MR. COOKE'S HISTORY OF PARTY.
CONSIDERING the Whigs as a kind of tamed down race, that, Phcenix fashion, rose from the ashes of the fearless and uncom-
promising promoters of the Great Rebellion, Mr. COOKE com-
mences his History of Party with a brief view of the first years succeeding the Restoration ; and sketches the characters of the
leading members of the Country Party, as they were then called, in contradistinction to that of the Court. He then proceeds to the Cabal Ministry; the opposition to which first gave form and name, he thinks, to the Whigs ; as the Exclusion Bill, proposing to exclude JAMES from the Crown, almost immediately afterwards gave rise to the Tories, who stood boldly up for the doA ine of the divine right and non-responsibility of kings. Having thus duly laid the foundations, he proceeds with his Histoty of Party, or rather with a civil history of England, till the death of Queen
ANNE; dwelling upon the Popish and Rye-house plots ; minutely examining their evidence ; and concluding, that, however monstrous
and absurd the former might be, the Whigs really believed its truth ; whereas theRye House Plot was a conspiracy, got up—like the SID- MOUTH and OLIVER doings of our days, with a little truth and a vast deal of falsehood—by the King, courtiers, and Crown lawyers, to destroy their opponents. Next follow in their order, the tem- porary success of this precious scheme, in the total overthrow and dispiriting of the Whigs ; the death of CHARLES; the suc-
cession of JAMES; the early suspicion of the more conscientious Tory Protestants; the mad directness of the King in the pur-
suit of his objects ; the example of resistance set by the Church and Universities, so lately the advocates of passive obedience, when only the property, liberties, and lives of the laity were at stake ; and at last the glorious Revolution. Then come the party struggles
for power and place—we can hardly bring ourselves to write for principles—during the reigns of W 1LLIAM and ANNE, till the two
dramatic scenes that closed the life of ANNE; in the first of which, BOLINGBROKE and Oxsoan quarrelled at the Council without restraint or decency, till the Queen was driven from the board by illness, anxiety, and the language that OXFORD in his
rage addressed to herself; in the second, BOLINGBROKE, appa- rently lord of the ascendant, though uneasy at the distance and reserve of SHREWSBURY, was startled by the sudden apparition of
SOMERSET and ARGYLL at the Council, who came by a bold stroke to take the reins out of his hands, dictate to the dying Queen, secure the accession of the House of Hanover, and very shortly afterwards hunt forth BOLINGBROKE as an exile and attaint him as a traitor.
In point of power, Mr. COOKE is not an author of the first class, either as a narrative or philosophical historian. He wants genius to animate, acumen to penetrate the latent, and grasp of mind to comprehend the whole. But he is an industrious if not always a critical reader; and an agreeable writer, although dif- fuse in his style, and, as he owns, Whiggish in his views,—a feel- ing which leads him to put the worst construction on the doings of the opposite party, and the best upon those of his own. Of a work yet unfinished it might be rash to pronounce a judg- ment as to the results which the author will achieve. So far as we can at present determine, we suspect it will only be a readable narrative of party proceedings, not a philosophical estimate of the parties. To speak figuratively, we shall not have the essential oils of Whiggery and Toryism, but be put off' with a made-up posy of desiccated flowers, which, however tastefully arranged and moistened and scented, have neither the strength of a che- mical extract nor the freshness and bloom of nature.
But although we have not as yet gained any new illumination from the History of Party, going over its pages has con- firmed foregone conclusions, and steadied us in opinions di- rectly the reverse of Mr. COOKE'S. He evidently thinks the Tories have no fixed principles of party action, whilst the Whigs are as unmoved as Fate or as consistent as the laws of the material world. Now we differ on both points. It is true that, at the outset of their career, the Tories maintained the doctrine Sir ROBERT FILMER may be said to have embodied, that monarchy was of divine institution, that a King was the Lord's anointed, and could do no wrong, and was therefore entitled to the obedience of his sub- jects even unto death ; whereas this opinion is now as it were trans- ferred to the Constitution, which is held by modern Conservatives to be as sacred as the monarch of old. But all these are mere formal phrases—terms to please the uppermost for the time being—an external doctrine to impose upon the vulgar. The principle of Toryism is ever varying, never changing ; its esoteric doctrine is to take care of " number one." We have seen in our times how beautifully and effectively this flexible principle was acted Upon; how solemn pledges, party principles, avowed convic- tions, and public character, were thrown away is nothing in comparison with carrying on and keeping the Government, and touching the profits thereof. It was the same at the outset. The body of the Tories were averse to the STUART 1 connexion with Louis; for they feared French gold would render the King independent of themselves, and that the Church of Rome might supersede the Church of England, and then farewell to the emoluments of bishops, priests, and deacons; so, in despite of non-resistance declarations, they voted against the Court. When JAMES succeeded to CHARLES, they went along with him, as they had done with his brother, in most of his attacks upon civil liberty ; for they shared the spoils of his tyranny, and presumed upon the patience of the people. When he attached religion, they slunk away ; not that they were religious, but they knew the people were ; and the coming crisis was so obvious, that even the coarse and unprincipled KIRK could insult JAMES by his silly and impudent jest about the' Emperor of Morocco. A few years be- fore, the Church and Universities had solemnly declared that the doctrince of resistance. was contrary to Scripture, tended to per- turb states, and was productive of Atheism. The fanatic Monarch merely touched the privileges and profits of the Church ; and it became a church militant indeed, but in another than a divine sense. Is this spirit changed ? Seek an answer in the meek watchword of the Milesian saints, "keep your powder dry."
But whatever the Tories may be, the Whigs seem to us quite as inconsistent in the maintenance of their avowed theories, whilst they have no secret dispensing power which can be turned to practical account. The old original Whigs opposed the Scriptu- ral argument of FILMER. touching the divine appointment of kings, inasmuch as God instituted judges to govern his chosen people, and was vexed when the Jews demanded a king. They held the doctrines that LOCKE subsequently reduced to shape, in the second part of his Essay on Government,—that civil society is a matter of compact ; that the people are to be ruled for their own benefit, not for that of their rulers ; that kings, or any other depositaries of power, are liable for its abuse, and obnoxious to punishment ; that man is naturally free, and has certain rights which are inalienable; that any collection of men may establish that mode of government which seems most calculated for their interests, and change it if found to be inconvenient. In compli- ance with the,:e doctrines, the old Whigs of the seventeenth cen- tury corresponded with the French Court against the plans of CHARLES and his Ministers; and some of them at least talked rebellion. They sent JAMES adrift, forfeited his crown, and to all intents and purposes attainted him ; they twice interfered in chan- ging the succession, and did a good many other things of a Radi- cal nature. What is the conduct of the pure Whigs of the nine- teenth century ; who, we are assured, maintain the consistency of their creed? In their cups, they toast the sovereignty of the People : when their Dutch courage has evaporated, they stickle for the sovereignty of the Peers. The pure original Whigs risked, nay suffered, the penalties of treason, and boldly changed the frame
of government and modified its constitution, for greater convenience, by the influence of "force and arms." Their timorous and unworthy successors clutch all place and profit for themselves, and call upon the People to fight their battles at the risk of loss or ruin, whilst they refuse them the protection of the Ballot, which they de- mand, or even the toleration of measures which they earnestly de- sire as convenient. The primitive Whigs passed the Triennial Act, as a corner-stone of freedom. With a pretender to the crown and a rebellion on their hands, the next generation suspended it ; for they thought, or said, that forms must give way to the safe and the convenient in things. Our present race of Whiglings, oppose the restoration of this corner- stone, because, forsooth, it is an organic change. The contem- poraries of RUSSELL and of SosrEas opposed the doctrine of the Church, braved the rabid fury of Churchmen, and called into being the arms of the law to wield against them, when England
was fanatically church. Lord JonN, and his petit ?mitres, truckle to the Bishops, when a tithe-war is waging in Ireland—
when England is abounding in indifference, or in dissent moving to action—and when even sanctimonious Scotland is equally divided on the question of Voluntaryism or Endowment. "Look
on this picture and on this," and the likeness of the modern Whig- lings to the primitive Whigs will be found a " counterfeit pre- sentment."