« ElőzőTovább »
where Mademoiselle de L- sank into Under these circumstances what a chair, while Rose explained a plau could I do but offer her hospitality at that had been formed among them. Les Saisons ? -and she was carried to Mademoiselle de L-renounced all a room as far off as possible from that pretensions to the hand of Patrick, but in which lay my unfortunate sister-inthey would all form one family. As law. soon as Rose was married Mademoi- This arrangement having been made, selle de - should live with her, I had a few words with Rose, who and be to her like a sister. " To this blamed me for what she called my arrangement,” she said, “ Mademoiselle prejudice against Mademoiselle de de consents. She shows noble L- “It is true," she said, “that generosity in thus sacrificing her dear- she and Patrick are ardently attached cst hopes to the peace and honor of to one another, and it was a cruel disour family. But I dare hardly answer pevsation of Providence that separated for Patrick. He thinks he has cause their fates, but if you knew Mademoiof just complaint against his wife. I selle de L as I do, and if you had can hardly hope he will pardon her more confidence in Patrick, you would what passed between him and Dilnich, trust their perfect innocence and sinwhich was all her doing."
cerity. They were thunderstruck when I knew that I could set that matter they learned of poor Sara's arrival in right by telling what I knew from my France, and though they had begun to brother's valet, and from Dilnich, but I form new hopes, her coming has put was not prepared to assent to this plan an end to them. Mademoiselle de of family union, remembering too well L— has perceived that the publicity the words once spoken by George. likely to be given the affair might inBefore I had time, however, to say jure her reputation and her honor. anything to Rose, they came and told She has told Patrick that she can never me that the doctor had arrived, and I marry him. He received this anwent to hear his opinion. It was very nouncement like a sentence of death. unfavorable. He said that her lady- Then George interposed, and approved ship had received some violent mental the plan which we have come here to shock, and that unless some remedy propose to my sister-in-law.” could be found for that, his art would Rose had liardly recovered from her be unavailing
astonishment at the indignation with Rose had accompanied me to the which I at once rejected this plan, sick-room, but I refused to let Made- when a servant announced the arrival moiselle de L- come with her. The of George and Patrick. Before I could doctor's report was so alarming that I speak they overwhelme me with questhought it my duty to send off an ex- tions. Had I seen Rose ? What did press for Patrick. I begged Rose to my sister-in-law say? How had she leave her sister-in-law to her women, received Mademoiselle de L-? as her cares and caresses seemed ouly " Thank Heaven you have come,” I to irritate her, and I was sending off said to Patrick. 6 Your wife is so ill the messenger to Paris when I heard a that the doctor fears for her life. sharp cry Running into the room Come with me and see what you can wliere we had left Mademoiselle de do for her. Listen for a moment to L-, I found her lying unconscious the voice of duty and compassion.” on the floor, with Rose bending over George interrupted me :
6. He is quite her. Happily, the doctor was at hand. ready to see his wife," he said. “You We sent for him, but it was long be- ought to give him credit for his good fore he brought her to herself, and intentions." 66 Ah! all advice from then he told me in a whisper, that you is suspicious," I cried. George there was more immediate danger in laughed, as if he felt himself superior her case than in that of the lady who to my reproaches. was lying ill up-stairs.
Meantime we had gone up to my
sister-in-law's chamber. Patrick en- | accumulated custom and tradition, tered with a brisk step, and kissed her “ broadening down from precedent to with many kind expressions of regard precedent," and undergoing changes and of politeness. His words and his which are not the less sure because presence seemed like water a they make no stir. It is, in a word, thirsty ground. I seized the opportu- what jurists have agreed to call a flexpity to give some little explanations, ible and not a rigid constitution. It and called upon Patrick to confess that is then only natural to suppose that he would never have thought of taking within the present century time's steps to divorce his wife, bad it not “thievisha progress " has left its mark been for what had passed with Dilnich, upon it. The great central institutions and on Sara to say that she had never stand apparently unmoved, but the instigated her uncle's violence, and stream of time runs on, and slowly but that, save what concerned that matter, surely tells upon the fabric. It looks her husband had always treated her outwardly the same, but the careful with tenderness and consideration. eye can detect the changes which do “Your unhappiness, my dear sister," I not lie upon the surface. The present
comes from unfounded suspi- Parliament is the twenty-fifth of the cions, which can be destroyed in a United Kingdom of Great Britain and moment. My brother is here to prom
Ireland. We have therefore had an ise you all the fidelity and the tender- experience of nearly a century of such ness due to you as his wife, and I am Parliaments, and it may be interesting sure you will not suspect him of bad to take a rapid glance backwards, and faith in thus returning to you freely see what can be gleaned from such a and voluntarily."
survey of the now closing century of Patrick sealed this promise with a our Parliamentary history. kiss, and Sara appeared fully satisfied. Something in the first place must be
! should have felt more confi- said of the relative durations of Pardence in Patrick had I not known that liaments and ministries. It will have it would be impossible to keep from been observed that the twenty-five Parhim the knowledge that Mademoiselle liaments of the century have had an de L was in the house, and that average life of about four years apiece. her life, too, was in danger. Under But their respective fates have been these circumstances, I thought it best curiously divergent. A few have lived to tell him this at once, and to take to a green old age, while of others the him myself to her room, where I might thin-spun thread has been early cut. hope that my exhortations to duty Three only have lasted over six years, might enable them both to achieve a and only seven over five; so that the victory over their unhappy inclina- proportion of long-lived Parliaments is tions.
comparatively small. In three cases life has failed to reach a single year. Having regard to the average it may
be said that the Septennial Act has From Macmillan's Magazine.
proved of much less importance than THE PARLIAMENTS AND MINISTRIES OF might have been predicted. For many
years, indeed, during the reign of THE British Constitution is the George the Third it was a grandest example of the type which thing for Parliaments to die a natural is not made but grows. It knows death, but things are now so altered, not the day of its nativity ; it came that the advocates of trienuial Parlianot forth into the world full-blown ments would gain little satisfaction by froin some ingenious and constructive the change. Contemporaneously with brain; its natural elasticity has never these twenty-five Parliaments there been confined within the range of have been up to the time of Mr. Gladany document. It is an accretion of stone's 'retirement a succession of
twenty-nipe ministries ; but after mak- that the Whigs held office. As Byron ing due allowance for reconstructions, wittily put it, and for the fact that prior to the Reform Act of 1867 a dissolution followed Nought's permanent among the human
race, upon the demise of the crown, it will
Except the Whigs not getting into place. be seen that the number of ministries and Parliaments has been about the Those who are accustomed to the same, and it may be said generally that present uniform swing of the pendulum each Parliament has had its separate from one side to the other, may well ministry. The one great exception reflect with amazement upon a time was that of the Earl of Liverpool who when one of the great parties in the took the reins of government in 1812, State, with one brief exception, was and continued to hold them for a space excluded from office for nearly half a of fourteen years, during which period century. It is a fact which is eloquent no less than four Parliaments were with a meaning. This Whig ministry, elected. It was a singular exception the “ Ministry of all the Talents," with which was due to the peculiar condi- Lord Grenville as premier and Fox as tions of the time, and it is not likely to foreign secretary, had a very brief exrecur again. The relation of ministries istence. They proposed a measure of aud Parliaments, and the intimate de- Catholic relief. The king not only pendence of the former upon the latter forbade them to introduce the bill, or could not be better illustrated than by even to offer him any advice upon the a careful observation of their contem- subject, but also endeavored to extort poraneous histories. An old ministry from them a pledge that they would will sometimes meet a new Parliament, never presume to do so again. They and a new Parliament will sometimes refused, were dismissed, and a Tory grudgingly support an old ministry, but ministry with the Duke of Portland at as a general rule they may be said to its head was appointed in their place. rise and fall together. Each Parlia- It was in this government, it may be ment is too jealous to tolerate any noted, that Lord Palmerston, then a creation but its own.
young man of twenty-three, held his A brief and rapid sketch of the Par- first office as a lord of the Admiralty. liaments and ministries, sufficient to This ministry immediately advised a bring into relief their salient character- dissolution, and taking advantage of istics, will enable us to trace the the favoring breezes of the hour, they changes which have crept into the succeeded in obtaining a substantial spirit and the working of our Parlia- majority. Then ensued in home polimentary institutions.
tics a long period of monotonous rouThe first Parliament of the United tine. If the administration was safe, Kingdom, wbich was merely the con- it certainly was dull. It was an age tinued existence of one elected in 1796, of respectable mediocrities. Burke's met in January, 1801, and was dis- stately eloquence, Fox's generous arsolved in the autumn of the following dor, and Pitt's administrative genius, year. Pitt was at this time the one
were a memory to treasure, and that indispensable man who alike possessed was all. When the mantles fell there the king's confidence and the capacity were none to take them up. The Duke to govern.
Addington tried to do it of Portland died in 1809, and was sucfor a while, but Pitt alone was equal to ceeded by Spencer Perceval, a conscithe times, and he was premier when entious minister, whose useful services he sank beneath the cares of office in did not screen him from the gibes of 1806. This was
was the malicious and the witty. It was marked by events of great constitu- recorded to his credit that he was tional importance. It was then, for “ faithful to Mrs. Perceval and kind to the first time since the rise of Pitt in the Master Percevals ;” but it was 1783, and for the last time until 1830, somewhat cruelly added that “if pub
a year which
lic and private virtues must always be | Grey formed a Whig administration. incompatible,” it were better that “he The events which followed are too well destroyed the domestic happiness of known to need to be repeated here. Wood or Cockell, owed for the veal of For our present purpose it is enough to the preceding year, whipped his boys, note that Earl Grey successfully apand saved his country.' Perceval was pealed to the country in 1831, and after assassinated in the lobby of the House a great bistoric conflict with the Lords in 1812, and for nearly fifteen years the passed the first Reform Bill into law. country submitted to the soporific rule Earl Grey retired in 1834, and Lord of the “arch-mediocrity,” the indus- Melbourne took his place. This amitrious Earl of Liverpool. He retired able and easy peer, the “indolent Epifrom ill health in 1827, and was suc- curean," who was content “to saunter ceedled by the brilliant and meteoric over the destinies of a nation and Cauning, who at least for his contribu- lounge away the glory of an empire,” tions to “ The Anti-Jacobin” will al- had not held office many months when way's find a grateful posterity. A few William the Fourth used his prerogamonths of office killed him, and Lord tive in a way of which something will Goderich, whom Disraeli dubbed the presently be said. He believed, or af“ transient and embarrassed phan- fected to believe, that the Commons tom," took for a time the vacant place. did not truly represent the opinion of He made way for the Duke of Welling- the country. He dismissed the Whig ton in 1828, and for the first and last ministry, and sent for Sir Robert Peel, time a great soldier became prime min- who advised a dissolution. But the ister of England. For nearly three king was wrong, and Peel, rather than years he saw to it that the king's gov- meet a hostile majority in the House of ernment should be carried on, and his Commons, resigned. Lord Melbourne administration was marked by an event returned to power, and formed one of of great constitutional importance, the the longest administrations of the cenpassing of the Act for Catholic Eman- tury. His authority in 1839 began to cipation. It was an event of great mo
and his government sufment in itself, for it closed a conflict fered a virtual defeat on a measure which had lasted for nearly a genera- which involved the suspension of the tion. But the overwhelming interest constitution of Jamaica.
He resigned ; excited by the passing of the act has Sir Robert Peel was sent for, and his thrown into the shade an aspect of attempt to form a goverument gave the case which is equally important. rise to one of those events which, George the Fourth yielded where though trivial in themselves, produce George the Third had stood firm, and more important consequences. On this in surrendering the position, he marked, occasion it was a question of the reas will be seen, the final consummation moval of the ladies of the bedchamof a change in our constitutional prac- ber, which, though a purely personal tice which had long been impending. question, constrained Sir Robert to
The long period of repression and give up his undertaking, and prolonged reaction which had followed the ex- the Whig ministry until 1841. In that cesses of the French Revolution, and year occurred an incident which has which had thrown Liberalism back- since been turned into a very formiwarıls for nearly half a century, was dable precedent. A motion of want of now drawing to a close. The spirit of confidence was the first time in the innovation was everywhere abroad, and history of the House of Commons sucthe Don Quixotes of Conservatism be- cessfylly carried against the ministry gan to labor heavily beneath the cum- of the day by a majority of one. This brous armor of a bygone age. The historic resolution, which was moved new Parliament of 1830 contained a by Peel himself, deserves particular majority favorable to reform. The record. It ran as follows : “ That her Duke of Wellington resigned, and Earl Majesty's government do not suffi
ciently possess the confidence of the colleagues and the crown. It was an House of Commons to enable them event which emphasized the right of to carry through the House measures the premier and the crown to be conwhich they deem essential to the public sulted by ministers on all important welfare, and that their continuance in matters which come within the sphere office under such circumstances is at of their official duties, and established variance with the spirit of the Consti- once for all the practice to be followed tution."
a strongly worded in the future. However, in 1852 Lord claim by the Commons for a paramount Palmerston had, as he said, his “titposition which is now without question for-tat” with Lord John Russell. accordea to them. The Melbourne Upon the coup d'état in France a ministry met the new Parliament in Militia Bill was introduced, and the 1841, and, being defeated on an amend government was defeated on an amendment to the address, immediately re- ment proposed by Lord Palmerston sigued. Sir Robert Peel succeeded in himself. They immediately resigned. forming a durable administration which The Earl of Derby, whose dashing oralasted to the summer of 1846, when a tory has earned for him the title of the parallel event to that which happened “Rupert of debate,” formed a governin 1886 occurred. Just as Mr. Glad- ment of mostly untried men, which stone split up the Liberal party on the was styled by the facetious the " Who, question of Home Rule, so did Sir Who, Government.” To its inglorious Robert Peel split up the Conservatives existence Disraeli's first adventures in on the repeal of the Corn Laws. The the region of finance speedily proved Irish famine gave his mind the final fatal. As Lord Derby wittily said, bias in the direction to which it had Benjamin's mess was greater than all previously been tending; as the Duke the rest. The general election which of Wellington remarked with character- followed gave the ministry so small a istic frankness, “ Rotten potatoes have majority that they resigned. Parties done it all ; they put him in bis d—d were now in a state of unequal equilibfright.” It is not surprising that Peel's rium, and neither Conservatives nor discontented followers looked out for Whigs could form a strong administraan occasion of revenge, and they found tion. Then ensued the uncommon it in the Coercion Bill for Ireland. spectacle of a coalition ministry. The The Peel ministry were defeated by a Peelites under the leadership of the majority of seventy-three votes. It Earl of Aberdeen formed a governwas a rancorous outburst of party spirit ment by calling in the assistance of the which set an evil precedent for the Whigs. Disraeli declared that the future conduct of parliamentary gov- English people detested coalitions. ernment.
They had an evil reputation from the Lord John Russell now succeeded to fact that George the Third loved to the place to which his eminent merits make use of them in order to set one had entitled him. His diminutive stat- party against the other. And to this ure caused people to wonder how one one in particular the country had no so great could yet be so little, wbile his reason to be grateful, for it proved reself-confidence was such that men jest- sponsible for the war in the Crimea. ingly declared that he was ready to do In 1855 the coalition ministry feil disanything at a moment's notice, from credited, on Mr. Roebuck's motion for performing an operation to taking com- a committee of inquiry into the conduct mand of the Channel Fleet. His ad- of the war, by an adverse majority of ministration lasted until 1852, and was one hundred and fifty-seven votes. marked by an incident unique in the Consisting as it did of a group of men parliamentary history of the century; who were rivals in ability but who disthe dismissal of Lord Palmerston from agreed in principle, it contained in itthe Foreign Office for his persistent self the seeds of discord, and permitted refusal to submit his despatches to his things to drift. Lord Palmerston suc