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Portraits of the seventies 



George William Erskine Russe 




"Br 2- 



226. S?. ^ 




^artiarb College library 



FROM 



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The Old Corn* Book 
Store* loo* 



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From a photograph by Elliott & Fry. 

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By the R.ght Hon 



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PORTRAITS OF 
THE SEVENTIES 



By the Right Hon. 
GEORGE W. E. RUSSELL 



WITH 52 ILLUSTRATIONS 



NEW YORK 
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS 

597-599 FIFTH AVENUE 

-• • 1916 



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hit- ..' I}- 6. : '\" . 

O 



f ^4 sV'A:'- ^ \ 

I l :k™<y 

I OCT 11 1^/ 



[All righto reserved) 

FKIKTED IN OMAT 1RITAIN 



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TO 

CHARLES ROBERT 

EARL SPENCER 

IN HONOUR OF A LONG FRIENDSHIP 

AND OF 

SOME OLD FRIENDS 



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NOTE 

~VTOT long ago an enterprising publisher ap- 
-^ proached me with suggestions about what 
he was good enough to call "the book we are 
all waiting for." When I asked him to be a 
little more explicit, he replied on this wise: "I 
suppose, Mr. Russell, that, in the course of your 
career, you must have had a great many in- 
teresting things told you in confidence." " Well, 
perhaps some." " So I imagined. Now I think 
that those things would make a very readable 
book." "I quite agree— very readable indeed; 
but I am afraid that there is an obstacle in the 
way." "Obstacle? I don't see it. Of course the 
book would be anonymous; and the anonymity 
would stimulate the sale." When I mildly sug- 
gested that even the prospect of a sale could 
not justify one in revealing things told "in con- 
fidence," the publisher looked as much upset as 
Matthew Arnold's friend Nick when he heard 
the word "delicacy"; and I felt that it would 



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8 Note 

be unkind to labour the point. " f Collect your- 
self, my friend/ said I, laying my hand on his 
shoulder ; ' you are unmanned ' " l ; and he retired 
in disorder. 

These inconvenient obligations of confidence 
pressed themselves on my mind when Mr. Fisher 
Unwin asked me to write a book about people 
eminent in the Seventies and Eighties, as a 
sequel to Mr. Justin McCarthy's Portraits of 
the Sixties. I felt, and now feel, that in this 
kind of writing one goes perilously near the 
edge of what is confidential; but, on full con- 
sideration of the case, I decided to make the 
attempt. My endeavour has been to describe 
only what must have been seen and heard by 
many besides myself, whether in public or in 
social life; and, whenever a point was doubtful, 
I have cultivated reticence at the expense of 
piquancy. 

I have had the advantage of being able to 
refresh my memory by reference to a diary 
which I have kept ever since I was twelve years 
old. 

That this collection of portraits is palpably 
incomplete is due to the fact that I have, in 
previous books, described a good many eminent 
1 Friendships' Garland, p, 71. 



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Note 9 

people of my time — such as Lord Shaftesbury, 
Lord Houghton, Lord Coleridge, Lord Goschen, 
Sir Alexander Cockburn, Sir William Harcourt, 
Sir Frederick Leighton, Bishop King, Bishop 
Westcott, Dr. Pusey, Charles Kingsley, and 
R. H. Hutton. I have been unwilling to 
borrow from myself except when it was abso- 
lutely necessary; and then, like Lord Morley, 
I have justified my action by "the old Greek 
principle that a man may once say a thing as 
he would have it said, Sis Se ovk 'ci/Sc^erai — he 
cannot say it twice." 

G. W. B. R. 



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CONTENTS 



C&AFTXB 
I. 

n. 
ni. 

IV. 

v. 

VI. 

vn. 
vni. 

EL 

X. 

XI. 

XIL 

xin. 

XIV. 

xv. 



NOTB ..... 

JUSTIN MoOABTHY 

LOBD BBAOONBFIBLD 

WILLIAM EWABT GLADSTONE . 

THE DUES OF ABGTLL 

BOBBET LOWS .... 

LOBD HABTINGTON .... 

SIB WILFBID LAWBON . 

LOBD ACTON .... 

HBNBT LABOUOHBBB 

JOBBPH OHAMBBBLAIN 

POUB DEMAGOGUES 

LOBD AND LADY 8ALIBBUBY 

THE DUKB AND DUCHESS OP WE8TMINBTBB 

THB DUKB AND DUCHESS OF BUTHBBLAND 

THE DUKB AND DUCHESS OF ABBBOOBN 

TI 



. 7 

15 

. 36 

47 

. 63 

75 

. 84 

99 

. 128 

137 

. 154 

171 

. 227 

238 

. 244 

253 



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12 Contents 



XVI. LORD AND LADY SPBNOBB 

XVII. LOBD AND LADY MOUNT-TEMPLE . . 273 

xvm. A GROUP OF POSTS .... 285 

XIX. BOMB MBDIOINB-MBN .... 298 

XX. THREE CARDINALS .... 313 

XXI. THREE AROHBISHOPS .... 341 

XXII. BISHOP WILKINSON .... 384 

XXni. HENRY PARRY LIDDON .... 395 

XXIV. ALEXANDER HBBIOT MAOEONOOHIB 411 

XXV. ARTHUR HENRY STANTON .... 428 

XXVI. LADY HOLLAND . 437 

XXVII. A GROUP OF HOSTBSSBS .... 446 

XXVIII. THE THREE CATHERINES 464 



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ILLUSTRATIONS 



6. w. e. russell 

justin McCarthy 
lord beacon6fibld . 
w. e. gladstone 

DUKE OF ARGYLL 

BOBEBT LOWE . 

LORD HARTINOTON 

SIR WILFRID LAWSON . 

LORD ACTON 

HENRY LABOUCHERB . 

JOSEPH CHAMBERLAIN 

JOHN BRIGHT . 

LORD RANDOLPH CHURCHILL 

C. 8. PARNELL . 

CHARLES BRADLAUGH . 

LORD SALISBURY 

LADY 8ALISBURY 

LADY CONSTANCE GROSVENOR 

LORD GROSVENOR 

DUCHESS OF SUTHERLAND 

DUKE OF ABERCORN . 

DUCHESS OF ABERCORN 

LORD SPENCER . 

LADY SPENCER 

LORD MOUNT-TEMPLE . 

LADY MOUNT-TEMPLE . 

LORD TENNYSON 

ROBERT BROWNING 

LORD LYTTON . 



Frontispiece 

FACING PAO* 

. 16 

. 26 

. 47 

. 64 

. 76 

. 88 

. 90 

. 128 

. 188 

. 154 

. 172 

. 194 

. 204 



288 
250 
254 
254 
264 
264 
274 
274 



290 



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14 



Illustrations 











nanra »ias 


MATTHEW ABNOLD ...... 294 


BIB WILLIAM JENNEB . 








. 300 


SIB JAMBS FAOBT 








. 808 


CARDINAL HOWABD 








. 314 


CARDINAL NEWMAN 








. 310 


CARDINAL MANNING . 








. 324 


ARCHBISHOP TAIT 








. 842 


ARCHBISHOP THOMSON 








. 364 


AROHRTHHOP MAGBE 








. 364 


G. H. WILKIN80N 








. 384 


DB. LIDDON 








. 896 


A. H. MACKONOCHIE 








. 417 


A. H. STANTON 








. 428 


LADY HOLLAND 








. 488 


MBS. LOWTHEB 








. 447 


CAROLINE DUCHESS OF CLEVELAND 






. 452 


WTLHELMTNE DUCHESS OF CLEVELAN] 


D 




. 454 


LADY WALDBGBAVE . 






. 456 


LADY SOMEBS . 








. 458 


LADT MARGARET BEAUMONT 








. 462 


MBS. GLADSTONE 








. 466 


MBS. TAIT 








. 472 


MISS MABSH 








. 481 



For the loan of portraits to illustrate this book, or 
for help in obtaining them, the author and publishers 
are much indebted to the Countess Grosvenor, Lady 
Frances Balfour, the Dowager Countess of Lytton, 
Lady Adelaide Taylour, Lady Henry Somerset, Lady 
Edward Cavendish, Lady Mary Hope, Lady Strachie, 
the Hon. Mrs. FUeRoy Stewart, Mrs. (TRorke, Miss 
J. B. Magee, Earl Spencer, Viscount Allendale, Sir 
Wilfrid Lawson, Bart., Sir F. C. Gould, the Archdeacon 
of Westminster, the Rev. J. M. Lester, the Rev. John 
Labouchere, Mr. J. A. Bright, Mr. Algar Thorold, the 
Fathers of the Oratory, Birmingham, Messrs. Long- 
mans, Green <& Co. and Messrs. Macmittan & Co. 



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POKTKAITS OF THE SEVENTIES 

CHAPTER I 
JUSTIN MCCARTHY* 

A PORTRAIT of Mr. McCarthy rightly 
occupies the first place in a book which 
tries to continue his Portraits of the Sixties. 
The McCarthy of the Sixties was a journalist 
and a novelist. The McCarthy of the Seventies 
and the Eighties was also a politician and an 
historian. For reasons which will presently ap- 
pear, he and I did not always agree in politics. 
All the more pleasing on that account was his 
unfailing amiability in private life. The tone 
and spirit of our social intercourse are happily 
illustrated by the following quotation from his 
"Reminiscences : — 

" My next and last anecdote on the subject 
of visitors to the House of Commons I tell 
partly, of course, for the instruction or amuse- 

' 1880^1912. 

15 



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1 6 Portraits of the Seventies 

merit of the public; but partly also for the 
especial benefit of my friend Mr. George W. E. 
Kussell. An American friend and his wife came 
to see me in London some years ago. It 
was arranged that my daughter and I should 
accompany them to the House of Commons, and 
that we should have a little dinner there. In 
the course of conversation on our way to the 
House and through the House, I discovered 
that my American friends had some odd notions 
with regard to the manners of the British 
aristocracy; it seemed to be a fixed article of 
faith in their minds that every one in England 
who had a direct connexion with a family in the 
peerage was wont to bear himself with haughty 
demeanour towards his humbler fellow-subjects, 
and was especially inclined to vaunt his superi- 
ority over any native of the great American 
Eepublic, where merit is marked by no heredi- 
tary title. We endeavoured to controvert this 
opinion without making too much of it, and we 
hoped that even in the intercourse of a short 
visit our friends might acquire other views as 
to the ways of the British aristocrat. We had 
a pleasant little dinner, and one or two Members 
of the House of Commons made part of our 
company ; Mr. George Russell was one of these 



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JUSTIN MCCARTHY. 



To face p. 16. 



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Justin McCarthy 17 

guests. Everything went on delightfully until 
we were about to break up after dinner, and 
then our American friends told me that they 
had a letter of introduction to a Member of 
the House who then held a position in Her 
Majesty's administration. I said I had not 
seen him in the House that night; but Mr. 
Bussell came to the rescue and explained that 
the man we were speaking of was at that time 
working in a private room which he had within 
the precincts of the House. 

"I did not happen to know where the room 
was, and George Bussell benignly said, 'It's 
the easiest place to find; go into the Central 
Hall and you will see the entrance to it just 
behind my uncle's statue.' Every one who 
has been in the Central Hall knows the statue 
to the late Earl Bussell, the Lord John of his- 
toric memory. Mr. Bussell shortly after left 
us, having to go back into the House ; and we 
went to conduct our visitors to the friend whom 
they desired to see. But on the way they both 
broke out, as if with one thought and one voice, 
' There! did we not tell you? Were we not 
right? "Behind my uncle's statue." Yes, to 
be sure, " Behind my uncle's statue ! " Just to 
show us untitled Americans what poor things 

2 



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1 8 Portraits of the Seventies 

we are — we who have no noblemen-uncles, with 
statues to consecrate their nobility.' 

" Mr. Russell has never, I am sure, heard this 
story before; but if he should happen to read 
it in these pages, I hope it may prove a lesson 
to him to abate his fierce aristocratic pride, and 
to be sure that on no future occasion does he 
ever, from no matter what good-natured purpose, 
endeavour to help us, the lowly born, upon our 
humble way by any allusion to 'my uncle's 
statue.' " 

Justin McCarthy was born at Cork in 1880, 
and we, who knew him in his placid and gentle- 
man-like maturity, always delighted in the 
recollection that he had begun life as a rebel. 
At eighteen, he was one of " the men of '48," 
and was only precluded by his tender years 
from attaining immortality in Thackeray's ballad 
of the "Battle of Limerick": — 

the lovely tay was spilt 
On that day of Ireland's guilt; 

Says Jack Mitohil, " I am kilt ! Boys, where's the back door? 
'Tis a national disgrace : 
Let me go and veil me face ; " 

And he boulted with quick pace from the Shannon shore. 

Foiled in his early desire to head or help a 
revolution, Justin McCarthy became a journalist; 



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Justin McCarthy 19 

first at Cork, then at Liverpool, and finally 
in London. He edited the Morning Star, 
when it was John Bright's organ and the oracle 
of Badioalism; and from the Star he passed 
to the service of the Daily News. Here, under 
the anstere direction of F. H. Hill, and in the 
congenial companionship of Andrew Lang, Peter 
Clayden, and Mr. Herbert Paul, he plied for 
long years a busy and graceful pen. " The Ditto 
Press " was in those days an uninvented phrase, 
but the truth which it expresses was always 
with us ; and the Daily News said Ditto to the 
leaders of the Liberal party with touching 
regularity. But in 1879 Justin McCarthy 
entered Parliament for the County of Longford, 
and, before two years were over, he found 
himself, under ParnelTs leadership, constrained 
to fight the Liberal party with all his might. 
"Ditto" in the Daily News was difficult to 
combine with denunciation in the House, 
obstruction in the Lobby, and hostility in 
the constituencies; but McCarthy's tact and 
amiability enabled him to play his rather com- 
plicated part without, as far as I know, losing 
a single friend. 

Gladstone's conversion to Home Bule, an- 
nounced by the "Hawarden Kite" in December 



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20 Portraits of the Seventies 

1885, solved these difficulties. Thenceforward 
his hostility — not a very deadly passion — was 
reserved for his former chief, John Bright, and 
the other Liberals who still upheld the Union; 
and he was again able to co-operate whole- 
heartedly with Gladstone, Harcourt, John 
Morley, and other devotees of the new policy. 
So all was plain sailing until the fateful month 
of November, 1890, when the high hopes of 
Home Killers, ancient and modern, were 
quenched in the foul air of the Divorce Court. 
Then came the decisive hour of McCarthy's life, 
and he acquitted himself nobly in it. He must 
choose between Parnell's leadership and what 
he believed to be best for the cause of Irish 
Nationalism. It was a choice which might 
have tried the moral fibre of a stronger-seeming 
nature; but McCarthy never wavered. He put 
the Cause above the Man, and thereby involved 
himself in a furious and fratricidal strife, from 
which his soul must have revolted. 

In the angry scene which concluded the 
long-drawn-out drama of " Committee Boom 
No. 15," Parnell turned on Justin McCarthy 
with the taunt, "You have been wanting to 
step into my shoes all the time." To assert 
that Parnell never said anything more untrue 



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Justin McCarthy 21 

than this would perhaps he hold. He certainly 
never said anything more unjust. His subsequent 
saying that his successor in the Irish leader- 
ship was " a nice old gentleman for a quiet tea- 
party/' though borrowed from O'Connell, was 
less unjust. Some men seek for greatness ; 
others have greatness thrust upon them. Justin 
McCarthy was of these last, if ever man was. 
Not long before, Parnell, speaking in a very 
different spirit, had dubbed him the " beau ideal 
of an Irish member." If Parnell meant what he 
said, he must indeed have felt that the time had 
come to beat the swords of a fighting party 
into plough-shares. " Quiet in manners, polished 
in speech, retiring and urbane in temperament, 
Justin McCarthy was the fly in amber of the 
Irish Parliamentary party." The only thing 
his colleagues ever lamented in him was "his 
distressing want of native ferocity." They did 
not, indeed, doubt his fortitude. He had been a 
familiar figure in the Reporters' Gallery almost 
before Parnell was born, and a Nationalist 
member while yet Parnell was only a sporting 
squire. He had proved his faithfulness to the 
Irish cause through many a year of storm and 
stress; and one of his colleagues was kind 
enough to breathe the pious wish that McCarthy 



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22 Portraits of the Seventies 

might be hanged for high treason, "to show 
how calmly a quiet man could die for Ireland." 
To be sure, he was scarcely a milder or more 
harmless-seeming revolutionary than Mr. J. F. X. 
O'Brien, M.P. for South Mayo, who had actually 
been sentenced to be hanged, drawn, and quar- 
tered for that very offence. 

With, and through, the strife of Parnellite 
and anti-Parnellite, McCarthy seemed to develope 
a new nature. Small in stature, delicate in 
constitution, pacific in temperament, he suddenly 
proved himself equal to exertions and endurances 
of which one would have judged him physically 
incapable. His natural fluency became eloquence; 
and to moral courage he added a complete indiffer- 
ence to bodily peril. In the House of Commons 
he became ten times more effective and more 
considerable than he had ever been before. His 
prudence in counsel, his anxiety to avoid need- 
less offence, and his dignified demeanour, were 
exactly the qualities which a parliamentary 
leader requires; and it was observed that "his 
qualities and even his defects marked him out 
as the easiest man for his colleagues to rally 
round in the place of their deposed dictator." 
All friends of Ireland deplored the day when 
shattered health and impaired eyesight com* 
pelled him to retire. 



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Justin McCarthy 23 

Of McCarthy's novels there is no need to 
speak in detail. A critic said of them, very 
happily, that they were like their writer, agree- 
able after-dinner companions. Dear Lady 
Disdain, was the most popular, and Miss Misan- 
thrope ran it close. Water dale Neighbours is 
notable for its excellent description of a Tory 
Democrat, written long before Lord Randolph 
Churchill had been heard of. 

In 1878 McCarthy, suddenly developing a 
new line of talent, published his History of 
Our Own Times. No history since J. B. Green's 
— few since Macaulay's — ever attained so wide 
and so sudden a popularity. It is painted with 
a broad brush, and the drawing bestows little 
attention on details. But its facts, so far 
as they go, are accurate; it gives a clear, 
though perhaps a superficial, view of all the 
leading persons and events of the time which 
it covers ; and it is written in graceful, flowing, 
and easy English. Its most distinguishing 
feature is about the last which one would expect 
in a book written by an active and lifelong 
politician — an absolute impartiality. I remember 
the astonishment, touched with indignation, of 
an old Whig when he came to the passage 
describing the bellicose attitude of Napoleon III 



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24 Portraits of the Seventies 

in 1858, and of the military advisers who urged 
him on. " Certainly this Mr. McCarthy is the 
most impartial gentleman I ever came across. 
He says, 'Let us be just to the French Colonels.' 
No, really, I must draw the line at those dangerous 
ruffians." 

To be just to every one, even to French 
Colonels, was inherent in McCarthy's mature; 
and, if he was sometimes too generous or too 
gentle, those are not very heinous faults. 



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CHAPTER n 
LORD BEACONSFIELD' 

THE Whigs, among whom I was reared, 
never could be induced to take Lord 
Beaconsfield seriously. To them he was just 
" Dizzy," a purely comic figure, whose antics 
were always incalculable and generally amusing. 
They felt none of that violent animosity to 
him which prevailed among the Tories until 
his genius had brought Toryism into subjection. 
They merely regarded him as a droll adventurer, 
who was always trying to play solemn parts 
and say impressive things. They were ready 
enough to allow that he was a good hand at 
parliamentary banter; but the notion that he 
could be a serious statesman never crossed 
their minds. As the representative of the 
"Country Party" and leader of the " Landed 
Interest," he seemed particularly comic, but 

« 1804-81. 



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26 Portraits of the Seventies 

supremely so when he figured as the champion 
of the Church, declaring himself "on the side 
of the angels/' and dating letters to his clerical 
constituents on " Maundy Thursday." In their 
graver moods the Whigs condemned him as 
an unprincipled adventurer, who had bamboozled 
the Conservative party, and wormed his way 
into a place which properly belonged to men 
of higher character ; but, whether grave or gay, 
they despised him, ignored his genius, and 
never dreamed that he could be formidable. 

This habit of mind was natural enough in 
men whom the adventurer had spent his life in 
caricaturing, and any one of whom might 
have sate for the portrait, in Endymion, of 
"a haughty Whig peer, proud of his order, 
prouder of his party, freezing with arrogant 
reserve and condescending politeness." Further- 
more, it is to be remembered that, though 
Disraeli had dethroned Peel and made himself 
leader of the Conservative party in the House 
of Commons, yet he had always been hampered 
by the hindrances and perplexities which beset 
a thoroughly false position; and that, as long 
as Palmerston lived, he had striven in vain 
for an opportunity in which his real powers 
could be displayed. 



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LORD BEACONSFIELD. 



To fact p. 26. 



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Lord Bcaconsfield 27 

Beared in this tradition, I had certainly no 
prepossession in favour of the enigmatical 
Member for Buckinghamshire, who in July 
1866 succeeded Gladstone as Chancellor of 
the Exchequer and Leader of the House of 
Commons. Indeed, any prejudices which a boy 
of thirteen might have entertained would prob- 
ably have lain in the opposite direction; for 
the event which brought Disraeli into power 
was the defeat of my uncle's last Reform Bill; 
and I can remember the indignant surprise of 
the Whigs when Lord Derby, accepting office 
on my uncle's resignation, announced that he 
reserved to himself entire liberty to deal with 
the question of Parliamentary Reform whenever 
suitable occasion should arise. Parliament met for 
the new Session hrFebruary 1867, and the Derby- 
Disraeli Reform Bill was introduced in March. 

I now approach one of the happy accidents 
of my life. I was shortly going to Harrow; 
but I happened to be in London when the 
Bill was in Committee. My father, being then 
Sergeant-at-Arms, could admit me to a seat 
under the gallery whenever he chose, and so 
it came about that I heard some of the most 
memorable debates of that great controversy. 
Gladstone and Bright and Lowe and Lord 



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28 Portraits of the Seventies 

Cranborne (who next year became Lord Salis- 
bury), and Sir John Coleridge (afterwards Lord 
Chief Justice), and Ayrton and Kinglake and 
Horsman and Henley — it is a notable list of 
speakers, and might be greatly prolonged. But 
one figure appeared to me to tower head and 
shoulders above the rest, and that was the 
leader of the Conservative party, the ridiculed 
and preposterous "Dizzy." His mastery of the 
House, on both sides, seemed absolute. Compared 
to him, Gladstone played a secondary and an 
ambiguous part. At every turn in the debate 
Disraeli manifested two qualities in which, as 
Gladstone once told me, he surpassed all his 
predecessors — his political audacity 1 and his 
readiness in throwing a colleague overboard. 
I was not surprised, but only confirmed in my 
boyish impression, when in later years I read 
in Lord Houghton's Life an entry relating to 
this period: "Gladstone seems quite awed by 
the diabolical cleverness of Dizzy"; and this 
record by Bishop Wilberforce : " Disraeli . . . 
has been able to teach the House of Commons 

1 Mrs. Disraeli, famous for her conversational oddities, 
once said to a friend of mine: "Dizzy has the most 
wonderful moral courage, but no physical courage. When 
be has his shower-bath, I always h&ve to pull the string." 



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Lord Bcaconsfield 29 

almost to ignore Gladstone, and at present lords 
it over him, and, I am told, says that he will 
hold him down for twenty yearB." 

Those debates interested me acutely, both 
because they first taught me the democratic 
as against the Whig idea of Government; and 
because they displayed, in the contrast between 
Disraeli and those who surrounded him, the 
difference between genius and talent. 

The Reform Bill passed into law on the 
15th of August, 1867. On the 25th of February, 
1868, Lord Derby having resigned, Disraeli 
became Prime Minister. Even now the Whigs 
could not take him seriously. "Old Diz. Prime 
Minister I" This seemed the best joke of all. 
"The last government was the Derby; this is 
the Hoax," was a pleasantry which passed from 
mouth to mouth. "I give him six months," 
waB the word at Brooks's ; but fate gave him 
nine. 

The General Election of November 1868 
returned a majority of a hundred for Gladstone 
and Irish Disestablishment. Disraeli, though of 
course leader of the Opposition, took very little 
share in the debates on the Irish Church 
which occupied the Session of 1869, and his 
speech on the Second Beading of the dis- 



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30 Portraits of the Seventies 

establishing Bill was likened at the time to "a 
Columbine's skirt, all flimsiness and spangles." 
At the moment his energies were engaged 
in a quite unsuspected quarter, as was dis- 
covered at the beginning of May 1870, when 
he astonished the world by publishing Lothair 
(for which, by the way, he got .£10,000). On 
the eve of publication Lord Houghton wrote: 
"There is an immense and most malevolent 
curiosity about Disraeli's novel. His wisest 
friends think that it must be a mistake, and 
his enemies hope that it will be his ruin. He 
told Longman he believed he was the first 
ex-Premier who had ventured on a work of 
fiction. If he had said this to me, I should 
have suggested M. Ouizot's Meditations Rcli- 
gieuses" 

This is not the proper place for an analysis 
of what Froude held to be Disraeli's greatest 
achievement in literature, but I can recall the 
fact that once again it shook the Whigs with 
laughter. Certainly the descriptions of aristo- 
cratic life, embellished with portraits which 
every one could recognize, were droll enough. 
Even after the lapse of forty-five years I can 
hear the mock-heroic tone of my father's voice 
as he read out the description of a country 



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Lord Bcaconsfield 31 

house l where there were " salt-cellars a foot 
high " and state beds " borne by silver poles." 
But all this flummery is contained in the first 
volume: whoever has the patience to wade 
through it, or the courage to skip it, will find 
in the second and third volumes a vividly 
interesting chapter of modern history. The 
Garibaldian rising of September 1867, with its 
disastrous conclusion at Montana, has never 
been described with such intimate knowledge. 
Mentana was historical, and, though the author 
might embellish the story with some fantastic 
touches of his own, even the Whigs could not 
say that he had invented it. But throughout 
the narrative Disraeli harps upon one theme — 
" The only strong things in Europe are the 
Catholic Church and the Secret Societies." 
The Whigs knew something about " the Catholic 
Church," and partly hated it, partly despised 
it. But the idea of Secret Societies, under- 
mining the political soil of Europe, and ready, 
at any favourable moment, to break out in armed 
insurrection, seemed to them too absurd to be 
even intended for reality. " Here's old Biz. 
4 cramming' us again 1 All this bogey -stuff 
about Secret Societies 1 What will the old boy 
1 Drawn from Enole. 



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32 Portraits of the Seventies 

try to make us believe next ? " But, before ten 
years were over, the Whigs, or such of them as 
survived, discerned to their amazement that 
Disraeli had been telling them the literal truth 
about a real and most formidable force in 
international politics. It was not for nothing 
that he, who noticed everything and never forgot 
anything, had been the most important member 
of the Cabinet when Fenianism was at its 
height; and what he had learned in office he 
revealed in Lothair, even to the personal 
appearance and social habits of some of the 
chief conspirators. When the Fenian General, 
Gustave Paul Cluseret, who had played so 
sinister a part in the Commune, wrote his ex- 
periences in Macmillaris Magazine, we saw 
that, in describing " Captain Bruges " and his 
operations in London and in Ireland, Disraeli 
had been narrating historical facts which had 
fallen under his official observation. 

When Lothair was once launched on its highly 
successful voyage (" The pecuniary results," 
Dizzy said to my father, " have been eminently 
gratifying") the author was free to return to 
his political duties as leader of the Opposition, 
and critic of the Gladstonian administration. 
His opponents gave him abundant opportunity 



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Lord Beaconsiield 33 

for the exercise of his unequalled powers of 
sarcasm and ridicule. At this point a story 
may be interjected — 

In early life Disraeli had been fond of riding, 
and in his Letters to his Sister there is a pre- 
posterous account of a run with Sir Henry 
Smythe's hounds, near Southend, in 1834. 
"Although not in pink, I was the best- 
mounted man in the field, riding an Arabian 
mare, which I nearly killed; a run of thirty 
miles, and I stopped at nothing." 

A later and much better authenticated per- 
formance is thus recorded by an eye-witness. 
In October 1873 Disraeli, who had not crossed 
a horse for thirty years, was staying with Lord 
Bradford at Weston, in Shropshire. To the 
astonishment of his fellow-guests, his host per- 
suaded him to go out cub-hunting. My in- 
formant met him at Chillington, five miles 
from Weston. "He was wearing low shoes 
and white cotton socks, and trousers which 
rucked up nearly to his knees." To Mr. 
Giffard, the owner of Chillington, he said, in 
his slow, impressive way, " I like your place ; 
it is so stately." He did not get back to 
Weston till after luncheon, and, when he got 
off his horse in the stable-yard, he was so 

3 



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34 Portraits of the Seventies 

exhausted that he reeled, and almost fell against 
the wall. "It was a plucky performance for 
an old man who never rode." 

By the end of 1873, Gladstone's government, 
which, when formed in 1868, seemed a Ministry 
of all the Talents, had become, in Disraeli's 
admirable phrase, " a range of exhausted vol- 
canoes." Weary of rebuffs, Gladstone suddenly 
dissolved Parliament, and was astonished by 
the completeness of his overthrow. In February 
1874 Disraeli became Prime Minister for the 
second time, and for the first time found him- 
self not only in office but in power. Before 
this he had held office on sufferance: he was 
now entrusted by the country with absolute 
authority. His enemies had been made his 
footstool. Crown, Parliament, and populace were 
united in his support. 

A schoolboy has few opportunities of seeing 
great men, and an undergraduate not many 
more. From my early boyhood, as I said before, 
I had followed Disraeli's career with interest. I 
took my degree at Oxford in 1876, and thence- 
forward, going a good deal into society both in 
London and in the country, and having as 
many friends among Tories as among Liberals, 
I had frequent opportunities of seeing Lord 



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Lord Beaconsfield 35 

Beaconsfield (as he became in 1876) at close 
quarters. He was indeed a striking, and even 
a startling, figure* He was a good deal bowed, 
and walked with a rather shuffling gait. His 
face was of a death-like pallor, and what re- 
mained of his once luxuriant hair was dyed 
to an inky blackness, the curl over his fore- 
head being fixed in its place with gum. His 
eyelids drooped, and there waa about him a 
general air of incipient paralysis, which was 
only dispelled by the brightness of his eyes 
and his singularly clear and deliberate enuncia- 
tion. He was always rather elaborately dressed; 
in winter he wore an Astrakhan-lined great-coat,* 
and in summer, when he was wandering about 
the woods and lanes of Hughenden, he displayed 
a velvet jacket, a "fancy" waistcoat, and a 
Tyrolean hat. He still stayed a good deal in 
country houses, such as Hatfield and Bretby and 
Welbeck, and even once at Woburn, but his health 
was failing and he was no longer good company. 
The processes of his toilet were too elaborate to 
allow of his appearing before luncheon-time, and 
then he was easily tired. He took scarcely any 
part in conversation, but sate for long stretches 
in moody silence, only broken now and then by 
* See the cartoon in Vanity Fair, Dec. 10, 1879. 



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36 Portraits of the Seventies 

some sententious or epigrammatic remark. The 
late Lord Bath declared he was the dullest guest 
who ever visited Longleat, but the fact that 
both host and guest cordially disliked each other 
may have accounted for this impression. The 
late Sir William Fraser, who was one of the 
most abandoned bores in London, and a 
devoted adherent of Lord Beaconsfield, left 
this artless record : — 

" During his last Premiership I dined with 
him in Downing Street : on entering, he replied 
to my commonplace hope that he was no worse 
for the bitter weather, with a feeble groan. I 
ventured to add that I found him surrounded 
by his illustrious predecessors ; he groaned 
again. ' Sir Bobert Walpole over the chimney- 
piece!' He feebly bleated the word i Walpole.' 
At first I thought he must be dying : then, 
harmless as were my words, I thought they 
might have shocked him. I waited for a minute 
or two : and was followed by the Duke of 
Buckingham and Chandos, his intimate per- 
sonal friend from boyhood : a nobleman of by 
no means formal manners; his words bore close 
resemblance to my own: to my relief Disraeli 
replied in the same ghastly manner. I felt 
that he could not survive the night. Within a 



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Lord Beaconsfield 37 

quarter of an hour, all being seated at dinner, 
I observed him talking to the Austrian Am- 
bassador, Count Apponyi, with extreme vivacity : 
during the whole of dinner their conversation 
was kept up : I saw no sign of flagging. 

"This is difficult to account for. One theory 
has been that Disraeli took carefully measured 
doses of opium ; and, these being calculated to 
act at a given time, that the effect of the 
subtle drug was as I have described. I never 
saw such phenomena in any other person : in 

fact I remember diverting the late Lord B , 

who was a great admirer of Disraeli, by telling 

him that I believed D was in reality a 

corpse, which occasionally came to life; and 
that, if he had ever been a human being, it 
must have been at a far distant period of the 
world's existence." 

Sir William's bland Precognition of his own 
conversational infirmity has always struck me 
as a warning. 

When Lord Beaconsfield roused himself to 
speak, he always spoke carefully, and his 
phrases were bandied about from mouth to 
mouth. " Have I read the i Greville Memoirs ' ? 
No, and I have no intention of reading them. 
Charles Greville was the most conceited person 



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38 Portraits of the Seventies 

with whom I have ever been brought in contact, 
though I have read Cicero and known Bulwer- 
Lytton." Once the late Lord Alington drove 
him over to visit the great Lord Shaftesbury at 
St. Giles's, and when he was leaving the house 
he said, " Farewell, my dear Lord. I have to- 
day seen one of the most impressive sights — a 
great English nobleman, living in patriarchal 
state in his own hereditary halls." A fervent 
admirer once said, "Lord Beaconsfield, I am 
going to ask a great favour. Will you let 
me bring my boy to see you, and will you 
give him one word of counsel which may stand 
him in stead all his life?" The old gentle- 
man groaned, but consented; and, when young 
hopeful was presented, he said, " My dear 
young friend, your good papa has asked me 
to give you a word of counsel ; here it is : 
Never ask who wrote the c Letters of Junius, ' 
or on which side of Whitehall Charles I was 
beheaded; for if you do you will be considered 
— a bore, and that is something too terrible for 
you, at your tender age, to understand." To 
a friend of my own, a brilliant and ambitious 
Jew, he said, "You and I belong to a race 
which can do everything but fail." A well- 
known and delightful lady tried to mak$ him 



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Lord Beaconsfield 39 

read the The New Republic, and write a 
favourable word about it for the author's en- 
couragement. He replied, "I am not as strong 
as I was, and I cannot undertake to read your 
young friend's romances; but give me a sheet 
of paper/ 9 So then and there he sate down 
and wrote : " Dear Mrs. S— , I am sorry 
that I cannot dine with you next week, but 
I shall be at Hughenden. Would that my 
solitude could be peopled with the bright 
creations of Mr. Mallook's fancy I " I have 
always thought that "bright creations," as an 
epitome of a book which one had not read, 
was a stroke of genius. 

The following story, not less characteristic, I 
had direct from Lord Randolph Churchill. 

When Lord Randolph was beginning to take 
politics seriously, he thought it would be a good 
move to ask Lord Beaconsfield to dinner. When 
the ladies left the dining-room, he placed himself 
where Lady Randolph had been sitting, by the 
great man' side. "Will you have some more 
claret, Lord Beaconsfield?" "No thank you, 
my dear friend. It is admirable wine — true 
Falernian — but the gout holds me in its horrid 
clutch." When the guests had gone, and the 
host and hostess were talking over the events 



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40 Portraits of the Seventies 

of the evening, Lord Eandolph said, "I think 
the old gentleman enjoyed himself, and I know 
he liked his claret." "Claret? He didn't 
touch it! He drank brandy and water all 
dinner-time." 

Of Disraeli's phrases in debate there is no 
need to speak, for they are historic and pro- 
verbial, and most of them belong to a period 
anterior to that which we are now considering. 
But one is embedded in my memory of 1878. 
The beloved and admired Princess Alice, Grand 
Duchess of Hesse, died of diphtheria, which she 
had contracted through kissing her sick boy. 
One would have thought that an incident so 
natural and touching could not, by any in- 
genuity, have been vulgarized, but Lord Beacons- 
field was equal to the occasion. In moving a 
Vote of Condolence to the Queen, he indulged 
in some terrible phrases about "The Kiss of 
Death," and said it was an incident worthy to 
be portrayed in "painting, sculpture, or gems.' 9 
Gems! what an inconceivable bathos! But, as 
a critic at the time remarked, the author of it 
belonged to the race which gave us jewellery 
and mosaic. 

On the 8th of June, 1878, Lord Beaconsfield 
set out for the Congress of Berlin. He arrived 



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Lord Bcaconsfield 41 

on the day before the Congress opened, and 
slept at the British Embassy. My cousin, Lord 
Odo Bussell, afterwards Lord Ampthill, was 
then our Ambassador; and in the evening Lord 
Beaconsfield's Private Secretaries came to him 
with anxious faces. " We are in a great scrape/ 9 
they said ; " the Chief has determined to open 
the proceedings to-morrow in French; and his 
pronunciation is so grotesque that we shall be 
the laughing-stock of Europe. He pronounces 
the French word for Grocer as if it rhymed 
with Overseer. Of course we dare not tell him 
so. Can you help us?" Lord Odo replied, "It 
is a delicate mission, but I like delicate missions, 
and will see what I can do." So he repaired to 
the state-bedroom, where the Premier-Plenipo- 
tentiary of Great Britain was being dismantled 
for the night. "My dear Lord, a dreadful rumour 
has reached us. We are told that you are going 
to open the proceedings to-morrow in French. 
Of course no one is more competent to do so 
than you; but, after all, speaking French is a 
commonplace accomplishment; but you will be 
the only man in Congress who could make an 
oration in English. The Plenipotentiaries of all 
the other countries have come to Berlin expect- 
ing the greatest intellectual treat of their lives 



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42 Portraits of the Seventies 

— a speech by the greatest living master of the 
English language. Now, will you disappoint 
them?" Lord Beaconsfield fixed his monocle, 
gazed earnestly at his host, and said that he 
would consider the point. Next day he opened 
the proceedings in English. The question has 
always been whether he perceived the hint, or 
swallowed the flattery. 

Lord Beaconsfield now stood on the top of 
golden hours. On the 16th of July he had re- 
turned in triumph from Berlin, bringing back what 
he called " Peace with Honour." He had acquired 
an asoendency over the Queen such as no other 
Minister ever approached, and the methods by 
which he acquired it were vividly described in 
the Quarterly Beview for April 1901. The 
House of Lords, in spite of old prejudices 
against adventurers and upstarts, was at his 
feet. In the House of Commons he commanded 
a majority which some professed Liberals were 
not ashamed to swell; and he was the idol of 
the mob. His lease of supreme power lasted 
for six years, and in March 1880 he advised 
the Queen to " recur to the sense of her people. 9 ' 
It was remarked at the time that the nonsense 
of her people might have served his purpose 
better; but sense prevailed, and he was beaten 



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Lord Beaconsficld 43 

even more deoisively than Gladstone in 1874. 
When all was over some one casually men- 
tioned the name of Mr. W. B. Skene, who had 
been chief organizer of the Conservative party. 
" What ! " exclaimed the dethroned chief, in his 
deepest tones, " has that unhappy man not fled 
the country ?" 

I was returned, as a vehement opponent of 
Lord Beaconsfield's policy, for Aylesbury, then 
one of those widely extended "Agricultural 
Boroughs" which were as large as modern 
divisions of counties. The limit of my borough, 
in one direction, touched Hughenden, and there 
I discovered that the great man was by no means 
so popular as his toadies had declared. The 
causes of his unpopularity were amusing, and 
characteristic both of him and of his neigh* 
bours. "As long as he sate for the county," 
said one, " he used to deal with the local trades- 
men, but as soon as he became Lord Beacons- 
field, he went to the Co-operative Stores." 
" Yes," said another, " and, when he goes back to 
London from Hughenden, he always takes the 
cold meat with him." 

Whatever were the causes of his downfall 
nothing in his political life became him so 
well as his way of leaving it. Having met and 



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44 Portraits of the Seventies 

harangued his disheartened followers in the 
Picture Gallery of Bridgewater House, he returned 
to Hughenden, which he genuinely loved — to 
his roses and his peacocks and his trout-stream; 
to his " German Forest " and his " Golden 
Gate," for by such picturesque appellations he 
was wont to dignify the appurtenancies of a 
very moderate villa. He loved bright colours; 
and his drawing-room paper of green with gold 
fleur-de-lys, and the crimson satin furniture with 
which he embellished his new house in London, 
were more than esthetic flesh and blood could 
bear without a cry of pain. 

During the year of life that remained to him 
after he had left office, he was a good deal 
alone. He always read during dinner, allowing 
ten minutes to elapse between the courses, and 
keeping some favourite book in readiness. 
" When the servants are not in the room," he 
said, "I have 'some bright spirit to my minister.'" 
At the beginning of 1881, he took possession 
of 19, Curzon Street, which he had bought with 
the proceeds of Endymion, and resumed his 
attendance in the House of Lords; and even 
went a little into society. On the 18th of 
March, 1881, he dined with Lord and Lady 
Airlie, in the house which had once been 



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Lord Beaconsfield 45 

Macaulay's on Campden Hill. He paid Matthew 
Arnold, who was one of the guests, some effu- 
sive compliments, saying that he was "the only 
living Englishman who had become a classic 
in his own lifetime." An account of the con- 
versation may be found in the second volume 
of Arnold's Letters; but one of Lord Beacons- 
field's speeches uttered on that occasion, though 
not recorded, is too good to be lost. "You 
have heard me called a flatterer." Arnold could 
not deny it. "Yes, and it is true. Every one 
likes flattery; and, when you come to Royalty, 
you should lay it on with a trowel." 

Lord Beaconsfield had always been fond of 
exercising hospitality, but he only gave one 
dinner in Curzon Street. His guests were the 
Duke and Duchess of Sutherland, Lord and 
Lady Granville, Lord and Lady Spencer, Lady 
Chesterfield, Lady Dudley, Lady Lonsdale, Lord 
and Lady Barrington^ Lord and Lady Cadogan, 
Lord Bradford, Sir Frederick Leighton, Mr. 
Henry Manners, and Mr. Alfred de Rothschild. 
Those whose social memories cover thirty years 
will realize that it was a well-chosen party. 
Perhaps it was in view of this occasion that 
he said to a friend of mine, " I want an earl 
to complete my table. I believe there are a 
hundred of them; but I'll be hanged if I can 



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46 Portraits of the Seventies 

remember the name of one" — a characteristic 
gibe at the aristocracy which he had subjugated. 

Very soon after this dinner, his last illness 
began. It was bronchial asthma, gouty in 
origin, and aggravated by the bitter winds of 
March. He struggled on bravely, and the story 
of those painful weeks, narrated by one of the 
doctors who attended him, may be read in the 
Nineteenth Century for 1889. One night I was 
at a political party at Lord Granville's house, 
and I heard Lord Wolverton, who had been 
Liberal Whip, say to a great lady on the Liberal 
side, " Old Dizzy is very ill," to which she 
replied, with a wink of triumphant intelligence, 
" Oh yes I I know — dying." The illness was 
protracted, and that mordant critic, Bernal- 
Osborne, was reported to have said, "Overdoing 
it — as he always overdid everything." 

Lord Beaconsfield died on the 19th of April, 
1881 ; and the proposal to bury him in West- 
minster Abbey elicited the curious story about 
Mrs. Brydges-Willyams, which has been told in 
full in the third volume of his Life. She had 
been his benefactress, and he had promised her 
that they should be buried side by side; but it 
was impossible to admit her remains to the 
Abbey, so he rests beside his wife and his 
friend in the churchyard of Hughenden. 



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W. E. GLADSTONE. 
From a photograph by Rupert Potter. 



To tac* f. 47- 



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CHAPTER in 
WILLIAM EWART GLADSTONE' 

I WAS reared in the Glad&tonian tradition. 
Unlike most Whigs, my father both admired 
and trusted the brilliant recruit from Toryism 
who sate for the University of Oxford and, till 
he joined Lord Palmerston's government, still 
described himself as "A Liberal Conservative." 
My uncle. Lord Eussell, though he often dis- 
sented from Gladstone's policy and expressed 
his dissent unhesitatingly, yet loved and admired 
the man; and in the Eastern Question of 
1876-79, the whole of my family, then united 
for the last time, supported Gladstone in his 
triumphant opposition to Lord Beaconsfield. 

For my own part, my interest in Gladstone 
was first aroused by his attack on the Irish 
Church in 1868. I was then a boy at Harrow, 
but already what foolish people call "a 

« 1809-98. 

47 



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48 Portraits of the Seventies 

ritualist"; and I was delighted to see the 
spiritual nature of a church, as distinct from 
its legal and secular position, maintained in 
practice by a statesman of first-class import- 
ance. When the great administration of 1868- 
74 began, I followed its reforming course 
with high hopes, and shared the general dis- 
appointment at the failure and discredit in 
which it ended. But the Eastern Question of 
1876 revived all one's boyish fervour, and I 
went into the General Election of 1880 as 
men go into a crusade — 

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive. 
But to be young was very heaven. 

It was during the Eastern Question that I 
became personally acquainted with Gladstone, 
for my occasional glimpses of him at my father's 
house when I was a boy could scarcely be 
called acquaintance. In July 1878, just 
after Lord Beaconsfield's triumphant return from 
Berlin, I was asked to dinner at short notice 
by an apologetic hostess, who said, "It would 
really be a charity if you would come, for the 
Gladstones are coming, and every one refuses to 
meet him." A year later Vanity Fair inscribed 
under an excellent portrait of him, "The most 



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William Ewart Gladstone 49 

popular man in England " ; and at Easter 1880 
he attained the summit of his greatness. 

Thus from 1878 to 1898 I saw Gladstone 
pretty constantly, and received from him un- 
bounded kindness. A phrenologist once said of 
him that "he was at heart a solitary man/ 9 
and I believe that the guess, for it could have 
been nothing more, was sound ; but, for all that, 
he often spoke to me with the most impressive 
freedom on topics which ordinary men keep to 
themselves, and this although he was forty-three 
years my senior. 

Let me say at once that I did not always 
agree with my leader. His exclusive absorption 
in the Irish Question from 1885 onwards 
seemed to me disastrous; and his apparent 
condonation of crime and outrage was painfully 
akin to the process which has been described 
as " praising with faint damns." But a life 
prolonged to the verge of ninety is bound to 
show signs of impairment somewhere. Glad- 
stone's natural force was unabated, and his 
intellect as clear as when he was thirty; but 
he had never had much sense of proportion 
and perspective, and where the advocacy of 
Ireland was concerned he seemed to have 
forgotten all that is meant by fitness. 

4 



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50 Portraits of the Seventies 

I will now try to describe him as I knew him 
and shall always remember him — the greatest 
man, taking him all round, with whom I have 
ever been brought in contact. 

The late Lord Granville, a Gladstonian of the 
deepest dye, once said, "Don't talk to me of 
Gladstone's wonderful mind — we know all about 
that — what I envy is his wonderful body." Lord 
Morley expressed the same feeling when he spoke 
of " the incomparable physical gifts which seemed 
to encase a soul of fire in a frame of pliant 
steel." To us who knew Gladstone only in the 
second half of his life, it is odd to think that 
he was once considered delicate; chiefly, I 
imagine, because of his ivory-pale complexion; 
and to remember that he spoke of himself as 
being far less robust than the contemporaries 
whom he followed to the grave. The truth, I 
suppose, is that he inherited that mysterious 
and invaluable endowment which is called " a 
good constitution," and that, through habitual 
temperance in the widest sense, a reasonable 
rule of life, and the incessant care of a wife 
who was "no inconsiderable physician," he be- 
came stronger and stronger with succeeding 
years. In a word, his health was perfect; and 
the slightest impairment of it, such as a cold 



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William Ewart Gladstone 51 

or an indigestion, always seemed to affect him 

with a quaint surprise. 

Every one who ever met him at close quarters 
will recollect that the index-finger of his left 
hand was only a stump which he protected by 
a black finger-stall. This injury was the result 
of an accident in 1845; his gun burst as he 
was loading it and the finger was shattered. 
When the surgeon saw it, he pronounced that 
amputation was necessary. Gladstone laid his 
hand on the table, and the finger was sawn off. 
This, be it remembered, was before the days of 
chloroform, and was surely a triumph of passive 
endurance. His active endurance was not less 
conspicuous. It was shown in his favourite 
exercise of tree-felling; and in his inexhaustible 
powers of walking — "a measured mile in twelve 
minutes " ; a twenty-five mile stretch on the 
hills of Balmoral; the ascent of Snowdon after 
he had turned eighty. At eighty-five he told 
me that, though his eyesight and his hearing 
had failed, the stethoscope could detect nothing 
amiss. "The trunk is sound." His healthiness 
was evinced in his hearty appetite for simple 
food— clear soup and fish plainly cooked, roast 
beef, rice pudding, bread - and - cheese. Nor 
should his love of wine, especially port, be 



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52 Portraits of the Seventies 

forgotten. Archbishop Temple told me that, 
when he went up to Oxford in the Forties, he 
was assured that men drank less than had once 
been the custom because Gladstone had been 
conspicuously abstemious in the Thirties; and 
yet in old age Gladstone told me that he would 
not trust himself to write a paper or compose 
a speech with a bottle of port in the room. " I 
should drink it out to the last drop, 9 ' he said, 
so conscious was he of the helpful stimulus. 
When he was thirty-seven, and therefore, I 
suppose, in the perfection of his powers, he 
divided the twenty-four hours of the day into 
ten for sleep, food, and recreation, and fourteen 
for work. The food and the recreation probably 
did not take very long, but his needs for sleep 
were great, and he slept as soundly as a tired child. 
It is worth remembering that, though Glad- 
stone had one of the strongest and most 
serviceable intellects of his generation, he had 
not been a precocious infant. His development 
came comparatively late, but it was rapid, and 
by the time he was twenty-one it was complete. 
His powers of "grind" were from first to last 
the astonishment of all who saw him at work, 
and he . used to say that, the more distasteful 
the subject was, the harder he felt impelled to 



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William Ewart Gladstone 53 

work at it. Superficiality was to him as im- 
possible as idleness. Whatever the thing was 
on which he was engaged, if it was only a novel 
which he meant to review, he eviscerated it. 
There was no fragment of it that he had not 
discovered and dragged out. His humility was 
absolutely unaffected, and I am convinced that 
he meant exactly what he said when he once 
told me that he had no mental gift which 
every one did not share, except perhaps the 
power of being absorbed in what he was doing. 
In that power he was indeed unequalled. When 
he was busy, one could go into the room and 
go out of it, take down a book from the shelf, 
even poke the fire, and he would not look up 
from his work. If it was necessary to attract 
his attention, he raised his eyes with the 
dazed expression of a man suddenly aroused 
from sleep. 

It has been commonly said that he had no 
sense of humour. "Gladstone's jokes are no 
laughing matter" was the great Lord Derby's 
just tribute. I should rather say that he had a 
sense of humour, but that it was scanty, incal- 
culable, and inexplicable. He would take what 
was meant for a joke with the most alarming 
seriousness, and plunge into a strenuous argument 



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54 Portraits of the Seventies 

about some obvious and intended absurdity. On 
the other hand, he would laugh consumedly at 
babyish riddles — "the sort of thing" as one of 
his colleagues said, "that my boys gave up 
when they left a private school"; and odder still 
was his love of having a story retold to him, 
even when he knew every turn in it from start 
to finish. Thus he once said to me, " Tell me 
that droll story about ' Providence \" "I don't 
think I know it." "Yes, you do. It was 
about an old farmer who had lost everything, 
and whose clergyman tried to comfort him by 
saying that it was the doing of Providence;" and 
so on, till I recalled a pastoral experience of the 
late Dr. Jessop in East Anglia, which Gladstone 
evidently remembered in every detail. 

Most hopeless of all was an attempt to tickle 
his fancy with a story which depended for its 
point on some trait of cynicism, baseness, or 
sharp practice. Eobert Browning told me of 
his own experience in this particular. One year, 
at the Banquet of the Boyal Academy, Lord 
Beaconsfield said to Browning, "What a 
terrible display 1 How entirely destitute is our 
English School of all spirituality, all ideality, 
in painting 1 " But, when he rose to speak after 
dinner, he said that the feature which most 



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William Ewart Gladstone 55 

forcibly struck him in the surrounding show 
was the high tone oi spirituality and ideality 
which marked it. Browning reported this 
characteristic incident to Gladstone, who replied, 
with kindling eye, "Do you call that story 
amusing, Browning? I call it devilish." 

But, if tales of trickery or humbug shocked 
him, even more vehemently was he affected by 
anything which savoured of cruelty or oppression ; 
and it was fine to see his brows contract and 
his onyx-eyes flash, when 

Some tale of injury called forth 
The indignant spirit of the North. 

In general conversation he did not, in my 
opinion, excel. In fact, he did not converse. 
He was always intensely interested in something, 
and, whatever that something was, he would 
harangue upon it with inexhaustible eloquenoe, 
but without much reference to the question 
whether it interested his hearers. When he 
dined with Queen Victoria, he would break in 
upon the reverent undertones, in which courtiers 
delight, with dissertations on the Athanasian 
Creed, or the relation of Zeus to the minor 
deities ; whereas the astuter Beaconsfield would 
bracket the Queen and himself in the subtile 



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56 Portraits of the Seventies 

phrase "We authors," or lead the conversation 
to water-colour drawing, and the cousinships of 
German princes. At my own table, I have 
heard Gladstone lecture to a parcel of eager 
Radicals, who never entered a church, on the 
proper place for the organ, and the best render- 
ing of Dies Irae. He treated with equal 
eloquence the improvement of dentistry, the 
price of wine, and the convenience of lifts. Lord 
Morley's chapter on his Table-Talk is a faithful 
and formidable reproduction. 

Conversely, his absolute sincerity forbade him 
to simulate an interest in subjects which did not 
appeal to him. Certainly this trait left him a 
wide field over which he could roam at will, 
for theology, finance, history, poetry, music, and 
philosophy as long as it was not metaphysical, 
were topics with which he was thoroughly 
familiar. One only had to start him on a sub- 
division of one of these, and he would talk till 
bedtime. Happily he did not, as a rule, talk 
about politics; though, at a hot moment in 
the Irish Question, I heard him abuse Pitt and 
the Union (which he likened to the Massacre 
of St. Bartholomew) until he was constrained 
to exclaim, "I have lost my temper." But 
there was one large and conspicuous gap in 



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William Ewart Gladstone 57 

his intellectual range. He had not the slightest 
interest in physical science, in any one of 
its aspects or applications. Pathetic was the 
failure when the late Professor James Stuart 
sought to interest him in the mechanical marvels 
of the Cambridge University Workshop. Once 
under strong pressure he promised to go to 
Greenwich on a night when a peculiarly in- 
teresting eclipse of the moon was promised, 
and his joy when a thick fog came on and 
forbade the attempt resembled that of a school- 
boy who has got an unexpected half-holiday. 
When a friend who was interested in the public 
health informed him, as a most important fact, 
that a leper had been discovered in Dublin, 
he only replied, " Do you happen to know if 
he is a Nationalist ? " 

Another habit of his that militated against 
conversation, as that phrase is commonly under- 
stood, was his love of arguing. Disputation was 
to him what fencing is to some men — at once 
an exercise and a delight; and this without the 
slightest regard to the importance of the question 
in dispute, which indeed as often as not had 
no importance whatever. Whether there is 
more to eat in a poached egg or a boiled, and 
whether one man can be expected to harness 



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58 Portraits of the Seventies 

a pair of horses, are questions on which I have 
known him nearly as earnest as when he was 
arguing that Homer foresaw the doctrine of 
the Trinity, or that Dante was educated at 
Oxford. 

If all this is true, and only very hardy 
idolaters will deny it, the reader may ask 
what the charm was that drew one irresis- 
tibly to his company. One of its elements of 
course was the conviction, which deepened with 
one's deepening knowledge, that he was on 
the whole, and in the combination of physical, 
moral, and intellectual gifts, the finest piece 
of God's handiwork that one had ever seen. 
With rare self-knowledge, he once described 
himself as having a "vulnerable temper and 
impetuous moods"; and these traits, mastered 
by a strong self-control, did not detract from, 
but rather enhanced, the interest of his society. 
There are some people who appear to the 
best advantage on the distant heights, elevated 
by intellectual eminence above the range of 
scrutiny, or shrouded from too close observation 
by the misty glamour of great station and great 
affairs. Others are seen at their best in the 
middle distance of official intercourse, and in 
the friendly but not intimate relations of pro- 



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William Ewart Gladstone 59 

fessional and public life. Bat the noblest natures 
are those that are seen to the best advantage 
in the close communion of the home, and there 
Gladstone was pre-eminently attractive. His 
courtesy was invariable and universal; and 
alike to men and women, to old and young, 
he paid the compliment of assuming that they 
were on his own intellectual level, and furnished 
with at least as much knowledge as would enable 
them to follow and to understand him. He 
was equally free from official pomposity and 
from intellectual arrogance. It was commonly 
said of him that he was a good judge of Man 
and a bad judge of men. I do not dispute the 
proposition as a general truth; and yet I feel 
disposed to place on record certain judgments 
on particular men which may tend to modify it. 
In August 1895, when Gladstone had left his 
parliamentary life behind him, I was staying 
with him at Hawarden, and one day our talk 
turned on the men who had been his colleagues 
in his last administration, their qualities and 
their prospects. It was obvious to mention 
Lord Bosebery, who had succeeded him in the 
Premiership. "Bosebery is a most incalculable 
politician. All politicians are incalculable, and 
tend to become increasingly so as the pressure 



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60 Portraits of the Seventies 

of the constituencies increases. But Bosebery, 
who has no constituents, is the most incalcu- 
lable of all." 

"Harcourt?" "If you think Harcourt is likely 
to lead a strenuous Opposition, you greatly mis- 
conceive him. Besides, Harcourt is not a young 
man" (as if that was poor Harcourt's fault!). 

"John Morley?" "Morley has done admir- 
able work for Ireland, but he has lost his 
seat, and he need not be in a hurry to return. 
There will be nothing for him to do in this 
Parliament." 

" Lord Spencer ? " " The best of men, but he 
made no resistance to the Naval Estimates 
which the Sea Lords forced on him. Mad and 
drunk, I call them. 9 ' 

"My friend George Trevelyan?" "Oh, the 
House of Lords is the right place for 
Trevelyan." 

"Asquith?" "Asquith makes a very good 
speech on a legal point — very much so." 

So we ran through the late Cabinet, and, 
when I had finished my catechism, Gladstone 
said, "But you have left out the most important 
man of all, and he is an Under-Secretary — 
Edward Grey. There's the man with the real 
parliamentary gift." This was a shrewd judg- 



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William Ewart Gladstone 61 

ment, which the events of twenty years have 
abundantly confirmed. 

One might long continue this analysis of the 
different qualities which constituted the charm of 
Gladstone's presence; and which led one, even 
from afar, to follow his banner and call oneself 
by his name. The list is by no means exhausted ; 
but I place last what, as regards my own case, 
perhaps I ought to have placed first in the 
enumeration. It has been my happiness to know 
great saints in various communions; but they 
have been either ministers of religion by pro- 
fession or recluses from the world by choice. 
Here was a man who did his human work and 
fought his human battles with the most 
scrupulous diligence and the most masterful 
resolution; and yet all the while was dwelling 
(to use his own phrase) "in the inner court 
of the sanctuary, whereof the walls are not built 
with hands." 

If ever we should be tempted to despond 
about the possibilities of human nature, we may 
bethink ourselves of him and take courage. If 
our faith should ever be shaken by 

Blank misgivings of a oreafor* 
Moving about in worlds not realized, 



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62 Portraits of the Seventies 

the memory of his strong confidence may re- 
assure as. If ever we should be told by 
the flippancy of scepticism that "religion is a 
disease/' then we who knew him can point to 
one who, down to the very verge of ninety years, 
displayed a fulness of vigorous and manly life 
beyond all that we had ever known. 

The last and the truest word was uttered by 
Bishop Westcott, in a letter acknowledging a 
memorial sketch which I wrote when Gladstone 
died : " I think he will be remembered for what 
he was rather than for what he did.' 9 



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CHAPTER IV 
THE DUKE OF ARGYLL' 

GEORGE DOUGLAS CAMPBELL, 
eighth Duke of Argyll and chief of the 
Clan Campbell, was one of the most con- 
spicuous personages of the Victorian age; bat, 
though he lived through the Eighties, he cul- 
minated in the Seventies. His character, his 
mental gifts, and his early training, all marked 
him out from the common run of British 
nobility ; indeed, he stands in my memory as 
unique. His pedigree, even when tried by the 
exacting tests of historical research, was one 
of the most illustrious in Europe; his fore- 
fathers had played great parts in the history of 
two kingdoms ; and his widespread territory 
covered some of the most famous tracts of 
Scottish soil. But it was not in these respeots 
that he was unique. The peerage contains 
plenty of men with long descents, historic 
' 1838-1900. 

63 



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64 Portraits of the Seventies 

ancestries, and great estates, but they have 
commonly been fashioned in the same mould, 
domestic and educational, and have been 
stamped by it into conventional forms. Not 
so the Duke of Argyll. He was born the 
younger son of a younger son; and when, by 
the deaths of his uncle and his elder brother, 
he became Marquess of Lome and heir to the 
Dukedom of Argyll, his life was deemed too 
precious to be exposed to the perils of school 
and college. When other boys of his position 
were finding their level at Eton and Christ 
Church, or Harrow and Trinity, Lord Lome 
posted about Europe in a travelling-carriage 
with a tutor and a courier; conversed and 
corresponded with learned men who were his 
father's friends; and trained himself to face the 
great problems of thought and nature by silent 
meditation in the fastnesses of his Highland 
home. His mental development was twofold. 
He became, through his early habits of personal 
investigation, one of the most expert naturalists 
of his time; and he learned, as few naturalists 
learn, to look through phenomena to the 
power behind them, and to investigate the 
laws of spiritual and intellectual being. All this 
was remarkably unlike the normal training of a 



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DUKE OF ARGYLL. 



To faoe p. 64. 



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The Duke of Argyll 65 

young nobleman in the Forties of the last 
century, and other circumstances increased the 
unlikeness. The disputes which produced the 
disruption of the Church of Scotland in 1843 
forced even secularly-minded and indifferent 
people to consider the force of spiritual convic- 
tion in the affairs of this life, and Lord Lome, 
whose temperament was eagerly religious, 
dashed into the controversy. In 1842 he 
published "A Letter to the Peers, from a 
Peer's Son, on the duty and necessity of 
immediate legislatory interposition in behalf of 
the Church of Scotland"; and this didactic 
instinct clung to him all through life. Forty 
years later Lord Houghton, replying to him 
in the House of Lords, said: "The noble Duke 
began advising us when he was nineteen, and 
has been advising us ever since." 

Lord Lome became Duke of Argyll in 1847, 
and thenceforward he added political activity 
to his theological and philosophical and scientific 
preoccupations. He had married, in 1844, a 
daughter of the Duke of Sutherland, and so 
entered that "sacred circle of the Great- 
Qrandmotherhood," which, disguised under the 
title of the Whig party, played so great a part 
in Victorian politics. 

5 



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66 Portraits of the Seventies 

When the ill-starred Coalition of 1853 was 
formed, the Duke of Argyll, not quite thirty, 
was admitted to the Cabinet ; and, after Lord 
Aberdeen's downfall, he remained in it as a 
colleague of Lord Palmerston. By 1868 Pal- 
merston's government had lost its popularity, 
and Matthew Arnold, dining with Lord Granville 
at the opening of the Session, " found all the 
Ministerial people saying, 'What a stormy 
time we shall have 1 '. There is no doubt that 
between India and the ' French Colonels' 
Bill,' the government are in a critical situa- 
tion. It is said that Lord Derby is both 
willing and eager to come in. The Duke of 
Argyll said, with a sublime virtue, that we were 
not to shrink from doing what was right be- 
cause other people did and said what was 
wrong." 

That saying of the Duke was eminently 
characteristic. Throughout a long life he per- 
sisted in " doing what was right," without 
reference to party or convention or authority 
or popularity. He was from first to last a 
man of his own mind, and a striking instance 
of political independence. Gladstone used to 
say that the ever-increasing pressure of the 
constituencies on their members, inevitable under 



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The Duke of Argyll 67 

a widely-extended franchise, made it more and 
more difficult for a Member of Parliament to 
exercise independent judgment. The Duke of 
Argyll was never tried by that test; but I 
suspect that at any period of his life he would 
have flung away his seat sooner than give a 
vote which did not wholly commend itself to 
his conscience and judgment. 

The Duke left office with the other Whigs 
in 1868, and returned to it with them in 1859. 
It was in the two years immediately ensuing 
that he made his noblest and most signal 
manifestation of political independence. The 
slave-owners' rebellion in the United States 
broke out in 1861; and the upper classes of 
England, almost to a man, rallied to the 
Southern side. The Duke of Argyll pro- 
nounced unhesitatingly for the North : — 

In him Demosthenes was heard again ; 
Liberty taught him her Athenian strain ; 
She clothed him with authority and awe; 
Spoke from his lips, and in his looks gave law. 

At this point it is natural to say a word about 
the Duke's most striking gift. His accom- 
plishments, as I said before, were many and 
various. It was not by the mere accident of 



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68 Portraits of the Seventies 

birth that he became President of the British 
Association in 1865, and Fellow of the Royal 
Society in 1857. The Reign of Law, published 
in 1866, marked him out as one of the most 
original thinkers of his time, and ran to nine- 
teen editions. His treatise on the Eastern 
Question (1879) is still authoritative. The 
Unseen Foundations of Society, published in 
1893, showed his mental powers in unabated 
force, and in The Philosophy of Belief (1896) 
he returned to the theological interests of his 
early youth. Still I can conceive that theologians 
may have dissented from his presbyterianism ; 
that metaphysicians may have said that his 
philosophy was more dogmatic than demon- 
strative; even that naturalists may have dis- 
sented from his observations on the flight of 
birds. But I cannot conceive that any one, 
competent to judge, would have denied that 
he was an orator. Gladstone was accustomed 
to say that the Duke of Argyll was one of the 
three men of the time who had the greatest 
faculty of public speech. The trio, oddly enough, 
did not include Bright; and, naturally, did not 
include Gladstone himself. I should add both, 
and I should put the Duke at the head of the 
gifted five. Blight's eloquence, at once simple and 



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The Duke of Argyll 69 

sonorous, reads more effectively than that of 
any other man. Gladstone was, in my ex- 
perience) unrivalled in the art of mixing 
argument with rhetoric, and in unravelling a 
oomplioated theme. But the Duke of Argyll 
spoke like a man inspired. I have heard that 
Lord Beaconsfield, newly arrived in the House 
of Lords and hearing the Duke for the first 
time, exclaimed, "And this has been going on 
all these years, and I have never found it 
out!" When the Duke had wound up one of 
his most impetuous harangues by saying, "Your 
Lordships must not suppose that I am influenced 
in what I have said by feeling," Lord Beacons- 
field said, in his reply, " If, my Lords, the 
speech of the noble Duke, admirable as it was, 
is a specimen of his style when not under the 
influence of feeling, I look forward with con- 
siderable apprehension to what I may have to 
encounter when he shall be under that influ- 
ence/' It is true that the Duke's reputation 
as a writer, a naturalist, and an amateur 
theologian, distracted public attention from 
his oratorical power; and I have been told 
that he himself did not realize it. Tet orator 
indeed he was, in the highest implication of 
the term. He always spoke under the in- 



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70 Portraits of th^ Seventies 

fluence of fiery conviction, and the live coal 
from the altar seemed to touch his lips. He 
was absolute master of every mood of oratory — 
pathos, satire, contemptuous humour, ethical 
passion, noble wrath; and his unstudied 
eloquence flowed like a river through the suc- 
cessive moods, taking a colour from each and 
gaining force as it rolled towards its close. 

There were two great controversies in which 
the Duke's eloquence rose to its highest flights 
— the Eastern Question of 1875-79, and the 
Irish Question of 1886*95. But before I come 
to these it may be expedient to say that 
he joined Gladstone's government of 1868 
as Secretary of State for India, and that of 
1880 as Lord Privy Seal. He resigned in 1881, 
disapproving of the Irish Land Bill, add never 
again held office. His greatest triumphs always 
were in Opposition. Throughout the Eastern 
Question his consuming zeal and fiery elo- 
quence made him the fervent champion of the 
Christian cause in the House of Lords, and 
the most formidable opponent of the Turk 
and his allies. The House of Lords is a 
singularly democratic assemblage, and the fact 
that it has no Speaker and no Rules of Order 
gives its members a fine latitude of angry 



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The Duke of Argyll 71 

speech. Of this latitude the Duke availed 
himself to the uttermost; and Lord Salisbury 
was wont thus to epitomize one of the Duke's 
attacks on him : " The noble Marquess opposite 
has told the House a lie, and knows it." 

When the Home Eule controversy arose, 
the Duke revolted against all panic-stricken 
concessions to a treasonable and murderous 
conspiracy. To speak against Home Eule in 
the House of Lords was indeed to preach to 
the converted; so the Duke, though an old 
man and in broken health, betook himself to 
the platform, and poured the liquid fire of his 
scorn and indignation into the Farnellite host. 
After the General Election of 1886 had shown 
conclusively that the country was not going to 
be rushed into Home Eule, the half-hearted 
Home Bulers on one side, and the more mode- 
rate Unionists on the other, began to make 
delicate approaches to each other. There was 
a kind of half-expressed desire to substitute 
some sort of practicable autonomy for the 
blank separation proposed by the defeated Bill, 
and so to replace Gladstone in power. The 
Duke saw the manoeuvre, and quoted, with 
happy sarcasm, from his favourite Words- 
worth; — 



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72 Portraits of the Seventies 

Te blessed creatures! I have heard the call 
Ye to each other make. 

On the 6th of September 1893 I heard the 
Duke speaking on the Second Beading of the 
second Home Bole Bill. He was then seventy 
years old and his health was failing ; the speech 
attempted little in the way of argument, and 
was desultory beyond belief. But suddenly 
there came a passage which lifted the whole 
debate into a nobler air. The orator described 
himself standing on the western shores of 
Scotland, and gazing across towards the hills 
of Antrim. " We can see the colour of their 
fields, and in the sunset we can see the 
glancing of the light upon the windows of the 
cabins of the people. This is the country, I 
thought the other day when I looked upon the 
scene — this is the country which the greatest 
English statesman tells us must be governed as 
we govern the Antipodes." And he emphasized 
the last word with a downward sweep of his 
right hand which in a commonplace speaker 
would have been frankly comic, but in this 
great master of oratory was a master-stroke of 
dramatic art. 

It remains to say a word about the Duke's 
personal appearance and demeanour. He was 



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The Duke of Argyll 73 

very short, but made the most of his few 
inches by a vigorous and rather challenging 
carriage. His hair was as vividly red as that 
of his famous namesake Bob Boy, and was 
brushed straight baok and up from a truly 
intellectual brow* His manner suggested a 
combination of the Highland Chief with the 
University Professor. When his eldest Bon 
married Princess Louise, Punch exactly hit 
the Duke's sense of his own importance by 
the words which it put into the mouths of 
two imaginary clansmen: "MaoCullum Mohr's 
son's goin' to get marrit to the Queen's young 
dochter." "Eck! The Queen mun be the 
Proud Woman." The Duke had inherited the 
tradition of the time when his forefathers exer- 
cised "heritable jurisdiction," and the dwellers 
on their lands were in good earnest subject 
to their rule. The world had changed a 
good deal in a hundred years, but the eighth 
Duke of Argyll had scarcely accommodated 
himself to the change; and the development of 
political independence in a district which his 
name had so long dominated seemed to him a 
very disquieting phenomenon. 

A quality not easily distinguished from arro- 
gance showed itself in the Duke's social bearing. 



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74 Portraits of the Seventies 

He never seemed to realize that his asso- 
ciates were in any sense his equals. As a 
professor, he harangued and expounded and 
laid down the law. As a chieftain, he sum- 
moned one guest to his side and then in 
turn dismissed him to make way for another. 
He spoke as the Elder of the Kirk when he 
rebuked episcopacy; as the President of the 
Geological Society when he reproved Evolution; 
and as the hoary Whig when he preached the 
sanctity of property to the socialistic and inex- 
perienced Gladstone, who was fourteen years 
his senior. 

But always and in all things, at all times 
and in all circumstances, he was the self- 
sufficing and self-governing man, 

Who never sold the truth to serve the hour, 
Nor paltered with Eternal God for power. 



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CHAPTER V 
ROBERT LOWE 1 

CERTAINLY one of the most conspicuous 
figures of the Seventies was Robert Lowe 
(created in 1880 Lord Sherbrooke); but even in 
the Seventies the main achievement of his life 
was past. This achievement was the defeat of 
the Russell-Gladstone Reform Bill of 1866. 
Emerging from a kind of half-obscurity in which 
he had long dwelt, Lowe attacked that ex- 
tremely mild measure of reform with a passion, 
an energy, and an insistence which elevated him 
for a moment to the highest point of parlia- 
mentary importance. His speeches delivered 
during the Sessions of 1866 and 1867 constitute 
the most forcible and most eloquent indictment 
of Democracy which is to be found in English 
literature. Aided by the Tories, and some 
jaundiced Whigs such as A. W. Kinglake the 

" 1811-92. 

7$ 



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76 Portraits of the Seventies 

historian of the Crimea, and Edward Horsman 
the " Superior Person " of Disraeli's sarcasm, 
he defeated the Bill on the Second Beading. 
The scene of his triumph was thus described by 
an eye-witness : — 

"His hair, brighter than silver, shone and 
glistened in the brilliant light. His complexion 
had deepened into something like bishop's 
purple. There he stood, that usually cold, un- 
demonstrative, intellectual, white-headed, red- 
faced, venerable arch-conspirator ; shouting 
himself hoarse, like the ring-leader of a school- 
boys' barring-out." 

The descriptive touches in this paragraph need 
some amplification. Lowe was one of the 
strangest-looking people one ever beheld. He 
was an Albino, with snow-white hair, a crimson 
complexion, and eyes so short-sighted as to be 
almost blind. Fearing the total loss of sight, 
he left Oxford after a brilliant career, and went 
out to Sydney, where he hoped to make a com- 
petence at the Bar before blindness should dis- 
qualify him. He made the competence and 
escaped the blindness. Returning to England 
in 1850, he became a leader-writer in the Times, 
and in 1862 was returned to Parliament for 
Kidderminster, sitting as a Palmerstonian Whig. 



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ROBERT LOWE. 
From a photograph supplied by Mr. August in Rischgitz. 



To face p. 76 



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Robert Lowe 77 

He subsequently sate for Calne, and from 1868 
to 1880 for the University of London. When 
Gladstone became Prime Minister for the second 
time, he offered Lowe a peerage, and induced 
the Queen to make the peerage a Viscountcy. 
The Queen demurred, on the ground that Lowe 
had not particularly distinguished himself in the 
various offices he had held; but Gladstone 
replied that the position which he had made for 
himself in the debates on Beform in 1866 was 
such as to justify the higher dignity. Con- 
sidering that Lowe's achievement in 1866 had 
been the destruction of Gladstone's pet measure, 
I have always thought this a very remarkable 
instance of magnanimity. The nature of Lowe's 
relations with the reformers may be inferred 
from his reply to a member of the Beform 
League, who had asked his opinion of the 
demonstrations in favour of Beform which 
followed the rejection of the Bill in 1866: — 

" The Beform League, having fastened upon 
me assertions which I have not made, has 
loaded me with the most virulent abuse, and has 
striven to make me an object of the hatred, 
perhaps a mark for the vengeance, of my fellow- 
countrymen. 

" With such a body and its leaders, of whom 



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78 Portraits of the Seventies 

you appear to be one, I have no courtesies to 
interchange. When I think proper to give an 
opinion on the recent popular demonstrations, 
it is not to the Beform League that I shall 
offer it." 

Lowe's career in office was singularly ill- 
starred. He became a placeman almost as soon 
as he entered Parliament, and in 1864 he was 
Vice-President of the Committee of Council on 
Education. Lord Robert Cecil, afterwards Lord 
Salisbury, carried in the House of Commons a 
Kesolution censuring him for having mutilated 
the reports of his Inspectors. It is only fair to 
say that a Parliamentary Committee afterwards 
exonerated him, and rescinded the Resolution; 
but of course it had the immediate effect of 
driving him out of office. The Owl described 
him in a couplet which he was fond of quoting — 

" To vote, contents his natural desire; 
He draws no stipend, bat he eats no mire.' 1 

He was a private Member when the Reform Bill 
of 1866 was introduced, and he used his free- 
dom with remarkable effect. But, having turned 
out the Liberal government as a penalty for their 
timid concession to democracy, he was appalled 
to find that the Tories, who succeeded them, 



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Robert Lowe 79 

presented a really democratic Reform Bill in 
1867, and, with the aid of Liberals, established 
Household Suffrage. Seeing that power had 
passed finally out of the hands of the middle 
classes into those of the artisans, Lowe exclaimed, 
with insight and with acrimony; "Now we must 
educate our masters " ; and the saying was 
repeated by Lord Haldane in 1915. 

About this time Lowe was very bad com- 
pany. "What was a conflict last year," he 
said, "is a race now" — and a race to perdi- 
tion. Bishop Wilberforce wrote, after meet- 
ing him in a country house, "It was enough 
to make the flesh creep to hear his prognostica- 
tions for the future of England." However, 
nothing dreadful happened. The newly-enfran- 
chised electors sent Disraeli (who, with Lord 
Derby, had given them Household Suffrage) to 
the right-about, and returned Gladstone with a 
majority of a hundred, pledged to the dis- 
establishment of the Irish Church. Lowe, who 
abhorred all religious establishments, had attacked 
the Irish Church with exceeding vehemence ; so 
Gladstone, forming his administration at the 
end of 1868, made him Chancellor of the Ex- 
chequer. There never was a more unfortunate 
appointment. Beginning with the doctrine that 



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8o Portraits of the Seventies 

the function of the Chancellor of the Exchequer 
is to distribute a certain amount of human 
misery and that he who distributes it most 
equally is the best Chancellor, Lowe went to 
work distributing it right and left; and he 
accompanied the distribution with an amount of 
personal disagreeableness which doubled the 
resentment of his victims. His opposition to 
Reform had made him intensely unpopular with 
Liberals, and now the entire Tory party joined 
the chorus of depreciation. Disraeli said, not 
untruly, that Lowe possessed a natural faculty 
of inspiring aversion, and that he could not 
appear on the hustings of a popular election 
without risk to his life — to remedy which mis- 
fortune, Disraeli pleasantly said that he had 
invented a non-popular seat for him, by giving 
the University of London a Member of Parlia- 
ment. Day by day storms of angry criticism 
assailed the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and 
in reply he found himself to be, in Gladstone's 
expressive phrase, " as helpless as a beetle on 
its back." His culminating folly was a feature 
of the Budget of 1871, when, to every one's 
amazement, he levied a tax on matches — for 
no conceivable reason unless it was to indulge 
a pedantic play on words. He proposed that 



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Robert Lowe 81 

each match-box should bear a Latin motto: 
Ex luce lucellum. Some people, misled by 
sounds, thought that this must mean " Out of 
light, a little light/' and they said what a 
clever man Mr. Lowe must be, and what a fine 
thing a classical education was. When they 
found that it meant " Out of light, a little gain," 
and that the little gain was scarcely more than 
half a million, they justly said that such a sum 
was certainly not worth the trouble and incon- 
venience which the tax must cause, and rose in 
insurrection against it. A regiment of match- 
girls, whose wretched bread Lowe imperilled, 
marched in procession to the House of Commons ; 
every one felt sorry for them ; every one disliked 
Lowe, and the tax was dropped. Bather happily, 
Lowe turned the joke against himself in a couplet 
which was widely quoted : — 

Ex luce lucellum we very well know, 

But, if Lucy won't sell 'em, what then, Mr. Lowe? 

Lowe disappeared from office with the rest 
of the Liberal Government after the General 
Election of 1874, and never returned to it. No 
Minister was ever less regretted. He renewed 
his anti-democratic activities as a bitter oppo- 
nent of the Agricultural Labourers' Suffrage ; 
and, when the government of 1880 was formed, 

6 



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82 Portraits of the Seventies 

the state of his health prevented his inclusion 
in the Cabinet. He then disappeared into the 
House of Lords. 

So far, I have described Lowe only as he 
appeared in public life. In private life he was 
a very different and a much more attractive 
person. By common consent he was one of the 
cleverest men of his time, but in public life his 
cleverness only accentuated his offensiveness : in 
private life it manifested itself in more agreeable 
forms. He was perfectly good-tempered and good* 
natured; quite free from formality or pomposity; 
easy, natural, and accessible. His range of know- 
ledge was extremely wide, and even perplexingly 
various. It seemed impossible to tap a subject 
with which he was unfamiliar, and I suspect that 
his enormous memory was sometimes reinforced 
by inventive skill. In the distant days when the 
plague of Acrostics devastated society, smart 
women, whose education had been neglected, 
always turned to " dear Mr. Lowe " for quota- 
tions, references, and allusions. They seldom 
turned in vain; and, if they had chanced to 
stumble on something that the oracle did not 
know, the oracle would have been quite equal to 
the occasion. In public, Lowe could only speak 
after the most elaborate preparation, but in 



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Robert Lowe 83 

private his rapidity of thought and phrase was 
as remarkable as his erudition. A foolish decider 
of classical learning once said to him, "I have 
the greatest contempt for Greek and Latin," and 
Lowe replied: "Not, I should think, the con- 
tempt which familiarity breeds." Once a lady 
asked him, in my hearing, to go with her to the 
Opera. She had got a box, and wanted to take 
some one with her. No, he was engaged. " Oh ! 
I see the Bishop of Gibraltar. I'll try him." 
" That's no good — Gibraltar can never be taken." 
In the rapid give-and-take of ordinary society 
Lowe was as light and gay as a clever under- 
graduate ; but, when it came to the serious work 
of after-dinner conversation, in houses where f 34 
port was still procurable, he was as instructive 
as Dr. Johnson, and a great deal more amiable. 



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CHAPTER VI 
LORD HARTINGTON 

IN this case I use the name which was current 
in the Seventies and Eighties, though later 
it was merged in a higher designation. Spencer 
Compton Cavendish, born in 1833, was Lord 
Cavendish till 1858, Marquess of Hartington from 
1858 to 1891, and eighth Duke of Devonshire 
from 1891 till his death in 1908. 

C'est dommage quand lea rois sont mal 61evAs. 

Hartington was born to a very great position 
— one of the greatest in England as to rank and 
property — and his education was the worst that 
could have been devised for his character and 
condition. For the heir-apparent to a great title 
and corresponding wealth to be educated among 
his father's dependents is the most spoiling of 
experiments. The son of a Southern planter, 
reared among the slaves who would soon be his 

«4 



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Lord Harrington 85 

own chattels, could not be more unfortunately 
placed than an English boy, of vigorous mind 
and imperious will, brought up among grooms 
and gamekeepers, and fed from his cradle on the 
thick flattery which is the appointed diet of an 
eldest son. The seventh Duke of Devonshire, 
though he had been educated at Eton, disliked 
Public Schools, and his three sons were brought 
up at home. Intellectually, the boys probably 
gained by this arrangement, for no better equipped 
teacher could have been procured than the Duke, 
who had been Second Wrangler, Smith's Prize* 
man, and Eighth Classic ; but in other ways the 
experiment was risky. The younger sons, Lord 
Frederick and Lord Edward Cavendish, emerged 
from it unspoilt, partly through an inherent 
simplicity and fineness of disposition, and partly 
through the fact that neither of them was the 
heir-apparent The tradition of English life, in 
families which hold titles and land, hedges the 
eldest son with a divinity which no one is hardy 
enough to dispute ; and Hartington's was a nature 
which took this divinity very much as a matter 
of course. Eton would have been his salvation, 
for there he would have had to find his level 
among a thousand schoolfellows, to whom his 
prospects in life would have been matter of corn- 



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86 Portraits of the Seventies 

plete indifference. Mr. Herbert Paul, himself 
an Etonian, has justly observed that "Eton is 
thoroughly democratic, and a little rough handling 
is not a bad thing when bestowed upon 

Some tenth transmitter of a foolish face." 

Some other epithet than "foolish" must be 
used to describe the faces of the Cavendishes; 
but the "rough handling/ ' whether physical or 
mental, would have been an admirable training 
for the future Duke of Devonshire. Unfortu- 
nately, he did not get it, but got instead the 
incessant, solicitous, and interested homage which 
is bestowed by neighbours and dependents on the 
boy who will some day be master of 200,000 
acres and a proportionate income. This method 
of education left its mark on Hartington for all 
time. He was absolutely selfish; and he did not, 
as others of the same temperament have often 
done, attempt to conceal the selfishness under an 
air of courtesy or consideration. He had no 
manners. He observed no social usages. If he 
was engaged to dine at eight, he came at nine. 
If you asked him a question, he either stared in 
stony silence or else drawled a monosyllable which 
sounded like "Whor?" and meant "What?". 
When the Cabinet decided to drop an Education 



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Lord Harrington 87 

Bill at which Sir John Gorst, as Vice-President 
of the Committee of Council, had been toiling, 
the Duke of Devonshire, then Gorst's official chief, 
strolled into his room, and, after standing some 
time in silence with his back to the fire, said 
"Well, Gorst, your d— d Bill's dead." Here 
are the less desirable fruits of a domestic 
education* 

Yet he was not pompous. Pomposity is the 
vice of the snob, and, in spite of his rough 
exterior, he was at heart a gentleman. His view 
of society was illustrated by what I once heard 
him say when, after the Socialist riots of 1887, 
people spoke with horror of the probability of a 
mob in Hyde Park. "Mob? Whenever I go 
into the Park I see a mob— only some of the 
mobs are better dressed than others." His 
uncivil behaviour was due, not to any vulgar 
notion of a social eminence which justified 
incivility, but to the circumstances of his 
upbringing. He had been motherless from his 
seventh year. His father was a man of re- 
tiring habits, a student and a man of business, 
shy even of his own sons; and the circle in 
which the heir to Chatsworth moved was such 
as always surrounds the "home-keeping youth" 
who is heir to great possessions. He was un- 



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88 Portraits of the Seventies 

civil, because he had not been taught, at the 
age when nature is receptive, that other people 
had claims and feelings and susceptibilities, and 
that consideration for these should be the dis- 
tinctive mark of high breeding. 

Let me turn for a moment to personal descrip- 
tion. Hartington was tall, and strongly, though 
loosely, built. When he overcame a natural 
tendency to slouch, and held himself upright, 
he was what is called " a fine figure of a 
man." On an occasion of ceremony or state 
he moved and carried himself with dignity ; and, 
although his ordinary dress was rough and 
untidy, he appeared to advantage in the scarlet 
and ermine of the peerage, or the black-and- 
gold robes of the Chancellor of the University 
of Cambridge. His features were massive, and 
strongly marked; his light brown beard con- 
cealed a wide mouth and a very determined 
chin. His way of looking, or rather staring, at 
a stranger who addressed him, was eulogized by 

an admiring foreigner as a "You-be-d d-ness 

of demeanour." To the end, he looked younger 
than his years, and I remember a mild sensa- 
tion among descriptive paragraph-writers when 
he first used glasses in the House of Commons. 

As to his tastes, habits, and occupations, they 



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LORD HARTINGTON. 
(Duke of Devonshire.) 



To face p. 88. 



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Lord Harrington 89 

were pretty much what might he expected in a 
man of his antecedents, who did not marry till 
he was fifty-nine. He might be truly said, in 
Whyte-Melville's words, to "have played the 
game all round." As a young man, he had 
been fond of hunting and shooting, and very 
fond of fishing; but in his mature age I should 
say that amusements which involved money 
pleased him best. Lord Bedesdale has described 
the rhadamanthine gravity with which he used 
to play whist ; and some more adventurous 
games seemed even to excite him. On race- 
courses and at Monte Carlo his habitual phlegm 
disappeared, and I have seldom heard him 
speak with greater animation than when he 
was protesting against the restrictions imposed 
in this country on public gambling — " I own 
two towns which would be splendid places for 
gaming-tables. Not Barrow — Barrow is too 
businesslike. But Buxton and Eastbourne — both 
full of idle people and invalids. Gaming-tables 
are just what they want." 

His physical nature was strong, enduring, 
rough, perhaps rather coarse. He had a large 
appetite, and thoroughly enjoyed a good dinner; 
but could tackle an office-luncheon of roast beef 
and cabbage with exemplary appetite. He had, 



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96 Portraits of the Seventies 

in a remarkable degree, what novelists call 
" Temperament " ; and, when he was just leav- 
ing Cambridge, that temperament, quite uncon- 
trolled by social considerations, nearly landed 
him in a most undesirable marriage. His father 
called some friends of the family into council, 
and propounded the question — Was there any 
counter-attraction strong enough to break the 
spell? and the unanimous reply was "Politics." 
So, almost against his will and wholly against 
his natural inclination, Hartington became at 
twenty-four M.P. for North Lancashire, and 
thenceforward sate in the House of Commons 
till he asoended to the Lords. When he was 
thirty he accepted minor office under Lord Pal- 
merston, and in 1866 he entered Lord Russell's 
Cabinet as Secretary of State for War. 

Those were the days when a young man of 
family who voted straight might reckon on 
political advancement; but no one ever ques- 
tioned Hartington's competence for office. His 
intellect was sound, strong, and capable. At 
Cambridge he was found to have inherited a 
good deal of his father's mathematical ability; 
and, with very little reading, he obtained a 
Second Class in the Mathematical Tripos. 
Though he held some of the most exacting of 



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Lord Hartington 9 1 

the posts in the government, he was never 
found wanting. His mind was, as he himself 
said, slow, but it was sore; and an excellent 
feature of his character was, whatever office he 
undertook, he prided himself upon doing the 
work thoroughly. He was indeed as good an 
instance of the great nobleman in politics as 
could easily be adduced. No one on earth was 
less of a courtier, but Queen Victoria liked to 
have him near her, just because he resembled 
the Ministers of her early reign — a sportsman, 
a man of the world, a country gentleman, a little 
of a gambler; not a professional politician like 
Mr. Chamberlain, nor a metaphysician like Mr. 
Balfour, nor a man of science like Lord Salisbury, 
nor a scholastic theologian like Mr. Gladstone. 

Hartington'8 political career was marked by 
some curious vicissitudes. He has been nick- 
named, I think rightly, " The Last of the Whigs. 1 ' 
In 1859 he moved the vote of want of confidence 
which displaced Lord Derby's government and 
made Palmerston dictator for the rest of his 
life. Under Palmerston, and later under Bussell, 
he was thoroughly at home. But Gladstone's 
leadership often strained his allegiance. Through 
the great reforming days of 1868-74, and again 
from 1880 to 1885, he held office in Gladstone's 



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92 Portraits of the Seventies 

administrations; and yet his attitude towards 
the Liberal ideal always had in it something 
that reminded one of Sancho Panza — " following 
by an attraction he cannot resist that poor, 
mad, scorned, suffering, sublime enthusiast, the 
Modern Spirit; following it, indeed, with con- 
stant grumbling, expostulation, and opposition, 
with airs of protection, of compassionate sym- 
pathy, with an incessant by-play of nods, shrugs, 
and winks addressed to the spectators ; following 
it, in short, with all the incurable recalcitrancy 
of a lower nature; but still following it." 

Probably the most disagreeable period of 
Hartington's political life was the year 1879. 
Gladstone, having led his party into the wilder- 
ness of opposition, having abandoned them there, 
and having left Hartington to shepherd them 
as well as he could, now began to show unmis- 
takable signs of an intention to resume the 
Premiership whenever he could oust Lord 
Beaconsfield. Hartington, who had been for- 
mally elected leader of the Liberal party in the 
House of Commons, and, according to all 
political usage, was entitled to expect that 
supreme reward for himself, was naturally in- 
censed. If he had obeyed his own inclination, 
he would have withdrawn from an ostensible 



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Lord Harrington 93 

leadership, which had now become a mockery; 
but he was advised that any such action on 
his part would split the party, and he doggedly 
held on till the dissolution of March 1880. 
People praised his loyalty to Gladstone, but he 
said to me in later days — "I thought that 
Gladstone had not behaved well to me, and 
I did not feel the least 'loyalty' to him. 
That is quite the wrong word." That he sub- 
ordinated all merely personal considerations to 
the one great object of defeating Lord Beacons- 
field, is illustrated by the following letter, which 
he addressed to me, though he knew well that 
I was a Gladstonian and a Radical : — 

" I write a line to express my sinoere wishes 
for your success in your contest at Aylesbury. 
The names of Russell and Cavendish have been 
so long associated together in the history of 
the country that I cannot help feeling some- 
thing more than a common interest in your 



success.' 9 



When Lord Beaconsfield's overthrow was 
complete, the Queen did her utmost to secure 
Hartington for her Prime Minister. "She set 
her back against the table, and fought her 
hardest"; but without avail. Hartington realized 
both that Gladstone would decline to serve 



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94 Portraits of the Seventies 

under him, and that to form a Liberal adminis- 
trative with Gladstone outside it would be a 
hopeless task. As Hartington's action at this 
crisis subsequently became the subject of some 
malicious and ignorant gossip, it may be well to 
publish the following memorandum which he 
wrote for me in 1892 : — 

"The advice which Lord Hartington gave to 
the Queen in 1880, from first to last, was that 
H.M. should send for Mr. Gladstone and consult 
him as to the formation of a Government, and 
that if he should be willing to undertake the 
task, she should call upon him to form an 
Administration. 

"Lord H. had up to that time had no com- 
munication with Mr. G. on the subject, and 
did not know what his views as to returning to 
office might be. With the Queen's permission, 
Lord H. on his return from Windsor informed 
Mr. Gladstone and Lord Granville, but no other 
person, of what had passed between H.M. and 
himself, and neither Lord H. nor any other 
person is at liberty now to make those communi- 
cations public. From the time when Lord H. 
was first sent for to Windsor, to the time when 
Mr. G. was sent for by the Queen, Lord 
H. neither saw nor came in contact with 



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Lord Harrington 95 

any of his friends or former colleagues except 
Lord Granville and Mr. Gladstone." 

So Gladstone became Prime Minister, and 
Hartington joined his Cabinet, where he re- 
mained uneasily till 1885; and, as Secretary of 
State for War, he had a principal part in the 
tragical folly of sending Gordon to Khartoum. 
Then occurred the great conversion which shat- 
tered the Liberal party for twenty years, and 
gave Hartington the opportunity of his lifetime. 
Never before had he shown a tenth part of the 
intellectual energy which he threw into the fight 
against Home Rule; and, roused at last from 
his habitual lethargy, spoke both in the House 
and in the country with a power which no one 
believed him to possess. Once on a time he 
had been observed to yawn in the middle of 
one of his own speeches, and, when a friend 
commented on this irregular proceeding, he re- 
plied, "Well, but it was d d dull, wasn't it?" 

Henceforth there was no yawning in his speeches, 
but every word struck home with a massive 
force which crushed verbiage and flummery into 
powder. 

The General Election of 1886 dismissed Home 
Rule and the Liberal government with it* 
The great part which Hartington had played 



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96 Portraits of the Seventies 

in the struggle was recognized by Lord Salis- 
bury, who generously offered to serve under him 
in a Coalition government. Hartington again 
declined the Premiership; and did so yet onoe 
more, when, at Christmas 1886, Lord Ran- 
dolph Churchill's resignation shook the Cabinet. 
I believe that no other man has ever three 
times refused to be Prime Minister of England. 

Throughout the remaining years of the con- 
troversy about Home Rule, Hartington, first as 
a private Member of Parliament, and then as a 
peer, fought the battle of the Union with un- 
abated vigour, and in the House of Lords helped 
to throw out Gladstone's second Home Rule Bill 
by the remarkable majority of 419 to 41. 

When Lord Rosebery's brief and dismal ad- 
ministration came to its ignominious end in 
1895, Hartington, who had now become Duke of 
Devonshire, joined Lord Salisbury's government, 
and remained in it when Mr. Balfour succeeded 
his uncle. When the controversy about Tariff 
Reform arose, and Mr. Balfour shilly-shallied 
and split straws, the Duke declared firmly, 
though not precipitately, for Free Trade. He 
had the majority of his colleagues against him, 
and he quitted the Cabinet. His resignation 
brought his official career to a close, and also, 



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Lord Harrington 97 

more than any other individual act, it saved 
Free Trade. 

What was the dominant characteristic of 
Hartington's nature? I say Honesty. Slow- 
ness, selfishness, obstinacy, pride, and several 
other attributes may be imputed to him; but, 
alike in his public and in his private life, 
they were dominated by his honesty. A pro- 
fessional politician on my own side onoe said 
to me, with a significant snuffle : " Hartington 
can't be bought." By special grace I was en- 
abled to forbear the too obvious reply; but the 
politician was right. Not the strongest induce- 
ments that political life has to offer ever pre- 
vailed to move Hartington, by a hair's breadth, 
from the course which commended itself to his 
judgment. He said what he meant, and meant 
what he said. He had plain thoughts and ex- 
pressed them in plain words. I well recall the 
effect produced in the House of Commons when 
Hartington, who never made any ethical profes- 
sions, defended the evacuation of Kandahar: 
u We go away now because we do not want Kan- 
dahar, and because we have no right to be 
there." That was Hartington all over. No 
sympathy with glittering policies, no false shame 
about imaginary loss of " prestige," but simply 

7 



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98 Portraits of the Seventies 

reason and justice. We did not want Kanda- 
har; therefore it was foolish to stay. We had 
no right to be there; therefore we ought to go. 
The same straightforwardness which he prac- 
tised he expected from others, and, where there 
was any departure from it, he did not spare the 
offender. In this connexion a small but charac- 
teristic incident recurs to my memory. A man 
who had cheated at cards and had been turned 
out of his clubs became engaged to a girl 
young enough to be his daughter, whom he met 
abroad. The girl's parents had vaguely heard 
a rumour of the man's misconduct, but did not 
know the facts, and were naturally anxious to 
ascertain them. At my suggestion they wrote 
to Hartington, and, in a case where most men 
would have hesitated about the right course and 
shrunk from consequences, Hartington wrote a 
plain statement, in black and white, of what he 
had observed, and of the consequences which had 
followed from it. 



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SIR WILFRID LAWSON. 



To fao« p. 9*. 



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CHAPTEE VII 

SIB WILFRID LAWSON' 

"T~F I had never entered Parliament, I suppose 
-*- I should never have known Sir Wilfrid 
Lawson; and in that case I should have lost a 
great honour and a great pleasure. He was a 
pure and single-minded patriot, and one of the 
most delightful companions in the world. 

A life of absolute and calculated sacrifice for 
the redemption of degraded humanity is, in sober 
truth, a Christ-like life, and it must surely spring 
from that "naturally Christian soul" in which 
the fathers of the faith believed. It is a rare 
glory to have spent one's " length of days " in 
persistent and unconquerable effort for the service 
of those who are least able to help themselves, 
and to have accepted no reward except the 
loving gratitude of hearts inspired and em- 
boldened by a high example. 

» 1889-1906. 



J 



ioo Portraits of the Seventies 

It is a pity that Sir Walter Scott never en- 
countered the name of "William de Wybergh, 
of Wybergthwaite," for surely he would have 
immortalized it in Ivanhoe or The Talisman. 
The pedigree of Wybergh bristles with romantic 
appellations, and the demesne of Clifton in 
Westmorland has been possessed by the Wy- 
berghs "in an unbroken male descent since the 
thirty-eighth year of Edward HL" 

Wilfrid Wybergh, on succeeding to the 
large estates of Isel and Brayton in Cumber- 
land, which had belonged to the Lawsons, as- 
sumed their name, and was created a baronet 
in 1831. He married Caroline, daughter of Sir 
James Graham of Netherby, and sister to the 
Peelite statesman of that name, and waB father 
of a second Sir Wilfrid Lawson, whom every 
one remembers as a Radical M.P. and leader 
in the cause of Temperance. 

Wilfrid Lawson the younger was born in 1829. 
In after-life he was accustomed to say, "I never 
had any education," and in the formal sense of 
book-learning this was not far from the truth. 
The elder Sir Wilfrid had a very bad opinion 
of Public Sohools and Universities, and his son 
was brought up at home and taught by private 
tutors. The library at Brayton is large and mis- 



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Sir Wilfrid Lawson 101 

ceUaneous; and young Wilfrid, ranging at will 
through its preserves, lighted on Adam Smith's 
Wealth of Nations^ which he always regarded as 
one of the great books of the world, and which 
went far to determine his social and economic 
views. 

But probably even Adam Smith played a com- 
paratively small part in his education. When a 
strong, active, and healthy boy, full of intelli- 
gence and life, is brought up by a thoughtful 
father in a wild and beautiful country, and 
accustomed from his childhood to watch the 
sights and sounds of Nature and to note the 
oddities of human character, it may be safely 
said that he educates himself. Brayton was 
essentially a sporting house, and the young 
Lawsons were taught to ride, shoot, and fish 
from their very earliest boyhood. Wilfrid's first 
pony, a gift from his uncle, Sir James Graham, 
was called "Diamond," and was the forerunner 
of a long line of hunters of which "Radical" 
was the most famous. As the boys never went 
to school, the whole family lived constantly 
together, brothers and sisters sharing the same 
interests, pursuits, and amusements. The 
youngest of the family records that Wilfrid 
was the kindest of elder brothers, always 



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102 Portraits of the Seventies 

plotting treats and surprises for the younger 
members of the family, and encouraging them 
to take their part in whatever fun or frolic might 
be going forward. From time to time he accom- 
panied his parents or his tutor on foreign tours 
or short excursions to Scotland or the South of 
England, but his boyhood and youth were chiefly 
spent in Cumberland; and with the Cumberland 
Foxhounds his connexion was long and intimate. 
The famous John Peel, who is " kenn'd " all over 
the English-speaking world, was a master of 
foxhounds on a very primitive and limited scale, 
and hunted his own hounds in Cumberland for 
upwards of forty-six years. He died in 1854. 
By this time Wilfrid Lawson was twenty-five 
years old, desperately fond of hunting, and well 
supplied by his father with the sinews of war. 
So on the death of John Peel, with whom he 
had hunted ever since he could sit in a saddle, 
he bought Peel's hounds, amalgamated them 
with a small pack which he already possessed, 
and became Master of the Cumberland Fox- 
hounds. 

It is easy to conceive the popularity which 
now encircled the young Squire of Brayton. In 
addition to the more commonplace gifts of wealth 
and position, he had unbounded gaiety, the 



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Sir Wilfrid Lawson 103 

sweetest temper in the world, and a rich sense 
erf comicality and absurdity. " He was made 
a magistrate when he was quite young. He took 
a keen interest in all county business and an 
active part in all that was going on. It was 
wonderful how he contrived to combine business 
and pleasure, and to be at all sorts of meetings 
and all sorts of entertainments all over the 
county, almost at the same time." Among the 
lighter traits of his character which are remem- 
bered in his family was an exceptional talent for 
mimicry, which enabled him to reproduce in the 
domestic circle all the oddities and whimsicalities 
which he encountered in the work and amuse- 
ment of the day. From early boyhood he dis- 
played that knack of writing rapid, fluent, and 
vigorous verse which played so conspicuous a 
part in the serious correspondence of his mature 
life. 

But all this time those who knew him best 
were aware that, deep under the superficial 
gaiety and exuberance of healthy youth, there 
lay a solid vein of resolute devotion to truth and 
duty. The elder Sir Wilfrid, a thoroughgoing 
and all-round Liberal, cared supremely for two 
causes — the cause of Temperance and the cause 
of Peace. Happily for him, his son was corn- 



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104 Portraits of the Seventies 

pletely and enthusiastically at one with him on 
those great issues. 

Sir Wilfrid had never oared to enter Parlia- 
ment, but he saw in his eldest son some rare 
and special qualifications for parliamentary life ; 
and, in urging the younger Wilfrid to come for- 
ward as Liberal candidate, he was reinforced by 
the potent influence of his brother-in-law, Sir 
James Graham, one of the great land-owners of 
Cumberland. That extremely able man, and 
very variable politician, was now in his sixty- 
sixth year. He had represented eight con- 
stituencies, and now sate for Carlisle; he had 
held high office in Whig and Tory Governments, 
and was one of the strongest Free Traders in 
the Peelite group. His health was beginning to 
fail, and he was no longer a candidate for office, 
but he was still a great parliamentary figure, and 
Gladstone, to the end of his life, was accustomed 
to quote him as the greatest administrator whom 
he had ever known. His political opinions, 
which were eclectic and to some extent indi- 
vidual, by no means coincided with those of his 
brother-in-law, Sir Wilfrid Lawson and Sir 
Wilfrid's son; but he did not shrink from 
contact with their adventurous Radicalism, 
and actively promoted the scheme of bringing 



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Sir Wilfrid Lawson 105 

the younger Wilfrid forward for West Cumber- 
land. 

At the General Election of 1867 Wilfrid 
Lawson was duly nominated for that constitu- 
ency, and, though declared successful on the 
show of hands, was beaten at the poll. His 
way of consoling himself for this first defeat 
was eminently characteristic. He was so long 
and so generally known as the unflinching ad- 
vocate, in season and out of season, of an austere 
and unpopular cause, that some other aspects of 
his character have been completely overlooked. 
Few, I imagine, think of him as a fox-hunter, 
and yet hunting was one of the grand passions 
which swayed his earlier and middle life. On 
this point his own testimony is conclusive : — 

"After being defeated in the Liberal raid on 
West Cumberland I consoled myself considerably 
by hunting. I do not see anything really noble 
in galloping after a fox, but it is undeniably 
delightful. The Saturday Beview once wrote 
that no amusement is long popular in England 
( which is not either unwholesome or wicked.' 
Fox-hunting may be the exception which proves 
the rule. I have sometimes said that no man 
is likely to be much excited again by anything, 
who has killed a fox in the open with his own 



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106 Portraits of the Seventies 

hounds after forty minutes without a check, or 
who has won a contested election in the open 
voting days by a majority of less than two 
figures. I suppose hunting has seen its best 
days. The fiend who invented barbed wire 
struck at it its heaviest blow. But I doubt not 
that there are hundreds of young Englishmen 
who still feel towards it as I did when I was 
young. 

"In looking back I think perhaps the keenest 
delight which ever thrilled one was to look out 
of doors about ten on a winter's night, when 
there was a suspicion of frost, and to find that 
there was a soft wind blowing, so that one 
could hunt the next day. Even now the very 
sight of a fox electrifies one, though to fall in 
with one casually is almost as rare as to fall 
in with a Radical. 

11 About this time I had more or less acquaint- 
ance with the old Cumberland hunter, John 
Peel. Some people, I fancy, look upon him as 
a myth, or at least as a character about whom 
we have no reliable details, any more than we 
have about Nimrod. But this is a mistake. I 
believe there is some foundation for everybody 
who becomes prominent in either national 
or local history. At any rate, I have seen 



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Sir Wilfrid Lawson 107 

John Peel in the flesh and have hunted with 
him." 

At the General Election of 1859 Wilfrid 
Lawson returned to the charge, and was elected 
for Carlisle. I have been told by those who 
remembered his first appearance in the House 
that he was a very good-looking young man, 
smartly dressed according to the fashion of the 
day, with the "Dundreary whiskers' ' and peg- 
top trousers which now only survive in the 
pages of Punch. His maiden speech (in favour 
of the Ballot) was delivered in 1860, and in 
1864, by introducing his " Permissive Bill," he 
made himself what he remained to the end of 
his life — the leader of the Anti-Liquor party 
in Parliament. 

The main incidents of his parliamentary 
career can be briefly told. He lost his seat for 
Carlisle in 1865, chiefly through the unpopularity 
of his views on liquor-laws, but regained it in 
1868, having in the meanwhile succeeded to his 
father's baronetcy and estates. He sate for Carlisle 
till the General Election of 1885, when he was 
defeated. At the General Election of 1886 he 
was returned for the Cookermouth Division of 
Cumberland, which he retained till 1900, when 
he went down in the " Khaki Election." In 



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108 Portraits of the Seventies 

1903 he was returned for the Camborne Division 
of Cornwall, on the understanding that at the 
next General Election he should return to the 
Cockermouth Division. There he was successful 
at the General Election of 1906, and six months 
later he died. 

All the influences which surrounded Wilfrid 
Lawson at the age when human nature is 

Wax to receive, and marble to retain, 

tended to encourage and develope that Liberal 
habit of mind which was part of his essential 
constitution. But Liberalism is a name which, 
at one time or another, has been stretched to 
cover a large variety of opinions and beliefs, and 
young Lawson did not long leave his friends in 
doubt about the particular type of Liberalism 
which was to claim his allegiance. It might 
have been expected that his close association 
with Sir James Graham (who, when he was not 
a Tory, was a Whig) would have inclined the 
younger politician to "the principles of the 
Revolution of 1688," and to " the cause for which 
Hampden died on the field and Sidney on the 
scaffold." But Lawson's ardent and adventur- 
ous spirit utterly declined to be " nourished in 
the creed outworn " of Whiggery, and the only 



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Sir Wilfrid Lawson 109 

use which he had for " Whigs " was to make 
them rhyme with " Prigs," whenever their short- 
comings moved his muse to wrath. His parlia- 
mentary record proves beyond doubt or contradiction 
that he was from first to last, and only more 
markedly as time went on, a Badical. 

In February 1881 I was sitting by Lawson's 
side on the platform of the Memorial Hall, in 
Farringdon Street, at a meeting called to support 
the independence of the Transvaal ; and Lawson, 
in the course of his speech, said, suddenly and 
emphatically, "I am a Democrat," whereupon 
a voice from the hall interjected, " Then why 
don't you drop your 'andle?" Lawson was far 
too sensible a man to think that he would help 
his cause by an affectation of singularity in a 
matter of names or titles; but he showed his 
contempt — in my judgment excessive — for titular 
honours when he refused the Privy Councillor- 
ship ; and he spoke the literal truth when he 
said to his constituents in 1878 : " A seat in the 
House of Commons I value as the only honour 
I have that is worth possessing." 

Lawson declared himself a Democrat, but 
faith in Democracy means a good deal more 
than a contempt for honours. It means, though 
in a very different sense from that in which 



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no Portraits of the Seventies 

St. Augustine used the phrase, the conviction 
that securus judicat orbis terrarum. It means 
the belief, which Gladstone formulated, that "it 
is in the masses of the People that the deepest 
fountains of true life reside." A politician who 
believed, absolutely and without qualification, in 
Democracy would wish to see Lincoln's great 
ideal of " Government of the people, by the 
people, and for the people" applied without 
stint or reserve to every department of the 
national life. In the broadest and simplest 
terms he would trust the people to act wisely 
and rightly, and would leave them free to work 
out their own salvation. 

Tried by this test, was Lawson a Democrat? 
In nine out of ten of those concerns which 
affect the public good and which form the 
matter of politics, his democratic faith stood 
firm and immovable. In the tenth, and that 
was the main work of his life, it failed. He 
would not trust the people with the control of 
the liquor-traffic. He was willing enough that 
they should abolish it or diminish it. He 
was unwilling that they should establish or 
increase it. Here we seem to touch one 
inconsistency of Lawson's creed; and, like 
many another inconsistency in men who 



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Sir Wilfrid Lawson in 

have played great parts in history, it displays 
the intensity of a master-passion, trampling 
on the obstacles raised by logic and theory. 
That master-passion was, beyond question, his 
hatred of an agency which he believed to be 
fatal to physical and moral health, and of all 
forces and systems and doctrines which tended 
to encourage it and give it scope. I do not 
know who it was that first called Alcohol "the 
Devil in Solution," but the phrase exactly 
expresses Lawson's belief, and his belief neces- 
sarily governed his action. 

In the general field of politics, and outside 
the special department of the Liquor -Laws, 
Lawson followed the advanced line of the Liberal 
party. He was no lover of sects and schisms, 
plots in the lobby or combinations in the tea- 
room. His nature was to go straight ahead, 
turning neither to the right nor to the left, 
and always in what fox-hunters would call " the 
first flight." Apart from questions connected 
with Liquor, he was singularly free from 
crotchets and " isms " ; and, whatever was the 
policy of the advanced section of the Liberal 
party, you might be pretty sure that Lawson 
would be found supporting it. He had abso- 
lutely nothing in common with the bureau- 



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ii2 Portraits of the Seventies 

cratic, imperialist, and warlike spirit which, 
even before Gladstone's disappearance, began 
to infect the Liberal party. His hatred of 
militarism was one of his strongest passions. 
In July 1882 he consented to make a speech 
on Local Option at Aylesbury, and I well 
remember that, in discussing the arrangements 
for the meeting, he stipulated that he must get 
back to the House in time for the division on 
the Vote of Credit for military operations in 
Egypt. "I would not miss that division," he 
said, " though it was to be the last vote I 
should ever give in the House of Commons." 
Of course he voted against the Liberal govern- 
ment, which was then, in his judgment, 
violating the first principles of Liberalism. The 
bombardment of Alexandria moved his liveliest 
indignation, and on the 12th of July he pro- 
tested against it with an incisive vigour which 
was very distasteful to his leaders. 

" I say deliberately, and in doing so I challenge 
either Tory or Liberal to contradict me, that no 
Tory government could have done what the 
Liberal government did yesterday in bombard- 
ing these forts. If such a thing had been 
proposed, what would have happened? We 
should have had my Bight Hon. and learned 



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Sir Wilfrid Lawson 113 

friend, the Secretary of State for the Home 
Department 1 stamping the country, and de- 
nouncing Government by Ultimatum.. We 
should have had the noble Marquess, the Secre- 
tary of State for India, 2 coming down and 
moving a Resolution, condemning these pro- 
ceedings being taken behind the back of Par- 
liament. We should have had the President 
of the Board of Trade 3 summoning the Cau- 
cuses. We should have had the Chancellor of 
the Duchy of Lancaster 4 declaiming in the Town 
Hall of Birmingham against the wicked Tory 
Government; and, as for the Prime Minister, 
we all know there would not have been a rail- 
way-train, passing a roadside station, that he 
would not have pulled up to proclaim non-inter- 
vention as to the duty of the Government." 

This was in July. In the subsequent autumn 
Gladstone moved a Vote of Thanks to our 
soldiers for their conduct in Egypt, and Lawson 
opposed the motion in a speech full of oaustic 
humour and common - sense. "If," he said, 
" it comes to a Vote of Thanks, it is not 

1 Sir William Harcourt. 
* Lord Hartington. 

3 J. Chamberlain. 

4 J. Bright. (Mr. Bright resigned offiee on July 17th.) 

8 



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ii4 Portraits of the Seventies 

to the English troops that we should have 
moved it, but to the Egyptians — for running 
away." 

I said just now that Lawson followed the 
advanced line of the Liberal party. Not seldom 
he indicated that line as the right policy for the 
party, long before the leaders had come to recog- 
nize its possibility or its expediency. Thus in 
November 1881, when the Liberal government 
was imprisoning Parnell without trial, and Glad- 
stone was invoking " the resources of civilization" 
against its enemies, and Forster was hunting, 
very unsuccessfully, for the " Village Ruffians " 
whom he had promised to lay by the heels, 
Lawson made an emphatic declaration in favour 
of Home Rule. Addressing his constituents at 
Carlisle, he spoke as follows: — 

"I am convinced of one thing — that, as surely 
as I stand here, a disaffected nation, hating the 
rule of the nation that governs it, is not a 
source of strength to that country, but a source 
of weakness to every one concerned in the 
matter. Suppose you had a housemaid who was 
continually breaking the crockery, who went 
into hysterics once a week, and had to be put 
into a strait - waistcoat, and three or four 
policemen brought in to keep her in order, 



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Sir Wilfrid Lawson 115 

would you keep her? No; you would say, 
1 Wayward sister, go in peace.' (Cheers and 
laughter.) Or my friend Mr. Howard here. 
He keeps a pack of foxhounds. Suppose he 
had one abominable hound, always worrying 
the other hounds, howling and yelling all night, 
and flying at the huntsman's throat whenever 
he went into the kennel, do you think he would 
keep that hound ? Would he say, ' I must not 
have my pack "disintegrated"' ? No, he would 
write to the master of a pack of harriers, and 
say, 'I beg to make you a present of the most 
valuable hound in my pack.' (Loud laughter.) " 
There were probably not three other Members 
of Parliament who at that time would have 
ventured on that suggestion of Irish policy; 
and, apart from the singular courage which 
the speech disclosed, it is worth recalling as a 
typical instance of the speaker's favourite method. 
No one ever excelled him in the art of enforc- 
ing a serious argument by a humorous illustra- 
tion; and the allusion to the probable conduct 
of the disgusted Master of Foxhounds is about 
as characteristic a touch as any which can be 
found in all the great array of his collected 



In this particular matter of Home Eule, 



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n6 Portraits of the Seventies 

Lawson was miles ahead of his party. He 
thought and spoke and acted for himself, and 
was indeed a pioneer of the new policy. When 
the strife raged round more ordinary topics, 
such as the Extension of the Suffrage, the Ballot, 
Disestablishment, and resistance to the claims 
of the House of Lords, he marched in the fore- 
most rank. Perhaps, indeed, he outstripped it 
when, commending the Burials Act of 1880, 
he declared that the Act, good in itself, was 
only an instalment of a larger reform, and that 
the churches as well as the churchyards ought 
to be thrown open for Nonconformist rites. 

When a man's work in life has been done 
mainly through public speech, it is interesting 
to know something about his way of speaking. 
In this respect, as in so many others, Lawson 
was quite unlike what people who did not know 
him expected him to be. There was nothing 
fanatical, fiery, or excited about his style of 
oratory. He spoke with perfect ease and fluency, 
but quietly, deliberately, and with complete self- 
control. He was the master, not the servant, 
of his oratorical power. As a rule his speeches 
were carefully prepared, and he made free use 
of notes; but he could speak, when necessary, 
without premeditation; he was always on the 



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Sir Wilfrid Lawson 117 

happiest terms with his audience; was quick in 
reply, clever in dealing with an interruption, 
and successful in turning the laugh against the 
interrupter. 

James Russell Lowell, referring to his own 
writings at the time of the American Civil War, 
remarked that he had been " able to keep his 
head fairly clear of passion, when his heart was 
at boiling-point." Lawson might have said 
exactly the same about his political speaking. 
His heart was always " at boiling-point " when 
he was pleading for the causes in which he 
believed; but he contrived to "keep his head 
clear of passion," and was perfectly prepared 
to argue the point against adversaries who 
merely howled and raved. 

The aim of Logic, according to the ancients, 
is to arrive at truth; the aim of Rhetoric to 
persuade men. In Lawson's speaking both 
faculties were combined ; and, while he was 
always ready to give a reason for the faith that 
was in him, he knew as well as any one the 
value of resonant declamation, and the power 
of finely chosen words to enforce a moral appeal. 
It is only natural that his best-remembered 
speeches should be those connected with the 
liquor-traffic; for that was the subject which 



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n8 Portraits of the Seventies 

lay nearest his heart, and which inspired his 
most memorable performances in the way of 
public speaking. Those speeches will not easily 
perish, for the yarious organizations which seek 
to reform the liquor-laws, and the host of 
speakers and writers and compilers of extracts 
who labour for the same end, will long turn to 
Lawson for their most effective quotations. Even 
Canning himself, in his great comparison of 
a nation at peace to a man-of-war riding at 
anchor, 1 was not happier than Lawson in this 
description of the tide which was to carry the 
Permissive Bill: — 

" I have alluded to that little sign of progress. 2 
I shall be told it is all very well, but you know 
that all the great statesmen are still dead against 
your Bill.3 Of course they are. Why, when 
the great statesmen have come round, the Bill 
is as good as carried. Have you seen a flotilla 
of ships of all sizes riding at anchor in the 
tideway, and have you seen the tide turn and 
suddenly begin to flow? Which came round 
first? The little cock-boats; then the ships a 
little bigger; then the three-deckers; and then 

1 At Plymouth in 1823 (vol. vi. of Canning's Speech**). 
• The passing of the Irish Sunday Closing Bill 
3 The Permissive Bill. 



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Sir Wilfrid Lawson 119 

the great man-of-war wheels round along with 
the others. When the tide is strong enough, the 
statesmen — the tide-waiters — will come round 
with it. But don't you hurry these statesmen. 
They are far cleverer than we are. They won't 
do the right thing till the right time, and the 
right time is when you tell them they must do 
it. Statesmen, indeed ! Who pins his faith 
on statesmen? Not I. I have lived long 
enough to get over all that." l 

My own acquaintance with Wilfrid Lawson 
began, as I said before, when I entered Parlia- 
ment at the General Election of 1880. He 
was then fifty, and I was twenty-seven ; but it 
is a pleasant characteristic of the House of 
Commons that it obliterates all distinctions of 
age, as well as those of rank and wealth, and 
puts young and old and middle-aged on a footing 
of absolute equality. While this is a general 
law of the place, it is of course illustrated with 
special force in particular instances. Some of 
our seniors, with the best will in the world, 
used rather to patronize us and play the Heavy 
Father. Lawson's genial spirit, and total free- 
dom from stiffness and pomposity, would have 
made such an attitude towards younger men 
1 At Manchester, October 1876. 



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i2o Portraits of the Seventies 

impossible ; and I think that we regarded him 
as a kind of Elder Brother, whom it was 
particularly easy to approach, and on whose 
unaffected kindness we could always rely. 
Though my personal acquaintance with Lawson 
dated only from my entrance into Parliament, 
I was of course familiar with his public record; 
and it is conceivable that one might have 
formed in one's mind a rather alarming picture 
of the zealot who, in season and out of season, 
had so long been preaching the stern doctrine 
which was masked under the name of the 
Permissive Bill. But all such apprehensions 
were dispelled by Justin McCarthy, who, in his 
History of Our Own Times (published in 1878), 
had written as follows: — 

" The parliamentary leader of the agitation 
[against the Liquor-Traffic] was. Sir Wilfrid 
Lawson, a man of position, of great energy, 
and of thorough earnestness. Sir Wilfrid Lawson 
was not, however, merely energetic and earnest. 
He had a peculiarly effective style of speaking, 
curiously unlike what might be expected from 
the advocate of an austere and somewhat fanatical 
sort of legislation. He was a humorist of a 
fresh and vigorous ordqr, and he always took 
care to amuse his listeners, and never allowed 
his speeches to bore them." 



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Sir Wilfrid Lawson 121 

This account of Lawson I found, on personal 
contact, to be strictly true ; and I might have 
added that, unlike most leaders of great causes, 
he was perfectly tolerant of those who did not 
share his faith. In those distant and unregenerate 
days I had not even become a convert to the 
principle of Local Control over the liquor-traffic ; 
but this painful fact did not in the least impair 
the friendliness and good-fellowship with which 
Lawson honoured me. He knew that I was 
a convinced and ardent Radical, so that, on 
nine points out of ten in the Liberal creed, I 
agreed with him. He seemed content to accept 
me on that footing, and pleasantly assured me 
that as regards the liquor-laws I should come 
right one day. Whether I ever quite fulfilled 
his sanguine expectations I am not absolutely 
sure ; but I know very well that, in the quarter 
of a century during which I enjoyed the privilege 
of his friendship, I learned to regard the nobility 
and beauty of his character with ever-increasing 
admiration. His personal attractiveness had 
always been the same, but .our political sympathy 
grew deeper as time went on. In all those 
great issues of national policy where questions 
of right and wrong are concerned, he seemed 
to find his way, by a kind of intuition, to the 



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122 Portraits of the Seventies 

right side, long before the public conscience had 
been enlightened, and even when, as in the 
case of the South African War, it had been sys- 
tematically misled. His memory will always 
abide with me as that of the most unswervingly 
conscientious politician whom I have ever known. 
This seems, in some ways, a hard saying ; 
for it has been my happiness to know, and 
sometimes to be closely associated with, poli- 
ticians of the highest character and of unques- 
tionable integrity. But most of these men have 
been, on one side or the other, members of 
the government ; and it is obvious that any 
man who joins a government must do so with 
the full knowledge that he is making himself 
part of a system in which compromise, adjust- 
ment, mutual concession, and give-and-take are 
the necessary conditions of work; where no one 
can have everything exactly as he would wish 
it ; and where each man must be content if, 
in vital and urgent matters, he is sufficiently 
at one with his colleagues to make combined 
action possible. Then again some of the most 
high-minded men whom I have known in public 
life have been, before and above all else, loyal 
members of a party. To such men it is the 
easiest and most natural thing in the world to 



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Sir Wilfrid Lawson 123 

put their scruples in their pockets; to sub- 
ordinate their special objects, if they have any, 
to the general purpose ; to stifle all critical 
impulses whether in themselves or in others; 
and to back their leaders' policy however strange 
or inconsistent it may seem. Their motto is, 
" My party, right or wrong," and they act up 
to what they profess. 

With the habits of mind thus indicated Lawson 
had no sympathy. He would not have passed 
censures on members of governments or de- 
votees of Party, but he himself was built on 
different lines. He, instinctively and by habit, 
applied a perfectly independent judgment to each 
question as it arose. His conscience was, in 
Newman's fine phrase, a King in its imperious- 
ness, a Prophet in its predictions, a Priest in 
its benedictions or anathemas. If the course 
pursued even by his political friends deviated 
by a hair's breadth from the line which he 
thought right, his opposition was a foregone 
conclusion. He could never be convinced, or 
intimidated, or cajoled. In brief, his was exactly 
that type of character and intellect which is 
to the political managers a powerful irritant, 
and to the hacks whom they manipulate a 
sealed and hopeless mystery. 



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124 Portraits of the Seventies 

In my estimate of Lawson's character, I have 
assigned the first place to his conscientiousness ; 
the second, I think, belongs to his benevolence. 
"Philanthropy" would perhaps be a better word, 
but it is too much associated with societies and 
subscription-lists. Those who love a pseudo- 
philosophical style might prefer to call the 
quality altruism. But, name it how we please, 
I mean the quality which impels a man to 
sacrifice ease, comfort, popularity, if need be 
health and money; to spend and be spent; to 
face ridicule and calumny; to risk misunder- 
standing; to imperil valued friendships, and to 
brave the alternative reproach of foolery and 
knavery; in order to serve and save his fellow- 
men. This impulse always seemed to me the 
dominating influence of Lawson's life. He had 
absolutely nothing to gain by entering public 
life. The accidents of birth and fortune had 
placed him far above the sphere in which sordid 
and vulgar ambitions operate. The honourable 
prizes of parliamentary service meant nothing 
to a man who would not, for any inducement, 
have endured the trammels of office. He held 
tenaciously to the high faith that the chief 
reward of life is the consciousness of duty done ; 
and to applause, whether of parliaments or mobs, 



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Sir Wilfrid Lawson 125 

parties or persons, he was as indifferent as he 
was to calumny and abuse — and one could not 
express indifference more strongly. 

Wilfrid Lawson entered public life solely 
because he believed that a seat in the House 
of Commons afforded him a special and privi- 
ledged opportunity of working for his fellow- 
men, and of employing his peculiar gifts in the 
promotion of the great causes which were as 
dear to him as life itself. Those causes, taken 
in the mass, coincided pretty closely with those 
for which the Liberal party has always contended. 
It has been truly said that Liberalism is not 
so much a set of opinions as a temper of 
mind ; and the best answer ever made to the 
question, "Why are you a Liberal?" was, 
"Because I can't help it." In each succeeding 
age the Liberal " temper of mind " is brought 
to bear on the problems, ever fresh yet ever 
recurring, which concern the public good; and 
it issues in those practical efforts to •find the 
right solution which we call the " Causes." It 
is indeed a guess, but a pretty safe guess, that 
Wilfrid Lawson grew up a Liberal "because he 
couldn't help it." 

As regards the intercourse of private life, I 
consider Lawson the most purely humorous man 



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126 Portraits of the Seventies 

whom I ever encountered. Wild horses should 
not drag me into a discussion of the difference 
between Wit and Humour; but I shall suffi- 
ciently convey my meaning when I say that 
Lawson woke one's laughter, not by polished 
epigrams or verbal felicities, or anything which 
could possibly have been prepared beforehand, 
but by the spontaneous flow of his mirthful 
and mirth-making spirit, which saw instan- 
taneously the ludicrous aspect of each incident 
as it arose, and made the most unexpected 
turns from grave to gay. His memory was 
crammed with treasures of fun, which came 
tumbling out in headlong profusion, but always 
hitting, as it were by accident, the point of 
the moment's joke. No ludicrous scene or 
situation or phrase or characteristic seemed ever 
to have escaped his notice; and though no 
human being was far removed from the feeble- 
ness of " anecdotage," yet no one told a humorous 
story with so much pith and point. To hear 
Lawson talking at his best — and he was almost 
always at his best — was to enjoy the very 
perfection of irresistible comicality. 

When the gift of humour is so strongly de- 
veloped in a man as it was in Lawson, it must 
of necessity appear, not only in his speech but 



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Sir Wilfrid Lawson 127 

in his writing. Lawson made no pretensions to 
literary culture, and bestowed, so far as I know, 
no special pains on his written style. He wrote, 
as he spoke, out of the abundance of his heart ; 
but his mode of expressing himself, when he 
wrote for publication, was singularly racy, pointed, 
and effective. Serious, too, in their main pur- 
pose and drift were his private letters, of which 
he wrote an enormous quantity and to all sorts 
of people; but in these his humour refused to 
be suppressed, and bubbled out in happy phrases 
and quaint illusions. Almost every letter con- 
tained some characteristic touch of good sense 
and good feeling made persuasive by good fun. 

All through his parliamentary life he kept 
a singularly full and accurate diary; but the 
limits of space forbid more than one quotation, 
which, though written twenty-five years ago, 
has a striking relevance to the circumstances 

of to-day. 

July 18, 1891. 
[The Kaiser was in London,] " Some of oar party went 
to the Wimbledon Beview, and said it was good. Some (I 
one of them) went to see the finish of the Eton and Harrow 
match at Lord's. Harrow was manifestly the stronger, so 
the best men won — which is not always the case in this 
world. As the battle was over by 4.30, he went off to the 
Zoo for a bit. ... It would be well, perhaps, if Emperors 
were kept in cages also. They would do less harm than when 
they are loose." 



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CHAPTEE Vni 

LORD AOTON' 

npHE portraits which, so far, I have drawn 
-*- are the portraits of men who were very 
widely known. Hardly any one, at any rate 
during the Seventies, knew John Emerich 
Edward Dalberg-Acton, first Lord Acton. Yet 
he was a man so remarkable, in many respects 
unique, that this collection would be incomplete 
without some attempt to depict him. 

We will take physical characteristics first. 
Acton was of middle height, massive and portly 
in build, with a broad expanse of forehead 
from which the dark hair was slowly retreating. 
Dark too, though latterly streaked with silver, 
was his abundant beard, whiskers, and moustache. 
His eyes were bright and searching, but the 
expression of his faoe was serious and serene. 
His bearing was dignified, his dress mid- Victorian, 

■ 1884-1902. 



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*>*•«»] 



LORD ACTON. 



{.Kliiott & Fry. 



To face p. itt. 



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Lord Acton 129 

and his whole aspect, when one saw him in 
repose, suggested solidity and even approached 
lethargy. This suggestion was dispelled the 
moment that he began to speak. He spoke eagerly 
and pointedly, and evidently enjoyed talking, 
though he did not indulge in monologues but 
took his part on equal terms. He was quick 
at seizing the point, terse and apt in reply. 
He was a close observer of all personal 
characteristics ; had a keen eye for pretence, 
pomposity, and unreality; and was peculiarly 
happy when he was leading a vain or shallow 
talker to utter absurdities or to reveal ignorance. 
To all such offences he was merciless; not then 
and there, for his manners were excellent, but 
at a convenient season or in a confidential 
letter. He was genuinely humorous, but his 
humour was almost always sarcastic. Whether 
as host or guest, he thoroughly enjoyed society 
in every form; ate and drank with a serious 
and rather German gusto; and was essentially 
a gossip, diligent in collecting information, 
social, political, or personal, and eager, when 
it was unimportant, to impart it. 

I lay stress on " unimportant," for his most 
conspicuous trait was a sphinx-like mysterious- 
ness, which conveyed the sense that he knew 

9 



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130 Portraits of the Seventies 

a great deal more than he chose to impart, 
and was a walking depository of vital secrets. 

That Acton was unknown to the great 
majority of his countrymen was due to a com- 
bination of circumstances. He was a Roman 
Catholic by religion, more than half a German by 
blood, born at Naples, and educated at Munich. 
In early life he had sate in Parliament for two 
microscopic boroughs, Carlow and Bridgnorth, 
long since disfranchised; and was raised to the 
peerage by Gladstone in 1869. From first to last 
he was a profound Gladstonian, and Gladstone 
held him in the highest esteem. The two men 
were drawn together by common convictions 
in the spheres of religion and morality, and in 
what Gladstone called "the mixed sphere of 
religion and the sceculum" 

Acton was profoundly and essentially a Liberal, 
in the highest sense of that much-abused word. 
" Liberty," he said, " is not a means to a higher 
end. It is itself the highest political end." 
His politics were part of his religion, and his 
religion was his master-passion. It was, of 
course, a religion dogmatic and sacramental, but 
it was also intensely ethical. "Is this true? Is 
this right?" were the tests which he unfailingly 
applied to belief and conduct. " In judging 



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Lord Acton 131 

men and things/' he said, "ethics go before 
dogma, politics, and nationality." It is obvious 
that a man who entertained this sentiment would 
be a man after Gladstone's own heart ; and, con- 
versely, Gladstone, as being the essentially 
ethical statesman, was the idol of Acton's 
profoundest worship. After analysing, ,with all 
the apparatus of his historical omniscience, the 
powers of Chatham, Fox, Pitt, Canning, and Peel, 
he triumphantly affirmed that " the highest 
merits of the five, without their drawbacks, 
were united in Mr. Gladstone." 

Domestic circumstances led Acton to spend 
a good deal of his time abroad; but from 
Tegernsee or the Riviera he watched English 
politics with an anxious scrutiny. His loyal 
enthusiam for his political leader rather increased 
than declined during the troublous years which 
succeeded 1885. He was a staunch Home Ruler, 
and of so Gladstonian a type that he approved 
of the two capital vices which destroyed the 
Irish jxrficy of 1886 — the Land Purchase Bill 
and the exclusion of the Irish Members from 
the House of Commons. Following Gladstone 
through evil report and good report, through 
honour and dishonour, he persuaded himself that, 
when there next was a Liberal government, he 



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132 Portraits of the Seventies 

would become Foreign Secretary. When in 1892 
Gladstone formed his last administration, there 
were some who thought that a place might 
have been found for Acton in a Cabinet which 
contained Mr. Arthur Acland and Mr. Arnold 
Morley ; but other counsels prevailed. Acton was 
fobbed off with the offer of some absurd appoint- 
ment in the Household, which would have obliged 
him to play at being a soldier, and to wear 
a brass helmet with a horsehair plume. Even 
this offer, not far removed from an insult, was, 
after he had accepted it, withdrawn; and the 
greatest historian — some said the most learned 
man all round — in Europe, was made a Lord-in- 
Waiting. It was reserved, not for his chief and 
idol, but for a politician with whom he had 
scarcely an idea in common, to redress this 
anomaly. In 1895 Lord Bosebery made Aoton 
Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge, 
and so placed him in a position where his un- 
rivalled gifts at last found scope for their exercise. 
Here it is necessary to look back a, little. 
From early manhood Acton had devoted him- 
self to a task in which many a noble heart has 
been broken. He laboured, with amazing in- 
dustry and with an unconquerable hopefulness, 
to reconcile Liberalism, spiritual, intellectual, 



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Lord Acton 133 

and political, with the Papal dominion in the 
sphere of faith and morals. He failed, as many 
good men have failed before him, and the 
Vatican Council with its consequences seemed 
to emphasize his failure. But he did not, as 
so many in like circumstances have done, lose 
heart or faith. He pursued his path, " with 
his eyes fixed on higher lodestars," and devoted 
himself to what he intended to be the main 
work of his life — a History of Liberty. Never 
was there a more glorious theme ; but it was 
too vast for individual compass. His time, his 
talents, and his fortune were absorbed in the 
collection of material for the book — and it never 
was written. What he left behind him was a 
vast collection of disjointed notes, gathered 
from every age and every land and every tongue. 
No one had the clue to the labyrinth, or the 
secret of the plan which would have woven the 
fragments into one. A spiteful commentator 
said, when his Letters were published, that 
"he won an immense reputation merely by 
doing nothing " : the truth is that he had set 
himself a task too great to be accomplished 
within the limits of a human life. I have some- 
times thought that George Eliot might have had 
Acton in mind when she wrote of the Bev. 



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134 Portraits of the Seventies 

Edward Casaubon in Middlemarch : " This 
learned gentleman was possessed of a fortune ; 
he had assembled his voluminous notes, and 
had made that sort of reputation which precedes 
performance — often the larger part of a man's 
fame." 

Acton's appointment to the Professorship of 
Modern History at Cambridge saved a portion, 
and indeed a considerable portion, of his life's 
work from waste and oblivion. If it had not 
been for the years between 1895 and 1905, his vast 
knowledge would have profited only a very few. 
But at Cambridge he was in perpetual contact 
with fresh minds eager to know and to transmit 
what they acquired. Every one who came to 
him for assistance and instruction went away 
not merely satisfied and enlightened, but moved 
and touched by the profundity of his learning 
and by the depth of his moral convictions. He 
who for so long had been Unknown was here- 
after to be Well-known ; but he was only preach- 
ing from a more exalted pulpit the faith which 
he had held and taught for fifty years. While 
it was his fate to be suspected by Catholics as 
a Liberal and by Liberals as a Catholic, he was 
deeply convinced that religion lies near the 
heart of all history. " He never read of an 



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Lord Acton 135 

action without appraising its significance and 
morality, never learnt a fact without fitting it 
into its environment, and never studied a life 
or a period without considering its effect upon 
the progress of humanity/' This testimony, 
rendered by one of his colleagues in the pro- 
fessorial body, is amply justified by his public 
and private writings. " If," he said, " we lower 
our standard in history, we cannot uphold it in 
Church and State." Again : " To develope, and 
perfect, and arm conscience is the best achieve- 
ment of history, the chief business of every life ; 
and the first agent therein is Religion, or what 
resembles Religion." From his professorial chair 
he addressed to his pupils this noble allooution, 
pontifical in the best sense of the word : — 

"Try others by the final maxim that governs 
your own lives, and suffer no man and no 
cause to escape the undying penalty which 
history has the power to inflict on wrong." 

In spite of his eventual appointment to a post 
where his vast and varied knowledge could be 
turned to account, Acton left behind him no 
monumental work to which his friends could 
point and say, " There ; we always told you 
that he was the most learned man in England." 
But he left a more valuable legacy. As long 



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136 Portraits of the Seventies 

as his name is remembered and his words are 
read, Englishmen will not lack the needful re- 
minder that the Moral Law is supreme in civil 
and international, as in private and personal, 
concerns; and that, for men or for nations, 
Righteousness is the only true glory. 



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CHAPTER IX 

HENRY LABOUOHERE 1 

"TTTHBN the Grand Old Man goes, our 
* ▼ leader must be Le-bowcher." This 
fervent utterance of a convinced Radical, some- 
where about the year 1882, supplies me with 
a fitting text. 

I cannot pretend to write Labouchere's early 
history, or to describe his habits in private life ; 
nor can I even profess to have ever been an 
intimate friend. My connexion with him was 
purely fortuitous; it was confined to the House 
of Commons, and began with the new Parlia- 
ment of 1880. The saying which I have in- 
scribed at the head of this chapter sufficiently 
indicates the position which, quite early in the 
life of that Parliament, he acquired in Radical 
circles out of doors. Inside the House, we saw 
a different side of him ; and the contrast between 
the Labouchere of the House and the Labouchere 
* 1881-1912. 

137 



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138 Portraits of the Seventies 

of the platform was at opoe amusing and instruc- 
tive. 

As a Harrow boy of fifteen, I had admired the 
gay audacity with which, at the General Elec- 
tion of 1868, the democratic Labouchere upset 
the calculations of official Whiggery in Middle- 
sex, though he lost his own seat by doing so ; 
and it may be that some allusion of mine to 
that "unchartered freedom" first commended 
me to his kindly regard. At any rate, it is 
certain that from April 1880 onwards he always 
showed himself to me in his most accessible 
and obliging aspect. I will speak first of some 
slighter traits, and will then pass on to matters 
more important. 

" The Christian Member for Northampton " 
(as he delighted to call himself in contrast to 
his colleague, Bradlaugh) was not, at the time 
of which I speak, much known in general 
society. His social day was over, and I cannot 
suppose that he regretted it. He was the oracle 
of an initiated circle, and the smoking-room of 
the House of Commons was his shrine. There, 
poised in an American rocking-chair and deli- 
cately toying with a cigarette, he unlocked the 
varied treasures of his well-stored memory, and 
threw over the changing scenes of life the mild 



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HENRY LABOUCHERE. 

From a photo by Field, Maidstone. 



To fs:e p. 13& 



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Henry Labouchere 139 

light of his genial philosophy. It was a chequered 
experience that made him what he was. He 
had known men and cities; had probed in torn 
the mysteries of the Caucus, the Green-room, 
and the Stock -Exchange; had been a diplo- 
matist, a financier, a journalist, and a politician. 
Under these circumstances, it was not surpris- 
ing that his faith — no doubt originally robust — 
in the rectitude of human nature and the purity 
of human motive should have undergone some 
process of degeneration. Still, it may be ques- 
tioned whether, after all that he had seen and 
done, he really was the absolute and all-round 
cynic that he seemed to be. The palpable 
endeavour to make out the worst of every one — 
including himself — gave a certain flavour of 
unreality to his conversation; but, in spite of 
this drawback, he was an engaging talker. His 
language was racy and incisive, and he spoke 
as neatly as he wrote. His voice was pleasant, 
and his utterance deliberate and effective. He 
had a quick eye for absurdities and incongruities, 
a shrewd insight into affectation and bombast, 
and an admirable impatience of all the moral 
and intellectual qualities which constitute the 
Bore. He was by no means inclined to bow 
the knee too slavishly to an exalted reputation, 



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140 Portraits of the Seventies 

and he analysed with agreeable frankness the 
personal and political qualities of great and 
good men, even they that sate on the Liberal 
Front Bench. As an unmasker of political 
humbug he was supreme, but his dislike of that 
vice often led him into unreasonable deprecia- 
tions. I well remember the peroration of Mr. 
Gladstone's speech in introducing the Irish Land 
Bill of 1881; and I think it deserves to be 
reproduced : — 

"As it has been said that Love is stronger 
than Death, even so Justioe is stronger than 
popular excitement, stronger than the passions 
of the moment, stronger even than the 
grudges, the resentments, and the sad tradi- 
tions of the past. Walking in that light we 
cannot err. Guided by that light — that Divine 
light — we are safe. Every step that we take 
upon our road is a step that brings us nearer to 
the goal, and every obstacle, even although for 
the moment it may seem insurmountable, can 
only for a little while retard, and never can 
defeat, the final triumph." 

When the orator sate down we streamed 
into the lobby, each man saying to his neigh* 
bour: "Wasn't that splendid?" "The finest 
thing he ever did ! " " What a thrilling perora- 



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Henry Labouchere 141 

tion ! " " Yes " (in a drawl from Labouchere), 

"but I call it d d copy-book-y." 

I have spoken of the flavour of unreality 
which was imparted to Labouchere's conversation 
by his affected cynicism. A similar effect was 
produced by his manner of personal narrative. 
Ethics apart, I have no quarrel with the man 
who romances to amuse his friends; but the 
romance should be so conceived and so uttered 
as to convey a decent sense of probability, or 
at least possibility. Labouchere's narratives con- 
veyed no such sense. Though amusingly told, 
they were so outrageously and palpably im- 
possible that his only object in telling them 
must have been to test one's credulity. I do 
not mind having my leg pulled, but I dislike 
to feel the process too distinctly. 

These arts of romantic narrative, only partially 
successful in the smoking-room, were, I believe, 
practised .with great effect on the electors of 
Northampton. Labouchere was never happier 
than in describing the methods by which he 
had fobbed off some inconvenient enthusiast, 
or thrown dust in the eyes of a too curious 
enquirer. His dealings with his constituents, as 
he narrated them, had, I suppose, a good deal in 
common with his experiences as President of a 



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142 Portraits of the Seventies 

South American Eepublic or Commander of a 
revolutionary force; but they were extremely 
entertaining. He used to declare that he had 
originated the honorific title of " Grand Old 
Man," and his setting of the scene was as 
follows: Mr. Bradlaugh had been expelled from 
the House, and straightway went down to 
Northampton for re-election, his colleague, "the 
Christian Member " for the borough, accompany- 
ing him. What ensued at the first meeting 
may be told as Labouchere used to tell it. 
"I said to our enthusiastic supporters: c Men 
of Northampton, I come to you with a message 
from the Grand Old Man. (Cheers.) I went 
to see him before I left London; I told him 
of my errand here ; and he laid his hand 
on my shoulder, saying, in his most solemn 
tone, i Bring him back with you, Henry; bring 
him back. 1 That carried the election." I 
dare say it did; and the picture of Mr. Glad- 
stone fondling Labouchere and calling him 
" Henry " can never be obliterated from the 
mental gaze of any one who knew the two men. 
There was a good deal of impishness in 
Labouchere's nature. He was of the family of 
Fuck, and "Lord! what fools these mortals 
be ! " probably expressed his attitude towards his 



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Henry Labouchcrc 143 

fellow-creatures. But it was noticeable that 
his impishness never degenerated into rudeness. 
There is as clear a difference between gentle- 
manlike fun and vulgar fun as between cham- 
pagne and swipes. Labouchere was a gentleman 
to the backbone, and had all the courtesy which 
one would have expected from his antecedents. 
I remember that, in the stormy days of 
January 1881, when the authorities of the House 
were obliged to extemporize some rules against 
disorder, I happened to be crossing New Palace 
Yard in company with Mr. Herbert Gladstone. 
We met Labouchere, who chirped, in his cheeriest 
manner, "Well, has the tyrant made any fresh 
attack on free speech to-day ? " Herbert Glad- 
stone passed on, without reply, and Labouchere 
said to me, with genuine concern, "He can't 
have thought I meant his father, can he? Of 
course, I was thinking of the Speaker.'' It was 
interesting to see that he seemed to shudder at 
the bare notion of having been unintentionally 
rude. 

I remember Gladstone, in one of his odd 
fits of political speculation, asking if I thought 
that there was even one man in the House 
of Commons, however radical he might be, who 
would vote for unwigging the Speaker. I, rather 



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144 Portraits of the Seventies 

obviously, suggested Labouchere, and Gladstone 
replied, "Yes, possibly; but that would be 
from freakishness, not from conviction." No 
powers of divination could have ascertained 
what Labouchere really believed; but I think 
it was easier to know what he really enjoyed. 
I suppose he enjoyed his wealth — most people 
who have it do so — but chiefly, I should think, 
on rather impish grounds. It was an acute 
delight to him in early days to know that he 
was bound to inherit the fortune of his uncle, 
Lord Taunton, a high-dried Whig, who detested 
his eccentricities. He took pleasure in saying 
to casual acquaintances, " You know that my 
sister married the Bishop of Bochester ; " for he 
felt the incongruity of the fate which had 
made him brother-in-law to Anthony Thorold, the 
primmest, correctest, and most stiffly starched of 
all the Anglican Episcopate. Litigation always 
seemed to delight him, less for the objects 
contested than for the opportunity which it 
gave him of scoring and surprising; and I am 
sure that I do him no wrong when I say 
that he found a peculiar zest in buying a 
freehold house in Old Palace Yard, and thereby 
impeding the schemes of Mr. H. Y. Thompson 
for creating a National Valhalla. I feel certain 



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Henry Labouchere 145 

that he thoroughly enjoyed the proprietorship of 
Truth, and not less the reputation (which we 
are now told was erroneous) of being its editor. 
I believe that he had a genuine sympathy with 
all victims of cruelty, fraud, and injustice, and 
found a real pleasure in the immense service 
which Truth did in unmasking impostors and 
bringing torturers to justice. 

Labouchere made Truth, and, in one most 
important respect, Truth made Labouchere. 
I do not refer to anything in the way of profit 
or of consideration which it may have brought 
him, for he was placed by the circumstances of 
his birth in a position where such things neither 
make nor mar. I refer to his political career. 
I do not know whether, when as a young man 
he flitted in and out of Parliament, he 
cherished any serious ambitions. I doubt if 
he had them even when he became M.F. for 
Northampton. But the events of the Parlia- 
ment of 1880 brought him rapidly to the front. 
His valorous championship of Bradlaugh gave 
him a peculiar position at a moment when the 
public mind was violently agitated by panic- 
fears of Atheism. He stood for religious freedom 
when many of its sworn adherents ran away; 
and on all the points of old-fashioned Radicalism 

10 



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146 Portraits of the Seventies 

(before Socialism affected it) he was as sound as 
a bell. Hence the cry of the London democrat 
— " Our leader must be Le-bowcher." But before 
that desirable consummation could be reached, 
the Liberal majority of Easter 1880 had melted 
like last year's snow. The Tories took office, 
and the General Election of 1885 did not dis- 
place them. In February 1886 Gladstone, having 
squared the Irish members, became Prime Minister, 
and now Labouchere's position was difficult and 
tantalizing. His party were in office, and the 
way seemed clear for some radical reforms on 
which Liberals had long set their hearts. But 
Chamberlain, and some of the Badical group 
with whom Labouchere had acted, declined to 
accept Home Rule, left the government, and 
created Badical Unionism. If they voted 
against the Second Beading of the Home Bule 
Bill, it would almost certainly be thrown out, 
and the government would follow it into retire- 
ment. Here was, indeed, a perplexing situation, 
and it forced Labouchere into action which 
must certainly have been uncongenial to him. 
Four days before the vital division, when argu- 
ment on either side was exhausted and every 
one had decided on his course, Labouchere, 
writing on behalf of a large body of Liberal 



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Henry Labouchcrc 147 

M.P.'s, addressed to Chamberlain an earnest 
appeal, imploring him either to vote for the 
second reading or at least to abstain. He 
pointed out that a second General Election within 
seven months would be a serious matter for 
Liberals, and that an appeal to the country, 
without Chamberlain (then at the height of 
his popularity) on the Liberal side, might lead 
to a Whig-Tory or Tory- Whig Government, and 
so "relegate to the dim and distant future" 
those measures which they had so long and so 
ardently desired. To this appeal Chamberlain 
naturally replied that he and his friends would 
be stultifying themselves if, after all they had 
said and done, they were at the last moment 
to abstain from giving effect to their convic- 
tions. " I admit," said Chamberlain, " the 
dangers of a General Election at the present 
time; but I think the responsibility must in 
fairness rest upon those who have brought in, 
and forced to a division, a Bill which, in the 
words of Mr. Bright, 'not twenty members 
outside the Irish party would support if Mr. 
Gladstone's great authority were withdrawn 
from it.' " 

I must believe that, when Labouchere penned 
the appealing document, he had his tongue in 



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148 Portraits of the Seventies 

his cheek. The simple souls in the constituen- 
cies, and the not much wiser ones who had just 
entered Parliament, may have believed that 
Chamberlain, having staked his whole career 
on a decisive act, would shrink from it at the 
last moment for fear he should embarrass the 
Liberal party; but Labouchere, I feel certain, 
had no such illusions. Yet the incident was 
not without its effect. The championship of 
Bradlaugh was now over, for Bradlaugh was 
in the House to look after himself. Hence- 
forward Labouchere was one of the most per- 
sistent, and, through Truth, one of the most 
powerful advocates of Home Rule, and a highly 
resourceful counsellor in all the plots and 
stratagems which made the political history 
of 1886-92. 

It was at this period of storm and stress 
that Sir Frederick Bridge, who was one of 
Labouchere's neighbours in Westminster, was 
moved to utter his thought in song. The poem 
appeared in Punch, and is reprinted here by 
permission of the proprietors of that journal. 



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Henry Labouchere 149 

LABBT IN OUR ABBEY.' 
Time— "Sally in our Alley." 

Of all the boys that are so smart 

There's none like crafty Labby; 
He learns the secrets of each heart, 

And he lives near our Abbey 9 ; 
There is no lawyer in the land 

That's half so sharp as Labby; 
He is a demon in the art, 

And guileless as a babby. 

For Arthur Balfour, of the week 

By far the very worst day 
Is that dread day that comes betwixt 

A Tuesday and a Thursdays; 
For then he reads his vile misdeeds 

("Unmanly, mean, and shabby") 
Exposed to view in type so true 

By penetrating Labby. 

Our Ministers and Members all 

Make game of truthful Labby, 
Tho\ but for him, 'tis said they'd be 

A sleepy lot and flabby ; 



1 Written during the period when Mr. Arthur Balfour 
was Chief Secretary for Ireland. 
* Labouohere resided in Old Palace Yard, Westminster. 
3 Truth was published on Wednesday. 



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150 Portraits of the Seventies 

But ere their seven long years are out 1 

They hope to bury Labby; 
Ah I then how peacefully he'll lie, 

But not in our Abbey. 

What Sir Frederick Bridge wrote jestingly, 
Labouchere, for once in his life, took seriously. 
There can be no doubt that by this time he had 
formed a definite ambition of political office. 
During the six years of Tory ascendency he 
fought incessantly, with tongue and pen, for 
the Liberal cause, and he reckoned confidently 
on being included in the next Liberal Cabinet. 
But he had reckoned without his host. The 
Parliament which had been elected in July 1886 
was dissolved in June 1892. The General 
Election gave Gladstone a majority of forty all 
told. He became Prime Minister for the fourth 
time, and formed his last Cabinet. But he did 
not find a place in it for Labouchere. Before 
he submitted his list to the Queen, he had 
received a direct intimation 3 that he had better 
not include in it the name of the editor of 
Truth. On this point Her Majesty was 
declared to be "very stiff." Whether that 
stiffness encountered any corresponding, or con- 

1 A referenoe to the Septennial Aot. 
» Whioh I have read.— G. W. E. B. 



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Henry Labouchere 151 

dieting, stiffness in the Prime Minister I do 
not know, but for my own part I believe that 
"the Grand Old Man" acquiesced in the ex- 
clusion of " Henry " without a sigh or struggle. 
Displeased by the issue of events, Labouchere 
took a mild revenge. He printed in Truth 
some severe strictures on Gladstone's new 
administration, partly because it was too 
Whiggish, and illustrated them with a hideous 
cartoon, in which all we who had accepted office 
were caricatured. Participating in these rebuffs, 
and surprised by my friend's lapse from amenity, 
I wrote Labouchere a letter of remonstrance, 
which proved about as efficacious as his own 
appeal to Chamberlain six years before. This 
was his answer : — 

August 24, 1892. 
My dbab BubsbiiL, 

Never be drawn. Let a licentious and scurrilous Press 
say what it likes, and sit tight. . . . My Radicalism goes to 
the utter destruction of the aristocracy. So, of course, I call 
attention to young patricians, and compare them with those 
children of the people, Cobb and Channing. This is involved 
in being on the side of destruction. 

Yours sincerely, 

H. Labouohbbb. 

Thus Labouchere's political ambitions came 
to an end, unsung indeed, but, I fear, not 



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152 Portraits of the Seventies 

unwept. Very soon he developed a new scheme 
for the employment of his powers, and pursued 
it with the most untiring industry. He wished 
to be made Ambassador at Washington, and he 
wished it with an insistence which people who 
knew him superficially would scarcely have 
expected- Lord Bosebery was at the time 
Foreign Secretary; and if it be true, as I have 
seen it stated, that he was one of the very few 
people whom Labouchere hated, I think the 
reason might be found in the correspondence of 
1892-93. 

In later years my communications with 
Labouchere were few and far between. It 
happened that, towards the end of the year 
1906, I had occasion to write to him for some 
information about a foreign question. He 
immediately replied, and then turned to current 
politics : — 

"I find it very comfortable being out of 
Parliament, and reading in the papers what they 
do — or don't do — in the H. of C. Our pawky 
friend C. B. seems to be very popular. I am a 
Radical, but it strikes me that he will upset 
the apple-cart or create a reaction if he yields 
so much to the ultra-Labour men of the Keir 
Hardie type on social issues, particularly if 



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Henry Labouchere 153 

"Joe" is good enough to remain an invalid, 
and the Conservative party oan free itself of his 
fiscal "reforms." As for the Education Bill, I 
do not love Bishops, but I hate far more the 
Noncon. Popes. Either you must have pure 
Secularism in public schools, or teach religion 
of some sort; and, altho' I personally am an 
Agnostic, I don't see how Xtianity is to be 
taught free from all dogma, and entirely 
creedless, by teachers who do not believe in it. 
This is the play of Hamlet without Hamlet, 
and acted by persons of his philosophic doubt." 
So, at least for once in his life, Labouchere 
was on the same side as the Bishops, and in 
that good company we may leave him. 



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CHAPTER X 

JOSEPH CHAMBERLAIN' 

"T~T was only for six years that I had any close 
- A - acquaintance with the late Member for 
West Birmingham. After the great disruption 
of 1886 our paths diverged, and since that date 
I only met him in the casual intercourse of 
general society, and that rarely. But I never 
had a disagreeable word from him, and, even 
after the disruption, many kind ones. 

I entered Parliament at the General Election 
of 1880, being just twenty-seven years old. 
Chamberlain had entered at a by-election in 
1876, and was seventeen years my senior. At 
that time I knew very little about him. After 
the Liberal defeat at the polls in 1874, he had 
denounced Gladstone's Election Address, promis- 
ing to repeal the Income Tax, as the "meanest 
document ever issued by a public man." He 
was reported to have said that the Prince of 
« 183&-19U. 

154 



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JOSEPH CHAMBERLAIN. 
From a photograph by Russell & Sons. 



To face p. 154. 



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Joseph Chamberlain 155 

Wales would be received in Birmingham with 
the same sort of curiosity which would be excited 
by the Tichborne Claimant. In a debate in 
1879 he had referred to Lord Hartington as 
"the late leader of the Liberal party." At the 
General Election of 1880 Sir William Harcourt 
described him as having been consecrated by a 
kind of apostolic succession to take the place 
long occupied by John Bright, as Chief Bogey 
of the Tory party. But none of these things 
affected me. I had entered the campaign with 
the one object of defeating Lord Beaconsfield's 
Eastern policy, and my sole leader was Glad- 
stone. If only he became Prime Minister, 
nothing else mattered. When, on the 23rd of 
April, 1880, he kissed hands, the victory was 
won. 

The formation of the new Cabinet was not a 
matter of thrilling interest. " The old familiar 
faces" turned up in the old familiar places. 
Dilke was fobbed off with an Under-Secretary- 
ship. Fawcett was disqualified by blindness. 
Chamberlain was the sole representative of 
Radicalism in a Cabinet dependent for its exist- 
ence on Radical support. The victory over Lord 
Beaconsfield being won, we were turning our 
thoughts towards those domestic problems which 



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156 Portraits of the Seventies 

had so long pressed for solution ; and Chamber- 
lain, who had taken no great part in the Eastern 
Question, became interesting, beoanse his pre- 
sence in a Cabinet staffed with Whigs seemed 
to afford our only hope of social reform. 

Early in my first session I was introduced to 
Chamberlain, I cannot remember by whom, 
but very likely by my staunch friend, Sir George 
Trevelyan. I was at once and strongly attracted 
by him. He was wholly free from the stiffness 
and pomposity which the old hacks of the 
Liberal Cabinet sedulously cultivated. He re- 
ceived one at once on the footing of comrade- 
ship and equality; and he talked with that 
complete openness which, when displayed by an 
older to a younger man, is in itself a compliment. 
But, before I recall his conversation, let me 
describe his appearance. 

He was then forty-three years old, but looked 
at least ten years younger. Even as late as 
1885, when he was in his fiftieth year, I heard 
him acclaimed by the " voice " at a public 
meeting as the "Grand Young Man" of the 
Liberal party. He had the sharply pointed 
features which we all remember ; pale and rather 
sallow complexion, dark hair, and slight whiskers. 
The eyeglass and the orchid were conspicuous 



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Joseph Chamberlain 157 

appendages. The obvious and universal remark 
was that he resembled Pitt ; but the resemblance 
began and ended with the angle of the nose. 
Pitt was tall, gaunt, stiff, and supremely digni- 
fied. Chamberlain was rather short than tall; 
not the least dignified; singularly pliant and 
active. The extreme alertness of look and 
manner and movement irresistibly suggested the 
associations of the counter, and Gilbert's 

Pushing young particle— 
What's the next article? 
Threepenny 'bus young man. 

His whole appearance was conspicuously neat 
and glossy. He looked, to use the common 
phrase, as if he had just come out of a band- 
box — but critics said that it was a provincial 
band-box. He wore his tie in a ring, and dis- 
played his handkerchief outside his frock-coat 
like a star. 

It seems curious, in view of all that has 
happened since, to remember that Chamberlain 
played very little part in the Parliament of 1880. 
From the beginning to the end of that Parlia- 
ment, Ireland, in one form or another, engrossed 
the House of Commons; and Chamberlain very 
rarely intervened in Irish debates. He was 



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158 Portraits of the Seventies 

more concerned with the affairs of his depart- 
ment, such as bankruptcy and merohant 
shipping; and, as they were not of absorbing 
interest, he seemed to be much more at leisure 
than most members of the Cabinet. It is, 
perhaps, due to this circumstance that I enjoyed 
so much of his society; for in the lobby and 
in the tea-room and on the terrace I seem to 
have been very often in his company; and his 
hospitality was unbounded. He was a perfect 
host, receiving his guests with " that honest joy 
which warms more than dinner or wine " ; 
mixing his parties adroitly, and inciting, though 
never dominating, the conversation. He frankly 
enjoyed a good dinner. " So many of the 
pleasures of life are illusory," he once said to 
me; a but a good dinner is a reality ; and, by 
Jove ! after such a Session as we've been 
through, I think we deserve it." In this con- 
nexion I recall some words which now have a 
pathetic interest. Knowing that I had never 
been strong, Chamberlain said to me, with 
genuine kindness, " The House of Commons is 
rather a trying place for the health, but don't 
let any one persuade you to take exercise. 
Exercise was invented by the doctors to bring 
grist to their mill. They knew that men who 



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Joseph Chamberlain 159 

went in for exertion would soon come to them 
as patients. When I was a young man, I be- 
lieved them, and I constantly suffered from 
congestive headaches. Now I defy them and 
am perfectly well. I eat and drink what I like, 
and as much as I like. I smoke the strongest 
cigars all day ; and the only exercise I take is 
to walk up to bed. That is quite enough for a 
man who has worked his brain all day — and I 
mean to live to a hundred." 

His chief interest and enjoyment always 
seemed to consist in work, and, rather specially, 
in the work of organizing and controlling political 
opinion in Birmingham. If he ever needed 
relaxation, he found it in very simple forms. 
His love of* flowers we all know, and he was 
fond of collecting black-and-white furniture. He 
had some rather elementary views about the 
arts — architecture for one — but for literature 
(except French novels, of which he had a large 
assortment) he had not the slightest feeling. 
When I first knew him, he rented from Lord 
Acton a house in Prince's Gate, which, as was 
natural in a house of Acton's, contained a con- 
siderable library. When he left it for Prince's 
Gardens, I said, "You will miss the library"; 
to which he replied, with indescribable emphasis, 



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160 Portraits of the Seventies 

"Library! I don't call that a library. There 
isn't a single book of referenoe in it." 

Of course our conversation turned often, 
though not always, on politics; and, as I joined 
the government in 1883, we were officially 
bound to the support of the same policy. But, 
in questions outside the official programme, I 
was a keen supporter of Chamberlain, and his 
schemes of social reform, as against the fatal 
laissez-faire which the Whigs regarded as the 
only safe statesmanship. Just before I joined the 
government, I had declared my opinions in an 
article in the Nineteenth Century, and I repro- 
duce a fragment of it here, in order to show 
the grounds of my sympathy with Chamberlain. 
The " Unauthorized Programme" "appeared in 
1885, and exhibited in a detailed and working 
form the policy which I had thus enounced in 
1883:— 

"The high Whig doctrine would limit the 
functions of the State to the preservation of life 
and property, and the enforcement of contracts. 
Modern Liberalism, on the other hand, regard- 
ing the State as ' the nation in its collective and 
corporate character,' sees in it the one sovereign 
agent for all moral, material, and social reforms, 
and reoognizes a special duty to deal with ques- 



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Joseph Chamberlain 161 

tions affecting the food, health, housing, amuse- 
ment, and culture of the working classes." 

Holding these views, I was naturally attracted 
to Chamberlain's leadership. He alone among 
the Liberal leaders of the time dared to defy the 
hoary shibboleths of the Manchester School, and 
to urge the active intervention of the State and 
the community in matters hitherto left to indi- 
vidual enterprise and competitive selfishness. He 
alone seemed to understand the troubles of the 
poor, and to perceive a way of remedying them. 
But in matters more strictly political we did not 
always see eye to eye. He was, even in those 
distant days, something of a Jingo. The bom- 
bardment of Alexandria caused deep searchings 
of the Liberal conscience, but Chamberlain did 
not share them. "I was sick," he said to me, 
"of being kicked all over Europe. I never was 
a peace-at-any-price man. I opposed the Tory 
government, not because it went to war, but 
because it always fought on the wrong side." 
His attitude towards the Irish questions which 
arose so constantly between 1880 and 1885 
varied from time to time ; and this he would 
neither have cared to deny nor to extenuate. 
He thought political consistency a highly over- 
rated virtue. " In politics, a year ahead is the 

ii 



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1 62 Portraits of the Seventies 

same as eternity. You begin a new day each 
morning, and you should do your work in it, as 
the occasion arises, neither looking backwards nor 
forwards/' Feeling was a stronger element in his 
nature than reason, and his feeling was rapidly 
and powerfully affected by the circumstances 
of the moment. In the debate on Forster's 
Coercion Bill in 1881, Mr. T. P. O'Connor 
reproached him with having had, "if not the 
courage of his convictions, at least the silence 
of his shame"; and so general was the belief 
in his sympathy with the Irish cause that an 
Irish member said to him, in my hearing, " We 
shall make you a Home Buler yet, Mr. Cham- 
berlain" ; to which he replied, "By Jove I it 
wouldn't take much to do that." During the 
progress of that Parliament, the reign of torture 
and terror which the Land League maintained 
in Ireland, the gross misconduct of the Irish 
members in the House, and, perhaps, some per- 
sonal insolence to himself, visibly affected his 
attitude. One day he told me, with impressive 
earnestness, that the Irish were fools in thus 
provoking the English, for nothing would be 
easier than to raise an anti-Irish passion in the 
English boroughs, which would rival the anti- 
Jewish passion in Bussia. Though he receded 



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Joseph Chamberlain 163 

from the idea of Home Bule — if, indeed, he had 
ever entertained it — he still was an advocate for 
a thorough reconstruction of Irish Government 
on a representative basis; and the contumely 
with which Parnell rejected his scheme of 
National Councils made him a vehement and 
persistent enemy of the Irish cause. 

I have spoken above of Chamberlain's humani- 
tarianism, which I have always believed to be 
absolutely genuine. He loathed the sight of 
curable misery, and longed to remedy it. A 
lover of humanity he certainly was — at least in 
those days — but was he equally a lover of free- 
dom? I doubt it. Gladstone, in talking to me 
once, likened him to Gambetta, as un homme 
autoritaire ; and certainly the love of governance, 
of domination, of having his own way, was a 
master-passion. He detested and despised ad- 
ministrative feebleness. I remember the keen 
admiration with which he described the Ameri- 
can way of dealing with a riot. " You sound a 
bugle, so as to let the rioters disperse if they 
choose; and, if they don't, you shoot." He 
gloried in administrative strength; and, even in 
the work of social reconstruction, I think he 
would have liked to do the reconstructing with 
his own hand, much better than to see it done 
by the working classes for themselves. 



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164 Portraits of the Seventies 

The year 1885 saw Chamberlain at the height 
of his power. The old Whigs, most of whom 
had fallen away from the Government, loathed 
him. His colleagues in the Cabinet were not 
very fond of him ; and Gladstone simply did not 
understand him. The saying that Gladstone 
understood Man but not men was never more 
conspicuously illustrated than in the case of 
Chamberlain. He only admitted him to the 
Cabinet because he was forced to do so, and 
made no use of him when he got him there. 
He had not the faintest notion of Chamberlain's 
influence in the country, and did not even 
realize, till it was too late, his unique power of 
public speech. That Chamberlain felt this, and 
resented it, is only to say that he was human. 
The game of slight was a game which two could 
play, and in 1886 Chamberlain promulgated his 
great programme of political and social reforms 
without the slightest reference to the chief who 
had ignored him. It had now been settled 
that the General Election should take place in 
November 1886, and early in the year Cham* 
berlain opened the campaign with a series of 
admirably forceful speeches in great centres of 
population. The defeat of the Government, in 
June, gave him an extended freedom, and he used 



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Joseph Chamberlain 165 

it with abounding energy for the furtherance of 
the objects on which he had set his heart. 

The Fortnightly Beview published a series of 
articles dealing with the political situation as 
transformed by the extension of the suffrage and 
by redistribution; with the machinery, and the 
measures, which the time demanded; with the 
Housing of the Poor, the Agricultural Labourer, 
Religious Equality, Free Schools, Taxation, and 
Local Government. These were collected in a 
volume, and issued in August 1885, with a 
preface by Chamberlain, who, without committing 
himself to all the proposals, commended the book 
as "a definite and practical Programme for the 
Badical party." The least felicitous of the 
articles was that which dealt with Religious 
Equality, and which was attributed, with much 
inherent probability, to Mr. — now Lord — Morley. 
Of Chamberlain's attitude towards religion at 
that period I cannot speak from personal experi- 
ence. Knowing, I suppose, that I was a deter- 
mined adherent of traditional Christianity, he 
never approached the subject of religion. I was 
told by J. H. Shorthouse that the "Chamberlain 
influence" in Birmingham was not only heterodox, 
but actively and bitterly secularist; and such 
was the spirit which seemed to animate the 



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1 66 Portraits of the Seventies 

article on " Religious Equality." To recommend 
this separation of Church and State was quite 
in accordance with the Radical tradition; but 
the article betrayed such a virulence against the 
Church which it proposed to disestablish as to 
create general disgust. More than anything else 
in the book, it kindled hostility to the Radical 
cause, and so contributed to the defeat of the 
" Unauthorized Programme." Another lapse 
which cost us dear was Chamberlain's declara- 
tion, in a public speeoh, that property must be 
prepared to pay "ransom" in the shape of 
taxation. Now Chamberlain, who had made 
money and enjoyed it, was no enemy to property. 
He had no wish, as he said in his forcible ver- 
nacular, to "drive every one who was worth a 
nag out of the Liberal party." But it was a 
case of verbal infelicity. The word " ransom" 
was enough to stir the furious opposition of every 
property-holder; whereas if the word " insurance" 
had been used instead, the declaration would 
have passed as a statesmanlike platitude. 

However, in spite of these indiscretions, when 
we approached the General Election of 1886 
Chamberlain's was the most popular name in 
the urban constituencies. The artisans were 
rather tired of Gladstone, though the labourers 



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Joseph Chamberlain 167 

justly regarded him as their emancipator. When, 
on an urban platform, one mentioned the name 
of "Gladstone," there was a decorous "Hear, 
hear 9 '; but, when one came to "Chamberlain," 
the cheering lifted the roof and lasted for five 
minutes. 

Such was the political situation when, on 
October 2, 1885, I went on a visit to Hawarden. 
Soon after I arrived, Gladstone took me aside, 
and began a political conversation. He knew, 
rather with disapproval, that I was a supporter 
of the "Unauthorized Programme," and an 
adherent of Chamberlain. "What," he asked, 
"is Chamberlain's object?" I replied that, so 
far as I knew, Chamberlain's object was not to 
oust Gladstone from the leadership, but to secure 
the reversion of it when Gladstone should resign 
it. Above all, he was determined that Hartington 
should not lead the Liberal party. Some earnest 
conversation followed ; and at length I suggested 
that the simplest way out of the perplexities 
would be to invite Chamberlain to Hawarden, 
and discuss the situation with him. This would 
be better than negotiation between emissaries, 
and might avert the disaster which would cer- 
tainly ensue if the Liberal party went into the 
Election with two leaders and two programmes. 



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1 68 Portraits of the Seventies 

Eventually I carried my point. I wrote the 
telegraphic invitation with my own hand, and 
backed it with a letter to Chamberlain. Unfortu- 
nately, I had to leave Hawarden before he arrived, 
but he wrote to me on his return to Birmingham. 
Nothing, he said, could have been socially more 
pleasant than the visit, but politically it had 
been a failure. Gladstone would not budge an 
inch towards the " Unauthorized Programme " ; 
and, said Chamberlain, " If I were to recede, the 
stones would immediately cry out." So we 
entered the Election with divided leadership, 
and the result was nearly, though not quite, as 
bad as I predicted. We were saved from 
destruction by the agricultural labourers, whom 
the policy of "three acres and a cow" had 
attracted. Just after the Election Chamberlain 
was dining at a house where a silver cow was 
one of the ornaments on the dinner-table, and 
he apostrophized it with unmistakable sincerity 
— "Oh, you blessed animal! Where should we 
have been without you?" On December 9th 
I called on Chamberlain in Prince's Gardens 
and had a conversation which now illuminates 
some passages of his later career. Before the 
Election, he had always told us that, as Bright 
ODce said, "Birmingham is Liberal »s the se» 



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Joseph Chamberlain 169 

is salt." But the polling in the redistributed 
borough showed that in each of the divisions 
there was a considerable element of Toryism, 
and in some a very large one. What was the 
explanation? "Fair Trade" said Chamberlain. 
"You have no notion what a hold it has laid 
upon the artisans. It almost beat Broadhurst. 
I had to neglect my own division to fight Fair 
Trade in his ; and it took me all I knew to get 
him in." I am convinced that this was to 
Chamberlain a startling revelation; and, though 
the subject was soon forced out of view by the 
Irish controversy, I suspect it remained at the 
back of his mind. When he was President of 
the Board of Trade, Sir Thomas Farrer, the Per- 
manent Secretary, had always said, " Chamberlain 
is not a sound Free-trader " ; and the new Fiscal 
Policy, which was promulgated in 1903, probably 
expressed a conviction which had long been 
forming in his mind. 

But little remains to be told. The " Hawarden 
Kite " was sent up in December 1885, and the 
Liberal party learned, to its astonishment, that 
its venerable leader was committing it to Home 
Bule. Gladstone formed his Home Rule ad- 
ministration in February 1886, and Chamberlain 
joined his Cabinet, Immediately afterwards I 



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170 Portraits of the Seventies 

was laid low by dangerous illness, and saw 
nothing of politics for the next three months. 
On May 7th I met Chamberlain (who in the 
meantime had left the Government) at dinner, 
and, as we could not then talk freely, he asked 
me to call on him on the 10th — the day on 
which the debate on the Second Beading of the 
Home Rule Bill began. We talked the Irish 
Question up and down, in all its phases and all 
its bearings, and Chamberlain concluded the 
conversation with these emphatic words — "Mr. 
Gladstone is certainly a wonderful old gentleman ; 
but he is seventy-six. Do you think that I am 
going to climb down to him ? " 

That was the end of my political intercourse 
with Chamberlain, and it could not have ended 
in a more characteristic fashion. 



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CHAPTER XI 
FOUR DEMAGOGUES 



JOHN BRIGHT 

THE four men whom I am now going to 
describe were, in all respects save one, 
as dissimilar as men can be. The one charac- 
teristic which they had in common was that all 
were Demagogues; and, though their methods 
differed as widely as their characters, each had 
the power of exciting and leading great masses 
of his countrymen — and this is Demagogy. 

From the moral point of view, if from no 
other, by far the greatest of the four was John 
Bright. Indeed, with regard to the other three, 
moral considerations hardly enter into the 
estimate. 

John Bright, who from the time I entered 
Parliament honoured me with his friendship, 
and, on some occasions, with his confidence, 

*7* 



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172 Portraits of the Seventies 

was a man to whom Bight and Wrong were 
the two great realities of human life. At eaoh 
fresh turn in public affairs he asked himself, 
not which course was pleasantest, or most 
popular, or most likely to be successful, but 
which course was right; and, when once con- 
science had answered the question, he saw the 
path of duty lying straight before him and 
followed it, turning neither to the right hand 
nor to the left. 

Of course by the time that I had become 
acquainted with him the great contentions 
with which his name is inseparably associated 
lay far back in the past. Church Bates and 
Corn Laws had only an antiquarian interest. 
The Crimea and the Mutiny had long been 
history. The Government of the United States 
had crushed the Slave-owners' rebellion; the 
Irish Church was disestablished; and the 
English artisans had obtained the franchise. 
Partly because the causes in which he was 
most keenly interested were won; partly 
because his physical health had more than 
once given way; and partly because he was 
naturally lazy, he had withdrawn from the 
battles of the platform, and was content with 
the tranquil life of the House of Commons and 



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JOHN BRIGHT. 
From a photograph by Rupert Potter. 



To face p. 171. 



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Four Demagogues 173 

an unlaborious office in the Government. When 
one looked at his portly and prosperous-looking 
person, and " the snows of his venerated head/' 
it was difficult to believe that he had been 
the most powerful demagogue of his time; but 
the power, though dormant, was not dead. In 
1882 he retired from the Cabinet sooner than be 
responsible for our disgraceful bombardment of 
Alexandria ; and for the next two years he dwelt 
in ever-increasing isolation from all political 
parties. In 1884 the proposal to extend the 
suffrage to the agricultural labourers brought 
him back to the political platform, and, for the 
last time in his life, he felt himself in close 
accord with the Liberal party; but the final 
severance was at hand. 

In December 1885 some indiscreet Glad- 
stonians sent up the "Home Rule Kite," which 
has now for thirty years been flapping rather 
aimlessly in the wind. The Home Rule Bill, 
introduced in April 1886, was defeated in June, 
Bright voting against it; and at the General 
Election which ensued on its rejection, the 
demagogue of the Forties, Fifties, and Sixties 
reasserted for the last time his power of agita- 
ting his fellow-citizens and leading them whither- 
soever he would. In his case was manifested 



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174 Portraits of the Seventies 

the enormous potency of the moral element in 
political character — of that very element which 
Bright possessed in rich abundance, and which 
demagogues have generally lacked. His high 
reputation as a man, whose politics were a part 
of his religion, and who had never turned 
aside by a hair's breadth from the narrow path 
of civil duty as he understood it, gave him a 
weight of moral influence such as few politicians 
have ever commanded. 

E'en in our ashes live their wonted fires; 

and, though the fire of Bright's genius had long 
smouldered out of sight, the General Election 
of 1886 showed that it was still alive. Pitt, trans- 
lating Tacitus, said, " Eloquenoe is like a flame : 
it requires matter to feed it, motion to excite 
it, and it brightens as it burns." The admir- 
able simile was never better illustrated than in 
the case of Bright. The sinking flame of his 
eloquence found exactly what it wanted in the 
controversy about Home Bule. The matter 
which fed it was hatred of lawlessness and out- 
rage. The motive which excited it was the 
calamitous activity of the Gladstonian fanatics; 
and it burned its brightest when he addressed 



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Four Demagogues 175 

his constituents at Birmingham on the 1st of 
July, 1886. "Every word, as they said of 
Daniel Webster, seemed to weigh a pound." 
The speech was scattered broadcast through the 
constituencies, and an exhortation from John 
Bright to put the Union above the Liberal 
party produced an immense effect on men who 
disliked Home Bule, but were loath to break 
away from the political associations of a life- 
time. To Bright more than to any one man — 
more than to Lord Hartington, more, even 
than to Chamberlain — belonged the victory of 
1886. 

I have spoken so far of Bright's eloquence, for 
it was in that one particular alone that he attained 
the rank of genius. For my own part, I believe 
that his speeches will always be recognized as 
the finest, of which we have certain knowledge, 
in the English language. I insert the qualifi- 
cation about " certain knowledge," because the 
oratory which has come down to us from the 
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was sub- 
jected to such elaborate revision and correction, 
that we can form only an imperfect notion of it 
as it fell from the speaker's lips. With the de- 
velopment of the reporter's art came the possi- 
bility of knowing exactly what the speaker said; 



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176 Portraits of the Seventies 

and, though a speech can never be adequately 
reported, inasmuch as it depends for three-fourths 
of its effect on voice and look and manner and 
gesture, still the verbal part of it can now be 
certainly and accurately known. In this, I 
think, Bright stands supreme. His oratory is 
literature. It is wholly free from the over- 
elaboration of Canning and Sheil ; from Peel's 
pomposity, and Gladstone's long-windedness. 
Every word is drawn from the pure "well of 
English undefiled"; every sentence, even the 
shortest, falls in perfect harmony on the ear; 
every mood of the human spirit — pathos, indig- 
nation, sarcasm, humour, sympathy — finds its 
natural vent in the successive moods of the 
ever-varying style. 

And we, who have the happiness of remem- 
bering him, know that his oratorical equipment 
did not end with verbal perfection. Voice, 
intonation, manner, gesture — though the gesture 
was of the slightest — and a presence singularly 
dignified; all these were component parts of 
the transcendent spell. His was indeed the 
" God-gifted organ-voice of England " ; destined, 
I believe, to "resound for ages." 

Lord Lytton once drew an admirable dis- 
tinction between Genius and Talent : — 



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Four Demagogues 177 

Talk not of Genius baffled. Genius is master of man. 
Genius does what it must, and Talent does what it can. 

Bright's genius did "what it must/' and its 
achievements are accessible to all who care to 
study English oratory; but "Talent" belongs 
to men of lesser mould. Some have, as the 
parable teaches us, five talents, and some two ; 
some have only one. Yet the possessor of even 
one talent will often be more striking, more 
conspicuous, in the course of daily life than 
the man who has Genius, and finds his outlet 
in obeying it. 

In daily life Bright was neither striking nor 
conspicuous. He was friendly, accessible, easily 
amused, easily annoyed. He enjoyed the serenity 
of his extremely quiet home, and the harmless 
tittle-tattle of a scarcely less quiet club. He dis- 
liked society, smart people, hot rooms, elaborate 
meals, ceremonious observances. Though he was 
wholly free from modern heresies about meats and 
drinks, his natural distaste for all gross enjoy- 
ments made him half a teetotaller and three parts 
a vegetarian. And so with literature. He knew 
the Bible as a Puritan should, and quoted it as 
only a Puritan dares. But Shakespeare repelled 
him by what he esteemed wanton coarseness, and 
he found his highest enjoyment in Milton, whom 

12 



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178 Portraits of the Seventies 

he reckoned the chief of English poets. I cannot 
imagine that he ever looked at Swift. With Byron 
and Shelley and Moore and Swinburne he could 
have had only a very imperfect sympathy. Tenny- 
son and Browning he ignored. But Gowper on 
the spiritual side, and Wordsworth as an inter- 
preter of nature, were dear to him; he enjoyed 
Lowell and Lewis Morris ; and his love of virtuous 
sentiments rhythmically expressed made him pain- 
fully tolerant of some very IC minor " poets. Those 
whom he admired had reason to be grateful for 
his admiration, for even the humblest common- 
place that rhymed and scanned sounded noble 
when he declaimed it. 

I have spoken of Bright's accessibility. This, 
I suspect, was an attribute of his old age rather 
than of his youth or his prime. When a man 
is incessantly battling, even for the best of 
causes, he instinctively guards himself against 
the approaches of casual acquaintance; and when, 
as in Bright's case, he has " endured measureless 
oalumny and passed through hurricanes of abuse," 
his manner naturally assumes a touch of the 
defensive. I can easily understand that man who 
knew Bright in the Fifties and Sixties thought 
him ungracious and stern. But when I came to 
know him he was just on seventy. His victories 



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Four Demagogues 179 

were won. His fame — if he cared for it, which 
I doubt — was secure. Calumny and abuse had 
yielded place to honour and admiration. His 
manner towards his equals was friendly and cor- 
dial, and to men of my age paternal and benign. 
I believe that I owed my place in his regard to 
the fact that my father had always held him in 
high respect, and had constantly protested against 
the insolence with which what are called "the 
Upper Classes" had thought it fine to treat the 
Badical cotton-spinner. A letter of Bright's 
which I print on p. 182 suffices to show the terms 
on which the two men corresponded. But, what- 
ever was the cause, Bright always treated me 
with an almost affectionate kindness. He would 
chat with me about all manner of things grave 
and gay ; he used to recite poetry for my delight; 
he gave me some invaluable hints on the way 
to prepare a speech. Sometimes he did me the 
honour to listen to my counsels. In 1863 the 
long and odious controversy over the CD. Acts 
was nearing its climax. James Stansfeld had 
given notice of a motion in the House of 
Commons for the suspension of the Acts. We 
knew that there would be a stiff fight and a 
close division. Every vote was valuable. I was 
a convinced and vehement opponent of the Acts, 



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180 Portraits of the Seventies 

and was collecting all the support I could for 
Stansfeld's motion. As the day of the debate 
drew near, it was reported to me that Bright, 
though he condemned the Acts, did not mean 
to vote, and I was told that I might be able to 
persuade him. Of course I unhesitatingly made 
the attempt, and my old friend listened gravely 
to my plea. I found that he had what the Friends 
call "a stop in his mind"; and this "stop" was 
due to disgust at the language and methods of 
some of the ladies who were engaged in the 
agitation for repeal. He loathed all that was 
indelicate and unfeminine, and had no liking for 
what John Knox called " the monstrous regiment 
of women." In those points I sympathized with 
him; but I urged that the follies and offences 
of advocates could not make a good cause bad, 
or justify its supporters in shrinking from the 
conflict. Bright listened, consented, and voted 
with us in the critical division which virtually 
repealed the Acts. 

Though Bright was kindliness personified, he 
had none of that amiable weakness which some- 
times makes people pretend to enjoy what really 
they dislike. I once met him at one of Mr. Glad- 
stone's breakfast-parties, and our host told a story 
of a Quaker who, living in a place where the 



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Four Demagogues 181 

parish church was dilapidated, refused on con- 
scientious grounds to subscribe towards a new 
one, but said he would be happy to help towards 
pulling down the old one. At this mild plea- 
santry we all tittered politely, but Bright only 
remarked with a touch of acrimony : " The 
Friends are made the subject of some very 
stoopid stories." 

When he was a militant politician, his most 
formidable weapon had been, not his invective, 
though that was powerful enough in all con- 
science, but his sarcastic humour. His speeches 
are studded with gibes which made his opponents 
wince, and exhibited them to the public view as 
objects, not so much of detestation as of ridi- 
cule. Every one who knows his face, even in a 
photograph, must notice the curl of the nostrils 
and the downward curve of the mouth. When 
the sarcastic vein was uppermost, these traits 
became more distinctly marked ; the nostrils 
curled upwards towards the eyes, and the mouth 
became a bent bow. I have often admired this 
aspect when he was speaking in public (for I 
remember him in the House of Commons as far 
back as 1867) ; and I admired it no less, though 
perhaps I did not enjoy it so much, when, during 
the controversy on Home Rule, he twitted me 



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1 82 Portraits of the Seventies 

with what he esteemed my vacillations. " Some 
of us don't quite know which side we are on " ; 
and it^was true of those who, believing absolutely 
in the principle of self-government, resented the 
policy, first secretive and then blustering, which 
marked the troublous time of 1886-86. 



March 19, 77. 
Drab Lobd Chablbs Russell, 

I thank you for Bending me the story of that sad day. 
I was on the Continent when I saw the announcement of 
your loss in The Times. I was shocked, and I pictured to 
myself your sorrow and that of your circle, and in some 
measure I joined in it. I seem never able to dissociate 
fear from weddings. I have lost two sisters soon after 
marriage-— one on the birth of her first, and the other on 
the birth of her second ohild — the succeeding fever was 
the cause of death. These events so affected me, that I 
never attend a wedding without a feeling of doubt and sad- 
ness. Believe me, I sympathize deeply with you in your 
affliction, and hope that you may have in it such consolation 
as the case admits of. 

I am always, 

Most sincerely yours, 

John Bbioht. 



LOBD BANDOLPH CHUECHILL 

Fbom John Bright to Randolph Churchill the 
transition is indeed abrupt. They had this in 
oommon — that both were demagogues; but in 



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Four Demagogues 183 

every other respect their natures were so dis- 
similar that they might have seemed to belong 
to different orders of creation. To dissimilarity 
of nature must be added dissimilarity of circum- 
stance; for Blenheim is not more unlike Koch- 
dale than the life of the younger demagogue 
was unlike the life of the elder. 

Look here, upon this picture, and on this. 

In the preceding section I have attempted to 
pourtray an old and venerated friend; in this, I 
must try my hand on one who was not a friend 
— at most an acquaintance — a political opponent, 
but one of the most interesting figures of his 
day. 

Lord Randolph Churchill was born in 1849 and 
died in 1895. He did not emerge into the public 
view till 1880, and he had faded out of it some 
years before his death. But it happened that 
during the brief period of his political import- 
ance I had constant opportunities of seeing and 
observing him. At this distance of time I may, 
without immodesty, record the fact that my 
speech in reply to his on the Third Beading of 
the Irish Land Bill of 1881 gave me that 
precious asset which is called "the ear of the 



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184 Portraits of the Seventies 

House." "Jackdaw," in Society, thus described 
the scene : — 



"Friday, the 29th of July, was a memorable 
day in the annals of that assembly upon which 
I look down from this perch. First of all the 
Irish Land Bill passed the House of Commons 
on that day, after a troublesome and tedious 
voyage. On the 7th of April the voyage was 
commenced, and in Committee Bay — a veritable 
Bay of Biscay — it had been tossed about from 
the 26th of May till nearly the same day of 
July. At length it reaohed port, and the captain, 
whose eulogy I sang last week, was saluted by 
all hands for his patience and persistence, his 
energy, his pluck, and his courtesy. But events 
of importance never happen singly. On that 
remarkable day a new hero came to the front. 
Lord Bandolph Churchill found an opponent 
worthy of his steel. For a long time the 
Liberal party, as well as the responsible Tory 
party, have been very cowardly in their attitude 
to Bandy. There is a manner about Bandy 
that is calculated to inspire cowards with 
caution and care instead of stimulating them to 
boldness. He is a duke's son, and he knows 
it. Bank inspires awe in common minds, and 



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Four Demagogues 185 

thus at the outset he has a great advantage. 
He knows this when he sets the wisdom of 
Bight Honoarables at defiance and determines 
to carve out a line for himself. He is young, 
too, and — 

Youth has a sprightiiness and fire to boast, 
That in the valley of deoline are lost. 

"He has all the self-confidence of youth, and 
sufficient contempt for the opinion of others to 
deliver his own with freedom, not to say fluency. 
He always flies at high game. There would be 
no notoriety, no sport in attacking inferior men ; 
so Bandy, left to choose his own object of 
attack, has been left by his pride of birth, and 
by all those other qualities which strikingly 
adorn his character, to go at the Prime Minister. 
His tactics are unquestionably sound from the 
point of view of a man with a name to sustain, 
and a political reputation to make. Indepen- 
dence, pluck, and spirit are to some extent 
necessary to men who choose such eminent 
marks for their shafts. These qualities are 
admired, whatever be the opinion of the manner 
in which they are exercised; and then when 
the reply comes, as come it does, it may be 
sharp, but it keeps the assailant before the 



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1 86 Portraits of the Seventies 

public. What matter, then, though great men 
sneer at an eloquence unrestrained by any 
attempt to adhere rigidly to fact ? What matter 
though contempt is poured upon you, and you 
are compared to a ' small animal whose office 
it is to bite, but which does not even produce 
in the victim a consciousness that he is actually 
bitten ? ' All that is a mere nothing compared 
to the 6olat of an encounter with the First 
Minister of the Crown. So Bandy, well know- 
ing that the impulsive temperament of the 
present Premier is safe to lead him into the 
trap so artfully prepared, takes repeated occa- 
sion to hurl his lance at the Treasury Bench. 
In these circumstances the interposition of any 
one else — the entry on the field of battle of any 
unchallenged foe — is not received kindly by 
Bandy. But it so happens that on Friday it 
was precisely the appearance of an unchallenged 
foe that was one of the principal events of the 
day. Great was the general glee at the dis- 
covery that Bandy had his match below the 
gangway on the Ministerial side; that there 
was one exception to the awe-stricken legislators, 
and that there was a man in Israel who would 
face the bold free-lance in defence of his own 
leader. The new and daring champion who 



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Four Demagogues 187 

thus challenged Bandy to fight one of his own 
size and years was not the son, bat still he was 
the descendant of a duke. About four years 
younger than Bandy, George William Erskine 
Bussell, grandson of the sixth Duke of Bedford, 
declined to be overawed by the aspiring youth 
of the House of Marlborough. 

"The spectacle was a pretty one to see. 
Young Bussell, though unawed, was burning 
with excitement at his own enterprise, and at 
times was forced almost to stop to wonder at 
his own audacity. The House cleared a ring, 
and at every smart blow delivered at Bandy 
cheered and laughed at the thought that the dis- 
comfited noble lord was no longer the monopolist 
of youth's sprightliness and fire. Vigour and 
sparkle, or force and fancy, characterized the 
attack on the leader of the Fourth party. The 
old Premier looked round with pleased surprise 
to find that after all there was one man below 
the gangway who could and would interpose 
with the chivalry of a man in the ranks who 
wards off and resents an attack offered to his 
captain. He had believed himself single-handed 
in all these encounters. Delight now manifested 
itself in every feature, and no heartier laughter 
greeted young Bussell's sallies than that which 



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1 88 Portraits of the Seventies 

came to him as the Prime Minister's tribute to 
their real effectiveness. I am afraid I must 
say that Bandy did not look happy at the dis- 
covery that there was another clever young 
man in the House. If I were to judge of his 
feeling by his face I should say that he was 
encouraging a naughty jealousy. He did not 
look kindly on George Russell. It appeared to 
me as if he would not have been sorry to have 
seen the aforesaid George at the bottom of the 
sea for the time being. He did not appreciate 
George's points, and seemed secretly to curse 
the lightheadedness of a House which could 
laugh so consumedly at so little. I question if 
he had a moment's satisfaction with the suc- 
cessful speech of his young opponent save when 
there was a momentary doubt whether in his 
excitement that opponent was not going to 
stick in the very climax of his triumph. When 
the little obstacle was overcome, and the speech 
flowed merrily on, Bandy, you were the picture 
of gloom. Now there is room enough and to 
spare for two clever youths in Parliament. 
Why, you can rub up each other and shine 
more brilliantly in your competition. Besides, 
between clever opponents nothing is so pretty 
as chivalrous feeling. So Bandy, my boy, be a 



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Four Demagogues 189 

worthy Lord Bandolph, eschew haughtiness, 
wish your new political enemy parliamentary 
success, and above all things, don't be jealous." 

Whether Bandolph Churchill ever read this 
advice I cannot tell; but he certainly acted in 
the spirit of it, for, when I came to know him 
personally, the remembrance of that encounter 
seemed to have left no bitterness. While it 
was still the fashion among Liberals to believe 
(as they had believed of Disraeli) that Churchill 
was simply comic, I observed, through my contact 
with working-men, that he was becoming power- 
ful. I admired his complete independence in 
parliamentary action, his wholesome contempt 
for hoary humbug and solemn plausibility; and 
his style of oratory on public platforms seemed 
exactly adapted to a certain class of urban voters 
—the "Kowdy Philistine," the "Tory Bottles," 
whom Matthew Arnold knew so well — the " lewd 
fellows of the baser sort" who mobbed St. Paul 
at Thessalonica and in the Seventies read the 
Daily Telegraph. The spirit to which Bandolph 
Churchill incessantly and successfully appealed 
was the spirit which a few years later began to 
utter itself in the verse of Mr. Budyard Kipling 
(knd the prose of the Daily Mail, 



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i go Portraits of the Seventies 

For a son to write his father's biography is, 
as a rule, to court disaster. But to that rule a 
brilliant exoeption is to be found in Mr. Winston 
Churchill's Life of Lord Randolph Churchill. It 
is not too long. It is, I doubt not, accurate in 
detail. It certainly is brisk, bright, and readable. 
It avoids all approach to the sin of Ham, and yet 
it is sufficiently intimate to convey the sense of 
truth. It must be read by every one who wishes 
to know the circumstances which shaped a strange 
career, and the tendencies which marred it. 

Biographies must begin with Heredity, but 
every five years the men of science give us a 
different estimate of its power. Now they tell 
us that it is everything; then that it is next to 
nothing ; and then again that it counts for a good 
deal, but that the will is independent of it and 
can exercise a choice among the elements which 
heredity transmits. Into that mysterious domain 
of Will it is best not to enter, lest we should find 
ourselves sharing Lord Haldane's unpopularity, 
quoting Hegel, or showing a suspicious affinity 

With the land that produced one Kant with a K, 
And many a Cant with a G. 

It is better to take our stand on experience, 
and to note the plain fact that drunkenness, 



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Four Demagogues 191 

debauchery, and insanity are disturbing ele- 
ments in the blood; and that, when they run 
together in the confluence of two families, they 
threaten uncomfortable consequences to unborn 
and innocent lives. A long line of sober, moral, 
and hard-working ancestors, who rose early and 
lived plainly and observed the First Day, trans- 
mitted to John Bright a constitution which, in 
spite of trials, bore him scatheless to his seventy- 
seventh year. What are facetiously called our 
" best families " have another kind of inherit- 
ance. Now, as of old, the sins of the fathers are 
visited on the children unto the third and fourth 
generation; and, when a descendant adopts a 
line of life which involves great demands on 
nerve and brain, he often pays the penalty for 
his ancestors' wrong-doing. 

There is no need for a description of Blenheim, 
for it can be found in any handbook which deals 
with "the stately homes of England." Other 
houses may be more beautiful: many are more 
interesting; there is none more stately. From 
Blenheim to Eton; and what Eton was when 
Bandolph Churchill was an Eton boy, we know 
from Lord Bosebery's vivacious account. Oxford 
for a sporting undergraduate of good family is 
much the same in one generation as another. 



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192 Portraits of the Seventies 

Eandolph Churchill entered Merton College in 
1867, and took his degree in 1871. His sab- 
sequent career was determined by the fact that 
Woodstock had long been a pocket-borough of 
the House of Marlborough, and commonly re- 
turned a Churchill. The Beform Act of 1867 
had increased its electorate from three hundred 
to a thousand; but the owner of Blenheim still 
continued to exercise a salutary influence over 
his neighbours; and at the General Election of 
1874 he proposed his younger son for their 
acceptance. Churchill's success was ensured by 
the fact that his opponent was George Brodrick 
— a grotesque pedant, in whom the characteristic 
absurdities of the Oxford don and the Times 
leader-writer were combined, and who deserves 
to be remembered as probably the only man 
who has ever had to make an affidavit that he 
had been joking. 1 

Entrance into Parliament made no very great 
change in Eandolph Churchill's life and pursuits. 
In 1875 he married; refusing several advan- 
tageous alliances which had been suggested, and 
going to the United States for his bride. Quite 

1 This incident arose during the Parnell Commission, 
when Brodrick, in a fit of delicate pleasantry, compared the 
Irish Members to "Jack the Bipper." 



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Four Demagogues 193 

possibly, his career would have been as unevent- 
ful as that of any other younger son who sits 
for a family-borough, had it not been for an 
incident which Mr. Churchill in his Life of his 
father handles with delicacy and circumspection. 
It was this: Randolph Churchill was, as he 
thought, unjustly treated by an illustrious per- 
sonage, and all the toadies and sycophants who 
always surround an actual or expectant Court 
applauded that treatment to the echo. Unless I 
very much mistake my man, the sense that this 
was so fired his passionate nature with a desire 
for revenge. What revenge could be so complete, 
or so gratifying, as to force himself by his own 
unaided exertions into a position where he was 
indispensable; where even the first subject of 
the Crown could not afford to affront him; and 
where all baser foes must lick the dust ? 

To that position the way lay open through 
the House of Commons, and the most important 
steps along that way I had the opportunity of 
observing at close quarters. Randolph Churchill 
became famous in the first weeks of the Parlia- 
ment elected at Easter 1880, and his fame 
advanced by leaps and bounds till that Parlia- 
ment was dissolved in November 1886. What 
then ensued must be told later on. 

13 



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194 Portraits of the Seventies 

First let me describe his appearance. I have 
seen it stated, with some appearance of authority, 
that his height was 5 feet 10 inches; but the 
caricaturists (who have a strange knack of 
getting things wrong) always represented him 
as a little boy. The paragraphists took their 
cue from the caricaturists, and " Go it, little 
Randy!" became a favourite adjuration of his 
supporters. The graver newspapers were always 
insisting on his youth, though he had turned 
thirty. To my eye, he looked about his real 
age, perhaps rather older than younger, though 
his very slight figure helped the idea of youth- 
fulness. His cheeks and chin were shaved, but 
he cultivated a ponderous moustache, which he 
constantly turned up at the ends ; and this ap- 
pendage illustrated what Mr. Gladstone always 
urged— that to disguise the mouth, which is one 
of the most expressive features of the face, is to 
obscure the whole expression. If one could have 
looked below the moustache, I suspect that one 
would have found the mouth very wide ; but the 
chin was well developed, the eyes were large, 
and bulged in a way which gave the effect of a 
chronic stare. He was always carefully dressed, 
according to the fashion of the day, in a frock- 
coat worn open, with a tie neatly bowed; and 



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LORD RANDOLPH CHURCHILL. 



To (ace p. 194. 



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Four Demagogues 195 

his whole appearance might have been described 
as spruce. 

In speaking, he leant forward, emphasizing his 
points by the movements of his head, and 
making comparatively little use of his hands. 
His voice had rather a guttural sound, and his 
utterances were marked by a decided lisp, and a 
curious rolling effect, as if his tongue was too 
big for his mouth. 

In social life he was a courteous host and an 
appreciative guest; but his conversation was 
curiously uneven. If he was out of temper, 
either with a political opponent or with some 
" scrupulous good man " on his own side, he 
could be extremely rude. But, if things went 
well, he could be capital company; cynical, in 
the exact sense of that much-abused word, and 
excelling in a sarcastic description of a character 
or a situation. More than any other politician 
I have ever known, he loved to talk about the 
House of Commons, its personages, its char- 
acteristics, and its doings. He frankly delighted 
in " shop," and always said that the House 
was the most interesting place he knew. 

Certainly he did a great deal to make it 
interesting to other people. When he was in 
the House, there always were the elements of a 



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196 Portraits of the Seventies 

storm. His extraordinary quickness in seeing 
the possibilities of a situation, his intuitive sense 
for what was popular and effective, his total 
lack of reverence, and his intimate knowledge 
of weak spots on his own side, made his 
activities a perpetual joy to those who were not 
his victims. 

Above all he excelled in his management of 
Mr. Gladstone; and there is something to be 
said for the theory that, if Gladstone had 
ignored him, his rise would not have been so 
rapid. But to ignore an agile, reckless, and 
sarcastic opponent was a feat beyond Gladstone's 
powers. His "vulnerable temper and impetu- 
ous moods" made such self-restraint impossible; 
and Eandolph Churchill, perceiving this infir- 
mity, played upon it without compunction. To 
use a boy's phrase, Gladstone " rose freely " ; 
and each time that Churchill excited the leader 
of the House into indignant activity, a large 
feather was added to the Churchillian cap. 

Grabbed age and youth 
Cannot live together, 

and, though Gladstone was not really crabbed 
and Churchill was not really young, all the 
Conservative papers, and the comic papers with- 



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Four Demagogues 197 

out distinction of party, fastened on the quaint 
contrast between the ruffled dignity of the* 
Member for Midlothian and the smart irrever- 
ence of the Member for Woodstock. 

One of the motives which actuated Gladstone 
in his attention to whatever Churchill said or 
did was his extraordinary veneration for the 
aristocracy. He more than once laid it down, 
as essential to a true estimate of our national 
character, that the English people are confirmed 
Inequalitarians. Now " Inequalitarian " says in 
seven syllables what " snob " says in one ; so I 
rather resent my old leader's dictum, and yet I 
find it difficult to contradict him when he speaks 
of " the distinct undeniable popular preference, 
whenever other things are substantially equal, 
for a man who is a lord over a man who is not." 
Perhaps " preference " is not exactly the word to 
describe Gladstone's feeling towards Churchill; 
but I feel no doubt that he took a keener 
interest in his parliamentary performances than 
in those of his untitled compeers. 

It should be borne in mind that, though 
Churchill was perpetually harassing Gladstone 
by his assaults and stratagems, his manner to- 
wards the older man was always courteous. 
Indeed this habitual courtesy was what lent 



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198 Portraits of the Seventies 

its peculiar zest to an encounter, which Mr. 
.Churchill recalls in his book and which is in- 
delibly impressed on my visual memory. It 
took place in May 1885, when our crimes and 
blunders in Egypt were coming home to roost, 
and when even the loyallest Liberals were 
sickened by three years' causeless and useless 
carnage. 

Gladstone, even more attentive and alert than 
usual when Churchill is speaking, is sitting 
in his accustomed place on the Treasury 
Bench. On the opposite side below the gang- 
way Churchill, pale and dangerous-looking, is 
1)n his legs, leaning forward and holding some 
notes in his hand. Has the Bight Hon. Gentle- 
man read his Times this morning? No. Well, 
that is a pity, for, if he had read it he would 
have found a most interesting review of Lord 
Beaconsfield's Letters to his sister. The speaker 
must make a brief citation. His utterance be- 
comes slower and clearer; the Prime Minister 
looks increasingly stern. The speaker proceeds. 
Lord Beaconsfield in his early travels had been 
introduced to "a very celebrated Minister," 
called Bedschid Pasha; of whom the introducer 
said: "he has destroyed in the course of the 
last three months — not in war — upwards of four 



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Four Demagogues 199 

thousand of my acquaintance." And what was 
this Minister like ? Now the utterance becomes 
still more deliberate. " A very ferocious-looking, 
shrivelled, careworn man, plainly dressed, with 
a brow covered with wrinkles, and a countenance 
clouded with anxiety and thought." Each word 
is emphasized in turn ; and, as the speaker looks 
towards the Treasury Bench, the eyes of the 
House follow him, and the resemblance, half- 
painful, half-grotesque, becomes irresistible. But 
there is more to come. The perpetrator of 
these crimes assured Lord Beaconsfield that 
" the peace of the world was his only object, 
and the happiness of mankind his only wish." 
Then a pause: the notes are returned to the 
pocket, and the speaker utters his final words : 
" There, upon the Treasury Bench, is the resus- 
citated Eedschid Pasha." 

Brutal, but triumphant. Triumphant, too, 
and not brutal, was the speech at Blackpool in 
1884, when Churchill poked bitter fun at the 
persistence of the GUadstonian troupe in adver- 
tising the hero at his meals and his exercise, 
his work and his recreation — even at his devo- 
tions. Brutal, perhaps, in form, but absolutely 
true in substance, was the reference to the 
Election of 1886, as decreed "to gratify the 



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200 Portraits of the Seventies 

ambition of an old man in a hurry." Purely 
brutal, yet admirably calculated to please the 
mob, was the closing declaration of the same 
address : " The negotiator of the Alabama arbi- 
tration, the hero of the Transvaal surrender, the 
perpetrator of the bombardment of Alexandria, 
the decimator of the struggling Soudan tribes, 
the betrayer of Khartoum, the person guilty of the 
death of Gordon, the patentee of the Penjdeh 
shame, now stands before the country all alone, 
rejected by a democratic House of Commons." 

I have quoted this passage to show what 
Churchill could do at his worst, when he calcu- 
lated that the occasion required the exercise 
of all his powers of invective; but, even in 
more tranquil times, he relied a good deal on 
the power of insolent speech. To him the 
estimable leader of the Conservative party in 
the House was " The Goat " ; two of his 
worthiest colleagues were " Marshall and Snel- 
grove" ; two promising Under-Secretaries were 
"Young Taper and Young Tadpole." A leading 
occupant of the front Opposition Bench was 
"the opulent lord of pineries and vineries." A 
Liberal lawyer, when the Chancellorship seemed 
likely to fall vacant, was told that he recalled 
the very letter of the sentence on the serpent : 



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Four Demagogues 201 

"On thy belly shalt thou go, and dirt shalt 
thou eat." 

In this insistent use of inveotive and sarcasm, 
as in some other matters, Churchill had no doubt 
formed himself on Lord Beaconsfield; and 
G-oldwin Smith, who always put things un- 
pleasantly, called him "the spawn and ape of 
Dizzy." 

I said before that Churchill's fame increased 
from year to year, between 1880 to 1886. My 
visual memory contains no clearer image than 
Churchill, dancing a kind of wild hornpipe on 
the front bench below the gangway when the 
tellers announced the figures of the division which 
defeated Gladstone on the 8th of June, 1886. 
A month later the dancer of the hornpipe was 
Secretary of State for India, and beyond com- 
parison the most popular figure on the Tory 
side. At the General Election in November, 
he was to the Tories what Chamberlain was 
to the Radicals (barring the fatal folly which 
Chamberlain committed by his sudden attack on 
the Church). Churchill made no such blunders ; 
and, not content with his majority of 1,600 in 
South Paddington, he pulled down Bright's 
majority in Birmingham to 700, in sheer 
lightness of heart. Then came the "Hawarden 



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202 Portraits of the Seventies 

Kite;" then six months of plotting and counter- 
plotting about Home Eule ; then a Tory majority, 
a Tory Prime Minister, and Churchill Chancellor 
of the Exchequer and Leader of the House. 
In the autumn of 1886 he stood on the 
very summit of a desperate but gratified 
ambition. His sudden resignation in the following 
December remains one of the most extraordi- 
nary incidents in English politics. It showed, if 
nothing else, his absolute confidence in his 
own power — his conviction that he was the one 
necessary man. It would scarcely have been an 
exaggeration if he had applied to himself Byron's 
words about a greater downfall: — 

I have warred with a world which has vanquished me only. 
When the meteor of conquest allured me too far; 

I have coped with the nations who dread me thus lonely, 
The last single captive to millions in war. 

Lord Salisbury expressed the truth in more 
homely language when, a little later, some of his 
friends urged the desirability of asking Churchill 
to resume his place in the Cabinet : " When one 
has had a boil on one's neck, and it has burst, 
one doesn't invite it to return." 



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Four Demagogues 203 

CHAELES STEWAKT PAENELL 

When I entered Parliament, Parnell, who 
had entered it five years earlier, had already 
established a reputation. It was not an ora- 
torical reputation, for he could scarcely string 
five words together; it was not a reputation 
for debating skill, for he had taken little part 
in legislative business. It was a reputation for 
inconvenient persistency. " His plan for ob- 
structing the business of the House of Commons 
caused the House to sit continuously from 
4 p.m. till 6 p.m. on the following evening, 31st 
July, to 1st August, 1877, this being the longest 
recorded sitting." Obstruction was once defined 
by Gladstone as an attempt to influence the 
judgment of the House by other means than 
argument, and the definition will serve. Ob- 
struction, in this sense, was invented and 
practised in some rudimentary forms by George 
Cavendish-Bentinck (1821-91) and James 
Lowther (1840-1904) in the Parliament of 1868 ; 
but it was developed into a fine art by the 
Irish and the Radicals in the Parliament of 
1874, and it culminated in January 1881, 
when the House sate for forty-one hours 
continuously. Renowned as an organizer of 



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204 Portraits of the Seventies 

obstruction, Parnell was also interesting as 
having deposed Isaac Butt, suppressed "Sober 
Sensible Shaw," and made himself the undis- 
puted leader of the Irish Party. He was a 
conspicuous figure in the House, and, sitting 
opposite to him, I had the opportunity of 
observing him pretty closely. His appearance 
was striking. He was tall and well built. His 
features were regular, the nose being slightly 
aquiline, with a fastidious curl of the nostril. 
His eyes, when he was angry, which was not 
seldom, seemed to emit a kind of red light; 
and George Howard (afterwards Lord Carlisle) 
once quoted happily from The Newcomes : " The 
figure of this gar$on is not agreeable. Of pale, 
he has become livid." He had a mass of lightish- 
brown hair ; beard, moustache, and whiskers, all 
worn long and rather tangled; insomuch that 
when his toadies called him the " Uncrowned 
King of Ireland," his critics substituted "un- 
combed." His clothes were rough and badly 
put on, and the whole effect was that of a man 
who disregarded personal appearances. Yet he 
was unmistakably a gentleman ; and when seated 
in the midst of his servile troop he looked like 
a being of a different order. 
As the Session of 1880 advanced, the true 



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^^v 




C. S. PARNELL. 
From a drawing by Sir F. C. Gould. 



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Four Demagogues 205 

inwardness of the man was clearly disclosed. 
It was evident that he hated England, that he 
contemned the House of Commons, that he 
despised the Liberals much more profoundly than 
the Tories, and that he regarded his followers 
as merely voters, or, at the best, as fit for 
work too dirty for a gentleman to undertake. 

To me, watching him closely, it appeared 
that the humiliation of England, and of every- 
thing English, was the master-passion of his 
life. He knew that to circumvent or to defeat 
the House of Commons was to injure England 
in a vital point; and to that end he devoted 
all his powers. He mastered the forms of the 
House, which in those days, before Procedure 
had been reformed, could easily be abused for 
obstructive purposes ; he acquired, by constant 
practice, great skill in debate, and he was as 
quick as Randolph Churchill in detecting oppor- 
tunities for damaging attack. As the Parlia- 
ment of 1880 drew towards its close, and the 
working alliance between Parnell and the Tories 
became manifest to all men, I remember the 
impotent horror with which Liberal fogies 
regarded the compact between "men of des- 
perate counsels " on different sides for the 
destruction of Gladstone's government — an end 



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206 Portraits of the Seventies 

which they triumphantly attained on the 8th 
of June, 1885, when Irish yells of " Coercion" 
and " Kilmainham " greeted the figures that 
announced Gladstone's defeat. 

Parnell's public career, from 1880 to 1891, is 
matter of history, and there is no need for me 
to recapitulate it here. It is enough for me to 
record the impression which a close study of 
that career, combined with my personal obser- 
vation in Parliament, have left engraved on my 
mind. 

Perhaps the most clearly marked feature of 
ParnelPs character was that form of cruelty 
which consists in a callous indifference to 
suffering. Exercising dictatorial authority over 
Ireland, he never moved a finger to protect 
the victims of the Land League — ignorant 
peasants, women and girls, old men, little 
children, dumb animals. Murder, torture, and 
the long-drawn anguish of expectant fear he 
regarded with unpitying eye. The culminating 
horrors of the Phoenix Park distracted public 
attention from the sickening series of agrarian 
murders which had preceded it, and surpassed 
it in moral heinousness, because wrought, not 
on the well-protected officials of a powerful 
government, but on agents and servants and 



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Four Demagogues 207 

down-trodden peasants. Parnell's attitude to- 
wards agrarian murder may be illustrated by 
the following incident. In 1880 a young land- 
agent, called Boyd, was murdered in the neigh- 
bourhood of New Boss. Shortly afterwards 
Parnell, then at the zenith of his popularity, 
attended a meeting in the district, and thus 
improved the occasion : — 

" I do wish," he said, " in reference to a sad 
occurrence that took place lately of the shooting 
or attempted shooting of a land-agent in this 
neighbourhood " — (cries of " Down with him ! " 
groans and cheers) — "I do wish to point out 
that recourse to such methods of procedure is 
entirely unnecessary, and also prejudicial where 
there is a suitable organization among the 
tenants themselves. ... I believe that if 
Kilkenny county had been organized, young 
Boyd never would have been shot, because his 
father, in the face of a strong and organized 
public opinion, would not have ventured to 
abuse his rights as a landlord." 

Let any one imagine these words applied to 
a near kinsman of his own, murdered in the 
discharge of his duty, and then let him consider 
his estimate of the man who uttered them. 
Hardly less remarkable in its cynical disregard 



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20 8 Portraits of the Seventies 

of human misery, was the speech, in the same 
year, at Ennis, when in answer to the question, 
What should be done to a man who made a 
bid for a farm from which another had been 
evicted? Parnell formulated his famous scheme 
of social excommunication, and recommended 
that any one who was presumptuous enough 
to exercise a common right of citizenship should 
be treated as "a leper." 

But to multiply instances would be needlessly 
to elaborate a painful theme. Enough has been 
cited to illustrate the temperament of the man; 
and, if his callous words of seeming condonation 
were culpable, his stubborn silence in the sight 
of so much misery, which a word from him 
would have allayed, was, if possible, more odious 
still. 

To cruelty must be added deoeitfulness. 
Parnell's course in Parliament, his peculiar 
methods in debate, his habitual reliance on bare 
denials of inconvenient statements, the marked 
contrast between his English and his American 
utterances, had long created in minds not 
prone to suspicion the belief that he was un- 
trustworthy. But the traditions of our political 
life have taught Englishmen to place a generous 
reliance on even the most astonishing statements 



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Four Demagogues 209 

of our public men, and suspicion would probably 
have never ripened into certainty had not Parnell, 
in a strange moment of cynical candour, admitted 
the truth that, on a certain occasion, he was 
trying to deceive the House of Commons. If 
the Special Commission of 1888-89 had 
elicited no other fact it would have justified its 
creation. 

After cruelty and deceitfulness, which are 
ethical defects wherever they occur, that pas- 
sionate and vindictive hatred of England which 
inspired and regulated ParnelTs whole career 
may almost be written down as praise. Con- 
sidered as a purely abstract question, love of 
England may not be a virtue nor hatred of her 
a vice; but patriotism is, after all, a respectable 
prejudice, and Englishmen will have to learn 
and unlearn much before they can lavish tears 
over the memory of a man who lived and died 
the remorseless foe of their country's greatness, 
safety, and fair fame. Hating England as he 
did, it was only natural that Parnell should 
hate the politicians who in turn represented 
her among the nations, and who wielded her 
civil and military power. This particular sub- 
division of his animosity was modified by personal 
predilections. As an autocrat by temper, a Tory 

H 



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210 Portraits of the Seventies 

in opinion, and a landlord by profession, his 
natural affinities were with the Conservative 
party. Like all despots, he both disliked and 
despised those who truckled to him, and which- 
ever party was most frightened of him and his 
American allies, that party he most cordially 
contemned. As regards his relations with in- 
dividual politicians, some interesting questions 
have from time to time arisen. Gladstone once 
imprisoned him for six months without trial, 
and announced the feat amid the applause of 
the Guildhall. 1 In the inner circle of the 
Gladstonian mysteries it was held that this 
polite attention (like the pickled salmon which 
Mrs. Gamp produoed when Mrs. Prig was 
irritable) "worked a softening change," and 
that Parnell emerged from his seclusion in a 
chastened and contrite frame, full of sorrow for 

1 *' Within these few moments I have been informed that 
towards the vindication of law, of order, and of the rights of 
property, of the freedom of the land, of the first elements 
of political life and civilization, the first step has been taken 
in the arrest of the man who, unhappily, from motives 
whioh I do not ohallenge, which I oannot examine, and 
with which I have nothing to do, has made himself beyond 
all others prominent in the attempt to destroy the authority 
of the law, and to substitute what would end in being 
nothing more or less than anarchical oppression exercised 
upon the people of Ireland." 



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Four Demagogues 211 

his past misdeeds and of reverent admiration 
for the fatherly hand which had corrected 
them. How far this view tallied with the 
truth the last two years of Parnell's life 
revealed. 

But after Gladstone became a Home Euler, 
his surrender to his former captive was absolute. 
As regards Sir William Harcourt, it is but bare 
justice to both parties to allow that neither he 
nor Parnell ever displayed even a Platonic 
affection for the other. Their relations in the 
perilous times of Fenianism and dynamite had 
been those of mutual distrust tempered by 
common apprehension. Each knew the length 
of the other's foot, and gauged with perfect 
nicety the sentiments with which his friend 
regarded him. From Lord Morley Parnell 
received that reverent homage which a sedentary 
man always pays to a man of action, and 
which Lord Morley has himself described — "The 
pedant, cursed with the ambition to be a ruler 
of men, is a curious study. He would be glad 
not to go too far, and yet his chief dread is 
lest he be left behind. His consciousness of 
pure aims allows him to become an accomplice 
in the worst crimes. Suspecting himself at 
bottom to be a theorist, he hastens to clear his 



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212 Portraits of the Seventies 

character as a man of practice by conniving at 
an enormity." 

Himself one of the most sensitive and 
emotional of men, Lord Morley was fairly 
fascinated by that cold, hard, and unrelenting 
temper. It is to be hoped that Parnell responded 
to these tender emotions, and reciprocated the 
goodwill of a man who stood by him through 
good report and bad; but, if he loved Lord 
Morley, his affection was of that distressing 
quality which does not shrink from a very in- 
oonvenient candour. Before he died he had 
made some unpleasant disclosures, and he 
probably contemplated more. 

That Parnell should have established so 
complete an ascendancy over the Irish people, 
from whom he was separated by every circum- 
stance of blood, faith, speech, and temperament, 
is, of course, a striking testimony to what, in the 
jargon of the present day, is called his " person- 
ality." That he should have seemed " majestio," 
" regal," "prince-like," and all the rest of it, 
to the rabble of shop-boys, booking-clerks, 
whisky-sellers, and gombeen-men who formed 
his political following, is not so remarkable; 
for at any rate he had the appearance, manners, 
and bearing of an English gentleman; but the 



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Four Demagogues 213 

ensuing tribute is really noteworthy. It was 
written in 1889 by an English lady of high 
intelligence and Liberal sympathies who had 
met Parnell at dinner; and read in the light 
of subsequent events it seems prophetically 
inspired : — 

" Certainly it was one of the most interesting 
moments I have ever had, or ever expect to 
have, in my life. Parnell was absolutely cool 
and natural, and the rest of us all thrilling with 
excitement. We had a great deal of talk, he 
speaking apparently quite openly about past 
and future events in connexion with the Home 

Rule movement. Mr. talked about Irish 

history, of which he knew much more than 
Parnell, and then they went on to talk of Mr. 
Forster. Parnell said that Mr. Balfour had 
been told, like Mr. Forster, that if he only 
arrested the ringleaders in each village the 
agitation would collapse— only that he must, 
when he had got them in prison, treat them ill. 
* Instead of well?' I said, forgetting to 
whom I was talking, and then, as it flashed 
across me, I added : ' If I may say so to you.' 
He laughed loudly at this, and said: 'Yes, we 
were treated very well,' evidently meaning it. 
Then he went on to talk of Kilmainham, and 



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214 Portraits of the Seventies 

of the unreasonable arrests made in the early 
months of 1882 by Forster, and so on, quite 
naturally. But it all felt rather mad too, and 
I kept on repeating to myself: 'Yes, that is 
Parnell talking to me across the table.' 

" We talked of all manner of things, the Com- 
mission amongst them. This was the only 
point on which he showed any bitterness at all; 
in all other Irish matters he seemed singularly 
fair and able to see both sides. I mean he's 
quite different from Dillon, and talked like a 
man of the world, and not like an oppressed 
Celt — which he isn't, of course, so perhaps it's 
easily explained. 

" I cannot exaggerate the impression he made 
on me. I never before felt such power and 
force, magnetic force, in any man. As for his 
eyes, if he looks at you, you can't look away, 
and if he doesn't you are wondering how soon 
he will look at you again. I am afraid I have 
very little trust in his goodness; I should think 
it's a very minus quality; but I believe abso- 
lutely in his strength and his power of influence. 
I should be sorry if he were my enemy ; I think 
he would stop at nothing." 



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Four Demagogues 215 

CHARLES BRADLAUGH 

To quote his own account of his beginnings, 
this robust demagogue was born at Hoxton in 
1833. He was " the well-known Radical 
Lecturer, and proprietor of the periodical the 
National Reformer ; also President of the 
National Secular Society," and was author of 
"numerous cheap works on secularism and 
politics." l 

Biographers tell us that his father was a 
solicitor's clerk, and that he began life in the 
same profession, acquiring thereby some legal 
knowledge, which he used with great effect in 
public life, and a skill in the perception of. legal 
points which I once heard Lord Chief Justice 
Coleridge praise enthusiastically. 

When he was only sixteen he became a public 
lecturer under the name of "Iconoclast," and 
among the ikons which he essayed to break were 
the existence of God and the credibility of the 
Bible. Shocked by these subversive activities, 
" an officious clergyman got him discharged 
from his employment." Whereupon he enlisted. 
He had made his choice for the infantry, but 
the recruiting sergeant of the foot regiment 

1 Pod's Parliamentary Companion, 1880, 



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216 Portraits of the Seventies 

which he proposed to join happened to owe a 
shilling to the recruiting sergeant of the 7th 
Dragoon Guards, and offered him Bradlaugh in 
payment of the debt. Thus "Iconoclast" 
became a trooper, and acquitted himself so well 
in that capacity that in three years he was able 
to purchase his discharge. He now returned to 
his profession as a solicitor's olerk, and to his 
activities as a public lecturer and journalist. 
He was for some years a moneylender on a 
small scale, and, presumably with the money so 
acquired, became proprietor of the National 
Beformer. He rushed up and down the country, 
addressing great audiences in the chief centres 
of population: satirizing the " God-idea, " "im- 
preaching the House of Brunswick," and 
preaching the Neo-Malthusianism which was 
his social creed. At the General Election of 
1868 he stood for Northampton and polled 1,086 
votes; he stood there again at the General 
Election of 1874 and polled 1,653 votes; at a 
by-election in the same year his poll crept up to 
1,766; and at the General Election of 1880 he 
was returned with 3,980 votes as junior colleague 
of Henry Labouchere, who thereby attained the 
exquisite felicity of being able to style himself 
"The Christian Member for Northampton/ ' 



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Four Demagogues 217 

Then ensued a series of events which, while 
they enormously increased Bradlaugh's popu- 
larity out of doors, brought discredit on the 
House of Commons, humiliation on Gladstone's 
newly-constituted government, and two most 
unhappy oonfliots — the one between justice and 
law, the other between justice and religion. As 
the history of these events is, in its earlier 
stages, rather complicated, it may best be 
given in his own words : — 

"When elected as one of the burgesses to 
represent Northampton in the House of Com- 
mons, I believed that I had the legal right 
to make affirmation of allegiance in lieu of 
taking the oath, as provided by Sec. 4 of the 
Parliamentary Oaths Act, 1866. While I con- 
sidered that I had this legal right, it was 
then clearly my moral duty to make the 
affirmation. The oath, although to me includ- 
ing words of idle and meaningless character, 
was and is regarded by a large number of my 
fellow-countrymen as an appeal to Deity to 
take cognizance of their swearing. It would 
have been an act of hypocrisy to voluntarily 
take this form if any other had been open to 
me, or to take it without protest, as though 
it meant in my mouth any such appeal. I 



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2i 8 Portraits of the Seventies 

therefore quietly and privately notified the Clerk 
of the House of my desire to affirm. His view 
of the law and practice differed from my own, 
and no similar case having theretofore arisen, 
it became necessary that I should tender myself 
to affirm in a more formal manner, and this I 
did at a season deemed convenient by those 
in charge of the business of the House. In 
tendering my affirmation I was careful, when 
called on by the Speaker to state my objeotion, 
to do nothing more than put, in the fewest 
possible words, my contention that the Parlia- 
mentary Oaths Act, 1866, gave the right to 
affirm in Parliament to every person for the 
time being by law permitted to make an affirma- 
tion in lieu of taking an oath, and that I was 
such a person, and therefore claimed to affirm. 
The Speaker, neither refusing nor accepting my 
affirmation, referred the matter to the House, 
which appointed a Seleot Committee to report 
whether persons entitled to affirm under the 
Evidence Amendment Acts, 1869 and 1870, 
were under Sec. 4 of the Parliamentary Oaths 
Act, 1866, also entitled to affirm as Members 
of Parliament. This Committee, by the oasting 
vote of its Chairman, has decided that I am 
not entitled to affirm. . . . The Committee 



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Four Demagogues 219 

report that I may not affirm, and, protesting 
against a decision which seems to me alike 
against the letter of the law and the spirit 
of modern legislation, I comply with the forms 
of the House.' ' 

Acting on this declaration, Bradlaugh pre- 
sented himself at the Table of the House and 
proposed to take the oath in ordinary course; 
but the Speaker weakly allowed some Tory 
Member to interrupt the proceedings, and the 
House now forbade him to do that whioh he 
had originally declined to do. "If the Hon. 
Member for Northampton,' 9 cried Sir Stafford 
Northcote, "has no conscience, has the House 
no conscience?' 9 The House thundered a 
rather hypocritical assent, and so began a 
constitutional dispute, embittered alike by theo- 
logical and by political prejudice, which lasted 
as long as the Parliament. 

It is probable that the squalid scandals of 
Bradlaugh's case might have been avoided in 
the first instance by the peremptory interven- 
tion of the Chair, or subsequently by a bolder 
policy on the part of the Liberal leaders; but 
unquestionably the difficulties were great. The 
issue before the House was a high trial of the 
principle of religious liberty; for that sacred 



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220 Portraits of the Seventies 

cause was represented by a man who, whether 
rightly or wrongly, was reputed to be a re- 
publican (which mattered little) and a blasphemer 
(which mattered more), and who (and this 
mattered most of all) certainly taught a social 
doctrine which most decent people hold in 
abhorrence. The earliest debates on the ques- 
tion disclosed the fact that a certain section 
of the Liberal party had only the frailest hold 
on the primary principles of Liberalism, and 
were prepared to abandon those principles under 
the pressure of social and theological passion. 
There was no one in the world to whom 
Bradlaugh's doctrines were more abhorrent than 
to Gladstone; but that really great Christian 
showed, throughout the controversy, a dear 
faith in the justice of the case, which no 
clouds of prejudice could obscure. In his speech 
on the Affirmation Bill (by which in 1883 he 
sought, unsuccessfully, to find a way out of 
the difficulties) he rose to his highest flight 
of eloquence. When Bradlaugh, after one of 
his encounters with the authorities of the 
House, was excluded from the precincts by 
main force, John Bright made, on the spur 
of the moment, one of the most moving 
speeches which I ever heard from the Treasury 



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Four Demagogues 221 

Bench. Among private Members, Wilfrid 
Lawson was oonspicuous for the zeal and 
force with which he affirmed the right of a 
duly elected Member to take his seat without 
inquisition into his religious beliefs, and the great 
majority of the Liberal party supported Lawson. 
But all was in vain. A majority of the House 
would not have Bradlaugh on any terms, and 
the believers in Religious Liberty and Civil 
Justice — for both were involved — were beaten at 
every turn. 

I abhorred Bradlaugh's doctrine as profoundly 
as the best Tory in the House; but I always 
look back with satisfaction to the fact that I 
voted for him in every division. To my mind, 
belief in justice has always been inseparable 
from belief in God. 

What was Bradlaugh like in person? I 
should say ugly by nature, and made more so by 
some studied peculiarities. I am not sure about 
his height, for I never stood close to him; 
but when he was standing at the Bar he looked 
tall — thanks, perhaps, to his early drilling; and, 
as he shouldered his way through the crowded 
Lobby, he reminded me of Bulwer-Lytton's 
description of O'Connell:— 



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222 Portraits of the Seventies 

With that vast bulk of ohest and limb assigned 

So oft to men who subjugate their kind; 

So sturdy Cromwell pushed, broad-shouldered, on; 

So burly Luther breasted Babylon ; 

So brawny Cleon bawled his Agora down; 

And large-limbed Mahmoud clutched a Prophet's crown. 

He looked extremely strong, and when wrest- 
ling with the officials of the House he seemed 
equal to half a dozen of them. Bright, seeing 
him after such a tussle, thought he was in 
"a deathly faint," but a Tory Member saw 
only a " theatrical resistance " to superior 
force. 

His forehead was high, and his hair, of a 
nondescript colour, was brushed straight back 
and worn extremely long. His face was clean- 
shaven; and his upper lip the longest that I 
ever saw, coming down to meet the lower, in 
that wide mouth which bespeaks the orator. 
He dressed from head to foot in shining black, 
with a low-cut waistcoat, and a narrow black 
tie fastened in a bow. The whole effect of his 
appearance was absurdly clerical. Barring the 
black tie, he might have been taken for a Low 
Church clergyman; with it, he was the exact 
image of a Dissenting minister. In speaking, his 
whole style and manner savoured of the pulpit. 
At once pompous and unctuous, it always reminded 



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CHARLES KRADLAUGH. 



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Four Demagogues 223 

me of another celebrated demagogue, Dr. Parker 
of the City Temple; and derivatively, through 
Parker, of Bishop Samuel Wilberforce, whom I 
am convinced that Parker had studied. 

But, in spite of clericalism and mannerism, 
his style was supremely effective. His speech at 
the Bar of the House on the 23rd of June, 
1880, was a masterpiece, combining the resolute 
assertion of civil right with a dexterous appeal to 
generosity. I happened to dine with Gladstone 
on the evening of that day, and he pronounced 
the speech " consummate," alike in the inborn 
quality of the orator and the acquired arts of the 
rhetorician. Yet we all are, more or less, the 
creatures of convention, and, when Bradlaugh 
appealed to the justice of the 'Ouse, the missing 
aspirate went far to neutralize the eloquence. 

In the following August Dr. Liddon wrote a 
letter which deserves attention, alike because it 
shows his exemption from the habitual blindness 
of clericalism, and because what he predicted 
became, six years later, the fact: — 

"It seems to me as an outsider, that the 
Oath notoriously breaks down if considered as 
a protection of the Theistic belief of the House : 
and this quite independently of Mr. Bradlaugh. 
We both know, or have known, Members of the 



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224 Portraits of the Seventies 

House who are not Theists, but who have no 
scruple about taking the Oath. 

"I see nothing to differentiate, e.g. the late 
Mr. J. S. Mill's doctrine of the categories in his 
Logic from Mr. Bradlaugh's performances in 
the National Reformer, except that the latter 
is coarse and repulsive, while the former is 
interesting to every educated man. Our modern 
society tolerates any amount of blasphemy against 
the Being and Attributes of God — still more 
against His revelation of Himself in and through 
Christ our Lord — if only the blasphemy be 
thrown into good literary form. Mr. Bradlaugh's 
real offence is not his Atheism, but the coarse- 
ness which accompanies it ; and yet this coarseness 
is surely a service which he unintentionally 
renders to religion. 

" When I say that the religious character of 
the House of Commons is a 'fiction,' I do not 
forget that it contains a great many excellent 
Christians. But it also contains misbelievers 
and unbelievers in large numbers; and, alas! 
as matters stand, these latter interest them- 
selves quite as actively as do the Christians in 
the sacred interests of the Church of Christ. 
Mr. Bradlaugh's presence in the House will not 
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Four Demagogues 225 

Theistic elements of it ; but it will bring vividly 
before the mind of the people of this country 
the unfitness of a legislative body to which he 
belongs to handle the truths of Divine Revela- 
tion and the concerns of the Christian Church. 
He reduces to a positive absurdity a state of 
things which for sincere Christians has long 
been well-nigh intolerable. 

" You will say, perhaps, that this is a narrow 
issue on which to decide a great question. But 
there is another point, which I own has great 
weight with me as a clergyman. 

"If Mr. Bradlaugh had been admitted to the 
House of Commons without any delay, he would 
have found his level, and in all probability his 
baneful influence with the people would have 
been materially lessened, as Mill's certainly was. 

" But, as matters have gone, he has made 
himself a name and a power beyond his wildest 
expectations. He has, as somebody said, become 
part of the history of England; and he will 
pose as a Confessor all through this autumn. 
His wretched books have now an enormous circu- 
lation; I have read a great many letters from 
people who have taken to reading him solely 
in consequence of the vast advertisement which 
he has secured for himself and for his produc- 
es 



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226 Portraits of the Seventies 

tions. The longer the resistance to his entrance 
to the House goes on, the keener and wider will 
be the infidel propaganda — a propaganda which 
is not less serious from a social point of view 
than from a theological and religious one." 

What Liddon predicted was exactly what 
happened. Bradlaugh was again returned for 
Northampton at the General Election of 1886, 
and at the beginning of the Session of 1886 
Mr. Speaker Peel, bolder than his predecessor, 
overruled the attempt to prevent the Member 
for Northampton from taking the Oath. 

Bradlaugh, who was yet once more elected 
at the General Election in the summer of that 
year, subsided into a very sober, orderly, and con- 
ventional M.F., a moderate Home Buler, and a 
strong anti-Socialist. Having at length secured 
the position which rightfully belonged to him, 
he ceased to be the least interesting or exciting. 
His respectability became even oppressive, and 
his influence disappeared. 



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OHAPTEB XII 
LORD AND LADY SALISBURY 

FROM the days of James the First to those 
of Queen Victoria, the House of Cecil 
underwent an eclipse. Robert Cecil, youngest 
son of Queen Elizabeth's celebrated Lord Trea- 
surer, Burleigh, was raised to the peerage as 
Lord Cecil in 1603, and died, the first Earl of 
Salisbury, in 1612. The statesmanship of the 
family seemed to die with him; for the second, 
third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh Earls 
gave politics a wide berth. Possessing the most 
beautiful home in England, wide estates, abun- 
dant wealth, and the social influence which those 
ciroumstances bring with them, they lived the 
patriarchal life of great English noblemen, and 
left the strifes and intrigues of political conten- 
tion to those whose taste lay that way. The 
seventh Earl of Salisbury became the first 
Marquess of Salisbury, a Knight of the Garter, 

317 



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228 Portraits of the Seventies 

and a Fellow of the Eoyal Society; but the 
political instinct, which presumably Burleigh had 
transmitted, only revived, and that faintly, in 
the second Marquess, who was born in 1791, 
became Lord Privy Seal under Lord Derby in 
1852 and Lord President of the Council in 1868, 
and died in 1868. This Lord Salisbury, though 
not exactly conspicuous, was by no means an 
insignificant member of the House of Cecil. 
His achievement was his marriage. His wife, 
daughter and heir of Bamber Gascoyne, a great 
landlord in Liverpool, brought him a twofold 
inheritance of wealth and talent. His eldest 
son was an invalid and died before his father, 
but his second son, Bobert Arthur Talbot Cecil 
— the Lord Salisbury of the Seventies, and of 
succeeding years — revived the political glories 
of the family and founded a new dynasty of 
gifted and public-spirited Cecils. 

Lord Bobert Cecil was born in 1830, and 
educated at Eton, where he was miserable, 
and at Christ Church, where he was undis- 
tinguished. His was one of those cases provi- 
dentially ordained for the comfort of the physically 
unfit, where an extremely delicate boyhood and 
youth develope into robust and long-lived age. 
When he was a boy at Hatfield, the servants 



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LORD SALISBURY. 



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Lord and Lady Salisbury 229 

would come panic-stricken to his elder sister, 
Lady Mildred (afterwards Beresford Hope), saying : 
"Please come at once, my Lady, Lord Robert 
says he's dying " ; but he wasn't, and he lived 
to be seventy-three. The credit for this victory 
over the ills inherent in a frail constitution was 
always claimed by Sir Henry Acland, for fifty 
years the "beloved physician" of Oxford. Lord 
Robert, when an undergraduate, was Acland's 
patient, and, as soon as he had got his degree, 
Acland advised him to take a long sea-voyage, 
and, if possible, to spend some time in the gold- 
fields of Australia. Sear-air and an outdoor life 
in a genial climate were the best medicines for 
a delicate, sedentary, and nervous youth, and 
Acland believed that they would build him up 
into a strong and useful manhood. But Lord 
Salisbury had quite other designs for his son, 
and came bustling down to Oxford intent on 
counteracting Acland's counsel. " What in the 
world have you been doing, Dr. Acland? You 
have frightened my son out of his senses. 
Australia indeed! He is to enter Parliament 
directly. Pray tell him there's nothing the 
matter with him, and that the House of 
Commons will be the best place for his health 
as well as his success." 



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230 Portraits of the Seventies 

Aoland, in describing this interview, used to 
narrate his reply with a bland dignity which 
was eminently characteristic of him. " My 
Lord," I said, " there are twenty thousand 
medical practitioners in England, and I have no 
doubt that any of them would be delighted to 
give your son the advice you desire, if they 
knew your Lordship's wishes. I, unfortunately, 
am the one person who is debarred from doing 
so, as I have already advised Lord Robert in 
the contrary sense." 

Lord Robert took his doctor's advice, went 
to Australia, continued his journey to New 
Zealand, and returned to England in better 
health than he had ever known. He entered 
Parliament as Member for the pocket-borough 
of Stamford at a by-election in 1853, and held 
the seat without a contest till he succeeded his 
father as Lord Salisbury in 1868. 

But meanwhile he had made another decision, 
the most important and, as it proved, the most 
fortunate, of his life. In 1867 he married 
Georgiana Alderson, of whom it may be truly said 
that she was for more than forty years the guid- 
ing star of his fortunes and the good angel of 
his house. 

Miss Alderson was a daughter of Sir Edward 



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Lord and Lady Salisbury 231 

Alderson, Baron of the Exchequer, an accom- 
plished scholar, a profound jurist, and a high- 
principled and estimable man. Baron Alderson 
came of Dissenting ancestry, but he himself was 
a staunch and zealous Churchman, falling early 
under the influence of the Oxford Movement 
and continuing in it to the end. This vein of 
enthusiastic Churchmanship, approaching what 
in more reoent times would be called Ritualism, 
powerfully affeoted the " high and dry " atmo- 
sphere in which Lord Robert had been trained, 
and supplied the impulse which has been seen 
at work, not only in his own career but in that 
of his sons. His own attitude towards ecclesi- 
astical parties is well expressed in a letter which 
he wrote in 1898, when Sir William Haroourt 
was trying to inflame the public mind against 
Ritualism. "I feel that the Ritualists are a 
great evil— not on account of the ritual, which 
I cannot treat as a matter of first-rate import- 
ance, but on account of the anarchy they have 
introduced into the Church. But Harcourt's 
objection is pure Ultra-Protestantism. He has 
held this language for five-and-twenty years. 
It is too foolish not to be sincere." 

It was difficult for any one to be brought into 
close contact with Lady Robert Cecil, or Lady 



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232 Portraits of the Seventies 

Salisbury as she became in 1868, without feeling 
the effect of her striking and gifted personality. 
She was one of the cleverest women of her 
time; many would have said the cleverest. 
She had Irish blood in her veins, and it 
showed itself in her gaiety, her reckless courage, 
her rich humour, and her powers of ready 
speech. I do not mean that she spoke in public. 
From that form of activity she was restrained 
by a curious nervousness which she certainly 
showed in no other department of life. Perhaps 
it should rather be called emotionalism. She 
used to affirm that she could not endure the 
sound of her own voice, and that to say "I 
thank you for your address," or "I declare this 
bazaar open," was a feat beyond her powers. 
But in conversation she was prompt, vigorous, 
and pungent in an unusual degree; always 
seeing the ludicrous aspects of a character or 
a situation, but not at all backward in signify- 
ing displeasure or satirizing folly. There was 
a twinkle in her eye, half-mocking, half- 
laughing, which was irresistibly quaint. Her 
pen was as trenchant as her tongue, and for 
many years she wielded it with great effect in 
anonymous journalism. For the first eleven 
years of her married life, her husband was still 



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LADY SALISBURY. 



To face p. 131. 



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Lord and Lady Salisbury 233 

a younger son, and Lord Salisbury was not 
profuse in provision for his family. That Lord 
Robert Cecil made a good income out of his 
regular contributions to the Quarterly is common 
knowledge, and the essays on foreign and 
domestic politics which he contributed to that 
review were well worth disinterment. Of course 
this habit of systematic authorship stimulated 
and disciplined his style, and the trick of writ- 
ing clearly and humorously never forsook him, 
even in the busiest days of his official life. 
He wrote everything with his own hand, and 
the most ordinary letter and the shortest note 
always showed the master-touch. It was aston- 
ishing to me, when I published the Memoir 
of Canon Malcolm MacColl, that the pur- 
blind critics never discovered the extraordinary 
merit of Lord Salisbury's letters, with which 
that memoir abounds. 

But Lady Robert's sphere was the Saturday 
Review, then owned by her husband's brother- 
in-law, A. J. B. Beresf ord-Hope ; and there she 
merrily plied her pen with advantage alike to 
herself and to the paper. Perhaps her highest 
fame as a journalist was attained when the 
world insisted on attributing to her the author- 
ship of Frisky Matrons, and The Qirl of the 



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234 Portraits of the Seventies 

Period, which really were written by Mrs. Lynn 
Linton. 

These literary pastimes were laid aside when 
Lord Robert Cecil (who had become Lord 
Cranborne by his elder brother's death in 1866) 
entered Lord Derby's Government as Seoretary 
of State for India in 1866. Thenceforward to 
the end of her life Lady Salisbury concentrated 
all her powers on the furtherance and support 
of her husband's politioal career. Her value 
to him was enormous. His pessimistic spirit, 
his despondent view of life, his low estimate 
of the practice of politics even when conducted 
on a grand scale, found their wholesome anti- 
dote in her buoyant temper, her cheery optimism, 
and the zealous enjoyment with which she 
played the game. I should think that it is not 
too much to say that Lord Salisbury's marriage 
made all the difference between a doleful and a 
joyous life. 

I spoke of the zeal with which Lady Salis- 
bury played the game of politics. Her enemies 
— and she had plenty — said that she played it 
too intently, and that it was sometimes allowed 
to interfere with her natural kindliness, and to 
bring discord into relations which, in spite of 
divergence, ought to have been harmonious. Be 



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Lord and Lady Salisbury 235 

that as it may — and it is not for me to pass 
judgment — her guiding ambition was to secure 
for her husband the national and international 
recognition which she knew to be his due, and 
to surround him with all those amenities of the 
home which count for so much in the lives of 
successful politicians. From that home, as I 
remember it, I would not, if I could, raise the 
veil. It must suffice to say that both Lord and 
Lady Salisbury pursued in the education of their 
children a method highly unconventional indeed, 
but founded on the noblest principles; and, in 
the event, abundantly justified. 

But a Prime Minister and his wife must to 
a great extent live their lives in public; and 
about the public appearances of Lord and Lady 
Salisbury there is no need to be reticent. We 
all remember him in the House of Lords, and 
an impressive memory it truly is — the memory of 
a very able man with a very high sense of duty, 
thinking aloud in the presence of an assembly 
with which he did not condesoend to argue. 
We ail remember his majestic appearance, dark 
colouring, great stature, and pensive brow— 
which the second Lord Lytton described with 
admirable fidelity in Glenaveril : — 



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236 Portraits of the Seventies 

Observe his mien. Above the spacious ohest 
The large Olympian forehead forward droops 

Its massive temples, as if thus to rest 

The orowded brain their firm-built bastion coops 

And the large slouching shoulder, as oppressed 
By the prone head, habitually stoops 

Above a world his contemplative gaze 

Peruses, finding little there to praise. 

Philosopher and Paladin in one ; 

The soldier's courage and the sage's lore ; 
A searching intellect that leaves no stone 

Unturned in any path its thoughts explore; 
A rush of repartee that, not alone 

Dazzles, but scathes — like lightning flashing o'er 
The loaded fulness of a brooding mind, 
Scornful of men, but studious of mankind. 

On the sixtieth anniversary of Queen Victoria's 
accession, the House of Lords attended Divine 
Service in Westminster Abbey. Lord Salisbury 
sate in the Sub-dean's seat, where, wrapped in 
the scarlet and ermine of his degree, and framed 
by the time-stained oak of the stall and canopy, 
he looked indeed a worthy representative of the 
greatest empire in the world. A busybody (I 
think a bishop) once came bustling to Lord 
Salisbury about some projected appointment. 
" You must forgive my worrying you, but the 
office is supremely important." To which the 
philosophic statesman replied, " There are only 



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Lord and Lady Salisbury 237 

two supremely important offices in England — 
the Premiership and the Foreign Secretaryship, 
and at the present moment I happen to hold 
them both." 

Prime Ministers lead a public life, even in 
circumstances which, for lesser people, would be 
private. Both at Hatfield and in Arlington Street 
Lord and Lady Salisbury entertained on a scale 
which gave their hospitalities the character of 
public ceremonies. Gladstone, after visiting 
Hatfield in 1868, told Bishop Wilberforce that 
he had "never seen a more perfect host." 
On 15th February, 1878, there was a ball in 
Arlington Street at which the Prince and 
Princess of Wales were present. I well re- 
member that, when Lord Salisbury led the 
Princess to supper, Lady Margaret Beaumont, 
by whom I was standing, said, "There's a 
splendid couple! The finest man in the room 
and the prettiest woman." 



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CHAPTBE Xni 

THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF 
WESTMINSTER 

HUGH LUPUS GKOSVENOK,* third 
Marquess and first Duke of Westmin- 
ster, married in 1852 his cousin, Lady Constance 
Leveson-Gower, daughter of the seoond Duke of 
Sutherland. The Duchess died in 1880; but in 
the Seventies she and her husband were the 
most brilliant and conspicuous couple in the 
social world of London. 

The Duke was of middle height, rather above 
than below, thin and almost shrivelled-looking, 
with black hair and a sallow complexion. He 
carried himself very gracefully, with his ohin 
elevated and his head rather thrown baok. His 
bearing was full of natural dignity; but he 
was light in hand, entirely free from formality 
and pose, and delightfully courteous. He 

< 1836-90. 



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E 



. '' **\ 




o a 

S I 

■ 5 

< o 



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Duke and Duchess of Westminster 239 

knew — and it is a rare gift — how to be easy 
and free without being free-and-easy. His cour- 
tesy was as conspicuous in the hunting-field as 
in the drawing-room, and, when he was Master 
of the Cheshire Hounds, I have known him jump 
off his horse, in the middle of a fine run, in 
order to help an older man in difficulties. In 
his personal life he was simple, almost austere; 
but in everything that pertained to his station 
and its responsibilities, stately, profuse, and 
grandiose. Though not artistically educated, 
he had a genuine sense for art in general and 
architecture in particular. He harboured large 
designs for the reconstruction of his London 
property, which reached from Oxford Street to 
the Thames; and had he lived he would have 
made the great district which he owned a city 
of palaces. 

One of his most amiable traits was his love 
of animals, which made him, among other things, 
a vehement foe of bearing-reins, and helped to 
make him a consummate horseman, for there can 
be no true horsemanship where the rider does 
not feel himself in sympathy with his mount in 
the hunting-field. Bend Or, the famous Derby 
winner of 1880, was so completely a member of 
the family at Baton that his name became the 



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240 Portraits of the Seventies 

pseudonym of his inseparable companion, who 
is now (1916) the second Duke of Westminster. 

The first Duke, of whom I am now writing, 
was a model country gentleman, the friend of 
all his neighbours, high and low, and intimately 
versed in all the duties and interests which 
belong to an agricultural property — in his case 
not a very large one, for the 20,000 acres of the 
Grosvenor Estate in Cheshire and Flintshire are 
few when compared with the domains of the Tolle- 
maches and Cholmondeleys and Egertons. Of 
course the Duke's great wealth was derived from 
the farm-lands which his ancestress, Mary Davies, 
brought into the family in 1677, and which now 
are covered by Grosvenor Square and its adjacent 
streets, and retain traces of their origin in Green 
Street and Farm Street and Park Lane ; but this 
is a digression. 

The Duke was a mart of keen intelligence and 
impetuous temper. He had a strong sense of 
public duty, and took an active part in politics, 
though, except during the five years when he 
was Master of the Horse in Gladstone's govern- 
ment, outside the official ring. Indeed he was 
exactly the type of politician that is the despair 
of Whips and wire-pullers. By birth and training 
he was a Whig of the Whigs ; yet he first sprang 



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Duke and Duchess of Westminster 241 

into prominence by helping to defeat Lord 
Russell's Reform Bill of 1866. He supported 
the disestablishment of the Irish Church, but 
he was an even fanatical opponent of Home 
Rule. He abhorred Lord Beaconsfield and all 
his works and ways, and was an enthusiastic 
champion of the Christian cause in Eastern 
Europe. Throughout the Eastern Question of 
1876-79 he supported Gladstone through thick 
and thin; and, though he had sold Millais's 
picture of his former leader rather than keep a 
Home Ruler on his walls, yet Gladstone chose 
him as the most suitable recipient of his Open 
Letter on the Armenian Massacres in 1907. 

I turn from the Duke to the Duchess — " the 
bride and the pride of the Gros-veneur" as the 
enthusiastic Egerton - Warburton called her in 
a song of weloome to Cheshire, adding this 
chivalrous defiance — 

So I lower my lance, 
And I challenge all France 
I To outvie the bright eye of the Lady Constance. 

I 

I The Duchess of Westminster was one of 

' the most beautiful women in Europe. Certainly 

France could not have produced her equal. Her 

profile, slightly aquiline, was absolutely perfect, 

16 



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242 Portraits of the Seventies 

and her hair, light gold in tint, fell in waves 
over a noble forehead. Her charm of manner 
is difficult to describe, but was impossible to 
resist. It was the perfection of naturalness, 
gaiety, and welcoming grace. Though she 
entertained incessantly and on the largest 
scale, she greeted each guest with a lustrous 
smile and a genial word which made him feel 
that, however insignificant he might be, his 
glorious hostess was pleased to see him. 

Although the Duchess's health failed pre- 
maturely, and she died quite early in middle 
life, in her heyday she had a physical vigour, 
an almost romping activity, and a joy in living, 
which made her society irresistibly exhilarating. 
"My dear, I only wish I could get a new pair 
of feet," was her rapid ejaculation to a girl 
young enough to be her daughter, in a pause 
in the dancing at Grosvenor House; and when 
she could dance no longer, she would stand 
by with her jocund smile while others danced, 
and would incite her juniors to renewed 
activity. "Oh! Lord Lothair, how lazy you 
are! Keep him up to it, Gorisande. You 
young people don't half waltz. I've a good 
mind to come and give you a lesson." 

As I look back upon " the passing show " of 



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Duke and Duchess of Westminster 243 

society in London between 1870 and 1880, the 
parties at Grosvenor House stand out con- 
spicuous, marked off from all the rest by their 
magic combination of jollity and splendour. It 
required Lord Beaconsfield's pen, unequalled at 
that kind of work, to describe those radiant 
festivals, and beyond doubt they would have 
figured in Lothair; only, when that great book 
was in writing, Lord Grosvenor had not suc- 
ceeded to his hereditary honours, and "The 
Lady Constance" had not begun her famous 
reign at Grosvenor House. 



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CHAPTER XIV 

THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF 
SUTHERLAND 

IN my last chapter I expressed my regret 
that Lord Beaconsfield, whose sketches of 
character and life in London were unerring, had 
never described a ball at Grosvenor House. 
He did, however, the next best thing, by laying 
the scene of Lothair's entrance into society at 
what is palpably meant for Stafford House, 
now the London Museum, but in the Seventies 
the abode of the third Duke of Sutherland and 
his wife, in her own right Countess of 
Cromartie. 

" It was a sumptuous festival. The palace, 
resonant with fantastic music, blazed amid 
illumined gardens, rich with summer warmth. 
The bright moments flew on. Suddenly there 
was a mysterious silence in the hall, followed 
by a kind of suppressed stir. Every one seemed 



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Duke and Duchess of Sutherland 245 

to be speaking with bated breath, or, if moving, 
to be walking on tiptoe. It was the supper- 
hour — 

Soft hour which wakes the wish and melts the heart. 

Royalty, followed by the imperial presence of 
ambassadors, and escorted by a group of daz- 
zling duchesses and paladins of high degree, was 
ushered with courteous pomp by the host and 
hostess into a choice saloon, hung with rose- 
coloured tapestry and illumined by chandeliers 
of crystal, where they were served from gold 
plate. 

"But the thousand less favoured were not 
badly off, when they found themselves in the 
more capacious chambers, into which they 
rushed with an eagerness hardly in keeping 
with the splendid nonchalance of the preceding 
hours. * What a perfect family ! ' exclaimed 
Hogo Bohun, as he extracted a couple of fat 
little birds from their bed of aspic jelly. 
4 Everything they do in such perfect taste. 
How safe you were here to have ortolans for 
supper ! * " 

George Granville William Leveson-Gower, third 
Duke of Sutherland, was born in 1828, and died 
in 1892. He was essentially, in all his tastes 



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246 Portraits of the Seventies 

and feelings, a great aristocrat, as that word is 
used in vulgar parlance ; but his humour was to 
affect, in speech and aspect and bearing, a rough 
and ready independence of convention. His tow- 
coloured hair and beard were tangled ; his clothes 
looked as if they had been stuck on with a 
pitchfork; he held himself ungracefully, and his 
manner was abrupt. His favourite amusements, 
apart from the inevitable sports of the field, were 
such as to astonish the multitude. He delighted 
in navigating yachts, driving locomotives, and 
in helping, when he did not hinder, the opera- 
tions of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade. But 
these idiosyncrasies were merely affectations, 
and did not conceal, from those who could look 
below the surface, his strong common-sense and 
his generous instincts. Apart from his paternal 
property, he had inherited from his grand- 
mother, in her own right Countess of Suther- 
land, much more than a million acres in the 
Highlands ; and he always seemed more at home 
on the moors and lochs of Sutherland and Boss- 
shire than amid the rococoo splendours of Tren- 
tham or Stafford House. He liked to fancy 
himself a chief, and found enjoyment in kilts 
and bagpipes. 
The second Duke had been a principal sup- 



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Duke and Duchess of Sutherland 247 

porter of the London and North- Western Railway, 
at a time when railways were still unfashionable ; 
and, following the example so set, the third Duke 
contributed more than £226,000 to the formation 
of the Highland Railway. An even larger sum 
he bestowed on the reclamation of waste lands 
and the development of Scottish agriculture. He 
had by nature a shrewd instinct for business, and 
this assured him that before many years were 
over Staffordshire would become uninhabitable; 
and, although he could scarcely have foreseen 
that a time would come when Trentham would 
be so polluted that no public body would accept 
it as a gift, he seemed to realize that his suc- 
cessors would make Dunrobin their headquarters, 
and arranged his affairs accordingly. 

In politics the Duke was an hereditary Whig, 
and in his youth was esteemed a Radical. Here 
is his portrait as he appeared in those distant 
days to a close and sarcastic observer — 

"He was opposed to all privilege, and indeed 
to all orders of men, except dukes, who were a 
necessity. He was alBO in favour of the equal 
division of all property, except land. Liberty 
depended on land, and the greater the land- 
owners the greater the liberty of the country. 
He would hold forth on thiB topic even with 



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248 Portraits of the Seventies 

energy, and was amazed at any one differing 
from him; c as if a fellow could have too much 
land,' he would urge with a voice and glance 
which defied contradiction." 

Apart from questions of land, the Duke's 
politics were distinctly Liberal. When Gari- 
baldi visited England in 1864, the Duke met 
him at Nine Elms Station, conveyed him in 
triumph to Stafford HouBe, lodged him there 
with a degree of magnificence which the 
hardy leader of "The Thousand" found rather 
burdensome, and, when the visit came to its 
abrupt and mysterious end, carried him back to 
Caprera in his yacht. In Parliament he voted 
steadily for all such measures as extension of 
the Franchise and Irish Disestablishment; but 
when Lord Beaconsfield became Prime Minister, 
and the great controversy of the Eastern Question 
arose, the Duke was a renegade, and arrayed him- 
self against Gladstone's crusade, taking his part 
with the Turk, the Tories, and the Times. 1 From 
this great apostasy he never rallied, and in his 
later years he disappeared completely from 
political life. 

1 A fund for wounded Turkish soldiers was opened at Stafford 
House, and the ball-porter, replying to a journalist who asked 
how it was doing, said, " Not very well. There's a terrible 
deal of Christian feeling about in the oountry." 



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Duke and Duchess of Sutherland 249 

In 1849 Lord Stafford (whom as third Duke 
of Sutherland we have just been discussing) 
married, before he struck twenty-one, Anne Hay- 
Mackenzie. If she had wedded any one else, this 
young lady would have been esteemed a great 
heiress, for she represented the Earls of Cromartie 
(who were attainted for their participation in the 
rising of 1745), and inherited from them some 
160,000 acres in Boss-shire. She had also con- 
siderable beauty, remarkable health, and un- 
bounded activity. She rode and danced and 
swam — in those days ladies did not shoot — with 
a zest which lasted at least into middle life. In 
1861 Lord Stafford succeeded his father as Duke 
of Sutherland, and Lord Palmerston, always sus- 
ceptible to female charms, induced Queen Victoria 
to reinstate the Duchess in her hereditary honours, 
making her Countess of Cromartie in her own 
right, with remainder to her second son, and to 
heirs female as well as male. When asked why 
he had advised this startling use of the preroga- 
tive, " Cupid," as his friends called him, could 
only reply, " A cause de ses beaux yeux." 

As mistress of Stafford House the DucheBS had 
a brilliant reign. The house had been built by 
Frederick, Duke of York, on land mysteriously 
acquired from the Green Park, and was leased 



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250 Portraits of the Seventies 

from the Crown by the first Duke of Sutherland. 
Its famous hall and staircase, designed by Sir 
Charles Barry, perfect in proportion and singularly 
harmonious in their tints of purple and grey, are 
the triumph of scagliola, and always deceived the 
onlooker into the notion that they were marble, 
until he inadvertently touched them and found 
them warm. The house was admirably adapted 
for entertaining on the largest scale, and the third 
Duke and Duchess habitually threw open its wide 
doors to the whole world of London. Lord Bea- 
consfield, in the passage which I quoted above, did 
not exaggerate the splendid appearance of a ball 
at Stafford House ; but appearances, in balls as in 
life, are not everything, and Stafford House always 
lacked the peculiar sense of personal welcome and 
hospitable delight which marked the related and 
rival house in Upper Grosvenor Street. At Gros- 
venor House a ball was a party ; at Stafford 
House it was a mob. 

On New Year's Day, 1870, the Duchess wrote 
thus to a friend : "I am to be the new Mistress 
of the Bobes. I could wish it had not been 
through Mr. Gladstone ; but he has very prettily 
expressed the personal wishes of the Queen in 
his letter to me, which he might not have done. 
It will make me very happy to have oppor- 



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DUCHESS OF SUTHERLAND. 



To face p. 15s. 



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Duke and Duchess of Sutherland 251 

trinities of seeing more of the Queen, for whom 
I have always had such admiration and devo- 
tion." 

This letter was highly characteristic of the 
writer. A warm heart, when it accepts a boon, 
does not gird at the giver; and a wise head 
knows how to restrain its feelings when they 
go astray. Bat though several good fairies had 
assisted at the birth of Anne Duchess of Suther- 
land, some had been conspicuously absent, and, 
as years went on, the effects of their absence 
became increasingly evident. She was still, 
when dressed in black, with a great cross of 
diamonds at her throat and a firmament of 
diamond stars in her dark hair, an impressive 
figure; but her face acquired a look of settled 
melancholy, which contrasted even painfully with 
the glittering scenes through which she moved. 
She gradually retired from London and society, 
forsook Dunrobin and Trentham, and estab- 
lished herself at Torquay, where she lived sur- 
rounded by an obsequious clique, which had 
all the foibles, though none of the interest, of 
a Court. She passed through many phases of 
religion, from Dr. Cumming's prophetical ministry 
in Crown Court, and the fervent Evangelicalism 
of MisB Marsh's faith, to the mild Anglicanism 



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252 Portraits of the Seventies 

of Bishop Wilkinson, and the florid Ritualism 
of later guides. Roman proselytizers, who are 
fond of fishing in troubled waters, marked her 
as their prey, but never succeeded in landing 
her. She died, unexpectedly, in her sixtieth 
year. Of her five children none survive. 



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CHAPTER XV 
THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF ABEROORN 

WHEN one is arranging a gallery of 
portraits, relationship to the subject 
doeB not by itself justify the inclusion of a 
particular picture ; but, if the subject was in 
any way remarkable, relationship does not for- 
bid one to include his or her portrait. The 
Duke and Duchess of Abercorn were so note- 
worthy — indeed, so unique — a couple, that a 
Portrait-Gallery of the Seventies which lacked 
their pictures would be glaringly incomplete. 

James Hamilton, 1 tenth Earl and first Duke 
of Abercorn, and Duke of Chatelherault in 
France, was all that his name suggests; and 
from first to last he was one of the handsomest 
men of his generation. Among his contem- 
poraries at Oxford there were only three who 
could be bracketed with him — Henry Edward 

« 1811-86. 
253 



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254 Portraits of the Seventies 

Manning, Sidney Herbert, and Lord Douglas, 
afterwards eleventh Duke of Hamilton. I have 
heard Gladstone, who was a contemporary of 
all four, discuss their respective charms. 
Douglas was a Greek statue ; Herbert was too 
tall for perfect beauty; and Manning too short. 
Abercorn's defect was an over-refinement of 
feature which suggested effeminacy. By the 
time that the four rivals had attained middle 
life (and two of them did not live beyond it) 
Abercorn's supremacy was assured by a change 
in fashions. The return of the bearded heroes 
from the Crimea made beards fashionable; and 
Aberoorn was one of the first to follow the new 
mode. Never was that hazardous translation 
from tonsu* to barbatvs so strikingly successful. 
The beard, of the same rich brown as the curl- 
ing hair, was trimmed and pointed and kept 
with scrupulous care; and, blending with the 
whiskers and moustache, gave a pictureaqueness 
and virility to the appearance which redeemed 
it from insipidity. Those who saw Aberoorn 
dressed for a fancy ball, in black velvet with 
a point lace collar and the blue ribbon of the 
Garter round his neck, saw Vandyke's picture 
of Charles I step out of its frame ; and the 
resemblance waB heightened by the narrowness 



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Duke and Duchess of Abercorn 255 

of the forehead and the singular dignity of 
bearing. Even as a boy at Harrow, Aberoorn 
had been a conspicuous dandy, and the habit 
never forsook him; but he always dressed, not 
in strict conformity to the rule of the moment, 
but with a certain elasticity in the matter of 
fabric, colour, and art, which added greatly to 
the distinction of his appearance. He was in 
all respects a great gentleman; and, in some 
senses of the term, a man of fashion and of the 
world : but he was a good deal more than this. 
He had excellent abilities, which an almost 
morbid shyness prevented him from displaying, 
but which he cultivated by much more reading 
than his friends ever suspected. It was not a 
little remarkable that for the greater part of 
his life he took scarcely any part in public 
affairs. He had succeeded to his title while 
still a boy, and entered the House of Lords in 
1832. The texture of his Conservatism was 
above reproach, and he had very considerable 
advantages of person and address. But, beyond 
an ornamental post in the Household of the 
Prince Consort, he held no public office till 
Lord Derby formed his last administration in 
1866. Then the hour struck and the man 
arrived. 



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256 Portraits of the Seventies 

Lord Abercorn was the heaven-sent Viceroy 
of Ireland. He arrived at Dublin at a critical 
moment. The embers of the Fenian conspiracy 
were still smouldering, and there were signs 
which showed that the long-threatened attack 
on the Irish Church was not far off. Over all 
difficulties Lord Abercorn triumphed by probity, 
courage, and a wise employment of social splen- 
dour. Of all the men who have ever filled the 
Viceregal throne, he was the best qualified by 
appearance and manner to play the part of a 
Vice-King. " Give me Abercorn/ ' cried an en- 
thusiastic Irishman, "that looks at ye over his 
bird as if ye was the dirt beneath his feet." 

The General Election of 1868 decided the fate 
of the Irish Church, made Gladstone Prime 
Minister, and sent Abercorn back to the private 
and domestic life which he so thoroughly en- 
joyed. Disraeli had rewarded his services by 
making him a duke, and now conferred on him 
immortality by drawing his portrait as "The 
Duke " in Lothair. Though he was the head of 
a great Scottish house, his main possessions lay 
in the North of Ireland, where he owned some 
eighty thousand acres in Tyrone and Donegal; 
and there were some who thought that he might 
have been Duke of Ulster; but the Queen was 



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Duke and Duchess of Abercorn 257 

reminded that this was a royal title, and Lord 
Abercorn became Duke of Abercorn in the peer- 
age of Ireland. Till this new dukedom was 
created, the Duke of Leinster had been the sole 
duke in the peerage of Ireland, and was play- 
fully known as "Ireland's Only." When the 
newly created Duke of Abercorn wrote a mock 
apology for thus invading his monopoly, the elder 
duke responded, gracefully and appositely, that, 
though he was no longer " Ireland's Only," he 
was quite contented to be " Premier Duke of 
Ireland," 

When Lord Beaconsfield formed his last Ad- 
ministration, at the beginning of 1874, the Duke 
of Abercorn accepted the Yiceroyalty; but his 
health was not quite what it had been, and the 
burdens and formalities of viceregal life were 
becoming irksome. He therefore resigned in 
1876, and for the remainder of his days lived a 
life of patriarchal state and tranquillity, mainly 
at Baron's Court, in County Tyrone, surrounded 
by his descendants to the fourth generation. So 
much for a rough sketch of the Duke of Aber- 
corn: I now attempt a more finished portrait of 
the Duchess. 

Lady Louisa Jane Bussell, daughter of John, 
sixth Duke of Bedford, by his second wife, Lady 

17 



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258 Portraits of the Seventies 

Georgiana .Gordon, was born in 1812. As she 
advanced towards girlhood, many a fond remin- 
iscence and many a daring prophecy gathered 
round her. Old stagers saw reproduced in her 
the magical charm by which her grandmother, 
Jane, Duchess of Gordon, had raised the Gor- 
don Highlanders. More modern observers recog- 
nized the brilliant grace which had nearly made 
Lady Georgiana wife of Eugene Beauharnais, and 
Vice-Queen of Italy. Her line of feature was 
marked and aquiline — a legacy from the " Gallant 
Gordons " ; her figure was extraordinarily slight, 
and every movement, posture, and gesture was 
the very perfection of girlish grace. 

One of the few redeeming features in the 
character of George IV was his kindness to 
children; and it was at a children's ball at Carl- 
ton House that little Lady Louisa Russell first 
encountered the future partner of her brilliant 
life. James Hamilton (afterwards Duke of Aber- 
corn) was a year and a half older than his 
partner, and a singularly handsome boy. The 
children were mutually attracted to each other, 
danced together, went to supper together, and 
(it is believed) made arrangements for a matri- 
monial alliance later on. But the idyll was 
rudely broken by the imperative necessity that 



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Duke and Duchess of Abercorn 259 

Lord Aberoorn should return to Harrow and 
Lady Louisa to the schoolroom; nor was it re- 
newed till 1832, when the " young man of great 
possessions" — beauty, rank, and fortune — re-en- 
countered the heroine of the children's ball. 
"Lady Louisa, do you remember what I said to 
you at Carlton House when we were boy and 
girl ? " " Yes, I think I do." " Well, I haven't 
changed my mind." 

So all went merry as a marriage-bell, and 
Lady Louisa Russell became Marchioness of 
Abercorn on the 25th of October, 1832, she being 
twenty and her husband nearly twenty-two years 
old; and in due course the mother of fourteen 
children, 1 and the ancestress of a family so 
numerous that 160 survived her. 

The position which Lady Abercorn — for such 
was her style during the central part of her life 
— occupied in society was quite unique. She was 
an hereditary favourite at Court, a personal friend 

1 James, second Duke of Abercorn ; Lord Claud Hamilton, 
M.P. ; Lord George Hamilton, M.P. ; Lord Ronald and Lord 
Cosmo Hamilton, who both died young; Lord Frederick 
Hamilton, M.P. ; Lord Ernest Hamilton, M.P. ; Harriet, 
Countess of Lichfield; Beatrix, Countess of Durham ; Louisa, 
Duchess of Buooleuoh; Eatherine, Countess of Mount Edg- 
oumbe ; Georgina, Countess Winterton ; Albertha, Marchioness 
of Blandford; and Maud, Marchioness of Lansdowne. 



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260 Portraits of the Seventies 

of Queen Victoria (who wished her to be Mistress 
of the Robes in 1841), the mother of charming 
and beautiful daughters, and the head of an 
establishment, conducted, first at Dudley House, 
Park Lane, and afterwards at Chesterfield House, 
on a profuse and splendid scale. Yet, though 
essentially "in the world," Lady Abercorn never 
was "of" it. A strong strain of Evangelical 
piety, which had reached her in early life indi- 
rectly from Charles Simeon, blended itself har- 
moniously with the Presbyterian traditions of 
the Hamilton 8, and Lady Abercorn lived in 
a circle — not small — of intimate and devoted 
friends, but was curiously aloof from the excite- 
ment, the ostentation, and the moral pliability 
of what was then called the "Beau Monde," 
and is now the "Smart Set." At one period 
of her life she was strongly addicted to the pro- 
phetical ministry of Dr. Cumming, and the 
current joke was that, whereas other mothers of 
marriageable daughters invited desirable young 
men to their opera-boxes, Lady Abercorn would 
ask them to share her pew in Crown Court. 

The appointment of Lord Abercorn to the Irish 
Viceroyalty necessarily changed, for a while, the 
tenour of his wife's life; and the success of his 
Administration was in part due to the winning 



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Duke and Duchess of Abercorn 261 

charm and gracious dignity by which his Vice- 
Queen swayed the Irish heart. Ireland had been 
the adopted home of her married life, and it is 
worthy of note that in the short Parliament of 
1885-86 she had all her five surviving sons battling 
for the Union, the eldest in the House of Lords 
and his four younger brothers in the House of 
Commons. Perhaps even more remarkable is the 
fact that at a by-election in 1904 she was still 
able to take a keen interest and a prominent part 
in the election of her grandson, Lord Tumour, 
for the Horsham Division of Sussex. She died 
on the 30th of March, 1906, in her ninety- 
fourth year. 

To draw what I promised — a finished portrait 
of Louisa, Duchess of Abercorn — is, I find, no 
easy task. A keen sense of humour, natural 
grace of speech and bearing, a wealth of warm 
affection, merry interest in her friends' concerns 
— all these attributes were joined in her with a 
dignity which belonged to a bygone generation, 
and an eager piety which, amidst the abounding 
distractions of a brilliant and crowded life, never 
for an instant lost sight of " the one thing need- 
ful." Ben Jonson may have had some such 
image before his mental gaze when he wrote his 
address to Lucy Harington, Countess of Bedford. 



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262 Portraits of the Seventies 

To Lady Louisa Bussell this portrait of her 
ancestress must have been familiar from her 
childhood, and it may have helped to shape, by 
some undetected influence, the lines on which 
her own character developed. 

This morning, timely rapt with holy fire, 
I sought to form unto my zealous muse 

What kind of creature I could most desire 
To honour, serve, and love, as poets use. 

I meant to make her fair, and free, and wise, 
Of greatest blood, and yet more good than great — 

I meant the day-star should not brighter rise, 
Nor lend like influence from his lucent seat. 

I meant she should be courteous, facile, sweet, 
Hating that solemn vice of greatness, Pride; 

I meant each softest virtue there should meet, 
Fit in that softer bosom to reside. 

Those who had the privilege of knowing Louisa, 
Duchess of Abercorn, saw in actual life what the 
poet imagined 



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CHAPTEB XVI 

LORD AND LADY SPENCER 

T"\UBING the period which we axe now con- 
-*-^ sidering there was no more conspicuous 
couple in London than Lord and Lady Spencer. 
Theirs was one of those marriages in which, to 
quote a phrase of Gladstone's, " the union of 
thought, heart, and action both fulfils the ideal 
and brings duality near to the borders of identity." 
John Poyntz Spencer, sixth Earl Spencer, was 
born in 1835, succeeded his father in 1857, and 
married in 1858 Charlotte Frances Frederica 
Seymour. Three sisters, all pretty, close to one 
another in age, constantly seen together, must 
always attract attention; and the three Miss 
Seymours who became respectively Lady Clifden, 
Lady Charles Bruce, and Lady Spencer, were 
very bright stars in the social firmament. Lady 
Spencer was not faultlessly, but splendidly, beau- 
tiful; with a truly noble brow, and a general 



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264 Portraits of the Seventies 

effect of radiance which seemed to surround her 
like an atmosphere. When, in 1868, her hus- 
band was made Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, 
every one felt that " Spencer's Fairy Queen " 
was the ideal occupant of a Viceregal throne. 
Those were the halcyon days of Liberalism, 
but in a later and more dangerous Viceroyalty 
Lady Spencer's high courage and steady nerve 
did much to steady the social fabric of Ireland, 
which Fenianism was shaking to its base. 

As mistress of Spencer House, the most beau- 
tiful though not the most grandiose house in 
London, and of Althorp, where the high traditions 
of hospitality were scrupulously observed, Lady 
Spencer naturally had a great position in society ; 
but she always seemed to have a soul above her 
surroundings and a mind which appraised state 
and splendour at their proper worth. She was 
by conviction a strong and steady Liberal; and 
long before " slumming " became a fashionable 
game, she had shown a generous and a wise 
insight into the problems of poverty. 

After what I have said in praise of Lady 
Spencer, perhaps I can best introduce Lord 
Spencer by saying that he was worthy of his 
wife. He was one of the greatest gentlemen I 
ever saw, with that absolutely perfect maimer, 



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Lord and Lady Spencer 265 

both dignified and gentle, which no one nowadays 
can even imitate. He rode as became a Master 
of the Pytchley, with that "noble horseman- 
ship" which in all generations has "witched" 
the English "world." His face was far from 
handsome; but his great height, his willowy 
figure, and his stately bearing made his presence 
peculiarly effective. To my eye he was the most 
conspicuous man at the Coronation of King 
Edward VH. He was one of the four Knights 
of the Garter chosen to bear the canopy above 
the King at his anointing ; the splendid dark 
blue velvet mantle of the Order sate on him as 
naturally as a frock-coat on Mr. Chamberlain, 
and combined with his grey-red beard and 
stately figure to give the effect of a portrait by 
Vandyke. 

Lord Spencer was an Englishman to the back- 
bone; Harrow and Cambridge and Althorp had 
only developed his natural bias. He loved a 
country life, field-sports, agriculture, county busi- 
ness. He was typically English in this — that 
he disliked social changes. All his domestic 
apparatus, though handsome, was old-fashioned. 
He liked to have the Times delivered at 
Althorp in the evening, as it had been in his 
boyhood. When he went abroad an English 



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266 Portraits of the Seventies I 

breakfast of eggs and bacon, eaten at half-past 
nine, was an essential feature of his holiday. 

He was also an Englishman — and an English- 
man of the best type — in his devotion to public 
duty. There could never have been a man 
(unless it was his uncle, Lord Althorp, of the 
Reform Bill) to whom the drudgery of political 
office, and platform oratory, and ceremonious 
pomp, were less congenial. But he was the 
head of a great family which had long played 
its part in public life ; alike his personal con- 
victions and his hereditary associations bound 
him to the Whigs; and when Mr. Gladstone 
asked him to be in turn a Lord-Lieutenant of 
Ireland, Lord President of the Council, and First 
Lord of the Admiralty, he never let ease and 
enjoyment stand in the way, if his leader 
thought he could possibly serve the State. 

I said just now that he was a Whig; but he 
was a Whig with a difference, and that difference 
was a life-long devotion to Gladstone. In him 
Whiggery became Liberalism; and in some 
notable respects — as in his views of the Eastern 
Question — his Liberalism was not distinguishable 
from Radicalism. 

Of course the most notable incident in his 
life was his conversion to Home Rule. When 



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Lord and Lady Spencer 267 

the Liberal Government of 1880, represented in 
Ireland by Forster and Lord Cowper, had ( failed 
ingloriously in its contest with murder and 
outrage, Gladstone turned for help to Spencer; 
and Spencer, with characteristic self-forgetful- 
ness, undertook at a moment's notice as formid- 
able a task as could be offered to an English 
statesman — the Yiceroyalty of a rebellious Ireland. 
A week later, the Irish troubles culminated in 
the murders of the Phoenix Park, and " The 
Irish Question" entered on the most dangerous 
phase that it had ever known. Spencer's simple 
sense of duty, his persistent courage, and his 
strong common sense, bore him safely — nay, 
triumphantly — through all perils and perplexities. 
Between 1882 and 1885 he abolished agrarian 
murder, broke the tyranny of the Land League, 
and re-established social order. 

Then, on the 8th of June, 1886, came the 
defeat of Gladstone's second administration, 
over an amendment to the Budget, and Lord 
Salisbury became Prime Minister. 

The fall of the Liberal Government involved, 
of course, Lord Spencer's return from Ireland, 
and somd of his friends resolved, after the 
manner of admiring Englishmen, to give him 
a public dinner. The current phrase, not 



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268 Portraits of the Seventies 

perhaps scientifically accurate, was that we 
were to "Dine Spencer for coercing the Irish." 
As he had done this thoroughly for the space of 
three years, and at the risk of his own life had 
destroyed a treasonable and murderous con- 
spiracy, he was well entitled to all the honours 
which we could give him. So it was arranged 
that the dinner should take place at the West- 
minster Palace Hotel on the 24th of July. 
Shortly before the day arrived Chamberlain said 
to me : " I think you had better not attend that 
dinner to Spencer. I am not going, nor is 
Dilke. Certainly Spencer has done his duty, 
and shown capital pluck ; but I hope we should 
all have done the same, and there's no reason 
to mark it by a dinner. Besides, coercion is 
not a nice business for Liberals, though we may 
be forced into it" However, as I had greatly 
admired Lord Spencer's administration and as 
his family and mine had been politically asso- 
ciated for a century, I made a point of attending, 
and a capital evening we had. There was an 
enthusiastic and representative company of two 
hundred Liberals. Lord Hartington presided, 
and exalted Lord Spencer to the sties ; and 
Lord Spencer justified the Crimes Act by saying 
that, when it was passed, there was an organiza- 



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Lord and Lady Spencer 269 

tion of thirty thousand Fenians, aided by 
branches in Scotland and England, and by funds 
from America, defying the law of the land in 
Ireland. Not a word in all this about Home 
Rule, or the Union of Hearts; but we cheered 
it to the echo, in happy ignorance of what the 
next six months had in store for us. 

When, in the following December, it became 
known that Gladstone had accepted Home Rule 
and had thereby split the Liberal party in two, 
one of the first questions was : "What will Spencer 
do ? " and the general answer was that he would 
stick to the Union. But those who answered 
thus ignored two or three forces to which 
Spencer was specially amenable. One of these 
was the Whiggish spirit. Spencer was, as Acton 
said of himself, "possessed by a Whig devil"; 
or, to put the matter more attractively, he held 
that people had the right to be governed accord- 
ing to their own wishes. Another force was 
Gladstone's influence, to which Spencer had 
always been particularly sensitive; and, though 
Gladstone always denied that he had converted 
Spencer, I feel pretty sure that the younger 
man would have found it extremely difficult to 
withstand his chief's deliberate judgment. But 
there was in Spencer's case a third influence, 



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270 Portraits of the Seventies 

less palpable, perhaps, than the other two, but 
powerful. Here I concur with Lord Morley: 
" Lord Spencer knew the importance of a firm 
and continuous system in Ireland. Such a 
system he had inflexibly carried out. . . . But 
the Government was turned out and the party 
of 'law and order' came in. He saw his firm 
and continuous system, at the first opportunity, 
flouted and discarded. He was aware, as offi- 
cials and as the public were aware, that his 
successor at Dublin Castle made little secret 
that he had come over to reverse his policy." 
The mortification of a brave and conscientious 
man who sees his work contemned and undone 
by the very people who ought to have valued 
it the most highly, may well account for unex- 
pected decisions. But, whatever was the cause 
of Spencer's adhesion, he was by far the most 
important ally whom Gladstone acquired. As 
Lord Morley says, he " was hardly second in 
weight to Mr. Gladstone himself. His unrivalled 
experience of Irish administration, his powers of 
firm decision in difficult circumstances, and the 
impression of high public spirit, uprightness and 
fortitude, which had stamped itself deep upon 
the public mind, gave him a force of moral 
authority in an Irish crisis that was unique." 



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I 



Lord and Lady Spencer 271 

All through the troublous years of 1886-92 
he was active in the propagation of the new 
policy; and it was a source of amusement to 
his friends to see this intensely old-fashioned , 
and socially conservative, Whig, trying to adapt 
himself, graciously indeed but with palpable 
effort, to the exigencies of the platform in great 
industrial centres, and to the social environ- 
ment of such as Matthew Arnold's friend, Mr. 
Bottles. 

The least happy portion of Lord Spencer's 
political career was that which was spent at the 
Admiralty, between 1892 and 1895. For the first 
time in his active life he found himself out of 
sympathy with Gladstone. He yielded to the 
demands of the Sea-Lords in the way of Naval 
expenditure, and forced on the Cabinet some 
Naval Estimates which Gladstone pronounced 
"mad and drunk." In truth those Naval Esti- 
mates applied the final push which drove Gladstone 
for the last time out of office. How, he asked 
himself, could he turn his back on his former 
self by becoming a party to swollen expendi- 
ture? "My name," he said, "stands in Europe 
as a symbol of the policy of peace, moderation, 
and non-aggression. What would be said of my 
active participation in a policy which will be 



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272 Portraits of the Seventies 

taken as plunging England into the whirlpool 
of militarism ? " 

So he retired, laying down for ever the burden 
of power, and on the 3rd of March, 1894, he 
formally placed his resignation in the Queen's 
hands. A friend of mine, not a politician, onoe 
said to the Queen: "Does an outgoing Prime 
Minister recommend his successor to your 
Majesty ? " and the Queen replied, with charac- 
teristic distinctness, " Not unless I ask him." 
She did not ask Gladstone ; but the following 
note in Lord Morley's Life is interesting: "He 
said that, if asked, he should advise her to send 
for Lord Spencer." It would have been an 
admirable choice, and might have averted the 
ruin which overtook the Liberal party in 1895. 

N.B. — The late Mr. S. H. Jeyes in his 
excellent monograph on Lord Bosebery 1 made 
the strange mistake of saying (page 103) that 
the Queen chose Lord Bosebery as Prime 
Minister, " on the advice of Mr. Gladstone." I 
have repeatedly called attention to this error. 
The author, unhappily, has gone hence; but 
surely the publishers might venture to correct 
a proved and palpable blunder. 

1 In The Prime Ministers of Queen Victoria. J. M. Dent 
6 Sons. 



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CHAPTER XVII 
LORD AND LADY MOUNT-TEMPLE 

WILLIAM FRANCIS COWPER ' was the 
second son of the fifth Earl Cowper, 
who died in 1837. Two years later, Lady 
Cowper, who was a sister of Lord Melbourne, 
married Lord Palmerston, and became one of 
the most famous figures in the social and 
political world. By the circumstances of his 
early home, William Cowper was initiated from 
his childhood into the innermost circle of Whig 
society, which was refined, intellectual, and 
luxurious, but not the least religious. He went 
in due course to Eton, where he was popular 
and happy. "From the first," so wrote Glad- 
stone, who was his school-fellow, "he left very 
marked and clear recollections. Even from Eton 
days, the stamp of purity, modesty, gentleness 
was upon him in a peculiar degree." But neither 

» 1811-88. 
18 



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274 Portraits of the Seventies 

at home nor at Eton was he brought in contact 
with religion. " No serious thought/' he said, 
" was ever presented to my mind." But the 
wind bloweth where it listeth. After leaving 
Eton, William Gowper went as a private pupil 
to a famous Evangelical, James Anderson, of 
Brighton; and there he made his First Com- 
munion, " experiencing intense delight in devot- 
ing himself sincerely to God." 

According to the almost invariable law of 
young and ardent natures when they first give 
themselves consciously to the sacred cause, 
"Billy Cowper," as he was always called, felt a 
longing for Holy Orders, and expressed it in an 
enthusiastic letter to his father, " quoting from 
South and Bourdaloue, with phrases about fight- 
ing against the world." 

The announcement of Billy's desire filled his 
parents with dismay ; but, like wise people, they 
merely said that he might do as he liked, and 
recommended him to see a little more of the 
world before he decided. They called into 
council some friends of the family, including 
Lord John Russell, and the upshot of the 
conclave was that Billy became a cornet in the 
Blues. His good looks, his charming manners, 
his social connexions, combined to make him a 



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J 



flu 
3? 

H 
H 
55 

L> 

O 

s 

>♦ 
a 

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Lord and Lady Mount-Temple 275 

universal favourite. The famous and formidable 
Lady Holland wrote to a friend : " I have made 
acquaintance with the fascinating Billy since I 
saw you. I only wonder you have not lost your 
heart to him. I am sure I should had mine 
been disengaged." 

Billy's friends were surprised when he forsook 
the delights of London to become aide-de-camp 
to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. The duties 
of his new post left him plenty of leisure for 
study and meditation, and he dated a distinct 
advance in his religious life from a solitary visit 
to Eillarney in 1833. A servant of God he had 
long been, but now he resolved to be servus 
inutilis no longer. Henceforward, to the end 
of his life, he was active in that* service of God 
which expresses itself in the service of man. In 
this dedication of his powers he was encouraged 
by the example and influence of the great Lord 
Shaftesbury, who had married his sister, Lady 
Emily Cowper, in 1830. 

At the General Election of 1835 William Cowper 
was returned in the Whig interest for the borough 
of Hertford, which he represented till 1868. In 
that year he was returned for South Hampshire, 
and retained the seat till 1880, when he was 
raised to the peerage. 



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276 Portraits of the Seventies 

In 1885 he made this confession of his politi- 
cal faith. "I am," he said, "a Liberal, because 
I believe that God has sent me into the world 
to do my best to improve it; and because I 
cannot rest satisfied with the defects and 
deficiencies of the political and social condition 
of my country. My disposition is to hope and 
trust that legislative remedies may be found for 
much of the suffering and error that now afflict 
the people, and I do not share with the Con- 
servatives their distrust of the benefits of 
change, and their fear of failure in attempts at 
improvements. Though I perceive the use of 
the man who sits on the hinder dickey of the 
coach to put on the drag when the coach is 
going too fast down a hill, I prefer sitting in 
front, to help the coachman drive steadily in 
the right direction." 

Soon after William Cowper entered Parlia- 
ment he was made private secretary to his 
uncle, Lord Melbourne; and characteristically 
noted the event as " removing me at once from 
frivolous and dangerous companionship, and 
filling up most of my time with prescribed rules 
and occupations." From 1830 to 1874 the 
Whigs were seldom out of office, and Lord 
Palmerston's stepson was not likely to be over- 



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Lord and Lady Mount-Temple 277 

looked. In 1841 he was made a Junior Lord 
of the Treasury; in 1846, and again in 1862, a 
Junior Lord of the Admiralty; in 1862 Under- 
Secretary for the Home Department; in 1866 
President of the Board of Health; in 1867 
Vice-President of the Committee of Council in 
Education, and in 1869 of the Board of Trade; 
and in 1860 he became First Commissioner of 
Works. In this last capacity he rendered an 
essential service to London by the pains which 
he bestowed on the floral and arboreal decoration 
of the parks, on both sides of the water. "He 
rejoiced that he had been able to make for the 
poor of London a garden more beautiful than 
that of any rich man in the land." 

Lord Palmerston died in 1866, having be- 
queathed his estates to Lady Palmerston and, 
on her death, to her son William Cowper, who 
thereupon assumed the name of Temple. When 
Gladstone formed his Government in 1868 he 
offered the Chancellorship of the Duchy of 
Lancaster to William Cowper-Temple, who 
declined it, but as a private member secured 
himself a questionable fame as author of the 
" Cowper-Temple Clause " in the Education Act 
of 1870. This date brings our narrative into 
the Seventies, when, as again in the Eighties, 



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278 Portraits of the Seventies 

Cowper-Temple played an active and most 
beneficent part in all forms of philanthropy and 
sooial service. As President of the Board of 
Health he had been a pioneer of sanitary 
reform, and now he busied himself in the 
application of sanitary science to domestic life. 
His keen sympathy with all forms of suffering 
led him to abandon field-sports, and to become 
a leader of the crusade against vivisection. In 
compassion for drunkards, he gave up wine, 
which he liked and understood, and adopted the 
" Blue Ribbon." His zeal in the cause of 
abstinence gave point to Lord Houghton's joke 
about the title which he assumed when he was 
raised to the peerage. " Do you know the 
precedent for Billy Cowper's new name ? You'll 
find it in Don Juan — 



"And Lord Mount Coffee-House, the Irish peer, 
Who killed himself for love, with drink, last year." 



The religious fervour which had marked 
William Cowper from the early days at Brighton 
seemed to grow and expand every year; and his 
name will long be remembered in connexion 
with the religious conferences which, beginning 
in the year 1874, he used to assemble at his 



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Lord and Lady Mount-Temple 279 

beautiful; house, Broadlands, near Eomsey, 
where seekers after truth, of all denominations 
and none, used to meet for the consideration of 
the things which really matter. 

Vividly stands out in memory the figure of 
the beloved and gracious host who presided over 
these gatherings. Lord Mount-Temple was 
about the middle height, slender in form, and 
singularly graceful in form and bearing. His 
hair and moustache were grey, but he had no 
other signs of age. His blue eyes were generally 
half-closed in a fashion which gave an expression 
of quaint fun to his face. His firmness was as 
notable as his gentleness; and his friends and 
family sometimes chaffed him for his charming 
trick of bowing in complaisance, if something 
was suggested to him that he did not mean to 
do, and yet pursuing his way unhindered with- 
out jar or discussion. His voice was soft and 
beautifully modulated, and in power of public 
speaking he was far above the average of public 
men, with a peculiar sweetness and winningness. 
His manners were perfect, and he delighted in a 
refined and graceful hospitality. He was one 
of the last people who habitually went about 
London on horseback; he rode admirably, and 
seemed thoroughly to enjoy the rather vivacious 



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280 Portraits of the Seventies 

antics of a favourite mare ominously named 
" Hysteria." 

The saints of the earth are not always agree- 
able, and not always wise. Sometimes they are 
neither. Sometimes they are saintly but un- 
wise ; sometimes saintly and disagreeable. When 
we find a saint who is both agreeable and wise, 
the threefold character is irresistible; and such 
was the character of William Francis, first and 
last Lord Mount-Temple. 

It is now time to recall the other member of 
this remarkable partnership. In 1848 William 
Gowper married Georgina Tollemache, the 
youngest and most beautiful of nine beautiful 
sisters; daughters of Admiral Tollemache and 
sisters of the first Lord Tollemache of Hel- 
mingham. 

Mrs. Cowper-Temple, to call her by the name 
which she bore in the Seventies — Lady Mount- 
Temple as she was from 1880 till her death in 
1901 — was one of the most remarkable women 
of her time. She had, beside an almost faultless 
beauty, an extraordinary dignity of presence and 
bearing, which was the outward and visible 
sign of a nature singularly noble and elevated. 
Buskin described her as "eminent in her grace 



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Lord and Lady Mount-Temple 281 

above a stunted group of Roman worshippers." 
He tells us in Praterita how he spent the 
winter of 1840 in pursuing her — " a fair English 
girl, who was not only the admitted queen of 
beauty in the English circle of that winter in 
Borne, but was so, in the kind of beauty which 
I had only hitherto dreamed of as possible, but 
never yet seen living: statuesque severity with 
womanly sweetness joined. I don't think I ever 
succeeded in getting nearer than within fifty 
yards of her; but she was the light and solace 
of all the Eoman winter to me, in the mere 
chance glimpses of her far away, and the hope 
of them." 

The dominant note of Lady Mount-Temple's 
character was her passionate indignation against 
cruelty and injustice. She had a genuine love 
of the outcast and down-trodden, a chivalry of 
spirit which always instinctively allied her with 
the weaker side, with "lost causes and for- 
saken beliefs" ; and which made her the champion 
of people whom the world casts out of its 
synagogue, and of enterprises which it regards 
as offensive insanities. Her husband shared to 
the full her zeal for social service; and, as this 
zeal was allied with an absorbing interest in 
religious, ethical, and psychological problems, 



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282 Portraits of the Seventies 

the result was that Broadlands became the 
scene of strange gatherings. Thither came the 
High Priestess of the Shakers when she was 
evicted from her dwelling for refusing to pay 
rates; and Pearsall Smith the American 
evangelist, and Bichard Booth the inventor of 
the "Blue Bibbon," and Lord Shaftesbury, 
and Archbishop Benson, and Burne-Jones, and 
Antoinette Sterling, and preaching negresses, 
and Ritualistic curates, and vegetarians, and 
clairvoyantes, and " spiritual wives " ; all these 
have I met in that beautiful house, amid 
an unequalled environment of Italian pictures 
and of gardens where the saints seemed to 
walk under trees of Paradise by the crystal 
river. 

It is almost impossible to avoid transcen- 
dentalism when one thinks of Broadlands and 
the company which gathered in it. I do not 
think that the host and hostess would have 
harboured a vivisector, for cruelty was the one 
sin with which they could make no terms. But 
with this sole exception it mattered not how 
low one had sunk in social disgrace, how far one 
had wandered from the paths of sane thinking 
and the jog-trot customs of the world; the 
doors of Broadlands were always open wide, 



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Lord and Lady Mount-Temple 283 

and the wanderer passing through them found 
himself in a circle where natural dignity and 
courtly manners were mingled with an open- 
ness of mind to which no conceivable aspect 
of truth was unwelcome, and a largeness of 
heart to which no experience of humanity 
appealed in vain. In that atmosphere nothing 
that was mean or base or cruel could live. 
Truth and love, mercy and self-sacrifice, were 
the vital air. Of that strangely unworldly 
society — unlike anything in the whole of my 
social experience — Lady Mount-Temple was the 
soul and the sun. For twelve years she was 
a widow, and death came as a merciful deliver- 
ance to a soul too sensitive to know happiness 
in a world where others suffered. It was an 
event of which the general world took very 
slight notice; but in the hearts of those who 
knew her it has awakened thoughts too deep 
for tears. She was a woman on whom Nature 
had lavished gifts — beauty, grace, intellect, 
character, position, influence; but all these were 
qualified — should we not rather say enhanced? 
— by a sympathy with suffering so keen that 
she could never be happy in a world where 
others were miserable. To her all the cruelties 
and tyrannies that are done under the sun, all 



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284 Portraits of the Seventies 

the pangs and tears of a groaning and travail- 
ing creation, were 



Desperate tides of the whole great world's anguish, 
Forced through the channels of a single heart, 

and the problem of pain was one of the un- 
searchable mysteries of God. To know the 
truth about Him, and to lessen the load of 
earthly suffering, were the two objects to which 
her long life was unbrokenly devoted. 



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CHAPTER XVIII 

A GROUP OP POETS 

rpHE centre of the group must, of course, 
-■- be Tennyson. It is true that, when the 
Seventies began, some rivals had sprung up to 
dispute the universal sway which he exercised 
in the Sixties; but, for all that, he was still 
the most commanding figure in English poetry. 
He was seldom to be encountered in society, 
but spent his time between his two beautiful 
homes in Sussex and the Isle of Wight. Is 
there in the English language a more exquisite 
fragment of landscape-painting than his de- 
scription of the view from Aldworth ? — 

You came, and looked, and loved the view, 

Long known and loved by me — 
Green Sussex fading into blue, 

With one grey glimpse of sea. 

Now and then one caught sight of him in 
London, and he certainly looked the poet to 
perfection. Hjb long dark hair, mingled with 



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286 Portraits of the Seventies ' 

the untrimmed luxuriance of beard, whiskers, 
and moustache, his soft hat of Spanish mould, 
his loose cloak and his clay pipe, all combined 
to give the world assurance of a "Bard": for 
so 'twas the mode in Tennysonian circles to 
style him. His manner was abrupt, his voice 
gruff, his vocabulary borrowed from the 
eighteenth century, and his whole demeanour 
that of a man who expected, and was accus- 
tomed, to be worshipped. Once a lady, who 
profoundly admired his genius, ventured to 
remonstrate with him on what she thought his 
undue eagerness for a peerage. He replied in 
a document called My Wrath. The entreaties 
of his friends prevented him from despatching 
it; but he kept it handy in a drawer, and, if a 
visitor chanced to mention the lady's name, he 
would rejoin : " Oh, do you know that woman ? 
then you shall hear what I think of her," and 
would read the document, "mouthing out his 
hollow oes and aes," with much "deep-chested 
music," while his hearers listened and trembled. 
Some similar ebullitions, reported to me by 
disciples who sate at his feet, warned me that, 
though Tennyson was one of the chief divinities 
of my poetical heaven, my safest course was to 
worship him at a distance. 



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LORD TENNYSON. 



To face p. »W». 



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A Group of Poets 287 

For the second figure in the group it is obvious 
to recall Eobert Browning. " Meredith/' said 
Oscar Wilde, "is a prose Browning — and so 
is Browning." For my own part, I should 
rather put it that Browning was the poet of 
unpoetical people. Conscientious souls, who 
felt that they ought to like poetry and did not, 
found relief in Browning. This, their friends 
told them, was poetry. It was really prose, 
broken up into lines of irregular length; and as 
it was very ugly, and very unmusical and quite 
unintelligible, it suited them a great deal better 
than Keats or Shelley, Milton or Shakespeare. 
Especially did such clergymen as ensue culture 
love their Browning. Like Mr. Thomas Bowdler, 
of Expurgative memory, they thought Shake- 
speare a little coarse. They suspected Milton 
of Socinianism, and Wordsworth of Pantheism; 
while Tennyson's championship of "honest 
doubt" as against "half the creeds" jarred 
their professional susceptibilities. But they got 
Browning from the Public Library, and found 
passages which seemed to be attempts to turn the 
Thirty-nine Articles into very blank verse ; and 
then their hearts beat high with joy. Here, they 
said within themselves, is poetry, and orthodoxy 
too! A dozen lines of this stuff, interpolated 



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288 Portraits of the Seventies 

into the undisguised prose of the sermon, will 
give it a literary flavour; and the cultivated 
layman in the pew will think : " This is a 
preacher worth listening to." 

Socially Browning was delightful. Tennyson 
was reported to have said, " Browning, you will 
die of apoplexy in a stiff choker at a London 
dinner-party " ! and the picturesque prophecy 
conveyed a truth. Browning was thoroughly 
at home in society; enjoyed his dinner; shared 
Tennyson's appreciation of port; was bright, 
cheerful, and quite unaffected. No slouch hats 
or conspirators' cloaks for Browning. He was 
neat and even dapper in dress; bore himself 
gaily; moved alertly; and stood on happy 
terms with all the world. He might have passed 
for a politician, or a financier, or a diplomatist ; 
or, indeed, for anything except a poet. In con- 
versation he was sprightly, energetic, and enter- 
taining — never the least rapt or mystical. One 
story about him, which I have told elsewhere, 
I cannot forbear to repeat. He sometimes 
honoured me with his company at dinner, and 
once I had collected a group of eager disciples 
to meet him. As soon as dinner was over one 
of these enthusiasts led the great man into a 
corner, and began cross-examining him about such 



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ROBERT BROWNING. 



To face p. 788 



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A Group of Poets 289 

topics as the identity of The Lost Leader and 
the meaning of the one hundred and fifth line 
of a Death in the Desert. Browning, who had 
never meant the Lost Leader for any one in 
particular, and had forgotten all about Theotypas, 
was bored to the last extremity, but, for a 
space, endured the catechism with admirable 
fortitude; then, patience being exhausted, he 
laid his hand on the questioner's shoulder, say- 
ing, "But, my dear fellow, this is too bad. I 
am monopolizing you" and skipped out of 
the corner. 

To the same period belongs another memory 
which has always gratified me. Bobert 
Ehmere was published in 1888, and as we had 
been told in the Puffs Preliminary that it 
was going to overthrow the tottering fabric of 
traditional Christianity, every one was very 
eager, if not to read it, at least to talk about 
it. 1 " Have you read Bobert Elsmere, Mr. 
Browning ? " asked an eager admirer. " No, I 
haven't, and what's more I don't mean to! 
I like religion to be treated seriously; and 

1 " I found Lady Charles Beresford enthralled by Bobert 
Elsmere. . . . Goschen had read only one volume yet. The 
rest at Wilton had not begun it, but were all meaning to 
read it" (Matthew Arnold, April 10, 1888). 

19 



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290 Portraits of the Seventies 

I don't want to hear what this ourate thought 
about it, or what that curate thought about it. 
No, I dorit" Surely the secret thoughts of 
many hearts found utterance in that emphatic 
cry. 

I know a minor poet who vehemently resents 
the appellation. " A poet," he says, " is a poet, 
and these distinctions are offensive " ; and he 
refuses to be comforted by the parallel cases 
of the Major and Minor Prophets. I therefore 
shrink from calling the second Lord Lytton 
("Owen Meredith"), a minor poet, and prefer 
to state the case by saying that he was so 
many other things — diplomatist, viceroy, poli- 
tician, romancist, country gentleman, and member 
of society — that the poetical aspect of his 
genius was sometimes obscured. 

That the man who wrote "Last words of 
a sensitive second-rate poet" was himself a 
poet, whether major or minor, seems to me 
indisputable ; but " Marah " has always left on 
my mind the impression that Lord Lytton's 
was one of those cases in which, to use Swift's 
phrase, the life is "blasted with poetic fire"— 
not warmed or cheered. 

Though the greater part of his time was spent 



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LORD LYTTON. 

From a painting by G. F. Watts. 

{Photo by Emery Walker.) 



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A Group of Poets 291 

abroad, he was often to be met in the society 
of London, where he was always a brilliant 
and a conspicuous personage. He was short, 
with a slight, graceful, and pliant figure, and 
though, as far as I know, he had not a drop 
of foreign blood in his veins, he looked thoroughly 
un-English. He had an aquiline nose, a dark 
complexion, and abundance of dark hair and beard, 
with full, deep-set, blue eyes. He was always 
rather elaborately dressed, with stars and ribbons 
in the evening, and fur coats in the daytime, 
and apparently paid much attention to the pro- 
cesses of the toilet. 

He was a professed admirer of beauty, and 
displayed his admiration more openly than is 
common in our frigid and conventional society. 
But he admired other things besides beauty. 
Cleverness, originality, aloofness from the 
common throng, always seemed to attract him; 
and he had acquired in foreign experience that 
truly un-English habit of mind which prompts 
the question, " What has he done ?" rather than 
" What has he got ? " 

In conversation he always struck me as actuated 
by a vivid curiosity. As he lived so much out 
of England, every visit which he paid to London 
seemed to interest and even excite him. He 



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292 Portraits of the Seventies 

had begun life early (for he was an Attache at 
Washington when he was eighteen), and had 
seen it in great variety, and in some of its 
most gorgeous aspects — did he not preside over 
the great Durbar of 1877, when Queen Victoria 
was proclaimed Empress of India? But he 
never appeared satiated or wearied or bored. 
Every new face he saw attracted his notice 
and prompted his brisk questionings. Though 
he was expert in gastronomy, had glorified dinner 
in oft-quoted verse, 1 and had coined a famous 
epigram about the comparative merits of hunger 
and greediness, he would ignore the most savoury 
messes if he caught sight of an unknown 
figure among his fellow-guests. "Who's 
that opposite? Taper? Oh, the new Under- 
Secretary? I wanted to see him — I've heard 
a good deal about him. That's a clever-looking 
fellow at the end of the table. St. Barbe, is 
it ? How good that last book of his is ! What 
has become of Matthew Arnold's friend Ado- 
lescens Leo, whom I met here two years ago? 
I never saw a fellow get through so much 

1 You can live without love — 
What is passion but pining? 
But where is the man that 
Can live without dining? 



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A Group of Poets 293 

champagne in a short time ; but certainly there 
was some excuse for him in this house. Our 
host's Perrier Jouet is irresistible." And so he 
would run on, till he knew the name and achieve- 
ments of every one at table, had speculated on 
the future of newcomers, and had recalled the 
upward or downward career of old acquaintances. 
Of course it often chanced that he found himself 
in the society of a friend from whom he had 
been separated for years, and then the rencounter 
was always interesting; for he was instantly 
back among the scenes and associations which 
he had once enjoyed, and his " picturesque sensi- 
bility" and vividness of speech made them real 
to the younger generation. If it were not for 
my rule of using only English words, I should 
say that " 61an " was his distinguishing char- 
acteristic; and, in social intercourse, one never 
could discern a trace of the bitterness, the 
disillusionment, the jaded epicureanism, which 
pervaded his poetry. Indeed, the Man and the 
Poet seemed to be two different people. 

My fourth poet is Matthew Arnold, of whom 
I have often said that, if one could fashion 
oneself, he is the person whom I should most 
wish to resemble. He was indeed the most 



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294 Portraits of the Seventies 

delightful of companions; a man of the world 
entirely free from worldliness, and a man of 
letters without the faintest trace of pedantry. 
What was he like outwardly? There can be no 
disloyalty to his dear memory in quoting a 
description which he enjoyed so much that he 
printed it in the last paper which he ever 
wrote — his account of his lecturing tour in 
America, 

"I proceeded to Chicago. An evening paper 
was given me soon after I arrived; I opened it, 
and found the following picture of myself: 'He 
has harsh features, supercilious manners, parts 
his hair down the middle, wears a single eye- 
glass and ill-fitting clothes.' " 

" Harsh " is not the word which I should 
have applied to Arnold's features, although they 
were strongly marked. His nose was long and 
his mouth wide, but both were well shaped and 
were exaggerated rather than harsh. Dizzy said 
of John Wilson Croker that "baldness perhaps 
contributed to the spiritual expression of a 
brow which was, however, essentially intellectual." 
Arnold's brow, both high and wide, owed nothing 
of its character to baldness, for his hair, to the 
very end, was thick, glossy, and black as a 
raven's wing. When the American scribe said 



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MATTHEW ARNOLD. 



To face p. »<>|. 



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A Group of Poets 295 

that Arnold's manner was " supercilious," he 
went astray; but if for " manner " he had said 
"aspect," he would have been nearer the mark. 
In the strict sense of the word, as given in 
another chapter, 1 Arnold's aspect was supercilious, 
because his black eyebrows arched themselves 
in the sort of curve with which one regards 
some surprising object; while the corners of his 
mouth turned down with that other curve which 
implies disapproval. In fact his face was exactly 
that of a critic; regarding all phenomena with 
his interest, but finding in them not much to 
praise. 

He was tall and strongly built, with a body 
well framed for exercise, and a natural dignity 
of bearing. That he looked remarkably unlike 
one's notion of a poet was due to the fact that, 
as the American observed, he parted his hair 
down the middle, which in those days was thought 
the sign of a fop, and that he cultivated 
large, black, mutton-chop whiskers, which of 
all hirsute adornments are the least romantic- 
looking. 

If Arnold entered a company in which he 
was not known, the first impression would be 
that the newcomer was a man of high distinc- 
• See p. S56. 



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296 Portraits of the Seventies 

tion, though in what direction it might have 
been hard to guess; the second, that he was 
conscious of his eminence. In half an hour's 
time the first impression would have been 
intensified, but the second would have been 
dissipated by the charm of his address, his fun, 
his affectionateness, and his eager interest in 
his friends' concerns. 

A well-arranged dinner, great or small, is a 
conspiracy to promote enjoyment and goodwill ; 
and in such an enterprise Arnold was an invalu- 
able ally. He enjoyed both his food and his 
wine, but was as happy with roast mutton and 
light claret as with quails and Eoman punch. 
He entered with perfect ease and naturalness 
into the habits and interests of his fellow- 
guests; and, even if absurdity or ignorance 
chose to air itself, his amenity always made 
the best of a situation. Can I ever forget an 
evening when he was dining with me, Mr. George 
Buckle and Mr. Herbert Paul being of the com- 
pany, and George Augustus Sala announced, 
for Arnold's gratification, that he had just been 
reading the Georgics. " They've given me," he 
said, "quite a new idea of Virgil. I take it 
that he was a rough kind of farmer-fellow, with 
leather leggings and a billhook. Wasn't that 



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A Group of Poets 297 

about it, Mr. Arnold?" Arnold "hesitated" 
dissent from this startling view with a delicacy 
which was all his own. "Well, my dear Mr. 
Sala, somehow I did not think Virgil was quite 
like that. But your view of him is very 
interesting." 

These personal sketches are not intended to 
convey, except quite incidentally, my judgment, 
on the work of the poets whom I have described. 
But I cannot finish my sketch of this loved and 
honoured friend without saying that, though the 
world paid more heed to some of his contem- 
poraries, he alone was of the house and lineage 
of Wordsworth. 



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CHAPTER XIX 

SOME MEDICINE-MEN 

"TTIOR my sins, I suppose — to my advantage, 
-*- I am sure — I have had a vast experience 
of doctors; and it seems to me that the doctors 
of the present day scarcely fill the conspicuous 
plaoe in the public eye which was filled by the 
" Medicine-men " of my youth. 

In those days people ranged themselves under 
the names of their respective doctors, with a 
strenuous exclusiveness which recalled the 
rivalries of apostolic days. I am of Gull, and 
I of Jennet, and I of Clark, were the cries of 
the contending parties; and the adherents of 
each were not content with extolling their own 
oracle, but were contemptuous or even angry 
with those who professed a different faith. "It 
really makes me quite unhappy to think of poor 
old Lady Twitterton being in the hands of such 
a charlatan as X." " How the Duke of 



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Some Medicine-men 299 

Omnium can endure Y.'s vulgarity is more than 
I can understand." "Z. calls himself a doctor, 
but he really is a preacher, and a very dull 
preacher too." 

In this group of portraits I must assign the 
first place to Sir William Jenner (1815-98), if 
only because for five-and-thirty years he was 
the trusted friend and adviser of Queen Victoria. 
He had early devoted himself to the study of 
fever, and was the first man in England, though 
not in Europe, to diagnose the difference 
between typhus and typhoid. In February 

1861 he was appointed Physician Extraordinary 
to the Queen, and in the following December 
he attended, together with some more antique 
practitioners, the death-bed of the Prince 
Consort. The Prince died of a fever vaguely 
described as " gastric " : and there were those 
who thought that, if he had been from first to 
last under Jenner's exclusive control, the fatal 
issue might have been averted. As it was, Jenner's 
ability, carefulness, and force of character pro- 
foundly impressed the Queen, and in January 

1862 he was gazetted Physician in Ordinary. 
This appointment of course made his future; 
and from thenceforward he exercised an authority, 



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300 Portraits of the Seventies 

alike over dootors and over patients, which was 
possessed by none of his contemporaries. Some- 
thing of this authority was due, I think, to his 
appearance, which was eminently calculated to 
overawe the timid. He was very far from 
beautiful. His eyes was heavily lidded, and he 
looked at one, so to say, through a slit. In 
middle life he developed a moustache, which, in 
those days, was considered a highly irregular 
adornment for a doctor (and was commonly 
attributed to a Royal hint). It detracted from 
his professional aspect, and made him look 
something like one of those ruthless old Prussian 
generals with whom we have lately been made 
familiar in the illustrated papers. His authority 
was enhanced by his manner, which was rough ; 
and his voice, which was gruff. He cultivated 
the bearing of the "man who will stand no 
nonsense " ; and appeared to fashion himself on 
the traditions of Abernethy, who bullied his 
patients as freely as he physicked them. 
Jenner was said by his admirers to carry the 
kindest of hearts under the most rugged of 
exteriors ; but to those who came only into con- 
tact with the exterior he was distinctly alarm- 
ing. The antithesis between him and his most 
eminent rival was stated, I know not with what 



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SIR WILLIAM JENNER. 

From a painting by Frank Holl. 

{Pltoto supplied by Mr. Augustin Rischgitz.) 



To face p. }00. 



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Some Medicine-men 301 

justice, thus: "Jenner says that it is a very 
serious ease, and frightens every one to death; 
but the patient recovers. Gull says that there 
is nothing to be anxious about, and the patient 
dies next day." 

Sir William Gull (1816-90) was decidedly 
more popular than Jenner, though he had little 
more in the way of personal beauty to recom- 
mend him, being heavy-looking, unkempt, and 
farmer-like. Jenner was pre-eminently the doctor 
of serious people, from the Queen downwards: 
Gull's followers were of a livelier and more 
mundane type. Fashionable ladies, for whom 
Jenner was a good deal too rough, thought Gull 
quite charming. One of these I remember say- 
ing, " Instead of disgusting medicines, he orders 
me strawberries and cream." He also was very 
popular with City men, stock-brokers, financiers, 
and the like; for whom he prescribed much in 
the fashion of Dr. Jobling, sometime Medical 
Officer to the Anglo-Bengalee Disinterested Loan 
and Life Insurance Company : " How are you ? 
A little worn with business, eh? If so, rest. 
A little feverish from wine, humph? If so, 
water. Nothing at all the matter, and quite 
comfortable? Then take some lunch. A very 



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302 Portraits of the Seventies 

wholesome thing at this time of day to strengthen 
the gastric juices with lunch." 

But Gull's chief hold upon society resulted 
from the fact that he was Physician in Ordinary 
to the Prince of Wales. Courtiers, not least 
the courtiers of an heir apparent, very readily 
take their cue from the potentate whom they 
surround, and the circle which had its centre at 
Marlborough House made it a point of allegiance 
to consult Gull whenever they had a headache. 

At the close of 1871 Gull's popularity reached 
high-water mark. On the 22nd of November 
it was known that the Prince of Wales was 
suffering from typhoid fever, and the course of 
the illness was watched by the nation with ever- 
increasing concern till the 14th of December, 
when an improvement was announced. All 
through those anxious weeks, Gull's name was 
four times a day in the public eye, for four 
bulletins were issued daily; and, as hope began 
to return, the man in the street heaved a sigh 
of relief, and said, " This is Gull's doing." But, 
as regards medical personalities, the case was 
complicated, for Queen Victoria had insisted 
that Jenner should be summoned to reinforce 
Gull, and the rival schools of Jennerites and 
Gullites waxed warm in dispute. "If Jenner 



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Some Medicine-men 303 

had been called in at first, all this anxiety would 
have been avoided." " If Gull had been allowed 
a free hand without Jenner's interference, the 
Prince would have recovered weeks ago." Such 
were the asseverations of the two parties, but 
both were nonsense. Typhoid will run its 
course in spite of all the doctors in Harley 
Street; and it is probable that the Prince's life 
was saved by the immense improvement in nurs- 
ing which even then had been effected. Exactly 
ten years before, the Prince Consort had died 
of exactly the same illness. "Ah," said the 
Queen to Sir Theodore Martin, " had my Prince 
had the same treatment as the Prince of Wales, 
he might not have died." But " treatment " 
in such a context means nursing rather than 
physicking. 

On the happy conclusion of the illness, 
honours were divided. Gull was made a baronet, 
and Jenner, already a baronet, received the 
K.C.B. Neither could be said to have laboured 
in vain, for Gull left £344,000, and Jenner 
£386,000. 

Junior to these great men, but in his own 
sphere not less influential, was Sir Andrew 
Clark (1826-93). Clark was a Scotsman, in the 



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304 Portraits of the Seventies 

fullest sense of the term; and knew the value, 
as well as the interest, of theology and meta- 
physics. As Physician at the London Hospital, 
he made acquaintance with Mrs. Gladstone, who 
was working at the East End during the out- 
break of cholera in 1866. Through her he 
came to know her eminent husband; and, in 
the great days of Gladstonian ascendency, to 
have written a book which Gladstone admired, 
or imported a wine which Gladstone liked, or 
prescribed a medicine which did Gladstone good, 
was a stepping-stone to fame and fortune. Clark 
knew his patient through and through; and 
played on his idiosyncrasies with admirable 
skill. When Gladstone, having drunk cham- 
pagne at dinner, crowned the banquet with port, 
a less eupeptic friend suggested doubts about 
the wisdom of mixing wines, but the defence 
was at hand : " Clark assures me that, if I allow 
ten minutes to elapse between the two kinds 
of wine, there is no mixture." The great man's 
theological palate was similarly gratified. Once 
he said to me, "Have you ever heard Clark 
talk about the relation between natural and 
revealed religion ? " Yes, I had ; and I confess 
that the discourse seemed less impressive on the 
second or third, than on the first, hearing. 



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Some Medicine-men 305 

But Clark had another patient who, I suspect, 
was even more profitable than Gladstone, and 
this was G. H. Wilkinson, Vicar of St. Peter's, 
Eaton Square, and eventually Bishop of St. 
Andrews. Wilkinson had learned by his own 
experience that religion and health are closely 
connected. He knew that spiritual depression 
is often due to bad digestion or agitated nerves, 
and he knew also that religious work, if it is to 
be efficiently performed, requires habitual obe- 
dience to the laws of healthy living. As Vicar 
of St. Peter's, Eaton Square, a pioneer of reli- 
gious revival, and a spiritual guide, he lived 
a life which made peculiar demands upon nervous 
energy; and, through Clark's help, he lived it 
for fourteen years without a breakdown. In 
matters of exercise and sleep, eating and drink- 
ing, arrangement of hours, amount of holiday, 
and every other detail of a busy man's existence, 
he followed Clark's rules; and, profiting by 
them himself, he advised his followers to consult 
the same oracle. If one of his curates com- 
plained of that highly theological disease accidie, 
he was sent to Clark for a tonic. If a district- 
visitor was tempted to despair, she was advised 
to consult Clark about her liver. The same 
spirit, at once devout and sensible, animated 

20 



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306 Portraits of the Seventies 

both the confessional and the consulting-room, 
and its effects, though always salutary, used 
sometimes to make scoffers smile. " I can recom- 
mend that claret — it is what the Vicar drinks ; 
Andrew Clark told him that really good claret is 
the best wine to work on." "My daughter is 
paying some visits in Northamptonshire. She had 
rather overdone herself this Lent, and the Yicar 
said that nothing would set her up again so well 
as a week's spring hunting with the Woodland 
Pytchley — and Clark quite agreed." 

I apoke just now of the confessional and con- 
sulting-room, but really it was a false antithesis ; 
for Clark's consulting-room was quite as much 
a confessional as Wilkinson's study. It was so 
arranged as to have a rather ecclesiastical appear- 
ance; and, whereas most of the great doctors 
sought to impress their patients by signed 
portraits of the Royal Family, Clark relied on a 
huge triptych published by the Arundel Society. 
He was rather a good-looking man, with a fine 
brow, bright eyes, grey hair and beard, and he 
had successfully cultivated a semi-clerical 
manner. Seated with his back to the window, 
he let the light fall on his patient's face; heard 
the confession, and put appropriate questions. 
"You complain of dyspepsia — what do you eat 



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Some Medicine-men 307 

for breakfast?" " Oh, the same as other people 
— fish and eggs." "I hope not. Tour break- 
fast must be, not fish and eggs, but some fish, 
or, not and, an egg — not eggs." 

As every doctor who aims at social fame must 
have a " note " or token to distinguish him 
from his brethren, Clark enforced abstinence 
from soup at dinner; and, looking round a 
London dinner-table, you would detect Clark's 
influence in the number of diners who waved 
away the " consomm6 " and shuddered at 
"bisque." He assumed his most impressive 
air, when, having enjoined a rule of diet, he 
dismissed the awe-stricken patient with the 
Scripture-like formula, "I seek to impose a yoke 
upon you that you may be truly free." Eeally 
St. Paul himself never framed a better sentence. 

Turning from Medicine to Surgery, we at once 
encounter the stately figure of Sir James Paget 
(1814-99). He was tall and spare, with a 
manner at once dignified and courteous. There 
is no need to describe his face, for (like Mr. 
Bardell), "some time before his death, he had 
stamped his likeness upon a little boy." Nay, 
on four little boys, who all rose to some eminence 
in the world, and all bore a striking resem- 



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308 Portraits of the Seventies 

blance to their distinguished father. Whoever 
has seen the present (1916) Bishop of Stepney, 
or the late Bishop of Oxford, has seen Sir 
James Paget. 

Of Paget's proficiency in his profession I am 
not competent to speak. It is enough to say 
that his grave aspect and attentive way of listen- 
ing inspired that strong feeling of confidence 
which helps alike the patient and the practi- 
tioner. There is less room for humbug in 
surgery than in medicine, as no Pauline formula 
will mend a broken leg. 

But in one particular, quite outside his 
profession, Paget excelled. He was one of the 
best speakers in England. Not an orator, 
for I believe that his speeches were written 
and committed to memory; but they were 
delivered faultlessly, without note or hesitation 
or verbal slip; and their effect was enor- 
mously enhanced by his dignified bearing and 
carefully measured utterance. The Spectator, 
under the editorship of Hutton and Town- 
send, long ago acquired among its attached 
readers the nickname of the Grandmother; 
and in nothing was it more grandmotherly 
than in its love of doctors and doctor- 
ing. One of its prime favourites was Paget, 



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SIR JAMES PAGET. 

From the painting by Sir John Millais. 

(Photo supplied by Mr. Augusttn Rischgitz.) 



To (aae p. 308. 



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Some Medicine-men 309 

and, though it had the anile quality of over- 
emphasis, yet I remember no emotion of 
dissent when it attributed to an after-dinner 
speech of Paget 's, "Baconian strength and 
insight.' ' 



Sir John Eussell Reynolds (1828-96) was 
pre-eminently " a physician of the old school," 
This by no means conveys that he was medically 
out of date, for he was a pioneer of neurology, 
and, till his pupil, Sir William Gowers, arose, 
its most authoritative exponent. But he was 
"of the old school" in his courtly manner, his 
wide culture, and his tendency to quote. His 
grandfather had attended George III, and the 
fact that he did not attend Queen Victoria was 
attributed to professional jealousy in some of 
those who had the Royal ear. 

Wilson Fox (1831-87) died all too young 
for the public recognition that was his undoubted 
due; but not too young to have won the lively 
affection of his patients, who mourned for him 
as for a brother. Since the days of St. Luke, 
no one ever better deserved the title of "The 
Beloved Physician,' 1 



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3io Portraits of the Seventies 

Sir Henry Thompson (1820-1904) was a 
specialist, whose name first became widely known 
in connexion with the last illness of Napoleon III. 
Apart from his surgical skill, he acquired a 
social fame as a teacher and practitioner of 
dietetic reform. In several brightly written and 
readable treatises he laid down the doctrine that 
a great deal of ill-health is directly attributable 
to our national habit of devouring what Harold 
Skimpole called " legs of sheep and oxen." He 
urged the wholesomeness and nutritious pro- 
perties of a diet partly French and partly Italian, 
and what he taught he illustrated in a systematic 
hospitality. " Thompson's Octaves" were dinners 
of eight — eight guests and eight dishes— I am 
not sure whether eight kinds of wine were 
added; but I know that his guests came away 
with a diminished faith in the Boast Beef of 
Old England, and a conviction that the Church's 
rule of abstinence, if scientifically managed, was 
probably not such a bad thing after all. 

One word should be added about Homoeopathy, 
though even in the Seventies it was an expiring 
heresy. People who had never been ill in their 
lives professed themselves homoeopathists ; but 
the moment they were alarmed sent surrep- 



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Some Medicine-men 311 

titiously for the allopathist, who prescribed what 
the aesthetes called " two nocturnes in blue and 
an arrangement in black/' and so vindicated 
the claims of orthodoxy. On the borderland of 
homoeopathy and orthodoxy, with one foot in 
each world, dwelt, and I believe still dwells, 
Dr. Joseph Kidd, and what Clark was to High 
Church people, that was Kidd to Plymouth 
Brethren — physician and minister in one, " guide, 
philosopher, and friend." 

But Kidd had at any rate one eminent patient, 
who knew nothing of "Bethesda" or "The 
Priory." l Lord Beaconsfield, in his late years, 
suffered grievously from a gouty kind of asthma. 
The orthodox faculty having prescribed in vain, 
Dr. Kidd became his physician in 1877; and, by 
reversing all the treatment previously pursued, 
gave his patient certainly an easier, and probably 
a longer, life than he would have otherwise 
enjoyed. The proceedings at the Berlin Con- 
gress of 1878 were interrupted by Lord Beacons- 
field's untimely illness. Dr. Kidd was summoned 
to Berlin, and the plague was stayed. In the 
following year, Lord Beaconsfield said to his 
friend Bernal-Osborne, " I owe the health and 
comfort of my life, and my fitness for work, to 
1 Two oentres of eontrariant Plymouthism. 



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312 Portraits of the Seventies 

his care." On April 19, 1881, the great man 
died, with his hand in Dr. Kidd's; and Dr. 
Kidd wrote an interesting account of his patient's 
long struggle with death in the Nineteenth 
Century for July 1889. 



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CHAPTEE XX 
THREE CARDINALS 



CAEDINAL HOWARD 

TT is seldom that the Sacred College numbers 
-*- at the same time three Englishmen; but 
this was the case at the close of the Seventies. 
The three English Cardinals formed an inter- 
esting group ; but they were men of very different 
degrees of importance; and I will describe the 
least important first. 

Edward Henry Howard (1829-92) was a 
cousin of the twelfth Duke of Norfolk, and 
obtained his commission in the 2nd Life Guards 
in 1850. As the most striking figure in the 
Btousehold Cavalry, he was chosen to lead the 
Duke of Wellington's funeral procession in 
November 1862. For three years he was one 
of the most brilliant and popular members of 
the gay world, at a period when Society was still 



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314 Portraits of the Seventies 

aristocratic, and unvulgarized either by shekels 
or by dollars. 

But a change was at work in the young 
Life-guardsman, of which not his closest friends 
had a suspicion. "To his young soul diviner 
promptings came," and he responded to them 
with startling suddenness. In November 1863 
it happened that he was engaged to dine with 
his cousin, Mrs. Hoare (mother of the late 
Sir Henry Hoare), at her house in St. James's 
Square. On the morning of the dinner a note 
arrived from him saying that he was unable to 
fulfil his engagement, as he was forced to leave 
London. Mrs. Hoare supposed that the regi- 
ment had been suddenly ordered to Windsor, 
and thought no more of the matter till a letter 
arrived from Borne saying that Edward Howard 
had realized his vocation to the priesthood, and 
was studying Theology at the Accademia Eccle- 
siastical His progress in his new career 
was rapid. Having only received Minor Orders 
and the Diaconate, he was ordained priest in 
1854, and was made a Domestic Chamberlain to 
Pius IX three years later. 

In those days, when the Temporal Power 

< Where, curiously enough, he had Henry Edward 
Manning, born in 1808, for a fellow-student. 



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CARDINAL HOWARD. 



To face p. 114. 



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Three Cardinals 315 

was still unabolished, the official service of the 
Papacy offered many opportunities to a young, 
eager, and well-connected ecclesiastic. Edward 
Howard, who, though extremely bright and 
popular, had never been suspected oi cleverness, 
was found to have a special gift for acquiring 
languages, and therefore chose a Diplomatic 
career. After serving in various posts he was 
sent, in 1862, to India to arrange the pending 
difficulties between England and Portugal, in 
regard to the ecclesiastical government of the 
Province of Goa. In this task he acquitted 
himself so well that he was created a Prelate, 
and was made Archbishop of Neo-C&sarea in 
1872. In 1877 he was raised to the Purple, 
which Manning had attained in 1875. Newman's 
belated elevation came in 1879, and so the trio 
of English Cardinals was complete. 

Having retired from the Diplomatic Service, 
Cardinal Howard resided principally in Rome; 
but he paid frequent visits to England, making 
his headquarters, as was natural, at Arundel, 
and often appearing in general society. Wherever 
he went he was a striking and impressive figure. 
His smooth and inexpressive, almost childlike, 
face, with its innocent blue eyes, reminded one 
of Lord Rosebery, but the resemblance ended 



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316 Portraits of the Seventies 

with the face. Cardinal Howard was tall — well 
over six feet, I should think — with a singularly 
dignified appearance and a soldier-like air. To 
the end he walked like a dismounted cavalryman, 
and, as he swept along the nave of St. Peter's 
in his crimson soutane, he might have passed 
for one of those cloaked troopers of the Life 
Guards who adorn the streets near Knights- 
bridge Barracks on a winter evening. 

In society, Howard was perfectly easy, genial 
and unaffected; and though he was rightly con- 
scious of his official dignity, he was far too great 
a gentleman to give himself any airs or graces; 
and his conversation, though perfectly decorous, 
was quite unecclesiastical. His closing years were 
spent in England, where he died after a long and 
distressing illness, tended to the last by the affec- 
tionate devotion of his kinsman and fellow- 
Catholic, the present Duke of Norfolk. He rests 
in the Fitzalan Chapel at Arundel. 



CABDINAL NEWMAN 

John Henry Newman (1801-90) joined the 
Church of Eome in 1845, and from that time 
forward lived a life so completely secluded that 



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CARDINAL NEWMAN. 

•(From Mr. Wilfrid, Ward's "Life" by permission of Messrs. Longmans, Green 
fr Co., and the Fathers oj. the Oratory. Birmingham.) 

To fact p. 316. 



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Three Cardinals 317 

the world outside the Oratory had few opportuni- 
ties of knowing him by sight. I have traced in 
another book * the history of his life in the Boman 
Communion, and it is a sorry story of ungrateful 
handling, frustration, and defeat inflicted by the 
Boman authorities on the most valuable recruit 
whom they had ever won from the Church of 
England. If Newman had been less of a Chris- 
tian he might well have adopted Mirabeau's 
motto, " Kill your conscience, for it is the most 
savage enemy of every one who wants success. 9 ' 
His supreme disappointment was the dogma of 
Papal Infallibility, defined by the Vatican Council 
of 1869-70. To use his own phrase, he " bowed 
his head " beneath this final blow, and for the next 
nine years he remained buried in his Oratorian 
home, emerging only to cross swords with Glad- 
stone over the question of the civil allegiance of 
Boman Catholics. During this period of what 
looked like final retirement he wrote a solemn 
testament for the use of his friends after his 
death, and from it I quote these words : "I have 
before now said, in writing to Cardinals . . . 
when I considered myself treated with slight and 
unfairness, * So this is the return made to me for 
working in the Catholic cause for so many years/ 
1 Literary Essays. 



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318 Portraits of the Seventies 

i.e. to that effect. I feel it still, and ever shall ; 
but it was not a disappointed ambition which I 
was then expressing, but a scorn and wonder at 
the injustice shown me, and at the demand of 
toadyism on my part if I was to get their favour 
and the favour of Eome. ,, 

Those words, and others revealing "the real 
state of my mind, and what my cross has been," 
were written in 1876 ; but now a startling change 
was at hand. Pius IX died in 1878, and 
Leo XIII succeeded him. Newman had loved 
Pius personally, but had notoriously dissented 
from some parts of his policy, and had suffered 
for his dissent. The sentiments of Leo were 
believed to differ materially from those of his 
predecessor ; and " the natural reaction of opinion 
— the swing of the pendulum from one Pontifi- 
cate to another — seemed to some of Newman's 
friends a golden opportunity for securing for his 
great work for the Church the formal approval 
from Borne itself which had been so long 
delayed." 

So says Mr. Ward, and the Duke of Norfolk 
adds : " It appeared to me that in the cause both 
of justice and of truth it was of the utmost 
importance that the Church should put her seal 
on Newman's work." That " seal " could only 



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Three Cardinals 319 

take one form — the Cardinal's hat. The Duke 
of Norfolk, in a private interview with the Pope, 
made the suggestion ; and it was graciously 
received. After various delays, some of which 
bore a suspicious resemblance to former frustra- 
tions, Newman received the supreme honour in 
May, 1879. To the journal of 1876, from which 
the foregoing confession of disappointment is 
cited, he now appended this significant note : 
"Since writing the above I have been made a 
Cardinal ! " 1 

The world of London now had an opportunity 
of seeing Newman in the flesh ; and for those who 
remembered, or were interested in, the Oxford 
Movement of 1833-45, this was a thrilling experi- 
ence. In May 1880 the newly made Cardinal paid 
a visit to the Duke of Norfolk at his house in St. 
James's Square, and the Duchess gave an even- 
ing party in his honour. On the 15th of May 
Matthew Arnold described this party in a letter 
to his sister : — 

"I met A. P. S. 2 at dinner at the Buxtons* 
before I went, who was deeply interested and 
excited at my having the invitation to meet the 

1 For Cardinal Manning's share in the transaction, see Mr. 
Wilfrid Ward's Life of Newman, vol. ii. ch. xxxiii. 
* Dean Stanley. 



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320 Portraits of the Seventies 

Cardinal ; he hurried me off the moment dinner 
was over, saying, ' This is not a thing to lose/ 
Newman was in costume — not full Cardinal's cos- 
tume, but a sort of vest with gold about it — and 
the red cap; he was in state at the end of the 
room, with the Duchess of Norfolk on one 6ide of 
him and a chaplain on the other, and people filed 
before him as before the Queen, dropping on their 
knees when they were presented and kissing his 
hand. It was the faithful who knelt in general, 
but it was in general only the faithful who were 

presented. That old mountebank Lord H 

dropped on his knees, however, and mumbled 
the Cardinal's hand like a piece of cake. I only 
made a deferential bow, and Newman took my 
hand in both of his and was charming. He said, 
( I ventured to tell the Duchess I should like to 
see you.' One had to move on directly, for there 
was a crowd of devotees waiting, and he retires at 
eleven." 

The privilege of seeing Newman, which was 
so sparingly permitted to Londoners, was easily 
attained by people, whether dons or under- 
graduates, who lived in Oxford. It is a very 
short journey from Oxford to Birmingham, and 
Newman was easily accessible to all whose motives 
in seeking an interview he thought sincere. Many, 



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Three Cardinals 321 

of course, there were, who, fascinated by the 
apparent candour of his reasoning, wished to con- 
verse with him on religious subjects, and, more 
particularly, to consult him on the exclusive claim 
of Borne. This was all honest and gentlemanlike ; 
but there were a good many who were quite undis- 
turbed by religious qualms, and who merely wished 
to see Newman as a man who had played a lead- 
ing part in an important controversy, or as the 
greatest living master of the English language. I 
am afraid that these enquirers were apt to invent 
scruples which they did not the least feel, and to 
seek an audience on false pretences; for it was 
known that Newman would not have allowed 
himself to be treated as a show, and would have 
repressed all gossip and idle curiosity. But, 
whether the motive of the visit was conscientious 
or fraudulent, men always came back to Oxford 
with the same account. They had found Newman 
most gracious, kind, and sympathetic; gentle 
towards doubts, encouraging towards aspirations, 
and patient with difficulties; moderate, cautious, 
yet clear in counsel. His personal charm con- 
sisted in a supreme degree of delicacy. He did 
not look like a ghost, for every glance and every 
gesture showed that he was very much alive ; but 
he seemed to have attained the most absolute 

21 



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322 Portraits of the Seventies 

refinement of face, feature, and voice, which is 
compatible with a corporeal frame. " To look at 
or to listen to," said one of these admirers, " he 
is like the most delicious old lady." But assuredly 
there was nothing effeminate in the spirit which 
for thirty-five years had braved the wrath of the 
Curia, and by a master-stroke of righteous indig- 
nation had crushed the insolent and clumsy 
calumnies of Charles Eingsley. 

It once happened, before he was raised to the 
Cardinalate, that Newman, who seldom went 
much beyond Edgbaston, found himself in one of 
the slums of Birmingham. The gutter-children, 
seeing something unfamiliar in his garb and 
appearance, pursued him with yells and mud. 
When he regained the Oratory the devoted 
brethren thronged round him, with loud pro- 
testations against the profanity of the children 
who had ventured to throw mud at the dear 
Father Superior. But the protestations were 
checked by Newman, who said, with his peculiar 
blend of playfulness and pensiveness, "If I 
thought a Catholic priest was what they think 
he is, I should throw mud at myself." 



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Three Cardinals 323 

CARDINAL MANNING 

When John Henry Newman was seven years 
old, there occurred an event of which he could 
have no cognizance, but which was destined, in 
the long run, to exercise a decisive influence over 
his working life. This was the birth of Henry 
Edward Manning (1808-92). 

In 1808 the Mannings were wealthy people, 
though afterwards they lost their fortune; and 
"Harry Manning" (as his old friends called him 
to the end) began life with some signal advan- 
tages. He was educated at Harrow (where he 
was Captain of the Cricket Eleven), and at 
Balliol; and, though not a particularly accurate 
scholar, his -general cleverness and resolute will 
got him a First Class in Classics, at Christmas 
1830. According to the testimony of his con- 
temporaries, Gladstone among others, he was 
exceptionally good-looking, beautifully dressed, 
full of self-confidence, and loving to have the 
pre-eminence. His father had destined him for 
Holy Orders, but his own inclinations turned in 
a different direction, and he determined to enter 
Parliament. In old age he said to the present 
writer, who was then in the House of Commons, 
"As I go to bed, I look out and see the light 



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324 Portraits of the Seventies 

on your Clock-Tower, and I say to myself, € If 
I had been able to have my own way, and to go 
there, what a rascal I should have been by this 
time!'" 

The event which changed the current of his 
life was his father's bankruptcy, which occurred 
in 1831. Of course all parliamentary dreams 
were instantly dispelled, and his father could 
no longer even make him an allowance. He 
took a supernumerary clerkship in the Colonial 
Office ; but, as this was a terminable appointment, 
he wisely entered for a Fellowship at Merton 
College, Oxford, which he won in 1832. He 
now returned to the abandoned project of seeking 
Holy Orders, and was ordained to a curacy in 
Sussex. He soon began to rise in his profession. 
At twenty-five he was a rector; at twenty-nine 
rural dean ; at thirty-two archdeacon ; at 
thirty-four Select Preacher at Oxford. From 
1840 to 1860 he was one of the most consider- 
able figures among the English clergy, and 
during the last five years of that time, after 
Newman had seceded, he was commonly 
regarded as the main strength and stay of those 
earnest Churchman who had been scandalized 
by Newman's fall and had no confidence in 
Pusey's leadership. 



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CARDINAL MANNING. 



Totao*f».3S4. 



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Three Cardinals 325 

We now know, what at the time was never 
suspected, that daring these latter years he was 
tormented by grave doubts about the position and 
claims of the Church of England. He yearned 
for " authority," and could not find it in Angli- 
canism. His misgivings came to a head when 
the Judicial Committee pronounced in favour 
of the Rev. GL C. Gorham, who seemed to have 
committed himself to a denial of the Catholic 
doctrine of Baptism. Suddenly, as it appeared 
to the world, but deliberately, as we know from 
his writings, he resigned his preferments in the 
Church of England, and was received into the 
Church of Eome in April 1851. 

Three years later he wrote in his journal : " I 
am conscious of a desire to be in such a position 
as I had in time past"; and his heart's desire 
was not long denied him. Nothing can be 
more instructive than the difference between 
the treatment accorded to Newman and the 
treatment accorded to Manning by the Church 
to which they submitted both themselves. 
What Eome did for Newman the first section 
of this chapter has already set forth. Manning's 
career was strikingly dissimilar. Newman was 
received into the Church of Borne in October 
1845, and was not ordained priest till 



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326 Portraits of the Seventies 

May 1847. Manning was received in April 
1851, and was ordained priest on the Trinity 
Sunday next ensuing. He was made D.D. by 
the Pope in 1864; Superior of the Oblates of 
St. Charles at Bayswater in 1857, and Provost 
of the Chapter of Westminster in the same 
year; Domestic Prelate to the Pope, Protonotary 
Apostolic and " Monsignore " in 1860; and in 
1866, in spite of the fact that he had not been 
elected by the Chapter, he was made Archbishop 
of Westminster by the sole act of Pius IX. 
"Searle, and a hundred other poor devils," 
pleasantly said Herbert Yaughan, afterwards 
Cardinal, "will think you are come to torment 
them before their time." Perhaps they did; 
but their thoughts could not impede Manning's 
progress. He was Archbishop in spite of them, 
and ten years later he was raised to the Purple. 
It is matter of common knowledge that 
Manning's early and conspicuous ascendency in 
the counsels of the Papacy rested on the inti- 
macy of his personal relations with Pius IX; 
although it is not necessary to give literal 
credence to that account of those relations which 
Bishop Wilberforce in his diary repeated from my 
cousin Odo Russell. Manning was, indeed, a man 
after the Pope's own heart. There never lived 



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Three Cardinals 327 

a stronger Papalist. He was more Ultramontane 
than the Ultramontanes. Everything Roman 
was to him divine. Rightly or wrongly, he 
conceived that English Romanism was practi- 
cally Gallicanism; that it minimized Papal 
Infallibility, was disloyal to the Temporal Power, 
and was prone to accommodate itself to its 
Protestant and secular environment. Against 
this temporizing policy he set his face as a flint. 
He believed that he had been divinely appointed 
of Papalize England. In Cardinal Wiseman he 
found a chief like-minded with himself, and they 
worked in perfect accordance for an end equally 
dear to both. Here comes the tragedy of 
Newman's life. Manning thought him a half- 
hearted Papalist. He dreaded alike his way of 
stating religious truth, and his practical policy; 
and he regarded it as a sacred duty to frustrate 
his designs. 

To Newman, with his abnormal sensitiveness, 
the situation must have been galling beyond 
endurance. Here was Manning, seven years 
his junior, in every gift of intellect immeasurably 
his inferior, and a convert of five years later date 
than himself ; and yet Manning, through his 
relation with Rome and his ascendency over 
the aged and decrepit Wiseman, was in a 



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328 Portraits of the Seventies 

position where he could bring all Newman's 
best-laid plans to naught. They had begun 
as good friends, though never intimate; for 
Manning in his Anglican days had kept clear 
of Tractarianism. Newman offered Manning 
the post of Vice-Bector in the Irish University, 
and Manning declined it, as he was at the 
moment entering on his three years' residence 
at Rome. When he came to live in London, 
he passed instinctively into the innermost circle 
of that Ultramontane sentiment which surrounded 
Wiseman, which preached by the mouth of Faber, 
which intrigued at the Vatican through Monsignor 
Talbot, and which wrote with the powerful pen of 
W. G. Ward. K 

The time, as we have already seen, was full 
of stress and strain; and some controversies, which 
had hitherto belonged to the region of theory, were 
forced into practical action by the developments 
of European politics. Manning thus summed 
up the points at issue : " During these years 
three subjects were uppermost: (1) the Tem- 
poral Power ; (2) the Oxford Question ; and 
(8) The Infallibility. j On all these Newman was 
not in accordance with the Holy See. I am 
nobody, but I spoke as the Holy See speaks." 
When Manning spoke he also acted, and through 



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Three Cardinals 329 

his instrumentality Newman was forced to resign 
the editorship of the Rambler, which had taken 
a line hostile to the Temporal Power. It was 
easy to offend Newman, and Newman did not 
readily forget. It is significant that in the 
Apologia, which contains such generous refer- 
ences to friends, both Roman and Anglican, 
Manning's name never appears : and Manning 
actually denounced "this Eingsley affair/' as he 
called the Apologia, as tending to "make Angli- 
cans remain where they are." This was written 
on the eve of Manning's elevation to the Archi- 
episcopate, and from thenceforward his power of 
frustrating Newman was, of course, increased 
tenfold. Newman wrote this in the following 
year : " I think this of Manning : he wishes me 
no ill, hut he is determined to bend or break all 
opposition. He has an iron will and intends to 
have his own way. ... He has never offered 
me any place or office. The only one I am fit 
for, the only one I would accept, he is doing all 
he can to keep me from." 

The other side of the case is thus stated by 
Manning: "I was and am convinced that no 
Catholic parents ought to send their sons to the 
national universities; and that no Catholic can 
be there without danger to faith and morals." 



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33° Portraits of the Seventies 

It was an unequal contest. Manning was all- 
powerful at the Vatican, and Newman was 
defeated. When the contest was over, Manning 
suggested an interview, and explanations; but 
Newman icily declined : "I do not trust him, 
and his words would be the cause of fresh dis- 
trust. ... I could not in my heart accept his 
explanations." 

Any one who wishes to know what Manning 
could be and do when his heart was set on a 
great object should study those chapters in his 
Life which describe the suppression of Arch- 
bishop Errington, his own elevation to the 
Archiepiscopate, and the Vatican Council. With 
reference to this last his biographer says : — 

"It was the event of his life. . . . For years 
he had made the question of Papal Infallibility 
his own. He was identified, whether for good or 
for evil, with the mysterious dogma, by the 
popular mind of England. He had preached 
about it ; had worked for it ; and in tones and 
terms of infallible certitude had predicted its 
definition." 

He went into the Council under a solemn vow 
to do all in his power to obtain the definition. 
He used all conceivable means to secure his 
end. He wrote, and talked, and plotted, and 



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Three Cardinals 331 

canvassed. He avoided argument and appealed 
to passion/ and terror. The Church, he said, was 
in her last struggle with the powers of darkness, 
and here was the opportunity of striking the 
blow which should make her victorious. His 
intensity, his rhetorical skill, his inexhaustible 
activity, inspired his friends and produced a 
palpable effect upon the waverers ; but, all the 
time, there was the other side, and on it were 
ranged Darboy and Dupanloup, Strossmayer and 
Haynald, Eetteler, and Hefele, and Deschamps; 
" and a greater name by far than theirs was on 
their side and in sympathy with them — John 
Henry Newman." 

When the battle was over, and Newman again 
defeated, Manning wrote, with unmistakable re- 
ference : " They were wise, and we were fools. 
But, strange to say, it has turned out that the 
wise men were always blundering and the fools 
were always right. At last the wise men have 
had to hold their tongues, and, in a way not 
glorious to them, to submit and to be silent." 

Eight years passed. Pius IX died, and 
Leo XIII, acting on suggestions from England, 
made Newman a Cardinal, and so affixed the seal 
of Infallibility to principles and methods against 
which Manning had waged a thirty years' war. 



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332 Portraits of the Seventies 

In 1883 he said to me, pointing to two pictures 
on the wall : " That is Pio — history* will pro- 
nounce him to have been a very great Pontiff. 

Yes, and that is Leo — hwm, hm } h ," but I 

find it impossible to express in letters the curious 
diminuendo of depreciatory sound. 

Seven years later Newman was in his grave, 
and his brother Cardinal talked of him and of 
their mutual relations with impressive candour. 
One saying must be recorded. " I suppose you 
have heard that I tried to prevent Newman 
from being made a Cardinal. Yes — of course 
you have. Every one has. But it is not true. 
Indeed, it is the reverse of the truth. The 
Duke of Norfolk and Lord Bipon came to me 
and said, 'We have been to Borne. We have 
urged Newman's claim to the Cardinalate. We 
have done as much as laymen can do— and we 
have made no impression. We come back having 
accomplished nothing.' I said, ' Leave it to 
me.' I wrote to Borne, and it was done in 
three weeks. Very few people know that" Very 
few indeed ! 

Why in the long duel, which I have now 
described, was Newman always defeated, and 
Manning (except in the last tussle about the 
Cardinalate) always successful ? Something may, 



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Three Cardinals 333 

no doubt, be ascribed to training and environ- 
ment. Manning had all the advantages of mind 
and body (though they may sometimes be dis- 
advantages for the soul) which belong to an 
opulent home and a great Public School. New- 
man was brought up in a Calvinistic seclusion, 
varied by eight years at a private school where 
he never played a game. At Oxford Manning 
was popular and fashionable ; Newman lived, 
from first to last, like a Seminarist, hampered, 
as he himself says, by " extreme shyness " and 
"vivid self-consciousness/' Manning went freely 
into Society, more than once fell in love, and 
married early. Newman went from his Scholar- 
ship at Trinity to his Fellowship at Oriel, 
regarded himself as divinely called to celibacy, 
and seems to have had no ambition beyond a 
curacy in a suburb of Oxford. 

Temperament co-operated with environment. 
If one may borrow the title of a famous novel, 
Manning, already a man of the world, and 
knowing how to deal with men, may stand for 
" Sense " : Newman, the shrinking and ascetic 
student, for "Sensibility." He said of himself 
that he had a "morbidly sensitive skin," and 
that is about as bad an equipment for active 
life in a world of struggle as nature can bestow. 



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334 Portraits of the Seventies 

That a pre-eminently sensitive man tastes more 
keenly than others the choice delights of life is 
probably true; but it is certain that he suffers 
a thousand miseries which tougher natures never 
feel. An acute sensitiveness may be allied with, 
though it is by no means a synonym for, keen 
sympathy with the sorrows of others, and so 
may gather round a man a band of grateful 
friends; but it will never disarm an oppo- 
nent, or turn a foe into a friend. Still less will 
it enable a man to force his way through 
clenched antagonisms, or to crush resistance as 
he marches towards his end. Then again a 
sensitive nature is 

Wax to receive and marble to retain. 

It may forgive, but it cannot forget, slights and 
injuries, buffets and bruises. Forgetfulness of 
injuries is the blessed lot of those who have 
inflicted them. 

" Poor Newman ! " said Manning to me, 
when talking of his deceased colleague — "my 
Brother of Birmingham," as he used to call 
him in moments of genial expansion — "he was 
a great hater." And though the phrase had 
something of controversial rancour, it expressed 
a kind of truth. When Newman had been in- 



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Three Cardinals 335 

jured, he did not expose himself to a repetition 
of the injury. When he had been deceived, he 
did not give the deceiver a second opportunity. 
When he had been offended, he kept the offender 
at arm's length. There are curious traditions 
of personal estrangements, lasting through years, 
between him and members of his own house; 
and there is on record a letter in which he told 
Archbishop Whately, with agreeable frankness, 
that, though he had not purposely kept out of 
his way when Whately lately was paying a visit 
to Oxford, he was glad of the accident which 
prevented them from meeting. 

I question if Manning was very sensitive. 
No doubt he felt a knock, as we all feel it ; but 
with him it was only a reason for hitting back 
again ; and when he hit he showed both strength 
and science. 

And, yet again, Newman was too much of an 
Idealist. He idealized the Calvinism in which 
he had been brought up, but soon found that 
it was hopelessly inadequate to the demands of 
intellect and the broad facts of human life; 
and in his reaction from it he went perilously 
near the ways of thought which a few years 
later were stigmatized as Liberalism. When he 
had adopted the Tractarian position, he idealized 



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336 Portraits of the Seventies 

the Anglican bishops; and the dissipation of 
that ideal by contact with Episcopal realities 
is the history of his submission to Eome. As 
a Roman Catholic he found even larger and 
more promising scope for Idealism ; and the 
disillusionments were profounder and more 
grievous. That to the end he idealized the 
Church of Eome — " the one oracle of truth and 
the one ark of salvation" — I cannot doubt; 
but he soon ceased to idealize Roman bishops 
as he had before ceased to idealize their 
Anglican brethren ; and to these must be added 
cardinals and Jesuits, and politicians and 
editors, and, in short, all the agents by whom 
the Church of Borne does its practical work. 
To say that he was ever disillusioned about the 
Pope would be offensive and might be mislead- 
ing ; so let his own words stand. " I had been 
accustomed to believe that, over and above the 
attribute of infallibility which attached to the 
doctrinal decisions of the Holy See, a gift of 
sagacity had in every age characterized its 
occupants. I am obliged to say that a senti- 
ment which history has impressed upon me, 
and impresses still, has been very considerably 
weakened as far as the present Pope (Pius IX) 
is concerned, by the experience of the result 



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Three Cardinals 337 

of the policy which his chosen councillors have 
led him to pursue." From first to last 
Newman idealized the systems to which for 
the time he belonged, and when in their working 
they proved to be quite different from what 
he dreamed, the blow fell with a disabling 
force; and the people who wished ill to his 
schemes " grinned demnebly." 

Among those who grinned was Manning, of 
whom it may, I think, be said without breach 
of charity, that, willing the end intensely, he 
also willed the means ; that he was entirely free 
from what Bishop Wilson called "the offendi- 
culum of scrupulosity " ; and that, where a 
cause was at stake, Jbe did not shrink from 
crushing an opponent. 

I have already described Newman's personal 
appearance. Manning's I described, with some 
precision, in another book, 1 and I will not repeat 
what is so easily accessible. But fortunately 
Manning made a deep impression on one of 
his contemporaries, who never was excelled 
in a personal description — Lord Beaconsfield. 
What he was like in his younger days may 
be read in Endymion, but in Lothair we 
see him as he was after he had become the 
s Collections and BecolUctiom. 
22 



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338 Portraits of the Seventies 

official head of the Roman Catholic Church in 
England. His appearance, his bearing in society, 
and his methods of proselytization are there 
drawn by the hand of a master. 

"Above the middle height, his stature seemed 
magnified by the attenuation of his form. It 
seemed that the soul never had so frail and 
fragile a tenement. He was dressed in a dark 
cassock with a red border, and wore scarlet 
stockings ; and over his cassock a purple 
tippet, and on his breast a small golden cross. 
His countenance was naturally of an extreme 
pallor. His cheeks were hollow, and his 
grey eyes seemed sunk into his clear and noble 
brow, but they flashed with irresistible pene- 
tration." 

One slight inaccuracy I detect in this descrip- 
tion. Manning was not " above the middle 
height," but rather below it. His extreme at- 
tenuation gave him the appearance of being 
taller than he was. The " clear and noble brow" 
is a true touch, and yet it elicited from an 
Anglican ecclesiastic a characteristic outbreak 
of professional jealousy. Artists, fascinated by 
Manning's aspect, were constantly asking him to 
sit for his portrait, and the portraits often found 
their way into the Academy. There, one day, 



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Three Cardinals 339 

as I was looking at a picture of the Cardinal, 
I chanced to find Archbishop Benson by my 
side. "What a fine head it is!" I exclaimed. 
"No," replied the rival practitioner. "Not a 
fine head — only no face" 

Cardinal Manning was fond of society, and 
excelled in it. He had never forgotten the 
associations of his Anglican days; and he re- 
pined at purely ecclesiastical surroundings. "I 
live/' he once said rather peevishly, "among 
sacristans." From that meritorious but unex- 
citing company he gladly emerged. He loved 
the Athenaeum, frequented the Lobby of the 
House of Commons, and enjoyed the platforms 
of philanthropic and humanitarian societies. He 
would occasionally drop into evening parties, 
even in non-Catholic houses, and he sincerely 
deplored the delicacy of his digestion, which 
made it impossible for him to dine out. '"I 
never eat and I never drink,' said the Car- 
dinal; C I am sorry to say I cannot. I like 
dinner society very much. You see the world 
and you hear things which you do not hear 
otherwise. For a time I presumed to accept 
invitations, though I sate with an empty plate; 
but, though the world was indulgent to me, I 
felt that my habits were an embarrassment to 



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340 Portraits of the Seventies 

the happier feasters ; it was not fair, and so I 
gave it up.' " » 

It was with referenoe to this part oi Man- 
ning's social life that the late Lord Coleridge 
once said to me, " There Manning used to sit, 
dallying with a biscuit and a glass of soda-water, 
till one really felt ashamed to eat or drink in 
the presenoe of this Saint — who had dvned at 
two.' 9 

1 Loth&ir, toI. i. oh. vi. 



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CHAPTER XXI 
THREE ARCHBISHOPS 



ARCHBISHOP TAIT 

ARCHIBALD CAMPBELL TAIT (1811- 
82) was the youngest child of Craufurd 
Tait by his marriage with a daughter of Sir 
Day Campbell, Lord President of the Court of 
Session. On both sides his descent was purely 
Scottish. The Taits belonged to the middle 
classes, but had gradually risen to the rank of 
lairds. The parents of the future Archbishop 
were strict Presbyterians; and, as the Kirk bap- 
tizes its infants in private and keeps no register 
of baptisms, it was suggested, in later years, 
that Archbishop Tait had never been baptized. 
As this would have been a fact of serious im- 
port to the Episcopal Succession of the Churoh 
of England, oareful enquiries were set on foot, 

341 



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342 Portraits of the Seventies 

and the result, which was satisfactory to the 
enquirers, is, I believe, deposited among the mu- 
niments at Lambeth. Young Tait was educated 
at the University of Glasgow, where he won a 
" Snell Exhibition " which carried him to Bal- 
lioL He resolved to make his career in Eng- 
land, and, as he idolized the principle of 
religious establishment, he joined the Church 
of England, being confirmed by the Bishop of 
Oxford, and so decided his whole subsequent 
life. His Ordination followed as a matter of 
course, for, after obtaining his First Class in 
Classics, he was elected to a Fellowship of Bal- 
liol; and as such he was bound by law to take 
Holy Orders within a given time from his M.A. 
degree. He had not the least desire to do 
otherwise — indeed he felt that the clerical 
character would help him in his tutorial work; 
and, when once ordained, he became an active 
clergyman; but, as far as one can judge, he 
would have been quite as much at home at the 
Bar or in the Civil Service. 

In 1842, on the sudden death of Dr. Arnold, 
he was elected to the head-mastership of Rugby, 
and soon afterwards married Catharine Spooner, 
the daughter of a neighbouring clergyman. As a 
head-master he was not successful. His scholar- 



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. 



ARCHBISHOP TAIT. 
(By permission of Messrs. MacmilLm & Co., Lid.) 



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Three Archbishops 343 

ship was stiff and ungraceful; his preaohing was 
dull; and, owing to the circumstances of his 
own education, he was entirely out of sympathy 
with that peculiar temper of mind which, for 
want of a hetter name, is called "The Public 
School spirit." His head-mastership did not 
last very long. In 1848 he had a desperate 
attack of rheumatic fever, which crippled him 
for life; and in the following year he thank- 
fully escaped from the uncongenial toils of 
Bugby to the Deanery of Carlisle. In 1860 and 
1851 he served on the Universities Commis- 
sion, and was thereby brought into close rela- 
tions with the Whig Government. In 1866 his 
home was devastated by the deaths of five little 
daughters, and this tragic circumstance brought 
his name under the sympathetic notice of Queen 
Victoria. Immediately afterwards, to the un- 
bounded surprise of the Church and the world, 
he was nominated by Lord Palmerston to the 
See of London ; but he really owed this remark- 
able elevation to Lord Shaftesbury, who 
"thought that the Broad Church ought to be 
represented, and selected Dr. Tait as the mildest 
among them." 

In 1868 Bishop Tait was called by Disraeli 
(after a tussle with the Queen) to the See of 



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344 Portraits of the Seventies 

Canterbury, and so became a very conspicuous 
figure among the men of the Seventies. Let 
me attempt to describe him. 

He was tall, and in later life was inclined 
to be portly. He bore himself with a very 
remarkable dignity; and, though he was the 
least ecclesiastically minded of men, his clean- 
shaven face and long hair gave him a distinctly 
ecclesiastical appearance. The Episkopos was 
declared in every attitude and gesture, and this 
stately demeanour was all the more effective 
because palpably unstudied. In private life 
he was a lovable man, a devoted husband, a 
tender father, a staunch friend. "Under that 
stately and reserved demeanour," said Dean 
Church, " there was really great warmth of 
heart, and great kindness. Where he loved, he 
loved strongly." His friend Bishop Ewing 
described him thus: " Exactly the same as ever, 
good, humorous, and Scotch, with gravity." 
Of oourse the humour was dry and " pawky " ; 
but it was there, and sometimes you found it 
twinkling quaintly amid grave surroundings. 

In 1877 the Church Times, representing an 
ecclesiastical party with which the Archbishop 
was always at loggerheads, made this remark- 
able statement: — 



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Three Archbishops 345 

"What music is to a man with no ear, that 
religion is to Archbishop Tait; and it is as idle 
to argue with him on religious questions and 
on religious grounds as it would be to play 
a pathetic composition of Mendelssohn's to a 
musioally deaf person in the hope of softening 
his temper and extracting a boon from him." 

Such are the amenities of theological contro- 
versy; the truth was something quite different. 
We know from Tait's Life, even if we had not 
gathered it from personal contact, that he was 
a profoundly religious man; but unfortunately 
his religion was of a type which is neither 
understood nor liked in the Church over which 
he presided. He was not an Evangelical. He 
had nothing of what friends call "unction" and 
foes call "gush"; and he differed from the 
Evangelicals on such points as the doctrine of 
conversion, the inspiration of the Bible, and the 
precise method and nature of the Atonement. 
On these and kindred points he inclined to 
" liberal " views, though on the central verities 
of the Christian Faith he was absolutely and 
exactingly orthodox. 

That great party which used to be called 
" High Church," and which, in Tait's lifetime, 
acquired the nickname of " Ritualistio," he 



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346 Portraits of the Seventies 

never understood; he cordially disliked and 
consistently persecuted it. From 1841, when 
he drew up and signed the famous "Protest 
of the Four Tutors" against the teaching of 
"Tract 90," till 1882, when on his death-bed, 
he began to show signs of a better mind, he 
was engaged in unrelenting conflict with a 
religious party which sturdily withstood and 
ultimately overcame him. 

While he persecuted Ritualists, he tolerated 
Evangelicals, and patronized Broad Churchmen 
— until they became too broad. From first to 
last he was a Liberal Presbyterian, whom 
circumstances had transplanted to the Church 
of England, and to the highest place in it. 
Sincerely religious, consistently orthodox he 
was, but no impartial critic could say that 
he was in any intelligible sense a Churchman. 
He was an Erastian to the backbone. After 
1882 Sir William Harcourt used to say, half in 
jest and half in earnest, "Now that Stanley and 
Tait are gone, I am the last of the Erastians." 
Of the Church as a spiritual society, with 
duties, powers, and rights of its own, quite 
apart from anything that the State could give 
or take away, he had positively no conception. 
He considered the Episcopal office a convenient 



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Three Archbishops 347 

form of ecolesiastical government, and that was 
all. " Tait was a very considerable person ; 
but I doubt if he ever read a theological work 
in his life." This was Gladstone's judgment 
on a man whose ecclesiastical qualifications he 
had abundant means of testing. 

But, though Tait was essentially untheo- 
logical, he had other qualities which made 
him "a very considerable person." Foremost 
among them I should place his courage. This 
was a most conspicuous quality, and it was of 
two kinds, not always found in conjunction. 
He was as courageous physically as morally. 
His physical courage was specially displayed in 
connexion with his health, which, for the last 
thirty years of his life, was in a most uncom- 
fortable and often a most threatening state, 
and yet was never permitted to interfere with 
his work or affect his cheerfulness. After his 
great illness in 1848, he was permanently dis- 
qualified for any violent exercise, hurry, or 
exertion. 1 He was liable to sudden fits of 
fainting, giddiness, and internal pain. Soon 

1 In spite of some infirmity and much awkwardness, he 
persisted in riding; and his appearance on horseback was 
so odd that it suggested a new meaning for the phrase 
TiU Monti. 



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348 Portraits of the Seventies 

after he beoame Archbishop of Canterbury he 
had a seizure which all but destroyed him and 
which affected him to the last day of his life. 
When he preached at St. Paul's, at the Thanks- 
giving Service for the recovery of the Prince of 
Wales, Sir William Gull, who had doctored the 
Prinoe and the preacher, declared that Tait's 
was the more wonderful recovery of the two. 

One evening in 1880, after dinner at Lambeth, 
conversation drifted towards the subject of 
health, and its bearing on usefulness; and the 
Archbishop said to me, in his quiet, impressive 
manner, "When I got about again after my 
illness in '48, I made up my mind that there 
were certain things which I must never again 
attempt — such as hurrying to catch a train, 
walking up steep places, and so on. I kept 
to my resolve, and in consequence I have been 
able to work as hard as most men. The 
heaviest work of my life has been done since 
I had an incurable heart-complaint." Certainly 
in this calm, patient, and resolute temper, the 
Archbishop set an edifying and encouraging 
example to all like sufferers. 

Not less marked was his moral courage. He 
was essentially and absolutely self-reliant. He 
thought out his own beliefs, principles, and 



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Three Archbishops 349 

rules of conduct for himself. He "conferred 
not with flesh and blood." He relied very little 
on authority, and was quite unaffected, in the 
sphere of opinion, by the influences of private 
friendship. He knew his own mind and acted 
on it, without losing the good-will of friends 
from, whom he differed. After a deputation of 
excited clergymen had come to address him on 
some controversial issue, his account of the 
interview was characteristically calm. " I 
thanked them for their advice and promised 
to act on so much of it as commended itself 
to my judgment." His habitual, though not in- 
variable, calmness of speech was allied with 
great tenacity of purpose. Dr. Liddon said to 
me, "His will is like a great steam-engine"; and 
weak-kneed, timid, and episcopolatrous people 
fell down flat under its pressure. 

It was commonly said that Tait was a "great 
statesman," but perhaps "a dexterous politician" 
would be nearer the mark. He was capable of 
taking a wider view than is common with 
clergymen; he was entirely free from pro- 
fessional prejudices; his deference to lay opinion 
erred on the side of excess; and he was keenly 
alive to the greatness and importance of the 
secular power, and the place which it is 



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350 Portraits of the Seventies 

appointed to fill in the providential order. 
Much of his most effective work was done 
behind the scenes and out of sight — one might 
almost say underground. When any legislation 
affecting the Church, such as the Irish Church 
Bill, the Public Worship [Regulation Bill, or the 
Burials Bill, was before Parliament, the Archbishop 
was in a chronic state of interviewing, wire- 
pulling, secret correspondence, attempts to bring 
pressure on this public man and that, carrying 
messages from one great person to another, 
trying to extort conditions, to smooth difficulties, 
to arrange compromises. This manoeuvring was, 
perhaps, carried to excess; and, though the real 
strength of the Archbishop's nature, and his 
long intercourse with great people and great 
affairs, enabled him to carry on this kind of 
work without loss of dignity, it is a dangerous 
example for weaker and lesser successors to 
follow. " How soon pluck in some people 
degenerates into pertness!" said Bishop Wilber- 
force of Lord John Russell. "How soon 
statesmanship in some people degenerates into 
intrigue 1 " is the reflection likely to be suggested 
by the manoeuvres of any who should endeavour 
to perform the delicate and peculiar negotia- 
tions in which Archbishop Tait excelled. The 



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Three Archbishops 351 

courage, self-reliance, and persistence of the 
Archbishop's character, his skill in public affairs, 
and his inveterate taste for managing and 
arranging, were closely connected with a very 

marked feature of his character — his love of 
power. An early and faithful friend told me 
that his snare was ambition, and that he would 
have been the last to deny it. He loved power, 
knew himself fit to exercise it, sought it, 
attained it, and used it freely. When Gladstone 
appointed Dr. King (afterwards Bishop of 
Lincoln) to the chair of Pastoral Theology, 
Archbishop Tait, horrified at the elevation of a 
Kitualist, wrote a letter of urgent remonstrance. 
Gladstone's reply did not encourage a repetition 
of the attempt. 

If I were asked to single out the most con- 
spicuous service which Tait rendered to the 
Church of England, I should say that it con- 
sisted in his having, by the combined force of 
personal character and of a deliberate policy, 
asserted and maintained, at home and abroad, 
the historic grandeur and the practical import- 
ance of the See of Canterbury. " The greatest 
Archbishop since Laud" was the judgment of a 
theological opponent; and, though in theology 
he was more akin to Prynne than to Laud, 



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352 Portraits of the Seventies 

great he certainly was in this — that he made 
the office which he filled and the institution 
over which he presided loom large in the public 
eye. He reminded men that the Church of 
England was still a force in the world, and 
that those who, on whatever grounds, love and 
serve her must be reckoned with in the delibera- 
tions of statesmen and Parliaments. Even those 
who most profoundly mistrusted his theology and 
abhorred his Erastianism recognized with pride 
the position which he had made for himself — for 
assuredly he did not inherit it from Sumner or 
transmit it to Benson — in the House of Lords; 
the anxiety on the part of the secular peers to 
hear his judgment, the respect with which his 
interventions in debate were received, and the 
practical effectiveness of his weighty and com- 
manding speech. Though a dull, and a very 
dull, preacher, especially when "confined to the 
paper," he was an admirable speaker. At a con- 
ference of clergy, at a public meeting, at a City 
dinner, he was equally at home; but it was 
in the House of Lords that he was seen at his 
best. He " spoke as one having authority." 

His last speech in the House was delivered in 
the Session of 1882, in reply to a proposal by 
the Duke of Argyll for an alteration of the Par- 



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Three Archbishops 353 

liamentary Oath. The hand of death was 
already on him, and he spoke with painfully 
abated force. After the debate he said to his 
ohaplain and son-in-law (now his successor), 
"They didn't listen to me. It is the first time 
for twenty years. My work is done." 



AECHBISHOP THOMSON 

"Not the vulgar Thompson with a p," was 
the explanatory note of a lady who loved the 
Archbishop and his family. No — not the vulgar 
Thompson with a p, but the superior Thomson 
without a jp, whom Vanity Fair described, at 
the foot of an admirable cartoon, as "The 
Archbishop of Society." 

William Thomson (1819-90) was born at 
Whitehaven, and educated at Shrewsbury and 
Queen's College, Oxford. He was a Scholar of 
his College, and great things were expected of 
him in the Final Schools, but he only got a 
Third. The College showed its unabated faith 
in him by electing him to a Fellowship, and he 
showed his own robust confidence in himself by 
publishing, when he was twenty-three, a treatise 
on Outlines of the Laws of Thought. 

But undergraduates have uncomfortable memo- 

23 



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354 Portraits of the Seventies 

ries of the shortcomings of their elders. When 
Thomson was tutor at Queen's, he heard one 
night an unseemly noise in the Quad, and went 
out to investigate it. The list of Honours in 
the final Schools had just come out, and a 
Queensman, whose name had unexpectedly ap- 
peared in the First Class, was making merry 
with his friends. The tutor's majestic remon- 
strance was met by the genial reply: "Ah, old 
fellow, you little know a man's feelings when 
he gets his First." But in spite of jeers Thom- 
son, who was ordained in 1844, became Provost 
of Queen's, Bampton Lecturer, Preacher at Lin- 
coln's Inn, and Chaplain to the Queen. When 
Essays and 'Reviews threw the Church into com- 
motion, and the arithmetical Colenso perturbed 
the faithful with his calculations about the cubic 
content of the Ark and the width of the door 
of the Tabernacle, Thomson, rightly reading the 
signs of the times, came forward on behalf of 
imperilled orthodoxy, published Aids to Faith, 
contributed to The Speaker's Commentary, and 
had his reward by being made Bishop of 
Gloucester and Bristol in November 1861. And 
now a greater opportunity was at hand. A Boyal 
death is, of all events, that which most pro- 
foundly stirs the emotions and inspires the 



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Three Archbishops 355 

eloquence of the Anglican Episcopate. The 
Prince Consort died one month after Thomson 
was consecrated; and, though all the bishops 
on the Bench, and all the clergymen who 
aspired to the Bench, vied with one another in 
suitable rhetoric, the newly appointed Bishop 
of Gloucester out-preached them all. In 
September 1862 the metropolitical See of York 
became vacant by the promotion of 0. T. 
Longley to Canterbury, and William Thomson 
ascended the throne which he filled and adorned 
for twenty-eight succeeding years. 

He looked the part to perfection. He was 
tall and heavily built, but carried himself well; 
had a trenchant nose and a strongly marked 
mouth, with dark hair and abundant whiskers. 
His eyebrows were noticeably arched, and this 
peculiarity of his face led one of his clergy — 
C. J. Vaughan, then Vicar of Doncaster and 
afterwards Master of the Temple— to ask a 
friend, " Have you ever observed how exactly 
the Archbishop's eyebrows express what is meant 
by the word supercilious?" 

It must be confessed that Thomson's clergy 
did not love him. Some of them suggested an 
alteration in the accustomed form of the archi- 
episcopal style, and amended "William, by 



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356 Portraits of the Seventies 

Divine Providence, Lord Archbishop of York" 
into "William, by Divine connivance." Nor 
were his episcopal brethren more cordial. 
Bishop Samuel Wilberforce (whose curate Thom- 
son once had been and who had earnestly de- 
sired to be made Archbishop of York in 1862) 
said that Thomson's extreme self-importance 
made it difficult for him to understand that 
one differed from him unless one convinced him 
by rudeness; and, describing Magee's consecra- 
tion, which occurred just when Tait had been 
nominated for Canterbury, Wilberforce genially 
observed in his diary : " Archbishop of York 
chagrined manifestly." 

Of course the curates of Yorkshire believed 
in him, and trembled; and, if one exception to 
this trembling is recorded, it only heightens the 
general consternation. A sporting deacon — a 
curate at Doncaster — possessed a large and 
savage retriever, and, just as he was starting 
for Bishopthorpe, where he was to be ordained 
priest, his landlady declined to have the dog 
left in her charge. What was to be done? 
There was no time to waste, for the last train 
was starting directly, and it would not do to be 
late ; so the curate bundled the dog into the 
cab with his portmanteau, and dashed off. 



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Three Archbishops 357 

When he alighted, dog and all, at the stately 
portals of Bishopthorpe, a solemn horror spread 
itself over the face of the purple-liveried foot- 
men, but the curate pushed on undauntedly to 
his room. There he unpacked his portmanteau, 
dressed for dinner, and left the dog in charge 
of his day-clothes, recommending the footman 
not, at the peril of his life, to disturb him. 

After dinner, the Archbishop, looking several 
sizes larger than life, came sailing round the 
drawing-room, and addressed a few appropriate 
words to each of the pavid ordinands. Arriving 
at the owner of the dog, ;he said, with all due 
solemnity, " I understand, Mr. Auceps, that you 
take an interest in Natural History." "Yes, 
your Grace, a great interest." "And you have 
a remarkably intelligent dog." " Yes, remark- 
ably intelligent; he can do so-and-so," and 
went off into an enumeration of the retriever's 
accomplishments. During this narration the 
Archbishop looked more than usually supercilious, 
and the chaplains, curates, and candidates, 
taking their cue from the Archbishop's eyebrows, 
sniffed sycophantically. Nettled by this in- 
credulity, young Auceps said : "I know it 
sounds as if I was drawing the long bow; but 
I'm not. The dog is upstairs; I'll fetch him 



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358 Portraits of the Seventies 

down, and put him through his tricks." . . . 
And so he did; and the rest is silence. 

But, though Thomson was not beloved by 
clergy of any age or rank, he was popular with 
the laity. He was a welcome guest at all the 
great country houses in which Yorkshire abounds, 
and in all public gatherings where laity pre- 
dominate he was acceptable and effective. One 
of his admirers said : " He was a King of Chair- 
men," and, in presiding over a Diocesan Con- 
ference or a public meeting, he could keep both 
himself and others in hand. In spite of his 
pomposity, there was something manly and 
vigorous about him, which endeared him to 
Yorkshiremen, and gave rise to stories which 
were passed with favour from workshop to train- 
ing-stable. One of these stories ran as follows : — 

One night, returning from a meeting in York, 
he discovered that the coachman was half-seas 
over; so he made him get into the carriage, 
and, mounting the box, drove back to Bishop- 
thorpe. When he arrived in the stable-yard, 
one of the stablemen, who was a friend of the 
coachman and knew his convivial habits, uttered 
a cheery shout of welcome: "Eh, Tommy lad! 
Thoo ist bad to-neet ! Why, thoo's gotten t'owld 
bloke's hat on!" 



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Three Archbishops 359 

In great centres of population, more especi- 
ally at Sheffield, Xhomson was seen to the best 
advantage. Thoughtful artisans, and even the 
rougher working-men, listened with close attention 
to his words, whether delivered from the plat- 
form or from the pulpit. He had, what certainly 
no one would have suspected from his bearing 
in society, a keen sympathy with the struggles 
of industrial life, and it is to his permanent 
credit that at the Church Congress of 1865 he 
introduced, in spite of alarmed remonstrances, 
the " Working Men's Meeting," which has been a 
conspicuous feature of all subsequent Congresses. 
In all public gatherings his commanding pres- 
ence attracted attention, and he had the charm 
of a really fine voice. As Fellow of Queen's, he 
had been chosen to sing that famous song of 
the Boar's Head with which the College cele- 
brates Christmas, and he was the only bishop 
on the Bench who at an ordination could sing 
his part in the Vent Creator. 

But his gifts did not end with presence or 
voice. Though not very spiritually minded, and 
though wholly devoid of unction, he was, in the 
argumentative way, a striking preacher. "No 
man," said Archbishop Benson, "was surer of 
Christ's revelation," and he knew how to state 



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360 Portraits of the Seventies 

the grounds of his belief in a way which 
enforced thought and commanded respect even 
if it did not win assent. 

During the parliamentary season he preached 
constantly in London, and after one of his 
sermons at the Temple an old Bencher remarked 
to a fellow-worshipper: "I shouldn't like to 
tackle the Archbishop of York on the scientific 
side of Christianity." It was a wise judgment. 

In Yorkshire the Archbishop, using a sensible 
economy, sometimes preached sermons which 
had been composed in former years. A dignitary 
of the diocese — one of the few who was not 
afraid of him — in whose church he had preached, 
said after the service : " That was an excellent 
sermon, your Grace, but I liked it even better 
when I heard it preached by the Bishop of 
Gloucester." Thomson looked portentous for a 
moment, but then had shrewdness enough to 
perceive the compliment, and smiled benignly. 

That accomplished and versatile author, Mr. 
Baring-Gould, once held a living in the diocese 
of York, and in 1874 — the year in which Tait 
and Thomson had passed the ill-starred 
P. W. B. Act — he chanced to be at Bishop- 
thorpe. In the cotirse of conversation, Thomson 
said : " Can you explain how it is that in France, 



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Three Archbishops 361 

which you know pretty well, there exists such 
a deadly hostility to the Church, whereas here 
in England there is no such animosity?" "I 
can explain it," said Baring-Gould. " In France 
every priest is at a grapple with the devil, fight- 
ing for every human soul. Here, the Church 
plays second fiddle to the World, and is looked 
on with indifference as a paid musician, to 
scrape what tunes it calls for." I wish I had 
been present at this dialogue, if only for the 
pleasure of seeing the archiepiscopal eyebrows 
elevated even beyond their wont. 

I said above that Vanity Fair called Thomson 
"The Archbishop of Society." The nickname 
was well chosen. The Sumners and Longleys 
and Taits neither knew nor cared about society, 
but Thomson delighted in it, and adorned it. 
He was an admirable host, whether in town or 
country, and singularly open-handed in hospi- 
tality. He was said to have spent some colossal 
sum in redecorating Bishopthorpe (reputed to 
contain a hundred rooms) in honour of a visit 
paid by the Prince and Princess of Wales, and 
the dinners at his house in Prince's Gate were 
renowned. 

He was absolutely free from professional 
narrow-mindedness and abhorred ecclesiastical 



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362 Portraits of the Seventies 

" shop." An allusion to this trait may be found 
in the Life of Bishop Wilberforce, who wrote in 
his diary for the 26th of May, 1873: "Dined 
Archbishop of York's. A good many bishops, 
both of England and Ireland, and not one word 
said which implied we were apostles. Ehen! 
Eheu ! " 

In one all-important respect Thomson was 
uniquely equipped for society, whether as host 
or as guest. In early life he had the singular 
good fortune to marry one of the most beautiful 
women in Europe. Mrs. Thomson, born Zoe 
Skene, was daughter of James Henry Skene, 
Consul at Aleppo, and granddaughter of James 
Skene of Bubieslaw, to whom Sir Walter Scott 
dedicated the fourth canto of Marmion. On her 
mother's side she was of Greek descent, and 
Greek art, at its highest point, never produced 
a more graceful form or a more arresting face. 

In the fleeting maze of society in London, as 
I look back upon it across the interspace of 
thirty years, certain incidents stand out with 
vivid clearness, not on account of intrinsic im- 
portance, but because they were connected with 
memorable events. In one of them Thomson 
figures. 

In the spring of 1882, Irish disaffection was 



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Three Archbishops 363 

at its height. Ireland was in the grip of a 
treasonable and murderous conspiracy, and our 
Government of All the Talents, with Gladstone 
for Prime Minister and Forster for Chief Secre- 
tary, had failed, pitifully and ludicrously, in its 
attempts to protect life and liberty. There were 
forty agrarian murders undetected, but Gladstone, 
as always, insisted on believing that things were 
as he wished them to be, and relied on the 
power of words to counteract grim facts. 

On the evening of May 2, 1882, I was at 
a party in Eaton Square, where Gladstone and 
Thomson were among my fellow-guests. As we 
entered the drawing-room the Archbishop, turn- 
ing to the Prime Minister with his most impres- 
sive air, said: "I want you to tell me about 
the state of Ireland." Feeling, like most other 
people who were not wilfully blind, a profound 
misgiving about the unchecked reign of mur- 
derous outrage, I listened intently to the reply. 
"The state of Ireland," said Gladstone with 
eager emphasis, " is very greatly improved. 
Bent is being generally paid." Not a word 
about human life, which, after all, is a more 
important thing than rent. 

On the following Saturday, May 6th, Lord 
Frederick Cavendish and Mr. T. H. Burke 



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364 Portraits of the Seventies 

were stabbed to death in the Phoenix Park, 
and the Irish difficulty entered on the acutest 
phase which it has ever known. 



AECHBISHOP MAGEE 

William Connob Maobb (1821-91) was an Arch- 
bishop for only six months; but a six months 1 
archiepiscopate will serve to complete the 
trio. Just after his appointment to York, 
he said to a friend : "If it were not for 
the incessant * Your Grace/ ' Your Grace/ of 
waiters in clubs and butlers at home, I should 
still think myself Bishop of Peterborough. 
Truly I am just now the 'well-graced actor, 
leaving the stage of Peterborough.' " As Bishop 
of Peterborough he played, between 1868 and 
1891, a conspicuous part in public life, his 
special sphere of activity being that Debatable 
Land which Gladstone called " the mixed sphere 
of religion and the sceculum" He was one 
of the greatest speakers in England, and he 
had a line of speaking which was peculiarly his 
own. In the power of appealing to the emotions 
of his hearers he was surpassed by such orators 
as Bishop Samuel Wilberforce, and John Bright, 



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Three Archbishops 365 

and the eighth Duke of Argyll; bat in the 
faculty of closely woven argument he was fully 
Gladstone's equal, in terse and effective state- 
ment his superior; and in the accessory gifts 
of sarcasm and humour he was only matched 
by Disraeli. 

In private life he resembled a character in one 
of Lever's or Miss Edgeworth's novels, unlike 
any one else, and quite unforgettable. Like Mr. 
Sampson Brass drawing up the description of 
Quilp when that worthy was supposed to be 
drowned, I might say as I try to describe 
Magee, " This is an occupation which seems to 
bring him before my eyes like the ghost of 
Hamlet's father, in the very clothes that he 
wore on workdays. His wit and humour, his 
pathos and his umbrella, all come before me like 
visions of my youth." And to these character- 
istics I might add his brogue, his twinkle, 
and the mobile curves of his truly oratorical 
mouth. 

He was even comically deficient in dignity; 
overflowing with fun and gaiety; yet easily 
irritated, and painfully incapable of suffering fools 
or bores gladly. Of his tendency to "levity," 
of which he was fully conscious, he said, half- 
ruefully, half-joyfully : "My fate is to be too 



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366 Portraits of the Seventies 

good for the bad folk, and not bad enough for the 
bad ones, and to be abused by both. When I get 
a determination of speech to the head y nothing 
but speaking will relieve me, and I speak 
accordingly, good or evil, as the case may be." 

On January 22, 1891, just after he had been 
appointed to the See of York, I chanced to 
meet him at dinner. He was frankly overjoyed 
by his promotion, and overflowed with high 
spirits and rather boyish fun. " Spoonerisms " 
were then just coming into vogue, and the Arch- 
bishop-Designate rolled out specimen after speci- 
men of that form of pleasantry, which he had 
received from his son, an undergraduate at 
Oxford. Even now I can seen the amazed and 
rather pained face of Bishop Gh H. Wilkinson 
(then of Truro), who was constitutionally in- 
capable of a joke, and sate glowering across the 
table at his frivolous brother, with an expression 
compounded of pity and distress. 

I must now turn back, from Magee's end, to 
his beginnings. 

He was born of clerical parentage and arohi- 
episcopal descent on December 17, 1821. His 
birthplace was Cork, and he was educated at 
Kilkenny College and Trinity College, Dublin. 
In 1844 he was ordained deacon, and became 



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Three Archbishops 367 

Curate of St. Thomas's, Dublin, being ordained 
priest the following year. Some signs of incipient 
lung-trouble made it desirable for him to seek a 
better climate, and in 1849 he took a curacy at 
St. Saviour's, Bath. In 1851 he became minister 
of the Octagon Chapel in that city, and in the 
same year he married his cousin, Anne Smith. 
In 1860 he was appointed minister of Quebec 
Chapel, London, but left it in 1861 to become 
Rector of Enniskillen. In 1864 he was made 
Dean of Cork, and in 1866 Dean of the Chapel 
Eoyal, Dublin. A month later, Lord Bussell's 
Government was beaten on his amendment to 
the Eeform Bill, and resigned. There was 
reason to believe that the See of Meath would 
soon be vacant, and that it would be conferred 
upon Magee. 

On the 1st of August, 1866, he said : — 
"The Bishopric of Meath would, I believe, 
have been mine had Dr. Singer's death taken 
place just three weeks sooner than it did. Three 
weeks of an expiring, and seemingly useless, life 
lay between me and all that the Bishopric 
implies. The goal of a life of severe toil and 
effort was in view; and now it is indefinitely 
remote, if not absolutely and certainly beyond 
my reach," 



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368 Portraits of the Seventies 

In 1867 he wrote:— 

" The Tories will not promote me; the Whigs 
will leave no church to be promoted in. So 
there is an end of it." 

Disheartened by his Irish prospects, he wrote 
in September 1868 to Disraeli, asking for some 
minor appointment in England; and received 
the surprising reply that his request could not 
be granted, because he was already nominated 
to the See of Peterborough. He was the first 
Irishman since the ^Reformation to hold an 
English See. 

Irish Disestablishment had been the haunting 
dread of Magee's early manhood. He foresaw a 
day of reckoning for the intolerable mischief of 
Orange bigotry, of uneducated Evangelicalism, 
of blind and unreasoning hostility to everything 
that did not utter the current shibboleths of 
Puritanism. He saw that the utter negation 
and abandonment of all distinctively Church 
ideas was destroying the Church's reason for 
existence and preparing men's minds for the 
fatal question, " Why cumbereth it the ground ? " 
Staunch Establishmentarian as he was, he 
was no Erastian. He believed, like Archbishop 
Whately, in the separate existence, rights, and 
duties of the Church as a spiritual society, and 



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Three Archbishops 369 

he laboured to restore such synodal action as 
would enable the Church to examine her own 
affairs, speak her own mind, and set her own house 
in order. But before these prudent counsels 
could obtain a hearing, the General Election of 
1868 took place, and the Irish Establishment 
was doomed for ever. The last desperate device 
of the Establishmentarians had been to hold 
the English Church Congress at Dublin in the 
September preceding the Election, and it is 
believed that Magee's opening sermon on the 
apt text, "They beckoned unto their partners 
which were in the other ship that they should 
come and help them," won him the Bishopric 
of Peterborough. 

Magee fully recognized the conclusive char- 
acter of the national verdict; that he hoped 
nothing from prolonged resistance ; that he 
urged his Irish friends to agree with their 
adversary quickly, and make terms with 
Gladstone before it was too late. At the same 
time he hated the Bill with all his heart; and, 
when his Irish brethren declined all compromise 
and arrayed themselves for battle, he threw him- 
self with all his energies on to their side, and 
fought his hardest for a cause which yet, in his 
reason, he believed to be hopeless. 

*4 



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370 Portraits of the Seventies 

His speech on the Second Beading of the Bill 
advanced him at a bound to the first rank of 
parliamentary orators. Disraeli, listening to it 
from the steps of the throne, observed, "I per- 
ceive we have got a ' customer ' here." Lord 
Ellenborough declared that the speech was 
"superior, not in degree, but in kind, to any- 
thing he had ever heard in either House, with 
the two exceptions of Grattan and Plunket." The 
great Lord Derby, then nearing the close of his 
fine career, spoke of the speech as having con- 
tained "the most cogent and most conclusive 
arguments upon the merits of the question/ 1 
adding ' this extraordinary praise, " Its fervid 
eloquence, its impassioned and brilliant language, 
have never in my memory been surpassed, and 
rarely equalled, during my long parliamentary 
experience.' * 

This immense success, added to his innate 
capacity for affairs, marked him out at once as 
a bishop who would have to take a prominent 
part in the parliamentary business of the Church. 
He said of himself that he was better suited for 
the u haute politique " of the Church than for 
some other episcopal duties. He was a con- 
summate orator, a born debater, a master of 
organization and machinery; and, though he 



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Three Archbishops 371 

disliked the House of Lords, and felt that the 
bishops were in a false position there, he was 
not the least afraid of his audience. Thus he 
became, what for good or for evil is increasingly 
rare, a parliamentary bishop, and as such he 
was brought into very close relations with Arch- 
bishop Tait, who seems to have desired to use 
him as a fighting lieutenant. But there was 
only an imperfect sympathy between the two 
men, and the Bishop of Peterborough had a 
shrewd insight into the faults and limitations of 
his chief. The Life of Archbishop Tait gave 
what may be called the domestic chaplain's 
view of its hero. As such it was natural and 
becoming, and, from its own standpoint, true. 
But let us see how the matter presented itself 
to a very clever man, trained in the rough-and- 
tumble of the world, and promoted by the sheer 
force of his own genius to the front rank : — 

" The Archbishop's Scotch caution amounts to 
a disease, with odd outbreaks, at intervals, of 
impulsiveness. And he is, besides, so utter an 
Erastian that any move of his for increased 
power for the Bench will be of a kind generally 
distasteful even to moderate Churchmen.' ' 

In 1874, with reference to the Public 
Worship Eegulation Act : — 



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372 Portraits of the Seventies - 

"The Archbishop has turned the Ganges into 
our garden, and I fear it will sweep away other 
things than the Bitualistic weeds. . . . Evidently 
we are entering on a great crisis, and, alas ! we 
do not trust our pilots either of Cantuar or York. 

" The Bishops are sore at the way the Arch- 
bishop has overridden them in the conduct of 
the Bill. . . . We sorely need a strong and yet 
a gentle hand at the helm of the Church, and 
the Archbishop has neither of these now. 1 ' 

In 1876 :— 

" The Archbishop so entirely believes in Parlia- 
ments, and so entirely ignores the clergy, that 
he is becoming, with all his noble qualities and 
great practical sagacity, a great peril to the 
Church. He regards the clergy as a big Sixth 
Form, and acts accordingly. 

"We are drifting, and getting nearer and nearer 
to our Niagara; Cantuar at the helm, quite 
satisfied that a good strong Erastian wind from 
St. Stephen's, is carrying us steadily and safely 
along. 

" It is certainly a misfortune at this moment 
to have two Primates nearly alike in Church 
views, and singularly alike in their want of 
imagination, and therefore of power of sympathy 
with others, or anticipation of events." 



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Three Archbishops 373 

In 1877 :— 

" He [Tait] will never be a leader ; and his 
office is not powerful enough to make him a 
ruler, who is not something of a leader too." 

In 1879 :— 

" The laity are astride of them [the Bishops] 
and the clergy, and they will hold their place. 
Cantuar likes this ! He said so to me lately. 
He is infatuated for laity and Parliament, and 
will one day have a rude awakening." 

In 1880 :— 

14 When will the Arohbishop of Canterbury give 
up driving, and take to leading, the Church? 
More and more I am convinced that the Epis- 
copate under his government is letting the 
Church drift on the breakers, when a strong 
hand on the helm might have saved her." 

On the Amendments to the Liberal Burials 
Bill of 1880 :— 

" On these points Cantuar may be trusted. It 
is just in such lesser points, involving caution 
and canniness, that he shines." 

In 1881 :— 

"A. Cantuar managed his little speech for 
the Queen Anne's Bounty Bill admirably. He 
muddled it up so judiciously that no one knew 
exactly what it meant." 



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37+ Portraits of the Seventies 

On Tait's death:— 

"He never could endure opposition well, but 
on the other hand he never bore malice. He was 
a good man, and in some respects a great one." 

Of course the political affairs with which 
Magee mainly concerned himself were those 
which affect the Church. In the general field 
of secular politics he was a moderate Conserva- 
tive of the utilitarian type, abhorring democracy, 
and regarding his own countrymen with that 
singular mixture of intellectual admiration and 
practical mistrust which is the characteristic of 
the educated Irishman. In his whole moral 
and mental constitution he belonged to his early 
time, and was completely out of touch with the 
sentimental ethics and poetical economics which 
played so large a part in the thought of the 
Seventies and Eighties. 

In 1866, during the debates on Lord BusselTs 
Eeform Bill, he wrote : — 

"Gladstone's speech was the inauguration of 
an ultra-democratic career, taken up as much 
from pique and passion as conviction. He and 
Bussell and Bright are an ominous conjunc- 
tion." 

In 1874:— 

"Gladstone turned Radical, and backed by all 



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Three Archbishops 375 

the unbelief and all the High Church Bitualistio 
Eadicalism in the country, is a very awkward 
element in the future." 

In 1879:— 

" The British Constitution is very dear at the 
money. Free institutions are becoming unwork- 
able. The revolutionary party in the House 
received its leader last night in the person of 
W. E. Gladstone. . . . What bearing this will 
have on coming domestic legislation it is not 
difficult to foresee. Disestablishment comes 
nearer by a great deal in consequence of it, and 
moreover, Disestablishment by Gladstone the 
Badical and not Gladstone the Liberal. Marry t 
this is miching mallecho, and means mischief." 

After the General Election of 1880:— 

" The Liberal party will then be Badical pure 
and simple, and headed by Gladstone. Then 
comes the last struggle between Church and 
Democracy, and there is no doubt which will 



win. 



In the same year: — 

"This Disturbance Bill will go very near to 
evicting the Ministry, or would do so were it 
not that Gladstone has still his trump-card to 
play— a new Beform Bill and a dictatorship 
afterwards for the term of his natural life." 



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376 Portraits of the Seventies 

When once the fate of the Irish Church was 
settled, English Disestablishment became his 
favourite bugbear. He regarded Establishment 
not only as a blessing to the State, but as a 
guarantee of order, sanity, orthodoxy, and com- 
prehensive tolerance, in the national religion. 
By a rough-and-ready process of reasoning, he 
connected it with Socialism, Democracy, and 
Revolution generally, and he rather grotesquely 
assumed that Gladstone was to be the leader 
and champion of these allied abominations. 

Reviewing the General Election of 1886, he 
said to a clerical friend : — 

"This means Irish revolution first, and then 
an embittered struggle between the revolutionary 
and Conservative forces in England and Scot- 
land, the revolution winning and being merciless 
after the bitterness of the fight. I give the 
Church of England two Parliaments to live 
through — this one now coming, in which she 
will be merely worried and humiliated; the next, 
in which she will be assailed and disestablished 
in the Commons ; the third, in which the peers 
will give way and the thing is done. . . . Say 
ten years for all this. Now, please put this 
letter by, and let us read it, if spared, ten years 
hence, on the Lake of Como, whither we shall 



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Three Archbishops 377 

have gone to spend our few remaining disestab- 
lished years." 

In the domain of theology, Magee belonged 
essentially to what R. H. Hutton so well 
described as "the Hard Church. He was 
never troubled by a single doubt. He saw the 
fundamental facts of the Christian revelation 
with intense clearness; and he regarded all who 
had a wider vision as visionaries, and all who 
saw less as wilfully blind. One might, or might 
not, concur in his premisses ; but, those granted, 
his deductions from them were of irrefragable 
force. " Logio," he said, " is as real a fact as 
steam " ; and he would have seen nothing but 
nonsense in the wisdom of St. Ambrose — Non in 
dialectica complacuit Deo salvum faeere pvpulum 
Bwum. 

Probably the good people who originally 
brought him to Bath thought that any Irish 
clergyman was necessarily an Evangelical, and 
so took him on trust: but the Simeon Trustees 
displayed the truer instinct when they declined 
to present him to one of their livings. He was 
strongly opposed to Bomanism and Puseyism, 
and in his earlier days, at any rate, held no 
High Church doctrine. But, eloquent and forcible 
and convincing as he was in the pulpit (and he 



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378 Portraits of the Seventies 

avowed that he was much more a preacher than 
a pastor), he had absolutely none of that 
"unction" which is the true note of Evangelical 
preaching; nor, as far as one can see, of that 
passionate zeal for the salvation of the individual 
soul which is the Alpha and Omega of all 
Evangelical ministrations. He was stoutly 
opposed to Calvinism. He was not the least 
afraid of Biblical criticism, as he showed by 
appointing B. F. Westcott to the first Canonry 
of Peterborough which fell to his gift. He con- 
fessed himself quite unable to " howl the Gospel." 
He had nothing but sneers for the " sweet 
young clergyman of the Simeonite type." The 
preaching of an aged Low Churchman reminded 
him of a "spinnet played by an elderly lady." 
Truly this is not the language of Evangelicalism. 
Of his famous sermon before the Church Con- 
gress at Dublin, the Evangelical Bishop of Cork 
declared that "it had not Gospel enough in it 
to save a torn- tit," and the preacher thought 
the criticism " delicious." 

On the other hand, Magee had an unbounded 
contempt for Ritualism in all its forms and 
phases, though after the Bidsdale Judgment he 
conformed, as a matter of obedience, to the use 
of the cope in his cathedral. His notion of 



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Three Archbishops 379 

liturgical reform was such a reconstruction of 
the rubrics as should make ceremonial im- 
possible; but he was shrewd enough to see that 
any attempt to meddle with doctrine must rend 
the Church in twain. 

Probably every Churchman who ever met 
Magee in society, or heard him on the plat- 
form, or ever " sate under him " in the pulpit, 
must have felt that he was the most unecclesi- 
astical of ecclesiastics. There have been prelates, 
both in ancient and in recent times, whose hold 
on the fundamental truths of the Church's faith 
has been infinitely weaker; but men of that 
stamp have generally tried — and often success- 
fully — to veil their essential scepticism under 
the solemn plausibilities of an official language 
and demeanour. Sanctimonious fraud of that 
sort stank in Magee's nostrils and elicited his 
exclamation, "What an immortal thing is 
humbug 1 " What he was, and what he thought, 
and what he felt, that he was willing that all 
the world should know; and, confident in the 
strength of his own convictions, he paid scant 
regard to the flaccid nerves or feeble brain-pro- 
cesses of those mild pietists, male and female, 
whose idea of a bishop is a kiQd of mincing 
demigod. 



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380 Portraits of the Seventies 

"I am conscious" (he said) "of my defects 
for my high office — lack of dignity, impulsive 
speech, too great fondness for sharp and sar- 
castic utterances, impatience of dulness and 
folly." 

He spoke, thought, and acted like a thorough- 
going man of the world, who was also a thorough- 
going Christian, with keen humour, strong 
opinions, remorseless logic, and a legal bent of 
mind. It would be absurd, according to worldly 
standards, to say that a man who reached the 
highest place but one in his profession had mis- 
taken his vocation; but one cannot help feeling 
that Magee would have been even more at 
home in the House of Commons or on the 
Woolsack than in Convocation or on an epis- 
copal throne. 

Unfortunately, the world is full of excellent 
people who "jock," if at all, "wi* deeficulty," 
and who find it impossible to enjoy or even 
tolerate the jokes of other people. To such as 
these, it must be confessed, Magee's humour was 
a sore trial. A joking clergyman was bad 
enough, but a joking bishop outraged their moral 
sense; and, at all stages of his career, Magee 
joked in season and out of season, without the 
slightest regard to convention or susceptibilities. 



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Three Archbishops 381 

When he was stationed at Bath, he took an 
active part in the concerns of the Bath Free 
Hospital, and soon discovered that the chief 
medical officer was an ex-army surgeon, grossly 
incompetent for the work entrusted to him. 
Magee tried to get him removed; and, at the 
Annual Meeting of Subscribers, the indignant 
surgeon turned on Magee the full torrent of 
his wrath. He was, he said, no stranger to the 
quarter from which these attacks on him pro- 
ceeded, and, indicating Magee, he thundered, 
" If it were not for his cloth, I'd have him out 
and put a bullet through him." Magee promptly 
rose, and said that if the gallant gentleman in- 
sisted on offering him personal violence, he was 
restrained by his sacred office from retaliating. 
"But," he added, "one humble request I will 
prefer. Should he succeed in hitting me, I pray 
that he will not attempt to dress the wound." 
This was an admirable thrust, thoroughly well 
deserved, and was probably resented by no one 
except the infuriated surgeon ; and when Magee, 
returning to his native land, plunged into the 
free fight of religious faction, he wielded his 
sword-stick with admirable effect. But, when 
he was transplanted to an English diocese, his 
sprightly sallies, repeated and distorted, caused 



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382 Portraits of the Seventies 

dire offence among solid squires and dignified 
incumbents. He was reported to have said that, 
if he ever opened his study-window, every jack- 
ass in the diocese thought himself at liberty to 
thrust in his head and bray. When the faith- 
ful proposed to present him with a crozier, he 
replied that he valued the kindness, but would 
have found an umbrella much more useful. 
By a rash and quite unsound antithesis between 
"England drunk and England sober," he in- 
furiated the teetotallers. By outspoken criticism 
of demagogues such as Charles Bradlaugh and 
Joseph Arch, he enraged alike the artisans 
and the agricultural labourers. On one occasion, 
when consecrating a cemetery, he was mobbed 
and insulted by the rabble ; and, when attention 
was directed to the occurrence in the House of 
Lords, he closed the discussion by airily saying 
of the rioters : " I inflicted on them the ignominy 
of an episcopal benediction, and dismissed them 
from my mind." Here is his vivacious portrait 
of Mark Pattison, whom another artist, Miss 
Bhoda Broughton, drew as Professor Forth in 
Belinda. "Imagine the mummy of an opium- 
eater restored to life and dressed in the dinner 
dress of the nineteenth century; that is Mr. 
Pattison, Bector of Lincoln College, freethinker 
and free writer, but certainly not free speaker/' 



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Three Archbishops 383 

These personal skits, when bandied from month 
to month at the Athenaeum or the Metaphysical 
Society, did not tend to endear him; but, if 
he was exposing foolishness or rebuking imper- 
tinence! his sense of humour stood him in good 
stead. When an impudent firm of speculative 
publishers pirated a collection of his sermons and 
advertised it under the title of " Magee Extra — 
Price Sixpence." He wrote to the Times : — 

"I think it due to any intending purchaser 
of this particular ' Magee Extra/ to apprise him 
that, if he expends upon it the sum of sixpence, 
he will get for his money a good deal more of 
the ' extra ' than of the ' Magee.' " 

It is to be remarked that Magee's jokes, like 
those of Sydney Smith, were never mere appen- 
dages, but always formed part of the texture of 
the argument, and helped to establish the point for 
which he was contending. It would, therefore, 
rob them of their point to tear them from their 
context — the more so as they are to be found 
in rich profusion in the "Life and Letters" 
of this brave, brilliant, and high-minded man. 



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CHAPTER XXII 
BISHOP WILKINSON 

GEORGE HOWARD WILKINSON was 
born in 1833 and died in 1907; but he 
was essentially a man of the Seventies, for the 
period during which he did his imperishable work 
ranged from 1870 to 1880. He became Bishop 
of Truro at the beginning of 1883, and was 
eventually Bishop of St. Andrews; but it was 
when he was Vicar of St. Peter's, Eaton Square, 
that his name became famous. 

The Wilkinsons were an opulent family in the 
county of Durham; country gentlemen, land- 
owners, and sportsmen; and the traces of his 
upbringing hung about George Wilkinson to the 
end. He was short and, in early life, slight, well- 
built, and active; and carried himself with that 
natural dignity which supplies the lack of height. 
He was, alike by instinct and by habit, a horse- 
man; rode admirably, and had something in 



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r CH-S.) 



r of* 



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Bishop Wilkinson j 

his appearance that suggested the stables, 
was clean-shaven except for a fragmei 
whisker on each side : his hair was thic 
tensely black, accurately parted, and so 
trimmed that not a particle of it was eve 
of place; his white neckcloth was accu . 
tied ; his clothes fitted him like a glove ; 
from the crown of his hat to the soles c 
boots you might have searched in vain 
speck of dust. These were the character : 
of his appearance in early manhood, and, ba : 
a certain enlargement of the figure, they < 
the same to the end. 

Horsemanship entered into his life an< 
ministry. In -the summer evenings he gene : 
had a gallop in Rotten Bow, when the 
world had gone home to dinner, and so I 
himself fresh and fit. If his spiritual chil : 
were morbid or gloomy, he recommended e : 
as a religious exercise ; and I remember 01 1 
his most effective illustrations in a sermon w I 
speaking of permitted enjoyments, he insta: 
among them the sensation of a good I 
straining between one's knees when hounds 
breaking cover and you see five miles of g 
stretched out between you and the skyline. 

Having taken his degree at Oxford, WiUdi: 

25 



386 Portraits of the Seventies 

was ordained to the curacy of St. Mary Abbot's, 
Kensington. He became Vicar of Seaham in 
1869, and in 1867 he accepted the incumbency 
of St. Peter's, Great Windmill Street, which had 
been recently built by the great Lord Derby. At 
that time Gladstone was living in Carlton House 
Terrace, and he became a worshipper and com- 
municant at St. Peter's. Mrs. Gladstone, always 
active in good works, associated herself with 
Mrs. Wilkinson, a young and beautiful woman, 
in parochial labours ; and so began a friendship 
which deepened as the years went on. In 1869 
Wilkinson was transferred (by Dr. Jackson, Bishop 
of London) from St. Peter's, Windmill Street, 
to St. Peter's, Eaton Square, and entered on 
a ministry of which the effects are not even 
now exhausted. 

Spiritually considered, Belgravia was at that 
time a desert. At St. Paul's, Knightsbridge, and 
its daughter-church, St. Barnabas, Pimlico, there 
flourished a stiff Anglicanism which was lapsing 
out of date. St. Michael's, Chester Square, was 
in the hands of the Low Church party ; and 
two proprietary chapels, one in Halkin Street 
and the other in Eaton Terrace, were the abodes 
of a more ultra Protestantism. St. Peter's, Eaton 
Square, was a church of commanding size and 



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Bishop Wilkinson 387 

position, built in 1825 to supply the needs of 
the residential quarter which Lord Westminster 
was creating on the site of the "Five Fields, " 
and which had acquired from its principal 
square the nickname of " Belgravia." It was 
a plain, oblong barn, with a pillared portico, a 
threefold gallery, a flat roof, and no chancel. 
The fabric was as ugly as a Georgian architect 
could make it; the services corresponded to it; 
and the preacher, gazing down from his tower- 
like pulpit, might have said with the Rev. 
Charles Churchill: — 

While, sacred dulness ever in my view, 
Sleep at my bidding orept from pew to pew. 

The congregation and the parish were in all 
respects worthy of the sanctuary; and into this 
Dead Sea of formalism and lethargy Wilkinson 
burst like a gunboat. He very soon amended 
the fabric, making it look less like a lecture- 
hall and more like a church ; but what he did 
materially was a very small thing when com- 
pared with what he did spiritually. His preach- 
ing, and the personality of which it was the 
utterance, instantly struck home. Earnestness 
ousted formalism; lethargy woke from its slum- 
bers; even worldliness rushed to hear the voice 



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388 Portraits of the Seventies 

that rebuked it. Society was told, in the 
plainest English, of its sins and their reward; 
of its unfulfilled duties, of its neglected oppor- 
tunities, of its hypocritical excuses : — 

E'en so, of John acalling and aorying 
Bang in Bethabara till strength was spent, 

Oared not for counsel, stayed not for replying; 
John had one message for the world, "Repent." 

The message of the Baptist to Judaea, the 
message of Savonarola to guilty Florence, the 
message of Wesley and Whitefield to the Eng- 
land of Hogarth and Fielding and Smollett, 
spoke again in Wilkinson's preaching. The force 
which compelled men to listen was purely 
spiritual. There was nothing that could he 
called, in the usual sense, clever; there was no 
sign of learning, no attempt at reasoning, no 
rhetoric, no poetry. There were not even the 
graces of gesture and voice, for the preacher 
stood stock-still, except in so far as he vibrated 
with passion, and his voice alternated between 
a groan and a howl. But there was the force 
which no human power can resist, the force 
which, from St. Paul's days to ours, has been 
" mighty through God to the pulling-down of 
strongholds." 



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Bishop Wilkinson 389 

Of Wilkinson's practical effect on the men 
and women who submitted themselves to his 
guidance I shall speak later; but it may be 
interesting at this point to record the impres- 
sions of a perfectly dispassionate observer. 

In the year 1872 the two great missionary 
societies of the Church of England — the S.P.G. 
and the C.M.S. — agreed on the desirability of 
holding a united supplication for an increase 
of the missionary spirit. With the sanction 
of the ecclesiastical authorities, St. Andrew's 
Day, November 30th, was fixed for the observ- 
ance, which has become a permanent institu- 
tion. But in 1872 it was a startling novelty, 
and the Times attacked it in an article quite 
remarkable — not for irreligiousness, for that was 
to be expected, but for ignorance and fatuity. 
On the 23rd of December Matthew Arnold 
wrote thus to his mother: — 

" Yesterday morning I went down to Bel- 
gravia and heard Wilkinson ; he is a very 
powerful preacher from his being himself so 
possessed. But it was a very striking sermon 
—on missions, and the Times article upon 
them. The notion was that we are corrupting 
here from over-vitality — too much life crowded up 
in too narrow a room — and that the best remedy 



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was to return to the old Gospel injunction: 
Go and preach the Gospel to every creature. 
This was in answer to the common objection : 
Begin with your heathen masses at home. He 
despaired of home, he said; he had at first 
thought it was the right place to begin, but 
he now saw the Will of God was not so; and 
then came pictures of the life of the poor in 
London, and of ' Society ' in London, and of 
the Church of England, all fermenting and cor- 
rupting, he said, from too much vitality being 
jammed up in too narrow a space ; the only 
remedy was to disperse into missions. We 
ought all to wish to go, and to bring up our 
children to wish to go. His triumph was when 
he met the natural question, 'Why don't you 
go, then?' He had wished to go, he said, 
prayed to go; he still hoped to go, but he was 
not yet suffered ; he thought it was because of 
the sins of his youth and that he was not found 
worthy; and he compared himself to Moses, 
not allowed because of his faults to enter the 
Holy Land himself, only permitted to send 
Joshua. You see what awful risk he ran here 
of being unreal, even absurd; and he came out 
triumphant. He was so evidently sincere — more 
than sincere, burnt up with sorrow — that he 



Bishop Wilkinson 391 

carried every one with him, and half the church 
was in tears. I don't much believe in good 
being done by a man unless he can give light, 
and Wilkinson's fire is very turbid; but his 
power of heating, penetrating, and agitating is 
extraordinary." 

This is, I think, an absolutely just descrip- 
tion; and on people less critical than Matthew 
Arnold the "power of heating, penetrating, and 
agitating " produced remarkable effects. By his 
protests against worldliness Wilkinson was said 
to have "spoilt the London season"; though, 
as he incessantly thundered : " Pay your trades- 
men's bills," he must have done, even econ- 
omically, almost as much good as harm. It is 
probably true that any preacher who cares to 
do it can become a director of women, but 
Wilkinson's power over men was unique. In a 
church filled to overflowing, and in a congrega- 
tion which hung upon his words, one saw men 
of every age, class, rank, and profession. Some- 
thing like half of Lord Beaconsfield's Cabinet 
(1874-80) were his habitual and attentive 
hearers. Gladstone (who named him for the 
See of Truro) esteemed him the typical and 
representative Anglican, and gave him the 
highest proof of confidence by begging that he 



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392 Portraits of the Seventies 

would attend his death-bed. Ordinary men of 
the world, Members of Parliament, and mer- 
chants and country gentlemen, submitted them- 
selves gladly and trustfully to his guidance; 
and of these "many remain unto this day, 
though some have fallen asleep." From this 
congregation he could raise all the money he 
wanted by merely asking for it; and "I want 
a thousand pounds" one Sunday, was supple- 
mented by " I've received a thousand pounds " 
next Sunday. The alms collected in church 
amounted to £4,000 a year, besides all the 
cheques for parochial and extra-parochial pur- 
poses which found their way, often unasked, to 
the vicarage. 

The sincere respect in which the laity held 
Wilkinson was due, in part, to his excel- 
lent sense and tact in dealing with devout 
women — a troublesome and perilous crew. He 
was not only a saint, but a gentleman; and, in 
the things of this world, a man of excellent 
common sense. No trace of mawkishness, or 
love-making, or spiritual flirtation on either side, 
was ever permitted to mar his ministry. He 
knew how to keep foolish people in their proper 
places, and could be fully as stern as he was 
sympathetic. To the girls of his flock he was 



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Bishop Wilkinson 393 

in the best sense a father, kind and wise; and 
these are now mothers, grandmothers, heads of 
families, and mistresses of households in which 
the Wilkinsonian tradition still lives and works. 

Another of Wilkinson's great merits in the 
eyes of the laity was his businesslike habit. 
He was — what some clergymen are not — 
scrupulously accurate in applying, and account- 
ing for, the moneys which he received. In 
giving to St. Peter's the layman knew that his 
money would be used for the specific purpose 
for which it was intended, and for no other. 
The whole organization of the parish was 
thorough and methodical; and the vicar was 
"the very pulse of the machine." 

Partly on grounds of health, and partly from 
a distaste for worldliness, Wilkinson held aloof 
from general society. Following a strict rule 
about Friday, he once begged to be excused 
from dining at Marlborough House on that day. 
He was sometimes to be met at the tables of 
intimate friends, where he could speak without 
restraint about the things which are of real and 
durable importance. He had perfect manners, 
at once courteous and dignified. He could talk 
pleasantly enough about indifferent subjects, and 
I always noticed that his conversation tended 



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394 Portraits of the Seventies 

towards the occupations and interests of country 
life. He might have truly said with Words- 
worth : — 

I am not one who much or oft delight 
To season my fireside with personal talk 
Of friends who live within an easy walk, 
Of neighbours daily, weekly in my sight. 

He abhorred gossip, and was, perhaps, more 
absolutely devoid of any sense of humour than 
any man whom I have ever known. 



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CHAPTEE XXIII 

HENRY PARRY LIDDON 

TN the spring of 1870 a new and astonishing 
-*- force first made itself felt in the religions 
life of London. 

The Chnroh of St. James's, Piccadilly, has, 
ever since the eighteenth century, been famed 
for its courses of lectures on Sunday afternoons 
in Lent. In 1869 Dr. Jackson, then Bishop of 
London, suggested to the Hector of St. James's 
that he might do well to choose, as the Lent 
Lecturer for the ensuing year, a preacher 
who had recently attained renown as Bampton 
Lecturer at Oxford. This was Henry Parry 
Liddon, born in 1829, named after Sir Edward 
Parry, educated at King's College and Christ 
Church, and sometime Vice-Principal of Cud- 
desdon. 1 

From the very beginning of his ministry 
1 He died in 1890. 

395 



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396 Portraits of the Seventies 

Liddon made his mark as a preacher. His 
sermons were quite unlike the ordinary products 
of the English pulpit; elaborately prepared, 
though preached without book, immensely long, 
exuberantly rhetorical, and delivered with a 
fervour which seemed to exhaust all the 
physical energies of the preacher. As years 
went on Liddon, who was not a strong man, 
found these efforts more than he could stand, 
and took to reading his sermons instead of 
delivering them by memory. In the difficult 
art of manipulating a manuscript without being 
tied to it he had, in my experience, no equal; 
and the enormous congregations which for twenty 
years hung on his words under the Dome of 
St. Paul's testified to his unequalled power of 
attracting and arresting. Even in the opening 
Collect his vibrant voice struck like an electric 
shock. His exquisite, almost over-refined articu- 
lation seemed the very note of culture. The 
restrained passion which thrilled through the 
disciplined utterance, warned even casual visitors 
to the cathedral that something quite unlike the 
ordinary stuff of sermons was coming, and they 
were seldom disappointed. 

Here it should be remarked that Liddon 
belonged essentially to the Oxford of Aristotle 



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**v 



DR. LIDDON. 
From a drawing by Sir F. C. Gould. 



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Henry Parry Liddon 397 

and Butler, ere yet it had been sophisticated by 
Kant and Hegel and T. H. Green. He was 
less at home when he was speaking on the 
abstract ideas of God and the soul, the origin 
of Evil and the possibilities of Prayer, than 
when he was deducing lessons of faith and 
life from the Gospels and the Epistles. He was 
indeed a most vigorous thinker, but did all his 
thinking in the terms of time and space. He 
did not shrink even from applying temporal 
standards of measurement to the life of eter- 
nity. To him the things of sense were not 
adumbrations from intangible existences else- 
where, but realities as real in their own place 
and order as the unseen realities of the 
Spiritual Kingdom. 

He was a consummate rhetorician. He had in 
a singular degree the power of leading a 
sympathetic hearer to the conclusion at which 
he wished him to arrive. In the skilful com- 
bination of fact, illustration, inference, and 
appeal he had no rival. Regarded as a prac- 
tical effort for a definite end, his rhetoric was 
perfect; but as a literary performance it was, 
at least in his earlier days, more open to 
criticism. It was over-elaborate, over-ornate, 
and tinctured by Macaulayese, which betrayed 



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398 Portraits of the Seventies 

itself in the short sentences, the rolling para- 
graphs, the sonorous eloquence of the descriptive 
paragraphs. It was noteworthy that the more 
he wrote, the easier and purer his style became. 
He gradually got rid of redundant and glisten- 
ing ornamentation; and the sermons which he 
preached as Canon of St. Paul's are, from the 
artistic point of view, much finer productions 
than those which made his fame at Oxford 
between 1865 and 1866. 

Oxford, where he lived almost continuously 
from his matriculation in 1846, had always 
known and loved him. His Bampton Lectures 
on the Divinity of Our Lord, delivered in 1866, 
had established his fame among theologians; 
but London knew nothing of him till Lent, 1870. 
Then he came and conquered. In previous years 
he had occasionally preached in London — at 
St. Paul's Cathedral, at All Saints', Margaret 
Street, and elsewhere; but now for the first 
time the denizens of the West End, Cabinet 
Ministers, Members of the Houses of Parlia- 
ment, great squires, leading lawyers, and all 
their contingent of wives and daughters, heard 
the greatest of English preachers, and heard 
him in the fullness of his physical and mental 
vigour. My friend Henry Soott Holland, then an 



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Henry Parry Liddon 399 

undergraduate spending a vacation in London, 
thus describes the impression which the lectures 
created : — 

"Was anything ever seen like the sensation 
which they produce ? Those smart crowds packed 
tight, Sunday after Sunday, to listen for an 
hour and forty minutes to a sermon that spoke 
straight home to their elemental souls. It was 
amazing! London never again shook with so 
vehement an emotion. " Society " in its vague, 
aggravating ignorance, believed itself to have 
discovered Liddon. How indignant we used to 
be with the rapturous duchesses who asked 
whether we had ever heard of this wonderful 
new preacher! Why, for years before we had 
stood ranked thick on each other's toes in 
huddled St. Mary's (at Oxford) to catch every 
word of the ringing voice. Those belated 
duchesses indeed ! Tet it was something that, 
however late in the day, they should all feel 
it necessary for their reputation to be there at 
St. James's." 

I may support this witness of a disciple and 
a friend, with the quite unprejudiced testimony 
of a writer in the Times : — 

"To any fresh or earnest word on the most 
solemn and mysterious of themes, we listen 



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400 Portraits of the Seventies 

with some measure of the eagerness which a 
fond imagination ascribes to the Ages of Faith. 
Generation after generation feels those questions 
start up with the greenness of a recovering 
spring. Dynasties come and go. Empires rise 
and fall, literatures vanish from the memory of 
man, forms of polity wax old and perish, and 
the ancient homes of great peoples survive as 
the sepulchres of the dead; but the broodings 
of the soul on the dim hereafter never fade nor 
die. With immortal vigour they renew them- 
selves in each generation and baffle the efforts 
of logic or sarcasm to numb them into death. 
It is these undying problems that Mr. Liddon 
has been passing under review, with the help 
of a rare erudition and a vigorous dialectic; 
it is these yearnings of the soul that have 
found expression in the solemn passion of his 
rhetoric; whence, despite his constant recourse 
to the profundity of German analysis, a brilliant 
and overflowing audience have flocked to hear 
his lofty discourse." 

So much for Liddon the Preacher; and it is, 
I suppose, chiefly as a preacher that he will be, 
and even is now, remembered. But I must 
say a word about him as the man, the com- 
panion, the friend. 



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Henry Parry Liddon 401 

First about his personal appearance. What 
was Liddon like ? His facial beauty was strik- 
ing. The nose was very nearly st^iight and 
sharply chiselled, the nostrils curling upwards 
with a critical and rather fastidious curve. The 
chin was prominent and strongly moulded, the 
mouth wide but firmly set, and connected by a 
deep groove or furrow with the corners of the 
nostrils. His forehead was broad and covered 
by a mass of straight hair, which once was jet 
black, but latterly nearly white, though the 
definitely marked eyebrows, which overhung 
his piercing eyes, retained their blackness to 
the end. His complexion was an olive-brown; 
and the whole effect of his appearance was 
somehow foreign. "Liddon is half a French- 
man." Vary the phrase by substituting "an 
Italian " for " a Frenchman," and you have the 
simple formula in which bewildered London 
expressed its feeling about the Lent Lecturer 
at St. James's, who in the same year became 
Canon of St. Paul's. Some plausibility was 
lent to the statement by the vehemence of his 
rhetorical manner, and by the structure and 
method of his orations, which had indeed been 
modelled on French preachers such as Bossuet 
and F6nelon, P6re Felix, and P6re Hyacinthe. 

26 



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402 Portraits of the Seventies 

But it was pure delusion ; and Liddon was as 
thoroughbred an Englishman as could be found 
between the Solent and the Bristol Channel. 

The physical beauty began and ended with 
his face. He had neither figure nor carriage. 
In early life he had been spare and ascetic- 
looking, but in middle life he became portly, 
and his height was not proportioned to his 
width. His bearing, except in the pulpit, was 
not impressive; and a phrase of Lord Acton, 
likening him to "a deferential sacristan/ 9 hit 
a certain aspect of his appearance. 

When I turn from physical to mental traits, 
the impression which dominates all others in 
my remembrance of Liddon is that of his 
vitality. He was alive all through, vivid, viva- 
cious, sensitive, alert. He seemed to be sur- 
charged with moral electricity, which tingled and 
flashed and sometimes scorched. One form of his 
vivacity was his effervescing humour, which was 
not very sedulously restrained. His sense of 
the ludicrous knew no bounds except those pre- 
scribed by reverence and charity. This was a 
painful stumbling-block in the way of serious 
people, dons, pedagogues, and dignitaries. We 
saw in the case of Magee that to " jock wi' deefi- 
culty" is the hard lot of some very excellent 



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Henry Parry Liddon 403 

people, and there is a still larger class which 
finds it difficult to enjoy, or even tolerate, the 
jokes of other people. To such as these, it 
must he confessed, Liddon's humour was a sore 
trial. He told a story excellently well; his 
stories were nearly always personal ; and his 
dramatic effectiveness made the people whom 
he was describing live and move before one's 
eyes. And, apart from story-telling, his humour 
was still personal, for, though it might be in- 
tended to illustrate some topic on which he felt 
keenly, it always played around some individual 
personality. He was personal when he wrote 
one Christmas from Amen Court that London 
was then buried under a dense fog, " which is 
commonly attributed to Dr. Westcott having 
opened his study window at Westminster." He 
was personal when he wrote with regard to an 
ecclesiastical appointment in which Gladstone 
had greatly disappointed him — "The Prime 
Minister has given us, instead of an alabaster 
box of ointment very precious, an ornamental 
jar of scented pomatum." He was personal 
when he excused himself for spending several 
hours of a precious Sunday in writing a letter 
of advice to a friend who had got into a 
foolish scrape, on the ground that the act was 



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404 Portraits of the Seventies 

analogous to that of pulling an ass out of a 
pit on the Sabbath Day. 

In the pulpit personalities can scarcely 
be indulged; but Liddon's humour defied 
all conventional restraints and broke out 
in unexpected places. As he preached, he put 
in bits and hits which he omitted or modified 
when the sermon came to be printed. Thus 
one would search in vain for his warning 
against the perils of the public-house on the 
public holiday — "If St. Paul could rise from 
his grave, and traverse the streets of London 
in the afternoon of a wet Bank-holiday, he 
would, I think, be disposed to modify his 
statement that they that be drunken are 
drunken in the night" A sarcastic reference 
to rationalizing theories of the fall of Jericho 
was considerably toned down before the second 
series of his University Sermons was published, 
though traces of it may still be discovered in 
Section ii of the sermon as printed. In another 
sermon, Jowett's translation of Plato suggested 
an allusion to teachers whose motto would seem 
to be "I live, yet henceforth not I, but Plato 
liveth in me." 

Socially Liddon was at his best when dining 
with a small party of friends whom he knew 



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Henry Parry Liddon 405 

thoroughly well, and with whom he could trust 
himself unreservedly, without fear of miscon- 
struction. Having worked hard all day, and 
from a very early hour, he had an excellent 
appetite, ate heartily, and enjoyed a glass of 
wine. But his fun was not in the least 
dependent on these provocatives, for one of his 
fellow-Students at Christ Church says that "it 
used positively to disgrace the mild austerities of 
a fish-tea on Fridays at which he would join 
us." On all social occasions, if he was in good 
trim and felt sure of his company, his presence 
was a guarantee of wholesome mirth. In truth, 
his cheerfulness was part of his religion, for he 
held that " light-heartedness is at once the right 
and the duty of a Christian whose conscience is 
in fairly good order." 

It was Liddon's fate to be frequently involved 
in controversy. When a cause in which he 
believed was imperilled he flung himself into the 
thick of the fighting with absolute and calculated 
self-surrender. He did not stand aloof to see 
which side was going to win. Of course the 
controversies of his life were mainly theologioai, 
but once at least he found himself forced to take 
sides in political contention. In the Eastern 
Question of 1875-78, he joined with all his heart 



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406 Portraits of the Seventies 

in the opposition to Lord Beaconsfield's pro- 
Turkish policy. Though he could scarcely ever 
be persuaded to appear on a platform, he spoke on 
the 8th of December, 1876, at a great conference 
in St. James's Hall, and spoke with extraordinary 
fire and eloquence. He declined to treat the 
issue as a question between Christianity and 
Mohammedanism, between truth and error. He 
regarded it simply as a question of right or 
wrong — justice or injustice. 

"I do not ask for a law which shall secure 
exceptional privileges to the Christians. I only 
ask for a law which shall be just — a law which 
shall secure to every subject, Mussalman or 
Christian, equal rights — secure to the Turks the 
right to live in peace, the right to enjoy their 
property, secure to them even their harems, so 
long as their consciences are not sufficiently 
instructed to wish for something better — but to 
take from them that which damages them even 
more than it harms the Christians — the right 
to injure the latter by continual persecution." 

Partly because of his attitude towards the 
Eastern Question; partly because of some early 
sermons in which he endeavoured to trace to 
a Christian source some of the ideas, such as 
Freedom and Progress, on which Liberalism 



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Henry Parry Liddon 407 

subsists; and partly because of his personal 
attachment to Gladstone, Liddon was sometimes 
claimed as a Liberal; but the claim was unsub- 
stantiated. He once said to me: u The real 
interest of politics is to watch the course of 
events, and, when the time for voting comes, 
to vote for the party which is supporting what 
one believes to be the cause of righteousness in 
the prominent question of the moment." Thus 
he voted for Gladstone at the critical election 
of 1865, when Oxford dismissed him. He voted 
for the Liberals in 1880, when the nation de- 
throned Lord Beaconsfield. He voted for the 
Tories in 1885, when the Liberals, under 
Chamberlain's maladroit guidance, were assailing 
the Church. " As to Liberalism," he once said, 
"I admire its foreign policy, but I cannot 
endure it in the sphere of education. It is by 
instinct heathenish in that matter/' About 
Home Eule he had "an open mind," but he 
" found it difficult to see how, if granted, it 
will not create more difficulties than it relieves." 
As regards foreign affairs, Liddon's chief con- 
cern was for the persecuted Christians in Eastern 
Europe, and he looked on Eussia as their 
divinely appointed protectress. But he was 
scarcely less concerned for the well-being of 



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408 Portraits of the Seventies 

France, which he loved with an affection born 
of religious and intellectual affinity. In August 
1870 he wrote to a friend : " Yes ! my sympathies 
are certainly with France. Bismarck is a much 
nearer reproduction of the bad side of Napoleon I 
than Napoleon III is. He is, as the Germans 
call him, ' a man of blood and iron.' His deal- 
ings with Hanover, Frankfort, and Denmark were 
injustices of the grossest kind; and, apart from 
the Spanish Question, France has, I think, ample 
grounds for her quarrel with Prussia in the 
evasion of the articles of the Treaty of 
Prague." 

In the following year, preaching at St. Paul's 
Cathedral, he uttered a remarkable prediction : 
"Peaoe may be conoluded (God grant that 
it may be !) within a few weeks ; but who can 
seriously suppose that a peace based upon an 
enforoed severanoe of French citizens from their 
country will last longer than the exhaustion of 
conquered France ? " 

On the economic side of politics Liddon's 
leanings were perceptibly, though not avowedly, 
towards what is vaguely called "Christian 
Socialism." He detested the harshness and 
hardness of the Poor Law as commonly adminis- 
tered. He had scant respect for the stiff 



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Henry Parry Liddon 409 

dogmatism of Political Economy. A beggar on 
the roadside was to him a brother in Christ, 
with a definite claim on his sympathy and help. 
I well remember his lively interest in the great 
Dock Strike in 1889, and the alacrity with 
which he subscribed to the fond for maintain- 
ing the dockers' wives and children. " There, at 
any rate," he said, " one cannot be doing wrong." 

This acute and practical humanitarianism 
was indeed a part of his religion. His con- 
troversial zeal sometimes blinded dull people to 
the fervent love of his fellow-creatures, which 
was a governing principle of his nature; and 
perhaps this was not surprising, for when he 
felt keenly he spoke strongly; and keen feeling 
and strong speech are alike bewildering to the 
flaccid and the indifferent. But those who 
knew him well — and I had the happiness of 
knowing him from my first term at Oxford to 
his death — always realized that in him they 
had one of the warmest, the kindest, and the 
most faithful of friends. 

That he was one of the truest saints ever 
produced by the Church of England is indeed a 
commonplace ; but he was also one of the most 
interesting and agreeable people whom it ever 
was one's privilege to know. If he was not 



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always the wisest, his errors of judgment were 
due to qualities which in themselves are attrac- 
tive — enthusiasm, romance, and an imagina- 
tion so keen that it saw visions as if they were 
already realities. 



CHAPTER XXIV 

ALEXANDER HERIOT MAOKONOO: 

rTlHIS is a name — not, it must be adm 
-*- a very euphonious one — which bel( 
in almost equal proportions to the Sixties 
Seventies, and the Eighties. One might a 
say of Mackonochie what Cowper said of ^ 
field — that he 

Stood pilloried on infamy's high stage, 
And bore the pelting scorn of half an age. 

This infamy he incurred, as his predecesso: 
incurred it, by a lifelong effort to bring 
Gospel within the reach of the poor an< 
outcast; and his obstinate persistence ii 
methods which seemed to him efiectiv 
the purpose awoke the scorn of the j 
and the easy-going. 
In person Mackonochie, though far 

" 1826-87. 
1411 



handsome, was striking and impressive. He 
was tall and spare, though not emaciated, and 
he bore himself with a singular dignity. I 
cannot imagine that any one ever took a liberty 
with him; and, though the kindest heart in 
the world lay concealed under that stern aspect, 
his mere glance would have checked forward- 
ness or familiarity. His nose was aquiline, his 
chin prominent, and his mouth was drawn down 
at the corners in a rather forbidding fashion. 
His complexion was clear and bright ; his 
hair a very dark brown ; and, though the greater 
part of his face was shaved, it retained on each 
side a fragment of hair, which in contradis- 
tinction to the clean shave of Komanism, and 
the luxuriant whiskers of Protestantism, acquired 
the nickname of "The Anglican Inch." 

Mackonochie was born in 1825, of purely 
Scottish descent, his father having been a 
colonel in the Honourable East India Company's 
service. He received his early education at 
private schools at Bath and Exeter, and after 
studying for a short time at the University of 
Edinburgh he went up to Wadham College, 
Oxford. He obtained a Second Class in the 
Final Classical School, and then, in obedience 
to a vocation which he had felt from his earliest 



Alexander Heriot Mackonochie i 

years, he dedicated himself to the ministi 
career. He was ordained deacon by Bit 
Denison at Salisbury in 1849, and priest 
, 1860. His first curacy was at Westbury, ^ 
shire, and thence he removed to Want 
where Dr. Liddon was one of his fellow-ouri 
During a visit to London in 1867 he wen 
St. George's-in-the-East ; and he was so de 
impressed by the solitary and strenuous \ 
which Father Lowder was there carrying on, 
in the following year he joined the mission 
came to live at the Mission House in Welle 
Square. It was at this time that, unknowi 
himself, he fell under the watchful eye <: 
wealthy and devout layman, J. G. Hubl: 
who discerned in him a man fitted beyond 
others for the difficult and laborious charg 
the church which he was then buildinj; 
Baldwin's Gardens, Holborn, afterwards fa:i 
as St. Alban's. Never was a more judi: 
selection made, for in many aspects of 
character and constitution Mackonochie 
the ideal priest for a Mission-Church. In : 
youth his health had been delicate, but str< i 
had come with years, and long self-disc: | 
had rendered him almost insensible to fa i 
and impervious to common ailments. He i 




fast absolutely from the evening of Maundy 
Thursday to midday on Easter Sunday, and 
then sit down to a hearty meal and feel none 
the worse. His head was as hard as his body 
— clear, cold, and strong. His habit of mind 
was characteristically Scotch in its dry logic 
and theoretical consistency. No one would 
have thought of describing him as a very clever 
man; but his astonishing powers of "grind" 
enabled him to attain at the University and, 
subsequently, a degree of intellectual success 
out of proportion to his purely mental gifts. 
Nothing was more characteristic of the man 
than the dogged resolution with which he would 
address himself to the study of some quite un- 
congenial branch of knowledge, such as an 
unfamiliar school of painting or a freshly dis- 
covered science. At these he would "toil 
terribly "; and, holding that a religious teacher 
should keep abreast of all new knowledge, he 
would dutifully endeavour to familiarize himself 
with ideas and phenomena which in themselves 
had only the faintest interest for him. This 
intense habit of conscientious study was only 
a form of his invincible will. A more resolute 
man never lived. When once he had deliber- 
ately adopted a course, he pursued it with grim 



Alexander Heriot Mackonochie 415 

tenacity, and his power of resistance to pressure 
was at least as strong as his constructive 
volition. 

Hence arose an unfortunate disagreement 
between himself and the founder of St. Alban's, 
which caused so much pain to two excellent 
men. When Mr. Hubbard offered him the 
living, he refused to entertain the offer except 
on the condition that he should be absolutely 
free, and unfettered by any understandings 
except those which bound him as a clergyman 
of the Church of England. He frankly stated 
that his principles of doctrine and worship were 
those which have since come to be called 
" Bitualistic " ; and, in his own words, he made 
it plain that he could not accept the responsi- 
bility of a parish "except on the basis that my 
duty to God and to the souls of His people, 
according to the best judgment that I could 
form of it, would have to be paramount over 
every other consideration. The point I kept 
before myself, and as forcibly as I could im- 
pressed on others, was that when once a priest 
was licensed to the parish, and the church 
consecrated, the work would be neither his nor 
Mr. Hubbard's, but God's. With the priest, 
as God's steward, would rest the responsibility, 



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416 Portraits of the Seventies 

and, therefore, with him alone, after such 
security for sound judgment as he might be 
able to take, must rest the decision for which 
he alone would answer at the Judgment." 

These considerations, strongly urged by 
Mackonochie, were duly weighed by Hubbard 
and other friends of the new church, with the 
result that they implored Mackonochie to raise 
no further difficulties, but to accept the charge 
on his own terms. This he cheerfully did. 
All he asked was a free hand. His was the 
responsibility, and his must be the power. He 
could not share the one; he dared not share the 
other. From the moment when he accepted 
the charge of St. Alban's, he sketched out for 
himself a line of action which, whether wise or 
unwise, was bound to develope into the form 
which it ultimately assumed. Strong in his 
Scotch love of logical coherence, nothing could 
turn him back, or modify his judgment, or stay 
his hand. Prosecutions, persecutions, admoni- 
tions, abuse, ridioule, calumny — all ran off his 
robust constitution like water off a duck's back. 
And yet, except in matters where his eccle- 
siastical conscience and judgment were involved, 
he was the humblest and most teachable of 
men. He was modestly aware of his intellectual 



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A. H. MACKONOCHIE. 



To face p. 4(7. 






Alexander Heriot Mackonochie 417 

defects, always ready to be taught, and fall of 
touching confidence in the superior wisdom of 
much younger men. By them in turn he was 
greatly loved. His absolute honesty, sinoerity, 
directness, and fearlessness commanded their 
respect. His contempt for wealth, ease, enjoy- 
ment, worldly advancement, fascinated their 
imagination. He had acquired, in the most 
sacred of all confidences, a deep insight into 
the inner springs of character and conduct, 
which was as helpful as it sometimes was 
startling. His intense and most practical sym- 
pathy with poverty, sickness, pain, and trouble, 
whether material or mental, endeared him to 
thousands who would have been repelled by his 
stern fidelity to the letter of an unpopular creed, 
by his prosaic and unimaginative temperament, 
and by the dignified austerity of his personal 
demeanour. 

He was a remarkable, though not exactly a 
fine, preacher. His voice was harsh and 
monotonous; his gestures were ungraceful, and 
he had a trick of hanging his hands over the 
front of the pulpit, which suggested that they 
had just been washed and were hung out to 
dry. He had not the slightest eloquence, or 
even rhetoric ; but he had quite sufficient 

27 



41 8 Portraits of the Seventies 

fluency, and a complete command of clear, plain, 
and forcible English. He was wholly free from 
"gush"; but his spirtual earnestness, his deep 
sense of sin, and his strong insistence on prac- 
tical duty, gave his sermons a pecular cogency. 
For a long series of Good Fridays I attended 
the service of the Three Hours which he 
conducted at St. Alban's; and I have never 
heard that peculiarly difficult ministry so well 
performed. 

But Mackonochie had not been long at St. 
Alban's when trouble began. The high ritual 
practised in the church attracted public notice. 
The daily papers described it in " graphic " 
articles. The angry bigotry of a Puritan section 
wholly unconnected with the parish was aroused ; 
and it was determined to test the legality of the 
ceremonial used at St. Alban's. The difficulty 
was to obtain a prosecutor, for the great majority 
of the parishioners were devoted to their clergy 
and church. At worst they ware indifferent. 
No one was hostile. 

The real prosecuter was the notorious Church 
Association, described by Bishop Magee as "The 
Persecution Company, Limited,' ' acid it secured 
the 00-operation of a .certain Mr. Martin, a 
resident in St. Geoxge'a, Bloomsbury, whose sole 



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Alexander Heriot Mackonochie 419 

connexion with St. Alban's was that his name 
stood on the parish rate-book, for some schools 
of which he was secretary. At Martin's instance, 
legal proceedings against Mackonochie were begun 
on the 28th of March, 1867, when the Bishop 
of London ' sent the case by Letters of Bequest 
to the Court of Arches. 

The charge against Mackonochie was that he 
used in divine worship certain specified practices 
which were contrary to, or inconsistent with, the 
rubrics of the Church of England. The case 
was tried in the Court of Arches, before Sir 
Robert Phillimore, who decided against Mack- 
onochie on certain points, but with regard to 
three — namely, altar-lights, kneeling at the con- 
secration, and elevating the Holy Sacrament — 
pronounced that they were legal. On these three 
points Martin forthwith appealed to the Judicial 
Committee of the Privy Council ; and an enquiry 
touching the niceties of eucharistic ritual was 
conducted by a tribunal "including a Presby- 
terian, an ex-representative of the Orange town 
of Belfast, a partisan Archbishop, a lay Low 
Churchman, and a theologian, 2 who talked about 
i the inferior Persons of the Trinity.' " It is 
not suprising that, under such judges, a Ritualist 
* A. 0. Tail » Lord Westbury. 



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42o Portraits of the Seventies 

fared badly. The ease was given against 
Mackonochie, and he was condemned in costs. 
Mackonochie, who in truth cared little for the 
precise forms of ecclesiastical ceremony, so long 
as reverence, seemliness, and intelligible teaching 
were secured, immediately conformed to the letter 
of the judgment. But his prosecutors were 
not satisfied with the extent of his compliance, 
and delated him to the Privy Council for dis- 
obedience to their monition. It may not be 
uninteresting, as illustrating the spirit and 
methods of this prosecution, to cite a portion 
of the bill of costs presented by the proctors 
for the Church Association to Mackonochie, 
exceeding, before taxation, £400, and relating 
only to that part of the case heard on 
December 4, 1869 :— 



July 1869. 



£ b. cL 



Attending Mr. Pond, instructing him to attend St. 

Alban's on Sunday, July 11th 6 8 

Taking his statement and fair copy 18 4 

Paid him for his attendance 2 2 

Attending Mr. Pond, instructing him to attend the 
early Communion on July 12th (i.e. the next 

day, Monday) and four following days 6 8 

Taking his statement and fair copy 18 4 

Paid him for his attendance (two guineas for Sunday, 
one each week-day). Three persons were em- 
ployed ... ... ... ... ... ... 5 5 



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Alexander Heriot Mackonochie 421 

Similar entries occur all through, exceeding 
in the whole £100. Though judgment was 
given in Mackonochie's favour on two charges 
out of three, he was ordered to pay the whole 
costs. Not satisfied with this partial victory, the 
prosecutors now proceeded against Mackonochie 
for sanctioning the performance by others of 
illegal acts. Hired spies were again sent to 
make observations at the church; and, although 
their evidence was contradicted on some main 
points by the affidavits of clergy, churchwardens, 
and lay communicants, the Privy Council found 
Mackonochie guilty of disobedience to their 
judgment, and suspended him from the perform- 
ance of his clerical duties for three months. 
During this period the services were carried on 
precisely as before. Mackonochie returned to his 
post when the term of his suspension had 
expired, and for three years the parish was left 
in peace. In 1874 the second " London 
Mission" was held, and, partly in connexion 
with the mode in which it had been conducted 
in St. Alban's parish, a fresh prosecution was 
begun by the indefatigable Martin, and Mack- 
onochie was again suspended. 

This second suspension was the signal for 
some very decisive proceedings. A Committee 



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of Defence was formed in the parish, and an 
emphatic remonstrance against the treatment 
of the vicar was presented to the Archbishop 
of Canterbury. 1 The Bishop of London 2 refused 
to receive a similar deputation. During Mack- 
onochie's suspension, A. H. Stanton, as curate- 
in-charge, refused to celebrate the Holy Com- 
munion with maimed rites, and the congregation 
of St. Alban moved in a body to St. Vedast's, 
Foster Lane. When Mackonochie returned to 
the parish, some alterations were made in the 
accustomed ceremonial, and the enemy seemed 
to be for a while appeased. Then came seven 
years of quiet and successful work, and ever- 
increasing activity in the service of the poor. 
But in 1882 the inveterate Church Association 
prepared a fresh lawsuit with a view to 
Mackonochie's deprivation. At this time Arch- 
bishop Tait was on his death-bed, and he resolved, 
with creditable freedom from petty pride, to 
acknowledge and to repair the unhappy effects 
of his own Public Worship Regulation Act. 
From his death-bed he arranged that Mackonochie 
should exchange livings with the Bev. B. A. J. 
Suckling, Vicar of St. Peter's, London Docks ; and 

1 A. C. Tait, translated in 1868 from London. 
3 J. Jackson. 



Alexander Hcriot Mackociochie 

he procured the sanction of the Bishop of L 
to this arrangement, which defeated the pro 
lawsuits. To St. Peter's Mackonochie accor 
went at the beginning of 1883, and the 
continued until the threat of yet another 
cution, promoted by the agency which had 
so much to embitter his life, mucde it des: 
in the interests of Si. Peter's parish, tb 
much-persecuted vicar should resign his c 
The anxieties and hardships of his lift 
told on him more severely than his friend 
guessed. He resigned St. Peter's, and ret 
as curate to his old parish of St Alban, 
he was welcomed with touching and chiv 
loyalty by his friend and successor, Mr. 
ling. Before long a gradual failure of sti 
compelled him to withdraw from minii 
work, and to live mainly with his own fam 
the country, though he still dearly enjoye 
society of intimate friends and the beaut 
nature. On December 15, 1887, while 
visit to the Bishop of Argyll at Ballach 
he went out for a long walk and, being 
taken by snowstorm and darkness, lost his 
in the Mamore deer-forest. He was found 
two days later, lying dead in a snowdrii 
body guarded by two dog* which had a 



424 Portraits of the Seventies 

panied him on his walk. Death came as a 
merciful release from increasing infirmity, and 
closed a life which, though not free from errors 
of judgment, was spent with prodigal self-sacrifice 
in the service of his fellow-men. The following 
words are from the pen of his friend and col- 
league, Arthur Stanton: — 

"It is ungracious, and beyond just surmise, to 
say that the enfeeblement of his manly, strong, 
loving life was the necessary result of the re- 
peated prosecutions which the Church Associa- 
tion thought it their duty to maintain; but 
there can be little doubt that underneath the 
brave cheerfulness with which he met all the 
reverses and submitted to the indignities conse- 
quent upon them, there lay a very keen sensitive- 
ness, and that the ' iron entered into his soul/ 
For although never admitted by him, it was 
observable, so that no one wondered at the 
storm-beaten expression on his face and the 
broken utterances of his lips which marked 
the two declining years of his life. 

"The mystery of his stern, hard, self-devoted 
life completed itself in the weird circumstances 
of his death. He seems to have walked round 
and round the hollow in which he had taken 
shelter from the mountain storm, trying to keep 



nmGnpe- 



Alexander Heriot Mackonochie 425 

life in him as long as he could, then as if he 
knew his hour had come, deliberately to have 
uncovered his head to say his last prayers, and 
then to have laid his head upon his hand and 
died, sheltered in ' the hollow of the hand ' of 
God whom he had served so faithfully; and at 
His bidding the wild wind from off the moor 
wreathed his head with snow." 

This dramatic ending to a noble life awoke a 
general and kindly interest in the history and 
character of Alexander Heriot Mackonochie. A 
generation has arisen which never heard of the 
riots at St. George's-in-the-East, and barely 
remembers the acrimonious litigation which so 
long harassed St. Alban's. Modern society has 
learned the lesson of toleration, or perhaps of 
indifference, so rapidly and so completely, that it 
can only recall by an effort the passionate 
animosities which thirty and twenty years ago 
made ecclesiastical controversy so furious and so 
vindictive. In this altered condition of the 
public mind it may not be uninteresting to recall 
the kind of life which earned for Mackonochie 
the guerdon of personal violence, protracted per- 
secution, judicial penalties, pecuniary loss, pro- 
fessional discredit, shattered health, and ruined 
happiness. 



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426 Portraits of the Seventies 

That life may be expressed in three words, 
Sacerdotium est saerificium ; and, in Mack- 
onochie's case, the sacrifice was not more 
deliberate than complete. In early manhood and 
middle age and advancing years ; at morning, at 
noon, at night ; in summer and winter ; in work- 
days and holiday-time, in popularity and perse- 
cution, he gave himself, body and mind and 
soul, to the work which he had undertaken. 
Indefatigable in the duties of his sacred office, 
he laboured far beyond its limits for ail that 
could serve the material and moral interests of 
his fellow-men. He worked for public health, for 
higher and wider education, for all innocent and 
national recreation. Not content with teaching, 
and preaching, and visiting the sick, and guiding 
the perplexed, he instructed the ignorant and 
comforted the sorrowful and fed the hungry and 
clothed the naked, and helped, without pauper- 
king, the industrious poor. Frederic Myeis 
portrayed a life so spent when he made St. 
Paul exclaim: — 

Never at even, pillowed on a pleasure, 
Sleep with the wings of aspiration furled; 

Hide the last mite of the forbidden treasure; 
Keep for my joys a world within the world. 



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Alexander Heriot Mackonochie 427 

It is not to be conceived that such a life, 
lived with unflagging purpose for twenty years 
in one of the poorest and most degraded quarters 
of a crowded city, could fail of its effect. " There 
is nothing fruitful but sacrifice," cried Lamen- 
nais, when no other conviction was left to cheer 
him ; and the sacrifice of Mackonochie's life 
bore abundant fruit. He enlarged the boundaries 
of the Kingdom of God by making the lives of 
men purer, brighter, and more humane. 



CHAPTBE XXV 

ARTHUR HENRY STANTON 

"TTN the year 1862 A. H. Mackonochie, whom 
-*- I described in the last chapter, became in- 
cumbent of the newly created parish of St. 
Alban's, Holborn, and he soon acquired a re- 
markable coadjutor. 

Arthur Henry Stanton was born in 1839, the 
youngest son of a manufacturer at Stroud. He 
was educated at Rugby under Dr. Goulburn, 
and at Trinity College, Oxford. After his B.A. 
degree, he spent two terms at Cuddesdon, and 
in 1862 he joined himself to Mackonochie as a 
lay-worker in what were then the slums of 
Baldwin's Gardens and Gray's Inn Lane. In 
the following Advent he was ordained deacon 
by Bishop Tait, and so began a ministry which 
was pursued in the same place and under the 
same conditions for fifty years. 

The square peg in the round hole is pro- 

4*8 




A. H. STANTON. 



To face p. 41S. 



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Arthur Henry btanton 429 

verbially a distressing sight, yet in this ill- 
arranged world of ours it is painfully common. 
How constantly one hears the cry : " What a 
first-rate soldier Brown would have made, only 
his father forced him into business!" "Jones 
ought to have been a clergyman instead of a 
politician, for he is always preaching. " ' ' Bobinson 
is really an artist, but he took that family 
living, and now neglects it shamefully.' ' Lord 
Beaconsfield aimed one of his most poignant 
shafts (pseudonymously) at Theodore Hook : 
" Nature had intended him for a scholar and 
a wit; necessity made him a scribbler and a 
buffoon." Matthew Arnold ought to have been 
a poet, but his wish to marry prompted him 
to become an Inspector of Schools. In a con- 
versation with Arnold, Lord Beaconsfield affected 
to regret that he had abandoned literature for 
for politics. Sir William Harcourt once told 
the astonished Sunday-school children of Derby 
that the happiest hours of his life had been spent 
in a country parsonage. Gladstone was believed 
by some of his circle to be sorry that he had 
not taken Holy Orders. 

But now and then one comes across a happy 
case where the personal qualities and the require- 
ments of the office so exactly fit each other that 



43° Portraits of the Seventies 

one says instinctively : " This man is precisely 
what he was intended to be, and by being what 
he is, he has attained his predestined perfection." 
It was so with Arthur Stanton. I simply can- 
not conceive of him except as a priest, and a 
priest working in a church where all social dis- 
tinctions were obliterated. 

He was a Liberal to the backbone. "Where 
the spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty" 
— "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth 
shall make you free" — were texts on which 
he was never tired of insisting. One Easter 
Day, addressing the school-children in St. 
Alban's church, he pointed to a representa- 
tion of our Lord with a banner in His hand, 
and thus explained it : " There you see Him, 
rising victorious from the grave. And what does 
He carry? A banner. Yes, and what banner? 
The Banner of Liberty — the liberty which by 
His death He bought for every human soul." 
It was natural that a mind built on these lines 
should have scant respect for authority; and 
Stanton was never better pleased than when 
proving, from Scripture and history, that infal- 
libility resides neither at Borne nor at Lambeth, 
but in that innermost sanctuary of the conscience, 
where jJone God's voice is heard. 



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Arthur Henry Stanton 431 

Some twenty years ago a Roman priest, 
Father Duggan, of Maidstone (who died last 
year), got into trouble with his ecclesiastical 
superiors over some point of discipline. Stanton, 
discerning a congenial spirit, instantly sought 
Duggan's acquaintance, and soon paid him a 
visit. Returning to London, Stanton narrated 
the conversation which he had held with his 
host, and the narrative ended in this fashion : 
" On the morning when I came away, I said, 
' Well, I've had a delightful time here. I've 
found myself able to talk quite freely to you, 
and now I want you to talk freely to me. 
Answer me one question. I've been a dead 
failure as an English priest. Do you think 1 
should have been more successful if I had 
been ordained in your Church ? ' And what do 
you think the fellow said? Well, he said, ( I 
don't think you would have been a success in 
any Church in which obedience was required.' 
And I'm not sure that he was wrong." 

The immediate reference was of course to 
ecclesiastical order; but in matters social and 
political Stanton was always, by the very law 
of his being, "for the under-dog." Ail his 
polities were governed by his religion. He said 
with Lacordaire : " I know no Liberalism, except 



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432 Portraits of the Seventies 

that which I sucked in from the breasts of the 
Gospel." War, he would say, is an evil; and 
one of the greatest of evils ; " But there is an 
evil which is worse, and that is slavery." 

Though he had the carriage and manner of 
an English gentleman, with a certain dignity 
which was all his own, he abhorred social dis- 
tinctions, and severances between class and class. 
In the Workmen's Clubs and Postmen's Leagues 
and Homes of Best, and other institutions which 
he organized, he always laid great stress on the 
Sunday tea-party. " When men sit down to- 
gether to a meal, there is no room for pom- 
posity or pride or the feeling c I'm better than 
you.' The common meal recognizes the equality 
of man." 

I said just now that, in talking to Father 
Duggan, Stanton referred to his ministry as a 
failure. This was not a vanity or an affectation, 
but almost an obsession. In early days he had 
been shamefully mishandled by bishops. He 
was inhibited from preaching in diocese after 
diocese, and treated as if he were an avowed 
heretic or a man of doubtful character. The 
iron entered his soul, and he never could shake 
off the notion that a ministry which had been 
thus reprehended by ecclesiastical authority must 



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Arthur Henry Stanton 433 

have been a failure. Those who knew that it 
had been more successful, in the great object of 
all ministry, than anything that the Church of 
England had known since the days of Wesley, 
strove long and earnestly to remove this strange 
and even morbid misconception. Their efforts 

culminated in a public gathering' held on the 
26th of June, 1907, when Stanton received an 
address, signed by 3,800 men, who stated in the 
plainest words the imperishable gratitude which 
they owed him for spiritual assistance ; and 
their undying affection and respect. In the 
face of that testimony, it was impossible to 
cherish the delusion of failure, and the clouds 
were rolled away, never to return. 

I spoke at the beginning of Stanton's peculiar 
fitness for his work in life. That fitness was 
combined of many elements, and each was 
striking. To begin with, he had perfect health, 
abundant strength, and that "joy of living" 
which accompanies them. Then he had an 
exceedingly good brain, quick in apprehension 
and cogent in reasoning ; which, though he never 
was a reader or a student, kept him well abreast 
of what was going on in life and thought. Then 
again he was wonderfully handsome — tall, slight, 
yet strongly built ; with a straight nose, a wide 

28 



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434 Portraits of the Seventies 

but firmly compressed mouth, and a most resolute 
chin. His dark eyes were full of tenderness 
and fire ; and, combined with his olive skin and 
raven-black hair, they gave him something of 
an Italian or Spanish look. 1 Every movement, 
every attitude, though unstudied and unposed, 
was graceful ; and his gestures, which he used 
in preaching with an un-English freedom, though 
sometimes exaggerated were always effective. 

The power of his preaching was extraordinary. 
He was master of every mood of oratory. All 
who between 1863 and 1913 attended, even 
casually, the High Mass at St. Alban's, will 
remember his eloquence, his dramatic power, his 
ringing scorn against injustice and hypocrisy, 
his noble and contagious enthusiasm for the 
Beligion of the Cross and all that it implies. 
But probably only those who are themselves 
accustomed to speak in public could fully 
appreciate the perfect art which underlay the 
eloquence, or perceive, through the apparent 
spontaneousness, the lifelong study which must 
have gone to produce so absolute a result. 

It is difficult to describe Stanton in society, 
for he went into it very sparingly. He was 

1 The same colouring was noticeable in Dr. Liddon ; baft 
they both were pure-blooded Englishmen. 



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■ 



Arthur Henry Stanton 435 

not in the slightest degree aseetio or austere ; bnt 
I suspect that his ever-present sense of the 
poverty and misery in which so large a number 
of our fellow-creatures always live would have 
haunted him as it haunted Bishop Westcott, 
and would have prevented him from feeling at 
ease in splendour and "pomp and circumstance." 
But in private life, among people whom he 
loved and trusted, he was absolutely delightful. 
His rich though sometimes sarcastic humour, 
his rapid alternations of cloud and sunshine, 
his eagerness in friendship, his passionate loyalty 
to Auld lang syne, gave him a singularly power- 
ful hold on human hearts. I could not, if I 
would, express a tenth part of what Arthur 
Stanton's friendship was to me and mine. 

I spoke before of Stanton's perfect health, 
but a long life of absolutely incessant labour 
told heavily on his strength; and, after he 
turned seventy, he began to suffer from some 
dyspeptic troubles. Towards the end of 1912 
those troubles became more urgent; and, after 
preaching at Colchester on the 24th of Novem- 
ber, he was seized by sudden and dangerous 
haemorrhage. He never preached again. On 
the 7th of March, 1913, he received a letter 
from the Bishop of London 1 asking him to 
1 A. F. Winnington-Ingram. 



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43 6 Portraits of the Seventies 

accept a Prebendal Stall in St Paul's, in 
honour of the "fifty years of service" that 
he had given to St. Alban's and the diocese. 
The offer was most kindly meant, and by 
making it the Bishop went some way towards 
rolling away the reproaoh often and justly 
levelled against the Anglican Episcopate, that 
it snubs its best men and promotes their 
inferiors. 

But the suggested dignity would never have 
been very suitable to Stanton's character and 
habits, and now it was also too late. In 
writing to decline it, he said: "Only one thing 
I ask of you and those who want to show 
me any kindness, and that is : Let me, after my 
fifty years' run, slow down quietly into the 
terminus, not jerking over the points." Three 
weeks later he was dead. 



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OHAPTEB XXVI 
LADY HOLLAND 

WHEN one talks of "Lady Holland" 
people generally imagine that one 
means that imperious dame (born Elizabeth 
Vassall) who figures so largely and so dis- 
agreeably in the Life of Maoaulay and the 
Letters of Sydney Smith. 

To people of my generation the name con- 
veys a very different personality. The Lady 
Holland whom we remember was to the fall 
as clever a woman as her more notorious 
mother-in-law, and ten times more attractive. 
She was pre-eminently a figure of the Seventies ; 
but, as far as I know, no attempts have ever 
been made to place her character on permanent 
record. 

Lady Mary Augusta Coventry was the 
daughter of the eighth Earl of Coventry, by 
his marriage with Lady Mary Beauclerk, 

417 



daughter of the sixth Duke of St. Albans. 
She was born in 1817, and a great part of 
her early life was spent on the Continent, 
where she formed many of her closest friend- 
ships, and contracted habits of thought, senti- 
ment, and conduct quite unlike those which 
characterize the general run of home-keeping 
Englishmen. In 1833 Lady Mary Coventry 
married Henry Edward Fox, who in 1840 
became the fourth and last Lord Holland, and 
who was Minister Plenipotentiary at the Court 
of Tuscany. 

From the time of her marriage, Lady Mary 
Fox lived principally in Italy; and though, 
after her husband's accession to his father's 
title, they spent some part of each year in 
England, they still considered Naples their 
home. There they formed and maintained their 
most intimate friendships, and there they were 
continually surrounded by the society which 
they so peculiarly enjoyed. Their foreign asso- 
ciations were made all the stronger by the fact 
that they had both joined the Roman Catholic 
Church. 

The last Lord Holland died in 1859, and 
left his widow full control of all his fortune, 
including Holland House in Kensington, and 




L *l>V HOLLAND. 



To facw p. 418. 



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Lady Holland 439 

St. Ann's Hill near Chertsey. Between these 
two houses, most unlike but each perfect in 
its way. Lady Holland spent the summer 
months, returning, as long as she could, to 
Naples for the winter. In her late years she 
was not strong enough for the long journey . 
to Italy, and she lived entirely in England, 
except for an occasional visit to some German 
watering-place. 

For the greater part of the year she lived at 
St. Ann's Hill, once the home of Charles James 
Fox, and stored with relics of strenuous Whig- 
gery. She rejoiced to tell the story of the 
seventh Duke of Bedford, who, visiting the 
widowed Mrs. Fox at St. Ann's Hill, asked 
her ancient butler if there were many Tories 
in the neighbourhood, and received the pathetic 
reply, "Please, your Grace, we're eat up with 
them." 

St. Ann's Hill was a delightful villa, and 
was enlivened by a constant succession of 
visitors from London; but for epithets fit to 
describe the unique charm of Holland House 
we must go back to Macaulay, who, in 1841, 
half-seriously, half-fancifully, foretold the possible 
fate of the noble mansion, famed all over Europe, 
where so many happy and instructive hours 



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44-0 Portraits of the Seventies 

of his early manhood had been passed, "The 
wonderful city which, ancient and gigantic as 
it is, still continues to grow as fast as a young 
town of logwood by a l water-privilege f in 
Michigan, may soon displace those turrets and 
gardens which are associated with so much 
that is interesting and noble; with the courtly 
magnificence of Rich, with the loves of Ormond, 
with the councils of Cromwell, with the death 
of Addison. The time is coming when, perhaps, 
a few old men, the last survivors of our genera- 
tion, will in vain seek, amidst streets and 
squares, and railway-stations, for the site of 
that dwelling which was in their youth the 
favourite resort of wits and beauties, of painters 
and poets, of scholars, philosophers, and states- 
men. They will then remember, with strange 
tenderness, many objects once familiar to them 
in the avenue and the terrace, the busts and 
the paintings, the carving, the grotesque gild- 
ing, and the enigmatical mottoes. With peculiar 
fondness they will recall that venerable chamber 
in which all the antique gravity of a college 
library was so singularly blended with all that 
female grace and wit could devise to embellish 
a drawing-room. They will recollect, not un- 
moved, those shelves loaded with the varied 



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Lady Holland 441 

learning of many lands and many ages, and 
those portraits in which were preserved the 
features of the best and wisest Englishmen of 
two generations. They will recollect how many 
men who have guided the politics of Europe, 
who have moved great assemblies by reason 
and eloquence, who have put life into bronze 
and canvas, or who have left to posterity 
things so written as it shall not willingly let 
them die, were there mixed with all that 
was loveliest and gayest in the society of the 
most splendid of capitals." 

Of this highly-wrought description contempo- 
raries said (what one cannot always say of its 
writer's handiwork) that it was neither exagge- 
rated nor inexact. In truth Holland House was, 
alike in its structure, its associations, and the 
society that assembled under its roof, unique; 
and the charms which had made it famous in 
the Twenties and Thirties of the nineteenth 
century were assuredly not diminished in the 
Seventies and Eighties. Here Lady Holland 
used to establish herself for two months in the 
late summer and early autumn, and here her 
hospitalities were amongst the most graceful 
and delightful incidents of social life. Her 
annual garden-parties combined all the solemn 



dignity which clings to one of the most 
historical of English houses, with the fantastic 
grace and sprightly merriment of an Italian 
Festa. 

The hostess's failing health brought these large 
parties to an end; but, whenever Lady Holland 
was known to be in London, even in the 
desolate months of August and September, her 
shrine was thronged by devotees. Diplomatists 
of every nation found a second home at Holland 
House. To its hospitable doors every distin- 
guished foreigner gravitated as by a natural law. 
Some of the most accomplished of the older men 
of London were habitual guests, and conversa- 
tion not unworthy of Fitzpatrick and Jekyll, 
Mackintosh and Moore, was to be heard at 
those delightful dinners, un-English in every 
detail of their composition and service. Half 
the dishes were French and half Italian ; every 
European language was spoken in turn; the 
gentlemen returned to the drawing-room simul- 
taneously with the ladies, and the ladies, then 
greatly daring, ventured, in secluded corners, on 
the stimulus of cigarettes. 

As years went on and the fatigues of hospi- 
tality began to tell increasingly on her strength, 
Lady Holland lived less and less at Holland 



Lady Holland 

House, and, not long before her death, a s 
lative builder approached her with what i 
have been to most people a tempting offer, 
proposed to buy the reversion of the h 
with its gardens, park and farm, for hi 
million sterling. Lady Holland's reply 
worthy of herself. She said that she belc 
to the House of Fox not by birth but on 
marriage, and that Holland House should 
by her act, pass out of the family which 
made it famous. Of that family Lord Hcl: 
was the senior representative, and to hini 
left it. I fear that the exactions of r 
Chancellors of the Exchequer have conv 
the hayfields, which I remember, into buil 
land; but at the annual Flower Show the ' 
sees the lovely house, still standing 
its gardens and terraces, and joins in the 
aspiration of the lines which Hookham . 
cut with a diamond on the window-pane — 

May neither fire destroy, nor waste impair, 
Nor time consume thee till the twentieth Heir 
May Taste respect thee and may Fashion spar; 

One touch of personal description must 
this sketch. 

1 On hearing of this inscription, Samuel Rogers sci 
wonder where Frere got the diamond." 




le 



444 Portraits of the Seventies 

Lady Holland was one of the smallest of 
womankind, less than five feet high, exceedingly 
slender, with the most exquisite 'hands and feet. 
The oldest tree in the pleasure-grounds of Holland 
House might have described her in the words 
of The Talking Oak— 

I swear, by leaf, and wind, and rain 

(And hear me with thine ears), 
That, though I circle in the grain 

Five hundred rings of years, 

Yet, since I first could oast a shade, 

Did never creature pass 
So slightly, musically made, 

So light upon the grass. 

Her features were pronounced and sharply 
cut. Her rich, dark hair retained its colour to 
the last. But her most conspicuous trait was 
the extraordinary brightness of her piercing eyes. 
They sparkled and flashed like a girl's, and 
when she smiled they lit up her face with a 
peculiarly bewitching expression. In later years 
she never laid aside her customary suit of 
solemn black, and a cap which, to quote Lord 
Beaoonsfield, Cl should have been immortalised 
by Mieris or Gerard Douw." 

In mind Lady Holland was singularly viva- 
cious. Her mental gaze was of penetrating 



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Lady Holland 445 

power. She saw through unreality, vanity, and 
pretence at a glance ; but she was full of the 
most genial charity towards mere error, ignor- 
ance, or indiscretion. She was extremely quick 
in repartee, loved a joke, and had a pecu- 
liarly keen appreciation of whatever was fine 
in character, art, or literature. For some 
years she suffered grievously, but her patience 
and courage in bearing pain, her anxiety 
that it should not distress other people, 
and her bright cheerfulness in forgetting it, 
were models to all like sufferers. In character 
she was one of the justest, kindest, and most 
generous of women; overflowing with tenderness 
alike to man and beast; and the most affec- 
tionate and faithful of friends. There seemed 
to be something specially appropriate to her 
nature in the beautiful benediction of the Church 
in which she lived and died — 

Lux perpetua hiceat ei. 



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CHAPTER XXVII 
A GROUP OF HOSTESSES 

IN thus associating the names of the ladies 
whom I am going to describe, of coarse I 
do not mean that they belonged to the same 
generation. But they all were hostesses who 
entertained in London during the period which 
this book covers. Nor do I mean that they 
resembled one another, or even had much in 
common. On the contrary, they were as diverse 
as any seven people commonly are; each had 
a marked individuality; but it is true of them 
all that the mere mention of their names 
awakes a train of pleasant recollections. 

I obey a natural instinct when I place first in 
my list of hostesses Mrs. William Lowther, whose 
husband built Lowther Lodge, and who made it 
from 1876 to 1906 a vigorous centre of social life. 
Statistics in such cases are impossible; but 
I should imagine that Lowther Lodge opened 



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MRS. LOWTHEH. 



To taom p w 



A Group of Hostesses 447 

its doors oftener than any house in London; 
for, when it was not occupied by dinners and 
lunoheons and teas and danoes and garden- 
parties, it welcomed all manner of organizations 
which had for their object the cultivation of Art, 
the diffusion of knowledge, and the improvement 
of social conditions. But my reason for placing 
Mrs. Lowther first in my list is the fact that 
I had known her all my life. Her home and 
mine were near each other; and I had been 
accustomed, from very early years, to regard 
her as the cleverest woman I ever met. En- 
trance upon society in London gives a young 
man the inestimable privilege of acquaintance 
with charming and accomplished women, and I 
hope I was not unworthy of that, privilege ; but 
nothing that I encountered in London ever 
altered that early impression. 

Mrs. Lowther was a daughter of Lord Wens- 
leydale (previously Baron Parke), a great 
scholar, a great lawyer, and a great judge; 
and he was accustomed to say : "If my 
daughter Alice had been a boy, she would have 
made the name of Parke illustrious in juris- 
prudence," to which his friends would reply, 
" It is that already." 

Mrs. Lowther's was what men arrogantly call 



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448 Portraits of the Seventies 

a "masculine" mind: clear, penetrating, and 
exact. It was little affected by emotion, and 
still less by mere assertion. It went straight 
to the heart of each point submitted to it, and 
was never satisfied with an answer which logic 
did not justify. To the gift of penetration she 
added what Tennyson called "the power of 
ministration." Her organizing skill was extra- 
ordinary, and everything to which she set her 
hand she did well. It would be hazardous to 
affirm of anything that Mrs. Lowther could not 
do it; but perhaps her most remarkable skill 
lay in painting, and in the decorative arts allied 
with it. Her conversation was quite first rate: 
free, bright, responsive, with a considerable vein 
of sarcasm. Her opinions were strong, and she 
uttered them unhesitatingly, yet never so as to 
irritate the opponent with whom she was de- 
bating. "A strong-minded woman" is a term 
of reproach; but such are the vagaries of lan- 
guage that "a woman of strong intellect" is 
praise. When with such an intellect are con- 
joined high principle and strong affections, then 
we see what Wordsworth meant : — 

The reason firm, the temperate will, 
Endurance, foresight, strength, and skill; 
A perfect Woman, nobly planned, 
To warn, to comfort, and command 



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A Group of Hostesses 449 

"The Duchess of Cleveland" is a title which 
oonveys to people of my generation two very 
different characters. Let me take them in 
chronological order. 

Caroline Lowther, wife of the third Duke of 
Cleveland, was born in 1792 and died in 1883. 
Her venerable age, apart from anything else, 
would have made her interesting ; but there was 
a great deal more than mere antiquity about 
her, which made her worth observing and re- 
membering. She had entered society very 
young, being presented at Queen Charlotte's 
Drawing-room ; she had danced with the Prince 
of Orange, had attended Lady Buckingham- 
shire's " breakfasts " on the site of what is now 
Hobart Place, and had hunted in a scarlet habit 
with Lord Darlington's foxhounds. 

She was a naturally shrewd woman, and well 
educated according to the standards of her day ; 
she was keenly interested in politics, being 
always on the High Tory side ; and, if she could 
have had her own way, she would have lived in 
a society where literature and politics played a 
part, but were kept in due subordination to 
birth and rank. But an early and ambitious 
marriage united her for life, or at least for fifty 
years, to a good-natured but quite uneducated 

29 



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45 o Portraits of the Seventies 

sportsman, who loved the company of trainers 
and game-keepers and, though he sate in Par- 
liament for Pocket Boroughs, gave political 
society an uncommonly wide berth. If this ill- 
assorted couple had been blest with a family, 
not only would their home have presumably 
been happier, but the Duchess would have been 
a more popular woman. If she had been a 
mother, she would have been less of a gover- 
ness — less fond of laying down the law, less 
inclined to set every one right, less apt to snub. 
Such exercises of social authority do not endear 
people to their contemporaries; in fact, they are 
intolerable; but, when there is an immense gap 
between the age of the corrector and the age of 
the corrected, they are inoffensive and even 
amusing. Perhaps it was salutary for forward 
youths, when they tried to shake hands with 
the Duchess on introduction, to see her hand 
placed behind her back, and a half-curtsey sub- 
stituted for the hand-shake. Perhaps it was 
instructive to an incomplete letter-writer who 
had begun his letter " My dear Duchess " to be 
told " I am not your dear Duchess." Perhaps 
it was good for a well-born man who had played 
a clown's trick at dessert to be told " That is 
a very ill-bred action," and certainly it was good 



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A Group of Hostesses 451 

for him, when he replied in indignation, " I 
think I ought to know as much about good 
breeding as any one in England," to hear the 
precise reply, "Perfectly. You ought. But, 
as you do not, I instruct you." Certainly also 
it was good that there was some one left to make 
a stand against such solecisms as "The Bow" 
for Rotten Row and "The Zoo" for the Zoo- 
logical Gardens; "a square" for a quadrille, 
and " a round " for a valse. 

When I first knew the Duchess of Cleveland 
I was twenty-three, and she was eighty-three. 
She had been a widow for twelve years, and as 
Dowager Duchess lived partly at Osterley Park 
(which she rented from Lord Jersey), and partly 
at 69 Brook Street. At both houses she 
exercised an incessant hospitality, and, being 
still in full enjoyment of her mental faculties, 
she kept us all alive. One of the rules — an 
admirable one — was to sit down to dinner at 
eight sharp; and, if a guilty couple arrived too 
late, they were punished by being made to sit 
next each other. " That," said the Duchess, "will 
cure their unpunotuality, if nothing else will." 

Fortunately for such as are interested in the 
figures of the past, there is an absolutely 
perfect picture of the Duchess. It is a 



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452 Portraits of the Seventies 

cartoon in Vanity Fair, and exhibits her 
exactly as she used to look in her little 
sitting-room in Brook Street. She was a small 
woman, short and very spare; but she carried 
herself erect, and moved with great dignity. 
Her colouring had always been what is 
euphemistically called "auburn," and in old 
age she wore, under a rather elaborate cap, 
a sandy "front." Looking back upon her 
hunting days, she used to say: "Men called 
me the intrepid Caroline " ; but her nephew, 
William Lowther, said that he had always 
heard of her as "Carroty Car. 9 ' She was 
always beautifully dressed, though in a rather 
youthful fashion, and got all her clothes from 
Paris. In warm weather she used to wear a 
white muslin costume, with the petticoat cut 
very short so as to display her exceedingly 
small foot. She wore gloves all day long, and 
insisted that the hands of men who walked 
about London without gloves were "an offence." 
She had always been active in her bodily 
habits, and went out in hail, rain, and snow. 
"No harm ever came," she used to say, "of 
turning God's leather to God's weather." In 
walking over rough ground, or getting in or out 
of a carriage, she scorned all offers of help. 



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. ^ s, * r ,v . 



CAROLINE DUCHESS OF CLEVELAND. 
(By permission of Ike proprietors of Vanity Fair.) 



To f ace p. 45J. 



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A Group of Hostesses 453 

"No Lowther ever requires assistance." As she 
advanced into extreme age she necessarily 
became less active. "I am always tired," she 
said, "and always cold"; but still she took the 
air. She used to drive to one of the bridges 
across the Thames, pulling up in the middle 
of it to catch the breeze, and she used to make 
her footman scull her on the Serpentine — a 
sight for Thackeray and Leech. She was, I 
think, the last person who drove about London 
in the daytime with two footmen standing 
behind the carriage. A "carriage," she always 
insisted, meant a coach, or at least a chariot. 
I was talking to her one day about the 
carriage-colours of different families, and I said, 
"I can't remember the colour of Lord Salis- 
bury's carriage." Thereupon she said conclu- 
sively : " Lord Salisbury has no carriage. He 
goes about London in a brougham." 

When the third Duke of Cleveland died, he 
was succeeded by his brother, Lord Harry 
Vane, who had married, in 1854, Lady Dal- 
meny, the widowed mother of the present Lord 
Eosebery. So from 1864 to 1901 " the Duchess 
of Cleveland" meant the lady whom I am 
going to describe. 



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Lady Catherine Lucy Wilhelmine Stanhope, 
daughter of Lord Stanhope the historian, had 
been one of the most beautiful girls in Eng- 
land, conspicuous in the famous group of Queen 
Victoria's bridesmaids. She was also one of the 
most accomplished women of her time, a con- 
siderable artist, and an admirable writer. 

As Duchess of Cleveland she was mistress of 
one of the two or three English houses which 
challenge Windsor for grandeur; but its tradi- 
tion had been sportsmanlike and political rather 
than social or cultivated. The Duchess changed 
all that, and, under her management, Baby 
became, during August, September, and October, 
the resort of all that was brilliant and distin- 
guished in society. But when the winter has 
settled down on our northern counties, an Ed- 
wardian castle is a chilly abode; and the 
Duchess welcomed the transition to Battle 
Abbey, on the balmy South Coast, and thence, 
when Parliament opened, to Cleveland House, 
in St. James's Square. 1 There she entertained 
constantly, but not extensively. Her circle was 
not narrow, but restricted. She welcomed 
people who had merit to recommend them, 

1 Demolished after the death of the last Duke of Cleveland 
in 1891. The site is now occupied by flats %nd shops, 




WILHELMINE DLCHE66 OF CLEVELAND 
From a photograph by Elliott & Fry. 




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A Group of Hostesses 455 

without reference to views or positions; but 
kept at arm's length the "gay world" — the 
huge miscellaneous throng which was even 
then beginning to invade society, and had no 
credentials except money, smartness, and push. 

Perhaps the Duchess showed her quality to 
best advantage in private conversation or at a 
small dinner. She spoke with an exquisite pre- 
cision, both of utterance and of diction; she 
hardly uttered a sentence without giving it a 
turn which one remembered; and her inclina- 
tion to sarcasm was not unduly restrained. 
She was born in a learned home, and had lived 
all her life with clever and educated people. 
Her information was wide and varied, and she 
took keen interest in all the intellectual move- 
ments of her time. Her manner, like her figure, 
was exceedingly graceful, and her dignity of 
movement remarkable. She retained her bodily 
activity to the end of her life; travelled all over 
the world, and, even when her failing sight 
made it dangerous, took her daily ride on her 
pony in Hyde Park. She was happy in trans- 
mitting her gifts to two sons and two daugh- 
ters; and the death of her second son, Colonel 
Everard Primrose, was a sorrow from which be? 
vivacity never recovered, 



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45 6 Portraits of the Seventies 

Frances, Countess Waldegrave (1821-79), 
was a product and an ornament of the Jewish 
race, being a daughter of the famous singer, 
John Braham. She married first John Walde- 
grave, secondly Lord Waldegrave, thirdly George 
Harcourt, and fourthly Chichester Fortescue, 
afterwards Lord Carlingford. Fortescue was 
made Chief Secretary for Ireland in 1865, and 
his first public appearance was made with his 
wife at the Dublin Theatre. Inquisitive glances 
from the pit and gallery were cast upon the 
new Chief Secretary, and a wag, observing his 
companion, cried aloud : " And which of the 
four did ye like best, my lady ? " This was 
exactly the sort of opportunity that suited Lady 
Waldegrave's ready wit; advancing to the front 
of the box she answered : " Why, the Irishman, 
of course." Bounds of applause greeted the 
reply, and her ascendency over Irish hearts was 
established for ever. 

It was a curious freak of fate which made 
Lady Waldegrave mistress of Strawberry HilL 
That Horace Walpole should have ransacked 
chancels and chantries and banqueting-halls to 
procure stained glass and carved wood for his 
mock-Gothic toy, and that the toy should have 
become the home of John Braham's daughter, 



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LADY WALDEGRAVE. 

From her sitting-room window at Strawberry Hill. 

.(From " Later Letters of Edward Lear," by kind permission 
of Lady Strachie.) 



To face p. 456. 



A Group of Hostesses 457 

was a surprising junction of the ancient and the 
modern world. Lady Waldegrave made admir- 
able use of her position and possessions. She 
entertained incessantly, and in a gay and 
unconventional fashion which suggested the 
f riskiness of a " gala " rather than the for- 
mality of a "party/* But, while she kept this 
frolicsome side for the frolic-loving world, she 
all the time played the serious game of politics 
with assiduity and skill. Her house in Carlton 
Gardens was a favourite meeting-place for 
Whigs, and for those more modern Liberals 
who, under Gladstone's leadership, were begin- 
ning to strike out into new paths. Nothing 
and no one came amiss to the radiant and 
genial hostess. Her benevolence was universal; 
her benignity made every one feel himself at 
home; and her unflagging spirits could console 
even a shattered party or a defeated candidate. 
Her merits could best be measured by the con- 
suming grief of the husband who survived her. 

As I reflect upon past days, the fascinating 
group with which I am dealing seems to increase, 
and some particular trait of character or person 
clings to each succeeding form. There was 
Mary, Lady Derby, born Sackville-West, and 



458 Portraits of the Seventies 

wife successively to the second Marquess of 
Salisbury and the fifteenth Earl of Derby. 
Cardinal Manning, who in his Anglican days had 
been intimately acquainted with the House of 
Delaware, told me that, as a girl, Lady Mary 
West had been distinguished by a saintliness 
and spirituality of character which in his judg- 
ment would have best befitted a cloister. But 
fate drew out a very different line of life; and, 
when I knew Lady Derby, she was esteemed by 
competent judges the one woman in London 
whose political conversation was really valuable. 

Lady Somers, born Virginia Fattle, was pro- 
nounced by so fastidious a judge as Henry 
Greville " one of the handsomest women I 
ever saw in any country " ; and, although I never 
set eyes on her till she had been married for 
twenty-five years, she still remains clearly visible 
to my mental gaze as the most graceful creature 
I have ever beheld. Every movement, every 
pose, every gesture, was a work of art. She lived 
in a society essentially and profoundly artistic — 
was it not Watts who first revealed her bewitch- 
ing beauty to the world ? — and her artistic spirit 
showed itself, not in the mere accumulation of 
pictures and statues, for that can be effected by 




LADY SOMERS. 



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A Group of Hostesses 459 

vulgar wealthy but in the beauty and appro- 
priateness of her surroundings, whether simple 
or costly. The truly artistic spirit will never be 
content with a hideous or unsuitable setting to 
its daily life; and, wherever Lady Somers was, 
whether at Easthor Castle, or in Chesterfield 
Gardens, or in a continental villa, there was 
beauty. One of her contemporaries used to say : 
" She was the first woman in London to drape 
herself. The rest of us only dressed." 

Another queen of the artistic world was Lady 
Marian Alford, whom, unless I greatly mistake, 
Lord Beaconsfield sketched in Lothair as Lady 
Beatrice, " herself an artist, and full of sesthe- 
tical enthusiasm." Lady Marian was a 
daughter of the second Marquess of Northamp- 
ton, and wife of Lord Alford, eldest son of the 
first Earl Brownlow. Lord Alford died in early 
manhood; and by his death it fell to Lady 
Marian's lot to conduct the highly important 
litigation by which the magnificent estate of 
Ashridge was secured for her son, who became 
Lord Brownlow on his grandfather's death. Her 
administrative skill and energy evoked the 
admiration of the eminent lawyers who 
fought the case; but, though she triumphed m 



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460 Portraits of the Seventies 

law, her natural sphere was Art. She was an 
exquisite and delicate portraitist, accurate in 
drawing and brilliant in colour; and was an 
admitted authority on all the allied arts of 
decorative design. She was the first to introduce 
red brick into the domestic architecture of 
modern London, and the house which she built 
at the junction of Prince's Gate and Ennismore 
Gardens still bears her name and her coronet. 
Grace and dignity were equally mingled in her 
manner. Her artistry was combined with ad- 
ministrative skill, and few great ladies have 
exercised a stronger influence on the circles in 
which they lived. 

By a rather abrupt transition I turn to a 
friend who first was my hostess when I was a 
boy at Harrow, and " a spread " at the " King's 
Head" a high regalement. This was Mrs. 
Cavendish Bentinck, born Prudence Penelope 
Leslie, and wife of a well-known politician who 
sate for Cockermouth. When I came to London, 
I found the genial hostess of my Harrow days 
still on hospitable thoughts intent; and to her 
goodwill I owed my introduction to many of the 
pleasantest houses. Mrs. Bentinck entertained 
famously, but in herself was even more remark- 



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A Group of Hostesses 461 

able than in her entertainments. She had 
unbounded strength, supernatural vigour, un- 
conquerable spirits. She overflowed with a 
genuinely Irish humour, and had a happy knack 
of verbal fun. Her last years were clouded by ill- 
ness and sorrow which contrasted sadly with her 
earlier life ; but when she died her friends realized 
that they had lost in her one of the blithest 
and friendliest of human beings. 

To describe Lady Dorothy Nevill is the less 
necessary, because in several volumes of delight- 
ful memoirs she told the story of her own life. 
Yet I cannot find it in my heart to pass her 
without a word. She was one of the smallest 
creatures on earth — as small, I should think, 
as Lady Holland — perfectly proportioned, finely 
finished-off, in fact an exquisite specimen of 
diminutive humanity; only to be likened to a 
Dresden shepherdess, or a tiny figure from 
Greuze or Watteau. 

Lady Dorothy delighted in the society of 
distinguished men, whatever their distinction 
was. Herself an enthusiastic Tory, and a 
confidential correspondent of her beloved Dizzy, 
she yet welcomed to her luncheon-table the most 
dogged Radical or the extremest Socialist, so 



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462 Portraits of the Seventies 

long as he did not bore or prate or treat the 
party as if it were a public meeting. Her own 
conversation was, like her book, all sparkle and 
vivacity. She had the finest observation and the 
shrewdest insight. Nothing escaped that bird- 
like gaze; and, when circumstances were propi- 
tious, she would reproduce a conversation or a 
scene with the most laughable fidelity. She 
lived to a good old age, and enjoyed life to the 
last. " Those whom the gods love die young " 
is a sentiment which bears an alternative signi- 
ficance. People who have the nature that the 
gods love remain young to the end. 

I bring my list to a close with a name which 
carries with it some most delightful memories. 
Lady Margaret Beaumont was, during the 
Seventies and Eighties, one of our chief 
hostesses. Her husband's wealth and hospitable 
instincts, combined with her own peculiar charm, 
made 144 Piccadilly the pleasantest house in 
London. I never pass its familiar walls (now 
disguised in modern stone) without grateful and 
affectionate recollections. 

Lady Margaret Beaumont was a daughter of 
the first Marquess of Clanricarde by his marriage 
with a daughter of George Canning ; and, as her 
friends were wont to say, she was "not Canning's 




LADY MARGARET BEAUMONT. 



To face p. 461. 




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a oroup or hostesses 403 

granddaughter for nothing." Clever indeed she 
was, light in hand, amusing and amused; full 
of fun, quick in repartee; keenly alive to all 
that was going on in society and in politics, 
eagerly interested in her friends' affairs. But 
cleverness was the least part of her charm. 
She was exceptionally warm-hearted, quite un- 
conventional in speech and manner, very easy of 
approach, very sympathetic in trouble, very 
faithful in friendship. She lived in the centre 
of the world, yet she was not the least worldly. 
Though she passed her days in Vanity Fair, 
the odour of its merchandise never clung to her 
garments. She enjoyed all that wealth gave her, 
especially the power of pleasing others; but, 
in spite of all the unwholesome influences which 
assail a mother taking out her daughters in 
London, she retained to the end of her life a 
singular and almost girl-like simplicity. Her 
health broke down in middle life, and she fought 
heroically against ever-increasing illness till the 
end came in her fifty-seventh year. It is sad 
to think that since 1888 a generation has sprung 
up to which her very name is unfamiliar; but 
of this I am sure — that no one who knew her 
will ever forget her; and that every one who 
remembers her still mingles the remembrance 
with affection and regret. 




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CHAPTER XXVIII 

THE THREE CATHERINES 

Tl^TY title is, in its origin, a morsel of 
-"-A. journalese. In the autumn of 1866 
there was a bad outbreak of cholera at the East 
End of London, the whole district which was 
supplied by the River Lea being affected. The 
mortality was severe ; and, when the disease 
abated, there were a great many orphans left 
destitute. A letter, calling attention to their 
sad plight and proposing methods of help, 
appeared in the newspapers, and it was signed 
by Catherine Gladstone, Catharine Tait, and 
Catherine Marsh. "Penialinus" l gladly pounced 
upon the coincidence of the Christian names, 
and "The Three Catherines" became a catch- 
word in philanthropic circles. Each of the 
three was a remarkable woman, and each de- 

1 A nickname for a florid journalist ; invented by William 
Cory. 

4N 



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The Three Catherines 465 

serves a word of commemoration among the 
celebrities of the Seventies. 



MES. GLADSTONE 

Cathebine Gladstone was the elder daughter, 
and in her issue heir, of Sir Stephen Eichard 
Glynne, eighth baronet, of Hawarden, by 
Mary Neville, daughter of the second Lord 
Braybrooke, and was married in 1839 to William 
Ewart Gladstone. To describe Mrs. Gladstone 
is an extremely difficult task. One cannot 
compare her. She was not like any one else. 
Both in her powers and in her oddities she 
stood alone. No one whom I have ever known 
made a more vivid impression on my mind, 
and yet to convey that impression to another 
seems almost impossible. The attempt, how- 
ever, must be made. 

To begin with outward characteristics. She 
was tall and splendidly shaped, with a bearing 
which was queen-like in its stateliness and girl- 
like in its ease and elasticity. In this respect 
she never grew old, but was to the end as 
active and as graceful as when she became 
" the answering spirit-bride " of the foremost 

30 



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466 Portraits of the Seventies 

man of his generation. Never did she look 
more majestic than when, sitting by her 
husband's grave in Westminster Abbey, 6he 
received the reverent homage of the Heir to 
Throne, and the band of friends and disciples 
who had borne the body to its resting-place. 
Her beauty was on the grand scale — a noble 
brow, shaded by magnificent dark and wavy hair, 
eyes full of light and expression, and a wide though 
well-formed mouth. She was, not only by blood 
and training, but by temperament and instinct, 
emphatically a great lady (I eschew the French 
equivalent, and "aristocratic" sounds pompous). 
Her walk and curtsey as she passed the Royal 
presence at the Drawing Boom was long the 
admiration of those whose official duty obliged 
them to stand by the Throne or in the " general 
circle." All her habits, manners, and ways of 
speech belonged to that old school, which in 
these matters was certainly the best school. 
The effectiveness of her appearance owed 
nothing to art or study. She was by nature 
careless and untidy, and it was only the unre- 
mitting attentions of zealous maids that made 
her even presentable. Yet effective her appear- 
ance certainly was — no one's more so — and, 
when one thought what any other woman of 



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MRS. GLADSTONE. 



To fee* p. 466. 



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The Three Catherines 467 

her age, who bestowed so little care upon her 
dress, would have looked, one's admiration was 
intensified. 

She had a magnificent constitution, and the 
activity and joy in living which spring from that 
best endowment. No untoward circumstances 
could depress her spirits, and her sense of fun 
was like a perpetual fountain bubbling up in 
unexpected places. She saw the absurdities of 
situations, speech, character, and appearances, 
with peculiar keenness, and could scarcely keep 
her sense of amusement under control. She 
was peculiarly intolerant of bores and prosers, 
dealers in solemn commonplace, " sedentary 
weavers of long tales" ; and her skill in 
extricating herself from their meshes without 
hurting their self-esteem amounted to genius. 
Like many geniuses, she was, in the petty 
concerns of life, careless and unmethodical ; and 
this quality, playing round the social duties of 
a Premier's wife, not seldom landed her in 
difficulties. But here again her mother-wit 
always came to her aid, and Mr. Gladstone 
once proudly said to me : " My wife has a 
marvellous faculty of getting into scrapes, but 
an even more marvellous faculty of getting out 
of them." There was, however, one " scrape " 



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468 Portraits of the Seventies 

into which Mrs. Gladstone never got, and that 
was a betrayal of her husband's confidence. 
She told me that, at the outset of their married 
life, Mr. Gladstone, forecasting his probable 
career, gave her the choice of two alternatives 
— to know nothing, and be free from all respon- 
sibility: to know everything, and be bound to 
secrecy. Who can doubt which alternative was 
chosen? Forty years later Mr. Gladstone 
said to me : " My wife has known every political 
secret I have ever had, and has never once 
betrayed my confidence." 

But it was not only in her power of keeping 
a secret that Mrs. Gladstone excelled. She had 
been a devoted daughter and sister; she was 
to the last an exemplary mother and head of 
a family; what she was as a wife can best be 
conveyed in her husband's words, uttered on 
the occasion of their Golden Wedding : " It 
would not be possible to unfold in words the 
value of the gifts which the bounty of Providence 
has conferred upon me, however unworthy I 
may be, through her." Certainly no statesman 
ever had such a wife. From the earliest days 
of their married life, Mrs. Gladstone made her 
husband's health, not always so robust as in 
later years, her special charge ; and her skill and 



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The Three Catherines 469 

watchfulness drew from him this characteristic 
compliment : " My wife is no inconsiderable 
physician. An even more valuable contribution 
to his happiness was the sedulous care with 
which she warded off whatever might tend to 
disturb his vulnerable and impetuous temper. 
Their married life was one long honeymoon ; and, 
though indeed charged with solemn interests and 
issues, it had also a jocose and genial side 
which was inexpressibly attractive. No one who 
ever heard it will forget the quaint enjoyment 
with which Mr« Gladstone, grasping his wife's 
hand, used to sing the refrain of his favourite 
Fiddler's Song":— 

A ragamuffin husband and a rantipoling wife, 
We'll fiddle it and scrape it through the ups and downs 
of life. 

The slightest sketch of Mrs. Gladstone would 
be glaringly incomplete without some reference 
to her religious life. She belonged by instinct 
and training to the historic school of English 
churchmanship which existed long before the 
Oxford Movement began, though her abounding 
geniality and readiness to adapt herself to 
changed conditions enabled her to assimilate 
all that was best in Tractarianism and even 



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47° Portraits of the Seventies 

in Kitualism. She seemed equally at home in 
the unadorned worship of a simple Village-Church 
or in an incense-bearing procession of copes and 
banners. In truth her religion lay too deep 
beneath the surface to be much affected by 
externals ; but, though its home was in the heart, 
it energized and made itself felt in numberless 
forms of practical benevolence. Her husband 
had, in early manhood, bound himself by an 
act of solemn self-dedication, to the rescue of 
the fallen ; and in all such endeavours she was 
ever his wise and zealous helper. To Houses 
of Mercy, Orphanages, Hospitals, Convalescent 
Homes, and the like, she was a most zealous 
and generous friend; and, quite outside the 
limits of Institutions, her tender-heartedness, 
her strong sense, and her buoyant spirit made 
her a minister of untold comfort to individual suf- 
ferers. She had pre-eminently that characteristic 
mark of high breeding, that her manner was 
the same to high and low, to rich and poor, 
in courts and in cottages ; and, though she knew 
how to be angry when confronted by baseness 
or impertinence, she was never so truly herself 
as when she was binding up a broken heart or 
helping to rebuild a shattered life. When she 
died, I wrote an obituary notice of her in the 



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The Three Catherines 471 

Times> and could find no words more descriptive 
of her later years than those with which Sir 
Walter Scott closed the story of Minna Troil: — 
" Her thoughts were detached from the world, 
and only visited it, with an interest like that 
which Guardian Angels take for their charge, in 
behalf of those friends with whom she lived in 
love, or of the poor whom she could serve and 
comfort. Thus passed her life, enjoying, from 
all who approached her, an affection enhanced 
by reverence; insomuch that, when her friends 
sorrowed for her death, which arrived at a late 
period of her existence, they were comforted by 
the fond reflection, that the humanity which 
she then laid down was the only circumstance 
which had placed her, in the words of Scripture, 
1 a little lower than the angels.' " 



MRS. TAIT 



Catharine Tait (1819-78) was born Catharine 
Spooner. The Spooners were bankers in Birming- 
ham, and were connected by marriage with the 
O'Briens, the Calthorpes, the Noels, and the 
Wilberforces. One brother was Squire of Elm- 
don, some seven miles from Birmingham ; one was 



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472 Portraits of the Seventies 

Eeotor, and one was Member for the county. 
Catharine was the Sector's daughter, and she 
was educated in the profound seclusion of a 
Warwickshire village, when railways were only 
just beginning, and people still regarded a 
journey as a serious undertaking, not to be 
lightly enterprised. The Spooners were High 
Tories, fervent Evangelicals, and even fanatically 
opposed to Popery, Jesuitism, and all allied 
evils. In this environment Catharine Spooner 
was educated; the best part of it — the Evan- 
gelicanism — remained with her to the end, but 
before she had grown up other influences had 
begun to mould her life. The teaching of the 
Oxford school reached her through her cousin, 
Edward B. K. Fortescue, a devout and brilliant 
man, sometime Provost of St. Ninian's Cathedral, 
Perth. Under his guidance she became what, 
for want of a better word, may be called a 
Tractarian — an adherent of the moderately High 
Church party; staunchly loyal to the Church 
of England, profoundly devout, and unwearied 
in good works. 

The other influence which helped to enlarge 
her outlook in Church and State was that of 
Archibald Campbell Tait, a mild Whig and a 
still milder Latitudinarian, who became Head 



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MRS. TAIT. 



To fat* p. 471. 



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The Three Catherines 473 

Master of Rugby in 1842. Dunchurch is near 
Rugby; the Spooners had friends at Dunchurch, 
and, when she was staying with these friends in 
the winter of 1842, Catharine Spooner became 
engaged to the new Head Master. I have said 
in another part of this book that Tait's Head- 
mastership was not the most successful portion 
of his career; but it would have been a good 
deal less successful than it was if he had not 
been aided by the prettiness, the social gifts, 
and the genial kindness of his wife. She was a 
second mother to the boys (whom Tait was 
incapable of understanding). She was friendly 
and accessible to parents and assistant masters ; 
and she soon became a popular member of 
society in the surrounding county. In later 
life she used to say that the years which she 
spent at Rugby formed the happiest part of 
her life. 

In 1849 Tait became Dean of Carlisle, and 
there an event occurred which set a permanent 
mark on Mrs. Tait, and gave her a peculiar 
place among the women of England. It has 
been truly said that there is " an instinct, 
wholesome and touching, which ennobles a 
woman whom God has made desolate — whom 
bereavement, like the lightning of Heaven, has 



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474 Portraits of the Seventies 

smitten and made sacred." But for the event 
which, in Mrs. Tait's case, evoked this instinct, 
she would probably have lived and died unknown 
to the world at large. She might have spent 
her life at the Deanery of Carlisle, or perhaps 
in the modest "Palace" of some remote see; 
exemplary as wife and mother, diligent in good 
works ; an " example to godly matrons " ; bat 
scarcely more conspicuous than when, in her 
bright girlhood, she plied her daily task amid 
the scattered cottages and elm-lined meadows of 
her village home. The event which thus deter- 
mined the complexion and order of her life was 
narrated by herself, immediately after its occur- 
rence, in language singularly natural and 
restrained, but irresistibly pathetic. It is a 
pardonable exaggeration in her son-in-law, now 
(1916) Archbishop of Canterbury, to affirm that 
this narrative "will live in English literature," 
though it may well be " known and remembered 
in every land." Some may even doubt whether 
a story so intimate, of hope and fear and agony 
and resignation, ought ever to have been given 
to the world ; but, when the hand that wrote it 
was still in death, the bereaved husband dis- 
covered a paper which distinctly authorized its 
publication and he allowed it to appear in a 



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The Three Catherines 475 

Memorial of his wife and of his only son, which 
was published in 1879. 

What Mrs. Tait wrote in the hour of her bitter 
sorrow must here be condensed into the fewest 
and driest words. In March and April 1866 
scarlet fever in its most virulent form invaded 
the Deanery of Carlisle, and five of the Tarts' 
little children died. 

Very likely, tragedies as grievous as this have 
occurred at other times and places, and have 
passed without public notice. Indeed Arch- 
bishop Tait noted the fact that he once found 
in a churchyard a tombstone recording a loss 
almost exactly similar to his own. But, prob- 
ably because this tragedy occurred in an official 
residence and in the family of a well-known 
man, the tidings of it flew far and wide, and 
everywhere excited the liveliest sympathy with 
the parents who had undergone so singular an 
affliction. Among the people most keenly touched 
by it was Queen Victoria, whose motherly heart 
always responded to the cry of sorrow and 
bereavement, whether it came from a castle or 
from a cottage. 

Dean Tait's work on the Universities Commis- 
sion had brought him into close contact with the 
Whig politicians. He was known to desire a 



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476 Portraits of the Seventies 

bishopric and was believed to be fit for it. 
Lord Shaftesbury, who at that moment was 
"Bishop-maker" to Lord Palmerston, thought 
that the Broad Churchmen must have their 
turn, and regarded Tait as the most innocuous 
member of that party. Palmerston who, though 
a heathen, was thoroughly good-natured, thought 
that a man who had suffered such a misfortune 
as Tait's had been, deserved some consolation; 
and so, by a curious combination of events and 
circumstances, Tait, a Presbyterian in all his 
sympathies, with no episcopal and very little 
ecclesiastical experience, found himself at forty- 
five placed at the head of the most important 
see in Christendom. 

Of course this unexpected elevation had its 
bearing on the life and work of Mrs. Tait 
She now entered, perforce, that great world of 
which hitherto she had known nothing. Under 
her control London House and Fulham Palace 
became the centres of a constant and generous 
hospitality. The Bishop of London was a prime 
favourite with the Queen, whose heart always 
warmed towards a Scotsman, and Mrs. Tait 
shared the sunshine of Royal favour. All the 
great houses, at least of the serious sort, 
opened their doors to the Bishop and his wife; 



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The Three Catherines 477 

and even worldly people looked with respectful 
interest on a couple whose domestic life had 
been so cruelly darkened. But the world and 
its witcheries held no spell for a woman who 
had passed through that hot fire of tribulation. 
Mrs. Tait filled her appointed place in London 
with dutiful care and unostentatious dignity; 
but her heart was always in her home and in 
the innumerable works of mercy, some public 
and some concealed from view, in which she 
had always delighted, and for which her new 
position gave her fuller scope. Her own 
sorrows had given her a passport to every 
darkened home; but she never suffered pathetic 
memories to interfere with present duties, nor 
even to mar the outward cheerfulness which 
even stricken people owe to the society in 
which they move. 

Bishop Tait's translation to the See of 
Canterbury brought no change to Mrs. Tait, 
except extended opportunities of usefulness and 
an increasing burthen of domestic responsibility. 
As one looked at her in quiet moments one 
could see the "divine hieroglyphics of sorrow" 
written legibly on her expressive face; but her 
activity, her interest in life, her vivid and 
practical religiousness, showed that she had 



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478 Portraits of the Seventies 

learnt to live her life " as sorrowful yet alway 
rejoicing." I saw her for the last time in the 
private chapel at Addington on the 18th of 
March, 1877. 

When the tragedy at Carlisle came to an 
end, the Taits had been left with one boy of seven 
years old and an infant daughter. Two more 
girls were born, and at Fulham and Lambeth 
these four children made as bright a family as 
any home in England could show. The son grew 
up to be an exemplary and well-loved clergy- 
man, and a life of happy usefulness seemed to 
be opening before him; but in 1878 the most 
melancholy of texts was illustrated again in 
the case of this much-tried family, and "the 
clouds returned, after the rain." In 1878 Craufurd 
Tait died in his twenty-ninth year, and from 
this final blow his mother never rallied. Her 
strength, which through all toils and trials had 
been the astonishment of her friends, began to 
fail, and before the end of the year she passed 
into that higher life for which she had been so 
graciously yet so severely trained. 



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The Three Catherines 479 

MISS MABSH 

Catherine Maebh was born in 1818 and died 
in 1912. Her father, Dr. William Marsh 
(1775-1864), was a leading spirit among the 
Evangelical clergy of his time. He preached 
so insistently on the Millennium — a topio which 
religionists of all schools now seem to avoid — 
that he became known as " Millennial Marsh/ 9 
and, when he was appointed to a benefice in 
Birmingham he was enthusiastically received by 
the local Chartists, who fondly believed that 
"Marsh's Millennium" was identical with the 
Golden Age of social betterment which they 
had been led to expect. 

Catherine Marsh was from first to last an 
enthusiastic adherent of the religious school in 
which she had been reared; but she was marked 
out from the main body of her co-religionists 
by certain qualities which were specially her 
own. 

(1) Though of course she gave the concerns 
of the Eternal World the first place in her 
heart and in her life, she had a keen sympathy 
with temporal misfortune and a strong sense of 
social duty. In her philanthropic zeal and 
energy she far outran the rather jog-trot pace 



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480 Portraits of the Seventies 

which in her young days was thought binding 
on young women. " You thought, miss ! " cried 
Mrs. Malaprop, "I don't know any business 
you have to think at all — thought does not 
become a young woman " ; but Catherine Marsh 
persisted in thinking, and expressed her thoughts 
with unflinching courage both in word and in 
act. She began her work in quite early days 
among the citizens of Birmingham. Later, when 
the Crystal Palace was building, Dr. Marsh was 
living at Beckenham, and the neighbourhood 
was overrun by navvies, of whom some three 
thousand lived in the parish of Beckenham 
alone. They were in those days a rough and 
untended set, and Miss Marsh felt herself 
constrained to do something for them. Her 
practical good-sense, always one of her most 
marked characteristics, suggested the way, and 
she opened a Savings Bank for them. This 
led to friendly relations with their wives and 
children, and tea-drinkings on the Vicarage lawn. 
These good offices created a friendly footing, and 
on Sunday evenings she used to gather the 
men for what would now be called a "Mission 
Service" in a barn, where she presided and 
spoke, sitting at a small table at the top of 
the room. In those distant days there were 



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MISS MARSH. 



To toe p. 4!!. 



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The Three Catherines 481 

many who thought it indecorous for a woman 
to speak in public, even though her motives 
were the highest; but even those who ac- 
cepted Dr. Johnson's surly judgment on women's 
preaching could not say that, in Miss Marsh's 
case, it was not well done. She had an 
immense fluency, a rich choice of words, a 
singularly soft yet penetrating voice, and an 
earnestness which carried conviction almost 
before she opened her lips. She was in great 
request all over the country as a speaker on 
public platforms, and any one who heard her 
once wished to hear her again. Her effective- 
ness as a speaker was enhanced by her personal 
appearance, which has been well described by 
two friends well qualified to judge. Lady Victoria 
Buxton writes : " She was very tall and stately, 
one of Nature's noblewomen, and was always 
tastefully though simply dressed." Lady Frances 
Balfour says : " One associates her with all gentle 
movement; her tall, ample figure was always 
robed in soft colours and rich materials, for 
she said that those who dwelt much with the 
poor should dress in a manner which showed 
as much respect for them as for the rich" — 
an eminently characteristic touch. The mixture 
of stateliness and benignity in her bearing and 

3* 



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482 Portraits of the Seventies 

countenance always reminded me of George 
Bichmond's famous picture of Elizabeth Fry. 

When the navvies were drafted from Sydenham 
to the Crimea, to dig the trenches at Sebastopol, 
Miss Marsh followed them with her interest, 
her sympathy, and her letters, and in 1853 she 
became the Foundress of the "Navvy Mission," 
which subsists unto this day. 

In 1866 a plague of cholera swept through 
England, and specially devastated the East End 
of London. Mrs. Gladstone, Mrs. Tait, and 
Miss Sellon, Foundress-Mother of the Sisters of 
Mercy at Devonport, were among the most 
energetic workers in Whitechapel and Bethnal 
Green, and they were soon reinforced by 
Catherine Marsh, who had learnt a good deal 
about cholera through her friendship with 
Florence Nightingale. She spent her days in 
the London Hospital, ministering with undaunted 
courage to the sufferers in the plague-stricken 
wards; and, when the pestilence abated, she 
applied her characteristic good-sense to the 
work of creating Convalescent Homes, which, 
to a great extent through her powerful support, 
became permanent institutions of benevolence. 

(2) Miss Marsh was an inexhaustible and ad- 
mirable writer. More than forty works, of various 



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The Three Catherines 483 

sorts and sizes, are attached to her name in the 
catalogue of the British Museum. Her style 
was copious, correct, harmonious to the ear, and 
often really eloquent. It is true that she was 
rather over-abundant in quotation; but quota- 
tions, if good in themselves and aptly introduced, 
are immensely attractive to the class of readers 
which she aimed at influencing. I suppose her 
best-known book is Memorials of Captain Hedley 
Vicars, a gallant and devout young soldier who 
was engaged to her niece and was killed in the 
Crimea. Her Life of her father, though a little 
polemical, is excellent reading. English Hearts 
and English Hands is a book about, and for, 
navvies; and Light for the Line was similarly 
devoted to railway-servants. To enumerate her 
books would be a superfluous task, but it is 
worth noting that to the end of her long life 
she used to send every New Tear's Day to each 
of her friends a little booklet of cheerful and 
holy greeting, which generally touohed national 
as well as personal troubles, and always with the 
uplifting sense of a vivid and unconquerable faith. 
I reckon Miss Marsh among the really im- 
portant woman-writers of her time; worthy, as 
regards the influence which she exercised, to 
rank with Mrs. Browning and Miss Tonge. 



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484 Portraits of the Seventies 

(3) A third characteristic of Miss Marsh I 
notice separately ; because it is very rare in Low 
Church people, and not common in women of 
whatever belief* I mean the sense of humour. 
No one could imagine her flippant, or foolish, 
or given to inconvenient jesting ; but there was 
deep down in her nature, as in that of so many 
saints, a true fountain of fun, which leapt up 
and sparkled at unexpected moments, and was 
unmistakably refreshing where an undue or 
affected lachrymosity prevailed. She appre- 
ciated a good story, and loved a joke, and — 
rarer grace still— enjoyed it even when it was 
turned against herself. Let one instance suffice. 
I believe that the beloved lady was in politics 
a Conservative, and I know that she had in- 
herited from her father a vehement, and what 
in most people would have been a fanatical, 
horror of the Church of Borne, and therefore of 
Home Rule. One New Tear's Day, when the 
Irish Question was at its hottest, she circulated 
among her friends a prayer which, among other 
petitions for national favour, implored that the 
evil counsels of misguided men might be brought 
to naught, and that the hands of the rulers of 
Ireland might be strengthened. (Those are not 
the exact words, but they convey the sense.) 



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The Three Catherines 485 

As I happened to be a supporter of the Liberal 
polioy for Ireland, I could not forbear to write 
back to my kind old friend, suggesting that she 
should issue an alternative form for the use of 
Home Rulers. Most " Unionists " would have 
been furiously angry, and most Low Church 
people would have replied with a sermon on 
the errors of Popery; but dear Miss Marsh 
only responded with a laugh — if one can laugh 
with a pen — and thanked me for a bit of 
fun, of which, as she said with a rather arbitrary 
exclusiveness, "no one less than six feet high 
would have been capable." 



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POSTSCBIPT 

The portraits of Henry Labouohere and Joseph 
Chamberlain are reproduced from the Gornhill 
Magazine, by the kind permission of the Editor, 
Mr. Beginald Smith, K.C. 



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WOKING AND LONDON 



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VISCOUNT PALMEH8TON 



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A HISTOKY 



V* 



R O^YN TIMES 



IHh. AC(-J£>Sl'K\ OF OJhuN VICTCUhi t<* 
''VA' GEXVKAL ELECTION OF Ai*/ 



r* justix McCarthy 

4 Tit*. WAi'tHllA/J? >*V»HHofc»" " MT ENKMY S DAFOifTiK ' V*i 



IN THRLE VOLUMES 

Vol. II. 



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A. HISTORY 

OF 

OUE OWN TIMES 



FROM TEE ACCESSION OF QUEEN VICTORIA TO 
THE GENERAL ELECTION OF 1880 



By justin McCarthy 

▲UIHDR OF M TEB WATMUDALR NEIGHBORS" "MY ENIMY'b DAUGHTER" ETC. 



IN THREE VOLUMES 

Vol. IL 



WITH AN APPENDIX OF BVENT8 TO THE END OF 1886 



NEW YORK AND LONDON 

HARPER * BROTHERS PUBLISHERS 

1901 



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4 COKT1NTS Of VOL. H. 

CHAPTB tAtt 

LXI. Thb Ttob oh thb Turn 521 

LXII. Thb Fall of thb Gbbat Administration 58? 

LXm. "CONSERVATIVE REACTION:" INSTALLED IN OFFICB. . . 557 

TiXTV. Thb Eabtbbn Question Again 574 

LXV. Thb Congress of Berlin 595 

LXVI. Thb Anticlimax of Imperialism 614 

liXVLL The Literature of the Reign : Second Survey. . . 629 

APPENDIX 659 

INDEX 665 



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ILLUSTRATIONS 



VISCOUNT PALMKR9TON Frontispiece 

JOHN RUSKIN Facing page 18 

LORD LYTTON " 92 

JOHN STUART MILL " 112 

ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING " 164 

ROBERT BROWNING " 184 

RICHARD COBDEN " 200 

DUKE OF ARGYLL " 226 

CHARLES DICKRNS " 284 

THOMAS HENRY HUXLEY " 820 

LORD MACAULAY " 340 

BENJAMIN DISRAELI " 428 

STAFFORD HENRY NORTHCOTE " 514 

LORD DERBY " 560 

JAMES ANTHONY FROUDB " 580 

GEORGE ELIOT " 646 



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A HISTORY 



OF 



OUR OWN TIMES. 



CHAPTER XXX. 



Arm the supposed settlement of the Eastern Question 
at the Congress of Paris, a sort of languor seems to have 
come over Parliament and the public mind in England. 
Lord John Russell endeavored unsuccessfully to have some- 
thing done which should establish in England a genuine 
system of national education. He proposed a series of res- 
olutions, one of which laid down the principle that after a 
certain appointed time, when any school district should have 
been declared to be deficient in adequate means for the edu- 
cation of the poor, the Quarter Sessions of the Peace for the 
county, city, or borough should have power to impose a 
school rate. This was a step in the direction of compul- 
sory education. It anticipated the principle on which the 
first genuine measure for national instruction was founded 
many years after. It was, of course, rejected by the House 
of Commons when Lord John Russell proposed it. Public 
opinion, both in and out of Parliament, was not nearly ripe 
for such a principle then. All such proposals were quietly 
disposed of, with the observation that that sort of thing 
might do very well for Prussians, but would never suit Eng- 
lishmen. That was a time when a Prussian was regarded in 
England as a dull, beer-bemused, servile creature, good for 
nothing better than to grovel before his half-inebriated mon- 
archy and to get the stick from bis incapable military offi- 



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6 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

cere. The man who suggested then that perhaps some day 
the Prussians might show that they knew how to fight, 
would have been set down as on a par intellectually with 
the narrow-minded grumbler who did not believe in the 
profound sagacity of the Emperor of the French. For a 
country of practical men, England is ruled to a marvellous 
exteut by phrases, and the term " un-English " was destined 
for a considerable time to come to settle all attempts at the 
introduction of any system of national education which even 
touched on the compulsory principle. One of the regular 
attempts to admit the Jews to Parliament was made and 
succeeded in the House of Commons, to fail, as usual, in the 
House of Lords. The House of Lords itself was thrown into 
great perturbation for a time by the proposal of the Gov- 
ernment to confer a peerage for life on one of the judges, 
Sir James Parke. Lord Lyndhurst strongly opposed the 
proposal, on the ground that it was the beginning of an at- 
tempt to introduce a system of life-peerages, which would 
destroy the ancient and hereditary character of the House 
of Lords, allow of its being at any time broken up and re- 
modelled according to the discretion of the minister in pow- 
er, and reduce it, in fact, to the level of a continental life sen- 
ate. Many members of the House of Commons were like- 
wise afraid of the innovation ; it seemed to foreshadow the 
possible revival of an ancient principle of Crown nomination, 
which might be applied to the representative as well as to 
the hereditary chamber, seeing that at one time English 
sovereigns did undoubtedly assume the right of nominating 
members of the House of Commons. The Government, who 
had really no reactionary or revolutionary designs in their 
mind, settled the matter for the time by creating Sir James 
Parke Baron Wensleydale in the usual way, and the object 
they had in view was quietly accomplished many years 
later, when the appellate jurisdiction of the Lords was re- 
modelled. 

Sir George Lewis was Chancellor of the Exchequer. He 
was as yet not credited with anything like the political 
ability which he afterward proved that he possessed. It 
was the fashion to regard him as a mere bookman, who had 
drifted somehow into Parliament, and who, in the temporary 
absence of available talent, had been thrust into the office 



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THE LORCHA "ARROW." 7 

lately held by Mr. Gladstone. The contrast, indeed, between 
the style of his speaking and that of Mr. Gladstone or Mr. 
Disrafcli was enongh to dishearten any political assembly. 
Mr. Gladstone had brought to his budget speeches an elo- 
quence that brightened the driest details, and made the wil- 
derness of figures to blossom like the rose. Mr. Disraeli was 
able to make a financial statement burst into a bouquet of 
fireworks. Sir George Lewis began by being nearly inaudi- 
ble, and continued to the last to be oppressed by the most 
ineffective and unattractive manner and delivery. But it 
began to be gradually found out that the monotonous, 
halting, feeble manner covered a very remarkable power of 
expression ; that the speaker had great resources of argu- 
ment, humor, and illustration ; that every sentence contain- 
ed some fresh idea or some happy expression. It was not 
very long before an experienced observer of Parliament de- 
clared that Sir George Lewis delivered the best speeches 
with the worst manner known to the existing House of 
Commons. After awhile a reaction set in, and the capaci- 
ty of Lewis ran the risk of being overrated quite as much as 
it had been undervalued before. In him, men said, was seen 
the coming Prime-minister of England. Time, as it will be 
seen afterward, did not allow Sir George Lewis any chance 
of making good this prediction. He was undoubtedly a 
man of rare ability and refined intellect ; an example very 
uncommon in England of the thinker, the scholar, and the 
statesman in one. His speeches were an intellectual treat 
to all with whom matter counted for more than manner. 
One who had watched parliamentary life from without and 
within for many years, said he had never had his deliberate 
opinion changed by a speech in the House of Commons but 
twice, and each time it was an argument from Sir George 
Lewis that accomplished the conversion. 

For the present, however, Sir George Lewis was regarded 
only as the sort of statesman whom it was fitting to have 
in office just then ; the statesman of an interval in whom no 
one was expected to take any particular interest. The at- 
tention of the public was a good deal distracted from polit- 
ical affairs by the simultaneous outbreak of new forms of 
crime and fraud. The trial of Palmer in the Rugeley poi- 
aoning case; the trial of Dove in the Leeds poisoning case— 



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8 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

these and similar events set the popular mind into wild 
alarm as to the prevalence of strychnine poisoning every- 
where. The failure and frauds of the Royal British Bank, 
the frauds of Robson and Redpath, gave for the time a sort 
of idea that the financial principles of the country were 
crumbling to pieces. The culmination of the extraordinary 
career of John Sadleir was fresh in public memory. This 
man, it will be recollected, was the organizer and guiding 
spirit of the Irish Brigade, the gang of adventurers whom 
we have already described as trading on the genuine griev- 
ances of their country to get power and money for them- 
selves. John Sadleir overdid the thing. He embezzled, 
swindled, forged, and finally escaped justice by committing 
suicide on Hampstead Heath. So fraudful had his life been 
that many persons persisted in believing that his supposed 
suicide was but another fraud. He had got possession — 
such was the theory — of a dead body which bore some 
resemblance to his own form and features ; he bad palmed 
this off as his own corpse done to death by poison ; and had 
himself contrived to escape with a large portion of his ill- 
gotten money. This extraordinary parody and perversion 
of the plot of Jean Paul Richter's story of " Siebenk&s " re- 
ally found many faithful believers. It is worth mentioning, 
not as a theory credible in itself, but as an evidence of the 
belief that had got abroad as to the character and the strat- 
agems of Sadleir. The brother of Sadleir was expelled from 
the House of Commons ; one of his accomplices, who had 
obtained a Government appointment and had embezzled 
money, contrived to make his escape to the United States ; 
and the Irish Brigade was broken up. It is only just to say 
that the best representatives of the Irish Catholics and the 
Irish national party, in and out of Parliament, had never 
from the first believed in Sadleir and his band, and had made 
persistent efforts to expose them. 

About this same time Mr. Cyrus W. Field, an energetic 
American merchant, came over to this country to explain to 
its leading merchants and scientific men a plan he had for 
constructing an electric telegraph line underneath the At- 
lantic. Mr. Field had had this idea strongly in his mind for 
some years, and he made a strenuous effort to impress the 
English public with a conviction of its practicability. He 



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THE LORCHA "ABROW." 9 

was received by the merchants of Liverpool on November 
12th, 1856, in their Exchange Rooms, and he made a long 
statement explaining his views, which were listened to with 
polite curiosity. Mr. Field had, however, a mnch better re- 
oeption, on the whole, than M. de Lesseps, who came to 
England a few months later to explain his project for con- 
structing a ship-canal across the Isthmus of Suez. The pro- 
posal was received with coldness, and more than coldness, 
by engineers, capitalists, and politicians. Engineers showed 
that the canal could not be made, or at least maintained 
when made; capitalists proved that it never could pay; 
and politicians were ready to make it plain that such a 
canal, if made, would be a standing menace to English in- 
terests. Lord Palmerston, a few days after, frankly admit- 
ted that the English Government were opposed to the proj- 
ect, because it would tend to the more easy separation of 
Egypt from Turkey, and set afloat speculations as to a ready 
access to India. M. de Lesseps himself has given an amus- 
ing account of the manner in which Lord Palmerston de- 
nounced the scheme in an interview with the projector. 
Luckily neither Mr. Field nor M. de Lesseps was a person 
to be lightly discouraged. Great projectors are usually as 
full of their own ideas as great poets. M. de Lesseps had in 
the end, perhaps, more reason to be alarmed at England's 
sudden appreciation of his scheme, than he had, in the first 
instance, to complain of the cold disapprobation with which 
her Government encountered it. 

The political world seemed to have made up its mind for 
a season of quiet. Suddenly that happened which always 
does happen in such a condition of things — a storm broke 
out. To those who remember the events of that time, three 
words will explain the nature of the disturbance. "The 
lorcha Arrow" will bring back the recollection of one of the 
most curious political convulsions known in this country dur- 
ing our generation. For years after the actual events con- 
nected with the lorcha Arrow, the very name of that ominous 
vessel used to send a shudder through the House of Com- 
mons. The word suggested first an impassioned contro- 
versy which had left a painful impression on the condition 
of political parties, and next an effort of futile persistency to 
open the whole controversy over again, and force it upon the 



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10 A HISTORY OP OUR OWN TIMES. 

notice of legislators who wished for nothing better than to 
be allowed to forget it. 

In the Speech from the Throne at the opening of Parlia- 
ment, on February 3d, 1857, the following passage occurred: 
"Her Majesty commands us to inform you that acts of 
violence, insults to the British flag, and infraction of treaty 
rights, committed by the local Chinese authorities at Canton, 
and a pertinacious refusal of redress, have rendered it neces- 
sary for her Majesty's officers in China to have recourse to 
measures of force to obtain satisfaction." The acts of vio- 
lence, the insults to the British flag, and the infraction of 
treaty rights alleged to have been committed by the Chinese 
authorities at Canton had for their single victim the lorcha 
Arrow. The lorcha Arrow was a small boat built on the Eu- 
ropean model. The word " lorcha " is taken from the Port- 
uguese settlement at Macao, at the mouth of the Canton 
River. It often occurs in Treaties with the Chinese authori- 
ties. " Every British schooner, cutter, lorcha, etc.," are words 
that we constantly find in these documents. On October 
8th, 1856, a party of Chinese in charge of an officer boarded 
a boat, called the Arrow, in the Canton River. They took 
off twelve men on a charge of piracy, leaving two men in 
charge of the lorcha. The Arrow was declared by its own- 
ers to be a British vessel. Our Consul at Canton, Mr. Parkes, 
demanded from Teh, the Chinese Governor of Canton, the 
return of the men, basing his demand upon the ninth Arti- 
cle of the Supplemental Treaty of 1843, entered into subse- 
quently to the Treaty of 1842. We need not go deeper into 
the terms of this Treaty than to say that there could be no 
doubt that it did not give the Chinese authorities any right 
to seize Chinese offenders, or supposed offenders, on board an 
English vessel ; it merely gave them a right to require the 
surrender of the offenders at the hands of the English. The 
Chinese Governor, Teh, contended, however, that the lorcha 
was not an English but a Chinese vessel — a Chinese pirate, 
venturing occasionally, for her own purposes, to fly the flag 
of England, which she had no right whatever to hoist. Under 
the Treaties with China, British vessels were to be subject 
to consular authority only. The Treaty provided amply for 
the registration of vessels entitled to British protection, for 
the regular renewal of the registration, and for the condi- 



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THE LORCHA "ARROW." 11 

tions under which the registration was to be granted or re- 
newed. The Arrow had somehow obtained a British regis- 
tration, but it had expired about ten days before the occur- 
rence in the Canton River, and even the British authorities 
who had been persuaded to grant the registration were not 
certain whether, with the knowledge they subsequently ob- 
tained, it could legally be renewed. We believe it may be 
plainly stated at once, as a matter of fact, that the Arrow 
was not an English vessel, but only a Chinese vessel which 
had obtained, by false pretences, the temporary possession of 
a British flag. Mr. Consul Parkes, however, was fussy, and 
he demanded the instant restoration of the captured men, 
and he sent off to our Plenipotentiary at Hong Kong, Sir 
John Bo wring, for authority and assistance in the business. 

Sir John Bowring was a man of considerable ability. At 
one time he seemed to be a candidate for something like 
fame. He was the political pupil and the literary executor 
of Jeremy Bentham, and for some years was editor of the 
Westminster Review. He had a very large and varied, al- 
though not profound or scholarly, knowledge of European 
and Asiatic languages (there was not much scientific study 
of languages in his early days), he had travelled a great 
deal, and had sat in Parliament for some years. He under- 
stood political economy, and had a good knowledge of trade 
and commerce ; and in those days a literary man who knew 
anything about trade and commerce was thought a person 
of almost miraculous versatility. Bowring had many friends 
and admirers, and he set up early for a sort of great man. 
He was full of self-conceit, and without any very clear idea 
of political principles on the large scale. Nothing in all his 
previous habits of life, nothing in the associations and friend- 
ships by which he had long been surrounded, nothing in his 
studies or his writings, warranted any one in expecting that, 
when placed in a responsible position in China at a moment 
of great crisis, he would have taken on him to act the part 
which aroused such a controversy. It would seem as if his 
eager self-conceit would not allow him to resist the tempta- 
tion to display himself on the field of political action as a 
great English plenipotentiary, a master-spirit of the order 
of Clive or Warren Hastings, bidding England be of good 
cheer, and compelling inferior races to grovel in the dust 



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12 A HISTORY OP OUR OWN TOMK& 

before her. Bowring knew China as well as it was then 
likely that an Englishman could know the " huge mammy 
empire by the hands of custom wrapped in swathing bands." 
He had been Consul for some years at Canton, and he had 
held the post of chief superintendent of trade there. He 
sent to the Chinese authorities, and demanded the surren- 
der of all the men taken from the Arrow. Not merely did 
he demand the surrender of the men, but he insisted that 
an apology should be offered for their arrest, and a formal 
pledge given by the Chinese authorities that no such act 
should ever be committed again. If this were not done 
within forty-eight hours, naval operations were to be begun 
against the Chinese. This sort of demand was less like that 
of a dignified English official, conscious of the justice of his 
cause and the strength of his country, than like the de- 
meanor of Ancient Pistol formulating his terms to the fallen 
Frenchman on the battle-field: "I'll fer him, and firk him, 
and ferret him — discuss the same in French unto him." Sir 
John Bowring called out to the Chinese Governor, Teh, that 
he would fer him, and firk him, and ferret him, and bade the 
same be discussed in Chinese unto him. Teh sent baok all 
the men, saying, in effect, that he did so to avoid the ferring, 
and firking, and ferreting, and he even undertook to promise 
that for the future great care should be taken that no Brit- 
ish ship should be visited improperly by Chinese officers. 
But he could not offer an apology for the particular case of 
the Arrow; for he still maintained, as was indeed the fact, 
that the Arrow was a Chinese vessel, and that the English 
had nothing to do with her. In truth, Sir John Bowring 
had himself written to Consul Parkes to say that the Arrow 
had no right to hoist the English flag, as her license, how- 
ever obtained, had expired ; but he got over this difficulty 
by remarking that, after all, the Chinese did not know that 
fact, and that they were therefore responsible. Accordingly, 
Sir John Bowring carried out his threat, and immediately 
made war on China. He did something worse than making 
war in the ordinary way; he had Canton bombarded by 
the fleet which Admiral Sir Michael Seymour commanded. 
From October 23d to November 13th naval and military 
operations were kept up continuously. A large number of 
forts and junks were taken and destroyed. The suburbs of 



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THE LOBCHA "ARROW." 18 

Canton were battered down in order that the ships might 
have a clearer range to fire upon the eity. Shot and shell 
were poured in upon Canton. Sir John Bowring thought 
the time appropriate for reviving certain alleged treaty 
rights for the admission of representatives of British author- 
ity into Canton. During the Parliamentary debates that 
followed, Sir John Bowring was accused by Lord Derby and 
Mr. Cobden of having a sort of monomania about getting 
into Canton. Curiously enough, in his autobiographical 
fragment Sir John Bowring tells that when he was a little 
boy he dreamed that he was sent by the King of England 
as ambassador to China. In his later days he appears to 
have been somewhat childishly anxious to realize this dream 
of his infancy. He showed all a child's persistent strength 
of will and weakness of reason in enforcing his demand, 
and he appears, at one period of the controversy, to have 
thought that it had no other end than his solemn entry into 
Canton. Meanwhile Commissioner Teh retaliated by fool- 
ishly offering a reward for the head of every Englishman. 
Throughout the whole business Sir John Bowring contrived 
to keep himself almost invariably in the wrong ; and even 
where his claim happened to be in itself good, he managed 
to assert it in a manner at once untimely, imprudent, and 
indecent. 

This news from China created a considerable sensation in 
England, although not many publio men had any idea of 
the manner in which it was destined to affect the House of 
Commons. On February 24th, 1857, Lord Derby brought 
forward in the House of Lords a motion comprehensively 
condemning the whole of the proceedings of the British au- 
thorities in China. The debate would have been memora- 
ble if only for the powerful speech in which the venerable 
Lord Lyndhurst supported the motion, and exposed the 
utter illegality of the course pursued by Sir John Bowring. 
Lord Lyndhurst declared that the proceedings of the Brit- 
ish authorities could not be justified upon any principle, 
either of law or of reason ; that the Arrow was simply a 
Chinese vessel, built in China, and owned and manned by 
Chinamen ; and he laid it down as a " principle which no 
one will successfully contest/ 9 that you may give "any 
rights or any privileges to a foreigner or a foreign vessel as 



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14 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIME& 

against yourself, but you cannot grant to any such foreigner 
a single right or privilege as against a foreign State." In 
other words, if the British authorities chose to give a Brit- 
ish license to a Chinese pirate boat which would secure 
her some immunity against British law, that would be alto- 
gether an affair for themselves and their Government ; but 
they could not pretend, by any British register or other 
document, to give a Chinese boat in Chinese waters a right 
of exemption from the laws of China. Perhaps the whole 
question never could have arisen if it were not for the fact 
on which Lord Lyndhurst commented, that, " when we are 
talking of treaty transactions with Eastern nations, we have 
a kind of loose law and loose notion of morality in regard 
to them." The question as to the right conferred by the 
license, such as it was, to hoist the British flag, could not 
have been disposed of more effectually than it was by the 
Chinese Governor Teh himself, in a single sentence. " A 
lorcha," as Teh put it, "owned by a Chinese, purchased a 
British flag; did that make her a British vessel?" The 
Lord Chancellor was actually driven to answer Lord Lynd- 
hurst by contending that no matter whether the lorcha was 
legally or illegally flying the British flag, it was not for the 
Chinese to assume that she was flying it illegally, and that 
they had no right to board the vessel on the assumption 
that she was not what she pretended to be. To show the 
value of that argument, it is only necessary to say that if 
such were the recognized principle, every pirate in the Can- 
ton River would have nothing further to do than to hoist 
any old scrap of British bunting, and sail on, defiant, under 
the very eyes of the Chinese authorities. The Governor of 
Canton would be compelled to make a formal complaint to 
Sir John Bowring, and trust meanwhile that a spirit of fair- 
play would induce the pirates to wait for a formal investiga- 
tion by the British authorities. Otherwise neither Chinese 
nor British could take any steps to capture the offenders. 

The House of Lords rejected the motion of Lord Derby 
by a majority of 146 to 1 10. On February 26th, Mr. Cobden 
brought forward a motion in the House of Commons, declar- 
ing that "the papers which have been laid upon the table 
fail to establish satisfactory grounds for the violent meas- 
ures resorted to at Canton in the late affair of the Arrow," 



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THE LORCHA "ARROW." 15 

and demanding " that a select committee be appointed to 
inquire into the state of our commercial relations with 
China." This must have been a peculiarly painful task for 
Mr. Cobden. He was an old friend of Sir John Bowring, 
with whom he had always supposed himself to have many 
or most opinions in common. But he followed his convic- 
tions as to public duty in despite of his personal friendship. 
It is a curious evidence of the manner in which the moral 
principles become distorted in a political contest, that dur- 
ing the subsequent elections it was actually made a matter 
of reproach to Mr. Cobden that, while acknowledging his 
old friendship for Sir John Bowring, he was nevertheless 
found ready to move a vote of censure on his public con- 
duct. The debate was remarkable more for the singular 
political combination which it developed as it went on, than 
even for its varied ability and eloquence. Men spoke and 
voted on the same side who had probably never been 
brought into such companionship before, and never were 
afterward. Mr. Cobden found himself supported by Mr. 
Gladstone and Mr. Disraeli, by Mr. Roebuck and Sir E. B. 
Lytton, by Lord John Russell and Mr. Whiteside, by Lord 
Robert Cecil, afterward the Marquis of Salisbury, Sir Fred- 
erick Thesiger, Mr. Roundell Palmer, afterward Lord Sel- 
borne, Mr. Sidney Herbert, and Mr. Milner Gibson. The 
discussion lasted four nights, and it was only as it went on 
that men's eyes began to open to its political importance. 
Mr. Cobden had probably never dreamed of the amount or 
the nature of the support his motion was destined to re- 
ceive. The Government and the Opposition alike held 
meetings out-of-doors to agree upon a general line of action 
in the debate and to prepare for the result. Lord Palraer- 
eton was convinced that he would come all right in the end, 
but he felt that he had made himself obnoxious to the ad- 
vanced Liberals by his indifference, or rather hostility, to 
every project of reform, and he persuaded himself that the 
opportunity would be eagerly caught at by them to make 
a combination with the Tories against him. In all this he 
was deceiving himself, as he had done more than once be- 
fore. There is not the slightest reason to believe that any- 
thing but a growing conviction of the insufficiency of the 
defence set up for the proceedings in Canton influenced the 



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16 A HISTORY OF OtfB OWN TIMES. 

great majority of those who spoke and voted for Mr. Cob- 
den's motion. The truth is, that there has seldom been so 
flagrant and so inexcusable an example of high-handed law- 
lessness in the dealings of a strong with a weak nation. 
When the debate first began, it is quite possible that many 
public men still believed some explanation or defence was 
coming forward, which would enable them to do that which 
the House of Commons is always unwilling not to do — to 
sustain the action of an English official in a foreign country. 
As the discussion went on it became more and more evident 
that there was no such defence or explanation. Men found 
their consciences coerced into a condemnation of Sir John 
Bowring's conduct. It was almost ludicrous when the mis- 
erable quibblings and evasions of the British officials came 
to be contrasted with the cruelly clear arguments of the 
Chinese. The reading of these latter documents came like 
a practical enforcement of Mr. Cobden's description of the 
Chinese Empire as a State " which had its system of logic 
before the time of Aristotle, and its code of morals before 
that of Socrates." The vote of censure was carried by 263 
votes against 247 — a majority of 16. 

Mr. Disraeli, in the course of a olever and defiant speech 
made toward the close of the long debate, had challenged 
Lord Palmerston to take the opinion of the country on the 
policy of the Government. " I should like," he exclaimed, 
" to see the programme of the proud leaders of the Liberal 
party — no reform, new taxes, Canton blazing, Pekin in- 
vaded." Lord Palmerston's answer was virtually that of 
Brutus : " Why, I will see thee at Philippi then." He an- 
nounced two or three days after that the Government had 
resolved on a dissolution and an appeal to the country. 
Lord Palmerston knew his Pappenheimers. He understood 
his countrymen. He knew that a popular minister makes 
himself more popular by appealing to the country, on the 
ground that he has been condemned by the House of Com- 
mons for upholding the honor of England and coercing some 
foreign power somewhere. His address to the electors of 
Tiverton differed curiously in its plan of appeal from that 
of Lord John Russell to the electors of the City, or that of 
Mr. Disraeli to those of Buckinghamshire. Lord John Rus- 
pell coolly and wisely argued out the controversy between 



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17 

him and Lord Palmerston, and gave very satisfactory rea- 
sons to prove that there was no sufficient justification for 
the bombardment of Canton. Mr. Disraeli described Lord 
Palmerston as the Tory chief of a Radical Cabinet, and de- 
clared that, " with no domestic policy, he is obliged to divert 
the attention of the people from the consideration of their 
own affairs to the distractions of foreign politics. 9 ' " His 
external system is turbulent and aggressive, that his rule 
at home may be tranquil and unassailed." In later days a 
charge not altogether unlike that was made against an Eng- 
lish Prime-minister who was not Lord Palmerston. Lord 
Palmerston understood the temper of the country too well 
to trouble himself about arguments of any kind. He came 
to the point at once. In his address to the electors of Tiv- 
erton he deolared that " an insolent barbarian, wielding au- 
thority at Canton, violated the British flag, broke the en- 
gagements of treaties, offered rewards for the heads of Brit- 
ish subjects in that part of China, and planned their destruc- 
tion by murder, assassination, and poison." That, of course, 
was all-sufficient. The " insolent barbarian " was in itself 
almost enough. Governor Teh certainly was not a barba- 
rian. His argument on the subject of International Law 
obtained the endorsement of Lord Lyndhurst. His way of 
arguing the political and commercial case compelled the ad- 
miration of Lord Derby. His letters form a curious contrast 
to the documents contributed to the controversy by the rep- 
resentatives of British authority in China. However, he 
became for electioneering purposes an insolent barbarian; 
and the story of a Chinese baker who was said to have tried 
to poison Sir John Bo wring became transfigured into an at- 
tempt at the wholesale poisoning of Englishmen in China by 
the express orders of the Chinese Governor. Lord Palmer- 
ston further intimated that he and his Government had been 
censured by a combination of factious persons who, if they 
got into power and were prepared to be consistent, must apol- 
ogize to the Chinese Government and offer compensation to 
the Chinese Commissioner. "Will the British nation," he 
asked, " give their support to men who have thus endeavor- 
ed to make the humiliation and degradation of their country 
the stepping-stone to power?" 

No, to be sure ; the British nation would do nothing of 

IL— 2 



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18 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMHS. 

the kind. Lord Derby, Lord Lyndhurst, Mr. Gladstone, Mr. 
Cobden, Mr. Disraeli, Sir E. B. Ly tton, Lord Grey, Lord Rob- 
ert Cecil — these were the craven Englishmen, devoid of all 
patriotic or manly feeling, who were trying to make the hu- 
miliation and degradation of their country a stepping-stone to 
power. They were likewise the friends and allies of the in- 
solent barbarian. There were no music-halls of the modern 
type in those days. Had there been such, the denunciations 
of the insolent barbarian, and of his still baser British friends, 
would no doubt have been shouted forth night after night 
in the metropolis, to the accompaniment of rattling glasses 
and clattering pint-pots. Even without the alliance of the 
music-halls, however, Lord Palmerston swept the field of his 
enemies. His victory was complete. The defeat of the men 
of peace, in especial, was what Mr. Ruskin once called, not a 
fall but a catastrophe. Cobden, Bright, Milner Gibson, W. 
J. Fox, Layard, and many other leading opponents of the 
Chinese policy, were left without seats. There was some- 
thing peculiarly painful in the circumstances of Mr. Bright's 
defeat at Manchester. Mr. Bright was suffering from severe 
illness. In the opinion of many of his friends his health was 
thoroughly broken. He had worked in public life with a 
generous disregard of his physical resources; and he was 
compelled to leave the country and seek rest, first in Italy, 
and afterward in Algeria. It was not a time when even 
political enmity could with a good grace have ventured to 
visit on him the supposed offences of his party. But the 
" insolent barbarian " phrase overthrew him too. He sent 
home from Florence a farewell address to the electors of 
Manchester, which was full of quiet dignity. " I have es- 
teemed it a high honor" — thus ran one passage of the ad- 
dress — " to be one of your representatives, and have given 
more of mental and physical labor to your service than is 
just to myself. I feel it scarcely less an honor to suffer in 
the cause of peace, and on behalf of what I believe to be the 
true interests of my country, though I could have wished 
that the blow had come from other hands, at a time when I 
<Jould have met face to face those who dealt it." 

Not long after, Mr. Cobden, one of the least sentimental 
and the most unaffected of men, speaking in the Manchester 
Free-trade Hall of the circumstances of Mr. Bright's rejec- 



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/^SjKJSI^ 








H*k w^ Mr 




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JOHN KUSKIN 



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THE LORCHA "ARROW." 19 

tion from Manchester, and the leave-taking address which 
so many regarded as the last public word of a great career, 
found himself unable to go on with that part of his speech. 
An emotion more honorable to the speaker and his subject 
than the most elaborate triumph of eloquence, checked the 
flow of the orator's words, and for the moment made him 
inarticulate. 

Lord Palmerston came back to power with renewed and 
redoubled strength. The little war with Persia, which will 
be mentioned afterward, came to an end in time to give him 
another claim as a conqueror on the sympathies of the con- 
stituencies. His appointments of bishops had given great 
satisfaction to the Evangelical party, and he had become for 
the time quite a sort of Church hero, much to the amuse- 
ment of Lord Derby, who made great sport of " Palmerston, 
the true Protestant ;" "Palmerston, the only Christian Prime- 
minister." In the Royal Speech at the opening of Parliament 
it was announced that the differences between this coun- 
try and China still remained unadjusted, and that therefore 
" Her Majesty has sent to China a Plenipotentiary fully in- 
trusted to deal with all matters of difference ; and that Plen- 
ipotentiary will be supported by an adequate naval and mil- 
itary force in the event of such assistance becoming neces- 
sary." It would be almost superfluous to say that the as- 
sistance of the naval and military force thus suggested 
was found to be necessary. The Government, however, had 
more serious business with which to occupy themselves be- 
fore they were at liberty to turn to the easy work of coercing 
the Chinese. 

The new Parliament was engaged for some time in pass- 
ing the Act for the establishment of a Court of Divorce — 
that is to say, abolishing the ancient jurisdiction of the 
ecclesiastical courts respecting divorce, and setting up a 
regular court of law — the Divorce and Matrimonial Causes 
Court — to deal with questions between husband and wife. 
The passing of the Divorce Act was strongly contested in 
both Houses of Parliament, and, indeed, was secured at last 
only by Lord Palmerston's intimating very significantly that 
he would keep the Houses sitting until the measure had 
been disposed of. Mr. Gladstone, in particular, offered to 
the bill a most strenuous opposition. He condemned it on 



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20 A HISTORY OF OUB OWN TIMES. 

strictly conscientious grounds. Tet it has to be said, even 
as a question of conscience, that there was divorce in Eng- 
land before the passing of the Act ; the only difference be* 
ing that the Act made divorce somewhat cheap and rath- 
er easy. Before, it was the luxury of the rich ; the Act 
brought it within the reach of almost the poorest of her 
Majesty's subjects. We confess that we do not see how 
any great moral or religious principle is violated in the one 
case any more than in the other. The question at issue was 
not whether divorce should be allowed by the law, but 
only whether it should be high-priced or comparatively in- 
expensive. It is certainly a public advantage, as it seems 
to us, that the change in the law has put an end to the de- 
bates that used to take place in both Houses of Parliament. 
When any important bill of divorce was under discussion, 
the members crowded the House, the case was discussed in 
all its details as any clause in a bill is now debated ; long 
speeches were made by those who thought the divorce 
ought to be granted and those who thought the contrary ; 
and the time of Parliament was occupied in the edifying 
discussion as to whether some unhappy woman's shame was 
or was not clearly established. In one famous case, where 
a distinguished peer, orator, and statesman sought a divorce 
from his wife, every point of the evidence was debated in 
Parliament for night after night. Members spoke in the 
debate who had known nothing of the case until the bill 
came before them. One member, perhaps, was taken with a 
vague sympathy with the wife ; he set about to show that 
the evidence against her proved nothing. Another sympa- 
thized with husbands in general, and made it his business 
to emphasize every point that told of guilt in the woman. 
More than one earnest speaker during those debates ex- 
pressed an ardent hope that the time might oome when 
Parliament should be relieved from the duty of undertaking 
such unsuitable and scandalous investigations. It must be 
owned that public decency suffers less by the regulated ao- 
tion of the Divorce Court than it did under this preposter- 
ous and abominable system. We cannot help adding, too, 
that the Divorce Act, judging by the publio use made of it, 
certainly must be held to have justified itself in a merely 
practical sense. It seems to have been thoroughly appro* 



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TRANSPORTATION. 21 

ciated by a grateful public. It was not easy, after awhile, 
to get judicial power enough to keep the supply of divorces 
up to the ever-increasing demand. 

Lord Palmerston then appears to be furnished with an 
entirely new lease of power. The little Persian War has 
been brought to a close ; the country is not disposed to lis- 
ten to any complaint as to the manner in which it was un- 
dertaken. The settlement of the dispute with China prom- 
ised to be an easy piece of business. The peace party were 
everywhere overthrown. No one could well have antici- 
pated that within less than a year from the general election 
a motion made in the House of Commons, by one whom it 
unseated, was to compel the Government of Lord Palmer- 
ston suddenly to resign office. 



CHAPTER XXXL 

TRANSPORTATION. 



Thb year 1857 would have been memorable, if for no 
other reason, because it saw the abolition of the system of 
transportation. Transportation as a means of getting rid 
of part of our criminal population dates from the time of 
Charles II, when the judges gave power for the removal of 
offenders to the North American colonies. The fiction of 
the years coming immediately after took account of this in- 
novation, and one of the most celebrated, if not exactly one 
of the finest, of Defoe's novels deals with the history of a 
convict thus sent out to Virginia. Afterward the revolt 
of the American colonies and other cases made it necessary 
to send convicts farther away from civilization. The pun- 
ishment of transportation was first regularly introduced into 
our criminal law in 1717, by an Act of Parliament. In 1787 
a cargo of criminals was shipped out to Botany Bay, on the 
eastern shore of New South Wales, and near Sydney, the 
present thriving capital of the colony. Afterward the con- 
victs were also sent to Van Diemen's Land, or Tasmania ; 
and to Norfolk Island, a lonely island in the Pacific, some 
eight hundred miles from the New South Wales shore. 
Norfolk Island became the penal settlement for the eon- 



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22 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

victed among convicts ; that is to say, criminals who, after 
transportation to New South Wales, committed new crimes 
there, might be sent by the Colonial authorities for sterner 
punishment to Norfolk Island. 

Nothing can seem on the face of it a more satisfactory 
way of disposing of criminals than the system of transporta- 
tion. In the first place, it got rid of them, so far as the peo- 
ple at home were concerned ; and for a long time that was 
about all that the people at home cared. Those who had 
committed crimes not bad enough to be disposed of by the 
simple and efficient operation of the gallows were got rid of 
in a manner almost as prompt and effective by the plan of 
sending them out in ship-loads to America or to Australia. It 
looked, too, as if the system ought to be satisfactory in every 
way and to everybody. The convicts were provided with 
a new career, a new country, and a chance of reformation. 
They were usually, after awhile, released from actual durance 
in the penal settlement, and allowed conditionally to find em- 
ployment, and to make themselves, if they could, good citi- 
zens. Their labor, it was thought, would be of great service 
to the colonists. The Act of 1717 recited that "in many of 
his Majesty's colonies and plantations in America there was 
a great want of servants who, by their labor and industry, 
might be the means of improving and making the said colo- 
nies and plantations more useful to this nation." At that 
time statesmen only thought of the utility of the colonies to 
this nation. Philanthropy might, therefore, for awhile be- 
guile itself with the belief that the transportation system was 
a benefit to the transported as well as to those among whom 
they were sent. But the colonists very soon began to com- 
plain. The convicts who had spent their period of probation 
in hulks or prisons generally left those homes of horror with 
natures so brutalized as to make their intrusion into any com- 
munity of decent persons an insufferable nuisance. Pent up 
in penal settlements by themselves, the convicts turned into 
demons ; drafted into an inhabited colony, they were too nu- 
merous to be wholly absorbed by the population, and they 
carried their contagion along with them. New South Wales 
began to protest against their presence. Lord John Russell, 
when Secretary for the Colonies in 1840, ordered that no 
more of the criminal refuse should be carted out to that re- 



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TRANSPORTATION. 23 

gion. Then Tasmania had them all to herself for awhile. 
Lord Stanley, when he came to be at the head of the Colo- 
nial Office, made an order that the free settlers of Tasmania 
were not to obtain convict labor at any lower rates than the 
ordinary market-price; and Tasmania had only put up with 
the presence of the convicts at all for the sake of getting 
their labor cheap. Tasmania, therefore, began to protest 
against being made the refuse-ground for our scoundrelism. 
Mr. Gladstone, while Colonial Secretary, suspended the whole 
system for awhile, but it was renewed soon after. Sir George 
Grey endeavored to make the Cape of Good Hope a recep- 
tacle for a number of picked convicts; but in 1849 the in- 
habitants of Cape Colony absolutely refused to allow a ship- 
load of criminals to be discharged upon their shores, and it 
was manifestly impossible to compel them to receive such 
disagreeable guests. By this time public opinion in Eng- 
land was ready to sympathize to the full with any colony 
which stood out against the degrading system. For a long 
time there had been growing up a conviction that the trans- 
portation system carried intolerable evils with it. Romiliy 
and Bentham had condemned it long before. In 1837 a com- 
mittee of the House of Commons was appointed to consider 
and report on the system. The committee included Lord 
John Russell, Sir Robert Peel, Charles Buller, Sir W. Moles- 
worth, and Lord Howick, afterward Earl Grey. The evi- 
dence they collected settled the question in the minds of all 
thinking men. The Rev. Walter Clay, son of the famous 
prison chaplain, Rev. John Clay, says, in his memoirs of his 
father, that probably no volume was ever published in Eng- 
land of which the contents were so loathsome as those of the 
appendix to the committee's report. There is not much ex- 
aggeration in this. The reader must be left to imagine for 
himself some of the horrors which would be disclosed by a 
minute account of what happened in a penal den like Nor- 
folk Island, where a number of utterly brutalized men were 
left to herd together without anything like beneficent con- 
trol, without homes, and without the society of women. In 
Norfolk Island the convicts worked in chains. They were 
roused at daylight in the morning, and turned out to labor 
in their irons, and huddled back in their dens at night. In 
some rare cases convicts were sent directly from England 



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24 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIME& 

to Norfolk Island ; but as a rule the island was kept as a 
place of punishment for criminals who, already convicted in 
the mother country, were found guilty of new crimes during 
their residence in New South Wales. 

The condition of things in New South Wales was such 
as civilization has not often seen. In Sydney especially it 
was extraordinary. When the convicts were sent out to 
the colony they received each in turn, after a certain period 
of penal probation, a conditional freedom ; in other words, 
a ticket of leave. They were allowed to work for the col- 
onists, and to support themselves. Any one who wanted 
laborers, or artisans, or servants could apply to the authori- 
ties and have convicts assigned to him for the purpose. 
Female convicts as well as male were thus employed. 
There was, therefore, a large number of convicts, men and 
women, moving about freely in the active life of Sydney, 
doing business, working in trades, performing domestic ser- 
vice ; to all appearance occupying the place that artisans, 
and laborers, and servants occupy among ourselves. But 
there was a profound difference. The convict laborers 
and servants were in reality little better than slaves. They 
were assigned to masters and mistresses, and they had to 
work. Stern laws were enacted, and were no doubt re- 
quired, to keep those terrible subordinates in order. The 
lash was employed to discipline the men ; the women were 
practically unmanageable. The magistrates had the power, 
on the complaint of any master or mistress, to order a man 
to be flogged with as many as fifty lashes. Some of the 
punishment lists remind a reader of the days of slavery in 
the United States. On every page we come on entries of 
the flogging of men for disobeying the orders of a master 
or mistress; for threatening a fellow -servant, for refusing 
to rub down the horse or clean the carriage, or some such 
breach of discipline. A master who was also a magistrate 
was not allowed to adjudicate in his own case; but practi- 
cally it would seem that masters and mistresses could have 
their convict servants flogged whenever they thought fit. 
At that time a great many of the native population, " the 
Blacks," as they were called, used to stream into the town 
of Sydney, as the Indians now come into Salt Lake City or 
some other Western town of America. In some of the out- 



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TRANSPORTATION. 25 

lying houses they would lounge into the kitchens, as beg- 
gars used to do in Ireland in old days, looking out for any 
scraps that might be given to them. It was a common 
sight then to see half a dozen of the native women, absolute- 
ly naked, hanging round the doors of houses where they ex- 
pected anything. Between the native women and the con- 
victs at large an almost indiscriminate intercourse set in. 
The "black" men would bring their wives into the town 
and offer them for a drop of rum or a morsel of tobacco. 
In this extraordinary society there were these three strands 
of humanity curiously intertwined. There was the civilized 
Englishman, with his money, his culture, his domestic habits ; 
there was the outcast of English civilization, the jail-bird 
fresh from the prison and the hulks; and there was the 
aboriginal naked savage. In the drawing-room sat the wife 
and daughters of the magistrate ; in the stable was the con- 
vict, whose crimes had perhaps been successive burglaries 
crowned with attempted murder; in the kitchen were 
women-servants taken from the convict depot and known 
to be prostitutes; and hanging round the door were the 
savages, men and women. All the evidence seems to agree 
that, with hardly any exceptions, the women convicts were 
literally prostitutes. There were some exceptions, which it 
is well to notice. Witnesses who were questioned on the 
subject gave it as the result of their experience, that women 
convicted of any offence whatever in this country and sent 
out to New South Wales invariably took to profligacy, un- 
less they were Irishwomen. That is to say, it did not fol- 
low that an Irish convict woman must necessarily be a prof- 
ligate woman; it did follow as a matter of fact in the case 
of other women. Some of the convicts married women of 
bad character and lived on their immoral earnings, and 
made no secret of the fact. Many of these husbands 
boasted that they made their wives keep them in what they 
considered luxuries by the wages of their sin. Tea and 
sugar were great luxuries to them at that time, and it was 
a common saying among men of this class that their wives 
must take care to have the tea and sugar bag filled every 
day. The convicts soon inoculated the natives with the 
vilest vices and the foulest diseases of civilization. Many 
an English lady found that her women-servants went off 
IL-2 



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26 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

in the night somewhere and came back in the morning, and 
they knew perfectly well that the women had been off on 
some wild freak of profligacy ; but it was of no use to com- 
plain. In the midst of all this it would appear that a few 
of the con vie ts did behave well; that they kept to work 
with iron industry, and rose in the world, and were re- 
spected. In some cases the wives of convicts went out to 
New South Wales and started farms or shops, and had their 
husbands assigned to them as servants, and got on tolerably 
well. But in general the convicts led a life of utter prof- 
ligacy, and they corrupted all that came within their reach. 
One convict said to a judge: "Let a man be what he will, 
when he comes out here he is soon as bad as the rest; a 
man's heart is taken from him, and there is giveu to him 
the heart of a beast." Perpetual profligacy, incessant flog- 
ging — this was the combination of the convict's life. Many 
of the convicts liked the life on the whole, aud wrote to 
friends at home urging them to commit some offence, get 
transported, and come out to New South Wales. An idle 
ruffian had often a fine time of it there. This, of course, 
does not apply to Norfolk Island. No wretch could be so 
degraded or so unhappy anywhere else as to find relief in 
that hideous lair of suffering and abomination. 

Such was the condition of things described to the Com- 
mittee of the House of Commons in 1837. It is right and 
even necessary to say that we have passed over, almost with- 
out allusion, some of the most hideous of the revelations. 
We have kept ourselves to abominations which, at all events, 
bear to be spoken of. From the publication of the evidence 
taken before the Committee, any one might have seen that 
the transportation system was doomed. It was clear that 
if any colony made up its mind to declare that it would not 
endure the thing any longer, no English Minister could 
venture to say that he would force it on the colonists. The 
doomed and odious system, however, continued for a long 
time to be put in operation, as far as possible. It was most 
tempting both as to theory and as to practice. It was an 
excellent thing for the people at home to get rid of so much 
of their ruffianism ; and it was easy to persuade ourselves 
that the system gave the convicts a chance of reform, and 
ought to be acceptable to the colonist*. 



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TRANSPORTATION. 27 

The colonists, however, made up their minds at last in 
most places, and would not have any more of our convicts. 
Only in Western Australia were the people willing to re- 
ceive them on any conditions ; and Western Australia had 
but scanty natural resources, and could in any case harbor 
very few of our outcasts. The discovery of gold in Aus- 
tralia settled the question of those colonies being troubled 
any more with our transportation system ; for the greatest 
enthusiast for transportation would hardly propose to send 
out gangs of criminals to a region glowing with the tempta- 
tions of gold. There were some thoughts of establishing a 
convict settlement on the shores of the Gulf of Carpentaria, 
on the north side of the great Australian Island. Some 
such scheme was talked of at various intervals. It always, 
however, broke down on a little examination. One diffi- 
culty alone was enough to dispose of it effectually. It was 
impossible, after the revelations of the Committee of the 
House of Commons, to have a convict settlement of men 
alone ; and if it was proposed to found a colony, where 
were the women to come from ? Were respectable English 
and Irish girls to be enticed to go out and become the wives 
of convicts ? What statesman would make such a propo- 
sal ? The wildest projects were suggested. Let the con- 
victs marry the savage women, one ingenious person sug- 
gested. Unfortunately, in the places thought most suitable 
for a settlement there happened to be no savage women. 
Let the convict men be married to convict women, said an- 
other philosopher. But even if any Colonial Minister could 
have been found hardy enough to approach Parliament 
with a scheme for the foundation of a colony on the basis 
of common crime, it had to be said that there were not near- 
ly enough of convict women to supply brides for even a tol- 
erable proportion of the convict men. Another suggestion 
it is only necessary to mention for the purpose of showing 
to what lengths the votaries of an idea will go in their ef- 
fort to make it fit in with the actual conditions of things. 
There were persons who thought it would not be a bad plan 
to get rid of two nuisances at once, our convicts and a por- 
tion of what is euphuistically termed our " social evil," by 
founding a penal settlement on some lonely shore, and send- 
ing out cargoes of the abandoned women of our large towns 



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28 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIKES. 

to be the wives of the present and the mothers of the future 
colonists. When it came to propositions of this kind, it was 
clear that there was an end to any serious discussion as to 
the possibility of founding a convict settlement. As late 
as 1856 Committees of both Houses of Parliament declared 
themselves greatly in favor of the transportation system — 
that is, of some transportation system, of an ideal transpor- 
tation system ; but also recorded their conviction that it 
would be impossible to carry on the known system any 
longer. 

The question then arose, What was England to do with 
the criminals whom up to that time she had been able to 
shovel out of her way? Ail the receptacles were closed but 
Western Australia, and that counted for almost nothing. 
Some prisoners were then, and since, sent out for a part of 
their term to Gibraltar and Bermuda; but they were al- 
ways brought back to this country to be discharged, so that 
they may be considered as formiug a part of the ordinary 
class of criminals kept in detention here. The transporta- 
tion system was found to carry evils in its train which did 
not directly belong to its own organization. It had been 
for a long time the practice of England and Scotland to 
send out to a colony only those who were transported for 
ten years and upward, and to retain those condemned for 
shorter periods in the hulks and other convict prisons. In 
these hideous hulks the convicts were huddled together 
very much as in Norfolk Island, with scarcely any superin- 
tendence or discipline, and the result was that they became 
what were called, with hardly any exaggeration, " floating 
hells." It was quite clear that the whole system of our 
dealings with our convicts must be revised and reorganized. 
In 1853 the Government took a step which has been well 
described as an avowal that we must take the complete 
charge of our criminals upon ourselves. A bill was brought 
in by the Ministry to substitute penal servitude for trans- 
portation, unless in cases where the sentence was for four- 
teen years and upward. The bill reduced the scale of pun- 
ishment ; that is to say, made a shorter period of penal ser- 
vitude supply the place of a longer term of transporta- 
tion. Lord Palmerston was Home Secretary at this time. 
It was during that curious episode in bis career described 



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TRANSPORTATION. 2d 

in Volume L, when he adopted, if such an expression may be 
used, the business of Home Secretary, in order, as he put it, 
to learn how to deal with the concerns of the country in- 
ternally, and to be brought in contact with his fellow-coun- 
trymen. He threw all his characteristic energy into the 
work of carrying through the measure for the establishment 
of a new system of secondary punishments. It was during 
the passing of the bill through the House of Lords that Lord 
Grey suggested the introduction of a modification of the 
ticket-of-leave system which was in practice in the colonies. 
The principle of the ticket-of-leave was that the convict 
should not be kept in custody during the whole period of 
his sentence, but that he should be allowed to pass through 
a period of conditional liberty before he obtained his full 
and unrestricted freedom. Lord Grey also urged that the 
sentences to penal servitude should correspond in length 
with sentences for transportation. The Government would 
not accept this latter suggestion, but they adopted the prin- 
ciple of the ticket-of-leave. The bill was introduced into 
the House of Lords by Lord Cranworth, the Lord Chancel- 
lor. When it came down to the House of Commons there 
was some objection made to the ticket-of-leave clauses, but 
the Government carried them through. The effect of the 
measure was to substitute penal servitude for transporta- 
tion, in all cases except those where the sentence of trans- 
portation was for fourteen years and upward. Now there 
can be no doubt that the principle of the ticket-of-leave is 
excellent. But it proved on its first trial in this country the 
most utter delusion. It got no fair chance at all. It was 
understood by the whole English public that the object of the 
ticket-of-leave was to enable the authorities to give a condi- 
tional discharge from custody to a man who had in some way 
proved his fitness for such a relaxation of punishmeut, and 
that the eye of the police would be on him even during the 
period of his conditional release. This was, in fact, the con- 
struction put on the Act in Ireland, where, accordingly, the 
ticket-of-leave system was worked with the most complete 
success. Under the management of Sir Walter Crofton, 
chairman of the Board of Prfson Directors, the principle was 
applied exactly as any one might have supposed it would 
be applied everywhere, and as, indeed, the very conditions 



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30 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

endorsed on the ticket-of-leave distinctly suggested. The 
convicts in Ireland were kept away from the general com- 
munity in a little penal settlement near Dublin ; they were 
put at first to hard, monotonous, and weary labor ; they 
were then encouraged to believe that with energy and good 
conduct they could gradually obtain relaxation of punish- 
ment, and even some small rewards ; they were subjected 
to a process of really reforming discipline ; they got their 
conditional freedom as soon as they had satisfactorily proved 
that they deserved and were fit for it ; but even then they 
had to report themselves periodically to the police, and they 
knew that if they were seen to be relapsing into old habits 
and old companionships, they were certain to be sent back 
to the penal settlement to begin the hard work over again. 
The result was substantial and lasting reform. It was easy 
for the men who were let out conditionally to obtain em- 
ployment. A man who had Sir Walter Crofton's ticket-of- 
leave was known by that very fact to have given earnest 
of good purpose and steady character. The system in Ire- 
land was therefore all that its authors could have wished it 
to be. But for some inscrutable reason the Act was inter- 
preted in this country as simply giving every convict a right, 
after a certain period of detention, to claim a ticket-of-leave, 
provided he had not grossly violated any of the regulations 
of the prison, or misconducted himself in some outrageous 
manner. In 1856 Sir George Grey, the Home Secretary, told 
the House of Commons that there never was a more falla- 
cious idea than the supposition that a ticket-of-leave was a 
certificate of good character, and that a man only obtained 
such a ticket if he could prove that he had reformed. A 
ticket-of-leave, he went on to explain, was indeed withheld 
in the case of very bad conduct ; but in any ordinary case 
the convicts, " unless they have transgressed the prison rules, 
and acted in such a manner as to incur an unfavorable re- 
port from the prison authorities, are, after a stated period of 
imprisonment, entitled, as a matter of course, to a ticket-of- 
leave." 

It would be superfluous to examine the working of such 
a system as that which Sir George Grey described. A num- 
ber of scoundrels whom the judges had sentenced to be kept 
in durance for so many years were, without any conceivable 



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TRANSPORTATION. 81 

reason, turned louse upon society long before the expiration 
of their sentence. They were in England literally turned 
loose upon society, for it was held by the authorities here 
that it might possibly interfere with the chance of a jail- 
bird's getting employment, if he were seen to be watched 
by the police. The police, therefore, were considerately or- 
dered to refrain from looking after them. "I knew you 
once," says the hero of a poem by Mr. Browning, " but in 
Paradise, should we meet, I will pass nor turn my face." 
The police were ordered to act thus discreetly if they saw 
Bill Sykes asking for employment in some wealthy and quiet 
household. They certainly knew him once, but now they 
were to pass nor turn their face. Nothing, surely, that we 
know of the internal arrangements of Timbnctoo, to adopt 
the words of Sydney Smith, warrants us in supposing that 
such a system would have been endured there for a year. 
Fifty per cent, of the ruffians released on ticket-of-leave were 
afterward brought up for new crimes, and convicted over 
again. Of those who, although not actually convicted, were 
believed to have relapsed into their old habits, from sixty 
to seventy per cent, relapsed within the first year of their 
liberation. Baron Bramwell stated from the bench that he 
had had instances of criminals coming before him who had 
three sentences overlapping each other. The convict was 
set free on ticket-of-leave, convicted of some new crime, and 
recommitted to prison; released again on ticket-of-leave, 
and convicted once again, before the period of his original 
sentence had expired. An alarm sprung up in England; 
and, like all alarms, it was supported both by exaggeration 
and misconception. The system pursued with the convicts 
was bad enough; but the popular impression ascribed to 
the ticket-of-leave men every crime committed by any one 
who had been previously convicted and imprisoned. A 
man who had worked out the whole of his sentence, and 
who, therefore, had to be discharged, committed some crime 
immediately after. Excited public opinion described it as 
a crime committed by a ticket-of-leave man. Two commit- 
tees sat, as has already been said, in 1856. The result of 
the public alarm, and the Parliamentary reconsideration of 
the whole subject, was the bill brought in by Sir George 
Grey in 1857. This measure extended the provisions of the 



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32 A BISTOfc* OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

Act of 1853 by substituting in all cases a sentence of penal 
servitude for one of transportation. It extended the limits 
of the penal servitude sentences by making them correspond 
with the terms of transportation to which men had previ- 
ously been sentenced. It gave power also to pass sentences 
of penal servitude for shorter periods than was allowed by 
former legislation, allowing penal servitude for as short a 
period as three years. It attached to all sentences of penal 
servitude the liability to be removed from this country to 
places beyond-seas fitted for their reception ; and it restrict- 
ed the range of the remission of sentences. The Act, it will 
be seen, abolished the old-fashioned transportation system 
altogether, but it left the power to the authorities to have 
penal servitude carried out in any of the colonies where it 
might be thought expedient The Government had still 
some idea of utilizing Western Australia for some of oar 
offenders. But nothing came of this plan, or of the clause 
in the new Act which was passed to favor it ; and as a mat- 
ter of fact transportation was abolished. How the amended 
legislation worked in other respects we shall have an oppor- 
tunity of examining hereafter. 

Transportation was not the only familiar institution which 
came to an end in this year. The Gretna Green marriages 
became illegal in 1857, their doom having been fixed for that 
time by an Act passed in the previous session. Thencefor- 
ward such marriages were unlawful, unless one of the par- 
ties had lived at least tweuty-one days previously in Scot- 
land. The hurried flight to the border, the post-chaise and 
the panting steeds, the excited lovers, the pursuing father, 
passed away into tradition. Lydia Languish had to recon- 
cile herself to the license and the blessing, and even the 
writers of fiction might have given up without a sigh an in- 
cident which had grown wearisome in romance long before 
it ceased to be interesting in reality. 



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THE SEPOY. 33 



CHAFFER XXXTT. 

THE SEPOY. ' 

Ok the 23d of Jane, 1857, the hundredth anniversary of 
the battle of Plassey was celebrated in London. One object 
of the celebration was to obtain the means of raising a mon- 
ument to Clive in his native county. At such a meeting it 
was but natural that a good deal should be said about the 
existing condition of India, and the prospects of that great 
empire which the genius and the daring of Clive had gone 
so far to secure for the English Crown. It does not appear, 
however, as if any alarm was expressed with regard to the 
state of things in Bengal, or as if any of the noblemen and 
gentlemen present believed that at that very moment India 
was passing through a crisis more serious than Clive him- 
self had had to encounter. Indeed, a month or so before, a 
Bombay journal had congratulated itself on the fact that 
India was quiet " throughout." Yet at the hour when the 
Plassey celebration was going on, the great Indian mutiny 
was already six weeks old, had already assumed fall and 
distinctive proportions, was already known in India to be a 
convulsion destined to shake to its foundations the whole 
fabric of British rule in Hindostan. A few evenings after 
the celebration there was some cursory and casual discussion 
in Parliament about the doubtful news that had begun to 
arrive from India ; but as yet no Englishman at home took 
serioas thought of the matter. The news came at last with 
a rush. 

Never in our time, never probably at any time, came such 
news upon England as the first full story of the outbreak 
in India. It came with terrible, not unnatural exaggera- 
tion. England was horror-stricken by the stories of whole- 
sale massacres of English women and children ; of the most 
abominable tortures, the most degrading outrages inflicted 
upon English matrons and maidens. The newspapers ran 

IL— 3 



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34 A HISTORY OF OtJft OWN TIMES. 

over with the most horrifying and the most circumstantial ac- 
counts of how English ladies of the highest refinement were 
dragged naked throngh the streets of Delhi, and were pa- 
raded in their nakedness before the eyes of the aged king of 
Delhi, in order that his hatred might be feasted with the 
sight of the shame and agony of the captives. Descriptions 
were given, to which it is unnecessary to make any special al- 
lusions now, of the vile mutilations and tortures inflicted on 
Englishwomen to glut the vengeance of the tyrant. The 
pen of another Procopius could alone have done full justice 
to the narratives which were poured in day after day upon 
the shuddering ears of Englishmen, until all thought even of 
the safety of the Indian Empire was swallowed up in a wild 
longing for revenge on the whole seed, breed, and race of 
the mutinous people who had tortured and outraged our 
countrywomen. It was not till the danger was all over, and 
British arms had reconquered Northern India, that England 
learned the truth with regard to these alleged outrages and 
tortures. Let us dispose of this most painful part of the ter- 
rible story at the very beginning, and once for all. During 
the Indian Mutiny the blood of innocent women and chil- 
dren was cruelly and lavishly spilt; on one memorable oc- 
casion with a blood-thirstiness that might have belonged to 
the most savage times of mediaeval warfare. But there were 
no outrages, in the common acceptation, upon women. No 
Englishwomen were stripped or dishonored, or purposely 
mutilated. As to this fact all historians of the mutiny are 
agreed. 

But if the first stories of the outbreak that reached Eng- 
land dealt in exaggerations of this kind, they do not seem to 
have exaggerated, they do not seem to have even adequately 
appreciated, the nature of the crisis with which England was 
suddenly called upon to deal. The fact was, that throughout 
the greater part of the north and north-west of the great 
Indian peninsula there was a rebellion of the native races 
against English power. It was not alone the Sepoys who 
rose in revolt. It was not by any means a merely military 
mutiny. It was a combination, whether the growth of de- 
liberate design and long preparation, or the sudden birth 
of chance and unexpected opportunity — a combination of 
military grievance, national, hatred, and religious fanaticism, 



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THE SftFO*. 85 

against the English occupiers of India. The native princes 
and the native soldiers were in it. The Mohammedan and the 
Hindoo forgot their own religious antipathies to join against 
the Christian. Hatred and panic were the stimulants of that 
great rebellious movement. The quarrel about the greased 
cartridges was but the chance spark flung in among all the 
combustible material. If that spark had not lighted it, 
some other would have done the work. In fact, there are 
thoughtful and well-informed historians who believe that the 
incident of the greased cartridges was a fortunate one for 
our people ; that, coming as it did, it precipitated unexpect- 
edly a great convulsion which, occurring later, and as the re- 
sult of more gradual operations, might have been far more 
dangerous to the perpetuity of our rule. 

Let us first see what were the actual facts of the outbreak. 
When the improved (Enfield) rifle was introduced into the 
Indian army, the idea got abroad that the cartridges were 
made up in paper greased with a mixture of cow's fat and 
hog's lard. It appears that the paper was actually greased, 
but not with any such material as that which religious alarm 
suggested to the native troops. Now a mixture of cow's 
fat and hog's lard would have been, above all other things, 
unsuitable for use in cartridges to be distributed among our 
Sepoys ; for the Hindoo regards the cow with religious ven- 
eration, and the Mohammedan looks upon the hog with utter 
loathing. In the mind of the former, something sacred to 
him was profaned ; in that of the latter, something unclean 
and abominable was forced upon his daily use. It was in 
1856 that the new rifles were sent out from England, and the 
murmur against their use began at once. Various efforts 
were made to allay the panic among the native troops. The 
use of the cartridges complained of was discontinued by or- 
ders issued in January, 1857. The Governor-General sent 
out a proclamation in the following May, assuring the army 
of Bengal that the tales told to them of offence to their re- 
ligion or injury to their caste being meditated by the Gov- 
ernment of India were all malicious inventions and false- 
hoods. Still, the idea was strong among the troops that some 
design against their religion was meditated. A mutinous 
spirit began to spread itself abroad. In March some of the 
native regiments had to be disbanded. In April some exe* 



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36 A HISTORY OF OtTB OWN TIMES. 

cations of Sepoys took place for gross and open mutiny. In 
the same month several of the Bengal native cavalry in 
Meerut refused to use the cartridges served out to them, al- 
though they had been authoritatively assured that the pa- 
per in which the cartridges were wrapped had never been 
touched by any offensive material. On May 9th these men 
were sent to the jail. They had been tried by court-martial, 
and were sentenced, eighty of them, to imprisonment and 
hard labor for ten years ; the remaining five to a similar pun- 
ishment for six years. They had chains put on them in the 
presence of their comrades, who no doubt regarded them as 
martyrs to their religious faith, and they were thus publicly 
marched off to the common jail. The guard placed over the 
jail actually consisted of Sepoys. 

The following day, Sunday, May 10th, was memorable. 
The native troops in Meerut broke into open mutiny. The 
gumma dies, the ineluctabile tempos, had come. They fired 
upon their officers, killed a colonel and others, broke into the 
jail, released their comrades, and massacred several of the 
European inhabitants. The European troops rallied, and 
drove them from their cantonments, or barracks. Then came 
the momentous event, the turning-point of the mutiny ; the 
act that marked out its character, and made it what it after- 
ward became. Meerut is an important military station be- 
tween the Ganges and the Jumna, thirty-eight miles north- 
east from Delhi. In the vast palace of Delhi, almost a city 
in itself, a reeking Alsatia of lawless and privileged vice and 
crime, lived the aged King of Delhi, as he was called — the 
disestablished, but not wholly disendowed, sovereign, the 
descendant of the great Timour, the last representative of 
the Grand Mogul. The mutineers fled along the road to 
Delhi; and some evil fate directed that they were not to be 
pursued or stopped on their way. Unchecked, unpursued, 
they burst into Delhi, and swarmed into the precincts of the 
palace of the king. They claimed his protection ; they in- 
sisted upon his accepting their cause and themselves. They 
proclaimed him Emperor of India, and planted the standard 
of rebellion against English rule on the battlements of his 
palace. They had found in one moment a leader, a flag, and 
a cause, and the mutiny was transfigured into a revolution- 
ary war. The Sepoy troops, in the city and the cantonments 



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THK 8KP0Y. 87 

on the Delhi ridge, two miles off, and overlooking the city, 
at once began to cast in their lot with the mutineers. The 
poor old puppet whom they set up as their emperor was 
some eighty years of age; a feeble creature, believed to 
have a mild taste for poetry and weak debauchery. He had 
long been merely a pensioner of the East India Company, 
During the early intrigues and struggles between the Eng- 
lish and French in India, the Company had taken the sov- 
ereigns of Delhi under their protection, nominally to save 
them from the aggressiveness of the rival power ; and, as 
might be expected, the Delhi monarchs soon became mere 
pensionaries of the British authorities. It had even been 
determined that after the old king's death a different ar- 
rangement should be made; that the title of king would not 
be allowed any longer, and that the privileges of the palace, 
the occupants of which were thus far allowed to be a law 
to themselves, should be restricted or abolished. A British 
commissioner directed affairs in the city, and British troops 
were quartered on the Delhi ridge outside. Still, the king 
was living, and was called a king. He was the representative 
of the great dynasty whose name and effigies had been borne 
by all the coin of India until within some twenty years be- 
fore. He stood for legitimacy and divine right; and he 
supplied all the various factions and sects of which the mu- 
tiny was composed, or to be composed, with a visible and an 
acceptable head. If the mutineers flying from Meerut had 
been promptly pursued and dispersed, or captured, before 
they reached Delhi, the tale we have to tell might have been 
much shorter and very different. But when they reached, 
unchecked, the Jumna, glittering in the morning light, when 
they swarmed across the bridge of boats that spanned it, 
and when at length they clamored under the windows of 
the palace that they had come to restore the rule of the 
Delhi dynasty, they had, all unconsciously, seized one of the 
great critical moments of history, and converted a military 
mutiny into a national and religious war. 

This is the manner in which the Indian Rebellion began 
and assumed its distinct character. But this dry statement 
of facts would go a very short way toward explaining how 
the mutiny of a few regiments came to assume the aspect of 
a rebellion. Mutinies were not novelties in India. There 



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88 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

had been some very serious outbreaks before the time of the 
greased cartridges. The European officers of the Company 
had themselves mutiuied in Bengal nearly a century before ; 
and that time the Sepoys stood firm by the Company whose 
salt they had eaten. There was a more general and serious 
mutiny at Vellore, near Madras, in 1806; and the sons of 
the famous Tippoo Sahib took part with it, and endeavored 
to make it the means of regaining the forfeited power of 
their house. It had to be dealt with as if it were a war, and 
Vellore had to be recaptured. In 1849 a Bengal regiment 
seized a fortress near Lahore. Sir Charles Napier, the con- 
queror of Scinde, once protested that thirty regiments of the 
Bengal army were ripe for revolt. Napier, however, seems 
to have thought only of military mutiny, and not of relig- 
ious and political rebellion. At Meerut itself, the very cra- 
dle of the outbreak, a pamphlet was published in 1851 by 
Colonel Hodgson, to argue that the admission of the priestly 
caste too freely into the Bengal army would be the means 
of fomenting sedition among the native troops. But there 
was a combination of circumstances at work to bring about 
such a revolt as Napier never dreamed of; a revolt as differ- 
ent from the outbreak he contemplated as the French Revo- 
lution differed from the Mutiny of the Nore. These causes 
affected variously, but at once, the army, the princes, and the 
populations of India. 

"The causes and motives for sedition," says Bacon — and 
the words have been cited with much appropriateness and 
effect by Sir J. W. Eaye in his " History of the Sepoy War" 
— " are innovations in religion, taxes, alteration of laws and 
customs, breaking of privileges, general oppression, advance- 
ment of unworthy persons, strangers, deaths, disbanded sol- 
diers, factions grown desperate, and whatsoever in offending 
people joineth and knitteth them in a common cause." Not 
all these various impulses to rebellion were stirring, perhaps, 
in India, but assuredly many, possibly the majority, of them 
were at work. As is usual in such cases too, it happened 
that many changes made, nay, many privileges disinterest- 
edly conferred by the ruling power in India for the benefit 
and pleasure of the native levies, turned into other causes 
and stimulants of sedition and rebellion. Let us speak first 
of the army. The Bengal army was very different in its 



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THE SEPOY. 89 

constitution and conditions from that of Bombay or Madras, 
the other great divisions of Indian government at that time. 
In the Bengal army, the Hindoo Sepoys were far more nu- 
merous than the Mohammedans, and were chiefly Brahmins 
of high caste ; while in Madras and Bombay the army was 
made up, as the Bengal regiments are now, of men of ail 
sects and races, without discrimination. Until the very year, 
before the Mutiny the Bengal soldier was only enlisted for 
service in India, and was exempted from any liability to be 
sent across the seas ; across the black water which the Se- 
poy dreaded and hated to have to cross. No such exemp- 
tion was allowed to the soldiers of Bombay or Madras; and 
in July, 1856, an order was issued by the military authorities 
to the effect that future enlistments in Bengal should be for 
service anywhere without limitation. Thus the Bengal Se- 
poy had not only been put in the position of a privileged 
and pampered favorite, but he had been subjected to the 
indignity and disappointment of seeing his privileges taken 
away from him. He was, indeed, an excellent soldier, and 
was naturally made a favorite by many of his commanders. 
But he was very proud, and was' rigidly tenacious of what 
he considered his rights. He lived apart with his numerous 
and almost limitless family, representing all grades of rela- 
tionship ; he cooked his food apart and ate it apart ; he ac- 
knowledged one set of governing principles while he was on 
parade, and had a totally different code of customs, and laws, 
and morals to regulate his private life. The tide of blood 
relationship was very strong with the Sepoy. The elder 
Sepoy always took good care to keep his regiment well sup- 
plied with recruits from among his own family. As the 
Highland sergeant in the British army endeavors to have as 
many as possible of his kith and clan in the regiment with 
himself; as the Irishman in the New York police force is 
anxious to get as many of his friends and fellow-country- 
men as may be into the same ranks, so the Sepoy did his 
best to surround himself with men of his blood and of his 
ways. There was, therefore, the spirit of a clan and of a 
sect pervading the Sepoy regiments ; a strong current flow- 
ing beneath the stream of superficial military discipline and 
esprit de corps. The Sepoy had many privileges denied to 
his fellow-religionists who were not in the military rank* 



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40 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

Let it be added that he was very often deeply in debt ; that 
his pay was frequently mortgaged to usurers who hung on 
him as the crimps do upon a sailor in one of our seaport 
towns ; and that, therefore, he had something of Catiline's 
reason for desiring a general upset and a clearing off of old 
responsibilities. 

But we must, above all other things, take into account, 
when considering the position of the Hindoo Sepoy, the in- 
fluence of the tremendous institution of casta An English* 
man or European of any country will have to call his imag- 
inative faculties somewhat vigorously to his aid in order to 
get even an idea of the power of this monstrous supersti- 
tion. The man who by the merest accident, by the slightest 
contact with anything that defiled, had lost caste, was ex* 
communicated from among the living, and was held to be 
for evermore accursed of God. His dearest friend, his near- 
est relation, shrunk back from him in alarm and abhorrence. 
When Helen Macgregor, in Scott's romance, would express 
her sense of the degradation that had been put upon her, 
she declares that her mother's bones would shrink away 
from her in the grave, if her corpse were to be laid beside 
them. The Sepoy fully believed that his mother's bones 
ought to shrink away from contact with the polluted body 
of the son who had lost caste. Now, it had become, from 
various causes, a strong suspicion in the mind of the Sepoy 
that there was a deliberate purpose in the minds of the 
English rulers of the country to defile the Hindoos, and to 
bring them all to the dead level of one caste or no caste. 
The suspicion in part arose out of the fact that this institu- 
tion of caste, penetrating as it did so subtly and so univer- 
sally into all the business of life, could not but come into 
frequent collision with any system of European military 
and civil discipline, however carefully and considerately 
managed. No doubt there was in many instances a lack of 
consideration shown for the Hindoo's peculiar and very per- 
plexing tenets. The Englishman is not usually a very im- 
aginative personage; nor is he rich in those sympathetic in- 
stincts which might enable a ruler to enter into and make 
allowance for the influence of sentiments and usages widely 
different from his own. To many a man fresh from the ways 
of England, the Hindoo doctrines and practices appeared &<; 



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THE SEPOY. 41 

ineffably absurd that be could not believe any human be- 
ings were serious in their devotion to them, and he took no 
pains to conceal his opinion as to the absurdity of the creed, 
and the hypocrisy of those who professed it. Some of the 
elder officers and civilians were imbued very strongly with 
a conviction that the work of open, and what we may call 
aggressive, proselytism, was part of the duty of a Christian ; 
and in the best faith, and with the purest intentions, they 
thus strengthened the growing suspicion that the mind of 
the authorities was set on the defilement of the Hindoos. 
Nor was it among the Hindoos alone that the alarm began 
to be spread abroad. It was the conviction of the Moham- 
medans that their faith and their rites were to be tampered 
with as well. It was whispered among them everywhere 
that the peculiar baptismal custom of the Mohammedans 
was to be suppressed by law, and that Mohammedan wom- 
en were to be compelled to go unveiled in public. The 
slightest alterations in any system gave fresh confirmation 
to the suspicions that were afloat among the Hindoos and 
Mussulmans. When a change was made in the arrange- 
ments of the prisons, and the native prisoners were no lon- 
ger allowed to cook for themselves, a murmur went abroad 
that this was the first overt act in the conspiracy to destroy 
the caste, and with it the bodies and souls, of the Hindoos. 
Another change must be noticed too. At one time it was 
intended that the native troops should be commanded, for 
the most part, by native officers. The men would, therefore, 
have had something like sufficient security that their relig- 
ious scruples were regarded and respected. But by degrees 
the clever, pushing, and capable Briton began to monopolize 
the officers' posts everywhere. The natives were shouldered 
out of the high positions, until at length it became practi- 
cally an army of native rank and file commanded by Eng- 
lishmen. If we remember that a Hindoo sergeant of lower 
caste would, when off parade, often abase himself with his 
forehead in the dust before a Sepoy private who belonged to 
the Brahmin order, we shall have some idea of the perpetual 
collision between military discipline and religious principle 
which affected the Hindoo members of an army almost ex 
clusively commanded by Europeans and Christians. 
There was, however, yet another influence, and one of tre* 



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42 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIKES. 

mendous importance, in determining the set of that other* 
wise vague current of feeling which threatened to disturb 
the tranquil permanence of English rule in India. We have 
spoken of the army and of its religious scruples ; we must 
now speak of the territorial and political influences which 
affected the princes and the populations of India. There 
had been, just before the outbreak of the Mutiny, a whole- 
sale removal of the landmarks — a striking application of a 
bold and thorough policy of annexation ; a gigantic system 
of reorganization applied to the territorial arrangements of 
the north and north-west of the great Indian peninsula. A 
master-spirit had been at work at the reconstruction of In- 
dia; and if you cannot make revolutions with rose-water, 
neither can you make them without reaction. 

Lord Dalhousi e had not long left India, on the appoint- 
ment of Lord Canning to the Governor-Generalship, when 
the Mutiny broke out. Lord Dalhousie was a man of com- 
manding energy, of indomitable courage, with the intellect 
of a ruler of men, and the spirit of a conqueror. The states- 
men of India perform their parts upon a vast stage, and yet 
they are to the world in general somewhat like the actors 
in a provincial theatre. They do not get the fame of their 
work and their merits. Men have arisen in India whose 
deeds, if done in Europe, would have ranked them at least 
with the Richelieus and Bismarcks of history, if not actu- 
ally with the Caesars and Charlemagnes ; and who are yet 
condemned to what may almost be called a merely local re* 
nown — a record on the roll of great officiate. Lord Dalhou* 
sie was undoubtedly a great man. He had had some Parlia- 
mentary experience in England, and in both Houses ; and he 
had been Vice-President, and subsequently President, of the 
Board of Trade under Sir Robert PeeL He had taken great 
interest in the framing of regulations for the railway legis- 
lation of the mania season of 1844 and 1845. Toward the 
close of 1847 Lord Hardinge was recalled from India, and 
Lord Dalhousie was sent out in his place. Never was there 
in any country an administration of more successful activity 
than that of Lord Dalhousie. He introduced cheap postage 
into India; he made railways; he set up lines of electric tel- 
egraph. Within fifteen months, according to one of his bi- 
ographers, the telegraph was in operation from Calcutta to 



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THE SEPOY. 48 

Agra, thence to Attock on the Indus, and again from Agra 
to Bombay and Madras. He devoted much of his attention 
to irrigation ; to the making of great roads ; to the work of 
the Ganges Canal. He was the founder of a comprehensive 
system of native education, especially female education — a 
matter so difficult and delicate in a country like India. He 
pnt down infanticide, fhe odious and extraordinary Thug 
system, and the Suttee or burning of widows on the funeral 
pile of their husbands. These are only some of the evidences 
of his unresting, all-conquering energy. They are but illus- 
trative; they are far, indeed, from being exhaustive, even as 
a catalogue. But Lord Dalhousie was not wholly engaged 
in such works as these. Indeed, his noble and glorious tri- 
umphs over material, intellectual, and moral obstacles run 
some risk of being forgotten or overlooked by the casual 
reader of history in the storm of that fierce controversy 
which his other enterprises called forth. During his few 
years of office he annexed the Punjaub; he incorporated part 
of the Burmese territory in our dominions ; he annexed Nag- 
pore, Sattara, Jhansi, Berar, and Oudh. We are not called 
upon here to consider in detail the circumstances of each of 
these annexations, or to ask the reader to pass judgment on 
the motives and the policy of Lord Dalhousie. It is fair to 
say that he was not by any means the mere imperial procon- 
sul he is often represented to be, thirsting with the ardor of 
a Roman conqueror to enlarge the territory of his own State 
at any risk or any sacrifice of principle. There was reason 
enough to make out a plausible case for even the most ques- 
tionable of his annexations ; and in one or two instances he 
seems only to have resolved on annexation reluctantly, and 
because things had come to that pass that he saw no other 
safe alternative left to him. But his own general policy is 
properly expressed in his own words : " We are lords-par- 
amount of India, and our policy is to acquire as direct a 
dominion over the territories in possession of the native 
princes as we already hold over the other half of India." 
Such a principle as this could only conduct, in the vast ma- 
jority of cases, to a course of direct annexation, let the ruler 
begin by disavowing it as he will. In the Punjaub the an- 
nexation was provoked in the beginning, as so many such 
retributions have been in India, by the murder of some of 



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44 A HISTORY OP OUB OWN TIKES. 

our officers, sanctioned, if not actually ordered, by a native 
prince. Lord Dalhousie marched a force into the Panjaub. 
This land, the " land of the five waters," lies at the gate- way 
of Hindostan, and was peopled by Mussulmans, Hindoos, and 
Sikhs, the latter a new sect of reformed Hindoos. We found 
arrayed against us not only the Sikhs, but our old enemies 
the Afghans. Lord Gough was in Command of our forces. 
He fought rashly and disastrously the famous battle of Chil- 
lianwallah. The plain truth may as well be spoken out 
without periphrasis : he was defeated. But before the out- 
cry raised in India and in England over this calamity had 
begun to subside, he had wholly recovered our position and 
prestige by the complete defeat which he inflicted upon the 
enemy at Goojrat. Never was a victory more complete in 
itself, or more promptly and effectively followed up. The 
Sikhs were crushed; the Afghans were driven in wild rout 
back across their savage passes ; and Lord Dalhousie annex- 
ed the Punjaub. He presented, as one "token oT his con- 
quest, the famous diamond, the Kob-i-Noor, surrendered, in 
evidence of submission by the Maharajah of Lahore, to the 
Crown of England. 

Lord Dalhousie annexed Oudh , on the ground that the 
East India Company had bound themselves to defend the 
sovereigns of Oudh against foreign and domestic enemies, on 
condition that the State should be governed in such a man- 
ner as to render the lives and property of its population safe ; 
and that while the Company performed their part of the con- 
tract, the King of Oudh so governed his dominions as to 
make his rule a curse to his own people, and to all neighbor- 
ing territories. Other excuses or justifications there were, 
of course, in the case of each other annexation ; and we shall 
yet hear some more of what came of the annexation of Sat - 
tara and Jhansi. I If, however, each of these acts of policy 
were not Only justifiable but actually inevitable, none the less 
must a succession of such acts produce a profound emotion 
among the races in whose midst they were accomplished. 
Lord Dalhousie wanted one quality of a truly great man ; 
he lacked imagination. He had not that dramatic instinct, 
that fine sympathetic insight, by which a statesman is enabled 
to understand the feelings of races and men differing wholly 
ic education, habits, and principles from himself. He ap- 



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THE SEPOY. 46 

peared to be under the impression that, when once a ruler 
had established among whatever foreign people a system of 
government or of society better than that which he found 
existing there, he might count on obtaining their instant ap- 
preciation of his work, and their gratefulness for it. The 
Sovereign of Oudh was undoubtedly a very bad ruler. His 
governing system, if it ought to be dignified by such a name, 
was a combination of anarchy and robbery. The chiefs of 
Oudh were reivers and bandits ; the king was the bead reiver 
and bandit. But human nature, even in the West, is not so 
constituted as to render a population always and at once 
grateful to any powerful stranger who uproots their old and 
bad systems, and imposes a better on them by force of arms. 
44 A tyrant, but our masters then were still at least our coun- 
trymen," is the faithful expression of a sentiment which had 
embarrassed energetic reformers before the days of Lord 
Dalhousie. The populations of India became stricken with 
alarm as they saw their native princes thus successively de- 
throned. I The subversion of thrones, the annexation of States, 
seemed to them, naturally enough, to form part of that vast 
scheme for rooting out all the religions and systems of India, 
concerning which so many vague forebodings had darkly 
warned the land. Many of our Sepoys came from Oudh and 
other annexed territories ; and, little reason as they might 
have had for any personal attachment to the subverted dy- 
nasties, they yet felt that national resentment which any 
manner of foreign intervention is almost certain to provoke. 
There were peculiar reasons, too, why, if religious and po- 
litical distrust did prevail, the moment of Lord Canning's 
accession to the supreme authority fn India should seem in- 
viting and favorable for schemes of sedition. The Afghan 
war had told the Sepoy that British troops are not absolute- 
ly invincible in battle. The impression produced almost 
everywhere in India by the Crimean war was a conviction 
that the strength of England was on the wane. The stories 
of our disasters in the Crimea had gone abroad, adorned with 
immense exaggerations, among all the native populations of 
Hindostan. Any successes that the Russians had had dur- 
ing the war were in Asia, and these naturally impressed the 
Asiatic mind more than the victories of France and England 
which were won farther off. Intelligent and quick-witted 



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46 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

Mohammedans and Hindoos talked with Englishmen, Eng- 
lish officers in India, and heard from them the accounts of 
the manner in which oar system had broken down in the 
Crimea, of the blunders of our Government, and the short- 
comings of our leaders. They entirely misinterpreted the 
significance of the stories that were so freely told. The Eng- 
lishmen who spoke of our failures talked of them as the pro- 
) yoking and inexcusable blunders of departments and individ- 
/ uals ; the Asiatics who greedily listened were convinced that 
they heard the acknowledgment of a national collapse. I The 
Englishmen were so confident in the strength and resources 
of their country, that it did not even occur to them to think 
, that anybody on earth could have a doubt on the subject. 
It was as if a miilionnaire were to complain to some one in 
a foreign country that the neglect and blunder of a servant 
had sent his remittances to some wrong place, and left him 
for the moment without money enough to pay his hotel bill, 
and the listener were to accept this as a genuine announce- 
ment of approaching bankruptcy. The Sepoy saw that the 
English force in Northern India was very small; and he 
really believed that it was small because England bad no 
more men to send there. He was as ignorant as a child 
about everything which he had not seen with his own eyes ; 
and he knew absolutely nothing about the strength, the pop- 
ulation, and the resources of England. I In his mind Russia 
was the great rising and conquering country ; England was 
sinking into decay ; her star waning before the strong glare 
of the portentous northern light. 

Other impulses, too, there were to make sedition believe 
that its opportunity had come. Lord Canning had hardly as- 
sumed office as Governor-General of India, when the dispute 
occurred between the British and Chinese authorities at Can- 
ton, and a war was imminent between England and China. 
Troops were sent shortly after from England to China; 
and although none were taken from India, yet it was well 
known among the native populations that England had an 
Asiatic war on her hands. Almost at the same moment war 
was declared against Persia by proclamation of the Gov- 
ernor-General at Calcutta, in consequence of the Shah hav- 
ing marched an army into Herat and besieged it, in violation 
of a treaty with Great Britaiu made in 1853. A body of 



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THE SEPOY. 47 

troops was sent from Bombay to the Persian Gulf, and short- 
ly after General Ontram left Bombay with additional troops, 
as Commander-in-Chief of the field force in Persia. J There- 
fore, in the opening days of 1857, it was known among the 
native populations of India that the East India Company 
J was at war with Persia, and that England had on her hands 
i a quarrel with China. At this time the number of native 
soldiers in the employment of England throughout Northern 
India was about one hundred and twenty thousand, while 
the European soldiers numbered only some twenty-two thou- 
sand. The native army of the three Presidencies taken to- 
gether was nearly three hundred thousand, while the Euro- 
peans were but forty- three thousand, of whom some five 
thousand had just been told off for duty in Persia. It must 
be owned that, given the existence of a seditious spirit, it 
would have been hardly possible for it to find conditions 
more seemingly favorable and tempting. To many a tem- 
per of sullen discontent the appointed and fateful hour must 
have seemed to be at hand. 

There can be no doubt that a conspiracy for the subver- 
sion of the English government in India was afoot during 
the early days of 1857, and possibly for long before. The 
story of the mysterious chupatties is well known. The chu- 
patties are small cakes of unleavened bread — " bannocks of 
salt and dough," they have been termed; and they were 
found to be distributed with amazing rapidity and precision 
of system at one time throughout the native villages of the 
north and north-west. A native messenger brought two of 
these mysterious cakes to the watchman, or headman, of a 
village, and bade him to have others prepared like them, 
and to pass them on to another place. The token has been 
well described as the fiery cross of India, although it would 
not appear that its significance was as direct and precise as 
that of the famous Highland war-signal. It is curious how 
varying and unsatisfactory is the evidence about the mean- 
ing of these chupatties. According to the positive declara- 
tion of some witnesses, the sending of such a token had 
never been a custom, either Mohammedan or Hindoo, in India. 
Some witnesses believed that the chupatties were regarded 
as spells to avert some impending calamity. Others said 
the native population looked on them as having been sent 



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48 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

round by the Government itself as a sign that in future all 
would be compelled to eat the same food as the Christians 
ate. Others, again, said the intention was to make this 
known, bnt to make it known on the part of the seditions, in 
order that the people might be prepared to resist the plans 
of the English. \ But there could be no doubt that the chu- 
1 patties conveyed a warning to all who received them that 
j something strange was about to happen, and bade them to 
i be prepared for whatever might befall One fact alone con- 
clusively proves that the signal given had a special refer- 
ence to impending events connected with British rule in In- 
dia. In no instance were they distributed among the popu- 
lations of still-existing native States. They were only sent 
among the villages over which English rule extended. To 
the quick, suspicious mind of the Asiatic, a breath of warn- 
ing may be as powerful as the crash of an alarm-bell or the 
sound of a trumpet. It may be, as some authorities would 
have us to believe, that the panic about the greased car- 
tridges disconcerted, instead of bringing to a climax, the 
projects of sedition. 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 

THE HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY OF PLASSET. 

The news of the outbreak at Meerut, and the proclama 
tion in Delhi, broke upon Calcutta with the shock of a thun- 
der-clap. Yet it was not wholly a shock of surprise. For 
some time there had been vague anticipations of some im- 
pending danger. There was alarm in the air. There had 
long been a prophecy known to India that the hundredth 
anniversary of the battle of Plassey would see the end of 
English rule in Hindostan; and now the hundredth anni- 
versary was near. There is a fine passage in Sir Henry 
Taylor's " Philip van Artevelde," in which Van Ryk says to 
the hero of the drama : 

" If yon mark, my Lord, 
Mostly a rumor of each things precedes 
The certain tidings;" 

and Philip musingly answers: 



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THE HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY OP FLASSEY. 49 

" It is strange — yet true 
[ That doubtful knowledge travels with a speed 
I Miraculous, which certain cannot match. 
I know not why, when this or that has chanced, 
The smoke outruns the flash ; but so it is." 

Phe smoke had apparently outran the flash in many parts 
of India during this eventful season. Calcutta heard the 
news of what had happened with wild alarm and horror, 
but hardly with much surprise. 

For one or two days Calcutta was a prey to mere panic. 
The alarm was greatly increased by the fact that the de- 
throned King of Oudh was established near to the city. At 
Garden Reach, a few miles down the Hooghly, the dispos- 
sessed king was living. There be lived for many years af- 
ter, with his host of dependents and hangers-on round him. 
A picturesque writer lately described the " grotesque struc- 
tures" in which the old man, with his mania for building, 
"quarters not only bis people but his menagerie." "Tower 
after tower rises high above the lower buildings, on the top 
of each of which, comfortably quartered in a spacious den, 
abides a huge Bengal tiger, whose stripes glisten in the sun, 
in the sight of the passer-by on the river. He owns vast 
flocks of trained pigeons, which fly or alight at the word of 
command — wild but not unmusical shouts — of coolies sta- 
tioned on the house- tops, who appear to direct their motions 
by the waving of long bamboos." The inhabitants of Cal- 
cutta, when the news of the mutiny came, were convinced 
that the King of Oudh harbored close to their city compan- 
ions more dangerous than pigeons, or even than Bengal 
tigers. They were sure that the place was the head-quar- 
ters of rebellion, and were expecting the moment when, from 
the residence at Garden Reach, an organized army of mur- 
derers was to be sent forth to capture and destroy the ill- 
fated city, and to make its streets run with the blood of its 
massacred inhabitants. Lord Canning took the prudent 
course of having the king, with bis prime-minister, removed 
to the Governor- General's own residence within the pre- 
cincts of Fort William. 

There is no recklessness, no cruelty, like the cruelty and 
the recklessness of panic. Perhaps there is hardly any 
panic so demoralizing in its effects as that which seizes the 

IL-4 



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60 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

un warlike members of a ruling race set down in the midst 
of overwhelming numbers of the subject populations, at a 
moment when the cry goes abroad that the subjected are 
rising in rebellion. Fortunately there was at the head of 
affairs in India a man with a cool head, a quiet, firm will, 
and a courage that never faltered. If ever the crisis found 
the man, Lord Canning was the man called for by that crisis 
in India. He had all the divining genius of the true states- 
man ; the man who can rise to the height of some unex- 
pected and new emergency ; and he had the cool courage 
of a practised conqueror. The greatest trial to which a 
ruler can be subjected is to be called upon, at a moment's 
notice, to deal with events and conditions for which there 
is no precedent. The second -class statesman, the official 
statesman, if we may use such an expression, collapses un- 
der such a trial. The man of genius finds it his opportuni- 
ty, and makes his own of it. Lord Canning thus found his 
opportunity in the Indian Mutiny. Among all the distract- 
ing counsels and wild stories poured in upon him from every 
side, he kept his mind clear. He never gave way either to 
anger or to alarm. If he ever showed a little impatience, it 
was only where panic would too openly have proclaimed 
itself by counsels of wholesale cruelty. He could not, per- 
haps, always conceal from frightened people the fact that 
he rather despised their terrors. Throughout the whole of 
that excited period there were few names, even among the 
chiefs of rebellion, on which fiercer denunciation was show- 
ered by Englishmen than the name of Lord Canning. Be- 
cause he would not listen to the blood-thirsty clamors of 
mere frenzy, he was nicknamed " Clemency Canning," as if 
clemency were an attribute of which a man ought to be 
ashamed. Indeed, for some time people wrote and spoke, 
not merely in India but in England, as if clemency were a 
thing to be reprobated, like treason or crime. Every allow- 
ance must be made for the unparalleled excitement of such 
a time, and in especial for the manner in which the element- 
ary passions of manhood were inflamed by the stories, hap- 
pily not true, of the wholesale dishonor and barbarous muti- 
lation of women. But when the fullest allowance has been 
made for all this, it must be said by any one looking back 
on that painful time, that some of the public instructors 



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THE HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY OP FLASSET. 51 

of England betrayed a fury and ferocity which no condi- 
tions can excuse on the part of civilized and Christian men 
who have time to reflect before they write or speak. The 
advices which some English journals showered upon the 
Government, the army, and all concerned in repressing the 
mutiny, might more fittingly have come from some of the 
heroes of the " Spanish Fury." Nay, the Spanish Fury it- 
self was, in express words, held up to the English army as 
an example for them to imitate. / An English paper, of high 
and well-earned authority, distinctly declared that such 1 
mercy as Alva showed the Netherlands was the mercy that 
English soldiers must show to the rebellious regions of 
India. There was for awhile but little talk of repression. 
Every one in England well knew that the rebellion would 
be repressed. It has to be remembered, to the credit of 
England's national courage and resolve, that not at the 
worst moment of the crisis did it seem to have occurred to 
any Englishman that there was the slightest possibility of 
the rebellion being allowed to succeed. It is painful to 
have to remember that the talk was not of repression, but I 
\ of revenge. Public speakers and writers were shrieking 
ont for the vengeance which must be inflicted on India 
when the rebellion had been put down. For awhile it 
seemed a question of patriotism which would propose the 
most savage and sanguinary measures of revenge. We 
; shall see farther on that one distinguished English officer 
was clamorous to have powers given to him to impale, to 
burn alive, and to flay mutineers who had taken part in the 
murder of Englishwomen. Mr. Disraeli, to do him justice, 
raised his voice in remonstrance against the wild passions 
of the hour, even when these passions were strongest and 
most general. He declared that if such a temper were en- 
couraged, we ought to take down from our altars the images 
of Christ and raise the statue of Moloch there ; and he pro- 
tested against making Nana Sahib, of whom we shall hear 
more, the model for the conduct of a British officer. Mr. 
Disraeli did, indeed, at a later period, show an inclination 
to back out of this courageous and honorable expression of 
opinion ; but it stands, at all events, to the credit of his first 
impulse that he could venture, at such a time, to talk of 
morality, mercy, and Christianity. 



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62 A HISTORY OP OUB OWN TIMES. 

If people were so carried away in England, where tbe 
danger was far remote, we can easily imagine what were 
the fears and passions roused in India, where the terror 
was or might be at tbe door of every one. Lord Canning 
was gravely embarrassed by the wild urgencies and coun- 
sels of distracted Englishmen, who were furious with him 
because he even thought of distinguishing friend from foe 
where native races were concerned. He bore himself with 
perfect calmness ; listened to everything that any one had 
to say, where time gave him any chance of doing so ; read, 
as far as possible, all the myriad communications poured in 
upon him ; regarded no suggestion as unworthy of considera- 
tion, but made his own resolves and his own judgment the 
final arbiter. He was greatly assisted and encouraged in 
, his counsels by his brave and noble wife, who proved her- 
!self in every way worthy to be the helpmate of such a 
man at such a crisis. I He did not for a moment under-esti- 
. mate the danger; but neither did he exaggerate its impor- 
, tance. He never allowed it to master him. He looked upon 
; it with the quiet, resolute eye of one who is determined to 
, be the conqueror in the struggle. 

Lord Canning saw that the one important thing was to 
strike at Delhi, which had proclaimed itself the head-quar- 
ters of the rebellion. He knew that English troops were on 
their way to China for tbe purpose of wreaking the wrongs 
of English subjects there, and he took on his own responsi- 
bility tbe bold step of intercepting them, and calling them 
to the work of helping to put down the mutiny in India. 
The dispute with China he thought could well afford to wait, 
but with the mutiny it must be now or never. India could 
not wait for re-enforcements brought all the way from Eng- 
land. In Scott's " Betrothed, 5 ' the soldier of the knight who 
owns the frontier castle encourages him, when the Welsh are 
about to attack, by the assurance that the forces of the con- 
stable of Chester will soon come to his aid, and that with 
these re-enforcements they will send the Welsh dragon-flag 
flying from the field. The knight sadly answers that it 
must fly from the field before the re-enforcements arrive, " or 
it will fly over all our dead bodies." Thus felt Lord Can- 
ning when be thought of the strong arms that England could 
send to his assistance. He knew well enough, as well as the 



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THE HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY OF PLASSEY. 63 

wildest alarmist could know, that the rebel flag must be 
forced to fly from some field before that help came, or it 
would fly over the dead bodies of those who then represent- 
ed English authority in India. He had, therefore, no hesita- 
tion in stopping the troops that were on their way to China, 
and pressing them into the service of India at such a need. 
Fortune, too, was favorable to him in more ways than one. 
The Persian war was of short duration. Sir Jatmefl Outram 
was soon victorious, and the Persians sued for a peace. The 
Treaty of Peace was signed at Paris in March, 1857, and was 
arranged so quickly that Outram inflicted a crushing defeat 
on the Persians after the treaty was signed, but before the 
news of its signature had time to reach the seat of war. 
Outram, therefore, and his gallant companions, Colonel Ja-\ 
cob and Colonel Havelock, were able to lend their invalua-] 
ble services to the Governor-General of India. Most impor- \ 
tant for Lord Canning's purposes was the manner in which 
the affairs of the Punjaub were managed at this crisis. The 
Punjaub was under the administration of one of the ablest 
public servants India has ever had — Sir John, afterward Lord 
Lawrence. John Lawrence had from "Bis youth been in the 
Civil Service of the East India Company ; and when Lord 
Dalbousie annexed the Punjaub, he made Lawrence and his 
soldier-brother — the gallant Sir Henry Lawrence — two out 
of a board of three for the administration of the affairs of 
the newly-acquired province. Afterward Sir John Lawrence 
was named the Chief Commissioner of the Punjaub, and by 
the promptitude and energy of himself and his subordinates 
the province was completely saved for English rule at the 
outbreak of the mutiny. Fortunately, the electric telegraph 
extended from Calcutta to Lahore, the chief city of the Pun- 
jaub. On May lltb the news of the outbreak at Meerut 
*wa8 brought to the authorities at Lahore. As it happened, 
Sir John Lawrence was then away at Rawul Pindee, in the 
Upper Punjaub ; but Mr. Robert Montgomery, the Judicial 
Commissioner at Lahore, was invested with plenary power, 
and he showed that he could use it to advantage. Meean 
Meer is a large military cantonment five or six miles from 
Lahore, and there were then some four thousand native 
troops there, with only about thirteen hundred Europeans 
of the Queen's and the Company's service. There was no 



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54 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIME9L 

time to be lost. If the spirit of mutiny were to spread, the 
condition of things in the Punjanb would be desperate ; but 
what did the condition of things in the Punjaub involve? 
The possible loss of a province ? Something far greater 
than that. It meant the possibility of a momentary collapse 
of all British authority in India. For if any one will take 
the trouble to cast a glance at a map of India, he will see 
that the Punjaub is so placed as to become a basis of oper- 
ations for the precise military movements which every ex- 
perienced eye then saw to be necessary for the saving of our 
Indian Empire. The candle would have been burning at 
both ends, so far as regards the North-west Provinces, if the 
Punjaub had gone with Delhi and Lucknow. While the 
Punjaub held firm it was like a barrier raised at one side 
of the rebellious movement, not merely preventing it from 
going any farther in that direction, but keeping it pent up 
until the moment came when the blow from the other di- 
rection could fall upon it. The first thing to be done to 
strike effectively at the rebellion was to make an attack on 
Delhi ; and the possession of the Punjaub was of inestima- 
ble advantage to the authorities for that purpose. It will be 
seen, then, that the moment was critical for those to whose 
hands the administration of the great new province had been 
intrusted. There was no actual reason to assume that the 
Sepoys in Meean Meer intended to join the rebellion. There 
would be a certain danger of converting them into rebels 
if any rash movement were to be made for the purpose of 
guarding against treachery on their part. Either way was 
a serious responsibility, a momentous risk. The authorities 
soon made up their minds. Any risk would be better than 
that of leaving it in the power of the native troops to join 
the rebellion. A ball and supper were to be given at La- 
hore that night To avoid creating any alarm, it was ar- 
ranged that the entertainments should take place. During 
the dancing and feasting Mr. Montgomery held a council of 
the leading officials of Lahore, civil and military, and it was 
resolved at once to disarm the native troops. A parade was 
ordered for daybreak at Meean Meer ; and on the parade- 
ground an order was given for a military movement which 
brought the heads of four columns of the native troops in 
front of twelve guns charged with grape, the artillerymen 



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THE HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY OP PLA3SEY. 66 

with their port-fires lighted, and the soldiers of one of the ^f Ju l ULL< 
Queen's regiments standing behind with loaded muskets. U /^A 
A command was given to the Sepoys to pile arms. They ^ ^ 
had immediate death before them if they disobeyed. They vl^, 
stood literally at the cannon's mouth. They piled their 
arms, which were borne away at once in carts by European 
soldiers, and all chances of a rebellious movement were over 
in that province, and the Punjaub was saved. Something % 

of the same kind was done at Mooltan, in the Lower Pun- 
jaub, later on; and the province, thus assured to English 
civil and military authority, became a basis for some of the 
most important operations by which the mutiny was crush- 
ed, and the sceptre of India restored to the Queen. 

Within little more than a fortnight from the occupation 
of Delhi by the rebels, the British forces under General An- 
son, the Commander-in-Chief, were advancing on that city. 
The commander did not live to conduct any of the opera* 
tions. He died of cholera almost at the beginning of the 
march. He had lived long enough to come in for much 
sharp censure. The temper of the time, both in England 
and in India, expected men to work by witchcraft rather, 
than wit, and Anson was furiously denounced by some of 
the principal English journals because he did not recapture 
Delhi without having even to march an army to the neigh- 
borhood of the city. He was described as " a holiday sol- 
dier who had never seen service either in peace or in war." 
His appointment was denounced as " a shameless job," and 
a tribute altogether to " the claims of family and personal 
acquaintance." We cannot venture now to criticise the 
mode of General Anson's appointment ; and he had not time 
to show whether he was any better than a holiday soldier. 
But it would appear that Lord Canning had no poor opin- 
ion of his capacity, and was particularly impressed by his 
coolness and command of temper. He died, however, at the 
very outset of his march ; and we only refer now to the se- 
vere attacks which were made upon him to illustrate the 
temper of the nation, and the manner in which it delighted 
to hear itself addressed. We are always rebuking other 
nations for their impatience and fretfulness under difficul- 
ties. It is a lesson of no slight importance for us to 
be reminded that when the hour of strain and pressure 



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56 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

comes, we are found to be in most ways very like oar neigh- 
bors. 

I The siege of Delhi proved long and difficult. Another 
general died ; another had to give up his command, before 
the city was recaptured. It was justly considered by Lord 
Canning and by all the authorities as of the utmost impor- 
tance that Delhi should be taken before the arrival of great 
re-enforcements from home. Meanwhile the rebellion was 
breaking out at new points almost everywhere in these north- 
ern and north-western regions. On May 30th the mutiny 
declared itself at Lucknow. Sir Henry Lawrence was gov- 
ernor of Oudh. He endeavored to drive the rebels from the 
place, but the numbers of the mutineers were overwhelm- 
ing. He had under his command, too, a force partly made 
up of native troops, and some of these deserted him in the 
battle. He had to retreat and to fortify the Residency at 
Lucknow, and remove all the Europeans — men, women, and 
children — thither, and patiently stand a siege. Lawrence him- 
self had not long to endure the siege. On July 2d he had 
been up with the dawn, and after a great amount of work 
he lay on a sofa, not, as it has been well said, to rest, but to 
transact business in a recumbent position. His nephew and 
another officer were with him. Suddenly a great crash was 
heard, and the room was filled with smoke and dust. One 
of his companions was flung to the ground. A shell had 
burst. When there was silence, the officer, who had been 
flung down, called out, " Sir Henry, are you hurt ?" At first 
there was no answer. Then a weak voice was heard to re- 
ply in just the words that Browning has put into the mouth 
of the gallant French lad similarly questioned by the great 
Napoleon. " I am killed !" was the answer that came faintly 
but firmly from Sir Henry Lawrence's lips. The shell had 
wounded bim in the thigh so fearfully as to leave surgery 
no chance of doing anything for his relief. On the morning 
of July 4th he died calmly, and in perfect submission to the 
will of Providence. He had made all possible arrangements 
for his successor, and for the work to be done. He desired 
fthat on his tomb should be engraven merely the words, 
" Here lies Henry Lawrence, who tried to do his duty." 
The epitaph was a simple, truthful summing up of a simple, 
truthful career. The man, however, was greater than the 



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CAWNPORE. 57 

career. Lawrence had not opportunity to show in actual 
result the greatness of spirit that was in hinx The immense 
influence he exercised over all who came within his reach 
bears testimony to his strength and nobleness of character 
better than any of the mere successes which his biographer 
can record. He was full of sympathy. His soul was alive 
to the noblest and purest aspirations. "It is the due ad- 
mixture of romance and reality," he was himself accustomed 
to say, " that best carries a man through life." No profes- 
sional teacher or philosopher ever spoke a truer sentence. 
As one of his many admirers says of him — " What he said 
and wrote, he did, or rather he was." Let the bitterest ene- 
my of England write the history of her rule in India, and 
set down as against her every wrong that was done in her 
name, from those which Burke denounced to those which 
the Madras Commission exposed ; he will have to say that 
men, many men, like Henry Lawrence, lived and died de- J 
voted to the cause of that rule, and the world will take ao- ( 
count of the admission. 



CHAPTER XXXIV. 

CAWNPORE. 



During the later days of Sir Henry Lawrence's life it had 
another trouble added to it by the appeals which were made 
to him from Cawnpore for a help which he could not give. 
The story of Cawnpore is by far the most profound and 
tragic in its interest of all the chapters that make up the 
history of the Indian Mutiny. The city of Cawnpore stands 
in the Doab, a peninsula between the Ganges and the Jum- 
na, and is built on the south bank of the Ganges, there near- 
ly a quarter of a mile broad in the dry season, and more than 
a mile across when swelled by the rains. By a treaty made 
in 1775, the East India Company engaged to maintain a force 
in Cawnpore for the defence of Oudh, and the revenues of an 
extensive district of country were appropriated to the main- 
tenance of the troops quartered there. In 1801, for some of 
the various reasons impelling similar transactions in India, 
Lord Weilesley " closed the mortgage," as Mr. Trevelyan 



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68 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

puts it . iu his interesting and really valuable little book 
" Cawnpore," and the territory lapsed into the possession of 
the Company. From that time it took rank as one of our 
first-class military stations. When Oudh was annexed to 
our dominions, there was an additional reason for maintain- 
ing a strong military force at Cawnpore. The city com- 
manded the bridge over which passed the high-road to 
Lucknow, the capital of our new province. I The distance 

] from Cawnpore to Lucknow is about fifty miles as the bird 

[ flies. 

^ At the time when the mutiny broke out in Mgerut there 
were some three thousand native soldiers in Cawnpore, con- 
sisting of two regiments of infantry, one of cavalry, and a 
company of artillerymen. There were about three hundred 
officers and soldiers of English birth. The European or Eu- 
rasian population, including women and children, numbered 
about one thousand. These consisted of the officials, the 
railway people, some merchants and shopkeepers, and their 
families. The native town had about sixty thousand inhab- 
itants. The garrison was under the command of Sir Hugh 
Wheeler, among the oldest of an old school of Bengal offi- 
cers. Sir Hugh Wheeler was some seventy-five years of age 
at the time when the events occurred which we have now to 
describe. 

The revolt was looked for at Cawnpore from the moment 
when the news came of the rising at Meerut ; and it was not 
long expected before it came. Sir Hugh Wheeler applied to 
Sir Henry Lawrence for help ; Lawrence, of course, could not 
spare a man. Then Sir Hugh Wheeler remembered that be 
had a neighbor whom he believed to be friendly, despite of 
very recent warnings from Sir Henry Lawrence and others 
to the contrary. He called this neighbor to his assistance, 
and his invitation was promptly answered. The Nana Sahib 
came with two guns and some three hundred men to lend a 
helping hand to the English commander. 

The Nana Sahib resided at Bithoor, a small town twelve 
miles up the river from Cawnpore. He represented a griev- 
ance. Bajee Rao, Peishwa of Poonah, was the last prince of 

\ one of the greaOif ahratta dynasties. The East India Com- 

\ pany believed him guilty of treachery against them, of bad 

government of his dominions, and so forth; and they found 



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OAWNPOBE. 59 

a reason for dethroning him. He was assigned, however, a 
I residence in Bithoor and a large pension. He had no chil- 
dren, and he adopted as his heir Seereek Dhoondoo Punth, the 
man who will be known to all time by the infamous name 
of Nana Sahib . It seems almost superfluous to say that, ac- 
cording to Hindoo belief, it is needful for a man's eternal 
welfare that he leave a son behind him to perform duly his 
funeral rites ; and that the adoption of a son is recognized 
as in every sense conferring on the adopted all the rights 
that a child of the blood could have. Bajee died in 1851, 
and Nana Sahib claimed to succeed to all his possessions. 
Lord Dalhousie had shown in many instances a strangely 
unwise disregard of the principle of adoption. The claim of 
the Nana to the pension was disallowed. Nana Sahib jsent 
a confidential agent to London to push his claim there. This 
man was a clever and handsome young Mohammedan who had 
at one time been a servant in an Anglo-Indian family, and 
had picked up a knowledge of French and English. His name 
was Azimoolah Khan. This emissary visited London in 1854, 
and became a lion of the fashionable season. As Hajji Baba, 
the barber's son, in the once popular story, was taken for a 
prince in London and treated accordingly, so the promoted 
footman, Azimoolah Khan, was welcomed as a man of prince- 
ly rank in our West End society. He did not succeed in 
winning over the Government to take any notice of the 
claims of his master; but, being very handsome, and of sleek 
and alluring manners, he became a favorite in the drawing- 
rooms of the metropolis, and was under the impression that 
an unlimited number of Englishwomen of rank were dying 
with love for him. On his way home he visited Constanti- 
nople and the Crimea. It was then a dark hour for the fort- 
unes of England in the Crimea, and Azimoolah Khan swal- 
lowed with glad and greedy ear all the alarmist rumors 
that were afloat in Stamboul about the decay of England's 
strength and the impending domination of Russian power 
over Europe and Asia. In the Crimea itself Azimoolah had 
some opportunity of seeing how the campaign was going; 
and it is not surprising that, with his prepossesions and his 
hopes, he interpreted everything he saw as a threatened dis- 
aster for the arms of England. Mr. Russell, the correspond- 
ent of the 7$9»e0,made the acquaintance of Azimoolah Khan 



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60 A HISTORY OP OUR OWN TIMES. 

in Constantinople, and afterward met him in the Crimea, and 
has borne testimony to the fact that, along with the young 

\ Mohammedan's boasts of his conquests of Englishwomen, 
were mingled a good many grave and sinister predictions as 

! to the prospects of England's empire. The Western visit of 
this man was not an event without important consequences. 
He doubtless reported to his master that the strength of 
England was on the wane ; and while stimulating his hatred 
and revenge, stimulated also his confidence in the chances 
of an effort to gratify both. Azimoolah Khan did afterward, 
as it will be seen, make some grim and genuine havoc among 
English ladies. The most blood-thirsty massacre of the whole 
Mutiny is with good reason ascribed to his instigation. With 
Azimoolah Khan's mission and its results ended the hopes of 
Nana Sahib for the success of his claims, and began, we may 
presume, his resolve to be revenged. 

Nana Sahib, although his claim on the English Govern- 
ment was not allowed, was still rich. He had the large pri- 
vate property of the man who had adopted him, and he had 
the residence at Bithoor. He kept up a sort of princely 
state. He never visited Cawnpore ; the reason being, it is 
believed, that he would not have been received there with 
princely honors. But he was especially lavish of his atten- 
tions to English visitors, and his invitations went far and 
wide among the military and civil servants of the Crown 
and the Company. He cultivated the society of English 
men and women ; he showered his civilities upon them. He 
did not speak or even understand English, but he took a 
great interest in English history, customs, and literature. 
He was luxurious in the most thoroughly Oriental fashion ; 
and Oriental luxury implies a great deal more than any ex- 
perience of WeBtern luxury would suggest. At the time 
with which we are now dealing he was only about thirty- 
six years of age, but he was prematurely heavy and fat, and 
seemed to be as incapable of active exertion as of unkindly 
feeling. There can be little doubt that all this time he was 
a dissembler of more than common Eastern dissimulation. 
It appears almost certain that while he was lavishing his 
courtesies and kindnesses upon Englishmen without discrim- 
ination, his heart was burning with a hatred to the whole 
British race. A sense of his wrongs had eaten him up. It 



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CAWNPORE. 61 

is a painful thing to say, but it is necessary to the truth of 
this history, that his wrongs were genuine. He had been 
treated with injustice. According to all the recognized 
usages of his race and his religion, he had a claim indefeasi- 
ble in justice to the succession which had been unfairly and 
unwisely denied to him. 

It was to Nana Sahib, then, that poor old Sir Hugh 
Wheeler, in the hour of his distress, applied for assistance. 
Most gladly, we can well believe, did the Nana come. He 
established himself in Gawnpore with his guns and his sol- 
diers. Sir Hugh Wheeler bad taken refuge, when the muti- 
ny broke out, in an old military hospital with mud walls, 
scarcely four feet high, hastily thrown up around it, and a 
few guns of various calibre placed in position on the so-call- 
ed intrenchments. Everything seemed to have been against 
our people in this hour of terror. Sir Hugh Wheeler might 
have chosen a far better refuge in the magazine, in a differ- 
ent quarter of Cawnpore ; but it appeared destined that the 
mutineers should have this chance, too, as they had every 
other. The English commander selected his place in the 
worst position, and hardly capable of defence. Within his 
almost shadowy and certainly crumbling intrenchments 
were gathered about a thousand persons, of whom 465 were 
men of every age and profession. The married women and 
grown daughters were about 280; the children about the 
same number. Of the men there were probably 400 who 
could fight. 

It can never be made quite clear whether Nana Sahib had 
in the beginning any idea of affecting to help the English- 
men. If any object of his could have been served by his as- 
suming such a part for any given length of time, or until 
any particular moment arrived, he assuredly would not have 
been wanting in patient dissimulation. But almost as soon 
as his presence became known in Cawnpore he was sur- 
rounded by the mutineers, who insisted that he must make 
common cause with them and become one of their leaders. 
He put himself at their disposal. At first their idea was that 
he should lead them on to Delhi, the recognized centre of 
the revolt. But he was urged by some of his advisers, and 
especially by Azimoolah Khan, not to allow all his personal 
pretensions to be lost in the cause of Delhi, and his individ- 



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62 a history of otm omt TtlflBS. 

ual influence to be absorbed into the court of the Grand 
Mogul. He was advised to make himself a great man, in 
the first instance, by conquering the country all round 
Cawnpore ; and overcome by these persuasions and by the 
promptings of personal ambition, he prevailed upon the mu- 
tineers not to leave the city until they had first " scoured 
these English thence.' 9 The Nana, therefore, became the 
recognized chief of the Cawnpore movement. Let us do 
justice even to Nana Sahib. It will be hard to say a word 
for him after this. Let us now observe that he gave notice 
to Sir Hugh Wheeler that if the intrenchments were not 
surrendered they would be instantly attacked. They were 
attacked. A general assault was made upon the miserable 
mud walls on June 12th, but the resistance was heroic, and 
the assault failed. It was after that assault that the garri- 
son succeeded in sending a message to Sir Henry Lawrence, 
at Lucknow, craving for the aid which it was absolutely 
impossible for him to give. 

From that time the fire of the mutineer army on the Eng- 
lish intrenchments never ceased. Cawnpore was alive with 
all the ruffianism of the region. It became an Alsatia for 
the scoundrels and jail-birds of the country round, and of 
the province of Oudh. All these scoundrels took their turn 
at the pleasant and comparatively safe amusement of keep- 
ing up the fire on the English people behind the mud walls. 
Whenever a regular attack was made the assailants inva- 
riably came to grief. The little garrison, thinning in num- 
bers every day and almost every hour, held out with splen- 
did obstinacy, and always sent those who assailed it scamper- 
ing back — except, of course, for such assailants as perforce 
kept their ground by the persuasion of the English bullets. 
The little population of women and children behind the in- 
trenchments had no roof to shelter them from the fierce In- 
dian sun. They cowered under the scanty shadow of the 
little walls, often at the imminent peril of the unceasing 
Sepoy bullets. The only water for their drinking was tv be 
had from a single well, at which the guns of the assailants 
were unceasingly levelled. To go to the well and draw 
water became the task of self-sacrificing heroes, who might 
with better chances of safety have led a forlorn-hope. The 
water which the fainting women and children drunk might 



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CAWOTOfifi. 6S 

hare seemed to be reddened by blood ; for only at the price 
of blood was it ever obtained. It may seem a trivial detail, 
bnt it will count for much in a history of the sufferings of 
delicately-nurtured Englishwomen, that from the beginning 
of the siege of the Cawnpore intrenchments to its tragic 
end, there was not, as Mr. Trevelyan puts it, "one spongeful 
of water" to be had for the purposes of personal cleanliness. 
The inmates of that ghastly garrison were dying like flies. 
One does not know which to call the greater — the suffering 
of the women or the bravery of the men. 

The Nana was joined by a large body of the Oudh sol- 
diers, believed to be among the best fighting-men that In- 
dia could produce. These made a grand assault on the in- 
trenchments, and these, too, were driven back by the in- 
domitable garrison, who were hourly diminishing in num- 
bers, in food, in ammunition, in everything but courage and 
determination to fight The repulse of the Oudh men made 
a deep impression on the mutineers. A conviction began 
to spread abroad that it was of no use attempting to con- 
quer these terrible British sahibs ; that as long as one of 
them was alive he would be as formidable as a wild beast 
in his lair. The Sepoys became unwilling to come too near 
to the low, crumbling walls of the intrenchment. Those 
walls might have been leaped over as easily as that of Rom- 
ulus; but of what avail to know that, when from behind 
them always came the fatal fire of the Englishmen ? It was 
no longer easy to get the mutineers to attempt anything 
like an assault. They argued that when the Oudh men 
could do nothing it was hardly of any use for others to try. 
The English themselves began to show a perplexing kind 
of aggressive enterprise, and took to making little sallies, 
in small numbers indeed, but with astonishing effect, on any 
bodies of Sepoys who happened to be anywhere near. Ut- 
terly, overwhelmingly, preposterously outnumbered as the 
Englishmen were, there were moments when it began to 
seem almost possible that they might actually keep back 
their assailants until some English army could come to their 
assistance and take a terrible vengeance upon Cawnpore. 
Meanwhile the influence of the Nana began sensibly to 
wane. They who accept the responsibility of undertakings 
like bis soon come to know that they hold their place only 



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64 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

on condition of immediate success. Only great organize 
tions, with roots of system firmly fixed, can afford to wait 
and to look over disappointment. Nana Sahib began to 
find that he could not take by assault those wretched in- 
trenchments ; and he could not wait to starve the garrison 
out. He therefore resolved to treat with the English. The 
terms, it is believed, were arranged by the advice and as- 
sistance of Tantia Topee, his lieutenant, and Azimoolah 
Khan, the favorite of English drawing-rooms. An offer was 
sent to the intrenchments, the terms of which are worthy 
of notice. "All those," it said, " who are in no way con- 
nected with the acts of Lord Dalhousie, and who are willing 
to lay down their arms, shall receive a safe passage to Al- 
lahabad." 

The terms had to be accepted. There was nothing else 
to be done. The English people were promised, during the 
course of the negotiations, sufficient supplies of food and 
boats to carry them to Allahabad, which was now once more 
in the possession of England. The relief was unspeakable 
for the survivors of that weary defence. The women, the 
children, the wounded, the sick, the dying, welcomed any 
terras of release. Not the faintest suspicion crossed any 
mind of the treachery that was awaiting them. How, in- 
deed, could there be any such suspicion? Not for years 
and years had even Oriental warfare given example of such 
practice as that which Nana Sahib and the graceful and civ- 
ilized Azimoolah Khan had now in preparation. 

The time for the evacuation of the garrison came. The 
boats were in readiness on the Ganges. The long proces- 
sion of men, women, and children passed slowly down ; very 
slowly in some instances, because of the number of sick and 
wounded by which its progress was encumbered. Some of 
the chief among the Nana's counsellors took their stand in 
a little temple on the margin of the river, to superintend the 
embarkation and the work that was to follow it. Nana 
Sahib himself was not there. It is understood that he pur- 
posely kept away ; he preferred to hear of the deed when it 
was done. His faithful lieutenant, Tantia Topee, had given 
orders, it seems, that when a trumpet sounded, some work, 
tor which he had arranged, should begin. The wounded 
and the women were got into the boats in the first instance. 



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CAWNPORE. 65 

The officers and men were scrambling in afterward. Sud- 
denly the blast of a trumpet was heard. The boats were of 
the kind common on the rivers of India, covered with roofs 
of straw, and looking, as some accounts describe them, not 
unlike floating hay-stacks. The moment the bugle sounded, 
the straw of the boat-roofs blazed up, and the native rowers 
began to make precipitately for the shore. They had set 
fire to the thatch, and were now escaping from the flames 
they had purposely lighted up. At the same moment there 
came from both shores of the river thick showers of grape- 
shot and musketry. The banks of the Ganges seemed in an 
instant alive with shot, a very rain of bullets poured in upon 
the devoted inmates of the boats. To add to the horrors of 
the moment, if, indeed, it needed any addition, nearly all the 
boats stuck fast in mud-banks, and the occupants became 
fixed targets for the fire of their enemies. Only three of the 
boats floated. Two of these drifted to the Oudh shore, and 
those on board them were killed at once. The third floated 
farther aloug with the stream, reserved for further advent- 
ures and horrors. The firing ceased when Tantia Topee and 
his confederates thought that enough had been done; and 
the women and children who were still alive were brought 
ashore and carried in forlorn procession back again through 
the town where they had suffered so much, and which they 
had hoped that they were leaving forever. They were about 
one hundred and twenty-five in number, women and children. 
Some of them were wounded. There were a few well-dis- 
posed natives who saw them and were sorry for them ; who 
had perhaps served them, and experienced their kindness in 
other days, and who now had some grateful memory of it, 
which they dared not express by any open profession of 
sympathy. Certain of these afterward described the Eng- 
lish ladies as they saw them pass. They were bedraggled 
and dishevelled, these poor Englishwomen; their clothes 
were in tatters ; some of them were wounded, and the blood 
was trickling from their feet and legs. They were carried 
to a place called the Savada House, a large building, once a 
charitable institution bearing the name of Salvador, which 
had been softened into Savada by Asiatic pronunciation. 

On board the one boat which had floated with the stream 
were more than a hundred persons. The boat was attacked 



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66 A HISTORY OP OUR OWN TIMES. 

by a constant fire from both banks as it drifted along. At 
length a party of some twelve men, or thereabouts, landed 
with the bold object of attacking their assailants and driv- 
ing them back. In their absence the boat was captured by 
some of the rebel gangs, and the women and the wounded 
were brought back to Cawnpore. Some sixty men, twenty- 
five women, and fonr children were thus recaptured. The 
men were immediately shot It may be said at once, that 
of the gallant little party who went ashore to attack the 
enemy, hand to hand, four finally escaped, after adventures 
so perilous and so extraordinary that a professional story- 
teller would hardly venture to make them part of a ficti- 
tious narrative. 

The Nana had now a considerable number of English- 
women in his hands. They were removed, after awhile, 
from their first prison-house to a small building north of the 
canal, and between the native city and the Ganges. Here 
they were cooped up in the closest manner, except when 
some of them were taken out in the evening and set to the 
work of grinding corn for the use of their captors. Cholera 
and dysentery set in among these unhappy sufferers, and 
some eighteen women and seven children died. Let it be 
said for the credit of womanhood, that the royal widows, 
the relicts of the Nana's father by adoption, made many 
efforts to protect the captive Englishwomen, and even de- 
clared that they would throw themselves and their children 
from the palace windows if any harm were done to the pris- 
oners. We have only to repeat here that, as a matter of 
fact, no indignities other than that of the compulsory corn- 
grinding were put upon the English ladies. They were 
doomed, one and all, to suffer death, but they were not, as at 
one time was believed in England, made to long for death 
as an escape from shame. 

Meanwhile the prospects of the Nana and his rebellion 
were growing darker and darker. He must have begun to 
know by this time that he had no chance of establishing 
himself as a ruler anywhere in India. The English had not 
been swept out of the country with a rush. The first flood 
of the mutiny had broken on their defences, and already the 
tide was falling. The Nana well knew it never would rise 
again to the same height in his day. The English were corn- 



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Ing on. Neill had recaptured Allahabad, and cleared the 
country all round it of any traces of rebellion. Havelock 
was now moving forward from Allahabad toward Cawnpore, 
with six cannon and about a thousand English soldiers. 
Very small in point of numbers was that force when com- 
pared with that which Nana Sahib could even still rally 
round him ; but no one in India now knew better than Nana 
Sahib what extraordinary odds the English could afford to 
give with the certainty of winning. Havelock's march was 
a series of victories, although he was often in such difficul- 
ties that the slightest display of real generalship or even sol- 
diership on the part of his opponents might have stopped 
his advance. He had one encounter with the lieutenant of 
the Nana, who had under his command nearly four thousand 
men and twelve guns, and Havelock won a complete victo- 
ry in about ten minutes. He defeated in the same off-hand 
way various other chiefs of the mutiny. He was almost at 
the gates of Cawnpore. 

Then it appears to have occurred to the Nana, or to have 
been suggested to him, that it would be inconvenient to 
have his English captives recaptured by the enemy, their 
countrymen. It may be that, in the utter failure of all his 
plans and hopes, he was anxious to secure some satisfaction, 
to satiate his hatred in some way. It was intimated to the 
prisoners that they were to die. Among them were three 
or four men. These were called out and shot. Then some 
Sepoys were sent to the house where the women still were, 
and ordered to fire volleys through the windows. This 
they did, but apparently without doing much harm. Some 
persons are of opinion, from such evidence as can be got, 
that the men purposely fired high above the level of the 
floor, to avoid killing any of the women and children. In 
the evening H\e men, two Hindoo peasants, two Mohamme- 
dan butchers, and one Mohammedan wearing the red uni- 
form of the Nana's body-guard, were sent up to the house, 
and entered it. Incessant shrieks were heard to come from 
that fearful house. The Mohammedan soldier came out to 
the door holding in his hand a sword-hilt from which the 
blade had been broken off, and he exchanged this now use- 
less instrument for a weapon in proper condition. Not 
once, but twice, this performance took place. Evidently the 



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68 A HISTOBY OF ODR OWK TIMES. 

task imposed on these men was hard work for the sword- 
blades. After awhile the five men came oat of the now 
quiet house and locked the doors behind them. During 
that time they had killed nearly all the English women 
and children. They had slaughtered them like beasts in 
the shambles. In the morning it appeared, indeed, that the 
work, however zealously undertaken, had not been quite 
thorough. The strongest arms and sharpest sabres some- 
times fail to accomplish a long piece of work to perfect sat- 
isfaction. In the morning it would seem that some of the 
women, and certainly some of the children, were still alive ; 
that is to say, were not dead ; for the five men came then, 
with several attendants, to clear out the house of the cap- 
tives. Their task was to tumble all the bodies into a dry 
well beyond some trees that grew near. A large crowd of 
idlers assembled to watch this operation. Then it was seen 
by some of the spectators that certain of the women and 
children were not yet quite dead. Of the children some 
were aliye, and even tried to get away. But the same well 
awaited them all. Some witnesses were of opinion that 
the Nana's officials took the trouble to kill the still living 
before they tossed them down into the well ; others do not 
think they stopped for any such work of humanity, but flung 
them down just as they came to hand, the quick and the 
dead together. At all events, they were all deposited in 
the well. Any of the bodies that had clothes worth taking 
were carefully stripped before being consigned to this open 
grave. When Caw n pore was afterward taken by the Eng- 
lish, those who had to look down into that well saw a sight 
the like of which no man in modern days had ever seen else- 
where. No attempt shall be made to describe it here. 
When the house of the massacre itself was entered, its floors 
and its walls told with terrible plainness of the scene they 
had witnessed The plaster of the walls was scored and 
seamed with sword-slashes low down and in the corners, as 
if the poor women had crouched down in their mortal fright 
with some wild hope of escaping the blows. The floor was 
strewn with scraps of dresses, women's faded, ragged finery, 
frilling, under-clothing, broken combs, shoes, and tresses of 
hair. There were some small and neatly severed curls of 
hair, too, which had fallen on the ground, but evidently had 



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CAWNPORB. 69 

never been cut off by the rude weapon of a professional 
butcher. These, doubtless, were keepsakes that had been 
treasured to the last, parted with only when life and all 
were going. There was no inscription whatever on the 
walls when the house was first entered. Afterward a story 
was told of words found written there by some English- 
women, telling of hideous wrong done to them, and be- 
queathing to their countrymen the task of revenge. This 
story created a terrible sensation in England, as was but 
natural, and aroused a furious thirst for vengeance. It was 
not true. Some such inscription did appear on the walls 
afterward, but it is painful to have to say that it was a vul- 
gar, and what would have been called in later times a "sen- 
sational," forgery. Our countrywomen died without leav- 
ing behind them any record of a desire on their part for 
vengeance. We may be sure they had other thoughts and 
other hopes as they died. One or two scraps of paper were 
found which recorded deaths and such-like interruptions of 
the monotony of imprisonment; but nothing more. The 
well of horrors has been filled up, and a memorial chapel, 
surrounded by a garden, built upon the spot. It was right 
to banish all trace of that hideous crime, and to replace the 
house and the well, as Mr. Trevelyan says, by " a fair garden 
and a graceful shrine." 

Something, however, has still to be told of the Nana and 
his fortunes. He made one last stand against the victorious 
English in front of Cawnpore, and was completely defeated. 
He galloped into the city on a bleeding and exhausted 
horse ; he fled thence to Bithoor, his residence. He had 
just time left, it is said, to order the murder of a separate 
captive, a woman who had previously been overlooked or 
purposely left behind. Then he took flight in the direction 
of the Nepaulese marches ; and he soon disappears from 
history. Nothing of his fate was ever known. Many years 
afterward England and India were treated to a momentary 
sensation by a story of the capture of Nana Sahib. But the 
man who was arrested proved to be an entirely different 
person ; and, indeed, from the moment of his arrest few be- 
lieved him to be the long - lost murderer of the English- 
women. In days more superstitious than our own, popular 
faith would have found an easy explanation of the mystery 



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70 A HISTOBY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

which surrounded the close of Nana Sahib's career. He 
had done, it would have been said, the work of a fiend ; and 
he had disappeared as a fiend would do when his task was 
accomplished. 



CHAPTER XXXV. 

BECONQUEST. ,,£* 

| The capture of Delhi was effected on September 20th. The 
siege had been long and difficult ; and for some time it did 
not seem to the general in command, Archdale Wilson, that 
the small force he had could, with any hope of success, at* 
tempt to carry the city by assault. Colonel Baird Smith, 
who was chief of the engineer department, urged the attempt 
strongly on him ; and at length it was made, and made with 
success, though not without many moments when failure 
seemed inevitable. Brigadier -General Nicholson led the 
storming columns, and paid for his bravery and success the 
price of a gallant life. He was shot through the body, and 
died three days after the English standard had been planted 
on the roof of the palace of the Moguls. ^Nicholson was one 
of the bravest and most capable officers whom the war pro- 
duced. It is worthy of record, as an evidence of the temper 
aroused even in men from whom better things might have 
been expected, that Nicholson strongly urged the passing of 
a law to authorize flaying alive, impalement, or burning of 
the murderers of the women and children in Delhi. He con- 
tended that " the idea of simply hanging the perpetrators 
of such atrocities is maddening. 19 He urged this view again 
and again, and deliberately argued it on grounds alike of 
policy and principle. The fact is recorded here not in mere 
disparagement of a brave soldier, but as an illustration of 
the manner in which the old elementary passions of man's 
untamed condition can return upon him in his pride of civili- 
sation and culture, and make him their slave again. 

The taking of Delhi was followed by an act over which, 
from that time to the present, a controversy has been arising 
at intervals. A young officer, Hodson , of " Hod son's Horse, 9 ' 
was acting as chief of the Intelligence Department, He bad 



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RDCONQUEST. 71 

once been in a civil charge in the Pnnjaub,and had been dis- 
■ missed for arbitrary and high-handed conduct toward an in- 
fluential chief of the district. He had been striving hard to 
distinguish himself, and to regain a path to success ; and as 
the leader of the little force known as Hodson's Horse, he 
had given evidence of remarkable military capacity. He 
was especially distinguished by an extraordinary blending 
of cool, calculating craft and reckless daring. He knew ex-\ 
actly when to be cautious and when to risk everything on 
what to other eyes might have seemed a madman's throw. / 
He now offered to General Wilson to capture the King and 
the Royal Family of Delhi. General Wilson gave him au- 
thority to make the attempt, but stipulated that the life of 
the king should be spared. By the help of native spies, Hod- 
son discovered that when Delhi was taken the king aud his 
family had taken refuge in the tomb of the Emperor Hooma- 
yoon — a structure which, with the buildings surrounding and 
belonging to it, constituted a sort of suburb in itself. Hod- 
son went boldly to this place with a few of his troopers. He 
found that the Royal Family of Delhi were surrounded there 
by a vast crowd of armed and to all appearance desperate 
adherents. This was one of the moments when Hodson's in- 
domitable daring stood him in good stead. He called upon 
them all to lay down their arms at once ; and the very au- 
dacity of the order made them suppose he had force at hand 
capable of compelling obedience. They threw down their 
arms, and the king surrendered himself to Hodson. Next 
day Hodson captured the three royal princes of Delhi. He 
tried, condemned, and executed them himself, and on the spot ; 
that is to say, he treated them as rebels taken red-handed, 
and borrowing a carbine from one of his troopers, he shot 
them dead with his own hand. Their corpses, half-naked, 
were exposed for some days at one of the gates of Delhi. 
Hodson did the deed deliberately. Many days before he 
had a chance of doing it he wrote to a friend to say that if 
be got into the palace of Delhi, " the House of Timour will 
not be worth five minutes' purchase, I ween." On the day 
after the deed he wrote : " In twenty-four hours I disposed 
of the principal members of the House of Timour the Tartar. 
I am not cruel ; but I confess that I do rejoice in the op- 
portunity of ridding the earth of these ruffians." Sir J. W. 



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72 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

Kaye, who comments on Hodson's deed with a just and 
manly severity, says : " I must aver without hesitation that 
the general feeling in England was one of profound grief, 
not unmingled with detestation. I never heard the act ap- 
proved ; I never heard it even defended." 1 Sir J. W. Kaye 

\ wa6 more fortunate than the writer of this book, who has 
frequently heard it defended Justified, and glorified; and 
has a distinct impression that the more general tendency of 
public opinion in England at the time was to regard Hod- 
son's act as entirely patriotic and laudable. If in cool blood 
the deed could now be defended, it might be necessary to 
point out that there was no evidence whatever of the princes 
having taken any part in the massacre of Europeans in Delhi ; 
that even if evidence to that effect were forth-coming, Hod- 
son did not wait for or ask for it ; and that the share taken 
by the princes in an effort to restore the dynasty of their 
ancestor, however it might have justified some sternness of 
punishment on the part of the English Government, was not 
a crime of that order which is held in civilized warfare to put 
the life of its author at the mercy of any one who captures 
him when the struggle is all over, and the reign of law is 
safe. One cannot read the history of this Indian Mutiny 
without coming to the conclusion that in the minds of many 
Englishmen a temporary prostration of the moral sense took 
place, under the influence of which they came to regard the 
measure of the enemy's guilt as the standard for their right 
of retaliation, and to hold that if he had no conscience they 
were thereby released from the necessity of having any. As 

f Mr. Disraeli put it, they were making Nana Sahib the model 
for the British officer to imitate. Hodson was killed not 
long after ; we might well wish to be free to allow him to 
rest without censure in his untimely grave. He was a brave 
and clever soldier, but one who, unfortunately, allowed a fierce 
temper to " overcrow," as the Elizabethan writers would 
have put it, the better instincts of his nature, and the guid- 
ance of a cool judgment. 

* (general Havelock made his way to the relief of Lucknow. 
Sir James~0utram, who had returned from Persia, had been 
sent to Oudh with full instructions to act as Chief Commis- 
sioner. He had complete civil and military authority. Ap- 
pearing on the scene armed with such powers, he would, in 



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KECONQUEST. 73 

tbe natural order of things, have superseded Havelock, who 
bad been fighting his way so brilliantly, in the face of a 
thousand dangers, to the relief of the beleaguered English 
in Lucknow. But Outram was not the man to rob a brave 
and successful comrade of the fruits of his toil and peril. 
Outram wrote to Havelock : " To you shall be left the glory 
of relieving Lucknow, for which you have already struggled 
so much. I shall accompany you only in my civil capacity 
as Commissioner, placing my military service at your dis- 
posal should you please, and serving under you as a volun- > 
teer." Havelock was enabled to continue his victorious I 
march. He fought battle after battle against forces far su- 
perior in numbers to his own, and on September 25th he was 
able to relieve the besieged English at Lucknow. His com- 
ing, it can hardly be doubted, saved the women and children 
from such a massacre as that of Cawnpore ; but Havelock 
had not the force that might have driven the rebels out of 
the field. His little army, although it had been re-enforced 
by the coming of Sir James Outram, was yet entirely inade- 
quate to the task which circumstances had imposed on it. 
The enemy soon recovered from any momentary panic into 
which they had been thrown by Havelock's coming, and re- 
newed the siege; and if England had not been prepared to 
make greater efforts for the rescue of her imperilled peo- 
ple, it is but too probable that the troops whom Havelock 
brought to the relief of Lucknow would only have swelled 
the number of the victims. But in the mean time the stout 
soldier, Sir^Colin_Campbell, whom we have already heard of 
in the Crimean campaign, had been appointed Commander- 
in-Chief of the Indian forces, and had arrived in India. He 
received, it was said, the announcement of the task assigned 
to him one afternoon in London, and before the evening he 
was on his way to the scene of his command. He arrived in 
Cawnpore on November 3d, and he set out for Lucknow on 
the 9th. He had, however, to wait for re-enforcements, and 
it was not until the 14th that he was able to attack. Even 
then he had under his command only some five thousand men 
— a force miserably inferior in number to that of the enemy ; 

ibut in those days an English officer thought himself in good 
condition to attack if the foe did not outnumber him by more 
i than four or five to one. A series of actions was fought by 



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74 A HISTORY OP OUR OWN TIMES. 

Sir Colin Campbell and his little force, attacking the enemy 
on the one side, who were attacked at the same time by the 
besieged garrison of the Residency. On the morning of No- 
vember 17th Outram and Havelock, with their staff-officers, 
were able to join Campbell before the general action was 
over, and by the combined efforts of both forces the enemy 
was dislodged. Sir Colin Campbell resolved, however, that 
the Residency must be evacuated; and accordingly, on the 
19th, heavy batteries were opened against the enemy's po- 
sition, as if for the purpose of assault ; and under cover of 
this operation the women, the sick, and the wounded were 
quietly removed to the Dilkoosha, a small palace in a park 
about five miles from the Residency, which had been capt- 
ured by Sir Colin Campbell on his way to attack the city. 
During some days following the garrison was quietly with- 
drawing to the Dilkoosha. By midnight of the 22d, the 
whole garrison, without the loss of a single man, had left 
the Residency. Two or three days more saw the troops es- 
tablished at Alumbagh, some four miles from the Residency, 
in another direction from that of the Dilkoosha. ^lumbagh 
is an isolated cluster of buildings, with grounds ana enclos- 
ure to the south of Lucknow. > The name of this place is 
memorable forever in the history of the war. It was there 
that Havelock closed his glorious career. He was attacked 
with dysentery, and his frame, exhausted by the almost su- 
perhuman strain which he had put upon it during his long 
days and sleepless nights of battle and victory, conld not 
long resist such an enemy. On November 24th Havelock 
died. The Queen created him a baronet, or rather affixed 
that honor to his name, on the 27th of the same month, not 
knowing then that the soldier's time for struggle and for 
honor was over. The title was transferred to his son, the 
present Sir Henry Havelock, who had fought gallantly un- 
der his father's eyes. The fame of Havelock's exploits 
reached England only a little in advance of the news of his 
death. So many brilliant deeds had seldom in the history 
of our wars been crowded into days so few. J All the fame 
of that glorious career was the work of some strenuous, 
splendid weeks. Havelock's promotion had been slow. He 
had not much for which to thank the favor of his superiors. 
No family influence, no powerful patrons or friends, had 



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RECONQUEST. 75 

made his slow progress more easy. He was more than sixty 
when the mutiny broke out. He was born in April, 1795; 
be was educated at the Charter-house, London, where his 
grave, studious ways procured for him the nickname of " old 
phloe" — the school-boy'B " short " for "old philosopher." He 
went out to India in 1 823, and served in the Burmese war 
of 1824, and the Sikh war of 1845. He was a man of grave 
and earnest character, a Baptist by religion, and strongly 
penetrated with a conviction that the religious spirit ought 
to pervade and inform ail the duties of military as well as 
civil life. By his earnestness and his example he succeeded 
in animating those whom he led with similar feelings; and 
"Havelock's saints" were well known through India by this 
distinctive appropriate title. " Havelock's saints " showed, 
whenever they had an opportunity, that they could fight as 
desperately as the most reckless sinners; and their com- 
mander found the fame flung in his way, across the path of 
his duty, which he never would have swerved one inch from 
that path to seek. Amidst all the excitement of hope and 
fear, passion and panic, in England, there was time for the 
whole heart of the nation to feel pride in Havelock's career, 
and sorrow for his untimely death. Untimely? Was it, 
after all, untimely ? Since when has it not been held the 
crown of a great career that the hero dies at the moment of 
accomplished victory? ) 

Sir Colin Campbell left General Outram in charge of Ala m- 
bagh for the purpose of keeping watch upon the movements 
of the insurgents who were still strong iu the city of Luck- 
now. Sir Colin himself advanced toward Cawnpore, where 
he soon found that there was some serious work to be done. 
A large hostile force, composed chiefly of the revolted army 
of Scindiah, the ruler of Gwalior, had been marching upon 
Cawnpore; and General Windham, who held the command 
there, had goue out to attack them. It fared with him, how- 
ever, very much as it had done with Sir Henry Lawrence 
near Lncknow : he found the enemy far too strong for him ; 
he was compelled to retreat, not without severe loss, to his 
intrenchments at Cawnpore, and the enemy occupied the city 
itself. Sir Colin Campbell attacked the rebels at one place ; 
Sir Hope Grant attacked them at another, and Cawnpore was 
retaken. Sir Colin Campbell then turned his attention to 



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76 A HISTORY OP OUR OWN TIME8. 

the very important work of reconquering the entire city of 
Lucknow, and dispersing the great body of rebels who were 
concentrated there. It was not until March 19th, 1858, that 
Lucknow fell completely into the hands of the English. Our 
operations had been almost entirely by artillery, and had 
been conducted with consummate prudence as well as bold- 
ness, and our loss was therefore very small, while the enemy 
suffered most severely. About two thousand of the rebels 
were killed in the final attack, and more than one hundred of 
their guns were taken. Among our wounded were the gallant 
leader of the naval brigade, Sir William Peel, son of the great 
statesman; and among the killed was u Hodson,of Hodson's 
Horse," the executioner of the princes of Delhi. Sir William 
Peel died at Cawnpore shortly after, of small-pox, his death 
remarked and lamented, even amidst all the noble deaths of 
that eventful time. One name must not be forgotten among 
those who endured the siege of Lucknow. It is that of Dr. 
Brydon, whom we last saw as he appeared under the walls 
of Jellalabad, the one survivor come back to tell the tale 
of the disastrous retreat from Cabul. A gifted artist, Mrs. 
Thompson-Butler, has lately painted that picture as no words 
could paint it. Dr. Brydon served through the Lucknow 
defence, and was specially named in the despatch of the 
Governor-General. " After passing through the Cabul cam- 
paign of 1841-'42," the Governor-General says of Dr. Brydon, 
"he was included in the illustrious garrison who maintained 
the position in Jellalabad. He may now, as one of the he- 
roes of Lucknow, claim to have witnessed and taken part in 
an achievement even more conspicuous, as an example of the 
invincible energy and enduring courage of British soldiers." 
Practically, the reconquest of Lucknow was the final blow 
in the suppression of the great Bengal mutiny. The two 
centres of the movement were Delhi and Lucknow ; and 
when these strongholds were once more in the hands of the 
English, rebellion in the land had well-nigh lost its sway. 
There was hardly, after that time, any rebel camp left to 
which it would have been worth carrying a flag of truce. 
Some episodes of the war, however, were still worthy of no- 
tice. For example, the rebels seized Gwalior, the capital of 
the Maharajah Scindia, who escaped to Agra. The English 
had to attack the rebels, retake Gwalior, and restore Scindia 



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RECONQUEST. 77 

One of those who fought to the last on the rebels' side was 
the Ranee, or Princess of Jhansi, whose territory, as we have 
already seen, had been one of our annexations. She had 
flung all her energies into the rebellion, regarding it clearly 
as a rebellion, and not as a mere mutiny. She took the field 
with Nana Sahib and Tantia Topee. For months after the 
fall of Delhi she contrived to baffle Sir Hugh Rose and the 
English. She led squadrons in the field. She fought with 
her own hand. She was engaged against us in the battle 
for the possession of Gwalior. In the uniform of a cavalry 
officer she led charge after charge, and she was killed among 
those who resisted to the last. Her body was found upon 
the field, scarred with wounds enough in the front to have 
done credit to any hero, Sir Hugh Rose paid her the well- 
deserved tribute which a generous conqueror is always glad 
to be able to offer. He said, in his general order, that " the 
best man upon the side of the enemy was the woman found 
dead, the Ranee of Jhansi. 1 ' 

The Maharajah Soindia of Gwalior had deserved well of 
the English Government. Under every temptation, every 
threat, and many profound perils from the rebellion, he had 
remained firm to his friendship. So, too, had Holkar, the 
Maharajah of the Indore territory. Both these princes were 
young when the mutiny broke out — some twenty-three years 
old, each of them ; at a time of life, therefore, when ambition 
and enterprise might have been expected to tempt with full- 
est fascination. Holkar was actually believed, in the begin- 
ning, to have favored the rebellion ; he was deliberately 
accused of having taken part with it; there are, even still, 
those who would argue that he was its accomplice, so close- 
ly were his fortunes, to all appearance, bound up with the 
cause of the mutineers, and so natural did it seem that he 
should fail to hold out against them. But he disappointed 
all such expectations on the part of our enemies, and proved 
himself a faithful friend of England. The country owes much 
to those two princes for the part they took at her hour of 
need ; and she has not, we are glad to think, proved herself 
ungrateful. 

The administration of Patna by Mr. William Tayler sup- 
plied an episode which is still discussed with something like 
partisan keenness. Patna is the Mohammedan capital of the 



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78 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

region east of Benares, and the city was the head-quarters 
of the chiefs of the fanatical, warlike Wahabis. Mr. Tayler 
was the Commissioner of the district ; he suspected that re- 
bellion was being planned there, and he got the supposed 
religious leaders of it into his power by a stratagem some- 
thing like that which the Duke of Alva employed to make 
Egmont his prisoner. Did the end justify the means? is the 
question still asked. Was there a rebellious plot? and, if so, 
was it right to anticipate Oriental treachery by a stroke of 
more than Oriental craft? The episode was interesting; but 
it is too purely an episode to be discussed at any length in 
these pages. 

It is not necessary to describe with any minuteness of 
detail the final spasms of the rebellion. Tantia Topee, the 
lieutenant of Nana Sahib, held out obstinately in the field 
for a long time, aud after several defeats. He was at length 
completely hemmed in by the English, and was deserted by 
the remainder of his army. He was taken prisoner in April, 
1859, was tried for his share in the Cawnpore massacre, and 
was hanged like any vulgar criminal. The old King of 
Delhi was also put on trial, and being found guilty, was 
sentenced to transportation. He was sent to the Cape of 
Good Hope, but the colonists there refused to receive him, 
and this last of the line of the Grand Moguls had to go beg- 
ging for a prison. He was finally carried to Rangoon, in 
British Burmah. On December 20th, 1858, Lord Clyde, who 
had been Sir Colin Campbell, announced to the Governor- 
General that " the campaign is at an end, there being no lon- 
ger even the vestige of rebellion in the province of Oudh ;" 
and that " the last remnant of the mutineers and insurgents 
have been hopelessly driven across the mountains which form 
the barrier between the kingdom of Nepaul and her Majes- 
ty's empire of Hindostan." On May 1st, 1859, there was a 
public thanksgiving in England for the pacification of India. 



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THE END OF "JOHN COMPANY." 79 



CHAPTER XXXVI 



While these things were passing in India, it is needless 
to say that the public opinion of England was distracted by 
agitation and by opposing counsels. For a long time the 
condition of Indian affairs had been regarded in England 
with something like absolute indifference. India was, to 
the ordinary Englishman, a place where men used at one 
time to make large fortunes within a few years ; and where 
lately military and civil officers had to do hard work enough 
without much chance of becoming nabobs. In many cir- 
cles it was thought of only as the hated country where one's 
daughter went with her husband, and from which she had, 
after a few years, to send back her children to England, 
because the climate of India was fatal to certain years of 
childhood. It was associated, in the minds of some, with ti- 
ger-hunting ; in the minds of others, with Bishop Heber and 
missions to the heathen. Most persons had a vague knowl- 
edge that there had been an impeachment of Warren Has- 
tings for something done by him in India, and that Burke 
had made great speeches about it In his famous essay ou 
Lord Ciive, published only seventeen years before the In- 
dian Mutiny, Lord Macaulay complained, that while every 
school-boy, as he put it in his favorite way, knew all about 
the Spanish conquests in the Americas, about Montezuma, 
and Cortes, and Pizarro, very few even of cultivated Eng- 
lish gentlemen knew anything whatever about the history 
of England's empire in India. In the House of Commons a 
debate on any question connected with India was as strictly 
an affair of experts as a discussion on some local gas or wa- 
ter bill. The House in general did not even affect to have 
any interest in it. The officials who had to do with Indian 
affairs ; the men on the Opposition benches, who had held 
the same offices while their party was in power j these, and 



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80 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

two or three men who had been in India, and were set down 
as crotchety because they professed any concern in its mode 
of government — such were the politicians who carried on 
an Indian debate, and who had the House all to themselves 
while the discussion lasted. The Indian Mutiny startled the 
public feeling of England out of this state of unhealthy lan- 
guor. First came the passion and panic, the cry for blood, 
the wholesale executions, the blowing of rebels from guns; 
then came a certain degree of reaction, and some eminent 
Englishmen were found to express alarm at the very san- 
guinary methods of repression and of punishment that were 
in favor among most of our fefiow-countrymen in India. 

It was during this season of reaction that the famous dis- 
cussions took place on Lord Canning's proclamation. On 
March 3d, 1858, Lord Canning issued his memorable procla- 
mation ; memorable, however, rather for the stir it created 
in England than for any great effect it produced in India. 
It was issued from Allahabad, whither the Governor-Gen- 
eral had gone to be nearer to the seat of war. The proc- 
lamation was addressed to the Chiefs of Oudh, and it an- 
nounced that, with the exception of the lands then held by 
six loyal proprietors of the province, the proprietary right 
in the whole of the soil of Oudh was transferred to the Brit- 
ish Government, which would dispose of it in such manner 
as might seem fitting. The disposal, however, was indicated 
by the terms of the proclamation. To all chiefs and land- 
holders who should at once surrender to the Chief Commis- 
sioner of Oudh it was promised that their lives should be 
spared, " provided that their hands are unstained by Eng- 
lish blood murderously shed;" but it was stated that, " as 
regards any further indulgence which may be extended to 
them, and the conditions in which they may hereafter be 
placed, they must throw themselves upon the justice and 
mercy of the British Government." Read by the light 
'of literalness, this proclamation unquestionably seemed to 
amount to an absolute confiscation of the whole soil of 
Oudh ; for even the favored land-owners who were to retain 
their properties were given to understand that they retained 
them by the favor of the Crown, and as a reward for their 
loyalty. This was the view taken of the Governor-General's 
act by one whose opinion was surely entitled to the highest 



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THE END OF "JOHN COMPANY." 81 

consideration from every one — Sir James Outram, Chief Com- 
missioner of Oudh. Sir James Outram wrote at once to 
Lord Canning, pointing out that there were not a dozen 
landholders in Oudh who had not either themselves borne 
arms against us or assisted the rebels with men or money, 
and that, therefore, the effect of the proclamation would be 
to confiscate the entire proprietary right in the province and 
to make the chiefs and landlords desperate, and that the re- 
sult would be a " guerilla war for the extirpation, root and 
branch, of this class of men, which will involve the loss of 
thousands of Europeans by battle, disease, and exposure." 
Lord Canning was not ready to admit, even in deference to 
such authority as that of Sir James Outram, that his policy 
would have any such effects. But he consented to insert in 
the proclamation a clause announcing that a liberal indul- 
gence would be granted to those who should promptly come 
forward to aid in the restoration of order, and that " the 
Governor-General will be ready to view liberally the claims 
which they may thus acquire to a restitution of their former 
rights." 

In truth, it was never the intention of Lord Canning to 
put in force any cruel and sweeping policy of confiscation. 
The whole tenor of his rule in India, the very reproaches 
that had been showered on him, the very nickname which 
his enemies had given him — that term of reproach that af- 
terward came to be a title of honor — might have suggested 
to the sharpest critic that it was not likely " Clemency Can- 
ning" was about to initiate a principle of merciless punish- 
ment for an entire class of men. Lord Canning had come 
to the conclusion that the English Government must start 
afresh in their dealings with Oudh. He felt that it would 
be impossible to deal with the chiefs and people of the prov- 
ince so lately annexed as if we were dealing with revolted 
Sepoys. He put aside any idea of imprisonment or trans- 
portation for mere rebellion, seeing that only in the conquer- 
or's narrowest sense could men be accounted rebels because 
they had taken arms against a power which but a moment 
before had no claim whatever to their allegiance or their 
obedience. Nevertheless, Oudh was now a province of the 
British Empire in Hindostan, and Lord Canning had only 
to consider what was to be done with it. He came to the 

n.— e 



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82 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

conclusion that the necessary policy for all parties concerned 
was to make of the mutiny and the consequent reorganiza- 
tion an opportunity, not for a wholesale confiscation of the 
land, but for a measure which should declare that the land 
was held under the power and right of the English Govern- 
ment. The principle of his policy was somewhat like that 
adopted by Lord Durham in Canada. It put aside the tech- 
nical authority of law for the moment, in order that a reign 
of genuine law might be inaugurated. It seized the power 
of a dictator over life and property, that the dictator might 
be able to restore peace and order at the least cost in loss 
and suffering to the province and the population whose af- 
fairs it was his task to administer. 

But it may be freely admitted that on the face of it the 
proclamation of Lord Canning looked strangely despotic. 
Some of the most independent and liberal Englishmen took 
this view of it. Men who had supported Lord Canning 
through all the hours of clamor against him, felt compelled 
to express disapproval of what they understood to be his 
new policy. It so happened that Lord Ellenborough was 
then President of the Board of Control, and Lord Ellenbor- 
ough was a man who always acted on impulse, and had a 
passion for fine phrases. He had a sincere love of justice, 
according to his lights ; but he had a still stronger love for 
antithesis. Lord Ellenborough, therefore, had no sooner re- 
ceived a copy of Lord Canning's proclamation than he de- 
spatched, upon his own responsibility, a rattling condemna- 
tion of the whole proceeding. " Other conquerors," wrote 
the fiery and eloquent statesman, " when they have succeed- 
ed in overcoming resistance, have excepted a few persons as 
still deserving of punishment, but have, with a generous pol- 
icy, extended their clemency to the great body of the people. 
Tou have acted upon a different principle ; you have re- 
served a few as deserving of special favor, and you have 
struck, with what they feel as the severest of punishments, 
the mass of the inhabitants of the country. We cannot but 
think that the precedents from which you have departed 
will appear to have been conceived in a spirit of wisdom 
superior to that which appears in the precedent you have 
made." The style of this despatch was absolutely inde- 
fensible. A French Imperial prefect with a turn for elo- 



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THE END OF "JOHN COMPANY." 88 

quent letter -writing might fitly thus have admonished the 
erring maire of a village community ; but it was absurd 
language for a man like Lord Ellenborough to address to 
a statesman like Lord Canning, who had just succeeded in 
keeping the fabric of English government in India together 
during the most terrible trial ever imposed on it by fate. 
The question was taken up immediately in both Houses of 
Parliament. Lord Shaftesbury, in the House of Lords, moved 
a resolution declaring that the House regarded with regret 
and serious apprehension the sending of such a despatch 
" through the Secret Committee of the Court of Directors " 
— an almost obsolete piece of machinery, we may remark — 
and its publication; and that such a course must prejudice 
our rule in India by weakening the authority of the Gov- 
ernor-General, and encouraging the resistance of rebels still 
in arms. A similar motion was introduced by Mr. Cardwell 
in the House of Commons. In both Houses the arraignment 
of the Ministry proved a failure. Lord Ellenborough at once 
took upon himself the whole responsibility of an act which 
was undoubtedly all his own ; and he resigned his office. 
The resolution was, therefore, defeated in the House of Lords 
on a division, and had to be withdrawn in a rather igno- 
minious manner in the House of Commons. Four nights 
of vehement debate were spent in the latter House. Opin- 
ion was strangely divided. Men like Mr. Bright and Sir 
James Graham condemned the proclamation and defended 
the action of the Government. The position of Mr. Card- 
well and his supporters became particularly awkward; for 
they seemed, after the resignation of Lord Ellenborough, to 
be only trying to find partisan advantage in a further press- 
ure upon the Government. The news that Sir James Ou- 
tran had disapproved of the proclamation came while the 
debate was still going on, and added new strength to the 
cause of the Government. It came out in the course of the 
discussion that Lord Canning had addressed a private letter 
to Mr. Vernon Smith, afterward Lord Lyveden, Lord Ellen- 
borough's predecessor as President of the Board of Con- 
trol, informing him that the proclamation about to be issued 
would require some further explanation which the pressure 
of work did not allow its author just then to give. Lord 
Canning wrote this under the belief that Mr. Vernon Smith 



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84 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

was still at the head of the Board of Control. Mr. Vernon 
Smith did not tell Lord Ellenborough anything about this 
letter ; and it was, of course, very strongly urged that, had 
Lord Ellenborough known of such a document being in ex* 
istence, he would have held his hand and waited for the fur- 
ther explanation. Mr. Vernon Smith, it was explained, was 
in Ireland when the letter arrived, and did not get it in 
time to prevent the action of Lord Ellenborough ; and Lord 
Granville stated that he had himself had a letter to a simi- 
lar effect from Lord Canning, of which he told Lord Ellen- 
borough, but that that impetuous nobleman did not show 
the least interest in it, and did not even hear it out to the 
end. Still, there was an obvious difference between a letter 
to a friend, and what might be considered an official commu- 
nication to Lord Ellenborough's predecessor in the very 
office on behalf of which he issued his censure ; and, at all 
events, the unexpected revelation tended greatly to strength- 
en the position of the Government. The attack made by Mr. 
Card well broke down or crumbled away. Mr. Disraeli de- 
scribed the process of its disappearance in a speech which he 
delivered a few days after at Slough, and the description is 
one of his happiest pieces of audacious eloquence. " It was 
like a convulsion of nature rather than any ordinary trans- 
action of human life. I can only liken it to one of those 
earthquakes which take place in Calabria or Peru. There 
was a rumbling murmur, a groan, a shriek, a sound of dis- 
tant thunder. No one knew whether it came from the top 
or the bottom of the house. There was a rent, a fissure in 
the ground, and then a village disappeared ; then a tall tow- 
er toppled down ; and the whole of the opposition benches 
became one great dissolving view of anarchy. 9 ' Assuredly 
Mr. Disraeli was entitled to crow over his baffled antago- 
nists. "Do you triumph, Roman — do you triumph?" It 
must have been a meeker Romau than Mr. Disraeli who 
would not have triumphed over so complete and unexpect- 
ed a humiliation of his enemies. The debate in the House 
of Commons was memorable in other ways, as well as for its 
direct political consequences. It first gave occasion for Mr. 
Cairns, as he then was, to display the extraordinary capac- 
ity as a debater which he possessed, and which he afterward 
made of such solid and brilliant service to his party. It was 



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f, 



THE END OP "JOHN COMPANY. ,# 85 

also the occasion of the Count de Montaleoibert's celebrated 
pamphlet " Uh debat sur PInde au Parlement Anglais" for 
which, and its thrilling contrast between the political free- 
dom of England and the imperial servitude of France, he 
had the honor of being prosecuted by the French Govern- 
ment, and defended by M. Berryer. 

Lord Canning continued his policy, the policy which he 
had marked out for himself, with signal success. The actual 
proclamation had little or no effect, as punishment, on the 
landholders of Oudh. It was never intended by Lord Can- 
ning that it should have any such. In fact, within a few 
weeks after the capture of Lucknow, almost all the large 
land-owners had tendered their allegiance. Lord Canning 
impressed upon his officers the duty of making their rule as 
considerate and conciliatory as possible. The new system 
established in Oudh was based upon the principle of recog- 
nizing the Talookdars as responsible landholders, while so 
limiting their power by the authority of the Government as 
to get rid of old abuses, and protect the occupiers and cul- 
tivators of the soil. The rebellion had abundantly proved 
that the village communities were too feeble and broken to 
hold the position which had been given with success to sim- 
ilar communities in the Punjaub. It should be remembered, 
in considering Lord Canning's policy, that a proprietary 
right, by whatever name it may be distinguished or dis- 
guised, has always been claimed by the Government of In- 
dia. It is only parted with under leases or settlements 
that are liable to be revised and altered. The settlements 
which Lord Canning effected in India easily survived the 
attacks made upon their author. They would have been 
short-lived, indeed, if they had not long survived himself as 
well. Canning, like Durham, only lived long enough to hear 
the general acknowledgment that he had done well for the 
country he was sent to govern, and for the country in whose 
name and with whose authority he went forth. 

The rebellion pulled down with it a famous old institu- 
tion, the government of the East India Company. Before 
the mutiny had been entirely crushed, the rule of "John 
Company "came to an end. The administration of India 
had, indeed, long ceased to be under the control of the Com- 
pany as it was in the days of Warren Hastings. A Board 



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86 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIME& 

of Directors, nominated partly by the Crown and partly by 
the Company, sat in Leadenhall Street, and gave general 
directions for the government of India. But the parlia- 
mentary department, called the Board of Control, had the 
right of reviewing and revising the decisions of the Com- 
pany. The Crown had the power of nominating the Gov- 
ernor-General, and the Company had only the power of re- 
calling him. This odd and perhaps unparalleled system of 
double government had not much to defend it on strictly 
logical grounds ; and the moment a great crisis came, it was 
natural that all the blame of difficulty and disaster should 
be laid upon its head. With the beginning of the mutiny 
the impression began to grow up in the public mind here 
that something of a sweeping nature must be done for the 
reorganization of India ; and before long this vague impres- 
sion crystallized into a conviction that England must take 
Indian administration into her own hands, and that the time 
had come for the fiction of rule by a trading company to be 
absolutely given up. Indeed, Lord Ellenborough had rec- 
ommended, in his evidence before a Select Committee of 
the Commons on Indian affairs as far back as 1852, that the 
government of India should be transferred from the Com- 
pany to the Crown. As we have already seen, the famous 
system of government which was established by Pitt was 
really the government of the Crown ; at least, Pitt made 
the administration of India completely subject to the Eng- 
lish Government. The difference between Pitt's measure 
and that introduced by Fox was, that Pitt preserved the 
independence of the Company in matters of patronage and 
commerce, whereas Fox would have placed the whole com- 
merce and commercial administration of the Company under 
the control of a body nominated by the Crown. By the 
Act of 1858 the patronage of the Civil Service was taken 
from the Company, and yet was not given to the Crown. 
I It was, in fact, a competitive system. Scientific and civil 
appointments were made to depend on capacity and fitness 
alone. ) Macanlay spoke for the last time in the House of 

(Commons in support of the principle of admission by com- 
petitive examination to the Civil Service of India. In the 
beginning of 1858 Lord Palmerston introduced a bill to 
transfer the authority of the Company formally and abso- 



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THE END OF "JOHN COMPANY." 87 

lately to the Crown. The plan of the scheme was that 
there were to be a president and a council of eight members, 
to be nominated by the Government. There was a large 
majority in the House of Commons in favor of the bill ; but 
the agitation caused by the attempt to assassinate the Em- 
peror of the French, and Palmerston's ill-judged and ill- 
timed Conspiracy Bill, led to the sudden overthrow of his 
Government. When Lord Derby succeeded to power, he 
brought in a bill for the better government of India at 
once; but the measure was a failure. It was of preposter- 
ous construction. It bore upon its face curious evidence 
of the fantastic ingenuity of Lord Ellenborough. It created 
a Secretary of State for India, with a council of eighteen. 
Nine of these were to be nominees of the Crown ; nine were 
to be concessions to the principle of popular election. Four 
of the elected must have served her Majesty in India for at 
least ten years, or have been engaged in trade in that coun- 
try for fifteen years ; and they were to be elected by the 
votes of any one in this country who had served the Queen 
or the Government of India for ten years ; or any proprietor 
of capital stock in Indian railways or other public works in 
India to the amount of two thousand pounds ; or any pro- 
prietor of India stock to the amount of one thousand pounds. 
The other five members of the council must, as their qualifi- 
cation, have been engaged in commerce in India, or in the 
exportation of manufactured goods to that country, for five 
years, or must have resided there for ten years. These five 
were to be elected by the parliamentary constituencies of 
London, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, and Belfast. This 
clause was Lord Ellenborough's device. Anything more 
absurdly out of tune with the whole principle of popular 
election than this latter part of the scheme it would be dif- 
ficult to imagine. The theory of popular election is simply 
that every man knows best what manner of representative 
is best qualified to look after his interests in the Legislative 
Assembly. But by no distortion of that principle can it be 
made to assert the doctrine that the parliamentary elec- 
tors of London and Liverpool are properly qualified to de- 
cide as to the class of representatives who could best take 
care of the interests of Bengal, Bombay, and the Punjaub. 
Again, as if it was not absurd enough to put elections to 



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88 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIME& 

the governing body of India into the hands of such constit- 
uencies, the field of choice was so limited for them as to 
render it almost impossible that they could elect really 
suitable men. It was well pointed out at the time that, by 
the ingenious device of the Government, a constituency 
might send to the Indian Council any man who had ex- 
ported beer in a small way to India for five years, but 
could not send Mr. John Stuart Mill there. The measure 
fell dead. It had absolutely no support in the House or 
the country. It had only to be described in order to insure 
its condemnation. It was withdrawn before it had gone 
to a second reading. Then Lord John Russell came to the 
help of the puzzled Government, who evidently thought 
they had been making a generous concession to the princi- 
ple of popular election, and were amazed to find their ad- 
vances so coldly and contemptuously received. Lord 
John Russell proposed that the House should proceed by 
way of resolutions — that is, that the lines of a measure 
should be laid down by a series of resolutions in com- 
mittee of the whole House ; and that upon those lines the 
Government should construct a measure. The suggestion 
was eagerly welcomed, and after many nights of discussion 
a basis of legislation was at last agreed upon. This bill 
passed into law in the autumn of 1858; and for the remain- 
der of Lord Derby's tenure of power, his son, Lord Stanley, 
was Secretary of State for India. The bill, which was call- 
ed "An Act for the better Government of India, 9 ' provided 
that all the territories previously under the government of 
the East India Company were to be vested in her Majesty, 
and all the Company's powers to be exercised in her name. 
One of her Majesty's principal Secretaries of State was to 
have all the power previously exercised by the Company, 
or by the Board of Control. The Secretary was to be as- 
sisted by a Council of India, to consist of fifteen members, of 
whom seven were to be elected by the Court of Directors 
from their own body, and eight nominated by the Crown. 
The vacancies among the nominated were to be filled up by 
the Crown ; those among the elected by the remaining mem- 
bers of the Council for a certain time, but afterward by the 
Secretary of State for India. The competitive principle for 
the Civil Service was extended in its application, and made 



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THE END OP "JOHN COMPANY." 89 

thoroughly practical. The military and naval forces of the 
Company were to be deemed the forces of her Majesty. A 
clause was introduced declaring that, except for** the pur- 
pose of preventing or repelling actual invasion of India, the 
Indian revenues should not, without the consent of both 
Houses of Parliament, be applicable to defray the expenses 
of any military operation carried on beyond the external 
frontiers of her Majesty's Indian possessions. Another clause 
enacted that whenever an order was sent to India direct- 
ing the commencement of hostilities by her Majesty's forces 
there, the fact should be communicated to Parliament with- 
in three months, if Parliament were then sitting, or, if not, 
within one month after its next meeting. These clauses 
were heard of more than once in later days. The Viceroy 
and Governor-General was to be supreme in India, but was 
to be assisted by a Council. India now has nine provinces, 
each under its own civil government, and independent of 
the others, but all subordinate to the authority of the Vice- 
roy. In accordance with this Act the government of the 
Company, the famed "John Company," formally ceased on 
September 1st, 1858 ; and the Queen was proclaimed through- 
out India in the following November, with Lord Canning 
for her first Viceroy. It was but fitting that the man who 
had borne the strain of that terrible crisis, who had brought 
our Indian Empire safely through it all, and who had had 
to endure so much obloquy and to live down so much cal- 
umny, should have his name consigned to history as that of 
the first of the line of British Viceroys in India. 

It seems almost superfluous to say that so great a meas- 
ure as the extinction of the East India Company did not 
pass without some protest and some opposition. The au- 
thorship of some of the protests makes them too remarkable 
to be passed over without a word. Among the ablest civil 
servants the East India Company ever had were James Mill 
and his son, John Stuart Mill. Both had risen in succession 
to the same high post in the Company's service. The young- 
er Mill was still an official of the Company when, as he has 
put it in his own words, " it pleased Parliament — in other 
words, Lord Palmerston — to put an end to the East India 
Company as a branch of the Government of India under the 
Crown, and convert the administration of that country into 



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90 A HISTORY OP OUR OWN TIMES. 

a thing to be scrambled for by the second and third class 
of English parliamentary politicians." " I," says Mr. Mill, 
u was the chief manager of the resistance which the Com- 
pany made to their own political extinction, and to the 
letters and petitions I wrote for them, and the concluding 
chapter of my treatise on representative government I must 
refer for my opinions on the folly and mischief of this ill- 
considered change." One of the remonstrances drawn up 
by Mr. Mill, and presented to Parliament on behalf of the 
East India Company, is as able a State paper, probably, as 
any in the archives of modern England. This is not the 
place, however, in which to enter on the argument it so 
powerfully sustained. " It has been the destiny of the gov- 
ernment of the East India Company," says Mr. Mill, in the 
closing passage of his essay on " Representative Govern- 
ment," " to suggest the true theory of the government of a 
semi-barbarous dependency by a civilized country, and after 
having done this, to perish. It would be a singular fortune 
if, at the end of two or three more generations, this specu- 
lative result should be the only remaining fruit of our as- 
cendency in India ; if posterity should say of us that, having 
stumbled accidentally upon better arrangements than our 
wisdom would ever have devised, the first use we made of 
our awakened reason was to destroy them, and allow the 
good which had been in course of being realized to fall 
through and be lost, from ignorance of the principles on 
which it depended." u Di meliora," Mr. Mill adds ; and we 
are glad to think that, after the lapse of more than twenty 
years, there is as yet no sign of the realization of the fears 
which he expressed with so much eloquence and earnest- 
ness. Mr. Mill was naturally swayed by the force of asso- 
ciation with, and confidence in, the great organization with 
which he and his father had been connected so long ; and, 
moreover, no one can deny that he has, in his protests, fair- 
ly presented some of the dangers that may now and then 
arise out of a system which throws the responsibility for 
the good government of India wholly on a body so likely 
to be alien, apathetic, unsympathetic, as the English Par- 
liament. But the whole question was one of comparative 
danger and convenience ; the balance of advantage certain- 
ly seemed, even as a matter of speculation, to be with the 



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THE END OP "JOHN COMPANY." 91 

system of more direct government. It is a mistake, too, 
to suppose that it was the will, or the caprice, of Lord 
Palmerston that made the change. Rightly or wrongly, 
it is certain that almost the whole voice of English public 
opinion cried out for the abolition of the East India Com- 
pany. It was the one thing which everybody could sug- 
gest to be done, at a time of excitement when everybody 
thought he was bound to suggest something. It would have 
required a minister less fond of popularity than Lord Palm- 
erston to resist such an outcry, or pretend that he did not 
hear it. In this, as in so many other cases, Lord Palmerston 
only seemed to lead public opinion, while he was really fol- 
lowing it One other remark it is also fair to make. We 
have had no indications, as yet, of any likelihood that the 
administration of India is to become a thing to be scrambled 
for by second and third class parliamentary politicians. The 
administration of India means, of course, the viceroyalty. 
Now there have been, since Lord Canning, five viceroys, and 
of these three at least were not parliamentary politicians at 
all. Sir John Lawrence never was in Parliament until he 
was raised to the peerage, after his return home from India. 
Lord Elgin may be fairly described as never having been in 
Parliament, unless in the technical sense which makes every 
man on whom a peer's title is conferred a parliamentary per- 
sonage ; and the same holds true of L ord Lvtto ii. who had 
no more to do with Parliament than was involved in the 
fact of his having succeeded to his father's title. Lord Mayo 
and Lord North brook, t o whom, perhaps, an invidious critic 
might apply (lie term second or third class parliamentary 
politicians, on the ground that neither had obtained very 
high parliamentary distinction, proved, nevertheless, very ca- 
pable, and, indeed, excellent administrators of Indian affairs, 
and fully justified the choice of the ministers who appointed 
them. Indeed, the truth is that the change made in the mode 
of governing India by the act which we have just been de- 
scribing, was more of name than of reality. India was ruled 
by a Governor-General and a board before ; it has been ruled 
by a Governor-General, called a Viceroy, and a board since. 
The idea which Mr. Mill had evidently formed in his mind, 
of a restless and fussy Parliament forever interfering in the 
affairs of India, proved to have been a false impression alto* 



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92 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

gether. Parliament soon ceased to take the slightest inter- 
est, collectively, in the affairs of India. Once more it came 
to be observed that an Indian budget, or other question con- 
nected with the government of our great empire in the East, 
could thin the House as in the days before the Mutiny. 
/Again, as before, some few men profoundly in earnest took 
care and thought on the subject of India, and were con- 
demned to pour out the results of their study and experience 
to a listening Under-Secretary and a chill array of green 
leather benches. At intervals, when some piquant question 
arose, of little importance save to the Court official or the 
partisan — like the project for conferring an imperial crown, 
brand-new and showy as a stage diadem, on the wearer of 
the great historic emblem of English monarchy — then, in- 
deed, public opinion condescended to think about India, and 
there were keen parliamentary debates and much excitement 
in fashionable circles. Sometimes, when there was talk of 
Russian ambition seeking, somehow, a pathway into India, a 
sort of public spirit was aroused, not, perhaps, wholly unlike 
the manly emotion of Squire Sullen, in the " Beaux Strata- 
gem," when he discovers that a foreigner is paying court to 
the woman he has so long neglected. (But, as a rule, the 
English Parliament has wholly falsified Mr. Mill's predic- 
tion, and has not intruded itself in any way upon the politi- 
cal administration of India. 



CHAPTER XXXVn. 

THE OBSINI BOMBS EXPLODE IN PARIS AND LONDON. 

The last chapter has told us that Lord Palmerston intro- 
duced a measure to transfer to the CfowtTtFe government 
of India, but that unexpected events, in the mean while, com- 
pelled him to resign office, and called Lord Derby and Mr* 
Disraeli to power. These events had nothing to do directly 
with the general policy of Lord Palmerston or Lord Derby. 
At mid-day of January 14th, 1858, no one could have had 
the slightest foreboding of anything about to happen which 
could affect the place of Lord Palmerston in English politics. 



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LORD LYTTON 



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THE OBSINI BOMBS. 93 

He seemed to be as popular and as strong as a minister well 
could be. There had been a winter session called together 
on December 3d, to pass a bill of indemnity for the Gov- 
ernment, who had suspended the Bank Charter Act during 
the terrible money-panic of the autumn, and the failures of 
banks and commercial firms. The Bank was authorized, by 
the suspension of the Charter Act, to extend its circulation 
two millions beyond the limit of that Act. The effect of this 
step in restoring confidence was so great that the Bank had 
only to put in circulation some £900,000 beyond the limit of 
1844, and even that sum was replaced, and a certain reserve 
established by the close of the year. Most people thought 
the Oovernment had met the difficulty promptly and well, 
and were ready to offer their congratulations. Parliament 
adjourned at Christmas, and was to meet early in February. 
The Princess Victoria, eldest daughter of the Queen, was to 
be married to the Prince Frederick William, eldest son of 
the then Prince of Prussia, now German Emperor, and it was 
to be Lord Palm era ton's pleasant task, when Parliament re- 
sumed in February, to move a vote of congratulation to her 
Majesty on her child's marriage. Meantime, however, on the 
evening of January 14Jh»Fgljce Jprsini, an Italian exile, made 
his memorable attempt to assassinate the Emperor of the 
French. Orsini lost himself, and he drew the English Gov- 
ernment down at the same time. 

Felice Orsini was well known in England. After his ro- 
mantic escape from a prison at Mantua, he came to this coun- 
try and delivered lectures in several towns. He described 
the incidents of his escape and denounced Austrian rule in 
Italy, and was made a lion of in many places. He was a 
handsome, soldierly- looking man, with intensely dark eyes 
and dark beard, in appearance almost the model Italian con- 
spirator of romance. He was not an orator, but he was able 
to tell his story clearly and well. One great object which 
he had in view was to endeavor to rouse up the English peo- 
ple to some policy of intervention on behalf of Italy against 
Austria. It is almost impossible for a man like Orsini to 
take the proper measure of the enthusiasm with which he is 
likely to be received in England. He goes to several public 
meetings ; he is welcomed by immense crowds ; he is cheered 
to the echo; and he gets to be under the impression that the 



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94 A HISTORY OF OtJR OWN TIMES. 

whole country is on his side, and ready to do anything he 
asks for. He does not understand that the crowds go, for 
the most part, out of curiosity ; that they represent no poli- 
cy or action whatever, and that they will have forgotten all 
about him by the day after to-morrow. Of those who went 
to hear Orsini, and who applauded him so liberally, not one 
in ten probably had any distinct idea as to who he was or 
what cause he represented. ^ He was an Italian exile who 

| had escaped from tyranny of some sort somewhere, and he 
was a good-looking man ; and that was enough for many or 

' most of his audiences. But Orsini was thoroughly deceived. 
He convinced himself that he was forming public opinion in 
England ; that he was inspiring the people, that the people 
would inspire the Government, and that the result would be 
an armed intervention on behalf of Lombardy and Venetia. 
At a meeting which he held in Liverpool, a merchant of that 
town, who sympathized cordially with Orsini's cause, had the 
good-sense to get up and tell Orsini that he was cruelly de- 
ceiving himself if he fancied that England either would or 
could take any step to intervene on behalf of the Italian prov- 
inces then held by Austria. Orsini at first thought little 
of this warning. After awhile, however, he found out that 
the advice was sound and just. He saw that England would 
do nothing. He might have seen that even the English Lib- 
erals, with the exception of a very few enthusiasts, were en- 
tirely against his projects. They were, in fact, just as much 
opposed to the principle of intervention in the affairs of 
other States as the Conservatives. But Orsini set himself 
to devise explanations for what was simply the prudent and 
just determination of all the statesmen and leading politi- 
cians of the country. He found the explanation in the subtle 
influence of the Emperor of the French. It happened that 
during Orsini's residence in this country the Emperor and 
Empress of the French came on a visit to the Queen at Os- 
borne ; and Orsini saw in this a conclusive confirmation of 
his suspicions. Disappointed, despairing, and wild with an- 
ger again st Louis Napoleon, he appears then to have allowed 
the idea to get possession of him that the removal of the 
Emperor of the French from the scene was an indispensable 
preliminary to any policy having for its object the emanci- 
pation of Italy from Austrian rule. He brooded on this idea 



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THE OBStNI BOMBS. 06 

until it became a project and a passion. It transformed a 
soldier and a patriot into an assassin. 

On January 14th, Orsini and his fellow-conspirators made 
their attempt in the Rne Lepelletier in Paris. As the Em- 
peror and Empress of the French were driving up to the 
door of the Opera-House in that street, Orsini and his com- 
panions flung at and into the carriage three shells or bombs 
shaped like a pear, and filled with detonating powder. The 
shells exploded, and killed and wounded many persons. So 
minute were the fragments into which the bombs burst that 
five hundred and sixteen wounds, great and little, were in- 
flicted by the explosion. This attempt at assassination was 
unfavorably distinguished from most other attempts by the 
fact that it took no account of the number of innocent lives 
which it imperilled. The murderers of William the Silent, 
of Henry IV., of Abraham Lincoln, could at least say that 
they only struck at the objects of their hate. In Oreini's 
case the Emperor's wife, the Emperor's attendants and ser- 
vants, the harmless and unconcerned spectators in the crowd, 
who had no share in Austrian misgovernment, were all ex- 
posed to the danger of death or of horrible mutilation. Ten 
persons were killed ; one hundred and fifty-six were wound- 
ed. For any purpose it aimed at, the project was an ut- 
ter failure. It only injured those who had nothing to do 
with Oreini's cause, or the condition of the Italian popula- 
tions. We may as well dispose at once, also, of a theory 
which was for a time upheld by some who would not, indeed, 
justify or excuse Oreini's attempt, but who were inclined to 
believe that it was not made wholly in vain. Orsini failed, ' 
it was said; but nevertheless the Emperor of the French 
did soon after take up the cause of Italy ; and he did so be- 
cause he was afraid of the still living confederates of the 
Lombard Scaevola, and wished to purchase safety for him- 
self by conciliating tbem. Even the Prince Consort wrote 
to a friend on April 11th, 1858, about Louis Napoleon: "I 
fear he is at this moment meditating some Italian develop- 
ment, which is to serve as a lightning-conductor; for ever 
since Orsini's letter he has been all for Italian independence." 
Historical revelations made at a later period show that this 
is altogether a mistake. We now know that at the time of 
the Congress of Paris Count Cavour had virtually arranged 



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96 A HISTORY OP OUR OWN TIMES. 

with the Emperor the plans of policy which were afterward 
carried out, and that even before that time Oavour was sat- 
isfied in his own mind as to the ultimate certainty of Louis 
Napoleon's co-operation, | Those who are glad to see Italy a 
nation may be glad, too, to know that Orsini's bombs had 
nothing to do with her success. 

Orsini was arrested. Curiously enough, his arrest was 
made more easy by the fact that he himself received a 
wound from one of the fragments of shell, and he was track- 
ed by his own blood-marks. Great as his crime was, he com- 
pelled a certain admiration from all men by the manner in 
which he bore his fate. He avowed his guilt, and made a 
strenuous effort to clear of all complicity in it a man who 
was accused of being one of the conspirators. He wrote 
from his prison to the Emperor, beseeching him to throw his 
influence iuto the national cause of Italy. He made no ap- 
peal on his own behalf. The Emperor, it is believed, was 
well inclined to spare his life; but the comprehensive hei- 
nousness of the crime which took in so many utterly blame- 
less persons, rendered it almost impossible to allow the lead- 
ing conspirator to escape. As it was, however, the French 
Government certainly showed no unreasonable severity. 
Four persons were put on trial as participators in the at- 
tempt, three of them having actually thrown the bombs. 
Only two, however, were executed — Orsini and Pierri ; the 
other two were sentenced to penal servitude for life. This, 
on the whole, was merciful dealing. Three Fenians, it must 
be remembered, were executed in Manchester for an attempt 
to rescue some prisoners, in which one police officer was 
killed by one shot. Orsini's project was a good deal more 
criminal, most sane persons will admit, than a mere attempt 
to rescue a prisoner ; and it was the cause not of one but of 
many deaths. Orsini died like a soldier, without bravado, 
and without the slightest outward show of fear. As he and 
his companion Pierri were mounting the scaffold, he was 
heard to encourage the latter in a quiet tone. Pierri con- 
tinued to show signs of agitation, and then Orsini was heard 
to say, in a voice of gentle remonstrance, " Try to be calm, 
my friend ; try to be calm." 

France was not very calm under the circumstances. An 
outburst of anger followed the attempt in the Rue Lepel- 



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THJfi ORSINI BOMBS. 97 

letier; but the anger was not so much against Orsini as 
against England. One of the persons charged along with 
Orsini, although he was not tried in Paris, for he could not 
be found there, was a Frenchman, Simon Bernard, who had 
long been living in London. It was certain that many of 
the arrangements for the plot were made in London. The 
bombs were manufactured in Birmingham, and were ordered 
for Orsini by an Englishman. It was known that Orsini 
had many friends and admirers in this country. The Impe-j 
rialists in France at once assumed that England was a coun- ; 
try where assassination of foreign sovereigns was encour- I 
aged by the population, and not discouraged by the laws. I 
The French Minister for Foreign Affairs, Count Walewski, 
wrote a despatch, in which he asked whether England con- 
sidered that hospitality was due to assassins. "Ought Eng- 
lish legislation,' 9 he asked, " to contribute to favor their de- 
signs and their attempts, and can it continue to shelter per- 
sons who, by their flagrant acts, put themselves outside the 
pale of common rights, and under the ban of humanity ?" 
The Due de Persigny, then Ambassador of France in Eng- 
land, made a very foolish and unfortunate reply to a depu- 
tation from the Corporation of London, in which he took on 
himself to point out that if the law of England was strong 
enough to put down conspiracies for assassination, it ought 
to be put in motion ; and if it were not, it ought to be made 
stronger. Persigny did not, indeed, put this forward as his 
own contribution of advice to England. He gave it as an 
expression of the public feeling of France, and as an ex- 
planation of the anger which was aflame in that country. 
" France," he said, " does not understand, and cannot under- 
stand, this state of things ; and in that lies the danger, for 
she may mistake the true sentiments of her ally, and may 
cease to believe in England's sincerity." Talk of that kind 
would have been excusable and natural on the part of an 
Imperialist orator in the Corps L6gislatif in Paris; but it 
was silly and impertinent when it came from a professional 
diplomatist. That flavor of the canteen and the barrack- 
room, which the Prince Consort detected and disliked in the 
Emperor's associates, was very perceptible in Persigny's ha- 
rangue. The barrack-room and the canteen, however, had 
much more to say in the matter. Addresses of congratula- 
JL—7 



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98 A HISTORY OP OUR OWN TIMES. 

*.ion were poured in upon the Emperor from the French 
army, and many of them were full of insulting allusions to 
England as the sheltering-ground of assassination. One reg- 
iment declared that it longed to demand an account from 
"the land of impurity which contains the haunts of the mon- 
sters who are sheltered by its laws." This regiment begged 
of the Emperor to give them the order, " and we will pursue 
them even to their stronghold." In another address it was 
urged that " the infamous haunt (repaire infdms) in which 
machinations so infernal are planned " — London, that is — 
"should be destroyed forever." Some of these addresses 
were inserted in the Monitmr, then the official organ of the 
French Government. It was afterward explained that the 
official sanction thus apparently given to the rhodomon- 
tades of the French colonels was a mere piece of inadver- 
tence. There were so many addresses sent in, it was said, 
that some of them escaped examination. Count Walewski 
expressed the regret of the Emperor that language and sen- 
timents so utterly unlike his own should have found their 
way into publicity. It is certain that Louis Napoleon would 
never have deliberately sanctioned the obstreperous buffoon- 
ery of such sentences as we have referred to ; but anyhow 
the addresses were published, were read in England, and 
aroused in this country an amount of popular resentment 
not unlikely to explode in utterances as vehement and 
thoughtless as those of the angry French colonels them- 
selves. 

Let us do justice to the French colonels. Their language 
was ludicrous ; nothing but the grossness of its absurdity 
saved it from being intolerably offensive. But the feeling 
which dictated it was not unnatural. Foreign countries al- 
ways find it hard to understand the principles of liberty 
which are established in England. They assume that if a 
State allows certain things to be done, it must be because 
the State wishes to see them done. If men are allowed to 
plot against foreign sovereigns in England, it can only be, 
they argue, because the English Government likes to have 
plots carried on against foreign sovereigns. It would be 
impossible to deny that people in this country are singu- 
larly thoughtless in their encouragement of any manner of 
foreign revolution. Even where there are restrictive laws, 



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TBS OftSINI BOMBS. 99 

public opinion will hardly sanction their being carried out. 
London is, and long has been, the head-quarters of revolu- 
tionary plot. No one knew that better than Louis Napo- 
leon himself. No one had made more unscrupulous use of 
a domicile in London to carry out political and revolution- 
ary projects. ? Associations have been formed in London to 
supply men and money to Don Carlos, to Queen Isabella, to 
the Polish Revolutionists, to Hungary, to Garibaldi, to the 
Southern Confederation, to the Circassians, to anybody and 
everybody who could say that he represented a defeat, or a 
victory, or a national cause, or anything. In 1860 Lord 
John Russell admitted in the House of Commons that it 
would be impossible to put into execution our laws against 
foreign enlistment, because every political party and almost 
every man was concerned in breaking them at one time or 
another. He referred to the fact that, some forty years be- 
fore, the cause of Greece against Turkey had been taken up 
openly in London by public men of the highest mark, and 
that money, arms, and men were got together for Greece 
without the slightest pretence at concealment. While he 
was speaking, a legion was being formed in one place to fight 
for Victor Emmanuel against the Pope ; in another place, to 
fight for the Pope against Victor EmmanueL Every refu- 
gee was virtually free to make London a basis of operations 
against the Government which had caused his exile. There 
were, it is right to say, men who construed the conditions 
upon which they were sheltered in England with a conscien- 
tious severity. They held that they were protected by this 
country on the implied understanding that they took no 
part in any proceedings that might tend to embarrass her 
in her dealings with foreign States. They argued that the 
obligation on them, whether declared or not, was exactly 
the same as that which rests on one who asks and obtains 
the hospitality and shelter of a private house : the obliga- 
tion not to involve his host in quarrels with his neighbors. 
M. Louis Rlanc, for example, who lived some twenty years 
in England, declined on principle to take part in secret po- 
litical movements of any kind during all the time. But the 
great majority of the exiles of all countries were incessantly 
engaged in political plots and conspiracies ; and undoubted- 
ly some of these were nothing more or less than conspiracie* 



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100 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

to assassinate. Many of the leading exiles were intimately 
associated with prominent and distinguished Englishmen ; 
and these same exiles were naturally associated to some ex- 
tent with many of their own countrymen of a lower and less 
scrupulous class. It had, therefore, happened more than 
once before this time, and it happened more than once after- 
ward, that when a plot at assassination was discovered, the 
plotters were found to have been on more or less intimate 
terms with some leading exiles in London, who themselves 
were well acquainted with eminent Englishmen. Men with 
a taste for assassination are to be found among the camp- 
followers of every political army. To assume that because 
the leaders of the party may have been now and then asso- 
ciated with them, they must therefore be acquainted with, 
and ought to be held responsible for, all their plots, is not 
less absurd than it would be to assume that an officer in a 
campaign must have been in the secret when some repro- 
bate of his regiment was about to plunder a house. But 
the French colonels saw that the assassin this time was not 
a nameless scoundrel, but a man of birth and distinction like 
Felice Orsini, who had been received and welcomed every- 
where in England. It is not very surprising if they as- 
sumed that his projects had the approval and favor of Eng- 
lish public opinion. The French Government, indeed, ought 
to have known better. But the French Government lost 
for the moment its sense and self-control. A semi-official 
pamphlet, published in Paris, and entitled " The Emperor 
Napoleon the Third and England," actually went the ridic 
ulous length of describing an obscure debating -club in a 
Fleet Street public-house, where a few dozen honest fellows 
smoked their pipes of a night and talked hazy politics, as a 
formidable political institution where regicide was nightly 
preached to fanatical desperadoes. 

Thus we had the public excited on both sides. The feel- 
ing of anger on this side was intensified by the conviction 
that France was insulting us because she thought England 
was crippled by her troubles in India, and had no power to 
resent an insult. It was while men here were smarting un- 
der this sense of wrong that Lord Palmerston introduced 
\ his famous measure for the suppression and punishment of 
'conspiracies to murder. The bill was introduced in cons* 



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THE ORSINI BOMBS. 101 

qaeooe of the despatch of Count Walewski. In that de- 
spatch it was suggested to the English Government thai 
they ought to do something to strengthen their law. " Full 
of confidence," Count Walewski said, "in the exalted reason 
of the English Cabinet, we abstain from all indication as re- 
gards the measures which it may be suitable to take. We 
rely on them for a careful appreciation of the decision which 
they shall judge roost proper, and we congratulate ourselves 
in the firm persuasion that we shall not have appealed in 
vain to their conscience and their loyalty." The words 
were very civil. They were words as sweet as those of 
which Cassius says, that " they rob the Hybla bees, and | 
leave them honeyless." Nor was the request they contained 
in itself unreasonable. Long afterward this country had to 
acknowledge, in reply to the demand of the United States, 
that a nation cannot get rid of her responsibility to a for- 
eign people by pleading that her municipal legislation does 
not provide for this or that emergency. If somebody dom- 
iciled among us shoots his arrow over the house and hurts 
our foreign brother, it is not enough for us to say, when com- 
plaint is made, that we have no law to prevent people from 
shooting arrows out of our premises. The natural rejoinder 
is, "Then you had better make such a law; you are not to ) 
injure us and get off by saying your laws allow us to be in- j 
jured." But the conditions under which the request was 
made by France had put England in the worst possible 
mood for acceding to it. We have all heard of the story of 
General Jackson, who was on one occasion very near refusing 
in wrath a reasonable and courteous request of the French 
Government, because his secretary, in translating the letter 
for Jackson, who did not know French, began with the words, 
"The French Government demands." Jackson vehemently 
declared that if the French Government dared to demand 
anything of the United States they should not have it. It 
was only when it had been made quite clear to him that the 
French word demander did not by any means correspond 
with the English word "demand," that the angry soldier 
consented even to listen to the representation of France. 
The English public mind was now somewhat in Jackson's 
mood. It was under the impression that France was mak- 
ing a demand, and was not in the temper to grant it. Orai< 



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102 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

nous questions were put to the Government in both Houses 
of Parliament. In the House of Commons Mr. Roebuck 
asked whether any communications had passed between 
the Governments of England and France with respect to 
the Alien Act or any portion of our criminal code. Lord 
Palmerston answered by mentioning Count Wale w ski's de- 
spatch, which, he said, should be laid before the House. He 
added a few words about the addresses of the French regi- 
ments, and pleaded that allowance should be made for the 
irritation caused by the attempt on the life of the Emperor. 
He was asked a significant question — had the Government 
sent any answer to Count Walewski's despatch ? No, was 
the reply ; her Majesty's Government had not answered it ; 
not yet. 

Two or three days after, Lord Palmerston moved for leave 
to bring in the Conspiracy to Murder Bill. The chief ob- 
ject of the measure was to make conspiracy to murder a 
felony instead of a mere misdemeanor, as it had been in Eng- 
land, and to render it liable to penal servitude for any pe- 
riod varying from five years to a whole life. Lord Palmer- 
ston made a feeble and formal attempt to prove that his bill 
was introduced simply as a measure of needed reform in our 
criminal legislation, and without special reference to any- 
thing that had happened in France. The law against con- 
spiracy to murder was very light in England, he showed, 
and was very severe in Ireland. It was now proposed to 
make the law the same in both countries — that was all. Of 
course no one was deceived by this explanation. The bill 
itself was as much of a sham as the explanation. Such a 
measure would not have been of any account whatever as 
regarded the offences against which it was particularly di- 
rected. As Lord John Russell said in the debate, it would 
argue great ignorance of human nature to imagine that a 
fanatic of the Orsini class, or any of those whom such a man 
could fascinate by his influence, would be deterred by the 
mere possibility of a sentence of penal servitude. Lord 
Palmerston, we may be sure, did not put the slightest faith 
in the efficacy of the piece of legislation he had undertaken 
to recommend to Parliament. It was just as in the case of 
the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill. He was compelled to believe 
that the Government would have to do something ; and he 



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THB OB8INI BOMBS. 103 

came, after awhile, to the conclusion that the most harmless 
measure would be the best. He had had an idea of asking 
Parliament to empower the Secretary of State to send out 
of the country foreigners whom the Government believed to 
be engaged in plotting against the life of a foreign sover- 
eign ; the Government being under obligation to explain the 
grounds for their belief and their action to a secret commit- 
tee of Parliament, or to a committee composed of the three 
chiefs of the law courts. Such a measure as this would 
probably have proved effective; but it would have been im- 
possible to induce the House of Commons to pass such a 
bill, or to intrust such power to any Government. Indeed, 
if it were not certain that Palmerston did entertain such a 
project, the language he used in his speech when introduc- 
ing the Conspiracy Bill might lead one to believe that noth- 
ing could have been farther from his thoughts. He dis- 
claimed any intention to propose a measure which should 
give power to a Government to remove aliens on mere sus- 
picion. He " was sure it was needless for him to say he had 
no such intention." He had, however, such an intention at 
one time. His biographer, Mr. Evelyn Ashley, is clear on 
that point, and there cannot be better authority. It must 
have been only for a moment that Palmerston even thought 
of making a proposal of the kind to an English Parliament. 
He had not been long enough in the Home Office, it would 
seem, to understand thoroughly the temper of his country- 
men. Indeed, in this instance he made a mistake every way. 
When he assented to the introduction of the Ecclesiastical 
Titles Bill, he was right in thinking that English public opin- 
ion wished to have something done ; but in this case the in- 
clination of public opinion was the other way; it wished to 
have nothing done — at least, just at that moment. Mr. 
Kinglake moved an amendment, formally expressing the 
sympathy of the House with the French people on account 
of the attempt made against the Emperor, but declaring it 
inexpedient to legislate, in compliance with the demand made 
in Count Wale w ski's despatch of January 20th, " until further 
information is before it of the communications of the two 
Governments subsequent to the date of that despatch." A 
discussion took place, in which Mr. Roebuck pointed out, very 
properly, that in any new measure of legislation it was not 



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104 A HISTORY OP OUR OWN TIME& 

punishment of crime accomplished that was required, but dis- 
covery of crime meditated ; and he also showed, with much 
effect, that in some cases, when the English Government 
had actually warned the Government of France that some 
plot was afoot, and that the plotters had left for Paris, the 
Paris police were unable to find them out, or to benefit in 
any way by the action of the English authorities. Mr. 
Disraeli voted for the bringing in of the bill, and made a 
cautious speech, in which he showed himself in favor of 
some sort of legislation, but did not commit himself to ap- 
proval of that particular measure. This prudence proved 
convenient afterward, when the crisis of the debate showed 
that it would be well for him to throw himself into the 
ranks of the opponents of the measure. The bill was read 
a first time. Two hundred and ninety-nine votes were for 
it ; only ninety-nine against. But before it came on for a 
second reading, public opinion was beginning to declare 
ominously against it. The fact that the Government had 
not answered the despatch of Count Walewski told heavily 
against them. It was afterward explained that Lord Cow- 
ley had been instructed to answer it verbally, and that Lord 
Palmerston thought this course the more prudent, and the 
more likely to avoid an increase of irritation between the 
two countries. But public opinion in England was not now 
to be propitiated by counsels of moderation. The idea had 
gone abroad that Lord Palmerston was truckling to the Em- 
peror of the French, and that the very right of asylum which 
England had so long afforded to the exiles of all nations 
was to be sacrificed at the bidding of one who had been 
glad to avail himself of it in his hour of need. 

This idea received support from the arrest of Dr. Simon 
Bernard, a French refugee, who was immediately put on 
trial as an accomplice in Orsini's plot. Bernard was a na- 
tive of the South of France, a surgeon by profession, and 
had lived a long time in England. He must have been, in 
outward aspect at least, the very type of a French Red 
Republican conspirator, to judge by the description given 
of him in the papers of the day. He is described as thin 
and worn, " with dark restless eyes, sallow complexion, a 
thick mustache, and a profusion of long black hair combed 
backward and reaching nearly to bis shoulders, and expos* 



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THE OKSINI BOMBS. 105 

ing a broad but low and receding forehead." The arrest 
of Bernard may have been a very proper thing, but it came 
in with most untimely effect upon the Government. It was 
understood to have been made by virtue of information sent 
over from Paris, and no one could have failed to observe 
that the loosest accusations of that kind were always com- 
ing from the French capital. Many persons were influ- 
enced in their belief of Bernard's innocence by the fact, 
which does assuredly count for something, that Orsini him- 
self had almost with his dying breath declared that Bernard 
knew nothing of the intended assassination. Not a few 
made up their minds that he was innocent because the 
French Government accused him of guilt ; and still more 
declared that, innocent or guilty, he ought not be arrested 
by English authorities at the bidding of a French Emperor. 
At the same time the Can till on story was revived ; the story 
of the legacy left by the First Napoleon to the man who 
attempted to assassinate the Duke of Wellington, and it 
was insisted that the legacy had been paid to Cantillon by 
the authority of Napoleon III. 

The debate was over and the Conspiracy Bill disposed of 
before the Bernard trial came to an end ; but we may an- 
ticipate by a few days, and finish the Bernard story. Ber- 
nard was tried at the Central Criminal Court under existing 
law ; he was defended by Mr. Edwin James, a well-known 
criminal lawyer, and he was acquitted. The trial was a 
practical evidence of the inutility of such special legislation 
as that which Lord Palmerston attempted to introduce. A 
new law of conspiracy could not have furnished any new 
evidence against Bernard, or persuaded a jury to convict 
him on such evidence as there was. In the prevailing 
temper of the public, the evidence should have been very 
clear indeed to induce an ordinary English jury to convict 
a man like Bernard, and the evidence of his knowledge of 
an intended assassination was anything but clear. Mr. 
Edwin James improved the hour. He made the trial an 
occasion for a speech denunciatory of tyrants generally, and 
he appealed in impassioned language to the British jury to 
answer the French tyrant by their verdict ; which they did 
accordingly. Mr. James became a sort of popular hero for 
the time in consequence of his oration. He had rhetorical 



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106 A HISTORY OF OUB OWN TIMES. 

talent enough to make him a sort of Old Bailey Erskine, 
a Buzfuz Berryer. He set up for a liberal politician and 
tribune of the people, and was enabled after awhile to 
transfer his eloquenoe to the House of Commons. He va- 
pored about as a friend of Italy and Garibaldi and oppress- 
ed nationalities generally for a year or two after; got into 
money and other difficulties, and had to extinguish his poli- 
tical career suddenly and ignominiously. He was, indeed, 
heard of after. He went to America, and he came back 
again. But we need not speak of him any more. 

In the midst of the commotion caused by Bernard's arrest, 
and by the offer of two hundred pounds reward for the de- 
tection of an Englishman named Allsopp, also charged with 
complicity in the plot, Mr. Milner Gibson quietly gave notice 
of an amendment to the second reading of the Conspiracy 
Bill. /The amendment proposed to declare that while the 
House heard with regret the allegation that the recent crime 
had been devised in England, and was always ready to assist 
in remedying any proved defects in the criminal law, " yet it 
cannot but regret that her Majesty's Government, previously 
to inviting the House to amend the law of conspiracy by the 
second reading of this bill at the present time, have not felt 
it to be their duty to make some reply to the important de- 
spatch received from the French Government, dated Paris, 
January 20th, 1858, and which has been laid before Parlia- 
ment." It might have been seen at once that this was a 
more serious business for the Government than Mr. King- 
lake's amendment. In forecasting the result of a motion in 
the House of Commons, much depends on the person who 
brings it forward. Has he a party behind him ? If so, then 
the thing is important; if not, let his ability be what it will, 
his motion is looked on as a mere expression of personal opin- 
ion, interesting, perhaps, but without political consequence. 
Mr. Kinglake was emphatically a man without a party be- 
hind him ; Mr. Gibson was emphatically a man of party and 
of practical politics. Mr. Kinglake was a brilliant literary 
man, who had proved little better than a failure in the 
House; Mr. Gibson was a successful member of Parliament, 
and nothing else. No one could have supposed that Mr. 
Gibson was likely to get up a discussion for the mere sako 
of expressing his own opinion or making a display. He war 



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THE ORSINI BOMBS. 107 

one of those who had been turned out of Parliament when 
Palmerston made his triumphant appeal to the country on 
the China question. He was one of those whom Punch made 
fun of by a new adaptation of the old "il rty a pas de quoi" 
story ; one of those who could not sit because they had no 
seats. Now he had just been returned to Parliament by an- 
other constituency ; and he was not likely to be the mouth- 
piece of a merely formal challenge to the policy of the Gov- 
ernment. When the debate on the second reading came on, 
it began soon to be seen that the condition of things was 
grave for Lord Palmerston. Every hour and every speech 
made it more ominous. MiU-Qlad&tone spoke eloquently 
J against the Government. Mr L Disraeli suddenly discovered 
that he was bound to vote against the second reading, al- 
though he had voted for the first. The Government, he 
argued, had not yet answered the despatch as they might 
have done in the interval ; and, as they had not vindicated 
the honor of England, the House of Commons could not in- 
trust them with the measure they demanded. Lord Palmer- 
ston saw that, in homely phrase, the game was up. He was 
greatly annoyed; he lost his temper, and did not even try 
to conceal the fact that he had lost it. He attacked Mr. 
Milner Gibson fiercely ; declared that " he appears for the 
first time in my memory as the champion of the dignity and 
honor of the country. 9 ' He wandered off into an attack on 
the whole Peace party, or Manchester School, and told some 
atory about one of their newspapers which laid it down as 
a doctrine that it would not matter if a foreign enemy con- 
quered and occupied England, so long as they were allowed 
to work their mills. All this was in curiously bad taste. 
For a genial and kindly as well as a graceful man, it was 
singular how completely Lord Palmerston always lost his 
good manners when he lost his temper. Under the influence 
of sudden anger — luckily a rare influence with him — he 
could be actually vulgar. He was merely vulgar, for ex- 
ample, when on one occasion, wishing to throw ridicule on 
the pacific principles of Mr. Bright, he alluded to him in the 
House of Commons as "the honorable and reverend gentle- 
man." Lord Palmerston, in his reply to Mr. Milner Gibson, 
showed a positive spiteful ness of tone and temper very un- 
usual in him, and especially unbecoming in a losing man. 



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108 A HISTORY OP OUR OWN TIME& 

A statesman may rise as he will, bat he should fall with dig* 
nity. When the division was taken it appeared that there 
were 215 votes for the second reading, and 234 against it. 
The Government, therefore, were left in a minority of 10; 
146 Conservatives were in the majority, and 84 Liberals. 
Besides these there were such of the Peelite party as Sir 
James Graham, Mr. Gladstone, Mr. Card well, and Mr. Sid- 
ney Herbert. Lord Palmerston at once made up his mind 
to resign. His resignation was accepted. Not quite a year 
had passed since the general elections sent Lord Palmerston 
into power triumphant over the routed Liberals and the 
prostrate Manchester School. The leaders of the Manches- 
ter party were actually driven from their seats. There was 
not a Cobden or a Bright to face the conqueror in Parlia- 
ment. Not quite a year ; and now, on the motion of one of 
the lieutenants of that same party returned to their position 
again, Lord Palmerston is ejected from office. Palmerston 
once talked of having his " tit-for-tat with John Russell." 
The Peace party now had their tit-for-tat with him. " Cassio 
hath beaten thee, and thou by that small hurt hast cashiered 
Cassio." 

Lord Palmerston had the satisfaction before he left office 
of being able to announce the capture of Canton. The op- 
erations against China had been virtually suspended, it will 
be remembered, when the Indian Mutiny broke out. To 
adopt the happy illustration of a clever writer, England had 
dealt with China for the time as a backwoodsman some- 
times does with a tree in the American forests — " girdled " 
it with the axe, so as to mark it for felling at a more con- 
venient opportunity. She had now got the co-operation of 
France. France had a complaint of long standing against 
China on account of the murder of some missionaries, for 
which redress had been asked in vain. The Emperor of the 
French was very glad to have an opportunity of joining his 
arms with those of England in any foreign enterprise. It 
advertised the empire cheaply; it showed to Frenchmen 
how active the Emperor was, and how closely he had at 
heart the honor and the interests of France. ( An expedition 
to China in association with England could not be much of 
a risk, and would look well in the newspapers ; whereas if 
England were to be allowed to go alone, she would seem to 



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THE ORSINI BOMBS. 109 

be making too much of a position for herself in tho East 
There was, therefore, an allied attack made upon Canton, 
and, of course, the city was easily captured. Commissioner 
Yeh himself was taken prisoner, not until he had been 
sought for and hunted out in most ignominious fashion. He 
was found at last hidden away in some obscure part of a 
house. He was known by his enormous fatness. One of 
our officers caught hold of him ; Yeh tried still to get away. 
A British seaman seized Yeh by his pigtail, twisted the tail 
several times round his hand, and the unfortunate Chinese 
dignitary was thus a helpless and ludicrous prisoner. He 
was not hurt in any serious way; but otherwise he was 
treated with about as much consideration as school-boys 
show toward a captured cat. The whole story of his capt- 
ure may be read in the journals of the day, in some of which 
it is treated as though it were an exploit worthy of heroes, 
and as if a Chinese with a pigtail were obviously a person 
on whom any of the courtesies of war would be thrown 
away. When it was convenient to let loose Yen's pigtail, 
he was put on board an English man-of-war, and afterward 
sent to Calcutta, where he died early in the following year. 
Unless report greatly belied him, he had been exceptionally 
cruel, even for a Chinese official. It was said that he had 
ordered the beheading of about one hundred thousand reb- 
els. f There may be exaggeration in this number, but, as Vol- 
taire says in another case, even if we reduce the total to half, 
" Cela serait encore admirable." 

The English and French envoys, Lord Elgin and Baron 
Gros, succeeded in making a treaty with China. By the 
conditions of the treaty, England and France were to have 
ministers at the Chinese Court, on certain special occasions 
at least, and China was to be represented in London and 
Paris; there was to be toleration of Christianity in China, 
and a certain freedom of access to Chinese rivers for Eng- 
lish and French mercantile vessels, and to the interior of 
China for English and French subjects. China was to pay 
the expenses of the war. It was further agreed that the term j 
" barbarian " was no longer to be applied to Europeans in 
China. There was great congratulation in England over this 
treaty, and the prospect it afforded of a lasting peace with 
China. (The peace thus procured lasted, in fact, exactly a yean I 



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110 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

Lord Palmerston then was oat of office. Having nothing 
in particular to do, he presently went over to Compi&gne on 
a visit to the Emperor of the French. For the second time 
his friendship for Louis Napoleon had cost him his place. 



CHAPTER XXXVHL 



When Mr. Disraeli became once more leader of the House 
of Commons, he - must have felt that he had almost as diffi- 
cult a path to tread as that of him described in " Henry the 
Fourth," who has to " o'erwalk a curreut roaring loud on the 
unsteadfast footing of a spear." The ministry of Lord Der- 
by, whereof Mr. Disraeli was undoubtedly the sense-carrier, 
was not supported by a parliamentary majority, nor could it 
pretend to great intellectual and administrative ability. It 
had in its ranks two or three men of something like states- 
man capacity, and a number of respectable persons possess- 
ing abilities about equal to those of any intelligent business 
man or county magistrate. Mr. Disraeli, of course, became 
Chancellor of the Exchequer. Lord Stanley undertook the 
Colonies; Mr. Walpole made a painstaking and conscien- 
tious Home Secretary, as long as he continued to hold the 
office. Lord Malmesbury muddled on with Foreign Affairs 
somehow ; Lord Ellen borough's brilliant eccentric light per- 
plexed for a brief space the Indian Department. Geueral 
Peel was Secretary for War, and Mr. Henley President of 
the Board of Trade. Lord Naas, afterward Lord Mayo, be- 
came Chief Secretary for Ireland, and was then supposed 
to be nothing more than a kindly, sweet-tempered man, of 
whom his most admiring friends would never have ventured 
to foreshadow such a destiny as that he should succeed to 
the place of a Canning and an Elgin, and govern the new 
India to which so many anxious eyes were turned. ( Sir John 
\Pakington was made First Lord of the Admiralty, because a 
J place of some kind had to be found for him, and he was as 
; likely to do well at the head of the navy as anywhere else. 
A ridiculous story, probably altogether untrue, used to be 
told of President Lincoln in some of the difficult days of the 



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Ill 

American Civil War. He wanted a commander-in-chief, and 
he happened to be in conversation with a friend on the sub- 
ject of the war. Suddenly addressing the friend, he asked 
him if he had ever commanded an army. " No, Mr. Presi- 
dent," was the reply. u Do you think you could command 
an army ?" " I presume so, Mr. President ; I know nothing 
to the contrary." He was appointed Commander-in-Chief 
at once. One might, without great stretch of imagination, 
conceive of a conversation of the same kind taking place 
between Sir John Pakington and Lord Derby. Sir Johni 
Pakington had no reason to know that he might not prove 
equal to the administration of the navy, and he became 
First Lord of the Admiralty accordingly. No Conservative \ 
Government could be supposed to get on without Lord John 
Manners, and luckily there was the Department of Public 
Works for him. 

Lord Stanley was regarded as a statesman of great and 
peculiar promise. The party to which he belonged were in- 
clined to make him an object of especial pride, because he 
seemed to have in a very remarkable degree the very qual- 
ities which most of their leading members were generally 
accused of wanting. The epithet which Mr. Mill at a later 
period applied to the Tories, that of the stupid party, was 
the expression of a feeling very common in the political 
world, and under which many of the Conservatives them- 
selves winced. The more intelligent a Conservative was, the 
more was he inclined to chafe at the ignorance and dulness 
of many of the party. It was, therefore, with particular sat- 
isfaction that intelligent Tories saw among themselves a 
young statesman, who appeared to have all those qualities 
of intellect and those educational endowments which the 
bulk of the party did not possess, and, what was worse, did 
not even miss. Lord Stanley had a calm, meditative intel- 
lect. He studied politics as one may study a science. He 
understood political economy, that new-fangled science which 
had so bewildered his party, and of which the Peelites and 
the Manchester men made so much account. He had travel- 
led much ; not merely making the old-fashioned grand tour, 
which most of the Tory country gentlemen had themselves 
made, but visiting the United States and Canada and the 
Indies, East and West. He was understood to know all 



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112 A HISTORY OP OUR OWN TIMES. 

about geography, and cotton, and sugar; and he had come 
up into politics in a happy age when the question of Free- 
trade was understood to be settled. The Tories were proud 
of him, as a democratic mob is proud of an aristocratic lead- 
er, or as 'a working-men's convention is proud of the co-op- 
-eration of some distinguished scholar, j Lord Stanley was 
'strangely unlike his father in intellect and temperament. 
The one man was indeed almost the very opposite of the oth- 
er. Lord Derby was all instinct and passion ; Lord Stanley 
was all method and calculation. Lord Derby amused him- 
self in the intervals of political work by translating classic 
epics and odes ; Lord Stanley beguiled an interval of lei- 
' sure by the reading of Blue-books. Lord Derby's eloquence, 
\ when at its worst, became fiery nonsense ; Lord Stanley's 
- sunk occasionally to be nothing better than platitude. /The 
j extreme of the one was rhapsody, and of the other common- 
place. Lord Derby was too hot and impulsive to be always 
a sound statesman ; Lord Stanley was too coldly methodical 
to be the statesman of a crisis. Both men were to a certain 
sense superficial and deceptive. Lord Derby's eloquence had 
no great depth in it ; and Lord Stanley's wisdom often proved 
somewhat thin. The career of Lord Stanley did not after- 
ward bear out the expectations that were originally formed 
of him. He proved to be methodical, sensible, conscientious, 
slow. He belonged, perhaps, to that class of men about 
whom Goethe said, that if they could only once commit some/ 
extravagance we should have greater hopes of their future 
wisdom. He did not commit any extravagance ; he remain-' 
ed careful, prudent, and slow. But at the time when he ac- 
cepted the Indian Secretaryship it was still hoped that he 
would, to use a homely expression, warm to his work, and 
on both sides of the political contest people looked to him 
as a new and a great figure in Conservative politics. He was 
not an orator; he had nothing whatever of the orator in 
language or in temperament. His manner was ineffective ; 
his delivery was decidedly bad. But his words carried 
weight with them, and even his commonplaces were received 
by some of his party as the utterances of an oracle. There 
were men among the Conservatives of the back benches who 
secretly hoped that in this wise young man was the upcom- 
ing statesman who was to deliver the party from the thral- 



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JOHN STUART MILL 



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4k 0N THE TRUE FAITH OF A CHRISTIAN." 113 

dom of eccentric genius, and of an eloquence which, how- 
ever brilliantly it fought their battles, seemed to them hard' 
ly a respectable sort of gift to be employed in the service of 
gentlemanlike Tory principles. 

Lord Stanley had been in office before. During his fa- 
ther's first administration he had acted as Under-Secretary 
for Foreign Affairs. On the death of Sir William Molesworth 
Lord Paimerston had offered the Colonial Secretaryship to 
Lord Stanley ; but the latter, although his Toryism was of 
the most moderate and liberal kind, did not see his way to 
take a seat in a Liberal administration. His appearance, 
therefore, as a Cabinet Minister in the Government formed 
by his father was an event looked to with great interest all 
over the country. The Liberals were not without a hope 
that he might some day find himself driven by his conscien- 
tiousness and his clear, unprejudiced intelligence into the 
ranks of avowed Liberalism. It was confidently predicted 
of him in a Liberal review, two or three years after this time, 
that he would one day be found a prominent member of a 
Liberal Cabinet under the premiership of Mr. Gladstone. 
For the present, however, he is still the rising light — a 
somewhat cold and colorless light, indeed — of Conservatism. 

Arrayed against the Conservatives was a party disjointed, 
indeed, for the present, but capable at any moment, if they 
could only agree, of easily overturning the Government of 
Lord Derby. The superiority of the Opposition in debating 
power was simply overwhelming. In the House of Com- 
mons Mr. Disraeli was the only first-class debater, with the 
exception, perhaps, of the new Solicitor-General, Sir Hugh 
Cairns ; and Sir Hugh Cairns, being new to office, was not 
expected as yet to carry very heavy metal in great debate. 
The best of their colleagues could only be called a respecta- 
ble second class. Against them were Lord Paimerston, Lord 
John Russell, Mr. Gladstone, Sir James Graham, Mr. Sidney 
Herbert, Mr. Cobden, and Mr. Bright, every one of whom 
was a first-class debater ; some of them great parliamentary 
orators ; some, too, with the influence that comes from the 
fact of their having led ministries and conducted wars. In 
no political assembly in the world does experience of office 
and authority tell for more than in the House of Commons. 
To have held office confers a certain dignity even on medioo- 

n.— 8 



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114 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

rity. The man who has held office, and who sits on the front 
bench opposite the ministry, has a sort of prescriptive right 
to be heard whenever he stands up to address the House, in 
preference to the most rising and brilliant talker who has 
never yet been a member of an administration. Mr. Disraeli 
had opposed to him not merely the eloquence of Mr. Cobden 
and Mr. Bright, but the authority of Lord John Russell and 
Lord Palmerston. It required much dexterity to make a 
decent show of carrying on a Government under such condi- 
tions. Mr. Disraeli well knew that his party held office only 
on sufferance from their opponents. If they attempted noth- 
ing, they were certain to be censured for inactivity ; if they 
attempted anything, there was the chance of their exposing 
themselves to the combined attack of all the fractions of the 
Liberal party. Luckily for them, it was not easy to bring 
about such a combination just yet ; but whenever it came, 
there was foreshown the end of the Ministry. 

(Lord Derby's Government quietly dropped the unlucky 
Conspiracy Bill. England and France were alike glad to be 
out of the difficulty. There was a short interchange of cor- 
respondence, in which the French Government explained that 
they really had meant nothing in particular ; and it was then 
announced to both Houses of Parliament that the misunder- 
standing was at an end, and that friendship had set in again. 
We have seen already how the India Bill was carried. Lord 
Derby's tenure of office was made remarkable by the success 
of one measure which must have given much personal satis- 
faction to Mr. Disraeli. The son of a Jewish father, the de- 
scendant of an ancient Jewish race, himself received as a child 
into the Jewish community! Mr. Disraeli had since his earliest 
| years of intelligence been a Christian. " I am, as I have ever 
been," he said himself when giving evidence once in a court 
of law, " a Christian." But he had never renounced his sym- 
pathies with the race to which he belonged, and the faith in 
which his fathers worshipped. He had always stood up for the 
Jews ; he had glorified the genius and the influence of the 
Jews in many pages of romantic, high-flown, and sometimes 
very turgid eloquence ; he had in some of his novels seem- 
ingly set about to persuade his readers that all of good and 
great the modern world had seen was due to the unceasing 
intellectual activity of the Jew; he had vindicated with as 



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"ON THE TRUE FAITH OP A CHRISTIAN." 115 

sweeping a liberality the virtues of the Jewish race. In one 
really fine and striking sentence he declares that " a Jew is 
never seen upon the scaffold unless it be at an aukhda-fb" 
u Forty years ago," he says in his " Lord George Bentinck," 
— " not a longer period than the children of Israel were wan- 
dering in the desert — the two most dishonored races in Eu- 
rope were the Attic and the Hebrew, and they were the two 
races that had done most for mankind." 

Mr. Disraeli had the good fortune to see the civil emanci- 
pation of the Jews accomplished during the time of his lead- 
ership of the House of Commons. It was a coincidence mere- 
ly. He had always assisted the movement toward that end 
— unlike some other men who carried on their faces the evi- 
dence of their Hebrew extraction, and who yet made them- 
selves conspicuous for their opposition to it. But the suc- 
cess did not come from any inspiration of his ; and most of 
his colleagues in power resisted it as long as they could. 
His former chief, Lord George Bentinck, it will be remem- 
bered, had resigned his leadership of the party in the House 
of Commons, because of the complaints made when he spoke 
and voted for the removal of Jewish disabilities. It was 
in July, 1858, that the long political and sectarian struggle 
came to an end. Baron Lionel Nathan de Rothschild, who 
has but lately died, was allowed to take his seat in the 
House of Commons on the 26th of that month, as one of the 
representatives of the City of London, and the controversy 
about Jewish disabilities was over at last. It is not unin- 
teresting, before we trace the history of this struggle to its 
close, to observe how completely the conditions under which 
it was once carried on had changed in recent years. Of 
late the opposition to the claims of the Jews came almost 
exclnsively from the Tories, and especially from the Tories 
in the House of Lords, from the High-Churchmen and from 
the bishops. A century before that time the bishops were, 
for the most part, very willing that justice should be done 
to the Jews; and statesmen and professional politicians, 
looking at the question, perhaps, rather from the view of ob- 
vious necessity and expediency, were well inclined to favor 
the claim made for rather than by their Jewish fellow-sub- 
jects. But at that time the popular voice cried out furi- 
ously against the Jews. The old traditions of calumny and 



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116 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMB& 

hatred still had full influence, and the English people, as a 
whole, were determined that they would not admit the Jews 
to the rights of citizenship. They would borrow from 
them, buy from them, accept any manner of service from 
them, but they would not allow of their being represented 
in Parliament. As time went on, all this feeling changed. 
The public in general became either absolutely indifferent 
to the question of Jewish citizenship, or decidedly in favor 
of it. No statesman had the slightest excuse for professing 
to believe that an outcry would be raised by the people if 
he attempted to procure the representation of Jews by Jews 
in Parliament. We have seen how, by steps, the Jews' made 
their way into municipal office and into the magistracy. At 
the same time persistent efforts were being made to obtain 
for them the right to be elected to the House of Commons. 
On April 5th, 1830, Mr. Robert Grant, then a colleague of 
one of the Gurney family in the representation of Norwich, 
moved for leave to bring in a bill to repeal the civil disabil- 
ities affecting British -born subjects professing the Jewish 
religion. The claim which Mr. Grant made for the Jews 
was simply that they should be allowed to enjoy all those 
rights which we may call fundamental to the condition of 
the British subject, without having to profess the religion 
of the State. At that time the Jews were unable to take 
the oath of allegiance, passed in Elizabeth's reign, although 
it had nothing in its substance or language opposed to their 
claims, inasmuch as it was sworn on the Evangelists. Nor 
could they take the oath of abjuration, intended to guard 
against the return of the Stuarts, because that oath contain- 
ed the words, " on the true faith of a Christian." Before 
the repeal of the Test and Corporations Act in 1 828, the 
Sacrament had to be taken as a condition of holding any 
corporate office, and had to be taken before admission. In 
the case of offices held under the Crown it might be taken 
after admission. Jews, however, did obtain admission to 
corporate offices, not expressly as Jews, but as all Dissenters 
obtained it ; that is to say, by breaking the law, and having 
an annual indemnity bill passed to relieve them from the 
penal consequences. The Test and Corporations Act put an 
end to this anomaly as regarded the Dissenters, but it un- 
consciously imposed a new disability on the Jew. The new 



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"ON THE TRUE FAITH OP A CHRISTIAN." 117 

declaration, substituted for tbe old oath, contained the words, 
*on the true faith of a Christian.' 9 "The operation of the 
law was fatal," says Sir Erskine May, " to nearly all the 
rights of a citizen. A Jew could not hold any office, civil, 
military, or corporate. He could not follow the profession 
of the law as barrister or attorney, or attorney's clerk ; he 
could not be a school-master or an usher at a school. He 
could not sit as a member of either House of Parliament, 
nor even exercise the electoral franchise, if called upon to 
take the elector's oath." Thus, although no special Act 
was passed for the exclusion of the Jew from the rights of 
citizenship, he was effectually shut up in a sort of political 
and social Ghetto. 

The debate on Mr. Grant's motion was made memorable 
by the fact that Macaulay delivered then his maiden speech. 
He rose at the same time with Sir James Mackintosh, and 
according to the graceful usage of the House of Commons, 
the new member was called on to speak. We need not go 
over the arguments used in the debate. Public opinion has 
settled the question so long and so completely that they 
have little interest for a time like ours. One curious argu- 
ment is, however, worth a passing notice. One speaker, Sir 
John Wrottesley, declared that when it was notorious that 
seats were to be had in that House to any extent for money, 
he could not consent to allow any one to become a member 
who was not also a Christian. Bribery and corruption were 
so general and so bad that they could not with safety to 
the State be left to be the privilege of any but Christians. 
" If I be drunk," says Master Slender, " I'll be drunk with 
those that have the fear of God, and not with drunken 
knaves." The proposal for the admission of Jews to Par- 
liament was supported by Lord John Russell, O'Connell, 
Brougham, and Mackintosh. Its first reading — for it was 
opposed even on the first reading — was carried by a major- 
ity of eighteen ; but on the motion for the second reading 
the bill was thrown out by a majority of sixty-three, the 
votes for it being 165, and those against it 228. In 1833 
Mr. Grant introduced his bill again, and this time was fort- 
unate enough to pass it through the Commons. The Lords 
rejected it by a majority of fifty. The following year told 
a similar story. The Commons accepted ; the Lords reject- 



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118 A HISTORY OP OUR OWN TIMES. 

ed. Meantime tbe Jews were being gradually relieved 
from other restrictions. A clause in Lord Denman's Act 
for amending tbe laws of evidence allowed all persons to be 
sworn in courts of law in the form which they held most 
binding on their conscience. Lord Lyndhurst succeeded in 
passing a bill for the admission of Jews to corporate offices. 
Jews had, as we have already seen, been admitted to the 
shrievalty and the magistracy in the beginning of Queen 
Victoria's reign. In 1848 the struggle for their admission 
to Parliament was renewed, but the Lords still held out, and 
would not pass a bill. Meanwhile influential Jews began to 
offer themselves as candidates for seats in Parliament. Mr. 
Salomons contested Shoreham and Maidstone successively 
and unsuccessfully. In 1847 Baron Lionel Rothschild was 
elected one of the members for the City of London. He 
resigned his seat when the House of Lords threw out the 
Jews' bill, and stood again, and was again elected. It was 
not, however, until 1850 that the struggle was actually trans- 
ferred to the floor of the House of Commons. In that year 
Baron Rothschild presented himself at the table of the House 
as O'Connell had done, and offered to take the oaths in or- 
der that he might be admitted to take his seat. For four 
sessions he had sat as a stranger in the House, of which he 
had been duly elected a member by the votes of one of the 
most important English constituencies. Now he came bold- 
ly up to the table and demanded to be sworn. He was 
sworn on the Old Testament. He took the Oaths of Alle- 
giance and Supremacy ; but when the Oath of Abjuration 
came he omitted from it the words, " on the true faith of a 
Christian." He was directed to withdraw, and it was de- 
cided that he could neither sit nor vote unless he would con- 
sent to take the oath of abjuration in the fashion prescribed 
. by the law. In other words, he could only sit in the House 
' of Commons on condition of his perjuring himself. Had he 
sworn, "on the true faith of a Christian," the House of Com- 
mons, well knowing that he had sworn to a falsehood, would 
have admitted him as one of its members. 

Baron Rothschild quietly fell back to his old position* 
He sat in one of the seats under the gallery, a place to which 
strangers are admitted, but where also members occasion* 
ally sit. He did not contest the matter any further. Mr. 



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"ON THE TRUE FAITH OP A CHRISTIAN." 119 

David Salomons was inclined for a rougher and a bolder 
coarse. He was elected for Greenwich in 1851, and he pre- 
sented himself as Baron Rothschild had done. The same 
thing followed ; he refused to say the words, " on the true 
faith of a Christian," and he was directed to withdraw. He 
did withdraw. He sat below the bar. A few evenings 
after, a question was put to the Government by a member 
friendly to the admission of Jews, Sir Benjamin Hall, after- 
ward Lord Llanover : " If Mr. Salomons should take his seat, 
would the Government sue him for the penalties provided 
by the Act of Parliament in order that the question of right 
might be tried by a court of law?" Lord John Russell re- 
plied, on the part of the Government, that they did not in- 
tend to take any proceedings ; in fact, implied that they con- 
sidered it no affair of theirs. Then Sir Benjamin Hall an- 
nounced that Mr. Salomons felt he had no alternative but to 
take his seat, and let the question of right be tested in that 
way. Forthwith, to the amazement and horror of steady 
old constitutional members, Mr. Salomons, who had been sit- 
ting below the bar, calmly got up, walked into the sacred 
precincts of the House, and took his seat among the mem- 
bers. A tumultuous scene followed. Half the House shout- 
ed indignantly to Mr. Salomons to " withdraw, withdraw ;" 
the other half called out encouragingly to him to keep his 
place. The perplexity was indescribable. What is to be 
done with a quiet and respectable gentleman who insists 
that he is a member of Parliament, comes and takes his seat 
in the House, and will not withdraw? To be sure, if he 
were an absolute intruder he could be easily removed by 
the Sergeant -at -Arms and his assistants. But in such a 
case, unless, indeed, the intruder were a lunatic, he would 
hardly think of keeping his place when he had been bidden 
by authority to take himself off. Mr. Salomons, however, 
had undoubtedly been elected member for Greenwich by a 
considerable majority. His constituents believed him to be 
their lawful representative, and, in fact, had obtained from 
him a promise that if elected he would actually take his 
seat. Even then, perhaps, something might have been done 
if the House in general had been opposed to the claim of 
Mr. Salomons and of Greenwich. When Lord Cochrane es- 
caped from prison and presented himself in the House from 



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120 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

which he had been expelled, he, too, was ordered to with- 
draw. He, too, refused to do so. The Speaker directed 
that he should be removed by force. Cochrane had a gi- 
ant's strength, and on this occasion he used it like a giant. 
He struggled hard against the efforts of many officials to 
remove him, and some of the wood-work of the benches was 
actually torn from its place before the gallant seaman could 
be got out of the House. But in the case of Lord Cochrane 
the general feeling of the House was with the authorities 
and against the expelled member, who, however, happened 
to be in the right, while the House was in the wrong. The 
case of Mr. Salomons was very different. Many members 
were of opinion, and eminent lawyers were among them, 
that, in the strictest and most technical view of the law, he 
was entitled to take his seat. Many more were convinced 
that the principle which excluded him was stupid and bar- 
barous, and that the course he was at present taking was 
necessary for the purpose of obtaining its immediate repeal. 
Therefore, any idea of expelling Mr. Salomons was out 
of the question, f The only thing that could be done was 
to set to work and debate the matter. Lord John Rus- 
sell moved a resolution to the effect that Mr. Salomons be 
ordered to withdraw. Lord John Russell, it need hardly 
be said, was entirely in favor of the admission of Jews, but 
thought Mr. Salomons's course irregular. Mr. Bernal Osborne 
moved an amendment declaring Mr. Salomons entitled to 
take his seat. A series of irregular discussions, varied and 
enlivened by motions for adjournment, took place ; and Mr. 
Salomons not only voted in some of the divisions, but act- 
ually made a speech. He spoke calmly and well, aud was 
listened to with great attention. He explained that in the 
course he had taken he was acting in no spirit of contu- 
macy or presumption, and with no disregard for the dignity 
of the House, but that he had been lawfully elected, and 
that he felt bound to take his seat for the purpose of assert- 
ing his own rights and those of his constituents. He in- 
timated, also, that he would withdraw if just sufficient force 
were used to make him feel that he was acting under coer- 
cion. The motion that he be ordered to withdraw was car- 
ried. The Speaker requested Mr. Salomons to withdraw. 
Mr. Salomons held his place. The Speaker directed the 



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"ON THE TRUE FAITH OF A CHRISTIAN." 121 

Sergeaut-at-Arms to remove Mr. Salomons. The Sergeant- 
at-Arms approached Mr. Salomons and touched him on the 
shoulder, and Mr. Salomons then quietly withdrew. The 
farce was over. It was evident to every one that Mr. 
Salomons had virtually gained his object, and that some- 
thing must soon be done to get the House of Commons and 
the country out of the difficulty. It is curious that, even 
in ordering him to withdraw, the Speaker called Mr. Salo- 
mons " the honorable member." 

Mr. Salomons did well to press his rights in that practical 
way upon the notice of the House. It is one of the blots 
upon our parliamentary system that a great question, like 
that of the removal of Jewish disabilities, is seldom set- 
tled upon its merits. Parliament rarely bends to the mere 
claims of reason and justice. Some pressure has almost al- 
ways to be put on it to induce it to see the right. Its ten- 
dency is always to act exactly as Mr. Salomons himself for- 
mally did in this case; to yield only when sufficient pressure 
has been put on it to signify coercion. Catholic Emancipa- 
tion was carried by such a pressure. The promoters of the 
Sunday Trading Bill yield to a riot in Hyde Park. A Tory 
Government turn Reformers in obedience to a crowd who 
pull down the railing of the same enclosure. A Chancellor 
of the Exchequer modifies his budget in deference to a dem- 
onstration of match - selling boys and girls. In all these 
instances it was right to make the concession ; but the con- 
cession was not made because it was right. The Irish Home 
Rulers, or some of them at least, are convinced that they 
will carry Home Rule in the end by the mere force of a 
pressure brought to bear on Parliament ; and their expecta- 
tion is justified by all previous experience. They have been 
told often enough that they must not expect to carry it by 
argument. If parliamentary institutions do really come to 
be discredited in this country, as many people love to pre- 
dict, one especial reason will be this very experience on the 
part of the public, that Parliament has invariably conceded 
to pressure the reforms which it persistently denied to jus- 
tice. A reform is first refused without reason, to be at last 
conceded without grace. 

Mr. Salomons acted wisely, therefore, for the cause he had 
at heart when he thrust himself upon the House of Com* 



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122 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIKES. 

mons. The course taken by Baron Rothschild was more 
dignified, no doubt ; but it did not make much impression. 
The victory seems to us to have been practically won when 
Mr. Salomons sat down after having addressed the House 
of Commons from his place among the members. But it 
was not technically won just then, nor for some time after. 
Two actions were brought against Mr. Salomons, not by the 
Government, to recover penalties for his having unlawfully 
taken his seat. One of the actions was withdrawn, the 
object of both alike being to get a settlement of the legal 
question, for which one trial would be as good as twenty. 
The action came on for trial in the Court of Exchequer, on 
December 9th, 1851, before Mr. Baron Martin and a special 
jury. Baron Martin suggested that, as the question at issue 
was one of great importance, a special case should be pre- 
pared for the decision of the full court. This was done, and 
the case came before the Court in January, 1852. The issue 
really narrowed itself to this: were the words, "on the true 
faith of a Christian," merely a form of affirmation, or were 
they purposely inserted in order to obtain a profession of 
Christian faith ? / Did not the framers of the measure mere- 
ly put in such words as at the moment seemed to them most 
proper to secure a true declaration from the majority of 
those to be sworn, and with the understanding that in ex- 
ceptional cases other forms of asseveration might be em- 
ployed as more suited to other forms of faith ? Or were 
the words put in for the express purpose of making it cer- 
tain that none but Christians should take the oath? We 
know as a matter of fact that the words were not put in 
with any such intention. No one was thinking about the 
Jews when the asseveration was thus constructed. Still, 
the Court of Exchequer decided by three voices to oue that 
the words must be held in law to constitute a specially 
Christian oath, which could be taken by no one but a Chris- 
tian, and without taking which no one could be a member 
of Parliament ; of that Parliament which had had Boling- 
broke for a leader, and Gibbon for a distinguished member. 
The legal question then being settled, there were renewed 
efforts made to get rid of the disabilities by an Act of Par- 
liament The House of Commons continued to pass bills 
to enable Jews to sit in Parliament, and the House of Lords 



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123 

continued to throw them out. Lord John Russell, who had 
taken charge of the measure, introduced his bill early in 
1858. The bill was somewhat peculiar in its construction. 
On a former occasion the House of Lords found another 
excuse for not passing a measure for the same purpose, in 
the fact that it mixed up a modification of the Oath cf 
Supremacy with the question of the relief of the Jews. In 
the present measure the two questions were kept separate. 
The bill proposed to reconstruct the oath altogether. Some 
obsolete words about the Pretender and the Stuart family 
were to be taken out. The asseverations relating to suc- 
cession, supremacy, and allegiance were to be condensed 
into one oath, to which were added the words, " on the true 
faith of a Christian." Thus far the measure merely recon- 
structed the form of oath so as to bring it into accord with 
the existing conditions of things. But then there came a 
separate clause in the bill, providing that where the oath 
had to be administered to a Jew the words, "on the true 
faith of a Christian," might be left out. This was a very 
sensible and simple way of settling the matter. It provided 
a rational form of oath for all sects alike ; it got rid of ob- 
solete anomalies, and it likewise relieved the Jews from the 
injustice which had been unintentionally imposed on them. 
Unfortunately, the very convenience of the form in which 
the bill was drawn only put, as it will be seen, a new facil- 
ity into the hands of the Anti-reformers in the House of 
Lords for again endeavoring to get rid of it. Lord John 
Russell had no difficulty with the House of Commons. He 
had brought up his bill in good time, in order that it might 
reach the House of Lords as quickly as possible ; and it pass- 
ed a second reading in the Commons without any debate. 
When it came up to the House of Lords, the majority sim- 
ply struck out the particular clause relating to the Jews. 
This made the bill of no account whatever for the purpose 
it specially had in view. The Commons, on the motion of 
Lord John Russell, refused to assent to the alteration made 
by the Lords, and appointed a committee to draw up a state- 
ment of their reasons for refusing to agree to it. On the 
motion of Mr. Duncombe, it was actually agreed that Baron 
Rothschild should be a member of the committee, although 
a legal decision bad declared him not to be a member of 



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124 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

the House. Daring the debates to which all this led, Lord 
Lucan made a suggestion of compromise in the House of 
Lords which proved successful. He recommended the in- 
sertion of a olause in the bill allowing either House to mod- 
ify the form of oath according to its pleasure. Lord John 
Russell objected to this way of dealing with a great ques- 
tion, but did not feel warranted in refusing the proposed 
compromise. A bill was drawn up with the olause suggest- 
ed, and it was rattled, if we may use such an expression, 
through both Houses. It passed with the Oaths Bill, which 
the Lords had mutilated, and which now stood as an inde- 
pendent measure. A Jew, therefore, might be a member of 
the House of Commons, if it chose to receive him, and might 
be shut out of the House of Lords if that House did not 
think fit to let him in. More than that, the House of Com- 
mons might change its mind at any moment, and by modi- 
fying the form of oath shut out the Jews again, or shut out 
any new Jewish candidates. Of course such a condition of 
things as that could not endure. An Act passed not long 
after which consolidated the Acts referring to Oaths of Al- 
legiance, Abjuration, and Supremacy, and enabled Jews on 
all occasions whatever to omit the words, " on the true faith 
of a Christian." Thus the Jew was at last placed on a po- 
sition of political equality with his Christian fellow -sub- 
jects, and an anomaly and a scandal was removed from our 
legislation. 

About the same time as that which saw Baron Rothschild 
admitted to take his seat in the House of Commons, the ab- 
surd property qualification for members of Parliament was 
abolished. This ridiculous system originally professed to 
secure that no man should be a member of the House of 
Commons who did not own a certain amount of landed 
property. The idea of defining a man's fitness to sit in Par- 
liament according to his possession of landed property was 
in itself preposterous; but, such as the law was, it was 
evaded every day. It had not the slightest real force. Fic- 
titious conveyances were issued as a matter of course. Any 
one who desired a seat in Parliament could easily find some 
friend or patron who would convey to him by formal deed 
the fictitious ownership of landed property enough to satisfy 
the requirements of the law. This was done usually with as 



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125 

little pretence at concealment as the borrowing of an am- 
brella. It was perfectly well known to everybody that a 
great many members of the House of Commons did not pos- 
sess, and did not even pretend to possess, a single acre of 
land their own property. What made the thing more ab- 
surd was that men who were rich enough to spend thou- 
sands of pounds in contesting boroughs and counties had 
often to go through this form of having a fictitious convey- 
ance made to them, because they did not happen to have in- 
vested any part of their wealth in land. Great city mag- 
nates, known for their wealth, and known in many cases for 
their high personal honor as well, had to submit to this fool- 
ish ceremonial. The property qualification was a device of 
the reign of Anne. The evasions of it became so many and 
so notorious that in George IL's time an Act was passed 
making it necessary for every member to take an oath that 
he possessed the requisite amount of property. In the pres- 
ent reign a declaration was substituted for the oath, and it 
was provided that if a man had not landed property, it 
would be enough for him to prove that he had funded 
property to the same amount — six hundred pounds a year 
for counties, and three hundred pounds for boroughs. The 
manufacture of fictitious qualifications went on as fast as 
ever. There were many men in good position, earning large 
incomes by a profession or otherwise, who yet had not real- 
ized money enough to put them in possession of a property 
of six hundred pounds or three hundred pounds a year — it 
might take ten thousand pounds to secure an income of 
three hundred pounds a year ; twenty thousand pounds to 
secure six hundred pounds a year. Scores of members of 
Parliament were well known not to have any such means. 
To make the anomaly more absurd, it should be noted that 
there was no property qualification in Scotland, and the 
Scotch members were then, as now, remarkable for their re- 
spectability and intelligence. Members for the Universi- 
ties, too, were elected without a property qualification. Mr. 
Locke King stated in the House of Commons that, after 
every general election, there were from fifty to sixty cases in 
which it was found that persons bad declared themselves to 
be possessed of the requisite qualification who were notori- 
ously not in possession of it. Many men, too, it was well 



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126 A HISTORY OB» OVU OWtf TIMES. 

known, were purposely qualified by wealthy patrons, In or* 
der that they might sit in Parliament as mere nominees and 
political servants. 

As usual with Parliament, this anomaly was allowed to 
go on until a sudden 6candal made its abolition necessary. 
One luckless person, who probably had no position and few 
friends, was actually prosecuted for having made a false dec- 
laration as to his property qualification. He had been a lit- 
tle more indiscreet, or a little more open in his performance, 
than other people, and he was pounced upon by "old father 
antic," the law. This practically settled the matter. Every 
one knew that raauy other members of Parliament deserved, 
in point of fact, just as well as he, the three months' impris- 
onment to which he was sentenced. Mr. Locke King intro- 
duced a bill to abolish the property qualification hitherto 
required from the representatives of English and Irish con- 
stituencieslandrtt became law in a few days. * 



CHAPTER XXXIX. 

THE IONIAN ISLANDS. 



When Lord Ellenborough abruptly resigned the. place of 
President of the Board of Control, he was succeeded by Lord 
Stanley, who, as we have seen already, became Secretary of 
State for India under the new system of government. Lord 
Stanley had been Secretary for the Colonies, and in this office 
he was succeeded by Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton. For some 
time previously Sir Edward Lytton had been taking so mark- 
ed a place in Parliamentary life as to make it evident that 
when his party came into power he was sure to have a 
chance of distinguishing himself in office. Bulwer's political 
career had, up to this time, been little better than a failure. 
He started in public life as a Radical and a friend of O'Con- 
nell ; he was, indeed, the means of introducing Mr. Disraeli 
to the leader of the Irish party. He began his Parliamen- 
tary career before the Reform Bill. He was elected for St 
Ives in 1831. After the passing of the bill, he represented 
Lincoln for several years. At the general election of 1841 
be lost his seat, and it was not until July, 1852, that he 



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THE IONIAN ISLANDS. 127 

was again returned to Parliament. This time he came in 
as member for the County of Herts. In the interval many 
things had happened — to quote the expression of Mr. Disraeli 
in 1874. Lytton had succeeded to wealth and to landed 
estates, and he had almost altogether changed his political 
opinions. From a poetic Radical he had become a poetic 
Conservative. In the " Parliamentary Companion 9 ' for the 
year 1855 we find him thus quaintly described — by his own 
hand, it may be assumed : " Concurs in the general policy of 
Lord Derby ; would readjust the Income-tax, and mitigate 
the duties on malt, tea, and soap; some years ago advocated 
the ballot, but, seeing its utter inefficiency in France and 
America, can no longer support that theory ; will support 
education on a religious basis, and vote for a repeal of the 
Maynooth Grant." It will, perhaps, be assumed from this 
confession of faith that Lytton had not very clear views 
of any kind as to practical politics. It probably seemed a 
graceful and poetic thing, redolent of youth and Ernest Mal- 
travers, to stand forth as an impassioned Radical in early 
years ; and it was quite in keeping with the progress of Er- 
nest Maltravers to tone down into a thoughtful Conservative, 
opposing the Maynooth Grant and mitigating the duty on 
malt and soap, as one advanced in years, wealth, and grav- 
ity. At all events, it was certain that whatever Lytton at- 
tempted he would in the end carry to some considerable suc- 
cess. His first years in the House of Commons had come to 
nothing. When he lost his seat most people fancied that he 
had accepted defeat, and had turned his back on Parliamen- 
tary life forever. But Lytton possessed a marvellously strong 
will, and had a faith in himself which almost amounted to 
genius. When he wrote a play which proved a distinct fail- 
ure, some of the leading critics assured him that he had no 
dramatic turn at all. He believed, on the contrary, that he 
had ; and he determined to write another play which should 
be of all thipgs dramatic, and which should hold the stage. 
He went to work and produced the "Lady of Lyons," a play 
filled with turgid passages and preposterous situations, but 
which has, nevertheless, in so conspicuous a degree the dra- 
matic or theatric qualities that it has always held the stage, 
and has never been wholly extinguished by any change of 
fashion or of fancy. In much the same way Sir Edward Lyfc 



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128 A HISTOBY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

ton seems to have made up his mind that he would compel 
the world to confess him capable of playing the part of a 
politician. We have, in a former chapter of this work, al- 
luded to the physical difficulties which stood in the way of 
his success as a Parliamentary speaker, and in spite of which 
he accomplished his success. He was deaf, and his articu- 
lation was so defective that those who heard him speak in 
public for the first time often found themselves unable to 
understand him. Such difficulties would assuredly have 
scared any ordinary man out of the Parliamentary arena for- 
ever; but Lytton seems to have determined that he would 
make a figure in Parliament. He set himself to public speak- 
ing as coolly as if he were a man, like Gladstone or Bright, 
whom nature had marked out for such a competition by her 
physical gifts. He became a decided, and even, in a certain 
sense, a great success. He could not strike into a debate 
actually going on — his defects of hearing shut him off from 
such a performance — and no man who is not a debater will 
ever hold a really high position in the House of Commons ; 
but he could review a previous night's arguments in a speech 
abounding in splendid phrases and brilliant illustrations. He 
could pass for an orator; he actually did pass for an orator. 
Mr. Disraeli seems to have admired his speaking with a gen- 
uine and certainly a disinterested admiration; for he de- 
scribed it as though it were exactly the kind of eloquence 
in which he would gladly have himself excelled if he could. 
In fact, Lytton reached the same relative level in Parliamen- 
tary debate that he had reached in fiction and the drama. 
He contrived to appear as if he ought to rank among the 
best of the craftsmen. 

Sir Edward Lytton, as Secretary for the Colonies, seemed 
resolved to prove by active and original work that he could 
be a practical colonial statesman as well as a novelist, a play- 
wright, and a Parliamentary orator. He founded the Colony 
of British Columbia, which at first was to comprise all such 
territories within the Queen's dominions " as are bounded, to 
the south, by the frontier of the United States of America; 
to the east, by the main chain of the Rocky Mountains ; to 
the north, by Simpson's River and the Finlay branch of the 
Peace River ; and to the west, by the Pacific Ocean." It was 
originally intended that the colony should not include Van- 



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THE IONIAN ISLANDS. 120 

couver's Island ; but her Majesty was allowed, on receiving 
an address from. the two Houses of the Legislature of Van- 
couver's Island, to annex that island to British Columbia. 
Vancouver's Island was, in fact, incorporated with British 
Columbia in 1866, and British Columbia was united with the 
Dominion of Canada in 1871. 

Something, however, more strictly akin to Sir Edward Lyt- 
ton's personal tastes was found in the mission to which he 
invited Mr. Gladstone. There had long been dissatisfaction 
and even disturbance in the Ionian Islands. These seven 
islands were constituted a sort of republic or commonwealth 
by the Treaty of Vienna. But they were consigned to the 
protectorate of Great Britain, which had the right of main- 
taining garrisons in them. Great Britain used to appoint a 
Lord High Commissioner, who was generally a military man, 
and whose office combined the duties of Commander -in- 
Chief with those of Civil Governor. The little republic had 
a Senate of six members and a Legislative Assembly of forty 
members. It seems almost a waste of words to say that the 
islanders were not content with British government. For 
good or ill, the Hellenes, wherever they are found, are sure to 
be filled with an impassioned longing for Hellenic indepen- 
dence. The people of the Ionian Islands were eager to be al- 
lowed to enter into one system with the kingdom of Greece. 
It was idle to try to amuse them by telling them they con- 
stituted an independent republic, and were actually govern- 
ing themselves. A duller people than the Greeks of the isl- 
ands could not be deluded into the idea that they were a self- 
governing people, while they saw themselves presided over 
by an English Lord High Commissioner, who was also the 
Commander-in-Chief of a goodly British army garrisoned in 
their midst. They saw that the Lord High Commissioner 
had a way of dismissing the republican Parliament whenever 
he and they could not get on together. They knew that if 
they ventured to resist his orders, English soldiers would 
make short work of their effort at self-assertion. They 
might, therefore, well be excused if they failed to see much 
of the independent republic in such a system. It is certain 
that they got a great deal of material benefit from the pres- 
ence of the energetic road-making British power. But they 
wanted to be, above all things, Greek. Their national prin- 

IL-9 



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130 A HISTORY OF OUB OWN TIKES. 

ciples and aspirations, their personal vanities, their truly 
Greek restlessness and craving for novelty, all combined to 
make them impatient of that foreign protectorate which was 
really foreign government. The popular constitution which 
had been given to the Septinsular Republic some ten years 
before Sir E. B. Lytton's time had enabled Hellenic agitation 
to make its voice and its olaims more effectual. In England, 
after the usual fashion, a great many shallow politicians were 
raising au outcry against the popular constitution, as if it were 
the cause of all the confusion. Because it enabled discon- 
tent to make its voice heard, they condemned it as the cause 
of the discontent. They would have been for silencing the I 
alarm-bell immediately, and then telling themselves that all 
was safe. As was but natural, local politicians rose to popu- 1 
larity in the islands in proportion as they were loud in their 
denunciation of foreign rule, and in their demands for union 
with the kingdom of Greece. Anybody might surely have 
foretold all this years before. It might have been taken for 
granted that so long as any sort of independent Greek king- 
dom held its head above the waters, the Greek populations 
everywhere would sympathize with its efforts, and long to 
join their destiny with it. Many English public men, how- 
ever, were merely angry with these pestilential Greeks, who 
did not know what was good for them. A great English 
journal complained, with a simple egotism that was positive- 
ly touching, that, in spite of all argument, the National As- 
sembly, the municipalities, and the press of the Ionian Isl- 
ands had now concentrated their pretensions on the project 
of a union with the kingdom of Greece. Sir Edward Bulwer 
Lytton had not been long enough in office to have become 
soaked in the ideas of routine. He did not regard the unan- 
imous opinions of the insular legislature, municipalities, and 
press as evidence merely of the unutterable stupidity or the 
incurable ingratitude and wickedness of the Ionian popula- 
tions. He thought the causes of the complaints and the dis- 
satisfaction were well worth looking into, and he resolved on 
sending a statesman of distinction out to the islands to make 
the inquiry. Mr. Gladstone had been for some years out of 
office. He had been acting as an independent supporter of 
Lord Palmerston's Government. It occurred to Sir Edward 
Bulwer Lytton that Mr. Gladstone was the man best fitted 



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TOE IONIAN ISLANDS. ISt 

to conduct the inquiry. He was well known to be a sympa- 
thizer with the struggles and the hopes of the Greeks gen- 
erally ; and it seemed to the new Colonial Secretary that 
the mere fact of such a man having been appointed would 
make it clear to the islanders that the inquiry was about to 
be conducted in no hostile spirit. He offered, therefore, to 
Mr. Gladstone the office of Lord High Commissioner Ex- 
traordinary to the Ionian Islands, and Mr. Gladstone accept- 
ed the offer and its duties. The appointment created much 
surprise, some anger, and a good deal of ridicule here at 
home. There seemed to certain minds to be something 
novel, startling, and positively unseemly in such a proceed- 
ing. Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton had alluded in his de- 
spatch to Mr. Gladstone's Homeric scholarship, and this was, 
in the opinion of some politicians, an outrage upon all the 
principles and proprieties of routine. This, it was muttered, 
is what comes of literary men in office. A writer of novels 
is leader of the House of Commons, and he has another 
writer of novels at his side as Colonial Secretary, and be- 
tween them they can think of nothing better than to send a 
man out to the Ionian Islands to listen to the trash of Greek 
demagogues, merely because he happens to be fond of read- 
ing Homer. 

Mr. Gladstone went out to the Ionian Islands, and arrived 
in Corfu in the November of 1858. He called together the 
Senate, and endeavored to satisfy them as to the real nature 
of his mission. He explained that he had not come there to 
discuss the propriety of maintaining the English protector- 
ate, but only to inquire into the manner in which the just 
claims of the Ionian Islands might be secured by means of 
that protectorate. Mr. Gladstone's visit, however, was not 
a successful enterprise for those who desired that the pro- 
tectorate should be perpetual, and that the Ionians should 
be brought to accept it as inevitable. The population of 
the islands persisted in regarding him, not as the commis- 
sioner of a Conservative English Government, but as " Glad- 
stone the Philhellene." He was received wherever he went 
with the honors dne to a liberator. His path everywhere 
was made to seem like a triumphal progress. In vain he re- 
peated his assurances that he came to reconcile the islands 
to the protectorate, and not to deliver them from it The 



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182 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

popular instinct insisted on regarding him as at least the 
precursor of their union to the kingdom of Greece. The 
National Assembly passed a formal resolution declaring for 
union with Greece. All that Mr. Gladstone's persuasions 
could do was to induce them to appoint a committee, and 
draw up a memorial to be presented in proper form to the 
protecting powers. By this time the news of Mr. Glad- 
stone's reception in the islands, and in Athens, to which 
also he paid a visit, had reached England, and the most 
extravagant exaggerations were put into circulation. Mr. 
Gladstone was attacked in an absurd manner. He was ac- 
cused not merely of having encouraged the pretensions of 
the Ionian Islanders, but even talked of as if he, and he 
alone, had been their inspiration. One might have imag- 
ined that there was something portentous and even unnat- 
ural in a population of Hellenic race feeling anxious to be 
united with a Greek kingdom instead of being ruled by a 
British protectorate imposed by the arbitrary decree of a 
congress of foreign powers. National complacency could 
hardly push sensible men to greater foolishness than it did 
when it set half England wondering and raging over the im- 
pertinence of a Greek population who preferred union with 
a Greek kingdom to dependence upon an English protec- 
torate. English writers and speakers went on habitually as 
if the conduct of the islanders were on a par with that of 
some graceless daughter who forsakes her father's house for 
the companionship of strangers, or of some still more guilty 
wife who deserts her loving husband to associate herself 
with some strolling musician. There can be no doubt that 
in every material sense the people of the islands were much 
better governed under England's protectorate than they 
could be for generations, probably for centuries, to come un- 
der any Greek administration. They had admirable means 
of communication by land and sea, splendid harbors, regu- 
lar lines of steamers, excellent roads everywhere, while the 
people of the kingdom of Greece were hardly better off for 
all these advantages under Otho than they might have been 
under Godrus. M. Edmond About declared that the inhab- 
itants of the Ionian Islands were richer, happier, and a hun- 
dred times better governed than the subjects of King Otho. 
M. About detested Greece and all about it ; but his testi- 



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THE IONIAN ISLANDS. 133 

mony thus far is that of the most enthusiastic Philhellene. 
Indeed, it seems a waste of words to say, that where Eng-/ 
lishmen ruled they would take care to have good roads and| 
efficient lines of steamers. But M. About was mistaken in/ 
assuming that the populations of the islands were happier 
under British rule than they would have been under that of 
a Greek kingdom. Such a remark only showed a want of 
the dramatic sympathy which understands the feelings of 
others, and which we especially look for in a writer of any 
sort of fiction. M. About would not have been so success- 
ful a romancist if he had always acted on the assumption 
that people are made happy by the material conditions 
which, in the opinion of other people, ought to confer hap- 
. piness. He would not, we may presume, admit that the 
I people of Alsace and Lorraine are happier under the Ger- 
' mans than they were under the French, even though it were 
to be proved beyond dispute that the Germans made better 
roads and managed more satisfactorily the lines of railway. 
The populations of the islands persevered in the belief 
that they understood better what made them happy than 
M. About could do. The visit of Mr. Gladstone, whatever 
purpose it may have been intended to fulfil, had the effect 
of making them agitate more strenuously than ever for an- 
nexation to the kingdom of Greece. Their wish, however, 
was not to be granted yet. A new Lord High Commis- 
sioner was sent out after Mr. Gladstone's return, doubtless 
with instructions to satisfy what was supposed to be public 
opinion at home by a little additional stringency in main- 
taining the connection between Great Britain and the pro- 
tected populations. Still, however, the idea held ground 
that sooner or later Great Britain would give up the charge 
of the islands. A few years after, an opportunity occurred 
for making the cession. The Greeks got rid quietly of their 
heavy German king, Otho ; and on the advice chiefly of Eng- 
land, they elected as sovereign a brother of the Princess of 
Wales. The Greeks themselves were not very eager for 
any other experiment in the matter of royalty. They 
seemed as if they thought they had had enough of it. But 
the Great Powers, and more especially England, pressed 
upon them that they could never be really respectable if 
they went without a king ; and they submitted to the die 



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134 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TTME& 

tates of conventionality. They first asked for Prince Alfred 
of England, now Duke of Edinburgh ; but the arrangements 
of European diplomacy did not allow of a prince of any of 
the great reigning houses being set over Greece. In any 
case, nothing can be less likely than that an English Prince 
would have accepted such a responsibility. The French 
Government made some significant remark, to the effect 
that if it were possible for any of the Great Powers to al- 
low one of their princes to accept the Greek crown, France 
had a prince disengaged, who, she thought, might have at 
least as good a claim as another. This was understood to 
be Prince Napoleon, son of Jerome, King of Westphalia — a 
prince of whom a good deal was heard after, as a good deal 
had been heard before, in the politics of Europe. The sug- 
gestion then about the prince of the House of Denmark was 
made either by or to the Greeks, and it was accepted. The 
second son of the King of Denmark was made King of 
Greece ; and Lord John Russell, on behalf of the English 
Government, then handed over to the kingdom of Greece 
the islands of which Great Britain had had so long to bear 
the unwilling charge, and the retention of which, according 
to some uneasy politicians, was absolutely necessary alike to 
the national safety and the imperial glory of England. This 
is anticipating by a few years the movement of time ; but 
the effects of Mr. Gladstone's visit so distinctly foreshadowed 
the inevitable result that it is not worth while dividing into 
two parts this little chapter of our history. Mr. Gladstone's 
visit, the mistaken interpretation put upon it by the islanders, 
and the reception which, chiefly on account of that mistake, 
he had among them, must have made it clear to every intel- 
ligent person in England that this country could not long 
continue to force her protectorate upon a reluctant popula- 
tion over whom it could not even claim the right of con- 
quest. It ought to have been plain to all the world that 
England could not long consent, with any regard for her 
own professions and principles, to play the part of Europe's 
jailer or man in possession. The cession of the Ionian Isl- 
ands marked, however, the farthest point of progress attain- 
ed for many years in that liberal principle of foreign policy 
which recognizes fairness and justice as motives of action 
more imperative than national vanity, or the imperial pride 



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THE TOBY DIOGENES ROLLING HIS TUB. 185 

of extended possession. England had to suffer for some 
time under the influence of a reaction which the cession of 
the islands, all just and prudent though it was, unquestion- 
ably helped to bring about. 



CHAPTER XL. 

THE TOBY DIOGENES BOLLLNG HI8 TUB. 

These was once, we read, a mighty preparation for war 
going on in Athens. Everybody was busy in arrangement 
of some kind to meet the needs of coming battle. Diogenes 
had nothing in particular to do, but was unwilling to ap- 
pear absolutely idle when all else were so busy. He set to 
work, therefore, with immense clatter and energy, to roll his 
tub up and down the streets of Athens. The Conservative 
Government, seeing Europe all in disturbance, and having 
nothing very particular to do, began to roll a tub of their 
own, and to show a preternatural and wholly unnecessary 
activity in doing so. 

The year 1859 was one of storm and stress on the Euro- 
pean continent. The war-drum throbbed through the whole 
of it. The year began with the memorable declaration of 
the Emperor of the French to the Austriau Ambassador at 
the Tuileries that the relations between the two Empires 
were not such as he could desire. This he said, according 
to the description given of the event in a despatch from 
Lord Cowley, "with some severity of tone." In truth, 
Count Cavour had had his way. He had prevailed upon 
Louis Napoleon, and the result was a determination to ex- 
pel the Austrians from Italy. It seems clear enough that 
the Emperor, after awhile, grew anxiously inclined to draw 
back from the position in which he had placed himself. 
Great pressure was brought to bear upon him by the Eng- 
lish Government, and by other Governments as well, to in- 
duce him to refrain from disturbing the peace of Europe. 
He was probably quite sincere in the assurances he repeated- 
ly gave that he was doing his best to prevent a rupture with 
Austria ; and he would possibly have given much to avoid 
the quarrel The turn of his mind was such that be scarcely 



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136 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

ever formed any resolution or entered into any agreement ; 
but the moment the step was taken, he began to see reasons 
for wishing that he had followed a different course. In this 
instance it is evident that he started at the sound himself 
had made. It was not, however, any longer in his power to 
guide events. He was in the hands of a stronger will and a 
more daring spirit than his own. In the career of Count 
Gavour our times have seen, perhaps, the most remarkable 
illustration of that great Italian statesmanship which has 
always appeared at intervals in the history of Europe. 
There may be very different opinions about the political 
morality of Cavour. Rather, indeed, may it be said that 
his strongest admirer is forced to invent a morality of his 
own, in order to justify all the political actions of a man 
who knew no fear, hesitation, or scruple. Cavour had the 
head of a Machiavelli, the daring of a Caesar Borgia, the po- 
litical craft and audacity of a Richelieu. He was undoubt- 
edly a patriot and a lover of his country ; but he was will- 
ing to serve his country by means from which the conscience 
of modern Europe, even as it shows itself in the business 
of statesmanship, is forced to shrink back. If ends were to 
justify means, then the history of United Italy may be the 
justification of the life of Cavour; but until ends are held 
to justify means, one can only say that he did marvellous 
things — that he broke up and reconstructed political sys- 
tems ; that he made a nation ; that he realized the dreams 
of Dante, and some of the schemes of Alexander VL ; and 
that he accomplished all this, for the most part, at the cost 
of other people, and not of Italians. Louis Napoleon was 
simply a weapon in the hands of such a man. Cavour knew 
precisely what he wanted, and was prepared to go all lengths 
and to run all risks to have it. When once the French Em- 
peror had entered into a compact with him there was no 
escape from it 

Cavour did not look like an Italian ; at least, a typical 
Italian. He looked more like an Englishman. He remind- 
ed Englishmen oddly of Dickens's Pickwick, with his large 
forehead, his general look of moony good -nature, and his 
spectacles. That commonplace, homely exterior concealed 
unsurpassed force of character, subtlety of scheming, and 
power of will. Cavour was determined that France should 



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THE TORT DIOGENES ROLLING HIS TUB. 187 

fight Austria. If Louis Napoleon had shown any decided 
inclination to draw back, Cavour would have flung Pied- 
mont single-handed into the fight, and defied France, after 
what had passed, to leave her to her fate. Louis Napoleon 
dared not leave Piedmont to her fate. He had gone too far 
with Cavour for that. The war between France and Aus- 
tria broke out. It was over, one might say, in a moment. 
Austria had no generals ; the French army rushed to suc- 
cess; and then Louis Napoleon stopped short as suddenly 
as he had begun. He had proclaimed that he went to war 
to set Italy free from the Alps to the sea; but he made 
peace on the basis of the liberation of Lombardy from Aus- 
trian rule, and he left Yenetia for another day and for other 
arms. He drew back before the very serious danger that 
threatened on the part of the German States, who showed 
ominous indications of a resolve to make the cause of Aus- 
tria their own if France went too far. He held his hand from 
Venetia because of Prussia ; seven years later, Prussia her- 
self gave Yenetia to Italy. 

The English Government had made futile attempts to 
prevent the outbreak of war. Lord Malmesbury had elab- 
orated quires of heavy commonplace in the vain hope that 
the great conflicting forces then let loose could be brought 
back into quietude by the gentle charm of plenteous plati- 
tude. Meanwhile the Conservative Government could not 
exactly live on the mere reputation of having given good 
advice abroad to which no one would listen. They had 
to do something more at home. They began to roll a 
tub. While Europe was aflame with war-passion and panic, 
the Conservatives determined to try their hand at a Reform 
Bill. Mr. Disraeli, as leader of the House of Commons, knew 
that a Reform Bill was one of the certainties of the future. 
It suited him well enough to praise the perfection of exist- 
ing institutions in his Parliamentary and platform speeches ; 
but no one knew better than be that the Reform Bill of 1832 
had left some blanks that must be, one day or another, filled 
up by some Government. Lord John Russell had made an 
attempt more than once, and failed. He had tried a Reform 
Bill in 1852, and lost his chance because of the defeat of the 
Ministry on the Militia Bill; he had tried another experi- 
ment in 1854, but the country was too eager about war with 



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138 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

Russia to care for domestic reform, and Lord John Russell 
had to abandon the attempt, not without an emotion which 
he could not succeed in concealing. Mr. Disraeli knew well 
enough that whenever Lord John Russell happened to be 
in power again he would return to his first love in politics 
— a Reform Bill. He knew also that a refusal to have any- 
thing to do with reform would always expose the Tories in 
office to a coalition of all the Liberal fractions against them. 
At present he could not pretend to think that his party was 
strong. The Conservatives were in office, but they were not 
in power. At any moment, if the Liberals chose, a motion 
calling for reform, or censuring the Government because 
they were doing nothing for reform, might be brought for- 
ward in the House of Commons and carried in the teeth of 
the Tory party. Mr. Disraeli had to choose between two 
dangers. He might risk all by refusing reform ; he might 
risk all by attempting reform. He thought, on the whole, 
the wiser course would be to endeavor to take possession of 
the reform question for himself and his party. 

The reappearance of Mr. Bright in politics stimulated, no 
doubt, this resolve on the part of the Conservative leader. 
We speak only of the one leader ; for it is not likely that 
the Prime-minister, Lord Derby, took any active interest in 
the matter. Lord Derby had outlived political ambition, 
or he had had, perhaps, all the political success he cared for. 
There was not much to tempt him into a new reform cam- 
paign. Times had changed since his fiery energy went so 
far to stimulate the Whigs of that day into enthusiasm for 
the bill of Lord Grey. Lord Derby had had nearly all in 
life that such a man could desire. He had station of the 
highest; he had wealth and influence; he had fame as a 
great parliamentary debater. Now that Brougham had 
ceased to take any leading part in debate, he had no rival 
in the House of Lords. He had an easy, buoyant temper- 
ament ; he was, as we have said already, something of 
a scholar, and he loved the society of his Homer and his 
Horace, while he could enjoy out-door amusements as well 
as any Squire Western or Sir Hildebrand Osbaldistone of 
them all. He was a sincere man, without any pretence, 
and, if he did not himself care about reform, he was not 
likely to put on any appearance of enthusiasm about it 



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THE TORY DIOGENES ROLLING HIS TUB. 139 

Nor did he set much store on continuing in office. He 
would be the same Lord Derby out of office as in. It is 
probable, therefore, that he would have allowed reform to 
go its way for him, and never troubled ; and if loss of office 
came of his indifference, he would have gone out of office 
with unabated cheerfulness. But this way of looking at 
things was by no means suitable to his energetic and ambi- 
tious lieutenant. Mr. Disraeli had not nearly attained the 
height of his ambition, nor had he by any means exhaust- 
ed his political energies. Mr. Disraeli, therefore, was not a 
man to view with any satisfaction the consequences likely 
to come to the Conservative party from an open refusal to 
take up the cause of reform. He had always, too, measured 
fairly and accurately the popular influence and the parlia- 
mentary strength of Mr. Bright. It is clear that, at a time 
when most of the Conservatives, and not a few of the Whigs, 
regarded Mr. Bright as only an eloquent and respectable 
demagogue, Mr. Disraeli had made up his mind that the 
Manchester orator was a man of genius and foresight, who 
must be taken account of as a genuine political power. Mr. 
Bright now returned to public life. He had for a long time 
been withdrawn by ill -health from all share in political 
agitation, or politics of any kind. At one time it was, indeed, 
fully believed that the House of Commons had seen the last 
of him. To many his return to Parliament and the plat- 
form seemed almost like a resurrection. Almost immedi- 
ately on his returning to public life he flung himself into 
a new agitation for reform. He addressed great meetings 
in the north of England and in Scotland, and he was induced 
to draw up a Reform Bill of his own. His scheme was 
talked of at that time by some of his opponents as though it 
were a project of which Jack Cade might have approved. 
It was practically a proposal to establish a franchise pre- 
cisely like that which we have now, ballot and all, only that 
it threw the expenses of the returning officer on the county 
or borough rate, and it introduced a somewhat large meas- 
ure of redistribution of Beats. The opponents of reform were 
heard everywhere assuring themselves and their friends that 
the country in general cared nothing about reform. Mr. 
Bright himself was accredited with having said that his 
own effort to arouse a reforming spirit even in the North 



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140 A HISTOBY OP OUR OWN TIMES. 

was like flogging a dead horse. But Mr. Disraeli was far 
too shrewd to be satisfied with such consolations as bis 
followers would thus have administered. He knew well 
enough that the upper and middle classes cared very little 
about a new Reform Bill. They had had all the reform 
they wanted in 1832. But, so long as the bill of 1832 re- 
mained unsuppleinented, it was evident that any political 
party could appeal to the support of the working - classes 
throughout the country in favor of any movement which 
promised to accomplish that object. In short, Mr. Disraeli 
knew that reform had to come some time, and he was re- 
solved to make his own game if he could. 

This time, however, he was not successful. The difficul- 
ties in his way were too great. It would have been impos- 
sible for him to introduce such a Reform Bill as Mr. Bright 
would be likely to accept. His own party would not endure 
such a proposition. He could only go so far as to bring in 
some bill which might possibly seem to reformers to be do- 
ing something for reform, and at the same time might be 
commended to Conservatives on the ground that it really 
did nothing for it. Mr. Disraeli's Reform Bill was a curios- 
ity ; it offered a variety of little innovations which nobody 
wanted or could have cared about, and it left out of sight 
altogether the one reform which alone gave an excuse for 
any legislation. We have explained more than once that 
Lord Grey's Reform Bill admitted the middle class to leg- 
islation but left the working-class out. What was now 
wanted was a measure to let the working-class in. Nobody 
seriously pretended that any other object than this was 
sought by those who called out for reform. Yet Mr. Dis- 
raeli's scheme made no more account of the working-class 
as a whole than if they already possessed the vote, every 
man of them. It proposed to give a vote in boroughs to 
persons who had property to the amount of ten pounds a 
year in the funds, Bank stock or East India stock ; to per- 
sons who had sixty pounds in a savings' bank; to persons 
receiving pensions in the naval, military, or civil service, 
amounting to twenty pounds a year; to professional men, 
to graduates of universities, ministers of religion, and cer- 
tain school-masters ; in fact, to a great number of persons 
who either already had the franchise or could have it if 



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THE TORY DIOGENES ROLLING HIS TUB. 141 

they had any interest that way. The only proposition in 
the bill not absolutely farcical and absurd was that which 
would have equalized the franchise in counties and in bor- 
oughs, making ten pounds the limit in each alike. The 
English working-classes cried out for the franchise, and Mr. 
Disraeli proposed to answer the cry by giving the vote to 
graduates of universities, medical practitioners, and school- 
masters. 

Yet we may judge of the difficulties Mr. Disraeli had to 
deal with by the reception which even this poor little meas- 
ure met with from some of his own colleagues. Mr. Wal- 
pole and Mr. Henley resigned office rather than have any- 
thing to do with it. Mr. Henley was a specimen of the 
class who might have been described as fine old English 
gentlemen. He was shrewd, blunt, honest, and narrow, 
given to broad jokes and to arguments flavored with a sort 
of humor which reminded not very faintly of the drollery 
of Fielding's time. Mr. Walpole was a man of gentle bear- 
ing, not by any means a robust politician, nor liberally en- 
dowed with intellect or eloquence, but pure-minded and up- 
right enough to satisfy the most exacting. Mr. Walpole 
wrote to Lord Derby a letter which had a certain simple 
dignity and pathos in it, to explain the reason for his resig- 
nation. He frankly said that the measure which the Cab- 
inet were prepared to recommend was one which they 
should all of them have stoutly opposed if either Lord Palm- 
erston or Lord John Russell had ventured to bring it for- 
ward. This seemed to Mr. Walpole reason enough for his 
declining to have anything to do with it. It did not ap- 
pear to him honorable to support a measure because it had 
been taken up by one's own party, which the party would 
assuredly have denounced and opposed to the uttermost if 
it had been brought forward by the other side. Mr. Wal- 
pole's colleagues, no doubt, respected his scruples, but some 
probably regarded them with good-natured contempt. 
Such a man, it was clear, was not destined to make much 
of a way in politics. Public opinion admired Mr. Walpole, 
and applauded his decision. Public opinion would have 
pronounced even more strongly in his favor had it known 
that at the time of his making this decision and withdraw- 
ing from a high official position Mr. Walpole was in circum- 



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142 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

stances whioh made the possession of a salary of the utmost 
importance to him. Had he even swallowed his scruples 
and held on a little longer, he would have become entitled 
to a pension. He did not appear to have hesitated a mo- 
ment. He was a high-minded gentleman; he could very 
well bear to be poor; he could not bear to surrender his 
self-respect. 

This resignation, however, so honorable to Mr. Walpole 
and to Mr. Henley, will serve to show how great were the 
difficulties which then stood in Mr. Disraeli's way. Prob- 
ably Mr. Disraeli's own feelings were in favor of a liberally 
extended suffrage. It is not a very rash assumption to con- 
jecture that he looked with contempt on the kind of reason- 
ing which fancied that the safety of a state depends upon 
the narrowness of its franchise. But his bill bore the char- 
acter of a measure brought in with the object of trying to 
reconcile irreconcilable claims, and principles. To be the 
author of something which should give the Government 
the credit with their opponents of being reformers at heart, 
and with their friends of being non-reformers at heart, was 
apparently the object of Mr. Disraeli. The attempt was a 
complete failure. It was vain to preach up the beauty of 
" lateral extension " of the franchise as opposed to extension 
downward. The country saw through the whole imposture 
at a glance. One of Mr. Disraeli's defects as a statesman 
has always been that he is apt to be just a little too clever 
for the business he has in hand. This ingenious Reform 
Bill was a little too clever. More matter and less art 
would have served its turn. It was found out in a moment. 
Some one described its enfranchising clauses as " fancy fran- 
chises;" Mr. Bright introduced the phrase to the House 
of Commons, and the clauses never recovered the epithet. 
The Savings' Bank clause provoked immense ridicule. Sup- 
pose, it was asked, a man draws out a few pounds to get 
married, or to save his aged parent from starvation, or to 
help a friend out of difficulties, is it fair that he should be 
immediately disfranchised as a penalty for being loving and 
kindly ? One does not want to make the electoral franchise 
a sort of Monthyon prize for the most meritorious of any 
class ; but still, is it reasonable that a man who is to have 
a vote as long as he hoards his little sum of money is to 



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THE TORY DIOGENES ROLLING HIS TUB. 143 

forfeit the vote the moment he does a kind or even a pro- 
dent thing ? Even as a matter of mere prudence, it was 
very sensibly argued, is it not better that a man should do 
something else with his money than invest it in a savings' 
bank, which is, after all, only a safer version of the tradi 
tional old stocking ? It would be useless to go into any of 
the discussions which took place on this extraordinary bill 
It can hardly be said to have been considered seriously 
It had to be got rid of somehow ; and therefore Lord Johu 
Russell moved an amendment, declaring that no readjust- 
ment of the franchise; would satisfy the House of Commons 
or the country ^hich did not provide for a greater exten- 
sion of the suffrage in cities and boroughs than was contem- 
plated in the Government measure. Perhaps the most re- 
markable speech made during the debate was that of Mr. 
Gladstone, who, accepting neither the Bill nor the resolu- 
tion, occupied himself chiefly with an appeal to Parliament 
and public opinion on behalf of small boroughs. The argu- 
ment was ingenious. It pointed to the number of eminent 
men who had been enabled to begin public life very early 
by means of a nomination for some pocket-borough, or who, 
having quarrelled with the constituents of a city or county, 
might for awhile have been exiled from Parliament if some 
pocket-borough, or rather pocket-borough's master, had not 
admitted them by that little postern-gate. The argument, 
however, went no farther than to show that in a civilized 
country every anomaly, however absurd, may be turned to 
some good account. If, instead of creating small pocket- 
boroughs, the English constitutional system had conferred 
on a few great peers the privilege of nominating members 
of Parliament directly by their own authority, this arrange- 
ment would undoubtedly work well in some cases. Beyond 
all question some of these privileged peers would send into 
Parliament deserving men who otherwise might be tempo- 
rarily excluded from it. The same thing would sometimes 
happen, no doubt, if they made over the nomination to their 
wives or their wives 9 waiting-women. But the system of 
pocket-boroughs, taken as a whole, was stuffed with injus- 
tice and corruption. It worked direct evil in twenty cases 
for every one case in which it brought about indirect good. 
The purchase of seats in the Parliament of Paris undoubted' 



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144 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMER 

ly did good in some oases. Some of the men for whom seats 
were bought proved themselves useful and impartial mem- 
bers of that curious tribunal. 

Lord John Russell's resolution was carried by a majority 
of 330 against 291, or a majority of 39. The Government 
dissolved Parliament, and appealed to the country. The 
elections did not excite very much public interest. They 
took place during the most critical moments of the war be- 
tween France and Austria. While such news was arriving 
as that of the defeat of Magenta, the defeat of Solferino, the 
entrance of the Emperor of the French and the King of Sar- 
dinia into Milan, it was not likely that domestic news of a 
purely parliamentary interest could occupy all the attention 
of Englishmen. It was not merely a great foreign war that 
the people of these islands looked on with such absorbing 
interest. It was what seemed to be the birth of a new era 
for Europe. There were some who felt inclined to echo the 
celebrated saying of Pitt after Austerlitz, and declare that 
we might as well roll up the map of Europe. In the victo- 
ries of the French many saw the first indications of the man- 
ifest destiny of the heir of Waterloo, the man who represent- 
ed a defeat. To many the strength of the Austrian military 
system had seemed the great bulwark of Conservatism in 
Europe ; and now that was gone, shrivelled like a straw 
in fire, shattered like a potsherd. Surprise, bewilderment, 
rather than partisan passion of any kind, predominated over 
England. In such a condition of things the general elec- 
tion passed over hardly noticed. When it was over, it was 
found that the Conservatives had gained, indeed, but had 
not gained nearly enough to enable them to hold office, 
unless by the toleration of their rivals. The rivals soon 
made up their minds that they had tolerated them long 
enough. A meeting of the Liberal party was held at Wil- 
lis's Rooms, once the scene of Almack's famous assemblies. 
There the chiefs of the Liberal party met to adjust their 
several disputes, and to arrange on some plan of united ac- 
tion. Lord Palmerston represented one section of the party, 
Lord John Russell another. Mr. Sidney Herbert spoke for 
the Peelites. Not a few persons were surprised to find Mr. 
Bright among the speakers. It was well known that he 
liked Lord Palmerston little ; that it could hardly be said 



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THE TORY DIOGENES ROLLING HIS TUB. 146 

he liked the Tories any less. But Mr. Bright was for a Re- 
form Bill, from whomsoever it should come ; and he thought, 
perhaps, that the Liberal chiefs had learned a lesson. The 
party contrived to agree upon a principle of action, and a 
compact was entered into, the effect of which was soon 
made clear at the meeting of the new Parliament. A vote 
of want of confidence was at once moved by the Marquis of 
Harrington, eldest son of the Duke of Devonshire, and even 
then marked out by common report as a futnre leader of 
the Liberal party. Lord Hartington had sat but a short 
time in the House of Commons, and had thus far given no 
indications of any eloquence, or even of any taste • for poli- 
tics. Nothing could more effectively illustrate one of the 
peculiarities of the English political system than the choice 
of the Marquis of Hartington as the iigure-head of this im- 
portant movement against the Tory Government. Lord 
Hartington did not then, nor for many years afterward, 
show any greater capacity for politics than is shown by an 
ordinary county member. He seemed rather below than 
above the average of the House of Commons. As leader 
subsequently of the Liberal party in that House, he can 
hardly be said to have shown as yet any higher qualities 
than a strong good-sense and a manly firmness of purpose, 
combined with such skill in debate as constant practice un- 
der the most favorable circumstances must give to any man 
not absolutely devoid of all capacity for self-improvement. 
But even of the moderate abilities which Lord Hartington 
proved that he possessed in the Conservative Parliament of 
1874, he had given no indication in 1859. He was put up 
to move the vote of want of confidence as the heir of the 
great Whig house of Devonshire ; his appearance in the de- 
bate would have carried just as much significance with it if 
he had simply moved his resolution without an accompany- 
ing word. The debate that followed was long and bitter: 
it was enlivened by more than even the usual amount of 
personalities. Mr. Disraeli and Sir James Graham had a 
sharp passage of arms, in the course of which Sir James 
Graham used an expression that has been often quoted since. 
He described Mr. Disraeli as " the Red Indian of debate, 9 ' 
who " by the use of the tomahawk had cut his way to pow- 
er, and by recurrence to the scalping system hopes to pre- 
IL— 10 



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146 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

vent the loss of it." The scalping system, however, did not 
succeed this time. The division, when it came on after 
three nights of discussion, showed a majority of thirteen in 
favor of Lord Harrington's motion. The result surprised no 
one. Everybody knew that the moment the various sec- 
tions of the Liberal party contrived a combination the fate 
of the Ministry was sealed. Willis's Rooms had anticipated 
the decision of St. Stephen's. Rather, perhaps, might it be 
said that St. Stephen's had only recorded the decision of 
Willis's Rooms. 

The Queen invited Lord Granville to form a Ministry. 
Lord Granville was still a yonng man to be Prime-minister, 
considering how much the habits of parliamentary life had 
changed since the days of Pitt. He was not much over forty 
years of age. He had filled many ministerial offices, how- 
ever, and had an experience of Parliament which may be 
said to have begun with his majority. After some nine 
years spent in the House of Commons, the death of his fa- 
ther called him, in 1846, to the House of Lords. He made 
no assumption of commanding abilities, nor had he any pre- 
tence to the higher class of eloquence or statesmanship. 
But he was a thorough man of the world and of Parliament; 
he understood English ways of feeling and of acting ; he 
was a clever debater, and had the genial art — very useful 
and very rare in English public life — of keeping even antag- 
onists in good-humor. Probably a better man could not have 
been found to suit all parties as Prime-minister of England, 
in times when there was no particular stress or strain to try 
the energies and the patience of the country. Still, there 
was some surprise felt that the Queen should have passed 
over two men of years and of fame like Lord Palmerston 
and Lord John Russell, and have invited a much younger 
man at such a moment to undertake for the first time to 
form a Ministry. An explanation was soon given on the 
part of the Queen, or at least with her consent The Queen 
had naturally thought, in the first instance, of Lord Palmer- 
ston and Lord John Russell; but she found it "a very in- 
vidious and unwelcome task" to make a choice between 
* two statesmen so full of years and honors, and possessing 
so just a claim on her consideration." Her Majesty, there- 
fore, thought a compromise might best be got at between 



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THE TORY DIOGENES ROLLING HIS TUB. 147 

the more Conservative section of the Liberal party, which 
Lord Palmerston appeared to represent, and the more popu- 
lar section led by Lord John Russell, if both could be united 
under the guidance of Lord Granville, the acknowledged 
leader of the Liberal party in the House of Lords. The at- 
tempt was not successful. Lord John Russell declined to 
serve under Lord Granville, but declared himself perfectly 
willing to serve under Lord Palmerston. This declaration 
at once put an end to Lord Granville's chances, and to the 
whole difficulty which had been anticipated. There had 
been a coldness for some time between Lord Palmerston and 
Lord John Russell. The two men were undoubtedly rivals ; 
at least all the world persisted in regarding them in such a 
light. It was not thought possible that Lord John Russell 
would submit to take office under Lord Palmerston. On 
this occasion, however, as upon others, Lord John Russell 
showed a spirit of self abnegation for which the public in 
general did not give him credit. The difficulty was settled 
to the satisfaction of every one, Lord Granville included. 
Lord Granville was not in the slightest degree impatient to 
become Prime - minister, and, indeed, probably felt relieved 
from a very unwelcome responsibility when he was allowed 
to accept office under the premiership of Lord Palmerston. 
Lord Palmerston was now Prime -minister for life. Until 
his death he held the office with the full approval of Con- 
servatives as well as Liberals; nay, indeed, with much 
warmer approbation from the majority of the Conserva- 
tives than from many of the Liberals. 

Palmerston formed a strong Ministry. Mr. Gladstone was 
Chancellor of the Exchequer ; Lord John Russell had the 
office of Foreign Secretary ; Sir G. C. Lewis was Home-sec- 
retary ; Mr. Sidney Herbert, Minister for War ; the Duke of 
Newcastle took charge of the Colonies ; Mr. Card well ac- 
cepted the Irish Secretaryship ; and Sir Charles Wood was 
Secretary for India. Lord Palmerston endeavored to pro- 
pitiate the Manchester Liberals by offering a seat in the 
Government to Mr. Cobden and to Mr. Milner Gibson. Mr. 
Cobden was at the time on his way home from the United 
States. In his absence he had been elected member for 
Rochdale ; and in his absence, too, the office of President of 
the Board of Trade in the new Ministry had been put at his 



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148 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

disposal. His friends eagerly awaited his return, and, when 
the steamer bringing him home was near Liverpool, a num- 
ber of them went out to meet him before his landing. They 
boarded the steamer, and astonished him with the news that 
the Tories were oat, that the Liberals were in, that he was 
member for Rochdale, and that Lord Palmerston had offered 
him a place in the new Ministry. Cobden took the news 
which related to himself with his usual quiet modesty. He 
declined to say anything about the offer he had received 
from Lord Palmerston until he should have the opportunity 
of giving his answer directly to Lord Palmerston himself 
This, of course, was only a necessary courtesy, and most of 
Cobden's friends were of opinion that he ought to accept 
Lord Palraerston's offer. Cobden explained afterward that 
the office put at his disposal was exactly that which would 
have best suited him, and in which he thought that he could 
do some good. He also declared frankly that the salary 
attached to the office would be a consideration of much 
importance to him. Mr. Cobden's friends were well aware 
that he had invested the greater part of his property in 
American railways, which just then were not very profitable 
investments, although in the long-run they justified his con- 
fidence in their success. At the moment he was a poor 
man. Yet he did not in his own mind hesitate a moment 
about Lord Palmerston's offer. He disapproved of Palmer- 
ston's foreign policy, of his military expenditure, and his 
love of interfering in the disputes of the Continent ; and he 
felt that he could not conscientiously accept office under 
such a leader. He refused the offer decisively ; and the chief 
promoter of the repeal of the corn-laws never held anyplace 
in an English Administration. Cobden, however, advised 
his friend, Mr. Milner Gibson, to avail himself of Lord Palmer- 
ston's offer, and Mr. Gibson acted on the advice. The opin- 
ions of Mr. Cobden and Mr. Gibson were the same on most 
subjects, but Mr. Gibson had never stood out before the 
country in so conspicuous a position as an opponent of Lord 
Palmerston. Perhaps Cobden's advice was given in the 
spirit of Dr. Parr, who encouraged a modest friend to adopt 
the ordinary pronunciation of the Egyptian city's name. 
" Dr. Bentley and I, sir, must call it Alexandria ; but I think 
you may call it Alexandria." 



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THE TORY DIOGENES ROLLING HIS TUB. 149 

Mr. Cobden felt really grateful to Lord Pal mere ton for 
his offer, and for his manner of making it " I had no per- 
sonal feeling whatever," he said to his constituents at Roch- 
dale, " in the course I took with regard to Lord Palmer- 
stones offer. If I had had any feeling of personal hostility, 
which I never had toward him, for he is of that happy nat- 
ure which cannot create a personal enemy, his kind and 
manly offer wonld have instantly disarmed me." Lord 
Palmerston had not made any tender of office to Mr. 
Bright; and he wrote to Mr. Bright, frankly explaining his 
reasons. Mr. Bright had been speaking out too strongly, 
during his recent reform campaign, to make his presence 
in the Cabinet acceptable to some of the Whig magnates 
for whom seats had to be found. It is curious to notice 
now the conviction, which at that time seemed to be uni- 
versal, that Mr. Cobden was a much more moderate re- 
former than Mr. Bright. The impression was altogether 
wrong. There was, in Mr. Bright's nature, a certain ele- 
ment of Conservatism which showed itself clearly enough 
the moment the particular reforms which he thought nec- 
essary were carried; Mr. Cobden would have gone on ad-f 
vancing in the direction of reform as long as he lived. It 1 
was Mr. Cobden's conciliatory manner, and an easy genuine 
bonhomie, worthy of Palmerston himself, that made the dif- 
ference between the two men in popular estimation. Not 
much difference, to be sure, was ever to be noticed between 
them in public affairs. Only once had they voted in oppo- 
site lobbies of the House of Commons, and that was, if we 
are not mistaken, on the Maynooth grant ; and Mr, Bright 
afterward adopted the views of Mr. Cobden. But where 
there was any difference, even of speculative opinion, Mr. 
Cobden went farther than Mr. Bright along the path of 
Radicalism. Mr. Cobden's sweet temper and good-humored 
disposition made it hard for him to express strong opinions 
in tones of anger. It is doubtful whether a man of his tem- 
perament ever could be a really great orator. Indignation 
is even more effective as an element in the making of great 
speeches than in the making of small verses. 

The closing days of the year were made memorable by 
the death of Macaulay. He had been raised to the peerage, 
and had had some hopes of being able to take occasional 



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150 A HISTORY OP OUR OWN TIMES. 

part in the stately debates of the House of Lords. Bat his 
health almost suddenly broke down, and his voice was never 
heard in the Upper Chamber. He died prematurely, having 
only entered on his sixtieth year. We have already studied 
the literary character of this most successful literary man. 
Macaulay had had, as he often said himself, a singularly 
happy life, although it was not without its severe losses and 
its griefs. His career was one of uninterrupted success. 
His books brought him fame, influence, social position, and 
wealth, all at once. He never made a failure. The world 
only applauded one book more than the other, the second 
speech more than the first. ( Macaulay the essayist, Macau- 
lay the historian, Macaulay the ball ad- writer, Macaulay the 
Parliamentary orator, Macaulay the brilliant, inexhaustible 
talker — he was alike, it might appear, supreme in every- 
thing he chose to do or to attempt. After his death there 
came a natural reaction ; and the reaction, as is always the 
case, was inclined to go too far. People began to find out 
that Macaulay had done too many things; that he did not 
do anything as it might have been done; that he was too 
brilliant; that he was only brilliant; that he was not really 
brilliant at all, but only superficial and showy. The dis- 
paragement was more unjust by far than even the extrava- 
gant estimate. Macaulay was not the paragon, the ninth 
wonder of the world, for which people once set him down ; 
but he was undoubtedly a great literary man. He was also 
a man of singularly noble character. He was, in a literary 
sense, egotistic ; that is to say, he thought, and talked, and 
wrote a great deal about his works and himself; but he 
was one of the most unselfish men that ever lived. He 
appears to have enjoyed advancement, success, fame, and 
money only because these enabled him to give pleasure and 
support to the members of his family. He was attached to 
his family, especially to his sisters, with the tenderest affec- 
tion. His real nature seems only to have thoroughly shone 
out when in their society. There be was loving, sportive 
even to joyous frolicsomeness ; a glad school-boy almost to 
the very end. He was remarkably generous and charitable, 
even to strangers; his hand was almost always open; but 
he gave so unostentatiously that it was not until after his 
death half his kindly deeds became known. He had a spirit. 



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THE TORY DIOGENES ROLLING HIS TUB. 15l 

which was absolutely above any of the corrupting tempta- 
tions of money and rank. He was very poor at one time, 
and during his poverty he was beginning to make his repu- 
tation in the House of Commons. It is often said that a 
poor man feels nowhere so much out of place, nowhere so 
much at a disadvantage, nowhere so much humiliated, as in 
the House of Commons. Macaulay felt nothing of the kind. 
He bore himself as easily and steadfastly as though he had 
been the eldest son of a proud and wealthy family. It did 
not seem to have occurred to him, when he was poor, that 
'money was lacking to the dignity of his intellect and his 
jmanhood; or when he was rich that money added to it. 
Certain defects of temper and manner, rather than of char- 
acter, he had, which caused men often to misunderstand 
him, and sometimes to dislike him. He was apt to be over- 
bearing in tone, and to show himself a little too confident 
of his splendid gifts and acquirements: his marvellous mem- 
ory, his varied reading, his overwhelming power of argu- 
ment. He trampled on men's prejudices too heedlessly, 
was inclined to treat ignorance as if it were a crime, and to 
make dulness feel that it had cause to be ashamed of itself. 
Such defects as these are hardly worth mentioning, and 
would not be mentioned here but that they serve to explain 
some of the misconceptions which were formed of Macaulay 
by many during his lifetime, and some of the antagonisms 
which he unconsciously created. Absolutely without lit- 
erary affectation, undepressed by early poverty, unspoiled 
by later and almost unequalled success, he was an indepen- 
dent, quiet, self-relying man, who, in all his noon of fame, 
found most happiness in the companionship and the sympa- 
thy of those he loved, and who, from first to last, was loved 
most tenderly by those who knew him best He was buried 
in Westminster Abbey in the first week of the new year 
and there truly took his place among his peers. 



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162 A HISTOBT OF OUB OWN TIMS& 



CHAPTER XLI. 

THE FBENCH TBEATY AND THE PAPER DUTIES. 

Lord Palmerston's Ministry came into power in troa- 
blous times. All over the world there seemed to be an up- 
heaving of old systems. Since 1848 there had not been such 
a period of political and social commotion. A new war had 
broken out in China. The peace of Villafranca had only 
patched up the Italian system. Every one saw that there 
was much convulsion to come yet before Italy was likely to 
settle down into order. From across the Atlantic came the 
first murmurings of civil war. John Brown had made his 
famous raid into Harper's Ferry, & town on the borders of 
Virginia and Maryland, Ifor the purpose of helping slaves to 
escape, and he was captured, tried for the attempt, and exe- 
cuted. He met his death with the composure of an antique 
hero. Victor Hugo declared, in one of his most impassioned 
sentences, that the gibbet of John Brown was the Calvary 
of the antislavery movement ; and assuredly the execution 
of the brave old man was the death -sentence of slavery. 
Abraham Lincoln had just been adopted by the National 
Republican Convention at Chicago as candidate for the 
Presidency, and even here in England people were begin- 
ning to understand what that meant. At home there were 
distractions of other kinds. Some of the greatest strikes 
ever known in England had just broken out; and a political 
panic was further perplexed by the quarrels of class with 
class. A profound distrust of Louis Napoleon prevailed al- 
most everywhere. The fact that he had been recently our 
ally did not do much to diminish this distrust. On the con- 
trary, it helped in a certain sense to increase it. Against 
what State, it was asked, did he enter into alliance with us? 
Against Russia. To defend Turkey? Not at all; Louis 
Napoleon always acknowledged that he despised the Turks, 
and felt sure nothing could ever be made of them. It was 



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THE FRENCH TREATY AND THE PAPER DUTIES. 163 

to have his revenge for Moscow and the Beresina, people 
said, that he struck at Russia ; and he made us his mere 
tools in the enterprise. Now he turns upon Austria, to 
make her atone for other wrongs done against the ambition 
of the Bonapartes ; and he has conquered. Austria, believed 
by all men to have the greatest military organization in Eu- 
rope, lies crushed at his feet What next ? Prussia, perhaps 
— or England ? The official classes in this country had from 
the first been in sympathy with Austria, and would, if they 
could, have had England take up her quarrel. The Tories 
were Austrian, for the most part. Not much of the feeling 
for Italy which was afterward so enthusiastic and effusive 
had yet sprung up in England among the Liberals and the 
bulk of the population. People did not admit that it was 
an affair of Italy at all ; they saw in it rather an evidence 
of the ambition of Piedmont. When, soon after the close 
of the short war, it became known that Sardinia was to pay 
for the alliance of France by the surrender of Nice and Sa- 
voy, the indignation in this country became irrepressible. 
The whole thing seemed a base transaction. The House of 
Savoy, said an indignant orator in Parliament, had sprung 
from the womb of those mountains; its connection with 
them should be as eternal as the endurance of the mountains 
themselves. Men saw in the conduct of Louis Napoleon 
only an evidence of the most ignoble rapacity. It is of no 
use, they said, talking of alliances and cordial understand- 
ings with such a man. There is in him no faith and no scru- 
ple. Cras mihi. To-morrow he will try to humble and to 
punish England as he has already humbled and punished 
Austria; his alliance with us will prove to be of as much 
account as did his alliance with Sardinia. He did not scru- 
ple to wring territory from the confederate whose devoted 
friend and patron he professed to be ; what should We have 
to expect, we against whom he cherishes up a national and 
a family hatred, if by any chance he should be enabled to 
strike us a sudden blow ? 

The feeling, therefore, in England was almost entirely one 
of revived dread and distrust of Louis Napoleon. There 
was a good deal to be said for his bargain about Savoy and 
Nice by those who were anxious to defend it. But taken 
as a whole it was a singularly unfortunate transaction* It 



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164 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

turned back the attention of conquerors to that old-fashioned 
plan of partition which sanguine people were beginning to 
hope was gone out of European politics, like the sacking of 
towns and the holding of princes to ransom. It is likely 
that Louis Napoleon thought of this himself somewhat bit- 
terly later on in his career, when the Germans adopted his 
own principle, although, as they themselves pleaded, with 
somewhat better excuse; for they only extorted territory 
from an enemy ; he extorted it from a friend. There could 
be no pretence that it was other than an act of extortion. 
Even the Piedmontese statesmen who conducted the trans- 
action — Cavour cleverly dodged out of it himself— did not 
venture to profess that they were doing it willingly. It had 
to be done. Perhaps it had to be done by Louis Napoleon 
as well as by Victor Emanuel. Cavour had compelled the 
Emperor of the French to make a stand for Italy ; but the 
Emperor could hardly face his own people without telling 
them that France was to have something for her money and 
her blood. Wars for an idea generally end like this. On the 
whole, however, let it be owned that the Italians had made 
a good bargain. Savoy and Nice were provinces of which 
the Italian nationality was very doubtful; of which the 
Italian sentiment was perhaps more doubtful still. Louis 
Napoleon had the worst of the bargain in that as in most 
other transactions wherein he thought he was doing a clev- 
er thing. He went very near estranging altogether the 
friendly feeling of the English people from him and from 
France. The invasion panic sprung up again here in a mo- 
ment. The volunteer forces began to increase in numbers 
and in ardor. Plans of coast fortification and of national 
defences generally were thrust upon Parliament from vari- 
ous quarters. A feverish anxiety about the security of the 
island took possession of many minds that were usually tran- 
quil and shrewd enough. It really seemed as if the country 
was looking out for what Mr. Disraeli called, a short time 
afterward, when he was not in office, and was therefore not 
responsible to public clamor for the defence of our coasts, 
"a midnight foray from our imperial ally." The venerable 
Lord Lyndhurst took on himself in especial the task of rous- 
ing the nation. With a vigor of manner and a literary 
freshness of style well worthy of his earlier and best years, 



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"E 1 

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ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING 



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THE FRENCH TREATY AND THE PAPER DUTIES. 156 

he devoted himself to the work of inflaming the public spirit 
of England against Louis Napoleon ; a graceful and acrid 
lawyer Demosthenes denouncing a Philip of the Opera* 
Comique. " If I am asked," said Lyndhurst, " whether I 
cannot place reliance upon the Emperor Napoleon, I reply 
with confidence that I cannot, because he is in a situation 
in which he cannot place reliance upon himself." " If the. 
calamity should come," he asked; "if the conflagration 
should take place, what words can describe the extent of 
the calamity, or what imagination can paint the overwhelm- 
ing ruin that would fall upon us ?" The most harmless and 
even reasonable actions on the part of France were made a 
ground of suspicion and alarm by some agitated critics. A 
great London newspaper saw strong reason for uneasiness 
in the fact that " at this moment the French Government is 
pushing with extraordinary zeal the suspicious project of 
the impracticable Suez Canal." 

We have already remarked upon the fact that up to this 
time there was no evidence in the public opinion of England 
of any sympathy with Italian independence such as became 
the fashion a year later. At least, if there was any such 
sympathy here and there, it did not to any perceptible de- 
gree modify the distrust which was felt toward the Emper- 
or Napoleon. Mrs. Barrett -Browning's passionate praises 
of the Emperor and lamentations for the failure of "his 
great deed," were regarded as the harmless and gushing 
sentimentalisms of a poet and a woman-Mndeed, a poet, with 
\ many people, seems a sort of woman. The King of Sardinia, 
Victor Emanuel, had visited England not long before, and bad 
been received with public addresses and other such demon- 
strations of admiration here and there ; but even his concrete 
presence had not succeeded in making impression enough 
to secure him the general sympathy of the English public. 
Some association in Edinburgh had had the singular bad 
taste to send him an address of welcome in which they con* 
gratulated him on his opposition to the Holy See, as if he 
were another Achiili or Gavazzi come over to denounce the 
Pope. The King's reply was measured out with a crushing 
calmness and dignity. It coldly reminded his Edinburgh 
admirers of the fact, which we may presume they had for- 
gotten, that he was descended from a long line of Catholic 



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156 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

princes, and was the sovereign of subjects almost entirely 
Catholic, and that he could not therefore accept with satis- 
faction " words of reprobation injurious to the head of the 
Church to which he belonged.'* We only recall to memory 
this unpleasant little incident for the purpose of pointing a 
moral which it might of itself suggest. It is much to be 
feared that the popular enthusiasm for the unity and inde- 
pendence of Italy which afterward flamed out in England 
was only enthusiasm against the Pope. Something, no 
doubt, was due to the brilliancy of Garibaldi's exploits in 
1 860, and to the romantic halo which at that time and for 
long after surrounded Garibaldi himself; but no English- 
man who thinks coolly over the subject will venture to deny 
that nine out of every ten enthusiasts for Italian liberty at 
that time were in favor of Italy because Italy was supposed 
to be in spiritual rebellion against the Pope. 

The Ministry attempted great things. They undertook a 
complete remodelling of the Customs system, a repeal of the 
paper duties, and a Reform Bill. The news that a commer- 
cial treaty with France was in preparation broke on the 
world somewhat abruptly in the early days of 1860. The 
arrangement was made in a manner to set old formalism 
everywhere shaking its solemn head and holding up its 
alarmed hands. The French treaty was made without any 
direct assistance from professional diplomacy. It was made, 
indeed, in despite of professional diplomacy. It was the 
result of private conversations and an informal agreement 
between the Emperor of the French and Mr. Cobden. The 
first idea of such an arrangement came, we believe, from 
Mr. Bright ; but it was Mr. Cobden who undertook to see 
the Emperor Napoleon and exchange ideas with him on the 
subject. The Emperor of the French, to do him justice, was 
entirely above the conventional formalities of imperial dig* 
nity. He sometimes ran the risk of seeming undignified in 
the eyes of the vulgar by the disregard of all formality with 
which he was willing to allow himself to be approached. 
Although Mr. Cobden had never held official position of any 
kind in England, the Emperor received him very cordially, 
and entered readily into his ideas on the subject of a treaty 
between England and France, which should remove many 
of the prohibitions and restrictions then interfering with a 



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THE FBENCH TREATY AND THE PAPEB DUTIES. 167 

liberal interchange of the productions of the two nations. 
Napoleon the Third was a free-trader, or something nearly 
approaching to it. His cousin, Prince Napoleon, was still 
more advanced and more decided in his views of political 
economy. The Emperor was, moreover, a good deal under 
the influence of Michael Chevalier, the distinguished French 
publicist and economist, who from having been a member 
of the Socialistic sect of the famous P^re Enfantin, had come 
to be a practical politician and an economist of a very high 
order. Mr. Cobden had the assistance of all the influence 
Mr. Gladstone could bring to bear. It is not likely that 
Lord Palmerston cared much about the French treaty proj- 
ect, but at least he did not oppose it. Mr. Cobden was un- 
der the impression, and probably not without reason, that 
the officials of the English embassy in Paris were rather in- 
clined to thwart than to assist his efforts. But if such a 
feeling prevailed, it was perhaps less a dislike of the pro- 
posed arrangement betweeu England and France than an 
objection to the informal and irregular way of bringing it 
about. Diplomacy has always been mechanical and conven- 
tional in its working, and the English diplomatic service 
has, even among diplomatic services, been conspicuous for 
its worship of routine. 

There were many difficulties in the way on both sides. 
The French people were, for the most part, opposed to the 
principles of free-trade. The French manufacturing bodies 
were almost all against it. Some of the most influential 
politicians of the country were uncompromising opponents 
of free-trade. M. Thiers, for example, was an almost impas- 
sioned Protectionist. It may be admitted at once that if 
the Emperor of the French had had to submit the provisions 
of his treaty to the vote of an independent Legislative As- 
sembly he could not have secured its adoption ; he had, in 
fact, to enter into the engagement by virtue of his Imperial 
will and power. On the other hand, a strong objection was 
felt in this country just then to any friendly negotiation or 
arrangement whatever with the Emperor. His schemes in 
Savoy and Nice had created so much dislike and distrust 
of him, that many people felt as if war between the two 
States were more likely to come than any sincere and friend- 
ly understanding on any subject. As soon as it became 



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168 A ttl6TX)Rlf OF OUR OWK TIMES. 

known that the treaty was in course of negotiation a storm 
of indignation broke out in this country. Most of the news- 
papers denounced the treaty as a mean arrangement with a 
man whose policy was only perfidious, and whose vows were 
as little to be trusted as dicers 9 oaths. Not only the Con- 
servative party condemned and denounced the proposed 
agreement, but a large proportion of the Liberals were bit- 
ter against it. Some critics declared that Mr. Cobden had 
been simply taken in; that the French Emperor had "bub- 
bled " bim. Others accused Mr. Cobden of having entered 
into a conspiracy with the Emperor* to enable Louis Napo- 
leon to "jockey his own subjects 9 ' — such was the phrase 
adopted by one influential member of Parliament, the late 
Mr. Horsman, then a speaker with a certain k*ift of rattling 
i metallic declamation. Others, again, declared that the com- 
promise effected by the treaty was in itself a breach of the 
principle of free-trade. It was observable that this argu- 
ment usually came from lately converted or still unconvert- 
ed protectionists; just as the argument founded on the ar- 
bitrariness of the imperial action was most strenuously 
enforced by those who at home were least inclined to en- 
courage the principle of government by the people. Thus 
Mr. Cobden, Mr. Bright, and even Mr. Gladstone, found them- 
selves in the odd position of having to repel the charge of 
renouncing free-trade, and rejecting the principles of rep- 
resentative government. It is hardly necessary to defend 
the course taken by Mr. Cobden in accepting a compromise 
where he could not possibly obtain an absolutely free inter- 
change of commodities. The most devoted champion of the 
freedom of religious worship is not to be blamed if he enters 
into an agreement with some foreign Government to obtain 
for its non-conforming subjects a qualified degree of religious 
liberty. An opponent of capital punishment would not be 
held to have surrendered his principle because he endeavored 
to reduce the number of capital sentences where he saw no 
hope of the immediate abolition of the death penalty. Nor 
do we see that there was anything inconsistent in Mr. Cob- 
den's entering into an agreement with the Emperor of the 
French, even though that agreement was to be carried out 
in France by an arbitrary exertion of imperial will, such as 
would have been intolerable and impossible in England. To 



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THE FRENCH TREAT* Atffc THE l>Ai>ER DUTIE& 159 

lay down a principle of this kind would be only to say that 
no statesman shall conclude an arrangement of any sort 
with the rulers of a state not so liberal as his own in its sys- 
tem of government. Of course no one ever thinks of argu- 
ing for such a principle in the regular diplomatic negotia- 
tions between States. Those who found fault with Mr. Cob- 
den because he was willing to assent to an arrangement 
which the Emperor Napoleon imposed upon his subjects, 
must have known that our official statesmen were every day 
entering into engagements with one or the other European 
sovereign which were to be carried out by that sovereign 
on the same arbitrary principle. There was, in fact, no 
soundness or sincerity in such objections to Mr. Cobden's 
work. Some men opposed it because they were protec- 
tionists, pure and simple ; some opposed it because tbey 
detested the Emperor Napoleon. The ground of objection 
with not a few was their dislike of Mr. Cobden and the Man- 
chester School. The hostility of some came from their re- 
pugnance to seeing anything done out of the regular and 
conventional way. All these objections coalesced against 
the treaty and the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Budget; 
but the eloquence of Mr. Gladstone and the strength of the 
Government prevailed against them all. 

The effect of the treaty, so far as France was concerned, 
was an engagement virtually to remove all prohibitory 
duties on all the staples of British manufacture, and to re- 
duce the duties on English coal and coke, bar and pig iron, 
tools, machinery, yarns, flax, and hemp. England, for her 
part, proposed to sweep away all duties on manufactured 
goods, and to reduce greatly the duties on foreign wines. 
In one sense, of course, England gave more than she got, 
but that one sense is only the protectionist's sense— more 
properly nonsense. England could not, with any due re- 
gard for the real meaning of words, be said to have given 
up anything when she enabled her people to buy light and 
excellent French wines at a cheap price. She could not be 
said to have sacrificed anything when she secured for her 
consumers the opportunity of buying French manufactured 
articles at a natural price. The whole principle of free- 
trade stamps as ridiculous the theory that because our 
neighbor foolishly cuts himself off from the easy purchase 



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160 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMK8. 

of the articles we have to sell, it is oar business to cut our* 
selves off from the easy purchase of the articles he has to 
sell, and we wish to buy. We gave France much more 
reduction of duty than we got; but the reduction was in 
every instance a direct benefit to our consumers. The in- 
troduction of light wines, for example, made after awhile a 
very remarkable, and, on the whole, a very beneficial, change j 
in the habits of our people. The heavier and more fiery / 
drinks became almost disused by large classes of the popu- j 
iation. The light wines of Bordeaux began to be familiar v 
to almost every table ; the portentous brandied ports, which 
carried gout in their very breath, were gradually banished. 
Some of the debates, however, on this particular part of the 
Budget recalled to memory the days of Colonel Sibthorp, 
and his dread of the importation of foreign ways among our 
countrymen. Many prophetic voices declared in the House 
of Commons that with the greater use of French wines 
would come the rapid adoption of what were called French 
morals ; that the maids and matrons of England would be 
led by the treaty to the drinking of claret, and from the 
drinking of claret to the ways of the French novelist's odi- 
ous heroine, Madame Bovary. Appalling pictures were 
drawn of the orgies to go on in the shops of confectioners 
and pastry-cooks who had a license to sell the light wines. 
The virtue of Englishwomen, it was insisted, would never 
be able to stand this new and terrible mechanism of de- 
struction. She who was far above the temptations of the 
public-house would be drawn easily into the more genteel 
allurements of the wine-selling confectioner's shop; and in 
every such shop would be the depraved conventional for- 
eigner, the wretch with a mustache and without morals, 
lying in wait to accomplish at last his long-boasted con- 
quests of the blonde misses of England. One impassioned 
speaker, glowing into a genuine prophetic fury as he spoke, 
warned bis hearers of the near approach of a time when a 
man, suddenly entering one of the accursed confectioners' 
shops in quest of the missing female members of his family, 
would find his wife lying drunk in one room and his daugh- 
ter disgraced in another. 

In spite of all this, however, Mr. Gladstone succeeded in 
carrying this part of his Budget. He carried, too, as far as 



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THE FRENCH TREATY AND THE PAPER DUTIES. 161 

the House of Commons was concerned, his important meas- 
ure for the abolition of the duty on paper. The duty on 
paper was the last remnant of an ancient system of finance 
which pressed severely on journalism. The stamp-duty 
was originally imposed with the object of checking the 
growth of seditious newspapers. It was reduced, increased, 
reduced again, and increased again, until in the early part 
of the century it stood at fourpence on each copy of a news- 
paper issued. In 1836 it was brought down to the penny, 
represented by the red stamp on every paper, which most 
of us can still remember. There was besides this a consid- 
erable duty — sixpence, or some such sum — on every adver- 
tisement in a newspaper. Finally, there was the heavy 
duty on the paper material itself. A journal, therefore, 
could not come into existence until it had made provision 
for all these factitious and unnecessary expenses. The con- 
sequence was that a newspaper was a costly thing. Its 
possession was the luxury of the rich ; those who could af- 
ford less had to be content with an occasional read of a 
paper. It was common for a number of persons to club to- 
gether and take in a paper, which they read by turns, the 
general understanding being that he whose turn came last 
remained in possession of the journal. It was considered 
the fair compensation for his late reception of the news that 
he should come into the full proprietorship of the precious 
newspaper. The price of a daily paper then was uniformly 
sixpence; and no sixpenny paper contained anything like 
the news, or went to a tenth of the daily expense, which is 
supplied in the one case and undertaken in the other by the 
penny papers of our day. Gradually the burdens on jour- 
nalism and on the reading public were reduced. The ad- 
vertisement duty was abolished ; in 1855 the stamp-duty 
was abolished ; that is to say, the stamp was either removed 
altogether, or was allowed to stand as postage. On the 
strength of this reform many new and cheap journals were 
started. Two of them in. London — the Daily Telegraph and 
the Morning Star — acquired influence and reputation. But 
the effect of the duty on the paper material still told heavily 
against cheap journalism. It became painfully evident that 
a newspaper could not be sold profitably for a penny while 
that duty remained, and therefore a powerful agitation was 
II.— 11 



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162 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

set on foot for its removal. The agitation was carried on, 
not on behalf of the interests of newspaper speculation, but 
on behalf of the reading public, and of the education of the 
people. It is not necessary now to enter upon any argu- 
ment to show that the publication of such a paper as the 
Daily News or the Daily Telegraph must be a matter of 
immense importance in popular education. But at that 
time there were still men who argued that newspaper liter- 
ature could only be kept up to a proper level of instruction 
and decorum by being made factitiously costly. It was the 
creed of many that cheap newspapers meant the establish- 
ment of a daily propaganda of socialism, communism, red 
republicanism, blasphemy, bad spelling, and general immo- 
rality. 

Mr. Gladstone undertook the congenial task of abolishing 
the duty on paper. He was met with strong opposition 
from both sides of the House. The paper manufacturers 
made it at once a question of protection to their own trade. 
They dreaded the competition of all manner of adventurous 
.rivals under a free system. \ Many of the paper manufactur- 
ers had been staunch free-traders when it was a case of free- 
trade to be applied to the manufactures of other people; 
but they cried out against having the ingredients of the 
unwelcome chalice commended to their own lips. Vested 
interests in the newspaper business itself also opposed Mr. 
Gladstone. The high-priced and well-established journals 
did not by any means relish the idea of cheap and unfetter- 
ed competition. They, therefore, preached without reserve 
the doctrine that in journalism cheap meant nasty, and that 
the only way to keep the English press pure and wholesome 
was to continue the monopoly to their own publications. 
The House of Commons is a good deal governed, directly 
and indirectly, by " interests." It is influenced by them di- 
rectly, as when the railway interest, the mining interest, the 
brewing interest, or the landed interest, boldly stands up 
through its acknowledged representatives in Parliament to 
fight for its own hand. It is also much influenced indirect- 
ly. Every powerful interest in the House can contrive to 
enlist the sympathies and get the support of men who have 
no direct concern one way or another in some proposed 
measure, who know nothing about it, and do not want to be 



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THE FBENCH TREATY AKD THE PAPEB DtTTIES. 163 

troubled with any knowledge, and who are therefore easily 
led to see that the side on which some of their friends are 
arrayed mast be the right side. There was a good deal of 
rallying up of such men to sustain the cause of the paper- 
making and journal-selling monopoly. The result was that 
although Mr. Gladstone carried his resolutions for the abo- 
lition of the excise on paper, he only earned them by dwin- 
dling majorities. The second reading was earned by a ma- 
jority of 53; the third by a majority of only 9. The effect 
of this was to encourage some members of the House of 
Lords to attempt the task of getting rid of Mr. Gladstone's 
proposed reform altogether. An amendment to reject the 
resolutions repealing the tax was proposed by Lord Mont- 
eagle, and received the support of Lord Derby and of Lord 
Lyndhurst. 

Lord Lyndhurst was then just entering on his eighty- 
ninth year. His growing infirmities made it necessary that 
a temporary railing should be constructed in front of his 
seat, in order that he might lean on it and be supported. 
But although his physical strength thus needed support, bis 
speech gave no evidence of failing intellect. Even his voice 
could hardly be said to have lost any of its clear, light, mu- 
sical strength. He entered into a long and a very telling 
argument to show that although the peers had abandoned 
their claim to alter a money-bill, they had still a right to 
refuse their assent to a repeal of taxation, and that in this 
particular instance they were justified in doing so. There 
was not much, perhaps, in this latter part of the argument. 
Lord Lyndhurst fell back on some of his familiar alarms 
about the condition of Europe and the possible schemes of 
Louis Napoleon, and out of these he extracted reasons for 
contending that we ought to maintain unimpaired the rev- 
enue of the country, to be ready to meet emergencies, and 
encounter unexpected liabilities. In an ordinary time not 
much attention would be paid to criticism of this kind. It 
would be regarded as the duty of the Finance Minister, the 
Government, and the House of Commons to see that the 
wants of the coming year were properly provided for in 
taxation; and when the Government aud the House of 
Commons had once decided that a certain amount was suf- 
ftrient, the House of Lords would hardly think that on it 



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164 A HISTOBY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

lay any responsibility for a formal revision of the Ministerial 
scheme. Some peer would in all probability make some such 
observations as those of Lord Lyndhurst ; but they would be 
accepted as mere passing criticisms of the Ministerial scheme, 
and it would not occur to any one to think of taking a di- 
vision on the suggested amendment. In this instance the 
House of Lords was undoubtedly influenced by a dislike for 
the proposed measure of reduction, for the manner in which 
it had been introduced, for its ministerial author, or at least 
for his general policy, and for some of the measures by which 
it had been accompanied. It is not unlikely, for example, 
that Lord Lyndhurst himself felt something like resentment 
for the policy which answered all his eloquent warnings 
about the schemes of the Emperor Napoleon, by producing 
a treaty of commerce with the supposed invader of Eng- 
land. The repeal of the paper duty was known also to have 
the warm advocacy of Mr. Bright ; and it was advocated 
by the Morning /Sfcar, a journal greatly influenced by Mr. 
Bright's opinions, and in which popular rumor said, very 
untruly, that Mr. Bright was a writer of frequent leading 
articles. Thus the repeal of the paper duty got to seem in 
the eyes of many peers a proposal connected somehow with 
the spread of Democracy, the support of the Manchester 
School, and the designs of Napoleon III. 

The question which the House of Lords had to face was 
somewhat serious. The Commons had repealed a tax ; was 
it constitutionally in the power of the House of Lords to 
reimpose it? Was not this, it was asked, simply to assert 
for the House of Lords a taxing power equal to that of the 
Commons? Was it not to reduce to nothing the principle 
that taxation and representation go together? Suppose, in- 
stead of re-enacting the paper duty, the House of Lords had 
thought fit to introduce into the new Budget a new and 
different tax, what was there to hinder them, on their own 
principle, from doing so ? On the other hand, those who 
took Lord Lyndhurst's view of the question insisted that 
when the Budget scheme was laid before them for their ap- 
proval, the House of Lords had as good a right constitution 
ally to reject as to accept any part of it, and that to strike 
out a clause in a Budget was quite a different thing from 
taking the initiative in the imposition of taxation. It waa 



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THE FBENCH TREATY AND THE PAPER DUTIES. 165 

contended that the House of Lords had not only a constitu- 
tional right to act as they were invited to do in the case of 
the paper duty, but that as a matter of fact they had often 
done so, and that the country had never challenged their 
authority. The Conservative party in the House of Lords 
can always carry any division, and in this instance it was 
well known that they could marshal a strong majority 
against Mr. Gladstone's proposed remission of taxation. 
But it was commonly expected that they would on this oc- 
casion, as they had done on many others, abstain from using 
their overpowering numerical strength ; that prudent coun- 
sels would prevail in the end, and that the amendment 
would not be pressed to a division. The hope, however, 
was deceived. The House of Lords was in an unusually 
aggressive mood. The majority were resolved to show that 
they could do something. Mr. Disraeli in one of his novels 
had irreverently said of the Lords, that when the peers ac- 
complish a division they cackle as if they had laid an egg. 
On this occasion they were determined to have a division. 
The majority against the Government was overwhelming. 
For the second reading of the Paper Duty Bill, 90 peers 
voted, and there were 14 proxies; in all, 104. For Lord 
Monteagle 9 s amendment there were 161 votes of peers actu- 
ally present and 32 proxies, or 193 in all. The majority 
against the Government was therefore 89 ; and the repeal 
of the excise duty on paper was done with for that session. 
The peers went home cackling ; not a few of them, however, 
a little in doubt as to the wisdom of the course they had 
pursued, a little afraid to think on what they had done. 
The House of Lords had not taken any very active step in 
politics for some time, and many of them were uncertain as 
to the manner in which the country would regard their un- 
wonted exertion of authority. 

The country took it rather coolly, on the whole. Lord 
Palmerston promptly came forward and moved in the House 
of Commons for a committee to ascertain and report on the 
practice of each House with regard to the several descrip- 
tions of Bills imposing or repealing taxes. By thus inter- 
posing at once he hoped to take the wind out of the sails 
of a popular agitation, which he disliked, and would gladly 
have avoided. The committee took two months to consider 



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166 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIME& 

their report They found, by a majority of fourteen, a series 
of resolutions to- the effect that the privilege of the Uouse 
of Commons did not extend so far as to make it actually 
unconstitutional for the Lords to reject a Bill for the repeal 
of a tax. Mr. Walpole was the ohairman of the committee, 
and he drew up the report, which cited a considerable num- 
ber of precedents in support of the view adopted by the 
majority. Mr. Bright, who was a member of the committee, 
did not assent to this principle. He prepared a draft re- 
port of his own, in which he contended for the very reason- 
able view that if the Lords might prolong or reimpose a tax 
by refusing their assent to its repeal when that repeal had 
been voted by the House of Commons, the House of Com- 
mons could not have absolute control over the taxation of 
the country. It seems clear that, whatever may have been 
the technical right of the Lords, or however precedent may 
have occasionally appeared to justify the course which they 
took, Mr. Bright was warranted in asserting that the consti- 
tution never gave the House of Lords any power of reimpos- 
ing a tax which the Commons had repealed. The truth is, 
that if the majority of the House of Commons in favor of 
the repeal of the paper duties bad been anything consider- 
able, the House of Lords would never have ventured to in- 
terfere. There was an impression among many peers that 
the remission was not much liked even by the majority of 
those who voted for it. " Gladstone has done it all," was 
the common saying ; and it was insisted that Gladstone had 
done it only to satisfy Mr. Bright and the Manchester Radi- 
cals. * Not a few of the peers felt convinced that the major- 
ity of the House of Commons would secretly bless them for 
their intervention. 

Lord Palmerston followed up the report of the committee 
by proposing a series of resolutions which he probably con- 
sidered equal to the occasion. The object of the resolutions 
was to reaffirm the position and the claims of the House of 
Commons in regard to questions of taxation. That at least 
was the ostensible object; the real object was to do some- 
thing which should leave a way of retreat open to the Lords 
in another session, and at the same time make those who 
clamored against their intervention believe that the Minis- 
try were not indifferent to the rights of the representative 



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THE FRENCH TREATY AND THE PAPER DUTIES. 167 

chamber. The first resolution affirmed that " the right of 
granting aids and supplies to the Crown is in the Commons 
alone, as an essential part of their constitution ; and the lim- 
itation of all such grants as to the matter, manner, measure, 
and time is only in them." The second resolution declared 
that although the Lords had rejected Bills relating to taxa- 
tion by negativing the whole, yet the exercise of such a pow- 
er had not been frequent, and was justly regarded by the 
House of Commons with peculiar jealousy as affecting the 
right of the Commons to grant the supplies. The third 
resolution merely laid it down that, " to guard for the future 
against an undue exercise of that power by the Lords, and 
to secure to the Commons their rightful control over taxa- 
tion and supply," the House reaffirmed its right to impose 
and remit taxes, and to frame Bills of supply. 

Such resolutions were not likely to satisfy the more im- 
patient among the Liberals. An appeal was made to the 
people generally to thunder a national protest against the 
House of Lords. But the country did not, it must be own- 
ed, respond very tumultously to the invitation. Great 
public meetings were held in London and the large towns 
of the North, and much anger was expressed at the conduct 
of the Lords. The Morning Star newspaper led the agita- 
tion. It had recourse to the ingenious device of announ- 
cing every day in large letters and in a conspicuous part of 
its columns that the House of Lords had that day imposed 
so many thousand pounds of taxation on the English peo- 
ple, contrary to the fundamental principles of the constitu- 
tion. It divided the whole amount of the reim posed duty 
by the number of days in the year, and thus arrived at the 
exact sum which it declared to have been each day uncon- 
stitutionally imposed on the country. This device was 
copied by the promoters of public meetings; and M.Taine, 
the French author, then in this country, was amused to see 
placards borne about in the streets with this portentous an- 
nouncement Mr. Bright threw his eloquence and his influ- 
ence into the agitation, and Mr. Gladstone expressed him- 
self strongly in favor of its object. Yet the country did 
not become greatly excited over the controversy. It did 
not even enter warmly into the quention as to the necessity 
of abolishing the House of Lords. One indignant writer 



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168 A HISTORY OP OUR OWN TIME& 

insisted that if the Lords did not give way the English peo- 
ple would turn them out of Westminster Palace, and strew 
the Thames with the wrecks of their painted chamber. 
Language such as this sounded oddly out of tune with the 
temper of the time. The general conviction of the country 
was undoubtedly that the Lords were in the wrong ; that 
whatever their technical right, if they had any, they bad 
made a mistake, and that it would certainly be necessary to 
check them if they attempted to repeat it. But the feeling 
also was that there was not the slightest chance of such a 
mistake being repeated. The mere fact that so much stir 
had been made about it was enough to secure the country 
against any chance of its passing into a precedent. In 
truth, the country could not be induced to feel any fear of 
persistent unconstitutional action on the part of the House 
of Lords. That House is known by every one to hold most 
of its technical rights on condition of its rarely exercising 
them. When once its action in any particular case has 
been seriously called in question, it may be taken for grant- 
ed that that action will not be repeated. Its principal func- 
tion in the State now is to interpose at some moment of 
emergency and give the House of Commons time to think 
over some action which seems inconsiderate. This is a very 
important and may be a very useful office. At first sight 
it may appear a little paradoxical to compare the functions 
of the English House of Lords in any way with those of the 
chief magistrate of the United States ; and yet the delay- 
ing .power which the President possesses is almost exactly 
the same as that which our usages even more than our con- 
stitution have put at the discretion of the House of Lords. 
The President can veto a Bill in the first instance. But the 
Legislature can afterward, if they will, pass the measure in 
spite of him by a certain majority. Practically this means 
that the President can say to the Legislature, " I think this 
measure has not been very carefully considered ; I send it 
back, and invite you to think the matter over again. If 
when you have done so yon still desire to pass the meas- 
ure, I can make no further objection.' 9 This is all that the 
House of Lords can now do, and only in exceptional cases 
will the peers venture to do so much. Most people knew 
in I860 that the interposition of the House of Lords only 



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CTffi PREttCtt fkBlATY AND THE PAPER DUTIES. 169 

meant the delay of a session ; and knew too that the con- 
troversy which had been raised upon the subject, such as 
it was, would be quite enough to keep the peers from car- 
rying the thing too far. A course of action which Mr. 
Gladstone denounced as a "gigantic innovation," which 
Lord Palmerston could not approve, which the Liberal 
party generally condemned, and which the House of Com- 
mons made the occasion of a significantly warning resolu- 
tion, was not in the least likely to be converted by repeti- 
tion into an established principle and precedent. This was 
the reason why the country took the whole matter with 
comparative indifference. It was not in the least influenced 
by the servile arguments which many Conservatives and a 
few feeble Liberals employed to make out a constitutional 
case for the House of Lords. One orator, Mr. Horsman, 
carried his objection to democracy so far as to undertake 
an elaborate argument to prove that the House of Lords 
had a taxing power co-ordinate with that of the House of 
Commons. It may be imagined to what a depth party feel- 
ing had brought some men down when it is stated that this 
nonsense was applauded by the Conservatives in the House 
of Commons. Luckily for the privileges of the House of 
Lords no serious attention was paid to Mr. Horsman's argu- 
ment. If that indiscreet champion of the authority of the 
Lords could have made out his case, if he could have shown 
that the peers really had a taxing power co-ordinate with 
that of the Commons, there would have been nothing for 
it but to make new arrangements and withdraw from the 
hereditary assembly so inappropriate a privilege. For it 
may be surely taken for granted that the people of this 
country would never endure the idea of being taxed by a 
legislative body over whose members they had no manner 
of control. 

The whole controversy has little political importance now. 
Perhaps it is most interesting for the evidence it gave that 
Mr. Gladstone was every day drifting more and more away 
from the opinions, not merely of his old Conservative asso- 
ciates, but even of his later Whig colleagues. The position 
which he took up in this dispute was entirely different from 
that of Lord Palmerston. He condemned without reserve 
or mitigation the conduct of the Lords, and he condemned 



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170 A HISTOBY OP OUB OWN TIMES. 

it on the very grounds which made his words most welcome 
to the Radicals. He did not, indeed, give his support to the 
course of extreme self-assertion which some Radical mem- 
bers recommended to the House of Commons ; but he made 
it clear that he only disclaimed such measures because he 
felt convinced the House of Lords would soon come to its 
senses again, and would refrain from similar acts of uncon- 
stitutional interference in the future. The first decided ad- 
hesion of Mr. Gladstone to the doctrines of the more ad- 
vanced Liberals is generally regarded as having taken place 
at a somewhat later period, and in relation to a different 
question. It would seem, however, that the first decisive 
\ intimation of the course Mr. Gladstone was thenceforward 
to tread was his declaration that the constitutional privi- 
leges of the representative assembly would not be safe in 
the hands of the Conservative Opposition. Mr. Gladstone 
was distinctly regarded during that debate as the advocate 
of a policy far more energetic than any professed by Lord 
Palmerston. The promoters of the meetings which had 
been held to protest against the interference of the Lords 
found full warrant for the course they had taken in Mr. 
Gladstone's stern protest against the "gigantic innovation." 
Lord Palmerston, on the other hand, certainly suffered some 
damage in the eyes of the extreme Liberals. It became 
more clear than ever to them that he had no sympathy with 
any Radical movement here at home, however he might 
sympathize with every Radical movement on the Conti- 
nent. Still, Lord Palmers ton's resolutions contained in them 
quite enough to prove to the Lords that they had gone a 
little too far, and that they must not attempt anything of 
the kind again. A story used to be told of Lord Palmerston 
at that time which would not have been out of character if 
it had been true. Some one, it was said, pressed him to say 
what he intended to do about the Lords and the reimposi- 
tion of the paper duties. "I mean to tell them," was the 
alleged reply of Lord Palmerston, " that it was a very good 
joke for once, but they must not give it to us again." This 
was really the effect of Palmerston's resolutions : all very 
well for once ; but don't try it again. The Lords took the 
hint; they did not try it again. Even in that year — 1860 — 
Mr. Gladstone was able to carry his resolution for removing, 



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THE FBENCH TREATY AND THE PAPER DUTIES. 171 

in accordance with the provisions of the French Treaty, so 
much of the Customs duty on imported paper as exceeded 
the excise duty on paper made here at home. 

Meanwhile the Government had sustained a severe humil- 
iation in another way. They had had to abandon their Re* 
form Bill The Bill was a moderate and simple scheme of 
reform. It proposed to lower the county franchise to ten 
pounds, and that of the boroughs to six pounds; and to 
make a considerable redistribution of seats. Twenty-five 
boroughs returning two members each were to return but 
one for the future, and the representation of several large 
counties and divisions of counties was to be strengthened; 
Kensington and Chelsea were to form a borough with two 
members ; Birkenhead, Staleybridge, and Burnley were to 
have one member each ; Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, and 
Birmingham were each to have an additional member; the 
University of London was to have a member. It was also 
proposed that where there were three members to a constit- 
uency the third should represent the minority, an end to be 
accomplished by the simple process of allowing each elector 
to vote for only two of the three. The Bill was brought in 
on March 1st. The second reading was moved on March 
19th. Mr. Disraeli condemned the measure then, although he 
did not propose to offer any opposition to it at that stage. 
He made a long and labored speech, in which be talked of 
the Bill as " a measure of a mediaeval character, without the 
inspiration of the feudal system or the genius of the Mid- 
dle Ages." No one knew exactly what this meant ; but it 
was loudly applauded by Mr. Disraeli's followers, and was 
thought rather fine by some of those who sat on the Min- 
isterial side. Mr. Disraeli also condemned it for being too 
homogeneous in its character; by which he was understood 
to mean that he considered there was too great a monoto- 
ny or uniformity in the suffrage it proposed to introduce. 
Long nights of debate more or less languid followed. Mr. 
Disraeli, with his usual sagacity, was merely waiting to see 
how things would go before he committed himself or his 
party to any decided opposition. He began very soon to 
see that there was no occasion for him to take any great 
trouble in the matter. He and his friends had little more to 
do than to look on and smile complacently while the chances 



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172 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

of the Bill were being hopelessly undermined by some of 
the followers of the Government. The milder Whigs hated 
the scheme rather more than the Tories did. It was Lord 
John Russell's scheme. Russell was faithful to the cause of 
reform, and he was backed up by the support of Cobden, 
Bright, and the Manchester and Radical party in general. 
But the Bill found little favor in the Cabinet itself. It was 
accepted principally as a means of soothing the Radicals, 
and appeasing Lord John Russell. Lord Palmerston was 
well known to be personally indifferent to its fate. There 
was good reason to believe that, if left to himself, he would 
never have introduced such a measure, or any measure hav- 
ing the same object. Lord Palmerston was not so foresee- 
ing as Mr. Disraeli. The leader of the Opposition knew 
well enough even then that a Reform Bill of some kind 
would have to be brought in before long. There is not the 
least reason to suppose that he ever for a moment fell into 
Lord Palmerston's mistake, and fancied that the opinions of 
the clubs, of the respectable Whigs, and of the metropolitan 
shopkeepers represented the opinions of the English people. 
Mr. Disraeli probably foresaw even then that it might be 
convenient to his own party one day to seek for the credit 
of carrying a Radical Reform Bill. He therefore took care 
not to express any disapproval of the principles of reform 
in the debates that took place on the second reading of Lord 
John Russell's Bill. His manner was that of one who looks 
on scornfully at a bungling attempt to do some piece of 
work which he could do much better if he had a chance of 

I making the attempt. \ " Gall that a Reform Bill," be seemed 
to say, " that piece of homogeneousness and medievalism, 
which has neither the genius of feudalism nor the spirit of 
{the Middle Ages ! Only give me a chance some day of try- 
ing my hand again, and then you shall see the geuius of the 
Middle Ages, and the later ages, and feudalism, and all the 
rest of it, combined to perfection." 

Meanwhile the Bill was drifting and floundering on to de- 
struction. If Lord Palmerston had spoken one determined 
word in its favor, it could have been easily carried. The 
Conservatives would not have taken on themselves the re- 
sponsibility of a prolonged resistance. Those of the Liberals 
who secretly detested the measure would not have had the 



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THE FRENCH TREATY AND THE PAPER DUTIE& 178 

courage to stand up against Lord Palmerston. Their real 
objection to the proposed reform was that it would pat them 
to the trouble of a new election, and that they did not like 
the extreme Radicals and the Manchester School But they 
would have swallowed their objections if they bad supposed 
that Lord Palmerston was determined to pass the Bill. 
Very soon they came to understand, or at least to believe, 
that Lord Palmerston would be rather pleased than other- 
wise to see the measure brought into contempt. Lord 
Palmerston took practically no part in the debates. He did 
actually make a speech at a late period ; but, as Mr. Disraeli 
said, with admirable effect, it was a speech not so muchpin 

\ support of, as about, the Reform Bill' 9 Sir George Lewis 
argued for the Bill so coldly and sadly that Sir E. B. Lytton 
brought down the laughter and cheers of both sides of the 
House when he described Lewis as havingY' come to bury 

) Caesar, not to praise him." The measure was already doom- 
ed : it was virtually dead and buried. Notice was given of 
amendment after amendment, chiefly or altogether by pro- 
fessing Liberals. The practice of obstructing the progress 
of the Bill by incessant speech-making was introduced, and 
made to work with ominous effect. Some of the more bois- 
terous of the Tories began to treat the whole thing as a 
good piece of fun. Once an attempt was made to get the 
House counted out during the progress of the debate. It 
would be a capital means of reducing the whole discussion 
to an absurdity, some members thought, if the House could 
actually be counted out during a debate on the Reform Bill. 
A Bill to remould the whole political constitution of the 
country — and the House of Commons not caring enough 
about the subject to contribute forty listeners, or even forty 
patient watchers, within the precincts of Westminster Pal- 
ace! When the attempt to count did not succeed in the 
ordinary way, it occurred to the genius of some of the Con- 
servatives that the object might be accomplished by a little 
gentle and not unacceptable violence. A number of stout 
squires, therefore, got round the door in the lobby, and en- 
deavored by sheer physical obstruction to prevent zealous 
members from re-entering the House. It will be easily un- 
derstood what the temper of the majority was when horse- 
play of this kind could even be attempted. At length it 



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174 A HISTORY OP OUR OWN TIME& 

was evident that the Bill could not pass; that the talk 
which was in preparation mast smother it. The moment 
the Bill got into committee there would be amendments on 
every line of it, and every member could speak as often as 
he pleased. The session was passing; the financial meas- 
ures could not be postponed or put aside; the opponents 
of the Reform Bill, open and secret, bad the Government at 
their mercy. On Monday, June 1 1th, Lord John Russell an- 
nounced that the Government had made up their minds to 
withdraw the Bill. There was no alternative. Lord Palm- 
erston had rendered to the Bill exactly that sort of ser- 
vice which Kemble rendered to the play of " Vortigern and 
Rowena." Eemble laid a peculiar emphasis on the words, 
"And when this solemn mockery is o'er," and glanced at 
the pit in such a manner as to express only too clearly the 
contempt he had for the part which he was coerced to play ; 
and the pit turned the piece into ridicule, and would have 
no more of it. I If Eemble had approved of the play, they 
\ might have put up with it for his sake ; but when he gave 
■ them leave, they simply made sport of it. Lord Palmers ton 
conveyed to his pit his private idea on the subject of the 
Reform Bill which he bad officially to recommend ; and the 
pit took the hint, and there was an end of the Bill. 

Lord Palmerston became more unpopular than ever with 
the advanced Liberals. He had yielded so far to public 
alarm as to propose a vote of two millions, the first instal- 
ment of a sum of nine millions, to be laid out in fortifying 
our coast against the Emperor of the French. He was ac- 
cused of gross inconsistency. The statesman who went out 
of his way to give premature recognition to Louis Napoleon 
after the coup d'etat; the statesman of the Conspiracy Bill, 
was now clamoring for the means to resist a treacherous in- 
vasion from his favorite ally. Yet Lord Palmerston was not 
inconsistent. He had now brought himself seriously to be- 
lieve that Louis Napoleon meditated evil to England, and 
with Palmerston, right or wrong, England was the one su- 
preme consideration. To us he seems to have been wrong 
when he patronized Louis Napoleon, and wrong when he 
wasted money in measures of superfluous protection against 
Louis Napoleon, but we do not think the latter Palmerston 
was inconsistent with the former. 



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TROUBLES IN THE EAST. 175 

Thenceforward it was understood that Lord Palmerston 
would have no more of Reform. This was accepted as a 
political condition by most of Lord Palmerston's colleagues. 
£ven Lord John Russell accepted the condition, and bowed 
to his leader's determination, as George IIL's ministers came 
to bend to his scruples with regard to Catholio Emancipa- 
tion. There was to be no Reform Bill while Lord Palmer- 
ston lived. 



CHAPTER XLIL 

TBOUBLE8 IN THE BAST. 



The Queen's Speech at the opening of Parliament on Jan- 
uary 24th, 1860, mentioned, among other things, the renewal 
of disturbances in China. The English and French pleni- 
potentiaries, it stated, had proceeded to the mouth of the 
Peiho river in order to repair to Pekin, and exchange in 
that city the ratifications of the Treaty of Tien-tsin. They 
found their further progress opposed, and a conflict took 
place between the Chinese forts at the mouth of the river 
and the naval force by which the plenipotentiaries were 
escorted. The allied forces were compelled to retire; and 
the Royal Speech mentioned that an expedition had been 
despatched to obtain redress. 

The treaty of Tien-tsin was that which, as was told in 
a former chapter, had been arranged by Lord Elgin and 
Baron Gros. The treaty contained a clause providing for 
the exchange of the ratifications at Pekin within a year 
from the date of the signature, which took place in June, 
1858. Lord Elgin returned to England, and his brother, 
Mr. Frederick Bruce, was appointed in March, 1859, Envoy 
Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to China. Mr. 
Bruce was directed to proceed by way of the Peiho to Tien- 
tsin and thence to Pekin to exchange the ratifications of the 
treaty. In the instructions furnished to him, Lord Malmes- 
bury, who was then Foreign Secretary, earnestly pressed 
upon the Envoy the necessity of insisting on having the rat- 
ifications exchanged at Pekin. Lord Malmesbury pointed 
out that the Chinese authorities, having the strongest ob- 



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176 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

jection to the presence of an Envoy in Pekin, would prob- 
ably try to interpose all manner of delays and difficulties ; 
and impressed upon Mr. Bruce that he was not to be put 
off from going to the capital. Mr. Bruce was distinctly 
directed to go to the mouth of the Peiho with " a sufficient 
naval force," and was told that unless some " unforeseen cir- 
cumstances " should interpose to make another arrangement 
necessary, it would be desirable that he should go to Tien- 
tsin in a British man-of-war. Instructions were sent out 
from England at the same time to Admiral Hope, the Naval 
Commander-in-Chief in China, to provide a sufficient force 
to accompany Mr. Bruce to the mouth of the Peiho. 

The Peiho river flows from the highlands on the vest 
into the Gulf of Pecheli, at the aorth-east corner of the 
Chinese dominions. The capital of the Empire is about one 
hundred miles inland from the mouth of the Peiho. It does 
not stand on that river, which flows past it at some distance 
westward, but it is connected with the river by means of a 
canal. The town of Tien-tsin stands on the Peiho near its 
junction with one of the many rivers that flow into it, and 
about forty miles from the mouth. The entrance to the 
Peiho was defended by the Taku forts. On June 20, 1859, 
Mr. Bruce and the French Envoy reached the mouth of the 
Peiho with Admiral Hope's fleet, some nineteen vessels in 
all, to escort them. Admiral Hope had sent a message, two 
or three days before, to Taku, to announce that the English 
and French Envoys were coming, and his boat had found 
the forts defended and the river staked by an armed crowd, 
who stated that they were militiamen, and said that they had 
no instructions as regarded the passage of the Envoys, but 
offered to send any message to Tien-tsin and to bring back 
any answer which the authorities there might think fit to 
send. Admiral Hope again sent to them, and requested 
them to remove the obstructions in the river, and clear a 
passage for the Envoys. They do not appear to have act- 
ually refused the request, but they said that they had sent 
a messenger to Tien-tsin to announce the approach of the 
fleet. When, however, the Envoys reached the mouth of 
the river they found the defences further increased. Some 
negotiations and intercommunications took place, and a 
Chinese official from Tien-tsin came to Mr. Bruce and eu 



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TROUBLES IN THE EAST. 177 

deavored to obtain some delay or compromise. Mr. Bruce 
became convinced that the condition of things predioted 
by Lord Malmesbnry was coming about, and that the Chi- 
nese authorities were only trying to defeat his purpose. 
He also imagined, or discovered, that there was a want ot 
proper respect for an English Envoy shown in the terms of 
the letter and the rank of the official by whom it was con- 
veyed. After a consultation with the French Envoy, Mr. 
Bruce called on Admiral Hope to clear a passage for the 
vessels. On June 25th the Admiral brought his gunboats 
close to the barriers, and began to attempt their removal 
The forts opened fire. The Chinese artillerymen showed 
unexpected skill and precision. Four of the gunboats were 
almost immediately disabled. All the attacking vessels got 
aground. Admiral Hope attempted to storm the forts. 
The attempt was a complete failure. About 1000 English- 
men and 100 French went into action, of whom nearly 450 
were killed or wounded. Admiral Hope himself was wound- 
ed ; so was the commander of the French vessel which bad 
contributed a contingent to the storming-party. An Amer- 
ican naval captain rendered great service to the English 
and French in their distress. With " magnanimous indis- 
cretion " he disregarded the strict principles of international 
law; declared that "blood was thicker than water," and 
that he could not look on and see Englishmen destroyed by 
Chinese without trying to lend them a helping hand. The 
attempt to force a passage of the river was given up, and 
the mission to Pekin was over for the present. 

It will be easily imagined that the news created a deep 
sensation in England. It soon became known that although 
the Chinese Government did not exactly accept the respon- 
sibility of what had occurred on the Peiho, yet they bluntly 
and rudely refused to make any apology for the attack 
on our ships or to punish the officials who had ordered it. 
People in general made up their minds at once that the mat* 
ter could not be allowed to rest there, and that the mission 
to Pekin must be enforced. At the same time a strong feel 
ing prevailed that the Envoy, Mr. Bruce, had been impru* 
dent and precipitate in his conduct. Lord Elgin had him 
self stated that we could have no right to navigate the PeilK 
until after the ratification of the treaty ; and however di» 

a— 12 



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178 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIME& 

courteous or even double-dealing the conduct of the Chinese 
authorities might have been, it was surely a questionable 
policy to insist on forcing our way to the capital by one 
particular route to which for any reason they objected. 
For this, however, it seems more just to blame Lord Malmes- 
bury than Mr. Bruce. Lord Malmesbury had of course no 
idea of what was likely to happen; but his instructions to 
the English Envoy read as if they were prepared with a 
view to that very contingency. Mr. Bruce might well have 
thought that they left him no alternative but to force his 
way. Before the whole question came to be discussed in 
Parliament the Conservatives had gone out and the Liberals 
had come in. Lord Palmerston's Government were only 
responsible in a technical sort of way for what bad happen- 
ed ; and, to do them justice, they only defended the proceed- 
ing in a very cold and perfunctory manner. But they could 
hardly condemn their predecessors, whose action they had 
to continue, and whose responsibilities they had to assume, 
and there did not seem much use In attacking the conduct 
of men who were out of office, and were no longer amenable 
to Parliamentary censure. On the other hand, it seems only 
fair to say that the outcry raised in England about the 
treacherous conduct of the Chinese at the mouth of the Pei- 
ho was unfounded and even absurd. The Chinese Govern- 
ment showed itself, as usual, crafty, double-dealing, and child- 
ishly arrogant for a while; but the Chinese at the Peiho 
cannot be accused of perfidy. They had mounted the forts 
and barricaded the river openly and even ostentatiously. 
The English Admiral knew for days and days that the forts 
were armed, and that the passage of the river was obstruct- 
ed. A man who when be sees you approaching his hall- 
door closes and bars it against you, and holds a rifle pointed 
at your head while he parleys with you from an upper win- 
dow, may be a very inhospitable and discourteous person ; 
but if, when you attempt to dash in his door, he fires at you 
with his rifle, you can hardly call him treacherous, or say 
that you had no expectation of what was going to happen. 
Some of the English officers who were actually engaged in 
the attempt of Admiral Hope frankly repudiated the idea of 
any treachery on the part of the Chinese, or any surprise on 
their own side. They knew perfectly well, they said, thai 



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TROUBLES IN THE EAST. 179 

the forts were about to resist the attempt to force a way for 
the Envoys up the river. 

The English and French Governments determined that the 
men who had made the treaty of Tien-tsin — Lord Elgin and 
Baron Gros — should be sent back to insist on its re-enforce- 
ment. Sir Hope Grant was appointed to the military com- 
mand of our land forces, and General Cousin de Montanban, 
afterward Count Palikao, commanded the soldiers of France. 
We need not here enter into the military history of the ex* 
pedition. The English and French made short work of the 
Chinese resistance. The Chinese, to do them justice, fought 
very bravely, as, indeed, they seem to have done on all occa- 
sions when war was forced on them ; but of course they had 
no chance whatever against such forces as those commanded 
by the English and French generals. The allies oaptured 
the Taku forts, occupied Tien-tsin, and marched on Pekin. 
The Chinese Government endeavored to negotiate for peace, 
and to interpose any manner of delay, diplomatic or other- 
wise, between the allies and their progress to the capital. 
Lord Elgin consented at last to enter into negotiations at 
Tungchow, a walled town ten or twelve miles nearer than 
Pekin. The Chinese commissioners were to meet the Euro- 
pean plenipotentiaries at Tungchow. Lord Elgin's secreta- 
ries, Mr. Parkes and Mr. Loch, accompanied by some English 
officers, by Mr. Bowlby, the correspondent of the THmes, and 
by some members of the staff of Baron Gros, went to Tung- 
chow to make the necessary arrangements for an interview 
between the Envoys and the Chinese commissioners. On 
their way back they had to pass through the lines of a large 
Chinese force, which had occupied the ground marked out by 
the commissioners themselves for the use of the European al- 
lies. Some quarrel took place between a French commissariat 
officer and some Tartar soldiers, and a sort of general en- 
gagement was brought on. Mr. Parkes and Mr. Loch, and 
several of their companions, French and English, were seized 
and dragged off to various prisons, despite the fact that they 
bore a flag of truce, and were known to have come for the 
purpose of arranging a conference requested by the Chinese 
themselves with a view to peace. Twenty-six British sub- 
jects and twelve subjects of France were thus carried off. 
Mr. Parkes and Mr. Loch were afterward released, after hav 



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180 A HISTORY OP OUR OWN TIMES. 

ing been treated with much cruelty and indignity. Of the 
twenty-six British subjects thus seized, thirteen died of the 
horrible ill-treatment they received. The thirteen who were 
released all bore more or less evidence physically of the 
usage which had been inflicted on them. Lord Elgin re- 
fused to negotiate until the prisoners had been returned, aud 
the allied armies were actually at one of the great gates of 
Pekin, and had their guns in position to blow the gate in, 
when the Chinese acceded to their terms. The gate was 
surrendered, the allies entered the city, and the English and 
French flags were hoisted side by side on the walls of Pekin. 
It was only after entering the city that Lord Elgin learned 
of the murder of the captives. He then determined to inflict 
an exemplary and a signal punishment on the Chinese au- 
thorities. The Chinese Summer Palace, a building, or rather 
a park and collection of buildings of immense extent, had 
been plundered somewhat efficiently by the French on their 
march to Pekin. The French Commander-in-chief had be- 
come possessed of a magnificent diamond necklace, which, 
according to popular rumor, was afterward an adornment of 
the festivities of the Imperial Tuileries. Lord Elgin now 
determined that the palace should be burnt down as a means 
of impressing the mind of the Chinese authorities generally 
with some sense of the danger of treachery and foul play. 
" What remains of the palace," such was Lord Elgin's stern 
notification, " which appears to be the place at which several 
of the British captives were subjected to the grossest indig- 
nities, will be immediately levelled to the ground ; this con- 
dition requires no assent on the part of his Highness" (Prince 
Kung, the Chinese emperor's brother and plenipotentiary), 
" because it will be at once carried into effect by the Com- 
mander-in-chief." Two days were occupied in the destruc- 
tion of the palace. It covered an area of many miles. The 
palace of Adrian, at Tivoli, might have been hidden in one 
of its courts. Garden 8, temples, small lodges and pagodas, 
groves, grottoes, lakes, bridges, terraces, artificial hills, diver- 
sified the vast space. All the artistic treasures, all the cu- 
riosities, archaeological and other, that Chinese wealth and 
Chinese taste, such as it was, could bring together, had been 
accumulated in this magnificent pleasaunce. The surround- 
ing scenery was beautiful. The high mountains of Tartary 



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TROUBLES IN THE EAST. 181 

ramparted one side of the enclosure. "It certainly was," 7^' 
says a spectator, " one of the most curious, and also one of . u ' 
the most beautiful, scenes I had ever beheld." The build- i* 4 " 
ings were set on fire; the whole place was given over to 
destruction. A monument was raised with an inscription in 
Chinese, setting forth that such was the reward of perfidy^-ij^ 
and cruelty. $s^ 

Very different opinions were held in England as to the 
destruction of the Imperial palace. To many it seemed an 
act of unintelligible and unpardonable vandalism. Assured- 
ly the responsibility which Lord Elgin assumed was great. 
It was all the greater because the French p lenipo te ntiary re- 
fused t o share it. This was not,however^oecauseTbe French 
invoy Thought it an act of mere vandalism. The French, 
who had remorselessly looted the palace, who had made it 
a wreck before Lord Elgin converted its site into a desert, 
could hardly have offered any becoming protest in the in- 
terests of art and of conciliation. The French plenipotenti- 
ary was merely of opinion that the destruction of the palace 
might interfere with the negotiations for peace which he 
was naturally anxious to bring to a conclusion. Lord El- 
gin assumed a heavy responsibility in another way, inas- 
much as he did not consider the capture of the Englishmen 
to have been a deliberate act of treachery on the part of 
the Chinese authorities. " On the whole," he wrote, "I come 
to the conclusion that in the proceedings of the Chinese 
plenipotentiaries and Commander-in-chief in this instance 
there was that mixture of stupidity, want of straightfor- 
wardness, suspicion, and bluster which characterizes so gen- 
erally the conduct of affairs in this country ; but I cannot 
believe that after the experience which Saug-ko-lin-sin " (the 
Chinese General-in-cbief) "had already had of our superiori- 
ty in the field, either he or his civil colleagues could have 
intended to bring on a conflict in which, as the event has 
proved, he was sure to be worsted." Still, Lord Elgin held 
that for the ill-treatment and murder of men who ought 
never to have been touched with unfriendly hand the Chi- 
nese authorities must be held responsible; and that even war 
itself must become ten times more horrible if it were not one 
of its essential conditions that the messengers engaged in 
the preliminaries of peace are to be held sacred from harm. 



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182 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

In this Lord Elgin was undoubtedly right. The only 
question was as to his justification in adopting what seem- 
ed to be so illogical and barbarous a mode of taking ven* 
geance. Would any breach of faith committed by the 
Grand Duke of Tuscany, when there was such a prince, have 
justified a foreign conqueror in destroying the Pitti Palace? 
Would any act of treachery committed by a Spanish sov- 
ereign justify the destruction of the Alhambra? To such 
demands Lord Elgin would have answered that he had, no 
other way of recording in memorable characters his con- 
demnation of the cruelty perpetrated by the Chinese. He 
explained that if he did not demand the surrender of the 
actual perpetrators, it was because he knew full well that 
no difficulty would have been made about giving him a 
seeming satisfaction. The Chinese Government would have 
handed over to him as many victims as he chose to ask for, 
or would have executed as many as he thought fit to suggest. 
They would have selected for vicarious punishment, in all 
probability, a crowd of mean and unfortunate wretches who 
had no more to do with the murders than Lord Elgin had 
himself, who perhaps had never heard that such murders 
were done, and who would possibly even go to their death 
without the slightest notion of the reason why they were 
chosen out for such a doom. That was the chief reason 
which determined Lord Elgin. We confess it seems to us 
to have some strength in it. Most of our actions in the 
war were unjustifiable ; this was the one for which, perhaps, 
the best case could be made out by a moralist. It is some- 
what singular that so many persons should have been roused 
to indignation by the destruction of a building who took 
with perfect composure the unjust invasion of a country. 

The allied powers now of course had it all their own way. 
A convention was made by which China agreed that the rep- 
resentatives of England and France should reside either per- 
manently or occasionally in Pekin, according as the English 
and French Governments might decide, and that the port 
of Tien-tsin should be open to trade and to the residence of 
foreign subjects. China had to pay a war indemnity, and a 
large sum of money as compensation to the families of the 
murdered prisoners and to those who had suffered injuries, 
and to make an apology for the attack by the garrison of 



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TROUBLES IN THE EAST. 183 

the Taku forts. Thus England established her right to have 
an envoy in Pekin, whether the Chinese liked it or not. The 
practical result was not very great. Perhaps the most im- 
portant gain to Europe was the knowledge that Pekin was 
not by any means so large a city as we had all imagined it 
to be. British geographies had time out of mind taught 
British children that Pekin was the largest city in the 
world. Now we learned that it was not nearly so large as 
several other cities, and that it was, on the whole, rather a 
crumbling and tumble-down sort of place. There is some 
comfort in knowing that so much blood was not spilled 
wholly in vain. 

The same year saw also the troubles in the mountain ter- 
races of the Lebanon, which likewise led to the combined 
intervention of England and France. The disturbances 
arose out of the rivalries and quarrels between two sects, 
the Maronites and those whom Mr. Browning's poem de- 
scribes as "the Druse nation, warders on the mount of the 
world's secret since the birth of time." In the month of 
May a Maronite monk was found murdered, and suspicion 
fell upon the Druses. Some Druses were killed, apparently 
in retaliation. Then there were some killings on each side. 
On May 28th a general attack was made by the Druses on 
the Maronite villages in the neighborhood of Bey rout, and 
some of them were burnt down. A large town under 
Mount Hermon was attacked by the Druses. The Turkish 
commander ordered the Maronites to lay down their arms, 
and promised that he would protect them. They did give 
up their arms, and the Turkish officer had the weapons re- 
moved. Then he seems to have abandoned the Maronites 
to their enemies. The Druses, animated by such a spirit as 
might have belonged to their worshipped chief and saint, 
Hakem, poured into the place and massacred them all. The 
Turkish soldiers did not make any attempt to protect them, 
but even, it was stated, in some cases helped the Druses in 
their work of butchery. In July the fanatical spirit spread 
to Damascus. A mob of Turkish fanatics made a general 
attack upon the Christian quarter, and burnt the greater 
part of it down. The consulates of France, Russia, Austria, 
Holland, Belgium, and Greece were destroyed. Nearly two 
thousand Christians were massacred in that one day's work 



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184 A HISTORY OP OUR OWN TIMES. 

Many of the respectable Mussulman inhabitants of Damas 
cus were most generous and brave in their attempts to save 
and shelter the unfortunate Christians; but the Turkish 
Governor of Damascus, although he had a strong military 
force at bis disposal, made no serious effort to interfere with 
the work of massacre ; and, as might be expected, his supine- 
ness was construed by the mob as an official approval of 
their doings, and they murdered with all the more vigor 
and zest. The famous Algerian chief, Abd- el- Kader, was 
then living in Damascus, and he exerted himself nobly in 
the defence and protection of the Christians. France had 
treated him, when fallen and a prisoner, with something like 
generosity, and he well repaid, in this season of horror to the 
Christians in Damascus, any debt that he may have owed to 
a Christian people. 

The news of the massacres in the Lebanon naturally cre- 
ated a profound sensation in England. The cause of the 
disturbance was not very clearly understood in the first in- 
stance, and it was generally assumed that it was a mere quar- 
rel of religion between Christians and Mohammedans. The 
Maronites being Christians, " a sect of Syrian Christians, 
united to Rome, although preserving their own primitive 
discipline/' the Druses were assumed to be Mussulmans. Mr. 
Urquhart gave an amusing and not altogether exaggerated 
description of the manner in which English public opinion 
is made up on Eastern questions. Conversing, be says, with 
a Druse of the Lebanon long before this particular outbreak, 
he observed to the Druse, " You get up one morning and 
cut each other's throats; then people at Beyrout or else- 
where sit down and write letters. One says the Maronites 
are a very virtuous and oppressed people of Christians ; an- 
other says they are served right, for they are only Roman 
Catholics. One says the Druses have done it all ; they are 
savages ; another, the Turks have done it all ; they are fero- 
cious, perfidious, and fanatic. Then the people in London 
begin to write, who dwell in rooms on the housetop." This, 
it is to be understood, is Mr. Urquhart's playful way of de- 
scribing the authors of newspaper articles, whom, in accord- 
ance with a tradition still prevailing when he was young, he 
assumes to be the occupants of garrets. "They say these 
people are very ill off; we must protect them; or we must 



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ROBERT BROWNING 



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TROUBLES IN THE EAST. 185 

punish them ; or we mast convert them. Then they all cry 
oat, c We mast pat down the Turkish Government.' After 
this has been written and paid for, it is printed ; and after it 
is printed it is sold. Then all the nation buys it ; and after 
it has bought it, it reads it while it is eating its breakfast. 
Then each man goes out and meets his friends and talks it. 
This is the way the people of England occupy themselves 
about their affairs ; and they call it by a name which, being 
translated, means universal guess. They smile then at each 
other, and say ' We are great men ; we know all that is do- 
ing in the world — we govern the world ; like unto us were 
none since Noah came out of the ark. 9 " Mr. Urquhart was 
a very clever, self-opinionated, and often curiously wrong- 
headed man. He had seen much of the East, and had a 
knowledge of Eastern ways and Eastern history which few 
Englishmen could equal. But he was under the absolute 
dominion of a mania with regard to Russia which distorted 
all his faculties. Men who found that he could entertain as 
articles of faith some theories about English diplomacy and 
English statesmen which seemed almost too wild for the or- 
dinary ocoupant of a mad-house, might well begin to doubt 
whether all his knowledge of the East must necessarily help 
him to any better conclusions about Asia than he had form- 
ed about the political men and affairs of his own country. 
In the passage which has been quoted he did, however, give 
a very fair exposition of the confusion of ideas that prevailed 
in England about the disturbances in Syria. He was also 
able to make it quite clear that, whatever the Druses were, 
they were not Mussulmans. The nooks of the mountain, a 
well-informed writer says, " are not more sequestered from 
the dwellings of man than the faith of the Druses is segre- 
gated from that of Christian or Moslem.' 9 Mr. Urquhart as- 
cribed the cause of the quarrels to the intervention of the 
European Powers in 1840, and of course to the secret in- 
fluence of Russia working through that intervention. It is 
probable that the intervention did help, in one sense, to lead 
to the dissensions. The Great Powers started in 1840 and 
in 1841 a variety of theories about the better government 
of the Lebanon, one of which was that it should have two 
governors, a Druse and a Maronite. This was found im- 
practicable, owing to the fact that in many parts of the Leb- 



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186 A HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES. 

anon the two sects were living in inextricable companion 
ship. The bare idea, however, was probably effectual ic 
starting a new sort of rivalry. The Porte did finally grant 
a certain amount of administrative autonomy to the Leba- 
non, and, having granted this under pressure, it is not un- 
likely that they were anxious to reduce it to as little of 
practical value as possible. Probably the Porte was not 
unwilling to make use of any antipathy existing between 
Druses and Maronltes. The Porte was also under the im- 
pression, rightly or wrongly, that the Maronites were plan- 
ning an attack upon the Druses with the object of shaking 
off