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Title: Representative British Orations with Introductions and Explanatory Notes, Volume IV (of 4)
Author: Various
Language: English
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  BRITISH ORATIONS

  A selection of the more important and representative political
    addresses of the past two centuries, with biographical notes,
    critical comment, political, oratorical, and literary estimate.

  Edited by Charles K. Adams, President of the University of Wisconsin.
  With an additional volume edited by John Alden.

  Four volumes, each complete in itself and sold separately. Each, 12°,
  gilt top, $1.25.

    The orators included are: Sir John Eliot, John Pym, Lord Chatham,
    Edmund Burke, Charles J. Fox, Sir James Mackintosh, Lord Erskine,
    George Canning, Lord Macaulay, Richard Cobden, John Bright, Lord
    Beaconsfield, William Ewart Gladstone, Lord Mansfield, Daniel
    O’Connell, Lord Palmerston, Robert Lowe, Joseph Chamberlain, Lord
    Rosebery.

      G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS
      NEW YORK & LONDON



  REPRESENTATIVE
  BRITISH ORATIONS

  WITH INTRODUCTIONS AND EXPLANATORY
  NOTES BY

  JOHN ALDEN

  _Videtisne quantum munus sit oratoris historia?_
                          --CICERO, _De Oratore_, ii, 15

          ✩✩✩✩

  G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS
  NEW YORK AND LONDON
  The Knickerbocker Press



  COPYRIGHT, 1900
  BY
  G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS


  The Knickerbocker Press, New Rochelle, N. Y.



PREFACE.


In preparing this--the fourth volume of _Representative British
Orations_--a work which, in its three-volume form, has met with a
large acceptance from the public, the editor has been embarrassed by
fulness rather than lack of material. Indeed, in its former shape, the
book fairly justified its title: it was representative rather than
exhaustive of the subject. From the rich field of possible material
the editor has selected specimens of oratory diverse enough in style
and occasion, but each, it is hoped, typical of the general trend of
the period covered (1813–1898),--of the change from the passionate,
partisan forensics of O’Connell to the calm emphasis of Lord Rosebery.

Helps to the study of this period have naturally been many; but the
editor must not fail to acknowledge his constant indebtedness to the
brilliant and invaluable “History of Our Own Times” of Mr. Justin
McCarthy, and in a lesser degree to Mr. Fyffe’s “Modern Europe.”
To Charles Gorham Marrett, Esq., he wishes to record his personal
obligations.

                    J. A.

  PORTLAND, ME.
      _October, 1899._



CONTENTS.


                                                               PAGE
  DANIEL O’CONNELL                                                1

  DANIEL O’CONNELL                                                9
    IN DEFENCE OF JOHN MAGEE: COURT OF KING’S BENCH,
      DUBLIN, JULY 27, 1813.

  LORD PALMERSTON                                               117

  LORD PALMERSTON                                               125
    ON THE CASE OF DON PACIFICO: HOUSE OF COMMONS, JUNE
      25, 1850.

  ROBERT LOWE, VISCOUNT SHERBROOKE                              225

  ROBERT LOWE, VISCOUNT SHERBROOKE                              232
    AGAINST THE REFORM ACT: HOUSE OF COMMONS, MAY 31, 1866.

  THE RIGHT HONORABLE JOSEPH CHAMBERLAIN, M.P.                  285

  JOSEPH CHAMBERLAIN                                            292
    SPLENDID ISOLATION.

  JOSEPH CHAMBERLAIN                                            303
    THE TRUE CONCEPTION OF EMPIRE.

  LORD ROSEBERY                                                 313

  LORD ROSEBERY                                                 318
    THE DUTY OF PUBLIC SERVICE.

  ILLUSTRATIVE NOTES                                            347



DANIEL O’CONNELL.


From the somewhat picturesque assemblage of Irish political agitators
emerges the figure of one in many ways the most picturesque, and, in
most, the greatest of them. The period (1775–1847) of O’Connell’s
activities discloses him as one of the generation that came in with
Scott and Wordsworth--children of the overlapping centuries, whom
shortly the French Revolution was to stir to many things strange to the
world of 1775.

The facts of O’Connell’s life arrange themselves concisely from his
birth, August 6, 1775, from a good family of County Kerry; his French
education at S. Omer and Douay; and his legal sojourn at the customary
Lincoln’s Inn; to his call to the Irish Bar (May 19, 1798), and the
beginning of his identification with the Irish cause. From his speech
in 1813 in defence of Magee,--the basis of this selection,--this
identification became ever more complete. It was in 1823 that he
founded the “Catholic Association.” In 1828 he was elected to
Parliament from County Clare, but was not allowed to take his seat.
He stood again, was again elected; and, in 1830, just at the acme of
his popularity, at last entered Parliament unchallenged. Now followed
within and without the Commons the struggle for Irish liberties
that is almost synonymous with the name O’Connell. The year 1843
marks the high tide of his system of agitation by mass-meetings--the
“Monster-Meetings,” so-called. This device of popular _propaganda_ was
O’Connell’s own; and probably none have ever swayed more temperately
than he the mighty forces of a Celtic audience, obedient to the
incitations of impassioned oratory. For the most part in the open air
and in the countryside O’Connell would draw from a radius of many miles
a serious, sympathetic, and--strange to say--sober host of peasantry,
in whom his voice woke infallibly the sense of race and religion
as things to be fought for, not with the obvious musket, but with
orderly combination, moderate measures, and all that a tempered and
single-minded zeal could do. The Irish people had long hailed him as
their “Liberator”; he was the leader to whom they looked for Catholic
Emancipation and the repeal of the forced union with Great Britain; and
yet it is not the least tribute to O’Connell’s powers that he was able
to restrain a people laboring under acknowledged wrongs, and racially
prone to insurrection, from any serious appeal to arms. The Government
of that day was not moved by such considerations. The sequence of the
“Monster-Meetings” was that O’Connell was arrested and tried on what
must now appear a trivial charge of treason. He was even convicted;
but the sentence failed to receive the approval of the House of Lords.
Although clear of his difficulties, the man was broken, his superb
powers gone; and like a true Catholic he had the wish to die at Rome.
Before he left England he appeared again in Parliament and tried to
speak--his fine voice sunk to a husky whisper. The report in “Hansard’s
Parliamentary Debates” of the day’s proceedings, in reference to this
episode, is laconically significant; it runs--“Mr. O’Connell was
understood to say * * *” On his journey, the “Liberator” died May 5,
1847, at Genoa, whence his body was returned. But in response to a
rhetorical instinct that was medieval, Celtic, and yet, one feels,
in this case not unjustifiable, his friends caused his heart to be
embalmed and sent to Rome, where it rests in the eternal sanctuary of
Saint Agatha.

The character of O’Connell challenges the biographer. In everything,
perhaps, save his love for moderation, the man was Celtic; and every
one does not care for the Celt. Surely he had the defects of the
race: improvidence, unbounded invective, a speech too prodigal of
epithet and ornament, the ultrasanguine temperament, and, more or
less, the histrionic pose. Oppose to these that, as a Catholic, under
great provocations, he was tolerant; as an agitator, moderate in his
programme; as a man, generous, high-spirited, and, after a convivial
youth, notably temperate. Manifestly it is a character that lends
itself to the old-style biography of balance. The easiest estimate of
it is to say outright that O’Connell was pure demagogue; but if so,
he was one of the greatest. He lived in a time when the conduct of
political discussion knew no amenities. It was the day of slander,
innuendo, high words for high words, and then--the duel. For the high
words, see O’Connell’s reported speeches almost anywhere; as for the
duelling, he had killed his man at the outset of his prominence, and
lived a life of repentance for it. No man, it appears as we read the
diatribes of the day, has been more soundly abused in English: his
replies seem almost to strain the language of abuse. Thus it is that
to the modern taste his style so often strikes a false note, and seems
a crude mixture of passion and prejudice unworthy of a fame so great.
Therefore O’Connell can least of all men be judged merely by his own
words: the critic has always to remember the place and the moment,--the
crowded, sympathetic court-room, the biased judge and hostile jury; or
the myriad; upturned faces on a green hillside, mobile to each turning
of the rhetorical screw. At such hours O’Connell must have yielded to
his own art; the orator was subordinated to oratory, and often said
ridiculous things.

It was all of a character with O’Connell’s temperamental _intensity_.
In the usual sense of the word, then, he cannot be called a
demagogue--a mere puppet of the popular will. When the people and
O’Connell had two minds about a question, it was not the “Liberator”
who changed. Thus, for his opposition to Trades Unions, he was
mobbed and hooted in the very streets of Dublin. Nor did he take the
demonstration seriously; he knew his people too well for that. In a
word, his appeal and influence were racial rather than parochial; he
must be counted not as a great politician, or even statesman, but as
one of the “shepherds of the people,”--in Mr. Gladstone’s phrase, an
_ethnagogue_.

His genius found its play in a complete and overwhelming attack of any
project: the maxim, μηδὲν ἄγαν, was never its game. As a young man, he
forged early to the front of his profession; as he gained freely, so
he was always in debt; and when, as one of the leading advocates of
Ireland, the ambition of O’Connell looked farther and saw, as one must
fancy, a higher art in agitation, he abandoned the certain prosperities
of a legal career and left at his death barely £1000. He was a man of
emotions, then, subject to moods and aberrations; best at _ex tempore_
effort; poorly read--singular to state--even in Irish history; and if a
great orator, surely an orator with something of the actor there. His
name will be cherished among his people as one in whom their wrongs
found an eloquent and imperative voice; the world will be disposed
to regard him as a fine example of the partly ineffectual, partly
admirable type Reformer, whose particular programme, as yet but half
realized, was, in Mr. Lecky’s words,[A] “to open in Ireland a new
era, with a separate and independent Parliament and perfect religious
equality.”

    [A] “Leaders of Public Opinion in Ireland,” N. Y., 1872, p. 226.



DANIEL O’CONNELL.

IN DEFENCE OF JOHN MAGEE: COURT OF KING’S BENCH, DUBLIN, JULY 27, 1813.


  The speeches delivered at Dublin in the summer of 1813 by
  O’Connell as counsel for John Magee, then on trial for libel, have
  received the _exequatur_ of Mr. Lecky, who considers them as the
  “Liberator’s” greatest efforts at the Bar. Magee was the proprietor
  of the _Evening Post_ newspaper, in which, on the occasion of the
  Duke of Richmond’s departure from Ireland, there had appeared
  comments on his conduct as Lord Lieutenant in which the Government,
  probably with some eagerness, had discovered a libellous tendency.
  For the _Evening Post_ was notably pro-Catholic; what was more, its
  circulation and influence were large; and the Government from its
  own standpoint had good reasons either to repress the sheet or to
  change its political complexion. Hence the somewhat tenuous charge
  of libel laid against Magee.

  The specimen here presented of O’Connell’s eloquence was, after the
  trial, piously published by Magee, and later included in that badly
  printed volume, “Select Speeches of O’Connell,” edited by his son,
  and published by J. Duffy, Dublin, 1865. With some difficulty a
  probable text has been constructed out of the impressions of worn
  types and obvious misprints then given to the world.

  The speech itself will be found to be characteristic of O’Connell.
  The bitter fountains of invective, the _sæva indignatio_ of a
  just cause, keen and subtle irony, great facility of phrase and
  ornament, denunciation, defiance, and then a sudden modulation
  into an almost fawning fairness of tone--all are here. It is a
  plea not over-logical in arrangement; often desultory in the
  show passages; and, from the nature of the case, often legal in
  reference. But shorn, not only from considerations of space, of
  certain eccentricities and excursions, it is hoped that it will
  leave a definite picture of a great rhetorical orator, and of the
  two jewels of his style,--virile emphasis and impassioned intensity.

I consented to the adjournment yesterday, gentlemen of the jury, from
that impulse of nature which compels us to postpone pain; it is,
indeed, painful to me to address you; it is a cheerless, a hopeless
task to address you--a task which would require all the animation and
interest to be derived from the working of a mind fully fraught with
the resentment and disgust created in mine yesterday, by that farrago
of helpless absurdity with which Mr. Attorney-General regaled you.[1]

But I am now not sorry for the delay. Whatever I may have lost in
vivacity, I trust I shall compensate for in discretion. That which
yesterday excited my anger, now appears to me to be an object of
pity; and that which then roused my indignation, now only moves to
_contempt_. I can now address you with feelings softened, and, I
trust, subdued; and I do, from my soul, declare, that I now cherish
no other sensations than those which enable me to bestow on the
Attorney-General, and on his discourse, pure and unmixed compassion.

It was a discourse in which you could not discover either order, or
method, or eloquence; it contained very little logic, and no poetry at
all; violent and virulent, it was a confused and disjointed tissue of
bigotry, amalgamated with congenial vulgarity. He accused my client
of using Billingsgate, and he accused him of it in language suited
exclusively for that meridian. He descended even to the calling of
names: he called this young gentleman a “malefactor,” a “Jacobin,”
and a “ruffian,” gentlemen of the jury; he called him “abominable,”
and “seditious,” and “revolutionary,” and “infamous,” and a “ruffian”
again, gentlemen of the jury; he called him a “brothel keeper,” a
“pander,” “a kind of bawd in breeches,” and a “ruffian” a third time,
gentlemen of the jury.

I cannot repress my astonishment, how Mr. Attorney-General could have
_preserved_ this dialect in its native purity; he has been now for
nearly thirty years in the class of polished society; he has, for some
years, mixed amongst the highest orders in the state; he has had
the honor to belong for thirty years to the first profession in the
world--to the only profession, with the single exception, perhaps, of
the military, to which a high-minded gentleman could condescend to
belong--the Irish Bar. To that Bar, at which he has seen and heard
a Burgh and a Duquery; at which he must have listened to a Burston,
a Ponsonby, and a Curran; to a Bar which still contains a Plunket,
a Ball, and, despite of politics, I will add, a Bushe. With this
galaxy of glory flinging their light around him, how can he alone have
remained in darkness? How has it happened, that the twilight murkiness
of his soul, has not been illumined with a single ray shot from their
lustre? Devoid of taste and of genius, how can he have had memory
enough to preserve this original vulgarity? He is, indeed, an object of
compassion, and, from my inmost soul, I bestow on him my forgiveness,
and my bounteous pity.[2]

But not for him alone should compassion be felt. Recollect, that
upon his advice--that with him, as the prime mover and instigator of
those rash, and silly, and irritating measures of the last five years
which have afflicted and distracted this long-suffering country,
have originated--with him they have all originated. Is there not then
compassion due to the millions whose destinies are made to depend upon
his counsel? Is there no pity to those who, like me, must know that the
liberties of the tenderest pledges of their affections, and of that
which is dearer still, of their country, depend on this man’s advice?

Yet, let not pity for us be unmixed; he has afforded the consolation
of hope; his harangue has been heard; it will be reported--I trust
faithfully reported; and if it be but read in England, we may venture
to hope that there may remain just so much good sense in England as to
induce the conviction of the folly and the danger of conducting the
government of a brave and long-enduring people by the counsels of so
tasteless and talentless an adviser.

See what an imitative animal man is! The sound of
ruffian--ruffian--ruffian, had scarcely died on the Attorney-General’s
lips, when you find the word honored with all the permanency of print,
in one of his pensioned and well-paid, but ill-read, newspapers. Here
is the first line in the _Dublin Journal_ of this day:--“The ruffian
who writes for the _Freeman’s Journal_.” Here is an apt scholar--he
profits well of the Attorney-General’s tuition. The pupil is worthy of
the master--the master is just suited to the pupil.

I now dismiss the style and measure of the Attorney-General’s
discourse, and I require your attention to its matter. That matter
I must divide, although with him there was no division, into two
unequal portions. The first, as it was by far the greater portion of
his discourse, shall be that which was altogether inapplicable to the
purposes of this prosecution. The second, and infinitely the smaller
portion of his speech, is that which related to the subject matter of
the indictment which you are to try. He has touched upon and disfigured
a great variety of topics. I shall follow him at my good leisure
through them. He has invited me to a wide field of discussion. I accept
his challenge with alacrity and with pleasure.

This extraneous part of his discourse, which I mean first to discuss,
was distinguished by two leading features. The first consisted of a
dull and reproving sermon, with which he treated my colleagues and
myself, for the manner in which we thought fit to conduct this defence.
He talked of the melancholy exhibition of four hours wasted, as
he said, in frivolous debate, and he obscurely hinted at something
like incorrectness of professional conduct. He has not ventured to
speak out, but I will. I shall say nothing for myself; but for my
colleagues--my inferiors in professional standing, but infinitely my
superiors in every talent and in every acquirement--my colleagues,
whom I boast as my friends, not in the routine language of the Bar,
but in the sincerity of my esteem and affection; for my learned and
upright colleagues, I treat the unfounded insinuation with the most
contemptuous scorn!

All I shall expose is the utter inattention to the fact, which, in
small things as in great, seems to mark the Attorney-General’s career.
He talks of four hours. Why, it was past one before the last of you
were digged together by the Sheriff, and the Attorney-General rose to
address you before three. How he could contrive to squeeze four hours
into that interval, it is for him to explain; nor should I notice it,
but that it is the particular prerogative of dulness to be accurate
in the detail of minor facts, so that the Attorney-General is without
an excuse when he departs from them, and when for four hours you
have had not quite two. Take this also with you, that we assert our
uncontrollable right to employ them as we have done; and as to his
advice, we neither respect, nor will we receive it; but we can afford
cheerfully to pardon the vain presumption that made him offer us
counsel.

For the rest, he may be assured that we will never imitate his example.
We will never volunteer to mingle our politics, whatever they may be,
with our forensic duties. I made this the rigid rule of my professional
conduct; and if I shall appear to depart from this rule now, I bid
you recollect that I am compelled to follow the Attorney-General into
grounds which, if he had been wise, he would have avoided.

Yes; I am compelled to follow him into the discussion of his conduct
towards the Catholics. He has poured out the full vial of his own
praise on that conduct--praise in which, I can safely assure him, he
has not a single unpaid rival. It is a topic upon which no unbribed
man, except himself, dwells. I admit the disinterestedness with which
he praises himself, and I do not envy him his delight, but he ought to
know, if he sees or hears a word of that kind from any other man, that
that man receives or expects compensation for his task, and really
deserves money for his labor and invention.

My lord, upon the Catholic subject, I commence with one assertion
of the Attorney-General, which I trust I misunderstood. He talked,
as I collected him, of the Catholics having imbibed principles of a
seditious, treasonable, and revolutionary nature! He seemed to me, most
distinctly, to charge us with treason! There is no relying on his words
for his meaning--I know there is not. On a former occasion, I took
down a repetition of this charge full seventeen times on my brief, and
yet, afterwards, it turned out that he never intended to make any such
charge; that he forgot he had ever used those words, and he disclaimed
the idea they naturally convey. It is clear, therefore, that upon this
subject he knows not what he says; and that these phrases are the mere
flowers of his rhetoric, but quite innocent of any meaning!

Upon this account I pass him by, I go beyond him, and I content myself
with proclaiming those charges, whosoever may make them, to be false
and base calumnies! It is impossible to refute such charges in the
language of dignity or temper. But if any man dares to charge the
Catholic body, or the Catholic Board, or any individuals of that Board
with sedition or treason, I do here, I shall always in this court, in
the city, in the field, brand him as an infamous and profligate _liar_!

Pardon the phrase, but there is no other suitable to the occasion. But
he is a profligate liar who so asserts, because he must know that the
whole tenor of our conduct confutes the assertion. What is it we seek?

Chief Justice.--What, Mr. O’Connell, can this have to do with the
question which the jury are to try?

Mr. O’Connell.--_You heard the Attorney-General traduce and calumniate
us--you heard him with patience and with temper--listen now to our
vindication!_

I ask, what is it we seek? What is it we incessantly and, if you
please, clamorously petition for? Why, to be allowed to partake of
the advantages of the constitution. We are earnestly anxious to share
the benefits of the constitution. We look to the participation in the
constitution as our greatest political blessing. If we desired to
destroy it, would we seek to share it? If we wished to overturn it,
would we exert ourselves through calumny, and in peril, to obtain a
portion of its blessings? Strange, inconsistent voice of calumny! You
charge us with intemperance in our exertions for a participation in the
constitution, and you charge us at the same time, almost in the same
sentence, with a design to overturn that constitution. The dupes of
your hypocrisy may believe you; but, base calumniators, you do not, you
cannot, believe yourselves!

The Attorney-General--“_this wisest and best of men_,” as his
colleague, the Solicitor-General, called him in his presence--the
Attorney-General next boasted of his triumph over Pope and Popery--“I
put down the Catholic Committee; I will put down, at my good time,
the Catholic Board.” This boast is partly historical, partly
prophetical. He was wrong in his history--he is quite mistaken in
his prophecy. He did not put down the Catholic Committee--we gave up
that name the moment that it was confessedly avowed that this sapient
Attorney-General’s polemico-legal controversy dwindled into a mere
dispute about words. He told us that in the English language “pretence”
means “purpose”; had it been French and not English, we might have been
inclined to respect his judgment, but in point of English we venture
to differ with him; we told him “purpose,” good Mr. Attorney-General,
is just the reverse of “pretence.” The quarrel grew warm and animated;
we appealed to common sense, to the grammar, and to the dictionary;
common sense, grammar, and the dictionary decided in our favor. He
brought his appeal to this court, your lordship, and your brethren
unanimously decided that, in point of law--mark, mark, gentlemen of the
jury, the sublime wisdom of law--the court decided that, in point of
law, _“pretence” does mean “purpose”_!

Fully contented with this very reasonable and more satisfactory
decision, there still remained a matter of fact between us: the
Attorney-General charged us with being representatives; we denied all
representation. He had two witnesses to prove the fact for him; they
swore to it one way at one trial, and directly the other way at the
next. An honorable, intelligent, and enlightened jury disbelieved those
witnesses at the first trial--matters were better managed at the second
trial--the jury were better _arranged_. I speak delicately, gentlemen;
the jury were better arranged, as the witnesses were better informed;
and, accordingly, there was one verdict for us on the representative
question, and one verdict against us.

You know the jury that found for us; you know that it was Sir Charles
Saxton’s Castle-list jury that found against us. Well, the consequence
was that, thus encouraged, Mr. Attorney-General proceeded to force.
We abhorred tumult, and were weary of litigation; we new-modelled the
agents and managers of the Catholic petitions; we formed an assembly,
respecting which there could not be a shadow of pretext for calling it
a representative body. We disclaimed representation; and we rendered it
impossible, even for the virulence of the most malignant law-officer
living, to employ the Convention Act against us--that, even upon the
Attorney-General’s own construction, requires representation as an
ingredient in the offence it prohibits. He cannot possibly call us
representatives; we are the individual servants of the public, whose
business we do gratuitously but zealously. Our cause has advanced even
from his persecution--and this he calls putting down the Catholic
Committee![3]

Next, he glorifies himself in his prospect of putting down the Catholic
Board. For the present, he, indeed, tells you, that much as he hates
the Papists, it is unnecessary for him to crush our Board, because
we injure our own cause so much. He says that we are very criminal,
but we are so foolish that our folly serves as a compensation for our
wickedness. We are very wicked and very mischievous, but then we are
such foolish little criminals, that we deserve his indulgence. Thus
he tolerates offences, because of their being committed sillily; and,
indeed, we give him so much pleasure and gratification by the injury we
do our own cause that he is spared the superfluous labor of impeding
our petition by his prosecutions, fines, or imprisonments.

He expresses the very idea of the Roman Domitian, of whom some of
you possibly may have read; he amused his days in torturing men--his
evenings he relaxed in the humble cruelty of impaling flies. A
courtier caught a fly for his imperial amusement--“Fool,” said the
emperor, “fool, to give thyself the trouble of torturing an animal
that was about to burn itself to death in the candle!” Such is the
spirit of the Attorney-General’s commentary on our Board. Oh, rare
Attorney-General!--Oh, best and wisest of men!!!

But, to be serious. Let me pledge myself to you that he imposes on you,
when he threatens to crush the Catholic Board. Illegal violence may do
it--force may effectuate it; but your hopes and his will be defeated,
if he attempts it by any course of law. I am, if not a lawyer, at
least a barrister. On this subject I ought to know something, and I do
not hesitate to contradict the Attorney-General on this point, and to
proclaim to you and to the country that the Catholic Board is perfectly
a legal assembly--that it not only does not violate the law, but that
it is entitled to the protection of the law, and in the very proudest
tone of firmness, I hurl _defiance_ at the Attorney-General!

I defy him to allege a law or a statute, or even a proclamation that
is violated by the Catholic Board. No, gentlemen, no; his religious
prejudices--if the absence of every charity can be called anything
religious--his religious prejudices really obscure his reason, his
bigoted intolerance has totally darkened his understanding, and he
mistakes the plainest facts and misquotes the clearest law, in the
ardor and vehemence of his rancor. I disdain his moderation--I scorn
his forbearance--I tell him he knows not the law if he thinks as he
says; and if he thinks so, I tell him to his beard, that he is not
_honest_ in not having sooner prosecuted us, and I challenge him to
that prosecution.

It is strange--it is melancholy, to reflect on the miserable and
mistaken pride that must inflate him to talk as he does of the Catholic
Board. The Catholic Board is composed of men--I include not myself--of
course, I always except myself--every way his superiors, in birth, in
fortune, in talents, in rank. What is he to talk of the Catholic Board
lightly? At their head is the Earl of Fingal, a nobleman whose exalted
rank stoops beneath the superior station of his virtues--whom even the
venal minions of power must respect. We are engaged, patiently and
perseveringly engaged, in a struggle through the open channels of the
constitution for our liberties. The son of the ancient earl whom I have
mentioned cannot in his native land attain any honorable distinction
of the state, and yet Mr. Attorney-General knows that they are open to
every son of every bigoted and intemperate stranger that may settle
amongst us.

But this system cannot last; he may insult, he may calumniate, he may
prosecute; but the Catholic cause is on its _majestic march_; its
progress is rapid and obvious; it is cheered in its advance, and aided
by all that is dignified and dispassionate--by everything that is
patriotic--by all the honor, all the integrity, of the empire; and its
success is just as certain as the return of to-morrow’s sun, and the
close of to-morrow’s eve.

“_We will--we must soon be emancipated_,” in despite of the
Attorney-General, aided as he is by his august allies, the aldermen of
Skinner’s-alley. In despite of the Attorney-General and the aldermen of
Skinner’s-alley, our emancipation is certain, and not distant.

I have no difficulty in perceiving the motive of the Attorney-General
in devoting so much of his medley oration to the Catholic question, and
to the expression of his bitter hatred to us, and of his determination
to ruin our hopes. It had, to be sure, no connection with the cause,
but it had a direct and natural connection with you. He has been, all
his life, reckoned a man of consummate cunning and dexterity; and
whilst one wonders that he has so much exposed himself upon those
prosecutions, and accounts for it by the proverbial blindness of
religious zeal, it is still easy to discover much of his native cunning
and dexterity. Gentlemen, he thinks he knows his men--he knows you;
many of you signed the no-Popery petition; he heard one of you boast of
it; he knows you would not have been summoned on this jury if you had
entertained liberal sentiments; he knows all this, and therefore it is
that he, with the artifice and cunning of an experienced _nisi prius_
advocate, endeavors to win your confidence and command your affections
by the display of his congenial illiberality and bigotry.

You are all, of course, Protestants; see what a compliment he pays to
your religion and his own, when he endeavors thus to procure a verdict
on your oaths; when he endeavors to seduce you to what, if you were so
seduced, would be perjury, by indulging your prejudices and flattering
you by the coincidence of his sentiments and wishes. Will he succeed,
gentlemen? Will you allow him to draw you into a perjury out of zeal
for your religion? And will you violate the pledge you have given
to your God to do justice, in order to gratify your anxiety for the
ascendancy of what you believe to be his church? Gentlemen, reflect on
the strange and monstrous inconsistency of this conduct, and do not
commit, if you can avoid it, the pious crime of violating your solemn
oaths, in aid of the pious designs of the Attorney-General against
Popery.

Oh, gentlemen! it is not in any lightness of heart I thus address
you--it is rather in bitterness and sorrow; you did not expect flattery
from me, and my client was little disposed to offer it to you; besides,
of what avail would it be to flatter, if you came here pre-determined,
and it is too plain that you are not selected for this jury from any
notion of your impartiality?

But when I talk to you of your oaths and of your religion, I would full
fain I could impress you with a respect for both the one and the other.
I, who do not flatter, tell you, that though I do not join with you in
belief, I have the most unfeigned respect for the form of Christian
faith which you profess. Would that its substance, not its forms and
temporal advantages, were deeply impressed on your minds! Then should I
not address you in the cheerless and hopeless despondency that crowds
on my mind, and drives me to taunt you with the air of ridicule I do.
Gentlemen, I sincerely respect and venerate your religion, _but_ I
despise and I now apprehend your prejudices, in the same proportion
as the Attorney-General has cultivated them. In plain truth, every
religion is good--every religion is true to him who, in his due caution
and conscience, believes it. There is but one bad religion, that of
a man who professes a faith which he does not believe; but the good
religion may be, and often is, corrupted by the wretched and wicked
prejudices which admit a difference of opinion as a cause of hatred.

The Attorney-General, defective in argument--weak in his cause, has
artfully roused your prejudices at his side. I have, on the contrary,
met your prejudices boldly. If your verdict shall be for me, you
will be certain that it has been produced by nothing but unwilling
conviction resulting from sober and satisfied judgment. If your verdict
be bestowed upon the artifices of the Attorney-General, you may happen
to be right; but do you not see the danger of its being produced by
an admixture of passion and prejudice with your reason? How difficult
is it to separate prejudice from reason, when they run in the same
direction! If you be men of conscience, then I call on you to listen
to me, that your consciences may be safe, and your reason alone be the
guardian of your oath, and the sole monitor of your decision.

I now bring you to the immediate subject of this indictment. Mr. Magee
is charged with publishing a libel in his paper called the _Dublin
Evening Post_. His lordship has decided that there is legal proof of
the publication, and I would be sorry you thought of acquitting Mr.
Magee under the pretence of not believing that evidence. I will not,
therefore, trouble you on that part of the case; I will tell you,
gentlemen, presently, what this publication is; but suffer me first to
inform you what it is not--for this I consider to be very important to
the strong, and in truth, triumphant defence which my client has to
this indictment.

Gentlemen, this is _not_ a libel on Charles Lennox, Duke of Richmond,
in his private or individual capacity. It does not interfere with the
privacy of his domestic life. It is free from any reproach upon his
domestic habits or conduct; it is perfectly pure from any attempt to
traduce his personal honor or integrity. Towards the man, there is
not the least taint of malignity; nay, the thing is still stronger.
Of Charles, Duke of Richmond, personally, and as disconnected with
the administration of public affairs, it speaks in terms of civility
and even respect.[4] It contains this passage which I read from the
indictment:

“Had he remained what he first came over, or what he afterwards
professed to be, he would have retained his reputation for _honest open
hostility_, defending his political principles with firmness, perhaps
with warmth, but without rancor; the supporter and not the tool of an
administration; a mistaken politician, perhaps, but an honorable man
and a respectable soldier.”

The Duke is here in this libel, my lords,--in this libel, gentlemen
of the jury, the Duke of Richmond is called an honorable man and a
respectable soldier! Could more flattering expressions be invented? Has
the most mercenary Press that ever yet existed, the mercenary Press
of this metropolis, contained, in return for all the money it has
received, any praise which ought to be so pleasing--“an honorable man
and a respectable soldier”? I do, therefore, beg of you, gentlemen, as
you value your honesty, to carry with you in your distinct recollection
this fact, that whatever of evil this publication may contain, it does
not involve any reproach against the Duke of Richmond in any other than
in his public and official character.

I have, gentlemen, next to require you to take notice that this
publication is not indicted as a seditious libel. The word seditious
is, indeed, used as a kind of make-weight in the introductory part of
the indictment. But mark, and recollect, that this is not an indictment
for sedition. It is not, then, for private slander, nor for any offence
against the constitution, that Mr. Magee now stands arraigned before
you.

In the third place, gentlemen, there is this singular feature in this
case, namely, that this libel, as the prosecutor calls it, is not
charged in this indictment to be “false.”

The indictment has this singular difference from any other I have ever
seen, that the assertions of the publications are not even stated to be
false.

They have not had the courtesy to you, to state upon record that these
charges, such as they are, were contrary to the truth. This I believe
to be the first instance in which the allegation of falsehood has
been omitted. To what is this omission to be attributed? Is it that
an experiment is to be made, how much further the doctrine of the
criminality of truth can be drawn? Does the prosecutor wish to make
another bad precedent; or is it in contempt of any distinction between
truth and falsehood, that this charge is thus framed; or does he fear
that you would scruple to convict, if the indictment charged that to be
false which you all know to be true?

However that may be, I will have you to remember that you are now to
pronounce upon a publication, _the truth of which is not controverted_.
Attend to the case, and you will find you are not to try Mr. Magee
for sedition which may endanger the state, or for private defamation
which may press sorely upon the heart, and blast the prospects of a
private family; and that the subject matter for your decision is not
characterized as false, or described as untrue.

Such are the circumstances which accompany this publication, on which
you are to pronounce a verdict of guilt or innocence. The case is with
you; it belongs to you exclusively to decide it. His lordship may
advise, but he cannot control your decision, and it belongs to you
alone to say whether or not, upon the entire matter, you conceive it
to be evidence of guilt, and deserving of punishment. The statute law
gives or recognizes this your right, and, therefore, imposes this on
you as your duty. The legislative has precluded any lawyer from being
able to dictate to you. The Solicitor-General cannot now venture to
promulgate the slavish doctrine which he addressed to Doctor Sheridan’s
jury, when he told them, “not to _presume_ to differ from the Court in
matter of law.” The law and the fact are here the same, namely, the
guilty or innocent design of the publication.

Indeed, in any criminal case, the doctrine of the Solicitor-General is
intolerable. I enter my solemn protest against it. The verdict which is
required from a jury in any criminal case has nothing special in it--it
is not the finding of the fact in the affirmative or negative--it is
not, as in Scotland, that the charge is proved or not proved. No; the
jury is to say whether the prisoner be guilty or not; and could a
juror find a true verdict, who declared a man guilty upon evidence of
some act, perhaps praiseworthy, but clearly void of evil design or bad
consequences?

I do, therefore, deny the doctrine of the learned gentleman; it is not
constitutional, and it would be frightful if it were. _No judge can
dictate to a jury_--no jury ought to allow itself to be dictated to.

If the Solicitor-General’s doctrine were established, see what
oppressive consequences might result. At some future period, some
man may attain the first place on the bench, by the reputation which
is so easily acquired by a certain degree of churchwardening piety,
added to a great gravity, and maidenly decorum of manners. Such a man
_may_ reach the bench--for I am putting a mere imaginary case--_he_
may be a man without _passions_, and _therefore_ without _vices_; he
may, my lord, be a man superfluously _rich_, and, therefore, not to be
_bribed_ with _money_, but rendered _partial_ by his _bigotry_, and
_corrupted_ by his _prejudices_; such a man, _inflated_ by _flattery_,
and _bloated_ in his dignity, may hereafter use that character for
_sanctity_ which has served to promote him, as a sword to hew down the
struggling liberties of his country; such a judge may interfere before
trial! and at the trial be a _partisan_!

Gentlemen, should an honest jury--could an honest jury (if an
honest jury were again found) listen with safety to the dictates of
such a judge? I repeat it, therefore, that the Solicitor-General
is mistaken--that the law does not, and cannot, require such a
submission as he preached; and at all events, gentlemen, it cannot be
controverted, that in the present instance, that of an alleged libel,
the decision of all law and fact belongs to _you_.

I am then warranted in directing to you some _observations_ on the _law
of libel_, and in doing so, I disclaim any apology for the consumption
of the time necessary for my purpose. Gentlemen, my intention is to lay
before you a short and rapid view of the causes which have introduced
into courts the monstrous assertion--_that truth is crime!_

It is to be deeply lamented that the art of printing was unknown at
the earlier periods of our history. If at the time the barons wrung
the simple but sublime charter of liberty from a timid, perfidious
sovereign, from a violator of his word, from a man covered with
disgrace, and sunk in infamy--if at the time when that charter was
confirmed and renewed, the Press had existed, it would, I think, have
been the first care of those friends of freedom to have established
a principle of liberty for it to rest upon which might resist every
future assault. Their simple and unsophisticated understandings could
never be brought to comprehend the legal subtleties by which it is now
argued that falsehood is useful and innocent, and truth, the emanation
and the type of heaven, a crime. They would have cut with their swords
the cobweb links of sophistry in which truth is entangled; and they
would have rendered it impossible to re-establish this injustice
without violating the principle of the constitution.

But in the ignorance of the blessing of a _free Press_, they could not
have provided for its security. There remains, however, an expression
of their sentiments on our statute books. The ancient parliament did
pass a law against the spreaders of _false_ rumors. This law proves
two things,--first, that before this statute, it was not considered a
crime in law to spread even a false rumor, otherwise the statute would
have been unnecessary; and, secondly, that in their notion of crime,
falsehood was a necessary ingredient. But here I have to remark upon
and regret the strange propensity of judges, to construe the law in
favor of tyranny, and against liberty; for servile and corrupt judges
soon decided that upon the construction of this law it was immaterial
whether the rumors were true or false, and that a law made to punish
false rumors, _was equally applicable to the true_.

This, gentlemen, is called _construction_; it is just that which in
more recent times, and of inevitable consequence from purer motives,
has converted “_pretence_” into “_purpose_.”

When the art of printing was invented, its value to every sufferer, its
terror to every oppressor, was soon obvious, and means were speedily
adopted to prevent its salutary effects. The Star-Chamber--the odious
Star-Chamber--was either created, or, at least, enlarged and brought
into activity. Its proceedings were arbitrary, its decisions were
oppressive, and injustice and tyranny were formed into a system. To
describe it to you in one sentence, it _was a prematurely packed jury_.
Perhaps that description does not shock you much. Let me report one of
its decisions, which will, I think, make its horrors more sensible to
you--it is a ludicrous as well as a melancholy instance.

A tradesman--a ruffian, I presume, he was styled--in an altercation
with a nobleman’s servant, called the swan which was worn on the
servant’s arm for a badge, a goose. For this offence--the calling
a nobleman’s badge of a swan, a goose--he was brought before the
Star-Chamber; he was, of course, convicted; he lost, as I recollect,
one of his ears on the pillory, was sentenced to two years’
imprisonment, and a fine of £500; and all this to teach him to
_distinguish swans from geese_.

I now ask you, to what is it you tradesmen and merchants are indebted
for the safety and respect you can enjoy in society? What is it which
has rescued you from the slavery in which persons who are engaged in
trade were held by the iron barons of former days? I will tell you; it
is the light, the reason, and the liberty which have been created, and
will, in despite of every opposition, be perpetuated by the exertion of
the Press.

Gentlemen, the Star-Chamber was particularly vigilant over the infant
struggles of the Press. A code of laws became necessary to govern the
new enemy to prejudice and oppression--the Press. The Star-Chamber
adopted, for this purpose, the civil law, as it is called--the law of
Rome--not the law at the periods of her liberty and her glory, but the
law which was promulgated when she fell into slavery and disgrace, and
recognized this principle, that the will of the prince was the rule of
the law. The civil law was adopted by the Star-Chamber as its guide in
proceedings against, and in punishing libellers; but, unfortunately,
only part of it was adopted, and that, of course, was the part
least favorable to freedom. So much of the civil law as assisted to
discover the concealed libeller, and to punish him when discovered, was
carefully selected; but the civil law allowed truth to be a defence,
and that part was carefully rejected.

The Star-Chamber was soon after abolished. It was suppressed by the
hatred and vengeance of an outraged people, and it has since, and
until our days, lived only in the recollection of abhorrence and
contempt. But we have fallen upon bad days and evil times; and in our
days we have seen a lawyer, long of the prostrate and degraded Bar
of England, presume to suggest an high eulogium on the Star-Chamber,
and regret its downfall; and he has done this in a book dedicated,
by permission, to Lord Ellenborough. This is, perhaps, an ominous
circumstance; and as Star-Chamber punishments have been revived--as two
years of imprisonment have become familiar--I know not how soon the
useless lumber of even well-selected juries may be abolished, and a new
Star-Chamber created.

From the Star-Chamber, gentlemen, the prevention and punishment of
libels descended to the courts of common law, and with the power they
seem to have inherited much of the spirit of that tribunal. Servility
at the bar, and profligacy on the bench, have not been wanting to aid
every construction unfavorable to freedom, and at length it is taken as
granted and as clear law that truth or falsehood are quite immaterial
circumstances, constituting no part of either guilt or innocence.

I would wish to examine this revolting doctrine, and, in doing so,
I am proud to tell you that it has no other foundation than in the
oft-repeated assertions of lawyers and judges. Its authority depends
on what are technically called the _dicta_ of the judges and writers,
and not upon solemn or regular adjudications on the point. One
servile lawyer has repeated this doctrine, from time to time, after
another--and one overbearing judge has re-echoed the assertion of a
time-serving predecessor; and the public have, at length, submitted.

I do, therefore, feel not only gratified in having the occasion, but
bound to express my opinion upon the real law of this subject. I know
that opinion is but of little weight. I have no professional rank,
or station, or talents to give it importance, but it is an honest
and conscientious opinion, and it is this--that in the discussion of
_public subjects_, and of the administration of _public men_, _truth_
is a duty and not _a crime_.

You can, at least, understand _my_ description of the liberty of
the Press. That of the Attorney-General is as unintelligible as
contradictory. He tells you, in a very odd and quaint phrase, that the
liberty of the Press consists in there being no previous restraint upon
the tongue or the pen. How any _previous_ restraint could be imposed on
the tongue it is for this wisest of men to tell you, unless, indeed,
he resorts to Doctor Lad’s prescription with respect to the toothache
eradication. Neither can the absence of previous restraint constitute
a free Press, unless, indeed, it shall be distinctly ascertained,
and clearly defined, what shall be subsequently called a crime. If
the crime of libel be undefined, or uncertain, or capricious, then,
instead of the absence of restraint before publication being an
advantage, it is an injury; instead of its being a blessing, it is a
curse--it is nothing more than a pitfall and snare for the unwary.
This liberty of the Press is only an opportunity and a temptation
offered by the law to the commission of crime--it is a trap laid to
catch men for punishment--it is not the liberty of discussing truth
or discountenancing oppression, but a mode of rearing up victims for
prosecution, and of seducing men into imprisonment.

Yet, can any gentleman concerned for the Crown give me a definition
of the crime of libel? Is it not uncertain and undefined; and, in
truth, is it not, at this moment, quite subject to the caprice and
whim of the judge and of the jury? Is the Attorney-General--is the
Solicitor-General--disposed to say otherwise? If he do, he must
contradict his own doctrine, and adopt mine.

But no, gentlemen, they must leave you in uncertainty and doubt, and
ask you to give a verdict, on your oath, without furnishing you with
any rational materials to judge whether you be right or wrong. Indeed,
to such a wild extent of caprice has Lord Ellenborough carried the
doctrine of crime in libel, that he appears to have gravely ruled,
that it was a crime to call one lord “a stout-built, special pleader,”
although, in point of fact, that lord was stout-built, and had been
very many years a special pleader. And that it was a crime to call
another lord “a sheep-feeder from Cambridgeshire,” although that
lord was right glad to have a few sheep in that county. These are the
extravagant vagaries of the Crown lawyers and prerogative judges; you
will find it impossible to discover any rational rule for your conduct,
and can never rest upon any satisfactory view of the subject, unless
you are pleased to adopt my description. Reason and justice equally
recognize it, and, believe me, that genuine law is much more closely
connected with justice and reason than some persons will avow.

Gentlemen, you are now apprised of the nature of the alleged libel;
it is a discussion upon the administration of public men. I have also
submitted to you my view of the law applicable to such a publication:
we are, therefore, prepared to go into the consideration of every
sentence in the newspaper in question.

But before I do so, just allow me to point your attention to the
motives of this young gentleman. The Attorney-General has threatened
him with fine and a dungeon; he has told Mr. Magee that he should
suffer in his purse and in his person. Mr. Magee knew his danger
well. Mr. Magee, before he published this paper, was quite apprised
that he ran the risk of fine and of imprisonment. He knew also
that if he changed his tone--that if he became merely neutral, but
especially if he went over to the other side and praised the Duke of
Richmond--if he had sufficient gravity to talk, without a smile, of
the sorrow of the people of Ireland at his Grace’s departure--if he
had a visage sufficiently lugubrious to say so without laughing, to
cry out “mournfully, oh! mournfully!” for the departure of the Duke of
Richmond--if, at a period when the people of Ireland, from Magherafelt
to Dingledecouch, are rejoicing at that departure, Mr. Magee could put
on a solemn countenance and pick up a grave and narcotic accent, and
have the resolution to assert the sorrow of the people for losing so
sweet and civil a Lord Lieutenant--why, in that case, gentlemen, you
know the consequences. They are obvious. He might libel certain classes
of his Majesty’s subjects with impunity; he would get abundance of
money, a place, and a pension--you know he would. The proclamations
would be inserted in his paper. The wide-street advertisements, the
ordnance, the barrack-board notices, and the advertisements of all the
other public boards and offices--you can scarcely calculate how much
money he sacrifices to his principles. I am greatly within bounds when
I say at least £5000 per annum, of the public money, would reach him if
he was to alter his tone, and abandon his opinions.

Has he instructed me to boast of the sacrifices he thus makes? No,
gentlemen, no, no; he deems it no sacrifice because he desires no
share in the public plunder; but I introduce this topic to demonstrate
to you the purity of his intentions. He cannot be actuated, in the
part he takes, by mean or mercenary motives; it is not the base lucre
of gain that leads him astray. If he be mistaken, he is, at least,
disinterested and sincere. You may dislike his political opinions, but
you cannot avoid respecting the independence of his principles.

Behold, now, the publication which this man of pure principles is
called to answer for as a libel. It commences thus:--


“DUKE OF RICHMOND.

“As the Duke of Richmond will shortly retire from the government of
Ireland, it has been deemed necessary to take such a review of his
administration as may at least warn his successor from pursuing the
errors of his Grace’s conduct.

“The review shall contain many anecdotes of the Irish court which were
never published, and which were so secret, that his Grace will not fail
to be surprised at the sight of them in a newspaper.”

In this paragraph there is nothing libellous; it talks of the errors,
indeed, of his Grace’s administration; but I do not think the
Attorney-General will venture to suggest that the gentle expression of
“errors” is a libel.

To err, gentlemen, is human: and his Grace is admitted, by the
Attorney-General, to be but a man; I shall waste none of your time in
proving that we may, without offence, treat of his “errors.” But this
is not even the errors of the man, but of his administration; it was
not infallible, I humbly presume.

I call your particular attention to the third paragraph; it runs thus:--

“If the administration of the Duke of Richmond had been conducted with
more than ordinary talent, its errors might in some degree have been
atoned for by its ability, and the people of Ireland though they might
have much to regret, yet would have something to admire; but truly
after the gravest consideration, they must find themselves at a loss
to discover any striking feature in his Grace’s administration, that
makes it superior to the worst of his predecessors.”

The Attorney-General dwelt much upon this paragraph, gentlemen, and the
importance which he attached to it furnishes a strong illustration of
his own consciousness of the weakness of his case. What is the meaning
of this paragraph? I appeal to you whether it be more than this: that
there has been nothing admirable in this administration; that there has
not been much ability displayed by it. So far, gentlemen, there is,
indeed, no flattery, but still less of libel, unless you are prepared
to say that to withhold praise from any administration deserves
punishment.

Is it an indictable offence not to perceive its occult talents? Why, if
it be, find my client guilty of not being a sycophant and a flatterer,
and send him to prison for two years, to gratify the Attorney-General,
who tells you that the Duke of Richmond is the _best_ chief governor
Ireland ever saw.

But the mischief, I am told, lies in the art of the sentence. Why,
all that it says is, that it is difficult to discover the striking
features that distinguish this from bad administrations. It does not,
gentlemen, assert that no such striking features exist, much less does
it assert that no features of that kind exist, or that such features,
although not striking, are not easily discernible. So that, really, you
are here again required to convict a man for not flattering. He thinks
an administration untalented and silly; that is no crime; he says it
has not been marked with talent or ability--that it has no striking
features; all this may be mistaken and false, yet there is nothing in
it that resembles a crime.

And, gentlemen, _if it be true_--if this _be_ a foolish administration,
can it be an offence to say so? If it has had no striking features to
distinguish it from bad administrations, can it be criminal to say so?
Are you prepared to say that not one word of truth can be told under no
less a penalty than years of a dungeon and heavy fines?

Recollect, that the Attorney-General told you that the Press was
the protection of the people against the government. Good Heaven!
gentlemen, how can it protect the people against the government,
if it be a crime to say of that government that it has committed
errors, displays little talent, and has no striking features? Did
the prosecutor mock you, when he talked of the protection the Press
afforded to the people? If he did not insult you by the admission of
that upon which he will not allow you to act, let me ask, against what
is the Press to protect the people? When do the people want protection?
When the government is engaged in delinquencies, oppression, and
crimes. It is against these that the people want the protection of the
Press. Now, I put it to your plain sense, whether the Press can afford
such protection, if it be punished for treating of these crimes.

Still more, can a shadow of protection be given by a Press that is
not permitted to mention the errors, the talents, and the striking
features of an administration? Here is a watchman admitted by the
Attorney-General to be at his post to warn the people of their danger,
and the first thing that is done to this watchman is to knock him
down and bring him to a dungeon, for announcing the danger he is
bound to disclose. I agree with the Attorney-General, the Press is a
protection, but it is not in its silence or in its voice of flattery.
It can protect only by speaking out when there is danger, or error,
or want of ability. If the harshness of this tone be complained of,
I ask, what is it the Attorney-General would have? Does he wish that
this protection should speak so as not to be understood; or, I again
repeat it, does he mean to delude us with the name and the mockery of
protection? Upon this ground, I defy you to find a verdict for the
prosecutor, without declaring that he has been guilty of an attempt to
deceive when he talked of the protection of the Press against errors,
ignorance, and incapacity, which it is not to dare even to name.
Gentlemen, upon this third paragraph, I am entitled to your verdict,
upon the Attorney-General’s own admission.

He, indeed, passed on to the next sentence with an air of triumph, with
the apparent certainty of its producing a conviction; I meet him upon
it--I read it boldly--I will discuss it with you manfully--it is this:--

“They insulted, they oppressed, they murdered, and they deceived.”

The Attorney-General told us, rather ludicrously, that they, meaning
the Duke’s predecessors, included, of course, himself. How a man
could be included amongst his predecessors, it would be difficult
to discover. It seems to be that mode of expression which would
indicate that the Attorney-General, notwithstanding his foreign
descent, has imbibed some of the language of the native Irish. But
our blunders arise not like this, from a confusion of idea; they are
generally caused by too great condensation of thought; they are,
indeed, frequently of the head, but never--never of the heart. Would I
could say so much for the Attorney-General; his blunder is not to be
attributed to his cool and cautious head; it sprung, I much fear, from
the misguided bitterness of the bigotry of his heart.

Well, gentlemen, this sentence does, in broad and distinct terms,
charge the predecessors of the Duke, but not the Duke himself, with
insult, oppression, murder, and deceit. But it is history, gentlemen:
are you prepared to silence the voice of history? Are you disposed
to suppress the recital of facts--the story of the events of former
days? Is the historian, and the publisher of history, to be exposed to
indictment and punishment?

Let me read for you two passages from Doctor Leland’s “History of
Ireland.” I choose a remote period, to avoid shocking your prejudices
by the recital of the more modern crimes of the faction to which most
of you belong. Attend to this passage, gentlemen.

“Anno 1574.--A solemn peace and concord was made between the Earl
of Essex and Felim O’Nial. However, at a feast, wherein the Earl
entertained that chieftain, and at the end of their good cheer, O’Nial,
with his wife, were seized; their friends, who attended, were put
to the sword before their faces. Felim, together with his wife and
brother, were conveyed to Dublin, where they were _cut up in quarters_.”

How would you have this fact described? In what ladylike terms is
the future historian to mention this savage and brutal massacre? Yet
Essex was an English nobleman--a predecessor of his Grace; he was
accomplished, gallant, and gay; the envied paramour of the virgin
queen; and, if he afterwards fell on the scaffold, one of the race of
the ancient Irish may be permitted to indulge the fond superstition
that would avenge the royal blood of the O’Nial and of his consort on
their perfidious English murderer.

But my soul fills with bitterness, and I will read of no more Irish
murders. I turn, however, to another page, and I will introduce to
your notice another predecessor of his Grace the Duke of Richmond.
It is Grey, who, after the recall of Essex, commanded the English
forces in Munster. The fort of Smerwick, in Kerry, surrendered to
Grey at discretion. It contained some Irish troops, and more than 700
Spaniards. The historian shall tell you the rest:--

“That mercy for which they sued was rigidly denied them. Wingfield was
commissioned to disarm them, and when this service was performed, an
English company was sent into the fort.

“The Irish rebels found they were reserved for execution by martial law.

“The Italian general and some officers were made prisoners of war: but
the garrison _was butchered in cold blood_; nor is it without pain that
we find a service so horrid and detestable committed to Sir Walter
Raleigh.”

“The garrison was butchered in cold blood,” says the historian. Furnish
us, Mr. Attorney-General, with gentle accents and sweet words to speak
of this savage atrocity; or will you indict the author? Alas! he is
dead, full of years and respect--as faithful an historian as the
prejudices of his day would allow, and a beneficed clergyman of your
church.

Gentlemen of the jury, what is the mild language of this paper compared
with the indignant language of history? Raleigh--the ill-starred
Raleigh--fell a victim to a tyrant master, a corrupt or overawed jury,
and a virulent Attorney-General; he was baited at the bar with language
more scurrilous and more foul than that you heard yesterday poured upon
my client. Yet, what atonement to civilization could his death afford
for the horrors I have mentioned?

Decide, now, gentlemen, between those libels--between that defamer’s
history and my client. He calls those predecessors of his Grace,
murderers. History has left the living records of their crimes, from
the O’Nial, treacherously slaughtered, to the cruel, cold butchery of
the defenceless prisoners. Until I shall see the publishers of Leland
and of Hume brought to your bar, I defy you to convict my client.

To show you that my client has treated these predecessors of his Grace
with great lenity, I will introduce to your notice one, and only one,
more of them; and he, too, fell on the scaffold--the unfortunate
Strafford, the best servant a despotic king could desire.

Amongst the means taken to raise money in Ireland for James the First
and his son Charles, a proceeding called “a commission to inquire into
defective titles” was invented. It was a scheme, gentlemen, to inquire
of every man what right he had to his own property, and to have it
solemnly and legally determined that he had none. To effectuate this
scheme required great management, discretion, and integrity. First,
there were 4000 excellent horse raised for the purpose of being, as
Strafford himself said, “good lookers-on.” The rest of the arrangement
I would recommend to modern practice; it would save much trouble. I
will shortly abstract it from two of Strafford’s own letters.

The one appears to have been written by him to the Lord Treasurer;
it is dated the 3d December, 1634. He begins with an apology for not
having been more expeditious in this work of plunder, for his employers
were, it seems, impatient at the melancholy waste of time. He then
says:--

“Howbeit, I will redeem the time as much as I can, with such as may
give furtherance to the king’s title, _and will inquire out fit men to
serve upon the juries_.”

Take notice of that, gentlemen, I pray you; perhaps you thought that
the “packing of juries” was a modern invention--a new discovery. You
see how greatly mistaken you were; the thing has example and precedent
to support it, and the authority of both are, in our law, quite
conclusive.

The next step was to corrupt--oh, no, to interest the wise and learned
judges. But commentary becomes unnecessary when I read for you this
passage from a letter of his to the King, dated the 9th of December,
1636:--

“Your Majesty was graciously pleased, upon my humble advice, to bestow
four shillings in the pound upon your Lord Chief Justice and Lord Chief
Baron in this kingdom, fourth of the first yearly rent raised upon the
commission of defective title, which, _upon observation, I find to be
the best given that ever was_. For now they do intend it, with a care
and diligence, such as if it were their own private, and most certain
gaining to themselves; every four shillings once paid, shall better
your revenue forever after, at least five pounds.”

Thus, gentlemen of the jury, all was ready for the mockery of law and
justice, called a trial.

Now, let me take any one of you; let me place him here, where Mr. Magee
stands; let him have his property at stake; let it be of less value,
I pray you, than a compensation for two years’ imprisonment; it will,
however, be of sufficient value to interest and rouse all your agony
and anxiety. If you were so placed here, you would see before you the
well-paid Attorney-General, perhaps, malignantly delighted to pour his
rancor upon you; on the bench would sit the corrupt and partisan judge,
and before you, on that seat which you now occupy, would be placed the
packed and predetermined jury.

I beg, sir, to know what would be your feelings, your honor, your rage;
would you not compare the Attorney-General to the gambler who played
with a loaded die? and then you would hear him talk, in solemn and
monotonous tones, of his conscience! Oh, his conscience, gentlemen of
the jury!

But the times are altered. The Press, the Press, gentlemen, has
effectuated a salutary revolution; a commission of defective titles
would no longer be tolerated; the judges can no longer be bribed with
money, and juries can no longer be----I must not say it. Yes, they can,
you know--we all know they can be still _inquired out_, and “packed,”
as the technical phrase is. But _you_, who are not packed, _you_,
who have been _fairly_ selected, will see that the language of the
publication before us is mildness itself, compared with that which the
truth of history requires--compared with that which history has already
used.

I proceed with this alleged libel.

The next sentence is this:--

“The profligate, unprincipled Westmoreland”--I throw down the paper
and address myself in particular to some of you. There are, I see,
amongst you some of our Bible distributors, “and of our suppressors
of vice.” Distributors of Bibles, suppressors of vice--what call you
profligacy? What is it you would call profligacy? Suppose the peerage
was exposed to sale--set up at open auction--it was at that time a
judicial office--suppose that its price, the exact price of this
judicial office, was accurately ascertained by daily experience--would
you call that profligacy? If pensions were multiplied beyond bounds and
beyond example--if places were augmented until invention was exhausted,
and then were subdivided and split into halves, so that two might take
the emoluments of each, and no person do the duty--if these acts were
resorted to in order to corrupt your representatives--would you,
gentle suppressors of vice, call that profligacy?

If the father of children selected in the open day his adulterous
paramour--if the wedded mother of children displayed her crime
unblushingly--if the assent of the titled or untitled wittol to his
own shame was purchased with the people’s money--if this scene--if
these were enacted in the open day, would you call that profligacy,
sweet distributors of Bibles? The women of Ireland have always been
beauteous to a proverb; they were, without an exception, chaste beyond
the terseness of a proverb to express; they are still as chaste as in
former days, but the depraved example of a depraved court has furnished
some exceptions, and the action of criminal conversation, before the
time of Westmoreland unknown, has since become more familiar to our
courts of justice.

Call you the sad example which produced those exceptions--call you
_that_ profligacy, suppressors of vice and Bible distributors? The
vices of the poor are within the reach of control; to suppress them,
you can call in aid the churchwarden and the constable; the justice of
the peace will readily aid you, for he is a gentleman--the Court of
Sessions will punish those vices for you by fine, by imprisonment,
and, if you are urgent, by whipping. But, suppressors of vice, who
shall aid you to suppress the vices of the great? Are you sincere,
or are you, to use your own phraseology, whitewashed tombs--painted
charnel-houses? Be ye hypocrites? If you are not--if you be sincere,
(and, oh, how I wish that you were)--if you be sincere, I will steadily
require to know of you, what aid you expect, to suppress the vices of
the rich and great? Who will assist you to suppress those vices? The
churchwarden!!--why he, I believe, handed _them_ into the best pew in
one of your cathedrals, that they might lovingly hear Divine service
together. The constable!! Absurd. The justice of the peace!!--no,
upon his honor. As to the Court of Sessions, you cannot expect it to
interfere; and my lords the judges are really so busy at the assizes,
in hurrying the grand juries through the presentments, that there is no
leisure to look after the scandalous faults of the great. Who, then,
sincere and candid suppressors of vice, can aid you?--_The Press_; the
Press alone talks of the profligacy of the great; and, at least, shames
into decency those whom it may fail to correct. The Press is your, but
your only assistant. Go, then, men of conscience, men of religion--go,
then, and convict John Magee, because he published that Westmoreland
was profligate and unprincipled as a Lord Lieutenant--do, convict, and
then return to your distribution of Bibles and to your attacks upon the
recreations of the poor, under the name of vices!

Do, convict the only aid which virtue has, and distribute your Bibles
that you may have the name of being religious; upon your sincerity
depends my client’s prospect of a verdict. _Does_ he lean upon a broken
reed?

I pass on from the sanctified portion of the jury which I have latterly
addressed, and I call the attention of you all to the next member of
the sentence:--

“The cold-hearted and cruel Camden.”

Here I have your prejudices all armed against me. In the administration
of Camden, your faction was cherished and triumphant. Will you prevent
him to be called cold and cruel? Alas! to-day, why have I not men to
address who would listen to me for the sake of impartial justice! But
even with _you_ the case is too powerful to allow me to despair.

Well, _I do_ say, the cold and cruel Camden. Why, on _one circuit_,
during his administration, there were _one hundred individuals tried
before one judge; of these ninety-eight were capitally convicted,
and ninety-seven hanged_! I understand _one_ escaped; but he was a
_soldier_ who murdered a _peasant_, or something of that _trivial_
nature--_ninety-seven_ victims in one circuit!!!

In the meantime, it was necessary, for the purposes of the Union,
that the flame of rebellion should be fed. The meetings of the rebel
colonels in the north were, for a length of time, regularly reported
to government; but the rebellion was not then ripe enough; and whilst
the fruit was coming to maturity, under the fostering hand of the
administration, the wretched dupes atoned on the gallows for allowing
themselves to be deceived.

In the meantime the soldiery were turned in at free quarters amongst
the wives and daughters of the peasantry!!!

Have you heard of Abercrombie, the valiant and the good--he
who, mortally wounded, neglected his wound until victory was
ascertained--he who allowed his life’s stream to flow unnoticed because
his country’s battle was in suspense--he who died the martyr of
victory--he who commenced the career of glory on the land, and taught
French insolence, than which there is nothing so permanent--even
transplanted, it exhibits itself to the third and fourth generation--he
taught French insolence, that the British and Irish soldier was as
much his superior by land, as the sailor was confessedly by sea--he,
in short, who commenced that career which has since placed the Irish
Wellington on the highest pinnacle of glory? Abercrombie and Moore
were in Ireland under Camden. Moore, too, has since fallen at the
moment of triumph--Moore, the best of sons, of brothers, of friends,
of men--the soldier and the scholar--the soul of reason and the heart
of pity--Moore has, in documents of which you may plead ignorance,
left his opinions upon record with respect to the cruelty of Camden’s
administration. But you all have heard of Abercrombie’s proclamation,
for it amounted to that; he proclaimed that cruelty in terms the
most unequivocal; he stated to the soldiery and to the nation, that
the conduct of the Camden administration had rendered “the soldiery
formidable to all but the enemy.”

Was there no cruelty in thus degrading the British soldier? And say,
was not the process by which that degradation was effectuated cruelty?
Do, then, contradict Abercrombie, upon your oaths, if you dare; but,
by doing so, it is not my client alone you will convict--you will also
convict yourselves of the foul crime of perjury.

I now come to the third branch of this sentence; and here I have
an easy task. All, gentlemen, that is said of the artificer and
superintendent of the Union is this--“the artful and treacherous
Cornwallis.” Is it necessary to prove that the Union was effectuated
by artifice and treachery? For my part, it makes my blood boil when
I think of the unhappy period which was contrived and seized on to
carry it into effect; one year sooner, and it would have been a
revolution--one year later, and it would have been forever impossible
to carry it. The moment was artfully and treacherously seized on, and
_our_ country, that _was_ a nation for countless ages, has dwindled
into a province, and her name and her glory are extinct forever.

I should not waste a moment upon this part of the case, but that the
gentlemen at the other side who opposed that measure have furnished
me with some topics which I may not, cannot, omit. Indeed, Mr. Magee
deserves no verdict from any Irish jury who can hesitate to think that
the contriver of the Union is treated with too much lenity in this
sentence; he fears your disapprobation for speaking with so little
animosity of the artificer of the Union.

There was one piece of treachery committed at that period, at which
both you and I equally rejoice; it was the breach of faith towards the
leading Catholics; the written promises made them at that period have
been since printed; I rejoice with you that they were not fulfilled;
when the Catholic trafficked for his own advantage upon his country’s
miseries, he deserved to be deceived. For this mockery, I thank the
Cornwallis administration. _I rejoice, also, that my first introduction
to the stage of public life, was in the opposition to that measure._

In humble and obscure distance, I followed the footsteps of my present
adversaries. What their sentiments were then of the authors of the
Union, I beg to read to you; I will read them from a newspaper set up
for the mere purpose of opposing the Union, and conducted under the
control of these gentlemen.[5]

       *       *       *       *       *

Having followed the prosecutor through this weary digression, I return
to the next sentence of this publication. Yet I cannot--I must detain
you still a little longer from it, whilst I supplicate your honest
indignation, if in your resentments there be aught of honesty, against
the mode in which the Attorney-General has introduced the name of our
aged and afflicted sovereign. He says this is a libel on the King,
because it imputes to him a selection of improper and criminal chief
governors. Gentlemen, this is the very acme of servile doctrine. It is
the most unconstitutional doctrine that could be uttered: it supposes
that the sovereign is responsible for the acts of his servants, whilst
the constitution declares that the King can do no wrong, and that even
for his personal acts, his servants shall be personally responsible.
Thus, the Attorney-General reverses for you the constitution in theory;
and, in point of fact, where can be found, in this publication, any,
even the slightest allusion to his Majesty? The theory is against
the Attorney-General, and yet, contrary to the fact, and against the
theory, he seeks to enlist another prejudice of yours against Mr. Magee.

Prejudice did I call it? Oh, no! it is no prejudice; that sentiment
which combines respect with affection for my aged sovereign, suffering
under a calamity with which heaven has willed to visit him, but which
is not due to any default of his. There never was a sentiment that I
should wish to see more cherished--more honored. To you the King may
appear an object of respect; to his Catholic subjects he is one of
veneration; to them he has been a bountiful benefactor. To the utter
disregard of your aldermen of Skinner’s-alley, and the more pompous
magnates of William-street, his Majesty procured, at his earnest
solicitation from Parliament, the restoration of much of our liberties.
He disregarded your anti-Popery petitions. He treated with calm
indifference the ebullitions of your bigotry; and I owe to him that I
have the honor of standing in the proud situation from which I am able,
if not to protect my client, at least to pour the indignant torrent of
my discourse against his enemies, and those of his country.

The publication to which I now recall you, goes to describe the
effects of the facts which I have shown you to have been drawn from
the undisputed and authentic history of former times. I have, I hope,
convinced you that neither Leland nor Hume could have been indicted
for stating those facts, and it would be a very strange perversion of
principle, which would allow you to convict Mr. Magee for that which
has been stated by other writers, not only without punishment, but with
applause.

That part of the paragraph which relates to the present day is in these
words:--

“Since that period the complexion of the times has changed--the country
has advanced--it has outgrown submission, _and some forms, at least,
must now be observed towards the people_.

“The system, however, is still the same; it is the old play with
new decorations, presented in an age somewhat more enlightened; the
principle of government remains unaltered--a principle of exclusion
which debars the majority of the people from the enjoyment of those
privileges that are possessed by the minority, and which must,
therefore, maintain itself by all those measures necessary for a
government founded on injustice.”

The prosecutor insists that this is the most libellous part of the
entire publication. I am glad he does so; because if there be amongst
you a single particle of discrimination, you cannot fail to perceive
that this is not a libel--that this paragraph cannot constitute any
crime. It states that the present is a system of exclusion. Surely,
it is no crime to say so; it is what you all say. It is what the
Attorney-General himself gloried in. This is, said he, exclusively a
Protestant government. Mr. Magee and he are agreed. Mr. Magee adds
that a principle of exclusion on account of religion, is founded on
injustice. Gentlemen, if a Protestant were to be excluded from any
temporal advantages upon the score of his religion, would not you
say that the principle upon which he was excluded was unjust? That
is precisely what Mr. Magee says; for the principle which excludes
the Catholic in Ireland, would exclude the Protestant in Spain and in
Portugal, and then you clearly admit its justice. So that, really, you
would condemn yourselves, and your own opinions, and the right to be a
Protestant in Spain and Portugal, if you condemn this sentiment.

But I would have you further observe that this is no more than the
discussion of an abstract principle of government; it arraigns not
the conduct of any individual, or of any administration; it only
discusses and decides upon the moral fitness of a certain theory, on
which the management of the affairs of Ireland has been conducted. If
this be a crime, we are all criminals; for this question, whether
it be just or not to exclude from power and office a class of the
people for religion, is the subject of daily--of hourly discussion.
The Attorney-General says it is quite just; I proclaim it to be
unjust--obviously unjust. At all public meetings, in all private
companies, this point is decided different ways, according to the
temper and the interest of individuals. Indeed, it is but too much the
topic of every man’s discourse; and the gaols and the barracks of the
country would not contain the hundredth part of those with whom the
Attorney-General would have to crowd them if it be penal to call the
principle of exclusion unjust. In this court, without the least danger
of interruption or reproof, I proclaim the injustice of that principle.

I will then ask whether it be lawful to print that which it is not
unlawful to proclaim in the face of a court of justice? And above
all, I will ask whether it can be criminal to discuss the abstract
principles of government? Is the theory of the law a prohibited
subject? I had understood that there was no right so clear and
undoubted as that of discussing abstract and theoretic principles,
and their applicability to practicable purposes. For the first time
do I hear this disputed; and now see what it is the Attorney-General
prohibits. He insists upon punishing Mr. Magee; first, because he
accuses his administration of “errors”; secondly, because he charges
them with not being distinguished for “talents”; thirdly, because he
cannot discover their “striking features”; and fourthly, because he
discusses an “abstract principle”!

This is quite intelligible--this is quite tangible. I begin to
understand what the Attorney-General means by the liberty of the
Press; it means a prohibition of printing anything except praise
respecting “_the errors, the talents, or the striking features_” of
any administration, and of discussing any _abstract principle of
government_. Thus the forbidden subjects are errors, talents, striking
features, and principles. Neither the theory of the government nor
its practices are to be discussed; you may, indeed, praise them; you
may call the Attorney-General “the best and wisest of men”; you may
call his lordship the most learned and impartial of all possible chief
justices; you may, if you have powers of visage sufficient, call the
Lord Lieutenant the best of all imaginable governors. That, gentlemen,
is the boasted liberty of the Press--the liberty that exists in
Constantinople--the liberty of applying the most fulsome and unfounded
flattery, but not one word of censure or reproof.

Here is an idol worthy of the veneration of the Attorney-General.
Yes; he talked of his veneration for the liberty of the Press; he
also talked of its being a protection to the people against the
government. Protection! Not against errors--not against the want of
talents or striking features--nor against the effort of any unjust
principle--protection! Against what is it to protect? Did he not
mock you? Did he not plainly and palpably delude you, when he talked
of the protection of the Press? Yes. To his inconsistencies and
contradictions he calls on you to sacrifice your consciences; and
because you are no-Popery men, and distributors of Bibles, and aldermen
of Skinner’s-alley, and Protestant petitioners, he requires of you to
brand your souls with perjury. You cannot escape it; it is, it must
be perjury to find a verdict for a man who gravely admits that the
liberty of the Press is recognized by law, and that it is a venerable
object, and yet calls for your verdict upon the ground that there is no
such thing in existence as that which he has admitted, that the law
recognizes, and that he himself venerates.

Clinging to the fond but faint hope that you are not capable of
sanctioning, by your oaths, so monstrous an inconsistency, I lead you
to the next sentence upon this record:

“Although his Grace does not appear to know what are the qualities
necessary for a judge in Canada, or for an aide-de-camp in waiting at
a court, he surely cannot be ignorant what are requisites for a Lord
Lieutenant.”

This appears to be a very innocent sentence; yet the Attorney-General,
the venerator of that protection of the people against a bad
government--the liberty of the Press--tells you that it is a gross
libel to impute so much ignorance to his Grace. As to the aide-de-camp,
gentlemen, whether he be selected for the brilliancy of his spurs, the
polish of his boots, or the precise angle of his cocked hat, are grave
considerations which I refer to you. Decide upon these atrocities, I
pray you. But as to the judge in Canada, it cannot be any reproach to
his Grace to be ignorant of his qualifications. The old French law
prevails in Canada, and there is not a lawyer at the Irish Bar, except,
perhaps, the Attorney-General, who is sufficiently acquainted with
that law to know how far any man may be fit for the station of judge in
Canada.

If this be an ignorance without reproach in Irish lawyers, and if
there be any reproach in it, I feel it not, whilst I avow that
ignorance--yet, surely it is absurd to torture it into a calumny
against the Lord Lieutenant--a military man, and no lawyer. I doubt
whether it would be a libel if my client had said _that his Grace was
ignorant of the qualities necessary for a judge_ in Ireland--for a
_chief judge_, my lord. He has not said so, however, gentlemen, and
true or false, that is not now the question under consideration. We are
in Canada at present, gentlemen, in a ludicrous search for a libel in
a sentence of no great point or meaning. If you are sapient enough to
suspect that it contains a libel, your doubt can only arise from not
comprehending it; and that, I own, is a doubt difficult to remove. But
I mock you when I talk of this insignificant sentence.

I shall read the next paragraph at full length. It is connected with
the Canadian sentence:--

“Therefore, were an appeal to be made to him in a dispassionate and
sober moment, we might candidly confess that the Irish would not be
disappointed in their hopes of a successor, though they would behold
the same smiles, experience the same sincerity, and witness the same
disposition towards conciliation.

“What though they were deceived in 1795, and found the mildness of a
Fitzwilliam a false omen of concord; though they were duped in 1800,
and found that the privileges of the Catholics did not follow the
extinction of the parliament! Yet, at his departure, he will, no doubt,
state good grounds for future expectation; that his administration was
not the time for Emancipation, but that the season is fast approaching;
that there were ‘existing circumstances,’ but that now the people may
rely upon the virtues even of an hereditary Prince; that they should
continue to worship the false idol; that their cries, must, at least,
be heard; and that, if he has not complied, it is only because he has
not spoken. In short, his Grace will in no way vary from the uniform
conduct observed by most of his predecessors, first preaching to the
confidence of the people, then playing upon their credulity.

“He came over ignorant--he soon became prejudiced, and then he became
intemperate. He takes from the people their money; he eats of their
bread, and drinks of their wine; in return, he gives them a bad
government, and, at his departure, leaves them more distracted than
ever. His Grace commenced his reign by flattery, he continued it in
folly, he accompanied it with violence, and he will conclude it with
falsehood.”

There is one part of this sentence for which I most respectfully
solicit your indulgence and pardon. Be not exasperated with us for
talking of the mildness of Lord Fitzwilliam, or of his administration.
But, notwithstanding the violence any praise of him has excited amongst
you, come dispassionately, I pray you, to the consideration of the
paragraph. Let us abstract the meaning of it from the superfluous
words. It certainly does tell you that his Grace came over ignorant of
Irish affairs, and he acquired prejudices upon those subjects, and he
has become intemperate. Let us discuss this part separately from the
other matter suggested by the paragraph in question. That the Duke of
Richmond came over to Ireland ignorant of the details of our domestic
policy cannot be matter either of surprise or of any reproach. A
military man engaged in those pursuits which otherwise occupy persons
of his rank, altogether unconnected with Ireland, he could not have
had any inducement to make himself acquainted with the details of our
barbarous wrongs, of our senseless party quarrels, and criminal feuds;
he was not stimulated to examine them by any interest, nor could any
man be attracted to study them by taste. It is, therefore, no censure
to talk of his ignorance--of that with which it would be absurd to
expect that he should be acquainted; and the knowledge of which would
neither have served, nor exalted, nor amused him.

Then, gentlemen, it is said he became “prejudiced.” Prejudiced may
sound harsh in your ears; but you are not, at least you ought not, to
decide upon _the sound_--it is _the sense_ of the word that should
determine you. Now what is the sense of the word “prejudice” here? It
means the having adopted precisely the opinions which every one of
you entertain. By “prejudice” the writer means, and can mean, nothing
but such sentiments as _you cherish_. When he talks of prejudice, he
intends to convey the idea that the Duke took up the opinion that the
few ought to govern the many in Ireland; that there ought to be a
favored, and an excluded class in Ireland; that the burdens of the
state ought to be shared equally, but its benefits conferred on a few.
Such are the ideas conveyed by the word prejudice; and I fearlessly ask
you, is it a crime to impute to his Grace these notions which _you_
yourselves entertain? Is he calumniated--is he libelled, when he is
charged with concurring with you, gentlemen of the jury? Will you, by
a verdict of conviction, stamp your own political sentiments with the
seal of reprobation? If you convict my client, you do this; you decide
that it is a libel to charge any man with those doctrines which are
so useful to you individually, and of which you boast; or, you think
the opinions just, and yet that it is criminal to charge a man with
those just opinions. For the sake, therefore, of consistency, and as an
approval of your own opinions, I call on you for a verdict of acquittal.

I need not detain you long on the expression “intemperate”; it does not
mean any charge of excess of indulgence in any enjoyment; it is not,
as the Attorney-General suggested, an accusation of indulging beyond
due bounds in the pleasures of the table, or of the bottle; it does not
allude, as the Attorney-General says, to midnight orgies, or to morning
revels. I admit--I freely admit--that an allusion of that kind would
savor of libel, as it would certainly be unnecessary for any purpose
of political discussion. But the intemperance here spoken of is mere
political intemperance; it is that violence which every man of a fervid
disposition feels in support of his political opinions. Nay, the more
pure and honest any man may be in the adoption of his opinions, the
more likely, and the more justifiable will he be in that ardent support
of them which goes by the name of intemperance.

In short, although political intemperance cannot be deemed by cold
calculators as a virtue, yet it has its source in the purest virtues
of the human heart, and it frequently produces the greatest advantages
to the public. How would it be possible to overcome the many obstacles
which self-interest, and ignorance, and passion throw in the way of
improvement, without some of that ardor of temper and disposition which
grave men call intemperance? And, gentlemen, are not your opinions
as deserving of warm support as the opinions of other men; or do you
feel any inherent depravity in the political sentiments which the Duke
of Richmond has adopted from you, that would render him depraved or
degraded by any violence in their support? You have no alternative. If
you convict my client, you condemn, upon your oaths, your own political
creed; and declare it to be a libel to charge any man with energy in
your cause.

If you are not disposed to go this length of political inconsistency,
and if you have determined to avoid the religious inconsistency of
perjuring yourselves for the good and glory of the Protestant religion,
do, I pray you, examine the rest of this paragraph, and see whether
you can, by any ingenuity, detect that nondescript, a libel, in it.
It states in substance this: that this administration, treading in
the steps of former administrations, preached to the confidence of
the people, and played on their credulity; and that it will end, as
those administrations have done, in some flattering prophecy, paying
present disappointment with the coinage of delusive hope. That this
administration commenced, as usual, with preaching to the confidence of
the people, was neither criminal in the fact, nor can it be unpleasant
in the recital.

It is the immemorial usage of all administrations and of all stations,
to commence with those civil professions of future excellence
of conduct which are called, and not unaptly, “_preaching to the
confidence of the people_.” The very actors are generally sincere
at this stage of the political farce; and it is not insinuated that
this administration was not as candid on this subject as the best of
its predecessors. The _playing on the credulity of the people_ is
the ordinary state trick. You recollect how angry many of you were
with his Grace for his Munster tour, shortly after his arrival here.
You recollect how he checked the Mayor of Cork for proposing the new
favorite Orange toast; what liberality he displayed to Popish traders
and bankers in Limerick; and how he returned to the capital, leaving
behind him the impression that the no-Popery men had been mistaken in
their choice, and that the Duke of Richmond was the enemy of every
bigotry--the friend to every liberality! Was he sincere, gentlemen
of the jury, or was this one of those innocent devices which are
called--playing on the people’s credulity? Was he sincere? Ask his
subsequent conduct. Have there been since that time any other or
different toasts cheered in his presence? Has the name of Ireland and
of Irishmen been profaned by becoming the sport of the warmth excited
by the accompaniment to these toasts? Some individuals of you could
inform me. I see another dignitary of your corporation here [said Mr.
O’Connell, turning round pointedly to the Lord Mayor]--I see a civic
dignitary here, who could tell of the toasts of these days or nights,
and would not be at a loss to apply the right name--if he were not too
prudent as well as too polite to do so--to that innocent affectation
of liberality which distinguished his Grace’s visit to the south of
Ireland. It was, indeed, a play upon our credulity, but it can be
no libel to speak of it as such; for see the situation in which you
would place his Grace; you know he affected conciliation and perfect
neutrality between our parties at first; you know he has since taken a
marked and decided part with you.

Surely you are not disposed to call this a crime, as it were, to
convict his Grace of duplicity, and of a vile hypocrisy. No, gentlemen,
I entreat of you not to calumniate the Duke; call this conduct a
mere play on the credulity of a people easily deceived--innocent in
its intention, and equally void of guilt in its description. Do not
attach to those words a meaning which would prove that you yourselves
condemned, not so much the writer of them, as the man who gave color
and countenance to this assertion. Besides, gentlemen, what is your
liberty of the Press worth, if it be worthy of a dungeon to assert that
the public credulity has been played upon? The liberty of the Press
would be less than a dream, a shadow, if every such phrase be a libel.

But the Attorney-General triumphantly tells you that there must be a
libel in this paragraph, because it ends with a charge of falsehood.
May I ask you to take the entire paragraph together? Common sense and
your duty require you to do so. You will then perceive that this charge
of falsehood is no more than an opinion that the administration of
the Duke of Richmond will terminate precisely as that of many of his
predecessors has done, by an excuse for the past--a flattering and
fallacious promise for the future. Why, you must all of you have seen,
a short time since, an account of a public dinner in London, given by
persons styling themselves “Friends to Religious Liberty.” At that
dinner, at which two of the Royal Dukes attended, there were, I think,
no less than four or five noblemen who had filled the office of Lord
Lieutenant of Ireland. Gentlemen, at this dinner, they were ardent
in their professions of kindness towards the Catholics of Ireland, in
their declarations of the obvious policy and justice of conciliation
and concession, and they bore ample testimony to our sufferings and
our merits. But I appeal from their present declarations to their past
conduct; they are now full of liberality and justice to us; yet I speak
only the truth of history when I say that, during their government of
this country, no practical benefits resulted from all this wisdom and
kindness of sentiment; with the single exception of Lord Fitzwilliam,
not one of them even attempted to do any good to the Catholics, or to
Ireland.

What did the Duke of Bedford do for us? _Just nothing._ Some civility,
indeed, in words--some playing on public credulity--but in act and
deed, nothing at all. What did Lord Hardwicke do for us? Oh, nothing,
or rather less than nothing; his administration here was, in that
respect, a kind of negative quality; it was cold, harsh, and forbidding
to the Catholics; lenient, mild, and encouraging to the Orange faction;
the public mind lay in the first torpor caused by the mighty fall of
the Union, and whilst we lay entranced in the oblivious pool, Lord
Hardwicke’s administration proceeded without a trace of that justice
and liberality which it appears he must have thought unbefitting
the season of his government, and which, if he then entertained, he
certainly concealed; he ended, however, with giving us flattering hopes
for the future. The Duke of Bedford was more explicit; he promised in
direct terms, and drew upon the future exertions of an _hereditary
Prince_, to compensate us for present disappointment. And will any
man assert that the Duke of Richmond is libelled by a comparison with
Lord Hardwicke; that he is traduced when he is compared with the Duke
of Bedford? If the words actually were these, “the Duke of Richmond
will terminate his administration exactly as Lord Hardwicke and the
Duke of Bedford terminated their administrations”; if those were the
words, none of you could possibly vote for a conviction, and yet the
meaning is precisely the same. No more is expressed by the language
of my client; and, if the meaning be thus clearly innocent, it would
be strange, indeed, to call on you for a verdict of conviction upon
no more solid ground than this, that whilst the signification was the
same, the words were different. And thus, again, does the prosecutor
require of you to separate the sense from the sound, and to convict for
the sound, against the sense of the passage.

In plain truth, gentlemen, if there be a harshness in the sound, there
is none in the words. The writer describes, and means to describe,
the ordinary termination of every administration repaying in promise
the defaults of performance. And, when he speaks of falsehood, he
prophesies merely as to the probable or at least possible conclusion of
the present government. He does not impute to any precedent assertion,
falsehood; but he does predict, that the concluding promise of this,
as of other administrations, depending as those promises always do
upon other persons for performance, will remain as former promises
have remained--unfulfilled and unperformed. And is this prophecy--this
prediction a crime? Is it a libel to prophesy? See what topics this
sage venerator of the liberty of the Press, the Attorney-General, would
fain prohibit. First, he tells you that the crimes of the predecessors
of the Duke must not be mentioned--and thus he forbids the history of
past events. Secondly, he informs you that no allusion is to be made
to the errors, follies, or even the striking features of the present
governors--and thus he forbids the detail of the occurrences of the
present day. And, thirdly, he declares that no conjecture shall be
made upon what is likely to occur hereafter--and thus he forbids all
attempts to anticipate future acts.

It comes simply to this: he talks of venerating the liberties of the
Press, and yet he restrains that Press from discussing past history,
present story, and future probabilities; he prohibits the past, the
present, and the future; ancient records, modern truth, and prophecy,
are all within the capacious range of his punishments. Is there
anything else? Would this venerator of the liberty of the Press go
farther? Yes, gentlemen; having forbidden all matter of history past
and present, and all prediction of the future, he generously throws in
_abstract principles_, and, as he has told you that his prisons shall
contain every person who speaks of what was, or what is, or what will
be, he likewise consigned to the same fate every person who treats of
the theory or principles of government; and yet he dares to talk of the
liberty of the Press! Can you be his dupes? Will you be his victims?
Where is the conscience--where is the indignant spirit of insulted
reason amongst you? Has party feeling extinguished in your breasts
every glow of virtue--every spark of manhood?

If there be any warmth about you--if you are not clay-cold to all but
party feeling, I would, with the air and in the tone of triumph, call
you to the consideration of the remaining paragraph which has been
spread on the lengthened indictment before you. I divide it into two
branches, and shall do no more with the one than to repeat it. I read
it for you already; I must read it again:

“Had he remained what he first came over, or what he afterwards
professed to be, he would have retained his reputation for _honest,
open hostility_, defending his political principles with firmness,
perhaps with warmth, but without rancor; the supporter, and not the
tool of an administration; a mistaken politician, perhaps, but an
honorable man and a respectable soldier.”

Would to God I had to address another jury! Would to God I had reason
and judgment to address, and I could entertain no apprehension from
passion or prejudice! Here should I then take my stand, and require of
that unprejudiced jury, whether this sentence does not demonstrate the
complete absence of private malice or personal hostility. Does not this
sentence prove a kindly disposition towards the individual, mixing and
mingling with that discussion which freedom sanctions and requires,
respecting his political conduct? Contrast this sentence with the
prosecutor’s accusation of private malignity, and decide between Mr.
Magee and his calumniators. He, at least, has this advantage, that your
verdict cannot alter the nature of things; and that the public must see
and feel this truth, that the present prosecution is directed against
the discussion of the conduct towards the public, of men confided with
public authority; that this is a direct attack upon the right to call
the attention of the people to the management of the people’s affairs,
and that, by your verdict of conviction, it is intended to leave no
peaceful or unawed mode of redress for the wrongs and sufferings of the
people.

But I will not detain you on these obvious topics. We draw to a close,
and I hurry to it. This sentence is said to be particularly libellous:

“His party would have been proud of him; his friends would have
praised (they need not have flattered him), and his enemies, though
they might have regretted, must have respected his conduct; from the
worst quarter there would have been some small tribute of praise; from
none any great portion of censure; and his administration, though not
popular, would have been conducted with dignity, and without offence.
This line of conduct he has taken care to avoid; his original character
for moderation he has forfeited; he can lay no claims to any merits for
neutrality, nor does he even deserve the cheerless credit of defensive
operations. He has begun to act; he has ceased to be a dispassionate
chief governor, who views the wickedness and the folly of faction with
composure and forbearance, and stands, the representative of majesty,
aloof from the contest. He descends; he mixes with the throng; he
becomes personally engaged, and having lost his temper, calls forth his
private passions to support his public principles; he is no longer an
indifferent viceroy, but a frightful partisan of an English ministry,
whose base passions he indulges--whose unworthy resentments he
gratifies, and on whose behalf he at present canvasses.”

Well, gentlemen, and did he not canvass on behalf of the ministry?
Was there a titled or untitled servant of the Castle who was not
despatched to the south to vote against the popular, and for the
ministerial candidates? Was there a single individual within the
reach of his Grace that did not vote against Prittie and Matthew, in
Tipperary, and against Hutchinson, in Cork? I have brought with me some
of the newspapers of the day, in which this partisanship in the Lord
Lieutenant is treated by Mr. Hutchinson in language so strong and so
pointed, that the words of this publication are mildness and softness
itself when compared with that language. I shall not read them for you,
because I should fear that you may imagine I unnecessarily identified
my client with the violent but the merited reprobation poured upon the
scandalous interference of our government with those elections.

I need not, I am sure, tell you that any interference by the Lord
Lieutenant with the purity of the election of members to serve in
Parliament, is highly unconstitutional, and highly criminal; he is
doubly bound to the most strict neutrality; first, as a peer, the law
prohibits his interference; secondly, as representative of the crown,
his interference in elections is an usurpation of the people’s rights;
it is, in substance and effect, high treason against the people, and
its mischiefs are not the less by reason of there being no punishment
affixed by the law to this treason.

If this offence, gentlemen, be of daily occurrence--if it be frequently
committed, it is upon that account only the more destructive to our
liberties, and, therefore, requires the more loud, direct, and frequent
condemnation: indeed, if such practices be permitted to prevail, there
is an end of every remnant of freedom; our boasted constitution becomes
a mockery and an object of ridicule, and we ought to desire the manly
simplicity of unmixed despotism. Will the Attorney-General--will his
colleague, the Solicitor-General, deny that I have described this
offence in its true colors? Will they attempt to deny the interference
of the Duke of Richmond in the late elections? I would almost venture
to put your verdict upon this, and to consent to a conviction, if any
person shall be found so stocked with audacity, as to presume publicly
to deny the interference of his Grace in the late elections, and his
partisanship in favor of the ministerial candidates. Gentlemen, if
that be denied, what will you, what can you think of the veracity of
the man who denies it? I fearlessly refer the fact to you; on that
fact I build. This interference is as notorious as the sun at noonday;
and who shall venture to deny that such interference is described by
a soft term when it is called partisanship? He who uses the influence
of the executive to control the choice of the representatives of the
people, violates the first principles of the constitution, is guilty of
political sacrilege, and profanes the very sanctuary of the people’s
rights and liberties; and if he should not be called a partisan, it is
only because some harsher and more appropriate term ought to be applied
to his delinquency.

I will recall to your minds an instance of violation of the
constitution, which will illustrate the situation of my client, and
the protection which, for your own sakes, you owe him. When, in 1687,
King James removed several Protestant rectors in Ireland from their
churches, against law and justice, and illegally and unconstitutionally
placed Roman Catholic clergymen in their stead, would any of you be
content that he should be simply called a partisan? No, gentlemen; my
client and I--Catholic and Protestant though we be--agree perfectly
in this, that partisan would have been too mild a name for him, and
that he should have been branded as a violator of law, as an enemy to
the constitution, and as a crafty tyrant who sought to gratify the
prejudices of one part of his subjects, that he might trample upon the
liberties of all. And what, I would fain learn, could you think of the
Attorney-General who prosecuted, or of the judge who condemned, or
of the jury who convicted a printer for publishing to the world this
tyranny--this gross violation of law and justice? But how would your
indignation be roused, if James had been only called a partisan, and
for calling him a partisan a Popish jury had been packed, a Popish
judge had been selected, and that the printer, who, you will admit,
deserved applause and reward, met condemnation and punishment!

Of _you_--of _you_, shall _this story be told_, if you convict Mr.
Magee. The Duke has interfered in elections; he has violated the
liberties of the subject; he has profaned the very temple of the
constitution; and he who has said that in so doing he was a partisan,
from your hands expects punishment.

Compare the kindred offences: James deprived the Protestant rectors of
their livings; he did not persecute, nor did he interfere with their
religion; for tithes, and oblations, and glebes, and church lands,
though solid appendages to any church, are no part of the Protestant
religion. The Protestant religion would, I presume--and for the honor
of human nature I sincerely hope--continue its influence over the human
mind without the aid of those extrinsic advantages. Its pastors would,
I trust and believe, have remained true to their charge, without the
adventitious benefits of temporal rewards; and, like the Roman Catholic
Church, it might have shone forth a glorious example of firmness in
religion, setting persecution at defiance. James did not attack the
Protestant religion; I repeat it; he only attacked the revenues of
the Protestant Church; he violated the law and the constitution, in
depriving men of that property, by his individual authority, to which
they had precisely the same right with that by which he wore his crown.
But is not the controlling the election of members of Parliament a
more dangerous violation of the constitution? Does it not corrupt the
very sources of legislation, and convert the guardians of the state
into its plunderers? The one was a direct and undisguised crime,
capable of being redressed in the ordinary course of the law, and
producing resistance by its open and plain violation of right and of
law; the other disguises itself in so many shapes, is patronized by so
many high examples, and is followed by such perfect security, that it
becomes the first duty of every man who possesses any reverence for the
constitution, or any attachment to liberty, to lend all his efforts to
detect, and, if possible, to punish it.

To any man who loved the constitution or freedom, I could safely appeal
for my client’s vindication; or if any displeasure could be excited
in the mind of such a man, it would arise because of the forbearance
and lenity of this publication. But the Duke is called a frightful
partisan. Granted, gentlemen, granted. And is not the interference I
have mentioned frightful? Is it not terrific? Who can contemplate it
without shuddering at the consequences which it is likely to produce?
What gentler phrase--what ladylike expression should my client use? The
constitution is sought to be violated, and he calls the author of that
violation a frightful partisan. Really, gentlemen, the fastidiousness
which would reject this expression would be better employed in
preventing or punishing crime, than in dragging to a dungeon the man
who has the manliness to adhere to truth, and to use it. Recollect
also--I cannot repeat it too often--that the Attorney-General told you
that “the liberty of the Press was the best protection of the people
against the government.” Now, if the constitution be violated--if the
purity of election be disturbed by the executive, is not this precisely
the case when this protection becomes necessary? It is not wanted,
nor can the Press be called a protector, so long as the government
is administered with fidelity, care, and skill. The protection of
the Press is requisite only when integrity, diligence, or judgment
do not belong to the administration; and that protection becomes
the more necessary in the exact proportion in which these qualities
are deficient. But, what protection can it afford if you convict in
this instance? For, by doing so you will decide that nothing ought
to be said against that want of honesty, or of attention, or of
understanding; the more necessary will the protection of the Press
become, the more unsafe will it be to publish the truth; and in the
exact proportion in which the Press might be useful, will it become
liable to punishment. In short, according to the Attorney-General’s
doctrine, when the Press is “best employed and wanted most,” it will
be most dangerous to use it. And thus, the more corrupt and profligate
any administration may be, the more clearly can the public prosecutor
ascertain the sacrifice of his selected victim. And call you this
protection? Is this a protector who must be disarmed the moment danger
threatens, and is bound a prisoner the instant the fight has commenced?

Here I should close the case--here I should shortly recapitulate my
client’s defence, and leave him to your consideration; but I have
been already too tedious, and shall do no more than recall to your
recollection the purity, the integrity, the entire disinterestedness of
Mr. Magee’s motives. If money were his object, he could easily procure
himself to be patronized and salaried; but he prefers to be persecuted
and discountenanced by the great and powerful, because they cannot
deprive him of the certain expectation that his exertions are useful to
his long-suffering, ill-requited country.

He is disinterested, gentlemen; he is honest; the Attorney-General
admitted it, and actually took the trouble of administering to him
advice how to amend his fortune and save his person. But the advice
only made his youthful blood mantle in that ingenious countenance,
and his reply was painted in the indignant look that told the
Attorney-General he might offer wealth, but he could not bribe--that he
might torture, but he could not terrify! Yes, gentlemen, firm in his
honesty, and strong in the fervor of his love of Ireland, he fearlessly
awaits your verdict, convinced that even you must respect the man whom
you are called upon to condemn. Look to it, gentlemen; consider whether
an honest, disinterested man shall be prohibited from discussing public
affairs; consider whether all but flattery is to be silent--whether the
discussion of the errors and the capacities of the ministers is to be
closed forever. Whether we are to be silent as to the crimes of former
periods, the follies of the present, and the credulity of the future;
and, above all, reflect upon the demand that is made on you to punish
the canvassing of abstract principles.

Has the Attorney-General succeeded? Has he procured a jury so fitted
to his object, as to be ready to bury in oblivion every fault and
every crime, every error and every imperfection of public men,
past, present, and future--and who shall, in addition, silence any
dissertation on the theory or principle of legislation? Do, gentlemen,
go this length with the prosecutor and then venture on your oaths. I
charge you to venture to talk to your families of the venerable liberty
of the Press--the protection of the people against the vices of the
government.

I should conclude, but the Attorney-General compels me to follow him
through another subject.[6]

       *       *       *       *       *

Let me transport you from the heat and fury of domestic politics; let
me place you in a foreign land; you are Protestants--with your good
leave, you shall, for a moment, be Portuguese, and Portuguese is now an
honorable name, for right well have the people of Portugal fought for
their country, against the foreign invader. Oh! how easy to procure a
similar spirit, and more of bravery, amongst the people of Ireland! The
slight purchase of good words, and a kindly disposition, would convert
them into an impenetrable guard for the safety of the Throne and the
State. But advice and regret are equally unavailing, and they are
doomed to calumny and oppression, the reality of persecution, and the
mockery of justice, until some fatal hour shall arrive which may preach
wisdom to the dupes, and menace with punishment the oppressor.

In the meantime I must place you in Portugal. Let us suppose for
an instant that the Protestant religion is that of the people of
Portugal--the Catholic, that of the government--that the house of
Braganza has not reigned, but that Portugal is still governed by the
viceroy of a foreign nation, from whom no kindness, no favor, has
ever flowed, and from whom justice has rarely been obtained, and upon
those unfrequent occasions, not conceded generously, but extorted by
force, or wrung from distress by terror and apprehension, in a stinted
measure and ungracious manner; you, Protestants, shall form, not as
with us in Ireland, nine tenths, but some lesser number--you shall be
only four fifths of the population; and all the persecution which you
have yourselves practised here upon Papists, whilst you, at the same
time, accused the Papists of the crime of being persecutors, shall glow
around; your native land shall be to you the country of strangers;
you shall be aliens in the soil that gave you birth, and whilst every
foreigner may, in the land of your forefathers, attain rank, station,
emolument, honors, you alone shall be excluded; and you shall be
excluded for no other reason but a conscientious abhorrence to the
religion of your ancestors.

Only think, gentlemen, of the scandalous injustice of punishing you
because you are Protestants. With what scorn--with what contempt do
you not listen to the stale pretences--to the miserable excuses by
which, under the name of state reasons and political arguments, your
exclusion and degradation are sought to be justified. Your reply is
ready--“perform your iniquity--men of crimes,” (you exclaim), “be
unjust--punish us for our fidelity and honest adherence to truth, but
insult us not by supposing that your reasoning can impose upon a single
individual either of us or of yourselves.” In this situation let me
give you a viceroy; he shall be a man who may be styled--by some person
disposed to exaggerate, beyond bounds, his merits, and to flatter him
more than enough--“an honorable man and a respectable soldier,” but, in
point of fact, he shall be of that little-minded class of beings who
are suited to be the plaything of knaves--one of those men who imagine
they govern a nation, whilst in reality they are but the instruments
upon which the crafty play with safety and with profit. Take such
a man for your viceroy--Protestant Portuguese. We shall begin with
making this tour from Tralos Montes to the kingdom of Algesiras--as
one amongst us should say, from the Giant’s Causeway to the kingdom
of Kerry. Upon his tour he shall affect great candor and good-will
to the poor, suffering Protestants. The bloody anniversaries of the
inquisitorial triumphs of former days shall be for a season abandoned,
and over our inherent hostility the garb of hypocrisy shall, for a
season, be thrown. Enmity to the Protestant shall become, for a moment,
less apparent; but it will be only the more odious for the transitory
disguise.

The delusion of the hour having served its purpose, your viceroy shows
himself in his native colors; he selects for office, and prefers for
his pension list, the men miserable in intellect, if they be but
virulent against the Protestants; to rail against the Protestant
religion--to turn its holiest rites into ridicule--to slander the
individual Protestants, are the surest, the only means to obtain his
favor and patronage. He selects from his Popish bigots some being
more canine than human, who, not having talents to sell, brings to
the market of bigotry his impudence--who, with no quality under
heaven but gross, vulgar, acrimonious, disgustful, and shameless
abuse of Protestantism to recommend him, shall be promoted to some
accountant-generalship, and shall riot in the spoils of the people
he traduces, as it were to crown with insult the severest injuries.
This viceroy selects for his favorite privy councillor some learned
doctor, _half lawyer, half divine, an entire brute_, distinguished
by the unblushing repetition of calumnies against the Protestants.
This man has asserted that Protestants are perjurers and murderers in
principle--that they keep no faith with Papists, but hold it lawful
and meritorious to violate every engagement, and commit every atrocity
towards any person who happens to differ with Protestants in religious
belief. This man raves thus, in public, against the Protestants, and
has turned his ravings into large personal emoluments. But whilst he
is the oracle of minor bigots, he does not believe himself; he has
selected for the partner of his tenderest joys, of his most ecstatic
moments--he has chosen for the intended mother of his children, for the
sweetener and solace of his every care, a Protestant, gentlemen of the
jury.

Next to the vile instruments of bigotry, his accountant-general and
privy councillor, we will place his acts. The Protestants of Portugal
shall be exposed to insult and slaughter; an Orange party--a party of
Popish Orangemen shall be supposed to exist; they shall have liberty
to slaughter the unarmed and defenceless Protestants, and as they
sit peaceably at their firesides. They shall be let loose in some
Portuguese district, called Monaghan; they shall cover the streets of
some Portuguese town of Belfast with human gore; and in the metropolis
of Lisbon, the Protestant widow shall have her harmless child murdered
in the noon day and his blood shall have flowed unrequited, because
his assassin was very loyal when he was drunk, and had an irresistible
propensity to signalize his loyalty by killing Protestants. Behold,
gentlemen, this viceroy depriving of command, and staying the promotion
of, every military man who shall dare to think Protestants men, or who
shall presume to suggest that they ought not to be prosecuted. Behold
this viceroy promoting and rewarding the men who insulted and attempted
to degrade the first of your Protestant nobility. Behold him in
public, the man I have described.

In his personal concerns he receives an enormous revenue from the
people he thus misgoverns. See in his management of that revenue a
parsimony at which even his enemies blush. See the paltry sum of a
single joe[7] refused to any Protestant charity, while his bounty
is unknown even at the Popish institutions for benevolent purposes.
See the most wasteful expenditure of the public money--every job
patronized--every profligacy encouraged. See the resources of Portugal
diminished. See her discords and her internal feuds increased. And,
lastly, behold the course of justice perverted and corrupted.

It is thus, gentlemen, the Protestant Portuguese seek to obtain relief
by humble petition and supplication. There can be no crime surely for
a Protestant, oppressed because he follows a religion which is, in his
opinion, true, to endeavor to obtain relief by mildly representing to
his Popish oppressors, that it is the right of every man to worship
the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience; to state
respectfully to the governing powers that it is unjust, and may be
highly impolitic, to punish men, merely because they do not profess
Popery, which they do not believe; and to submit, with all humility,
that to lay the burdens of the state equally, and distribute its
benefits partially, is not justice, but, although sanctioned by the
pretence of religious zeal, is, in truth, iniquity, and palpably
criminal. Well, gentlemen, for daring thus to remonstrate, the
Protestants are persecuted. The first step in the persecution is
to pervert the plain meaning of the Portuguese language, and a law
prohibiting any _disguise_ in apparel, shall be applied to the ordinary
_dress_ of the individual; it reminds one of _pretence_ and _purpose_.

To carry on these persecutions, the viceroy chooses for his first
inquisitor the descendant of some Popish refugee--some man with an
hereditary hatred to Protestants; he is not the son of an Irishman,
this refugee inquisitor--no, for the fact is notorious that the Irish
refugee Papists were ever distinguished for their liberality, as well
as for their gallantry in the field and talent in the cabinet. This
inquisitor shall be, gentlemen, a descendant from one of those English
Papists, who was the dupe or contriver of the Gunpowder Plot! With
such a chief inquisitor, can you conceive anything more calculated to
rouse you to agony than the solemn mockery of your trial? This chief
inquisitor begins by influencing the judges out of court; he proceeds
to inquire out fit men for his interior tribunal, which, for brevity,
we will call a jury. He selects his juries from the most violent of
the Popish Orangemen of the city, and procures a conviction against
law and common sense, and without evidence. Have you followed me,
gentlemen? Do you enter into the feelings of Protestants thus insulted,
thus oppressed, thus persecuted--their enemies and traducers promoted,
and encouraged, and richly rewarded--their friends discountenanced and
displaced--their persons unprotected, and their characters assailed
by hired calumniators--their blood shed with impunity--their revenues
parsimoniously spared to accumulate for the individual, wastefully
squandered for the state--the emblems of discord, the war-cry of
disunion, sanctioned by the highest authority, and Justice herself
converted from an impartial arbitrator into a frightful partisan?

Yes, gentlemen, place yourselves as Protestants under such a
persecution. Behold before you this chief inquisitor, with his
prejudiced tribunal--this gambler, with a loaded die; and now say what
are your feelings--what are your sensations of disgust, abhorrence,
affright? But if at such a moment some ardent and enthusiastic Papist,
regardless of his interests, and roused by the crimes that were thus
committed against you, should describe, in measured, and cautious,
and cold language, scenes of oppression and iniquity--if he were to
describe them, not as I have done, but in feeble and mild language,
and simply state the facts for your benefit and the instruction of
the public--if this liberal Papist, for this, were dragged to the
Inquisition, as for a crime, and menaced with a dungeon for years, good
and gracious God! how would you revolt at and abominate the men who
could consign him to that dungeon! With what an eye of contempt, and
hatred, and despair, would you not look at the packed and profligate
tribunal which could direct punishment against him who deserved
rewards! What pity would you not feel for the advocate who heavily,
and without hope, labored in his defence! and with what agonized and
frenzied despair would you not look to the future destinies of a land
in which perjury was organized and from which humanity and justice had
been forever banished!

With this picture of yourselves in Portugal, come home to us in
Ireland; say, is that a crime, when applied to Protestants, which is a
virtue and a merit when applied to Papists? Behold how we suffer here;
and then reflect, that it is principally by reason of your prejudices
against us that the Attorney-General hopes for your verdict. The good
man has talked of his impartiality; he will suppress, he says, the
licentiousness of the Press. I have, I hope, shown you the right of my
client to discuss the public subjects which he has discussed in the
manner they are treated of in the publication before you, yet he is
prosecuted. Let me read for you a paragraph which the Attorney-General
has not prosecuted--which he has refused to prosecute:

                    “BALLYBAY, July 4, 1813.

  “A meeting of the Orange Lodges was agreed on, in consequence
  of the manner in which the Catholics wished to have persecuted
  the loyalists in this county last year, _when they even murdered
  some of them for no other reason than their being yeomen and
  Protestants_.”

And, again--

  “It was at Ballybay that _the Catholics murdered one Hughes, a
  yeoman sergeant, for being a Protestant, as was given in evidence
  at the assizes by a Catholic witness_.”

I have read this passage from the _Hibernian Journal_ of the 7th of
this month. I know not whether you can hear, unmoved, a paragraph
which makes my blood boil to read; but I shall only tell you, that the
Attorney-General refused to prosecute this libeller. Gentlemen, there
have been several murders committed in the county of Monaghan, in which
Ballybay lies. The persons killed happened to be Roman Catholics;
their murderers are Orangemen. Several of the persons accused of these
murders are to be tried at the ensuing assizes. The agent applied to me
personally, with this newspaper; he stated that the obvious intention
was to create a prejudice upon the approaching trials favorable to
the murderers, and against the prosecutors. He stated what you--_even
you_--will easily believe, that there never was a falsehood more
flagitiously destitute of truth than the entire paragraph. I advised
him, gentlemen, to wait on the Attorney-General in the most respectful
manner possible; to show him this paragraph, then to request to be
allowed to satisfy him as to the utter falsehood of the assertions
which this paragraph contained, which could be more easily done, as
the judges who went that circuit could prove part of it to be false;
and I directed him to entreat that the Attorney-General, when fully
satisfied of the falsehood, would prosecute the publisher of this,
which, I think, I may call an atrocious libel.

Gentlemen, the Attorney-General was accordingly waited on; he was
respectfully requested to prosecute upon the terms of having the
falsehood of these assertions first proved to him. I need not tell you
he refused. These are not the libellers _he_ prosecutes. Gentlemen,
this not being a libel on any individual, no private individual can
prosecute for it; and the Attorney-General turns his Press loose on
the Catholics of the county of Monaghan, whilst he virulently assails
Mr. Magee for what must be admitted to be comparatively mild and
inoffensive.

No, gentlemen, he does not prosecute this libel. On the contrary, this
paper is paid enormous sums of the public money. There are no less
than five proclamations in the paper containing this libel; and, it
was proved in my presence, in a court of justice, that, besides the
proclamations and public advertisements, the two proprietors of the
paper had each a pension of £400 per annum, for supporting government,
as it was called. Since that period one of those proprietors has got
an office worth, at least, £800 a year; and the son of the other, a
place of upwards of £400 per annum: so that, as it is likely that the
original pensions continue, here may be an annual income of £2000 paid
for this paper, besides the thousands of pounds annually which the
insertion of the proclamations and public advertisements cost. It is
a paper of the very lowest and most paltry scale of talent, and its
circulation is, fortunately, very limited; but it receives several
thousands of pounds of the money of the men whom it foully and falsely
calumniates.

Would I could see the man who pays this proclamation money and these
pensions at the Castle. [Here Mr. O’Connell turned round to where
Mr. Peele[B] sat.] Would I could see the man who, against the fact,
asserted that the proclamations were inserted in all the papers,
save in those whose proprietors were convicted of a libel. I would
ask him whether this be a paper that ought to receive the money of
the Irish people? Whether this be the legitimate use of the public
purse? And when you find this calumniator salaried and rewarded, where
is the impartiality, the justice, or even the decency of prosecuting
Mr. Magee for a libel, merely because he has not praised public men,
and has discussed public affairs in the spirit of freedom and of the
constitution? Contrast the situation of Mr. Magee with the proprietor
of the _Hibernian Journal_: the one is prosecuted with all the weight
and influence of the Crown, the other pensioned by the ministers of
the Crown; the one dragged to your bar for the sober discussion of
political topics, the other hired to disseminate the most horrid
calumnies! Let the Attorney-General now boast of his impartiality; can
you credit him on your oaths? Let him talk of his veneration for the
liberty of the Press; _can you_ believe him in your consciences? Let
him call the Press the protection of the people against the government.
Yes, gentlemen, believe him when he says so. Let the Press be the
protection of the people; he admits that it ought to be so. Will you
find a verdict for him that shall contradict the only assertion upon
which he and I, however, are both agreed?

    [B] Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant.

Gentlemen, the Attorney-General is bound by this admission; it is
part of his case, and he is the prosecutor here; it is a part of the
evidence before you, for he is the prosecutor. Then, gentlemen, it is
your duty to act upon that evidence, and to allow the Press to afford
some protection to the people.

Is there amongst you any one friend to freedom? Is there amongst
you one man who esteems equal and impartial justice, who values the
people’s rights as the foundation of private happiness, and who
considers life as no boon without liberty? Is there amongst you one
friend to the constitution--one man who hates oppression? If there
be, Mr. Magee appeals to his kindred mind, and confidently expects an
acquittal.

There are amongst you men of great religious zeal--of much public
piety. Are you sincere? Do you believe what you profess? With all
this zeal--with all this piety, _is_ there any conscience amongst
you? _Is_ there any terror of violating your oaths? Be ye hypocrites,
or does genuine religion inspire ye? If you be sincere--if you have
conscience--if your oaths can control your interests, then Mr. Magee
confidently expects an acquittal.

If amongst you there be cherished one ray of pure religion--if amongst
you there glow a single spark of liberty--if I have alarmed religion,
or roused the spirit of freedom in one breast amongst you, Mr. Magee is
safe, and his country is served; but if there be none--if you be slaves
and hypocrites, he will await your verdict, and despise it.[8]



LORD PALMERSTON.


The life of Henry John Temple, Viscount Palmerston (1784–1865), covers
so great a space of time elapsed and embraces so many high activities
that few are the careers in English political history comparable to
it. If one instinctively refers to the case of Mr. Gladstone, the
nearest nineteenth century parallel, it is chiefly to observe the
partly antithetical relation of the men: the one, a commoner always,
the other, aristocrat by birth; each, in his time, Premier; and each
preserving undimmed, past the great age of eighty years, distinguished
powers of body and mind.

Lord Palmerston sprung from the Irish Temples, an ancient and honorable
family. The whirligig of time has surely brought in no quainter
changes than that the Temple of the Don Pacifico debate, the utterer
of England’s downright word, the first Jingo of his period, should
have descended, by near consanguinity, from the graceful, ineffectual
Sir William Temple of Swift,--and, alas, of Bentley,--the gentleman
who retired from the rude shock of politics to his Shene gardens, and
who, instead of directing the troublous destinies of the state, penned
models of prose style on gout and other gentlemanly things. And yet
from the outset Lord Palmerston was destined to play a positive part
in his world: as a man and a publicist he had few qualities that were
not aggressive. A table condensed from the life by Bulwer gives in the
most succinct form a view of how continuously he was in the thick of
affairs.--

  Born,                               Oct. 20, 1784
  Succeeded to the Title,                      1802
  M. A., at Cambridge,                         1806
  Junior Lord of the Admiralty,           1807–1809
  Secretary at War,                       1809–1828
  Secretary for Foreign Affairs,  {   1830–34; 1835
                                  { 1841; 1846–1851
  Home Secretary,                         1852–1855
  Prime Minister,                      { 1855–1858;
                                       {  1859–1865

As a boy, he is described as being notable for vivacity and energy;
and, although undoubtedly hastened by family and connections, his early
entry into public life was due in some measure to his own talents.
Thus, before he was twenty-four, he had twice stood unsuccessfully
for member for the University of Cambridge. His first election to
Parliament came in June, 1807, from Newton, Isle of Wight. A few
months later, Palmerston made his maiden speech, in favor of the
expedition against Copenhagen, having previously, by family interest,
been appointed a Junior Lord of the Admiralty. The speech attracted
immediate attention; and the public was not surprised when, in 1809,
the young man of twenty-five was offered so great a post as the
Chancellorship of the Exchequer. There were doubtless few rising
men who would have had a similar self-control; but Lord Palmerston
modestly and wisely declined the sudden elevation, and, instead,
elected to be Secretary at War, a kind of bursar to the army, in which
comparatively obscure position he passed nearly twenty years. His
next advancement--to the Secretaryship for Foreign Affairs--marks his
entrance into his real element. From now on the years were those of
preparation; little by little he built himself toward the Premiership.
From 1830, then, until his occupancy of the highest office an English
subject may hold, Palmerston was almost constantly in office,
constantly, too, a figure to be reckoned with. At last, in 1855, as a
crown to his ripe years and manifold experience, came the Premiership,
which was to occupy the last decade of his life. Until very near the
end, he may be said to have upheld firmly the high responsibilities of
the office. Hardly suspected to be seriously ill by the public, he died
October 18, 1865, within two days of his eighty-first year, of gout,
the statesman’s disease.

The career of Lord Palmerston is typically an English and an
aristocratic one. Nothing could be farther removed from the democratic
ideal of the “self-made man.” Palmerston, so to speak, was born into
success; and he was able to retain and to extend his birthright. In
democracies like the United States, and in constitutional monarchies
like England, it is not always that the man showered with fortune’s
gifts makes public life at once his amusement and his profession. In
the former state, such an one is the least likely of persons to raise
an influential voice in Congress; in the latter, the man often drifts
into the channels of sport or society. That the higher path has been
essayed by so many well-born Englishmen is more than creditable: this
fact lies close at the foundations of the British Empire.

We have said that through all the ramifications of the higher English
life and politics Lord Palmerston was ever a pervasive figure. He
could remember games of chess he had played, as a young man, with
the unfortunate Queen Caroline: the year Byron published his first
poems was the year of his entrance to Parliament; and he died as
the American Confederacy flickered out in ashes. Through all these
years, as a statesman he had preserved much the same character.
Foreign Affairs were his chief interest: his conception of their
administration practically never swerved from the theory of a
militant, unsleeping England--an England at times, perhaps, apt to
be blustering and overbearing, but an England frankly devoted to its
higher self-interests and to what, from an English point of view, was
indubitably the good of the world. His position toward home affairs is
hard to describe. So far as he was identified with local divisions he
was a Conservative with a strong tinge of Liberal doctrine. Abroad,
the tinge of Liberalism and the sympathies with Continental rebellions
against absolute monarchy due to it, caused Palmerston to be regarded
as almost a revolutionary. In truth, so far as England was concerned,
he was profoundly in love with the _status quo_: the uprisings abroad,
he considered, were only the restless gropings of the peoples towards
a realization of the English system of government. In hardly any
sense was his policy constructive. As Mr. McCarthy remarks, in his
brilliant estimate, great national crises he was at no time--perhaps
happily--called on to meet. It was ever his way to follow, not direct
the great impulses of public opinion that swept through Parliament.
The same authority neatly sums him up in saying, “His policy was
necessarily shifting, uncertain, and inconsistent; for he moulded it
always on the supposed interests of England as they showed themselves
to his eyes at the time.” In a word, he was an astute server of the
hour; and the hour requited him with more than the usual success.
Such a person is obviously not nicely scrupulous in matters of the
_haute-politique_. The qualities of indomitable self-confidence,
lightning decision, and immediate execution which he carried to the
Foreign Office were the direct cause of the one inglorious episode of
his life. To state it colloquially, Palmerston was inclined as Foreign
Secretary to run the external relations of England on his own hook. His
impatience would not allow him to hold despatches, in all cases, for
the Queen’s approval; and he soon fell under her grave displeasure.
The formally polite warnings of the Court were not heeded by the
eager Secretary. Just at the moment of the Don Pacifico triumph, Lord
Palmerston was dismissed from office by royal request. He bore the
slight bravely. In England such a man could not be kept down; but the
incident is rare in the modern history of Court and Cabinet.

Except in the show speech of the Don Pacifico debate, Palmerston was
rarely eloquent. He was humorous, flippant, almost slangy in phrase;
and his favorite style was one of banter. Personally, his manner was
distinguished by no particular stateliness of bearing--he seems to have
been generally liked.

Mr. McCarthy hesitates to call him a great man. But it is likely that
he will be remembered as one richly endowed by circumstance who was
equal to his fate.



LORD PALMERSTON.

ON THE CASE OF DON PACIFICO: HOUSE OF COMMONS, JUNE 25, 1850.


  The case of Don Pacifico, which led to the following masterpiece of
  Lord Palmerston’s eloquence, is an example of how in the relations
  of states small matters may at a touch loom large and involve
  great issues. The collection of a bill of damages for household
  furniture, a mere entry in the vast budget of British governmental
  business, is seen to assume a serious, or, if one remembers the
  pedestrian character of the details, a tragi-comic import when it
  is known that on the event hung the chance of an European war.

  Now the case, reduced to its bare details, is as follows: Don
  Pacifico, a Jew of Gibraltar, and a British subject, had taken
  up his residence at Athens, where, in the spring of 1847, he
  comes out of obscurity into momentary international fame, becomes
  with his petty affairs almost a _casus belli_ between two great
  Powers, and then sinks to oblivion again. In the new kingdom of
  Greece, then only since a score of years galvanized into a nation
  by the protective agencies of France, Russia, and Great Britain,
  foreigners and their rights had met with no nice consideration at
  the hands of King Otho and his officials. Certain Ionian subjects
  of the Queen had suffered insult or damages; a midshipman of
  H. M. S. _Fantôme_, landing by night at Patras, had been forthwith
  arrested; and England had already reasonable right to complain,
  when the case of Don Pacifico permitted her, in Lord Palmerston’s
  opinion, no longer to hesitate.

  On April 4, 1847, during the celebration of the Greek Easter,
  certain riotous Athenians, prohibited that year from indulging
  in one feature of the _fête_,--the hanging of Judas Iscariot in
  effigy,--and consequently enraged at Jews in general, made an
  attack upon the modest house of Don Pacifico. It was alleged at
  the time that sons of the Minister of War were among the mob;
  it is agreed that both house and furnishings were ruined. The
  establishment, we have said, was modest; but, although the Jew
  filed an extraordinary bill of claims (one bedstead he valued at
  £150), the principle involved was such that the incident could not
  be ignored by an English foreign secretary. Thus the matter at once
  became the subject of the most strenuous diplomatic correspondence;
  but Greece being like Turkey one of the countries of “To-morrow,”
  nearly three years dragged away without satisfaction for Don
  Pacifico, until at last, with patience exhausted, Lord Palmerston
  sent the following instructions to the British Minister at Athens:

                    “F. O., December 3, 1849.

  “MY DEAR WYSE:

  “I have desired the Admiralty to instruct Sir William Parker to
  take Athens on his way back from the Dardanelles, and to support
  you in bringing at last to a satisfactory ending the settlement of
  our various claims upon the Greek Government. You will, of course,
  in conjunction with him, persevere in the _suaviter in modo_ as
  long as is consistent with our dignity and honor, and I measure
  that time by days--perhaps by some very small number of hours. If,
  however, the Greek Government does not strike, Parker must do so.”

The fleet arrived at the Piræus promptly, proclaimed a blockade, and
seized some Greek vessels, both national and merchant. It was at this
moment that the first element of danger entered into the incident.
Of the already imperfect “Concert” which had installed the kingdom of
Hellas, Russia became at once uneasy at the aggressive steps of Lord
Palmerston; but France, the third party, aflame with jealousy and
distrust, from now on almost made the Greek cause her own. Ostensibly,
however, she came forward with proposals of arbitration; and England
saw it her affair to accept the good offices, at the Greek Court, of
Baron Gros. The arbiter nevertheless, soon finding the British and the
Franco-Greek positions incompatible, gave up his task; the blockade,
with seizure of vessels, was renewed; and it was in the minds of men
that once more would England and France stand face to face. Meanwhile
Greece seemed to have become flurried at her situation as the focus
of events, and at last submitted to Palmerston’s pressure, under the
following terms: a letter of apology to be presented for the _Fantôme_
incident; an indemnity of 180,000 _drachmai_ to be paid for damages
to Don Pacifico and others; no compensation to be received by her for
detention of vessels, which should then be released.

Thus, in the face of Greek delay and of probable French intrigue,
Palmerston had gained his real point. But with it the second perilous
moment arrived. In France the action of Greece was learned with a
mixture of dismay and _Chauvinisme_; in England the Opposition saw
its opening. The French Ambassador, M. Drouyn de Lhuys, was actually
recalled; and it did not seem that war could be averted. Under these
circumstances, on June 17, 1850, Lord Stanley introduced in the House
of Lords this resolution of censure:

“That while the House fully recognizes the right and duty of the
Government to secure to her Majesty’s subjects residing in foreign
states the full protection of the laws of these states, it regrets
to find, by the correspondence recently laid upon the table by her
Majesty’s command, that various claims against the Greek Government,
doubtful in point of justice or exaggerated in amount, have been
enforced by coercive measures directed against the commerce and people
of Greece, and calculated to endanger the continuance of our friendly
relations with other Powers.”

Which was carried by a majority of 37.

The Government’s answer was the counter-resolution introduced by Mr.
Roebuck in the Commons, June 24th:

“That the principles on which the foreign policy of her Majesty’s
Government have been regulated have been such as were calculated
to maintain the honor and dignity of this country; and in times of
unexampled difficulty, to preserve peace between England and the
various nations of the world.”

The debate that followed is described as having been one of the most
brilliant of the century--covering a period of five nights and engaging
the most vigorous speakers then in the House. On the second night,
Lord Palmerston rose, about to deliver the remarkable effort of his
life. Speaking for nearly five hours and without MS., he held the
continuous attention of both parties. Other speeches followed; but it
seems certain that this was the pronouncement that led the Commons, in
division on the fifth night, to declare for the Palmerston policy by a
majority of 46.

The effect on the country, on the foreign Powers, and on Lord
Palmerston’s personal prestige was signal. Viewed internationally the
whole affair between France and England had been a game of bluff; and,
by the agency of Lord Palmerston, the English bluff had won. In due
time France returned her Ambassador to St. James; and all was as before.

As to the speech, there is no doubt but that it must be regarded as one
of the most emphatic expositions extant of the aggressive theory of
foreign policy--of what many would call the Jingo idea. Contemporary
opinion--even of the Opposition--we know to have been moved by such
stalwart doctrines, so manfully laid down; for even Sir Robert Peel
is quoted as saying, “It has made us all proud of him.” Palmerston
himself writes to a friend: “The attack on our foreign policy has
been rightly understood by everybody, as the shot fired by a foreign
conspiracy, aided and abetted by a domestic intrigue; and the parties
have so entirely failed in the purpose, that instead of expelling and
overthrowing me with disgrace, as they intended and hoped to do, they
have rendered me for the present the most popular minister that for a
very long course of time has held my office.”

Strong words--but not overweening for one whose conduct of his
country’s interests had won for him from Lord John Russell a title of
which any Premier might be proud,--“Lord Palmerston, a Minister of
England.”

SIR:

Anxious as many members are to deliver their sentiments upon this most
important question, yet I am sure they will feel that it is due myself,
that it is due to this House, that it is due to the country, that I
should not permit the second night of this debate to close without
having stated to the House my views upon the matters in question and my
conduct, for which I have been called to account.

When I say that this is an important question, I say it in the fullest
expression of the term. It is a matter which concerns not merely the
tenure of office by one individual, or even by a government; it is a
question that involves principles of national policy, and the deepest
interests as well as the honor and dignity of England. I cannot think
that the course which has been pursued, and by which this question
has assumed its present shape, is becoming those by whose act it has
been brought under the discussion of Parliament, or such as fitting
the gravity and the importance of the matters which they have thus
led this House and the other House of Parliament to discuss. For if
that party in this country imagine that they are strong enough to
carry the Government by storm, and take possession of the citadel of
office; or if, without intending to measure their strength with that of
their opponents, they conceive that there are matters of such gravity
connected with the conduct of the Government, that it becomes their
duty to call upon Parliament solemnly to record its disapprobation
of what has passed, I think that either in the one case or in the
other, that party ought not to have been contented with obtaining the
expression of the opinion of the House of Lords, but they ought to have
sent down their resolution for the consent and concurrence of this
House; or, at least, those who act with them in political co-operation
here, should themselves have proposed to this House to come to a
similar resolution. But, be the road what it may, we have come to the
same end; and the House is substantially considering whether they will
adopt the resolution of the House of Lords, or the resolution which has
been submitted to them by my honorable and learned friend, the Member
for Sheffield.

Now, the resolution of the House of Lords involves the future as well
as the past. It lays down for the future a principle of national
policy which I consider totally incompatible with the interests, with
the rights, with the honor, and with the dignity of the country;
and at variance with the practice, not only of this, but of all
other civilized countries in the world. Even the person who moved
it was obliged essentially to modify it in his speech. But none of
the modifications contained in the speech were introduced in the
resolution adopted by the other House. The country is told that British
subjects in foreign lands are entitled--for that is the meaning of the
resolution--to nothing but the protection of the laws and the tribunals
of the land in which they happen to reside. The country is told the
British subjects abroad must not look to their own country for
protection, but must trust to that indifferent justice which they may
happen to receive at the hands of the government and tribunals of the
country in which they may be.

The House of Lords has not said that this proposition is limited
to constitutional countries. The House of Lords has not said that
the proposition is inapplicable, not only to arbitrary and despotic
countries, but even to constitutional countries where the courts of
justice are not free; although these limitations are stated in the
speech. The country is simply informed by the resolution, as it was
adopted, that, so far as foreign nations are concerned, the future rule
of the Government of England is to be, that, in all cases, and under
all circumstances, British subjects are to have the protection only
which the law and the tribunals of the land in which they happen to be
may give them.

No! I deny that proposition; and I say it is doctrine on which no
British Minister ever yet has acted, and on which the people of England
never will suffer any British Minister to act. Do I mean to say that
British subjects abroad are to be above the law, or are to be taken
out of the scope of the laws of the land in which they live? I mean
no such thing; I contend for no such principle. Undoubtedly, in the
first instance, British subjects are bound to have recourse for redress
to the means which the law of the land affords them, when that law
is available for such a purpose. That is the opinion which the legal
advisers of the Crown have given in numerous cases; and it is the
opinion on which we have founded our replies to many applications for
our interposition in favor of British subjects abroad.[9]

       *       *       *       *       *

I say then, that if our subjects abroad have made complaints against
individuals, or against the government of a foreign country, if the
courts of law of that country can afford them redress, then, no doubt,
to those courts of justice the British subject ought in the first
instance to apply; and it is only on a denial of justice, or upon
decisions manifestly unjust, that the British Government should be
called upon to interfere. But there may be cases in which no confidence
can be placed in the tribunals, those tribunals being, from their
composition and nature, not of a character to inspire any hope of
obtaining justice from them. It has been said, “We do not apply this
rule to countries whose governments are arbitrary or despotic, because
there the tribunals are under the control of the government, and
justice cannot be had; and, moreover, it is not meant to be applied to
nominally constitutional governments where the tribunals are corrupt.”
But who is to be the judge, in such a case, whether the tribunals are
corrupt or not? The British Government, or the Government of the state
from which you demand justice?

I will take a transaction that occurred not long ago, as an instance
of a case in which, I say, the people of England would not permit a
British subject to be simply amenable to the tribunals of the foreign
country in which he happened to be. I am not going to talk of the
power of sending a man arbitrarily to Siberia; nor of a country
the constitution of which vests despotic power in the hands of the
sovereign. I will take a case which happened in Sicily, where, not long
ago, a decree was passed that any man who was found with concealed
arms in his possession should be brought before a court-martial, and,
if found guilty, should be shot. Now, this happened. An innkeeper of
Catania was brought before a court-martial, and accused under this
law by some police officers, who stated that they had discovered in
an open bin, in an open stable in his inn-yard, a knife which they
denounced as a concealed weapon. Witnesses having been examined, the
counsel for the prosecution stated that he gave up the case, as it
was evident there was no proof that the knife belonged to the man, or
that he was aware it was in the place where it was found. The counsel
for the defendant said that such being the opinion of the counsel for
the prosecution, it was unnecessary for him to go into the defence,
and he left his client in the hands of the court. The court, however,
nevertheless pronounced the man guilty of the charge brought against
him, and the next morning the man was shot.

Now what would the English people have said if this had been done to a
British subject? And yet everything done was the result of a law, and
the man was found guilty of an offence by a tribunal of the country.

I say, then, that our doctrine is that, in the first instance, redress
should be sought from the law courts of the country; but that in cases
where redress cannot be so had--and those cases are many--to confine a
British subject to that remedy only, would be to deprive him of the
protection which he is entitled to receive.

Then the question arises, how does this rule apply to the demands we
have made upon Greece? And here I must shortly remind the House of the
origin of our relations with Greece, and of the condition of Greece;
because those circumstances are elements that must enter into the
consideration of the course we have pursued.

It is well that Greece revolted from Turkey in 1820. In 1827, England,
France, and Russia determined upon interposing, and ultimately, in
1828, they resolved to employ forcible means in order to bring Turkey
to acknowledge the independence of Greece. Greece, by protocol in 1830,
and by treaty in 1832, was erected into a separate and independent
state. And whereas nearly from the year 1820 up to the time of that
treaty of 1832, when its independence was finally acknowledged, Greece
had been under a Republican form of government, with an Assembly and a
President, the three Powers determined that Greece should thenceforth
be a monarchy. But while England assented to that arrangement, and
considered that it was better that Greece should assume a monarchical
form of government, yet we attached to that assent an indispensable
condition, that Greece should be a constitutional monarchy. The British
Government could not consent to place the people of Greece, in their
independent political existence, under as arbitrary a government as
that from which they had revolted. Consequently, when the three Powers,
in the exercise of that function which had been devolved upon them by
the authority of the General Assembly of Greece, chose a sovereign for
Greece, (for that choice was made in consequence of, and by virtue
of the authority given to them by the General Assembly of Greece),
and when Prince Otho of Bavaria, then a minor, was chosen; the three
Powers, on announcing the choice they had made, at the same time
declared King Otho would, in concert with his people, give to Greece
constitutional institutions.

The choice and that announcement were ratified by the King of Bavaria
in the name, and on the behalf of his son. It was, however, understood,
that during the minority of King Otho, the establishment of the
constitution should be suspended; but that when he came of age, he
should enter into communication with his people, and, together with
them, arrange the form of constitution to be adopted. King Otho came
of age, but no constitution was given. There was a disinclination on
the part of his advisers to counsel him to fulfil that engagement.
The Government of England expressed an opinion, through various
channels, that that engagement ought to be fulfilled. But opinions
of a different kind reached the royal ear from other quarters. Other
governments, naturally--I say it without implying any imputation--are
attached to their own forms. Each government thinks its own form and
nature the best, and wishes to see that form, if possible, extended
elsewhere. Therefore, I do not mention this with any intention of
casting the least reproach upon Russia, or Prussia, or Austria. Those
three governments at that time were despotic. Their advice was given
and their influence was exerted to prevent the King of Greece from
granting a constitution to his people. We thought, however, that in
France we might find sympathy with our political opinions, and support
in the advice which we wished to give. But we were unfortunate. The
then Government of France, not at all undervaluing constitutional
institutions, thought that the time was not yet come when Greece could
be ripe for representative government. The King of Bavaria leaned also
to the same side. Therefore, from the time when the King came of age,
and for several years afterward, the English Government stood in this
position in Greece with regard to its government--that we alone were
anxious for the fulfilment of the engagement of the King, while all the
other Powers who were represented at Athens were averse to its being
made good, or at least were not equally desirous of urging it upon the
King of Greece. This necessarily placed us in a situation, to say the
least of it, of disfavor on the part of the agents of those Powers, and
on the part of the Government of Greece. I was sorry for it; at the
same time, I don’t think the people of this country will be of opinion
that we ought, for the sake of obtaining the mere good-will of the
Greek Government, to have departed from the principle which we had laid
down from the beginning. But it was so; and when people talk of the
antagonistic influences which were in conflict at the Greek Court; and
when people say, as I have heard it said, that our Ministers, and the
Ministers of foreign governments, were disputing about the appointment
of _mirarchs_ and _nomarchs_, and God knows what petty officers of the
state, I say that, as far as our Minister was concerned, that is a
statement entirely at variance with the fact. Our Minister, Sir Edmund
Lyons, never, during the whole time he was in Greece, asked any favor
of any sort or kind, for himself, or for any friend. No conduct of
that mean and low and petty description was carried on by any person
connected with the English Government. It was known that we wished the
Greek nation should have representative institutions, while, on the
other hand, other influences were exerted the other way; and that, and
that only, was the ground of the differences which existed.

One of the evils of the absence of constitutional institutions was that
the whole system of government grew to be full of every kind of abuse.
Justice could not be expected where judges of the tribunals were at the
mercy of the advisers of the Crown. The finances could not be in any
order where there was no public responsibility on the part of those
who were to collect or to spend the revenue. Every sort of abuse was
practised.

In all times in Greece, as is well known, there has prevailed,
from the daring habits of the people, a system of compulsory
appropriation--forcible appropriation by one man of that which
belonged to another; which, of course, is very disagreeable to those
who are the victims of the system, and exceedingly injurious to
the social condition, improvement, and prosperity of the country.
In short, what foreigners call brigandage, which prevailed under
the Turkish rule, has not, I am sorry to say, diminished under the
Greek sovereignty. Moreover, the police of the Greek Government
have practised abuses of the grossest description; and if I wanted
evidence on that subject, I could appeal to the honorable gentleman
who has just sat down, who, in a pamphlet, which all must have read,
or ought to read, has detailed the instances of barbarity of the
most revolting kind practised by the police. I have here depositions
of persons who have been subjected to the most abominable tortures
which human ingenuity could devise--tortures, inflicted upon both
sexes, most revolting and disgusting. One of the officers, a man of
the name of Tzino, at the head of the police, was himself in the
habit of inflicting the most diabolical tortures upon Greeks and
upon foreigners, Turks, and others. This man Tzino, instead of being
punished as he ought to have been, and as he deserved to be, not only
by the laws of nature, but by the laws of Greece--this person, I am
sorry to say, is held in great favor in quarters where he ought to have
received nothing but marks of indignation.

Well, this being the state of things in Greece, there have always been
in every town in Greece, a great number of persons whom we are bound to
protect--Maltese, Ionians, and a certain number of British subjects.
It became the practice of this Greek police to make no distinction
between the Maltese and Ionians, and their fellow-subjects. We shall
be told, perhaps, as we have already been told, that if the people of
the country are liable to have heavy stones placed upon their breasts,
and police officers to dance upon them; if they are liable to have
their own heads tied to their knees, and to be left for hours in that
state; or to be swung like a pendulum, and to be bastinadoed as they
swing, foreigners have no right to be better treated than the natives,
and have no business to complain if the same things are practised
upon them. We may be told this, but that is not my opinion, nor do I
believe it is the opinion of any reasonable man. Then, I say, that in
considering the case of the Ionians, for whom we demand reparation, the
House must look at and consider what was the state of things in this
respect in Greece; they must consider the practices that were going on,
and the necessity of putting a stop to the extension of these abuses to
British and Ionian subjects by demanding compensation, scarcely indeed
more than nominal in some cases; but the granting of which would be an
acknowledgement that such things should not be done toward us in the
future.

In discussing these cases, I am concerned to have to say that they
appear to me to have been dealt with elsewhere in a spirit and in
a tone which I think was neither befitting the persons concerning
whom, nor the persons by whom, nor the persons before whom the
discussion took place. It is often more convenient to treat matters
with ridicule than with grave argument; and we have had serious things
treated jocosely; and grave men kept in a roar of laughter, for an
hour together, at the poverty of one sufferer, or at the miserable
habitation of another; at the nationality of one injured man, or at
the religion of another; as if because a man was poor he might be
bastinadoed and tortured with impunity; as if a man who was born in
Scotland might be robbed without redressal, or because a man is of
the Jewish persuasion, he is fair game for any outrage.[10] It is a
true saying and has often been repeated, that a very moderate share of
wisdom is sufficient for the guidance of human affairs. But there is
another truth, equally indisputable, which is, that a man who aspires
to govern mankind ought to bring to the task generous sentiments,
compassionate sympathies, and noble and elevated thoughts.

Now, sir, with regard to these cases, I would take first that which I
think would first present itself to the mind of an Englishman--I mean
the insult offered by the arrest of the boat’s crew of her Majesty’s
ship _Fantôme_. The time has been when a man aspiring to a public
situation would have thought it his duty to vindicate the honor of the
British navy. Times are changed. It is said that in this case there
were only a few sailors taken out of a boat by some armed men--that
they were carried to the guardhouse, but were soon set at liberty
again--and why should we trouble our heads about so small a matter?
But did we ask anything extraordinary or unreasonable on account of
this insult? What we asked was an apology. I really did not expect to
live to see the day, when public men in England could think that in
requiring an apology for the arbitrary and unjustifiable arrest of a
British officer and British seamen in the performance of their duty, we
were making a demand “doubtful in its nature, and exaggerated in its
amount.” Now, what is the history of this case? For circumstances have
been referred to, in connection with it, which do not appear from the
statement of the case itself. The son of the Vice-Consul, who had dined
on board the _Fantôme_, was taken ashore in the evening by the coxswain
and a boat’s crew, and landed on the beach. The coxswain accompanied
the young gentleman to his father’s house, and on returning to the boat
was taken prisoner by the Greek guard. The guard went down to the boat,
and, finding the seamen in it were without arms, began thumping them
with the butt-ends of their muskets, and wounded one man in the hand
by a thrust of a bayonet. The guard then took the seamen prisoners,
and carried them to the guardhouse; where after a certain time they
were released through the interposition of the Vice-Consul, and they
returned to their ship. Excuses were given for this proceeding, and the
gist of them was this--that the guard thought the boat belonged to the
_Spitfire_, and that it had been seen landing rebels, one of whom had
escaped;--this supposed rebel being a boy of fourteen years old, who
had returned quietly to his father’s house.

The matter to which these excuses related occurred a little while
before, in consequence of the disorganized state of Greece--a
disorganization, by the by, which arises entirely from the acts of
the Government: because it has been, and still is, the practice of
the Government, instead of punishing brigands, to give amnesty to and
pardon them; and, indeed, it is even supposed that the officers of
the police sometimes go shares in the plunder. That, however, is a
matter of opinion; but it is a fact that the robbers are almost always
pardoned; and such is the encouragement thereby given to the system
of plunder that the robbers go about armed, in bands, and sometimes
actually attack and occupy towns.

An instance of this kind happened at Patras. Merenditi, the leader of a
band of robbers, attacked Patras; the governor had an armed force under
his orders; but, whether from a determination to follow the example
set by the government of showing deference to the robbers, or because
he thought that discretion is the better part of valor, he fled, and
left the town to the mercy of the banditti. The inhabitants, finding
themselves deserted by their natural defenders, threw themselves on
the protection of the foreign consular body, and begged and intreated
that the Consuls would intercede for them, and make some arrangement
with the robbers. Our Consul accordingly, at the intercession and with
the authority of the principal inhabitants of Patras, entered into
an arrangement with the leader of the robbers, by which that leader
consented to forego the plunder of the town, on condition that he
should receive a certain sum of money and be conveyed away from the
town in safety by one of the British ships of war. The people of Patras
were thankful. The money required by the robbers, which was reduced by
negotiation to one half of their original demand, was collected and
deposited in the hands of the Vice-Consul. Merenditi marched down to
the quay to embark; when the governor, who had run away from danger,
now advanced boldly with his men, and endeavored to attack the robbers’
rear-guard, and to take some of them prisoners before they could
embark. Our officers, however, said, “No. There is not only honor
amongst thieves, but honor to be observed towards thieves. We were
asked to make an arrangement, and to give our guarantee--we will abide
by that guarantee, and protect this man and his band.” Accordingly he
was protected, and went off with the ransom paid by the inhabitants
of the town. This was the matter which was alluded to, when the Greek
authorities said that the guard supposed the boat’s crew, whom they
had made prisoners, had been landing rebels from the _Spitfire_--they
pretended to suppose that the boat had landed some of Merenditi’s band.
Surely no defence is necessary for having demanded an apology for an
insult offered the British navy. I am induced to believe that the
governments of other countries would have taken more severe measures
under similar circumstances.

I now come to the case of the Ionians who were plundered in the
custom-house at Salcina. These men were passing by in boats; they were
summoned to go in by the officer in command, and, when in, they were
robbed. The men who robbed them were dressed like soldiers, but were
said to be banditti. The customs officer alleged that he was beaten
by the robbers, and compelled by them to order the Ionians to enter
the custom-house. It must be remembered, however, that a Greek vessel
lying in the custom-house was not plundered; while the Ionians were
plundered, stripped of their clothes, and severely beaten. It is absurd
to compare a case of this kind with that of travellers attacked by
robbers in passing through a country.

If the government officer was not acting in connivance with the
robbers, still, when foreigners were decoyed into a Greek custom-house
by one of its officers, and were there beaten and plundered, the Greek
Government must be held responsible for what was done. This, however,
is said to be a case in which the unhappy Ionian boatmen ought to have
gone to law. I should like to know whom they could have prosecuted?
In this instance, our demand was moderate; we asked nothing for the
indignity and injury the men suffered, but simply the amount of which
they had been robbed.

I next come to the case of the two Ionians who, very innocently, as
they imagined, on a national festival, according to the custom of
their own country, ornamented their little booths, in which they sold
trifling articles, with flags. The police interfered and took down the
flags. Some discussion arose about indignity offered to the British
flag. The matter was not satisfactorily explained, but we let it drop.
We did not insist on that; and, if that had been all, nothing further
would have been said. But the Ionians were arrested, manacled and
thumbscrewed; and in that state paraded through the town, and put in
prison. It was said, “How could they go to prison except through the
streets?” True; but there was no necessity for taking them through
streets which did not lie in their way. They were paraded, by way of
insult, through the streets of Patras, and dismissed next day, because
no charge could be maintained against them. Then it was said that the
application of the thumbscrew had not maimed them for life. Had that
indeed been the case, the men would have been entitled to compensation;
but for a very little thumbscrewing, applied during an evening walk, no
compensation ought to have been required. I am of a different opinion.
Thumbscrews are not as easy to wear as gloves, which can be put on and
pulled off at pleasure. We therefore felt it necessary to require, in
this case, the moderate compensation of £20 each, for the men who had
been ill treated; and the more so, because of the habitual infliction
of torture by the police.

Then came the case of two men, whose houses being infested by
disagreeable insects, thought proper in hot weather to sleep in the
streets. They were taken up by the police, carried before an officer,
and severely flogged with a whip in the sight of persons who deposed to
the fact. What right had the Greek authorities to flog these men? They
had committed no offence; there had been no trial, no condemnation, no
sentence. In this case, also, compensation was demanded, as a token
that persons under British protection cannot be ill treated with
impunity.

Then I come to the case of Mr. Finlay.[11] It is said that he is a
“cannie Scot”; that he speculated in land, buying in the cheapest, and
wishing to sell in the dearest market. His land was taken by the King
of Greece, for purposes of private enjoyment. Nobody will deny that it
is fitting the Sovereign of Greece should have a palace; and, if it
was necessary to take Mr. Finlay’s ground for site, or for the garden
attached to it--Mr. Finlay himself made no objection to that. All that
Mr. Finlay wanted was to be paid for his land at a very cheap rate.
That was a matter with which the Greek Government had nothing to do;
they had only to pay Mr. Finlay what was the value of the land at the
time when they took it from him.

The conduct of the Greek Government in Mr. Finlay’s case was very
different from that of Frederick the Great in a similar case towards
one of his subjects, a man of humble rank. This man refused to sell
his sovereign a little bit of ground on which a windmill stood, the
ground being necessary for the completion of a magnificent plan of
residence for the monarch. The conduct of the King of Prussia was very
different from that of the King of Greece. The King of Prussia, though
a conqueror in the field and the absolute monarch of a great country,
respected the rights of a subject however humble; and not only left
the monument of the independence of his subject, standing in the midst
of his ornamented grounds, but used to point to it with pride, feeling
that it was proof that though he was great and powerful, he knew how to
respect the rights of the meanest. For fourteen long years Mr. Finlay
was driven from pillar to post, put off with every sort of shuffling
and evasive excuse, and deprived of compensation for his land, unless
he would take what was wholly inadequate.

In 1843 came a revolution. Till 1843 the Greek Government had
continued arbitrary; the King declining, under the circumstances I
have mentioned, to grant a constitution. In 1843 the patience of the
Greeks was exhausted. They rose in Athens, and extorted by force that
which had been refused to reason. When the constitution was granted,
courts of justice were established, which were not indeed independent,
because the judges were liable, not only to be removed from one court
to another, but to be entirely dismissed at the will of the sovereign;
still in 1843 there were courts to which Mr. Finlay might, as it has
been stated, have applied. But they were of no competence with respect
to events which had happened before their creation. Mr. Finlay,
therefore, had no remedy. But I have heard it most triumphantly,
distinctly, positively asserted, that this case exhibits the bad faith
of the English Government; for that at the time when Mr. Wyse made his
demands on the Greek Government, we and he knew the case of Mr. Finlay
was absolutely, finally, and conclusively settled. No such thing. That
is an assertion absolutely, finally, and conclusively at variance with
the truth.

There had been an agreement made for arbitration in this case; and
a most curious sample it affords of the manner in which things are
carried on in Greece. Mr. Finlay said, “I will submit my claim to
arbitration.” “By all means,” was the reply of the Greek Government;
“you shall have one arbiter and we another.” But Mr. Finlay has been
described as a “cannie Scot,” and looking far into the future, he
foresaw a possibility, which might have struck a man even not so far
north, that the two arbiters might differ; and he suggested that an
umpire be appointed. The Greek Government said, “You are quite right.”
But Mr. Finlay, being a sensible man, did not like to submit his case
to a tribunal where there would be two to one against him, and so
he declined the arbitration. The Greek Government then gave up this
unreasonable proposal, which they had made just as if it had been quite
a matter of course, and a commission of arbitration was agreed upon,
consisting of two respectable people, and an umpire properly appointed.
If that arbitration had gone on, and the money awarded by it had been
paid, Mr. Finlay’s case would have been absolutely, finally, and
conclusively settled. But by the law of Greece, arbiters so appointed
must pronounce an award within three months, or, if they don’t, then
the arbitration falls and drops to the ground. The commissioners could
not make their award without certain documents, which could only be
furnished by an officer of the Greek Government. This officer, by some
unfortunate accident, did not furnish them, and the arbitration fell to
the ground by efflux of time.

Therefore, when Baron Gros came to inquire into the matter, he found
this case just as it had been when Mr. Finlay first made his complaint.
Baron Gros said to Mr. Finlay, “Why, your claim is settled.” “Settled?
No,” said Mr. Finlay. “Why, have you not received your money?” “Not
a farthing; and I don’t know what amount I am to receive.” In short,
his case was exactly in the same state in which it was before the
arbitration had been agreed to.

That was a case in which we made no specific demand. The only specific
demand was, that Mr. Finlay should receive whatever the value of his
land should be found to be. We fixed no sum: we were unable to fix
any; and the sum he received afterward was the amount which the two
arbiters, one named by Mr. Finlay, the other by the Greek Government,
were prepared to award, splitting the difference between their
respective estimates. I don’t think that in that case, the claim was
either doubtful in justice, or exaggerated in amount.

Then we came to the claim of M. Pacifico--a claim which has been the
subject of much unworthy comment. Stories have been told, involving
imputations on the character of M. Pacifico; I know nothing of the
truth or falsehood of these stories. All I know is that M. Pacifico,
after the time to which those stories relate, was appointed Portuguese
Consul, first to Morocco and afterward to Athens. It is not likely that
the Portuguese Government would select for appointments of that kind, a
person whose character they did not believe to be above reproach. But I
say, with those who have before had occasion to advert to the subject,
that I don’t care what M. Pacifico’s character is. I do not, and cannot
admit, that because a man may have acted amiss on some other occasion,
and in some other matter, he is to be wronged with impunity by others.

The rights of a man depend on the merits of the particular case; and
it is an abuse of argument to say that you are not to give redress to
a man, because in some former transaction he may have done something
which is questionable. Punish him if you will--punish him if he is
guilty, but don’t pursue him as a Pariah through life.

What happened in this case? In the middle of the town of Athens, in
a house which I must be allowed to say is not a wretched hovel, as
some people have described it;--but it does not matter what it is, for
whether a man’s home be a palace, or a cabin, the owner has a right to
be there safe from injury--well, in a house which is not a wretched
hovel, but which in the early days of King Otho was, I am told, the
residence of the Count Armansperg, the Chief of the Regency--a house
as good as the generality of those which existed in Athens before
the sovereign ascended the throne--M. Pacifico, living in this house
within forty yards of the great street, within a few minutes’ walk of
a guardhouse where soldiers were stationed, was attacked by a mob.
Fearing injury, when the mob began to assemble, he sent an intimation
to the British Minister, who immediately informed the authorities.
Application was made to the Greek Government for protection. No
protection was afforded. The mob, in which were soldiers and _gens
d’armes_, who, even if officers were not with them, ought, from a
sense of duty, to have interfered and to have prevented plunder--the
mob headed by the sons of the Minister of War, not children eight or
ten years old, but older--that mob, for nearly two hours, employed
themselves in gutting the house of an unoffending man, carrying away
or destroying every single thing the house contained, and left it a
perfect wreck.

Is not that a case in which a man is entitled to redress from somebody?
I venture to think it is. I think that there is not a civilised country
where a man subject to such grievous wrong, not to speak of the insults
and injuries to the members of his family, would not justly expect
redress from some quarter or other. Where was he to apply for redress
at Athens? The Greek Government neglected its duty, and did not pursue
judicial inquiries, or institute legal prosecutions as it might have
done for the purpose of finding out and punishing some of the culprits.
The sons of the Minister of War were pointed out to the Government as
actors in the outrage. The Greek Government were told to “search a
particular house; and that some part of M. Pacifico’s jewels would
be found there.” They declined to prosecute the Minister’s sons, or
to search the house. But, it is said, M. Pacifico should have applied
to a court of law for redress. What was he to do? Was he to prosecute
a mob of five hundred persons? Was he to prosecute them criminally,
or in order to make them pay the value of his loss? Where was he to
find his witnesses? Why, he and his family were hiding or flying,
during the pillage, to avoid the personal outrages with which they
were threatened. He states that his own life was saved by the help of
an English friend. It was impossible, if he could have identified the
leaders, to have prosecuted them with success.

But what satisfaction would it have been to M. Pacifico, to have
succeeded in a criminal prosecution against the ringleaders of the
assault? Would that have restored to him his property? He wanted
redress, not revenge. A criminal prosecution was out of the question,
to say nothing of the chances, if not the certainty, of failure, in a
country where the tribunals are at the mercy of the advisers of the
Crown, the judges being liable to be removed, and being often actually
removed upon grounds of private and personal feeling. Was he to
prosecute for damages? His action would have lain against individuals,
and not, as in this country, against the hundred.[12] Suppose he had
been able to prove that one particular man carried off one particular
thing, or destroyed one particular article of furniture; what redress
could he anticipate by a lawsuit, which, as his legal advisers told
him, it would be vain for him to undertake? M. Pacifico truly said, “If
the man I prosecute is rich, he is sure to be acquitted; if he is poor,
he has nothing out of which to afford compensation if he is condemned.”

The Greek Government having neglected to give protection they were
bound to extend, and having abstained from taking means to afford
redress, this was a case in which we were justified in calling on the
Greek Government for compensation for the losses, whatever they might
be, which M. Pacifico had suffered. I think that claim was founded in
justice. The amount we did not pretend to fix. If the Greek Government
had admitted the principle of the claim, and had objected to the
account sent in by M. Pacifico--if they had said, “This is too much,
and we think a less sum sufficient,” that would have been a question
open to discussion, and which our Ministers, Sir E. Lyons at first,
or Mr. Wyse afterwards, would have been ready to have gone into, and
no doubt some satisfactory arrangement might thus have been effected
by the Greek Government. But the Greek Government denied altogether
the principle of the claim. Therefore, when Mr. Wyse came to make the
claim, he could not but demand that the claim should be settled, or be
placed in train of settlement, and that within a definite period, as he
fixed it, of twenty-four hours.

Whether M. Pacifico’s statement of his claim was exaggerated or not,
the demand was not for any particular amount of money. An investigation
might have been instituted, which those who acted for us were prepared
to enter into, fairly, dispassionately, and justly.

M. Pacifico having, from year to year, been treated either with answers
wholly unsatisfactory, or with a positive refusal, or with pertinacious
silence, it came at last to this, either that his demand was to be
abandoned altogether, or that, in pursuance of the notice we had given
the Greek Government a year or two before, we were to proceed to use
our own means of enforcing the claim. “Oh! but,” it is said, “what an
ungenerous proceeding to employ so large a force against so small a
power!” Does the smallness of a country justify the magnitude of its
evil acts? Is it held that if your subjects suffer violence, outrage,
plunder, in a country which is small and weak, you are to tell them
when they apply for redress, that the country is so weak and so small
that we cannot ask it for compensation? Their answer would be, that the
weakness and smallness of the country make it so much the more easy to
obtain redress. “No,” it is said, “generosity is to be the rule.” We
are to be generous to those who have been ungenerous to you; and we
cannot give you redress because we have such ample and easy means of
procuring it.

Well, then, was there anything so uncourteous in sending, to back
our demands, a force which should make it manifest to all the world
that resistance was out of the question? Why, it seems to me, on the
contrary, that it was more consistent with the honor and dignity of
the Government on whom we made those demands, that there should be
placed before their eyes a force, which it would be vain to resist,
and before which it would be no indignity to yield. If we had sent
merely a frigate and a sloop of war, or any force with which it was
possible their forces might have matched, we should have placed them
in a more undignified position by asking them to yield to so small a
demonstration. Therefore, so far from thinking that the amount of the
force which happened to be on the spot was any aggravation of what
was called the indignity of our demand, it seems to me that the Greek
Government, on the contrary, ought rather to have considered it as
diminishing the humiliation, whatever it might be, of being obliged
to give at last to compulsion, that which had been so long refused to
entreaty.

Well, then, however, did we, in the application of that force, either
depart from established usage, or do anything that was unnecessarily
pressing on the innocent and unoffending population of Greece? I say
the innocent and unoffending population, because it was against the
Government, and not against the nation, that our claim for redress was
directed. The courses that may be pursued in cases where wrong is done
by one Government towards the subjects of another are various. One is
what is commonly called “reprisals”; that is, the seizing something of
value, and holding it in deposit until your demands are complied with;
or, if you fail in that and don’t choose to resort to other methods,
applying that which you have seized, as a compensation for the wrong
sustained. That is one method. Another is the modified application
of war--such as a blockade--a measure frequently adopted by the
governments of maritime states when they demand redress for injuries.
Last come actual hostilities. Many instances of such measures have
been quoted in this debate as having been adopted by the governments
of other countries, especially by the French Government, when they
have had a demand to make for injuries sustained by their subjects;
and, by the by, when people complain of the peremptory manner in
which our demand was made, and the shortness of the time allowed for
consideration, I wish to call to the recollection of the Honorable
Gentlemen what was done by the French squadron no longer ago than 1848.

There was an insurrection at Naples, in May, 1848. The great street
of the town was filled with barricades, and the troops had to force
those barricades. To do that, they were obliged to occupy the houses
right and left, in order to turn those defences; and as they forced
one house after another, and passed on from house to house, they
neglected to leave any guards behind them. They were followed by the
Lazzaroni,[13] and the houses were plundered. Some French people
whose shops were thus rifled, complained to the French Minister, and
to the French Admiral--there being then a French squadron before the
port at Naples. The French Admiral, Admiral Baudin, quite cut out Sir
W. Parker, and being applied to by those French citizens, he sails
up the bay, lays his ships broadside to, in front of the palace, and
writes a note to the Government to say, that he has been called on by
his countrymen to protect them; and he adds--that letter being dated
half-past one on the 17th of May--that unless by three o’clock of that
very day he obtains a satisfactory assurance--a satisfactory assurance
that his countrymen shall be efficiently protected, reserving, he says,
for future discussion their claims for compensation--but--

“Unless in one hour and a half I get, on board this ship, a
satisfactory assurance that they shall be efficiently protected, I
shall land the crews of my fleet, and will take care of them myself.”

Well, then, I say that Sir W. Parker acted with the greatest moderation
in enforcing our demands. He began with reprisals, not with a blockade,
wishing to avoid all unnecessary interruption to the commerce of other
countries. But he made reprisals in a way which I believe has not often
been adopted. The Government was the offending party, and he took
possession of vessels belonging to the Government. Now, that is not the
usual plan, and for very good reasons.

Vessels belonging to governments are armed. They may feel it to be
their duty to defend themselves. To seize armed vessels would probably
lead to bloodshed; and reprisals are generally effected by seizing
merchant vessels belonging to the country on whom the demand is made.
But, the disparity of force being so great on this occasion, Sir W.
Parker began by seizing the few armed vessels belonging to the state.
He then gave the Government time to reflect upon that demonstration. It
was not attended to. Even then he did not immediately proceed to make
reprisals upon merchant vessels. He first laid an embargo upon them.
He gave notice that he had placed a lien upon them, and that they must
not quit their ports. That failed; then he took merchant vessels,
but only a limited number, and placed them under the custody of his
fleet, avoiding to subject commerce in general to any greater degree
of restraint than was unavoidably necessary for the execution of his
instructions. It has been said, that we seized upon fishing-boats, and
interrupted the coasting trade. I don’t believe that. On the contrary,
I believe that the embargo did not extend to fishing-boats, or to
vessels of small tonnage employed in the coasting trade of the country.

Well, sir, in that state of things, the French Government offered us
their good offices and mediation. We readily and cheerfully accepted
their good offices. We accepted them by a note of the 12th of February,
which has been laid on the table, and in which we distinctly stated the
grounds and conditions on which, and the extent to which, those good
offices were accepted.

There could be no mistake between the English and French Governments
upon that point. We took as our precedent the course that was pursued
in the sulphur questions at Naples, when M. Thiers was Minister. In
that case, we stated that reprisals would be suspended the moment any
French Minister on the spot declared himself authorized to negotiate.
In the said present case we went further, and said, that the moment the
good offices of France were officially offered and officially accepted,
we would send out instructions that the further making of reprisals
should be suspended. In both cases we said we could not release the
ships that had been detained, because by so doing we should give up the
security which we held in our hands against the offending Government.

It has been stated that a misunderstanding arose between the
Governments of France and England, in the course of the mediation, good
offices, or whatever it may be called. I cannot say that there was any
misunderstanding between M. Drouyn de Lhuys and myself, because it will
be seen from his own despatches laid before the French Chamber, that he
clearly understood the conditions on which the good offices of France
were accepted. He repeatedly states that England gives up none of her
demands--that is to say, that she gives up none of the principles of
her demands; and that the only questions which the French negotiator
is competent to discuss are those which did not involve the negation
of the principles of our demands. Well, what were those questions?
They were only the amount of money to be given to Mr. Finlay and to M.
Pacifico, but not the question whether those gentlemen were to receive
anything or nothing.

Then the question arose between us, what were the circumstances under
which the good offices were to cease, and coercive measures were to be
resumed; and it was distinctly understood on my part, as well as on
that of M. Drouyn de Lhuys, that Mr. Wyse was not to take upon himself
to determine when Baron Gros’s mission had failed; and that it was only
when Baron Gros should have announced that his mission had ceased, that
Mr. Wyse was to resume coercive measures. It was further agreed between
us, and especially on the 9th of April, that if a difference of opinion
arose between Baron Gros and Mr. Wyse, on those points which Baron Gros
was competent to discuss, Mr. Wyse was not to stand absolutely on his
difference, and that if he did not find it possible to give way, he
was, instead of saying, “Now, Baron Gros, your mission is at an end,”
to refer home for further instructions. It is said that it was wrong of
me not to have sent out to Mr. Wyse information of that understanding,
come to on the 9th of April with M. Drouyn de Lhuys. Well, but in the
first place I had already sent to Mr. Wyse, on the 25th of March,
instructions which, if acted on in the spirit in which they were
written, would render such a reference home altogether unnecessary. And
they did render such reference home altogether unnecessary; because
at last, when Baron Gros and Mr. Wyse came to the point of difference
as to the amount of money to be paid, and Baron Gros said, “I would
counsel the Government of Greece to pay 150,000 drachmas,” while Mr.
Wyse said he was ready to accept 180,000 drachmas, Mr. Wyse at last,
much more prudently than if he had referred this difference home, and
had exposed Greek commerce to the restraint to which a continuance of
the _status quo_ would have subjected it for a whole month, said, “I
will, if other things are agreed to, come down to your amount--I will
waive my opinion, and accept the sum you are willing to recommend the
Greek Government to give.” Therefore, practically, I say, and in the
result, the case did not arise to which those instructions could have
applied.

Those instructions, if they had reached Mr. Wyse, would not have
applied to the difference which did arise between him and Baron Gros;
for that difference was this--it turned upon the claims of M. Pacifico.
Baron Gros, on the 16th of April, was willing to recommend to the
Greek Government to take an engagement to investigate the claims of M.
Pacifico, in regard to the destruction of his Portuguese documents; and
to pay him whatever might be the amount which, upon investigation, he
might prove to be entitled to on that account; and to make a deposit of
150,000 drachmas as a pledge for the good faith with which they would
execute that engagement. The only difference between Baron Gros and Mr.
Wyse upon that occasion was, that Baron Gros proposed that the deposit,
which they had both agreed should consist of shares of the Bank of
Athens, should be left in the Bank of Athens; whereas Mr. Wyse required
that it should be deposited either in the Bank of England, or, if the
Greek Government preferred it, in the Bank of France. That seemed to be
a difference that might be easily settled. But, on the 22d of April,
Baron Gros altered his opinion. He retracted his opinion upon that
point, and stated that later information from Portugal had convinced
him, that M. Pacifico’s claim, in reference to the destruction of his
Portuguese documents, was wholly unfounded. Baron Gros said he would
no longer consent to recommend the Greek Government to enter into any
engagement to pay anything to M. Pacifico on that account. He would
agree to an investigation, but only provided that Portugal, and not the
Greek Government should pay what might turn out to be due. But this was
a point which Baron Gros was not competent to discuss. This new view
of his would have been a negation of the principle upon which one of
our claims rested; and, there being a difference of that kind between
Mr. Wyse and Baron Gros, Mr. Wyse had no occasion to refer for fresh
instructions--for he had received detailed instructions from me in a
despatch, dated the 25th of March, sufficient to guide his conduct upon
that point.

Baron Gros then withdrew from the negotiation, and that withdrawal
was officially communicated, not only to Mr. Wyse, but to the Greek
Government also. On the 24th, however, he received a despatch from
General Lahitte, giving an account of the conversation which had
passed between me and M. Drouyn de Lhuys, on the 9th; an account, by
the way, which was not quite accurate, because it made me say that if
any difference arose between Baron Gros and Mr. Wyse, Mr. Wyse should
refer home for instructions; whereas all that I agreed to was, that
such reference should be made in the case of irreconcilable difference
between them, as to the amount of money to be paid by the Greek
Government for those claims in regard to which we had not specified
fixed sums; that is to say, for Mr. Finlay’s land and for M. Pacifico’s
losses of furniture and goods at Athens. Baron Gros then proposed to
withdraw the note, by which he announced officially the cessation of
his functions, and he asked that his draft of arrangement, together
with Mr. Wyse’s draft, should be referred to London for decision.

An impression has gone abroad that on that occasion (the 24th), Baron
Gros received, and communicated to Mr. Wyse, not merely an account
of the conversation between me and M. Drouyn de Lhuys on the 9th of
April, but an account of the essential basis and an announcement
of the expected arrival of the draft of convention which had been
proposed to me by M. Drouyn de Lhuys for the first time on the 15th,
discussed on the 16th, agreed to on the 18th, and sent off on the
19th; and Mr. Wyse is greatly blamed by many persons, both here and
in France, upon the assumption that, whereas Baron Gros had informed
him, on the 24th of April, that the English and French Governments
had come to an agreement as to the essential bases of the convention
to be signed between England and Greece, and had moreover told him
that the convention itself would shortly be received at Athens--yet
nevertheless, with this knowledge of the facts, he renewed coercive
measures, and compelled the Greek Government to yield to his own
demands. This assertion, so far as Mr. Wyse is concerned, is positively
untrue. It is totally and wholly untrue. He received no communication
from Baron Gros on the 24th, and none earlier than the 2d of May,
relative to the draft of the convention agreed upon in London. Whether
Baron Gros received the information or not on the 24th by the _Vauban_,
I leave to be settled between him and his Government. The explanations
of General Lahitte would indeed lead to the inference that he did not.

The statement to which I refer was made by “our own correspondent” of
the _Times_. I may say, in passing that one person who has spoken on
this subject elsewhere, has had the substance of his speech claimed
publicly by the _Morning Herald_ as a compilation from its leading
articles; and another has obviously been more indebted to the _Times_
than to the blue books for the statements on which he has founded his
assertions. But the correspondent of the _Times_ stated distinctly, and
upon that statement public opinion in this country has been formed,
that Baron Gros did inform Mr. Wise on the 24th, that he had received
by the _Vauban_ a statement announcing the London convention, and that,
in spite of that information, Mr. Wyse resumed coercive measures.
I understand that the French Government say that this is an entire
mistake; that no information respecting the convention could have
been communicated to Mr. Wyse on the 24th, because Baron Gros did not
receive any by the _Vauban_, which arrived on that day. The complaint,
therefore, against Mr. Wyse, come from what quarter it may, and I have
no doubt it was sincerely believed at the moment it was made, that
complaint can no longer be maintained, and is withdrawn.

With respect to the other complaint, that I did not write to Mr. Wyse
an account of what had passed on the 9th of April, the simple reason
why I did not was, that he was already in possession of instructions
which were sufficient; that I could not have written till the 17th,
and that on the 15th another arrangement was proposed, which provided
an immediate settlement on the spot, and which therefore rendered any
further reference to me by him out of the question. But it was said
that if the French Government could have sent information to Baron Gros
by the _Vauban_, why could not we have sent at the same time similar
information to Mr. Wyse? Why, solely because we were in London, and
the French Government was in Paris, and that if a steamer had been
despatched by us from Portsmouth, it could not have got round to
Athens so soon as a steamer despatched by the French Government from
Marseilles or Toulon. But, as I have said, the convention of the 15th
having been agreed to, all further reference to me by Mr. Wyse, was
rendered unnecessary, because that convention was to be presented as an
ultimatum to the Greek Government, by the British and French diplomatic
agents.

And when it is said that those demands of ours on the Greek Government
were so much repudiated by the Government of Russia and of France;
and that by putting forward those claims we ran the risk of involving
this country in a war with those Powers, I must be permitted to say,
that, with respect to Russia, the despatch of Count Nesselrode to Baron
Brunow, of the 19th of February, totally negatives that assertation. In
that despatch, Count Nesselrode admits that he was aware as long ago
as 1847, that our patience might be exhausted, and that we might have
recourse to coercive measures against Greece to enforce our claims;
and he says, moreover, that if lately, when we determined to enforce
our claims, we had asked Russia to give us her assistance, she would
have endeavored to persuade the Greek Government to come to an amicable
settlement with us; and if the efforts of Russia to that effect had
been unsuccessful, Russia could not then have expected that we should
indefinitely postpone coercive measures out of deference to her.

With respect to France, the much-talked-of convention of the 19th of
April was to be recommended by France to Greece in a way which made its
acceptance pretty certain; and in that convention there was at once
full acknowledgment of the principle of all our demands, and of the
amount which we thought it just and right to require. I am sorry that
the convention did not arrive before the other settlement took place,
but that was not the fault of our negotiator. It was not he who put
an end to Baron Gros’ functions, but Baron Gros himself. Baron Gros
formally and officially withdrew from the negotiation, and that by a
written communication, not addressed to Mr. Wyse alone, but to the
Greek Government also.

But it is said he was willing to retract it, and that on the 24th of
April he wrote to Mr. Wyse to say: “Send me back my note, and I will
give you back yours.” Now, to this Mr. Wyse said:

“I cannot exactly do what you wish, but I have another proposal to
make to you. You ask me to refer to England, and to maintain the
_status quo_ till I get an answer; but to keep the Greek vessels in
custody till that answer arrives would subject Greek commerce to
great inconvenience. Instead of this, I propose that if the Greek
Government will send me 180,000 drachmas with a letter that that sum
is in satisfaction of all our claims excepting M. Pacifico’s claim on
account of the loss of his Portuguese documents, I will----”

Do--what? Refer home? No. Continue the _status quo_? No.

“I will immediately release all the Greek merchant vessels. I will only
retain the few Government vessels as a pledge, leaving the wording of
the apology in the case of the _Fantôme_, and the compensation for the
loss sustained by M. Pacifico by the destruction of his Portuguese
documents, to be settled by future discussion.”

The effect of that arrangement would have been, that the points on
which Mr. Wyse and Baron Gros differed would have been left open for
future discussion; that coercive measures, as far as Greek commerce
was concerned, would have been entirely suspended; the convention of
London, of the 19th of April, would have arrived in time; but the Greek
Government indeed would, by that convention, have had to pay probably a
larger sum than the 180,000 drachmas. But what was Baron Gros’ answer
to that? He said, on the 24th, “I have withdrawn from the negotiation,
and I cannot therefore officially transmit to the Greek Government
your proposal.” Therefore it was not merely by his official notes
of the 22d April to Mr. Wyse and M. Londos, that Baron Gros withdrew
from the negotiation, for he repeated his withdrawal, in answer to
this proposition; but he intimated, in a private letter, that he had
made it known to the Greek Government. “To-morrow the 25th,” he said,
“I believe you will have, before five o’clock of the afternoon, your
letter and your money.”

Now, was Mr. Wyse in a hurry to resume coercive measures? Did he catch
at the first moment at which he might have been authorized to resume
hostilities? Far from it. He waited from the 22d to the 24th, and from
the 24th till five o’clock in the afternoon of the 25th, and it was not
till after that hour had passed, at which Baron Gros had led him to
expect that he would receive from the Greek Government an acceptance of
his conciliatory proposal; it was not till that hour had passed without
any communication arriving, that he announced, through the British
Consul, that the embargo would again be established.

It is plain, therefore, that Mr. Wyse did not put an end to Baron Gros’
functions, or show any impatience to renew coercive measures. Baron
Gros himself put an end to his own functions, in spite of Mr. Wyse’s
repeated entreaties that he would not do so; and when Baron Gros had
formally withdrawn, Mr. Wyse, instead of at once resuming coercive
measures, made another and a very conciliatory proposal; but Baron
Gros’ answer to this was a renewed declaration that he had withdrawn
from the negotiation, and that his official functions had ceased.

Since then, negotiations have taken place between the Governments of
England and France, which, I am happy to say, have been brought at
last to a satisfactory conclusion. We are ready to accept such parts
of the proposed convention as are still applicable to what remains to
be done. Having received and distributed to the claimants the 180,000
drachmas, we don’t insist upon the difference between the sum and the
sum that was to be required by the convention. The apology written
by M. Londos is retained, and cannot be returned to him, in order
that instead of it, he may send us the one proposed by M. Drouyn de
Lhuys. The only thing, therefore, that remains to be settled, is the
investigation of the claims of M. Pacifico on account of the loss of
his Portuguese documents. With regard to these claims, by arrangement
of the 27th of April, a material security was given in the shape of
a pecuniary deposit. The convention, of which I have drawn up the
details, contained on that point a diplomatic guarantee, instead of a
substantial guarantee; for it was a convention to be ratified by two
sovereigns, providing that a commission of arbitration which should
be named by three Governments to investigate was to be made not by a
commission, but by the British and Greek Governments jointly. We are
perfectly ready to substitute the one arrangement for the other, if
the Greek Government choose to adopt it; but we do not intend to urge
it upon them, if they do not. If they prefer the arrangement of the
convention, we are prepared to conclude a convention to that effect,
superseding the corresponding part of the arrangement which was
concluded at Athens.

There is, however, one point in Mr. Wyse’s arrangement which was
not included in the draft of the convention, because it applies
to circumstances of which we were not aware at the time when the
convention of London was framed. Mr. Wyse exacted an engagement on the
part of the Government of Greece that they should not put forward, or
support, if put forward by others, any claims for compensation arising
from losses or injuries consequent upon the coercive measures to which
we had recourse. The motive of Mr. Wyse for requiring that engagement
was, that he understood the Government of Greece had been collecting
and beating up for claims of that kind, which they meant to put forward
to a very large amount. We attach no value to that engagement as
bearing in any manner whatever upon the validity of any such claims.
Such claims can have no just foundations whatever; and if they were put
forward by the Greek Government our answer could only be, “These claims
have no foundation in right or reason, and we utterly and entirely
reject them.” But the value of that arrangement was, that by shutting
the door against such claims, it prevented the Greek Government from
raising discussions which might interrupt the good understanding and
friendly relations between the two countries. The British Government
are willing, instead of that engagement, to accept the good offices of
the French Government, whose good offices with the Government of Greece
under existing circumstances have some value, and who will advise the
King of Greece not to put forward any such unfounded claims, and with
that advice we shall be content.

Thus terminates all difference between the Governments of England and
France in regard to these matters; and I believe that if it had not
been for discussions which are now taking place in the French Assembly,
the distinguished individual who represents the French Government at
this Court, might have been present to hear the debate of to-night. So
much, then, with regard to the affairs of Greece, and the course which
we have pursued in regard to them; but there still remains the question
of the far-famed islands of Sapienza and Cervi.

Now, with respect to these islands, my opinion is clear and decided.
That opinion, as has been already stated this evening, is supported
by the opinion of my predecessor in office, the Earl of Aberdeen, as
appears by a despatch from him to Sir E. Lyons, which has been laid on
the table. The case is simply this: There are certain islands on the
coast of Greece, which originally belonged to Venice, and which, by
the Treaty of 1800, between Russia and the Porte, were erected into a
separate State.[14] The seven great islands and all the other islands,
great and small, inhabited and uninhabited on the coast of Albania
and of the Morea, were placed under feudal relations to Turkey; and
were secured by the guarantee of Russia; and it was declared that
the constitution which that State might give to itself should be
communicated to, and be sanctioned by, the two protecting Powers. At
that time the Morea and the other parts of Greece belonged to Turkey.
In 1803 these islands made their constitution, which, I presume, was
communicated to, and sanctioned by, the two protecting Powers; and
in 1804, in execution of that constitution they made a municipal
distribution of the smaller islands, allotting them respectively to the
seven larger islands; and in a public decree, which I cannot doubt must
have been made known both to Turkey and Russia, Sapienza aggregated to
Zante, and Cervi to Cerigo.

Now, can any man suppose that, if Cervi and Sapienza had been part
of the Turkish territory at that time, the Sultan would have allowed
his vassals of the Ionian State to appropriate to themselves what
belonged to him? or that Russia, who was still more vigilant, and was
under engagement, by guarantee, to defend and maintain the territory
of this Ionian State, would have permitted a proceeding, which on
such a supposition, would have thrown on her the duty of defending for
the Ionian State islands which belonged to Turkey? But these islands
have always been considered by the British Government, ever since
the Septinsular Republic was placed under the protection of England,
as belonging to the Ionian State; and it is well known that officers
quartered at Cerigo have been in the habit of going to Cervi for
purposes of amusement, and that that island has always been held to be
part of the Ionian territory.

The boundaries of Greece were settled by the Protocol of February,
1830, with the exception of an improvement in the northern frontier,
which was afterwards arranged between the Three Powers and the Porte,
and in the settlement of which we were assisted by an honorable and
gallant friend of mine, the Member for Portarlington, who was employed
in surveying that improved line. A map was attached to the Protocol of
February, 1830, and a red line, of which we have heard much, was drawn
upon that map to mark part of the boundary which, was established by
the Protocol; but that red line was mentioned in the Protocol only as
marking the northern boundary of Greece, east and west from sea to
sea, and it did not apply to the islands. The islands which were to
form part of the Greek State, were enumerated by name in the Protocol,
and neither Cervi nor Sapienza were included in that enumeration.

It is, therefore, impossible to contend that the public acts which
constituted the Kingdom of Greece included either of these islands
within its territory. If, then, the Greek Government has taken
possession of either of these two islands, it is the Greek Government
that has intruded upon the territory of the Ionian State; and the
British Government has not, by demanding the evacuation of those
islands, wanted to intrude upon the territory of the Kingdom of Greece.
But this question did not form part of the demands made by Mr. Wyse on
the 15th of January. It is a separate question, and remains open for
fair discussion between the Governments of Greece and England, and of
England, France, and Russia.

Our applications about these islands had remained unnoticed by the
Greek Government for ten years. It may be asked, then, why did we renew
them at this particular time? Because the Greek Government committed
last year an act of aggression on the island of Cervi which they had
never committed before. A boat going between Cerigo and Zante with
convicts was driven by stress of weather upon Cervi, when the convicts
were liberated, and other acts were committed as if the island had been
Greek territory. It became necessary, therefore, to call for an answer
to our application, and if no answer was given, to take possession of
the islands--an operation which could be performed by a boat’s crew,
without involving any greater employment of force. But, as has already
been stated, the Greek Government hearing that these islands were to be
taken possession of, at last broke their ten years’ silence, and made a
reply; and a discussion being thus opened, the forcible occupation was
suspended. With respect to the Government of Russia, that Government
was made aware so long ago as the beginning of last October, of the
instructions we had given for the occupation of those islands.

Having disposed of the matter of Greece, I now come to the wider
range which was taken last night by the Right Honorable Baronet, the
Member for Ripon.[15] That Right Honorable Baronet took, I think, a
proper view of the question before the House, because the resolution
which has been proposed is not confined to one particular act of her
Majesty’s Government with regard to foreign affairs, but does fully
involve and open the consideration of all the topics to which the Right
Honorable Gentleman adverted. I agree, however, with those honorable
gentlemen who have contended that the resolution does not imply an
absolute and entire approval of every act that has been done by the
Government; and, indeed, it would be unreasonable to propose such a
vote to the House: because it could hardly be expected that so large
a number of men, possessing different degrees of information, holding
different views, and not knowing exactly in all cases what have been
the grounds upon which the Government have acted, though they may
approve of the general principles which have guided the conduct of the
Government, should implicitly approve of everything we may have done.

The Right Honorable Baronet was justified in taking that larger range
into which he expatiated last night; but I must be allowed to set him
right as to the first point upon which he touched. He stated what was
quite true, that when he was a member of Earl Grey’s administration,
he concurred with me in many acts of foreign policy of which I was the
organ, which involved very active interposition in the affairs of other
countries. He instanced the negotiations in regard to Belgium, and its
separation from Holland. He has done justice to the views which guarded
the Government of that day, in their opinion that the independence
of Belgium would be a measure advantageous to the peace, present and
future, of Europe. But, then, he says, that case was different from
the acts of the present Government, because every step in that affair
was taken with the concurrence of all the five Powers who were parties
to the negotiation, The Right Honorable Baronet said that there were,
to be sure, some things which went beyond mere negotiation; there was
the siege of Antwerp, and the embargo laid by us upon Dutch ships.
He had concurred, he said, in both measures; but were those measures
steps taken with the full consent of all five Powers? Were those acts
measures of such description that they rendered it quite impossible
that the friendly relations of this country with other Powers could
be disturbed thereby? The Right Honorable Baronet must, I am sure,
recollect that Austria, Russia, and Prussia dissented from those
measures; that in consequence thereof they withdrew for a time from the
conference, and that a Prussian army was collected near the banks of
the Meuse, the presence of which rendered it necessary for the French
to send a very large force to Antwerp, much more than was required for
the mere siege of the citadel, and also to have a reserve ready in case
of need. I know very well that when people are out of office their
memory is not so quick and retentive as to things which happened while
they were in power as it would have been if they had remained in; but
on this point the Right Honorable Baronet made an important mistake,
especially as bearing upon the particular question now before the House.

I agree with the Right Honorable Baronet that, in regard to the affairs
of Belgium, the Government of England came to a wise determination. I
think that the arrangement which in 1815 had been thought conducive
to the peace of Europe, and by which, through the union of Belgium
with Holland, a Power of some consideration was to be formed in that
particular part of Europe, interposed between Germany on one side and
France on the other--I think that that arrangement, which originally,
by those who framed it, was, and not without reason, expected to prove
advantageous to the peace of Europe, had, by the course of events,
turned out to have a contrary tendency. The people of Belgium and of
Holland evidently could not coalesce; and if certain Powers of Europe
had combined at that moment to compel a reunion between these separated
portions of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, I doubt whether the reunion
could have been effected without the immediate explosion of a war in
Europe of the greatest magnitude; and I am quite sure that if it had
been effected, it could not have lasted, and the foundation must have
been laid thereby of future and inevitable disturbance. We carried out
our opinion upon that point to a practical result.

It is not to be disguised, at this time of day, that our opinion on
that matter was not shared by Austria, Russia, and Prussia. They
would much rather have seen the two countries reunited; and if that
reunion was at that time impossible, they would have been glad of an
arrangement which might have tended to render a reunion thereafter
more easy. This was not breach of faith on their part; they acted,
I am bound to say, with great good faith and honor in the whole
transaction; but they had that opinion which differed from the opinion
of England and France. Nevertheless, our arrangements prevailed; and
was that, now, an instance of a policy which deserves the censure and
condemnation of Parliament and of the country?

I remember of being taunted in this House by being told of my “little
experimental Belgium monarchy.” It was predicted that the experiment
would not succeed; it was said that there was no national feeling
among the Belgians; that they would, on the first opportunity, throw
themselves into the arms of their nearest neighbor; that we were only
laying the foundation of another change; and that our arrangement was
only “a transition state.” Why, if ever there was an experiment--call
it so if you will--that fully and completely succeeded, the erection
of Belgium into an independent State was that experiment. In times
when almost all the other countries in Europe have been convulsed
from top to bottom, Belgium has remained undisturbed. The people have
shown the most admirable devotion and attachment to their sovereign;
the sovereign the greatest confidence in, and love for, his people;
the nation has made rapid advances in industry and in the arts, in
everything which distinguishes a civilized state; all this reflects
the greatest honor upon the Belgian people; and they have, moreover,
acquired a spirit and sentiment of nationality which entitles them to
the respect of every other country in the world. I say, then, that so
far as we were concerned in effecting that arrangement, I think that is
a case to which we can refer with pride and satisfaction, and in regard
to which we can justly claim the approbation of Parliament and of the
country. But it was not altogether without encountering difficulty, not
only in other countries, but at home, that we were able to bring that
long negotiation to a successful issue.[16]

Then the Right Honorable Baronet says, that he was also a party to
another operation which differed in some degree from pure and mere
diplomatic intervention--the interference of this country in the
affairs of Portugal by the Quadruple Treaty of 1834.[17]

       *       *       *       *       *

Now, the fault I find with those who are so fond of attacking me
either here or elsewhere, in this country or in others, is that they
try to bring down every question to a personal bearing. If they want
to oppose the policy of England, they say, “Let us get rid of the man
who happens to be the organ of that policy.” Why, it is like shooting
a policeman. As long as England is England, as long as the English
people are animated by the feelings and spirit and opinions which they
possess, you may knock down twenty foreign Ministers one after another,
but depend upon it no one will keep his place who does not act upon
the same principles. When it falls to my duty, in pursuance of my
functions, to oppose the policy of any Government, the immediate cry
is, “Oh, it’s all spite against this man, or that man, Count This, or
Prince That, that makes you do this.” So the Right Honorable Baronet
says our object in 1847 was merely to get rid of Costa Cabral; and, he
adds, Costa Cabral being now in office, our purpose has been defeated.
Now, as regards mere personal considerations, we did not care who was
Minister of Portugal; but we felt that there was in that country much
popular excitement, that party was arrayed against party, class against
class, that there were bitter animosities ready to break out, and we
knew perfectly well that if a member of the Cabral faction, was, at
that particular time, made Minister there would be a renewal of civil
war; we accordingly excluded, not forever, but merely for a time, and
until the Cortes should decide who was to have their confidence, and
who should be Minister, all men of the extreme parties, whether of the
Cabral faction or of the Junta faction. I, therefore, cannot admit the
triumph which the Right Honorable Baronet thinks he has obtained at my
expense, by the fact that Costa Cabral, in spite of our proceedings in
1847, is now, in 1850, Minister of Portugal.

Now come to Spain. It is perfectly true that the Right Honorable
Baronet was not in office when the Additional Articles of
1835--additional to the Treaty of 1834--were concluded. But what was
the Treaty of 1834--the Quadruple Treaty? It was a treaty to expel from
the peninsula not Don Miguel only, but Don Carlos also, who was then
at the head of the troops in Portugal; and, therefore, so far as the
spirit and provisions of that Treaty of 1834 went, the Right Honorable
Baronet cannot ride off by saying that it confined itself entirely to
Portugal, and did not extend to interference with Spain. Don Carlos was
at the time in Portugal, at the head of the troops, with the purpose
of getting back into Spain; and, had Don Miguel been successful in
Portugal, there is no doubt that Don Carlos would have availed himself
of the circumstance to enforce his claims upon Spain. Don Carlos having
been expelled from the Peninsula under the Treaty of 1834, came to
London for a time, and then returned to Spain. Hostilities were resumed
in Spain; and the Additional Articles of 1835 were then concluded, for
the purpose of giving to the Queen of Spain assistance, to enable her
to retain the Crown, and to expel Don Carlos from Spain.[18]

This was a case exactly similar to that of Portugal in the preceding
year. We had no particular interest, in the abstract, in determining
whether the Sovereign of Spain should be an infant princess, as
Isabella then was, or a full-grown prince; the mere abstract question
between Isabella and Carlos was one in regard to which we had nothing
to stake, and which the then Government of England would probably
not have thought it proper or useful to interfere with. Questions of
succession to a Crown have, indeed, at all times been matters with
which foreign Powers have concerned themselves; but it has only been
when some distant interest has made it worth their while to do so. But
in Spain, as in Portugal, the question was between arbitrary rule and
constitutional and parliamentary government, and in relation to Spain,
as well as to Portugal, we thought that the interests of England in
every point of view, commercial and political, would be benefited by
the establishment of constitutional government.

If England has any interest more than another with reference to Spain,
it is that Spain should be independent, that Spain should be Spanish.
Spain for the Spaniards, is the maxim upon which we proceed in our
policy with regard to Spain. Much evil must ever come to this country
from the fact of Spain being under the dictation of other Powers. It
is eminently for our interest that when we have the misfortune to be
in dispute or at war with any other Power, we should not, merely on
that account and without any offence to or from Spain herself, be at
war with Spain also. It is to our advantage that so long as we have
given no offence to Spain, and she none to us, differences with other
Powers should not involve us in war with her: and we considered
that the independence of Spain was more likely to be secured by a
Government controlled by a representative and national Assembly,
than by a Government purely arbitrary, and consisting merely of the
members who might form the Administration. Therefore, on the grounds
of strict policy, independently of the general sympathy which animated
the people as well as the Government of this country towards Spain at
that time, we thought it our interest to take part with Isabella, and
against the pretensions of Don Carlos. That policy was successful. The
Carlist cause failed; the cause of the constitution prevailed. But it
is said by the Right Honorable Baronet that General Narvaez is Minister
of Spain. I cannot see in that any defeat of the policy of England;
General Narvaez, indeed, is Minister of Spain, but the constitution has
of late been more strictly observed than it was at the period to which
the Right Honorable Baronet referred.

The Right Honorable Baronet finds fault with a certain despatch which,
in July, 1846 after the change of Ministry in this country, I wrote
to Sir Henry, then Mr. Bulwer, at Madrid; and the Right Honorable
Baronet says: “Here is an instance, not only of the interference of
the noble Viscount, but of the manner and tone he uses.” Now, as to
manner and tone, there have been certain communications made to other
British Ministers by persons in whom the Right Honorable Baronet has
confidence, which are certainly couched in terms which may possibly
admit of the application of some of those phrases which the Right
Honorable Baronet has applied to me. There was a certain despatch, for
example, addressed by the Earl of Aberdeen to Sir Edmund Lyons, our
Minister at Athens, which has already been read elsewhere, and which I
have got a copy of here, and which I think is a very curious specimen
of the manner in which the most mild and uninterfering of Foreign
Ministers can, when he so likes, deal with the internal arrangement of
other Governments.

Everybody knows who Sir Richard Church is; a most distinguished
soldier, who fought nobly in the cause of Greek independence, and for a
long time was properly respected and honored by the Greek Government.
But, in 1843, he was supposed to sympathize with the party who extorted
the constitution from the King. I believe that what he then did, was a
great service to the King; and that he was very instrumental in saving
King Otho from dangers to which he would otherwise have been exposed;
but, however, in 1844, he incurred the displeasure of the King, and
he was removed from the appointment of Inspector-General of the Greek
forces, which he had held; and he was succeeded by General Grivas, a
person whose conduct, as it appears from the despatch in question,
had not been altogether free from imputations of disloyalty. Well,
here are the instructions given on the subject to Sir Edmund Lyons, by
the Minister who never interfered with the internal affairs of other
countries, and especially with their purely domestic matters:

“Sir--Her Majesty’s Government have learned with deep concern the
dismissal of Sir Richard Church from the post of Inspector-General of
the Greek Army, which post he had so honorably and successfully filled
for many years.”

Perhaps so far it was natural for the English Government to regret the
dismissal of a meritorious English officer.

“Their regret is increased by finding that General Grivas, who so
recently engaged in open rebellion against the Throne, has been
appointed to succeed him.”

As to this point, one would have thought the King of Greece was himself
the best judge.

“Her Majesty’s Government do not propose to interfere in the matter;
since, however unjust the deprivation of General Church may have been,
and however injudicious the elevation of his successor, these acts were
certainly within the competence of the Greek Government.”

This is very handsome and candid.

“But,” continues the non-interfering Minister, “though her Majesty’s
Government abstain from interfering, they deem it an imperative duty on
their part--considering the position in which Great Britain stands with
regard to Greece, as a creating and guaranteeing Power, to express--”

They do not interfere-- “to express in the strongest terms their sense
of the injustice done to Sir Richard Church, one of the best, most
disinterested, and most efficient supporters of Greek independence,
by an abrupt and ungracious dismissal, unaccompanied by any word of
commendation or acknowledgment of his great services to Greece, and
also their sense of the excess of imprudence and impolicy exhibited
in the appointment to one of the most responsible offices under the
Crown of a man whose recent conduct has shown him to be an enemy to the
Throne, and a deliberate perverter of order and discipline.”

This was written by the Minister who never interfered with the internal
arrangements of other Powers.

“Her Majesty’s Government,” continues this mild despatch, “consider
themselves fully warranted by the overt acts of General Grivas himself,
in instructing you to make known these sentiments distinctly in
their name to the Greek Minister for Foreign Affairs as well as to
the King himself--as well as to the King himself, should a favorable
opportunity present itself and at the same time to warn His Majesty
seriously--seriously and solemnly of the danger to which he will expose
his country and his Throne by a perseverance in so fatal a line of
policy as that which he has lately pursued.”

The writer of this despatch condemns me for my despatch of the 19th
of July, 1846, addressed to Sir Henry Bulwer--a despatch which was
not to be communicated to the Sovereign; and the concluding paragraph
of which the Right Honorable Baronet might as well have read, when he
read the other portion of it, because after stating to Sir Henry Bulwer
that, having just come into office, we thought it was essential that we
should explain to him the views we entertained as to the position of
Spain, and as to the conduct of the Spanish Government, the despatch
concluded with the following passage:

“It was certainly not for the purpose of subjecting the Spanish
nation to a grinding tyranny, that Great Britain entered into the
engagements of the quadruple alliance of 1835, and gave, in pursuance
of the stipulations of that treaty, that active assistance, which
contributed so materially to the expulsion of Don Carlos from Spain.
But her Majesty’s Government are so sensible of the inconvenience
of interfering, even by friendly advice, in the internal affairs of
independent States, that I have to abstain from giving you instructions
to make any representations whatever to the Spanish Ministers on these
matters. But, though you will, of course, take care to express on no
occasion on these subjects sentiments different from those which I
have thus explained to you; and although you will be careful not to
express those sentiments in any manner or upon any occasion so as to be
likely to create, increase, or encourage discontent, yet you need not
conceal from any of those persons who may have the power of remedying
the existing evils, the fact that such opinions are entertained by the
British Government.”

Now let the House, after comparing these two despatches, say whether
it is from that quarter that we deserve the condemnation that has been
passed upon us? “If I am worthy to be so treated I do not deserve to be
so treated by you.”

But it is said, nevertheless, to me:

“You cannot be commonly courteous or civil, even in your
reconciliations; your strong language led to a rupture of diplomatic
relations with Spain, and, when matters have been arranged again, you
have spoiled the grace and courtesy of the reconciliation by your
manner of accepting an apology.”

I am told:

“You mentioned Sir Henry Bulwer, in your note, in reply to the
apology of the Spanish Government, as the person whom you would have
preferred to send to Madrid; and that was enough to disgust the Spanish
Government and the Spanish people.”

No, at the time when the conduct of Sir Henry Bulwer became the subject
of discussion in this House, there was not a man of any side who did
not do him justice; and no one expressed himself more handsomely in
regard to Sir Henry Bulwer than did the Right Honorable Baronet, the
Member for Tamworth. Sir, it is not always fitting to tell diplomatic
secrets to the House of Commons. Yet I am obliged, in vindication of
myself, to do so on this occasion; and to tell the House, but of course
in strict confidence, that those two notes--namely, the note of apology
from the Spanish Government, and our note of answer, were mutually
communicated to and approved by each Government beforehand. Yes, those
notes were communicated confidentially and were agreed to by both
Governments before they were officially interchanged.

However, sir, the Right Honorable Baronet, the Member for Ripon,
says that these affairs of Spain were of long duration, and produced
disastrous consequences, because they were followed by events of the
greatest importance, as regards another country, namely, France.
He says, that out of those Spanish quarrels and Spanish marriages,
there arose differences between England and France, which led to no
slighter catastrophe than the overthrow of the French monarchy. This
is another instance of the fondness for narrowing down a great and
national question to the smallness of personal difference. It was my
dislike to M. Guizot, forsooth, arising out of these Spanish marriages,
which overthrew his administration, and with it the throne of France!
Why, sir, what will the French nation say when they hear this? They
are a high-minded and high-spirited nation, full of the sense of their
own dignity and honor--what will they say when they hear it stated
that it was in the power of a British Minister to overthrow their
Government, and their monarchy? Why, sir, it is a calumny on the French
nation to suppose that the personal hatred of any foreigner to their
Minister could have this effect. They are a brave, a generous, and a
noble-minded people; and if they had thought that a foreign conspiracy
had been formed against one of their Ministers--I say, that if the
French people had thought that a knot of foreign conspirators were
caballing against one of their Ministers, and caballing for no other
reason than that he had upheld, as he conceived, the dignity and
interests of his own country; and if they had thought that such a knot
of foreign conspirators had coadjutors in their own land, why, I say
that the French people, that brave, noble, and spirited nation, would
have scorned the intrigues of such cabal, and would have clung the
closer to, and have supported the more, the man against whom such a
plot had been made. If, then the French people had thought that I, or
any other Foreign Minister, was seeking to overthrow M. Guizot, their
knowledge of such a design, so far from assisting the purpose, would
have rendered him stronger than ever, in the post which he occupied.
No, Sir, the French Minister and the French monarchy were overthrown
by far different causes. And many a man, both in this country and
elsewhere, would have done well to have read a better lesson from the
events which then took place.

We had, indeed, a difference with the Government of France relative to
the Spanish marriages.[19] I do not wish to open again questions that
are gone by, or to remind the House or the country of the grounds of
complaint which we had then, as I think, justly, against those who
are no longer in power. But since I am pressed upon this matter, and
as it is one count of the long indictment preferred against me, I
must say, in my own defence, that the dissatisfaction which we felt
was not groundless. I must say, too, that I formed my judgment from
communications made to me by the noble Lord, (the Earl of Aberdeen),
whom I succeeded in the office I hold--from statements from his own
mouth, made to me in that interview which always take place between the
Foreign Minister who goes out, and the Minister who comes in. I learned
from that source, that promises had been made in regard to these
marriages--not only by a Minister to a Minister, but between far higher
personages--promises, the like of which, so far as I am aware of,
have never before in the history of Europe been broken; and yet those
promises were deliberately broken. If we felt dissatisfaction then at
those marriages, that dissatisfaction was just and well-founded; and
upon every ground of national interest and honor, we were entitled,
nay, bound, to express it.

Before I quit this subject, I must say that in my opinion the policy
which we have pursued in regard to France has been consistent with
the interests of this country, and has been characterized by an
observance of the principles which the honorable and learned gentleman
whose resolution we are discussing, thinks ought to govern our
foreign policy, and which are calculated to preserve, as they have
preserved, the peace of Europe. Our prompt acknowledgment in 1848
of the Government established in France, and the kindly relations
which we have maintained with the successive chiefs of administration
in that country, sufficiently show that we have been animated by a
kindly feeling towards the French nation; and that in our opinion
the maintenance of friendly relations with that country is not only
consistent with our interests and our dignity, but also forms a firm
foundation for the peace of Europe.

The Right Honorable Baronet, the Member for Ripon, has insinuated that
the Marquess of Normandy, in the period immediately preceding the
events of February, 1848, had been in too intimate connection with
some of the persons whom he describes as the parties who overthrew the
throne of France. I know not whom he means, but this I know, that the
person with whom the Marquess of Normandy was perhaps in the most
frequent communication, because he was an old and intimate friend, was
Count Mole; and I have yet to learn that he is a man who was likely
to do anything to overthrow, either intentionally or unintentionally,
the monarchy of France. But, if that insinuation was meant to convey
an imputation that the Marquess of Normandy had done anything, or had
held any intercourse inconsistent with his position as the ambassador
of a friendly Power, then I say that imputation is totally and entirely
unfounded.

Well, sir, I leave the sunny plains of Castile, and the gay vineyards
of France, and now I am taken to the mountains of Switzerland, as the
place where I am to render a stricter account.[20]

       *       *       *       *       *

With regard to our policy with respect to Italy, I utterly deny the
charges that have been brought against us of having been the advocates,
supporters, and encouragers of revolution. It has always been the fate
of advocates of temperate reform and of constitutional improvement to
be run at as the fomenters of revolution. It is the easiest mode of
putting them down; it is the received formula. It is the established
practice of those who are the advocates of arbitrary government to say,
“Never mind real revolutionists; we know how to deal with them; your
dangerous man is the moderate reformer; he is such a plausible man; the
only way of getting rid of him is to set the world at him by calling
him a revolutionist.”

Now, there are revolutionists of two kinds in this world. In the first
place there are those violent, hot-headed, and unthinking men, who fly
to arms, who overthrow established governments, and who recklessly
without regard to consequences, and without measuring difficulties and
comparing strength, deluge their country with blood, and draw down
the greatest calamities on their fellow-countrymen. These are the
revolutionists of one class. But there are revolutionists of another
kind; blind-minded men, who, animated by antiquated prejudices,
and daunted by ignorant apprehensions, dam up the current of human
improvement, until the irresistible pressure of accumulated discontent
breaks down the opposing barriers, and overthrows and levels to the
earth those very institutions which a timely application of renovating
means would have rendered strong and lasting. Such revolutionists as
these are the men who call us revolutionists. It was not to make
revolutions that the Earl of Minto[21] went to Italy, or that we, at
the request of the Governments of Austria and Naples, offered our
mediation between contending parties.

       *       *       *       *       *

With respect to the questions which arose last Autumn about Turkey, no
blame has been imputed to her Majesty’s Government for the course which
we pursued on that occasion in answer to the appeal made by Turkey,
to this country and to France, for moral and material assistance. On
that point all parties agreed. It is a proud and honorable recollection
which Englishmen may treasure up, that on any occasion like that, all
party differences were merged in high and generous national feeling;
and that men of all sides concurred in thinking, that the Government of
the Queen would not have been justified in rejecting an appeal so made,
on such a subject.

But it has been said that we ought to have confined our interference,
at first, to sending a despatch, and that we should not have sent
our fleet until we knew whether our despatches would produce the
desired effect. That would have been a very imprudent and unwise
course of proceeding. The agents of the two Imperial Governments
at Constantinople had used most menacing language to the Porte; had
demanded the surrender of the refugees in the most peremptory manner;
and said, that if they did not receive a categorical answer within a
limited time they would suspend diplomatic relations. In short, they
intimated that a refusal of their demands might lead to war. We had
no means at the time of knowing whether this violent and peremptory
language was or was not authorized by the Courts of Russia and Austria,
and whether those Governments were prepared to enforce by actual
hostilities the threat so held out. It was impossible to say what might
occur in the interval between the 6th and the 26th of October; between
the day when the despatches of the British Government were sent off
to St. Petersburgh and Vienna, and the day when, if it were necessary
on the receipt of those answers to send a fleet, that fleet, sent
only after the answers were received, could reach the place where its
services might be required. The Government did what men of prudence
would do, who mean to do that which they profess.[22]

But it has been said that the sending of this fleet was a threat
against Russia and Austria. I utterly deny that the sending of the
fleet was a threat against either one or the other. A fleet at the
Dardanelles was not a threat against Austria. If it had been in the
Adriatic, it might have been so regarded. A fleet in the Mediterranean
was not a threat against Russia. Had it forced its way through the
Dardanelles and Bosphorus, and had gone up to the Black Sea, and had
anchored off Sebastopol, it might have been so considered. But a fleet
at the mouth of the Dardanelles could be a threat against nobody; it
must be manifest to the world that it could only be a symbol and source
of support to the Sultan. It was a measure purely of defence and not a
measure of offence.

But then we are told that our fleet by anchoring within the outer and
inner castles of the Dardanelles, violated, not the Treaty of Unkiar
Skelessi, as was said by mistake, but the Treaty of London, concluded
in July, 1841, between the five Powers and Turkey, with respect to the
passage of the Dardanelles and Bosphorus. The British Government are
accused of violating that treaty by ordering Sir W. Parker to enter the
Dardanelles.

Now, by the Treaty of 1809, between England and Turkey, England bound
herself to respect the rule of the Turkish Empire, by which, while
Turkey is at peace, the Straits of Dardanelles and of the Bosphorus are
closed against the ships of war of foreign Powers. But it was not till
the Treaty of 1841 that the same engagement was also taken by all the
other four Powers. I concur entirely with the Right Honorable Baronet,
the Member for Ripon, in thinking that this was a wise and politic
arrangement, eminently advantageous to Turkey, and conducive to the
peace of Europe. Because when it is considered how easy it would be, if
these narrow straits were open to the armed ships of other countries
in times of peace, for any maritime Power when she had a discussion
of any kind with the Turkish Government, to support the friendly
representations of her Minister at Constantinople by the of course,
accidental visit of a large fleet off the Seraglio Point--whether
the fleet came from the Black Sea or the Mediterranean, it appears
essential for the maintenance of the independence of the Porte, that
no armed vessel of other Powers should, when the Porte is at peace, be
allowed to enter either of those straits.

By the Treaty of July, 1841, Austria, France, Great Britain, Russia,
and Prussia, all bound themselves to respect that regulation of the
Porte. It so happens, however, that that treaty did not specify
precisely what those straits are, whether they comprise the whole
distance between the Mediterranean and the Sea of Marmora, and the
whole distance between the Sea of Marmora and the Black Sea, or whether
they consist only of such portion of those channels as are technically
called the Straits of Bosphorus and the Dardanelles. At the entrance of
the Dardanelles from the Mediterranean, there is a broad bay between
the outer and the inner castles, and it is from the inner castles to
the Sea of Marmora that the channel continues narrow. At the inner
castles reside the Consuls; and it is there that tolls are taken from
vessels passing; and there the firmans are delivered to allow vessels
to pass up. In regulations established by the Porte in 1843, it was
stated in general terms, that foreign ships of war and merchantmen
should be admitted to this bay, between the outer and inner castles,
for safe anchorage, and to wait there to know whether they would be
allowed to go further. When the fleet under Sir W. Parker arrived
at Besica Bay, which is on the coast of Asia Minor, the Turkish
Government, who expressed great gratitude to Sir Stratford Canning for
the arrival of our fleet, stated an apprehension that the anchorage in
Besica Bay in certain states of wind and weather was not safe for large
ships and they offered to send an authority to admit the fleet under
Sir W. Parker, and not only it, but the French fleet also, into the
outer anchorage of the Dardanelles, at times when it would be dangerous
for them to remain at Besica Bay. That was communicated to the British
Consul at the Dardanelles, and to the Turkish Pasha in command there.

A week or ten days after Sir W. Parker had arrived at Besica Bay, the
wind coming on to blow from the quarter from which it made that open
anchorage insecure, Sir W. Parker went with his squadron to Barber’s
Bay, the outer anchorage of the Dardanelles. But I had written to Sir
Stratford Canning specially to desire that in order to avoid all cavil
and discussions, the fleet should not enter into the Dardanelles,
unless wanted at Constantinople for the purposes for which it was sent.
Sir Stratford Canning accordingly communicated with Sir W. Parker, and
after the squadron had remained a week or ten days in Barber’s Bay
to refit, it left that anchorage and returned to Besica Bay with the
understanding that if stress of weather should again drive it thence,
it should not return to Barber’s Bay, but should seek shelter elsewhere.

The Russian and Austrian Governments afterwards made representations
both to the Porte and to her Majesty’s Government on this matter;
stating that they considered the entrance of the British fleet into
Barber’s Bay as a contravention of the Treaty of July, 1841. It might
have been contended that the presence of the British fleet in the outer
bay was not a violation of what was intended by the treaty; because the
treaty bound the five Powers to conform to the regulations of the Porte
in regard to the two Straits of the Bosphorus and Dardanelles; and
the standing regulations of the Porte admitted ships of war, as well
as merchantmen, to enter into and remain in Barber’s Bay, and to wait
there for a decision whether they could be allowed to go farther up or
not. But the Government did not think it wise, right, or proper to take
their stand on so narrow a ground. Having desired that the Treaty of
July, 1841, should be concluded, they thought it better to adopt the
strictest interpretation of that treaty, the interpretation put upon
it by Russia, that the Straits of Bosphorus and Dardanelles should be
held to mean the whole distance between the Black Sea and the Sea of
Marmora on the one side, and between the Mediterranean and the Sea of
Marmora on the other; so that if British ships of war should not enter
the bay between the inner and outer castles of the Dardanelles on the
one side, Russian ships of war should not on the other hand be allowed
to anchor at Buyukdere in the Bosphorus, where merchant ships from the
Black Sea are in the custom of stopping. It is needless to mention that
this prohibition does not apply to light ships, such as corvettes and
steamers, employed for the missions at Constantinople; the firman of
the Porte being first obtained for their passing.

I believe I have now gone through all the heads of the charges which
have been brought against me in this debate. I think I have shown that
the foreign policy of the Government in all transactions with respect
to which its conduct has been impugned, has throughout been guided by
those principles which, according to the resolution of the honorable
and learned gentleman, the Member for Sheffield, ought to regulate the
conduct of the Government of England in the management of our foreign
affairs. I believe that the principles on which we have acted are those
which are held by the great mass of the people of this country. I am
convinced that these principles are calculated, so far as the influence
of England may be properly exercised with respect to the destinies
of other countries, to conduce to the maintenance of peace, to the
advancement of civilization, to the welfare and happiness of mankind.

I do not complain of the conduct of those who have made these matters
the means of attack upon her Majesty’s Ministers. The Government of a
great country like this is undoubtedly an object of fair and legitimate
ambition to men of all shades of opinion. It is a noble thing to be
allowed to guide the policy and to influence the destinies of such a
country; and, if ever it was an object of honorable ambition, more than
ever must it be so at the moment of which I am speaking. For while we
have seen as stated by the Right Honorable Baronet, the Member for
Ripon, the political earthquake rocking Europe from side to side--while
we have seen thrones shaken, shattered, levelled; institutions
overthrown and destroyed--while in almost every country of Europe
the conflict of civil war has deluged the land with blood; from the
Atlantic to the Black Sea, from the Baltic to the Mediterranean this
country has presented a spectacle honorable to the people of England,
and worthy of the admiration of mankind.

We have shown that liberty is compatible with order; that individual
freedom is reconcilable with obedience to law; we have shown the
example of a nation, in which every class of society accepts with
cheerfulness the lot which Providence has assigned to it; while at
the same time every individual of each class is constantly striving
to raise himself in the social scale--not by injustice and wrong,
not by violence and illegality--but by persevering good conduct, and
by the steady and energetic exertion of the moral and intellectual
faculties with which his Creator has endowed him. To govern such a
people as this, is indeed an object worthy of the ambition of the
noblest man who lives in the land; and therefore I find no fault with
those who may think the opportunity a fair one, for endeavoring to
place themselves in so distinguished and honorable a position. But
I contend that we have not in our foreign policy done anything to
forfeit the confidence of the country. We may not, perhaps, in this
matter or in that, have acted precisely up to the opinion of one person
or another--and hard indeed it is, as we all know by our individual and
private experience, to find any number of men agreeing entirely in any
matter, on which they may not be equally possessed of the details of
the facts, and circumstances, and reasons, and conditions which led to
action. But, making allowance for those differences of opinion which
may fairly and honorably arise among those who concur in general views,
I maintain that the principles which can be traced through all our
foreign transactions, as the guiding rule and directing spirit of our
proceedings, are such as deserve approbation. I therefore fearlessly
challenge the verdict which this House, as representing a political,
a commercial, a constitutional country, is to give on the question
now brought before it: whether the principles on which the foreign
policy of her Majesty’s Government has been conducted, and the sense
of duty which has led us ourselves bound to afford protection to our
fellow-subjects abroad, are proper and fitting guides for those who are
charged with the Government of England; and whether, as the Roman,
in days of old, held himself free from indignity, when he could say
_Civis Romanus sum_; so also a British subject, in whatever land he may
be, shall feel confident that the watchful eye and the strong arm of
England will protect him against injustice and wrong.



ROBERT LOWE, VISCOUNT SHERBROOKE


Compared with the two men who have preceded him in this selection, the
life and achievements of Robert Lowe (1811–1892) present a distinction
with a difference. On any public question there could be little doubt
where O’Connell would stand, or, for that matter, Lord Palmerston.
But of Lowe, in some ways more individual than either, the exact
position could hardly be predicated. In short, he was truer to himself
than to any cause or party; and his chief title to fame he won as a
recalcitrant Liberal.

He was an Oxford man, who took a B.A. in 1833 as a good classic, and
thereupon became for a time an University coach. Meanwhile he studied
law, and finding no field at home for his undoubted talents, went out
to Australia, where he laid the foundation of his fortunes. He soon
gained a seat in the Legislative Council for New South Wales, and
having become generally prominent in colonial affairs, in 1850 judged
that the time had come for his return to England. Almost immediately he
was engaged as a writer of leading articles for the _Times_ newspaper.
In 1852, as Member of Parliament for Kidderminster, he began his twenty
years of public service. Particularly in connection with educational
matters, Lowe was soon well known in the House, one of many useful but
not distinguished public men.

It was in the year 1866 that Lord John Russell introduced a bill
for the extension of the suffrage, a measure mild enough in view of
more recent enactments, but a measure that aroused in Lowe all the
opposition of his peculiar nature. For the moment he became more Tory
than the Tories; and in the debates over the bill developed powers
perhaps unsuspected by himself,--certainly so by his colleagues. The
one voice that was heard above all others was that of Lowe, a voice
emphatic, sincere, and, as the event proved, dominant. The bill was
rejected.

The National Biographer says: “Lowe’s triumph at the time was
complete.... He had the success which attends those who believe all
they are saying. At no other time did he attain to such a high level of
perfection in speaking.... Mr. Gladstone and he vied with each other
in aptness of classical quotation, and the keenest partisan on the
ministerial side could not fail to admire Lowe’s courage and sincerity
of purpose.”

It was his _annus mirabilis_. It is whimsical now to read that
contemporaries thought they saw in Lowe a superior to Gladstone; more
whimsical to learn that the very next year the Conservatives, switched
skilfully about by Disraeli, passed a much more sweeping extension of
the franchise than the one Lowe had so successfully opposed. For the
moment, however, his reputation was secure.

In 1868, he was chosen Chancellor of the Exchequer, apparently a step
upward, in reality the beginning of his decline. For he soon became
unpopular, personally by his brusque manner, officially because his
conception of his duty would not allow him to apply the public moneys
to such purposes as the purchase of Epping Forest for a public park,
and the installation of gardens along the Thames Embankment. This
office he eventually resigned. Although, in 1873, he was made Home
Secretary, he had already passed not so much out of the public eye as
out of the public mind. The next year, with the defeat of the Gladstone
Ministry, he made his definitive departure from political life. The
further honor of the peerage awaited Lowe,--from 1880 he was Viscount
Sherbrooke,--but the last twenty years of his life were those of
anti-climax and decay. The peculiar malignancy of fate that latterly
seemed to pursue him was shown in the accidental publication in 1884 of
the inconsiderable booklet, _Poems of a Life_, which he had privately
printed for private circulation. He died in 1892, at the age of
eighty-one. The world had almost forgotten him.

Such, briefly, are the facts of Lowe’s history, a record of honorable
achievement surely, but not the record which others--and probably
the man himself--had dreamed of. It may be asked how the career of
a man who from modest beginnings attained cabinet rank could be in
any sense a failure. But when the supreme episode of his life--the
brief hour of glory, followed by the gradual reversal from almost
universal laudation to wide-spread unpopularity--is remembered the
question should be answered. The causes of Lowe’s failure to justify
his own promise were perhaps largely personal. The temper of the man
was brusque, independent, imperious. In his love for invective and
satire as weapons of oratory, there was something Swiftian; Swiftian,
too, was his general disregard for the feelings of others. This did
not arise from any native insensibility--it is the sensitive who can
inflict the keenest wounds--but from a pride of intellect that made
him despise the slow-minded and the ill-informed. He was not so much
tactless as disdaining tact. Some of the projects he favored were
signally progressive: in 1856 he introduced an unsuccessful bill for
the conversion of partnerships comprising more than twenty persons
into incorporated companies; he was an advocate of public libraries,
of undenominational education; as Chancellor he devised ingenious
budgets and proposed a revenue stamp on match-boxes, a tax which had
already been levied in America; and Mr. A. Patchett Martin claims for
him the original project of Imperial Federation. He was also one of
the earliest enthusiasts over the bicycle. On the other hand, he was
personally opposed to the democratic idea, especially as represented
by universal suffrage. He was never strictly a party man. It is a
tribute to him that the Liberals, under whose banners he nominally
fought, acquiesced in the free play that his erratic temperament
demanded. Something of a cynic, he could laugh about himself or
his own classical attainments; but it is agreed that, with all his
satire and asperity, Lowe was free from that mean joy in another’s
misfortunes--Aristotle’s ἐπιχαιρεκακία--that so often accompanies the
masters of epigram and of scorn.



ROBERT LOWE, VISCOUNT SHERBROOKE

AGAINST THE REFORM ACT: HOUSE OF COMMONS, MAY 31, 1866.


  The Reform Act of 1866, against which this speech was directed, was
  introduced by Mr. Gladstone on March 12th of that year. Among other
  provisions, it proposed to reduce the county franchise from fifty
  pounds to fourteen; the borough franchise from ten pounds to seven;
  and included a savings-bank franchise and a lodger franchise.
  These provisions were not so sweeping as they appeared. It is
  stated that the Bill would only have enfranchised a few hundreds
  of people. And among its supporters, Mr. Bright was thought to
  feel more enthusiasm for its sponsors, Mr. Gladstone and Lord John
  Russell, than for the measure itself; while Mr. Mill favored it
  largely because Mr. Bright did. Nevertheless, Mr. Gladstone, during
  the Easter holidays, stumped the country for it, and at Liverpool
  made a famous remark about the Government’s “burning bridges and
  crossing the Rubicon.” Mr. McCarthy pertinently says of this, that
  it was only true of the speaker; as for the Government, it had to
  get back over the river again. In his opposition to the Bill, Lowe
  was the spokesman of the reactionary tendencies of the time,--in
  which such events as trades unions, strikes, Irish mutterings,
  socialistic perorations in London, dislike of American principles,
  and genuine sorrow that the Republic had survived the Confederacy
  stung to bitter speech the conservatives and the haters of change.
  Thus Lowe stood for the Aristocratic Principle incarnate; he
  desired an oligarchy of the brightest and best. With Lowe there
  stood against this measure of reform not only the rank and file of
  the Conservative party, but a group of political independents like
  himself, men of various crotchets, united only in their aversion to
  change and the encroachments of universal suffrage. This element,
  which would now, perhaps, be called “mugwump,” was then wittily
  compared to the adherents who rallied to David in the cave Adullam
  (1 Samuel xxii., 2): “And every one that was in distress, and every
  one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered
  themselves unto him.” And yet, by sheer force of eloquence, for the
  moment these had their way; and the Bill failed. As has been said,
  Lowe’s was the greatest share in the victory. His voice is the
  voice of Old England, eloquent with a haughty dignity against the
  incoming of the New.

MR. SPEAKER

We are now called upon to go into Committee on a Bill which has never
been read a second time.[23] The two halves of it have been read,
each of them a second time, but the whole measure we have never until
this moment had before. The first half this House was induced--or
shall I say coerced?--into reading a second time without knowledge of
the other part. The second half was really hurried on so fast to a
second reading--only an interval of a week being given to master all
its complicated details--that I, for one, was quite unable to take
part in the discussion on the second reading for want of time to make
up my mind as to an opinion by which I should be willing to stand.
I hope, therefore, the House will allow me, even at this stage, to
question the principle of the measure. What is that principle? I must
apologize to the House for the monotonous nature of my complaints,
which are, I think, justified by the uniform nature of the provocation
I receive. That provocation is that the Government keeps continually
bringing in measures, attacking, as it seems to me, the very vital and
fundamental institutions of the country, and purposely abstains from
telling us the principle of those measures. I made the same complaint,
I am sorry to say, against the Chancellor of the Exchequer on that
Franchise Bill. I make it again now. The Chancellor of the Exchequer in
introducing the Redistribution Bill said that the Government was not
desirous of innovation--that is to say, they went upon no principle.
Their principle, he said, was the same as the principle of every
Redistribution Bill. Now, that appears to me to be impossible, because
Redistribution Bills may be divided into two classes. There is one,
the great Reform Bill,--the only successful Redistribution Bill that
any one ever heard of,--and then there are the four which succeeded
it, and which all failed from one cause or another.[24] The principle
of the Reform Bill was one thing, and the principle of the four bills
which followed it was another. The principle of the Reform Bill was,
no doubt, disfranchisement. The feeling of the country at that time
was that the deliberations of this House were overruled, and the
public opinion of the country stifled by an enormous number of small
boroughs under the patronage of noblemen and persons of property.
That state of things was considered a public nuisance, and one which
it was desirable to abate, and hence the principle of the Reform Bill
was disfranchisement, and 141 members were taken away from the small
boroughs. The Government proposition was to reduce the number of the
House of Commons by fifty, because they were very anxious to get rid of
these members, and they had no means which appeared suitable of filling
up the vacancies they had created. It was only on an amendment carried
against the Government that it was determined not to diminish the
number of members in this House. But has that been the principle of any
subsequent Reform Bill? I think not; it has been quite the contrary. It
has been the principle of enfranchisement; and of disfranchisement only
so far as may be necessary in order to fill up the places which require
enfranchisement. As I have shown the House, there are two different
principles, and the Right Honorable Gentleman does not tell me which is
his, but says the principle is that of all other Redistribution Bills.
This puts me in mind of the story of a lady who wrote to a friend to
ask how she was to receive a particular lover, and the answer was, “As
you receive all your other lovers.” Well, as the Chancellor of the
Exchequer will not tell us what the principle of his measure is, I
must, I am sorry to say, with the same monotony of treatment, try to
puzzle it out for myself; for it seems to me preposterous to consider
the Bill without the guiding thought of those who constructed it. There
is one principle of redistribution upon which it clearly ought not to
be founded, and that is the principle of abstract right to equality of
representation. The principle of equal electoral districts is not the
principle upon which a Redistribution Bill ought to be based. To adopt
such a principle would be to make us the slaves of numbers--very good
servants, but very bad masters. I do not suppose we are generally eager
to see the time

   “When each fair burgh, numerically free,
    Returns its Members by the Rule of Three.”

And yet, though few persons stand up for the principle of equality
of representation, I cannot escape the conclusion that it has had a
good deal to do with the matter, and that the Government will find it
exceedingly difficult to point out what other principle than that of
a sort of approximation towards numerical equality has guided them.
For if it be not a principle of _a priori_ rights, it must be some
good to the State, some improvement of the House, or the Government,
some practical good in some way. Now, the House has had the advantage
of hearing the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Secretary of State
for the Colonies, and the Chancellor for the Duchy of Lancaster,
and I ask if any of these Right Honorable Gentlemen has pointed out
any good of any practical nature whatever to be expected from the
Bill. I set myself, therefore, according to my old method, to try
and puzzle out what ought to be the principle of a Bill for the
Redistribution of Seats. In the first place, I should like to be shown
some practical evil to be remedied, but I give that up in despair,
for I have so often asked for it and failed to obtain it that I am
quite sure I shall not have it on this occasion. But it seems to me
a reasonable view of a Redistribution Bill that it should make this
House more fully and perfectly than it is at present a reflection of
the opinion of the country. That, I think, is a fair ground to start
from. We have suffered in many respects from the arbitrary division
of these two measures, and in none more than this--that the arguments
for the Redistribution of Seats has been transferred to this Bill for
enlarging the franchise. For, although it is quite true that a Bill
for the Redistribution of Seats should aim at making Parliament a
mirror of the country, it is also true that there can be nothing more
inappropriate than the argument when applied to the enlargement of
the franchise. For to pass a Bill which puts the power in a majority
of the boroughs into the hands of the working classes is not to make
this House a faithful reflection of the opinion of the country, but
is to make it an inversion of that opinion by giving political power
into the hands of those who have very little social power of any kind.
But that principle applies, to a certain extent, to a Redistribution
Bill, and from that point I take my departure. Any one who makes an
examination as to the nature of the deficiency will see whether this
House fails in any considerable degree to reflect the opinion of the
country. I confess I have found it exceedingly difficult to discover
in what respects it fails to do so. I have, indeed, observed some
tendency of a kind which, if we are to have a Redistribution Bill,
ought to be corrected. I think there is a visible tendency to too great
a uniformity and monotony of representation. I think there is a danger
that we may become too much like each other--that we may become merely
the multiple of one number. That is a danger which has occurred to
thinking men, and I think it very desirable that in a Redistribution
Bill we should find a remedy if possible for the tendency to this
level of monotony, and perhaps mediocrity. I think another great
object we must have in view in a Redistribution Bill should be
enfranchisement; and by that I mean not the aggregation of fresh
members to large constituencies, and by the enfranchisement of such
constituencies the giving more variety and life to the representation
of the country, and thus making the House what the country is--a
collection of infinite variety of all sorts of pursuits and habits.
I think the second advantage is that, by making fresh constituencies
by fresh enfranchisements, you do the most efficient thing you can do
towards moderating the frightful, enormous, and increasing expense of
elections. This is one of the greatest evils of our present system. I
am not speaking of the illegitimate expenses of elections, but of the
legitimate expenses. We had a paper laid upon our tables this morning
giving an account of the expenses of elections from “S” downwards.
I take the first few large boroughs, and I will read the expenses.
The expense of election for Stafford is £5400; Stoke-upon-Trent,
£6200; Sunderland, £5000; and Westminster, £12,000. These are the
aggregate expenses of all the candidates. I take them as they come,
without picking and choosing. I wish to call particular attention
to the case of Westminster, not for the purpose of saying anything
disagreeable to my honorable friend (Mr. J. Stuart Mill), for we know
he was elected in a burst--I will say a well-directed burst--of
popular enthusiasm. That was honorable to him and honorable to them,
and I have no doubt that in the course of the election all that could
be done by industry and enthusiasm was accomplished--gratuitously;
and I am sure that my honorable friend did not contribute in any
way to swell any unreasonable election expenses. His election ought
to have been gratuitous, but mark what it cost--£2302. I believe it
did not cost him 6_d._ He refused to contribute anything, and it was
very much to the honor of his constituents that they brought him in
gratuitously. But look to the state of our election practices when such
an outburst of popular feeling could not be given effect to without
that enormous sacrifice of money. I will now call attention to two or
three counties. This subject has not been sufficiently dwelt upon, but
it bears materially upon the question before us to-night. I will take
the southern division of Derbyshire. The election cost £8500, and this
is the cheapest I shall read. The northern division of Durham cost
£14,620, and the southern division, £11,000. South Essex cost £10,000.
West Kent cost £12,000; South Lancashire, £17,000; South Shropshire,
£12,000; North Staffordshire, £14,000; North Warwickshire, £10,000;
South Warwickshire, £13,000; North Wiltshire, £13,000; South Wiltshire,
£12,000; and the North Riding of Yorkshire, £27,000--all legitimate
expenses, but by no means the whole expense. Now, I ask the House
how it is possible that the institutions of this country can endure
if this kind of thing is to go on and increase. Do not suppose for a
moment that this is favorable to anything aristocratic. It is quite the
contrary. It is favorable to a plutocracy working upon a democracy.
Think of the persons excluded by such a system! You want rank, wealth,
good connections, and gentleman-like demeanor, but you also want
sterling talent and ability for the business of the country, and how
can you expect it when no man can stand who is not prepared to pay a
considerable proportion of such frightful expenses? I think I am not
wrong in saying that another object of the Redistribution Bill might
very well be to diminish the expense of elections by diminishing the
size of the electoral districts. These are the objects which I picture
to myself ought to be aimed at by a Redistribution Bill. It should aim
at variety and economy, and should look upon its disfranchisement as
a means of enfranchisement. And now, having done with that, I will
just approach the Bill, and having trespassed inordinately on former
occasions upon the time of the House, I will now only allude to two
points. One is the grouping, and the other is adding the third member
to counties and boroughs.[25] This word “group” is very pretty and
picturesque. It reminds one of Watteau and Wouvermans--of a group of
young ladies, of pretty children, of tulips, or anything else of that
kind. But it really is a word of most disagreeable significance when
analyzed, because it means disfranchising a borough and in a very
uncomfortable manner re-enfranchising it. It means disfranchising the
integer and re-enfranchising and replacing it by exceedingly vulgar
fractions. Well, now, I ask myself, why do we disfranchise and why
do we enfranchise? I do not speak now of the eight members got by
taking the second member from boroughs, but of the forty-one got by
grouping--by disfranchisement and enfranchisement. And I ask, in the
first place, why disfranchise these small boroughs? I have heard no
answer to this from the Government. All that was attempted was said
by the Chancellor of the Exchequer--that he had in 1859 advocated the
maintenance of small boroughs on the ground that they admitted young
men of talent to that House, but that he found on examination that
they did not admit young men of talent; and, therefore, he ceased to
advocate the retention of small boroughs. My Right Honorable friend is
possibly satisfied with his own reasoning. He answered his own argument
to his own satisfaction; but what I wanted to hear is not only that the
argument he used seven years ago had ceased to have any influence on
his own mind, but what the argument is which has induced the Government
to disfranchise the boroughs. Of this, he said not a single syllable.
I know my own position too well to offer anything in favor of small
boroughs. That would not come with a good grace from me, but I have a
duty to perform to some of my constituents. They are not all ambitious
of the honors of martyrdom. So I will give a very good argument in
favor of small boroughs. What is the character of the House of Commons?

“It is a character of extreme diversity of representation. Elections
by great bodies, agricultural, commercial, or manufacturing, in our
counties and great cities are balanced by the right of election in
boroughs of small or moderate population, which are thus admitted to
fill up the defects and complete the fulness of our representation.”

I need not say that I am reading from the work of a Prime Minister.[26]
Not only that, but he republished it in the spring of last year, and in
that edition this passage is not there. But he published a second and
more popular edition in the autumn, and in the autumn of last year he
inserted the passage I am now reading. The Prime Minister differs from
the Chancellor of the Duchy, for he seems fonder of illustration than
argument:

“For instance, Mr. Thomas Baring” (he goes on to say) “from his
commercial eminence, from his high character, from his world-wide
position, ought to be a member of the House of Commons. His political
opinions, and nothing but his political opinions, prevent his being the
fittest person to be a member for the City of London.”

It would have been better to have said, “his political opinions prevent
his being a member for the City of London,” without saying they
prevent his being “the fittest person,” which is invidious.

“But the borough of Huntingdon, with 2654 inhabitants and 393
registered voters, elects him willingly.”

Next he instances my Right Honorable friend, the Secretary of State for
the Home Department; but, as he happily stands aside and looks upon the
troubles of the small boroughs as the gods of Lucretius did upon the
troubles of mankind, I will not read all the pretty things the Prime
Minister says of him. Then we come next to the Attorney-General:

“Sir Roundell Palmer is, _omnium consensu_, well qualified to enlighten
the House of Commons on any question of municipal or international law,
and to expound the true theory and practice of law reform. He could not
stand for Westminster or Middlesex, for Lancashire or Yorkshire, with
much chance for success.”

The House will observe that that was written last autumn. If it had
been written this morning, I think very possibly the Prime Minister
might have cancelled these words, and said, “that honorable and learned
gentleman would have stood for one of those large constituencies with
every prospect of success.” Now, is it credible, is it possible to
conceive, that the writer of these words should actually be the Premier
of the Government which, not six months after these illustrations were
given, has introduced this new Reform Bill to group and disfranchise
the very boroughs he thus instanced? Well, there is a little more:

“Dr. Temple says, in a letter to the _Daily News_, ‘I know that when
Emerson was in England he regretted to me that all the more cultivated
classes in America _abstained from politics because they felt
themselves hopelessly swamped_.’”

These last words were given in italics, the only construction I can
put upon which is that the noble Lord thought if many of these small
boroughs were disfranchised the persons he desires to see in this House
would not come here, else I do not see what is the application of the
passage. He goes on to say:

“It is very rare to find a man of literary taste and cultivated
understanding expose himself to the rough reception of the election of
a large city.”

There is a compliment to many of the noble Lord’s most ardent
supporters. But he continues:

“The small boroughs, by returning men of knowledge acquired in the
study, and of temper moderated in the intercourse of refined society--”

Where the members for large boroughs never go, I suppose--

“restore the balance which Marylebone and Manchester, if left even with
the £10 franchise undisputed masters of the field, would radically
disturb.”

Whether that means to disturb from the roots or to disturb from
radicalism, I do not know.

“But besides this advantage, they act with the counties in giving that
due influence to property without which our House of Commons would very
inadequately represent the nation, and thus make it feasible to admit
the householders of our large towns to an extent which would otherwise
be inequitable, and possibly lead to injurious results.”

So that the proposal of the noble Lord’s Government, coupled as it is
with the disfranchisement of these small boroughs, is in his opinion
inequitable certainly, and possibly likely to lead to injurious
results. He goes on:

“These are the reasons why, in my opinion, after abolishing 141 seats
by the Reform Act, it is not expedient that the smaller boroughs be
extinguished by any further large process of enfranchisement. The last
Reform Bill of Lord Palmerston’s Government went quite far enough in
this direction.”

Now, sir, what did the last Reform Bill of Lord Palmerston do? It
took away the second member from twenty-five boroughs, and that was
the whole of it. It did not break up a single electoral district. The
present bill takes away forty-nine members from these places, and
therefore, according to the words of the Prime Minister written six
months ago, it exactly doubles what the Ministry ought to do in the
matter. After that I think the House will agree with me that it would
not become the member for Calne to add anything in defence of his
borough; for what could he say that the Prime Minister had not said a
hundred times better and with all the authority and weight of such a
statesman, writing deliberately in his study no less than thirty-three
years after the passing of the Reform Act? Well, I shall say no more of
that, but for some reason for which we have yet to hear I will assume
that the small boroughs are to be disfranchised. The next question
that we have to consider is what is to be done with the seats to be
acquired by that disfranchisement. It does seem to me quite absurd to
halt between two opinions in this way. I must assume that there is some
good and cogent reason for disfranchising the small boroughs, or else
I suppose they would let us alone. But if there be a good and cogent
reason for disfranchising them, what possible reason can there be for
re-enfranchising them immediately afterwards? What reason can there
be for giving them back as a fraction that which you have taken away
as an integer? The first process condemns the second. It may be right
and wise--I do not in my conscience think it is--to disfranchise these
boroughs; but if you do take that course your business surely should
be to do the best you can for the interests of the country at large
with the seats you thus obtain. If you are to be influenced by respect
for traditions, and by veneration for antiquity, perhaps Calne should
have some claim, because it was there that the memorable encounter is
said to have taken place between St. Dunstan and his enemies, which
terminated in the combatants all tumbling through the floor, with the
exception of the Saint himself. And I may remind you that in our own
times Calne was represented by Dunning, by Lord Henry Petty, by Mr.
Abercromby, for some time Speaker of this House, and by Lord Macaulay.
That might avail something; but if it is all to go for nothing, I ask
on what principle, having first broken up the electoral system of these
boroughs and taken away their franchise, you begin to reconstruct them
in groups? If you are actuated by a veneration for antiquity, or by an
indisposition to destroy a state of things which is, if not carried
too far, in no slight degree advantageous, and eases very much the
working of the government of the country, besides introducing into
this House a class of persons some of whom you would do very badly
without--if that be so, leave these boroughs alone. If it be not, deal
with the question in a bold and manly spirit; but do not take a thing
away from them because you say it is wrong they should have it, and
then give it them back again in part because you say it is right they
should have it. That involves a contradiction. Look at what you are
doing. You take away the franchise from these places and then you limit
yourself by giving it to boroughs which have previously possessed it.
You unite together boroughs that have been in the habit of engrossing
for themselves all the care and attention of a single member, who is
obliged to pay great regard to their wishes, to look after their little
wants, to pet them and coddle them and make much of them. That which he
has been used to do for one of these boroughs he will still be expected
to do, and must do, after they are grouped; and what he does and pays
for one of the group he will have to do and pay for all the rest. Not
one of the three or four will bate one jot or tittle of its claim upon
the member, or candidate, but everything will be multiplied by so many
times as there are separate places in the group. You must have as many
agents in each of them, you must give as many subscriptions to their
charities, their schools, and their volunteers. Everything of that
kind, in fact, will be multiplied by this system three or four fold.
Now these boroughs at present give you a great advantage. All must
admit that there is an advantage, if it is not bought too dear, in
having means by which persons who are not of large fortune can obtain
seats in this House. But by this Bill you take away that one clear
advantage of these boroughs, the one thing for which, I think, they
very worthily exist--you make them very expensive constituencies;
and you then retain them out of veneration for antiquity and from a
traditionary feeling, when you have stripped them of the very merit
which recommends them to the friends of the Constitution! Well, sir, it
is polygamy for a man to marry three or four wives; but that comparison
does not do justice to this particular case, because you enforce an
aggravated form of political polygamy by asking a man to marry three or
four widows. The House need not be afraid of my pursuing that branch
of the subject. The best that can be said for the Ministerial Bill--at
least what has been said for it--is that it is intended to remove
anomalies. I really know of no other defence that is offered for it
than that. Well, sir, mankind will tolerate many anomalies if they are
old, and if as they have grown up they have got used to them. They
will also tolerate anomalies if they have been necessarily occasioned
by the desire to work out improvements. But when people set about
correcting anomalies, and so do their work as to leave behind them and
to create even worse anomalies than any they found existing, neither
gods nor men can stand it. Is not that the case here? I would briefly
call attention to two or three of the proposed groups. In Cornwall
you have Bodmin, Liskeard, and Launceston, with 18,000 inhabitants
between them, thrown into a group; but the towns of Redruth, Penzance,
and others, making up altogether 23,000, in the same county, are left
without the means of representation. Then, in the county of Devon,
you are to have Totnes joined with Dartmouth and Ashburton, and by
putting the three places together you only get 11,500 people; but
there is Torquay, with 16,000, that you leave entirely unrepresented.
I should not object to that, because if a thing works well you do not
do wrong in leaving it alone; but if you do begin to meddle with it,
it is monstrous to turn everything upside down, and then introduce a
thousand times greater anomalies than those you have removed. People
will bear with anomalies that are old, historical, and familiar, and
that, after all, answer some useful end; but they revolt at them when
you show them how flagrant an injustice and inequality the House of
Commons or the Government will perpetrate in the name of equality and
justice. Then there is the group of Maldon and Harwich, thirty miles
apart. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster was much shocked at
our objecting to these boroughs being joined in this extraordinary
way; but, sir, were we not told by the Chancellor of the Exchequer
that these things were done upon geographical considerations? The
geographical considerations referred to by the Chancellor of the
Exchequer appear to me to mean, as interpreted by his Bill, that the
members for the towns to be grouped should learn as much geography
as possible by having as large distances as possible to travel over.
Then we have in Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, Cirencester,
Tewkesbury, and Evesham, with 16,000 inhabitants; but in Worcestershire
alone you have Oldbury and Stourbridge, with a population of 23,000,
which remain utterly unrepresented. Again, there is the case of Wells
and Westbury, which scrape together 11,000 inhabitants, while between
the two we find Yeovil with 8000, and for which nothing is done. In
Wiltshire, Chippenham, Malmesbury, and Calne have 19,000 inhabitants,
but a very few miles from Calne is Trowbridge, with 9626 inhabitants,
the second town in the county, which you leave unrepresented. In
Yorkshire, Richmond and Northallerton scrape together 9000 inhabitants,
while for Barnsley, with 17,000, Doncaster, 16,000, and Keighley,
15,000, you do nothing at all. Such things may be tolerable when
they have grown up with you, but they are utterly intolerable when a
Government interferes, and introduces a measure which overlooks such
cases while professing to take numbers as its guide. The Government
has repudiated geographical considerations, but it is more absurd if
taken numerically. Here is, however, something worse than an anomaly.
It is a gross injustice. The House is aware--with the two exceptions of
Bewdley and Droitwich, which are probably to be accounted for by haste
and carelessness, the matter being a small one--that all the boroughs
having a less population than 8000 inhabitants are dealt with in some
way or other. There are two ways of treating these boroughs. There is a
gentler and a severer form. There are eight boroughs which are picked
out for what I call the question ordinary--that is, losing one member;
and the remainder, a very large number, are picked out and formed into
sixteen groups, this being the extraordinary or exquisite torture
of being pounded to pieces, brayed in a mortar, and then renovated.
In judging of the treatment which these boroughs receive, I think
some principle ought to be observed. The geographical principle has
been ostentatiously set aside, and look at what has happened to the
numerical principle. There is Newport, in the Isle of Wight, with 8000
inhabitants, which loses only one of its members, and is not grouped;
while Bridport, with 7819 inhabitants, loses both its members and is
grouped. There are seven boroughs having smaller populations than
Bridport from which only one member is taken, and they are not grouped;
while Bridport, with a large population, has both its members taken
and is grouped. Is it on account of geographical considerations that
it is coupled with Honiton, nineteen miles off? [An honorable member:
Twenty-one!] That is not anomaly. It is simply a gross injustice.
There is Chippenham, with 7075 inhabitants. Chippenham, as every one
knows, is a rising railway town. Yet it is grouped; while there are
five boroughs which contain fewer inhabitants than Chippenham which
will each continue to return one member. Going a little further, we
find Dorchester, with 6779 inhabitants, and three boroughs smaller
than itself. Dorchester loses both members, while the three boroughs
smaller than Dorchester retain one member. They are Hertford, Great
Marlow, and Huntingdon. I can simply attribute the cause of this to the
great haste, carelessness, and inadvertency which have characterized
this measure. I am far from attributing it to any improper motives. I
have not the slightest notion of anything of the kind. It arises, I
believe, from the mere wantonness or carelessness of the Government
hurrying forward a Bill which they did not intend to bring in, and
which they were at last compelled to bring in, contrary to all their
declarations. Between Huntingdon, the smallest borough that loses
one member, and Newport, the largest, there are seventeen boroughs,
nine of them returning one member each and eight returning two, all
of which have larger population than Huntingdon, which is allowed to
retain one member while they are grouped. The reason I cannot tell, but
there stands the anomaly. This grouping of boroughs cannot therefore,
I say, be satisfactory to any class of gentlemen. Of course, it is
not satisfactory to the small boroughs. They are material out of
which other people are to be compensated, and of course no one likes
to be included in such a process. But I cannot imagine that it can be
satisfactory to gentlemen who call for those measures with a view to
remove anomalies and promote equality, and make the Parliament a more
accurate representative of the population of the country. It seems to
me that everybody must be dissatisfied with such a proceeding as this.
The House need not take all these groups as they stand, because any
one of them might be remedied in Committee, but the whole principle of
the thing is so bad that it is absolutely impossible to deal with it
in Committee at all. I have been assuming hitherto that we have good
grounds for getting these forty-nine members that are wanted, but that
depends entirely upon the use the Government make of them when they
have them. What do they do with them? They propose to give out of these
forty-nine twenty-five as third members to counties, and four as third
members to large towns, and seven to Scotland. I deny that a case is
made out in favor of this arrangement. The honorable gentlemen opposite
with whom I sympathize so much on this question may not perhaps agree
with me on this point. I maintain that it is a mere illusion, as
things now stand and looking at these two measures as a whole, to talk
of county representation; you must look at the two things together,
franchise and redistribution, and you must remember that the counties
you give these members to are to become really groups of towns. Every
one knows very well where the houses between £14 and £50 are to be
found. They are to be found, not in the rural districts, but in the
towns. What you are preparing to do for the counties’ members is to
make a total change in the nature of their constituency. But under
the system proposed the county members would no longer represent a
constituency which from its present and peculiar character can easily
be worked as a whole. When you lower the franchise as proposed you
have taken the power out of the rural districts and given it to small
towns, with probably an attorney in each. When you speak of giving a
third member to counties you must remember that you are talking of
counties not as they are now, but as you propose to make them. It is
an illusion, therefore, to say that a great deal is done for the rural
districts in thus adding members to the counties, and this will be
the more easily understood if you have not forgotten the opinion of
Lord Russell, who says how materially the small boroughs assist the
counties in maintaining the balance of power. I altogether decline to
be caught by that bait. But, putting that aside, on what principle are
we to give three members to counties? It has been the practice to give
two members to counties from time immemorial, with a slight exception
at the time of the Reform, which is by no means generally approved. I
am willing to accept the fact without stopping to inquire too curiously
whether this number was fixed upon because they slept in the same bed
or rode on the same horse on their journeys to London. But, if you
come to make it a general practice to give three members to counties,
I think we are entitled to ask upon what principle this is to be done.
For my own part, I can suggest no other principle than the mere worship
of numbers. It is quite a new principle that numbers should not only
be represented in this House because they are important, but that that
importance should entitle them to more votes. The House will recollect
that every member has two separate and distinct duties to perform. He
is the representative of the borough which sends him to Parliament, and
he has to look after its local interests to the best of his power. That
is a small and, in the mild and just times in which we live, generally
a comparatively easy duty, but his greater and more pre-eminent duty is
to look after the affairs of the Empire. The real use, therefore, of an
electoral district, be it small or large, is one more important than
the adequate representation of the numbers of any particular place, so
long as they are represented. It is that it should send to Parliament
the persons best calculated to make laws, and perform the other
functions demanded of the members of the House. This seems to me to go
directly against the principle that these great communities are not
only entitled to send competent gentlemen to represent their affairs,
but to send as many members as will correspond with their weight in
the country. If once you grant this principle you are advancing far on
the road to electoral districts and numerical equality. I say this is
the mere principle of numbers. If the principle be once established,
it is very easy to give it extension. Scarcely a meeting is assembled
on this subject without some man getting up and complaining that the
member for a small borough, myself, for instance, should have a vote
which will counterbalance the vote of a representative of a borough
containing 200,000 or 300,000. If it was a fight for the good things of
this world between Caine and Birmingham, I could understand how such
a principle might be adopted; but when it is a question of making the
laws and influencing the destinies of this country, the question is
not which is the larger body, but which best discharges its duty in
sending members to Parliament. I cannot find a trace of that principle
in the whole of this Bill, for it is clear that there is no such idea
in giving these three members to counties. They are mere concessions to
the importance of the constituencies to which they are given, while the
small boroughs are grouped in a manner likely to promote mediocrity,
because gentlemen of shining qualities and useful attainments will
scarcely be able to contest them, unless possessed of great wealth. I
cannot bring my mind to the idea of giving three members to those large
constituencies. We should, on the whole, be far better without those
twenty-nine members. We had better use for them. Now, I have gone
through the details of this Bill; and perhaps the House will allow me
to sum up what I think of the whole effect of the Ministerial measure.
You say how frightful the expenses of elections are, and declare
that they are a canker-worm in the very heart of the Constitution.
Yet what is the effect of this Bill with regard to the legitimate
expenses of elections? The Government are proposing to increase the
size of the constituency of every borough in the kingdom. Will they
decrease expense? They propose to disfranchise small boroughs; and
instead of subdividing districts with a view to make more manageable
constituencies, except in the case of the Tower Hamlets and South
Lancashire, a senseless homage is paid to mere numbers, adding to that
which is already too much. Then there is another thing. It is the duty
of every man who calls himself a statesman to study the signs of the
times, and make himself master, as far as he can, of the tendencies of
society. What are those signs and tendencies? I suppose we shall none
of us doubt that they are tending more or less in the direction, as
I said before, of uniformity and democracy. What, then, is the duty
of a wise statesman under such circumstances? Is it to stimulate the
tendencies which are already in full force and activity, or is it not
rather, if he cannot leave matters alone, to see if he cannot find
some palliative? If he cannot prevent the change which stronger powers
are working, should he not make that change as smooth as possible, and
not by any means accelerate it? But the whole of this Bill is not in
the way of moderating, but stimulating existing tendencies. It is not
always wise, and the observation is as old as Aristotle, to make a law
too accurately in correspondence with the times or the genius of the
Government under which you live. The best law that could be made for
the United States would not be one peculiarly democratic. The best law
for the French Government to enact is not one of an ultra-monarchical
character. There is sound wisdom in this, and it should be kept well in
mind; but it seems to have been by no means considered by the framers
of the crude measure before us.

   “But our new Jehu spurs the hot-mouthed horse,
    Instructs him well to know his native force,
    To take the bit between his teeth and fly,
    To the next headlong steep of anarchy.”[27]

Passing to another point, I have to remind you that the Chancellor
of the Exchequer frightened us the other day by giving us a prose
version of Byron’s poem on “Darkness,” when we were told that our
coal was all going to be consumed, and that we were to die like the
last man and woman of our mutual hideousness. Upon that the Right
Honorable Gentleman founded a proposition; and never was so practical a
proposition worked out upon so speculative a basis. “You will have no
coal in one hundred years,” he says, “and, therefore, pay your debts”;
and, addressing the honorable gentlemen opposite, he says, “Commerce
may die, navigation may die, and manufactures may die,--and die they
will,--but land will remain, and you will be saddled with the debt.”
That was the language of the Right Honorable Gentleman. Now, if we are
to pay terminable annuities on the strength of the loss of our coal,
do not you think we may apply the same dogma to this proposed reform
of our Constitution? What is the Right Honorable Gentleman seeking
to do by this Bill? He is seeking to take away power of control from
the land--from that which is to remain when all those fine things I
have mentioned have passed away in the future--from that which will
be eventually saddled with the whole burden of the debt, and to
place it in these fugitive and transitory elements which, according
to the account he gave us, a breath has made and a breath can unmake.
I ask, is that, upon the Right Honorable Gentleman’s own showing,
sound prospective wisdom? I do not deal myself with such remote
contingencies; I offer this simply as an _argumentum ad hominem_. I
should like to hear the answer. I have a word to say with regard to
the franchise. We have had a little light let in upon this subject. We
are offered, as you all know, a £7 franchise. It is defended by the
Chancellor of the Exchequer upon two grounds--flesh and blood, and
fathers of families. The £7 franchise is defended by the honorable
Member for Birmingham upon another ground; he takes his stand on the
ancient lines of the British Constitution. I will suggest to him one
line of the British Constitution, and I should like to know whether
he means to stand by it. In his campaign of 1858, in which he had
taken some liberties with the Crown and spoke with some disrespect
of the Temporal Peers, he came to the Spiritual Peers, and this was
the language he employed. He said, “That creature of monstrous--nay,
of adulterous birth.” I suppose there is no part of the British
Constitution much more ancient than the Spiritual Peers. Is that one
of the lines the honorable gentleman takes his stand upon? Again,
the Attorney-General, having recovered from the blow the grouping
of Richmond must have been to him, has become a convert, and like
most converts he is an enthusiast. He tells us that he is for the
£7 franchise because he is in favor, like the honorable Member for
Birmingham, of household suffrage.[28] These are the reasons which are
given in order to induce us to adopt the £7 franchise. I ask the House,
is there any encouragement in any of these arguments to adopt it? The
Chancellor of the Exchequer says it is flesh and blood; it is a very
small instalment of flesh and blood, and none can doubt that any one
asking for it upon that ground only asks for it as a means to get more
flesh and blood. The honorable Member for Birmingham stands upon the
Constitution, and he puts me in mind of the American squib which says:

   “Here we stand on the Constitution, by thunder,
      It’s a fact of which there are bushels of proofs,
    For how could we trample upon it, I wonder,
      If it wasn’t continually under our hoofs.”

Well, the honorable gentleman asks the £7 upon the ground that it
is constitutional--that is, upon the ground of household suffrage.
He wants it with a view of letting us down gently to household
suffrage. The Attorney-General, of course, means the same. In fact,
he said we ought to do it at once. But see what a condemnation the
Attorney-General passes upon the Government of which he forms a part.
He says: “You have taken your stand upon the £7 franchise. The ground
you take is so slippery and unsafe, so utterly untenable, that I would
rather go down to the household suffrage at once--to the veriest cabin
with a door and a chimney to it that can be called a house. There I may
perhaps touch ground.” What encouragement do these gentlemen give us to
take the £7 franchise? Yet the honorable Member for Westminster says
that £7 is no great extension, and out of all comparison with universal
suffrage; so he excuses himself for having thrown overboard all the
safeguards which he has recommended should be girt round universal
suffrage. I do not object to his throwing them overboard. Checks and
safeguards, in my opinion, generally require other safeguards to take
care of them. The first use universal suffrage would make of its
universality would be to throw the safeguards over altogether. He says
the £7 franchise has nothing to do with safeguards. The Chancellor of
the Exchequer goes to universal suffrage, and the other two to whom
I have referred profess they go to household suffrage. Do you think
you could stop there? You talk of touching ground--would it be solid
ground or quicksand? You think that when you have got down to that you
can create a sort of household aristocracy. The thing is ridiculous.
The working-classes protest even now against what they call a
brick-and-mortar suffrage. They say, “A man ’s a man for a’ that.” The
Bill appears to me to be the work of men who

   “At once all law, all settlement control,
    And mend the parts by ruin of the whole.
    The tampering world is subject to this curse,
    To physic their disease into a worse.”[29]

What shall we gain by it? I have not, I think, quibbled with the
question. I have striven to do what the Government have evaded
doing--to extract great principles out of this medley, for medley it
is, composed partly out of veneration for numbers and partly out of
a sort of traditional veneration for old boroughs, which are to be
preserved after what is beneficial in them has been taken from them.
Then we have to consider the proposed county franchise, founded, as
it has been said, upon utter ignorance. It is quite evident that this
Bill has been framed without information, because the Chancellor of the
Exchequer, as is well known, has told us that the only copy he had--I
may be right; at any rate I cannot be wrong until I have stated it
somehow--the Chancellor of the Exchequer told us that the only copy he
had of those statistics was the one which he was obliged to lay on the
table of the House. If I am wrong, let the Right Honorable Gentleman
contradict me.

THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER: I spoke of the last absolutely
finished copy. The substance of those statistics, as far as regarded
the general bases of the measure, had been in our hands for weeks
before that time, but was not in a state to be placed on the table of
the House until all the columns had been filled in.

MR. LOWE: Well, sir, that finished document is what I call a copy.
It may be that the Bill was originally drawn for £6 and £12, and
that at the last moment £7 and £14 were substituted, and that it was
regarded as a matter of little consequence what the exact figures
were. As to the element of time, I suppose, however, I must not say
anything, or the Right Honorable Gentleman will be angry with me.
The twelve nights that he gave us for the Franchise Bill are pretty
well gone, and we have now got what he never contemplated we should
have, a Redistribution Bill as well. I suppose I had better say
nothing about the support the Government will have, or I had better
veil it in a dead language and say, _Idem trecenti Juravimus_.[30] I
would ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how he can expect to get
the Bill through the Committee under those circumstances, bearing in
mind that most of the newspapers that lay claim to intelligence and
write for educated persons, having begun with rather vague notions
of liberality, have written themselves fairly out of them, and that
educated opinion is generally adverse to this measure. These, sir,
are the prospects we have before us. We have a measure of the most
ill-considered and inadequate nature, which cannot be taken as it is,
and which, as I understand it, is based on principles so absolutely
subversive and destructive--the grouping, for instance--that if we
were ever so anxious to aid the Government we could not accept it.
Well then, sir, what objection can there be to the advice given to
the Government by my honorable friend, the Member for Dumfries,--no
hostile adviser,--to put off the question for another year, and give
the educated opinion of the country time to decide on this matter? What
are the objections to such a course? There are only two that I know
of. One is, that the honorable gentlemen are anxious for a settlement.
But are there materials for a settlement in the Bill before us? How,
for instance, can you settle the grouping? If you retain the principle
on which the Government act, that of grouping those boroughs that
have already members, you may do a little better than they have done,
because they seem to have gone gratuitously wrong; but you cannot make
an effective measure of it, and one that would stand. I am convinced
that it would generate far more inequality than it seeks to remove.
Then, the giving the constituencies three members is a principle of
the greatest gravity and weight, not only for its actual results, but
because it really concedes the principle of electoral districts.
That, surely, is a matter not to be lightly disposed of; nor do I see
how it can be compromised, because if the Government gives it up,
it must select some other apportionment, which can only be done by
creating other electoral districts. Then, as regards the franchise:
no doubt that we could get through, because it would only be dealing
with a figure, and I dare say there are many honorable gentlemen whose
opinions are entitled to great weight who would like a compromise on
the franchise. But then you have to consider this, that a compromise on
the franchise is a capitulation. Take what I said of the opinions of
the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the honorable Member for Birmingham,
and the Attorney-General, and it is just as true of £8 as of £7, and of
£9 as of £8. If you once give up the notion of standing on the existing
settlement, so far as the mere money qualification for the franchise
is concerned, whatever other qualifications you may add to it, you
give up the whole principle. As the Attorney-General himself sees,
you must go down to household suffrage at last--whether any farther
is a matter on which men may differ, though, for my part, I think you
would have to go farther. I must say, therefore, that I can see no
materials for a compromise in the borough franchise part of this Bill,
and I come therefore to the conclusion that, desirable as it would
be, weary as we all are of the subject, and anxious as we all are to
get rid of it, there is no place for a compromise. The divergence
is too wide; the principles are too weighty; the time is too short;
the information is too defective; the subject is too ill-considered.
Well, then the other objection to a postponement is that, as my Right
Honorable friend, the Secretary for the Colonies, told us, the honor of
the Government would not permit them to take that course. Now, I think
we have heard too much about the honor of the Government. The honor of
the Government obliged them to bring in a Reform Bill in 1860.[31] It
was withdrawn under circumstances which I need not allude to, and as
soon as it was withdrawn the honor of the Government went to sleep. It
slept for five years. Session after session it never so much as winked.
As long as Lord Palmerston lived honor slept soundly; but when Lord
Palmerston died, and Lord Russell succeeded by seniority to his place,
the “Sleeping Beauty” woke up. As long as the Government was kept
together by having no Reform Bill, honor did not ask for a Reform Bill;
but when, owing to the peculiar predilections of Lord Russell, the
Government was best kept together by having a Reform Bill, honor became
querulous and anxious for a Reform Bill. But that, Sir, is a very
peculiar kind of honor. It puts me in mind of Hotspur’s description:

   “By Heaven, methinks it were an easy leap,
    To pluck bright honor from the pale-fac’d moon,
    Or dive into the bottom of the deep,
    Where fathom-line could never touch the ground,
    And pluck up drowned honor by the locks;
    So he that doth redeem her thence might wear,
    Without corrival all her dignities.”[32]

That is, as long as honor gives nothing, she is allowed to sleep, and
nobody cares about her, but when it is a question of wearing “without
corrival all her dignities,” honor becomes a more important and
exacting personage, and all considerations of policy and expediency
have to be sacrificed to her imperious demands. But then there is
another difficulty. The Government have told us that they are bound
in this matter. Now, “bound” means contracted, and I want to know
with whom they contracted. Was it with the last House of Commons?
But the plaintiff is dead, and has left no executor. Was it with the
people at large? Well, wait till the people demand the fulfilment of
the contract. But it was with neither the one or the other, because
the Under-Secretary for the Colonies let the cat out of the bag. He
said that he himself called upon Earl Russell to redeem their pledge.
I suppose he is Attorney-General for the people of England. He called
upon the Government to redeem their pledge. Now, one often hears
of people in insolvent circumstances, who want an excuse to become
bankrupt, getting a friendly creditor to sue them. And this demand
of the honorable gentleman has something of the same appearance. But
there has been a little more honor in the case. The Government raised
the banner in this House, and said they were determined that we should
pass the Franchise Bill, without having seen the Redistribution Bill.
Well, they carried their point, but carried it by that sort of majority
that though they gained the victory they scarcely got the honor of the
operation, and if there was any doubt about that I think there was no
great accession of honor gained last Monday in the division, when the
House really by their vote took the management of the Committee out
of the hands of the Executive. All these things do not matter much to
ordinary mortals, but to people of a Castilian turn of mind they are
very serious. Sir, I have come to the conclusion that there must be
two kinds of honor, and the only consolation I can administer to the
Government is in the words of Hudibras:

   “If he that’s in the battle slain
    Be on the bed of honor lain,
    Then he that’s beaten may be said
    To lie on honor’s truckle bed.”[33]

Well, sir, as it seems to be the fashion to give the Government advice,
I will offer them a piece of advice, and I will give them Falstaff’s
opinion of honor:

  “What is honor?... a trim reckoning.... I’ll none of it. Honor is a
  mere scutcheon: and so ends my catechism.”[34]

Sir, I am firmly convinced--and I wish, if possible, to attract the
serious attention of the House for a few moments--that it is not the
wish of this country to do that which this Bill seeks to do. There is
no doubt the main object of this Bill is to render it impossible for
any other Government than a Liberal one to exist in this country for
the future. I do not say that this object would appear an illegitimate
one in the eyes of heated partisans and in moments of conflict, for we
are all of us naturally impatient of opposition and contradiction, and
I dare say such an idea has occurred to many Governments before the
present and to many Parliaments before this; but I do say that it is a
shortsighted and foolish idea, because if we could succeed in utterly
obliterating and annihilating the power of the honorable gentlemen
opposite all we should reap as the result of our success would be the
annihilation of ourselves. The history of this country--the glorious
and happy history of this country--has been a conflict between two
aristocratic parties, and if ever one should be destroyed the other
would be left face to face with a party not aristocratic, but purely
democratic. The honorable Member for Birmingham said with great
truth the other day that if the purely aristocratic and the purely
democratic elements should come into conflict the victory would, in
all probability, be on the side of democracy. The annihilation of one
of the aristocratic parties--and I know it is in the minds of many,
though, of course, it is not openly avowed--would be a folly like that
of a bird which, feeling the resistance the air offers to its flight,
imagines how well it would fly if there was no air at all, forgetting
that the very air which resists it also supports it, and ministers to
it the breath of life, and that if it got quit of that air it would
immediately perish. So it is with political parties; they not only
oppose, they support, strengthen, and invigorate each other, and I
shall never, therefore, be a party to any measure, come from whichever
side of the House it may, which seeks so to impair and destroy the
balance of parties existing in this country that whichever party were
in office should be free from the check of a vigorous opposition,
directed by men of the same stamp and position as those to whom they
were opposed. I do not believe that is an object of this Bill which
the people of this country will approve, nor do I believe that they
wish materially to diminish the influence of the honorable gentlemen
opposite. There are plenty of gentlemen who do wish it, but I do not
believe it is the wish of the country, and therefore I believe they
would have looked with much greater satisfaction on the principle of
grouping if it had not been so studiously confined to represented
boroughs, and if, instead of first swamping the counties by a low
franchise, and then offering the illusory boon of three members, it
had relieved the county constituencies of considerable portions of
the great towns by an efficient Boundaries Bill, and had erected
some of the towns which now almost engross the county representation
into distinct constituencies. And while passing by that point, let
me say that the provisions with regard to boundaries appear to me
to be one of the most delusive parts of the whole Bill, because the
effect of them is that no suburbs not now included in the municipal
district can be included in the Parliamentary district, unless those
who live in these suburbs are content to saddle themselves with
municipal taxation. I do not believe the country wishes to see the
door to talent shut more closely than it is, or this House become an
assembly of millionaires. I do not believe the country would look with
satisfaction on the difference of tone within the House which must be
produced if the elements of which it is the result are altered. Nor
do I believe that it will look with satisfaction on that inevitable
change of the Constitution which must occur if these projects are
carried into execution--a change breaking the close connection
between the executive Government and the House of Commons. I believe
sincerely that this House is anxious to put down corruption, and I
will say again at any risk of obloquy that it is not the way to put
down corruption to thrust the franchise into poorer hands. If we are
really desirous of achieving this result there is but one way that I
know of, and that is by taking care that you trust the franchise only
to those persons whose positions in life give security that they are
above the grosser forms of corruption. And if you do prefer to have a
lower constituency, you must look the thing in the face--you will be
deliberately perpetuating corruption for the sake of what you consider
the greater good of making the constituencies larger. These are things
which I do not believe the people of this country wish to have. And,
therefore, I believe that you will be acting in accordance with sound
wisdom and enlightened public opinion of the country by deferring this
measure another year. I press most earnestly for delay. The matter is
of inexpressible importance; any error is absolutely irretrievable; it
is the last thing in the world which ought to be dealt with rashly or
incautiously. We are dealing not merely with administration, not merely
with a party; no, not even with the Constitution of the kingdom. To
our hands at this moment is intrusted the noble and sacred future of
free and self-determined government all over the world. We are about to
surrender certain good for more than doubtful change; we are about to
barter maxims and traditions that have never failed for theories and
doctrines that never have succeeded. Democracy you might have at any
time. Night and day the gate is open that leads to that bare and level
plain, where every ant’s-nest is a mountain and every thistle a forest
tree. But a government such as England has, a government the work of
no human hand, but which has grown up, the imperceptible aggregation
of centuries--this is a thing which we only can enjoy; which we
cannot impart to others; and which, once lost, we cannot recover for
ourselves. Because you have contrived to be at once dilatory and
hasty heretofore, that is no reason for pressing forward rashly and
improvidently now. We are not agreed upon details, we have not come
to any accord upon principles. To precipitate a decision in the case
of a single human life would be cruel. It is more than cruel--it is
parricide in the case of the Constitution, which is the life and soul
of this great nation. If it is to perish, as all human things must
perish, give it at any rate time to gather its robe about it, and to
fall with decency and deliberation.

          “To-morrow!
    Oh, that’s sudden! spare it! spare it!
    It ought not so to die.”[35]



THE RIGHT HONORABLE JOSEPH CHAMBERLAIN, M.P.


In the delicate task of appraising a contemporary--and that
contemporary a prominent figure in a kindred state--a writer will
naturally feel hesitation. This hesitation will be increased when it
is considered that the subject of the notice lives and moves in the
contested fields of party politics, and that to his own Englishmen the
character of Mr. Chamberlain may admit of two interpretations. But
none can deny him the meed of an early and continued success as a man
and a publicist. And the real _crux_ of the question centres about his
transferral of party allegiance.

The Right Honorable Joseph Chamberlain, M.P. for West Birmingham,
and Secretary of State for the Colonies, was born in London in 1836.
As a young man he removed to Birmingham to become a partner in a
manufacturing business. This enterprise he carried to such great
success that in 1874 he retired definitely from its active management
to devote himself to municipal affairs. Unusually honored by the
city by three successive elections to the mayoralty, he was largely
instrumental in bringing about such reforms as the construction of new
streets and the municipal assumption of the gas and water monopolies.
In 1876 he first entered Parliament as Liberal member for Birmingham;
in 1886 he was returned as a Liberal opposed to Home Rule. Meanwhile
he had become so prominent a member of the party that in spite of his
known aversion to Home Rule, Mr. Gladstone was constrained to bid
him to Government office as President of the Board of Trade, with
the greatest possible latitude of independence for Mr. Chamberlain
seemingly implied. Nevertheless, in March, 1886, he thought it
necessary to resign his allegiance to the orthodox, Home-Rule Liberals,
and with other Liberal Unionists, as they are called, he has since
faithfully supported the Conservative leader, Lord Salisbury. It is
this action obviously that has drawn on his head certain criticisms. At
the formation of the present Ministry, in 1895, he accepted from Lord
Salisbury the office of Secretary of State for the Colonies, in which
he continues.

In a life that has thus covered more than sixty years, Mr. Chamberlain
has exhibited in a marked degree the peculiarly British qualities of
great private enterprise and pronounced public spirit. He has stood
always upon the broad, utilitarian platform of the British manufacturer
and man of affairs,--that common-sense and the philosophy of Franklin
rule the world; that it is good for the British Empire that her sons
should prosper and accumulate riches; and that what is good for the
British Empire is good for the outlying portions of the planet.
Despite the lack of the ideal and the smack of frank Philistinism
in this doctrine, as a working theory it has the merit of continual
demonstration up and down life; it is a philosophy that can teach
by example; and of most men it will always be the cult. Naturally,
then, Mr. Chamberlain from the start has championed the ideas of
Imperial Federation and Free Trade between the Mother Country and the
Colonies. In a word he is the apostle of the “Open Door.” His lifelong
opposition to Home Rule for Ireland proceeds not so much from inherent
Conservatism as from an abhorrence of any centrifugal tendency in
the Empire. Doubtless he would be willing to grant any reasonable
concessions to Ireland short of the only thing the Irish insist on
having. His withdrawal from the Gladstonian Liberals was consistent and
inevitable.

Mr. Chamberlain has travelled widely. Always has he come home with his
convictions as to Imperial policy strengthened. It would be unfair
to cite him as one of those of English travellers, satirized by Mr.
Chapman,[C] who set forth on the Grand Tour with their ideas and their
portmanteaus and return with their portmanteaus and their ideas. But
to one of Mr. Chamberlain’s way of thinking either the British Empire
or the empires not British are bound to be an instructive sight. In
Egypt, the theory is proved: in Madagascar, say, or German East Africa,
the theory is also proved. The successful colony--where is it not
Anglo-Saxon? And the theory really seems to be true.

    [C] “Emerson and Other Essays.”

When Mr. Chamberlain was called to the Salisbury Ministry, surprise
was expressed in England that it was to the Colonial Secretaryship,
a billet which had been considered to be of secondary importance. It
does not appear that Mr. Chamberlain has considered it such. He has
certainly made the position one of increasing importance; as Secretary
for the Colonies he has been able decidedly to further the policies to
which he is devoted. Events, too, have served him, as they often do
the strenuous, single-minded man. In the outburst of loyalty and the
tightening of the Imperial bonds that followed the Venezuelan incident
and the Jameson Raid, the cards certainly came his way. As a man, Mr.
Chamberlain has been fortunate in that he has seen his own doctrines
already justified in himself, at least; as a statesman, the trend of
British politics would seem to be toward the adoption of his views.

Mr. Chamberlain has never been an orator. Few are the phrases he has
coined; fewer still the memorable speeches,--the moments of forensic
distinction. He has perhaps been heard at his best at the meetings of
societies and clubs, whether as chairman or in response to toasts.
His style is informal, unpretentious, but emphatic. The limitations
of his temperament keep him from any elevation of style; it is always
the practical, business-like Briton that speaks. The graces of oratory
do not attend him,--unless the exercise of unfailing tact be counted
one. Nevertheless his speeches have the weight that accompanies the
utterances of a man devoted to facts and fully in command of them. He
is probably to-day (1899) one of the most quoted of British public men.

Personally Mr. Chamberlain is apparently not widely popular. The
singularly youthful face, the orchid, and the monocle, have lent
themselves readily to political caricature, in which often there
has seemed more than a good-natured intention. And yet, if he is
not a popular hero, the English public do him the honor to take him
seriously. His pronouncements on current affairs may not be received
as _ex cathedra_, but they are the pronouncements of the day that
are talked about. A fair estimate of the Secretary for the Colonies
will doubtless be that there are few men alive who are more sincerely
devoted to what they believe the honor and glory of the British Empire.



JOSEPH CHAMBERLAIN.

SPLENDID ISOLATION.


  On January 21, 1896, at a banquet given in London to Lord Lamington
  on the eve of his departure for Queensland as Governor of the
  Colony, Mr. Chamberlain presided. It will be remembered that no
  less than three events had recently occurred to shock the dreams of
  the amiable sentimentalists who had decided to abolish war forever
  between the nations. It was the period of President Cleveland’s
  Venezuelan Message, of Dr. Jameson’s raid into the Transvaal, and
  of the German Emperor’s telegram of sympathy to President Krüger.
  For the moment England realized keenly that she stood alone: the
  Anglo-Saxon world it seemed was split in twain--not only German but
  American arrayed against the Englishman. Then came the outburst
  of loyalty from the colonies, the marvellously swift equipment
  of a “Flying Squadron”--and lo! after all, “Splendid Isolation”
  was felt to be a fine thing. The thrill of mutual interests, of
  Imperial solidarity, finds emphatic expression in this speech of
  the Secretary for the Colonies. With one exception, the marks of
  applause, though frequent in the report of the speeches, have been
  omitted.

I think that I see before me a representative gathering of British
subjects, whose principal interests lie in that great group of
Australian colonies, whose present greatness and importance give us but
a faint indication of the splendid future which awaits them. For of one
thing I am certain, whatever may be the fate of the old country--and
even as to that I have sufficient confidence--no man can doubt that
our vigorous offspring in the Southern Seas are bound at no distant
time to rival the older civilization of the Continent of Europe in
wealth, in population, and in all the attributes of a great nation.
But, although, as I have said, your interests lie in this direction,
I have an instinctive feeling that to-night you are thinking not so
much of Australian politics and of Australian progress as you are of
events that have recently occurred in another quarter of the globe and
of their connection with Imperial interests. If that be so, I hail the
fact as another proof of the solidarity of Imperial sentiment in making
it impossible that a blow can be struck, or a chord sounded, in even
the most distant portion of the Queen’s dominions, without an echo
coming back from every other part of the British Empire.

It would be inopportune in me, it would be improper, if I were to dwell
on the incidents which have diverted attention to South Africa. Those
incidents will be the subject of judicial inquiry in this country
and in Africa, and I assume that, with the fair-mindedness which
distinguishes them, my countrymen will wait to hear both the indictment
and the defence before they pronounce a judgment. But, in the meantime,
I will venture to say that I think there is a tendency to attach too
much importance to sensational occurrences which pass away and leave no
trace behind, and not enough to the general course of British policy
and the general current of colonial progress. I have heard it said that
we never have had a colonial policy, that we have simply blundered into
all the best places in the earth. I admit that we have made mistakes.
I have no doubt that we are answerable for sins of commission as well
as for sins of omission; but, after all is said, this remains--that
we alone among the nations of the earth have been able to establish
and to maintain colonies under different conditions in all parts of
the world, that we have maintained them to their own advantage and
to ours, and that we have secured not only the loyal attachment of
all British subjects, but the general good will of the races, whether
they be native or whether they be European, that have thus come under
the British flag. This may be a comforting assurance when we think of
occasional mistakes, and when we are rebuked even for our misfortunes
we may find some consolation in our success.

There is, gentlemen, another consideration which I think is not
inappropriate to such a gathering as this. A few weeks ago England
appeared to stand alone in the world, surrounded by jealous competitors
and by altogether unexpected hostility. Differences between ourselves
and other nations which were of long standing appeared suddenly to come
to a head and to assume threatening proportions; and from quarters to
which we might have looked for friendship and consideration--having
regard to our traditions and to a certain community of interest--we
were confronted with suspicion, and even with hate. We had to recognize
that our success itself, however legitimate, was imputed to us as a
crime; that our love of peace was taken as a sign of weakness; and that
our indifference to foreign criticism was construed into an invitation
to insult us. The prospect of our discomfiture was regarded with hardly
disguised satisfaction by our competitors, who, at the same time, must
have been forced to own that we alone held our possessions throughout
the world in trust for all, and that we admit them to our markets as
freely as we do our own subjects. I regret that such a feeling should
exist, and that we should be forced to acknowledge its existence; but,
as it does exist, I rejoice that it found expression. No better service
was ever done to this nation, for it has enabled us to show, in face
of all, that while we are resolute to fulfil our obligations we are
equally determined to maintain our rights.

Three weeks ago, in the words of Mr. Foster, the leader of the House
of Commons of the Dominion of Canada, “the great mother-empire stood
splendidly isolated.” And how does she stand to-day? She stands secure
in the strength of her own resources, in the firm resolution of her
people without respect to party, and in the abundant loyalty of her
children from one end of the Empire to another.

The resolution which was conveyed to the Prime Minister on behalf of
the Australian colonies, and the display of patriotic enthusiasm on the
part of the Dominion of Canada, came to us as a natural response to the
outburst of national spirit in the United Kingdom, and as a proof that
British hearts beat in unison throughout the world, whatever may be the
distances that separate us.

Then let us cultivate those sentiments. Let us do all in our power by
improving our communications, by developing our commercial relations,
by co-operating in mutual defence, and none of us then will ever
feel isolated; no part of the Empire will stand alone, so long as it
can count upon the common interest of all in its welfare and in its
security. That is the moral I have derived from recent events. That
is the lesson I desire to impress on my countrymen. In the words of
Tennyson, let

   “Britain’s myriad voices call,
    ‘Sons, be welded each and all,
    Into one Imperial whole,
    One with Britain, heart and soul!
    One life, one flag, one fleet, one Throne!’”

And in the time to come, the time that must come, when these colonies
of ours have grown in stature, in population, and in strength, this
league of kindred nations, this federation of Greater Britain, will
not only provide for its own security, but will be a potent factor in
maintaining the peace of the world.

Our guest to-night goes out to take his part in this work of drawing
tighter the bonds which unite us to our children in the Antipodes.
He goes to an infant colony, an infant which is destined to become
a giant, and the future possibilities of which no man can measure.
Queensland has an area, which--shall I say?--is three times greater
than the German Empire. (Laughter and cheers.) It has a soil which
can produce anything. It has vast mineral resources. In a generation
its population has increased fifteen-fold. It has already a revenue
of three or four millions sterling. It has completed 2500 miles of
railway. It has exports valued at ten millions sterling, all of them,
except a small fraction, coming to the United Kingdom or to some of the
British possessions. Yet this colony of Queensland, great as it is, is
only one of seven, all equally important, equally energetic, equally
prosperous, equally loyal. I say that the relations between these
colonies and ourselves are questions of momentous import to us both,
and I hope that our rulers and our people will leave no stone unturned
to show the store that we all set on the continued amity, the continued
affection, of our kindred beyond the sea. That is the message we ask
Lord Lamington to take with him, and we wish him health and prosperity
in the colony over which he is about to preside.

       *       *       *       *       *

_In responding to the toast of “The Chairman,” which was proposed by
Sir James Garrick, Mr. Chamberlain said_:

Nothing could be more gratifying to me than that this toast should
have been proposed by the eloquent representative of the colony which
we have met to honor as well as its future Governor, and nothing could
be more agreeable than the kindly response which you have given to the
toast. It almost emboldens me to think that there may yet be occasions
upon which I shall venture to address my fellow-countrymen--a point on
which, I admit, I have had grave doubts since I have become acquainted
with certain criticisms of my recent performances. When I became
Secretary of State for the Colonies I accepted with that office certain
duties, not the least pleasant being that of presiding over gatherings
similar to this. I attended a meeting of the friends of South Africa on
an occasion interesting especially to our colony of Natal, and I made
a speech upon that occasion in which, in my simple and ingenuous way, I
ventured to point out that this was on the whole a considerable Empire,
and that any true view of its perspective would take into account the
greatness of the colonies, and the magnitude of their resources, as
well as the past history of the mother country. And thereupon I was
surprised to read, in the report of a speech of a minor luminary of the
late Government on the occasion of the recent raid into the Transvaal,
that that unfortunate occurrence was entirely due to the “spread-eagle
speech” which I had made. It is extraordinary what great events spring
from trifling causes. I had no conception that my words would travel
so far or have so great an influence. To the best of my knowledge and
belief, I have never made a “spread-eagle” speech in my life. I think I
have been able to distinguish between patriotism and jingoism. But in
order that there may be no mistake, I desire to say now, in the most
formal way, that the few remarks which I have addressed to you to-night
are not to be taken as an intimation to any individual to carry on war
on his own account, or to make an invasion upon a friendly nation with
which we are at present at peace. But this is not all, because this
afternoon I read in an evening newspaper that this same speech, which I
thought so natural and so innocent, was really the dictating cause of
our difficulties in British Guiana, and of the complications with our
cousins across the Atlantic. It appears that in speaking of Imperial
unity, in endeavoring to popularize that idea among my countrymen, I am
giving offence to other nations.

Gentlemen, I cannot help thinking that Lord Rosebery was mistaken
when, a short time ago, he said that the “Little Englanders” no longer
existed among us. A pretty pass we must have come to if the Minister
who is responsible for the British colonies is forbidden to speak of
their future, of their greatness, of the importance of maintaining
friendly relations with them, of the necessity of promoting the unity
of the British race, for fear of giving offence. I remember a story
of a certain burgomaster in a continental town to whom complaints
were made that naughty boys were accustomed to throw mud upon the
passers-by. He was asked to intervene, and he issued a proclamation
which was to the effect that all respectable inhabitants were
requested to wear their second-hand clothes in order not to give
offence. I do not so understand the position which I hold. I decline
to speak with bated breath of our colonies for fear of giving offence
to foreign nations. We mean them no harm; we hope they mean us none.
But not for any such consideration will we be withheld from speaking
of points which have for us the greatest interest and upon which the
future of our Empire depends. Sir James Garrick has kindly attributed
to me very creditable motives in seeking the office which has been
conferred upon me. He is perhaps not far wrong in thinking that I have
long believed that the future of the colonies and the future of this
country were interdependent, and that this was a creative time, that
this was the opportunity which, once let slip, might never recur, for
bringing together all the people who are under the British flag, and
for consolidating them into a great self-sustaining and self-protecting
Empire whose future will be worthy of the traditions of the race.



JOSEPH CHAMBERLAIN.

THE TRUE CONCEPTION OF EMPIRE.


  This speech was delivered in London, March 31, 1897, at the
  annual dinner of the Royal Colonial Institute. The society and
  the occasion are sufficiently explained in the opening sentences.
  What follows is a broad and lucid statement of Mr. Chamberlain’s
  conception of expansive Imperial policy. At the moment when in
  the United States the old blood is asserting itself and men are
  coming to weary of adventures in stocks and raids in pork products,
  to Americans the pronouncement is of peculiar interest. For the
  speaker is a practical statesman: he himself has seen working many
  of the doctrines he here publishes.

I have now the honor to propose to you the toast of “Prosperity to
the Royal Colonial Institute.” The Institute was founded in 1868,
almost exactly a generation ago, and I confess that I admire the faith
of its promoters, who, in a time not altogether favorable to their
opinions, sowed the seeds of Imperial patriotism, although they must
have known that few of them could live to gather the fruit and to reap
the harvest. But their faith has been justified by the result of their
labors, and their foresight must be recognized in the light of our
present experience.

It seems to me that there are three distinct stages in our Imperial
history. We began to be, and we ultimately became, a great Imperial
Power in the eighteenth century, but, during the greater part of that
time, the colonies were regarded, not only by us, but by every European
Power that possessed them, as possessions valuable in proportion to the
pecuniary advantage which they brought to the mother country, which,
under that order of ideas, was not truly a mother at all, but appeared
rather in the light of a grasping and absentee landlord, desiring to
take from his tenants the utmost rents he could exact. The colonies
were valued and maintained because it was thought that they would be a
source of profit--of direct profit--to the mother country.

That was the first stage, and when we were rudely awakened by the War
of Independence in America from this dream that the colonies could be
held for our profit alone, the second chapter was entered upon, and
public opinion seems then to have drifted to the opposite extreme; and,
because the colonies were no longer a source of revenue, it seems to
have been believed and argued by many people that their separation
from us was only a matter of time, and that that separation should be
desired and encouraged, lest haply they might prove an encumbrance and
a source of weakness.

It was while those views were still entertained, while the Little
Englanders were in their full career, that this Institute was founded
to protest against doctrines so injurious to our interests and so
derogatory to our honor; and I rejoice that what was then, as it were,
“a voice crying in the wilderness” is now the expressed and determined
will of the overwhelming majority of the British people. Partly by
the efforts of this Institute and similar organizations, partly by
the writings of such men as Froude and Seeley, but mainly by the
instinctive good sense and patriotism of the people at large, we have
now reached the third stage in our history, and the true conception
of our Empire. What is that conception? As regards the self-governing
colonies we no longer talk of them as dependencies. The sense of
possession has given place to the sentiment of kinship.

We think and speak of them as part of ourselves, as part of the British
Empire, united to us, although they may be dispersed throughout the
world, by ties of kindred, of religion, of history, and of language,
and joined to us by the seas that formerly seemed to divide us.

But the British Empire is not confined to the self-governing colonies
and the United Kingdom. It includes a much greater area, a much more
numerous population, in tropical climes, where no considerable European
settlement is possible, and where the native population must always
vastly outnumber the white inhabitants; and in these cases also the
same change has come over the Imperial idea. Here also the sense of
possession has given place to a different sentiment,--the sense of
obligation. We feel now that our rule over these territories can
only be justified if we can show that it adds to the happiness and
prosperity of the people, and I maintain that our rule does, and has,
brought security and peace and comparative prosperity to countries that
never knew these blessings before.

In carrying out this work of civilization we are fulfilling what I
believe to be our national mission, and we are finding scope for the
exercise of those faculties and qualities which have made of us a great
governing race. I do not say that our success has been perfect in every
case, I do not say that all our methods have been beyond reproach; but
I do say that in almost every instance in which the rule of the Queen
has been established and the great _Pax Britannica_ has been enforced,
there has come with it greater security to life and property, and a
material improvement in the condition of the bulk of the population.
No doubt, in the first instance, when these conquests have been made,
there has been bloodshed, there has been loss of life among the native
populations, loss of still more precious lives among those who have
been sent out to bring these countries into some kind of disciplined
order, but it must be remembered that that is the condition of the
mission we have to fulfil. There are, of course, among us--there always
are among us, I think--a very small minority of men who are ready to be
the advocates of the most detestable tyrants, provided their skin is
black--men who sympathize with the sorrows of Prempeh and Lobengula,
and who denounce as murderers those of their countrymen who have gone
forth at the command of the Queen, and who have redeemed districts as
large as Europe from the barbarism and the superstition in which they
had been steeped for centuries. I remember a picture by Mr. Selous of
a philanthropist--an imaginary philanthropist, I will hope--sitting
cosily by his fireside and denouncing the methods by which British
civilization was promoted. This philanthropist complained of the use of
Maxim guns and other instruments of warfare, and asked why we could not
proceed by more conciliatory methods, and why the impis of Lobengula
could not be brought before a magistrate, fined five shillings, and
bound over to keep the peace.

No doubt there is humorous exaggeration in this picture, but there is
gross exaggeration in the frame of mind against which it was directed.
You cannot have omelettes without breaking eggs; you cannot destroy
the practices of barbarism, of slavery, of superstition, which for
centuries have desolated the interior of Africa, without the use of
force; but if you will fairly contrast the gain to humanity with the
price which we are bound to pay for it, I think you may well rejoice
in the result of such expeditions as those which have recently been
conducted with such signal success in Nyassaland, Ashanti, Benin, and
Nupé--expeditions which may have, and indeed have, cost valuable lives,
but as to which we may rest assured that for one life lost a hundred
will be gained, and the cause of civilization and the prosperity of the
people will in the long run be eminently advanced. But no doubt such
a state of things, such a mission as I have described, involve heavy
responsibility. In the wide dominions of the Queen the doors of the
temple of Janus are never closed, and it is a gigantic task that we
have undertaken when we have determined to wield the sceptre of empire.
Great is the task, great is the responsibility, but great is the honor;
and I am convinced that the conscience and the spirit of the country
will rise to the height of its obligations, and that we shall have
the strength to fulfil the mission which our history and our national
character have imposed upon us.

In regard to the self-governing colonies our task is much lighter. We
have undertaken, it is true, to protect them with all the strength at
our command against foreign aggression, although I hope that the need
for our intervention may never arise. But there remains what then will
be our chief duty--that is, to give effect to that sentiment of kinship
to which I have referred and which I believe is deep in the heart of
every Briton. We want to promote a closer and a firmer union between
all members of the great British race, and in this respect we have
in recent years made great progress--so great that I think sometimes
some of our friends are apt to be a little hasty, and to expect even a
miracle to be accomplished. I would like to ask them to remember that
time and patience are essential elements in the development of all
great ideas. Let us, gentlemen, keep our ideal always before us. For
my own part, I believe in the practical possibility of a federation
of the British race, but I know that it will come, if it does come,
not by pressure, not by anything in the nature of dictation from this
country, but it will come as the realization of a universal desire,
as the expression of the dearest wish of our colonial fellow-subjects
themselves.

That such a result would be desirable, would be in the interest of all
of our colonies as well as of ourselves, I do not believe any sensible
man will doubt. It seems to me that the tendency of the time is to
throw all power into the hands of the greater empires, and the minor
kingdoms--those which are non-progressive--seem to be destined to
fall into a secondary and subordinate place. But, if Greater Britain
remains united, no empire in the world can ever surpass it in area, in
population, in wealth, or in the diversity of its resources.

Let us, then, have confidence in the future. I do not ask you to
anticipate with Lord Macaulay the time when the New Zealander will
come here to gaze upon the ruins of a great dead city. There are in
our present condition no visible signs of decrepitude and decay. The
mother country is still vigorous and fruitful, is still able to send
forth troops of stalwart sons to people and to occupy the waste spaces
of the earth; but yet it may well be that some of these sister nations
whose love and affection we eagerly desire may in the future equal and
even surpass our greatness. A transoceanic capital may arise across the
seas, which will throw into shade the glories of London itself; but in
the years that must intervene let it be our endeavor, let it be our
task, to keep alight the torch of Imperial patriotism, to hold fast
the affection and the confidence of our kinsmen across the seas, that
so in every vicissitude of fortune the British Empire may present an
unbroken front to all her foes, and may carry on even to distant ages
the glorious traditions of the British flag. It is because I believe
that the Royal Colonial Institute is contributing to this result that
with all sincerity I propose the toast of the evening.



LORD ROSEBERY.


When, in March, 1894, upon the retirement of Mr. Gladstone from public
life, the Liberal party looked about, not for that impossible man
who could fill his place, but for a new leader, it is a matter of
recent history that the choice fell on Lord Rosebery. Mr. McCarthy
has described minutely the rather intricate reasons for this choice:
suffice it to say here that Lord Rosebery was summoned to the
Premiership both as a compromise candidate and as the most popular
Liberal before the country.

Lord Rosebery, Earl of Primrose, was a Premier who had never sat in
the Lower House. Educated at Eton and Christchurch, as a minor he
had succeeded to the title and hereditary seat among the Lords. As
the first Chairman of the London County Council (1888), and twice
as Secretary for Foreign Affairs (1886, 1892), he had shown marked
abilities for public business. In the latter office, for instance, he
had often worked eighteen hours a day. Nor were industry and position
his only qualifications for the high honor. In the full sense of
the word, Lord Rosebery was a versatile man. He had some claims to
virtuosity in the arts of painting and sculpture. He had written a
good deal, and creditably; he had spoken much, and well. But above
all, to these accomplishments he had added an avocation perhaps the
most sympathetic to the English popular mind,--the cult of the turf.
As a boy, indeed, Lord Rosebery is said to have set upon at least two
objects to be attained in life: the possession of the Premiership and
the owning of a Derby winner. Both have already been his.

The appointment, then, so far as personal reasons went, was generally
popular; but, like most compromises, it did not entirely suit the
party. Lord Rosebery, though one of the comparatively few Peers in
favor of Home Rule, was not so ardent or optimistic a supporter of the
cause as many Liberals could have wished. Certainly his advocacy was
luke-warm as compared with the consecrated fire of Mr. Gladstone’s
attack. Further, he was known to be conservative in a matter upon which
many of his party felt strongly, the abridgment of the powers of the
Lords--here again less truly Liberal than the retiring leader.

The term of office begun under these dubious auspices was marked by no
sensational episodes save its finish. A revival of the old proposal
to erect a statue of Cromwell within the Parliament precincts awoke a
spirited remonstrance from Ireland. From this proposal the Government
quietly withdrew. Beyond this, very little happened until, suddenly,
consequent to a debate precipitated upon the supply of cordite to the
army, a division disclosed the Government defeated (June 24, 1895) by a
majority of seven. Thus ended a Ministry begun in compromise, continued
without real coherence, and shipwrecked on the most trivial of points.
Mr. McCarthy has wittily and well described this _fiasco_ as “The
Cordite Explosion.”

The resignations of the Ministry followed; and Lord Rosebery was
relieved from a post which could not have been agreeable to him, but
in which he had probably done the best possible. “A house divided
against itself--” The ensuing elections returned Lord Salisbury and the
Conservatives to the control of affairs which they still retain.

This slight sketch should show that to Lord Rosebery the real moment
has not yet arrived. Still comparatively a young man, and in so many
ways the type of a great Liberal Peer, more than ever he is the logical
leader of his party. Although that party now[D] shows signs of a
disintegration probably momentary, the ebb and flow of politics are
proverbial. When the tide sets the other way, it is not hazardous to
predict that it will be Lord Rosebery who again commands the Liberals.

    [D] January, 1899.

As a speaker, the style of Lord Rosebery will be found to be thoroughly
modern,--suave, easy, and unimpassioned. In a degree denied to Mr.
Chamberlain, Lord Rosebery has the gift of the phrase. The current and
rather picturesque catchword, England’s “Splendid Isolation,” indeed
was not his; but one example of his power to crystallize a great
tendency in compact form is his reference to that wise British policy
of building for the future in Africa, or whatever barbarous land. It is
“Pegging out Claims for Posterity,” he says. It could hardly be more
aptly turned.



LORD ROSEBERY.

THE DUTY OF PUBLIC SERVICE.


  In common with some other English public men, Lord Rosebery has
  the art of speaking gracefully and informally on matters of public
  interest at occasions not political in character. Such an occasion
  presented itself on October 25, 1898, when, as President of the
  Associated Societies of the University of Edinburgh, Lord Rosebery
  delivered the following address. It will be found to be a good
  example of a style almost always at ease, yet without the sacrifice
  of dignity, progressing skilfully from a light attack to a serious
  and earnest treatment. Perhaps, indeed, the quality is more
  literary than oratorical.

  MR. CHANCELLOR[E] AND GENTLEMEN:

I am not sure that this sumptuous Hall with which the generous Mr.
M’Ewan has endowed this University is in the nature of an unmixed
benefit. It makes too much of an occasion like this. To tell the truth,
as I look around me and see this vast audience, I am irresistibly
reminded of the most dismal moment that can occur in a man’s life,--the
moment when he is about to deliver a Rectorial Address. Happily,
there are one or two considerations which reassure me. One is, that
the altar is already lighted for another victim, whose sacrifice,
in the natural course of things, cannot long be delayed. My other
comfort, sir, is that you are in the chair, because, to put it on no
higher ground, the Chancellor is never present at a Rector’s Address.
The same firmament cannot hold two such planets, and therefore, when
I see you there, I am perfectly certain that the impression I derive
from this audience is an erroneous one, and that I am not going to
deliver a Rectorial Address. Well, sir, we welcome you here for every
reason. We are glad to see you in your place as Chancellor. We are
glad to see you on any plea in Edinburgh; and what I am happy to
think of is this: that we can ensure you in that chair for the next
fifty minutes what, perhaps, you can obtain nowhere else, a period of
unbroken repose, untroubled by colleagues, untroubled by Cabinets,
undisturbed even by boxes or telegrams; and if you, sir, will take
my advice, you will take advantage of that repose. But, gentlemen,
if I can explain why the Rector is not here, and why the Chancellor
is, it is perhaps more difficult to explain to myself why I am here.
It is partly, no doubt, because in an unwary moment I accepted this
responsible office, which has such onerous duties. But it is also
due to another circumstance,--that, when we were last in this Hall,
you invited me, somewhat clamorously, to address you. I am a person,
however, accustomed to walk in the established order of things: I
could not interrupt the programme. It would neither have been _dulce_
nor _decorum_ for me to speak on that occasion. But to-night I am
here to respond to that invitation. To-night, it is perhaps _decorum_
that I should speak; and if it can ever be _dulce_ to make a speech,
it is _dulce_ on this occasion. But, at any rate, let us be quite
clear in our understanding. I am not going to deliver a Rectorial
Address--nothing so elaborate, nothing so educational. Simply, I trust,
it will be a short speech on common-sense lines, and without rising to
the heights of the other occasion to which I have alluded.

    [E] The Right Hon. Arthur Balfour, M.P., who was in the chair.

Now, sir, with a view to the adequate performance of my functions
to-night, I have been reading the address of my predecessor, our
friend Professor Masson, and as I am quite sure that you have all read
Professor Masson’s address too, it will not be necessary on this
occasion to condescend upon details. You know more than I do about the
constitution of these Societies, and you may perhaps be able--which
I am not--to decide as to their relative antiquity. But there is one
sinister and significant sentence in Professor Masson’s address to
which I commend your attention. He says that for sixteen years the
post of President was vacant, because no one could be found willing
to accept the responsibility of delivering the Presidential Address.
Now, if that does not move your compassion for the person who has that
courage, your hearts must be harder than adamant. There is another
sentence which produced a great awe and effect upon my mind. It is
said that the Societies had done much good work which did not seem
affected materially by the absence or the presence of their President,
and as specimen of that good work he said that no less than twenty
thousand essays had been delivered to the Societies in the course
of their existence. Twenty thousand essays! That is a hard saying.
Twenty thousand essays, blown into space! And it leads further to this
appalling calculation, that if a gentleman hearing of the Associated
Societies had determined to improve his mind by reading these essays,
and had determined to read one every day before breakfast, it would
have been sixty years before he had accomplished the task. Now, that
to me, I confess, is not the precious fact in connection with these
Societies. What to me is precious is this, that they garnered up so
much of what is illustrious, both in regard to memories and to men in
connection with Edinburgh. Take, for example, the Dialectic Society,
which was founded in 1787. Well, how brilliant was Edinburgh in 1787!
A race was growing up in your schools and in your universities which
was destined afterwards, through the means of the _Edinburgh Review_,
to influence largely both the taste and the policy of these islands.
They were at that time pretty young, the most of them. Cockburn--Lord
Cockburn--was being flogged every ten days at the High School, every
ten days according to a minute and pathetic calculation that he has
left behind him. Jeffrey--Lord Jeffrey--was at that time entering
Glasgow University in his fourteenth year; and as for Lord Brougham, he
was at that moment commencing a career of conflict by a struggle with
a master of his class, in which, I need hardly say, Brougham came off
victorious. Dugald Stewart was lecturing at that time, not merely to
Edinburgh, but to the kingdom, and almost to the world at large, and
Edinburgh was the centre to which all the intellect of Great Britain
might, without exaggeration, be said to have gravitated. At that time
the English universities were slumbering. Jeffrey had indeed taken a
taste of Oxford, but liked it not. His biographer carefully says that
“his College was not distinguished by study and propriety alone.”
This shocked Jeffrey, and he left it. But in any case these were the
golden days of Edinburgh. It was then unrivalled as an intellectual
centre, unrivalled in a sense that it can never be again. Some will
say that all that is gone. Well, as for the intellectual supremacy,
that could not survive in the general awakening of the world. But what
I also fear has gone, is the resident, inherent originality which
then distinguished our city. Railways and the Press have made that
impossible; for, after all, true originality can scarcely exist but in
the backwaters of life. The great ocean of life smooths and rolls its
pebbles to too much the same shape and texture. Those famous judges
of whom we read, with something between a smile and a tear,--Braxfield
and Eskgrove and Newton and Hermand,--are just as impossible in
these days as the black bottles with which they stimulated their
judicial attention on the bench. They are as impossible as that cry of
“Gardez-loo” which meant so much to the passer-by on the streets. Well,
after all, we must take the rough with the smooth, and the good with
the bad. “Gardez-loo” itself was only the symbol of hideous physical
impurities, which we none of us should regret; and perhaps even some
of those social glories, over which we are so accustomed to gloat in
the past, might not have been entirely agreeable had we to realize them
in the present. Take these old judges whom I mentioned. They are very
picturesque and interesting figures; but I am not sure that any of us
could have faced them in the character of a defendant or an accused
person without a qualm, more especially if we were opposed to them
in politics, and even--if tradition lies not--even if we were their
opponents at chess. And if we were in that unfortunate and perhaps
discreditable position, we should go and seek our legal adviser, not,
as now, in the decorous recesses of Queen Street or of George Street,
but, as Colonel Mannering went to seek him, at Clerihugh’s, enjoying
“high jinks” in the midst of a carousal, from which he could hardly
tear himself for matters of the most vital import to his client.

Well, of course it is impossible to read Lord Cockburn’s “Memorials of
His Time”--and I hope that you all do read it, and read it at least
once a year, because no resident of Edinburgh can properly enjoy his
city without reading Lord Cockburn once a year--it is impossible
to read Lord Cockburn without seeing that he was an optimist. But
even he says of the Edinburgh of his time--which he says was so
unrivalled--even he describes it as “always thirsty and unwashed.”
Well, I am not quite sure when I read that description if we should
have thought the Edinburgh of 1787 as delightful as he did. I hardly
venture to risk myself in this line of conjecture. Should we all have
appreciated Jeffrey as much as he did? That must remain in the realms
of the unknowable and the unknown. But there is worse behind. There
is even treason talked about the divine Sir Walter Scott. In that
very delightful book which furnishes so much leisurely reading for
the Scotsman or the Scotswoman, or for anybody,--I mean “Memoirs of a
Highland Lady,”--I came upon this sentence, which I have never since
been able to digest. It says about Sir Walter Scott, “He went out very
little,” and, when he did go, that “he was not an agreeable gentleman,
sitting very silent, looking dull and listless unless an occasional
flash lit up his countenance. It was odd, but Sir Walter never had
the reputation in Edinburgh that he had elsewhere.” Gentlemen, I veil
my face; I cannot get over that, till I remember that a prophet is
never a prophet in his own country, and there may have been people,
even in Edinburgh, who did not think of Sir Walter as we do. But I do
not mention all these disagreeable considerations as sheer iconoclasm
and blasphemy. No, gentlemen, it is in a very different spirit that I
lay them before you. I lay them before you as with a sort of inward
groan. They are to me a sort of philosophic potsherd with which I
scrape myself. It is in the attempt to comfort myself for living
in the Edinburgh of the end of the nineteenth century, and not in
the Edinburgh of the eighteenth or the seventeenth or the sixteenth
centuries, that thus I endeavor to recall these things, and console
myself anew.

Well, I think then there are some circumstances which we should bear
in mind before we give way to the wish to exchange new Edinburgh for
old Edinburgh. At any rate, there are some circumstances that should
discount our enthusiasm. But, indeed, in any case it would not be
possible for us of the Associated Societies to concentrate all our
interest in Edinburgh as our forefathers did. In the first place, our
students, our members, are by no means all Scotsmen. They come from
England, and from all over the world. They come here, many of them,
to learn arts which they mean to practise and to exercise elsewhere,
so that it would be impossible for them to remain in Edinburgh; if
they did, indeed, I think that some professions in Edinburgh would be
somewhat glutted and overstocked. But, in the second place, there is
the railroad, which equally prevents it--the railroad, which has so
profoundly stirred up our people, which has so inspired them with the
fever of travel, makes concentration in our old capital impossible.
By thousands are the strangers that it brings in and takes out of
Edinburgh every day, and indeed, as regards its effect on our town,
it is something like that of the pipes which convey the water of some
hushed and inland loch away to the boisterous strife of cities, and
again away from the cities to the eternal ocean. The students of that
Edinburgh which was once so difficult to reach and to leave are now
whirled away into a thousand whirlpools of civilization; they can no
longer huddle around and try to blow up the embers of that ancient
Edinburgh which we can only revive in imagination. But of Edinburgh as
it exists--the historical, the beautiful, the inspiring--I trust they
have taken and are taking a deep draught and a long memory. They are
here at the most critical and the most fruitful period of their lives;
and sure am I that, whether they wish it or not, they will bear away
from this place a seal and a mark and a stamp which can leave them only
with life itself.

But, gentlemen, I go a little further in this sense, and I believe
that even if the students could remain in Edinburgh and concentrate
themselves here, it would be bad for Edinburgh and bad for Scotland,
but bad also for the Empire. We in Scotland wish to continue to mould
the Empire as we have in the past--and we have not moulded it by
stopping at home. Your venerable Principal is an instance in point.
And we have even a nearer object-lesson in two returning Viceroys from
Canada and from India: Aberdeen--from Canada, where he is by and by
to be replaced by a Minto; and Elgin--the second Elgin--from India.
Well, I say then that it is not the Edinburgh of Cockburn alone that I
wish you to bear in your thoughts to-night, but rather the Edinburgh
which has dispersed her sons all over the Empire, the assiduous mother
and foster-mother of the builders of our Empire. From the time of
Dundas, who almost populated India with Scotsmen, that has always
been the function of Scotland; and I look, then, to my colleagues of
the Associated Societies not merely as going forth to their several
professions and callings in life, but as going forth as potential
empire-builders, or at least as empire-maintainers.

You will, gentlemen, when you go forth from these learned precincts and
enter upon the actual business of life--you will have in the course of
your lives to help to maintain and to build that Empire. You may think
that it may be in a small and insignificant manner, not more than
the coral insect within the coral reef. But recollect that the insect
is essential to the reef; and it is not for any man of himself to
measure what his direct utility may be to his country. I will tell you
why you must in your way exercise those functions. The British Empire
is not a centralized empire. It does not, as other empires, hinge on
a single autocrat or even on a single Parliament, but it is a vast
collection of communities spread all over the world, many with their
own legislatures, but all with their own governments, and, therefore,
resting, in a degree which is known in no other state of which history
has record, on the intelligence and the character of the individuals
who compose it. Some empires have rested on armies, and some on
constitutions. It is the boast of the British Empire that it rests on
men. For that reason it is that I speak to you to-night as men who are
to have your share in the work of the Empire, small or great, humble or
proud. That is--unless you go absolutely downwards--your irresistible
and irrevocable function. Now, it is quite true that your share in
that work may not be official, but even then I would ask, why not?
There never was in the history of Great Britain, or, I suspect, of
the world, so great a call as now upon the energies and intelligence
of men for the public service, and that call, as you, sir, know, is
increasing daily. Within Great Britain in my own memory the change in
that respect has been very remarkable. What was called the governing
class--and which is to some extent the governing class still--when I
was a boy had very simple public functions in comparison with those
which devolve upon the present race. They went into Parliament as a
rule, and they had Quarter Sessions. But Parliament in those days was a
very different business from what it is now, and Quarter Sessions--were
Quarter Sessions. The burden of Parliament has now indefinitely and
almost hopelessly increased, as you, sir, I doubt not, would be willing
to depose on oath, if necessary. That takes up for these islands some
five hundred and seventy more or less trained intelligences. Then
there is the House of Lords, which takes up some--I am not sure of the
figures--some five or six hundred more. I do not wish to claim that
the House of Lords takes up the whole time of its members; I merely
wish to point out that that, again, takes a part of the time, at any
rate, of some five or six hundred more of our governing class. Then
there is a new institution--the London County Council. That is a body
whose work is not less absorbing than that of the House of Commons. It
lasts much longer; it is much more continuous, and though not nearly
so obtrusive, it is quite as arduous. Well, that consists of a small
body of a hundred and thirty-eight members, who must all, who should
all, be highly qualified for the function of governing a nation which
is not smaller than many self-governing kingdoms. Then there are the
great municipalities--great and small. These, no doubt, have to some
extent always existed, but not in their present form. A new spirit
has been breathed into these somewhat dry bones. The functions of
a municipality are sought by men of the highest intelligence; they
are not merely sought by men of the highest intelligence, but absorb
a very great proportion of the time of these men. They are changed
altogether in spirit and in extent. And it is notable now to remark
how many men in business plead as a just excuse from entering either
the House of Commons or municipal work that they cannot spare the time
from the necessary prosecution of their business which would enable
them to join in those absorbing avocations. The municipalities of
to-day--I know not how many men whose time they absorb, but they are
very different from the municipalities of my boyhood, and I suspect
that if a Town Councillor of forty or fifty years ago were to present
himself in a Town Council of to-day, he would regard their work with
astonishment, and they perhaps might look at him with some surprise.
Then there are County Councils, District Councils, Parish Councils--all
bodies new within the last few years--not all of them absorbing the
whole time of their members, but requiring, at any rate, the services
of many trained intelligences to keep their work in proper order, and
without arrears. Then there are the Government Departments, which
swallow up more and more men, and pass them on very often to higher
employments. Their work is indefinitely and incalculably increasing. I
will give you one symptom. The Foreign Office this year has obtained
one new Under-Secretary; and the addition of an Under-Secretary is
a cry of distress indeed. Well, the Colonial Office, I see from the
papers, is also about to demand an Under-Secretary, and what that means
of increase in the subordinate departments is more than I can rightly
calculate. But in truth, gentlemen, the whole matter is typified in the
constitution of the Cabinet. The present Cabinet requires nineteen men
to do what was done by half-a-dozen in the days of Mr. Pitt.

Why do I quote these figures? I quote them to show the enormous drain
that the State makes on our intelligent population, besides the drain
that it makes both for military and naval purposes. Napoleon was said
to drain his population for his warlike purposes. We may be said, if
not to drain, at least to skim ours very frequently for the purpose
of administration. Now what I have been telling you relates to Great
Britain alone. There is, besides, Ireland. Well, I am not going to
touch on Ireland. In the first place, it is a different system of
administration, and one with which I am not so conversant; and, in
the second place, this is at present a harmonious meeting, and I have
discovered that there is no topic so likely to terminate the harmony of
a meeting as that of the administration or the government of Ireland.
I pass beyond that. Outside Great Britain and Ireland there is an
enormous drain on our population for administrative purposes. There
is India, which takes so many of our young men and trains them so
incomparably for every sort of administrative work. There is Egypt,
which, is, of course, on a different footing, but which is also very
large in her requirements. There is Africa,--not self-governing Africa,
but the rest of our Africa,--with its territories, its spheres of
influence, and so on, all requiring men to mould them into shape, not
necessarily men belonging to the Civil Service or men of formula, but
muscular Christians, who are ready to turn their hands to anything.
Then, besides that and beyond that there are the outer Britains, if I
may so call them, the great common-wealths outside these Islands which
own the British Crown--whether Crown Colonies, in which case they
require administrators, or self-governing Colonies, in which case they
require the whole appurtenance of Parliament, Courts of Law, Ministers,
and so forth. Then, outside that again, there are our Diplomatic and
Consular services. Well, I do not suppose there ever was in the history
of the World half the demand that there is at this hour within the
British Empire for young men of ability and skill and training to help
to mould that Empire into shape. Never were there so many paths of
distinction open within that Empire; while to those who would share in
that task of empire-building, and who would do it, not with the hope of
amassing much riches, but in a high missionary spirit, never was there
such an opportunity as opens at the present moment.

Of course, the base of all this tremendous work of Government is our
unparalleled Civil Service. Our Civil Service is our glory and our
pride. It is the admiration of all foreigners who see it, but it is,
and I think I can appeal to you, sir--it is much more the admiration
of those who as political Ministers are called upon to witness its
working from within. They constitute the wheels and the springs on
which moves the great Juggernaut Car of the State, and if these were
once to get out of order, it would be an evil day indeed for Great
Britain. But I confess, in my day dreams I have sometimes wished to add
to them one other department. I have sometimes wished that there was
a department entirely devoted to training young men for the task of
administration--men who would afterwards be ready to go anywhere and
do anything at a moment’s notice--be ready to go out and administer
Uganda, for example, at a week’s notice, ready to go and report
anywhere on maladministration with the skill of an expert, able to
investigate any subject and report upon it, not in the sense of Royal
Commissions, but in a summary and a business-like manner. I should
like them, as I say, to go at a word from their superior to any part
of the Empire, and be able to do anything, as the militant orders of
monasticism used to do--and do now, for aught I know--at the command
of their superiors; to be, in fact, a sort of general staff of the
Empire. I believe if that could be done it would be an incalculable
gain; though I know it is a dream. But then I also know that it is not
a bad thing sometimes to dream dreams. Of course, to some extent this
function is performed by the Treasury. The Treasury, from its necessary
contact with all the other Departments, owing to its being alone able
to furnish them with that financial staff of life without which they
could not get on, a staff of life which could only be obtained from
the Treasury--not always with a smile--does furnish to the other
Departments men who are competent to do most things, and to undertake
most duties. But that, unfortunately, has been already discovered.
Already men have been constantly taken from the Treasury, and if that
process be continued much longer that Department will, I fear, be left
in what I believe is scientifically called an anæmic condition. Well,
gentlemen, I admit that this is a digression as well as a dream, but
my point is this, that there never was so great a demand as now for
trained intelligence and trained character in our public service, and I
should like to think that we of the Associated Societies will bear our
part in it.

Most of you, I suppose, have already chosen the professions that you
mean to pursue, and I should by no means wish to see, as the result
of what I have said, a general exodus from Edinburgh to the somewhat
forbidding portals of the Civil Service examiners. That is not my
object, but I venture to point out that official duty is only a
very small part of public duty, and that public work is by no means
incompatible with other professions and other callings. I do not
suppose I need remind you that Walter Scott was a sheriff, and that
Robert Burns was an exciseman. But how often have I seen professional
men clutch at an opportunity of serving their country, whether on a
commission or on a committee, or something of that kind--clutch at
it though knowing that it will involve a great waste of time, and
therefore a great loss of money--clutch at it as an honor which they
cannot sufficiently prize. And I confess, when I see the enormous
abilities that are given to our Civil Service and to our public
service, either for no remuneration at all, or for remuneration
incalculably smaller than the same abilities would have earned in any
other calling or profession, I am inclined to think that the public
spirit in this country was never higher nor brighter than it is at
present. Let me tell you two curious stories which happened within
my experience or knowledge with regard to this anxiety to serve the
public. A friend of mine who had a high post in the Civil Service
was asked, not so very long ago, to undertake some task which was
peculiarly congenial to him, and for which he was peculiarly fitted;
but he refused it without hesitation, and he gave as his reason this.
He said, “When I was appointed to my present post at a very ample
remuneration I knew nothing of the work, and it was some years before I
could learn the work, to do it to my satisfaction. Now I have learned
it, I am in a position in some way to repay the State for what it has
done for me, and I shall not leave my post till I feel I have in some
degree discharged that debt.” Well, now, a much longer time ago, before
I can remember, there was one of the greatest and the wealthiest, and
at the same time one of the most dissipated of the English nobility,
who, after a life spent, as I say, in a very frivolous manner, was
suddenly seized and bitten with the anxiety to occupy some public
post under his government, and do some public work; and he applied to
the Minister of the day for some quite subordinate post, as he wished
to do something to redeem his life. Well, the post was refused, and
his life was unredeemed. I give that to you as a specimen, not so
uncommon as it may seem, of the anxiety of men, who had not done much
in their youth, as they approached middle life to be of some use to
their country before they die. And, after all, gentlemen, we are bound
to remember this--that we owe something to our country besides rates
and taxes. Other countries have compulsory military service. We are
released from that; and if only on that consideration I think that
we should be prepared to do something for the country which has done
so much for us. And even if there is no public work ready to your
hand, there are innumerable ways in which we can serve our country,
however humbly and however indirectly. I only mention in passing the
Volunteer movement. But there are social methods, literary methods,
ay, and even athletic methods, because I am one of those who believe
that one of the subordinate methods of welding the Empire together,
and even of welding the English-speaking races together, is by those
Inter-Colonial athletic contests, and athletic contests with the United
States, which are developing so much in these days. But what I want to
impress upon you is this, that if you keep before you the high motive
of serving your country, it will ennoble the humblest acts that you do
for her. The man who breaks stones on the road, after all, is serving
his country in some way. He is making her roads better for her commerce
and her traffic. And if a man asks himself sincerely and constantly
the question--“What can I do, in however small a way, to serve my
country?”--he will not be long in finding an answer.

Now, I will tell you what I consider the irreducible minimum of this
service--the irreducible minimum. It is that you should keep a close
and vigilant eye on public and municipal affairs; that you should
form intelligent opinions upon them; that you should give help to
the men who seem to you worthy of help, and oppose the men whom you
think worthy of opposition and condemnation. That I believe to be the
irreducible minimum of the debt of a British citizen to his country,
and I believe it to be very important to the country. There is no such
bad sign in a country as political abstention. I do not want you all
to be militant politicians; I do not want it for your sake, or for the
country’s sake. But an intelligent interest does not mean a militant
interest, though it, at any rate, means the reversal of apathy. We are
told that there is a good deal of political apathy in these days. I do
not know whether that is so or not, because I have no means of judging.
But if there is political apathy, I think the cause of it is not far to
seek. Our forefathers, with their defective news agencies or channels,
were able to concentrate their mind on one particular subject at a
time, and give it all their energy and all their zeal. For example, for
some twenty years they were locked in that great war with Napoleon
and the French Revolution, which absorbed all their energies, and when
that war ceased there came an era of great single questions, on which
they were able to concentrate all their attention. But now that is all
changed. The telegraph brings you into communication with every quarter
of the globe. Every day brings you news of some exciting character from
every quarter of the universe, and under this constant and varying
pressure the intelligence of men is apt to be dazed, and blunted, and
dulled. And yet we know that when, as now, the attention of the country
is concentrated on a single point, there is as little apathy as need be.

But I should not appeal even on these grounds to you, gentlemen, if I
did not hold a somewhat higher and broader conception of the Empire
than seems to be held in many quarters. If I regarded the Empire simply
as a means of painting so much of the world red, or as an emporium for
trade, I should not ask you to work for it. The land hunger is apt to
become land fever, and land fever is apt to breed land indigestion,
while trade, however important and desirable in itself, can never be
the sole foundation of an empire. Empires founded on trade alone must
irresistibly crumble. But the Empire that is sacred to me is sacred
for this reason, that I believe it to be the noblest example yet known
to mankind of free, adaptable, just government. If that was only your
or my opinion it might perhaps be not very well worth having, but it
derives singular confirmation from outside. When a community is in
distress or under oppression, it always looks first to Great Britain;
while in cases which are quite unsuspected, I think, by Great Britain
at large, and which are, as a rule, only known to Ministers, they
constantly express the wish in some form or other to be united to our
country, and to enjoy our government. And, on the other hand, for the
most part, in those territories which, for one reason or another, we
have at various times ceded, we may, I think, in almost every case
see signs of deterioration, and signs of regret on the part of the
inhabitants for what they have lost. I ask you, then, gentlemen, to
keep this motive before you of public duty and public service, for the
sake of the Empire, and also on your own account. You will find it, I
believe, the most ennobling human motive that can guide your actions.
And while you will help the country by observing it, you will also help
yourselves. Life in itself is but a poor thing at best; it consists of
only two certain parts, the beginning and the end--the birth and the
grave. Between those two points lies the whole area of human choice and
human opportunity. You may embellish and consecrate it if you will,
or you may let it lie stagnant and dead. But if you choose the better
part, I believe that nothing will give your life so high a complexion
as to study to do something for your country. And with that inspiration
I would ask you to blend some memory of this Edinburgh so sacred and
so beautiful to us, not, perhaps, the Edinburgh of Cockburn or Jeffrey
or Brougham, but an Edinburgh yet full of noble men and wise teachers,
that you will bear away some kindling memory of this old grey city,
which, though it be not the capital of the Empire, is yet, in the sense
of the sacrifices that it has made, and the generations of men that it
has given to the Empire, in the truest, the largest, and the highest
sense an Imperial City.



ILLUSTRATIVE NOTES.


NOTE 1, p. 10.--The allusion is to the preliminary proceedings of the
trial--in which some days were devoted to legal fencing about witnesses
and challenged jurors.

NOTE 2, p. 12.--The gentleman thus elegantly arraigned was William
Saurin (1757?-1839). Saurin was sprung from a French Huguenot family
settled in Ireland. He was a lawyer of considerable ability, but one
who had not risen rapidly. He seems to have been a fairly honest,
bigoted Protestant; moreover, the duties he was called to perform
during his long term (1807–1822) as Attorney-General were such as to
bring him almost officially into sharp friction with the Catholic
population. Consequently he was cordially hated by them. He was openly
charged with using his position to repress Catholic agitation; and,
later than this trial, it was publicly known that he had written to
Lord Norbury, urging that as a Judge on circuit he should attempt to
influence grand juries in favor of the Government. These are grounds
palpable enough for a basis to O’Connell’s accusations; but these
were the ethics of the time. After a perusal of this speech, it will
not surprise the reader to learn that before the Magee trial was over
O’Connell had gone so far as to threaten the Attorney-General with
personal violence.

NOTE 3, p. 21.--The Catholic Committee of Dublin was an organization
for the purpose, so to speak, of agitation by resolution. These
resolutions were framed and passed at meetings. The influences thus
set in motion O’Connell had tried to enlarge and make more national
in their scope by adding to the Committee members from other parts
of the country than Dublin. Now the Convention Act of 1793 had made
representation by delegation, such as was here contemplated, illegal;
and the Government was quick to avail itself of the statute. There was
much trouble, and of course the question was had to the courts, where,
in the test-case of Dr. Sheridan, O’Connell and the Committee lost.
Chief-Justice Downes declared (1811) that the proposed reorganization
of the Committee fell under the provisions of the Act. Thenceforward
all agitation permissible was to be conducted by a non-delegated
Catholic Board. In view of these facts O’Connell’s statement in
the text cannot be accepted literally. Perhaps it may be called
_rhetorically_ true.

NOTE 4, p. 29.--His Grace the Duke of Richmond and Lennox--fourth of
that title, and descendant of Charles II. by the French mistress, La
Kerouaille--was a personage more picturesque than the majority of the
great in name who fill the pages of “Burke’s Peerage.” Throughout,
his life (1764–1819) was romantically different from that of the
average nobleman. As a youth he was a notable duelist, and in 1789
had an encounter with the Duke of York wherein half-royal blood came
near to shedding royal. So impetuous a temperament obviously led the
Duke to the profession of arms, in which he attained some prominence.
The Lord-Lieutenancy of Ireland was his during the period 1807–1813;
and in these years he had for chief secretary the then plain Colonel
Wellesley. He left Ireland for the wars; and thus it was that on the
eve of Waterloo the Duke and Duchess of Richmond gave at Brussels
the historic ball before the battle--an event which has permanently
linked the name of Richmond with history. For chance, doubly gracious,
commemorated the occasion in the famous verses of Byron, and the
enduring prose of “Vanity Fair.” The next day the Duke was glad to
serve on the battlefield under his former secretary. The end of this
nobleman was no less striking than his life. Removed to Canada, he died
a pitiful death of hydrophobia, induced by a fox-bite.

NOTE 5, p. 65.--Here the speaker is at some pains to press first the
charge of inconsistency against the Attorney-General: he then goes on
to consider the cases of Walter Cox, a Protestant and publisher of the
_Irish Magazine_, and of the author of a book called “The Statement of
the Penal Laws,” both imprisoned for libel.

NOTE 6, p. 100.--A short excursus on the manner of selecting juries.
The ingenious rhetorical device which follows in this selection,
after the break, should be noted. The parallelism between Ireland
and Portugal is carried as far as it could well go: and argument by
persuasion has seldom been more effectively attempted.

NOTE 7, p. 106.--A Portuguese coin, of gold, and valued at eight
dollars. So called from the medallion on it of King John.

NOTE 8, p. 116.--The note of O’Connell’s son and editor, so
characteristic, is worth preserving: “_And slaves, hypocrites, and
bigots they proved themselves, by finding a verdict for the Crown_.”

NOTE 9, p. 133.--In the short passage here omitted Lord Palmerston
deprecates certain aspersions laid by a member of the Opposition upon
the Queen’s Advocate, the legal adviser of the Foreign Office.

NOTE 10, p. 144.--References respectively to the grievances of Mr.
Finlay--not born in Scotland, as the speaker asserts, but of Scotch
descent--and of Don Pacifico, a Jew from Gibraltar, whose cases are
soon to be discussed at length.

NOTE 11, p. 151.--George Finlay has titles to fame other than his
connection with the rather sordid _cause célèbre_ of Don Pacifico.
As remarked above, he was not born in Scotland, but at Faversham,
Kent, Dec. 21, 1799; and passed the greater part of his long life far
from the north. While pursuing the study of Roman Jurisprudence at
Göttingen, about 1821, he met a Greek student from whose conversation
he was led to set out for Greece, like many another young Englishman
of the epoch, prepared to take part in the war for independence then
bursting forth. Arrived in Greece, also like many other English
Phil-Hellenes he had the usual encounter with Lord Byron (in his case
at Cephalonia), who communicated to him the well-known failure of his
illusions concerning the Greek character. More than the ordinary run
of Phil-Hellenes Finlay seems to have impressed himself upon the poet;
and they spent much time together at Athens and Mesolonghi. Finlay was
soon in the thick of the insurrection, and accompanied the chieftain
Odysseus on an expedition into the Morea, during which he saw much to
confirm Lord Byron’s pessimistic views. Nevertheless, at the close of
the war, his practical sympathy with Greece manifested itself in the
purchase of an estate in Attica, from which he hoped to be of use to
the country by the extension of economic and civil improvements. This
hope he soon considered to be useless: but his money was locked up in
his land purchases, and, as he himself said, there was nothing else to
do but to study. With the exception of a few absences, the remainder of
his life was spent in Greece, where he accomplished no small service
to the country of his residence, and one of great importance to the
world. The former lay in his severe, but justifiable, criticisms, in
the form of pamphlets or newspaper correspondence, of palpable errors
in Greek politics and administration. These censures, often translated
into the Greek papers, after a time really bore fruit, and, strangely
enough, did not arouse the touchy Greek character to resentment
against the critic. His service to the world was the composition of a
monumental history of Late, Byzantine, and Modern Greece, definitively
published, in 1877, by the Clarendon Press. The work covers the least
known and most confusing period of Greek history, known previously in
English almost solely by the picturesque, but rather un-oriented pages
of Gibbon. Of it Dr. Richard Garnett, in the “National Dictionary of
Biography,” says: “Finlay is a great historian of the type of Polybius,
Procopius, and Machiavelli, a man of affairs, who has qualified himself
for treating of public transactions by sharing in them, a soldier, a
statesman, and an economist.” In a word, the book is much more minute
than Gibbon; and, due doubtless to Finlay’s thorough understanding of
the Greek race, it is luminous on matters of social description, where
Gibbon preserves a large silence. Compared with the other Phil-Hellenes
Finlay was less the military adventurer, like Trelawney and Sir Richard
Church, than the practical friend of Greece, like the American Dr.
Howe. The camps of Europe could and did supply to the Greek cause an
abundance, not always disinterested, of the former class; but it is
probable that the wrecked and distracted country, when it began the
task of civilizing itself, owed far more to men of Finlay’s stamp. He
died at Athens, Jan. 26, 1875.

NOTE 12, p. 160.--“Against the hundred.” The reference is to a
peculiarity of the English common law, by which a district, originally
containing a literal hundred of families, was entitled a “Hundred.”
For offences committed within these precincts the inhabitants, or
“Hundredors,” as they were called, were held civilly responsible. The
division was probably of Germanic origin, having been established among
the Franks by Clotaire, among the English by King Alfred.

NOTE 13, p. 165.--_Lazzaroni_, originally the name of the beggars and
idlers who sought refuge at the Hospital of S. Lazarus in Naples,
came to be the generic term applied to that class of irresponsible
and half-criminal riffraff in Italy who in France are called the
_canaille_.

NOTE 14, p. 184.--The little Ionian republic, seven-isled, or
_Heptanēsos_, was formally taken under the protection of England
in 1815. This protectorate endured until the accession (1863) of
George, the present King of the Hellenes, when, at the request of
the islanders, the republic was incorporated with Hellas proper, to
which ethnically and geographically it belonged. During the period
of the protectorate England was represented by a series of Lord High
Commissioners, of whom the first, Sir Thomas Maitland, familiarly
known in the Levant as “King Tom,” was in many respects a character.
His palace, still a prominent feature of the town of Corfu, is of
almost baronial splendor; to the south of the Esplanade the grateful
Ionians erected in 1816 a small circular temple in his honor. Corfu,
the island, is probably the most famous of the group, having been, as
the ancient Kérkura, a Corinthian colony, one of the inciting causes of
the Peloponnesian War. Antiquity also somewhat fancifully identified
it with the Homeric _Scheria_, the abode of Alkinoos and the matchless
Nausikaa, naming its neighbor Ithaka--that other Odyssean isle. It is
to be said that the latter identification is less fanciful than the
former.

NOTE 15, p. 188.--This Baronet was Sir James Robert George Graham
(1792–1861), long, although with some fluctuation, a prominent member
of the Whig party. Although he held some high offices during the first
half of the century, his fame was but evanescent. He was never a Whig
at heart, it would seem. Haughty in manner and aristocrat to the bone,
his high talents were neutralized by his personal unpopularity. Like
Robert Lowe, but in a greater degree, he failed of the success which he
might reasonably have expected. A prevalent artificiality of mind was
also a bar to his ambitions.

NOTE 16, p. 194.--Ten years after Pitt’s death the Congress of Vienna
had united the Belgian provinces, formerly under the rule of Austria,
with Holland, in order that this new-made kingdom of the Netherlands
might be a “buffer-state” against the encroachment of France on
the north. To Belgium, prevailingly Catholic, and to Holland, as
prevailingly Protestant, the alliance was alike distinctly distasteful.
In particular, the Catholic bishops of the Belgians had objected at the
outset to religious toleration under a Protestant king. In language and
customs much of Belgium was essentially French: the Flemish element
was in those days much subordinated. In Holland the Protestant House
of Orange, and, in Belgium, the Church, were the figureheads that
symbolized the real political incongruity between the Netherlands,
North and South. The events of July, 1830, at Paris were followed by
a sympathetic outbreak at Brussels, August 25th, which commenced a
real insurrection that ended in the dissolution of the short-lived
Kingdom. In the confusion of European politics that arose from this
disturbance, England and France by close combination brought a kind
of order out of chaos, averted a European war, and by a Conference at
London in January, 1831, defined the frontiers of the now disjunct
states of Belgium and Holland. But there had to be a King of Belgium.
In his selection much difficulty arose. The Duc de Nemours, second
son of Louis Philippe, was elected by the Gallicizing Belgians. This
election was vetoed by the London Conference. The matter was finally
settled by the choice of Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, with the
provision that he should make a daughter of Louis Philippe his Queen.
Over the disposition of the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg there was further
trouble, and even the threat of war. Nominally, it belonged to Holland;
sentimentally, it was Belgian--and French. While the Conference was
debating the question the King of Holland led an army of fifty thousand
men into Belgium. France responded to Leopold’s appeal with another
army. Then both armies were recalled. Finally the Conference and
Leopold agreed that the duchy should be divided between the countries.
But the King of Holland still held out in the citadel of Antwerp,
apparently caring little for either Prince or Conference. In doing so,
he soon found himself arrayed against a French army corps on land, and
in the river Scheldt a British fleet. Even then a bombardment of the
citadel was necessary to dislodge him. This was in 1832. It was not
until 1839 that the ensuing war of words resulted in the signing of a
formal treaty of peace between Holland and Belgium.

NOTE 17, p. 194.--In the passage omitted Lord Palmerston defends the
policy of England towards Portugal. The transactions here commented
on are to be regarded as the second act of co-operation which sprung
from the _entente cordiale_ established between England and France
at the time of the Belgian arrangement above referred to. A summary
of the Portuguese matters follows. In 1826, by the influence of
Canning, the dispute about the succession to the Crown of Portugal
came to a temporary settlement by the acceptance by Don Miguel of
the Constitution. This Don Miguel, a younger son of John, the former
King, had been opposed to the liberal tendencies of the times. At the
death of his father, Pedro, the Crown Prince, was already installed as
Emperor of Brazil. So it was arranged that Miguel should marry, when
she came of age, his niece, Maria, then with her father in Brazil; and
meanwhile should act as Regent. He soon threw off the mask. In June,
1828, he dissolved the Cortes, summoned instead the medieval “Estates,”
and deliberately proclaimed himself King. Then came a brutal campaign
of proscription against the Constitutional party. Such as escaped these
terrors took refuge in England, and in the Azores, which still held
out for the Constitutionalists. But in England, now under the Duke of
Wellington’s dominance, it was no longer on the cards to encourage
the growth of liberalism on the continent. Indeed, an attitude of
absolute neutrality was maintained, and the former intervention of
Canning was deplored. So matters wagged until the events of 1830
brought a change over the Anglo-Portuguese relations. Don Miguel, in
the exercise of his despotic powers, grew insolent enough to worry
even English and French subjects at Lisbon. Their governments enforced
satisfaction by naval squadrons despatched to the Tagus. For England,
Lord Palmerston, as Foreign Secretary of Earl Grey’s Ministry, obtained
an indemnity and a public apology. For France, her admiral went so far
as to appropriate the best vessels of Miguel’s navy. Shortly after,
Pedro crossed from Brazil to contest the rights of his daughter to
the throne. The attitude of England had so completely swerved that,
on Pedro’s arrival in London (July, 1831), he was permitted to raise
troops and to employ in his service various officers of the English
navy. From the rendezvous of his forces at Terceira, in the Azores,
he proceeded against Oporto, which at once yielded to him. On his
part, Don Miguel marched against that city. After the destruction
of Don Miguel’s navy by his fleet under the English Captain Napier,
Pedro made decisive gains, and entered Lisbon, July 28, 1833. Don
Miguel, however, was not yet beaten, for the continental governments
favorable to absolutism were in the way of sending him assistance both
in troops and money. At this moment the whole business was at first
sight complicated, but in reality, so far as Portugal was concerned,
brought to a speedy issue by the Carlist troubles of the neighboring
kingdom of Spain. Don Carlos, the brother of King Ferdinand, based his
claim to the throne on the theory that the Salic Law, recently repealed
in favor of Isabella, child of the King’s old age, by the so-called
Pragmatic Sanction, was illegally repealed, the Spanish Succession
since 1713 having been faithful to that ordinance. Temporarily Don
Carlos had gone into Portugal. Most naturally he had attached himself
to Miguel, as a personage whose position was so comparable to his
own. Meanwhile in Spain the Queen Regent, Maria Cristina, had allied
herself with the Liberals; had called into office a Liberal Minister,
Martinez de la Rosa; and had caused a constitution to be granted to the
country (April 10, 1834). Her Government also opened negotiations not
only with Portugal, but with England and France, as the next parties
interested, with the view of an alliance which should rid, once and
for all, the Peninsula of insurrections and leaders of insurrections.
Thus on April 22, 1834, the above Powers signed, at London, a Quadruple
Treaty, according to which Spain was to send an army into Portugal
against Don Miguel; Portugal, if she could, to drive Don Carlos from
her territory; England to aid with a fleet; and France to co-operate,
if further co-operation were necessary, by any means agreeable to all
concerned. And, with regard to Portugal, this programme was executed
with precision. No later than May 22, 1834, Don Miguel threw up the
game, accepted, instead of the Crown, a large pension, and promised
to relieve the Peninsula forever of his presence. Not so with Don
Carlos. He refused the conditions. At the time, however, he could do
nothing but take a proffered passage to London, whither he conveyed
his plottings and still undiscouraged dreams of the Spanish Crown. Of
which, more hereafter. As for Portugal, there was another outbreak in
1847, concerning which Lord Palmerston found it necessary this time
neither to support the Liberal faction nor to acquiesce in the Ministry
of the Opposition leader, Señor Cabral, but to keep a balance between
both. This apparent inconsistency the speaker explains by the statement
that it was only by such conduct that England could preserve at all a
Portuguese Liberal party.

NOTE 18, p. 197.--The question of the Spanish Succession and the
quelling of the Carlist revolt here entered on demands further
elucidation. It will be remembered that Don Carlos, after the Quadruple
Treaty of 1834, had gone to England. Arrived there, he was really in
an anomalous position. It has been said that he carried his dreams
with him into exile. Now he had made no promises further to observe
the stipulations of the treaty, and--rather curiously--he was not even
held by the English authorities as a prisoner of war. What, then, was
more natural than that after a short time he should quit England, run
through France in disguise, and bob up at the Carlist headquarters in
the Basque Province of Navarre? It was at once evident to the world
that, so far as the suppression of the Spanish Pretender went, the
Quadruple Treaty was _nil_. For various reasons, the Basque provinces
had been from the outset the hotbed of Carlism; and from this centre
a vigorous and, for a time, successful war was waged for Don Carlos.
We say deliberately, “waged for” him: because, like another famous
Pretender, Don Carlos was a figure singularly incapacitated for
leadership or hero-worship. His political abilities were meagre; and
of his personal courage there was more than a doubt. And yet, with the
perverse good luck that also waited upon another Pretender, he was
fortunate in his supporters. Chief among these was Zumalacarregui, a
general of marked strategic talent, who made a pretty fight for his
worthless master. Except for the advantages of a mountainous country
for base and a devoted population about him, the Carlist leader had
little to work with; but he made the throne of Cristina tremble. The
struggle endured--a civil war that became notable for its peculiarly
Spanish atrocities--until the Government was forced to appeal to France
for aid. It should be stated that after the flight of Carlos from
England an article had been added to the Quadruple Treaty to the effect
that France should prevent troops and contraband of war from crossing
the Pyrenees, and that England should cut off aid to the Carlists by
sea. This was not enough to stifle the uprising. The appeal to France
met with a certain hesitation on the part of that Government. Louis
Philippe now feared to irritate those Powers who were more or less
openly sympathetic with Carlism. England was sounded to see if she
would stand for a joint responsibility with France in the matter of
intervention. Lord Palmerston replied negatively. The hesitation of
France then ceased. The answer was returned to Spain that no military
assistance could be given. By this time the Queen Regent had become
unpopular; and moderate men, as a relief from practical anarchy, were
beginning to turn toward Don Carlos. His prospects looked decidedly
bright. But the inspired fatuity that was seemingly the birthright
of the Pretender did not allow him to profit by his golden moment.
He would hear of nothing short of absolutism; instead of listening
to compromise, he made a feint of marching on Madrid; and, after
being soundly beaten by the Government General, Espartero, escaped
into Portugal, Sept. 14, 1839, having racked Spain with a civil war
of six years’ duration, with no gain even to himself. So the revolt
collapsed. Cristina had been ousted from the Regency by the popular
hero Espartero. Next Espartero was driven into exile by his own party.
Cristina then came back to Madrid, where her daughter Isabella, made of
age by a legal fiction, although only a girl of fourteen, was crowned
(November, 1843) Queen of Spain, with a Ministry of the Moderado party,
under General Narvaez.

NOTE 19, p. 208.--“While the Carlist War was still continuing, Lord
Palmerston had convinced himself that Louis Philippe intended to marry
the young Queen Isabella, if possible, to one of his sons. Some years
later this project was officially mentioned by Guizot to the English
statesman, who at once caused it to be understood that England would
not permit the union.... Louis Philippe now suggested that his youngest
son, the Duke of Montpensier, should wed the Infanta Fernanda,
sister of the Queen of Spain. On the express understanding that this
marriage should not take place until the Queen should herself have been
married and have had children, the English Cabinet assented to the
proposal. That the marriages should not be simultaneous was treated by
both governments as the very heart and substance of the arrangement,
inasmuch as the failure of children by the Queen’s marriage would make
her sister, or her sister’s heir, inheritor of the throne. This was
repeatedly acknowledged by Louis Philippe and his Minister, Guizot,
in the course of communications which extended over some years.
Nevertheless, in 1846, the French Ambassador at Madrid, in conjunction
with the Queen’s mother, Maria Cristina, succeeded in carrying out
a plan by which the conditions laid down at London, and accepted at
Paris, were utterly frustrated. Of the Queen’s Spanish cousins, there
was one, Don Francisco, who was known to be physically unfit for
marriage. To this person it was determined by Maria Cristina and the
French Ambassador that the young Isabella should be united, her sister
being simultaneously married to the Duke of Montpensier.”--Fyffe,
“Modern Europe,” vol. ii., pp. 504, 505, New York, 1877.

When the news of this astounding piece of bad faith was communicated
to Louis Philippe, at the first blush he was inclined to repudiate it;
but Guizot persuaded him to delay a while. And now Lord Palmerston had
returned to office and suggested a Prince of Saxe-Coburg as a consort
for the Spanish Queen--in which suggestion Guizot immediately detected
a chance to indict England for disloyalty to the House of Bourbon. It
may be said that this objection was puerile. But what happened was that
on October 10, 1846, the poor Queen and her sister were simultaneously
married at Madrid, as per programme of Maria Cristina and the French
Ambassador.

Of this performance Fyffe says (p. 506): “Few intrigues have been
more disgraceful than that of the Spanish marriages; none more futile.
The course of history mocked its ulterior purposes; its immediate
results were wholly to the injury of the House of Orleans. The cordial
understanding between France and Great Britain, which had been revived
after the differences of 1840, was now finally shattered. Louis
Philippe stood convicted before his people of sacrificing a valuable
alliance to dynastic ends; his Minister, the austere and sanctimonious
Guizot, had to defend himself against charges which would have covered
with shame the most hardened man of the world.”

All of which goes to affirm the familiar lesson taught by history that,
in the long run, intrigue does not pay. As to the charge met in this
speech that Great Britain led to the downfall of Louis Philippe, Lord
Palmerston’s answer is easily adequate.

NOTE 20, p. 211.--Lord Palmerston here deals, categorically and at
some length, with England’s actions with respect to Switzerland. There
had arisen in that country a serious dispute about the expulsion of
the Jesuits. The minority, composing the seven Catholic cantons, in
order to oppose this expulsion had organized itself into a Sonderbund,
or Separate League, an association that the majority contended was
in itself contrary to the Acts of Confederation. The friction was
so intense between the factions that there seemed no exit but civil
war. At this juncture Lord Palmerston wrote to the British Chargé
d’Affaires in Switzerland a despatch, the substance of which he was to
communicate to the Swiss authorities. In this despatch Lord Palmerston
entreats the majority to use moderation against the Catholic cantons,
pointing out that a forcible suppression of the Sonderbund will mean
civil war, with the strong probability of foreign interference. And
that, he says, would end in “essentially impairing the political
independence of the country.” The Swiss Minister replied that civil
war was deemed inevitable. Then came a proposal from Paris that the
five Powers--England, France, Russia, Austria, and Prussia--should
issue a joint declaration to put an end to civil war in Switzerland.
The speaker shows, point by point, why England could not assent to this
proposal. The main reason was that if the Swiss Government refused the
conditions, it was to be compelled by force of arms. Coercion England
would not agree to. Instead, she proposed that “the Jesuits should
be withdrawn, either by an act of the Sonderbund cantons themselves
or by a consent to be obtained from the Pope; that the Diet should
then declare formally that it had no aggressive intention against the
Sonderbund; and the Sonderbund, upon receiving this assurance, should
dissolve their Separate League, which was at variance with the Federal
Compact; that both parties should then disarm, and that peace should
thus be permanently restored.”

This fair proposal came to naught, largely through the delays necessary
for coming to an understanding with France, and the reluctance of
Switzerland to take advice, however good. She was left to settle her
own troubles.

NOTE 21, p. 213.--Here is omitted a minute elucidation of the British
Government’s share in the tumultuous and confused Italian politics of
Lord Palmerston’s time. The speaker mentions and defends the following
cases of British influence: 1. After vainly trying to dissuade the King
of Sardinia from taking up arms against Austria in the troubles of
1846–48, England did not feel obliged forcibly to prevent such action.
She considered that, ethically wrong, his action was nevertheless
practically forced upon him by the appeal of Lombardy and the
overpowering sentiment of his own subjects. She also refused to propose
to the people of Lombardy (acting for Austria) a compromise which she
felt was less than Lombardy would accept. 2. The Earl of Minto was
really summoned to Rome by the Pope. Although the English law did not
then permit the sending of a regular Minister to the Papal Court, the
Pope wished to have by him an adviser and _quasi_ moral representative
of England. In Palmerston’s words, he wished that this person “should
be entirely in the confidence of Her Majesty’s Government; that he
should be conversant with the conditions of this country; that he
should be a man of rank; and, if possible, a person who could combine
with these qualifications diplomatic experience.” Palmerston adds: “If
a form of words had been devised which should exactly describe the
Earl of Minto, it could not have been done more correctly.” He was
accordingly requested by his Government to include Rome in a trip taken
ostensibly for recreation. The Earl found plenty to busy himself with
in distracted Italy. While he was at Rome, a civil war began between
Sicily and the King of Naples; and the informal representative of
England was asked by both parties to effect an arrangement of their
differences. While the Earl was in Sicily, however, the news of the
fall of Louis Philippe arrived, and after that the hotheaded Sicilians
would listen to nothing short of independence. 3. The third case of
English interference was the announcement made to the King of Sardinia
that if the Duke of Genoa were chosen and actually enthroned as King
of Sicily, the English Government would acknowledge him. This promise
was based on the theory, then generally accepted, that the King of
Naples would be unable to recover Sicily. The contrary happened; and
the English proposal, actually made by the Sicilians to the Sardinian
Government, was rejected by the latter.

These things being so, the speaker concludes: “I am justified in
denying that the policy which we pursued in Italy was that of exciting
revolutions, and then abandoning the victims we had deluded. On
the contrary, I maintain that we gave advice calculated to prevent
revolutions, by reconciling opposite parties and conflicting views.
Ours was a policy of improvement and peace; and therefore the
Government deserves not condemnation, but praise.”

NOTE 22, p. 214.--The Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi, so called from the
palace in which it was signed (July, 1833), by Russia and Turkey, was
in many respects an epoch-making document. Its influence was long felt
in the world-forces that thrill with every new agitation of the Eastern
Question. The causes that led to its signing were the revolt and
highly successful campaigns waged against the Sultan by Mehemet Ali,
Viceroy of Egypt, and his son Ibrahim. After the fall of Acre, Ibrahim
overcame the Turkish army sent against him in Syria, advanced to the
north, overcame another army, and had the way clear for a march to the
Bosphorus, when the terrified Sultan called in the aid of Russia. At
his request a Russian squadron came to Constantinople. It is needless
to say that this event was highly unwelcome both to England and France.
France threatened to recall her ambassador, Admiral Roussin; but the
Sultan only appealed to Russia for troops and more ships. Finally,
through the agency of France, a peace was patched up between the Sultan
and his Egyptian enemies. Although really relieved of his fears by
France, it was to Russia that the Sultan showed the fullest gratitude.
The outcome of this was the Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi, which arranged
for nothing less than a defensive Russo-Turkish alliance. As for
Russia, she had not only signed a treaty, but executed a _coup_ of the
most important nature. For, by a secret clause, which was soon made
public, Turkey agreed to close the Dardanelles to the warships of the
world when Russia was at war. And, by the very nature of the clause,
Russia, in such a predicament, could use Turkish waters as her own. The
gates of the Dardanelles were to be unlocked for her; for all others
they continued closed. The Russian advantage is obvious. From this
moment the English distrust of Russia increased daily; and England
and France were single in their aim to diminish Russian influence with
the Porte. And the feeling thus aroused had for its eventual outlet
the Crimean War. But at first French indignation found expression in a
marked display of friendly feeling towards the old rebel, Mehemet Ali.
The Sultan had died; but against his successor the Egyptian now took up
arms again. Some signal victories having been gained by him, the French
and English fleets appeared in the Dardanelles, chiefly as a menace
against Russia. The latter saw that she would have to abdicate from her
singularly advantageous standpoint as the sole protector of Turkey.
When negotiations were opened again between the new Sultan and Mehemet,
the rebel refused to conclude a peace upon reasonable terms; but France
was the only power that remained favorable to his pretensions. Thus,
in the settlement of this matter, France and England were brought
into decided opposition: the former proposing that to Mehemet and
descendants all Syria and Egypt should be given, a yearly tribute to be
paid to the Porte; the latter insisting that Mehemet should have Egypt
alone, that he should evacuate Northern Syria, and that he should hold
Palestine only as life-governor. Lord Palmerston not only held firm to
this, but persuaded the other Powers to acquiesce in it. Accordingly,
on July 15, 1840, a treaty was signed by the consenting Powers. France,
thus left out in the cold, worked herself into a jealous frenzy,
which, however, did not lead her into actual hostilities. The Allies
now proceeded calmly to crush the bone over which all the dogs of war
had been snarling. With expedition Ibrahim was expelled from Syria;
and Mehemet, at Alexandria, was compelled to compound with Sir Charles
Napier, the English Admiral, by formally submitting to the Sultan; by
accepting merely the hereditary possession of Egypt; and by restoring
to the Sultan the Turkish fleet, which, by the double-dealing of its
captain, had gone over to him. To this arrangement France at last
decided to yield. And now, about the _crux_ of the Dardanelles, a
_modus vivendi_ was arrived at. Russia could not hope to retain the
predominant privileges conferred at Unkiar Skelessi. Along with France,
she joined in the general understanding of the Powers that no warship
of any nation should be allowed to pass these mooted straits--save
and only if Turkey were at war. Thus she had to give up her hope of
sea-power in the Mediterranean; but at the same time her Euxine shores
were safe from all but Turkish attack. And so the flags of Europe
to-day float off Constantinople only from the so-called “guardships,”
the small gunboats which each Power may maintain there as the moral
emblem of its fleet.

The direct reference made to Turkish questions in this speech,
delivered as events were gathering for the Crimean War, is to the
incident of the Hungarian refugees. Following the insurrection in
Hungary headed by Kossuth and others, the leaders had fled (1849) to
Turkey. Kossuth himself was among these refugees; and his children
were taken care of at the British embassy. Austria and Russia directly
demanded of the Porte that it should give the refugees up. Strange to
say, the Sultan, in a new rôle for an Ottoman Emperor, refused. The
public opinion of Western Europe rallied to a position of the Porte so
sympathetic, and, as recounted in the text, fleets, English and French,
were ordered to the Dardanelles. With these Powers behind the Sultan,
there was only one thing for the two Emperors to do: they withdrew
their demand. Thus closed another incident in that problem of problems,
the Eastern Question.

NOTE 23, p. 233.--The “committing” of a Bill followed its second
reading. The House constituted itself as a Committee to consider the
details of a Bill: the Speaker temporarily abandoned the Chair to
another member; and the Bill was then discussed clause by clause.
The House failing to agree on any point, a Division, or poll of
the members, was taken. The majority vote decided. Mr. Sheldon Amos
(“Primer of the English Constitution and Government,” London, 1877, p.
46) conveniently summarizes the Parliamentary history of a successful
Bill:

“1. _Motion_ for leave to bring in the Bill. _Order_ to bring it in.

“2. _Motion_ to have Bill read a _first_ time. _Order_ that it be read
a first time.

“3. _Motion_ to have Bill read a _second_ time. _Order_ that it be read
a _second_ time.

“4. _Motion_ to have the Bill committed. _Order_ that it be committed.

“5. Committee on details of Bill. Report of Committee.

“6. _Motion_ that Bill be read a _third_ time. Motion that it be
_passed_. Passing of a Bill and sending of it to House of Lords.”

Passed by the House of Lords, it then receives the assent of the
Crown--the latter now a mere formality.

NOTE 24, p. 235.--How crying the need of reform had been before
the great Reform Act of 1832, a glance at the previous state of
England will show. It was only in name that England was ruled by a
representative government. A majority of the House of Commons were
actually the creatures of the peers, or of other personages high in
power. Like Church livings, the great lords had seats in the Commons
to dispense. Some seats were openly for sale. The value of the two
seats of the town of Gatton, which had only seven electors, was
commonly estimated at £100,000. At a time when such cities as Leeds,
Manchester, and Birmingham were actually without representation in
Parliament, the paper borough of Old Sarum, which had no inhabitant
at all, had two members accredited to it. Scotland was even worse
off. One example of the conditions there will suffice. The county of
Bute contained but one voter, who--irresistibly suggestive of Mr.
Gilbert’s _Pooh-Bah_--at elections was at once chairman, proposer
and seconder of his own return, recorder of the successful vote, and
unanimously elected candidate! The criminal absurdity of these matters,
so completely patent, long before 1832 had stirred the people and
even some of the statesmen of England. Among those who had written or
spoken for reform were the great Chatham, and the younger Pitt; so
too had felt John Wilkes and Sir James Mackintosh. And then came the
French Revolution, which England hailed as the harbinger of her own
reforms. When the French had won so swiftly the battle for freedom,
what could not the English do? All the world knows how, in the days
of the guillotine and the Terror, these English illusions faded.
Forthwith, and for nearly a generation of men, England’s whole energies
were turned from her domestic troubles to crush the child of that
Revolution in which she had thought to see the breaking of a new day.
Napoleon at last conquered, all the old social unrest swept back. But
against the reformers there were arrayed all the conservative elements
of a most conservative country,--the classes and professions, and a
Government confirmed in tenure by the victories of a Titanic war. It
was a long struggle. Again did the example of France, in her expulsion
of the Bourbons in 1830, give renewed heart across the Channel. As has
so often happened, the people found their successful leader in the
class which contained their natural opponents. Not even the prestige
of the Duke of Wellington, still the national hero, and head of the
anti-reformers, could avail against Earl Grey, the man of the hour, who
at last won for his country real reform.

In his “Nineteenth Century” (p. 109, London, 1880), Mr. Mackenzie tells
what the Act of 1832 had done: “The Reform Act bestowed the privilege
of the franchise in towns upon occupants who paid a rental of ten
pounds; in counties, upon those who paid a rental of forty pounds. In
England, fifty-six burghs with a population under two thousand, and
returning one hundred and eleven members, were disfranchised; thirty
burghs with a population under four thousand, and returning each two
members, were reduced to one member. Twenty new burghs received each
one member; twenty-two received each two members; the county members
were raised from ninety-four to one hundred and fifty-nine. Scotland
received an addition of eight burgh members.”

A great step had been taken. Briefly, there had been abolished the
monopoly of government which the aristocracy and landed gentry had
enjoyed; and the middle classes had been admitted to a share of
things. But the right of the working people to representation was
still ignored. It was not in reason that agitations to secure this
representation should not continue. At intervals from the reform year
until 1866, the unrest that had not yet been allayed found vent in
many measures, of which the more notable are the Bills of 1852–54,
introduced by Lord John Russell; that of 1859, a Conservative Bill,
introduced by Disraeli; and that of 1860, again proposed by Lord John
Russell. All were unsuccessful.

NOTE 25, p. 243.--The House of Commons draws its members from
counties, boroughs (or burghs), and the universities. County members
are understood to represent the country population and their
interests; borough members, the cities and towns. The members from the
universities are few. The Reform Act of 1867, passed the year after
this speech, thus allotted the representation to the House of Commons
(Amos, “Primer,” etc., p. 24):


ENGLAND AND WALES.

   52 Counties       187 Members.
  197 Boroughs       295    ”
    3 Universities     5    ”
                    ----
                     487    ”


SCOTLAND.

  32 Counties       32 Members.
  22 Boroughs       26    ”
   4 Universities    2    ”
                    --
                    60    ”


IRELAND.

  32 Counties       64 Members.
  33 Boroughs       39    ”
   1 University      2    ”
                   ---
                   105    ”

NOTE 26, p. 245.--Lord John Russell.

NOTE 27, p. 265.--Dryden: “The Medal,” ll. 119–122.

NOTE 28, p. 268.--That is, the suffrage to be extended to all
householders and heads of families. Under the Act of 1867, the suffrage
was also extended, in boroughs, to the “resident occupier of lodgings
of the yearly value of £10 at least if let unfurnished.”

NOTE 29, p. 270.--Lines 807–810 from Dryden’s “Absalom and Achitophel,”
Part I. The first line is loosely quoted. The text is really--

    “At once divine and human laws control.”

NOTE 30, p. 272.--“We, the three hundred, have sworn the same.”

NOTE 31, p. 275.--Another futile attempt of Lord John Russell--this
Reform Act of 1860. The county franchise was to be based on so low a
rental as £10; the borough franchise went down to £6. Lord Palmerston
opposed the Bill; and the country was apathetic. In the House, the
measure dragged a serpentine length of dull speechmaking. Nobody--not
even the Liberals--took it very seriously; and with the Tories the Bill
got to be a joke. Finally, on June 11, 1860, its sponsor withdrew it.

NOTE 32, p. 276.--Shakespeare: “Henry IV.,” Part I., Act i., Scene
iii., ll. 201–207.

NOTE 33, p. 278.--Samuel Butler: “Hudibras,” Part I., Canto 3, ll.
1047–1050.

NOTE 34, p. 278.--Shakespeare: “Henry IV.,” Part I., Act v., Scene i.
An extract from ll. 128 _et seq._

NOTE 35, p. 284.--A rough paraphrase of Isabella’s speech in “Measure
for Measure,” Act ii., Scene ii., ll. 83, 84: “To-morrow! O, that’s
sudden! Spare him, spare him! He’s not prepared for death,” etc.



  _A Selection from the
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American Orations

FROM THE COLONIAL PERIOD TO THE PRESENT TIME

Selected as specimens of eloquence, and with special reference to their
value in throwing light upon the more important epochs and issues of
American history.

Edited, with introductions and notes, by the late ALEXANDER JOHNSTON,
Professor of Jurisprudence in the College of New Jersey.

Re-edited, with new material and historical notes, by JAMES A.
WOODBURN, Professor of American History and Politics in Indiana
University.

FOUR VOLUMES,

EACH COMPLETE IN ITSELF AND SOLD SEPARATELY

        Crown octavo, gilt tops, per volume,  $1.25
        Set, four volumes, in a box            5.00
        Half calf, extra                      10.00

  SERIES I. Colonialism--Constitutional Government--The Rise of
      Democracy--The Rise of Nationality.

  SERIES II. The Anti-Slavery Struggle.

  SERIES III. The Anti-Slavery Struggle (_Continued_)--Secession.

  SERIES IV. Civil War and Reconstruction--Free Trade and
      Protection--Finance and Civil-Service Reform.

  “Regarded merely as studies in language, these orations contain
  some of the most eloquent and persuasive speeches in the English
  tongue. But more than this, the present collection has a permanent
  historical value which can hardly be overestimated. The very spirit
  of the times is preserved in these utterances; and, presented in
  this cogent form, history in a peculiar sense repeats itself to the
  reader, who feels the impulse of past events and the vitality of
  great principles behind them.”--_School Journal._

     G. P. Putnam’s Sons
  NEW YORK           LONDON


“_Thoroughly well-informed and scholarly._”

_Prof. Charles M. Andrews, Johns Hopkins University_

The Making of the English Constitution 449–1485

By Albert Beebe White Professor of History in the University of
Minnesota

_8vo._ _440 pages._ _$2.00 net_

“This book is of interest as being the first text-book, that
is a book for beginners in constitutional history, which has
deliberately disregarded the older doctrines and joined the movement
for a reconstruction of our familiar conceptions of Anglo-Saxon
institutions.... [The author] has treated the subject with great
clearness of analysis and statement, a familiarity with the best
research in the field, and probably as good a combination of the
topical and chronological arrangement as can be made. There is no more
clear and scholarly treatise on English constitutional history during
the Middle Ages in existence.”--_=The Annals of the American Academy of
Political and Social Sciences.=_

“The book impresses me as accurate and reliable.... Excellent
material has been given to the judiciary and the Parliament.... The
book is written in clear English, and the style is readable.... It
is a satisfaction to find that the author has given us not merely a
condensation of Stubbs, but a fresh account of his subject. The author
is to be commended also for generally refusing to devote space to
controversial problems.”--_=Professor Lawrence Larson, University of
Illinois.=_

_Send for descriptive circular_

     G. P. Putnam’s Sons
  New York           London



Transcriber’s Notes


Punctuation, hyphenation, and spelling were made consistent when a
predominant preference was found in this book; otherwise they were not
changed.

Simple typographical errors were corrected; occasional unbalanced
quotation marks retained.

Ambiguous hyphens at the ends of lines were retained.





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