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required. He would take authority to confirm the contracts for the exchequer bonds of the Class A, and power to issue a second series. He would also take power to issue two millions of exchequer bills, and so many more as should not be taken on the four millions of exchequer bonds. This would give a command of £5,500,000, and the total sum of £66,746,000 of revenue, set against £63,039,000 of expenditure, would show for the year a margin which he would for safety put at three millions and a half.
Among the charges brought against him by his rival was that of want of foresight in originally bringing forward a peace budget where many useful and perhaps necessary means of obtaining revenue were abandoned-when war was so near as to seem inevitable. To this it was replied that it was hardly necessary for the government to meet so absurd an accusation as that of the want of foresight, or to defend themselves for having believed that a sovereign of Europe was a man of honour. He met the charge of having abandoned public revenue, however, by asking in what state the government found the revenue when the income-tax itself was in peril because Mr. Disraeli had thought it consistent with his duty to his sovereign and his country to promise to remodel that tax without any plan for the purpose. The man who did that was the one who surrendered public revenue. In concluding his speech, he said that such was the vigour and elasticity of our trade, that even under the disadvantages of a bad harvest, and under the pressure of war, the imports from day to day and almost from hour to hour were increasing, and the very last papers laid on the table showed that within the closing three months of the year there were £250,000 increase in the exports. In the subsequent discussion Sir John Pakington, Sir E. Bulwer Lytton, and other speakers strongly opposed the government. policy, and Lord John Russell rose to reply briefly, but effectively.
Mr. Disraeli again declared that he supported the policy of the war, but that he objected to the malt-tax, since it was not merely unjust and unnecessary, but hampered the industry, crippled the progress, and in
every way injured the agricultural interest of the country. The financial proposals were, however, carried by a large majority. There was yet another sharp discussion between Mr. Disraeli and the chancellor of the exchequer. A few days afterwards, on the subject of the resolution empowering the government to issue £2,000,000 of exchequer bonds, which was opposed by Mr. Baring, Mr. Disraeli charged the government with mismanagement, which had culminated in the necessity for a loan of six millions; and this war in its turn had been so mismanaged that the chancellor of the exchequer had offered four per cent. for the money and yet could not get it. "He had shown himself incompetent to deal with the bulls and bears, and had been forced to appeal to the stags of the Stock Exchange. And now came a last shift for raising a loan in masquerade." To this it was answered that the exchequer bonds were for repayment at a short period, and it had been the opposition who had really advocated the borrowing system and loans in masquerade.
The scheme proposed to the house was evidently too sound to be seriously affected by this kind of opposition. The government had a majority of 104, or 290 votes, while the opposition only gained 186; and though, on the 26th of July, when Lord John Russell moved a vote of credit for £3,000,000, Mr. Disraeli again attacked the government, declaring that there would have been no war if the former administration had remained in power, and again complaining that it was largely due to the evil of a coalition government; the question of a vote of credit had become identified with that of a vote of confidence, and no one ventured to take such decided steps as might lead to the defeat and resignation of the ministry at such a critical moment.
Mr. Gladstone had been one of the foremost to advocate the maintenance of peace by means of negotiations, and unlike many who were of the same mind he had very little belief either in the soundness or the future progress and improvement of the Turkish institutions and government. His opinions on that subject in 1854 differed little (though they
POSITION OF COBDEN AND BRIGHT.
were perhaps not fully developed), from those which he has expressed in later years. But, on the other hand, he could not consent that the ill condition of Turkey should be a reason for submitting to the treachery or the tyranny of Russia, directed to the acquisition of a complete control of the Ottoman Empire and the achievement of a colossal preponderance in Europe. He had already spoken of the almost hopeless expectation of the reform of Turkey and its development into a state which could demand the respect of Europe; and at a later period, when the war was nearly over and a treaty of peace was debated, he declared: "If I thought this treaty was an instrument which bound this country and our posterity to the maintenance of a set of institutions in Turkey which you are endeavouring to reform, if you can, but with respect to which endeavour few can be sanguine, I should look for the most emphatic word in which to express my condemnation of a peace which bound us to maintain the laws and institutions of Turkey as a Mohammedan state." Whilst regretting that more had not been done for the principalities, he defended the war which he and his colleagues of the Aberdeen cabinet had been accused of precipitating, on the grounds that the danger of the encroachment upon, and absorption of Turkey by Russia, was one calculated to bring upon Europe evils none the less formidable than those already existing, and which, as threatening the peace, liberties, and privileges of all, they were called upon to resist with all the means in their power.
In his attitude with regard to the relative claims of Russia and Turkey he was, and he continued to be, consistent, for we find him at a recent date comparing the conditions of the Crimean war with those of the Russo-Turkish contest of 1877, and saying:
"There was in each case an offender against the law and peace of Europe; Turkey, by her distinct and obstinate breach of covenant, taking, on the latter occasion, the place which Russia had held in the earlier controversy. The difference was that, in 1854-55, two great powers, with the partial support of a third, prosecuted by military means the work they
had undertaken; in 1877 it was left to Russia alone to act as the hand and sword of Europe, with the natural consequence of weighting the scale with the question what compensation she might claim, or would claim, for her efforts and sacrifices."
Again in August, 1877, writing on the subject of various proposals for the occupation of Egypt, he says, "It is most singular that the propagandism of Egyptian occupation seems to proceed principally from those who were always thought to be the fastest friends to the formula of independence and integrity, and on whom the unhappy Turk was encouraged to place a blindfold reliance. I have heard of men on board ship thought to be moribund, whose clothes were sold by auction by their shipmates. And thus, in the hearing of the Turk we are now stimulated to divide his inheritance." Speaking of a proposition to purchase the Egyptian tribute, he says, “I admit that we thus provide the sultan with abundant funds for splendid obsequies. But none the less would this plan sever at a stroke all African territory from an empire likely enough to be also shorn of its provinces in Europe. It seems to me, I own, inequitable, whether in dealing with the Turk or with any one else, to go beyond the necessity of the case. I object to our making him or anybody else a victim to the insatiable maw of these stage-playing British interests. And I think we should decline to bid during his lifetime for this portion of his clothes. It is not sound doctrine that for our own purposes we are entitled to help him downwards to his doom."
We shall have again to refer to Mr. Gladstone's view of the conditions which, if they did not necessitate, completely justified the Crimean war, but it will be seen that he had no leanings towards Turkey, nor did he believe in its development into a healthy state. He could also sympathize with the deep and unalterable feelings which made both Mr. Cobden and Mr. Bright the conscientious opponents of a conflict which they believed to be entirely mischievous. But he could not join them. It may be said, indeed, that these two men at that time stood alone in England. They were not in reality (although they were com
monly reported to be) identified with those | opinion and raised the enthusiasm of the
members of the peace party among the Society of Friends who fancied that they might be able to beg a peace of Nicholas of Russia, and whose efforts did much to make war ultimately more certain by impressing the emperor with the notion that it was not desired by the majority of the English people. When in February, 1854, a deputation consisting of Mr. Sturge of Birmingham, Mr. Charlton of Bristol, and Mr. Pease of Darlington, waited on the emperor at St. Petersburg to present an address expressing the sorrow which filled their hearts at the approaching conflict, he was ready enough to reply that he also abhorred war and was ready to forget the past and forgive Turkey if only she would discharge the obligations imposed on her by treaties. Of Of course it was on the interpretation which Russia, as opposed to the other powers of Europe, placed upon those obligations that the war was about to turn, and did turn. Cobden and Bright contended that the war upon which England had entered was wholly unnecessary, as one with which she had no business, and that even the treaty might have reached a stage of interpretation reasonably acceptable if the country had not been misguided and had neither been hurried nor drifted into hostilities for which there was no justification even on the doubtful grounds of a probable future advantage either to this country or to Europe in general. It would perhaps have been impossible to give stronger proof of an earnest conviction of the truth of their opinions than by the firm attitude which they maintained. They had been the recognized leaders of a great and popular movement, they had achieved a high position and were regarded as the chiefs of a large and influential party, and Cobden at all events had been listened to with profound respect and admiration not only among large bodies of thoughtful politicians in England, but in other countries, where, in theory at least, his doctrines on commercial policy had been widely accepted. Now they saw the faces of these former friends and supporters averted. The public meetings which had formerly been the prompt and effectual means by which they moved the
country, would no longer have responded to their summons, even if they had ventured to call them. Yet they stood, as it were, side by side, strong, dignified, and although they were sorrowful, not without the hope that sustains men who act on a deep and immovable principle, that the time will at last come when that principle will be recognized and their convictions and even their denunciations be endorsed by the national verdict. aim, swayed by the same powerful impulses, and using much the same arguments, they each appealed in a different and characteristic manner. Cobden was calm, logical, in a certain sense philosophical; Bright was logical, scarcely what would be called philosophical, and certainly not always calm. He was fervid, prone to the kind of oratorical intensity which when dealing with an object of aversion is apt to exaggerate its hateful qualities by admitting no extenuating circumstances. To him war, or in other words physical force as an outcome of moral force, was utterly repulsive, or at all events it is difficult to imagine that he would have endorsed any modern war as being either necessary or excusable. It would be a curious metaphysical inquiry how far a man, religious, thoughtful, humane, energetic, and with a sincere and unswerving love of liberty, could demand the right of opposing moral force and of uttering strong protest and fierce denunciation against evil and injustice, and yet deny that there are conditions where the only effectual demonstration of moral opposition would be physical antagonism. We need not enter into so difficult a question. It may suffice to say that Mr. Bright has been called, and not without truth as regards his public addresses and appeals, the most belligerent advocate of peace that ever lived. It has probably been often said that it was a very good thing that he obstinately held war to be almost always indefensible and unlawful, as otherwise his great ability might have gained him an influential position in the government, and his pugnacity in conjunction with that of Lord Palmerston would have left us few chances of maintaining peace. From their point of view, however, the arguments of both