6 JUNE 1840, Page 14



Friend. A pretty tirade against the Radicals you are keeping up ! Why, let me ask you, what are you? Aren't you a Radical, pray ? Don't you write yourself down a Radical ? Writer. A Radical, I hope, in the proper sense of the word. But away with words ; words are wind and nothing more : leave such winds to your burly orators with the tough bellows that never tire of blowing. But let us have things. Never ask "What are you?" for that ends in a word ; but "What du you ?" for then he you interrogate must come to facts, which will better enable you to know what he is than any one word—Whig, Radical, &e. You may chance to gather whether he does any thing or nothing— whether he has any aim or object in politics at all, (for many have none, though often amongst the loudest and apparently most inte- rested disputers)—whether he jobs—or whether, finally, he chiefly sleeps, pairs, and Bellatnizes : in fact, if you know what a man does, you can have no hesitation in answering for yourself what he is, and can reply at once, " Humbug," " Sneak," " Jobber," " Stupid ass "—agreeably to evidence. It is much better, there- fore, to know what a man does, than what he calls himself or says he is.

Friend. Well, then, without troubling you to say what you are, let me ask you what you are doing ? It seems to some people that you are doing your best to disgrace a party, whose section in Parliament, however certain individuals in it may have forfeited by their actions the public confidence, offers the only legitimate source from which you can expect at any time to derive or to force legis- lative assistance of the sort you require. Or say that that party is disgraced already well-nigh irredeemably, then I should say that you are doing your utmost to put a bad fire out instead of seeking to restore it.

Writer. It never was found that dust and ashes were good either to make or mend a fire. If I rake them out with an unsparing hand, it is not for you to assume that I wish to put out the fire : if the fire is so bad as you say it is, it will revive all the likelier for the rubbish being cleared away. But who says the fire is out ? Friend. Why you.

Writer. Never! Sir, the fire of' Radicalism can never go out. Understand me—when I say Radicalism, I use that word in its pure and original sense. You will allow me to do so? Friend. Certainly.

Writer. Then, Sir, let me tell you that Radicalism describes nothing less than that great intellectual sun, as yet unseen in form, but imagined in the lustre of its early beams, which has, one cannot say how long, been growing and labouring up from our horizois amidst the gross obstruction of the old light, the mists on mists of ignorance and bigotry, that ever curl unevolvablc, undis- persable, round every new light of the world, as though they sought to enwrap its head to all eternity, that no man might at any time see it lest harm should come thereof. I speak of nothing less than that great intellectual sun, whose morning rays, shooting through all prevention, have raised in some minds terror, in others joy and hope, in all, one would say, some serious attention. I have known those, indeed—great masters, as I take it, of affecta- tion—who have wished you to understand they saw nothing of all this; no rays ; no light ; who have made a vow to ignore every thing about this our new-risen sun, and, by a ridiculous conse- quence, while the light is increasing every minute in their eyes, are compelled to go on saying it is as dark as usual. But under a manner so forced there always lurks the deprecated conviction, working the stronger for denial.

In fact, it may be confidently stated that the great and steady light of a new sera is by this time manifest to every living soul amongst us, after whatever fashion some may take upon themselves to grace the recognition. Whether you apply the test to the so- cial, the moral, or the political world, the result is the same— Change is there working its way to some end unknown. Over the end we are powerless, but not over the progress or the operations of Change. It is in our power to check violence, to create a good understanding—to oil the wheels of the Movement ; and it is the imperative duty of all who call themselves Radicals to exert them- selves in this way, inasmuch as their politics are in a great mea- sure responsible for the events and pluenoniena of the time ; and, for the same reason, they are the more deeply interested in seeing them come to good and safe issues.

Radicalism may be called the America of politics—a mighty half-explored land—uninviting enough to the snug inhabitants of the Old World, but to the tbr-seeing eye of the philosopher a miracle of coming power and greatness. It is not safe to sneer at Radicalism. If Radicalism is an evil, it is a growing one. Tory- ism and Whiggery, it should be remembered, are old—have borne offspring—are now even, in every sense, past bearing : but Radi- calism is young—let us wait a little to see what offspring it will bear us. Radicalism—which is the result of the yoke of the upper classes bearing on the shoulders of the people, perhaps with un- usual weight at a moment when they had begun to shrug them a little, and to be sensible that they were rather sore already—this Radicalism, I say, thus begun in hatred and discord, has proceeded in no corresponding manner : it has gone on with a well-tempered force, gathering strength from moderation, and owing nothing to violence.

Friend. Let us hope that it will end, consistently, iu peace and reunion.

/ Writer. It will, my friend, beyond all doubt, though neither you nor I should be here to witness it.