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THE SILENT MEMBER.
HOUSE OF COMMONS, Feb. 8th. Alexander Baring. I may be wrong, During the last hundred and fifty and I may stand alone in my opinion; years, (but more especially during but until I am convinced of the fora the last century of that period, our mer, I shall not be disposed to relinnational literature has been encum quish the latter. Were 1 engaged in bered by a class of writers, who, with mercantile transactions, and wanted no other qualification than that of sound, honourable, and useful advice being able to think on paper, have upon any practical points connected aspired to be authors; men, to whom with them, there is no merchant in their fathers gave a good education, the city of London, whom I should and left them sufficient to live in idle. be so desirous of consulting, as Mr ness. But idleness becoming at last, Baring. But Mr Baring in his countas it always must do, a most laborious ing-house, and MrBaring in the House occupation, they turned to book-ma- of Commons, are, in my estimation, king. Instead of gossiping with their two very different individuals; as diffamilies, or neighbours, from break- ferent as the King at St James's, and fast to dinner, they made their pens Lord King at Westminster ; or as the familiar with their thoughts ; and Duke of Wellington, field-marshal, when they had recorded just such planting the British flag upon the homely things as any man picked out towers of Bayonne, and the Duke of of ten thousand would have written, Wellington, prime minister, striking those uncultivated reasons which are, it to Don Miguel in Downing Street. in truth, as “plenty as blackberries, It has happened, however, to the they forthwith had them printed and honourable member, as it does to published. These were the mob of most men, that those qualities, whe, gentlemen who wrote with ease." ther of fortune or of station, or of and whose “easy writing,” has been personal character, by which they are pronounced
-d hard reading.” distinguished in one capacity, are Yet they enjoyed a sort of reputation, gratuitously assigned to them in all. which sometimes outlived them- Mr Baring is an eminent merchant, selves, if they did not happen to be an eminent capitalist, an eminent addicted to the vice of longevity; and member of society; therefore he is they were be-praised too, be-rhymed, an eminent politician. He has large and be-flattered, as ingenious, incom- dealings, therefore he has a large parable, and inexpressibly clever per- mind; vast wealth, therefore a rich sons. Enquire for them now ? None judgment; a high reputation in pribut a Fellow of the Antiquarian So- vate circles, therefore an equally eleciety, or a correspondent of Sylvanus vated reputation in Parliament. He Urban, Gent., could tell you when is a good man, too, as I believe, therethey died, or where they are buried. fore, too, he is a good statesman. By
But we have also, in these our the alchemy of opinion, he has undertimes, (and so perhaps had our fore- gone that transmutation which prefathers, though all evidence of their sents him to us in the likeness of him existence, if there ever were any, has self upon the mart. In the city he is, perished,) the “mob of gentlemen and perhaps deserves to be,SirOracle; who talk with ease;" orators, who, but west of Temple Bar, he is only were their physical energies equal to
“ Globose, a speaker in the house, the task, could dribble, dribble, dribble, and still continue dribbling, (like Who hems, and is delivered of his mouse. a pump worked by an infant's arm,) Let one of Mr Baring's clerks stand from one lunar crescent to the next; up in his place and deliver one of his -statesmen, with such a diabetes of speeches, and I would not choose to the mind, that a continued stream of be a member of a select committee their thoughts keeps draining through appointed to enquire into, and report their lips, with a sort of involuntary upon, the comparative number of flux. At the head, the very apex of ideas in the said speech, and a speech this class, meo periculo, I place Mr consisting of the same number of
words, uttered by Mr Alderman calls for the interference of our goWaithman. This may sound like vernment, and therefore I trust they heresy to some; but only to those, I will not interfere.” (Hear, hear, from am convinced, who reason from ad- the third treasury bench.) “I cannot scititious circumstances; who hold, see what business we have to interthat
fere in the concerns of Bessarabia or “ A judge is just, a chancellor juster still; Moldavia, or any other province with A gowoman learn'd, a bishop what you which we have nothing to do.” (Hear,
hear, as before.) “ It is very well for Wise if a minister; but if a king, honourable members feelingly to deMore wise, more learn'd, more just, more scribe the diminution of our influence every thing."
in foreign countries, and that we are Mr Attwood, for example, replied not looked upon as of so great importto Mr Baring this evening; and Mr ance on the continent, as we have Attwood is a shrewd, judicious man, formerly been under other adminisbating a little disposition to look at trations.” (A faint hear, as before, every thing through the currency and a laugh from the rest of the question, using it like a pair of green house.) “ It may amuse and please spectacles, which clothes all objects honourable gentlemen to be treated in one common hue, making them in a superior manner on the contiverdant and vernal alike. And how nent; but I think it tends neither to did he commence ? " Agreeing with the honour or the interest of the much of what has been said by my ho- country, to be interfering in every nourable friend and colleague, I can- trifling squabble among foreign nanot but the more regret some errors
tions." (A loud hear, hear, from Alinto which he has fallen, and which, derman Waithman.) “We have no coming with the weight which every business to interfere in these questhing said by my honourable friend tions. If we were offered a portion carries in this House, I think it would of the Netherlands or France, I am be injurious not to explain.” This is satisfied there are not ten men in what I would call the cant of custom their senses in this country who in this honourable House. For what would not scout the idea of acceptwas the speech of Mr Baring? Sim- ing it; why, therefore, should we inply and solely that there were many terfere thus uselessly?” (An exulting causes for the present distress, though hear, hear, from Mr. Calcraft, in a he was unable to find out any of tone that expressed his admiring acthem; and that they could not be quiescence in the logical consequence traced to the Ministers, because the of this interrogatory.) “It is immatesame distress prevailed in other coun rial to England in the hands of what tries. He said further, “it was im- power the mouths of the Danube and proper for gentlemen to expect that Tagus are, and I am satisfied it tends the government alone could find a to diminish the high character of this cure;” and, moreover, that it “was country interfering thus in every riclear the House could not be justly diculous quarrel. For my own part, charged with being inattentive to
I would rather see the young queen the distresses of the people;” though on the throne of Portugal, than the why the one was improper, or how present possessor, but I can see no the other was clear, the House and just ground for a continued meddling. the country were left to discover by There will be no end of our difficulwhatever process might seem best to ties,—there will be no end of the themselves. I confess, however, it troubles and quarrels in which we was the display which the honourable shall involve ourselves, if we are to member made, when adverting to our continue to interfere in the concerns foreign policy, that produced the most of every worthless fellow of a prince unequivocal impression upon my in Europe." mind as to the quality of the honour This is decisive language. Here able member's mind.
we have the principle of non-inter“I am anxious,” said he, “ before ference asserted, if not with any reI resume my seat, to say a few words markable force of argument, at least upon our foreign alliances. I see with a very remarkable force of renothing in the circumstances of either petition. It is clearly the honourable this country or the continent, which inember's opinion, that Englaud, as
the phrase is, “ should keep herself difficulties.”] “ When we were ento herself;" in fact, that we should gaged in our attempts to subdue our leave all other countries alone, as the North American colonies, did Spain true and only means of being left give us an opportunity to re-conquer alone ourselves, and consequently of them ? So far from it, that she went advancing our own prosperity: I to war with us. I am for applying will not stop to examine the wisdom the argumentum ad hominem in cases of a doctrine thus luminously ex of this nature.” That is, go to war pounded, but proceed to shew that with Spain, as she did with us; only the honourable member's reasoning take care that you do not interfere, is in the predicament of Gonzalvo's for there would “ be no end of the Utopian scheme of government in troubles and quarrels in which we the Tempest, where the latter end should involve ourselves if we were of his commonwealth forgot the be- to interfere in the concerns of every ginning.”
worthless fellow of a prince in Eu“ If,” continued Mr Baring, “there rope.”. is any one subject more important in Mr Baring is a man of unimpeachmy estimation than another, it is the ed and unimpeachable integrity, and promotion of peace. Our internal utterly incapable of being influeninterests, or our commercial, manu- ced in his public duties by private facturing, and agricultural interests, and personal considerations. But all unite and depend upon its conti were he not thus happily placed benuance; and if the Right Hon. Gen- yond the reach of suspicion, would tleman opposite can promote peace it be possible to forget that he has in the South American States, (with- large commercial dealings with South out interfering, of course,] he will do America ? That he is a loan conmore good than by adopting any par- tractor ? That South American divitial measures.” “ It is our national dends are irregularly paid, in conseinterest to prevent Spain (without quence, as it is thought, of the inseinterfering) from carrying on a con cure position of these States ? And stant warfare with Colombia and the that the Mexican mines might, perother States of South America, in her haps, be more profitably worked, if attempts to recover her dominion over all dread of Spanish intrusion were
“With respect to our means completely annihilated ? His princiof causing Spain to desist (without ple of non-interference, as regards interfering) from her attempts, I am all European governments, for Euroof opinion that one word, perempto- pean objects, and his vehement derily said, [but without interfering,] sire of interference with Spain, for would have the desired effect. The South American objects, are certainly question of right which seems at is not intelligible to me; because I utsue is, whether this country ever in- terly disclaim all idea of imputing to terfered between any attempt on the the honourable member any private part of Mexico to attack Cuba. If it or individual motives. can be satisfactorily made out that this country did say they should not
February 9th. make an attack on that island, why The elephantine epistle of “ dear then, the corresponding measure self,” the redoubted Juhun Men which is called for on our part, to- Shuhur, where “ I was the little hero wards Spain, is, to say to her, you of the tale,” was discussed again toSHALL not make an attempt on Mex- night. It is a silly and contemptible ico from Cuba ; for if we did one, affair; and, except for the purpose we might with equal justice do the of annoying a very silly and shallow other.' “ This country has given person, not worth the notice which Spain a sufficient length of time to has been bestowed upon it. Mr Peel make her attempts for the re-esta- seemed to be ashamed of it; so the blishment of her dominion ; and it is noble Lord's defence was consigned now to be hoped these attempts will to Mr G. Bankes. But what defence cease, and that the Right Hon. Gen- could he make? He could not deny tleman will make representations to the fact, that such a letter was writSpain on the subject of a very serious ten; he could not vindicate the letnature,” (without interfering, how- ter, and he was not instructed by his ever, or “there will be no end of our superior to appeal to the good-nature
of the House. When Lord Bacon, is the man to stand up for a friend. “the greatest, wisest," I will not, for He does not mince matters. “Whatthe sake of antithesis, add “meanest ever is, is right," with him, in these of mankind,” incurred the censure of
For my part,” said the Noble a Stewart Parliament, he contented Duke, (and he looked round the himself with reminding his judges House as if he felt that when he dethat “there were vitia temporis, as clared a thing was white, no one well as vitia hominis ;” and in a letter else must presume to call it black,) to James himself, on the occasion, he “ for my part,” said he, “I cannot said, “I am resolved, when I come to see one derogatory word in any part my answer, not to trick my innocency of that letter! My Noble Friend by cavillations and voidances, but to certainly intended it as private and speak to them, the language that my confidential. It was a correspond. heart speaketh to me. The noble ence altogether of a private nature, Lord, I willingly admit, does not lie with a person on a foreign station ; under so heavy an accusation as that and if other persons think fit to lay which strewed with sharpest thorns hold of such letters, and make out the remnant of that great man's path of them what they like, I must say to the grave; and being, moreover, that public business cannot be car. only a Lord, and not a Bacon, he has ried on at all.” Really! I “must not hesitated to “trick his innocency” say," my Lord Duke, that had I been with all sorts of “cavillations and one of the peers to whom you thus voidances.” These are unworthy of addressed yourself, I would have enhim. The letter was not. Mr Bankes deavoured to enlighten your Grace as gave a history of the transactions
to the language which a minister of the which led to its being written, and erown, a servant of the king and the then said, it was in reference to nation, ought to use upon any subthese transactions that the private and ject which the House of Peers confidential letter of the noble Lord thought fit to lay hold of,” adoptwas written.” Private and confiden- ing your own classic phraseology. tial! I could hardly trust my own
I would also have laid hold “ of anears. If ever there was a case, which other private and confidential letter, in its importance as affecting the sta written to one Dr Curtis, a Cathobility of our power in India, (a power lic priest, and asked your Grace that could not exist a day, after its whether you saw one derogatory nature and origin were made a ques. word in any part of that letter?” Or tion with the natives,) demanded an whether that, too, was to be covered official dispatch, armed with all the by the mantle which you threw over authority of government in its collec your noble friend's letter, when you tive capacity, it was this. And yet said," he was not bound to answer the noble Lord, in the fulness of his for the construction which others own incommunicable sufficiency as might put upon the language containPresident of the Board of Control, ed in it, or for the sentiments of other scribbles a hasty, “private and con persons upon the subject?” This fidential letter,” with so little con defence, by the bye, was twice urged sciousness of the importance of the by Mr Bankes in the course of his subject, and so great consciousness speech. I take it therefore as a deof his own importance, that while he fence, whose validity is recognised informs Sir John Malcolm of what he by his Majesty's government. I do will do, of what he has done, of what not quarrel with it. It is fair and he thinks, and of what he does not reasonable. But why is it to be made think, he makes no copy, and when a monopoly? Why are others to be he sees it in print, cannot recolleet denied the benefit of it? Why did whether it was what he wrote, though not his Majesty's Attorney General, he has “
no doubt it was written by that paragon of constitutional lawhim.” This, the noble Lord admit
yers, recognise its validity in the ted, in reply to a question from Lord case of Mr Alexander, as well as his Durham, (God save the mark! how Majesty's Prime Minister, in the case these new lords with new names pop of my Lord Ellenborough? I supupon us at every turn!) in the House pose, however, had this question of Peers this evening:
been asked, your
Grace" would But the Duke of Wellington,-be have met it with your standing reply,
“ I do not feel myself called upon chance of its being worse. I know to argue that point;" or by your the precise character and extent of other standing reply, (for your ora the disease with which I am afflicted, tory is copious,) " I must say I do but I do not know what may follow not see the force of that argument." from ignorant and presumptuous
One word more, upon this piece quackery its attempts to cure it. I of official coxcombry, and I have would say of the British constitution, done with it. The story of the flea- —the constitution as it was on the 1st bitten traveller at Stony Stratford, of January 1829, (denying no one must hereafter be accounted the dull- dilapidation that time has wrought, est of all dull jokes, upon inconse- and admitting every thing to be imquential reasoning: Lord Ellenbo- provement which speculative politirough has eclipsed it for aye. “I cians have honestly proposed) that, should suppose,” said he, in reply to Lord Holland, “ that I was one of
« Take it for all in all, the last men in the country who could
We ne'er shall look upon its like again.” have been charged with a wish to in I am therefore no reformer; unterfere with the independence of the derstanding by that word a person judges.” Why? Pray guess. Do who would do the things I would you “ give it up ?” Listen. “ The not. But there are things which even station which my noble and learned I would do. To follow out my first father held ought to have protected simile, though I would not pull down me from such a charge !!!” Lend a matchless and venerable edifice, me your ear, my lord, and let me to get rid of a few rotten rafters, or whisper in it, your noble and learned remove, here and there, a decayed father's title was hereditary, but not stone; yet, if a mouldering turret that which earned it. Shakspeare, were struck by lightning, or a timeor Milton, or Newton, might have eaten wall were levelled by some been father to a first-rate blockhead, sudden tempest, I would seize that (Sir Thomas More was, and we re- opportunity of repairing the buildmember what he said to his wife on ing with new and solid materials, in the occasion,)—and if that same the style of the original design. I blockhead, being accused of stupi- would not patch up the breach with dity, had replied, “The talents which the same stones and timber that had my celebrated father possessed, already given way. This is the exact ought to have protected me from illustration of East Retford. And such a charge,” would not the an- by these timely and progressive reswer have been a better certificate of pairs, I should hope to preserve the his duncehood, than the unanimous whole structure from falling about decision in its favour, of a whole uni my ears; for gradually, every rotten versity? I am enough your friend, part would be removed, and the enmy lord, to wish that this argument tire fabric re-assume its pristine sohad remained a “private and confi- lidity. dential” opinion of your own.
There are persons, and I have no
right to question their sincerity, who Feb. 11th.
believe, that if practical effect be East RETFORD.
given to the principle of reform, in I am no reformer. I hold in utter however slight a degree, all power of abhorrence the whole race, from checking its onward course would Hunt to Burdett, from John Gale be surrendered; that if partial change Jones to John Cam Hobhouse, and be once admitted, the whole mass of from William Cobbett to Lord Rad- turbulent change must follow, As nor. I would not pull down a match- his Grace of Wellington would say, less and venerable edifice, to get rid “ I am not called upon to argue that of a few rotten rafters, or remove, point now.” But surely it is not here and there, a decayed stone. from the present Ministry we can enwould not cast away a noble inherit- dure to be told so. It is not from the ance, because some of the entails men who have betrayed the constihave been altered. I would not de- tution; it is not from the apostates stroy what is good, for the chance of who have abjured it;~it is not from substituting something that may be my Lord Darlington's Irish Tories, better, with the equal or greater who govern us by Whig principles,