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have tacitly admitted the reason- No Administration was ever formableness of the assumption—that, ed under circumstances more perbeing of one mind in the main with plexing than those which beset Lord himself, they would be ready, as Derby's Cabinet when first brought often as the details of public busi- together. They found themselves ness came to be considered, to ac- mixed up irretrievably in a controcept his views and act upon them, versy, not of their own seeking, provided these were sustained by a which had called into existence the majority in the Cabinet. Without fiercest passions of men, in and out an arrangement of this kind no Ca- of the Legislature. In that conbinet could do its work. Indeed troversy, as it had originally been we will go farther. The necessity conducted, their part, though an of giving up at least a portion of important, was not by any means his own convictions is imposed a prominent one; yet for the temupon every individual who enters porary issue to which it had been into an arrangement with others driven they alone were held to be for the purpose of achieving a com- responsible. The party defeated, mon end. You cannot form a com- in spite of one or two gross mismercial company except by bring- takes among its leaders, held tenaing persons together who differ ciously to this doctrine. They had sometimes very seriously in the a great end to carry, and except by views which they take of the best bringing the Tories into public dismeans of attaining an accepted pur- repute they knew that they could pose; and if this be the case in a mat- not carry it. Stump-orators and ter só comparatively simple as the stump-writers were accordingly inmanagement of some trading specu- structed to direct all the artillery lation, much more necessarily must of their eloquence against the new it be so when a certain number of Administration; and with what noblemen and gentlemen undertake persistency and disregard of truth to administer among them the affairs they obeyed their orders, it is of a great empire. Even in seasons not
necessary that we should of political quiet, when no heavier point out. It was the Tories who burden seems to be laid upon a had done all the mischief. Theirs Government than to keep the ves- were the machinations which had sel of the State in steady motion, a resulted in the defeat of Mr Gladgreat deal more is exacted in the stone's and Mr Bright's Bill. In way of mutual compromise than the their hands Lord Grosvenor, Lord uninitiated are apt to imagine. Pro- Elcho, Mr Lowe, Mr Laing, had bably all the members of the Ad- all been mere instruments-and ministration equally feel that it is through their wiles the working a becoming thing to keep down the men of England were cheated out public expenditure as far as shall of that prospect of escape from be compatible with the efficiency political serfdom which a Liberal of the public service; yet when Government had secured to them. they come to consider the process for it was idle to suppose that with by which reductions, are to be a House of Commons so constituted brought about each particular as the present, a Tory Administrafunctionary is unwilling that his tion would tourh the question of own department shall be shorn of Parliamentary Reform at all. No, any portion of its glory. Without they had tried their hands at compromise, even in such a case as cobbling the Constitution once, this, the machine of Government and signally failed ; and having would come at once to a dead-lock; failed in a House of Commons and so the terms of a compromise elected under their own auspices, are settled, not unfrequently at what was there to encourage them the expense of a good deal of an- to a renewal of the attempt in a noyance on all sides,
House elected under the auspices of their rivals ? Besides, two obstacles blood, except in the last emer-both of them insurmountable— gency. stood in their way the moment The Tory Cabinet thus came tothey approached the subject. They gether in the presence of an oppocould not propose a measure of sition from without more formidable Reform more liberal than that of perhaps than had threatened any last session without breaking up Government since the days when their own party. They could not Lord John Russell and Sir Robert propose one less liberal which Peel confronted one another. For. would not be defeated by the Op- midable as it was, however, this position. It was clear, therefore, opposition from without presented that their policy would be one of only the least of the difficulties resistance to all change, and that with which they saw that they unless the people took the matter must contend. They were by no into their own hands, their policy means sure of their own party. might be successful. Hence the Phat the more thoughtful among processions, the riots, the outrages, the party were beginning to comwhich disgraced London during the prehend the true nature of their latter weeks of the late session. own position, as well as the position Hence the progresses of Mr Bright of the State of that they could enand Mr Beales and the O'Don- tertain no doubt. But as little was oghue during the recess; all of it doubtful that over the minds of which had at first the one object many old tradition still cast its of bringing back the Whigs to shadow, rendering them incapable office, though they resulted in the of perceiving that a policy which avowed determination of a knot might have been judicious a quarter of nameless demagogues to accept of a century ago, or even less, must, neither from Lord Russell nor from if persevered in now, bring only pubLord Derby any measure which lic misfortune in its train. With should fall short of manhood suf- reasoners of this class the first point frage and election by ballot. Ob- to be considered was, Would it beserve, we do not say that the coun- come the great Tory party to take up try-using that term in its true the question of Parliamentary Resense-was ever hostile to the pre- form at all ? and the next, assuming sent Administration, or disposed to that the question must be taken up, make common cause with their Within what limits would it be posrivals. The quiet, orderly, law- sible to confine the extension of the respecting people might be indif- franchise? We believe that among ferent between the two parties— the Tories, especially in high quarperhaps they were. Quiet, orderly, ters, there were some who contendlaw-loving men and women, who ed last year, as they contended in constitute the vast majority in this 1859, that Parliamentary Reform country, hate agitation so much, was not a subject to be touched by that we doubt whether it would be them or their leaders under any possible to rouse them into active circumstances. True, this abstenresistance to the most grinding tion from active interest in a subtyranny, so long as it could be ject more than all others engrossing borne. But their supineness served public attention, must keep the only to bring into more prominent party, so long as they adhered to it, notice the vehemence of the minor- in the cold shade of Opposition. ity, who assumed an attitude, of- In an age of rapid movement like the fensive, indeed, to good taste, yet present, statesmen who desire only a great deal too menacing to be to stand still must inevitably be treated with contempt by any, left to stand by themselves. But whether members of the Govern- the advocates of quiescence affected ment or private persons, who to hold considerations of this sort shrank from the shedding of very cheap; they persuaded themselves that their motives were lofty ant, and they had never been able and pure—that on the altar of the to get rid of it since. If we must country they were sacrificing their meddle with the settlement then selfish interests—and that it was agreed to, let us do it with as deliinfinitely better to keep down the cate a touch as possible. Rather ambition of individuals, however let us create new qualifications, honourable, than to jeopardise, in additional to those recognised in order to give it free scope, the time the measure of 1832, than interfere honoured institutions of England. with the old, especially in the borThey forgot to take into account oughs; and if forced to go farther, the fact, that though by acting thus let us content ourselves with placthey might restrain the ambition of ing town and county, in this rethe ablest men of their party, the spect, on the same footing. It was great institutions of the country under the pressure of this special were not one whit the safer for that influence, we suspect, that in 1859 achievement. Mr Disraeli might Mr Disraeli proposed his uniform be held down for lack of supporters, rental qualification, and fixed it at but Mr Gladstone would, neverthe- ten pounds. Let us not forget, less, clear away the Church in Ire- however, that in every proposition land, set aside the right of the of his some reference, more or less Church in England to have its distinct, was made to the obligation fabrics kept up by rates levied in under which the voter came to conparishes at the will of the parish- tribute to the necessities of the ioners, and throw open the endow- State. Neither in town nor in ments in Oxford and Cambridge county was it intended by him that to men of all religious opinions, any one should exercise the suffrage and to men of none. Mr Mill and who, being a householder or occuMr Bright might be ready first to pier of land, was either incapable curtail and by-and-by to abolish of paying his rates or was backward the highest privileges of the Peer- in paying them. And if the conage; and Mr Bright and Mr For- nection was not so apparent bester between them call in ques- tween this principle and the politition the wisdom, perhaps the ne- cal status of others, when what cessity, of keeping up, in an age so were called “the fancy franchises” advanced as the present, the bar- were about to be bestowed, still the baric pomp which was suitable franchises themselves had a good enough for Royalty five centuries deal to recommend them, if it were ago.
only by reintroducing into our elecThe section of the Tory party toral system that healthful variety which argued, both in society and which the Whig measure had taken through the press, for a policy of away from it. absolute abstention, had, however, The Tory Reform Bill of 1859 lost a good deal of its influence even did not command the hearty assent in 1859 ; and has dwindled down of the party. Even in the Cabinet considerably since that date. But itself, as our readers cannot have the case was believed to be other- forgotten, there were those who wise, and probably was otherwise, dissented from it ; and beyond the twelve months ago. There were then Cabinet it was generally received many who, though not opposed to with something more than coldness. Reform, were Tory Reformers to the The whole of the Liberals, Radicals least practicable extent. In their equally with Whigs, combined to minds the connection between rental disparage it; and Mr Lowe himself, and the franchise was a sort of stereo- if he did not propose, certainly typed idea. It had come to them in supported the resolution which hintheir youth, when the great Wbig dered it from getting into Commeasure of 1832 was in the ascend- mittee. Mr Lowe's opinions in regard to the fatal consequences of they assure us that they are, did lowering the borough franchise be- they not accomplish that end low the ten-pound line had not to the fullest possible extent unthen matured themselves ; they der a Parliament which had undermight be floating loosely through gone no further reforms since his brain, but they had taken no 1832 ? If to them we owe the definite shape. At all events, he flourishing state of the public finwas willing to accept a six-pound ances—which we deny as stoutly as rental qualification in boroughs, we do that they inaugurated Freewith a fourteen-pound rental fran- trade—are not the finances flourchise in counties, rather than have ishing already ? and have they not the Tories in office ;-even though been brought to the state in which undertaking to preserve for the we find them under that Parliaten-pounders that monopoly of mentary system which was arranged political influence which they had four-and thirty-years ago? If it heretofore enjoyed. Mr Lowe and be part of their policy to repeal his ex-colleagues carried their point, Church-rates and to throw open and the Liberals returned to Down- the colleges and universities of ing Street. Were the Tories, as a Oxford and Cambridge to all unparty, satisfied with this arrange- believers, has not the House of ment? At first, perhaps, yes; but Commons, unreformed though it as time passed on, and the weight be, gone as far as a reformed House of official authority was brought to could have gone towards the accombear against principles and institu- plishment of these purposes? Why tions which they held in respect, then should the Whigs have threatthe helplessness of their position ened us from year to year with an became gradually manifest to them. extension of the franchise, unless It might be satisfactory to be as- it were to coerce us into acquiessured that they could render greater cence in their monopoly of office, service to the State out of office by working upon our fears? Does than in it. It was flattering to find anybody believe that Lord Palthe people in power checked, as merston was in earnest when he they said that they were—in reality, allowed Lord John Russell to proweighted in the right direction-by pose one scheme after another for the votes of an independent Oppo- lowering the franchise ? Nothing sition. And so long as Lord Palmer- of the sort. Lord Palmerston perston lived, this really was to a cer- mitted his coadjutor to act as tain extent the case. But the advan- he did, because no man knew tages gained by these negative tac- better than he of what stuff the tics even during Lord Palmerston's old Tories were made. From the life amounted to this and no more, shock sustained by their system in that they staved off a Reform meas- 1832 they had never recovered ; ure which he was by no means and every threat of moving further anxious to pass, and helped him to in the direction of Parliamentary put a drag upon the wheel of the Reform operated upon their nerves coach which his more eager col- very much as a reference to the leagues might have upset by driv- black bogie operates on the nerves ing too fast.
of a child. Of what the black The truth is, that the question bogie is, or what it can do, or how of a further reform of Parliament it shall do it, the child entertains no has been palpably used by the conception whatever. But the very Liberals for the last six or vagueness of the fear adds to its eight years as a means of keeping magnitude, and the little creature themselves in office, and for no cowers and lies silent in bed, while other earthly purpose. If they the nurse-maid receives her sweetbe the authors of Free-trade, as heart wherever it may be most
VOL CII.—NO. DCXXI.
convenient to meet him. So it has ly to admit of the adoption, by any been with the Tories heretofore, set of Ministers, of a mere doand the cry of Parliamentary Re- nothing policy. Would it be just form. The bare utterance of the towards the Sovereign, or fair to the magical phrase filled all who heard people, at once on the reassembling it with dismay; and rather than of Parliament to say, “ Our princigrapple with the danger, they were ples will not allow us to touch the contented to do whatever the char- Reform question ; we must, therelatans who abused their credulity fore, make way for Ministers who thought fit to require of them. can deal with it, warning them while How often have we read in news- we do so, that to the utmost of our papers, and listened in private so- power we will oppose their policy, ciety, to remonstrances like this, and defeat it, if we can.” Just
It is useless and worse than use- consider the inevitable conseless to plot and scheme for office. quences of child's-play like this! We are of far greater use to the Lord Russell and Mr Gladstone, country out of office. If we beat resuming their old places, would the Whigs on any question, and have resumed with them their old they resign, they will at once get schemes ; and if again thwarted, up a cry for further lowering the they would have done what the franchise; and we shall be ousted Constitution authorises the Crown in order that some sweeping meas- to do under such circumstances. ure may be brought forward and Parliament would have been discarried, just as much against the solved, and a general election, carconvictions of the more moderate ried on under the bludgeons of the of the Liberals as against our Reform League, would have given own."
us such a House of Commons as This wretched argument prevail- has not been seen in England since ed as long as Lord Palmerston sat the time of the great Civil War. No, at the helm. It prevailed because no: it may be very well in quiet there seemed to be reason in it, times for Tories to curb their natural though there really was none. But ambition, and to content themselves his death entirely changed the con- with the rôle which their rivals are dition of affairs. The first act of civil enough to assign to them ; the new Liberal Minister was to but when matters come to such propound a scheme, in comparison a pass as that honest men must with which the most objectionable choose between themselves letting of all that had preceded it was felt out a pent-up flood, and permitting to be both moderate and reason- others, whom they cannot trust, to able. Naturally the first impulse tamper with the sluices, surely on the Tory side was to resist the common-sense, as well as the prinMinisterial project face to face ; ciples of honour, direct that honest and the resistance which they were men should put their own hands to enabled to present succeeded. All the work, and do it. that followed came as a matter of To this conclusion the Cabinet course. They had no alternative. arrived, very soon, we believe, after They were compelled to undertake its first formation ; but then came the responsibilities of Government; the question as to how the work and they did undertake them. But should be done. And on that on what conditions ? Could they question, to the great regret of hope to retain the Government, all concerned, the Cabinet fell keeping the electoral system ex- asunder. Three Ministers, neither actly as the measure of 1832 had the least able nor the least resettled it? That was out of the spected of the band, saw the subquestion. Public feeling had been ject in one point of view; all the expressed too openly and too clear- other members of the Administra