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subject from the Celestial territory, if he had not more effectually disposed of them through the medium of a poisoning baker.
On the whole, then, we cannot understand upon what grounds of reason, moral or legal, the decision of the House of Commons was arrived at. It must be borne in mind, also, that the information which has at present reached us is necessarily more or less defective. In course of time we shall undoubtedly be in fuller possession of the proceedings which have finally brought about the present position of affairs in China.
In concluding this subject, two accusations yet call for observation. The one refers to the character of our merchants in China; the other to the personal honour of Sir John Bowring.
The charge, however, brought by Mr. Cobden against the English merchants may be dismissed with the remark that it not only contravened the authoritative statement of the American representative at Macao, but that it was a mere empty tirade, stated without a single particular, without a tittle of evidence, and without the slightest pretension to authority.
The accusation against Sir John Bowring, on the other hand, singularly evinces not only the malignity, but the strange want of logical perception with which the debate was maintained. Sir John was charged with deliberate deception on two distinct occasions. Upon the one, he is charged with duplicity for writing to Consul Parkes 'The Arrow had no right to hoist the British flag; but the Chinese had no knowledge of the expiration of her licence.' On the other, he is charged with falsehood for asserting to the Chinese that the Arrow lawfully bore the British flag,'—thereby indicating that the vessel was entitled to protection. Now, it was at once replied by Lord Palmerston, that Sir John's remark in the former instance applied simply to the fact that the ignorance of the Chinese officials upon the point in question evinced an intention to insult the British flag, and was therefore an important element in the question of reparation. With regard to the latter charge, the assertion that the vessel was entitled to protection was made on a distinct occasion; and in all probability when Sir John had discovered that, after all, the vessel was -for reasons which we have stated above-entitled to protection, even if her licence had nominally run out.
Yet, in spite of these clear and obvious considerations, Sir John Bowring is compared by Sir James Graham to an attorney about to be struck off the rolls for falsehood;' and his despatch is stigmatized by Lord Ellenborough and Mr. Cobden as 'the most flagitious document they ever saw.' It was the consistent tenour, moreover, of Sir James Graham's argument, to throw the whole blame of the naval proceedings, in reference to the extent to which they
Sir John Bowring-The Elections.
were carried, upon Sir John Bowring, in exclusion of Sir Michael Seymour, when it is notorious that Sir John was not present on the principal occasion in question-that he possessed no authority to direct the Admiral independently of that officer's own responsibility-and that much was done in reference to which Sir John's opinion was not, and could not be, taken. We quit the subject with unaffected disgust, as illustrating a compound of weakness and bad feeling which we never before encountered in the annals of political debate.
It ought, then, to be clearly understood, what is the nature and scope of the question on which the verdict of the people of England is now demanded. On this head much misconception appears to prevail. In many of the addresses to the constituencies of this country, it has been asserted that we are about to elect a Septennial Parliament upon the single question of our Chinese policy, the issue of which may possibly be determined before that Parliament assembles, and to which it may only be required to record a retrospective sanction. Such an assertion is quite erroneous. The collision of the Executive and the Legislature upon a great question of immediate moment rendered their co-existence impossible: and so far, no doubt, the Chinese Question forms the definite ground of the present appeal. It will undoubtedly be the function of the New Parliament-if the existing dispute between the British authorities and the Chinese Commissioner should be still pending to determine whether our military honour and our commercial interests are to be maintained or not. But the policy of the recent dissolution of Parliament has a far wider scope. Whether there were a Chinese Question at issue or not, the then existing collocation of parties in the House of Commons threatened to make all Government impossible. The vote of that House upon our Chinese policy simply manifested a general distribution of party opinion, casually directed to a special question.
It is singular to observe that those very candidates for the New Parliament who utter this complaint regarding its election for the next seven years upon a possibly retrospective question, are the very men who are loudest in denying the fact of a preconcerted combination against Lord Palmerston's Ministry. Now, it is clear that that Ministry could only retain office in virtue of a Dissolution; and that the definite ground of the Dissolution was chosen by the Opposition, not selected by the Government. If, then, the parties represented by Mr. Disraeli and Mr. Glad stone had not yet prepared themselves for an interchange of official relations, it is probable that they could not have been in a position to form a Coalition Government; and it is very clear that,
without their combination, no Government could have been formed in succession to that of Lord Palmerston. The Dissolution, therefore, became, by the confession of these very candidates, less the alternative of a Ministerial crisis than the only expedient on which the business of the country could be conducted; and out of their own mouths are they answered.
Nor is it less striking to notice-whatever be the truth with which the assertion of a coalition is denied-how closely the addresses of the Peelite and Conservative leaders to their constituents approximate, not simply upon the Chinese Question, but upon the whole curriculum of our anticipated domestic policy. Sir James Graham's address to the borough of Carlisle appears designed to show how closely Liberalism may trench upon Conservative opinions; and that of Mr. Disraeli to the county of Buckingham to evince how nearly Conservatism may approach to Liberal opinions; until the differences of the two statesmen are narrowed to a single word: for while both exclaim alike for 'Peace' and 'Retrenchment,' the demand of Sir James Graham for Reform,' Mr. Disraeli promises social improvement.' believe that the people of England will look forward with confidence to Lord Palmerston's Government for these three requisites -honourable peace, wise economy, and expedient reform. But we are equally certain that they will never record their votes either for disgraceful capitulation, for military defencelessness, or for a militia franchise.
We have efficiently consulted-as a nation represented by its Government-the obligations at once of good faith towards our countrymen in the East, and of humanity towards the Chinese. We have despatched military forces for the maintenance of our national rights; and we have sent out a Plenipotentiary in a spirit of honourable conciliation. The civilized world, at least, will accept this evidence that the enforcement of our just demands is tempered by a policy of forbearance; and that we are ready to seek our rights by negotiation rather than by force.
NUMBER FIFTY-Half a century of times the British Quarterly has delivered its message to its readers on the appointed day :-and we see not why this first half century of appearances should not be followed, under Providence, by another-and still another.
The great events at home during the last thirteen years have been, the steady progress of Liberal Principles at the cost of Old Party Relationships, and the Law of Free-trade. The great events abroad have been the Revolution of 1848, the ascent of Napoleon III. to the throne of France, and the Russian war. At home, particular reforms have been much impeded; but a ground-work has been laid which ensures that more than has been aimed at will be realized. Abroad, English policy has been timid, selfish, servile, until the outbreak of the Russian war. In that struggle Government and people did their duty. Russia has received her lesson. Europe may breathe again. Only let the law of international policy be hands-off,' and the nations which deserve liberty will get it.
But the world is not at rest. Canton is in commotion. Lord Palmerston is upon his trial. For the nonce, Lord Derby has become very humane, Mr. Gladstone very religious, and Lord John Russell very liberal. But Lord Palmerston outvoted-what next? Yesthat is an awkward question. Should it not have been asked before? The combination which was potent to destroy, soon finds itself powerless to construct. Parliaments, like cats, are said to lose temper by age. It was time there should be a change.
Lord Palmerston is not, in our eyes, a model statesman; but on the whole, and for the present, he takes precedence of his rivals. The Chinese affair may not have been without fault; but the nation will not judge a government or a man by a single act. Lord John complains of ingratitude; but why should a people who are so mindful of the services of Lord Palmerston be unmindful of those of Lord John ? Perhaps some of Lord John's best friends could best answer that question. It is possible for a man so to remember his services, as to compel other persons to seem to forget them. Lord John has done much to deserve friends, but, unhappily, he has done nearly as much to convert them into enemies. Our creed,' says Lord Palmerston, 'is, peace abroad, and progressive improvement at home.' These last words admit of large interpretation, and we are not without hope that Lord John Russell and Lord Palmerston may see their way together to a large explanation of them.
The Life and Correspondence of Major-General Sir John Malcolm, G.C.B., late Envoy to Persia, and Governor of Bombay. From Unpublished Letters and Journals. By JOHN WILLIAM KAYE. Smith,
Elder, and Co. 2 vols. The portrait prefixed to this memoir goes far to confirm all that the biographer says in praise of Sir John Malcolm. It is a magnificent head. Vigour of body and vigour of mind are present alike, and that combination of intellectual power with goodness which results in wisdom. Young Malcolm was a boy of fourteen when he joined his regiment in India, there to become one of the greatest of those statesmen and diplomatists who have administered and confirmed our Eastern rule. The combination and equipoise of various kinds of ability, in his case, was very remarkable. As Mr. Kaye observes:
SIR JOHN MALCOLM.
'I do not know an example, out of the regions of romance, in which so many remarkable qualities, generally supposed to be antagonistic, were combined in the same person. It is no small thing to cope with a tiger in the jungle; it is no small thing to draw up an elaborate state paper; it is no small thing to write the history of a nation; it is no small thing to conduct to a successful issue a difficult negotiation at a foreign court; it is no small thing to lead an army to victory; and I think it may with truth be said, that he who could do all these things with such brilliant success as Sir John Malcolm, was a very remarkable man in a very remarkable age.'- Vol. ii., p. 615.
The composition of works such as the History of Persia (alone sufficient to make a reputation) appears to have formed but an episode here and there among the activities of an indefatigable life. was always busy, and always cheerful. The ordinary courage of the soldier was combined with a moral courage and a courtesy as conspicuous as invaluable, at a crisis like that of the Madras Mutiny. Absent, accidentally, from the great victory of Assaye, he embraced with eagerness the first opportunity of distinguishing himself in the field as well as in the council. In the battle of Mehidpoor he held the chief command, and won it by hard fighting rather than by strategy. In this, as in so many of our Indian engagements, formidable batteries were carried in headlong style, and at the point of the bayonet. After much delay, and some trying disappointments, which failed to touch his generous temperament with the slightest taint of envy, his long services were wisely honoured by the appointment to the Governor