Ns. TOPICS OF THE DAY.
THE KING'S HEALTH.
THE raembers of the National Union, at their dinner at the Eyre Arms, on Monday, turned down their glasses when the King's lealth was proposed by the Chairman ; and, instead of the usual anthem of " God save the King," the band struck up "Rule, Bri- tannia,"—amidst the cheers of the entire company, says the report. The person who acts as Secretary of the Union—its only salaried .officer, we believe—afterwards made some remarks on the conduct of the King, from which, in our opinion, good taste, to say nothing of justice, might have taught him to abstain. The secretary of a society is always understood to be retained as the society's counsel and instructor ; his duty is to explain rules and to state facts. He sins against the purpose of his appointment when he indulges in furious partisanship, and busies himself in getting up speeches instead of attending to his books. The conduct of the band, and the elaborated warmth of Mr. DETROSIER, indicate that the recep- tion of the toast was calculated; and indeed it had been stated in some of the journals, that the Council were determined that the toast should not be given. We do not mean to question their right, any more than we question the right of Mr. JOHN IRVING to visit Clithero ; but we must be allowed to regret its exercise.
The National Union is national in no other sense than as its sentiments may be supposed to be in unison with those of the pub- lic. The entire constituency of the seventy-two gentlemen who sit in weekly conclave at the Saville Rooms in Leicester Square, .did not, at their appointment, amount to one twentieth part of the number of the electors of Westminster. As a business machine, the Union is nearly useless ; it does not possess the materials of even a respectable spouting club. Once, and once only, it was found of value. It offered a rallying-point for the friends of Re- form during the Ministerial interregnum ; and as such, it saved them the time that must otherwise have been occupied in the formation of a society for the defence of their rights. A society whose hold on the public is so slender—whose institution is of yesterday — whose leaders are, with two or three exceptions, wholly unknown and uninfluential—whose number, never large, was only swelled to something of consequence by an accident, no- thing similar to which can ever happen again—a society which has no deed to boast of, ought to be careful how it runs counter to the-general sympathy and good sense of the public. We do not question, we repeat, the right of such a society to refuse drinking the King's health ; we would merely have them know, if they imagine that the feeling which originated such a slight is by any means generally the feeling of the Reformers of England, they are most egregiously mistaken.
We are as firm friends to Reform, we believe, as the most zeal-
ous of the Union or its Council, and we are as little disposed to the idle flattery of kings or men in power as the most cynical amongst its supporters; yet we deem it fitting to give honour to whom honour is due, and gratitude to whom gratitude; and among the entire list of the Kings of Englund, there is not one whose claims to honour and gratitude rank so high as those of WILLIAM the Fourth. We should like exceedingly to learn, from those persons who talk lightly of the King's conduct respecting the Reform Bill, how they would have set about obtaining the Bill without his con- currence? There had been a demand for Reform for many a day previous to the 27th November 1830, and what had been the re suit? How many rotten boroughs had it abolished, how many sound boroughs created? We shall not assert that, by a revolu- tion, the people could not have procured a reform much more ex- tended than even the Bill has given them ; but admitting, for ar- gument's sake, Revolution to be a desirable precursor of Reform, what chances were there of a revolution if the King had set his face against Reform ? The King did not merely concur, he went zealously and heartily along with his Ministers. Had his admission of the Whigs to power been of the compulsory and reluctant nature of his father's admission of them in 1806, how easily might he have got rid of them again! Who will confidently assert, that if Parliament had not been dissolved on General GASCOYNE'S motion, the Re- form Bill might not have been quietly shelved for years? Who, with Berkshire and Dorsetshire before his eyes, will venture to assert that a dissolution at the usual period would of necessity have swelled the ranks of Reform in the House of Commons?
. But the King refused to create Peers. He did ; and we lamented, nay blamed, the inconsistency of willing an end, yet withholding the most efficient means. But is the King the only person in his dominions, who, on a point of" doubtful disputation," is forbidden to form a judgment for himself? Did he abandon Reform, while he hesitated as to the best mode of carrying it? Did he not, on the contrary, make it a condition on which any future Minister was to receive power?
Mr. DETROSIER said, at the meeting on Monday, that the King's
consulting with Lord LYNDHURST was an insult to the nation. Mr. DETROSIER'S very ignorant remark was an insult to the Eyre Arms dinner-party. The King consulted Lord LYNDHURST as the leader of the Peers who had outvoted Earl GREY, in the expec- tation that, as their leader, he was prepared with a Cabinet to succeed that which he had defeated. The consultation was a mere matter-of-course proceeding, in which the King had no dis- cretionary power. The King proved his sincerity even more fully in taking back his old than in imposing conditions on his intended Ministers. We give all weight to the display made and meditated at that period ; we are willing to admit that the return of Earl GREY to office was its necessary consequence. But grant it to have been so, how will the admission affect the King ? Is it an im- putation against him that he was ready to act in subservience to the People's declared will ? This would be indeed a droll sort of charge, and yet it is a charge that has been made. We owe nothing to the King for recalling Earl GREY, we have been told ; it was the voice of the People that prevailed over the King's wishes ;—as though it were possible to define a constitu- tional Monarch otherwise than as one to whom the voice of the People was a law !
We are told, that if the King were a true friend to Reform in England, he would not have permitted his Hanoverian Minister to give his adherence to the Frankfort resolutions. The concurrence of the King in the resolutions of Frankfort was not a personal act ; he did in that case what his Ministers in Hanover advised, in the same way as, in assenting to the Reform Bill, he did; what his Mi- nisters in England advised,—with this special difference, that the Reform Bill had been long and earnestly discussed by the People of England, and he was in consequence perfectly aware of its na- ture; and the Frankfort resolutions had not been discussed at all, and he was compelled to take his information respecting them en- tirely from his Hanoverian Ministers.
We wish sincerely that Hanover, during the few years that it will remain united to England, may be governed wisely and li- berally, and in accordance with Hanoverian notions of wisdom and liberality ; but we cannot see why, because that Hanover has not received what it has not yet asked, we, who have asked and have received, should be dissatisfied.