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Mr. Bright's Address on Parliamentary Reform at Glasgow in 1858, Commercial Treaty with France-Mr. Cobden's Visit to Paris,
Mr. Gladstone's Studies of Homer-His Address to the University of Edinburgh in 1865 His Mission to the Ionian Islands -Criticisms of his Opponents-Final Cession of the Islands to Greece, Sketch of Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton-His Style of Oratory-Punch and Thackeray on Sir Edward-His Novels and Dramas -His Political Creed-His unhappy Domestic Relations-Sergeant Ballantine's Anecdote of Lord Lytton-His Interest in Criminal Investigations,
Sir Hugh M'Calmont Cairns,
Sketch of Mr. Robert Lowe, .
Strengthening the National Defences, 305 Mr. Gladstone's Position in the House and in the Palmerston Cabinet, Austrian Rule in Italy-Policy of Cavour and of Mazzini-Mazzini and Garibaldi-Character of Cavour,
The Emperor Napoleon's Designs against
Austria prepares for War-Her Summons to Sardinia Victor Emmanuel's Declaration to his Soldiers-Commencement of Hostilities, . 312
Progress of Electric Telegraphy-First Atlantic Cable laid,
Sketch of Sir William Thomson,
Condition of the Country in 1859-Financial Association formed-Excessive Cost of Collecting the Revenue - Mr. Bright's Scheme for Financial Reform,.
Mr. Gladstone's great Budget of 1860—He unfolds its provisions in a Speech of four hours His Views on the Commercial Treaty with France-His Tribute to the Emperor and to Mr. Cobden-His Supplemental Measure of Customs ReformAbolition of the Duty on Paper-Mr. Gladstone's concluding Remarks on his Financial Proposals,
WAR-FEVER THE YEARS MILITANT.
Illustrative Events of the preceding Sessions 1852-3-Signs of Prosperity-Agriculture-Science-ArtPugin-Turner-d'Orsay-Social Topics-"Secularism "-Mr. Holyoake-The "Achilli" ScandalMr. Walpole's Militia Bill-Macaulay at Edinburgh-Gladstone and Oxford University-The Oaths Question-Brougham-Gladstone and the Frome-Bennett Case-Drifting into War-The Czar Nicholas -The Crimea-Commissariat Muddle-Florence Nightingale-Our Allies-The Sardinians-Russell and the Shifting Government-The Great Struggle-Death of Nicholas-Parliament-Divorce BillGovernment of India-Gladstone and the Ionian Islands.
SIGNS of advances in material prosperity and of a great increase in the means of social progress had not been wanting during the period which we have been considering; and the session of 1853 opened with excellent prospects for the country. Telegraphic communications were being adopted, not only between distant parts of Great Britain, but between England and other nations. A submarine electric telegraph already united us with France, and a system of international copyright had been arranged between the two countries. The construction of railways in the United Kingdom had been going on at an enormous rate, with the result that the receipts at the end of 1851 had diminished in proportion to the increased length of the lines opened, as compared with the years from 1842 to 1846. At the end of the year 1845 the length of railway opened in the United Kingdom was 2023 miles. The total expenditure on railways at that date was £71,647,000about £35,070 per mile; and the gross traffic receipts from the railways for that year were £6,669,230—about £3469 per mile per annum. At the end of the year 1851 the length of railway opened in the United Kingdom had increased to 6928 miles. The total expenditure on railways had swelled to £236,841,420 -about £35,058 per mile; and the gross
receipts of the year were £14,987,310-not more than £2281 per mile per annum. In 1842 the average cost per mile of the railways in existence had been £34,690; in 1845 it had been £35,070; in 1848 it had been £34,234; and in 1851 it was again £35,058. So that the practical cost per mile had increased instead of diminishing with a reduced cost of material and increase of skill. The gross traffic receipts per mile from 1842 had been-In 1842, £3113, or £8.29 per cent on the capital then expended; in 1843, £3083, or £8.82 per cent on the capital; in 1844, £3278, or £8.84 per cent; in 1845, £3469, or £9.30 per cent; in 1846, £3305, or £9.25 per cent; in 1847, £2870, or £8.20 per cent; in 1848, £2556, or £6.78 per cent; in 1849, £2302, or £6·13 per cent; in 1850, £2227, or £5·80 per cent; in 1851, £2281, or £6.35 per cent. Therefore the increased receipts fell behind their due proportion to the increased length opened every year between 1842 and 1850; but in the latter year, when the increased length opened, fell below the increased length opened in the preceding year by more than half (from about 590 additional miles to about 240 additional miles), there were signs of a healthy reaction. The over-construction on speculative railway enterprise had to a great extent ceased, and the lines which had been formed in many in
stances were the cause of the development of fresh industrial centres, and of the opening up of new markets and increased productions. There was a general increase in activity in trade in Manchester, Birmingham, and the Irish linen factories, both in home and foreign orders and at good prices. Machinery had to a large extent superseded the former kind of hand labour in numerous manufactures; but it was shown that the effect had not been disastrous to the people who were employed. With respect to inventions, an instance may be taken from one by which the lower class of hosiery goods was produced, and in consequence of which it was stated that while the labour which formerly cost 1s. 6d. had been reduced to 2d., the output had enorn ormously augmented and the average earnings of the operatives had greatly increased. Indeed, the condition of the working-classes was better than at any previous period. All the mills were working at full time, and many of them had more orders than could be completed. New manufactories were being rapidly built in various districts. Prices of raw material and of articles of consumption were rising in all our markets; and the shipping trade was active, because, although the carrying power of the railways had enormously increased, those railways brought goods regularly and rapidly from the interior, for conveyance from our ports.
Among the prominent topics of the year were those relating to agricultural improvements, and they were closely associated with the name of Mr. Mechi, a London cutler and dressing-case maker, whose cheap razors and "magic strop" were advertised all over the kingdom. Mr. Mechi-who became a prosperous tradesman, and was afterwards alderman and Lord Mayor of London-bought an estate at Tiptree in Essex, and there carried out very costly and interesting experiments in drainage, and the application of sewage matter as manure to the land. His guests at the annual meetings and harvest-homes at Tiptree Hall usually included many of the nobility and gentry who were interested in agricultural improvements. Mr. Mechi said that "if far
mers followed his plans the ox which went up to market on Monday would be back with them again in manure before Friday." His plan was to form reservoirs of liquid manure from animal and vegetable refuse and land drainage, and to distribute it over the poor land by means of iron pipes. His experiments were able and interesting, and he brought very poor, cold, and wet land to a high state of cultivation; but the experimental farms at Tiptree did not pay, and eventually Mr. Mechi, having spent a large sum of money, died poor, assisted however for a very short time by the contributions of his friends.
The name of Mr. Mechi could not very well be omitted when questions like these are before us; his ingenious and persevering experiments had an important bearing, not only on agriculture, but on "sanitation." Meanwhile the Sanitary Association was doing its best to arouse public attention upon the subject of the water supply of London, and the defects of a bill introduced by Lord John Manners for regulating that supply in some particulars. At this time the proposal was openly made that the government should "buy up" the water companies, and consolidate the whole machinery of the supply under an authority directly responsible to parliament.
Sanitary topics spread themselves over large areas of time-and space-and they are worked by large numbers of hands; but a word is also due to Mr. F. O. Ward's labours in the cause of pure water for London from the chalk hills, and the devotion of the refuse of towns to its natural use in fertilizing ground set apart for the growth of grain, fruits, and flowers. The open-air and other reunions of Mr. F. O. Ward for tasting hill-top water and fruit grown on ground fertilized in a manner which was then rather new to the minds of the multitude, were among the most brilliant and agreeable of the year 1852-3, including some of the foremost names in "society," literature, and art.
The building of Sir Joseph Paxton and Messrs. Fox and Henderson in Hyde Park, which was the admired scene of the Great
SCIENCE AND ART TOPICS-PUGIN-TURNER.
Exhibition of 1851, became, when that exhibi- | by her majesty, and were empowered to de
vote the surplus derived from the Great Exhibition to the erection of galleries and museums for the promotion of arts, manufactures, and commerce. The money was therefore expended in the purchase of land at South Kensington for the new national Science and Art Galleries.
tion of "peace" was over, a sad bone of contention. Lord John Manners peremptorily closed the building at the end of the term, and the plan of making it a winter-garden for London did not excite any very great interest in the mind of the general public. Many of the trades-people in Piccadilly and the neighbourhood strongly opposed the idea of retaining the building on its original site, saying that the concourse of visitors blocked the streets and spoiled their trade. Others urged that, as the building covered nearly twenty acres of grass ground and necessitated the trampling down of about as much more, with a disagreeable pollution of the Serpentine (from which the effluvium was said to be very bad), it was very undesirable on sanitary grounds to keep the edifice where it was. In fact this crystal palace of peace was the subject of more warfare than any human being would have thought possible. It must not be supposed that London alone took part in the fray. The provinces joined in it, almost every town having a pet scheme of its own-one of these being that the building should remain where it was and be made a "centre" for the granting of diplomas in art and technical knowledge. At public meetings the Duke of Argyll, Lord Shaftesbury, Lord Harrowby, Lord Palmerston, Baron Meyer de Rothschild, and other distinguished public men, came forward to support the proposal for keeping the palace in Hyde Park. A working-man sent £20 to Lord Shaftesbury in aid of the movement; but the general public after all were apathetic, and Lord John Manners and his colleagues held that the government were pledged to its removal. There was at first a chance of its being laid down in Battersea Fields, which might have been a good conclusion; but the subsequent history of the palace is well known. The noticeable point is that in these discussions the idea of technical education on a large and dignified scale, and as a national matter, followed so easily in the wake of ideas which belonged strictly to the original Exhibition itself.
The royal commissioners had been constituted a permanent body by a charter granted
Early in 1852 a name great in art, and of even more than national interest, had come prominently before the public. The death of Pugin, the centre, or more than the centre of the great Gothic revival, was interesting as well as mournful in various ways which need not be dwelt upon now; but Turner, who was in a more direct manner a national benefactor, claims distinct and extended notice. He was, in several respects, a very remarkable man; perhaps, like Pugin, not altogether sane. He was born in Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, in 1775, was the son of a barber, and received a very poor education. His extraordinary natural gift with the pencil made him noticed by kind and discerning friends, and it befell that at twelve years of age he was exhibiting two drawings at the Royal Academy. When he was only twentyfour years of age he was elected an associate, and three years afterwards he received the full honours of an academician. In 1807 he was elected professor of perspective, but as he was vulgarly illiterate and quite incapable of communicating knowledge this came to nothing. When he died, in a small house at Chelsea looking on the river, it was found that he had bequeathed to the nation the magnificent collection of pictures now to be seen in the National Gallery, and a fortune of about £200,000 for founding an asylum for decayed artists: a scheme which was frustrated owing to some legal technicality.
Turner left more-and more splendid-work in landscape than any artist that ever lived. He travelled much, but used to say that the finest sunsets he ever saw were in the Isle of Thanet. During the season he might be seen on board the Margate boat, eating a coarse dinner out of a cotton handkerchief, and quite ready to "spell for" a glass of wine of any
The back-grounds of his life are not agreeable to contemplate. It is bewildering to think of the painter of those rainbow dreams of pictures engaged in coarse, and worse than coarse, orgies at Wapping. Turner's coffin lies in the crypt of St. Paul's Cathedral, close to that of Sir Joshua Reynolds. What Mr. Ruskin did and has done for his fame is well known, and also Turner's gruff astonishment at "the young man's" discoveries of his meanings. He was sordidly careful of money, but that he was capable of kind and even generous actions is certain.
In this first year of the French empire, too, died Count d'Orsay, who was something of an artist, and held some sort of office under the prince-president, Louis Napoleon, in that capacity. He was the Count Mirabel of Disraeli's love-story of Henrietta Temple; not a coxcomb in the vulgar sense, but an artistically finished man of the world, elegantly epicurean, very clever, and somewhat fascinating. His relations with the Countess of Blessington started from a very high-flavoured piece of "scandal" which was never forgotten. At Gore House, where they presided over the hospitalities together, no lady who was in society was ever seen then, but there were plenty of brilliant men, including Disraeli (as has been mentioned), and some who were only notorious, including Louis Napoleon, then an exile.
D'Orsay spent his last years in erecting, on a green eminence in the village of Chambourey beyond St. Germain-en-Laye, where the rustic churchyard joins the estate of the Grammont family, a marble pyramid. In the sepulchral chamber there is a stone sarcophagus on either side, each surmounted by a white marble tablet; that to the left incloses the remains of Lady Blessington, that to the right contains the coffin of d'Orsay himself.
It was known that Count d'Orsay was bitterly disgusted with the state of French politics after the coup d'état of December, 1851, and disappointed with his old friend's treatment of him. It was said in addition that he died (aged about 53) of chagrin, while the Countess of Blessington broke her heart
over Louis Napoleon's ingratitude. d'Orsay had been a lieutenant in the French army, and notwithstanding the great flaw in his life, had, like the countess, fine qualities. He is very amusingly sketched in Lord Byron's diary at Genoa. "Milord Blessington (Mountjoy) and épouse, travelling with a very handsome companion in the shape of a French count, who has all the air of a Cupidon déchainé, and one of the few ideal specimens I have seen of a Frenchman before the revolution. Mountjoy (for the Gardiners are the lineal race of the famous Irish viceroy of that ilk) seems very good-natured, but is much tamed since I recollect him in all the glory of gems, and suuff-boxes, and uniforms, and theatricals, sitting to Strolling, the painter, to be depicted as one of the heroes of Agincourt.”
It was arranged that d'Orsay was to be a fixture in the Mountjoy family by becoming the husband of the honourable Harriet Gardiner, his lordship's daughter by his first wife. This young person was summoned accordingly from school and married at her father's bidding to the Cupidon déchainé. The great scandal ensued. Lord Blessington died at Paris in 1827, and the title became extinct. His countess became a fashionable star in the literary firmament of England, and Count d'Orsay resumed in London the career of sportsman, exquisite, artist, and general arbiter elegantiarum. Lady Blessington's literary success was nothing more than succès de salon. The disappearance of these two figures may be said to mark the close of the whole business of literary dandyism.
While various small pageantries were going on in Paris by way of preparing for the actual assumption of the purple by Louis Napoleon, a ludicrous performance in the empire way was taking place in Hayti, a place which is memorable in connection with Toussaint L'Ouverture even if Wordsworth had not commemorated him in one of his greatest sonnets. Soulouque was to be crowned emperor. For months, troops, such as they were, had been pouring into "the capital" from every quarter of the country. came, helter-skelter, some with sticks, guns, a great number of the latter without locks; some