“Republican Tories,” The Globe (21 November 1850)
By: The Globe
Citation: “Republican Tories,” The Globe (21 November 1850).
Our poor contemporary the Hamilton Spectator! Our editorial heart is wae for him! The fabric of his once powerful party is crumbling to atoms—the aristocratic High-Church Tory is bidding against the Republican Clear-Grit for popular favour, by the concession of the most ultra political theories—staunch old Troy papers are going over to the enemy—and the poor Spectator is about to be left alone in his glory. A sad wail is that over the lamentable position of affairs, in the Spectator of the 9th. But let us do our poor cotemporary justice, and admit after all that it is a manly lamentation—a fierce wail, we might have called it—a touch of never-give-in old Jacobite thunder. Our sympathies are all with the Spectator in the energetic flagellations he administers to his recreant confreres. We are quite with him when he says he was “not at all surprised to find Mr. Sherwood advocating these fundamental changes in the constitution, for that gentleman has never exhibited any fixed principles” but on the contrary, “has always sailed with the wind,” has “joined each administration that required his services” and is “probably open for any adventure that can be turned to his personal [illegible] prepared to see our cotemporary of the Patriot, the organ of the most ultra portion of the Conservative party, giving in his adhesion to the proposition, declaring that he has ‘long advocated an Elective Legislative Council,’ that he concedes the election of local officers, and is favourable to the extension of the suffrage.” We, too, “are utterly unable to reconcile these concessions to democracy, with the principles or policy of the Conservative party.” Nay, we go further with our cotemporary and admit at once that the course pursued by “such men as Sherwood, Gamble and Gowan” is “grossly immoral and dishonest”—“utterly unworthy the Conservative party.” It is all true—too true—“the Local Conservatives” have indeed “abandoned their principles, and demand organic changes in the constitution from no better motives than to place in power a few men who have given us (them) cause to doubt their sincerity and honesty.” The case is a sad case as it stands, and we believe our cotemporary has hit the right nail on the head when he says that the true game for “the Loyal Conservatives” is to “remain in the minority, and maintain a dignified opposition, which will obtain the confidence of the country, and command the respect of opponents.” A most wise conclusion—and the more especially so, as the aspect of the case is rather Hobsonic as otherwise—there being in the remarkable language of the Laird of Bonnymoon’s man “nae wale o’ wigs.”
The Spectator speaks with the wisdom of a sage when he says:—
“The great difficulty which the governments in all countries have to contend with is the never satisfied clamor of the agitator, and the insatiable desire for change and excitement manifested by a large class of the people. With some men there is no halting place in the onward march toward new theories and visionary speculations. One experiment has not been fairly trued ere another, recommended only by its novelty, is demanded; and thus we go on from bad to worse, learning little from experience, and inclined to rely more confidently upon the promptings of the imagination than the realities that are daily passing before our eyes.”
But, good Mr. Spectator, ask yourself if you have not done as much as you possibly could to increase this “insatiable desire for change and excitement” in the country. What paper has so teemed with the wildest emanations of the Clear Grit press, as the Spectator, in the hope of damaging the ministry? Was not this advocating “evil that good might come?”—Was not this “expediency” of as improper a character as any the Patriot has been guilty of? We trust the Spectator begins to see the error of his own ways, and that the constitutional Reform presses which have consistently stuck by British institutions and denounced the wild political panaceas which have been in turn presented to us, whether by Tories or Liberals, are the true friends of Canadian interests. We trust he will see that Clear Grittism is not by any means confined to the Reform camp, but flourishes apace among “the Loyal Conservatives” and cease to lend his aid in giving them an appearance of importance in the public eye. When the Annexation organs declare for Tory Mr. Vansittart as their Candidate for Oxford in opposition to Radical Mr. Hincks, it is fully time, as he himself says on another point, that the Loyal Conservative party “should know it.” The Montreal Herald of 16th pledges the Annexationists in support of Mr. Vansittart; he is a “country gentleman,” says the Herald; though what that is, we are not told; he “has an historical name”—but what good that is to do the electors, we learn not; he has been long connected “with the Conservative party”—as the holder of three offices, we presume; and he “declares that he will continue a faithful subject of the Crown of Great Britain, so long as his allegiance is required by the British Sovereign, without making any farther professions.” What this meant we did not exactly comprehend—the length of the term of allegiance promised by the gentleman of the “historical name”—we did not gather until we read on and found that “the British Government having voluntarily relinquished its supremacy, our future Conservatism must be that of the people.” So, then, Mr. Vansittart’s allegiance has been already dispensed with—and the gent is a “faithful subject of the Crown of Great Britain” no longer! Mr. Vansittart’s champion, going on farther to explain his views, alleges that “there are very few intelligent men in the Province, let them have belonged to what political party they may, who do not see that affection to the Crown has become a mere name, often intended to signify submission to the laws, made by a majority directly hostile to every British idea.”
Here we have “Loyal Conservatism” with a vengeance. If these are to be the doctrines of the Tory Candidates at next election—those who value British institutions must look how they vote.