LORD BROUGHAM'S DEFENCE.
Zr is a sad infliction, in these times, to be obliged to waste a thought on Lord BROUGHAM. But the morbid restlessness of the man, and the silly officiousness of those who, one after another, lend themselves to his tricky ways, leaves no choice to the jour- nalist who would be both honest and watchful. Deceit is hateful, delusion is dangerous, at all times, but more especially when a great battle, in which the energies and well-tested confidence of true men will be tasked to the uttermost, is about to be fought. At such a season, doubtful and disorderly characters must be ex- pelled the camp or placed under arrest.
In Mr. EDWARD BULWER'S lively pamphlet on the Present Crisis, a distinction between Lord BROUGHAM and three other *embers of the late Cabinet, his companions at the Edinburgh Dinner, is stated; and the puzzle of BROUGH AM'S character is delicately though not indistinctly touched upon, in this closing passage- " Of the conduct of that remarkable man it is not now necessary to speak ; nor is it by these hasty lines, nor perhaps by so unable a hand, that so intricate a character can be accurately and profoundly analyzed. When the time comes that may restore him to office, it will be the fitting season for shrewder judges than I am to speak firmly and boldly of his merits or his faults. At pre- sent, it is no slight blame to one so long in public life—so eminent and so active —to say that his friends consider him a riddle: if he be misconstrued, whose fault is it but his own? When the Delphic oracle could be interpreted two ways, what wonder that the world grew at last to consider it a cheat!"
The fame of Mr. BULWER'S pamphlet having reached Paris, Lord BROUGHAM could not resist the temptation to filch a
share of the notoriety which one of the most popular writers of the day was gaining. It answered his purpose exceed- ingly well to fasten himself upon Mr. BULWER; the above pas- sage furnished him with a pretence for a long letter in defence of his public conduct; and Mr. BULWER has published it, with com- mendation, in a seventh edition of his pamphlet. In this we deem Mr. BULWER to have been but too obliging : Lord BROUGHAM knows the way to the press without assistance, and lie might have been left to take it alone. As to the commendation, we shall pre- sently see that it was undeserved. If the reader has perused Lord BROUGHAM'S Letter, which is given at full length in a preceding page, with the same typogra- phical distinctions as in the pamphlet, it will probably surprise him, as it startled us, to find Mr. BULNVER calling it a" complete vindication "—an " unequivocal refutation," &c. He proceeds-
" In the same spirit as that which actuates myself, I call upon the public to look reflectively, and with a larger criticism than that of verbal cavil, upon the bearing of the whole Letter ; and to rejoice with me at the unmistakeable decla- rations to be found in its most remarkable passages. Who, at such a time, when we ieek to reconcile differences, even with the most moderate, even with the least distinguished, supporter of our great cause, can suppose, after such a Letter, that we should not welcome to our ranks a man whose declarations are so explicit, whose genius is so eminent—so formidable as an enemy, so powerful as a friend?
"'We are willing,' said that great and liberal statesman who now fills so large a space in public esteem—one who, by representing with energy the sound part of public opinion, delivers us from those who would represent only its excesses —4 We are willing,' said Lord Durham, to make concessions to our friends.' Who will not reecho that sentiment, so generous and so wise? But if Lord Brougham be the friend of Reformers, it can only be from the misconceptions which he now refutes, that be has been considered by any of us the opponent of Lord Durham ; and we may hope that not only the several admirers of these distinguished men, but they themselves, may once more unite on the broad pound of affection for a common cause, and hostility to a conmion foe. Union as the keystone of our present policy ; and when England expects every man to do his duty, it is her greatest men who should set the example. If I have read aright the following Letter—on most questions that can be agitated at present (and why, in such times, unbury the differences of the past)—these eminent statesmen must be agreed ; and if on any they disagree, the disagreement can be reconciled by the maxim of conceding to a friend."
We are quite ready, with Mr. Bunwae, to look at Lord BROUGHAM'S Letter as a whole, and to eschew verbal criticism ; though we must take leave to say, once for all, that so poor a com- position seldom finds its way into the columns of a reputable journal. It strongly resembles some recent articles in the Edin- burgh Review, the Morning Chronicle, and other English and Scotch newspapers, which were inserted out of deference to their parentage. Had their author been powerless, they would have been thrown upon the fire. The matter of the Letter seems to us as indifferent as the com- position. As a defence of Lord BROUGHAM, it is utterly un- availing. The wily Ex-Chancellor chooses to blink the real na- ture of the indictment against him. He is accused, in one word, of Political Immorality. Where shall we find a refutation of this charge—Lord Baotrhnam well knows the particular counts of the indictment—in his Letter?
Let us briefly examine the contents of the document, and see what they amount to.
I. A sneer at the "respectability" of those who have exposed Lis political tracasseries. Of all men, Lord BROUGHAM should be the last to indulge in such a strain. He may blush for some of his own intercourse with the press; but he knows perfectly well that men in every way as respectable as Mr. BULWER, have re eently deemed it their duty, in conversation, in private letters, at public meetings, and in the newspapers, to point out his deviations
from principle, and to guard the public from putting faith in him as a political leader. It is a poor affectation to pretend that his only assailants have been " one or two newspapers," and those not respectable.
2. Lord BROUGHAM avers that he has uniformlyprofessed him- self a lieformer; that he has never uttered a word which could indicate a doubt that all abuses ought to be reformed, and all safe and useful measures of improvement undertaken, &e. There is scarcely a Tory in the laud who will not make the same gene- ral and vague assertion. The Times and the Standard have volunteered it for the Duke Of WELLINSTON; Sir ROBERT PEEL will make it for himself, as soon as he can open his mouth in a new Parliament. Men of all parties have always professed their readiness to amend real abuses. For many years of his public life, Lord BROUGHAM was as much opposed as Sir ROBERT PEEL to a large measure of Parliamentary Reform.
3. There being no description of men, in or out of Parliament, who desire to see vast and complicated measures introduced into the Legislature without due preparation, Lord BROUGHAM'S depre- cation of such precipitancy is a trick of rhetoric, intended to insinuate a falsehood. Unnecessary delay, and the "clipping and compromising of good measures in order to conciliate an enemy who could not be conciliated," has been the real and unanswered charge against Lord BROUGHAM and some of his late colleagues ; but, God knows, it has never been alleged that any of their mea- sures were too deliberately and perfectly prepared—the contrary might be predicated of them all.
4. Lord BROUGHAM claims the exclusive credit of having car- ried the Scotch Burgh Reform Bill. His claim cannot be allowed. Why will this pretender force us to strip him of his stolen decorations one by one? It consists with our own know- ledge—and we can appeal even to leading Edinburgh Whigs, his former friends and partisans, in support of what we assert—that of all the Members of Parliament in either House, who from offi- cial situation or local connexion were naturally led to take a share in the preparation and passing of the Scotch Burgh Reform Bill, Lord BROUGHAM took the least trouble in the matter, and has the smallest claim to any peculiar merit. The measure was prepared by others, carried through the Commons by others, urged upon the Lords by others, and that (unless we have been very grossly misinformed,) in spite of the frowns and coldness of the Chancellor in the first instance, and his merely official and formal support in the last.
5. Lord BROUGHAM challenges any one to point out "any one instance" in which he has opposed "in any manner of way, any practical measure of reform," Sze. We will point out an instance— an atrocious instance—the Warwick Borough Bill. 'Has it escaped his memory ? He has prudently abstained from alluding to it in this Letter; but his conduct in that matter—how he dealt with evidence, law, and constitutional principles—will not soon be effaced from public recollection.
Was not the Justices of the Peace Bill a measure of practical reform ? Was not the Bribery Bill (the Tories are now blessing themselves that it was defeated) another? Was not the Debt Imprisonment Abolition Bill a practical measure of enlightened humanity and much-needed reform? Yet who was the cbief instrument in defeating or cushioning all these measures, but the very man who now dins the country with boastful pretensions to leadership and preeminence in every improvement? 6. He was against Annual Parliaments, Universal Suffrage, and Vote by Ballot; but, with these exceptions, Lord BROUGHAM declares, he has always agreed with the stoutest and most un- sparing Reformers. He should refresh his memory a little. He was not always against even these articles of an exclusive Re- forming creed ; he professed the two most questionable of the three, when he expected to obtain by the profession a seat in Parliament for Westminster—he recanted them all when he sat as the nominee of a Whig lord. And see how trickily, how fraudulently, he slips in the Ballot, together with the two other Radical measures—to prejudice the ignorant and timid against it—though it is quite distinct from them, and heartily supported by men who are opposed to Annual Parliaments and Universal Suffrage. 7. His efforts to abolish the Newspaper Stamp Tax and to amend the Law of Libel. What Lord BROUGHAM may Lave done in regard to these matters, in the Cabinet, we have never heard. After nearly four years' occupancy of a most influential station in the Government, he made a pompous display before the House of Commons Committee : he spoke a great deal about the Newspaper Stamp, but did literally nothing. Now Lord ALTI1ORP, if the House of Commons had not torn up his budget, would have taken off the tax on newspapers : he did something; Lord BROUGHAM has only talked. And as to Libel, be it remembered. that the prosecution of the True Sun was authorized, and, the mode of proceeding by criminal information highly eulogized, by this friend to the freedom of the press. 8. Lord Baotranam disclaims all fondness for public display ! He did "all he possibly could lto avoid those occasions: Indeed! Was he forced to attend the Edinburgh Dinner? Did Earl GREY entreat his presence ? Again, in the South, did Lord RADNOR press him to visit Longford, and spout to the people of Salisbury? Really, this is too ridiculous. 9. After ringing the changes on the falsely-assumed wish aids opponents to see measures brought forward in a crude state, whilst he is always anxious to have them matured, Lord BROUGHAM refers in proof of his zeal for the public good, to his offer to take the post of Chief Baron. But how does it happen that the desire o"enable the suitors in Chancery to avoid all the evils of a double appeal," did not produce fruits when he was in office? Why was not the Vice-Chancellor raised to the Rolls, and the Vice-Chan- cellorship abolished ? How did it happen, too, that he attributed his own and anticipated Lord LYNDHURST'S ability to keep the Chancellor's Court clear, to the able activity of the Vice-Chancellor and the Master of the Rolls, if the office of the former is to be done away with ? The public cannot be blinded in this fashion, although Mr. BULWER has been taken in. But waiving all other considerations, it must be allowed that Lord BROUGHAM'S appli- cation for the Chief Baron's seat, at the time it was made, was indiscreet beyond measure. It was calculated to give the im- pression, especially when coupled with his previous courtship of the Tories, that he, at all events, anticipated the stability of their newly-acquired power. 10. The passage in which Lord BROUGHAM strives to shuffle, at this the eleventh hour, out of the famous expression that "less would be done next session than the last," is a melancholy exhi- bition of the incapacity to comprehend even. his own meaning. He declares that it is " utterly impossible" that he could have said that or " any thing like that." A little further on, he admits that he might have said that " less would be done next year," though he believes he did not ; and then argues, that after such prodigious changes as were made in 1833 and 1834, less must be done! Well, but was there a mistake in the report ?—It is not to be believed. If the report had been faulty in so important a particular, would it not have been disclaimed and set to rights, months ago, in some one of the many articles which the orator has since supplied, directly or indirectly, to the newspapers? Certainly it would. 11. He endeavours to smooth down his eulogy of the Lords at the expense of the Commons. But his words are on record. They were spoken at the close of a session, almost the entire labours of which were rendered nugatory by the obstinate rejection in the Lords of the good measures passed in the Commons,—within a few days, too, of the throwing out of the Irish Tithe Bill. Was that the time to eulogize the blessing of Hereditary Legislation, and to sneer at the blunders of the National Representatives ?
12. He refers to his life of continued sacrifice (with the excep- tion of four years) of his interest to his principles as a Reformer and friend of liberty. This is a specious delusion. All men do not love money beyond every thing. Fame, or rather notoriety, we believe to be Lord BROUGHAM'S ruling passion ; and that he gained in the greatest quantity by being the Leader of the Oppo- sition in the Commons—the post in which the nature of his en- dowments and tastes fitted him to shine. He is now bitterly aware, as he told the Scotch Members last session, that he is in a false position in the Lords; that he never should have left the Lower House, and that to unnoble him would be to confer on him the greatest favour. Whatever sacrifices Lord BROUGHAM may have made, he has been repaid for them in the coin he most values, and which he selected himself. Neither has he been altogether reckless of his fortunes : lie received some fifty or sixty thousand pounds sterling for his four years' possession of office and patronage, and he enjoys a pension of five thousand pounds a year for life. Having now gone through every point of consequence in Lord BROUGHAM'S defence, we ask Mr. BULWER, if there is any thing in the Letter with which he was not perfectly familiar before he wrote his pamphlet and called Lord BROUGHAM a riddle—an oracle whose double responses made him suspected for a cheat? We will venture to say that Mr. BULWER has not acquired a single new idea from the letter ; which is a mere rifacimento of what has already appeared in the Chronicle, the Globe, the Scots- man, and the Edinburgh Review. Lord BROUGHAm's conduct and character remain just what they were before—certainly not improved by this his latest apology. We are as unwilling as Mr. BULWER to create divisions in the Reform ranks : we are doing our utmost to produce union among
Reformers, by keeping those at a distance whose meddling must
sow dissension and cause distrust. Lord BROUGHAM cannot be admitted to our councils ; for they who believe him to be honest,
cannot think him discreet. Whether it be from mental infirmity,
or want of sound principle, it is certain that Lord BROUGHAM is not to be relied on. Therefore it is only creating divisions in our
ranks to give him a command in the army. Having been rejected
by our opponents, he is now courting the Radicals. Even Mr. HUME, whom he has sneered at and insulted, not once but often,
he now condescends to epistolize and court. These artifices must not avail him. Ile may he used as a guerilla, but not allowed to enter the council-chamber. To make him a confidant—to give
him the prospect or the hope of oflice—is to destroy his remaining means of usefulness, and put the Reformers in the power of an unsteady, restless, and timeserving rhetorician, whose best facul- ties are on the wane. This is a melancholy conclusion to arrive At, but we cannot avoid it.
This is a public, not a personal question. It is a question of principle, not of men. There is no personal quarrel between
Lords BROUGHAM and DURHAM; but there is a marked, manifest
distinction between the principles which regulate their public conduct. It is impossible that they should ever act cordially to-
gether; and ill-advised are they who attempt to force a connexion. It would be a serious damage to Lord DURHAM'S usefulness were he and Lord BROUGHAM believed to take council together. Far wiser would it be at this important juncture, when union, confi- dence, and the utmost energy will be requited to enable us to resist the common foe, to drop Lord BROUGHAM and VAUX. "Ephraim is given to idols, let him alone."
Finally, it has been urged that whatever Lord BROUGHAM'S past conduct may have been, the declarations he has now made are unmistakeable—let the past therefore be forgotten and forgiven. But this is impossible. The past cannot be forgotten, however convenient such oblivion would be to men of sullied character. Hardly in private, certainly not in public life, is it safe to forget. What would the Duke and Sir ROBERT PEEL ask more than for- getfulness? Why do we now distrust them ? Because their past conduct has rendered them unworthy of a nation's confidence, be their present professions ever so conciliatory, their accents ever so oily.