Imatges de pÓgina

mass mustered some forty thousand combatants. But this was in the days of Runjeet; and the disorderly rabble was soon scattered by his trained battalions, though the spirit of the enterprise lingered some time longer in the Punjab. Surrounded as they are by tribes of stanch Mahometans, the Sikhs are thus isolated from any probable sympathy or succour.

Already we have seen in the recent operations, that levies from Cabul and Beloochistan promptly took service with ourselves against the Khalsa battalions -- even when fortune seemed to be frowning on our arms; while the British province of Scinde and the allied State of Bhawulpore secure an easy passage into the heart of their country.

Our future policy will probably be the result rather of proved necessity than of hopeful speculation. Nobody imagines that we covet the possession of the Punjab, although, as we have observed, it would be altogether erroneous to consider it as a province geographically or historically separated from the empire of Hindostan. Its annexation would be popular in India ; both from the natural preference with which all thoroughgoing measures are regarded, and from the increase of the two services which would

necessarily follow. Nor can it be denied that any other expedient may be shown to want its warrant of likelihood after the failure of the last. Except under such a sceptre as that of Runjeet, the Sikhs seem incapacitated for living at peace among

themselves. Even in the first ten years of this century, before Runjeet's monarchy was finally consolidated, they were described by Sir John Malcolm as preying upon each other with such insatiable animosity that they could never become, externally, a formidable state; and the narrative which we have sketched of the five years following on the old Lion's death proves how little the national character has since changed. If these tigers could be confined to their own jungle, we might perhaps shut our eyes to the bloodshed we had found it impracticable to prevent; but such anarchy is seldom circumscribed by its own frontiers, and we should infallibly have to fight on the Sutlej the battles we declined on the Ravee. It is something beyond the ordinary necessity imposed on conquest, which now impels us onward. Auribus tenemus lupum. We have got a powerful and ferocious beast in our clutches; which we have vainly tried to tame, and which we can neither conveniently hold nor safely let go. Perhaps a little respite may still be obtained by some ingenious modification of the conditions of our last protectorship; yet we can hardly persuade ourselves that the ultimate result will be anything but the advancement of the British frontier, to that river which forms the historical boundary of India. That this consummation has been forced upon us, he must be a bold historian who would deny. For nearly half a century we acknowledged in Runjeet Singh an ally and neighbour after our own hearts, - one who was master of his own position and who could respect ours. For years again we watched the gathering tempest with only too great forbearance; and, in our endeavours to avoid offence, permitted it to burst abruptly on our heads. Yet not for all this did we exact a penalty ; but instantly relinquished our rights of conquest; and lent the best aids of both our arms and our counsels to that very state which had been gratuitously arrayed for our destruction. Our experiment may have failed; but the failure can entail upon us no imputation save that of too great abstinence, too great generosity, and too charitable a conception of the disposition of our foe.

ART. VIII.-1. First Annual Report of the Commissioners for

administering the Laws for the Relief of the Poor in Ireland.

Presented to both Houses by her Majesty's Command. 1848. 2. Papers relating to the Relief of the Distress, and the State of

the Unions and Workhouses, in Ireland. Series 4, 5, 6, 7. Presented to both Houses by her Majesty's Command. 1847–

1848. 3. Report of the Committee of the House of Lords on Colonisation

from Ireland. Ordered to be printed 17th June, 1847. ! 4. Returns of Agricultural Produce in Ireland in 1847. Part I.:

Crops. Part II.: Stock. Presented to both Houses by her Majesty's Command. 1848.

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'I do not hesitate to say that, in my opinion, there ought to

• be established between England and Ireland a complete equality in all civil, municipal, and political rights. When I say complete equality, I don't mean, because I know it is impossible, to have a literal equality in every particular. • Here, as in matters of more sacred import, it may

be that «« the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life;" I speak of the

spirit, and not of the letter, in which our legislation should • be conducted. I mean that there should be a real, substantial

equality, in political and civil rights'; so that no person, 'viewing Ireland with perfectly disinterested eyes, should be

enabled to say “a different law is enacted for Ireland, and, on «« account of some jealousy or suspicion, Ireland has curtailed

« and mutilated rights." That is what I mean by equality.

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· Let no one think I am making a reserve. I speak of the spirit in which we should legislate. I think it ought to be impossible to say that there is a different rule, substantially, with regard to the Civil or Municipal Franchise in Ireland from that which prevails in England.'

Such was one of the most remarkable passages in the memorable speech with which Sir Robert Peel closed his almost monarchical administration. It was one of the few passages which received cheers from the right as well as from the left of the chair. In those cheers we felt no wish to join.

We were not sure, when we heard these words, that we clearly understood them we are not sure that we understand them now. The words Rights and Franchises, when applied to the mutual relations of a people and its rulers, imply theories which have long been abandoned. They belong to times when the crown and the subject were supposed to have adverse claims; when prerogative was the property of the one, and franchise the defence of the other;- when it was supposed to be the duty of the servants of the crown to preserve, if not to augment, its power, and the duty of the representatives of the people to restrain, and if possible, to diminish it. These times have long passed away. It is now admitted that prerogative and franchises, the duty of ministers and the duty of knights and burgesses, have one single and common purpose - good government;—that is to say, the government which will best promote the prosperity of the whole community. This is the right of the people against its government. It is the right of a union against its guardians, the right of a company against its directors, the right of a parish against its constable, the right of a client against his attorney. It is a right to have its affairs managed in the way most conducive to its welfare. In this right all other rights are merged; against this right no claim of the crown, or of any portion of the people, can prevail, or can be seriously urged. If Sir Robert Peel, then, when he claimed for Ireland equality of rights with Great Britain, meant merely to say that Ireland is entitled equally with England to good government —that she is entitled to be governed by the Imperial Parliament as she would be by a wise parliament sitting in College Green, he announced a principle perfectly true indeed, but, we trust, perfectly trite. We trust that no one doubts that she is so entitled, and we saw little reason for cheering a self-evident proposition.

We are ready, at the same time, to admit that the example of England must materially affect all Irish questions. There exists throughout the civilised world a principle, somewhat resembling

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that of gravitation, which enables the institutions, the customs, and even the conduct of every separate country to influence the conduct, the customs, and the institutions of every other. Of course this mutual influence is greater between countries both members of the same empire. And it is probably greatest when exerted over the remainder of an empire by that portion of it which is the seat of the imperial government. The laws of the metropolis may not be imitated by her provinces ; but they certainly will not be disregarded. The administration of these laws, the spirit in which they are carried out, will certainly be imitated. If Ceylon had continued subject to Dutch dominion, it is probable that the text of her laws would not have been what it is now. It is certain that her laws, whatever might have been their text, would have been turned to very different purposes. If the government of the dominant member of the empire be despotic, it will be difficult for those of the other members to be free. If it be constitutional, the others can scarcely remain despotic. The example of England made it impossible for Scotland to continue an aristocracy, with heritable jurisdictions and a nominal representation. Even if there were good reasons for believing that Ireland would be better administered by a government framed on the late Prussian model, under laws enacted by the crown, judges uncontrolled by juries, and with a press restrained by a censorship, no one would seriously propose to subject her to such a regimen. If she were a distinct state, it is possible that she might profit by following the example of Denmark; by surrendering her liberties to the crown, and exchanging turbulence, almost amounting to lawlessness, for the tranquillity of an enlightened despotism. But it is obvious that, while the democratic and aristocratic elements prevail in the rest of the empire, a pure monarchy could not work well in a single portion of it. That a government must depend on af

a fection or on terror, and that if it govern by terror it must govern ill, are propositions so trite that they have become elementary. But, with Great Britain by her side, Ireland could not acquiesce in the loss of her liberties, however unfit for her social state some of them may appear. Her monarch could rule her only by fear, and therefore would rule her ill.

But we trust that those who agree with us in this doctrine will bear in mind the fact, which we have often remarked *, that the people of England and of Ireland - meaning here, by Ireland, the provinces of Munster, Connaught, some parts of Leinster, and

* See particularly the paper on the Extension of the Irish Poor Law, vol. lxxxiv. p. 268.


the whole county of Donegal -- are among the most dissimilar nations in Europe. One is chiefly Protestant, the other is chiefly Roman Catholic; - one is principally manufacturing, and commercial, the other almost wholly agricultural; one lives chiefly in towns, the other in the country. The population of the one is laborious, but prodigal - no fatigue repels them - no amusement diverts them from the business of providing the means of subsistence and of enjoyment; but they consume almost as quickly as they acquire. That of the other is indolent and idle, but parsimonious. They can lay up a provision for the current year, and consume it, not according to their wishes, but their necessities. They can earn the comparatively high wages of a richer country, save them in the midst of temptations to expenditure, and beg their way home without touching their store. But they leave their potato grounds foul, merely to save the labour of weeding them; their cottages let in the rain, because they will not take the trouble to thatch them ; a wake, or a fair, or a funeral, attracts from its occupations the inhabitants of a whole village. They can work for a master, and while his eye is

upon but are negligent taskmasters to themselves. The one country possesses a large middle class, the other is divided between landlords and peasants: in one the proprietors of the soil are connected by origin, by interest, and by feeling, with those who occupy it; in the other, they are, in many cases, strangers, and, in almost as many, enemies. In one, public sympathy is with the law; in the other, it is with those that break it. In England crime is infamous; in Ireland it is popular. The parties which divide England have one common object, widely as they differ on the means by which it is to be obtained. All desire the welfare of the empire-all desire to see it tranquil and prosperous at home, and respected abroad. They believe, often of course erroneously, that the measures which they support will do good, and that those which they oppose will do harm; and it is on that account that they oppose or support them. The most numerous of the Irish parties desires that the existing institutions of the empire may work ill. It is delighted by the prospect of war, and gloats over the probabilities of defeat. It opposes whatever is likely to be useful, because it is likely to be useful, and rejects with loathing whatever is tendered to it as a favour or a grace. Colleges for secular instruction it denounces as impious; schools in which Protestant and Catholic may meet, are seminaries of infidelity, and a provision for its clergy is a bribe. It agitates for the sake of agitation; and selects for its avowed object an unattainable end, because it is

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