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party of movement, which, under whatever names, form by action and counteraction the machine of all parliamentary government, we think that the weakness of recent ministries is mainly attributable; and we have every confidence in the healthy power of our constitution to recover ultimately its full play and spring.

It by no means follows that we should neglect Lord Grey's warning against the mistake of leaving the government without any patronage in its hands to reward its adherents. We agree with him that no good will be done by expecting men to profess or practise a quixotic superiority to the benefits derivable from an alliance with those in power. If a man selects his party conscientiously, and has that due appreciation of his own merits, without which he is not likely to be eminently useful to others, there is no harm in his feeling that he has a right to serve the State which he has helped to save, be it only in the capacity of a revising barrister, an Irish peer, or a colonial chief-justice. There is harm in making the natural effects of esprit de corps subjects of imputation in a system which can only be worked by means of esprit de corps, and in importing covert dealing and hypocrisy into transactions which it is impossible to abolish, and which do not on the whole involve more abuses than are necessarily incident to any system in which fallible mortals are intrusted with large discretionary powers. Lord Grey's remarks on patronage generally, and especially his explanation of the relations' which subsist between our permanent civil service and the rest of our institutions, and his defence of our practice in this department of the art of government, are well deserving of attentive consideration; but our space does not allow of our entering upon the subject here.

We must not conclude without adverting to the probable effect upon our system of having some representatives of the artisan class in the House of Commons. We must take leave to assume (although we have no doubt that this element ought to make its appearance) that such representatives will at first, and for some considerable time, be few in number. It must never be forgotten how large a part of the business of Parliament eonsists in raising and spending money; and as long as this is the case, it is only fair that the moneyed classes, when they act together, should have the ultimate control of the State. We do not therefore anticipate-and we should earnestly deprecate if we did anticipate-an importation of artisan influence sufficient to give a perceptible impulse to our movements in any new direction. Such an experiment would be far too hazardous to be risked. But indirectly, we believe that members really representing the artisan class would have a very considerable effect upon our proceedings. The reason is, that in their presence it

would be impossible to blink questions of principle. The little verbal mystifications, the avoidance by mutual understanding of delicate topics, the narrowing of great questions to petty issues, which find acceptance among the adepts in the game of politics, would be good for nothing in the presence of the stern logic of the working-man's true representative. He has always been out of the game; and has no mind to learn it, seeing no fun in it, but rather a dreary waste of time. The necessity of dealing with him, and of answering the somewhat elementary questions which he would put, would tend more than any thing else to marshal men in disciplined ranks, in order to support or oppose definite and well-marked opinions. Such at least is our hope and anticipation. But it will not be realised unless the working-men elect worthy representatives of their order; and the uncertainty whether they will do so-whether, indeed, it will be possible for them to do so-is in itself a sufficient reason for proceeding tentatively and cautiously in giving them the opportunity. If they were to select pothouse orators,-men who lead strikes without needing to strike themselves,-small flashy litterateurs, and generally men of words rather than men of thought,-they would only bring in an annoying but contemptible element of confusion.

We have quoted one passage from the book before us for the purpose of taking exception to its spirit; and we cannot help feeling the coldness of the atmosphere which pervades the whole. The extract with which we conclude will, we think, exhibit with fairness the general character of Earl Grey's views, and indicate the point from which he contemplates his subject.

"Assuming this to be true, it follows that the great object of those who desire to prevent a dangerous disturbance of the balance of the constitution ought to be to secure the adoption of a just and well-considered plan of reform, instead of one based upon the principle of ultrademocracy.

But the ultimate passing of a measure of the last kind is not more likely to be insured by a determined resistance to all reform than by allowing bills to pass which make apparently slight additions to the democratic power, and which may perhaps be plausible in themselves. I advert to such proposals as that for the extension of the county franchise, which was defeated by a small majority in the last House of Commons, and would probably have been carried in the new one but for the effect of the ministerial promise. As part of a large measure, holding out the prospect of settling the question of parliamentary reform for some considerable time, this is a proposal which might probably be adopted with advantage, but which, if carried singly, would be calculated only to increase both the appetite for further change, and the power of those who demand it. The danger of such alterations in the franchise is exceedingly well stated by M. de Tocqueville in the following passage. He says: Lorsqu'un peuple commence à toucher

au cens électoral, on peut prévoir qu'il arrivera, dans un délai plus ou moins long, à le faire disparaître complétement. C'est là l'une des règles les plus invariables qui régissent les sociétés. A mesure qu'on recule la limite des droits électoraux, on sent le besoin de reculer davantage; car après chaque concession nouvelle, les forces de la démocratie augmentent, et ses exigences croissent avec son nouveau pouvoir. L'ambition de ceux qu'on laisse au dessous du cens, s'irrite en proportion du grand nombre de ceux qui se trouvent au dessus. L'exception devient enfin la règle ; les concessions se succèdent sans relâche, et on ne s'arrête plus, que quand on est arrivé au suffrage universel.'

Nothing can be more just than this reasoning; and it leads directly to the conclusion, that there is more real danger in such small and partial measures as that I have mentioned (which are mere steps towards democracy) than in a more extensive change in our representation, provided the latter is founded on a deliberate review of our whole system, and is so framed as to correct the faults in opposite directions which are to be found in it. If, therefore, permanent resistance to all change in the state of the representation is (as I believe) impossible, the wise course for those who hold Conservative opinions is to show themselves ready to concur in some fair and reasonable settlement of the question of parliamentary reform. Their doing so would be no less for their interest as a party than for the good of the country; since in the present state of opinion, so long as the question of parliamentary reform remains unsettled, not only the general question itself, but those particular ones which form part of it, such as the ballot, the extension of the franchise, and the shortening of parliaments,-will throw difficulties in the way of Conservative candidates in populous places.

To these reasons, in favour of the adoption by the Conservative party of the policy I have described, I would add, that the events of the last few years strongly indicate that, even if there were no wish on the part of the people for organic change of any kind, the time is coming when it will be impossible that things should remain as they


The difficulties in carrying on our system of parliamentary government, to which I have adverted in a former chapter, as having arisen partly from the Reform Acts of 1832, partly from other causes, seem to be growing more and more serious, and threaten virtually to break down the system itself, unless something is done to strengthen the authority of the servants of the Crown in parliament. But it would obviously be impracticable to effect this, unless the changes which may be proposed with that view should form part of a general measure, by which an extension of popular rights should also be granted."


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Ir is not commonly on the generation which was contemporary with the production of great works of art that they exercise their most magical influence. Nor is it on the distant people whom we call posterity. Contemporaries bring to new books formed minds and stiffened creeds; posterity, if it regard them at all, looks at them as old subjects, worn-out topics, and hears a disputation on their merits with languid impartiality, like aged judges in a court of appeal. Even standard authors exercise but slender influence on the susceptible minds of a rising generation; they are become "papa's books;" the walls of the library are adorned with their regular volumes; but no hand touches them. Their fame is itself half an obstacle to their popularity; a delicate fancy shrinks from employing so great a celebrity as the companion of an idle hour. The generation which is really most influenced by a work of genius is commonly that which is still young when the first controversy respecting its merits arises; with the eagerness of youth they read and re-read; their vanity is not unwilling to adjudicate: in the process their imagination is formed; the creations of the author range themselves in the memory; they become part of the substance of the very mind. The works of Sir Walter Scott can hardly be said to have gone through this exact process. Their immediate popularity was unbounded. No one-a few most captious critics apart-ever questioned their peculiar power. Still they are subject to a transition, which is in principle the same. At the time of their publication mature contemporaries read them with delight. Superficial the reading of grown men in some sort must ever be; it is only once in a lifetime that we can know the passionate reading of youth; men soon lose its eager learning power. But from peculiarities

in their structure, which we shall try to indicate, the novels of Scott suffered less than almost any book of equal excellence from this inevitable superficiality of perusal. Their plain, and, so to say, cheerful merits, suit the occupied man of genial middle life. Their appreciation was to an unusual degree coincident with their popularity. The next generation, hearing the praises of their fathers in their earliest reading time, seized with avidity on the volumes; and there is much in very many of them which is admirably fitted for the delight of boyhood. A third generation has now risen into at least the commencement of literary life, which is quite removed from the unbounded enthusiasm with which the Scotch novels were originally received, and does not always share the still more eager partiality of those who, in the opening of their minds, first received the tradition of their excellence. New books have arisen to compete with these; new interests distract us from them. The time, therefore, is not perhaps unfavourable for a slight criticism of these celebrated fictions; and their continual republication without any criticism for many years seems almost to demand it.

There are two kinds of fiction which, though in common literature they may run very much into one another, are yet in reality distinguishable and separate. One of these, which we may call the ubiquitous, aims at describing the whole of human life in all its spheres, in all its aspects, with all its varied interests, aims, and objects. It searches through the whole life of man; his practical pursuits, his speculative attempts, his romantic youth, and his domestic age. It gives an entire feature of all these; or if there be any lineaments which it forbears to depict, they are only such as the inevitable repression of a regulated society excludes from the admitted province of literary art. Of this kind are the novels of Cervantes and Le Sage, and, to a certain extent, of Smollett or Fielding. In our own time, Mr. Dickens is an author whom nature intended to write to a certain extent with this aim. He should have given us not disjointed novels, with a vague attempt at a romantic plot, but sketches of diversified scenes, and the obvious life of varied mankind. The literary fates, however, if such beings there are, allotted otherwise. By a very terrible example of the way in which in this world great interests are postponed to little ones, the genius of authors is habitually sacrificed to the tastes of readers. In this age, the great readers of fiction are young people. The "addiction" of these is to romance; and accordingly a kind of novel has become so familiar to us as almost to engross the name, which deals solely with the passion of love; and if it uses other parts of human life for the occasions of its art, it does so only cursorily and occasionally, and with a view of throwing into a stronger or more delicate

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