TOPICS OF THE DAY.
Tim change has come about by almost imperceptible llegreeg, but Confo*amity is at end. The false colours which the Tories
hoisted while last in power, they have now fairly thrown away. Then they were " Reformers of all proved abuses;" at present they are mere Tories. The Tamworth manifesto seems to be en- tirely forgotten, as the policy of last year's speech at Merchant Tailors' Hall is altogether abandoned. Even the plausible leader, who was fetched from Rome to become a professor of Reform, has
resumed the tone of the " good old times." If Sir WILLIAM CURTIS and Lord CASTLEREAGH should reappear, they might con- sistently join the Tories of this present day. Open and deter-
mined opposition to whatever savours of Reform ; no surrender of any abuse, however great or small; defiance of the enemy ; ex - citirg appeals to the prejudices and passions of friends, with union, activity, confidence, and resolution in defending the old bat- tered fortress of corruption ;—these are the present characteristics of the now revived Tory party. Can it be believed that so remarkable a change has taken place by accident? that it is not the result of design ? that it has no aim ? Surely not : and a little reflection will show the reasonable- ness, for Tory purposes, of the new Tory policy. .
The Tories have always been consistent in their oluects. When chargeable with inconsistency, it has been as respects means only. The object of every one of them," from the King to the Constable," is to enjoy the utmost degree of irresponsible power. Thoroughly beaten in the great Reform struggle of 1831-2, they would pro- bably, as the most knowing of them predicted at the time, have become extinct as a party, if the Whigs had honestly and steadily used Reform of Parliament as a means to the ends for which that revolution took place. Toty hopes revived upon Lord GREY'S juste milieu unpopularity. At length, the Whigs (Lord MEL- BouRrvx's first Cabinet bearing much of the unpopularity of the GREY-STANLEY Administration) became dismissable. Then was Conformity invented, through fear lest an avowed Tory Govern- ment should be impracticable. Conformity has been tried, and has failed. It was almost sure to fail, because it was not calculated either to excite the ardour of friends or to soften the animosity of enemies. Earnest men of no party — neither thoroughgoing Tories nor thoroughgoing Reformers— could heartily support a Conforming Government : therefore, the Tamwortlemanifesto ex- periment completely failed. A mere repetition of that experiment would be idle. If the Whigs should be dismissed again, we shall have (for how long, is another question) a pure Tory Government. A pure Tory Government would be hardly more disliked by Re- formers than a Conforming pne; while it would have the strenu- ous support of the whole Tory party. The plan of a pure Tory Government is indicated by the present Tory tactics. Sir ROBERT PEEL, by giving the temporary lead to LYNDHURST surrounded by Tory Lords, has made way for circumstances under which the Tory party throughout the country act like one man, and like a man, too, who is moved by strong excitement to the attainment of a single object. In politics as in war, confidence is half way to victory. The new policy of the Tory leaders—their abandonment of the humbug of conformity, their open resumption of the old principles of Toryism—has roused the entire party to a pitch of confidence and energy of which there has been no example since the time when Lord LIVERPOOL began to conform with an "open question" Cabinet. If the ordinary means of success—union, enthusiasm, activity, resolution, and perseverance—are to have effect in this case, we shall once more be governed by the Tories. But if so, it will be because the Tories are no longer Conformers, but Tories. A Tory victory may be hard to gain; but it is at least more probable than ever. Upon reflection, therefore, the design of the new Tory policy becomes abundantly plain. The new Tory policy is the best policy for the Tories, as honesty is always the best policy. This will be fully seen at the next gene- ral election.
°ice telexing that the best policy for the Tories is that which is most calculated to stimulate the party, their recent particular acts will appear to be the result of design, quite as much as their general course. In their opposition to the great Refoim measure (or rather proposal) of this session, they seem not to have been actuated by their undoubted attachment to Orange corporations; they have gone out of their way in order to adopt a plan which had been deliberately rejected by the Reformers in the Commons. Defiance of the Reforming majority in the Commons ; insult to Reforming Leland; a complete stoppage of Reforming legisla- tion.; proof that the present Reforming Government cannot effect a single measure of Reform; these have been the immediate objects of the Tory party ; these are some of the means by which they expect to gain their ultimate end. And the expectation is not unreasonable. It is a bold game to play ; but, in polities, boldness is said to be the first quality. They have raised the question of Peerage Reform; but since they really mean to fight, this is as good ground to fight upon as any other. By having raised the question of organic change in the Legislature, they may draw over to their side many who object to all further organic change. Referring to speeches made by Lord JOHN RUSSELL and Mr. SPRING RICE, the Tories may now call upon those members of the Cabinet to "take a line" against further organic change. They may tell Mr. SPRING Rica, that if, as he said lately," the two Houses of Parliament are coequal and coordinate." the Tories, supported by a very large minority in one House, and a very large majority in the other, have a better right to office than the Whigs, who are only supported by a small majority in one House. By raising the question of Peerage Reform, they have done that which was best of all suited to embarrass Ministers. By thus forcing Ministers either to rely upon popular support, or to lose it, they take the chance of a split between the Whigs and the Radicals. By reducing the Reform measures of the Cabinet to mere prelim:al: for rejection by the Lords, they place Ministers in the odious light of holding office for nothing but pay and patron- age, and thus pave the way for their dismissal. Finally, by stop- ing all legislative goveintuent —by bringing matters to extremity —by showing that it is now or never for the Tory party—by putting forth the whole strength of their large minority in one House and large majority in the other, and of their entire influence with the Crown—they stimulate their party to the utmost exertion by purse and person, at the same time placing the Reform party of Whigs and Radicals in a state of doubt and hesitation, if not of disunion and dejection. Such men as LYNDHURST and PEEL seldom act without a motive. Does not this view of Tory tactics explain their recent conduct? Accordingly, the Tories and their organs of the press court a motion in the Commons for Reform of the Lords, and exult over those embarrassments of the 1%. higs which must result from the new policy of the Tories. The Times of Thursday says- ', What next ? A message to the llonse of Lords, requesting that their Lordships will be pleased to abstain henceforth front the discharge of any legis- lative or judicial functions, save only such of them as shall have been elected by the above-mentioned 51. rabble, or any other rabble made into a constituency for that especial purpose, but without the sanction of an act of Patliameot, and solely by virtue of a House of Commons' vote! " The Lords, if they condescend to answer, will be apt to so, like hiR Majesty, by the monosyllable No.' They will I. Pt 0hy i. . e
done heretofore, in the regular and lawful discharge of their duties. Will the Commons detty their right ? Will the Commons, existing under the monarchical constitution, resist the exercise of that right by the Peers as created or summoned for right hundred years by Virtue of the Royal preroga- tive? We apprehend not. Then the King refuses—the Peers refuse—three hundred Conservatives in the House of Commons refuse, to annihilate the House
of Lords, as a legislative body. deriving its existence from the Crown, and its functions front the law of Parliament and the unwritten as well as written law of England. What next? The revolutionary section of the House of Com- mons, gaining, by some accident, a temporary majority in that body, proceed to vote their own resolutions into laws. But who will obey such laws ? The people of England ? There is not a town even of the newly-manufactured corporations which would not order such treasonable and rebellious documents to be burnt by the common hangman. There is not a hot ough, however con- temptible, that would not send to the tread-mill any servant or commissioner of the usurping faction who should dare to promulgate their decrees as laws of the realm.
" Let our friends of the Radical side of the House be assured, that in its last and worst days the Long Parliament was not more detested, nor the Barebones
Parliament more despised, than would be any division or proportion, however
large, of the existing or any other House of Commons, for an attempt to de- prive the laws and liberties of England oldie guardianship exercised over them
both by the hereditary Peerage of the empire. Low and mean tyrants, when
they have the additional grace of being usurpers, are intolerable in the eyes of Englishmen. But we did not mean to talk gravely about this wretched device
of one who wants only courage to be a rebel. The House of Lords will flourish, 'great and free,' long after the crimes of this mischievous brawler shall have been obliterated from public recollection.
"Should he ever venture to realize this mountebank demonstration against the legislative authority of the Peerage, he will bring the valour and wisdom of official Whiggery to one other test. Lord John has pledged himself to an
ostensible resistance. We recommend all capable observers to watch the words of the maneuvering leader of the House of Commons on this occasion,
and his subsequent proceedings connected with it. We shall be attentive to the phrases, full of puling dissatisfaction with the House of Lords, by which the Whig leader attempts to mollify O'Connell's rage at the Ministerial opposition to his attack upon their Lordships, and shall keep a shrewd watch upon that abuse of patronage by which the Home Secretary's journeyman, Lord Mul- grave, will be afterwards directed to bribe the Agitator into a forgiveness of the insult. Let the matter end as it may, the Ministerial clique, with its int.V.• orable master, have plenty of work cut outfie them."
This .tone of defiance and exultation now pervades the Tory party. They calculate—and not without reason, it would appear— that events will take the followino. course. The session closes; all the MELBOURNE proposals of Reform having been insultingly rejected by the Lords. The Whigs, continuing in office, retire to the country for relaxation, and for the purpose of preparing more proposals of Reform for rejection by the Lords. The manner, however, of the Lords in rejecting Reform proposals this session, has convinced all but the Whigs, that without Peerage Reform there will be no other. It wilr appear, therefore, that the Whigs are uselessly occupied ; that their labour in preparing Reform proposals might just as well be spared;—unless, indeed, as the Examiner and the Courier suggest, it be desirable that they should serve as tools* of the Radicals for promoting Peerage Re- form, which they dislike, by taking time to render the Lords more odious. In either case, those who think that the Lords are suf- ficiently odious—the great majority of Reformers—will despise the Whigs for remaining in office without a prospect, to any eyes but their own, of effecting a single measure of Reform—without so much as a plan, good, bad, or indifferent, for carrying into execu- tion those liberal principles of legislation which form their only claim to the support of Reformers. The Whig pear will then be ripe for the Tories. So long as the country hopes much from Lord MELBOURNE, he cannot be dismissed with any advantage to the Tories. The Tories know this : they repent of having brought about the former dismissal "prematurely," as they say,— • A Tom is not, as the Ezrtininer says, one who semes to a bad end, but one who serves loan cud, whether good or bad, which he does nut will. that is, before the MELBOURNE Ministry had become as unpopular as that of Lord GREY. They "bide their time." The fitting time will be when the country has become satisfied that the W higs want the will or the capacity to proceed with Reform legislation. Some Radicals and Whigs (the Examiner and the Courier, for example) urge the Whig Cabinet to prove this, so that there may be no sort of doubt about it. by preparing more good proposals for rejection by the Lords. Well, be it so ; but what next ? Will the Whigs conclude by propcsing to reform the Lords ? Certainly not, says the Examiner; for "they are Whigs and not Radicals." It fol- lows that the present Whig-Radical union must be dissolved. This is the first object of the Tories. By their new policy of "no surrender,"—by defying and insulting the Commons,—by raising the practical question of Peerage Reform,—they force the Whigs into a position under which the latter, remaining Whigs and not becoming Radicals, must lose the support of the Radicals. Once deserted by the Radicals, the Whigs may be dismissed with ease, never to be recalled. A general election, the Tories being in office, and without union between the Whigs and the Radicals, would probably give a Tory majority in the Commons. What would happen afterwards, is quite another question. Let the pre- sent Tory tactics be watched; and it will be seen that they have been well devised for breaking up the Whig-Radical union, destroying the Whigs as a party, and obtaining, though but for a time, a Tory majority in the whole Legislature.