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right way to work to recommend regarded as the founder of the himself to the confidence of Sir system of surrendering at discreR. Peel. But he was vindicating tion both the principles and the his independence with his usual policy which leaders and followers intrepidity, and with an original- alike have vehemently pledged ity to which Peel's mind was a themselves to maintain. The stranger.
surrenders in 1829 and 1846 shook Mr Froude, in a spirit of hero- the political world at the time; worship remarkable at his time but greater developments of the of life, is delighted to find that policy of surrender have cast those Disraeli's views the condi- two famous acts of apostacy into tion of the poorer classes, as set the shade. Splendide mendax was forth in Sybil,' harmonise in a Lord John's epithet for Peel as wonderful way with those preached regards his conduct in 1846. The by Carlyle in his 'Past and mendacity since that time has gone Present.' A qualification follows, on increasing, till no one puts unfounded on pre-existing prejudice limited confidence in the pledges of in his mind. The harmony was our public men; but the splendour only so far as the thoughts of of the performances has somewhat a gaudy coxcomb in satin waist- paled. The artist's skill is overcoats could have any affinity with looked from our familiarity with those of the stern ascetic who, in his performances. Hand-to-mouth the midst of accumulating splen- policy of this sort was abhorrent dour, was denouncing woe and to the mind of Disraeli, to whose desolation. Disraeli, he adds, did far-reaching purposes, stretching not believe any more than Carlyle from the commencement to the that the greatness of a nation close of his public life, Mr Gladdepended on the abundance of its stone himself has done justice in possessions. He did not believe his memorial speech. The attacks in a progress which meant the by Disraeli on Peel invested with abolition of the traditionary habits a kind of dramatic interest the of the people, the destruction of fall of the leader; they marked village industries, and the accumu- out the assailant for his successor lation of the population into enor- in the Tory leadership. mous cities, where their character No one could withhold from and physical qualities would be Disraeli at the close of Peel's adchanged and probably degenerate. ministration credit for unrivalled
When Sir Robert Peel became audacity. He had not merely Prime Minister, Disraeli was left sought in successful conflict the out in the cold. Between the two leading athletes of parliamentary men there was evidently nothing debate, but he had asserted the in common.
Disraeli's mind was supremacy of genius in a House full of theories by which the full of far more experienced memreligious, commercial, and political bers. And on the very eve of his life of the country could be reno- assuming the leadership of his vated. Peel was cautious, prudent, party, which was eventually to a master of finance, and an ideal give him the leadership of the Minister in the eyes of those ten- IIouse, he was describing Parliapound householders from whom he, ment itself, in `Coningsby,' as an with singular want of prescience, etlete institution, doomed to fall had done all he could to withhold from the increasing unpopularity political power.
may be which in this country surrounds
the depositary of power. His real secure its expression at the polls, career as a statesman dates from and manipulate a majority. Rehis assuming the responsibility of sponsibility for the consequences leadership, which for all practical is easily shifted to the Parliament purposes may be said to have which carried the measure, and devolved upon him in 1846. Mr the statesman who
have Froude says he did little or noth- achieved the success may also be ing to carry out his peculiar views; the first to lament its but considering that he never had quences, and ask for a renewed a majority till he was in his lease of power to enable him to seventieth year, that is not very pursue still further the downward surprising. But it must be said course, which grows more and of him, that besides restraining more easy of accomplishment. the practice of parliamentary For thirty-five eventful years opposition within effective consti- Disraeli led the Tory party—the tutional limits, his policy and longest political leadership repolitical conduct show more of corded in parliamentary history. forethought and of insight into the On this period Mr Froude is future, and of regard for ulterior unable to throw any new light, consequences, than those of any and declines to follow his actions public man of his day.
any minuteness. stands in marked contrast in outer side of them,” he says, "is those respects both to Peel and within the memory of most of his chief disciple Mr Gladstone. The inner side can only be Disraeli's criticism of Peel was
known when his private papers that he wanted imagination, and are given to the world.” The wanting imagination he wanted disappointing part of this bioprescience. As Mr Froude says, graphy is that Mr Froude has quoting, unless we are mistaken, nothing new to tell us, and apfrom the Life of Lord George pears not to have seen any of Bentinck'
the papers himself, except some
correspondence with Mrs Bridges “No one was more sagacious when Willyams, in which the old lady dealing with the circumstances before him. His judgment was faultless,
was gratified with some Court and
other gossip. One remarkable provided that he had not to deal with the future. Insight into con
incident mentioned is the offer sequences is the test of a true states- of the Greek crown, on its refusal man, and because Peel had it not, by the Duke of Edinburgh, to Catholic emancipation, parliamentary Lord Stanley, the present Lord reform, and the abrogation of the
Derby. commercial system, were carried in haste or in passion, and without con- “I think he ought to take it,” says ditions or mitigatory arrangements.” Disraeli, “but he will not. Had I
his youth, I would not hesitate, even Forethought, whether in home with the earldom of Derby in the or foreign politics, is the rarest distance.
It is a dazzling adgift for statesmen to possess.
It venture for the house of Stanley, but is the fault of parliamentary in- they are not an imaginative race, and stitutions, party politics, and de
I fancy they will prefer Knowsley to mocratic constituencies, that they
the Parthenon, and Lancashire to the
Attic plains." discourage forethought. The prizes are all to those who can discern It would seem, at all events to the immediate desire of the public, all prosaic unimaginative people,
that Lord Stanley was well ad- Froude selects several instances. vised in preferring the English There was the denunciation of earldom of Derby to the crown the claptrap addresses to their of such a as the modern constituents of two Ministers in Greeks, at all events as they were the Coalition Cabinet, Sir James then understood.
Graham and Sir C. Wood, whose As the papers confided to Lord eagerness to pose as the friends Rowton have none of them at of justice and humanity led them present seen the light, the interest into the use of language to the of this biography lies in the ver- ruler of France shortly after the dict which a historian of consider- coup d'état which might easily able experience and conscientious have provoked a war. It was the judgment pronounces on Disraeli's speech in which he inaugurated career ten years after it is closed. his opposition to the Ministry of Mr Froude takes no very keen Lord Aberdeen. And he asserted interest in parliamentary matters. his authority as leader of OpposiHe is delighted when the monot- tion to correct and restrain the ony was broken in upon by inci imprudence of the Ministers, and dents from without- Continental placed forcibly before the country revolutions, Crimean campaigns, that we had no right to dictate to Indian mutinies, civil in France her form of government, America, and suchlike. As for
or to provoke the resentment of parliamentary work pure and the French army by unwise minissimple, he says, it may be claimed terial invectives. for Disraeli that he discharged his The next case was that of the "sad duties all this time with Crimean
Disraeli stands as little insincerity as the circum- clear of all responsibility for the stances allowed. He was never diplomatic blundering which led wilfully obstructive. He
to that unnecessary war.
But he ducted himself as a party chief loyally supported the Crown in its with dignity and fairness. Any arduous enterprise. Mr Froude's proposals which he considered criticisms on English policy at good he helped forward with this time are hard to reconcile earnestness and ability, especially with his criticisms later on of if they were for the improvement Lord Beaconsfield's conduct when of the condition of the masses. the Eastern question again broke It would be difficult to name a out during his premiership. He party chief on the present front says that in 1854 public opinion Opposition bench of whom as forbade the acceptance of the much could be said. A still Emperor Nicholas's overtures to higher praise is his due, that he Sir Hamilton Seymour, and also never sought to make party capital the joint pressure of Europe on by increasing any difficulties which the Turks to reform. In the might arise in our foreign rela- alternative something was to be tions. There was always constitu- said for adhering firmly from the tional and caustic criticism of the first to the integrity of the Turkactual conduct of affairs by the ish empire, but that nothing was Minister, but there was no spend- to be said for hesitation and ing of days and nights in the waiting on events. Indecision endeavour to thwart his policy. and vacillation, produced by diOn the contrary, a loyal support vided counsels, brought on the was given to the Crown. Mr war, in Mr Froude's judgment as
well as in that of all sensible of intervention. It must be repeople.
corded to the undying credit of Mr Froude also gives Disraeli Disraeli that that word was never credit for helping to restrain the spoken. On the contrary, his inferocity with which the Indian fluence was with a patriotism Mutiny was being suppressed. which recent events have shown That mutiny was the outcome of to be rare in an Opposition chief our military failures in the Crimea. thrown on the side of non-interIt had been stained by every vention. He, with the cordial atrocity on the part of our re- sympathy of Sir Stafford Northvolted subjects; but here, as on cote, supported Sir George Corneother occasions, Disraeli
wall Lewis in his resistance to ready to oppose and restrain pub- his colleagues in the Cabinet. lic feeling rather than gain tem- He advised and insisted that the porary advantage by stimulating Americans must be left to shape it to frenzy. The Indian atroci- their own fortunes in their own ties were far worse than the Bul- way. The Palmerston Cabinet garian atrocities, and they were blundered into letting the Alacommitted on helpless English bama escape, and Mr Gladstone's women and children. The crisis speech in support of Jefferson was one in which first our empire, Davis rankled for years in the and next our national character, minds of the Americans. When was at stake, and the leader of retribution overtook Mr Gladthe Opposition disdained to turn stone as Premier in the shape of the public excitement to party increasingly urgent demands for advantage.
compensation from the other side Perhaps the greatest achieve- of the Atlantic, it was to the wise ment of that personal ascendancy moderation and patriotic support which Disraeli derived from his of the leader of the Opposition genius of insight into surrounding that he was indebted for being circumstances and their probable extricated without a war from consequences, independently of the troubles which he had mainly numerical weight of his parlia- brought upon himself by his rash mentary following, was our non- meddling and muddling. Not intervention in the Amerian Civil merely was moral support given War. Had we taken part in it, to him in Parliament, but one of we should have roused a feeling Disraeli’s most important colof rancour and animosity which it leagues, Sir Stafford Northcote, would have taken generations to associated with his quell. The Emperor of the French envoys in the work of pacificainvited us to join in recognising tion, obviously for the purpose of the South and breaking the block- strengthening his hands and asade. The Tory party, as a rule, suring him beforehand of a free
in favour of the South. course, unfettered by the risk of Lord Palmerston, with a good parliamentary censure. It forms many of his colleagues--notably à precedent which we hope will Mr Gladstone, with his genius for not be too readily followed, for it political blundering—was notori- is not, as a general rule, advisable ously willing to take action. A that the Opposition should share word from Disraeli would have in Ministerial responsibility, or turned the scale and given an part with any portion of its freeoverwhelming majority in favour dom to deal with circumstances
as they arise. Even Mr Glad- established, and negotiations at stone acknowledged at the time least entered into for the destruc· the patriotism of Disraeli's con- tion of Belgium, while England duct, and it would have been well was not even consulted, and had for his reputation if he could have no voice in the new arrangements. imitated the same self-control and Russia followed the example of magnanimity when his rival in his the other great Powers, and return had to deal with the perplex- tired from further observance of ities of the Eastern situation, the Black Sea Treaty, which had created by treaties, for the last closed the Crimean war. of which Mr Gladstone himself the case in Mr Froude's words — was primarily responsible. Dis
“Russia took advantage of the conraeli's conduct during and after fusion to tear up the Black Sea Treaty, the American Civil War, in rela- and throw the fragments in our faces. tion to the international questions
The warmest Radical enthusiast could raised by that tremendous struggle,
not defend the imbecility with which is one of the leading features of
the outrage was submitted to. A
Minister was sent to Paris to inform his career.
It exhibited patriot- Prince Bismark that if Russia perism, insight, and foresight, and its sisted he should go to war. When success resulted from that strictly Russia refused to be frightened,”—or personal ascendancy and influence shall we say, finding that there was which genius and high character
no hope of Bismark's interference ?can alone confer. “Hereafter,"
“the uncertain Premier said in Parlia
ment that the Minister had exceeded says Mr Froude, 66 when the
his instructions. It appeared, on inchanges and chances of the pre- quiry, that the instructions had not sent reign are impartially re- been exceeded, but that nothing had viewed, Disraeli will be held to been meant but an idle menace, which have served his country well by had failed of its effect.” his conduct at this critical con- Is there anything in the whole tingency.”
history of our foreign relations No one can point to any part of more thoroughly contemptible and Disraeli's long tenure of the Op- humiliating 2 Mr Gladstone, of position leadership as showing any course, gave way, and the Black desire to reap party advantage out Sea clauses of the Treaty of 1856 of the foreign difficulties of the were cancelled at the dictation of country. Not merely was a loyal Russia. The only thing by which and effective support given to Mr our honour as a party to that Gladstone in his blundering efforts treaty was attempted to be saved to rescue England from the Ala- was that Russia, while repudiating bama difficulty, and the interna- a part of it, consented to ratify tional ill - feeling which his own the rest. Five years later the rashness and error of judgment whole Eastern question was had done much to provoke, but an opened. The public law of Europe equally loyal support and absten- relating to it was the Treaty of tion from all harassing interfer 1856, reaffirmed and ratified by
were observed in his ditli- the Treaty of 1871, for which Mr culties during the Franco-German Gladstone's Government was
Mr Gladstone's Continental sponsible—a ratification which was influence may be judged from the represented to have been extorted fact that, although parliamentary from Russia as the price of her support was not withheld, France repudiation of clauses which to was defeated, the German empire her were specially obnoxious.