Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

Hardinge. Suppressing details, it may be what he took for it. “We're as good as you stated briefly that the number of men to be are!" shouted one of the mob at Edinburgh raised was to be 80,000; the cost after the at that bitter parting. After a few years, first year, £250,000 a year; the age from 18 however, the “better sort” remembered that to 35; and the height 5 feet 2 inches, the very few of them were “as good” as Macaulay army standard being 5 feet 6. Lord Palmer- in the sense in which those words had been ston supported the measure. Mr. Hume and used. It was openly proposed that he should the Manchester party opposed it. Certain again stand for the city; but the proud “fancy franchises” had to be withdrawn, but scholar would not stir in the matter himself. the best account of them will be found in Mr. Edinburgh had cast him out; she must now Macaulay's great speech in Edinburgh, to fetch him with open arms and without which we will now refer.

trouble to himself, if he was to represent her A constitution for New Zealand was part again. To her honour and his she did so, of the work of the year. It was introduced and there never was a more affecting political by Sir John Pakington, and supported by reconciliation. When the orator first showed the Duke of Newcastle and Mr. Gladstone. himself in the Music Hall-crowded to sufMr. Berkeley's annual motion for the ballot focation, and adorned not only by the presence was defeated of course; and Mr. Spooner was of the leading men of the city, with some outunsuccessful in his assault upon the Maynooth siders, and hundreds of ladies--the wan, thin grant. Mr. Macaulay peremptorily refused face and pain-stricken air of the man sent a to answer any of the questions about it that momentary pang through the assembly. There reached him from Edinburgh.

was a stirring pause.

But then the cheers

burst forth, and Macaulay faltered a little The narrative of Mr. Macaulay's rejection from the shock of sound. Mr. Adam Black, by his old Edinburgh constituents, his proud who was moved into the chair, made a very withdrawal from parliamentary life, his long- short speech, and simply called upon Mr. continued sufferings from chronic bronchitis, Macaulay to “address his constituents.” Then and his determination never again to take the immense multitude rose and again broke office, need not here be repeated. But it is out into cheering. When the applause had within our province to notice his return, entirely ceased there was, for some moments, without solicitation on liis part, for Edin- utter silence, and evident emotion on Macburgh in 1852, upon the dissolution of parlia- aulay's part; but at last he recovered himself, ment under Lord Derby's government. In and the old voice was once more heard by the November of that year the great Whig his- old friends and acquaintances. torian again addressed his old friends in the The name of John Wilson-Christopher Music Hall of Edinburgh as their represen- North-cannot be omitted in connection with tative, amid tumultuous excitement. In the this event. The professor, it is well known, last speech he had delivered to an Edinburgh was a high Tory; but for all that Lord John public there had been bitter things, and a Russell had advised the queen to grant him little contempt, perhaps more than a little. a pension of £300 a year, accompanying the The less intelligent portion of his audience notice of the grant with a letter as tender and had resented what they took for the undue friendly as if Wilson had been a blue-blood self-assertion of the scholar and philosopher, Whig. It was now Wilson's own turn to and no doubt Macaulay-though he wished show that he could forget the politics of party well to all men, and would have sacrificed in those higher politics in which all men of something to serve them—had at bottom a good brain and heart are much closer than real dislike of “the masses." There was whips and partisans pretend. something of Coriolanus in him, and all The Edinburgh election came off in the the things which he despised none stood

One very hot day Wilson, who was lower in his mind than religious bigotry, or living at Woodburn, Dalkeith, and who had MACAULAY ON THE MILITIA BILL.

summer.

11

been unusually ill (he was within two years second is poverty ;-all persons to whom a of his death), exhibited a restless desire to be shilling a day is an object. The third is driven to Edinburgh. His own carriage had ignorance—for if you ever take the trouble to already been driven out by some members of observe in your streets what is the appearance his family, so his daughter thought he would of the young fellows who follow the recruiting give up his scheme. Not at all; he sent for sergeant, you will say that at least they are a carriage from Dalkeith, and made his man not the most educated of the labouring classes. drive him to Edinburgh. There he paused to Brave, stout young fellows no doubt they are. rest at Mr. Blackwood's in George Street. Lord Hardinge tells me that he never saw a Great was the surprise of the Edinburgh folk finer set of young men; and I have no doubt to see the worn old lion about their streets, that after a few years' training they will be and not a hint of his errand had he vouchsafed ready to stand up for our firesides against the to any living soul. But when, leaning on his best disciplined soldiers that the Continent man, he entered Macaulay's committee-room can produce. But these men, taken for the in St. Vincent Street to record his vote for an most part from the plough-tail, are not the old (political) foe, the secret was out, and he class best qualified to choose our legislatorswas greeted with a passionate burst of cheering. there is rather in the habits of the young nien

Space will not permit us to quote Mr. that enter the army a disposition to idleness. Macaulay's admirably graphic and humorous Oh, but there is another qualification which I account of the elections; but his treatment of almost forgot-they must be five feet two. the franchise clauses of Mr. Walpole's Militia “There is a qualification for a county voter ! Bill (which were withdrawn) we have pro- Only think of measuring a man for the franmised to reproduce in brief as part of the chise! And this comes from a Conservative story, and as a reductio ad absurdum of the government-a measure that would swamp kind in which the speaker excelled. 66 At the all the county constituencies in England with end of a sitting, in the easiest possible manner, people possessed of the Derby-Walpole qualias a mere clause at the tail of a Militia Bill, fications that is to say, youth, poverty, it was proposed that every man who served ignorance, a roving disposition, and five feet two years in the militia should have a vote tro. Why, gentlemen, what have the people for the county. What would be the number who brought in such a measure--what have of these votes? The militia is to consist of they to say—I do not say against Lord John 80,000 men; the term of their service is to be Russell's imprudence-but what right have

In ten years we should have they to talk of the imprudence of Ernest 160,000 voters, in twenty years 320,000, in Jones? The people who advocate universal twenty-five years 400,000. Some, no doubt, suffrage, at all events, gave us wealth along would by that time have died off; though the with poverty, knowledge along with ignorance, lives are all picked lives, remarkably good / and mature age along with youth; but a lives-still some would have died off. How qualification compounded of all disqualifica

many there may be I have not calculated. tions is a thing that was never heard of Any actuary would give you the actual except in the case of this Conservative reform. numbers; but I have no doubt that when It is the most ridiculous proposition that was the system came into full operation you would ever made. It was made, I believe, at first have some 300,000 added from the militia to in a thin house, but the next house was full the county constituency, which, on an average, enough; for people came down with all sorts would be 6000 added to every county in Eng- of questions. Are the regular troops to have land and Wales. This would be an in mense vote? Are the police-are the sailors ? inaddition to the county constituency. What deed, who should not ? for if you take lads of are to be their qualifications? The first is one-and-twenty from the plough-tail and give youth; for they are not to be above a certain them votes, what possible class of honest Engage; the nearer eighteen the better. The I lishmen and Scotchmen can you exclude if

five years.

they are admitted? But before these ques- Wecan find room for only one clause more, but tions could be asked, up gets the home that is an important one:-“Of the proposals secretary, and tells us that the thing has not which affect the university, the most important been sufficiently considered—that some of his are those which we (the commissioners) have colleagues do not approve of it—that the made for remodelling the constitution and for thing is withdrawn-he will not press it. I abolishing the existing monopoly of the colleges must say, if it had happened to me to propose and halls, by allowing students to reside at such a Reform Bill on one night, and on the Oxford without the expenses of connection with next sitting of the house to withdraw it, be- those bodies. In regard to the colleges, we cause it had not been sufficiently considered, would especially urge the immediate necessity I think that to the end of my life I should of opening the fellowships and scholarships, of never have talked of the exceeding evil of attaching professorships to certain colleges, of reopening of the question of reform;-to the increasing the number and value of scholarend of my life I should never have read any ships, of granting to the colleges the power of man a lecture on the extreme prudence and altering the statutes, and, above all, of procaution with which he should approach ques-hibiting as unlawful the oaths to observe the tions of organic change."

statutes."

a

» to re

[ocr errors]

Murmurs were already beginning to be The Parliamentary Oaths question was kept heard, near and far, that Mr. Gladstone was alive during nearly the whole of the year 1852 not the most “fit and proper man

by the case of Mr. Alderman Solomons, mempresent Oxford. But it is of more conse- ber for Greenwich, who had taken his seat, quence to note that the blue-book report of and the oath, omitting only that portion which the Oxford University Commission, a slight pledged the member to “the true faith of a work of 900 folio pages, made it very plain Christian.” The honourable gentleman's case that the new broom so long needed at that came before the legal tribunals, and it was ancient centre of learning was ready for decided that he could not legally be permitted sweeping purposes, and woull not be kept to omit the clause in question, which, as Mr. out much longer. “If,” said the commission, Solomons observed, was amusing, since the “ we look only to their statutes, the colleges words were originally intended to exclude of Oxford are now what they were in the "Popish recreant convicts.” In an action for times of the Plantagenets and Tudors, and if penalties to the extent of £1500, the lord chiefthe Laudian code be binding, the University baron of the Court of Exchequer, Pollock, laid of Oxford is now what it was in the time of it down distinctly that only one penalty, £500, King Charles I.; but in fact, almost every dis- was recoverable, however frequently a member tinct purpose

and every particular object of the might vote in error or in defiance of the law. founders, almost every detail of government and This action broke down upon a technical administration has been neglected or superseded." point. No penalty was inflicted, and in the This was, of course, an inevitable result of the meanwhile Lord Lyndhurst had introduced a lapse of time. How agreeable this association bill to amend the law. It is a curious thing with the memory of the stupid and blood- that to that great lawyer, who seemed in some thirsty bigot who treated the author of Zion's respects to have taken up the mantle of Eldon, Plea against Prelatry (the father of Arch- we should be indebted, in his old age, for so bishop Leighton) with a life-long cruelty, the many just and useful initiatives in law reform. details of which will now hardly bear reading. There is something ludicrous in the spectacle It was part of the plan of the commissioners of the Tory Lord Lyndhurst, about whom that past alterations of the Laudian code should so much scandal “in the matter of women” be indemnified, and full power given for all was at one time afloat, introducing a bill to future alterations or abrogations of statutes, better the position of married women some few fundamental reservations excepted. I against their husbands, which the once- e-Radi

a

as

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »