NEWS OF THE WEEK.
IN another place, we have considered the historical argument for a creation of Peers. The great importance of the subject—the pressing nature of the emergency—the necessity of doing, what must be done, quickly—are a sufficient excuse for pressing it here also. It is unnecessary for us to make any profession of respect for Earl GREY. We cannot for a moment suppose that the friend- ship or the enmity of an humble journalist could disturb his equa- nimity. It is on the weight of our argument alone that we rely, when we approach the First Lord of the Treasury with the voice of warning, and, we think, of truth.
• The Reform Bill is to be read a third time in the Commons on Monday ; before our next publication, it will have reached the bar of the Lords ; in a few. days-after, its first great trial—the second readina—will be over; in a few days more, the second and more eventful trial—the Committee—will have begun. What guarantee has the Nation that it will pass through either ordeal ? But, above all, what guarantee has the Nation, which for so many weary months has wished and wrestled for its fulfilment, with a zeal that no disappointment has sufficed to slacken, that it will pass
unscathed through the second ? •
We believe that the Premier is as good a man as ever presided over the Treasury of England,—that he is honest in purpose and steadfast in resolve. But it is in his very nobleness of nature that our fears have their spring. Were he imbued with the spirit of his opponents, he would be better able to guard against their wiles. Can we forget the last attempt to press Reform on the reluctant Peers ? Can we imagine that Earl GREY foresaw its re- jection by so formidable a majority ? Did not the unsuspiciousness of his nature deceive him then, and may it not deceive him now ? From how many of his former opponents has he a written acknow- ledgment of adherence? Is there any bond but that on which he or we ought to rely ?
WE MUST HAVE THE WHOLE BILL. We say this from no pecu- liar liking to particular towns. We care not whether Gateshead or Toxteth Park, whether Whitby or Croydon, send members to Parlia- ment, provided the members sent be freely chosen. But we object to any change, however slight in appearance, when urged by men whose only object is from the precedent of one concession to de- mand another. To those who oppose all Reform, and to those equally who would oppose it if they durst, not so much as the " little dot above an i" in the detail of the measure ought to be yielded. Whatever be their plausibility of pretence, their pur- pose is not to mend, but to mar ; the Bill is only to be bet- tered, in their estimation, by being made worse ; all their alter- ations, however insignificant, are pressed with that view, and with no other. • Is it possible, without a creation—a large creation—for Earl GREy to maintain his ground against the, insidious attacks of the .enemyi.to whiCh he must, in the Committee,. be every day and !very him- subjected, and where none of that sufferance is to be looked for by which victory, in the general engagement, is expected -to be won ?.
We have shown in the historical argument, that, conformably to the most unquestioned precedents, Earl GREY has a right to create Peers with a view to the support of his Ministry, even were there no question of Reform at stake ; but how is the right to such a creation strengthened, and its propriety enforced, by the consideration of that great crisis on which the Nation now
touches! Can it be, that two hundred men, however great in rank or renown, will be allowed to put down the King, the Ministers, the Commons, and the People of England ? They might perchance venture to beard the Sovereign, or the Cabinet, or the Commons, or all three, and still hope for impunity : but have they well considered the power and the brilammability of the fourth tremendotis element in the unprecedented combination with which they have now to grapple ? Dare they venture to beard the People ? Could an act so desperately foolish as well as wicked be expected ter
pass in silence? Is there not the strongest reason to anticipate from. a second rejection of Reform, some fearful convulsion, which shall sweep away for ever the feeble barrier which is sought to be erected against the will of an entire Nation ? For the sake of the Lords themselves—for the preservation of that order to which he
is naturally attached—ought not Earl GREY to make such a bold, and open, and early display of his power, as will effectually crush opposition to a measure which MUST be carried—or there is no peace for these kingdoms?
That in order to produce such a unity of sentiment between the two Houses of Parliament, as will permit the public business of the country to be carried on, a virtual reconstruction of the Upper House is required, no one can doubt who looks to its late votes, or
who has attended ever so slightly to the history of the last fifty years, and considered the principles. of the successive Ministers that have ruled the country during that time. If an earnest desire to make the Reform Bill final and satisfactory led to an extent of
disfranchisement and of enfranchisement, which in a temporary measure would have been uncalled for,—so, by strict analogy, if Earl GREY wish to make the reform of the Lords final and satis- factory, he must not stint the means in his hands. • Nor need it be feared that the addition even of a hundred Peers will incon-
veniently augment the number of the Peerage. At this moment, as will be seen from the subjoined table, there are 37 Peers, at whose death as many will be permanently abstracted from the House, and 45 who on dying leave but one inheriter of their honours:-
And why may not the eldest sons of Liberal Peers take their seats by the side of their fathers, as well as the eldest sons of Tory Peers?
Will the Earl of SURREY discredit the benches that bear the Baron
PRUDHOE ? Is the blood of the HOWARDS less pure than that of the SMITH SONS ? But grant that the number of the Lords
were increased—largely increased—what then? Is it a band of needy or obscure individuals which we would have Earl GREY send up? No—we would swell the list of Peers, we would not swell thelist of Pensioners. The men whom the Premier will have to select, and which the Nation is prepared to approve, are such as will bring an accession of wealth and honour and intelligence to the Upper House : they will be the People's Peers, not merely because they are the advocates of popular rights, but because they are men whom the People as well as the King delight to honour.