16 FEBRUARY 1850, Page 15


ONE of our most distinguished fellow citizens is, we understand, to be speedily advanced to the honours and dignity of the Peerage, by the title of Baron Overstone. The road by .which Mr. Samuel Tones Loyd will have arrived at this dignity is one which is sel- dom travelled,—namely, that of individual merit. It is indeed probable that the vast wealth of which he is reputed to be the possessor, counts for much in the calculations of those by whom he has been invited to assume the coronet ; but we believe that the personal qualities of the eminent ex-banker, his accurate know- ledge of some of the most difficult subjects which the Legislature is called upon to consider, coupled with a rare talent for lucid and condensed exposition of his views, have supplied still more weighty motives for placing him in the House of Lords. The acquisition, by the party in possession of office, of a recruit of so valuable a quality, is matter of congratulation !to all their friends, whilst the country may well regard with satisfaction the presence in Parlia- ment of a man of large possessions, combining talent of no com- mon order with a sincere love of progress, and a sound apprecia- tion of the public interests.

For many years past, the friends of Mr. Loyd have regretted that the sphere of his influence should be so limited, and that the confidence felt in his sagacious counsels should be shared by those alone to-whom his society was accessible. But to the House of Commons he was little suited. He regarded that assembly as one in which a man's capacity to be of service to the public was more than counterbalanced by the extreme annoyance to which the li- cence permitted there to personal attacks subjects him ; especially after the period of youth is past, and the habit of self-respect has become comparatively sensitive.

In the Upper House, to do it justice, more attention is given to expository speeches ; a greater decorum prevails ; and, what is of WE more value to an advocate of farsighted principles in any walk of legislation, the speaker is unfettered by the control of con- stituents. And here, in fact, lies the important distinction be- tween the debates in the respective Chambers. The standard by which a Member of the House of Commons adjusts his discourse is necessarily kept down to the quality which suits his supporters in the borough or county he represents. That of a Peer needs to be adjusted by no considerations except such as belong to his theme, unless perhaps we admit party motives as likely to influence his arguments. From party motives, however, the new Peer will probably derive but slender inspiration ; althoug.h doubtless his in- clinations will lead him to put out his strength, when occasion and conscience concur, in favour of the Whig Government.

The reasons in support of a double chamber of legislation would seem to be sustained by the experience of recent Continental events. If, in truth, we hold by the old song, " Crabbed age and youth cannot live together," and farther, if mature age and property are to be allowed their fair proportion of influence in the national councils, then must an Upper House be maintained for its exer- cise. For since the changes in the Lower House, brought about by the infusion of a class somewhat addicted to infringe upon po- lite rules and customs, it cannot be disguised that the well-bred and more instructed section of that body feel themselves unequally yoked ; whilst their taste is offended, and their health impaired, by a profitless attendance in a heterogeneous assembly, of which the greater number are indifferent to the real merits of the questions debated before them.

Viewed under this aspect, therefore, the present House of Com- mons would seem to retain its attraction for gentlemen of large stake in the country, chiefly as offering the means of maintaining their political influence, and as a step towards the Upper House. And it is creditable to the Government to have waived this cus- tomary probation in the case of Mr. Tones Loyd. To have be- stowed the character of a legislator for life upon an independent and unpolitical commoner, of the commercial class, falls in with the temper of the times, and is likely to give general satisfaction out of doors.