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from duty. With regard to the motion now before the house he would be himself the first to vote for it if it could be proved that it would benefit the army. He believed it would aggravate, rather than alleviate, the evils complained of.

Mr. Gladstone then pointed out that the last accounts represented matters in the Crimea as improving. The whole army was improving; warm clothing was being served out; huts were being erected; the railway was approaching completion, and Englishmen would be relieved by a large accession of Frenchmen doing service in the trenches. The honourable baronet (Sir E. Lytton) condemned the government for not destroying Odessa. Why, Odessa was an open town, with 100,000 inhabitants, and with an army of 300,000 men within easy reach. Would that have proved comfortable winter quarters for the British army? He admitted that the administration of the war departments at home was defective; but he did not admit that they were not much improved, or that they remained so defective as to call for censure. He then dwelt upon improvements in the military preparations, and in the arms and artillery, and defended the Duke of Newcastle against any suspicion that he had not performed the duties intrusted to him. The complaints as to the state of the hospitals and of the army before Sebastopol had only become clamorous since the middle of December. What would the house have had his noble friend do? Was he to recall Lord Raglan? Why, the house had just voted their unanimous thanks to that gallant commander! Was he then to recall the subordinates of Lord Raglan? Before doing that, his noble friend had called for a report from Lord Raglan as to his subordinates, and they had received a statement from Lord Raglan, giving hope that these abuses would be remedied. It was for the house to say whether they would censure the government for trusting to the representations of Lord Raglan. It was admitted that the appointment of this committee was improper and impracticable, and was avowedly supported by many members as a means of turning out the ministry. If this motion were to be carried

he should ever rejoice that his last words as a member of Lord Aberdeen's government were an indignant protest against a measure useless to the army, unconstitutional in its nature, and fraught with danger to the honour and the interest of the Commons of England.


He said

Of course Mr. Disraeli was not silent. gave a few effective hits all round. his first impression on seeing the honourable member for Sheffield sit down after simply reading his motion was, that the honourable and learned gentleman, as a consummate rhetorician, had done so as the most effective way of supporting his motion. He might well, indeed, dispense with a speech in support of his motion, for that had been made for him by the noble lord who but a few hours before was the first minister of the crown in that house. It was said that this motion implied a vote of want of confidence. He would ask, in what government did it imply a vote of want of confidence? Was it in the government as it existed forty-eight hours ago, or was it in the government as it now existed? Why, they had themselves admitted that they required reconstruction. Or was it want of confidence in the government as it was to be? The House of Commons had often before voted confidence in a government whose principles they did not know, but now they were called upon to vote confidence in an administration with whose very persons they were unacquainted. He denied that this motion was directed exclusively against the Duke of Newcastle. His own colleagues had described him as deficient alike in energy and experience; but the duke ought not to be made the scapegoat for a policy for which the whole cabinet was responsible. Neither would he consent to throw the blame upon a system which, whatever might be its faults, when in the hands of able men had accomplished great ends. It was the cabinet as a whole that must be held responsible for the evils that existed. Recurring to the explanatory speech of the noble lord the member for London, he said it reminded him of a page from the Life of Bubb Doddington, in the unconscious admission it contained of what, in the eighteenth century, would have been described as profligate intrigue. Such an all


unconscious admission of profligate intrigue | was not to be matched in that record which commemorated the doings of another Duke of Newcastle, who was a minister of England when the House of Commons was led by Sir Thomas Robinson, and when the opposition was actually carried on by the paymaster of the forces and the secretary of war. These dissensions would prove most injurious to the character of England. Two years ago England was the leading power in Europe; would any man say that she now occupied that position? Under these circumstances he felt that, being called upon to give a vote on this question, he could not refuse to give it against a deplorable administration.

Lord John Russell rose to enter into explanations and to attempt to refute the attack. If the whole of what had passed between himself and Lord Aberdeen and the Duke of Newcastle were placed before the house the transactions would have a different complexion, but he would not enter into that subject. He would repel the expression characterizing his conduct as a political intrigue. As a precedent for what he had done he referred to the substitution of Lord Stanley for Lord Goderich as colonial secretary in Lord Grey's administration. No man would characterize that as a profligate intrigue, and he had proposed no more than was done there. In his anxiety to keep clear of everything like intrigue he had, unadvisedly for himself perhaps, not communicated his intention of resigning to any of his colleagues. Those who thought that the resignation of Lord John Russell caused the overthrow of the ministry were mistaken. If the country did not trust them, neither did it trust him; and when a new ministry had to be formed he was incapable of inspiring confidence in his ability to keep a cabinet together, or even to head a government that could stand for an hour. Nobody really believed that the coalition was so weak as it really was; and had it been as strong as was supposed Mr. Gladstone's determined attitude and Lord Palmerston's protest, already referred to, which practically wound up the debate, might have saved it. As it was, when the house divided there were 305 votes in favour of the committee of


inquiry, and only 148 against it. Instead of a burst of cheering saluting this unlooked-for result, a profound silence seemed for a minute to have fallen on the assembly. Then there arose a murmur of astonishment, succeeded by a sudden and almost simultaneous outburst of satirical laughter.

The resignation of ministers was announced in the House of Lords by the Earl of Aberdeen and in the Commons by Lord Palmerston. In the former assembly the Duke of Newcastle took the opportunity of defending himself from the charges brought or implied against him, and he did so with spirit and with dignity. There was something both eloquent and touching in his assertion of his devotion to the public service, and his protest against being accused of want of zeal and industry. "I have been charged with indolence and indifference. My lords, as regards indolence, the public have had every hour, every minute of my time. To not one hour of amusement or recreation have I presumed to think I was entitled. The other charge of indifference is one which is still more painful to me. Indifference, my lords, to what? Indifference to the honour of my country, to the success and the safety of the army? My lords, I have myself, like many who listen to me, too dear hostages for my interest in the welfare of the military and naval services of the country to allow of such a sentiment. I have two sons engaged in those professions, and that alone, I think, would be sufficient; but, my lords, as a minister as a man-I should be unworthy to stand in any assembly if the charge of indifference under such circumstances could fairly be brought against me. Many a sleepless night have I passed in thinking over the ills which the public believe and say that I could have cured, and which, God knows, I would have cured if it had been in my power. Indolence and indifference are not charges which can be brought against me; and I trust that my countrymen may, before long, be satisfied whatever they may think of my capacity that there is no ground for fixing that unjust stigma upon me."

It was a true and manly defence, and vindicated the speaker against the particular

charges of which he complained; but there remained the belief that he was not capable of grasping the situation in which he had been placed. It was a pretty general opinion that nothing in his official life became him so much as the leaving of it.

It was all very well to turn out the Aberdeen ministry; but who were to replace its members? Johnny had again succeeded in upsetting the coach; but who was now to take the reins with any chance of reaching the end of the journey? A strong government was needed, and there was considerable difficulty in securing any government at all. Lord Derby was the head of the party which was most numerous, and they had helped to carry Mr. Roebuck's motion; to him, therefore, the royal message was first sent. It was, however, one thing to lead a large party, and quite another thing to be able to hold the House of Commons in control; and it soon became evident that no ministry could be formed except by a fresh coalition. To begin with, it was necessary to obtain the support of Lord Palmerston. The general opinion of the country had decided that he alone was competent to direct the future progress of the war. Lord Derby did not agree altogether with this conclusion, and instead of offering to him the appointment of minister of war, proposed that he should join the government as leader of the House of Commons a position which Mr. Disraeli was ready to relinquish in his favour. Even with Lord Palmerston, however, it would have been hopeless to expect success unless the support of the party still known as "Peelites" could be secured, and it was believed that Palmerston's influence might induce them to take office in a Derby administration. Palmerston was reluctant to belong to any government in which the management of foreign affairs did not remain in the hands of Lord Clarendon, and to this there would probably have been little opposition; but it would seem that in face of the public demand that he should be placed where he could direct the prosecution of the war, Palmerston would not consent to occupy a less influential place in the ministry. "Having well reflected upon the proposition which you made to me," he

wrote on the same day in which he received the offer, "I have come to the conclusion that if I were to join your government, as proposed by you, I should not give to that government the strength which you are good enough to think would accrue to you from my acceptance of office. I shall therefore deem it my duty, in the present critical state of affairs, to give, out of office, my support to any government that shall carry on the war with energy and vigour, and will, in the management of our foreign relations, sustain the dignity and interests of the country, and maintain unimpaired the alliances which have been formed. I have conveyed to Gladstone and Sidney Herbert the communication which you wished me to make to them; but it seemed to me to be best that they should write to you themselves." The reply of Gladstone and Sidney Herbert was not reassuring, but it was, apparently, such as had been expected, for Lord Derby had already suggested to the queen that should he fail to obtain their assistance she might attempt other combinations with Lord John Russell and Lord Lansdowne and their friends. In the event of all other attempts failing, however, he would be "ready to come forward to the rescue of the country with such materials as he had, but it would be a desperate attempt." No time was lost. In a few hours he had to inform her majesty that Lord Palmerston, Mr. Gladstone, and Mr. Herbert could offer him only "an independent support," which, he said, reminded him of the definition of the independent member of parliament, namely, one that could not be depended upon.

The state of affairs was serious. Abroad the condition of England was being discussed with little friendly feeling. The reports which had been so fully published concerning the state of our army in the Crimea and of mismanagement in the prosecution of the war were now emphasized by the sudden collapse of the government and the difficulty of forming a strong administration. Prince Albert, in a long conference with Lord Derby, discussed the critical condition of affairs and the unpatriotic attitude of statesmen, who took advantage of every mishap and strove to


aggravate it for the purpose of snatching party advantages. Lord Derby capped some of the prince's illustrations of the effect which had thus been produced on the opinion of foreign governments, by quoting a remark alleged to have been made by Count Walewski, the French representative, on the subject of our probable position at the approaching conference at Vienna. "What influence can a country like England pretend to exercise, which has no army and no government?" Supposing that Walewski ever said this, it was certainly indiscreet, and had his imperial master known it he might have received a sharp rebuke, or perhaps the emperor would have made light of it, as he afterwards did of a really authenticated speech communicated to him by the queen while she was in Paris. Her majesty was frankly explaining to him the footing on which she stood with the Orleans family; that they were her friends and relations, and she could not drop them in their adversity; but that they were very discreet, and politics were not touched upon between them. The emperor replied that he quite understood this, and felt that she could not abandon those who were in misfortune. The queen rejoined that she was certain this was the emperor's feeling, but that other people tried-and Walewski was one-to put a great stress on her communications with the family, and to make her understand that the emperor would be very much displeased. "That is just like Walewski," replied the emperor. Doubtless it was also just like Walewski to say that England had no army and no government; but the phrase perturbed the prince consort, who thought there was truth in it-that "every one here took pains to prove that we had no army, and to contrive that the queen should have no government." The prince was likely to hear a great deal of the depreciation of England by foreign critics, and it is not to be wondered at that he should have attributed rather undue importance to another remark retailed by "one of the shrewdest observers in Europe, who was in a position to hear what was said in the most influential quarters abroad," that England as a great power was to be feared no more; that she never could


| find men enough to carry on the war effectually, although she might effect great exploits; that the Russians every where were in the highest spirits; that the Emperor Nicholas had written to his sister, she might rely on his assurance, Sebastopol never would be taken.1

As Lord Derby had failed in the attempt to form a ministry, the queen sent to ask the advice of Lord Lansdowne. That veteran peer, who had left office with Lord John Russell in 1852, might himself have formed a ministry in which both Palmerston and Russell would have taken office; but it could only be a temporary one, for he was seventy-five years old and suffering severely from gout. A temporary administration would be worse than useless; and moreover, he believed that though Lord Palmerston could form an administration, it would certainly fall to pieces unless it included Lord John, who on the other hand could not expect that Palmerston would again serve under him. The strange part of the business was that Lord John himself seemed to believe he was strong enough to form a government without the aid of the "Peelites," and Lord Lansdowne thought that no effective combination could be made until he had been called upon to try and had failed. That he would fail was a foregone conclusion. The queen did the best she could by addressing herself "to Lord John Russell as the person who may be considered to have contributed to the vote of the House of Commons which displaced her last government," and expressing her hope that he would be able to present to her such a government as would give a fair promise successfully to overcome the great difficulties in which the country was placed. She also added a distinct declaration that "it would give her particular satisfaction if Lord Palmerston would join in the formation." This was naturally a very pleasant intimation for Palmerston, who saw in it the obliteration of former objections and disagreements. With his customary cheerful alacrity

Life of the Prince Consort, by Sir Theodore Martin. These remarks are cited as an indication of the reports that came to the prince, but the name of "one of the shrewdest observers in Europe" is not mentioned.

and good humour he requested an audience for the purpose of assuring the queen of his readiness to do anything in his power to put an end to the existing difficulty. He was willing to take office under Lord John Russell as leader of the House of Commons, but he considered it essential that Lord Clarendon should remain at the foreign office-an opinion in which, as it turned out, Lord John himself entirely agreed. But Lord Clarendon utterly repudiated the idea of the ability of Lord John Russell to form a government. Nobody really believed it to be possible that he could command a permanent ministry, composed as it would be of the same men who had been utterly defeated in 1852, and minus two of their number, Lord Lansdowne and Lord Grey. Were he (Lord Clarendon) to remain at the foreign office his language to foreign countries would lose all its weight, because it would be known not to rest on public opinion; and what would be thought of him were he to accept as his leader, the man who, while in the late ministry, had worked for the overthrow of Lord Aberdeen and his colleagues and for the reinstatement of an exclusively Whig ministry? Lord Clarendon respected the loyalty of his colleagues too much to form an alliance with the minister who had overthrown them though they were his colleagues also.

Lord Palmerston considered that he could not refuse his support, for, as he afterwards wrote in a letter to his brother, Sir William Temple, "John Russell, by the way in which he suddenly abandoned the government, had so lost caste for the moment, that I was the only one of his political friends who was willing to serve under him. I could not refuse to do so, because he told me that upon my answer depended his undertaking to form a government, and if I had refused, and he had declined the task, and the queen had then sent for me, people would have ascribed my refusal to personal ambition. Besides, he broke with the late government because the war department was not given to me, and it would have been ungrateful of me to have refused to assist him. It is, however, curious that the same man who summarily dismissed me three years

ago as unfit to be minister for foreign affairs, should now have broken up a government because I was not placed in what he conceived to be the most important post in the present state of things."

When this was written a conclusion had been arrived at, which a good many people must have been expecting for several days. The crisis had really become serious. From the 23d of January to the 4th of February (1855) there had virtually been no government, and on the latter date Lord Cowley had written from Paris to Lord Clarendon, speaking of the mischief which was being done to our reputation and the disrepute that the delay was bringing to constitutional government. There was nothing for it but to send for Lord Palmerston, and he had shown enough of public spirit to make it desirable, if not necessary, for the queen to ask him if he could form a ministry capable of acting in "that momentous crisis." The Earl of Aberdeen behaved nobly, and with a high-minded and unselfish determination to devote himself to the service of the country which had always distinguished him whatever may have been his failings of statesmanship. Palmerston was able to report the next day that Lord Lansdowne, the lordchancellor, Lord Clarendon, Lord Granville, Sir George Grey, and Sir Charles Wood had agreed to take office under him, and there were sufficient indications that he might hope for success, but in order to make that success secure, it was most desirable that he should be able to count on the support of the men who represented the strength of the late ministry in the House of Commons, and Mr. Gladstone, Mr. Sidney Herbert, and the Duke of Argyll declined to give in their complete adhesion on the ground that to do so would be to act disloyally to Lord Aberdeen and the Duke of Newcastle. But the Earl of Aberdeen and the Duke of Newcastle were not the men to permit the interests of the country to suffer, if, by an act of self-abnegation, they could prevent it. They called on their friends, and by their persuasions induced them to change their determination. Palmerston was not ungrateful. "I called at your door yesterday, and was sorry not to have found you at home,”

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