Imatges de pÓgina

a small but talented body, foolishly could not all at once communicate adhering to a defunct name, who arro- that amiable disposition to the Radigated to themselves the license of the cals, who were not by any means winds of heaven. Lord Palmerston, averse to an extension of the period who had appealed to the country for of their exclusion from office. So support, and who apparently had angry indeed were the former with gained it, and vaunted the result not the quiet attitude of the latter seca little, was smitten, like another tion of the Liberals, that they began, Frankenstein, by his own created with their usual dexterity and unanomaly. The Conservatives alone scrupulousness, to circulate reports could carry on the Government, and of a private understanding between they could only do so, according to the chiefs of the Radicals and the Parliamentary usage, through the Ministry, and to insinuate that Mr forbearance of the Opposition. Bright had a most extraordinary and

Placed in such a difficult position, unaccountable influence with memand having such a tremendous re- bers of the Cabinet, and a singular sponsibility laid upon him, Lord knowledge of its plans ! Derby, with manly straightforward- If the Ministry had contented ness, did not attempt to disguise themselves with doing very littlethe weakness of his following. In- for pursuing which course of conduct ferior statesmen would have boasted they might have appealed to Whig of their strength, and talked vagne- precedents-if they had exhibited few ly but cheeringly about their pro- symptoms of vitality, and performed mises of support. He took a very nothing beyond the bare ordinary different course. He told Parliament functions of a Government-we do that, in a crisis, or rather a state of believe that they might have held disorganisation bitherto unparalleled, office for a considerable period withhe had, by Her Majesty's desire, and out being seriously molested. But for the sake of the country, under- 'they had far too high a sense of duty taken to form an administration; and to follow so ignominious a course, he asked no further favour than that There was much work before them, they would judge him impartially and not only of that kind which is concandidly by the acts of his Cabinet stantly arising out of the political These were, of course, open to criti- exigences of the day, but heavy cism and censure. He did not seek arrears caused by the unskilfulness, to escape the ordeal to which all negligence, and procrastination of ministers are exposed. He did not their predecessors. They addressed entreat his opponents to spare him themselves to the performance of because his following was compara- that work with a degree of zeal, tively weak. All he expected was energy, and success which has been that they should abstain from factious rarely equalled. They undertook opposition, and from embarrassing by practical and useful, not theoretical party cabals the only Government reforms. They infused new life into which was possible under the exist- every department of the public sering circumstances.

vice, so that in a very short time it For a time it appeared as if the became apparent that they were far House of Commons was really will- better administrators than the Whigs ing to accept and abide by that ar- had ever shown themselves to be. rangement. The great bulk of the That their diligence, courtesy, and Liberal party showed, or at all events attention for them golden expressed, no disinclination to give opinions from all sorts of men, has the Ministry a fair trial; and al- not been denied even by their bitterthough more than once ominous est opponents. The leading journal, mutterings were heard from those indeed, even while exercising its inbenches usually occupied by the fluence against them, has been conWhig magnates andex-officials, which strained to acknowledge that if sounded to the attentive listener like judged by their works alone, Minispreludes of a coming storm, these ters are entitled to the public confiagain subsided. The Whigs were dence. It is to their faith or political quite ready for mischief, but they profession that the l'imes takes objec


tion. We shrewdly suspect that the That administration was but a short majority of mankind will hardly coin- one. It was terminated within ten cide with the able publicist in his esti- months from its commencement by a mate of the relative value of profession combination of the opposing forces ; and works in connection with terres- but within that brief period the trial matters. We are of the number of Conservatives had proved to the those who hold by the ancient opinion country not only that they were fully that performance is always a much competent to discharge the ordinary

a better thing than profession-that functions of government, but that they the man who does his duty is at all were bent upon introducing, salutary times, and in every place, a more practical reforms which their predeprofitable servant than his fellow cessors had evaded, and were deterwho merely talks about it. Fluellen mined that every department of the could not have uttered such brave public service should be brought into words and sonorous crambo as flowed the highest state of efficiency. So from the lips of Ancient Pistol at the well, indeed, did they perform their bridge; but he went into the thick of duty, that the Liberal party took the fight, when the pick-purse was alarm lest those same ignorant preskulking in the rear. Recent occur- tenders who had gained admission to rences have taught us to look with the temple of office without prosome suspicion on those protesting nouncing their peculiar shibboleth at gentry. We have seen managers of the door, should ingratiate thembanks who inaugurated the opening selves too much with the public, and of their fraudulent concerns with that they should suffer by the conprayer, and eminent city men who trast. For years they had been tryenjoyed a reputation for superior ing to persuade the country that a sanctity and godliness, condemned to Tory government was impossibleprison and the hulks for nefarious that if it was attempted everything swindling practices. We have also must go to utter wreck and ruinknown instances in which statesmen, that tyranny, jobbery, and corrupwhose political faith the Times would tion of the grossest kind were the doubtless uphold as highly orthodox, certain consequences—that the liberhave shown themselves exceedingly ties of the people were in danger, and tardy in performing that which they much more to a similar effect. We had promised with alacrity, and even appeal to the recollection of every precipitation. Therefore if the merit man if such were not the results of works, that is, of a proper, consci- which were predicted for the country entious, and diligent discharge of if Lord Derby should accede to office. their duty, be accorded to Ministers, He did accede, and within ten months the metaphysical objection, we appre- they were fain to combine and sink hend, can have very little weight. It mutual differences in order to eject is in truth not one whit more tenable him and his colleagues from office, than the reason which was assigned not because those predictions had hy the Athenian voter for ostracising been fulfilled, but because the GovernAristides, when he admitted that he ment was rapidly becoming more had nothing to urge against the man, popular than was at all convenient. beyond a certain disgust engendered The intrigue succeeded; the Derby by hearing him applauded for his ministry was displaced ; and Lord justice. Let the publie note well and Aberdeen ruled over a Cabinet comremember this. When, in 1852, Lord posed of men of all shades of political Derby formed a Ministry, there arose opinion. The immediate result was from the Liberal ranks a derisive shout the Russian war, and that manifesat the alleged incapacity of the men tation of official helplessness which so who were selected to fill the various roused the wrath of the nation. We offices. The red-tape veterans sneer- do not wish to remove the sheet ed at them as ignorant pretenders which has been decently spread over who knew nothing of the craft of a mangled and unsavoury subject. statesmanship, and declared that We shall not ask the public to recall they were not competent to conduct the sensations of disgust created by the public business for a single week. the unparalleled nepotism of that exalted liberal Lord Panmure-or those tapers upwards towards the pinnacle. of pity not unmixed with contempt Give the lower strata the power to which rewarded Lord John Russell move effectually, and you create or for his sorry diplomatic appearances. invite an artificial earthquake which We shall not do more than allude to may bring down the whole edifice in Lord Palmerston's playful phantas- ruin. The leading Democrats—we magorial glimpse of a Reform Bill intend no offence by the phrase-are which was never drawn, or his intro- for the most part men of capital who duction into the Cabinet of an Irish employ many workmen. Supposing peer, who had much better have re- manhood franchise to be the rule, inained elsewhere. Out of such each workman would, politically, materials, however — and we have bave the same influence in returning not enumerated or glanced at a tenth a member to the House of Commons part of them--we might, without re- as his master. If master and man sorting to the art of the special were agreed, all might go pleasantly pleader, frame such a case, fortified enough. When wages were high, by such powerful evidence, that no and all things comfortable, the masreally unprejudiced man could deny ter manufacturer inight walk to the our conclusion that the Derby admin- poll with a following behind him far istration in 1852, was much superior more numerous than that of any in point of administrative talent, zeal, Highland chief in the bygone age of honesty, and reformation of abuses, feudalism, and, by inscribing his to those of which Lords Aberdeen name first, might derive glory from and Palmerston were respectively the the length of his tail. But are the heads. Without any elaborate case, interests of master and man, of emwe ask if this is not substantially ployer and labourer, identical? It is true? Let any man, whatever be no sufficient answer to say that they his politics, think over the transac- ought to be identical ; for we are not tions of the last seven years, and we living in Utopia, but in a busy world are confident that his opinion will where passion, and prejudice, and coincide with ours. Well, then, is it self-interest, sway the thoughts and the will or wish of the country that the actions of men, and create mutual those who have governed and can suspicion. We all know that they govern well, should be displaced to are not identical. Is it possible to make room for men who have shown forget or overlook those combinations that they cannot govern ?

of the working-classes which, under That is the real issue to be tried. the form of STRIKES, ever and anon The Whigs of course will deny it, for paralyse the operation of almost they reckon upon an immediate ac- every branch of industry throughout cession to power, and are as restless the land? We have seen strikes as squirrels when the filberts are among the cotton-spinners, the ironripening in autumn. The advanced founders, the colliers, and the miners. Liberals--such of them at least as are Among the smaller trades, strikes sincere, and not mere Whigs in dis- are so common that it is a rare thing guise-will not admit it; and why? when none can be specified. BrickBecause good government is not their layers, printers, tailors, shoemakers, object ; they wish to Americanise our all know by practical experience institutions. In that they will never what is the significance and effect of succeed. The old tree is far too a strike, what heart-burnings it endeeply rooted to be overthrown by genders, and what enormous lusses any effort of theirs. If it did fals, it occasions. That these are great they would be crushed by the weight social evils no one has attempted to of its descending boughs. The thing deny, and yet few will be bold enough is demonstrable, and ought to be to assert that they can be remedied apparent to every man of common by direct legislation. It is impossible sense without the ceremony of a de- to regulate wages, to dictate arbi. monstration. Our social state is trarily to the employer what he shall pyramidal. It rests upon the found- give, or to restrain the demands of ation of the working-classes, which the workman. The mere attempt is far the broadest, and gradually would bring us at once within the

pale of Communism ; and even a par- Lord Advocate, and the Right Hontial realisation of the idea would be ourable James Abercromby, afterutterly ruinous to the empire. Let, wards Speaker of the House of Com. however, the system of manhood suf- mons. The next candidate proposed frage, or any other which will give and carried was Sir John Campbell, the working-classes the preponder- then the English Solicitor-General. ance of political power, be adopted, After him came the Right Honourable and mark the result. From the day Thomas Babington Macaulay, with when that shall take place, the mu- whom was associated a gentleman tual relations of the employer and who has always commanded the the workman will be changed. The respect and esteem of the whole latter will be able to dictate wages; community, Sir William Gibsonthe former must either withdraw his Craig. Such were the political arcapital and abandon his occupation rangements of Edinburgh down to or submit. An absolute majority of the year 1847. The members reelectors of the same class will, to turned were all Whigs of eminence a certainty, return representatives --men who were well qualified, pledged to what they consider their from intellect, official rank, and own immediate interests. It cannot social position, to represent any conbe otherwise. The Act of 1832 gave stituency, and to them no exception the monopoly of political power in could be made. They were not, many places to the tradesmen and

however, always returned without a shopkeepers ; and the framers of contest.' The Conservative party that Act were very sanguine that, deemed it their duty to make an in gratitude for such a boon, early trial of strength, but the result the electors would thereafter make showed them that they had no choice of such candidates only as chance against the serried array of should be acceptable to the leaders the Whig lawyers and citizens. of the Whigs. What was the con- These contests led to a close inspecsequence ? For a period, but a very tion of the register, and, as was short one only, the wishes of the afterwards discovered, an elaborate Whigs were gratified; the reaction, classification of the electors accordhowever, soon came, and the elec- ing to their occupations, political toral majorities, obeying their natu- opinions, and polemical tenets, for ral instincts, shook off the yoke of objects which very soon became the Whigs, treated them with abso- apparent. lute contumely, and returned as Thus far the alliance of the citimembers to Parliament men of their zens with the Wbig party had reown class and occupation. Take mained unbroken, but there were Edinburgh as an example. It enjoys evident symptoms of restiveness on a high intellectual reputation, it the part of the former. They had no possesses a famous university and absolute objections to urge against Hourishing schools, and it is of fur- the candidates offered to them by ther importance as being the centre the Whigs, but they complained that of the courts of law. The Edinburgh they had too little share in the Whigs, especially the lawyers, took preliminary deliberations. They ala very prominent part in the agita- leged, truly enough, that everything tion which preceded the passing of was arranged in the Parliament the Reform Act of 1832. They were House”-that is, by the lawyersin fact the leaders of the movement without concert with the Council in which the citizen shopkeepers Chamber. They also hinted, with played only a subordinate part. what truth we know not, that since When, therefore, the Act had be- the Whigs had been helped into come law, and two members were office, the lawyers of that political allotted to Edinburgh, the Whigs persuasion had not been nearly so naturally enough considered these affable as they were in the days of seats as peculiarly their own, and the reform agitation, that they gave they resolved henceforward to return themselves airs which were both only men of eminence. The first ludicrous and offensive-that they members were Francis Jeffrey, then invariably took precedence and en

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grossed the monopoly of talk at the breath of the multitude. He public meetings with many other rarely visited Edinburgh, took no charges and insinuations of the like active interest in its affairs, was kind touching the arrogance of the not at the beck of every town-counLiberal portion of the noblesse de la cillor, and seldom spoke in the House robe, the pert rustling of whose bom- of Commons. Let us say in justice bazeen was becoming odious to the to him that he was much better emcivic ear.

Custom, however, exer- ployed. He was then writing his cises a wonderful power in control- History. ling rebellion. People will grumble Were the malcontent citizens to a long time before they pluck up blame if, when saddled at the bidding courage to become really demonstra- of the oligarchical Parliament House tive. Once let the horse be used to to carry a member who would neither bit and bridle, and he will trot along visit them, eat with them, drink with cannily enough without rearing, if them, nor speak with them, they grew you do not curb him too tightly. restive, reared tremendously, and at But the Elinburgh Whigs committed last threw off the burden? We canthe mistake of supposing that the not say that they were. Their paurban hackneys whom they had so tience had been too much tried-their long bestrodle were leather-mouthed, vanity had been terribly galled. They whereas they were in reality ex- made the effort and succeeded. The tremely tender about the jaws. The Parliament House lost for ever the riders did not remember, or had not nomination to at least one of the the wit to perceive, the deep moral seats for the metropolis of Scotland. conveyed in Lieutenant Jinker's la- At the general election of 1847, Mr mentations for his fallen captain, Macaulay was defeated ; and Mr the valiant Laird of Balmawhapple. Charles Cowan, a respectable citizen “ He had tauld the laird a thousand and manufacturer, was sent to Parliatimes that it was a burning shame ment in his stead. to put a martingale upon the puir Somewhat later Edinburgh rething, when he would needs ride her pented, and reinstated Mr Macaulay, wi' a curb of half a yard lang; and who took the honour very coolly, and that he couldna but bring himsell did not mend his ways in conse(not to say her) to some mischief, by quence. The citizen party then reflinging her down or otherwise ; solved to appropriate the other seat whereas, if he had had a wee bit also, and succeeded in returning Mr rinnin' ring on the snafle, she wad Adam Black, another citizen, to rehae rein'd as cannily as a cadger's present them along with Mr Cowan. pownie.” As ill luck would have it, We have given this short sketch the Whigs rejected the snaffle, per- of the political history of Edinburgh sisted in using the curb, and so the for the purpose of proving our asaccident occurred.

sertion that in every large constituGifted with many brilliant quali- ency that class which commands an ties as an author and an orator, Mr absolute majority, will return repreMacaulay lacked the art of making sentatives of their peculiar interests, himself popular as a man. At first and will, when that is possible, choose the Edinburgh constituency was well the representatives out of their own pleased to be represented by so dis- number. The ten-pound citizen tinguished a character ; and a very shopkeepers of Edinburgh form an little exercise of care and attention overwhelming majority of the conwould have made him secure of a stituency. seat so long as he chose to occupy If manhood suffrage were adopted, it. But Mr Macaulay did not or if in any other way the workingrelish personal intercourse with ten- classes should obtain a preponderance pounders. He belonged or affected of political power, they would in like to belong to that haughty section of manner return men to represent their the Whigs, who, imitating the aris- immediate interests only, in which tocratic grandeur of their Coryphæus case direct taxation would be imEarl Grey, hold themselves aloof posed to such an extent that confisfrom vulgar contact, and sickened at cation would be the apter term, and


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