TICE SPIRIT OF MONUMENTS.
UNDER cover of justifying the monument to the Duke of Cam- bridge the Morning Post decries the monument to Sir Robert Peel ; virtually attempting a reply to our passing remark on the rationale of monuments ; but habitual bias, we think, has made our earnest contemporary miss the question. The purpose of the Cambridge monument—which we did question, not as bad in,Itself, but as redundant—is expressed in these lines : " AcJident placed the Duke of Cambridge, as a Prince of the Blood Royal, before the eyes of England ; and although it is his rank which singles him out from other benefactors of their kind, every one will understand how it is that his monument will express, not the reverence of a nation for the acci- dent of rank and birth, but for that goodness and charity which were the most prominent characteristics of his life. The moral which is embodied in ouch a monument, is plain and simple enough ; it is the precept, Do good
ante all men.' " But what, asks the Post, is the lesson to be taught by the mar- ble which records the name of Sir Robert Feel?—
" The statue of Nelson speaks for itself: no Engliahman's blood but thrills Within him when he sees the visible memorial of one whose glory is Eng- land's, telling at once of death met in her cause and of her gratitude to those who thus die. The more doubtful renown which attends such a name as Hampden's is at the same time equally intelligible : the man who contem- plates the bust of Hampden in the gallery of the Reform Club is at once conscious of the idea intended to be conveyed; he waives the ambiguous pre- tensions of the man and accepts the marble eau as a symbol of stout re- sistance to unconstitutional authority. Bid the reputation of Sir Robert Peel can neither base itself on personal greatness like that of Nelson, nor =Ake representation of a political idea like that of Hainpden.....His was not a career of bold resistance to an ephemeral cry or a popular madness, for which succeeding times might thank him. His whole life was one of concession and submission to a niajorit,y."
It is not the success which Peel commanded that suggests the recorded homage to his name—though some national gratitude is due to the strength of will that could grasp advantages which others talked about it is not the ability of the man in council : it is his thorough patriotic devotion. Among public men of our day, there is not one that has thrown himself and. all his life—in its youth. in its Sewer, in that maturity of years which might have claimed a dignified. repose—so thoroughly into the service of his country. Say that he was rich, and could afford it the better : the fact remains, also the fact that riches usually incline men to indolent luxury. Say that he was ambitions, and preferred dis- tinction. to luxury : still the fact remains, that his ambition was to serve his country—not to amass "honours" for himself, since those he steadily derlined. Say that he took pride in success : it was not his own personal success, since he sacrificed that in twice breaking up the party which had elevated kim and only desired to continue the exaltation ; but he made it in order that it might purchase a success for his country. It is said that his life was "'one of concession to a majority " : he did not concede in the sense of' fear pr truckling; but with a man of strictly concrete understanding, bite Peel, the formation of the majority was the practical test of riness in a public opinion.. We learn by-the undoubted evidence of Mumer Ward's Diary, how
early Peel foresaw the advance of public opinion and the de- mocratic tendencies of the age—foresaw without fear or aversion : his refusal of "honours," his attention to productive industry,. his consultation of the broad public voice, are unmistakeable signs that he also foresaw the further advance ; and even his allusiens to some of the most speculative opinions in publie ‘affitirs, such as Socialistic ideas, indicated an indisposition to meddle with prema- ture conclusions, rather than a blind dislike of y conclusions whatever. Peel knew himself—no unimportant
m's knowledge—and with a proud modesty he sof a states-
claimed preeminence in the inventive or ratiocina stages soi public activity. He took up questions when they assumed the con- crete form of the practical and practicable he was strictly an executive legislator, and he did not depart from his own branch of action. To him a " majority " was a necessary element in the materials of calculating the practical and practicable.
But if he consulted the majority of the nation, he did resist that. majority which is far more formidable to weaker men—the majority- of those who habitually surrounded him in political life—his per- sonal friends and private connexions. Without arrogantly or coldly disregarding the loss of personal esteem—the kind heart and sensitive nature that lurked under that collected aspect and deter- mined bearing were discovered late in his life ; without dogmati- cally assuming the infallible " right" to be on his own side ; with- out overrating the service that he rendered—how distinct and em- phatic was his recognition of those who had preceded him, like the Vail Grey and Charles 'Villiers, or even the strictly popular politicians Daniel O'Connell and Richard Cobden,—he set him- self manfully to do the work that lay before him, deterred by no personal sacrifice, by no threats, no trouble, no irksomeness, no reproaches of motives or consistency, no apparently incorrigible misapprehension ; but, in the teeth of all that might have kept back such a man as he was supposed and described to be, debarred! from half his desired reward by that misapprehension, led on solely by the will to do for his country that thing which could be done for it, he made himself the most efficient instrument of his county's advance that we have possessed in our day. That devo- tion will the monument record in the name of a conscious nation...