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Hardinge. Suppressing details, it may be stated briefly that the number of men to be raised was to be 80,000; the cost after the first year, £250,000 a year; the age from 18 to 35; and the height 5 feet 2 inches, the army standard being feet 6. Lord Palmerston supported the measure. Mr. Hume and the Manchester party opposed it. Certain "fancy franchises" had to be withdrawn, but the best account of them will be found in Mr. Macaulay's great speech in Edinburgh, to which we will now refer.
A constitution for New Zealand was part of the work of the year. It was introduced by Sir John Pakington, and supported by the Duke of Newcastle and Mr. Gladstone. Mr. Berkeley's annual motion for the ballot was defeated of course; and Mr. Spooner was unsuccessful in his assault upon the Maynooth grant. Mr. Macaulay peremptorily refused to answer any of the questions about it that reached him from Edinburgh.
The narrative of Mr. Macaulay's rejection by his old Edinburgh constituents, his proud withdrawal from parliamentary life, his longcontinued sufferings from chronic bronchitis, and his determination never again to take office, need not here be repeated. But it is within our province to notice his return, without solicitation on his part, for Edinburgh in 1852, upon the dissolution of parliament under Lord Derby's government. In November of that year the great Whig historian again addressed his old friends in the Music Hall of Edinburgh as their representative, amid tumultuous excitement. In the last speech he had delivered to an Edinburgh public there had been bitter things, and a little contempt, perhaps more than a little. The less intelligent portion of his audience had resented what they took for the undue self-assertion of the scholar and philosopher, and no doubt Macaulay-though he wished well to all men, and would have sacrificed something to serve them-had at bottom a real dislike of "the masses." There was something of Coriolanus in him, and of all the things which he despised none stood lower in his mind than religious bigotry, or
what he took for it. are!" shouted one of
"We're as good as you the mob at Edinburgh at that bitter parting. After a few years, however, the "better sort" remembered that very few of them were "as good" as Macaulay in the sense in which those words had been used. It was openly proposed that he should again stand for the city; but the proud scholar would not stir in the matter himself. Edinburgh had cast him out; she must now fetch him with open arms and without trouble to himself, if he was to represent her again. To her honour and his she did so, and there never was a more affecting political reconciliation. When the orator first showed himself in the Music Hall-crowded to suffocation, and adorned not only by the presence of the leading men of the city, with some outsiders, and hundreds of ladies—the wan, thin face and pain-stricken air of the man sent a momentary pang through the assembly. There was a stirring pause. But then the cheers burst forth, and Macaulay faltered a little from the shock of sound. Mr. Adam Black, who was moved into the chair, made a very short speech, and simply called upon Mr. Macaulay to "address his constituents." Then the immense multitude rose and again broke out into cheering. When the applause had entirely ceased there was, for some moments, utter silence, and evident emotion on Macaulay's part; but at last he recovered himself, and the old voice was once more heard by the old friends and acquaintances.
The name of John Wilson-Christopher North-cannot be omitted in connection with this event. The professor, it is well known, was a high Tory; but for all that Lord John Russell had advised the queen to grant him a pension of £300 a year, accompanying the notice of the grant with a letter as tender and friendly as if Wilson had been a blue-blood Whig. It was now Wilson's own turn to show that he could forget the politics of party in those higher politics in which all men of good brain and heart are much closer than whips and partisans pretend.
The Edinburgh election came off in the summer. One very hot day Wilson, who was living at Woodburn, Dalkeith, and who had
MACAULAY ON THE MILITIA BILL.
been unusually ill (he was within two years of his death), exhibited a restless desire to be driven to Edinburgh. His own carriage had already been driven out by some members of his family, so his daughter thought he would give up his scheme. Not at all; he sent for a carriage from Dalkeith, and made his man drive him to Edinburgh. There he paused to rest at Mr. Blackwood's in George Street. Great was the surprise of the Edinburgh folk to see the worn old lion about their streets, and not a hint of his errand had he vouchsafed to any living soul. But when, leaning on his man, he entered Macaulay's committee-room in St. Vincent Street to record his vote for an old (political) foe, the secret was out, and he was greeted with a passionate burst of cheering.
Space will not permit us to quote Mr. Macaulay's admirably graphic and humorous account of the elections; but his treatment of the franchise clauses of Mr. Walpole's Militia Bill (which were withdrawn) we have promised to reproduce in brief as part of the story, and as a reductio ad absurdum of the kind in which the speaker excelled. "At the end of a sitting, in the easiest possible manner, as a mere clause at the tail of a Militia Bill, it was proposed that every man who served two years in the militia should have a vote for the county. What would be the number of these votes? The militia is to consist of 80,000 men; the term of their service is to be five years. In ten years we should have 160,000 voters, in twenty years 320,000, in twenty-five years 400,000. Some, no doubt, would by that time have died off; though the lives are all picked lives, remarkably good lives-still some would have died off. How many there may be I have not calculated. Any actuary would give you the actual numbers; but I have no doubt that when the system came into full operation you would have some 300,000 added from the militia to the county constituency, which, on an average, would be 6000 added to every county in England and Wales. This would be an immense addition to the county constituency. What are to be their qualifications? The first is youth; for they are not to be above a certain age; the nearer eighteen the better. The
second is poverty;-all persons to whom a shilling a day is an object. The third is ignorance-for if you ever take the trouble to observe in your streets what is the appearance of the young fellows who follow the recruiting sergeant, you will say that at least they are not the most educated of the labouring classes. Brave, stout young fellows no doubt they are. Lord Hardinge tells me that he never saw a finer set of young men; and I have no doubt that after a few years' training they will be ready to stand up for our firesides against the best disciplined soldiers that the Continent can produce. But these men, taken for the most part from the plough-tail, are not the class best qualified to choose our legislators— there is rather in the habits of the young men that enter the army a disposition to idleness. Oh, but there is another qualification which I almost forgot they must be five feet two.
"There is a qualification for a county voter! Only think of measuring a man for the franchise! And this comes from a Conservative government-a measure that would swamp all the county constituencies in England with people possessed of the Derby-Walpole qualifications-that is to say, youth, poverty, ignorance, a roving disposition, and five feet turo. Why, gentlemen, what have the people who brought in such a measure--what have they to say-I do not say against Lord John Russell's imprudence-but what right have they to talk of the imprudence of Ernest Jones? The people who advocate universal suffrage, at all events, gave us wealth along with poverty, knowledge along with ignorance, and mature age along with youth; but a qualification compounded of all disqualifications is a thing that was never heard of except in the case of this Conservative reform. It is the most ridiculous proposition that was ever made. It was made, I believe, at first in a thin house, but the next house was full enough; for people came down with all sorts of questions. Are the regular troops to have a vote? Are the police-are the sailors? indeed, who should not? for if you take lads of one-and-twenty from the plough-tail and give them votes, what possible class of honest Englishmen and Scotchmen can you exclude if
We can find room for only one clause more, but that is an important one:-"Of the proposals which affect the university, the most important are those which we (the commissioners) have made for remodelling the constitution and for abolishing the existing monopoly of the colleges and halls, by allowing students to reside at Oxford without the expenses of connection with those bodies. In regard to the colleges, we would especially urge the immediate necessity of opening the fellowships and scholarships, of attaching professorships to certain colleges, of increasing the number and value of scholarships, of granting to the colleges the power of altering the statutes, and, above all, of pro
they are admitted? But before these questions could be asked, up gets the home secretary, and tells us that the thing has not been sufficiently considered-that some of his colleagues do not approve of it-that the thing is withdrawn--he will not press it. I must say, if it had happened to me to propose such a Reform Bill on one night, and on the next sitting of the house to withdraw it, because it had not been sufficiently considered, I think that to the end of my life I should never have talked of the exceeding evil of reopening of the question of reform;-to the end of my life I should never have read any man a lecture on the extreme prudence and caution with which he should approach ques-hibiting as unlawful the oaths to observe the tions of organic change."
Murmurs were already beginning to be heard, near and far, that Mr. Gladstone was not the most "fit and proper man" to represent Oxford. But it is of more consequence to note that the blue-book report of the Oxford University Commission, a slight work of 900 folio pages, made it very plain that the new broom so long needed at that ancient centre of learning was ready for sweeping purposes, and would not be kept out much longer. "If," said the commission, "we look only to their statutes, the colleges of Oxford are now what they were in the times of the Plantagenets and Tudors, and if the Laudian code be binding, the University of Oxford is now what it was in the time of King Charles I.; but in fact, almost every distinct purpose and every particular object of the founders, almost every detail of government and administration has been neglected or superseded." This was, of course, an inevitable result of the lapse of time. How agreeable this association with the memory of the stupid and bloodthirsty bigot who treated the author of Zion's Plea against Prelatry (the father of Archbishop Leighton) with a life-long cruelty, the details of which will now hardly bear reading. It was part of the plan of the commissioners that past alterations of the Laudian code should be indemnified, and full power given for all future alterations or abrogations of statutes, some few fundamental reservations excepted.
The Parliamentary Oaths question was kept alive during nearly the whole of the year 1852 by the case of Mr. Alderman Solomons, member for Greenwich, who had taken his seat, and the oath, omitting only that portion which pledged the member to "the true faith of a Christian." The honourable gentleman's case came before the legal tribunals, and it was decided that he could not legally be permitted to omit the clause in question, which, as Mr. Solomons observed, was amusing, since the words were originally intended to exclude "Popish recreant convicts." In an action for penalties to the extent of £1500, the lord chiefbaron of the Court of Exchequer, Pollock, laid it down distinctly that only one penalty, £500, was recoverable, however frequently a member might vote in error or in defiance of the law. This action broke down upon a technical point. No penalty was inflicted, and in the meanwhile Lord Lyndhurst had introduced a bill to amend the law. It is a curious thing that to that great lawyer, who seemed in some respects to have taken up the mantle of Eldon, we should be indebted, in his old age, for so many just and useful initiatives in law reform. There is something ludicrous in the spectacle of the Tory Lord Lyndhurst, about whom so much scandal "in the matter of women" was at one time afloat, introducing a bill to better the position of married women as against their husbands, which the once-Radi