« ElőzőTovább »
that is almost above the possibility of irrita- delivered last session, have been cheered to ble despondency, an impassiveness that nev- the echo. No doubt there was a visible Auter fails under attack, and a fertility of in- ter about their heart-strings, a twitching of vention worthy of a demon or a god. But their nerves, a yearning of the still unmasall these qualities, rare as they are, and, tered instincts of the past to burst into a apart from the purposes to which they are generous cheer as he sat down; but there turned, intellectually admirable as they are, sat the pallid enigma of the new idolatry, are by no means qualities which it is at all with cold, impassive face, silently teaching desirable to be always contemplating with the lesson of self-mastery to his fascinated wonder and awe. For the most part they followers, and the natural instinct was subare dexterities, even the abstract respect for dued in a moment, and died away with the which cannot be cultivated without a con- last accent of this last appeal. Disraelistant lessening of respect for great and lib- worship will not give tact and subtlety, and eral aims, since admiration for the studied craft and counsel to the brute votes manners and wonderful address of a good the House of Commons, but it will work that manager must inevitably slide into admira- revolution of nature which is said to be due tion for those happy strokes of mere skill in only to grace or its opposite. It.will make which the object and purpose of the manæu- it easy to throw off the ties of conviction, vre is entirely lost sight of. But when these amusing to desert the faith of a life-time, qualities are worshipped by no means in the pleasant to outwit opponents by fairly outabstract, but in the very concrete case of bidding them; it will make political dishonMr. Disraeli himself, who combines with esty seem a department of æsthetics, and them a perfect unscrupulousness as to polit-political thimble-rig a polite study ;, it will ical principle, a readiness to ring the chan- elevate the invention of political machinery ges on Radicalism and Toryism, on Free- for breaking the fall of consciences into a Trade and Protection, on “the Semitic fine art, and make the successful use of such principle" and the-man-of-the-world prac- machinery a service of honour. It is time tice, precisely as most conducive to his that our Parliament be reformed, if only the own fortunes as a statesman, the Disraeli- new formation could be a regeneration. It Fetishism which is dominating the imagina has steadily fallen in its ideal of statesmantion of the House of Commons will be seen ship from its birth to its death. Lord John to foster one of the most degrading of polit- Russell, no great political idol of ours, ical idolatries. The enigmatic and inscrut- was its first and best hero. Narrow, selfable calm of the idol's face, the half-witted important, and in many respects ungenerexpression with which he foils the curiosity ous, he had still the profoundest love of lib. of the House when he is pressed for an an- erty, and the highest earnestness of which swer which he wants time to meditate, the Whig politics were ever capable. To bim practised hesitation with which be announces succeeded Sir Robert Peel, rather a great what he had long determined on, the adroit- minister than a great statesman, pompous ness with which he prepares for a conces- and ostentatious in manner, limited and sion by giving notice of what looks like an shortsighted in his views, but acute in disaggression but which turns out, to the great cerning the immediate signs of the times, disappointment of his enemies, be only and capable of great personal sacrifices to the bold face which a concession should put achieve what be felt the good of the counon, - all these are personal accomplishments try imperiously demanded. To him, again, which it is but too easy, and exceedingly succeeded Lord Palmerston, with less of ihumiliating, to imitate, but in which imita- moral principle than either of his predecestors are absolutely certain not to succeed. sors, flippant, careless of the higher aims of But in one thing the votaries of the new politics, yet very tenacious of the few views Disraeli-worship will undoubtedly succeed. he was pleased to regard as principles, alThey will be able, — it is already obvious ways ready to do battle against what he indeed how able they are, to rid them- thought un-English, and without a trace of selves as completely as their divinity of the anything sinister in his character. And now
superstitions of old convictions and life-long at last, in its days of decrepitude and defaiths. Nothing could be more striking cay, Mr. Disraeli is the object of Parliamen.than the Disraelite self-control with which tary worship, a statesman with ambiguity his Tory devotees only on Monday night for his chief attribute and artifice for the refrained from betraying their not yet ex- method of his government, — with political tinct sympathy with Mr. Lowe's Conserva- principles which no one knows, unless it be tism, which, expressed as it was in language the principle of artfully propping aristocratof wonderful force and dignity, would, if ic institutions on the suffrages of the most
ignorant of the mob, with wonderful pro- | milder assault. With his cardinal dogma ficiency in theatrical counterfeits and also that the suffrage is wide enough already, in amphitheatrical feats, such as riding with we have no sympathy whatever, in most of one foot on the back of each party, — with, his vaticinations we have no confidence of no doubt, splendid coolness and courage, any sort, but even in an enemy we honour which no one can imitate, and for the high intellectual courage and personal disrest, made up of superficial and tricky elev- interestedness. Mr. Lowe's speech did not erness, which every one can imitate quite change a vote, bis argument perhaps did sufficiently to bumiliate himself. And such not deserve to change a vote, but be did is the idol which Parliament is every day one grand service to the House, he forced adoring with a deeper awe, and for which it to recognize the magnitude of the change it deserts Mr. Gladstone, the highest-mind- which, partly from weariness, partly from ed statesman of this generation, if not of hopefulness, partly from sheer stupidity, it any generation since the Restoration. has at last resolved to accomplish. He
showed the members the truth, which from a widely different point of view we have
been so constantly reiterating, that with the From the Spectator.
adoption of Household Suffrage the sove
reignty of the British Empire passes away MR. LOWE’S LAST DELIVERANCE. from the hands of the middle class into that
of one far below them. The new power IF Mr. Lowe were always as much in earn- may be wiser or less wise, stronger or est as he is when denouncing democracy, he weaker, less selfish or more corrupt, but it would, with all his drawbacks, yet be a will be new as the power which in 1832 great Parliamentary chief. There was superseded the Peerage in the direct governsomething of moral as well as intellectual ment of the country. The House of Comgreatness in his attitude on Monday night. mons is the final executive as well as legisHe stood up in his place alone and hope- lative authority in the British Empire, in less, with no party and no seconder, no India as in London, for the conduct of supports save the strength of his own con- foreign affairs as for the imposition of viction and the power of his own brain, to parochial taxes. If it orders the conquest do battle against both parties in the House of China, or the remission of the sugar of Commons, to argue down an accomplished duties, the order must be, more or less, fact, or if that might not be, to tell an un- beartily obeyed. The Borough members willing audience, which hardly gave him a return a clear working majority of the cheer, what manner of fact it had accom- House, and the power of appointing those plished. If there is one personal victory for members passes under the Tory Bill to the which Mr. Lowe cares, it is to elicit that non-electors - men, that is, as Mr. Lowe roar of assent which follows a speaker who has clearly put it, whose politics statesmen do expressed the unspoken thought of a great not know, whose ideas no man of all those party in the House of Commons, an ac- who have voted for their enthronement even knowledgement of power doubly valuable to thinks himself able to understand. From one who does not see the faces of those whom the day the bill passes the working classes, he is moving, but in this instance he felt skilled and unskilled equally, without selecwhen he began and knew as he concluded tion, natural or other, are whenever they that his sympathisers could not cheer. If please to exert their authority our masters, there is one personal interest for which Mr. ten times more absolute than the Peers ever Lowe cares deeply it is the safety of his were, for they lived in danger of revolt ; five seat, and he had to render it questionable times as absolute as the middle-class, for whether he should ever have a seat in the they knew that in the last resort physical House of Commons again. He is not the power lay elsewhere. Every decree will man whom counties choose, and in every issue from the only class strong enough to borough in England or Scotland he will be resist oppression. If the Householders will to faced by a majority which he has declared shut Hyde Park they can make short work unworthy of the privilege of electing him. of any Beales bold enough to threaten the Yet he stood up calmly, and for two hours railings. The House has changed by a vote, poured out eloquent denunciations of the practically unanimous, the ultimate deposiRevolution which a few minutes after be sat taries of power, changed them, as Mr. Lowe down was accepted in silence and without boldly told both parties, without wishing it, a division, by the men he had only last year without designing it, without knowing aught led in a victorious defence against a far of the new trustees. It intended, and right
MR. LOWE'S LAST DELIVERANCE. ly intended to give skilful labour a full share body who takes life in defence, or fancied deof power, and it has given all power over fence, of property: He is much more likely to 'unskilled labour, withont knowing what to enact savage laws against larceny, and upskilled labour: wants.
grant extreme rights of self-defence, and Mr. Lowe knows as little as the rest of us, pull down local taxation, as Mr. Hodskinson and this was the weak point of an otherwise says the municipal voters of Stockport have most effective and statesinanlike speech. His done, than to make aby
upon proper: grand point is the impossibility of stating ty whatever. As to spirit duties, which Mr. the political tendencies of the class below Lowe says will be instantly abolished, our the skilled artizans, yet he immediately pro- fear is that spirit-selling will be made, as in ceeded to state them as if he possessed the Massachusetts, a highly penal offence, as it very knowledge he repudiated. Their ten- certainly would be, in the great cities if the dency, he affirmed, would be under various operatives had their own way. The danger fornis to redistribute property, to upset “a is not that they will pillage anybody, — state of society in which all evil things are they are quite as honest as the small tradesgiven to them and all good things to others," men who now hold power, — but that they to realize the wise old Hindoo proverb which will in sheer ignorance demand "reforms” tells us that power and money are never sep- the effect of which will be to cripple indusarated long. The social facts, he argues, try; or expenditures in the shape of public will be in oonflict with the political facts, works and relaxations of the Poor Law, the and will certainly be brought into accord. effect of which would be to compel the As we put it less eloquently a fortnight since, Haves to provide life annuities for the Havethe uncomfortable will rule the comfortable, nots without any compensation. It is their and will strive to become comfortable too. ignorance which we dread, not their dishonThere is no harm in that end, if it be wisely esty, and in dreading it we have as few data pursued, but Mr. Lowe believes that it will as Mr. Lowe himself asserts anyone else be pursued unwisely, under the guidance of can boast. There, and not in any possible mere desires instead of thoughts. With aberration about fiscal subjects, lies the solid what eyes, he asks, will the new constitu- and in our minds unanswerable objection to encies look upon the 26,000,0001. a year the adoption of household suffrage, uncheckraised for a Debt they did not contract, and ed and uncbequered by new varieties of for which they consider themselves morally franchise. We are electing a new Cæsar, irresponsible? Will they not take off all an absolute master, without knowing any. duties from their own luxuries tea, and thing about him, except that if he chooses to sugar, tobacco and liquors, and place them be foolish wisdom must be silent in presence upon realized property, in the form of a of irresistible physical force. Very likely he property-tax, or a graduated income-tax, or will not choose. If one thing was certain, both ? Will they not, as in Qeensland, a priori, in 1832, it was that the middleclamour for inconvertible currency, a2d, as class would be selfish in the matter of taxain America, strive to raise wages by enor- tion, yet this is the thing in which its unsel. mous protective duties ? These detailed fishness has been most of all conspicuous, it prophecies these Sybilline leaves, devoted to having deliberately lifted the most painful of the future of finance, seem to us a little feeble. all burdens, the income-tax, on to its own It is quite clear the Householders will not shoulders. The history of England for ages do alī these things together, for most of shows that there exists somewhere in the nathem are mutually destructive. They will tional character, in its retentive though slow not certainly repudiate the Debt, while put- brain, which accumulates so much and inititing it on the shoulders of the rich; they ates so little, in its heart, with its strong symwill not abolish indirect taxes, and put on a pathies with all nobleness that it can underprotective or prohibitory tariff. The House- stand, some antiseptic, some remedy against holders may be very silly, but they cannot every form and degree of blundering. The be silly in two ways at once, and it is ex- national character is good, and in the long ceedingly doubtful if they will be silly in run the householders can only represent the the direction of property rights at all. The nation, or be in their turn superceded by the very best representative of the new electors, nation itself advancing to the front. Leadindeed the only visible person who is like ers io England have almost always been them at all, is the average British juryman, wiser and better than the led, and there is and in particular the juryman who sits on a no a priori reason why outside the petty borcoroner's inquest, and his tendency is to- oughs the householders should be worse than wards a morbid appreciation of the sacred- the middle class, and in the last resort it is ness of property. He will never convict any- not in the petty boroughs that physical power
lies. The householders of London do not elect ror to place the French like the Prussian bad men, and London is equal in strength Army beyond the reach of any Represento all the petty boroughs put together. We tative Body, has been got over, and it is are not afraid, as Mr. Lowe is, for the ulti-understood that the Chamber will vote the mate result of a measure which at all events increase of the minimum strength from 600,removes at once and forever the powerless- 000 to 800,000 men, the increase to comness of the Legislature —“interests” had mence this year. In the teeth of such better not play with their new Sovereign “preparations for peace” projects of dis
- but we complain of this. The House of armament are worthless, except as expresCommons bas, in defiance of all political sions of the public conviction that Europe principle and of its own convictions, without sacrifices too much of her energy,
her popuany necessity, without any adequate consid- lation, and her treasure to security or ambieration, transferred all power to a single tion. That conviction is in England so class, and that the class most likely to be de- strong that Englisbmen fail to see the difceived by its pressing necessities, its Uto- ficulty of acting upon it, are half inclined pian hopes, and its unhappy ignorance. A to believe that kings are raising and peochange compared with which every other ples enduring vast armaments out of mere change is trivial, a radical change in the wanton ness or stupidity. That is not the Constitution, has been sanctioned without case, and as the impression produces much willingness, without compulsion, and with- mischief it may be as well to point out some out knowledge. It is nonsense to talk of few of the difficulties which impede, and we willingness, in the face of the debates of last fear for years to come will impede, any seyear. It is folly to talk of compulsion when rious reduction in the Armies of Europe. by enfranchising the great cities only we The nations of the Continent regard their could bave bound the only formidable pop- armies exactly as we regard our Navy. ulation to our own side, — Wallingford not Englishmen wish to be safe, and to be safe being exactly prepared to march on Lon- for reasons other than their neighbours' fordon; and as to knowledge, is there a mem- bearance, and they therefore keep up a ber in either House who even thinks be Navy sufficient to prevent any two navies knows what kind of House of Commons the from doing them serious barm. They could next one will be ? If a measure so carried “Trust ” Louis Napoleon just as easily as should work well, it will be a new proof Prussia could, and with great relief to the how little human foresight can accomplish finances, but they think it more expedient towards regulating the march of human af- and more honourable to render that trustfairs. At all events, whether he proves wise fulness unnecessary. Consequently, they or foolish, pure or corrupt, energetic or pay for their ships every year rather more sleepy, let us, at least, acknowlegde that than Prussia before her aggrandizement on Monday night Great Britain elected a paid for her soldiers, and refuse to listen to new Sovereign — by lot.
humanitarian talk upon that subject with some asperity. The Continental peoples have just the same feeling, rational or irra
tional, and they make just the same calcuFrom The Spectator.
lation. They want armies numerous enough
to drive out the troops of any power or THE DIFFICULTIES OF DISARMAMENT. combination of powers likely to invade them.
The number which seems to them required REPORT8 have been flying about Europe is usually a good many. Every Continenfor the last fortnight that Lord Stanley tal Power except Russia, which has other had submitted to the Lumexburg Confer- necessities, is at this moment, or has been ence a proposal for a general disarmament. recently, liable to be attacked by two powSo widely were they believed that the Prus- ers, - Austria by Prussia and Italy, France sian Government took the trouble to con- by Prussia and Italy, Prussia by Austria and tradict them, and every now and then some France. An attack by even one power is German or Belgian newspaper revives them a very terrible thing for the attacked nawith a certain vigour of asseveration. All tion, as Englishmen would know if a conthis while Reuter flashes every day to all queror's soldier had ever been billeted on capitals a conclusive answer to the story, London, and all nations exposed to invasion the progress which the Emperor Napoleon are willing to make insurance against it the is making with his Bill for the reorganiza- highest duty both upon their fortunes and tion of the French Army. The hitch which their lives. The only point on which disthreatened the Bill, the desire of the Empe- pute is possible is the amount of insurance
necessary, and most unfortunately for Eu- son, so many provinces to watch, and so rope there are two fixed data in that calcu- many cities to patrol, — all which duties lation neither of which is at present suscep- Continental opinion expects of its rulers, tible of any change, the existence of one is by no means enormously strong, would nation which is compelled to keep up a vast but for the immense reserves be rather army for internal purposes, and of another weak. Were the Prussian Army like ours, which trains, drills, and provides matérial for unsupported that is by a drilled population, its whole people, Russia caupot disarm. it might, some fine day, in consequence of Her territory is so vast, it contains so many an agreement between Paris and St. Petershalf-civilized warrior races, its people are burg, find itself like a grain of corn between so little civilized, and its governing machine- two millstones ; and such an agreement is ry is without the bayonet so feeble, that not impossible, can never, in the nature of with less than 600,000 men the empire would things, become impossible. At all events, . probably perish from incessant small shocks, it is not more impossible than an attack by attacks, émeutes, and rebellions. Without France on England, against which we bave an immense garrison Poland would be lost. been providing for about five hundred years. Without an immense garrison the recent Of course, if the two nations would trust trouble between nobles and peasants would one another reductions would be possible, have resulted in an agrarian war spread but so would reductions in the British Naover a territory as large as the rest of Eu- vy if we could trust either France or Amerirope. Empires never die willingly, and ca. We ought, it may be, to do that, but Russia therefore remains armed, just as we we do not do it. On the contrary, whenremain armeid in India. But every army ever we see our Navy growing weak we which includes many hundreds of thousands build and build in a way which, were our of men, can always spare a considerable neighbours afraid of maritime attack, would force for offensive purposes, say a fourth ; produce incessant and very dangerous inand her neighbours must therefore always terpellations. As long as the French and be either ready to resist 150,000 Russians, American Navies exist, so long will Engor to follow Russian lead. Then Prussia land think them the data for her own caladopted in the past, under special neces- culations; as long as the Russian Army and sity, the system of arming the whole nation, the Prussian organization exist, so long will the recent campaign shows that the arma- Austria and France consider them tho posment is efficient, and consequently her tulate in the argument. neigbours have to prepare to meet an en- Again, we habitually under-estimate the tire nation in arms. Without such a force number of soldiers which Continental Govof its own, no nation bordering on Prussia ernments really require for internal .purcould be tranquillized by any numerical re- poses. England, having a Government ductions, for no reductions really impair the sure to obey the popular will when strongly force at Frederick William’s disposal. A or deliberately expressed, needs and mainhundred thousand men, less or more, actual- tains no garrison. If Birmingham, or Manly round the colours make no difference, for chester, or Liverpool, or London were likeevery Prussian can be summoned, and ly ever to resist authority as authority bas every man can within a week appear in been resisted in Paris, and Lyons, and 'Vienfull fighting trim. Wherever the nation na, and Berlin, all the British Army at has been drilled a reduction of maétriel is home would not be able to keep one city the only efficacious one, and this Govern- fairly down. The Continental Governments are most unwilling to make. They ments think it necessary, and, therefore, want the stores for defence. It is useless, every city is garrisoned, every magistrate for example, to have dragoons and no horses,“ supported” by troops, every strong post artillery and no shells, and selling them off carefully maintained. Half the police duwhen collected is terribly thriftless work. ties are done by the Army, till the true anAmerica has done it, but then the United alogy is not one between England and a States is by nature placed beyond any rea- Continental State, but between a Contisonable probability of formidable invasion, nental State and Ireland. What with soland has, moreover, endless funds. Other diers and police, we keep up a force in Irepowers must accumulate stores slowly, and land equal to more than 1 per cent. of the once they have accumulated them, are most population, and no Continental State, after reluctant to sanction any flagrant waste of deducting one service army, keeps very their resources or run any risk of being ta- much more. Russia keeps less, and so does ken unprepared. Again, the Prussian regu- Italy, both of them countries supposed to lar Army, with so many fortresses to garri- | be heavily burdened with unnecessary sol