Abbildungen der Seite


and of his personal kindness as Lord Prudhoe when he was wont on his walks abroad to store his pockets with packets of tea and other comforts which he left at the cottages where many a humble prayer has been breathed for the happiness of one who has a heart to help the poor. Such unpretending acts may seem too sacred to bring before that public eye for whose hard gaze they were never intended; but they furnish a guarantee that such a First Lord will not be neglectful of the comforts of those seamen to whom England owes so deep a debt of gratitude, and on whom, under God, her safety is so dependent; and attention to our seamen is far more important than costly care of the fabrics of our ships. Ships are more easily built than seamen. When Nelson was once being rowed across Cadiz harbour, he gazed stedfastly for some minutes upon the goodly lines of several Spanish ships, and then exclaimed, “Thank God, these Dons cannot build men!" Of great importance, then, in

! a national point of view, do we consider a disposition in commanding officers to care for the well-being, the comfort, and contentedness of our soldiers and sailors.

The scoffing Liberal and the mere party politician, who rely for success on crafty parliamentary maneuvres solely, may deride our citation of such acts as affording an earnest of fitness for office; but, while unscrupulous efforts are being made to prejudice the minds of the people against the Derby Administration as one composed of haughty aristocrats, “devourers of widows' houses,” who seek to diminish the poor man's loaf to augment their own income, it is well that the true character of the members of that administration should be submitted to the public, and then, with the rational and Christian portion of the community-a much larger section of English society than the noisy crew whose voices are so clamorous are disposed to allowwe have no apprehension of any permanent evil consequences from the threatened and abrupt dissolution of Parliament. The country will, thereby, be thrown into confusion at a moment when unity and peace within its own borders are peculiarly essential for its safety, and every evil passion will be let loose to rage rampant through the land; but this storm, raised by the breath of envy, after its fury has been exhausted to the utmost, will leave Christian Conservatism still lord of the ascendant.

The Times has just impudently and insolently announced that the Derby Ministry possess no single qualification for office. Lord Derby, forsooth, has no parliamentary talents, no eloquence, no perspicacity of mind, no statesman-like views, no stores of accumulated wisdom! We are ashamed to notice so

barefaced a calumny; but more ashamed that a man like Lord John Russell, by birth and education a gentleman, should lend his name and countenance to an opposition preparing, while we write this remonstrance, to throw the whole kingdom into confusion for the sake of regaining office. Does rabies-we know no other word to describe Lord John Russell's reputed mood of mind—so completely enthral him that his powers of discernment are altogether in abeyance, so that he cannot perceive that the gang of plotters who eagerly throng to Chesham-place and urge him on to an unfair attack upon his successor in office, who failed to support himself while in office are ready to desert him again the moment their turn is served? Honour-exclaimed a chivalric King of France when pressed to entrap a powerful enemy who had committed himself to his courtesy-honour, though exiled from every other abode, ought to dwell in the heart of princes! Ought not the same code to regulate the conduct of gentlemen? And is such an opposition as that which Lord John Russell is now organizing, and which presents every prospect of being in operation before this page sees the light, based on the principles which a Christian gentleman can, without forfeiture of his character, sanction by becoming such a party's leader?

A strange notion has possessed the minds of some, and no pains are spared by the levellers to propagate it, that the Queen is at heart a Whig and does not like any but Whig Ministers ! That this is a base misrepresentation is proved by Queen Victoria's own calm, dignified, and prudent conduct throughout the whole period of her reign. Her father, the late Duke of Kent, was reputed to be a Whig, and must have had more than a common share of Christian meekness and forbearance not to have had more than a leaning towards any party opposed to the then dominant powers which slighted and ill-used him; but from his acknowledged talents, amiability of disposition and clear judgment, he would, had he lived to have ascended the throne of these realms, have doubtless been as fast a friend of order as his father George the Third, with incomparably greater enlargement of intellect and a more far-seeing sagacity. The Duke of

Kent's daughter mounted the throne while yet a young girl; but amidst all the agitating periods of her reign, and they have not been few, she has invariably evinced the most unruffled calmness, the strictest impartiality, the most unimpeachable prudence. To use a common but most expressive phrase emineatly applicable to our beloved Sovereign, never was a cooler, a wiser head placed upon young shoulders.

Now, the Russell Ministry fell by its own weakness and



through the desertion of those who are now stimulating Lord John to forget that he is a gentleman : the Whigs were not overthrown by any attack on the part of Lord Derby or by any section of the Conservative party. Lord Derby did not take any steps to attain office: he was sent for and appealed to by his Queen when her Whig servants threw up their places in a pet, such as is rarely seen in any station higher than a butler's pantry or a stable-yard when John or Thomas throw off their liveries in a tiff.

Lord Derby obeyed the royal command and proceeded to form an administration, when forthwith a yell, led by Cobden, Bright, and Gibson, burst from Manchester—“We will not have this man to reign over us !" In other words, we, men of the movement, will choose who shall be the Queen's Prime Minister ? The Queen exercised her own choice and sent for Lord Derby. Is Richard Cobden disappointed that her Majesty did not send for him? We think it likely, for we have witnessed such hallucinations. William Cobbett gravely offered himself as Prime Minister on a salary of 5001. a year, and confidently predicted that he would discharge the duties of the office he sought to the satisfaction of his Sovereign and country. Richard Cobden has not half the ability of William Cobbett; but more than a double portion of that hearty amusing old egotist's self-conceit. Richard Cobden would not, however, have served for the moderate salary asked by the cleverer Cobbett. No, no: Richard has no fancy to perform any work honoris causa ; the lucri gratia is his ruling impulse, and the antagonism and the mutual distrust of classes his idea of society

An Earl Derby with his broad acres, and enormous property personal and real, in that very county of Lancaster whose inhabitants are endeavoured to be wheedled by impostors into a belief that the increase of his already vast wealth is his lordship’s aim in taking office, may be openly accused of mercenary motives. So may a Duke of Northumberland, whose life-boats alone for the preservation of poor English sailors annually impose upon his Grace the expenditure of thousands. Each lord of thousands and hundreds of thousands may be freely charged with seeking office for mere money, and fools are expected to swallow the monstrous improbability; but Cobden is pure, pure, pure: he refuses to accept even a small small subscription from humble friends in acknowledgment of his meritorious services. *


* Corn-law repeal put 70,000l. into Cobden's pocket, the man of “unadorned eloquence," and made him M.P, for the West Riding. By stolen marches and masked maneuvres was he placed in that elevated seat, and the begging box was sent round at Manchester, on the accession of Lord Derby to office, for this especial purpose, to preserve Cobden's seat which was supposed in danger. “Before the hurrahs of the Manchester meeting (says the Morning Herald) had quite died, away Mr. Cobden was on his way to the West Riding. At Leeds we next hear of him, addressing a farge mob-meeting, and immediately the Leeds Mercury assures us " that Mr. Cobden's seat for the West Riding is made quite safe."

Oh, this gullibility of our countrymen-this submissiveness to be led by the rose--this insane frenzy--this dereliction of every honourable principle on which gentlemen were wont to regulate their conduet by a duke's son and a quondam Prime Minister--do sicken our very soul and tempt us to fear lest our country should be abandoned to the delusions of insanity, the domination of lies! Nevertheless, our confidence in the general good sense of the English race, our early experience of the efficacy of discipline, and our concurrent experience of the powerlessness of mere noise in the presence of discipline is so strong---nay, our estimate of that sense of fair-play so innate in the English people is so high-as to induce us to disdain the clamours of such a faction as Lord John Russell, in an evil hour for his own fair fame, has been tempted to lead. The incongruous band whom he has been for the moment seduced by wounded vanity and deplorable spleen to lead may do what they please : they may throw the nation into disorder by depriving it of any Government: they may compel Lord Derby to dissolve Parliament and appeal to the country at large; but that country will not lose its self-possession amidst the discordant clamours which agitators have awakened. The noisy “tenth" will not defeat the silent 6 pine-tenths." The louder the tempest grows the more collected and calm stands the “pilot who weathers the storm.'

But, to continue our simile, it is needful for the safety of a ship that its crew should be united and obedient to discipline as well as the pilot be collected and skilful; and is this the case with the Derby Ministry? We are happy to be enabled to answer this question in the affirmative. An exaggerated rumour of a “split” was current for a short time, and did not fall to the ground for want of Whig diligence to keep it up; but the mountain was raised around an infinitesimal morsel of truth. Lords Londonderry and Combermere were reported to be severally annoyed at having been passed over by Lord Derby in his selection of a Master-General of the Ordnance, and to have vowed in their disappointment, not only to withhold their individual support from Lord Derby, but also to influence their numerous friends and connections to follow their example.

[merged small][ocr errors]


When we first heard the report we suspected exaggeration, knowing the activity of spite; but, as Lord Londonderry's irritable self-esteem is notorious, we thought it quite likely that he might have expressed himself warmly upon the subject; for if he has a soldier's courage, as no one can question, be has also a soldier's frankness and loudly speaks all he feels. The readers of his pleasure tours must remember the numerous and amusing instances of his quarrels with Prussian and Turkish functionaries and with English Ambassadors at foreign courts for slights inflicted upon his dignity. We have called Lord Londonderry's escapades on matters of etiquette amusing; for through all his grumblings his genuine good nature is visible, and, like all warm-blooded men, he is as easily appeased as he is readily excited. A convinciug proof of his lordship's placability is freshly before the public in his having conferred a living upon a young clergyman who availed himself of his position in Lord Londonderry's family as tutor to gain the affections and then elope with his daughter. We have no doubt that, in the first burst of his anger, he declared that he would cast bis imprudent daughter off for ever, and leave her to repose as best she could on the bed she had made for herself; but a few tears and prayers for pardon soon melted the old warrior's heart and disposed him to restore the fair runaway to favour. So, in the far less exciting case of Lord Derby's having passed him over in his arrangements, he would, we have no doubt, breathe forth vows of vengeance in no subdued tones, which would be made the most of by Whig eaves-droppers. The warm-hearted and out-spoken are ever laying themselves open to the sly and malicious. The rumour may thus have been excited by Lord Londonderry himself. In regard to Lord Combermere, though he has also all a soldier's openness, he is less irritable than the former gallant noble lord, and therefore far less likely to have spoken violently on any matter which might have vexed him. Either of these noble lords had fair pretensions to the office in question and might pardonably have felt mortified at missing it; but we are sure that neither of them would, upon reflection, deny the wisdom of Lord Derby's choice of Lord Hardinge for the Mastership of the Ordnance; and certainly neither of them will revenge their own private grievances--if, indeed, after the first moment of disappointment they felt the preference of Lord Hardinge to be a grievance-by opposing or even withholding their cordial support from Lord Derby's Ministry.

But, in truth, it would have been a melancholy thing for such a matter to have been made a cause of dissension, the office of Master-General of the Ordnance being practically of no more


« ZurückWeiter »