7 FEBRUARY 1846, Page 1


'THERE has now been time to observe the reception of Sir Robert Peel's measure by the country. It has been met, however, by no rational demonstration—by no well-pronounced declaration on the part of the people ; and the signs of the prevalent opinions have to be gathered from Various quarters, in manifestations particular as well as general, official as well as popular.

Though it has of course provoked alarm and dissent, even among those nearest to the Minister in political connexion, the desertion of persons in connexion with the Ministry has not gone on—it seems to have stopped where it was last week ; and it cannot be said to have removed any important members of the Government.

To retain their official places, however, some have been obliged to relinquish their Parliamentary seats. Lord Jocelyn, for in- stance, remains at the Board of Control, but resigns the repre- sentation of Lynn ; Lord Arthur Lennox adheres to the Ordnance, but abandons Chichester ; Sir Thomas Fremantle receives a per- manent appointment, it is surmised as Chairman of the Board of Customs, but he certainly gives up the borough of Buckingham. There appears to be no destitution of recruits for the new Con- servative section of Free-traders. The vacancy left by Lord Hardwicke has been filled by Lord Glenlyon the actual chief of the great Scotch house of Atholl. Earl Talbot, Earl Bathurst, and other Peers, Sir Charles Coote, Mr. Hope Johnstone, and other influential Commoners, are understood to have given in their adhesion to the Premier's policy.

There have also been Parliamentary resignations and 'elections not official ; and they afford varying but not uncheering signs of the predominant feeling. Certain conscientious Members, mindful of pledges in favour of Protection, express or implied, have referred the matter to their constituents"; but they have done so in very different fashions. In North Staffordshire, Mr. Watts Russell has met the electors face to face, declared his conversion to FreeTradeprinciples, announced that he shall vote for them, and promised to resign if called upon. Lord Ashley has resigned his seat for Dorsetshire, as Mr. Dawnay had resigned his for Rutland, in order to stand the test of a new election. Mr. Sturt has followed his colleague. Mr. Townshend Mainwaring has done the same by the Denbigh- shire boroughs. Mr. Charteris and Mr. Wilson Patten have formally - announced their conversion to the electors of East Gloucestershire and North Lancashire, and have offered to resign if called upon. Lord Henniker has given up East Suffolk. Lord John Manners's attempt to reconcile incompatibilities' by voting, for the remainder of the present Parliament, against Free Trade and his own matured convictions, was mentioned last week. The final result of these resignations, in the shape of new elections, is not yet known ; but some elections there have been. Midhurst, vacated by Sir Horace Seymour, a Peel Free-trader, is filled by the Honourable Spencer Horatio Walpole, a high Pro- tectionist; East Sussex, vacated by Mr. Darby, a waverer, has elected Mr. Charles Hay Frewen, also a high Protectionist, though rather obscure in his pledges on the point. The largest constitu- ency in England, that of West Yorkshire, has once more returned Lord Morpeth to the House of Commons, in place of Mr. John Stuart Wortley, now Lord Wharncliffe, who was elected as a Protectionist in 1841. But the triumph of Free Trade in the West Riding is not confined to the election of a new Member : Mr. Ferrand had been doing his best to rouse the spirit of Protection in the county, and he successively provided two can didates,—Mr. Edwin Lascelles, who preferred to be elected for Lord De Grey's quiet borough of Ripon, (the mild good sense of Mrs. Lawrence no longer ruling the independent electors,) and Mr. George Lane Fox, who proved an invalid, unable to stand the excitement of the hustings or the labours of the House. Meanwhile, Mr. Ferrand had effectually roused aggressive rather than Protective spirits, having infected numerous meetings with the contagion of his own excited. temperament ; insomuch that his Pro-Corn-law-Anti-Poor- law High-Tory-Anti-Peel agitation became a series of "rows)' It is no wonder that Mr. Fox's- medical advisers thought it pru- dent to keep him away from Mr. Ferrand's company and incidents. The upshot was, that the Pro-Corn-law agitation became an affair of medical police ; the delirious Ferrand became at once the object of desertion and the sole champion of Protection i• and at last he evaded—the sport of his own futile fussiness and of uni- versal derision. The West Riding, therefore, has been the scene of a most signal discomfiture for Protection : it has returned the Member whom, on Protective grounds, it set aside in 1841, and has sent him to Parliament authorized to support if not to extend Sir Robert Peel's measure of free trade. If some of the smaller con- stituencies that have just been called upon to exercise their func- thms remain where they were on the question,—which is not ex- actly certain,—the great constituency in West Yorkshire has faro- nounced its conversion. We have in that fact a remarkable proof that constituencies as well as representatives have come round to the Peel policy. The Protectionists have not failed to attempt more direct de- mbnstrations against the new measure; but success has been very partial. Some few meetings have been held; but they have been just of the same sort with those that were held before the meeting of Parliament : even the foolish speeches were of the identical Tyrell pattern. On the other hand, although the avowed ad- herents of the League make a show of striving to force a more Complete or at least a more " immediate " measure of free trade from Sir Robert Peel, various provincial bodies, Liberal and Conservative, have emphatipally declared their support of it. If there has been no enthusiastic and unqualified manifestation for it by "the country," the opposition to it proves to be disjointed and petty in the extreme.