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defence follows as a direct consequence of the right of selfgovernment.

Following Mr. Gladstone, Lowe strongly criticised the policy of the Exchequer loans. He dealt with this intricate question by means of a familiar illustration. Supposing, he said, that a gentleman with a large landed estate, a large family, and no ready money (no impossible conjecture) had an opportunity of putting a son to great advantage into business; and in order to raise the necessary sum, mortgaged a part of his estate for 500,0001., and that the son, becoming prosperous, sent regular instalments to his father of the money that he had borrowed. Would the Chancellor say that the owner of the land was acting as the father of a family or as a man of common sense if he took those instalments and spent them as he received them, as part of his income, instead of doing his duty and carrying them to the current account against the mortgage on his land ?

• Weil,' added Mr. Lowe, that is the case of the Exchequer Loan Commission, and when the right hon. gentleman shall get up to answer the hon. member for Oxford (Mr. Gladstone), I hope he will not think it beneath him to answer so insignificant a person as myself.'

For a new speaker Lowe had occupied the time of the House at considerable length. But by his previous and briefer efforts he had already secured the good opinion of members on both sides, who evidently listened attentively, and even with pleasure, to his elaborate financial speech. As he had opposed the reduction in the malt tax, it may be naturally inferred that he deprecated the proposed increase in the inhabited house tax, which he declared would be the cause of much disfranchisement in his own borough. But he said little enough on this head.

Disraeli chiefly replied to the hostile criticisms of Sir James Graham, Sir Charles Wood, and Mr. Gladstone. It was on this occasion that he rather allowed his temper to get the better of his judgment in his personal remarks on Graham, for

which afterwards he felt it to be both politic and well-mannered to tender an apology. Nor did Disraeli, who was never so effective as when fighting single-handed against a host, overlook the new member for Kidderminster.

Mr. Lowe, he declared, had taken no account of the 'reserve of producing power,' a phrase which he proceeded to explain in a truly characteristic fashion.

The reserve of producing power we possess may be inferred from the fact that now, in a south-eastern county, the Census shows that, to 100 married women of from twenty to forty-five years of age, there

, are seventy women of the same ages unmarried, and of whom only seven bear children notwithstanding. I have confidence in this reserve of producing power which the hon. and learned member with his colonial experience has not given this country full credit for.


This was Disraeli's mode of brushing away the weighty arguments against his new taxes at the time when the manhood of the country was being so powerfully attracted to the gold-fields of Australia. He also dealt more suo with the question of the brewer and the consumer in regard to the repeal of the malt tax. It reminded him, he said, of the arguments used by those opposed to the repeal of the corn laws. They declared that the bakers and millers would profit and not the consumer, and (he gravely added) 'such was the prejudice raised against the bakers throughout the country, that I should not have been surprised if they had been all hanged in one day, as the bakers had once been in Constantinople.'

Despite his jaunty air, Disraeli fully recognised that he was about to be beaten. In his best manner he exclaimed, in one of those memorable phrases which have passed into political proverbs—I know what I have to face. I have to face a coalition : a coalition has before this been successful. But coalitions, although successful, have always found this, that their triumph has been very brief. This I know-that England has not loved coalitions.'

The division was taken at four in the morning of December 17th, when the Government was defeated by 305 to 286. In the evening Lord Derby handed his resignation to the Queen at Osborne.

The coalition between the Peelites and the Whigs and Radicals, which Disraeli so much disliked, but of which he would certainly not have disapproved had they crossed over and joined himself and Lord Derby, was now formed. Lord Aberdeen came into office as Prime Minister, though he was little more than the nominal head of this remarkable but ill-fated Ministry, which included, as is well known, Lord Palmerston, Lord John Russell, and Mr. Gladstone. In this extraordinary combination the office of joint secretary of the old Board of Control for India was held by Robert Lowe.




HISTORIANS of all parties and opinions have commented on the strange and unaccountable allotment of offices in Lord Aberdeen's Ministry of all the Talents. Certainly, it must have been startling to thoughtful observers to find Lord Palmerston, whose sole delight and study was in foreign affairs, at the Home Office; and Lord John Russell, who was never happy unless engaged in some project of domestic reform, figuring as Foreign Secretary. In a minor way, the office allotted to the ex-member of the Legislative Council of New South Wales would seem at first blush almost as absurdly anomalous. Nothing could have been more calculated to unfit a man for the office of Secretary of the India Board than Robert Lowe's eight years of active public life in Sydney. The fact that, under the late Lord Halifax, then Sir Charles Wood, be managed as a humble member of this ill-fated Aberdeen Government to do some really good work for India and the Empire is a signal proof of his political adaptability and insight.

The Government of India at this time, as is well known, was of a dual character, consisting of the Board of Control, representing the Government and people of England; and the Chairman and Court of Directors, representing the shareholders of the East India Company. It is an interesting fact that during the years in which Robert Lowe held the office of Secretary to the Board of Control, that most delightful of men of letters, Thomas Love Peacock, was Chief Examiner at the India House, having under him no less a personage than John

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Stuart Mill. So far as I have been able to ascertain, these official duties led to no friendship, or even acquaintance, between Lowe and Peacock, a circumstance which all lovers of good things will deplore. Nor did Lowe and Mill apparently get to know each other at all intimately until afterwards, when both were members of the Political Economy Club and the House of Commons. They were never, in the real sense, intimate, as they were not particularly sympathetic; and, strange as it may seem, I have a feeling that Lord Sherbrooke would have preferred the author of Crotchet Castle-who, though he ridiculed everybody and everything, including both poets and political economists, was a real flesh-and-blood individual-to his more famous philosophic successor at the India House, who gave us the Elements of Logic and Principles of Political Economy.

On June 3rd, 1853, Lowe's official chief, Sir Charles Wood, introduced the Government of India Bill “in a speech,' writes Greville, of unexampled prolixity and dulness. There is no doubt that it is both prolix and dull, but those who have had to wade through several years of Hansard will be chary as to the use of the word "unexampled. It has always been said

' that the Queen took a very lively interest in this measure, as, indeed, she has ever done in matters affecting her Indian Empire. The Bill—which, as far as the work of getting together the data on which its provisions were based, and of defending it in Parliament, was as much Lowe's as Sir Charles Wood's-eventually passed both Houses with triumphant

-majorities. It was necessarily of the nature of a compromise ; but as any step in the direction of increasing the Imperial control lessened the patronage of the East India Company, it was not favourably received by the Chairman and Directors in Leadenhall Street. Lowe himself, from the day that he assumed the office of Secretary, took infinite pains, not only in connection with Sir Charles Wood's Bill, but—as was his wont-with the subject of India generally.

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