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which they pleaded openly before the people at large, as well as in their places in Parliament.

We see, then, what substantial grounds for the entertainment of discontent, and even hatred, were presented to the larger part of the nation, that is, those who were consumers of agricultural produce, in contradistinction to those who were producers. Agitation and opposition against the unjust course were excited, first in those parts of the kingdom where the large manufacturing interests were concentrated. From this centre the flood of opposition was forced onwards to every part of the empire. The difficulty, too, was aggravated at this particular period by an extraordinary natural blight, by which that portion of the food of the people which consisted of potatoes, was, in a great measure, destroyed. In this juncture of circumstances, constituting a most trying emergency, the leading statesmen of the Conservative party felt that the attempt to uphold the existing Corn Laws would place in peril the dearest interests of the nation, and, also, that final success was an impossibility. Hence, to the astonishment and confusion of the Conservative Party, when the day for the announcement of policy and measures arrived, their chosen leader, Sir Robert Peel, was heard, in his place in Parliament, to propose an abandonment of that principle and policy which, before, he had declared to be so essential for the prosperity and stability of the agricultural interest, as well as for the prosperity and welfare of the empire at large, and which they fully expected he would have continued to maintain.

Then there were hurled against the minister, by members of his own party, the vituperative epithets, "Traitor," &c., though all to no purpose. The word had gone forth; so the majority of the nation willed. But evident as it was, and as they themselves made it appear, that the constitu

tional policy and course were advocated by the Conservative party for the ignoble and unpatriotic object of conserving their own interest, yet it has to be acknowledged, that within the ranks of this party there were and are men of the highest patriotism, far above the entertainment of any such selfish and dishonourable principles as were manifested by the general body of the party. It has to be lamented, that the good and noble moral element, together with the attachment to just political principle thus existing, were not, both precedently, and also at the period under notice, duly understood and appreciated, so as to have been supported with intellectual vigour and ability by the statesmen to whom leadership was confided; for, by want of this due discernment and support, the prime virtue of the nation has been allowed to be abstracted from its main sphere, and to be dissipated and lost, that is, so far as PUBLIC principle and national policy are involved.

It by a calm survey, and by a persevering study, of political courses such as that now under consideration, that a nation may learn what an enormous and fearful penalty its people have to pay for the encouragement and gratification of the Spirit of Party. The injury inflicted on national morality, and, hence, on general national interests, by the dishonourable habit of departing from the straight course, or that which is thought to be true, and of sacrificing all that is attendant upon this course, for the purpose of adopting expediency of acquiring or of retaining ministerial power and ascendancy - and thus offering a servile accommodation to the prevailing spirit of the age, merely because it is the spirit of the age, and hence holds and exercises supreme power, is, both in its amount and in its character, beyond the power of human estimation. And yet it is this false, dishonourable, and pusillanimous course, that men in general are found to support, and to applaud as good statesmanship. By

VOL. I.

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it Sir Robert Peel and his party-colleagues succeeded in circumventing the ambition, and in preventing the elevation to place and power, of their political adversaries; in obtaining and keeping possession of that ground which had been specially, and with so much energy, perseverance, and labour, prepared by these adversaries.

But although a nation will not be able to understand the real character of such false courses, by reason of the impotency which is ordained to be the offspring of moral obliquity, yet she will be made to feel most deeply and most acutely, that a desertion of nature's course, or the just law of the Creator, will, inevitably, entail upon her people that which has been so forcibly denominated "Judicial Blindness:" a condition in which the faculty of judging and of forming judgment will be so weakened and impaired, that the way of derangement, disorder, confusion, and adversity, will be thought and declared to be the right and prosperous way; and, as such, will be applauded and chosen.

The necessity felt by the Whig party of having a professed Political Economist to undertake the subject of Commercial Policy. — The selection of Mr. Francis Horner for this purpose. The reception of this rising statesman by the Holland House Society. — His introduction into Parliament. The confidence reposed in his knowledge shown by the selection of him to conduct the difficult subject of Currency. — Mr. Horner Chairman of the Bullion Committee.—The celebrated Report of this Committee. Mr. Horner's honest description of the quality and character of this report. - His death. A The health of Mr. Horner declines. successor, and another Political Economist sought for amongst the commercial ranks. Selection of Mr. C. Poulett Thomson for the vacant

office.

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CHAP. V.

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Ar the period when Mr. Huskisson was called upon to undertake the important and difficult task of revising and altering the commercial code of the nation, it became a matter of great moment, and of high interest, that other men also, who, having made the science of Political Economy the subject of especial study, should be encouraged and patronised, should be introduced to the notice of the people, by some of the public writers and speakers, as men particularly qualified for rendering national service; and, for this purpose, should be elected members of Parliament.

In the character, then, of a Political Economist, and hence as calculated to become a most useful and valuable member of Parliament, Mr. Francis Horner had been adopted within the circle of Whig statesmen, and been specially introduced into the political society of Holland House. By the political spirit there reigning, Mr. Horner had been tried. There he acquired a still larger measure of indoctrination, if not of

real strength, than that which he had acquired by his preceding education. An amiable simplicity of disposition, together with a liberality and honesty of purpose, these valuable qualities being supported by good ability,-made Mr. Horner appear to be a man suited for carrying onwards the social and commercial policy which Mr. Huskisson, although having commenced, yet had so greatly departed from. It was evident, too, that the leading members of that political party with which Mr. Huskisson was more especially connected, were not likely to carry onwards the new policy and course in that large degree which the party of Whig statesmen contemplated, and had announced to the nation.

Having entered the wide sphere of political discussion and action which the British House of Commons presents, it was expected of Mr. Horner, in accordance with that proficiency in the knowledge of Political Economy which his friends believed he had attained, and which they asserted of him, that he should undertake the conduction of some of the most intricate and difficult questions which the management of the national interests presents. Hence it happened, that, by general assent, the large and important subject of money and currency was specially intrusted to the diligent investigation of Mr. Horner, because it was believed and allowed that he, and perhaps he alone of all the members, would be able to give to this great subject scientific treatment, by reason of his having so carefully and deeply studied the writings of the Political Economists, and become an adept, if not in the science itself, at all events in the science of the school, or that which the world had been taught to believe was science, and had received as such.

At the termination of the great war which had so deeply engaged the attention and the efforts of the people of the different nations of Europe, during the close of the last and

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