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plicated subject to explain, he got rid at will, temper of his audience ; but in style, the sole of his abstract phrases and of his double neg- preservative of speeches or of writings, his
His budget speeches are master- rhetoric was altogether deficient. His greatpieces of lucidity; and the House will long ness as a speaker must rest on the solid basis recollect the relief which it felt in monetary of success. For twenty years, among able readiscussions, when his famous question of soners and brilliant declaimers, some of them "What is a pound?” with its plain-spoken his superiors in almost every assignable qualmaterialistic solution, used to sweep away ity of an orator, he led the House with a rethe foggy masses of Birmingham financial cognized superiority to all parliamentary metaphysics, like a sudden shift of wind to competitors, of which no example had been the north.
offered since the time of the elder Pitt. At Sir Robert Peel's qualifications as a speak the time when his power out of doors was er have, on the whole, been justly appreciated. greatest, he had still a special and peculiar He had little capacity for that elevated influence which was confined to the walls of rhetoric which, like every other form of elo- the House of Commons; and, even in the quence, reached its perfection in Demos- days of newspaper reporting, it is no inconthenes ; but he had a quality for which the siderable proof of tact and skill in a speaker great Athenian orator was equally distin- to convey impressions to his immediate hearguished—a thorough understanding of his ers which are lost in the written record of his audience, and a steady view to practical re- discourse. The least valuable parts of his sults. His voice was musical and powerful, speeches were those which were, perhaps, but his action was eminently ungraceful, and introduced rather to gratify himself than to his perorations were sometimes more pomp- persuade his audience. Abstract proposious than impressive : on the other hand, his tions, and solemn declarations of faith, were arrangement of topics was admirably skillful, not the figures of rhetoric in which he was his memory unfailing, and his readiness as a qualified by nature to excel. debater seldom equalled. His playfulness The circumstances and personal demeanor was happier than is commonly supposed, and of Sir Robert Peel were well calculated to it was all the more effective from its general strengthen bis influence in the country. The reference to the familiar conventionalities of recent elevation of his family by manufacParliament. His transient allusions to indivi- turing prosperity, while it appealed to the duals, his smiles, and gestures, and quota- sympathy of the most active and rising sections, used to convulse the House with tion of the political community, seemed to laughter, which seemed unaccountable when account for the untiring and business-like reported in the newspapers. The professional industry of his habits, and for his consumnature of his jokes, perhaps, deprives him of mate familiarity with the mysteries of trade some of the credit which he deserved. They and of finance. A more real support, howserved their purpose at the time; and suc- ever, was added by the possession of a cess is the best test of the rhetorical fitness princely fortune, administered in perfect acof humor, if not of its intrinsic value. It may cordance with the tastes and customs of Eng. be, also, that in Parliament, as in every pri- lishmen, and furnishing him with the means vate circle, there is as much genuine playful- of moving on an equal level with the most ness exercised in dealing with ancient jests powerful class of the aristocracy. If some of and accustomed associations, as in conceiving the body, in anger or in jealousy, confided to the more recondite and startling combina- their sycophants their incurable distrust and tions which are recognized as specimens of dislike for the blood of the cotton-spinner, he humor by the world at large. To the cha- was not the less surrounded by the homage racter of a wit, Sir Robert Peel had no pre. which' rank in this country prudently pays to tension. Not a single good saying remains wealth and substantial power. The ablest to preserve the
memory of the skilful banter living politician, born a millionaire, was carewhich so often excited the amusement of his ful to present, in his own person, to his social hearers, and disturbed the composure of his equals, the type of the wealthy English genadversaries. Nor do we anticipate that his tleman of the nineteenth century. The first speeches will survive him. Their chief merit who ever took double honors at Oxford, he consisted in their admirable fitness to their possessed the classical accomplishments immediate purpose. Where information was which the traditions of his youth attributed required, no statesman of his time was equal to the statesmen of the past generation, perly capable of supplying it, nor could any con- haps in higher perfection than any of them. temporary orator adapt himself better to the / We have no doubt that he knew Greek better than Pitt or Fox; perhaps he knew it | lity of his irritated opponents. The accusations better than Grenville or Canning. In later of falsehood and meanness were reserved for life, he appropriated, with ready tact, the Peel alone, while his lofty colleague was aspopular sciences which modern taste pre- sailed with such harmless missiles as raving scribes to the enlightened aristocrat. Political insinuations of his treasonable designs on the economy he practised rather than talked ; Crown. The ex-member for Oxford had his but the applauding public saw among the own conscience alone to console him for the list of his guests the geologists and the invectives of the crowd, and the anger of his agricultural chemists, and rejoiced to know alienated friends. He might foresee that that its favorite ruler solaced his leisure with calmer reflection would exonerate him from the studies or the conversation which in the charge of interested motives in resigning structed and amused itself. Artists also, and the leadership of a powerful party, and men of letters, were flattered by his notice, opening the way to a speedy downfall of a and repaid it by the credit which their so- Ministry which had appeared to be destined ciety conferred on bis taste and judgment. for permanence; but it was impossible to His character, however, as a landlord and a blind himself to the fact, that the reputation farmer came nearer to the hearts of his coun- and power which he had been building up trymen. The importance which he attributed for more than twenty years was destroyed, to his celebrated short-horn bull, gave rise to and that the public belief in bis consistency much justifiable laughter ; but his prelections and political foresight was rudely, if not iron green crops, and his extensive system of revocably, shaken. There can be no doubt draining, secured to him the respect of a that he deserved censure, not for consenting class which practically believes the long to the Catholic Relief Bill, in 1829, but for preached doctrine, that the substitution of opposing it in previous years. The reasons two blades of grass for one is better than all for the change had become little stronger, the achievements of political philosophy. Nor and the benefits to be obtained by it had was he deficient in the lighter accomplish- been, in a great measure, sacrificed by delay. ments which become the country squire. He The excuse for his conduct is, that he was was unfortunately not a bold or skilful rider, grown wiser by experience, and the best and we are not aware whether he had culti- compensation for his error was the self-sacrivated the art of fishing, in which he must ficing courage with which he redeemed it. have been eminently qualified to excel ; but The bitter resentment which punishes the he was well known as a keen and killing desertion of a party by its leader was about shot, and his zeal as a game preserver is said the same time curiously contrasted with the to have sometimes conflicted inopportunely general tolerance for a mere change of with his devotion to the interests of the opinion, especially in the popular direction. farmer. Whatever propensities to innova Lord Melbourne and Lord Palmerston, with tion existed in his nature were directed to the rest of Canning's immediate followers, serious political ends; in all his personal veered round on the more important question habits, both from inclination and prudence, of Parliamentary Reform as directly as Peel he conformed to established custom ; and in had done with respect to the Catholics, at the avoidance of all religious or irreligious the same time that the Duke of Richmond extremes, as well as in the uniform propriety took his seat with Lord Ripon in the Cabinet and decorum of his domestic character, he directed by Lord Grey. We censure neither reflected and shared the virtues which are the change itself nor the indifference with most esteemed by the strongest and steadiest which it was generally regarded ; but the portion of the community.
remembrance of similar profitable gyrations The portions of his public career which may well have served to mitigate the anger have been most diligently canvassed are the expressed for the apostate, who was, at two great changes in opinion which he un- | least, a martyr to his apostacy. derwent, and effected in practice, with re- The struggle of the Reform Bill restored spect to Catholic Emancipation and the him in a short time to the command of his Corn-laws. In 1829 he held only the second alienated party. He contended with abunplace, although he incurred almost all the dant vigor and ability against the change odium which was heaped on the lately Pro- which had become inevitable ; but the expetestant Cabinet. It is remarkable that the rience of very few following years must have Duke of Wellington, while he justly obtain- convinced him of the error of his judgment. ed the chief credit of the patriotic change over- If personal ambition had been his ruling moawed by the weight of his character the scurri- I tive, he would have rejoiced to see that
while he was relieved from his old depend - | lowers :—“He enabled me,” he candidly said, ence on the borough-owners of his party, a “ to remain a Tory, as I was born, without new class of politicians had risen into impor- the necessity of being, at the same time, a tance, of whom he was eminently qualified fool.” The use of such a teacher, not mereto be the leader. We cannot doubt that only to his immediate pupils, is best shown by public grounds, when his early apprehen- the spirit which now actuates the reactionsions were removed by time, he appreciated ary side of the French Assembly. The the security which the Constitution had de- future of their country would look brighter if rived from the excision of abuses, which they had now a Peel to persuade them that were even more dangerous by the scandal the cure for a past revolution is not necessawhich they justly caused than by the practi- rily a counter-revolution. cal evils which they produced. To bis indi- Notwithstanding the success which revidual fame and greatness the passing of the warded his ten years' opposition, and the Reform Bill was greatly serviceable. He was brilliant reputation which he acquired by his relieved from a barren combat, in which he six months' tenure of office in 1834-5, it is might have wasted his life by the defence of perhaps, a just subject for regret that for an untenable position, or compromised his so long a period his administrative activity reputation by deserting it at last. He had was suspended, and the practical statesman mistaken the merits of the dispute while it absorbed in the party leader. From the lasted ; but he at once, and apparently moment of his return to office he devoted alone, understood the practical result. He himself wholly to the country. His followsaw the resources which still remained to
ers complained, not unnaturally, that, after the defeated party, and determining at making them bis instruments for acquiring once to re-organize it, he relieved it from power, he had forgotten their interests as the crippling traditions which confined it a party. The gulf which separated him to the office of mere indiscriminate resist- from them in the autumn of 1845 had been
threatening to open long before. The bold It is remarkable that the stage in Sir Ro- imposition of the Income-tax, accompanied bert Peel's life which Lord John Russel, by the Customs' reductions of 1842, was not selected for special mention and praise was the measure which might have been expectthat in which he formed and trained the new ed from the champion of the aristocracy of Conservative party, and at last established it the land. The more extensive reform of in office. The safe working of the Reform the tariff, which he effected two years later, Bill, in the opinion of its proposer, was main- was recommended by the success and populy secured by the temperance and foresight larity of the changes which preceded it, and of its most powerful opponent. In teaching facilitated by the commencement of a period his followers to act in the spirit of the new of general prosperity and confidence. It was Constitution, he saved them not only from not until 1845 that disaffection among his the errors of reaction, but from the opposite adherents openly burst forth, on the Minisdangers of popular irritation and alarm. ter's determination to substitute a permaHis ancient adversary, long versed in party nent endowment for the annual grant to warfare, and in the anxious responsibilities of Maynooth. Many well-meaning zealots were political leadership, is, perhaps, at the dis- scandalized at the slight supposed to be tance of many years, the most competent offered to Protestantism; and an occasion or judge of the qualities which were displayed an excuse was afforded for the brilliant acriin that ten years' conflict. Lord John's mony of Mr. D’Israeli, and the persevering thoughtful recognition of the greatness of his hostility of the Times. Still the bulk of the rival's merits in the portion of his career in party adhered, though dissatisfied, to their which they were most formidable to himself, leader. A minority of them cordially apis as creditable to his sagacity of obser- proved his policy, and waited in hope for vation as
to the generosity which has its development. The remainder knew prompted every allusion he has made to the the futility of opposition on minor points deceased, and which has sought, in every to a Minister who never propounded a meabecoming manner, to accumulate honors on sure without resolving to establish it by his tomb.
law. The services which the organizer of the
It would be useless to speculate for the new Conservative party conferred on those | hundredth time, on the motives which finally who have since most deeply resented his con- determined Sir Robert Peel to abolish the duct, were justly expressed by one of his fol- Corn-laws. It is probable that the moment
selected for the change was decided, as he | He who could only lose by change was not
, relieved him from all the greatest errors of his political life to meet farther hesitation. It was painful to confess the party more of the fixed duty in 1841 by a long course of error, and to be alienated a successful party resistance.
The penalty from the great body of his friends and sup- of the blunder was justly inflicted when, after porters; and yet when he determined on his five years, he fully redeemed it. The vulnerfinal change of policy, there must have been able parts of his conduct were eagerly fasa consolation to a generous mind in the re- tened
upon by his assailants, and the nourishflection that he could personally only suffer ment which they found was sufficient to loss from the resolution which was to confer pamper into sudden bulk two parasitical benefits so signal on his country. Mean op- | Parliamentary reputations. The hard-mouthponents, in the belief that his wealth consist- ed invectives of Lord George Bentinck, and ed chiefly of personal property, insinuated a the brilliant sarcasms of Mr. D’Israeli, derived suspicion that his object was to lower the all their interest and importance from the price of land, in anticipation of becoming af- greatness of their intended victim. The surterward a purchaser. The son of a duke viror, once an undervalued man of genius, was not ashamed to ask, in the House of can feel but a qualified satisfaction in the Commons, for the particulars of his private applause which was refused to his polished fortune, pretending to believe, or, more eloquence when it advocated large and genebasely still, believing, that the acting sove- rous theories, and lavishly conceded to bis reignty of England had been wilfully barter- witty expositions of party disappointment, ed for an increase of ten or fifteen per cent. and his skill in tormenting and persecuting on an already enormous income.
To the obnoxious greatness. duty of carrying out his new convictions, Sir It has been justly remarked that part of Robert Peel deliberately sacrificed the party Sir Robert Peel's power was founded on the leadership which he had so long possessed, very slowness of his progress. In the deand the office in which he was apparently velopment of his political views, he reprefixed for life without fear or competition. sented the changes which took place during His opponents had shortly before professed bis lifetime in public opinion and feeling. the same change of opinion, when nothing Neither lagging behind nor venturing far in else could secure them in power; he changed advance of the general progress of the age, when nothing else could endanger it. They he was able to understand, and guide, and had occupied, in common with him, an un realize the tendencies by which he was himtenable position ; but when both moved in self influenced. The principal test of his the same direction, they fell back on the individual greatness is to be found in the bulk of their forces; he, moving in advance, constant enlargement of his character; somewas separated from his. Thus it was that what narrow in youth, and in maturity only the same change in one party was applauded an abler and more judicious partisan, he as a master-piece of strategy, in the other gradually expanded, by experience and rewas branded as desertion. The country at Hection, into a generous and comprehensive large, apart from the conflicting camps, statesman. It is not uncommon for early viewed the rivals with more impartial justice. I vivacity to condense, as youthful spirits dis
appear, into worldly keenness and common purposes of not unfriendly or disrespectful place; and many instances will have occurred caricature, was chiefly facilitated by the more to a thoughtful observer of the genial influ- recent traits of countenance to which we ence of time on pedantry and formality, when refer. A faithful portrait conveyed so much it arises from à narrow education and not of his character, that the slightest exaggerafrom a prosaic nature. Prudence and tion immediately represented the humorous decorum have sometimes their wild oats to or satirical purpose of the artist. No caricasow, and leave the ground clearer after a turist could have made him look dull, or preliminary crop of prejudices. By far the silly, or intemperate ; but his sagacious look greater number contract with age ; but the was easily converted into a glance of larger and stronger natures expand, as Peel's triumphant slyness or sometimes of complaexpanded, by observation, and still more by cent superiority. By far the best portraits action. Attentive from the first to his im- of him which remain are to be found among mediate duties, he was rewarded for his dili- the sketches of HB. and of Punch. We gent inspection of what was near him by a hope that, among the various memorials constantly increasing circle of vision. His which are to be erected in his honor, there character was strong enough to correspond will be found at least one which may prewith the enlargement of his intellectual serve the memory of his features, and be views; and he had the courage to follow worthy of its subject and of the country ; his convictions when they were bold and but even if our artists add another failure to new, as he had acted upon them when they i the long list of our national shortcomings, were recommended by the traditions and we have no fear that history will fail to do practice of the teachers and colleagues of justice to an honest and generally successful his youth. Even his outward appearance statesman. The emotion which has been corresponded in its development to his mind. occasioned by his death is honorable to the The sagacious but common-place countenance character of the country, and to himself it of his earlier manhood was marked, as he ad- constitutes a memorial so noble and befitting vanced in years, by a peculiar expression of a worthy ruler, refined and somewhat playful acuteness. The ready adaptation of his features to the “ That kings for such a tomb might wish to die.”
BOOK TRADE OF THE EAST.
We have learned with pleasure that the tions who only enjoy it from a distance. The Board of Education is extending the number Koran, we are told, thus printed in Bombay, of its publications in the native languages. is despatched to Persia, Arabia, &c., and inAfter all that can be said of our English stead of costing fifteen, otwenty, or thirty (and much can,) it must be owned that nei- rupees each, as very ordinary copies used to ther here nor anywhere can the body of any do, now sells for three, and sometimes two people be addressed to a good purpose but rupees, with a good profit to the printer. in their own tongue. The art of printing In this way Bombay may now be considered has made great advances of late years in Bom- the book-store of a great part of Central bay,--particularly the lithographic branch, Asia. It is strange to think that the arts of for which the chief Eastern languages are well Christians should thus be used in spreading adapted. We were told the other day that so much of idolatry and error. But as the as many as six different editions of the entire sun shines on the just and on the unjust, so Koran in Arabic have been lately worked off are these arts applied for good purposes as in Bombay, consisting in the aggregate of well as bad. It is consolatory to know that about 15,000 copies. There is great facility I good will be the crowning result.-Indian for such work in Bombay, and the freedom | Paper. of the press,' must thus already be dear to na