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was to be thus arbitrarily ousted from among them; and deeply and universally did they feel the indignity. But this was not all. When Lord John stood up in the House of Commons a day or two afterwards, to avow and justify his proceeding, he staggered and astounded every one by producing, in his defence, an autograph letter from the Queen, betraying considerable personal irritation against Lord Palmerston for real or supposed slights on previous occasions, and written in a tone which it was impossible not to regret. The nearly universal feeling of the House on the reading of this document was, that so strange a breach of decorum, loyal feeling, and sound discretion, had scarcely ever been witnessed within its walls; and men wondered in loud whispers what had become of the Premier's chivalry and judgment, that he could thus drag his Queen into the party arena, and assail a colleague with a weapon from the Royal quiver.

Lord Palmerston was not long in taking his innings. In February, 1852, he defeated his late chief on the question whether the militia should be general or local. Lord John's ministry resigned, and Lord Derby came into power, and brought in a Militia Bill, differing in few material points from the former one. A meeting of Whig and Liberal members was held on (if we remember rightly) April 21st, at which it was decided that the measure offered so little tangible handle for criticism that it should not be opposed. Two days afterwards, to the amazement of his party, Lord John, acting at the suggestion and under the influence of one of the least reputed of its members, spoke and voted against the second reading, on grounds to which even his ingenuity failed to impart any validity. His Whig associates, however, this time refused to let him drag them through the mire of faction; most of them deserted him, and the ministerial bill was carried in spite of his opposition, and in a House in which the Liberals were notoriously predominant, by a majority of 316 to 167.

The following year Lord John took office under Lord Aberdeen; and everybody, except a few personal adorers, who professed to consider the step a degradation, approved of his doing

so.

But he was restless in the Cabinet, dissatisfied with its internal arrangements, and must have been a most uncomfortable colleague. He recommended certain changes; then, becoming amenable to the same sinister suggestions that had formerly misled him, withdrew them, and remained quiescent, and apparently acquiescent, till, on the announcement of Mr. Roebuck's motion, (which he must long since have foreseen,) he suddenly deserted, on Tuesday night, those with whom he had acted up to Tuesday at dinner-time; declared he could not

defend them, and gave in his resignation. Every one was thunderstruck and scandalised; and even he himself, two days afterwards, was obliged to confess that the mode and time of his desertion was an error. Since then, he has literally bombarded us with blunders. Shell after shell has exploded among his colleagues and co-senators, till surprise is almost exhausted. It was a blunder to accept the Vienna Mission, for which neither his character nor his antecedents fitted him; it was a blunder to accept a subordinate post under a man whom he had formerly commanded and dismissed; it was a blunder to accept a seat in the Cabinet while acting as an instructed servant of that Cabinet; and it was a strange weakness or mistake to permit himself to be deluded into listening to and sanctioning proposals of accommodation, the inadmissibility of which he had himself shortly before so clearly pointed out. All these things, however, though clearly indicative, we think, of impaired judgment, were indicative of nothing worse. what shall we say of his two strange speeches,--one in answer to Mr. Gibson as to his concessions at Vienna; and the other, his meandering harangue on foreign politics in general, just before the session closed?

But

On the faith of a circular issued by Count Buol, Mr. Gibson charged Lord John with having deceived the nation and the House as to his real sentiments, with having made a warlike speech, though he had returned from Vienna in favour of peace,

and with remaining a member of a Cabinet which had rejected terms of accommodation which he himself had accepted and approved. Lord John pleaded guilty,-declared that he had been "overruled in the Cabinet," and the proposals which he had recommended negatived; that, thereupon, he had deliberately reflected whether to resign or not, but had decided that to break up another ministry would shake confidence in public men, and be every way undesirable; that he had, therefore, succumbed to the opinions of his colleagues; and finally, that he considered he was acting quite honourably in doing so. Every one was perfectly amazed by this statement, and none more so than his colleagues, who could not conceive what he meant, knowing that there never had been any Cabinet discussion of the proposals alluded to; that they were conscious of no difference of opinion; that Lord John had never been "overruled;" that his perplexity as to whether he ought to resign or not must have been all moonshine; and, in fact, that the alleged difficulties and divergences were as new to them as to the House. The case, we believe, was simply and concisely this. At Vienna, Lord John appears to have been alarmed or cajoled by Count Buol into an approval of certain proposals which his

instructions did not warrant, and his colleagues did not agree to. He came home, prepared to recommend these proposals to the Cabinet, as what France would accept, what Russia would probably accede to, and what, if she did not accede to, would induce Austria immediately to declare war against her. But before these proposals could become the topic of formal consideration, the Government was officially informed-first, that France would not accept them; secondly, that Russia would probably reject them; and thirdly, that this rejection would not induce Austria to declare war against her. The proposals, therefore, at once fell to the ground, with the removal of all the motives for entertaining them. They ceased to be a matter even for consideration, much less for difference; and there being, therefore, no dissension in the Cabinet, there could be no reason for Lord John's even contemplating a resignation.

Why, with so good a case, he should have made so bad and so irrelevant a defence, time alone can clear up. At present, the only certain conclusion is, that no explanation of his marvellous misstatement can be imagined which harmonizes at once with the assumption of unclouded judgment and unstained veracity.

But, of all Lord John's anomalous proceedings, the speechnominally on the aspect of affairs in Italy-with which he wound up his sessional misdemeanours, seems to us the most utterly inexcusable. It was àpropos of nothing; it was quite a work of supererogation: why he made it, no one could divine, unless it were a desperate attempt to recover reputation; and if it were, that he should fancy reputation could be recovered by such an exhibition, is the most marvellous phenomenon of all. It was in truth a masterpiece of mischief, though languid in spirit and common-place in matter. With a perverse skill, which only long parliamentary experience could have bestowed, he contrived to rub every sore place, to touch every inconvenient topic, to open up every critical and delicate discussion. Careful not to commit himself to any strong opinion or to any decided policy,-"Willing to wound, but yet afraid to strike," he managed, as dexterously and recklessly as even Mr. Disraeli could have done, to say precisely what he knew would most embarass and aunoy his late colleagues, and most irritate our sensitive allies. Whatever could be stated or insinuated to make Russia obstinate, to make Turkey sulky and exacting, to make France jealous and suspicious, and to put England in the wrong in the eyes of Europe,-that, Lord John let drop as a sort of final legacy to his successors, with the cold insouciance which is one of his distinguishing characteristics.

A long series of escapades of this kind have destroyed his reputation in the country as much as they have shaken the confidence of his party. We do not believe that he can ever again lead the one, or become the admired and trusted ruler of the other. What we most dread, both for himself and for the nation, is lest, in his craving to be prominent and powerful, he should seek his restoration to the high eminence which he has forfeited- —as soon as he awakens to the consciousness that his former adherents are irrevocably alienated-in new alliances and unworthy combinations, in tampering with men and measures below him in statesmanship and inconsistent with his former principles. One of the most curious features of the case at present is, that his political instincts have so utterly deserted him, that he seems quite unaware either that he has fallen or has deserved to fall.

Of the present occupants of the Treasury Bench we have left ourselves little room, and we have no great desire, to speak. Lord Palmerston was a necessity of the hour; but whatever may be his ability, and whatever energy he may have displayed in special departments of Government, his character undeniably unfits him for the premiership in times like these through which we are now passing. While at the War Office, he was an admirable and diligent administrator. Much of the severe criticism lavished on his management of our foreign relations was, we think, undeserved, though we cannot persuade ourselves that he gave any indications of having grasped those grander principles of justice and wisdom which must lie at the foundation of all international policy worthy of the name; his sympathies were not generous or expansive, and his faith in men and in ideas was weak. Of his career while at the Home Office, the less that is said the better;-and certainly, since he became Prime Minister, the prominent feeling among his admirers has been one of disappointment, both at his language and his bearing.

Among the active ministers, Lord Clarendon we consider to be the ornament and the hope of the cabinet. The known liberality and soundness of his views, his un-party antecedents, his long and skilful administration of Irish affairs during the most trying crisis through which that unhappy country ever passed, and the mingled firmness, courtesy, and patience of his conduct since he was made Foreign Secretary, all combine to place him in a position which makes his path easy to the highest influence and the chief post. We may be of opinion that he has fallen into some errors in his diplomatic proceed

ings; that he has not shown perfect sagacity to foresee all the complications of the perilous conjuncture, nor a sufficiently resolute will to carve a clear path through them at all hazards; that he has been too ready to trust the perfidious and to hope for the unlikely. But we must remember that he was clogged with colleagues, some older and more experienced and others more parliamentarily powerful than himself; and his despatches -which are his own-leave nothing to be desired on the score of either vigour or ability, and present scarcely one vulnerable point to criticism. Much of our future hope rests upon Lord Clarendon, and upon two other noblemen, who have the rare advantage of having earned great experience and a high reputation in fields which have left them wholly uncommitted to the errors and uninvolved in the passions of party. And when Lord Elgin and Lord Dalhousie shall be members of a reconstructed cabinet; when the Duke of Newcastle shall have recovered his popularity and matured his experience; when Mr. Gladstone shall have emerged from behind the cloud, and shall be again tamed by the harness and ballasted with the responsibilities of office; when Lord Granville shall have justified the general estimation of his powers; when the severe discipline. of some laborious post shall have developed the unquestionable talent and worked off the unquestionable faults of the Duke of Argyll; and lastly, when the cessation or the expansion of the war shall enable Lord Grey again to serve his country in a ministerial capacity;-we see no reason to fear that the destinies of England will be committed to hands inferior to those which have guided them of late.

And while enumerating those who are to be the luminaries of the coming age, we must not be ungratefully forgetful of the setting sun. From the list of politicians whom we look to as the hopes and stays of the empire in the days which are before us, we gladly turn to pay a passing tribute to the veteran statesman who still sits among us at the helm in the full maturity of his wisdom, and almost in the full vigour of his powers, though long past the threescore years and ten,-the connecting link between the extinct and the rising generation. It is now nearly fifty years since Lord Lansdowne was Chancellor of the Exchequer, and considerably more since he entered the House of Commons as Lord Henry Petty; and we cannot remember that, during the whole of that period, he has committed one signal blunder or has once gone behind a cloud. Never very brilliant, never very prominent, he has always been sagacious, patriotic, and high-minded, a consistent statesman, never a mere party politician. Endowed with eminent rank, vast wealth, clear strong intellect, and consummate and cultivated

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