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Lowe did not give his opponents much opportunity for scoring success against him. On the occasion, in 1864, when a hostile vote in the House of Commons, carried in spite of statements he had made, decided him to resign his Vice-Presidency of the Education Committee of the Privy Council, Lord Palmerston, at his instance, obtained from the House that the accusation implied in the vote should be referred to a select committee for inquiry; and as the report of this committee convinced the House that its former vote had been unjust, the vote was at once rescinded. In extra-parliamentary speeches incidental to the mere skirmishing of parties, Mr. Lowe's outspokenness was always a fair challenge to those who differed from him; for on such occasions (which perhaps reminded him of old Winchester times) he would dash into the fray, hitting right and left, with an evidently youthful zest for the exercise, and a perhaps too youthful indifference to the blows which might be aimed at him in return; but even on these occasions he spoke with such reserves of real strength that he had little reason to fear reprisals; and, so far as I am aware, only one occasion ever arose on which the challenge by him was taken up to his disadvantage.'

In the course of the general election of 1874, Mr. Disraeli, wishing to turn into ridicule before one of his Buckinghamshire audiences the opponent who of late years had been specially a thorn in his side in the House of Commons, jeeringly described

The one occasion alluded to was in the summer of 1876, when Mr. Lowe, referring at an election meeting at Retford to the history (as he supposed) of the Royal Titles Bill then before Parliament, undoubtedly made a slip; laying himself open to the charge of having spoken with wrong information on a subject on which he had better not have spoken at all; and giving to the leader of the opposite camp a chance he could quickly turn to account in the House of Commons. The opportunity was used to the utmost, but with no more than momentary effect against Mr. Lowe; for he, with characteristic candour, not uttering a word of comment on the party tactics which had been used against him, and not attempting by a word to minimise or explain away the language he was reported to have used, frankly confessed fault in the matter, and expressed regret for it in terms so entirely proper and sufficient that the incident was at once as if it had never been.

Mr. Lowe as a man so unlikely to be the elect of any popular constituency that, except for the franchise given in 1867 to the University of London, he probably would have been without a seat in Parliament. It perhaps did not occur to Mr. Disraeli that his remark implied any disparagement of the constitution he had himself provided for Parliament; but it may be conceded him that the taunt had in it just enough of a certain sort of verisimilitude to make it effective for its purpose. In relation to democratic constituencies of ignoble type, Mr. Lowe, no doubt, by reason of his merits, might often have made but a poor show at the poll; for he would not have eaten dirt in order to succeed, would not have been the puppet of wire-pullers, would not have bribed or flattered or lied, would not have promised each individual voter to rejoice him with the moon of his desire, would not have debased his own better knowledge and better conscience by doing homage to sectarian spites, or by compromising with the exactions of ignorance and greed. Certainly he would rather have swept the pavements at Whitehall than have entered Parliament on conditions. like those. Further, too, we can freely admit that Mr. Lowe, like other men, would probably sometimes more or less have shown (as the French express it) les défauts de ses qualités. Hating humbug as he did, and personally indisposed to sentimental platitudes of speech, he perhaps would not always have taken sufficient care that, when he had to express unpleasant truths, he tempered them with as much oil or sugar as possible; nor perhaps, with his strict standards of political science, would he always have sufficiently recognised, or seemed to recognise, that sentiment, as well as science, is a power in politics. Defaults in such respects might no doubt have counted somewhat against him with average constituencies; but even among average constituencies, and still more among constituencies of markedly high type, Mr. Lowe's great qualities could never have failed to find appreciation. It would be a superfluous tribute to his memory to follow further that line



of thought; but, for the future of England, be it ardently hoped that courage and integrity like his will ever, more and more, be valued by the people. Democracies, equally with princes, are apt to have their weaknesses turned to account by the parasites who pretend to serve them; and a wise democracy will not choose its representatives from among men who are mere sycophants of the multitude. Whether the welfare and the long descended honour of England shall be in the future what they have been in the past, will mainly depend on the rightness of popular judgment as to the merits which qualify for statesmanship. Surely it will be essential that one who pretends to represent the people shall not only be the possessor of ripe knowledge, but shall feel, and shall bravely fulfil, the moral responsibilities which knowledge imposes; that he shall, at all hazards, be loyal to what he knows; that no ambition for applause shall make him the false prophesier of pleasant things; that no popular craze or outcry, no civium ardor prava jubentium, shall daunt him from his allegiance to truth; that in the spirit which distinguished Mr. Lowe's Kidderminster speeches, the spirit in which Edmund Burke had been wont to address the Bristol electors, he shall frankly and fearlessly speak out his best counsels on all which is of public concern, and shall thus, as far as possible, aid his constituents to judge with understanding between right and wrong.




It has been thought well that one of Lord Sherbrooke's own family should add a few words to these memoirs, and the pleasurable duty has devolved upon the niece who specially loved him, and in whom, perhaps, he took the greater interest as being the successor in Nottinghamshire of Byron's Mary,' the Mrs. Musters of his boyhood.

Looking back upon many a long summer's day and winter evening of never-ending talk and discussion, one feels how impossible it is to depict the vivid personality, the rapidity of thought, the inextinguishable gaiety, that made my uncle Robert so charming a companion.

He and my father, his elder by fifteen months, were, perhaps, seen at their best together. Both ardent lovers of Sir Walter Scott, they delighted in repeating their favourite passages, and recalling the days when they read the early novels all night, because in the daytime the elders were occupied with them, to their exclusion.

It was very pleasant to see these two brothers, though opposed in their religious and political views-the younger Chancellor of the Exchequer, the elder a simple squire devoted to country sports and pursuits-talking and writing to each other without a shadow of restraint or jealousy.

'Robin,' as my father called him, belonged to a discriminating, if not a criticising, family, and he often said laughingly of himself that he was nothing if not critical.'

But how amusing, how suggestive were his trenchant remarks ! Every topic called forth something worth remembering, and every chord was responsive.

Even in conversing with a child he was spontaneous, natural, unstilted, and had the faculty, so fascinating to the youthful, of talking to them as equals, discussing the books they read, and forming their tastes by giving reasons for his own likings and dislikings, and eliciting their own.

One felt instinctively that he was a Protestant in everything.

He was always on the side of private judgment against authority, of freedom against tyranny and bigotry, of the right of the young to form an opinion and carry out a plan. He did not consider that Age necessarily implied Wisdom, and all this made him very attractive to fledgelings just beginning to try their wings. My uncle's manner, too, was very caressing, and his smile particularly sweet to those he was fond of.

His was a many-sided intellect, and nothing came amiss to itpoetry, politics, history, science, art, drama, human and animal nature; but I think the fairy godmother who presided at his birth was she of whom Macaulay wrote, and that the 'love of his life' was poetry. He 'lisped in numbers,' and the incidents of every day reminded him of some line stored up in that marvellous memory, teeming with apt quotations and out-of-the-way knowledge.

His taste in poetry, though fastidious, was comprehensive. All that was direct, that was stirring, that was finely felt, that was poetically expressed, pleased him, from Scott and Byron to Matthew Arnold and Swinburne. The latter's lines

Before the beginning of years there came to the making of man:
Time, with a gift of tears; grief, with a glass that ran,

he used to repeat with pleasure, and great favourites of his were the Irish verses beginning

Who fears to speak of Ninety-eight,

Who trembles at the name?

When cowards mock the patriot's fate,

Who hangs his head for shame ?
He's half a knave or all a slave
Who mocks his country thus;
But a true man, like you, man,
Will drink his glass with us.

These my uncle would repeat with a verve worthy of a Fenian ; but his admiration was purely literary, and it is scarcely necessary to say that he had no sympathy with Home Rule aspirations.

Indeed, I well remember that in 1885, when a prominent Irish official, now dead, told me that he expected to see a Parliament in Dublin before three years were over, I asked my uncle what he thought of the idea. He merely answered, contemptuously, that no responsible Minister dare suggest such a thing.

Though ready to be amused wherever he might be, the society that was most congenial to the subject of this memoir was that of cultivated and high-bred ladies. He liked their quick perception, and always said that they could appreciate the fine nuances of

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