TOPICS OF THE DAY.
VARIOUS READINGS OF LORD DURHAM'S LETTER TO MR. BOWLBY.
NOT liking to be quite unfashionable, as " the DURHAM policy" is at present and as " Reform " itself is becoming, we are fain to notice Lord DURHAM'S letter to Mr. BOWLBY, which has been the topic of the week.* This manifesto,if so it may be termed, is susceptible of various readings or interpretations. We have col- lected several, for the edification of such of our readers as may not always see the daily papers ; and to these we shall add some which have occurred to ourselves.
The Times says- " Certainly, looking at these two striking rebukes of the Ministers and their Radical and Papist cliques, we may almost claim Lord Durham as one of the Conservatives. There are, indeed, other passages in the letter not quite so in- telligible. But perhaps it is only reasonable to infer from those sentences which are perfectly plain, the scope and object of others which are involved in a more diplomatic diction. Assuming this mode of interpreta- tion to be correct, the whole address becomes a model of Conservative wisdom. If, however, the meaning of the less perspicuous passages be different from that of the sentences about which there can be no mistake, we beg Lord Durham to favour us with a supplementary letter of explanation. Meantime, we con- fidently hops that our view is correct, and join him most cordially in his ' wish to rally as large a portion of the British people as possible around the existing institutions of the country—the Throne, Lords, Commons, and the Established Church.' Yes, we repeat, Let the nation rally round the Throne, Lords, Commons, and the Established Church.'" The Morning Post has no reserve in its agreement with Lord DURHAM- " We say ditto to Lord Durham. We have a suspicion that this is not the way that Lord Durham always answered Radical invitations to a display of his political opinions, but we have no objection to any man changing for the better. We beg leave to felicitate the Earl of Durham upon the Conservatism of his letter to Mr. Bowlby ; and we assure him that it is not often our good fortune to find the political sentiments which we ourselves hold more neatly expressed.', The Standard, without even the shadow of a sneer, claims Lord DURHAM as a true Conservative of the PEEL school- " The Earl of Durham has addressed a letter to the electors afire Northern division of that county from which he takes his title, which we could wish to see in the hands of every elector in the empire; so sound are the political principles which it inculcates, so prudent and seasonable the advice which it
offers upon questions of general politics." * *
" Let, we say, Lord Durham s address be read for its principles, rejecting what must be assigned to an unfavourable prejudice on one side and a too fa- vourable prejudice on the other, and it is an excellent Conservative address ; such an address, we affirm once more, as Sir Robert Peel might safely pro- nounce without compromising one principle that he has ever professed, or con- tradicting one act of his life." • • • I " As Lord Stanley, the Duke of Richmond, Earl Grey, Earl Ripon, and .Sir James Graham, fell out of the ranks of the 5Iovement, at one stage, so the
Earl of Durham steps aside from the Destructive, in another." * * "Men of sense, conscience, and honour, will, like Lord Stanley and Lord Durham, exert themselves to repress the march, as the final peril becomes visible; and if they fail, as fail they must, in arresting the progress of the stupid and corrupt, they will step aside, and sooner or later fall, one by one, into the body of Conservatives. This is their fate, which they may not resist —this is the fate which we predict for Lord Durham ; though, perhaps, at this moment, his Lordship is so little prepared for it, that be will read our pro.
phecy, if lie read it at all, v. ith some sense of indignation." * * * "There will be a Conservative majority in the next House of Commons— there will be a Conservative Cabinet in Downing Street before the termination of 1837. Wherever the Protestant feeling has been applied to, (the chord that ought to be struck everywhere,) the appeal has been answered by triumphant approbation. To use Lord Durham's words—' The People rally round the existing institutions of the country, the Throne, Lords, Commons, and Esta- blished-Church.'
" There will be a Conservative Cabinet before the commencement of the next year ; and may we not hope that Lord Durham will give to his Royal Mistress the advantage of his character, experience, and energy as a member of that Cabinet? The time when it was innocent for public men to deceive themselves, and to deceive the public with undefined prejudices and unmeaning names, has long gone by. Parties can no longer exist among us, except in the communion of definite principles; and we defy Lord Durham to point out a single political principle in his address upon which Sir R. Peel has not, by anticipation, declared himself, and acted as far as he was permitted to act."
Retul as a profession of Conservatism, Lord DURHAM'S letter to Mr. BOWLBY is a very good joke ; which, at this time of political apathy, is a very good thing. Those whose principles have been The same as Lord Duals/saes, and who have respected the man on account of his steady adherence to his principles, will be in- clined to favour this reading—to regard the latter to Mr. BOWLBY as an excellent joke. A practical joke it may indeed be termed, seeing that it has completely imposed upon the Tories, who make use of this Conservative epistle as a weapon of attack upon the Destructive Lord MELBOURNE, and are indebted for arguments in their own favour to one who always was, still is, and ever will be their implacable foe. Read as a sign of the times, Lord DURHAM'S letter to Mr. BOWLBY confirms the view which we have recently taken of the sinking, or rather sunken, Tory-favouring state of political feel- ing in this country. Lord DURHAM seems to have caught the general infection—writing so that you can hardly tall what his
politics are, discarding all distinctions of principle and even of
party, and showing, we think, that he agrees with us in perceiv- ing that the time is near at hand for the reality of " not men, but
measures." He says, indeed, that " this is not a moment when
supineness or apathy can be tolerated ;" yet it' supineness or apathy had not been already the fashion, Lord DURHAM'S letter
would have gone far to make it so. Nor is the tone of political feeling so low but that it will sink still lower in consequence of a
• Lord urn tux's Letter will be found in the Election news, under the head rDucham," at page 651. manifesto from Lord DURHAM which induces the Tories to claim him as their own. But we are sure that Lord DURHAM had no such purpose in view : the fashion of supineness or apathy we, set before he reached England ; and if it be confirmed by hie adoption of it, the fault is not with him, but with those who me. naged during his absence to bring about a state of things under which clearly-defined and earnest politics would be ridiculous. st Read as a bidding for a seat in the Cabinet, Lord Duausa's letter to Mr. &mune will, we suspect, prove a failure. There are men in the Cabinet who have no love either for him or for his (now latent) principles. They will not believe, with the 51- Standard, in his declarations of attachment to " the Lords" and " the Established Church." In order to conciliate them so far U to be admitted into their company, he must bid again. What: At the very least, he must promise that he will give no trouble or annoyance to a do-nothing Government. But this promise a met of Lord DURHAM'S opinions and high spirit could not perform, even if he could make it. He cannot qualify for a seat is Mere-Whig Cabinet. His time is not yet come : all who, like us, have respected and admired him, must wish that he load waited for it in silence.