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agree to support the same institutions; they might set forth, in a Conservative creed, the same form of sound words: but, though the abstract conclusions were identical, the mode of holding them to borrow a subtlety of Father Newman's-was exceedingly different. The refined, discriminating, timorous immobility of the aristocracy was distinct from the coarse, dogmatic, keep-downishness of the manufacturer. Yet more marked was the contrast, when the opposite tendencies of temperament had produced, as they soon could not but do, a diversity of opinion. The case was not quite new in England. Mr. Burke spoke of the tendency of the first East Indians to Jacobinism. They could not, he said, bear that their present importance should have no proportion to their recently-acquired riches. No extravagant fortunes have, in this century, been made by English men in India ; but Lancashire has been a California. Families have been created there, whose names we all know, which we think of when we mention wealth ; some of which are now, by lapse of time, passing into the hereditary caste of recognised opulence. This, however, has been a work of time : and, before it occurred, there was no such intermediate class between the new wealth and the old. It takes, it is said that Sir Robert Peel observed, three generations to make a gentleman. In the mean time, there was an inevitable misunderstanding; the new cloth was too coarse for the old. Besides this, many actual institutions offended the eyes of the middle class. The state of the law was opposed both to their prejudices and interests : that you could only recover your debts by spending more than the debt, was hard ; and the injury was aggravated, the money was spent in 'special pleading'
- in putting a plain thing so as to perplex and mislead a plain man.' Lord Eldon and the Court of Chancery,' as Sydney Smith expressed it, sat heavy on mankind.' The existence of slavery in our colonies, strongly supported by a strong aristocratic and parliamentary influence, offended the principles of middle-class Christianity, and the natural sentiments of simple men. The cruelty of the penal law—the punishing with death sheep-stealing and shop-lifting-jarred the humanity of that second order of English society, which, from their habits of reading and non-reading, may be called, par excellence, the scriptural classes. The routine harshness of a not very wise executive did not mitigate the feeling. The modus operandi of Government appeared coarse and oppressive.
We seemed to pay, too, a good deal for what we did not like. At the close of the war, the ten per cent. income-tax was of course heavily oppressive. The public expenditure was beyond argument lavish ; and it was spent in pensions, sinecures (them idlers' in the speech of Lancashire), and a mass of sundries, that an economical man of business will scarcely admit to be necessary, and that even now, after countless prunings, produce periodically • financial reform associations, administrative leagues, and other combinations which amply testify the enmity of thrifty efficiency to large figures and muddling management. There had remained from the eighteenth century a tradition of corruption, an impression that direct pecuniary malversation pervaded the public offices;
an idea true in the days of Rigby or Bubb Dodington, but which, like many other impressions, continued to exist many years after the facts in which it originated had passed away. Government, in the hands of such a man as Lord Liverpool, was very different from Government in the hands of Sir Robert Walpole: respectability was exacted : of actual money-taking there was hardly any. Still, especially among inferior officials, there was something to shock modern purity. The size of jobs was large : if the Treasury of that time could be revived, it would be depressed at the littleness of whatever is perpetrated in modern administration. There were petty abuses, too, in the country-in municipalities—in charitable trusts--in all outlying public moneys, which seemed to the offended man of business, who saw them with his own eyes, evident instances confirming his notion of the malpractices of Downing Street. There are only five little boys in the school of Richester; they may cost 2001., and the income is 2,0001., and the trustees don't account for the balance; which is the way things are done in England : we keep an aristocracy,' &c. The whole of this feeling concentrated into a detestation of rotten boroughs. The very name was enough: that Lord Devour, with two patent sinecures in the Exchequer and a good total for assisting in nothing at the Audit Office, should return two members for one house, while Birmingham, where they made buttons,—as good buttons as there are in the world, Sir,'—returned no members at all, was an evident indication that Reform was necessary. Mr. Canning was an eloquent man; but even he could not
say that a decaying stump was the people. Gatton and Old Sarum became unpopular. The source of power seemed absurd, and the use of power was tainted. Side by side with the incipient Chartism of the Northern operative, there was growing daily more distinct and clear the Manchester philosophy, which has since expressed itself in the Anti-corn-law League, and which, for good and evil, is now an element so potent in our national life. Both creeds were forms of discontent. And the counterpoise was wanting. The English constitution has provided that there shall always be one estate raised above the storms of passion and controversy, which all parties may respect and honour. The King is to be loved. But this theory requires, for a real efficiency, that the throne be filled by such a person as can be loved. In those times it was otherwise. The nominal possessor of the crown was a very old man, whom an incurable malady had long sequestered from earthly things. The actual possessor of the royal authority was a voluptuary of overgrown person, now too old for healthy pleasure, and half-sickened himself at the corrupt pursuits in which, nevertheless, he indulged perpetually. His domestic vices bad become disgracefully public. Whatever might be the truth about Queen Caroline, no one could say she had been well treated. There was no loyalty on which suffering workers, or an angry middle class, could repose: all through the realm there was a miscellaneous agitation, a vague and wandering discontent.
The official mind of the time was troubled. We have a record of its speculations in the life of Lord Sidmouth,
who more than any one perhaps embodied it. He had been Speaker, and was much inclined to remedy the discontent of the middle classes by “naming them to the House. A more conscientious man perhaps has never filled a public position. If the forms of the House of Commons had been intuitively binding, no one could have obeyed them better : the 'mace' was a counsel of perfection' to him; all disorder hateful. In the Home Office it was the same. The Luddites were people who would not obey the Speaker. Constituted authority must be enforced. The claims of a suffering multitude were not so much neglected as unappreciated. A certain illiberality, as we should now speak, pervades the whole kind of thought. The most striking feature is an indisposition, which by long indulgence has become an inability, . to comprehend another person's view, to put oneself in another's mental place, to think what he thinks, to conceive what he inevitably is. Lord Sidmouth referred to the file. He found that Mr. Pitt had put down disaffection by severe
Accordingly, he suspended the Habeas-Corpus Act, passed six Acts, commended a Peterloo massacre, not with conscious unfeelingness, but from an absorbed officiality, from a knowledge that this was what “the department' had done before, and an inference that this must be done again. As for the reforming ideas of the middle classes, red tape had never tied up such notions: perhaps it was the French Revolution over again : you could not tolerate them.
Between such a dominant mind as this, and such a subject mind as has been described, there was a daily