Page images
PDF
EPUB

gether inconsistent with the pro- social, and political, of exactly that fessions to which for years back order among the working men we have been listening.

which it has pleased Mr Bright Oh, but, we are told, Mr Dis- and Mr Gladstone to take under raeli's measure goes far beyond their special protection. The reanything which the Liberals had port of the Commission on Tradescontemplated. Their object was Unions in Sheffield certainly does to admit within the pale of the not go far to convince us that Mr Constitution only the élite of the Disraeli has acted unwisely in exworking classes—the honest, intel- tending the franchise to others than ligent, upright, and patriotic arti- the so-called élite of the working san, to whom the rights of pro- classes. Mr Broadhead, for examperty and conscience are as sacred ple, we presume to be a man of some as these things can be to the high- note in his sphere. At all events, est noble in the land. Of the re- he was considered by the intellisiduumthe mere drudges—the gent mechanics of his town to be unthinking, uneducated, labouring so far superior to themselves, that men, who are prone to do in all they chose him to be the treasurer things as their employers bid, and and secretary of that great tradesentertain a slavish respect for rank union, which has become to them and station, -of such as these at once a protector and a tyrant. they took no account, and they Mr Broadhead's respect for the entirely object to their being taken rights of property and conscience account of by anybody else. We has been exhibited in a manner so accept the explanation, and crave original that, but for the indemnity a moment of our reader's time, secured to him by the Commiswhile we endeavour to ascertain sioners, he would have been tried to what it amounts. Far be it ere this for his life, and in due from us to condemn whole classes time hanged. Mr Renshaw, likebecause of the iniquities of some. wise, and Mr Crookes—the former There are, we firmly believe, in a great light in his way-come out England and Scotland, thousands very remarkably from the investiand tens of thousands of working gation to which their acts and men to whom not only are we principles have been subjected. prepared to concede the rights of But it is not of individuals or their citizenship to their fullest extent, proceedings, however revolting the but with whom, in public and pri- latter may be, that we would speak vate, it would be an honour to be as destroying once and for ever the associated in any undertaking to false prestige which has heretofore which we should care to set our surrounded the working man. If hands. Of such, we feel assured, we could help it, we should not was that crowded audience com- intrust with the faintest shade of posed which, on the 25th of last political power any one, be his June, listened in Queen Street personal intelligence and character Hall, Edinburgh, to Mr Charles what they may, who so far forgets Scott's interesting and able lecture what is due to society as well as to on a subject chosen by themselves. himself, as to submit, for one hour, To them, and the manner in which after light has been let in upon their instructor addressed them, the system, to the bondage both of we wish that we could find space soul and body which the tradesto do justice. But, on the other unions, as now constituted, impose hand, it is fair to acknowledge upon their members. Observe that, that recent events elsewhere than in to associations of working men rightEdinburgh tend to impress us with ly constituted and managed, whether anything rather than an exalted for providing help in the hour of opinion of the principles, moral, sickness to individual members,

the

to us.

or for enabling the whole to drive Reform Bill, that the political prifair bargains with their employers, vileges created by it should reach we make no objection whatever. a larger and more independent As we took occasion to show in a and reasonable body of persons former number, combinations of than that which had won this sort were forced long ago upon favour of Mr Gladstone and Mr working men, by the unjustifiable Bright. privileges conceded to guilds. We are quite willing to believe Without these labour would have that among trades-unionists themhad no chance against capital. selves there are very many to whom Nor, when the combination laws the atrocities revealed before the were first repealed, did they fail to Sheffield Commissioners are just operate beneficially for all classes. as much a surprise and a source But they had not then the organi- of honest indignation as they are sation which they have since ac

Who could doubt, for exquired; they certainly asserted no ample, the sincerity of Mr William right to exercise control, in any Allan of the Amalgamated Engi. way, over others than such as neers, when he asserted, at the great chose voluntarily to come in to meeting in Exeter Hall, that if them. The case is very different trade societies were to depend now. In Sheffield, in Leeds, in for their maintenance on murder Birmingham, in London, no work- and violence, and to be upheld ing man whose name is on the by crime, the sooner they ceased roll of a trades-union can call his to exist the better for the soul his own. Let anybody read world” ? Who will refuse to believe and well consider the letter of that, among the thousands who Messrs Davies & Son in the listened to him, there were very * Times' of the 15th of July last, many who heartily agreed with the and the confessions wrung from sentiments which he uttered ? Yet reluctant witnesses by the Com- let us not overlook the fact, that if mission of which Mr Hughes and among the unionists themselves others are active members, and there are those who look with then say whether, in so expressing horror at what unionists do, other ourselves, we make use of language and more highly educated persons which is one whit too strong. And – Liberals, of course, but not now, we ask, is it to these and unionists—have the effrontery to such as these — to the Broadheads stand forward and to palliate, if not and Crookeses of Sheffield, to the to justify, Mr Broadhead and his Barkers and Renshaws of the same doings. Among these Professor place, or to the tools of the Exe- Beesly has deservedly won for cutive Committee in London and himself a prominent position. He Liverpool—that we would assign a deliberately casts the shield of his monopoly of those political influ- protection over the acts as well ences which are hereafter to deter- as the constitution of the tradesmine who shall and who shall not unions. But we prefer speaking sit in the House of Commons to of him in the terms employed make laws for the whole nation ? by a contemporary rather than in Surely not. And surely, inasmuch language of our own. The 'Saturas the proceedings of the great day Review' has well stated the Liberal party left him no alter- case, which is contrasted with those native except either to play their of another advocate on the same game or his own, Mr Disraeli did side :a wise thing—not for himself alone, nor for the Conservatives gene- such a man as Professor Beesly. He

"Something else must be said about rally, but for the country — in has had the best education this country so settling the conditions of his could give him, he occupies a post

ant.

which implies the qualifications of a were in excess, of one who was only teacher, and he is connected with an attempting to vindicate his office and important institution whose province is discharge his commission, and to preto educate. His language may be, as

vent what he believed would be a it is, contemptible and loathsome, but bloody extermination of a whole racehis station makes it in a sense import- who was the high functionary intrusted

This person at Exeter Hall had with the preservation of law and life, the effrontery, after a sneering allusion

and who acted in pursuance of powers to 'the excellent sentiments' of men in with which he was solemnly and reall moral honesty so much his superiors sponsibly intrusted as an officer of jusas Messrs Allan and Applegarth, to tice, and punished crimes which he hint that quite enough- and he evi. firmly believed had been committed, dently felt more than enough - had and such a perjured, lying, hypocritical been said about Broadhead and his scoundrel as Broadhead. Governor murders. 'Murder,' says the Professor Eyre may have acted with rash and -is he Professor of the humanities or culpable violence; but Broadhead is a the moralities? – by trades-unionists murderer, and the birer of murderers— is no better and no worse than any a thief who stole moneys committed other murder.' To say nothing of the to his honourable keeping-a liar who folly of this speech—which implies that affected to deplore the 'hellish'crimes all murders are equal in criminality, which he had himself purchased—the which is a rank absurdity, or else that very scorn and refuse of mankind, the Sheffield murders are equal in guilt whose name cannot be mentioned withonly to the least criminal of murders, a out loathing, and whose memory will sentiment which may be left to natural be a lasting disgrace to England. feeling-Mr Professor Beesly goes on to take care not to be misunderstood. With evidence of this sort before Though he is no apologist for murder,' him, he must be either very dull or he says that the Marlborough Street magistrates have legally committed

very prejudiced who shall deny that more outrages than Broadhead had a Tory Government, if it touched done. This sensible sentiment is only the subject of Electoral Reform something more wicked than what at all, would have committed Broadhead said when he hypocritically more than a mistake - a great observed that Fearnehough was almost moral wrong—had it restricted the equal in guilt to Fearnehough’s would- franchise to what Mr Gladstone be murderers. Mr Beesly improves is pleased to call the cream

" of upon this, and would consider them

But this is not all. This is the working classes. And that a only nonsense ; but when Mr Beesly Tory Government could refuse, says that Governor Eyre is as great a after all that has come to pass in murderer as Broadhead, and that his the last fifteen years, to take up the hands are red with the blood of four hun- question of Electoral Reform, and dred men murdered in the interest of employers, just as Broadhead committed his

to deal with it boldly, we hold to murders in the interest of the working

be

mere impossibility: Lord men at Sheffield,' we must say that he is Cranborne himself must have acnot only guilty of an atrocious calumny, cepted that fact, when he took that he not only perverts notorious office under Lord Derby a year ago. facts, but that he insults his audience It may suit his present purpose to as well as common sense. The meeting assail—as we regret to find that he at Exeter Hall knew as well as Mr has done-the personal honour and Beesly knew that the Jamaica planters in no sense constituted Governor Eyre political consistency of his late coltheir agent and representative, or leagues; but his speech on the third intrusted him with the administration reading, sharp and even plausible of their funds—that Governor Eyre had

as it is, proves nothing more than no trade interests to serve in the mat.

that a judgment, naturally clear, ter-and that for his zeal 'the Broad

has been darkened by personal dishead of Jamaica' got cashiered by those who really were his employers, appointment. For his own sake, the Home Government. And it is much more than for the sake of the needless to show that there is not the Ministers upon whom he turned, we remotest analogy between the zeal, if it lament that he should have been

Worse,

a

burried into a line of action for resumed, but for that abominable which there is no excuse, and of trickster who had planted himself which, we cannot doubt that before in the Exchequer. Could they not many days are over his better outbid the Tories, whatever qualinature will have deeply repented. fication they might adopt? Their

We have alluded elsewhere to Bill proposed a £7 rental; the the bitter anguish under which the Tories talked of a £6 rating. chiefs of the late Administration Rating or rental, it was all the are suffering, and to the mixed feel- same to the Liberals, so long as they ings of wrath and dismay which were able to draw a line below that show themselves from time to which the enemy offered. Dual time in Mr Bright's speeches. The voting? That was a device so obanguish of the late Ministers and viously new and unconstitutional the dismay of Mr Bright are easily that it would not hold water for a accounted for. Neither one nor moment. The one move for which the other entertained the most they were not prepared was the remote suspicion that in making proposal to proceed by resolution the battle of last year a contest of the House; and though that profor official life, they were signing posal came ostensibly to nothing, it their own official death-warrant. has in point of fact won the battle. When they threw up the cards in Here, then, is the root and source disgust, they believed, as firmly as of Gladstonian anguish. Why did men can believe anything which is we interfere with the original proin the future, that they were but posal to render the House itself the preparing the way for a more com- author of the measure? Had that plete triumph of their own opin- gone forward, opportunities would ions. They no more gave the have without doubt presented themTories credit for the resolution selves of suggesting arrangements which they have displayed than to which the Government could not they credited themselves with assent, and thereby beating them. motives of pure principle. That But now—woe and alas the day !the Tories must take office on all our efforts to damage the Bill their resignation was indeed cer- which in our blindness we forced tain; but that Lord Derby would the Government to bring in, be able to retain his place six have resulted in rendering it more weeks after Parliament met again, and more acceptable to the House ; that was a consummation on which and we are left out in the cold, the most anxious of the Liberal while they keep their snug places chiefs never reckoned. Were not and triumph. The ex- Ministers the Tories in a decided minority in are greatly to be compassionated. the House? Was not their party Their sufferings they have indeed pledged to resist Reform ? Had brought upon themselves, but not not Lord Derby announced in 1852 the less are they objects of that that he took office to resist the ad- contemptuous pity which is never vance of democracy? Did not his more justly bestowed than upon supporters in the Commons make men who, with their own hands, common cause with the Adullam- knock down their own fortunes. ites ? Could that game be played They are not, however, the only over again, and Reform shelved ? sufferers on the Liberal side. Our No. They — the Liberals — had hearts bleed for a large and rebent, and wisely bent, to a storm spectable class of gentlemen, the which would soon pass away ; barristers, rising and risen, to and, with the people at their back, whose lips the cup of preferment they would as surely resume power seemed on the point of being as they then laid it down." And offered, when the leaders to whom power they would have certainly they had plighted their allegiance

was

cruelly and most unexpectedly be- their grief, as there is in all grief trayed them. Why did they aban- which is excessive? The Liberals don the principles of their youth ? have been in power, with short and Was not Sir Roundell Palmer a uncertain intervals, rather more Tory once-at all events, a follower than thirty-five years. It of Peel, while Peel yet called him- scarcely to be expected, in the self a Tory? Did he not come in common course of things, that for Plymouth, not very many years they should retain power much ago, on the strength of his attach- longer. Even in the palmy days of ment to Church and State in both the first Georges, Whig tenure of sections of the United Kingdom, office reached forty years and no and his special guardianship of Ox- more. There seems no very just ford from Dissenters? Did not ground of complaint in the abMr Coleridge imbibe Toryism with stract, because, in the days of Wilhis mother's milk, and grow and liam and our own Victoria, it should thrive upon it till he reached mid- fall short of this term by half a dle life? Would be not have been decade. Unfortunately, however, like the late Attorney-General, a the breakdown, just as this halfTory still, pure and simple, but decade was beginning, threw a shathat against Tories the high places dow over the thirty-and-five years of his profession seemed to be closed which had gone before. Just as a by a decree which could not be shower of preferment was about to reversed ? Cruel fate! hard and fall, Lord Russell made a move in most iniquitous destiny !-to place a direction which carried his thirsty these shining lights, and many and heartbroken followers beyond others of a more subdued lustre, its influence, and nothing is left to exactly where, in the progress of them except the consciousness that time, neither their old nor their new they deserved better things, though principles were to be of the small- they are not likely to get them. est use to them! Nor among the Thesiger, Cairns, Kelly, Boville, are gentlemen of the long robe in Edin- in clover ; Palmer, Coleridge, and burgh can there be much less of others equally deserving, must still weeping and gnashing of teeth. crop the thistles. And judgeships No doubt the prizes of the law are and sheriffships, and we are afraid neither so many nor so rich in Scot- to say how many other good things land as in more favoured England. besides, have all gone to Scotch Such as they are, however, they had Tories who adhered to Toryism become the property in reversion of when Toryism had little to recomLiberals, and especially of Liberals mend it, except that it was synonwho had not been always such; ymous with consistent patriotism. and now, after so many sacrifices And here, for the present, we made - after opinions changed, might drop the subject, leaving principles thrown over, old ties Whig lawyers to their sorrow, but broken, new obligations assumed - for certain indications which appear to find that it would have been in the journals to which they are better to abide by the habits of understood to contribute, that not their earlier life, — this is really yet have their hopes entirely de. too bad! We quite admit the fact. serted them—that they have still The case of these poor gentlemen is a bolt in store to be shot when the a very hard one, certainly, in their Tory measure has become law. own eyes, and, with some slight Already we are threatened with a qualifications, in ours. But is all new agitation. As soon as the Bill this weeping and wailing, let us passes, and the House of Commons ask, justified by the event? Is elected under it meets, the scenes there not, on the contrary, some of twelve months ago are to be slight lack of reasonableness in acted over again, and Mr Gladstone

« PreviousContinue »