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James the slayer of Moors to St James the fisherman. What may have been the opinions of that unreal being whose birthday is celebrated by libations to Protestant Ascendency, on the subject of coalitions, we leave it to his veracious hagiographers, Lord Eldon and Lord Westmoreland, to determine. The sentiments of the real Mr Pitt may be easily ascertained from his conduct. At the time of the revolutionary war he admitted to participation in his power those who had formerly been his most determined enemies. In 1804 he connected himself with Mr Fox, and, on his return to office, attempted to procure a high situation in the government for his new ally. One more instance we will mention, which has little weight with us, but which ought to have much weight with our opponents. They talk of Mr Pitt;-but the real object of their adoration is unquestionably the late Mr Percival, a gentleman whose acknowledged private virtues were but a poor compensation to his country for the narrowness and feebleness of his policy. In 1809 that minister offered to serve, not only with Lord Grenville and Earl Grey, but even under them. No approximation of feeling between the members of the government and their opponents had then taken place: there had not even been the slightest remission of hostilities. On no question of foreign or domestic policy were the two parties agreed. Yet under such circumstances was this proposition made. It was, as might have been anticipated, rejected by the Whigs and derided by the country. But the recollection of it ought certainly to prevent those who concurred in it, and their devoted followers, from talking of the baseness and selfishness of coalitions.
These general reasonings, it may be said, are superfluous. It is not to coalitions in the abstract, but to the present coalition in particular, that objection is made. We answer, that an attack on the present coalition can only be maintained by succeeding in the most signal way in an attack on coalitions in the abstract. For never has the world seen, and never is it likely to sec, a junction between parties agreeing on so many points, and differing on so few. The Whigs and the supporters of Mr Canning were united in principle. They were separated only by names, by badges, and by recollections. Opposition, on such grounds as these, would have been disgraceful to English statesmen. It would have been as unreasonable and as profligate as the disputes of the blue and green factions in the Ilippodrome of Constantinople. One man admires Mr Pitt, and another Mr Fox. Are they therefore never to act together? Mr Pitt and Mr Fox were themselves willing to coalesce while they were alive; and it would therefore be strange, if, after they have been
lying for twenty years in Westminster Abbey, their names should keep parties asunder. One man approves of the revolutionary war. Another thinks it unjust and impolitic. But the war is over. It is now merely a matter of historical controversy. And the statesman who should require his colleagues to adopt his confession of faith respecting it, would act as madly as Don Quixote when he went to blows with•Cardenio about the chastity of Queen Madasima. On these points, and on many such points as these, our new Ministers, no doubt, hold different opinions. They may also, for aught we know, hold different opinions about the title of Perkin Warbeck, and the genuineness of the Eixày Basiaoxin. But we shall hardly, on such grounds as these, pronounce their union a sacrifice of principle to place.
It is, in short, of very little importance whether the parties which have lately united entertain the same sentiments respecting things which have been done and cannot be undone. It is of as little importance whether they have adopted the same speculative notions on questions which could not at present be brought forward with the slightest chance of success, and which, in all probability, they will never be required to discuss. The real questions are these : Do they differ as to the policy which present circumstances require? Or is any great cause, which they may have heretofore espoused, placed in a more unfavourable situation by their junction?
That this is the case, no person has even attempted to prove. Bold assertions have indeed been made by a class of writers, who seem to think that their readers are as completely destitute of memory as they themselves are of shame. For the last two years they have been abusing Mr Canning for adopting the principles of the Whigs; and they now exclaim that, in joining Mr Canning, the Whigs have abandoned all their principles ! “ The Whigs,” said one of their writers, but a few months ago, “ are exercising more real power by means of the present Mi“ nisters than if they were themselves in office.” “The Minis6 ters,” said another, “ are no longer Tories. What they call 6 conciliation is mere Whiggism.” A third observed that the jest of Mr Canning about Dennis and his thunder had lost all its point, and that it was a lamentable truth, that all the late measures of the government seemed to have been dictated by the Whigs. Yet these very authors have now the effrontery to assert that the Whigs could not possibly support Mr Canning without renouncing every opinion which they had formerly professed.
We confidently affirm, on the other hand, that no principle whatever has been sacrificed. With respect to our foreign re
lations and our commercial policy, the two parties have for years been perfectly agreed. On the Catholic question the views of the Whigs are the same with those of a great majority of their new colleagues. It is true that, in an illustrious asa sembly, which was formerly suspected of great dulness and great decorum, and which has of late effectually redeemed itself from one half of the reproach, the conduct of the Whigs towards the Catholics has been represented in a very unfavourable light. The arguments employed against them belong, we suppose, to a kind of logic which the privileged orders alone are qualified to use, and which, with their other constitutional distinctions, we earnestly pray that they may long keep to themselves. An ingenious member of this assembly is said to have observed, that the Protestant alarmists were bound to oppose the new Ministers as friends to the Catholic cause, and that the Catholics ought to oppose them as traitors to the same cause. He reminded the former of the infinite danger of trusting power to a Cabinet composed principally of persons favourable to emancipation: and, at the same time, pointed the indignation of the latter against the perfidy of the pretended friends who had not stipulated that emancipation should be made a ministerial measure! We cannot sufficiently admire the exquisite dexterity of an assailant who, in the same breath, blames the same people for doing, and for not doing the same thing. To ordinary plebeian understandings we should think it undeniable that the Catholic question must be now- either in the same situation in which it was before the late change; or it must have lost; or it must have gained. If it have gained, the Whigs are justified; if it have lost, the enemies of the claims ought zealously to support the new government; if it be exactly where it was before, no person who acted with Lord Liverpool can, on this ground, consistently oppose Mr Canning.
In this view, indeed, the cause of the Whigs is the cause of the ministers who have seceded from the Cabinet. Both parties have put in the same plea; and both must be acquitted or condemned together. If it be allowed that the elevation of Mr Canning was not an event favourable to the Catholic cause, the Whigs will certainly stand convicted of inconsistency. But at the same time, the only argument by which the ex-Ministers have attempted to vindicate their secession, must fall to the ground; and it will be difficult to consider that proceeding in any other light than as a factious expedient to which they have resorted, in order to embarrass a colleague whom they envied. If, on the other hand, the effect of the late change were such, that it became the duty of those who objected to Catholic Emancipation, to decline all connexion with the Ministry, it must surely have become, at the same time, the duty of the friends of Emancipation to support the Ministry. Those who take the one ground, when their object is to vindicate the seceders, and the other, when their object is to blacken the Whigs, who, in the same speech, do not scruple to represent the Catholic cause as triumphant and as hopeless, may, we fear, draw down some ridicule on themselves, but will hardly convince the country. But why did not the Whigs stipulate that some proposition for the relief of the Catholics should be immediately brought forward, and supported by the whole influence of the Administration ? We answer, simply because they could not obtain such conditions, and because, by insisting upon them, they would have irreparably injured those whom they meant to serve, and have thrown the government into the hands of men who would have employed all its power and patronage to support a system which, we do not scruple to say, is the shame of England, and the curse of Ireland. By the course which they have taken, they have insured to the sister kingdom every alleviation which its calamities can receive from the lenient administration of an oppressive system. Under their government, it will at least be no man's interest to espouse the side of bigotry. Truth will have a fair chance against prejudice. And whenever the dislike with which the majority of the English people regard the Catholic claims shall have been overcome by discussion, no other obstacle will remain to be surmounted
The friends of the Catholics have, indeed, too long kept out of sight the real difficulty which impedes the progress of all measures for their relief. There has been a nervous reluctance - perhaps a natural unwillingness, to approach this subject. Yet it is of the utmost importance that it should at last be fully understood. The difficulty, we believe, is neither with the King nor with the Cabinet,-neither with the Commons nor with the Lords. It is with the People of England ; and not with the corrupt, not with the servile, not with the rude and uneducated, not with the dissolute and turbulent, but with the great body of the middling orders ;-of those who live in comfort, and have received some instruction. Of the higher classes, the decided majority is, beyond all dispute, with the Catholics. The lower classes care nothing at all about the question. It is among those whose influence is generally exerted for the most salutary purposes,-among those from whom liberal statesmen have, in general, received the strongest support,-among those who feel the deepest detestation of oppression and corruption, that errone
ous opinions on this subject are most frequent. A faction with which they have no other feeling in common, has, on this question, repeatedly made them its tools, and has diverted their attention more than once from its own folly and profligacy, by raising the cry of No Popery. They have espoused their opinions, not from want of honesty, not from want of sense, but simply from want of information and reflection. They think as the most enlightened men in England thought seventy or eighty years, ago. Pulteney and Pelham would no more have given political power to Papists than to ourang-outangs. A proposition for mitigating the severity of the penal laws would, in their time, have been received with suspicion. The full discussion which the subject has since undergone, has produced a great change. Among intelligent men in that rank of life from which our ministers and the members of our legislature are selected, the feeling in favour of concession is strong and general. But, unfortunately, sufficient attention has not been paid to a lower, but most influential and respectable class. The friends of the Catholic claims, content with numbering in their ranks all the most distinguished statesmen of two generations, proud of lists of minorities and majorities adorned by every name which commands the respect of the country, have not sufficiently exerted themselves to combat popular prejudices. Pamphlets against Emancipation are circulated, and no answers appear. Sermons are preached against it, and no pains are taken to obliterate the impression. The rector carries a petition round to every shopkeeper and every farmer in his parish, talks of Smithfield and the inquisition, Bishop Bonner and Judge Jeffries. No person takes the trouble to canvass on the other side. At an election, the candidate who is favourable to the Catholic claims, is almost always content to stand on the defensive. He shrinks from the odium of a bold avowal. While his antagonist asserts and reviles, he palliates, evades, and distinguishes. He is unwilling to give a pledge : he has not made up his mind : he hopes that adequate securities for the Church may be obtained : he will wait to see how the Catholic States of South America behave themselves! And thus, as fast as he can, he gets away from the obnoxious subject, to retrenchment, reform, or negro slavery. If such a man succeeds, his vote does not benefit the Catholics half so much as his shuffling injures them. How can the people understand the question, when those whose business it is to enlighten them, will not state it to them plainly? Is it strange that they should dislike a cause of which almost all its advocates seem to be ashamed? If, at the late election, all our public men who are favourable to Emancipation had dared to