NEWS OF THE WEEK.
LITTLE has been done in public this week. The announcements of preparatives for the opening session and the transfer of power have ceased for the time. In Ireland alone has there been any political action, and that is of no great mark. The want of facts to set forth has tasked the writers who are summoned daily before the public to seek out matter for speculation ; but there is mostly that unreal look about it which belongs to the writings of those who must " say something," yet do not know exactly what it will most benefit their party to say, or what will have the best chance of fitting the event. That which possesses the most solidity is an able discourse on the Irish policy of the future Cabinet, which the Times has added to its series of papers developing the new Con- servative system. Circumstances it shows, have materially altered since Sir ROBERT PEEL made his oft-repeated admission of the "difficulty with Ireland " ; be has now secured a large majority in the House of Commons, who will not refuse, or grant with hostile reluctance, the means of enforcing his measures. 'While, there- fore, no needless provocation will be given to tire sensitive people, Bir ROBERT PEEL will be able to set a limit to the organized op position which will be excited, against him, and to restrain that re- Sistance at least within the bounds of decoriim and the law. So far the calculation is no doubt just ; but it seems scarcely to make sufficient account of one or two incidents to the difficulty, which no mere accession of Parliamentary power can sum- marily remove. For example, the Irish Liberals will no longer be engaged in fighting on the side of Government, in making diversions in its favour, or superseding more earnest war- fare by a sham resistance; but will be truly and earnestly in oppo- sition. The English people, jealous of freedom," are always more ready to take part with the opponents of Government; and that sympathy which Mr. O'CONNELL'S extravagancies and incon- sistencies have alienated, will be much more readily restored when his party are thrown into a real oppugnancy. Again, it is possible, as Mr. O'CONNELL seems to have proved lately at Carlow, to work the Irish people into a state of' ungovernable excitement, without committing the exciter to unlawful language: Government, there- fore, might possibly have to deal with a hostile multitude and yet find no ringleaders whom the law could touch. Now, numbers are of all things and in all cases the most difficult for the statesman to dispose of safely. There may be much empty boasting in Mr. O'Cornisee's computation of the millions at his back with whom he is to oppose PEEL; but let even one million get into their heads the notion that they are bound to resist to extremity, and the task of the English statesman would be rendered nearly hopeless. No adequate measure of coercion could be devised that would not arouse every feeling and passion in England which it is essential to Conservative policy to keep in abeyance. There is another and yet more important light in which the same point may be viewed : however willing, Mr. O'CONNELL may not be the most efficient agent in increasing Sir ROBERT'S " difficulty with Ireland." His worst difficulty is conditional upon the conduct of some among his own party. To what course does he reckon upon compelling the Orangemen ? Not indeed that we have the boundless dread of the Anti-Papist monster that many entertain ; but the question is essential to a complete estimate of Sir ROBERT'S task. It is true, that we are too apt to apply nicknames to parties on account of some common characteristic, and then, by an inverse process, to set up an ideal personation of the thing implied by the nickname, and represent to ourselves all who hear it as having no other attri- butes or feelings. Call a man an " Orangeman," and we are straightway disposed to picture him as one who does nothing but drink " the immortal memory" and eject tenants; panting for the time when, instead of being shot at by Catholics who escape by favour of popular conspiracy, he may shoot Catholics with im- punity by favour of Government connivance. Such an idealism is fitter for the novelist than the political reasoner. Besides, it is one of the things which does most credit to the Whigs, that they have
replaced the troops that used to keep Ireland in subjection with a clumsy force, by an efficient police, with which the succeeding Ministers will be able to keep equal order whether it be menaced by Orangemen or Repealers. Individual defiance of the law, there- fore, is an obsolete offence. The Tory Magistrates of Carlow have just shown how they appreciate the police force, by contenting them- selves with a demand of " twenty-five" additional men, in order to restore tranquillity in their " disorganized" county. Suppose, however, that the Tories do not break the law, but are the occasion of others breaking it : it is just possible that the return of their party to power may be understood by many of the more violent as a return of their own ascendancy in each locality ; that, in- toxicated by a reflected triumph, they may revert to the old in- solences, if not to the old practices, and that it' they can no longer oppress, they may exasperate. The difficulty which would thus
arise to the chief of the party would then be the most embarrassing that he-could have to encounter : he would be reduced to the alter- native of applying a very unexpected coercion to his own adherents, or of bearing the odium, fatal to him on this side the Channel, of their misdeeds. A hundred hot-headed Orangemen unfortu- nately strewed about the country, if once they got the bit between their teeth, would do Sir ROBERT PEEL more mischief than all O'CONNELL and his millions can threaten. The alliance which Mr. O'CONNELL now offers between the Repealers of Ireland and the "Further Reformers" of England, with very little show of hope, would at once be concluded. The moral to be deduced from these considerations is essential to the success of the new Govern- ment : the moderate course. which is indicated for their policy must be pursued in Ireland in its 'most rigid temperance ; but they must go beyond that. In Ireland, far more than in England or Scotland, it is necessary to avoid official partisanship. Among its ardent people, partisanships are not only more vehement, but, being so, each is more suspicious of the motives of the rest, and more ready to construe every act into hostility. Partisans cannot be trusted with power, nor is it respected in their hands. It must therefore be with- held fmn_them. Men should be sought, if they are to be found, who have not been eager in party strife ; of high private cbaiacter, and of firmness sufficient' to enforce the law against all parties, and most of all to enforce discretion upon the most sanguine Of the Government party. If Mr. O'CoN.NELL and his clerical coad- jutors are to be prevented from playing with rebellion and foreign invasion, as spoiled children play with tire in angry sport, so neither must a shadow of' excuse be given for O'CONNELL'S rei- terated prophecy, that the ministers of the law will be selected for their party keenness ; nor must an instant's impunity await the provocation to violence as the excuse for retaliation. And it must be borne in mind, that there is one standing grievance, which im- parts force even to the hackneyed cry of " justice to Ireland "— the Church, which is maintained for the minority at the expense of the majority. That grievance Sir ROBERT PEEL cannot remove ; but while justice dictates, policy requires, the utmost forbearance and judgment in dealing with even the petulancies of a people who have still that gross wrong to allege. The extent of Sir ROBERT'S difficulty with Ireland will depend upon his own earliest acts in that country. Moderation he has promised generally ; energy is expected of him ; but neither moderation nor energy in his own conduct will suffice in Ireland : his instruments must be properly chosen. The law must be firmly administered towards all ; and it must be placed above suspicion. The fantastic extravagancies and pretences of Irish party war must be met by solid realities : whatever of statecraft may pass in England, in Ireland the thing wanted is honest reality. The very process which has rendered the phantoms of Irish politics distasteful and tiresome to the English public, and deadened its sympathy, has left it use to be more critical in the matter than governments have ever yet found it. The wants, the dangers, and the difficulties of Ireland, are few, elementary, and palpable : the success or failure of their treatment will be glaring : Ireland will therefore constitute, not only a grave charge to the statesman, but the readiest test of his fitness for the juncture. How much has been tolerated in the Whigs, because of their comparative success in Ireland!—so much the more will be expected of their successors.