Page images
PDF
EPUB

We won

should be moved against the Ministry, his resignation to her Majesty. And and that this duty should be intrusted next day (the 13th), to the dismay of to Lord Shaftesbury in the Upper the chiefs of the plot, and the surprise House, and to Mr Cardwell in the of the whole House, he announced Lower. The pious son-in-law of Lord that he had voluntarily demitted his Palmerston, whose zeal for Sabbath- place in the Ministry: “I did so," observance is known in all the he said, after alluding to the momentchurches, ought to have been consi ous character of the interests at issue, derably shocked to become the mouth “because I am determined that this piece and ostensible leader of this question shall be freed from personal Sunday cabal. Ten days afterwards feeling, and shall proceed upon the (the 19th), when presiding at a meet- merits.” The Opposition had resolved ing for the conversion of the Turks, to make the vote turn upon a trivial “the noble lord,” we find it reported, point of form in the production of the “commenced by giving a spiritual despatch, and to assail the Ministry, application

to the circumstance of the through him, for having acted harshly Derby Day: he said that while a to Lord Canning; but by sacrificing great horse-race was being run on himself, the noble Earl at once that day, they were engaged in run- knocked away both these pretexts, ning the Christian's race.

for with himself alone lay the responder in what style his lordship would sibility for the premature publicahave “improved” the meeting at tion,"--and also, if, through hím Lord Cambridge House, where, when Canning had been harshly dealt with, others were at church, his father-in- his own resignation was certainly law's adherents met to concoct the ample atonement. He saw that a schemes and put up the vows of fac- momentous question of Indian Gotion !

vernment, a question involving the On Tuesday the 11th, accordingly, very stability of our Indian empire, after an indefinite announcement on was about to be debated on a false the preceding day, Lord Shaftesbury issue; and to prevent this, he nobly tabled

the terms of his motion in the laid down his high office-an office House of Lords. Although redun- dear to him, because there he felt he dantly enveloped in words, in order was in the right place, and could to make it loom large in the public bring the aid of his masterly inteleye, and render it suitable for tak- lect and generous heart to right our ing on the character of a "vote of mighty Eastern empire when reelcensure” which was superimposed ing under the heaviest storm that on it, the only charge against the ever overswept a State. Had his Government adventured on in the colleagues been apprised of his intenmotion was that of having given tion, the Chancellor of the Exchequer

premature publication” to the De- told the House of Commons, they spatch. This was a very small charge would have "unanimously opposed certainly; but, after consultation, it it.” And it is certainly to be dewas agreed that this was all that plored that the contemptible tactics there was the least chance of getting of a most sordid faction should-as a the Peers to affirm; and a mere show means of unmasking their baseness, of a majority in the Lords-on any and preventing the adoption of the point however trivial—would serve ruinous policy which they advocated the purpose of the Factions, whose - have occasioned the withdrawal main strength lay in the Lower House. from office of such a statesman. Discerning at a glance their tactics, Lord Ellenborough's noble resig. Lord Ellenborough resolved to baffle nation had the effect he desired. It them. As the promise to table the unmasked the objects, though it despatch, when it was asked for, was did not avert the grand attack of given on his own responsibility, and the Factions. It is the current beas some of his colleagues did not ap- lief in India that Lord Canning's prove of that step, the noble Earl, with confiscatory policy (so different from the chivalrous resolution so charac. his former clemency) was the result teristic of him, at once, and with- of instructions from the Home Goout apprising his colleagues, tendered vernment. Colonel Franks says he

[ocr errors]

cess.

inferred this from what he actually step for the overthrow of the present heard from the lips of the Governor- Government.” The Whigs saw clearly General himself; and assuredly there that something must be done; and is nothing in the mode in which Lord Lord Ellenborough’s Despatch was Palmerston and Mr. Smith dealt seized on as a pretext for the attack with the letters received by them which they had already planned. At since their withdrawal from office, first the occasion looked highly pro-and quite as little in the estimate mising. On the Thursday, when the which Mr Smith entertains of him- announcement was first made that self, to exclude the notion that, in de- the Government disapproved of the claring Lord Canning had acted on proclamation, Sir James Graham had "the very best advice," he meant his observed to Mr Cardwell that if the (Mr Smith's) own! But many cir- Despatch contained“ any censure on cumstances combined to instigate the the annexation of Oude, it would be Whig chiefs to an immediate attack. most impolitic and inexpedient." Mr Bright tells, that before ever the Lord John Russell, too, showed lively Despatch had been heard of, it had symptoms of indignation at the Gobeen agreed amongst the Whig chiefs vernment; the Times commenced that a resolute effort should be made its volleys; and altogether the occato oust the Ministry hy hook or sion seemed most favourable for recrook before Whitsuntide. Indeed, uniting the whole Liberal party, the some journals, favoured with the con Peelites included, and carrying the fidential correspondence of the Whig Treasury benches by storm. The ex-officials, announced in April that Whigs were immensely elated, but such an attempt would be made. The left no stone unturned to secure sucPalmerstonian ex-officials felt that an Lists of a new Ministry were immediate success and return to the handed about, with tempting blanks Treasury benches were necessary, or

left to be filled as each one might else their party would break up. imagine ; and the glittering bait of The “independent” Liberals were office was openly held out to the every week breaking off from their two ringleaders of the revolt in Comold masters, and setting up as a mittee Room No. 11! Success was power of themselves. Discarding certain, the Whig leaders gave out. Hayter's rule, they had appointed The idea of a Dissolution, which “whips” of their own; and it was greatly troubled many of their folonly too apparent to the Whig olie fowers, was scouted : “the Queen garchs that their political helots were won't allow it,” boldly affirmed Hay. about to shake off their thrall. At ter; and besides, the majority against the memorable meeting in Committee the Government-modestly rated at Room No. 11, the mutiny had been from 100 to 150—was to be so great openly commenced, and the flag of that Lord Derby would not dare to independence unfurled. On that oc- appeal to the country! Poor plot. casion Mr Headlam, from the chair, ters! what fools you have made of explained that “the real object of the yourselves. meeting was to express the general On Friday the 15th, the battle befeeling which he believed to prevail

, gan in both Houses. And from the that of late the Liberal party had not very outset the remarkable, superiorbeen fairly treated—that, in fact, it ity in eloquence as well as argument had rather been betrayed. He was on the side of the Government which convinced he spoke the sentiments of characterised the whole debate, was the meeting, when he said that office conspicuous. The vote of censure in ought not to be in possession of a the Upper House was moved by Lord clique or a few families, and that a Shaftesbury, who was to have taken wider basis for conducting the affairs the place of Lord Clanricarde in the of the empire was absolutely neces new Palmerston Ministry, and whose sary.” And Mr Baxter of Montrose recent proceedings have certainly had actually the incredible wicked- lessened his unsuitableness to succeed ness to affirm that "he thought it to such a predecessor. Like " pious would do the Whigs good to be out of Æneas," who carried his father on office; and he would not advise any his back from Troy, pious Lord

Shaftesbury did his best, even at the self still palpitating with panic, and risk of connecting himself with the with disaffection to our rule smoulSunday cabal, to carry his father-in- dering only too widely, he called law on his shoulders back to Down- upon his Peers to consider what ing Street. By greatly exceeding bis must be the effect of launching that text, he made a tolerable show of the edict of wholesale confiscation, which case ; but, as even a religious journal struck at once at the property and observes, his speech was "too much religion of five millions of people. stuffed with protestations of his He told the House that the moment freedom from party bias, and solemn he received that proclamation, he appeals to Heaven for the purity of knew what must be the result ; and his motives.” Such protestations and that he thought within himself—“I appeals certainly were not unneed- will write ; and at the earliest posed on his lordship’s part, but they sible moment after that proclamation cut a curious figure when subjected is published in India, I will send my to the pungent rhetoric and polished letter as an antidote, that the people quizzing of the—in this at least-in- may know they are to be ruled with imitable Premier. But Lord Ellen- justice and clemency.” The country borough's was the speech of the even now feels that he was right. There ing. Seldom has oratory produced could be but one remedy for Lord anything equal to it. He only spoke Canning's error,-namely, the recall for twenty minutes, but the effect on of his proclamation, and the open the House was most imposing. Parlia- repudiation of its principles. But ment never witnessed anything mo Lord Ellenborough had to address rally grander than the position and men who could not see as he saw. bearing of the noble lord, as, having Pugnacious Argyll and weakly-loquathrown down office that he might cious Granville followed Shaftesbury speak untrammelled, he stood there in establishing, to their own satispleading with earnest and flashing faction, that the ex-Minister did not eloquence the cause alike of humanity understand the proclamation, and and policy in our vast Indian realms. quite misrepresented what would be He did not stoop to the trivialities its effects. The moles were judging and personalities of debate. He an eagle! On a division a large brushed aside the petty considera- majority of those present -93 to tions of red-tape and routine. He 65—voted in favour of the Governboldly defended his policy out and out. ment ; but the other side held He justified both the Despatch and its 80. many more proxies than the publication. Charged by his waspish Ministerialists, that in this way the and puny assailants that, before writ- majority was reduced to ten. Had ing a despatch of censure, he ought to the debate been prolonged, and the have waited for explanations, he re House had time to see more clearly plied—“My lords, there is no explan- the principles at issue, the Minisation. There are some things which terial majority would have been much cannot be explained. Confiscation is greater ; but what are we to think one of these. It is incapable of ex of the large number of Peers who, planation. It stands in all its naked without ever hearing the case, gave deformity--the most cruel punish- their votes in proxy to the Opposiment which can ever be inflicted on a tion leaders? Nay, what do they country.” Blamed for allowing the now think of themselves ? No one Despatch to be published, he chal- who was absent from that debatelenged the House to lift its eyes no one who did not hear the speeches from red-tape conventionalities at of Lords Derby and Ellenborough, so home, and to read the true answer full of important statements and reto that charge in the aspect of af- velations, was competent to judge in fairs in India. With Oude, Gwalior, the matter. There were, doubtless, Rohilcund, Bundelcund, and part not a few present on the Opposition of Rajpootana in arms against us benches who were resolved to vote —with 25,000 disarmed Sepoys on against the Government whatever our hands, needing to be guarded might be the character of their deby British troops,with Calcutta it- fence; but that on a question of

en

80 much importance and speciality, correspondent had sent home a copy twenty-five Peers should give their of it as posted in the streets of Luckvotes in condemnation of the Govern now on the 15th of March; the ment without ever compearing, shows framers of the resolution affected to how remorselessly faction was at work consider it doubtful whether any in the British Senate.

proclamation had been issued at all! In the House of Commons, fortu- Secondly, the resolution affirmed nately, the debate was much more that the Despatch condemned "the protracted. Had a vote been come conduct of the Governor-General," — to on the first night, as in the Lords, which was false; seeing that what there cannot be a doubt that faction the Despatch condemned was not would have triumphed at the expense the conduct, but only a particular of truth, justice, and the best inte- act of the Governor-General-namerests of the empire. The House has ly, his intention to confiscate all the to thank time and the loquacity of land of Oude. Observe also, as a its members for saving it from a tre- specimen of Whig ignorance and mendous mistake. The motion of malicious assumption, the prognoscensure here was of a graver cha- tication of the most prejudicial racter than that in the Lords; for effects” to be produced by the tenor the Cambridge-House faction count- of the Despatch, especially in “ ed upon easy and certain success in couraging the further resistance of the Commons. Nevertheless the na those who are in arms against us !!” ture of their case was such as did —whereas the very opposite is now not admit of being fairly put upon acknowledged to be the case. trial. They had recourse, therefore, Passing from the minor disto the manæuvre of framing a false honesties, let us note the leading and unfair issue (a practice, we re features of the motion. In the gret to say, becoming every year more

House of Lords the charge against common in Parliament), in order to the Government was merely for facilitate their obtaining a verdict. having published the Despatch preMr Cardwell's resolution, which de- maturely. But Mr Cardwell's moserves to be put on record as a re tion implied that the despatch (1) markable example of Whig chicanery, ought not to have been published at faction, and folly, was as follows : all-nay (2), that no despatch on the

subject ought to have been written “ That this House, whilst, in its pre- at all—and (3), expressly declared sent state of information, it abstains that the despatch actually written from expressing an opinion on the policy

was wrong, and would produce inof any proclamation which may have been issued by the Governor-General of jurious effects. The first two points India, in relation

to Oude, has seen with of accusation were only affirmed by regret and serious apprehension that her necessary implication, — as it was Majesty's Government have addressed doubtless felt by the astute framers to the Governor-General, through a Se that they would not stand being cret Committee of the Court of Directors, embodied in express words. The a despatch, condemning in strong terms third one was made explicitly, and the conduct of the Governor-General, yet was quite incompatible with the and is of opinion that such a course on rest of the motion ; for how, in the part of the Government must tend, in the present circumstances of India, pronounce an opinion on the Despatch,

common fairness, could the House to produce the most prejudicial effect, if it abstained from considering the by weakening the authority of the Gov. ernor - General, and encouraging the proclamation to which the Despatch further resistance of those who are in

was a reply? The House was rearms against us.”

quested to say that it had seen" with

regret and serious apprehension” the Observe, first, the chicanery here condemnation pronounced by the displayed. Although Ministers stated Despatch on the Governor-General's that they had authentic intelligence proclamation ; but how could the (though not from Lord Canning) that House affirm that the condemnation the proclamation had actually been was wrong, without at the same issued; and although the Times' time affirming that the proclamation

even

[ocr errors]

was right? If the House, “in its some innocent minds, as a bright present state of information,”* was idea, that the whole thing was a incapable of judging, of the pro- grave joke of the member for Oxclamation, how could it judge of ford, to see into how much absurdity the criticism on that proclamation ? and self-contradiction he could inGlaringly absurd and unfair as this veigle the House by a crafty use of way of framing the motion was, it words. He was so nearly succeeding, was nevertheless absolutely neces that we must either place him far sary; for very many of the Opposition, above any sophist of Athens, or else though quite willing to vote that the rank the House of Commons, in in Despatch was wrong, could not face tellectual acuteness, considerably bethe alternative that the proclamation low the demos of that ancient city. was right. Some, indeed, did so, like And as, like good Tories, we venerate Mr V. Smith, who said he was "ready the British Constitution, we trust to take issue on the proclaination of that that honourable and august Lord Canning, who had the best ad- assembly will henceforth show, in a vice !" So let us see precisely the manner not over-meek, that it does document, of which Mr Smith and not consider itself a corpus

vile

upon some others expressly approved, and which such experiments may be tried. the condemnation of which all the Mr Cardwell's tones were Opposition speakers professed to have more solemn than usual as he opened

seen with regret and serious appre- the grand debate in the Commons; hension." Here is all of the pro- but he made no hits, and his speech clamation that contains the expres- went off flatly: Indeed, he appeared sion of the policy condemned by Lord to labour at times under a half-conEllenborough's Despatch

sciousness that his case was some“ The Governor-General further pro

what rotten, and needed to be touched claims to the people of Oude that gently and with circumspection lest the proprietary right in the soil of the it went to pieces in his hands. He province is confiscated to the British need not have been so careful, howGovernment, which will dispose of that

ever, for his successor on the floor right in such manner as may seem fitting. knocked it to pieces at once. This was To those Talookdars, Chiefs, and Land

the first time the Solicitor General, holders, with their followers, who shall Sir Hugh Cairns, had been inmake immediate submission to the Chief Commissioners of Oude ... the Gover

trusted with so prominent a place in nor-General promises that their

lives and debate; but most admirably did he honour shall be safe. . . . But as regards prove himself worthy of the distincany further indulgence which may be tion. Alike eloquent, spirited, and extended to them, and the condition in convincing, he led the van of the which they may hereafter be placed, they Ministerialists most gallantly; not must throw themselves upon the mercy contenting himself with standing on and justice of the British Government.”

defence, and maintaining a not Certainly that is very plain speak- proven,” but fairly breaking the eneing; and if the House, which the my's line, and doubling them up in Member for Oxford's motion affirmed irrecoverable rout. “My proposition to be in a state of information," is this,” he said—“We make war with could not understand and express an Kings and Governments, not with opinion upon so very intelligible a individuals. If in the course of war document, it was surely unreasonable individuals commit crimes, they put to ask it to express an opinion upon themselves beyond the pale of that anything! To ask it to censure the rule; but, except as to such cases, Government, and not to censure that, every individual is entitled to prowas exquisitely preposterous ! And tection of life and property from the now that the whole affair has ended victorious nation. You might as in smoke, it may probably occur to well confiscate the lives of the con

*" In the present state of its information," would have been the correct wording. The House itself, the motion implied, was not in a "state of information” at all, but in a state of deplorable ignorance. What could the scholastic Member for Oxford mean by perpetrating such an Hibernicism?

VOL. LXXXIII.-NO..DXII.

3 F

« PreviousContinue »