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proach that he only designed for the Ultras-Col. Thompson and Mr. Murphy. Mr. O'Connell chooses to confound the great parliamentary party of Radicals, the powerful ballot minority, the true Radicals, with the Ultras, or rather Pseudos, out of Parliament-the Hetheringtons and Vincents. When did the English Radicals exhibit any contempt for Ireland? Was it when they consented, for the sake of Ireland, to forego their own just causes of complaint against the government after Lord John Russell's untoward speech? Does Mr. O'Connell forget that this consideration was the main one urged upon the forbearance of the English Parliamentary Radicals, and that this consideration prevailed over all others by an overwhelming majority? Mr. O'Connell complains of the English Radicals for indifference to Ireland, when for the sake of Ireland they have too often temporized with the most urgent grievances of England. Was it the English Radicals who deserted the Appropriation Clause? Mr. O'Connell reads them a lesson they ought sternly to remember. But, says the Agitator, we, the Irish members, carried the Reform Bill! Without the English Liberals what would Mr. O'Connell have carried? But for them would Mr. O'Connell himself be in Parliament? The Agitator deceives himself-the English Radicals are every thing to Ireland; without them-despite his unrivalled energies, his singular qualities as a leader-his associations, his harangues, his paper constitutions, would end in nothing but toasts and riots. They have been his strength-he has too often been their weakness.
BY AN ENGLISH MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT OF THE CHAMBRE DES DE
TO M. DE
[Monthly Chronicle for June, 1838.]
SIR,-Mankind are fond of inventing certain solemn and sounding expressions which appear to convey much, and in reality mean little; words that are the proxies for absent thoughts, and, like other proxies, add nothing to argument, while they turn the scales of decision. Of these phrases, it seems to me that "PUBLIC OPINION is one of the most vague, while it is certainly one of the most popular. We talk of the irresistible might of Public Opinion-of its progress of its efficacy-of its promotion of truth-of its gradual but certain victory over abuses of its ascension to the throne formerly held by Force of the peaceable revolutions it is destined to effect. It is the cant expression of orators and journalists, a convenient finery of verbiage borrowed from the wardrobe of an obsolete philosophy, and worn by all the servitors of the Porch or the Pnyx. When we hear the chatter of these political-phrase parrots, we are at first inclined to suppose that Public Opinion is a stream that flows only in one course; that its majestic command is the voice of the general mind; that while, on one side, is the deaf resistance of an interested and sectarian few, on the other we recognise the clear and definite judgment of the collective multitude. But when we come * examine, we find that this Public Opinion is a most
divided property; that far from being settled hereditarily upon the people, it is rent into as many fragments and tatters as an estate in France;-parcelled out into roods and poles: the partitions themselves the matter of fierce litigation. Each party lays claim to the possession of a segment, under the family name that characterizes the whole estate; and, in fact, no party is so badly off as not to have some portion of the appanage to boast of. To every separate knot of men there is a public opinion of its own. To the collective public alone there is no collective opinion: for the public is not unanimous, and instead of uttering one harmonious outcry, as we are often so gravely told, Babel itself never echoed to a wilder variety of contradictory sounds;
Barbara celarent, darii, ferio, baralipton!
You will observe, sir, that the most democratic, or, as we should say, the "most radical," are especially fond of claiming to themselves the favour and the patronage of public opinion. "Public opinion," say they to the minister, "insists upon this measure which you reject, or will not tolerate that measure which you propose." "Public opinion has destroyed you," they exclaim to the Conservatives; yet, somehow or other, while the ministry stand, and the Conservatives become yearly more powerful, public opinion has shrunk from the Ultra Radical party, who profess to take it for their guide, and they clap full sail to a breezeless sky.
He, then, who wishes to know what public opinion is in this country, must not look upon it as any single and concentrated power: he must contemplate and analyze its various parts, ascertain in what classes it exists with the greatest influence, and what are the classes whose increasing power will at last develope the views of a section into the will of the whole.
If we look to the strength of the Conservative party in England, we shall find the public opinion that sup. ports it is the aggregate expression of many interests, and many varieties of thought, sentiment, and belief. In the fasces borne before their march, no two rods are alike.
In partisan warfare, the most powerful of all opinions are the opinions of classes, or professions. Partly be cause, when a class imagines its interests incline it towards a peculiar policy, it acts with a natural but unconscious organization, and has a harmony, vigour, and system, which are not known to individual espousers of a cause; partly because, every class having a public opinion of its own, that public opinion will operate as a shield to all the excesses and abuses of power that may be committed by its members for the sake of the common objects;-partly because each class has an influence beyond its own circle in all the connexions it establishes in general society. Thus the influence of the army extends beyond the soldiers to every family that has relations under the standard. And the Squire who chucks little Tom under the chin, and tells him that he shall wear a red coat some day or other, feels the influence of the Horse Guards as much as if he were dining every day at a mess-table. Class interests are generally with the Conservative party; and of all such auxiliaries the Church is the most powerful. You will observe that there are many reasons why the clergy should attach themselves to the Conservative party, utterly independent of reasons purely clerical. In the first place, all historical associations have united the High Church with the Tories-the Dissenters with the Whigs; and the mechanical habits of party will remain long after the reasons for party alliances have ceased. In the second place, the clergy have been brought up at the universities; most of them remained there for years as fellows, and have got wedded, not as churchmen but as individuals, to those formal and stationary views of politics, which are usually formed in monastic and learned societies, separated from the great hum and din of men; they are mostly, too, connected with that class-the provincial gentry-who, living in the outposts of aristocracy, are more jealous of every invasion than even they who reside in its citadel. For these reasons the majority of the country clergy would be conservative, even supposing that they did not believe their interests, as a class, ought to attach them to such a policy. I confess, indeed,
that whatever may have been the speeches of the Whigs in opposition, the acts and opinions of the Whigs in office have all tended to strengthen the church, and ought, had class interests been alone regarded, to have conciliated the clergy. For, after all, they have not proposed any reforms in the English Establishment beyond those which the ecclesiastical dignitaries themselves have recommended. The Church Pluralities Bill, lately introduced by Lord John Russell, is a bill not for abolishing pluralities, but for making them decorous. It was supported, as well it might be, by all the Tories. So in all matters connected with the form and fashion of the establishment (the abortive and almost abandoned project for the extinction of church rates excepted,) the Whigs have only carried out the recommendations of the church commissioners, or, in other words, have been Whig agents to Tory clients.
Now this in itself has been an immense advantage to the temporal church-an extraordinary prop to its foundations. For, first, if reforms were to be made, what could be better for the church than that such reforms should be advised by her own most trusted friends, and then merely carried out by those whom she considers her foes? If the Tories had carried out such reforms, the people might have said, "Ah, if the Tories allow the necessity of these reforms, what would the Whigs do?" Whereas, at present, the churchmen can say, "We have been subjected to the examination of hostile critics, and these are all the faults they can find in us!"
The policy of the Whigs with respect to the church has not been wise for party purposes. It has not been to tame the lion-(the metaphor must be pardoned, for though in the primitive church the lion was to lie down with the lamb, the lamb has been eaten up long ago, and the lion alone remains!)-it has not been to tame the lion, but it has been to give him a pinch in the ear; just enough affront to put him in a rage, without enough earnestness of courage to act as a sedative. There is an enormous mass of power on the side of the church-a power too often underrated by hostile and over-zealous politicians; but there is also an enormous mass of antago