16 OCTOBER 1841, Page 15


SOME new Plutarch, in the Quarterly Review, has been running a parallel between our Sir ROBERT PEEL and WILLIAM PITT the younger. The similarity seems scarcely so strong as that which honest Fluellen detected between Monmouth and Macedon ; though there is this common resemblance, that " Peel and Pitt," like " Macedon and Monmouth," both begin with a letter. The writer in the Quarterly says- " Compare Sir Robert Peel with his great parallel, Mr. Pitt, in some of the most important measures of their lives : you will find a stronk analogy, and the same principle adapting itself to different circumstances. Mr. Pitt began life by proposing Parliamentary Reform ; he ended its most determined oppo- nent. lie at one time advocated the Romish claims; he subsequently resisted them. Sir Robert Peel began life by resisting the Romish claims ; he subse- quently conceded them. He strongly deprecated Parliamentary Reform ; he now frankly acquiesces in it." In other words, they have both gone over the same ground, with this difference, that they have been marching in diametrically oppo- site directions : they are both converts, with this difference, that if the one was converted from vice to virtue, the other must have been converted from virtue to vice. The parallel might be fol- lowed up in the words of the Negress, when the clergyman who was christening her children remarked that they were very like each other—"Iss, massa, em bevy like ; 'tic'larly Pompey." But the Quarterly Review proceeds— "Does. any thinking man who has witnessed, or will posterity when it comes to review, the transactions of the last half century, charge either of these great men with dishonest self-seeking inconsistency ? Will they not rather con- sider these features in either career as the highest proofs of moral courage? "

Possibly they may : but still the question remains, whether the principles with which PITT began and PEEL is assumed to have ended, or the principles with which PEEL began and PITT ended, are to be preferred. For any thing that appears to the contrary, the writer in the Quarterly Review is of opinion that it is of little importance which set of principles a statesmen takes for his guidance, provided he can show that in the course of his career he has given up the one and taken to the other. Entire change of' opinion, in whatever direction, is what it would seem makes the statesman. Looking back upon the career of the public men of our day, it strikes us that on these terms a jolly company of candidates well qualified for statesmanship might easily be mustered.