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I have half a mind to write a critical and philosophical essay on Whiggism, from Dryden's Achitophel (Shaftesbury), the first Whig, (for, with Dr. Johnson's leave, the devil is no such cattle) down to — , who, I' trust, in God's mercy to the interests of peace, union, and liberty in this nation, will be the last. In it I would take the last years of Queen Anne's reign as the zenith, or palmy state, of Whiggism in its divinest avatar of common sense, or of the understanding, vigorously exerted in the right direction on the right and proper objects of the understanding; and would then trace the rise, the occasion, the progress, and the necessary degeneration of the Whig spirit of compromise, even down to the profound ineptitudes of their party in these days. A clever fellow might make something of this hint. How Asgill would have done it !
February 22. 1832.
The church is the last relic of our nationality. Would to God that the bishops and the clergy in general could once fully understand that the Christian church and the national church are as little to be confounded as divided ! I think the fate of the Reform Bill, in itself, of comparatively minor importance; the fate of the national church occupies my mind with greater intensity.
February 24. 1832.
MINISTERS AND THE REFORM BILL.
I could not help smiling, in reading the report of Lord Grey's speech in the House of Lords, the other night, when he asked Lord Wicklow whether he seriously believed that he, Lord Grey, or any of the ministers, intended to subvert the institutions of the country. Had I been in Lord Wicklow's place, I should have been tempted to answer this question something in the following way:-“ Waiving the charge in an offensive sense of personal consciousness against the noble earl, and all but one or two of his colleagues, upon my honour, and in the presence of Almighty God, I answer, Yes! You have destroyed the freedom of parliament; you have done your best to shut the door of the House of Commons to the property, the birth, the rank, the wisdom of the people, and have flung it open to their passions and their follies. You have disfranchised the gentry, and the real patriotism of the nation; you have agitated and exasperated the mob, and thrown the balance of political power into the hands of that class (the shopkeepers) which, in all countries and in all ages, has been, is now, and ever will be, the least patriotic and the least conservative of any. You are now preparing to destroy for ever the constitutional independence of the House of Lords; you are for ever displacing it from its supremacy as a co-ordinate estate of the realm; and whether you suceeed in passing your bill by actually swamping our votes by a batch of new peers, or by frightening a sufficient number of us out of our opinions by the threat of one,- equally you will have superseded the triple assent which the constitution requires to the enactment of a valid law, and have left the king alone with the delegates of the populace !"
March 3. 1832.
DISFRANCHISEMENT. I am afraid the Conservative party see but one half of the truth. The mere extension of the franchise is not the evil; I should be glad to see it greatly extended ;—there is no harm in that per se ; the mischief is that the franchise is nominally extended, but to such
classes, and in such a manner, that a practical disfranchisement of all above, and a discontenting of all below, a favoured class are the unavoidable results.
March 17. 1832.
GENIUS FEMININE. - PIRATES.
-'s face is almost the only exception I know to the observation, that something feminine— not effeminate, mind—is discoverable in the countenances of all men of genius. Look at that face of old Dampier, a rough sailor, but a man of exquisite mind. How soft is the air of his countenance, how delicate the shape of his temples !
I think it very absurd and misplaced to call Raleigh and Drake, and others of our naval heroes of Elizabeth's age, pirates. No man is a pirate, unless his contemporaries agree to call him so. Drake said, -- " The