« PrethodnaNastavi »
however, a very large extent of territory. In regard to Portugal, the claim was made on the ground of early discovery, but it was perfectly well known that beyond the discovery-itself somewhat problematical-there was no claim of occupation or utilisation. The feeling against the expansion of the Empire was due in part to the fact that many previous expansions had taken place under circumstances of great oppression, injustice, and corruption. These, however, were not necessary to the expansion of European influence and civilisation. No native ought to be disturbed in any rights of possession he might have had in the land of his father, or injured by the accession of white population within that territory. They desired only to enjoy the blessings of the country which the people could not use themselves, and they hoped to bring into it the improved appliances of civilisation, and to avoid bringing evils which in the past had sometimes attended European colonisation. Recent knowledge and experience had shown that the whole of the South African territory was capable of European colonisation, and wherever that went on independently of the existing African population very large trade might be anticipated. If the development of the gold country should assume anything like the same proportions it had done in the past, in a few years the exports and imports to and from South Africa would be doubled and trebled. If only for the purpose of feeding our enormous population such an expansion of the Empire, carried out in such a spirit, would be not only justifiable, but almost a necessity of existence.
Three days later (July 25) Sir George Trevelyan made a strong party speech at Downend, in which he claimed that the Liberals were fighting the same battle on both sides of the Channel-a battle against privilege and injustice, and for freedom and equality. They were supporting in Ireland an Irish party of "good sterling stuff." Home Rule meant the removal of two great Irish grievances. The small minority in Ireland governed the country, and they would do so until the end of time unless the Liberal party came to the assistance of the great body of the people. That was their first grievance; and the second was that Irish laws were made without any reference whatever to Irish wishes, aspirations, and opinions. The Liberals wanted to get the Government of England into the hands of the people, and that could not be done when all forms of privilege continued to exist in the Lower House of Parliament, which ought to be the national assembly of the great body of the people. The Lower House only represented the people in a partial manner. In the first place, there were nine University members elected entirely by plural voters. There were two seats for the city of London, which constituency consisted of 30,000 people, only 5,000 of whom were real residents; and those two seats always went to the Tories. Liberal electors knew, too, that in nearly all the constituencies of the country
they were swamped with plural voters. As long as there was a household vote it should be given to genuine residents, and no man, even if he had 100,000l. a year and a number of establishments in different parts of the country, should vote for any place except the one in which he passed most of his time. After suggesting various reforms concerning registration, Sir George Trevelyan advocated the payment of members. The public, he maintained, ought to pay all the legal expenses of returning a member to Parliament and a moderate stipend, not enough to tempt men into Parliament for the sake of the income, but such an amount-say 300l.—as would induce a public-spirited man to enter public life without feeling that he was starving those who were nearest and dearest to him. In spite of Mr. Chamberlain's recent assertions to the contrary, there was no better expenditure of public time than in passing a good Reform Bill, as that was the only way to quicken legislation.
The last week of the Session was literary crowded with political speeches out of Parliament, several of them, however, being those of Ministers at the Mansion House banquet. Lord Salisbury, speaking at that function (July 29), said that the Session had been full of anxiety and fatigue, as well as of hard and valuable work. During a portion of the Session, at least, obstruction had to a great extent disappeared. The Government had made two great experiments. They had passed a Free Education Bill, intending it to be powerful to support that system of religious education which the English people loved. The other great experiment was that they had done their best to apply not only a temporary palliative but a permanent cure to the evils by which Ireland had through so many generations been afflicted. Five years ago he had expressed a firm belief that the Government of Ireland which should resolutely uphold the law would furnish a cure for the disorders of that country, which would never be found in yielding to the demands of lawlessness and sedition, and that a Government resolved to enforce the law would not be less beneficent, not less earnest for the material, moral, and intellectual progress of the Irish people than a Government which allowed the lawless to prey upon the lawabiding. The success which the Chief Secretary had achievedthe relief of Irish distress and the support of the population of Ireland in some of their worst trials-was largely due to the fact that all who served under him knew that they would be supported to the utmost, and would not be handed over to their enemies. The Unionist party had always said that it was essential to the interests of this country that the close bond between the two islands should be maintained, and in justification of this view he instanced the well-organised and effective system of relief which had been carried out, the multiplication of peasant proprietors, and the restoration of law and order. Passing on to speak of European affairs, Lord Salisbury said that he had
never known European politics so tranquil as at present. For disorder and anxiety it was necessary to look to the new hemisphere. England had been earnestly pressed to undertake the part of compulsory arbitrator in the Chilian quarrels. She had been earnestly pressed, also, to undertake the regeneration of Argentine finance. On neither of those subjects were Her Majesty's Government at all disposed to encroach on the functions of Providence. In Europe the prospect was much more satisfactory. The Eastern question was not solved, but there were two nations growing up whose high promise and rapid development furnished a hope that from the centres of civilisation which they constituted would issue an influence and a spirit by which that Eastern question would be solved in the only effective and permanent manner. These countries were Egypt and Bulgaria. In referring to the reception of the German Emperor and the Prince of Naples, and the approaching visit of the French fleet, Lord Salisbury remarked that the effect of the bonds constituted by signatures upon a piece of paper should not be rated too highly. If nations in a great crisis acted rightly they would act so because they were in unison and in cordiality with each other, and not because they had bound themselves to each other by protocols. England's allies were all those who wished to maintain territorial distribution as it was without risking the fearful dangers or the terrible arbitrament of war, and all those who desired peace and goodwill.
The Unionist cause was upheld at a "demonstration Andover by speeches from Lord Northbrook and Sir Michael Hicks-Beach (July 29). The latter declared that the Gladstonians in the House of Commons were "a flabby, inefficient, and inert party," whose leaders were afraid of their own recent successes in elections. He held that ignorance was the great enemy of constitutional principles, while education was essential to their success. "If," he said, "you took out of the Gladstonian party fanatics, faddists, and those who lived by social agitation, you would find little left except uneducated people." The view of things as seen from the other side was given in a speech by Sir William Harcourt at a dinner to Mr. Brand (July 30). That gentleman had been returned by a majority of 260 for the seat in the Wisbech Division, vacated by Captain Selwyn, and the National Liberal Club entertained him at a dinner over which Sir W. Harcourt presided. Sir William criticised, in a vein of irony, the speech of Lord Salisbury at the Mansion House banquet on the previous evening, and passing on to a recent speech of the Attorney-General's, described Sir Richard Webster as a "legal Orpheus," and complimented him upon the quality of his voice. He then diverged into statistics of the bye-elections, the net results of which presented, he said, "a pretty transformation." With regard to Irish affairs, he observed that the Unionists had declared in November that Home Rule was dead,
and-" what they care for more "-that Mr. Gladstone was "done for." "Even some of the most faithful," Sir William went on to say, "were disquieted in spirit; but I took the opportunity of saying to them then, 'Oh, ye of little faith, do not be in a hurry. Let us see what the Irish people say to it. Let us see what the people of England say to it.' Well, we have seen. Ireland has spoken at Kilkenny, at Sligo, and at Carlow, and we know what the people of Ireland think. England has spoken since that time at Hartlepool, at Stowmarket, at South Dorset, at Market Harborough, at North Buckinghamshire, and at Wisbech. We know what the people of England think; and I undertake to say that the Liberal party is stronger to-day than it was last November. I speak of that which I know when I say that, as a strenuous supporter of the policy which was then decided upon, Mr. Gladstone was fully aware of the political risks which his decision involved; but he felt that the judgment which he pronounced was necessary and just. It was due to himself, to the great party which follows his lead. He was prepared, come what might, to adopt the course which he knew to be right; for it is his standard of high rectitude, of moral courage which is the secret of his unequalled power. Do what you ought, and let what will come of it,' has ever been the text of his political creed. But in this case, as in others, wisdom has been justified of her children; and the result has proved that Mr. Gladstone's conduct was as politically prudent as it was morally right. Both the Irish and the English peoples trust him and respect him the more. Instead of increasing the Irish difficulty, it has bound both peoples together by stronger bonds of sympathy and confidence, and a still more earnest desire on the part of both to act for the mutual advantage of either nation."
Sir William concluded with "glad tidings of great joy" concerning the health of Mr. Gladstone, who, he said, had never been so able and so ready as then to undertake "the great task which the country was yearning to impose upon him
Mr. Morley at Stoneleigh Park-Mr. Balfour at Plymouth-The French Fleet at Cronstadt and Portsmouth-The Lewisham Election-The Unauthorised Home Rule Bill-Mr. Gladstone on the Bye Elections--The Trades Union Congress— The 'Sigri' Scare-Sir M. Hicks-Beach on Rural Reform-Mr. Morley's Recess Programme-The Evacuation of Egypt-Sir William Harcourt at Ashtonunder-Lyme-Sir Edward Clarke on the Achievements of the GovernmentNational Liberal Federation at Newcastle-Mr. Gladstone's Speech-Deaths of Mr. W. H. Smith and Mr. Parnell-The Leadership of the House of CommonsBye-Elections Mr. Chamberlain's Campaign-Mr. Morley in Lancashire— The Church Congress-Mr. Goschen's Finance and its Critics-The Allotment Question and Agricultural Voters-Lord Salisbury at the Guildhall-The Home Rule Bill by the Duke of Argyll-Lord Hartington on the rôle of the Liberal Unionists The Conservative Association at Birmingham-Lord Salisbury's Address-The Struggle for the Rural Votes-Mr. Chamberlain and Mr. Morley-The Local Government Bill for Ireland-Mr. Balfour's Speech at Huddersfield-Mr. Goschen's Currency Proposals-The Rural Labourers' Conference— Mr. Gladstone's Speech-The State of the Army-Mr. Chamberlain at Edinburgh-Death of the Duke of Devonshire-State of Parties.
THE recess opened for the Opposition with the most cheering prospects. The practical achievements of the session, with one exception, were such as would appeal but faintly to the popular body of electors, and for that one exception-the boon of free education-the Opposition were prepared to claim all the credit. At the same time the Unionists and Conservatives had on several occasions suffered serious defeat at the bye-elections, and it was the policy as well as the right of the Opposition to argue from these isolated successes their coming triumph at the General Election. It was, however, important that the Liberals should profess on public platforms during the recess more cohesion and unanimity than they displayed in Parliament, and with this object Mr. John Morley was deputed to act as the fugleman of the party and to give the note to his colleagues and supporters. No better occasion could have been found than the Bank holiday (Aug. 3) for an appeal to the working classes, and the place selected-Stoneleigh Park—was sufficiently close to the headquarters of Liberal Unionism to make the meaning of the Gladstonians plain to friends and foes. Mr. Morley began by congratulating his audience on the flowing tide which was evidently bringing success to their side, and had already forced the Tories to pass the Free Education Act, for which the electors would give them no credit, for previously they had done their best to discredit it. The Dissentient Liberals, as he preferred to call the Liberal Unionists, after having done their utmost to destroy the Liberal party, and had failed, had succeeded in destroying the Tory party. Mr. Goschen had once stated that "he would not swim with the stream." "Who," asked Mr. Morley, "was swimming with it now?" and "What a muddy stream it is!" As to reforms in the franchise, the question to be decided within the next twelve months was not merely