London, 4th February 1852.
Sut—Akis ! the days of chivalry are indeed gone ! Could the ancestors of the Stanley-a, the Russells, and the Greys, have imagined that the time would ever arrive when their descendants should rise in Parliament, and, from fear of offending a foreign despot, reprove the generous and truthful expression of the sentiments of the great mass of the nation respecting the recent events in France ?—that they, who, from position, tradition, and pre- tension of nobility, should be the first to uphold honour and denounce treachery, should so far forget their mission as the representatives of a tra- ditional nobility, the basis of which is honour, as to censure the public press, and, through it, the people of this country whose opinion it represents, for its honest denunciation of fraud and villany ? Who could imagine that " the Rupert of debate," he who, at least among his own class, has acquired the reputation of being, par excellence, the chivalric Peer of our day, should in the same speech, at the opening of Parliament, denounce the honest boldness of the press in upholding truth and justice, and lament over the tendency of the people to depreciate the landed aristocracy. ? Who depreciates the landed aristocracy? Is it the people, who expect to find in it the chief defenders of honour, truth, and justice ; or those members of it who can bring themselves not only to slur over acts deserving the reprobation of all honest men, but even to adulate and accept the hospitality of any speculator and adventurer, upon the sole condition that his adventure be on a large scale and successful ? Is there no other rule of right and honour with our landed aristocracy than success ? and do they imagine themselves justified in such case in offering the hand of friendship and the word of approval to the temporary favourite of Fortune, whether he be a Hudson or a Bo- naparte? Lord Derby may rest assured, that no ancient aristocracy ever yet lost its influence from an unmerited unpopularity, but always from its own misdeeds and its forgetfulnesss of the principles upon which its influence was based ; honour' truth, and justice in its acts, and boldness in defending the same at all hazards. The French aristocracy did not fall in consequence of the attacks of the philosophers. Its own conduct was the cause and jus- tification of those attacks; and it fell from its own corruption. Who would wish to see it resuscitated ? If ever our nobility should become equally cor- rupt, which I fear it would soon do were it not for the warnings of the press, it would fall likewise, and would find as few to regret it. Let it look to it- self; for as soon as the public sense of honour and morality shall become superior to that of the aristocracy, its death-knell will have sounded: a time I hope, far distant; but a time that can be foreseen in the present aristocra- tic disposition to slur over villany, and to condemn the public press for being more bold and honest than itself.