were the greatest sufferers in the election. The most eloquent and distinguished of that small section were signally defeated. The least equivocal of all the symptoms of public feeling was that which, in the defeat of Mr. Roebuck, of Col. Thompson, and the difficult victory of Mr. Grote, indicated the disposition of the VOL. II-20

great body of the Reformers not to hazard any attempt to destroy or to weaken a Government founded on principles of Reform. If, on the other hand, the ultra Tories were not so severely dealt with as the ultra Radicals, they were not so fairly subjected to the ordeal of public opinion. The former class brought to their aid the influences,* whether legitimate or illegitimate, of considerable property: the latter class, for the most part, trusted solely to sympathy with their sentiments; but the first, equally with the last, attested the general state of public feeling; for it is very remarkable that the most ardent of the Tories proclaimed the identical policy which the most moderate had avowed. While the ultra Radicals declared that they went much farther than the Government, or even than the Earl of Durham, not one of the ultra Tory candidates professed to stop short of the principles laid down by Sir Robert Peel;-not one of them ventured to express regret for the times of Liverpool or Castlereagh;-not one of them announced on the hustings, as certain peers have done in the Lords, a desire to repeal the Catholic Emancipation Bill; and far from wishing to remodel, each of them declaimed on the necessity of abiding by, the Bill for Parliamentary Reform. No one of the Conservative party denied that there were still left abuses to rectify: each promised reform and progress; but identified the gradual movement with the manifesto of Sir Robert Peel. The actors took the hints of their Hamlet, and "in the torrent, tempest, and whirlwind of their passion, acquired and begat a temperance that might give it smoothness." The Conservative army drew as closely as possible under the walls of the enemy, in order to be less exposed to their arrows. It is not so much that they were less liberal than the Whigs, but rather that they were more moderate.

Hence then we may derive the practical corollary, that the electoral population is, however characterized and divided, on the whole favourable to that spirit of general legislation which was the natural consequence of the Reform Bill,-favourable to strict vigilance in finance, and to continual, if cautious, amendments in the National Institutions. The common principles thus agreed on, it

remains to be seen, which party, the Ministerial or the Opposition, is the best adapted to carry those principles into effect. One thing is clear, the contest for power lies between these two parties, and these alone. All sects and factions which aspired to hold a balance between Whigs and Tories, and to unite the popular doctrines of the one with the tempered Conservatism of the other, have egregiously failed. The forty or fifty followers to whom Lord Stanley alluded when he separated himself from his ancient friends, were, in the very moment of his abdication, most lamentably "disquantitied" between the Goneril of one party and the Regan of the other.

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Like the unnatural daughter, Sir Robert Peel offered his own servants as a recompense for those that were struck off from the "reserved train." But from that hour the last remnant of Lord Stanley's former authority was gone; he lodged with the Tories as their guest, but he brought no forces as their ally. Few, indeed, were they who in the last election proclaimed themselves of the Stanley party; fewer still who succeeded. Neither the piety of Sir Andrew Agnew, nor the sanctity of Sir Oswald Mosley, nor the philosophy of Mr. Richards, saved them from political extinction. The fate of the flying fish is not more melancholy than that which awaited these amphibious unfortunates. From the moment they were seen darting out of their customary element and lighting on the opposition gangway, the birds of the air and the monsters of the deep were resolved to make a meal of them,-His exactis obeunt!

"There was mounting 'mong Græmes of the Netherby clan; The farmers and parsons, they rode and they ran;

There was racing and chasing on Cannabie lea,
But the lost knight of Netherby ne'er did we see,"

till the Cumberland farmer was picked up at Pembroke, and restored to his disconsolate friends on the front row of the Opposition.

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