Page images
PDF
[merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

The present crisis is, beyond all question, the most important that has occurred in this country since the passing of the Reform Bill. The reaction which the more thoughtful of the Conservative party fondly anticipated during the transport of " the Bill,the whole Bill, and nothing butthe Bill," and which the democracy so confidently and strenuously maintained would never take place, has now, beyond all question, been fully realized. It was a very easy matter to deny the existence of this reaction as long as the Liberal party contrived, by means of Court favour, Ministerial corruption, and WhigRadical delusion, to maintain a majority in the House of Commons. But when all these efforts and arts were exhausted—when hope deferred had made the Radical heartsick — when revenue failing had made the Ministerial purse empty—and truth, reasserting her empire, had rendered even urban constituencies hostile, it became impossible any longer to maintain a majority in the House of Commons. County after county was lost, from a growing sense on the part of the agricultural interests, now too fatally proved to be well-founded, of the dangers with which they were menaced from the ascendency of the revolutionary party. Borough after borough slipped outof their hands, from the general conviction which penetrated all the intelligent ranks of the urban classes of the hollowness of Whig-Radical professions, the selfishness of their measures, and the cur

vOL. L. So. CCCIx.

ruption of their government, until their dreams of eternal power vanished into thin air, and the Liberal vision of everlasting dominion in the British empire has been cut short by decisive hostile majorities of 21, 24, and 36, on questions admitted to be essential to their existence.

At such a moment, it well becomes all those who are interested in their country's welfare, to pause for a moment, even amid all the anxiety and excitement of a general election, and cast a retrospective glance on the past, and a prospective eye on the future. Coming events do now, indeed, cast their shadows most distinctly before; and it requires'not the gift of prophecy to foretell, that the days of Whig-Radical rule and Ministerial corruption are now numbered, and that the ancient, independent spirit of the British empire is speedily about to triumph over the combined efforts of courtly adulation and Ministerial corruption. But all anticipations of the future which are not rested on the experience of the past, are founded on fallacious grounds; and, however brilliant and cheering maybe the prospects of the British empire at this time, there could be little solid ground for hope or consolation, if the morning, which is now so brightly opening, were not ushered in by the well-known harbingers of a fine day. But such harbingers have appeared—"the evening red has preceded the morning grey;" and the most cheering prospects for the interests of the Conservative party, and

« PreviousContinue »